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145

Ruler–Master of the Mask: Episodes 5-6

As our villains step up to remind the king of his place, our prince finally learns the truth about his past. When it turns out that the king’s throne is nothing more than a decorative chair, however, Prince Sun is forced to make a choice: obey the villains like his father, or defy them and fight for a better future. But when his attempt to fix things only seems to make things worse, is Sun prepared to be more than just a mask?

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

Led by Gon, Pyunsoohwe surrounds our heroes to collect the crown prince. When they refuse to comply, Gon commands his archers to shoot. Chung-woon holds off the attackers as best as he can, but it’s clear from the tide of battle that their best bet is to run and wait for the palace guards to arrive.

Following the path cleared by Chung-woon, Prince Sun picks up an abandoned sword from the ground and protects a frightened Lee Sun with his body. Noting their escape, Gon leaps into their path to stop them, forcing Prince Sun to draw his sword. Sun is good, but Gon is better, as each thrusts and parries. Thankfully, Chung-woon blocks a potentially fatal blow aimed at the prince at the last moment.

Gon and Chung-woon face off, and they’re evenly matched until Gon manages to cut Chung-woon’s arm and knock him to his feet. This time, it’s Prince Sun who leaps to the rescue. Protecting Chung-woon and Lee Sun, Sun swears to go with Gon if it will end this battle. Behind him, Chung-woon grimaces in fury.

But instead, Gon catches sight of the prince’s jade identification emblem, which is still in Lee Sun’s hands as he trembles on the ground. Gon declares to his men that Lee Sun must be the real prince and orders them to capture him.

Before they can, however, a new force comes thundering in on horseback to save our prince: the palace guards. As Gon and his men retreat, Prince Sun and his companions take the chance to escape.

Meanwhile at Pyunsoohwe, Hwa-goon’s father overhears Hwa-goon’s attempts to convince Dae-mok not to kill the crown prince. When Dae-mok asks for her reasoning, Hwa-goon tells him that it’s because Prince Sun will surely become a mighty king. Picking up the cup of tea he used as an analogy before regarding their relationship to the king, she turns his words on him: “We can’t make good tea out of rotten leaves.”

Chuckling fondly at his granddaughter’s wise words, Dae-mok starts to agree that it’s more rewarding to raise a tiger than to kill it — but Hwa-goon disagrees once again. “A true master will gain the tiger’s affection,” she says. “Only then will it stay by our side, even if we don’t feed it.”

Dae-mok finally agrees to give her the crown prince if she can manage to gain the prince’s heart. Behind them, Hwa-goon’s father watches with a discomfited expression. Me too, buddy.

Meanwhile, the nervous officer assisting Deputy Magistrate Han, whose name is PARK MOO-HA, shares a drink with an elderly villager and the deputy magistrate as part of their water supply investigation. The villager, who once built the irrigation system, admits that he changed the flow of the water (to only benefit the Water Bureau) when he built it, but he refuses to testify since it would put his family in danger.

When Deputy Magistrate Han promises to find a way to secure his family’s safety, the villager finally relents, agreeing to share what he knows. Unbeknownst to them, however, a Pyunsoohwe member listens in on the conversation before sneaking away.

As they catch their breath in an alleyway, Prince Sun notes the bloody wound on Chung-woon’s arm. Overwhelmed by guilt, Sun blurts out an apology for interjecting himself into the fray. Chung-woon, however, is unforgiving: “There are fates worse than death,” he hisses. “I am your bodyguard! Do not try to save me again.”

Undeterred by Chung-woon’s anger, Sun just perks up at Chung-woon’s promise to be his bodyguard. Brushing off the touching moment, Chung-woon tells them that he’ll go on ahead to scope out the situation. Noting the wound in Sun’s own arm, he grimly orders Lee Sun to keep the prince from doing anything reckless.

As soon as he leaves, Sun tells Lee Sun not to be intimidated by Chung-woon’s strict demeanor. Still shaking, Lee Sun can only ask why Prince Sun is being so kind to someone as lowly as he is. Prince Sun: “Because you’re the first friend I’ve ever made. Because you gave up your revenge and trusted me.” Aw.

Back at the office, Moo-ha and Deputy Magistrate Han finish mapping the water supply lines to find that the Water Bureau is indeed redirecting the water to fill their own wells. In addition, they now know that Pyunsoohwe is behind the Water Bureau’s activities.

In the village that night, Lee Sun’s poor mother weeps over her late husband’s corpse. A group of villagers barge in, telling Woo Bo that they’re prepared to storm the Water Bureau and protest the injustice, but Woo Bo shouts at them not to do anything worthless — the bureau would never budge. Knowing he’s right, Ga-eun and the villagers sit helplessly by.

At that night’s Pyunsoohwe meeting, Gon reports to Dae-mok that he failed to capture the prince, but he was able to get a look at his face. Though the prince was disguised as a peasant, he was holding the prince’s emblem and was being protected by his other two companions.

The Central District Bureau representative then notes that the crown prince has ordered an investigation of the water supply. Though the investigation hasn’t gotten far, they have achieved good progress. In addition, another member reports, the king’s fake crown princes are still in place.

Hearing all this, Dae-mok tut-tuts at the prince’s rebelliousness, deciding that it would be best if the prince were punished… by the king’s orders. Only then, Dae-mok says, can they prove that even the king cannot protect him. He orders Pyunsoohwe to remove the palace guards, aiming to force Prince Sun come to Pyunsoohwe on his own.

Outside the palace, Chung-woon hides in the shadows, confused to see the guards leaving their stations. More worrisome, however, is the high magistrate making his way toward the king’s quarters.

The magistrate, who is also a Pyunsoohwe member, informs the king that Prince Sun has ordered an investigation into the Water Bureau. If the king allows this strike against Pyunsoohwe, the magistrate warns, they can no longer guarantee his safety. He asks the king to arrest the investigators for falsely using the prince’s name and to initiate the prince into Pyunsoohwe.

To make is meaning more clear, the magistrate informs him of some “unexpected” future tragedies: The elderly stonemason will “take his own life,” he says, and the king’s fake crown princes will “suffer terrible accidents.” As he speaks, we see these people ruthlessly murdered by Pyunsoohwe. The magistrate then “requests” the helpless king’s cooperation.

When Moo-ha and Deputy Magistrate Han return to the village, Woo Bo appears to tell them not to investigate too thoroughly — it will only put them in danger. This time, though, they bring out the crown prince’s royal decree naming them the chief investigators into the Water Bureau case: They might be too weak on their own, they argue, but the crown prince is on their side.

Immediately recognizing the implications, however, Woo Bo crumples the decree and orders them to stop their investigation immediately. Only then, he says, can both the prince and the village survive. Behind them, Ga-eun listens in shock.

Escorted by Chung-woon and Commander Lee, Prince Sun and Lee Sun arrive at the king’s quarters. Before they enter, Prince Sun urges Lee Sun to come inside with him so he can protest the injustice to the king himself.

As soon as they go in, however, the king erupts at Prince Sun for his reckless actions — specifically for investigating the Water Bureau. Sun is shocked that the king knows about the investigation, but he quickly recovers to inform him of all of the bureau’s injustices and murders, including Lee Sun’s father’s death. He begs the king to dissolve the bureau.

The king tries to tell him that he’s not powerful enough to fight yet, but when the prince refuses to listen, the king is forced to shout: “The Water Bureau was the price for your life!” Damn. Defeated, the king orders everyone out so he can have a private word with his son.

Alone with the prince, the king confesses the truth of Sun’s birth, and the reason he had to wear a mask since infancy: His life was not threatened by disease, but by poison. Only by making a deal with Pyunsoohwe was he able to save Sun’s life — but because he didn’t want Sun to become Pyunsoohwe’s puppet, the king explains that he masked him to protect his identity.

In shock and denial, Sun rejects the explanation: “The king is chosen by the gods to protect the people in their place. You taught me to become someone who always protects the people. But now you tell me that the unjust Water Bureau… was created because of me?” Argh.

That night, Hwa-goon meets her father at Pyunsoohwe, who dotes on her even more than Dae-mok does. When Hwa-goon tells him that she wants to become the crown princess, he fiercely refuses… because he can’t give away his cute daughter to a diseased leper. In addition, he says, Dae-mok would never allow it.

When Hwa-goon tries to insist that he could become more powerful than even Dae-mok if she became the crown princess, he finally smiles at her stubbornness and promises to try and convince the queen tomorrow.

Back at the king’s quarters, Commander Lee frantically brings in one the prince’s impersonators. The young man has been poisoned, but he has a dying message to deliver to the prince: arrest Deputy Magistrate Han and Officer Park Moo-ha, or the prince’s life will be in danger.

As the poisoned impersonator collapses to the ground, foaming at the mouth, the king orders their immediate arrest. Nooo! The guards storm into Ga-eun’s home, arresting Moo-ha and Deputy Magistrate Han for falsely using the prince’s royal name.

Prince Sun begs the king to withdraw his order, but the king angrily refuses: “If you resent me for being a puppet, then become a strong king who can oppose Pyunsoohwe!” With that, he orders that the guards lock the prince in his room so he can’t escape.

As the guards drag Deputy Magistrate Han away, Ga-eun sobs in protest, begging them to stop. Deputy Magistrate Han promises her that they’ll let him go as soon as the crown prince hears about it, but even he doesn’t look too convinced.

Now locked in his room, Prince Sun pounds against the doors, begging the king to withdraw his order, while outside the room, Lee Sun sits in a corner listening to the prince’s screams. The king and Commander Lee pass by at that moment, grimly trying to think of another potential prince impersonator with the name of Lee Sun. Not knowing Lee Sun’s name, the king just orders Commander Lee to send him home.

The next morning, the queen meets with Royal Consort Lee, handing her a list of the prince’s potential marriage partners for the crown prince. Consort Lee is flustered by the honor, but the queen tells her kindly that as the prince’s biological mother, she should have a say in whom he marries.

As Consort Lee leaves the palace, she runs into Hwa-goon, who’s now in formal attire since she’s come by to speak with the queen. Interestingly, Consort Lee looks at Hwa-goon with a less than enthused expression.

The queen meets with Hwa-goon and her father next, telling Hwa-goon that she likes her personally, but she can’t do anything about the fact that her grandfather opposes the marriage: “Has anyone in this country opposed Dae-mok and survived?” The queen expresses her regret at the turn of events, but Hwa-goon returns: “It is certainly regretful. But you will regret it much more ten years from now.” The queen’s smile falters.

Meanwhile, the king comes by Moo-ha and Deputy Magistrate Han’s prison cell. The king reminds Deputy Magistrate Han of his request the last time they’d met: to wait and become a loyal subject for the prince one day. “So how could you have accepted the crown prince’s decree? You should have told him that it was too soon!”

The king sadly informs him that he plans to obey Pyunsoohwe’s order to execute him. When Moo-ha leaps forward, begging for his life, Deputy Magistrate Han asks the king to find a way to save him, as he will surely become a pillar for Prince Sun in the future. The king agrees to save Moo-ha, and he agrees to protect Ga-eun as well. In return, the king has one final request to make of him.

Prince Sun sobs alone in his room, still begging that Deputy Magistrate Han be saved. “If he dies,” he cries, “how can I face Ga-eun again? How will I live with myself?”

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

As Chung-woon and the prince’s eunuch, Chun-soo, listen to Sun sob from outside his room, they worry that he’ll collapse from depression. Just then, the king comes by to tell Chung-woon to release the prince and let him do as he must.

Sun hurries to the prison without his mask (but in his commoner disguise), and he unlocks Deputy Magistrate Han’s cell before telling him that the crown prince sent him to help him flee. But Deputy Magistrate Han shakes his head and simply asks Sun to tell the prince not to lose hope because of this. He asks Sun to deliver a handwritten letter to Ga-eun, asking him to take care of her.

But instead, Sun realizes that Deputy Magistrate Han must be refusing to flee for Ga-eun’s sake. Promising to bring Ga-eun to safety first, he swears to return to help him flee. Deputy Magistrate Han tries to stop him, but Sun just calls for Chung-woon to hurry. Recognizing the way he addresses his bodyguard, Deputy Magistrate Han realizes that Sun was the crown prince all along.

Arriving at Ga-eun’s house, Sun tells her that he met with her father, who promised to flee after she escaped safely first. When Ga-eun demands to know why he must flee when he did nothing wrong, Sun notes grimly that there is no way to prove her father’s innocence right now.

Ga-eun scoffs at the unjust situation, but Sun pulls out her father’s letter as proof. Taking her by the shoulders, he begs her to do as he says. She finally recognizes the truth and takes off on Sun’s horse, accompanied by a guard. In the shadows, Gon watches her escape.

Meanwhile, Hwa-goon sits in front of Dae-mok in protest, complaining that her father could have gotten her the seat of crown princess if only Dae-mok hadn’t intervened. But Dae-mok notes that that’s exactly why he opposed it: “If you want something, you cannot wait for someone to get it for you. Otherwise, it’s just as easy to take it away.”

Recognizing the wisdom of his words, Hwa-goon then asks Dae-mok for something else instead: Gon. Smiling, Dae-mok agrees — from today forward, Gon is hers to use as she pleases.

At the prison, Moo-ha kneels outside Deputy Magistrate Han’s cell as he sobs an apology for selfishly testifying against him and starting this whole investigation in the first place. But Deputy Magistrate Han only thanks him; if Moo-ha hadn’t let him know in the first place, he’d have been blind to Pyunsoohwe’s injustice forever.

Deputy Magistrate Han then makes a request of Moo-ha to support the crown prince. But Moo-ha refuses, still haunted by fear and dread. Understanding Moo-ha’s reluctance, Deputy Magistrate Han makes a different request: that he make sure Ga-eun does not see his execution.

As Moo-ha stumbles weakly out of the prison, Sun and Chung-woon hurry back to unlock his cell and help him flee now that Ga-eun is safe. However, now that he recognizes Sun as the crown prince, Deputy Magistrate Han kneels before him. Addressing Crown Prince Sun, he asks him to remember his death and become stronger for it, enough to face Pyunsoohwe one day.

Sun counters that they can fight together, begging Deputy Magistrate Han not to die because of him. But we flash back to see that the king’s request to Deputy Magistrate Han was for him to become Sun’s courage and motivation to prevent him from falling into a guilt-ridden depression.

So when Sun tells him that he doesn’t have the courage to live on if Deputy Magistrate Han dies, Deputy Magistrate Han tells the prince that he must endure the pain and continue to protect the people. “Do not think it would be better to have stayed silent,” he says. “If you do, Pyunsoohwe will only become stronger. I will think it as an honor that I was a stepping stone for you.”

Meanwhile, Gon reports to Dae-mok that the crown prince’s bodyguard helped Deputy Magistrate Han’s daughter escapes. Dae-mok smiles at this, knowing he’s found the prince’s weakness. Dae-mok tells Gon (who notices Hwa-goon listening from the shadows, though it’s unclear if Dae-mok does) that he will be Hwa-goon’s personal guard from now on, protecting and following her orders. But, he adds, Gon will continue to report to him.

Prince Sun returns to the king’s palace, begging the king not to kill an innocent subject. This time, however, they are interrupted by Sun’s eunuch, Chun-soo, who has a message from Pyunsoohwe: If Sun does not execute Deputy Magistrate Han himself by tomorrow, the people around him will die, one by one.

Sun is shocked by the message, but the situation worsens when Chun-soo collapses, foaming at the mouth from poison. Sun calls for a doctor, who manages to buy him a few last moments of lucidity. Weakly, Chun-soo croaks that if he knew he would die like this, he would have liked to have seen the prince’s face at least once.

At that, Sun removes his mask, and Chun-soo sighs that the prince is handsome. Sun does his best to crack a smile through his tears as he says, “Is that right? I knew you would say so,” before his eunuch breathes his last. Sun gathers his loyal servant in his arms and cries.

Above them, we see that Hwa-goon and Gon have snuck into the prince’s room, and they silently watch Sun mourn. As they leave, a sorrowful Hwa-goon turns to Gon and tells him that as her personal servant, he must protect her in every way. To that end, she says, he must protect the prince as well: “If you harm the prince, you are harming me. If he dies, I die as well. So protect the crown prince as you would protect me. That way, I shall live.” Gon nods.

The next morning, Sun is still sobbing over the loss of Chun-soo when the king enters. Instead of comforting him, however, the king coldly orders Sun to kill Deputy Magistrate Han himself — avoiding his responsibility will only cause more people to die. “Chun-soo is only the first of your servants to die because of you,” he says gravely. “As the king of Joseon, one word from you will save or kill your people. That’s who you are now.” Sun stares at him in shock.

Meanwhile, in a secluded village, Ga-eun reads her father’s letter, which beseeches her not to blame the prince for his death: “I have chosen justice over my life. I’m sorry, and I love you.” Horrified, Ga-eun mounts a horse and races back to the palace.

A devastated Prince Sun tells the king that he would rather die than kill an innocent subject. When the king yells that he must become stronger, Sun screams back that he never wished to be the crown prince or wear this mask. “Why should I live at the expense of my subject?! Why did you make a deal with Pyunsoohwe?! Why did you save me and create the Water Bureau?!” At Sun’s pained screams, the king falls into shocked silence.

Before long, Sun faints from exhaustion and sorrow. As Chung-woon hurries forward to catch him, the horrified king wonders what to do. In response, Chung-woon fiercely grits out: “The crown prince will kill Deputy Magistrate Han with his own two hands.”

In the village, Lee Sun makes a meager meal of leftover rice for his exhausted mother and sister, and suddenly, Woo Bo comes by with a bag of rice. As Lee Sun follows Woo Bo to Ga-eun’s house to deliver a bag to her as well, he demands to know how they can get rid of the Water Bureau. To Lee Sun’s shock, Woo Bo tells him that no one can get rid of it, not even the king. Why? Woo Bo: “Because even the king does not own Joseon.”

Suddenly, a panicked villager comes to find Woo Bo to tell him that Deputy Magistrate Han is about to be executed — by the crown prince himself. Ga-eun arrives at that moment, horrified.

Meanwhile, Sun wakes up alone in a locked cell. He pounds against the door, screaming for someone to let him out, when suddenly the door is opened… by Hwa-goon. He recognizes her as the girl from the greenhouse before pushing past her in a panic. Undeterred, Hwa-goon offers to lend him her horse.

And so, Hwa-goon and Sun race toward the execution site while Ga-eun and the villagers do the same.

When they arrive, the villagers hold back a sobbing Ga-eun. Sun leaps off his horse and pushes his way through the crowd, yelling that the proceedings be stopped immediately.

Meanwhile, Chung-woon — dressed in the prince’s robes and donning Sun’s mask — lifts his sword and squeezes his eyes shut as he prepares to swing.

 
COMMENTS

Poor Sun! Poor Ga-eun! Poor all of our protagonists! I’m impressed by how well this show has managed to demonstrate the stakes without making it in-your-face tragic. In particular, the show isn’t afraid to make the worst happen to our characters, but it also likes to leave the smallest glimmer of hope with each crisis. This last cliffhanger, for example, was a particularly interesting move to me: Although we already know from the outset that Deputy Magistrate Han will die, by cutting off the episode before the deed, it still leaves the audience wondering that there could be an alternate fate in store.

Even apart from that hope, though, I found the conflicts in these episodes to be heart-wrenchingly well done. Even though the tragedies are sometimes dragged out too long, with strong emotional gravitas supported by Yoo Seung-ho’s excellent performance, we’re left feeling genuinely sorry for our heroes. Our current conflict is far from simple; no matter which direction they choose, the plot forces our characters to make bold, horrifying decisions about the value of human life, and in doing so, it even urges the viewers to confront their own moral codes.

Again, I do think that these conflicts are so much more magnetic because of our hero, Prince Sun. This show knows it and milks his character for all he’s worth, both in scenes of confrontation and in directing decisions. For example, I thought the contrast between Sun — who ran around frantically and helplessly all episode — and Dae-mok, who literally does not lift a finger but holds all the power — added a lot to the futility of the situation in these episodes. Knowing that our hero is an almost naively idealistic prince whose biggest fear is failing to protect his people, these episodes helped us realize how much Sun has to grow. Trying to protect Lee Sun in the beginning of Episode 5, for example, only serves to make Lee Sun a target of Pyunsoohwe; attempting to help the people by fixing the water supply only endangers them further. Even the prince’s very existence, as he finds out, is the reason that the Water Bureau exists and causes so much suffering. Though one can hardly blame Sun for the lack of water, it’s easy to see why even a small connection would be devastating for our emotionally vulnerable prince.

I unexpectedly really enjoyed the villain interactions in these episodes, particularly Hwa-goon and Dae-mok’s rapport. Though Pyunsoohwe might be straight-up evil, I love that they are competent at it, and I love even more that their ability to love each other does not detract from their competence at being the bad guys. In fact, in these episodes, Hwa-goon showed a much stronger capability for strategizing than she did last episode. Not only is she willing to listen to Dae-mok, who is chock to the brim with Machiavellian/Sun Tzu axioms, she also shows natural talent in persuasion and scheming. I’m not expressing satisfaction with Yoon So-hee’s acting yet, which I think could have been better executed by someone with more confidence or at least a deeper willingness to dive into the character, but I have to say that Hwa-goon herself is becoming a really interesting and terrifying person, especially now that we know she’s not brainless, either.

At the same time, I think Hwa-goon’s weird, obsessive love for the prince is a weak point for her character. From these episodes, I think Hwa-goon actually has a lot going for her: she’s intelligent, she’s cunning, she’s lovable and charming, and she loves her family. She’s especially great as a villain: She learns quickly and she’s receptive to Dae-mok’s teachings, giving her a lot of potential to grow in a short period of time. In fact, she’s almost relatable… until she goes crazy with the insta-love. After these episodes, I found myself wishing for less of the crazy and more of the brains, giving her more potential for a more interesting arc instead of having her character fated to jealousy and crazy obsession. As it stands, Hwa-goon’s affection for Sun essentially eliminates the viewers’ dread that she might be a danger to the prince’s life. I might be wrong by all of this, of course, but I almost feel that her character could be greatly improved by allowing her a more realistic emotional spectrum, rather than making her just plain volatile.

Finally, I just want to give a shout-out to the costuming department, which has put a lot of effort into tailoring the costumes to each character. Hwa-goon is always in deep purple, which is a confident and bold color. Prince Sun, meanwhile, wears a metal mask — intricate and beautiful, as I’ve mentioned before, but permanently inhuman. The plainly inhuman mask can never become his face; flesh and bone cannot mold to metal. No matter how much the king tries to protect his true identity, the prince cannot wear the mask forever, not when it is so different from his true face.

In the end, all of these minor decisions contribute to creating strong, willful characters with real goals and human personalities. Coolheaded and strong-willed Ga-eun will surely think of a solution, no matter how terrible the tragedy; idealistic and kind Prince Sun will never give up on his people; unconfident but intelligent Lee Sun has the potential to turn his anger into leadership; and volatile and dangerous Hwa-goon will do her best to guide the prince into her hands. I love being able to put my faith in characters to lead the show forward, and Ruler has already managed to make those characters worth watching.

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1st?

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Yey 🤣😂 time to read recap 😄😜

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My hands are still shaking after seeing the moments of Deputy Magistrate Han is being executed T.T

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Yes! The director played the moment rather well. I was beside myself with anxiety too.

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oh my gosh, i was staring at my laptop for a long while after watching this episode, i mean but why? i knew the grief would come, the tragedy would surface, but all the same i was knocked off my feet but the scenes. our main leads are in for a whole lot of pain and sadness and tragedy. am just soo sad. ............going off to collect my broken parts......

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I suppose the characters need to undergo a lot of pain and sadness in order to grow into a more mature character. I am just sad they have to execute a life in order to achieve that.

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Needs more Chung-Woon! is what I will probably say for every remaining episode of this drama. This man stole my heart and if anything happens to him, I'm gonna be very upset.

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I really want Chungwoon to be more involved in the plot aside from just protecting Sun and see more emotion coming from him as well other than just worry for Sun out of duty

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Same! I don't know if you have seen the next episode (7-8), but I was really disappointed by it in that regard.

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Although it could be said that Chungwoon taking the place of the crown prince at the execution was a way for him to show his concern for CP

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Oh no, he totally did that out of concern. It was definitely not his duty. But he probably thought it's better for him to carry the burden of killing an innocent man than the prince, which just shows you that he is not just concerned for the CP's life, but also his soul, and I'm just gonna need a minute here...
I was talking about something else, but I don't want to put spoilers for the next episode in this one's comment.

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I feel so much for Chungwoon. He was willing to stain his hands to protect the prince. You could see how much he was burdened during the execution. If Gaeun's dad hadn't urged him to continue, I don't think he could've. BFF for life to be honest.

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@lifeamongbooks I'm trying to limit my discussion to the episodes in this recap so I'm not saying anything further, like you :)

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and here i thought i was the only one with this!

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Same! I have a thing for silent, cool bodyguards!

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Ahaha!

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I love the loyal and faithful Chung Woon as a bodyguard. I love how perceptive he is at picking out the CP from a group of people, even though he has never seen the CP before. And his reason for picking him out... he picked the most naive and immature guy. He knows the CP so well.

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That part was funny! I wanna see more of Chung-woon and him and Prince Sun together.

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I know! I love Chung-woon and I love how much Prince Sun loves him, too! My sister kept emphasizing the ~bromance~ during the scene when the three of 'em were hiding from Gon and his men and Prince Sun was just beaming at Chung-woon and the latter was like, "Please stop." Haha. But y'know, I have a feeling that something IS gonna happen to Chung-woon later on and he's gonna... *whispers* die. 😭

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There you are! :D

No...don't say it! you'll jinx it!
*pretends not to have heard the word...die*

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No, there YOU are! 👋🏼 I was so surprised when I was here and couldn't find you anywhere! I was so sure you'd be here way before me. 😅

And sawry~! *casually talks about the weather*

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Really enjoying this series so far! Yoo Seung-Ho's acting continues to blow me away, and the writing is fast paced - it keeps me wanting more!

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OMG Yoo Seung-Ho! How can his eyes be this expressive?? Like how??? My heart broke with him when the King told him the truth about the water bureau and when he was pleading in the room. I love playful Yoo Seung-ho but angsty Yoo Seung-ho is damn mesmerizing.

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I prefer the playful CP to the angsty one. I feel depressed when I watch his sad scenes, and feel like crying with him.

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Yes that scene is the strongest scene in this drama so far. My heart broke too when I realized that it was the guilt of the survivor. The prince's despair upon finding out the heavy price that other people had to pay for his life was so real and heart wrenching. Moreover, the look on the king's eyes when the prince cried about not wanting to be alive on the price of other people's misery was full of realization, regret and utter sadness.

I came to this drama expecting that I am going to hate the king and the queen like usual because dramaland's royal parents are such monsters, to put it nicely. However in this drama, the queen is nice and likeable. As for the king, I dislike him at the beginning, but after this scene, I can never hate him. He is a king, but in the end, he's just a father who really loves his son and wants to protect and keep the son alive regardless of anything. For that basic humanity trait, I can accept his reasoning for his actions.

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Also abit worried about his mental well-being. How many deaths can a young prince endure?

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One is too many. I can't imagine the journey he has to undertake in order to become a great King.

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Death after death after death.
He's only 17 and a tragic experience like this could either make or ruin him. I feel for him when he's mourning for Chun Soo then the King suddenly barged in and ordered him to kill Magistrate Han. l swear, I want to take him out of there and hide him from the world.
For a fleeting moment, I thought he'll follow the order because ghad, he look so devastated & susceptible, I'm anxious that he's in rage and madness might take over.
props to YSH. he's really great.

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You could sense Sun's desperation throughout the episode. Props to YSH for literally every thing that he does. That scene where he's in tears after finding out that the Water Bureau was the price for his life is so tragic. He cannot possibly fathom why his father would do that, and that's perfectly understandable. But as a viewer, I can sympathize with the King. Wouldn't I do anything to keep my baby safe? It's so hard to watch Sun question and hate his father for keeping him alive. The disillusionment in Sun's eyes killed me.

I'm still not on board with Yoon So Hee. Even that moment when she was telling Gon to protect Sun to the last, her eyebrows were twitching the entire time as though she was forcing emotion. I'm not coming around to Hwa Goon either. Thus far she has no concrete goal and is extremely volatile. She acts rashly and the slightest event changes her.

But right now Ga Eun isn't living up to my expectations either. It's too early to make a judgement on all of the characters I suppose. I'll stick around to see what's in store!

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That scene between the CP and the King is so heartbreaking. The King is merely doing everything to protect his baby, though the CP begs to differ. He would rather die than bring hardship to the people. The emotions are so strong and affecting in that scene. I teared while watching it. The CP is so helpless at that moment. He can't do anything to change the past.

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why i think Hwa geons character is way better int he show than KSHs cos all Gaeun does is cry and faint and cry and faint again. seriously getting on my nerves.. I personally kind of want hwa geon to be with the prince cos she seems like she really loves him, * romeo juliet style* and not Ga Eun. who cries and faints. and then carries a sword and chops of the flag..

And has anyone seen ep 8?? does the royal army only have 1 frikin guy in it? where are all the kings guards?? wtf only one guy protecting the king.. good job.

Has anyone seen ep 8, i kinda dont wanna watch anymore, i stopped halfway cos i didnt want to see dae mok massacre the whole royal family and place L there as there puppet king.
now with ervyrone dead, nobody wil know who the real prince is...

it this where the story is going? anybody know??

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Honestly, regardless of what you feel about the next episode or anything else, you really shouldn't be spoiling it for anyone. This is a recap for a certain episode, so please stick to discussions only on the events of that episode. Good thing I saw the next or I'd be SO pissed.

Also, the only way to find out where the story is going is to watch it...

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Right now, I have no complaints about Ga-eun crying and fainting. Her father died in the hands whom she believed betrayed him. Her character has all the right to be this depressed. That, and Kim So-hyun does the scenes quite well.

Han Ga-eun has the makings of a strong female character. I do believe that we are only getting a glimpse of who she is and what she is capable of. But if the story makes her this depressing for the entire run, then I'll start complaining.

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She only started cried after her father excecution was announced and please let the girl has the time to grieve for her father tragic death. Who wouldn't cry and faint like her if the same tragedy happens to them? Next ep and in the next 5 years time, she will surely change to be a stronger female.

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Thanks @hanshimi for the recap!

That whole scene between Crown Prince and the King was so enthralling. When the King removed CP’s mask, it gave me chills. It’s something I’m sure CP had been waiting for for his whole life - for someone, especially his father, to see him without his mask. And for it to be the King who removed the mask instead of CP was so significant. You Seungho did a great job showing the different emotions CP went through, especially the realization that all of this came about because of the King’s desire to protect him. Obviously, the King wants the CP to lose his idealism and face reality, but the way he forced CP to open his eyes to the workings of being a ruler broke my heart for CP.

I did find the King’s constant (back &forth) between telling CP that the suffering of the people is because of CP and then telling him that it was because of himself (the King) a little strange, but at the same time, exactly what a father who loved his child so much, he gave up his soul to the devil to save him, would do - it makes him more human and flawed. When he asked the CP if he wanted to transfer the blame to someone else and pretend he knew nothing, all I could think of was that it was not only because of the CP’s poor decision, the King himself made some very bad decisions earlier which had caused all this.

Hwagoon is fast becoming a more interesting character. When her father came home drunk and she asked to marry the CP, it almost seemed as though he was afraid of her. It’s been referenced before, but I really want to see what it is exactly that makes her so adored by Daemok (and Gon for that matter too. Looks like they’re going for the silent bodyguard silently protecting his charge and being so in love with her that he’ll die for her, and maybe even the one she loves). I love hanshimi's deciphering of Hwagoon and I look forward to getting more out of her character.

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Also, poor Chunsoo! I disagree with Prince Sun that Peasant Sun is his first friend. It was definitely Chunsoo who was Prince Sun's first friend, and the way Prince Sun was affected by his death shows it. I loved the moment Prince Sun unmasked himself for Chunsoo

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me too

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I think he said it because Peasant Sun is the first friend he made outside the palace! Chun-soo is his friend yes, but he knew his real identity so there was always a line he couldn't cross while with peasant Sun there was bickering and real fist fight, that makes him special to our CP!

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That was one of the saddest scenes in the show. Chun soo values the CP so dearly, but he is only able to see his unmasked face at his deathbed. What is it with poison in this show? Why is everyone poisoned instead of using other methods of killing?

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I know, right? These guys know their poisons. They have it perfectly timed and everything.

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Good point!

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I agree. Prince, it may not be for you but obviously, chun soo was your first friend. *sobs*

Maybe he treasures him as a precious, loyal servant. But I see where prince sun is coming when he said that peasant sun is his first friend.
Chun Soo, despite being a reliable aide for a long time has yet to saw his face. sometimes, he's also distant due to the danger that goes with being the closest person to the masked prince.. then there is peasant sun, whom he met outside the palace, without the mask, the robe or any royal identification. No wonder he also fall for Ga Eun ( Prince is too soft! Hee!) and It'll be no surprise if Hwa Gun will also grow on him in any way.

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i think what he meant by his 1st friend is his 1st time make friend by his own effort, not someone was sent to him like chunsoo who are 1st are not his friend but develop into friendship like relationship.

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I'm gonna miss Chun-soo! I also loved the moment when Prince Sun immediately took off his mask when Chun-soo mentioned how he should've seen his bare face when he had the chance. That was definitely a bittersweet scene.

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i am officially emotionally invested in this drama,mind,heart and soul..................its giving me scarlet heart de javu with the loss and heartache and performances i hope the ending will be much better...... its moving and tearing me inside but i just cant walk away,i need to see my prince on that throne in the end.....MBC welcome back

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Scarlet heart had some really great moments and didn't receive the ratings it deserved. This has yet to deliver anything that good.

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I have written this elsewhere and I'm going to write this here again: I'm having serious beef against this writer because so far the script hasn't made the most out of KSH's talent, while giving other leads, even Lee Sun and Hwa Gun (and Hwa Gun most of all) plenty of room to display their trajectories. Even as a fan I must also say, with bitter reluctance, that she hasn't blown me away with her acting where she should have, especially during those small, quiet moments after the storm has passed. This painfully shows in ep 7-8 and it hurts me personally because I know she's capable of more, judging from her previous projects especially her emotional outburst in I Miss You.

I still can't connect with So-Hee's acting, and as I mentioned in one of my conversations with some fellow Ruler watchers, I find So-Hee too stiff with her body and facial muscles. She has yet to relax them and let Hwa Gun takes over, and the end product is always someone forcing emotions and pain out of herself. I must admit, though, that during the scene with Gon outside the Prince's chamber, I can detect sincerity in her voice when she made a plea for Gon to keep what he had seen a secret between her and him. Her facial expression is still bad, but the voice delivers, at least to me. I hope she will let Hwa Gun 'out' more through her body language, and actually make the character more consistent by toning down the glee. It almost feels as if she was smiling for the camera and audience than to the characters opposite her in the story, and that's why it's irritating (for me) to watch her during those scenes.

Speculations have also flying around with regard to the Queen's true intentions. I don't get that vibe from her and I do hope she hasn't sold her soul to the devil, but I guess we can only get some closure to that front by the end of next week.

In the meantime, I'm enjoying Ruler so far and I hope the show will keep up the current pace and have more in store until the end of its run. Most importantly, please don't let me down as far as Ga Eun is concerned. I hate it when I come into a show for an actress that I love only to be disappointed by what is given to and by her compared to what is given to and by other leads. I by no means say that KSH is bad in this show. There are moments where she still shines, and I hate to say this but so far she hasn't been up to the level that I have seen her delivered.

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I think the director just dont care about KSH character. In Rebel, Honey Lee and Chae Soo Bin have very limited screen time but each of their moments count. While in here I almost bust out laughing when KSH cries for 5 seconds then faint, scream for 5 secs then faint, be badass for 5 secs then thats it... she got angry at the prince beginning of the epi by the end of episode its over.

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It's a shame isn't it, while she is supposed to be the female lead. However, based on the synopsis where she is described to be Prince Sun's right arm, I'm willing to wait until the show gives her the spotlight she deserves.
I actually could relate to her crying scenes. It's the quiet moments that requires display of extremely deep, turbulent and soulful emotions that I feel like she underacts. The feelings are there because I can tell from what she's showcasing on screen that the character is supposed to feel that way, but they just didn't hit me in the gut.
Now back to the crying scenes; I've got a feeling that this writer likes to write CP and GE as someone who feel deep and are easily exhausted by the depth of their pain. I can relate to her crying scenes well because I tend to get physically exhausted too after crying my heart out in just 5-10 minutes, and after that I often feel extremely worn out and sleepy. That's probably why I'm good with how the script and KSH describes and interprets GE during those crying scenes.
But like you said, I'm very disappointed with the sword scene. I mean ... the trailer gave me a completely different impression of what she was going to do in that scene compared to what I saw in ep 7-8.

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agreed.

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i agree with most of the things you say..but i thought KSH acting in episodes 7-8 was right on point. i do agree that the script hasnt given her enough chance to show her talent (and i hope that changes) but none of her appearances have felt lacking to me..in fact am in awe as to how someone can be that sad and angry and still look so beautiful..haha..

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Ah, don't get me wrong :D I personally am very moved by her emotional outbursts here (the pain feels so real during that execution scene), but the scenes where she was quietly mourning for her father in ep 7-8 there was something lacking there. She could have been a little bit more numb in one scene, and the look in her eyes could have been more gentle and longing in another. Again, please don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that she's not doing her job well: the emotions are all there, but I have a feeling that she underacts. These apply only to the quieter moments; for the rest, I'm perfectly happy with what she's got to show.

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AHHH...Okay..i now totally understand you...although i didn't notice what u noticed since i always pay more attention to strong scenes than quiet ones...to be honest..i feel like this show is not allowing KSH show her skills to the fullest and like you said ...i don't doubt how capable KSH is...i hope we get to see more of her..and when am rewatching the episode..i will pay more attention to the quiet scenes..haha...as for hwa gun..everything you mentioned...i noticed a 100%!!...

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I agree with the quieter moments. I, too, felt KSH wasn't quite as strong in those. But then again, I was mistakenly comparing her (and the other actors) to YSH, which I really shouldn't do.

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i agree with u ..in epi 7 and 8 her character has really started to take form and rised up to the task and i can see the ksy that i love..i think we will see more of her in the episodes to come since he will be helping the prince to fight the evil group

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OMG. We have the same sentiments regarding KSH. I was afraid to voice it out because it also hurts me as a fan that she's not able to showcase her talent when we all know she can do so much more. When the second and third teasers aired I knew this was going to be a male-centric drama, so I just wished that she doesn't become a plot device and so far, it's not happening. I see her cry and scream and faint and be kind but I'm still not pulled. And it's so ridiculous how for 6 episodes, Hwagun has had much more scenes than her (at least those where it actually mattered). I'm actually wishing she was Hwagun instead and have the prince fall in love with her instead of Gaeun. Writer, wake up! You have KSH who carried two dramas with her talend amidst all the idol-actors and model-actors that kept being paired to her. Don't let her talent get wasted.

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I think regarding kim so hyun's character we need to give it time. far, we have only seen her as the noble who to read and is genuinely a good person but now she wants to take revenge for her father. So, I think we ll see more dynamics from her character in the coming episodes or that's what I am hoping for.

Also, about not feeling the emotional pull, I think the drama heaped a ton of angst on us so early even before we could feel a connection to the characters (or for me, it was way too early). If all this has happened in the coming week or so after i had been able to built some affinity for all the characters and see what makes them tick and such, I feel like I would have bawled my eyes out . Now I only felt sad for the tragedies and misfortunes that fell upon our characters not the emotional pull or the heart pinching that I would have felt. But, I think all of this is majorly the writer's fault.

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Yes! I feel very bitter because Hwa Gun is stealing the thunder from Ga Eun up to now and I don't like it (btw, I'm talking about characters not actresses/ acting). So-Hee is no match for KSH in terms of acting, but what can a good actress do when she is crippled and trapped in her role which hasn't got meaty materials to deal with? The show is pre-produced, so there is no hope for change of script at this point. I just can hope that the writer is holding back everything regarding Ga Eun to let it all out in an explosion. That's the only way I would forgive them for the lack of arc for her character in the past 4 episodes.
Salty as I might sound, I still like HG character very much (has had an inkling that she is an interesting character since ep 1). I only have problems with the actress, not the character herself. In a female-centric drama, she would make the perfect anti-hero with a tragic fate. Oh how I wish this show would be a showdown between Ga Eun and Hwa Gun, and between CP and DM. Pit their wits against each other and let them fight. That's my perfect type of show.

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I would love for Kim Sohyun to go back to her villaining roots or at least, anti-hero. To me, characters with spunk (given the excellent writing) make more appealing characters. That's why I fell in love with her Eunbyul in School 2015.

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Given my watching experience with her I'm sure KSH can deliver those roles very well.

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Omg. Same!
I also want a wit showdown between HG and GE after GE's arc has been developed.
HG have her way to get what she desires although such ways are not commendable (and.. humane?), we can say she's intelligent.
I wanted to see how's the case with GE. as a heroine, its expected that she'll be way better than HG but its interesting to see how their differences and similarities will be flashed be it on helping the prince or as love interests.

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I feel that right from the start, from the episode one recap there has been negative comment about Yoo so hee. Various posters have expressed their feelings about her and the character and compared her unfavourably with KSH but never once explaining what they perceive as the relative strengths or weaknesses. To me It seems more like disappointment that a favourite's character is not getting a brake.

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You are not alone. After 4 episodes and this is all she is given? What the freaking heck?

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IKR. I can only pray that the writer will surprise me in later episodes and do justice to KSH's talent. I enjoy other characters too, but can't help feeling cheated when KSH's Ga Eun has been so far the most neglected part of the show, given the status of the role being offered to her.
I'm growing impatient and frustrated with every episode when she continues to not get the chance she deserves to tell her own stories at length.

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This was way too angsty for just the third episode. So agree with your intro, hanshimi. The king's throne seems to be just a decorative chair. And its so sad that the first thing the prince does for his people believing it ll help them ends up giving him all this heartbreak.

And how is yoon so hee's character always around the prince? And only married woman put their hair up in joseon, right?

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Hwagoon seems to be a very different character. She's been seeing wearing clothes different from what a normal Joseon girl would wear, and so, it comes as no surprise that her hairstyle is a little different as well.

Here's a rally in-depth guide to Joseon hairstyles and headgear:
https://thetalkingcupboard.com/2013/04/17/a-guide-to-joseon-hairstyles-and-headgears/

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Wow! thanks for the link, daydee!

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Hmm, so giving Lee Sun the emblem was a setup to make Pyunsoohwe people think he's the real prince, so when they switch places, even if the mask comes off they'll think he's the actual prince. Meanwhile Prince Sun can run around doing stuff. If they do it right, they could take advantage of this. Hwa-goon knows what the real crown prince looks like, but if half the Pyunsoohwe people think Lee Sun is the real prince, the leaders will probably try to take advantage of this to manipulate Lee Sun and oust Prince Sun. There's always the concern that Lee Sun will fall for it out of a desire to stay on the throne, but one of his defining character traits is his intelligence, so I don't think he'd help the bad guys unless he knew it was advantageous to bring them down. I doubt he'll forgive his father's killers for the sake of a title; as much as he hates his station in life, he seems to care a lot about his family and wouldn't abandon them over Pyunsoohwe's sweet nothings. Right?

I do wonder how Prince Sun will manage to figure things out while he has Lee Sun as his double in the palace. I'm sure he'll find some sort of weakness to take down the Water Bureau with, but right now the drama is showing us exactly how difficult that will be. Pyunsoohwe at this point seems like an impenetrable wall of power.

Not to mention the tangled love lines here, with Ga-eun thinking her father was killed by the crown prince himself while Lee Sun will end up being a substitute crown prince so the actual crown prince can run around fixing things....goodness.

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Giving the medallion to Peasant Sun wasn't for the purpose of deception, it was given to show Prince Sun's promise. It just so happened Pyunsoohwe men saw the medallion in Peasant Lee's hands.

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I meant narratively. The writers could very well drop it, but I saw potential in the setup when the guy thought Lee Sun was the real prince. Potential foreshadowing.

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i also doubt that Lee Sun will work with the bad guys either, hes too intelligent for that. although they will be friction between him and the crown prince because of their love intrests, he will respect him for protecting him and trying to protect thier country

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We'll see. We have seen that Peasant Sun is not the bravest of souls and it's possible that he may crumple under the pressure and give in to Pyunsoohwe's demands (whether to save himself or his family).

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The way Yoo Seung-ho cries is so heart-wrenching, I was a mess, I had to pause this episode a couple of times to get myself together before I could watch it again! He started losing people and is told it's all because of him, his shock and pain felt so real! It's not his fault, non of it is, why should he take the blame when it's his father's mistakes! It was his greed to be the king that got them here today! Now he's too deep into this that he cannot even fight Pyunsoowhe! He keeps saying he wants Sun to become stronger to fight them but I don't know how that will happen because Pyunsoowhe seems too strong and too in control of everything!

I thought peasant Sun will be mistaken for CP Sun but it seems like everyone knows the real CP except for Ga-eun! Gon has seen the prince so he will not take the fake one to Dae-mok unless he decides to be faithful to Hwa-gon and help her keep the CP safe. I still don't like her but I think she's doing a little better now! I don't understand her obsession over Sun, though!

I like Chung-woon and would like to see more of him, Sun's face when he told him he'll be his bodyguard, aww! But it's going to break Sun when he knows it's him who's taking his place to behead Magistrate Han, I've not watched episodes 7+8 yet and it already hurts!

Thank you Hanshimi for the recap.

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Yoo Seung Ho is daebak!! He has such an expressive face. When his face crumples, it tugs at your heartstrings. But to think there is sooo much tears and angst in the 3rd episode itself, I am quite dreading the last episodes. At this point, I m watching this drama only cos of Yoo Seung Ho. I am excited to see how he grows from a naive, sheltered prince with idealistic principles to a strong, clever king who cuts the strings of the Pyunsoo Group and rule autonomously.

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oh i love this drama am looking forward for the character to evolve and exert their revenge or achieve their full potential.. KSYcharacter has finally taken shape in episode 7 n 8 and i agree the villains are competent i love them for that plus L inst disappointing me right now..good work team ruler

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Thanks for the recap. I felt for our Prince Sun. How emotionally draining all of those revelations must have been for him.

I like that we have a group of complex characters--especially our villains--and I think there is so much potential as relationships become more complicated and loyalties come into conflict. For example, we have commoner Lee Sun. What will happen once he dons the princely robes (and gets comfortable in them)? On a more simple level, what about characters like Dae-mok's bodyguard, Gon? He will now have conflicting loyalties to his leader and to Hwa-gon. And is it safe to assume that he loves Hwa-gon? I mean, doesn't every broody bodyguard with half of his face covered by long locks harbor secret feelings for the one he silently protects? LOL! I can't wait to see what happens to our characters--hopefully the actors can live up to all of that potential!

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Okay, so I'm not the only one that thinks Gon loves Hwa-gon, or at least has some affection for her.

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There has to be affection for him to agree to keep Prince Sun's identity a secret. I mentioned it in my main comment above. It's the classic drama trope of the bodyguard silently loving his charge and suffering for her and her loved one.

(Although I kind of want a reversal to surprise me)

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You're not :).

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I can't believe I am actually liking a villain's character, Hwa Gon. I love her character, and hope she becomes the lead. (No hate here- peace✌️)

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You guys are definitely not the only ones to get that vibe from Gon. I've got an inkling that he harbours some sort of feeling for her too, a little more than loyalty. I know a few people who also have this impression. We just need to wait until the later in the show to see whether our impression is indeed not groundless.

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Haha I also surmise that Gon might have feelings for HG.

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I don't care what anyone says. I LOVE Hwa Gwoon's character. It's so rare to get an interesting, confident, intelligent, multi-faceted, amoral female character with agency. This is the kind of role a great actress can really get her teeth into and is all to rare in Kdrama land. So far Yoon So Hee is OK, she is improving each episide and visually she is perfect but I do lament what an extremely talented young actress​ could have done with this part.

Honestly if I were KSH I would have rejected the boring typical love interest role of Ga-eun and gone for this part instead. There is do much more to work with plus her hair and clothes are cool af.

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I've followed KSH for three years now and have also looked into her past works, and I can say that she is far from other actresses in that she doesn't do typical candy characters, at least from what I've observed. Since Moon Embracing the Sun where she played villain, there are only a small handful where she played the typical boring, helpless love interest. Her characters are always strong-willed, sometimes, borderline rebel, but strong willed nonetheless. Maybe she picked this just because of Yoo Seungho, who knows? Or maybe she saw something in Han Gaeun's character that attracted her. I trust her, but not the writer. I just hope the Gaeun that I hoped to see will start to take form when she starts her revenge mission.

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Me too. She's so interesting and Ga-eun is so boring. The writer isn't giving Kim So-hyun much to do.

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every character has its own charm..if ga eun was so boring..we wouldn't be shipping her with the prince.. Ga eun is appealing in a way too that hwa goon is not...we can connect to Ga eun emotionally since she seems like a normal learned girl with emotions for the right people( e.g her father, sick poor people e.t.c) while hwa goon feels too mysterious..she appears on people's roof like batman, talk about dying for somebody she just met and risk people's life just because she thinks she has found her prince charming...to be honest..i feel like hwa goon attempts to seem cool but just isnt...but i do agree that her dresses are beautiful..

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I think Its early to give a final judgement to our female lead or to KSH's choice of this show in that matter.
The writer is taking time laying out everything in an intensely gripped pacing.
Its not brilliant but not weak either. It just need some appreciation.

We have seen so much of HG & noticed how complex she was written and I agree that she might become more compelling later ( acting aside). While GE so far, only appears to be a broken heroine. But could it all be just the writer's way of writing? We saw HG being first to see the unmasked sun. Most of us are so much affected, its big for a second lead.. then Hah! they gave us that scene of LS not noticing (or even recognizing) her on the market because he has his full attention on GE. Sometimes, it's not always the 'first'. There are other ways to make things more delightful than going by the usual. If GE's arc was properly developed, I'm looking forward to root for her as CP's right hand who knows, maybe her ways is a lot better than HG.

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I'm surprised everyone is calling HG multifaceted and complex, since I find her frustratingly one-dimensional. Literally everything she has done in the show has been in the service of her romantic feelings for the CP. What would be interesting and complex would be if they showed conflict between her love and her loyalty to her family, or her ambition, or something, but so far all we have seen is her exploring various methods to help the CP and win his heart. I can't even tell if she has any loyalty or ambition because she's so singlemindedly focused on him. Other characters have romantic feelings, but they are not their only or even their primary motivation. But HG has only that one facet to her character, that she is in love with the CP. It's disappointing to me precisely because she is intelligent, confident, manipulative and amoral, and could be quite interesting if she weren't exclusively pursuing love like a typical secondary girl. Although I might be more forgiving if Yoon So-hee's acting didn't keep throwing me out of the story due to being so ill-suited for sageuk. But as of right now I would say HG needs better character development as badly as GE does.

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Me too! I love the Hwa Gon character! I hope this will a drama of firsts! The first drama where a villain eventually becomes the female lead and the main male lead falls for her. If only! 😌😌

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I still find Hwa-gon a lot more interesting to watch than Ga-eun right now, my love for Kim So-hyun notwithstanding. While I don't think Yoon So-hee is as bad as people seem to think she is, this character would have been amazing in the hands of a stronger, more nuanced actress. Myungsoo seems to have improved a lot. I am in love with the three way bromance between the Suns and Chung-woon. I wish I could feel sorry for the King and appreciate his sacrifice for his son, but he was then one who starred this mess in the first place.

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While I don't think Yoon So-hee is as bad as people seem to think she is, this character would have been amazing in the hands of a stronger, more nuanced actress.

This.

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and this Ruler watching experience could have been wholesome..

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I agree that HG is a very interesting character, more interesting than GE. It's a pity the actress playing the character of HG is not strong enough. Otherwise, she could have been the most fascinating character in the show. She has so many facets to her character it's intriguing.

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No Yoon So Hee is bad. No way she was not as bad as ppl think about her. She is the acting hole and the weakest link among the cast. Notwithstanding how interesting Hwa Gun is. Everytime she appeared I feel cringe

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I said I didn't find her as bad. She doesn't make ME cringe when she appears.

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funny how i cant find any thing interesting in hwa goon...no matter how cool someone's characteristics are..i can never appreciate you if you make innocent people die intentionally...and to be honest yoon so hee doesnt make things easier..once i see her never ending weird smiling face...all i wanna do is fast-forward...

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I find her character very interesting, but unfortunately, the actress playing it is so bland. It kinda spoils my interest in the character altogether.

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I'm with you on this. I do think it's because of her acting that's not making me appreciate her character because she's not conveying it well.

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I can't speak for other fellow beanies, so I'll just speak for myself and my preferences.

I personally don't like HG because she looks and acts 'cool'. I find her styling horrendous tbh. Nor do I condone her behaviour and hail her as interesting just because she's badass. Badass will be just like meek and reigned-in personalities: it will become stale and uninteresting when it's overused. I don't personally like a female character just because she's defiant or knows how to fight, or is dressed up like an assassin.

What makes Hwa Gun interesting to me is how she as a character plays with my moral values and hence my attitude toward her. This is often tied with more abstract, philosophical values that govern our behaviours and our way of thinking that we might be completely unaware of. Classic characterisation has been portraying people as prototypes: they either are outright good or evil, and therefore are thrown at the extreme ends of the moral spectrum. We as audience are supposed to love or hate them. There is no gray area and no middle ground.

Then there is another school of thought governed by the philosophical reasoning that we cannot categorise human beings that way, and that human nature is often much more complex and context-dependent. One person can be upright in normal situations, but immoral in others, and vice versa. How are we, then, supposed to feel toward them? HG can be loosely categorised as a psychopath (though given the nature of my job and her upbringing I'd be very reluctant to apply that label to her myself) who is amoral and incapable of empathising with anyone but her love interest. Yet apart from her cunning and bratty personalities there are traits to her that we would normally admire and embrace as ideal in other 'ordinary' people: her wit and willingness to learn, her sense of loyalty, her willingness to sacrifice and her abandoning dignity to ask for the favour of a personal of lower status and birth, in order to protect the one she loves. It is easy for us to disregard these because oftentimes she is a brat and borderlines psychopathic. However, the writer isn't writing her up to be bad for the sake of being bad (at least up to now). She's living in the drama with a will of her own.

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Nor am I saying (or agreeing with a few others here) that Ga Eun is boring. She's anything but. Her agency is not put to maximum volume in an amplifier because she's got a different upbringing than HG, but she's still one with lots of will and intention, and by having agency doesn't strictly mean one can go around doing freely whatever they want to do, as HG's case suggests. Having agency means one can decide for oneself what course of actions and what means one has to take to arrive at an intended end. With regard to this respect both GE and HG have agency and ep 7-8 attest to this. The beef I'm having with the writer is that even during the most turbulent moments of GE's life the camera seems to be too anxious to move away from her to give the CP more screen time to live his angst. I hope that the show won't make me wait longer for Ga Eun's turn to shine, because she's the main reason I'm here.

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Thank you so much for disagreeing about ga eun being boring. I don't think she is boring either. I feel like being a good person equals boring these days. I think it is the writer's fault for not showing different dynamics in her character so far. But, like you said her upbringing is different. She was raised by someone who willingly gave up his life for justice. So, it is just natural that she is genuinely a good, law abiding person and lacks cunningness which might make her boring. We also have to take the period into consideration where women were raised to be simple and graceful. I think the fact that she wants to take revenge and go to the bad side is in itself must be against her principles.

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I agree. It's like when people say that being "normal" is boring.

"We also have to take the period into consideration...." Yes, thank you for this. There are many ways to show strength. One does not have to be physically powerful or beat up the bad guys to be strong. It seems that nowadays, there is a narrow definition of what it means to be a strong, powerful, female.

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If Ga-eun was a real human being, I would definitely not find her boring and if Hwan-gon was a rsk person, I would avoid her like the plague because she's crazy. However, the way Ga-eun is written is what makes her boring, to me at least, she hasn't done anything so far. At least we've been shown that Hwan-gon has all these layers to her but what does Ga-eun have going for her other than the fact that she's smart and she's the lead? I'm not trying to start anything, I'm just trying to explain why I and maybe other beanies may find her not interesting enough to be the lead character just yet.

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Hi, thank you for your reply. My reply was just to express my opinion and nothing more or less. If I wanted to start something, and if I thought you wanted to do so, I would have attacked other beanies personally. I understand that you and other beanies, even though might disagree with me, was just merely express your own stance. I do not attack your preference at all, and I always hold the view that we are free to like or dislike a certain character. However, when we judge a character's personalities or qualities, I believe those are eligible for further discussion. My whole purpose is just to start a debate where we can delve deeper into our own perspectives, and discover for ourselves and also other people where our views are coming from. That is the most interesting point about discussions here, and that's what I'm embracing. I'll start another, separate comment in GE's defence. I hope you and other beanies can weigh in your reasons and opinions too.

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The more I see this show the more I see the GoT influence that the director spoke about. Hwa Goon & Ga Eun are being built up exactly like Cersei & Danereys where the former has the more complex character while the latter was just a weakling at first. But we all know how kickass Danereys turned out to be.

I feel the same progress coming for the female characters and I for one will not fault a show for having female characters even if I prefer one over the other.

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*strong female characters

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Thumbs up for the Cersei, Danaerys and GoT reference. I really do hope that it's the path that the two female characters are going. I would love for Gaeun to go on full Danaerys and gain respect and allies in her journey.

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I love this comment! I do feel like there is something more to each character. Just like how calm and collected Goblin's Kim Sun was but had such a strong presence, I do believe Ga-eun will be like that. A powerful leader/adviser of the king/crown prince with all that royal elegance.

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I've never watched a drama with Yoo Seung Ho but now I get why dramabeans and beanies are so fond of him. He's one of the best actors in dramaland I've watched. I watched this and the next episode with my hand over my mouth, with everything so fast paced. I'm so glad they didnt drag out the prince not knowing about Pyunsoo Group longer.

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The dad-child relationships are interesting in this drama.
The King wants to protect his son to let him govern without concerns unlike him. Lord Han dies because of his sense of justice and lets his daughter alone. I wonder if there will be a confrontation between King Commendant and Chung Woon. Their masters have different opinion and I imagine aa duel could happen between two loyal bodyguards. Hwa Goon's grandfather has absolute control over his son and organization. He walks over his son and Hwa Goon does the same. They have the most ill family relationship in the drama.
After all these events it's no wonder the Crown Prince collapsed. At that moment I thought it was too much for someone to deal with and his body naturally reacted.

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A confrontation between the Commandant and Chung-woon! Ooh, that sounds so interesting, I would want to watch that!

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Yes two skilled swordsmen and father and son at that ! Give me the angst and the action !

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I really LOVE how the dads in this drama teach their kids, they shelter them but also show how to be responsible *respectbows*

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I teared up so much at Yoo Seung Ho's grief.

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Am I the only one here being moved by Sohyun's acting in that execution scene? To be honest I've watch SO many scenes like that in historical drama, but because those brutal scenes are not common in real life so sometimes I cant connect with the actors's acting. But this time, I was AMAZED. I dont think that "good acting" is enough to describe, at that moment I can only see Ga Eun and feel for her grief, the feeling is so real that I cried my eyes out for her T__T

And about Sohyun's character - Ga Eun, I've seen some complaints about its lacking of character development... I agree to some extent coz I think Sohyun can do better than that if the writers give her a chance, but I think that we are being kind of.. unfair to Ga Eun, aren't we? Why do we have to judge her that much? I really dont understand, we havent know much about her yet and our characters have a longggg way to go. I'll be happy if Ga Eun turn out to be a badass character but right now, I love Ga Eun as who she is, no need to compare her to other characters or my own expectation. I'm kind of sad that some viewers judge her characters but underrated Sohyun's acting while being given short screentime like that.

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You're not the only one. I thought that was a well-done scene. Congrats to Kim Sohyun :)

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She's great, but I couldn't help being nitpicky about the editing. It really felt and looked so choppy. I mean, one moment Ga-eun was still running to find her father and next thing you know, she's already made her way to the front of the crowd and was now witnessing her father's execution? What? I was expecting to see her run through the crowd (like how Prince Sun did) and make her way to the front, but they just cut to her already there. I haven't watched the next episode yet, but I'm really hoping they do that thing where they go back a few minutes before the cliffhanger and make it so that the transition is much smoother than what I saw in this ep.

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I'm so sad after reading ep 5,6 recap but hardly found Ga Eun name. I don't want to make quick judgment but I hope So Hyun didn't just choose this script because there is Seung Ho (her dream partner) in this. We got the promise from Han Ga Eun character description that she is a independent, intelligent Joseon young lady, who is driven by her revenge plan but later fall in love and help the prince return to his throne. So far what we get is just the part "nice and kind girl, who is now broken because of her father tragic death". I understand that the write dedicated all 8 first episodes to build the ground for the Prince to grow, but why did even Hwa Gun and Peasant Sun got better development than Han Ga Eun? If we get to later episodes but Han ga Eun character is still limited like this, I will be very disappointed. Kim So Hyun acting skill needs to be released, please give her more meaty story and plot.Don't waste her talent like this, If only she was the one who played Hwa Gun role. Joseon's Go Eun Byul maybe?

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This is my problem with the way Han Ga-eun's character is written. There have been what, 5 maybe 6 episodes, and the female lead hasn't done anything to prove that she's the lead. I'm annoyed because I am a big fan of Kim So-hyun and I know how talented she is but why is her character this way?

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is it just me or Hwa goon's dad actually is not very happy with Dae Mok's favouritism towards Hwa goon? Why do I sense that he's actually jealous of Hwa goon getting on Dae Mok's good side even though she's such a brat. Feels a bit sarcasm when he says what my daughter wants that she can't gets. I smell baeshin-vibe

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Oh, you're not the only one feeling it. When he said 'So this is the side of you your grandfather likes', his expression could be taken two ways - he was either jealous that she had this side to her, while he was a bit of a coward, or, he was scared of this side of her and what she could be capable of.

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I understand that the tone of my previous comment might come off as whiny and judgmental, especially towards Ga Eun. I start this comment in her defence, and to get my point across in a more coherent manner. By disagreeing with other beanies who hold a different opinion towards this character, I do not wish to start a war or force others to agree with me. What I'm trying to do is to start a discussion on how differently we interpret the same character. You are welcome to join, and before and even after this, you are free to like, or dislike Ga Eun, but I believe the basis to our attitude, or our judgement towards her, merits justification, as well as challenge.
These are the reasons why I think Ga Eun is interesting:
She's smart and knows how to make use of the resources she has at her disposal. Her wit shows in the scene where she rescued our CP from the Water Bureau officials. I need not delve on this any further.
She's perceptive to others' feelings and intuitive to the situations around her. Did you notice the small smile on her face before she turned around and asked why the CP kept following her around in the firefly scene? She was aware of his, and her own feeling, even before he *ahem* shamelessly gave her that lovestruck gaze. Yes please to no confused, bewildered female lead. Did you notice her worried look when Woo Bo warned her father to abort the investigation? She is perceptive to the imminent danger even though she is the only one until now kept in the dark as far as all these upheavals are concerned.
She knows fully well what she wants and doesn't shy away from it. Let's give the girl some credit. She's the only one who has survived the CP's intense gaze, not once, but TWICE. Heck even Hwa Gun couldn't hold out for more than 30 secs and we're already flailing and swaying like windswept grass. Granted, she doesn't have to go the lengths HG has to, because her father lowkey approved of prince Sun even before knowing his identity. Yet it doesn't negate the fact that she knows her feeling and his too, and can convey it without even saying out loud.
She's willful, smart, and willing to listen to reasons, just as Hwa Gun is perceptive and willing to learn. Ep 8 proves my point, but I'm not going to spoil it here.
I agree that Hwa Gun is the more interesting character to this point. It's because she wears her feelings on her sleeves, is quick to act and almost unpredictable. The unpredictability is what makes her interesting, while Ga Eun seems to be more predictable because she's written to be the more self-disciplined and self-controlled one. However, I wouldn't call an unmarried girl born in that era who isn't faltered by a man's gaze predictable. If she doesn't have any intensity deep within her or is really 'meek' like any other female leads she would have looked away and avoided his stare.
Hwa Gun is interesting indeed, I don't...

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Hwa Gun is interesting indeed, I don't deny this and have faithfully stuck to this point throughout my comments, but the verdict that she is interesting doesn't make Ga Eun less than a smart, wilful, perceptive, and intense character herself. These qualities are what makes her already interesting in my book.

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Uh Oh. I can't imagine what it must feel like for Ga On to see her father be killed by the Crown Prince. Even more so, I feel so bad for for Prince Sun, now that his identity was used to kill her father, just when he was in his beginning stages of love for Ga On. I wonder how these two leads dynamic would turn out after she recognizes him. Also, Hwa Goon is starting to become a more dangerous character. Her obsession with the Prince is a little crazy, and now that it shows she is quite smart and is willing to listen to Dae Mok, I wonder what will happen once she pushes her way into our lovely couple. Lastly, my heart also aches for Chung Woon. I was looking forward to more of him in this story, but now that's never going to happen. Thank you for the recap. I can't wait for the next one.

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Thanks for the recap, hanshimi!

I love how much Prince Sun values his friendship with CW and Lee Sun, protecting them from Gon and other attackers. He doesn't put his life above theirs just cuz he's the prince. And his conversations with CW and Lee Sun later just solidify that he considers them both to be close friends.

I am really terrified for the king and the prince. Pyunsoohwe is ruthless and the listing of the events that were to happen to the witness and fake princes sounded so nonchalant as the magistrate recited them. *shivers*

WB is so wise and really knows what's at stake. I hope he can help coach the prince.

It was really heartbreaking to see Sun learning the truth about his birth and how the king protected him. What a way to pile guilt upon someone... The prince is learning a lot of facts in a short span of time, and I hope this would only fuel his desire to protect his people and set things right. But he's got a lot of learning to do since he's still like a baby bird.

I'm glad that Lee Sun actually heard Sun's wailings and the king's convo with the commander. It might be enough reason for him to remain loyal to the prince and trust in him.

So sad to see that Deputy Magistrate Han needs to be sacrificed for everyone else to survive. But that is the reality with Pyunsoohwe's power. At least Han realizes that Sun is the crown prince and GE is whisked off to safety for now.

HG getting Gon on her side is interesting. It makes me wonder whether Gon would truly serve her and act according to her wishes over Daemok.

The whole exchange between Sun and Han stabbed my heart. Whilst Han has chosen to be the sacrificial lamb in order for Sun to be strong enough to face Pyunsoohwe one day, Sun is not ready to lose such a loyal subject. I can really feel his pain that his foolishness and thoughts of carrying out justice has caused Han and others to lose their lives... His life lessons are coming at a high cost to him and all I can do is root for Sun to bear this pain and persevere.

Gosh, this ep keeps punching me in the gut and twisting my heart... How much more can Sun endure?!?! I guess it shouldn't surprise me at how far Daemok will go to make sure that Sun will be attached to them with no one who would dare to help him, and to sever any sort of ties between Sun and GE if he were to kill her dad. CS being poisoned was hard to watch. Sun has obviously been very fond of and grown very close to him over the years. He even used his eunuch's name as his own alias. My heart is getting thumped with every scene and YSH is definitely putting on a formidable performance.

I was surprised that HG seems to be so deeply affected by Sun's pains and sorrows. But again, I'm curious how well Gon will follow her orders.

The screamed questions from Sun to the king was just a really harsh reality check all around. It was so painful to watch until Sun collapsed. I suppose CW is gonna act in his stead to execute Han. Just...

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Just really strikes my heart that this is their only solution. But what can one do when Pyunsoohwe has no mercy or any hesitation to kill people off.

Trust WB to serve up the truth as is to Lee Sun about the helplessness of the king and Pyunsoohwe's powers.

Nooo!! The execution is about to happen!! I can't bear to watch and can only sadly anticipate the forthcoming pain for Sun, GE, and all those affected.

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I have so much affection for Prince Sun and not just because he's played by Yoo Seung-ho but because of the way his character is written. I love how he protects his people and his teaching Peasant Sun how to act like a prince and then asking to be besties afterwards made me cry. Also, I love Chung-woon so much. The first time this drama made me cry was the episode where he tells the prince not to sacrifice himself for him ever since that's his job. I love that they have that special bond. I'm hoping the peasant Sun doesn't betray this bromance once he tastes the power and I hop that Hwa-gon will channel her obsession towards helping the prince rather than getting rid of anyone who tries to come between them.

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I completely agree!! The prince cares so much for his people and I'm sure he's going to be an amazing king. CW's devotion to the prince really touches me. I'm also hoping the same for Lee Sun and HG.

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Oh, I forgot to mention how much I loved that Prince Sun never took his eyes off Lee Sun. He kept his holding, shielding and protecting him through all the danger and chaos. He really is so brave and righteous and he truly does care for his people and want to protect them at all costs. I love him so much!

The look of utter heartbreak on Prince Sun when the king revealed the truth about Pyunsoohwe to him was so sad. It's like that moment of truth when he came across the group of homeless people and how scared, confused and upset he was.
It was really sad when he found out that even the king, himself, wasn't as strong or powerful as Pyunsoohwe. Prince Sun saying he'd rather die than kill an innocent person just continued to prove to me how much of a beautiful person he is--inside and out. He's got a beautiful soul. *Plays Jesse McCartney's song*

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I don't believe Hwa-goon has any ill intentions towards Prince Sun.

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Yet. I'm afraid she's only chill right now because she doesn't know that he's ~in lurve~ with Ga-eun and that he and Ga-eun are gonna live happily ever after together (what, too soon? Sorry, can't help it). I'm afraid that once she realizes that it's only ever gonna be a one-sided "love" (if that's really what she's feeling towards him) and he's not gonna reciprocate her feelings, she'll go all out in hurting him by hurting the people around him. She gives me the "If I can't have you, no one can" vibe. Just sayin'. I really hope she turns out to be more than that, though. Please have more purpose, Hwa-goon!

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Awwwww! So much heartbreak for the puppy this episode. Yoo Seoung- ho is just killed it this episode! I specially loved the scene where he takes off his mask for Chun-soo. Such vulnerability in his eyes masked behind bravado for his dying friend.

But with Chun-soo gone, Princey is now down to 3 potential loyal subjects (if you count Moo-ha as well) who actually have his back. That's my takeaway from his conversation with his father. The Prince needs to actually go out of the palace and create his own army of loyal bros so he can vanquish evil vanquished through the sheer power of bromance! My expectations have been raised already! =P

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Thank you for the recap, @hanshimi! I love and agree with the faith you have in these characters. I'm totally with 'em on this journey, too. Your hopefulness for Hwa-goon makes me hopeful for her character and her potential to be much greater, too. I also love your reminder that Prince's Sun metal mask is only temporary and it can never become one with him. It can only protect his identity for so long, as it hinders him from being his true self. Can you imagine the moment he shows his bare face to the world? It'll be epic. Just like that moment when he appeared to save Lee Sun's dad. As for the glimmer of hope that the cliffhanger left us, you're spot on with that feeling because that's how I felt when the episode ended! I knew that there was no way (right?), but I actually hoping that Prince Sun would be able to stop it all from happening and I was wishing for some kind of loophole. Sadness.

@ravennightstar, are you here? *saves you a spot next to Yoo Seung-ho!* ☺️ (Omg, by the time I post this, you've probably been here ages ago! It took me an entire day to type this comment because ~life~)

RIP Chun-soo! 😞😔 I have to admit that his death was a really effective (albeit sick and cruel–which I'm starting to notice is how Pyunsoohwe does things) way of getting Dae-mok point across of doing what he says or more of the Prince's people will die. Oof. I liked Chun-soo the moment I saw him sneak that book to Prince Sun! His last moments with Prince Sun was so bittersweet. He got to see Sun's face before he passed and they way Sun still managed to joke with him reminded me of their friendly rapport that I adored since the very beginning–when I first saw them together. You'll be missed, Chun-soo!

I can't with the lax security IN THE PALACE! Like, how is it that the Pyunsoohwe baddies keep ninja-ing their way on top of the ceilings in the palace?! Somebody needs to do something about about this! It was so sad when Prince Sun was crying over Chun-soo's death, but then when I saw Hwa-goon and Gon being creepy up on the ceiling, I was like, "Oh no! Now Gon knows how the prince looks like!" Even though Gon now follows Hwa-goon's orders, I'm pretty sure his loyalty still lies with Dae-mok, and now I'm afraid he's gonna tell Dae-mok everything–even though Hwa-goon told him not to (but Dae-mok told him to report everything to him, anyway)! Before Gon saw Prince Sun's face, I was like "Ohohoho" when he thought Lee Sun was the real crown prince because he was holding the prince's jade emblem. I was relieved because it meant that they'd divert their direction away from actual Prince Sun. Sorry, Peasant Sun!

While I feel really bad for Ga-eun's dad and don't want him to go out like that, I couldn't help feeling relieved that the king gave his word to protect Ga-eun. I'm now expecting the king to have her in contention to marry his son and be a princess. Too much? Okay.

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Just saw this!! Sorry:(
But...life:/
Thanks for saving me a spot, hehehe. And next to Seung Ho Oppa at that! YAY ME:D
Hopefully, will see you in the next recap! *fingers crossed*

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It's okay! Better late than never. 👍🏼😁
I'm already late for the next recap, but I'll look for you there! 🙂

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This episode did well in setting out the characters conflicts.
Hwa-Goon's character works better when she is not obsess with her love for Prince Sun which I still don't understand.
I like her in this episode when she is plotting, thinking, and using things to move forward her plans.
For example maybe she just wants to marry Prince Sun because she wants to have power.
Felt sad when Prince Sun realizes the truth about why he wears the mask.

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YSH is killing me with his performance. but wow, and I'm relieved i'm not the only one thinking that KSH was not as good as she has been in other dramas, she has already shown that she's a good actress. Hope the writer improves her scrips, we know she's heartbroken and grieving but come on, she's not supposed to be a damisel in distress crying every time she has screen time.
But you know guys? Actually, I do think that there's a lot of potential with the story but for some moments I feel like the writer is dragging it too much for my taste, and I'm having problems with some of the editing, for example: CP was locked in a room and HW came to the rescue? How did she get there and no one was looking after the CP? Is this the worst prince's guard squad? And don't get me started with the weird editing from eps. 7&8, there are scenes that make me wonder if I have slept or blinked for too long and missed some parts of the episodes.
Come on Ruler, you have everything to be great, I don't want to give up on you :(

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it's not that KSH is not as good as her previous projects, it is Han Ga Eun character that was not on par with her previous role.
I'm also tired with this palace security, as HG and Gon can visit anywhere they want like an empty place, how can they hide the Prince face for 17 years anyway?

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Omg, i knew this drama was gonna be tragic but after this ep, i dont know if i wanna watch it anymore. (ok, who am i kidding? of course, im gonna continue watching) it's too tragic!

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The words the cp said to his father asking why he was born? He never ask to be cp and why did he make deal with pyunsoohwe has to be the most painful things a father could hear.
I must say the father loves his boy, but he's protecting him wrongly. The scene where cp went to go meet dae mok is my favourite, damn. both are words smith and seeing dae mok yelling because of cp's words gave me life..
Why do i feel bad for laughing at Lee sun in that torture scene? i mean he was funny for some reasons..

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Wow @the above comments, i think it's too early to complain that ga eun is not getting enough screen time. There are sageuks that they dind'nt introduced the female lead character until 3rd episode, some of you beanies must be new to sageuks lol.

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i bawled my eyes out watching these episodes..

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It was a bad idea to read this while I'm at the office. I had tears in my eyes. T_T

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