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Mirror of the Witch: Episode 5

This episode sets the stage for future plot development, especially with the introduction of three new characters and the arrival of a new threat. As the events from the night of the twins’ seventeenth birthday come to a close, we jump to the consequences of the aftermath from that fatal night. There’s multiple dramatic reveals in this episode and I’m excited for what’s next to come!

 

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

The hunt for the hidden princess finds Yeon-hee cornered on a cliff by black witch Hong-joo’s fighters. Jun intercepts the first arrow shot at Yeon-hee, but she’s shot by a second and falls over the cliff into the lake. Upon contact, it ices over, trapping her below the surface.

The shamans report back to Hong-joo that they were unable to find Yeon-hee’s body. Hong-joo understands that the cursed princess won’t be easily killed, but doesn’t understand why. She attempts to cast a spell, but dark veins appear on her arm and she recalls the curse uttered by the young shaman Hae-ran, that Hong-joo would die at the hands of her own black magic. She looks at her marked forearm in alarm.

Both Prince Sunhoe and Poong-yeon wake up, to the relief of their anxious mothers. It appears the curse has lifted; the prince’s hair returns to its original black the curse tattoo fades from behind Poong-yeon’s ear. The prince says he’s hungry, and Poong-yeon appears much better as well.

Back at Yeon-hee’s house in the forest, amidst the scattered corpses of her Taoist master protectors, someone places a talisman on the body of young Yo-gwang. It shines brightly, and the man carries Yo-gwang away.

Oh no! Heo Ok’s cronies have captured Jun’s friend Dong-rae and beat him up, demanding information—both Jun and his slave mother have disappeared. Dong-rae insists he knows nothing, so Ok picks up a sickle and threatens to cut his ear off, and his friends hold Dong-rae down. It looks like he’ll really do it and at the last moment, Dong-rae breaks.

Jun wakes up in the forest, still with the arrow in him. When he pulls the arrow out, the mirror fragment tucked in his clothes glints briefly before falling to the ground in pieces. The broken pieces dissipate into smoke and glittering lights, which move up to heal his wound. In its place, a mark appears on Jun’s chest in the shape of the tree that was in the Mauigeumseo book, on the page that Hyun-seo ripped out and locked away.

Then Jun sees the boat passes and remembers his mother waiting for him, and runs back to meet her.

The smugglers begin loading the passengers, but Jun’s mother hangs back, waiting for Jun. Someone calls out a gentle “Mother!” and she turns around in relief, but her face quickly falls when she realizes that it’s Ok.

Jun’s mother begins to beg for forgiveness, insisting this was all her idea and that Jun knew nothing of it. Ok throws her to the ground, in the process knocking over a lamp onto a bale of hay. The fire quickly burns and blocks the entrance before either of them realizes it.

Ok panics but manages to knock out wooden bars on the high windows, but can’t climb that high. He literally drags Jun’s mother over to use her as a stepping stool, and she clutches him as he climbs over. Instead of helping her escape, Ok shoves her back, falling outside safely while Mom is stuck inside. A burning beam lands on her and she collapses.

Ok cowers out of sight as Jun runs up screaming for his mother. Luckily, Jun is able to knock out part of the wall and carries his mother outside. She’s still alive, but appears to be fading fast, and her eyes flutter open as she weakly apologizes that he wasn’t born to a better mother and that she couldn’t give him more. The desperation in his voice as he tells her that he didn’t need anything else from her is heart-breaking.

He apologizes to her over and over, but the life fades out of her and she falls limp. Jun breaks down in sobs over her body, and a yellow lacquered ring falls out of her hand.

Ok wails with panic his entire way home, wracked with guilt as he tells his mother that he’s responsible for Jun’s mother’s death. But Lady Sohn tells him coldly that he did nothing wrong, and that his life is of course more important than a slave. She orders him to consider tonight’s events as nothing more than a bad dream.

At the palace, the prince appears healthier than ever, demonstrating a voracious appetite. While the queen and the queen dowager are pleased, this clearly confuses Hong-joo.

As Hong-joo takes her leave, the queen follows her out and asks after her health. The queen assumes that if Hong-joo is still fine, then the princess must indeed be dead. However, this does not explain why the prince fell ill. Hong-joo tries to explain it away as an unrelated event, but the queen remains suspicious.

So Hong-joo asks, “And if it were because of black magic that the prince fell ill, what would you do about it?” The queen is alarmed, asking what she means to do, and Hong-joo replies that she should not worry.

That night, a swordsman stealthily enters Hong-joo’s quarters but discovers that the rooms are empty. He reports to the queen that Hong-joo has disappeared. At that moment, a serving lady runs up in distress to inform the queen that the prince is dead.

As the palace mourns the passing of the prince, Hong-joo overlooks the proceedings from afar, holding a jar. A flashback to the night before shows Hong-joo carrying that same jar into the prince’s chamber. She’d passed her hand over the prince’s sleeping face, and his eyes had snapped open. She’d directed the black shadow to leave his body and contained it the jar, while the prince had choked and convulsed.

In the present, the jar rattles and black mist swirls around it, but Hong-joo keeps her hand on the lid, quieting the contents of the jar. She notes that a knife is more painful leaving the body than entering it.

In his mourning clothes, Jun performs the last rites for his mother, pouring a cup of liquor over her grave. He holds the yellow lacquered ring in his hands as he mourns.

Jun returns to town and runs into Ok, who is once again drunk in broad daylight. Ok staggers up to Jun, demanding that he take a drink in honor of his birthday. He taunts Jun by pretending to forget that today was Jun’s mother’s memorial, his usual provoking self. Suddenly, Ok flashes back to Jun’s mother begging him for mercy and has a moment of conscience.

Jun surprises him by taking the liquor and drinking it. His voice is choked with emotion as he wishes his half-brother a happy birthday and a very long life.

Then, Jun holds up the yellow lacquered ring, saying that Ok dropped it. Ok is surprised, saying that he thought he’d lost it—and confirming his guilt to Jun, whose eyes harden as he realizes what this means.

5 years later.

A girl, cloaked in white, moves through Cheongbing Temple. A narrator tells the story of a girl hiding in the heart of the forest with pale skin and blood-red lips—she can move things without touching them and can even control life. He calls her a witch, and we finally see that the girl is Yeon-hee.

Our narrator turns out to be a gambler enjoying spooking the ladies with his tale. The ladies shriek as he brings the story to its highlight: at the full moon, the witch turns into a monster that steals people’s hearts.

His tale doesn’t frighten one man though, who comments that the story of the heart-eating monster is familiar and boring. The camera pans over to Jun, his arms around the ladies on either side of him and looking an awful lot like his irresponsible older brother.

Someone sitting behind the group asks whether this person might be the one called Red Cloak. The storyteller agrees, claiming that no one’s actually seen Red Cloak because “she” can disappear in midair. The mysterious man interjects that the Red Cloak could be a man, not a woman. This throws our narrator off and the gamblers quickly return to their game.

A plainly dressed girl wanders behind the circle of gamblers (played by Dohee), who is clearly in cahoots with several of the gamblers, signaling to the ringleader which cards Jun is holding.

Jun goes all in, and the cheaters follow suit, confident that they know which cards Jun is holding. It turns out however, that Jun is already onto their con; he places his cards down, which are suddenly different—and now the winners.

He plops down two wanted notices of the ringleader and his buddy, identifying their crimes as illegal gambling and rigging games. Jun adds that he was rather disappointed in their con abilities, HA.

One cheater lunges for Jun with a weapon, but he handles it deftly, tying the gamblers up with the sashes of their own clothing. Shouts of “Catch them!” fill the air and gamblers scatter just as police officers burst into the gambling den. Jun makes his escape out the window just as Ok and his officers arrive to collect the cheaters.

Ok’s superior congratulates him on yet another successful arrest. Ok accepts praise with false modesty, and his superior hints at a promotion while asking him to catch that Red Cloak too.

But it looks like Ok’s arrests are all Jun’s doing. Ok finds him later and tosses a string of coins at him, giving him money in exchange for taking all the credit. Jun smiles brightly and speaks with extreme humility, saying that helping out Ok is the least he could do for the generous family that raised him.

Ok tells him that it’s a relief that Jun finally knows his place, being useful like this instead of wasting his time dreaming of government office that’s out of reach. Jun agrees with such deference that it’s unnerving; we know he can’t agree with what he’s saying, but his obsequious words belie the hard look in his eyes. Satisfied, Ok leaves with the promise to contact him if he has more jobs for him to do.

We find Jun at a gisaeng house next, back to selling quack medicines as his side job. This time, he’s peddling the Joseon version of Viagra, and the gisaengs are nearly ready to buy, but one of the girls thinks twice and asks for a demonstration.

So Jun sits up, eyes her with his best bedroom eyes, and then flips her over. His fingers play with her ribbon as he tells her he’s quite capable on his own without the medicine… can she handle that? The other gisaengs lean forward with anticipation but then Jun starts to laugh and rolls off of the girl, muttering that it’s no fun.

The mysterious man from the gambling den begins climbing the stairs to Cheongbing Temple. He is indeed Yo-gwang, who appears to be the only Taoist master who survived the fight five years ago. Yo-gwang calls for someone named Seo-ri, only to receive a sickle at his neck, flung at him telepathically by Yeon-hee. Notably, her hair is back to its original color.

Yo-gwang swears he was out just to buy a candle and the princess relents, just as gambling sticks fall out of his pocket. The sickle flies at his neck again and he swears that he played just one round and it was only because he wanted to hear more about rumor that sounded like it was about her. Y’know, just in case he might learn something that would help her. Yeon-hee just gives him a major helping of side-eye.

Yeon-hee places the candle on an altar and uses the flame to light a different candle. In a voiceover, she narrates how she has lit 100 candles over the last five years. Only eight candles remain now. Praying that the candle won’t go out, she reiterates her resolve to not allow anyone else die because of her.

A shaman wearing a wooden mask offers a box to Hong-joo, who pulls out a human heart, which she tosses into a fire. A black cloud arises as she begins a spell, and at the temple, the candle in front of the princess flickers and goes out.

Yeon-hee narrates how over the last six months, she has been unable to light a single one of the candles.

A flashback reveals how she’d survived five years ago: Dripping wet and silver-haired, Yeon-hee sits by the lake as Yo-gwang helps remove the arrow in her shoulder.

Yeon-hee asks Yo-gwang tearfully if it’s true that the people she loves and the people who love her will die. Yo-gwang gently tells her that she can return to the world if she is able to dispel the curse by lighting 108 candles. He gives her a new name, Seo-ri, and tells her to reclaim her old name when she has finally broken the curse. (As her name is now Seo-ri, we’ll call her that now.)

Back in the present, Yeon-hee requests that Yo-gwang bring a wish tag to her. The wish must be an earnest one, in order to work.

Townspeople gather under a tree, alarmed at the dead man hanging by his feet with a bloody gash where his heart once was. There are whispers that this must have been an act of the Red Cloak. Notably, he is still clutching a bottle in his hand, one that Yo-gwang seems to recognize.

The scene is grisly but the return of Poong-yeon is welcome sight. He looks up at the dead man, as does his companion, bodyguard-warrior SOL-GAE (Moon Ga-young).

Arriving at a tree lit with candles and giving off ethereal light, Yo-gwang chooses a few wishes from those hung there. As he heads off, someone takes note and starts following—someone wearing a wooden mask, wearing a red cloak.

Yo-gwang seems aware of the fact that someone is following him and his steps quicken. Suddenly, an arrow flies at Red Cloak, shot by Poong-yeon.

Poong-yeon chases Red Cloak as Yo-gwang makes good use of the opportunity to escape unnoticed. Poong-yeon engages Red Cloak in a swordfight and they appear evenly matched, but just as Poong-yeon draws first blood, his opponent blinds him with a handful a dust. Red Cloak escapes, to Poong-yeon’s frustration.

In the intervening years, a new king has ascended, SEONJO (Lee Ji-hoon). Poong-yeon, now an officer in the king’s guard, has been tasked by King Seonjo to apprehend Red Cloak, and King Seonjo is furious to hear he has gotten away again. He takes Poong-yeon and his court to task for not catching the murderer yet.

Later, the king calls Poong-yeon for a private talk, and is much kinder now, asking if Poong-yeon is upset that he treated him harshly earlier. Poong-yeon answers no and relays the details of the encounter, noting that Red Cloak had extraordinary fighting skills. King Seonjo tells Poong-yeon that he’s the only person he trusts, and entreats him to be careful.

As Poong-yeon rises to leave, the king asks after Poong-yeon’s father, saying he would like to reestablish the Taoist temple at court. However, Poong-yeon insists that Hyun-seo is still alive and refuses to take over the temple while his father lives. It seems to be a discussion they have frequently and the king lets him leave without much more argument.

Just after Poong-yeon’s exit, the king suffers a sudden spasm. Blood begins to drip from out of his sleeve.

Upon exiting the palace, Sol-gae gives Poong-yeon an update on the assignment he’d given her: the people were not his father or Yeon-hee. Discouraged by the lack of leads, she suggests that they search the bodies from that night instead. Poong-yeon refuses to admit that either his father or his younger sister is dead, and Sol-gae quickly backs down, apologizing.

Poong-yeon gentles his tone and hands her some wrapped dried persimmons, patting her shoulder.

It’s a full moon, and a doctor digs spikes out of the king’s bloody, torn-up shoulder. King Seonjo bears the pain, but the spikes cover half his body and his skin is absolutely shredded. The nature of the illness is still unknown, and the king demands that the doctor find the cause as quickly as possible—but he must keep it a secret. He instructs the doctor to resume the extractions, but the announcement of queen dowager’s arrival interrupts.

Back in his royal robes and hiding his pain, the king meets the queen dowager (formerly the queen), who worries about the rash of murders. They speak in pleasant tones, but there’s hint of bad blood (or at least mistrust) here.

When the queen dowager asks after King Seonjo’s health, he thanks her for her concern and asks her not to think of him as the dead crown prince. Her smile fades, and he clarifies that he’s healthy, and thus she needn’t worry. The queen dowager says that his health is a matter of national concern, and he dismisses her with a laugh, telling her not to worry, since he won’t ask her to take over his duties for him.

As the queen dowager rises, she spots traces of blood on the floor, but doesn’t react outwardly. She merely says that she hopes that what she worries about will not happen, and takes her leave.

As the queen dowager returns to her quarters, a eunuch reports to her that the royal physician has been called to the king’s chambers several times during the night. While the official records don’t mention anything out of the ordinary, a maid has noticed that the king’s linens have been increasingly stained with blood.

The queen dowager’s alarm grows as she wonders if the curse within the palace is not over. She has had made constant efforts to locate Hong-joo, and orders that the efforts be intensified.

Jun visits his mother’s grave in the dark, and as he cleans up the weeds, he recalls the night of his mother’s death—and how Ok had been responsible for it.

In a flashback, we see Jun entering Ok’s room at night, murderously angry as he takes out a knife and tries to stab Ok with it. Every time, he stops himself, too conflicted to go through with it.

In the present, Jun tells his mother that it’s almost over. He promises to ruin “them” and extract the price of the his mother’s life from them.

Seo-ri dreams of that night five years ago, of Hong-joo telling her of her curse and her desperate flight to Cheongbing Temple.

She wakes with a start, and tells her father that she has only eight candles remaining. She vows to dispel the curse no matter what and protect the people she loves, and to discover why she was born cursed.

Elsewhere, Hong-joo gazes down on a man’s body, lying prone on a slab, with a talisman placed on his chest. It’s Hyun-seo.

COMMENTS

There’s so much to like about this drama and in particular, this episode. First of all, can I say how relieved I am that Yo-gwang is still with us? Let’s not forget oraboni either!

Truthfully, Episode 3 and 4 lost me a little, because I get really frustrated when perfectly preventable tragic disasters occur. Episode 5 however, has completely brought me back. I really enjoyed how the episode unfolded, leaving several questions tantalizingly unanswered. For example, who resurrected Yo-gwang and why was he the only Taoist monk saved? How did Yeon-hee escape the frozen lake and why did it freeze over in the first place? Who is Red Cloak? Why is Heo Ok and Heo Jun’s father never mentioned? I have so many more questions and I’m looking forward to seeing how this drama will answer them.

We are also still left uncertain about the exact nature of the curse, as it’s not entirely apparent why Poong-yeon survived or why Hong-joo isn’t more badly affected. Is it because Yeon-hee made it to the temple in time? I appreciate that we as viewers are not the only ones in the dark about the curse’s parameters, as the characters themselves are scrambling for answers themselves.

The appearance of Red Cloak intrigues me, as it seems related to the king’s unknown illness. It’s telling that Red Cloak appears only during a full moon, correlating with the royal physician removing shards of some unknown nature from the king’s shoulder. However, it doesn’t look like the injury could be the sword wound that Red Cloak had received from Poong-yeon and to be perfectly honest, it made me too queasy to look at it for long enough to really determine what kind of wound it was. However, if the king’s illness is related to the curse (as the queen dowager believes), then is the appearance of Red Cloak also related to the curse?

I’m also looking forward to when the drama brings Seo-ri and Heo Jun back together again. Both of them are so alone, bereft of both family and friends. While Seo-ri has Yo-gwang to support her, he is more a guardian figure and much less a companion or peer. The hurt and pain is more evident in Jun, who must deal with his aggressors on a daily basis, but I think her isolation must be just as difficult to bear. The two of them could really use a true confidant by their side.

 
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I know the show will eventually answer all our questions (I hope!), but I have so MANY questions right now I'm starting to feel lost. But the show is intriguing and all the actors are doing a great job. So I'm still on board.

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Oh, Mirror Mirror on the wall!
Who is the best drama of them all?

How pleasantly surprised am I by this drama? Oh my heart, be still.
Oh, and prayers to Jun's friend. I heard he got diagnosed with leukemia. Please get well soon.

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Wow, the effects continue to blow me away. The makeup with King Seonjo's shoulder wound especially... Had to look away every now and then with that scene.

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The thing I'm most confused about is why the curse was lifted from the crown prince and Poong-yeon? They said it would be lifted if the princess died but as we see she survived somehow. So why did the curse mark behind their ears disappear?

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From what I got. The princess was close to dying, but managed to survive. So when she almost drowned the curse for a moment was lifted. now she's being protected like she was for all those years. That's why the shamaness is looking for her.

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I think part of the problem is the evil shamaness did try to consolidate the curse onto the princess and it seems that she personally did kill the prince (or at least stole his soul and put it in the jar) thus further entangling herself and warping the curse.

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I loved episode 5, but I was so lost after watching it with all the new questions. Fortunately, episode 6 shed some light on a few things and I'm so happy to find out how well this drama is having been written so far.

Anyway, I just want to say that I never thought that I'd be dying so much for Yeon-hee and Heo Joon to meet again. Age gap aside, I think it's hard to deny that Kim Sae-ron and Yoon Shi-yoon share a really strong on-screen chemistry and I just can't wait till they finally reunite.

So far this drama has been hitting all the right spots for me, there's so much fairytale in its story and so much legit magic, that's one fantasy sageuk done right, finally.

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Part of the love for Kim Sae-ron's and Yoon Shi-yoon's characters together is how awesome they are apart. We don't have a broken down male lead at the end of his rope because of tragic and TOTALLY UNFAIR events, and we don't have a weak female lead sitting listlessly around waiting for someone to help her out.

As confused and hurt as they both are, they are still large and in charge. They don't provide a missing part for the other; there's no completing here. Instead we anticipate how much stronger they can be if/when they join forces, and can't wait for it to happen.

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Well said, pretty much everything that I love about both of them.

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For a fairytale it is REALLY dark and depressing, main heroes are not only lonely they are also truly traumatized.
Main heroe lives with the killer of his mom
Main heroine lost her parent, saw her brother going crazy because of her, her "mom" asking her to leave/kill herself.
Seriously, after all this I wouldn't even blame them for crying in every other episode...
Love this show except the part where I am waiting for main characters to finally meet again...I wait...and wait...

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I love this episode. Like, really love it. It's even better than those previous four. Maybe because we finally get to the main story, and there are so much new relationships that make giddy. Like the young taoist and Seori or Poongyeon and his female partner. And Kim Saeron really sell the Seori character. There are sadness, loneliness, and bitterness around her that make her looks believably much more mature even with the same appearance. Then there is also Jun's ever growing guile and his new life. I'm just so giddy for the new development.

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I agree. I feel like this week's episodes really stepped things up for me and now I can't wait to find out what happens next!

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Im quite indifferent to kim sae ron, not watching this for her or Yoo shi yoon but for the genre, fantasy saeguk especially set in joseon is my fav. However after the time skip, im very much blown away by both's acting. She somehow managed to give an older/matured? vibe and Joon, how i ache for him.

Story is dark and sobering. Being a slave is the worst fate one can have.

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Kim Sae-ron lost me in ep 3 and 4, but she stepped up her game in ep 5.

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Thanks for the recap! I am relieved to hear even the actors can't figure out the mysteries. Makes me feel less unobservant. I think the black smoke made its way to Korea from an X-files episode. The truth is out there, the curse is caused by extra-terrestrials, and not cute ones that ride bikes to the moon, neither.

I loved that Jun got to repeat his line from the first ep when he won the race, "Did I win something I wasn't supposed to win?" Hopefully that is the show's plot disguising itself as a punch line. In the end, after much kerfluffle Jun wins, so Yeon-hee and the good guys win!!

Totally agree that having Yo-gwang back made my day! He's the Lee Jung Jae character in Sandglass, Jae-hee. Loyally standing by the heroine, giving her solace and companionship...and pretty sure he is in love with her, while she is not at all ever going to fall in love back...tragic!

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Who is the new king??

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That's my question too! Is he the queen's husband (we never saw his face again after her pregnancy) ,or some random relative?

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I assumed he is a fake, and is some other guy who is used instead to keep the image that the royal prince isn't dead?

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He was called a crown prince because the king is still alive. After the Dowager Queen died, the Queen was the eldest female. The king obviously doesn't like her very much. It is still the original king, the Crown Prince (and Persimmon's) grandfather.

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D-Wiki says: Lee Ji Hoon as King Seonjo
"King Seonjo was born Yi Yeon in 1552 in Hanseong (today, Seoul), capital of Korea, as the third son of Prince Deokheung (덕흥군), himself son of King Jungjong and RNC Changbin Ahn-ssi (창빈 안씨, 1499–1549). He was given the title of Prince Haseong. When King Myeongjong died young without an heir, Prince Haseong was the next in the line of succession. Then, by decision of the royal court, he was crowned king in 1567 at the age of 16."

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Ah thanks jomo! I know hardly anything about Korean history, so this really helped. So no wonder there's animosity between the Queen Dowager and the King, because he isn't directly a child of her right?

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I think he is the queen's husband, father of the crown prince. During the prince's birthday celebration they didn't focus on him, so he seemed unfamiliar. Either way he is the king now!

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King Seonjo is not the queen's husband. Her husband, King Myeongjong, died in that five year time skip. According to what I've read, King Seonjo was adopted by Myeongjong after the Crown Prince died.

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He's King Seonjo, nephew of King Myeongjeong (Queen Shim's husband). He was next in line when the Crown Prince died.

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Th Queen's husband, King Myeongjong only have 1 heir that is Crown Prince (died), so when he died he doesn't have the heir to the throne. The new king is his nephew, King Seonjo, the next in line when King Myeongjong died.
The Queen acting as Queen Dowager here because she's the oldest woman of the royal family (after the previous Queen Dowager died too).

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Daamnnn why'd the crown prince have to die? He seemed like a nice guy and i was hoping for the twins to reunite and have a beautiful sibling bond *cries*

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Seconding! I wanted to see the siblings bonding and working together to take out the forces of evil. Hope he is still alive somehow.

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I'm glad to see I'm not the only one sad about this. I guess it's necessary for the story and we do have a lot of characters to focus on, but it is a shame. He was a sweet kid.

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I know; same here! I'm hoping maybe they'll bring him back, since his death was a little peculiar and he's barely been used in the plot.

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True! So saaaaaddddd

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After watching OHYA I've become more aware of all the noises and sounds in dramas. Man did that thorn extracting scene made me queasy (just looking away didn't help because Mr. Sound Director did his job too well lol) and that black smoke thingy still gives me the creeps every single time. XD

Btw Choi Sung-won (who plays Jun's friend) just disappeared after that scene and there's no mention of him at all since then. Combined with the time skip I wonder whether they're just letting us assume that he's ran off after telling Ok about Jun and mom...but thinking about it, it's probably the best way to write him out of the show, I hope he gets well soon. :-(

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The music too! Every time that ominous music comes up...it also gives the creeps.

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Didn't I read that the actor who played him got sick? "Choi Sung-Won, cast to play supporting character Dong-Rae, has dropped out of the drama series. He was diagnosed with leukemia on May 4, 2016 after suffering light bruising during filming of the drama series. His leukemia was caught in the early stages and there is a high chance of curing his illness through treatment." (from Asian Wiki)

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Yeah that was a low-key way to let the sick actor go. I was worried they would have to prune a plotline or ask him to do just a little more work to close out a scene or something. It's better if he can go right to the hospital and do that treatment. Leukemia is nothing to mess around with.

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Both dramas have absolutely amazing sound engineers accompanied by great soundtracks. The two dramas really show the range of how much sound can enhance a piece, from comedic undertones and clever commentary to enriching a world with another dimension and emphasising the atmosphere of the story.

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He's alive! Ohthankyou Drama, I'm sorry for not trusting you more. And all these new questions are SO intriguing. I am very, very happy right now.

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i think that red clock isnt linked to the curse perse, he/she seems to be a croonie of Hong Joo? cos like she needs human hearts to feed the dark spirits or whatnot haha but yes SO MANY QSTNS but i am loving this drama very much (i didnt dare to watch at the king's gory scene as well)

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This is not a spoiler, because I'm only guessing. But I think Red Coat is Choi Hyun-Seo. The shamaness has got him and is feeding him heart dust. I think (like a zombie) he is doing her bidding.

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those were my thoughts as well! that red coat is choi hyun-seo. Under her control somehow.

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I think the nasty shamaness burn the heart of those who drank the elixir to undo the candle light (hence make Seo Ri's effort to light the candle fruitless, and extend her curse).

Poong Yeon's dad is kept alive (and young, at that) should have something to do with paying back his kindness to the shamaness in the good old days when they're both working for tha palace.

Plus, by doing so, she might gain Poong Yeon and Yeon Hee's favor. Smart shamaness.

My question: if the shamaness' goal is just to put Joseon in ruin, shouldn't she just cursing everybody with some sort of illness? That should be a lot more simple. She's just dilly dallying right now, by sticking to Seo Ri's curse and keeping the Taoist monk alive.

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@Bunny

"if the shamaness’ goal is just to put Joseon in ruin, shouldn’t she just cursing everybody with some sort of illness?"

I think Hong Joo's goal is to control the royal family, to put them under her thumb. Through them, she'll have control over the nation, changing the political/societal order as they were then to whatever her vision may be, thus ruining the known Joseon. We see this from her debate with Hyun Seo who is adamant in following the heaven's will as opposed to Hong Joo's "making my own will". She, who was oppressed by those above her. Easier way to effect change, control the head and the body/tail will follow.

Good or bad, Hong Joo's a revolutionary. I think. :-)

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Agreed! Her definition of "good way" is "her way."

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ok after watching ep 6 i had similar suspicions as well! that would rly be a plot twist gah i was hoping that she was keeping him alive simply because she felt indebted or maybe even affectionate towards him but i guess not D: it would also explain why the red cloak (apologies for my spelling mistake earlier) is like always wearing a mask/looks like a zombie

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Same here. I thought it was Choi Hyun Seo..

But I don't wanna be too sure, because somehow, things are unpredictable.

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Thanks for the recap, opensesame!

Your questions are my questions! ^^ And that's what makes this drama so good.

Thank goodness Yogwang survived!! We all know that Yeonhee needs someone by her side. The time jump was smooth and it makes me wonder what are the rules of keeping those candles lit. The wishes collected from that tree plus Seori's determination? I guess Hongjoo's tapping into the princess's whereabouts and trying to counter her efforts to light the candles.

Jun and mommy broke me again... And now I guess his resolve is to put up a front by being his half-brother's lackey until the day for revenge to be ultimately delivered. You are so observant in picking out the tree mark on his chest being the same as the ripped out page from the book. Can't wait for the follow-up to that clue. Good to see Jun helping out with the criminal arrests. I'm more curious when he will start concocting some real medicine. XD I also want to see Jun and Seori's reunion soon.

New king... Wow, they do make these scenes pretty bloody and glory. If the illness is a curse, I wonder if it's always going to affect whichever king is currently on the throne. And why during the full moon only?

Glad that Poongyeon is OK, but wish the crown prince had survived since I had hoped he would meet his twin sister one day. I wonder if the short return to health was just like those in real life who are wrought with sickness, but seem to get a bit better just before death. There's a Chinese saying for this "better before death" condition.

I am also wondering what will happen to Hongjoo. She is with Red Cloak to get those human hearts as she continues to practise black magic. Yet her forearm is already showing signs of the curse effects. She might have extracted the spirit (?), that black smoke, from the crown prince in order to use as a weapon against Seori later. After all, she is hard to kill off and one of the stipulations was that only her twin brother can kill her. Also, I wonder what can be the benefit for Hongjoo to keep Poongyeon's dad alive. Lingering feelings or his powers can be of use still?

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I wanted to give Ok a chance because you know, he might still change but I lost it when he used Jun's mom as a stepping stool. Ugh. What a disgrace to humankind. I seriously wanted to punch him in the face right there. Ok's mom is not helping at all too. She's a big part of why he grew up like that.

Eeeeep! Yeon-hee became so badass! I felt really bad for her though coz it seems like her heart being "frozen" is because she chose to do that to keep herself away from other people. The curse said the people she loves will die so she won't let them come closer to her. :(

I'm still curious as to how the curse and all this would connect to Heo Jun becoming a great doctor in the future.

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There will be a very long queue of people wanting to slap, kick, hit, punch, stab, burn, and basically torment that Ok guy.

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Lol, add me to the bunch. But am I the only one that wanted to smack the mother? No way in this world are you going to use, abuse and miss treat me (and my son) all my life (and my son's life aswell) and I allow you to use my back (even if forced) as leverage to get out that fire. Nope, me and you going down TOGETHER!

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It's servant mentality. They give their life for their masters. It's sad but that's how it was. That's the only thing she knows, it's the normal for her. She tried to go against what she knows for Joon but unfortunately, it didn't work out.

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They are not just "servants", they are SLAVES... The translation is too soft, IMO

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Add me to that line.

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Every time Ok opens his mouth i want to punch him, he's so immature.

I also thought the frozen heart thing would be part of the curse so that Yeon Hee really couldn't feel emotions but she's just her old sweet self trying hard to distance herself from people.

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Most of the historical kdrama I watched are tragedy or semi-tragedy.But mirror of the witch is with a interesting story,I wish this will be non-tragedy one.

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Episodes 5 & 6 threw me off a bit. The story is still intriguing, but the two additional female characters just grates at my nerves. The annoying one and the other one that is honestly the walking suspect. I watched a lot of historical, and i'd rather bypass these characters. Maybe I'll like them in future episode (hopefully, Plz let me like them), but from my experience I normally don't??. Arghhhhhhhh, aside from that who is that new kinggggggggggg!!!!!!!!!. The actor seriously impressed me. From his grimacing, to maintaining a "I'm Ok, even if i feel I'm at death's door " look. I replayed his scene a few times. I love when he goes up against the queen dowager. Good stuff, good stuff I tell ya! He might steel the show, just might. As for the leads they need to meet asap (lol)... as for why her guardians came back to life, they need to explain that.

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I agree with you. The actor who played the new king is such a good actor, isnt he? I noticed he was in Six Flying Dragon as well. No wonder.

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Yes he is. After watching SFG (all episodes) if you hadn't remind me I would've thought it was my first time seeing him (I thought it really was tho.). Just to show you this guy is a cameleon. I'll be keeping my eyes on him.

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I've been looking out for Lee Ji-hoon for a while :) I actually didn't realize he was in this, so I'm happy to find him being featured here in a challenging role. He is certainly doing a great job so far. He also just got cast as the lead in a drama special, Legendary Shuttle.

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He was in School 2013 too. :) Him and Yo-gwang here had a bromantic side story with another character.

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Any bets on whether dead crown prince get out of that bottle eventually ???? We all know that major characters in kdramas who die aren't really dead -- that's how you know they're major characters :)

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But even if he gets out. His body is already decaying (they don't cremate kings do they? ). I think he is really dead, but this is k drama so..

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Well, the new king is King Seonjo, if they want it to be historically accurate, he is the real deal. And Heo Joon is a royal physician so I wonder how he gets his pass. At one point, I take it he will be the one who will lighting the candles for Seori.

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@Gem, maybe Heo Joon will be the only one that'll cure the King illness.

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That's another question. Was the black smoke that Hong Joo pulled out of the prince his soul/ part of the curse/ Hong Joos black magic?

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Is it a 'new' king ?

... i thought they put the soul of someone else in the crown prince's body and passes him off as the new king ... till the shamaness returns

Is it not the same actor ?

... damn! i wanted the twins to have a reunion

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Nope. It's a new king. He's next in line, shall the past king (and the crown prince) died, I think.

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Thanks for the recap opensesame. Mirror of the Witch - a good choice by Yoon Shi-Yoon choosing this as his comeback drama project after military service. MOTW continues to work its magic. An entertaining hour of tv full of suspenseful storytelling that leaves viewers greatly anticipating the next episode.

5 episodes in...How exciting and wonderful for us as viewers to know that JTBC is all in with this drama project: CGI graphics/special effects, cinematography/directing, background music/sound editing, really good casting of the lead actors, and a writer who continues to be up for the challenge when it comes to mixing genres and balancing the aspects of fantasy, historical, and suspense in order to offer viewers a more thrilling and suspenseful narrative.

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Some of your questions will be answered in episode 6 but some still remain unanswered! I'm sure we'll get to know everything with the coming episodes but I really wanna know who got the talisman on Yo-gwang and saved him, Hyun-seo? Hong-joo?!

For a moment there Jun got me worried, I thought he turned into an "Ok" but now we know that he's keeping himself close to Ok so he can take revenge and destroy him, oh how I want to see Ok destroyed! I knew he wouldn't save Jun's mother but using her as a stool?! how low can he get?!

Yo-gwang survived, YAY! Heon-hee really needs someone by her side to guide her and without him she'd be a lost. Hong-joo seems to be doing all she can to put out the candles Yeon-hee tries to light, but I don't think 108 are enough to break the curse, it has to do something with the page Hyun-seo's got hidden, to repel the curse they'll need that page but how are they ever gonna get it if they don't even know about it!

I don't think red cloak is related to the curse, it's someone Hong-joo's got to kill people and get their hearts for her black magic!

I can't wait to see Jun and yeon-hee together again, can't wait for the next episodes!

Thanks for the recap.

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Ooh thanks for giving us the recap earlier now. Goes a long way towards making me less jittery all week because there's finally an avenue to discuss the drama. d=

I'm not big on saguek dramas, nor on fantasy, but Mirror is doing such a great job of keeping it mysterious without coming off as tacky. (Okay, except the comically squeaky sounds the spirit made whenever it was flying or possessing bodies.) The visuals are gorgeous and the plot is so unpredictable I'm always at the edge of my seat.

Episode 5 was crazy ─ I can't even wrap head around all the new plot twists!

My questions so far:
- What was in that page that Hyun Seo ripped out?
- Who saved Yo-Gwang? I mean, if that guy is so talented, why wasn't he part of the Taoist gang? Also on a slight spoiler-ish note, from episode 6, it seems like Yo-Gwang isn't as young as he looks so, his tenderness towards Seo-Ri is way way way more awkward than the KSR-YSY age gap.
- How does that mirror work? Why did it protect Heo Jun? (Also, major props for even making sense of what the mirror scar was!)
- Why did the twins' hair turn black?
- Was there a particular significance to the late crown prince's sudden voracious appetite? It seems a bit too out-of-the-blue as just a filler until he died. And why did he need to be killed?
- Hong Joo sounded a little wistful when she was holding the urn and looking back at the palace, almost like she hadn't wanted things to turn out that way. I wonder why.
- What's Poong Yeon's current role now? How did he and king get so close? Did they study together?
- What's up with the king? I feel pretty intrigued by the actor's portrayal, and history (well, wiki) largely paints him as a king who cares about his people... so I really hope Seonjo's on the "good" side this time.
- I'd assume that Heo Jun with his un-discovered medical prowess will solve the king's thorny problems, but in the first place, they don't even seem like there's medical grounding for that matter...
- Who's the masked lady? Why does she need to be masked when the rest weren't?
- Does Hong Joo/masked lady specifically target people holding the tell-tale medicine bottles from Seo-Ri?
- Who is Do Hee and what's up with her?
- What's the point of killing Hyun Seo and then trying to save him/prolong his life until a cure is ready?

I'm not entirely on board the specualations that the masked person is Hyun Seo, because her (my assumption right now) movements are very fluid and cognizant ─ that of a thinking person reacting to the environment and circumstances ─ and that's not how I'd imagine a bewitched person would move.

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Really liking all the mysteries. The set with the candles is really pretty. Yeon Hees looks really beautiful, I like the pastel colours of her dress. Poong Yeons outfit looks really good as well, like the hat tassle.

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Dude. I don't really get all that scared during most of the spooky scenes, but I clearly must be more squeamish than I thought. Or was that scene with the king getting treated impossible for anyone else to sit through? I tried so hard! I mean, I never fast forward through scenes, but eventually right towards the end I had to give in! (Just a little) Lol.

Ugh, I just have such a hard time watching people in that much pain.

Which brings me to Yoon Shi-yoon's face in that screen-cap! How dare you do this to him, Show?! Seriously, though, that expression. I've always been impressed with Yoon, but he continues to outdo himself. Like others, I'm surprised by how much I want our leads to come together. They both have proven how strong they've grown in the last 5 years, but both are still struggling so much that you can't help but want them to find support & happiness in one another.

Anyway, I'm officially pretty addicted to this drama. I think next week is going to be very entertaining and I can't stop listening to that ending track, "Love"- Lush.

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I can think of only two drama scenes where I had to look away because I felt squeamish. The first was in the first episode of City Hunter when they dug the bullet out of Jin Pyo's shoulder. The second was this one with the king getting treated. I can't begin to imagine what it must be like for him living with that, and I can't wait to find out what's causing it.

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Lol I love that I know what you mean by *Jun pyo* even tho that wasn't the character name in the drama or his name In life

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*in real life*

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Most shows I've seen the screen time is 80% OTP and 20% everyone else. I like that we see the development of all the characters in this show hope it stays like this in future episodes.

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Major props to the director, writer and whole production team! They created mystical place for Yeon Hee/Seo Ri and it's beautiful and really believable. On the other hand I got goosebumps every time they show Hong Joo's place and her black magic. The show is doing very well in my opinion and all actors play their part convincingly, at least no acting black hole among the leads.

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Episode 6 does some good explaining about how Hong-Joo prevents the candles from staying lit. It's not a pleasant thing to explain and I think Seo-Ri will be horrified once she finds out. Poor thing, she'll probably think it's all her fault again.

I am glad everyone is unanimous in the opinion that watching the King's
appointment with his doctor is unsettling and positively stomach-churning. (Good job drama!)

My big questions for this drama: Where does Heo-Jun fit amongst all this magicky? What can the mark of the tree mean and why did Hyun-Seo rip out that page?

It really does seem like fate when a strong independent life story becomes intertwined with another quite different one. It's interesting how the two leads have such different worries and lives (originally) yet make irreversible connections with each other. I do appreciate the pace of this drama, so far I haven't felt like there was a particularly unnecessary scene.

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Thank goodness Yo-gwang is alive! I was sure him and the big, bad sword of epic were out forever. And I totally want to know more about Sol-gae, I hope we get that backstory soon. Thanks for the recap, Opensesame!

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Ha ha..the big, bad sword of epic really reminded me of Kurosaki Ichigo's sword in his early iteration of a substitute shinigami in the Bleach anime. :-D

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Lol. My thoughts exactly.

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ditto, it's part of what made me come back for more. :) It's just the best.

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Great show, I'm so hooked..but has anyone discussed the 15 yr age gap between the two leads?? I think she's only 14 or 15. He's 29 or 30.

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We discussed it ages ago XD now everyone forgot about it, because the drama is so good there are other things to talk about. Plus you cannot really notice because the actors are incredible in their roles.
I think is not a desirable situation, but it seems that the romance is not going to be central here, so I do not care that much as long as they do not go too far with it.

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I'll tell you what I really want to know... Where are the locations being filmed? I need dust off my hiking boots and take a trip!

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so..who is this new king? where is he come from?

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So I'm in love with this show and even more excited that it gives me something to watch on Fridays and Saturdays!!! I'm so into the mystery behind the whole involvement of everyone and I loved the main leads chemistry. I keep remembering that the only person who could kill the Princess in the Prince and it makes me believe that he's not actually dead, but probably the Red Cloak that the evil woman kidnapped along with his soul. She probably wanted everyone to think he was dead and then took him and made him into a fighting machine brainwashed by her black magic. I know I could and might be totally off base, but I'm really feeling this idea right now. Either way I've always love Yoon Shi-yoon and his bubbly personality so watching this entire drama!

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My biggest question so far is: if Seo Ri needs to struggle a lot to light just 1 candle, how did she manage to light 100 candles back then? :-/

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They did say it took her 5 years to light 100 candles. She didn't light them in one afternoon.

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Okay, first of all... YAYYYYYY, jun cried again, pls remember am no sadist but YSY just impresses me how his able to portray his characters pain and sorrow its just so heart breaking. He better get an award for his role here! I said he BETTER KOREA!

Anyways on to the man on every bodies minds, the new king, is it just me or does he look a bit like Go soo? like a younger version of him, cuz his really really...... HOT! What? Can't a girl appreciate a good looking man when she sees one, especially one who can act as good as Go soo? And the doctor scene gave me the hibby jibbers, the makeup was so real and the sound! Oh my- simply put, it was gross! But i loved the way he acted. Just awesome!

Evil Witch woman, am counting on the lonely-2 to get you for everything you've been up to in Joseon! Dark magic does not pay!!!!!

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Yeon-hee's twin with white hair: Naruto.
Yeoh-hee with white hair: Elsa slash Dumbledore.
May I just say the wigs were horrendous. Thank goodness their hair's back!

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The moment the crown prince woke up and said he was hungry, I was thinking Everyone save themselves, he's a zombie. He's going to eat his mother any minute now.

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I was totally grossed out by the thorns on the king's body. I feel like vomiting whenever I think of it. But still, MotW really is doing great at being dark.

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