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Hwarang: Episode 14

Romance takes a back-burner as political tension grows between Silla and Baekje, and the Hwarang find themselves risking an international incident. Unrest is growing, and it seems as though something’s gotta give, and soon. But is Ji-dwi ready to step forward and take his rightful place, or does he still have a lot to learn before he’s ready to take on the responsibilities that come with being king?

 
EPISODE 14 RECAP

Sun-woo and Ah Ro hug after reaffirming their feelings, but they’re interrupted by a mob of angry-looking villagers carrying torches. Sun-woo sends Ah Ro inside to warn the princess as Su-ho and Ban-ryu rush out to back him up.

They figure out that the people are here for the gifts they were taking to the Baekje crown prince, but when they move to protect the wagon containing the gifts, the people shift and surround them. Su-ho draws his sword to attack, but suddenly Ji-dwi leaps in front of him and knocks his sword away.

He points out that the people don’t even have weapons, and the other boys look closer and see that he’s correct. The villagers back away and disperse, and Su-ho punches Ji-dwi hard in the face. He warns that the queen regent or the king had better not suffer for this. Ji-dwi asks if Su-ho is standing up for the incompetent, fearful king, and Sun-woo has to hold Su-ho back from hitting Ji-dwi again.

The villagers have taken every last peace offering, but Sun-woo says that they’re not professional thieves, just border farmers who have grown desperate due to being raided by Baekje. Princess Sookmyung is furious, and though Su-ho offers to hunt the gifts down, Sun-woo says they’ve probably all been sold off by now. Su-ho blames Ji-dwi, and storms off.

Once they’re alone, Sun-woo asks Ji-dwi why he stopped them to save peasants that have nothing to do with him. Ji-dwi reminds him that Sun-woo said it himself — they were only farmers, and as far as he’s concerned, there isn’t a subject in Silla who should die without good reason.

Princess Sookmyung calls her people together and says that they won’t be returning to the capital. Su-ho disagrees, since they not only lost the peace gifts, but their food as well. But the princess points out that it’s the king’s birthday in three days, and Baekje’s Crown Prince Chang may use that day as an excuse to attack Silla.

Ji-gong arrives at the palace in response to Queen Regent Jiso’s summons, but this time, he informs her that he can no longer be her doctor. He says that he’s leaving to treat a plague that’s sweeping the low-born village, and the queen regent is insulted that he’s choosing to treat low-borns over her.

Ji-gong tells her to just let the palace doctor treat her, even when she says she doesn’t trust anyone but him. When she threatens to make it an order, Ji-gong asks if she’ll kill him if he refuses. He makes it clear that he never wants to see her again, and he ignores her tears as well as her plea that he’s all she has.

He says that he’s not leaving her, because he never came back to her in the first place. He adds that once, he worried that his world would come crashing down at one word from her, but now he looks at her and just feels cold.

The princess and her people continue on their way, and they stop by a river to camp for the night. Sun-woo sends Ban-ryu and Su-ho to collect firewood, then asks one of the soldiers to find them some food. Ban-ryu objects to Sun-woo taking charge, but Su-ho tells him to shush.

Meanwhile, Ah Ro has her own idea, so she sneaks off and finds some locals. She tells them one of her racy stories (HAHA, she’s riffing Descended From the Sun‘s “apologize or confess” speech), and she even jokes that her story’s beautiful heroine looks exactly like her.

At first, Ban-ryu watches while Su-ho picks up all the firewood, but when Su-ho starts to struggle, he affably jumps in to help. As they cross the river, Ban-ryu loses his footing and falls in, and Su-ho gets a big kick out of seeing him soaking wet. He pushes Ban-ryu back in when he tries to climb out, and soon it’s an all-out war as they play in the river like children.

Later, Su-ho watches Ban-ryu lovingly check on his pouch from Soo-yeon that contains a braid of her hair. He says casually that the pouch looks familiar, then asks Ban-ryu, “By any chance, does Soo-yeon like you?”

Ban-ryu doesn’t answer, and Su-ho tells Ban-ryu not to accept her feelings. He thinks that he and Ban-ryu are finally becoming friends, and Ban-ryu getting involved with Soo-yeon would be awkward.

The soldier reports back to Sun-soo that he couldn’t find anything to eat, but just when they resign themselves to going hungry, Ah Ro turns up with a huge basket bursting with food. Ha, apparently the locals paid her for her stories with dinner.

She takes some to Princess Sookmyung, who admits that she tried to kill Ah Ro. She asks why Ah Ro is being caring, and Ah Ro replies that no matter how much she hates Sookmyung, she still has to take care of her as her doctor.

Ah Ro spends the evening at one of the fires with a few of the locals and Sookmyung’s female bodyguard. The bodyguard is impressed when Ah Ro fixes one man’s stiff neck with acupuncture, and from the next fire over, Ji-dwi tells Sun-woo that his “sister” could survive anywhere.

He wonders to himself if that’s why he likes her, and Sun-woo shoots him a dirty look. He tells Ji-dwi that he’s hanging onto his crush for too long, but Ji-dwi just says that he’s jealous that Ah Ro is Sun-woo’s sister, and that he feels bad for liking her because she’s his sister.

Sun-woo asks why he likes Ah Ro, and Ji-dwi sighs that she’s his only person in the world, and he needs her. Sun-woo asks if that’s why Ji-dwi came on this trip, and Ji-dwi replies, “I told you I was desperate.”

Sun-woo accepts that answer, but tells Ji-dwi that Ah Ro is everything to him. He says it’s not because he needs her, but that he’s literally alive because of her.

Ah Ro asks the princess why she brought her to Baekje, guessing that it’s because Sookmyung wanted Sun-woo to volunteer. Sookmyung says it’s none of her business, so Ah Ro asks what the princess remembers of her brother, and tells her that if she thinks Sun-woo is her brother, she’s mistaken.

Sookmyung says that’s not important, though she does admit to bringing Ah Ro along as bait to lure Sun-woo. But all she will say is that she wants to keep him close.

Ji-dwi asks Sun-woo, a little enviously, if he was born with the talent to lead people. He wonders if he has the same talent, then asks Sun-woo what he would do to change Silla if he were king, when simple farmers are becoming robbers just to eat. Sun-woo asks why Ji-dwi worries about such things if he’s not the king as he claims.

Back at the Hwarang grounds, Joo-ki finds Hwa-gong fishing in the pond, and they note that the place feels strangely empty. Joo-ki offers Hwa-gong his favorite scorched rice treat, but Hwa-gong tosses it in the pond and goes for a drink instead.

Yeo-wool and Han-sung also feel unsettled, and Han-sung whines pitifully over Sun-woo being gone. Yeo-wool asks if he likes Sun-woo that much and gets an enthusiastic yes, and when he asks what Han-sung thinks of him, Han-sung wipes a booger on his leg. Ewww.

Dan-se finds Pa Oh sniffling by the riverside, and says that Pa Oh can think of him as a hyung and tell him what’s wrong. HA. He gives Pa Oh an awkward little bro-hug, and Kang Sung approaches to snark that they must be crying over their Hwarang members in advance.

Kang Sung implies that the Hwarang in the delegation crew won’t be coming back, and Pa Oh lifts him off his feet by the collar. He orders Kang Sung to tell him what he means by that, and Kang Sung snarls that Minister Park won’t let the delegation come home alive. Pa Oh pitches him into the river.

Dan-se and Han-sung’s grandfather pays a visit to the Hwarang, where he’s told that Han-sung has trouble keeping up with the others. Grandfather blames Dan-se for not behaving as Han-sung’s servant and for not helping him more. He whips Dan-se several times, and Han-sung can only watch helplessly as Dan-se is ordered to train him better. Han-sung cries as he supports his hyung afterward, and Dan-se, bless his heart, only says that Grandfather’s whipping arm has gotten weaker with age so as not to make Han-sung feel bad.

The crooked gambler Doo-woo delivers a cart to Minister Park, full of gifts for the Baekje crown prince. Minister Park instructs Doo-woo to make sure the gifts get to the crown prince before the king’s birthday. Ho Gong worries about Ban-ryu, but Minister Park thinks he’ll be successful in the task they gave him.

We’re taken to Crown Prince Chang’s palace, where he blandly asks about the most recent Silla citizen arrested for crossing the border. The jails are so full of these “criminals” that a temporary jail has been built just for them, and the crown prince wonders if it’s time to declare war. His adviser says that the Silla peace delegation will arrive soon, but Crown Prince Chang doesn’t seem open to discussing peace.

The delegation finally arrives at the palace, just as Crown Prince Chang is eating a meal. He completely ignores them as they stand there waiting, and Su-ho nearly loses his temper. Ji-dwi holds him back, and the princess diplomatically says that they’ll wait until the crown prince finishes eating.

He takes his sweet time, and only beckons the princess closer once he’s completely finished. He asks what gift she brought to convince him to make peace, and Sookmyung asks for a private meeting.

Once they’re alone, Sookmyung gives Crown Prince Chang a small golden statue of Buddha, presumably all she was able to retain after the robbery. He’s not impressed with the tiny gift, so the princess says it’s a symbol, not a tribute. She brings up the strained relationship between Silla and Baekje, and reminds the crown prince that if they break their alliance, it puts them both in danger of being conquered by Goguryeo.

The crown prince leans over Princess Sookmyung and asks how old she is. He lecherously asks if she knows that countries usually solidify alliances through marriage, and the princess looks a bit ill, though the crown prince does say that he has enough wives already.

As the Hwarang wait impatiently, Ah Ro kills time outside the palace by patching up a little urchin boy’s skinned knee. She asks if he comes from Silla and he nods, before pulling a hairpin from his shirt and sticking it in her hair. Ah Ro gives it back, wondering where he got such a fancy item. The boy puts it in her hair again, so she says she’ll wear it for a minute then return it.

Suddenly a guard grabs the boy, accusing him of selling stolen items. The guard spots the hairpin Ah Ro is still wearing and assumes she’s in league with the boy, so the both of them are arrested and tossed in the temporary jail for Silla prisoners.

The crown prince laughs at Princess Sookmyung, wondering if she’s that naïve, or a fool. He wonders why Silla would send its princess (implying that they’d send her for marriage), and she says that she can bring more gifts later if he’ll promise not to declare war.

He already knows that she was robbed of the first gifts, and tells her that they captured the thieves who were selling those items on Baekje land. He informs Sookmyung that he has the gifts already, and says that on the king’s birthday, he intends to give Silla a gift in return — the gift of the expansion of Baekje territory.

Inside the palace grounds, Sun-woo thinks he hears Ah Ro crying out for help. Princess Sookmyung’s bodyguard runs in to tell them what’s happening, and Sun-woo, Ji-dwi, and Su-ho rush out to Ah Ro’s rescue while Ban-ryu stays behind. He was instructed by Minister Park to give the crown prince a letter, and he’s looking very conflicted.

The three Hwarang rush to the temporary jail and begin fighting with the guards, using their sword scabbards as weapons. They put up a good fight, but they’re outnumbered and soon surrounded. Ji-dwi stops Su-ho from drawing his sword, since it would be interpreted as a declaration of war.

Ban-ryu suddenly comes blazing in and joins them, and the four Hwarang present a united front when the guards attack again. But it’s the guards who draw their swords first, and soon all four find themselves with blades at their throats.

The crown prince’s adviser reports the situation to the prince, and when he asks what they should do, the crown prince gets a nasty gleam in his eye. The boys are taken to the jail, and as they’re being led away, Ban-ryu spots gambler Doo-woo smirking at them from a short distance away.

Looking around the jail, Ah Ro realizes that most of the people she’s locked up with are sick, so she pulls a small bottle of medicine from her skirts. She offers to treat whoever she can, but they are in such a state of despair that they ignore her.

Gambler Doo-woo presents Minister Park’s gift for the crown prince to his adviser, a chest full of gold ingots, and requests an audience with the crown prince in return.

Hwi-kyung limps right into Queen Regent Jiso’s chambers without permission, and greets the shocked queen regent with a cheerful smile. He asks if she’s not going to ask her brother to have a seat, and she does, reluctantly.

Hwi-kyung’s expression goes sharp as he notes that his sister looks awfully comfortable for someone who chased her son from his throne and sent her daughter into a deadly situation. His eyes turn positively deadly as he growls that it’s no surprise, since she also framed her only companion and violently got rid of him.

The queen regent asks what Hwi-kyung wants, and he tells her that he heard she hid the king in Hwarang. He repeats the rumor that Sun-woo is the hidden king, and he tells her that if Sun-woo returns from Baekje safely, that he’ll help her abdicate. The queen regent claims that she has no idea what he’s talking about.

When presented with Minister Park’s gold ingots, Crown Prince Chang asks what Doo-woo wants. Doo-woo says that he’ll be contacted separately with Minister Park’s request, then nearly loses his head for daring to look up at the crown prince. Doo-woo and his minion scuttle out, and the crown prince pulls the letter from his pocket that Ban-ryu has already managed to deliver.

Now Crown Prince Chang reads the letter, which informs him that one of the Hwarang is the faceless king of Silla. It gives him permission to do whatever he wants to that king, and the crown prince wonders if this means Minister Park wants the king killed. He decides that this is a better plan than going against the princess.

Princess Sookmyung visits the Hwarang in their jail cell, angry that they got themselves locked up for a half-blood doctor just when she needs them the most. Sun-woo asks if she thinks that fighting for their people is unfair and says that if she also fought for justice, they wouldn’t have to be in situations like this ever again.

He reminds her that she came here for Silla, and tells her not to be scared or blame others, and to speak up. Ji-dwi stays silent while Sun-woo speaks, but he carefully absorbs every word.

Sookmyung takes Sun-woo’s words to heart, and goes back to the crown prince to yell at him for killing Silla people just for farming near the borders. He calmly retorts that they were stealing his land, and she admits that was wrong, but she argues that this isn’t a reason for war, but diplomacy.

Crown Prince Chang brings up the idea of a political marriage again, but Princess Sookmyung says that she’s already betrothed. The crown prince asks if she’s marrying the faceless king, and reveals that he heard he’s one of her Hwarang. He muses that killing all four of them would free her up for marriage to him.

The princess turns as if to leave, but she suddenly grabs the adviser’s sword, whirls, and stabs it into the dais between the crown prince’s feet. She makes it crystal clear that there will be no marriage, nor will he be killing Silla’s king.

The crown prince has the Hwarang brought in front of him in the courtyard and announces his intent to discover which of them is the hidden king. Ah Ro and the Silla prisoners are bound and brought to the courtyard, and the crown prince orders the king to reveal himself or he’ll start killing peasants.

Hwi-kyung surprises Hwa-gong by unexpectedly sitting with him for a drink, and gets right to the point by asking if the king really is in Hwarang. Hwa-gong says that he wouldn’t know, and Hwi-kyung tells him how his father abandoned him to die when he became crippled.

But he didn’t die, and now he lives in hiding in the capital. He asks Hwa-gong if he thinks Jinheung is the answer to their current problem, or if a different king would be a better solution. He suggests choosing a king based on suitability rather than bloodlines, wondering if there could be a prince like that, that they don’t know about.

Hwa-gong says that the faceless king could very well be that king. He points out that he’s only against the regency because of the distrust between the queen regent and her son, but says that something could happen to force the issue. But his loyalty to the royal family itself is unquestioned, so he and Hwi-kyung are not on the same page there.

Back in Baekje, the crown prince orders several peasants brought before the Hwarang, and says that they will be beheaded if the king doesn’t step forward. Su-ho looks nervously at Sun-woo, who stands in stony silence, while Ji-dwi looks scared and conflicted.

The first group of peasants are killed, and their blood splatters on the four Hwarang as Ji-dwi trembles with indecision. Ah Ro is brought forward with the next group of peasants to be killed, and still, Ji-dwi does nothing. Sun-woo starts to look frantic, and Ji-dwi closes his eyes.

But then he opens them and we see resolve on his face as he starts to step forward. But before he can say anything, Sun-woo declares loudly that he is the king. He walks forward, looks the crown prince directly in the eyes, and roars, “I am the king of Silla!

 
COMMENTS

I’ll say more about my feelings on Sun-woo’s claiming to be the king later, but aside from that, I was glad to see him stepping up as a leader more in this episode. As I’d previously noted, he hasn’t really done much since joining the Hwarang, so watching him begin to lead the others was a nice change. He’s always been a natural leader who just chose not to lead, but now they’re in a strange land without the protection of their familial and political standing, and they need someone to take charge. Ji-dwi is growing a lot, but he’s still very insecure about his status as king and he’s not ready to be a leader, not yet (particularly when we see how long he hesitated in stepping forward as the Silla king). But Sun-woo is way past ready to lead, so it makes sense that everyone would look to him during this diplomatic expedition.

I was also very proud of Su-ho in this episode. He hasn’t had much character growth, though he’s still incredibly fun to watch, and I love how he sees everything as a source of entertainment. But I also think it’s great that he’s grown willing to be open with Ban-ryu and wants to be friends with him. I expected him to guess that Soo-yeon likes Ban-ryu after her crying fit the last time they had a day off, but I honestly thought he’d fly off the handle at Ban-ryu about it. Su-ho has many reasons to oppose his sister and Ban-ryu, both because of their longtime personal rivalry and their families’ opposing political views. But for his objection to the idea of Soo-yeon and Ban-ryu to be that he doesn’t want it to get in the way of their growing friendship? Well, my heart just melted when he said that.

But Ban-ryu, I’m just disappointed in him. He’s come such a long way in terms of showing that he can be a good person and that he doesn’t approve of what his adoptive father’s plans for him, yet he still delivered that letter to the crown prince. I suppose I can excuse him this time, since I wouldn’t want to be caught between two such powerful, deadly men, and would probably also do as I was told. But at some point he’s going to need to stand up and refuse to obey Minister Park’s evil edicts, or risk being consumed completely by Park’s ambition. If he’s smart, Ban-ryu will discover who the real king is and pledge his loyalty, to save himself from losing his head when Minister Park’s plans are discovered.

As for his claim to be the king, again I find myself wondering about Sun-woo’s motives. Obviously he did it in the hopes of saving Ah Ro, but I wonder if there was any element of wanting to save Ji-dwi as well. I think that Sun-woo fully believes that Ji-dwi is the king at this point — he just hasn’t acted on that belief because he wants certain proof before setting about his revenge. But it’s also true that he likes Ji-dwi on a personal level despite himself, and I can’t help but hope that he stepped forward at least in part because he wanted to protect his friend. And the truth is that Ji-dwi let those people die (I loved the image of their blood literally on his hands), so Sun-woo had no assurance that he would reveal himself before Ah Ro was killed as well. Either way, my wish is that Sun-woo’s leadership abilities will help him get his friends and the princess out of this mess, and that his lie will turn out to be the push that Ji-dwi needs to finally take that final step forward to becoming the king he wants to be.

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So who thought storming the prison was a good idea??? This seriously bothered me. Of course you are going to get resistance if you attack a prison with no warning! I don't blame the guards for arresting them. Attacking should have been their last resort AFTER TALKING to them. How hard would it have been to talk with the prison guard or whoever and ask for her release saying she is with the diplomatic party? If they say no, THEN you storm the castle. I was actually on the princess's side when she yelled at them for neglecting their duty. End rant.

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I like her alot. That's why she is their leader (wonhwa).
These boys can't seems to control their emotions and use their brains.
It's no wonder why Shilla was the only country in that era to be ruled by women.

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As much I'm all girlpower, I'd give more credit to the real live women and men during that era not being this ridiculous and stupid like in this drama.

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*real life

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Bad writing I would say the writer should have come up with another scenario , this bothered me as well like come on it's not like they are killing her it was just a misunderstanding solve it by talking

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Agree. This was kind of lame and unbelievable.

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ARGH!! I spent this episode mad at all the boys. They are seriously too dumb to be Hwarang. I don't think they quite understood what this mission was about. We're trying to prevent a war here! This is serious business! And the Crown Prince is more than happy to capture Silla. And I can't believe they just left the princess by herself. Look guys, split up. I love this show to pieces, but the writing frustrates me. i don't know why the writer had Aro be excluded from the party during the meet and greet.

This episode's heroes are the girls. Aro kept them fed and knew how to use people skills. Sookmyung held her own against the Crown Prince and stood up for her people.

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Exactly! If they were going to go off all cocksure, they didn't all need to leave. One or two of the boys could have seen about Ah Ro while the rest stayed. Where is Pa Oh when we need him to keep the boys in check?

This episode showed the biggest flaws in the writing. I wish the logic had been thought through more. Minor tweaks and the results could have been the same.

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Like we're supposed to believe that Ban Ryu and Suho would rush to save Aro too. Puh-lease.

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Su-ho would follow Moo Myung like a puppy because he thinks he is the king.

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Agreed 100%

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WEHRE IS MY FIREWORKS???

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I mean WHERE

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If you meann banryu x sooho , well sooho didn't exactly accept him but seeing how calm he is and his only worry is becoming awkward with banryu I would say don't expect fireworks :P I was hoping for fireworks as well though *sigh*

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compared to how rash and bratty he was in the beginning, Su Ho is becoming so level-headed he can balance marbles.

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hahhaha everyone's becoming mature , even banryu's not as nasty as he was before lol. But yeah I do miss protective suho :P

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LOL I actually thought about that later and wondered what, you don't hope to get along with the man your sister marries? Then again, even his father doesn't expect much from SuHo in the brains department.

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I think he is just worried that things will be too awkward between them if he dates his sister since they are basically friends now (and suho loves banryu lol) just like sooyeon doesn;t have any friend since suho dated all of them hahahah but hahahha yeah suho lacks brain :D

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out of all possible reasons on why they could not be together (helloooo family feud??), su ho only worries that things would become awkward for him and his buddy. not the brightest bulb in the box, isn't he? xD

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Well it is probably because he has dated all his sisters friends and so she ended up not having any friends when he broke up with them soooo, he is probably thinking if things go sour with banryu and his sister then he cant be friends with him.

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@MIN

Haha.. What a womanizer logic.

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I really thought that this is a really good episode. How come it took a really long time to get here? I do like Hwarang being light and cute and funny but after watching this episode, I think I would have taken the drama seriously if it was this serious.

I guess I won't be able to see our Hwarang dancing if it were too serious.

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i know that villains are never logical, but i really don't understand how the queen regent thinks that by constantly threatening his children, attempting to murder them, & sending them away to certain death - ji gong will be like "well ok, now that my children are out of the way, i'll be your loyal lover" wtf lady?? you really think that trying to control someone through threats is gonna make them love you?

obviously she's a shitty mom but i don't really doubt that she LOVES her children (even if she's insane) so i find it crazy that she expects loyalty with the way she treats other people's children...

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Yeah, the queen does not make sense. It is hard to feel much for her because of this. She is surprised at Ji Gong's feelings while never having any qualms about doing things to hurt him or doing things that hurt her own children.

They could have made her character more conflicted about her actions and it would make the story better. I still don't really get her motivations, so whenever she shows emotion or sadness I just feel blank because it seems like nonsense.

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Well, she's doing a bang-up job of not showing emotions at all for me because I don't have a clue that she feels anything. As far as I can tell she's simply playing the longest game of "stringing you all along" possible because her definition of when Sammaekjong will be ready to take the throne is exactly NEVER.

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i definitely agree with you. i've never once felt pity when she was crying or angry over the king defying her orders because she is too illogical to identify or empathize with.

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it's her eyebrows. they just could not move enough to convey all the deep emotions she should be portraying.

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She does love her children in her own way. It's hard to do the right thing as a mother and as queen regent with hardly any support from the ministers. The very people who are supposed to support her run the country are too busy trying to usurp the throne for themselves.
It's hard to be both, mother and queen. Sometimes she has to pick one or the other.

She knows what it's like to be a ruler. It's lonely at the top. She doesn't have the luxury to be with the person she loves or be a normal mother to her children.

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honestly i'm not arguing that either. i also think she loves her children in her own way. what i don't get is why she can't comprehend the feelings ji gong would have with her threatening his children all the time. obviously the queen regent doesn't feel warm & fuzzy about the people trying to hurt sammmaekjong or the princess. why would she expect ji gong's loyalty & love when she openly abuses his children...

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We are all trying to make some sense out of this right? I'm not disagreeing with you guys either. Just looking at it from her point of view. She has many flaws and that makes her somewhat human and being born in a royal household with power in that time period makes it harder for us to understand her. The only way they know how to use it is against others or it won't be used against them like Minister Park said to Ban Ryu.

She is all alone with all the responsibilities of a king. It's overwhelming for one woman to handle. Her father had a queen by his side and several concubines.
Ahn Ji is the only one that she is abusing to get his attention which isn't working now because he's had it with her and she has gone too far when it comes to his children.
She knows she is being unfair but she is miserable and she needs company.
Maybe Ahn Ji letting her go would be the best thing he'd ever done for her.

Politics has always been dog eat dog, kill or be killed. She has to be this ruthless to stay alive. Minister Park and his minions are not going to hand her an olive branch.

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*it would be use against them*

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yes, i understand where you're coming from in the perspective of her as a royal. i don't understand her disconnect in the perspective of a parent approaching a parent. she understood that the officials would be threatened by her using their sons as "dogs" for the king & it was done maliciously. if she believes she can "trust" ji gong (as she can't trust others) i don't get why she would take the same route.

it's hard for me to sympathize with her character when she has created all her problems for herself. but you make very good points about the throne!

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It's because her son is the king therefore he is more important than a half breed or commoner's children. That's the mentality of that era where rank defines one's value.
If you are ask to make sacrifices to save the king then you just do it because it's your duty to serve and protect your king. It's hard for a commoner to argue against it.

Our moral values are so different because we are all equal.

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But what exactly is she doing to stay in power/protect the throne? What is the plan with JD? When is the right time to reveal his identity? I haven't seen her do anything aside from threaten everyone including JD. I want to understand her but I just can't.

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Trying to stay alive? Manipulating people to do what she wants. Creating The Hwarang to serve and protect her son. Eliminating threats to the throne by framing people like her own brother etc etc.
There is nothing clean about politics. Kill or be killed. This is a woman playing politics in a man's world.

The other side are doing the same thing and even using their own children to do their dirty works so they can stay in power.

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I understand and agree with you insofar as I understand anything about being royal or mothering LOL but I have such a hard time with her keeping her children hidden. (I know the Princess was only gone for a while, for "illness".) For how long has she been consolidating power to establish a safe throne for Sammaekjong to take? What have they learned by being outside the court and away from her, compared to what they would have learned at her side? Hwarang is her first idea to provide the power to guard the new King against the officials? Baloney, what's keeping her in place will keep the King there as well. She bugs the hell out of me.

But I really do get you, kiara! ☺️ I just needed to rant.

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She confuses the heck out of me. Sometimes, it seems like she really wants to protect SMJ because he's not ready. But she doesn't do anything to help him be ready besides establish a Hwarang that is really useless. She doesn't even tell him who his enemies are going to be. Does he even know that Ban Ryu's adoptive dad is gunning for him and to keep Ban Ryu under a watchful eye? And how is it that the princess seems more ready to be king than SMJ?

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Rant away. Maybe she is difficult to understand because of the writing? The writer seems to go back and forth from a power hungry queen (seen by the people) to a protective mother (when she is all alone expressing herself in tears to her guard).

They are going with the history here with the length of her reign as queen regent. King Jinheung was very young (only 7yrs old).

I do find her sympathetic in this drama because Sammakjong's father is not around to protect his own son, her other husbands Kim Isabu is not part of the show and Minister Park is her rival instead.
The real Queen Jiso had all the powers on her side and Sammakjong ascended the throne as King Jinheung with no problem. That wouldn't be interesting enough for a drama right?

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Whoa, how interesting! None of this is close to being the truth, that's wild.
Kiara, can you shed any light on this "no one can see the crown prince/king's face" thing? I thought it was just because of keeping Sammaekjong hidden but now it seems to apply to the Baekje CP as well, did it go for all kings (and kings-to-be)?

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Kiara, very good points. Glad you are here to give us lots of background info..

Queen Jiso is depicted as a ruthless ruler but I guess the royals had to be during those times where a misstep or weakness would result in them being assassinated.

It's just that we find her expectations or affections for Ji Gong are just not making any sense especially trying to get the man to love her when she is still threatening her children. Not exactly very solid writing...

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@bbstl
I'm not sure I fully understand what you are saying sorry. Do you mean "looking directly at the king's face?" I don't know the main reason behind it other than it's disrespectful (not proper etiquette?) to look at the king's face.

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@Shuerei

I think Queen Jiso may have felt betrayed by Ahn Ji in some way. She begged him to take her away because she didn't want to marry her 60 yr old uncle (Sammaekjong's father).
Ahn Ji ended up marrying one of his servants (Ah Ro mother) instead.
Maybe she is doing it to get back at him?

I won't be surprised if her father the late king separated them and forced his daughter to marry her uncle to produced a sacred bone heir to the throne.

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Thanks, kiara- yes, that's what I meant. I wondered if it was the etiquette of not looking directly at the king or if it was something like that below a certain rank people were literally not allowed to see his face on pain of death. Like, do people have to die after seeing Sammaekjong just because he specifically is being hidden or do common people die all the time if they see the king's face? (Which they would never do.) I know there's a famous painting of a Korean royal retinue where the king's white horse is shown without a rider because it was blasphemous to show the king. That's what got me started thinking about this, thanks for answering.

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@bbstl

In this drama, those who saw Sammaekjong's face are killed because he is supposed to be hidden and no one should know what he looks like for his own safety.

It's too extreme imo but that's over protective Queen Jiso for you. I don't have a problem with her guard killing the assassins sent by Minister Park but the innocent people like Ah Ro's brother and that soldier who was just admiring the king should not have died.

If people are aware of the king's presence they would bow and remained with their head down till the king pass by. If they are being summoned to see him, they are expected to keep their head down unless the king commands them to life their head and look at him.
Obviously those who work for and with him will have to look at him at some point.
I believe commoners and nobles alike practice the same etiquette towards their king.

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we also know she's being poisoned somehow so maybe she is becoming progressively more insane due to that!

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i think they're portraying her as a victim of the bone rank system too.. she was in love and betrothed to ahn ji, yet was forced to marry her old uncle. i think after that she became bitter and disillusioned, and determined to hold the highest power so nobody else would have power over her again

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I disagree with you a little here. Jidwi stepped forward to claim his right just as SW shouted that he was the king.

If SW had been quiet JW would have said what he had to say.
I personally think that the writing being stuck against Jidwi is a little tiring. He can't seem to catch a break. & portraying him as a weakling/ coward is just unnecessary. He is still conflicted about how to claim his thrown & giving the way his life has been, that makes sense but this whole "SW is better at everything that JW does" is terrible writing.

Both characters can be great without one of them being cast/written as a coward.

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I think both male characters are written well and act according to character.

In Sun Woo's case, he's brave. He doesn't feel fear. Like he said in the beginning, people with nothing to lose have no fear. And he acts accordingly, without really thinking of consequences.

Whereas Ji Dwi is written to be courageous. He has lived in constant fear all his life. Fear of being killed, fear of being discovered, fear of seeing people being killed just for seeing his face, fear of becoming king and failing at it. But he acts nonetheless. He is afraid, yet he joined Hwarang anyway. He is afraid of being discovered, but he decided to speak out that he's king anyway. So in a way, Ji Dwi is more complicated character.

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I like this explanation. Also as much as Ji Dwi wants to be king, he knows he is still weak. He knows he needs to be stronger and he knows that he still has a lot to learn. That's why he admires Sun-woo for being such a natural leader. He wants to be like him.

As for Sun-woo, now that there's a big possibility that he is royalty (probably the son of the Queen's brother). Yet he might be disqualified for his illness. Ji Dwi still has the upper hand in being king.

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I was disappointed in Ji Dwi too. I was angry that he has spent the entire series going "I want to be king but my mom won't let me" and here is an opportunity to make it know he's king - willing to suffer so that his people won't suffer and be acknowledged by another royal. But he was hesitant to take it. And I felt so bad for those poor people who were killed off.
However, I also think he would have spoken out if SW hadn't stepped up. But then again, would that be before or after the second batch of people get killed off?

I think the point of the writing is about how Ji Dwi isn't ready and how Sunwoo eventually helps shape Ji Dwi into a king. I wish Ji Dwi got learning opportunities that don't involve high stakes situations. I'm sure SW will end up being one of the generals who help King Jinheung expand Silla.

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Dunno...from my point of view, the show has done a very bad job explaining why Ji Dwi is in this situation, so I cannot really think of what would be a reasonable or a courageous move since the situation is quite absurd from the get go.
I'm still enjoying it since I like the boys' interactions and mainly the alternate OTP BanRyu - Su Ho's sister. Su Ho and his sister are also adorable together :) The acting is good in general; my doubts about Min Ho disappeared and I can even tolerate Go Ara's constant frowning.
I will keep watching for now, but I hope they don't ruin Ji Dwi's character because they don't know what to do with him. PHS does not deserve this, he has done a good job so far (same goes to PSJ who's also suffering from the bad writing here).

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The show is not over yet. Maybe it'd be explained later?

IF the Korean Netizens are correct (thanks Sooyi) and Moo Myung is based on the historical General Mu-ryeuk then I kind of see the connection here and why the writer had Moo Myung stepped up and took charge of the situation instead of Sammaekjong.

Baekje (currently known as Nambuyeo - Southern Boyeo). is ruled by King Seong if my calculation is right. The current crown prince they are meeting with, Prince Chang is his son and future King Wideok.

General Mu-ryeok was the son of King Guhae (the last king of Geumgwan Gaya). A Gaya prince but a true bone in Shilla.
"In 554, he met the Baekje armies at Gwansan Castle, killing King Seong and four of his ministers, and taking some 29,000 prisoners." according to wikipedia.

So if Moo Myung is General Mu-ryeok this would be his battle with Baekje.
Since it doesn't look like there is going to be an epic battle later. It might come down to a duel between Moo Myung and Crown Prince Chang.

If this has nothing to do with the history then it makes sense for the fearless Moo Myung to step up and take charge for now.
Maybe this is not Sammaekjong's battle. The Hwarangs are not on his side yet. They think Moo Myung is the real king.

Sammaekjong maybe the king but Moo Myung is the main character here. This is his story if we ever get to it lol.

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thats right! ji dwi was only late milisecond before sunwoo shout that he was the king! it is all writer fault makefor ji dwi look so pathetic

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I wonder how much of Sunwoo's Ji Dwi dilemma is caused by the thought that if Sunwoo is King, Aro will soon know that her brother died because of (albeit not 'killed by') the King.

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so the overall is ah ro didnt know about how his brother being killed. of course, she doesnt concern about his brother after all. when she knew sw is not her real brother, she only concern about her confuse feeling toward sw. what a meh sister -_-

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I do not find Ji Dwi's inaction as cowardly. Instead I see him as very conflicted, whether to act strategically or follow his heart. Ji Dwi was very affected when the peasants were killed as evidenced by his clenched hands. I think he really wish for no harm to his people like when he let go of the robbers. However in this case, he knows that outing himself as the king might make the matters worse. The crown prince is obviously set out to kill Silla's king, so if Ji Dwi is killed there, Silla will be without king. This means that Silla will fall and might be conquered by Baekjae. This in turn will make everyone in Silla to suffer. So, strategically, Ji Dwi has to make the hard decision to allow some to die in order for the majority to live. It's like chess, once the king is captured, all the other pieces on the board becomes meaningless.

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Yeah!! Totally agree w you.

I really liked the characterisation of JiDwi here. He understood politics and is not rash, however he also understand the unbelievable weight of being a King.

He wanted so badly to be a good King and yet he keep seeing his weaknesses plus the fact that his Mom doesn't train him at all therefore exacerbated his fear of not being able to rule well.

SunWoo on e other hand I find too simplistic and naive. He stupidly charged into prison (idiotic move ~ which unrealistic coz its other country and they all can be killed, Silla can't even protect them). And then oversimplify politics to princes SookMyung, the logic is sound but in politics it's never a straight forward answer. Not when Silla is weaker than Baekje.

Also I honestly think SunWoo steps up and says he is King is because of Aro. It's in line w his character he only focus on one thing and acts without thinking.

I'm actually upset w the drama for making such an obvious set up by making Aro in danger -> SunWoo saves e day =_=

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my thoughts exactly. it is precisely because SW is not the king (or at least, not that we know of) that he is able to make that rash decision to save Aro's and those prisoners' lives. JD, on the other hand, has been raised as the king, which means he knows how heavy a decision revealing himself to the enemy would be. it's one thing to reveal yourself as king inside your own nation while having assassins gunning for you. at least you're in your own country and you have power there. in the ep, he was being forced to reveal himself while inside enemy territory, in front of an enemy prince who is clearly hostile. the political stakes are so much higher. if JD revealed himself, he would have effectively sentenced his entire country to death.

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yeah but writer can makes ji dwi won the battle with baekja's prince as the writer makes sw won.

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They should rename this show, "Saving Aro". That girl is in danger of dying in literally every episode. I am not a fan of Go Ara's acting. This is my first time watching her so I don't know if it's just the character she is portraying or her acting too. I am really disappointed with this show.

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She was in Reply 1994. I actually liked her acting there and i think she is emulating her R94 character in this show. Gosh, all that crying, pouting, pursing of the lips... Driving me insane.
And how is that crown prince deciding all these things? Should it not be the King of Baekje's decision whether or not to break alliance and declare war?

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I like Go Ara but so many times in this show there's a full-on face shot of her that makes me think of Grumpy Cat and I just crack up.

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Ohhhhhhhh, whyyyyyyy did I read your comment. Now every time I see her I'm going to think of Grumpy Cat. ? I knew she looked like someone, I just couldn't place it.

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A few months late into this thread but this comment is the bomb. Finally! Her pursed lips have irritated me so much and your description of her face is spot on. I don't know the actor very much. Is this face natural for her or was it written into her character?

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She was fine in Reply 1994 and also in You're All Surrounded (where she had the best.smile.ever about 16 minutes into ep 3).

And she may indeed be trying to channel her 1994 character here, it just doesn't work so well in this context.

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where she had the best.smile.ever about 16 minutes into ep 3 lol @ the cute fanlording :D

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? ? LOL I had the same thought as you. Thanks @bbstl for finding the comparaison!

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Thanks for that I'm downloading it at KissAsian to watch later. Definately agree with all the comments on this episode. I think there is a consensus that this drama so rich in potential and with on the whole a great cast is let down by the writers inexperience and at times poor direction.

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It's really not Aro's fault. She never seeks out danger and it's always because of others' irrational actions. She just happened to befriend a little boy. Seems like Ji Dwi needs saving too. Maybe the show should be like "Sunwoo is Probably Tired of Saving Everyone. Please Let the Man Rest.".

I like Go Ara and don't have a problem with her in previous dramas. I think the makeup makes every frown look grumpier though. The thick unnatural looking eyebrows on the characters are really distracting.

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I've mentioned it before that I like Aro & I didn't mind Go Ara's acting even when she's not very convincing whenever she cries. Her expression when they dragged her to be killed in that last scene however bugged me. She just saw people get killed in front of her and she's aware that she'll die next if no one speaks up. Her expression though...arrgghh..

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Ji-dwi needs to step up already. This show is dragging out his indecision for too damn long. Like LolliPip said he's literally got blood on his hands so best king up and smack that obnoxious Baekje prince back to the hole he crawled out of. (I really didn't like that guy, probably cause t can't stand people who make you watch them eat while not offering you a single bite. Manners!)

Also I support Pah OhXDan Se, the purest of same age friends.

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omg "king up"! Love it ?

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The Baekje Prince oozed slime.

Dan Se is the best! He's probably the only guy in Hwarang that I respect now.

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The Crown Prince really is great at being terrible! Yeeccchhhh! What a slimeball. How I look forward to him being defeated by Silla (please? I hope?).

Really hating Dan Se's grandfather.

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I've got a bit of an issue with Ji-dwi, and to a lesser extent with Sun-woo. It was obvious that the crown prince was not bluffing, so anybody who wanted to step forward should have done it before the first group of peasants were killed.

The message from what they actually did was: "It's ok to kill peasants, just don't mess with the female lead" (No matter how many people dislike her performance).

Anybody else wish all 4 of them had stepped forward at once to say "I am Spartacus the king" ??

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Yeah, that pissed me off too. At the start of the episode Ji-dwi stopped the others from killing his subjects, yet at the end he's content to stand by and let them die as long as they don't kill 'his only person'? I understand the stakes are higher, but it still made me lose respect for Ji-dwi as a king.

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I really wanted Ji Dwi to step up sooner, and but I don't think that it was cowardice that made him take so long to make the decision to speak up(and Sun Woo beat him to it.)

I also think that he wasn't thinking of Ah Ro when he decided to claim he's king. If you notice his expression he didn't even see her being dragged in. He was battling with himself, to step up or not. The first batch of men were killed before the fifteen minutes were up. And he decided to act irrespective of who was in that second batch.

I don't think Ji Dwi was worried about his life per se or he wouldn't have volunteered for the party. He's spent most of his life in hiding where people were killed just for seeing his face. So stepping out into the light can't be an easy decision. I'm glad he made that decision even if it was late.

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Also, have to say, that I am super impressed with Park Hyung Sik. The few minutes of that scene were so amazingly played, I could feel every bit of angst that he wanted to convey. I can not believe he's only acted in a few dramas. He feels like a seasoned actor.

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+100000000 everything you said above

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Agree with everything you have said!

Also, Dan Se and little bro (sorry, Taetae, I forgot your character name again.) were so good. Grandpa needs to just STOP.

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um, they gave 15 minutes, then minced the poor peasants after only a few. How could Ji Dwi have predicted that? I think he naively thought he can come up with some sort of plan I guess.

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Exactly.
Ji-dwi has too much to lose and I think he tried his damnadest to come up with a plan that wouldn't endanger both those people and himself. After all, he couldn't predict what would happened when he claim to be the King of Silla. What if he found himself as a hostage of some sort? That wouldn't bode well for Silla people either.

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But look back at the scene. Ji Dwi never looks at AR when she was brought up before them. Only Sun Woo was looking at her with concern. Ji Dwi was staring right in front of him and down and shaking, exactly like he was doing when the first group of peasants was brought before them. So I'm pretty sure Ji Dwi was stepping up because the 1st group of peasants got killed, and he didn't want to see anymore killed.

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When I watching, I really did think it would be a Spartacus moment. I was so sure that ji Dwi would stand up first and then Sun Woo. Or Sun Woo would stand up first and then Su Ho (coz Su Ho is cute that way)

But none of them did the Spartacus thing and I was so disappointed.

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I totally thought they would all pull a Spartacus moment. Showing their solidarity and all that. But, it would be a bit unbelievable if Ban Ryu were to have joined, since he is not necessarily 'for' the king. I don't see him sacrificing himself to that extent. Especially since the crown prince could just kill all of them - he knows one of them is king!

The writing this episode slacked a bit. If you want to portray a king sympathetic to the people, you need to show him consistently showing his convictions. I will give Jwi Di some leeway since the crown prince executed them well before the timeframe stated. So, it was a bit of a surprise. However, sticking Ah Ro in with the second group muddies his intentions. Is he stepping up to the plate to save the peasants and Ah Ro, or just for Ah Ro?

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Holy crap, i was totally expecting the I am Spartacus thing too!! And was disappointed we didn't get it, especially since this was a pop culture heavy drama. Such a missed opportunity. And it would be sort of funny too, since 3 of the 4 guys could be eligible for the throne. Sunwoo as the Queen's unknown nephew. And BanRyu could be king if his stepdad has his way.

I was thinking Suho could have attempted to step up to the plate to protect Sunwoo (since the Queen had heavily hinted Sunwoo was SMJ).

I'm still not 100% sure if Sunwoo is sure Ji Dwi is king. If he does, I can see Sunwoo trying to wait it out to see if Ji Dwi would step up. If he wasn't sure and it was possible that none of them were king, I felt like he should have stepped up since the Baekje prince was obviously going to keep killing until someone fesses up.

But JiDwi - come on, were you seriously trying to wait until the 14 minutes and 59 seconds were over? At least it looked like he was about to fess up when SW beat him to it.

It really doesn't look like Ji Dwi noticed Aro in the second group of peasants about to be executed. He was panicking and struggling too much - probably traumatized at seeing his people slain. Their blood even got on his clothes.

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Yes! Me too, i was hoping either all four would step up or at least both Jidwhi and Sunwoo to create some confusion and gain some time for the peasants/Ahro. I think Jidwhi should have contested Sunwoo's claim. But, if Sunwoo is the son of the Queen's brother...then he is a king too. I think it was in character for Sunwoo to step up as he did, announcing loud and clear.

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that's what I was thinking. will all of you please step up? but I guess that will make the Baekje Prince more mad.

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I think it's a little unfair to say that Ji Dwi "let" those people die - in fact, we actually don't know. The Prince had indicated he would give them 15 minutes before he killed the people, but then after 1 minute, he kills them and goes "oops, that wasn't 15 minutes." That's not to say that Ji Dwi probably would have come right out and say he was king within that 15 minute period, but we don't know, and we can see he was very conflicted. But he was put in a very tough spot - let them know he was king in enemy territory and possibly be killed or used against Silla, leaving Silla vulnerable, or hold back and let the peasants die. At least he came to the conclusion to let himself be know as the king and stepped up.. it's just that SW beat him to it by literally a split second.

And while SW has good leadership skills, he still has that bad habit of acting before thinking (see invasion of the prison guards when he hears Aro is arrested), which a king needs to consider. Ji Dwi actually had to foresight to tell them to not draw their swords or it would be a declaration of war. Ji Dwi even stopped Suho from attacking the farmers (still disappointed in Suho for that). Actually, a combination of SW and Ji Dwi would make a great king, SW for his leadership skills and Ji Dwi for his looking at the big picture. SW just needs to think before acting and Ji Dwi needs to get out of his insecurities and man up some more.

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WELL SAID!!!!!!!!

Thank you for expressing my thoughts so beautifully!!!!

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Second that! This is exactly what I thought as well.

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+1OOO!!! Completely agree with you.

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You took the words right out of my mouth, thank you *thumbs up*

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I agree with you.
And on Silla's history, It says that
" One of his first acts(King Jinheung) as true king of Silla was to appoint a man named Kim Isabu as Head of Military Affairs, which occurred in 541."
So can we conclude that Jidwi (King Jinheung) will rise on his throne and will assign Sunwoo (Kim isabu) as his Head of Military Affairs at the end?
I really hope this will happen because i already invested too much feelings for Park Hyungsik aka Jidwi and I don't want to get hurt in the end. I don't mind if he will get the girl or not. I just want him to be the king and have a happy ending.

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Since they screwed up the timeline it's not possible for Moo Myung to be Kim Isabu. I thought he might be General Isabu from the beginning until Princess Sookmyung showed up.
Isabu is Princess Sookmyung father. I don't see how they'd make Moo Myung her father in this drama when he is basically just a few years older than her.

So far, Moo Myung is either the last Daegaya crown prince or General Mu-ryeuk.

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@ Kiara - is Kim Isabu really Sookmyung's father? My reading says Jinheung was married to Park Sado (Queen Sado) implying her father was from the Park family.

He wouldn't have married his sister for reals? Half sister I can understand.

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King Jinheung had more than one wives. Sookmyung and Queen Sado were two of his consorts out 6 or 8 total (forgot). Yes he did marry his half sister but his first wife was Queen Sado from the Park clan.
The inbreeding was real and I have a hard time remembering who belongs to who lol.

You might want to go back to earlier episodes and read O_o comments on the royal family. I don't have access to Hwarang Segi but O_o does.
The official historical documents does not go into details with the royal families' geneology like The Hwarang Segi.

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And yes, Sookmyung is General Isabu's daughter with Queen Regent Jiso.

I kind of get why Isabu is not part of the show. He held a lot of power as a General and he was a royalty himself as a descendant of the first Kim king (if I remember correctly).
He was over all of Shilla's military and the king's court. He would have more power than Minister Park and his minions combined.

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Thank you!! Wish people would give JD more credit. He saved everyone's asses so many times this episode and just because SW beat him to declaring himself the King everyone is suddenly disappointed in him?? Siiggghhh....

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I agree wholeheartedly with this. Sammaekjong is more politically adept than the carefree Sun Woo who had nothing to lose until very recently. Pa Oh must have taught Sammaekjong all that.

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You are so right! A combination of SW and Ji Dwi will be the perfect king.

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I wish the writers had brought us here in episode six rather than fourteen. This should have been the story of hwarang -- being sent on diplomatic missions, risking their lives to save the people (not just Ah Ro) etc etc. Instead we got fourteen episodes of "is he my brother or is he not" and "She should love me if I woo her forcefully enough" and "I'm not sure what I'm doing here, but I'm the hero...so..."

Not that I didn't like Hwarang before, its just that I really didn't have much to say about it. It was just pure flower boy style entertainment. They had this amazing concept that they sadly reduced to a love triangle. I liked the love triangle but I would have loved Hwarang more if it was less about the romance and more about the actual Hwarang, like it is now.

I am so excited to see what comes next.

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Love that description of the 14 episodes so far.

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yes, that would have been a better way to do things. You can have a love triangle and a bromance and a serious sageuk. You just need to work it. When the drama was first introduced, the storyline, the stills, and even the clips looked really cheesy. However, it won me during the first 2 episodes - we got a serious story. we got bromance (even though it was between SW and MakMoon). we got the heroine who worked like a bajillion part time jobs. we got the meet cute romance. It was a good blend.

Episode 6 would have been a little too early. Maybe episode 8. I feel like tables turn around episode 8.

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It would be nice to get a more grownup version of the Hwarang story in the near future. There is room for all sorts of flavors of sageuk. I mean, they get to tell the story of HongGilDong in various ways over the years, so why not Hwarang?

The youth tag for me indicates growth and learning and learning how to deal with and get along with people from different backgrounds, which isn't happening much. I like this youthful version despite its many frustrating flaws. And I think you can have youth oriented sageuk storytelling and hijinks while being taken seriously. Like SKKS and MDBC, which had experienced writers

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I think this show has always had trouble identifying its audience. Half the time they do silly (to me) stuff that seems oriented towards kids, then they turn around and do non-kid stuff (I bloody well hope), like murder best friends and massacre tied-up peasants.

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So true so I narrowed it down to early teens.

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I'm not a big fan of romance in sageuks. I don't mind if it's kept to a minimum but it seems take up a good junk of the story here with the useless love triangle cliche and stupid misunderstandings, that just goes on in circles.

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Lol *Chunk*

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I’m not a big fan of romance in sageuks.

I'm right there with you. I want more fighty-fight!

The only romance I'm interested in seeing at all is Ban Ryu and Soo-Yeon, and that's partly because it will eventually lead Ban Ryu to reject his father's weird gang politics in favor of friendship and love.

(And partly because I love how Soo-Yeon just decides what she wants, and goes for it without hesitation. I'd love to see her in the middle of the politics kicking metaphorical ass & taking names.)

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I agree with you! They could have all these awesome Hwarang missions and have the youth bromance thing too! It doesn't have to be serious. They can go around helping people. I was expecting the Hwarang boys to have more assignments and hence more bromance bonding.

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totally agree.

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There are a lot of threads to get resolved in six episodes:
1. The Queen and Master Ahn's backstory
2. Hwi-kyung's backstory
3. Hwa-gong's backstory and fall from grace
4. Ban Ryu and his dads
5. Ban Ryu and Soo Yeon's romance
6. Ban Ryu and Suho's bromance
7. Suho's crush on the Queen
8. Dan Se and Han Sung's bromance
9 Yeo Weol and if he has any purpose in the story
10. Ji Dwi becoming king (or not)
11. Sunwoo-Aro-Ji Dwi romance
11a- Ji Dwi realizing that the person that the Queen's guard killed was Aro's actual brother
11b Sun Woo realizing that Ji Dwi didn't kill Mak-Moon
12. Princess'es crush on Sunwoo
13. Sun-woo's big birth secret
13.a why the Princess and Sunwoo seem to have the same fainting disorder
13b. the guy who was Mak-Moon and Sun-woo's mentor/the musician, how he fits in.
14. the Hwarang actually cementing as a group
15. resolution with Baekje

I'm guessing that 1/3 of these are left hanging.

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good list!
9- Yeo Wool and if he has any purpose in the story
Is one of my burning questions, and also redfox and I are still waiting to know how he got booted from the center bed to the top bunk on the first night.

16 - don't forget Polio Guy!

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Ignore that please, I forgot whose name Hwi Kyung is.

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that's fine, because I forgot about the something, so:
16: the Queen being poisoned.

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Ooooo

THE QUEEN BEING POISONED! Will we resolve that issue?

I mean what's the point of all this extra work that minister Park is doing if he is already poisoning her? She will die anyway, so why is he doing the most with letters etc.

Sigh.

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um, can we skip those and just have them pose with puppies?

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or cuddle together in a heap of puppy pile works too

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And this list is precisely why grumpy me has run out of patience with the show: It is too stingy. We get short conversations with smirks indicating...very little. 'Hello bro, how about a new king?' That's it, seriously? Tell me more, tell me more!

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you know, I almost thought he was suggesting himself as the new king in that conversation. Like, whaaaaat?

Stingy is a good word.

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13.a why the Princess and Sunwoo seem to have the same fainting disorder

Because they're related. Remember, the guy w/polio syndrome who is Sunwoo's dad was a Sacred Bone.

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I don't think Lord Hwi Kyung is a sacred bone. His mother was a concubine so that makes him a true bone.

We don't know if Moo Myung is his son yet.

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IF Moo Myung is indeed his son then I think his half sister Queen Jiso did convince her father to change the system to "sacred bone" so Lord Hwi Kyung and his descendants would not be able to rule so her sacred bone son Sammaekjong would be the only eligible heir to the throne.

Maybe we'd get to how the late king died and who killed him. It bugs me that they are not revealing much.

Some have been speculating that Moo Myung is the rightful heir to the throne so it's a big possibility.

So many theories that makes sense. It's kind of fun and it keeps me interested.

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I don’t think Lord Hwi Kyung is a sacred bone. His mother was a concubine so that makes him a true bone.

But in a conversation with Ahn Ji-gong, he says that his illness made him lose his Sacred Bone status. And Ahn Ji-gong and he certainly seem to believe that Sun-woo is his son.

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Like I said below, the writer is using his illness to disqualify him as heir to the throne and not mentioning that he is a son of a concubine.

(In history a son of a concubine would be a true bone and he was. His children would be true bones also).

He lost his sacred bone status and that basically means his offsprings are true bones.
If Moo Myung is his son, he has no claim to the throne as a true bone unless this writer thinks that we don't understand Shilla's bone rank system.

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Had to rewatch this episode and I guess he is made out to be a sacred bone in the drama. I think the polio is added to explain why he is not the heir to the throne.
I'm curious to know what Jiso did to him that made him want to bring her down.

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Wow!!! I'm so impressed with your summary. I hope it is not impolite to ask this (to all those posting) but some at least have a prodigious knowledge of ancient Korean history, or at the very least an interest that promotes reading/researching that history. Are you therefore Korean? If so I am also amazed by your excellent English and very much in awe of you. I found Kdramas a couple of years ago and they have gradually taken over a huge part of my time.

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Just weighing in (yet again) on how much I'm enjoying this drama - for the story more than anything. I think the writer is young...can't remember where I read that...but she/he has a good grasp on intrigue. I like how everything is woven together with MANY active threads unresolved, yet interesting. I'm a writer and I know how hard it is to come up with this many plot mechanisms and keep them all up in the air at the same time. Only time will tell whether we get all the answers but in the meantime...bring it on, HWARANG!!

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If you think that the Hwarang writer is good at making intriguing plots you`ll never be a successful writer. This story is cliche over cliche over cliche is so thin it is transparent.

The hero who can do no wrong, he is not a leader he is a hot head who acts only for his own selfish reasons and doesn`t care for the consequences his actions have on anybody else including his friends his family or god forbid the entire country. And really must there be a Birth secret, cant a peasant born person be as good or better than any noble no HE HAS TO BE A PRINCE from an incest heavy bloodline with physically impaired father from said Incest.

Leading damsel in distress who cries, naively get herself into trouble she could have avoided if she had a functional brain, cries, needs saving all the time and CRIES some more. Who needs smart women she supposed to be whinny and pretty.

Second lead who has to be lovable but VERY FLAWED only to emphasis the main guys perfectness, and not to get the girl cause the main guy gets her, and really for someone to win there has to be a LOOSER folks the second lead is it.

The supporting roles are not developed at all and are used as contrast points in completing the main characters not defined personalities.
Example Sun woo can lead because Ji dwi can not, Sun Woo is brave stepping up (for selfish reasons saving A Ro) in his enemy back yard for a prince who is asking for his opponents king why take a guess to kill him and what will stop him for killing everybody else he plans to destroy their country after all, Ji Dwi is a coward for hiding all his life from his own people who want him dead and hesitates to give himself in to be killed by his enemy,and simultaneously start a war.

Soo Ho and Ban Ruy are here to be a filler representatives of the political background of their respectful families, caught up in the race of who can grab more power money status anything really.
Ban Ruy and Soo Ho sister =Romeo and Juliet need I say more.
The other Hwarang students background extras no story to any of them we only know the two half brothers and Yeo Wol by name and nothing else about the rest of them not even their names cause they are not plot devices.

The queen is evil for manipulating people to keep her position and her life really who does that? Everyone who have a life and a position the want to keep.

Lets cry a river for poor doctor Ahn , the queen ditched him his wife was banished his son died and he is left only with A-Ro what is his answer to all of this he puts the blame no the queen cause he can`t blame himself for being impotent of doing something about it and let himself be blackmailed and manipulated poor thing.

Did I forgot something sure I might have but it if it was important at least it would have gotten bigger screen time so it would be able to remember it.

This story has been told so many times the same old way its boring nothing is original in it I could tell the end after...

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Um. I'm pretty sure @lunatic4KD is in fact a successful, published writer already. So...

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all of this. preach it!

Hwarang is definitely NOT a case of good writing, even for a young/novice writer

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Not sure if the writer is young, but the writer is still a rookie. Just a bunch of well received drama specials (1-4 episodes), but no experience in writing longer dramas, which is why some of the pacing and character development is off. I think she has some awesome ideas, but could have used some guidance to help implement them better or even nix some of them. Yes, you like about 20 frozen yogurt toppings, but is putting all 20 of them in your froyo really the way to go?

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Why did Sunwoo do that?

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