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110

The Crowned Clown: Episode 13

The best part about having a clown on the throne is that he’s trained to think fast and stay (figuratively) light on his feet, giving him the edge over those who only know one way of operating. Our royal clown is clever enough to outsmart his enemies when he can keep calm, but that may not be the case if his emotions get involved. If he doesn’t learn to control his temper, he risks falling into the same trap, and the same fate, that proved to be the true king’s downfall.

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

Minister Shin tricks Ha Sun by giving him Yi Heon’s dragon knife, which was given to him by his father, and getting Ha Sun to agree that it was a gift from the Ming emperor. Knowing that he’s caught, Ha Sun flings the two yang that Minister Shin paid him for Dal-lae’s innocence, and Minister Shin bursts into maniacal laughter.

He chuckles that he’s been looking for Ha Sun everywhere, and he was in the palace the whole time. Ha Sun warns that if Minister Shin touches Dal-lae, who he’s kidnapped, he won’t live to see another day.

Minister Shin asks Ha Sun who else knows his true identity besides Minister Lee, and where the real king is. Ha Sun repeats Minister Lee’s words, “He might come back suddenly like thunder, or slowly in time like sunrise.” Minister Shin just says that Minister Lee has been using a fake to fool the court, which means that Yi Heon will have to step down for giving him permission.

He tells Ha Sun that to save his sister, he must issue a royal command that he’ll interrogate Gap-soo himself (for attacking Yi-geom), and that he’ll punish Minister Lee then dethrone the king. Ha Sun says that he wants to verify that Dal-lae is okay first, and Minister Shin agrees — if he gets on his knees.

Ha Sun reluctantly kneels at Minister Shin’s feet, and the two yang on the floor seem to taunt him. Minister Shin tells him to summon Minister Lee as a criminal during the interrogation, and he’ll bring Dal-lae in as a witness, and Ha Sun agrees to do as he says.

Moo-young informs Minister Lee that Ha Sun met with Minister Shin, then ordered a royal interrogation. Minister Lee hurries to the courtyard and Minister Shin arrives a minute later. Ha Sun looks miserable as he makes his way to the dais, and when he’s asked to name the criminal, he names Minister Lee. Minister Shin has Dal-lae brought in, her hands tied, and once he sees her, Ha Sun orders the criminal arrested… Shin Chi-soo. I knew he had a plan!

Minister Shin yells that the criminals are Minister Lee and Ha Sun, but Ha Sun steps off the dais to stand inches from Minister Shin’s face and whisper, “I told you I wouldn’t let you get away with it if you laid a finger on my sister. I’m going to make a fool out of you.”

Ha Sun grabs a guard’s sword and holds it to Minister Shin’s neck. Dal-lae recognizes the lines he quotes from one of their troupe’s performances: “Even a ghost would spit in your face and avoid you, a classless buffoon who doesn’t know his roots. How dare you humiliate me, the king of this nation? Do you really wish to die?”

Minister Shin laughs and tells those present not to let the clown fool them. He rants that Ha Sun only looks like the king, and that Minister Lee has the real king hidden away somewhere. Ha Sun does his best Yi Heon impression and asks who would believe this, so Minister Shin points to Dal-lae as the clown’s sister.

He orders Dal-lae to tell the truth that Ha Sun is her brother. Dal-lae looks Ha Sun in the eye, then says that her brother died a long time ago. Minister Shin screams that she’s lying, but she says she wouldn’t dare lie to the king. Ha Sun tells Eunuch Jo to take Dal-lae away.

Minister Shin yells that when the true king returns they’ll all be punished. Ha Sun levels his sword at Minister Shin’s throat again, then orders him bound and gagged to stop his lies. He orders the interrogation, and Minister Lee says there’s a witness who can shed light on Minister Shin’s crimes.

He brings in Court Lady Kim — OMG she’s not dead! — and explains that after she tried to drug the king and check him for a scar, he sent her to Minister Shin’s house to find out who was controlling her. She then disappeared, but fortunately, Moo-young followed Minister Shin’s right-hand man and found Court Lady Kim alive.

She testifies that Minister Shin ordered her to check the king for a scar to see if he was an impostor. She also says that he commissioned the posters accusing the king of being a clown then killed the court painter, had her drug the king, and cursed the concubine Hwa-dang, though she says that Hwa-dang knew nothing and was actually poisoned.

Horrified, Ha Sun calls Court Lady Kim evil and cruel, and says he’ll discuss her punishment with the officers. He orders Minister Shin tortured until he confesses, and Minister Shin continues to call him a fool and a clown as he’s tortured. He still hasn’t confessed by morning, despite being broken and bloody, but Ha Sun is unmoved.

Minister Lee has Minister Shin’s gag removed and asks if he’s ready to confess. Minister Shin glares at him defiantly and gasps that he’s committed no crimes. Ha Sun asks the Minister of Punishment’s opinion, and he says that since Minister Shin’s crimes are supported by evidence and witnesses, he should be beheaded.

Ha Sun agrees with the beheading, and Minister Shin gives him one last, bloody sneer. Minister Lee looks up at Ha Sun, seeming worried about him.

While Minister Shin is being untied, Hwa-dang, his niece, asks permission to see him. She begs him to say he didn’t really have her poisoned, but he whispers to her to find a plant in his home, get what’s inside, and keep it safe if she wants to live.

Minister Lee brings Woon-shim to Dal-lae, promising to explain later. Woon-shim asks Dal-lae what’s going on, but Dal-lae sobs not to ask her anything or it will put her brother in danger. Woon-shim gives her the bag of hazelnuts, telling her they’re from Ha Sun, and Dal-lae knows exactly what they mean.

Minister Lee tells Ha Sun that Dal-lae is safe with Woon-shim, then he chastises Ha Sun for revealing his identity to Minister Shin and almost ruining everything. Ha Sun argues that Dal-lae’s life was at stake, and that it’s better to act fast with people like Minister Shin.

Next, Ha Sun questions Gap-soo and Yi-geom. Gap-soo says he had good reason for attacking Yi-geom, and that he promised himself to kill Yi-geom even if it meant his own death, because of what Yi-geom did to a girl he loves like a daughter. He says he’ll accept whatever punishment the king chooses, and Minister Lee tells Ha Sun that a peasant who attacks a noble should receive eighty lashes.

Instead, Ha Sun orders Gap-soo to serve in the navy, and at the sound of his voice, Gap-soo finally looks at his face. He’s stunned to see Ha Sun, but he wisely says nothing.

Ha Sun asks Minister Lee the appropriate punishment for someone who violates a young girl, and Minister Lee says it’s a crime worthy of death — but only if the victim is higher than a commoner. Yi-geom yelps that he didn’t commit a crime, then, but Ha Sun announces that when the people were wronged, the previous king would establish a new law.

He says he’ll do the same, and Yi-geom accuses him of trying to punish him for his father’s offenses. Leaping to his feet, Ha Sun roars that Yi-geom’s crime is worthy of its own punishment. He states that his job is to protect the people who can’t protect themselves, and he orders Yi-geom to be branded with his crime… on his face. Minister Lee stares at Ha Sun, looking very concerned.

As Yi-geom screams for mercy in abject terror, Ha Sun thinks about how he felt when he learned of Dal-lae’s assault. He doesn’t look away as Yi-geom’s face is branded, and Minister Lee can see the sick satisfaction in Ha Sun’s expression as he watches his revenge play out.

Later, Ha Sun visits Gap-soo in private and says it’s really him, and Gap-soo bursts into relieved, happy tears. He asks if the king knows he’s impersonating him, and Ha Sun just says that of course he has permission. He tells Gap-soo that he’ll be sent to serve in the navy in Muanhyun, where he and Dal-lae lived as children, and that Dal-lae will join him soon.

Minister Lee is waiting for Ha Sun and asks how he’s feeling, and Ha Sun says that he feels like a year has passed since yesterday. He says he feels like a heavy burden has been lifted, but he also feels weighed down at the same time. Minister Lee says with genuine relief that he’s glad to hear it, but when Ha Sun asks why, Minister Lee doesn’t answer.

That evening at the gibang, Minister Lee stops Woon-shim from serving him, saying that tonight he’s not a guest. Woon-shim notes his mood and asks if Ha Sun isn’t doing a good job as king, having guessed about the switch from Dal-lae’s comment about her brother.

Minister Lee apologizes for keeping the secret from her, but she says she doesn’t expect him to tell her everything, since he’s someone she can’t even dream of (being with). She only asks him not to push her away, so that she can be with him whether he’s happy or sad,so he lets her pour his drink.

Minister Shin and Yi-geom sit in prison, Yi-geom still shaking from pain and shock. The guards come for Yi-geom, and they tell Minister Shin that Yi-geom is being exiled to the north. Yi-geom shakes the guards off to perform one last deep bow to his father, and after Yi-geom is gone, Minister Shin tears the jade ornament from his head and offers it to a guard in return for a favor.

Prince Jin-pyung almost refuses when he’s told that Minister Shin wishes to see him, but considering all the dirt Minister Shin has on him, he decides to see what Minister Shin wants. He reminds Minister Shin that the entire country knows they hate each other and won’t believe him, but Minister Shin says that he has information that can dethrone the king.

Ha Sun brings Dal-lae to his rooms, but she’s too scared and worried about Gap-soo to eat. She says she just wants to leave, assuming that Ha Sun is coming with her. But Ha Sun says sadly that he still has things to do here, and Dal-lae asks if those things are more important than her.

He says nothing is more important than her, but that he needs to finish the what he started. Dal-lae starts to cry, scared to leave him in case he gets killed. He tells her to go with Gap-soo and he’ll follow them soon, but Dal-lae sobs that he said that before and he never came.

Ha Sun hugs her and apologizes, and asks her to trust him. He watches as Gap-soo and Dal-lae are led away, trying hard to hide his tears, and the last thing he sees is Dal-lae waving at him with a big smile.

He finds So-woon waiting in his chambers, and he admits that he doesn’t know if he did the right thing. He says that seeing Dal-lae off makes him feel more scared, and So-woon says that’s not a sign of weakness, but of being human. At his renewed tears, she hugs him and says she knows how hard it is to part with family. She tells Ha Sun that one day he can visit Gap-soo and Dal-lae, and that she’d like to meet them, too.

A court lady takes Court Lady Kim food sent from the queen dowager, but Court Lady Kim wisely stomps it into the dirt, offended that the queen dowager thinks she’s that stupid. She tells the court lady that she wishes to send the queen dowager a gift, and the Court lady relays her message, along with instructions to call on her again if the queen dowager likes the “gift.” Whatever she said, the queen dowager laughs that Court Lady Kim gave her a huge gift before her death.

Ae-young tells the queen that with all the recent trouble, now would be the perfect time to give the king an heir and strengthen his position. She suggests that So-woon get examined by a royal physician, and So-woon absently agrees. The physician tells her that her pulse is weak and she lacks energy, so she’ll prepare an herbal medicine.

She notices the flower tea on the table, and asks to see the leaves. Ae-young says the tea is safe since it was given to So-woon by the Royal Infirmary, but the physician insists.

Ha Sun is informed that Minister Shin will be beheaded at the end of the month, and that hanging is appropriate for Court Lady Kim since she tried to harm both him and the queen. But because she also testified against Minister Shin, the punishment should be flogging and exile as a slave. Ha Sun approves both punishments.

Minister Lee takes the opportunity to ask for approval to discuss overturning Lord Yoo’s sentence. Before Ha Sun gives it, Prince Jin-pyung says that Minister Lee is wrong, and Lord Yoo was already proven guilty. Ha Sun turns it over to the court to decide.

So-woon’s happiness is short-lived when the royal physician returns to tell her that the flower tea she’s been drinking causes infertility. So-woon asks why the Royal Infirmary would give her the tea, but the physician doesn’t know, only that So-woon was the only one of the king’s women given it.

The physician grows even more upset when she learns that So-woon has been drinking the tea for several months, as it’s known to cause sterility when taken for only a month. So-woon asks the physician not to let the king find out, as she doesn’t want to upset him when the court is finally stable.

Prince Jin-pyung has Minister Shin’s home searched, looking for a letter that the king sent to General Nurhachi, which Minister Shin intercepted from Minister Lee’s spy. Prince Jin-pyung thinks the king would never do that, but Minister Shin suggests that Minister Lee did it without his knowledge. He says that with this evidence, they can depose the king and Prince Jin-pyung can take his throne.

Prince Jin-pyung believes that Minister Shin is making it up, but then he rethinks that Minister Shin wouldn’t be so confident if it weren’t true. It’s true, but Hwa-dang has the letter, having taken it from her uncle’s house as he told her to do.

Ha Sun surprises So-woon in the library to tell her that her father will be reinstated. She offers tearful thanks, but she still looks sad, and Ha Sun asks why. So-woon changes the subject, but Ha Sun isn’t fooled. He says he forgot to tell Minister Lee something, but instead, he pulls Ae-young aside and asks her why So-woon is so pale.

He returns to the library a few minutes later, furious. He asks So-woon if she was ever going to tell him about the flower tea, then immediately feels bad when she starts sobbing as if her heart is breaking. He holds her and apologizes while she cries, and he swears to find out who did this and make them pay.

But So-woon says that’s why she didn’t tell him, and he realizes that she already knows exactly who did it. He gathers his guards and heads to the Royal Infirmary, bellowing for the royal physician. He orders the man to tell him who made him give the flower tea to the queen, and after a minute, the royal physician stammers that it was the queen dowager.

Ha Sun goes very still, then takes the box of flower tea from the physician and heads for the queen dowager’s quarters. Moo-young, recognizing a situation about to escalate, sends Eunuch Jo for Minister Lee.

Ha Sun finds the queen dowager in the courtyard and smashes the box of flower tea at her feet. She doesn’t react, but when he snarls that there are some things a human being doesn’t do, she snaps that if he were capable of thinking rationally, he wouldn’t forgive the queen for leaving the palace and coming back as she pleased.

Ha Sun asks why she hates So-woon so much, but the queen dowager says she doesn’t hate her, she hates her sin. Ha Sun tells her to at least pretend to be sorry, and the queen dowager asks if he can do the same. She asks if he can pretend to repent in front of her, her family, and his brother.

They find themselves at an impasse, so Ha Sun says he has no choice. He starts to say something, but Minister Lee runs over and asks him to calm down. Ha Sun asks why he’s stopping him if he knows what’s going on, and the queen dowager also wants to know what he was going to say.

Minister Lee begs him not to say it, and the queen dowager tells Ha Sun that since the queen can’t have children, he must depose her. Ha Sun yells that he’ll depose her first, and Minister Lee looks desperate, unsure how to regain control of the situation. The queen dowager invites Ha Sun to go ahead and try, and walks away with a triumphant grin all over her face.

In Ha Sun’s chambers, Minister Lee asks why he couldn’t control himself, as it was obvious the queen dowager was waiting for him to mention deposing her. He tells Ha Sun that he wanted to depose the queen dowager for Yi Heon’s sake, but her people would have rebelled and Yi Heon would have been the one harmed.

He reminds Ha Sun that he’s the one who stopped him, but Ha Sun says he didn’t know as much about the court then as he does now. Minister Lee says he needs evidence and witnesses to depose the queen dowager, and the court has to discuss it. He promises Ha Sun that once Lord Yoo is reinstated, he’ll focus on deposing the queen dowager.

The next day, Minister Lee travels to Lord Yoo’s cottage to bring him back to the palace. But when he arrives, he finds Lord Yoo dead, stabbed in the heart.

 
COMMENTS

As impressive as it was to watch Yeo Jin-goo play such extreme opposite characters as Yi Heon and Ha Sun, I’m most impressed by his acting ability when he’s Ha Sun pretending to be Yi Heon, and we got to see a lot of that in this episode. He’s just brilliant — he adopts the body language and vocal inflections of Yi Heon, but Ha Sun’s sanity remains in his eyes and you can see him thinking in there, where Yi Heon was just all reacting and fear and fury. I’m also impressed by how Ha Sun is changing from the meek and mild clown to a strong, almost frightening force in the palace. He’s no longer intimidated by the people in power, and he doesn’t hesitate to confront them. However, I’m concerned that his kingly “act” feels less like an act these days, and I just hope he knows where to stop, because he does have a temper like Yi Heon had and I’d hate to see him lose control.

It was satisfying to see Minister Shin getting what he deserved, but it was also difficult to watch Minister Shin be tricked and tortured. Yes, he’s committed horrible crimes, but he’s also not wrong about Ha Sun not being the true king. I feel similarly about Minister Lee but in the opposite direction — he’s a murderer, and even killed an innocent child, but he’s also a good man who truly loves his country. It begs the question of whether a crime is excusable when done for the right reason (interestingly, a conversation I recently had with friends, and we concluded that… it depends?). Even though he’s right about Ha Sun’s identity, Minister Shin’s attempt to reveal Ha Sun is made out of spite and revenge, and even after being condemned to death he’s still plotting a royal coup. And although Minister Lee has killed, he did it thinking that he was simply being loyal to his king, or doing the right thing for his country. Both are criminals, traitors and murderers, but it’s harder to condemn a man who has his heart in the right place.

I’ve been worried for a while that Ha Sun would let the power of being king corrupt him, and it feels like it’s finally happening. Yi-geom deserved to be punished for what he did to Dal-lae and who knows how many other young girls, but I would feel better about his sentence if Ha Sun hadn’t clearly enjoyed watching Yi-geom’s branding so much. And it also scares me that Minister Lee noticed Ha Sun relishing that moment — he poisoned Yi Heon when he got to the point that his power made him lose all perspective, so what will Minister Lee do if Ha Sun starts down that same path? For now Ha Sun admits that he wasn’t entirely comfortable after finally enacting his revenge, but he certainly has reason to go looking for more revenge, now that he knows the queen dowager deliberately ruined So-woon’s chances of ever having a baby. I’d like to think that Minister Lee would try to rehabilitate Ha Sun like he did with Yi Heon, but if he believes that Ha Sun is beyond help, will he kill him, too?

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So... there is a high possibility, that the rabbit watch company for this episode was more interesting than the actual episode and that I was not paying attention to anything that happened because I was too busy choking on an almond...
but! ... *The Crowned Clown Essay pending*

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... there’s a rabbit watch?

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There was yesterday for #13! There's one today in about 30 minutes for 14 which I can't join (alas I'm really sad) you should try join!

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I truly enjoyed this episode and I wish I had written my (long) reaction before continuing to episode 14. This was an episode of justice be served. We got the closures that we longed to see. We said goodbye to the risk factors that threatened Ha Sun’s cover. We saw Jingoo slay by acting as Ha Sun acting as Yi Heon. I’d say this is my second favorite episode after ep7. Unfortunately just like after 7 there was 8, after 13 there was 14.

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I watched all the episodes including ep 15 which i watched without sub (wow ep 15!! i had to keep myself from writing any spoilers here since this is still ep 13) . Wow the last few episodes are mind blowing. Its sad so woon had to know the painful truth of her sterility. Her painful sobs were really sad to watch. I loved ha suns fury. Yi geom getting punished was really satisfying even than seeing chi soo getting punished because we know chi soo was actually saying the truth here. Its so conflicting haha. Oh this drama. 😅

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I love how much Ha Sun cares for the Queen!

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I love it when the King is smart ass

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Oh I am so totally NOT conflicted about minister Shin actually saying the truth - it was beyond satisfying seeing him be defeated by his own weapons (lies and deceit). Bwahahahaha!

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I'm a violence wimp so I watched parts of this one through my fingers. It's still keeping me guessing.

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As sweet an innocent as Ha Seon is (or was, IDK), when he has a grudge, he holds on to it like crazy. I admit, I was terrified but excited at how Ha Seon acted this episode. Minister Lee's reactions nailed it home. His control over Ha Seon is slipping.

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I'll say it again. I'm scared of Ha Seon. I am ACTUALLY scared. I know what Yi Geum did was inhumane and horrible, but isn't his punishment a bit TOO much?
When they finally show scenes of him interacting with So Woon, Gab Soo and Dal Rae, when he's back to his sweet and gentle nature, I got to breathe easier.

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There's no satisfaction in me seeing Yi Geom punished mainly cuz of how Ha Seon is reacting to it. With glee. If it was up to (an alternate version of) me, I'd kick him in the crotch and make him kneel in front of Dal Rae and apologize.

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is it weird I'm not scared of him? Is it weird to say I felt nothing in those supposedly crazy clown scenes? Is it unfair of me to say I wish the lead up to vengeful Clown was better? I don't know- I just still can't seem to sink my teeth into the Clown, despite the acting. Like in theory crazy clown is as good as crazy king right? In theory. But in reality something is missing. I think it's just I can't really gel with the Clown as a character at all, and I don't really find his arc or "development" that interesting or impactful, even though I currently don't have a better idea for how they would've set up this vengeful Clown stuff. In theory also, I like unpredictable clown. So why is did this episode feel clumsy in it's execution to me... I don't know. Maybe I'll know by next Tuesday when I've thought about it more and written more on it.

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Idk but love how the clown character was developed. From the day one he showed signs of stubbornness, bravery, leadership, smartness and a little bit of temper and all those characteristics helped him when he became a king and they grew as well and kind of changed and shaped him for his new role.. He is a sweet guy but like yi heon he has many layers.

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@shaani
Unfortunately I have never seen the clown as layered, right from the very beginning, and as reiterated in my EP 7/8 write up (which I can link you if you haven't read it already), I have only every thought of him as cookie cutter hero material. Good for the sake of being good. Good so that you know everyone else is bad. Good so that you know who's supposed to be the hero and who you're supposed to root for.
I have only ever found his motivations to be stereotypical and skin deep and therefore predictable and boring.
He's an ideal of a hero not something I can sink my teeth into; a caricature not a character.

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Its okay to have different opinions. 😊 But i dont think ha sun a cookie cutter hero. Because of below things i saw.
1. Obviously he started loving being king because of so woon and also because of other good intentions as well. But so woon has about 50% or more part of it. So he literally stole another man's wife. He didn't really try to resist even he just kept wooing her. Hadn't she found out everything by herself she wouldn't even know. I don't think be planned to tell her. A cookie cutter hero won't do that. He'll be a noble idiot instead.
2. How he asked if "is he dead" when yi heon was lying unconscious. Yi heon is the king and he asked it from his officials. He was mad at king and he showed it without any hesitation. Although generally a sweet guy, his fury we saw from time to time and he is very prone to keep grudges and take revenge.
3. Ha sun is mostly like this rebellious young man who is filled with ideas about an ideal world (he realized this while being king) but still his take on that is through a lie which he supports as well. Quite far from being noble but like it for Joseon's sake 😅

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@shaani
Then why are there no consequences for his actions.
The adultery isn't even written as bad. It is literally ignored after that little "live for me" speech on the cliff top. Because now the king is dead it doesn't matter right?
You're right in that committing adultery is not a cookie cutter hero thing to do, but this show is still trying to force the Clown as Ultimate Good (and therefore as heroic) down our throats, no matter that the inconsistencies with that.
Even these things that supposedly give him layers, there's no consequences for that. Oh you comitted adultery? It's fine, the Queen, who also committed adultery, forgave you and apparently yourself, and the King is dead so it no longer matters because Clown = Good...
And it gets even worse in the next episode.
Also I could argue that revenge is fairly kdrama hero cookie cutter-ish. Every other hero seems to be driven by a revenge plot.
But I think at this point we'll just have to agree to disagree.

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Ignoring adultry is something in the plot. Commting adultry is something in the character. I dont think the drama is trying to show ha sun as the ultimate good character, rather i see it as the drama showing ha sun has good and bad qualities, or weaknesses but he is better in so many ways and actually can do something for the country and its people. He fell for the queen and he couldn't step side and try to pretend to ignore her as a cookie cutter hero would. He just went for it and its his weakness. He has quite a temper and he takes fast decisions when he is angry without thinking that might cause serious issues later on. The consequences are already happening because now his villans know who he is try to corner him and try to make him reveal himself (spoiler maybe for some) . If they get successful both ha sun and the queen will die. If they don't either they will keep ruling (if they aren't caught ), and or they might run away and live as commoners or something. Of course the drama would show ha sun as mostly good and able because he is the main character the protagonist and i don't think they want to portray him as somekind of anti-hero. But they didn't shy away from making ha sun fall in a forbidden love and because of this some people cant root for him as a hero and on them as a couple. Ha sun is good but he is certainly isnt the normal hero we see all the time at least for me. I would call dong yi a cookie cutter heroine. (cant think of heros right now like that) She was portraied as a fairy who will never make a mistake or who wont harm anyone in a wrong way even she was harmed by them. She also took revenge for her father and brother but in a virtuous way 😅

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@shaani
Oh it would have been so much better if they turned him an antihero. I’ll elaborate next recap.

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I think they already had one or two of them. Yi heon and lee kyu. Im not sure if i can call yi heon a hero but he definitely won some hearts.. ❤️They obviously wanted to show yi heon and ha sun as polar oppsites. 😊🎭

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I'm more afraid for Ha Seon than I'm afraid of him. I thought the punishment fit the crime as far as possible punishments. He's branded for all to see just as she probably feels marked forever. If anything, it's a lesser punishment than Ha Seon would like to give.

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Rape is a serious crime. Haksan even said the punishment for rape is death but the victim has to be above commoner state. How unfair is that? Yi geom got what he deserved. But haksan was probably worried that ha sun will fall out of favor of other nobles for punishing a noble's son. A lot of slave and lower class women might have been getting raped by nobles those days.

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I suppose I didn't catch that death was the sentence for rape. But cuz of these social class laws, the noblemen do it without having to think of consequences and that's just sick.

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A secondary consequence of yangban messing around with women of lower classes, even legal concubines, is the ceaseless production of half-yangban offspring who were legally barred from using their talents to serve the nation.

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Very good point on rape charges and how class influenced the outcome.
That's why Ha Sun had to be in a powerful position to ensure that he gets what he deserve.

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I personally felt Yi Geum deserved such a punishment. Dal Rae will have to live the rest of her life with what Yi Geum did to her and it's only fitting that he live the rest of his life paying for his crime. My fear is for Ha Sun's soul but I felt absolutely no pity for the rapist.

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@mysterious I'm with you that Yi Geum deserved what he got. (But I will admit I would have preferred he was castrated and that would have stopped him for good.)
Ha San is a good man, who happens to be learning how to use power appropriately.

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@stpauligurl You're right! Castration would have been even better. Stop the problem at the source.

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Yup, no pity. And yup, castration. Why didn't Ha Seon think of that, seems more appropriate.

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Perhaps so the perv could never get a job as a eunuch!

In the movie, there's a conversation between Ha Sun and Eunuch Jo on the subject of eunuchization and why any man in his right mind would willingly follow that career path.

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But atleast now yi geom has rapist written over his face for the reat of his life. 😅😅

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Another wonderful episode! I can't believe I'm finally watching saeguk after "Jewel in the Palace" :). Enjoying Yi-geum punishment, but a little bit too emotional when he gave a deep bow to his father. Well, isn't too soon for Chi-soo to die? Wondering how the secret letter he kept could save him....

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Im a huge fan of jewel in the palace. 😍

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I remember I was addicted to it... Would stay in the office back then to watch the serial because I didn't have TV at home... and the "Onara" kept ringing in my ears.. Because the serial was so good, I didn't realise if it has 54 episodes :)

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It was dubbed and telecasted in our country and almost everyone in the country went crazy for it. People would hurry home to watch it from work (it broadcasted from 6.30pm to 7.30pm) students from tutions classes were also like that. I was a high school student then and would literally ran home to watch it then. I watched the korean one as well parallaly online 🤣. Jang geum's picture was on all kinds of fliers and advertisements. Lot of girls were inspired to study medicine. I was inspired to cook though 😂

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it was dubbed in my country too, LoL. So I couldn't figure out Korean back then... :)). It was 5-6 PM in my country, LoL.

I usually watched it with my other co-workers, LoL. It's really a good serial who made us glued with our TV and inspired to cook... :). it was the first time I saw samgyetang (the name I knew years after), the one that Jang Geum served to the King.

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-Finally the action and plot movement are back! Man this was a powerful episode. I love how Ha Sun told his sister who he was with his performance. It was good to see the Shins get what they deserve but frightening to seek Ha Sun relishing it. I have high hopes though that Ha Sun won't turn out like Yi Heon because they are different through and through. Ha Sun just needs to keep a check on that temper and I'll think he'll be fine.
-I still don't know if I can completely trust Minister Lee. I think I can, and although I was very critical of his killing Yi Heon (and I still am), I think his intentions are good and not selfish like I thought. He still doesn't quite trust Ha Sun yet, but he was relieved that Ha Sun felt the weight of his revenge.
-The flower tea/infertility scenes were heartbreaking. You can tell that even though they technically aren't married, Ha Sun and So-woon really love each other and she really wanted to have his baby. I hope that there is some other tea or medicine that can reverse the damage cause they deserve a beautiful, chubby baby.
-On another note: why would Minister Shin keep Court Lady Kim alive? That was just stupid. And does CLK know that Ha Sun is an imposter? She seemed to have her doubts when she saw the scar (it probably looked different from Yi Heon's) and based on the disappearing wound in his ear. What did she tell the queen dowager? You can tell that the drama is far from over.

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I forgot that she told something to Queen Dowager!! And not only I wonder what it was about, but even why she gave some potential important information to a woman that wanted to kill her with food.

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I've read a theory that she may have told the Queen Dowager that Haseon has no scar hence he's a fake.

There's a scene in the original movie where the ministers check if the one in the throne is the real King and it turns out there's a scar, which tells the audience that the real King is back in the palace.

So maybe a similar scene will play out in the end where they will check Haseon's scar, and assuming Court Lady Kim told the Queen Dowager he doesn't have one, it will serve as the proof that Haseon is the "real" King after all.

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Thats a good theory actually. Getting back at the dowager queen for trying to poison her

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This could work!! (Even if I think that at the end - if no one dies - Ha-Seon and Soo-Woon will live as "normal" people outside the palace)

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@weaselking circulate9oo,
I love it! Court Lady Kim may be setting up the Queen Dowager the same way that Ha Sun set up Lord Shin. Maybe this was part of Haksan's plan from the very beginning. If it leads to the successful discrediting and dethronement of Daebi, Court Lady Kim might get a further reduction in flogging.

I loved how she dropped the suspect rice ball on the floor of her cell and trod upon it.

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Same here! I love how she pretended she's about to eat the rice ball then suddenly threw it on the ground and stomped on it. I just like her a lot, even if she's working for the villains. She's got this classy vibe going on about her.

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I really like that vibe about her.

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Yes i felt lady kim was doubtful about the scar in that earlier episode. It probably looked different than the actual one. A minister or any other official would not know the difference. But LK has seen it countless times.

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It was exhilarating to see the absurd flower tea/infertility subplot exposed but I've been long confused by this plot line. I got the impression that So Yoon was not having sex with Yi Heon. Did they even consummate their marriage?

The tea made her unwell but who knows if her fertility was truly affected because she wasn't actively trying to conceive. If we think of the tea as a form of ... ha! ... birth control, there's hope for So Yoon's fertility to normalize.

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At some point they will have to have a child. Whether so woon like it or not. She'll anyway be pressured to it. Dowager queen knows yi heons insecurity about being son of a concubine. So woon started having tea like from 3 months ago. it was around the same time when ha sun came in to the picture and as well and sent minister yoo into exile instead of beheading him, so according to Dowager queens view point so woon can get pregnant anytime because they seem to be getting close so she probably kept giving it to her. But i do hope it can be reversed.

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@tsutsuloo,

So-woon refused to sleep with her lawful husband, Yi Heon. Based on one of her reminiscences of their early days together, I got the impression that that had not always been the case, and was related to his personality changes owing to addiction. At one point, Yi Heon said something to her to the effect that everyone assumed he was avoiding her (and the concubines), when she was actually the one refusing him.

I think you're onto something with the idea of herbal birth control. The lady physician struck me as well-informed and sincere. I'm willing to bet my virtual copy of The Mirror of Eastern Medicine that if anyone could remedy the Queen's condition, it would be her. I have a feeling that acupuncture and detox will be involved. Off to the jjimjilbang to sweat out the poisons, Your Majesty. ;-)

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I can imagine Ha Seon lovingly cracking a hard boiled egg on his Queen's forehead.😜

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I'm imagining it right now and it's cute AF. ♥♥♥

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People always look at the woman first when infertility seems evident. What if Yi Heon was the one who was infertile? No one else seemed to have any of his children either so...? Idk, between the drugs and the flower tea who knows...?

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@nicnac74,

Yi Heon refused to have relations with any of his concubines because he himself was the product of such a pairing. He didn't want to inflict the same fate on his offspring (i.e., endless opposition from everyone at court because of his mother's original lowly status as a water maid). He wanted his Queen to bear his offspring, but she refused, apparently owing to the deleterious effects of addiction on his personality and behavior. Even though he was messed up, he didn't force the issue -- but finally came close. When he collapsed afterwards, Haksan spirited him out of the palace, and later euthanized him.

It frustrates me no end that yangban and royals alike jump the bones of any woman they desire -- and then blame the products of those matings for being half-caste bastards. The hypocrisy drives me out of my tree. Patriarchal good ole boys at their finest.

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The first 20 minutes of this episode were satisfaction! Even if we all know that Shin could cause troubles in the afterlife, too, so being in prison won't be a problem for him.
And I was taken aback when Ha Sun approved his beheading, I'm glad he felt weighted later.

There is no peace for the Queen... I feared a noble idiocy at this point, and was positively surprised that she remained with the King. I think the fertility problem will resolve somehow at the end, and that the show gave us some hints about how their life could be at the end.

So, poor Court Lady Kim was alive, after all, I believed she was already buried in Shin's garden...

The Queen Dowager always lands on her feet, and it's a certain mistake to dethrone her.

The show is surprisingly engaging even in its second half, for the first time I watched two episodes in a day.

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The Queen Dowager always lands on her feet

There is something of a feline quality to the treacherous Queen Dowager. I love her swagger and her Cheshire Cat grin. For all her sins, her rage and grief over her murdered father and child are absolutely understandable.

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Exactly! I was just thinking about a cat!
As I wrote in another post, I consider the QD as a semi-villain, because she lost her little child and doesn't know the real King is dead, so I can't hate her, even if it's hard watching when she hurts the Queen.

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I have no sympathy for the Queen Dowager. It was her scheming in the first place that resulted in her son's death. He was way too young to rule, and she was greedy for power as Queen Regent. The poor child ended up a dead pawn because that was the only way for Chief Royal Secretary Lee to thwart her ambition and protect the late king's legitimately-appointed Seja, Yi Heon. The Crown Prince wouldn't have gone off the deep end if myriad enemies at court weren't really trying to kill him.

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Agreed. It’s terrible that her son so young was murdered... no doubt but to say she is justified is... ugh. She had been manipulating things behind the scenes for awhile I’m sure and unfortunately her son was collateral damage. As we’ve learned no one is completely innocent at court.

I don’t think Min Lee was behind the Prince’s poisoning....Only because of something that happens later which I won’t get into here.

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I think she knows that the king is fake. She must have bigger plans for not revealing it.

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@kiara, I agree that she is cunning enough to be hatching something big. But aside from her being in cahoots with Prince Jinpyung, I can't see who else she may be plotting with. Is Lord Shin one of her minions after all?

One thing's for sure: Daebi knows how to wait for right timing to take action. I'm concerned that Ha Sun's reaction to learning that the Queen has been poisoned is exactly what she wanted.

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@kiara I see you know a lot, so I have a question, if I can: can we say that the Queen's behaviour is somewhat "modern", because, even if she knows that the King is fake and that she can't have children, she has chosen to keep her role as queen?

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@pakalanapikake

I think Queen Dowager can command her own followers whether Shin and Jinpyung are in cahoots with her or not.

She is the only royalty left with the power to install a new king. Being deposed by a fake king is irrelevant and no one will go against her if the issue with Ha Sun is being revealed.

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@kiara February 28, 2019 at 7:16 PM

That's a good point about Daebi's having followers of her own. I assume that they would primarily consist of members of her clan, some of whom may be military commanders. Oddly enough, we've never seen her meet with anyone other than Prince Jinpyung (have we?), which was why I thought he might be analogous to
Gwanghaegun's nephew and successor, Grand Prince Neungyang, the future King Injo. I might as well give up trying to make sense of this plot and who's who. It will send me off the rails.

Daebi, by virtue of her seniority within the royal family, indeed has the power to seat a new king on the throne. I'm not so certain that Ha Sun is really being exposed, however. I have a sneaking suspicion that Court Lady Kim may have told Daebi a whopper. The prisoner already knows that she's as good as dead despite faithfully doing Daebi's dirty work. But if she cooperates with Haksan and plays her cards right, she may get to live a while longer.

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@pakalanapikake

Prince Jinpyeong could be Injo or his father. He mentioned before that he has a son(s) so he is not the only one left from the royal line.
His father and brother were killed by Yi Heon's supporters so he does have a reason for seeking revenge like Queen Dowager.

I'm still not sure which side Court Lady Kim is on to be honest.
(We suspected earlier that she might be loosely based on Lady Kim Gaesi).
Gaesi played a part in the coup by the Western faction to bring down Gwanghae. The Western faction also supported the queen dowager and Gwanghae basically triggered the coup when he deposed her.

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@pakalanapikake I agree about the poisoning of the Queen. I know nothing about this historic period and court rules, but isn't the fact that the Queen can't have children a valid reason to dethrone her? That's what the QD wants.

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@carmen KarmenKDramaNaive
February 28, 2019 at 12:26 PM

Yes, my understanding is that a Queen's main task is to bear legitimate male heirs and spares to continue the royal line. If she doesn't do that, she gets her walking papers. Ha Sun's blunder in confronting Daebi over the flower tea poisoning was that it made the Queen's infertility medically-documented public knowledge. The fact that it had been purposely caused by Daebi's despicable actions is a separate issue. This isn't the first drama in which the fertility of royal consorts and concubines has been messed with.

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@carmen and @pakalanapikake

Maybe this drama has it's own rules? There is plenty of Joseon queens without any heir or children but weren't deposed for it. (Sukjong alone had 3 queens with no heir until Queen In-won adopted Prince Yeoning).
I doubt there was a way for them to know for sure if a queen was barren or not.

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Its not just because her infertility its just a contributing factor. The daebi manily stated the queen should be banished because she left the palace as she pleases and then came back, and then the infertility issue came up. Thats how i got it.

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@kiara February 28, 2019 at 7:31 PM
cc: @carmen KarmenKdramaNaive,

Ah, that's interesting about King Sukjong's three queens, so history is not as cut-and-dried as I have thought. You may be right about the drama having it's own rules -- although I'm beginning to think there are no rules at all. Har!

@shaani ShaRI brings up a good point about Daebi making a federal case out of the Queen leaving the palace. I think that she would have jumped on any pretext to stick it to her despised stepson.

If Daebi had known that Yi Heon's wife were leaving the palace to kill herself, she would have rolled out the red carpet.

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@kiara Infertility is just grounds to dethrone the queen. It doesn’t necessarily mean she committed a crime and must be disposed. Sometimes the queen “adopts” one of the king’s offspring to ward off the pressure. It really depends on whether the king wants her to remain head of his palace.

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@sph_7

I know infertility alone is ground for deposed and death for the queen. She is now part of a conspiracy for covering up the death of the real king and willing participate in this love affair with Ha Sun. She is as good as dead if found out.

I don't remember any Joseon king who deposed his queen because she couldn't have children.
Joseon queens were chosen from the most powerful aristocracy families like the Min clan and the Andong Kim clan to help support the king on the throne.
It's not up to the king alone to depose his queen unless she committed a crime.

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Queen Dowager is the more interesting character with a clear motivation. She doesn't hide her desire to seek revenge for her son.
She is one of the more interesting character in this show that keeps me entertained.

The deposing comes with no surprise if you kind of follow Gwanghae's story but the rest is up to the writers.

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@kiara, If the coup does follow Gwanghaegun's story, then I'd better batten the hatches.

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@pakalanapikake
I don't know what to think of it :).
I mean, Yi Heon and Ha Sun are both inspired by Gwanghae in some ways so I guess we might end up with 2 coups lol.
One in secret with Yi Heon and a real open coup at the end with Ha Sun?

I don't know. The one with the man power is Queen Dowager and the fact that she knows that he is a clown would justify a coup.

BUT, you never know what these writers will come up with if he is to be saved.

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Haseon's main characteristic right from the beginning is doing what he feels is right in the moment regardless of the consequences. Like when he broke all those jars of food when they didn't get paid for their performance. This trait is his strength and weakness at the same time.

He gained the favor of the people around him because he always fights for what he believes is right. But at the same time, because he is often motivated for always fighting for what he feels, he ends up neglecting that in order to keep the power of the King, he needs to be more wary of the politics that comes with being a King.

Doseungji has been used to ordering Haseon around, but now Haseon is slowly learning to be more independent in his position and is even using his current power to settle his personal conflicts, without consulting Doseungji first.

Haseon isn't just a mere clown anymore, that after breaking some jars he can just easily move to another town. He is now the King and the bigger gamble he makes, the bigger the consequence is.

Sowoon crying in front of Haseon when he finds out she is now infertile is so heartbreaking to watch. Lee Se Young really nailed that scene of someone trying to hold it in together but breaks down in front of the person you truly care for.

Haseon is a good leader for the people, but he is bad at handling the palace politics. He often lets his heart get in the way of resolving conflicts. Thankfully Doseungji was able to stop him in time when he went to confront the Queen Dowager.

I'm just really hoping for a happy ending for our OTP even if they end up having to leave the palace.

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I'm not one for violence but I had the same look on my face that Ha Sun did when Yi-geom got branded. He had more then that coming imo.

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Did I miss something? Adultery is being bandied about and I don’t remember any extramarital SEX occurring. Now, if you want to get into Christ’s teachings about it, you may have a leg to stand on... even if you get into the dictionary definition it wasn’t adultery. As far as I knew SoWoon had absolutely no clue that the man she was being affectionate with was not her husband. Which is why she was about to take the long fall over the cliff. She was ignorant to the fact that she was disloyal and to make it worse, she didn’t even get to mourn Yi Heon when he died. Granted, HaSun walked a very thin line by falling for her, yet I think even he knew sleeping with her wouldve been a d*ck move( no pun intended). Which is why he looked some type of way when she said she wanted to bear his child. It can be argued that they glossed over the fact that she willingly decided to go along with the ruse after her suicide attempt but audultery? I don’t know... Let the bashing begin, I guess..

Yeah, I’d look rather pleased too if the person who has escaped any real punishment for a crime against my family member got branded with the crime on his face. Not even sorry. He was an arrogant habitual rapist and everyone should know. Congrats to HaSun for creating the first sex offender registry.

Being a good man and being a great King is difficult but not impossible; being perfect is. HaSun is not going to get everything right. This is what Min. Lee was trying to get across very early on. Are you willing to get your hands dirty/bloody aaaaaaand/or abandon people sometimes?? Neither one of those are great options. Did he trick Min. Shin and thereby get him tortured and locked up for telling the truth? He sure did. To me it’s like catching a rat with peanut butter instead of cheese; gotta catch him using something. Oh and the irony of it all....
I’m gonna have to go back and watch but I seem to remember Min. Shin being there when Yul dies but it’s been 14 eps... so 🤷🏽‍♀️

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Did I miss something? Adultery is being bandied about and I don’t remember any extramarital SEX occurring. Now, if you want to get into Christ’s teachings about it, you may have a leg to stand on... even if you get into the dictionary definition it wasn’t adultery.

It was adultery based on Confusian teachings. In a society where she can be disposed of queenship or even beheaded for leaving the palace without her husband's approval, she didn't need to be caught naked in bed with someone to be considered an adultress. That's why she wanted to kill herself because her name and family legacy was tainted once she realized she has been enjoying skinship with a stranger for months and her heart has fallen for the fake king. That being said, she is not to blame, Ha Sun is. He in all consciousness seduced her while he thought the king was still alive, and then proposed love and eternal cohabitation to her after the king died knowing she has no legit way to become "available". A queen or concubine is not allowed to remarry after the death of her husband, so no, in their world she will never be single again.

Congrats to HaSun for creating the first sex offender registry.

He didn't create it. The fact that there was a branding iron that says rape (although the prop guy may have picked the wrong Han character -- "evil" and "rape" sounds the same) was readily available, suggests branding was one of the sentencing options besides death. He DID set precedence​ for sentencing a Yangban (aristocrat) for raping a Cheonmin (vulgar commoner), because cheonmins were not protected by laws and Yangbans were not punishable for some crimes (they can literally get away with murder).

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@geliguolu sph_7,

I agree with your about Ha Sun's being the cause of the Queen's moral dilemma. Given the rules they are both subject to, there's no way they can have a happy ending. Unless they are able to continue the charade and not get killed by enemies at court. They'll still be committing a sin, however.

Thanks for discussing the branding iron. I was wondering what the hanja characters actually said.

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The way this writer glorifies sinners, who knows? They may get a dream wedding at the end of the show.😅

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@geliguolu sph_7
February 28, 2019 at 9:44 PM

I fully concur with you about judging the Queen's actions and attitudes on the basis of the norms of her time. The formerly righteous Queen has become corrupted. (And boy, oh boy, do I feel conflicted about it.)

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Well technically she’s a widow now... I don’t know what The Confusion teaching is on that (Obviously😬☹️) but if your husband is dead is it still adultery?

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Since she is the queen, yes, still adultery by law.

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@nicnac74,
It wasn't until the first stage of the Gabo Reform was promulgated in 1894 that widows in Joseon were allowed to remarry. In the case of royal consorts and concubines, they could never remarry because of their personal relationship with the king.

The reality for women was that their entire lives were subject to men: first their fathers, then their husbands, and finally, their sons.

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But we are not from Joseon times so of course we can forgive so woon for that sin. She didn't know anyway until her actual husband died.

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Even as a widow she would be expected to remain faithful even after Yi Heon died. That's why widows weren't allowed to get married.

It was adultery before and after Yi Heon died.

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@shaani
I do not blame her for falling in love with Ha Sun not knowing he’s fake. Nor do I blame her for continuing to love him. However her decision to shield Ha Sun is problematic for her time. WE can can evaluate her actions in modern standards but her character should be judging matters in Jeoson standards. Since she chose to do so knowing it is a sin (in her time, place, and position) then she is no longer that righteous Queen that we started off with. Her promises to her husband the real king was poured out with the tea ceremony. I find it especially hard to sympathize her sadness for infertility since the son that she thinks she could bear for Ha Sun is not royalty. So did she think she will give him a Grand Prince that will inherit the country? She said she hoped a son will give him power so she definitely didn’t intend to leave the palace to start a family together as a vulgar commoners. These thoughts are treason and betrayal to her freshly deceased husband in effect.

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But what is royal blood!? Is it different from any other commoner's blood or a lower class man's blood? . Its just a standard those societies created. In the beginning someone was a leader and and gained followers, supporters and then his family kept being leaders thats how royal families were formed. Time to time these families even changed. Not just in joseon but in other countries as well. If they were heros and did good for its countrymen the history no longer cared how they initially started. If ha sun starts a new bloodline i see no difference as long as he is a good king to his people and take care of them. Thats the point of having a royal family after all, though the initial reason was clouded from greed, wealth and power. The only flaw i see is ha sun giving into his feelings and wooing so woon when yi heon was still alive which he shouldn't have done, anyway at least his feelings are true. But i have no idea if the drama will let ha sun to continue to rule or will send him to exile with so woon like gwanghae or kill them both. I appriciate that unpredictability. I watched ep 15 as well and in most historical dramas by this time we know how the last episode will end. But in here im not exactly sure.

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@shaani Royal blood is any blood but specifically it’s the blood of her late husband’s lineage, part of the Yi clan. Even if you put her in modern times, if Ha Sun stole some chaebol’s identity and takes his wife, she should make him come clean and not being thinking about having a son that will pose as the dead husband’s heir. It’s just wrong.

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While i do understand that it is wrong, At least in modern days they'd get a fair trail and if you see at it, only lee kyu will be a murderer as he killed yi heon and hid it from everyone. Ha sun will probably go to jail for deceiving haha. But in joseon times they will probably get beheaded. Like all of them. Its not like ha sun forcefully came and played as king. Yi heon himself put him in throne as his duplicate to die instead of him, then he treated everyone who is loyal to him like trash and got himself killed. If so woon committed a sin yi heon is much as a sinner for putting her in that situation. And even if she didn't love ha sun, he did so much for her and her father, so how can she turn him to authorities just like that knowing it will kill him. Thats why she probably wanted to kill herself, because of the guilt of commiting a sin and also since she knows she cant do anything about it. However i feel the drama made her infertile so she will not have a kid with ha sun. I feel like ha sun is a one woman kind of man so he probably won't have children with other concubines as well. Thus saving the bloodline of house of Yi. Maybe they will adopt a kid with royal blood or something if they managed to stay alive without getting caught. Jinpyong did mention he has a young son. It is a win win situation for both the drama and the yi clan. 😁

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Lol I didn’t mean that literally about the sex offender registry. Honestly, it was a joke that obviously didn’t land. Womp womp... agreed the fact that a branding iron was already available proves so.

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Correction; I rewatched ep. 1 and it doesn’t show who poisoned the prince. Is it in another ep?

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In the scene where Minister Lee poisons Yi Heon, there's a flashback that shows that he's the one who poisoned the little prince (on Yi Heon's orders).

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Its in ep 8. Yi heon mentioned it when he was dying. And then the flashback scene occurred.

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😱 Ooooooh ok. I’m going to be doing a rewatch anywhoodles so I’ll see it again lol. I guess I don’t want to believe he would actually be so cruel to a child when he was so torn up about killing Yi Heon.

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It's unlikely that we're going to see any canoodling between Ha Sun and the Queen, although it may happen off-screen. This is a prime-time sageuk rated 15, even if it is on cable (tvN). On the other hand, I could be wrong.

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At first ha sun was like an intern at his first job. He couldn't make a decision without consulting minister lee or taking advises from eunuch jo. But he was good at what he was natural at, like archery and mostly performing infront of a crowd. He is quite an extrovert. He was a clown, an actor, that helped him a lot i think to pull off playing the king (he literally played king as a clown as well ). He didn't have much stage forbia while another low class citizen might fall apart just glancing at the high ranking ministers infront of him. At first he always needed lee kyu but in the last episodes he was taking decisions on his own wit. Ha sun was able to keep himself together when minister shin caught him even though he did shake a bit haha. But then he pulled such a prank on minister shin and minister Lee didn't even know ha sun was going to pull minister shin's leg like that.

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@shaani ShaRi,

Describing Ha Sun as being like an intern when he first began impersonating Yi Heon is very apt.

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Part 1 of 2

Thanks for your recap of episode 13, @lollypip! Like you, I have a passel of mixed feelings.

On the one hand, Ha Sun has come perilously close to falling off the edge of a moral precipice in his handling of Shin Yi-geom's sentencing (not to mention romancing someone else's wife). This is the kind of treatment accorded slaves, if CHUNO is to be believed. So much for the convict's ever being able to marry, especially with that brand on his puss. This guy will never go on another date again. Ever. I'd like to feel that justice been served, but the clown's tiny smirk makes me think he enjoyed taking revenge on his sister's rapist a little too much.

On the other hand, Ha Sun is back in loose-cannon mode. I was ready to scream when he allowed Lord Shin into his chambers and proceeded to blow his own cover. Poor Eunuch Jo looked like he was about to keel over with worry. When it came to the shouting match with Daebi over her deliberate poisoning of the Queen, it really did seem that Ha Sun had gotten too big for his britches – and was outclassed by a true political animal.

I get frustrated every time I think back to how Yi Heon – and Haksan – refused to take the time to orient Ha Sun to the role they coerced him into. If only Haksan had clued him in to his plans to dethrone Daebi when he had garnered enough support. If only he had given him a solid grounding in strategy, tactics, and the workings of the court so he wouldn't make fatal errors. If only... there were more time and fewer bloodthirsty opponents.

While I am tickled to see how Ha Sun really did have a plan and set up Lord Shin to make an utter ranting fool of himself in front of the rest of the court, I am mystified as to why Shin was not convicted of treason. That would have killed two birds (him and his horrible son) with one stone, and permanently removed him as a dangerous antagonist. Why the heck was he sent off to jail for goodness knows how long – up to 2 weeks – until the sentence would be carried out at the end of the month? I've seen other dramas in which the execution was carried out immediately. This is nuts. Perhaps there's some kind of official due diligence that has to be carried out before someone of his status can be executed.

I'm concerned that, like a rattlesnake whose head has been chopped off, Lord Shin can still inflict a fatal bite even after he's gone. And that goes for his son. Sending an infuriated, disfigured exile to the far reaches of the realm instead of keeping him under close tabs at home was a dumb move. How much do you want to bet that Yi-gyeom will be in touch with the Ming envoy as soon as he gets to the northern border? Shin Sr. is a favored pet, or so we've been led to believe.

- Continued -

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What was I thinking? For all we know, the trial could have been on the first of the month, and Lord Shin could be in jail for nearly a month. That's plenty of time for him and his accomplices to wreak havoc.

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At about 34:00, that night after the trials, we see the waxing moon is nearing full. So at most Lord Shin would be in prison for 2-3 weeks before he's executed.

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Why the heck was he sent off to jail for goodness knows how long – up to 2 weeks – until the sentence would be carried out at the end of the month?

I don’t know if this is the case for Jeoson, but the Chinese dynasties have a tradition to execute prisoners at certain time of the year only and by Ming Dynasty it written law that execution happens after the autumn lunar months. This drama mention Ming laws on several occasions so they are likely waiting for the proper time to execute.

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@geliguolu sph_7,
Yes, I just read about spring and autumn execution dates in translator's notes for Nirvana in Fire, so this is plausible, especially as Ming Law was mentioned repeatedly in this episode. Thanks!

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Part 2 of 2

While watching Lord Shin's protests once the tables were turned, I was suddenly reminded very strongly of “I'm not a crook.” What a blast from the past.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sh163n1lJ4M
It just slayed me to hear Lord Shin ranting about his innocence after all the things he has done with such impunity. His accusations against Haksan and the King are so ludicrous, he sounds as if he's lost his marbles. It's delicious.

BTW, methinks the criminal that Lord Shin referred to earlier in his private conversation with Ha Sun was actually Haksan, not his own son. It was his intention to reveal to the court that Chief Royal Secretary Lee Gyu had replaced Yi Heon with an impostor and hoodwinked the lot of them. I don't think he much cared what happened to Yi-gyeom.

I had suspected that Court Lady Kim might still be alive, and was thrilled to see her arrive as a witness for the prosecution. That was satisfying. And yet, I still have misgivings. While it seems that she may have passed along a juicy secret to Daebi, I'm crossing my fingers that she's feeding her disinformation. At lease I'd like to hope so. But I still don't trust her. Even if she refuses to eat the fine prison cuisine, I have a feeling that she's going to end up dead as a doornail even before she gets flogged 40 times.

I felt a thimbleful of sympathy for concubine Sunhwadang when it was revealed that good ole Shin Samchoon had had her poisoned. Gotta love that plausible deniability so she wouldn't be accused. I'm sure it was to ensure she had every opportunity to get pregnant with Yi Heon's heir so Unc could carry out his nefarious long-rang plans. But it came as a terrible shock to her. I don't know why. He'd already told her early in the show that she is dispensable.

Why is it that the good guys always let themselves be outsmarted by the baddies? Poor Lord Yoo bought the farm because of crappy security. Why the heck didn't Haksan beef up his security detail with his own trusted guards before proposing that he be reinstated? He practically painted a bulls-eye on the Queen's dad.

-30-

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Girl... about Lord Yoo: I thought the same thing. Smh.

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The scene at the gibang that night after the Shin trials is an interesting one. We've never gotten much of Haksan's backstory, and even less of gisaeng Woon-shim's. They both know about Lord Gil's land tax reform, and Haksan knew him personally. I get the feeling that Woon-shim may have been a member of Lord Gil's household, and has known Haksan for many years. It would not surprise me if she were Gil's daughter, who would have become a slave after her father was framed as a traitor and executed. They may even have been engaged, but now that she is no longer an aristocrat, they cannot marry. That may account for why he does not have a family of his own, and she wishes to be close to him. If that is the case, the Chief Royal Secretary has made many personal sacrifices to make Lord Gil's tax reform a reality. I really wish we got to see more of what makes Haksan tick.

Another scene that caught my eye came as Ha Sun was leaving his private meeting with Gab-soo after the trial. At about 33:15, Haksan asked him how he felt.

“Only a day has passed, but it feels like a year, or even longer. I feel lighthearted, as if the heavy burden has been lifted off my chest. But I also feel weighed down at the same time.”

Haksan relied, “It's a relief to hear that.” He didn't elaborate when Ha Sun asked him to explain.

I suspect that the weight Ha Sun feels impinging on him may be that of duty to the throne. Or maybe his conscience, or both. And because he is capable of feeling it, Haksan knows that the clown still has the capacity to be a good king.

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Same thought about Haksan and Woon-shim's invisible background lol. I said almost the same thing around eps 6.

http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/01/the-crowned-clown-episode-6/#comments

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@kiara,

I wasn't reading the recaps back then (my big loss), but just took a gander. I see we're on the same page. I had noticed that Haksan resided at the gibang, but it took a while for the circumstantial evidence about him and Woon-shim to percolate. ;-)

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Continued from:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/03/team-dramabeans-what-were-watching-145/#comment-3418313

@kiara, @radlily, @lemoncello,

I recall a passing reference to the King having assigned Court Lady Kim to Yi Heon, but do not remember who said it. It could have been in a conversation between Secretary Lee and the doctor-monk. It gave me the impression that it was Daddy Dearest who tried to control Seja by getting him addicted, perhaps as a pretext for future dethronement. But with Minister Shin having infiltrated the palace with his own people, it's hard to tell exactly how that went down. For all we know, the late King ordered it, and Shin implemented it. It's really difficult to determine who was pulling which strings when. As you state, it was ultimately the Late King who set the whole shambles in motion.

The fact that the late King sickened and croaked too quickly to dethrone Yi Heon and invest his younger son as Seja makes me think he was bumped off by Shin, who by then had Yi Heon in thrall to the opium administered via incense by Court Lady Kim. Later we learned that Shin was trying to create a puppet king of his own by getting his niece appointed Yi Heon's concubine. The new King, even in the throes of addiction, refused to cooperate, for reasons of his own. In the mean time, Secretary Lee took matters into his own hands to thwart Daebi's scheming to replace Yi Heon with little Prince Yul.

It wasn't clear to me whether animosity existed between the Late King and his Queen. As long as he appointed her young son Seja, she would likely have waited for events to unfold. With his sudden demise, and Prince Jinpyung and Minister Shin jockeying for position, however, Daebi stepped up to the plate, and the skullduggery became murky indeed.

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