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The King’s Affection: Episodes 9-10 Open Thread

It’s getting harder for our royal tutor to hide his giddiness when he’s around the crown prince, and pretty soon he realizes the depth of his affection. It’s a complicated game, but it doesn’t seem to faze him much — it’s our crown prince that has to bear the brunt of the secret, bury her feelings, and even face an impending marriage.

 
EPISODES 9-10 WEECAP

We begin in the aftermath of Ji-woon’s drunken cheek kiss, which, as he says while begging the pardon of the prince, means he “deserves to die.” The attraction between these two is running at two totally different temperatures. Ji-woon is in full dork mode, skipping around the palace and acting like a buffoon in love without actually realizing it yet. It’s Dam-yi that has the darker and more serious role here; she’s clearly got a soft spot for him, but must work to hide not only her attraction but her favor. It’s like Queen Elizabeth in her court, except not.

We know that Ji-woon is a big womanizer, but he sure doesn’t seem like one. He doesn’t even realize what he’s feeling for the prince until Young-ji suggests it. On the other hand, Dam-yi is quite open with Eunuch Hong, who’s aghast over the pair’s sunrise embrace (what a beautiful moment). Dam-yi, though, openly admits that she likes him, but is equally determined to get rid of her feelings.

Of course, Ji-woon has other plans. Things start to crystallize for him — and he importantly realizes that the “dream” he had of the crown prince kissing him when he was drunk was not a dream at all. That’s all the encouragement he needed, and despite everything, he boldly confesses his deep affection for the crown prince (in a nice nod to our drama’s title).

It’s a heartbreaking scene, because Ji-woon cares nothing for the social and political structure around them, but for Dam-yi, it’s the only way she can live in the world, and even knows the world. And so, while her heart is bursting at the seams over this confession, she also has to tell him all the things he most likely expected to hear. “We can’t be together.” “What good will come of it.” “I don’t feel the same as you do.”

I know I should be enjoying this forbidden-in-so-many-ways romance, but I’m actually not eating it up. I’m just sitting here (im)patiently waiting for Ji-woon to find out that the crown prince he cares about so deeply is actually his childhood sweetheart. Not so that their romance has legs to stand on, but because I just love the thought of Dam-yi finally able to live free of her chains. And I kind of want to see Ji-woon freaking out when he realizes that he really is in love with a woman, and it’s the same one that stole his heart a decade ago.

But while we wait for that reveal, it’s Hyun that learns a little more of the truth this week. His closeness to both characters makes him a confidante and receiver of private information. He’s soon able to stitch together that the court maid that was Ji-woon’s first love and saved him from drowning, was and is the very same Dam-yi who’s very much in love with him now. Poor Hyun can only cherish his jade ring and pine for the woman he can never be with.

I think my favorite turning point in this week’s episodes was the crown prince’s sudden insistence on marrying as a way to protect herself from Ji-woon. Something she and her confidantes have long dreaded is finally coming to pass, but now Dam-yi needs it, because it will not only provide cover for her, but torture her heart, which I think she half wants right now.

In addition to the politics surrounding the princess selection, we also get some insight on the king. He previously pushed back against the royal marriage, and Dam-yi always assumed it was because he wanted his younger son to be the heir, not Dam-yi’s theoretical son. However, we learn that there’s a much deeper reason, and one that’s rooted in the regret the king feels towards his first family. He mourns how he was unable to protect them. (I’m glad for this; I like him humanized and conflicted instead of blandly evil.)

Lest we forget my favorite side character, Commander Yoon does more running around the palace grounds this week in pursuit of the mysterious assassin who is closer at hand than ever. Yoon has all but stitched together that it is indeed Ga-on — the only thing is every time Ga-on is in his crosshairs, he escapes. Still, each episode we get another breadcrumb, and Ga-on’s true motives are another reveal I’m (im)patiently waiting for.

As to the princess selection, it’s led by So-yeon (who doesn’t want to be there at all and tells her father such) and her friend NO HA-KYUNG (Jung Chae-yeon). Ha-kyung does want to be there, has a cheat sheet, and truly wants to be princess (she was also charmingly saved by the crown prince earlier and is busy swooning away). This logic leaves us no alternative but the one that makes both girls unhappy: So-yeon is chosen.

Our sad, heartbroken prince goes to visit her, and asks her to be the bride. It’s a bit twisted, and I love it — I think Dam-yi not only knows that So-yeon likes Ji-woon, but that her closeness to Ji-woon makes her more trustworthy. At least that’s what I’m hoping. If she has to live a lie, let it be with someone who can share it with her. And So-eun is the perfect heroine for that.

Politics and princesses aside, though, this week really belongs to the knife-in-the-heart confession and painful parting of our OTP. Dam-yi knows she won’t be safe as long as Ji-woon is around, so she plans the marriage and tries to lure his attention away with a big promotion just to get him out of her inner circle.

But Ji-woon, completely forlorn and serious by this point, has other plans. Instead of the promotion, he resigns from his position. He says he intends to go back to what he was doing beforehand, and that he can’t stay at the palace — if he did, he would be looking for every excuse to see her. (He goes into great detail, and now I’m definitely swooning.)

They part at the beautiful overlook where they went during their first lecture together. Both are crumbling inside, but do not show it in their actions. As Ji-woon leaves, Dam-yi struggles to hold back her tears. And damn, Park Eun-bin does it again, tearing out all our hearts — including Ji-woon’s — with only those sad eyes.

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I like how Ji-Woon is true to himself. He's the only one in the Palace who is honest with his feelings and doesn't hide anything. He confessed his feelings even if he knows that he's a man and a Prince because it doesn't matter for him. I loved the fact he used yeonmo word. Now, that the Prince rejected him and talked about marriage, he has no reason to stay at the Palace, after all, he always ran away from the Palace politics because of his father. It made sense that he gave his resignation.

I think the most interessant thing compared to other dramas with this trope, it's the time that Hwi lived with her new identity, 10 years. She became this person who needs to be the perfect Crown Prince, it's her only purpose and she focused on that only. The line between Dam-Y and Hwi is blurred now. Meeting Ji-Woon made change that. He changed her as Crown Prince too, she went against her grand-father for example. So the marriage puts her back on track to be the perfect Crown Prince.

I didn't feel sad for Hyun. He had so many chances to tell her that he knows her secret,to be her confident and to confess. But he didn't, not to protect her secret, but because he was afraid to be rejected. I'm happy he doesn't show any sign of jealousy and acts the same with Hwi and Ji-Woon. I hope he will stay their loyal friend. If someone can help her to leave, it's him.

I wonder about Ga-On's plan. Since he became the Crown Prince's bodyguard, he had many opportunities to kill him if it was his plan. So why did he try during the hunt and not after? Only to get closer? But for what purpose? To protect the Crown Prince? To get revenge? His story kinda made me miss Kwak Dong-Yeon in Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, he was so good in this role.

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Oh I so agree with everything you've said, but especially Kwak Dong-Yeon in Moonlight Drawn by Clouds.

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1000x.

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I saw him in Moonlight, sitting up on the rafters, and cried for him, and then wondered what had happened to him, until he showed up in It's OK, unrecognisable, but once again brilliantly heartrending. Then I realised he was not only gorgeous and mysterious but also a v good actor. He sets the bar high for mysterious swordsmen.

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Even though I am a bit invested in Damyi and Jiwoon confronting who they are to each other, I can’t but rejoice in the subversive yet utterly unperturbed acceptance by Jiwoon of his perceived same sex attraction. I know that the heteronormative reality is the underlying current but there is something joyful and deeply humane about accepting that love can find its way into our lives in a different packaging (to put it inartfully) and that it should not be regretted or be an occasion for shame or guilt.

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I agree with you! One of the more interesting aspects of the show is how they are dealing with this attraction between the two.Reminds me a little of Coffee Prince, still one of My favorite gender benders. So I don't understand some people impatience with this part of the story.

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Yes, that’s been kind of lovely. I was prepared for “but he’s a GUY!” agonies, but Ji Woon genuinely seems to breeze right by that.

It’s actually in tune with a lot of things about his character that I know have rubbed people the wrong way - he is somewhat ruthlessly modern, ignoring class and status when he can and only recognizing it when he needs to play a part to achieve an objective. So the fact that he knows he’s falling in love with the Prince and just sort of rolls with it is both hugely jarring in context and actually quite aligned with his behavior so far.

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It is lovely isn’t it just?
Iconoclasts have always existed in human history, and given how many liberties any show takes with a historical period, I find this pearl clutching by some to be rather absurd. Jiwoon is sometimes a bit too goofy but by and large, Rowoon does such a beautiful job of vividly bringing to life his egalitarianism, compassion, empathy, courage and joie de vivre as well as his pain and longing. What else could a viewer want?

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Wow, beautifully said. You captured every little facet of his characterization! :')

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Awww! You are too kind. Thank you.

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I enjoyed seeing Ji-woon smitten. Such a reversal of all the tropes, but most of all I loved his pink hanbok, so pretty in pink. The drama came alive for me these last two episodes because of Ji-woon's passion and pain, when he explains first thing in the morning that he is a mess, and most of all, his honesty at the end. I'm expecting/hoping, on the basis of the reviews for the next episode, that Dam-yi is going to get a measure of freedom, even though it will take a disaster to get there.

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The costumes are beautiful. Bright colors really suit Rowoon and Park Eun-Bin looked so beautiful in her femine costume!

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The bright colors pop extra against Rowoon's stunning tan. I hope he gets to keep it! ^^

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I really like Rowoon's skin color. It bothers me when the stylist makes their artists looking so white when they have a beautiful ton of skin.

I love all these colors purple, pink, green, etc. :D

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The Prince is so interesting because PEB said she is playing her as gender less, so presumably the Prince generally doesn't think about herself as a woman except in certain moments. This explains why they are going forward with a marriage that they can't consummate. I don't understand their thinking, what is the plan for an hour. They have to find another person to the know the secret. The best bet is her cousin, but she doesn't know that he knows. So what are they going to do. As for JW, even if she was a princess a lot of his actions are inappropriate. What exactly is it that he wants the Prince to do? I think they are cute together, but then what? The Prince is the only one of the two that seems to understand that. It is a strange dynamic. I also keep forgetting this is 20 episodes, ha, I keep muttering there are only 6 episodes left, when there are 10.

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Ji-woon seems clueless to everything but his feelings. That isn't romantic, especially in this time and place. His character refused to accept the ugly reality of his father's job, and now is refusing to accept the limitations on the crown prince. He basically doesn't belong in this society, while the prince is trying very hard to belong just to survive.

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Accept the ugly reality of his father job? Sorry but it's a good thing! They decided to kill a baby because she was a female twin. Then, they killed everybody connected to that. And they did again, except this time, they failed and killed the Prince.
The only reason they did it, it's because the grandfather wants to be powerful, he doesn't care about anything else.

But in the same time, Ji-Woon doesn't know the reason, he just saw him killing an innocent girl.

The Prince tries so hard because nobody told her that she could do differently. For the first time, she could see another future for her.

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Okay, but i dont know if you have seen ep 4 where he clearly states that he doesnt want to become like his father more specifically corrupt and whose position is based on injustice and him being aware that how dangerous palace is.
Secondly, in no way he is immature he knows his responsibilities very well, just because he has a more compassionate side than many males of that time period doesnt make him any less of a strong character. Some people hide their pain by being cold and brooding nature and some hide it with their smile and happy go lucky nature and jiwoon definetely falls in latter category. Also, part of his personality is because of how his mother has raised him
if you see episode 7 you will get to know it.
Also, he never refused the limitations of the crown prince. He was and very much aware of it. If hwi hadnt really kissed him i believe he would have kept his feelings hidden to himself all his life and served hwi as a loyal servant but the fact that he knows that the feelings are mutual he confessed it to the hwi.
Also him resigning at last says that he isnt clueless of the limitations of the CP he very well knows that it is gonna be dangerous for both of them.

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He didnt want him to do anything. He was very much ready for a rejection from cp. Probably, he would have stayed as a loyal servant by hwi's side all their life.
It was hwi's decision to give him promotion and create a distance between them that made him sad, he obviously didnt want that but atlast he understood hwi and resigned and that was actually a wise decision imo.

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No he definitely wanted the Prince to do something. Mostly accept his feelings, but then what. Even when he didn't know the Prince liked him, he was flirting heavy and getting distracted. Eventually he would want more, which is natural as a human. He wasn't thinking that far ahead, which is fine. But pretending he would just be content by his side is simply not believable. To be fair I think we are actually agreeing, but he did actually want something. 😊

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You are right maybe he just wanted the cp to accept his feelings, but he wouldnt have forced the cp to reciprocate his feelings as he had said before confessing that he will be okay if they dont feel the same way about him as he feels about them.
I think he would have resigned just like he did now if at any time he would have felt that he wouldnt be able to control his feelings for the cp just how he did right now. Imo he is wise enough to let go of the person he loves if that said person wants that.

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Curious if in the long run even if Hwi accepted him and told him she feels the same would be able to keep it platonic if he stayed by her side...I forsee them becoming secret lovers even if she marries and then finding out the truth...

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Me too actually...even the theme of the drama goes as "secret palace romance" and i am pretty she will confess her feelings to him.
My thoughts in the previous comments were actually hypothetical and an answer to a comment.

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@snehal0205 U are right and being close to each other will be more hard to supress the feelings and we all know it takes just a moment to make a mistake that would change the dynamic...Doubt he could keep it platonic for very long even more when he knows Hwi feels the same...
( A bit of a spoiler here but curious if they will show the wedding and Ji Woon wasted as in the manhwa that Uncle is alive till the end per ex)

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"..with only those sad eyes." Oof, she got me twice. First as they watched the market vendors scatter in the sudden squall and she looked on with envy and infinite sadness. Then on the parapet as she watched him walk away. PEB is so good she makes her co-actors shine.

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"Yeonmohabnida."

Girl, when I tell ya I flailed, I freaking FLAILED.

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I keep wondering what the end game is in this. How long can she pretend to be the prince and how will she "consummate" the wedding.

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I'm betting on huge crisis before wedding occurs (or has to be consummated) which results in the prince having to run for the hills. At that point, Hyun will be the noble sacrifice, Ga-on will aid and abet to repay a debt, they'll go and live on a random island (a la Tale of Nokdu) happily ever after. Heheheheh - I've never guessed right once...

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I will go with the option that the prince still gets married but she'll never 'consummate' the wedding. btw, I'll put my bet for the minister of war's daughter as the chosen one. She won't be in the main poster if she is just passing by

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Dam-yi will have to fake Hwi's death to end this ruse.

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Don't think she will need to if they follow the manhwa route...It won't go down pretty neverless nor for her Palace people but guess we can't truly have a happy ending for everyone with this setting...

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Have you read the manhwa? Is it true that Ji-woon is a new character in the drama, and Ga-on was actually the love interest?

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Yes,the hero was her bodyguard...The setting in the manhwa is more complicated relationship wise and political background and a more serious tone,u can feel the vibe and the stakes and what meant to live as a women back then...There are quite many changes yet somehow seems familiar if u know what i mean,like in the essence...For ex. Dami became Hwi since she was 3 years old so she never knew till she became older that she was a girl(curiosity) while the hero was the son of a princess and a traitor(who tried a coup but failed and was behaded) but was saved by the Grand Queen but posed as a maid for many years,so there was also resentment for the royal family...That's how they actually met,in the palace as a nameless maid(he) and the crown prince(she) and became friends....Dami was the one who gave him the name Yong Sun actually and that made more sense and more special in my view as nobody cared to ask for his name till her...Also,the Prince living as Hwi without a name of her own,as she never had one so was also this...
After the King that knew all along that the boy was disguised to save him(being the boy of that family) let him return to his original name(but not fully give his status back) came back years later as her bodyguard without telling her of course who he was....The Grand Queen also knew The Crown Prince was a woman as she kept this charade along the late Consort.

Sorry for the long post,don't knoww if this is spoilery as they did change it so....

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Thank you for the spoilers, @miky88! The manhwa sounds quite different with the double crossdressing. I'm most invested in Ga-on's character and of the opinion that the romance would've been more affecting had it been with her bodyguard or maid in disguise as he is with her 24/7 and could realize Hwi was a woman. If Hwi gives Yong Sun (the drama feminized it to Yeon-sun) his name, does he in turn give her a name? Or doesn't she have one when the princess was born?

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@panshel No,she didn't have a name that was why it was a bit more complex from a character point of view as our heroine basically never had anything of hers and lived as someone else(like finding even older she was a woman and not a man) and yeah she recieves a name that comes to the start with her giving him the name...That's why that was a bit more meaningful than here...It was indeed more affecting with the hero being her bodyguard(with close ties to the Grad Queen and her grandfather by his lineage),even when the truth comes out and boy hell opens...So in some ways Ga On has a glimpse of the original hero but that's it...
The manhwa is more dark and has the urgency of the stakes...Also,sad that Hyun big brother plays such a little role here(the one who stoped Crazy Uncle in the street)as in the manhwa was such a compelx character and full of schemes that left u wonder if he wanted to usurp the throne...

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She won't,she will get her heart and use it to gain time and avoid "consummating" ...Neverless it won't go down pretty...

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Unlike what others think, imo Jiwoon's character is a breathe of fresh air in the drama.
Him being not much questioning his sexuality is
I think natural to his character, like after observing him in a couple of episodes i knew that being in love with a man is never gonna be much of a problem to him and props to the writer for building his character that way. The main question he had was how come he loves the crown prince because of the social status and i agree with him too and i believe he would have kept his feelings to himself all his life but that kiss from hwi made his resolution to confess stronger and i dont find his confession immature at all given that he first confirmed that the CP also has feelings for him.
I have read many comments that much of jiwoon's actions are inappropriate towards the CP but i think after 10 episodes people should have understood that this drama is not gonna follow the traditional saeguk route given that it is a fiction with no relation to any real life characters, a fusion saeguk where they can bend the saeguk rules and moreover that it is a romance saeguk.
I came across a korean article where these "impossible things" that are shown in the drama are explained beautifully. For example jiwoon asking a hug from the crown prince would have been impossible and inappropriate in that period of times but the fact that this impossible thing is made possible in this story gives it a poignant touch and makes the viewers understand the human emotions better and feel connected to the characters.

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I generally love sageuks and gender benders (Coffee Prince, Mr. Queen); however, this is just not working for me. Seems all I'm watching is Royal Tutor showing puppy eyes. Feeling the whole gay thing is being forced on audience. Drama seems slow...thinking of dropping if doesn't pick up soon (I just forced myself to finish ep. 3).

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I’m with you, I never FF and I’m FF-ing a lot in this show. And waving my hands while telling the screen, “ok, get ON with it already “.

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Lol, if you have just finished 3 episodes then how can you say that the gay thing is forced upon audience when it isn't even started unless if you are saying it just by reading the reacaps where are a whole lot of things are missing.

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Hey, it was early in the morning and I meant to type episode 9. Nine.

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This show exceeds the suspension of disbelief I usually give a drama, so I am drunk watching it from here on for Park Eun-bin. 🤣

Please kill me, Jeon-ah. 🧟‍♀️

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This straight-up could've been a BL manhwa. Honestly, it's painful to watch Ji-woon not know and make a fool of himself, but I appreciate his quick acceptance of his bisexuality and the absense of gay panic.

If So-yeon becomes the crown princess, at least they can commission Ji-woon's help to produce an heir since So-yeon likes him. Still, why answer when she didn't want to be chosen?

We know that Ji-woon is a big womanizer

We do?

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Same question. That line stuck out to me too. When did we see him being a womanizer? I thought it was a misinterpretation on the CP's part because of where they met the first time (as adults).

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I think it came from his conversations with Hyun about women in Ming. He gave his help to the Crown Prince to choose his future wife too.

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I doubt he would ever accept that at least how I see it and doubt she will become the crown princess(later queen).
Doubt her grandfather will let the King go on with his plans or even the Grand Queen for that if it means loosing her grip on power...

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Ji Woon's confession scene was SO good. His lines, her sad expressions. Gah!

I was disappointed that Hyun was there though. It was such a private, special moment that I didn't want anyone else to witness it. He already figured out the deep connection between the two beforehand and that they were each other's first loves. He's hiding his own heartbreak so I didn't want to see him crushed even more. I doubt he can continue to bury his feelings. Keeping it all bottled up isn't healthy.

I'm glad we got to see a bit more into the king this week. It does seem like he cares for Dam Yi and may know that she is really his daughter.

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I thought so too. That the king may really know she’s his daughter. I wondered if that’s the real reason the king did not push a Royal wedding.

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I don't know if he really knows but I think he didn't push it because he feels guilty, he wasn't strong enough to protect his own daughter from his father. He wants te Crown Prince to be strong enough when he will marry.

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Jiwoon just keeps making me swoon. PEB is a revelation. How did I not watch any of her dramas before this? Those eyes kill me every time. Is Jiwoon a womanizer? I thought the gisaengs loved him because of his natural skin care remedies just like the court ladies.

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Park Eun Bin is EVERYTHING.

Her eyes manage to express longing, sadness and affection so well it makes my heart break into a billion pieces.

The way she looked at Jiwoon before she kissed him. Her face when she opened the
letter with the flowers. She BREAKS me. Every single time. My heart weeps for our crown prince(ss) and I wouldn't have it any other way.

I just need this show to end with her happy. That is all I need. She deserves the world.

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Absolutely, the 2 moments I cried. And I don't cry that easily, at all. PEB's performance... the delivery of the CP's conflict, is moving. T_T

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I'm still watching this show but somehow FF A LOT in the last 2 episodes. Ji-woon is such a cute puppy but I don't find myself invested in their love line. What I really want to know now is how the royal family deal with the crisis once Hwi's real identity is revealed. I know this show is advertised as romance-focused, but compared to Hwi's life and death matter, Ji-woon's love seems too insignificant. I was mainly attracted by the tragic struggle of the late Crown Princess, so I stay just to see the end of this story. Both the King and the Grand Queen seem to genuinely love Hwi despite their own agendas, so it'll be interesting to see their choices. The teaser seems to hint that the King will know that Hwi's a girl next week. Can't wait for that!

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This drama has pulled me into the intrigue of court politics like almost no other sageuk has ever done. As much as I love the cute romance and the angsty romance, I seriously want more time with all the other characters and I want to see where the political drama is going and how they're all going to deal with it.

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Rowoon is much better than I thought he'd be in this. I actually believed his confession as Jiwoon. Color me flabbergasted. I do like the slow pretty scenes and I really like how PEB is playing this prince. This is probably the first show where I believe she could be a "he" and boys could fall for her as a "him." I think the side characters are interesting too. I don't think the court politics are bringing the show down, which I typically find the politics slow and frustrating. And I realize that this isn't really a sageuk, but fusion if anything, but I like that. I'm very much a sageuk-like kind of gal. I think I'm in it until the end. I can't figure out how they're going to let the prince live happily ever after. Well, I can, it's not rocket science, or even immunology (lol).

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These past two episodes have been a little slow for me. I fast-forwarded and skipped around toward the end of Episode 10. I'm watching it purely for Ji-Woon and Hwi and the cinematography. The colors are so pretty, dreamy, and romantic.

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Hyungnim tracing the court-maid is worried about the wrong thing. His 2+2=4 shouldn't be about Damyi's identity as the crown prince, but about the realization that Damyi's first love is none other than Ji-Woon. I don't think he's fully accepted what that means, because denial, just like his reluctance to confess, is his preferred choice of self-preservation.
Ji-woon did a Joseon-style coming out, and I love how there was ZERO gay-panic around it. I like how he's SO unbothered about the semantics of body-parts; a true doctor, eh? :P Though, him imagining the CP dressed as a woman dancer was to paint the romance in hetero-normative colors (and avoid censorship)... but if this is one step closer to representation we get, (that we almost did but didn't, in Mr. Queen), then I'm happy.

I kinda want the CP to invite Ji-woon for regular threesomes post wedding, and maybe even get Ga-On to produce the next royal heir, if he's willing. What an epic 'fuck-off' to the royal family, that has wronged not just Ga-On, but Dam-yi as well. Back to reality... I'm loving the weekly dose of BL AND GL that I get from this one show alone! xD

So far, reverse-harem has conflicts. Hyungnim's biggest conflict is harboring feelings for an imposter, cross-dressing woman who might as well be his cousin, Ji-woon's biggest conflict is that he's crushing on the Nation's Crown Prince (& maybe also that the Prince is a man) and Ga-On's conflict is that he's sposed to hate the CP and maybe also take revenge? Fun.

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Jiwoon imagining CP as the woman dancer as you said can be for hetero-normative terms but i also believe that they were trying to portray that in love you can imagine the person you are in love in anything . His guard friend telling him that look how beautiful that female dancer is and how everyone is going crazy for her was enough reason for him to imagine hwi's face in her. I wouldnt be surprised if he would imagine hwi's face in some other thing.
The only thing that nags me is if he really imagined hwi as the woman dancer wouldnt he be able to recognize her as the woman that he saw in forest or him imagining she as a woman dancer was only for viewers to know that he is deeply in love with hwi.

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