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The King Loves: Episodes 17-18

Whoa. WHOA. This show is bringing its A game today, and as a result, I have so many feeeels! Everything we’ve been building toward is finally clashing and shaking our characters to their fundamental cores. As usual, the boys are pushed to the brink, and are asked to rise to challenges designed to drive them apart (including their own personality foibles) and turn them against one another. Unbeknownst to Won, at the center of their conflict is San, who seems determined to do everything she can to protect everyone but herself.

 
EPISODE 17 RECAP

We return to the most awkward tea party in Goryeo: Princess Wonsung plays it cool regarding Dan’s surprise arrival, only to reveal her trump card in the form of a veiled San. Won recognizes her as Minister Eun’s scarred daughter, and Princess Wonsung tries to give Won a hint by detailing San’s disappearing scar from an expert physician’s magic touch.

Won doesn’t really put the pieces together, so Princess Wonsung instructs San to remove her veil. San is taken aback, realizing only now that she’s also been caught in Princess Wonsung’s trap. Won gasps to finally learn San’s true identity, as Princess Wonsung watches their reactions keenly.

Princess Wonsung grills San on Minister Eun’s treasonous intentions by scheming to have San disqualified from being a Yuan tribute with the fake scar nonsense. She adds a tidbit about San’s near-forced marriage to Jeon, indicating that she’s figured everything out already.

The princess then moves over to Dan to ask what Won had told her when he had invited her to the tea party. Dan peeks over to Won, who is stunned into silence as he stares back at San.

The scene ends, and we go back three days prior to Won and San’s conversation on the bridge.

We see Won tell San cryptically that if she ever finds out his secret (i.e. his real identity), she may come to dislike him. Even so, he says that for him, she would always be his “number one,” and she should never forget it.

San has something to say also, and hands Won her mother’s ring, which she wears around her neck. Won refuses to accept the gift, citing its preciousness, but San insists, explaining that should he ever need something from her, all he must do is present the ring to her and she’ll grant it.

The prospect excites him, and though he’s suspicious, when San tries to take it back, Won pulls it out of her reach. Ha.

That evening, San returns home to find Boo-yong waiting for her. San rudely tries to send Boo-yong away, so Boo-yong calls San by her real name, which stops San in her tracks.

She meaningful calls San “agasshi” (suggesting that San is highborn), and San’s eyes widen. San threatens Boo-yong with her dagger, snarling at Boo-yong for speaking nonsense.

To calm her down, Boo-yong mentions Won’s hypothetical complicity in San’s lie, and adds that the king would be very interested in the topic.

Won returns home as well and receives a status report on Dan’s well-being from Jin Gwan. At Jin Gwan’s sullen expression, Won promises to stop Dan from being sent to Yuan, and he tells the lovestruck guard not to worry.

Jin Gwan doesn’t perk up at the promise, which prompts Won to guess that something else has gone wrong. It has, and Jin Gwan informs Won of Rin’s visit to Princess Wonsung’s, implying that Rin is being held there against his will.

Won heads to his mother’s and casts Rin a disapproving glare as he walks in. Princess Wonsung seems delighted to see Won, but Won only wants to talk about Rin.

Princess Wonsung explains patiently that Rin is helping her compile the many tribute gifts to be sent to Yuan. Won doesn’t buy her answer, so he goes directly to Rin and demands that he tell him what he is doing with his mother. Won already knows that Rin is here on behalf of Dan, but he tells Rin that he should have come to him first, and not his mother.

Rin denies everything, so Won says with a hurt look in his eyes, “You don’t trust me.” Oof. That look.

Won then turns toward his mother and drops to his knees, vowing to beg for months if that’s what it takes to save Dan. Won says to his mother that Rin personally asked him to prevent the marriage between Jeon and San, because he worried it might be a detriment to Won. He did it knowing it would impact Jeon and Dan negatively.

Princess Wonsung grows enraged to see Won kneeling for what she views as a trifling matter, and tells Won how she purposefully used honorifics with him from the moment he was born, because she knew that one day he would become king.

She shouts at Won to rise, but he refuses until she gives her word that she will not send Dan to Yuan. Rin joins Won on the floor and implores him to stand, but Won doesn’t move.

Princess Wonsung tells Won that Dan has already been removed from the list, but the look in her eyes is deeply disturbed, as if she’s finally realizing how strong Won’s attachment to Rin is. Rin reiterates Princess Wonsung’s claims, which finally convinces Won. (But he doesn’t know why Dan isn’t being sent, and that Rin sacrificed himself for it.)

In a carriage, Boo-yong stares at San intrigued, then tells her about Won’s announcement to the king regarding his feelings for San. They exchange barbs back and forth, until San asks Boo-yong where they are headed.

Instead of giving a straight answer, Boo-yong tells San that the person they are going to said that if he were of royal blood, then he would have kept San for himself.

They arrive at a commoner’s house, where a group of commoners and royal soldiers surround a dead body. Song In appears besides San and tells her that the daughter of the household was taken to be sent to Yuan as a palace maid.

In flashback, we see a group of soldiers roughly grabbing the young girl from her home. Her mother rushed out to stop them, but was pushed aside before being beaten by the guards. Her father arrived to fend off the soldiers, but was subsequently killed for defending his family.

Grieving for her husband and daughter, the mother later committed suicide, leaving behind a mourning son. Song In tells San that so many citizens of Goryeo have similar stories of losing precious daughters to become tributes.

San watches the villagers carry the father’s body away, and when the group knocks into her, Song In grabs her by the waist and pulls her aside. They share a prolonged moment of closeness, until San rips his hand away.

She demands to know what Song In is cooking up by showing her the scene. He explains that he wanted her to see the tragedy for herself, then mentions how Teacher Lee once spoke of a rare and promising student with a compassionate heart who cares for the poor and the weak.

San retorts that Song In is suspicious and has dubious spies all over the place, including one next to the king, as she pointedly looks over to Boo-yong standing nearby. San begins to leave, which prompts Song In to ask San to join him in helping the powerless people of Goryeo.

At home, Bi-yeon hears a sound outside and goes to see if it’s San coming home. She calls out to San formally, even while she herself is dressed like a noblewoman and wearing her veil. She finds one of the servants unconscious on the ground, then turns around just in time to see Furatai approach.

He subdues her and carries her to a hidden part of the garden before interrogating her on her identity. She lies nervously that she was Minister Eun’s daughter, but Furatai sees through her and soon holds a sword against her throat.

He raises it after Bi-yeon continually refuses to confess who she is, but right before he’s about to strike her, an arrow whizzes by to stop him. He surrenders immediately, then flees the scene.

After he leaves, Moo-suk emerges from the shadows and hurries to Bi-yeon. He catches her as she faints and sees the scar on her cheek, realizing the mix-up seven years ago. He then picks her up and carries her back to her room. (What is with the romantic music?)

The next morning, Won storms into the Yuan envoy’s office where all the tribute items are being stored, and pretends to be searching for the perfect gift to send his esteemed grandfather, the emperor of Yuan.

Turns out he’s really looking for the list of tributes to Yuan to confirm Dan’s removal, but doesn’t find it. Jin Gwan brings Won a scroll, which Won then throws down in anger after reading its contents.

He manages to force his mother (using a little bit of blackmail) to release Rin, who is brought directly to Geumgajeong. Upon his arrival, Rin is ambushed by Won, and soon, they are engaged in a sparring match.

The fight is one-sided since Rin refuses to do anything but defend himself, so Won screams at Rin to fight him properly. Rin senses something else behind Won’s actions, and tells Won to say what he means instead of beating around the bush.

Won takes issue with Rin always allowing himself to be defeated by him in everything they’ve ever competed in. Finally, Rin kicks Won full force, but as soon as he does, all of Won’s bodyguards descend to restrain Rin. Won orders his men not to touch Rin, then walks up to him.

With tears in his eyes, Won asks if Rin intended to leave as a hostage without him knowing, then berates Rin for thinking that way. Rin states that he meant to tell him eventually, but Won doesn’t believe him.

Won asks, his voice breaking, if Rin truly wants to see him go crazy. As Won speaks, Rin thinks to himself:

“The prince has been deceived by me. As expected, His Highness has no idea. It isn’t for his sake that I want to leave. The reason why I want to leave… is because of me.”

San appears behind Won at that moment, and Rin stares at her in longing as he adds, “It is because my heart is crumbling apart piece by piece everyday.” Won turns around to look at San and fakes a smile to act as if all is well.

Afterwards, San prepares an ice pack for Won’s bleeding lip, then smothers him when he complains about the coldness. Won realizes San knows that he and Rin were fighting for real, and asks why she isn’t curious to know the reason. She plays it off like it isn’t a big deal, and doesn’t really answer.

Rin hovers around the table where Won and San are sitting, but San is careful not to look up at him, and so Rin retreats to stare out the window.

Their behavior isn’t lost on Won, who notes to himself:

“When did it start? These two won’t look each other in the eye. Instead, she looks at me. She talks to me in a kind voice. And she smiles. And the guy who cannot fake a smile or lie looks elsewhere, stops talking, and goes into hiding. Now, he is determined to leave far away. It’s not like they don’t want to look at each other, but they work hard to ignore each other.”

Won studies them closely as San fusses over him with the ice pack and Rin pretends not to notice.

Won tattles on Rin for offering himself as a hostage to San, and for the first time, she looks right at Rin in alarm. Rin downplays the situation, but Won explains to San that that’s the real reason they were fighting.

Rin leaves to retrieve medicine for Won, and Won watches San’s eyes follow Rin as he goes. He reclaims her attention and tells her not to worry because he’ll ensure that Rin won’t leave for Yuan. She believes him, which pleases him greatly, since it shows her trust in him.

He takes her by the hand as he tells her how complicated the situation has become because of Rin’s sacrifice. She offers to help, but he tells her that all she needs to do is answer who is his “number one.”

She looks nervous before answering, but finally says that it’s her, and he smiles. Soon, she becomes insecure with his hand holding hers, and pulls away, which brings a darkened expression to Won’s face.

She walks away, and Won watches her intently, his expression anxious.

 
EPISODE 18 RECAP

King Chungryeol and Minister Song play baduk, where the latter tells the king about the queen’s upcoming match-making tea party. The king doesn’t seem that interested in the topic, since he’s more worried about when Boo-yong will return to his side.

Minister Song tells the king of a rumor that Princess Wonsung is interested in making one girl in particular the crown princess, with the rest being a mere formality.

Speaking of, Princess Wonsung arrives at Minister Eun’s to meet his daughter. Meanwhile, Won reports Rin’s hostage-tribute situation to Wang Young. Jeon panics at the thought of being sent next, and Wang Young warns Jeon to mind his words.

Won correctly guesses that Wang Young rushed the marriage with San to keep Dan from leaving, and so he apologizes for disrupting their plans.

Princess Wonsung is brought to Bi-yeon, but is told by Furatai that she is the fake daughter. She searches among the group of servants and eventually finds San in her commoner garb and no scar, recognizing her just by the way San looks at her.

Minister Eun tries to take all the blame for the lie, so Princess Wonsung informs them, in grisly detail, of what happened to the other minister whose daughter pretended to become a monk to escape being a tribute: torture and exile.

San gets to her knees and begs Princess Wonsung to spare her sickly father from torture, and volunteers to receive both her and her father’s punishment. She mentions how Minister Eun will be a powerful supporter for Princess Wonsung given his influence and deep connections around the world.

Simultaneously, Won asks for Wang Young’s permission to marry Dan, as Princess Wonsung tells San that her fate is contingent on her being selected as the crown princess during the tea party.

Later, Won waits outside for Dan to arrive so that he may ask her to marry him, but before she arrives, he reflects aloud on his relative powerlessness and hopes for understanding. Jin Gwan appears from the corner, and bows to Won in recognition. Poor baby.

After Princess Wonsung leaves, Bi-yeon helps San pick out a suitable outfit for the tea party. She urges San to make the prince fall in love with her, but San is lost in thought, and Bi-yeon guesses that San must be thinking about “him.”

She advise San to forget him, but San suddenly asks if Bi-yeon’s heart races at the thought of the man who saved her. Eww, gross! No!

Bi-yeon calls her out on changing the topic and San replies vaguely that if the crown prince sees her tomorrow, “One will be pleased. He might even clap, and commend me.” She gets a weary look in her eyes and adds, “The other… will be very sad. Not because of me, but because of the other man. He has to go very far away.”

Bi-yeon becomes confused by San’s riddles, as San describes how both men will soon become unhappy and hate her for it. She then remarks that knowing a man’s heart is the hardest thing of all.

Later that night, after Won conditionally proposes to Dan, Rin visits her. He sits outside her door and stares up at the moon while Dan remains inside as they chat.

Rin quietly tells Dan that she does not have to marry Won because her name is no longer on the list of tributes. Dan tears, recalling Won’s harsh words about never being able to make her his first priority.

Rin asks if Dan can accept that kind of marriage, and she swears that she’s fine with that, but Rin says that she won’t be, because the closer she is to Won, the worse she will feel. Dan argues that he doesn’t understand her one-sided feelings and deep longing for Won, adding that she cannot give Won up because her heart is out of control.

She asks Rin if he thinks she’s crazy, and he answers that he does not. He smiles and says that they are so alike before apologizing suddenly.

He doesn’t explain himself, and when Dan opens the door to confront him, he’s already gone.

The next morning, Rin pays San a visit. She finds him sitting on the roof of her room, and jumps up to join him. He tells her that he wants to take her to Geumgajeong where Won is, so that she can tell him the truth about her identity.

He already knows about the tea party and wants Won to be armed with all the information before making his choice, because only then can he choose correctly.

San surmises that Rin is trying to say that Won should not choose Dan. He’s surprised that she knows, and she tells him that Song In told her about Dan.

We flash back to see the rest of Song In’s conversation with San, where he apologized for their first meeting. He explained that he was acting out of desperation and supposed she must think that he’s evil. He added that the person she trusts (Won) is considered evil by the people of Goryeo.

In return, San called Song In a rebel who doesn’t value life, and one who likes to twist words to serve his schemes. But she’d listened when he revealed Dan’s circumstances to her.

We move out of the flashback, and San asks Rin if Song In was telling the truth about Dan being a tribute. Rin confirms it, but says that Dan’s situation has been resolved. San figures that Rin is going in Dan’s place, but he doesn’t want to discuss it and tries to hurry her to Won.

San follows when he gets up, only to lose her balance and stumble forward. Rin springs forward and catches her around the waist, and his embrace triggers San’s memory as she realizes that Rin is the masked man who saved her at Song In’s teahouse so many nights ago.

She calls out to him, but he runs off and tells her that he’ll wait outside for her to get changed.

Internally, San thinks, “Now, I know whose hands held me safe that night. If I ask why, he will say his friend sent him to watch me. Now, I know why every now and then my heart pounded and ached. They have a beautiful friendship. They look great together. I am afraid that I will ruin their friendship.”

They arrive at Geumgajeong, and Rin urges her inside, promising her that Won will be happy to learn the truth. She walks through the doors and thinks, “I have only one thing to do. I must do all I can to ensure that they can stay close to each other as they always did. It would make me feel lonely, but that is my friendship.”

We return to the scene at the tea party from the beginning of the episode as Dan struggles to answer Princess Wonsung’s question, so Won interrupts and tells his mother what he had told Dan. He had told Dan about the party and how he was supposed to pick his wife there, but then he asks San if she also knew all of this before coming today.

She says that she did, and her confirmation looks as if it’s breaking his heart word by word. He asks if she knew everything before asking for her favor yesterday, including his identity, and his eyes fill with tears when she replies that she did.

We cut back to San visiting Won at Geumgajeong the day before. San entered Won’s chambers to his total shock then told him of her favor, which she wanted him to deliver to the crown prince.

She asked for the crown prince to completely ignore “her mistress” at the tea party, even if he likes her.

Won had wondered if San hoped her mistress wouldn’t marry the crown prince, and she confirmed it, explaining that her mistress is in love with another man. GAH! OH BOY!

Finally, we go back to the tea party, where Won looks at San furiously, feeling completely betrayed. Suddenly, he addresses the room and makes his announcement for his choice of wife. He calls Dan to his side and names her his princess.

Princess Wonsung watches with a complicated expression, as San’s eyes shine with emotion.

 
COMMENTS

San! What are you doing? I kind of understand why San is stonewalling Won, but I also really don’t understand. First Rin, and now San. Everyone needs to get into a room and hash everything out instead of having all these internal monologues about what they feel or notice or realize without ever speaking about these things aloud. I have to side with Won today, because he’s been repeatedly telling his friends to come to him and trust him. It’s tragic that they can’t seem to do that when it matters most. Argh! So frustrating!

I honestly liked the way Rin and Won worked things out—not necessarily the fighting part (though it was funny to see all the guards immediately pin Rin after he finally got in one hit), but the reasons. I like that Won continues to challenge Rin to defend his interpretation of their friendship, and his noble idiocy. You can see that Won truly, deeply, and desperately wants Rin to rely on him, but it’s difficult for Rin, and that remains the heart of their conflict. It wasn’t even wholly about San, instead it was regarding this basic truth about their friendship that they have never been able to agree on.

On that topic, I was thrilled that Rin’s explanation for wanting to go to Yuan was for himself and not for Won. You could read that in several ways, but I choose to believe that it isn’t only because Rin is conditioned to defer to Won, but also because he doesn’t want to fight with his friend, since it isn’t in his nature. And though his actions are being interpreted as selfless, to Rin, they feel selfish, and I like that sentiment. It’s a very important distinction for his character.

I’m kind of afraid that San’s betrayal might be Won’s breaking point. He’s been so patient with Rin thus far, and I really dread to see it go up in smoke, even though I feel it coming. I really want to give Won more credit because he’s been dogged about this friendship and is always trying to do the right thing, but man, I would totally understand if he couldn’t get past this blow in the short-term.

I also would really like to know what San is thinking, because Princess Wonsung was pretty clear about her two options. I doubt we’ll see Minister Eun be tortured to death, but if San returns to that horrible interrogation room, I’ll be very annoyed. Saving Won and Rin’s friendship is really sweet (and abstractly a very poetic sentiment, given the themes of this drama—I like that she said it was her way of friendship), but talking it out probably makes more sense, and is ultimately kinder to Won. I really hope San begins to see the error of her thought process, and how it could be more destructive to the people she cares for.

By the way, I love what they’re doing with Princess Wonsung, because she’s a fascinating character and is acted so well. The character can be over the top, but today she dialed it down and had these powerful, silent moments, which gave us great insight into the character. The actress nailed those complex expressions, and I really enjoyed those scenes.

On another note, my favorite scene today was between Dan and Rin. These two make my heart explode with their love for one another, and it almost makes me forget that Jeon is their brother. Gah, they’re so sweet and wonderful, but absolutely heartbreaking! Speaking of baddies, are they seriously trying to set up a Moo-suk and Bi-yeon loveline? Guyliner literally slashed her in the face with a sword, and killed Madam Eun. I don’t care how many babies he saves from oddly edited stampeding horses, he hasn’t redeemed himself.

That aside, I’m really encouraged by how things are shaping up, and very excited (and nervous) to see what is around the corner for all our characters.

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Right so I get that we are supposed to believe the Crown Prince Won does not know that San is Minister Eun’s daughter, seems to me rediculous given his faithful network of information gatherers and informers, also merely veiling her face from the eyes down would not disguise her from one who has intamately studied her and taken her to his heart.
San has actually fallen, as much as she will allow herself to do so, with both Rin and Won. She did so by spending adventures with them and witnessing how close and loving a friendship they share. She knows that, though not equals, they are loyal friends to each other, so much so they will each endure hardship and pain to protect their other.
San realises she is loved by both men. Rin conceales his love as he cannot deny his friend/prince who has fallen for her too on first sight. Won thinks she is deceived by his concealment he is the Crown Prince but I think she at least knows in her heart this is so, even before it is revealed at Wongsung tea party. Interestingly San gives her mother’s ring to Won as a pledge and says he may ask anything of her. However, realising that if she makes either of them her beloved officially, then it will risk their friendship’s endurance and ultimately render each of them lonely and unhappy for their remaining life, she resolves to deny herself.
She also knows Dan was at risk of being sent to Yuan as tribute and that Won pledged he would marry her, rather than see that happen, and that Rin is Wang Young, Dan’s sister. She does not know Rin made a pact with Princess Wonsung to go in Dan’s place.
So, all four are determined not to tell the truth, deny their identities or intensions or loves and thus each of them will be bitterly unhappy.
There is a deeply cruel side to Princess Wonsung and Sog In. They each take delight in threatening Eun San over her and her father’s deception to evade her falling tribute. Yet it seems San will endanger her father and self as she has told Won not to choose her. Wonsung has threatened to kill all her family and confiscate their wealth. I do not buy the notion that Song In, Wang Jeon and Ok Boo Yong are revolutionaries determined to favour little people, their republic is about self-interest.
San’s actions in asking Won to not choose her do not make sence. (Does she really think Song In will protect her if she goes over to his side? Does she not see that as tretchery; as treason?) They will bring ruin to her, her father and familly and with that great hurt to Rin and Won.
Im Yoon-ah’s acting has grown and I see subtlties in her that give her character deapth, to me San is rather one dimentional and her femininity is so veiled it’s hard to take her seriously as a romantic figure. What is to happen to her? Will she be sent as tribute after all or be tortured like the poor soul Wonsung showed her previously? I am going to brace myself to watch the coming episode. Park Hwan-Hee is perfectly cast and she radiates both beauty, sweetnes...

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IMO she knew that Rin's going to Yuan as a replacement to Dan. I think she heard the whole conversation between Won and Rin when they're fighting and saw how sad they both were when their friendship's at stake. The reason why she asked Won to marry Dan is for both Won and Rin. If Won marries Dan, there'd be no reason for Rin to go to Yuan, so Rin will stay next to Won. She saw herself as someone who came in between this beautiful friendship and partly all this thing happened is because both Won and Rin have feelings on her and they stopped her marriage with Jeon because of her. So to me, it makes sense for her to sacrifice herself to leave to Yuan instead.

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Hmm I think her veiled feminity is exactly what makes the boys attracted to her in the first place. They also became friends quickly as she acts as one of the boys. She's certainly different from the other demure sweet noble ladies they'd see everyday.

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Woke up this morning with a simple solution: according to the PD, this drama is about what you will sacrifice for love. So far Rin sacrificed himself for Dan and also because his heart is breaking for San, whom he can never have. San sacrifices herself to not only save her father, but to save the friendship between Won and Rin. Won has not learned that true love means sacrificing, as he isn't willing to let either San or Rin go. Perhaps in the end the moral will be that Won learns that true love means to let go of Rin and San.

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... ? I am going to brace myself to watch the coming episode. Park Hwan-Hee is perfectly cast and she radiates both beauty, sweetnes and vulnerability, yet not pathetically, she will endure anything for her prince. I am so glad for Dan who truly loves Won but feel deeply sad if her future is filled with unhappy days and nights.
The scene where Won is true to his pledge to Dan and indirectly Rin, is the most moving of all for me. I wanted to puch the air and shout and clap my hands, it was such a caring and selfless thing to do, ideotically doing his best for Rin, Dan and San but denying his true desire for San. I think in this moment she knows it too and is secretly sorry he chose as she told him so to do. (Siwan and Yoon-ah really pulled this off very well) Princess Wonsung’s expression at this moment is hard to read. Is she content he made this choice? Will she eatract vengance and torture San and her father? Some have suggested Won’s choice of Dan will also mean Rin not going to Yuan because of the marriage, I wonder?
My most favourite romance is “Someday When I Recall this Love, I Will Surely Cry” - Itsuka Kono Koi wo Omoidashite Kitto Naite Shimau, where the heroin also loves two guys. Fate takes an unexpected turn when she stops to help a goung girl newly arrived in the capitol, the victim of a bag snatch in Tokyo, while her first love is on his way to ask her to marry him. She falls down a staircase and is fatally injured. I hope San doesn’t have to die to avoid making a choice!
This is beautifully shot the lighting and costumes are first rate and the OST barely makes an appearance but is beautiful too.

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My Rin and San feels T.T

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Thanks for the recap! My favourite scene in this episode is also the one with Dan and Rin. They are so sweet as siblings, and I feel so sorry for both. Dan is such a lovely girl, I want only the best for her, and I don't think that it's with Won though :( I kinda understand San's dilemma and her decision, but I was really surprised that despite the disappointment, Won kept his promise and made sure Dan wouldn't be on the tribute list. That goes to show how much of a loyal friend he is to Rin, and if only Rin could be more honest about his feelings because this noble idiocy will only ruin their friendship.

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I'm terrible - my favorite scene was San and Rin on the rooftop. As much as I've said I'm in this drama for the story, the complexity, and the friendship, I'm apparently lying. All I see thru my rose colored glasses are San and Rin. Otherwise, the three of them are all noble idiots. The story, instead of being the usual kdrama where the story is actually about the leading lady's journey, seems to be about Won's journey. Both Rin (especially Rin) and San seem to be fully developed characters and I wonder if they will stay that way, or if something happens after Won becomes king and they change. Could go either way, but I know Won is two faced and his anger and lust for power could be how it goes. Very interesting plot development to say the least. The power plays between the King, the Queen and Yuan dynasty, the half prince, Song who says he wants to help the people (I don't believe it) all make for very a very intriguing plot. With the series half over I'm expecting surely things will have to be rather fast paced, although I'm enjoying the conversation, the plotting etc.

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Forgot to say - one gripe I have about the drama is this: Hong Jong hyun has the most charming smile ever, and we've not gotten to see it very much and probably won't until the very end. Hopefully his heart and ours will be at peace at the end.

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Haha I'm more puzzled by the riddles though. For example who's the man that San says will commend her and who will be the sad one? I got confused between who will be Rin and who will be San lol. And then San's use of riddle on Song In. Totally didn't get what she meant, got the first half, but not the last one. ?

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Rin would commend her for getting with Won.

Won would be sad if Rin got sent to Yuan.

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Isn't it the opposite?

Won would be happy if he got together with San.

Rin will be the sad one, as he's the one who's always using Won as an excuse to San, and he's the one who has to go very far away if Won does not marry Dan.

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And here I am all about the cinematic beauty and the writing. I'm glad the writer chose to tell the story from the viewpoint of Won first, then Rin, and now finally San. These internal soliloquys add so much more dimension to the characters. I'm in the Rin/San camp, all the way, but Siwan is killing me slowly. My heart will break for him, I'm sure. My favorite scene was the conversation at the the party where you think he's speaking for Dan, answering the Princess' question, but talking directly to San, and his face breaks with every "Yea" that she says. Shoot, my eyes are tearing up now. ?

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My heart breaks for Won too. He's been running around trying to save those close to him but he's out of loop. He does one thing, but ends up hurting more and hurting another. Sigh

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Hahaha.... Me too!!
My fave scenes are when Won told San about Rin will be send to Yuan (and see her expression) and Rin-San moment at the rooftop. I don't care about the politic and other scenes. My ship for Rin has gone too strong, I might nominate myself as the captain... ??

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First mate, here.

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I am terrible too, I like the scene when Won tested how Rin and San reacted to each other news and can't see each other eye to eye.

It's a small moment but when it happens on the screen I was like
"Oh yeah Won, I noticed that too, from quite an episode though"
"Oh thanks the team to show this, this satisfy the small needs inside my heart, I need to see this happen"

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How is Won two faced? Are you referring to the book? Because I have not seen him being two faced in the drama.

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I think they're referring to the fact on the one hand he seems very nice and kind and on the other hand he shows he has anger issues. I read an article on the costuming and it said to show his two faces the designs on his clothing are only on one side.

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WHOA! That ring promise is going to come back and bite San in the tush.

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Yeahh.. Nothing ever goes right when you promised to grant someone everything he/she desired. Look at what happen in 7DQ..

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he may asks her to marry him.. or

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If anything he'll probably use it to bind her to Rin. The way this show is going I can see her sacrificing herself to save Rin. In a way that separates them.
Although I really hope not

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someone said maybe he will ask her to kill him T.T

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That makes sense too as he did ask the mountain Teacher if it's better for him to die. It'd be too cruel for him to die just like that, but then again, I'm not sure how he'd want to live such a lonely life with power.

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Dan can comfort him. I don't think he dislikes her at all he's just used to thinking of her as a pesky younger sister

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I hope he won't die in the end just to save the girl T.T

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(What is with the romantic music?)-- Haha, I guess the writer had too much leisure time to entertain us with so many romance sub-plots, murasakimi! I do see now why moo suk and bi yeon is a wrong idea :'(, I feel guilty for falling for them lol. It would be interesting to see how guyliner actually comes clean of this, we could say that he was young and did everything that the master told him to do, don't know.
Anyway, I am also surprised how Won keeps breaking the conventions and still is being so patient with Rin, when he hid such a big information from him, about San. But regardless, I am sold with this drama, I love all the angst and heartbreaks, though it would have been better if they were done with all the noble idiocy by now.

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He's being patient with Rin but behind the words, his eyes say something different, like "don't you dare betray me, she's mine". What a great actor Im Siwan is.

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I like it! It's a complexity, but it makes the romance all the more rich. I think Bi Yeon would forgive him.

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It does being more depth to the drama, and you could tell that it's an adaptation. Unlike the other sageuks the story isn't one dimensional, there are multiple purposes, and we get to see everyone's thought process/input into the story.
I do get now why the drama's title is 'The king loves', since Won is always watching San loving another man, his story becomes more painful to watch and bear, and hence his level rises above the other two.. maybe? His pain makes the story at once more memorable and meaningful, since we know he won't have the happy ending, though he keeps saying that she's his number 1.
About Bi Yeon, let's see how it goes! I'm very curious too, more like I'm invested in all of Won, Rin and San's friends and kin ?.

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*bring more depth

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The King Loves. It never said that he would be loved back. At least romantically =v=

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I think Bi Yeon might forgive him IF he switches to San's side of the plotting.

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I was actually super surprised and thrilled to see the love connection between Bi Yeon and Moo Suk. Bi Yeon is a gem. She's also been through a lot, her heart is pretty, and she is pretty even with that scar. I wanted her to have her own happiness, as I often feel for the maidservant characters in sageuks. Mo Suk is too handsome to not have a love story. Done! Since MS operates under the radar they could run escape into the sunset together.

I was also somehow super surprised to see Song In approach her with both romantic and conspiratory purposes. I didn't see that one coming. What's his deal? And our San's self sacrifice is poetic and all, but it seems she's risking the well being of her father and everyone in her household along with her own. Heavy!

The story is still so interesting to me!

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I know. I'm hoping Bi Yeon and Moo Suk have a story too. But how will they fit it all in! It's half over already!

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I think the other reason the snake man feels for her is bc biyeon is the living witness of his bad deed.
Most of the people that met him are dead and there's no recollection irl.
Now, because of him and his mistake, a girl needs to hide her life and lived like that.
He realised how his method is not always right.

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I don't think Song In is actually romantically interested in San, that is just part of his manipulation.

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Interesting, and very possible!

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I just want to take a minute and gush about the gorgeous costuming in this series. Princess Wonsong is definitely winning the "best dressed female" award here. Her deep violet coat with gold embellisments is probably the most beautiful thing I've ever seen (but I'm partial to violet). Dan's pajama-dress (for lack of a better description) in all white, with the white embroidered flowers fits the innocence that she portrays and it made the scene with her and Rin talking between the paper doors. My heart broke for her. And Yoona's pick-the-princess-party-dress is the most elaborate thing she's worn in the show as well. The sleeves! Plus, all the clothing on the boys from the shadow guards, to the royal family, even Bi-yeon has pretty clothes. It makes this show so pretty to watch. My eyes are loving it.

And I do think snake-man is redeemable. He is an assassin, he has an occupation. It's his job, and he's VERY good at it. A good assassin was vital to the way things were done back then--ruthless and sadistic, but vital. It wasn't his choice that he was supposed to kill San, and accidently mistook her maidservant as her. So, I was glad he came back in this episode and I would not be against a star-crossed lovers side love line at all. Plus, he's pretty, and as everyone knows, #imhereforthepretty!

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The beautiful set design of the tea party was also a treat. The color of the flowers complement the dresses of Won, San, and San.

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I was going to mention that! The sets are also part of the story. The tea party, the inner rooms, the king and queen's quarters and Won's quarters, Song In's tea rooms, as well as the outdoor gardens are so lush in fabrics and florals. I'm having a wonderful time in this world.

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the drama is so pretty, the detail is apparent and the camera is sure to capture them.

the scene is full and feels like it's a real room that prepared, the costume is gorgeous and fitting, even Song In has good clothes.
I really appreciated the detail, it gives more to the experience.

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Ughh tell me about it. Every single episode I find myself ooing and aahhing at the colors and the sets and the costumes... Love love love the details. Every scene is obviously shot with great care and artistic sense.

I was surprised at snake-man saving Biyeon. I have yet to see if he is redeemable. I hope he does something. He knows a lot. He changes side, then he could be a big asset to Won.

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“The King Loves” staff shared, “For the first time in MBC drama history, eight prominent Korean traditional costume designers participated in the drama’s costume design.” They added, “All eight designers put in great effort to produce outfits that helped emphasize each character’s personality and look good on each individual actor.”
https://www.soompi.com/2017/08/13/king-loves-reveals-story-behind-beautiful-costumes/

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He was supposed to kill the witnesses (i.e. the maidservant) and leave San for Jeon to "save."

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It looks like I wasn't very clear. Yes, he tried to kill San (thinking she was the maidservant) but Bi-Yeon intervened to save her mistress, so he almost killed her instead.

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This has rapidly become one of my most favorite dramas this year, which is an unexpected surprise. I can't tell you how so many of the relationships in this drama warms my heart; Dan and Ron and their sincere quiet conversations, JinGwan's love for Dan; Won's regard for the feelings of his bodyguard - not many regents would either know or even care, that their bodyguard is in love with the woman they are about to marry; the strong bond of friendship and caring between Rin and Won; the Queen mother's love for her son; and his for his mother; the Queen's growing respect and regard for Rin; and the love both Won and Rin have for San, and the friendship the three share; the affection the Queen's attendants have for their mistress which is so very different from the sycophantic relationships the sniveling, cowardly king has with his attendants.

I could go on and on, there are so many threads in this drama that are woven just right. It's a great writer that makes you feel empathy with even the minor characters with lesser screen time. A testament to how well written and produced this drama is. I fell in love with this drama, quite hard, and watch each episode at least thrice.

SongIn makes a formidable enemy, but it's a pity he doesn't realize that the noble ends he's trying to attain do not justify all the wicked things that he's doing and I suspect that the Queen might fall prey to his machinations.

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The writer is impressive. But I think the fact that it was pre-produced makes the story tighter, and at the same time, it flows better. However, I don't think I'll ever get used to how kdramas switch time lines in the same sentence and do flashbacks to tell the story. I found that confusing here. The second time I watched it, it was clearer. And the recaps help me as well. Thank you murasakimi!

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Yes, this episode was almost all flashbacks. Even the flashbacks had flashbacks. They spelled out a lot of stuff, but mostly just filled in the gaps of we-knew-it-had-to-be-something-like-that -- pretty pointless as feature-length double-decker flashbacks go. Until the last 4 minutes or so - they could have revealed everything up-front except San's special request and it would have been clearer and just as good.

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Flashbacks are a kdrama trope!

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Princess Wonsung is really interesting. The more we see her, we realised that she valued people, she realised the potential of them and read them better.

She acknowledges Rin and she brings San to her son. She is harsh and sticks to her agenda but she didn't belittle them like The King.

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I am enjoying the relationships too. They are tangled yet heartwarming. I especially love learning about how San did not want to get in the way of the beautiful friendship of WonRin and how she envies their friendship. That really warmed my heart. I do not necessarily agree with her ways nor with Rin's, but I get them.

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Thanks for the recap @murasakimi! Your comments are spot on.

I am so in love with this show. If you told me before, even after the episode, that I would love it as much as I do, I would probably have laughed at you. But the characters, actors, and gorgeous production values have won me over. Even the minor characters are so interesting (well, except perhaps the bumbling "comic relief" duo). I love love Rin, he's one of the swooniest characters I've seen in long time. And the main trio has sooo much chemistry. Hong Jong Hyun and Yoona are smoldering, and their friendship vibe with Siwan is just right. I'm not rooting for a San/Won pairing at all, but Won is breaking my heart.

My favorite scenes this episode were the fight between the boys, the Rin/San rooftop, and the brother/sister scene. I love that Rin is finally thinking a bit selfishly in wanting to go away, even if it is also is noble idiocy. And San is a sweetheart for wanting to preserve the friendship. I also like that her main focus isn't her growing romantic feelings, but her friendship with the boys. Refreshing!

I want Won to become more empowered, but I think something is going to break him soon. I am excited to see where things go, but also anxious!

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I love all these comments and how much we are so surprised how amazing this drama is. I wish, wish that word would spread and more viewers would stick with the show. I love the full fledged conversations everyone has. I know because I can't for subtitles and watch the show first w/o subtitles or knowing any Korean! Of course my guesses are always wrong! Their motivations are different from what I'm expecting. All the productions values are top quality.

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Yes! I wish it had more popularity both domestically and internationally, it really deserves it!

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What can I say, this drama is so beautifully written and most of characters are interesting. I can't really blame Won, Rin, or San for the decisions that they made as they're trying their best calculation to ensure one and another to be happy and sacrifice themselves instead.

The spar moment between Won and Rin breaks my heart. We can see how sad Won feels when Rin doesn't even consider him when Rin made the decision to leave to Yuan to replace his sister. Won's sad and mad at Rin for not treating him as friend first, but only then realized that Rin can't treat him as friend when other guards stop Rin after he hits Won.

The conversation between Rin and Dan also breaks my heart and only then I realize that I shed tears. These two innocent souls deserve to be happy.

San's voiceover in this episode is really interesting especially when she feels burdened for coming in between Won & Rin's beautiful friendship, which is why she asks Won to marry Dan, so that Rin doesn't need to leave.

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The best siblings are sure in this drama and what a twisted drama is this . Everytime I see this for some reason I feel anxious about the star crossed ones. OMG Rin and won make my little heart hurt a lot I am just scared about them. Plz I am not ready to see their broken hearts. So much of feels from everyone and all I can do is hope for a happy ending

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And what form would your happy ending take?

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As of sure not a dark form

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probably can happen if they can let go of their feeling and accepted the new love. Applicable to all of them.

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But letting go really is hard ?

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Alternate Pairings Game:
Won + Rin (because they are sooooo attached)
Dan + guard (at least one of them will be happy)
San + random Mongol (because somebody has to go)
Bi-yeon + Moo-suk (because being handsome totally makes up for everything else)

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I wonder if the mention of tribute women going to Yuan is partly a stand-in for the more recent anger over comfort women - which Korea will probably still be bugging Japan about for hundred of years, and which Japan will probably never admit to or apologize for any more than they already have. Korea seems to have had way too much practice surrendering pretty women to foreign conquerors. That's gotta hurt.

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I also wonder that the reason Princess Wonsung is so heartless about the tributes is that she was one herself, essentially, and probably thinks that it's perfectly normal to be one. And in that time when countries could be overrun by the Mongols at any time, a few women going as tribute and living as royalty in Yuan or servants to royalty, seemed a small price to pay.

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And is it just me, but does anyone else read the word "tribute" and think, "Hunger Games?" No? Ok, I guess it's just me then.

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nope, not just you.. me here lol

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Hmm yeah I didnt realized that she's technically a tribute too. She's the queen, of course. But she also left her country and family to live a lonely life in the Goryeo palace. The Queen is such an interesting character.

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Ya know, the Euns could have simpled things up a lot by slashing San's cheek when the baddies first got suspicious. They might have had to stall and hide her a while to give it time to heal, but they would have been in the clear legally and it would have been easier than the circus they've been going thru.

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yeah but if that can be proven to do now, they still get the punishment for intentionally avoiding the yuan tribute [like the monk-giel] and San's face now marks forever, which in the era make a someone undesirable for other people.

It also hard to find the right way cause the king had seen her before as the commoner without anything in her cheek.

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My thought as well... LOL.

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You would have got a down vote for this.

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The best decision that the casting director has made was casting Hong Jong Hyun as Rin. He is just so perfect for the role and his facial expressions are so sensual, sincere and pure. He is seriously so beautiful. It is amazing to think that he played the mean character in Scarlet Heart Ryeo as it is hard to think he even has a mean bone in his body. But that just goes to show how versatile and talented he is as an actor. He is indeed very good at playing Rin. Yoona has definitely improved her acting a lot from The K2 and Im Siwan is always a good actor as he always was.
RinSan has to be the endgame but I do think that San likes both men but for different reasons. Won is right, Rin has always allowed Won to win everything and I think in this case he going to let Won have San. Won is too important for Rin and he cherishes and respects his friend's love more. Maybe he understand how lonely Won really is and the fact that San fills that void. However, at the same time San is completely herself around Rin and she has nothing to hide from him. They are very compatible as a couple.

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Thank you - I agree one hundred percent about Hong Jong hyun. But he was a great villian in SHR too, which shows his versatility. Which btw I'm re watching SHR right now, in between King Loves episodes, and I find many similarities in things that happen. As far as Rin/Won I keep waiting for Won to turn on Rin after he becomes king, but so far he's shown absolute loyalty to Rin, surprisingly.

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HJH really looks like kim woo bin, his eyes are so sexy and his character in drama is so charming... ^.^
Siwan is always good in everything (singing, acting, cf, etc) you should watch his movie " the merciless", The movie that made him invited to cannes film festival with song yoon-ah's husband , he is really good actors ^.^
yoon-ah is always impoove in every project, from the k2, CA, and TKL korean netizen always praise her, she was bad before, but now she is fine..

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*actor

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HJH looks like a Korean elf in this drama. Reminds me of Legolas in LOTR.

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I think the same thing of Siwan!

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Hehe me too except I see Siwan as a mix of elf and hobbit. His hair and ears are elf-like but height (precious smol boy lol) is so hobbit. Hehe so he is my hobbit-elf king.

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YESSSSSS. I said this in epi 1 recap ^^

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The Merciless is in my watch list. I am so proud of Siwan for having his film invited for Cannes screening. Such an honor.

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yeaah he became first idol-actor who is invited to the Cannes Film Festival..so proud!

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Are there subs for The Merciless yet? I have been looking for months.

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not yet, I only watched its teaser (engsub) and raw version :( but they received a 7 minute standing ovation there, so it must be good

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Ha thank you for mentioning Kim Woo-bin! Indeed the two kind of look alike. And they're besties.

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I actually kinda conflicting cause the whole ep is all flashback but it makes sense because, in the last ep, the decision is sudden.

I think the reason they don't tell Won about San is to avoid the implication. Song-in is really sneaky and the king trusts him and if it's been known that Won help a girl to avoid a tribute to Yuan, Won is doomed for a punishment and not even San and Rin will be saved.
The other reason is probably that she loves Rin, she doesn't want to trap Won in a loveless married because he loves her so much and lying to her heart.
For the dad part ---> see next episode,

It so amusing that in this drama, everyone except Won [and princess wonsung to a certain degree] didn't make romantic love as their utmost priority. It makes me reflect on our life. Since San and Rin has is a commoner [they are noble and rich but hold no power], they realised that they don't have power so their 1st instinct is to saved people, saved their life and survived but Won is the golden spoon who already has everything in his life and he will not lose that wealth so his priority to find happiness triumph the surviving instinct.

I think the biggest clue about this drama is the music. Whenever I read the recap, I felt like the nuance is lost, not because of how bad the recap is but because the music is hard to translate.
The way they play it when Rin met San, San met Song in, San met Won is all giving the extra feeling that makes me just love the moment.

When I see the story in San point of views, she is really in a bind. Imagine you have 2 guys, both nice, both noble, both close to you and you need to choose. Just how?
You like their friendship, you like them both, you don't want to hurt them but honestly, in love and war, could you really be friends after?
There are instances that you can but it's hard to be the same person after. Just like we see Won gets hurt by realising the weird tension between his friend, that also what Rin and San feeling when they realised that they may break this peaceful moment.

I think the story gives us an individual journey to see how all the characters change and how they'll learn that it's okay to take the risk if that's what they want and need to do.

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Won is the future king and will be allowed to have many wives and concubines so he doesn't need to make romantic love his priority. First he must maintain his crown, then he can have any woman he wants.

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Rin is not just a noble, he is a member of the royal family.

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he is but he also the 3rd son who is not involved in politic yet and has no backup,
just like San in this ep, they just the children of the noble with no visible power or possession

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I might sound like a broken record... Commenting the same thing for every TKL's recaps. But boy I reeeaaalllyy hope they follow the novel. It would be interesting that way... Although it may not follow usual K-drama troupes.
#teamWangRin

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I gave up on that wish since this drama started. I would like #teamWangrin to happen but I read somewhere that this is not going to follow the novel. So, I have accepted it since.

But during the fight scene when Won yelled, "Don't touch him. No one can touch him, but me." My imagination was going wild with that line.

This is also the scene that makes me understand what Won would become. He will never be loved the same way he loves them.

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Did you read that the novels ended with Wang and Rin in a relationship? That was not what I read.

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do u know where I can read he novels, and in English? :)

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Summaries of each chapter, but only through a PM group in a forum. The show changed 95% of the details though, but it is following the overarching plot.

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Someone posted chapter summaries in the comments here: http://kkul-jaem.blogspot.co.id/2017/01/yoona-im-siwan-and-hong-jong-hyun.html

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I am tired of San. It amazes me how the way she thinks to solve the problem.
If you asked Won's help in the tea party, then why cried? Don't tell me that she cried because she was the intruder in their lives, it all happened because of her. don't use this reason to explain to me as viewer.

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I'm pretty unemotional, and I cried during that scene, twice, and then again when I was writing about it. I think it's because she sees the pain in his eyes and knows that she just broke his heart. She's not heartless herself, she understands how emotionally fragile Won is, although he puts up a strong facade. She's not crying because she is heartbroken, she's crying because he is. And that's why I cried too. She sees herself as you see her, the fault of their friendship, and this is her way of leaving them, while leaving Won-Rin intact. We have all the information, she doesn't and is only doing things with her blinders on. Everyone in this story has blinders, which is why it's compelling.

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I think I can relate it

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Yes, Won is almost gulping for breath and blinking away franticly to control his tears, there is a huge irony in that he is now choosing Dan, not only to fulfil his prommise to her and keep Rin but also keep faithful to San's express whish. I think San has equally mixed feelings and is fighting to keep any vestige of composure (but deep inside she has effectively already pledged herself to Won any time he asks). I wanted Rin to step out of the cutains and give each of them taffy to make their hearts at peace! Their self-denyal is anguish and San's love of rasperries has so much to answere for!

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Lol, taffy! Because that would solve everyone's' problems!

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I think she was crying because she knew she hurt him, she made him choose someone that he didn't love... and once again this drama is reply goryeo, so maybe it won't be easy to read heroine's mind,haha...

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She likes Won as her precious friend, she said that. And she knows she broke his heart in a shocking way, even citing that San agashi's heart belongs to someone else. I think it'll be pretty heartless if she didnt cry seeing a heartbroken Won like that.

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Everyone has their own POV, but can't you imagine rin san are lovey dovey in front of won ? even won decided to be "just friend" with san for their own happiness but I don't think there is friendship between woman and man, especially wonsan... wang won will fake his smile in front of them and behind them, he will cry out loudly, God I can not imagine how painful it is, poor won T.T
I love rin san, but won is more pitiful,even if he turn dark (he turn dark for all the good reasons) and even if wonsan dont end up together, I will stay for won ^.^

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I love this show!

It's rare to see a heroine who puts the bromance above everything else. And her reasoning is pretty solid too. She adores the friendship between Won and Rin, but she knows returning any of their affection spells for disaster. Their affection towards her is new compared to their beautiful bromance, so she retreated. Sacrificing herself as a token of her friendship to WonRin.

But my initial reaction was... Wait, what about your own father and household, Lady San? I'm glad the next ep shows that she already had a plan to rescue her father and their immense wealth. A heroine who actually can thinks and schemes on her own!

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As always, I'm rooting for our trio to be happy. I love how fast Won realized there's something going on between Rin and San. And San kinda confirmed his suspicion when she said the Lady has another man in her heart. I'm Team RinSan but, like RinSan themselves, I don't want to see Won feeling betrayed and being heartbroken either.

Yet I also want RinSan who always too selfless, always put others' happiness above their own... to eventually be a little "selfish" and do something with their mutual romantic attraction. Also, Yoona and Hong Jonghyun's chemistry is off the charts. The longing gazes! The subtle smiles! If RinSan have a kiss scene in the drama it will be soooo rewarding. (But then I dont want to see Won getting hurt over this too. I honestly wont mind WonSan either, but it'll be sad to see Rin being heartbroken by himself all over again too).

Gaaaah the conflicts are sooo good. But I still I can relate to the noble idiocies because it shows how happy the trio are as friends, and know whomever San choose will only hurt the other and none of them want that.

Dear drama, please give me more happy moments between the trio more! The scene of them playing in pink azalea field/forest haven't shown on the drama so far, right?

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I'm rooting for the trio to be happy too, but I wonder how will they be happy at the end when all they do are sacrificing themselves and indirectly hurting each other along the way. Someone has to give in, but even that, someone else will be hurt seeing that person gives in. I agree with you that maybe Rin and San have to be a lil bit selfish, but it's also sad to see Won's heartbroken.

For the first time ever, this is a drama that makes me having SLS all the time in the way that when Rin&San together, I feel SLS towards Won, and when Won&San together, I feel SLS towards Rin. I'm RinSan shipper, but it doesn't make me happy to see Rin & San ends up together, when Won's hurting. And of course if San ends up with Won, I'll be mad because I've always been Rin's supporter.

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I think its to late at this point to attempt to pair San with Won. Shes been shown to have a very definate preference for Rin.
If they do I'll be flipping tables. Lol

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its too late ( I am wonsan ) but Let's appreciate good story and acting more than ship wars ^.^

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I was wondering about the pink azalea field scene too. With the beautiful clothes San is wearing I think it must be coming up in the next few episodes. We're in for a lot of angst yet. I'm also wondering if RinSan either kiss or hug or something that makes Won feel betrayed. We just don't know!

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She had a plan, but she bet everything on it, and when it didn't work... How can you put your family and your own life at risk like that?

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They're already at risk either way! Too many people has known the family's crime of hiding her identity. Both San and Lord Eun agrees that their wealth should not go to either Queen or to the rebels. They essentially want to stay away from the politics.

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Thanks for your recap and comment, murasakimi!

Holy smokes! The smoldering conflicts in the drama have crowned into ten-alarm blazes.

As I've thought from the very beginning, Rin acts against Won only in self-defense, and even then, half-heartedly. Just as I expected, when he finally is goaded into striking back against Won, the guards pile on him, which is what he knew would happen all along. Princess Wonsung was right: Won cannot really have friends because they can never be equals.

I can't help but wonder if red snake assassin Moo-suk is actually Bi-yeon's long-lost brother. Why not? It would be a parallel to Rin and Dan. -- Speaking of whom: LOL at Jeon being their brother. I think the stork dropped him at the wrong house. ;-)

I don't know if it's the subtitles or what, but I was confused to learn that keeping Dan off the Yuan tribute list was Chancellor Wang's reason for proposing marriage between Jeon and Finance Minister Eun's daughter. Song Im's ploy seven years earlier to get Jeon married to San was a separate issue about which Chancellor Wang truly was oblivious? Arggg!!! I'm ready to tear my hair out over the multiple levels of intrigue.

On the other hand, just because Song Im tells San that he was really desperate as a Goryeo patriot seven years earlier, I have a hard time believing him. It sounded as if he were BSing San about having a heart for Goryeo's poor and downtrodden -- or that might have been the modicum of truth mixed in with his lies.

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Oops. I've gotten ahead of myself and seen the rest of this week's episodes. I don't think I spilled any actual beans.

*zips lip*

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Song In and brother in very first episode discuss San being 13 and that her father is already looking for a husband as next year she will be in the age bracket for tribute girls. I think the idea that marrying her to Wang Jeon (he wants San - see the $$$ in his eyes) is an excuse to dress up their scheming with respectibility: the wealth after all is what everyone from the King down (except Won) covets.

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He doesn't believe Rin about the Song In-Jeon plot. There's a rule that a tribute cannot be taken from a family which is celebrating something, which is a major reason why he sidelined Rin and agreed to hasten the marriage--if San is married to Jeon, the family will be considered as celebrating a joyous occasion, and neither Won nor Rin can be taken as tributes in the short-term.

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I once read that "Selflessness is a form of selfishness that benefits others more than it benefits oneself." For reasons already mentioned in the recap, watching Rin reminds me of this quotation. He makes seemingly selfless decisions for his own good/peace of mind. I like it. Haha.

This had been a beautiful ep, but I loved two scenes in particular: (1) the fight scene between Won and Rin. It reminded me that, "Ah, they can never be equal." It also made me feel for Won, knowing that his only friend can never reciprocate his friendship. To Rin, Won shall always be his master, his superior, and never a friend ?; and (2) Dan and Rin's scene. It is heartbreaking for Dan, to knowingly enter a marriage in which she will never be loved.

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Oh damn. The tension between Rin and San is unbearable and exciting at the same time. When he said that his heart is crumbling apart, and that gaze ? Hong Jong-hyun is just... Wow.

Actually, I don't see the lead/second lead distinction that much. Their relationship is so tangled, unclear and confusing that you can't really point out who is who. I really love it, though. This entanglement is boosting up the feels and the angst to a hundred.

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Another Dan and Rin moment! Thanks for pointing it out @murasakimi it's also my favorite scene from this episode. Love love these sibling affection to each other to the bits.

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what makes this is a conflict is because San falls in love to Rin.
If she falls for Won everything will be fall in to right place. it will be a happy ending for the rest of 10 episodes left. there is no heartache anymore. the one will het hurt probably just Rin..

But hence.. it's not like what we thought and hoped. San falls for Rin and that what's makes this story still left 10 episodes ??
because of her love, she might ruin Won-Rin friendship. because if she falls for Won Rin will be very happy although he is hurt.

Won really loves her deeply and stated that she is his first of everything and that makes this drama complicated and continously go on ??

I was so curious since the press conference before this airing. Yoona's and Jong Hyun's body language on stage seems they both so comfortable with each other. I think now that was because they had shoot many romantic scene together and became close to each other.
It was very different with Im Siwan. it was seems like Yoona has to struggle to making pose together with him. and so is Siwan.

and the way MBC presence Jong Hyun is like he is also the main role. this drama has 3 main roles with 2 leads male. Because the title is "the King Loves" it's the story from The King thought and feels about love that is why Im Siwan as the King take the 1st lead.

But Jonghyun also the lead. what makes him the lead because our female lead falls for him. He is also the center of the story.

this is interesting since this is the first time I watch korean drama with 3 main leads.

frankly speaking compared to The K2 I think Yoona and Hong Jong Hyun chemistry is more better. they can potray the feel of love between San and Rin in very natural way. love their gaze to each other and etc ??

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yeah I agree, if san loves won, it seems like everything can fall apart nicely and rin is the one left with broken heart.

it makes me dream about the other drama, like what if this happens in the moon that embracing the sun, sungkyungkwan scandal or even Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, this little twist can change the whole story dynamic

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I like how this one is not the usual kdrama love triangle where the lead guy will get the girl. I know all three of them are leads, but it is clear that Siwan's character is the main lead and I truly feel that he will not get the love here. If San were to choose Won, there will be much less problems for the characters and we'd have to wrap up the story soon. I find this story route refreshing.

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And dont forget about behind the scene and vlive video. Their chemistry is just flooding everywhere??? i found my self smiling like stupid when i watch their behind scene together. Its so unexpected, i thought siwan and yoona have the top chemistry between the trio??

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No way! You're seeing things you want to see. It's obvious even behind the scenes Yoona and Hong Jong hyun interact and have more chemistry.

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For me, all three have great chemistry. It is sad that Siwan is not around to do more promos so only Jonghyun and Yoona got to do them, but based on the BTS and what we see onscreen, all three have chemistry and it is not only the romantic kind, but they do have a great rapport.

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God, I always ship wrong couples
Dr stranger : LJS-KSR
Ruler : Lee sun-hwa goon
Reply : Jung hwan- deok sun ( they are now dating in real life yeay!)
Moonlight : almost ship PBG-CSB, thanks to kim yoo jung's beauty!
now in TKL:in this episodes 80% won-san 20% rin san T.T after next episode 100% won san bhaha
In the end i will be the most heartbroken

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I know it impossible but let's support Won-San till the end TT

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woaaa finally, are you won san team too? I thought I was the only one here T.T you are my savior... bhaha XD
started watching for im siwan and will support him till the end !!

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My husband is the Admiral of the Won-San ship! When I told him how the book ended, he said that he'd stop watching if that ship was going to sink!

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BHAHA XD Your husband will definitely throw something to the tv LOL

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OMG HAHA I am curious though. What made your husband choose WonSan ship?

I was leaning on RinSan, but with recent developments, I find myself leaning toward the middle again and cannot choose. Won is breaking my heart.

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Hahaha, I'm feeling like I'm in a pretty good place right now because I'm experiencing both first lead syndrome AND second lead syndrome. So I can't lose (lol, you could argue that I also can't win...but whatever). What this means is that I trust that the show could take me either way at this point and I'd be happy and heartbroken no matter what.

Funnyily enough, this is actually reminiscent of the reaction I had to Reply 1988. A part of me started to root for DeokSun/Taek more because their bond was unique and special, but I still felt more heartbroken at the thought of Jung Hwan never getting his shot. (Haha, needless to say, recent news made me feel like I really DID win it all for that particular show).

In this case, I do respond more to the attraction between Rin-San, but I also just love the interactions between Won-San. Ultimately, though, I'm a lot like San in loving the friendship between them most of all and I love that she continues to choose that over all else, even if her methods are flawed.

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This is the right attitude, best to stay neutral and not get caught up in shipping.

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THIS is exactly how I feel too. I find myself liking both. I know I'd be happy and heartbroken either way and every now and then I think of whether I should choose one pairing, but I just can't. Before I was leaning toward RinSan (not fully on board), but the recent episodes shifted my perspective to middling once again and toward WonSan.

In the end, I only wish for the best for all. My fave has got to be WonSanRinDan. So much love for these four.

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omg... I think we could be best friend. I'm shipping exactly how you ship! Surprising cos I thought I'm the only one who ship Lee Sun-Hwa Goon in Ruler.
An here, Won-San feelssss...!!

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hwa goon is my fav character there, When she died I immediately stopped watching wkwkwk
won's love towards san is really strong, he loves her more than himself, when rin loves won more... T.T

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HAHA totally the same... I didn't bother to watch the remaining 4 hours or so after Hwa Goon died. Becos aside from her, no one else matter LOLOL

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I think almost everyone support Hwa Goon. She was the only female character who actually help the CP and her selfless love (just like Rin). The only reason people not really ship her with CP is just because HG is played by an actress with least popularity and talent like Kim Soo hyun... If Ga Eun was played by a newbie actress, people will demand her character to get killed... #nohate #justtellingthetruth

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THIS!! I think everyone is just biased towards KSH. I never watched KSH before Ruler, altho I heard about how sensational she is, so I'm sort of neutral, and I just can't with her character... Hwa Goon all the way

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People tend to have double standards with their fav, no matter how good idol's acting they won't admit it, but when their fav's acting can't save her character in drama, they will put the blame on others T.T

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Yoon So Hee will put you all to shame.

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I love it that Won tests Rin and San in that Geumwajong tea scene and they both fail miserably. Try as they might to avoid each other's eyes, they cannot hide that they are so very aware of each other. When Won says that San's face looks like it's hurt, Rin immediately whips his head to her, and when Won reveals that Rin volunteered to be sent to Yuan, her countenance says it all. The chemistry between Hong Jonghyun and Yoona is just so amazing!!!

I also like the flashback storytelling. It's both experimental and symbolic. Every layer that builds up to the last scene has to be exposed and peeled back. When you watch the episode before this, it looks so straightforward and simple, but then you watch this episode and you realize that A LOT of maneuvering went on to get us to that point.

Also, the bromance is so beautiful but I find it more beautiful that it is San who recognizes just how special Won and Rin's relationship is that she does everything within her power to get Rin to stay beside Won while still saving her family (will be shown in the next ep). San is smart, and I like that she acts even when the whole world seems to be against her. One of my comments about the earliest eps was about how San seemed to be an object of the changes around her, but these eps show that she is an active agent. She's steadfast in her beliefs and acts accordingly.

Can I just say, Yoona is doing such a great job as San? All of them are. Can't believe that tweeter who snarkily implied that Hong Jonghyun and Yoona can't act. As someone who has faithfully watched and rewatched this show, I can only think that such narrow-mindedness is a product of prejudice and commenting on a show without really watching it.

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Also, the cinematography of this show is just BEAUTIFUL. Colors, framing, shot composition <3 <3 <3 and the music!!!!

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"I can only think that such narrow-mindedness is a product of prejudice and commenting on a show without really watching it." couldn't agree more with you!
HJH and yoona are the most surprising performance in TKL.. even most of viewers stay because of their chemistry is really good, I am won san but objectively I don't hate their chemi

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*are

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Won knows!!!!!!

And she realizes who she likes but cant have. Aahh!!!

And Rin....oh Rin. You tear my heart to pieces.

Loved loved Dan and Rin scene this episode.

Great structure to the story telling this episode. Even though I knew what happened, I was rivetted by how and why.

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Exactly! I saw some taking issue with the extended flashback this episode was and, maybe because I'd normally be bothered too, I was rather struck by how much the writer and PD managed to sweep me up so that I felt like I was in a completely different place by the time the end scene was reached. I loved it.

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Me too. I enjoyed the flashback because we missed a lot in the previous episode and how the flashback was presented allowed me to piece together what led to the current situation and I was watching something beautiful and heartbreaking unravel. The kind of flashback I hate is the unnecessary repetition and obvious time fillers. The ones shown here are crucial. And I noticed the flashbacks of scenes shown before are dialed to a minimum.

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Exactly. I thought the flashbacks were a good way to peel the layers that made that ending scene so much more riveting. You gradually see each thing that builds up to the big moment. I thought it was lovely.

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Indeed! And boy did I love the moment Won made his choice after we were shown his conversation with San. That was such a heartbreaking moment because Won was obviously shaken after seeing San, San was close to tears because she knew she hurt him, and Dan could not believe she was chosen in the end. And to add to the already emotional scene was how the camera moved and how the shots were angled. I love that shot of San in between WonDan frame.

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Song jina writter nim and kim sang hyub PD nim is the perfect combination, both are so detailed in everything from casts to costumes..,kuddo tkl team

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Finally a positive comment? Hahaha I'm so surprised. Second everything you said and waiting for the next recap :D

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when I watched this drama, I found myself like reading a romance mahwa, Every character is beautifully written, from visual, costumes, and stories...
SJN said in JPN magazine's interview that she is very passionate with this project , she doesn't expect high ratings ( higher expectation only 10% ), and this is her first time write a drama that focus on psychology of characters not on social commentary....so interesting ^.^

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The psychology of the characters, ah, that's why it's so good, and different!

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yeah HJH in a good hands ^.^

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I don’t know why but I get the vibes some of you here don’t really that like San, including our drama recap Author-Nims? Haha..Well I do understand that San’s character at earlier episodes kinda annoying sometimes but as the story goes on I try to understand her character and like her now..She is actually a very nice and humble person, she thinks and putting everyone before her just like Rin. She is actually same with Dan, both of them are nice Agasshi, not arrogant at all..It just that she spend her times mostly at mountain so she lacks of feminity, but I think it is also her character from the start that she is kinda boyish from she was little..Well Yoona did have poor acting back then when she first debuted but she is a lots of better these years so I hope people won’t dislikes her and having bad judges on her drama character just because of that..

Like most of you, I wonder why Won didn’t recognize San with her veil on even though he claim he was crazy in love with her..Even Rin know that San is laughing when she was wearing the mask..I meant at least make Won find San’s eyes familiar when he came to stop her wedding should be okay too because he was facing and talking with her didn’t he? also when San revealed herself at the Tea party, I was kinda hoping that they would play the scene when Won recalling meeting San on her Wedding day and when they were invited by the King to make it real and better, and lastly why Won didn’t mention about San’s wedding to Jeon at all when Rin confronting him?? Like what if he didn’t make it in time to stop the wedding then won’t San (his love) already be married to Jeon? I meant he notice and worry every little things about San and the wedding is big matter so why he just got angry over the fact that RinSan didn’t tell him about San’s status as Lady San? The writer Song Jina is famous for her details on every scene so why she let these details out? Oh come on it such a pity..BUT I do really like the way she make RinSan’s moments and the way Won caught that immediately, so sweet..

Nowadays I really love RinSan, even though I like WonSan more in earlier episodes..Now I’m confused between these two pairings, maybe as the story goes and develop futher, we all can make the right decision on which couple even though most of you already have one..haha

I really looking forward to the episodes where the three of them playing happily together in the fields fill with lots of pink flower like in the earlier teaser..Please let this episode coming faster, at least spare some happy and free of tears episodes for us..Haha

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