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100 Days My Prince: Episode 1

100 Days My Prince, tvN’s newest prince-is-also-a-pauper story, starts off with a lot of backstory angst, but there’s also enough lighthearted humor and to make me think that this is going to be really fun. It asks what happens when a doom-and-gloom prince finds himself trapped in his own scheme to get out of his marriage duties, and with its stellar cast and beautiful setting, I expect this story to be as heartwarming as it is heartbreaking.

 
EPISODE 1 RECAP

A young king stands contemplating a storm, then rides out with his men intending to join a battle. He’s met by one of his generals, who refuses to allow him to fight for fear he’ll be killed. But the king says firmly that he knows he’ll die, and continues on.

We go back several years into the past, where a brash little noble announces to a crowd of children that he’s a brave Joseon warrior, then sends them off to battle with a loud war cry. He knocks down one “barbarian” (a slave boy) with a stick, but then he gets bopped in the head from behind.

He turns to see a little girl with a fierce expression on her face, accusing him of bruising up her friends. The noble boy insists he’s not a bully, but the girl tells him that people who hurt others aren’t warriors, they’re just dumb.

The noble boy puffs up and tries the old Do you know who I am? line, and she retorts that he’s a dumb kid who beats slaves because he has a rich daddy. He raises his stick, but she’s faster, and she levels hers at his face as she warns him never to hurt kids and call it “playing” again. She storms off hand in hand with the slave, leaving the noble boy to tell his friend Dong-joo, “Next time, we’ll play detectives.” HA!

Elsewhere, Minister of the Left KIM CHA-UN brings an unusual rock he found to Prince Neungseon, the current king’s brother. The rock has the character for “dragon” written on it, and Minister Kim says that he thinks it’s a sign that a new “dragon,” or king, must be found. Prince Neungseon looks frightened, but Minister Kim says serenely that justice need not be discussed in the dark.

He offers the crown to the prince, but adds pointedly that his current wife is not an acceptable queen. The prince refuses to set aside his wife and steal his brother’s throne, but Minister Kim tells him that “one who fears a tiger would not let the tiger’s cub live.”

The noble boy, whose name is LEE YUL (and who is Prince Neungseon’s son), is chastised by his mother for playing all day and neglecting his studies. He argues that his father told him that being smart will only get him on the king’s bad side, and that the suffering people should be his first concern, which makes his mother smile.

She sends Yul inside, and on his way, he runs into Minister Kim. Minister Kim tells Yul to always be careful because you never know what life will bring. He leaves with a nod to Yul’s mother, who nods back, but looks nervous about his visit.

Yul learns from his friend Dong-joo that the girl who bested him is YOON YI-SUH, daughter of the former Commander of Palace Guards. Yul objects to the suggestion that he likes her, insisting that he only wants to make her pay for hitting and insulting him.

The boys tell Yi-suh that they saw a cannibal take her slave into the woods, and they lead her to a spooky cabin. Ha, Yul looks more freaked out than Yi-suh when the scary-looking owner steps outside carrying an ax. He approaches Yi-suh, who trips and falls, and the boys hightail it out of there, leaving Yi-suh behind.

It storms that night, and Yul, feeling guilty, runs out into the storm and all the way to the cabin. He creeps into the yard and accidentally steps on a discarded bone, and the cabin owner throws the window open. Yul falls, startled, but suddenly Yi-suh’s head pops through the window and she chirps, “You must be lucky with food! Do you want some chicken?”

Yi-suh ties back the cabin owner’s hair and coaches him how to smile so as not to look so ferocious. Yul is mesmerized by her smile, and as he walks her back to town, he notes that she’s brave for a girl. He asks why she ignored custom and ate with a peasant, so she tells him that her father taught her, “A swordsman learns swordsmanship to protect the people, but ‘the people’ does not mean only the nobleman.”

Yul scratches his head in confusion, and she affectionately calls him dumb. But when she slips in some mud, Yul grabs her arm and snaps that she’s dumber. Yi-suh notices that Yul’s arm is bleeding from a fall, but Yul brags that it doesn’t hurt, then squeals and whines when she pokes it, hee. Yi-suh uses her hair ribbon to bandage his arm, and Yul looks smitten again as he watches her.

He asks why she’s not mad at him for luring her to the cabin. She casually tucks a cherry blossom into her braid as she says it’s not right to be mad at someone who is already repenting. Yul tries to guess which philosopher wrote that, but Yi-suh can tell he never read Elementary Learning and she calls him out on it, grinning at him.

They keep walking, and as the cherry blossoms fall around them, Yi-suh smiles and says they’re pretty. But Yul only has eyes for her, and doesn’t respond. Yi-suh asks if he likes snow or raining flowers better, but Yul blurts out, “I like… you. I will marry you.”

Before Yi-suh can do anything but blink in surprise, they hear her father’s voice calling her name. She tells Yul to run because her father is very strict, but he grins that his father will punish him anyway. She promises not to tattle on him and goes to meet her father, leaving Yul thinking that her family seems nice.

In the morning, Yul muses out loud to his mother (as he studies) that Yi-suh is too bold to find a husband. His mother smiles indulgently, noting that Yi-suh was impressive enough to make him interested in books.

She asks if Yi-suh is pretty, and Yul blurts that she’s the prettiest girl he’s ever seen before realizing that he gave himself away. Knowing that he’d like an excuse to see Yi-suh again, Yul’s mother gives him the freshly washed hair ribbon to return to her.

She leaves to pray at the temple for a few days, and Yul vows to focus on his studies until she returns. He studies all day, and when he’s finished, he recalls his father ordering him not to leave his room today.

He leaves anyway, and sneaks into the grounds of Yi-suh’s home with servant Mak-gae’s help. He promises that Mak-gae can pretend to be the general next time they play (awww), then turns to see Yi-suh walking nearby. She hides with him when she spots someone else outside, while he just grins goofily at their joined hands.

She tells Yul that her father isn’t letting anyone into the house today, but he proudly tells her that he’s been studying Elementary Learning, earning a head-pat. He says he came to give her something, but before he can return her ribbon, they hear a voice demanding the gate be opened on the king’s orders.

Yi-suh runs to see what’s happening, telling Yul to stay hidden. She arrives at the gate just as the visitors break the doors down, and a man, carrying a sword and covered in blood, demands to speak to the master of the house. He kills a servant who says he doesn’t know where the master is, and Yul, hearing the screams, peeks around the corner.

He sees the man advancing on Yi-suh, asking if she’s Yoon Boo-joon’s daughter. She says bravely that she is, and the man points his sword at her. But before he strikes, Yi-suh’s father steps between them and tells him to sheath his sword.

The intruder says that he’s here to kill Yoon Boo-joon on the king’s order, but Yi-suh’s father says that both the one who gave the order and the ones who carry it out are traitors. The intruder attacks, and Yi-suh’s father fends him off while sweeping Yi-suh out of their reach.

Yi-suh’s father tells her older brother to protect her, commanding them to stay alive. Her brother drags a screaming Yi-suh away, and Yul watches as Yi-suh’s father fights, and Mak-gae is cut down for trying to help.

But before Yi-suh’s father is dealt the killing blow, a voice orders the intruder to stop. Another blood-covered man arrives — Minister Kim. Yi-suh’s father gasps that he thought Minister Kim was an honorable man, but Minister Kim just tells him not to worry about his children because they’ll join him soon.

Yi-suh’s father bellows in fury, but Minister Kim’s sword runs him through. Minister Kim orders his men to find and kill his entire family, but Yul cries out for them to stop, announcing himself as Prince Neungseon’s son and threatening to punish them if they go after Yi-suh and her brother.

Minister Kim simply picks up Yul and carries him home to his father. Yul tells his father that this man killed someone, but his father just orders him to his room. Minister Kim approaches the prince, and Yul asks his father if he’s going to kill them, but Minister Kim kneels, saying, “I killed them all as you commanded. As of this moment, the world is yours, Your Majesty!”

Yul is stunned by the knowledge that his father was behind all of this in order to become king, and he refuses to dress for the coronation, demanding to see his mother first.

Prince Neungseon admits to Minister Kim that he’s worried he won’t be able to handle the politics of being king. He’s advised that a king only needs dignity, and that he should leave the politics to him. Prince Neungseon looks skeptical at that, but he asks what Minister Kim wants, and he looks nervous again at the answer: “To be your son’s father-in-law.”

Minister Kim delivers the news that Prince Neungseon’s wife died in an accident at the temple, but the prince just tells him to keep this a secret until after his coronation. They turn to go, but Yul is standing behind them, looking stricken.

He runs, yelling for his mother, until he’s stopped by the court ladies. Minister Kim approaches and tells him that a prince shouldn’t cry over frivolous matters. Yul yells that he doesn’t want to to be a prince, but the nobleman grabs him and tells him harshly that today is his only chance to cry. He leaves, and Yul sinks to his knees and screams and screams.

Sixteen years later.

A grown-up crown prince Lee Yul (Do Kyung-soo, aka EXO’s D.O.) tells one of his eunuchs while out walking that he’s uncomfortable. He calls out one of the court ladies for lagging behind the group, but she says with a smile that she was distracted by some beautiful birds.

With a baleful glare, Yul informs the lady that he hasn’t smiled once in the 69,329 hours since he became prince, yet she managed it on her first day as a court lady. He orders all birds in the palace eliminated, and when she says that birds can fly over the walls, he asks in an emotionless voice, “Would you rather the birds die, or you die?”

Later during lessons, Yul once again says that he’s uncomfortable. This time it’s because one of his advisers, KIM SOO-JI (Heo Jung-min), is smiling, and Soo-ji apologizes for letting his mind drift to a meeting with an old friend later.

The prince writes out a question, saying that whoever answers the question first will be promoted, and nobody may leave the palace until it’s answered. This means that Soo-ji won’t be able to see his friend until someone provides an answer.

Eunuch Yang tells Yul that if he keeps doing this, there won’t be anyone left beside him, which just annoys Yul even more. Eunuch Yang also informs Yul that he’s supposed to spend tonight with the crown princess in an attempt to relieve the court ministers’ anxiety about the recent drought.

Yul is taken for a royal bath, where he expresses disgust at the superstitious belief that sleeping with his wife will bring rain. He sends Eunuch Yang for more rose petals for his bath, but when Eunuch Yang returns, Yul is gone.

CROWN PRINCESS SO-HYE (Han So-hee), Minister Kim’s daughter and Yul’s wife, is informed that the crown prince has disappeared again. She says that she’ll just go look for him herself, but her lady warns that she’ll only chase him further away.

Yul has escaped to the royal library to read, and his father sneaks in to say angrily that the people are suffering because it hasn’t rained in months. He fusses that Yul continues to upset the yin/yang balance by refusing to sleep with the crown princess, but when Yul asks if his father is blaming him for the drought, the king sighs and says he’s not.

He turns the blame on himself and asks if Yul is calling him a disgrace like everyone else. Yul snaps that he never wanted his father to be king, or to be crown prince himself, and tells his father never to force him into princely duties.

He asks his father if it’s the people who are unsettling him, or Minister Kim. The king asks if Yul hates the crown princess, and Yul snarls, “It’s not just her that I hate,” as he stalks away. As soon as he’s clear of his father, he clutches at his chest as a familiar pain grips him.

The next day, he serves the court officials fancy rose punch, calling it a token of his gratitude for their hard work. They enjoy the out-of-season drink, belatedly noticing that Yul isn’t having any himself, but Yul says that he’s limited to bitter herbal tea due to his chest pains.

Yul drops his fake smile and asks the officials, considering his illness, if they’re trying to kill him by forcing him to spend the night with the crown princess. All of the officials apologize, except the Minister of the Right, who says that without the balance of yin and yang energies, the rain won’t fall.

Yul scoffs that his energies alone couldn’t be enough when there are many unmarried people in the country. He suggests that everyone in their twenties get married and increase the chances of rain, pointing out that it’s even been done before.

He officially orders that all unmarried people in their twenties must be married by the end of next month. As he leaves, he tells the officials that he’s doing his part to conserve water — their rose punch was made with his bath water. HAHA, I love it. But Yul only gets a few steps away before another chest pain attacks, this time causing him to collapse.

Out in the woods, an older Yi-suh, who now goes by the name HONG-SHIM (Nam Ji-hyun), collects edible plants as she complains that they’ll die just eating vegetables. Her companion, KKEUT-NYEO, pouts that their husbands would feed them if they were married, but Hong-shim says that a lot of guys don’t earn money.

The ladies get excited when they find a rare herb they can dry and sell. But they’re prevented from cutting it by a pair of ginseng hunters, who accuse them of bringing their bad unmarried juju into the forest. One of them kicks Hong-shim’s bag, so she coolly tells him to pick it up while pointedly fondling her knife.

She mentions that a woman with a grudge can make it snow in winter, so if she decides to carry a grudge against them, any number of terrible things could happen. The man raises his hand, but Hong-shim stops it and croons, “The moment your hand touches my face, you will experience the end of my grudges.” Yikes, she’s terrifying.

On the way back into town, they’re called to the government office along with the other five unmarried people in town, where their names and ages are confirmed. Hong-shim’s extremely advanced age of twenty-eight is particularly alarming to the government official (and her facial expressions are comedy gold, ha).

Regardless, the seven unmarrieds are told to partner up and get hitched, by royal command. Hong-shim protests loudly, drawing the attention and frustration of the magistrate. He will be in trouble if everyone in town isn’t married soon, and he’s particularly worried that there’s one extra unmarried woman.

Hong-shim continues arguing against the absurd notion that their getting married will resolve the drought (and earthquakes, and lightning, and even UFOs, according to the official). She snaps that instead of helping the people, the crown prince is blaming them for the hardships. But the other singles wander off without her, already pairing up.

Poor Kkeut-nyeo is unhappy with Gu-dol, the man she’s marrying, but she’s scared of being flogged for disobeying. Hong-shim is prepared to fly to her rescue, but Kkeut-nyeo stops her, saying that it’s no use fighting. After Kkeut-nyeo and Gu-dol’s wedding, Hong-shim goes for a walk, and the official joins her.

He says that she’s the last one left unmarried, and he’s worried she’ll be flogged since there aren’t any bachelors left. So Hong-shim makes up a story on the fly about being engaged to a guy named Won-deuk from another town, who’s serving in the military and won’t be back soon. The official warns that the crown prince has a bad temper, but Hong-shim hollers at him over her shoulder, “The crown prince is dumb!” Okay, she’s awesome.

Crown Princess So-hye visits Yul, who’s been unconscious for several days. She tells his eunuchs to find a way to give him his medicine so he can recover, then begs Yul to wake up because, she says, her life is in his hands.

Given that the crown prince is so sick and has no heir, some court officials begin making noises about having Yul removed. They argue that he’s too ill to become king, but his supporters note that he’s always sick around this time of year and always recovers. Eventually Minister Kim speaks up and says that Yul will recover, so the king forbids any more complaints about his health.

The most outspoken of Yul’s detractors, the Minister of the Right, is in league with the king’s new wife, Queen Park. She believes her son, Grand Prince Seowon, to be the rightful heir to the throne. The Minister of the Right thinks that time will solve their Yul problem, but Queen Park sneers that she’ll make her own fate, and has already taken steps.

In his room, Yul sits up in bed, groaning that it’s uncomfortable to lie there. A guard joins him and says he’s been lying in bed for days, and they look over at his herbal medicine with suspicion. He’d recently told a trusted nobleman that he suspected the medicine, so he’d stopped taking it, and he’s slowly recovering.

The nobleman had said that the medicine is safe — it’s when taken with certain snacks Yul enjoys that they combine to create a toxin in his system. The nobleman sent a note warning Yul of what not to eat, but the note was purposely misplaced, and coincidentally, one of the medical staff maids recently disappeared.

Now Yul tells his guard, his old friend DONG-JOO (Do Ji-han), that they’ll have to play detective again. Dong-joo thinks that Yul should tell the king of the attempted poisoning, admitting that he suspects the queen. Yul says that he can’t trust anyone, not even his father, so he intends to catch his poisoner himself.

Poor Soo-ji looks like death warmed over, still trying to figure out the answer to Yul’s question: “To exist and to desire.” His friend JUNG JE-YOON (Kim Sun-ho) says that the answer won’t be an easy one, and Soo-ji whines that he’s scared of dying here and becoming a virgin ghost (Je-yoon: “But you’re married…” LOL). When he learns that there’s a promotion as reward for whoever answers the question, Je-yoon perks up.

Elsewhere, Hong-shim prepares to visit the capital as her adoptive father wails that someone might recognize her. She looks worried for a moment, then says cheerfully that she’s much too pretty now for that to happen. She tells her father not to skip meals and not to do favors for that liar Gu-dol, then sets out.

Her father calls after her softly, “If you find your brother, will you not return?” Plastering on a smile, Hong-shim says that she’ll bring her brother back with her.

Dressed in common clothing, Yul sneaks out of the palace with Dong-joo’s help. They find an empty house where the owner’s belongings are scattered around, and Dong-joo asks if they should question the neighbors. Yul says no, and mentions that they’re being followed.

To draw out their follower, Dong-joo and Yul split up. Yul stays in sight, and when his follower gets close, they find Dong-joo’s sword at their throat. It’s a woman — the same woman who disappeared from the palace medical team.

She says that she was kidnapped by thugs and barely escaped, then stayed in hiding out of fear. Yul asked if she’s the one who misplaced the list of foods he shouldn’t eat, and she begs his forgiveness, sobbing that she was only following orders. Yul beckons her closer to tell her that someone wants to kill him and silence her.

He asks who it is, and just as she’s about to tell him, an arrow flies past Yul’s head and into the woman’s throat, killing her instantly. Yul catches her in his arms and sends Dong-joo after the assassin.

The assassin gives Dong-joo the slip, only to find himself facing Yul instead. Yul asks whose orders he’s following, but the assassin silently draws his sword, and Yul picks up a sturdy branch to defend himself. Yul nimbly dodges the assassin’s attacks, but soon the assassin slices his stick in half and Yul ends up at the point of his sword.

Yul is helpless as the assassin stares him down, then raises his sword… but a knife flies through the air and buries itself in the assassin’s shoulder. The assassin runs, and Yul chases him towards the marketplace. Yul loses sight of him, and although something about a passing young nobleman puts Yul on alert, he chooses not to follow the man (who we see has blood on his clothing near his shoulder).

Hong-shim arrives in the city, where she finds her childhood home destroyed and abandoned. She remembers playing with her brother Seok-ha in the courtyard, when he’d teased her for giving her hair ribbon to a boy while their father looked on affectionately.

A passerby tells Hong-shim to keep moving — that house is abandoned because traitors used to live there. She goes to the bookseller, who tells her that he keeps her favorite book, Elementary Learning, inside. Hong-shim goes in and opens her pack, and changes into the fine clothing of her true station.

Yul and Dong-joo also pass the bookseller, and they hear him hawking Elementary Learning. Yul pauses at the mention of the book he read to impress his childhood sweetheart, and he notices the young lady who leaves the bookseller’s building, her face hidden.

Yul continues on his way, and he’s stopped by the sight of a cherry tree in full bloom. It reminds Yul of the little girl who once stood under the falling blossoms and smiled at him, and he’d vowed to marry her someday.

Nearby, he sees the lady from the bookseller’s, just as she removes her head covering to admire the cherry blossoms. Yul stares when he sees Hong-shim’s face, as if he recognizes her, but when Hong-shim sees him, she hurries away. Yul breaks into a run, chasing the lady who reminds him of his first love.

 
COMMENTS

So far, I like what I see. The story seems to know where it’s going, yet is willing to take its time getting there, allowing for some interesting character beats and small touches that give us watchers a lovely sense of the depth of Yul and Hong-shim’s world. I really like the way the details aren’t spoon-fed to us, but how information unfolds naturally, which I think lets me feel like I’m a participant in the story instead of just siting back and being given everything. 100 Days My Prince is setting out to tell a much more dramatic and emotional tale than I expected, and I’m enjoying it a lot so far.

I’m not generally a fan of the trope that if a couple met as children, they’re fated to be together, but little Yul and little Yi-suh/Hong-shim were so cute together I could barely stand it, so I’ll give them a pass. I love that Yul fell for her bravery and intelligence before he ever noticed that she was pretty, because I love those things about her, too. There’s nothing like a strong, smart heroine to teach a boy a few things about life, and Nam Ji-hyun plays those types of characters so perfectly, I can’t wait to see more. She and D.O. are both perfectly suited to their characters — he does dark and broody well, then when Hong-shim’s side of the story kicked in, the mood became much lighter and cuter.

I’m looking forward to seeing them invade each other’s bailiwicks and how they each adapt to the story’s shifts in mood and tone. Sadly, Yul and Hong-shim’s shared history also holds a dark secret — that it was Yul’s father who ordered Hong-shim’s family killed. I’m sure we’re in for a lot of angst later, when Yul loses then recovers his memory and Hong-shim discovers that his family ruined her life, and not just on Hong-shim’s part. Yul seems like a noble soul despite the misery he lives in as an adult, and I’m sure he’s going to be harder on himself out of guilt than even Hong-shim manages to be. Hopefully she remembers her statement that there’s no sense in being mad at someone who is already repenting.

Seeing what his childhood trauma did to Yul is so tragic — he’s had to live with the knowledge that his father ordered the deaths of his own family, and the deaths of Yul’s friends and their families in his greed for power. And on top of all that, he lost his beloved mother at the same time. Considering that he also overheard Yi-suh’s death ordered, it’s no wonder that Yul hasn’t smiled in sixteen years, but it’s even sadder to see him making everyone around him as miserable as he is. He probably feels that nobody in the palace should smile or be happy considering the atrocities that have been committed by its dwellers, which is understandable, but it’s still heartbreaking to see the boy who used to grin like a fool over the pretty girl who called him dumb, becoming so angry and lashing out at everyone around him.

But this first episode wasn’t all doom and gloom, and I expect more humor to kick in once Yul and Hong-shim find themselves unwillingly hitched. So far the humor looks like it will be clever as well as funny, such as Hong-shim’s quick-witted arguments with the government official, and the way Yul circumvented the edict that he sleep with his wife by turning the court officials’ superstitions on them, deciding that if one couple’s “energy” might help it rain, then heck, let’s get everyone married! And it’s extra entertaining that it’s Yul’s attempt to get out of a suffocating marriage that will land him right back in another one, though he won’t realize it for a while. I’m anticipating a lot more drama and comedy as the story continues to unfold, and for now, I’m enthusiastically along for the ride.

 
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Not watching this show just yet but based on the recap it looks promising. 5% for is premiere episode is amazing considering this time slot hasn’t had a hit in ages. Here to hoping it stays good till the end

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6.2% for the second episode, which shows that people enjoyed it enough to return, and new viewers are watching due to positive word of mouth. A good sign.

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Probably EXO fans watching plus good word of mouth.

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Frankly, I don't think fandoms affect ratings for mainstream shows much, given how shows involving idols (incl. EXO members) have fared in the past. I think the public genuinely like the show for its interesting plot and good acting (so far). Fingers crossed that the show continues to be good.

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I really hope it stays good until the end too! I just hope that being pre-produced and all that would result to a well-planned drama/editing/pacing. And maybe if they reach 10% then the cast will dance EXO's KoKoBop while wearing hanboks. Totally not my reason for wanting the drama to get better/higher ratings. Nope.

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Hahaha same I’m hoping they reach 10 just for that reason

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The power of EXO fans on ratings should never be underestimated. But I also hope people are watching just because it's good.

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I think it's not just EXO fans tho because the other members' dramas did not rate that well too? I think the general public like it because the story and acting of all the casts is good.

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EXO fans are powerful, but not that powerful...maybe they helped in the promotion of the drama, hyping it up and creating interest, but if the drama itself wasn't good people wouldn't have kept watching ;)

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I didn't even mean to pick this one up so early - as much as I love sageuks, the premise, and the cast, I was gonna try to attempt some self-control, and only watch it if I heard really nice initial reviews.

But I had some spare time today, and my gosh.. Resistance is futile. It feels so charming (I have overtaxed my usage of this word in the past few weeks, and believe I will continue to do so in the ones to come) and fun, with a lot of hijinks and a lot of heart.

Bring it on.

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(And I said earlier to @Earthna... I can't wait to see "you're so dumb" become their always. XD)

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I can see this happening too!

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Too bad we need to wait until next week to get those goodies.

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I wonder if she's saying that knowing who the Crown Prince is. Like if she knows it's her dumb kid.

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Ooo. Good question.

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It didn't seem like she knows whose family he belongs to in the beginning, just that he's a noble. On second thought, maybe she thinks he's dead after what happened that night.

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@earthna Can't wait to see what happens!

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Bamsssss join the NJH fan club...! i love her character so far. (please dont ruin this for me, drama!!)

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I’ve always been in the fan club! She’s fabulous!

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I'm so excited for the fun bits but I'm also weary of the angst but then again, why am I getting ahead of myself? Hee

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Right? I’ve been chanting, “Why be happy now when you know you’re going to be sad later?

Because you’re going to be sad later.

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When Hong -Shim said she was twenty eight and the government guy gasped I had to rewind twice. hahaha. First to back track, wait SHE is 28? and also, this being considered old. lol I'm hoping for more of this witty humorous from her behalf and those around her. Bring on the forced marriage hijinks!

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I love her and her spunk so much! She doesn't look 28 but I can totally understand how she'd be considered very old.

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Yea she is an old maid according to the Joseon standard, especially for nobles.
She was old enough to get married at 12 when she met him for the first time.

He meant it when he said "I like you and I'm going to marry you." They were both at the marriage age.

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I'm looking forward to this drama. It looks good already. I watched the first episode and I'm now about to watch the second. Hope it only gets better from here.

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Woohoo! Lollypip is recapping!

I liked this first episode (especially the kids were great!) but at times the adults got a bit too sageuky for me so I zoned out then. But when they get married, it's going to be so fun, I can tell. Never looked forward to amnesia this much!

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but at times the adults got a bit too sageuky for me so I zoned out then.
My eyes glazed every time they went political.

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LOL

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Yea, same here. The prince-king-politics really bored me. And I usually like hardcore sageuk dramas. Maybe because this drama is a romance and not much thought is put into writing the government parts, it’s just not interesting. I can’t wait til the romance begins next week. The prince needs to leave that boring palace.

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I personally thought Love in the Moonlight's sageuk politics were unbearable (even with PBG's acting), so I watched that drama just for the romance. I don't hope 100 Days My Prince will turn out that way, but it IS a romance sageuk.

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"Never looked forward to amnesia this much" <--- SAME HERE

I never thought I'd willingly watch a drama with the amnesia trope but here I am~

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I managed to watch episode 1 yesterday and episode 2 today. I am very impressed, although I was bound to be impressed because this has Kyungsoo in it! I think the show should only get more interesting from here.

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When Hong-shim said she's engaged to a guy named Won-deuk from another town and who’s serving in the military my first thought was Ji Chang-wook 😂

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Just finished both episodes and let’s just say what a twist ending! Definitely sticking around and based on next week’s preview, we’re in for some comedy gold!

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Lost my self control and finished the first two eps. 🙈 Picked it up cuz I really love NJH and I have a soft spot for Kyung Soo. So far it’s a good watch though I’m really not enjoying the politics. So looking forward with their married life and excited how the poker faced Kyung Soo will execute comedic scenes! 😂

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Yay. I am so happy to see Do Ji Han again. *Missing Ban-ryu*

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I know right? He was my favorite in Hwarang...

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Oh yeah, I knew I saw him somewhere!

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Same! Although, I hope his character lasts... loyal bodyguard don’t have long lifespans in sageuks...

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This is sad...

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When hong shim bragged about her boyfriend in military she didnt mean ji chang wook, right?? 😂🤣😂🤣😂🤣

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Omg😂

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I was disappointed by episode one. way too much blood and guts for me. i prefer my romcoms without women bleeding to death from arrows stuck in their throats and children watching their families hacked to death in front of them. about to try episode two hope the drama overall is more about sweet fun than pain blood and death.

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You know, I find it really . . . interesting? that in contemporary dramas we will have knives blurred out even when they are not actively doing anything, but in historicals it is apparently ok to show people being run through with swords and shot through the neck with arrows. With nary a hint of blurring.

I'm with you. Hopefully we have happy fluffy cohabitation hijinks in store once we get the painful set up out of the way. Cause that's what I signed on for. The previews are looking promising, so fingers crossed!

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Omg, I hadn't thought about that, but you are so right about the knives and swords. Maybe the idea is that people are less likely to stab someone with a sword than a knife. I wonder why the difference. Hmmm😊

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Knives are dangerous! Joseon swords are educational. #kdramaLogic

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I completely agree with you. But maybe the fact that the drama took place in a completely different time period "desensitizes" the violence in a way. That's not the right way to look at things, but you won't find a sageuk without people getting slaughtered these days.

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I watched the first episode and I was encouraged- this could be fun, unless the writers let the backstory overwhelm the main plot. Going on to watch episode 2 now.

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Thanks for the recap. It helped clear my confusion regarding few scenes. Maybe there was a problem with the translation.
And am i the only one who thinks that Yul's mother's death was not an accident? The way the minister (he's the creepy priest from save me ) spoke and also judging by the king's reaction to it, it seemed planned . Didn't the minister tell him earlier that she was not suited to be queen?

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theres no question about it she was definitely murdered

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Yes, Yul's father had been told that his wife would have to go. What interests me is why. I suspect it was to make way for a marriage of convenience with a politically powerful clan. Maybe Mom was from a marginal yangban family since Dad was a grand prince, and as such had to keep a low profile. I bet that scheming Minister of the Left hand-picked the new queen for the new king. Sons of that union would presumably have stronger backing (and could be more easily controlled) than Yul, who didn't want to be seja anyway.

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But if he wanted a son in law who has stronger backing, why did he get his daughter to marry yul? I'm pretty sure he knows it won't be easy to control him.

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Hmmmm. I guess we'll have to stay tuned to learn Left State Minister's game plan.

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A king with no backing is just going to be a sitting duck on the throne.
Prime Minister Kim wields the real power and it would only get stronger with his daughter as the future queen.

That happened in history with the Andong Kim clan.
"Moonlight Drawn by Clouds" was loosely based on that particular clan, where the queen's family had more power than the king.

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She seems like a good and dignified woman and would have never supported her husband overthrowing his brother for the throne.

She might be from a family that were loyal to the former king like Yi-suh's family.
It makes sense to kill the king and all his supporters to make way for a new one.

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Ahhhhhh that's why he gave me the creeps! I couldn't pinpoint why but it was that! He was the priest from Save Me! Arghhhhh

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Not just you. He was told that would not be a suitable queen. The fact that Yul in his adult years has not put together that she was assassinated is a bit surprising to me. Or maybe he did figure it out and it keeping it close to the chest.

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I think he knows and that's why he hated his wife and her family.
It's just that he can't do anything about it now.

I think he also know that they are trying to poison him.

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He hated the family long before the marriage. He witness the killing at the hand of his now father in law.

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True, he hated them before he married her.
I think all these events weren't far apart at all. They got rid of the king and his supporters including his mother. His father became king and he was then forced to marry her.

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Could it be that the mother is really not dead? I am wondering if the prince would find his mom busy in some secret mission amidst those forests and shabby huts lol.

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Hope so. Because almost everyone in the palace seems out to get him. He could do with some support.

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I was so sad for the kid prince. Poor boy all alone in the horrible palace and then his only support system gone... no wonder he grew up as a cold foreboding person.

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@superwhopotterlock
September 12, 2018 at 9:43 PM

re: Yi-suh's orabeoni doing a Gi-hyun

I was thinking of him as one of the scholarly officials at court (such as Je-yoon) rather than the assassin who killed the female physician. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake
But wouldn't it be weird because it seems like he liked her? Also he would've recognized her, if not by her looks and outfits, then atleast by her fighting skills. I don't think there were many women who could fight during those times.

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@superwhopotterlock
September 12, 2018 at 11:35 PM

re: Yi-suh's orabeoni doing a REBELesque Gil-hyun

That's why I used the past tense -- because now I'm not so sure that Je-yoon is orabeoni.

I agree: siblings that old should have been able to recognize each other.

One possibility is that orabeoni could not be there in person himself, and sent a friend to reconnoiter. That friend could well have recognized the family fighting style from sparring with bro.

As the son of a traitor, orabeoni may also be cautiously scoping out the area before making contact with her. He may actually be observing his second from a distance.

For whatever reason, Je-yoon obstructed Yul as he tried to follow Hong-shim. Oh, right -- he was saving her from the "philandering" seja. ;-)

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If they didn’t show the dead, they’re not dead, right? Please?

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Exactly! As long as there isn't a dead body, we can't be sure. That's what I thought bammsie hehe.

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I loved his Mama! And he can always use another person on his side. *glances at drama writers* So.. do what you can do, pretty pleaaase?

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@fay17,

We know who the brother is right? My delulu mind says he's actually serving the evil dad as a part of his revenge game.

I'm still not sure who orabeoni is. I think it's entirely possible that he could be the assassin, but I'm not ready to bet the ranch on it yet. He could well be yet another survivor of a victimized family who is plotting revenge on those who wronged him and his kin.

If anything, the assassin is one of the Minister of the Left's people, not the King's.

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I hope Yul's mother and Yi-suh's brother survived somehow.

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My spider sense is tingling. I suspect that orabeoni is pulling a Gil-hyun a la REBEL, but is hiding in plain sight. I like the idea that Mom survived, too.

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Why do I have this feeling that yi suh's brother is the assassin? I can't shake it off.

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@pakalanapikake We know who the brother is right? My delulu mind says he's actually serving the evil dad as a part of his revenge game. Also didn't he know back then that his sister used to like this kid? Even if this conspiracy isn't intentional, I am hoping he will redeem himself later in the game. And maybe have a happy ending with the crown princess? I mean would be way better than the usual evil second leads who live for pining after the main lead.

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My immense love and adoration for both Kyungsoo and Nam Ji-hyun aside, this show is quite enjoyable so far. It reminds me too much of Moon Embracing The Sun but I'm willing to overlook that. Also, the little babies' acting got me hard, especially young Yul's wailing.

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Yeah I get major METS vibes from this show too. From the Crown Prince meeting and falling for the main girl as children to being forced to marry a wife for political reasons, yet refusing to consumate the marriage. Add the chest pain, sneaking out and fooling his eunuch in a bathroom, etc. and the similarities are very obvious. Even the music seems similar. I like it so far though, possibly because METS is one of the only Kdramas I’ve watched at least 4 times. Looking forward to seeing how this show differentiates itself from METS in the coming weeks.

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Me too. I also hope the show doesn't lose it's way along the line and manages to stay entertaining, for all the right reasons, till the end.

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I know Nam can do sageuk since she was a child but DO is doing well for his first sageuk.
He doesn't come across as some prince charming which I like. He is angry even at his father.

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Yes! He's not a prince charming who is kind to his maids or his subjects but he is not a tyrant who is mean for absolutely no reason either. I get chills every time he starts with "am I the only one feeling uncomfortable" because you know someone is about to get punished. Also, I love that the two leads actually recognize each other, even if Yul is operating under the impression that Hong-shim is dead. Also, as a fan of actor Do Kyungsoo, I'm so happy that his first lead role and his first sageuk is a huge success so far.

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Thanks for the recap, LollyPip!

I’m not generally a fan of the trope that if a couple met as children, they’re fated to be together...
Same, roll my eyes a bit at that part but yeah the kids are cute! And way more mature than I am when I was at their age😂

I like this 1st ep so far but didn't expect for it to go that dark (that arrow straight to throat, urgh, too late to cover my eyes). Liking the action scenes so far, not so much on the palace political stuff, same plot all over again: incompetent King, manipulative mastermind King's father-in-law, malicious greedy Queen

And yea, ditto at that "I'm uncomfortable" antics by the prince, it's frustrating but I do understand why he did that. Also fingers crossed that Hong-shim stays awesome and spunky because we know kdrama didn't do very well at maintaining FL's spunkiness when she falls in love/ towards the end.

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I agree with the trope thing and everything else is so familiar and have been done before but I really like this cast.

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Thanks so much for recapping this show, LollyPip!

Episode 1 got off to a fast-paced, assured, solid start. The child actors were great, the production values looked good, and I'm pleased to see so many sageuk veterans in the cast. I watched 100 DAYS MY PRINCE raw and could pretty much follow what was going on after having read the synopsis in AsianWiki and a couple of DB articles. I love it when I don't have to twist my brain into a pretzel to follow needlessly convoluted plots and incomprehensible characters. ;-)

I have a good feeling about this show. Unwilling Seja is surrounded by a bunch of friends and associates played by very funny character actors, plus an all-business bodyguard. Despite the coup d'état that led to Yoon Yi-suh's father's death, I wasn't horrified or grossed out. The action flowed at a good, comfortable clip, and never dragged. Show is off to an auspicious start, as far as I can tell. And that was before seeing the subtitles.

There's an OH HAE-YOUNG AGAIN mini-reunion going on with Park Do-kyung's foley artists Kim Ki-doo and Jo Hyun-sik (who is concurrently rowing up a storm in THIRTY BUT SEVENTEEN as a very mature high school student, LOL), plus his adopted brother, Heo Jeong-min. I'll keep my fingers crossed for cameos by third foley dude Kwon Hae-sung, lawyer buddy Kim Ji-suk, who pulled out all the stops as Yeonsangun in REBEL, “plain” Miss Oh (Seo Hyun-jin), and Eric (PDK himself). Hae-young's parents, Lee Han-wi and Kim Mi-kyung, should cameo, too. No sageuk is complete without them. ;-)

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Hi @pakalanapikake. Starting to get caught up with drama, recaps and comments. I really enjoyed episode 1.
I am enjoying your role as Casting Director. You are trying to squeeze so many character actors into 100DMP that it seems to me you are trying to cast the Sageuk IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD. Like you I would love to see that HEALER ajumma hacker Kim Mi-kyung in this drama. She was
wonderful in GRAND PRINCE.

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I couldn't pass up a good OHYA reunion. That was my first live-watch here on DB, and it was a blast. ;-)

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I've only watched episode and I like it a lot so far! About to watch ep 2!

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I want to watch it, but I need some episode to go on so that I'm not following it right away. Life is so busy and now I'm so selective about watching drama.
First episode get 5% and 6% for second episode , Idk if this is the power of D.O or the drama is interesting. Some beanies seems not interest for the political plot, but I guess the next week would be more comedic. I never knew that Kim Sun Ho would play in this drama and that's the another reason to watch it.
Thanks for the recap @lollypip, sure I'll follow your recap for now.

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I've only watched episode 1, but this is my new favourite show.

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It's been a while since Moonlight Drawn by Clouds that I want to see saeguk romance again. Please be good drama!

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Episode 1 was good enough to lure me in. Based on teasers, I didn't expect as much blood and gore, but I'll keep watching. Hoping it only gets better!

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I didn't expect the blood and gore too! But I admit to liking it though even if I'm usually weak when it comes to it? Gives the drama some grit and makes me feel like stakes are actually high? Or maybe that's just me since I don't really watch sageuks. I know this is very light sageuk fare. Hee.

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The real gritty sageuks out there host insane bloodbaths. Just stick in there with this drama and we should be fine 😊

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daughter watching for DO, husband watching for Nam Ji Hyun, i'm watching for Kim Sun Ho... everyone's happy!
: )

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lol, happy family! I don't even know who I'm watching for. I fell for Nam Ji Hyun since Bokshil, I find her face very interesting.
And D.O has been on my radar through I Remember You, so I'm very excited to watch him here.

Who else feels Do Ji Han's bodyguard giving off Gat-Byeung( Kwak Dong Yeong's character in MDBC, not sure if I'm correct) vibes? He's pretty.

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I've been trying to compose myself for this comment but I don't think I'll succeed so sorry in advance.

But first, thank you @lollypip for the recap!

Anyway, I have been praying for Nam Jihyun and Do Kyungsoo to be in this drama ever since they were offered the roles and I rejoiced when they finally accepted. It feels like I've been waiting for this drama for months now, which is true, since I've been waiting for it since April. And while I do know I am biased because I love both actors so much (AND KIM SUNHO TOO), I really did enjoy this drama, as objectively as I tried to view it.

The child actors were great and amazing, especially Yul's. That was so heartwrenching, seeing that kid suffer. I mean, I know he was acting but still! I was sad to part with the child actors because they were so adorable but I'm also glad we didn't spend so much time with the backstory too.

While at first I was squealing about Kyungsoo, I did end up just seeing him as Crown Prince Yul, which for me is a feat in itself since I'm his fan and I'm hyperaware of him. He's such a delight to be with (not) and I'm so pumped for the amnesia to kick in and for the personality of Yul as a child to come out. Since without the angst and guilt and trappings of being the crown prince, I think he'd revert back to the forward and quite sassy/cheeky personality he had as a kid.

Nam Jihyun!!! Such a breath of fresh air. I love her spunky and feisty heroine and I'm looking forward how she's gonna kick Yul's ass and hand it to him again. Hahaha!

Aaaaahhh, I really do hope this drama keeps me watching it. I haven't finished a drama in so long T_T

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i share a lot of these sentiments too haha i've been waiting since casting news too and now that it's here i'm overwhelmed, i hope it continues to exceed expectations!!

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I agree! I'm a big fan of both leads and I feel like I've been holding my breath since this show was announced ages ago. Nam Ji-hyun is always a delight to watch, I've seen almost everything she's been in as an adult but Kyungsoo is doing so well too. He always manages to embrace his roles and become one with the character so you don't really see him as Kyungsoo acting like Yul but you see him as Yul himself. And, the babies had me bawling so hard, they are both so good already, I hope they only get better as they grow older.

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Thank you for this recap!!

It's been a year since I really immersed myself in a drama, and of course it's one with Nam Ji Hyun and Do Kyungsoo in a romcom sageuk. Honestly while the palace scenes look amazing, I think the big draw here for me is the fake marriage and cohabitation hijinks, and how Wondeuk and Hongshim's relationship plays out in the story. I'm in need of a good laugh and I think this drama will be a good, warm comedy with heart. Looking forward to the rest of it :)

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Loved it so far.

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Thanks u for the update lollypip

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Hong-shim is one dangerous girl but loving her spunk..nam ji hyun is nailing her character again..

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There's something about sageuk children that I loveeee so much. They always get me! And the kids are always good. I feel like childhood scenes set a foundation for the older counterparts. I find it hard to engage with the romance if the childhood scenes were not good.

Anyway, so glad this is getting recapped! I haven't commented on a recap for the longest time and I'm happy to be back. Premise is solid so far. I'm excited for more! Let the waiting begin!

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Hi @earthna. I agree with you about child actors. I am a bit of a broken record on this but since I have become a kdrama fan (early in 2016) I have been amazed at the wonderful performances given by child actors. All the children in episode 1 were terrific.

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Right? They're always so good! Sometimes even better than the older actors. Maybe because they're so innocent and genuine? You can just see right through their eyes.

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A common kdrama theme/trope is the affect of childhood trauma on latter life. I have seen (as we all have) child actors have to give performances in some truly horrible situations. I have worried about their own emotional health in giving such a performance. I am positive that a child would never be put in a physically dangerous situation but the professionals must be on hand to ensure the child's emotional health. A bit of speculation on my part.
Look at the performance little Jung Ji-hoon gave as the child Yul especially his final scene.
His grief was palpable. As I said recently about a child's emotional performance in AYHT, I hope the little guy got a lot of hugs after that scene.
This is a part of the kdrama world that I have found very interesting.

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I think these child actors are forced to mature (or maybe they’re just that precocious) through these dramas. I’ve seen them speak in awards shows and they are so well-spoken, years beyond what I would expect. However, sometimes they are not told how or why they need to cry or be depressed in a scene. One place that I saw a child being coached (it may be the same child who plays the young prince here) was in Goblin and it was by Gong Yoo. He just told him, you just need to be sad, you don’t have to cry, just think if you were to be left alone in the world, where eneryone you knew and loved were gone, and you were alone. The kid was supposed to be mourning the loss of his grandfather. The very next take, crocodile tears came flowing out. And that was the take they used. Gong Yoo was so gentle and patient, and I may have swooned a lot.

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Just a correction, the Chinese character on the stone that Minister Kim gives Prince Neungseon means "useless". I can read Chinese so I know what it means, plus Minister Kim describes the character as "the character 'yong' for 'useless'". I guess the link to the dragon/king would be that "dragon" and "useless" both sound the same in hanja ("yong")

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That's cool then since kings are associated to dragons. When Minister Kim gave it to Yul's dad, he could have meant the current dragon (king) is now useless so take this stone as a reminder of that (or him saying to strike the king down).

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I feel like this would be a great drama, but the opening already worries me with how knowingly he's going into death. I already suspected that they wouldn't end up together, but that opening confirms it for me.

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I loved it. It's just what I'm in the mood for... but I may be a fair-weather fan 'cause I'm not up for major heartbreak right now. (Please tell me that the opening scene of Yul choosing to ride into battle-- where he will surely die-- is part of his ruse to fake his death so he can be with Hong Shim. Yes, I know it's not likely, but hey, this is dramaland! I'm worried this is going to end like the similarly-named Seven Day Queen. By the way, speaking of the opening scene, I thought that maybe this was going to be a totally different kind of drama because, according to the subs, the first line spoken was the young king resolutely saying "Bring me my petticoat!"... hee hee.)

Thanks for the recap, LollyPip! And thanks to you, I learned a new word: "bailiwick".

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In mine, the sub in that part was 'bring me my horse'

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I can’t remember my last completed sageuk (Mr Sunshine is not a sageuk, right?), so I watched this with the hope of it stays charming till the end. Both DO and Nam Ji Hyun are among my favourite actors so I want this to be good. Plus it even has my mr dimple Kim Seon Ho. I’m sold.

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Mr Sunshine is considered a sageuk :).

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Little Yul and little Yi-sul are so freaking cute! Poor Yul, losing his friends and family that way. I really liked his mother, she seemed like really nice in her limited scenes. Little Yul is amazing, I had tears in my eyes when he was screaming for his mother, can't imagine how draining it was for the actor. For now, I liked the childhood actors a bit more than their present day counterparts, but hopefully that'll change as the story moves along. Little Yul is familiar, what other dramas was he in?

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I agree with LollyPip! This premier was MUCH more dramatic and emotional than I expected, especially from the original teaser and post from tipsymocha. I have really been looking forward to it, and I expected it to be more of a " so adorably silly" drama as predicted! Even the opening credits have that traditional, heavy, epic sageuk feel.

One thing I must say is the little one playing Lee Yool is outstandingly precious! The facial expressions he makes absolutely kill me. So darn cute!!!!

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Just watched the first ep and my Do Kyungsoo is so intense. I love it! I'm drawn to this drama by his acting. I really do enjoy Nam Jihyun tho. She is usually good in everything. Can't wait to make time to watch all the other eps.

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