Drama Recaps
Tree With Deep Roots: Episode 13
by | November 18, 2011 | 41 Comments

What a ride! I literally feel exhausted from all the caring, worrying, and happy sighing I did this episode. So many secrets, so many emotions. And these secrets aren’t just out, they’re stripped and laid bare for all the world to see. How can this show just keep getting better? It seems to defy the very laws of the universe, but I’m going to try not to look this gift drama in the mouth and just enjoy.


With Chae-yoon calling out the name So-yi once went by, she rounds the tree and they come face to face. Both of them are emotional as he remembers how he once told her how his father had died and how frightening the world seemed to be once he was alone. “Dam! Are you really my Dam?” he asks.

She cries and nods, and for a moment he seems frozen and unsure of what to do…

…And then he pulls her into a desperate embrace, holding her like his life depends on it. She’s trying to say something but can’t… Please excuse me while I wipe my tears away like the little girl that I am. Reunion scenes just get me right in the heart, and this one is a reunion lover’s paradise.

The two share another tender moment by a river as Chae-yoon wraps the ankle she hurt while running to him. She can’t help but wonder if he’s really Ddol-bok, and reaches out to touch his hair. He takes her hand and asks her about her muteness. His voice and his mannerisms are so much more tender, it kills me. Also, so much touching already? I’m in heaven. This is not your mom’s Joseon.

He realizes, just as she’s thinking it, that her muteness is not just from the horrible trauma of the prison break and her father’s death, but from the words he spoke to her while they were young. He blamed her for everyone’s death. Goodness, what a heavy burden for both of them to bear. He knows it too, and grips his heart as he cries for her. She doesn’t blame him, and wraps her arms around his shoulders to hold him while they both have a good cry.

Chae-yoon is at the water’s edge when So-yi finds herself able to say the “oh” in “orabeoni”. She gets up, excited to show him that she can talk, when Pyung comes in to crash the party by holding a sword to her neck. As his lackey binds her, Pyung bargains for the Hidden Root Scroll. Chae-yoon wants him to set So-yi free first, and holds the Hidden Root Scroll over the fire as leverage.

Pyung isn’t without his own bargaining tool (as if holding So-yi hostage wasn’t enough), and produces the pouch So-yi made for him that houses his father’s will. Chae-yoon is distracted when Pyung drops it, giving Pyung the perfect opportunity to take the Scroll and throw a blinding powder in Chae-yoon’s eyes.

They begin a sword fight, but Chae-yoon is left unable to see. He tries relying on his sense of sound to predict Pyung’s movements, but Pyung is having a good time and makes most of his sword movements unnecessary to distract his opponent. Chae-yoon is sustaining wounds, and just as it looks like he might get a killing blow…

…So-yi speaks, full on speaks, and says: “To the right!” Chae-yoon is able to deflect the blow, and the tide begins to turn in his favor with So-yi there to be his eyes, as she directs him to spare him from killing blows. So. Epic. So epic. Yes!

Just as it looks like Chae-yoon is about to win, even blinded, soldiers from Hidden Root seem to materialize from nowhere and surround them. Pyung instructs them to kill So-yi first, and Chae-yoon kills who he can before shielding her with his body. He can’t kill them all.

At the last moment, Mu-hyul arrives with the royal army to save the day. The secret soldiers of Hidden Root are forced to flee, along with Pyung. Before anyone sees, Chae-yoon pockets the pouch he’s been searching so long for.

They have an unexpected visitor, however, in King Sejong. Both Chae-yoon and So-yi give formal bows as the King, stone-faced, approaches. Ohhhh man.

Jung Ki-joon has been relegated to doing what evil villains do best – sitting and plotting. I’ve been a little sad that the pickings have been slim each time we cut to a Hidden Root scene, since they’re either waiting for that damn scroll or talking about something else that’s not going right for them – like losing So-yi.

In this case, they’re on a ticking clock for that meeting with Hae Gang and his scholars – where they’re supposed to produce the Hidden Root Scroll. Pyung is desperately fighting off the royal army to deliver it to them in time. Will he make it or not? Is this scene as much fun to us as all the delicious drama going on elsewhere?

King Sejong should win a medal for being the Most Understanding Person Ever. After handling the shock/happiness that So-yi can now speak (she says “Your Highness”, which is the first time Sejong has been able to hear her voice), he even looks over the fact that Chae-yoon reaches for a sword to kill him when Sejong calls him ‘Ddol-bok’.

They have a surprisingly frank confrontation where Sejong apologizes about Chae-yoon’s father. So-yi realizes that Sejong knew about their childhood identities the whole time and that he said nothing, but she doesn’t seem to feel horribly betrayed over it.

Sejong tells Chae-yoon that a different path lies before him – one with So-yi. He gives both of them his blessing, telling Chae-yoon that he’s gained Dam, but he (as the King) has lost So-yi. Aww. Good thing no one bothered to check with So-yi about how she feels, because that would just be terrible.

It’s time for a flashback, and it’s not a happy one. I always assumed Sejong was just a naturally enlightened King, but this flashback seems to prove otherwise. Basically, an epidemic is going around and Sejong knows the right herbs to cure it, but no one has followed his advice. Why? Because the common people couldn’t read the notices for the prescription Sejong wrote, making his effort meaningless and causing an untold number of deaths.

He takes his anger out on one of the villagers, wondering why the man can’t read. It’s not like his King asked him to memorize Confucius, it’s only a thousand characters. Sejong can’t seem to understand the citizens’ illiteracy, and his anger is anger at his own general helplessness to save all those lives.

Once he’s in the palace, he throws a temper tantrum about his own inefficacy and scares everyone in the process… except So-yi. She remains completely unaffected and cold, so Sejong’s only reaction is to grab her by the collar and spit his words into her face. He seems to equate her to the rest of the citizens by calling her a child, always badgering him for something.

Her response to his severely long-winded personal attack, where he also looked like he wanted to… well, do more than yell at her?

So-yi [in writing]: “If you say we’re children, then you need to raise us.”

Good gracious! Gauntlet thrown, and a good call on So-yi’s part. It seems to snap Sejong out of his angry funk, as next we find them they’re starting the basic process to creating his alphabet – one he wanted to create for its ease of use, and one that anyone could learn. So-yi, and her weirdly perfect memory, prove integral to the process of creating Hangul.

It’s time for that secret meeting we’ve all been waiting for (okay, maybe just the secret meeting Hidden Root’s been waiting for). Master Hae Gang is there as promised, and all those gathered insist upon seeing the Hidden Root Scroll. Just as it seems like Jung Ki-joon doesn’t have it, he pulls out the sash containing what I thought was the Scroll… but the paper that Chae-yoon has been reading (and the one we’ve all been seeing) is just a cover for the real paper nestled inside, the one that damns every official present with their signatures pledging their allegiance to Hidden Root.

I should have expected something like that – I was beginning to wonder if a genie came with the Scroll, especially with the way it was being revered. Now it all makes sense, because without that Scroll the officials present could just bow out of Hidden Root if they wanted to, and no proof would exist that they were traitors. Only now with that paper, Jung Ki-joon calls upon the oath they once made to his uncle, Jung Do-jun.

Power can’t leave the hands of the government even for a day, as Jung Ki-joon explains in his monologue (we know by now that when Sejong has a monologue, Jung Ki-joon gets one too). Directing his ire to Lee Shin-juk – whose lackey may or may not have just been killed by the long-haired butcher’s assistant – Jung Ki-joon asks how the official will atone for the crime of allowing Sejong to run rampant like he has.

Chae-yoon and So-yi have found an abandoned house to spend the night in, and in the morning, Chae-yoon goes outside to scrounge around for cooking utensils. Awwww, he’s cooking for her? Awwwww! It’s only more meaningful because he’s still wounded from the night before, so he’s limping around as he tries so hard to make her a proper meal.

He takes it inside, and proudly shows her the food he’s made. I’m dying of ‘squee’ right now. She jokingly asks if he stole it, and he says of course – psh, does she think he’d make this for her? Aww!

So-yi finds a large chestnut in her rice, a food that she had once fed to Ddol-bok when they were children. Tears spring to her eyes, both of them still overcome by the emotion of their reunion as they eat the Saddest Meal Ever (since the Saddest Meal Ever in Chuno).

As Chae-yoon and So-yi walk together in a beautiful forest, he daydreams about their future. The more he smiles, the more I worry… but that dream is adorable. In it, he’s a simple farmer, smiling to see So-yi approach. She smiles back. They’re living simple, adorable lives… oh dear. My drama senses are tingling – surely there’s heartbreak ahead.

The happier he becomes, the more burdened So-yi looks. Unlike her daydream counterpart, the So-yi of the present keeps flashing back to her times with Sejong. Ah, so are these flashbacks to shore up that leg of the love triangle? Or just to show how near and dear the Hangul project is to her?

The heartbreak comes fast and swift. Just as Chae-yoon turns to tell So-yi about the future he envisioned (where they’re together and in love), she stops him and says that they must return to the palace. She wants to go back to work on that great cause, which is not only His Majesty’s great cause, but her own. She chose to do it to atone for the deaths of his father, her father, and all the other slaves they knew.

He tells her that the King is using her heart against her, and that they’re just slaves – no matter what, they’ll get used and thrown away like the garbage that they are by the higher class. Has she been with all those highly-ranked people so long that she thinks she’s one of them? Ouuuch, Chae-yoon. You are digging your own grave on this one. So-yi doesn’t give up or let his words sway her, and begins to explain that he misunderstood about that letter…

Chae-yoon: “Right! Let’s say I misunderstood. His majesty saved you, and what happened wasn’t his intention. Let’s say that’s true. So let’s say I fully understand His Majesty. But… my father. What becomes of him? If I understand His Majesty fully, my father… my father is too pitiful. And what about me? Isn’t my life too pitiable? And what about you? You should be thinking from me and my father and your father’s side. What are you? You are one of those people too. Why do you keep on, for that great cause or bullshit, pretending you don’t know about your father’s death? Why do you not think from my side and why do you think from that King’s side?!”

They’re at an ideological stalemate, with both of them being too stubborn to give in. Chae-yoon can’t give up his revenge, and So-yi can’t give up her stake in the Hangul project. Both of these great causes they’ve staked their lives on are, unfortunately, only bound to clash.

But, she comes to a realization as she flashes back once more to Sejong – when the King once said that Chae-yoon is the one he fears the most, and trusts the most. She knows that the third judge of his alphabet, his life’s work, was meant to be Chae-yoon. Whew. That is going to be one tough sell.

The moment finally comes. After all these years, Chae-yoon is finally able to read his father’s will. He laughs and cries as he reads it, probably a little let down after all this time – we don’t get to see what his father said, but we can assume it didn’t carry any great revelations. He’s spent all this time searching, and the message was very simple.

Now that Chae-yoon feels like he lacks purpose when he’s lived his entire life for revenge, he takes out his knife… and holds it to his neck. Is he thinking of suicide?! He sure seems to be, but after a charged moment, he puts it down. He can’t do it. Phew. Chae-yoon, you are going to give me a heart attack!

So-yi resumes her place in the palace by the King’s side. Sejong doesn’t seem pleased with this (though I’m sure he is secretly pleased), and tries to send her away again. She refuses to go because the alphabet is her work and she will see it to completion.

What does get his attention, though, is when she says that the final judge of his work is sure to come. She knows by now that Chae-yoon means to kill Sejong, and yet she is calling for them to have a direct confrontation. Gauntlet = thrown. Again.

Mu-hyul, always the worried wife, is there to warn Sejong that if Chae-yoon returns, it will be because of So-yi. Determination has taken over our King’s features as he tells Mu-hyul that he is not to stop Chae-yoon. In fact, clear out all the palace guards and anyone else in Chae-yoon’s path. Whoa, what?! Waitaminute, Sejong. Let’s think about this…

King Sejong: “My second judge is coming. Didn’t you hear? She said to endure and wait and be patient, then persuade. So I’m doing that. The one who is furthest from me… She’s saying to persuade him myself, right? Telling me to have it out with him in person, isn’t she? Though So-yi’s action is audacious, it makes me aflutter. She made me aflutter.”

Whoa, are those feelings? I can’t tell when his face is so grim, but that sounded like some feelings, mixed in with determination to win Chae-yoon over. Chae-yoon is the last piece of his puzzle, the last person whose approval he needs to move forward… it’s so poetically perfect.

Chae-yoon wastes no time, and before I can mentally prepare myself he’s already at the palace gates. He’s dressed in his assassin’s finest, apparently unconcerned with the fact that every single guard has disappeared into thin air. There’s not a soul in sight to stop him from stalking like a predator into the palace, though we can see hidden guards everywhere – they’re on roofs, or in the shadows of the rooms that Chae-yoon passes by. Whether he hopes to actually get away with this assassination, or whether he’s gone for a final hurrah before suicide, we’re not sure. He can’t expect to make it out alive, at least.

He walks carefully, step by step, holding his sword at the ready. Was he prepared to cut his way through to the King? The very King that cleared away all opposition so that Chae-yoon’s assassination attempt would go unimpeded?

He approaches the throne room…

…Where Sejong, Mu-hyul, and So-yi are waiting. Just like in the drama’s opening, Chae-yoon thinks: “Lee Do.” But unlike the opening scene, Sejong has been expecting him.


Well, this whole episode took the intensity meter up about fifty notches. Just when I think that this show can’t get much more intense, it surprises me by going balls to the wall. I will say I wasn’t expecting this confrontation between Chae-yoon and Sejong to happen so soon, since I was fully prepared for their conflict to go on over the entire series. With the misunderstandings and secrets out of the way, the emotional moments in this episode seemed to come at a breakneck pace. So-yi and Chae-yoon reunited, then clashed, then Chae-yoon finally found his father’s will, thought about suicide, and now finds himself IN THE THRONE ROOM. Granted, he’s only made it this far due to Sejong’s good graces. But goodness gracious!

This episode advanced so many core story lines faster than I could imagine, even though it did so through long scenes and many monologues. Everyone had a chance to shine through a monologue this time around, but I never felt that this episode got too mired down in conversation. It might be because the acting is top-notch, or that everyone still had something to say even if they took a long time to say it. No monologue tired me, even though I felt tired by the end of the hour just because of the sheer range of emotions I ended up feeling all throughout. We really got to see the inner souls of our lead characters in the best way possible.

Sejong had some truly frightening moments this episode, and some moments that I didn’t know what to make of. It’s a true talent for an actor to be able to turn the tables from one scene to the next, and Han Suk-kyu does so with aplomb. I’m used to seeing flawed characters (and love them), but there are a million layers to this man. Especially in his scene with the diseased citizens, his anger was really palpable. We know his anger is misdirected, and that he’s lamenting the injustice of their illiteracy when literacy could save lives, but the very point is that he doesn’t know to whom he should direct his anger. When he changes the direction of his temper to So-yi, I found myself actually worrying for her safety. It’s certainly not that Sejong is a bad man (far from it, actually), it’s just that his temper does have a tendency to get out of control.

It’s not a criticism, I’m actually very impressed at the incredibly human side of this revered historical character that we’re getting to see. Likewise, even though Chae-yoon opened up about his feelings this episode, his motivations remain a little harder to read. He seemed to give up on the idea of revenge, at least momentarily, when he thought of a future with So-yi. But because she wanted to return to the palace, does he think his life is only worth the price of his revenge (again)? I can’t wait to see what comes of his confrontation with Sejong – mostly because I have no idea how Chae-yoon is going to get out of this one.


41 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. Kiara

    This drama will be the death of me <3. Thank you much HeadsNo2 for the recap.

  2. Yourstruly

    This series continually takes the stakes and raises it both politically and emotionally. The juxtaposition of Chaeyoon’s happy dreams for the future with Soyi’s anxious flashbacks was so heartbreaking. I hope they get a happy ending in the end.

    One of the things I’ve been wondering while watching this series was where’s So hyun wang hoo? You mentioned Muhyul acting like the worried wife, which reminded me, where is the ACTUAL worried wife? She was in the first two episodes and she seemed to have a good relationship with Sejong, but then she never came out again.

    • 2.1 kristi

      Hoping it’s not too spoilery, there’s a brief reference to the Queen Consort in ep. 14, and that’s all I can say on the matter.

      But beyond that, I think TwDR has made the decision to limit itself to a few select characters, not only with the King’s family but also his ministers and the scholars– a) it gives them more freedom to take some liberty with history (whereas if they have too many real-life characters, they have to worry about how far they can go), and b) they avoid the comparison to the KBS drama, Great King Sejong (2008), which ran over a whole year (80+ eps.) and was populated with a much larger number of RL characters from Sejong’s reign. (Trivia: Suh Joon-Young, who plays Prince GyangPyung in TwDR, was Prince SooYang, the future, feared Sejo, in the KBS version.)

      If TwDR were to be more truthful to history, the Crown Prince (the future Munjong), for instance, would have to play a much more prominent role, not only so late in Sejong’s reign but also with respect to the creation of hangul, but again, it complicates the storytelling (you can only work with so many characters over 20+ eps.). And I think they were wise to cut down to the cast to a select few. and focus on the bigger themes.

      • 2.1.1 gominam

        that’s a wonderful explanation…thanks a million..

  3. lemonicricket

    Ah Tree, how you spoil us <3 Thank you for the excellent recaps HeadsNo2!

  4. Arhazivory

    Excellent recap. Thanks HeadsNo2. My goodness man, this drama’s intensity rivals anything I’ve ever seen before. This drama is…..in a word….e p i c.

  5. queencircles

    Oh man. It’s so so SO hard not to read this! I want to watch this episode right now!!!! Please hurry subbers! 🙂

    Thanks for the recap.

    • 5.1 Arhazivory

      Viki has 13 and 14 fully subbed: http://en.viki.com/channels/1585-a-tree-with-deep-roots

    • 5.2 melonhead

      I know!! HeadsNo2 must be as addicted as the rest of us…..but that just makes it more painful for those of us without subs.

      Must. Resist. Urge…….

  6. melonhead

    viki doesn’t work in all countries 🙁

    • 6.1 melonhead

      screw that, I just blew my day watching episode 13 and 14 raw with the help of some summaries/translations 🙂 Ep 14 cliffhanger why so freaking awesome??

      Chae yoon is so badass but so heartbreaking. Not to mention how damn epic the other characters are, esp. Soyi, Sejong and Muhyul (Muhyul’s so adorable but badass at the same time, which is the best combination)

      Btw, I don’t think my drama addiction has ever been this bad before. Not even for City Hunter. I watched that with Chinese subs and dodgy Chinese reading skills, but I’m watching Tree with Deep Roots raw with a summary written in bad english (not referring to you HeadsNo2, but to another site. We all know you’re amazing :D) and google translate plus REALLY bad korean skills.

      Tree, why are you so awesome? It hurts so much waiting for each week’s episodes…please continue being as gutwrenching and epic as you are!

  7. Quaggy

    Thank you so much for the quick recap! I wasn’t expecting to see it so fast!! Or to get as wrapped up in this show as I already have been. What a great ride!

  8. kristi

    Two episodes in a row, and not just any episode, eps. 12-13… WHEEEE!! 🙂 Thanks for another excellent recap and commentary. Can’t wait for you to watch ep. 14, it deserves all the attention and praise in the world. You noticed that

    Just like in the drama’s opening, Chae-yoon thinks: “Lee Do.” But unlike the opening scene, Sejong has been expecting him.

    Well, there’s another fantastic parallel in ep. 14, AND MORE, and it’s so good I’m actually worried how they can possibly continue to keep this up. I’ll just have to pray they can.

  9. Jomo

    Thank you for the recap. I agree, agree, agree, agree, agree and agree with your take.

    While I was watching the first part of ep 13, all I could think was “This is perfect.” Every word, action, scenery, music. It does NOT get more compelling and beautiful than that.

    And now, for the HEARTBREAK!
    He gives both of them his blessing, telling Chae-yoon that he’s gained Dam, but he (as the King) has lost So-yi. Aww.
    Did you SEE the look on his face when he let So-yi go?

    There’s no way SY’s gonna be all happy farming! She’s way too smart to be away from the court and the King.

    He so publicly capitulated to SY with this speech:
    “She said to endure and wait and be patient, then persuade. So I’m doing that. The one who is furthest from me… She’s saying to persuade him myself, right? Telling me to have it out with him in person, isn’t she? Though So-yi’s action is audacious, it makes me aflutter. She made me aflutter.”

    He cannot be saying he likes her likes her, right? He is saying that this person, who represents his younger idealist self, needs to be responsible to the end. To the last citizen. That person is DB/CY.

    I am remaining firmly in metaphorical territory with the King and the SJ “love” story. It has to be there for it to make sense!

    • 9.1 Yourstruly

      To clarify the meaning of your quotation “she made me aflutter,” Sejong used the verb “설레이다” which is not used by koreans as necessarily referring to the heart fluttering due to romantic emotions. It CAN refer to romantic fluttering of the heart, but it can also be used to signify nervous excitement for any other reason. In that particular scene, I read Sejong’s statement as an expression of anticipation for the third judge, Chaeyoon to appear and finally judge his alphabet.

      That being said, I think there were plenty of other scenes throughout this series that shows Sejong’s relationship with Soyi to be complicated at best. He seeks her approval and her opinion, values her intelligence and also shows vulnerability in front of her. They obviously have a deep connection, but whether it is in a romantic vein is not clear. That scene where Sejong grabbed Soyi by the shoulders and was yelling at her, equating her to the citizens of Joseon, I almost thought he was going to jump her; he looked so intense.

  10. 10 Linda165

    What a mind blowing episode! I cried again reading the first part. So touching…

    Episodes 13 and 14 had me literally sitting on the edge of my seat. I always think, THIS is the best episode, no way the next will be so good. But the writers always surprise me. Sejong is by far my favorite character.

    And why do the other dramas I’m watching right now seem sooooo childish???

  11. 11 kay

    ok this drama has made me cried multiple times in each episode. how do they do this?! jang hyuk, you are an incredible actor. my heart broke for you all over again in ep. 14.

  12. 12 mskololia

    Thanks for the wonderful recap.

    This episode was marvelous…simply marvelous. The range by all of the actors was a treat to behold. Tears in one’s food are truly a sign of the sad state of affairs. The three main leads are so wounded with self-flagellation over the years (e.g. not sleeping, not taking care of one’s health, etc….) that I must see them come out of it victorious in the end with their minds and hearts intact–beaming with more self-awareness of what they have (accomplished) together vs what they’ve lost individually.

    Join the king!

  13. 13 myweithisway

    Thanks for the recap. I’m trying to not rush into 14.

    How can this show be so damn good?

  14. 14 bashful

    Thanks HeadsNo2 for this wonderful recap. 😀 Like you and everyone who has commented before me, I find this drama just keeps getting better and better in all fronts: plot development and lead characters’ acting. Bravo to the writers, director and the cast! I look forward to watching this episode now and reading your recap of episode 14. Thanks again! 😀

  15. 15 supah

    GUHH! How much did I love this episode?

    Definitely not omony’s Joseon, haha!
    The touchy-feely reunion was lovely! Shin Sekyung has chemistry with Jang Hyuk that no actress has ever had with him before. J’adore!
    Their childhood romance was a very compassionate, loving one and I was hoping the adult reunion would encompass those same emotions and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s such a treat nowadays to see two lovebirds so mutually in love with one another — even if it was a rather shortlived romantic interlude.

    Still a little apprehensive about the writing, though at times it is pretty impressive, it’s the acting and directing that’s leading the way here. Jang Hyuk and Han Seok-kyu in the final scene of 13… I’m speechless.
    Bring on the clash of these two mentally unhinged men.

  16. 16 Birdie

    Love your recaps, HeadsNo2. All your comments are right on. I do not have a lot to add except this episode is one of the best in my years of kdrama watching. How do the writer do it-each episode just get better and better…JH and HSK are amazing in the roles.

  17. 17 anais

    I love what this drama and Han Seok Kyu has done with their characterization of King Sejong. HeadsNo2, you’re so right about there being layers to this man. It’s truly astounding when you realize that this man of so many achievements once did really exist, at a time when there was no indoor plumbing, no electricity, no email, no air conditioning, etc.

    It’s hard to root at all for Hidden Root when this is the man the HR is up against. What King Sejong accomplished, with his near absolute power, is more valuable to the everyman than all of the contributions the sadaebu may have made throughout Joseon history. And frankly, their contribution didn’t amount to much since most of the time they were primarily vested in their own welfare at the cost of the common folk.

    Perhaps I’m biased because I’m Korean-American, but I never cease to be amazed by the simple beauty of hangeul. And to see all the thought that might have gone into its creation is just astounding.

    • 17.1 dramabliss

      Anais, I am absolutely one with you on both counts: King Sejong and Hangeul.

      Apart from all the superlatives that have been heaped on TwDR, what I personally appreciate the most is how it made King Sejong come alive for me (was not even aware of this Korean historical figure a few months back). He’s certainly larger than life and deserves to be revered.

      And Hangeul! What an awesome creation it is. Koreans should be very proud of this alphabet.

      BTW, I am clipping segments that have to do with Hangeul and its development from the relevant episodes. I intend to make an iMovie using these segments. Granted that some aspects are fictionalized, the drama nevertheless brings out clearly and compellingly many aspects of the alphabetic principle. Further, it shows that a writing system that is “artificially” developed and did not “naturally” come from the generations of development, can be successful. Perhaps it is also because of its stark simplicity and efficiency.

  18. 18 MojoJojo

    Wonderful recap. I love watching while reading at the same time, it makes me feel like i’m more in tune with the drama.

    It’s weird but i’m not fully adjusted to So Yi talking yet. I have to remind myself every time she talks that she can speak now.

    I have a question, I haven’t watched 14 yet (will in a few minutes) but what happened to the Master? They referenced him briefly when that messenger from the North came and then he just kinda got bumped to the side afterwards. I’m just wondering if they addressed his story and I missed it or it just hasn’t come yet.

    • 18.1 kristi

      what happened to the Master? They referenced him briefly when that messenger from the North came and then he just kinda got bumped to the side afterwards. I’m just wondering if they addressed his story and I missed it or it just hasn’t come yet.

      No, you haven’t missed anything–he’s disappeared again. But no doubt he’ll emerge again some time in the future. They wouldn’t have bothered to create an entire backstory, linking him to Chae-Yoon, Yoon Pyung and Muhyul, if they had no more use for him beyond ep. 5-ish.

  19. 19 dls

    Thank you for the fast recap….
    I love this episode…
    I’m really impressed with Han Suk-kyu and Jang-hyuk
    looking forward for next episode…
    bring it on, the face-off between Sejong and Chae-yoon

  20. 20 Ani

    HeadsNo2 I am sooooo mad at you? WHy? WHy? WHHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY did you post this up during my work hours (I browsed by DB for a second at work)? Argh! I had to wait until I got home to read it. *mutters*YouarefreakingawesomeIjusthavenowordsforit.Trytoreadthatwithoutspaces.HA!*clears throat*

    Seriously though, after reading the episode 12 recap I watched the episode 13 video raw and I watched the whole thing without understanding anything being said. Which is weird for me because normally I hate watching videos raw because I feel it gives away too much. But the emotions from the video pretty much gave me an idea of what was going on. So epic!

    Thank you HeadsNo2 for sharing this. This show is so epic. Every actor/actress is so epic. I have to stay away from the raw video for episode 14 before I actually watch the subbed version or read the recaps. X)

  21. 21 eunshil

    thank you soooooooooooooo much for catching up!!!

  22. 22 mary

    HeadsNo2 your recaps are amazing.

    Are you a professional writer or studying to be one?!

  23. 23 Choi Lee Soung

    I like the reunion scene between Chae-yoon and So Yi.
    It was acted perfectly. It felt like they loved each other but they were not IN LOVE with each other if you know what I mean. Like a bromance, but between a man and a woman…
    I know this probably makes no sense…
    But it’s just that it perfectly reflected the love they had for each other as children and the longing they had both buried deep in their hearts to see each other again. I liked the way he asked her why she could not speak and she responds by spelling the words out with her hands on his chest. It gives us the plot line. A mute girl speaks by using letters and the one she loves is able to understand and share her joy and pain. Then the whole plot is repeated again as So-Yi saves Chae-yoon, by speaking, using words….
    The central message and the Kings mission.. words, language has power. The story, is the Kings quest to free and empower his people by the means of their own words, their own language.

  24. 24 Suzi Q

    I’m fascinated by King Sejong. I’m starting to understand why they gave him posthumously “The Great” title. Didn’t know that his illness (diabetes) would eventually blind and kill him. One of my relatives was unaware that she had diabetes too late and became totally blind in one eye too.Although diabetes if diagnosed early can be treated today with medicine, but back then, it was a eventual death sentence.

    His creation of the Korean alphabet was a MAJOR accomplishment which benefited his country for many future generations.Absolutely enjoying the actor who is portraying this complex King Sejong.

    Every episode gets better and better!

  25. 25 laya

    Whoa whoa whoa. So many things happening in one episode.

    Thanks for the recap! <3

  26. 26 nonski

    thanks so much for the recaps! i really appreciate this drama and that’s thanks to you too.

    btw. english softsubs of this drama is available at darksmurfsub through this link:

  27. 27 dany

    “Tears spring to her eyes, both of them still overcome by the emotion of their reunion as they eat the Saddest Meal Ever (since the Saddest Meal Ever in Chuno)”
    God, yes, my exact thought when I saw the scene, actually, I can’t really watch these scenes, they are too much for me.
    Great recap, thank you!

  28. 28 delta777

    I know I’m late commenting, but really appreciate you recapping this outstanding drama and couldn’t agree w/ you more.

  29. 29 bd

    In the midst of all the drama and tension I like how TWDR inserts a little humor here and there (like Sejong calling out So-yi for smiling and then making a crack about cutting his aide’s salary); the humor, while in small doses, is better done here than in many rom-coms.

  30. 30 asianromance

    Thanks for the recap! Love the fight scene where Soyi really regains her voice and helped Chae Yoon fight Pyung. Everything was just beautiful in this episode – the reunion, the flashbacks, the separation, and the reading of the will.

  31. 31 MsB

    Could ot even comment on epi 12 because I rushed to epi 13. What two great episode!! Did not expect it either to get to this point so early!! I’m excited about epi 14 now!!

  32. 32 seli

    who sings the sad sond in the 13 episode. Ddol-bok and So-yi song?

  33. 33 Lilian

    Such an intense episode. And the ending! argh….I want to know how it turns out??? And, when will they reveal Dol Bok’s father’s message?

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