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Mirror of the Witch: Episode 1

Well. *unclenches hands from armrests* That was certainly intense. I didn’t expect JTBC’s new fantasy-historical drama Mirror of the Witch to be quite so dark, but I’ve gotta say, it’s really working. The promos did give it a good mystical flair, and it was definitely coming across very fairytale-esque. But after this premiere, it’s starting to feel more like a creepy horror movie and I love it. With absolutely stunning cinematography, gripping characters and the atmospheric music to match, this drama’s already managed to get me under its spell.

 

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

A narrator describes the harsh conditions Joseon is currently suffering, with the sun’s powers having been in decline for many years. The people have been encased in darkness, hitting them with despair and disease. And the royal family’s power is slowly going downhill. (The sun is common symbolism for the king.)

Our narrator is the head Taoist master of a Taoist temple, CHOI HYUN-SEO (Lee Sung-jae), who prays for an end to the misfortune, as well as for insight to the king’s rightful path. He prays for a new sun that will again shine its light for the royal family and its people.

Hyun-seo is called by the queen (Jang Hee-jin), who’s in a rather cheerful mood. She had a dream the previous night of a dark shadow big enough to cover the entire sky entering her belly. The queen interprets this as a birth dream and grins from ear-to-ear, hoping this is a sign she could finally be pregnant.

Hyun-seo’s gaze wavers at her mention of this dark shadow, but he remains silent. The physician checking the queen’s condition sadly reports that she is not with child. The queen’s face falls, while everyone else in the room exchanges uneasy looks.

Some shamans out in the courtyard gossip over the queen’s issues with getting pregnant, noting that the queen dowager is in fits over this. Suddenly, one shaman rises and looks up at the sky, transfixed by something nobody else can see. The others whisper that she’s at it again, just as a light flashes in her eyes—and then lightning strikes and the sky opens up in a downpour.

The queen dowager has a talk with the queen and King Myeongjong, shooting them with questions on whether or not they slept together precisely how she instructed. The royal couple are practically shaking, afraid to say anything. The queen dowager snipes at Myeongjong for leaving the queen’s chambers so soon and insists on sitting in to watch next time to make sure they get the deed done.

But in a small voice, Myeongjong says, “Please stop this already.” He lets it all out, despite his wife’s protests, and demands that his mother stop treating him like a child. He’s supposed to be the ruler, but her constant interference has made everyone see him as a mere puppet king. She’s not protecting his position; she’s only protecting her own. And with that, he storms out.

The queen wordlessly bows and follows. The queen dowager watches them leave with fire in her eyes. She commands a eunuch to summon someone named Hong-joo immediately.

The eunuch goes out during the storm and arrives at a hut. He calls out for her, a little hesitant to get too close to the door. Eventually, a hand comes out of the darkness—good lord, that gave me chills—to slowly reveal the shaman, HONG-JOO (Yeom Jung-Ah).

At court, King Myeongjong discusses state matters with his council, only to have the queen dowager speak up to contradict his orders, literally ruling from over his shoulder. With a resigned sigh, he gives in to his mother’s wishes. Again.

The court session is interrupted by the arrival of shaman Hong-joo, who ignores the officials’ demands to leave at once. The queen dowager quiets them all by retorting she summoned her. King Myeongjong fidgets nervously on his throne, clearly uncomfortable with this shaman’s presence.

The queen dowager and Hong-joo continue their conversation in private quarters. She begins to explain why she called, but Hong-joo stops her short and simply reassures her: She’ll get her that heir, no matter what it takes.

Hong-joo enters the queen’s room and to their dismay, orders all of her maids and court ladies out. Hong-joo states that the order comes from the queen dowager, and the court ladies file out reluctantly. Then Hong-joo has the queen restrained and stripped, and places a talisman on the front of her skirt.

Without warning, Hong-joo has her henchwomen whip her the queen over and over, claiming to be ridding her of bad energy. The queen is struck repeatedly until her garments are completely stained in blood. The whipping finally stops when Hong-joo sees the burn marks that have appeared on the talisman.

Hong-joo delivers the verdict to the queen dowager: The queen is barren. Even so, Hong-joo knows of a way to work around this complication, and the queen dowager asks in alarm if she’s thinking of that.

Hong-joo is, and acknowledges that the spell is risky, leaving the decision to the queen dowager. The dowager considers this, and finally decides that the top priority is getting an heir to the throne. Hong-joo smiles.

As the shamans sleep in their quarters, one tosses and turns—the same girl from earlier. She bolts up in a cold sweat and her eyes flash again, almost as if she’s having some kind of vision.

Hong-joo and Hyun-seo run into each other in the corridor, and it becomes apparent that they’re acquainted; the air is thick with tension between them. He comes to the conclusion that the queen dowager invited her back, and isn’t pleased with the idea that her black magic is in the palace. Hong-joo just smiles.

Hyun-seo looks about ready to toss her out himself when she asks if his wounds have healed, reaching out to his neck. He grabs her arm and warns her to leave. They both walk away and for the first time, Hong-joo’s face seems a bit unreadable.

The young shaman who’d woken up runs to Hong-joo, shouting, “That person! That person is in danger!”

Hyun-seo meets with the queen dowager, asking why she brought Hong-joo back to the palace after promising him she wouldn’t. That was their deal, in exchange for him covering up the events of five years ago.

The queen dowager silences him. She knows Hyun-seo knew all along the queen was barren. And she no longer wants his help. From now on, she’ll be relying on Hong-joo. Hyun-seo doesn’t care what happens to him, as long as that woman leaves too. But the queen dowager has already made up her mind. She commands him to leave the palace and never come back.

The queen dowager gets news that the king has fallen ill and rushes to see him. She’s told that it was acute indigestion, and they were lucky to catch and treat it so quickly.

Hong-joo questions the young shaman, wondering how she knew of the king’s illness before anyone else. The girl doesn’t know herself, explaining that she’d heard a sound and just new, and has had these flashes since childhood.

Hong-joo realizes what the girl doesn’t—that she’s gifted. With a game plan in mind, she informs the queen that she’s barren, which the queen understands is tantamount to a death sentence for her. Hong-joo preys on her fears and offers to help her get pregnant, and while the queen is hesitant, her desperation prods her into agreeing.

We find out our young shaman is named HAE-RAN, and all the other shamans admire the palanquin she’s been granted to use in visiting her mother and younger brother. She has been given fancy new threads and gifts for her family, which she happily accepts. Things are really looking up for her, but I’m not getting a very good feeling here…

And I’m not feeling any better as she journeys further and further away. Her bearers stop in their tracks and exchange some suspicious nods. They head off-course into the woods, where they meet up with Hong-joo’s henchwomen. Once given the okay, they announce they’ve arrived, and Hae-ran steps out to a bag over her head.

She’s taken, to her complete and utter shock, to the queen herself. The queen keeps a passive expression as she commands Hae-ran to sleep with the king to get rid of his bad energy. Hae-ran tries to refuse; as a shaman, she can’t give her body to a man. That gets her a slap. The queen: “He is not just a man. He is the king of Joseon.”

Hae-ran shakes like a leaf, and the queen presses further, mentioning Hae-ran’s mother and brother, offering to look after them for the rest of their lives. But if Hae-ran refuses… the threat hangs ominously in the air.

So that night, Hae-ran is bathed and robed, and the queen issues instructions on how (and how not) to comport herself. She notices Hae-ran’s hands tightly grasping her skirt and pulls them into her own, embracing her. We finally see her expression break into one of guilt.

No one looks at all happy as the king enters and begins to disrobe Hae-ran. Hae-ran sheds a tear as they’re given instructions on how to perform, and a sea of eunuchs sit behind the doors, listening. Even the queen watches, her own heart heavy.

The next morning, the physician checks Hae-ran’s health. The poor girl has no idea what’s going on and simply laughs at the queen’s worried face. She says her own mother looked at her like that whenever she was sick. That strikes a chord within the queen.

In flashback, we see Hong-joo telling the queen her plan to use another woman with very strong powers, and get her pregnant. But the baby would have to come out of the queen’s body.

The physician informs the queen dowager that Hae-ran is indeed pregnant, although Hae-ran herself remains ignorant. The queen gives Hong-joo some of Hae-ran’s belongings, including a lock of hair, leaving the rest to the shaman.

Later, Hong-joo readies to cast her spell, about to toss Hae-ran’s belongings into a fire pit. Before she can, a sword rests on her shoulder—it’s Hyun-seo. He gives her one last chance to stop this before he cuts her down, but she tells him to go ahead—it’s the only way he can stop her.

He raises his sword, preparing to strike, when suddenly a voice commands him to stop. It’s the queen dowager, who orders the guards to capture him. They launch themselves at Hyun-seo, but he’s not about to give up without a fight and deftly dodges their advances, holding his own. Even so, he’s vastly outnumbered and soon finds himself surrounded, swords held to his neck. Hong-joo resumes her spell, and Hyun-seo can only watch helplessly.

The smoke rises and turns charcoal black, forming a dark shadowy entity. It flies across the ceiling, and screeches, flitting past the queen dowager, giving Hyun-seo the opening to escape and chase after it.

The dark shadow finds pregnant Hae-ran’s room, seeping through the walls and under her blanket. It takes her body, jolting her awake. She convulses, desperately clawing at herself as the shadow takes control, causing her hands to blacken and her fingernails to break off.

The shadow lifts her into the air, and Hae-ran goes limp. The shadow exits her, having gotten what it wanted. Hae-ran’s body falls back to the ground with a thud.

Outside, several Taoist masters hear the shadow’s cries and get into position as Hyun-seo throws some kind of device into the sky that summons the moonlight. The Taoist masters take out their shields and use the moonlight to reflect a force field around the queen’s quarters, repelling the shadow.

The shadow’s struggles take a toll on Hong-joo and she coughs up blood. Like Hae-ran, her hands begin to rot, and she casts another spell, moving clouds to cover the moon. Meanwhile, Hong-joo’s army shoots arrows at the Taoist masters, and when the youngest among them (Lee Yi Kyung) goes down, it causes their shields to falter and break into pieces. The force field is disrupted, and the shadow gets through to the queen’s quarters. Hyun-seo is too late to stop it.

The queen is awake in her room, with a talisman attached to her skirt. Just as before, the shadow enters and creeps under her covers, placing Hae-ran’s child inside of her.

Hyun-seo falls to the ground, defeated. As he’s taken prisoner by the guards, he thinks back to the queen’s dream and wonders if this was all supposed to happen. Perhaps he wasn’t capable of blocking it after all.

All was successful—it’s confirmed that the queen is pregnant. But Hong-joo has one last thing to take care of…

Oh, thank goodness, Hae-ran is still alive. She wakes up, and freaks out over the damage the shadow did to her body. She instantly knows: This is the work of black magic.

Hong-joo and her henchwomen come in to kill her, but she won’t go without a fight. She can’t believe Hong-joo would dare to bring black magic within these walls. Hong-joo orders them to kill her, but she manages to get past them.

She runs straight into the queen and begs her to spare her life. If Hae-ran dies, there would be no one to care for her family. Hong-joo appears from behind, telling her not to worry about them, since they’ll be meeting the same fate. Her ladies bring out Hae-ran’s mother and brother and knock them to the ground, killing them right in front of Hae-ran’s eyes.

Enraged, Hae-ran charges Hong-joo with incredible power. The henchwomen try to stop her, but as she glares at them, her powers knock them down. She grabs Hong-by the throat and screams at her to die.

And it really looks like she’s about to finish her off when a knife goes into Hae-ran’s back—driven in by the queen, her hands shaking and covered in Hae-ran’s blood.

It dawns on her that the queen had been in on it the entire time. As Hae-ran starts to fade, her eyes flash again and she hears the sound of a baby… No, two babies crying. She laughs and congratulates the queen for carrying twins.

She crawls up to the queen and angrily spits out that this isn’t the end: The queen will have twins, and they will die once they’re seventeen years old. And even if they do escape death, they’ll be forever cursed, as the people they love and the people who love them will die.

And then, she’s stabbed in the back once more, this time by Hong-joo. Hae-ran falls over, her tears bloody. Dead.

At long last, the queen delivers her baby—the crown prince everyone so badly wanted. She sinks back in relief, but only a moment later, she’s in labor again. The physicians congratulate her on the birth of a princess, but the queen is unsettled. Twins? She commands them to summon Hong-joo right away.

Since Hae-ran’s prediction of the twins came true, the queen worries about the rest of it. Hong-joo confirms that it’s true: The twins are both cursed. There is a solution, but it comes with a price. They can remove the curse from one baby by transferring it to the other and killing it.

The queen gasps at the thought of killing one of her children. Hong-joo calmly explains that it was a crown prince she wanted anyway. She can lose both children, or have her crown prince, if she kills the princess.

So Hong-joo transfers the curse from the crown prince to his sister, and a small red mark etches itself behind her left ear. The queen dowager is disturbingly okay with the princess dying, so long as she has the prince as an heir.

However, there’s a complication: The princess must die by her brother’s hand. Hong-joo does offer a second solution to burn the princess, but this requires the work of a Taoist master like Hyun-seo.

Which is how Hyun-seo is released from prison. Hong-joo informs him of the royal births and presents him with the matter of the curse, telling him to get rid of the cursed child in order for the royal family to flourish. The queen dowager had doubted whether Hyun-seo would kill the baby, but Hong-joo was certain that he would do it for the greater good.

It looks like she was right. The next thing we know, Hyun-seo prepares to perform the ritual, placing the princess inside a cradle of kindling. He takes one long last look at her face and then sets the kindling on fire. The baby can only cry as she’s enveloped by flames.

Hyun-seo turns away as the fire and the baby’s cries continue to grow.

A kite flies high in the sky, flown by a young girl with a very familiar red mark behind her left ear. At long last, we meet the princess (Kim Sae-ron).

Princess: “They say that there isn’t anyone who should never have been born. That’s what my older brother told me. No matter who you are, whether your family’s status was high or low, or whether or not you were born with a disease, everyone will help the world by existing, in one way or another.”

As she narrates that there must be a reason she was born, a flurry of images follow a young man, her brother on horseback. Another man falls off a cliff, but right before he hits the ground, he stops midair. He narrates that he’s never been sad, because he’ll surely find that reason.

 
Editor’s Note

Mirror of the Witch has done a pretty fantastic job of building its own world that you really don’t need to understand the historical context it’s placed in, because the key points come out in the characterizations and performances. That’s just good storytelling, not requiring that we know information outside of the drama’s world in order to fully understand it.

That said, I do also think it’s worth knowing the historical backdrop, not just because I find history fascinating but because I actually think this is another aspect of Mirror that is well-done—because while everything about this episode’s central plotline is fictional, the story does fit in nicely with what history has told us of Queen Munjeong, King Myeongjong, et al. The drama makes veiled references to “five years ago” and an unnatural passing, which must be King Injong’s death, putting this episode in 1550 or thereabouts. Injong’s sudden death at 30 years old after nine months of rule has been the source of much speculation over the years, particularly that he was poisoned by his stepmother, Queen Munjeong, who had her eye on the throne for her own son.

Myeongjong thus ascended at the age of 11, and his mother acted as regent, remaining influential after he came of age. Hence his frustration with her domineering nature. If we’re taking “five years ago” to mean Injong’s death, King Myeongjong is around 16 or 17 in this episode. He had one son by his queen, Crown Prince Sunhoe, who is Kim Sae-ron’s twin.

javabeans

 
COMMENTS

Wow, what a premiere. Let’s get this out of the way—this is undoubtedly a gorgeously shot drama. The breathtaking visuals are quite hypnotic, keeping my eyes glued to the screen even for the more disturbing imagery. I’m sure with the introduction of our main leads, the tone will dial down, but I do hope it keeps some of that magic that first reeled me in.

But, in truth, even if the drama wasn’t so pretty, I would’ve been just as captivated. Thanks to the near-perfect pacing of the episode, there wasn’t one moment where I found myself bored. We can already see that Mirror isn’t at all afraid to get too dark, and I think that makes room for plenty of opportunities. Some scenes seriously had me wincing away, especially when the newborn princess was getting burned alive. I think it’s scenes like this that could be too much for some viewers to handle. Yet, at the same time, it’s the show’s bravery to go that far that has me so engaged. Though the rules of all this black magic may seem a bit convoluted at times, it’s very easy to just fall into the story and go with it.

I guess I’m just so interested in figuring this shaman Hong-joo out. Speaking of, Yeom Jung-ah is totally slaying this role so far. Her cunning smiles give me some major goosebumps, and they only get worse as she gets the royal family deeper and deeper into her black magic. I want to hate her for ruining so many lives, but there’s something about her that tells me she’s not just any drama villain. She actually reminds me a lot of Maleficent, a character I’ve always felt had a rich history rather than just being someone on paper. So I really hope we get a little more backstory on Hong-joo, and specifically, more backstory on her and Choi Hyun-seo.

But really, this story was all about Hae-ran and the children she never got to bear. I pretty much knew her fate from the beginning, but it was still heart-wrenching to see that poor girl go through such hell. And thanks to the mistakes of the people around her, those children will have to suffer. It truly is a premise set for tragedy, but I can’t wait to see how the younger set of characters will fight their way through it. This first episode was pure setup for the princess, but even that tiny glimpse of Yoon Shi-yoon portraying Heo Jun has me excited for our time jump.

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I am so happy dramabeans decided to recap this! I loved this drama! Definitely looking forward to see more episodes..I was on drama hiatus owing to the drought of good dramas, so my fellow dramabean-ians any good drama suggestion to offer??

(And also YAY first comment)

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Try "Memory" if you haven't watched it. I've been in a drama hiatus too for the past few weeks. Waiting for some good ones to start. Decided to try Memory due to Lee Sung-min's amazing acting and TvN cable's stellar reputation for gray shows (Signal ...wow!!!!). I'm into Memory at the 8th episode now and it is superb. Heart wrenching and intense but fantastic. Also, if you haven't watched Signal - forget everything else and go there first!

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And speaking of TvN's Memory, the actor who will play the crown prince is there. His name is Yeo Hoi-Hyeon and his performance on the last episodes (of Memory), I think 15 and 16, was really good! I am not feeling him at the beginning, but he redeemed himself and made me applaud his performance.

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Yes! Signal is definitely the way to go!!!

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I am so relieved drama beans decided to recap it! This is the first drama I've followed with live recapping. I usually wait so I can binge watch an entire show. Can't wait for the next episode!

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Oh my gosh! You're missing out on Oh Hae Young Again? It's incredible.

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I know right? It's strange that it's not gaining as much hype as I expect. It's a golden romcom. Go watch! :)

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Eric's acting kind sucks though...

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*kinda

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Make that "great" shows. I really must learn to proofread!

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Waaaah i am so happy that you are gonna recap his, i love this drama so far
I hope you will continue recapping and don't just recap the first episode like Master God of Noodles

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Yes!! Thank You I was waiting for this. Thanks for the recap SailorJumun.

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I spent the weekend gourging on mirror of the witch. It was dark (just the way I like my magic), beautifully shot, and with so much curses and spells even in the first episode that it got me hooked and certain that I shall be watching it till the very last episode. Hopefully, it maintains its momentum.

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So the two leads are fraternal twins? Okay, i can get with that instead of lovers.

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Yoon Shi yoon does not play the twin brother/ crown prince.

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I don't think so? :S Btw the drama had me at the cinematography. Omg the tone,the mood,the ghost,everything was so unlike kdramas.And ironically yoon shi yoon's character is playing a 17 years old,and unlike taecyeon he can act,so let's hope this keeps getting better.And the story is intriguing,not to mention.And kim sae ron's voice is gold.

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Also javabean's comment is working as a cherry on the top!Great that you would be watching it too jb. Nothing like the satisfaction of fellow kdrama appreciationists ^_^

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Hello, DBChen :)!

The two leads are not related. You'll see the crown prince in the second episode.

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seriously am loving this, have been waiting for the recap since...
please do continue recapping it please

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It was pretty surprising. I actually wished for the second episode to be as dark as the first. But there's sth, Kim Sae Ron looks even younger than 15. I mean her Kim So Hyun has a mature face that doesn't make her look so young or it makes her look her age but Kim Sae Ron looks even younger because she has a baby face. That irks me constantly, I can't see this pair working.

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I love the first episode. But I decided to stop after the second. I can't get past the reality that Km Sae Ron is 15. The male lead definitely looks twice her age. I gave it a chance. They could have casted a younger male lead or an older female lead.

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Wow! Bad baby boy born at 3 months and fully clothed! It IS magic!

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LOL! Gotta love the depictions of child birth in movies and on tv shows!

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Haha, right? The first baby looked even older than 3 months to me.
I think the only baby I've seen so far in dramaland that somehow resembled a newborn was the one in Heard it through the grapevine.

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I've actually been curious about the laws regarding infant actors in Korea, I feel like they get more screen time than infants in Hollywood, which makes me think the regulations are more lax? Hollywood's are very strict about the amount of time a child actor can be on set, etc. Time for some Googling I guess.

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Two hours was well spent! I'm hypnotized!

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Thaaaaank youuuuu for the recaps! You just made a great day even better :)

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Yay! Thank you for recapping this! I'm so happy! The first episode is really strong. Jung In Sun did really well as Hae Ran. Too bad she's only in the first episode.

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She was fantastic, but the acting is solid all around. Since she's gifted, I'm thinking she'll make an appearance again (she's pictured as one of the main cast members on AsianWiki as opposed to additional cast members). She probably did some kind of magic to protect herself.

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Ohhhh I'd wanna see that. Technically, the twins are her children. If she ever comes back, I bet she'd be the one to free them of her own curse.

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It's fantasy sageuk, and in drama, anything is possible, Earthna.. Let's hope she'll reappear in later episode. Her acting is solid in carrying the character in 1st ep.

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I hope she reappear. This girl did well as Hae Ran.

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yeah, that shaman Hae Ran was really good

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Yay thanks for the recap! Love this drama!

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Welcome SailorJumun!??
Thanks for the recap!!

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Welcome to the DB community, SailorJumun...

Finally I found sageuk that made me interested enough to impatiently wait for its next eps after all these years. I'm glad at the prospect of finding a cure for my sageuk alergy.

The first episode is quite intriguing but also disturbing at the same time. It's much darker than what I'd expected. And is king and queen's private life really without privacy like that? I mean, what's with all those people witnessing their bedroom affair?

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I watched a historical movie, I forgot the title, there was a scene where the people witnessed the king and queen's bedroom affair, tho not all the time but more like during important nights like this one where they needed to produce an heir. I'm not sure whether this really happened in joseon back then but this isn't something new in historical drama/movie.

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Thank you for the recap!!

Wow, that was intense!! I've yet to watch the actual episodes, but if that's what we get from just reading the recaps, then I can't imagine how much more we are given when watching the actual Show.... that I hope to get into soon... really.... soon... If I can only just let myself emotionally let go of "Marriage Contract" (I KNOW!!! It's been weeks!!!! T.T)
Hong Joo creeps the bejeezus out of me but at the same time, she also kind of intrigues me, and I actually look forward to seeing more of her and to get to know her backstory (hopefully Show will give us one *crosses fingers)

As for the Queen Dowager... Anyone, besides myself, getting "The Moon Embraces the Sun" bat-sh** cray cray Queen Dowager Grandmother vibes all over again?? 'Cause I am XD

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Totally!! Queen Dowager reminds me of my love for Moon that embraces the sun! Its been a while, got to go back and watch that once more.

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Hi, bebeswtz...

Yes siree, Bob! She sounds like the queen dowager in THE MOON EMBRACING THE SUN to me as well. Brrrrr.

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@ LoveSeoInGuk & PakalanaPikake:

Yea ~!!! Albeit, both Queen Dowager characters are portrayed by the same actress (hats off to her), so I guess also is also why both characters feel so similar to each other XD Besides the fact that both Queen Dowagers are super cray cray and power hungry T.T

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I will be honest, I did not expect to like this as much as I do! I immediately fell in love with the cinematography. And the story is incredibly intriguing. Definitely looking forward to more episodes!

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Honestly I found this drama, or the first two episodes at least, absolutely beautiful and captivating. It's well-shot and well-paced, with some humor to break up the darkness in the background. I really hope the momentum keeps up! Although based on the second episode, it would seem that Kim Sae Ron and Yoon Si Yoon's characters are going to have some sort of romantic relationship, and I can't quite wrap my head around it.

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Thank you Sailor Jumun for the recap. Welcome to the DB community. I hope the recaps continue ☺ I totally loved ep 1. I wasn't sure what to expect but ep 1 totally surpassed my expectations. It was intense, dark, fast, beautiful to watch and started with a strong, fully thought out storyline.

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I was resigned to the fact that this gorgeous drama wasn't going to be recapped here (since the first episode came out days ago) so I am over the moon to see this post! Please keep recapping it! I love the cinematography and the dark tone of this drama. Not going to lie but I had to fast forward through the death scenes since they were so disturbing. I'm a wimp haha Can't wait for the next recap! Thanks!

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I loved this. So creepy. So freaking good. Looking forward to episode 2!

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Welcome to Dramabeans, SailorJumun

Anyway will you recap the whole thing? It would be awesome! I like your style of recap, so detail and interesting.. keep up the good work!

I like MOTW so far.. the first ep is so dark but the second one is bright and cheery with the introduction of YSY and KSR... Hope this one stays good since I don't watch many sageuk these days.

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Yes i hope it stays good too, I don't usually watch saguk unless it's fantasy, my last two fantasy saguk was bad, but i kept watching till the end

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I was hesitant to watch because I wasn't sure what to expect since the last few fantasy dramas didn't leave that great of an impression on me. But got to say it was a pretty great start and if the show keeps the same tone with a great balance of darker and lighter moments I think it'll will be a favorite!

I'm so glad that there seems to be a lot of good dramas out or about to be!

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Well, that was dark and dastardly, thanks to the women in the story. Seems like the only way to indenture the despairing Joseon royalty to you, if you practice black magic that is, is to make each subsequent event blacker than the last. Hong-Joo's entanglement with the devil is as dark as hell and can dim the moonlight to make way for the demons to do their dirty work. But it looks like Sung Jae knows the secrets of light and against all hope, apparently saves the princess after all. Fast forward to the prince and princesses' young adult years.
Let's hope there is some lighthearted-ness in this drama somewhere along the way~but I'm in for Yoo Shi Yoon, daebak!

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The next episode was lighter than the first and was funny there is many cute moments between YSH and KSR

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Hi! Who'll play the grown up crown prince?

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Welcome SailorJumun and thanks for recapping Mirror of the Witch! Wow, the first episode sure did plunge viewers into an hour of TV that was captivating, intense, unsettling and truly gripping. High marks on the acting, cinematography, eye-catching special effects, and the suspenseful storytelling — crafted in such a way that viewers were compelled to sit up and take notice — well done show well done.

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I have not seen it yet, but I have a question? What age are the male and female leads in the drama? I mean not irl, their characters' age.

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Soon to be 17 yo

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Which, when you watch the episode, Ane, will be meaningful.

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I know it's there, but where do we hear that YSY's character is 17? I must have missed it.

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17

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Thanks for the replies!

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I loved every bit of the first two episodes. Its going to be my crack drama for sure!

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Wow! Fantastic recap. Thank you Sailor Jumun. I'm going to look forward to your posts!

Thanks Javabeans for the history editorial. I LOLed when the dowager piped up when court was in session. The scene spoke volumes about her motives and mindset, by simply showing her as the power behind the throne -- lounging there confidently as though she hadn't a care in the world.

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At first, I thought Yoon Shi Yoon was the twin brother, then I saw the prince and was like, that is not Yoon.... so I had been taken aback for a bit but now it makes sense again

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oh its really good! cant wait for the next episodes..
thanks for the recap! :)

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WOW. It was dark, it was intense and I love it! I was hooked with the narrator's voice only and with this set up I'm definitely fully on board!

Yeom Jung-ah, is awesome as the shaman of black magic, the way she speaks, her eyes and smiles, everything gave me chills!

The scene with Hae-ran and the dark shadow was like a horror movie, especially the nail breaking part, I wince every time I remember it!

I'm so glad you guys decided to recap this. Thank you SailorJumun for the recap and Thanks Javabeans for the note, I was actually wondering about the historical background!

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I just fall in love with this on the first half hour, the second half just sealed my addiction to this drama. Considering JTBC and its portfolio, I could have high hope that it would be this good and even better by each coming episode.

YSY and KSR are so good together. They will definitely carry this drama beautifully with the other senior casts.

Thank you for recapping this drama, SailorJumun!

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I loved the darkness of the first episode and the subtlety in the second episode. It kind of reminded me of the Moon Embracing The Sun - just much better. I hope that this historical drama will be kind of the next Arang. Scholar Who Walks The Night failed me.

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I never expected there to be so much dark magic and kinda dark, I was thinking a more lighter type...Im not really a fan of dark magic but I REALLY love the cast and the romance that will happen soon.

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Thank you for the recap. I am too much of a scaredy cat to watch it for now after reading the reviews. So, recap much appreciated. Extremely detailed and well done!

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Interesting that this covers some of the same history as Flower in Prison. Anyway, it sounds very intriguing, sort of a dark fairytale vibe with lots of magic and mysticism, just as I hoped. I'll probably watch tomorrow.

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Yeah, like a dark fairytale and so far a very good one! watch it, I don't think you'll regret it.

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I've been so busy the past few months that I've literally seen no new dramas. But this one had one of the most intriguing premise to come out in a long time and despite the casting, I was so pumped. After watching the first two episodes, I can definitely say it lived up to my expectations.

I just love everything about the drama right from the rich characters to the dark undertones that never feel forced. The villain is so interesting and is it just me or there's some weird (romantic) chemistry b/w her and the Taoist? I definitely felt that in the way they were interacting and even if not, the idea of it makes me so intruiged.

I won't talk about ep 2 obviously but I'll say I love all the characters - madness, evilness and all. I'm really glad DB is recapping this, I feel like it deserves so much more attention and love! Hopefully it remains just as deserving of admiration till the end.

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Agreed -- the chemistry between Hong-joo and taoist master Hyun-seo really stood out for me as well. A lot of tension concerning their different beliefs. And even a hint of something more personal, especially on Hong-joo's side... That would be interesting, for sure. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

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Holy Mother of God, I hardly ever watch sageuks, but this one caught me off-guard with how good it was.

Everything looked beautiful, CGI was top-notch (I mean the scenes with this black ghost, dear God, this looked simply amazing) and I loved the dark and very serious tone of the premiere.

I'm looking forward to how the story unfold. I haven't been so hyped about a drama in such a long time, I almost forgot how good it felt.
I hope it stays as good as the pilot was till the very end.

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Did you watch Arang & The Magistrate, Matt? You'll love it. It was so dark, so tense and so suspenseful. It was also wonderfully produced-acted-written. It was scaring the heck out of me when I watched it yet can't stop.

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I didn't, but I will watch it when I have time, cause you're another person who recommended it to me. After my finals, I hope I'll finally find some time to marathone some shows :D

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ohhhh my god... I haven't been able to enjoy a drama this much in aaages! Everything about the drama has been top notch so far...the acting, the cinematography and the soundtrack. Hope this quality is maintained for the rest of the drama.

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Finally, there's one to watch after Marriage Contract.

Poor Hae-ran. All the scenes were too painful to me to watch.

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Mirror Of The Witches Fans

Please support JTBC

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Thanks for the recap, SailorJumun! And thanks for the historical bkgd, JB!

I enjoyed the intense first ep. and how the black magic is the cause of the curse on the twins. YJA is captivating as the chief shaman and I'm also curious about her back story. Plus, what happened between her and Taoist Choi Hyun Seo.

Good to get a glimpse of KSR and YSY at the end. So excited to keep watching.

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First off, congrats SailorJumun on becoming a recapper!! I noticed this is your first recap on DB, and you did an awesome job:)

Second off - it really helped that I had low expectations for the drama given the fact that Kim Sae Ron (no offense to her) was leading with Yoon Si Yoon. I decided to watch for YSY but having KSR, after watching Hi School Love On and seeing the big age gap between the 2 (literally 15 years), I was a little hesitant.

We haven't gotten to the time skip yet in this ep, but I agree, the pacing was done really well and the awesome cinematography really kept me in check and I didn't find myself skipping around like I sometimes do with dramas. Excited to start ep2!

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It was a pretty visual first episode. Though it was a bit hard to watch since just to obtain what she wants the Queen Dowager will do anything.
Thanks for the recap.

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Test-tube babies the sorcerer's way, in the 16th century. I was expecting them to extract the embryo from Hae-ran, using some crude instruments, and implant into the Queen's womb but hey, this is more creepy.

This drama looks like it is worth watching. I am expecting the twins would meet have have an incestuous relationship.

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