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The Crowned Clown: Episode 10

As careful as our clown-king and his supporters are, the truth is that he is an impostor, and it seems inevitable that someone will discover his secret. The suspense of not knowing who it will be, how they will find the truth, or what they will do with that information is keeping me on the edge of my seat. We’ll learn the answer to that question in this episode, and we can only hope that the person who discovers Ha Sun’s true identity gives him a chance to explain.

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

Under the falling snow, Ha Sun kisses So-woon. They back up to look deeply into each other’s eyes, then kiss again. Behind her back, So-woon still holds Ha Sun’s note saying, “Even if I die missing you, I am happy to have known you.”

Later they sit together in the library, feeling a bit shy. Eventually Ha Sun asks So-woon if it’s difficult to adjust to having less food, and she says she’s glad to do whatever helps him. He asks what she most wants so he can give it to her, but she says happily that he already gave her his most precious possession — his heart.

He asks again, eager to do something else to make So-woon happy, and she admits haltingly that she’d like to give him a son. Ha Sun is so stunned that he can’t think of anything to say.

In the king’s chambers, Minister Lee finds Eunuch Jo drawing Ha Sun a picture and grinning goofily at the one Ha Sun drew of him. Awww.

As they’re leaving the library, So-woon takes Ha Sun’s hand in hers, but he quickly drops it when Minister Lee approaches, saying that he needs to talk to Ha Sun urgently. Ha Sun doesn’t want his date with So-woon to end so she gracefully excuses herself.

When they’re alone, Minister Lee asks if the queen is the person Ha Sun said he wanted to become king to protect. Ha Sun admits it’s true, though he adds that she’s not his only reason. Minister Lee reminds Ha Sun that he’s deceiving her, and that even though he’s the real king now, he’ll always be fake to the queen.

Ha Sun promises to tell her the truth, but Minister Lee says that she’s the most upright person in the palace, so revealing himself will only cause them both pain. He reminds Ha Sun that his original purpose in coming here was to avenge Dal-lae and change the world, and warns him that while he’s focusing on his feelings, the country and its people will be put in danger.

Gap-soo goes back to the gibang, hoping to find out from Woon-shim where Ha Sun is. Dal-lae is scared to go in, afraid she’ll run into the monk again, who she still believes was keeping Ha Sun hostage. Sure enough, monk Jung Saeng and Ho-geol come right up to them, Ho-geol recognizing them as having asked about the dragon knife.

Dal-lae yells at Jung Saeng, “Where did you hide my brother?!” and yells even more when he has no idea what she’s talking about. Gap-soo reassures her that Jung Saeng would never hide anyone, but she insists that she saw it with her own eyes.

Overhearing the argument, Woon-shim runs over to hug Dal-lae, who says that she’s been staying away because of that monk. She cries to Woon-shim that Jung Saeng kept her brother locked up, but Jung Saeng says there’s a misunderstanding.

When Minister Lee arrives at the gibang, Woon-shim tells him that Dal-lae saw the poster accusing the king of being an impostor, and has been looking for Ha Sun. She thinks they should let Dal-lae and Ha Sun see each other, but Minister Lee says she wouldn’t believe him if he told her where Ha Sun is, and it would put Dal-lae in danger.

He also says that Gap-soo and Dal-lae can’t stay here, since some of the servants will remember Ha Sun, and he tells Woon-shim to take them back to the temple. Dal-lae refuses to go, but Woon-shim assures her that Ha Sun is safe, and that he’ll contact them at the temple.

So they move to the temple, but not before one of the servants tells Minister Kim the details of who they are and where they’re going. He orders his man to locate the small temple and report back to him.

In the morning, So-woon brings ginger tea for Ha Sun. Ha Sun is distracted after Minister Lee’s lecture last night, so he drinks the tea and immediately reacts. He has to admit that he doesn’t like ginger, which confuses So-woon (ginger was always Yi Heon’s favorite).

After she leaves, Eunuch Jo asks Ha Sun if he’s decides to set aside his feelings for the queen. Ha Sun sighs that he doesn’t know what to do, starting to cry. He says that Minister Lee is right, but he doesn’t know how to stop loving her.

Minister Lee arrives to talk about tomorrow’s court assembly, where he wants Ha Sun to promote Ho-geol so that he can survey the land where the rice payment law will be enforced. They also need to move the state exam forward, to replace the magistrates who were fired for embezzlement. Not only that, but Minister Lee intends to allow sons of concubines to take the exam.

Of course the ministers oppose both the exam and Ho-geol’s promotion, horrified by the thought of such lowly people being allowed to rise above their station. The Minister of Taxation backs up Ha Sun, saying that Ho-geol is the best man for the job.

Prince Jin-pyung complains to Minister Kim that the king is taxing the nobles and giving peasants coveted positions. Minister Kim guesses that Minister Lee is behind it, because it looks good while at the same time throttling Minister Kim’s income and getting rid of his people.

While drinking flower tea from the Royal Infirmary, So-woon worries to Ae-young that the king is working too much. She wants to do something nice for him, so Ae-young suggests she write him a love letter in reply to his.

In the library, Ha Sun sadly puts the brush pouch that So-woon embroidered for him in a box, and Eunuch Jo takes it away. Eunuch Jo looks like his heart is breaking for Ha Sun, but he just brings him a book that Yi Heon transcribed to study his writing. Ha Sun notes Yi Heon’s neat handwriting, and although he practices hard, his own handwriting looks large and sloppy next to Yi Heon’s.

He’s practicing his swordsmanship the next morning when Moo-young joins him, joking that his moves are tacky. Ha Sun is glad to see him, and Moo-young says that he intended to quit, but he didn’t like how things were going. Ha Sun notices that Moo-young is speaking formally, and Moo-young says that the palace isn’t private so it’s safer for both of them.

Putting on an overly-sympathetic expression, Ha Sun moans, “You’ve fallen for me, too. You’ll want to say otherwise, so I’ll look the other way,” and Moo-young almost laughs, ha. Ha Sun asks Moo-young to teach him real sword-work, and he gapes as Moo-young demonstrates his own deadly skills. Ha Sun attacks, but Moo-young knocks his sword out of his hand in a few moves.

Ha Sun uses an acrobatic clown move to flip out of reach, but Moo-young still nearly nicks his ear. Moo-young hands him his sword and Ha Sun abruptly takes a swing, which Moo-young deftly avoids. He gives Ha Sun this look, and Ha Sun wisely runs for his life. LOL.

Ho-geol is nearly brought to tears by the fine robe that Woon-shim makes for his new position. Minister Kim laughs at his preening and warns him not to be late on his first day, but on his way in, Ho-geol is surrounded by a group of angry-looking Sungkyunkwan students.

Ha Sun hears the cries of the Sungkyunkwan students and learns that they’re blocking Ho-geol from entering the palace. They beg him not to allow those of the lower class to take the state exam, and they present him with a petition that has so many signatures that it shocks Ha Sun.

Minister Kim shows up feigning concern, having heard about the emergency. Ha Sun asks angrily if it’s wrong to have talented people join the court, and Minister Kim replies that someone as lowly as Ho-geol doesn’t deserve to closely serve the king. He claims that it will cause chaos in the country, and that the loyal officials are only trying to maintain the dignity of the court.

With Ho-geol standing at the back of the courtyard looking sheepish, Ha Sun asks if any of those objecting to him have ever given someone of low birth a chance in an important role. Minister Kim argues that this is the heavens’ intentions for a righteous government, but Ha Sun screams that that’s nonsense.

He declares that if the heavens disregard those of humble status, then he will fight the heavens’ wishes. He tries to approach Ho-geol, but the Sungkyunkwan students block him, and when he orders them to move, they say that he’ll have to walk on their backs if he wants to pass.

So Ha Sun does exactly that — he walks across the students’ backs all the way to Ho-geol, takes Ho-geol by the hand, and leads him into the palace. It’s a great statement, but it’s also kind of adorable how Ho-geol gazes at Ha Sun like an adoring girlfriend, hee.

Minister Lee is looking pretty smug as he confronts Minister Kim, marveling that he’s still scheming against the king after getting kicked out of the court. He says that he’s not sure how long he can stay quiet about Minister Kim’s actions, but Minister Kim fires back that he’s not the only one keeping silent.

He asks if the king knows about “that clown,” and Minister Lee asks in return where Court Lady Kim is these days. He mentions that when Court Lady Kim’s murder is revealed, Minister Kim will be charged with high treason since she was the king’s personal court lady.

Later, Ha Sun apologizes to Minister Lee for making a scene, but Minister Lee says that he did what a king would do — hold the hand of the people and make stands that they cannot. Ha Sun worries that the ministers will turn on him, but Minister Lee counters that the people will support him.

The notice is posted that anyone can take the state exam regardless of status, and Lord Gil’s people are excited when they see it. Two of them show up to take the test — Jong-rim, their leader, and Jae-gu — and Ho-geol bursts into loud tears of happiness when they both pass the test.

Minister Lee also sees that his friends passed, and he remembers promising Yi Heon as he died that this was the only way to create the powerful nation that he dreamed of. He appoints them as interns and presents them to Ha Sun, who tells them to do their best to prove wrong the ministers who were against this.

HA, Moo-young has to tell Ho-geol not to drool, he’s watching with such pride. Ho-geol whispers that he’s jealous that Moo-young gets to spend so much time with such a great man as the king.

So-woon takes Ae-young’s advice and writes Ha Sun a love letter, then goes to the library to deliver it to him personally. She notices that he seems worried and asks him to tell her what’s wrong so she can help. Ha Sun hesitates, and he looks about to speak, but Eunuch Jo interrupts to say it’s time for court.

Everyone celebrates Jong-rim and Jae-gu’s promotions at the gibang. Woon-shim gives the monk some food to take to Gap-soo and Dal-lae, and as he heads to the temple, Minister Kim’s man surreptitiously follows him. He reports to Minister Kim that he knows where the clown’s sister is hiding and asks if he should bring her here, but Minister Kim says he’ll go see for himself.

He arrives at the temple that night and orders his men to search the premises. He approaches one door himself and slowly opens it… but ohthankgoodness, Gap-soo and Dal-lae are safe at Ho-geol’s house. The temple is a trap set for Minister Kim by Minister Lee. Ho-geol is scared though, and begs Moo-young to stay, but Moo-young gives him a “don’t be a wuss” glare and leaves anyway.

Minister Kim is annoyed when all he finds is Minister Lee praying at the temple. He asks Minister Kim where Dal-lae is, and Minister Lee plays innocent, pretending to be confused as to why Minister Kim is searching for the king’s lookalike. He chuckles that Minister Kim must be planning a conspiracy like it’s the funniest thing ever.

He denies that he’s also here looking for the clown, and laughs even harder when Minister Kim doesn’t believe him. He tells Minister Kim that he’s suspicious of him plotting against the king just because he himself is, and he tells Minister Kim to stop before he tells the king what he’s doing.

Minister Kim spots the unmarked ancestral tablet that Minister Lee was lighting candles for, but Minister Lee says that it’s only for a friend “who came and went like the cloud and wind.” Minister Kim accepts that answer (for now) and leaves.

Since she was unable to give Ha Sun her love letter in person, So-woon returns to the library to hide it inside one of his books. While she’s there, she sees the book where he hid something that he was writing when she came to the library earlier, so she takes a look.

It’s the book that Yi Heon transcribed, and So-woon finds the pages that Ha Sun stuffed inside. She pauses, surprised by the drastic difference in handwriting and the obvious fact that Ha Sun was practicing his Chinese hanja. Other clues begin to click into place, like the fact that he abruptly stopped liking ginger, and the night he nearly attacked her, snarling that he had never given her happiness or joy.

So-woon remembers the posters accusing the king of being a lookalike impostor, and his sudden change in personality makes sense. She marches straight to Ha Sun’s chambers, still holding the papers she found and looking furious.

Meanwhile, Ha Sun goes to the library, where he finds So-woon’s love letter tucked into his book. In the letter, she confesses that she never wanted to be queen, and that she’s never liked the palace. But then, she says, he changed one day, and made her smile and dream. She ends by saying that she wants to live life by his side and have his baby, and be happy together for a long time.

Ha Sun thinks about how So-woon promised to help him with whatever is bothering him, and he jumps up to go look for her in her quarters. Ae-young tells him that the queen is looking for him, too, and he finds her in his own chambers.

When he gets there, she’s uncharacteristically stone-faced, even when he says he read her letter. He says that he also has a confession to make, but she stops him to ask if he remembers the day they first met. Ha Sun has to admit that he doesn’t, but So-woon says she can understand since she forgets things, too.

She asks him another question: “What is my name?” Ha Sun just stares at her, unable to answer. So-woon’s eyes fill with tears and she stumbles backwards, dropping the paper she’s been holding. Ha Sun sees that it’s his practice writing, and he understands that she knows.

He looks back up at the queen, and she asks him, “Who are you?”

 
COMMENTS

Oof, such bad timing! I think that So-woon would probably have been understanding of Ha Sun (once she got over the shock) if he’d just told her the truth before she found out on her own, and had a chance to tell her everything. Yes, she’s very pious and it might have taken some time, but she would have forgiven him and kept loving him. But he waited just a bit too long, and she found out in a horrible way. Now Ha Sun is going to have to convince her that he never intended to lie to her, it’s just that he got in over his head. Hopefully, So-woon will listen and be understanding.

I do love Ha Sun and So-woon’s romance, as I’ve said before, but I’m also very glad that Minister Lee reminded Ha Sun that he’s not here to play kissyface with the queen — he came to the palace with loftier goals, and he needs to focus on them (especially since a man was literally murdered to make it happen). He’s got a country to run, while also trying to create positive social reform and keep from being outed as a simple lowborn clown. But to be blunt, he’s also going to have to at least convince So-woon to go along with his ruse, because if he’s going to be the king for real, he’s going to have to produce a legitimate heir at some point, and he’s going to need her cooperation to do that.

I like how this whole issue of letting the lower class take the state exam and aspire to succeed according to the abilities regardless of their birth status has hit Ha Sun right where it counts. As a clown, he’s living proof that someone smart and talented can do the job of someone highborn (and even do it better), and that birth does not indicate intelligence or ability. He’s a bit of a showboat when it comes to making his points to the court, but luckily Yi Heon had a reputation for overreacting, so I think that Ha Sun’s tendency to be a bit dramatic when he’s emotional works in his favor when it comes to keeping the court ministers fooled about his identity.

Unfortunately, Minister Kim is honing in on the truth, though he’s still vague on the details of how the clown is impersonating the king. I think he actually shot himself in the foot by killing the informant from the gibang, because that guy seemed pretty good at ferreting out secret information and probably would have kept spying for him for a while longer. Minister Kim is also showing his hand by telling Minister Lee that he’s onto them, which makes no sense to me — why would you tell your enemy that you’re planning a major coup, and give them the chance to protect themselves? And why kill Court Lady Kim, the one person most suspected of being your ally, and most likely to be noticed missing? My only guess is that Minister Kim is more upset by having been stripped of his position than he’s letting on, and he’s making mistakes me might not otherwise make. Which will work in Minister Lee and Ha Sun’s favor, but not until Minister Kim has caused all kinds of problems for them, first.

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OR....He is now the king and unless he can come to grips with that he is doomed.

Sure, it was a coup. As the 'real' king is dead - he has usurped the throne and there is no other king but him. There is no getting away from the fact that if you sit on the throne alone...ipso facto you are the king. As the saying goes "The king is dead. Long live the king".

Our king needs to start being the political animal it takes to survive as king or his queen and all he cares about will be wiped from the earth. Sadly this includes the fact in all sageuks:
- clearing the field of all challengers; and
- pitting rival factions against each other - even Lee Kyu.

No-one said sageuk king was a gentle occupation...its brutal

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Sigh... I love this drama there is no doubt, but the fact that Lee Kyu and Ha Sun are doing a real coup, not to mention the formed poisoned the king himself, and letting a man kisses and being cosy with a woman who is married (and now being a widow without her knowledge) ....I really cant overlook it. And now what about the heir? When he is not even married to her? At this point it'll be too complicated for romance I'd prefer HS and SW to run away and be together somewhere far, after they mourn for the king (I know I know he is terrible king, but he was good at one point in his life, and I am just sad that very few know that he had passew away and mourn for him)...which will effectively against the purpose of this drama, lol.

Moral conflict aside, This is really a case of hit or miss for Lee Kyu (cos until now he is the mastermind, HS sure is a good king but without Lee Kyu he wont survive the palace IMO), if he manage to avoid recognition, and get SW to cooperate, I think his goal is safe...for now. But if any evidence is there to proof that HS is an impostor, then he'll be finished...I mean I don't know how he'll survive that considering his 'crime' deserves death many times (for that time period, at least). I'm still bitter that he killed the king who was so vulnerable before him, but I guess cant do anything but to root for him cos HS depends on him so much.

Lets see how clever the villains in tracking HS in the next eps, they need more brains and speed for that,

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Thanks for your recap, @lollypip. The shoe has finally dropped, and it's a royal bummer. Given the Queen's righteous nature, I can't see her going along with the charade. If I were in her shoes, I'd be mad as hell, too.

It could have been worse -- if Minister Kim or the Queen Dowager had discovered beyond the shadow of a doubt that there's an impostor on the throne. It hasn't happened yet, but they're closing in.

Regarding missing Court Lady Kim: Is she really, really dead? I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of her.

I'm still not totally convinced that Yi Heon has actually shuffled off his mortal coil, either. Sure, it looked bad as he gagged up blood on the beach, but one of the time-honored ways fake someone's death is to hold a funeral. Is it possible that Minister Lee has been shedding crocodile tears all along, and that he's actually stashed Yi Heon somewhere to recover? I'm having a hard time believing anything he says.

I keep thinking of Yi Heon's pronouncement that Ha Sun is supposed to die in his place, either through assassination or poisoning. That's sounding more and more like foreshadowing.

Dal-rae is just as much of a loose cannon as her brother. More so, actually. I fear that her headstrong behavior is going to them all killed. It would be nice if someone would explain to her the danger she and Gab-soo are in. She's not stupid. But just as with Ha Sun when he was first taken to the palace, vital information is being withheld from them, such as the fact that spies are after them. Forewarned is forearmed.

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Re whether or not the king is dead: I know we saw him "die" and that ought to count as seeing the body rule, but in this show I think we have to smell the rotting corpse and see the maggots.

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Aha! Thank you, @lordcobol. I'm glad to know I'm not the only one who's skeptical about Yi Heon's demise.

When I rewatched KINGDOM OF THE WINDS recently, Mr. X had a nifty note in his subtitles on "mabisan" / "mafeisan" -- the world's first general anesthetic, invented by Hwa Ta (the Great Doctor in FAITH), which consisted of cannabis and a species of Datura (devil's trumpet -- aka jimsonweed), a hallucinogen. Yi Heon could have been tranquilized and carted off to a safe place until he recovers.

If the real King returns, however, I expect that Chief Royal Secretary Lee will lose his head, or worse.

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I believe Yi Heon is dead.

Though Moo Young failed to kill Ha Seon when he pushed him into the hole, poison is brutally effective. The king's baby brother, the young food taster, and Lady Park all expired quickly after consuming poison. If the true king survived his poisoning, it makes the previous three deaths feel a bit fake. If he's anything, Minister Lee is efficient, ruthless and one who goes all the way.

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@tsutsuloo,

My thought is that the drink Chief Royal Secretary Lee poured for Yi Heon may not have actually been poison, despite the King's coughing up blood.

While I agree that Lee is ruthless and efficient, I can't help but think that he could also pull some kind of double- or triple-cross to thwart Lord Shin, Daebi, and their minions. I wouldn't put it past him.

At times, I half-expect a birth secret to be revealed: Ha Sun doesn't know when he was born, or that he has an identical twin -- who is not Yi Heon. LOL!

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I also don't want to believe Court Lady Kim has died. They just burned her clothes, right? However, given how she was trapped by Shin Chi Soo in the previous episode, there's no way she'd be able to escape, but I do hope she's still alive.

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@weaselking circulate9oo,

Yes, it looked as if Court Lady Kim's uniform were being incinerated.

I suspect that Court Lady Kim was privy to all kinds of interesting information, and that Lord Shin (sorry, I had him confused with Minister Kim in my comment) might want to keep her alive and out of Chief Royal Secretary Lee's clutches. I know that Lee needed to use her to get solid evidence on Shin's wrongdoing, but there should have been a better way than risking such a valuable asset. -- Was this another of Lee's traps for Shin?

Being taken alive by Lord Shin is the last thing that I would want.

*shudder*

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And didn't the Queen Dowager show interest in Court Lady Kim? What's the point of introducing that possibility if they're just gonna throw it away that easily?

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I'm just really relieved that the Queen finally knows Haseon's true identity. I can't fully enjoy their romantic scenes knowing Haseon's true identity is still unknown by the Queen. Although, all the same, I liked that Haseon went for another kiss LOL.

But the scene with the scholars though. I But the scene with the scholars though. I LOVED IT. One of the best scenes ever. The twist of Haseon grabbing Hogeol instead of the Queen like what happened in the movie is utterly brilliant and hilarious to watch. The true love triangle in this drama, as it turns out, is actually Sowoon-Haseon-Hogeol hahaha.

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Watching Ha Sun sure-footedly scampering over the prostrate scholars made my day. His wrist grab of Hogeol as they absconded off to work was the cherry on top. ;-)

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And it actually wasn't a wrist grab. They were holding hands together as they ran into the palace. The comedic effect aside, I love how both of these low-born people held hands together, defying the high-born nobles and scholars, and went straight in to the place of power.

It was perfect.

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When he said he’d defy the heavens if necessary, I was impressed and also a bit shocked. Ha Sun likes to be theatrical, but it’s also something the real king might have said in more bloody situations. Gwanghae was a people’s king, but he didn’t get a temple name. Ha Sun is risking a lot in trampling the backs of Sungkyunkwan scholars. The scene was funny but I also got a sense of doom and foreshadowing.

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I was tearing at this scene. It was so unexpectedly hilarious 😂

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Ha Sun and Moo-young's sword scene had me cracking up. I also love that they kept the running over people's backs scene (with a twist of course); Ho-geol's admiration is adorable. But my heart goes out to So-woon. She must be so confused and distraught. But I can't believe no one bothered to tell Ha Sun the queen's name! Really people?! That should have been on the top of your list of things to tell him, right after "Beware of Minister Shin!" Minister Lee, you're falling down on the job here!

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And WHY is Lord Shin STILL allowed to come and go in the palace like he owns it? He is no longer a minister so why is he even there?!!!

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@mysterious,
That's exactly what I thought about Lord Shin's barging into the palace. How would he even have known about the protest unless he'd helped organize it?? Talk about self-incrimination. Doesn't the palace have bouncers guards to keep out the riff-raff?

I have to admit, that was a great way for the Queen to smoke out an impostor by asking him what her given name is. It just goes to show how Chief Royal Secretary Lee has been winging it all along. It all traces back to Yi Heon's not deigning to properly brief his impersonator before running off the first time. Why waste time and effort on someone who's only going to die anyway? (Um, because you want him to do a good job so you can rest easy at night?)

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Haseon has been in the throne for quite some time that I've not taken into account how hastily he was put into that position without any proper training.

Yi Heon put him on the throne as a dummy to die and reveal who his assassins are. ATM, Yi Kyu is securing Hasun's place as King, but only for Hasun to do his bidding, and not to actually properly rule as King.

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They really should have properly briefed Haseon on everyone's identity in the palace. But I guess they just never saw it coming how close Haseon would get with the Queen. Yi Kyu's initial order was to avoid the Queen at all costs. Plus royalties are always called by their titles, perhaps unless they are in a more intimate setup, which is why Yi Kyu told Hasun to avoid the Queen. I doubt they've seen it coming where the Queen's name would ever need to come up in a normal conversation.

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Right, the queen's birth name was only used by her family, her parents and siblings if she had any in their home so I doubt they even knew her name.
She would've gone by Lady Yoo before she became queen.
Yi Heon called her So-Woon because they were a married couple in an intimate setting with no one else around.
When she was alone with her father she told him to call her by her birth name.

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Sadly, this is one of the flaws my mind won't let go.

To survive, our new King must remove everyone in the palace who had contact with the new King's body double (the previous king). Yes. I know that this means the Queen as well.

I have played it out in my head and the only way for him to survive includes a massive body count.

No matter how I cut it, when the previous King made the offer to Ha Sun and he accepted - at that moment Ha Sun made a deal for prolonging his life beyond that moment for the lives of everyone he knew.

If he didn't accept - the king would have had to kill him to stop anyone else using Ha Sun.

Once he accepted - when the previous king no longer needed him - he and everyone who knew him would need to be killed - in case anyone ever found a commoner had sat on the throne.

If any Minister ever found the rouse, the scandal would shake the kingdom to the core. Hence, he and everyone who knew him would be wiped from the earth and history.

In my head this show is going to have to set up a massive body count...which makes the romance seem childish or Machiavellian psychotic...that is a wild ride.

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Ha Sun remaining on the throne is not the only option.
Prince Jinpyung has a legitimate claim to the throne with Queen Dowager and her supporters behind him.

Sadly, I see no justice for Yi Heon but this law must pass as a tribute to his life that was taken to pay for this cause.

If they want to avoid bloodshed over implementing the Daedong law and getting rid of Shin and his people then their best bet is to make a deal with the Queen Dowager.
With her help and the remaining followers of Lord Gil they could accomplished their goals without turning the country upside down.
In exchange for the Queen Dowager's help, Ha Sun would give up the throne to the rightful heir.
Keeping Yi Heon's death a secret should be part of the deal. I don't think the Queen Dowager would be heart broken over Yi Heon's death since her son Yul was killed for his sake.

Yi Kyu should serve as collateral for taking the king's life. If something goes wrong he should be sacrificed for it even for Ha Sun's life.

Anyway, I'd really like it if they would stick with the custom and tradition of that era.
Sure it would be awesome for a lowborn to rule the country but it doesn't feel right for this time period.
King Ha Sun is going to change with the demand of the crown. He is expected to choose the country over his wife and loved ones.
I'd prefer to see him back living among the common people with the ones that he loves. The queen is a hopeless romantic so I do see her forgiving him.

Having said that I still have no idea what the writers are going to do.

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@kiara

The country will continue no matter what...the question is who will survive.

Once Ha Sun sat on the throne, for him there are only 2 real outcomes: become the real King or death.

There are too many risks for both allies and foes in his continuing existence so there is no going back to being a clown

I agree, there are others in line for the throne from the previous' lineage and if Ha Sun is expunged those with claim will step up. Lets remember that a new heir taking the throne is not a return to peace and stability...as in all Saeguk - a new king starts their own political machinations and round of deaths as the King removes any threats to his claim).

I come from the view that Ha Sun is actually a change of era...its just masked by the new king being a doppelganger for the old king. In effect is a coup that was invisible.

Lee Kyu installed a new king for his own political ends - in reality this is no different to another faction toppling the existing king only to install their guy....That royal turnover was not an anomaly - it was actually a feature of the system....its actually baked in to it.

No one gets to 'play' at being king. Too many people want that power.

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Not knowing her name was quite improbable. Where was the scene with the Josean whiteboard and red string showing how everyone in the palace was interconnected?

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Ah i think its minister Shin not kim haha. I was confused for a second there. Anyway mistakes can happen to anyone no biggie. Im glad the queen finally knows. I felt so sad though for ha sun when he realized the queen knows about him. This is the most forward queen i ever saw in a historical drama haha. When she said she needs a baby 😂😂. And ho geol, this guy now has a crush on ha sun. The queen has some competition 🤣

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@shaani ShaRi,

Ha Sun and Ho-geol: now that's what I call a pair of sexy brains. ;-)

The Queen's love letter to the man she thinks is her husband is a statement of how drastically her attitude towards him has changed. She's gone from refusing to touch him with a 10-foot pole to telling him she wants to bear his child. That isn't a mere 180-degree turn -- it's 540-degrees!

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I want more bromance between ho geol and moo young! They're just so diametrically opposite personalities that their interactions cracked me up.
Basically I want more ho geol. His scenes always make me laugh and help make watching this a little less difficult.

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It feels like all scholars ever do in sagueks is protest... but that scene, incredibly romantic. I watched Masquerade shortly after and concluded I thoroughly enjoyed the drama's version better, heh.

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The drama version was so hilarious to watch but it also felt very meaningful to me. Haseon fighting for the right of a worthy slave to take a position in the government and holding his hand, as they went together into the palace felt so gratifying. I enjoyed every second of that scene.

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Well, it was common back then and it does feel like that's all they do in sageuks.

I think it's impressive that a group powerless student scholars could hold incredible power when they rally together for a protest.
The king has to response almost immediately before it escalate into a strike or includes the public.

Sungkyunkwan was the highest (Confucian) institution since Goryeo before it became Sungkyunkwan University during the Joseon era. It was well respected and it wasn't easy to get into.

Anyway, they do have a point for protesting but I don't see the common people supporting them so if the king decides to let a lowborn take the civil exams then there's not much they can do.

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@kiara
Lets not romanticise the dark political reality. In a world of feudal fiefdoms and quasi warlords..."scholars" were the children of the elite (including ministers).

Sure, Sungkyunkwan was cast as a Confucian institution....but it can't hide that scholars had power because this was the blooding ground of the next rulers. As the children of the powerful, scholars' actions were useful puppets of ministers and the faction leaders.

Hence, the king paid attention to scholar demonstrations as they were proxy political action of the most powerful.

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I get what you are saying but my intention was not to romanticize their protest. Elite or not student protests is a powerful thing like the later Gwangju Uprising.
Still bloody and dark with students without any government office.

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@kiara
RE: ..."students without any government office"...

These students are effectively government in waiting - already forming political alliances and farthing their clan's interests.

It is effectively their inheritance and no different to children of chaebols in modern KDrama.

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From the many sageuks I’ve seen, these scholars were anything but powerless. They were political understudies born from powerful families, not a group of novelists and poets. Their opposition is exactly because the king is trying to take away their power and eliteness. This group of educated people is no comparison to the student protesters of modern times because they know they can’t be harmed. They regularly hold government hostage.

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A theory of how Yi Heon is possible alive and recovering?? That thought made me excited!

I am just glad there is no DNA test back in Sageuk days though.. 😂

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