This drama has it all – romance, heartache, intrigue, longing, ..floating petals and now fireworks too. No wonder there is talk of an extension already. I just wish the kids could have stuck around for a bit longer. This drama gives me chills just from how perfect each episode is already. What’s scary is KSH hasn’t even come out yet – cant imagine how much better it will get when he comes along with JIW on E7…
*Trina posted the ost on E2 recap 🙂
Can you believe this is the same little girl who played Hyun Bin’s niece from Kim Sam Soon? I used to think she was the luckiest little girl cuz she had so many scenes where Hyun Bin carried her around or hugged her. I knew there was a reason why I liked this character so much – I just thought it was cuz she acted well. She is still a great little actress, but now she is about to hit her teens it looks like. I wonder if Hyun Bin could recognize her now. 🙂
Here is a legend of the abbreviations we’ll be using. It includes photos of most (but not all) the child actors and will grow as the drama progresses:
|Lee Hwon – H||Wol – WolHeo Yeon Woo – YW||Yang Myeong Goon – M|
|Yoon Bo Kyeong – B||Heo Yeom – Y||Woon – Woon|
|Seol – S||Princess Min Hwa – MW||King Seong Jo|
|Park Hoe Bin – P||Queen Dowager Yoon||Jang Nok Yeong – J|
|Hyeong Seong – HS||Minister Heo Yeong Jae||Minister Yoon Dae Hyeong|
Since sageuks are confusing, here are some very brief character descriptions. There are more detailed descriptions available, but they could be considered rather spoilery. The names in brackets are the actors’ names (childhood actors are listed second, where applicable):
Lee Hwon (Kim Soo Hyun/Yeo Jin Goo) – The future king.
Heo Yeon Woo (Han Ga In/Kim Yoo Jung) – An intelligent and beautiful girl who was betrothed to Lee Hwon.
Wol (Han Ga In)- A shaman who bears a strong resemblance to Yeon Woo.
Prince Yang Myeong (Jung Il Woo/Lee Min Ho) – Lee Hwon’s older half-brother from another mother. He is next in line for the throne after Hwon, but is a loyal brother.
Yoon Bo Kyeong (Kim Min Seo/Kim So Hyun) – Hwon’s first wife.
Heo Yeom (Song Jae Hee/Si Wan) – The affectionate and incredibly smart older brother of Yeon Woo.
Woon (Song Jae Rim/Lee Won Geun)- Lee Hwon’s bodyguard, he is the son of a nobleman and a concubine (which gives him a low status despite his intelligence and martial prowess).
Seol (Yoon Seung Ah)- Yeon Woo’s personal maidservant.
Princess Min Hwa (Nam Bo Ra/Jin Ji Hee) – Hwon’s younger sister who was jealous of Yeon Woo as a child, and smitten with Yeom.
King Seong Jo (Ahn Nae Sang) – Lee Hwon’s father.
Park Hoe Bin (Kim Ye Ryeong) – The king’s consort and mother to Yang Myeong.
Queen Empress/Dowager Yoon (Kim Young Ae) – Lee Hwon’s grandmother. She is a lady of ambition, and will do almost anything to get rid of contenders for power.
Shaman Jang Nok Yeong (Jeon Mi Seon) – Wol’s adoptive mother.
Hyeong Seon (Jeong Eun Pyo) – Hwon’s male aide.
J remembers Ari’s words about the one who will change the fate of the sun and to protect the child so she can be safe. J says there are two moons. B asks YW what brings her to the palace – not for the princess right? YW asks the same thing back to B. J gets reminded that the queen dowager (H’s grandmother) is waiting. J goes inside but looks back at the two girls
J explains to the dowager what she has been up to – what she had been working on. dowager asks if J finished her work well. then the Dowager asks J to use her ability to see if between the two kids if one of them could become H’s wife
The girls are asked to wait in a room till they are called. YW and B sit on opposite sides. YW asks B – you said your name is B right? YW asks to get along with B. B remembers her dad saying don’t let others know what your real feelings are. She tells YW “ok let’s get along.” YW says “that’s good cuz I thought you were angry about that day. B says she wasn’t. YW says she feels better now. She gets closer and tells B “let’s get along well from here on.” YW holds her hands. B puts a fake smile on her face
H is pacing in his room and looks at his plant. It’s growing and he says “it doesn’t look like a flower. that’s right. I can meet her and ask her in person.” The aid (HS) comes in and says he found out who the two girls are that came. H asks if he found whose daughters they were. HS says minister yoon’s daughtger B and minister Heo’s daughter YW. H hears the name YW and says : it’s just like I guessed. YW – what a pretty name. HS asks if between the two girls if H likes one.
H suddenly holds HS’s hand and says: there is only you. HW asks “why are you like this.” H asks his favor. HS: I can’t do that. H had asked him to let him meet YW secretly. H: why cant you do it? HS says how H cant meet her secretly without any chaperones around and how there is no way they can get around the guards to move without detection. H: That’s why I am asking you as a request/favor” HS asks H – did you forget that incident last time (where someone’s butt was shown a little bit when the clothes slipped off) H turns it around and cites when HS failed something “who sincerely cheered/encouraged you up and helped you?” HS says :you did prince. H: who helped you concentrate, study, and tutor you for the test? who was that? HS: it was you prince. H asks who got HS to do this position. HS: you prince. H smiles satisfied.
H wrote on the letter: after hearing you were coming/here, I couldnt sleep. I will send someone to you soon so see you then. Lee Hwon.
The aid (HS) is running across the court. He tries to give a servant girl the letter to pass on but she says no way. But when he bribes her she says it’s a secret. She sneaks in the letter in the package to YW.
H’s mom the queen meets with the girls. MW comes in and sits in front of the two girls. she asks between the two of you – who is Y’s sister. MW to B: is it you? MW to YW: is it you? who is Y’s sister. YW speaks up and says I am. MW says she knew it was YW cuz she resembles Y and looks pretty. She gives YW a present. B looks jealous.
YW and B bow to the queen dowager. YW introduces herself as minister Heo’s daughter and B says she is minister Yoon’s daughter. Dowager says the girls look like flowers that are blooming. She asks the girls to take good care of the princess.
J is hiding behind a partition and looks at B and YW. J: in the sky over chosun there are two moons
HS is nagging H. HS is saying there is no need for H to actively participate in the game – that H can just watch cuz what if H gets hurt. but H says :if I die I die but I cant put up with boredom. HW: the day the king finds out I will be killed. H: you sure do talk a lot.
M shows up and asks if H was well. H goes and hugs him. H wants to go hang out with M but HS says H has to go. M says H is busy. H asks M to play in the game too. H tells the guards that they are going to divide into two teams (other side being Woon’s group of guards) and play soccer -you have to win. H’s side looks a little older.
H and his blue team with M and Y are against Woon and his red team. Woon and Y and M exchange greetings by doing a fistbump. H asks if Woon and M and Y know each other. M and Y introduces Woon to H. H flashes back and remembers how YW called him a liar when he said his older brother was Woon. cuz YW said Woon is close friends with her brother. H smiles and says to woon: you were almost my older brother. this is another fun coincidence.
The princess is trying to embroider but doesn’t do well. YW finds the letter in her sewing kit from H. The way she interprets that letter is sort of like H was saying that in an inappropriate or scary way: I couldn’t sleep when I heard you were coming. I will send a person soon so let’s meet then. YW quickly folds the letter and puts it back in her sewing kit. B asks what’s wrong and YW lies it’s nothing. MW thinks sewing is boring and cant do anymore. she asks YW to go out and play. When they leave B looks at the letter. She reads the name Lee Hwon.
MW says let’s play over there. B has to find MW with her eyes covered. HS comes over to YW. she remembers how H said he would send someone and to meet then. HS asks if she is YW. She she lies and says she isn’t. HS thinks YW resembles Y.
HS thinks it must be B, but MW suddenly comes over and asks what brings him here. He says he was just passing by and tries to leave but she holds him back. she tricks him into saying that Y is playing soccer with the prince right now. MW repeats Y is playing soccer
both teams are playing some sort of old fashioned soccer. MW brings the two girls to the game and points out Y. H makes a goal. YW and B both look at H like they have a crush on him
dowager asks J if there is a potential wife for H. J says there is.
As J leaves, she thinks this is fate’s joke. the one who is right to be queen wont get to be and the one who is not fated to do that will end up being the queen. She says there are two suns and two moons and the smell of death.
M makes a goal and H hugs him. H is tripped and suddenly goes flying through the air and lands hard. The guy who tripped him gets in trouble so H makes the guards let him go.
H gives out some orders -about during games -dont just give the ball to H or leave a path open for him and make sure to play fair. YW is impressed. MW’s aid comes over to get MW saying there will be trouble if the king knows that MW is here, but MW says dont worry my dad is always on my side.
M watches as YW stares at H. M mentally says it’s ok if everyone becomes the prince’s people as long as you are mine
MW sees the king. he asks if she is having fun with the other girls. MW says yes and she likes YW the most. King asks who YW is. she gives her name and that she is minister Heo’s daughter. king asks if B is minister yoon’s daughter. B says yes. king compliments the daughters so the fathers bow and thank the king. The king says he hopes the girls will become good friends with the princess. girls say they will. king says something about how they cant make mistakes when talking and asks if they know what that means. (he is making them interpret some saying) King calls on B first. B says sorry but all her life she was told by her father that learning hanmoon and stuff was for men and was told what to learn for women. king asks YW to answer. YW gives the right answer. not to talk by your own mistake is what the palace people have to be careful about. He makes her explain more and she gets it right. YW says even if someone asks what plant or trees are in the palace the groundskeeper wouldnt answer. King asks explain what that means. YW says it means whatever happens in the palace should never go outside. King compliments her. “you did well. king: just like it says – what you see, feel, hear here in the palace don’t let it go outside. He asks if they can be careful to follow this and they say yes. MW and YW smile at each other.
M goes to see the king. King asks what brings him here. King asks why M came to see him. M says he has something to ask (sort of like asking for a request -getting permission). king: say it. M says he has someone he likes. He wants to walk the rest of his life with her. this is my first and last request. M closes his eyes waiting for the rejection. king asks what home she is from. M:what? king: didnt you understand me? I asked what household she is from. M was expecting a no so he is surprised. M answers that she is minister Heo’s daughter YW. King says he will think about it. M: what did you just say? King: I said I would think about it.
M leaves in shock. He goes outside and smiles.
King calls M a bad kid for coming to the palace just to ask that. He mutters something about “I was going to cut off his path” or it might have been leg restraints
YW’s dad asks YW how she liked her first day at the palace (sort of like how was your day kind of thing). YW doesn’t sound too enthusiastic and says “it was good” so her mom is a bit disappointed and asks “is that the end of it?” YW: yes. her mom says how curious she was and how much she waited to hear what happened till YW came home. so since YW is talking like this there is no fun. YW says how she saw Y. Y asks how. YW says it’s a secret so don’t ask to know. Her dad laughs and says Y needs to learn from YW. her dad says he worried about putting her in the palace but he didn’t need to worry. He compliments her saying he respects her more than any other teacher. YW compliments her dad saying her dad is the best. so since father and daughter are being chummy, her mom says to Y that he is the best looking and the smartest and Y says his mom is the best too.
S is practicing sword fighting with a stick and almost hits YW. YW asks where she got that stick and S says she made it over time. S asks what brings YW here. YW: to ask you something. S: what? YW says someone got something from someone. but doesnt know the meaning of the note. S asks what was said. YW: “I couldn’t sleep cuz you – will send someone soon.” S says that’s a threat. did the person that side sent come to find that person. YW: they did but was told that person got the wrong person. S: that dumb person made the problem bigger. at that point they should have confidently said they got the right person. YW wonders if that will have a bad outcome or something. S says that person was acting cowardly to avoid and lied too
YW is walking and imagines H standing there. he asks if she thinks he tried to scare her or something. YW: you didnt? H:what do you think? YW: if I say I dont then will you send a person again? H: if I do then will you meet me? will you meet me? YW: I do want to meet you once. Are you going to send a person again. His image is gone
Minister yoon remembers how MW said she likes YW the most. B announces she is coming in so he tells her to come in. B: did you call. he asks if she behaved incorrectly today at the palace. she says she didnt. he scolds her for not being able to capture MW’s heart. B: it’s cuz I am not Y’s sister. she says how MW likes Y and prefers YW. B: it’s not just the princess, some friend of the prince called Lee Hwon sent that girl a letter separately. in that palace everyone is on that child’s side and no one is on my side so how could I get someone’s heart….. her dad asks what did you say- what is the name on the letter. She says Lee Hwon.
Queen dowager remarks the prince is already at an age where he sends love letters. how did he know that child to send that letter. minister yoon says YW’ brother Y. dowager says something about minister Heo. minister says how the king likes YW too. I think he hinted that Minister Heo intended for Y to become H’s teacher so what do you think is next (meaning YW as H’s wife) so they need to hurry cuz you never know when the owners will change. so a person has to act. She says minister should act and she will too.
Next day B comes to the palace later than the appointed time. she gets her hair fixed. Servant says B is really late but B says dont worry cuz her dad already explained it well. She tells her servants to come back later to pick her up in the carriage. B remembers how she told her dad that she wants to live in the palace and to make it so that she can. H’s aid (HS) comes and says the prince wants to meet her quietly.
H goes out of his room and looks around. He is in an empty room. He remembers how HS said when H stands with his back to someone, that it is regal and attractive. while standing with his back to someone, if he slowly turns around to look, H can capture any girl’s heart. H tries it alone and then giggles. He hears footsteps and waits with his back to her just like HS said to. H: Now I get to meet you. that’s right. you already know but I am this country chosun’s prince. He slowly turns around and sees B but her head is down. H: I don’t know the reason but after that day I couldn’t forget you. when I heard rumors that you were here in the palace – even like this- I wanted to meet you again. It was so hard to meet you so wont you show me your face. B looks up and smiles at him.
H is startled to see B instead of YW. H: who are you? B:what? H: i am asking who you are and why you are here. She says her name and father’s name and says H sent the aid. H says sorry but there is a mistake. he runs out
H goes out and looks like he wants to hit the aid.
B comes out alone and walks out. A servant girl watches B leave
MW and YW made bracelets. MW: what do you think, what I made is prettier huh? YW: yes what you made princess is way prettier. MW: ask me who I am going to give it to. YW: who are you going to give it to? MW says Y. YW:what? MW: who did you make it to give to? YW: to give to my brother too. MW says no you cant- I will give it to your brother and you can give it to my brother. then it will be fair. YW: to the prince? how could I dare to…MW holds out her hand and says: give it to me and I will give it to him. YW: I will make it again cuz this is too average. MW: if you want to. (since YW made it simple just for her brother now she wants to make a better one for H). B comes in so MW waves hello to her. B remembers H’s words: Heard you were here and even if it’s like this I wanted to meet you again.
Servant spreads rumor that H met with B. they wonder if H and B knew each other from before. They are overheard by the queen.
H: you call that an excuse? HS: this is really unfair. HS gives his explanation to H and says YW said she wasn’t YW. H says: why would that kid lie like that? HS: if you ask that then I am in a tough situation. H: there is no reason for that kid to avoid me.
HS shows a drawing of the brain of a girl and what her thoughts consist of. H:what is that? HW: I drew what’s inside YW’s head -her thoughts. H: her thoughts in her head? HS: yes. HS points out the biggest part -70% is her brother’s influence cuz she grew up with books and educational stuff in the same house so she didnt notice guys. he points out other two are her brother’s fellow scholars M (20%) and Woon (10%) and their influence on her. H asks what that small dot is and the aid says that’s H so H gets mad: are you saying that out of all the guys I am just that little speck? HS tries to explain that’s cuz H lives far away from YW and on their first meeting she mistook H for a thief. H doesnt like the aid’s explanation and tells him to shut up and turn around facing away cuz I cant stand the sight of you for the time being. H is called to meet the king. guards come and drag away the aid (for setting up that secret meeting between H and B)
King asks if the rumors are true that H met with B. H says it is true we met but it was a mistake. King: you call that an explanation. H says: I know I dont have an explanation but there is one misunderstanding I want to clear up. king: what is the misunderstanding? H: I already have a girl I like. king:what? H: I thought it was her and wanted to meet her- that’s true, but it wasnt minister yoon’s daughter. the girl I like is minister Heo’s daughter. king remembers how M said the same thing. H keeps saying: I couldnt tell you before but that girl is already in my heart…. but the king says he is going to act like he didn’t hear what H said just now. H: but father. king scolds H asking: have you forgotten you are this country’s royalty/future ruler -who you decide – that girl could be a pawn/an impetus for a war between the different factions -how could you not think of that- I will quietly overlook this, but don’t disappoint me again. Got that. H agrees.
YW asks B if she is up to riding in the carriage cuz B suffered from motion sickness this morning riding in it. B starts to snap at her “what does that matter to you” but changes her tone and says sweetly: thank you for your concern but to tell you the truth I wasnt late cuz of motion sickness. YW: then why? B leans in and whispers: This is a secret but I met the prince awhile ago. he said he watched me from afar and wanted to meet me once like that. You have to keep this secret. YW is surprised.
King meets with his court of ministers. king says he wants to find a wife for the prince and orders qualified girls gathered
H is staring at his plant. He asks HW “what kind of flower is this.” HS asks permission to get close and looks at it. HS limps over cuz he was punished (like beaten) HS says this isnt a flower but a lettuce. H: lettuce? What could be the reason for sending me lettuce? Now I can’t hear that answer forever. Get rid of it. H gets dressed. The aid takes YW’s gift away.
H looks sad as he walks out. Suddenly B and YW show up and both girls bow to him. He looks at YW for a second. She sort of smiles at him but he looks away and remembers the king’s words about how YW could be used as a pawn cuz of H so he keeps walking. B looks over at YW.
J tells her aid that they have permission from the dowager and to move quietly so no one can see them. Another shaman asks where they are going. The girl says to chase away a ghost (the ghost that lives where the king’s half brother who was slain used to live)
Some guy comes out and writes with a giant brush in front of the king, queen dowager, and queen and the rest of the royal court ( M’s mother too). There is some kind of festivity with dancers in masks.
M stares at YW. But YW stares at H. she looks at the bracelet she made for him in her hand. Just when she isnt looking at H, H looks over at her. M saw all that.
J comes out and does some sort of dance. Suddenly she is standing on a cliff and turns and there is a grave behind her. she is surprised
(*That grave looks pretty much identical to the one Ari saw in episode 1 when she had a vision of YW’s death)
There are dancers and the royal court is having fun watching it. Some dancers show up and –YW hears J’s voice say: this isnt a fate you can handle miss– this is the chance for you to avoid it -while you can avoid, you have to avoid as much as you can. (meaning run away while you can) YW looks around and sees J and hears those words.
Suddenly someone in a mask shows up and drags YW away. YW drops her bracelet for H.
M walks by and sees them leave but realizes that’s YW so he goes after them.
The guy in the mask was holding her hand but lets go. He turns around and takes his mask off. It’s H.
H: do know who I am? Do you recognize me? Say who I am.
YW: this country chosun’s…
H: prince Lee Hwon.
He smiles at her. fireworks go off.
MW looks over at Y and smiles. B looks down at the bracelet on the ground.
H asks YW: Did you ask me to forget you? Did you want (expect) me to forget you? I’m sorry I tried to forget but I couldn’t forget you. petals float down. M stands at a distance and watches them. H smiles at YW. M looks heartbroken.
H: what do you mean -what is this nonsense that I cant be together with YW as her man
H says how they will be choosing his wife and something about how he cant go over his grandmother’s ruling
M asks YW: is your heart the same as the prince’s? YW: are you going somewhere? M: will you go with me?
Queen dowager orders YW to be killed
Is it just me or do these kids not really feel like kids? I find myself relating to them as if they’re adults, and at the end I was getting all giddy on the OTP’s behalf, instead of just going, “aww, that’s cute.” All the characters are extremely well written as well as acted, and the casting director deserves an award for finding the absolute perfect person for every part. The adult cast is going to have big shoes to fill! KSH and JIW are some of the best young actors around right now, but these kids are really throwing down the gauntlet and showing us all how it’s done.
It really is a joy to watch a drama with such a great blend of cinematography, music, story, and characters. I find the simplest of things putting a big grin on my face, like the game of chuk-guk (soccer). The way the camera panned, the way the music swelled with excitement, the facial expressions, the cheering servants…it was all just right. The bromance of course made it all the better.
We haven’t learned much of Woon yet, but I find him incredibly intriguing already. He seems rather quiet and serious, but he throws in the odd wry smile that makes me think there is a lot more to him than we’ve seen thus far. Is he going to the abrasive guy with the heart of gold? I don’t know why, but I get the impression that I’m going to end up loving him.
As expected, the friendship between H and M is very heartwarming. H’s face lights up as soon as he sees M, and it’s clear that he genuinely looks up to him, even though he himself is the future king. I hope that their bond stays this strong when their adults, although there are already so many issues poised to divide them (YW, those who want to use them as puppets on the throne).
Oddly enough, one of my favorite bromances is between H and HS (talk about unexpected!). They’re always hilariously dramatic with each other to make their respective points, and it’s obvious that they’re very close even though they’re always at odds. Poor HS always ends up getting punished like a dog, but it’s sort of worth it just to see the expression on his face. My favorite scene of his this episode was when he drew YW’s brain for H and showed him how pathetically little influence he has over her. He might be the best aide ever (it’s also adorable that he’s afraid of MW).
I never really expect the humor in this drama, which makes the funny moments all the better. When YW read H’s letter and imagined him whipping his head around like Derek Zoolander, I think I may have guffawed (and I am not one to guffaw!). All the brief little moments like the blind-folded servant being left behind to play hide-and-seek by herself are great too.
When it comes to sageuks, nothing instills dread in me like a happy family. When YW and her brother sat around laughing with her parents, they may as well have been asking to be torn apart. Poor sweet YW…it’s not going to be good!
Of course B is the polar opposite of YW, which probably means that it’ll take forever for her to get what she deserves. I can’t believe she whined because no one likes her; I wonder why! Instead of trying to improve herself, she just relies on her father to get her what she wants. That being said, even though she’s horrible, I do feel a bit bad for B since she’s still so young and has a nasty father. She’s probably been under immense pressure since birth, and has clearly been raised to be power-hungry and manipulative. A moment of redemption way down the road would be nice, but it seems unlikely.
It’s sort of interesting that the “evil” people in this show are more or less on H’s side. They’re supporting him as future king (even if they do just want power for themselves) and I think their are going to be some very muddied waters in the future. Adult H is probably going to have a hard time separating himself from their wrong-doings, and it’s not going to look good to people like M and YW. I already feel bad for KSH!
The king is a bit of a mystery to me still, and I can’t quite get a read on him. I thought that he favored H and disliked M, but he seemed rather reasonable with M, and much harsher with H. I think he’s probably harder on H (in a way) because he’s the future king, but I still found it hard to decipher what he was thinking. What does he think of Yoon and the Queen Dowager? Was he hoping that H would marry someone else, or does he just not want to disappoint M?
I guess we’ll find out next episode, if the preview is any indicator. In the final preview scene, did it look like H and YW were being presented together as a couple? Are they engaged? I don’t know if I should be happy for them, miserable on M’s behalf, or just overwhelmed with apprehension, since I’m pretty positive everything is going to go up in flames next week.