Rating:
Average user rating 4.2
82

Mirror of the Witch: Episode 11

It’s an action-packed episode, where gauntlets are thrown, loyalties are tested, and battle lines are drawn. What you see is not what you get, and the story does a great job plumbing the depths of its characters, especially as they come to face some difficult choices. Yeon-hee and Jun find themselves at the center of a hurricane, but with each other, they can find peace, understanding, and acceptance — which just might be enough to survive Hong-joo’s nefarious, often very effective, villainy.

 

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

After Seo-ri/Yeon-hee (everyone seems to be back to calling her Yeon-hee now, so we’ll go with that) is taken away by Red Cloak, Jun angrily confronts Yo-gwang about why he attacked and separated them, which allowed Yeon-hee’s curse to activate. Poong-yeon runs up before Yo-gwang can respond, demanding to know where Yeon-hee has gone.

We see that the Red Cloak, aka Sol-gae, has brought Yeon-hee to Hong-joo’s lair. Sol-gae straps Yeon-hee down with red bindings, but as she takes off the Red Cloak mask, she seems to look down on Yeon-hee’s still body with an almost regretful air.

After losing Yeon-hee’s trail, the three boys end up going to Taoist master Hyun-seo for help. When Hyun-seo sees them, he asks in alarm where Yeon-hee is.

Yeon-hee starts awake, still in her cursed state, and begins to thrash with panic as she realizes she’s tied down to a bed just like in her dream. Hong-joo arrives, noting that Yeon-hee seems to remember her. Hong-joo picks up a sword as she silkily reminds Yeon-hee that she should never have been born at all, and that innocent people have died because of her. Well… that’s because you killed them.

Yeon-hee’s eyes glow purple as she attempts to use her magic, but Hong-joo tells her not to bother since that won’t work in this place. Yeon-hee asks what Hong-joo has to do with any of this, and Hong-joo holds a sword to Yeon-hee’s neck as she explains that Yeon-hee was born because of a mistake she made, so she has to take that life back.

Leaving Yeon-hee strapped to the bed, Hong-joo glides off to the king’s chamber to start phase two of her plan. She sits next to the sleeping king and says that he never would’ve been able to look at the throne if it weren’t for her, so he shouldn’t resent her too much. She pulls a talisman out to begin the soul-swapping ritual, when suddenly the king starts awake and seizes her by the wrist.

Hong-joo gasps, but quickly realizes that it’s Hyun-seo, who we see meditating intensely, astral-projecting himself and taking control over the king’s body. The king/Hyun-seo grabs a nearby sword and points it at Hong-joo, saying he knows all about her plan.

Hong-joo is surprised but not too worried, and she points out that Hyun-seo is essentially dead, with a body that is barely held together by her dark magic. She definitely has a point, as we see Hyun-seo visibly struggle to keep the possession going, the king’s body faltering.

Hong-joo bares her neck to him as if challenging him, and worries that Hyun-seo might really die trying to hold on. She does another spell, sending a mist of black smoke into the king’s body, which immediately makes the veins on Hyun-seo’s neck go black. He eventually succumbs, releasing control of the king and vomiting blood back in his own body. Hong-joo uncaps the urn containing Prince Sunhoe’s shadow soul and smiles darkly.

Outside, Poong-yeon and Jun creep up near Hong-joo’s lair and Poong-yeon tells Jun to go in and find Yeon-hee while he distracts the guards. Poong-yeon makes sure to add that he’s sending Jun inside because he’s Yeon-hee’s human talisman shield, not because Poong-yeon trusts him.

To create a diversion Poong-yeon runs into the fray, sword drawn, and faces off against Hong-joo’s soldiers. Jun makes his way inside and manages to put down one of the guards.

Hong-joo arrives outside, closely followed by Sol-gae in her Red Cloak mask and the king, who appears to be in some kind of daze. Sol-gae peels off from the group to fight Poong-yeon, who can only watch helplessly while Hong-joo and the king bypass the fight to join a frightened Yeon-hee in the lair. The king’s eunuch witnesses all of this and runs to tell the queen dowager what’s going on.

In the ensuing fight, Poong-yeon is outnumbered, though he manages to slice Sol-gae in the arm again. He’s injured badly and eventually falls to his knees, but Sol-gae actually stops his attacker from finishing him, and faces off against him herself. Both of them get in a few hits, but Poong-yeon knocks her Red Cloak mask off, and Sol-gae flees. Did he see her face?

Inside, Hong-joo hands a dagger to the king, addressing him as Crown Prince Sunhoe — so the king has been possessed by Prince Sunhoe’s soul. The prince takes the dagger in a daze, and Hon-joo urges him to stab Yeon-hee in the heart in order to gain a new body.

Prince Sunhoe swings the dagger downwards, but hesitates at last second, the blade inches from Yeon-hee’s body. Hong-joo urges him to finish the job, saying that Yeon-hee’s existence is the cause of Prince Sunhoe’s suffering. With a tortured look, he slowly raises his arm and begins to strike again —

But Jun dashes forward and knocks the dagger out of Prince Sunhoe’s hand just in time. Jun holds his sword up to Hong-joo’s neck and backs her away from Yeon-hee, and he reaches behind him to clasp Yeon-hee’s hand. As soon as he does, the tree tattoo on his chest starts to glow, and Prince Sunhoe’s shadow soul leaves the king’s body to return to the urn.

Hong-joo looks shocked, and even more so when Yeon-hee’s hair changes back to black at Jun’s touch. But it isn’t long before Jun is quickly surrounded by a cadre of bodyguards, who corner him. Hong-joo notes that he is Yeon-hee’s human talisman shield, while Jun glowers back in return and names her as the murderer behind the Red cloak assassin.

Hong-joo tells Jun that he’ll need to risk his life to go up against her, and Jun doesn’t hesitate to answer that he’ll put his life on the line. Hong-joo says he won’t feel that it’s unfair then, and orders him killed. Her guard raises a sword, and Yeon-hee screams, “No!”

At the last second, Poong-yeon appears, streaked with blood and swinging his sword like a boss. With his sword to Hong-joo’s throat, he orders Jun to take Yeon-hee out. The guards stand by as Jun slashes her binds and carries her out.

As they leave, the queen dowager arrives and sees Jun carrying Yeon-hee out, and looks intrigued to see her daughter at last.

Poong-yeon and Hong-joo have a frank conversation while surrounded by a wall of swords. Hong-joo realizes that he was unaffected when the curse was activated, and asks, “Whose heart has changed?” Poong-yeon looks stricken as she explains how the curse will kill those whom Yeon-hee loves, and who love her.

She says that Poong-yeon is free from the curse, which should make his choice easier, and asks for his help to kill the cursed princess for the good of the king and the nation. He growls that the old Yeon-hee might come back if he kills Hong-joo, but she says if she dies, Yeon-hee will forever be trapped in her curse.

Hong-joo asks if Yeon-hee’s cursed form was hideous to him, and tells him it’s not his fault. She says that’s a hideous monster, not the woman he loved, which is why she’s planning to kill it. Poong-yeon snarls at her to shut up and begins to swing again, when Hong-joo finally throws out that she is the king’s only hope to survive. And just seconds before passing out, the king struggles to say Poong-yeon’s name. It works, and Poong-yeon lowers his sword.

After escaping, Jun puts Yeon-hee down to check on her and make sure she isn’t hurt. Yeon-hee wraps her arms around him and begins to sob that he promised to stay by her side. Jun, his eyes full of tears, apologizes and says it was his fault. He promises never to leave her side again, and in that moment, Yeon-hee’s curse mark appears on his neck, glowing blue.

Hyun-seo asks about Poong-yeon, and Yo-gwang says he is free of Yeon-hee’s curse now, which he thinks is a good thing, though it only seems to trouble Hyun-seo more. Yo-gwang worries about his condition and Hyun-seo sighs that he can’t endure for long, since he is just barely living on through black magic. But before the black magic takes over entirely, he has much to do for Yeon-hee before he goes. Yo-gwang pledges to help.

The queen dowager arrives to thank Hyun-seo for his service, though they both agree Hong-joo will not give up. The queen dowager has something else on her mind, though — Yeon-hee. She confirms with Hyun-seo that Yeon-hee is the key to breaking the curse, and seems to have an idea.

Meanwhile, Sol-gae returns to Hong-joo’s shaman council to a seething Hong-joo and a pile of bodies, courtesy of Poong-yeon.

The next morning, Hong-joo is by the king’s side as he wakes up. He remembers very little, apparently, though he briefly flashes back to seeing Poong-yeon holding a sword to Hong-joo’s neck, which doesn’t look good out of context if the king really believes Hong-joo is trying to heal him.

Hong-joo proceeds to question Poong-yeon’s loyalty, and she muses that Poong-yeon surely hadn’t known that Yeon-hee was the princess, otherwise he would’ve told the king. The king has been defending his friend Poong-yeon up until now, but he starts to wonder.

Yo-gwang and Jun bring Yeon-hee to a remote house, where someone is waiting to meet her. They send her inside alone, and Yeon-hee steps hesitantly through the door as her mother, the queen dowager, turns around to face her. The queen dowager asks her with a halting voice to listen to her story.

Outside, Jun and Yo-gwang wonder what’s going on in there, and that’s when Yo-gwang sees the curse mark on Jun’s neck. Yo-gwang practically face-palms and heaves a deep sigh. Hyun-seo arrives and Jun asks if Yeon-hee’s curse has to do with the king, based on everything he witnessed last night.

Inside, the queen dowager confesses tearfully that with Hong-joo’s help, she was able to give birth to beautiful twins. They discovered that the twins were cursed, so when she could only save one, she chose the son. She looks into Yeon-hee’s eyes as she confesses that she threw Yeon-hee, her child, away. Yeon-hee can’t process it all and says the queen dowager is mistaking her for someone else, but the queen dowager cries that she was cold and cruel and has no right to be her mother. She doesn’t expect Yeon-hee to forgive her, but begs her to bring an end to the curse that came from her sin of using black magic.

Yeon-hee and the queen dowager are both crying by now, and Yeon-hee asks if what Hong-joo said was right, about it being a mistake that she was born. The queen dowager simply warns her that Hong-joo will come after her again. She takes Yeon-hee’s hand and begs her to go up against Hong-joo and save the royal family, but Yeon-hee pulls her hand away, terrified. The queen dowager calls out tearfully, “Child!” but Yeon-hee asks her not to call her that and walks out.

Yeon-hee emerges and sees Hyun-seo for the first time in years, and runs to hug him, calling him father. He hesitates to return her embrace, while Yeon-hee cries and tells him that the lady inside was saying strange things. She asks if she’s really someone’s mistake and someone’s sin, and asks tearfully, “Who am I?”

But now it’s Hyun-seo’s turn to let Yeon-hee down on the worst day ever, as he steps away and addresses her formally as the princess, calling himself a lowly servant who hid her away. He tells her to accept that she must fight Hong-joo and break the curse as her mother said.

Yeon-hee sobs, but he tells her, still speaking formally, that she is the only one who can end the curse. It seems like the pain is gutting Hyun-seo, but he remains stone-faced as Yeon-hee runs off and Jun goes after her.

Back at the palace, Poong-yeon warns the king that Hong-joo is behind the Red Cloak murders. The king sighs that Hong-joo is telling him to keep distance from Poong-yeon, and vice versa. He says that he believes in Poong-yeon — of course, after all they’ve been through together — but that he needs to be sure.

The king does exactly what Hong-joo wants him to do and tells Poong-yeon to bring the princess to him by midnight to prove his loyalty. He adds with a carefully neutral expression that the princess’s name is Yeon-hee. Poong-yeon looks both surprised and devastated.

Jun and Yeon-hee sit side by side by the river, and she says she can’t believe what the queen dowager and her father said, so she’s waiting to hear her brother say it’s not true. Yeon-hee asks what a mother is — she doesn’t know since she’s never had one.

Jun takes her hand gently, explaining that his mother held his hand just like this whenever he was bullied by the other kids. He remembers how warm that hand always felt, and muses that all mothers must feel the same.

Yeon-hee says that she was thrown away by her mother for being cursed, and cries that she doesn’t know who she is. Jun tenderly reassures her that the girl he met in the forest, the girl at the temple, and the girl here today are all the same Yeon-hee to him, cursed, white-haired, black-haired, princess or not: “To me, you’re just Yeon-hee.” *Cue sighs*

Sol-gae catches up with Poong-yeon, and she flashes back to the night of the failed soul transfer, when Hong-joo noted her hesitation in killing Poong-yeon and offered to get rid of him. It seems Sol-gae got close to Poong-yeon to find Yeon-hee in the first place, and she promises to carry out her mission. Hong-joo warns her that love is the fastest path to destroying herself.

In the present, Sol-gae reaches out to grab Poong-yeon’s sleeve and asks him not to go see Yeon-hee. She says she’s worried about his health, but he insists that he’s fine, and Sol-gae’s face falls.

Yo-gwang helps a very pained Hyun-seo up the stairs. Hyun-seo asks about Jun, and Yo-gwang tells him that Yeon-hee’s curse tattoo has appeared on Jun’s neck, and Hyun-seo figures that the talisman on his chest appears to be shielding him from the curse.

Poong-yeon arrives at the river to find Jun and Yeon-hee holding hands, and Poong-yeon has another quick flashback to Yeon-hee in her cursed state. Jun hangs back with Sol-gae and asks her about her capture-the-Red-Cloak mission, wanting to be in on any clues so he can help catch Red Cloak. He notices blood dripping down her sleeve and grabs her hand worriedly, but Sol-gae pulls away quickly and snaps at him to be quiet.

Yeon-hee tells Poong-yeon that she wants to live as his sister and their father’s daughter. He says desperately that nothing has changed, and that he doesn’t care about her curse. He takes her hand and asks her to run away with him, suggesting that they find another forest house that they can hide away in. Yeon-hee just says she wants to show him something and leads the way into the forest, along with Jun and Sol-gae.

They arrive at Cheongbing Temple — oh no, they’ve led Sol-gae right to their hideout. Yeon-hee tells Poong-yeon about her wish-granting mission, and Poong-yeon assures her he will help, so that she won’t ever turn into her “monstrous” form again.

Yeon-hee says bravely that the hideous girl is the same as the girl standing in front of him now. But Poong-yeon can’t take much more, and he turns to leave, though Yeon-hee begs him with big eyes. He just says curtly that the monstrous girl is not Yeon-hee, and leaves.

Poong-yeon drinks and Sol-gae watches, as he mourns that he’s useless and can’t protect Yeon-hee. He sighs that the king’s order to bring Yeon-hee to him is just too cruel — how can he bring her to her death? He hates himself for agonizing and having to weigh his love for her with his loyalty to the king.

Afterwards, Sol-gae enters the palace to report to Hong-joo.

Lady Sohn tends to her pathetic son Heo Ok, who is drowning in self-pity and good food. He blames his mother for putting him down his whole life and comparing him to Jun, but she just snaps at him to eat his meat, which he spits out like a toddler.

She snaps at him that it’s high quality local beef that she sent to the king, and reassures him that the king will be on his side. Ok knows that he’ll take the fall when Jun finds the real Red Cloak, but Lady Sohn just urges him to ascend to a higher position to step on Jun when needed.

Poong-yeon goes to see Hyun-seo with a dead look on his face, asking why his father didn’t tell him about Yeon-hee’s curse, which might’ve prevented Poong-yeon from taking her out of the forest house to begin with. Poong-yeon blames himself and asks what he’s supposed to do now.

His father asks if his heart is still the same, and Poong-yeon says it is, that he’s only ever loved one woman his entire life. He asks how he’s supposed to just accept it when she’s turned into “another woman.” Hyun-seo starts to say that Yeon-hee is the same, just in danger now, and that Poong-yeon still needs to protect her as her older brother. But Poong-yeon has had enough, and he snarls that he will not be her brother anymore.

Hyun-seo snaps back that if he cannot accept her cursed state now, then he would not have been able to before, either. He tells Poong-yeon to protect the princess, either as a brother or as a loyal subject of the throne. Poong-yeon yanks away, and says that he will find the Yeon-hee he loved before, somehow.

Jun and Yeon-hee are awakened at night by an unfamiliar sound. They get up to check, and Yeon-hee yelps in shock to see an entire company of armed women with Hong-joo, who arrive at Cheongbing Temple with Yo-gwang held hostage at sword point.

Jun jumps in front of Yeon-hee, while Hong-joo flips through the Mauigeumseo casually and hands it to one of her guards. Hong-joo takes a sword and looks disdainfully around at the place where Yeon-hee has been granting wishes, noting how she lit all those candles not knowing how many people were dying.

Hong-joo approaches them and reminds Yeon-hee what she told her years ago — that they would all die because of her, and that Jun will too. With that, Hong-joo stabs Jun right in the gut. He struggles for air as she drives the sword in deeper, when suddenly his tree tattoo glows again. Hong-joo starts to struggle too, and a force repels her. Her black magic seems to be warring with the tree tattoo, and the protective magic actually propels the sword back out of his body.

Jun collapses to the ground, unconscious, and the curse tattoo on his neck changes color, glowing red. Yeon-hee spills angry tears and her eyes glow purple as her hair goes white, and she lets out a scream that radiates through the temple like a force field, dropping everyone to the ground except Hong-joo. With another scream, she lifts Hong-joo up into the air and growls at her to die. Yeon-hee lifts a hand and draws Hong-joo down toward her.

We cut to a flashback of Yeon-hee’s biological mother cursing Hong-joo in the same way, as Yeon-hee seizes Hong-joo by the neck and begins to squeeze, her eyes glowing with rage.

COMMENTS

What a strong and enjoyable episode — things come to a head, Hong-joo’s plan is finally carried out, and the true colors of our characters start to emerge out of the darkness. I love how there are not too many black and white characterizations; actually, Jun and Yeon-hee seem the most straightforward, but almost everyone else has this complex brew of emotions and motivations bubbling under the surface of their poker faces. It’s great character development and beautiful acting by a talented cast.

I especially appreciate Hong-joo and Hyun-seo just going at it in their mystical ways; they’re at war, but there are also complications, since Hong-joo has saved his life. Or, maybe she’s saving him for some other nefarious plan. I wouldn’t put it past her. I like that she’s a competent and smart villain who knows what she wants, and how to get it. Lady does not mess around. The only thing that bothers me a little is Hong-joo’s motivation. I get that she wants to challenge the whole notion of the bloodline monarchy, but I don’t really get what she gains by putting the soul of the dead prince into the new prince… or really, how she got to this point at all. Did she intend to create a puppet/mirror of herself in whatever progeny was born? Their counterparts, in Poong-yeon and Sol-gae, are just as compelling — Sol-gae’s crush, Poong-yeon’s agony. Both of them are intelligent and loyal people, at war with duty and love.

That being said, the stars of the show are its stars — no runaway side shows here. Yoon Shi-yoon and Kim Sae-ron are just killing it — they sell the chemistry (I admit I was doubtful), they sell the pain, and most of all, in their scenes together, they sell their sincerity for each other. Where all the other characters are rushing around, attending to big, world-changing plans, Jun and Yeon-hee listen and care. Their scenes are accompanied by this sense of peacefulness, because they accept each other as they are, and you know they will be consistently good to each other. When he told her that she was the same, no matter what curse state she was in, it felt like he was setting her free, in a way. It showed when Yeon-hee stood up for herself against Poong-yeon’s judgmental attitude. Jun’s instinct not only to protect her and put her first, but to accept her, has freed her from the prison her life used to be.

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This drama is like a beautiful painting ,in love

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I agree!

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I agree too :D

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heart, heart, heart

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❤️❤️❤️ What's not to adore ,the cinematography ,the direction..the delightful acting and YSY and KSR ..❤️❤️❤️

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This drama has the most beautiful wash of color ever! I remember in the first weeks, each set has a different filter: the palace is green-blue, Joon's riding field is yellow, the Black Forest is blue. It adds to the mystified air of the story. And then each character has his or her own color: Yoonhee is pink, Heo Joon is blue, Poongyeon is purple (nobility - hm), Hong Joo is deep green, and Solgae is red-blue (because obviously she alternates between serial killer and loyal female guard.

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+100,
the cinematography is just picturesque. Need I say, Kim Sae Ron and Yoon Shi Yoon is love. They hugged and just talked to each other and that is felt much more deep, intimate then perhaps a kiss. I was on the edge about their age gap, I'll be honest but damn they are selling it so well.

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I love how accepting Jun is of Yeon Hee. He sees her as her, and no matter what, he will stay by her side. The same goes for her. She accepted him when no one else but his mother would.

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Poon Yeong's reaction is actually understandable. When we like someone, we like what we think the person is. We always want to show our best sides to others, but up to a certain stage, we just want to be ourselves.

I remember when I revealed my messiness to a guy I was seeing, he recoiled in horror. It is a big part of me and yet he was unable to accept it. True enough, it was not real love.

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True colours are revealed when we are at our most vulnerable. It's a good thing you realised early on he wasn't the one, better to live with reality than a image you have of someone within your head.

I enjoyed how they've managed Poon Yeong's change in character, he loves Yeon Hui but now we realise it's just the image of her when they were younger.

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Love the show and especially love how the sound design heightens the mood. But am I the only one who pauses the show during scenes at Cheongbing Temple to see if there is water dripping somewhere? Seriously, it is so clear sounding at times I worry I left the tap of my sink ajar.

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and there's a sound of chicadas if my ears not wrong ! and it's a beautiful (nature) sound effect i've ever heard !

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New drinking game idea: Take a shot every time a sword is pointed at a neck.

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bwesrt idae evr ////////

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Done!

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LOL I remember Six Flying Dragons, it was Boon-yi's neck that's always threatened with swords.

Here, at least it's a bit spread out. :)

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Hahaha. I love it!!!

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Why didn't I think of that with Jackpot? Every time Injwa said "Baek Dae Gil!" and every time Dae Gil said "Lee Injwa!" take a shot. I would have never made it to the end of the episode. But it would have been fun.

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All this stuff about how monstrous Yeon-hee looks when her hair turns white and her eyes turn purple or blue....
1: She doesn't look that monstrous to me.
2: Speaking as someone whose beard is now white and whose remaining hair is heading in that direction, and whose eyes have always been blue.....just.wait.a.minute.
3: (putting on grumpy old man hat) White hair is horrible -- ageist, much??

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That's the only thing that I have a problem with in this show. Everyone talks about Yeon Hi's cursed state like it's supposed to be some monstrous form, but really the only thing different is her hair turns white. It kinda takes me out of the moment when I'm looking at Yeon Hi with white hair and wondering what the monstrous part is. Not to mention, before the show released, it was said that she turns into an old woman, but she just looks like a young girl with white hair. That hallucination the guys saw during their curse illness that Poong Yeon recoiled was much scarier and would actually be more believable as a curse form.

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You guys have to remember that this drama is set centuries ago. Even today, people still stare at someone young with natural (even dyed) white hair. Also, Malawi's albinos (usually white hair, light eyes) are at risk of extinction because their body parts are believed to bring wealth and good luck, so they are being killed and their organs sold.

I think it's very believable that someone so young with white hair and blue eyes would be considered a monster centuries ago when people were even more superstitious.

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Hmm, I didn't think about it that way. I still think that Poong Yeon's reaction to her cursed form was overdone, but I get what you're saying. :)

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I totally agree -- I understood Poong-yeon when his initial reaction to Yeon-hee's transformation was to recoil because, well, it must've been a shock for him. But after he's taken some time to process this, why does he still think Yeon-hee's a monster when literally the only thing that's changed is the color of her hair and eyes? And also, it would've definitely been interesting if the show tried to do something along the lines of Howl's Moving Castle, with Yeon-hee turning into an old lady.

It's interesting how all along, Yeon-hee's motivation to keep fighting the curse was to see/live with her father and brother again, but at this point, there's no way things can revert back to the way they were. I'm sure she still loves Hyun-seo, but he's already treating her with this distance of formality, and Poong-yeon's disgust at her other form, in addition to Yeon-hee maturing, just means that she'll never be the adoring little girl that he loved, and they can't all be a family again.

Thanks for the recap, hazelair!

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Yes I also don't understand his reaction. Just her eyes and her color changed. She is still the same person. That would have been more interesting if she turned into some type of monster or an old lady.
I like that Jun tells her that he will help her. That she is still the same person no matter what form she is in.
For me Hong Joo is doing all of this to get her revenge on the people that harm her. Just like she told Hyun-Seo that now she wants to be the one who tramples on people. She is the want that ones to have control and be powerful.

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Well, I thing they way the cursed ones see her is not the way we see her, just changing the color of her hair. Even if Poong Yeon is not cursed anymore, seeing her changing might trigger the memories of terror that he suffered when he was cursed. I do not think they are supposed to be scared only of her white hair.

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He problably thinks that if she turned into a monster, then that means that when the curse is broken Yoon Hee will return to be the girl he imagined her to be. He would rather believe that she turned into a monster than simply admit that Yoon Hee is not who he thought she was, that he fell in love with an image that he created of her in his head that doesn't match reality, which means that his love is not "real" - was never real if she was a witch the whole time. So it's better to be in denial.

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If you remember from Episode 4, he saw Yeon-hee as some sort of white-haired ghost with mottled skin and huge red eyes once he was afflicted with the curse (it was truly horrifying imo). He saw her as that creature once the curse took effect again and he can't shake off the memory of that sight. I can understand why his reaction is like that.

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+1 Yes, both PY and Jun saw her differently in their cursed state. Their reactions are completely understandable. Plus, seems like they could hear the evil spirits.

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As I remember from episode 4 that scary and hideous creature was not Yeon-hee, but a ghost that Poong-yeon could see because of his curse! When Yeon-hee went to visit him, we could see both together because the ghost was right behind her, and Poong-yeon was so freaked out that he couldn't see Yeon-hee!

I think he was only in love with what he tought of Yeon-hee, innocent and naïve, but once he found out that she's different, he couldn't accept it and that's why he wants to help break the curse. But he needs to understand that even if the curse is broken she'll never go back to what she used to be!

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The way they juxtaposed Yeon-hee and her monster version was confusing, but (mild spoilers) I think the next episode makes it clear that this is how she appears to the people affected by her curse. I'll have to rewatch to be sure though, but the show makes it clear that Poong-yeon sees the white-haired ghost instead of Yeon-hee when the curse is activated.

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It kinda irked me at first too but when I thought about it, this was set a long long time ago when having white hair and different colored eyes will look "monstrous". I think they meant it in a way that the person is cursed, hence calling them monsters.

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You guys have to remember that he doesn't only see the white haired Yoonhee, he also sees a deformed monster as her ghostly shadow lurking over her shoulder. Remember how he was down with the curse earlier in the drama where he was bedridden? Exactly.

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This drama is also set in the olden days, when people were a lot more superstitious and afraid of the supernatural

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Hong joo reserved crown prince's spirit because only the twin brother can kill the princess. And she need king seonjo's body because king seonjo's body in match with cp's spirit.
She probably saved hyun seo for that reason too...but she knows hyun seo won't kill yeon hee. And I'm sure hong joo has feeling for hyun seo.. love maybe?

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EVERYONE i wanted to start this drama now but i accidentally peeked at some spoilers (heh) and found out moon ga young's twist in the story. will this make the drama not as fun for me or can i still enjoy this drama knowing her role?

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That reveal is pretty important, but only in the latest few episodes. I say watch the show anyway, it's really good and in the beginning, there's a lot of other good stuff happening that isn't affected by the reveal and is worth watching for itself.

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You'll be enjoying this drama if you like sageuk, especially sageuk fantasy.

The character she portrays in this drama has multi layers. Now, only 2 layers shown, my feeling told me there's more touching and deep story about her that might be exposed as HJ machinations intensified.

Bottom line. You'll be fine and enjoying it, dear.. ^^

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..Jun and Yeon-hee listen and care. Their scenes are accompanied by this sense of peacefulness..

Oh God, you nailed it in your last paragraph of your comment, dear. Your wrote it beautifully to capture their relations and sense of acceptance while the world turn upside down around them.

Gosh, this drama truly is a gem. YSY and KSR are superb. LJH steal the show and raise his portfolio as good actor in a night. The other characters are wonderfully portrayed by the rest of the good actors. I simply love love this drama. Through the thick and thin, the bright and the dark, the story and portrayal of this drama captivated my heart.

I gush so much of this drama like a broken record. I'm sorry dear friends.. I cannot stop myself. Please bear with me..

Thanks for the recap, Hazelair!

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sigh..what a beautiful picture jun and yeon hee paint each time they're together alone..supporting each other thru bad and good times..they accept the good, the bad and the ugly about each other..and i almost shake my laptop trying to stop hong joo from getting her paws on yeon hee and stabbing jun.

on another note, i would like to shake poong yeon.. wrong things to say, dude! the fair lady already said she's the same girl(in a cursed state) and you insist she's not. no wonder she gave her heart to jun, you dimwit.

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Thanks for the recap hazelair!

The actress playing Hong-joo is killing it. Because I hate her! I mean H. A. T. E., yell-at-the-screen hate her. The writer has done a terrific job but man, has the actress made her so perfectly awful. Someone above mentioned how often swords are pointed at necks in this show - I totally wanted them to take her out this episode, which I knew was unreasonable given the number of episodes remaining...

Lol - been awhile since I felt this much negative emotion towards the villian in a show. I am worried that I will make it through to the end...

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Lol - let me clarify that I hate the character, Hong-joo, not the actress playing her. I love the actress - she is doing a great job.

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I agree - she is doing a fabulous job! There are no cardboard cutout characters in this drama; we can see that they are all driven by so many forces and feelings.

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Yes me too! I love that she makes her character appear evil, but there is always this sort of class to her character. The subtilty in her emotions and movements are just so so good.

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Me three! When she smirks, omg, i get the shivers. Like when she was looking down at Yeon-Hee who was tied to the table. Omg...i got goosebumps.

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The actress is playing villain at her best. Totally killing it! Seriously, I would vote her as the best/worst villain in dramaland this year!

The smirk, the eyes, the manipulation and how she twisted story, intent and purpose for every characters in this show are seriously amazing and give me shivers down the spine.

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Hong Joo is well-written, but the character could have been any other drama villain with another actress cast in the role. This actress is terrifyingly compelling, she is doing an incredible job.

I love the look of wonder that frequently crosses her face when something unexpected happens - whether that's someone's reaction or a mystical happening. Too many evil shamans are totally in control and self-assured, but somehow this actress makes it seem like Hong Joo is right on the edge of a whole lot of things. She makes it seem like she's very skilled in black magic but that the magic is unpredictable and requires quick instincts and thinking to stay in control, and that flows over to the political scenes too.

At the beginning I thought she was scenery-chewing and she still does hit those notes sometimes, but more often the microexpressions on her face are holding my interest. At the end of this episode, for instance, her entire ninja crew are levelled and yet she herself looks like fascination is more present than fear. Yeon Hui's clearly about to go nuclear and Hong Joo can't resist excitement that she's witnessing this crazy new power.

Hong Joo legitimately seems like someone who's fallen so far into black magic that her other end became completely untethered and she doesn't see people as people, more as noisy chess pieces.

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Love how the villain Hong Joo is being played. She creeps me out and I fear for the other chars whenever she's on screen, even those that she's working with or for. Persistent. Patient. Evil.

Simultaneously, she's also not in total control of everything, doesn't know ALL the rules in her dramaverse and can be surprised by how things shape out. Whilst powerful, she's also vulnerable. And that's what I like about her char, that she CAN be defeated. There is HOPE when the 'good' guys fight her, even if they may lose the fight today. That' why I find it so satisfying when Yeon Hui hung Hong Joo mid-air before drawing her close to strangle her. There was fear in HJ, even if it was brief.

When someone goes head to head with Hong Joo, you don't know who'll have the upper hand for the moment. I can almost root for her, ha ha. Yeah, think I'll root for her if it's along the lines of villains v villains. :-D
So much more enjoyable than the omnipotent and omniscient villain of one recently ended sageuk!

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Me too, I enjoy so much hating Hong Joo, and every time she shows up in screen I feel scared that someone will be hurt, the actress is doing a great job. Also the writers' work is very good, they have given us hints on Hong Joo's motivations and how she became so hurt and twisted, so we can understand her and somehow this makes the story much better.
Btw, I want them to show us more scenes from the past, to me it seems that Hong Joo loves Hyeon Seo (or at least she thinks he is the one she loves) and maybe there is something deeper than a menthor-student relationship there. Maybe now that they have 20 episodes there will be more screen time for these two :)

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Yes I like the way you said it! The look of wonder that crosses her face when something unexpected happens. That's probably what drew her towards black magic in the first place.

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Can someone please explain the same thing that glows on their neck? Sometimes it's red, other times it's blue, then again the design/mark looks different?

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The red mark behind Yeon-hee's ear (which also appears on the Crown Prince, Poong-yeon and Jun) is the mark of her curse. The other characters who are affected by her curse show the same mark. It glows whenever the curse is activated.

Hong Joo cast a spell on Poong-yeon and it showed as a mark behind the ear that disappeared quickly. It made him more susceptible to her spell (the sleeping one, I think).

The glowing tree-shaped mark on Jun's chest is the mark of the magic shields/mirrors the Taoist monks were holding in episode 1 when they attempted to prevent Hong Joo's black magic from entering the Queen's chamber.

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Just want to add this :
Those 3 have / had the same marks on their necks, which shows that they are cursed. The curse applies to people who love SR/ whom she loves. Before this, SR and PY both had it. After SR-Jun fall in love each other, the mark behind PY's ear disappeared Jun has one.

The red color means that the curse is activated normally. Jun's mark is blue because the curse is activated but he is protected by the tree talisman on his body. That's why, the curse wont hurt him. Once it turns red, the will be hurt by it too.

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Sorry, a small correction :

After SR-Jun fall in love each other, the mark behind PY’s ear disappeared Jun has one. => should be :After SR-Jun fall in love each other, the mark behind PY’s ear disappeared, while Jun has one.

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I think Poong-yeon's curse disappeared not because Yeon-hee stopped loving him, she still does but like a brother, but he himself had a change of heart! He couldn't accept her in her cursed form so it wasn't true love!

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If she loves her like a brother, then I dont think it's true love either. So now SR loves Jun and vice versa

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This episode was simply beautiful. I totally swooned when Jun told Yeon-hee that no matter what form she is in or who her parents are, she's just Yeon-hee to him. Contrast that to Poong-yeon's view that she's a monster in her witch form and wants to return her to the naive girl he knew her as? Puh lease! I face-palmed so hard for him this episode (and the next in fact).

Thanks for the recap Hazelair! This drama is my drama crack right now and I'm counting the days til the next episode! Please post the next recap soon so we can squeee over it together in the comments! lol

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This was a great episode, this show just keeps getting better and better! LOVE it!

I could understand Poong-yoen's reaction at first, he was shocked seeing her like that, he loved her but once changed into her cursed state she was a different person to him. He didn't truly love her, he only loved what he thought of her, I was really heartbroken when he couldn't accept her and called her monstrous, he's the one person she didn't want to hear that from!

but I just love how Jun is always there for her, understanding of her situation, accepting her and willing to risk his life for her, I have to admit I was all teary when he held her hand and told her that black hair/white hair, cursed princess or not she's just Yeon-hee to him, sniff!

Thank you hazelair for the recap.

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This episode had me very worried that the show was getting ahead of itself, but the next helped assuage that a bit.

What I can't figure out is, if they know where the candles are now, can't they just snuff them all? I guess even she doesn't have enough black magic power to do that, but it's something I'm wondering.

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The candles light up after a person's desperate wish comes and true and they seem to die out when Hongjoo burns a person's heart. I don't think they can easily be blown out since they're not easy to light up.

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okey but remember when Jun accidently burnt book and snuffed the candle? I think it's a plot hole..but who cares? this show is still great

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I understand them as being two different types of candles. One for ordinary use, easily lit and just as easily snuffed like the one Joon knocked over, ending up burning the book of magic.
The second type is for lifting the curse, lit from flame lighted by persons who had sincerely wished for something. These candles have some design on them and are snuffed when the wish makers are murdered with their hearts ripped out.

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I take them as mystical candles. The candles can't be easily snuffed just as conversely, it can't be lighted by any ordinary flame. It can only be lit by or from flames lit by those wishing strongly for something, like the dead Man Wol for e.g. or the other wishers of the 100 year tree.

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I love this show a lot, it's so atmospheric and rich, but one thing that feels like nails on chalkboard to me is the way YH speaks. I have no idea why, since I don't speak Korean, but for some reason something in it hurts my ears.

Furthermore I am kind of tired of her having to stand around and behind people when she has kickass powers. She was the one holding a sickle to Yo-Gwang's neck just a few episodes ago and now she can't do anything?

It was heartbreaking to see Jun collapse in front of her, but I couldn't help but feel like she could have stopped it from happening from the start.

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I also wonder about YH using her super powers. if not for that cave hassle with YG I would think she can only use them in dangerous situations or when her curse is activated.

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Yeah, exactly. But the first scene (that isn't some spooky ghost story) where we see her use her powers she's in the temple/hiding spot and seems to be able to use them fine.

Maybe they changed their minds re: her powers, but as a viewer that leaves me confused and seems like a big plot hole to me, especially when she could at least try to fight back.

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I wonder the same thing.
I love this drama so much, but the plot hole is kinda (really) disturbing.

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I wondered about that too. Could it be she also fears her power, like if she uses them her hair turns white and becomes the "monster" she fears. I have a feeling it could possible be a emotional rejection of her power sometimes as well...

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In this episode I totally having a hard time to breathe as I cried a lot in...well,in almost every scene with Jun and Seori/Yeon Hee in it.To see them both together is totally heartwarming,I understand both of their heartache...both of them deserve to be together...the scene where Seo ri almost die,when she met the queen/mom and finally get to meet his father(literally) but get a huge push aside by the Taoist/father and poong Yeon big reject...I mean who would felt more miserable than her...KSR acting stung my eyes cuz I just cried and moan I think...becuz it was so painful for her to know the truth...and I love the scene where Jun told her that she's the same person he met before...YSY eyes caught my heart cuz even though he didn't express his feeling with his mouth but his eyes shows every emotion...which got me impress by his acted...I mean it like he didn't need his mouth to confess but only his eyes...and believe me every girl would fall to him.I understand poong Yeon pain...I hope he could accept Yeon Hee...wish Sol gae switch side,and love the new funny couple seon deok and yo gwang...respect father/Taiost...hatred toward Hong joo... felt lost for the king LJH...sad for the prince...sad/mad to the queen/mother...but most important both of our lead couple wish their both happiness and freedom...?cried like to see Jun collapsed and sure I'all be mad crazy toward someone who hurt the one I love that without thinking rational I might just kill him/her...so yeah I understand Yeon Hee/Seo Ri pain....well I understand everyone's pain...even Hong Joo...but I just want to say thank you so much for all the broadcast jtbc the director,crews all that involved especially the actors/actress well done...Mirror of the witch is totally my one top list of kdrama like no other...thanks for the recaps also

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I love, love this drama. It's so pretty, and I like the chemistry between the leads.
Does anyone know where I can find the original webtoon? I tried Naver, Line webtoon, Daum, both in English and Korean.
Thanks

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There is no original webtoon that this drama is based on, it's the first time that the webtoon is being written based on the plot of the drama.
I'm sure I've seen it somewhere, but I can't find it now. I'm sorry I couldn't really help, but I'm sure that it's the other way around with MotW and its webtoon - drama was first, webtoon came after.

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Thank you @Matt for your reply. I found up to 8 chapters online.

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Hi Hazelair! I enjoyed reading your recap, thanks for the beautiful writing and the on point reflections :)

My love for MotW keeps growing and growing, at this pace, it will become one of my drama favorites. It has everything, well crafted, good story, outstanding acting. But certainly what I enjoy the most is how the story keeps us on our toes from minute one till the end of every episode, and how it makes us care for the characters: I find myself holding my breath for Yeon Hee, Jun or the others all the time,...even when it comes to Hong Joo's I am so interested in see what happens...

Regarding the episode...do you think we will see Yeon Hee and the Queen reconciliation? Not sure the Queen deserves it, but I would like that Yeon Hee gets some peace in this aspect.
Finally, what do you think of the candles and breaking the curse? There are still several candles to light, isn't it? I am curious to know how they plan to break the curse, this week was all about running away and some revelations but not much clarity on how Yeon Hee is going to step forward (but this maybe we can discuss further in episode 12 recap, since we can see there what she decides to do). :)

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Gosh it's like kenshin and kaoru all over again...loving a person unconditionally sighs, yo gwang's reaction when he saw the cursed mark on jun's neck i think was the same as mine (although expected) sighs

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Sometimes, I feel like Yo-gwang's character was written for a very old ajusshi. Hahahahaha his reactions are so Old Master sometimes.

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I believe the actual "Monster" Poon Yeol is seeing every time yeoman hee's hair changes to white and her eyes turn blue is the character usually slightly behind her that has metal bluish skin, no head hair, some polyp wart like nodules and death black eyes. Jun had the same reaction at first too. To us..we get the beautiful blue eyes, interesting white hair change, lovely flowing dress and Still beautiful young girl for what we see. Her change to white hair, blue eyes at least let's us understand and accept that she has shifted to a level of terrifying power to destroy.

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Wow, I admit I was surprised after reading the comments here which are mostly positive. (not complaining though. this is a big 'yeay' for me since i've been reading people's complain on other sites. they talked about the logic etc etc)
Idk if this is only me, but I am always left confused or puzzled or feel like a pabo because there's often a new 'mystery' at every new episode which I don't quite understand about the cause & the purpose why it should happen (why the writer wrote that part).

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I'm starting to think the Love Sacrifice will be Sol-gae saving Poong-yeon for love. This way she can die less evil.

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I was thinking it might be either Sol-gae saving Poong-yeon or Hong Joo saving Hyun-Seo!

But I really like how nuanced Sol-gae's character is, and how well the actress is portraying her conflicting emotions. We get enough glimpses of the girl in her (like when she was trying on the hanbok and hairpin), the edge of desperation when she was trying to talk Poong-yeon out of visiting Yeonhee so that she wouldn't have to betray them, and the trust she had in Hong Joo.

I was very very surprised that Sol-gae walked back into the shaman's temple quite "confidently" even after spotting the dead bodies of the female ninjas. It's like she wasn't worried that Hong Joo would take it out on her. And the scene where HJ was tending to her wounds with black magic, there's a certain tenderness. I definitely want their back story. I kinda wonder if Sol-gae is possibly Hong Joo's daughter from the king's rape? The subtitles were a bit ambiguous for the part where they said the palace ppl tried to kill her when the rape/bedding was unsuccessful...

Hong Joo kinda loves Hyun-Seo enough to keep on saving him. She knew they were enemies but whenever he's in pain (of his own doing, rather than a direct magical confrontation with her) she always offers assistance. Not that it stopped her from also using him when she sees fits, but the possibility is there... It's vengeance that's pushing her on, but she still has a shred of decency somewhere... I doubt it'll be Hyun-Seo for Hong Joo though, because he seems to have understood by now that his saving her brought all the problems...

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Oooh I hope you're right about that Hong-joo/Sol-gae parent thing. That would make it all kinds of twisted. It could be that they wanted an heir from HJ but the child was a girl so they decide to kill her instead.

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Thank you for the recaps!

Luv this two, unafraid to show how they feel, comforting each other in the midst of all that's happening.

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Thanks for the recap, hazelair!

I simply adore YSY and KSR in this!! They're just perfect for the roles. Their scenes are so beautiful together and I love Jun and Yeonhee's love and acceptance of each other. They're each other's solace and anchor that they have searched all their lives and finally found. The scene when Yeonhee hugged Jun after being so scared and we see the curse appearing on Jun's neck was heartwrenching. And the scene with Jun telling Yeonhee that she is just who she is no matter how she appears was so moving. Really gotta applaud these two's acting.

The other characters are amazing as well. Hong Joo is such an intriguing character. You feel that she always has the upper hand, but then something happens and she's taken aback. Then, she would bounce back with another plan. The last scene was especially outstanding with her knifing Jun and angering Yeonhee. The satisfaction and triumph transforming into fear and bewilderment. Love it!

Hyunseo, Yogwang, the queen dowager, the king, etc. are all holding their own. Just makes the story so rich.

I'm curious about Solgae's back story and how Hongjoo saved her for her to be so devoted.

Poongyeon never truly loved Yeonhee, only what he thought of her. So, it was heartbreaking to see Yeonhee being so hurt by his reaction to a hideous monster. Such a contrast to Jun's reaction of seeing her in her cursed state.

Anyway, this is one drama that I really look forward to watching every week. So happy that YSY chose this as his military comeback piece. =)

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Thanks for the recaps, they are the only chance to understand what happens when there are no subtitles.

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