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Seven Day Queen: Episode 9

There’s a touch of brightness today that’s reminiscent of the childhood camaraderie that I loved so much—when our prince wants to be charming, there’s really no defending against it. But there’s also a hint of more weighty matters on the horizon, as well as the touch of darkness that always threatens to erupt into full-scale disaster between the two brothers. It just seems to intensify with every encounter, which is great for the drama’s narrative arc, and maybe less good for my blood pressure.

 

 
EPISODE 9 RECAP

As Chae-kyung begs the king to be punished instead of her father, Yeok interrupts by walking right into the palace and announcing his return, like he either has a death wish or a mighty crafty plan up his sleeve. Please have a crafty plan!

Yeok states his name and addresses Yeonsangun as hyungnim, and everyone gapes at the prince who’s returned from the dead. Yeonsangun puts on his trademark smirk but it quivers, not quite confident.

The guards immediately lower the swords they’d been pointing at Yeok’s throat, stepping aside as the king approaches his brother. There’s a long, tense moment as everyone watches for his reaction, and then Yeonsangun pulls Yeok into a bear hug.

It’s entirely for show, and he declares, “You were alive!” His tone is meant to sound relieved, but it comes out half-accusing.

Yeonsangun orders the unconscious Chae-kyung to be taken to the doctor. Then he yells that his dead brother has returned, spurring the court ministers to bow in respect, his smile so forced it makes him look manic.

Yeok greets each minister personally with warm words of recognition, while Yeonsangun watches with laser eyes.

A bit later as the court convenes in an official session, Yeok asks the king to clear himself and Chae-kyung of false charges (of being the thief and abetting him). He argues that the fault lies with the officials in charge of managing the government stores of food and cloth, and Secretary Im scoffs that he’s making accusations with no proof.

Yeok asks pointedly how he will explain imprisoning someone for a crime if there was no proof. He declares that the real thief is somewhere in the ministers’ midst, which prompts protest that the accusation is unfounded. That’s when he holds up a scroll and unfurls it—allllll the way down the length of the floor. Ooh. Is that the intel gathered from his pawnshop information exchange?

Yeok points to entries of government tributes that were supposed to be sent as relief. Then he points to more entries that list unusual items, like the gold-embroidered hats and vests used in a child’s first birthday celebration.

He asks which ministers have had a grandchild celebrate a first birthday recently, saying that the real thief is the one who takes advantage of a royal order meant to help the citizens and instead provides for his own interest. He looks directly at Secretary Im, who nervously says that there’s nobody like that here, and that the issue must have happened while the goods were being transported. He promises to find the culprits and punish them.

One minister asks about the recent raids of the ministers’ storehouses, and presents the letter left behind by the thief. Yeok laughs, saying that anyone who would dare forge a king’s order would have no compunctions over forging his name.

Yeonsangun cuts in to declare that Yeok and Chae-kyung have been unjustly accused of a crime, and that their innocence will be made known public. Moreover, Secretary Im will be responsible for capturing the thief who impersonated the prince.

Minister Shin, who is still kneeling out in the courtyard, is told of the pardon. Yeok meets his eyes as he leaves the building, and the two men exchange bows.

Yeok starts to head off in one direction, and Deputy Commander Park informs him that he’s heading toward the infirmary, and that his mother’s palace is the other way. Hint taken. Yeok turns and heads off to see his mother.

Yeonsangun practices his archery while Secretary Im tries to argue that everything Yeok just said was a lie. Yeonsangun whirls on the man and shoots the hat right off Im’s head. “You just died,” he says. “For what crime?”

Secretary Im stammers that he dared dishonor the king before the other ministers. Yeonsangun shoots another arrow—this time narrowly flying through the space between his arm and his body. “You died again,” he says. “What crime?”

Secretary Im quakes harder and says that he flouted the king’s order to kill the prince. A third arrow pierces the floor right in front of him. “You died again.”

The secretary grits out, “For making the prince return alive.” This time, the king tells him to live as though dead and not interfere. Secretary Im grabs for his leg to beg mercy, so Yeonsangun grabs a sword and slashes it through the air. Secretary Im jerks back, his arm cut, and Yeonsangun holds the blade to his throat.

“Must you truly die in order to come to your senses?” he demands. Secretary Im insists that there is unfinished work that only he can do, and begs the king not to throw him away.

The queen dowager is not at all pleased to see Yeok back in this capacity, rebuking him for coming back merely to save Chae-kyung and negating all her efforts. But Yeok smiles at her and asks for a hug, and gets up to embrace his mother. “See, is it not good that we are able to be together like this?” he asks.

He assures her that there will be better things in store for them, and promises to make that happen. They embrace for a long moment.

Deputy Commander Park speaks up to call Yeok’s actions rash, but Yeok adds that he didn’t return just for Chae-kyung’s sake—the king had caught on that he was alive. Remaining in hiding would have only endangered those around him, knowing that Yeonsangun and Secretary Im would stop at nothing to get to him.

Deputy Commander Park asks what his plan is, because the conflict with the king will intensify now that it’s out in the open. Yeok merely replies, “I will use hyungnim’s people.”

Nok-soo suggests to Yeonsangun that they plant a spy in Yeok’s midst to find evidence to use against him, which will enable them to get rid of Yeok for good. Moreover, she has just the person in mind: Chae-kyung.

Yeonsangun opposes the idea, but Nok-soo points out that if they use a different minister’s daughter, Yeonsangun will not trust any of those ministers as he does Minister Shin. Instead of replying, Yeonsangun just prepares to make a visit to the queen dowager.

Yeok shocks his mother by declaring that he will marry Chae-kyung, while off in the infirmary, Chae-kyung wakes. Hearing that the prince has truly returned, she starts to get up immediately, but her mother tells her to wait for her father, who has something to tell her.

Yeok makes his case for marrying Chae-kyung, reminding his mother that she wanted the match. As the daughter of the king’s most trusted official, he would be freed of some of his constraints. Once he marries Chae-kyung, he intends to win over her father to his side.

Myung-hye argues that Yeok’s plan is purely in order to protect Chae-kyung, and Yeok replies that it’s also beneficial to them. The queen dowager counters that the most beneficial course is to find the previous king’s secret will. Both Myung-hye and Commander Park jump on this plan, wanting to find that hidden historian to recover the letter—and just outside, the king arrives and prevents the court ladies from announcing his presence. Ack! Everyone, stop talking!

Myung-hye suggests that Seo-no find his father, just as Yeok senses a presence approaching. He shushes her, holding up a hand to silence his group, just as Yeonsangun arrives on the other side of the door and holds out his hand to silence the court lady. Yeonsangun seems to notice that the voices go suddenly silent, but moments later the doors slide open, and Yeok greets him with a smile.

Deputy Commander Park and Myung-hye excuse themselves, and Park worries about how much the king overheard. Myung-hye says that Yeok has had a heightened sense of alert since nearly dying, and will have known as soon as the king stepped in the corridor.

Park expresses sympathy about Myung-hye seeing the prince marry someone else (“It must be like cooking porridge and having to give it to a dog”), but she forces herself to smile and says grimly, “I will be the one who laughs last.”

The king’s eunuch reads the royal order that pardons Yeok for his old crime (of freeing Seo-no’s father from prison) and restores his former position to him. Yeok bows to the king, and the queen dowager thanks him effusively.

Yeonsangun tells her to be at ease now that she doesn’t have to hide it anymore. He’s so tricksy with his words, because that insinuates that she knew Yeok was alive. She quickly adapts, saying that it was difficult to hide her sadness when Yeok was dead, but she will now be as happy as her heart desires.

Servants carry in a mountain of gifts from the king, and Yeok’s face takes on a wary look before he puts on his friendly act to thank his brother.

Yeonsangun invites Yeok to have drinks, and arranges to meet later. The second he leaves, Yeok warns his mother not to speak of the secret will again: “Have you forgotten that it was because of that one thing that hyungnim suspected me, restricted me, and even tried to kill me? I do not want to hang my fate on one measly letter. Even if it takes time, I will seek out the throne on my own strength.” And that starts with marrying Chae-kyung.

Minister Shin presents Chae-kyung with that letter from years ago—the letter she took as an excuse to run away to Hanyang in the first place. He believes it’s time she knew why she was hidden away in the countryside, and Chae-kyung reads the prophecy predicting the calamity that would befall the royal court if she met any of its members. Her mother tells her it’s up to her to avoid her fate now.

Outside the king’s chambers, Nok-soo tells Secretary Im that she’s working on convincing the king. Then she stiffens at the sight of Minister Shin, who warns Secretary Im sternly that he will let things go this time, but that he ought to consider his a life lost and gained and thus do a good job from now on. Secretary Im chafes at the rebuke.

Yeok arrives at the appointed pavilion, where a lavish spread is laid out, but is left waiting for a long while. Yeonsangun doesn’t appear to be in a rush, and takes his time reading over royal appeals. He instructs his head eunuch to assign Secretary Im’s work to Minister Shin instead, and to have Im assist Shin. When the eunuch states that everything has been prepared at the pavilion, Yeonsangun doesn’t even acknowledge it.

So Yeok is left waiting, and one eunuch nervously suggests telling the prince that the king is running late. But the head eunuch chides him for not seeing the obvious: The king is purposely doing this to tame the prince. For his part, Yeok is entirely aware that this is meant to be a test, and remains seated.

Night falls, and still the two brothers remain unmoving. It’s like the war of the two brick walls; this is why you two need Chae-kyung to do anything. And finally, Yeonsangun arrives.

Over food and drink, they reminisce a bit, with Yeok laughing about how he thought for sure he would be recognized when they ran into each other at the inn. Yeonsangun chuckles that he didn’t recognize him, since the cute young prince turned into such an ugly man, sighing that he’d wished for his kid brother not to grow up. You’d almost think some of their true affection were creeping in, but Yeok thinks darkly to himself that Yeonsangun didn’t want him to grow up because he didn’t want to hand over the throne to him.

Yeonsangun asks whom Yeok believes tried to kill him five years ago. Yeok answers that it was surely mountain bandits, and how nearly dying made him feel so wronged that he wanted to track them down and get revenge—but he also thinks life is too short and precious to live with such resentment. “I change my mind about a dozen times a day,” he says.

Yeonsangun asks if he ever thought it would have been better to die. “I did,” Yeok says. “But recently, I found new resolve to live. I have even found a simple dream. To become a strong person, so I can protect myself and those I love.”

Yeonsangun asks if the dream came true. Yeok shakes his head, saying, “I have only just recovered my name.” The king notes that his name isn’t a light one to bear, and Yeok agrees before lightening the mood by reminding his brother to keep his promise earlier to give Yeok all the things he wanted.

Laughingly, Yeonsangun asks what he most wants. “Shin Chae-kyung,” Yeok replies.

Suddenly the mood darkens and Yeonsangun’s hand shakes ever so slightly. Yeok explains that he cares for her and wants to be with her, and Yeonsangun bolts to his feet suddenly, ready to leave. He declares that the liquor has gone to his head, but I’m pretty sure it’s all the jealous rage.

Myung-hye returns to headquarters and lights into the guys (Seo-no, Gwang-oh, and Seok-hee), angry that they tricked her into leaving and supported Yeok’s plan to reveal himself. The boys explain that they tried to talk him out of it, but Yeok insisted that hiding wasn’t the right answer. Seo-no adds that they were able to save people who’d been falsely accused, and that changed circumstances call for changed plans.

Myung-hye scorns the plan to use marriage for their ends. Seo-no says he doesn’t love the idea of using Chae-kyung but won’t oppose it, because it won’t be an arranged marriage—they’ll love for real. “And if not, then what will you do?” Myung-hye challenges. “There is no need to do anything,” Seo-no says. “It will certainly happen that way.”

Chae-kyung reads the prophecy over and over in disbelief, which foretells the bloody strife that will befall the royal court if she were to meet a member of royalty.

That’s when Yeok arrives outside the infirmary door and calls out to her. Chae-kyung asks her nanny in a panic to tell him that she’s sleeping, not knowing that her voice is loud and clear out in the hallway. Nanny heads out to turn him away, and Chae-kyung quietly makes her way to the door.

Suddenly the room goes dark, and Yeok claps a hand over her mouth from behind, offering to let her go if she promises not to scream. She agrees, but the second he lets go, she calls out for her nanny. So Yeok hurries to clap his hand back over her mouth, and it sends them tumbling backward… into bed, him landing on top of her.

Chae-kyung pushes him back, her tone cold as she asks him to leave. He asks if she’s not pleased to see him, and she says she isn’t, because she can’t trust him when everything he says is a lie.

She opens the door and waits for him to leave. Instead, he pulls it closed again and admits that he lied to her all those times. When she tries to step aside, he holds her back, pressing her against the door.

“The biggest lie of those was that I didn’t miss you,” he says sincerely. “I missed you. Very much. Very, very much.”

She asks angrily why he’s saying this now, after he declared their promises invalid and returned her token. “Why did you come back?” she asks.

“Why do you think? Did you forget what I said after that?” he asks. “The reason our promise was invalid, the reason I returned the ring. That meant I would soon fulfill my promise to return.”

Chae-kyung thinks back to the moment he left the ring with her, and now we see what he said afterward, that the promise was invalid because he would be fulfilling it. Now he smiles down at her, asking her to praise him for coming back safely.

Chae-kyung is moved at the realization, but pushes him aside again anyway. She declares his promise fulfilled, but asks him not to come back, her face stony. This time he does leave the room, and when he calls out her name, she firms her resolve and ignores him.

Once alone, she thinks of his request for praise, while he thinks of her request to leave her. Chae-kyung goes to bed holding that ring, which she still wears on her neck.

A bit later when Nanny announces a visitor, Chae-kyung asks expectantly if it’s Yeok—but it’s Yeonsangun. He asks if she’d been waiting for Yeok, and she says no.

They step outside for a walk, when suddenly Chae-kyung kneels before him, saying that she is indebted to him because he saved her life. Yeonsangun helps her up, reminding her that she also saved his life. She says that wasn’t really saving, and apologizes for lying to the king without intending to.

Yeonsangun concedes that he wants to tell her it’s fine, but that he was quite disappointed. He asks if she can’t trust him, and she hurriedly assures him that that’s not it—she merely didn’t want to cause problems for another person again. She promises never to lie to him again, and it seems to ease his mood, prompting him to very nearly touch her bowed head. He pulls back and pats her shoulder instead, and accepts her promise.

Yeonsangun is in much brighter spirits as he returns to his quarters chuckling, and thinks of her promise as he falls asleep.

As Yeok walks through the city that night, he catches on to a trio of armed men on his tail. He joins a table of drinkers at a crowded tavern, paying for their drinks, and feigns drunkenness when he rises. He slips out through a back door and pulls a dark cloak on, and manages to lose his followers.

Yeok returns to the Snail Bride headquarters, where his team is assembled—along with an unannounced visitor, Deputy Commander Park. He states that with Yeok out in the public eye, they need someone to lead the revolt, to handle matters while Yeok is pursuing his plan by marrying Chae-kyung. Ah, are you trying to take over?

Yeok bristles when Park reveals the wall behind him, freely looking at the names and plans that Yeok’s team have put together. Announcing a gift for Yeok, he leads him outside before a gathering of noblemen, scholars, and warriors who have vowed loyalty to his cause.

Yeok looks surprised at this display, and moved as well. He introduces himself, and the crowd of men drop to the ground in bows.

Chae-kyung’s parents puzzle over that prophecy, recalling that the priestess had initially declared that Yeok and Chae-kyung were a heavenly match. And yet, some time later, she warned them not to trust the late king and left them that dire prophecy.

Minister Shin guesses that something happened between the king and the priestess. They speculate that the priestess betrayed the king, who had her killed. But they don’t know why she was killed, and what that means for Chae-kyung’s fate, and thus all they can do is be watchful.

Back at home that night, Chae-kyung broods about the prophecy and her father’s explanation. After Yeok was born, the previous king had summoned Chae-kyung and proposed marrying the children, and the priestess had explained that they were fated to protect each other. The priestess had tattooed Chae-kyung’s back to mark the promise and act as a talisman for her safety.

Her father explained that after the tattoo was done, previously sickly Chae-kyung was healthy for the next few years. Then one night the priestess showed up badly injured and warned him not to trust the king, and uttered the prophecy.

Upon hearing this, Chae-kyung had asked if all the misfortunes that had befallen Yeok had been because of the prophecy, blaming herself for his fate. Her mother had told her it wasn’t her fault, but because they are a match that cannot be, they must do what they can to avoid it.

And now, with these thoughts weighing heavily on her mind, Chae-kyung looks at the tattoo on her back and calls it a curse, not a talisman.

Then, a whistling sounds from outside. It’s Yeok, peering over the house wall, whistling the tune she taught him. When she opens her window, Yeok calls out her name and indicates that she come out to meet him. She shakes her head no, so he props himself higher against the wall and motions to jump over the wall, which makes her smile. God help her when he’s being charming.

She ends up joining him on a walk, and asks where he’s going. He replies, “I’m on my way to win your heart.” She says she has no intention of giving it, but he isn’t swayed and takes her wrist to lead her along.

He takes her to the pawnshop headquarters and invites her to sit. Chae-kyung stubbornly feigns disinterest, so he pulls out a book and explains that he’s written down every lie and mean thing he’s done to her, and everything he needs to explain to her. Ha! She insists she doesn’t care to hear anything, primly telling him not to bother.

Yeok flips through the pages for wrongs to explain, then asks, “Aren’t you curious to know how I lived?” Aha, a flicker of interest. Chae-kyung forcibly turns her head away, but Yeok begins with his exile and ambush, adding in thrills and intrigue like a master storyteller.

She does the worst job ever pretending this is boring her, and even starts asking questions before catching herself. He explains how he was rescued in the woods by the owner of this pawnshop, who buys information from Yeok’s crew and uses it to make deals with aristocrats.

Yeok flips through the book to say that she’s in here too, but teasingly holds the book out of reach as he reads her description, which includes a dig at how she’s unable to be married, and how she gets drunk every year on the anniversary of Yeok’s death, and how she asks anyone who resembles Yeok if he’s a ghost.

Chae-kyung jumps all over him trying to get to the book, but he just tucks it into his top and he says he won’t believe she’s not curious about his life when she missed him so much. She demands to see the book, so Yeok lifts his arms out of the way and thrusts his chest at her, inviting her to grab it out of his shirt. HA.

She turns her back and practically rolls her eyes—but then whirls and rips his shirt open to get the book. Mwahaha. She starts to gloat, then realizes that she’s staring at his bare chest and freezes.

But it’s not so much the skin that gets to her but the multiple scars he bears. Chae-kyung stares with teary eyes and says there is one thing she wants to know: “Were you very injured then? Does it still hurt now?”

He tells her he’s all healed, but she asks to see just once. She blows out the candles in the room, saying that she’ll close her eyes and just feel to see if they’ve healed, to check that they don’t pain him anymore.

So Yeok takes off his top, revealing more ugly scars on his back, and Chae-kyung feels the first scar in his side, asking if it hurts. He tells her he’s fine, and remains still as she walks around to his back. She opens her eyes to see the arrow wounds in his shoulder and sobs at how the lovely young prince came to be this way. He attempts a joke, asking if she’s insinuating that he’s ugly now.

Chae-kyung dismisses the word ugly, saying firmly that he grew up strong and brave. Then she grabs him around the waist and hugs him tight, saying, “Thank you. For living, thank you.”

Nok-soo reports to Yeonsangun that Yeok has been evading their attempts to keep track of his movements—how can they prepare to fight him if they don’t know what he’s doing? Yeonsangun asks pettishly if the spy has to be Chae-kyung, and Nok-soo replies that it must be.

“It is love,” she declares, saying that unlike the rest of the world, a lover is not as easily fooled, nor easily ignored. Which means that such a person would be the best sort of spy.

Yeonsangun fires back that this makes Chae-kyung even more unsuitable, spitting out the word love angrily. “It is merely pity and a guilty conscience,” he insists, saying that they’ve barely met enough times to feel something as deep as love. Getting increasingly agitated, he declares that if what Chae-kyung feels for Yeok is love, then she could love everything in the world.

Nok-soo calmly replies, “Of those things, the prince must be special.” Yeonsangun fumes.

As Yeok and Chae-kyung walk back to her house, she asks about the pawnshop family and his two friends. Yeok explains that there’s one more, and her mind flashes to the time she saw him and Myung-hye kissing. But Yeok informs her that it’s Seo-no, and how he sought him out first after making his recovery.

Surprised and pleased, Chae-kyung says he should have brought Seo-no today, and instructs him to bring him to her house tomorrow. Yeok’s face actually falls at that, and he asks, “Between Seo-no and me, who did you miss more?” LOL.

She starts to say, “Of course…” and Yeok puffs up expectantly. So she finishes, “Seo-no.”

He calls her out for lying, and she says that it’s true, and that right now she’s looking right at Yeok, so she misses Seo-no more. He says impatiently, “Who asked about right now? I was asking about the past.”

“Right now is more important,” Chae-kyung says. “And the future even more important. So take a good look at my face. Because in the future, you won’t be able to see it.”

Startled, he asks what she means just as Yeonsangun rides up on his horse, watching from a distance. She answers that she came out today knowing it would be the last time: “Let us not meet anymore.”

She walks toward her house, but Yeok calls out after her, “No.” He beelines for Chae-kyung and pulls her to him, and she cries as he holds on tightly.

As they embrace, Yeonsangun hears Nok-soo’s explanation that time makes no difference where love is concerned, and that it can happen as quickly as a gaze, or a breath, or a grazing of hands.

 
COMMENTS

I absolutely love what this drama is doing with Yeonsangun (and what Lee Dong-gun is doing with the portrayal), because he is so incredibly conflicted and layered. All of his emotions are recognizable and understandable, but the true anticipation comes in trying to predict which will prevail. In any encounter with Yeok, you can sense that even as he’s sparring with his brother, he’s also fighting with himself, as well as fighting to maintain the image of being in complete control of his feelings. Basically, Yeonsangun is in perpetual fight mode, and it highlights his loneliness and fear—but the power he wields (and, more importantly, the willingness with which he wields it) is so great that we can’t ever rest firmly in sympathy territory. I always find it more tragic when people are the authors of their own demises, and he’s the classic example of that.

It’s what makes it particularly poignant when Yeonsangun shows that rare glimpse of pleasure or happiness, as he did after forgiving Chae-kyung and returning to his room practically humming. This is such a common scenario—the cold-hearted villain being melted by a plucky heroine—that it’s not the setup itself that sucks me in, but the particular way this drama works it, because it makes complete sense to me why he would be so fascinated by Chae-kyung. And while I think that the farther along we go, the more his interest is romantic (at least in part), I do really love that it didn’t start that way, and that even now it’s more complicated than a man being jealous that his rival is winning the heart of the woman he loves.

Chae-kyung is family of sorts, and she was the first one to claim him when she didn’t have any cause to, just at the time when he was being unclaimed by actual family—by his stepmother, and by his dead father even from the grave. She’s just a kind, thoughtful person who sees good instead of bad, and in that way she’s the perfect foil for the paranoid man who sees in everything a cause for suspicion. In that regard I see her as one source of light for both brothers who have pretty dark personalities otherwise—and for one, the only source of light. I fear what will become of Yeonsangun when he loses her entirely.

But I suspect that Yeonsangun will deserve what he brings upon himself, so he’s not wrenching me from my OTP ship by a long shot. I loved all of Yeok and Chae-kyung’s moments today, which was helped in large part by the fact that we finally got to see the lighthearted side of adult Yeok emerge, which I’d missed. (I’m still so taken with the familiarity between the child and adult actors that it really facilitates full immersion in this story, down to the way they joke and brood.) Man, when Yeok is actively trying to win over Chae-kyung, I don’t know how she resisted as long as she did, particularly when he listed all his lies and counted “I didn’t miss you” among his biggest offenses.

It was a sweet interlude before whatever twists come around the bend, because with Yeok assuming his place publicly as prince, I foresee a lot more conflict on the horizon. It was a nice moment when he saw the gathering of men who’d already sworn loyalty to him, and maybe a moment of truth to him that the fight is on, and the machine already in motion.

I found the scene where Chae-kyung realizes the extent of Yeok’s pains really very moving, because it was so characteristic of her to think immediately of the pain he suffered, even as he was assuring her that he was fine. But it was also lovely as a way to affirm her gratitude that he’d survived despite it all. I do find the prophecy a teensy bit unconvincing in light of everything else, even though I get Minister Shin’s point about merely being careful to take precautions. But it makes sense to me that Chae-kyung would take it for a dire warning, given how traumatic it was to lose the prince the first time and believe herself responsible, and on that point I could understand why she’d decided to never see him again. I’m just glad that he’s left his denial behind just in time to save her from hers.

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didn't get a chance to watch this episode because of slow internet but couldn't resist skimming through the recap? seven day queen is love

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the question mark was a typo oops

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Wednesday and Thursday are busy days.. I too haven't seen this episode but I'm just skimming through the recap to further up the anticipation. Kyaah!

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I just don't understand why this drama is so doing so poorly in the ratings. It lost even the viewers it had to begin with to Ruler. I don't get it.

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Let the games begin. Diplomacy at its best.
Its like a game of who can lie the most between the two brothers.

Now that reconciliation is not an option, we can only sit and watch them outsmart the other.

How cute was it that ChaeKyung easily bend amidst Yeok's teasing. They are so adorable. You just want them to runaway and leave the palace behind. Also, if I was ChaeKyung I'd also hug that handsome man...longer.

This show has managed to mix the palace intrigues, political machinations, and romance between Yeok and CK seamlessly. I know that Yeok has an agenda in pursuing CK. But underneath that he genuinely cares for her though he knows he can not completely trust her. He would be stupid to since her family (who is loyal to his brother) has a hold on her.

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Small details that I loved from this episode (yeokkyung interactions):

1. Yeok using his hand to protect chaekyung’s head when he covered her mouth and she fell on the bed
2. When chaekyung kicked yeok out of the room, yeok saying “chaekyung-ah. shin chaekyung”. The first time seemed sad and the second time seemed slightly angry
3. Yeok trying to call chaekyung out of her house by whistling, and closing his eyes while immersed in the whistling
4. Yeok using body language to get chaekyung out of her house
5. Yeok threatening to enter if chaekyung doesn’t come out
6. Chaekyung: I have no heart to give you, yeok: but I do
7. Yeok teasing chae kyung, especially the part when he said “when she sees a Prince Jinseong lookalike, she asks if he’s a ghost”
8. Scar touching, when yeok tried to downplay the seriousness of his scars by asking “are you teasing me now that i’m ugly”
9. Yeok being slightly jealous when he asked chaekyung who she missed more
10. Yeok gulping while anticipating her reply
11. When chaekyung said that they should no longer meet, the way yeok replied “no” in refusal
12. I loved jang nok su’s narration during the hug

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The show's delight knows no end!! Thank you for helping me reliving all these savory details.

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Oh yes, every small detail in this episode in such a delight! Loved it to pieces!!

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yeaaaah i love all details aboveeeee
definitely immersed by this drama ???

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LOL about the part when he closed his eyes while whistling. I remember smiling at that part. This show is really good with all the details. I talked about this in terms of the interactions between Chaekyung and her family. I think those details really help to add more depth to the show.

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I didn't notice the first point at all until you mentioned it. Rewatched again. Aww. Kdrama male leads truly mess up with my real life expectations. :P

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THE WAY HE SAID "I DON'T WANT IT" instead of "no" like "I acknowledge that you're pushing me away...but I'm going to pull you back to me now" ugh thi show

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Point 1- He did the same thing in the scene when the wall collapsed too. Really appreciate Yeok/Woo Jin( the real actor )paying attention to that small detail. Protecting CK/PMY. Like her safety the most important. Really love minor details incorporated in this drama. Wrist grasping for the King by CK when they're escaping - brotherly love and hand holding for Yeok when she took his hand to lead him to the cave after escaping from the scarface. She even put her hand at the bottom and yeok's hand on top. Still respecting him as the man. Taking control but not overwhelming. But still Yeok always lose his footing whenever CK approached him with her determined face.

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Did anyone forgot to breathe ? Because I did!
I love this episode ❤
Chae-kyung & Yeok bickering is too cute ?
Is it just me or Yeon Woo Jin really looks like the younger Yeok ?

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It's almost uncanny sometimes. Maybe the best young-to-older casting I've ever seen.

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Plus LDG and YWJ can really pass as brothers.
The casting director did a good job. The actors, both teens and adults, are also great at their portrayals.

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duuuude, that scene when Yeok takes off his clothes and gazing Chaekyung while she touches his wounds, he looked so much like the younger Yeok.

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Every time there are flashbacks of their younger selves, I feel it all over again. Like what @pickwick said, this is the best casting I've seen in a long time where they actually resemble each other. I mean the first time I saw adult Chae-kyung, I still thought that it was the same young actor lol

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indeed,,,even their voice are soooo similar i thought it baek sung hwan ??? definitely best casting ever

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I did! I forgot to breathe this entire episode. MY HEART. I love all of the actors. LOVE.

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The whole episode was incredible, but I basically couldn't breathe during the scar scene. I keep forgetting these are actors and not the real people.

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I was struggling to breathe throughout, it was so intense and so good.

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This show continues to rip my heart out and message it back in place from one minute to the next.

We are on episode 9 and it is obvious what’s going to happen for the next 7 –each episode is a recount of each happy day of their marriage. Tomorrow we will start with the beautiful wedding. Right, Show? Right?

Question of the day: how could such fan service scene packs so much emotional punch? It is like the writer is serious about telling a good story.

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The show once again forces me to confront my own propensity for cruelty for taking such delight in how Yeonsangun taunt and torture Secretary Im by shooting arrows and slashing his arm.

Isn’t this what art does –to make us think about our own relationships with ethics?

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Okay I never made that connection about the episodes till now and I couldn't be more emotional thinking about it. What you said makes perfect sense, it's just the fact that now the sad part is inevitable and each episode is one day closer to it happening...

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I will never understand the low ratings this gen of a drama is getting. You have a charismatic and charming female lead, not one but TWO strong and enigmatic male leads whom are acting their butts off... and a GOOD STORYLINE TO BOOT. Anthony will be SO MAD.

PS: charming Yeok is charming I am SWOONING

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I'm so annoyed the ratings dropped below 5% for this episode. If they cut the episodes less than 20 I'm gonna be so mad.

I'm assuming Korean audiences aren't that into it is because 1. Romanticisation of Yeonsangun (per @kumoiwa) 2. it's angsty? 3. time slot?? 4. maybe they're sick of Yeonsangun's stories (just like that year when there were 10000 Gwanghae's dramas/movies)

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Since the Korean audience already know their history and they know how its going to end so they feel its better to watch another show. I just wish they realize its better than the other sageuk in all aspects.

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What? It dropped less than 5%? :(
It would heart breaking if they are not able to tell the story they are telling so well completely. Sincerely praying there is no episode cut.

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Of all of the sageuks airing right now, this (by far in my opinion) takes the cake. This drama has everything and the storyline is just fantastic. I really can't see what's wrong with it... This drama deserves higher ratings that what it's getting and like @napkiin I'm annoyed.

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Right? I hope this doesn't discourage the actors, they're so hard working. I always felt this drama has a Princess' Man's vibe to it, and that drama was a huge hit.

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Didn't YWJ injure himself while filming one of the episodes? If they're going to that length and are that hard working, the ratings are really a let down. I never watched Princess' Man, but from a summary (that I just read LOL) I can understand what you mean.

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Oh that's right! I almost forgot about that. Man :( I feel bad.

Princess' Man was great, you might like if you like SDQ :)

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Considering the fact that I love SDQ, I'm sure to love it XD

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Man, I really don't like how Yeok is "using" Chaekyung by marrying her in order to gain power. I know he does genuinely love her, but it seems like it's just convenient that the woman he's in love with happens to be the daughter of a minister that the king trusts very much. Wouldn't he do the same if Myung Hye is Minister Shin's daughter? It also seems to me Myung Hye doesn't really love Yeok, her and her uncle are power hungry, "the one who laughs last wins", ummm foreshadowing..?

Seriously does Yeok think Chaekyung is an easy to woman to win over? The first 8 episodes it was like Chaekyung -> Yeok, now after all the mean things Yeok has said, he expects her to run into his arms -_- But I do hope he learns the reason behind why she's ignoring him, we need some serious cuteness (and marriage!) before the major angst hits. I wonder how the marriage will even happen, King and Chaekyung's parents are obviously against it.

In this episode we can already see Yeonsan is in love with Chaekyung, ugh seriously what a heartbreak this is going to be. I already can see the two brothers trying to fight over her, and she's the one (and her family) who will be hurt in the end.

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You are right. Myung He reminds of the woman Wang So married in Scarlet Heart. They do get what they want in the end but it is most definitely not LOVE. So, in that sense, it's a tragic full circle.

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I feel like its the other way round - Yeok is using whatever excuse/reason he can find to marry Chae Kyung. If he meant to use her from the very beginning, he would not have pushed her away so strongly. And, his mother and those on his 'side', would be more supportive of the strategy instead of opposing it.

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Yeah, it's pretty clear to me that the whole "marrying Chae-kyung for her family ties" thing is an excuse to make the marriage easier to swallow for Yeok's mother and allies.

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My heart just drops to my stomach watching this drama. It makes me nervous and anxious. Maybe I should stop watching but I can't!

#feeeelings

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This show. It does things to me. *swoon*

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finallllyyyy, your recap is here,,i refresh this page several times to check,,,i have watched it thia morning,,,but it can't be complete without reading your recap
YWJ voice is so similar with BSW's,,,?? bring back those childhood storty
i looooove how cute yeok for winning chae gyung heart,,,time to turn the table when in the previous eps chaegyung leads the way
i find it different for yeosangun chae gyung,,,i want their relationship remains as brother n sister relationship,not in romantic way,,not because i ship her with yeok,,,but i love seeing them like that,,yeosangun plays as true bother who always care about his family when he's with CK,,,
now i anticipate the trio reunion ,,more cute an lovely moment from our OTP can't wait for next eps

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There are so many feelings in this drama OMG But, my favorite feeling is the one I get when I watch Chae-kyung and Yeok together. I love them so much and this episode with all of their scenes and all of their bickering ahhh I love it so much!!

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That scar-checking scene is what I live for.

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I couldn't breathe at all during that scene. I just cried... and got emotional... it's all right lol

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Indeed. I keep telling my poor heart to hold on.

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They are too adorable ❤️❤️❤️ Yeok and Chaekyung.

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Also I really like that the characters can hear through the paper walls. Cause that's physically possible and I never understood how no one in seaguks took advantage of that fact lol

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*clasped heart*
.......
Let me basked in the brightness of YWJ, uh I meant, Yeok in pale pink-blue-green princey attire for several episodes longer, show. Before he change and wear the dragon robe, turn dark and chase away the love of his life...

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I don't want him to change his attire. He looks perfect in that ?

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Those colors do look so good on him!

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"This is why you both need Chae-Kyung to do anything." Lol
So true! :D

"Nok-soo’s explanation that time makes no difference where love is concerned, and that it can happen as quickly as a gaze, or a breath, or a grazing of hands." Philosophically, the best thing Nok-soo ever said, though used here to twist the king's mind. But that explanation rings so true for CK and Yeok. Time made no difference for them. A single glance was enough for CK to know it was him. Likewise, the way Yeok looked at her during the pawn shop scene. *swoons* , CAN they be any MORE in love?

Loved today's episode. The king is in denial + jealous mode. If I hadn't been such an ardent CK+Yeok shipper,I might have taken the king's side. Brilliant portray by LDG, esp that scene where he wants to touch her head but pats her shoulder instead. You are in looovvvveeee, king. :D

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Yeonsangun became such a big softie with Chae Kyung around... I melted when he lifted his hand wanting to caress her head... No one else makes him smile genuinely but Chae Kyung...

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the perk of being in love ?

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Ah we just talked about the drama catnip of the hero eating his own words and trying to woo the heroine with whatever means possible. I'm so glad that we got to see that this week (when Yeok announced he was marrying CK I flailed) and it looks like we'll be seeing more of it tomorrow. I love the assuredness Yeok exudes when he's wooing CK. She just proved her undying love to him so he's doing everything with the knowledge that she loves him more than anything and she will eventually relent. I love that he's not overly pushy--he gives her space when she really needs it but will not let her go when she actually tries to get away from him. I love that backhug at the end. Such a nice reversal of the backhug from what...3 episodes ago?
This episode made me finally really feel for Yeonsangun. I didn't really before. Maybe because it really looks like Yeok and Yeonsangun are on more equal footing and it has finally dawned on the king that one false move will give Yeok the opportunity to take everything from him and idk...LDG plays petulant, tyrannical, but terrified and vulnerable king so well.
I love seeing glimpses of King Jungjong this episode. I also liked seeing more of Myung Hye. She looked so conflicted when discussing Yeok and CK with her uncle I hope that there IS hope for her yet. I also enjoy Seo No's semi antagonism with her. He's literally the only person constantly keeping MH in check.

Againn I hope to see Seo No and CK together soon, to hopefully team up against Yeok to tease the heck out of him.

I love that Yeok learned to whistle probably for CK.

The politics in this ep wad sooo tense for me. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

"It’s like the war of the two brick walls; this is why you two need Chae-kyung to do anything." Truer words were never spoken.

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I love the space that he's given CK when she needs it too. He's not letting her back out completely because he probably knows that it's not in her character to stay angry for that long after he apologised.

I can't actually wait for the reunion between CK and SN eeee

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The last scene just killed me. I know Yeonsangun is not a glorified figure in Korean history but it's true, the writing and the nuanced portrayal of Lee Dong Gun made the character becoming someone you wanted to root for. At the end of the day, I always find Yeonsangun as the most pitiful one. He is not innocent (we know that) but that complexity and inner turmoil just made his struggle and ruthlessness understandable.

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It really is props to LDG, I'm not sure I would feel such strong emotions for him if his character was acted differently

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OOT.... But.. Yeonsangun really love taking a bath, isn't he? I think almost every episodes have him with his clothes off and in the tub... Not that I mind though.. ??

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That's Jeoson's way to show off abs.

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The second option: showing how terribly your body was mutilated because your crazy half-brother's minions were trying to kill you

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Ahaha that's genius, no brooding shower scene for sageuk hot guys. Instead, hello brooding hot tub scene...

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Thanks for the recap, Javabeans! There are a number of sparring but wrapped-in-subtle words in this episode which is fascinating. I reckon that back in the olden days, it was difficult to live among the royals as people just had to learn how to read between the lines. I am amazed that everybody has a clever thing to say as a counter attack, lol!

I love that Yeok is back to his old, real self! The notebook scene is so cute. He actually had a list of all his transgressions, LMAO! How cute is that? Now, how in the world can Chae-gyung ever resist this charming bloke! I love it that the show also shows how confusing this is for Chae-gyung. She really is trying to cut ties with the royals but otoke, when Taegun mama is back to his old, loveable self? Well, damn the prophecy, right?!!!

I also love the king, if only he's not the King Yeonsangun of history. Chae-gyung will be the end of him alright. He's got some screws loose already with his paranoia (which only now becomes justifiable). It is just frightening to imagine if he'd lose them entirely when he finally loses that single person who gives him some semblance of peace or joy or warmth or love? He'll see bloody murder and go literal with it (shudder).

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Charming Yeok is so irresistable ? I am glad that we got to see lighthearted moments such as the banter between our leads because the tension in first half of the episode was palpable. There was a constant sense of danger and how one wrong word would instantly kill or put a person in mortal peril. Also how the characters never mean what they say. All the double meanings! It makes me realize I wouldn't survive a day in that palace :D

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IKR! The scene where Yeok and Yeonsangun were drinking.... gosh.... how each sentence had double meanings.. I think I would be too stressed and tired of being alert all the time to actually enjoy palace life.

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Oh, and I love the way Yeonsangun intimidate his minister. That arrow shooting scene is epic. One of the greatest bits about this show is how the king is one of the few Joseon kings in K-dramas that could not be easily puppeted by the greedy ministers and has full control of his court.

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I love this show! It has everything I could ever want in a drama.The story and the acting are so on point that I can't help but be obsessed with it. Chae-kyung has so much chemistry with both the king and the prince that I sometimes can't decide which brother I want her to end up with.

The writing is so well done that I can't even guess what will happen. I'm always on the edge when we're given snippets of happy moments between the prince and Chae-kyung because I feel like in the next few moments, either Yeok will do something foolish (ie. Yeok's lies) or the king will find out and go berserk. This show certainly keeps me on my toes.

I do have just one wish though, please have a happy ending show...I need a happy ending. Is that too much to ask?

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Hi, folks.

I dunno what this drama did to me, but one thing is it succeeded in ending my lurking since Dramabeans came up with a new skin. Now that I'm back to life (just like Yeok did), what I wanna say was " SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE LOCKED THE DOOR PERMANENTLY WHEN YEOK WAS INSIDE CHAE KYUNG'S ROOM". Lock the damn door and let them just end all the pretenses and just make cute adorable babies.

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We need someone like you to write that script for us ?

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Hahahaha, your script sounds 1000x better. LOL

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I'm already feeling the angst and we've only just got Yeok back at the palace. My feelings are all over the place if I'm quite honest. Each scene has me so invested in the characters and I just want them all to be happy.

It comes as no surprise that YSG was his beautiful complex self again in this episode. Agh I could feel his bottled up emotions when he gave that hug to Yeok. I wasn't sure how they would deal with their reunion but I'm not surprised that they're pretending like everything's okay. The barbed comments and snarky undertones between everything they say to one another is so fascinating to watch. I know YSG is showing outwardly his displeasure towards seeing Yeok alive but I really want to believe and remember that part of him which was devastated when he thought his brother first died. As for Yeok, it breaks my heart that he thinks his brother tried to kill him, after giving him the punishment.

That short scene between YSG and CK keeps playing on my mind. I loved it for a variety of reasons but once again, YSG showed us how much CK means to him. You could tell how much he valued CK's promise and kudos to LDG for conveying the weight of his simple gesture of the hand on the shoulder. He had a bounce to his step after the encounter and we even got to see one of his rare non-sarcastic smiles.

I already expected CK to distance herself from Yeok after hearing about the prophecy but it's so in line with her character to not be able to stay away after seeing his scars. Man, that scene was intense. I think the way she reacted to seeing them, blew away any misconceptions to Yeok that she didn't miss him or he wasn't as important to her as she was for him.

On a side note, it's so lovely seeing Yeok behave much more like his younger self. I could totally see YWJ portraying the exact same character as his younger counterpart. That whistling scene was adorable and I might have to make a GIF of it bc of how it made me smile. I mean I'm not the only one, CK had that little grin too hahaha!

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please send me the GIF also,,i'm addicted with the whistling ???

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Heh, don't worry I'll post it on my fan wall when I get round to doing it

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yeaah i'll follow you

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Oh I love this drama. I love how I cant miss even one scene. I love how finally Yeok is back and try to get Chae Kyung back. I love how they protect each others. I love Seo No being loyal and always be there for both of Yeok and Chae Kyung.

Dont know if Yeok wants to 'use' Chae Kyung or not, but his feeling for her is genuine. Just like Seo No says that this time its not an arranged marriage. They fall in love each others.

The three leads are amazing. Lee Dong Gun is indeed portraying the character very well. Also Park Min Young and Yeon Woo Jin. I cant stop crying when the scene Chae Kyung feels Yeok's pain and she backhugs him.

Great Job, show!

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I had tears in my eyes when I saw them both reliving the past again

It makes sense that SN is so loyal after knowing CK and Yeok and how they were from when he was younger. He's also one of the few people who knows the extent of their love, which is why he was so sure that their marriage wouldn't be an arranged one

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Yes you're right. So agree with you. He knows both of them well, since they were child. They have good hearts thats why Seo No wont ever forget that.

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Lol Seo-no is clearly the captain of the Yeok/Chae-kyung ship.

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lol right!

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This show is amazing. Probably the best saguek I've watched. (I've watched less than 8 btw so probably not saying much). It really deserves much higher ratings than its getting :(

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THE BEST SHOW PEOPLE ARE NOT WATCHING. If there was such a category, this show would win.

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Agreed!

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Seo-no is the captain of the Yeok-Chae Kyung ship! Good man! ? He just knows for a fact that it won't be a marriage of political convenience, that lurve is the end game, so I approve. But maaaannn Yeok's plan to marry Chae Kyung is welcome but I'm so afraid about the world of hurt that might bring them considering the spy plot and dareisayit, the prophecy (and the fact that we know what actually went down in history).

Worries aside, I just spazzed put during the pawnshop scene! I was so torn about crying with Chae Kyung and empathizing with her and then ogling Yeon Woo Jin! Show, what have you done to me?!?!?!!!?

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@yeonsangun King-nim, you're old enough to be Chae Kyung's samchon. Just let your little brother get the girl. If your concubines are not enough, you can get the tailor girl next door.

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Also your queen is her aunt. Imagine how the girl's father would feel and he is your best friend for god sake.

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I really think YWJ nailed the scar reveal scene. It was a subdued performance but that stoic and vulnerable expression on his face was in my view completely on point. Because of that, it made the scene and Chae Gyung's heartache so much more poignant.

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His gentle reassurance to CK that he is okay and his repentance book of Yoek's assery make me forgive all his past transgressions against CK.

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That gentle reassurance was amazing! The look he was giving while she was crying like it hurt him to see her cry. Damn, this couple knows the way to my heart.

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Yeonsangun is rapidly turning into one of the most compelling bad boys in dramaland.

Prior to this episode, I didn't see him as a king in love. I felt it was more of a butterfly in tiger's den relationship. CK is so unlike anyone in his current environment (supportive, warm, naive) so it was completely natural that he would have a curious fascination with her. And, of course, due to his his possessive & insecure personality, he naturally would claim her as one of his people.

Now, I'm not so sure. I still don't think he understands love or tenderness. But, he seems to have enough self-awareness that touching CK's hair in affection isn't right. That smile when walking back to his room seemed genuine & was relaxed enough to right asleep without assistance. The side-glances the eunuchs threw at each other also implied that something was out of the ordinary.

Whistling Yeok was my favorite part of this episode but I cannot wait to see more of the petty & jealous Yeonsangun. He's definitely not going to let CK go easily to his brother or any other man.

Yeonsangun never gave CK the China rose painting, did he?

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I really feel bad for both the brothers. They showing hatred towards each other is something which really makes me frustrated and sad. They really love each other but that love was shattered and broke by the palace politics. Had they born as normal people they surely would have given us the best bromance like the reply 1997 brothers. I wish they would end up as a beautiful family with Chae-kyung in it. Am I expecting the impossible?

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If they're born in ordinary family, they would still have that drama, I think. Two brothers who care for one another, loving the same woman. The only difference is that they wont have nitpicking, business-meddling officials and concubines to complicate stuff.

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Yeonsangun was one of the few Joseon kings who ascended the throne in a perfect condition. There were not many Joseon kings who were fortunate enough to be born as the predecessor king's legitimate eldest son and educated and groomed from the crib as the future king. In other words, unlike what this drama shows, in real history his position as a future king was not threatened at all. Moreover, due to his father's relatively long, good reign and the political atmosphere/situation of the Far East at the time, he inherited a pretty powerful throne and was an ideal candidate that could have used that power to expand Joseon's wellbeing and position inside and outside the country. But what did he do with that power? Orgies, extreme oppression and exploitation of the people, and stomping on the independence of the historiographers (equivalent to curbing the free media today) and ruing the government checks and balances system. I mean this guy's real life goal was to sleep with 10000 beautiful women and to make sure that no sleep was wasted on an ugly one, he ordered the women to come with bare faces (I guess K-beauty products were pretty effective back then too) so he could really see that they were appealing. What a sex-crazed schmuck. It just makes me throw up a little inside seeing how the writers are trying to portray him as this brooding, conflicted romantic Byronic figure.

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It's a drama.

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Even if a drama, I won't enjoy a portrayal of the North Korean dictator Kim Jeong Eun as some romantic figure with thousands of women in his Gippeumjo harem.

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I would assume that we're not there yet. But as far as I know, the show never claimed to be purely historical nor documentary. It does claim to be a fiction based on history, and that its contents may differ from the actual event.

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Not saying the drama claimed to be historically accurate. All I'm saying is Yeonsangun, to Koreans, is a figure as disgusting and revolting as Kim Jeong Un is, with uncanny similarities, I might add, and seeing some people swooning over him just rubs me the wrong way. And this love triangle, as @Sunny below points out, is a pure fiction, never happened, not "based on history" at all, there is not even a folktale similar to it. So why go out of your way to romanticize a piggish historical figure to tell a purely fictional tale? Now, Princess's Man, which is a million times better story than this one, was a work of fiction based on history and a folklore about the love story between Sejo's daughter and Kim Jong Seo's son.

By the way, I spewed out this long thing because as a Korean, I find this "oh my god, why this poor rating for this great drama" comments exasperates me a little. But please don't mind me, I will stop.

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@O_o: Thanks for posting more of the history and context. As a casual historian I definitely agree with everything you wrote. Yeonsangun was an appalling individual. I think how you feel may be the same as a lot of potential Korean viewers and that's why they are not tuning in. Koreans are very aware of their history and it's distasteful to see Yeonsangun's disgusting actions ignored or swept under the carpet just to make him more palatable for a love triangle that never happened.

As much as I love this drama and I think the writer has done an amazing job in many other aspects particularly with Chae Kung, Yeok, Queen Dowager Jasun, and CK's family I do feel the writer dropped the ball on the portrayal of Yeonsangun character and that has hurt the drama. It's a pity because I think the writer seems skilled enough to have written a more historically accurate Yeonsangun, his descent into depravity and madness and why Jungjong's coup was not only necessary but inevitable but instead the drama has taken the easy root of ignoring his horrific actions (nothing on the First Purge, murdering his half brothers, ministers or the King's concubines, assaulting and killing his grandmother Grand Queen Insu, closing Sungkyunkwan to turn it into a brothel, banning Hangul;, sexaul depravities); blaming Im and Nok Soo aka his dastardly duo; making the ministers look bad or incompetent when in reality many were trying to curb his excesses.

I think Rebel trumped this drama in it's portrayal of Yeosangun in that it managed to invoke some pity for him as we saw his sad upbringing, pain at the loss of his mother, desire for love but at the same time it didn't shy away from portraying his insanity and what a cruel and disturbed individual he was.

I think 7DQ was doing a good job showing his growing paranoia and craziness during the childhood episodes but post time-skip he seems almost neutered- I'm guessing to play up the love triangle now CK is older and not make her look bad for being friends with him. There's still time for the drama to redeem itself somewhat with the portrayal of Yeonsangun but they better hurry up because it's 1504 already when he was well into his tyrannical and insane behaviour and he's still only acting mildly unhinged, throwing childish tantrums or mooning like a schoolboy over his brother's soon to be wife.

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I kind of agree. This drama wouldn't have suffered so much rating-wise had it gone all fusion like Moon-Sun or Ruler. Without the ghost of history haunting the story, people would be able to enjoy it more without having to have the bitter taste knowing how this Yeonsangun differs so much from what history has had him recorded. It might not bother us as much because many of us are not Korean and are not affected by the hard historical facts. When we are detached from the history or are not personally affected by it, it is easier to separate the fictional from real life figures. It's not the fault of those who are affected by history to not make the same distinction though.

A pity, really, and the writer has basically shot themselves in the foot by basing the story on real life figures and among them, the most hated one at that. I hope their next project would fare better, though. This blunder aside, the writing has potential and though certain aspects can be improved it's not like this one is a complete mess acting and writing wise.

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It makes me sad because I think the writing is so good in many other aspects. I love and adore the Yeok and Chae-kyung's romance but the disingenuous portrayal of Yeonsangun is the biggest flaw. I wish the writer had the courage to at least show the King's transgressions to explain why he is so reviled by pretty much everyone with good reason besides CK's family who benefit from his rule. That would be better writing to show there are reasons to pity him but he was also massively flawed as a King and an individual. Unfortunately so far this story mostly absolves him of responsibility, whitewashes or simply doesn't mention or explore his crimes.

I also think they would have been better off going the historical fusion route or simply dropping the love triangle. I don't understand the need for a BS love triangle with Yeonsangun. The love story of King Jungjong and Queen Dangyeong is well known and there is so much romance and tragic material to be procured from what we know of them. It's a real Romeo and Juliet story with heartbreaking ending where the both live enduring lifetime of longing apart and Yeonsangun is the perfect villain.

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I understand your point, and I apologize then, for being inconsiderate. It is indeed only a drama for the rest of the world. After watching The Tretcherous and Rebel, I arrived in a conclusion that it is personally healthier (for me at least) to consider it as a fictional drama (just like what the drama claimed to be) just like Moonlight, Night Scholar, Scarlet Heart and the like.

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The drama that did a good job portraying real life Yeonsangun was Queen Insoo, he was truly crazy in it.

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This comment thread is such an eye-opener... Thanks to everyone for explaining. I now wish they went Moon Embracing the Sun on us instead.

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A thread that people need to read. I haven't watched a lot of dramas with Yeonsangun as the character but reading about him is enough to convince me that he's not what they portrayed in this drama.

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I also want to thank everyone on this thread for the wealth of information they provided. I only got interested in Korean history through watching K-drama and fell in love with the sageuks genre. I find it truly great that Koreans are so "close" to their history, I find it admirable. So starting with Jang Ok Jeong, I started getting interested in Korean history, only through Wikipedia I have to admit. So, I am always thankful for historical, cultural tidbits I can get from Dramabeans,( the main reason I enjoy Db actually) because it makes the whole experience that much more meaningful. I was among the ones who truly wondered abt the low ratings of SDQ. I could not comprehend (the same went for Chicago Typewriter, still don't have an answer for that one), why the ratings were so low. Well, your analysis pretty much explains it and I understand now. I think perhaps they were trying to play it like Jang Ok Jeong? But maybe a King and a concubine are just not comparable in terms of historical influence? Idk, I'm guessing here. Anyways, all this (very long!) to tell all of you on this thread, thanks!

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You should have join the rating thread as well, there are several discussions on why the low ratings of this drama.

As for Chicago Typewriter, I think the low rating was because the first 4 epi weren't really intriguing and can draw viewers. During first few epi, I thought we will merely get cliche romcom, and I honestly wasn't sure where it will bring us, I only con't to watch because I trusted Yoo Ah In for not taking a mediocre script and Im Soo Jung who finally made a comeback to small screen after more than 10 years. This drama also was stingy on their promotional parts, they only promoted the modern parts. Had they disclosed a little bit teaser what happened in 1930s, maybe it would get more attention. The plot is slow burn and worth the wait, but it is a bit too late for the rating. The production might wanted to keep the plot as a mystery, but it won't hurt to reveal a bit imo.

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Huhu this show is so awesome and I can't translate my heart into words, I just feel like it's such a well-made show. Everything from story to the cast to how it looks... they all work together.

And then I come here and read the recaps and comments and I get even more addicted. Heh~

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I really love this ep, simply because of that scene where Yeok asked Chae Kyung out. I am so happy we are back in light mode that reminds us why they're so belong to one another.

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What's going on over at Kissasian? Episode 8 was hard subed and I could play it in Safari and Airplay it to Apple Tv and the subs would show. But this episode has hard subs in Korean and English if you chose but they only show in the browser (HTML5) and not if it is Airplayed. Nice episode though and the drama is doing well - why doesn't it enjoy better ratings?

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One of the answers would be how the potrayal of Yeonsangun in this drama deviates greatly with the actual Yeonsangun from history who is one of the worst leader in korean history. But as a drama on its own, without comparing it with history whatsoever, Seven Day Queen does a really good job (and yes, it makes us wonder why the ratings are so low)

Another reason is history and the eminent sad ending. Some people just prefer to avoid heartbreak entirely by not watching it at all. But I personally think this is a wonderful, enjoyable, well executed drama, and it is very regretful if you missed it.

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Koreans are seriously sleeping on their two best dramas this season (this and Circle)... T_T
My heart swoonssss for Yeok... "God help her when he’s being charming." >> this really...

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Loved Ep9! Loved all the interactions between CK & Yeok!! I’m really rooting for a happy ending for both of them (though we all know how the story ends), or at the very least I’m hoping that the story shows that they spent a lot of happy moments together prior to CK being queen & deposed after 7 days.
The “scar scene” was very moving. Also loved the part when Yeok was trying to win CK’s heart back. We all know that the “plan” of marrying CK as a step to being king is just an excuse on Yeok’s part to ensure that he gets to marry CK. It was very evident how much he really loved her. The reason why he appeared so early in the story was to save CK & one of the reasons why he was so determined to be king was because of CK also.
Coming from watching Rebel Hong Gil Dong, I really have a bad impression of YSG as a king. QFSD’s aim to humanize him doesn’t really convince me that he is a good person esp now that he is coming between Yeok & CK. I see him as a king whose actions are always governed by selfishness & greed. It’s no wonder he has surrounded himself with very corrupt ministers & officials (except for CK’s dad)
Myung Hye is another character I didn’t like. I don’t think she really loves Yeok. Yes, she may care about him, but her care is tainted with greed for power. She only wants to be Queen. Well, she may become the next queen after CK gets exiled but I don’t think he will love her. History says she will die after 8 years of being queen & when she died, Yeok (King Jungjong) was asking for the reinstatement of CK as his queen but due to the officials not agreeing, it didn’t push thru.
Really disappointed with the low ratings QFSD is receiving. Reminds me of WLFKBJ who’s rating were underrated due to it being pitted against another series with a powerhouse cast. Hope all the international audiences continue supporting this series to make up for the lack of viewers in Korea. FIGHTING!! =)

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Yeok, time has reversed. It's about time for you to get your girl back!!

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wow, this show turns me into a mess of squeal and angst. Why do they have to make plans around Chae Kyung marrying Yeok. Stop it! They are too cute, I think Yeok is being smartsy pants by making the others think he's going to marry her as strategy but he's obviously doing it out of love.

What a beautiful and good scene what that at the pawn house, that intimacy moment was strong, because maybe Yeok's survival story sounded interesting but it hit her when she saw his body full of scars, now the guilt she felt overwhelm her. PMY is a great actress I liked in in CH and Healer and I love her as Shin Chae Kyung.

I also enjoy the high level of hypocrisy these people treat each other, specially Yeok and King, and the good part is that they know they're pretending with each other.

The only thing I would improve is the Kings voice, he has the right tone and expression in his face but to me he needs to sound like stronger. But that's just a little think.

I love this drama.

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It was also nice to have those cute moments that makes us remember their fun and bickery interaction as teenagers . Let's add Seo No into the mix soon. Maybe Chae Kyung can make him smile, he's too serious. :D

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As much as I love Yeok and Chaegyung, I can't help be feel so amaze with the king. Javabeans discription about him is everything I couldn't find how to decrypt him.

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Oh my goodness, when Yeonsangun let the arrows fly at his minister. That scene had anger, disappointment, fear, and madness on behalf of the king, all at the same time.

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No matter how cute their moments together (Chae Kyung & Yeok), I can't seem to get over the fact that Chae Kyung will be the seven day queen. And it makes me sad whenever I think about Chae Kyung's fate. And I keep on switching sides between Yeok and Yung. One moment, I'd root for the King and love the scenes between Yung and Chae Kyung, but when Chae Kyung and Yeok together, I seem to forget about the King. Nevertheless, I still can't support Yeok's revenge and feel like I understand why the King did what he did. The angst watching this drama is real.

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SLS so bad right now. I think the reason I ship yeonsagun and chaekyung is exactly what you said. She is his only light and should he lose her, who knows what he well do to himself and others...it's like, for once in a historical, can a king please have genuinely nice, loyal and supportive followers and ministers? WhY can'T everyone just be happy and get along?

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I love this show, great writing, direction and amazing chemistry between the leads, very good support from the other actors too. Just love how the King is being portrayed....unpredictable, vulnerable, unstable, powerful, flawed.... the actor still makes us like him. Awesome, awesome performance. I like that the female lead is not wooden, stupid and annoying (remember Hwarang?) This actress is warm, and the character is so likeable. The Prince has done a wonderful job too. Oh well...what can I say, I'm really enjoying this show.

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