Drama Recaps
The Moon That Embraces the Sun: Episode 8
by | January 26, 2012 | 204 Comments

I really appreciate that things are moving swiftly along, as girlfriday pointed out in yesterday’s recap. It’s so much more satisfying when the show remains a step ahead of you instead of broadcasting everything far in advance and cluttering up your path with obvious angsty obstacles, so that the only things lying between us and the inevitable are a bunch of pesky angst-toys that are irritating to step on. Brisk plot developments are much welcomed in my book.

Also: Welcome to the 30% club, Moon/Sun. Today’s episode brought in a 31.7%, meaning that every episode has increased upon the ratings before it. I wonder where it’ll plateau, because surely it’ll settle at some point, right? Or is the MoonSunSky the limit?


Jouet – “내일 μ•„μΉ¨ (Fly Away)” [ Download ]

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Yeon-woo, henceforth known as Wol, is kidnapped by the queen dowager’s minions, and the feeling of being trapped in a wooden box brings her a panic attack as she flashes back to waking up in her coffin.

It triggers other memories as well, including snippets of her youth and being with young Hwon. She wonders, “Whose memories are these?”

Princess Min-hwa applies cold spoons to her eyes and chants for the puffiness to die down. When she takes the spoons away, she sees Yeom kneeling down in front of her and sighs that her longing to see him has led her to hallucinations. Cute. Min-hwa makes him promise he won’t leave her, which cracks me up — her dramatic imagination has spiraled into a chain of events wherein he leaves her and she dies alone.

He promises and she throws herself into his arms excitedly, knocking them both other. It’s a cute scene… if only somebody weren’t watching with a sinking heart: Seol. Aw.

Nok-young finds Wol gone from the house and rips into the girls: Jan-shil stepped aside briefly to grab some food, and Seol comes home alone. They find a note from the kidnappers, akin to a ransom: Since Nok-young refused to return to the palace, the men took her girl. To get her back, Nok-young has to return.

The traumatic coffin flashback causes Wol to pass out, and when the men pull her out, they think she’s dead. She’s not, of course, and she comes to with a start. Shoving aside the lead nobleman, she runs away.

At the same time, Yang-myung is being chased through the streets by his persistent followers. They plead for a moment of his time, but he ditches them and disguises himself as a folk performer. Spotted again, he’s chased once more.

Wol finds a monk in the streets and pleads for help escaping her pursuers, not realizing that it’s Yang-myung in yet another disguise. He leads her away and holds her so close that she shoves him away and glares accusingly.

He’d recognized her on sight, and now Yang-myung asks, “Do you not know who I am?” Agh, his eyes, so full of hope and pain.

They’re interrupted by the kidnappers’ minions (ha, minions of minions), whom Yang-myung easily fights off. They run again, and in voiceover we hear the rest of their conversation as she tells him she’s never seen him before. That’s so sad — she had a visceral reaction to seeing Hwon, but no such connection to Yang-myung.

He directs her to a greenhouse and asks her to await him there. She runs on while he stays back to fight off the men. Unluckily for them, there are more henchmen, and Wol is cornered. Yang-myung hears her scream and is distracted enough to get struck in the head, passing out in the street.

Lord Kidnapper reports to the queen dowager that Nok-young refused to come back, which angers the queen who likens this to a dog biting its owner. She finds the ransom scheme crude and is not impressed, but he offers up the suggestion of making use of the shaman girl as a human talisman, which would have far greater effect than the usual paper charms.

Even so, the queen balks at the lowly shaman being involved in this way, and says the king wouldn’t go for it. But the lord makes his case for installing the shaman as the king’s nighttime companion — not in a sexual sense but as a literal sleeping aid, as a charm to ward off evil. If this improves the king’s health enough to result in the siring of an heir, it’s worth a try.

The queen dowager agrees to give them a month to try it out, until the next auspicious date for the king and queen’s consummation. (Auspicious refers to the conception of a prince, which is their foremost goal; in securing the succession, they safeguard their own power.)

The head shaman orders Wol to be prepared for her duty. This is the woman who has been put in charge of Seongsucheong in Nok-young’s absence, and she now aspires to take over permanently — hence her collusion with the baddies. So when Wol balks and demands to speak with the boss, the shaman slaps her for her haughtiness. She gives Wol the warning that one false move will lead to her execution.

Hwon hears the report from Woon that the girl disappeared, and with disappointment he sighs that she must have been a ghost after all. Woon offers to keep searching, but Hwon calls him off, saying it was just one night’s delusion.

His tea is brought in, which is purported to have calming effects to bring him restful sleep. He thinks of Wol as he says that maybe he won’t dream useless dreams tonight, and drinks.

Wol fights back her tears as she is bathed and dressed, to be presented as a literal offering to the king. She’s blindfolded and brought into the king’s chambers after he’s already asleep, presented as a mystical object rather than a person, there to ward off bad energy.

Wol isn’t uncovered until she’s in the inner chamber, and when she sees Hwon’s face, she’s again struck with a wave of emotion. She holds a hand to his forehead as he murmurs in his sleep, “Yeon-woo-ya.” Woon watches from the side, shocked to recognize Wol.

Hwon dreams of the night after she’d been selected as his future wife, when he’d treated her to a puppet show. A tear falls in his sleep, but now he smiles as well, at rest.

In sad juxtaposition, Yang-myung wakes up from his injury and also sees her at his bedside… only to find that it’s Yeom. (Ha, it isn’t supposed to be funny, but I chuckle given that Yeon-woo had previously been called the girl version of Yeom.)

In the morning, Hwon awakens feeling energetic, and asks if somebody visited while he was asleep. Hyung-sun says that a charm was briefly brought to him, and Hwon marvels that it could have such an effect, assuming, of course, that it was the inanimate type that he usually dislikes.

He’s in such a good mood that he even stops to compliment the cooking maids on his breakfast. He also praises his council’s work, having reviewed the records he demanded them to compile, which he found organized and neat.

Those words aren’t without a catch, though, because he says pointedly that the records were so tight it was almost like they were forged — ha ha ha! Isn’t that funny? The ministers shift uneasily and force laughs.

Hwon voice turns hard, though, as he gets down to business. In the previous episode, the starving child whose father had been dragged off to work had tipped Hwon off to corruption in his ranks, and he had later taken his council to task. He had challenged their methods of forcing citizens into labor, all so they could perform large-scale repairs to one of the queen dowager’s buildings. Because her birthday is coming up! And they want to impress her! Hwon had ordered them to account for all the people they’d forced into work.

Today one minister assures him that the men with extenuating circumstances — those with starving children to care for — had been released from service. This includes the father Hwon had promised to return to the boy in the street, and he is brought before Hwon now.

Hwon asks what job he performed at the construction site, and the man looks to the corrupt ministers for prompting and answers nervously. Hwon leads him into a trap, asking about the lotus pattern on the bridge he supposedly worked on. He lets everybody believe he’s satisfied with the questioning and sends the laborer back to his children.

The laborer is paid off by Lord Yoon, who is warned to keep his mouth shut. The man hurries home with his largesse, only to be stopped in the forest by a gang of masked assassins. Just as one is about to strike, one of the fighters turns on his own — it’s Woon in disguise. The man is sent home and Woon reports his findings to the king.

Hwon explains how his suspicions were triggered by the man’s hands — roughened like hands handling a sword for the first time — so he tossed out the bait about the lotuses. He has pieced together enough facts to guess at the truth being covered up: That there is no palace construction. The ministers must be pocketing the construction budget, and secretly training the conscripted laborers as their own private militia.

Damn, things just got a lot more interesting.

Woon is a lot more worried than Hwon, because high treason is in play and Hwon’s life in danger. Hwon tells him not to worry, because until the conspirators have what they need, his life is safe. Oh, okay then. That’s a relief.

Minister Yoon’s Traitor Council brainstorms their next step, feeling smug. But an injured assassin staggers in to report the plan going awry. The description of the attacker’s amazing swordsmanship is enough to tip them off to suspicions of Woon’s involvement. Minister Yoon kills the assassin with his own sword, right then and there, wondering if the king is sending him a warning.

Locked in her room, Wol mulls over the king’s uttering of “Yeon-woo,” wondering what he meant by it. “If I were that person — if I were Yeon-woo and not a shaman, would I have provided him comfort?” Oh honey, you don’t even know.

The queen dowager hears that the charm did its trick, and that the king seems much healthier already. She’s amazed and decides to see the girl right away, but is blocked from entry by the interim head shaman. She says that Wol’s body has absorbed evil power (hence the king’s improvement) and must recover, but the queen dowager is offended at the impudence.

Thankfully this is when Nok-young makes her reappearance, having hurried to Seongsucheong. She assures the queen that the rumors had misrepresented the situation — she hadn’t defied royal orders, but merely felt she could not present her sullied self before Her Majesty. She was intending to come to the queen after a cleansing, but her men had jumped to the wrong conclusions.

The queen is half-appeased, but still wants an explanation for Nok-young going into hiding all these years. I’m relieved for Nok-young’s sake that she has a fast, smooth tongue — the queen dowager is sharp, but even she finds Nok-young’s explanation credible, that she was waiting for the right time. Which is now.

Nok-young seals the deal with the addition of good news: An heir will soon be on its way, and she will take up her place at Seongsucheong for good, if the queen will have her back. The queen is satisfied, while Nok-young thinks to herself that the heir will not come from Bo-kyung.

She has a condition, though, and pointedly says that one vessel does not need two boatmen. This is directed at the ambitious interim head shaman who eavesdrops outside.

The queen is happy to oblige, since she has long insisted that Nok-young is the most talented shaman and everyone else a pale substitute. She tells the eavesdropping shaman to leave immediately, now that the rightful leader has returned.

The queen dowager requests that the shaman-charm be brought to her, and Nok-young thinks fast for a way to refuse without offending her. She argues that the girl has spent all night taking in the bad energy from the king, and that this energy may latch on to the queen dowager. Furthermore, they must take care not to damage its spiritual power. Until the night of the king and queen’s next congress, they must take exceptional care with the charm.

The queen pouts, but that’s a good argument. Damn, she’s good; Nok-young may be the most spiritually gifted shaman, but she’s also a slick politician.

Seol worriedly checks over Wol’s condition, assuring herself that nothing is wrong with milady. Aw. I know that there are plenty of dramas, historical and contemporary, that have adorable bromance threads, but I love that this drama also gives us the sisterly equivalent. I’m quickly growing to love Seol and Wol’s tight bond, even more than in their childhoods.

Then, adding to the cuteness is Jan-shil, their plucky little sister, who cries her apology for wandering off for a snack while unni was being kidnapped.

The girls quickly file out when an irate Nok-young comes to talk to Wol, and come upon a couple of junior shamans huffing over the new girl. One insinuates that Wol got in based on her association to Nok-young (“So that’s why she had her nose in the air!”) rather than skill. Jan-shil starts to angrily correct them, about to inform them just what kind of illustrious person they’re slandering, but Seol shuts her up. Yeah, it would do no good to go around screaming that this is the rightful queen, though her intention is sweet.

Nok-young orders Wol to run away immediately, but Wol balks, refusing to make her loved ones into criminals over her. It’s only for one month, and she’ll be fine: “If I can do something helpful in spite of my lack of skill — if I could ease his pain just a little…”

Nok-young reminds her of the warning she’s obviously ignored — that she was supposed to avoid him, and keep her heart firmly detached. This job would reduce her existence to an object, not a person: “Though you have eyes, you are not allowed to see. Though you have a mouth, you cannot speak a word. You must rise from his bedside before he awakens. You are the closest person to him, but cannot meet.” And she still wants to do this?

Wol replies that shamans provide solace for people in pain: “Though I have eyes, I will not see. Though I have a mouth, I will not open it. I will keep him from discovering my existence.”

Min-hwa slips into Yeom’s bedroom, finding it disappointingly empty. When he arrives, she asks for a hug (claiming one anyway) and starts to broach the subject of him visiting her quarters tonight… only to have Yang-myung enter to kill the mood.

He’s only too happy to tease Min-hwa and pointedly offer to leave so he’s not interrupting the lovebirds. Though annoyed, she sees that her brother’s in no shape to leave the house, so she grudgingly tells him to stay, stalking off in a pout. Ha, aren’t brothers the worst?

At bedtime, Hwon is so bursting with vigor that he actually does push-ups to work off his “hot blooded energy.” His choice of words gives everyone hope for the future, and Hyung-sun exults (to himself, while the court ladies smirk), “An heir will be made!” Keke.

But when Hyung-sun voices these hopes aloud, Hwon yells in annoyance, “What nonsense are you spouting?!” He complains, “This is why I don’t talk to you these days!” Poor, hapless Hyung-sun, who heads to his corner meekly with a sniffle.

Hwon calls Hyung-sun for being so emotion to cry over this, but Hyung-sun tells him that he’s really crying because he feels like the old Hwon is back. He entreats Hwon to always be as forceful and strong as he is right now. Oof. Hello there, unexpected tears of poignancy.

Wol watches over Hwon on this second night, addressing her thoughts to the king, telling him she’s glad to see him looking healthier tonight.

Hwon smiles in his sleep again, recalling memories of his earlier courtship with Yeon-woo — the parasol, the lettuce plant, the brain diagram. Tonight his dreams include happy moments with Yang-myung as well.

Woon watches silently as usual, and I wonder how long he’ll be able to keep his mouth shut about this. On one hand, the king’s recovery seems dependent on maintaining this secret treatment, not messing with the spiritual powers at work. But on the other hand, Woon more than anyone understands the king’s fixation with Wol and that he’d want to see her again.

The next day, Hwon shines so brightly with good health that he half-blinds everyone with his light. Three court ladies marvel at the handsome king and his handsome bodyguard, and one wonders if those rumors are true — you know, about him preferring his hot guard to the queen.

They don’t see that Bo-kyung has overheard, and she stews over the gossip. Bitterly, she thinks how that wide smile has never been directed at her. Angered, she stalks off to see the king directly, tired of waiting for him to come to her.

She’s interrupted by her father, however, who takes her aside to scold her for her rashness. There are eyes and ears all around — has she forgotten? He tells her that the king is finally starting to recover, and this is not the time to upset him — the political blowback would be damaging. He warns her to lie low until the month is over.

Subdued, Bo-kyung agrees. But Dad is so incensed that he blames her for being unable to appeal to the king, sneering that if only she’d been able to produce an heir, things wouldn’t be in such a state.

Minister Yoon crosses Hwon’s path in the courtyard, and trades pleasantries about his improving health. Hwon thanks him for the “gift” he’d sent recently. Minister Yoon refers to a gift of ginseng, but both sides are thinking of the assassin Hwon had thwarted, and understand this as a veiled warning. Minister Yoon promises to send more in the future and Hwon replies, “I look forward to it.”

That evening, Hwon feels his forehead, almost as though he sensed Wol’s presence. When he takes his nightly tea, he chokes, although he dismisses his retainers’ concerns.

But Nok-young senses a strange energy starting to brew, and a growing darkness in the heavens.

At the king’s bedside, Wol takes her place and makes her customary greeting. As usual she speaks internally, and muses, “For the first time, I was glad to be a shaman. Would it be wrong for me to say that I consider it fortunate that I could be by your side and be of help to you?”

But as she presses her hand to his forehead, more visions — memories — of her youth flicker in her mind. And as she pulls back in shock, Hwon opens his eyes and grabs her. He pins her to the mattress and asks, “Who are you? Tell me!”


Hm, I’m intrigued by the progression of the heart/sickness storyline, because I wonder if his heart illness is a result of his cosmic separation from Yeon-woo. The drama doesn’t treat it as a medical condition, and while the characters assume that the king is plagued by an evil energy, the story seems to suggest otherwise. That the separation of the sun from his necessary moon has disrupted the natural order of things.

I don’t really love the whole Fated By The Heavens romance angle, but I do find it interesting from a mythical-narrative perspective. In a previous episode, the queen mother commented that Hwon’s illness always rears up when he’s with Bo-kyung. You can explain it without the fantasy element, supposing that Bo-kyung brings out hateful feelings in Hwon that manifest physically. Or you could say that it’s because he’s with the wrong moon, and her proximity makes his ailment most pronounced.

I do feel sorry for Bo-kyung, although I can’t like her, either. I’m sticking to my earlier comment that I feel like it was a missed opportunity to make her evil from the get-go, rather than starting her off as a nice kid who got greedy and now suffers for her ambition. If she hadn’t been identified from the start as a bad egg (or a “dark moon”), I’d find more to sympathize with. But even so, there’s an interesting conflict that arises from Hwon’s cold treatment of her. I do think she is the lying hypocrite he accuses her of being, but at the same time, I also feel he hates her for the wrong reasons.

I have actually been thinking that Jung Il-woo has been vastly overpraised for his acting thus far, but I think this episode showed the breakthrough I wanted from him. The hope he felt when trying to confirm Wol’s identity was a lovely mirror of Hwon’s feelings in the last episode, and got me right in the heart. I love him, definitely, but in previous weeks I wondered why Jung was being heaped with so many superlatives (not just in fandom, but by the Korean media as well) when Kim Soo-hyun was doing such a marvelous job and getting half the attention. And Han Ga-in has gotten some criticism (though it seems to be fading), while I was actually satisfied with her acting thus far. It remains to be seen whether she can bring it when required to get more emotional, but for now I’m going with it.


204 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. meikisis

    Wow! what a pretty episode!

    • 1.1 Rodrick

      Jung Il woo~!!!!! kekekeke

  2. Sunmi

    Why must there be such a time span between this week and next? Why can’t next Wednesday just be tomorrow? Eff you time/space continuum.

    • 2.1 girl

      Wednesdays and Thursdays seem so much better when this drama is airing. lol

    • 2.2 foolmoon

      IKR! I should have stick to my policy, that is not watching a drama until it has enough episodes to prove its worth and thus, those episodes gonna fill in the gap between drama show time. But I just got greedy when it comes to good sageuk like this and the result is …. FRUSTRATED waiting for the next episode! OTTOKE??
      Thanks DB! *__,*

      • 2.2.1 C

        lol! I do the exact same thing! Try not to watch a drama until it’s a couple weeks so I don’t spend fri to tues wondering what’s going to happen next!

      • 2.2.2 didisalma

        WAh i thaught that i better do that too with the princess’s man but i was already caught by it in the 2nd ep same her…why oh why!!!
        i love this drama
        thx DB

      • 2.2.3 Elizabeth

        same here. but the story is really interesting…

  3. Ace

    Thank you JB!

    • 3.1 Kiara

      Thank you much JB πŸ™‚ <3. Appreciate the epic translation…kind of hard to find online.

  4. appreciate

    Love this drama. Beautiful.

  5. Yeng

    i feel like this drama is so magical that there are just no explaination to things like sickness or lost of memory…but overall the plot is very interesting, though just hope things dont get more magical than that.

  6. Angel

    Thanks alot javabeans! *off to read*

  7. Trina

    First!!!! Yay!! Hrmm…I think this episode 8 is good. Jung Ill Woo is good better than yesterday episode. KSH is of course, outstanding especially at the end. I watch that soo many times… ^^ Ha Ga In is doing a good job so far. We shall see how she will be in future episodes.. Therefore, DAEBAK!!! ^^

  8. Piopo

    Can’t wait to watch it. Thanks!

  9. Carho

    thanks so the recap! i refreshed literally every 5 minutes LOL

    • 9.1 Manda

      i’m second to you πŸ˜‰

  10. 10 Ani

    I don’t know about Jung Il-woo since my eyes are on Kim Soo-hyun. Sad to hear he’s not getting the praise he so deserves. And I really did think Han Ga-in was cute in the previous episode. Maybe she had her flaws, but I find I like her so far….. Or maybe it’s just the character that I like that makes it seem as if it’s the actress that I like. Either way, I can’t wait for the next episode. I did not expect Hwon to discover Wol all on his own. I’m bursting with excitement.

    • 10.1 ilikemangos

      yeah.. it’s hard to let go of the younger prince YM.
      lee min ho always had that hint of sadness behind his smiling eyes, whereas jung il woo portrays yang myung as this joker that occasionally turns depressed when he thinks about yeonwoo…

      • 10.1.1 Ani

        Man. It’s so weird. I had a hard time choosing sides when they were young, but I’m totally on Hwon’s side right now. You’re right. Lee Min-ho really did an awesome job. Even as I was cheering for Hwon, I wanted Yang-myung to be happy. Now that they’re older…. Well, what can I say other than I’m like a moth attracted to Kim Soo-hyun’s flame of awesomeness.

        I do miss the young actors and actresses. But I’m totally ready to be invested in the grown ups story. Hell, I’m already invested. Is it Wednesday yet? XD

        • Ani

          I need to add that I’m still sad for Yangmyung. He really did luck out in life: never received his father’s love, watched his mother suffer, lose the girl he loves to his brother, lose one of his best friends to his brother. It’s like the poor guy is being punished for a crime from a past life. And the more he learns about Wol, the more I’ll feel bad for him. I trust that once Jun Il-woo gets into his groove he’ll stir us all. It’s just that…. I find I like Kim Soo-hyun more for reasons beyond me. Like I said Moth and Flame.

          • Lala

            Haha, I feel the same way. While JIW may not be exactly into his character completely (plus that he doesn’t appear in many scenes), I can say though from 49 Days he does emote really well. I can count on him and Kim Soo-hyun (Sam-dong-ahh!) to really carry this show πŸ™‚

          • Kgrl

            lols. There is always a reason. I personally think Kim Soo Hyun has done a better job assimilating with his character, and have been very impressed with his passive-aggressive, cynical, and jaded mannerisms.

            JIW hasn’t impressed so far until this ep. But then again, that may be because I’m still reeling from his previous work. I just need to get over it.

            Han Ga In has done a good job so far – not as spirited as I would have assumed, but perhaps that’s due to her character’s memory loss.

        • ilikemangos

          Yup. I’ve seen WIJ in 3 dramas(49 days/take care of the young lady/flower boy ramyun shop) and
          KSH in 2 (will it snow for christmas & dream high), and i’ve got to admit ksh has this extra charm that makes me love him&want more of!

        • sally_b

          @Ani and @ilikemangos – re: Lee Min-Ho’s YM.

          YES! He was so good at showing longing & sadness mixed with humor. I remember being stunned by his brief performance in SKKS – he really brings intense emotions to his face in a seemingly effortless way…love him.

          Also – he and Kim Yoo Jung (young Wol) are well acquainted with each other as child actors…their comfort level with each other was evident and totally suited their characters for this show.

          (sigh) I’m still missing my *lil’actors*. Can they just do another drama all-together? please. πŸ™‚

          • ilikemangos

            Hehe.. the comfort level was due to the fact that they had worked together on project where they also played the younger main characters. ( the gumiho’s revenge ), i believe.. and they even had a kiss scene — or, well.. peck.

          • Ani

            Yeah. I remember looking them while watching Gumiho’s Revenge and was like “They’re how old?” Yoo Jung was 11/12 at the time, and Lee Min Ho was 16/17. It was weird since she seemed very young… But at the same time they acted their parts soooo well the I was totally invested in their happiness. I really hope they headline a drama when they’re older as the main couple.

          • Ani

            *looking them up

          • boms

            I’m totally there with you.

            Heck, why don’t the teen/child-actors just all have a cute little drama together on their own XD

        • anne

          I agree with you wholeheartedly, especially about Kim Soo-hyun. The young actors for the two princes both made me feel with them, be sad and happy and hopeful with them and I was really torn about who I wanted to end up with Yeon-woo, because I wanted all three of them to be happy.
          When the grown-up actors came, I was captured by Kim Soo-hyuns acting from the get-go. I didn’t know him before, have never seen him in any of his previous projects, but I fell for him, because in every scene I could see the young Hwon in him, struggling with his pain and the burden of having to deal with the people he hates the most on a daily basis. I love his different and sincere reactions to every person he meets – every person he interacts with I can see a different side to him. His character is so well-rounded that for me for the duration of the show’s run it has become alive.
          I can’t say the same for Jung Il Woo’s portrayal of his character. And I think it must be his acting that stops me from loving his character, because I totally loved Lee Min Ho, even though he also had a lot less screentime than the young actor for Hwon. Lee Min Ho, as you said, managed to convey a deep-rooted sadness that makes you wish to know everything about his past and make it better. Jung Il Woo’s character on the other hand leaves me really cold and every time I see him onscreen I wonder what his purpose is. He just hasn’t become a three-dimensional chracter for me yet, but I hope that will change in the next episodes.
          Until then, I’ll continue cheering for Kim Soo Hyun. πŸ™‚

          • boms

            Totally agree with you. Even when Kim Soo Hyun was in Dream High, I totally wanted Suzy to be with Taec Yeon in the beginning, but KSH’s got this charisma and “thing” to him that whisks you away and makes you lean towards him… maybe it’s those cute cheeks and pouty lips that form that awesome smile but dang, he’s good lol.

            As for Jung Il Woo I feel the same. He’s not a 3 dimensional character- just flat and typical thus far.. In fact it doesn’t even feel like he’s the second male lead and a supporting actor instead πŸ™ his acting’s fine, but IDK what it is.

          • memyself

            As for being able to see different sides of KSH while not being able to see it in JIW; I have to say: how many scenes did KSH have in.. uhm, say this episode? 8? 10? 12? More? And how many did JIW have? 3? 4? More? Less? How many people did we see KSH interact with? And how many did JLW interact with? When your scenes are limited to meeting your brother, friends, sister, maybe by accident your love, or the people who are after you or you have to fight with; how many diverse reactions can you have? How can one show pity, anger, hate, sarcasm or any other feeling for that matter in a scene where one’s required to show respect to the king, then shock from hearing his words and interpreting it the wrong way and then a smile after realizing they’ve guessed wrong? I mean you can only be as diverse and show as much as you’re required. And I think JIW is doing fine delivering it.

            On the topic of lee min ho presenting the character better I have to say, what I thought about the younger version of the prince was that: yes he was sad, and yes he tried to show a cheerful face to the world and God how much it was obvious to me and I guess the world that he was sad deep inside and was putting a happy face for the world. In short, I thought it was obvious that he was faking cheerfulness and imagined that was kind of the point (to be obvious faking). But now that he has grown a bit, maybe he has become better in it, considering all the faking he had to do through the years. Cause you know, we learn and experience things as we grow and ultimately we change. Just like happy, smiley young Hwon who has grown into mean, sarcastic, ever so serious adult Hwon (not that I mean he’is always this way, just that back when he was young, he seldom, almost never showed these traits).

            That’s what I thought (was a lot of thinking, huh? πŸ˜€ ). I just have to add that I love both actors and wish the show to be even greater than what already is.

          • memyself

            @ boms
            How could you feel that he is the second male lead when in the fiirst 5 episode and half, while they were still young, he talked to yeon woo twice! Once chatted with her in episode 2 and once in episode 4 to say goodbye?! And both times yeon woo took his hints as a joke. But that’s not the characters’ faults but (if anyone’s) rather the ones who wrote them like that, don’t you think?

          • Ani


            For me, it has nothing to do with the number of scenes they had. I just find Kim Soo-hyun so freaking charismatic. Even if he had the least number of scenes, I know I would have been cheering for him. I came into this knowing that it was Kim Soo-hyun that I was here for – although, once I realized who the child actors and actresses were, I was all in. It’s not like I’m saying Jung Ilwoo is bad since I did feel pangs for him when he found Wol, it’s just that I find a like Kim Soohyun a smidgen more than him in this drama. Like I said, I’m sure Ilwoo will deliver and might make me jump into his ship later, but I’m on the Kim Soohyun ship right now, and it has sailed.

          • memyself

            Well, I really can’t argue about KSH doing a good job with this rule. It’s like he shines, like the sun he’s supposed to be, so much so that he overshadows his surroundings.

          • chel

            @ memyself
            I agree with you, JIW has limited scenes so far how can he show great acting with such small amount of exposure.

          • boms


            very true. YM hasn’t really gotten a chance to show himself more since he’s only had a few scenes πŸ™‚

          • Ani

            HAHAHA. I love how memyself mixed me and anne into one person: anni. I think that’s what happened.

  11. 11 Fasiris Fay

    Haven’t watched episode 7 yet, but my biggest concern is whether Han Ga In will do a satisfactory job as Yeon-Woo.

    I was absolutely blown away by the young girl’s acting as YW, that I’m having a hard time imaging someone else playing her now. Usually, the child actors are only placeholders for the adult ones, but this time, my heart totally melted on that little girl, that I can’t imagine Han Ga-In as her character.

    Oh boo, we’ll just have to wait and see….

    • 11.1 ilikemangos

      i blame them for giving us 6 episodes of the child stars.
      i cannot even imagine the cling and attachment i would have had if they had given the child stars more screen time!
      I’m still trying to reconnect with this new cast!

  12. 12 Cellel

    The first parts of the episode with Minhwa and Yangmyung were the hardest that I’ve laughed in a while. It’s good to know the humor is still there hohoho.

  13. 13 all4mvoies

    Is it me or is Han Ga-in a bit cross-eyed?

    Jung Il Woo’s acting skills haven’t kicked in yet, maybe he’s a bit tuckered out from doing some greating acting in his recent projects. Fighting!!

    As for Bo-kyung, I have no sympathies. She gets what she deserves. Perhaps in the hands of a better matched actress, I may feel somewhat sorry for her being the benefactor of her own ambitions.

    • 13.1 all4mvoies

      oops, sorry for the typo. That should have been great, not greating. (Subconscious thought?)

    • 13.2 Vivianna

      I am with you !
      I suspect Han Ga-In opens her eyes forcefully in order to look young and innocent. That makes her facial expression very stiff.

      Sorry, I cannot see her being the grown up of the young Yeon-woo because the young actress did a very very good job to etch that character in my mind.

      This is my first time watching KSY. He is great actor.

      • 13.2.1 Ani

        Or maybe Han Ga-in just naturally has large eyes? She has potential. I’m hoping she taps into said potential soon. I’m thinking she’s just nervous being in a Sageuk since I think this is her first time.

  14. 14 soiia

    I thought I wouldn’t have second lead syndrome since I adore Kim Soo Hyun so bad. But here we go, throw Jung Il-woo in second lead with a bloody head and teary eyes. Damn it, I’m heartbroken, yet pleased for the main couple.

    This is so ambiguous.

    • 14.1 Lala

      I understand how you feel. However, for this drama it was actually reverse for me, I was like “Ooh! JIW! Must go buy tissues now!” and get all excited, but then went back in my free time to re-watch Dream High and really fell in love with Sam-dong (oh sorry Kim Soo-hyun lol). But honestly though, my love for JIW is still stronger and seeing him with a bloody head and teary eyes makes my second-lead syndrome grow worse(r than it already is.) This sucks, actually. I can probably guess what’ll happen in the future and my heart breaks. Again.

    • 14.2 eva

      It was the same with me, especially the scene where he was running away together with Wol from the bad guys, and he’s asking her if she really doesn’t know him. Broke my heart for the guy since she felt some connection with Hwon but nothing at all for JIW…I hope that he won’t be brokenhearted again later on… πŸ˜€ or he can always come to me whenever he wants to! LOL!

  15. 15 Roggy

    Technically he finds out on the third night, thus there are 27 more nights to go!

    If they go at it enough, the king might not just have a heir but twins πŸ˜› LOL JK

    But i wonder how the rest of the days are gonna follow, and when theyll realise its YW.

    • 15.1 mimi-go-lucky

      i supposed they get a triple…
      that last screencaps makes my mind exploded well pre-exploded

    • 15.2 boms

      LOL TWINS.. That would lead to a looot of chaos if they bore two sons… which one would be king?!

      • 15.2.1 Roggy

        The one born ten seconds earlier of course πŸ™‚

        twins would work out better if one was a boy and the other a girl… yes i gave this thought πŸ˜›

  16. 16 h0ns

    Thank you for the recap! it was fast.. and it met my expectation.. thank youu… ^^

    so far i see that king hown is so pitiful.. And KSH done it great to be him… He burried his sadness and yet he have to stand still to face his enemy and run his kingdom… Poor king hown..

    i hope in d future we can see him happy as he used to be…

  17. 17 la dee dah

    I’m surprised that Jung Il-woo had been getting all the praise in the Korean media. I mean, he’s not bad, but his acting in the previous episodes were more or less what I’ve seen already. It wasn’t until this episode in that scene where he and Wol were together and he slowly took off his hat that he stepped up his game. And Kim Soo-hyun hasn’t been getting as much praise? I think he’s the best of the adult actors so far, though there were a few scenes where his acting didn’t translate to his eyes (where you can hear he was forceful in his voice, but his eyes stayed the same, like the last scene with Wol). But overall, he’s doing great. Han Ga-in was better in this episode, she toned down the wide-eyed glares she did in the last episode. Acting like your surprised doesn’t always mean you have to open your eyes wide.

    But I’m confused, I may have missed something. When Yang-myung was asking Wol if he knew who he was, is he thinking she’s Yeon-woo? Because he saw her get buried when she “died”, so why would he automatically think she was alive?

    • 17.1 Yeng

      yea i agree with you…does wol really look that alike to yeon-woo? I mean if I have not seen a person for that long in addition to knowing she is dead, I would have doubt myself more even if I saw someone alike her. thats why I feel like this drama is doing giving us much explaination…but I guess moving it fast is a good thing because I really want to see how they fall in love again than to be stuck in doubtful moment.

      • 17.1.1 bluemoon

        I think for some people, they are able to instinctively felt something or sense a connection with a person from their past when they met them again at a later time in life. I think I can understand why YM felt that way toward Wol when he met her again for the first time.

        I’ll give an example: When I was in high school, one day, there was a new girl that came into my class. As soon as she walks in, I started to feel weird. I just got a weird feeling that I can’t explain. I just felt a strong connection to her. After the teacher introduced her and had her sat down on a table behind me, all I can think about is from where had I met her before. I just can’t think of any place or time, but I just knew that I know her. It was a very strong and weird feeling, and I couldn’t concentrate in class at all throughout the class period. It was only later on that I learned that she was my best friend from my childhood. She looked different from when we were young, and that’s why I couldn’t remember her. I haven’t seen her in more than 10 years after both our families moved to different towns, and I saw her again only when her family moved to our town and she came to my school. I don’t know but on that day when I first saw her again in my class, I just can’t really explain how I feel other than that I had a very weird and strange feeling about that new girl who turns out to be my best friend from my childhood.

        As for the drama, it’s rocking each and every episodes. I’m loving it. I think KSH did a very great job as the King.

    • 17.2 mimi-go-lucky

      maybe it’s because YM kinda can’t let go of YW…he talked to imaginary 13-years-old YW which mean he technically lets YW live in his heart.thats why he spoke to wol as though she was yeon woo who came back from death…

      • 17.2.1 jjang`

        maybe it’s the mirror of hwon’s encounter with wol in the last episode. you know, where he asks how she knew him hoping that she is YW.. in this case, it is YM hoping that she is YW, by asking her if she knew him.

        i hope your getting what I’m trying to say. haha.

    • 17.3 ν•΄ν’ˆλ‹¬

      Kim Soo Hyun received more praises in Korea.
      Actually he’s kind of the only adult actor in the show Korean media and Korean netizens have been praising for acting skills after child actors gone.

      • 17.3.1 Zara

        TQ for clearing that up. Good to know that KHS is getting all the praises he so well deserves. Dae-to-the-bak drama!

    • 17.4 boms

      I was thinking the same thing… The previous episode he said that he reminds himself that she is buried in the ground and dead… so why he’s so attached to Wol and is so positive of her being YW I have no clue. The same thing goes for Hwon.

      How are they both so quick to jump to conclusions other than the small subtle hints?

  18. 18 DMKO

    thank you JB for the quick and excellent recap! Looking forward to next week! Yikes! A Whole Week. Ugh!

  19. 19 Yeng

    for some reason i actually enjoy Hyung Sun and Hwon’s moment alot they are just too cute together lol the king and his sidekick servant rocks!

    • 19.1 sally_b

      Totally agree. I the writers let anything foul happen to Hyung Sun…I will never forgive them.

      p.s. isn’t Hyung Sun’s little *shuffle step* to the corner the funniest thing ever? I giggle everytime he does that.

      • 19.1.1 biankoy

        Hyung-sun = best eunuch in all sageuks ever.

        • boms

          YES. He’s like another type of father figure to Hwon- kind, humorous, and personable in comparison to the previous king who was more cold and stern (but still cares for his son nontheless)

    • 19.2 alpaca

      I agree! Love their relationship. I can’t stop giggling during their scenes.

  20. 20 Jen P

    the “hot blooded energy” earlier that day+the last scene=rawr?
    heh heh

  21. 21 Maria

    Saeguk dramas are always amazing, from the innocence and typical corrupt givernment to the amazing costume, this drama is amazing and has allowed itself into my to list

  22. 22 raycken

    YAHOO!!! An heir on the way!!!! And it’s from the rightful queen, Yeon-woo!!!! Yahoo!!!!!!

    But what are they going to call the child? A bright star?

    (In my country’s myths, the stars are the children of the sun and the moon…)

    Ah, well. I’m still looking forward to this!!!

  23. 23 Haydn

    i absolutely LOVED the part where HyungSun sulks in a corner crying when the King orders him to be quiet. hahaha their relationship is really cute. πŸ™‚

    also, i think people need to stop comparing Han Ga In to the younger actress who played Yeon Woo. can’t you people just watch the freaking show without complaining for once? sheesh. -_- okay okay i’m being a little harsh. but damn this show is really good. i have no complaints whatsoever. NONE. zip. i actually really like Han Ga In’s acting. and her voice. its really… soothing to hear? haha its not exactly deep but there’s something really pretty about it. πŸ˜€

    • 23.1 okdubu

      i agree. idk why the bar is set so high more so for hgi than both ksh and jiw.

      i may be in the minority but the only child actors i REALLY miss are yeo jingu and im siwan. yoojung gets to come back for split-second scenes but we only get flashbacks of the boys πŸ™

  24. 24 deasy

    AW LOVE IT VERY MUCH !!!!!!!!!!!

  25. 25 tpsnowangel

    jung il woo <3 " i call dibs~~~ in my next life" hehehe

  26. 26 girl

    LOVE KIM SOO HYUN! He’s so young, but he plays the role of the king with the perfect amount of everything so that it’s believable !

  27. 27 Joo

    Thanks for the recap!

    I started out with low expectations of Han Ga-in’s acting skills but I think she’s doing fine in these two episodes. Her facial expressions are good and actually great in a number of scenes, though I do have a teeny-weeny issue with the way she speaks because she sounds a bit monotone(?) sometimes, so hopefully she can try put more emotion in her voice. And to those who at the start have been worrying or even complaining about Han Ga-in looking older than Kim Soo-hyun, I think you all have nothing more to say right? Because admit it, Wol and Hwon look great together! I have never once felt that Wol looks like a noona to Hwon πŸ˜›

    Hwon and Hyung-sun’s scenes are my favourites so far!! Kim Soo-hyun’s doing really great!! Hope that he can get more recognition for his fabulous acting skills! ^^

    • 27.1 Roggy

      Thats because KHS is soo awesome. He’s young, but he’s definately not a man-child actor. get me. Like its him that comes off much older when he’s acting with her, JIW does the same. But her baby-face definately helps.

  28. 28 pam

    really? KSH don’t received as much praise as he deserves and JIW have received praise more than KSH? weird.
    well, i dunno about it, but in my eyes, since the get go, i never had my eyes on yangmyung, be it LMH’s or JIW’s because this character hwon just totally captivates me, before it was YJG ( who I adooreeee^^) and latter by KSH. both amazing, and their transision between young cast and adult cast is the only one that worked for me. honestly, before i was worried KSH wont be as natural as YJG, but now I know better. though YJG great, he still has years to go to have the acting chops that KSH have. i hope both of their talent will continue to grow nicely ^^
    KSH its perfecto!! he really stellar in every scenes he’s in. really brought the character Hwon that I love. I was like.. Yangmyung who?? Hwon!!!@@

    • 28.1 Vivianna

      I am happy the PD chose KSH to be the young king. In period dramas the dialog is very different and at times quite lengthy, especially for characters playing as the King or Queen. He is so young and only appeared in two dramas but he can work out his long script and portray such a convincing character.
      In these last two episodes I don’t see the actor KSH but a young king battling against all the baddies.
      I never miss any of JIW’s dramas, even the Return of Iijimae.
      But he is always the same JIW to me regardless.

  29. 29 Marlene

    Thanks for the recap…KSH is such an amazing actor. I can watch this guy all day. Can’t wait for more episodes..

  30. 30 Gemini

    OMG… why was the last part like that… not that I dont like it… but… I have another week to see what really happened next… like, errrr, make the next heir? hehe.

    My mind will be full of what ifs and maybes…This show will make me lose my mind…

  31. 31 sora

    i love this drama!!!!!! Thanks javabeans!!!!!

  32. 32 Evi

    Thanks JB. This has making my day (refreshing your website several times from morning, hehehe…) Already long time never have this kind of excitement over a drama. This one is on top of my whole list. Whew, cannot wait for 7 more days to come…what an agony….
    P.S. I always read your review first before watching. And I will read it again after watching to get the feeling back. I really like your posting. Thanks very much πŸ™‚

  33. 33 nuri

    I just can’t wait to watch the next episode!! Oh. With this kind of cliffhanger, I bet the rating will go up.

    I wrote that I missed little Yeon Woo yesterday, now I’m really not anymore. Han Ga In is getting better, not having one expression for everything. Besides, all this girl needs is KSH on repeat.

    Anyway, all I think of seeing when watching the flipping is what her husband is going to say about that? Oooooh.

    • 33.1 ilikemangos



    • 33.2 El

      LOL. He will show his fangs and say to KSH, “I’ll suck your blood.” he3.

  34. 34 dramafreak19


    He OWNS his scenes completely. Can’t get enough.

    • 34.1 alove

      He seriously looked good in every scene he was in.

      And holy moly, the way he pinned down Han Ga In was sexy.

      • 34.1.1 Kiara

        Yea that was a …..”Whoa game over” moment for me hahahaha. I’m having the biggest crush on His Majesty thanks to Kim Soo Hyun.

  35. 35 Flo

    Whaaa!!!!! Why oh why did it have to end there? Absolutely love you guys for recapping this series. You’re awesome.

  36. 36 Kannitha

    Well, I’ve gotta agree, Jung Il Woo’s getting too much attention… No offense, but Kim Soo Hyun’s actually better, from my perspective, though.

  37. 37 cv

    Thank you for the recap! I like I like so far! Why do they have to cut off where he wakes up and catched her? arrgh! LOL Can’t wait for the next episode. ^^

  38. 38 melonhead

    *groan. To me the whole mythical/fantasy stuff just feels like an excuse for bad writing. And it’s just really sad how both brothers are still in love with the same girl, who they both believe was dead. Seriously, aren’t there other interesting girls around? But, I’m still keeping up with this show for the secondary characters. Seol and Minhwa are so cute

    • 38.1 techvet

      Yang-myung did get married. According to Blue’s novel ch. 5 summary,

      ‘ β€œ. . . But why do you not remarry?” (Prince Yangmyeong became a widower after the death of his wife two years ago.)

      β€œIt has not even been three years since her passing. (The mourning period is for three years.) It’s the law that you wait at least three years before you remarry. . .” ‘


    • 38.2 boms

      Yeahhh if that’s how you feel about the mystical stuff.. you should watch Ja Myung Go.. that stuff was just too much lol πŸ˜›

  39. 39 cookiemonster

    As long as KSH does a great job with his acting I will be satisfied. This is his first leading man role as an adult and as a fan I’m grateful that alot of people think he’s doing a good job.

    Thank you dramabeans for the recap.

    • 39.1 Rachel

      Agreed, his character really is the one anchoring the show, so it’s just good that he’s been doing a great job so far.

      I don’t know if this is normal, but I found myself wailing when Hwon was dreaming of those happy memories on his 2nd night with Wol. Dang it hormones!

  40. 40 Saima

    wow, didn’t know JIW was getting more attn than KSH? It’s interesting how the situations have reversed for me: during FBRS I would spazz over JIW while I thought KSH was decent in DH. Ok, so KSH’s intro scene—OMG, he took my breath away. He looked so regal….i’m liking that he changes his vocal tone/inflection w/o changing his facial rxns. One word=Awesome! On the other hand, JIW in Ep 6 was a disappointment to me. His teasing of his sister was soo Cha Chi Soo-ish to me.

    I hope the Korean media gives KSH the attn. he deserves!

  41. 41 syera

    awww.. thank you so much for the recap!
    you’re the best!!

  42. 42 foolmoon

    King Hwon becomes cynical adult and lonely, and KSH so far portrays him beautifully. If he isn’t being recognized better than JIL by public now, I think it’s good for him. He’s still young and early flattery might hinder him from giving the best. Though I really like JIL, young Lee Min Ho makes my heart flutter more …
    BTW, I can understand how Yeom cannot see Princess Min Hwa as a woman. Her cute face, childish act, keeps makes me thinking: is she legit to be married? I assume something will happen that makes her change into a more serious character and Yeom will see her differently …

  43. 43 chetski

    Maybe it’s his youthful face but I can’t really see KSH as a leading man for Han Ga in and a King and I keep thinking it would have been better if they had cast someone else (like Song Joong Ki). Nevertheless I’m loving the story and find myself waiting for Wednesday and Thursday and refreshing dramabeans for the recaps. πŸ™‚

  44. 44 roselily

    Thanks a lot for the recap. Totally in love with KSH..

  45. 45 white

    I must say that Jung Il-woo has got those emotive eyes that just stabs you in the heart, and Kim Soo-hyun(!!!!!) is doing such a fantastic job of portraying his character. His actions and mannerisms in the scene when Hyung-sun tells the king that he feels like the old is exactly like Yeo Jin-gu.

    Also, I noticed there isn’t any previews considering that the adult cast just got into the episodes. I hope it does not mean that they’re scrambling to film scenes before they air. Oh the joys of the live-shoot system.

  46. 46 wen

    Ahh… I can’t wait for the next episode!!!
    Wednesday and Thursday become so much better because of this drama. I’m surpised how well KSH did so far. I didn’t think he was that good in Dream High, but wow, I love his performance in the last two episodes. πŸ™‚

    And, I’m torn between liking Yang-myung or Hwon. The scene where Yang-myung lying on the bed and seeing illusion of Yeon-woo is so sad. Both of them have the same father, but how come their destiny is so different?! When Hwon is sick, he get the real Yeon-woo, but Yang-myung can only get the illusion. πŸ™

    Although I know Yeon-Woo and Hwon is the pair, I hope that one day Yeon-Woo will appreciate Yang-Myung’s love and accept him. At least, let Yang-Myung be happy for awhile.

    Also, I’m looking forward to see how the relationship will grow between Seol, Princess Min-hwa, and Yeom. I don’t think Yeom actually like Min-Hwa in a wife way. I would like to know how this develop in later episodes. In episode 6, little Jan-shil told Soel not to be so close to the fire, because snow will melt when too close. So are they hinting that Seol might get trouble later because of Yeom?!! Yeek! Ok. I’m so excited for this drama. Please continue to be good and don’t let me down. =.=’

  47. 47 chisaicherry

    Mmm, I love me some Kim Soo Hyun. I love that, although he is young, he’s mature and takes charge in every scene!

    That last scene was so sexy! Looking forward to next week.

    Thanks for the recap!

  48. 48 Noonapau

    Honestly speaking, this is my second fantasy sageuk (Tamra being the first) > I love the mythical-fantasy elements in this drama. Watching it as it unfolds and how the characters evolve. I do miss the young actors but I feel bad for the adult actors when people keep comparing them to the young ones.

    This is also the first time I am watching Kim Soo Hyun in action and WHOA…(Dream High didn’t appeal to me :P) this is one good actor! I look forward to the future episodes.

    PS. Thanks for recapping so quickly~! Even the subs are coming out very fast ^^

  49. 49 buki

    Jung Il Woo, I love you….! Though KSH is good and I like watching him, my heart goes with Jung Il Woo!

  50. 50 earthly




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