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100

The Crowned Clown: Episode 11

Hang onto your hats, guys, because if you thought things were bad before, they’re about to get a whole lot worse. Our clown is suffering from a broken heart just when he needs to be most on his political game, and while his loyal-for-now adviser is supporting him, there’s only so much he can do without a fully functioning monarch.

 
EPISODE 11 RECAP

After finding Ha Sun’s practice writing, So-woon starts to suspect something and confronts him. But when he doesn’t even know her name, she backs away from him in shock and asks, “Who are you?”

Ha Sun can’t answer and So-woon stumbles forward, but when he tries to catch her she flings away his hands, snapping at him for daring to touch her. Ha Sun is suddenly meek and insecure as, without another word, So-woon walks away from him.

She stops outside his door to sag against the wall, and when Eunuch Jo sees her, he guesses what happened. He asks Ha Sun if she knows, and Ha Sun’s tear-filled eyes are his answer. He says despairingly, “I’ve never seen that look before. I only wanted to make her smile, but I ended up hurting her. I shouldn’t have gotten close to her. I shouldn’t have dared to love her!”

He sobs to Eunuch Jo that the way So-woon looked at him breaks his heart, but that it must be nothing compared to what she’s going through. Looking like he might cry, too, Eunuch Jo says that Ha Sun shouldn’t bear this alone, and he offers to summon Minister Lee. After he leaves, Ha Sun collapses to the floor, crying his heart out.

So-woon makes it back to her chambers and dismisses Ae-young, but as soon as she’s alone, she bursts into tears.

Eunuch Jo tells Minister Lee what’s happened, and Minister Lee goes to humbly confess to So-woon the truth about Ha Sun and how he came to be in the palace. She asks about Yi Heon, and Minister Lee says that she knows he was mentally and physically weak, and that he became dependent on drugs. He says they tried to help Yi Heon recover outside the palace, but he was too far gone.

So-woon asks if Yi Heon returned to the palace once, and Minister Lee confirms it, though he claims that Yi Heon died after collapsing in her chambers. He offers to get rid of Ha Sun if she wishes, but he warns that the palace will become a bloodbath when people learn of the king’s death.

While he’s talking, So-woon moves from shock, through horror, and into fury. She warns Minister Lee not to try to influence her with threats, but he says he’s begging her to think carefully before making a decision, and not to just focus on his sin.

When Minister Lee returns to Ha Sun, he tells him that the queen is deciding what to do after hearing his confession. Ha Sun wants to see her, but Minister Lee says that her decision is his burden to bear, telling Ha Sun to focus on keeping the throne.

Ae-young approaches So-woon, who stands in the cold without feeling the chill. So-woon says that she wants to stay a while longer in the hope that the wind freezes her heart. Meanwhile Ha Sun is told that the Ming envoys have arrived in the country with a message from the Emperor, but he doesn’t even hear them.

The ministers argue about feasts and tribute gifts, but all Ha Sun hears is So-woon’s voice, and all he sees is her smile the night it snowed. He starts to cry again, and he completely breaks down into huge, wracking sobs in front of the entire court.

Later he walks right past Moo-young without seeing him, so Moo-young asks Minister Lee what happened. Minister Lee tells him about the queen’s discovery, then confirms that Ha Sun’s sister is safe.

Dal-lae and Gap-soo are still at Ho-geol’s home, and Dal-lae’s eyes go huge at the lavish welcome feast that Ho-geol serves. He tells them that he learned to cook by watching his mother, and though Dal-lae seems nervous to try it, she’s amazed when the food turns out to be excellent.

Gap-soo asks Ho-geol if he and Moo-young both work for the government, wondering if Ha Sun sent them, but Ho-geol insists that he’s never met Ha Sun. Mention of her brother makes Dal-lae wilt sadly, but Ho-geol tells them that if Minister Lee wants them taken care of, then Ha Sun must be well, too.

Minister Shin’s man is still looking for Gap-soo and Dal-lae, but nobody has seen them. Minister Shin concludes that Minister Lee has hidden the clown, and tells his lackey to keep an eye on the people closest to Minister Lee.

The queen dowager views Ha Sun’s breakdown during court an opportunity, and she tells Prince Jin-pyung to have their people make an issue of it. He can’t tell her why Ha Sun cried, but he promises to find out.

In the morning, Ae-young rushes to Ha Sun, shoving aside Moo-young’s sword to drop to her knees at Ha Sun’s feet and gasp that the queen is planning to leave the palace. He runs to So-woon’s chambers and begs her not to leave, but she turns to him with cold eyes and asks if it was he who spared her father’s life, and who saved her from being bitten by the hunting dog and got bitten himself.

She can see from his expression that it was Ha Sun both times, and she instinctively knows that he was with her in the marketplace, too. Ha Sun pleads, “Just kill me. I’ve committed a mortal sin.” But So-woon snaps that she couldn’t help her husband when he was in pain, or be beside him when he died, so her sins are equally severe.

Shocked, Ha Sun asks if it’s true that Yi Heon is dead, and something in So-woon’s eyes softens as she realizes that he truly didn’t know. She tells him to forget it and dismisses him, saying that she’s leaving the palace because she’s not worthy to stay. She says with finality, “I hope to never see your face again. You will no longer look for me, either.”

On his way out, Ha Sun sends Moo-young to tell Minister Lee that he must stop So-woon from leaving the palace. Minister Lee manages to intercept So-woon, and she says that he told her to make a decision, so this is what she decided. Minister Lee reminds her that if she does this, she’ll no longer be queen and her life will be at risk. But she says that if she stays, she can’t predict how she’ll act.

She starts to continue on her way, but he calls softly, “So-woon-ah,” and stops her in her tracks. He says that her father opposed the idea when he suggested she be made queen, because she’s too proper to manage palace drama. But, he continues, that’s why he knew it had to be her, because she’d be able to stand her ground as queen. He asks her one last time to please stay, but without a word, So-woon keeps walking.

Ha Sun waits anxiously in his chambers for news of So-woon, but when Eunuch Jo brings a message, it’s that the queen dowager urgently needs to see him. She yells at Ha Sun for allowing the queen to leave the palace, and even though Ha Sun says that he allowed her to go, the queen dowager demands that she be punished according to court custom.

The punishment is harsh — she’d be deposed, then ordered to drink poison. The queen dowager barks that a lady should die if she even dares to go for a walk without her husband, but Ha Sun sets his jaw and refuses. He says that before anything else, the queen is his person, and he will manage his people as he sees fit.

He exits the queen dowager’s quarters and finds Minister Lee waiting for him with an official order to depose So-woon. Minister Lee is regretful but resigned as he tells Ha Sun that deposing the queen now is the only way to save her life before the court officials demand that she be made to drink poison as well.

Throwing the scroll at Minister Lee’s feet, Ha Sun bellows that he won’t do this, but instead he’ll bring So-woon back to the palace himself. Minister Lee reminds Ha Sun that he told him becoming king means letting go of everything, even his heart, but Ha Sun asks why Minister Lee didn’t just take the throne himself.

Minister Lee says coldly, “King is not a position you can obtain because you want it. You must not desire it nor wish it for yourself. Do you really not know why I made you king?” Ha Sun says that Minister Lee wanted a puppet, which is why he hid Yi Heon’s death, but Minister Lee grabs him and tells him that he made Ha Sun king because he thought he’d stay strong and create a nation whose people live in harmony.

He asks Ha Sun if he was wrong, but Ha Sun just says that the queen must be part of that nation. He promises Minister Lee that he’ll being So-woon back, begging him to let him go. Minister Lee says that the Ming envoy will arrive in four days, so he can only hide Ha Sun’s absence until then.

Ha Sun guesses that So-woon will have gone to her father, and he and Moo-young leave immediately. Minister Lee decides to tell the court officials that the king has become violent again, telling Eunuch Jo to keep everyone our of the king’s chambers.

Later, concubine Hwa-dang tries to visit the king. But as she’s arriving, she hears a loud crash and Eunuch Jo’s scared voice pleading with the king. Hwa-dang remembers that Yi Heon assaulted her the last time she was alone with him, and she flees in terror.

HAHA, poor Eunuch Jo looks exhausted, yelling and crashing things around the room. Minister Lee calmly tells him that he can rest, but it’s all his fault if people find out that Ha Sun is gone. Minister Lee gets some work done while Eunuch Jo puts on a show, and he grows worried when he reads a report that Jurchen soldiers are attacking the border.

When Minister Lee arrives at the gibang that evening, he notices a servant that seems to be watching him. Woon-shim says that one of their “friends” is in town, but Minister Lee tells her not to have secret meetings here anymore, since Minister Shin may be spying.

He arranges to meet at an alternate location, and when the “friend” arrives, Minister Lee asks why his people broke their promise to stop attacking the border. The spy says that a General Nurhachi thinks that Joseon broke the promise first. Minister Lee tells him to take a message back to the general: Even if he goes to war against Ming, Joseon will remain neutral, so the Jurchens should stop attacking Joseon.

The spy worries that Joseon might change their minds and ally with Ming against the Jurchens, since they’ve already made an alliance with Ming. Minister Lee argues that the Ming alliance is just diplomacy, and that forcing them into an alliance with Jurchen through violence will make it difficult to make peace with them. The spy says that he’s Joseon by birth, so he doesn’t want his homeland turned into a bloodbath, and he wants the king’s word on that.

Minister Shin is gleeful about the king’s supposed regression, which he believes will be helpful to Prince Jin-pyung. He decides to have the king make a mistake in front of the Ming envoys, but first they need to confirm that he’s in his chambers and unstable.

Eunuch Jo is still crashing around when the queen dowager unexpectedly bursts into Ha Sun’s room and demands to see him. She screams at Eunuch Jo to tell her where the king is, scaring him half to death, and all he can do is call for Minister Lee. The queen dowager demands Minister Lee bring the king’s royal seal and identification plaque, since apparently both the king and the queen have left the palace, so she’ll have to run the country.

Minister Lee politely declines, saying that just the thought of what the king would do if he returned and found them missing makes him feel like wetting himself, ha. The queen dowager obliquely accuses Minister Lee of manipulating the king, calling on her “motherly feelings” as the reason she’s so worried she can’t sleep at night. Minister Lee fires back sarcastically that he had no idea she cared about the king so much.

She claims that it’s an untrue rumor that she resents the king over little Prince Yul’s death, and Minister Lee says with barely concealed amusement that she’s the most loyal subject in all the land. He suddenly goes very cold and tells her that just because the king is not present, demanding his seal and plaque is rude and inappropriate regardless of her reasons.

The queen dowager screams at him for daring to threaten her, but Minister Lee assures her that it’s no threat, only heartfelt advice. Before she goes, the queen dowager says that she’ll never forget this conversation, and Minister Lee says it’s his honor.

After speaking to the queen dowager, Prince Jin-pyung sends Minister Shin a message: “Not there.” Minister Shin understands, and prepares to leave the city to meet with the Ming envoys before the arrive.

As Ha Sun predicted, So-woon goes to see her exiled father, and Moo-young shows up and uses his influence to make them leave for a full day. So-woon lets her father believe that she’s here with the king’s blessing, and Moo-young returns to Ha Sun, who’s waiting nearby, to tell him that the queen is safe.

After dark, Minister Yoo finds So-woon sitting outside crying. He thinks she’s lonely without him in the palace, but she says that seeing him just made her cry. She offers to stay here and take care of him, but he says he’s just grateful the king allowed to her visit and that she should return home in the morning.

So-woon sits up late that night, thinking of how Ha Sun said at the street festival that if he can’t be blamed for what he does, then he may as well do what he wants, and later when he confessed his love for her. Ha Sun is also still awake, determined to watch over the cottage until morning.

At dawn, Ha Sun leaves Moo-young and his guards behind to go talk to So-woon alone. But when he arrives at the cottage, Moo-young and Ae-young are looking frantically for So-woon, who’s walked into the woods alone.

Eunuch Jo and Minister Lee are both anxious that Ha Sun hasn’t returned to the palace yet, but Minister Lee says that he trusts Ha Sun to keep his promise. Unfortunately, he’s informed that the Ming envoy have arrived a day early and are requesting to see the king right away. A message from the Ming emperor is the same as the emperor himself, so Minister Lee decides to see the envoy himself.

The Ming envoy isn’t pleased to be approached by a “mere secretary,” but Minister Lee says that since the envoy is early, the king will arrive to receive the emperor’s message the following day as scheduled. Furious at this perceived insult, the Ming envoy pulls a sword and threatens to kill Minister Lee to show the king how much of a sin he’s committed.

Minister Lee is forced to his knees, but he only glares up at the envoy defiantly as he raises his sword, then brings it down…

Ha Sun eventually finds So-woon standing at the edge of a cliff, and he grabs her just as she’s about to jump. Instead of thanking him, she says that she never wanted to see him again, and that it’s none of his business if she kills herself.

Ha Sun begs her to punish him instead, but she tells him to stop talking, because the more he speaks the worse she’s sinning. Ha Sun says that he’s to blame and he’ll pay the price, but So-woon says desperately, “It is my sin. I’m to blame. I asked myself thousands of times who I have in my heart, whether it’s you or him. I wanted to deny and ignore, but it was my heart’s doing.”

She says that she can fool the world but not herself, so this is her only option. She starts to walk towards the cliff again, but Ha Sun grabs her hand and asks, “Can’t you live for me? Since I entered the palace, I went through many crises. Every fatal moment, I desperately wanted to live. I was fine even if I was to be the worst criminal. Even if it was just for one day, I wanted to be with you.”

He says he just wanted to see her smile and live with her for a long time. His words remind So-woon of her love letter to him, in which she said the same thing. She looks as though she may be about to relent, but suddenly an arrow flies past their heads.

Ha Sun throws himself at So-woon, wrapping her in his arms protectively as another arrow slams into his back. He slowly sinks to his knees, taking So-woon with him, and falls unconscious with his head on her shoulder as she screams.

 
COMMENTS

Well, this is pretty much bad from every angle, and I have no idea what will happen next. Minister Lee might be dead, Ha Sun may be dying, So-woon thinks she deserves to die, and in the meantime the country is about to go down in flames. What we need right now is a miracle.

I still think that Minister Lee is much too dangerous to be fully trusted but I do love the relationship that’s forming between him and Ha Sun. There is some trust there, on both sides — Minister Lee trusts Ha Sun to keep his promises and behave honorably, and Ha Sun trusts Minister Lee to have his back when he needs to take care of something personal. You can see that Minister Lee isn’t just worried about the risk of the Ming envy finding out that Ha Sun hasn’t returned… he’s genuinely concerned for Ha Sun on a personal level. I don’t think that means Minister Lee is a safe ally, because he obviously loved Yi Heon and he still chose his country first, but I do enjoy seeing his relationship with Ha Sun become something deeper than just a political artist and his tool.

At first I was surprised that Ha Sun didn’t know that Yi Heon is dead, since he’s the one who asked to be made king for good. But then I realized that it’s actually very plausible that he didn’t know, because he’s still very naïve in a lot of ways, and Minister Lee never actually told him that he poisoned the king. Ha Sun probably thought that Minister Lee just sent Yi Heon somewhere that he couldn’t return from. He witnessed Yi Heon’s rage and violent tendencies, but Ha Sun never really saw how deeply sick Yi Heon was, and what his addiction was doing to him. I still believe that part of the reason Minister Lee killed Yi Heon instead of banishing him far away was because he knew Yi Heon was too far gone in his addiction and too mentally damaged to ever be healthy enough to even live a normal life, and would probably be dead soon one way or another. But Ha Sun didn’t know of Yi Heon’s addiction (if So-woon didn’t even know, then it was a very well-guarded secret), so it wouldn’t have occurred to him that Yi Heon might not still be alive.

It’s so typical of Ha Sun that even as he was in agony after So-woon found out he’s not the real king, his true heartbreak was that So-woon must have been in even more pain. That’s proof to me that he truly loves her, because her pain hurts him more than his own. But the truth is that he lied to her and let her fall in love with a man who didn’t exist, neither Yi Heon nor himself, but a good version of Yi Heon that he was pretending to be. Ha Sun was one hundred percent in the wrong for playing into So-woon’s fantasy of her husband changing and loving her, and as hard as it is to watch him in so much pain, I can’t say that he didn’t deserve her anger and rejection.

As for So-woon, I expected her to feel betrayed by Ha Sun, both for lying to her about his identity and because she assumed he had something to do with Yi Heon’s death. But it seems clear to me that it made a difference to her when she realized that Ha Sun didn’t know Yi Heon was dead. She couldn’t have forgiven him for plotting her husband’s demise, but she could see in that moment that he may have committed a lot of sins, but he didn’t commit the one, unforgivable one. And I loved seeing So-woon come into her own strength in this episode — she’s shown hints of it, but she mostly plays her role of the meek and obedient queen. I was happy to see her put the clues together on her own, confront the source of the lies, then put Minister Lee right into his place when he tried to manipulate her. Even her decision to kill herself showed more strength than she has in the past. There’s a fire in So-woon’s eyes that wasn’t there before, and I can’t wait to see the fierce, strong woman who emerges from the aftermath of this betrayal.

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Me at this show after this episode: >_<

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Me, too! The PD really knows how to do the cliffhanger super well.

Next episode - OMG. I was screaming at the TV! Scared my cats.

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Rambly Ranting Incoming:
I was annoyed this episode. I'm still trying to watch this and give it a chance, but the fact of the matter is that after the King died, it really struggles to keep my interest.
And when they decide to not have even Ha Seon on screen, boy my attention levels drop like THAT. *snaps fingers*.
On top of that, they haven't really developed anyone any farther than three episodes ago.
I think there were at least three conversations between Minster Lee and Minister Evil that were exactly the same and we didn't get anywhere. They said almost exactly the same things and parleyed exactly the same way and I WAS SO BORED.
Instead of showing us the moral outcome of the King being presumed dead upon not just the Queen but the Clown also, we just get a love story development instead, which I'd like to say is nice, but it's mostly just off putting, when you take it the direction they did and imply that the Queen never loved Yi Heon either, which as someone pointed out else where... you might as well have just killed him twice. The Clown though? Barely any reaction. *wtf noises*
The Clown, by the way, is only interesting for me when he's being sassy and stirring shit up in court, which he doesn't do nearly enough, and continues to act like Minister Lee's puppet. DO SOMETHING CLOWN. You're the main character. Wreck havoc more! Be the thorn in everyone's sides! You don't wanna be a puppet? Then don't be one! I don't feel like the Clown has had any quality character development in this entire show other than falling in love and realizing the throne sucks.
And I'm an asshole, but I almost wanted the Queen to die, because a) her dying from guilt would've at least been fitting and suitably tragic and b) maybe the clown would DO SOMETHING then.
However I'm usually opposed to killing a character just to make another character do something... it's like the tragic equivalent of making a love triangle because you don't know how to write someone's emotional development in any other way other than jealousy.
But I probably still would've preferred a hack death to ... well... two death fake outs. Imagine if they killed BOTH Jingoo's before the show even ended though. They won't but IMAGINE. Man I would be so pissed lol. I would also stop watching because Jingoo is hard carrying this. Ahem.

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IDK about you, but I think in ep 13, your wish seems to have come true. About the clown DOING STUFF

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I haven't watched 12 and 13 yet. This is purely a reaction to 11 without knowing what happens in the next two other than the obvious. If he does- fantastic. It's about bloody time.

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I think he did quite a lot just in about 3 months of course with lot of help but being an uneducated clown before and suddenly becoming the king in the nation is not easy.

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You can't want the queen to die... you queens have to stick together.

Us mere lords, on the other hand are quite comfy plotting treason, or just changing channels.

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Dammit you're right. I can't let her die.

Wait queens aren't allowed to change channels? NO FAIR

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I actually loved this episode and episode 13 😍

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Someone has to lol. We can't all be bitter about it.

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Imagine if they killed BOTH Jingoo's before the show even ended though. They won't but IMAGINE.

Any other actor I would say that’s impossible. But Jingoo has such a high tendency to die mid-drama that I’m not even betting a penny on it.😂

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Jingoo checklist:
Reunited Worlds - dead
Circle - dead
Cray Cray and the Clown - mostly dead

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@leetennant
Love Love Love this comment

:D

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Let’s not forget 1987 where he was specifically casted to die😅

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cray cray and the clown hahaahah

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Was I avoiding Circle spoilers? Guess not... lol

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And thats probably the biggest spoiler. The whole drama is about whether he is alive or not 😅

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@shaani Nah, that mystery lasted just 3 episodes. So much more unpredictable stuff happened in Circle.

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Thats a bit exaggerated haha. I think it took 4th episode to reveal which twin jun hyuk was.

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Not long enough to compete with the black prince Kim Nam-gil lol.

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I haven't seen this episode yet but the recap will do.

I came for Jin-goo and Jin-goo but I might go home with nothing lol.

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Also I don't... ship.. the Queen and the Clown. hNGGGGGGGGGG. wHICH MAKES WATCHING THIS HARD I KNOW.

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At least he'll be a better husband than a drug addict king who wanted to poison her for something that resulted in his own doings. I just wish they properly marry at the buddhist temple or something that would be sweet.

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@shaani ShaRi,

Methinks they'll do the bowl of water ceremony in private. ;-)

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You misunderstand me. I didn't ship the King and the Queen that way either. Not when he was crazy like that.
If anything I don't ship her with either of them at all; I would take character development of all three over any OTP any day of the week.

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My ship was Yi Kyu and Yi Heon but it sank pretty fast lol.

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... same...

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But imagine, if King Cray was still alive and the queen found out about the doppelgänger, and then was conflicted but stayed with the king because he was her husband.

And maybe it ends with the king dying and her leaving the palace to live in isolation as a widow, and then the clown joins her later as himself, and they are married then.

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No don't like that ending either... The problem is I can't see any ending with which I would be satisfied because I don't agree with or like the way they wrote everything after the first episode. Unless it's everyone dying because then nobody gets to be happy, including me lol.

The King needed (in my personal and maybe unpopular opinion) to be more of a character. He shouoldn't have just disappeared after episode 2. And the King's relationship with the Queen needed to be developed more than just her staying with him out of duty if he was still alive. There's way more to their characters than that. Or... there could've been. There doesn't even have to be lovey dovey shipping for me to get behind character relationships if it's written well.

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Well, my version has the king alive and back at the palace EPISODES ago, because the doppelgänger antics are what we came for.

And the queen becomes a more complicated character because she feels conflicted towards the openly affectionate clown versus her cray cray husband. Anyways, I wanted more King Cray.

I said it in a comment below, but I’m pretty sure I’d be okay if everyone but eunuch jo and the mathematician died... not sure what else they can do for an ending, does that make me a bad person?

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I feel much MUCH the same Cocoa, in case it wasn't obvious from my various salty rants scattered about the place. I wanted much more King and I would've even liked to see the Queen and the Clown try and help the King more, I wanted him to be less of a lost cause and more of a real, albeit crazy, character.

It does not make you a bad person. I have ceased to care about just about everything in this show so join the club I guess. lol

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Reposting my live reaction of this episode’s (literal) cliffhanger.

Seems like I just watched a sageuk version of The Smile Has Left Your Eyes’ ending. Even had a cliff and shabby shack. Except this time genders flipped.
🚺: I’ve sinned and deserve to die.
🚹: Live for ME!
🚺: Okay~ (telepathically)
🚹: Oh no! Incoming! Agh~~~~~
I’m sure this time the OTP will survive, but cue the crying overprotective guard anyway. 😂

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P.S. I forgave this episode’s dragging in the next episode.

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Good comparison. Fortunately this was the end of episode 11 not 16.

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Thanks for your recap, @lollypip.

Eunuch Jo's impersonation of a rock star trashing a hotel room, accompanied by plaintive calls of "Cheon-ha," cracked me up. I also enjoyed Haksan's sarcasm when he was facing off against the Queen Dowager. He was every part the silver-tongued devil as he simulated 'fessing up to the Queen about Yi Heon's demise. (Does Korea have its own version of the Blarney Stone or something?! Interestingly, Blarney Castle was built in 1646, five years after Gwanghaegun's death.)

The chickens finally came home to roost, and Ha Sun really had it coming. He'd been warned to stay away from the Queen, but did he listen? Nope. Hence the fallout from the Law of Unintended Consequences. Much as I would like to see Ha Sun and So-woon get a Happily Ever After together, I cannot forget the immoral nature of their relationship. Such transgressions (as, for instance, Hong-shim's Orabeoni's forced career as an assassin in 100 DAYS MY PRINCE) usually end up with the perpetrator on the receiving end of Karmic Retribution.

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I think Minister Lee is very good to make laws that will help the nation, in a very large vision. But he seems to always forget that the nation is made by people with feelings, opinions, fears, etc. He never saw the Queen as the Queen, but more like the wife of the King who we can lie... It's the same with the sister. She grew up with only his brother and she will give up on him? Leave without him? Without knowing the truth? It's always Ha Sun who has to remind him that people are important, who can't just sweep them.

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Yi Kyu didn't make the law. It was Lord Gil and the Daedong group's tax reform.

(Historically it was implemented by King Gwanghae without all these bloodshed).

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But he was part of the group, wasn't he?

And even, it's him who could make it happen. I don't say he did alone, it's just he's catalyst.

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Right, not by him alone. That's what I meant sorry.

It's not clear what his role was but since he is passionate enough about it to kill a king of all people then he must have been closely involved.

The group considered him a traitor since Lord Gil was executed and he did nothing but kept quiet to save himself.

Who knows, maybe Gil himself told him to save himself and gave him the book to carry out his work.

I get his intentions but his way of getting it done is hard for me to root for.

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"He did nothing but kept quiet" but he couldn't save Lord Gil but saved their ideas. He stayed to try to change things when he could.

It's not like he had a lot of choices. Let a despot on the throne, demote him and let another despot take the throne. And during all those politic games, the people are suffering.

It's sad because I think he was one of the rare who liked the King.

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@kiara I think reference was made that it was Lord Gil himself who told Lee Kyu to save himself for the cause. The others around Lord Gil did not know this and assumed that he abandoned Gil and them to safe his own neck.
(Looking at the casting I don’t see a cameo for Lord Gil so I am thinking there won’t be flashbacks which in this case I think is unfortunate. )
Rather than introduce this Ming business (and the love story to a certain percent) I would have liked to have seen more of the back story. We know Yi Heon intervened and saved the Monk (and possibly Lee Kyu) at the time of Lord Gil’s death. I would have liked to see Yi Heon as the good Prince Gwanghae before he became imbalanced. It would have given Yeo Jin-goo an opportunity for triple roles: good Prince/King, crazy King and clown King.

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@marcusnyc20 bong-soo

I haven't seen this episode so thank you! I was just guessing.

I agree. Back stories would have been great but guessing has been fun also, especially when we are way off lol.

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@marcusnyc20 I agree I would more informations about all the Lord Gil situation. It's more like a myth for now.

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@kiara, @kurama, @marcusnyc20 bong-soo,

The discussion of Haksan's surviving at Lord Gil's behest is giving me a feeling of déjà vu. IIRC, this may have been depicted in HWAJUNG / SPLENDID POLITICS, but I can't quite dredge it up. It's also possible a similar subplot has been used in other sageuks.

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Make sense if it was borrowed from HWAJUNG and yes to similar subplot from other sageuks.
I love Kim Sang-kyung in this role. I'm having a love hate relationship with his character lol.

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@kiara,
I'm enjoying Kim Sang-kyung's performance very much, even as I'm feeling just as conflicted over his character's worrisome motives and ethics. I was amazed to realize that KSK was in WHITE CHRISTMAS, which I finally got around to watching last year. I didn't recognize him at all. The only other production I've seen him in was TURNING GATE. Still haven't gotten around to GREAT KING SEJONG. Oh, and his voice is very pleasant. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake

Ah yes, the voice!

I think you'll enjoy KING SEJONG. It's as close as you can get to the actual history and the cast is full of our fave veterans and child actors.
Kim Yeong-cheol will always be King Taejong to me.

He is silly and funny in WHAT'S WITH THIS FAMILY with Kim Hyun-joo.
They really need a sageuk together. Love the chemistry.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z7vRj0p6cJQ

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@kiara February 21, 2019 at 10:02 AM

Thanks for that link. Kim Sang-kyung has a flair for comedy, which comes as no surprise after his flying kick at Ha Sun about 432 years ago at the start of CROWNED CLOWN. It will be fun to see him in GREAT KING SEJONG whenever I get around to it. ;-)

It reminds me of first seeing Joo Sang-wook as the cutthroat usurper in GRAND PRINCE, and only later playing the dorky male lead in SINGLE CUNNING WOMAN.

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@pakalanapikake White Christmas was so good! I loved it. It was my first drama with this actor too :p

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Thank you @lollypip and I hope you're feeling better. I'm still enjoying the Jin Goo show even if there's only one of him in play now.

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I loved how ha sun watched over the queen. And how he took an arrow covering her. Though so woon was angry before she screamed "cheona" when ha sun was shot. She realized he saved her by scrificing him and i think he is forgiven. 😅

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@shaani ShaRi,

What the Queen got to see up close and personal was Ha Sun doing exactly what her husband had brought him into the palace to do: serve as a decoy for assassins. Who in their right mind would take that kind of job? Someone who was poor -- and coerced -- and didn't truly know what they were getting into. I don't think Ha Sun told Queenie that Yi Heon had threatened his family. He was not allowed to resign.

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The show has lost a lot of its bite since Yi Heon died. And there is just too much of the dreaded palace politics. And as others have mentioned, I don't think Minister Lee is to be trusted. He already killed the king and is ready to depose the queen. It seems everyone is expendable to him.

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I quite agree about yi heon, should have killed him off near the end. That would've been epic. He was probably killed to build a proper romance between ha sun and the queen maybe. But kudos for them to taking the risk. It was totally unexpected. I love and hate it at the same time

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But the politics makes this drama interesting. I think the only time I got truly bored was when Ha Sun got too caught up in love and neglected politics.

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I know people don't like Minister Lee because he could be a danger to Ha Sun but tbh, that's exactly why I like him. I admire that despite the pain it brings him, his country and people come first. Obviously I don't want him to turn on Ha Sun, but it's a very sincere and steadfast loyalty you don't see in a lot of people.

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Yes i get it. I mean there is no point being loyal to a monsterous person. If there is no way to bring him back to his olderself then what else you can do..

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Yi Kyu had no right to be the judge alone and even worst take the king's life without any trials. Even the worst criminals have their day in court.

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In an ideal world yes. But in this scenario if he let things happen the ideal way still yi heon will always be the judge so lee kyu will never get a trial either or a chance to keep his head on his neck. It was a life or death situation for him..

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It was not life or death for him. Yi Heon made it pretty clear he valued his loyalty and as long as he kept his promise he will survive. Yi Heon aside, I disliked how he kept his hands cross when the Queen’s father was facing death penalty. He’s always about his agenda, be it a good one or an evil one. He thinks he can right the wrong and continue playing hero after someone’s death and that is just shameless — talking about the would-have-died Queen’s father here.

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But in that society there was pretty much no way the king would face a fair trial. Not saying he did the right thing. but there wasn't much of a legal action apart from deposing him somehow.

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He was mentally unfit to rule and legally it would have been fair to depose him.

I pity the king because he was a good person and ruler according to the queen's father. Yi Kyu himself said he had big dreams for his people.
The drugs clouded his judgement and caused him to spin out of control. Does he deserve to be killed for that?
Yi Kyu could at least send him far away where he can not find his way back to the palace.
Ha Sun would still take his place and help him continue where he left off with Yi Heon before he was drugged by Court Lady Kim.

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Deposing wont be easy with a strong ally like shin chi soo. Sending him would be possible if yi heon also wanted to go and heal himself. But he clearly didn't. Otherwise he will definitely comeback somehow and that would be the end of lee kyu..

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Thanks @kiara for voicing something that has bothered me since episode 8.

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I don’t trust a word of Secretary Lee’s, so I cheered when the Queen snapped to not try to manipulate her. Otherwise, this episode was very slow...

Question: what did Ho-Geol do to those two clowns to make them mad at him? They are wearing my patience thin. He’s given them a roof and a royal feast, and still they sulk. 😒 And seriously, how hard is it for Secretary Lee to tell them Ha Seon joined the army for two years and is on a secret mission? They can’t seem to stay put or keep their mouths shut. #irritatedbynotfunnyclowns

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@wishfultoki,

I knew that Dal-rae was going to cause more trouble. She's like her loose-cannon older brother -- except that he's been shaping up since being conscripted to the snake pit at court. In both their cases, if they had only been given information with which to make informed decisions, they (and the audience) would have been spared so much needless pain and suffering. For starters, Ha Sun nearly got Minister Yoo killed because Yi Heon and Chief Royal Secretary Lee could not be bothered to give him a job orientation. Eunuch Jo was willing to do so, but wasn't given carte blanche.

What we have here is failure to communicate.
-- COOL HAND LUKE (1967)

Arrrrggg!

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"What we have here is failure to communicate."
-- COOL HAND LUKE (1967)

IKR? Why can't anyone tell the poor girl the truth about her brother? She is worried to death about him and uncle Gab-soo is the worst baby-sitter ever lol.

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@wishfultoki, it was pointed out earlier that Yi Heon’s (supposed-thanks @pakalanapikake) demise ultimately came about because Dal-Rae released him.
I got a kick how Ho-geol praised his own cooking and said something about learning from the famous Chef Baek. (The real Chef Baek just finished his guest stint on COFFEE FRIENDS.)

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I'd love to believe Yi Heon isn't dead and will come back in ep. 15 as a raging demon god for the ultimate final plot twist and almost-demise of Joseon... but the interview with Kim Sang-kyung pretty much killed my hopes of that. He said the departure from the movie is precisely what attracted him to a remake project. :(

Still, we can hope right? Until we see his tablet or his grave, and even then, we can never be sure with dramas... Dal Rae is such a Pandora's box though.

By the way, do we think the tablet with no name that Haksan was venerating a few episodes ago was of Yi Heon or the mysterious Gil Sam-bong "A friend who came and went like the wind"?

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@wishfultoki,

I can see how the drama's plot could end up very different from the movie's ending even with a detoxed and rehabbed Yi Heon ultimately returning to the throne, if you catch my drift. Methinks it will be after Haksan has permanently rid the court of Lord Shin, Prince Jinpyeong, the Queen Dowager, and all their minions on behalf of his boss. Oh, and smoked out the collusion of the Ming envoy. (I checked my Kdrama log and found that HWAJUNG had a similar subplot involving smuggling and counterfeiting between a powerful lord with a trade monopoly and a crooked interpreter in the Chinese envoy's entourage.)

About that blank tablet. I had assumed that Haksan was praying as part of Yi Heon's 49th Day ritual as he had told the doctor monk he would do, but I really have no idea about the passage of time in this show. You bring up a good point -- that Lee could have been observing Lord Gil's death anniversary. "A friend who came and went like the wind" could apply to either of them, in that Gil's work was left undone and he was forgotten by all but a few close disciples, or the secret way in which the King died on the beach.

I've learned to never trust seeing a grave. It could be empty, and serves only as circumstantial evidence that someone has died so no one will look for him/her among the living.

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@wishfultoki,
And I shudder to think that "A friend who came and went like the wind" could equally apply to impersonator Ha Sun. Aside from a few people, no one knows of his service to the crown, and it has to stay that way. Yi Heon was ready to kill him earlier. If he were somehow restored to sanity, would he allow his double to return to civilian life? Good question. Would he allow Haksan or kindly Eunuch Jo to live? They know too much. I'm battening the hatches and sticking my fingers in my ears. La la la la la.

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Hey, has anyone noticed doctor monk Jung Saeng (played by Jang Na-ra's orbeoni, Jang Sung-won) lately? He has been conspicuous by his absence. Is that a hint?

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Omg seriously. I see your point. I kind of don't want Yi heon to come back though haha

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They weren’t mad at Ho Geol. They just can’t trust. Nobody is giving them a straight answer about Ha Sun’s whereabouts and they’re not about to sit around in what seems like house arrest. I’d be skeptical and pissed too if a group of “government officials” kept me from seeing my family for “my safety” without a full disclosure of what is the danger they should be fearing.

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Yep, as well as they don't trust the monk who apparently have imprisoned Haseon, and they've also seen that Hogeol was hanging out with the said monk.

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@geliguolu sph_7,

I agree with you about Kab-soo's and Dal-rae's entirely understandable trust issues. What the poor souls do not know is that if they had knowledge of the true situation, they would have to be killed to ensure both kings' safety. Being kept in the dark stinks -- and it doesn't even guarantee their safety. They could easily be tortured to death by someone bent on discovering why the King has behaved as if he has a split personality.

In all fairness, it should be pointed out that number-cruncher Joo Ho-geol doesn't know what's going on with Ha Sun and the King, either. Again, for his own safety.

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The cliffhanger endings of the last 3 or 4 episodes are killing me! (And OMG, the next episode - please recap as soon as you can, because the ending is totally INSANE! I can't even begin to figure out how this show ends in anything but death to everyone, except maybe Minister Shin, who seems to always manage to end up landing on his feet.

I continue to be impressed and moved by the stellar acting, and the writer/PD know how to set up every scene so that I'm never bored, and I'm a quivering mess - of tears or nerves or both - at the end of every episode.

I read a review of GRRM's ASoIaF in which the reviewer offered the thought that it appeared the only ending that would satisfy GRRM was the a huge graveyard, with every character buried there. I'm starting to feel as if that's the only possible ending for all my favorite characters in TCC. I don't DO sad-ending dramas! But I can't stop watching. It's too good.

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Yeah i cant want to read the recaps as well. 😅📖 I know its pressuring the recap writer. But ep 12, 13 were too intense. 😍

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Of course i meant i cant wait. 😅

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@lollypip You totally nailed it. Haseon made the Queen fall in love with an ideal version of Yi Heon which at the end of the day is neither Haseon nor Yi Heon. It was really too much to take for Sowoon, add that to finding out that the real King has passed away.

Since Yi Heon got killed in Ep 8, I've decided to just leave everything to the writer and stop guessing what exactly happens next. And now, I can see how the writer is slowly wrapping up things one step at a time and it has started off with Sowoon dealing with the truth and affirming her love for Haseon. That final shot of her calling him, "Your Majesty!" really got to me.

The writing isn't perfect but it's shaping up to be pretty solid for me, seeing how every loose end is getting tied one by one.

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"That final shot of her calling him, "Your Majesty!" really got to me."

Yes. What I appreciate about the writing/directing is how something that simple conveyed so much information to the viewer. At that point, she committed to Haseon, not just as the man she loved, but as the man she recognized as her husband, the king.

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True. In this episode, Sowoon had to deal with the truth and the ending scene gave us what her resolution is regarding this heavy truth. With that one simple word, Sowoon swore her love and allegiance to the man that is Haseon.

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Yes the last bit was my favourite. I replayed it over and over few times. ❤️

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Hahaha same here! I kept replaying it over and over again.

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Haseon made the Queen fall in love with an ideal version of Yi Heon which at the end of the day is neither Haseon nor Yi Heon.

Thanks for emphasizing that, @weaselking circulate9oo. That interpretation enables me to accept the Queen's reaction and change of heart at face value at the end of the final scene.

Ha Sun's immediate response to arrows whizzing past them is to shield the Queen -- right after he tells her how desperately he has fought to survive at court. This isn't the action of a platonic ideal of Yi Heon, but of the flesh-and-blood Ha Sun. All I can think of is the King's callous pronouncement that the clown's job is to be assassinated or poisoned in his place. I can't shake the feeling that the bill is coming due on the clown's Faustian bargain, even as I hope that he'll somehow manage to survive this role of a lifetime.

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We all have our favorite versions or visions for this story which we have in our heads. And we sometimes feel our version is better than what is theirs and feel disappointed. Its natural. But lets see how the writers are going to tell their story. Hope they end the drama well. 🎭

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I don't know how this story will pan out, but I'm sticking around to see how Writer-nim pulls it off. In many cases it's not how the story ends so much as how it gets there that interests me.

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Me, too. I just hope it's not absolutely devastating, because at this point, I couldn't stop watching even if I wanted to!

I always want to know - without getting a huge spoiler - that my guy (it always seems to be a guy!) gets a satisfying ending. Sometimes it's a bit hard (I agree with whoever said that City Hunter was a bit disappointing, as the ending seemed ambiguous enough that while I was OK with it at first, assuming it represented reality and not some dream, it subsequently bothered me enough that I did a little digging around to make sure it ended my fav character alive). I refuse to watch some of the historical and serious dramas that end in the main character's death, or some other sad situation. (Ergo, I will probably never watch Ji Chang-wook in a historical drama, unless he does a new one. Empress Ki is NOT on my list. Same for Yoo Seung-ho in Remember. And it looks as if Circle isn't going to be on my list, either, or Frozen Flower (for Jo In-sung), or The Queen's Woman (for Zhang Binbin). MY KDRAMA BFs MUST NOT DIE!!

It's not that I only watch comedies - actually, I greatly prefer dramas and don't much like romcoms - but my life and job are stressful, and so reading and watching Kdramas are escapes (I only read fiction, and with the exception of GRRM, most of the fantasies I read have a lot of angst, but good endings). Just last week one of the defense attorneys in our relatively small King County/Seattle criminal law bar (PDs, defense attorneys and prosecutors) committed suicide, which makes the second suicide in the last 3 months, and the third in the last 18 months. All men, and two left young children behind. Really tragic.

So, life has enough sadness and stress as it is, and I don't want to be depressed over what I'm watching for pleasure/joy. I love dramas that make me cry - good goddess, I was wailing like a banshee during the last 4 or 5 episodes of Goblin, which was one of my very early (and remains at the top, with a few others) Kdramas - but I really need to have a contented smile on my face at the very end. (And for the record, I was highly satisfied with the ending of Goblin, although as it was really one of my very first Kdramas, and the first one in which the couple married, I was probably still scratching my head over the couple spending their wedding night fully clothed, with barely even kissing! Welcome to Kdrama land, where it's absolutely sexy when the couple finally hold hands, around episode 10, and downright erotic when the finally kiss, 4 or 5 episodes later1 ha!)

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@vespertyne, Have you seen the movie MASQUERADE on which CROWNED CLOWN is based? I ask because this version is supposed to put a different spin on that story. Hence my sense of foreboding.

Given the stresses of your professional life, I can well understand your selectivity when it comes to the shows you watch for entertainment. As my grandmother used to say, "It's supposed to be a treat, not a treatment." (Condolences on the demise of your colleagues. Holy cow.)

What I need from a drama or movie is a plot that makes sense logically and/or emotionally, and characters who behave consistently through to the very end (unless they're having a nervous breakdown). I'm a sucker for redemption arcs and second chances, but don't have a problem with a character kicking the bucket -- if it makes sense for that character within that show's plot and dramaverse. How a character faces his or her fate can be inspiring and uplifting -- and cathartic, especially when the actor imbues it with presence and realism.

That said, I have to be in the right frame of mind for such an eventuality. I knew right from the start how SEVEN DAY QUEEN was going to end because I already knew the history. But I didn't know exactly how the story would unfold or how the main characters would be portrayed, and those aspects were what made it interesting. The performances by the lead actors were dynamite, the cinematography was gorgeous, and the heartbreak was tragic.

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It's different to watch a drama based on an actual historical figure, who dies at a particular place and time, and in a particular manner, although I'm often glad to see the "inspiration" for a character end up with a fictionalized ending, like in MDBC, where the crown prince who inspired PBG's character married, had a son, and died - possibly of poisoning - when he was 20. The decision to depart from historical accuracy allowed him to fall for a girl posing as a eunuch, free his fiance to go out in the world and live a normal life, survive the poisoning, and reach the age of 20 with no marriage or offspring or impending death. It was a fun drama, especially since the one character whose death I would have mourned the most managed to survive (although the apparent death scene broke my heart and left me loudly sobbing. The real death was sad, but didn't have the same emotional impact for me, because that character seemed destined to never be free to live the life he wanted, and so death seemed like the only escape from an unhappy, unfulfilled life).

But when it comes to the totally fictional story, I don't want the lead characters to die. That being said, though, I agree with your description of what makes a good drama.

I'm still relatively new to Kdrama-land. I think I watched my first one in the summer of 2018. (It was actually a Cdrama - I found Meteor Garden 2018, with Dylan Wang, on Netflix). Watching that led me to the hugely popular Korean Boys Over Flowers. I didn't like the lead actress in that one, but liked Lee Min Ho. Then I found Dramafever and watched Goblin, and it blew me away. I'd never seen anything like it, and I know I stayed up all night at least 2 times, because I just couldn't stop myself from watching one more episode! Then I watched Return of Iljimae, which I also really liked, especially the fight scenes. And I just really liked the way Jung Il-woo played the character. (I read the recaps here on dramabeans many months after I watched it, and saw that the recappers here gave it top marks, although the fans don't seem to care for it as much as I did - but then the fans inexplicably give super high marks to dreck like Strong Woman Do Bong Soon, which was so horribly bad and stupid that I couldn't finish watching it. It's mind-boggling that Viki viewers give it something like a 9.7. Must be the cute Kpop idol who plays the lead? I consistently see dramas I think are way over-rated but have a very popular male lead).

Now I've watched quite a few, and my top three are Goblin, Because This is My First Life, and Misaeng. Loved every second of every episode of each of those. All three made me laugh and cry, with a perfect balance of joy/angst, and all three are dramas I know I will watch again and again. (Well, except for Goblin, but only because it doesn't appear to be available anywhere since dramafever ended, although a message on Roku suggested that it might be coming to one of the paid...

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I swear I can't stop watching. The politics is surprisingly keep this drama interesting and intriguing! And Ha Seon IS still inline with his character!

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I just finished ep 11 (I’m so lazy when it comes to this show), and I honestly want the queen to totally reject the clown. I mean, she thought this was her husband, whom she thought was a good man gone wrong, become good again. She fell in love with not the clown, but her husband becoming a good person. And then it turns out her husband has been dead and the smiley version of him is a clown and imposter? Of course she would have been horrified and guilt ridden AT HERSELF for not realizing what was going on. And the clown is just one of the many people who manipulated her, even if he’s saying it’s because he fell in love with her.

I would maybe feel better if the clown tried to understand and let her mourn her husband (even if he was awful, he was someone close to her who JUST DIED).

Honestly, I was kind of hoping she would kill herself at the end. It’s awful of me, but it would be in keeping with her character as it’s been presented to us (a highly moral, sensitive, and stubbornly upright person), but choosing an honorable death or to become a monk would have made more sense than her choosing love. Also that would have made the implications of everything the Secretary has done really come to the characters ~ Murder is not okay people, not even when you do it for the greater good Grindelwald... I mean Mr Secretary.

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COCOA I AGREE WITH ALL OF THIS.
Even the horrible bits about the Queen dying.
Part of the reason I don't ship the Queen and the Clown is that the Queen WAS in love with the King, and they had a good relationship, before he went crazy, one I wanted to see glimpses of on screen, but instead the King was just a plot device and was kicked out of his story, and basically abandoned both by the writing and the characters in the story, which is super heartbreaking but if you're going to do THAT then have what happens after make SENSE. Of course the didn't. Of course they shoved this love line down our throat, implying the Queen never loved the King in the end either, instead of actually dealing with the implications of killing the king in episode8, and what having such a complex character means for the rest of the show.
And no, murder is NOT ok. And I hope they address it stat.

Also- have you read this? http://www.dramabeans.com/members/sicarius/activity/709687/
Think you might like it?

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YES they totally implied that the king was once good, and that the queen and him did like and respect each other, if not romantic love the closest thing to it ~

Just watched Ep 13 and they still haven’t dealt with the implications of killing the king. wth.

DUDE THIS IS AN AMAZING WRITING PIECE. I’m going to comment it, but I’m still making my way through reading the comments, and I JUST read that passage in TTT a couple days ago (I’m currently rereading LOTR). It’s such a powerful passage, short and so very meaningful, something that has been built up to throughout the whole story, the decay and ruin of good, but which has a chance of redemption through the simple, noble hobbits of the Shire. You cry for Gollum, even as you know Sam is right...

Anyways.

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They implied a lot of things about the past, but apparently that was all just smokescreen for the Clown.

Oh. well. Thanks for the headsup. This show is getting a LONG LONG ESSAY WHEN IT'S FINISHED lol.

Awwww thank you so much!!!
Yes it's so amazing. So much is said from that one paragraph, so much depth in so little space. If anyone ever tells you LOTR is shallow, through The Two Towers and that passage in their face haha

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