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The King Loves: Episodes 29-30

The devastating effects of a recent death spur Rin into reckless action, and he finds himself directly at odds with Won, who desperately tries to keep all the fraying pieces of his once peaceful life together. However, once again Won is forced to make an impossible choice, and this time, the decision he makes may bring more harm than good, and drive those he loves further away.

 
EPISODE 29 RECAP

We open the episode with Won rushing into the room and finding Minister Eun unconscious on the floor. Won feels Minister Eun’s pulse, but is too already late.

Eunuch Choi escorts San to Princess Wonsung’s residence, as several royal physicians speed by. The activity distracts San long enough to miss Boo-yong deposit a small medicine packet into Eunuch Choi’s hand from behind before scurrying away.

In her chambers, Princess Wonsung tells San her earliest memories of the king: For years, King Chungryeol (then the crown prince) would ask her father for her hand in marriage, but each time, Kublai Khan refused, citing his daughter’s young age.

During King Chungryeol’s visits, Princess Wonsung would hide, finding his appearance fearsome, but one day, someone handed her a peony. San asks if that person was the king, but Princess Wonsung doesn’t say.

Nearby, we see Eunuch Choi opening Princess Wonsung’s teapot, and he places the small medicine packet nearby on the tea cart.

Princess Wonsung continues and tells San how difficult it was for her to adjust to Goryeo at first, and how strange and scary the king seemed to her.

San looks over to the tea cart and sees the mysterious medicine packet. She eyes it curiously before Princess Wonsung asks if she knows why she is telling San these old stories. Princess Wonsung explains that the only person she had to rely on in this foreign country was her son. And thus, she lives solely for Won’s sake.

She adds that those loyal to the king are constantly plotting to remove Won from his position, and even kill him if given the chance. Therefore, in order to avoid that outcome, Won will need Minister Eun’s assets to secure his position.

Princess Wonsung asks San if she will give Won the power he needs, but before she can answer, Jang Eui storms in the room to report Minister Eun’s incident.

San goes immediately to her father, completely bypassing Won before frantically calling out to her lifeless father. She searches his robes for his medicine, convinced it can still wake him, then notices how cold his hands are.

The royal physicians tells San that her father had a sudden heart attack, but San remains obsessed with finding his medicine, even noting the special characters it had written on it, and her eyes suddenly widen in realization. Ack!

She hurries out, and Won follows her. He tries to get her to face reality, but she’s lost in her delusion.

San barges into Princess Wonsung’s chambers and beelines for the tea cart, causing a ruckus as she searches. She finds her father’s pill, and Won grabs hold of her as she runs toward the door, babbling about delivering the medicine as he begs her to get a grip.

It dawns on her suddenly where she is, and she looks up at Princess Wonsung, who watches her with a genuinely concerned look on her face. San asks what her father’s medicine is doing here, and Won echoes her question to his mother with a sharp tone.

We cut to Rin and Moo-suk as they arrive at a house, where predictably, Song In is waiting for Rin. He’s cordial to Rin, who’s curt in return, even as Song In reiterates that he isn’t his enemy. Pfft, sure, we’ll all just start believing you now.

Rin asks Song In if this was all a trap, but Song In ignores Rin’s distrust and poses his own question, by asking Rin if he knows how truly dangerous Princess Wonsung is.

Rin begins walking away, having wasted enough of his time, when Song In tells him that his cousin, and Won’s older half-brother, Prince Gangyang, lives in this house.

Song In explains to Rin that the first thing Princess Wonsung did after she arrived in Goryeo was to demote the former queen to a royal concubine. Then, after Won was born, she grew even more spiteful of the king’s first wife, lashing out at her for the slightest offenses.

Song In shows Rin the room where the former crown prince lives and explains that they are protecting him from his enemies, who may still wish to see him dead.

Rin goes inside to meet his cousin, but is alarmed by the man’s state. He staggers backwards, crushed to see the prince shoving handfuls of paper into his mouth like a madman. Song In helpfully explains that Gangyang is not well, and sources the prince’s mental instability to some honey cookies that Princess Wonsung had sent to him one day.

Moreover, the physician who discovered the poison in the cookies was found dead the next day. Song In isn’t done with Rin just yet, and tells Rin that Minister Eun has gone to Princess Wonsung to ask her to approve Rin and San’s marriage.

Rin runs out of the estate in a panic and back toward the palace, right before Moo-suk informs Song In that Minister Eun has passed away.

Meanwhile, Minister Song spins his web of lies around the ailing king, and identifies Princess Wonsung as the one responsible for Minister Eun’s death. The king asks of Won’s involvement in the matter, and Minister Song is happy to incriminate him with speculation.

Given the king’s fear of Won, he’s easy to convince and remarks to himself, “I have brought a poisonous viper into our country, and that viper has reared a poisonous serpent of a son. This all happened because of me.”

Things get heated at Princess Wonsung’s, as San shouts at her to explain why she has her father’s medicine. Princess Wonsung’s guards are on high alert after San’s slanderous words, and when she tries to leave, she’s stopped on all sides.

Not in the mood for delays, San fights her way past the first line, forcing Furatai to step in. Won takes San’s place in front of Furatai’s sword, and Princess Wonsung barks at her guard to stand down.

Won turns to his mother and begs her to leave San alone, since she has just lost her father. San still refuses to accept that her father is truly gone, and swears that he’ll be fine if he just takes the medicine.

Therefore, Won tells San again that it’s too late, but she doesn’t want to hear it and makes her way toward the exit again. Won continually blocks her path, before pulling her into his arms.

She struggles to free herself, but soon she weakens and sobs into his embrace.

Rin sprints through the streets as Song In’s warning of Princess Wonsung’s ruthlessness rings through his mind. He’s stopped at the gate by soldiers, who know Rin’s been banned from entering. Instead, he asks about Minister Eun and San, who the guards confirm they saw enter, but not yet leave.

Rin apologizes to the guards before knocking them all out and racing inside. He encounters Jin Gwan, and is taken straight to Won (I swear Jin Gwan and Jang Eui invented GPS). Won is surprised to see Rin, wondering if he knows what it means for him to be standing inside the palace.

But Rin isn’t thinking of himself and begins questioning Won about Minister Eun. He’s horrified to hear that Minister Eun has died, and inside Princess Wonsung’s residence no less. Rin asks about San, and Won replies that he’s looking after her.

Rin tries to leave, looking completely dissatisfied with what he’s just heard, but Jang Eui and Jin Gwan stop him. Won orders them to escort Rin out unnoticed, but Rin pushes them out of the way.

Won stands and tells Rin that he’s trying to save him, and yet he defies his order. He then basically guilts Rin by saying that if his closest person defies his order, then how can he have the authority to command others?

Rin turns back toward Won and questions him on how Minister Eun died, and if there was someone else or something else in that room that was put there on Princess Wonsung’s orders, like poisoned tea, or honey cookies… (Crap.)

Furious, Won grabs Rin by the collar and demands to know what exactly he’s accusing his mother of. Rin throws Won off, then declares that he will be escorting both Minister Eun and San out.

Won snaps back that he said he was taking care of it, but then Rin shouts, “I cannot trust you!” Noooo!

Won is flabbergasted and can’t even process Rin’s words as he asks who and what can’t Rin trust, after punching Rin across the face. Rin roars that he will not leave Minister Eun and San within the palace and will be taking them out.

Rin leaves to find San crouched over her father’s body with tears streaming down her face. Her face crumples when she sees him as she mourns over her father’s state. She continues to express her disbelief, and so Rin tells her that he will take her father home with her.

Won enters the room and glares as Rin holds out his hand for San, which she accepts. They stand together, holding hands, and San tells Won that she wants to go home, but for a while all Won can see are their clasped hands.

He snaps out of it and orders his bodyguards to prepare a carriage for San and her father, then issues an order stating that he called Rin back to the palace in order to escort Minister Eun home. He then takes his leave, but his eyes are cold.

At Princess Wonsung’s, Court Lady Jo promises that she knows nothing of the medicine on the tray, so she moves onto the rat in her ranks, Eunuch Choi, and immediately demands to know what he wants.

He pretends to know nothing, sobbing on about his innocence, so Princess Wonsung begins screaming at him to spit it out, but suddenly stumbles forward in pain.

She asks Furatai about Minister Eun, specifically if the man was murdered, but is informed that San had refused an autopsy. Furatai is worried about the palace gossip that will begin circulating about the incident and Princess Wonsung’s alleged involvement, but she only becomes more determined to acquire Minister Eun’s assets since she now knows how much her enemies want it.

As she makes her avowal she stares right at Eunuch Choi, who trembles under her gaze.

Elsewhere, Minister Song and Song In discuss their new plan to drive a wedge between Won and Princess Wonsung. They know it won’t be easy, but it’s critical to their plan, since now that Won has the authority of the king, people will begin to notice his competence.

Song In comments that Won’s intelligence will invite high expectations of him, and with that comes bigger disappointments. Until finally, Song In says, his best friend and the woman he loves will abandon him. Only then will they see Won at his worst, and it will either destroy him or make him go berserk.

At the same time, Minister Song makes a comment about the king, who has become completely pacified under Boo-yong’s poisonous influence.

We cut to an unnamed court lady sneaking through the night. She grabs the golden incense diffuser Boo-yong used to murder Minister Eun with and tries to escape with it in tow, but is stopped by Won and his bodyguards.

Won snatches the item from her, and says aloud how his mother is very sensitive to aromas, and thus something like this would never be here. The court lady drops to her knees, proclaiming her innocence, but Won isn’t fooled, and dispatches his bodyguards to investigate the diffuser.

Won returns to his chambers alone, but Rin’s fiery denouncement of him hangs in the forefront of his mind. He looks hurt, and his thoughts drift to San and Rin holding hands, as San begged to go home.

A royal physician reports to Won that after examining the contents of the diffuser, the plant inside would be fatal to someone with a heart condition, and could trigger a heart attack.

Jang Eui arrives and adds that the court lady they encountered confessed to be working under Princess Wonsung’s instructions to remove the diffuser from the guest room, and Won gasps in disbelief.

Back at home, San prepares for her father’s funeral service, but when it’s time to write a banner for it, she can’t bring herself to. Rin appears besides her, and steadies her shaking hand. He brushes away the tears collecting around her eyes, and looks down at her lovingly as she writes.

The service begins, and the entire household is in tears over Minister Eun’s death. Rin holds San’s hands as she stands before the altar, and tells her softly to take her time in bidding her father farewell.

He puts his arm around her shoulder, and she leans into his chest, crying.

 
EPISODE 30 RECAP

Princess Wonsung is done playing Eunuch Choi’s games, and reveals the eunuch’s tied-up mother and son. Eunuch Choi begs her to spare them, offering to tell her everything he knows. However, Princess Wonsung has grown tired of words and orders his son castrated and mother blinded.

Without any other recourse, Eunuch Choi blurts out that “they” are after Rin. Princess Wonsung narrows her eyes at the eunuch’s word choice, and presses him to explain who “they” are. She’s stunned when he replies that he’s referring to the followers of Prince Gangyang.

Eunuch Choi elaborates that the followers of Prince Gangyang have been waiting for the right moment to recruit Rin, and that they left him beside Won because that was the safest place for Rin until he grew up.

Around the corner, we see that Jin Gwan has been eavesdropping on their conversations, Furatai notices and chases after him when he flees.

In his room, Won drinks a jar of the special wine he, Rin, and San had hiked up the mountain to retrieve for Teacher Lee from the royal winery. He reminiscences and thinks longingly of a time when they were all together. He had hoped to stop thinking of his friends if he got himself drunk enough, but he finds that the alcohol only intensified thoughts of them.

Jin Gwan and Jang Eui enter to give their reports about Eunuch Choi and San/Rin, but Won’s mind whirls as he wearily begs for a minute to gather himself before dealing with his rapidly unraveling situation.

At Minister Eun’s house, Rin sees Bi-yeon on his way out. He promises to return before dawn after she asks where he is going, then he asks her to prepare San a small bag so that she may leave at a moment’s notice.

Rin goes straight home to ask his father about his almost arranged marriage to San. His father is shocked to hear about Minister Eun’s sudden death, but confirms their conversation about the marriage. He adds that Minister Eun had been watching Rin, and it was his wish that Rin would take care of San in his absence.

Rin quickly takes stock of their situation and announces that he will be leaving with San. But it would also mean abandoning his post as inspector general, thereby making him a fugitive. He’s concerned for his family and any repercussions they may incur from his actions, but still, he has decided to go.

In her quarters, Princess Wonsung’s condition continues to worsen, and she begins violently coughing up blood. She calls for the document they took from San which detail Minister Eun’s assets, and focuses on his warehouse of grain.

She gets another coughing fit, and Court Lady Jo urges Princess Wonsung to rest, but she answers, “My son is standing by a cliff, and I have little time.”

Jin Gwan briefs Won on what he overheard from Eunuch Choi about the followers of Prince Gangyang wanting Rin, and Won calls it nonsense, because Rin is his friend.

He then confirms that all the palace guards were notified that if Rin were to appear, he is to be brought directly to Won. Given the late time, Eunuch Kim wonders if Rin will show, but Won is certain that he will, because he knows that Rin has much to say to him.

Unfortunately, Won is kept waiting, because instead, Rin seeks out Song In again at Prince Gangyang’s house.

Rin finds the royal adviser waiting for him, and interrogates Song In on his reasons for showing Prince Gangyang to him. Song In replies that he hoped Rin would see the truth and feel motivated to act on his pure-blooded claim to the throne.

Rin scoffs at Song In’s pure-blooded reasonings as he realizes that Song In is orchestrating some sort of revolt, and mocks Song In’s plans.

Rin unsheathes his sword and warns Song In to draw his sword before charging. Song In expertly dodges Rin’s attacks, having no intention to fight, so Rin lunges forward again, but this time, Song In steps through a sliding door into another room, where Rin’s many loyal followers bow to greet him.

He’s startled by the amount of people swearing fealty to him and hoping for a Goryeo free from Yuan’s influence, but soon, his surprise turns into disgust.

He vows to rid all those disloyal to Won one by one from Goryeo, and lifts his sword at Song In to strike, until Boo-yong opens the last door to reveal the king behind it. Rin falls to his knees and bows, realizing that he’s been ensnared.

Meanwhile, Furatai and his men raid Minister Eun’s grain warehouse: They take some bags and leave some behind, but they make sure to stamp each and every bag with a red seal.

The generals arrive at Won’s early in the morning and find Won hungover from the night before. One of the generals tell Won that they received an anonymous note, informing them that the missing grain was found in Minister Eun’s warehouse, and can be identified from the red seal.

They add that another stash of their grain was found being delivered to Wang Young’s residence, and apparently, they learned that Wang Young has received multiple shipments of grain previously from Minister Eun.

They know that Won is close with Rin, but they urge Won to judge the matter impartially.

We switch over to San, who remains sitting in a daze in front of her father’s altar. Surprisingly, Rin appears beside her and tells her that they are ready to begin Minister Eun’s funeral procession through the city. He reminds her that Minister Eun’s sole desire was to ensure San’s safety, and he looks at her meaningfully.

In his chambers, Won washes his face and asks for news about Rin. But there isn’t any, so Won says hopefully that they’ll wait a little longer.

Princess Wonsung orders Furatai to capture Rin and San after the funeral procession without Won knowing and to kill them if necessary, while the king concurrently orders Rin brought to him unharmed.

Finally having given up on Rin coming to him, Won decides to take action and writes San a letter, explaining himself to her (and us). He apologizes for not being with her in her grief, and says that there was a time when he was forced to choose between her and Rin. Back then, he chose her without hesitation.

We flash back in time to Won and Rin’s conversation in the cell from Episodes 9-10, where Rin had scoffed and laughed when Won told him he was picking San over him. But this time, he writes that he will choose Rin over her. Oh, Won.

He asks if she will be able to smile and accept his decision like Rin had back then.

We cut to a group of court ladies arriving at Wang Young’s estate to officially bring Dan to the palace and accept her title of crown princess. Afterward, Eunuch Kim reads out the new titles for Dan’s family members to the royal court (which includes Won’s astonished and upset generals) as the official in-laws, and announce their wedding in two days.

Their new titles will protect them from crimes beneath high treason, and void the grain issue.

Won narrates the rest of his letter to San and asks if she remembers the ring she gave to him and her promise to grant him anything he asks. (Don’t do it Won! You’re better than this!) He adds, “Do you remember what I said to you? Always, until forevermore, you will be my priority. Don’t ever forget that.”

Won hands Jang Eui the letter to deliver to San (placing the ring inside the envelope), and tells him to bring her back, since she will want to meet with him after she reads it.

San and Rin walk in Minister Eun’s funeral procession through the city as Furatai and his men try to arrest them. But they have to wait until the procession leaves the city or risk public unrest. Simultaneously, Moo-suk and his men try to get the pair under the king’s orders.

Finally, Jang Eui speeds through the streets en route to deliver Won’s letter to San.

Won reads in voiceover the last part of his letter to San, which says: “I have no right and lack the confidence, so I rely on the power of this necklace… San. My So-hwa. Come back and stay with me.”

 
COMMENTS

I really thought that last week we were getting set up for a flash forward, wherein Rin would wander around Goryeo for a few years, Won would get a knack for ruling, and San would be working as a cross-dressing page in the palace, running errands for Won, and surprising Jin Gwan and Jang Eui with her innate skills as a bodyguard.

To me, it would give Rin time to return to us as a slightly changed man, who has seen firsthand (and repeatedly) the horrors of the tribute system, because I had doubted that the Rin we know now would convincingly betray Won. I think the way things transpired today was serviceable, but the show is going to have to work hard to convince me that Rin is suddenly working with Song In just because the king says so, especially now that doing so could bring harm to his family (given that Dan is becoming the crown princess). I’m still kind of waiting for the moment where Won and Rin break faith with each other in an irreversible way, but at each turn, the boys continue to have each other’s back, and I feel like they can work their way through this latest obstacle.

I really do love the story’s emphasis on Won and Rin’s friendship, especially in these episodes, because it underlines how devoted Won is to Rin, and that is quite rare. The idea that friendship holds a profoundly equal weight as love and romance do to Won is quite lovely, and I’m enjoying the unique way the show is handling these emotions, because sometimes these themes can come off a bit corny. For Won, because San and Rin are so equally important to him, his decisions seem to be based on which one needs him most, and this time, it was Rin. On the other hand, for Rin, his feelings for San and loyalty to Won are two separate things that he can’t reconcile, and are at times diametrically opposed to one another. Therefore, he wages a lonely war trying to protect both, and loses himself in the end. I feel like Rin is choosing San over Won, and up until last week I would have thrown confetti, but now I feel sad at the thought.

Won has made some mistakes though, and has disappointed me by using San’s ring in a selfish and predictable way, but if this is a necessary (albeit vapid) step to telling the rest of this story, then I can go along with it. I feel like there’s more to Won’s proposal to San that we haven’t seen just yet, but I’m expecting the love triangle to intensify soon, and this may be an easy way to give Won a path to San, since at this point he doesn’t have one. That said, I am confused by Won’s wording in his letter, because he said he was picking Rin, and yet asked San to come back to him? Perhaps it’s important that he calls her “So-hwa,” which may mean he’ll take her father’s riches and protect her as So-hwa, but she’ll have to release her identity as San.

On another note, I do have one outstanding question for history, which is: Why didn’t King Chungryeol arrange a marriage between Princess Wonsung and his son Gangyang? Seems like that could have saved him a lot of grief, because based on the flashbacks, they look about the same age. I’m not an expert on Goryeo history, and presumably there is a good reason, but if I’m basing everything just on this show, then I haven’t seen a compelling reason why not. The pure-blooded issue would still stand, but at least his family situation wouldn’t be so messed up.

Today was mostly the characters fulfilling the destinies determined for them in the premise, and though I think several characters greatly benefited from the time spent building up this world and its inherent conflict (characters like Princess Wonsung, and the main trio), the moment where Rin is forced to oppose Won has really been a long time coming, and I’m very interested to see where things go from here.

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All I can say at this point is I hope they don't pull a Scarlet Heart and Rin turns bad so that San begins a romantic relationship with Won. Not that I'm totally RinSan or totally against WonSan, but they've spent so many episodes building up an epic romance between Rin and San (though keeping her true feelings somewhat ambiguous) and it's obvious Rin is totally devoted to San. If that is the case, then absolutely no fan of either ship will be happy. It's hard not to comment on the next episode until you've reviewed it...surely there has to be a time jump at some point, although so far not anybody who's said they're leaving has done so and time has been linear. Seems these three will be tied by fate to the end. But I'm fully expecting the next episodes til the end to be Won episodes, the betrayal of Rin to Won because of manipulations by Song. The question is: will San go to Won because she pities him and doesn't want him to be abandoned, and give up her love for Rin because of it, or will she develop feelings for Won romantically? Or will he get back to the birdcage idea and keep her against her will? Aargh, we still don't know. And I lied - I'm totally RinSan. If this drama has a good ending then I'll probably re watch it a dozen times. If not, I hope I don't feel it was a waste of time and emotions.

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I'm definitely with you on this one... Even if the last four episodes are focused on Won, I just cannot see how the romance can switch from RinSan. My heart breaks for all of them tbh...

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No just no that Scarlet Heart was a complete mess for did that but even that show still spared quite many episodes from the finale when they switched the romance and turned our 8th prince bad. And here we are 4 episodes remaining there's no way they can make it believable to the viewers for WonSan romance and pushing Rin to go dark path.

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No, wrong, stupid so-called natural shippers are anathema to these dramas. Get a ilfe, then you can judge!

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As I remember I was never against WonSan from the beginning. You can check all my comments in TKL recaps. My comment above was based on the development of the story. The drama has been spending 16 episodes building up RinSan and it won't be believable to to the viewers if they suddenly shift it because it remains 4 episodes only.

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Totally agree! That's how I feel as well. Whether or not this drama remains a classic in my memory is highly dependent on the next four episodes. If the resolution of the love triangle is just right, then I can add this drama to my re-watchable favorite/comfort dramas like Faith, Kings2Men, DOTS, and Moon Embracing the Sun.

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Oh my goodness. What a tangled web we weave in these two episodes! I had several questions after watching these...1) I understand why the Princess stole the grain from the Minister's storehouses, but why was it important to put the seal on them and place it at Wang Young's house? Was it to move up the wedding between Won and Dan? I thought the Princess didn't want them to be married. Or was moving up the date the King's idea? I was so confused about this, and I haven't watched the next episodes, so have nothing to draw upon. 2) Why did Rin snap all of a sudden and why does he trust his snake of a brother Song In more than his bestie, Won? It seemed out of character that he did a 180 degree turn in this episode and blamed Won for not protecting Minister Eun, and then in turn, not being able to trust him to protect San, as well. I know there needs to be a break in the Won-Rin relationship, but did Song In need to be the instigator if it? I think it could have played out better. 3) Why does it feel like the story isn't really going anywhere to me? It seems like everyone is running around with their heads chopped off just to fill time. The scenes with Rin and San were beautiful, but the questioning of Eunuch Choi, Won's detective work, and the Song In being devious , trapping Rin, but then his Rin somehow leaving the audience with the King all seemed messy to me-- really choppy, and didn't make sense--and then you had the royal announcement of a wedding in the middle of everything. However, I did catch my breath in the previews when Rin pulled San suddenly close to him--which is what I'm looking forward to.

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Yes...Rin snaps suddenly and believes Song? Perhaps it was seeing his brother and believing the Queen poisoned him (which she may have). This is what worries me, that the writer has made Rin act out of character. The whole thing is getting a bit too messy. And the story not going anywhere? It's like a video game reset every week where it looks like one thing may happen and then it doesn't. I think we're so used to easily reading characters' arcs and predictability. This is like a tangled thread.

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Indeed. Add to that the fact that Rin knows somehow that Song In is the one behind Jeon and the killing of San's mother, or at least hv a hand in it, and the fact the king had ruled terribly esp to his son all these years, yet he still join them? While prioritizing San? Plus he is not the least showing interest in politic/becoming king, suddenly he wanna step ahead recklessly just because of a woman? Really, writer nim?
Because thats not the Rin we all see so far. If he took San out of the moment for fear of her safety its cos of she was at the queen's palace and how minister Eun died there right under their noses, plus his guilt over her dead mother and the words of their planned marriage, to me, spurred his protective and responsible side. Its not really Won that he didnt trust, its his mother and him being there under her territory is not reassuring.
I still want to believe in his integrity. But if the writer at this point want him to go south just because of a girl and forgetting his friend all along, becoming king with all its complexity and responsibility just to protect one girl (which is gaah...so shallow minded and soooo not Rin, the quiet, sensitive, sensible Rin we all know), i know i wont hv a peace of mind with this writer.

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I really hope the writer remembers what this show set out as, because I'm getting worried that there are too many loose ends at this point.

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I don't think Rin exactly trusts Song In more than Won, but there were a lot of feelings involved in a short amount of time. Rin was first and foremost afraid for San's safety inside the castle itself, especially the Queen's castle. He trusts Won to do his best to protect her and that HE means no harm, but he is not sure Won will be enough to keep her safe. Add that with adrenaline, fear and disgust and confusion, he said the first thing on his mind.

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I agree. Rin doesn't trust the Queen and wanted to get San out of the Palace.

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It was Won who moved up the wedding to Dan. That is part of his strategy to protect Rin, this is him choosing Rin over San by marrying Rin's sister. The Queen definitely doesn't want Won/Dan married cause that makes it harder to kill Rin.
The Queen had her men put the stamps on the grain to frame Wang Young and Minister Eun. They get accused of a crime and she can confiscate their property.

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I thought that for a minute too. That makes more sense to me. And he realizes the whole grain thing was a set up. Then why does he implore San to come back to him?

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Because he's desperate for San? I think that last plea did not really have any sense or idea behind it, he is just pleading with San to remember that she promised him, that they loved each other (as friends at least), and that he needs her presence.

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Won has repeatedly asked San to come to him in the last several episodes. Every time she has tried to leave town he asks her to stay.

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@Ally,

Then why does he implore San to come back to him?

I'll play devil's advocate and suggest that Won has a plan that he is desperate to communicate to Rin (and San). Rin has been uncharacteristically incommunicado. Owing to the gravity of the situation, Won tries to contact him by requesting San's presence.

And now to zip my lip until the next recap. ;-)

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Huh? I thought Woosung said clearly that she wants to get rid of Rin's family, she definitely did not want to speed up the marriage, nor is the king interested. However she is desperate to support Won by acquiring San's riches, by framing San and Rin she's killing two birds with one stone, this way San's wealth will be confiscated, she will be trialed, and also Rin's family will suffer great repercussions. By speeding up the marriage and pardoning Rin's family Won saved Rin, it's his idea against his mother's, the king has nothing to do with it.

I don't think that Rin believes SongIn more than Won, however he knows that the queen is ruthless and might be moved to believe that she killed San's father, I think it's true that she poisoned Won's brother anyways. Rin is just being slightly unfair towards Won by blaming him for not protecting San's father, and his priority now is to get San out of this mess. This is just not as easy as taking her away for the moment though.

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I think I have a case of subtitle fatigue. Or maybe I'm just watching Siwan and HGH and the Princess' faces too intently that I'm not reading half of them. And the scenery and cinematography is still top tier. Which is another reason I appreciate murasakimi and Teriyaki taking the time to recap this, as I depend heavily on their interpretations when I'm too lazy to rewind and figure out what I missed. Actually, I remember saying to myself about the whole grain incident, I'll just read the recap and firmgure out what's going on later--or ask you guys! Thanks for clarifying everyone!

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The Queen's actress, man. She is so wonderful and the Queen is so complex! If it is true that the Queen made the previous Crown Prince insane, it furthers even more the notion that she is not to be trifled with and is without a doubt merciless and selfish. Yet she has these few moments when she is with her son, or San, and she sees another hopeless young love that she knows will be ruined, and her face changes. And she deserves all these misunderstandings because she has done a lot of horrible things, but the actor still manages to break my heart in how she is losing her son, whom she did all those despicable things for.

And man, I'm sure Boo-yung's actress is talented and good, but every time she flawlessly does what she's supposed to do with no trouble and no fear, I hope even more that she and Song In will have their come-upance. I don't just want her to be arrested, I want San to get some sort of closure, since it was she who murdered her father. It's just something about Boo-yung that makes me love to hate her, but just like Song In needed to be temporarily defeated and tricked, Boo-yung also needs to go down a level. If only to avoid her becoming a Villain Sue. At least Song In's creepy fascination with San made her slightly "human".

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Yes the Queen is an amazing actress and I enjoy her character very much.

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I'd love to see Princess Wonsung (Jang Young-Nam) in a smackdown against Queen Yoo Shouldn'tHaveHadKids (Park Ji-Young) from MOON LOVERS. I can imagine how the fur would fly if those two ever went at it hammer and tongs. ;-)

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LOL..Imagine if Queen Yoo was the first queen here and Wang Yo was King Chungryeol's first son. Omg clash of the titans.

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It would be epic. Why does it remind me of one of Bob Dylan's album titles -- "Blood on the Tracks"?!

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The story Woosung told actually moved me. I wonder whether she's ever really loved the king or whether it was desperation of her as a woman who can never leave the man she never wanted to marry, that she wanted to at least be first and formost on his mind. For years he begged for her hand, 20 years and more her senior, to her as a 10 year old he looked so terrifying she had nightmares about him, imagine her moving to Goryeo in the end with 15, not speaking the language, being obviously hated by everyone, the king did not really care for her but as a political tool, and she has to sleep with the man who's her father's age, who doesn't love her or care for her, and bear his child. Any young girl might lose her mind in such a situation....

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I'm feeling rather disgusted now that I've had a chance to ruminate on Princess Wonsung's tête–à–tête with San.

Sure, we got some more back story on the Princess's terrifying introduction to her fearsome future husband. It was supposed to make her appear more sympathetic. I (cynically) assume this tea party was supposed to soften up San so she'd readily cough up all of Dad's money on command. At least that's what it looks like to me. Because of the truly crappy timing of Daddy Eun's murder, the Queen was prevented from asking nicely for the money.

When Finance Minister Eun was found dead in her palace, thus implicating the Queen, she went ape after San freaked out. I'm not certain whether she put the hit out on San and Rin after Won suddenly moved up his wedding and declared his in-laws' titles effective immediately. However, I suspect that she was rushing to capture or kill them before the wedding -- or whenever she had to have grain and cash to pay Won's two armies. Her instant order to seize the Finance Minister's assets made her look like a two-faced conniving tyrant, which is exactly what she is.

Talk about never letting a crisis go to waste.

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Yeah, well, she is a person with feelings, but also a cunning politician.

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Agree, I find her at once repulsive and yet sympathetic. I had a marriage which, in retrospect made me revise every aspect of my former spouse and her familly. I syncerely wish I had never chosen her because she was so brazen and so wantonly without consideration of her children's interests. Such an existance is torture. I would rather have killed her and suffered the consequences, than this should happen!

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I'm not convinced Rin is siding with Song-Jin and the King. I think he is just avoiding the conflict and trying to protect San by running away. Rin has never wanted to be Crown Prince and he would never revolt against Won.

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I agree with you that, as of the end of episode 30, Rin is not playing ball with Song In and the Unindicted Co-Conspirators. He's doing his darnedest to avoid becoming involved with the rebels in any way, shape, or form.

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I'm convinced that Rin has a secret plan and is trying to outsmart Song In. The thing is that Rin is just too 'nice' to play the political games on Won's and Song In's level so he is outta his head and will make everything worse like the time he tried to stop the San/Jeon marriage and his sister becoming a tribute. So while he means well his actions will leave a trail of hurt and betrayal around everyone.

I just feel so sad for Won and Im Siwan is really the strongest actor out of the 3 main leads. I totally get his disappointment about Rin suddenly not trusting him. Even if Rin doesn't trust Princess Wonsung he should know that Won would never do something to San and the people close to her. Won did everything he did until now purely for San. I can't help to think that Rin's distrust and disbelief of Won are just masked and his own desires for San are now taking over his loyalties to Won that he seeks an excuse to be the man by her side instead of Won.

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I think we're supposed to feel sad for Won. Im Siwan's character lends itself to more complex emotions than Rin, who is supposed to be the steady devoted not too emotional support. I still feel Won wants to own San and thinks Rin is his person. And that Rin has been openly devoted. Won is a little more devious and scheming, which is a necessary trait to be successful as a King. Rin just doesn't have the wits to behave other than openly and honestly, a trait that will just get a king killed.

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I don't think Rin consciously sought out an excuse to be with San. As of now I don't care about anything but San. After San is safe in her house, he went to confront Song In still being loyal to Won. It's may feel like that San is first and foremost and Won has been pushed to second place but I think not. Rin knows Won can protect himself but San cannot. That noble idiot saves the friend who needs him more then his other friends.

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Just like Won does then. Each of them tries to save the one of two they love who seems most in need of help. However for Won it's Rin and for Rin it's San so this seems quite sad D:

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Maybe, but it used to be the other way around. I've always thought this was supposed to be sad for Won so I was expecting it.

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@ 5 Elenia,

I'm convinced that Rin has a secret plan and is trying to outsmart Song In.

I'm not so sure that Rin has much of a plan other than to try to escape into self-imposed exile. The fact that he asked Bi-yeon to pack a small bag for San is the tip-off that Rin is planning to abscond with her. His later conversation with his father confirms it.

Won has a plan up his sleeve, but he has not been able to communicate it to Rin -- owing to Daddy Eun's death and pending funeral, and Rin's meetings with his own father, Prince YangGang, and royal advisor Song In -- not to mention escorting San and her father's corpse home. Won hasn't been able to communicate with San, either, who is still in shock over her father's sudden death, and has taken his body home.

You can bet your bottom dollar that Finance Minister Eun has contingency plans -- and San knows all about them. I doubt very much that Won and Rin are privy to them.

The thought occurs to me that the list of assets that the Queen took from San earlier, and which she consulted before deciding to raid Finance Minister Eun's grain warehouse and silver stash, may list only a fraction of his assets, the tip of the iceberg. I bet he was willing to sacrifice a pretty penny if it would buy San time to escape overseas.

I've seen episodes 31-32, and will now hold my peace. ;-)

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This is the first time I have seen Rin emotional. All this time he has put Won foremost and that has slightly changed in the last episodes. This is the first episode where he clearly put San first, his foremost thought when he heard about San's dad death was San's safety. He still doesn't trust the King side but he knows it's danger for San from both sides which led to his outburst to Won. "I can't leave her here."

Even though he was acting emotional regarding San, he still was the noble Rin. I totally swooned (totally unappropriated situation) when he offered San his hand, giving her the choice unlike Won and when he steadied San's hand let her go after she regained some of her strength. It's as though rin is a rock, who will always there for you to lean on and never push you. I really hope RinSan is the endgame, because I am totally sold on the swoony and subtle gazes between the two.

And also I really hope Rin will outsmart the King's side coz Song In and that lady viper has to go......

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Wish I could "like" your comment twice! Very well stated. Giving San the choice to take his hand and she does, sigh.

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that was definitely very swoon worthy of Rin. his way of loving is so sweet and gentle- it's more ideal to me than Won's way as well.

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That's it. The reason he feels like the best choice for San, he's always determined to help and support her, but only if she chooses to accept that help and support.
No pushing or pulling, no master plan to keep her tied to his side. Its really appealing

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I'm very disappointed that the same writer from Healer is writing such a cliché and predictable drama. There was promise in the first half but it seems to have been thrown away to bait shippers from both sides with ambiguous moments instead of focusing on writing a tight story with an interesting plot.

I don't like how the 3 main characters have suddenly become all stupid in the name of love. Won was supposed to be that dark anti-hero who was cunningly smart despite being lovely beautiful on the outside. Yet he gets outsmarted by Song In every turn around and only mopes around like a lovesick idiot because San doesn't love him back. Didn't he want to get power to build a bird cage? Why did he become so passive and moping this episode? Because the writers didn't have the guts to let him go dark. They want him to still be love-interest worthy that's why. He lost so much of his character complexity so his love line with San could go on.

Rin who was so loyal and uptight before decided that suddenly Won is not trustworthy anymore after witnessing the times where Won would do everything to protect San and her people. More like he went "hoes over bros" and decided that he wanted to be with San so he created the distrust reason so he could end his years long friendship with Won instead of being a man about it and tell him straight that he loves San and wants to be with her.

San has zero character drive and is simply there for the men to be worried and declare their desire to protect her. No own agency and mixed signals to confuse shippers. Her wishy washy and passive attitude gets on my nerves. She's the only daughter of the richest man in the country and gets played around by every power faction as if she were a simple slave.

What's also nonsense is the replace Rin with Won plot from the Song In faction. What do they plan after they separate Rin from Won? If they succeed then Won will distrust Rin enough to never slip and give them a legitimate reason to dispose of him. If they plan revolting Yuan will step in and crush them. And the "we planned for Rin from the beginning" is dumb to say after spending the first half of the show getting Jeon married to San so he could become Crown Prince. A master strategist like Song In relies on lovestruck feelings and psychological drama for his life goal to get rid of Won to succeed?

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Humans, especially males, do tend to think with their you-know-whats when it comes to being stupid with "love". I do wonder why Won has never turned "dark" as we were promised - you'd think this wasn't pre produced. However, with only two weeks to go maybe the next episodes will be jam packed with stuff actually happening. p.s. I didn't really like Healer, at all, for most of the reasons you mention about KIL.

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I like how you sum things up. Everything you stated is why I have stopped watching for now and I'm just sticking to recaps. Won's motivation for anything always seemed to be San for me, and I have been frustrated with that for a while. Honestly, characters complexity does not need to be sacrificed for the love line - with good writing there could be both. I don't know why most writers think that love has to necessarily change people so much that all they live for is that love with no concern for anything else.

I hope the way the show seems to be going will not continue. I know that betrayal has to happen between Won and Rin, but I hope the writers will do that without destroying the characters of these two that they have built so far - especially Rin. Because him becoming evil and going against Won all because of San would be too unbelievable.

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@Nat,

I know that betrayal has to happen between Won and Rin, but I hope the writers will do that without destroying the characters of these two that they have built so far - especially Rin.

I don't think that betrayal is the only way for the chasm to open up between Won and Rin. An unfortunate misunderstanding, perhaps exacerbated by a communication failure or bad timing, could accomplish the same thing. Presto! No character assassination necessary.

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True, any path that has Rin revolt against Won in any political sense feels completely foreign to the character they made for Rin. His moral code is upright and rigid, sometimes to his own detriment. I really cant see him allying with the King or Song in against Won. I can see him trying to get San away from the palace. But more to protect her from the queen, who everyone knows is capable of almost anything which is why its so easy to cast suspicion on her.

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These plot holes are getting to me too. I keep meditating to myself, "focus on the pretty, focus on the pretty."

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I disagree....

That Won should be the anti-hero has been hinted in the promotions and told in the novel, HOWEVER, he hasn't really shown any anti-hero qualities yet, aside from kicking that poor guard in the guts and talking about cages and whatnot. In truth he has never done anything to hurt anybody, but that poor guard. So all we can say about drama-Won is that he does have aggression-management issues sometimes, but that's it, and only sometimes, and each time because somebody he loves got hurt, so it's like "good" aggression.

To defend Rin, he HAS talked with Won about the cage issue and expressed his worry and doubt that it would make San happy to be caged beside Won. Of course Won has done nothing of that sort yet, but you know if you keep talking about doing horrible things then ppl around you might get worried...

It's true that San's character is not developing though. However I think San is perfect as she is. She is beautiful, strong, clever. She doesn't need help more than Rin and Won do imo, and she's the only one who's not completely headless in this love triangle, instead she's worrying about more important issues like how Won's going to rule the country and her father's death.

I think the plan is to destroy Won mentally so that he will either give up by himself or do something inacceptable so that they will have a legitimation to replace him. Either way they will have a good excuse to pacify Yuan, like "the CP lost his mind and is unfit to rule" or "the CP is a terrible person because he did XXX, he is a criminal and can't be king".

Isn't it actually clever to psychologically destroy your opponent? I think SongIn is doing good and Won's psyche is hanging by a thread ^^°

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Yeah, whatever happened to Won's anger issues that were supposed to be so prevailing. He's seemed weak lately. Really wonder what the last two weeks will bring to our trio.

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Song In has been employing the old "divide and conquer" strategy against Won and his mother and his friends, and has successfully sprung the trap on Rin.

We know from history that Won actually ruled for five years. He's already contemplated suicide, but has seen his way clear to continue living with his friends' support.

If Rin cannot abscond overseas, I could imagine him killing himself so he could not be used against Won. (In which case Song In & Co. might resort to putting Jeong on the throne.)

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Somehow I agree with you... The writer didn't have the guts to let Won go dark. The drama sold him as a lover with San and promising love triangle (promos, posters)... There is no way, they will put the lead as the anti-hero, villain and a loser in love. Lots of viewers commenting that they felt the drama deceives them for not putting Won and San as the otp and Rin as the villain and loser in love. I can't blame them actually... If this drama dares to make male lead goes dark and the female lead choose second male lead as her romantic partner, then this drama will be the first break (almost) all K-drama rules... Which I don't think it would happen.

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It would be such a pity if the drama succumbed to the usual K-drama rules. I was intrigued by how relatively refreshing the original novel was in terms of plot and characters (and romance!). But obviously the writers didnt exactly follow the novel and changed bunch of things. Hopefully they'd still break some rules on its final episodes.

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I've only been following the recaps because I don't like YoonA but as things heat up I feel like I'm missing some things. I might have to binge watch it before the last 2 episodes.

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if you haven't watched it yet, i would ignore any previous biases against her and watch it. at least to me, she's been so right as san that i actually cannot imagine anyone else playing her. that goes for all the three leads, really. she could still grow as an actress but i have no complaints about her in this.

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This show puts an odd spin on history. The people who want Korea to be independent are the main bad guys. Not that the pro-Mongol are angels, but they mostly haven't been as bad, at least until recently.

Who came up with that and did they think we wouldn't notice? Did they think we'd be comfy opposing independence?

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Hm the political part is more like child play. But if you want to look at it politically: First of all what SongIn's fraction is doing is not to fight for independency. Goryeo is just not strong enough, the king himself begged on his knees for recognition and to be spared for 5 years and despite his frustration and hatred he never dared oppose Yuan. If SongIn's fraction should ever come into power it doesn't mean that Goryeo will suddenly be strong enough to stand up against Yuan.

Which brings us to second: Actually this show is in a big part (imo) about nationalism and discrimination. Won is only a sentiment, he was born and raised in Goryeo and they could have taught him to feel like a Goryeo prince and love his ppl, Rin repeatedly said that he believes Won would be a good king. Won is not stupid nor psychologically ill, aside from his blood there is no reason why he shouldn't become king, see point 1. However getting rid of Won will get rid of a king who is not of pure Goryeo blood, it changes nothing of the political situation, but will make those who feel like mixed blood is unpure and a sin feel better.

I will say they are only against Won because he is not pure-blood Goryeo. I can't say it's about racism but it's something similar. Won is being threatend and hated for his birth which is just wrong. It has nothing to do with independence but everything with rejection of everything even remotely foreign and alien.

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To further clarify: I know SongIn keeps talking about the terrible reign of Yuan and the horrid tribute system. However the weakness of their country is their core problem that cannot be changed. Putting a pure blood Goryeo king on the throne will not strenghten Goryeo miraculously, the tribute system and the deference towards the mongol empire will not change because of that, at all. So all they are doing is for sentiment.

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I agree. Yuan is at the peak of their power. Goryeo is not strong enough to overcome them no matter who is King.

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I haven't put to much thought on the opposing factions regarding the tribute system mainly because I believe SongIns uses that as a focus point to get as many followers as possible. His goal is to have as much power as possible, and throwing the current royal succession into chaos is just another step in that direction. Even if he manages to get Rin on his side, unlikely in my viewpoint, he already has managed to paint a bullseye on Rin for the queens benefit while also separating Won from his steadiest and most widely respected supporter Rin.

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This was my comment on the matter of WON being half korean half mongolian and people like Song In and the Snake Tatto Asassin beenig XENOPHOBIC hating all that is foreign it is basicaly the writer`s point of view feeding Korean PURITY propaganda.
COMMENT NO 9 http://www.dramabeans.com/2017/08/the-king-loves-episodes-13-14/

p.s. Warning I was very harsh about the way the propaganda was presented basicaly demonizing the opponent. (I am good cause you are bad, and you are bad cause I am good, logic?)

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I have read that comment and the replies have kind of taken a dynamic of their own XD

Hm to be honest I actually think that they are trying to be not xenophobic for a change because those who are discriminating and threatening Won for being not pure Goryeo are portrayed as the baddies here, so I find it refreshing actually. I thought that this might show that korean society is starting to warm up to diversity and advertising AGAINST xenophobia.

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Well it is a toned down Xenophobia not as blatant as in Gaksital for example, but it is not against xenophobia is more like they only showed it and left it hanging in the behind so when they need a plot devise they have one ready. As for advertising diversity and anti xenophobia NO it is far from it, korean society is one of the most prejudiced ones I`ve seen it is not famous like the japanese gaijin mentality but they are very similar.
The writing is good I like that in The King Loves we have charaters with good and bad sides shown, it manages to give that grey realness to life cause most historical romance or political dramas go for cliche gharacters ones that are only good or only bad. What is missing in this core story is pacing we have political intrigue and romance and frienship all mixed up it would have been better if they take one as the main one, the friendsip of Won and Rin and add the others as secondary the writer failed in this puting San as the prize they should have made her character more active and independent not like a toy beeng passed between the boys and fueling shiping wars.
Yes the replies on the original comment went sideways XD I am used to it people often misunderstand me, perhaps it was because I adressed a more abstract point of the story and not scene or a conversation, people often forget that even TV shows like any scripted production have a Goal, Point to prove Mesage to give us, lesson to learn form its events and their consequences (it is not only about who gets the girl, the throne or kills the bad guy LOL). Sorry for the messy expresion of my thoughts english is not my first language.

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Now I have commented a lot replying to other comments XD

To sum it up I'm liking the queen despite myself. I understand that she has gone through nothing but despair in her life ever since she was 10 or so, and now she's terminally ill and doing a last attempt at securing her only son's life and position.

Rin and San are beautiful together.

Won's blind trust and meek pleading breaks my heart. He is such a beggar in front of his loved ones despite his harsh words of caging and framing and imprisoning, he doesn't even dare approach them openly but only waits (for Rin, always for Rin, because Rin came to him when he was most lost) and begs (I don't think it's a bad move to use the ring, the ring is only a token of friendship and trust, if San did not care for him she could easily just ignore it, using the ring is like asking her "do you still care? do your words still stand?" and I think it's very sweet.)

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Won does more than just wait for Rin, he also spies on Rin so he still knows what Rin is up to. He just waits for Rin to explain himself.

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Because he trusts that Rin will, HIS Rin will come to him and pour out his heart like the very best friend he is.

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For a second, I thought Won wanted San to return Rin to him... Damn... LOL.
I just don't know anymore... Do people think Won's action as romantic? I read people wrote that Won loves San so much, he just want her to stay beside him. But, what about San? Especially after she lost his father.. Does she really want to stay in the palace?
If the drama wants viewers to root for Won, they really aren't doing a good job. Coz until thie ep (and next), Rin continues to be a very supportive and loving man to San. He never force her and only proceed if San gives him permission. I really love when he steadies San's hand and gently wipes her tears. Damn... Those long and beautiful fingers of him.... Even HJH's hands are handsome!

Anw, I still believe Rin won't fall to the dark side. He has a lot in his mind.. I don't think he trust song in, but he cares about the King. The King is Won's father... Imo, he wants to protect the king too. Althought for now, he put San as his first priority. He wants San out of the palace and be safe, as people will always want to use her and her family's fortune. Rin has a lot people that he cares about.. His family (esp Dan), Won, San, the King. If the writer tries to get him to the dark side for his own selfish reason... I think it's already too late..

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"I really love when he steadies San's hand and gently wipes her tears. Damn... Those long and beautiful fingers of him.... Even HJH's hands are handsome!"

Yes his beautiful fingers I've noticed from first epi when he's spying on San frim the roof. Thank you for keep mentioning it.

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LOL.... my love to Rin intensifies each episodes. Not only his hands... But his smooth hair, sweet smile (he doesn't smile much though) and his voice are all beautiful....
Where can I get a man like Rin??? ??

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Been asking the same question my self?
His (selfless and quiet) character though is the big drawn. I was using him as reference during meditation at church last Sunday ??

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Actually, my dad was a bit like Rin. However, because of his kind personality, my dad was very easily manipulated and fell for a few schemes here and there by dishonest people.

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I really wish had just killed Song in. He always lets him talk ...sigh

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I wonder at which point did Rin start to prioritize San over Won? or begin to loose faith in him?
Only last week episode Rin bid farewell and entrusted San to Won to take care and make her happy. I get that that the shocking news of Minister Eun's death within the palace is alarming but again Won has constantly asserted (to Rin especially) that he will take care of San.
I guess Won's belittle Rin's feelings for San has turned to bite him. At first those were all commands from Crown Prince and Rin delightfully obeyed Won's words to search for, bring, and take care San. While Rin grew feelings for San he conciously admited that San was the one he could never have feelings for since she's his master's woman. And when Rin seemed so used to save San every time she's in trouble, he unknowingly began to watch over her on his own because he knows her well. He has also openly sacrificed himself for San even to the extent of his family. Now Rin has come to the conclusion that he is the only one who can protect San and he has every reason for that.

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Just after Rin decided to leave everything and accept his role in Jeolla, including leaving San under Won's protection... San's father is killed while in wonsung palace. No wonder he snapped.... He is not yet out from the capital and San lost his father (the only family member she had)

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Oh wait Rin (also) snapped at Won for the first time in the drama after Won declared he would marry Dan. And that's because of San. He wanted Won to choose San to keep her from being sent as tribute. He also desperately found ways to prevent his brother marrying San and eventually begged to Won (knowing that it'd cost Won to be against the King) which he never did. So did Rin's priority slowly shift when San entered their friendship?

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I was going to answer you but just remembered it's answered in the next episode...

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I think that's a really good way to sum up Rin's thoughts regarding San... he knows he shouldn't but he loves her after watching her for so long and knows her weaknesses and has had more tender moments with her.

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i mean, i think it's also worth mentioning that san is perceived to be in imminent danger staying in that palace. in the midst of political warfare, she plays a large role because of being both important to two key people and being the daughter of the wealthiest merchant in goryeo (who has large amounts of land and resources). on the heels of her father's death, rin is panicked because he knows she can never be free from harm in that palace. won, despite being schemed against and having his position as crown prince threatened, has very little chance of his life being endangered. if it seemed like won's life was actually on the line, i do think we would see a lot more indecision on rin's part.

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Ha! Yeah, they always seem to know where people are and can look for them easily. I'd want one of these handsome GPS too haha

Anyway whywhywhy is the eunuch still here? Why didn't the queen dispose him forever in the first place when she knows he's a rat? Surely there are many other eunuchs who can take his place.

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Been asking the same question too.. Why is that traitor eunuch still there? Wonsung should just beheaded him as soon as possible... ??

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i feel like the eunuch still being with the queen is the biggest plothole in the drama at this point. that part was definitely shoehorned in to set the ball in motion, imo.

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I loved Rin being there to support San in these episodes, however I can't stop myself from pitying Won. Poor guy, he's all alone, trying to make the right decisions in order to save his beloved friends.When he was drinking alone, waiting for Rin, believing that he would come, it was heartbreaking. I want them to be there for him too and they can fight those vipers, together :'(

I don't think Rin will become evil. Maybe as a spy, yes. Like most of you, I believe Rin to be loyal. No matter how much he loves San, I think he's still loyal to Won in the end, and would be willing to sacrifice. If the show turned him evil, then I'd hate them for changing my precious Rin.

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Thank you for your recap and commentary, murasakimi! I watched episodes 29 and 30 raw, and it really helped to read your recap. Sometimes I get the feeling that the subtitles aren't so hot.

Re: Jin Gwan and Jang Eui inventing GPS, I totally agree with you. They pop up like prairie dogs (meerkats are even more apropos!) in the darnedest way. Actually, they remind me of the Roadrunner. If only they could flatten the baddies every time with an Acme-brand anvil, their boss could breathe a whole lot easier. ;-)

I appreciate your burning historical question as to why King Chungryeol didn't arrange a marriage between his son, Prince Gangyang, and Kublai Khan's daughter, Princess Wonsung. But even if he had done that, it would have deferred the "mongrel Mongol" issue for only a generation. I suspect the King married Wonsung himself as a pledge of fealty to Yuan. He had to grovel for years, and in his line of work as monarch of a conquered state, groveling is good. The more, the better when it comes to appeasing one's Exalted Yuan Overlords.

As for poor addle-brained Prince Gangyang, I would not be the least bit surprised to learn that Song In & Co. arranged for his poisoning and pinned it on Princess Wonsung, the same way they carried out a hit on Finance Minister Eun in her own palace. We have no way to know when the poisoning actually happened. For all we know, Boo-yong / Queen Mu could have slipped Gangyang a mickey last week. He may have been intractable -- or even more of a wuss than his father. I automatically assume that Song In is lying because his lips are moving. -- Well, he may tell the truth some of the time to better hide his myriad lies. My BS detector isn't calibrated to register such low concentrations of truth.

Princess Wonsung's back story is even sadder than we'd heard earlier. As for the identity of the man who appeared before her holding a peony -- my money is on Furatai. I think that the Princess has overlooked her staunchest supporter. Her son is not the only one on her side. But because he's "only" her bodyguard and right-hand man, she takes him for granted.

My heart sank when Won's Eunuch Kim proclaimed the royal in-laws' titles. Thanks for clarifying that it was a de facto pardon of any crimes other than high treason. While it was Won's way of protecting the Chancellor and his family against the pending trumped-up charges of theft of government property, what it said to me was that now the stakes have been ratcheted up even higher for Rin. I can easily imagine Wonsung & Co. (or a spiteful Song In) framing him as a traitor. I could even see the King doing something stupid in a fit of pique if Rin doesn't play along. Alas, being the upstanding guy he is, Rin will have to heed the King's commands. The only viable option I see for him is Stratagem 36: “If all else fails, retreat.” Run like the wind, Rin, and hotfoot it out of Goryeo with San.

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Thank you for the thoughtful analysis! Always a pleasure reading your take on episodes I can't get my own head around. As for the Princess' tragic history, I keep going back to her and Won's heartfelt conversation about tangled threads and straight reeds. How she was just as impressionable as Won was as a teenager and if history wouldn't have treated her and her marriage better if her husband would have been more understanding of her plight and showed her some amount of care. In the flashbacks of the young queen this episode, she's a teenager throwing a temper tantrum and needed a good "come to Jesus" lecture from the King. Or at least a big hug from him. He needed to be her straight reed, guiding her, instead of letting her wreak havoc on the entire palace. And now we are in this tangled mess.

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Aw, shucks, Ally. ;-)

Always a pleasure reading your take on episodes I can't get my own head around.

I'm afraid that it's turning into a case of the blind leading the blind. I think I'm going to have to defrag my hard disk, update my BIOS, and reboot -- and I'm not talking about my laptop. ;-)

Truth to tell, I hit a bit of a slump a couple of weeks or so ago. Ended up bailing on CRIMINAL MINDS despite Lee Joon-gi (have mercy!), couldn't really get into MANHOLE, and surprisingly didn't get wrapped up in LIVE UP TO YOUR NAME, despite Kim Nam-gil. (Has hell frozen over and I somehow didn't get the memo?!) I plan to take a peek at HOSPITAL SHIP for a Jo Hyun-jae sighting. My archetypal Crown Prince has been as scarce as hen's teeth since YONG-PAL, and I've been jonesing for him to do another sageuk. I'm looking forward to TEMPERATURE OF LOVE, and hope that my favorite leading lady, Seo Hyun-jin, and Yang Se-jong will cart me off to Doldam Hospital and resuscitate my Kdrama addiction stat. ;-)

Amidst all this travail, I found myself losing the plot of THE KING LOVES. Maybe I sprained my brain live-watching so many shows simultaneously over the past 16 months. (At one point it totalled 8 or 9, a huge number for me.) I honestly cannot tell if it's the writing, the directing, the editing, the subtitles -- or me. Maybe all of the above. If it weren't for the recaps (God bless you, murasakimi and TeriYaki!), I'd be missing significant details. I'm confounded, because the performances are fine.

The cinematography continues to be gorgeous. Maybe too gorgeous, if the sumptuous costuming and production values have been concealing a flawed script or questionable directorial decisions. At least with MOON LOVERS, the director's vertigo-inducing close-ups -- and the self-defeating editing -- were out in the open for all to see.

At times, it feels as if the show has gone into the spin cycle. I used to be better at picking up on unspoken clues. Or maybe the logic has flown the coop. It's also possible that Writer-nim slipped his or her clutch. So many dramas start out well, and then half-way or three-quarters of the way through, they (1) bog down, (2) go to hell in a makjang hand basket, (3) fizzle out, or (4) crash and burn in a dreadfully irrational and unsatisfying manner. There have been some head-scratchers recently that I will address in the next recap thread.

- Continued -

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@Ally,

- Continued -

I suspect that the characterization of the trio of leads is a factor in the confusion. Based on the pre-debut propaganda, I have been expecting Won to morph into a ruthless power junkie, but so far, that hasn't happened. (His mom, on the other hand, has become increasingly tyrannical and cruel.) All this leads me to compare THE KING LOVES with SEVEN DAY QUEEN. There are more similarities between the shows than you can shake a stick at, not the least of which is a powerless woman coming between two royal brothers/cousins, with a throne up for grabs, and all the princes loath to ascend for one reason or another. Despite their misgivings, a few of them change their game plan in an effort to gain sufficient power to effectively protect their loved ones. Both dramas are based on historical personages, so the real-life outcomes are already known. Court politics figures heavily in both, etc., etc.

Alas for THE KING LOVES, SEVEN DAY QUEEN was a tightly-written drama that was spellbinding in its execution right to the end. I rate it neck-and-neck with REBEL as my top sageuk of the year. (Sorry, RULER. You're not even in the same universe.) SAIMDANG was very good in its Joseon timeline, but the present-day storyline was nowhere near as affecting. Your mileage may vary.)

Episodes 31-32 see major improvement and progress in furthering the plot. As it heads into the final two weeks, THE KING LOVES is now beginning to really feel like SEVEN DAY QUEEN. I have an idea of how Won will end up. There are too many variables to predict what will unfold for Rin and San, or how.

A bit off-topic: First aid for my live-watching slump has consisted of marathoning older dramas, some of them highlighted in the recent DB rewatch guest articles. I've discussed them in recent comments. YOU'RE BEAUTIFUL was a lot of fun, and the music was great. I just finished FLOWER BOY NEXT DOOR a couple of days ago as part of my ongoing Yoon Si-yoon Retrospective, which includes HIGH KICK! 2 / THROUGH THE ROOF. Viva, Enrique! Late last night I stumbled across a pointer to YSY's 2013 Chinese drama HAPPY NOODLE, and I've had a blast watching the first 8 episodes. (Alas, they are dubbed, but occasionally YSY speaks Korean.) It cracks me up to see him kneading dough again a la Kim Tak-gu in BREAD, LOVE AND DREAMS. Now I'm having flashbacks to the ManDoods in SWEET STRANGER AND ME, before mandoo maker Ko Nan-gil (Kim Young-Kwang) morphed into a badass prosecutor in LOOKOUT. For anyone seeking an excellent and uplifting family drama, I can heartily recommend LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL, which is truly touching. It was so good I turned around and rewatched/skimmed the whole 63 episodes a second time. Yeah, it was that good. I embarked on OJAKGYO FAMILY a couple of days ago for Joo Won and early Yeon Woo-jin. And I've got GUNMAN IN JOSEON cued up for my next installment of Lee Joon-gi sageuk derring-do.

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Omg! Do you sleep, dear girl?!? I was with you until you said you watched all 63 episodes of LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL a 2nd time in the past month! Reading your dissertation makes me think that you and I have similar tastes in dramas. However, I will never be able to keep up with them as you have and I'm not even going to entertain the notion of Trung. I'll just be here stalking your comments instead!

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Trying, not Trung! Lol.

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@Ally September 7, 2017 at 1:42 PM

Omg! Do you sleep, dear girl?!?

Actually, I often am up until all hours. I'm out to pasture, so am not working full time and/or raising young 'uns, as you are. ;-)

After a good session of binge-watching, I can crash out and catch up on my ZZZZZs whenever.

Certain shows have a calming and soothing effect. LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL is one of them (speaking only for myself).

I watched a couple of episodes of season 3 of THREE MEALS A DAY FISHING VILLAGE, and found it to be extremely relaxing. Listening to Eric speak as he cooks is hypnotic. (I bet he'd make a bundle if he made a sheep-counting recording for insomniacs.) Plus Hong Gil-dong's feline friends are so darned cute. ;-)

When I come across dramas and films that are sympatico -- or that hit me where I live -- I like to pass it along to fellow Beanies. Some of the older productions are very good, and I don't care if the fashions are out of date. I'm more interested in the vibe, the acting, and slices of life that are encouraging, uplifting, or emotionally warm.

On the other hand, I also adore sageuks with sword fights and martial arts. Go figure. Oh, right. They also have hunky young warriors with manes of glory. Duh! I ain't dead yet. ;-)

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Oh I would totally love to read all your variables of what will be for Rin and San.?

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@miselpo September 8, 2017 at 4:09 AM

There are too many variables to predict what will unfold for Rin and San, or how.

Oh I would totally love to read all your variables of what will be for Rin and San.?

LOL! I can only come up with a few of the myriad possibilities.

We know from history that Won will ascend the throne as the first half-blood king of Goryeo. -- Unless Writer-nim pulls a fast one, a la LOVE IN THE MOONLIGHT / MOONLIGHT DRAWN BY CLOUDS. (I hate it when history is folded, spindled, and mutilated, especially when it could have been easily avoided by making the protagonist a nice generic fictional Joseon king. Instead they had to pick a personage who died young, turn him into a charming sweetheart, and then leave him to his depressing fate. Way to needlessly break a gazillion hearts, Show!)

In TKIL, Rin and San are fictional characters to begin with, so literally anything could happen with/to them. I'm hoping that it remains within the realm of reason and logic, and is in keeping with each character's nature, abilities, and proclivities, and the circumstances that have developed around them.

Knowing Rin's loyalty to Won, I cannot imagine him willingly joining Song In's conspiracy. The operative word is willingly. The King's befuddled involvement in Song In's scheme is the trump card he holds over the upright, honorable, and dutiful Rin, who would have to defy a royal command. I don't think he has any viable way to decline being named crown prince, except for running away or death. (For Rin, the only real variables are the means of escape and manner -- and agent -- of death.)

Would running away / defying the King's command to serve as crown prince constitute high treason?

I think it could be used that way as leverage against Rin -- and the rest of his family, who could conceivably be executed down to three generations if he were charged as a fugitive outlaw. (That would wipe out his eldest brother and his family; presumably Rin is an uncle by now.)

As if Rin didn't have enough cause for alarm, the King's involvement automatically paints yet another bull's eye on him. Wait until the Queen gets wind of this.

Princess Wonsung may be the biggest wildcard among the variables. We don't know how long she is for this world, although the Sageuk Sign & Symptom "Spitting Up Blood" indicates her demise is nearing. I'm half-expecting the Queen to croak around the same time as the King. Both of them will leave behind their factions and minions, who presumably will be charged with carrying out their respective final orders concerning the succession.

I think it very likely that Princess Wonsung is capable of striking at Rin and San from beyond the grave, like the dismembered head of a rattlesnake. It wouldn't surprise me if they were pursued and harried to the ends of their days, as well as the ends of the earth.

- continued -

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@miselpo September 8, 2017 at 4:09 AM

As for San, I would expect her to execute her father's carefully-devised escape and relocation strategy, with or without Rin. She has traveled the world as a trader with her father. A free bird, I cannot imagine her wanting to remain in the palace, where she would forever be in danger, despite Won's every attempt to protect her. She would end up living out her days under virtual house arrest.

Just imagine Princess Wonsung's final act: ordering Furatai to hunt and kill San and Rin, a la Terminator. I could see him doing it, too. * shudder *

With Won's impending marriage, I could imagine San wanting to make herself scarce. But I could also imagine her wanting to say goodbye to her dear old friend before leaving the country.

Does that make any sense at all when so many baddies are in hot pursuit, with orders to kill?! And that's just Won's mother's goons. I'd expect Song In to target her too, as a hostage carrot he could dangle to make Rin comply with the King's command.

We really don't know what San wants. Or whom, if anyone. Presumably she's already discussed marrying Rin with Dad.

Oh, wait. There's more: If Rin really does get coerced into becoming Crown Prince, then San, as a commoner, even the wealthiest commoner in the kingdom, could not marry him. She has no backers, and would find herself in the exact same position she was in when Won wanted to marry her. I'm sure that Song In has a nice political marriage all lined up for Crown Prince Wang Rin. Probably to one of jackass Minister In's kids. * shudder *

I'll stop here to await the episode 31-32 recap. ;-)

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"If all else fails, retreat.” Run like the wind, Rin, and hotfoot it out of Goryeo with San"

That's what they do (in the next episode). But no one literally will let them breathe. Imagine if they did manage to get on the boat and dissapear far away from Goryeo just the two of them, Rin and San??. Oh I've just decided! That will be my alternative ending (and make the gif for it) if the finale is something like Lookout.

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@miselpo,

I've been holding my peace on episodes 31-32 until the recap. Just barely. ;-)

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So accurate - if his lips are moving he's lying. That's Song in alright

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I would like to believe that Rin will not turn bad in the remaining episodes. I think his fear for San’s safety came first before everybody else including Won. He has known since then, that Song In wants to use San’s family’s wealth to gain power. He also knows that Won’s mother can use anyone to make his son king even if it means hurting his son’s friends and family. After he got San out of the palace, he went to Song In to kill him because he believes it would help Won. He was not expecting the King to be there, since everybody seems to think he was out hunting. I would like to think that Rin assessed the situation and made his own plans but don’t want Won (or us viewers) to know just yet, just like he did in the earlier episodes. Then Won will help him out in the end. As for the lovestory, I just want a believable ending although I am partial to the RinSan ship.

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Im Siwan, you are on my radar now!

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I know I'm supposed to like Won but ugh, every time he throws San around or goes off with his "my woman" bull I kind of want to throw up. Is this our hero? Seriously?

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no, you don't have to like Won :)
and if you could not stand for this 'my woman'kind of thing i seriously suggest you to avoid romance-theme-sageuk

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I wouldn't say all romance theme saegeuk need to be avoided. The problem is him referring to her as his woman when she has shown no romantic interest in him and repeatedly rejected his physical advances.

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Most view that Won trust Rin because they are friends but i think Won demands Rin for loyalty because he is the ultimate in the society. So Won self claimed that San is his thus Rin has to have no feeling for San Won loves? That is the mentality of CP who believes that everything belongs to him.

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Well... Some women actually love the idea of a guy (especially if he is handsome and rich) who claimed them as 'his women'. It screams 'love' and 'passion'. I am not judging... But lets see an example: fifty shades of grey (super popular novel and movies among women). There is no way an insane woman would adore Christian Grey if he is not handsome, sexy and super rich.

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Rin, how can I find a sweet guy like you? My favorite scene is when Rin hold San's hand, but not to move her hand to write down the things she needed to write down, but just to give her strength.
As for Won, wae?! Just when I thought, "well, I can like him since he's choosing Rin this time" but what's with the end letter? Why can't he let go of San? I understand that fighting for your love is a noble thing to do, but only if it's mutual feelings. Maybe I just don't like a guy who is very possessive and controlling, so I definitely dislike Won for holding on to San too much.

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LOL.. You're not the only one. We all thought that way when Won said he choose Rin time. But then he asked San to go back to him. What the..?
You gave us false hope, Won!! ???

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I was fooled by Won. I mostly agree with all his decisions when he's trying to solve any political issues and gain power, but the only thing that's totally turning me off is when he's constantly trying to control San's life. It's really frustrating.

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I think the writer has made Won's personality and traits even more ambiguous than San's romantic feelings.

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@ 19 hannaehh ,

Just when I thought, "well, I can like him since he's choosing Rin this time" but what's with the end letter? Why can't he let go of San?

I have a sense that Writer-nim has been trolling us so often that it's impossible to tell which end is up with any of the the leads. Either they clam up and say nothing verbally, or it's expressed through subtle body language. Or in Won's case, what he says can be interpreted more than one way, while the audience has been conditioned to think of Won and San in romantic terms.

After watching episodes 31-32, I'm keeping my eyes peeled for creative misdirection.

IMHO, the show has been chasing its tail far too long with this dopey friendship/romance triangle. Bah, humbug!

My favorite scene is when Rin hold San's hand, but not to move her hand to write down the things she needed to write down, but just to give her strength.

I found that a "touching" scene, too. It reinforced the earlier scene in the room with Finance Minister Eun's body. When San collapsed, Rin offered her his hand, and she took it when she was good and ready. Then he helped her to her feet. Very nice and wordlessly comforting -- if she wanted to avail herself of it.

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If you really want to find creative misdirection go back and watch from the beginning with that in mind. And I agree with the touching scenes with Rin and San. Surely the whole drama hasn't been one big misdirection. That would almost be criminal.

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I should rephrase my comment about creative misdirection in episodes 31-32. The possibility of misdirection is normally in the back of my mind when I watch, especially when I've been given just cause for suspicion. (It also goes with the territory. I'm an fan of O. Henry, the master of the surprise ending. I also grew up reading Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, so watching for subtle clues is second nature.)

I've been noticing that numerous scenes (in addition to the cliffhangers) are shown incrementally. Flashbacks later reveal "the rest of the story," and sometimes the revelation entirely changes what appeared to happen. It feels to me as if THE KING IN LOVE has done that quite a bit, although I cannot cite the circumstances off the top of my head. This is a non-linear method of exposition, which is fine by me. Flashbacks are a time-honored Korean storytelling device/tradition. When used to excess, partial revelations by flashback begin to feel contrived to crank up the tension. Or just plain formulaic, like the requisite 3 false leads before hitting paydirt in every American cop or forensics show that's ever been filmed.

Another possibility exists: What seems to me to be intentional misdirection might actually be the result of sloppy writing, plot holes, iffy continuity, or unfortunate editing decisions. Maybe I'm giving Writer-nim the benefit of the doubt by calling them instances of creative misdirection. ;-)

With the next recap, I hope to get a better handle on the situation. In the mean time, I'm biting my tongue to avoid spilling the beans. ;-)

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The writer is just confused like 'ewedu and gbegiri'for drama to remains 8episode how can he still not set things straight the way he claimed and we expect. .. I just pity how prince will feel now after seeing his be loving friend kiss his lover mehn it's really bad...

And kudos to Queen she is still trying her best to save her son and to Dan kwontinue!!!!yeye dey worry her

King is totally useless as from beginning because how can one person allow stupid person to manipulate him against is son it's really really stupid

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Team wonsan

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SPOILERS!

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One of the things that attracted me most to Rin's character was his deep seated loyalty to Won. Whatever issues they had, they were able to work through it and talk it through, for him to turn against Won this way without even a chance for a proper conversation, breaks my heart. I didn't know how much I counted on Rin's loyalty until he started acting contrary and I was so disappointed in him.

Now, I used to be a staunch RinSan shipper with the best of them; but seeing them together this episode hurt me. I couldn't even enjoy the scenes with their cackling chemistry. All I could think of is, I really wouldn't mind them being together if they could have Won's blessing- but I don't want Rin to betray Won. If he's going to pursue San, then he needs to declare himself and not go about it in an underhand manner.

And San is too passive - I don't blame her because she's been through a lot, and now her father was murdered. But I wish by now she'd declare to one and all which Ship she's on. come on writer! There's only two weeks left!

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Agreed. As much as I am a RinSan shipper, I wish they'd get Won's blessing first before getting together. It's hurts to see their friendship is broken because of romance.

Now about San, I think romance was never her first priority. She was too focused to her revenge. And she likes both men and most importantly adores their friendship too. It defintely puts her in awkward position. I get the feeling that she'd rather choose another man than breaking WonRin apart tbh (As proven by how she was willing to sacrificed herself to be a tribute for Rin to stay by Won's side).

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can't we just erase san and let them be happy

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If there's no San here won't be much story of how their friendship i being tested though :p

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i just dont care anymore

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But Won will never give his blessing--at least at this point. I wrote on my fan wall that a river runs through that palace and its name is DENIAL. Won's in denial--not just in the fact that anyone else could have feelings for San, especially his best friend--but as the next two episodes play out, everything else that is happening around him. And it's this that drives his actions. I'm back on board after seeing the next two--I hate how the first hour of the week just leaves my brain in shambles.

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The way I see it is Rin is finally putting San's safety first and finally putting his feelings as a priority. Remember when San was kidnapped and Won absolutely lost it in anger? Rin knew he had made a mistake in not letting his feelings known earlier.
What man wouldn't choose his love over a friend? And Won has always chosen San over Rin, never once considering Rin's obvious feelings, but just deny, deny because Rin is "his person". I don't think his choosing Rin this time was really his choosing Rin first but he has an ulterior motive. He's using manipulation (the ring) to get San back.
Either the writer forgets what's happened in previous episodes, or it will all come together in the end.

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@ 21 Adal,

But I wish by now she'd declare to one and all which Ship she's on.

Just to play devil's advocate, it seems to me that the only ship San really wants to be on is the one bound for Saracen (Muslim) lands.

In the past, we've seen Finance Minister Eun discuss business and political strategies with San. I can't help but wonder if he'd had a chance to talk with her about his marriage negotiations with Chancellor Wang -- before he was killed. It would surprise me if she were in the dark the way Rin was. (How icky to hear that news from Song In, of all people! Yuck!) At least Pops Wang was still breathing when Rin got home to verify that Finance Minister Eun wanted him to marry San and protect her.

Given all the headaches with regard to romance, marriage, royalty, and politics, I would not blame San one whit if she said to herself “Screw this!” and took herself to a nunnery! Or as someone suggested, she could take a page from merchant and former Balhae princess Shin Yool's playbook in SHINE OR GO CRAZY and conduct trading business far away from Goryeo. Hmmm. Sounds like the 36th Stratagem again. ;-)

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Agree. ? I often feel she should act that way, myself.

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i leave it for a while
i'll pick it up when the story ends

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Why do I not read a word of anger, not one word, about Song In? I find it utterly stupid that so many follow the predictable route this drama has layed down. There is no substance to Song In's power and influence (even though he is in league with the King, who he has enfebaled and hobbled) Actually San and Won have a mutual need to exact vengance, of course it will exact a price but those of you who imagine San could ever be with Rin now are in another world.

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then you clearly didn't read the comments cause lots of people want Song In and Boyoung to pay for their crimes.

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Agreed. I'm among the many who want them gone. It won't matter in the least who's on the throne when all they have to do is slip that person some funky poison

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Here is a clearly defined conspiracy yet none of you seems to give a damn, so long as you can ship Rin San. Shame!!!

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Lol.

He should be drawn, quartered and boiled in hot oil.

Honestly, there are few comments about SongIn because every drama needs a villain to ratchet up the conflict, without which the drama would be boring. We all know that karma will catch up to him in the last episode or two....

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We all know the conspiracy is there and have been paying attention, as it's a slow build. Being natural romantics at heart, and since so much screen time and effort has been put into the characters of Rin/San/Won and their friendship and rivalry, that's been the focus for us romantics. Yeah, I'm a RinSan shipper, but I'm really watching just to look at Hong Jong hyun. Totally shallow? Why not.

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I found these very light on logical explanation. I have zero sympathy with the pure blood cause and no trust in either Song In or the King. Why is the Princess refered to as Queen? Why is she supposedly working with Boo Yong? Which ever version, book or this, there is plotting and tretchery everywhere. Poor Won cannot even rely on his own parents and what they do is actually for their own ends, not his. I Think he has been pretty exemplary up to now and I think that even his friends have let him down badly.

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Rin is pretty decent but he is stupid and ultimately not loyal. He could have made everything so much more straight forward for everyone had he been entirely honest. Those who betray trust are the worst.

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Wow. Are you sure they were Won's friends, or are they people he depended on because of his lacking. His friends let him down? He thinks he owns them. Rin's father told him from the beginning that a king has no friends. So you were already given that information. You were also given the information that Won knew "after all those years" that his best friend betrayed him and there was an impassable river between he and his love. And yet you're surprised at these developments? Plus, it hasn't ended yet. What will the writer do? Have a happy, nice ending where they all come together as friends again, or be like real history where Won ends up alone. We're all so curious, except for the WonSan shippers who are angry that the promotional material suggested a love story between Won and San. So far it's seemed one sided and I don't blame them. As far as the conspiracy, seems like that's always a factor not only in sageuk but also in factual history, whether Korean, Asian, or European. In today's terms, Song would not only be called a racist, but if he's on the winning side in the end he won't be a traitor.

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@linda-palapala
Won has never treated Rin or San as a possession despite his words. As a future King it is his right to expect fealty and loyalty from his subjects. The relationship between Won and Rin is complex. We have been shown on numerous occasions that the love and affection Won and Rin have for each other is mutual and far surpasses mere lord/vassal; not merely dependent on Royalty or rank. We all heard Rin say to Won "If I didn't want to be with you, I would have run far away". So yes, they are friends .

Won does not command Rin's or San's affections. He waits for them to bestow their love for him of their own free will. When asked by his Queen mother why he didn't just marry San along with Dan, as it was well within his rights as future King. He answered that San's affections could not be engaged so simply.

Even now, he is waiting for both of them to come to him, and begging San to stay, doing all he can to protect Rin. If they were his possessions, why would he wait? Why would he beg? He need only command them to come to him and they must obey.

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@Adal September 8, 2017 at 7:20 AM

Thank you! I hadn't seen it as clearly as you have just described it. Now the tenor of these episodes (and a lot more) makes much more sense. The deference in the wording of Won's letter, and his invoking the promise symbolized by San's mother's ring, underscore the fact that this is definitely NOT a royal command, but a humble request from one dear friend to another. Hell, it's actually an S-O-S.

The tone of the letter reminds me of the following, with San as the ramblin' boy, and Won as her #1 fan. I think “#1 Fan” comes close to expressing Won's sentiment towards San that is so often translated as his "priority" in the subtitles.

Dave Loggins: "Please Come to Boston"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UDRLZFgEoGw

I appreciate how you've emphasized that Won is entitled to his subjects' fealty and loyalty, which has always been in the back of my mind. But he has not pulled rank with either of his friends. How very unusual in that day and place. As a future king, it is a luxury he can afford. His friends, however, can never forget his rank, despite the informality of their joshing around. When San learned Won's true identity, her behavior towards him changed.

As I look back on the show to date, I recall how forward Won has been in expressing his feelings for San. But he has not really prodded her to reciprocate those feelings. I think he'd be thrilled if she did, but he gives her space to respond in her own time. In retrospect, I'm (again) realizing that she doesn't feel the same way towards Won, and doesn't want to hurt his feelings by saying so. He may even know darned well that they're “just friends,” and it's really okay, even if he's let down. Maybe it's San, Rin, and the rest of us who have been falsely ascribing jealousy and possessiveness to Won, when in fact he only wants to protect and cherish his two friends.

Unless you are free to say “No,” then you are not truly free to say “Yes.” Won has, in fact, afforded both San and Rin the freedom to say “No.” He even acceded to her request to not select her as his bride. It is a far cry from what Rin is facing in the clutches of Song In and the King, who are making him an offer he can't refuse.

I'm beginning to suspect that the “birdcage” that Won has in mind for San might actually be the shelter of eagle's wings for her and Rin. But no one, including them, would ever believe it. The Queen is too powerful.

I have a dim memory of someone (Won?) saying they are very patient. Normally, Won is a decisive, no-nonsense guy. Ditto for Rin. The two of them practically read each other's minds and finish each other's sentences. While Rin puts out fires of his own and San's, Won patiently bides his time wondering what his brother-in-arms is up to. He trusts that Rin will get back to him.

When he does not, I had assumed that Rin was working up to staking his claim for San. Now I think he is simply swamped with...

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- continued -

Oops! Sorry about the italics!

When he does not, I had assumed that Rin was working up to staking his claim for San. Now I think he is simply swamped with making getaway plans.

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Don't call him stupid. People without guile are not stupid, unless your definition is different from mine. Even Won knew Rin wouldn't know how to tell a lie. Rin thought for a really long time he had no right to love San, regardless of his feelings. And betraying trust, perhaps Won is a little too trusting and thus in denial. All of them have major faults, but I'm not so sure those who betray are the worst, because things are complicated, as knotted threads.

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@ahjussi

I agree with you. It is stupid of him not to communicate to Won before escalating the conflict by his actions. He may still be loyal, but his actions are subject to misinterpretation and misrepresentation because of his failure to communicate.

It's in his character to try to solve problems himself and only go to the Crown Prince when all else fails and we have seen this on two occasions:

One with the incident of the theft of the CP's arrows; and Two: when he tried to stop San's marriage to Jeon. He'll always come to Won after he fails and that is the reason why Won is waiting for Rin to come to him. I doubt that Rin buys all SongIn's lies, he's too intelligent for that. But he's trying to protect the King with Won out of the picture, and that is where he failed.

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@Adal September 8, 2017 at 7:03 AM

I agree with you. It is stupid of him not to communicate to Won before escalating the conflict by his actions. He may still be loyal, but his actions are subject to misinterpretation and misrepresentation because of his failure to communicate.

It's in his character to try to solve problems himself and only go to the Crown Prince when all else fails...
He'll always come to Won after he fails and that is the reason why Won is waiting for Rin to come to him. I doubt that Rin buys all SongIn's lies, he's too intelligent for that. But he's trying to protect the King with Won out of the picture, and that is where he failed.

I have an alternate interpretation of Rin's avoidance of Won. Aside from the fact that he probably has his hands full with preparing for the funeral and planning San's getaway, Rin may purposely stay away from Won to avoid further antagonizing the Queen, who is already on the warpath. I don't think she knows the actual details of Song In's plot (yet), but she probably suspects them.

I'm ready to tear my hair out over who knows what (and when and how).

Rin is probably also trying to avoid antagonizing the King, who distrusts his son.

It's not only Rin's actions that are subject to misinterpretation and misrepresentation, and it's not only because of his failure to communicate. He's surrounded by liars and power-mongers. Anything and everything he says and does (or does not say or do!) can and will be used against him by someone or other. Even Won's two generals are rarin' to keelhaul Finance Minister Eun and Chancellor Wang and their kin on the flimsy basis of an anonymous tip, for crying out loud.

Won may indeed be waiting for Rin to come to him when his plans fail. Fair enough. But maybe Rin does not think that his plans have failed because he has not yet attempted to light out for parts unknown.

I'm not so sure that Rin is trying to protect the King by the end of episode 30. It strikes me that he is realizing that he is stuck on the horns of a dilemma. When faced with a royal command from the reigning king to assume the rank of crown prince, or to follow the orders of the present crown prince, which must he obey? It seems to me that the king's command would take precedence, and force him to betray his best friend. This is a no-win situation for Rin. The only remotely viable option I can see for him is to get the hell out of Dodge City as quickly and quietly as possible. And take San with him.

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I hope Rin with going with Song In because he has to save king and royal family.

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My heart aches for Won

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So does mine, poor guy.

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Pure blood is really important in Goryeo. I think the reason the king didn't match made his son GangYang to Princess WOnsung is because his son will be king soon and he needs a pure goryeo blood as the crown princess. As for him, he already has a pure blood prince so taking a second wife from Yuan to save a country is acceptable. But he miscalculate that Princess WOnsung using her Yuan power dethroned the first queen as royal concubine and take the place as queen. She even go overboard by sending GangYang to temple and make her son as CP at the age of 3. That is the start of the rebel of SOng In and his party (who seems to fight for the Goryeo pure blood to take the throne).

To me, the reaaaaason the hatred Won get from his people and the King are all the queen's fault. If only she can accept living harmoniosly with the first queen and prince GangYang and not shoo them away, the king won't be hating her so much like now. and his son will not receive the hate of the people.

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Thanks for the wonderful recap and comments murasakimi! I also thought there would be a flash forward, and I agree that this time, it would have been helpful for the story and for character development. I also love that the friendship is still present in the story, though it's finally beginning to have some more serious cracks. We thought there might be angst earlier on, but here they are, still (barely) holding on!

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Also when all the folks were trying to capture them during the funeral procession I was so confused. It was hard to remember who was doing what for whom and why at that point! Your recap helped me remember!

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