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My Country: The New Age: Episode 4

All that our heroes want is to survive this war and go home, but unfortunately, home offers no peace when the entire country is experiencing upheaval. Their friendship has suffered too much to be repaired, and their only other friend has seemingly disappeared. On top of everything else, a shocking secret will force one to ally with his worst enemy, and will send him into a more deadly situation than any battlefield.

 
EPISODE 4 RECAP

Sung-rok and Sun-ho lead a slaughter squad across the river, intending to kill what remains of the advance party. Sun-ho is shocked when, in the middle of the battle, he finds himself face-to-face with Hwi, who he’d assumed was dead.

Behind them, Sung-rok prepares to run his sword through Hwi… only for Sun-ho to shove Hwi aside. Sun-ho is impaled instead, and he holds Hwi’s gaze as he collapses into his old friend’s arms. He falls as Sung-rok assumes that Sun-ho and Hwi were working together.

Hwi snaps out of his stupor and slashes Sung-rok across the face. He keeps attacking, slashing Sung-rok over and over, until he finally slams his sword point-first into Sung-rok’s chest and ends it. He runs back to Sun-ho’s body and holds him, screaming in grief, while the only other survivors of the attack — Chi-do, Moon-bok, and Jung-beom — can only watch helplessly.

Somehow Sun-ho is alive, but Moon-bok isn’t interested in saving someone who came to kill them. Ever the voice of reason, Chi-do asks what Hwi will do if they save Sun-ho and end up with a huge burden. He says that Sun-ho is only a friend to Hwi and an assassin to the rest of them.

He gives Hwi a chance to change their minds or ask nicely, without throwing a fit. Hwi takes a deep breath then sinks to his knees, and asks Moon-bok respectfully to save Sun-ho’s life. Moon-bok is too softhearted to refuse, so he agrees to do what he can.

Hwi remembers back to his father’s death, when nobody would help him bury the body for fear of being tainted by the scandal — not even Lord Nam, his father’s supposed friend. Despite being a small boy, Hwi had dragged his father’s body all the way to his mother’s grave.

He’d tried to dig a grave with a garden spade, then his bare hands when the spade broke, but he’d passed out from exhaustion. When he woke, he’d found Sun-ho helping to dig the grave. He’d even brought a shroud and some nice clothes for Hwi to dress his father’s body in, and that was when their friendship had begun.

While being escorted to a safe place by Bang-won, General Yi’s wife and her two young sons are set upon by General Choi’s assassins. Bang-won and his man TR dispatch the assassins, then Bang-won tries to see Lady Kang’s injury, but she objects to his touching her without permission and slaps his hand away.

Bang-won sneers that he’ll never outdo his father, who has so many mistresses that he forgets who is a mistress and who is his mother. Lady Kang asks if Bang-won came just to humiliate her, but he says ominously that it’s because his father loves her the most.

Bang-won marvels at Hee-jae’s medicines as she treats Lady Kang’s injury, and she says that medicine is easily found in a gibang. But she says that she’s not a gisaeng just because she lived in a gibang, just as all of his brothers aren’t tigers.

The morning after the ambush, Hwi surveys the camp, which is full of his dead fellows and their attackers. Chi-do says that they should cross the river now, and Hwi sighs that he’s ready to go home.

On the opposite side, Lord Nam stares at the river all night long. In the morning he learns that General Yi and the troops have made it to Uiju citadel, and that General Choi and the king are hurrying to Gaegyeong, the capitol.

Lord Nam tells a lieutenant to stay behind, and if anyone crosses the river, to kill them all. The lieutenant asks about the slaughter squad, but Lord Nam claims he never sent a slaughter squad. As for his son… we don’t hear his answer.

Hwi piggybacks Sun-ho as he and the other three survivors leave camp. They appropriate the slaughter squad’s boat and head across the river, and Moon-bok wonders why their own army want to kill them. Chi-do warns them not to let their guard down — if they’re discovered, they won’t be allowed to live.

Lord Nam’s lieutenant and his men hide in a shed, but the approaching boat appears empty. They move in closer, and as soon as their leader steps a foot into the boat, Hwi shoots his leg from under a straw mat. He and Chi-do leap out of hiding, while Moon-bok and Jung-beom stab at the soldiers from the water.

Hwi shoots the lieutenant but leaves him alive. Chi-do asks whose order he’s acting on, and he gasps Lord Nam’s name, adding that Lord Nam’s order was to kill Sun-ho first if he’d survived.

Later, Hwi tells Moon-bok and Jung-beom to leave together, and he’ll go his own way. They argue that they have no way to travel, but Chi-do somehow locates four horses. Hwi decides to go to Uiju for medicine regardless of the danger of General Yi’s army, and the others follow him with varying degrees of reluctance.

At their former camp, Sung-rok wakes after having been left for dead. He burns the bodies of his men, then finds the sword that General Yi gave to Sun-ho. He makes it back across the river and finds the bloody mat Sun-ho was lying on, and he sends a message to General Yi by pigeon.

Hwi and company nearly give the elderly apothecary in Uiju a heart attack as they take over his shop. Moon-bok uses his instruments to open up Sun-ho’s wound, warning that if it’s infected, he’ll die. Hwi is visibly relieved when only blood runs out.

While tracking Hwi and the others, Sung-rok is joined by half a dozen soldiers in response to his message. He growls that he doesn’t need help, but he’s informed that General Yi sent them to make certain there are no survivors.

In Uiju, children run through the streets singing songs written in praise of General Yi that predict he will become king. Hwi hasn’t moved from Sun-ho’s side in two days, and they’re all still holed up in the apothecary’s shop when Sung-rok arrives in town.

Finally, Sun-ho regains consciousness and complains that Hwi fell asleep and woke him up by grinding his teeth, ha. Hwi says he’s lucky none of his internal organs were injured, and Sun-ho quips, “Whose fault is it that I got stabbed?” Recalling their old sparring bets, Sun-ho says that Hwi owes him about a hundred nyang for saving his life, and Hwi retorts that they’re even after he carried Sun-ho to safety.

Awkwardness settles over them, then Sun-ho says that he thought he had nothing to lose, and only later realized that he did have something — Hwi. He’s curious that Hwi hasn’t asked why he betrayed him and why he went to the front lines, but Hwi says sharply that they’ll talk later.

Sun-ho continues anyway, claiming that he bribed the examiner and had Hwi sent away. He says he went to the battlefront to kill the advance troops, but Hwi doesn’t believe him after Sun-ho saved his life.

Working up his courage, Hwi finally asks about Yeon. Sun-ho is about to answer when suddenly, flaming arrows rain down on the building and set everything on fire. Hwi screams, “Where is Yeon?!” and Sun-ho looks him right in the eye as he says that she’s dead.

Ignoring the fire, Hwi’s expression changes and he yanks Sun-ho to his feet. Sun-ho repeats that Yeon is dead, but in his mind, he hears Lord Nam telling him that he’ll kill anyone who discovers that she’s alive. Hwi says that he was planning to forgive Sun-ho for betraying him, but that he can’t forgive him for Yeon’s death.

He threatens to go to Lord Nam’s father, but Sun-ho looks terrified as he tells Hwi that he’ll die if he does. Hwi only growls, “You and I are no longer friends. We’ll be enemies if we ever cross paths again. And if that happens, I may kill you.”

Outside, Sung-rok is still sending arrows into the building, but eventually, an arrow shoots out and strikes down one of his men. A second arrow lands in Sung-rok’s shoulder, then Hwi gallops out from behind the building on his horse, followed by Moon-bok, Jung-beom, and Chi-do. They kill most of Sung-rok’s men and escape.

Sung-rok enters the burning building, where Sun-ho now sits alone, calmly strapping on his armor. He tells Sun-ho that General Yi doesn’t forgive failed warriors, so his choices are to kill Sun-ho or take his own life. He decides instead to take Sun-ho hostage and make a deal with Lord Nam for them both to get promotions.

Sun-ho sneers that Lord Nam doesn’t care about the slaughter squad any more than he did the advance troops, but Sung-rok can’t believe General Yi sent them to die. Sun-ho says that Sung-rok is too stupid to realize that General Yi deserted him, and that he’s just a tool General Yi is using to test Lord Nam’s loyalty.

Lord Nam is startled to hear from General Yi that Sun-ho survived the ambush and warns that his son would make the perfect hostage. General Yi offers to take care of both Sun-ho and Sung-rok, and for a guy who just ordered his son killed, Lord Nam looks awfully alarmed. General Yi tells Lord Nam to choose, his country or his child, and Lord Nam chooses his country.

Meanwhile, Sun-ho tells Sung-rok to accept that they’ve been abandoned. Sung-rok lowers his head, and Sun-ho suggests they join forces. Sung-rok bristles at the idea of serving Sun-ho, but Sun-ho vows to gain power: “If I cannot be the king, I will become the ruler of darkness.”

Hwi and his men ride through the forest the next day (Moon-bok is such a whiner, ha). Jung-beom hears a strange birdcall, then he notices spikes in the path, and the others draw their swords in unison. Jung-beom mimics the birdcall he heard, and suddenly, thieves swarm out of the forest to confront them.

Jung-beom tells their leader that he used to serve a famously brutal master, and that he’s the man who killed him. Convinced that they’re friends, the thieves escort the men to their little village, where their leader offers them a home-cooked meal. They all stare at the food, then Moon-bok bursts into tears, explaining that he hasn’t had a sit-down meal in ten years, aww.

Elsewhere, Hee-jae listens to little Bang-seok’s tummy growl from hunger as he sleeps. Bang-won stops her from leaving the cave they’re holed up in, and when the boys hear her mention the cherry and mulberry trees nearby, Bang-won just sneers that they’re spoiled.

He relents and allows Hee-jae fifteen minutes to forage, but General Choi’s men ride by while she’s out, so she drops the berries and runs back to the cave. They agree to split up and Lady Kang entrusts Bang-seok to Hee-jae, saying that they have to save at least one of the boys. She gives Hee-jae her dagger, telling her to use it if they’re captured… but not to fight.

While fleeing, Hee-jae and Bang-seok almost run directly into General Choi’s men, but Hee-jae hides them in the roots of a tree. She hears footsteps, so she pulls out Lady Kang’s dagger and tearfully begs Bang-seok to forgive her.

But just as she’s about to end his life, a hand stops her. Oh whew, it’s Bang-won’s other follower, Cheonga. The group gather together again, and Cheonga delivers the news that General Yi has overthrown the capital.

The leader of the thieves invites Hwi and the others to live in their village, since it shouldn’t matter to them if General Yi has overthrown the country. But that tidbit just makes them perk up with interest, and Hwi exchanges a loaded glance with Chi-do.

Bang-won and his party re-enter the capital and he sends Lady Kang and her sons home, then heads to the palace. Meanwhile, Lord Nam approaches General Yi in the now-empty throne room to report that the king and his family have been imprisoned, and that General Choi is being transferred to their location.

He says that the country now belongs to General Yi, but General Yi warns him that the royal family and the current regime are still in place and that such talk is rebellion. Lord Nam kneels and offers his sword for General Yi to kill him if that’s true, then states again, “This nation is now yours.”

He continues that he excelled in school and he defeated the Japanese raiders, but the only job he was offered was managing the Royal Stables, because he’d sworn loyalty to General Yi. He says that General Yi retreated from Wihwado to end the evil in the country, but that his reason is to create an entirely new country.

Lord Nam says that killing General Choi won’t be enough — they must kill the entire royal family and make a new world. He offers to be General Yi’s sword and General Yi accepts, though he warns Lord Nam to watch what he says.

Lord Nam runs into Bang-won outside the throne room. Bang-won predicts that a new country will be built and Lord Nam will be given an important role, but he warns Lord Nam not to forget that it was supposed to be Seo Geom at General Yi’s side. He croons, “Stand by me, and don’t dare to stand in front of me. The new country isn’t yours, it’s my father’s… and also mine.”

Bang-won rejoins his father, who orders him to kneel. He’s heard the way Bang-won spoke to Lord Nam, and growls that treating people according to their rank makes him lowly, as well. General Yi says that Lord Nam is important to their cause, but when Bang-won asks where he stands, General Yi says that it’s not the same because Bang-won is his blood.

Annoyed, Bang-won takes offense at being made to kneel and stands without permission. He says that all he wanted was to be praised, “Then I would have believed that you don’t think of me as one of your subjects.”

Hwi gets up in the middle of the night and starts to sneak away, but the other three guys are all awake (Moon-bok: “Even thieves say goodbye after robbing you blind…”). Hwi says he’s only going home and tells them they’re all welcome, and leaves them with his thanks for keeping him alive.

When he arrives at his house, it’s clear that nobody’s been there for quite some time, and there’s still blood on the corner of the table where Yeon hit her head the night Hwi was taken away. He finds the box where Yeon was keeping the too-big slippers he bought her, and they remind him of how she’d asked him not to exchange them. She’d wanted to live long enough to grow into them, and grief sends Hwi to his knees.

General Yi addresses the court ministers to say that he didn’t retreat from Wihwado for personal gain, but to stop the needless slaughter and save the court from its enemies. He’s asked to explain the rumor that he sent a slaughter squad to eliminate the advance party, and General Yi acts as though he’s just now learning that an advance party even existed.

Sun-ho unexpectedly enters the throne room, and kneels to General Yi. He reports that he killed the deserters, and even produces a list of names. General Yi tells Sun-ho to show them to the ministers accusing him of murdering the advance party, so he does, sneering that he was out there risking his life while they sat at home spreading rumors.

Later, Lord Nam lies to Sun-ho that he’s glad he’s home safe. He hugs Sun-ho, whose mouth twists angrily as he recalls the day that Lord Nam began to acknowledge him as his son. He was ordered to speak to his mother as a slave, and he wasn’t allowed to call Lord Nam “Father.” Lord Nam made it clear that Sun-ho was just a bastard son who would be branded and discarded if he disobeyed Lord Nam’s orders.

Sun-ho hadn’t wanted to go with Lord Nam, but his mother had pushed him away tearfully. Not long after, he’d found her body after she hung herself. In the present, Sun-ho tells Lord Nam, “Hwi will come for you.”

Hwi definitely has something planned, as he watches Lord Nam’s house until he returns home. He sneaks into the house and prepares to enter Lord Nam’s bedroom, but Lord Nam knows he’s there and invites him in. Hwi asks if he knew he was coming for him, and Lord Nam sighs that he’s the only one who would save Sun-ho.

Before Hwi can ask, Lord Nam preemptively says that he had Hwi sent to the military, but that the slaughter squad wasn’t formed specifically to kill him — they were sacrificed for the greater good. Hwi starts to draw his dagger, but a female voice calls out, and he freezes.

Yeon enters the room, but she walks past Hwi to serve Lord Nam tea. She finally looks at Hwi and greets him like he’s a stranger. We flash back to the days after Hwi was sent away and Yeon hit her head… Sun-ho had been relieved when she woke, but her head injury had caused her to lose her memories. Sun-ho had to tell her her own name and age, and about her father’s death and her epilepsy.

Lord Nam tells Hwi that Yeon hasn’t suffered another seizure since her accident. He asks why Hwi didn’t tell her who he is just now, seeming to enjoy Hwi’s anguish. He says that if Hwi kills him, he’ll be a fugitive, and to Yeon, he’ll just be a strange man who kidnapped her.

Hwi roars and slams his dagger into Lord Nam’s table, and he’s stunned again when he spots the stamp on Lord Nam’s book… the same stamp on the paper he found in his father’s armor. Lord Nam says he can give Yeon a good life, even help her make a good marriage, but Hwi says that Lord Nam is keeping her hostage.

Lord Nam offers to give Yeon a life of luxury in exchange for Hwi’s promise to do something for him. Hwi stumbles outside, where Yeon is waiting. She asks if they’ve met, and Hwi stifles his grief and says they haven’t. He asks Yeon if Lord Nam treats her well, and she says he’s like a father, so Hwi leaves. In the morning, Yeon finds a pair of embroidered shoes outside her room.

When he gets home, Hwi finds the paper that was in his father’s armor and confirms that one of the stamps is the same one he saw at Lord Nam’s home. His tears fall on the seemingly-blank paper, and marks begin to appear. Hwi wets the rest of the paper and reveals a hidden message.

He goes to Lord Nam’s home the next day, and Sun-ho stops him on the stairs, saying that Hwi is beneath him now so that’s where he belongs. He tells Hwi that he’ll deliver his father’s messages, and Hwi will be paid when the deal is final. Hwi continues up the steps and asks if Yeon is his payment, but Sun-ho just warns him not to back out of the deal or Yeon will suffer.

Hwi punches Sun-ho, who says that he’s not the one who failed to protect Yeon. Hwi calms himself and asks what Sun-ho wants from him. Sun-ho looks out over the city, where Bang-won is riding with his men, and he tells Hwi to look closely at the man who will steal the nation.

He orders Hwi to gain Bang-won’s trust, then kill him.

 
COMMENTS

Now I understand why Sun-ho said that Yeon died — he wasn’t lying, exactly, because the Yeon that Hwi raised is gone. Lord Nam is a brilliant bastard, using a sick child to manipulate another child, but if Hwi’s father was as strong and influential as I suspect, Lord Nam is probably terrified that Hwi will learn the truth and use it to gain power of his own. In fact, I don’t think it would be overstating the situation to say that Lord Nam orchestrated Seo Geom’s disgrace and death, and that he’s the reason the records don’t reflect that Seo Geom died honorably to spare his children’s honor. Lord Nam has probably spent the last decade or so making sure that Hwi doesn’t advance any further than a commoner, and that he’s been planning to make sure Hwi dies for quite some time. It’s just Hwi’s bad luck that Yeon ended up in Lord Nam’s clutches, because now he’s pretty much forced to do whatever Lord Nam wants to make sure Yeon doesn’t suffer.

Sun-ho continually confuses me, because I can’t figure out his feelings or motives. He was desperate for the approval of his father, so desperate that he was willing to sell off his only friend. I still think that he did the only thing he could do in that moment that would give Hwi a chance to live, and it worked. And I still believe that he loves Hwi, because even during the ambush, Sun-ho was willing to take a killing blow to save Hwi’s life. What I don’t really get is why he’s acting like such a jerk to Hwi now — yes, Hwi said they’re enemies now, but that was because Sun-ho lied that Yeon was dead. Is Sun-ho angry that Hwi didn’t kill Lord Nam? I don’t think this is a writing failure or anything… we’re seeing exactly what we’re supposed to see from Sun-ho, it’s just that he’s so good at hiding his true intentions.

Yi Bang-won is a pretty infamous character, having made a name for himself as a bloody prince who killed his way to the throne, yet who, as king, did many good things for the country during his reign. I love the way he’s being portrayed by Jang Hyuk here — he would have been only twenty-one at this point in history, yet he’s already quite menacing and obviously has his eye on the throne. We can already see the man who will eventually force his way onto the throne, and knowing that about him makes his current actions that much more ominous. Jang Hyuk is doing an amazing job, as is Kim Young-chul as General Yi… he’s perfectly projecting the strength of the man who had the guts to completely change his country, yet you can also see the weaknesses that will later prompt him to make important political decisions (not to get spoilery) based on grief, disillusionment, and sorrow.

I’ll admit that history isn’t my strong suit, and I have to do a lot of reading to understand historical sageuks like My Country. That’s usually my least favorite part of recapping a drama like this one, but in this case, I’m enjoying the way that my knowledge of future events almost looms over our leading characters, giving everything that happens a tinge of foreboding. Watching Hwi and Sun-ho navigate a political climate that wants them dead is fascinating, and that short flash-forward at the beginning of Episode 1 keeps me guessing and second-guessing everything they do in the “past” that we’re seeing now. At this point, I can’t imagine how forgiving, gentle Hwi ends up fighting for Yi Bang-won, or why Sun-ho seemed to be protecting the father who tried to have him killed. Showing a flash-forward at the top of a drama or movie, then flashing back and spending the rest of the show following the events leading up to that opening scene, is a fairly common storytelling technique, but I have rarely been so affected by that opening scene that it colors the entire way I watch the show from then on. Nicely done, Show.

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Quite hypocrite of Sun Ho to label Bang Won a thief who will still the country when they did the same...Kinda sad seeing how step by step Sun Ho will become more like the one he hates,his father even that arogancy...And he doesn't just hate him he also wants at the same time his acknowledgement...Quite curious what was in that secret letter that Hwi found left by Seo Geom and also i suspect that Bang Won admired Hwi's father and might know more of what happened then and it takes more and more shape that he was framed by Nam Jeon for his own desire to climb in status,now did it do it alone or he got others in power side with him as i still think Seogom downfall is connected with Hee Jae's Mother death and the info she had,also there are 3 stamps on the letter...I'm quite intrigued what Hwi will do and if he will really try to fool Bang Won or he will tell him the truth and play like a double spy fooling SunHo&Nam Jeon while gathering his own power to save his sister...Also ,can mister Immortal tell us his secret as Hwi twisted that sword into him and he walked out like nothing...It will be quite rewarding to see Nam Jeon fall down yet at the same time seeing how late his karma comes to him in the form of Hwi it is sad,he enjoyed power and glory for more like 10 years under Taejong so it does feel like he won somehow...Still consider that Hwi doesn't owe nothing to Sun Ho,more like the later one owns him his life...Hope Hwi will soon reunite and make his own badass band because those together are badass...Loved how Bang Won put Nam Jeon in his place and hope he will do it more!!!I confess i'm a bit sad Hee Jae will be on Nam Jeon side advising him...

Now,i'm soo in love with the general OST& BGM especially the awesome main OST!!!It is AMAZING and i just can't wait for it to be released,it has that FIGHTING factor!!!

Aside from this can't help but add: Woo Do Hwan's voice is soooooo soothing,i love it!!!!

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I hope Sun-ho's love for his mother and his friend is much stronger than his hatred for his father. If he is driven by revenge, I'm afraid it will eventually destroy him.

I think PD nim is not trying to create a villain vs hero with the young leads so I'm incline to give Sun-ho the benefit of the doubt.

Those scenes with Yi Bang-won/ Lord Nam and Yi Bang-won/Yi Seong-gye were my favorite. Holy charisma overload!

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Totally agree on Bang Won & Royal Dad scenes. They are indeed veterans. It's so effortless, yet effective.

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I think aside from his hate he has for his father yet i also think he wants him to acknowledge him it's his desire to have power and show that an illegitimate son as him can rise to the top like all the others and he will fight till the end for this vision and for the vision that he thinks will be under Yi Song Gye reign...That's why he would never join Bang Won and won't be a place for him in his country(not to mention the later one would never accept him and if given change kill in an instant)...Sun Ho seems to me quite power hungry driven an if he tastes it it will be hard to let go and live as a "nobody" ...I see more of anti-hero now on Sun Ho but his ways are more more cruel and sometimes makes u wonder if at the end was it worth it(Hwi has amazing resilience but how much pain can one take)...

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Yi Seong-gye reminds me of his own grandson, King Sejong the Great.
They both value talents over status and ranks.

I think General Yi's comments to Hwi about not caring about status stayed with Sun-ho.
If there is someone with power that would most likely change the course for illegitimate, low born/slave children like him, it would be Yi Seong-gye.
Bang-won is strict and would not allow it.

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Thank you so much for the recap. I'm trying something different. I am watching the drama without the subs (because Netflix subs are so annoying to me.) And I'm enjoying it. My husband says maybe I'll learn Korean. I don't know. But I am grateful for the sub, LollyPip!

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I tried that once....and only once. I need my subtitles, no matter how terrible.

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I’m not well versed in Korean so I don’t really know how bad the subtitles are. But I actually thought the dialogue was really good though. I like how they have witty exchanges and how characters sprinkle their sentences with quotes rich with double meaning.

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It's possible,that's how i learned korean and by that i mean i don't really need subs but just for the fine details or tehnical stuff,after countless of dramas i realized i actually understood and now i'm more cringe when i realize that the subs are translated wrong jajaj Now when a show i follow is out i go ASAP and DL the torrent and watch it without needing to wait hours for the subs

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thanks for the recap...i find this show/story/characters very engaging, the production sets are looking good, music too...due to its many episodes, i still haven't finished SFD but its interesting to watch this unrest between Lee Seong-gye and Lee Bang-won here...i mentioned earlier today elsewhere, i feel bad for both Hwi & Sun-ho...also, is it just me but has Jang Hyuk brought his particular laugh to his character of Lee Bang-won also...i thought i heard it...can't wait for newer episodes:-)

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i don't watch this show. i just came to say Woo Do Hwan is very good looking.

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Every time I see Woo Do Hwan - I feel things .

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Why was Sunho acting the way he did? If he had told Hwi that it was he who had saved Yeon, then their friendship might have survived. But he said she was dead, and Hwi couldn't forgive that. Here's my take on it: Sunho is filled with so much self-loathing at the moment that he feels compelled to make Hwi hate him, too. Sunho feels that he deserves that hatred for what he did, so he makes sure that he gets it.

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My understanding was that Sun-ho told Hwi that Yeon was dead because his father said anyone who found out about her would be killed. So he was trying to protect him, but it still felt rather harsh. After Hwi said their friendship was over he seems to have fully embraced the dark side rather quickly though.
He's definitely been rather conflicted between his friendship with Hwi and his overwhelming need for a power trip after being looked down upon by his father his whole life. Ultimately the later keeps trumping the former.
You make a good point about self-loathing. That could definitely be a factor.

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Sun Ho is a difficult one to read. I really want to pity him and be on his side, but he is making it reallu hard. I think he did self loath and that friendship with Hwi is important to him, but it is not as important as himself and his agenda. I think on one hand, he was trying to stop Hwi to see his father, but on the other hand he knew Hwi will go after his father if he told him his sister is dead. I think he is playing this situation to his advantage, which is why I can't really symphatize with him.

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I agree with @snowy.owl. I would also like to think that Sun Ho was trying to give himself a reason to justify his nonsense towards Hwi by telling him the half truth about Yeon. He really wanted to hear Hwi say “we are enemies” and his speech to Hwi was really emotionally manipulative to get that response. He is an utter moral coward. The thing about cowards is that they don’t just do the wrong things - they also do things that are very convienient .

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Sun Ho is also the type what would say the things he's done will be justified by the greater good...So in the end he will trump those who are in his way for what he wants...At least Nam Jeon is quite clear about his nature and doesn't go wishy washy...Like he did with Hwi,he sent him to the army knowing the chances to return are slim but he won't put his friend in the way of his desire...He tries to cling to Hwi and his idea of friendship but the reality is that his desires for power and other are much more stronger and would win him over...I guess in the end he might realize what he truly lost and would regret it or so i wish

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Sun-ho. I wanted to like you, but I have now lost all respect. It had already been in decline since episode 2, but using Yeon to threaten and control Hwi? That is very much not cool, dude. You’re so pretty on the outside, but you’re becoming rather ugly on the inside. I realize your father is kind of the worst but still....

Oh, and hi amnesia. It’s been a while. How have things been? Not that you would remember. Did not expect to see you here. I probably should have seen you coming, but you snuck up on me this time.

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Yet another stellar recap @lollypip - always love reading your thoughts.

I'm with you on the mystery that is Sun-ho. It feels like he's a bit of a foil to Hwi in that Hwi is very much emotionally driven - he wears his heart on his sleeve, he will do whatever he can for those closest to him even if it means death, he's almost naive in some respects. Sun-ho plays everything very close to the chest - he doesn't really let anyone in on what he's thinking, he seems to have no qualms manipulating others for the sake of the greater goal, and also has more of an understanding of power and politics.

He seems very conniving, and yet... I don't feel like his intent is as malicious as his father's. I think he's playing the game in order to maneuver into a position that lets him start changing some rules - something that can help him AND Hwi. I think Hwi means more to him than his father's approval, but Hwi is in a dangerous position and the only way Sun-ho can protect him is to keep him at arm's length.

... or not ... it's really too early to tell. But I'm super into this show either way.

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Woo Do Hwan is excellent in this role. I have never seen him in anything, so now I want to check more of his dramas. Any recommendations?

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Mad Dog is probably his breakout role. Skip Cruel Intentions. He had a small part in Man living in our house, but he was still engaging.

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Tempted/Great Seducer? Definitely a skip. He's also good in Save Me.

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Oh yeah, Tempted was the remake of Cruel intentions.

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Same here @Snow Flower.
I wanted this sageuk to be my first with Woo Do Hwan because it is my most favorite genre and it's the kind that opens my eyes,heart and sometimes brain. I pay more attention and not because I'm an expert in picking out talents.

If I love an actor or an actress in a sageuk, I most likely will love them forever.

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Mad Dog for sure. Good drama & cast.

LOL @ 'Cruel Intentions'. I suffered through this drama for WDH.

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And for Kim Min Jae.

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Like others recommand Mad Dog,his best role and a great drama if u like that genre and awesome OST...Save me as well is a gem and a memorable performance,i for one adored him in that one....Great Seducer had a lot of potential and great cast but was quite bad...
In movies he tends to be casted as a villain in case u wanna watch something short

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Save Me was the first time I'd seen him and he was so charismatic. In every your focus on him

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* in every scene your focus would be on him

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Indeed,i actually wanted him to get the girl even if i knew it won't be the case...

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Exactly! Taecyeon was good but not proactive, and definately without that dangerous edge Woo Do-won conveyed so well.

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Thanks for the recommendations, beanies!

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@Snow Flower,
I commented on MAD DOG in another thread:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2019/10/i-need-romance/#comment-3539750

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I’m with you on your theories. Even though I don’t like SunHo’s character and how his actions sometimes endangers the people he wishes to protect. But I will not write him off just yet and hope for a redemption arc for SunHo (hopefully not the sacrificial and morbid kind).

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Totally agree with this view. Sun Ho has some deep seated resentment issues with a lot of things . He actually wants to change it al, from within .

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I fully admit to Woo Do-hwan being my 2019 bias, but I would have liked Sun-ho anyway. In a situation where he has to navigate between his father and his best friend, he is trying to keep his position and some modicum of power to protect his best friend. Watching this episode, it's clear Sun-ho positions himself to be the villain when necessary, not because he wants to be. He tells Hwi Yeon is dead to protect them both from Nam Yeon, but then has to use Yeon as block to keep them both alive.

As always, the shifting dynamic between Hwi and Sun-ho continues to energize the story (although the burgeoning conflict between Bang-won and General Yi is all kinds of delicious).

One more thing: that low shot of Sun-ho giving his "Lord of Darkness" speech while flames engulf the ceiling? Gold. And that other scene of him slow-walking out of the burning building? Platinum.

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Preach.

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Spot on!

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That scene with him walking out of the burning building was epic - but I kept thinking he should have collapsed from the smoke.
just saying.....

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I'm not a fan of Jang Hyuk in modern dramas but I really like him in sageuks! He's really great in this role.

I love the team of Hwi! He really has the power to unify people around him. Nobody can resist him :p

His sister's story is so sad. Sun Ho saved her life but he couldn't protect her from his father. He always is between his father and the Seo's family.

Hee-jae proves herseld to the futur queen. She's smart.

I really like the balance between the politics, the action, the humor, the sad scenes, etc.

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About Sun-ho. I think sometimes we (I) want to be able to differentiate between "good" characters and "bad" characters. I like to be able to say, "this is how (s)he would act in this situation." But with Sun-ho, I (you) can't. Why? Because his back story. Honestly, how could anyone be consistently good or bad with a father like he had--a mother, who gave him up (I believe) hoping he would have a better life and doing the ultimate noble idiot action (killing herself?) Hwi and Yeon were the only ones on his side. And now Yeon's still on his side, but she doesn't remember why. So even though Sun-ho is driving me crazy with his "am I good? Am I bad" actions, it is completely within his character. And I have to accept it and just watch what happens. (It doesn't bode well for his survival in this drama. Crazies--or people with huge emotional difficulties usually wind up sacrificing themselves, OR getting hit by the truck of doom. (What would the truck of doom be in a sageuk? A horse of doom?)

AND speaking of horses. That is my biggest annoyance in this show. Do they still use trip ropes in Korean dramas to show that a horse has been shot with an arrow or cut with a sword. Every time a horse is knocked off their feet, it jolts me back into "this is a show. Are they hurting that horse?"

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What would the truck of doom be in a sageuk? A horse of doom?

The cliff of doom.

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Or for the fancy taste we could introduce the VIP Palanquin of Doom!

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Hahaha. I can't wait to see it in action!

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I've seen heroines almost run over by Oxcart of Doom too. (Was it in HWARANG? LOL).

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Oooh... I didn't watch that one. The most I've seen in saeguk is the horse of doom. I think there's one that is the bull of doom. Was it in Live Up to Your Name?

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The early scene of Hwi sparring with Sun-ho took place on the revered Cliff Of Non-Doom. ;-)

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The only one who ever survived the cliff of Doom was the baby of Empress Ki so not even those are made how it used to be,should be 100%...Yet again now Sun Ho has Mister Immortal as his sidekick so maybe he will share his secret after 10 years

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Both Gil-dong in REBEL and Prince #3 Wang Yo (Hong Jong-hyun) in MOON LOVERS survived their trips over the edge of the Cliff Of Non-Doom, which is how it earned its name in the recap threads. ;-)

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@pakalanapikake

I was about to mention REBELS lol.

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Let me correct that: Both Gil-dong and his sister survived jumping off the Cliff Of Non-Doom, and that was after orabeoni took a couple of arrows in the back. Wang Yo was also well ventilated. I'm beginning to think that leaping off COND automatically heals non-lethal arrow punctures. ;-)

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Horse Of Doom, as almost demonstrated by Wang So when he nearly ran down Hae-soo in the street in MOON LOVERS.

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I have a new theory about the opening scene. I do believe that Bang-won has a good heart and wants a good country (as history shows he did good things once he became king). I think that eventually, both Sun-ho and Hwi end up on the same side. The opening scene shows Hwi basically the captain of Bang-won’s army so we know he’s made himself useful there, and I believe that he believes in Bang-won’s future vision for the country or maybe that he’s going to end up on the throne anyway and needs to survive. We know that Sun-Ho hates his father, so it makes no sense that he would defending him, unless it’s really a coup in disguise and Sun-ho and Hwi are really working together, making Sun-Ho a traitor to the current king and his father. I firmly believe that he tells Hwi that he is not to kill Lord Nam because Sun-Ho means to do that deed. It’s all a farce, the battle between them the first episode, probably set up between the both of them (and maybe that’s why Hwi was late getting to Bang-won. (But I’m pretty sure Sun-Ho ends up dying anyways and I’ll end up crying a river.) And I’m pretty sure his father stole him from his mother. She probably had no choice in the matter, being a slave. I wouldn’t forgive him either, causing his mother to hang herself.

Do-Hwan is doing a stellar job showing the conflicted moral dilemma he wrestles with daily. I think he’s really just trying to keep everyone alive until he can be in control of his own destiny. He really loves Yeon (like his own self), you know he does, to protect her so diligently.

I’m interested to see the chemistry between Bang-won and Hwi eventually, and how the actors do that relationship justice. I’m really not that interested in the romance, keep them a part a little longer. I’m way more invested in the all the male relationships though. (I’m calling this THE UNTAMED” effect—which I’m watching concurrently. 😂)

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Doubt SunHo will live to see Bang Won's reign,the cards are against him since the start and from when he choose the side of Yi Song Gye....In those 10 years gap clearly he did many bloody things,killed countless and the most important he was trying to take down Bang Won,he won't live no matter what,i think we'll have to take the guess by who's hand he'll die...

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I'm already bracing myself for that because I, too, think he's not going to survive that last battle!

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This is a dramatic consequence that Moon Embracing The Sun used with the two brothers. I hope what you said carries out but I foresee Sun Ho dying. Hwi and Sun Ho are two suns and they can’t be two suns in the sky .

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@ally-le,
I've been suspecting the same thing: that Hwi and Sun-ho will ultimately collaborate to rid the world of Lord Nam and his minions. For all I know, Sun-ho could already be planning to double-cross his father and conspire with Lord Nam's rival Bang-won to accomplish it. I have a feeling that there is a lot going on below the surface in the scene of him siccing Hwi on Bang-won. Granted, he's only acting as Lord Nam's intermediary, but the fact that he is the one conveying orders to Hwi gives him an opening to set his own plans in motion.

It wouldn't surprise me if Sun-ho were equally angry about being used as an expendable pawn by General Yi to test his father's loyalty. I thought he had immense chutzpah to show up at court with the fake list of "deserters" to put an end to the rumors about the murder of the vanguard sent to Liaodong. Way to make the big boss (and himself) look good in front of all the critics and backbiters at court.

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Jeongmal gomawoyo @lollypip <3.
I'm not quite done with eps 3 yet. I blame @pakalanapikake digging up more historical stuff to talk about. I'm exhausted and we are not halfway yet lol.
(drags Pakalanapikake and her bows and quiver over to the new country)

I spotted an important historical figure in this episode but he is probably not going to be a big part of our story but he is still relevant for he was the head of Goryeo's Confucian scholars.

One of the Goryeo ministers who brought up the missing advance party is called Mogeun by Yi Seong-gye. His name is Yi Saek and Mogeun is his pen name.
It makes sense to me that he knew about the advance party because he was a Goryeo loyalist and someone that Choi Yeong would trust with the country's top secrets.

Yi Seong-gye tried to win Mogeun over by offering him the position of Prime Minister but he turned it down.

I think Mogeun would have supported a reformed Goryeo with Confucianism ideals and still give the people freedom to practice Buddhism and Taoism.
Instead, Joseon completely suppressed Buddhism even though it would have been a source of comfort for some even kings like the beloved Sejong the Great who went through so much behind close doors.

Yi Saek :
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Saek

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Interesting tidbit. Aww please keep yourself energized, we need our sageuk sages to take us through this journey *offers samgye-tang for a quick rejuvenation*

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Thank you, both of you, for the historical insight! I do appreciate it. I didn’t realize Buddhism was illegal in Goryeo/Joseon. I guess that explains a lot to me though. Where Confucianism has a focus on reincarnation (which we see echoed in so many kdramas), Buddhism sees people reaching enlightenment or Nirvana (which we never see acted out in these shows). Coming from a more Buddhist ancestral background and growing up with American entertainment with its Christian bent, when I started watching kdramas and saw all the Confucian themes (especially reincarnation), it was fascinating. And now, I know why that is.

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@ally-le

Goryeo's state religion was actually Buddhism but the state exam includes the teaching of Confucian. One has to pass the Confucian classics to become a high government official.
Yi Seong-gye kept his two eldest son with him in the battlefield but he wanted Bang-won to be a government official.
In earlier episodes, Yi Seong-gye mentioned that Bang-won was the first in his family to pass the state exam which is a big deal.

Buddhism, Confucianism and other religion co-existed during the Goryeo era. The founders of the new Joseon (Sambong especially) decided to change suppressed Buddhism in favor of Confucianism.

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Mentioning Sambong,quite curious if he will make a cameo or something as he was such a huge figure and was the one who designed The New Country...Curious as well if Nam Jeon's character is inspired by various real life personas molded into what we see now...

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I'm pretty sure Sambong won't make an appearance.
I agree with you that Nam Jeon's character is inspired by various historical figures all molded into one.

I don't think they have time to add more historical characters because the focus needs to be on the 3 young characters.

Casting Ahn Nae-sang for this role is spot on. I see Sambong, Nam Eun etc.

All the Goryeo loyalists were put to death and the last one was Mogeun (Yi Saek). It's probably why he made a cameo.

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Seems that Goryeo had more religious tolerance perhaps?

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Yes, something like that but it was about politics too. Buddhist shrines and temples owned a lot of land and supported Goryeo. So Sambong and Yi Seong Gye sought to destroy the power of the monks.

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Yi Seong-gye was a devout Buddhism his whole life so I think it's more Sambong blaming Buddhism for Goryeo's corruption and Yi just went along with it.

Sambong was probably more than happy to get rid of Mogeun too who would have tolerated religious freedom.

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Thanks for identifying "Mogeun" Yi Saek, @kiara. I wondered who the whitebeard was who was calling General Yi to task.

It is interesting to read that Mogeun introduced the teachings of Neo-Confucian sage Zhu Xi to Goryeo from Yuan. I wonder how different life in Neo-Confucian Joseon would have been had Mogeun's stance on the "Three Disciplines" (Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism) been officially adopted in the new regime.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zhu_Xi

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Thank you @pakalanapikake!
Are you officially moving to eps 4 or do we still need to finish up episode 3?

I started reading LAND OF SCHOLARS by Kang Jae-eun and it felt a bit biased towards Japan so I just used it to look up information on Korean scholars.

There is quite a bit of detail info on Mogeun and you won't be surprise to hear that Mogeun wasn't a fan of one of his student.
The rebellious Sambong who openly criticized the teachings of Zhu Xi and Mogeun himself.

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You're most welcome, @kiara.

Methinks that's it for ep. 3, Sunbae-nim. Unless someone summons me to beat the dead horse. ;-)

Thanks for that tidbit about the philosophical differences between Sambong and his teacher, Mogeun. So that's why Buddhism got the boot in Joseon.

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I feel like that we moved on without really diving into the state exam but maybe we'll save it for another Goryeo sageuk.

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@kiara @pakalanapike the state exam is a fascinating topic!

I was just reading this article. The final years of Goryeo saw many changes, including revising the state exam.

One thing I learned is that the exam was revised in 1344, replacing the one based on Chinese classics with Neo-Confucian interpretations of the classics (Zhu Xi maybe?) Thus Neo-Confucianism had gained more influence at court even before the Goryeo Wangs fell. I wonder if Mogeun was involved in revising the exam?

https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Gwageo#cite_note-16

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@wishfultokiOctober 22, 2019 at 8:16 PM, @kiara

Thank you for that pointer to the background on the gwageo (civil service exams). Some of the gwageo may have started out being open to the lower social classes, but the haves found their ways of denigrating them and then hogging the most prestigious qualifying exams for themselves. And even then, cheating eventually became the order of the day. No wonder Goryeo and Joseon became so corrupt. Human nature trumps education and merit exams by a mile. Just look at Lord Nam.

I was puzzled by this statement:

"... the government forbid many of the candidates from Hamgyong to take the gwageo."

Why were they discriminated against? Was Hamgyong a traditional stronghold of anti-royalists?

One item that caught my eye was the connection with Silla and the bone rank system that was a feature of its highly-stratified society. It's interesting that even back in Unified Silla, yangban hamstrung by their hereditary bone rank resorted to studying Confucianism as a means of potentially increasing their upward mobility. Others "turned to careers in Buddhism." (I'm not sure what that means. They became clergy, teachers, or scribes? Painters of religious iconography?) Confucian scholarship and its variants carried over into Goryeo, and later, Joseon.
https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Bone_rank_system

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@wishfultoki, @pakalanapikake

Sorry I'm late to the party. I had to read more on Mogeun.
Thank you for picking up the state exam and running with it :).

I wasn't sure what was involved in the state exam at this point. Blame Yeon the bookworm of the show for making me curious.
Eps 1 (47.25) (Yeon and Hwi's conversation about the state exam).
Hwi said that the exams includes the 4 books and 5 classics, 7 military classics, elementary learning etc. (*sigh* why did he stop? We need to know all).

Toki, thank you for the link! According to the LAND of SCHOLARS Yi saek was studying at the Imperial University of Bejing ( Yuan at the time) from 1348 -1352. He took the civil service exam and passed with top scores.
I guess he wouldn't have been involved in the 1344 revision.

In 1361 King Gongmin appointed Mogeun as Pangaeseong (判開城) and as Chancellor of Sungkyunkwan after rebuilding Sungkyunkwan due to the destruction from the Red Turban invasion of the capital.
So, Mogeun was now the headmaster of Goryeo's top educational institution and also in-charge of the capital's education.
The Four Books and Five Confucian Classics was instituted into the program so that's what Hwi was talking about.
(continue...)

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@wishfultoki, @pakalanapikake

Mogeun would be involved in revising the exams and promoting the teaching of Master Zhu then from 1361 and onward.

His loyalty to his country caused him to oppose Yi Seong-gye's seizing of power. Sadly he was implicated in treasonous activities and died with his 2 sons.

Mogeun wasn't considered a purist since he didn't denounce Buddhism and other religion so most of his works were excluded from the history books.
(Sambong got a taste of his own medicine later with Bang-won).

The Five Classics and Four Books were the basis of the civil examination in imperial China and can be considered the Confucian canon. The Five Classics consists of the Book of Odes, Book of Documents, Book of Changes, Book of Rites, and the Spring and Autumn Annals.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_Books_and_Five_Classics
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Military_Classics.
I don't know if Goryeo was following it to a tee. They must have their own version of military exams.
The Seven Military Classics (武經七書)
was temporarily excluded from Goryeo's civil exams but I believe Yi Seong-gye adopted it for his new country.

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@wishfultoki, @pakalanapikake

I was puzzled by this statement:
"... the government forbid many of the candidates from Hamgyong to take the gwageo."

@Paka, this is my own opinion so take it with a bag of salt :).
Continuing where we left off with Mogeun not being a Confucianism purist I'd say that Joseon was obsessed with being a purist.
Hamgyong was located at the Northeastern frontier. They had their own dialect (that would be today's North Korean dialect I guess). On the opposite side of the frontier was being settled by the Jurchen soldiers and refugees (the earlier battle with the advance troops at the Amok river were with these Jurchen soldiers) and some were Goryeo people who deserted their land due the unfair taxes etc.
When Yi Seong-gye became king he allowed these people to become Joseon citizens so that particular area became a mixed race.
So, I think that's why they were discriminated against because they were not Joseon purists.

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@kiara October 23, 2019 at 12:51 PM

cc: @lollypip, @wishfultoki, @ally-le, @ndlessjoie

Thank your for your reply about discrimination against Hamgyong residents with relation to taking the gwageo. I had kind of suspected that it might have something to do with the presence of Jurchens from across the Amnok River. At one time those northeastern lands had been part of Goguryeo and Buyeo. Which doesn't seem to have mattered much to the founders of Joseon.

Oh, wait! I just recalled posting some research on Orangkae and Jurchens and their Manchu descendants in the DIY pseudo-recaps for GRAND PRINCE. They are long (in 5 parts), but germane to MY COUNTRY, especially in light of your comments on the Jurchens on the Liaodong Peninsula. Part 4 specifically notes the Jurchens had been settled there by Ming.

Many thanks to @marcusnyc20 bong-soo for posing the original question that sent me off on this line of inquiry. I'm glad to see it's useful in another sageuk. ;-)

Re: Orangkae, perjorative Korean term for Jurchens

Part 1:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2017/11/yoon-shi-yoon-offered-historical-melodrama-grand-prince/comment-page-2/#comment-3232607

Part 2:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2017/11/yoon-shi-yoon-offered-historical-melodrama-grand-prince/comment-page-2/#comment-3232610

Part 3:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2017/11/yoon-shi-yoon-offered-historical-melodrama-grand-prince/comment-page-2/#comment-3232611

Part 4:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2017/11/yoon-shi-yoon-offered-historical-melodrama-grand-prince/comment-page-2/#comment-3232613

Part 5:
http://www.dramabeans.com/2017/11/yoon-shi-yoon-offered-historical-melodrama-grand-prince/comment-page-2/#comment-3232615

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@kiara, @wishfultoki,

Holy moly, Chingus, you really did it this time. Your fascinating posts on Mogeun and the Goryeo and Joseon gwageo exams with their inclusion of Confucian and Neo-Confucian scholarship shook loose the cobwebs and reminded me of some excellent English-language resources such as translations of Chinese classical literature and an overview of Zhu Xi's Neo-Confucian thought. The URLs have changed since I first came across them in 2017 because the author has retired since then, but I'm overjoyed to report that they have been moved to new sites. They have been helpful to me, especially because they also include Mohism, a contemporaneous philosophy that competed with Confucianism. Had Mohism prevailed, it's possible that characters such as Hwi and Sun-ho would not have led such painfully stunted lives.

I've posted links on my fan wall to the philosophical material on Mohism and info on the Mohe aka Malgal people, another ethnic group that relates to the Jurchens.

Mohism vs. Confucianism
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/910249/
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/910249/#acomment-910256

Mohe / Malgal people
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/910215/

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I'm thankful to everyone who decided Woo Do Hwan and Jang Hyuk would be good in a drama together. Yang Se Jong is a bonus. This may be the first real sageuk I make it all the way through even though I'm sure many tears will be shed.

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I'm actually in heavens for this Yan Se Jong/ Woo Do Hwan combo as they were seen years ago as the friendly "rivals",the promising new actors like how it was years years back between Kim So Hyun/Kim Yoo Jung(with people taking sides who they liked better,what drams were better or both at the same time)that was somehow the image between them and always wished to see them both in one drama and then seen the casting enws and i was HIGH!!!

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I’m so intrigued with what BangWon told NamJeon in that last scene about SeoGeom. There is definitely something that implicates NamJeon to SeoGeom’s death and BangWon knows about it. I can’t wait for that puzzle piece to be revealed to Hwi and to have them form an alliance.

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Sun-ho sending Hwi on a mission to earn Bang-won's trust is a total blessing for Hwi and Bang-won 👏.
I've speculated earlier that Seo Geom and Bang-won might have a personal connection, like as teacher and student of some kind. Perhaps archery or martial art since he was a military leader.
Bang-won would be the key to unlocking the mystery between Seo Geom and Lord Nam. Win win for team Hwi-Bang.

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I'm waiting from Bang Won to know Hwi is Seogeom's son and what his reaction to that,i think it will tell as a lot...Also like u mentioned ,Sun-ho's plan will totally backfire on them even more when Hwi knows Bang Won deslikes Nam Jeon...I'm curious if Hwi would tell Bang Won his motivations and play the double spy fooling Sun Ho and Nam Jeon till the right moment to strike...My guess from the conversation is that Nam Jeon somehow made Seo Geom a traitor and took his position(curious if theya s well were friends) but i'm curious if he did it alone or were more into this wicked plan..I guess we'll know when we find out the content of the secret letter

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Thank you for the recap, LollyPip.

I agree with you, Seon-ho is a bit of a mystery to me, he isn't easy to read and is good at hiding his emotions, though I would say he is very much conflicted with his own self right now. I think he's willingly becoming the bad guy because he wants to protect his friends, yes he's using Yeon to keep Hwi by his side but that's because he knows if Hwi chooses the other side he'll most probably end up dead, knowing how his father will do anything to remove those who stand in his way!

Protecting his friends isn't his only reason, he craves power and knows that power is the only way by which he could bring his father down, he definitely resents that person, he'd abandoned him, left him behind to die and lied about it, I think he wants revenge and it would be smarter for him to take Yi Bang-won's side if he wants to win that fight instead of standing against him!

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Sun Ho isn't the only one feeling conflicted with himself. I am too. On one hand, I hope he goes all evil, cuz the best villains are those who are ambitious and are not sorry to be the evil (ala Mishil). On the other hand, I don't want his relationship with Hwi to end with bloodbath. Here I hope the drama make Dad as the big bad and somehow make my Sun Ho-Hwi ship sails in the end!

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I kind of want him to stay that conflicted for the longest time, for my own entertainment (Yes, I'm evil like that). No, really though, I don't want him to be pure evil, I want him to be the one wanting to do good but be able to achieve it only by doing bad things, his intentions to be noble but his ways ruthless and bloody! I think that way I could maybe forgive him at the end!

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Ah... the worst kind of villain/antihero for me (see Tagon from Arthdal). I won't be able to forgive if his way is bloody. Ruthless... mayyyyybe. Actions speak louder than intentions, imho

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I can see why Seon ho keeps it close to the chest, especially regarding Hwi. Hwi is reckless and not only doesn't think before but doesn't after. He is now now now person and does not have the patience, intelligence or mindset to play the long game and that can lead to problems with the people around him.

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Thank you for the recap, @lollypip 😘😘

Lord Nam continues to be the Worst Dad of the Century, Hwi continues to be impulsive, unlike Sun Ho, who continues to be calculating.

I think Sun Ho told Hwi about Yeon because, yes, in a way, just like @lollypip said, she is dead and not the Yeon that everyone knew from before. At the same time, knowing Hwi, Sun Ho knows he’d keep himself alive—no matter what— until he could reach his goal which is to get his revenge on Lord Nam for Yeon. So even if it means keeping Hwi alive in that sense— filled with hatred for Lord Nam and himself— Sun Ho still sees it as good, because he’s physically keeping Hwi alive. At the same time, he told Lord Nam about Hwi, possibly as a last-hitch effort to gain approval from Daddy Dearest, like, “Heyyy ~ I literally just saved your life. I think I deserve to be treated more than just your b****** son.”
The only thing I’m not so sure about Sun Ho anymore is what he wants for himself, because all and anything he’s ever wanted is now gone (Hwi’s friendship, Daddy’s approval, and maybe a certain amount of power just to change his status in society & in the eyes of Hee Jae) or was never his to begin with (Hee Jae’s heart) 🤔🤔🤔

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I think Sun-ho needs to keep his distance from Hee-jae. She is not a friend, she is all about Hwi. If she tries to give him a bit of confidence she'll eventually follow it up with a low blow comment and not even in a joking way.

Argh I loathe love triangles.

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Yea, I agree. I feel like she will either be the cause/reason for one (if not both 😱😱😱) of the men’s death (the scene at the top of the drama was just ‘in media res’—literary Latin term meaning “in the midst of thing”— and I actually believe that isn’t the beginning of the ending just yet, but that there will still be more once we’re all caught up) seeing how both men actually act upon their emotions quite a bit—one is more impulsive than the other— which actually doesn’t help 😰😰

This is Kdramas for ya... Unnecessary love lines and even more unnecessary love triangles

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I actually like her straightforwardness in the feeling department and does not give a pinch of false hope for Sun Ho by leading him on or using/manipulating him. I do find her total devotion for Hwi a little sudden and hard to believe, but hey, if the drama wants me to roll with it, I will.

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"I do find her total devotion for Hwi a little sudden and hard to believe, but hey, if the drama wants me to roll with it, I will."

THANK YOU !!!

And now that is all her character is and that is BS. Big fail on this dramas part.

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Well, I think there's more to her character than that as I don't think this drama is focusing on romance. She approached Lady Kang on purpose and now seems to be on the opposite side of Hwi. We'll see.

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There's just so much to say about woo do hwan's character. He's quite complex and on quick inspection might appear cold and calculating but with closer look you discover he is quite warm and caring. He tends to say the exact opposite of how he feels and when asked bluntly will say the opposite from truth or opposite from what you'd expect him to say. One might brush his answers as said out of spite or might've been done to not give you the satisfaction of hearing what you wanted to hear, but when you think about it later his actions actually made sense, and we're done because he cares. Ugh.

I'm actually worried about what might happen to seonho in the future, because characters like these have the tendency to become sacrificial in the future. He might come to some noble conclusion later that in order to atone for his 'sins' he needs to give up his life. I mean I just don't want him to die😭

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You’ve said this well. He’s not a coward or cold in my eyes, but he is calculating. He loves Hwi and Yeon dearly, but says the exact opposite to keep them alive. He has a healthy bit of a revenge streak, though, so that’s what is driving him. I think he’s more driven by revenge than love, which makes him harder to gauge. I do think the tack he’s taking is wrong, though, not telling Hwi his plans of killing Lord Nam from the beginning. (That’s what I’m convinced his end game is.)

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Thanks @lollypip for the recap . Really well done and helped make things fall in place . Beanies- what were your favourite moments in this jam packed episode ? I think this is the best episode yet ! Loved the scene between Yi Bang Won and Lord Nam (actually Lord Nam’s scenes were spectacular, him hugging Sun Ho was so infuriating)

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How about that baptism of fire of Sun Ho ? Ahmaaazing. I must commend the writing of My Country because the character portraits and depiction is stunning

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I don’t agree with Sun Ho but I totally understand him. My beef is actually with Hee Jae and her conceited sense of independence and high brow tendencies.

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All this sageuk expert. Thank you for explaining thinks. I just in aw of the acting and the directing throughout this show. But seriously, I'm clueless af when it comes historical. I still don't understand Seun Ho's motive. But I think he himself is confused where he stand. He is just stand what led him to survive, and if it's the expense to not befriend with his friend, so be it. Hwi is still clueless and naive surrounded by people full of mind games.

I still think the process from friend to frenemies between Hwi and Seun Ho is contrived and sudden, though it makes sense.

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This show kind of reminds me of the Princess' Man (not only because Kim Yu Chul is in here playing another king) with how they tied the conflict of the fictional characters of Sun-Ho and Hwi to the political backdrop of the show. Though I think Princess' Man has a much tighter writing/story overall and a much compelling conflict, I like the characters in here, Sun-Ho in particular. Maybe because he is more grey than clear-cut evil. He may be driven by selfish desires, but his aspirations are much bigger and bolder than that of Hwi. He wants to overturn a highly hierarchical and stratified society and he's willing to play the game just to be able to do that. And he has all the reason not to like Bang-Won.

It will be interesting to see him go from grey to black (so to speak) as he goes deeper into the pit.

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I love PRINCESS' MAN! Kim Yeong-cheol and Moon Chae-won were my biggest draw.
Portraying the more controversial monarchs is Kim Yeong-cheol's bread and butter especially with King Sejo and King Taejong (Bang-won) twice.
I watched him in EMPEROR WANG GUN for the first time and he was portraying King Gung Ye. He just stood out and he wasn't even the lead actor. I have been a fan ever since and I'm very happy that his career is still thriving at his age.

"He wants to overturn a highly hierarchical and stratified society and he's willing to play the game just to be able to do that.."

This!
Sun-ho has been bullied all his life as the bastard son of a noble man and a slave even by his own father.
I would have to agree that he is determine to do something about it. It's probably first in his agenda over protecting Hwi and Yeon.

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From his character description:
"Woo Do-hwan is an illegitimate son of a noble who’s eager to fight for Yi Seong-gye in order to see the birth of a new kingdom where birth status won’t matter."

It makes the most sense that this is what he's fighting for. That's the best revenge for his lowly mother.
Joseon's history may not be on his side but at least he paved the way for people like him to keep fighting for equality.

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Thanks for the recap @lollypip! That whole throne room scene between Yi Seong Gye and Bang Won, and then Bang Won hissing at Nam was superb. 👏🏻👏🏻

On Sun-Ho: I’m also confused about Sun-ho’s motivations. I think he’s also confused. He saved Yeon, treats her like a sister, and he’s also willing to protect her from Lord Nam... but on the other hand he separated her from her brother and is holding her hostage to make Hwi collaborate. In his mind maybe his good actions outweigh the bad? Of course that’s the way he is going down the slippery slope and becoming like his father.

On Sung-rok: he’s some kind of immortal Jurchen warrior. How he could survive from being impaled by Hwi baffles me. I guess since Sun-Ho decided to become “The Prince of Darkness” (*cue flames*) he needs a devilish sidekick who’s impossible to kill.

The letter must have been top secret Yi family business for it to be written in invisible ink! I was so disappointed to not be able to learn the contents. Were we supposed to and just didn’t get subtitles? I’m dying of curiosity show!

Re. invisible ink: The only kind I know is lemon juice made visible by heat. But by water? I can’t find any Korea-related information, just a lot of American Independence War and WWI articles.

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I'm kind of glad that Sung-rok is Sun-ho's sidekick because I didn't want him to remind me of Yi Seong-gye's Jurchen sworn brother Yi Ji-ran from SFD. He was one of my favorites and I love the way Park Hae-Soo portrayed him.

I'm also very curious about what was written on the letter from Hwi's father. Maybe we will find out this week.

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This didn’t make sense to me either. If it was water-engaged, then wouldn’t just the humidity from being next to ones body cause the ink to at least look faint? Maybe it’s pH-dependent? I don’t know if the writers just took some sci-fi liberty here! But as far as Yeon’s epilepsy, then amnesia seemingly “curing” her epilepsy, I think this could happen from a medical point of view. I just wonder how traumatic everyone’s lives are in Korea that amnesia is such an epidemic there.

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I think it's more to do with the paper than the ink. I'm trying to remember which sageuk that I've seen that explains the whole process.
I'm thinking MOONLIGHT but it's probably not it because it was the heat from the candle that reveals the hidden letters (IIRC).

As for Yeon, I think dramatic events triggers her seizure like watching her father get executed and watching her brother being insulted and bullied by the examiners.
Lord Nam only said that she hadn't had a seizure ever since she lost her memory. He didn't say that her epilepsy was cured.
I think losing her memory blocks out all the dramatic events in her past and she seems to be doing fine since there hasn't been any major drama in her life so far.

What do you think @ally-le. Does it make any sense?

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Yeon is probably eating and sleeping better now too since she's living in a rich man's home.

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I love her quarter and the beautiful garden surrounding it.

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Yes, exactly. Triggering events for epilepsy can be extreme emotional stress, exhaustion and even nutritional deficiencies. The memories leading to her triggers may be blocked and her nutritional health and sleep health is likely much better having enough to eat and drink at Lord Nam’s as well. One of the ways we test for epileptic events is after sleep deprivation. There’s several things that changed after she hit her head, and Sun-Ho saved her, and all of them could likely led to decreased seizures, not just the amnesia.

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Thank you @ally-le.
It's so good to have you here!

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@wishfultoki, @pakalanapikake, @ally-le, @ndlessjoie

It would be nice if we find some answers before we move on to eps 5.
My first attempt: SPIES and SECRETS. Alum Invisible Ink.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1mw_bhEvFg

Alum -definitely discovered before the middle ages and maybe in powder form?

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@kiara,
cc: @ndlessjoie, @wishfultoki, @ally-le,

Alum invisible ink looks very promising!

Alum = 명반 myeongban, according to Google Translate. There are various forms of alum, but the one we are interested in is potassium alum (potassium aluminium sulfate) which is used as a mordant (color fixitive) in dyeing cloth, in tanning hides, and in pickling vegetables (it makes them crispy instead of mushy). Certain dyes will not be colorfast without the use of a mordant. Those natural plant dyeing classes I took have come in handy again. ;-)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alum#Uses

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Potassium_alum

Indeed, alum was known to Goryeo dyers and used as a mordant. Alum invisible ink is looking better and better.

A History Of Natural Dyes - Episode 1 - Korean Natural Dyes
https://www.nutmegfibers.com/nutmegfibers/2018/11/26/slow-color-korea-nat-dyes-wip

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Awesome @pakalanapikake!

You might be killing a few birds with one arrow with this potassium alum.
1. Invisible ink.
2.Drying dyed cloth in eps 1.
3. You mentioned Hwi's tears and the salt water. It could be a chemical reaction that the letters were revealed.
It makes sense that this ink advance comes at the time of war when secrecy was most crucial.

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Thank you, @kiara.

One thing about the YouTube video: A quill pen was not a very good instrument for transferring the alum solution to the cotton and linen fabric, as it needed to soak all the way through. However, a calligraphy brush could potentially do a much better job of saturating the cloth to produce a nice, dark image when the message was soaked in water. It may not have mattered one whit whether a saline solution were used to reveal the message. But it was highly symbolic that Hwi's teardrop led to his discovery of it.

It also occurs to me that the finishes applied to modern fabric and paper might have inhibited the uptake of the alum solution in the demonstration. Just a thought.

It's not clear to me whether paper has to be impregnated with alum all the way through for the message to be revealed by immersion in water (as was specified for cotton and linen cloth).

A few more possibilities from Western antiquity:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invisible_ink#History

Japan ninja student gets top marks for writing essay in invisible ink (10/10/2019)
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-49996166

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@pakalanapikake

Thank you so much!
I think we are good to move on?
If by some miracle they'd end up explaining the whole process in the drama I'd love them forever.

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I think this is it.

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Agree!

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The story is spell-binding. It is so sad to watch Sun Ho slowly deteriorate as a person, destroyed by the desire to rise above the stigma his own father never forgets to remind him of. Woo Do Hwan ably portrays Sun Ho that I am starting to really dislike him. The writer, though, brilliantly reminds us from time to time that there remains in his heart that tenderness towards his friends and loved ones. Of all the characters, he is the most pitiful. This drama enthralls me. My praises to the entire team. Keep us glued. 🤝👏👌👍

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He IS pitiful, and Woo Do-hwan makes me feel for him but he has consistently made horrible choice after horrible choice so my sympathy is tempered by watching the fallout of those choices.

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Well said about the actor and the character. That's the very reason I'm drawn to him.
I'm enjoying his scenes with Yeon because it feels like it's not going to last 😭.

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Thank you for recapping, @lollypip.

My ears pricked up as soon as I heard Bang-won tell Lord Nam that Seo Geom was supposed to be by his father's side. It's just as I thought. Nam pulled a fast one, but Bang-won has his number. Which makes me wonder whether Bang-won might have ratted Nam out to his father for bribing the military exam official. Bang-won apparently knows something about Nam that General Yi does not. And now that the General is pissed off at Nam, Bang-won may be moving in for the kill.

That secret document written in invisible ink that Hwi found in his father's armor is really intriguing. Park Chi-do has had custody of the armor for a good decade or so. Did he leave the message in the armor, or had Seo Geom put it there himself?

I'm curious about the invisible ink and paper. It wasn't just any water that made the message appear -- it was Hwi's teardrop. So perhaps salt water is the activator, or a component of the activator. As for the mechanism, it may be that the paper has a special finish that interacts with a special ink in the presence of salt water.

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Ihwaru, Madame Seo and her gisaengs info gatherers remind me of the Nameless Society and Hidden Roots in SFD and TWDR, respectively. Will they join the fray here?

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I am intrigued with Madame Seo and her girls. IHWARU is more than just a gibang. It's like an underground intelligent agency. All top secrets circulating in the country seems to flow from Ihwaru.
Madame Seo is fascinating <3.

Nameless and Hidden Roots will probably continue with the SFD writers in their next sageuk.

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@kiara,
Any idea as to the meaning of Ihwaru? I see "hwa" in it and assume it refers to flowers -- no surprise for a gibang that attracts "butterflies." But I'm wondering if there might be a secondary meaning, as was the case with Hong Gil-dong's establishment.

Ihwaru operates like the marriage agency in FLOWER CREW, and Dal-moon's intelligence organization in HAECHI -- not to mention Langya Hall in NIRVANA IN FIRE.

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@pakalanapikake
Sorry I don't know but @lollypip and @stroopwafel
might be able to help here.

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From the hanja, it means Pear Blossom Pavilion. :)

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Thank you so much, @stroopwafel! <3 <3 <3

The name of the gibang does have a dual meaning.

I wondered about the significance of pear blossoms, and found a connection between the pear tree and the Yi family in the Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture:

The Yi dynasty of Joseon also emphasize that they were descendants of the pear tree, as reflected in the slogan, “the son of the tree conquered the kingdom, ” which is closely associated with the Korean worship of trees.

Legends of Flowers and Trees(花、树传说)
http://folkency.nfm.go.kr/en/topic/detail/5463

Also, Ehwa ("Pear Blossom") is the name of a Korean Cinderella.
https://tribeteacher.wordpress.com/2010/05/10/the-korean%C2%A0cinderella/

In Chinese, Li = pear, so now I understand the origin of the Yi family connection with it. A homophone has the meaning of "separate, divide," which is a theme that crops up in Yi Seung-gye's family, along with the estrangement of other friends and relatives in MY COUNTRY. See the beautiful painting of a flowering pear branch.
https://www.chinasage.info/symbols/flowers-and-fruit.htm#XLXLSymPear

In China, the pear is symbolic of justice, longevity, purity, wisdom, and benevolent administration. In Korea, the pear typifies grace, nobility, and purity, and the pear tree, comfort. There are a number of Korean legends which involve the pear as endowing fertility to women, good fortune in exams, wisdom, and health, while the pear flower, by its whiteness, is symbolic of the face of beautiful women and the transience of petals is a metaphor for the sadness and coldness of departure.

Janick, Jules: "The Pear in History, Literature, Popular Culture, and Art," p. 7 [Sacred Symbol].
https://hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/janick-papers/pearinhistory.pdf

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Thank you so much <3.

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@stroopwafel

Is sanseong (the watchword that Bang-won gave Hwi in eps 1) and Ssangseong (as in Ssangseong Prefectures) the same but with slightly different spelling?

I was wondering why bang-won would use "sanseong" as the watchword and I think it's related to his grandfather Yi Jachun and his father's role in the 1356 recapturing of Goryeo's land that was taken by the Mongols.

"Yi Seong-Gye and his father Yi Ja-Choon (환조/이자춘, 桓祖/李子春, 1315~1361) belonged to pro-Mongolian forces in the beginning. But this time, they decided to defect to Goryeo. They went to the capital to meet King Gongmin and swore their loyalty to the king in 1355.

In July 1356, the king finally ordered to attack the North-eastern frontier fortress occupied by pro-Mongolian forces. Yi Seong-Gye and his father didn’t miss this opportunity. They secretly opened the fortress’ gate to help Goryeo army. King Gongmin welcomed them with open arms."

It makes sense if the watchword "Sanseong" is a reference to his grandfather and father opening the gate for the Goryeo army.

The watchword is probably for Hwi to use in order to gain entry through Chwiwoldang gate during the first strife of the princes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ssangseong_Prefectures

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yi_Jachun

https://bodashiri.tumblr.com/post/130566117216/six-flying-dragons-ep-01

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@kiara October 25, 2019 at 12:04 PM

I had the same question about the watchword, and thought I heard it as "sanseong" (mountain fortress). But I didn't know there was a Yuan commandery called Ssangseong – and that is a much more compelling password. Thanks for those dandy articles!

I go bonkers when I encounter geographical references in sageuks because it is difficult to find maps of ancient dynasties with romanized labels. Well, I'm thrilled to share a document that supplies 12 detailed historical maps of Korea and adjoining areas including Liaodong, Manchuria, and Mongolia, dating from Gojoseon to early Joseon (reign of King Sejong). Rivers (natural boundaries) are labeled. Neighboring peoples such as Khitans, Mongols, and Jurchens, as well as Chinese commanderies and border outposts, are included. I recognize so many places from JUMONG and KINGDOM OF THE WINDS.

The Northeast Asia History Foundation https://www.nahf.or.kr/eng/main.do in Seoul produced the maps as part of its report to the Congressional Research Service (CRS) for the US Senate. The report references and refutes The Historical Atlas of China and several other cartographic resources published in the PRC that put a revisionist spin on the historical borders and the peoples who inhabited them. The revisionist maps are not reproduced in this document. (See Appendix II for descriptions and comments.)

Don't let the title of the report fool you. Feast your eyes on Appendix III.—Korean Perspectives on Historical Change in the Borders between Korea and China: A Review and Comments on the Congressional Research Service Memorandum of March 9, 2012. It starts on page 33 [page 39 of the pdf file], and is a dandy crash course in Korean history.

[Senate Print] S. Prt. 112-44 - CHINA'S IMPACT ON KOREAN PENINSULA UNIFICATION AND QUESTIONS FOR THE SENATE
https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/CPRT-112SPRT77566/pdf/CPRT-112SPRT77566.pdf

The map section, BORDERS BETWEEN KOREA AND CHINA IN HISTORICAL MAPS OF KOREA, begins on p. 54 (pdf page 60). Map 10 is on p. 63 (pdf page 69). It is fascinating to see how the borders and peoples moved around over time. (I hadn’t realized that the Khitans and Jurchens were contemporaries.) It also becomes clear that Liaodong refers to the peninsula across the Amnok River from Goryeo as well as the former Liaodong Commandery (present-day Liaoning Province in northeast China), which is well inland of the Yellow Sea.

Map 10: The Northern Border of Koryo during the Mongol Intervention of 1259-1356
*Shows location of Yuan China’s Ssangsong Commandery on the east coast near Chongju and Hamju.

Another article on Liaodong:

Koreans’ Perception of the Liaodong Region During the Chosŏn Dynasty
by Jungshin Lee
International Journal of Korean History 2016; 21(1): 47-84.
https://ijkh.khistory.org/journal/view.php?number=11#fn3-ijkh-21-1-47

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@pakalanapikake

Thank you for sharing <3.

This is just as fun as watching the drama. It's exhausting in a good way.

I've watched a lot of Geoyeo sagueks so I have the map in my memory. I'm not even kidding lol.
I hated math but history and Geography were my fave.

Should we wrap up and move to eps 5?
l actually like it that we are moving slowly with this drama because there is so much to talk about.

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@kiara,
Yes, we can move on to ep. 5. ;-)

You're most welcome. I'm having a blast leaving Easter eggs for fellow sageuk nerds to discover, maybe years from now. ;-)

Are you me? Math was my worst subject, but history, geography, and language & literature were my strongest suits.

Now that I've finally gotten to see good historical maps of Korea, it will be a lot easier to envision where the action is taking place.

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@kiara I just rewatched and it's definitely sanseong (산성), which is a different word to Ssangseong. Sanseong means hill/mountain fortress. Unfortunately, I'm not sure what deeper meaning the word holds for Bang-won and Hwi. 😅

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@stroopwafel

Thank you so much <3.
I am so jealous that you are watching this show in it's pure form. We are missing out on words/phrases that has subtlety meaning and cultural significant because it may be hard to translate into English.

@pakalanapikake
Mountain fortress it is :).

I was going to ask why but this thread will go on forever lol.
Thanks for the extra research and geographical references. I'll come back to it soon.

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@stroopwafel
October 27, 2019 at 10:37 AM

Thank you for confirming the watchword "sanseong" for us. <3 <3 <3

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After watching ep 4, I just realized that this series gives me a wider understanding of the Goryeo and Joseon Periods upon relating Yi Bang Won’s life from Six Flying Dragons and Deep Rooted Tree :-) Glad Im a fan of historical Korean Dramas.

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FYI for fans of Woo Do-hwan and Kim Min-jae (currently starring in FLOWER CREW: JOSEON MARRIAGE AGENCY), both survivors of The Drama That Shall Not Be Named:

Official Proclamation of the Woo Do-Hwan and Kim Min-Jae Nameless Fan Club (WDH&KMJNFC), originally published in the 2018 Bean Count:
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/668487/

Embrace your inner “Moo-myung” (“Nameless”) – which is a lot better than “Gae-ddong,” IMHO – and commiserate with fellow Beanies who hate to see good actors go to waste. ;-)
http://www.dramabeans.com/members/pakalanapikake/activity/668487/#acomment-669943

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ROFL I didn't watch that specific drama but remember the tightly knit fan club that emerged from it. It's probably as epic as the Arthdal Survivors club.

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@lollypip, I can't wait to read your thoughts on this saeguk now that it os on episode 7. I still can't fanthom the politocal intricacies of that period. Why can't white be just white and black be just black?

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