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The King Loves: Episodes 11-12

This is the episode where our trio of friends evolves into a full-fledged love triangle, but our two lifelong friends aren’t the only ones interested in a relationship with the real Eun San. As becomes very clear to both San and her father this episode, the plot hatched seven years ago to keep her safe has only ended up placing her in more danger than ever.

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

Faced with Won’s disappointment that she’s preoccupied by thoughts of Rin, San admits that she finds herself unsettled and distracted when he’s around — while down the hall, San’s former nanny confirms to Song In that So-hwa is, in fact, Lady San.

Won chases after San just as Jeon arrives at the teahouse, so they hide in order to spy on him. Jeon asks an attendant, “Is the librarian here,” and Won assumes that it must be someone who works with Jeon. But by the time Won looks for San, she’s already slipped away.

Outside, San shouts out, “Tell him I had to leave first.” Two heads pop up on the roof, and Jin Gwan wonders who San’s message is meant for. Jang Eui gestures down at Won when he emerges onto the street and gazes at San’s retreating form.

San meets with her relieved father, but he experiences chest pains brought on by the ordeal. Minister Eun begs San to return to the mountains, and they argue until she informs him of Jeon’s part in the plot to depose the crown prince.

San explains that she was arrested so Jeon could force a false statement from her against the prince. She adds that of the prince’s bodyguards intervened and saved her from serious harm, but he was arrested. San identifies him as Soo-in and confesses that she’s both thankful and worried about him as she begs her father for help.

We find Dan running excitedly through a courtyard until Jin Gwan and Jang Eui block her way. Their presence confirms that Won is at her house, but she’s turned away because he’s there to visit her father, Wang Young.

Jang Eui shoves a lovestruck Jin Gwan in Dan’s direction as she walks away. He stammers that the path is slippery and icy, but it comes out as “slicy,” ha. Dan understands that he wants her to be careful, and Jin Gwan happily escorts her as Jang Eui smiles after his partner. (They do know that Dan likes Won, don’t they?)

Inside the manor, Won confronts Wang Young about his disregard over Rin’s situation. The minister insists that his emotions mustn’t interfere with his public office, but Won calls his claim nonsense.

Won inquires, “Do you know your second son wants to replace me?” When he adds that Jeon has joined others to depose him, Wang Young kneels before Won to insist that Jeon wouldn’t dare do such a thing. Won interrupts to ask, “What shall I do? Shall I shed some blood and see which of us wins?”

Wang Young believes that Won thinks of the people more than anyone and doesn’t want to shed blood. He saw firsthand how Won suffered in the presence of his parents but held himself in check from fear that someone innocent would be harmed if he lashed out.

Wang Young promises to do whatever Won asks of him because he believes the prince will avoid bloodshed. Won lowers himself to ask Wang Young to make him look like a fool. He explains that the king wants to confirm that his son is cowardly, disloyal, and thoughtless, so Won proposes that if Wang Young can pull that off, Rin will be released.

As Won walks away, Wang Young asks about Jeon, and is told, “Leave him be for now. One day, he will realize what happens when he yearns for something beyond his reach.” Before he departs, Won makes it clear that Wang Young was wrong about one thing: He does not fear bloodshed.

Meanwhile, a shadowy figure whisks the salt merchant away. He ends up at the bottom of a dry well as two young guards explain that they were ordered to keep him somewhere safe, where no one can get to him.

Minister Eun’s loyal servant informs him that the man who tried to save San is Wang Young’s third son. Minister Eun decides that because Rin helped his daughter, he will return the favor, but he’s troubled by the predicament. Minister Eun can’t imagine why Rin risked prison to save San and asks himself, “What is he up to?”

Inside Rin’s cell, a guard prepares a warm fire for his royal prisoner. Once he’a alone, Rin recalls the night at the teahouse when he spied on Jeon’s meeting with San’s father and later, ran into San. She had demanded to know his identity but Rin ran away, unable to tell her who he was.

Rin had followed San that night and smiled when she stopped to throw some snowballs. San dropped her last snowball, and Rin had walked over to pick it up, only for it to melt in his hand. In the present, he gazes at his hand and thinks, “I could not answer who I was. The day when I can answer will not come. I must not even dream of that day.

At the palace, Minister Eun is greeted by passing ministers as Goo-hyung, his servant, informs him which gifts procured their favor. When Minister Song bows, Goo-hyung confides that he just sent the assistant royal secretary some silver coins.

Eunuch Choi reports to Princess Wonsung that royal officials requested an urgent meeting with the king, but they were sent away. They have waited all day for the king to meet with them so that they can ask him to free Rin.

The king finally meets with the royal officials who wish to challenge Rin’s imprisonment. First, they point out that as the nephew of the former queen, Rin’s punishment causes her further indignity. They continue to expound his excellent character and reputation as Princess Wonsung listens to the proceedings from a hidden spot with Eunuch Choi and Court Lady Jo.

Wang Young joins the assembly, accompanied by several scholars. The king asks if he’s there to save his son, but Wang Young explains that he only wants to hear the charge made against Rin. Wang Young accepts that if the king believes his son guilty of treason, then he himself can’t continue to live.

Wang Young and his companions kneel before the king, prepared to die. The king scoffs at them, but one of the kneeling scholars reminds him that the only offense a royal family member can be imprisoned for is treason. When asked if Rin plotted treason, King Chungryeol dismisses the question as nonsense. The king explains that he asked Won to conduct an investigation, and Rin did something suspicious as they went about their business.

At the mention of Won, Minister Song asks about the prince. Wang Young reminds the irritated king that Won himself admitted, “Everything Rin does is according to my order.” The situation quickly devolves as the officials buzz over Won’s abandonment of his friend. When one official asks if the prince is just that thoughtless and incompetent, Princess Wonsung clutches her robes in rage.

Goo-hyung reports to San’s father that Rin’s release was just ordered and the investigation handed over to higher authorities. Minister Eun wonders if the incident was a power play between Wang Young and the prince with Rin caught in the middle.

San races to the inn and finds Rin sitting with Won. She immediately runs past Won as he waves hello and takes Rin’s face in her hands to inspect him for injuries. Satisfied that he’s fine, she snatches his cup and gulps down his wine.

Jin Gwan and Jang Eui have a front row seat as San scolds Rin for his reckless actions. She credits his survival to the prince, which Won readily confirms. When she wonders why Rin claimed that she was his woman, he explains that the comment was intended to protect the prince. Rin insists that he had to do something to quiet her in order to protect the investigation.

Embarrassed that he doesn’t actually like her, San changes the subject and presents Rin with a gift from her master: a beautifully crafted, small sword. Won asks for his gift, so San entrusts him with a gift for the prince instead.

Won heatedly claims that he pleaded their case to the prince and holds out his hand as he demands to have his own gift. With no gift for Won, San offers him her leather bracelet and explains how she tanned the deer leather herself.

San decides the bracelet is too precious to give away and tries to take it back, but Won eagerly grabs it. He holds the bracelet next to Rin’s gilded sword as he asks, “Do you call this a present?” Hahaha.

San forgets about the bracelet when Rin notes that she must be very close to her master to merit such expensive gifts. San cautions him not to concern himself with their relationship. She then explains that she’s returning to the mountains the next day after her master asked her to abandon her quest for revenge. Finally, she apologizes to Won and Rin for getting them involved in her plan and thanks them for everything.

Won begs San to stay when she gets up to leave. He entices her with food and an offer to drink through the night, but she turns him down. Desperate, Won asks if there’s anything she wants, and San glances at the forbidden door.

Won taps out a rhythmic pattern on the door and explains that it’s a code. He leans on the door to share that the code changes hourly, and when Jin Gwan pushes it open, Won falls on San. Of course, he lingers there until she has to push him away.

Won leads San to a hidden courtyard called Geumgajeong, a training ground for shadow guards. San wonders why they don’t train at the palace, and Won explains that these are guards who can’t be seen, so they must train in secret. Jang Eui informs Rin that he instructed the others not to bow or use formal language with Won and to treat him like a friend, so as not to out his identity.

Princess Wonsung oversees preparations at the palace for the festival she’s planning to throw as Eunuch Choi informs her that people are greatly interested in attending. Princess Wonsung was clearly affected by what the officials said about Won because she worries that he needs more supporters, so she hopes that the festival will help change that.

Eunuch Choi agrees that Wang Young needs to be held in check as Princess Wonsung fumes that he brought the scholars together to mock Won. She imagines that he wants his son to displace Won.

When Court Lady Jo reminds Princess Wonsung that Yuan has asked for tributes, she recalls that Wang Young has a daughter. (Uh oh.) Princess Wonsung wants to see the girl so that she can decide how to make use of her. Eunuch Kim offers to summon her, but Princess Wonsung wants to see Won first.

Rin serves tea, and San suddenly worries about her safety now that she knows about the secret training ground. Won suggests that San can become one of his “people” to secure her safety as he motions towards a window.

The cart pullers come into view as Won explains that it would be a waste if they were beaten to death over the theft of the arrows. Instead of losing their knowledge from years on the streets, Won decided to retain them for their protection.

Jang Eui runs inside to find Won, who cautions San not to leave as he follows the bodyguard outside. Alone, Rin confesses, “Han-chun seems to feel sad to see you leave.” San explains, “I must leave before he feels too sad to see me leave.”

Rin suggests that San should stay for the festival. When she scoffs at watching others dance, Rin proposes that it could be a happy memory, which he explains can be a comfort when life becomes difficult.

Won looks over at his friends as Rin adds, “That is what memories are supposed to be.”

 
EPISODE 12 RECAP

Goo-hyung explains to Minister Eun that he has a visitor who brought someone along with him, and we see that it’s Jeon. He apologizes for his unannounced visit but promises Minister Eun that it has to do with his daughter, as he pulls a pouch from his pocket that contains the much coveted admission to Princess Wonsung’s party.

Minister Eun explains that his daughter doesn’t socialize because of her face, but Jeon insists that the admission is meant for his daughter and adds that he also did something else for her.

San’s former nanny steps into view and greets her former master. Minister Eun tersely reminds the woman, “When I sent you away, I believe I said I hoped to never see you again.” Jeon jovially asks Minister Eun to call his daughter so that he can witness her reunion with her favored nanny, clearly up to no good.

Goo-hyung joins some of Minister Eun’s guards, and they leave on horseback to search for San. Minister Eun had explained that San was never to return to her home — instead, she was to disappear once she returned to the mountains.

San is on her way back to her father’s house when Song In stops his horse in front of her. Song In reminds her that they met on the mountain when he took her dagger from her. San urges Song In to keep the dagger and tries to walk away, but Song In reminds her that Minister Eun’s home is in the other direction.

When Song In offers San a ride, she does her best to ignore him. Song In reminds San that she can’t outrun his horse, and even with her new dagger, she’s no match for him. He dispenses with the veiled threats and tells her, “Your father, the Minister of Finance, is currently in trouble. You must come with me.”

Cornered, San takes Song In’s hand and mounts his horse behind him. When she reaches for the dagger in her boot, Song In grabs it and tosses it away, a small smile on his face.

When Rin visits the palace, he’s surprised by the soldiers stationed outside of Won’s chambers. Won greets his friend in his new, red robes and shares that they feel tighter than usual, ha. Won shows Rin the gift from So-hwa, and when he comments that it looks nice, Won notes that Rin’s dagger looked nice too. Won ignores Rin’s dry declaration that he can’t have it and proposes that he swap it for the infamous (and so far imaginary) Soyong Sword, which Rin doesn’t fall for.

Won presents Rin with the red pouch that that will allow him to attend his mother’s party, certain that Jeon took possession of the one for his family. Rin doesn’t want to attend, but Won asks him to be his guest and presents him with a second pouch for San.

Won explains that he wants to see So-hwa again, and the masked party is the perfect excuse. Rin argues that Won should give San the ornament himself, but the soldiers outside are proof that Won can’t leave the palace until after the festival.

While Rin stares at the pouches, Won explains, “You never cross the line. All those years… all the time we spent together as friends, you never sat down until I told you to. That is why I can ask for your help. Bring me the woman I love. I dare ask you, another man. Bring her over.” Whoa.

Rin reminds Won that San is set to leave the next day. Won makes his request an official order and he tells Rin to do whatever it takes to bring San to the party. He also tasks him with finding something appropriate for her to wear for the occasion.

Back at Minister Eun’s house, Jeon slides the red invitation pouch towards Bi-yeon and explains that he will take her to the party with her father’s permission. Bi-yeon is noticeably nervous as the nanny stares at the veiled girl curiously. Jeon explains that everyone at the party wears a mask, so she doesn’t have to worry about her face.

Jeon enjoys having the upper hand as he asks Bi-yeon if she is who she says she is, because deceiving the queen is a punishable offense. Song In approaches the gathering, and Minister Eun stands up in surprise when San joins him. The nanny (or rather, the ninny) runs up to San in recognition and babbles about how she hasn’t changed at all. Uh oh.

Meanwhile, Rin approaches Minister Eun’s house and turns away when he sees his brother’s attendants, while Goo-hyung and the guards return in time to see the nanny being dragged away.

Jeon addresses the real San, “I am so sorry. I wronged you at the interrogation hall last time. Why did you hide your identity?” After San gently dismisses a tearful Bi-yeon, Minister Eun invites his daughter to sit down so that they can hear what the men have to say, now that the jig is up.

San apologizes to her father, but he reassures her that this may be for the best. He invites Song In to speak, and the king’s advisor weaves a plausible description of the incident from seven years ago, when Jeon “saved” San’s life: Jeon had confused the maid for San, and Minister Eun seized the chance to keep his daughter from being sent to Yuan as tribute since a scarred girl wouldn’t be sent to Yuan.

Song In points out that Minister Eun saved a fortune because he didn’t have to buy San’s freedom. Minister Eun claims that he only did it to protect his daughter, and Jeon eagerly agrees with the sentiment.

Minister Eun wants to know how to repay their understanding, and Song In admits that there’s only one way: marry San to Jeon as they originally planned. Jeon smugly admits to San, “I have always hoped to become the Minister of Finance’s son-in-law.”

Song In reminds San that she’ll be forced to wear a veil for the rest of her life to protect their lie. Jeon leers at San in front of her father as he adds, “I am okay with it. You will take off that veil during the night.” (Ewww. In front of her dad?)

Song In makes it clear to San, “That is the only way you can save your father who has broken the law and deceived the entire nation.” San sits speechless as the consequences of her refusal to return to the mountains sinks in.

Rin passes a man dressed in black as lightning from a storm flashes and allows him to see the snake tattoo on his wrist. Rin arms himself with the short swords hidden in his sleeves and smoothly attacks Moo-suk in an effort to get close enough to see his face, but his hat gets in the way.

Rin spins away deftly as Moo-suk advances. When they are close enough for hand-to-hand combat, Rin cuts the string on the hat and it flies off to reveal Moo-suk’s face. Rin observes, “So this is what you look like. I always wondered.”

Moo-suk asks Rin, “How long will you live like that… as a dog who guards a barbarian? When will you stand up for the people of Goryeo?” Moo-suk explains to a bewildered Rin that he will wait for him before he runs off into the night.

Minister Eun and Goo-hyung tensely watch Song In and Jeon depart. Bi-yeon finds San in her rooms and begs her not to marry the jerk who struck her, urging her to run away.

Bi-yeon suggests that Minister Eun can join them, but San points out that he would lose everything if he did so. She argues that her father employs thousands of people and wonders if they should they all suffer because of her. When Bi-yeon succumbs to tears, San uses it as an excuse to leave.

San is surprised to see Rin outside and asks if he overheard anything. He delivers the red pouch and explains that it’s from the crown prince in return for her gift. Rin asks San to attend the party in two days time and explains that he’ll be her escort.

Rin invites San to meet him the next day to prepare for the event. San starts to explain that things are complicated, but Rin interrupts that if she has to leave, he will explain that it’s because she had to depart in a hurry. He tells her pointedly, “You can do that.”

After a moment, San agrees to attend the party and solemnly admits that it might be her last chance to smile and dance. She removes the ornament from the pouch and decides that she wants to make some happy memories for the last time.

The next day, Dan runs out to welcome San and invites Rin to follow them inside. San surveys Dan’s accessories as her hostess picks out something for her to wear. San asks for something that won’t draw attention, and Dan jokingly asks if that’s why she’s partnered with Rin.

San denies that they’re partners, and Rin confirms that he’s her escort because it’s her first time in attendance. Dan declares it odd, since Rin has never attended the party before either. In a hilarious moment, Dan quotes something Rin said about such a party once: “Why would I go to a party and dance with strangers? I would rather impersonate a goat in the middle of the street.” Even funnier is Rin’s face when she says this. Haha.

Finally, Dan settles on a dress, and when she asks Rin if San looks pretty, he holds himself back and says nothing.

Rin waits outside, and when Dan presents San in a formal hanbok, Rin can hardly believe his eyes. Dan adds a hair ornament and tells San, “You look so pretty.” Dan proposes that they practice dancing and San and Rin both protest, but Dan won’t be dissuaded, explaining that the maypole dance is the essence of the party.

While Won and Princess Wonsung oversee the final details of the party, the blue ribbon of the maypole blows against the prince. As Won holds it in his hands, Dan hands Rin the blue ribbon from the makeshift maypole at their house and explains that it represents fate.

Dan demonstrates how the dance is meant to tie and untie knots to determine if the other person is meant for them. Much to their discomfort, Rin and San are left alone to practice when Dan runs off to call in a musician.

At the same time, Won surveys San’s bracelet on his wrist and happily declares, “This is so grubby.”

As San practices the maypole dance, Rin reminds her that she said that this would be her last opportunity. Rin asks if that means that San is to be married soon, since only unmarried men and women can attend the party. San vaguely admits that maybe that’s what she meant, so Rin asks again if she’s going to get married.

When San admits that she might if someone asks for her hand, Rin asks, “Will you say yes?” San doesn’t know how to answer, so Rin continues, “Do not say yes to such a marriage proposal.” When he ends by addressing her as young “Lady San,” her real name, she whips around in surprise. Whoa, he knew?

And at the palace, an unsuspecting Won gazes dreamily at San’s “grubby” bracelet.

 
COMMENTS

As the romantic angles of this drama pick up speed, it’s difficult not to get caught up with Won’s enthusiasm, because he’s lived such a lonely and isolated life. Won’s so happy as he thinks about the woman that he loves that it doesn’t dawn on him that anything can seriously go wrong. Of course, that doesn’t keep storm clouds from swirling around Won as he’s lost in his optimistic reverie. The only uncertainty is: What exactly will bring him to his senses? Will it be Song In’s blackmail of Minister Eun to secure San as Jeon’s wife? Or will it be the possibility that Won refuses to see — that his best and most loyal friend may be the man that San’s heart beats for? If that bracelet is any indication of how much Won cares for San, we’re looking at a mega heartbreak to come.

When Won bravely and boldly declared his love for San to Rin, it struck me how one-sided his pursuit of San has been. When San admitted to Rin that she had to leave so that Won won’t be even sadder when she goes, it proves how she’s focused on how he feels about her, not the other way around. San has always been careful to maintain a certain distance from Won, especially when Rin is around. Won’s charms aren’t completely lost on San, but I get the feeling that she prefers to keep him as a friend, especially because he’s Rin’s friend. And I think that she’s been careful around Rin because she doesn’t want to come between the two friends.

I’ve had a difficult time with the romantic connection between Won and San, and I think that now I understand why. It’s because San has been careful to keep Won at arm’s length all along. The only reason that makes sense is that she doesn’t return Won’s affections in quite the same way because there might be someone else. Won and Rin are so used to Rin being in second place that is hasn’t dawned on either one of them the he can ever be first. But I think that’s exactly what could be happening here.

From that first night that they spent together in the cave until now, San has been more receptive to Rin’s morsels of attention than Won’s bounty. I think that this triangle only exists because Rin is so accustomed to deferring to Won, and as a prince, Won has a distorted perspective about his friend. We know very well how Won and Rin both feel about San, and now I’m anxious to know how she feels about them.

As San’s true identity becomes known, her relationship with both men is bound to change, especially now that marriage has been mentioned. The best way to protect her from having to marry that sleazy excuse of a man would be to marry her to someone else. Poor Rin, the only thing worse than being in a romantic triangle with your best friend is to be in one with your disgusting brother.

As we learned at the very beginning of this saga when Jeon conspired to marry the much younger San, marriage is used to keep the girls of Goryeo from becoming tribute to Yuan. Which brings us to Dan, who has come to the attention of Princess Wonsung in the most unfortunate way. The best way to spare her from becoming tribute is for someone influential to marry her, and that can only mean that Dan has the potential to complicate the triangle of Won, Rin, and San in a very significant way. Both Won and Rin hold the blue ribbon of fate in their hands. Just who exactly are they entangled with?

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Dan is the most sweet, precious, lovable girl I have ever seen in a sageuk!

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Me tooo!!! I love Dan! So sweet and innocent even as her older brothers are being evil and treacherous.

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I suspect Joen is adopted, he's sooo unlike the rest of Wang family :p :p

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Yay! TeriYaki! You're on to it! It was never about San's feeling, only about Won's. And in the beginning scenes about how he came to love her more than he loved himself. He still loves himself a great deal, but I think he will play the novel idiot and give her up to Rin, at least I hope. And I definitely think the cooler headed Rin is more San's type anyway, and she is his, as opposites attract. She needs Rin's stability in emotions to balance out her racing headlong into danger. Let's hope she learns a little from him. Yep, I'm liking how this is turning out.

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Episode 12 was my favorite episode as it was all about Rin. Other than that, I really like how the Crown Prince is being written. Shades of the King who treats others as servants (esp Rin) instead of a true friend. And he's definitely showing signs of immature jealousy already, treating San as a possession already, and not afraid of bloodbaths. This should be very interesting.

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Forgot to add to your comments, Won wasn't declaring his love for San to Rin, he was telling Rin in so many words to be careful around San. He was so obviously jealous when he saw San looking at Rin that he was giving Rin a warning that she belongs to him (Won), so don't get any ideas.

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Won was practically saying that he's expecting for Rin to back off. He saw how RinSan were when he was not around and San was worried for Rin who was in priskn. He's jealous and he is making things clear that he loves San (still not sure how pure and real that love) to his friend.

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Woahh, I never knew that was what he meant when he told Rin to bring her to the festival. He can be extremely possessive and hot-tempered when it comes to San especially how he beat up that soldier that took away her to prison.

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"Won and Rin are so used to Rin being in second place that is hasn’t dawned on either one of them the he can ever be first. But I think that’s exactly what could be happening here." -- YES, YES, EXACTLY.

As Rin said, he couldn't answer that question, and he cannot even dream of the day when he can answer that question. I love Rin and Won's friendship because both of them are SO loyal to each other, but this loyalty is also affected by their social distinction--Rin is loyal to Won, both as friend and subject (which is why he pushes San to Won) but Won is loyal to Rin as friend and monarch (which is why he blithely orders Rin to bring San to him while also subtly warning Rin against becoming closer to San). In other words, Won believes San is his while Rin believes he can never have San. But they both forget that they need to take into consideration San's feelings to complete this equation.

And San has shown how uncomfortable he is with Won's affection. This doesn't stop her from liking him as a person, though, or being affected by his presence. She wants to be his friend, I just don't think she wants to be more. I don't even know if she romantically likes Rin, at this point, though she is definitely aware of him. But it seems that San is able to be more open to Rin, with her thoughts and feelings.

This set of episodes was definitely full of Rin-San moments, and I luuuuuuurrrvvveeed it all. HAHA. Yoona and Hong Jonghyun have such fantastic, simmering chemistry! The screencap above, where San checks Rin for injuries, is one of my favorite scenes. San actually is not shy about touching Rin (contrast to Won), and Rin, poor puppy, looks so baffled (while the bodyguards just have their knowing smiles lol). But I also like their conversation while having tea, where you can see their dynamic clearly: San likes looking directly at Rin, but he, at first, only looks at her when she is looking elsewhere and he immediately diverts his eyes away when she turns to him--until they talk about memories. And it is this conversation about happy memories that pushes San to go to the party, so she can make one last happy memory before her supposed marriage to Jeon. (Meanwhile, Won realizes that maybe, Rin and San have a connection--Siwan's eyes!!!)

That scene, also, you can see that Rin just *knows* who San is--the way he stares at her, then tells her that she can choose not to go to the party and leave immediately (as if telling her to leave so that she can escape Jeon)--ugh, Hong Jonghyun is SO GOOD in this scene.

I kept on replaying these episodes, and now I can't wait for more! This show will ride or die by Won-San-Rin, and now that their friendship has been established and their relationships are getting more complex, the show is getting better. I hope it continues to do so.

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I love your observation on Rin-San's dynamic... Hope we don't get too brokenhearted if the true pairing turns out to be Won-San... As far as I know the second lead never gets the girl in K-dramas (I can only think 1 drama where the second lead gets the girl: Fashion King)

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There's also that drama that shall not be named having to do with a dairy product. ??

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Great analysis! I'm also starting to appreciate how they're layering the themes within each episode.

This episode the 'maypole' was such a great metaphor for how the ongoing interweaving of their lives will fashion who is connected by 'fate'.

But the point you mentioned about creating good memories was also a theme I loved about this episode. The show has carefully laid the groundwork for us to see that it also applies to Won.

He knows he can't run around freely forever; but wants happy memories of freedom that he can look back on when he becomes king. And he knows he can't marry a servant; but wants a 'pure' love to look back on when he inevitably has to enter a (wretched) life of marrying women he doesn't love for the sake of strengthening his throne.

I'm honestly a traitor, who's sailing on both ships. San and Rin seem so perfect for one another. He's always there for her when it counts and gives good advice. And she sees his quality, which many others don't.

However San and Won are compelling too. I really like Won's character and can see him being a good match once he develops greater awareness of how his 'royal prerogative' hurts others.

To me it seems like San wants to keep Won at arm's length because she doesn't understand him. You can see her intrigued by him and drawn to him. But she's baffled by him too, and thus cautious around him.

What won't help is when she finds out that Won's looking to her for the sake of his amusement has ended up hurting her over, and over. (Like telling the soldiers not to intervene in the forest. And working to delay her from leaving the city, against her father's urging.)

He recognized that his amusement led to the past incident in the forest. But he's about to learn that keeping her delayed in the city has put her in danger again. I'm guessing this will make it dawn on him that he needs to start acting based what's best for them, not just himself.

At this point it seems like Won will love the girl and learn valuable life lessons from it, but not end up with her. But if frustration and jealousy drive Rin to challenge Won for the throne (which would ally him with the man who killed San's mother), that might change.

The great thing about this story is that they've laid the groundwork carefully, so the ending is wide open.

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Miss Dances With Ramen is so much less passive and more fun to watch than she was in K2. But she must really like roles where her mother dies and she grows up away from her father hidden away under a fake name.
And after K2 I can never see her without thinking of Keven Costner and that movie.

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TheK2 is Modern Politics version , This drama is Historical Politics version ....
Hahaha ... Look same Mom died , Hide identity !!! But love this she have action scene , Gangster Yoona ... I dont want haters or non haters say YoonA acting always weak .. weak and weak ( FUCK who say like that )
ThankYou so much pdwriter + pdnim this drama make my YoonA so great about acting ..

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I thought she was meh in that drama. But figured that they must have asked her to be meh. It seemed as though they wanted her character to come across as etherial, rather than grounded in reality. Plus, there simply wasn't any natural chemistry between her and JCW.

Conversely, I thought she was engaging in Prime Minister and I, and has been doing great in this drama. However, this comes from someone who doesn't understand Korean, and can only arrive at impressions from body language and the intonation of how she delivers her lines. To the American ear, she sounds engaging and her intonation matches both her physical portrayal and the way the character is written.

(Maybe this is an instance when not speaking the language is a blessing? If so, I'll gladly have it.)

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In THEK2 i see Jcw fans + Song yoona fans together BASH my Yoona acting .... I know she is Idol/Actress but looks like they really dunno to RESPECT Yoona as a one Main Actress in THEK2 drama !!! They like Jcw & Song yoona better ending together WHAT THE FUCK (I think they dont see who first meet Kim Jeha is Anna in Spain) !!! Looks like they come and say PRO about acting !!! In this drama see many support each other Fans Siwan , HJH and Yoona together Super Excited waiting next next episode ... Respect + Support each other .

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No need to swear, dear. This site is different from fan sites. Fan sites exist to express love for the artist. This site exists to express love for the drama. Here people will openly talk about what isn't working well for a drama; which might be the casting, directing, producing, etc.

Sometimes popular singers are cast for acting roles to bring in their fans; but the role isn't right for them. They might not be a good match with their co-star. Or the role might require a person who has more experience acting. Or maybe the director isn't getting the best out of them. Drama fans will notice all of that and make comments. None of it is a personal attack on the singer/actor. It's up to the singer and their manager to make sure the role will be right for them, before they accept it.

In life, respecting and supporting people doesn't mean you'll always agree with them. Or that you should silence your own opinion when you disagree with something. But it does mean expressing disagreement nicely; and accepting others, despite the disagreement. :-)

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'The dance with ramen scene' actually made me cringe, so I don't know haha. Honestly I love her more in dramas where she's more down to earth and playing a more realistic, earnest type of roles than playing Anna where she acts as a kind of damsel in distress, who's bit of a paranoid and always needs saving, I find it hard to connect with her when she plays these characters. So whether it was the [prime minister and I drama, although I dropped it, I still liked her there], and on 'The king in love' too, I like the fact that she's her own person, and doesn't just melt in front of the man she likes. The childish type of roles doesn't suit her imo, like the K2.

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In THEK2 i see Jcw fans + Song yoona fans together BASH my Yoona acting .... I know she is Idol/Actress but looks like they really dunno to RESPECT Yoona as a one Main Actress in THEK2 drama !!! They like Jcw & Song yoona better ending together WHAT THE FUCK (I think they dont see who first meet Kim Jeha is Anna in Spain) !!! Looks like they come and say PRO about acting !!! In this drama see many support each other Fans Siwan , HJH and Yoona together Super Excited waiting next next episode ... Respect + Support each other .

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I am really excited about the love triangle now! I was kind of afraid that it would be similar to Moonlight Drawn by Clouds or Moon Embracing the Sun, where there is a second male lead and while he is nice and helps out the plot, I end up kind of wondering why there had to be a love triangle when there is no question who the girl will end up with.

Here, though? If it is not clumsy writing, they have done a good job at making both boys likable in their own way, but the male primary lead has some dark sides that might not make him work with San. And as you said, San keeps having Won at arm's length and seems to react better to Rin's actions. Maybe it helps that Won is just in her face about it, so she gets overwhelmed. I am just worried that it is not intentional, and that there really isn't a question about who she "should" choose by decree of first lead rule.

And Jeon and Song In... I just... I want to like them as villains, and Jeon is proving himself to be quite a douchebag that I'd love to hate, but... just the sheer stupidity of the "let the servant pretend to be a noble and NEVER teach her how to actually come across as noble, like reading" plan kind of ruined them for me for the time being. They are supposed to be dangerous and smart, but if they HADN'T discovered the truth, I'd actually have thought them dumb.

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The only complaint I have with this drama is in how they're handling the servants. Both Bi Yeon and the nanny are nothing more than walking-talking creatura-ex-machina plot devices. And using characters like that is just plain lazy writing.

The writer could have at least given them a reason to act in a way that no highly trained servant would. (They held elite positions within an elite household. They would be smart, not prone to emotional outbursts, and would carefully guard the family's interests.)

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wait, iirc san family is a merchant
a successful one but not an aristocrat so they don't have the custom of a royal

they even didn't include in the eye of the Queen, like someone the Queen even noticed, they just really wealthy,

I guess their household is not much a politic savvy or related to politic much and want to keep it that way.

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I do think Bi-Yeong acted as secretively and cleverly as she could though and that she is very loyal to San. However it's the master's fault that she can't even read so that her pretention at being San was full of flaws despite her effort. The nanny was indeed a plot device.

On the plus side, there aren't many plot-device characters in this drama, compared to other dramas where even main characters seem only a means to further the plot (like Yoona's character in the K2), I'm really loving it.

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I love the love story trajectory,

I mean this is probably one of the time when the girls like someone cause she attracted to him even with a small gesture [if the pairing is indeed Rin and San].

Won's attitude problem is understandable as it also been foreshadowed from the 1st ep, it more than just because he is "the prince" but just like San's attitude, understanding where he comes from doesn't mean that she'll love him.

This is such a satisfying moment for me when I see the differences on how San acted towards Rin and how she acted to Won, she made her choice but she doesn't seem to be someone that pursue love as the ultimate goal.
This makes me happy and not because Won is bad but because they have their own character that doesn't always existed because of other people. Even if Rin didn't meet San when she was a kid, we know that if they meet, they'll be attracted to each other.

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thanks for the recap and I love the use of Won's picture for the preview.

The drama becomes more beautiful each episode and I like the colour they showed.

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Fff the second-lead syndrome is STRONG for me with this drama. Like Rin is literally my catnip - the "I want you but I can't have you". Ahhhh I need to go rewatch Faith (for the nth time) to lessen my pain!

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this does remind me of Fate too, I can't put the reason why.

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There is chemistry and THERE IS CHEMISTRY!!! SanXRin's is OFF the bloody CHARTS!!!

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Rin is great, I think SLS is going to be a problem real soon but... I just love Won in love. Si-wan is so captivating as a young man who feels all those things for the first time (I could watch those various expressions of his forever), it's such a pleasure to watch.

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I don't think he's in love with her yet. It's a teenage crush, an obsession to possess her. Time will tell if he really develops a deep love and concern for her. Right now it's all about him. That's why he says "This is the story of me who loved you more than myself", which is very narcissistic. If he truly loves her he will let her go. On the other hand, I think his character is far more interesting and complex, which for the actor is much more fun to play.

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I like Won and as a character, I find him more interesting than Rin. But for the romance, I am leaning toward RinSan.

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agree chingu, won's character most complex and interesting but I think San will be more happy with Rin, since she hates complicated things haha...

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If she hates complicated things... Sorry dear San but you just entered a very complicated situation!

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I remember the male lead in "Alice in Cheongdam-dong" quoted Churchill with "immature love is saying 'I love you because I need you', while mature love is saying 'I need you because I love you'". Now, "Alice" ended up working around it that they both loved and needed each other equally, but the quote came to me now when watching Won with San. As you said, he is not in love with her yet, but there is something there. A mix of teenage crush with guilt that he wants to rectify. He feels so strongly, but mistakes those feelings for a more mature love than it is. In reality, he loves her because she makes him feel normal, a feeling he longs for, because she is not part of the royal life that suffocates him. But in return, his possessive remarks about her could also suffocate HER if he would go through with them, so unless it is all weird writing choices, I'm less interested to see SanxWon become endgame and more interested to see how Won will develop alongside his two best friends. And... because I have a weird guilty please of love triangles where one of the men becomes or is bad.

Oh, good to know that the "this is the story of me who loved you more" really does sound narcissistic. I kept thinking it was just weirdly translated and that it sound much better and romantic in Korean. ^^;

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Well, I think from the Teasers, it can be inferred that the couple will be Won and San.
And the one that can save San from the marriage now is Won.

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I think Rin can save San,
the one who wants to marry San is the 2nd brother of the chancellor and even the father didn't know this moves.

If the father knows, maybe there'll be no marriage at all since San's father had help Rin go outside of Jail,
and the King can grant anyone marriage if they plead to him,
if Rin or someone ask the King directly at the banquet, I can ses other people beside Won to help her,

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Yeah the teasers! And the official posters too. I'm also leaning towards RinSan but then I remembered the official posters of WonSan in a back hug. So I thought they're surely the endgame. There are no official posters of RinSan too. I remember on Moon Lovers only So and Hae Soo have this couple poster too.

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Please Eun San dont marry with Wang Jeon ... He slap you ... Still do u wanna marry with he ??

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The Rin-San ship has sailed!! Who's with meee???? ??? #TeamRin

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YAYY!!!!!

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I love Dan so much ;-; At first I thought she would be annoying, but turns out she is so lovable. We can all tell she likes Won, but she’s not overly flirty or clingy. She’s also smart enough to follow the boys’ plan of concealing their identity and never gives them away :”) And the crush Won’s bodyguard has on her is so cute hehehh just get together already

From the start I had always wanted Won and San to be the endgame pairing, but Rin is doing too much and I feel myself swerving a little. Won is not helping either – kid you gotta respect a girl’s boundaries okay, especially if she’s not even sure she likes you yet. It’s not surprising that Rin knows San’s real identity, considering how much he observes and always waits at the background, while Won is the more direct and reckless one. My poor baby ;-; He’s so loyal to Won that he’s trying his best to put his feelings behind him because he obviously knows Won is attracted to San DUHWMIQWFWF

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"she’s not overly flirty or clingy". Maybe it was late in the evening when you watched the episode of her first appearance, when he kept taking off her arms from his arm and she kept pushing herself to link arms. Or when she chases him wherever he appears. If that's not clingy...
Let's hope that poor Won won't have to go the way of the novel.

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I can’t even begin to explain how delightful this drama is. It’s the first sageuk I’ve watched where the danger of palace life is palpable. Probably made so because the characters feel real and riddled with complexity.

Won is a study in contradictions. A regal bearing yet utterly human and approachable. A slight build with a commanding presence. Is caring yet insensitive. Is down-to-earth yet entitled. Has an open personality yet holds his cards close to his chest. When it comes to something he wants, he’s warm yet cold, kind yet shrewd, guileless yet calculating.

Rin is trustworthy and loyal, yet a desire to live his own life is starting to simmer barely below the surface. He's a protector who has no protection.

The King is shrewd yet foolish. He's as jaded as he is immature.

The rich psychological makeup of the characters make the world of this drama come to life. These first few episodes have made other sageuks feel rigid and rather formulaic. As though people were somehow different and less psychologically messy way back then.

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I like how you described Won. Indeed he is a walking contradiction. Rin, on the other hand, is fairly straightforward as character (for now). I wonder what is simmering underneath his kind and calm persona.

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Thanks Celine!

Cracks definitely started show in Rin this episode. It seemed like his crush on San is making him want to stop denying his own merit; and break free from living in someone else's shadow (whether it be his creepy brother or Wan). Then add that people telling him that he's the one from the royal family-line who should sit on the throne.

It'll be fun to watch it unfold.

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Yeah the cracks in his resolve to always be 2nd to Won showed in the recent two episodes. When he stared at Won saying "You never sat down until I told you to... bring me the woman I love..." there's a hint of something else in Rin. I do wish to see him make his move rather than just follow Won every single time, especially when the time comes that San chooses him over Won. And I sincerely hope that happens with the most minimal heartbreak for everyone. I can wish. hehe!

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The King is shrewd yet foolish. He's as jaded as he is immature.

I get the feeling that he is shrewd but act foolish (to please his officials, probably). He just go with the flow but at the right moment he finds excuses to trivalize the situation. Just like he has no problem with his crown prince turning up drunk, he just dismissed him after some scolding but in actual fact he was glad his son played dumb by pretending to be drunk. He knows the big picture, his Mongolian wife doesn't & his son has some inkling and is clever about it.

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Won is indeed a very complex character, and I think Im Siwan is perfectly playing this role. Like you said he is full of contradictions, like whenever he speaks, I feel there is something different going on in his mind, as if he doesn't mean what he says. So that's the reason I feel I don't undertand him fully or his dialogues misguide us, and may be has given us the delusion that he's an apparently haughty or ruthless person which he isn't.
On a diferent note, I'm at dark about the comments here saying San has feelings for Rin, although I love the shadow character of Rin, and I won't mind at all if rin-san happens, but so far there hasn't been any notion of that happening. If anything in episode 12,San says to Won, that he makes her uncomfortable, and perturbed, so it's hard for her to look at someone else if he's around. So I'm not sure if Rin-San will actually happen ot not. But I love how Rin has been taking care of his friend, and for once I wish the two friends don't fight over a girl. In fact Rin could very easily be the hero of this show, he has all the qualities that would make him one, so I would love it if the story doesn't go the typical route. I read somewhere that San falls for Rin in the book version, so if it is the case, I would be very curious about the course of the show.

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*different.

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Hm if you watch the show closely it often shows San looking at Rin and pausing just a second as if she was thinking about something whenever (well not whenenver but rather often) she looks at him or listens to him talking. I do think that's a subtle-not-so-subtle hint of her taking an interest in him. Won on the other hand is courting her so obviously that it must have made her young girl's heart flutter and confused, but I don't see her feeling for Won at all, except that she must like him as a person somewhat.

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Yeah I noticed those secret glances too, it would be interesting to see their arc, also this triangle feels so personal and intimate to me, since Won and Rin are friends, it totally changes the dynamic of this love triangle, since before the girl, these two besties were there for each other. I somehow felt a bit sad that won went to save sun first rather than rin, when both of them were put in jail. Choosing girl over friendship shouldn't be an option though anyway lol.

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Yeah but I keep wondering about the meaning of it. At first I was quite suprised and not positively when he did that, and I thought Rin would be bitter. However it became clear soon after that Rin and San would have had completely different lives in prison. While San stayed in the commoner's prison which was full of other prisoners and looked quite dirty, Rin had his own very clean looking cell, even the king was only mad at him for a short time and did not really want him punished or anything, and Won equipped him with layers and layers of warm blankets, a stove to keep warm and the prison guard was more like the personal servant of Rin. That's why I think that it was rather sensible of Won to get San out first because he couldn't have improved her life at prison greatly and as a "commoner" and having made the king angry she could have been tortured or even killed at any time.

This is what I think (posted it in the newer thread) and I want to think lol. That he didn't actually put the girl before his friend but had a reason.

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I love the different opposite adjectives you used to describe Won, because it is so true. Everyone has good and bad sides to them, and they all wanna play the 'safe card'.

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Oh my god, you take the words out of my mouth. I feel like you and I have exactly the same view on everything and every character of this drama. Thank you for this comment.

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I so love the last few scenes and how RinSan's maypole dance practice was juxtaposed with lonely Won's scene in the palace as he held on to the blue ribbon. And when Rin addressed San in the end, I was surprised. Now he holds a card over Won. I wonder how he will use this information.

I guess I will never stop praising how the scenes are depicted. I love the shots and the angles. The music to accompany the scenes are good too. This is not the best one I've seen in kdramaland but it is definitely up there.

And yey for Won's new robe. Lol I want to see him wear more new royal garb.

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maybe won will marry dan to save her from becoming tribute...

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Or if she pulled an escape, it will be one of the shadow guards (the one who has a crush on her) that will help her....

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When won said bring me the women I love to rin I was wondering was San an object to bring. And when rin offered her the chance to leave "You can do that" I think he has figured her identity and had hinted for her to escape the marriage proposal and the last scene was clear cut decipting it.

About won and rin they surely love each other but their friendship is not light hearted to enjoy, I think neither is the type to give up their love for other.

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Won, Rin & San - I got the completely opposite feeling so far that San is into Won more but with Rin, she treats him with respect, like a friend/brother who comforts & trustworthy.

I didn't want to start this show initially but I was surprise how easy & light it is, love it.

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It's funny how young looking Rin's dad is. He looks younger... than Rin?

It is heart wrecking that the King acts ignorant about his son, goes with the flow of what the officials want but in actual fact, he is protecting him and happy that his son is smart enough to pull off by keeping a dumb exterior.

Got a feeling the warrior in black with snake tattoo will switch camp, he is a good guy inside.

Loved the food & water stops that was set up by the King for San when she was on the way to her mother's memorial. The bun stop was hilarious, I haven't laugh so hard for a longest time...

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All these sageuks start easy and light, and then they become tragic. See Queen for Seven Days. I still haven't recovered. And yet the first 4-5 episodes were about young love and such.

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Thanks for your recap and comments, TeriYaki. ;-)

That was a disturbing admission by Song In when he told Rin that he had really wanted to support him instead of his brother for Crown Prince. Oh, joy. Way to implicate Won's only friend in a conspiracy. Jeon's such a loser even his own campaign manager would rather support someone else. LOL.

Right about now I've got the overwhelming urge to holler "Make triangle gimbap, not love triangles!" -- with a tip of the hat to Da-bong in THE BEST HIT. ;-)

If I consider the budding relationships from the standpoint of the women, I see:
San is interested in Rin (who is interested right back, but keeps his peace).
Dan is interested in Won (who used to think she was cute).

Then there's the Won-Rin Mutual Admiration Society & Bromance...

Is Rin's father really so oblivious to Jeon's traitorous scheming??

What does Dan think about Jeon? She's a sharp cookie -- Has she no inkling about his being in cahoots with Song In?

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I wonder about Song In and the assasin, could it be that they are actually lead by some sort of false concern for the ppl and their country and think that doing away with Won will benefit both? If so then they'd do better indeed to support the kind hearted Rin instead of the selfish and ruthless Jeon. Can they be so simple though? Sometimes Song In looks so sad I suspect he's lost somebody to the mongolians' hands and the assassin too, are they in it for revenge?

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I love ISW but i think HJH has completely won me over with his Rin. Quiet, calm, strong and just a tinge of sadness that appears whenever he is near San.

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I never really cared for HJH before this drama but he is now running away with my heart with his strong performance Rin. I am starting to love his character as much as I loved Won Bin's in Autumn In My Heart and KWB's in The Heirs.

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Me too! I've liked him in some of his smaller roles (White Christmas, Boy from Wonderland), but this is definitely my favorite character he's played. I love Rin!

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I was wondering if anybody here has read the novel or even its chapter summaries? I started watching knowing only the general trajectory of the novel, but I have since read the chapter summaries. I was reading the comments, and I realized that much of my understanding and interpretation of the scenes have somehow been influenced by what I know of the novel, and I was wondering if it was the same for other people.

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Actually this drama is so good that for the first time in my life I refuse to read anything about the novel so to not have any prejudices while watching the drama. It's so incredible and every episode is a new surprise to me I really would hate to go in with certain expectations.

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Yes, I have read that chapter by chapter synopsis on the web. But I'm using the info with caution, because it might be misleading.
1) I know that dramas usually change their sources a lot (See Bride of the Water God and others),
2) I've seen quite a few different things already (for instance the maid playing San's role for years is not there in the novel, and the three friends become friends since an early age, knowing each other's identity since chapter 1)
3) The director told Yoona NOT to read the novel
4) The main lead rule in k-dramas.
I do hope Won gets the girl, as he's a more interesting and charming man - and Siwan being a far superior actor makes him seem all the more interesting. He is flawed, but that's how all k-drama male leads are in the first few chapters. There's still plenty of time for him to deepen his love and mature as a person.
On the other hand, knowing how life in the palace was in those times, and knowing that San was brought up in a very different environment, how she prizes her independence, maybe she would be happier NOT marrying a king or anybody living at court. Even more so since the historical king had a great number of wives - which sort of dampens the romance part, I'd say. Whereas a "simple noble" could be monogamous.
AND the drama synopsis also has me worried. The part about the young king being cruel and ambitious etc. I don't know about the ambitious part. The historical king was not ambitious at all, he was a lover of the arts and he took every occasion to slack off and go to China to chill at his grandpa's court.

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When I said "the maid playing San's role was not there in the novel"... Of course the maid is part of the novel, but she doesn't play San's role for years. She just covers up for her a number of times when San has to go out on a mission. And there's no scar.

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Another fan of Rin. I noticed that San blushed quite a bit in the latter segment of the episode when she was with Rin. I've never noticed that with the crown prince

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I agree with you - I think she has friend-zoned Won since she seems to have a more sibling-like feelings toward him so far.

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That's what I felt too, she does like Won, but not in a romantical way, Rin on ther other hand, is just so attractive, you know, the quiet and mature guardian type, I feel something going on between the two no matter how much denial Rin is trying to put between them. And Won won't be amused and it will not be pretty when he gets mad...

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I've always been Rin supporter since the first episode and I'm happy that we could see a lot of Rin in these two episodes. I'm also happy that it seems that San has feelings toward Rin though she doesn't really acknowledge it, but it can be seen through her eyes.

Dan is also sweet and I don't want her to fall into tribute to Yuan. The only hope that she has right now is for Crown Prince to marry her.

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I agree the crown prince should marry Dan and Rin should marry San, before his brother can.

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The poor Crown Prince can't stand her clinginess. Have you seen how he avoided her? And now he has to be shackled to her all his life? I mean, he'll probably do it to save his friend's sister, but how can you so light-heartedly wish him not only heartbreak in losing his only love, but also pair him up with a girl he feels nothing for and finds annoying?

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Haha you might be right. I may be a lil bit bias toward Rin, so I want him to get the girl, but didn't think of Won's feelings. But I'm not saying that CP should marry Dan, I just said that one of the ways that Dan could save herself from evil Queen's plot and becoming tribute to Yuan is to actually marry CP.

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But historically, Dan married Won. I still like Dan. Yeah she was clingy during the first scene we saw her but her succeeding scenes proved that she's really mature and loving, not only to Rin and Won, but also to San who at this point she should already feel threatened by.

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I really can't see San being attracted to Won so far. I mean they bicker, like most couples in kdramas do at first, but her interactions with Rin wins me more. They look so good together <

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Won is more handsome but I always love HJH, so team Rin! Anyone here who has read the novel? I searched all of the internetz but can't find it.

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There is a chapter-by-chapter synopsis made by someone.

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Hi! do u mind posting the link of the chapter-by-chapter synopsis of the novel? thank you in advance!

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It's in a PM group. You have to make an account and request to be added to the PM by the one who wrote the summaries

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How can be part of the group?

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I just love friendship between Won , Rin and San !!! I'm #TeamBestFriend #TeamFriendShip #TeamWonRinSan !!

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So, San actually loves Rin? or eventually will fall in love with Rin as this drama progress ?

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We don't know yet. Everything is speculation.

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if they follow the story just like in the novel, the end game is San-Rin (I have just known).. I like them, the coupling San-Rin, but I dont want Won to be alone and doesn't get the girl..
sigh

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I think she has a crush on him? She has showed a soft spot for Rin even from Ep 1.

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Like I said before somewhere else this drama is just full of surprises and I love it. Normally I'm already happy if a drama can surprise me once or twice, but this show outdoes my expectations.

Among other things Won's character is really so complex but also frighteningly realistic that it's delightable. When I started this show knowing nother about the plot I thought he would be another prince living on love and righteousness but very soon he started showing intelligence and political abilities, and in the latest episodes a certain psychopathic aggressiveness starts leaking out of him it's like he can't control it, but he's not as pure and as naive as I thought he would be. Which is not to say he doesn't have a righteous and naive side like when he'd jump out in Rin's defence even endangering himself.

Rin on the other hand is a rather stereotypical character but of the sort I like, quiet and mature and selfless to the degree of being slightly frustrating. I'm looking forward to the day he decides there are actually things in life he wants for himself instead of living for his prince and that day will be spectacular. I hope.

San's character, too, is a pleasant surprise. Very often kdramas try to portray their female characters as sassy and strong but fail, instead they become loud and impulsive and cause a lot of trouble being like that, troubles they can't solve and need the hero to save the day. San is just boyish. She's strong and beautiful and knows exactly what she wants. If she needs help, she'll ask for it straight forward and give something or work with the helpers in return. I'm a bit scared she might lose that though once she has to live as the young lady San again, like empress ki kind of lost her strength when she was stripped of her knife and bow and had to use intrigue and her female attributes to reach her goals. I like myself an independent and strong female character...

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Also I keep wondering about Rin's father as I said somewhere else. He seems like a wise and quiet man who could wield a lot of power if he wanted but it seems to me that he only wants to stay out of trouble. However there is no way he can know nothing of what length his second son is going to to harm the crown prince and gain the throne. However he encourages his third son to be a loyal supporter of Won, why would he do this? Is he using Rin? Has he just lost control of Jeon? Is he in denial? What is it?

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Thanks for the recap, TeriYaki!

Can't help but chuckle at Rin's royal treatment in prison.
Knew Rin would be the one to discover San's identity before Won.
Curious how San is gonna get out of the marriage arrangement.
I hope poor Dan won't be used as pawn.
Is being cute a prerequisite for shadow guards? XD I quite like Jingwan and Jangeui, and those who captured the salt merchant. LOL

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It's in a PM group. You have to make an account and request to be added to the PM by the one who wrote the summaries

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True, true. As of now, I'm on the Rin-San ship, but Won has his moments, too, as he is such a great character. TBH, I don't care much about the end ship but more about the journey to that point, because, as you said, the show has laid the groundwork carefully for a compelling, emotional journey. More than the romance, I want to see how their friendship grows, develops, and evolves, given the external factors closing in on them. Mostly, Rin, Won, and San have existed in their own little bubble, but that has started to change. I just want all of them to be happy huhu, but in their vlive, Hong Jonghyun and Yoona teased that it won't be always this lighthearted.

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Yeah yeah I agree with you too. Anyway, does their Vlive have English subs? Or are there sites which provided eng subs? I really want to watch it but last time I checked there were no English subtitles. :(

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I think I saw in a character chart or map that Bi Yeon has a love line with Moo Suk? I wonder how that'll play out. Or maybe I saw it wrong lol.

I really like this drama and it's so much better hearing people's analysis and interpretation of it especially here on dramabeans. But it's sad that it's not rating well in Korea :(

Also Moo suk did not age?
(after 7 years? Lol)

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I believe Rin is about to go over to the dark side next episode. Not because he is not loyal but because he will swallow the conspiracy and think he can protect the CP by keeping him in the dark.

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I wonder how long it will take for San to discover their identities.
Won is really possessive , making his friendship with Rin somehow parasitic somehow commensal .

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No, he is immensly loyal because friends are all he has. His sorrow is that because he is CP even his friends don't tell him the truth or wish to be with him. He will take enourmous risks to protect them. Rin's about to betray both him and his own familly and by association also San: who incedentally is cought up with strong emotions for the two (Won Rin) whom she has enjoyed being with. Sadly the 'dam is about to break' and we shall not continue to enjoy our band of four friends light heartedness.

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extremely anxious to wait for the recap of ep 13 14 15 16.

Please hurry

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Yeah! Me too OMG. So many things happened in eps 13-16!

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