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Mirror of the Witch: Episode 17

Just here to fill in, and it’s a job I don’t mind because Mirror of the Witch is, and has consistently been, an engaging, suspenseful, and satisfying show to watch on a regular basis. I won’t say that I’ve never been frustrated, but it’s always been a frustration on behalf of the characters, and not a frustration with the show itself.

We’re heading into the show’s climax, and the back-and-forth between our good guys and bad guys is still going strong—every time the pendulum swings in one direction, you can feel the inevitability of its return. It’s as satisfying one day as it is frustrating the next, but that’s what makes our villain such a mastermind, doesn’t it? On the flipside, it’s also what makes our hero, well, our hero.

 

 
EPISODE 17 RECAP

Soldiers burst into Hong-joo’s inner chamber, but find it empty. In the fire pit, they recover Hong-joo’s black-magic sword among the ashes.

The king declares Hong-joo’s crimes: abusing her position in the palace, conspiring with Red Cloak to kill citizens, and threatening the royal house with her actions. He has her quarters raided, and brings her before his throne as a captured criminal. Yesss.

Hong-joo bows her head before the king, who prods her to speak. Is she reflecting on her sins?

“Yes,” Hong-joo replies flatly. “I am repenting deeply.”

The king declares that her crimes are too severe to be forgiven, and sentences her to burning at the stake. He’ll do it publicly in full view of the citizens, and reclaim the royal authority she tarnished with her black magic.

Without a drop of emotion in her voice, Hong-joo replies, “Thank you for allowing me to die so grandly.” Oh, burn. (Not literally.)

Jun accompanies Yeon-hee to her room, and she asks if her father will be okay. He replies that Hyun-seo will want for her to only worry about herself right now, and reminds her that there isn’t much time left till the Northern Star disappears.

Yo-gwang bursts in, panicked at the news of Hong-joo’s death sentence. Jun says it’s a good thing, but Yo-gwang informs him that the curse must return to Hong-joo in order for Yeon-hee to be freed of it. Hong-joo can’t die before that.

Alarmed, Jun bursts into the king’s inner chamber, charging past the eunuchs and dropping to the floor to beg for a stay of execution. He explains that Hong-joo must take on Yeon-hee’s curse before dying; otherwise, Yeon-hee will die with it.

The king expresses frustration at having the criminal in his grasp and still being unable to mete out punishment. Jun vows to enable him to do just that, and reminds the king that he freed him of his own curse. He swears to also free Yeon-hee, and begs for the execution to be stayed.

And in her prison cell, Hong-joo smiles. Stop that!

Yeon-hee sleeps fitfully, and a voice calls out to her in her dreams. It’s her birth mother, who sits at her bedside and speaks a warning: “Child, you are in danger.”

Yeon-hee jolts awake, her eyes flashing blue. It’s the queen dowager at her bedside now, asking in concern if she’s unwell. Yeon-hee finally tells her that she doesn’t have much time left; in the ten days until the Northern Star disappears, she must break her curse. If she can’t…

The rest of the sentence hangs in the air. The queen dowager says she cannot lose Yeon-hee to a curse that began with her. Yeon-hee asks for the queen dowager to allow her to spend her remaining time with Jun, and says they will break the curse together.

The queen dowager gives her consent, and urges her to succeed.

The morning finds Jun sleeping in his cave at Cheongbing Temple, and he smiles in his sleep as Yeon-hee calls his name, prodding him awake. She hovers hover him with a smile, and he sleepily pulls her down next to him, opening his eyes briefly to touch her face before closing them to sleep again. Yeon-hee closes her eyes too, to nap with him.

Some time later, Jun wakes up and cuddles again… and takes a long moment to register that it’s Yo-gwang lying next to him. HA. He bolts up with a roar, and Yo-gwang teases him about his sweet dreams, asking if Jun’s disappointed to find the wrong person lying next to him.

Jun grumbles in annoyance, and Yo-gwang prods, “Who were you expecting? Seo-ri? Yeon-hee? Persimmon? The princess?” Cheeky bastard.

Yo-gwang informs Jun that the queen dowager wants to see him, and Jun heads to court. The queen dowager expresses her regret at repaying Jun’s help with harsh words, but while she’s grateful for all he’s done for Yeon-hee, she isn’t pleased at their closeness.

Jun says that he still has work to do, but the queen dowager asks what happens after the curse is lifted—then what? She all but orders him to leave Yeon-hee, and Jun can’t say anything in response.

Poong-yeon takes up his father’s old position as the head Taoist master in the palace, and warns the king that Hong-joo won’t stop plotting even after losing her powers.

When Poong-yeon says he is working to protect the royal family, the king wonders if that’s really true, and tells Poong-yeon that now that he knows Hong-joo’s scheme, Poong-yeon must stop her: “You must not betray me a second time.”

The king and his queen (whom we meet for the first time) announce happy news: The queen is pregnant. The queen dowager is overjoyed at the news, and urges the queen to take extreme care with her condition. The king, curiously, doesn’t look as happy as the queens do.

Yeon-hee joins them, and the king and queen excuse themselves. The queen dowager shares the good news, and Yeon-hee’s pleased to hear it—until she suddenly recalls her dream, with her birth mother warning of danger.

That keeps Yeon-hee so preoccupied that she walks past Jun without noticing. She keeps her worry to herself, but tells him of the impending birth. Jun smiles, replying that all that’s left is for Yeon-hee to light the rest of her candles.

He suggests searching close by for their next wish, which takes the crew to Soon-deuk. But her main wish is to be rich and comfortable, and they deflate. Yo-gwang sighs that he knew it would be pointless asking her.

Jun and Yeon-hee seem to have a conversation with their eyes, and then Jun asks Yo-gwang if he has a wish. Yo-gwang says generously that his only wish is that things work out well and everyone be happy, but his eyes flit a few times to Soon-deuk, and his behavior is a little fidgety. Then a plate of beef is delivered, Yo-gwang and Soon-deuk bicker over the meat, snatching it out of each other’s grasps. Jun and Yeon-hee note the exchange with curiosity.

That night, a masked figure in black—Hyun-seo—slips inside the sleeping queen’s chamber. He sets down a metal urn next to her bed, and a black mist seeps out, ready to strike…

But Yeon-hee storms in and commands him to stop. Marshaling her energy, her eyes flash blue—and with a squeal, the black mist is forced back inside the urn.

Hyun-seo rises, meets Yeon-hee’s eye, and runs out. She chases, catching up to him in the courtyard. But then he turns and starts to advance on her, his eyes flashing. Yeon-hee sends him flying backward, and he gets up from his fall and darts away.

Nearby, a court lady stares in shock at the scene she just witnessed.

Yeon-hee heads to the prisons to confront Hong-joo, holding out her hand threateningly, as though ready to magically strike. But she drops the hand, asking instead what Hong-joo is using Hyun-seo for; she knows Hong-joo is behind his attempt on the queen’s life.

Hong-joo feigns innocence, asking how she could do anything when her powers have been lost. “It seems as though you want to kill me,” Hong-joo notes. “Then do it.”

Yeon-hee supposes that Hong-joo is acting out, knowing she can’t be killed, but warns that one needn’t be strangled or stabbed to be killed: “Just you see. I’ll break this curse and lock you in an even more terrible curse.”

Hong-joo tells her to try: “Let’s see who it is who dies carrying that curse.”

Hong-joo’s shamans go around posting notices around town, blaming the cursed princess for the plague that’s killing the people, warning that a terrible misfortune will befall them if she is not stopped.

The rumors spread quickly, and the queen dowager pleads with the king to put a stop to them immediately. But the court ministers say that talk has already spread too far, and the king declares that the princess will have to endure the talk.

The queen dowager argues that Yeon-hee has nothing to do with the plague, but the king reminds her that he’d warned that this would happen when Yeon-hee entered the palace—they haven’t seen a peaceful day since, and her presence is damaging to the government.

The queen dowager fumes, but the king says the only way to manage the rumors is to wait for them to die down. And if the queen dowager persists in trying anyway, well, that’s up to her. But, he warns, she will have to bear the consequences.

The queen goes to Poong-yeon next, to request that he hold a prayer ceremony in the village to pray for relief from the plague. She intends to have Yeon-hee participate, to show the people that their princess is praying on their behalf.

Poong-yeon seems vaguely reluctant, perhaps not feeling up to the task, but ends up agreeing to it. The queen is grateful.

That night, Poong-yeon finds Yeon-hee in the courtyard and teases her about her anxious face, then assures her not to worry. “I’ll protect you,” he promises.

But then he suddenly falters, and Yeon-hee rushes to his side. It turns out he’s been harboring an injury, inflicted by Hong-joo’s black sword, and Yeon-hee’s brought to tears at the sight of the blackened wound on his chest, oozing dark mist. Wearily, and not at all convincingly, Poong-yeon assures her that it’s getting better, and that he’ll recover.

Jun happens by and watches from the doorway as Yeon-hee dabs at the ugly wound. Poong-yeon says ruefully that he regrets taking Yeon-hee out of her house that day long ago; he’s also sorry for promising to protect her and being unable to. Yeon-hee replies that it was thanks to Poong-yeon that she could see the world for the first time, and that it was the happiest day of her life.

Poong-yeon confesses that he’d almost killed her, trying to win her heart even though he knew he couldn’t do it through magic. He advises her to break her curse and show that he had been foolish: “Then one day, I’ll be able to let you go.” He asks her not to tell him to let go immediately; he’ll need time.

When Poong-yeon returns to his room, Jun is waiting to ask how his condition is. Poong-yeon asks if he’s watching to see if he’ll turn into an evil spirit, and wonders what Jun means to do after the curse is lifted. If Jun intends to stay with Yeon-hee as a lover, Poong-yeon warns that both will be hurt. He also informs Jun of the rites he will perform tomorrow, and advises him to be with Yeon-hee through it, as she will likely be scared.

Masked Hyun-seo robotically kills the prison guards and makes his way to Hong-joo’s cell. She says that she isn’t about to stop just because she’s lost her powers, and that without people’s own wickedness, her black magic would have had no effect. It’s because they’re unwilling to admit their part that they blame black magic: “Now that the black magic is gone, see what they will blame.”

Preparations are made for the ceremony, and the queen dowager impresses upon Yeon-hee the necessity of behaving beyond reproach. Then the royal family heads out to the town square where the rites will be held, with Jun in the princess’ entourage.

As Yeon-hee takes her place next to the king and queen dowager, villagers are surprised to see that she looks completely normal, not some savage mystical thing.

Soon-deuk hears of the princess’ participation in the prayer ceremony and smells a chance to make money. But when she arrives, her jaw drops to see Yeon-hee in the princess’ seat. And there’s Yo-gwang too, assisting Poong-yeon, who begins the ceremony.

Meanwhile, Hyun-seo leads Hong-joo’s shaman army through the forest and into town. An arrow flies through the air toward the ritual table, and mayhem ensues as the shamans charge. Jun darts in front of Yeon-hee protectively, but a shaman manages to get to the king, holding a sword to his throat. The king orders his soldiers to step back.

Suddenly, the shamans whirl and point their bows and arrows toward the villagers. Yeon-hee steps forward as though to intervene, but her mother holds her back warningly.

Hyun-seo steps forward and announces that one move will turn the scene into a sea of blood. “Don’t worry,” Hyun-seo says among the gasps of horror. “Today, I am here to see Heo Jun.” The shamans whirl and train their weapons back toward the royals.

Jun warns Yeon-hee that this is a scheme, and for her not to do anything. But her panic grows as Hyun-seo lifts a hand to signal his shamans to aim.

“Shoot!” Hyun-seo commands.

Immediately, Yeon-hee jumps into action, sending a mighty force blowing over them. The shamans recover and reach for their weapons again, and she blows them back again.

Utter chaos breaks out among the villagers, who scream that the rumors were true. They charge toward her, and soldiers form a line to block the people from the royal party.

Jun takes Yeon-hee’s hand and they slip away from the scene. He leads her through the forest, but she stops and pulls her hand free, telling him to go on without her. When Jun reaches for her again, she sends him flying into a tree, then runs.

While a riot breaks out in the village, Poong-yeon charges into the prison and grabs Hong-joo by the throat, growling that they should have killed her. He demands to know what she’s done to his father.

She replies that Hyun-seo has given his life up in service of great work, and advises Poong-yeon to think of what he can do for the good of the royal family. He refuses to let her sway him, just as a wave of pain hits him. She says that the royal family would just throw him away the minute they have no use for him. Being devoted only makes him more pitiful, she says.

Poong-yeon walks away clutching his chest, and Hong-joo says to herself, “In the end, you will have no choice but to do what I want.”

Yeon-hee goes to Cheongbing Temple and, despite her warning, Jun follows her there.

Beset with an intensified wave of protests against the princess, the king visits Hong-joo in prison and asks what her intentions are. “I no longer have anything to lose,” Hong-joo replies. “It is quite a different situation from Your Majesty, who has much to lose.”

She says that since the royal family always throws people away when they are of no use to them, that is the answer to his current dilemma: Throw away the princess, and rest easy.

The king asks suspiciously if that is her true motive. Hong-joo reminds him of his wish to be a good king, and tells him to think of his unborn child. The people need someone to swear at and blame, she argues. All the king needs to do is turn a blind eye and give up the princess: “The only one who can kill the princess is me. I will take care of everything.”

The dark hiss of temptation sounds (literally) in his ear. The king looks unnerved and turns away, but isn’t immune to her words. “Think carefully,” Hong-joo advises. “Will you give up the princess? Or will you give up the throne?”

Worried over Yeon-hee’s condition, Poong-yeon asks Yo-gwang to find her and Jun.

The queen dowager prostrates herself before the king on Yeon-hee’s behalf, offering to be dethroned herself if only he will not give up the princess.

Poong-yeon is next to beg the king, who just replies, “I don’t want to lose anything.”

The king returns to the prison, his mind made up. “Capture the princess and execute her,” he tells Hong-joo, who smiles.

Yo-gwang arrives at Cheongbing Temple to tell Jun of the bad news: The palace has given Yeon-hee up. Jun is stunned.

He finds Yeon-hee by her altar of candles, and she says in a defeated voice, “I want to run away, to where nobody is.” Jun replies firmly, “Yeon-hee-ya. Let’s run away.” He holds out a hand, and after a moment, she takes it.

Hong-joo leads her shamans to Yeon-hee’s temple, looking surprised to find nobody there. She takes in the burning candles, and her brow furrows to see the five that are still unlit.

Hong-joo requests the aid of the king’s soldiers in catching Yeon-hee, who’s on the run with Jun. The king bristles, informing her darkly that this doesn’t mean he trusts her or agrees with her will.

So Hong-joo goes after his Achilles’ heel, telling him that the people will turn against him if they can’t turn on the princess—because he’s not a proper king from the direct royal lineage, he has been unable to govern properly, and the people are suffering for it. She adds that the drought, famine, and plague are evidence of Heaven abandoning the king.

Provoked, the king orders her to shut up. Hong-joo tells him those are the words of the people before the princess’ return. Now, though, none of those wagging fingers are pointed at the king; they blame the cursed princess for those troubles. “Why are you hesitating?” she presses. “If you get rid of the princess who is the cause of the plague and famine, the people will revere you as a good king.”

The magic words. The king assents to deploying his soldiers, and tells Hong-joo to capture the princess at all costs. Hong-joo adds that if she captures the princess, she wants the king to order Poong-yeon to execute her.

So the king commands Poong-yeon to use his spiritual fire on Yeon-hee, and Poong-yeon begs him to rescind the order. The king kneels to look his old friend in the eye, supposing that it will make Poong-yeon hate him forever.

Still, it’s something he can’t help, the king says, and he asks for Poong-yeon’s help in escaping the scorn that has dogged him all his life—to take this opportunity to be acknowledged as true king.

Poong-yeon asks, “If you turn all that scorn onto the princess, will you truly be the king you hope to be?”

The king concedes the point, but doesn’t take back the order: When Hong-joo captures the princess, the king will order Poong-yeon to burn her, and he will have to obey. If Poong-yeon refuses, the king will kill him with his own hand. The king says this with a stricken face, and Poong-yeon sheds a tear.

Hong-joo flips through the Mauigeumseo, and knows that there’s something missing from it. She asks Hyun-seo what he’s hiding, and leans in close to whisper in his ear, “You can no longer reject me. I no longer wish to show my back to you, either.”

His eyes flash, and he asks robotically what she wants. She requests the ending to the Mauigeumseo, and directs him to bring to her what he’s hidden. Obediently, Hyun-seo turns and walks away.

 
COMMENTS

You’ve got to hand it to her, Hong-joo knows how to hit where it hurts—or, on the flipside, how to seduce a person’s heart just so. She’s a master manipulator, and that’s one of the aspects of her character I’d found most fascinating, particularly in the earlier parts of the drama before everyone became wise to her true nature.

In fact, I hadn’t realized how much I’d enjoyed and missed that knack for emotional manipulation until it came out in full force today; with her powers stripped, that’s all she has left. But, as it turns out, with Hong-joo that silver tongue is well-nigh a superpower in itself. When she’s whispering into ears and playing Iago, I find the scenes more fraught with tension than when she’s casting evil spells—it makes the struggle emotional (rather than magical) and human and therefore more gripping.

I wonder if we will see more exploration of Hong-joo’s backstory, because I still sort of want more from her; I know we’ve seen where her resentment of royalty comes from and understand why she wants to rule over them, but I find her more interesting when she’s desperately scrabbling to save herself or turn the tables. I suppose everyone’s more interesting when they’re the underdog, and she’s no exception, even though I don’t want her to prevail. But I do like seeing her brought low and fighting dirty; she’s like a cockroach that way—fascinating, nearly indestructible, and repulsive.

But I suppose that would shift the focus even more heavily on Hong-joo, an utterly effective villain whom I nevertheless don’t want to spend that much more time on. I don’t begrudge the time we’ve spent on her, but her dominance puts Yeon-hee constantly in the victim’s seat, and Jun in the righteous protector, and I would rather Yeon-hee and Jun be more active in their own fates. I find myself thirsty for scenes with them; I’m constantly on the edge of my seat to make progress on the candles and to spend more meaningful time together, instead of all this angstfully together-but-separated business.

Not to say I don’t think it’s a valid conflict; it makes a lot of sense, and I don’t even hate the queen dowager for wanting to separate them, because in her worldview, it’s a relationship that has no business happening. It’s ungrateful and she knows it, but she’s a mother raising a princess, and I get her perspective. It’s similar to the king, whose flip-flopping could be frustrating but whose reasoning I completely understand. It’s a character I find realistic and weak and therefore an unpredictable wild card; I don’t like him for changing sides all the time but I think he’s wonderfully acted and his reasons are presented credibly, which makes me feel for him even when I want to knock some sense into him.

But for the sake of the plot I’m glad we’ve taken Jun and Yeon-hee out of the palace again, back to a world where their interactions are governed only by themselves, where they get to be real and simple with each other. It also turns them into underdogs again, and pits them a race against time—and Hong-joo—to break the curse. I want to see them being resourceful and resilient again, and fine, also sweet and cuddly. They can be all those things! They’re not mutually exclusive!

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wowww... You are fast!!!
Thank you for the recap... Man, I really hate Hong Joo and her cockroach ability..
But I am getting confused with the curse now. Who must ends with the curse and die? I thought the curse are only for the twins?

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Thanks, javabeans, for a supersonic recap. Whew!

@Just_Alee,

My understanding, according to Yo-Gwang's latest revelation of the Fine Print, is that the originator of the curse has to be alive in order for it to revert to them. Otherwise, even if the cursee fires up all the candles in time, they're still stuck with it -- there's no receptor site for it to go to if the one who cast the hex is already dead. Sounds like a game of metaphysical hot potato...

Re: the twins

Originally, both infants were cursed, until Hong-Joo convinced the Queen Dowager and their mother to allow her to transfer the curse from the infant Crown Prince to his sister. Yeon-hee was then supposed to be burned with Hyun-seo's internal fire to destroy the curse... He only pretended to do it, which is why the Crown Prince (and Yeon-hee) was stricken on his 17th birthday -- although I think what really finished him off was Hong-Joo's stealing his soul and sticking it in the white urn.

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It was the twins' mom who put the curse on them originally, though, and she's long since dead....

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My understanding is that the curse originated as an unintended side effect of Hong-joo summoning black magic, to transfer the baby from one woman to another. The birth mom didn't practice black magic; her powers were more in the vein of foretelling what would happen. So when she told Hong-joo of her fate, she wasn't casting a curse, but reading it. (I think. That's my interpretation.)

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Thanks, javabeans!

Yes, it makes perfect sense that birth-mom Hae-Ran was the seer and bearer of bad news. No way would she have practiced the black arts -- but she could recognize the hallmarks of black magic when she sensed them. She was clairaudient as well as clairvoyant, and maybe a few other clairs that I don't have names for.

Instead of "unintended side effect," I'd call the "curse" the requisite price to be paid for dealing in black magic. Which Hong-Joo could conveniently fail to mention until the damage was done. Anything to stick it to the Royal Family... If you cause beings to be born through unnatural means, said beings will be unable to live natural lives. It all sounded so good on paper to the old Queen Dowager...

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Thank you for your recap, javabeans!

I'm still so facinated by this drama---such amazing performances by all!
I'm especially thrilled to see our main couple once again having to deal with the dangers and conflicts together.

They have such wonderful rapport and chemistry. I would love to see a scintillating showdown with them vs. Hong Joo and her minions. I firmly believe that Jun possesses some mystical powers too...somehow I sense his intense connection with Yeon Hee is due to somehow having inherited powers...

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Demmit. I knew they should've cut Hong-joo's tongue out at least!

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Agreed. It's the mother of all silver tongues. Really f**ks up your mind. Had they cut it out as you had suggested since (at least) the last ep recap, we won't be having so much trouble this ep. Don't see as quiet the effective manipulator if she had to use sign language. :-D

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Oopps ... Don't see her as quiet the effective manipulator..

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Hong joo the scissor tongue
The Master of ripping ones mind apart by mere words

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This show has too much time on their hands! I am glad to finally have Jun and Yeon Hee back together outside of the palace and away from all the naysayers though. I really need more progress on the candle lighting and a little less Hong Joo. While I think her character is utterly fascinating, she is getting wayyyyy too many wins lately.

Team Persimmon for the win!

You know, I am not surprised by the King. He is WEAK! He knows he is being manipulated by Hong Joo but he doesn't care as long as he comes out of the shit pile smelling like roses. I guess that's his definition of being a "good king."

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I really like what they're doing with the King, even though it makes him despicable and weak. It's highlighting the fact that Hong Joo isn't 100% black magic, she's actually an extremely meticulous planner who carefully manipulates specially chosen people.

I kind of thought they'd expel the King's curse and then he's be Team Cursed, but instead he's just as craven as before, and that's because Hong Joo specifically selected a paranoid coward as King. He's still completely susceptible to any argument that will benefit him, he's still incapable of taking risks that might expose him, and he's in a constant state of fight-or-flight.

The show isn't going to leave him in place as a good King who got twisted by magic. The magic took root because he already had all of those negative qualities and was extremely malleable to ANYONE who exerted influence on him. Unfortunately, he's had no good influences, and now the only routes he sees are the cheap, bad ones that will only lead to more leadership failures.

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He's written to be another example of the class/birth vs nurture argument.

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I've loved the show up until this week when I started fast forwarding through all the endless, gratuitous Hong Joo malarkey. Enough already, I get it! Hong Joo's not a nice girl but I need more progress than I'm getting.

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Same here.

I usually watch intently but I'm too annoyed to concentrate.

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Urgh! Urgh! Like seriously though? Why leave her with her tongue. I'm sure cutting off that tiny appendage wouldn't have done anything to breaking the curse? Or if they can't cut off her tongue, why not gag her and then cut off of her legs. That way she'll stay put and stop meeting people? Why is anyone still listening to this witch? Like seriously, why are people in this show (other than our core team) so stupid. And the worst part is, Hong Joo's right. Now that they're done blaming the black magic, they turn on the princess. I'm looking at you there Sunjo with your wishwashy ways and your annoying face and your stupid need to get the people to accept you. Haven't you heard? Human beings are fickle. Give it another month and they will find something else to hate you about. Like, Urgh!

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Exactly! On all your points. Hong Joo's black magic takes a second seat to her tongue, master manipulator that she is. Which is why her tongue should have been severed a long time ago. So they can't kill her because this and that and the other thing will happen. So...the tongue, hmmm?

Indeed, why is anyone still listening to her? Stupid, das why. The king let's her talk him into seeking to kill YH. Why does he even give the time of day to the one behind his thorny disease? Not to mention everything else.

Wait, though, she still is puppeteering the poor zombie daegeum. Not so much because her black magic is gone (or on hold) but still somewhat? How that's happening is beyond me. I haven't taken Black Magic 101, so they can tell me anything along these lines (are there black magic basics?) and I would believe that that's just how it goes in black magic land. This results in both my intrigue in this show and my rolling my eyes at its twists and turns.

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@kappy, @Itenoria,

I've had the urge to airdrop a couple of crates of earplugs on the palace... Hong Joo is Joseon's answer to the Lorelei, so gag her already. And stick a hood over her head while you're at it -- her eyes mesmerize her marks and reinforce her honeyed voice... just like HypnoToad.

I have a suspicion that in the case of both Hong Joo's black magic and her silver tongue, there's a common factor that enables them to exert their hold over a person: a weak heart. There has to be a foothold for the lies and black magic to occupy. I suspect that when Hyun-seo warned Jun that black magic would devour him if his heart were weak, he was speaking from firsthand experience. I've gotten the impression that he was too forgiving when she loosed black magic to darken the sun five years before the story opened... and from a tiny fissure grew a fatal flaw in his spiritual armor. He may be a Taoist master, but he's also a human being with feet of clay. If HE has fallen prey to her, how could someone as weak as the King ever withstand her blandishments?

As for how Hyun-seo is still in thrall to her after her Black Short Sword has been deactivated, all I can think is that it's grandfathered or something. Or maybe the black magic is rooted very deeply.

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That is so funny. She'd probably lull them into thinking they should strangle themselves with the earplugs, instead. Joseon's Lorelei...that's perfect.

From the outside looking in, it's easy to call everyone stupid (notice my pidgin?). I know it's deeper than that, and you've explained it well.

Regarding Hyun Seo, those are good theories. When she put him under her spell and kept him alive with black magic, it was definitely different from "Hahaaaaa! You are under my spell now!" kind of thing because of the relationship they had before she went evil/wackoo. He was her teacher, one she revered and greatly respected. I forget the details (maybe I'd better go back for rediscovery), but it seems she was actually doing it out of deep concern and ...dare I say...love? Of course, she did it to bring to pass her evil purposes, too, or mainly. Is he one of her weaknesses? But how would that keep him alive and doing her deeds without black magic? She can't be one of his. Hmmm. Must keep watching and taking notes!

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Ha ha... If Hong Joo's tongue is to be cut off, I'd pity the guy who's been tasked with it. I'm pretty sure Hong Joo would glibly convince the task executioner to cut off his own tongue and save hers instead! That's how good of a manipulator she is.
She's one char I'd love to hate but frustratingly can't. Respect her instead, for being one heck of a villain. Scary, for her mind screwing ways.

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You said it: R-E-S-P-E-C-T her like a crocodile or an anaconda (with apologies to our herptile friends)... or a tornado or earthquake.

I can't say I hate Hong-Joo, either, because enough of her backstory has been revealed to show that she was victimized, too. It's too bad that all that energy and creativity is not being channeled into something more constructive, or at least into something less evil. I shudder to think what she could pull off were she ever unleashed on Madison Avenue...

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Yes, that's the kind respect I meant below. She makes a terrific villain. It's like my mom used to say: She's a good example of a bad example.

Her backstory does make me feel some pity for her, but she's tried to right too many wrongs with wrongs. The hole keeps getting deeper.

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Honestly, I'd have to be using those earplugs and listening to loud music (church music) and not looking her in the eye if I was tasked with that.

You are right..respect her for her awesome villainry (with or without that intense make-up). Use her own tactics against her. Black magic is not in the ring now and not needed.

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Maybe a Congressional filibuster would work?

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Lol, I was already wondering last night why this was the next recap to be posted...no wonder, it's JB doing it. :-D Haven't even watched this episode yet since subs weren't out before I went to sleep, will come back later to read everything.

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What if among those 5 last candles, Hong Joo is one who'll lit it? It will be a good twist right? Say, Yeon Hee manage to fulfill Hong Joo's deepest desire, like being loved or acknowledged or something . . . (off course not the whole "let's destroying royal family" matters).

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I like your idea. I wouldn't be surprised if that happens. It would be quite the twist, indeed.

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That would be super awesome...

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Nice idea! But now that Hong-Joo is out of the pokey, how are the good guys going to get her to drink the Truth Potion?

I was wondering if we might not see two candles light up when Hyun-seo finally exits stage left, by proxy or something, as I think that, in her own twisted way, Hong-Joo has been carrying a torch for him. One can only hope...

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I don't think a other truth potion will light up the candles. Remember each candle requires a different potion from the book. Truth Potion is already used. If Hong Joo were to light up a candle, she has to 1) willingly drink the potion, 2) truly believe in it that her wish will work, 3) be a different potion....I'm thinking it would be the Oblivion Potion. We see this potion being mentioned so many times to Heo Jun but HJ never taken it because he doesn't want to. Hong Joo I think could benefit with forgetting everything. But then if she willingly takes it and forgets.... what's gonna happen when our heroes gets rid of the curse from YH? It will be transferred to her and she'll probably think that like is unfair again and she'll end up dying. Hmm I don't know how it's going to work.

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@Mimi,

Thanks for pointing out that the potions in the Book of Demon Banishment are single-use only. I didn't realize that. It's a good thing that Jun has the entire cookbook in his head, especially since Hong Joo now has the copy he transcribed.

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I greatly appreciated another installment of bromance when Mr. Sparkly Eyes mistook Yo-Gwang for Yeon-hee. the looks on their faces were priceless... For a monk, Yo-Gwang is sure a scamp.

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I thank you @Mimi for reminding me of this. I shouldn't say "reminding" because I didn't realize it in the first place. I swear, I have to take notes watching this show. Not willing to put that much effort into it - I just want to sit and enjoy. Guess that's going to have to change if I hope to not be so clueless.

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Why do you think the potions are single-use? I don't remember that being mentioned in the show.

Each candle is lit by a person's great desire being fulfilled; that we've seen different people's desires solved with various potions doesn't mean that the potions are single-use. If they were, surely instead of asking what someone wishes FOR, they would just go in search of someone whose wish can be fulfilled by a remaining potion (like the Oblivion).

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@Yisoon,

Thanks for further clarification. My head has been spinning, and I haven't been taking my own notes for this drama the way I usually do, owing to 12 episodes of MOTW catch-up plus post-OHYA transcendental fatigue. ;-)

After watching ep. 18, I feel confident that Soon-Deuk now has a "worthwhile" wish...

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I agree with Javabeans that some of the supporting characters are really well layered.

Like the King (I really think the actor is killing it with this role. He was in SFD as well, wasn't he?) I mean he is being weak and he knows he's being played and yet you sort of understand him even if it is frustrating? Weirdly I used to get more annoyed in the earlier episodes when the good guys such as Monk and Hyun Seo refuse to share information or well act dumb because show logic demands it.

Queen Dowager is again interesting. While I know she regrets the whole black magic surrogacy thing, I still want some sort of confrontation where the princess calls her out on killing her actual mother? I mean that wasn't just black magic. That was her with the dagger.

I guess I am supossed to think she's suffered enough. But when she pulls her disaproving mother act it gets a bit rich for me. Again, I do still like her character! I love this shows ability to make me care for these people.

And these characters just make what Hong Joo says more relevant. That black magic works for a reason. They are in some ways responsible too, so is burning her alone on the stake enough?

I do feel that the story is a bit stretched for twenty episodes? I really love this show - the imagery, the magical world building,the characters and all and I think there is still quite a bit left (five candles! five whole candles!) but I dunno. Also, I think they could have just built the plague into the story a lot earlier. Especially as you had that scene with the scooby gang enjoying food at the inn quite happily just earlier. I mean surely, with a plague and famine, there should have been talks of trouble?

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Agree with all your points above.

I almost had the same complain with you for the extension, but now I am so obsessed with this show,and the OTP, so I kinda glad to have them until episode 20 (and hope to see more of the OTP moments).

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@Melts

haha, the extension better mean more otp moments :)

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You wrote my thoughts down, one by one to be honest.
Being frustrated with characters, not the show - check.
King acting weak, because he is WEAK which is caused by credible and beliveable reasons - check.
Hong Joo's biggest power being not black magic, but her amazing ability to read people's hearts and fears - check.
Queen being a pain in the ass to the OTP, but not solely for the sake of being one - check.
Wish to shift the focus on lighting the candles (I really thought it would happen this episode, like they caged Hong Joo up - I thought it was for Team Good to get back to breaking curse) - check
Thirst for more Yeon-hee - Heo Joon scenes - check.

This drama's still one of the best I've ever watched, I can't believe we're only 3 episodes till it ends. Here's hoping that it stays as consitently good till its last minute.

Also, next episode looks like such a delightful mess with all these witchy fights, Yeon-hui going to break loose and (possible) fluffy scenes between OTP that I can't wait to watch it even more than usually...
The struggle is real with Mirror of the Witch, it's just one day, but it's so far away...

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JV covered everything I was feeling so I'll just go with we need a shower scene of some kind with YSY in it :)

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lol... Yes, if they can do it in The Princess Man, they can do it here.

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As long as Jun doesn't have to go over a waterfall, or get pounded to bits under one. The latest time he lands in the drink does not count. ;-)

If all else fails, cue CHUNO for Joseon pseudo-shower scene with General Choi (Han Jung-Soo) and Wang-Son (Kim Ji-Suk), which Dae-Gil (JH) skipped. I think there may have been a bathing in the river scene in SHINE OR GO CRAZY with Wang-So (JH) and his adult supervision, Eun-Chun (Kim Roe-Ha)... hehehe.

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I swear, this drama has turned me into a bloodthirsty woman by each episode. If Killing HJ won't kill YH, I would strangle her then tear her flesh, tongue, and bones several eps ago and watch her die slowly-painfully. *Gggrrrr*

Thanks for the quick recap, JB~!

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There's two things I really hope the show explains: 1) how did Yo-Gwang came back to life - who is the mystery person that brought him back? 2) YH's biological mother - I'd like her to find out the truth about what happened to her biological mother.

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Also, why was that black magic box/sword in Hyun Seo's possession in the first place if he knew how dangerous it was?? Did he figured he may have a use for it in the future. I mean, Hong Joo would never have had her hands on it in the first place had HS destroyed that sword with his Holy Fire in the first place. He had the ability to do so.

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@mimi,

All very good points. I'm wondering if at some point, perhaps early in her time as a user of black magic, destroying the sword would have killed her outright, and Hyun-Seo couldn't bear to do it... which would have been the weakness of heart that left him vulnerable to black magic.

Since he already had internal fire capability, he wouldn't have needed the sword... unless there's Fine Print we haven't heard about.

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Hyun Seo's failure to destroy the box/sword would be in keeping with his char, the sort that flows with the 'will of heaven'. Basically, he just lets things happen as fated by the heavens and the sword while potentially dangerous had not manifested its dangers while in his keeping, before Hong Joo got her hands to it. In keeping with his Taoist teachings Hyun Seo had no desire to tap into the sword's black magic capabilities thus there's no reason to destroy something only because it is potentially dangerous.
Perhaps it's like humans, seemingly good people do wrong sometimes, commit crimes even and some adjudged criminals do repent. The sword is dangerous only in the wrong hands and had Hong Joo fully accepted the Taoist teachings Hyun Seo had tried imparting to her, letting go the bitterness and grievances in her heart, the sword although potentially dangerous, would remain an inanimate object. Where's the need to destroy an inanimate object?

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@patinalee,

Thanks for your explication of the Taoist outlook. That makes so much sense... and reminds me of a quote, I think attributed to Gandhi, about educating people out of error... which is what Hyun-Seo was attempting to do with Hong Joo.

It also seems, from my Western point of view, that free will is involved. On the face of it, individual free will appears to run counter to the will of heaven -- but I think that's because predestination muddied the waters in Christian Europe, and continues to exert an influence in the USA that you have to dig below the surface to see. It also depends on which part of the country you're in. To this native New Englander, the Puritan influence still exists, although nowadays more often in the breach...

If I step back a bit, I can see that a person truly attuned to Tao will naturally and of their own volition "go with the flow" of heaven's will. As stated by Emerson in his Essay IV, Spiritual Laws: "There is guidance for each of us, and by lowly listening we shall hear the right word... Place yourself in the middle of the stream of power and wisdom which animates all whom it floats, and you are without effort impelled to truth, to right, and a perfect contentment."

One more thing: Just who is Hong-Joo really, and how did she come to be a student of Choi Hyun-Seo? Is it possible that they are related? Or might she have started out like Sol-Gae?

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@mimi,

Yo-Gwang's reanimation has been bugging me all along, too, so I went back and rewatched up to about the middle of ep. 5 the other night so I could see what happened. I also increased the brightness of my monitor... I find the darkness of many of the scenes makes it hard to see detail -- which is probably intentional on the part of the director. It's a little too atmospheric for me -- like being in a restaurant that's too dark to read the menu comfortably.

Cut to the Black Forest house, whose grounds are littered with the bodies of the Taoist defenders and Hong-Joo's minion attackers. A figure (with man's topknot and dressed in man's black boots and black robes) places a paper talisman (red ink on white or light blue background -- depending on the lighting) on Yo-Gwang's sternum, and carries him away.

Although Poong-yeon dressed in such a getup when he kidnapped Yeon-hee, he was out of commission at his parents' home at the time of the attack. Since watching enthralled Hyun-Seo running around doing Hong-Joo's bidding, I've concluded that he was the one who drug off Yo-Gwang. Except that I thought that he himself was already in Hong-Joo's clutches. Unless Hong-Joo sent him to do it for some nefarious endgame that I can't imagine. Nah, doesn't make sense.

So all I'm left with is a pair of golem impersonating Hyun-Seo and and Yo-Gwang, with the actual Taoists out of harm's way, plotting the good fight. But that would be too farfetched... Uncle!

As for Yeon-hee learning about her biological mother, Mom has already started contacting her through dreams. Now for some lucid dreaming...

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another thing that I want to know in this show; is there any kind of rule for this candle stuff. can one person lit 2 candles, in different occasion off course.
they mention that the final candle will be lit by sacrificing the person who love Yeon Hee.
if one candle means one person, Jun and queen dowager are out, they lit their candle already (Jun when seeing his mother ghost and queen dowager dreaming her son).

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I have a feeling that the final candle has Oraboni's name on it... but I'm still a bit vague on the rest of the candle rules.

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I dunno about the candle rules but I got the feeling that PY would be the final candle when the king said he would kill PY if PY didn't burn the princess. Didn't the last page of the book say sething about a sacrifice made out of true love?

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I have always been thinking, why this show is named 'the mirror of the witch' when the storyline doesn't talk about a mirror. But I think I get it now. Hong Joo is both the witch and the mirror. She mirrors the innermost desires of the people approaching her, trough her tongue. And the people, the dowager queen, the king and pong yeon (almost) were once caught in the reflection of their desires coming out as words from Hong Joo. As some one said before...cut her tounge, shatter that mirror and the problems will be half solved.

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I didn't follow the early recaps but I think there was a mirror that protects Yeon-hee that got broken during a fight and a piece was embedded in Jun's chest by accident? That's why he was able to be her human shield in past eps until Hong-joo stabbed him later on.

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Yeah, I agree with you. Mirror of the Witch is simply Joon in my opinion, because after the mirror was broken and we learned that its magic could protect Yeon-hui, he became her shield and protector, first with this symbol on his chest and now out of love for her.

So Mirror of the Witch means the same thing as Shield of the Witch, hence the title refers to Heo Joon

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All the points about mirrors as metaphors and the monk's shield are good, but I just want to put out there that the title explanation is probably a lot simpler. The real-life Heo Jun wrote a book, Dongeui Bogam, which translates to Mirror of Eastern Medicine. This drama title just plays on that title by switching the first word to Witch: Manyeo Bogam, hence Mirror of the Witch.

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Ha ha..you beat me to it JB! I wanted to post that Wikipedia named the historical Heo Joon as the author of Mirror of Eastern Medicine. And that this show is only one of several works based on his life. :-P

Thanks for the speedy recap. :-)

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Ooooh cool! Thanks for explaining.

Looking at how serious the show is, I wouldn't have imagined the title was just a play on words. ^__^

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Thanks, javabeans!

This is exactly why I read recaps here at DB! More wordplay from Writer-nim... but not the wordplay I thought I understood.

Just as various characters are layered like a Doboschtorte -- or even baklava! -- so is the imagery in MOTW. I think I'm going into allegory overload... Yikes, The Faery Queen just popped into mind, and I haven't thought of that in a couple of dog's ages...

PS: Loved your reference to Iago, which shook loose a recollection of another Machiavellian villain with parallels to Hong-Joo: Edmund, the bastard son of Gloucester, in King Lear. Raul Julia played both roles in New York Shakespeare Festival productions, but I've only seen his Edmund to James Earl Jones's Lear... Talk about powerhouse performances... RL is absolutely stunning in Joe Papp's 1974 edition staged open air in Central Park (in the round, IIRC from watching on PBS back in the day). You have not seen evil incarnate if you haven't seen the young and hunky Julia in action... It was released on DVD in 2001.

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@aqua❤JCW,

That stumped me, too, until Jun was referred to as a human talisman, and then I caught the wordplay... I didn't watch OHYA fer nuthin'.

The piece of mirror that saved Jun from the arrow to the chest was a fragment of one of the shields the Taoists deployed to repel the black magic that was transferring shamaness Hea-Ran's babies to the queen. I didn't see the circular tree symbol on one of the shields until I rewatched the early episodes. It matched the figure on Jun's chest, as well as the on the last page of the Book of Demon Banishment.

I think your take on it is very good, and points out yet another parallel in the show. It is very apt, because a mirror image is "backwards" in relation to the original, just as Jun is upright and pure of heart whereas Hong-Joo has become twisted and black-hearted.

And as you say, Hong-Joo is "mirroring" the thoughts, beliefs, fears, and wishes of the people who come in contact with her.

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Another drama that was really good and is now spinning its wheels due to an unnecessary extension!

Seriously, the producers should stop these stupid extensions and just focus on making a good drama and additional short filler shows when a new drama is not ready.

Too many good shows have been ruined by these business decisions!

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But there was never an extension, it was planned to have 20 episodes since it started.

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That's what I thought too! 20 eps straight up! Which leaves me head scratching when extensions are mentioned. :-P

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@matt i love that idea

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I love and adore this show, and I am pleased that despite the extension, it has started to pick up its pacing again. Hopefully the last two or so episodes will be reminiscent of the first two! They were like watching amazing movies! I am eagerly anticipating the wrap up!

On that note, I am fairly certain that Orabeoni is going to be the last candle. He has been ordered to burn the princess. I think that he will be stabbed (or killed in some other dramatic way) for his refusal to do so.

At least that is my thoughts! This show loves to keep us on our toes!

:)

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I have a strong feeling that he will take himself out so that there will be no internal fire to use against Yeon-hee. Short of ensuring that she succumbs to the curse, there's no other way left to kill her, IIRC.

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That is a good point. I have been wondering about this since it was introduced; is the Oblivion Potion still in commission? Is it still able to be used? If so, I think that Poong Yeon would benefit from it. He seems like he was most happy knowing Yeon Hee as he initially knew her. He is lost in his memory of her. His sadness and despair have been associated with this inability to "let go" of his love for her. It would be very interesting if he willingly "let her go" by drinking the Oblivion elixir. That would be another candle toward the end, and it might give him a chance at a "new" life (a life that isn't full of sadness or regret).

Thoughts?

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@missDVM,

A far as I know, the Oblivion Potion has not been used by anyone. Yeon-Hee emptied it into a bowl before refilling it with plain water and giving it to Yo-Gwang to slip to Jun when he was leaving the temple the first time. I don't know what happened to it after that. They'd have to brew up a fresh batch...

Lord knows Poong-Yeon could use a good permanent case of amnesia. But if he took the Oblivion Potion, would he still have internal fire? And if he still did, isn't it better to know you have such a power so you can keep it under control? Otherwise he could end up as the world's worst arsonist...

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@PakalanaPikake

On the Oblivion Potion - After the first bottle was replaced with water by Yeon Hee, Hyun Seo took another bottle to Joon for him to drink and go on with his life, erasing all memories of Yeon Hee. Joon poured out that bottle, saying that his memories of Yeon Hee were her most precious gift to him. IICR. :-D

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@patinalee,

Thanks for the reminder -- I'd forgotten about the second bottle down the drain (figuratively).

So that means Jun and Yeon-Hee have to get out the old Acme chemistry set to whip up batch #3 for some lucky recipient...

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Mmmm, not sure an oblivion potion for Poong Yeon is the best idea at this point. If he forgets his love for Yeon Hee and keeps the flames, what would stop him from burning her? Anyway, it would be interesting to see the potions come into play again :)
And for Poong Yeon, I would wish that he heals on his own. I hated him sometimes for certain things he did in the past, but in the latest episodes I have seen that he is showing strength and emotional growth... damn it! from the moment he started being respectful to Yeon Hee's feelings and letting her go, I think I find him hot...hahaha! If the Red Cloack was not a serial killer that takes her victims hearts, I would have shipped them so he could have a happy ending :D

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@ 17.1.1.1.3 Rachel

Agreed: Don't let oblivious folks play with fire, internal or otherwise.

I've been wondering if Poong-Yeon could "cauterize" that nasty black magic chest wound with his own internal fire... It sure seems to be festering. Did the evil get an extra-cushy foothold because he is one of the people who loves Yeon-Hee (and vice versa), hence he is weakening just like she is because of the curse? It looks like that to me.

I've been getting redshirt vibes for a while now... and after ep. 18, they are not going away. Dang...

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When I saw YH used her power, I was like really celebrating it lol.
I really love how this show has managed well the important elements to engage audience with its unfolded unpredictable story. There are plot holes here and there (YH's sudden servant ladies when she was about to attack HJ, but those servants didn't exist when YH was wandering in the palace before; the servant's statement of how she saw YH's eyes changed color although that servant was meters away from YH, and that was impossible to notice YH's eyes in darkness; etc etc, i forgot the rests), but I can't stop watching it. It is so addictive!

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Hong-joo knows what she wants and she knows exactly what to do to get it, with or without black magic. She preys on those she knows have weak hearts and so the king fell prey to her words once again! He still is as insecure as ever, he doesn't want to lose the throne, he wants people to acknowledge him, and think of him as a good king and Hong-joo used these insecurities against him. I feel so frustrated everytime someone buys what she says but then I can't really blame them, she's got a way with her words. I'm with you guys for cutting her tongue and seeing her trying to convince Poong-yeon or the king through sign language, that would be fun to watch, LOL!

The moment the queen dowager mentioned the sacrificial and taking Yeon-hee I knew something bad was going to happen. Hyun-seo is working like Hong-joo's puppet, and I don't understand why wasn't the black magic lefted from him when the sword was burnt and Hong- joo lost her powers? Is it because his life is bound with hers and there is nothing that can stop him other than killing Hong-joo?! I loved the plot twist here that Hong-joo cannot be killed for the curse to return to her. I guess that will mean what Yeon-hee's real mother said about her dying with her own black magic will come true! I wanna see that so so so bad!

Can't wait for the next episode.
Thank you Javabeans for the recap.

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Reading your comment, I just realized Hong-joo is Voldemort. Yeon-hee and Hyun-seo are horcruxes. We need to remove the evil bits and send them back to Hong-joo before we can completely end her.

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@mary, the sword of Gryiffindor to the rescue?? But just where do we get one?? *deep sigh*

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I don't know about Hong-joo being Voldemort, but on this very site, in News bites: July 8, 2016, Kanz and Poliwag discussed whether or not Kang Haneul mastered 4th dimension time travel to be in so many projects at the same time. But it occurred to me, that Kang Haneul has located and is using Hermione Granger's time turner necklace.

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A foot-long Subway.

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Or you could go for the Yo-Gwang six-footer. ;-)

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every episode really brings the best and worst feelings ever!!!
i love the characters, everyone here has their purpose and i love them and of course hate them for that..
im so excited for the finale.. omg, cant wait! thanks for the recap!

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Thanks Javabeans for the speedy recap! :D
I agree with all your points. I am loving the show to pieces and enjoying how it keeps me on my toes from minute one till the end of each episode. Nevertheless, in the last episodes I am feeling a bit more what I think is the main flaw of the script: that most of the time they are not paying attention to the thing that should be their main and urgent concern, namely lighting the candles! I get than dealing with Hong Joo is demanding, but there should have been more plot build up on the candles issue. Now that Jun and Yeon Hee are on the run (and there are only 3 episodes left), I hope that we will see more action on their side to end the curse...ant at this stage I would love to see a surprise new character coming in to help: the one that saved the monk at the beginning.

Regarding the end of the curse, since Jun is an historical character and Poong Yeon seems to obvious, I think that it might be Yeon Hee herself the one to sacrifice herself for her loved ones. Anyway, I am curious to see again this last page of the grimoire of curses and get more information about it, we might be all misled about what it means...

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@Rachel,

Anyway, I am curious to see again this last page of the grimoire of curses and get more information about it, we might be all misled about what it means…

As I recall, the motif on the original mirror shields is round, and consists of a tree -- whose boughs mirror the roots -- enclosed in a circle. The motif on the last page of the book looks tree-like, but different -- more elongated -- and is not encircled. The self-contained circular pattern just looks more defensive to me. An apt design for a ward. Plus, circles have no beginning or end... which conjures up Ourobouros and cyclic time (as well as benzene rings!).

I can't help but wonder if the motif in the book is a symbolic offensive weapon. I have no idea how that would work... It just occurred to me that it could well be a talisman that gets plastered on the back of the originator of the curse as a homing beacon for that creepy black magic "squid" flying in its cloud of inky ectoplasm... like a cosmic "kick me" sign.

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Interesting theory. For sure this last page could have more importance than we have been thinking so far. I learned from comments above (thanks Javabeans!) that the title of the show comes from the book that the real Jun wrote, the "Mirror of Eastern Medicine", so...could it be the Mirror of the Witch the Grimoire of Curses?? I find it confusing since my knowledge of Korean is zero,..but if they are talking about books, then the key to break the curse and defeat Hong Joo might be in that page.

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After I watched this episode, I was ready to scream bloody murder. More like, I'm tired of everyone repeatedly falling under Hong Joo's sly words. I'd really like to move on to the bigger challenge of the candles already.

This episode made me feel so demoralised, but I'm also really glad your recap came, javabeans. Because you've put things into better perspective.

Thanks to you, I can understand that this particular win for Hong Joo is different because it's sheer glib and scheming, without the black magic.

And thanks to you, we'll (hopefully?) be back to proper heartfelt interactions between Heo Jun and Yeon Hee.

So as much as I hate this episode, thanks for making it less painful.

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That weak-willed,pathetic excuse for a King literally made my stomach turn.At least Hong Joo,super bad as she is,has a "higher purpose" for doing all this,in her distorted mind.But that King only cares about himself!Well,i guess we can say it's an accurate portrayal of how our political "leaders" have all been self-serving,corrupted beings since the beginning of time.And something else,weren't Hong Joon's powers supposedly stripped in the last episode?How can she still control Hyon Seo?Plot-hole much?Or did i miss something?Anyway,i can't wait for someone to wipe that smug smile off Hong Joon's face once and for all!And someone get those people a King with a backbone,for crying out loud!!!

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Yes, she did lose all her black magic powers and I was wondering about that too but then I thought maybe people who were already affected by her black magic won't be set free, she can't use it on new people but the ones who already have it will have to live with it till someone cures them, say Hoe Jun maybe?!

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Yeah,but i thought she was using her magic to have him as her puppet or somehing.I am not sure it's adequately explained for us to be sure anyway.Truth is,i think there are some plot holes and sometimes things are way too convenient,especially for the bad guys,but i love the overall tone and atmosphere of the show and the acting of the leads so much that not only am i willing to dismiss that,but i can actually say this is one of my all time favourite shows already!Yoon Si Yoon is amazing as always and this little girl is a revelation!

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Thanks for the recap, JB!!

Definitely wanna see more Jun-YH moments. The nap scene was hilarious with YG. More bromance scenes with these two are OK, too! XD

HJ is a master of manipulation for sure. She just knows exactly what to say to strike at someone's sore spot. No wondering everyone falls prey to her except strong-willed characters like Jun. I also wanna know more about her backstory.

I spotted Solgae in the crowd for that ceremony scene. Really hope she will get on the good guys' side and help them battle HJ and her minions.

Just a few more ep's and I hope to have the story wrap up well... Get those 5 candles lit, heal PY, have YH know about her birth mom, let HS be back to his old self, HJ receiving punishment, more Jun-YH time, etc.

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Funny, how startled I was when I saw the first pic of this recap!
I know,it looks ridiculous,but somebody tell me it was edited,please!( I read this before watching the actual drama.) The story is lovely and even more gripping than before and the loveline is greatly presented,but I'm feeling little uncomfortable.
Yunno,when You from another star ended,I kept imagining what would happen to the characters from now on like "will Do Min joon ever go back? Will they marry?" And when Secret garden ended "Will mamma chaebol ever forgive them?" And " how many time will oska take to marry Seul since he finally proposed after,like 15 years?"
That's because we heartily engage in the story that we cannot help doing so even when it ends.But here in Mirror of the witch,though how much I'm intrigued and squeeling at scenes with Jun and Yeon hee "How cute?" I cannot continue it after taking my eyes away from the screen and it's magical world,as it makes me uneasy.
Amongst our three gold teen stars Yoo jung,So hyun and Sae Ron, only Kim So hyun seems old and matured enough for me.Well at least more than KSR.They're still pretty child-faced for me.
Only if JTBC could keep the drama at bay till KSR becomes 20...Swoon.I cannot help but think what it'll do in saeguk kdrama history.
But that was only me.

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FYI - When the birth mother comes to Yeon Hee in the dream, what she actually says is, "Child, the child is in danger," using two different words for "child." So the birth mother is saying something like, "Yeon-Hee, the child is in danger," which is how Yeon-Hee connects the warning to the queen's unborn child.

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Alright, so here's what I don't get. Why is the King so intent on killing the princess when if she dies the entire royal family would be cursed?

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