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Seven Day Queen: Episode 20 (Final)

Wow, that was perfect. I wasn’t sure what to expect of the finale, which felt predictable in a way but still ended up producing something surprisingly lovely and poignant. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that it ended beautifully given that it’s been so strong all the way through, but it’s such a rare thing to feel like a show got an ending pitch-perfect, and especially so when we’re dealing with a historical piece whose characters’ endings are well-known.

I cried buckets watching the finale but feel really good about it; they weren’t tears of sadness or misery, but the kind that hit you for being so emotionally resonant, so thoughtful and fitting while also honoring the trajectories of these characters. I’m not sure when we’ll get another show this good, but I feel really satisfied and fulfilled having lived with this one for the past couple months.

 

 
FINAL EPISODE RECAP

After admitting to helping the former king and refusing to vow loyalty to the current one, Chae-kyung is led through the streets, tied up as a criminal, for public execution.

She thinks to Yeok that she now understands her father’s words about their unhappy fate. “But given that we met and loved, we must take responsibility for that,” she adds.

These are the words Yeok reads in the letter she left for him, heavy-hearted, until his eunuch bursts in frantically to alert him to news: Chae-kyung’s execution has been moved up.

Chae-kyung is brought to the gallows set up in the square, while Yeok tears out of the palace on horseback after hearing that it was his mother who pushed for this change, having argued that Chae-kyung couldn’t be trusted not to try something.

“In this life, I will protect that love with my death,” Chae-kyung narrates as she stands before the noose. She looks up at a bird flying overhead as a cloth bag is placed over her head. “If I am born again, I will not meet you then.”

The noose is placed around her neck. Yeok charges toward the scene with moments to spare, yelling for a halt to the proceedings. He removes Chae-kyung from the noose, and she slumps against him in shock. Untying her ropes, Yeok helps her off the gallows, ordering the guards to step aside.

In the pawnshop, Seok-hee and Gwang-oh discuss the search to find the fugitive Yeonsangun, noting where he was last seen and deciding to search the homes of his relatives. Myung-hye joins them to inform them that while Chae-kyung was saved from immediate execution, Yeok will find himself in trouble if they don’t do something quickly.

After they leave, Myung-hye thinks back to an earlier conversation with Yeok, where he’d told her that Seo-no’s grave was moved yesterday and she hadn’t been there to see it. She made the excuse that she was busy with other work, but he’d called her out on the lie—she was spotted near a posting station that Yeonsangun had used. He’d already guessed that she was involved in the attack on Yeonsangun, and had asked why she did it.

“Is this the world you wanted?” he’d asked. “How did we come to this?” He’d given her the chance to right her wrong, calling this the last time.

Yeok remains at Chae-kyung’s bedside, tending her while she sleeps. Seok-hee arrives to report that the true culprits behind Yeonsangun’s attack have been captured.

The three leaders in that attack, including Yeonsangun’s closest eunuch, have been rounded up and brought before the entire court. Deputy Commander (now Minister) Park looks particularly uneasy as Yeok demands an explanation, and the men admit to receiving orders to send Yeonsangun toward Minister Shin’s home. Yeok insists on the identity of their leader, and the eunuch names Park.

The court murmurs in surprise, and Park drops to his knees, declaring that he is being falsely accused—the eunuch had been loyal to Yeonsangun and is accusing him out of revenge. The other ministers argue that Yeok cannot believe the words of the perpetrators over the words of a hardworking minister like Park.

Yeok sees that he won’t win this way, and agrees to carry out a thorough investigation. The three criminals are carted off to prison, while Yeok shoots Park a hard look.

Park goes to Myung-hye and delivers a slap across the face, knowing she was the source, asking if she means to give up being queen to Chae-kyung. Myung-hye replies that she’s not giving it up when it was never hers to begin with (what is this, sense coming from Myung-hye?), but Park orders her to shut up and leave for China, saying that he has ways of fulfilling his goals without her.

Yeok confronts the queen dowager about having Chae-kyung killed, asking how he could live on if that happened. She asks if he and Chae-kyung could really live without doubts and resentments creeping in between them, pointing out that he’s already wracked with guilt over her parents’ deaths.

Yeok replies that she’s right—there was a time when he couldn’t look Chae-kyung in the eye. “However, through words, and touching hands, and embracing hearts, there would come a time when scratched hearts would melt. A time when things are better. In these times, being together and saying ‘I love you’ and holding each other is what spouses do. That is what Chae-kyung told me.”

He begs his mother to leave them be.

Myung-hye walks through the empty pawnshop thinking of the first time she met Seo-no here, and thinks, “I thought wrong. I thought that since you were not with me anyway, it did not matter how I lived.” She thinks of how Seo-no explained to her that love meant respecting the other person, and continues, “The moment I saw Shin Chae-kyung, I realized that to really love is to honor the other person’s wishes. Even if that means they may die.”

She remembers Seo-no’s execution, thinking, “And so, the Shin Chae-kyung you thought so dear—in saving her, I will repay my debt to you.” Myung-hye takes Seo-no’s head sash, which she has kept all this while, and ties it around her own head.

Yeok returns to Chae-kyung’s bedside, and when she wakes and registers what happened, she bolts up in alarm. She asks why he saved her, more worried about what it means for him than for her. He asks despairingly why she admitted guilt to a false charge when she should have insisted on her innocence through the end. “How could your first thought be to die?” he asks.

“What if there is something I fear more than death?” she asks. “What if there is something I can only protect by giving up my life? What must I do then?” She asks why she can’t be his person fully, saying that she hates herself for the first time, feeling pathetic for being who she is. Yeok gathers her to him as she sobs.

When Yeonsangun stirs awake, he’s shocked to find himself in the pawnshop with Myung-hye. He recalls collapsing in pain after fleeing Minister Shin’s home, and seeing her standing over him with her sword. He eyes her warily and asks after Chae-kyung, and Myung-hye informs him that she’s safe.

He asks her to let him go, and she asks coldly, “Is there a reason you must live any longer?” Yeonsangun grits out that he started this, and he must finish it.

Myung-hye brings over the old crutch, explaining that Yeok had used it for a long time: “Now it is your turn.”

Nanny nods off at Chae-kyung’s bedside clutching a spoon, and fumbles for it when it falls out of her hand. Chae-kyung hands it to her, and Nanny explains that it was Chae-kyung’s mother who’d instructed her to always be watchful over Chae-kyung’s food and to use a silver spoon, lest someone try to poison her. The mention brings both Nanny and Chae-kyung to tears, and Nanny holds her tight, saying mournfully, “This is not how to live. Even if you only live a day, you shouldn’t live like this.”

The three prisoners wind up dead in their cells of apparent suicide, although Gwang-oh supposes that it was Park’s work. How convenient that the people who could testify in Chae-kyung’s defense are all dead. Park presses again to depose Chae-kyung, saying it’s dangerous not to act while Yeonsangun may be plotting against them.

Yeok cuts him off, stating fiercely that the next one to accuse the queen without evidence will be punished for showing contempt of royalty. Park drops to the ground, and the others follow suit in appealing to the king. Yeok storms out of the room, and Park thinks to himself that he isn’t going to give up after working so hard.

That night, Minister Park convenes his Snail Bride army to say that their king has closed his ears to his advisers and the people, and that they must show him the will of the people and the heavens. He sends them on their task, and Myung-hye catches the tail end of that and looks upset.

She tries to reason with her uncle about not making an enemy of the king, but Park cuts her off, telling her she’s got a long way to go. He seems to have already written Myung-hye off, saying that she’s not his only niece. He calls in his adopted daughter, whom he intends to make the new queen rather than Myung-hye.

When Yeok visits Chae-kyung’s quarters, she greets him warmly and sits him down to ask if he fought with his ministers again, having heard that they’re arguing over her. Yeok is upset with the servants for telling her that, but she just tells him calmly that while she doesn’t know much about palace customs, there is one among ordinary households that she does know: that a woman cutting the ribbon from her outer jacket is a request to part ways.

Chae-kyung snips the ribbon on her top and places it in Yeok’s hand. He tries to refuse, but she holds his hand in hers and says, “If I do not cut ties first, you will never let me go. I wish for a divorce. Please allow it.”

Yeok looks stricken, and says that she knows his answer. “Reconciliation, recovery, courage, resolve, promises, consolation—there are so many things we can do together, for each other. Why, without even trying them all? Why ask to separate first?” He won’t do it.

Chae-kyung asks him to think back to when he pretended to be someone else and pushed her away with hurtful lies. She knows he was thinking of her safety then, and tells him that his safety is all she hopes for. She tells him that Seo-no, her parents, and countless citizens are on the path he will now walk as king: “After you have accomplished your goal, after that, you can come to me.”

“Why can we not take that path together?” Yeok asks. She says they are both under constant threat of death, and will continue to be so as long as they are together. She reminds him that he is the nation’s leader, and must now be afraid of death. She begs him to survive: “Perhaps the biggest consolation we can give one another is staying alive. Thus, for us to live in good health for a long time will become proof of how much we love each other.”

Oof, that’s powerful stuff. Chae-kyung keeps smiling through her tears, and though his face looks bleak, Yeok says that if he lives a hundred years, he will have loved her a hundred years. “Even if we are not together,” he adds, “if we just stay alive, that alone…” He breaks down, but finishes through his tears, “…means we loved.”

She agrees, telling him that it’s like leaving home to do important work, but “that house remains where it always was.” He asks if that home can’t be here, but she replies, “This is the queen’s home. I am just Shin Chae-kyung.” She wipes the tears from his face and kisses him sweetly, then holds him as he sobs in her arms. Ugh, my tears won’t stop.

In the city, people read flyers posted on walls, which seem to have something to do with Minister Park, judging from the side-eyes he gets as he travels past. Murmurs break out when he arrives at court.

Yeok arrives and addresses the disturbance that occurred overnight regarding Snail Bride activities, and asks Minister Park what he knows of it. Park declares righteously that on his way here, he witnessed citizens united in expressing their discontent about the king, and that the king cannot ignore the voice of the people.

He doesn’t seem entirely up to date, however, and Yeok tosses over a stack of flyers, telling him he must have seen wrong. Yeok reads aloud a list of Park’s corrupt activities, starting with profiting personally from the deaths of the three criminals (whose estates he claimed for dirt-cheap).

Aha, in flashback we see that the Snail Brides he’d sent out were diverted by Gwang-oh and Seok-hee, who burned the original flyers and replaced them with their own.

As Yeok reads off Park’s misdeeds, Park insists on his innocence. Yeok calls for the witness to be brought forth, and in walk several noblemen whom Park immediately disavows knowing. Except then, another figure enters the room: Myung-hye. Ohhh snap. Dammit, do I have to like you now?

Park glowers at his niece, and Yeok asks if he means to have all the witnesses killed again. This time, Park doesn’t say a peep, even when Yeok orders him stripped of his position and his ill-gotten gains reclaimed.

When Yeok sentences him to exile, Park insists again that he’s innocent, but Yeok says that he will leave the matter here if Park acknowledges his wrongs and repents—but if he digs his heels in and continues to deny it, Yeok will take it as an insult against the king and treat him as a traitor to be put to death.

Chae-kyung leaves the palace with only Nanny at her side, and pauses for a last look around. The queen dowager finds her here, and Chae-kyung drops to the ground in a formal bow and apologizes for causing her worry.

The queen dowager tells her not to be sorry, and her court lady hands over a gift. She tells Chae-kyung that protecting each other through separation is also a kind of fate. Chae-kyung accepts that advice with a bow, and walks out of the palace for good.

Yeok walks over to see Chae-kyung in a good mood, until he sees the doors shuttered. Racing inside, he finds the rooms emptied and Chae-kyung gone. Reeling, he falls to the floor.

Chae-kyung steps through the palace gates, which close behind her. She looks up at the sky, looking almost at peace.

Yeok sits alone, holding her cut ribbon, thinking, “From now on, each of my days will be spent loving and missing you. To love and miss you more, I will live on.”

Chae-kyung thinks, “And so, in order to protect each other, we find our own way.”

Yeonsangun staggers along in pain, clinging to Yeok’s old crutch, and collapses just shy of reaching a house in the mountains. Ah, he has returned to his exile house, and the soldiers stationed there rush to apprehend him.

Yeonsangun gasps, “I never ran away. And thus the queen did not help me flee.” He instructs them to be sure to convey those words.

Seok-hee delivers the message to Yeok, as well as the news that Yeonsangun surrendered himself. Yeok thinks to himself that his brother must have wanted to save Chae-kyung too.

In exile, Yeonsangun reaches for the chest he’d taken from the palace, pulling out a letter that he struggles to read through blurred vision. He reads Minister Shin’s letters, which are full of concern and urge him to take care of his health.

Yeonsangun takes a few feeble steps, then closes his eyes and falls…

It’s Yeok who catches him before he hits the ground, calling out, “Hyungnim!” When Yeonsangun makes out Yeok’s face, he recoils first, but then reaches out a hand as though to touch Yeok’s face. That aggravates his stab wound, though, and he doubles over with pain.

And so Yeok reaches out and takes his brother’s hand in his, raising it to his cheek. He says, “I have come. I am here to see you.”

Yeonsangun seems moved, but then wrenches his hand away and tells him to go, accusing Yeok of coming to mock him. But then he does collapse, and Yeok lurches forward to help him.

Yeok sits at his bedside until Yeonsangun wakes. Although he opens his eyes, he reaches out blindly, wheezing anxiously until he feels Yeok take his hand in his.

Yeonsangun says despairingly that everything was in vain—he’d wanted to prove their father wrong, only to turn into the tyrant his father predicted. He became like his mother, who had become blinded by jealousy and was the cause of her own ousting.

“Yeok-ah, I did not hate you,” he says. “I hated the me that was reflected in your eyes. And the eyes of Chae-kyung, whose eyes looked exactly like yours—I was ashamed to see those eyes, so I tried to kill you and ruin you. It was me I hated and resented.” He supposes that this is his punishment for trying to drive a wedge between them.

His breathing grows increasingly labored, and he wheezes out, “The punishment I did not fully receive in this life, I will receive the rest after death.” Yeonsangun’s breathing slows and his eyes grow slack, and he envisions his father motioning to him from the doorway.

“He has come,” Yeonsangun says. “At last, as a father, he holds a hand out to me.”

Yeonsangun extends a hand toward the vision of his father, a smile on his face, and Yeok looks toward the door quizzically. Then Yeonsangun’s head drops lifelessly onto Yeok’s shoulder. Yeok sobs over his body and wishes him a peaceful rest.

Chae-kyung joins her aunt, the former queen, in her home of exile, which is where both women hear the news of Yeonsangun’s death. The queen dowager receives word too, and actually looks saddened by it. She takes out a hairpin from her drawer and remembers how Yeonsangun gave it to her as a birthday gift years ago. She’d been pleased to receive it then, and now, with tears running down her face, she removes the pin from her hair and places Yeonsangun’s pin there instead.

“In the next life, be born as my daughter,” she cries, thinking of how Yeonsangun had suggested changing places with Yeok, offering to live as her son and Chae-kyung’s husband. “I will cherish you greatly then.”

On his way back from visiting Yeonsangun, Yeok stops to rest the horses, though that’s mostly an excuse to drop by to see Chae-kyung. But when his eunuch announces him, Chae-kyung merely offers horse feed, and Yeok is disappointed to hear that she didn’t ask after him.

Yeok wanders into the courtyard while she prepares the feed, and she ducks out of sight when she sees him. He notices the open door, though, and approaches knowing she’s there. She stops him before he opens the door, keeping him at arm’s length with the container of feed between them.

She offers him the container, and when he places his hand over hers, she drops the container in her agitation. He asks to see her face, begging her to just say the word: “Then I will open this door and run to you.”

Chae-kyung fights her own longing to remind him that they aren’t like others, and that they agreed to love each other without being together. She asks if he is already crumbling.

And so Yeok leaves without seeing her face. But as Chae-kyung replays his words in her mind—“Do you truly want me to leave like this?”— that sparks something in her, and she runs outside shouting, “Husband!”

He’s already gone, but Yeok hears her cry from the road and whirls around. Racing back toward her, he and Chae-kyung run into each other’s arms and he confesses, “I can’t do it, Chae-kyung. I can’t live without you.”

She says, “Don’t go. Let us be together.”

And then, it seems sometime later, we see them getting dressed and clearing their bedding together, and Yeok laughs over the too-short arms of the clothing she made him. Later still, he paces outside the house nervously until Nanny declares that a son has been born. Wait, is this real? This had better be real. If this is some La La Land bullshit there will be flipped tables.

Skipping ahead some more, the happy couple watches their children play—one son and one daughter. We see Yeok and Chae-kyung sleeping peacefully side by side, hands touching, and Yeok reaches out—but finds the space next to him empty.

And then, suddenly, Yeok wears a beard and wakes alone in the king’s bedchamber at the palace. “Chae-kyung-ah,” he says sadly into the empty room. (So that was a dream?! Arrrgaksdf;lajksdfljka. Hulksmash!)

Chae-kyung writes Yeok a letter, thanking him for wanting to reinstate her position but telling him that he already has a son, and even if she were made queen again, any son she might have would be caught up in succession politics. She reminds him of his tragic relationship with his brother, not wanting to relive that strife.

We see Chae-kyung lying down on a bolt of fabric while Nanny measures out a set of clothing for Yeok, based on Chae-kyung’s very hazy measurements of handsbreadths. Yeok receives those clothes, as Chae-kyung’s letter continues, “How painful must it have been? How afraid must you have been? We must not make more of that tragedy with our own hands.”

Yeok wears the clothing proudly that night, and as he looks up at the night sky, so does she. Her letter finishes, “That you live well, for our sake, is enough for me.”

Then, we’re 38 years later in the year 1544, Yeok’s 39th year of rule.

Yeok is an elderly king now, and he calls faithful Eunuch Song to his bedside. A palanquin is taken to the palace, and it’s an elderly women who sits inside—Chae-kyung, still wearing her wedding ring. With the king’s health weak, the order is given to open the gates and not restrict entries.

Yeok is assisted to his feet and dresses in that same piece of clothing Chae-kyung made for him years ago. He waits alone in his chamber, anticipating Chae-kyung’s arrival, and she makes her way through the palace corridor toward him.

When the doors open, it’s familiar adult Chae-kyung we see—and then we go younger still as the teenage Yeok beams at teenage Chae-kyung and pats the seat next to him.

He calls her Bird Poop like he used to, asking if she waited long. She pouts that she’s used to waiting, then smiles up at him.

They transition into the adult couple, and they gaze at each other for long, tender moments. “Am I too late?” she asks.

He shakes his head, saying, “You’re not the least bit late.”

She says he endured many struggles, and praises him for holding on through it all. “Because I knew you were waiting, I could hold on,” he tells her. “Because I knew you were there, in that place, I could protect my place.”

He lays his head in her lap, and she thinks, “Now I will be at your side. So, please rest now, at home.”

“Now I am finally home,” Yeok thinks, smiling with his eyes closed.

“I love you,” she says, using three different words that mean love. “I love you. I love you, Husband.”

“You could just say one,” he replies teasingly, just as he’d done all those years ago.

 
JAVABEANS’ COMMENTS

That has to be the most beautiful depiction of a death scene I’ve seen in a long time, maybe ever. I had a brief moment of anger at the fantasy dream sequence that could have been seen as teasing us with what could have been, and that really hurt. But I’m also recalling previous moments when I’d yelled at a withholding drama, “C’mon, throw me a bone here! Can’t I just get a crumb of satisfaction?” And I feel like that wistful what-we-could-have-had moment was something of a crumb, as well as a stark reminder of what Yeok’s life would have been like for the next forty years, and how long that time was for him to hold on.

Historically we know Jungjong (Yeok’s posthumous name) was not considered a strong king, but I find it touching that in this version, it didn’t matter so much that he wasn’t the best king ever—it was enough that he did his best with what he had. We know he never really wanted to be king but felt it was his duty to do so and rescue the people from a terrible tyrant, so he couldn’t abdicate his position and subject the country to more turmoil. Nor could he be an iron-willed dictator like his brother, which is both a strength and a flaw, because while he didn’t have his brother’s violent rages, he would always be beholden to the powerful politicians who put him on the throne. He was caught between a rock and a hard place for forty years and did his best to live with it. There’s a really bittersweet, realistic beauty in that, and I was surprised by my tears when Chae-kyung praised him not for being a good king or a powerful leader, but for enduring.

I did wonder whether Yeonsangun would be made too sympathetic, too late in the game—it’s not something I would have felt too comfortable with, after he’d been shown going on murder sprees and abdicating all his responsibility as ruler, if not the position outright. I think what feels appropriate is that he acknowledged himself that he hadn’t met his full punishment, and would take it on willingly in whatever came next. There’s something dissatisfying about delivering a punishment to an unrepentant evildoer (Minister Park can die in a hundred fires and it wouldn’t be enough), but once they feel true remorse, it changes things. It shifts from a matter of meting out punishment onto someone else to that person locking themselves up in their own prison of guilt, and that, at least, seems enough to me.

I found the queen dowager’s response to Yeonsangun’s death a fitting reaction, even if it doesn’t make me warm up to her all that much. It’s just that in her world, showing love is a weakness that could be exploited, so for her viewing Yeonsangun as an enemy was an act of self-defense. It’s only in his death that she allowed herself to feel that grief over him—and even so, I would bet that she wouldn’t have done anything differently toward him in this life.

The irony is that Yeok and Chae-kyung may have been the only two people who would not have wielded love as a weapon or seen it as a liability, but they didn’t get a chance to prove that through living the example—or maybe it’s not ironic at all, because they were the exceptions to the rule, and they couldn’t stop other people from using their love against them.

One of the things that make Seven Day Queen such a compelling love story is in the way that it isn’t a passionate, romance-wins-all story. It’s about love, certainly, but I found it particularly powerful that these two had a bond that transcended romance—in this love story, it’s the mundane, everyday touches that lent the relationship power, not the grand gestures. All they really ever wanted was a situation that allowed them to be in the same space at the same time, and the drama did a fantastic job in weaving its plot so as to make that feel impossible. Who knew that such a simple conflict could be such a driving force?

It’s like Chae-kyung said toward the end regarding the concept of home, that she isn’t the queen, she is just Chae-kyung. And you get the sense that the throne wasn’t what Yeok was, either—it was just his necessary work that took him away from home until he could return to it in the end. It makes the time spent apart feel both astonishingly long (39 years! More time apart than they spent knowing each other!) and also, in the long run, inconsequential. How cuttingly poignant to have created a scenario in which the cause of your pain—separation—also becomes the thing that proves your love. By their metric, the longer they’re apart, the longer they have spent loving each other, and then it all ends peacefully by returning “home.” I mean, I didn’t even know there was that much silver lining to be mined out of their miserable predicament, but it makes it all the more admirable that they found a way to love no matter the circumstance, rather than give up in despair. An example to aspire to!

 
GIRLFRIDAY’S COMMENTS

I think this drama may have been perfect. I didn’t even know there WAS such a thing! At some point during the hour I thought maybe I had cried all there was to cry, but then that fantasy sequence hit and I turned into a sobbing, wailing mess, screaming at my screen, “I know you’re a fantasy! Stop telling me lies!” That glimpse of a happy life that couldn’t be just broke me.

I don’t think I could’ve asked for a better finale, because I was worried that they’d mess with history too much to fake a happy ending that I would know in my heart was false. That would’ve ruined what this drama worked so hard to build. Instead we got the loveliest possible version of bittersweet love and lifelong devotion that will linger in my memory ten times longer than a simple happy ending would have. That final sequence with the three generations of actors portraying our couple was a thing of beauty, and I loved how the drama began with the queen leaving the palace, and ended with the perfect bookend of her return.

I was so impressed by the heroine of this story, and for the way that she was consistently written as a strong and dignified woman who chooses her own fate. While political machinations and enemies were directly responsible for tearing our lovers apart, it’s so important to me that at every step of the way, they weren’t torn apart by powers outside of their control or moved around like pawns in some larger game; in the telling of this story, they were individuals who chose to love and sacrifice and fight, in whatever way they could. That made me so appreciative of the writing, especially when it came to the heroine and the way she acted on her love. And I’m such a fan of the fact that in our story, Chae-kyung is the hero who saves Yeok and finds a way for them to live and love.

I’ve never really had this thought before after finishing a drama, but I wish this director, writer, and cast would stay together forever and just make show after show. They could do a modern rom-com next, and then an action thriller after that, and then a fantasy sageuk, and then a melo… Maybe they should wait a few years on the melodrama. I think I’ve spent all my tears for the next five years on this one.

 
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Beautiful to the end. ? ??? It's such a rare gem of a sageuk and for a drama at that. Just can't let this go. ? Beautiful in every aspect, every single episode. Would rewatch to the end of my days. Thank you so much for being such a wonderful experience.

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This drama is such a perfection... from the beginning till the end. Watching KDrama for too long, I got bored easily because often I could guess the plot from few miles away... but this show... keeps surprising me over and over again, despite the ending being known. I didn't expect this drama would be this awesome, especially when it's written by a newbie writer. Throughout the drama, I just feel safe in her (or his?) hands... that she really knows what she's doing and won't disappoint me... when I don't even know her previous work. She's so confident with her story and you just can feel it.

Park Min-young has improved so much in this drama. I mean, she's always been good, but never been this awesome. Every transition from one emotion to another was done flawlessly. You could almost trace them. You don't have to give her any dialogue to explain what her character feels, it's all there on her face and eyes. I guess I have to declare myself as one of her fans start from now on.

Lee Dong-gun also did an awesome job here. This is the best Yeosangun portrayal ever! Some credits must go to the writerniim of course for writing this character with so much depth, but still couldn't have worked without his flawless acting. I hope he'll be doing more Sageuk from now on. Sageuk fits him well.

There's one thing that I still feel curious about though: The Shaman. What made her risked her life by telling Minister Shin the truth... what happened between her and The King. Not that it really matters... It just that this part of story somehow doesn't feel complete and I just can't shake it off from my mind. LOL.

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I forgot all about the shaman! Maybe the writer did too and that's why there was never a resolution for that, lol. Why was it such a big deal that she had to die for it? Maybe b/c the king wanted CK and Yeok together and her spilling the beans might prevent it? Idk, but good memory

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If ever there were a show in which the journey is infinitely more important than the destination, SEVEN DAY QUEEN is it. ;-)

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It was so beautiful. This show made me feel feelings I never thought I had in me. The way this production team handled the story of Jungjong and his queen is worth commending. I know they took some liberties in telling it, but they made it richer and memorable, a reminder of what it means to love and be loved. ❤

Now off to rewatch the scenes with their teenage selves! Seeing them in that last sequence made me miss them so! Hehe.

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I don't think I will ever recover from this! This show was soo heartrendingly lovely and poignant. This had the perfect ending to their tale of love. Shin Chae Kyung was so unflinchingly honest and earnest in her love and so brave and courageous. Simply the best heroine ever! I just wanted her to be happy and smiling with Yeok that I almost deluded myself into thinking that Yeok's dream of their life together was the reality, even though I knew that it was not so. Their mundane interactions and teasing and just plain enjoying each other company and reveling in their love for each other and their children. Ughh I am welling up again just thinking about it. And then the final sequence comes and the screen completely blurred. ?? To see them in their younger years and then their adult selves, to see the proof that they lived loving each other, to finally come home in each other's arms. ? God! The things they do to me!

Hats off to Park Min Young, Yeon Woo Jin and Lee Dong Gun for their terrific performances and the writing and directing and OSTs. In a word, perfect. Thank you for the amazing journey, show! ❤

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Park Min Young is my favourite actress since my all time favourite dramas are:
1) Seven Day Queen
2) Healer
3) Sungkyunkwan Scandal
4) City Hunter

I must say that she really has an eye on good project. Even the rating does not do justice to Healer and Seven Day Queen, the viewers that watch this drama will say it is one of their best drama too and will become memorable for all time.

I have become pd Lee Jung Sub fan and will look forward for hos project

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I totally agree her projects make me love her even more and her characters especially stick with me for a long time

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I also have faith in PD Lee again as Healer and 7DQ also his masterpieces. Since one is modern and another is sageuk, cross finger that he can come out with next best thing in future. True, those rating doesn't do justice for both drama ?

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Agree with your lists... Sorry but minus City Hunter.... And yes my favorite director, LJS.... you can be a great actor if will be handled by PD nim...

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Hahahaha. Same here, minus CH

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I totally agree with you @pmyfan. I have been a long time fan of PMY and I should say, SDQ is now top of her drama performances. And yes she really has an eye for good project, rated or non-rated. Her crying scenes are just daebak, she can just act without any dialogue, she is a fantastic performer! I am gonna miss SCG!!!

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You should check out "Glory Jane" too PMY was so awesome in that drama

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This was such a beautiful ending to a beautiful show. I agree with girlfriday on having this PD, cast and crew work on more projects because my god it was so perfect. Not enough treats could express the wonderfully bittersweet show this was and it will forever have a special place.

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That was the best ending I've ever seen in a drama and the best historical drama I've ever seen (sorry Dae Jang Geum and Six Flying Dragon). I was so amazed by Park Min-young's acting. Her tears were so real. I really don't understand the rating :/

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I've read the comments here and I dont know what adjective has not been used to describe this drama anymore. But one thing for sure, the show and everyone behind it deserves it all. Thank you for giving us 20 hours of entertainment even if you did make us cry.
The 3 queens, 2 kings, 2 princes, the bodyguard, the parents heck, even the nanny made us cry.

To LDG, PMY and YWJ, take a well deserved vacation and start working in a drama soon. And I hope you three get an acting award too.

To Javabeans and Girlfriday, thank you for the recaps and for joining us in this emotional journey. Till the next drama...

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Does anyone know where I can find the soundtrack for this drama? (not the songs).

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Thanks!

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Wow!! Fantastic romance sageuk. His dream was heartrenching. I just don't get why they can't be together secretly? I've watched some historical dramas where the king hid his love and he goes visit from time to time.....and does it mean he has a son with another concubine? Did he have another queen IRL?

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Myung-Hye became the Queen and mother of the Crown Prince which eventually had the throne.

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Real life Jungjong had lots of concubines and 2 queens after Dangyeong was deposed. After Myunghye died giving birth some people requested Dangyeong to come back as queen but it was denied. But it's true to history that Jungjong requested to see Dangyeong only before he passed away. Sad T_T

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Read somewhere that he requested to see her a day after he abdicated the throne for his sone. He was already very sick by then. Maybe he couldn't see her when he was king because of the political issues it will cause & at the same time it will endanger Queen D also. King Injong took the throne when he was 29. Just a thought though, maybe he could have abdicated earlier & retired to live with CK. Wishful thinking. ?

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When I watch the episode, it at was 2:50 a.m., and I feared that my neighbours might be alarmed because I was crying so much. And now, the first thing I am doing when I woke up is check DB and comment.This show ripped my heart out, cut it into small pieces and rubbed salt all over it. I cried throughout the episode. And because I could not go off to sleep after such an ending, I watched old episodes of 1night and 2 days to console myself. Thank God, today is Saturday over here.
This show was perfection in terms of its storytelling and character arcs. I was most invested in the story of Yeonsang. He was an intelligent, cunning, complex and hopelessly flawed. The constant pull and push of his feeling towards the people closest to him made one of the most fascinating things to watch. I really appreciated the way in which he died was played out. He realised the love and loyalty of his closest friend and ally, died in the arms of his brother who he loved, and took his last breath looking at his father holding his hand out calling for him. Well done show!
This was a show in which the court politics was done right. Most of the time, I give up on sageuks because the court politics play out the same way in almost all the sageuks – there are bad guys and good guys and there all lots of pussyfooting around each other. However, this show portrayed a court in which there were good and bad intentions as well as all the other shades in between. The choices that they made make sense however twisted it was.
Overall, one of the best dramas I ever watched. It remained consistent and the ending stayed true to the storytelling and characters.

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I'm officially declaring my trip to 5 steps of acceptance that I need to deal with because of the thought that my main has now ended. Sure I can re-watch it all over again but the pain of not getting more of them is just a heartbreaking one. My Wednesday and Thursday will never be the same. Seven Day Queen, my love, thank you for coming into my life and give me something to look forward to these last 3 months. My never-ending gratitude to all the people involved in making this masterpiece and for @javabeans & @girlfriday for their beautiful recaps that this drama deserves. I will never forget this show, definitely in my top 5 list of all-time.

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We all need a therapy for withdrawal symptoms for this drama.

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Exactly! *runs to my therapist*

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This is the best drama in 2017 so far???? the casts the cinematography the plot all of them are really great?❤️ I love u writer-nim because this is the ending that I really want...yeok and chaekyung have a chance to meet each other again and most importantly no scene of myunghee as a queen?
I don't know how to describe my feelings right now...maybe I will lay down on my bed while listening to their ost playlist?
These casts will be missed❤️
For yeok and chaekyung I hope we can see both of you in a modern drama❤️❤️❤️

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Goes to a corner and cries a river....
This is the best drama for me this year.
It's beautifully shot , the last scene is just heartbreaking.

It's not fair at all! They never got a chance perhaps the day he came back they never had a chance. Or perhaps the day he was born he never had a chance.

And sadly, did I get it right.. because my heart needs to know. They never saw each other again? I'm sure he can sneak out , they never had children I'm sure because she knows their children will never be safe.
So they just kept apart and never met again till the last scene?
Noooooooo...

Someone tell me. My heart is broken into a million pieces

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maybe it because of the promise they made that not seeing each other for each other safety

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I was doing great, teary-eyed, but not crying. But the last scene, with our heroes already old, being able to meet just at the end of their lives, then I knew I won't be able to keep it together. And when I saw those child actors... I pretty much started sobbing. Such a beautiful ending and such an amazing drama.

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This was the best romance sageuk ever. I dont think I will ever find another romance sageuk as good as this. Like girlfriday said, I was apprehensive that they would divert from history and make it a happy ending but I liked that they stayed close to historical facts and worked around it to at least give us a bittersweet ending.

I've not cried so much in an episode than I did for this finale. I cried, wiped my tears, cried, wiped my tears and cried again. This was such a satisfying finale that I've never felt about any other drama and will stay with me for a looong time.

P.S. I did think they could have reunited earlier rather than just when he was about to die.

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like chaegyung said when he has achieved what he wants to do as king,,he can come to chae gyung
maybe it's the time he thinks the nest for coming back to chaegyung hehehe (just my thought)

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https://www.youtube.com/user/musicnnewkorea/videos

If anyone's looking for the instrumental background music OSTs, they're up! Yes. Including the whistling song (the whistling song is called Dreaming).

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yes yes yes i have download it
been waiting for it for years

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Thank you so, so much for the link - just listening to this is making my eyes damp again ?

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PMY you've grown so much as an actress. From Unstoppable high kick, Sungkyungkwan scandal, City Hunter, Healer and now in Seven Day Queen.

You are indeed blessed with good acting projects! I will continue to follow your drama choices, all of those mentioned are some of my all time favorites. Thank you for another beautiful drama.

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yes she is so smart choosing best drama and best co-lead
really looking forward her next project

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PMY is indeed Queen of Chemistry!
I've watched some of her interview saying how she discovered the technique/secret of creating chemistry with her co-leads.

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When Chae-Kyung mentioned her future royal son could cause succession issues, I kept thinking first that the third queen ended up doing that anyway, but also i laughed. I wondered if Chae-Kyung was worried that, if she got a son, Yeok would go his father's route and create a secret will so that his favourite son could be king instead. Probably not, but still.

It's so weird to see this drama end. Everything about this show left me just so... satisfied. Pretty much every loose thread was achknowledged and touched upon, and we got to see as happy an ending we could get without diverting too much from history. I am a little surprised they did not touch upon the red skirt hanging for Yeok to see, though.

I think a big reason why everything was so amazing was that the show was not only made with heart, but brain as well. While obviously played up for dramaland, the conflicts and choices throughout the show made sense for the characters. The villains proved dangerous because they fooled the heroes, who were trying their best. Because there was actual danger, we cheered when the heroes won, because we knew it was a deserved victory. And when people are unhappy, we feel for them because we saw them deserve better. You cannot have tragedy without happiness, because that would cause apathy in the viewers. And the writer knew exactly how much happiness to show to balance out the tragedy and sadness.

I truly hope the writer and the others behind this drama will get another chance to write something this good, and I hope the actors get recognized for all the genuine work and acting they did. I don't know much about show bizz and how roles are made for celebrities, but no matter how it works, I truly believe these actors were chosen for their ability above all.

DramaBeans, thank you so much for recapping this series and for introducing me to it before it aired. This was the first drama I watched live along with the recaps, instead of binge-watching already finished dramas, and I am so happy I could do it "together" with you.

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i think that only me who wonder why the hanging red skirt not shown in this drama since it was mentioned in synopsis of this drama in the first
but the scene chae gyung wore the red skirt at the end is just enough for me hehe

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I think they made it a point that the older Chae-kyung was wearing a red skirt, probably to tie in with the hanging red skirt story.

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Every conflict and the subsequent resolution in this drama felt natural and organic for me, nothing contrived, which makes the sacrifices not idiocy but truly mature and necessary for everyone.

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@Pensola,

We might not have seen Yeok looking up the hill to see Chae-kyung's red skirt, but I noticed she wore an obviously weathered red skirt when she went to see him. Maybe Writer-nim is yanking our chain just a little to subvert one last expectation. ;-)

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Agh, I didn't notice! Actually that might be even better than showing her place it on the stone. I'm sure everyone that knows the RL story know that she did it, and in the drama we already know that they will spend every day yearning and loving each other, so the skirt didn't need to be shown. But by showing it hinted at it makes it a big bonus for those that know the story, and almost even more heartwarming and heartbreaking.

Thanks for notifying me about that!

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You're most welcome, Pensola! I really think that Writer-nim likes to sneak the little details in so that the people who are watching for them will see them. subtlety is such a lovely thing. ;-)

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Jungjong and Dangyeong's story makes me cry TT___TT if only Dangyeong were to give birth to several sons or even some daughters maybe her position as queen would be more secure and not be deposed.

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goodbye seems to be the hardest word ??
it's one of dramas i watched that made me so emotionally invested on it and ignored other dramas,,,it's the first time of this year i only follow one drama every week ?
i never met a heroine like shin chae gyung and that kind of trust yeok and chaegyung has..
this drama is really really outstanding,,,even that kind of dream really makes sense because of the real story behind it. the last minute is still heart-wrenching for me,,,
just by holding each other hand,,touch each other face,looking through each other eyes makes me feel the strong love they have ..what a great chemistry!!!!

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A comment about this epic, maybe two words is enough................................Just Perfect.

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I would like to believe yeok visit ck from time to time..maybe that is what really happened...i want to believe that..i dont care.. I need to console my heart.. They still can meet in secret right??
Anyway..GREAT DRAMA..and now i've added yeon woo jin as my fav actor.. Gonna go and marathon his drama after this

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I was a blubbering mess watching this while eating breakfast, then again while reading this recap! Gah, it's so sad that they spent so little time together. The last scenes were beautiful as they showed Yeok and Chae-gyung in their old age, then when they were young (I so missed them) and then as Park Min-young and Woo-jin. I mean that was really brilliant!!! I love, love this show so much. Goodness, I've never cried this much since Gaksital!

I'm also glad that Yeonsangun realised how awful he's been and that he said that he didn't really hate Yeok but himself. Isn't it beautiful that Yeok was there when he passed away and called him Hyung-nim many times over? I couldn't stop crying. I was also surprised that even the Queen Dowager's scene with the hairpin made me cry, jeez. I actually forgot that the bitch almost killed Chae-gyung! I'm glad though that the Queen Dowager has acknowledged Chae-gyung's sacrifice to protect Yeok.

I reckon Shin Chae-gyung is my favourite sageuk female character of all time. She's just full of wisdom, love, kindness and grit. I love the young Chae-gyung until the end when she came back to the palace to be with Yeok. That's really heartbreaking. I mean it's really sad that she only get to spend time with Yeok again when he's already dying, now I'm crying again. I mean how sad is that, right? Good thing this show let us see their young versions with Chae-gyung asking, "am I too late?" and the smiling young Yeok answering, "no not at all", his eyes never leave her, showing so much love. I really commend all the actors here. Nobody fell short, everybody was just awesome!

So my question is, does the dream sequence (of what could have been) started when Chae-gyung ran from the house and Yeok running back, meeting in the middle of the bridge? That didn't happen at all, right? They just held back to be true to their words/ pact/ promise? That breaks my heart when Yeok really wanted to embrace Chae-gyung but she held her ground for both of their sakes. She didn't even dare to face him because she knows she wouldn't be able to hold back if she did. So. sad. As for Commander Park, I'm alright as long as he's locked up and will be executed if he doesn't admit his wrongdoings. Although I still saw him laughing during his last scene which made me grit my teeth, I just think that it's just a defence mechanism because really, he must be quaking in his boots and will surely break his resolve soon. I'm satisfied with that look of terror when he saw Myung-hye walked in court as a witness and I love Yeok asking Park if he means to kill the witnesses again hahahaha!

Thank you so much, Girlfriday and Javabeans for your wonderful and insightful recaps! I love this blog so much! Thank you!!! Thank you fellow beanies for barrelling through episode 20 with me! We finally made it!

You know, I'm really grateful that I get to see Yeok and Chae-gyung having two cute kids and being very happy even if...

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...cont..
You know, I'm really grateful that I get to see Yeok and Chae-gyung having two cute kids and being very happy even if it's only a dream . I can take that morsel of happiness, thank you. So on a shallow tone and please forgive me but I cannot help it...can Yeon Woo-jin and Park Min-young just date together for real and perhaps get married as well and just be happy? Now, I reckon, that really is too much to ask.

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Sublime.

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I can't get over with this drama, maybe lasting for a month. I've seen many kdramas but this one really hits home. This drama was so underrated. The story was so beautifully written, everything on it really feels so right and the actors are amazing. Episode 20 really made me cry buckets.

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Just perfect.....................it hurted beautifully.

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My heart feels so squishy right now. I thought I could hold it together but as soon as the child actors came back out I was a goner...I honestly don't think I would have enjoyed the drama as much without them. They did such a good job at building Yeok and Chae-kyung's characters/romance and the transition to adulthood was just seamless.

I also need Yeon Woo-jin to come back soon in a happier drama where he gets the girl he deserves (I don't count Ro-Woon here...) AND gets to stay with her. Need some closure...

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omg best drama 2017
best historical drama for the past 5 years
yeok and chae gyung are the best
this entire cast deserves awards.....i will remember it for a very long time
yap romantic comedy for our otp

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I was not that convinced about the ending being beautiful and perfect while reading this recap until I watched it myself... the last few minutes gave me peace that our otp loved each other and were finally together after everything.

Thanks for the recap and thanks to the cast and show creators for doing an excellent job since day 1.

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Is it sad that I cried from just reading the recap???? I didn't even watch this show!! Just wanted to see how they ended it...I guess I did it to myself. hahahaha

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Thank you for the beautiful recaps that you've been consistently released for us for these past 20 episodes, @javabeans & @girlfriday
I feel sad to let this go ?

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the nanny acting in this scene, when she could not continue her words and just sobbing in the silence moment, it just break my heart.....l

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I see that I'm late to the commenting party once again! Haha. First off, thank you @javabeans and @girlfriday for leading the way on this sageuk journey! What a journey it has been, such a well-written, gorgeous, tenderly heartwarming, and HEARTWRENCHING journey. I have to say, though, watching this yesterday, I didn't like the final episode as much as episode 18. To me, some parts of this final episode seemed kinda weird. And maybe that's because I watched it raw? But Yeok's reaction to Yeonsangun's death seemed a little off, not as genuine as I would have liked (here, I'm thinking of the similar scene in Moon Embracing the Sun). And the Queen Dowager's reaction seemed a little weird to me too. Like, hey, NOW you're Sad? Now you're sorry? I get it. But I just wish we could've seen a little more of their past stepmother/son relationship. That tie-in to Episode 15 (where she repeats her words from ep 15) was very nicely done though. "In your next life, be born as my daughter. I will cherish you greatly then." <3 <3 <3

(Analytical tangent: @pakalanapikake, did you focus on how she said "daughter" and not "son" at all? This is very interesting to me because sons were more valued in patriarchal Confucian society. Y'know, sons carry on the family name; they are the family's pride. She says "be born as my Daughter" TWICE though. I wonder if that's because, as a girl, Yeonsangun would have been shielded from the succession fight/fight with Yeok? Or perhaps she was simply referring to how a mother and daughter would have been closer than a mother and son in that time period? Like, I don't need you to be as the family's pride, with so much weight on your shoulders, I want you to be born as my JOY?)

Anyway, I digress. The ending with the younger actors and the adult actors was absolutely lovely! Kudos to the younger actors for starting everything off strong in the very beginning, and kudos to the older actors for staying strong throughout! Don't hate on me for mentioning this one thing about the acting though.... Did anyone else feel like Yeon Woo-jin's acting was weaker than PMY and LDG's? I just felt like he was the weakest link of the trio, to be honest. And he never quite filled out those kingly robes, always looked skinny and vulnerable in them. Maybe that was intentional, hah. But yeah, I was surprised to learn that YWJ is already 33. Only FOUR years younger than LDG! He looked so much younger!

I digress yet again. Anyway, here's to Lee Dong Gun (and Kim Ji Suk!)! Here's to 2017 starting off as the Year of Yeonsangun! And now, I have to take a very long break from sageuk. Because although I'm a hardcore sageuk fan, no sageuk will be as wonderful as this "Queen for Seven Days."

List of most impactful sageuk watched so far (out of a ton too. I've watched at least parts of everything from Jumong to the Great King Sejong):
~Dae Jang Geum (my very first Kdrama ever!)
~Jejoongwon (introduced to me by Thundie...

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Most impactful sageuk...continued:
~Queen for Seven Days (this wonderful, wonderful GEM)
and possibly REBEL in a close fourth place.

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Yeah, if there are any flaws with Seven-Days Queen that I repeatedly noticed, was that it would kind of forget some details until they became relevant again, and that it simply could use more time. We needed time to see more of the Queen-Dowager and Yeonsongun and their past. With the exception of the one flashback when he was eight, we never really knew what their relationship was, except that it has been cold for years. Then, suddenly she tears up at his death, and we get a quick flashback that shows they WERE closer. Details like that might have been nicer to see ahead of time so we aren't suddenly faced with a mourning cold-hearted stepmother. I think maybe 4 more episodes or so could have made this great drama even better, but that is just my personal opinion.

(I personally think the first time she said he should be reborn as her daughter, she meant it as "next time, have no biological chance of being a threat to my son again, THEN I will like you." But when she repeats it this episode, she meant it more genuinely, that as a daughter he would be free of the burdens of royalty and she could easier cherish him. But maybe the writer deliberately left that ambigious for us to wonder, since as much as I don't like the QD, she was a complicated but ultimately good person (with an impulsive side that Yeok probably inherited).)

I definetely felt like he was the weakest of the three, but that he still did a good job, and worked well with PMY. Then again, his role was kind of easier; LDG had to portray a hated tyrant with a sensitive and tortured side and all the feelings that entails, while PMY had to play both dignified and free, loving but tough as nails, crying but also laughing, and every emotion known to man, who stays the same but still grows and matures, and show this naturally. YMJ had to play an angry guy who felt betrayed and then a lovesick puppy who would protect his loved ones. I don't know if he would do better than LDG if they switched roles, but it would give him other challenges.

...Though now I actually want to see PMY portray Yeonsangun, or see how she would have interpreted a maddening tyrant who is tortured by his own thoughts. Maybe I just want to see PMY tackle ALL the saegeuk roles to show me her talents now that I'm introduced to her. If they ever make an alternative history about a woman becoming a female Joseon King (recently watched Empress of China and thinking about watching Queen Seon-Duk), I want them to get PMY in that role. I want to find the 7DQ-writer and BEG HER to write more sageuks where PMY can keep dressing up and kick metaphorical ass. ...I think I have a crush on PMY now. XD

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for me there was no weak link here they all bring their A game
just by looking at all the comments here and i9n different websites u can see about 85 to 90%of the audience was moved by his portray of yeok and his endless love for his wife
i couldnt ask for a better yeok or OTP
INFACT I CANT imagine anyone else acting/perfecting any of the leads performances

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Sorry, I didn't mean that his acting was literally weak, more that of the three, he had less to portray and thus less to show off, and as a consequence does not look as impressive to me personally compared to the other two. Being not as good does is like winning bronze in olympics; you are not the best or second best in the world, but you're not BAD either, if that makes sense?

I LOVED his acting and thought it was strong, especially when he was with PMY who he had really great chemistry with. His scenes with PMY were the greatest, and I can't imagine another playing Yeok (mostly because I don't know any lists of actors, but still) either. I didn't even know actors could have that good, quiet chemistry that these two had.

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Hey, @pensola, thank you for your thoughts! I definitely agree that the director/writers etc should have expanded the drama to flesh out some of the details. And you're right that a 24 episode drama, especially with this high quality writing, would have been just about right!

Finally, I also think that PMY should take on more sageuk roles! I'd love to see her as Lady Hyegyong actually. If Park Eun-bin doesn't come back as Lady Hyegyong someday, I'd love to see PMY take on the role front and center in a new sageuk.

@apollo, thanks for sharing your opinion of YWJ. To each his own, y'know? You have your preferences, and I have mine. I do agree with @pensola that he shone in scenes with PMY; they worked together very well. I just think that he wasn't as emotive as he could have been. But y'know, maybe as @jetsetlag said, that's his (YWJ's) character's fault.... As a character, Yeok really paled in comparison to Yeonsangun after all. Yeonsangun was a really rich, complex character from the beginning, and I think LDG really brought him to life. So maybe it's not fair of me to compare the three! :D

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Honestly, I think Yeon Woo Jin's portrayal of being weak and not kingly was intentional. His character was a weak and reluctant king, and he honestly really wanted to live as a regular man who loved his wife. He never filled the role as king, as Chaekyung points out to him once they're in the palace. So technically, really his role is easier since he didn't have to undergo as drastic of a transformation like Chaekyung did.

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@daktorichick,

Analytical tangent: @pakalanapikake, did you focus on how she said "daughter" and not "son" at all? This is very interesting to me because sons were more valued in patriarchal Confucian society. Y'know, sons carry on the family name; they are the family's pride. She says "be born as my Daughter" TWICE though.

Yes, I did notice the Dowager Queen twice telling Yung to be born as her daughter in the next life. All I could think of was "Hell, no! I've already endured one incarnation with you!" LOL.

Seriously, though, she was so cold towards her natural son, Yeok, that I have no reason to think she'd do any better with a daughter.

It's true that if Yeonsangun had been a girl, he wouldn't have been in a rivalry with his brother for the throne. On the other hand, he could well have ended up a pawn just like Chae-kyung. That's an improvement?! As a princess, he'd be subject to a political marriage. Sounds like more grief to me. Look at what Chae-kyung's aunt went through as Yeonsangun's official wife.

I think you're right that the implication was that as mother and daughter, they could have been closer -- Oh, but wait. There have been any number of mothers who are jealous of their daughter's beauty, etc. If she truly wanted Yung to have a better life in his next incarnation, she could have wished for him to be a well-off commoner with no ties to royalty.

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@pakalanapikake, points taken! :D The Queen Dowager was indeed relatively cold toward her natural son (and controlling/manipulative later on in his reign according to history/other sageuk like "Dae Jang Geum"). And I can definitely imagine her using girl-Yeonsangun as a pawn in addition to being jealous of "her" beauty/talents. In history, she apparently had three daughters before Yeok (Jungjong), but they all died at a young age (only one of them lived to be about ten years old).... Consequently, we have no way of knowing what she was actually like with her daughters. Plus, the very fact that her daughters all died young reminds us that daughters were too often neglected in favor of sons. At the very least, they most likely would be married off early....

So yeah, she would've done better if she had wished for their ENTIRE messed up family to be reborn as commoners.

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"This is a story of boy meets girl. But you should know upfront that this is not a love story."

Instead it is a story about love.
The love between two brothers torn apart by jealousy and resentment. The love of a righteous subject who refused to give up on his king. The love between a mother and son, clouded by the fear of history repeating itself. The love of a loyal friend who sacrificed himself for the happiness of others. And of course, the love between two individuals who continued to grow and grow love despite the circumstances.

Chae-Kyung is now one of my favourite drama heroines. She's kind-hearted and wise and the perfect example of how a female character doesn't need to fight like a man to be considered "strong".

It has been a memorable journey to this satisfying, bittersweet ending. Many tears, but many smiles along the way too. The whole team have done so much right, especially with the story-telling. Hopefully we don't have to wait as long as CK & Yeok before they reunite for another drama!

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"Instead it is a story about love.
The love between two brothers torn apart by jealousy and resentment. The love of a righteous subject who refused to give up on his king. The love between a mother and son, clouded by the fear of history repeating itself. The love of a loyal friend who sacrificed himself for the happiness of others. And of course, the love between two individuals who continued to grow and grow love despite the circumstances."

What lovely phrasing of such an important distinction. You've neatly encapsulated 7DQ's manifestations of love. ;-)

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Oh I like your quote "500 days of Chackyoung" but "7 days of the queen"

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i love this show to pieces
the best and perfect drama ever...the standard is soo high that i feel like i wont ever appreciate any other saguk that will give less
yeok and chae gyung deserve best couple award and acting award along with LDG
I HOPE THEY KNOW THAT WE LOVE AND APPRECIATE THEM
I HV CRIED ALMOST THIS ENTIRE DAY/AT WORK(SECRETIVELY) AND WILL REMEMBER THIS FOR A VERY LONG TIME

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And just any recappers (all of whom are lovely) but our Queens, Javabeans and Girlfriday, who created Dramabeans and run it together to this day as brilliant, creative business partners. This is a true testament to how much they each loved this beautiful drama. If Javabeans and Girlfriday give their whole hearts to this drama, then our leaders have spoken. This drama must rank a 10/10 in the previous ranking system (which I miss and cannot find in the new website) and it makes me wonder if Queen for Seven Days now outranks the only other drama they each gave 10/10's to many years ago, "The Return of Iljimae". I was thrilled to see both of them commenting. It put the A++++++++*** on this drama for me.

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I just started watching Return of Iljimae and am falling asleep through the episodes. Maybe I should have watched it before I started SDQ, because SDQ has knocked it out of the park for saeguks! Also, anyone notice how if we love a show, it's underrated? Healer & SDQ come to mind right away, and of course, I can now thank of no others....

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*think of no others*, gosh.

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totally agree with you @rentenmann, Healer and now SDQ is a show absolutely and totally loved by millions and yet an underrated one!

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I agree with you @lunatic4kd Seven Days must be that super good that both of them are commenting. I agree SDQ must have 10/10 based on old rating.

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Now I can't watch any K-dramas right now, becoz this elevated my standard!!.. I saw others as trash already!!... (current & old)... definitely my all time favorite saeguk... I wish KBS would give them rewards (by all means) regardless of the ratings...

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the rating is the joke. this is the good drama if not one of the best drama this year, well, maybe ever. it is so consistently good from the first episode to the end. the writer is one of the most talented i've ever seen. he/she twist and present unexpected. always one step ahead of what typical kdrama always brings. it's always surprised after surprised each episodes. when we thought the story will went this way, the writer just turned it around and left us with the 'wow' moment. i just hope it will win awards regardless rating. i am not drama critics, but this drama is definitely a masterpiece. everyone who have watched surely can see that.

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Beautiful drama. If only I had gotten into the Yeok-ChaeKyung ship then the experience would have been more emotionally touching. But Yeonsangun stole my interest early on, and despite his journey to self destruction I still found myself tuning in for his story. I cried so hard watching his final moments and at how sad that there were people who cared for him which he failed to see, and then those who wanted to care for him but cannot due to their circumstances. Such a tragic character.

I'm glad Yeok was there with him when he died, like a reminder of how they loved each other as brothers. That, Minister Shin's letters and his brief encounter with ChaeKyung ,at least, were his last memories. In the end he wasn't completely alone and abandoned, and he had made peace with Yeok and tried to do right for ChaKyung and his family. All in all a satisfying ending to a sympathetic villain.

I really enjoyed watching this show. Story and execution were excellent and of course all the actors were great.

Thanks for the recap, Dramabeans! :

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Ooh, yes! Yeonsangun stole my interest early on too. Maybe it's because I had just finished watching Kim Ji Suk in REBEL. Haha.

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I really cried hard watching the finale and yes am satified with the ending. Its been a while not logging in to db now came (with swollen eyes) to leave comment to say: this is one of the best drama I've ever watched!
Thank you pd nim, writer nim, crew and actors for this beautiful drama. Satisfied viewer here...

Btw thanks also db for all the great recaps.

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Historically we know Jungjong (Yeok’s posthumous name) was not considered a strong king, but I find it touching that in this version, it didn’t matter so much that he wasn’t the best king ever—it was enough that he did his best with what he had. I'm glad JB explained Yeok's reign, I was kinda disappointed that they didn't show us how even a glimpse of how his reign was, the changes he made, the snail wives problems being addressed.. those things. And Chaekyung hearing all the things that yeok did as king, being proud of him and being contect in her heart that she choose right in choosing to be physically away from him.

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I'd watched SAIMDANG, LIGHT'S DIARY, and knew that Yeok's reign was problematical, so it was a relief to be spared the gory details.

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*sobs* what can I say?! Beautiful from start to finish! And that's pretty rare. Not a single episode wasted! Thank you for recapping this one, ladies - 'twas always a pleasure to read. And thank you to all the beanies for writing such comments, I enjoyed going through them every week. X

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i can't watch it . i'm putting if off . because
1. for the firts time i'm not ready for a fiction
2. i don't want it to end
3. i have cried tears worthy of 5 years like girlfryday and i agree with her . this whole crew should stick together and make more drama's

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Hi everyone! I'm glad I'm not the only one who LOVED this series. I would like to know at what part did Yeok's moments with Chae Kyung become a dream. Did she actually run out onto the bridge to meet him? Or was that part of it? Did he even go to see her? Just reaching for a little hope that they got to see each other one last time before they aged. *commence automatic internal crying*

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It took me a while to realize that Yeok's dream commenced when Chae-kyung ran after him.

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I'm a mess of tears and snot. Couldn't have asked for a better ending for such a perfect drama.

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Same here.

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Dear Javabeans, I am hoping this little comment may get noticed, though it is tucked away at the tail end of this section. I have understood with all my heart (and head, I think) the main characters' actions... up until the part where Chae-kyung decides to falsely confess to aiding Yeon-san gun running away from exile. Why was that the better choice than risking Yeok facing such rumours?
And then, in their final decision, why was separation the best choice. Could they not have overcome their struggles together?
Please would you all be able to tell me why this is the perfect ending?
Fellow Beanie with a sincere request.

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This is just my opinion, but:
1. CK falsely confessing was what she thought was best b/c she knew Yeok would stand by her regardless of the rumors and that would hurt his reign. It would discredit him b/c people would think that his wife was conspiring against him with the deposed king, which is treason and worthy of death, and he would appear weak by doing nothing about it. It was about protecting his reputation and his authority. True or false, those rumors would make others think that they might be able to get away with treasonous acts too.
2. They definitely could've overcome this struggle together b/c MH had settled it by coming forward as a witness, but there would always be something else. It would be never ending political war b/c CK wasn't the queen the court wanted and b/c of who her father was. She would be Yeok's weak link (and she hated herself for that). He would always fight to protect her, but it would be ugly and hard on both of them, and his authority would be brought into question.
She also hated palace life. She wasn't made for it. She grew up in the countryside far from palace politics and she never wanted any part of it. The way she lived as queen was neither peaceful nor free, and that's what she really wanted.
The ending was perfect b/c it was true to history (she was deposed), but we and they still knew they loved each other. Their love survived despite the distance, and they were together at his end. It was realistic, melancholy, bittersweet, and not frustrating for viewers.
Hope this helped!

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Your explanation is so beautifully comprehensive and clear, thank you so much Nat-a-tat-tat. I did love the ending for exactly all the reasons you mentioned above, but I couldn't love it wholeheartedly, as I wanted to, because I didn't understand why they reached such an ending.
I wish I had been able to see 'why' myself, the first time. I envy the clear-eyed and clear-minded -ness of CK (even more than how I had admired and appreciated similar qualities in Yeon-san gun), the writer, and people like you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

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yeok and chae gyung i love u very much this was your best acting and hands down best chemistry ever
i will miss u and hold you dear to my heart forever
u can now rest in peace ...yap u u9 both deserve a daesang

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"I’ve never really had this thought before after finishing a drama, but I wish this director, writer, and cast would stay together forever and just make show after show."

THIS. YES.

This show was just a case where I actually kind of enjoyed having my heart trampled on, if that makes sense...? Everything is so perfectly presented and every character has great depth. I'm so sad that it's over but I really really hope there will be reunions, be they partial, in the future. (Now I really want to see Yeo Woo Jin and Park Min Young in a rom com together /crossesfingers)

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Yes, a RomCom please for WooMin. The best chemistry ever!

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I am not crying. I swear I am not..
A huge bravo to the cast, the writer and everyone who worked on this drama.

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