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The King Loves: Episodes 39-40 (Final)

The two friends at the heart of The King Loves face their biggest challenge of all as they grow into men of determination and purpose. Won and Rin have learned to trust each other no matter what, and that ability is the key to their success as they confront new threats. But their greatest accomplishment may be that they have learned to respect each other above all things, even when life threatens to pull them in different directions.

 
EPISODE 39 RECAP

Won and Rin arrive at the deserted Eun estate and split up to search for San. Rin frees a tied up Bi-yeon, which allows her to pass on a small bottle of an antidote that she warns must be administered before sunset.

Won looks around for San when he finds Dan, shocked to learn that San drank poisoned tea. When Won surveys the tea set on the table, he finds a letter.

Won runs out and informs Rin and his guards that San was kidnapped and produces the letter as he explains that Song In wants to meet him, alone. Rin shows Won the antidote after he learns that San was the one who was poisoned.

Both men race after San on horseback as Won narrates, “My friend, whom I met when I was twelve, showed me the world. You were in that world. You were like a little bird, and I was captivated by you. The sky is big, and you are too small. Where are you?”

Moo-suk drives the carriage as Song In sits inside with his dagger against San’s throat. San wants to know if he ordered the murder of her mother and their guards eight years ago, but he claims he no longer remembers the people who were sacrificed for his grandiose plans.

A look at the sun’s position tells Song In that Dan must be coughing up blood by now and will be dead by the time the sun sets. Song In takes pleasure in the fact that he’s already taken Won’s mother, friend, and wife — now it’s San’s turn.

But San laughs as she confesses, “I ruined all the fun for you,” as she coughs up blood.

Teacher Lee finds King Chungryeol in Princess Wonsung’s empty chambers. The king is angry that Teacher Lee chose exile when it would have been better for him to stay at the palace to get through to him. When Teacher Lee bluntly observes that the king prefers flattery, the king keeps his temper in check and invites his guest to sit down.

The king sadly recounts that Princess Wonsung died while he was asleep. Teacher Lee shares that he heard that the king almost died and then confides, “I heard that you assembled a group opposed to Yuan. And that you killed Princess Wonsung secretly because she was opposed to you.” The king is shocked by the rumors but becomes fearful when he learns that he supposedly ordered Goryeo’s armies to prepare for war with Yuan.

Teacher Lee shares that envoys are on their way to formally withdraw Yuan’s promise to treat Goryeo as an independent state. Since he’s become well known in Yuan, Teacher Lee was asked to head the bureau that will govern Goryeo. Teacher Lee assures the angry King Chungryeol that he doesn’t want the position and asks him to protect Goryeo.

Meanwhile, San is pleased that she upset Song In’s plan as he desperately searches for the missing antidote. He yells for Moo-suk, who stands at a distance with his bow and confesses that he gave the antidote to Bi-yeon.

Moo-suk demands the king’s seal, convinced that Song In plans to turn Goryeo over to Yuan. He draws his arrow as he remembers his father, a commander who died in a conflict with Yuan. Song In reminds Moo-suk that he raised the young son who was left behind, and when he mentions that they were once like brothers, Moo-suk hesitates just before he shoots. When the arrow misses its target, Song In plunges his dagger into Moo-suk.

Won and Rin stop to investigate some fresh tracks, and Won sees the blood on Rin’s robe. He squeezes Rin’s shoulder, and when he sees the fresh blood on his hand, he scolds Rin for riding this far in his current state. Won demands the antidote, worried that it will be tainted with blood, and once he has it, he sends Rin’s horse away so that Rin can’t follow and rides off with a promise to return with San.

While Song In drives the carriage, Rin stumbles through the woods and finds Moo-suk’s body, realizing that San must be nearby.

Song In carries San to the ocean as sunset approaches. When San’s hand falls limply, he promises that the pain won’t last long.

Won is at the empty carriage when Song In returns, and he demands to know what he wants and where he took San. Song In admits that he wants the only thing that Won has left: Goryeo.

Song In fights off Won as he proclaims, “You are inferior to me in every way. Your brains, your brawn, and your sword fighting.” Song In proves that he’s quite skilled as he and Won fight, but he’s also crazed as he screeches, “Why should you rule Goryeo? I am better king material!”

Song In manages to disarm Won and raises his dagger, only to be surprised when he’s struck by an arrow from behind. Song In turns to see Rin, who is armed with Moo-suk’s bow and arrows. Won tries to use the opportunity to recover his sword, but it places him dangerously close to Song In.

Before Rin can ready another arrow, Song In grabs Won and places his dagger against his neck. Song In taunts Rin by saying that he doesn’t have to strength to fight any longer as Rin looks down at his own blood-soaked robe. Determined, Rin struggles as he aims another arrow, and when he releases it, Won rolls out of the way in time for the arrow to bury itself into Song In’s chest.

Blood gushes from Song In’s mouth as Won demands to know where he hid San. Out of time, Rin calls Won away, and the mortally wounded Song In smiles when he sees the specter of Boo-yong approach before he closes his eyes for the last time.

Won and Rin discover San lying on the rocks as the sun lowers. Won empties the bottle of antidote into her mouth, and when she doesn’t stir, Rin runs for the carriage. Alone with San, Won pleads, “Wake up, So-hwa… you must wake up. San, we are here, so wake up!”

Next thing we know, Teacher Lee greets Won as soon as he passes through the palace gates and warns, “There is something you must know.”

Accompanied by Minister Song, a party of Yuan envoys meets with King Chungryeol and his ministers. They present a bloody talisman that Minister Song explains was found under Princess Wonsung’s chambers as proof that Boo-yong caused her death with a curse.

The king and his ministers are shocked when the envoy explains that the imperial family has summoned King Chungryeol to Yuan for an investigation into Princess Wonsung’s death. The envoy notes that since the emperor and Princess Wonsung have died, the king no longer has any connection to Yuan.

King Chungryeol demands to know, “Are you saying I made someone put a curse on my own queen to murder her? Why would I?” The envoy explains that there is an uprising against Yuan in Goryeo and has witnesses who claim that the king is the leader. The envoy goes on to suggest that Princess Wonsung was killed when she discovered his plan and challenges, “If you are innocent, come to Yuan.”

Won’s voice suddenly rings out, “I will prove his innocence here.” Won enters to announce that he killed the leader of the anti-Yuan forces on his father’s orders and shows the fresh blood on his hand as proof (but it’s actually Rin’s blood). After he testifies that the leader confessed that he was responsible for the talisman, Won whispers to his father, “I deserve a compliment. I did well, right?”

The envoy asks Won if he found the king’s golden stamp as he motions for a scroll, and Minister Song gasps when he reads an order to ready soldiers near the border and prepare for war.

Wang Young argues that the document can’t be authentic, but Minister Song wails that it bears the king’s seal. The envoy proposes that the leader of the anti-Yuan group must be the one who has the king’s seal and demands to know, “Who has this golden stamp?”

Teacher Lee visits the Wang estate to bring Rin up to date — the investigation into Princess Wonsung’s death and the threat of war are an excuse for Yuan to take over Goryeo. Teacher Lee is worried that without Princess Wonsung’s protection, the king won’t be safe if he goes to Yuan.

When Rin asks about Won, Teacher Lee acknowledges that the current situation is a perfect excuse for him to take the crown. Rin knows Won doesn’t want that, but Teacher Lee fears that if Won doesn’t accept the throne, Goryeo’s future will be in danger.

Teacher Lee reasons that the only way to appease Yuan is to present a convincing leader of the anti-Yuan group. Rin listens thoughtfully when Teacher Lee explains that it should be someone from the top five people who could succeed the king. (Teacher Lee! What are you suggesting?!)

Rin emerges from his meeting to find San just outside the door. He reminds her that she should be resting before examining her closely, and when he notes that she looks unwell and has dark circles under her eyes, San wonders if he’s calling her ugly. Rin smiles sheepishly and quickly apologizes with a laugh.

When Rin sits next to her, San stares at him and admits that she’s trying to figure out, “What is on Rin’s mind right now?” Rin wants to know her findings, so she answers, “The leader of the anti-Yuan group. Saving the king… Goryeo. Yuan. The crown prince.”

Rin avoids San’s gaze and offers to get her some porridge. When San catches Rin staring at her, he admits, “I want to look at you for a bit longer.” San wonders aloud, “What on earth is on your mind that I am feeling more nervous than ever?”

Won and Dan visit King Chungryeol to present him with cookies that Dan made. Won assures the king that they aren’t poisoned and praises Dan’s cooking skills, but when the king shoves the cookies away, Won whispers, “Do not mind him. He is rather suspicious, small-minded, and holds grudges for a long time, but he is kind.”

The king finds Won’s words odd for someone who wanted to take his place. Won goes on to add that the king is a horrible Go player, and he and his father trade insults until the king finally clucks his tongue at Dan in sympathy.

Won rolls his eyes as the king informs her, “The country thinks of him as a half-blooded prince. He never knew the love of a family. He would not know how to love you.” Ouch. Won urges Dan to take the king’s words as a kind of blessing, and as they leave, the king invites Won for a game of Go.

The two men face each other over a Baduk board, and the king supposes that once he leaves for Yuan, Won will have fun playing king. Won admits, “I have been doing that already, while you were bewitched by that fox and out of your mind.” They trade more barbs before the king acknowledges that because the emperor died, Yuan wants to take over Goryeo.

The king doubts that Won cares, but he insists that Goryeo is very important to him. The king foresees that the people will be enslaved if Goryeo is absorbed by Yuan and begs Won, “Please protect its name.”

When Won asks about the gold seal, the king admits that he lost it. Won is certain that Song In was the one who made the royal order for war, but admits that he didn’t find the seal when Song In was killed.

The king wants to know what Won plans to do once the seal is recovered, and is shocked that Won plans to claim responsibility for the call for war. Won worries about the king’s chances in Yuan and intends to go in his place, hopeful that his relatives won’t kill him.

Won takes the handkerchief that contains the petals of his mother’s peony and offers it to his father. When the king reveals the petals, Won shares, “She asked for a peony before she died. This is the peony.”

When King Chungryeol weeps openly, Won finally realizes that his father loved his mother.

 
EPISODE 40 RECAP

Jin Gwan catches Dan as she stumbles in her rush to meet San, and she cries as she pulls San into a hug. Dan admits how relieved she is to see San as Jin Gwan hands her a handkerchief from a generous supply.

San teases that she’s crying as much as Bi-yeon, and it reminds Dan of all the times that Rin teased her about her tears. The two women walk together happily as San asks Dan to share her secret for good cooking.

Jeon barges in on his father and brother to complain that Rin brought San, his former fiancée, into their house. Wang Young simply ignores Jeon’s rant as Rin asks for his father’s forgiveness.

Jeon is shocked when his father explains that Rin wants his name erased from the family registry. Rin offers Jeon a chance to contribute to the kingdom on the condition that he forgets about San and warns, “You should do as I say if you do not wish your wrongdoings to be exposed once again.”

Wang Young looks at Rin with sorrow as he instructs Jeon, “Tell him that you will do that and that you are thankful.” Later, Rin kneels before his father as he leaves his home while Teacher Lee’s narration tells us that it’s the summer of 1297.

We then see Teacher Lee meeting with Goo-hyung at the Eun estate as he learns that San had him prepare it for her teacher’s use.

Won meets up with San and Rin, who wait for him with knapsacks. They are headed to retrieve the king’s seal, whose location San claims Song In shared with her. Won is reluctant to travel without his guards but Rin reminds him that he did it all the time. Won then suggests that they take horses when he hears that it’s at least a two day trip but San starts off without him in frustration. Won catches up to ask, “Why are you both annoyed with me?”

As they hike to their destination, Won narrates, “I knew they were lying when I looked into their eyes. That is how close we were. I knew they were fooling me, and they knew that I knew.”

When the trio stops at a creek for water, Rin fills San’s water bag while they smile happily at each other. Won takes a step back and smiles to himself when he sees that they’re lost in their own world. His narration continues, “That summer, we were practicing our farewell. To a friend whom I never separated from and to you, whom I thought I would never be separated from.”

It’s nighttime when the trio runs through the rain to take shelter in a deserted house. San shares that the storm triggered a memory, and she and Won mention Mount Doota at the same time.

San admits that she should have figured out Won’s identity back then, “One was busy getting firewood, but the other did not lift a finger.” Won defends himself by saying, “Rin busies himself for nothing. I am the normal one. He is abnormal.” Won points to Rin knowingly when he emerges from the house and announces that he will get some firewood.

San has Rin sit down and asks if the rain reminds him of anything. As usual, he’s clueless, and Won and San have to coach him until he remembers Mount Doota. A flashback to Won and Rin sleeping on either side of San in the cave on Mount Doota is proof of how much has changed since then.

Rin announces that the rain stopped as Won quietly studies the profiles of his friends. When he looks down, Won stares at his hand next to San’s before he jumps to his feet to announce, “Rin will get firewood, and I will cook.”

Rin and San are aghast when Won empties a bottle of salt onto their food. San manages to get a taste and spits out the food as she declares, “It is so salty!” When Won realizes that her sense of taste has returned, he can’t help himself, and he pulls San into a hug.

San walks off to find a way to salvage their dinner, which gives Rin a chance to ask Won about San’s lost sense of taste. Won beams as he shares, “She got it back. I am so proud of her.”

Later, Rin covers a sleeping San with a robe before joining Won on the porch. Won mentions Rin’s letter, which he found touching, but Rin is too embarrassed to talk about it.

Won offers Rin his hand as he tells him, “I was honored that you considered me your friend.” After they shake hands, Rin wonders, “Was that embarrassing?” And Won admits, “Incredibly. Let us never do that again.” Ha.

When Won mentions the king’s seal, Rin admits that if San finds it, he plans to keep it. Won was afraid this was Rin’s plan and tells him not to even think of such a thing. But Rin reminds Won that if he or the king are tied to the anti-Yuan movement, Goryeo will be invaded.

Won insists that he can manage the threat, but Rin knows that he’s the perfect person to be blamed for everything, even the king’s kidnapping. When Won asks what happens when the seal is found on him, Rin quietly answers that he’ll accept the consequences.

Won cuts off their conversation and sends Rin inside to San. Rin places his pack under San’s head and worries that he woke her when she opens her eyes, but she confesses that she was already awake.

Rin wonders if she overheard him, but San confesses that she figured out his plan on her own. Rin apologizes, “I said I would follow you anywhere, that I would be with you. I cannot keep that promise.” Tears well in her eyes as San argues that she’s not as strong as Rin believes she is.

Rin knows San has the king’s seal and holds out his hand as he urges, “Give it to me.” A flashback shows that San stole the pouch with the seal from Song In when he carried her to the rocks by the ocean.

San tearfully places that pouch in Rin’s hand, and when he calls her “Lady San,” she remembers how surprised she was when he first used her name, since it had been so long since she heard it.

Rin recalls the first time that he saw her, “Long before that, when I was twelve, I snuck into your house once. It was nighttime, and you were crying. As you cried, you lit lotus lanterns to comfort the dead. Ever since then, I liked you.”

Rin then confesses, “For a short while, I dreamed of making you mine.” They are both crying as Rin tenderly tells San, “I will let you go now. Do not look back.” San can’t contain her sobs any longer as she rests her head on Rin’s shoulder. Rin raises his hand to console her, but holds himself back as San continues to cry, and their sad farewell fills the night.

Outside, Won stands under a tree as he gazes at the sky and thinks, “I wish we got to practice life once. A practice run. I would remember the lessons and live a righteous life the second time around.”

Dressed as one of the king’s ministers, Jeon finds the Yuan envoy and gives up Rin’s hideout, the headquarters of the anti-Yuan movement. Won dispatches his guards as Rin attempts to escape on horseback, but he’s soon overtaken. Rin abandons his horse, and a search of his belongings yields the king’s seal.

Rin is chased to a cliff, where he fights off Won’s guards until Jang Eui shoots him in the leg with an arrow and forces him down. When Rin manages to stand and fight again, Jin Gwan sends a second arrow into his shoulder and then turns away, tears filling his eyes.

Both Jang Eui and Jin Gwan look at Rin in sorrow as he inches to the edge of the cliff. With a look up to the sky, Rin falls to the water far below.

In the throne room, King Chungryeol places his crown on Won’s head as Teacher Lee’s narrations explains, “The king commended the crown prince for his efforts and abdicated in his favor and retired to a corner of the palace.”

The cart pullers move a cart with a covered body through the city as Teacher Lee narrates, “Wang Rin’s body was found at the mouth of a river few days later. He had been disowned by his family and died a traitor, so no one claimed his body.”

Now dressed in his kingly robes, Won emerges from behind a tree as the narration continues, “That day, the new king climbed a hill and waited for someone for a long time.” Won gazes down at San as a man wearing a hat uses a cane to limp to her side.

Won faces them as the man removes his hat… and we see that it’s Rin. With great sadness, Won stares at his friends in the distance as they bow together to their new king. Won accepts the gesture with a bittersweet smile and watches as Rin and San turn to walk away.

Rin stops when San turns around, and Won’s last glimpse of her is her tearful smile as she waves goodbye. Won starts to lift his hand to wave back, but he can’t bring himself to do it.

Rin stares at his lifelong friend as San joins him, leaving Won to watch from under the tree as his friends disappear together into the woods.

Later, Minister Song enters the throne room to summon Won to a banquet with Yuan envoys as Teacher Lee narrates, “In a short period, the new king reformed the government. He worked day and night and spent his free time alone.” Won silences Minister Song when he mentions that Minister Eun’s daughter was spotted in Goryeo and sends him ahead to the banquet.

Alone, Won sadly protests, “I thought you had gone far, but you are still in Goryeo. What if I come running after you?” With a heavy sigh he concludes, “You are too close.”

Teacher Lee’s narration lets us know what happened to Won: “Seven months after becoming king, he abdicated in favor of his father, the previous king, and left to Yuan.” The throne sits empty as Teacher Lee adds, “He did not return to Goryeo for ten years.”

A portrait of the trio amid the red flowers appears in place of the empty throne as Teacher Lee’s narration sheds light on what Won did when he was alone, “Much later, someone found a painting by the young king.”

And in a final flashback, we see the three friends together on that immortalized day among the red flowers. Won smiles at his friends as he reflects, “This is the story of me, who loved you more than myself.”

 
COMMENTS

With a poignant and heartfelt farewell, the friendship of Won, Rin and San becomes a warm and tender memory as the trio made one last sacrifice, this time for the preservation of Goryeo. Won finally understands what it means to love unselfishly as he tries to save what is precious to him — his father, his country and his friends — even though the personal cost is almost unbearable.

The King Loves was about so much more than the romantic triangle that dominated much of the story. When I remember this drama, I will think if it as a coming-of-age story where our trio rose above their selfish desires and became heroic in the process. Yes, San and Rin were finally free to love each other and share their lives together, but that was all that they had after they left their identities and loved ones behind forever, their last and greatest sacrifice. How fitting that Won allowed them to see him in his king’s robe before they embarked on their future of anonymity. Princess Wonsung’s conviction that a king can have no friends came true after all.

What I appreciated the most about this drama was its ability to creep into my head as well as my heart as it explored the many facets of love. The King Loves was an ambitious tale that suffered at times from the complicated political angles and the uncertainty of the romance, but it did succeed in illustrating how something as beautiful as love can become so tangled. In the end, I keep thinking of San’s words: “I have come across many precious people in my life, which most people cannot even dream of. I was dearly beloved. That is enough for me.” That humility and gratitude eventually held true for each member of our trio before they parted ways.

Rin demonstrated a quiet dignity as he took Teacher Lee’s words to heart and volunteered to take the blame for Song In’s plan in order to protect Goryeo. He let San go so that she could live her live fully and happily, even though he would continue to love her as he has since he was a boy. San didn’t try to dissuade Rin from his plan, and even though he didn’t expect it, it’s no surprise that San decided to stay with him, as she’s uniquely equipped to live under an alias and help the man that she loves disappear along the hidden roads of the East. San never cared about wealth or titles, and after overcoming her emotional isolation, her love for Rin was too precious to lose.

Won showed the most emotional growth as he learned to give his friends a respectable distance and accepted that Rin and San love each other. He tried to treat San as a friend and did his best to hide his pain and, in his own way, I think he is actually happy for Rin and San. Won was true to form as he tried to find a way to keep his friends near, but in the end, he was faced with the one obstacle that he couldn’t overcome: war with Yuan. When he was forced to give up the two people that he treasured most for the greater good, Won honored their sacrifices by finally accepting one of his own. Won’s grief and sorrow when Rin and San left his life is a testament to how deeply he loved them, and his only consolation is that they survived their ordeals and are alive together somewhere in the world.

At the heart of The King Loves was the friendship between Won and Rin that defied all the odds. They were funny, charming, touching, frustrating, and heartbreaking, but always memorable. The powerful chemistry of Im Shi-wan and Hong Jong-hyun, paired with their incredible performances, gave us a bromance that is sure to stand the test of time. What an accomplishment to bring such complicated, yet endearing, characters to life.

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What a beautiful and apt ending.

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I can hardly wait to read your review but must go to work right now. But I wrote my thoughts earlier in the day (which may change once I get back and read your comments). So please forgive, but here goes:
First to address the "ambiguity" of who San loves. As I see it, the writer had two choices of where to take the drama. 1) if it had been made apparent very early in the drama that it was Rin that San loved, it would then have to be about Won going full dark, which would be the standard trope. Instead, the writer chose another option - to explore friendship, love, loyalty and sacrifice, so the ambiguity was actually necessary to explore those topics.
The ending: some reviewers complained the Rin and Won's friendship was broken because of a girl and that Rin and San abandoned Won in the end. How untrue. She had nothing to do with any of it. It had to do with who Rin was and who Won was. It was politics that forced them to leave. Yuan wanted Rin dead and the shadow gov't wanted Won to not be king. If Rin hadn't "died" he would be a danger to Won, and if Rin stayed he would have been a danger to Won. Which brings me to Song In's fate. How would the writer handle how he died? Song had a point that played to Goryeo's fears, that Won would hand over their country to Yuan. These were real fears because the shadow gov't who controlled things would lose their power. Having Song succumb to the poison and be delusional was logical. And I had always hoped Rin would be the one to kill Song.
Then ending: I now believe it was Rin that Won had to let go. I think he loved Rin more deeply than he adored San. What would have happened if San had stayed with Won? Rin would have been alone, which wasn't the point at all. It was Won's fate to be alone. Even though I'm a RinSan shipper, it was for Won that I cried at the end. And the painting at the end - Rin and Won were looking at each other and not San.
My favorite scene: not the bow from Rin and San to Won at the end, though I loved it. It was when Rin took San's hand to steady her when she was shaking too much to write at her father's funeral.
More to say but I have to be at work in two minutes. See you after work. And thank you.

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Quick question: The outfits at the end - was San going as a "lady" and Rin her personal guard? I'm not sure of the significance of the black outfit and black hat.

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I think they were going as a married couple. And his outfit was so he wouldn't be recognized, after all he's on the run.

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It was the same kind of black outfit a few other guys were wearing so I thought maybe it was a guard's outfit.

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It's a yellow/brown hat. Not black hat.
I wonder about that too...

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the personal guard clothes has iron buttons in every clothes, the one Rin's wearing not have that buttons so I don't think its a personal guard clothes, it just that Rin must always hide himself that's why he wear dark clothes (I think)
and also San's. appearance also too plain for a lady, no accessories at all, so I think she also pass as common woman, not a lady of high official n I agree that she finally wear woman. clothes instead of man clothes simbolize that now she and Rin are now settle down as a couple, not just comrade on the run

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Thank you, that was the kind of answer I was looking for.

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"I agree that she finally wear woman. clothes instead of man clothes simbolize that now she and Rin are now settle down as a couple,"

Now I can go and write my story of a couple who built their love nest in the forest not unlike the little hut Ye Hua and Su Su had in Thousand Miles of Peach Blossom.

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Nice interpretation of San's clothes! I agree about Rin too, in kdramas people in hiding always wear black anyway.

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Another recap said at the picture, Won is looking at San but San is looking at Rin, while Rin is looking at Won & San. Me thinking... Naah, san is looking at rin but won and rin are looking at each other!! Now.... Why do I this pic strongly remind me about Frozen Flower???? 😅😅😅😅

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Teriyaki: Can I just delete my comment that was made before I could read your comment, which you said so much more eloquently and understandable. It's what I was trying to say...

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I know that some people said that the writer chickened out to make the dark side of Won even darker, so she went to the path where she made viewers confused about who's in San's heart because if the writer made it clear that it's Rin, Won might had to turn to evil just like in the novel. I haven't read the summary of the novel, but I only read a bit of people's comment here and there. To me, I love Won this way. True, I'd anticipated for Won's dark side and it's quite a waste of talent since Siwan would do a splendid job if he was to act cruel and ruthless; however, even with this drama's version of Won, Won's character is a complex one. It made his charatcer interesting to me on how he grows from someone who thinks love meaning you'll have that person by your side and becomes more mature as time goes by. If he turned dark, I don't think I'd appreciate his character a lot as he'd be the typical tyrant King who wants everything to be on his way. So this version of Won fits into his voiceover about the story of I love you more than myself. It makes me feel attached to Won though I'd been mesmerized by Rin for most of the time. Even with one slash, people also questioned on how Rin and Won reconciled so quickly, so I wonder if the writer used the novel route on how Won treated Rin, I'd be questioning so much on how on Earth, Rin could forgive Won for what he did because Rin loved Won. I love this version of Won because I could feel sad for him when Rin and San left him alone. The farewell scene is such a warm and bittersweet scene and it's done perfectly.

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I completely agree with you here. I didn’t read the book or even the recap of the book, so never realized how dark Won became. However, I’d harken back to that first scene with Won and the king and how young Won felt and behaved. I could never see that person made into a total tyrant and his off camera dialogue throughout was thoughtful and genuine, never malicious. I thought the writer was intentional in her portrayal of Won and he didn’t need to go as dark as he did on the book.

I watched the dual between our two friends and it’s aftermath raw, and I too questioned how quickly they reconciled. However, with the dialogue and subs, I found it less jarring. The power of communication!

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I agree. I don't see it as the writer's afraid of making Won dark, but rather it's her choice on making Won's character even more compelling this way. Won doesn't need to be dark to be an interesting character, rather his growth on finding the meaning of true love is better path for his character development.

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Lovely put!

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I completely agree that Rin was the one he really had to let go. I think San made him feel less like a prince and more like a person, and he was afraid of losing that initially. But Rin was the constant through his life. And I'm a massive Rin/San shipper, but Won had me crying at the end.

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I didn't expect the ending to be so sad but so beautiful. I'm glad the king finally learned to let his love go. The one thing I did find could have been done better is San's feelings. I wish it was less ambiguous where other characters had to tell us that San liked Rin.

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I think San's feeling is crystal clear when she decide to be with Rin even tho that means she have to gives up so many things in her life and live an uncertain future with him
Would a woman do that if she not love a man so much that she let go of everything to be with him

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But that is only seen through the end but I mean their conversations and the way she looked at Rin never felt reciprocated throughout the show and I kept thinking she likes Won and then Rin. Maybe it's just me and I'm bad at reading characters 😝

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as the opposite, I think San attraction to Rin is shown since the beginning but it's a small fraction that is consistent.

The one that had her heart earlier is the mask man that help her so she didn't really find pay attention to Rin but she reacted a lot.

She accepted his speech whenever she and won argue, she feels bad when Rin doesn't give her the jacket on the cave. She accepted Rin's suggestion about having memory, she also has this "awe" looked when they just enter the secret training practice. It was when she saw Rin throwing a blade which didn't even looked that awesome but the camera stays for her reaction.

She always curious about Rin, she joins Dan for teasing Rin when they picking the dress. She shows concern about Rin knowing a palace maid, she shows her vulnerable side when she is with Rin. She forgives Jeon for Rin but she also strict on telling him that she can't be with him because of that, she is active with Rin rather than Won, she also didn't remember Han Cheon, always want to leave forget the "I am your 1st", that's all in the top of my head now.

I am writing this because I think it showed throughout the show and that expression is what makes me suspect that San likes Rin in the beginning.

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100% agree with you, the very first time me and also Won clearly notice San's attraction to Rin was on episode 6 in the training cenre where Won look back and saw San staring at Rin adoringly while Rin looks else where, that's why he later put Rin in clear boundary to escort HIS (Won) woman to the pole dance

also how heartbroken San was when Rin told her that he never talk lowly to her because she's the woman his master have in his heart, poor San and Rin T_T

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I thought it was hinted that she liked Rin, not Won, throughout - BUT I think the show would have saved themselves some headache by having her say it out loud or in an internal monologue. I feel like all the times she was going to, they cut the scene.

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The image of Im Siwan standing beside a tree staring at his best friend and his love leaving, is indelibly etched in my memory and will haunt me for a long, long time.

I'm a RinSan shipper , have been from the start. I see them as being compatible and truly in love with each other but....

Poor, poor Won!

If the PD had shown his last moments as busy in the Palace, or having reconciled with Dan and accepting her as his wife, I think I would have accepted the ending with a measure of equanimity, but to leave Won so lonely and isolated hurts my heart.

Kudos to all the actors who made this drama feel so real and alive. I hate the ending, but I appreciate the tale, and I don't regret watching this drama one bit!

But I have an important question:

What is it with Song Ji Na and trees? Is there a special significance in Korean culture? In Faith, the last scene is of Lee Min Ho standing in front of a tree staring at his lost love; in TKL, we have Wang Won standing in front of a tree staring at the departing Loves of his life. So I just wondered is all...

I anticipated Won not ending up with San, and I'm fine with that; but what I didn't expect was that Won would have to separate from Rin, that tore me into bits. Poor Won, his mom is dead, friends are gone, his father doesn't really care for him, and he in turn doesn't love his wife. No wonder he left for China for 10 years. There was no reason for him to stay!

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I think the tree represent loneliness?
It is always just ONE big tree on top of the hill. The tree stand alone, getting bigger without any other plants beside it. The tree gives protection to the people who want to sit/sleep (and to take cover from the sun) and it branches serve for the birds/animals to rest. It protects others in its loneliness...
I think it's beautiful..... And I don't think I only saw the trees in Song Jina's dramas. Other dramas also use it... So I guess it's more of korean culture?

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Yes, lonely, but strong too. It reminds me of the tree in Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People

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To me in TKL that tree is a reminder of Rin. That talk the boys had under the tree was so touching to me. I guess from then Rin really decided to leave and nothing Won could have done or said would have stopped him. So all that's left of the one who used to be his shelter and cover and silent support is the tree.

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@Just Alee

Ah! Your explanation makes sense. It is always just one tree on top of a hill.

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Not just with a tree, Song Ji Na also seems to have a love affair with roof tops.

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She does, doesn't she? Lol

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Rooftop and Rin LOL

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This ending was much more than I expected. I didn't expect to feel so much for Won. And while I'm glad Rin and San are together, I know they will miss Won. He might not know how they are doing, but they will. They'll know when he's in trouble or when he abdicates and they can do nothing to comfort him or guide him.

I made myself feel better, by reading history (the internet). And one of his wives was a commoner. A girl from Yuan. He spent most of his life in Yuan, even when he was king, so maybe he found love after all.

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Even if he didn't find love, he must certainly have found acceptance. It's hard to rule over people who refer to your bloodline like it's some kind of disease. However you put it, what Won experienced in this drama is akin to racism. He was despised for something he couldn't change nor had any control over. Since I've personally experienced discrimination, I can relate. It hurts, is hard and sucks.

No wonder he chose not to mix with them as king. They didn't really like or love him, probably still despised him. With the departure of everyone who truly loved him for who he was and didn't care about his mixed blood, he left to go to a place where he could breathe and be himself.

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He was exiled from Yuan for a time too though :*(!

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I hear he had a lot of fun with his younger mongol cousins :)

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But, come to think of it, Mongols were feared during that time. They were pretty brutal as invaders, even called barbaric. In a way, we can't really blame the Goryeo people for mistrusting Princess Wonsung and Won during that time. Princess Wonsung exiled the King's first wife and son, for one.

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That scene, of Won standing alone, of Rin and San bowing together, of San, waving with a smile that dissolves into tears, of Rin having one last look, and of Won, choosing to be left alone despite the hurt--this drama was far from perfect but this scene will forever be indelible in my mind, and made this drama one that took up my heart. Whenever I watch this particular scene, I always cry.

I've extolled so much on how much I love San and how Rin and San are perfect for each other (that understated but understanding love and acceptance), so now I'll write about how much I love San and Won's relationship. I was rewatching the later episodes, and realized how much I appreciated San's wholehearted acceptance of Won. In many ways, they were kindred souls who recognized each other's pitiful loneliness despite their outward masks to the world. It's this kinship that drew San to Won, so much so that she did all she can to make him happy (the one thing she couldn't was to reciprocate his feelings, and I think this made her so guilty). Won always said that San was his priority, but it should also be said that San made Won her priority, over and above herself, and even over and above her feelings for Rin, and, even over and above Rin's feelings (but I felt she trusted and knew Rin enough to understand). I love their friendship of acceptance and openness. In a way, they both helped each other heal and grow, and I think both are better people for having known each other.

To me, the core of this drama wasn't WonSan, RinSan, or WonRin. It was the three of them--WonSanRin--and how they beautifully encapsulated what it means to love: that love is a choice one makes, that love is given freely without any expectation of return, and that to learn to love, one must also learn how to receive love. None of Won's, San's, and Rin's way of loving was perfect, because they were all flawed people, but that didn't make their love any less meaningful, and it didn't make any of them deserve to be loved less. I liked that as the show progressed and they matured, their way of loving also matured.

Personally, the bromance wouldn't have been as beautiful if San weren't there, to challenge both Rin and Won to grow and learn that there were other (and better) ways to love than the way they were used to. The three of them best exemplified how growing up and opening yourself up can bring more entanglements and hurt, but it can also help you learn how to become a better person.

This drama was always better in exploring the emotional beats of its characters, and I'm happy that the ending perfectly encapsulated the story that it was trying to tell: that whatever type of love you feel for another person, it doesn't define the depth of the emotion and the genuineness of the care. Rin loved both Won and San. San loved both Rin and Won. And Won loved both San and Rin. Differently, but all the same deeply. It is a triangle of love.

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Very well said, totally agree!! I went through most of the show focusing on Rin and Rin/San, but Won and their friendship with him was the clear focus at the end.

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This drama was so so for me, the idea was good but the execution was lacking, it was not well paced which made it confusing, and the script was unbalanced we had complex main characters and a lot of one dimensional ones that were plot devices, also too many cliche damsel in distress for me to buy San`s independence I feel that she was the character who acted out of character the most for plot purposes.
It is the dramas job to lead the viewers attention and lead them trough what is going to happen , why it happened what caused it and what they should conclude from it.
They failed at this, they tried to tell a complex story of friendship, family, love, political intrigue, but failed to give a reason why are they telling this story what should we comprehend from this:

- that one should let go of the girl one is interested if she happens to be in love with your best friend.

- that ones parents may fight over everything and look like they hate you but they don`t.

- that power hungry lunatics will use your loved ones to blackmail one into doing their bidding.

- that even best friends keep secrets from each other but it is for ones well being not their selfinterest.

- that one can love someone as a friend only not as a man\woman.

- that if one is half mongolian one has no chances with a korean woman cause she will always choose a korean man over one.

What they did do is mixed a complex human relationship story with a drama cliche two men fight over a woman while enemies use their discord to profit whatever they can.
Hence the shipping wars, the dramatic deadly wounds and poisons (always get cured),crazy villains, xenophobia, and random kidnappings, to make characters look good or bad, and over all a story with great potential trivialised to the bone.

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"that one should let go of the girl one is interested if she happens to be in love with your best friend."

Wrong. One should let go of the girl one is interested in if she is NOT in love with you.
It's not about your best friend. It's about her. You don't give her away to your best friend like a piece of taffy just because he likes it.

-- that ones parents may fight over everything and look like they hate you but they don't.
I don't think anyone was ever confused whether Princess Wonsung loved Won. Although she was very obsessed with his well-being and position, it was obvious she loved him. The king was a terrible father and husband, so I won't defend his treatment of WOn but suffice to say, no one was confused that Princess Wonsung or even the King loved Won, while they were busy fighting each other.

- that power hungry lunatics will use your loved ones to blackmail one into doing their bidding.
I don't see that as peculiar to this drama. It happens all the time. And why not? The weakness of the enemy is always their hot buttons. If I were to criticize, it's more of how Bi Yeon was made the epitome of stupidity so that San can land up in the enemy' hands.

- that even best friends keep secrets from each other but it is for ones well being not their selfinterest.
Yes, it starts from kindergarten.

that one can love someone as a friend only not as a man\woman.
Not sure what you mean by this? If I am getting the gist of your rant, I think you are asking how can San not love Won as a man but only as a friend? My answer is why not? God forbid I love every man who's a good friend.

- that if one is half mongolian one has no chances with a korean woman cause she will always choose a korean man over one.
Eh...are you accusing San of being xenophobic? Hey! Actually you are as I can infer from your last paragraph. To you, Won never had a chance because he's half-breed. Shame on San!

I will be the first to admit that this drama is not perfect. It has flaws but they aren't the ones you have pointed out. If you cannot come in terms with the fact that San loves Rin as a man and loves Won as a friend, you will never be able to see the beauty of the story, the beauty of the friendship that's Won-San-Rin.

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No I was only stating what happened you don`t understand my point, all my conclusions are things that we already know from life experience, about inter-human relationships they are emotional minefield. They messed up in portraying these complicated emotional relationships when they created a general confusoin about what this drama is about frienship or lovestory or political intrigue they over simplified the characteters by objetifying them, is a bad story teling whenit results in too many conflicting oppinions over the main story.
I wasn`t pointing out flaws, and for the love of god enough with who loves who I don`t watch dramas as a wrapped present that is supposed to surprise me, I knew San will end up with Rin since episode 3 or 4 it was obvious she had no romantic feelings for Won (when one watches too many dramas they can predict the ending they are made to be predictable).I dont care who she ends up with, San is a fictional character that has nothing to do with any real person. I hate when trivial things like this take over the comment section Rin-San and Won -San are almost as bad as Chese in the trap`s Seol-Jung or Seol- In Ho.

And about xenophobia tell me in which korean drama a korean woman picked a foregner or a half foregner over a full korean man for husband?
It doesnt exist, in Gaksital (full on anti japanese xenophobia, the girl picked Gaksital over the japanese teacher) in Empress Ki (She had a child with the korean prince a non historical person invented for the drama purposes, then she married the yuan emperor and had a child with him-how could she possibly give her virginity to a mongolian king?- and became Empress).

There are examples of foreign princesses marying a korean noblemen (the yuan princess in Faith) and half vietnamise half korean woman marying a korean man (Golden bride or Bride from Vietnam), but I still have not found a korean woman marying a foregner over a kororen man.

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I'd tell you: here, in this drama. Are you forgetting about Dan? Dan chose Won to be her husband though Won clearly stated that he won't put her as his top priority. Dan is a full korean woman and she's also a royal family but she loves Won regardless of Won being the half-blood. So yeah, your argument on korean drama being xenophobia is invalid especially in this drama.

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Who was Dan`s korean noble suitor?

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Do you think that by telling other people they are wrong will make you right, or will make your views more credible?

Dan had no other suitors, and who was Dan in this drama a background decoration used as a plot device.
Are you saying that Gaksital wasn`t xenophobic show they even put a modern day dispute between S.Korea and Japan over some islands in a Tv drama. Is that needed to be shown in this show for it to be xenophobic they called Won a wolf-dog (saying he was half beast half korean) that sounds pretty xenophobic to me.

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Oh jemma, you're still trying to prove your point. Are you saying that Dan had no other better choice (meaning no full Korean noble man around her) which is why Dan chose to be with Won? Are we watching the same drama? Clearly Dan fell in love with Won since she was a kid and she'd been dreaming to become Won's wife. Dan could choose or marry any another nobleman from other noble family, but did she choose full Korean man to be her husband? It feels like you are the one who implanted that xenophobia theory in your mind that you put the reasoning behind San choosing Rin over Won is because of that theory of yours. If it's true, then the writer wouldn't make Rin worked so hard to sacrifice himself just to make Won as the King. If that's the intention, then why viewers hate Song In, the so-called Goryeo revolutionist but love Won and Princess Wonsung? Viewers also wanted Won to be on the winning side to become the King. I think most of viewers also felt sad when Princess Wonsung died. Even in this episode, most of people's hearts broke for Won when he's left alone.

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I was only stating what happened

You were? Let's just take the first example:

"- that one should let go of the girl one is interested if she happens to be in love with your best friend."

So, you are saying this is what happened and you don't agree with it?

But this is not what happened. You are demeaning Won. Do you think Won did that? Won let San go because he loves her and she doesn't love him back the same way. If there was a slightest chance that San would be romantically inclined towards Won, you bet Won would pursue San regardless of Rin.

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I love all your comments. <3 *random

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You're confused between what the drama is about (subject matter) and what message it's trying to convey. The story deals with xenophobia but it's not promoting it in anyway. If anything the drama is fighting against xenophobia. Won is the protagonist, the hero on a journey. And everyone who's against his mixed heritage is portrayed as mean old villains worthy of punishment. So uhmm San doesn't have to end up with Won for it to be non xenophobic. It's a drama not a propaganda

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I'm newbie here, but thank you so much for the recap, everyweek I actually wait patiently to read the recap of TKIL from DB. After Mdbc last years I was waiting for dramas that my heart move, anxious, flutter, swoon, etc... And OMG my heart can't contain it anymore to participate on commenting about how AWESOME The King in Love is. I read the book summery of TKIL. But i think the way it translate to the screen is less depressing and less conflict. (I'm pretty sure if they follow the book this will be like Empress Ki).
The actors portrayed the characters very well. The chemistry between the trio are just impressive.the only sad things about this drama is being Underrated by you know who... 😡😡😡😡I guess a child like Minds, don't have any capacity to understand certain kind of Love. They just want everything goes their way.

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"This drama is being underrated by you know who..."
You mean the crazy shippers? 😅😅😅
I saw a completely different interpretation of the finale episode. I find It amazing.. That people still defending their ship while completely ignoring the beautiful message behind the story... 😅😅

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Talking about interpretation, I find that we need more monologue cause it's actually easy to twist how the character views something.

I remember that San cries both when Won chooses Dan and at the end, in my view it because she knows it hard for him and she knowingly hurts him by not giving the love he badly wants but I started reading comments and lots of people thought that she cried because she loves Won.

I think we need more circumstances to predict and mine comes from the fact that San can actually accept Won had she loved him. She always can stays, there is no reason for her to be sad because of her own choices cause there's nothing to sacrifice if they are together either.

San's constant rejection is played out lightly in the drama because it's view by Won until when Won realised that she is serious, from the beginning till the end, she is serious about wanting to leave.

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Honestly, san most likely cried because not being selected as the crown princess that moment means she will be shipped off to Yuan, leaving her poor father and Rin behind.

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that is still isn't align because we had never seen a scene where San worry about being sent to Yuan, it's not big deal for her to cry over,
the previous scene that mirroring the crown princes' selection is her rejecting Won which.

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But we did have a scene which showed San's worries over being sent to Yuan? She made arrangements for her Father in her absence and even met secretly with Song In to ensure his protection?

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like the whole conflict of those episodes is who was gonna be sent of as tribute to Yuan. Dan, Rin or San? Like Rin chose to volunteer himself by suggesting that San revealed her identity --> ensure her exemption. But San was all like "No. YOU stayed. There's only 1 thing I must do and that is go to Yuan alone and leave your broship intact." as she walked through the door in slo mo lol.

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@Lqlqla

and that's I mean by her not crying over being sent to Yuan, she made her choices, she takes care of her decision and she is fine with that.
What takes the cake is she needs to breaks Won's heart that way and it breaks her heart apart.
The tears fall instantly after she saw Won accepted her decision of not accepting her as the crown princess, not about how she'll be to yuan as the result.

The ep is about who gonna be sacrificed but the emotion on that exact moment is to mirror that she rejected Won in the cruel way possible, without giving him any break to ask why, how or giving any opinion.

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I just re watched the very scene where Won chooses Dan instead of San and she cries. I agree with you, it's so obvious from the previous scene that she knew she would hurt Won's feelings terribly when she made the choice to tell him to not choose her. Not only did she realize at that point that she loved Rin (or was beginning to) but her heart ached because she knew she might destroy a beautiful friendship.

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"San's constant rejection is played out lightly in the drama because it's view by Won until when Won realised that she is serious, from the beginning till the end, she is serious about wanting to leave."

Yeah. Seems like lots of viewers forget that she kept rejecting him and keep wanting to leave because it was played lightly. San likes Won a lot as a friend, but she knows she had to leave before Won get to attached — it's not even subtle, she said so herself.

I still think she cried during the Crown Princess selection because she feel bad for breaking Won's heart. That's the most blantant rejection she ever said to him, "Please don't take a liking to Lady San. She already has another man in her heart."

Won was mad when he realized why Sohwa said that the night before. He even made sure if San/Sohwa knew and meant what she said, and she said yes.

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I completely agree - a little internal dialogue here and there would have done wonders for the shippers and viewers who felt San's feelings were not clear. It would have allowed them to focus on the other aspects of the story, that in the end were the focus.

Your example when San cries is a good one - she could have thought "I'm sorry" to him and ended the fantasy. Or just made a comment to Bi Yeon, lord knows she was only a ridiculous plot mover!

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This is a going to be a long essay but one thing am grateful for is the decision that I took concerning this drama. Now let's discuss.
The king loves: this drama ain't about the romance between the lead characters,thiz is a drama about sacrifice and how much human beings are willing to give either for the greater good or even the worst acts. Cos even song in sacrificed in order to pursue his greed. Granted, he was a weak written villain but he also made his own sacrifice. This is a drama that explains the complicated and fundamental meaning of love be it a love between friends, families, partners and lovers. Even the bodyguards loved and respected rin, San and won in their own ways. The romance sometimes overshadowed it but the message is deeper than romance and fluttering moments.
Won and im siwan: such a complex role heartily acted by a great actor. Give the role of won to a bluish and greenish actor and you forever wondered why your TV,laptop or phone didn't choose this period to spoil. But im siwan nailed the character and that's so hard not to feel his desperate attempts to keep the two people he loved most in the world by his side. Won was a fascinating character that makes you alternate between hating loving and understanding him at the same time. I hated him when he was all about the birds and cage stuff, I understood him when he was beyond lonely and I loved when he finally learn to let go. That sometimes things do not just go our way,we make do with the little opportunities,moments and memories that life has to offer. Shout out to im siwan for never disappointing in any role. He was the one that made me watch triangle up-to episode five even though I wanted to hang myself (I couldn't breathe).Patiently praying for your safe return and kudos to you for creating the real and delulu wonsan shippers. Not an insult to the real wonsan shippers.
Song ji nah:when I first started tkl, I felt like I was entering a familiar territory I just don't know how much. If I were to be sleeping and someone should ask me the name of my favorite Korean drama, I had just two then faith and healer. I so much love these two dramas that when am discussing them it's always with care and passion, but immediately I started watching tkl I knew there was something about it and that's is the fact that they all the same writers.i was beyond surprised and immediately I felt safe. I wanna say kudos to this writer writing style, this is a writer who knows what she wants to convey. Thank you for bringing together life such beautiful characters and for writing with so much depth that your sincere message about love will continue to be with me for a long time. I don't want to say forever coz I know my days of sinisterness is more than my days of giving and sharing love.

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One thing you said that I liked: this drama is about sacrifice. Yes, I agree, and I think the bird metaphor worked really well throughout. In the opening scenes Won sets the hawks free from their bird cage, but they fly back to the king because they are used to returning when he calls. Throughout the drama Won openly says he wants to build a bird cage for San (and keep Rin by his side obviously) and is in danger of losing everything because of wanting to keep everything. At the end he realises he needs to let them go, because that is how he decided to love his friends, family and country. Beautiful bittersweet ending.

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The drama has a lot of amazing groundwork of other themes that can be epxlore to the fullest, like the politic background and the other people motivation. For some weird reason, I wish to see more of Dan, Jin Gwan and Jang Ui side of love story, Rin's family background to explain how they get shifted when Princess Wonsung comes to the palace. Who is Song In and Moo Suk, seeing biyeon grows a backbone earlier.

I think TKL is really about Won and Won perspective [as he opened the tale], if you see this drama as of how Won see things then it is incomplete but it's truthful.
You see what Won likes to see, how he really cares about Rin, how he doesn't care about the country affair, how incomplete everything is when he doesn't ask people what happens, how his love blossoms and stays, how he can't handle rejection by people when he tried, how he can't decipher rejection and San's desire to not be with him, how he can't-do everything.

Rin and San tale is another story if you see it from their perspective and Won's view. It starts from another place from their meeting with Won, even if Rin had loved her since he was a teen, he never makes a move and San's attraction comes from silent voice, something she doesn't understand either.

Overall I am satisfied with the journey and I find the camera is really beautiful. It just captured the moment beautifully without wasting much space, you can see the landscape, the detail, the colour, the proportion in one shot.

nb: I rewatched the crown princes' selection and I believe San sure about who she likes at that moment even if she still doesn't know what to do. She wears a butterfly mask on that selection. I know it's probably nothing but it's a foreshadowing that after she knows what it means, she wears it voluntarily.

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As always, you are spot on. I was just thinking earlier today the exact same thing, how there is a different tale from either Won, Rin or San's perspective and how brilliant the writer must be to pull that off. Yes, yes and yes to everything you said.

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Oh, and once again I'm re-watching it as Rin's story, not Won's story. It's there.

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thanks,

I asked myself why we don't get the confession between RinSan and then I realised that Won also never witnessed that.
What he saw at the end of the drama is a realisation of how things were, that his friend like each other. That San has another man that can protect her, San has another man she can rely on and Rin is that man.

That also why we hardly got Rin and San monologue before they do something or before it clear to Won because the writer wants to put us in the Won's perspective.

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This actually makes the ending that much clearer to me. It sounds stupid but I wasn't even sure Rin was still alive and I thought Won was imagining seeing his friends during that last scene when Rin and San bowed to him.

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I watched this story from Won's view since I believe it was the writer's intention (what with the name being the king in love and starting with his monologue of "this is the story of how I came to love you more than myself"). It's even frustrating to me that for most ppl this is the love story of Rin and San, and how they were nice to their friend Won, who only managed to do one thing right, namely give up on trying to hinder their love. LOL.

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I think it's intended to be Won's perspective which makes it supposedly a sad love story.
This drama heavily shows Won's love story and also about RinSan love story.

In my observation, they really want to rail out who San chooses to the end which makes Won's view isn't that much accepted by the viewer.
Then they kind of neglected the development of RinSan pairing which makes people gushed about this pairing more.

I can see how people see this drama about the trio's friendship, Won's love, Won's goal in life and RinSan love story,

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Oh my God!!! You have good eyes!!! Seeing your comment makes me search for the crown princess selection scene... And you're right!!!! San did wear a mask with flower & butterflies decoration!! Did she know that Rin's family symbol is butterfly?

Now.. I was wondering what Eun's family symbol is? 🤔🤔

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I didn't know if san knew but I guess she knew since Won gives her the information about the meaning of the emblem and she knew Rin is the son of that manor [I need to watch it again then]

it kind of unclear but I think it's a foreshadowing for the viewer.

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San know that butterfly is Wang's family emblem is butterfly, remember when they arrived at Charyeon party, San kinda teasing Rin that he looks good (I take this as Goryeo flirting style lol) then Rin said she made him embarassed lol then San asked what is that (his mask I supposed) then Rin said its butterfly, his sister made it for him, then San know Rin has a sister (at that time San know Rin as Soo In not Rin yet)

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I think her family symbol was a blossoming tree of some sort.

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I love your comment about the different perspectives. We get a lot of it from Won's perspective, as it is really his story. Rin's story is also laid out and told, San's to the lesser extent. The other characters tell a lot of her story and feelings for her, which I think in the end really hurt how viewers saw the drama.

I would have loved to see more of the shadow guards and Dan. They were the biggest hole at the end for me!

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This drama and what it do to me.... Sigh... I love the ending. It's so beautiful and bittersweet. The love they had for each other... It's so rare. The hardest form of love is to be genuinely happy when the people you love is happy eventho they are not by your side. The three of them sacrifice a lot for the sake of their loves one. It's so beautiful!!!! 😢😢

My Overall score:
- Cinematography : 100
- Costumes : 100 (omg.... The costumes are so gorgeous!! From the king, queen, wonsanrin, furatai... All of them!)
- Casting : 100 (I never saw Siwan in anything before, but I admire him here... He is one of the successful idol-turned actors for me, Yoona - I am neutral to her, never like her in her previous work but I didn't hate her either. She is so-so to me. But Here, I now see her in a new light. Hong Jong Hyun.... Owhhh... My precious wang rin!!! Thank you TKL for casting HJH.. Hate him as Wang Yo, but he is so charming in TKL. I love him!! Hope he will get new projects soon... For now, I am just gonna binge re-watching TKL and Style Log. I miss you already, Rinn!! 😭😭)
- Story : 75 (could have been better. They should went all in to show Won's darker side and not focusing too much on the love triangle. The promotional pictures should have direct hints on the story so there wouldn't be any angry shippers who thought that the drama tricks them. The editing (why on earth you make 2 version of the drama, people!!! Can't you see we all still traumatised with scarlet heart??) and naration/dialogue could have been better... You know, some people can't see hidden clues or small body gestures.. They will only understand if everything is said clearly and with obvious skinship to declare their feelings. Like Won said last episode, something should be said face to face and not just by a letter (Ooohh.... The double meaning of his words).

Anw.. TKL will be my all time fave drama, just like Faith, Goong and BFF. Thank you and well done for all TKL casts, staff and crew.

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I think yoona really convey the script if the script says "more intimate with Rin" cause even if I feel they are a couple from how the story constructed them, Yoona plays a big role in making me see that she does like Rin a lot and she is indifferent towards Won love's approach.

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That big tree at the end has starred in SO many dramas - especially endings. I think I replayed the end of Faith about 50 times. It's surprising K-drama fans haven't sought it out and set up permanent camping sites. You never know what drama ending you'll see!

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As i expected the king is always the one who end up alone. The ending is bittersweet. Remember, the story is about the king's love. So for siwan fans, open your heart and don't expect a happy ending for him. I am holding myself not try too being salty about it.

Now, i am off to watch misaeng. *pouty siwan*

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Also in Misaeng: baduk. 😂 I really liked that baduk also featured in TKL as a tool used for strategising (obviously) and to get Won closer to people (his father no less)

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San and I'm yoona: one of the reasons why I do not watch sagueks is because of the role the heroine plays it's either they are just there to be causing headaches or confusions but one thing about San is the fact that she ain't your typical heroine. Shes reckless yes but she is also a smart and resourceful girl even when she finds herself in a damsel in distress situations she's always instrumental in the process of getting herself out. Yoona played San to a degree where I would say she's a good actress not yet great but she did a fantastic job. Even though she said she wished she had convey her feelings clearer if she had knew the endgame.she still did her best but I don't want to say much on her much debated chemistry with hjh, that's another comment on its own but I'd like to say she gave meaning to San. San is a character that has been through so much as a young girl couple with the guilt concerning her mama's death. She has to sacrifice alot of things most especially her identity as a daughter of a wealthy man and the luxury life has to offer as a chaebol daughter. No friends while growing up except for the minimal relationship she had with the other trainees at master Lee school of thought. Which was why it was so easy for her to jump into the friendship wagon of won and Rin.many said she wasn't consistent till the end but I found her character as one of the most consistent character in the drama even in her love towards the guys. Yoona nailed the role of the journey of the lonely revenge driven daughter to the smart loyal friend and lover and she was terrific in creating the perfect chemistry with all the casts her character encounters in the drama. Shout out to you for making me stalk instagram and you tubes for anything relating to you too hjh.
Rin and hjh: I have decided not to write anything cos I'd be so biased it's gonna be scary and sickening, I still have him in my system to the extent I can't form any intelligent comments.so maybe when others are commenting I can feel compelled to write something but write now I don't know.
Rinsan:another thing that I would like to discuss but it's a shame that have lost my ability to write something beautiful. Later

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I want to hug this comment! Huhu I find San to be the most underappreciated and underrated character. I agree w/ all your points, especially how she was consistently true to herself

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Rin and hjh: I have decided not to write anything cos I'd be so biased it's gonna be scary and sickening

I’ve looked back on my thoughts on this, and I’ve held back in my accolades of Rin—I know it really doesn’t look like that, but I promise, I have. I’m way too biased.

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San is a great character! Like Rin, she is totally selfless but also strong and courageous - without being a doormat.

And Rin...sigh. He might be my favorite drama character ever and I need Hong Jong Hyun in more roles (hoping the Korean fans being upset with the ending doesn't hurt him and his career).

What is interesting about how I feel about the characters is how much I love them as individuals. Normally I love OTPs or relationships more than the actual individuals, and while I do love Rin/San and Won/San/Rin, they are so interesting on their own. Well done in that respect, writers!

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Totally agree with you about loving the interesting characters on their own! Won, San, and Rin are really well-developed and feel like real individuals

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I do not know why I did not pen down my thoughts earlier when I had time to since there's always a possibility that the recap comes at a time when I can't sit down and write. Teriyaki, I think I just wanted to inhale in your comments and insights before I write mine.

"Won smiles at his friends as he reflects, “This is the story of me, who loved you more than myself.”
I think this is central message of what true love really means. We see it in Rin, San, Princess Wonsung and even *gulps* Boo Yong!

I have to leave at this for now, I'll be back 😉

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Goodbye my Trio , I'm gonna miss u guys !!! Thank you all cast . ♥♥

I wish not see again drama love triangle ! Just make sure nobody sick . ♥

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Won, San and Rin. I just want to embrace them all. The sacrifices they each made in turn this episode torn my heart apart. Just as I thought I'd root for one of the trio for giving up his/her happiness, the other jumped in and did the same all through the end. San was gladly leaving this world for she was blessed to have met many nice people. Her life was on the edge and the wounded bloody Rin was no less determined than Won to rescue her. The least Won would want was Rin hurting even more. He had to trick him. But Rin was no joke. Just like when he's determined to take the political scheme blame all to himself and deprived from his family. Won's inner struggle caught me the most. This time he took Rin's place observing the two friend silently in the back. He was happy for them, so loved them he had to let them go. The two people he had come to love more than himself.

Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 
"Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken."
~Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 

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"But how can one be warm alone?"

Exactly, you can't.

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Amen!

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This is it. The final recap.

LOVE THE SHOW SO MUCH! It's not flawless, but it's perfect to me. It gave me so much feels for the past 10 weeks. Thank you. ❤️❤️❤️❤️

I'm so proud of Won for letting Rin & San go, though he's left alone. I feel sad for Won, but he's the one who has the biggest heart for acknowledging that the palace is poisonous for both his loved ones: Rin and San. He's so brave. *virtually hug Won*

I'm RinSan shipper, but I can't really celebrate the fact that my instinct was right all along that San loves Rin as a man because I love the trio and I do want them to be together. But I guess it'd be cruel for San and Rin to live happily together in front of Won. Thank you show for giving us WonRinSan. ❤️

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Well, that portrait was pretty...

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And the farewell scene was very beautiful. They wrapped up the show very nicely.
Thank you for recapping @teriyaki :-)

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Anyone else felt like a deja vu when Wang Rin fell over the cliff? I knew from that moment Rin would be alive because if Wang Yo could survive, so could Wang Rin. 😆

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It totally screamed "I'LL BE BACK!"

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TBH, I really wished for another scene after the RinSan Farewell scene in the hut in which San is shown making the decision to leave with Rin after his great sacrifice...I'm relatively new to this Kdrama thing of The Cliff of Non-Doom so,I really thought Rin was in serious danger. Also, just asking, and forgive me if I'm slow, but did San know that it was going to be a fake death? Anyway, what I did was that I just imagined that San actually got to know that it would be a fake death and as she surmised its consequences on Rin's future life ( uncertain, always on the run/ in hiding,etc.), she felt that Rin's love was too precious to lose and that she'd rather live a life of uncertainty WITH him rather than live a life of luxury and be WITHOUT HIM, esp. since she could sense the change in Won. Added to this, I could actually picture her waiting for Rin with a First Aid kit below the cliff and nursing his wounds somewhere in a cave, and when Rin got better and they were ready to leave, that's when they had that farewell scene with Won. Thanks for the patience, guys...and I just want to say, thanks Dramabeans, and thanks,,beanies, for your inputs which really enriched my watching experience! Peace! 😘

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I'm actually trying to make a one.shot fanfic to.cover this particular plot hole LOL

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Really?!! I can't wait to read...thanks! Also, kindly tell @sejabin that I'm really loving her papa mafia ff.. You guys are amazing in spreading RinSan love!!! 🤗😚😘

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he is now Mr. Immortal of kdrama land..lol

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I confess: I panicked in the last 5 minutes of the drama, when Teacher narrated that Rin died a traitor and everything happened too fast (similarly, I almost died of a heart-attack in the last 5 minutes of Faith, by the same writer)... but when I saw the Sageuk Cliff of Non-Doom I knew all would be well. It was strange though to see that Wang Yo was the good guy. 😂

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I kept thinking - where have I seen this before??

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Idk but everyone in saeguk that fell over the cliff is always alive like it's the 1st step for the reincarnation plot story,

it always happens from the protagonist to the villain so HJH had secured both cases.

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HJH posts a pic of him in instagram where he is squatting near a cliff and pointing at something... Someone then comments on his pic "my boy, please don't stand near a cliff anymore... You'll fall". Hahaha...

HJH falls from a cliff twice already and not dead.. HJH is immortal!! At least if he is still a Wang if he decided to play in another saeguk dramas. 😂😂😂

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Good idea. I'll just call him Wang Cliff.

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lesson learnt HJH as wang in any new saeguk will not be dying no matter how high the cliff will be..

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Even though I knew he would be ok, there was a part of me that broke when Ji Gwan(?) shot him. Both the bodyguards did well conveying that they really didn’t want to kill him. And I was jumping for joy when he showed up again! My Rin and San made it!

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Yes, it's too sad to see the two closest bodyguards couldn't take it to hurt Rin. They must got the instruction from Won to not hurt Rin too much and just make sure Rin fell but he still could be alive. It's also sort of farewell gesture as it'd be the last time that they'd see Rin as they'd kinda grow up together with Won and Rin.

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Yes I always felt that especially Jang Eui really loved and respected Rin. Then Jin Guan ugly cry XDD He's really like Dan sometimes.

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Lol yes...I was like, again? My hunch was correct when I previously commented that the still that shows a man with guards pointing weapons at him was Rin. I really thought he died, a total sacrifice.

I looked into twitter and noticed how some people actually thought that Rin is dead, as he was wearing black. They thought he was there as a shadow, not real at all. I was too lazy to correct them though. From the ending alone, people came up with lots of theories. I guess it was sort of an open ending to some but to me, it was very clear. *shrugs*

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Hilarious. It's like they were watching an episode of Twilight Zone or something.

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Love Yoona character this drama but.Still not enaugh hopefully yoona get new character next drama.Character make people easy to fall in love with her.Yoona romantic comedy drama please juseyooo ASAP soon!!

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hmm that is a hard choice but I am gonna answer it anyway,
Okonomiyaki [hiroshima style]

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just so happy Wom realized he loves happiness of his friends (RinSan) more than his own happiness having San. and finally lets them free and with not forcing them to back.....
RinSan... my love birds are together and i cant be happy more than seeing them together. they have fought all their hardships, alone moment of agony, saparation from each other for longest time and deserve all happiness and love in this world.

ill be back with more of my thoughts later...
thanks @teriyaki for beautiful recap...

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Oh nice, 'love birds.' I am thinking about my bird and cage metaphor as something that ties everything together in the drama (comment somewhere above). I guess you can't keep love birds in a golden cage either. Even if they were together in a cage, they would be unhappy, so Won did the right thing in letting them fly away free.

One line from the drama stuck with me, by Teacher Lee: 'there are two kinds of people: those who want to be happy, and those who want to make other people happy'. Won started out as the first kind of person, but he finally learned how to be the second kind of person. I was really proud of him.

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"Won started out as the first kind of person, but he finally learned how to be the second kind of person."

absolutely this was his journey from first type to second type of person. and how he excelled in it by learning more abt life and love. His actions in last episode were subtle yet so strong and poignant and powerful to prove he is a better friend and best human being then...

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I'm confused. If Rin knew that San had the King's seal, why couldn't they have placed the blame on Song In? the the whole sacrifice didn't need to happen. Unless it had to do with what Mr. Lee said, that it won't be convincing unless the culprit was a candidate for king? but why?

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Yeah I think it's what Teacher Lee said. The reason why they need to find the King's seal was because there's a stamped command of the army to commence a war. If they put the blame on no-name Songin, that'd be unconvincing and laughable... Because that means the whole royal family got played by someone under their ranks. Which is what happened, but still, it'll be a more convincing excuse to put the blame on a more believable figure like Rin (or Jeon!), who is in line to take the throne.

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So what did happen to Jeon? Still hanging around as well as Minister Song, who as also in cahoots with the incense wackos? Life is so unfair. *grumbles*

Unrelated, but I need to let this out: I felt kind of smug that a character that mainly acted as narrative device (and a stupid one at that) was conveniently forgotten and got no ending. Bi Yeon's romance with the obviously suspicious snake assassin came out of nowhere and went nowhere.

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Remember what Rin said to Jeon at the end? Two things you should be careful about: greed, and women.

Historically Jeon staged a coup (again) after Won left for Yuan a few years later. He seduced Won's queen and ppl were trying to put him on the throne by divorcing Won and marrying Won's queen to him (mongolian queen gave them the right to the throne). In the end it failed and Jeon was executed.

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Thanks, that helps a lot! I'm not surprised Jeon did not change his ways.

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Where did you read this? Very interesting!

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@linda-palapala
Baidu (the chinese equivalent of Wikipedia) has slightly more Information on historical Wang Won (later Wang Jang) than the chinese or english Wikipedia. Maybe it's because he lived in Beijing most of his life? XD

It states that Jeon was a hostage in Yuan (it was usual for royal or nobel sons to be raised in Yuan, also used as potential hostages) and after Won and his mongolian wife who made a huge ruckus about him having no interest in her were forced to move to Yuan (for Won, to abdicate the throne), made plans (with Song In actually, if I remember rightly) to marry Won's Yuan wife (who gives the Goryeo kings legitimacy to the throne) and become king himself.

Since Won refused to Show any interest in his mongolian princess her interest was piqued fast by Jeon who was said to be good looking and wooing her (despite her being married to his former king). Some high Yuan Ministers were also already swayed to agree to their plans, but others who were on Won's side stopped them.

In the end Won tried to spare Jeon's life but the Yuan Ministers told him it's unheard of (to spare the life of someone who tried to usurp his throne) and had him executed in Beijing.

The baidu article also tells stories of Won's love adventures, historically he was not calibate at all but had male and female Lovers alike. Also he was so Close with two of his younger mongolian Cousins that they were said to eat and sleep together and generally spend all their time together. Later both Brothers became emperors, albeit for a short time, and you can imagine that Won had a good time when his friends were emperors, but afterwards they died (I think) and their political opponents became emperor (also some some Cousins of Won, I mean the entire mongol royal Family was related with each other and him) he did not have such a nice life and was told to go back to Goryeo (which he refused, he really had no f*cks to give lol) and later exciled.

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We've assumed it was snake assassin's body that was used to be the "dead" Rin and the nameless woman who came to get his ashes was Bi Yeon.

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I think hard on why they didn't put the blame on annoying Jeon... After all he is the one with known ambition the be the king.
But then I realize... Because Jeon is annoying that is why he can't be convincing as anti-Yuan leader. He is stupid, an asshole, reckless, rude and arrogant (even Wang's family maid said so). The people wouldn't like him and support him if he truly tries to take the throne.
Rin, on the other hand, is kind, smart, loyal and care for the people... Eventho he doesn't have the wit to become a king (Won have this). So Rin is charismatic as a leader and thus very convincing to become the true blood King for the people of Goryeo. Even princess Wonsung acknowledges Rin's good value and that Rin will be more acceptable as the king of Goryeo. That is why Rin decided to sacrifice himself... Yuan couldn't try to find any reasons to attack Goryeo anymore coz no one is more convincing than Rin as anti-yuan leader

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Also, like what Teacher Lee said, a more convincing leader of the anti-Yuan movement would've been someone from the top 5 of the royal family. In one scene, Won already declared to the visiting envoy that he killed the traitor Song in to a visiting Yuan envoy. Still, there was suspicion on the King as Song in had been a close associate and he could very well just be following royal orders.

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because song in had died before his atrocity is known or prosecuted,
in order to make a complete story for the public and yuan dynasty, the villain must be seen, must be capable in people's eyes, must have power and must be executed by a proper way.

It basically turns to "someone need to take the blame cause the real villain died, but it has to be someone with the same capabilities with the real villain".
We have no one left since Song In died, the king is not the villain and Rin is seen to have a close tie with the villain near the end of the drama.

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I only started watching this show for the pretty, but found myself so emotionally invested in the trio halfway through. The show has its own flaws, but I still love it. The final episodes especially hit all the right notes for me.

I already cried at the whole WonSanRin practice farewell trip. It's so bittersweet to see them cherishing their happy moments together, knowing they'll separate for a greater good. Our hero Won has learned how to let go and to love selflessly, to be happy when others are happy... Just like his two best friends.

I bawled at RinSan's heartbreaking farewell. Their moments are always so quiet and tender, full of restraint but still oozing the love and chemistry. It's so beautiful to see how ready they're to let go of each other, despite knowing their hearts are broken to pieces.

WonRinSan's farewell is more beautiful and bittersweet than I expected. I'm both proud and heartbroken for Won who finally letting go the two people he cares the most. Not for himself, but for the greater good of his people and his country. The King has learned to love.

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I was just here for the pretty as well, which did not disappoint, but the story was well done and although there were several episodes that felt meandering, yes behind the show was successful in completing what it set out to. The king learned how to love and also how to be loved.

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I felt sad for Won in the end, but I have to say that what I liked about this story was it's recognition of the power of a quiet love...it doesn't have to be full of grand gestures or dramatic realizations or built around an epic confession. And it isn't always easy or happy, but when it's real, it's powerful enough to change your life.

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I agree about 90%. I am not one for grand dramatic love scenes either. However, I did wish to see another kiss, one that wasn't forced. Or Rin and San holding hands when they leave Won (would that be too cruel for him?) or just smiling as they walk into a future together. Really, we only got that one awkward kiss?!

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I wished for another, more proper kiss too! Another hand holding will be fine too. That awkward forced kiss is rather disappointing, a waste of their otherwise excellent chemistry. It's more disappointing to know the novel has an actual RinSan bed scene lol (not the vigil one we got on the drama. Heh.)

That's being said, I looove all the tender and quiet moments between Rin and San.

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Me too! I guess what I don't like about that kiss scene is that it went nowhere... It happened, then poof it went... no after-kiss scene discussion, no talk about it.. no voiceover from San about why she struggled and why she stopped...

Yoona said that she noticed some cut scenes as well, so I was wondering if a scene about the kiss was also cut

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I also wanted Rin and San to hold hands when they left Won, but I guess for the last time, they were trying to be respectful toward Won just like how they used to when they hid their feelings from Won though Won knew it all along. I also wanted to see Rin & San's life after they lived in countryside, but then again, this story is about Won, so when they left Won's life, their lives are supposed to be unknown or irrelevant, I guess. I'm a bit disappointed because we don't get more of Rin and San's affections, but the small gestures count, so I'd just appreciate their minimal moments together. Like I said, this story is about Won, so it's understandable that we didn't get to see more of RinSan because most of the time it's from Won's POV.

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I watched lhis week's episodes again and I was struck by San's comment to an injured and sleeping. It was when she was staring at him and trying to remember his face. She told the unconscious Rin, "so this is what you look like." All throughout the drama, the two avoided looking to each other so as not to upset Won who was starting to get jealous. Won noticed their palpable attraction to each other too in several internal monologues. He just knew them so well. However, in the last two episodes, RinSan were now looking at each longer other freely, as if in their own world, minus the guilt. (It was sweet how San allowed Rin to stare at her for a long time without avoiding his gaze.) It was definitely less than a passionate kiss but it was still heart fluttering and satisfying to watch. When in the first episode it was Rin who fussed over Won and gave him his coat to keep him warm, to San's embarassment as she thought he was going to place it on her, for the finale it was now San who was being cared for by Rin, with Won taking a back seat. (Loved those scenes of them getting water and Rin tucking San to bed.)

While San was more vocal with Won (respectfully rejecting his feelings, telling him that she liked him a lot as a friend but couldn't receive his feelings, grateful to him for the friendship and everything that he has done for her) , I guess actions spoke louder than words when it comes to her feelings for Rin. RinSan confessed on different occassions how they had a lot to tell each other but couldn't bring themselves to put it into words. But still there was understanding and acceptance. Both knew the weight of each others duties and responsibilities and thus put others above themselves (and their feelings for each other). It was beautiful to watch when Won finally recognized the sacrifices that his closest friends made and thus ultimately learned true love by setting RinSan free and allowing them to love each other.

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I second to all of the above! Thanks!

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"She told the unconscious Rin, "so this is what you look like." All throughout the drama, the two avoided looking to each other so as not to upset Won who was starting to get jealous."

Awesomely put!

I am in the minority who isn't complaining about lack of kiss or more intimate scenes. Somehow I find RinSan's moments more beautiful, more touching and more romantic than many typical kdrama romantic moments.

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I really really really want to hug this comment! You took the words right out of my mouth! I was one of those who were frustrated that San was not more vocal about her feelings for Rin but realized in the end that it didn't matter, because her actions spoke so much louder than her words ever could. One of my faves was when he confirmed he was working with the bad guys, but she never doubted his loyalty and sincerity.

Also, I think it was an important beat that she was so hurt by what she thought was Rin's thorough deception regarding Jeon masterminding her mom's death. If Rin were anybody else, she would be mad as hell, but because it was Rin, who she loved, she was so hurt. Only the people we love have the power to hurt us so.

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To me, when Rin steadied San's hand when she was trying to write at her father's funeral - that was better than a kiss.

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Haha! I didn't mean to imply that a little more clarity wouldn't have been nice, but just in general...San chose the guy who DIDN'T do everything for her, but stepped in only when he felt she needed it.

And even the other relationships...the friendship between Rin and Won was far more effective when their day to day lives were shown than when they were "saving" each other. The King and Queen would have been better off quietly talking to each other about their problems than showboating their power to try to gain the upper hand all the time.

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Another kiss or scene of them in their love nest home would have been nice! Grr. Or at least let us see what happened after the awkward kiss!

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Agree, what I really wanted was just a scene of their reaction to the kiss afterwards. It just ended so abruptly, that we're forced to piece together that she didn't mind coz she wasn't angry at or awkward with him afterwards.

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Yessss...,I soooo want to know San's reaction after that bridge kiss. Was she flustered? Shy? Crying, because she finally owned up to her feelings for Rin? Or did she grab Rin's collar for another kiss? HA ha ha! 😄

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But you can imagine it yourself. I think the writer leaves a lot to the imagination, no need to spell it out for us.

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Yeah I agree about the awkward kiss. It may have been better to leave it out entirely! Or at least have had a nice kiss in the middle! I do think showing too much affection at the very end might have made us even more sad for Won. Hmm...they should have kissed in the abandoned house!

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"they should have kissed in the abandoned house..." (sigh!) I completely agree..After all, they were saying goodbye to one another, and were really prepared to be separated..so the second kiss which could've happened after San leaned down on Rin's shoulder would've been a great enough excuse for them to store memories, and to make many RinSan fans (like me) squeal... thanks for the idea!

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Haha! I didn't mean to imply that a little more clarity wouldn't have been nice, but just in general...San chose the guy who DIDN'T do everything for her, but stepped in only when he felt she needed it.

And even the other relationships...the friendship between Rin and Won was far more effective when their day to day lives were shown than when they were "saving" each other. The King and Queen would have been better off quietly talking to each other about their problems than showboating their power to try to gain the upper hand all the time.

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so nicely said.

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Thank you so much for the recaps! I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

I have to say that these last few episodes were one of my favorite. I loved the moment where Dan and Won go to the king and the father and son duo traded barbs but also thinly veiled concern for one another. I think it closed that circle very well- not an unrealistic magical healing of a relationship, but the gentle agreement that they both understood.

I also particularly liked the scene where Song Im asked why Won could be king and what made him a better fit to be king, and honestly, I think that's a question that Won struggled with for a lot. Idk it was just a moment I quite enjoyed.

The ending shattered my heart, where Won was smiling but also crying as his two closest friends left him. As someone who lost his mother and everything a person could value, he lost the two things he fought the most for- the friendship and love of his best friends. It truly made me so sad to see Won leaving for Yuan for 10 years and I really wish he could've gotten a happy ending with Dan. I also wish we could've seen a scene of the three of them reuniting at some point.

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Won is my favorite character not only because he's the main character in this drama or because of the Siwan who plays it (I admit he is handsome). But love Won because his character develops in every episode. Won worked very hard. Won must fight hard to conquer his enemies, but the most important is to conquer himself. And he did it. I'm proud of him.
This is a beautiful drama, even the most beautiful . Bitter but still beautiful I even cried like a river when Won had to take off San and Rin under a big tree. I deeply admired Won's genuine expression, I even cried when the royal secretary told Won about San's whereabouts. and Won refuses to hear about it. I imagine how lonely Won is and how much he wants to see San (and Rin).
Hopefully Won's departure to Yuan is part of his strategy to reunite with Rin and San who knows. I will miss Won very much. this drama will shadows me for a long time
I give the highest honor to the writer and director of this drama, also to Siwan who has been able to play this character very well. I'm not sure there are other actor who can play Won's character as well as Siwan. He's a very strong actor. His expression was real, very rich and deep, I got drowned.
I hope after passing his military service Siwan will play sageuk drama with notes he not ending lonely and will getting his girl. This is not this grudge just my hope. hahaha
Yoona is doing really well here and she is lucky to have all the men she wants
and Hong Jong Hyun I hope if he plays again in a sageuk drama he can reject the fall scene from the cliff (he is very handsome with his long hair and costumes) because previously while playing Wang Yo on Moon Lover he also fell on the cliff

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* I love Won because his character develops in every episode.

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Hahaha that's right! He was on the cliff in Moon Lovers too!!!!

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Hong Jong Hyun as Wang Yoo had a story similar to his previous role, he was pursued for being traitorous, cornered and fell into the cliff, but not dead.
But in the moon lover he came back to life and became a king
HJH, he drew my attention while playing in the movie Alice: Boy from Wonderland

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