Drama Recaps
Tree With Deep Roots: Episode 16
by | November 27, 2011 | 102 Comments

Imagine a world where everyone can read and write. Then imagine how our villains can’t imagine that world. Then imagine how the King can’t imagine how his opposition can’t imagine that imaginary world. Confused yet? Don’t be, because King Sejong breaks it all down for us as he fights his tireless fight for the good of the people. Go Team Sejong!


Now that Chae-yoon has officially joined Team Sejong, he fills everyone in about his Hidden Root theories. He knows that there are suspicious people in Ban Chon, but they can’t go in there without a plan because they risk sending Jung Ki-joon and the other core members into deeper hiding. Chae-yoon comes up with a brilliant plan – if no one reports that Prince Gwangpyeong is back in the palace, and if he returns to his normal job as a palace guard, Hidden Root will approach him out of curiosity. If he can get inside Hidden Root like a super-secret double agent…

But, he has one condition (doesn’t he always?). Sejong jokingly asks him if he’s going to ask for another personal drink from the King, because it’s totally fun to joke with your new friends about how they dedicated their life to assassinating you.

Sejong tells him that, no matter what it is, he will promise to do it. Chae-yoon gives a deep and formal bow to the King, while Sejong nods like he heard Chae-yoon’s wish… But we didn’t, and I’m dying of curiosity to know what he asked for.

Chae-yoon and Mu-hyul have a long-overdue conversation about where they stand with each other. Joseon’s Best Swordsman is pretty clear in the fact that he still doesn’t like Chae-yoon, but he’ll help in the investigation if he needs it. I hope this is a budding bromance between two awesome martial arts masters. He wonders if Chae-yoon knows that Hidden Root has another strong assassin (that isn’t Pyung), and Chae-yoon’s flashback to the Death By Tree Branch tells us that he does.

We know Team Sejong’s plan is working when Shim Jong-soo seems utterly shocked to see Chae-yoon traipsing the palace in his official palace guard uniform. Chae-yoon greets them like nothing’s wrong, although they’re probably wondering how on earth he’s back doing his old job when he’s responsible for kidnapping the Prince. When Chae-yoon is gone, Shim Jong-soo hurries to find out if the Prince has been brought back to the palace or not.

The court ladies have run a tight ship, because no one outside of their group knows that Prince Gwangpyeong is safe and sound within the palace. When Shim Jong-soo reports that Gwangpyeong is still missing, that the royal troops are still on high alert in order to find him, and that Chae-yoon has returned to his position as a palace guard… Jung Ki-joon can only marvel at Chae-yoon’s balls of steel, believing that Chae-yoon might have killed the Prince and returned to the palace to complete his revenge. Thus, Jung Ki-joon has fallen right into Chae-yoon’s trap in believing that they both share a common goal. This is going to be good.

Sejong is as calm and collected as ever, despite all the setbacks he’s now facing. Jung In-ji is not so calm, as he desperately asks why Sejong had to tell everything at the forum instead of denying all of it like he’d told him to. He doesn’t know how they can fix this situation, because the original plan was to have a sudden promulgation of Hangul. Now that everyone knows about it, even if they don’t know the letters, it’s impossible. They’ve failed.

The King chides him for worrying too much, assured in the fact that what’s past has past and now they just have to find a new strategy. Instead of using force, he will use words to show that they are scarier than swords (a doctrine he’s believed in ever since he was young). He asks Mu-hyul how he would be evaluated if his words were actually considered as powerful as swords. Mu-hyul adorably answers that Sejong would be the best warrior in Joseon… no, the best warrior in the world. Aww. You two.

Sejong has prepared himself for the upcoming forum with both scholars and officials, only to walk in and see… only three officials. Ha! It’s sad, but also a little funny, because even the voice of the man announcing the King’s arrival seems more pitiful. He’s mostly surprised to know that his Jiphyunjeon scholars didn’t come, but the present officials are quick to tell him that it’s because the Deputy Chief Scholar, Choi Man-ri, is firmly against the new alphabet and is currently drafting a severely long argument against it.

The King’s anger shows through as he leaves the chamber, and Jo Mal-saeng says a cutting line when he’s gone: “When he acts this way, he is exactly the same as the Former King.” Yikes.

We cut immediately from Jo Mal-saeng’s line to a scene where Sejong acts the exact opposite of his father and proves how open his mind is. He’s gone to the gate of the palace where Master Hae Gang and his scholars are protesting, and he sits down amicably and asks for the scholars to explain to him how his letters are against Neo-Confucianism (which is what he’s being accused of).

Hae Gang’s main argument hinges on the fact that Chinese letters aren’t just letters, they have the heart and soul of Confucianism within them. The character he uses as an example displays a contradiction within itself – that fighting will stop the fight. He asks Sejong if his coveted writing system can display a dichotomy like this, and Sejong simply replies that it can’t.

However, while his alphabet can’t display a complex contradiction in one character, it is in better keeping with the ideals of Jung Do-jun. I wonder if this takes Hae Gang for a ride, considering how he considers himself so loyal to Jung Do-jun that he joined Hidden Root. According to Confucianism, the King must listen to his people. But because Chinese characters were so difficult and only people who knew Chinese characters could become officials, the people were forced to voice their opinions through an official – but those same officials would twist and distort their words. Thus, in order for Sejong to be able to truly listen to his people, he created letters that all people could learn. He effectively uses Confucianism against the supposition that he’s not using Confucianism. Stick a fork in Hae Gang, he’s done.

It’s not easy being King, and especially not one that wants to use rhetoric instead of force. This is exactly the path that Taejong said would be more wretched, and Sejong is putting hard work into it by going to all the different opposition groups to properly debate his case. The officials are worried that the characters will be too easy and that scholars will give up learning Chinese characters. Sejong basically says that it shouldn’t be his fault if scholars are lazy. I love him.

The other arguments vary, but none of them seem to trump Sejong’s. One argument even suggests that in order for commoners to read Sejong’s book of agriculture, they can just increase the number of officials… to do what? Read it to them? Really, guys? Sejong scoffs at this idea, saying that the people are the ones who have to pay for it. Therefore, creating more officials will only impoverish his people.

Park Paeng-nyeon and Sung Sam-moon are back! This is a short scene without any real resolution (The Deputy Chief Scholar, Choi Man-ri, has brought them back so they can tell him about the King’s alphabet and they flatly refuse), but it’s just good to see them again.

Hidden Root, meanwhile, has another table discussion (I’m starting to miss the days when he could move around) about what Jung Ki-joon plans to do about the promulgation of the alphabet. Like before, he doesn’t seem to think the letters are a big deal simply based on historical precedence – a brand-new alphabet can’t compete against the thousands of years that the Chinese alphabet has behind it.

Therefore, if Sejong publishes the letters it’s no loss to them. But if they act like it is going to be a loss, they can forge a deal with the King for their acceptance. What he wants, ultimately, is milestones put in place for the creation of ultimate bureaucracy – but what he wants immediately is the abolition of Jiphyunjeon.

The palace is completely empty, with most officials leaving their posts unmanned in protest of an alphabet they’ve never seen. Lee Shin-juk and the Prime Minister, Hwang-hee, take this opportunity to do Hidden Root’s work as they bring their appeal to the King. If he dismantles Jiphyunjeon, then they will use their political muscle to persuade the high officials to accept the alphabet.

Sejong becomes enraged at the thought of dismantling his personal creation with his own hands. I get the feeling those scholars are like his children, even though they’re rebelling against him. What the officials are offering seems to be a veiled threat (either you do this or we can’t stop what’s coming). We don’t know Sejong’s answer.

But Sejong, as it turns out, has once again used his keen wit and latent acting ability to pull another fake-out on the officials. We know that the Prime Minister has at least been aware of the alphabet, even if he doesn’t agree, and it turns out that Sejong asked him to bring up the topic of Jiphyunjeon before the meeting. He knows that everyone thinks no one will learn the alphabet, which is why it’s the perfect time for him to promulgate it (before the opposition realizes that everyone will learn the alphabet and that they’ve truly lost in the end). Jiphyunjeon was his way of rebelling against his father so he could gather people on his own side, and thus he’s always thought of it as a temporary organization.

So, he plans to trade Jiphyunjeon for a separate department that will just handle the alphabet so that it can be widely adopted, and even used in the government official’s exams. Will it work? Wait and see, he says. I’m still waiting to find out what Chae-yoon’s wish was.

Shim Jong-soo takes the idea of giving in to the alphabet (on the grounds that no one will actually use it) to Choi Man-ri, who staunchly disagrees. When has Sejong ever done anything that hasn’t worked? The new alphabet will prove a force to be reckoned with. By Shim Jong-soo’s expression, I get the feeling that this idea never occurred to him before.

Pyung has staged an assault on Chae-yoon’s humble abode that includes the Joseon version of a smoke bomb, only to find that Chae-yoon isn’t inside. Instead, he’s dressed in Killing Black (truly his best outfit in this show) in order to pay a hostile visit to the Leader instead.

He’s officially begun his operation to fool Hidden Root, and he seems to do so without a single hitch. Acting under the guise of a man still out for the King’s blood, he tells her that Hidden Root has ruined everything for him – namely, the revenge he’s planned his whole life for. He claims he had to kill Prince Gwangpyeong because he was attacked again. That’s a major claim, and she buys it. It doesn’t take her long to drop the demure act, and she coldly responds that whatever has happened to him is nothing like what he’s done to them. By keeping the Hidden Root Scroll, he kept their group disbanded for years. He also ruined their attempts to gain evidence of the project (by saving So-yi and Gwangpyeong that night).

He feigns disinterest, only asking for the whereabouts of Jung Ki-joon. If he delivers him to the King, he’ll get a personal drink poured and then Sejong’s head will roll. This scene is infinitely more fun to watch because all of this is exactly what Chae-yoon used to think, and now he’s using all his past anger and resentment against Sejong to work for Sejong instead. That’s poetry.

It’s clear she’s fallen right into his trap when she wonders if Chae-yoon ever thought that they don’t have to do this to each other.

Pyung has taken his men straight from Chae-yoon’s house to the Leader’s, knowing that Chae-yoon is inside. Chae-yoon takes the Leader outside with him as a hostage to hold Pyung and his men at bay, and it works. The Leader tries to reason with Chae-yoon that his plan of just cutting off the head of the King isn’t enough – if he were to do that, how would Sejong know what he is dying for?

Good gracious. This woman is basing her argument on how to make his theoretical revenge so cruel that it leaves Sejong as a powerless, sad little man crying for his mommy. That’s real revenge, she says. This woman doesn’t play around.

They have different methods but the same objective (or so she believes), and so she suggests that they work together. Oh, man, you were so easy. While she says that Chae-yoon wants the King’s head, all they want is the King’s Joseon and to steal everything Sejong has in order for him to die sad and alone. If what’s also what Chae-yoon wants, then she’ll prove her trust in him by sending Pyung and his men away. It’s brilliant, because Chae-yoon only has to nudge her to do all the work in ‘convincing’ him to go along with this scheme. He seems to have naturally come to the following conclusion (all the better to fool her with) as he replies that he doesn’t want to be a part of Hidden Root, but that they can help each other. Sold!

So-yi and Chae-yoon use teamwork for the ultimate win. The Leader reports to Jung Ki-joon about Chae-yoon turning over to their side, but this alone wouldn’t have been enough to free Chae-yoon of Jung Ki-joon’s suspicion. But, Chae-yoon planned for that, so when he was with the Leader earlier, So-yi found herself with Kuk-se – the fellow slave from her household that was saved by Hidden Root. Kuk-se has by now reported the contents of their conversation to Jung Ki-joon, which effectively corroborates Chae-yoon’s story – So-yi said that Chae-yoon killed Prince Gwangpyeong, that he plans to kill the King, and that she can’t say anything for fear that Chae-yoon will be killed. Hidden Root is caught hook, line, and sinker.

So-yi and Chae-yoon meet up later that night to discuss their plan. She relates that Kuk-se cried to hear that Chae-yoon planned to assassinate the King, and wonders whether she would be planning to kill the King too, if she had been saved by Hidden Root and not by Queen Soheon.

But then, she finally asks what his one wish was. His response is a little awkward and dodgy, as he’s about to tell her (and us) what it was… and then he doesn’t. The camera cuts to Hidden Root instead. Nooo! I’m pulling my hair out wondering what this wish is!

Chae-yoon meets with Sejong and asks him for a diagram of the letters, so that he has something with which to prove himself to Hidden Root. Sejong says that absolutely can’t happen. Right now Hidden Root is willing to broker a deal with him without having seen the letters, because they think they have nothing to lose if the letters are going to amount to nothing. But, if they see the letters, Sejong is sure that they will realize that his letters are no trifling matter and will oppose it wholeheartedly. Chae-yoon must find another way.

He accepts this, and claims that his newfound drive is because Sejong said that the common people should enjoy all that life has to offer – and now he’s seen that life had something to offer. Sejong asks if this is related to his wish, and even starts a voiceover: “Your wish is…”

…Before he gets cut off by Mu-hyul. Okay, Tree, this is too much. Now you’re just being mean.

Ever since they found the written alphabet accidentally left by So-yi and Chae-yoon, one of the more visible members of Hidden Root, HAN GA-NOM (Jo Hee-bong), has become obsessed with it. No sooner has Sejong said how detrimental to the cause it would be for Hidden Root to see the letters that Han Ga-nom pulls Jung Ki-joon into his room of crazy to explain them. Using only So-yi’s writing, he’s gone through a lengthy process to decode the alphabet. All he had to do was change the way he thought about the characters. Once he stopped thinking that each character had to mean something, and started thinking in terms of individual consonants and vowels…

With this new knowledge (and Jung Ki-joon’s growing horror), he’s able to finally crack the code behind the printing blocks Scholar Yoon-pil swallowed before his death. If he puts them together, it should pronounce the words for ‘Hidden Root’. Uh oh.

Lee Shin-juk has been in high spirits since the deal with the King, as he believes that with the abolition of Jiphyunjeon and Hidden Root implementing its own bureaucratic policies, he will overtake the Prime Minister position and have absolute power. Cue evil grin.

The King, on the other hand, is getting ready to fight the good fight. He’s prepared to make this deal before Hidden Root knows what really hit them, and instructs Jung In-ji that they must publish the letters right after the deal is made.

The true magic of Hangul is seen not only through the eyes of those within the palace, but through the eyes of the commoners who can benefit from it the most. Han Ga-nom has already shown the letters to the long-haired butcher’s assistant, GAE PA-YI, and the little girl the assassin has befriended. She’s the same little girl who was in favor of the alphabet just so she could write her big friend’s name, which could not be written with Chinese characters.

Now Jung Ki-joon can see that Gae Pa-yi can not only write his name, but the little girl can write down everything she hears. It can write exactly what they say, and they can read exactly what is written. It’s only been two days since Han Ga-nom showed them the alphabet, and already both of these previously-illiterate people have learned how to read and write. That’s what you call amazing.

Thinking of a world where everyone knows how to read and write has never occurred to men like Jung Ki-joon or Han Ga-nom before, and both are left in shock from what they’ve just seen. But Jung Ki-joon comes to the realization that words are weapons stronger than swords, and that bureaucrats aren’t just bureaucrats because they’re born into noble families. They get that privilege because they’re literate.

Here’s the problem (though Jung Ki-joon’s eyes): if everyone can just read and write as they please, then that effectively takes away the power of the bureaucrats and upsets the whole class system, leading to complete and utter chaos. Jung Ki-joon refuses to let that happen.

Lee Shin-juk and Hwang-hee are already on their way to broker the deal of their unconditional acceptance of the King’s alphabet…

…While Jung Ki-joon flips a lid at this information, declaring that they must be stopped from making that deal at all costs.


Well, Jung Ki-joon, I take back everything I ever said about liking you when you made that initial switch from Ga Ri-on to your current version. You’re the worst.

Hidden Root has played the antagonist role well so far, and even with some scholar murders on their plate I could understand where they’re coming from. The idea of wanting to spread power out instead of consolidating all of it into only one fallible person that can easily abuse all that power isn’t just good thinking. However, now that Jung Ki-joon has seen how beneficial Hangul can be with his own eyes, he’s actively choosing to do everything he can to stop it so as not to upset the order of the world.

I find his stance interesting on a few counts, but I wonder how he can so easily think in such a way when he’s lived in the lowest caste of society for so long. Even though the whole butcher persona was only a disguise, I’m sure he had to live the day-to-day hard life of being a slave (not to mention his brush with the afterlife when he was imprisoned and tortured). It’s not like he is incapable of knowing what it’s like to be of such a low class and to be powerless. It’s almost worse that even with him knowing how terrible life can be, and even with knowing that the King’s new alphabet can be learned in two days by people who never knew how to read or write before, he’s choosing to completely disregard the common people’s interests. That’s lame, Jung Ki-joon.

Also, I’m sure the writers had a good time devising all the different scenes in which they could mention Chae-yoon’s wish without actually telling us what that wish is. It’s like the reunion cliffhanger all over again. The writers are just too good at this.


102 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. kbap

    Thanks for the recap! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. sarah

    Thank you, I’m off to read..

  3. alexe

    Thanks for your recaps ; I always enjoy them a lot .

  4. hwana

    the WISH! i’m dying to know~~ >_<

    • 4.1 Kim Yoonmi (Surname first)

      I’m taking a stab that he wants to marry So Yi without a hitch, but also allow her and him to work in the palace after this is over… because he has to have realized the girl is happiest working… and that back then was a tough thing to ask for since all women working for the King technically belonged to him and old be taken as concubines. Why else blush and dodge the question?

  5. Kids

    Thank you for the recap!

    I’m not good at English, so I write briefly.

    What I wanna say is the meaning of ‘HAN GA-NOM’.

    ‘Han’ is his family name.
    ‘ga’ means ‘house of ~’.
    ‘nom’ means ‘guy’.

    So, HAN GA-NOM means ‘guy who called Mr. Han’.

    I’ll wait for your next Epi. and your recap.

    Thank you and have a good day!

  6. Rachel O.

    Thanks for the wonderful recaps! This show just keeps getting better and better.

  7. mskololia

    Thanks for the recap HsNo2.

    Yes, I find Garion’s seemingly flip/flop interestingโ€ฆ. His having lived in the lowest class and to go against helping the ppl reeks a little but in fairness to the storytelling, we only saw that the HR’s agenda was about restraining the absolute power of the monarchy by the hands of a few who claimed to be the equal establishers of Joseon [not receiving their fair due or recognition], and not really caring about the actual citizens thereof. So, the HR is acting according to its preamble to restrain the power of the king by gaining equal power.

    Once the Kingโ€™s letters are propagated, he would be loved and the ppl would follow his every whim without question and their opposition (HR) would be seen for what it is: scholars that are jealous because they did not think of it first, and only interested in their own boastings.

    • 7.1 dramabliss

      HeadsNo2 and mskololia:

      I liked Ga-ri-on before but have changed my mind. Initially, I thought that he would welcome Hangul when he sees its power to free the masses from illiteracy. I thought Jun Ki Joon would end up in King Sejong’s side. But this episode shows how self-serving he is. It has become clear that Hidden Root is not operating based on democratic ideals. My impression before was that that was where Jong Do-Jun was coming from. Is it possible that Jun Ki Joon veered away from the original intent of HR?

      What I find interesting is that although it was HR who came up with the concept of “roots” as the true foundation of Joseon, it is really King Sejong who has thought and acted along the principle of a “nation of the people.” This was beautifully illustrated by his 33 x 33 sudoku grid in an earlier episode.

      HR is for oligarchy while King Sejong is for a constitutional democratic monarchy. Therefore, it is ironic that although HR claims ownership to “roots” it is really the King who has the grasp of the true meaning of “tree with deep roots.” Because of this, he indeed deserves the metaphor of being the “flower” of the tree. For, contrary to what HR believes–that the flower can be cut without the tree suffering–it is the flower who bears the fruit that propagates the tree and makes it exist for millenia on end.

      • 7.1.1 sarah

        “it is the flower who bears the fruit that propagates the tree and makes it exist for millenia on end.”

        My thoughts exactly and I also second to your opinion that the second generation HR has veered away from the original ideals of Jong Do Jun.

        • anais

          yup! that was my thoughts re: the flaw of HR’s philosophy.

          I will clarify one thing though. The Hidden Root manifesto claims not the commoners as the root of Joseon but specifically the sadaebu. The Manifesto positions the sadaebu as THE people. When I heard those words the first time, I thought surely I must have misheard. Or thought that perhaps Jeong Ki Jun was twisting his uncle Jeong Do Jeon’s intent to suit his own oligarchic aims. However, when I heard Jeong Ki Jun read/reiterate the manifesto and heard the precise word choice again, I realized that the Hidden Root was full of themselves. My initial impression was fairly early, but the clarification came from Jeong Ki Jun before the gathering of the Confucian scholars a few episodes back.

          So, Jeong Ki Jun has been consistent with his philosophy this entire time. We hear as flipflopping because “people” means something different to us. It is we who automatically assumed Hidden Root to refer to the commoners when it only meant the sadaebu. Call it a failure of imagination on their part, or attribute it to their paternalistic attitude toward the commoners, but they clearly regard only the educated (i.e. superior) sadaebu as capable of being the root.

          • bishbash

            basically the HR wants power, and are unwilling to give up the power, that’s when Jeon Ki Jun is so afraid of the mass learning the King’s alphabets.

            bt i think basically that’s what Confucianism was in Korea. In reality Hangul was extremely opposed by the court and officials aft King SeJong released them, and the reason was not just because it’s a deviation from Chinese characters, but also the fear of common people being literate and rebelling against the power wielders.

            it’s a shame, really, that these so called scholars are all a bunch of cowards who don’t care for the people and hide behind Confucianism and Neo-Confucianism.

          • bd

            Another yup to all that.

            The irony to all this is that the HR members are for the most part obedient to Jeong Ki jun (much like to a monarch) and that he got at least some of them to (continue to) follow him due to threat posed by their signatures/stamps on the piece of paper hidden w/in the HR Scroll (basically, this is akin to the coercion by threat of death practiced by Sejong father).

          • dramabliss

            Thanks a lot, anais, for the clarification.

            So now we can see that HR is an outright villain, in terms of the dramatic narrative, and in terms of their opposition to a real “government of the people.”

          • anais

            @bd – totally! And at various times, he’s referred to Joseon as Jeong Do Jeon’s Joseon, that Taejong stole Jeong Do Jeon’s Joseon, etc.

  8. myweithisway

    I bet the wish has something to do with So-yi!

    Thanks for the recap!

    • 8.1 mskololia

      Or to pour the king a drink like a friend…

    • 8.2 Kaleido

      I am thinking the same thing… i think his wish is to be with so-yi and leave the palace and live a happy life that he dream of with her.

    • 8.3 dramabliss

      I think so, too. His expression was kind of shy when So-Yi asked him about his wish, so I thought it must be something to do with her.

      • 8.3.1 mskololia

        The king already gave SY to him earlier and she came back so DB already has permission to live well with her from the king….

    • 8.4 Jomo

      If you watch the part when he asks for the wish, Soyi brings her eyes up to him in curiosity. She knew then it was about her.

      I hope it isn’t only that he gets to take her away, because he already could do that if she wanted to, as msk noted. And I don’t want her to leave the king!

      I hope it is along the lines of “our children will be free and not slaves.”

      • 8.4.1 mskololia

        I don’t want SY to leave the king either, Jomo….lol

      • 8.4.2 melonhead

        Yeah! I thought it could be something about them being slaves….maybe there’s some conspiracy theory behind Chaeyoon slave status.

      • 8.4.3 Kiara

        I would hope that she does after he dies.

    • 8.5 eunshil

      me too! maybe he asked for her hand in marriage

      • 8.5.1 Ming

        I saw some preview of twdr on a channel in singapore and it showed a scene where chaeyoon asked king sejong to forever remember his father’s name. I wonder if that’s the wish?

        • Linda165

          That’s not the wish. That’s the condition he puts to follow the King and is the end of the previous episode.

  9. betchay

    just started watching this drama… awesome!! thanks for the recap.

  10. 10 amelia

    been hoping to see this! thanks! i totally refresh dramabeans so often these days in hope of seeing TWDR’s recaps ๐Ÿ˜€

    let me guess… chae yoon’s dream is to live happily ever after w soyi?! :p

  11. 11 Lemon

    Thanks for the awesome recap!

    But I have a few questions! Not sure if I missed something, but I keep wondering why Hidden Root doesn’s just assassinate Soyi? I mean, they know she’s valuable to the King, and they’ve once tried to capture her but she escaped, so she knows a little about how Hidden Root operates. She even knows Kuk Se is in Hidden Root! Won’t Hidden Root think she knows too much??

    And doesnt it seem suspicious that she, an important court lady of Sejong’s, would confess to Kuk Se AKA Hidden Root that Chaeyoon “killed” the prince?

    Sorry that has been bugging me..

    • 11.1 dramabliss

      From what I have seen in the drama, I don’t think HR has an idea (yet) that So-Yi is such an important part of the Hangul Project. They always refer to her as just a court servant. At the moment, I think HR sees her as an important source of information about the palace – information that they can mine through Kuk Se.

      And her telling Kuk Se about Chae Yoon’s “killing” the prince and his plan to assassinate the King is ostensibly because Kuk Se is “family” – someone who also cares deeply about Chae Yoon.

      Also, Is it only I or have you noticed that Pyung (and even Ga-ri-on) feels some sort of tenderness for So-Yi? Especially before, when she was still mute.

      I think So-Yi’s life would really be in danger if and when HR realizes just how important she is in the creation of the alphabet and how beloved she is by the King. And further, how important she is to Chae Yoon, once it is revealed that he really is working for the King.

      • 11.1.1 anais

        TWDR has already established that Jeong Ki Jun has ruled out So Yi’s significance. He has had evidence to the contrary be dangled before his eyes but has repeatedly dismissed the possibility very deliberately. When Sejong explained to him that he wanted to create the alphabet to help So Yi, Jeong Ki Jun dismissed it as a red herring, when in fact Sejong did mean it earnestly as one of the reasons for creating the alphabet. That Jeong Ki Jun can’t entertain the possibility of a king caring so genuinely about a “mere” court lady makes obvious that he just won’t cut it against Sejong.

      • 11.1.2 Jomo

        They also have no idea that Soyi is their portable “flash drive.”

        Notice she hasn’t re-transcribed all the papers they got rid of yet. This leads me to believe that once HR does find out, she will be in major danger.

        • anais

          Around episode 12 or 14, I worried at what more the drama would offer us, believing the various sources of conflict already spent. I was so wrong. TWDR is doing an amazing job of working through conflicts very credibly, organically, yet quickly, all the while reserving some key conflicts for future, more timely and effective use. They aren’t dragging out anything, not even longing stares that drive me crazy about so many kdramas, especially sageuks, yet they still haven’t run out of material! Amazing.

          • bd

            Yep – got to hate all those long, longing stares and repeated “My Lady”, “Your Highness/Majesty” over and over and over again…

      • 11.1.3 Lemon

        I agree. Pyung seems almost soft and slightly tender to her. Actually everyone seems this way, even Prince Gwangpyeong right? Maybe it’s because she’s pretty, hahaha.

      • 11.1.4 Linda165

        I thought that too until Pyung order his men to kill her before Chae Yoon on episode 13.

    • 11.2 Lemon

      Ohh, I get it now. Thank you guys. :))

  12. 12 ed

    Hmm maybe Garion is the equivalent of those who currently digest select media sources and vote against their own interests – in the name of managing “chaos/integrity/purity”, thus preserving the status quo.


    • 12.1 anais

      Oh, snap!

    • 12.2 roomi

      astute observation there!

  13. 13 daniela

    I just love this drama! the king is my favorite ever! The actor knows how to play and he puts all his soul in the role. I wish he gets a price for this role and he makes more dramas like this one.

    • 13.1 kpshyazn

      actually, han suk kyu (the king) is an A+ actor in Korea who did a LOT of movies for a very long time. The fact he has come back to do a drama is pretty impressive as it is. Doubt he’d come back for another, though… but yea… he’s always been a great actor, in my opinion.

  14. 14 anais

    HeadsNo2, you’re daebak! I so did not expect to see another recap so soon! You’re now caught up completely! Although I can understand most of the RAW, your recap does help me flesh out bits that I couldn’t figure out and keep me from getting the entire picture.

    And I just really, really enjoy your recaps. It’s truly a pleasure to view the drama through your eyes and through your own enjoyment of it. Thank you.

  15. 15 anais

    I’ve been entertaining a few questions ever since this drama came on.

    One of my ancestors was rather high up in Jungjong’s court, (1506-1544). Though I know he favored policies that helped the commoners, I have no idea of his stance toward hangeul. Jungjong also abolished the ministry in charge of hangeul and my ancestors was more than a bit of Confucian snob, so there’s a part of me that wonders if my ancestor might have been on the wrong side of history in this regard.

    I also ask myself how I would have reacted were I among the sadaebu at the time. Would I have welcomed, favored, didn’t much care about, or fought against the promulgation of hangeul? Would I have thought hangeul as furthering Confucian ideals or transgressing them? Obviously no answer possible. Just an interesting thought exercise.

    • 15.1 sm

      I think it would have been difficult for the aristocracy at the time to have imagined a world of equality with commoners, even if they had ideals of fairness and justice.

      In the U.S., the founding fathers were forward-thinking enough to believe that landowning, educated white men should have rights, but “liberty and justice for all” did not mean literally “for all” (e.g., slaves or women).

      • 15.1.1 anais

        I agree. That’s why I found myself asking such questions.

        Which makes Sejong even more amazing for being so supremely sensible.

        As for my ancestor, I’ve learned that he was in favor of the use of hangeul. Kudos, dear great-great-great-great-great… grandpa!

        • dramabliss

          I am sighing in relief–with you, anais.

  16. 16 K

    I find his stance interesting on a few counts, but I wonder how he can so easily think in such a way when heโ€™s lived in the lowest caste of society for so long.

    I think that’s because Jung Ki Joon has never thought of himself as a slave–it was all just a cover. If he did not believe that he was a member of the lowest caste, then he couldn’t really empathize with the poor and their living conditions. Also, although he lived most of his adult life as a part of a butcher family, he had “servants” in Banchon, like the Leader or Yoon Pyung or the other lowly members of Root who knew of Jung Ki Joon’s existence as Ga Ri-On, so he’s never had a chance to really live among the poor and feel for himself that he indeed in one of them.

    Thanks for the recap! I feel sad that this is what has become of Jung Ki Joon. I thought for a while that he would slowly change his views and find that the King isn’t such a bad guy after all, but now I’m sold on the idea that Hidden Roots just wanted a larger piece of the power pie (or the whole pie, if that were possible)–it’s terrible, and sad, because Sejong (once) had a high regard for Jung Ki Joon.

    • 16.1 sm

      This is a good point.

      What I’m curious about is why the Banchon people (like the Leader and Gae Pa-yi) support Jung Ki-joon. Hidden Root looks out for the interests of the aristocracy, not the common people.

      • 16.1.1 K

        These are just my speculations, but it’s possible that the Leader previously worked for Jung Do Jun or some other high ranking member in the Hidden Root. She might also have learned of Jung Do Jun and his ideals through living in Banchon, since that place is connected to Sungkyunkwan where the scholars learn. I’m not sure about Gae Pa-yi, but he could have been a son of some servant working under Jung Do-gwang, just like Yoon Pyung was the son of that servant who got shot with arrows. Also, the Banchon people might have been led to believe that the Hidden Root works for their (the commoners’) interests. I think that while the Hidden Root looks out for the interests of the scholars, it aims to bring a better Joseon for the people as well.

        (Anyway, I don’t think a drama has ever made me think and speculate so much as Tree has!)

        • dramabliss

          I’ve been wondering, too about Gae Pa-Yi’s back story. Where did he learn his amazing skills? Was he also a student of Lee Bang-gi like Chae Yoon? Why didn’t he kill Mu Hyul when he had the chance?

          I like to think that Gae Pa-Yi, because of the experience of being able to read and write, might actually switch sides when he realizes how the King cares for the common people.

          • anais

            Me too. Me too.

            Gae Pa-Yi is what we call him, but he spelled and said his name differently. He used Kal as the first syllable.

            Is he Mongol? Khitan? Jurchen? Manchu?

    • 16.2 anais

      Also, I love how TWDR has already planted seeds to turn Jeong Ki Jun’s alias, Garion, to be source of future conflict. In a society so fixed on caste hierarchies, I imagine some Confucian sticklers / caste snobs may balk at following someone who’s “dirtied” his hands with both animal and human blood, be he Jeong Ki Jun or not.

      • 16.2.1 K

        I agree, and that’s why I’m really interested to see what schemes are under Lee Shin Juk’s sleeves. Like what he said, Jung Ki Joon is now just a butcher and can only work behind the scenes, so he can’t exactly lead the learned scholars (or so he thinks). I’d love to see him become a real threat to Jung Ki Joon, because he definitely looks like someone who can betray the Hidden Root the second he’s given the chance.

    • 16.3 anais

      I feel sad that this is what has become of Jung Ki Joon. I thought for a while that he would slowly change his views and find that the King isnโ€™t such a bad guy after all

      Me too. I hoped for him to come around in Chae Yoon’s fashion. During the episode in which Sejong pours Garion a drink on the boulder where Confucian scholars congregate to honor Jeong Do Jeon, especially when Garion finds himself trying to make sense of the disconnect between his preconceived notions of Sejong and his firsthand interactions with Sejong, I thought surely Garion would be fair and reevaluate. How could he be so willfully blind to a KING pouring him a drink and THEN asking for the untouchable butcher to pour HIM a drink in return. Or for the king to visit him personally in the banchon slaughterhouse.

      It’s sad because Garion’s fight against Sejong is misdirected anger at Taejong. He’s willfully blind to the fact that Sejong is not the same man. Sejong sought to protect and find Jeong Ki Jun so that he could recruit the latter to help him shape Joseon. If only Garion knew that Sejong would have wanted him to be the Jeong Do Jeon that Taejong didn’t allow.

      • 16.3.1 syer

        I think Jeong ki Jun know that Sejong is a great king. But will he live forever? will his successor be as good as him? Apparently that’s why he will continue with his agenda despite knowing that Sejong not just a great king but also a great human being…. well, I think that’s the logic that i can figure out.. TWDR really make me think.. hehe..

        • anais

          I understand that. But that’s missing my point. Although Sejong’s Joseon doesn’t necessarily entail his becoming a mere figurehead, which is closer to what Jeong Ki Jun ostensibly wants, Sejong wanted to work WITH Jeong Ki Jun. He DID want to establish the kind of relationship with his ministers that his father didn’t. If anything, instead of being Sejong’s partner in shaping the state, Jeong Ki Jun is pushing Sejong toward wielding power the way Taejong did. Who wouldn’t try to defend him or herself against random attackers? Whereas with Chae Yoon, Sejong understood his would-be assailant’s grievances and let Chae Yoon be.

        • K

          That’s precisely the reason why Jung Ki Joon should work with the King–to ensure that not only does the King work for the people, but also to ensure that the successor wouldn’t abuse his powers. By working against Sejong, I think he’s merely creating chaos that could have been prevented. They could have worked together and boy, imagine what Jung Ki Joon’s genius could have done under Sejong’s rule.

  17. 17 bashful

    Thanks HeadsNo2 for another super recap. ๐Ÿ˜€ I too love ep 16, mainly because of how clever both sides (the King’s and Hidden Root’s) were in anticipating, interpreting and reacting to the other side’s next moves. Of course, I’m on Team King Sejong’s side. And so I’m dreading the possibility that in the next episode Jung Ki-joon and Hidden Root will manage to stop the approval of the King’s alphabet. With 8 more episodes to go, I’m guessing the implementation of the alphabet will have to be delayed…Well, if there’s delay, that can only mean more suspense coming: more fun! Bring it on writers!

    P.S. What’s up with that brief uneventful appearance of Park Paeng-nyeon and Sung Sam-moon. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I hope their characters will still play some important role in carrying out the King’s mission in the coming episodes.

  18. 18 sm

    Love, love, love this drama. But every time they say people can learn Korean letters in less than a day, it makes me feel stupid. It took me a week at least!

    • 18.1 Jomo

      They have the advantage of already speaking the sounds that the letters represent every single day. For them, it’s just an easy match game.

      • 18.1.1 anais

        On another post, there were non-Korean commenters who pointed out how the ใ… (equiv. of “M”) and ใ…‚ (B) sounded similar to them, and so on. So, I imagine that non-Korean speakers are not just learning the alphabet but learning to distinguish the sounds themselves. Try telling apart some of the vowels: ใ…/ใ…”, ใ…–/ใ…’, and ใ…ข often sound the same even to me, if the speaker enunciates sloppily. The same for ใ…ข and ใ…ฃ as well as ใ…š, ใ…™, and ใ…ž.

        Also, if you look at the screen caps of the kid’s spelling, you’ll see that she spells absolutely phonetically. Korean spelling of various words didn’t get standardized until fairly recently, and it seems as if there continue to be challenges to the use of closing consonants.

        • Kim Yoonmi (Surname first)

          ์•  v ์—
          ์— is eh as in Eeeeeh~ are you serious or as in get.
          ์•  is ae, or make your mouth say ah then use the sound of “Eh” in that mouth position and you get ae.

          Korean is very phonetically-based, more than English, which is horrid to learn. (rough, through, threw, sew….)

          ์˜ˆ์–˜ are the same, just have a y thrown in.

          yeh, Jeonha~ yae? muraseomnida, Jeonha.

          ใ…ข is wi. Weeeeeeeeeeeee.์˜ In some names it is “ee”

          ์™ธ woooh. As in Woah horsie… I don’t see how hard that is to distinguish from we as we have words for it in English specifically with those words.

          ์™œ wae. Why… Wae. Covered that. Wae do~

          ์›จ weh.

          Korean is in flux as is any language, the issue though is with the rapid industrialization of Korea some spellings aren’t holding up. For example Oori Appa in Gyeongsang always spelled Isseoyo as ์ž‡์–ด์š”. Though in modern Korean it is: ์žˆ์–ด์š”. This is for two reasons: 1. Gyeong sang dialect doesn’t tend to have double consonants. 2. During the time that Appa grew up, it was legitimate to spell it that way. (According to my Korean teacher.) The spelling has to keep up with the language change itself–but this is true of other languages too. Thru for Through in English is an example that popped up in the last 50 years or so.

          Saturi–I can break that out sometimes too, but it’s stored in my subconscious somewhere and my Gyeongsang relatives don’t understand me when it breaks out because they are used to Seoulmal from me. Which is just comedy waiting to happen.

          Previous post is mostly revised Korean romaja with some Yaleish thrown in.

          • anais

            I grew up in Seoul, so I can tell apart the sounds. However, when people are sloppy with their pronunciations, it’s harder to tell. Then, for non-Korean speakers who don’t know the vocab, it’s hard for them to know the precise spelling of homophones.

            But I’m confused by the English equivalents you’ve provided.

            ์•  v ์— – These two are identical in sound. They’re supposed to be. What they’re different from are the ์–˜/์˜ˆ, but oftentimes people drop the Y sound from the latter. For example, I know a lot of girls named Wisdom (์ง€ํ˜œ/Jihye), but a lot of people just pronounce the names as Jihae or even Jiae. Or with “lung” (ํ/pye) which often gets pronounced as “pe” (as in “pencil”).

            ์•  is ae, or make your mouth say ah then use the sound of โ€œEhโ€ in that mouth position and you get ae.
            I’m confused…

            ์— is eh as in Eeeeeh~ are you serious or as in get.
            The “e” in “serious” and “get” are two different “e”s.

            Korean is very phonetically-based, more than English, which is horrid to learn. (rough, through, threw, sewโ€ฆ.)
            Absolutely true, but that’s because English is the amalgamation of different languages using the Roman alphabet. Hence, different ways of saying the same letter (especially vowels and vowel dipthongs).

            ใ…ข is wi. Weeeeeeeeeeeee.์˜ In some names it is โ€œeeโ€
            But ใ…ข is a Korean sound that doesn’t have an English equivalent. Both “wi” and “we” are more like ์œ„.

            ์™ธ woooh. As in Woah horsieโ€ฆ I donโ€™t see how hard that is to distinguish from we as we have words for it in English specifically with those words.
            But ์™ธ isn’t “woah.” Think of ์™ธ๊ตญ์ธ or ์™ผ์†. If anything, the closest English approximation would be the “wa” sound in “”wait” and “wail” before it continues onto the “i” dipthong sound.

            ์™œ wae. Whyโ€ฆ Wae. Covered that. Wae do~
            ์›จ weh.

            And ์™œ and ์›จ are pronounced the same as ์™ธ. Think of ์™ธ๊ตญ์ธ, ์™œ, ์›ฌ์ง€.

      • 18.1.2 sm

        Ahah, I wish I could say that, but I could also speak Korean before I learned how to write it. The rules for forming each syllable-character were easy enough to learn, but memorizing which letter corresponded with which sound took practice.

        But it is true that it took me even *longer* to learn how to write in English (so many idiosyncratic spelling rules), Japanese (more letters), or Chinese (obvious reasons).

        • queencircles

          How many languages to you know? Damn I feel inadequate.

          lol I’m slowly, slowly, slowly learning Korean. I think I’ll probably start trying to learn the alphabet this week.

  19. 19 Jomo

    Thanks for the recap!

    Instead, heโ€™s dressed in Killing Black (truly his best outfit in this show) I call it his Zorro outfit! I think he has Antonio Banderas beat in it!

    Everyone is so astute like in their comments here.

    I wanted to add how much I like them using the little girl and her friend as the target audience of the alphabet. It could truly spread quickly by word of mouth alone if they could launch it. Wouldn’t the marketplace teach each other the letters so they could transact business amongst themselves? I could see a situation where the lower class could say, “WE don’t care if you learn it or not. Stay ignorant of what we are saying if you want. I dare you.”

    Although I have been secretly in love with the King through out, I am openly in love with the King now. Soyi- Step out!

  20. 20 laya

    Thank you for the recap!

  21. 21 AuntieMame

    Of course, Chae Yoon’s wish is for the King to allow him and Soo Yi to leave the palace and live their own lives.

    That’s why he’s smiling at the end of his bow.

  22. 22 Ani

    Please let Chaeyeon and Soyi have a happy ending. No deaths please. No deaths for Team Hangul please.

    • 22.1 berry

      It would be great to see such an ending, where they show us, how King Sejong legacy effected our life, I mean his fellow countrymen lives. To see His statue on that place and to see nowadays Koreans using His letters…

  23. 23 chasen8888

    I agree with K’s opinion on Jung Ki Joon that although he was impersonating the lowest caste he never thought of himself as one of them. Therefore although he lived in Ban Chon and may be other places he has not learned anything of real substance especially about the people. He is smart but power hungry, he also lacks depth. You have to wonder what was the real purpose of ‘Mil Bon’ apparently the true purpose has changed. I believe that they are misusing the true meaning of Confucianism, serving the people & country for self service & power. Which still applies today all over the world.

    I enjoyed episode 16 as it was a food for thought show. The thought that comes to mind is “Knowledge is Power” and for all persons to be literate at that time and is still now is considered a very dangerous thing. It is the same with Education as it opens a lot of windows and is a great strength especially to those who attain it (think about the poor and women in some societies). In order to keep the power the elitist society and other oppressors will find any means to restrict that power. When they succeed the country and the people suffers, they on the other hand keep the power all to themselves.

    Looking forward to the next episode.

    • 23.1 dramabliss

      On the same note, King Sejong’s arguments were clearly along the lines of “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Though the English subtitles’ use of “words, rather than swords” is also awesome because “words” and “sword” are anagrams.

      • 23.1.1 anais

        “words” & “swords” anagrams.

        NIFTY NIFTY!!!

  24. 24 rebecca34

    I have followed this blog for a number of years but this is the first time I have posted. Personally I am rooting for victory of the King in context of the drama however from a policitical standpoint am not so sure.

    I see stong parallels between the struggles of medieval England kings and nobles and that between King Sejong and Hidden Root. Though Jun Ki Joon is an unsympathetic character that fact should not eliminate the consideration of the merits of his goals. English nobles wished to check the power of the king which was first achieved by forcing King James 1st to sign the Magna Carta in 1215 (the first document in modern history to challenge the autonomy of the royal famiy and also acted as a predecessor for ideas such as individual rights and liberty ect.). The practical structural goals of government of Hidden Root are much the same. They desire to check the power of the king because otherwise the result of governement will be determined by the temperment of one man. In this case all is good with King Sejong but his father was another story. I can see why some of the group must feel they don’t want to take such a chance.

    Sejong also exhibits a very autocratic style of rule. The most significant example of this being his creation of Jip Hyun Jun. This is like if the President of the United States decided to created a shadow cabinet and displaced his official advisors (Secretary of State, Defense, Education ect) that must be confirmed by the Senate and House thus eliminated their influence. Fortunately his goals are benevolent but his methods could be questioned. He stated in his youth he wanted to listen to assemblies ect but for such to truly be effectual he must be willing to share power in some ways. And such ways would never be lasting without change to the structure of the government. In this he is very similar to his father however his tools are political not violence.

    • 24.1 sesuatu

      i agree.it is almost annoying when i think jung ki joon is just a power hungry man or the common arogant noble.i prefer the battle between equal ‘good’ (good team sejong and good HR) than good and evil.i still believe that jung ki joon’s thought of a well-ordered nation, the power spread, is finally for the better life of common people, not only his educated circle

    • 24.2 anais

      But the Jip Hyeon Jeon didn’t displace the other bureaus. It’s in addition to. A more appropriate analogy would be the White House staff.

      While, in theory, I too support the dilution of monarchical power, the way it worked out in England (and consequently in its colonies) and in Korea had very different results. It’d be interesting to read a comparative history outlining the differences and the factors accounting for those differences.

      That said, I can’t imagine anyone but a king having the political and economic muscle necessary to ensure the promulgation of hangeul. Most definitely not in a democratic republic. Way too much deadlock, especially if the constituency varies greatly.

      • 24.2.1 bd

        Also, w/ neo-Confucianism holding sway w/ much of the Court/Scholars, it was an impediment to progress (a major reason why Korea, as well as China, stagnated).

        Also when you look back on Korean history, there were long periods of time when nobles (often from a particular clan) held great power and removed/placed kings from/on the throne (usually in these periods, progress came to a halt as power was used to benefit the nobility/one’s own clan).

        • anais

          I also think a key difference may have been the development of capitalism from Renaissance onward. Capitalism (first as mercantilism, then furthered by colonial and imperial ventures, and industrialization) changed the political landscape in the West. However, there wasn’t an equivalent force in neo-Confucian Korea.

        • anais

          Absolutely. Other than during Sejong’s reign and a bit during Jeongjo’s reign, did Neo-Confucian elites of Korea allow for such significant advances technologically, politically, economically, socially? They cracked down on Christianity for enabling the commoners to dream of equality, on technological advances as barbarian, etc.

          Ironically, Henry VIII’s usurpation of papal authority and wealth was crucial in enabling Elizabeth I and England to enjoy its future prosperity. And obviously the confluence of the Protestant Reformation and the scientific advances of the Renaissance contributed to freeing up very productive energy throughout Europe.

          • Kim Yoonmi (Surname first)

            Religion in East Asia before the coming of the missionaries didn’t have quite the same impact that it did in other regions. Religions coming out from India and China acted more as philosophies rather than things that fought against each other. So often religions, being more philosophies often merged or overlapped over time.

            However, the religions out of Israel and Western Asia tended to be more which god, how many gods there were, if there were Saints, who ran the religion and more concrete things than ideas, so there were far more religious wars from those beliefs and misgivings.

            Christianity, BTW, does not always have a civilizing effect. It’s a tool like anything else… it can be used for great good or great evil. (Destroying of Library of Alexandria… great evil, Mother Theresa… great good) What it did for South Korea was more liberate women than anything else, which is ironic, if you’ve ever read the Bible. (I mean really read the whole thing.)

          • anais

            For some reason (and I’m being way too lazy to check my academic references), I vaguely remember that Confucianism in early Joseon Dynasty, in displacing Buddhism as Goreyo’s state religion, functioned a teeny bit like the Protestant Reformation in England in that the state (may have) reclaimed some of Buddhist monasteries’ wealth. Is there a late Goryeo or early Joseon Dynasty scholar among us who can clarify this point?

            What I find interesting is not whether religions intentionally had civilizing effect (As you point out Christian missionaries – primarily Presbyterians and Methodists – did play a significant role in the democratization of Korea and women’s liberation, not because either was their primary objective but because spreading the gospel required literacy and women jumped at the opportunity and the non-aristocracy found appealing the Christian message of being equal before God) [woah, what a tangent!!] but that there wasn’t any catalyst that released an immensely productive energy in Korea as was in Europe via the Protestant Reformation (along with other Renaissance advances, esp. technological) and Counter-Reformation.

  25. 25 come2noona

    Thanks for another great recap HeadsNo2!

    I love this drama, the recaps and all of the thought provoking comments!

  26. 26 queencircles

    I kept getting nervous that jung ki-joon was going to figure out chae-yoon’s plan!

    This show is so fricken fantastic! Such awesome episode. ๐Ÿ˜€

  27. 27 bd

    Can’t believe TWDR is more than half-way over.

    While there of plenty of excellent acting, as this series has gone along, more and more it has belonged to Han Seok-kyu and his performance as Sejong (simply a powerhouse performance and yet at the same time, full of nuances).

    And definitely some of the best moments are btwn Sejong and Mu-hyul (btw, the actor who plays Mu-hyul looks totally diff. than when in his sageuk garb; maybe it’s an old pic, but Jo Jin woong looks a bit “soft” and geeky, not at all like the regal Mu-hyul).

    • 27.1 anais

      Jo Jin Woong lost a LOT of weight for this role. This is probably his first sexy schmexy role.

      • 27.1.1 queencircles


  28. 28 neener

    thanks for the recap!!!

    I just don’t get what Jung Ki-joon wants anymore….greedy for power! that butcher!

  29. 29 jelly-jamboree

    I just LOVE all the intellectual debates and sharing of knowledge that we have on this post. It’s really refreshing after the usual “he’s so hot… no HE’s so hot” that’s typically out there. (not that there isn’t a lot of eye-candy on this show too haha. I just find that rather than their beautiful bodies, I’m completely attracted to how charismatic and smart our characters are!)

    Thanks to HeadsNo2, TWDR, and my fellow Beanies for feeding my brain! <3 *hug*

  30. 30 Kiongna

    This drama is so intense, suspenseful, passionate and has such a great storyline..and don’t get me starting on the great cast. I LOVE IT SO MUCH! One of the best Sagueks I’ve ever watched and… I’ve watched PLENTY! It never has a dull moment , paced out well, when it needs to be slow it slows (but not boring mind you) and it draws you in and makes your eyes bulge out with the revelations, finger biting suspense, tearing…and the romance omoooooo and if one is to recommend a Saguek, this would cream of the crop for me ๐Ÿ™‚ – I’m glad the court politics is not too heavy loaded like some Royal drama Sagueks that causes me a headache! Ahhhh can’t wait for the next episode ! Thanks so very much HeadsNo2 for the recaps, so enjoyed your expressive writings and thoughts ha ha!

  31. 31 Phyllis

    Thank you to everyone who is involved in producing this drama, she who is recapping it, she who is allowing it, those who are watching it, and those who are making comments. I am learning much about a number of things. It is always interesting and rewarding to study history. Reading this blog has sparked my interest more than just the watching of sageuks.

    Everyone comes from a different place and perspective – thank goodness.

  32. 32 Phyllis

    I have a few questions about Seok Sam’s will. How did he write it and when? It seems obvious that someone had to have helped him. But, maybe there is more to the story. If someone from Milbon had had it in their possession would he/she have read its contents? If the contents were read wouldn’t that make them disbelieve that Chae-yoon really wanted to kill the king? It could make them turn against CY.

    Was it customary for wills to be written and did they always have to be honored? I had these questions earlier and maybe they really are not important. There are things one just has to accept in dramas…

    • 32.1 mskololia

      The Queen’s father wrote the will for SS. He did this for him after he was tortured unjustly by Taejong and they brought SS next to him in the courtyard to be tortured too….

    • 32.2 anais

      It wasn’t really a proper will. It was a father’s parting words to his son, apologizing that he wasn’t a better father because of his handicap and urging him to be a good person.

  33. 33 nonski

    thanks, this just keeps getting better!

    subs are available at http://www.darksmurfsub.com

  34. 34 sesuatu

    ahhhhh.i deeply wish for this kind of great ‘sageuks’ made in my country.there were some excellent oldtimes-setting dramas around ten years ago.but nowadays, it’s all dull, so lacks of everything..btw,i’m indonesian

  35. 35 Rovi

    OMG, I was hopping to ask when Choi Man-ri would pop out, and voila, there he arrived…

    Oh, and how cute, they’ve written the Joseon version of “I will eat the food.” (๋‚˜๋Š” ๋ฐฅ์„ ๋จน์—ˆ๋‹ค)
    I’ve always wondered how Joseon hangeul was written, all with eonhaebeon and such…

    • 35.1 kristi

      This isn’t the first time Choi Man-Ri has appeared, if that’s what you’ve been wondering. He had a significant role in ep. 14 as well.

      I like that unlike Jeong Ki-Joon et al., he knew immediately Sejong’s new alphabet would be a force to be reckoned with and concentrated his efforts on finding out what it was.

  36. 36 dramalover2012

    Thank you so much! I wasn’t interested in “Tree” at first, but it’s gotten so much better! Although I am not sure if the storyline was the real deal back then, but the actors/producers of the drama made Lee Do such a hero…:D

    Thanks again, and can’t wait for the next recap!

  37. 37 Lilian

    I never did like the idea of monarchy but here Garion just proves that you don’t have to be royalty for a “monarchy” to exist. Besides being a relative of Jung Do Joon, and thus inheriting Bon Won role, what else makes him deserve the position more???

  38. 38 Shinubi Wang

    Power to the people, my arse. You need to dismantle the feudal system, abolish the monarchy, have people representation in governance and a directly elected leader of the people, in other words, “of the people, by the people, for the people”. A US style republic.

    The yanban will never allow this and the King is not that altruistic to abolish himself.

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