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Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People: Episode 23

The bloodthirsty king becomes more malicious and more creative in coming up with new reasons for others to be punished by death. He elevates his threat to the people in an attempt to establish his own customs and sense of order, and it’s working — the people are terrified. But there’s just enough fight in the people who once believed in the Hong Hero, and we can feel the rebellion brewing as Gil-dong slowly realizes the great responsibility behind his great strength.

 
EPISODE 23 RECAP

We see the conflicting ideals of Yeonsangun and Gil-dong as we watch a montage of their actions. Yeonsangun claims to be a politician who doesn’t trust people and believes that people can only be tamed with violence. Gil-dong, on the other hand, admits that he’s no longer angry but sad when he sees the tears of the people, because they remind him of the tears of Eorini, Ga-ryung, and Soboori.

In his cell, Gil-dong stands up, his tall frame illuminated by the moonlight. He looks up to the sky and asks his father if instead of being a general who received the king’s sword, he became the one to take away the sword.

The newly recruited music troupe performs a song for the king under the watch of Nok-soo, but the song is interrupted when one woman coughs and runs out gagging. Nok-soo explains that in the rush of recruitment, some of the musicians happened to be pregnant. She tries to ameliorate the situation by praising their sound, but the king says that he asked for musicians, not children. He orders for the musician’s children to be killed, inciting shock amongst the troupe (and even Nok-soo).

Mori facilitates the raid of the musician’s quarters to kidnap the children under the king’s orders. He takes them out to the field to be killed while the mothers scream at the outskirts for their babies. Then, suddenly a cloud of smoke overcomes the field, and Mori takes out his sword in defense. We hear a few punches, and after the smoke clears, we see some of Mori’s men down with no babies in sight.

Mori reports to the king that he got rid of the children in accordance to his orders, and the king doesn’t blink an eye as he polishes his sword. Eunuch Kim looks disturbed and tries to speak with the king, but they’re interrupted by the news that the prison has been broken into by intruders at dawn. Enraged, the king decides that he’ll capture these intruders himself.

The king rides into the woods with his entourage, and as he takes the lead, his guards are captured by masked enemies. Only when he climbs up the hill does he realize that he’s alone. He hears an echoing laugh and looks around to find Gil-dong staring down at him from higher ground. Gil-dong calls out to the king by his birth name, Lee Yung, and threateningly inches a boulder on top of the hill. He warns the king to watch out for his future if he continues to hurt his citizens.

Gil-dong rocks the boulder back and forth, about to launch one forceful final push. The king cowers in fear and falls to the ground, but Gil-dong doesn’t push the boulder. He smirks and tells the king that they’ll meet again, and the pathetic king looks more irritated than ever.

Back at the palace, Eunuch Kim falls to his knees asking that the king forgive his incompetent servant. The king suspects that Eunuch Kim may still be communicating with Gil-dong, but Eunuch Kim takes out a knife in response, swearing that he will kill himself to prove his loyalty. He reminds the king that he faithfully devoted his life to serving him. Nok-soo enters the king’s quarters worried about the king’s injury (a mere scratch on his face) and looks shocked at the sight of knife pointed at Eunuch Kim’s face.

Gil-dong walks up the hill with a smile, but he’s suddenly hit with something and falls to the ground. He opens his eyes and finds himself sitting against a tree and looks up to find Ga-ryung looking sweetly at him. She reaches her hands out to touch his face, and he holds them tenderly, admitting that he missed her.

But when he opens his eyes, he’s out of his reverie, and the shaman looks down at him from Ga-ryung’s place. She tells him not to worry about Ga-ryung, since they will reunite when the time comes. She says that his father had asked how Gil-dong would survive, but she hadn’t answered because he had been asking the wrong question. So Gil-dong asks the question differently: “How am I supposed to die?” She tells him to find the tree with the big root.

Gil-dong searches for the tree with his Hong bandits behind him. They enter a hidden cavern, and they’re met with a group of people led by the shaman. She tells the people that this is the Great One that they were waiting for, and they all bow to him. While the Hong bandits entertain the underground people with their tales, Gil-dong marvels at the size of the cavern and asks the shaman if he can bring some of his own citizens to this place. She notes that he says “citizens” instead of “people,” and readily agrees.

Nok-soo tends to the scratch on the king’s face and asks about Gil-dong’s escape. He’s nervous at the possibility that Gil-dong may be the Mighty Child, but Nok-soo takes his hand before he spirals into despair. She reminds him that he has thousands upon thousands of soldiers at his disposal — surely the Mighty Child cannot defeat them all.

The king updates Gil-hyun about Gil-dong’s escape, and Gil-hyun hides his smile of relief. The king orders for Gil-hyun to capture Gil-dong secretly, since the people may indulge in rumors of the Mighty Child if his survival is disclosed. Gil-hyun agrees to these orders in front of the king, though we know he’s got other plans.

The citizens are notified of Gil-dong’ death, and Choongwongoon and Madam Jo rejoice at the news. Choongwongoon looks vindicated by justice and commends the long-standing pillar of Joseon. Meanwhile, Ga-ryung looks shell-shocked by this news and cries at the news of her husband’s death.

The king paces back and forth, worried about capturing Gil-dong. But Eunuch Kim eases his worries by reminding him that Gil-dong also has a trail of people who he took with him in his escape, which should make him much easier to find than they initially thought.

The Hong bandits bring groups of people to the secret cavern, and they are overjoyed to have a safe place to live. Gil-dong asks the shaman if she really waited for him, and she responds that she knew that the Great One would find his way. He scoffs that the Great One merely has extreme strength, but the shaman clarifies that strength is only a single mark of the Great One — not the key to its existence. But that key is something that Gil-dong will come to know.

Soboori tells Gil-dong to bring Ga-ryung to their safe spot, and Gil-dong agrees. Gil-dong arrives at his home looking for Ga-ryung, but a neighbor notifies him that she recently packed her things and left. Assuming that she was captured, Gil-dong tracks down Mori and holds him in a chokehold, accusing him of taking Ga-ryung. Mori asks if he really lost his wife, and Gil-dong drops his fist, realizing that Mori isn’t behind Ga-ryung’s disappearance.

Gil-dong walks away limply and thinks to himself, “I always thought that you would be waiting for me. I never thought that I would be waiting for me. I’m a foolish husband. Ga-ryung, you’re waiting for me, right? You trust me?” He walks away, and Mori lets him go.

Ga-ryung walks to the outskirts of the village and finds a rock marking the forbidden territory, warning that an encroachment of the law will lead to severe punishment. Ga-ryung asks a passerby if she could meet the king if she entered the forbidden area, since the king frequently hunts there. The woman thinks Ga-ryung’s words are nonsense, since she’ll surely die if she enters that area.

The king decorates Nok-soo’s hair with embellishments and expresses relief in the absence of any commotion from Gil-dong. She affirms his relief by saying that Gil-dong probably went into hiding in fear of the king. Feeling powerful again, the king commits to continuing his long quest to change customs in his rule, which he thinks will take at least another ten years. Nok-soo looks unsettled.

The king announces to the ministers that he must change the customs of disdain for the higher class. He proposes a crueler punishment and wants to allow for citizens to accuse each other of this crime. A minister asks what to do with children, and the king decides that excluding babies and infants, all will be punished. He proposes the same rule for ministers — if they find another showing scorn for the king, they must impeach each other. The chaos begins right away, as the ministers begin to accuse each other of crimes, and the king sits back to watch his power manifest.

He then orders for all children found in the forbidden area to be whipped and for their parents to be beheaded and hung on display. When asked about a citizen criticizing the king, Yeonsangun decides that the citizen will be dismembered and put on display, along with a banner explaining the person’s crime.

Ga-ryung narrates and writes in her book about the king’s growing cruelty and the citizens’ growing despair. Especially with the death of the rumored Mighty Child, the people were left hopeless and in painful tears. Gil-dong hears the cries of the people in his sleep and wakes up suddenly, panting from the intensity. The king also squirms in his sleep from a nightmare about his near-death boulder experience, and he wakes up suddenly as well.

Scholar Song and Choongwongoon visit the king to congratulate him on his victory against Gil-dong and for establishing customs that forbid contempt for the higher class. The king proposes an idea: a prompt for the ministers to write a poem. Before Choongwongoon can servilely praise such an idea, Scholar Song suggests that the prompt of the poem be about the greatness and purity of the new rule, and the king is pleased by the suggestion.

Back in his home, Choongwongoon complains to Madam Jo about Scholar Song taking all the credit for their efforts. He credits Mori and Madam Jo for their successes against Gil-dong, yet Scholar Song is the only one recognized by the king. He urges her to take some action before her son is stuck behind Scholar Song’s shadow.

At the palace, Jeong-hak suspiciously asks Gil-hyun about the announcement of Gil-dong’s death. He asks if Gil-hyun actually saw the dead body, since he seems to believe that Gil-dong is still alive. Gil-hyun threatens to report Jeong-hak’s suspicions to the king, which stops Jeong-hak for now. But he later orders for someone to trail Gil-hyun and search for his grandfather’s house in the woods. He can sense that there’s a connection that Park Ha-sun (Gil-hyun’s code name) has with Gil-dong.

Provoked by his dream, the king practices archery in the forbidden area, disregarding his bleeding fingers. When he thinks about Gil-dong’s laughter, he’s unable to shoot the arrow, and one of musicians approaches him to with a cloth to wipe his blood. He takes offense to her actions and chokes her, asking if she doubts his archery skills. He eventually lets go, and Nok-soo comes to his side to clean his bloody finger.

They’re interrupted by a singing voice, and it’s not one of the young musicians. The guards drag the owner of the voice from the forbidden territory and bring her in front of the king. It’s Ga-ryung, and she begs for the king to avenge her husband’s death, even if that means she’ll die. Nok-soo approaches this familiar voice, and when Ga-ryung raises her head, they look at each other in shock.

Nok-soo brings Ga-ryung back to her room, and Wolhamae greets her as well. Ga-ryung says that her husband died a cruel and painful death, and Nok-soo promises to relay her request to the king.

When Nok-soo arrives at the king’s quarters, she tells the story of her connection with Ga-ryung, but she stops when she sees that the king is drawing Ga-ryung. He’s mesmerized by her beauty and wonders if it was her voice or her lasting impression that captured him. While she did break the law, he finds her too young and beautiful to kill and suggests that she come into the palace as a gisaeng.

After dressing up in the musicians’ garments, Ga-ryung enters Nok-soo’s room. Nok-soo wonders about Ga-ryung’s motivations for singing in the forbidden area and asks if she wanted to leave a strong impression on the king. She implies that Ga-ryung has other motivations than avenging her husband’s death, but she doesn’t seem to mind if she does. She acknowledges that men, especially the king, have many loves, and she wouldn’t mind sharing her spot with Ga-ryung.

Gil-hyun reunites with Gil-dong at a village eatery, and he apologizes for putting his brother through so much pain. Gil-dong tells his brother that he saw Eorini as a part of the musician troupe at the palace, so Gil-hyun rushes back to the palace to find her. The guards don’t allow him — or any men, for that matter — into the musicians’ quarters, and Gil-hyun looks inside longingly. Then, he sees a group of the troupe walk past and through the gates. Both our Eorinis pass by him, and when Gil-hyun calls out Eorini’s name, both of them turn back. Neither one show any recognition and continue on their way.

Gil-hyun meets up with Gil-dong again and reports that Eorini did not recognize him. He suggests that they plot to kidnap her from the palace, but Gil-dong is more cautious about this. He shows Gil-hyun Eorini’s name in the Hengrok, listed under the elite Sugwidan’s enemy group, the Geoin. If this is the same Eorini, that means that she may be purposefully planted in the palace. He warns that they could hurt her and the rest of the hidden people if they act too rashly.

Playing double agent, Gil-hyun reports to Scholar Song with his proud account of Gil-dong’s capture. He asks if he’s a part of the Sugwidan now, and Scholar Song confirms this. With that said, Gil-hyun asks about the Geoin who used to pull carts for the Sugwidan. He asks if he can also obtain some Geoin for himself, but Scholar Song says that he’ll need to prove himself a bit more before that happens.

Nok-soo announces their showcase for the king and reminds all the musicians to show off their best talents in front of their ruler. She also tells the Eorinis (named Hong-ran and Sang-hwa) to show Ga-ryung around. Doe-eyed Eorini obediently answers but Ambitious Eorini is a little hesitant, perhaps feeling a sense of competition with Ga-ryung.

As they walk around the palace, Doe-eyed Eorini thoroughly explains the ranking among the musician troupe. They’re all currently in the lowest status, which means that they remain very distant from the king. When they’re promoted, they are able to have closer relations with the king. They point to the next building, where the musicians are sent for punishment, and when Ga-ryung asks about why they’re punished, Ambitious Eorini tells her to wait and find out.

At the showcase for the king, the musicians sing and dance to the best of their ability, but they don’t seem to suffice. A girl sings with too sad of a face for the king’s taste, and another girl isn’t sharp enough in her dance, so they’re both sent away for punishment. The king leaves the room in anger, and Ga-ryung tells herself that this is the king who mercilessly killed her husband.

Tired of the king’s cruelty, the people begin to start their own rebellion. They go around the village posting anonymous letters exposing the king’s malicious actions and murders, only to end up chased down by the palace guards and severely beaten in front of the king.

Gil-dong and the Hong bandits hear of the rebellion, known as the Descendants of the Hong Hero. They’ve posted accusatory letters against the king, which has resulted in the punishment of their whole families. Gil-dong ponders the issue seriously, and the shaman watches him with a knowing look.

The descendants are asked who was behind the letters by the king’s thugs, and they truthfully claim that this was their own idea. The king’s thugs don’t believe this and continue to beat the traitors until the king stops them. He then questions the ministers, since these letters were posted on the doors of the minsters’ homes. Upon the accusation, the ministers lie prostrate in front of the king and insist that they had no relation to such treason. But the king remains suspicious and makes all the ministers write out the exact words of the accusatory letter so that he can compare the handwriting.

Gil-hyun visits a village eatery and pulls a secret letter from Gil-dong out of a crevice. Gil-dong writes to his brother about the guilt he feels in regards to the Hong Hero Descendants and how he feels compelled to save them. Gil-dong visits this eatery next and takes out a letter written from Gil-hyun, who discourages Gil-dong from pursuing such dangerous deeds. He says that it’s too dangerous to challenge the king with his current numbers. He writes that it’s the walls of the people’s hearts — not the walls of the palace — that are too high.

The king orders the ministers to find the instigator of the accusatory letters quickly, threatening bloodshed if he finds the culprit first. The ministers murmur nervously, and Gil-hyun continues to explain the power dynamics: The people are too scared to cross over the palace walls because of the dangerous king, but the king isn’t the only one enjoying the power in the danger. The ministers also benefit from the king’s power, and as long as the ministers cower behind the king, there can be no change — the king remains safe.

Gil-dong writes to his brother that he realizes that the walls of the people’s hearts are the most frightening. He writes that he will not be sneaking the people out of the palace at night; rather, he’ll do it in the light of day. He figures that if word spreads of him saving people in the light of day, the walls of the people’s hearts may lower a little.

Gil-dong tells the underground people that sudden hail or snow can ruin crops, but this is not something that humans can resolve. But he claims that the king is not hail or snow — they can change things if they commit to it. The people murmur doubtfully about this claim, but Gil-dong continues his rallying cry. He says that the people are inundating the prison and calls upon them to bring these people out: “Let’s steal the people from the king.”

From the back, the shaman watches with resolve, repeating her prediction that the Great One will learn and know his calling. She adds that the Great One not only has great strength, but also is born with a rebellious spirit to threaten the king. This is why the king fears him.

 
COMMENTS

Aha, so not only does Gil-dong steal hearts of the people figuratively, he literally steals the people from the king. I love it. I especially love that his motivation to steal back the people comes from the people themselves, not from some noble sense of heroism or responsibility that Gil-dong boasts. Gil-dong has never wanted that noble hero role from the start — even with Amogae, he insisted that they live a quiet life. I think that dream for a humble life is what makes Gil-dong the perfect hero, because he represents the people. He is the people. The people are the center of the rebellion, and while Gil-dong may be the face of the movement, we’re reminded in this episode that Gil-dong and the Hong bandits alone cannot defeat the king. There are limitations to Gil-dong’s power, and he needs the trust and commitment of the people.

I appreciated some of the clarity that the shaman provided in Gil-dong’s purpose and obligation as the Great One, though I’m still perplexed by her induced question about how Gil-dong will die. It was the question of how Gil-dong will die, not how Gil-dong will live… because no matter how he lives, he’ll ultimately die the same way? That’s a little morbid and fatalistic. According to the shaman, Gil-dong’s purpose in life will be determined by how he dies, and I think that won’t be doing him or his character justice. I do like how this question compels Gil-dong to find his calling that comes with his strength, but let’s not forget that Gil-dong is an adorable simpleton at heart.

The Geoin situation is still very unclear, and I’m waiting for some clarity there. I imagine the Geoin to be more of a strategic group that the elite Sugwidan fear because they, like Gil-dong, are able to camouflage their existence wherever they need to find more information. I was so convinced that the real Eorini was the doe-eyed Eorini, but now I’m not so sure. I’m hoping that the reason why they’re drawing out the mystery for so long is due to some great twist in how Eorini is involved with the Geoin. It better be epic or mind-blowing, because they’ve played with us for way too long.

I’m a little amused that Gil-dong propels all of his loved ones into the belly of the beast, from his siblings to his lovers. With Ga-ryung as the most recent addition to the palace, the king is now completely surrounded (and in love with) all of his enemies. It’s only a matter of time until the king finds out one connection to Gil-dong and connects the dots with the whole crew. There are so many pieces of the puzzle that have yet to come together, and I’m actually rooting for the king to discover the connections soon enough to make things interesting. I’m on Team Gil-dong all the way, but I don’t want their victory to be easy. I want them to struggle, and I want it to be hard. Maybe with some blood and tears. Does that make me sadistic? Yeonsangun’s bloodthirstiness must be getting to me.

 
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Honestly, this uhrini mystery is becoming on par with the husband mystery in the reply series. They are handling it similarly too.

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I don't have much patience left for this show and it's not helping.

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It is revealed in ep 24

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But I doubt the revelation in epi 24 was only that. Maybe some more plot twist or maybe it is just myself reluctant to believe it.

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Im pretty sure it is eohrini, everything adds up but the other girl could have something on her too.

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I would let it go if they stop making it so dramatic.

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ha ha! my thoughts exactly, like is it really necessary? What purpose exactly does it serve? At least with Reply we were informed from the first episodes that that was one of it's major plot points so hate it or love it they would keep doing it. But this.....

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I don't even care about it anymore. I've had enough.

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I'm surprised to find out that I have wider range of patience for this drama compare to other viewers ('○')

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I don't watch Reply series (I know my temper) so I can't comment on the similarity but I do think it's fresh how the main characters here know who Eorini is. Often times the viewers are privy to a mistaken identity plot, so we are like "Can't you seeee?" to the main character but here it's reversed lol.

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I like your comment about the reversal between the audiences and the main characters. Honestly, I kinda went through 5 stages of grief (except depression) with this who-is-Eorini plot, but I finally reached the acceptance stage... :D

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A comparison with the husband hunt in the reply series to any "milked" plot mystery at this point is a hyperbole. After the reveal the reveal, i guess it is still ok in this level because the hints still makes sense. But if you have been watching tons of movies and dramas with this kind of mystery you will start to get tired and annoyed at it. Especially after the reply series, where tons of hints given prior become practically useless, and those other useless shits become the real clues. The length and severity of the mystery does have to do with it. Ever since the teenage uhrinis have been shown, in each scene they are in, the writers are like shoving the mystery in our faces, cant they be a bit subtle with it. In reply it was ok because it was the point of the drama, in this one it wasnt. Nevertheless, i liked the twists reveals in ep 24.

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I wish they'd end the Who-Ri-Ni mystery already. Haha

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Who-Ri-Ni -- I love it! ;-)

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From my understanding, geoins are slaves owned by the sugwidans. Thats was the reason gildong first targeted the sugwidans, because he was looking for uhrini's owner and to find uhrini herself. Hence, gilhyun asked master song if he could use some geoins.

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Omg, the more I learn, the more questions I have...Like the whole Eorini thing. At first, I really wanted Ambitious Eorini to be Eorini, but now I want Doe-Eyed Eorini to be Eorini. There's just a darkness and jealousy to the ambition in Ambitious Eorini, whereas I liked her gumption before. And at first I was sure Ambitious Eorini was Eorini, but now I'm not so sure...But maybe one of the Eorinis has Mori as a lost brother? Also, I've been thinking that Song Sabu was nefarious and an evil Confucian dogmatist, but now I'm not so sure...Is he a pragmatist in the Machiavellian sense? What is the real role of the geoin. Is he secretly championing the people? What is the role of the geoin? Why do they get used? Why is the suwigdan afraid of them? Are they part of the suwigdan or not?

First off, Gil-dong just revealed to Mori he's got a weak spot the size of the sun for Ga-ryung lol. I'm just loving seeing Gil-dong open up and have more emotion. He's been so cold since his dad died. I also love how Gil-ryung's relationship has undergone a reversal. Even though it makes my heart clench that he couldn't find her. T_T But I'm glad Gil-dong realizes that he's taken Ga-ryung's constancy and belief in him for granted. She's always been the one waiting for him to return her feelings, the one who had to put her faith and trust in him to return them and he's always been secure in her feelings for him. But now that's reversed and he's the one who has to wait for her (even if the situations are different) and have the faith and trust that her feelings are constant and unchanging and that he'll return.

Now on to flowers and trees...lol.

I'm wondering if the mudang sent Gil-dong another conception dream before she interrupted his emotional woobling. Like we talked about in the last recap, there's a lot of fertility around this couple. Ga-ryung appears to him in a field of flowers, grass/maybe grain and trees. She's just associated with so much life and growth. I just couldn't help but think Demeter. Then you have Gil-dong being supported by a tree which is also an important symbol for him in terms of support, protection, growth and roots. But it's also a fertility symbol. Are you pregnant, girl? If so, please leave the palace. I swear to god, every time she has an interaction with the king or a tense scene with Nok-soo, Taemin starts going 'DAAAAAAANGER!!!!' in my head.

I also find it interesting that Nok-soo in contrast instead of an association with live flowers, I associate her with jewelled or stone flowers from her hair accessories. Ga-ryung's hair accessories always look like live flowers. Nok-soo's don't. She hard, cold, maybe even dead inside? I mean, I think she wore black roses in the back of her head.

TBC...for trees.

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Literally me. I wanted ambitious Eorinie to be Eorinie, but the way she was acting in this episode towards Garyung was too unnecessarily antagonistic (it reminded me of Noksu and the girl she slapped). I'm also grateful for the role reversal, Gildong did take advantage of Garyung's love for him, so it's nice to see him longing for once.

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Yeah, it's nice to see that Gil-dong is as invested in their relationship as Ga-ryung is since I feel like we weren't able to see his affection and longing for her until after they were married since Ga-ryung was the one who initiated everything.

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SO MANY TREES!!! When the mudang told him to find the tree with a big root, I was like Ooooh. And then he found a huge tree with a hidden underground living space
/lots of people and I was like OOOOOOOOHHH! The people that are there are the roots of the country. They're hidden, but they provide all the nutrients and work for the country but they aren't appreciated. They support everyone else but only the branches/trunk/leaves are seen/seen as protection.

I think Gil-dong is the trunk which forms from the roots/the people and protects them since he was lying on the trunk earlier to meet Ga-ryung/mudang in the dream. The branches are probably the nobles/scholars/etc. And then the king would be the leaves, the most flashy part of the tree, but also the most delicate and superficial. He got a tiiiiny scratch and was all whiny about it lol. (Also guessing there was no breakout scene because of the CGI budget for the rocks (not so good lol) and the tree set...and the set was probably not meant to be broken.)

Also, when Gil-dong was walking away from Mori after wondering if Mori had taken his wife on that bridge, my eye couldn't help but be drawn to the trees because of their bright leaves. I knew it couldn't be a fluke because the director had to purposefully have them lit to be so green. I thought, they look like willows...What do willows symbolize? Cue google research!

In Chinese culture, willows humility because it looks like it's bowing. Gil-dong has to have the humility to hope that Ga-ryung will return to him. In the western sense, willows are flexible and can bend, but not break. Gil-dong goes through trials, but doesn't break because of them. He can adjust to life. Willows are also a hearty tree and can grow in harsh conditions, usually near swamps. Gil-dong has had a harsh life. Finally, willows are also associated with mourning and sadness because of their shape, something Gil-dong now feels and has had a lot of mourning to do.

On a last note, I feel like the two Eorinis also parallel Ga-ryung and Nok-soo. Seong-hwa/Ambitious Eorini is ambitious with a jealous, self-centred streak like Nok-soo, while Ok-ran/Doe-Eyed Eorini is sweet and pleasant, observes things, like Ga-ryung.

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Thank you so much for sharing! :D - I really wanted to hear your and PakalanaPikake's and whomever would like to join in it thoughts on that, because I'm rather unfamiliar with trees and flowers myself.

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Did you watch Tree with Deep Root? It's symbolically different but makes sense when it comes to Joseon and it's establishment.

I guess the interpretation can be different from each class's point of view.
The king would see himself as the root. The ruler,protector and provider of his people. (excluding Yeonsan lol)
The scholars who made the law and the brains behind the country's establishment would claim that they are the root.
The people can claim that they are the roots which makes the most sense. It takes more than one root for a tree to be stable. They provide food for the whole country through farming etc and pay taxes that helps runs the government. Without the people there would be no government or king.

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From 6 Flying Dragons Episode 42 recap:

"Jung Do-jeon addresses the gathered scholars with a rousing speech, and one with very familiar overtones for anyone who’s seen Tree With Deep Roots:

“Therefore, the roots of this grand country of Joseon are still weak. Scholars, officials, the sadaebu… all of us here should be the strong, healthy roots of this country. In order for this tree named Joseon to last for ten thousand years, we must be the root of those roots. We may be hidden, but we live and breathe, invisible, while passing along our energy to the tree, its leaves, and flower petals. We must become the invisible, deep-rooted roots of history! We must become the hidden root of this land!

The hidden root steers the king [in the right direction], the hidden root makes sure not to lead the king astray! The hidden root works for the lowest people of this land! The hidden root cares for the people; the hidden root respects the people! The hidden root brings peace for the people! The hidden root raises the people up! The hidden root must be unchanging. That is what Minbon is [the people are the root of the nation].”
His affecting words earn teary eyed responses from all those listening, including the eavesdropping Boon-yi who repeats his last phrase wonderingly: “Minbon. The people… the people are the roots.”"

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Too bad "Milbon" (hidden roots) changed under a new leadership. They tried to kill the king who was serving his people.

Kind of interesting how it's related to Yeonsan in some way. He banned the use of Hangul during his reign.

Yeonsan would've fit right in with Gi-joon and the rest of Milbon.

(I miss that perfect cast. From Song Joong-ki to the veteran of veterans, Han Sukkyu, Yoon Jee-moon, Jo Jin-woong and my beloved Warrior Moo-hyul...etc)

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Exactly. No system can ever truly get at the root of the problem. The root is the self-serving tendencies of the human heart.

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Yes, I watched Tree with the bromance of all bromances. I have a love-hate relationship with the writer. :) - I also knew about that tree symbol before watching but I found it always confusing and Tree and the Flying Dragons made it even more confusing to me - even though I understand how the Tree symbol is used in the frame of the dramas and it also makes sense to me how it is used here and how you guys described it so well (thank you!). I don't understand though why it is a symbol for King Sejong's reign when it was he himself that brought it up. And wouldn't in the regards to King Sejong's poem the roots not be the ancestors? - Argh... - Thank you for bringing up the question if the roots just might be changeable from the perspective. Perhaps the meaning of the poem just was changed after Sejong's death?

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Glad you are joining us here Gidget :).
@liina
I do have the same love and hate relationship with the writers of TWDR, SFD. It was entertaining and I could not pass up on Han Suk-kyu and Kim Myung-min in a sageuk. Whatever they sold I bought lol.
Jeong Do-jeon and Tears of the Dragon were far superior with two writers who understand real politics in that era.
I believe you are actually correct about the roots representing the ancestors. The fact that it was first published in Hangul after Jeong Do-jeon etc were dead buried makes the changes confusing from SFD and Tree's point of view.
I had to roll my eyes and ride with it lol.

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When she said find a tree with a big root I also thought of King's last name Li, which in Chinese characters has a tree symbol in it. As in, I thought she was telling him to take down the tyrannical king too? I am also reminded of this because of the revelation that the "tree" in the henrok of Scholar Song symbolizes the King's name.... lol maybe I am drawing too far a connection.. what do you guys think?

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That was me. I guess I'm just very protective of GaRyung that I almost took back my support for ambitious Eorini. But the thing is I really like her guts and I can see why she's being hostile to GaRyung. She came out of nowhere, captured the King's attention and became one of Nok Soo's closest persons. GaRyung basically did something that took her several years to achieve (and she's still not there yet).

Loved the role reversal too. But I still want to hit Gil Dong over the head for giving up that easily in looking for GaRyung after that little monologue at the bridge tho'.

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Right? You KNOW what type of girl she is. What do you think she'd do? Use your brain! But I think he also knows that she'd probably think he's dead.

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But I also think what the mudang said, that he'd see Ga-ryung later on when the time comes plays into it. He's putting faith in the mudang's words. I just hope the mudang doesn't mean the next time you see her, you'll have to kill her ie. a next life sayoO/Unara kinda way.

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At first I thought it had to do with what the mudang said. But the next episode then answered my question on why GilDong didn't just go look for her :)

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Whippersnapper Ambitious Eorini has no clue that Ga-ryung faithfully served Nok-soo for years and followed her all over the place to escape her ex-husband.

I can't wait to see the look on her face when she finds out she's got a sister-in-law. Knowing Ga-ryung, she will be very gracious about it.

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I know, right? it's going to be hilarious.

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I still think that Scholar Song is implemented to make the political allegory work. After all the Hong Gil-dong story is a wuxia story. And wuxia stories have a long tradition of reflecting contemporary politics. In the case of the novel, if it really was written by Heo Gyun or at least at Heo Gyun's time, it refered to Im Kkeokjeong's revolt and probably refered to the Yangban concubine's sons murder case that eventually led to the death of King Gwanghae's half brother and later also to Heo Gyun's execution. The drama itself refers to the happenings that lead to the impeachment of Park Geun-hye and for that telling a person like Scholar Song would be necessary. At least it would be necessary for a great number of Koreans since a great number of Koreans believe that their politicians are only pawns in the hands of a non-directly-political force behind. That would bring us back to the "white stone" from baduk, which would make Yeonsan a stone in the baduk game, not the player. The white player would probably be scholar Song.

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Ooh, intriguing! Yeonsangun is definitely a child trying to play an adult game. He thinks he's at the top but he's only a piece being played by others, whether it's Song Sabu, Nok-soo or Gil-hyun in his inner circle. His inflated sense of self makes him unable to see the others pulling the strings.

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To add to the point above lol...Sleepy, please bare with me...He's also inconsistent with what he wants/his goals. He desires control and to be seen as strong through using violence to coerce others to his will. But, Ga-ryung gets rewarded for her rule breaking behaviour. I know Ga-ryung definitely planned that out, but it shows the king's inconsistency. If he's pleased or if something strikes his fancy, the rules don't apply. He's not a strict dogmatist, only when it suits his purpose. So everything is run on a whim.

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And of course any scholar would deny that Heo Gyun was the original author. He's quite the rebel for writing such a story.

There is a lot that is being borrowed from Im Kkeokjeong's era. The more realistic part of the story.

I guess it makes sense now why the writer changed Yeonsan's nickname from Yeo-hee to Baek-dol.

Ahn Nae Sang's Scholar Song is what keeps me intrigue and he is definitely the player here.

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@liina April 19, 2017 at 12:21 AM

Dang, I didn't realize the novel's author, Heo Gyun, was one of the characters in HWAJUNG / SPLENDID POLITICS. He was played by Ahn Nae-Sang. I watched it about a year ago, mainly because of Cha Seung-won's turn as Prince Gwanghae. When I saw your reference to the death of Gwanghae's half brother, it made me look again at AsianWiki.

Thanks for explaining the significance of Yeonsangun's fetal name. It seems he was fated to be a pawn from the get-go, in the hands of white-clad Song Sabu no less. At least his mother didn't refer to him as "dog poop," as in FATED TO LOVE YOU.

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@5 cloveredlioness April 18, 2017 at 10:09 PM

There's just a darkness and jealousy to the ambition in Ambitious Eorini, whereas I liked her gumption before. [snip] maybe one of the Eorinis has Mori as a lost brother? [snip] Also, I've been thinking that Song Sabu was nefarious and an evil Confucian dogmatist, but now I'm not so sure...Is he a pragmatist in the Machiavellian sense? What is the real role of the geoin. Is he secretly championing the people? [snip] Why do they get used? Why is the suwigdan afraid of them?

Ambitious Eorini leaves me kind of cold. It makes me wonder who her foster mother is. Please don't let it be Madam Jo. That would be the living end. (But it would also be highly ironic, seeing as how she would have been practically under Choongwongoon's nose.) Wherever she's been, and whatever her circumstances, she no longer feels like the adorable kid sister of Gil-hyun and Gil-dong. If she is indeed a Geoin, then I suspect she's a spy under deep cover. Maybe her ambition is only an act. I'm not sure I can believe anything she says (aside from her fear of Yeonsangun). And maybe there's a reason why she doesn't recognize either brother – such as not wanting to blow her cover. Or maybe she's amnesiac like Doe-eyed Eorini.

From the standpoint of family resemblance, I'd have to go with Mori and Doe Eyes. Hmmm. So what's the vibe between him and Ga-ryung? Aish!

Re: Song Sabu as Joseon Machiavelli, he acts as if the end justifies the means, and is utterly ruthless. That doesn't preclude his being a hypocritical Confucian dogmatist. I keep thinking of Lord Noh's wake-up call to Gil-hyun re: using the king's power for personal aspirations and grudges. Song Sabu is doing exactly that. It has been his modus operandi all along. I see it purely as a power play, and the Geoin are his tools. Not only does he deploy them as spies in the palace, I'm willing to bet that he has used them as informants against the Sugwidan, too – like Trojan horses. For quality control purposes, of course.

I was really surprised when HGD reveals his Achilles' heel (Ga-ryung) to Mori. A strategic blunder that speaks to his distress at her loss, it had me jumping up and down. On the other hand, it's high time he realized how often he's left her in the lurch and she's patiently waited for him. There's nothing like nearly dying to make you count your blessings.

Re: flowers and trees: Those pink flowers in the woods where HGD keeled over looked like azaleas to me. Sure enough, there is a deciduous azalea whose native range includes Korea, Rhododendron mucronulatum, that is the first to bloom in late winter/spring right after witch hazel does. It grows 4-8 feet tall, which looks about right.

Amen to Nok-soo's gemstone hair decorations. Inert minerals don't hold a candle to the fresh, delicate flowers that Ga-ryung wears in her hair.

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Oooh. But were the Jos members of the Suwigdan to begin with? I wouldn't be surprised if they were, since they were so cruel to their slaves etc. It would also explain Madame Jo's connection to Song Sabu and not just being the teacher of her son. But it would be so cruel to have Eorini be raised by the very woman who caused the death of her own mother. (I think the drama may lead that way b/c it would make sense and be heartbreaking.)

I too think Eorini's ambition may stem from her being a spy. And deep cover would mean having to control her features, but it just makes things so frustrating since we don't know if she knows who her brothers are. Ugh. And I do think she was rescued by Song Sabu's number 2 who is always being quiet and doing stuff.

Song Sabu is definitely a cold, hard player...and he hides his Geoin in plain sight too, everyone knows that there's geoin and their names, but not what their purpose is for. Crazy.

I'm convinced his blunder is going to be what causes Mori to tie her to a stake and be like, I'm going to kill your woman! I'm confused as to whether he means woman or wife based on the subtitles. I just know he uses nyeoja which is definitely woman, but yeah. Frustrating. Especially since I don't think Mori knows that they've married, but perhaps he can implicitly figure it out based on Gil-dong's reactions or Ga-ryung's hairstyle when he sees her again.

Thanks for pointing out the azaleas. I thought they were cherry/plum blossoms and got freaked since they're a symbol of fragility and shortness of life. So her love/life is beautiful, but short. And I was like, please don't die, Ga-ryung! But cherry blossoms are also hopeful in that they return every year...and with the hope of spring and all that. And the OSTs with Spring in it are many lol.

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@cloveredlioness April 20, 2017 at 1:46 PM:

But were the Jos members of the Suwigdan to begin with? I wouldn't be surprised if they were, since they were so cruel to their slaves etc. It would also explain Madame Jo's connection to Song Sabu and not just being the teacher of her son. … I too think Eorini's ambition may stem from her being a spy. And deep cover would mean having to control her features … I'm convinced his [HGD's] blunder is going to be what causes Mori to tie her to a stake and be like, I'm going to kill your woman! I'm confused as to whether he means woman or wife based on the subtitles. I just know he uses nyeoja which is definitely woman, but yeah.

It hadn't occurred to me that Song Sabu and the Sugwidan could have been doing their sadistic thing for so long, but the possibility is compelling. Also, in some of the early scenes of Choongwongoon's evangelism, Horny Uncle is shown in the audience beside Song Sabu, which makes me wonder if he weren't some sort of mentor to Song. Maybe Horny Uncle was the master of Song Sabu – and/or Choongwongoon. Yikes, that might explain the Grand Prince's atrocious horndog behavior, and Madam Jo's not only not batting an eyelash at it, but recruiting Horny Uncle to go after Amogae's wife. I'm feeling green around the gills just thinking about it.

Re: Eorini under deep cover, she would have to be poker-faced when meeting anyone from her past. That would explain the blank looks she's given Gil-dong and Gil-hyun -- in the finest tradition of martial artists refraining from tipping off their opponents. On the other hand, there have been quite a few instances where her eyes have given her away. But that may be part of her spy act as well.

If Ambitious Eorini really were adopted into Madam Jo's or Song Sabu's household, the possibility that concerns me is that she's been brainwashed to hate her brothers. Or, sharp cookie that she is, maybe she realized that she was in the lion's den, and has been biding her time to ???

Re: Mori's awareness of the exact relationship between HGD and Ga-ryung, I'd say that his knowing that she's simply a member of the household would be enough to endanger her. He does seem to have some scruples (at least when it comes to harming children), so I'd like to think he would back off on pursuing her if he knew she is married. I'm still wondering why he didn't round her up with the rest of the Chief Hong supporters, etc. Has he been mistaking her for Doe Eyes, who might really be one of his siblings?

Re: azalea symbolism in your following posts, LOL! You've run away with the bit in your teeth and hit the jackpot! Thanks! Azaleas comprise a subset of genus Rhododendron. The honey of some "rhodies" is toxic to humans, as are the pollen and nectar -- which lends new meaning to “honeytrap.”

IMHO, the azalea / rhododendron symbolism extends to the mudang as well. ;-)

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Oooh. I missed the Horny Uncle-Pedo Prince connection in those scenes. Both of them are so vile and sickening. Horny Uncle literally made me want cringe every single time he had a scene with Gil-dong's mom.

I can't wait to find out where Eorini really stands and what's going on with her.

Mori does have some scruples, but he also killed that girl for Heo Tae Hak, so I'm not sure. But at the same time, maybe Mori's journey is finding his scruples.

Lol, I obviously had Gil-ryung on the brain and no room for the mudang. *drops her hand like a dead fish/Gil-dong*

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Boop. Just researched azaleas. Apparently in China, they are a symbol of womanhood. *blink blink* Is she pregnant? They also represent passion and fragility. Crap. Please don't die, Ga-ryung! But they are also known for the phrase "Please take care of yourself." And given as gifts with that message to impart upon the recipient to be good to themselves, especially during illness/hard/trying times. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF GIL-DONG! Also, it goes along with the image of Ga-ryung I think liina and you brought up of her as a healer/nurturing mother/true queen. It reinforces everything we've seen of her thus far. That hanakotoba realness.

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More azalea research...But it's one of those things that's so broad and vague that we'll see how things turn out. I feel like the writer must know some of these things since there was a clear shot of the flowers.

- Remembering your home with fondness or wishing to return to it (the crux of this scene with Ga-ryung)
-Taking care of yourself and your family (what Gil-dong needs to do/A wish from Ga-ryung to him)
-Temperance – the Victorians often carried a bloom if they supported the prohibition of alcohol, but it also represents emotional evenness (This was amusing because Gil-dong definitely supported prohibition to benefit his coffers lol. But he is definitely emotionally stable now)
-Passion that is still developing and fragile (Gil-dong's passion to help others/Ga-ryung's passion to avenge him?)
-Elegance and wealth (Taking away that of the king's?)
-Femininity and feminine beauty (Ga-ryung)
-Abundance, especially of beauty or intelligence (Well, both Gil-ryung have that in spades lol)
- A death threat – only when sent in a black vase...apparently b/c they're actually poisonous and contain toxins (Gil-dong's life is probably constantly in threat with the king as the enemy and Ga-ryung does end up tied to a stake appearing to be killed by Gil-dong...so...Also, Ga-ryung is undertaking a honey trap to kill to king-the poison hidden in beauty)

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Now we know who Uh Ri Ni is, I realize we only have three weeks left. I feel like there are still many stories to tell.

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Can we all take a moment to recognize the splendid soundtrack this drama has? Tears sprung from my eyes unknowingly in that last clip when the camera was zoomed in on Gil Dong's face and the "Oh Hey Yah" song played. Wow.

More than that, the last scene when the Shaman was talking about the rebellious spirit of the Mighty One being his essence resonated to me deeply. Non-conformity may be something that is not considered out of the ordinary in today's time (particularly in the West) but it remains a complicated notion in East Asia. Confucian Philosophy is deeply rooted into the customs and traditions and the principle of putting the group above the individual remains strong. There have been many retelling of Hong Gil-Dong's tale but I must say the perspective Rebel is coming for is what makes it my favorite adaptation of the story so far.

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Hear, hear! I, too, have been enchanted with the music in this show. It has also been evoking echoes of Lee Bang-ji's rendition of "Muyiyiya."

Byun Yo Han 변요한 – Muiiya 무이이야 – Six Flying Dragons 육룡이 나르샤 OST Part.3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AxtGzRDW6Ek

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I can’t believe we’re already on ep 23!!! I have to say, my favorite scene in this episode has to be when GilDong faces Yeonsangun and calls him Lee Yoong. I believe most people do not know the king’s real name because saying his name out loud would be equivalent to blaspheming and knowing his name would mean that there is a sort of equality to the king and whoever knows the king’s real name (referred to my MDBC and YiSan knowledge hehe). GilDong even banmal’s to him! I LOVE it.
I also love how GilDong is considered the “YukSa.” I might be reading into it but YukSa also means history in Korean and it is definitely a fitting name for GilDong. He won’t let anyone determine his path especially not a crazy king, he’s make history instead!
I understand it’s for story’s sake, but did anyone get irritated that GilHyun decided to post that GilDong was dead without thinking about how that would affect GilDong’s wife??? He CLEARLY knows where GilDong lived and what GaRyung looks like… as a person who has been left out of the loop for a long time before being reunited with family, you would think GilHyun would at least writer her a letter saying that GilDong isn’t actually dead… sighs
Either way… can’t wait to see the growth of Hwalbindang aka Cave Citizens aka GilDong’s people!!!

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YES. Him calling the king with his name was also my favorite scene, and watching him trembles when GilDong threaten to throw him with that huge ass rock was sooo satisfying... Wonder where he got that scar on his cheek though.

As for GilHyun, I think the timing is also a factor? GaRyung already left her house to see GilDong at that time. So even if either GilDong/GilHyun realized that they should have informed GaRyung, they would still miss her.

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I loved it when he called the king by his actual given name. It was awesome. The audacity! And the lowering of the king's stature. So good!

I have half a mind to think the king decided to scratch his own face so he'd look like Gil-dong actually went and did something to him.

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Lol, the rock scene. That's from the novel. In the novel Gil-dong shows his strength to the thieves lifting a huuuuuuuge rock. They changed it to arm wrestling in the drama. It was nice that the rock still got his appearance! :D

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Rock of Doom is the youngest child of Cliff of Doom -- a chip off the old block. ;-)

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LOL

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I don't know why, but I immediately thought of Sun Wukong/the Monkey King trapped under the rock by the buddha. Is he hiding under that rock, Gil-dong?

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Its very necessary that In order for Gil Dong to live and carry out his quest he had to "die" first. I understand its painful for the people and Ga Ryung but if there was an immediate announcement of Gil Dong and crew's escape it would be a nationwide hunt for them and they would not be able to start establishing themselves/stabilize. Gil Dong's "death" protected them from being chased/hunted and allow Gil Hyun the opportunity to help his brother and the clan without bringing suspicion on himself by the king. The other benefit of this is that we were shown the closeness of the brothers as well as the perspectives of politics and people via Gil Hyun. Gil Hyun is now aware of Eorini's existence through Gil Dong and they are aware what they must do but not act in a rash manner that could jeopardize all/some of their efforts. Because for now Eorini and Gil Hyun are safe. You learned more about the king, what it means to steal the king's people, how & when to act. This could not be done if Gil Dong and crew were constantly on the run.

It was too early to say that Gil Dong is alive when the king just established his absolute reign & his peace on the nation. It also helped ease the king's troubles somewhat because as long as he believed Gil Dong to be dead and not the Mighty Child etc. his insecurities, lack of confidence is lessened somewhat and he feels that he has nothing to fear. For this episode Gil Dong being dead is a very good thing as he has the opportunity to rise again like the phoenix with a new goal and perspective as to what he ought to and should be doing as the Mighty child.

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Since we are on the superhero mode he should've died for real and have the shaman revive him otherwise it's just another trick.

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Sleepy so I'm forgetting the things I wanted to say but...SOOOO glad Gil-dong's got his hair back and let go of the Britney circa 2001. His scruffy hair with the bangs and the ponytail is soo much better than the yangban hair.

It also looks like his haircut has come a new outlook. Cutting hair in China was looked as cutting off your ancestors...so given that, it's like he's letting go of Amogae's future for him and seeking his own.

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I also feel like the hair is looser and allows Gil-dong to have more expression lol. He looks so severe with the yangban hairstyle.

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I don't like this side-swept bangs, I prefer peddler Gil-dong hair style (straight bangs).

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Of course we have to talk about the hair :D This is the same wig that he has in the first episode, right? So I guess this is the look he will be sporting until the end. I personally miss peddler Gil Dong's dark amber highlights and curls. This wig looks kinda like a mop to me, but well it's better that the Britney Spears' hair.
I actually like it when he has his hair up in top knot but it does invoke the stone wall GilDong image that he had before.

I always wonder if the hairstyles imply something more though. Back to the day the Hongvengers reunite in Hanyang, I remember them commenting about having their hair in top knot making them look more noble/refined. But now that they are rebelling, they went back to sport the Ikhwari bandits hairstyles. It can't be just because the top knot is harder to maintain, right?

This was one of the reasons that made me doubt that Gil-ryung are married in that scene on episode 1 (back when I was speculating that she's the "widow" of GilDong) because he did not have his hair in top knot. And I always assume that would be the hair that Joseon men wear when they are married.

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I think you're right about this being the wig from Episode 1 when he faces off with Yeonsangun on their horses. (I feel like this production worked out all the hair/costumes ahead of time and that's nuts considering all that's happened, but definitely a credit to the writer if she had everything plotted out.) It's his mature look lol. I'm definitely going to miss the wavy brown wig too. But I think it was to imply his youth and travels...his hair was sunbleached. Whereas now it's dark from being more mature and also he's not been travelling as much since he's no longer a peddler.

I also think everyone reverted to their bandit hairstyles since they're fighting against the establishment/yangban/royalty, so their hair is a symbol of that rebellion. They're eschewing established societal conventions.

I also wondered about whether or not Gil-ryung was married b/c Gil-dong didn't have his topknot, but everyone's theory about Ga-ryung being Gil-dong's widow, for whatever reason got her there, was just too compelling for me. And it made sense. And I shipped them lol.

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The writer really did plan it all out in the beginning. That's what I've said in the past as well, the writers are really amazing.

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Totally, I think I got impatient with episodes like 12, but now that we're winding down, I can totally see all the intention behind every episode and why things happened the way they did due to the payoffs.

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Forgot to add, Gil-dong's clothes also went from being very sort of vibrant jewel tones to gradually being monochrome (with his yangbang hairstyle, when he's more cold), light (in his wedding clothes to represent the happiness, probably, of that time), then very dark. He starts off his mission to find Eorini in an outfit not unlike his original peddler gear, but as things go bad, his clothes get darker and more drab. And now that he's felt everyone's sadness and is fighting for the people, his clothes are darker still. I wonder what his next style will be.

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Maybe I was cranky when I watched this but Gil Dong irritated me in this episode. I don't know if it's the character or the actor. For Gil Dong, I wanted to see a more obvious change. After all, he has gone through so much and is now resurrected with a wholly new purpose. Other than the forest scene where Gil Dong called out the King's name, he has been quite stoic. It'd be better if we occasionally see some intensity.

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Mori has also gotten quite interesting. I think he might just flip. He lied to to the king about taking care of all those babies he was supposed to kill. I think the Amogae Avengers/Hongvengers took them away before they could be killed with that smoke. And then took them to the tree...Hence all those babies at the cave.

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I was going to write him off until he lied to the king. I'm still not sure if it was out of saving his own skin or was there more?

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He definitely didn't look happy about what he was supposed to do with the children. There is a short moment before the Hongvengers interference when he gives the impression that he would interfere himself.

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I got the impression that he was waiting for something to happen. He might have been in cahoots with someone to abscond with the children. Might Song Sabu's spy, if not the Geoin, be helping him pull an end-run around both bosses?

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I would not be surprised if he does end up being more Song Sabu's secret man instead of Pedo Prince's...He seems to have an upward trajectory on who he follows. It may even lead him to Gil-dong.

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He also didn't bring in Ga-ryung when he was supposed to round up all of Gil-dong's followers. He only brought the gang and the people from the gibang.

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Oooooh. He does seem to have a crush on her... But did he know where Ga-ryung ran off to? I got the feeling that the only people who knew where the honeymoon house was Gil-dong and the other Hongvengers.

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Wasn't there a scene when Mori saw Ga-ryung at the "honeymoon house"? I might have remembered that incorrectly then...

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Well, he did spot Ga-ryung at least twice outside of Hongvengers HQ in Hanyang. That time she ran out to get a doctor for Gil-dong after he injured his hand and when he was skulking around/following her and she got the rock. I guess Gil-ryung like to intimidate people with rocks lol.

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@liina Mori saw Ga-ryung at their other (big) house, the one they move in where they first arrived in Han-yang.

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@cloveredlioness @enkeys: Ah, o.k., thank you! :D

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Oh, iam so sad about the whole situation with Ga Ryung. She's put herself in danger to avenge her much-alive-and-well-husband's death.
And he doesn't even know where his wife is or how and what she's doing. So sad!

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Today's episode of rebel was good.... okk Gil-dong let the stealing begin...

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This episode is my least favourite yet. I kept getting distracted by the small plotholes/editing mishaps. Firstly, I appreciate the fast pace but I do hope we're shown the prison break scene. Lost opportunity for more Gil-dong action scenes! Oh well. Also, it was shown in the teaser how the King went to the prison but it was cut. Next, as Nok-soo said, the King shouldn't fear Gil-dong because he got thousands of soldiers. Exactly. So why did he only bring a handfull of them when he went out to catch the Hong Avengers? And, the soldiers are carrying swords, the Hong Avengers are not, why did the soldiers not fight back, the Hong Avengers cupped their mouthes, they innocently follow and left their King alone? Absurd. I kept getting distracted by the 'sweat' on the King's face too lol. Doesn't look like sweat at all. And then his face is clean in the next cut - back to sweating - back to clean in the same scene. Lol I can't get immersed in that scene. The "OI, LEE YUNG" was cider though :). It's Ok-ran, not Hong-ran, and Geo-in is definitely some sort of people who serves the Su-gwidan, given how Gil-hyun asked Song Sabu if he could use some of them. Su-gwidans aren't afraid of the Geo-ins. It's too convenient how they chanced upon the big tree as well, isn't it? As for our villains, are we finally going to see an internal rife between them? Good. I didn't think Mori will switch over to the good side, but seeing as how he didn't strike back when Gil-dong is on his way back, mourning his lost, I think he is slowly turning a new leaf. Lastly, I think Ga-ryung look prettier with the previous hair and hanbok, even if she wears makeup and pretty hanbok as a gisaeng, her simple look before made her look more lovely.

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Oh, and Gil-dong wasn't knocked out by something in the woods, he fainted after using his power, everytime, remember?

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I honestly felt rather disconnected with this episode because the change from bloodied Gil Dong to his healthy self felt quite abrupt. But I could get a better grisp at what's going on after I watched this episode for the second time..

I thought Gil Dong was unconscious because of the shaman lady? She did whatever it was to make him fainted and then came to talk to him about the tree

And did anyone notice about the scenery in Gil Dong's dream? When he woke up the first time and seeing Ga Ryung (or the shaman), the scenery was filled by flowers around him, but when he woke up for real the second time, there was only tree and no flowers.. did I see it wrong?

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Forget to add, Gil Dong and Ga Ryung scene was so pretty I love it to the moon and back !

Btw, why did the shaman have to touch Gil Dong's (pretty) face? :3 I know the temptation is just too hard to resist but..

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Lol she didn't have too, he dropped her hand right away :p

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I did feel like the editing was kind of choppy for the first part of the episode...like even with the musical cues. Like when Gil-dong has Mori pinned to the wall wondering if he's taken Ga-ryung and all of a sudden the "Drench" theme started playing and I'm like well, that was abrupt. It lacked some finesse. I wonder if they did film Gil-dong's escape scene or if they cut it for budget reasons since it's not important to see him break out, only that he did.

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Re: flowers

The flowers are on the bare azalea shrubs whose leaves have not yet emerged. The gray bark of the branches blends into the background (leaf litter on the forest floor). The camera is looking down on HGD through their branches. From Gil-dong's level, you don't see the blossoms.

It's also possible that the flowers are part of the dream, and once its over, there are no flowers to be seen.

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I felt like that as well! Those first 15-20 minutes was so confusing to me. Not to mention the very fast transition between scenes. I felt like I didn't have enough time to process everything. And everything happened so suddenly. But second watch did clear up some of my confusion (esp when I watch it in its 1080p HD glory).

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@latteholic April 19, 2017 at 3:33 AM

I've been overwhelmed by this episode, too. I watched it multiple times, and had to let it marinate in the back of my mind. Couldn't comment much until I organized my thoughts, which were all over the place. It was quite fatiguing mentally. Whew!

There's so much symbolism, allegory, imagery, detail, emotion, Who-Ri-Ni, etc., etc., it was hard to put into words.

The show is getting on the road in earnest now. The next episode clears up some of the confusing points in this installment. I particularly enjoyed the Viki subtitles for Ep. 24.

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I assumed the big tree must be the one that had all the ribbons on it. Wasn't Gil Dong supposed to return to it; and it would be the source of his strength?

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I think he already did...In one of the early episodes (maybe episode 6? I think he was wearing that green outfit), he stops by tree as an adult and leaves a rock on the stack of rocks there. This causes the entire rock jenga thing to collapse, implying that his powers had returned.

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@Gidget April 19, 2017 at 7:04 PM:

At first I assumed Mudang was talking about the pine growing out of the rock -- but it's all the way over near Ikhwari, wherever that is. I have no sense of distance or travel time in this drama, and it bugs me. Jirisan is way far to the south of Hanyang towards the end of the peninsula, so even if Mudang is from there, it doesn't mean that Ikhwari is located there. The Hongs' hometown seems to be fictional. Or maybe Google Maps has never heard of it. LOL.

I expected that the cave would have to be relatively close to Hanyang and the palace in order to rescue the babies (i.e., within easy medieval commuting distance by shank's mare) but after watching Ep. 24, that may not be the case. Yeonsangun enters his "No Hunting" area near the palace to try to capture HGD. Then we see HGD keel over in the woods, where he converses with Mudang in a dream state.

Duh. She tells him to look for the big root. The biggest root IS that of the pine tree, which is growing up out of the broken boulders at the top of the hill near their old home.

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One thing I was wondering. If you watch C-drama, you know that the women besides the king have to be virgin and no scar. C-drama is all about women fighting in the palace. Those gisaengs are mostly widow, even old. I know they are there to sing but they are the king's women.

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That's how it's written in history too. Yeonsangun really doesn't care about the status of these women. Even Nok-soo his wife has been married twice before and he knew that.

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Is this historically correct?
I have to applaud Yeonsangun for this then lol.

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Yes, you can watch the special prequel episode where they compare real events in history with this drama.

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I didn't know they showed a special prequel eps beside the long trailer.
Is this sub anywhere?

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I get what you mean by not being picky regardless of their background but he was terrible. He used and discard them as he pleases. One wrong move and they were executed.

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@Kiara I can't reply at you above, wonder why? But you can watch the prequel episode with subs on dramacool (dot) es. Pretty cool episode because they had a history teacher on it to explain.

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@enkeys Thanks for the info. I've been eyeing that link for episode 0 for some time now... I really like that history teacher! He was awesome in Infinity Challenge. If only my history teacher in school were as interactive as him, I would have paid more attention in class :D

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@enkeys
Thank you so much! I'm curious if what I've learnt is similar or even close to the history teacher's version of the Annals.

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Ugh, I take it back.

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@kiara: when you watch episode 0, take what the historian says a little bit cautious. I'm neither a historian nor a literature student but I have followed the Hong Gil Dong discours for the last ten years and some of the newer Hong Gil-dong researchers use TWO Hong Gil-dong sources. One is the execution source. The other one is a report from some years after the execution of Hong Gil-dong. The report states that many fields in the area where Hong Gil-dong operated were still unused, because the peasants even after him being long dead feared Hong Gil-dong so much, that after having left the area didn't want to return there. So some of the new Hong Gil-dong researchers think of Hong Gil-dong as a person who was feared by the people and hardly a hero of the people, but at the same time admired for his boldness, his audacity. I don't know now which researchers use the second source and if it's from the annals or somewhere else, because I'm not at home and don't have my books with me. I know for sure that it is used in Marion Eggerts Hong Gil-dong book. Marion Eggert is a university teacher for Korean history as well. She is sometimes critizised for not being very original but she ususally uses her sources properly. (And I'm quite sure she wasn't the only one quoting that source).

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@liina
Thank you! There is not much about the history but we already know that.
Thank you for bringing up scenes taken from the different versions of Hong Gil Dong novel. I'm totally clueless. I can only tell scenes that are based on the actual history.

Which version of Hong Gil Dong (novel/movie) is your favorite?

There is a part in one of the specials (at viki) where Amogae is reading the story of Hong Gil Dong to young Gil Dong and it reminds me of the beginning of "The Princess Bride." I want a classic version of Hong Gil Dong like that. I'd keep it my collection.

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@kiara April 20, 2017 at 11:27 AM:

All along I've been thinking that HGD is eventually going to pull a Dread Pirate Roberts and retire to the country to raise a family down on the farm. ;-)

But who will be Inigo Montoya?!

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@PakalanaPikake Eop-san? Of the Hongvengers, he seems to be the only one still with a father who is alive...but in dangerous crosshairs because Mori knows who his dad is and used his dad to capture all the Hongvengers...

Gil-hyun? He's a swordsman. Madame Jo, you killed my mother, prepare to die!

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@PakalanaPikake
You and me girl. I'm rooting for a happy ending Dread Pirate Roberts style.
I can see him returning to the country site with his people, fulfilling his own dream.

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@kiara, @cloveredlioness April 20, 2017 at 10:52 PM

I'm glad to see so many PRINCESS BRIDE fans here. ;-)

Mandy Patinkin, Cary Elwes, and Andre the Giant were terrific. Dang! The movie came out in 1987?! Holy moly. Where has the time gone? :-(

"Madame Jo, you killed my mother, prepare to die!" -- LOL!

Inigo-hyuntoya would be doing everyone a favor by despatching Madam Jo.

As for Eop-san, yes, I think his dad is the last of the parental generation left. I'm amazed the old dear has lasted as long as he has. He seems to be well-dressed. But I can't figure out where he lives. Does he work for someone? He can't be at the gibang because it was raided.

And yes, after the dust clears, I hope Dread Pirate Hong and First Mate Song shove off for the boondocks with the rest of the clan. To grow barley and beans and raise a couple of pigs.

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@enkeys April 19, 2017 at 9:19 AM:

Thanks for the link to the prequel special with subtitles. I had found it at OnDemandKorea, but without subtitles. I appreciate the pointer! ;-)

*off to watch*

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@enkeys:

I just finished watching the REBEL Episode 0 Special, and it was lovely. I wish I'd been able to see it sooner as it would have explained some of the tricky stuff. -- But what the hey! Better late than never.

Clocking in at about 25 minutes, it is a worthwhile overview, and very nicely produced. I was surprised to learn that REBEL deals with the historical figure, not the novel's protagonist. Interesting

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Like enkeys said, it's historically accurate. We are talking about a pleasure seeking psychopath.
The number of women in Yeonsan's harem were in the thousands. Some were virgins, widows even married. When his court officials were invited to his lavish banquets, they were told to bring their wives. Those that caught Yeonsan's eyes were summoned to the palace to serve him in his bedchamber.
Two years before he was deposed, he sent his officials out to recruit more girls regardless of status to fill his harem. He then separated them into groups like it's shown in this episode.
The Heung Cheong, Ga Heung Cheong and the lowest, the Woon Pyeong (according to viki's sub).

Once they become the king's woman then they can't marry anyone else for the rest of their lives.
(Not sure how Ga-ryung would return to Gil-dong after being the king's woman).

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@kiara

He did?! That's just so sick.

I feel bad for what I wrote before, I thought he was open minded with the 'widow' part but you're right that he is a pleasure seeking psychopath when I read the courtiers' wifes.

I can't imagine living in his era, either as an elite or a commoner.

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You shouldn't feel bad for having an opinion. He is certainly open minded and breaks the rules when it serves his needs.

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I don't think Ga-ryung or Gil-dong are going to care about the king's rules. They're just gonna be like 'That's nice, you can eff off while we ride off into the sunset. Kthxbai!'

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True. Since this is mostly fictional when it comes to Gil Dong's dealing with Yeonsan then the heck with the palace rules and traditions.
No one would dare called the king by his given name and lived nor take his women after they become his.

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In a traditional sageuk.

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Wikipedia has changed the actress for Uh Ri Ni.Its no longer Jung Da Bin. so is the real Uh Ri Ni doe-eyed or ambitious?

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I checked naver site after this episode aired and they totally changed Ok-ran's character descriptions as well. Before, it was simply 'adult Eorini' now it's 'the person who will help Ga-ryung in the palace'. I said before that I'm almost sure Ok-ran is Eorini but now not anymore.

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watch the next episode

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The Eorini plot is testing my patience. Does it play a big part in the hero's story? I guess I have to keep watching since I cannot have enough Yun Kyun-Sang!

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I think the main problem is that they show the girls doing nothing for few episodes too long, making viewers impatient.

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I think my main issue with this was the who is Eorini game felt to me like it was added only for twist's sake. It totally came out of nowhere, first we have little Eorini who we knew and loved and then BAM now we have 2 Eorinis and we don't know which one is which. Not to mention the amount of red herrings that were thrown in.

I guess I would be more okay if the twist was done for a purpose, but this one did feel like the writer just wanted to troll us.

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Yup, the show didn't even bother to make us emotionally invested in the new Eorinis.

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I think there may be a purpose. Doe-eyed Eorini/Ok-ran said that she lost her brother...while Ambitious Eorini/Sang-hwa said she wasn't raised by her actual mother...What if one is Eorni and the other is Mori's younger sister? I think both may be important. Still don't know if Ga-ryung is also potentially Mori's sister....but who knows? lol.

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I agree. One is Eorini and the other is Mori's sister. That makes the most sense, at least to me.
I think Mori is crushing on Ga-ryung lol.

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@kiara Everyone starts crushing on Ga-ryung. It's kinda hilarious.

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I agree that there might be a purpose other than just creating a twist. But it wasn't clear when this first came up. The way the mystery was presented made me side-eyeing the writer at first. Mori's sister was also what I had in mind. Although I wonder why Ok Ran cried singing Spring at Ikhwari song though. There must be a relation to that somewhat. I want to say more but I'll wait for ep 24 recap :D

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Okay, dramagods, I'm gonna play it straight with you- you can do whatever you must with the other characters, but don't you dare harm one hair on my Ga-ryungie's head!

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dramallama~

Thanks for the recap!

...how Eorini is involved with the Geoin. It better be epic or mind-blowing.

Lol, we can only hope

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Those Geoin sounds like trained spies. Since men weren't allowed in certain areas of the palace, the Geoin were privileged to intimate details about the king.

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I find it really interesting that Gil-dong and Yeonsangun are attracted to/love the same women. Like Yeonsangun's obsession with Ga-ryung freaks me out, but it's interesting how Gil-dong and Yeonsangun are drawn to her/moved by her for the same reason, her tears and sadness. Gil-dong told Ga-ryung that he likes her because despite her pain/sadness, she's strong and smiles a lot while Yeonsangun is also moved by her pain. She's able to get both men to empathize with her. The difference is that this caused Gil-dong to be a noble idiot and pull away from her to protect her, despite his feelings, while it causes Yeonsangun to be pulled to her.

With Nok-soo, both Gil-dong and Yeonsangun are attracted to her audacity and cunning. But while Nok-soo's sadness and true self draws Gil-dong to her, in Yeonsangun, it is her airs and carefully crafted image.

I also find it interesting that both men are set up as archers. Gil-dong from the first episode uses a bow and arrow and also when he returns in Ikhwari in episode 5, he tells Amogae, 'You have my bow.' While Yeonsangun is a hunter. ...There's a LOT of interesting parallels between the two men.

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Does noble always equate to idiocy? Gil Dong protects Ga-ryung by distancing himself during those times when his presence might cause her harm. While Yeonsangun selfishly pulls her close and into harms way.

Same for Nok-soo. Selfless and outwardly focused Gil Dong sees her for her true inner-self and inherent value. Selfish and inwardly focused Yeonsangun equates her identity and value to what she does for him.

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That's what I meant lol. I meant noble idiot in terms of the trope where the guy feels unworthy of the girl and thinks he will harm her/bring her unhappiness, so he sacrifices his own happiness...but his absence ends up causing her pain instead. Sorry that was unclear! But I definitely agree with you.

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Can't describe this better than you! /Standing ovation

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The bow: the ancient Korean rulers were not born into that role but were chosen. One of the criteria for being chosen as a king was the skill with the bow, since it was ancient korea's number one weapon (the contemporary koreans still belong to the best bow shooters in the world even though the sport itself has lost its importance - I'm not quite sure, but it might still be counted as the national weapon?). - I think the writer also made deliberately some connections between Jumong and Gil-dong.

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Oooh. Gil-dong is definitely poised to take away Yeonsangun's legitimacy and be the one chosen to be the king by the people. I had been curious as to why Gil-dong was associated with a bow (it seemed like a rather random choice since all the Hongvengers got a weapon), but now it makes sense! Thanks!

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@cloveredlioness April 20, 2017 at 1:50 AM:

I don't recall seeing HGD doing archery except in the first episode. He certainly had no aptitude for fisticuffs during that first run-in with Heo Tae-hak. LOL.

I suspect he might have taken up archery after he recovered from his wounds when he was traipsing around with the local hunters while scouring the hills looking for Eorini. Or maybe it's something he hasn't gotten around to yet. I wonder who will teach him?

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I think it's implied that the one thing he was good at was the bow lol. In episode 5, he comes home and tells Amogae, 'You have my bow.' But it's highly likely that being around all those hunters improved his skill.

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And here's me thinking he has a bow because he's the Joseon Robin Hood. Hehe.

I REALLY LIKE the reference to Jumong. Reading this, I can kind of draw some similarities between GilDong's and Jumong's trajectories.

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With that bow symbol...I also think it comes into how they rule/will rule over people. The mudang tells Gil-dong that being a mighty child is not merely his strength, there's more to it. I think it's about his inner journey and how they come to relate to people. Gil-dong has empathy and compassion and uses his bow to defend the weak, whereas Yeonsangun is self-centred and arrogant and he uses his bow and strength to coerce and force his will onto others. Yeonsangun also cannot empathize with others. He's already used it to literally hunt Gil-dong. I feel like Gil-dong's use of the bow is defence while Yeonsangun's is offensive.

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Speaking of archery, WAR OF THE ARROWS was a blast. I was really impressed with the Manchurian crossbow technology. The heads on their bolts weighed half a pound and could splinter trees like HGD. But the Korean long bows had greater range and striking power when a "baby arrow" was used with a longer arrow guide. Very cool.

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Also when both of them are reflecting about status, then come to completely different conclusions (all people are humans vs. all people are humans and my slaves)

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The king is veryyy easy to manipulate..

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Is it me or does HGD look like Iljimae now...

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Yes, you're right! And I even spotted what looked like apricot in bloom in this or the next episode. ;-)

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Thanks, dramallama, for your recap!

So much has happened in this episode that I'm having a hard time getting my thoughts in order.

He looks up to the sky and asks his father if instead of being a general who received the king’s sword, he became the one to take away the sword.

I found this scene in episodes 22 and 23 hard to understand, and that was after watching them raw and with up to three sets of subtitles apiece. There's no way HGD could become the king himself. But he could become the one who disarms Yeonsangun. That makes perfect sense to me.

Now we know why the king was asking about pregnant entertainers. Yeonsangun sinks to a new all-time low as he attempts to reprise King Herod the Great's massacre of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem. It's not clear to me just who accomplished the raid. Did Mori engineer it himself with the aid of parties unknown? Could he have had help from the Geoin? Is he maybe working with the mudang? After all, he is a Mighty Child, too. The way the news of the attack on the prison reaches the king after Mori reports that he's killed the babies makes me think it couldn't have been the Hongs. How would they have heard about it the very day that Gil-dong broke them out?

It looks as if Mori spares the children who trespass on the king's hunting grounds. I have a feeling he draws the line at harming little kids. There's hope for him yet.

After HGD's rockin' good time busting the king's chops, he keels over in the woods. I assume that it is another of his spells following a Mighty Child episode. (Gil-dong-ah, please ask the nice mudang why this happens. Losing consciousness during your epic showdown with Yeonsangun's forces would be a Very Bad Thing.) Although we next see him leaning against a tree as Ga-ryung reaches out to him, I think it's really a dream or vision, especially because he's also seeing and speaking with the mudang. As soon as she tells him to find the big root, for the umpteenth time I'm reminded of TREE WITH DEEP ROOTS and the secret organization, Milbon (Deep Root). I also wonder if this big root has something to do with the pine tree she blessed at Amogae's request near Ikhwari.

It is interesting to learn that Amogae asked the mudang the wrong question regarding his son's survival. HGD is able to ask the correct question (How will I die?) because he's already realized that his fate is not to accept a commission from the king, but to disarm him. It creeps me out, to be honest. I'm still hoping that somehow he'll survive to farm that patch of land he wanted to homestead with Dad. In light of the mudang's assurance that he and Ga-ryung will reunite in the fullness of time, I want to believe that his dream of bucolic bliss will come true. And that he'll have her (and Eorini, Gil-hyun, and his Hong brothers) with him.

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Oops! Milbon = "Hidden Root"

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Ugh. That opening line is really hard to understand based on all the different subtitles and translations since it changes so much of the meaning of what Gil-dong wants. I do like the disarm thing, but it's still confusing lol.

I wonder if the Hongvengers just came upon the baby killing when they were escaping and stopped it at the right time...but I just don't think they have enough people with them to rescue all the babies in that short time frame? I guess will find out who's whisked them away.

He's really got to find out a way to prevent himself from fainting after using his powers. It will be really inopportune to faint at the wrong time. Maybe he needs to store enough energy? His fainting episodes seem to happen longer after using his powers...

How you die is definitely a more finite question that how you live because your death is a culmination of all your life's actions. But it is extremely morbid. I too want the Nagron style goat farm from Spartacus for everyone. I want them to live a great life, disappear from the annals of history and have those 10 kids lol.

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Random thoughts:

1. Ga-ryung entering the palace totally reminds me of when she infiltrated Heo Tae Hak's house to steal the prayer beads...Only this time, the stakes are raised...a LOT. It's the same premise in that she poses as someone that's not a stretch for her to play in order to get chosen/not chosen. And I can't help remember when she told Gil-dong she's the best liar in all of Joseon. There seems to be a truth in all her lies...like about how her husband was torn to pieces by a beast. She seems to have a silver tongue and I hope it's enough to save her! At the same time, it's always made me wonder about her past, since she's the best liar. Did she really tell Gil-dong the truth that she was sold by her father for a gambling debt. Is there more to her story? Because episodes later, it still strikes me as odd that she didn't follow Nok-soo to the palace or serve another gibang and instead waited for Gil-dong. Why was she allowed to leave? Did the leaders of the gibang not want her at the palace for some reason?

2. When the king announces harsher punishments and decides to turn his country into a police state where everyone reports everyone else, all the ministers flip on each other and immediately start tattling. It seems that image of the law being nothing more than dogs barking at each other has reached a whole new level. I also think I'm getting enjoyment out of seeing our analyses of things in this drama play out the way we thought it would lol. Also, all the cruel and harsh punishments Yeonsangun metes out just makes him a larger target for the anger/pain of everyone else. It's clear he doesn't understand reciprocity and that you reap what you sow.

3. How is Ga-ryung still writing her book in the king's harem/personal gibang area? This is probably a bad idea, girl! Or is she not writing it at the palace at all? Are we seeing narration from the future?

4. Will a fracture in Song Sabu's ranks with Pedo Prince and Madame Jo weaken Song Sabu? Is he aware of Pedo Prince's feelings of nonrecognition for his achievements?

5. I kinda LOVE how Gil-hyun used the king's rules to push Jeong-hak off his back. They've been fighting over who serves the king better and Jeong-hak feels like he's always in Gil-hyun's shadow, but I love that despite being a double agent, Gil-hyun can still appear to better serve the king...even though he's made a few mistakes.

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More random!

6. Nok-soo tells Ga-ryung that she's okay with her getting a spot with a king because men have many loves...That may be true, but I think it also reflects her mentality. She doesn't have the trust/faith in others in order to build a secure relationship in the way Ga-ryung did. If she had trusted Gil-dong to return, she could have had a secure relationship. That scene had Taemin singing 'DAAAAAANGER!' the entire time lol.

7. At this point, I think naming Eorini the way they did was totally a ploy for dramatic tension. It means child/baby, so of course both Eorinis are going to turn around when Gil-hyun calls the name. Same with when Gil-dong called Ga-ryung Eorini. His mind is experiencing Mighty Child Brain Mush and he associates Ga-ryung with his sister, but Ga-ryung was also a girl/teenager at that point, so calling her Eorini isn't entirely off, I suppose.

8. It's really interesting to see some not so good gisaeng performances on the show because it really goes to show/elevate what an artist Nok-soo/Honey Lee is. But it was also just kinda amusing because when that girl was singing and the instruments were playing, 'I was like, dear god, this is AWFUL! Is it just me?' But it was intentional lol. (My mom liked to play Chinese opera and I can't stand anything overly twangy and screechy) Of course, all the fun and games end when the king punishes you for a bad performance. American Idol with much more dire consequences than a tongue lashing from Simon Cowell lol.

9. I love how Gil-dong has inspired people to speak out against the king. He's empowered them to take action through his own. He really is rallying the people and I think he'll have an army to rival the king's.

10. The king really takes it to a whole new level of distrust with analyzing the handwriting of his ministers in regards to the Hong Chum Ji posters. Everything he does is starting to take a huge turn for escalation and he is definitely imparting fear in everyone.

11. I love Gil-hyun's insights into people and that how physical barriers aren't the problem, but the walls in people's hearts. I love how that inspires Gil-dong to come out of the shadows and act in the brightness of the daylight, to come out and well, steal the king's sun. (Since the king is literally supposed to be the sun) More symbolic theft from Gil-dong lol!

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No. 3. That scene gives me hope that Ga Ryung will be safe in the future. Because she wrote something about how "Hong Gil Dong can't sleep at night". She wouldn't write it that way if she has been writing