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The King Loves: Episodes 5-6

This episode gives us a more in-depth look at the structure of the royal family in Goryeo, which gives us a clearer picture of how our characters relate to each other within the scope of that structure. We also get a taste of the antagonistic forces propelling our story forward as our heroes encounter more and more dangers—but fear not, since cute moments still abound, both outside and within our new favorite bromance.

Note: There are two versions of The King Loves in circulation, so there may be some readers who find the events of the recap to be different from the episode they’ve seen. For our purposes, we’ll be recapping the episodes that aired in Korea.

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

In the palace, Won spars with Jin Gwan, but finds himself thinking back to his exchange with San from the last episode, where he had given her the authority to kill him whenever she chose to. He looked all proud and grave as if he were bequeathing some great honor to her, and she had just scoffed at his self-importance before promptly giving the authority to a dog. Ha.

In the present, Won explodes from the humiliation and proceeds to attack Jin Gwan in an unrelenting assault. He sends Jin Gwan stumbling backwards and is eventually stopped by one of his old bodyguards.

Later, Won complains to Rin about San’s impudence, and Rin worries that Won will seek her out again. He admits to it, so Rin tells Won that San seems suspicious because no mere handmaiden would suddenly become a renowned teacher’s student after being expelled from a minister’s house, without good reason.

Won seems to consider Rin’s reservations, but after Rin expresses his intentions to carefully investigate San and determine that she isn’t someone dangerous, he instructs Rin not to get too close to her during his investigation. Hehe.

Rin is taken aback by the order, so Won explains his concerns about Rin’s identity (and by extension, his own) being exposed, but is interrupted by his head eunuch, eager to deliver a message from Won’s mother, Princess Wonsung.

Won quickly covers the eunuch’s mouth before he can speak before telling the eunuch that he can’t deliver his message, because he hasn’t seen the crown prince. Won then playfully pushes the eunuch away, advising him to hurry and search for the crown prince before running off in the other direction. LOL!

Rin watches Won trot off, and thinks back to a conversation he had with Won as a child, where Young Won had called Young San kind of weird and told Young Rin how he couldn’t stop thinking thinking about her. Rin links that to his memory back in Teacher Lee’s secret mountain alcohol warehouse, where Won repeated the description of San as he studied her face in wonderment.

In the darkness, San sits alone outside her family home and thinks of her mother’s final words. She recalls her first meeting with Teacher Lee, where he had asked her what she came to learn from him. She replied that she had been responsible for her mother’s death.

Back in the present, San’s brooding is cut short when she sees her father emerge from the house, which sends her hiding. She follows them to Song In’s lavish teahouse, and remains unaware of Rin stalking her.

San’s father, Minister Eun, walks through the hustle and bustle of the teahouse and enters a restricted area. Thinking on her feet, San quickly disguises herself as a serving girl and easily gains access.

As San gets distracted by a gisaeng, Rin isn’t far behind and manages to stay on Minister Eun’s tail. He eavesdrops on Minister Eun’s conversation with Minister Song, Song In, and… his older brother, Jeon.

Jeon asks Minister Eun about San, which prompts Minister Eun to thank Jeon for saving her. But Minister Eun’s eyes are shifty, and in a quick flashback, we see that San had told her father about Jeon’s odd behavior during the caravan raid that killed her mother. Song In pushes them to do away with the pleasantries, so they move to discuss the reason they’ve gathered.

Jeon starts his little pitch, and explains how he feels partially responsible for San’s scar, since he had been too late to prevent it. He says that he has waited all these years for San to come of age so that he could ask for her hand.

Minister Eun politely turns down Jeon’s offer, phrasing his rejection in a way that says that he appreciates Jeon’s kind gesture, but couldn’t possibly accept. Song In butts in to insist that Jeon is sincere and encourages Minister Eun to agree.

He depicts the proposal as an opportunity too good to pass up, so Minister Eun tries to change the topic by complimenting Song In, which seems to work temporarily.

From across the room, Song In spies San listening from behind the door and hurries out to catch her, but thankfully, a masked Rin ushers her away with a hand over her mouth just in time.

When the coast is clear, San forces her way out of Rin’s grasp and the close proximity, but when she tries to hit Rin, he blocks her attack and flees. She catches up to him easily and attacks him in a display of impressive martial arts skill, only to be parried each time. They freeze at the sound of footsteps, then rush into the empty room next to the one where Minister Eun and the others are.

San resumes her attack, but is again thwarted by a faster Rin, who even has time to blow out a candle and obscure her vision of him to avoid recognition. She calls him a spy and demands to know who sent him.

When he doesn’t answer, she pulls the chopstick out of her hair and charges, but again, he restrains her and hilariously (but surprisingly swiftly) catches the chopstick before it can drop to the ground and make a sound.

Alas, it isn’t enough to avoid detection, and a keen Song In senses something next door. He approaches the door connecting theirs and the next room, then opens it, surprising his guests. Song In makes up a lame excuse about chasing a bird, then closes the door behind him.

Though the room is empty, he finds evidence that the room was occupied (including the things moved during San and Rin’s fight), including an open window. He goes outside to scan for unwelcome guests, and nearly spots San hanging off the building, being held up only by Rin’s hand, before he goes back inside.

Rin pulls San up onto the roof once Song In is gone, catching her with both arms, and they share a moment of awareness at their closeness.

We cut to Rin reporting the night’s events to Won as he dines at Rin’s house. Rin specifically notes the presence of Song In in the meeting with Minister Eun, which doesn’t surprise Won. Won knows that Song In is close with the king and wonders why Minister Eun would be there. Rin also mentions Jeon and tells him about the marriage proposal, which Won finds peculiar.

Meanwhile, San stuffs her face back at home and discusses that same meeting with Bi-yeon. Being San’s stand-in, Bi-yeon knows it’s her marriage they were talking about, even if they meant San.

San is surprised by Bi-yeon’s lack of reaction, and so Bi-yeon replies pragmatically that she’s grateful, given the scar on her face.

San slams down her chopsticks and grumbles to Bi-yeon for purposefully mentioning her scar, since it’s a topic of great guilt for San. At first, Bi-yeon teases San a bit, but then she points out that her life became so much better because of the scar. Bi-yeon gestures to the room she gets to sleep in now as evidence, and so San suggests that they drink to it.

Suddenly, San grows pensive and theorizes that Jeon and his cohorts are probably only after her father’s wealth. It’s the same conclusion that Won and Rin have come to, and so Rin decides to look more into whether Jeon has other ulterior motives.

Suddenly, Won remarks that Jeon is of pure royal Goryeo blood, unlike himself, and suggests that the people of Goryeo would be much happier with a king who has the right pedigree.

Rin sighs, as if used to this type of talk, and poses Won a question instead: Can a person tell through one’s blood what their character is, or how much they adore their citizens? He says that since all blood is red and looks the same, he can’t tell—instead, he looks at the person to judge. Aww, you precious little muffin.

Won turns away to avoid getting sentimental, then abruptly announces that he’s sleeping in Rin’s bed for the night. They walk to Rin’s room as Rin complains about Wons taying out of the palace all night again, but suddenly, Won declares, “You’re much better.”

Won explains quietly that if he were ever to relinquish his title, then he would want Rin to replace him. Switching subjects, he confirms with Rin that San did not see his face tonight, then finally says good night.

When Won is gone, Rin thinks back to his moment on the roof with San, who finally realized that Rin was protecting her all along. She had sprung up to unmask him, but he had stopped her just in time and sprinted off into the night.

In his chambers, King Chungryeol struggles and fails to string a large ornamental golden bow, while Wang Young (Rin and Jeon’s father) and Song In tell the king the location of his next hunt. Meanwhile, Princess Wonsung sips her tea silently nearby.

King Chungryeol becomes animated at the prospect of using Minister Eun’s land for the hunt, and Minister Song credits Wang Young’s son for brokering the arrangement.

Princess Wonsung tenses at the praise, and so the highly observant Wang Young hurries to deflect the commendation. The king pushes the sensitive topic and asks which of Wang Young’s son is responsible: Rin or Jeon.

Not letting herself be ignored, Princess Wonsung guesses it must be Jeon, since he is better with people. She sneaks in a jab about Rin being better with swords than with people, but the king doesn’t let it slide and compliments Rin’s upstanding nature, which he says was inherited from Wang Young. The king then adds his own little slight about Rin being very different from Won personality-wise. Eek.

The king starts putting Won down, and suggests Jeon and Rin come along on the hunting trip, since Won isn’t much of a hunter. Wang Young tries to refuse, but the king doesn’t let him and explains that he rather be around good-natured kids, unlike his ill-behaved son.

Princess Wonsung seethes, but manages to hold her tongue. She leaves the king’s quarters humiliated and finds Won’s head eunuch cowering outside. She warns him that should he fail to convince Won to go on the next hunting trip, then the eunuch’s goose is cooked.

During a macabre archery demonstration where MOO-SUK, Song In’s masked henchman, shoots and just misses a scared, blindfolded man on a horse, Song In tells an impatient Jeon that the king’s hunt will be where they launch the plan to sow even more discord between the king and Won.

Song In explains that they’ll isolate the king on the hunt, and once he’s alone, Won will appear just as they shoot one of Won’s arrows at (but narrowly missing) the king. According to Song In, this will make the king believe that Won tried to kill him.

Jeon doubts the plan will go so smoothly, so Song In explains that the king and Won have their own unique arrows made, and only one craftsman that can create it. They’ll use an arrow with Won’s specific signature to shoot at the king, leaving no room for doubt in the king’s mind as to who did it.

The next morning, Won sneaks out of Rin’s room only to be spotted by practically everyone on the compound. He proceeds to frantically stop them from greeting him, but Rin strolls by to assuage Won’s fears and says knowingly that “she” isn’t up at this early hour. Won is relieved and says that Rin’s sister is the one person he fears most in the world.

Rin replies that Won only has himself to blame because he warned Won not to be so blatantly nice to his sister. Won defends himself and says that she was really cute before, which causes Rin’s adoring brother-side to pop out as he defensively asks if Won means that his sister isn’t cute any longer. Won nods in confirmation, HA.

They walk in the direction of the kitchen, but they’re stunned to see San with the servants, so they hurry and hide.

San loiters around the kitchen, congratulating herself for infiltrating the Wang household. She immediately cozies up with one of the ajummas and begins asking about the sons of the family. The ajumma gives San the rundown: The first son is married and already left the house, and the second and third son (Rin) are both good-looking.

The ajumma doesn’t hold back, so when San asks about the Wang boys’ characters, she rips into Jeon and calls him the worst, since he doesn’t even view the servants as human beings.

As for Rin, he doesn’t rank much higher; the ajumma says that Rin is often in his own little world and doesn’t notice anything at all, much less other human beings. HA.

San reasons that at least Rin won’t be interested in other women (Rin blinks at this), so they can count that as a plus, but the ajumma isn’t done and delivers the final blow: Frankly, she isn’t sure Rin knows that women exist alongside with him in this world.

Rin looks a little traumatized by the brutal takedown, but he manages to note of San’s reaction to his faults carefully anyway.

San sneaks off for more investigating, spotting Jeon and Wang Young nearby. She hides and observes them, when suddenly, Won appears besides her and asks if she considers Jeon to be attractive.

She panics, pulling him out of view, and is amazed when Won claims to know the sons of the household. San decides to use Won in her investigation and has him identify Jeon. However, when San asks about the third son, Won says that she should ask Rin instead, since he’s really close with the third son.

As Rin walks by, San recognizes him and comments on how the two boys always seem to come as a pair, so Won replies that they’re in the same “group.” She pushes for more details on their group, but that has Won struggling to keep up with his lies.

From behind, a woman’s voice cries out to Won, referring to him as “crown prince.” Whoops. This is WANG DAN (Park Hwan-hee), Rin’s sister. She runs over to greet Won, but Won beats her to it and bows to her instead. He also uses jondaemal and refers to the crown prince in the third person, to Dan’s utter confusion.

Won manages to lie that he and Rin work for the crown prince and were sent to see the third son under the prince’s orders. Rin motions to Dan, and she’s sharp enough to go along with the lie without missing a beat; cutely, she even gives them fake names.

Won tries to excuse himself before he can be caught in his web of lies, but Dan isn’t ready to send Won off so soon, and she forces Won into having a cup of tea.

She drags Won off by the arm, knowing that he’ll bolt if given a chance, ha. After they’re gone, Rin warns San that if he sees her masquerading as a servant in this house again, he’ll turn her in—but for today, he’ll let her go. Rin begins walking away, but then Dan calls out to San and invites her along for tea as well.

Dan continues dragging a very reluctant and somewhat depressed-looking Won along the way, pressing him for information on San and why they’re lying to her. Won lies that he doesn’t know anything, but Dan won’t be deterred and is determined to unearth the mystery herself.

 
EPISODE 6 RECAP

The quartet sit down for tea, and Dan fishes for the scoop on how the boys met San. Rin and Won remain vague on the details, but Dan only wants to know if they’re close with San, so Won puts San’s arm around his shoulders as a demonstration of their closeness, leading San to growl at him to get lost. Haha.

It’s San’s turn now, and she asks Dan if she knows what Won and Rin really do. Won jumps in and says they work for the crown prince as shadow bodyguards… in training.

San peppers Won with more questions, which he manages to contort himself around successfully, as Dan observes them curiously. San asks Dan to corroborate Won’s lies, so instead, she just confirms their (fake) identities, and promises San that there is no need to worry.

San backs down and decides to believe Dan. She pours herself another glass of tea, but the top falls off and hot tea splashes onto her. Won pulls San’s hand away on instinct, and belatedly realizes he’s holding the hot teapot in his other hand, which he then drops and breaks.

San scolds/fusses over Won for being clumsy, and Dan observes them unhappily. San remembers her manners and says that Won will replace the broken teapot, blaming everything on him. She then gets up to thank Dan for her kindness and understanding amid their buffoonery before heading out in the wrong direction (which Won points out, haha).

Won follows after her, leaving the two siblings alone. Rin tells Dan not to mind their relationship after he sees Dan observing the two. She asks her brother what kind of person San is, but he doesn’t have an answer for her yet.

As they head out, San comments on how Won will probably be really busy with the king’s hunt coming up, but Won replies that he isn’t sure the crown prince will be going, describing him as lazy.

San guesses the prince must also be a terrible person, since Won was talking about suicide and whatnot to her before. She becomes serious and tells Won that since she’s thrown away the authority he gave her, he can’t die just because he wants to anymore.

It looks like the words strike a chord within him, and Won looks back at San, moved. She demands a verbal agreement from him before she goes, and it shakes him out of his thoughts. As she walks away, Won asks if she’ll be at the hunt, and when she says she might, he says he’ll see her there, smiling widely.

At home, Wang Young preps Rin on etiquette when hunting with the king. He wisely comments on how insulted Princess Wonsung must feel by their invitations, and warns Rin to take heed when around her.

Rin isn’t that concerned with his well-being and voices his sympathies for Won, who has been unable to tell his father or mother how he truly feels, or even act comfortably around them.

Wang Young becomes pensive at his son’s words and recounts how Princess Wonsung came from Yuan as a bride when she was only sixteen years old, and married a forty year old King Chungryeol. He’s sympathetic to Princess Wonsung’s situation and imagines it must have been scary for her.

Rin asks if his aunt (the king’s first wife, and Wang Young’s older sister) was there at the time. We then flash back to Princess Wonsung’s first day in Goryeo.

She was greeted by the king, his first wife, and their son. Princess Wonsung soon gave birth to Won, but was not welcomed into the fold or loved by the king, who only cared for Won and viewed her as a burden, even though she loved him.

In retaliation for her loneliness, Princess Wonsung had lashed out the king’s first wife. She ordered the first wife removed from the inner palace, then sent the first wife’s son to live as a monk in a temple.

Back in the present, Princess Wonsung worries for her only son, while the king wakes from a strange dream. Something about the incense that’s burning seems suspicious, especially since Song In is behind the girl (Boo-young, his erstwhile female companion) changing the king’s incense. He introduces her to the king, who immediately takes a liking to her, which seems to all be part of Song In’s plan.

On the day of the hunt, the royal family, Wang Young’s family, and Song In and his party arrive on Minister Eun’s land. Minister Eun greets the king and thanks him for gracing them with his presence. The king expresses his excitement then before turning his attention to the young, masked woman (Bi-yeon) standing next to Minister Eun.

Rin and Won watch the exchange from afar, and Rin asks if Won intends to speak with her. But Won isn’t looking forward to it since he feels responsible for the scar on her face. Rin suggest he offer a greeting and withhold the rest since it might make him feel better, but that isn’t really Won’s style.

Won looks around for San, but can’t find her, which leads Rin to believe that Won intends to reveal his identity to her. Won denies it since he presumes she’ll just bow to him like the other servants, and Won isn’t interested in changing their relationship so much.

Won orders Rin to find San and to prevent her from seeing him, but to also make it so that he can see her whenever he wants. Rin can’t help but laugh at Won’s silly request, which annoys Won.

Rin sets off on his mission, but he doesn’t venture far before he finds the cart-pullers from the first episode. Rin’s memory is rather impressive, seeing as he remembers them from seven years ago. But then he spots the black-clad Moo-suk approaching the cart-pullers and ducks out of view to escape his notice.

Rin spies the cart-pullers handing Moo-suk a single arrow, then he disappears. Rin confronts the cart-pullers afterwards and searches them until he finds another arrow they’ve squirreled away, recognizing the design as Won’s. Uh oh.

Moo-suk heads right into San’s path somewhere, and she accidentally(?) spills a tray of food onto him. She scrambles to clean him off, and then catches sight of the red snake tattoo on his arm, her eyes widening in recognition.

She follows after him as she flashes through her traumatic memories. She clutches her dagger with a determined look in her eyes, then chases after Moo-suk, keeping pace with him even as he sprints through the forest.

Rin hands the cart-pullers over to the royal guards, then jumps on a horse and rushes over to Won. He’s stopped at the entrance to the hunting grounds by one of Princess Wonsung’s loyal eunuchs and starts getting anxious when he hears that Won, the king, and Jeon headed into the forest to survey the grounds.

The eunuch twiddles his thumbs when Rin asks where the royals went, but one of the guards helpfully lets their location slip. As Rin heads out, he sees Jeon approach to tell him that the king cannot be found. Jeon claims that the king challenged Won to a race, and now both are missing.

We go into the forest and see Won calling out to the king as he wanders around on horseback. He shouts for his own personal bodyguards, but all is silent. He then hears hoofbeats in the distance, and gallops after them.

Not far off, the king also finds himself alone, and begins to wonder where everyone has gone off to. Moo-suk hides behind some rocks, readies the crown prince’s unique arrow, and aims it at the king.

Rin and San separately spot Moo-suk as he waits to strike, and San, thinking only of her vengeance, jumps out to charge at Moo-suk, but is suddenly stopped by Song In. The scholar disarms her and holds her own dagger to her throat, then studies her face very closely before asking who she is.

Won comes into view, totally unaware of anything nefarious happening, and finally, Moo-suk releases that arrow directly at the king. The king notices it in time, barely dodges it, and falls off his horse in the process. The arrow grazes his ear and lands on the tree behind him.

He’s terrified, and immediately sees Won gallop up to him, concerned. His reaction is just as Song In predicted, and he assumes Won was responsible for the flying arrow. He accuses Won of attempted murder.

Moo-suk flees the scene as Rin watches helplessly. Knowing what he must do to save Won, Rin pulls out the other arrow he confiscated from the cart-pullers, aims it at his friend, and lets it fly.

 
COMMENTS

I find Dan (and her hair) adorable. I love her reaction to Won, and especially his reaction to her. She has her work cut out for her in the romance department, but I like the way she sat back and watched San and Won interact, then waited to form an opinion before jumping right to jealousy (even if she could feel it prickling the back of her neck). I hope she always maintains her sweetness, because I’d hate to see her go the classic “other woman” route.

It was lovely how Rin sought to reassure Dan that she needn’t worry about Won and San’s relationship, but I think either he’s lying to himself, or he’s lying to Dan. I’m guessing it’s the former, because Rin saw Won looking at San adoringly in the cave, and has both new and old memories of how San may be much more deeply rooted in Won’s heart than he wants to believe.

I’m starting to really like the setup of Rin being in direct competition with Won for the throne, even though neither really wants it, and is willing to relinquish it for the other. Clearly that reluctance has to change for both of them somewhere down the line, but right now I’m so charmed by Rin’s doting loyalty and yielding to Won (and all the dry sassiness!), and Won’s entitled acceptance of that loyalty with his caring attentiveness to Rin’s moods and needs. It makes me excited about the dramatic possibilities when these besties turn on each other. I’m bracing myself for heartbreak, while also eagerly awaiting it.

This show is strong in the quiet moments between the main characters (those little beats and glances), and I love the way the warmth is carried through the screen. So far, the show is keeping my attention via the cute and silly scenes, and though I really hoped to become more invested in the king-queen conflict business, I found the opposite happening, even with all the backstory. That said, it’s still early, so I’m keeping an open mind.

In terms of plot, I could really care less about Song In and his machinations (which is sad because I liked Oh Min-seok in Misaeng, but he’s doing absolutely nothing for me here), and find myself losing focus whenever he tries to explain his plan for world domination. He and Jeon seem so irrelevant somehow, and I think it has to do with the fact that so far, they both lack any layers, so I find them utterly uninteresting.

On another note, San seemed a little all over the place in this episode, therefore I appreciate that quiet moment she had alone to contemplate the guilt she feels over her mother’s death. Emotionally, San has displayed some promising maturity, especially her treatment of Won’s cavalier suicidal aspirations, and I am curious to see how she’ll react when she finds out that Won is involved in the incident from seven years ago. Won has so much self-hatred that I won’t be surprised if he retreats from her and blames himself, so it’ll be up to her to decide how they move forward.

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I hate the way Wan acts with San but I'm digging everything else. The politics aren't very interesting but hopefully we'll get more depth to that part of the story soon.

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Just re watching ep 1 and laughed when I realized how narcissistic Won's word sounds: "This is the story of me who loved you more than myself". And this is the first time I've had the "second lead syndrome" as I think Lin (Rin?) has more on screen chemistry with San. But then I'm a Hong Jong hyun fan so I might be prejudiced. Hope this drama doesn't go the usual predictable route but has some character growth.

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Rin's chemistry with San is because San seems to have a soft spot for him ever since they met again as adults. Rin somehow always manages to convince San with his calm and hot headed manner while with Won as our recapper say they bring out the worst in each other.

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*cold headed manner

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Thank you for the recaps! I continue to be very pleasantly surprised by this drama and I find its blend of humor, romance and politics to be my personal catnip, especially when Im Siwan is in the mix.

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At this point, I love Rin and I'm gonna support him in whatever he does as long as he doesn't fall into the bad guy side. I know it's kinda hard for this show to make Rin stays loyal to Won all the time, but I just hope that he won't be evil or selfish as the show goes. I'm not on board to ship any couples at the moment as I'm more interested on Won-Rin-San friendship. I know the plot somewhere along this drama the bromance might be broken, but I'm still not ready for a heart break. Let's keep it fluffy for a while, ay?

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I need Rin and Won to be the main couple!! I think we can all anticipate the Rin character development (for him to stop being loyal), but if that happens I really hope that it's only temporary and they all go back to being friends. I also need more Won-Rin-San moments!

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If he turns against Won for his love to San I will support him just please don't make them enemy because of the throne.

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Thanks for the recap! So far all of the (main) characters are appealing to me. I absolutely love Won's sarcasm and character. He's my favorite so far! Rin is so loyal that it scares me. Because of a girl, Rin's and Won's friendship is going to be hurt and after that Rin can't stay loyal forever. I love their bromance so much that I'm going to be really sad if something happens :(

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I’m not a big fan of love triangles but I’m surprised at how much I enjoy the interaction between Won, San and Rin. Might be signing myself up for angst but looking forward how they’ll grow together :^) Won and San makes me die a little with their cute gestures but I’m trying not to go down too hard with this ship in case, you know, stuff happens *sigh*

The side characters are also (blessedly) interesting and I’m looking forward to how politics and court drama will come into play in the trio’s relationship - honestly I love shady characters because they're fun to read lmao

Also can we appreciate how beautifully shot the drama is? ;-; Maybe it’s a pre-produced drama thing but the colours and angles make the drama super aesthetic (especially all the switches in camera focus)

Would also like to hope for more cute scenes to tide us all over when the angst starts to hit us. ;-; ;-;

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Me too. I am not a fan of love triangles and if there is in a drama I happen to like, I clearly lean toward one pairing. However here, I like them all and I do not have an otp yet because their interactions, WonSan or RinSan, are a joy to watch. I think it is the first time in my kdrama watching experience that I like both guys for the girl and I am ok with either (at least for now). I anticipate the angst.

Indeed, this drama is so beautifully and carefully shot. Aside from the cinematography, I am really loving the music.

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Yes, the music...it might get me listening to something other than GOBLIN's OST on repeat!

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Right? I love how the scores are a mix of fun, melancholic, and epic. The songs are good too. And since you mentioned Goblin OST, I actually got "Who Are You" vibes from the song played in the credits.

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music director is park se jun (doctors, mama, gentleman's dignity, gu family book, etc) based on his previous work...I think he is one of the best music directors

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I think San character is the one that neutralised the love triangle for now. She doesn't show interest more than what needed for both guys, she has her own goal and didn't get distracted when she saw any of those guys. I mean she didn't follow any of the guys, she didn't get overly mad or over analysed their behaviour to her, it seems like she didn't try to know them more than their encounter but she always sincere.

More often choosing an OTP is a reaction, when you see something similar or when 2 characters displayed a mutual interest and in here, at this moment, she is good with and without the boys and the boys too.

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You nailed it for me as to why the love triangle isn't frustrating (well for now). While we will see San show affection in the future, I hope she won't be wishy washy about it. Like she'd jump from one to another. I get having affection for both but I hope to she is clear to whom her romantic feelings go out to.

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That's what I hope too. Actually, in the novel San is never wishy washy about her feeling. She loves both guy but one as a lover and one as a best friend. And honestly that what intrigues me to watch the show. The romance is not quite the typical love triangle.

Yoona said the PD forbid her to read the novel, so I'm a bit worried. But I hope they stay true to the novel and make San only sees one of the guy as a lover.

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I have not read the book (and I really want to), but I have read some info from beanies like you here. Thanks for sharing. I am really curious if Song Jina will follow the book. I honestly feel that the OTP can swing either way in the drama, but I have a feeling that it will be RinSan as the endgame. Not that I want that OTP because right now I really am ok with either, but that's my hunch. Since I cannot tell which pairing will be the endgame, I am even more invested in the story.

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and who is the guy that she loves?

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Wow this is killing it for me. I have been wallowing in dorama as not much tempts me in kdrama now, but this really makes amends for a run of crappy saguks. and bad writing. Fighting!!!

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I keep thinking about how much younger Hong Jong Hyun looks and seems in this drama than in Moon Lovers, even though they both take place in Goryeo and MLSHR was filmed about a year prior.

I give the credit for this to both the eyeliner and acting skills.

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@ 8 pickledplumtree,

I keep thinking about how much younger Hong Jong Hyun looks and seems in this drama than in Moon Lovers... I give the credit for this to both the eyeliner and acting skills.

I noticed that Hong Jong-hyun looks like he rolled his odometer back, too. ;-)

You're right. It's not just that he's ditched the Guyliner of Evil. Wang Rin's vibe is completely different from Wang Yo's. Chalk it up to the writing as well as the acting. We'll just have to wait and see how the character evolves -- and keep watch on his bangs as well as any guyliner manifestations. ;-)

If anyone should be sporting the Guyliner of Evil, it's Wang Rin's second-oldest brother and the scheming Song In. Princess Wonsung should be wearing more eyeliner herself. Man, is she a piece of work. LOL.

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Haha yes! I definitely give credit to the writing, and directing, too! And the "look" gets credit from the producer/designers! It helps one to appreciate all the work that goes in to getting something across in a production, and what a fab job they did.

I support your bestowment of theoretical Guyliner of Evil wearing assignments!

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The pure blood king is evil.

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So, I thought Yoona with her hair up was more attractive than hair-down Yoona. And the choreography between Rin and San was gorgeous. And I'm into all the pretty here that I'm not even reading subs, and just watching the raw and then reading the recaps to catch me up to the plot. Lol. I know, shallow, but it's summer and I can't be expected to think right now.

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Yes when her hair is up she looks more mature and elegant. I love the choreo as well like they're dancing.

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Still good. Still interesting. And my love for the three leads grew more.

Even though I knew what was going to happen in the forest, that last scene was rather intense (the directing and the music added so much) for me.

Rin's loyalty is killing me. I can already feel the pain when the fallout happens between the besties. Won, on the other hand, is breaking my heart every single time he brings up the topic of him being mixed blood and how the people would want a pure blood on the throne.

I really enjoyed the fun interactions. Dan was finally introduced and I really like her. She seems nice and sweet. When Won said he is most scared of her, I thought she'd be someone who is annoyingly overeager or clingy, but I found her to be okay, cute even. She clings and all but they do have a history so it was adorable to me. I hope she does not go down the usual route for the second female lead.

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Thank you so much for your recaps. I didn't really appreciate them until I re watched Ep 1 because I was confused about a couple of things. I would watch 15 min then read your recap and realized I needed to thank you for your insights and knowledge of Korean culture that explained a lot I didn't understand. Also, the subtitles were a little different from your explanations and added more depth of understanding. This drama, though it seems shallow at first, after re watching I realize it has more richness and possibility than I imagined. Hope they keep it up. Thanks.

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I think three of them have their own charm, so hard to choose...
based on acting, siwan maybe the best here, but Yoona and HJH always improve in every project, so I trust them....

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Thank you for your recap and comments, murasakimi! And thanks for confirming the existence of two versions of the drama. There's nothing like having MOON LOVERS deja vu all over again. ;-)

I'm enjoying the story as it unfolds. It's taken a little while to warm up to the plot and characters, which is not unusual for me. It's turning out to be better than I expected.

Visually, the drama is a feast for the eyes. The sets and costumes are gorgeous. It's nice to visit Goryeo again. ;-)

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It may be that I am having Joseon era drama fatigue but I really love the sets and costumes here. The colors are rich to the point of looking a bit saturates especially in closed sets (e.g. king's quarters) but I like it. Also, the attention to details is there.

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It's mostly gat-itis and interminable wrangling with ministers at court that wear me out when it comes to Joseon-era dramas. Manes of Glory go a long way toward relieving my Joseon Sageuk Fatigue. LOL!

I agree that the interiors are gorgeous, not only for the color schemes, but the furniture, fabrics, and lighting as well. Oh, and the food.

Actually, the buildings themselves are really interesting to look at. The woodwork indoors and out is fascinating. Ditto for courtyards and gardens.

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This show is strong in the quiet moments between the main characters (those little beats and glances), and I love the way the warmth is carried through the screen.

This is exactly what I feel, it's quiet but you see people's reaction. The evil machination lack suspense imo, they are giving us their whole narrative in one continuing scene so it just likes people talking about something rather than an important talk.

This drama continues to be light for me and I love the fighting choreography [if that's the word], it's clear and looked good.
This drama also seriously gives me wuxia or Chinese drama story telling feelings in term of the romance and their relationship. I still can't figure why I feel that way.

The setting also looked beautiful, the costume, the swords, the arrow, the horses and the big market just screams that there is a life outside our main characters.

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Lovely episode! The ending! When Rin directed the arrow to Won, I was holding my breath...

And yea I wish we have more background story for the villain.
As of now, I agree with Murasakimi that I don't have any sort of interest in them because they're here as... well... just another bad guy.

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I think the recaps are gonna be it for me. I'm not a Yoona fan, this drama confirmed it for me. The recaps make it easy for me to keep up with a show I like but can't stand one of the leads.

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Getting the terrible second lead syndrome in a long time now.....this is going to be heart breaking for me.
And everyone stop out maneuvering the heroine I don't like it! San, beat everyone up & just leave that place, go live a nice life.

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May I ask for beanie's opinion?? Is this drama any good? Is this the kind of drama where - the second lead guy is more better than the 1st lead but the girl never knows his feeling - drama?
Coz I always have a serious SLS and I don't want to watch this drama and ends up having a broken heart in the end.. I already feel sad for Rin after watching some clips in IG

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This drama is alright, I like to call it a drama that I watch when I'm doing something else. But it's not bad! I have no second male lead syndrome feel here, maybe because Yoona's chemistry with Im Siwan isn't that great. Im Siwan on the other hand is doing a great job, hard to believe he is an idol actor.

Not sure what you mean by if second lead male is "better" than the first lead, because I know Wang Won can't marry San in the future anyway, since all Goryeo kings must take a Princess from the Yuan Dynasty as the queen. But who knows what the writers will spin, hopefully they can surprise us.

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I think the three of them have a good dynamic. The two leads have their charms. But in this drama, I do not even know if we can say that there is a first and second male lead, as in the original story, whom you would call the male lead do not get the girl and the " second male lead" do. And If I am not mistaken in the original story , the prince also harbor romantic feelings for the "second male lead". So,hmmm, even if we know that homoallergic Kdramaland will never portray the M/M romance, may be they decided to stay truthful to the original story and have Rin " get the girl", or actually the other way around having the girl "get" the second male lead.Or may be not.

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Nooo... idk why there's this misconception for M/M romance in the novel. There was none of it in the original story. The CP is obsessed with Rin, but not romantically at all. It's more about demanding loyalty and bro-code / friendship from him. Romantically, from the storyline itself, he's obviously infatuated with San.

It should be noted that the original story is not a mere love triangle in romance sense. Love is the main theme in the story, and it includes love in friendship and family as well. If the drama follows the novel, I think it will be a satisfactory tale about love and friendship between WonSanRin. (Which has a lot of potential to be great since the three leads chemistry are spot on so far)

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What you describe about the original story is what I'm looking forward to the most in this drama. So far, it's really selling the WonSanRin friendship, especially in the next episode. Their chemistry is great so far and I'm excited to see them continue to bond as their relationships tangle further. If it can continue to handle this part of the story well, I'll be pretty satisfied!

Not too interested in the politics or villains in this one, but the side-characters (the bodyguards!) are very entertaining and help keep things flowing in this drama.

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I am loving Won's secondary bodyguards too. I forgot to send a shoutout to them. What a cute pair they are. Hehe! I love how they appear out of nowhere when Won gives orders. Oh and I like that they are taller than Siwan. Hehe!

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This drama is filmed really beautifully I have to say! Not exactly impressed with Yoona's acting, but everyone else is doing a great job. I feel bad for Princess Wonsung, being in a foreign country and unable to gain her husband's love. The actress is doing such a great job, can't believe she was the mother of Joo Won in My Sassy Girl, hah.

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xD Lol YES. Thats a 5954556787848979° turn around for her!

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One other thing - I like that the drama isn't taking itself too seriously.

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I'm still on the fence on watching this.

Can someone explain to me why Won has more sympathy to the servant girl instead of the real daughter? Up until now, he doesn't know San is the real daughter of minister Eun, right?

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Because he witnessed her heartbreaking grief and pain, while he had not any direct contact with the "real daughter", at least that is how I try to make sense of this.

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1/ Me Shipping RIN with everything
2/ Yoona filmed so many dramas and yet her acting is to say the least, awkward. I have absolutely nothing against idol-turned-actress/actor, so many proved themselves and improved their acting through experiences. But, I think she is sadly a lost cause, the girl, through years, only went from stiff to awkward.... Can casting guru stop casting her as the lead now ? Pliiiiiz ?!

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Hmm it's interesting how different inetz and knetz reaction towards Yoona's acting right now haha

At first we all agree she's bad, but now knetz only have praises for her. They like her in The K2. But the turning point was her successful run in her movie Confidential Assignment earlier this year. It was a small role as Jang Youngnam's (Queen Wonsung in this drama heh) slacker little sister but she managed to be the scene stealer and earning praises from knetz ever since. Including this drama. You know how knetz have even harsher prejudice against idol-actors... So it's interesting to note how she managed to turn that around in her favor. Dont get me wrong, I think she's okay. Definitely not the worst... I wont even say she's bad honestly, but still far from amazing. But at this point, it seems casting directors will pursue her even more since she has the popularity and public acknowledgement lol. I just hope she'll continue to improve.

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Inetz hates her maybe because they thought she ruined jcw drama (the k2) when jcw is the most fav actor right now...If they hate her that much, it'll be better not to watch this drama because no matter how good/decent/bad she is, they will hate her lol

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I don't think she ruined K2. I's funny how females are always harder on other females, especially if they are idols.

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according to TvN best one minute in the k2 mostly her scenes, maybe because she is the most popular there...tbh I didn't like her character in the k2 and she was too inexperienced imo..

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@jess thank you for your very complete and informed reply^^

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Yoon-ah is good in Prime Minister and I if you've seen that, many beanies also say so. The K2 is a pass for me mainly because of Anna character. Here she is pleasantly likeable thanks to the writing of San character.

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AM I the only one who find the "fighting scenes" really awkward ?

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I respect your opinion ^.^ but based on dramafansite's review (hc,db,soompi, etc), they thought that scene was beautiful, and I agree with them... tbh I never saw YoonA as the type of actress to pull off this kind of scene, but she is surprisingly good imo...

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Yoona surprised me too. I never thought of her as a terrible actress, but also not a great one. She's okay to me. That being said, i was rooting for her to improve her acting in this new drama and she did. She's getting tons of praises from Korean netizens. I hope she pulls off all the way through to the end. I am really loving the chemistry of the three leads. They are very in sync in my opinion.

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you are right, it sooo hard to getting praise from knets, even kim go eun (best young actress imo) still getting hateful comment.. Netizenbuzz didn't find any hate comment toward her now.. maybe it's too early to praise her but so far she is decent enough to me

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I agree. I actually came with a little bit of bitterness from the K2...because, even though I acknowledged poor character writing, her performance still underwhelmed me there. I'm loving her so much more in this character. Her performance isn't flawless, but I'm feeling more connected to her character here than I ever have before and hope she'll be able to continue to improve in this role.

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suppose, if they can do it faster enough I think It will become better

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100% I thought too that they needed to do it faster. There is just something amiss about it.

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I gotta say that calling this drama a romance sageuk is selling it short and doesn't do the justice. I'm interested because of the original novel offers great characters and relationships... And of course, the romances are definitely NOT your typical and predictable love triangle at all. It should be a nice change from the usual, if the writers stay true to the novel that is.

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does this drama also has 2 versions?
you mean, just like Scarlet Heart? #shock

why?

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It is the same, MBC sent to other sites 1 version then the rearrange the story differently through editing some of the scenes sequence differently. In the end, there are only a few scenes dropped. One of them was San and Biyeon's conversation which was shown during the credits instead.

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i planned to start watching this today.. but reading first para made me stop..

Is this drama pulling secret heart goryeo??
2 versions?? Why are there 2 versions.. is editing again bad? Is drama good till now?

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what?

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Just finished episode 8 and I think this is improving with each one.

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You love to delete your own comments..

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Started watching today and have now caught up! I'm surprised by how much I'm enjoying this drama so far. Loving the trio's friendship - esp Won and Rin, I am dreading the possible end of their bromance in the future.

On a more shallow note, Im Shi Wan is really good-looking (first time seeing him in a drama).

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hey does anyone know why in these episodes, between drama fever and other websites has several parts different?

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hey do you guys know why in drama fever or myasian tv has different parts in this episodes?

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