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Yoon Shi-yoon offered historical melodrama Grand Prince

It looks like TV Chosun’s new historical melodrama Grand Prince is on its way to finalizing its three main leads, with an offer currently out to Yoon Shi-yoon (The Best Hit) to join Jin Se-yeon (Flower in Prison) and Joo Sang-wook (Fantastic) in the high-stakes court drama about two royal brothers who fall in love with the same woman and end up in a bloody battle over her.

Every time I read descriptions for this drama, I’m convinced it’s trying to recreate the magic of Seven Day Queen, and my heart rebels, screaming, But it’s too soon! There can’t be another Seven Day Queen! Even the casting seems to support this, with Joo Sang-wook set to play a power-hungry Joseon grand prince who dreams of absolute control over his kingdom and is willing to trade his brother’s life to win his love.

If Yoon Shi-yoon signs on, he’d play a prince, but not the title character—that’s Joo Sang-wook—though I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s the romantic hero, given that Joo Sang-wook’s grand prince doesn’t sound all that cuddly and lovable. Also, casting Yoon Shi-yoon as the second romantic lead in a drama would only cause everyone pain. And you wouldn’t do that to us, would you?

Jin Se-yeon will play the daughter of a powerful official, who is righteous and compassionate and famous for her beauty. She’s a character who tries to keep the world at a distance, but ends up embroiled in a complex royal battle, not only between the men, but also the women of the court who are vying to become queen.

I’m not sure I want Yoon Shi-yoon to sign on, even though I would love to see him in another historical drama (or yunno, any drama), because TV Chosun productions often fly under the radar and have never made big waves in the ratings. On the upside, the series comes from a very solid production team: PD Kim Jung-min of Princess’s Man and Joseon Gunman and writer Jo Hyun-jung of Maids, so maybe they’ll pull out something beautiful and we’ll be happy to give them all our tears.

Grand Prince is being planned for a January 2018 broadcast.

Via News1

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Oh please Yoon Shi Yoon, don't sign on! He deserves better! And what with Jin Se Yeon and TV Chosen??

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I want yoon si yoon on the small screen asap! But i'm not liking this drama, and i want him as the titular role. And i'm also not much aware of TV chosun. Huhu

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Tbh, I want to see Yoon Shi-yoon in Sageuk.. And, we have Strong PD & Writer, thou.. But there's something lacking of this project.. Is it because because TV Chosun? Or Jin Se-yeon? Or because I prefer Joo Sang-wook in Rom-Com LMAO

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Hmm. I kind of want Yoon Shi Yoon to pass this. I'm not a fan of Jin Se Yeon or Joo Sang Wook and the plot doesn't particularly interest me either :/ But I mean if he does take this...I suppose I'll have to give it a go.

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nooo i was planning on skipping this but now YSY's casting is pulling me in T__T

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Andwae!!!!!! Just no! Turn down, turn down, turn down *chanting* Just stay away from this project. It won't do you any good...You deserve better than that!

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You lost me at Jin Se-yeon.

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please don't accept this role shi yoonie

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I have never heard about TV Chosun.. 😐

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TV Chosun aired drama like Bride of The Century, The Greatest Marriage and Operation Proposal which I guess are quite known among drama viewers and some others. It has been several years they didn't produce any drama and focus on news, so maybe after seeing cables are doing well, they are planning to produce drama again.

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I don’t think I’d be able to watch a drama where Yoon Shi Yoon DOESN’T get the girl...my poor fragile heart can’t handle his broken puppy face

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No. I want another rom-com for him.

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I'd love to Siyoonie in another sageuk, or any drama. But as much as I'd love to see him as a prince, I'm not too sure about this role and the female lead. 😐

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This is like a combination of Seven Days Queen and The King Loves which I don't think I'll want to watch unless it really offer something really interesting.I think I enjoyed Maids and I found the premise is interesting - a noble lady who is forced to become a slave because her father is branded as a traitor, and what more tragic, it all happens during her wedding day. And this drama will be helmed by solid PD too.

I love Yoon Shi-yoon, and I want to see him in a different role and genre instead of romcoms, but I am not totally positive about these casts when you put them together. Jin Se-yeon is the weakest link here, although she has enough sageuk and period drama experiences.

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Sounds more like Seven Day Queen to me. The King Loves was set in Goryeo and featured a prince and his best friend (a nobleman of royal blood) in the love triangle. So that made it more interesting to me. I honestly enjoyed TKL more than SDQ, even if the latter did everything right by my standards.

Maybe I'm just tired of reading 'two men fight over a girl' as a drama's premise. But this is Yoon Shi Yoon. Sigh.

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I don't know, I'm sick with two men fighting over one girl too. There are plenty of girls they can choose, and I volunteer to be one lol. I know that TKL was set in Goryeo and both male leads are best friends, it's just this kind of love triangle plot has been repetitive and it's getting seriously boring.

But this is Yoon Shi-yoon...

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Yes, this really sounds like QUEEN FOR SEVEN DAYS, just like YWJ's role there, The Grand Prince.... I wont mind if it's love triangle, just like 7dq, they did a different kind of twists.... it may sound cliche BUT in 7dq was surprisingly had very very good dimensions and plot that doesn't sound boring at all.... actually, on 7DQ, it's not love on the king, it's more of paranoia, so it only sounded as love triangle...... hope this drama, will offer a different side again...... I just love how they modify the common, love triangle mode...

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I’m not sure I want YSY to star in a drama with Jin Se Yeon. Although Ryu Hwayoung will be there which is a definite plus. And he will be the second lead☹️. We all know how that goes.

Joo Sang Wook is the male lead, nothing against him, but I have an allergy to Joo Sang Wook’s dramas. I never seem to get past the first few episodes. His acting puts me to sleep ....zzzzzzz

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I don't think it is Ryu Hwayoung. Based on what I read on few reports, it is her twin, Ryu Hyoyoung who has confirmed the role of second lead.

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YSY with JSW made me freakingly excited until I've seen the other factors regarding the drama... i think the story is too mainstream, the TV network (sorry guys but Ive never heard Tv Chosun before), and the girl?!! Nope! but I want YSY in a new drama!! wahhhhh 😢😢😢

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Yoon Shiyoon to join Jin Se... *lost interest*

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NOOOOOO DON'T DO IT YOONNNNNN😫😫😫

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I'm not a big fan of Yoon Shi-yoon, but I like him well enough, and I think he could do better. The production team seems solid enough but everything else feels kind of second rate?

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Yoon Shiyoon needs a better project. He hasn't had a hit since King of Baking.

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i agree with you... he has alot to offer as an actor... so versatile...i hope he gets another drama where he can be appreciated like his Baker King days...

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Even though I miss him to the moon and back in Dreamland, can he PLEASE NOT DO THIS?!

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*Dramaland*
But I welcome him to appear in my dreams too <3

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I am getting flashbacks of Gaksital where Jin Se-yeon was stiff as a board and had no chemistry while 2 amazing actors battled it out for her love. Gaksital is my favorite drama but she was a huge black mark against the drama. I think I'll pass on this.

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Abit too presumptious. The news from TV Chosun’s side mentioned they are courting several actors, and YSY is one of them. YSY’s side mentioned they have received the offer, amongst others, and YSY is still considering, ie. no decision yet. This sounds to me like TV Chosun is just fishing for news, riding on YSY’s name. Lets not get ahead of ourselves assuming he has already accepted. He hasnt.

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I have a hard time believing that not one but TWO men can fall for someone as bland & bleeeeeeh as JSY. She sucks the life force out of every character she plays. Also, JSW excels in rom-coms. I say both actors run for the hills because I don't want to see either romance an actress as uncharismatic as JSY. JSY lovers, fight me. She's horrible. NEXT.

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The problem is that he's being offered a second lead in a virtually unknown network. Has his star fallen?

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This. I don't understand his logic either. Neither I got it when he took a second lead almost nonexistent role on 'Prime minister & I". Why does he keep taking these insignificant roles? He's definitely first lead material, so if this is not of the same caliber, I hope he rejects the offer. JSW and sageuk is a big no for me too. He doesn't match the genre imo.

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I think most of his recent projects have flopped, that's why. Still, second lead in a TV Chosun drama is too much of a downgrade. A second lead role in a major network is still understandable. He can play second fiddle in a female centric drama as well. If he takes this one up, then perhaps his draw has waned so much that he's not expecting better offers to come.

Honestly, the standards of his projects fluctuate a lot. I recall him acting in a really low-profile webdrama too. His choice of roles and productions is just perplexing.

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Please dont talk about something you do not know. I read the original articles on Naver and this news originated from TV Chosun side. They were the ones who first named YSY as the actor they are aiming for. Probably to ride on his fame and make some headlines so their drama will gain some interest. In response, the reporters approached YSY’s company and was informed this drama was amongst those that were offered, but YSY is still considering and hasnt made his decision. This looks to me like YSY’s side just wanted to be polite and allow them to ride on his fame, without outright rejecting. You cant cut all your ties in this field anyway.
YSY chose his dramas and projects based on roles he feels gives a positive message. The ‘low-profile webdrama’ you mentioned was even recently re-broadcasted during MBC strike, and gained higher ratings than when was it first broadcasted. You did not even watch the ‘low-profile webdrama’ and dont even know the role and storyline but you are judging it.

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My baby deserves better. Next offer.

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"Jin Se-yeon will play the daughter of a powerful official, who is righteous and compassionate and famous for her beauty. She’s a character who tries to keep the world at a distance, but ends up embroiled in a complex royal battle, not only between the men, but also the women of the court who are vying to become queen."

I read that and just giggled. Sure, she will 😂

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No, I don't like the main girl's acting and her dramas. I won't be able to handle her acting and Yoon Shi Yoon's broken heart if he doesn't get the girl.

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siyoon oppa please, please, please, please, please, please, don't sign on
we dont want to see you in another second role pleeeeeeeaaaaaseeeeee

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I tried to ignore the errors in this translated article, but it just bothers me.

1. No one mention YSY is the second male lead. In fact, based on this article title, it’s directly translated as, “YSY, TV Chosun project ‘Grand Prince’ male lead”. Also, even by the synopsis it is clear Joo Sang Wook is playing an antagonist role as someone who harbors intention to ‘kill his own younger brother’. Why are u misleading ppl by saying YSY offered second male lead role? That is just your opinion and interpretation.
http://m.entertain.naver.com/read?oid=421&aid=0003037532

2. Jin Se Yeon is not THE character that tries to keep the world at a distance. That is Joo Sang Wook’s character. His character is actually drawn from Yi Bang Won, the ruthless King Taejong of Joseon, father of King Sejong. YSY’s character is drawn from King Jeongjong, brother of King Taejong. Although in history, Jeongjong is the older brother, but he is the kinder one, and he abdicated his position because he knows Taejong is more powerful politically. Grand Prince drama is inspired by the strife of princes during that time. How closely it will resemble that is a mystery to be discover when the drama goes on air.

What are you doing misleading ppl in your article? Bzzzz...

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Please watch the drama first .. don't speculate ...I have first 2 episodes n it's really thrilling... And siyoon is playing the protagonist... He is too a grand prince ..there r two grand princes ( the other is the antagonist played by Joo sang wool) so u can't say that siyoon is not playing the titular role...

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Ep. 1

The opening scenes of three weary travelers slogging through hip-deep snow in the mountains is starkly beautiful. I loved the tone they set for the drama. The leader makes sure to feed his troops before he eats -- as they share the slim pickings of a single rabbit. Later they cross flat land, or maybe a frozen river. When they finally arrive in front of the palace gates, they are met with disbelief and derision. "Prince Eun-sung's funeral was held years ago."

During the ensuing scuffle with palace guards, the leader notices a shifty-looking court lady sneaking out the main gate. After fending off the guards who try to arrest them, the party takes off after her.

The show got off to a riveting start. The wild locations, including a snowy birch forest, are gorgeous, even breathtaking. Ditto Lee Hwi/Eun-sung Daegun's mane of glory. ;-)

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My interpretation of the show's title and Hwi's character:

http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/03/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-96/#comment-3217726

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Hi @pakalanapikake. I wanted to let you know I watched episodes 7-9 last night. I plan to push on through episode 12 tonight). I have held off commenting below until I am caught up.
A couple things. I found the initial comments above from the original November pre-production post interesting. Yoon Shi-yoon (YSY) certainly has his fans and now I can see why. As I mentioned before I was unfamiliar with his work. I am familiar with Joo Sang-woo from only 2 crime dramas: SPECIAL AFFAIRS TEAM TEN and TEN2. (He played a good guy in both dramas-highly rated.) Jin Se-yeon is new to me also not having seen her previous work. I haven't really been around the kdrama world all that long.
The concern about who would be the lead and second lead and all that stuff I think was misplaced. TV Chosun which apparently has not produced many drama lately is making a very good drama imo. From what I can see the ratings as listed in the Wiki entry for GP are pretty good for cable. There was a dip but from episode 8 on the ratings have been holding their own. Thanks for putting this together.

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*Joo Sang-wook* Annoyed. I try especially hard to get the names right. (Btw. I follow the Wikipedia style for kdrama actors' names. I like your all caps for titles.)

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I goofed, too. Serves me right for not checking. I usually go with AsianWiki's transliterations, unless I'm referencing DramaBeans recaps.

I hit upon setting drama and movie titles in uppercase so they readily stand out in online text. It's not the Chicago Manual of Style standard as far as I know, but it makes it easier for me to see when scanning online text. CapsLock is my friend. ;-)

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Hi, @marcusnyc20!

You're welcome. ;-)

I'm glad you're enjoying GRAND PRINCE and catching up with it.

The controversy over which prince is the male lead was fierce on another site I visited. But if you look at the Korean title, it's variously translated as "Grand Prince: Paint a Picture" -- or the more apt "Grand Prince: Drawing Love." To my mind, the latter implies that painterly prince Hwi elicits love from his subjects as well as the female lead. I can't say the same for Kang, whose ceaseless demands for absolute compliance with his whims guarantee that he will never be loved, only distrusted and feared.

Thanks for your recommendations re: Joo Sang-woo in the SPECIAL AFFAIRS TEAM TEN dramas. I would enjoy seeing him play a good guy. Based on what I've seen of his performance so far, he projects a suitably commanding presence (he's got the swagger down pat) that obscures the deep psychic wounds that his eyes betray when the mask occasionally slips. Kang's tragedy is his inability to understand that the very things he wants the most, love and acceptance, can only be freely given. They cannot be bullied or extorted out of people without destroying those feelings in the process. Hence his shock at Ja-hyun's revulsion that equates any kind of relationship with him as a living death.

Charmingly charismatic Yoon Si-Yoon's Hwi comes across as a family-oriented love bug who knows his distant place in the line of succession, and goes to great lengths to promote harmony in the palace. He took his royal prerogatives for granted when he was young, but was considerate towards his subordinates, and came to realize the importance of expressing his true feelings and gratitude towards them after Kang drowned his loyal little court lady. He started developing a steely backbone at that time, but has neither power nor mentor in navigating the politics he wants no part of and cannot escape. His good-hearted inability to believe, let alone anticipate, the treachery to which Kang and his minions resort is one of his Achilles's heels.

Jin Se-yeon feels kind of inert to me. She's very pretty, but I don't think that the endless close-ups are doing her any favors. I've gotten spoiled by actors who speak volumes with their eyes, such as the excellent Kim Mi-kyung who plays her mother. In contrast, Ryu Hyo-young portrays erstwhile friend Na-gyeom with jealous, social-climbing abandon. Choo Soo-hyun's previous tragic role in THE KING LOVES was superficially similar to scheming gisaeng Cho Yo-kyung, who veils her ultimate intentions well. I can't wait to see which marker she intends to call in from Kang, but she would be a fool to trust him. Former idol Son Ji-hyun is growing on me as Ru Shi-gae. Hmmm. She reminds me a bit of Z.Hera and her touching performance in MOON LOVERS.

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Hi. I finished episodes 10-12 last night so I am finally current with GRAND PRINCE. I think your descriptions of the personalities is right on.
For now let me pick out one. I am glad you mentioned Kim Mi-kyung (KMK) (Ja-hyun's mother). I only know KMK from HEALER (2014/15) where she played Jo Min-ja decribed in Wiki as hacker, ajumma! What a presence and performance she gave. It took a bit for me to get the Min-ja role out of my mind. She has been wonderful in GP.
I am all with you with the importance of the eyes to a performance. Here is a recent example for me. HEARTLESS CITY (2013) made me a Jung Kyung-ho fan for life. His performance in PRISON PLAYBOOK was much more subtle than in HC. In PP he didn't have as much heavy lifting as in HC but the looks he could give said it all. I loved his performance in PP.
I will be jumping in here and there.

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@marcusnyc20,

Glad you caught up with the show and will be putting in your $0.02. ;-)

I'm so pleased to meet another fan of Kim Mi-kyung. I started out watching sageuks in 2013, so it wasn't until later that I got around to contemporary dramas. HEALER has been on my list, but I still haven't gotten around to it, and I didn't know she plays a hacker in it. Ha!

I loved KMK's memorable performance as badass Court Lady Choi, the general's aunt, in FAITH. Later I spotted her playing a more conventional servant in DAEMANG / GREAT AMBITION with Jang Hyuk. Aside from her pugilistic displays of maternal concern, I loved her to pieces (along with Lee Han-wi as outnumbered pater familias) in OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN. One of their best scenes together, as Mom despairs about her jilted daughter's behavior, is Seo Hyun-jin's mental health tango from ep. 2:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmBuwqarfbE

Re: the eyes have it

I haven't seen PRISON PLAYBOOK yet, but have been reading the raves about it here on DB. I've seen Jung Kyung-ho in TIME BETWEEN DOG AND WOLF, but that was earlier in his career (and my drama watching), and Lee Joon-gi had my attention. Looks like I'll have to check out PP. ;-)

One of the first times I became really aware of eye acting was Ryu Deok-hwan's turn as King Gongmin in FAITH. He projected such presence and communicated the beleaguered monarch's internal states so well that I watched his earlier works. I came across the film MY SON, with Cha Seung-won as a lifer in jail for murder who, after 15 years of good behavior, is granted a 24-hour visit with his elderly mother and the son he hasn't seen since he was 3 years old. The two of them are mesmerizing.

Jang Hyuk is another actor who speaks volumes with his eyes, which I first noticed in HIS CONCERN in the omnibus FIVE SENSES OF EROS. (Cha Hyeon-jeong sends him the greatest come-hither winks. Alas, she doesn't have an extensive filmography.) Kam Woo-sung and Lee Joon-gi let their eyes do the talking in their performances as street entertainers and court jesters in THE KING AND THE CLOWN. Jung Jin-young as tyrant Yeonsangun gradually comes apart at the seams, and you can see in his eyes that disaster is nigh.

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Ep. 2:

Lee Hwi goes incognito to do a few errands outside the palace, and meets a fellow artist in search of ultramarine blue pigment.

In the scene at the stationer's shop, I couldn't figure out why Hwi stuck his tongue out at Ja-hyun after tasting the blue pigment that had spilled onto her skirt. How rude! But when she replied to him that it turned black, he immediately knew it was fake. That made me curious. I'm willing to bet that the substance in question was being palmed off as genuine natural ultramarine mineral pigment made from lapis lazuli, whose main constituent is lazurite. It has been mined since antiquity in Afghanistan and several other places. And it's expensive.

Perhaps the fake pigment was a plant dye (indigo, perhaps) that is not colorfast unless properly
prepared. Indigo is not brilliant like ultramarine.

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Ep. 3

Kang's thrashing of Ja-hyun's orabeoni with his polo stick after his player abandoned the game and went in search of his sister was a nasty bit of foreshadowing. The imperious team captain equated it with abandoning his post in battle, which doesn't bode well for the future. How Deuk-sik didn't end up with a broken collarbone is beyond me. Kang proceeded to sideline his former starting player, which is self-defeating and kind of nuts, but he has delusions of being an absolute monarch. He also uninvited him from the victory celebration. Later, when he found out that Deuk-sik is his prey's elder brother, he informed him that the festivities would be held at the Sung family's residence. What an about-face. And Kang is the kind of guy who makes offers you cannot refuse.

On a happier note, I enjoyed the polo match, at least up until Hwi discovered that his poor horse had been purposely injured.

My polo helmet is off to the hair and makeup department, who have done a great job on YSY's mane of glory. I really wasn't expecting to see one this good in Joseon. LOL. I've also noticed how in later episodes they have gradually and subtly made Hwi look increasingly less baby-faced and more mature even before he returned from Manchuria with a scraggly beard. Bravo!

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Ep. 4

Ja-hyun and Hwi spend quite a bit of time horsing around painting equines and riding. With the arrival of gisaeng Cho Yo-kyung at Kang's behest, Ja-hyun gets it in her head that it would be a great opportunity to visit a gibang (really?!) because that's were the beautiful ladies are, and she's tired of painting self-portraits. Har. This segment reminded me very much of PAINTER OF THE WIND, complete with a gisaeng who blows the heroine's cover.

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Ep. 5

Hwi's mask performance with Gi-teuk was my favorite segment in this episode. It was an inspired way to reopen communications with Ja-hyun, and was a huge hit with Madam Ahn and her coterie. It brought to mind Honey Lee's traditional musical performances with Yoon Kyun-sang in REBEL: THIEF WHO STOLE THE PEOPLE, as well as the masked folk theater of the jesters portrayed by Kam Woo-sung and Lee Joon-gi in THE KING AND THE CLOWN.

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An article on traditional Korean masks and dances:

http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/418540/

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Ep. 6:

Thanks to @veeee for the recap at Drama Milk!

Ja-hyun’s gives Hwi her pink hair ribbon as a memento. I was surprised to see that it appears in the drama’s opening scene.

When I rewatched episode 1, I spotted a flash of bright pink on Hwi’s right wrist as his party was slogging uphill in the snow. It’s at 01:52 — which includes the 1-minute opening montage. It’s right before the close-ups of everyone’s faces prior to the rabbit-hunting scene.

Ye Olde Secret Wedding Ceremony was nicely done. Perhaps we’ll find out later that it was witnessed by a monk (with a tip of the gat to Romeo’s confessor, Friar Laurence). Given the bad blood between Lee Kang and the monks for desecrating the temple precincts with his wild boar barbecue, I wonder if someone will testify on Ja-hyun’s behalf that the elder grand prince has been putting the make on his brother’s wife. I’ve been getting a strong CHUNHYANG vibe ever since Kang started acting like a masher.

Re: Cross-dressing maidens going off to war

This scenario plays out repeatedly in THE KING’S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG. Protagonist Seolnan (Seo Hyun-jin as one of my favorite Kdrama heroines) enlists in the king’s secret service, becoming a badass warrior in the process. Later she serves as a spy. She sneaks off to join the crown prince and her brothers-in-arms in the final battle against Goguryeo. Factions at court in Baekje are out to assassinate Seja, just like their Joseon counterparts scheme to bump off Lee Hwi in battle against the Jurchens. Some things never change.

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Ooooh, good catch on the hair ribbon being shown in episode one! I'm not surprised, this show seems to be dedicated to the continuity between the timelines ~ I wish that they had a monk confessor for Ja-hyun, they definitely needs it

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One of the viewers on Drama Milk spotted the hair ribbon in a later episode, which prompted me to look for it at the beginning. Talk about careful attention to detail in continuity.

The ribbon really should have looked a lot groadier after three years on Hwi's wrist in Manchuria. Har.

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He probably hid it carefully tucked away inside a packet near his heart while there ;) When we see it out was on the occasional epic days that he needed it in his line of vision :P

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You're right. It would have been safely and securely squirreled away. No way would he have wanted to lose it in a mass grave, or get it filthy while skinning and gutting lunch. Eew.

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Ep. 7

http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/03/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-97/#comment-3221831

A thread begins with my comments on Ep. 7 and then cover a lot of ground with regard to various aspects of GRAND PRINCE.

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Ep. 8

Thanks for another great Drama Milk recap, @veee!

I was wondering why Hwi’s servant Park Gi-tae looked so familiar. Come to find out he played Won’s bodyguard Jin Gan (Bang Jae-ho) in THE KING LOVES. His partner Jang Ui (Ki Do-hoon) is now a barista in SHOULD WE KISS FIRST.

Choi Sung-jae was great as red shirt Lt. Kim Kwan. He nearly succeeded in passing himself off as Prince Eun-sung until the loyal subjects blew Hwi’s cover. Dang.

Na-gyeom is a real piece of work. She’s as delusionally entitled as her husband, with a matching inferiority complex. Dreadful. She thinks she is the queen bee, but I can’t wait to see what gisaeng Cho Yo-kyung has in store for her. This will be delicious retribution. Just to be vindictive, I hope it entails inability to produce an heir for Kang so he can legally ditch her. Slip her some of Uncle Benedict Arnold's frankincense. Hah!

Yay for Ru Shi-gae! She thinks fast on her feet and has guts. One thing I couldn’t figure out was why Hwi was leading the way when the local who knows the territory is the one who should have been guiding the party. As Professor Harold Hill said in THE MUSIC MAN, "You've got to know the territory." ;-)

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You may have to help me out here, I'm slightly confused - Gi-tae is the same person as Hwi's bodyguard in the present, correct? I'm sure he must be, but asianwiki is saying that they're played by separate actors (one of which, I can't find any page for).

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Gladly, @frabbycrabsis!

Bang Jae-ho plays Park Gi-teuk, Hwi's eunuch. (They're the male palace servants who wear sage green court robes during this stage of the Joseon dynasty.) That's why he wasn't a good fighter when they were taken prisoner in Manchuria.

I was confused at first, too, because Gi-teuk has always been dressed as a eunuch, even as a kid. (Which is pretty depressing when you think about it, but it must have been better than starving to death on the street.)

Ru Shi-gae is Hwi's bodyguard.

Both actors have pages on AsianWiki.

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Bang Jae-ho was credited as Gi-teuk, and then they had a different name under "Hwi's bodyguard", so until now I though they were different people. I don't know whether or not the error has been fixed, but it was confusing.

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If they had specified "female bodyguard" it would have been crystal clear, right? ;-)

If you take a gander at Drama Milk's handy dandy cheat sheet (Very nice, @veeee!), you'll see Gi-teuk on the right side; his function (ES's servant) is listed above his photo, and his name below it. But immediately below his name is Lu Shi-gae's function (ES's bodyguard) -- which is confusing. -- I really like having mugshots to go with actors' characters and names.

http://i0.wp.com/www.bah-doo.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Grand-Prince-Characters.jpg?w=720&ssl=1

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Ep. 9

Kudos to @veeee for the Drama Milk recap!

I was surprised by how much of episode 9 was recycled from episode 1. There were a few new scenes that gave a scanty glimpse of what happened in Manchuria. I’m still wondering about the identity of the Jurchen leader who captured Hwi’s party after they escaped from the group with whom he had been negotiating. Roo Shi-gae seemed to recognize him. Perhaps there’s intertribal rivalry that bodes well for Hwi, but that remains to be seen.

The apparent laxity of the Queen Dowager’s situational awareness, strategic planning, and palace security was distressing. Although they both knew that Kang lusted after his elder brother’s (and later, nephew’s) throne, neither she nor her brother (Chief Royal Secretary and her main political advisor) seemed to be aware that the palace was thoroughly infiltrated with his spies. How was it that no one noticed that Kang’s brother-in-law commanded a contingent of palace guards? Luckily Hwi and eunuch Gi-teuk quickly realized that Kang was in a position to order his wife’s brother to occupy the Crown Prince’s Eastern Pavilion before the installation ceremony, and thwarted the takeover. For guys who had been out of the loop on court politics while they were Jurchen prisoners for three years, they sure got a quick handle on who was who at court. Hwi’s maternal uncle seemed to be caught totally flat-footed.

The Queen Dowager knew that her no-good rakish brother-in-law, Grand Prince Yang-ahn, still had an axe of his own to grind and was in cahoots with Kang, yet she seemed to readily accept his account of Hwi’s missing-in-action/killed-in-action status. As soon as she attempted to coerce Hwi into becoming Seja, she herself had painted a bull’s eye on his back. Then she sent him to war with only one loyal, experienced officer to back him up, which was nuts. He was completely in Traitorous Uncle’s clutches. Arrrgh!

Kang continues to fixate on gaining control of the throne. He simply cannot get it through his skull that his behavior and attitudes are traitorous and unfilial. He continues to project his own ignoble motivations on others. The way he twists the Queen Dowager’s words makes my blood boil. He’s also the Energizer Bunny in his pursuit of Ja-hyun. I wish to heck that Ja-hyun would tell Hwi how his brother and sister-in-law has been hounding her and threatening her family.

While I love the fact that Hwi finally got to drop a bombshell on Kang, I’m concerned that it will only have the effect of waving a red flag at a bull. I hope that Hwi doesn’t actually show the letter to Kang, and has it stashed someplace safe outside of the palace, if not outside of the capital. Or maybe it is in the safekeeping of a friendly Jurchen. The thought has also crossed my mind that he is bluffing, and is conducting a psy op against Kang.

Other viewers have commented that the story loosely resembles that of Grand Prince Suyang (later King Sejo), second son of Sejong the...

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- continued -

Other viewers have commented that the story loosely resembles that of Grand Prince Suyang (later King Sejo), second son of Sejong the Great. He overthrew his nephew, King Danjong, son of his sickly brother, King Munjong. He later killed the deposed king and his own younger brother, Grand Prince Anpyeong. I don’t know whether to steel myself for a full-blown tragedy, or hope that the story will be heavily fictionalized to result in a different outcome.

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I’ve read comments about this as well from other sites as well. Since they changed the names of the characters, we can hope for a better outcome than the tragedy that befalls Hwi. But I admit to being torn. On one hand, I hated Moonlight Drawn By Clouds ending because it was too far fetched from what actually happened in history; on the other hand I don’t want Hwi to die a tragic death. What a dilemma!

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wait, park bo gum in MDBC and hwi are the same prince? :o

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No, Park Bo-gum plays a different prince, Hyomyeong Seja (1809-1830). He was the eldest son of King Sunjo.

Hwi resembles the third son of Sejong the Great, Yi Yong, aka Grand Prince Anpyeong (1418–1453).

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Nope.
Park Bo-gum was playing King Sunjo's son (Crown Prince Hyomyeong). King Sunjo was 23rd king of Joseon.

Hwi was the younger brother of King Sejo. The 7th king of Joseon.

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Opps few mins apart. Sorry didn't mean to say the same thing. I didn't know you answered @phoenix220 already.

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@kiara April 9, 2018 at 10:04 PM

LOL! Vulcan mind-meld! I'm just glad I'm on the same page with you. Between the two of us, we filled in the pertinent details of each prince. ;-)

PS: @phoenix220,
Learning that the historic figure Crown Prince Hyomyeong was renowned for his dancing makes me appreciate this all the more:

KBS 월화드라마 구르미 그린 달빛 티저1(Teaser1)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHPVLatIfn4

and the BTS:

박보검 구르미 그린 달빛 8월22일 첫 방영
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nEs5Dka0b-Y

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Ep. 10

Thanks for recapping episode 10 on Drama Milk, @veeee!

I can’t figure out whether Hwi is still being too trusting towards Kang, or whether he’s just playing dumb. Judging by the look on his face when the porters armed themselves and started attacking everyone in sight, I have to go with the former. On the other hand, three years’ captivity in Manchuria has changed Hwi. Along with Roo Shi-gae, he fired arrows at their Jurchen pursuers while covering the Joseon prisoners’ escape. It looked like he was shooting to kill. This is a sea change for the prince who refused to swat insects when he was a kid.

When Kang had his minister-lackeys sign the pledge of allegiance to him and his revolutionary cause, it was obvious to me that he’ll use that document to thrown them all under the bus if anything goes wrong with his plans to usurp the throne. Mark my words.

Notice how the fireworks started before the wedding ceremony even started. Kang is crazy as a fox. If the ceremony were held, he wouldn’t be able to kidnap Ja-hyun and make her his concubine because she would already be married. That’s what he meant when he told Hwi that he would take everything from him. (I can’t wait to see the look on Na-Gyeom’s face when she realizes what hubby intends to do, and that she helped him. Har!)

Roo Shi-gae got a rude awakening when she found out that her royal comrade-in-arms was engaged, and that she couldn’t even address him by name because of court formality and Joseon manners in general. After all she’s done for him and his party in Manchuria, I felt bad for her. Hwi should give her a sword and make her his official bodyguard and sparring partner instead of dooming her to prance around as a court lady. It’s a total waste of her skill set — unless she gets to be badass Court Lady Choi 2.0 (with a tip of the hat to Kim Mi-kyung in FAITH). I have a feeling that she’s going to save Ja-hyun from Na-Gyeom’s clutches. And she’ll be able to do it because Ja-hyun has functioning legs and doesn’t need to ride around in a palanquin. I suspect that the two of them will ultimately hit it off when she sees that Ja-hyun can ride horseback, is willing and able to rough it, has a pretty good head on her shoulders most of the time, and knows the territory. Oh, yeah — and is the love of Hwi’s life.

What gives with the Queen Dowager? Judging from the ep. 11 preview, she must be having serious memory issues if she believes the line of jive that Kang is going to spout about Hwi ordering the attack on his own family and supporters. (Someone brew her a pot of gingko tea stat!) She’s been adamant for years that Kang cannot be trusted — yet is willing to believe him this time? And if he’s a usurper who’s been actively plotting to grab the throne, what makes her trust Kang’s wife? I think the old girl and her brother have lost it.

I was happy to see Vengeful Gisaeng Yo-Kyung involved in the planning of the wedding ambush. Here’s hoping that she’s carefully...

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If Hwi goes down for the alleged coup, it will be no one’s fault but his for being too trusting of his viperous brother. Did he really think that Kang would leave an ambition he nurtured for most of his life because he was threatened by a letter? Hwi ought not to have revealed his hand, and if he did, he should have had numerous backup plans to halt his scheming brother. If these characters are who I think they are, then history is not on Hwi’s side. My one curiosity is to find out if Ja Hyun succumbs to Kang schemes or if she fights him to the death. I noticed that the ratings dropped after the first two episodes. It’s a shame, because this is the only saguek airing at the moment. And I quite like this drama, more than I did Seven Day Queen. Joseon history seems to be quite bloody and tragic, doesn’t it?

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Ep. 11-12 Spoiler Alert.

@adal1 April 7, 2018 at 7:57 PM

Joseon history is indeed bloody. And it started with King Taejo, the dynasty's founder.

I agree that Hwi seems to be a chip off the old block. For all the Queen Dowager fussed about her second son's delusional and overweening lust for power, she did nothing to rein him in while she was preoccupied with his eldest brother's poor health. She knew Traitorous Uncle was feeding his ambition and setting him against his brothers, but did nothing. If she had also sent Hwi out of the palace, it wouldn't have rankled Kang as much. If only she had found a way to keep an eye on him in the palace. "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer."

Just as the Queen Dowager seemed to be completely passive in the face of Uncle Traitor's machinations with and for Kang, Hwi didn't do anything to counter his opponents, either. Is it because the opposition was so deeply entrenched in the palace, and so well-funded that everyone had been bought off?

I was totally dismayed when Hwi threatened Kang with the letter to the Jurchen chieftain. He must have been so desperate to protect his nephew that he grasped at straws. But it only succeeded in provoking Kang into attacking preemptively.

Hwi seems more and more to be a tragic hero whose fatal flaw is his desire to love and be loved -- in contrast to Kang's lust for power and everything he wants as soon as he wants it.

In some ways, Hwi is as unfilial as Kang. He was brought up to not aspire to the throne, and he adhered to that even when conditions changed and the nation needed a viable alternative to Kang as Seja. He didn't trust himself to do the right thing (i.e., to abdicate in favor of his nephew when he comes of age), and seemed to be more concerned with what other people think of his motivations for ascending the throne than serving the nation in its time of need. He wanted no part of ruling, even though he was the best candidate. His eldest brother was the heir and he and Kang were the two spares. He couldn't seem to get it through his head that he was a spare for a reason.

While he has a strong sense of duty, I really wonder whether Hwi is temperamentally cut out to be a king. (And maybe that's exactly what he wants Kang to believe, too.)

- part 1 of 2 - continued -

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- continued - part 2 of 2 -

Ep. 11-12 Spoiler Alert

@adal1 April 7, 2018 at 7:57 PM

However, Hwi may be passing himself off as very weak in order to lull Kang into a false sense of security. He may also be giving Kang and Traitorous Uncle plenty of opportunity to reveal their treasonous intentions to the entire country as well as neighboring powers. We still don't know what went on during those three years Hwi was in Manchuria. He may have allies in unexpected places. Earlier he had spent time in China, and may even have the Emperor's ear. The Queen Dowager had noted that Hwi would be readily accepted as Seja by the Chinese. It's possible that the Chinese would be alarmed if Kang ascended the throne, and might consider it a provocation.

In the long run, it probably wouldn't have made a difference even if Hwi had acceded to his mother's demands and become Seja. Kang would doubtless have conspired with Uncle to overthrow him.

Neither Hwi nor Ja-hyun wants anything to do with political power. In contrast, Kang and Na-gyeom have ambition in spades, and will do anything to grab it and use it to their advantage.

After seeing ep. 12 raw, I recalled Crown Prince Sohyeon in exile on an island in CHUNO. King Injo's eldest son, he and his wife and children had lived as hostages in the Manchu court for 8-9 years. He died soon after returning to Joseon in 1645. I'm also reminded of Yi Yeok, Yeonsangun's half-brother and successor in SEVEN DAY QUEEN. He just wanted to live quietly in the boondocks with the love of his life. In MOON LOVERS, Wang So of Goryeo didn't want the throne either, but realized he wouldn't survive if he didn't have power.

When Hwi was sent into exile, my first thought was that he would be bumped off after he was out of sight. Seeing Kang's henchman headed his way gave me the willies.

As for Ja-hyun, I got the impression that Kang forced her to give up Hwi in return for sparing his life. But we all know that he won't honor the deal. I assume that he is forcing her to marry him. Is he going to dump his first wife? But wouldn't that alienate his brother-in-law, who has been the bagman for Kang's bribery operations?

I cannot imagine that Hwi would use Ja-hyun as a pawn in a battle with his brother. Judging by her reactions, she's convinced that Kang has the upper hand and she is out of options. If that's not the case, then she deserves an Oscar.

I honestly don't know where this plot is heading. We're just past the half-way point, and really need to find out what went down in Manchuria.

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- continued -

I was happy to see Vengeful Gisaeng Yo-Kyung involved in the planning of the wedding ambush. Here’s hoping that she’s carefully documenting the evidence to later reveal Kang’s web of traitors in high places — and his wife’s complicity. (I can’t wait for someone to find that nice incriminating vow of loyalty Na-Gyeom wrote to Kang. That ought to cook her goose.) But before that happens, Hwi is in for more pain and suffering.

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Yo-kyung is gutsy. I'm surprised no-one has murdered her for her impertinence yet. My bet is that once the real drama kicks in, she'll be the first to go.

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I'm under the impression that gisaengs serve a purpose not unlike court jesters. They already are held to different standards than other women in Confucian society, so it wouldn't surprise me if certain men might actually appreciate a touch of exotic sassiness.

I just hope that Yo-kyung hangs in there long enough to wreak her vengeance on Na-gyeom in an utterly satisfying way.

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Just finished this episode, and WHY THE HECK DID HWI AND JA HYEON TRUST THAT KANG WAS REALLY ALL SUPPORTIVE OF THEIR MARRIAGE?? I mean, he overdid it with the house and gifts and the marriage date. I got the feeling that the two of them thought they were at the end of their story, getting their happily ever after and grudging acceptance from everyone.

I might have to stop and throw things if everyone believes Hwi was involved in this. The poor guy is a love sick fool who just spent three years in a prisoner of war camp. He just wants to keep his nephew alive. Leave him alone.

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Oy vey, @hotcocoagirl! You and me both are ready to throw stuff, but for different reasons.

I'm almost to the point of giving Hwi and Ja-hyun a Darwin Award for being too naive to breathe. They both know that Kang is a snake in the grass, and Queen Dowager knows that Traitorous Uncle has been aiding and abetting Kang for many years. Why they all act like ostriches is beyond me.

I have to admit that gisaeng Cho Yo-kyung did a great job of framing Hwi for the carnage, although it makes no sense that he would kill fellow loyalists. Oh, right, because he's now accused of turning usurper and doing what Kang himself has been plotting for years.

One ray of hope: Yo-kyung's conversation with the swordsman leader of the mercenaries/assassins. I think he knows the true plot (or at least that Eun-sung is innocent), and he's also seen the gisaeng's face. Assuming he doesn't get permanently silenced, he's a potential witness who could exonerate Hwi.

I'm not certain, but I think that Yo-kyung is biding her time to take revenge on Kang as well as his obnoxious wife. If she doesn't reveal his ploy to depose his nephew and frame Hwi, then maybe she plans to be named a concubine and skewer him with a hairpin while in flagrante delicto. It would serve Kang right. But it would be better to reveal him as the traitor he is, as his wife's family would also be traitors, and would be wiped out for 3 generations. And Na-gyeom would end up living in exile under house arrest in a hovel -- if she doesn't get a bowl of poison for her role in framing Hwi. Hmmm. Since she's only a royal by marriage, she might possibly end up a slave? In which case a certain gisaeng might buy her to clean chamberpots in her gibang. (A prospect that brings glee to my own vengeful little ticker.)

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Ep. 11 - Raw

Just as I expected, Hwi’s tipping his hand that he had possession of his uncle’s and brother’s incriminating letter to the Jurchen chieftain freaked out Kang, who reacted like a cornered rat and waged a preemptive strike. I suspect that the document the conspirators later produced at the torture-assisted hearing may be a new version of the original letter that’s been doctored to read as if Hwi were the one who incited the Jurchens to attack the northern territory for his own nefarious purposes. They probably also added that Hwi would be sojourning with the Jurchens in the lap of traitorous luxury while awaiting his eldest brother’s death so he could overthrow his little nephew. According to some propagandists, the bigger the lie, the more readily it is believed. I prefer to say, “He who smelt it, dealt it.” Or, “Methinks Jin-yang Daegun doth protest too much.”

Watching the episode raw was fascinating because of the utter shock on the Queen Dowager’s face. She’s known since her second son was a child that he is implacably greedy for power — and would never give up his quest for the throne. Why did she so quickly buy into his lies du jour? She didn’t appear to put up much resistance to Kang’s BS. Doesn’t she know that he’s lying by the mere fact that his mouth is moving?

It was a good thing that Ru Shi-gae set off for the wedding late, otherwise she would have been rounded up along with Hwi and Gi-teuk. It’s always preferable to have at least one good guy on the outside when everyone else is put in the hoosegow.

It appears that Kang’s plan to make Ja-hyun his concubine has finally dawned on Na-Gyeom — and that he’s told his wife in no uncertain terms that it’s non-negotiable. In your face, toots!

Traitorous Uncle again went after Ja-hyun’s upright father, the Chief Officer of Royal Decrees, and probably threatened his entire household with extermination. He attempted to honorably commit suicide to avoid being used against the rightful heir, but was rescued by the Queen Dowager’s brother and main advisor, Chief Royal Secretary Shim Jeong.

This is the bare bones of what appears to have transpired in this episode.

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Didn't even know this thread was over here! Thanks for cluing me in :-)

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Hwi is really trying my patience! Does his forgiveness for his brother have no bounds? He killed so many Joseon already.

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Hwi either has incredible forbearance or a death wish. This is why I'm getting nervous that he's really going to turn out to be a fictionalized Grand Prince Anpyeong who will end up dead as a doornail, along with his little nephew.

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Please don’t kill my kids, they’re almost the only reason I’m hanging onto this drama! Ah, and I must catch up! I’m a couple eps behind..

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Yes, I cannot believe his has been alive this long! I want him to get tough and take back the palace. Not cry all day long over his brothers selfishness and greed.

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I just took it upon myself to start posting here today. I've been working up to it. Needless to say, I had to recycle some of my commentaries from Drama Milk and Soompi. ;-)

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You're commentary is aces, worth the repost!

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Thank you, @veeee. I try to maintain a positive signal-to-noise ratio (with trivia tangents into the wild blue yonder for mental health breaks when the melodrama gets to be too much). Not to mention the occasional nostalgia attack. ;-)

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Thanks for these recaps and comments ~ you're the best, it's nice to have somewhere to talk now that I'm finally catching up :P :D

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@HotCocoaGirl April 13, 2018 at 6:49 PM

And I'm glad to be able to fangirl with my Beanie Buddies. Thanks for showing up to yak. :-)

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Glad you you did a summary of each episodes. I don't know if I can go back and watch it but we can talk about it.

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Most of them weren't actual summaries, just random observations. But sometimes that's enough to remind me of the rest of the episode, or to stimulate discussion.

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- EP. 11 SPOILERS -

After seeing the subtitles, I now suspect that there is no letter proving Kang's treasonous deal with the Jurchens. Or if there is, he doesn't have it in his possession.

The Queen Dowager did not believe Kang's lies, but later she could not refute the charges against Hwi, no matter how illogical they were. All the proof tortured out of the captured assailants was against Hwi. Queen Mom folded with a whimper in the face of superior propaganda.

Ja-hyun's father in fact was forced to state that Hwi had plotted treason and he was unable to stop him -- in order to save his family. Then he attempted suicide.

I found Ja-hyun's reaction to her father's attempt to save his family incredibly naive and unreasonable for the daughter of a leading minister and scholar. She should have known better that her family would be exterminated if she were Hwi's wife and he were convicted of treason. Dad's duty is to his own family. Hwi later agrees with his course of action after he gets over his shock at his almost-father-in-law's denunciation.

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My comments on (1) GRAND PRINCE's cast and (2) the benefits of watching raw footage:

http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/03/open-thread-544/#comment-3217270

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Watching raw is so great to see the nuances of an acting performance! It is also what really sped up my Korean learning because I started to recognize words that were said over and over again. I also started to get an emotional connection to some words so I knew how to use a particular phrase even though I didn't actually know what that phrase meant. I still have a long way to go with my Korean, but I definitely recommend watching episodes raw. It's an entirely new experience!

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You've described my experience, @veeee. I want to see the emotional cues that I cannot watch for when I'm reading subtitles. But I refuse to listen to dubbed dialogue. I want to experience the performance as an organic whole, not some sliced-and-diced overdub that's been grafted onto an unrelated host.

YSY is one of my faves. I really like his voice, be it speaking or singing or aegyo. No way would I want to miss hearing it because it was dubbed, no matter how good the voice actor is.

I've never seen Joo Sang-wook before this production. I'm amazed to learn that I've seen Son Byung-ho in a number of dramas and films. I didn't recognize him. I like both their voices. Ditto for Kim Mi-kyung and Lee Ki-young (Ja-hyun's parents).

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Comments on GRAND PRINCE casting; performance vs. how a character is written; episodes 5-6:

http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/03/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-95/#comment-3214359

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Female painters in Joseon (in addition to Ja-hyun); PAINTER OF THE WIND and the real Shin Yun-bok:

http://www.dramabeans.com/2018/03/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-95/#comment-3214359

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I've only caught up with your comments now @pakalanapikake. Thanks for providing the summary of each episode. :D

As for the title, I think that instead of one of the two brothers, it may refer to both or more generally to the fate of a Grand Prince: he is someone who must remain in the shadows all his life, but also be able and willing to rise to the occasion if needed. Kang's weakness is not accepting the first part, Hwi's weakness is not accepting the second.

Plus, we have not only two, but three Grand Princes in the story. Traitorous Uncle was actually in line for the throne, unlike his nephews, but he lost it due to flaunting palace rules. He was saved by being a royal, but the title of Grand Prince ensured that he could never legitimately seek the throne again. Early retirement.

SPOILERS AHEAD

I confess that I was very frustrated by eps. 11-12. It may be the director's hand, because we saw exactly how the evil gang spun their web while the others remained passive. Yes, Hwi is too naive or has a death wish. How many times does he have to be betrayed and almost killed?

And his bride isn't smart enough to tell him that his brother and his sister-in-law are not to be trusted. She also keeps going to Kang because he might 'have some human decency left' and my blood boils. Episode 13 is the breaking point for me: Hwi needs to counter-attack. I would not mind full-out revenge plots, ala Princess' Man. Didn't he learn some scheming or assassin tactics in Manchuria?

Speaking of which, I would LOVE to see more of what happened in Manchuria, but so far the drama has only thrown us breadcrumbs.

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Oh my goodness, yes. How many more times does Hwi have to almost die and have everything taken from him? When will he fight back? Is he and everyone around him really that naive? At this point I kind of feel like Kang might actually be the better King during a war like situation and that is definitely not what I should be thinking.

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@veeee,

I regretfully have to agree with you about Kang appearing to be a more capable ruler and politician. He knows how to play dirty, and is very good at it. And he doesn't hesitate. If only his willful ambition had been properly tempered and channeled into honorable service to the nation. His parents failed him and the country.

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I'm just caught up with the show, and I agree with all of this. It was pretty established in the first few episodes that not only was Kang untrustworthy, but that EVERYONE KNOWS he is untrustworthy.

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WishfulToki April 13, 2018 at 11:49 AM

Beware of spoilers up through eps. 11 & 12.

@wishfultoki, thanks for your kind words. ;-)

I noticed the presence of three grand princes in the cast listing on AsianWiki, and realized there also had to be a hyung who was Seja and later king (who is not listed). It sure took long enough to find out why Grand Prince #1, Traitorous Uncle, was demoted from wonja. What a dumb reason for losing the throne.

You make a very good case for the drama being about grand princes in general. I like how you so nicely put it in a nutshell:

... it may refer to both or more generally to the fate of a Grand Prince: he is someone who must remain in the shadows all his life, but also be able and willing to rise to the occasion if needed. Kang's weakness is not accepting the first part, Hwi's weakness is not accepting the second.

I mentioned the "heir and two spares" in one of my earlier posts, and noted those fatal flaws. Both grand princes are products of their environment and upbringing, as well as their inherent personalities. Hwi had all ambition pounded out of him at a very young age. (He referred to being punished for his artistic fascination with the red hue of the king's robes when he was little.) I can't blame him for refusing the job. For that I blame his mother, the Queen, and the courtiers who should have trained him (and Kang) properly. Mother's distrust of Kang and favoritism towards her youngest led to this fiasco.

The second part of the Korean title (DRAWING LOVE) makes me think the emphasis is on Hwi. I've gradually been coming to the conclusion that this drama might well end up a Shakespearean tragedy, with Hwi biting the dust because of his fatal flaws (i.e., idealism, misplaced family loyalty, trust in the face of repeated evidence of Kang's murderous intentions towards him and anyone else who stands between him and what he wants, lack of common sense [e.g., don't threaten Kang if you cannot deliver airtight proof that he collaborated with the Jurchens, and for heaven's sake, don't back him into a corner or he'll fight for his life like a trapped rat], among others). Or it might end in mutually-assured destruction of Kang and Hwi.

Poor little Seja looks like a sitting duck at the end of ep. 12, so I'm not sure how long it will be before Kang bumps him off with a bowl of poison, or smothers the tot with his bedding.

- Part 1 of 2 - continued -

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@wishfultoki April 13, 2018 at 11:49 AM

Beware of spoilers up through eps. 11 & 12.

- continued - Part 2 of 2 -

Someone please give Hwi a copy of “The Thirty-Six Stratagems” pronto!

I've been appalled by how dopey the Queen Dowager and her brother (former Chief Royal Secretary, now Minister of Rites) have been as Traitorous Uncle and Kang's machinations have proceeded apace. They are totally outclassed, and have been caught flat-footed repeatedly. They are pathetic. All bark and no bite. And they were that way well before the ministers who supported them were murdered at Hwi's wedding.

Even as Hwi is being hauled off to the pokey, Queen Mom is distraught that she'll lose Kang as a traitor -- even though he's the one holding all the cards and is framing his kid brother with a capital offense. The look on Hwi's face as she lamented was priceless. Gee, thanks, Oma Mama! Talk about insanely sentimental. Now we know whence Hwi gets his inordinate love of family. Sheesh.

Ja-hyun has been too dense to tell Hwi the truth about his brother and sister-in-law, just as she kept her then-friend, Na-gyeom, in the dark about her betrothed's wandering eye. She made a big deal recently about being savvy because she's the daughter of a high minister, but that's not really the case. Na-gyeom and Kang's gisaeng have her totally outclassed, especially in the covert operations and strategic planning areas. As you point out, she continues to deal with Kang as if he were a decent, normal person instead of a delusional sociopath. She's as naively nuts as Hwi, and is totally clueless as to how the court and politics work. She shouldn't have ditched those bridal comportment classes. She might have gotten a clue by osmosis from the backstabbing princess-wannabes.

Ja-hyun runs around in drag and succeeds in getting Hwi reprimanded on the way to Manchuria. With friends like that, who needs enemies? I'm not keen on her latest half-baked plan to go to his place of exile. It's yet another hare-brained scheme, one that could (and probably will) be construed as part of a treasonous conspiracy. And it's one that will endanger her family yet again. But she's oblivious to the implications, so maybe her family will have to be exterminated before she wises up. Too bad Ru Shi-gae doesn't speak better Korean so she could go alone. As it is, Hwi has saddled his best chance of escaping to fight another day with babysitting Ja-hyun. Her pratfall at the end of ep. 12 was lame. “Heroine Falls Down While Running” is one of my most-hated tropes. Arg!

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@wishfultoki April 13, 2018 at 11:49 AM

Episode 13 is the breaking point for me: Hwi needs to counter-attack. I would not mind full-out revenge plots, ala Princess' Man.

Hwi not only needs to counterattack, he needs to develop a solid strategy for totally vanquishing his nephew's enemies -- and the cojones to kill said traitors so they cannot come back to repeat their treachery. Otherwise it's just catch and release, and Seja will continue to be threatened.

Hwi will also need manpower in his quest to secure Seja's throne and his own continued existence. With his reputation in tatters, who would side with him? Certainly no one at court. Military commanders and troops who served with him?

Hwi was depicted as a pacifist who wouldn't kill bugs as a kid. While it's laudably Buddhist, for someone of his station it's practically dereliction of duty. Kang is implacable, and if anyone should know that, it's Hwi. The loving and lovable prince will have to turn into a dispassionate defender who kills without hesitation. That may be a tragic turn for him.

It would be an interesting twist if Hwi morphed into a bigger and more ruthless badass than Kang, purely out of long-overdue self-defense. When he was young, he felt he had to shut up and tolerate Kang's viciousness in the interests of family harmony. It's high time he recalled exactly how he felt when Kang drowned his little court lady, and unleashed that anger in a constructively destructive way. He is surrounded by enemies, and needs to systematically dismantle Kang's and Traitorous Uncle's power base. All of the ministers and appointees who are in Kang's pocket have to go. All the money that funds Kang's bribery campaign has to be seized. Hwi has to throw a monkey wrench into Kang's operations and bring him to his knees. Hitting him in the pocketbook is a good start. So is bumping off Kang's brother-in-law, the new Minister of War.

Hwi should take a page from Kang's playbook, and frame his brother and uncle for treason and corruption as convincingly as possible. And he should do it in such a way that Kang first throws his collaborators in the coup under the bus. If he doesn't actually have the letter to the Jurchen chieftain that Traitorous Uncle sent, he can fabricate it. Being an artist, he knows all about forgery, and will be able to see to it that the proper paper and ink are used. Hwi as forger could be quite a lot of fun. (The only thing I'm leery of is the fact that he explained to Yo-kyung how he knew a painting attributed to him was a fake, and enumerated the specific points for her. She's so cagey, I'm concerned that he may have revealed too many trade secrets.)

Also keep in mind that Kang and Traitorous Uncle intended to renege on their end of the bargain with the Jurchen chief. That will earn them more enemies who might be only too happy to collaborate with Hwi in wreaking vengeance on the double-crossers.

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Just caught up through episode 10, and caught the spoilers for 11&12 and wanted to say that, while the OTP is adorable, I feel like they are mentally living in a rom com where the worst that could happen is that someone could lose their job, while everyone else is in a makjang where they expect everyone to backstab and have secret love affairs etc. etc.

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You're right about the mis-match. It's almost as if Hwi and Ja-hyun are reading from a totally different script. And it's making me bonkers.

I suddenly flashed on Alfred E. Newman: "What, me worry?" Which isn't quite accurate. Hwi, Ja-hyun, and the Queen Dowager all worry about Kang and his machinations. But none of them does anything substantive or practical to protect themselves or counter his actions. They repeatedly play right into his hands. Grrr.

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Exactly, they worry and do nothing, when they all should be able to do something. Hwi is at the same power level as Kang, if he would only use it, and the Dowager Queen is supposed to be the most powerful, but no one acts like it...

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Episode 12 Comments - Beware SPOILERS!

In no particular order:

Ja-hyun deludedly thinks she can cut a deal with Kang to save Hwi's life. Na-gyeom later disabuses her of her magical thinking.

Kang gets himself named Prime Minister. Queen Dowager turns into Neville Chamberlain and appeases him right and left. I fear for little Seja's continued survival as his ruthless uncle consolidates his power.

We learn exactly how Hwi was framed, courtesy of cagey gisaeng Cho Yo-kyung. She informed the assassins that Eun-sung Daegun was paying for their services, and attributed the hit list and orders to him. Everyone confessed the orders came from Hwi because they'd been told that repeatedly. (I think their ringleader knows differently -- and suspect that might be Yo-kyung's insurance so she can double-cross Kang and/or Na-gyeom.)

Kang thanks Yo-kyung for her successful role in pulling off the assassinations at Hwi's wedding and implicating him as the leader of a failed coup. He presents her with a box of trinkets, but she wants to change her status. (Is she looking to be made a royal concubine when he secures the throne?) He tells her there's more work for her to do.

On another occasion, Yo-kyung gets an earful when she listens in on Ja-hyun's conversation with Kang at the gibang after she keeled over in the street and he brought her there (as an insult). She's surprised the gisaeng recognized her. Oy vey... hopeless. Under the misapprehension that she can make a deal to save Hwi's life, when she regains consciousness, she asks to speak with Kang, and he returns to parlay. She offers herself to him, but he plays hard to get. He's going to wait until he's king and can summon any woman in the land to the palace to serve him. And his wife won't be able to do a thing about it. Har.

Later, the gisaeng relays this information to Na-gyeom, with predictably jealous results. Ah, the revenge is starting. Na-gyeom commences to stew in her own juices. When she later complains to her husband that she risked her family's lives with her participation in framing Hwi, Kang asks her if she did it for him, or out of her own greed for power and her ambition to become queen. He tells her she'll get the job, but not to question his actions or motives. He's going to do as he pleases, and she can go pound sand. In your face, toots.

Part 1 of 2 - continued -

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Episode 12 Comments - Beware SPOILERS!
- continued - Part 2 of 2

It occurs to me that Yo-kyung may have it in for Hwi for having snubbed her at Kang's polo victory dinner years before. Just a thought. If anything, she resents Kang and Na-gyeom even more.

The Queen Dowager manages to get Hwi's death sentence commuted to life in exile. This is not the great deal that it appears to be. Anyone who watches sageuks knows that the exile gets bumped off as soon as he's out of sight and out of mind of everyone back at the palace.

Hwi and Gi-teuk arrive at their hovel. The eunuch frets over its ramshackle condition, but Hwi reminds him that they've been in worse pickles in Manchuria. -- So when are we going to see what went down in Jurchenland already?

Kang has made sure to exile Hwi to an island under the jurisdiction of a soldier whose father was one of the ministers killed at the wedding. And he's dispatched his henchman to instigate Hwi's assassination.

Before the henchman's arrival, said commander (I think it's him, dressed in black instead of his uniform) attempts to kill Hwi at night. When all his attempts to disarm the assailant prove futile, Hwi says that dying at the hand of the filial son of a faithful minister is an honorable way to go, and bares his neck to the swordsman. Gi-teuk, who had been sleeping in the next room while Hwi wrote a letter to Ja-hyun, coshes the guy from behind in the nick of time.

Next day, a boat arrives at the nearby dock. Three familiar figures disembark who appear to be traveling salesmen. They were prisoners with Hwi in Manchuria. A joyous reunion ensues with Gi-teuk and the prince. -- But he's under house arrest and isn't supposed to have visitors. Their statement that they heard of his plight and recalled his kindness to them in captivity in Manchuria is the kind of thing that could get them all killed. It most assuredly will be considered a conspiracy by Kang & Cohorts.

Ja-hyun writes letters to her mother and Hwi, and leaves them in Kkeut-dan's care, to be delivered if something happens to her.

Later, Ja-hyun sets out in drag with Ru Shi-gae for Hwi's place of exile. The Jurchen warrior's Korean isn't good enough for her to find her way there on her own. At the same time, Kkeut-dan sets out in the palanquin for the temple in the mountains to pray -- and to provide a diversion. If only Ja-hyun didn't make such a spectacle of herself when she fell down like a klutz. Ru Shi-gae deserves combat pay for her babysitting services.

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Further Reflections up to ep. 12 - beware spoilers

@pakalanapikake: "All of the ministers and appointees who are in Kang's pocket have to go."

Yes, I agree.... except there would be nobody left. Kang has already disposed of those who supported Hwi and poor sitting duck Wonja. I think the story is definitely shaping into a reign of terror by Kang and probably tragic ending. My only gleeful consolation is that Kang has potential enemies already: the Jurchens and the vindictive gisaeng (I can't wait to see her get vengeance on Na Gyeom). I don't know that we have enough episodes for Hwi to grow backbone and Ja-Hyun to step out of her rom-com... and Queen Mother is totally all bark and no bite.

There was one moment from a few episodes back that stuck with me and revealed Queen Mother's ultimate incompetence. It was a scene where she was talking to her eldest son the King, and he was worried that Uncle might have an influence on Kang. She brushed it aside. Sy what?? First of all, that reveals very bad intelligence gathering at the palace. Has nobody been observing Kang? Also, it's a bit late to worry about that. I mean, didn't they know Uncle has been snaking around Kang ever since he was a young boy? Kang actually has a point that he was pushed away as a young boy - how come Hwi was allowed to stay at court? It doesn't justify his cruelty, but it makes him somewhat understandable.

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@wishfultoki,

As I was writing "All of the ministers and appointees who are in Kang's pocket have to go," I was wondering whom Hwi could call upon to replace them. Maybe a fresh crop of scholars who aren't terminally tainted, if such an animal exists?

A reign of terror by Kang would not surprise me because he will get rid of anyone who crosses him. I fully expect him to become paranoid. (Maybe because I watched two versions of Yeonsangun go off the rails in 2017?) Perhaps we'll get a full-blown TITUS ANDRONICUS finale with corpses all over the place.

I'm hoping that Gisaeng's Revenge is exquisite and poetically just. As for the Jurchens, it would really stink if they invaded and made life even more horrible for the commoners who always get it in the neck during wartime. But if they can infiltrate some top-notch assassins to take out Kang and Traitorous Uncle without harming anyone else, it would be marvy. And Hwi wouldn't have to engage in fratricide.

I recall that scene with the late king and his conversation with Queen Dowager, who cavalierly disregarded his concern about Traitorous Uncle's malign influence on Kang. That's when I knew for sure that the elders were all asleep at the wheel and Hwi was screwed. They're so incompetent they don't deserve to be in charge.

Kang was pushed out because he was not wonja, and was deemed to be too ambitious and covetous of hyung's title. Hwi was younger enough than Kang that Queen Mom wanted to keep him around, especially as he had none of his brother's worrisome traits or ambitions. I don't know at which age princes other than wonja are normally moved out of the palace. If it's when they marry, then it could be when they're ten or so, what with arranged marriages with powerful noble families. (I don't think the drama has been realistic in that regard. It would have had to show the child actors getting married off, which would have precluded chance meetings with noblewomen in drag at the art supply shop.)

What seems to have emotionally scarred Kang was Queen Mom's favoritism towards his two brothers. I do think that he was hard done by. Granted, his mother had her hands full with sickly (IIRC) King Dad, and then sickly Seja/King Hyung. But with armies of eunuchs and court ladies running around the palace, you'd think there would have been someone to ride herd on both daeguns with a firm but humane hand to help each of them reach their full potential and overcome their foibles. I think that Kang is temperamentally much more sensitive and emotionally unstable than his family realized, and that is one of his fatal flaws.

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@pakalanapikake: "I was wondering whom Hwi could call upon to replace them. Maybe a fresh crop of scholars who aren't terminally tainted, if such an animal exists?"

I was wondering about that too, and if Ja-Hyun's brother will have any role in the story other than be a bumbling elder brother with a crush on her maid. He is a Sungkyunkwan student after all, probably not the brightest but at least he's honest... Wait, at this point Hwi doesn't need that either. He needs a savvy adviser like Rebel's Song Sabu hehe.

I've also been comparing this drama to the two portrayals of Yeonsangung we saw last year, and I like that Grand Prince is not at first glance about both brothers being after the throne. However, Hwi's plight is also reminiscent of Wang So in Scarlet Heart/Shine or Go Crazy, who decided to gain power to protect those he loves. So perhaps.... (I hope for the sake of the plot?) Hwi decides to become powerful to protect his loved ones. It would be grand to have a full blown tragic Shakespearean ending anyway.

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@wishfultoki,

Song Sabu?!?! The whack job who folded, spindled, and mutilated Neo-Confucianism into such a depraved mess?! Are you sure you don't mean Gil-dong's hyung, Gil-hyun? The student of Song Sabu who forgot neither his family's history nor his missing siblings, and assisted Gil-dong with his deep insight into the workings of government.

I'd like to think that DAEGUN's Scholar Song will somehow survive the carnage at court, and will assist Hwi in rebuilding. And even though Orabeoni isn't a rocket scientist, he's honest. He seems to be acutely aware of politics off-screen. We just don't get to see much of him aside from mooning over Kkeut-dan or chewing out his loose-cannon of a sister.

Wang So of MOON LOVERS and SHINE OR GO CRAZY has also been in the back of my mind with regard to Hwi's need for power conferred by the throne in order to survive. It's been a while since I watched SOGC, but I well recall the jockeying for position, the backstabbing, and the distaff catfights in SCARLET HEART. In the Damiwon shark frenzy, there was no way Wang So could ignore politics, and the same holds true for Hwi, and Lee Yeok in SEVEN DAY QUEEN. It was also a significant part of King Muryeong's back story in THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG. The field marshal just wanted to retire to the country and raise a family with his beloved after 20 years of battle, but duty called, and he was the best candidate to take the throne and protect the nation. If the previous king, his jealous cousin, had not been assassinated, he would have been sent to war until he was killed. His second in command didn't like those odds, and, unbeknownst to Muryeong, engineered a hit on the king. Muryeong was a huge improvement over his vainglorious cousin. But loyalist that he was, he protected his predecessor's Seja at great personal cost, not unlike Hwi's attempts to secure the throne for his nephew.

I want Hwi to get his act together and secure Seja's throne for him, but not actually have to sit on it himself. But until his nephew's restoration, I hope he becomes utterly ruthless in cutting down the traitorous opposition -- but only if they give cause. The loyal opposition is another story, and should be revered for its role in keeping the game clean, as long as they play nice with others.

Would a full-blown Shakespearean ending entail a Jurchen invasion that reduces much of the country to ashes? The total defeat of Kang, who dies a traitor? Seja's demise? Hwi's having to forgo a quiet life of painting in the boonies to wrangle with fractious ministers and braying scholars?

Or Hwi turns out to be a Manchurian Candidate (har!), overcompensates, and morphs into Kang 2.0?!

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Gil Hyun orabeoni!!! How could I forget him?? He'd be the ideal person next to Hwi at this time. You're right, I should give Daegun a chance. He is the kind of person who'd become a hero by accident and then decide to be one for real (like Chief Kim).

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Gil-hyun for Prime Minister!

Hey, Hwi could use not only Chief Kim on his team, but his devious ex-prosecutor frenemy, too! ;-)

At times I still have a sneaking suspicion that Hwi played clueless while having pulled some fast ones on Kang, and gave him plenty of rope with which to hang himself. He could have assumed protective coloration for years and years.

Plus Hwi had traveled in China. As a royal, I cannot imagine that he would not have been honored at the imperial court where he would have rubbed shoulders with great diplomats and maybe generals. Maybe he's been implementing "The Thirty-Six Stratagems" for years while Kang has been hunting in the woods and hanging out at gibangs. And intimidating everyone in sight. Hwi, on the other hand, has won the love and loyalty of the men he served with in Manchuria.

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Episode 13 Pseudo-Recap & Comments - Raw - BEWARE OF SPOILERS & RAMPANT CONJECTURE

Part 1 of 3

Various parties step up to the plate in this episode. Kkeut-dan impersonates her mistress and decoys Kang's guard to the temple in the hills to pray.

Ja-hyun and Ru Shi-gae sneak off on a two-day journey to Hwi's island of exile. Ja-hyun negotiates a fare for the two of them, payable in jewelry, but the boatman tries to shake her down for more. Ru Shi-gae shows him the error of his ways, and needs no fancy Korean to get the point across. I love her.

I'll admit I'm a bit confused as to the identity of the black-clad assassin who attempted to kill Hwi before Gi-teuk knocked him out the other night. Is he really the son of the minister who died at Hwi's wedding? Has he changed his tune and decided to let the grand prince live? If so, why?

After Kang's contingent of four hitmen arrive on the island, they confer with the commander, and then set off for Hwi's hovel. No one is around, and they search for him and Gi-teuk, who are with the three former POWs and attempting to get away. They split up, with Hwi heading to the rocky shore after dark. He is spotted and pursued by a swordsman onto a point. Hwi has acquired a sword from someone, and a fight ensues. Well behind them, a band of soldiers approaches. Hwi takes an arrow to the chest that was shot by the commander and falls into the water. His body is lost to view in the crashing surf.

Cut to next morning. As Ja-hyun and Ru Shi-gae land at the dock, a large contingent of troops scour the shoreline nearby. A body dressed in Hwi's clothing floats face-down alongside an outcrop at the water's edge, its features unrecognizable from being bashed against the rocks. I think an arrow is nearby, and may have worked loose in the waves. After an examination, the deceased is identified as Eun-sung Daegun, and the corpse is carted off for burial on higher ground.

Ru Shi-gae and Ja-hyun traipse over hill and dale in search of Hwi, and encounter the burial detail with the corpse on a cart. Kang's chief henchman spots Ja-hyun in her totally ineffective disguise after she blows her own cover upon hearing mention of Hwi's name. She and her adult supervision tear up when they learn the identity of the deceased, and both of them sneak a peek to confirm that it's Hwi, although it's Ru Shi-gae who pulls back the mat and takes a good, hard look. I think Ja-hyun looks at a hand. (I'm willing to bet that she recognizes that it's not Hwi's hand as she has watched him paint and write.) They accompany the party to the unmarked burial site in the hills, where a deep hole is dug, and the body, rolled in mats, is unceremoniously tossed in and then covered with dirt.

End of part 1 of 3 - continued -

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Episode 13 Pseudo-Recap & Comments - Raw - BEWARE OF SPOILERS & RAMPANT CONJECTURE

- continued - Part 2 of 3

Ru Shi-gae manages to sneak off into the trees while the burial detail is busy, and no one notices until she's safely absconded. Ja-hyun is brought back to the military commander's office, and then sent back to the capital in the company of Kang's chief henchman and his party. He escorts her to her home and drops her off. Madame Ahn is furious with her daughter, who is unusually quiet. Everyone gasps when the henchman informs them of the death of Eun-sung Daegun, news of which has already reached the palace, IIRC. Lord Sung gets the news at work, perhaps from the smirking Traitorous Uncle, but I'm not certain.

Queen Dowager predictably goes to pieces, and Seja's Mom freaks out at the realization that there's no one left to defend her son. This after poisoned food is detected on the lad's table by Kang's court lady/spy. After a shouting match between the two queens, it seems that Seja's Mom may have prevailed and insisted that her son abdicate in the hope that his life will be spared by Uncle Kang.

At some point, we see Kang wearing the royal red robes, and Na-gyeom calls on the Queen Dowager and Queen Mother in her new queenly hanbok. Kang wasted no time getting himself crowned king.

One of his first acts is sending for Ja-hyun at night. Her parents raise a fuss at his chief henchman, but Ja-hyun comes out of her own accord carrying a box containing a very pointy hairpin, her pink hair ribbon that Hwi had worn in Manchuria, and a folded paper containing powder that she had fetched from a jar in a storeroom.

After a palanquin ride to the palace, Ja-hyun gets the traditional ablutions accorded royal bed partners, and is shown into Kang's quarters, where he sits in his white nightclothes at a dinner table. He asks her to pour him a drink. He walks out and dismisses the staff outside the room, and sends them outdoors. While he's away, Ja-hyun produces the envelope of powder, and pours it into the pitcher of liquor. Ah, a Joseon Mickey Finn.

Na-gyeom notices that something's up when she sees the attendants outdoors late at night and makes a beeline for her husband's quarters. She is refused entry.

Kang returns to his seat and requests a drink, which Ja-hyun pours for him. As he speaks to her, his eyelids grow heavier, and he seems to be falling asleep. Ja-hyun moves closer to him, removes the pin from her hair, and pushes him over while attempting to stab him with it. He grabs her wrist and tries to resist.

End of part 2 of 3 - continued -

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Episode 13 Pseudo-Recap & Comments - Raw - BEWARE OF SPOILERS & RAMPANT CONJECTURE

- continued - Part 3 of 3

RAMPANT CONJECTURE:

Well golly gee whiz, I had expected Ja-hyun to try to kill herself, but didn't think she'd really try to kill Kang, although I admit I fantasized about it. (Does that make me a bad person?) I wasn't expecting her to step up to the plate so boldly right off the bat.

Whether Ja-hyun succeeds, she'll be traitor and (attempted) murderer. She and her entire household, including her father, brother, and servants and their families, will be executed, likely after being tortured. Her mother may end up a slave.

I suspect that Ja-hyun has no reason to live now that Hwi is really dead. Or maybe she so loathes Kang that she'll do anything to stop him in a last-ditch effort to protect Seja. Now I'm beginning to wonder if a secret friend might manage to spirit her out of jail. The enemy of my enemy is my friend.
*wink to Cho Yo-kyung*

One nice aspect of Ja-hyun's revenge is that Na-gyeom will be out of a job if Kang dies or is permanently incapacitated. And she'll never be able to remarry. Ha Ha Ha!!!

It has never been revealed whether they have children already. (I'm really hoping that someone has been slipping her frankincense. That someone could actually be her husband, who might want grounds for divorce in the event that she becomes too big for her britches.) Hopefully they do not have a son who could be named wonja. I pity any child born to this pair.

If they do have offspring, may they all be females. In your face, Kang. That would be your fault, although people didn't know that back then, and your snotty wife will be blamed for it. Yeah, I'm a little vengeful.

I suspect that Hwi, in cahoots with the military commander of the island, faked his death.

In the mean time, where is he? I bet he's disguised as a traveling salesman and is well on his way to the home base of his comrades-in-arms. Now all he has to do is team up with Gil-dong and the Noisy Hongs. ;-)

Has Ru Shi-gae managed to evade capture and find Gi-teuk and the rest of the gang? Stay tuned.

-30-

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Addenda to
Episode 13 Pseudo-Recap & Comments - Raw - BEWARE OF SPOILERS & RAMPANT CONJECTURE

After reading @veeee's recap

Thanks for another dandy Drama Milk recap, @veeee! I watched it raw, and was able to figure out a lot of what happened, but there were some fine points I missed.

Who left a changeling in Ja-hyun’s place?! And since when did she turn into Lucretia Borgia crossed with Xena?!

After weeks of getting more and more fed up with her, I’m thrilled that she reached the end of her rope and decided to end the royal family’s misery along with her own. My biggest concern is that her entire family and household will be exterminated because of her treason. It’s one thing for her to commit suicide by regicide. It’s another thing to bring about the horrendous deaths of innocent people.

I’ve been fantasizing for a while that Ja-hyun would turn on Kang, but I didn’t expect it to happen so suddenly the very first chance she got. This is epic, even if Ja-hyun will be executed for treason. If Kang croaks, he will be on the receiving end of what he dished out to Hwi more than once. Karma is bitchtastic.

Ja-hyun could argue that Kang’s years of unwanted harassment drove her to do it in self-defense (and revenge). That’s the same excuse Kang gave for framing Hwi after feeling as if he were accused of treason for dealing with the Jurchens. How does that shoe feel on the other foot, Your Majesty?

One positively delicious tidbit was learning that Na-gyeom has not officially been installed as queen. If Kang croaks or becomes permanently disabled (and has to abdicate, yeah!) before that happens, she’ll be in limbo. I love it. And she knows that he sent for Ja-hyun as soon as he became king and could legally command her to sleep with him. Na-gyeom must be having the mother of all conniptions. Course two of gisaeng Yo-kyung’s Revenge is being served ice cold. I can’t wait to see what comes next. Hehehe.

In other news, I’m convinced that Hwi faked his own death with the assistance of the island’s military commander.

Let’s have a moment of silence for the dearly departed whose mortal remains gave Hwi the a means of escape.

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Lol, Ja-Hyun never thinks of her family! At least that character trait has been consistent throughout. Oh, my goodness, I am chuckling so much right now. Her entire family is about to die. Why doesn't she think of her family at all? I don't know why I find that so funny all of a sudden. Not that anything will happen to her family, just that she doesn't think about them in any of her actions.

I am waiting for NG to get what is coming to her. It was also hilarious to find out that she is not Queen. You know Kang is still going to make JH Queen even though she tried to kill him. He is that thrown by her.

I am so confused with Hwi's escape and I do feel bad for the person who had to sacrifice their life for it to happen. Hopefully he gets honored once Hwi is at the throne.

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I enjoyed this episode a lot. Characters were consistent:
- Ja Hyun: being a sensitive noblewoman she didn't look at the corpse, just the hand. She also completely forgot to notice the missing eunuch (is Gi Taek a eunuch? I think she enjoys being tragic heroine too much. But kudos to her for taking on the avenging angel role... of course not thinking about her family. Again.
- Hwi: declared he'd not die and then proceeded to disappear for the rest of the episode. We can be certain that he lived. Who do you think you're kidding show?
- Kang: Day 1 as king and sent for Ja Hyun. I don't think he'll die, sadly, but everyone now knows his weakness.
- Na Gyeom: drama queen who is not yet Queen (HAHA). Even the palace servants don't respect her.
- Seja'a mom: I love her. Poor soul.

I'm also a bit confused about the son of the minister. I thought he might have engineered the escape, but then he showed up at the palace looking all smug about his new position. I'd like to imagine that he is Eun Seung's man now and has infiltrated the court... but my imagination is running ahead of the evidence... Maybe being whacked in the head by Gi Taek just messed up his loyalties.

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@wishfultoki,

Some things we'll always be able to count on:

~ Ja-hyun the loose cannon endangering the existence of everyone in her household. And being demure at the one time she should have taken a better gander at the corpse to rule out that it was Hwi.

~ Kang's desperate need for affection. If he hadn't been married off to the icily ambitious Drama Queen, he might have calmed down a bit and become less of a bully.

~ Ru Shi-gae takes no guff from anyone. She looks directly at the defaced corpse, and mutters in Manchurian that it's not Hwi. Wishful thinking, or statement of fact? She keeps her head (and her lunch), and makes tracks. I love how cool-headed she is.

~ Na-gyeom as Drama Queen, ha ha! I hope Kang finds a way to ditch her.

~ Seja's Mom's devotion to keeping her kid alive is the best. Uncle Kang is probably green with envy.

Re: Gi-teuk, yes, I think he'd have to be a eunuch in order to work in the Inner Court. He wears the uniform.

Re: Former general Do, he's the Daegun's Man now. I could spot the Faking One's Own Death Trope a mile away, even if it it were nowhere near the Cliff of Non-Doom. ;-)

Commander Do would naturally show up at court looking smug about his new position. He's just dispatched an enemy of the state, and is receiving his just reward -- a position that will enable him to conduct undercover investigations of Kang & Associates' skullduggery. Such a deal. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake Ha, but wasn't that a mini Seaside Cliff of Non-Doom? It was actually in cahoots with the good guys for Operation Fake One's Own Death.

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@wishfultoki April 17, 2018 at 3:52 AM

LOL! You know, I briefly (for 2.05 microts) thought that rocky outcrop at the waterline vaguely resembled Cliff of Non-Doom's runty kid brother, and said to myself, "Nah, it's too altitudinally challenged." Great minds, &c. ;-)

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