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My Dearest: Episodes 3-4

War is on its way, and all our heroes can do is brace themselves for the oncoming storm. Of course, our heroine has far bigger concerns than the looming threat of invasion and imminent death — namely, stealing her best friend’s boyfriend! If only this actually were her biggest problem…

 

EPISODES 3-4

Word hits Neunggun-ri like a hurricane: the king in his fortress is besieged by Hong Taiji’s troops. Yeon-joon copes the only way he knows how — with passionate, public speeches. It’s time, he declares, to stand up and fight. Granted, only about 30% of these glorified schoolboys know which way up a sword goes, but Yeon-joon’s words are so stirring that soon every man in the village is clamoring for battle. Or… almost every man. If there’s one thing our hero is loudly uninterested in, it’s dying for a runaway king. And if this wins him the scorn of the entire village, Gil-chae included? No problem. He’ll just flutter his fan and brazen it out.

Still, in private, he wears the grim certainty of someone who knows the true meaning of war. If only he could guarantee Gil-chae did too. But like the rest of the village, she’s caught up in thoughts of heroism and sacrifice. Perhaps a little war propaganda will scare her sensible. The Qing invaders, he declares, are battle machines who eat, drink and breathe murder! Gil-chae cringes, wide-eyed. But she reserves her anxieties for her beloved block of wood, Yeon-joon — there’s still time to convince him not to fight. Or, better yet… convince Eun-ae to convince him!

Yeah, not so much. Eun-ae emerges triumphant and giddy. No, not because she’s persuaded him to stay — because he intends to marry her before he leaves! Never in her vast history of cunning schemes has a Gil-chae gambit backfired so disastrously. Still, even through the haze of heartbreak, our heroine is resolved… by hook, crook, or elaborate emotional manipulation, she’ll win her man. Among her bumbling bevy of suitors is the perfect target: the soulful yet hapless KONG SOON-YAK (Park Jong-wook). If she can convince him to propose to her a little, maybe it’ll spur Yeon-joon to jealousy!

If there’s one thing worse than a Gil-chae plot gone sour, it’s a Gil-chae plot that succeeds without a hitch. He proposes to her a lot. Soon, she finds herself trapped between her best friend, her best friend’s miserably un-stealable boyfriend, and her accidental-on-purpose fiancé, miserably planning a double wedding. By the time Jang-hyun finds her, she’s loudly, defiantly, and with great relish, bawling her eyes out by the swing. This is worse than war! He doesn’t tenderly take her in his arms. At this point, he’s mostly just exasperated. But what he does offer her is a handkerchief — and, against his better judgement, help.

Namgoong Min Ahn Eun-jin My Dearest: Episodes 3-4

Love makes martyrs of us all. Jang-hyun meets with the village elders, offering them weapons and armor for the coming fight. There’s just one thing he wants as payment. The young men waltzing off to war plan to marry beforehand, heedless of how Joseon’s laws will penalize the widows they’ll leave behind. For the good of all, these marriages must be postponed. Now that’s how you enact a cunning scheme! But when Soon-yak parrots Jang-hyun’s worthy words back to Gil-chae, she’s far to preoccupied with thanking her lucky stars to recognize the rhetoric.

During a stilted midnight rendezvous (safely chaperoned by Jong Jong), she and her mercifully unofficial fiancé exchange farewells — though not before she makes Soon-yak promise to look out for Yeon-joon. As soon as Soon-yak’s back is turned, our hero comes crashing in to merrily ruin the moment! Deliberately crass, he requests a farewell kiss. Gil-chae does not disappoint: with zero qualms, she slaps him. He nods. Good. If you’re caught by invaders, he tells her, suddenly serious — fight back.

Namgoong Min Ahn Eun-jin My Dearest: Episodes 3-4

The next day, the villagers gather to send their young men off to war. Jang-hyun arrives on horseback with the rest of them, dashingly armor-clad… for the purposes, he insists, of bravely fleeing to safety. Gil-chae sniffs, affronted, and point-blank refuses to hand him a handkerchief for luck. No matter. He has a gift for her instead. Firmly, he hands her a dagger. For protection, he insists. Hate me all you like — but keep hold of it.

With a matchmaking glint in her smile, Eun-ae corners Jang-hyun. You know, she begins, people are predictable. In moments of fear, they look to the person they trust. Do you know who Gil-chae looked at the moment we heard about the invasion? Earlier, she had asked Gil-chae the same thing. Our heroes’ reactions are roughly identical — baffled disbelief. Jong Jong, when questioned, supplies the answer with an eyeroll: you looked at Jang-hyun. Ryang-eum, silent and watchful, had spotted the same thing. But when Jang-hyun asks him, masking the hope in his voice, he looks resolute. Gil-chae looked at Yeon-joon, he lies. Jang-hyun breathes a sigh of not-quite-resignation. All is, if not right with the world, then at least recognizable.

Meanwhile, the soldiers of Neunggun-ri meet up with a larger regiment, where they intend to rescue the king. Their leader gives a rallying speech, idealistic enough to rival any of Yeon-joon’s. But reality bites brutally. Flaming arrows come reeling through the sky, killing every soldier on the front line within seconds. The invading armies descend on the village fighters, who with trembling fingers struggle to loose a single arrow. Yeon-joon hurls himself into the fray, but drops within seconds, bludgeoned on the temple. Bleary and half-conscious, he watches his friends be slaughtered one by one.

When he wakes, he is one of a handful of survivors. By the time he reaches Soon-yak, it’s far too late. His friend bleeds out in his arms, haltingly confessing that he’d always known Gil-chae never loved him. He hadn’t been naive: he knows Yeon-joon likes Gil-chae. Still, his last thought is of her — and of what she’d meant to him regardless.

Far — but not too far — from the battlefield, Jang-hyun hunkers down in an outpost, looking for all the world like a man who, in fact, has not run away. From here, he can spot the enemy’s approach, to warn the neighboring villages. Calmly, he tells his servant, GOO JAM (Park Kang-sub) to retreat with Ryang-eum; he’ll send a smoke signal from the mountain. But Ryang-eum, it turns out, still hasn’t returned from town.

Poor Ryang-eum. It’s a raw deal, being ambiguously gay in a heterosexual romance drama, where the narrative demands that you be in tragic, unrequited love with the male lead. Currently, he’s buying a dagger for Jang-hyun to replace the one he once gave him — the same one, I’m certain, Jang-hyun gave Gil-chae. It’s not long before hooves rattle down the streets: before all is screaming, chaos, and capture. Ryang-eum is dragged away by the throat, but Jang-hyun comes hurtling to the rescue, cutting him loose just in time. Roughly, Jang-hyun lectures him for being careless, whilst Ryang-eum stares at him in wonder. He saved him — again.

Jang-hyun’s evacuation signal reaches Neunggun-ri. Aghast, the villagers gather their possessions, preparing to abandon the life they know. But the village’s eldest, most loving couple, know a thing or two about war. Someone has to buy them time. When invaders arrive to plunder the village, half are caught in a meticulously-rigged explosion, crafted by our couple — tactics drawn from the first Jin invasion. But it can’t last. With horrific inevitability, the two are caught and stabbed by the surviving attackers. They die in each other’s arms.

When Jang-hyun arrives, there’s nothing left but two corpses, cradling one another beneath the snow. For a moment, he looks utterly broken. Then, he narrows his eyes. The king’s plight doesn’t move him in the slightest — but this? This, he’s willing to fight for. This is worthy of revenge. The invaders move slowly, dragging roped hostages by their necks. Jang-hyun stands before them on the road. With brutal efficiency, he and his allies descend — and after a silent flash of blades, not a soldier is left alive.

Meanwhile, Gil-chae, Eun-ae, and their maids rapidly find themselves the only ones left free. Dragging themselves through the snow, they hide in a narrow cave. But there’s a complication: BANG-DOO (Kwon So-hyun), Eun-ae’s servant, has gone into labor. Now, she must give birth in the freezing cold, and somehow stay quiet throughout proceedings. Worse, someone has to be midwife. Gil-chae nobly volunteers Eun-ae for the post! Mustering her courage, Eun-ae peers beneath Bang-doo’s skirt — and promptly passes out.

Whimpering only a little, our heroine steps up. Before long, she’s elbow-deep in copious amounts of blood, but the baby has been safely delivered. Now, the challenge is to keep mother and child from freezing to death. Terrified but resolute, Gil-chae steps into the forest, in search of supplies. Her wish is granted — in the form of a dying villager. He’s beyond hope of saving. All she can do is witness his last words and breathe an apology… before peeling the furs from his back, and looting his bag for provisions.

That night, plenty more happens that the girls aren’t proud of. Eun-ae creeps out in search of Gil-chae — only to come face to face with an invader. He seizes her, threatening to rape her. But out of the dark comes Gil-chae, plunging her dagger into the back of his neck. Mutely, the two girls push his body off a cliff. Then, they go to brush the blood off in a stream. Eun-ae is stiff and shaken, remembering the voices of the village elders: if a woman is raped, it goes without saying that she should die.

She glances at her bloodied hand. Then, she swipes it viciously into the water. Face crumpling, she faces Gil-chae. Nobody, she says, will believe me if I say that nothing happened. Gil-chae takes her by the shoulders. Nothing, she decides, did happen. We fell down a hill, and hurt ourselves. You never encountered a man. I certainly never killed him.

Morning dawns. With renewed determination, the girls trudge up the mountain, splitting the last crumbs of their provisions. When night falls, they rest beneath a cliff. Gil-chae dreams vividly of the sea — of clinging to her husband, dirty and exhausted, and asking him why he won’t come. When she wakes, it is with the certainty that he will be with her — and that the figure she sees, walking out of the darkness when she wakes, is him. Then, she opens her eyes properly. Yup, it’s another invader. Maybe fate can do a reroll on this one.

The soldiers converge. It’s an ugly, screaming fight — Gil-chae grabs, and bites, and swipes with her dagger, but it slips uselessly to the ground. It’s only when she’s thrown from her feet, and just about given up hope, that her attacker jerks back, wounded. Gil-chae looks up, astounded, as a fighter emerges from the mist. Then, her eyes widen further as she recognizes Jang-hyun. As one last invader leaps out of the shadows, she collects herself with a frantic cry: husband, move! Jang-hyun reacts fast, dispatching his attacker with ease, before coming to kneel by her side. He gazes at her — and grins. Did you, he asks, just call me husband?

Namgoong Min Ahn Eun-jin My Dearest: Episodes 3-4 Namgoong Min Ahn Eun-jin My Dearest: Episodes 3-4

It is safe to say that virtually no punches were pulled this week. This show is gorgeously good at pulling the rug out from under your feet. Rousing speeches about loyalty are cut short by mass murder. The heartwarming elderly couple team up to save the village — and are stabbed to death. Our heroine loots a corpse. Despite this, nothing feels relentlessly grim, because these episodes absolutely ached with moments of hope. Gil-chae and Eun-ae, finding solidarity amid trauma. Jang-hyun, fighting not for the king, but for two dead peasants he cared about immensely. All our heroes crossing every possible line in order to keep each other alive.

Meanwhile, the characterization is masterful. Gil-chae is such a satisfying heroine! She’s selfish, flighty, and vain, all of which make me love her dearly — but when you truly force her to be a leader, she’ll rise to the challenge without complaint. She’s so similar to Jang-hyun in that respect: he’ll do his level best to be aloof, foppish, and cowardly, and he’ll fail utterly, because it never takes much pushing to make him care. What I love the most is that none of this erases their beautiful, endearing flaws. The chemistry is unbelievably strong: already, this pairing combines sunny, springtime banter with desperate, war-torn longing in the snow. Though I’m sad the former had to be cut short… bring on the latter! I can hardly wait.

Ahn Eun-jin My Dearest: Episodes 3-4

 
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I want. Persimmons.

We’re only on the second week but when 3 ended I wanted 4 immediately, and when 4 came out I forced myself to wait to save it for my evening watch, and that was a struggle and a half, and when 4 ended I immediately lamented at the week wait till 5.
The gap between the two halves is going to be PAINFUL if this keeps it up. Help.

• A lot happened this week. Where to start. We went, expectedly, from rom com/ brooding melo to survival thriller real fast, and I for one, was there for it. It’s nice to have a so far GOOD drama, I am watching and I want to watch every week again. It’s been a while.

• The switch between Eun Jae praying and the aftermath of the massacre was jarring but I also think it was deliberate, because it is not their enemies that will be dismembered at all but their own young men. But I was too busy laughing at Gil Chae's facial expressions in reaction to said prayer that the juxtaposition was almost lost on me because I was STILL laughing when it switched and then I felt bad because the second scene wasn’t actually SUPPOSED to be funny, Sic.
Anyway, I think most of the “tonal dissonance” is equally deliberate. We’re supposed to be thrown into these situations just as abruptly as the characters are.
And when it’s all spliced together, the hollowness of the King’s platitudes to boost the morale of his soldiers, the horror of war and how out of their depth they are, rings that much louder. There were some terribly excellent sequences herein these episodes.

• I found the decision of our lovely old couple, their mutual decision, to stay and try and buy the others some time, and so their sacrifice very bittersweet and beautiful. They were right, the invaders would’ve caught up with the others sooner and to a much worse end, they would’ve caught up with themselves if they had left on time too, had they not stalled them for time, and taken out a few of them on the way.
It was tragic, from beginning to end - the crows, the silk, the holding each other in their last moments, Jang Hyun finding them, and taking action for them - but not meaningless.

• In the same night, Gil Chae helped bring life into the world and took it.
Excellent storytelling poetry right there.
Something about blood on her hands, two kinds…

If there is one person, I want to, and who should, find out about what happened that night, it’s Jang Hyun. He will be the right person to help her should that night come back to haunt our FL.
The highest stakes to ever stake emergency birth reminded me of A Quiet Place. I liked that movie, but still. I am just ignoring the CGI baby, because its inconsequential in the weight of and full events of those scenes.
Idk, I don’t have much to say about all… that *guestures*… I just enjoyed letting it play out on screen and taking it in.

• I love Winter as an Entity Setting, as a Supporting Villain, as a Conflict. She’s so effortlessly good at it.

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Oh hi there... I almost don't wanna post the second half of this comment now incase it also gets stuck in quarantine for 3 hrs... 😅

(for @indyfan)
The first snow from the end of episode 2 is actually a really good example of how this show uses the aforementioned juxtapositions, uses Winter as its own entity, and uses a well-known trope really well, in both new and old ways:

The First Snow on the waning of the 60th anniversary of an old married couple, and the reuniting of a new budding couple. (The old couple is an opening foil for our titular Lovers.)
The First Snow falling on the eve of a celebration, but in the same breath in time to herald an impending doom and tragedy.
And once again, a single snowflake, inside an un-fallen tear.
Old and faithful love, and new uncertain feelings in contrast to each other, and old and faithful ways in conflict new uncertainty and trepidation.

old love and new love
old comfort and new doom
waning celebration and rising conflict
the known and the unknown
relative peace and oncoming war
a snowflake in a teardrop

And how that all culminates in episodes 3 and 4, to make these ideas hit home harder.

Other random:

> Him in denial about liking her

> Him giving her the dagger and telling her about the smoke and telling her to fight back if she meets an invader.

> That dagger has so much motif build up, and use already.

> Them being separated for an entire episode, only for that sweet cathartic, and ALSO funny, reunion.

> The balance of screentime between Jang Hyun’s scenes, and the woman’s flight, and the supporting political and background snippets in 4, each stage playing their roles perfectly and with the exact right amount of impact.

> Namgoong min with a sword

> It feels too early to gush about this drama though is it too early oh well too late I have already done it

(Also WHY does this have a 7.2 rating on db already? That’s undeservingly low and twice as sus)

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Whoa @ all the juxtapositions you've mentioned, very poetic indeed! Need to turn my literary brain on it seems, I didn't even think about this!! Thank you for sharing your very keen observations 💕

I'm also lowkey 😒 about the 7.2 rating, I get it might not be everyones cup of tea but I don't think the plot or production thus far warrants that low a rating :(

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Isn't it neat? Shout-out to Indy though for kind of triggering this thought on my wall hahaha she mentioned something and I went "actually you know what..." and had to expand and share haha.

((I'm tempted to say bots or something, tbh 🤭))

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Sic, it was the word ‘em-er-gen-cy’ that caught your comment in the filter. And what a reason to have to use that word…you all are really gonna hurt, and you’re going to love it, aren’t you?

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Em-erg-ency!!!? When did Emer-gen-cy become an inappropriate word!!! Ffffff *adds to the list*

To be fair I didn't check, as I usually do, when it caught because last time there WAS NO inappropriate word (I did check that one), and no moderation notification, and nothing else obvious either, like a link, so I thought this was just formatting or something 😅
I was also walking out the door to go for a swim.
Not that I would've tried to repost anyway. Sometimes I do that but it is annoying for staff.

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A very nice analysis of the interplay of events and emotions with the first snowfall. As you both said on the fan wall, it is about how the metaphor is applied. So, if the show had simply used it as a lazy shortcut for falling in love without adding all these layers, it would not have been as meaningful.

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💯

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"(Also WHY does this have a 7.2 rating on db already? That’s undeservingly low and twice as sus)".

I was thinking the same. There have been only four episodes. Isn't it too soon to rate the drama? 🤔

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Don't mind it. I never take it seriously. If I need drama rec, I'll ask a friend or in the open.

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I never do either, but some are definitely more sus than others ... 🤭

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@sicarius

Since you brought up Nam with a sword I have to ask.

At first, I thought he was using a samurai sword and fighting style. A Tachi sword that's best for slashing, but I don't think they'll use Japanese swords in this drama.
If it's Korean then maybe it's a Hwando long sword? It has a curve but is not too curvy.

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You asked me this on purpose. You knew exactly what you were getting into. This is really long… are we surprised. (No.) It also took me all morning. I hope you're happy 😂

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Of course. 🙂This is like something up your alley and I enjoy being schooled in weapons of war. We still have the muskets to talk about later. 🤔

I watched the scene in slo-mo and did some comparisons to some curve swords from Japan and China with no luck. I fell asleep trying to find more information on Korean swords. 😂

Nam is physically fit. Every time I watch it I forgot what I was looking for. 😂
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjJxmnxzTUg&ab_channel=MBCdrama

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Thank you so much! You are the best!
I'm so happy!

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Hahaha you know me well, yeahp.

I did, after posting the write up below, find this one picture (will try link, link might get eaten) of what appears to be genuine swords (so not replicas), Japanese, and two Korean, and with them next to each other you can see the difference in angle of curve of the Japanese v Korean conventional swords. Which, in comparison to the 88 screenshots I took of the sword in the show, definitely supports this sword being a Hwando of some kind. I mean, my doubts about that aren't really big anyway, but it's nice to find anything that reinforces one's conclusions.

😂😂 he has been known to have that effect. I actually appreciated the directing, editing and choreo a lot more from watching it slowed down. It all happens almost too fast, you feel like it just cuts, but all the movement is actually there and logical.

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(link and photos on my wall for anyone reading this)

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Hi @sicarius - it seems like you are the weapon expert here XD I also have a question... Do you know what is the name of the name Ryang Eum uses? I saw it on Korean Twitter that it's not a normal bow. It's something else that's more lethal - more strength and speed than a regular bow. Since we can see every time Ryang Eum shoots, the arrow shot right through the bodies with very strong force and speed.

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@peachietime

I FOUND THE THING okay. sorry. I just got excited hahaha.

I wonder, what is a “normal” bow is in this context lmao.

So, I mention down below in reply to @narrativeaddict that he uses something that looks like a release aid or some kind of leash to "help" him shoot, and then I didn't go looking for more info on it but it’s been bugging me and you sent me down that hole, so thanks.

One thing Joseon did get right on the Martial side of things was archery. Korea has always been good at and into their archery from way back, and that was maintained and even strengthened under Joseon. (Shocking. Sorry for the Joseon shade lmao)

The Korean traditional bow is called the Gakgung (각궁), a composite reflex horn bow, which uses water buffalo horn on the belly of the bow to give it more power.

Ryang Eum is using a Gakgung, however he is using a Gakgung with a pyeonjeon and a tongah. (A what? you say)

A pyeongjeon is a shorter arrow bolt, also called an aegisal (baby arrow), mini arrow, or split arrow, because it’s about half the size of a full-length arrow.
A tongah is an arrow guide or sheath, usually made out of bamboo, an overdraw device that allows you to draw the smaller arrow but at full draw length on a full size bow.

We can see Ryang Eum use the tongah against the caravan of captives (although his looks like it is dyed, or cased in leather, and he has a leather cord to it too), and the camera deliberately focuses on the shorter bolt both after this shot, and later at the end of 4, when both pyeonjeon hit their respective trees after exiting their victims.

It’s hard to find sources on this, but using the Pyeonjeon and Tongah combination is said to have given the bolt more release velocity, and therefore has a greater striking power, hence the impact we see in the show.
The pyeonjeon seems to come with a bit of reputation in Korean history for being extra formidable, and saw great service in both Imjin wars and Manchu invasions.
It would be more beneficial to run or find some tests on this, to see the actual advantages of it, but for now we can roll with this being the lore of the pyeonjeon, and the drama therefore showcasing that lore.

Pretty nifty addition to the show, imo.
I should probably also watch War of the Arrows.

Pyeonjeon and Tongha videos to follow later.

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@peachietime
@peachietime

I FOUND THE THING okay. sorry. I just got excited hahaha.

I wonder, what is a “normal” bow is in this context lmao.

So, I mention down below in reply to @narrativeaddict that he uses something that looks like a release aid or some kind of leash to "help" him shoot, and then I didn't go looking for more info on it but it’s been bugging me and you sent me down that hole, so thanks.

One thing Joseon did get right on the Martial side of things was archery. Korea has always been good at and into their archery from way back, and that was maintained and even strengthened under Joseon. (Shocking. Sorry for the Joseon shade lmao)

The Korean traditional bow is called the Gakgung (각궁), a composite reflex horn bow, which uses water buffalo horn on the belly of the bow to give it more power.

Ryang Eum is using a Gakgung, however he is using a Gakgung with a pyeonjeon and a tongah. (A what? you say)

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*Cries* *why me* *why so many times in three days*
@peachietime well I'll come back in three to nine hours and see if my reply got through, otherwise I'll try find some other way of replying to you.

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hahahahahaaha @sicarius I am sorry but it's rare to find someone who's actually experts in weapons who also watches the same kdrama with me I would not be able to pass this opportunity to learn XD thank you so muchhhhh haahah

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@peachietime
Oh no, not THAT why me, Why me as in, Why Do My Comments Keep Getting Eaten for no discernible reason!!!!! Making it so much harder to reply and engage with this thread!!!

I completely do not mind at all being asked about weapons. I love weapons. This is not new to a lot of people. My handle means assassin in Latin. Ask away haha.

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@peachfae and @sicarius

When it comes to warfare, this show is like a mix of WAR of the ARROWS and THE FORTRESS.

I think this is the same kind of bow with long bamboo shafts from WAR of the ARROWS.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RlBOR5CnJ-c&ab_channel=ScreenStories

Links from my WOTA days. I loved that movie I kept some research stuff in a file.

1. WAR of the ARROWS - As Seen Through Qing archery Manuals.
https://www.manchustudiesgroup.org/2021/01/23/the-war-of-the-arrows-as-seen-through-qing-archery-manuals/

2. Korean Archery Power and Passion.
https://legendarchery.com/blogs/archery-bowhunting-blog/45374788-korean-archery-power-and-passion

3. Archery | The Tong-ah
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkMPK2569Ks&ab_channel=NUSensei

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haha @kiara I just added some videos to my wall post, including that last youtube vid. I will add your other links to my bookmarks as well. What do you think, should I try reposting my initial comment about this again, with videos this time, or keep waiting? lol

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Lol, nice. I'm not even sure I remember what I read but I'll always remember that the first king of Joseon, Yi Seong-gye was a renowned archer, the JUMONG of Joseon.

I haven't read your post yet. I like it here but do whatever is easier for you.

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Yes I read that too! Actually I think that was just on the wiki page for Gakgung haha.

I will wait till morning to see if the eaten comment comes through, then try again depending. It'd be nice to have it on here for future recap readers too at least.

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Omo. In the time I replied to you it has indeed been posted. Yay! (Thank you @imji)

VIDEOS and MORE INFO
This rabbit hole is so deep, I’ll have to stop somewhere. @peachietime

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pM65i6HVMY
– this guy is so funny haha “well not really Turkey also had”
This was another thing I read, and is mentioned in some of the other videos too: that the Turks and the Byzantines had something similar too, as well as potentially the Chinese, but I have yet to go down that branch of the hole (:when, where, how dominant, any differences etc) ((This is also why I was reluctant initially to go into the “did the Koreans invent it, and how much of a secret was it and what did that mean” haha)).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9oYafooMlU
– You can see in this one the archer as a thumb ring, which was often used for the thumb draw that a lot of Asian archery uses (as opposed to the European or British 2 or 3 fingered draw)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lkMPK2569Ks
– one of the most watched videos on the subject, venture into the comments if you dare 😂

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eddm5L8j7ss
– a Korean video, no subs, but you do see people who practice the sport in Korea who are Korean use it. Feels more like how the show did it though, also thumb rings again.

Across all of these there is a variation of how to notch or load the pyeonjeon, which I found kinda interesting. All of this has just made it even more imperative that I watch War of the Arrows since clearly that alone sparked a lot of archery nerds’ interest in this subject matter.
Still lots of decent info on it to collect, even if it needs parsing through. That’s normal when researching something.

Okay, that will do for now!!

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During his reign, King Sungjo ordered his military officer Han Kyo to compile a manual of fighting methods and martial arts for farther study, called Muyejebo, which was published after the king’s death, although being incomplete, in 1610. This was expanded upon by Prince Sado, and a revision was published during the reign of King Youngjo called Muyeshinbo (although no copies of this revision survive), and then revised and additional content was added yet again and commissioned by King Jeongjo in 1790, called <Muyedobotongji (Which has been translated into English, if anyone wants to get me a Birthday present.)

(In hindsight, I’m even more mad at the terrible sword fight scenes in Red Sleeve considering Sado and Jeongjo tried to revie and restructure Korean martial arts practices and had a vested interest in them themselves… Honestly. What a wasted potential of a show. Anyway, getting sidetracked…)

One of the most common used Korean swords in the military and fighting in this era was also a curved single edged sword, of similar length to both the Katana and the Tachi, in fact, even on the longer end. That would be your Hwando, yes. There were other swords, but it's even harder to find anything about them, the terminology is a nightmare, and many were ceremonial and not Jingum, (literally; "true sword”).

Korean swordsmanship styles were however, also more cutting bias in fighting style, and had more cutting moves than thrusting moves (like roughly 12:5, give or take, sources pending).

I don’t think this is a Tachi. Tachi were definitely on the outward phase by 1636; they were the mainstream swords of the Kotō period, between 900 and 1596.

I suppose it’s not completely impossible for some random Korean nobleman to have imported a much older style of Japanese sword for his personal use, especially not long since the Imjin Wars, but I think it would be uncommon and therefore unlikely. Cool, but unlikely. Korean curved swords themselves became more developed in the wake of the Imjin Wars too.

Since it is indeed curved, and not straight, I think it is most likely to be a Hwando, or a type of Hwando.

Some sources say that the Hwando was strictly used with one hand, but given how much of a mess sources are on Korean swords and swordsmanship, and given that sometimes terms for swords were used interchangeably for multiple different things, AND knowing that most “one handed” swords worldwide can also be used with two hands should you so desire, and since the next size up of Korean sword is the Ssangsudo which is about twice as long and also normally used on horseback, I think I can safely ignore this footnote and still sleep at night.

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Thank you!!!
That is what always frustrates me about Korean history of any kind. It's hard to find first or 2nd hand info. For other sources, you have to work extra hard to separate the so-called facts from rumors.

Hwando's are beautiful swords. I was looking to see if there is a hole in the hilt of Jang Hyun's sword. Maybe Gil Chae can give him a trinket or something for it.

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Yes! Honestly, the amount of *Error 404 Page Not Found*s I get... *smh*

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Any info on the guns the Manchus were shooting?

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@snowflower, @sicarius

Sic, I'll hop on this one with you, but my notes are all over the place right now.

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I'll come back to this @snowflower.
They're some kind of musket, if you can get any more specific than that I'll let you know. Should try find my Bossam notes too, I'm sure they came up then too.

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@snowflower
Short answer: They're probably some kind of arquebus: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arquebus
Long answer: pending. 🤣

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Thank you @sicarius and @gikata for answering my questions. I spent some of my free time reading about swords, guns, and hanboks.

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@kiara here!!! see two comments above!
I haven't had time yet to go down a full on rabbit hole about the guns yet to properly confirm though. Lol.

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(In case you hadn’t realised yet, it is notoriously difficult to find good information about Korean historical martial arts, swordsmanship and swords, because a lot of it hasn’t be well preserved culturally or in written form, or has been lost, and, as we all know, Joseon wasn’t really all that big on the whole cultivation of Martial Arts, due to being ya know, Neo Confucian and all.)

If it IS somehow, something more specific, or indeed a Japanese sword, I do not yet know enough to be able to recognise that from just looking at the sword, and we have yet to see enough of the sword anyway.

I do not know enough about swordsmanship or fighting styles to determine the differences therein either, or what specifically he is using.
That would take extensive research into what has been reconstructed of Korean swordsmanship styles, which is hard to find good content on itself, vs anything comparable in say Japanese or Chinese styles, and modern styles, especially those adapted for screen fighting, and I still might not be able to tell, because I don’t have the experience.
I am still only relatively baby when it comes to my knowledge of historical martial arts and fighting styles, in no small part due to the fact that any club with legitimate *practical* sword fighting of any kind, is on the other island. Much to my eternal lamentation, I can assure you.

I can tell you however, that he uses it, the sword in question, for both cutting, and thrusting, both two handed and single handed, sheathed and unsheathed, and combines it with grappling, all of which tells me two things, even if I can’t give you as many specifics as I would like:

1. He knows what he’s doing.
2. The fight choreographers know what they’re doing.
Or, at least, they know enough about what they’re doing, to make it look convincing so far, and they know more about what they’re doing than most other Korean sword fights in dramas I have seen, and from my current knowledge on the subject matter.

Rewatching the sword fights in Ep 4 in slow mo to analyse them for this was fun though 🤣

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"Rewatching the sword fights in Ep 4 in slow mo to analyse them for this was fun though" 🤣

True that!

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On another topic: oh my gosh I wondered the same thing at the 7.2. This show is GOLD.

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It's STILL weird tbh, 31 ratings but an average of 7.4???? I have my theories... 👀🤐

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"Anyway, I think most of the “tonal dissonance” is equally deliberate" -> very much agree with this take, if anything I'm glad the first week was largely 'lighthearted' because it makes the abrupt switch even more jarring and also so real? That's just how it be in real life sometimes - most of the time - because there's no plot or single genre for life to follow or stick to.

Also you've really opened my eyes to those symbolic contrasts - life/death, in the form of the baby/dead body and the 'two types of blood' on GC's hands as you put it! 🤯

I also thought of A Quiet Place too when that birth scene happened, my heart was pounding just as fast as it did in the movie hahaha. CGI baby gave me lowkey flashbacks to Twilight Breaking Dawn, although not anywhere as near as bad as the CGI abomination that was Renesmee 🤡

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Yes!! And especially in the face of war.

I sort of feel like I should expand on that thought more, the symbolic contrasts... but it's mostly just a keen appreciation and a "LOOK!!!", a feeling, a musing rn, it hasn't made it fully into words yet like the snowflake 🤣 although I can't stop thinking about it. You're welcome though.
Anyway, the term "lifeblood" goes both ways...

I deliberately spoiled myself before watching AQP because I knew I wasn't in the mood for being anxious for the whole movie lmao. It worked actually. Knowing what was coming didn't actually lessen any of the excitement or impact.

Fortunately the CGI baby did its brief job and only graced our presence momentarily 😅

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I did the same for AQP! I usually always read up on horror/horror adjacent plots first because it doesn't lessen the intensity but does make sure I can handle it.

I'm also v glad that CGI baby was put away after a few minutes HAHAHA

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Ahahaha that's so funny. High five~

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Even though I found the first act funny, it fell a little short for me tbh in the overall development of the story. It’s not that I wasn’t expecting a “before,” before reality comes to town. And they did show the political turmoil outside, foreshadowed a little (for example, the teachers telling the ladies about war), etc. But it felt a little too silly, too bright, too light. Almost Disney. It would have helped to have a deeper undercurrent of unease running through the village — not for the happy, oblivious villagers but for us viewers. I’m not sure if I can pinpoint it further without rewatching but my rewind button is stuck on the Episode 4 ending. 😀

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Are you talking about the first half of Episode 3, or Ep 1+2? Or just in general?

I am not sure so I'm just gonna keep talking about 3+ 4 haha.
I also want to rewatch now to try and share more of my viewpoint also haha. (But I too am stuck on the end of ep 4 🤣)

I think I get you though. Perhaps more from even just the elders of the village would've been enough- them uneasy because *they* know, like Jang Hyun knows, and the younger folks still light hearted because they don't KNOW know what it means yet.

Something can be known intellectually to be objectively true, and yet not known truly until it happens to you, until it is right there. And by that point, there was no time for the girls to process it, and Gil Chae had to step up to get them to safety or all would've been lost.

But for me, I wasn't too bothered by this. I guess there was enough to make it convincing for me.

(The switch between the prayer and the aftermath of the battle scene for example btw, DID initially feel too jarring for me too tbh. But then I realised it was a direct answer to her prayer: she prayed for the dismemberment of her enemies, and then it showed the dismemberment of their own people. That was certainly intentional. Maybe a bit heavy on the shock factor side, but still an intentional parallel.)

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Sorry. I should have been more clear. I meant the first two episode. No issues with these last two. It was done well in the ways your mentioned.

I was thinking of the currently Moving as an improbable comparison. It has the sweetest adolescent storyline paired with brutal (just brutal) violence in the parallel arc that's going to come smashing into those innocent lives. But it inserts enough layers, dissonance around the adolescents (some subtle and admittedly some not) so you feel the tension of the coming storm and start praying. I'm not saying it should have been as obvious as Moving was, but it could have been a bit more, and little less Disney. Again, to the viewers, not the oblivious villagers.

Anyway, this is minor, so subjective, and done's done.

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Ahh I see. Thanks for the clarity haha.

I'm gonna be honest... I think the reason I could move past them being the way they were, was in great part due to the fact that I knew from just History alone what was coming 😅😅.
But that's not necessarily something all viewers will go in with...
(History is the biggest spoiler lol. I remember when watching Red Sleeve Cuff some people didn't realise it was based (loosely) on history and therefore would have a sad ending 😅)

Now I also want to rewatch 1 and 2. Haha.
I am not watching Moving (yet?) so I can't comment on that comparison either.
I will ponder this more though, from your perspective, and maybe skim the first two eps again.

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Not worth a rewatch for my point alone. 😀 But remember how some folks were disappointed after Ep1-2? It was not the show they expected after watching the trailers (did they leave the low ratings?). I liken it read a book blurb promising blood and tears and finding the bulk of the first two chapters a rom-com. It's definitely a classic Act I setup so I was mostly fine with it. Just think they could have done better at weaving in the darkness lurking around, in-between the village.

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Oh I've already skimmed 3+4 like thrice each today to make some of the comments on here, what's a little more 😅🤣

Yes I do. I also know I wasn't as into the show before #2 and especially the end of 2 myself.
(Maybe they did leave the low ratings 🤣). Fair enough!

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@indyfan

So I got round to trying the first three episodes of Moving the other day (and also did rewatch parts of My Dearest haha).
I have to say, now that I have more context to your comparison, I prefer My Dearest’s style, and approach.

I actually found Moving's approach to its tonal differences, but mostly just its use of violence, tasteless; almost gratuitous, gore bordering on horror just for the sake of it.

In doing so, it didn’t add to the oncoming storm, or to the story at all for me.
The violence didn’t feel like it was a necessary component in either telling the story at all, nor in foreshadowing the darker underbelly tone.
It felt too much the other direction, on the other end of the scale for that.
You could achieve a much better darker tone and much cleaner pacing with different methods, and still tell the same story.

Thus, I felt My Dearest’s tonal switches were more justified in comparison, and more well thought out.
Gil Chae’s village avoided any fall out from the first Manchu Invasion, 10 years ago, so these ideas that lurk behind the story, aren’t apparent to them until they’re on top of them. The set up of 1 and 2 is heralded by the future prologues that do a lot of the linking for us. The prison, the beach and the dream.
And we’re deliberately not given more of the unease because the village isn’t: we are to follow Gil Chae’s emotional beats essentially, to experience the story, for now at least, through her POV, in her shoes. We’re given more information than her ofc, on the sides, but almost all the village scenes are intended for that purpose, and I think that is why they are the way they are.
Gil Chae is vain and precocious (1+2) (and so therefore is the drama), but she’s also resilient and capable (3+4) and she leads with the former until the latter becomes more important (and so therefore too, the drama).

Ofc, the two shows also very much different genres and trying to achieve different things.
Moving is a manhwa adaption, and it has the same extremity to it.
My Dearest is a Romantic with a Capital R sweeping epic sageuk, and a lot more subtle.

Anyway, just thought I’d share more of my thoughts haha.

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Hummm maybe I should write up all these observations and thoughts in wall post as well.

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@sicarius After this last episode, I'm already forgetting these minor quibbles for the earlier episodes. Ha.

But yes, the violence in Moving is sometimes too much, and yes, it might be a genre thing. I also didn't mind at all the flash-forward prologues and parallel arcs in My Dearest, nor the classic set-up with the sheltered village about to be shattered by the turmoil outside.

But I would have still preferred a little more of the ugliness of Joseon society to have bled into the idyllic village setup, or perhaps a little toning down of the Disney-esque lightness so the arcs joined more seamlessly. And it could have been done easily because this isn't a first person POV. It's very much an omniscient narrative (tho by a rather trickster god, a good thing) so we could have dipped into the third close of oblivious Gil-Chae while the more distant narrator allowed the viewers to see the cracks that she doesn't.

I think, for example, if a story like GWTW was filmed today, it could still be told from Scarlett's privileged view and concerns, but told in such a way that the dark underpinnings of plantation life, and the tremors about to hit it, would be a felt a more strongly. Or at very least, it wouldn't make the Before quite such a pretty fairytale.

Anyhows, clearly this is subjective, and others are fine with the story as it was shown. Oh, and also moot, as the arcs have so clearly converged and done really well.

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@indyfan

(Honestly, I haven't seen or read GWTW so nothing about that influences how I view this, I can appreciate how it does for others but truthfully, I'm just like "what" and it sails over my head 🤣)

Hahaha but yes, we clearly have different takes on the matter, and that's fine, as it has elicited some very interesting conversation nonetheless.

Off I go to watch #5 now! I'm excited~

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Personally I thought ep1-2 had already foreshowing quite enough. The very beginning was the white haired person in a mental prison and ML facing death at the beach. There's also the script when the MLFL met for the first time, FL's script also made it seems "deep" too...

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Yes, I have been thinking more, and as per my original comment here, above, I think it was enough for me too! The red string of fate and her dream being part of the opening sequence as well certainly set the tone of what was to come, and the little political titbits here and there, making that idyllicness of their village life that much more stark and obvious to change in contrast.

But I get wanting more perhaps.

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I also appreciated that it felt very realistic to having your very normal world turned upside down by something very violent and ugly.

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Agree with every word.

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🫰

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Yay, finally a good sageuk worth the brain cells. I can easily forgive its vanity and be on board with its good intentions.

- that prayer circle (rectangle) was all kinds of irreverent, but it made me laugh. Eun Jae is as sweet as mooncakes but that prayer revealed a different side to her. (Don't mess with our men and our country).

- Grandpa Song-chu and Yi-rang's sacrifice made sense in many ways and not like an emotional manipulation. I felt that it had to be that way for many reasons. They have survived 2 invasions and lived a happy marriage for 60 years. We can see why the Neunggun-ri people respect and follow their elders to the point of bending the rules and traditions.
The way his hands were shaking and how the camera blurred his vision while shooting arrows at the enemies brought me to tears. It felt so so real and I can feel his heart saying, I'm gonna go down fighting, for my wife, for my village, and my country.

They started shooting during spring for that timeline in the drama and saved the invasion scenes for winter. I appreciate all the small details.

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Right? I still feel a bit nervous about liking it though...

- Glad I am not the only one who laughed 🤣

- yes to all this~~~

- Ah thank you for the behind the scenes info! I just guess from how photoshopped the trees and snow look ;) (since I don't follow promo material lol)

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There is no turning back now @sicarius. 😂

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I know. It's well and truly hooked me, no matter what may come to be.

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Hopping on with my random thoughts:

- That prayer circle made me chuckle nervously because the sweetest girl in town was calling for the most horrible of deaths for the enemy, but it also showed that she had no idea about the reality of war.

-Grandpa Song-chu was better with the bow than all the young fellows in that village. Shame that the elders didn't think to teach some of the youngsters about war.

- Also, completely random, but Jang Hyun hunting down Manchu with his archer elf singer and trusty stocky fellow with a club, totally reminded me of Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli chasing orcs 😁

- When the general was giving his rousing loyalty speech in the forest I kept thinking "sure, just yell and wave torches, and let the enemy know exactly where you are" so I kind of expected the attack. Even so, it was still shocking. Sickening really, because it was so utterly predictable that they had no chance.

- So, what happened to the people who crossed the river in the boat? Do we assume they all died?

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You're right - there is a strong Fellowship of the Ring vibe going on (just need to add a wizard).

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- I love that our 2nd FL is sweet and not the typical bitchy ones.
- The nobles exempt themselves from military duties, but aren't they supposed to learn archery for the state exam?
- Oh good one. Love the LotR vibes from our trio. That fight scene was awesome!
- Head scratch...why did they give out their location?
- I think they are still alive, but the poor boatman was killed on the way back.

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2- Yes. They are. hahaha for some reason Archery was considered Confucian enough, but little else was pffft

4- they gave their location initially to tell the King that they were there, I think. But it backfired.

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I know, but it wasn’t a secret that the Qing armies were all over the capital.
A carrier pigeon would have been much safer.

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3- Hahahaha our Three Hunters! It is quite fitting, isn't it.

4- Same, lol. @kiara do you know if that Attack is documented officially in history? I can't remember if you mentioned it already or not.

5- I don't think we know for sure yet? I hope it will be clarified next episode. It isn't looking great though...

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@sicarius

4 - General Jung Se-gyu is not mentioned, but I'll do some searching.

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@db-staff comment stuck in moderation~~~

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WOW this week definitely, as @indyfan said, had an epic feel to it. Like right off the bat with that opening to ep. 3 - spine chilling stuff. The tragic and heavy tone that framed the series from the start was what drew me into watching and we got more of that this week, which I was excited to see (idk if that’s the right word, I’m not excited about war or the idea of being sad but this was the genre I signed up for so glad we’ve delved into that proper now)!

I also did expect to cry at some point but I didn’t think I’d be bawling this early 😢 Ep.4 hit all sorts of spots for me - especially when the old couple met their end and all through out Gil-chae’s struggles on the run with the other women. Absolutely heartbreaking also that, after everything they’d gone through, Eun-ae was more terrified at the thought of what would happen to her if everyone else found out she’d come across a barbarian.

And then the heroic switch up at the end, with that spine-tingling entrance and Gil-chae calling Jang-hyun her husband! I’m a sucker for the ‘in love with someone/in the process of falling for someone without even realising’ trope and so all the little things - like Gil-chae not even realising she looked at him first when the news of war broke etc. had me giggling and kicking my feet, a stark juxtaposition to the dread, fear and desperation I also felt for most of this week’s episodes. I do wish Gil-chae didn’t spend so long making heart eyes at the SML, a character I find as appealing as a wet piece of cardboard next to Jang-hyun (sorry dude, I’m sure you’re nice and all) but whatever, I guess part of the fun is watching her realise she’s maybe not as in love with the SML as she thought she was. I also definitely need to rewatch to understand some of the politics that was happening, because I didn’t really absorb much of that properly and, not going to lie, my brain would auto zone-out a little when we switched to the palace stuff. Not because it was boring per se but my brain has been so used to doing this in sageuks for a while now, it’s just a reflex response at this point.

NGM in his battle attire, what to say??? Or more accurately, I can’t say much except woW. woW woWoWOWWOw WOW. AND THE SMILE AT THE END!! HOW DO I BOTTLE THAT?? FRAME IT ON MY WALL?? 🤩 Also he’s great, but what a GEM Ahn Eun-jin is also 💎 The kaleidoscope of emotions she’s been flitting through in these two eps alone, and particularly when was she trying to keep the gang sane and in one piece when they were on the run - a masterclass honestly. I love her!! These two are well matched, I think anyone younger wouldn’t give Jang-hyun the edge that NGM provides but he doesn’t look so much older that the on screen visuals don’t work with Ahn Eun-jin. She does look young and adorable but not overly so and her character’s personality (and the acting to match) is balancing that out with how simultaneously sheltered but strategic and vain she is.

Also random though that I...

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...didn’t know where to fit (because we’ll pretend there’s a logical flow to this comment 🤡) but did anyone else get a bit of a Game of Thrones vibe with the war scenes and action shots in particular?? Or maybe it’s because my brain is going handsome man + fur + snow = Jon Snow.

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Yes, to Game of throne vibes, the baddies really come across as evil and the tension is high when they are on screen. It's not afraid to go dark with the gruesomeness of war and the scenes when they were invading, lassoing people and dragging people down the street was hard to watch, it felt so real.
I also got Goblin vibes at the end of episode 4 when NGM walks through the mist with his crew to save the day.

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YES GOBLIN! I had the theme song running in my head when he appeared out of the shadows too!!

And yeah the war scenes have been quite raw and real.

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I feel so shallow when echoing this, but truth be truth. When Jang-hyun stops fanning and starts swashbuckling, but still, bloody and heroic, remembers to flirt and flash his cheeky smile, I am all flail, melt, puddle, scoop me off the floor.*

Continuing with superficialities, I also zone out in the court scenes. It can't just be us being superficial. I find @kiara summaries interesting. Sageuks, do better. At least here they had one walk along the ramparts in a change of scenery, and General Mafuta's response was chop-chop!

*@attiton I'm just gonna keep borrowing this on days I'm too tired to be original. 😀

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Thank goodness the fan didn't appear in episode 4 as it was getting to be annoying.

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Absolutely. I get that it's supposed to be one side to him, but also a front he presents to the world as opposed to his other, more serious side. But drama took it a little too far along with some of the other mannerisms.

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And I kept thinking, it’s Winter! Why are you fanning yourself? But I understand that it’s more mannerism than function for this character.

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Haha, same thoughts. The snow has fallen, stop it already.

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I'm glad I'm not the only one hehehehhe! Also, swashbuckling, great word to describe!

I'm loving the @kiara summaries and timelines too, it's making me want to pay better attention to the historical context.

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I also zone out in the court scenes. It can't just be us being superficial.

Thankfully the court scenes were mercifully few.
Nothing like a bunch of ministers saying “ho-ho” while arguing .

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Namgoong Min fighting is what I was waiting for. Definitely, that moment deserved the hype 🤩

About this: “I’m a sucker for the ‘in love with someone/in the process of falling for someone without even realising’ trope”.

Totally agree, BUT...
How is it even possible? Is it possible to love someone, or start to love someone, without having a clue or even thinking that she is in love with someone else?

I mean... If Gil Chae is starting to feel something for Jang-hyun... she has to know it! And if she knows it, why is she trying to “steal” or win SML's heart? 😅

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NGM is awesome in the fight scenes.

Re: Gil Chae not knowing her feelings. I can compare it to how Scarlett is characterized. Scarlett is an immature, self-centered and headstrong girl that has set her mind on "loving" a person she thought was perfect without really knowing the difference between love and admiration. Being headstrong as she was, she will only consider the person she has chosen as the "white prince" that she decided that can make her happy. But of course, she has created him as this perfect person without really knowing who he really is. Of course this is how she is early in the story, war will definitely change her for better or worse. Gil Chae is obsessed with the SML in a similar way and thinks he can make her happy but its only a childhood fantasy. She is still young and immature. She will eventually know what real love is and who the better man for her will be.

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Thank you!

So this would be the ideal man she thinks she loves VS the man she really loves. It's difficult to me to imagine me loving someone and not knowing it 😅

Now I think I'll have to watch Gone with the wind any other day, I only know some of the most iconic lines/scenes.

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In Gil Chae's mind, she likes the SML because he fits the idealized list in her head. From a good family, highly respected, good looking and has shown interest in her despite being attached to a friend. So we can say she knows who he is but her heart and mind is not on the same level. Her mind says SML but her actions, as observed by Eun Ae, says he is Jang Hyun. So it will be a journey for her to keep her mind and heart on the same page of who she loves.

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I recommend GWTW when you have time for it. Its not for everybody but its an interesting peek at history and a rollercoaster ride of emotions.

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It is a very long movie that came out the same year as the Wizard of OZ---so over 80 years old now! One of the themes of the movie is how women are effected by war---

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I think @jillian summed up my thoughts too on what I think Gil-chae's rationale is behind going after the SML and also her feelings for the ML. I totally get what you mean by how would someone not know if they loved someone, and I guess my take is that deep down on some level you they do 'know' but just aren't ready to recognise that, have convinced themselves otherwise for whatever reason and/or just haven't really understood the difference between love/admiration/infatuation etc!

Like Jillian said, her heart and mind just aren't on the same page yet - which is maybe why when it's when she's not thinking that Gil-chae instinctively seeks out the ML (like with how she looked at him first when the whole invasion thing was announced and when she yelled out for him at the end of ep.4). I suppose they're also symbolically hinting at that with the reoccurring dream as well, that's her 'subconscious' talking, and I imagine his face will be revealed to her around the same time she realises she actually does like him in real life too.

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Everyone’s already given you the reasons. I just want to add that I liken it to momentum. She’s been running in the direction of the 2ML for so long, so obstinately, it’s going to take her time to change direction. Her feelings for 2ML weren’t superficial. So it's only right they will take time to abate.

And I don’t think she’s in love yet with Jang-hyun. It’s is only the beginning of the shift for her. She’ll get there, probably in at least a few episode more. (Unlike the rest of us who were slayed by Ep 4 :)

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I think the same, she is not in love with Jang-hyun yet. For me it's not a big deal that she looked at him when the invasion was announced during the wedding anniversary. I still don't know why she did it: maybe after the day they spent together in the other city she looks at him as someone reliable (a friend?) who could protect her.

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@isagc Yeah, maybe the show did make too big a deal out of that look, but it wasn't nothing either if he's the one with whom she'd instinctively share a reaction/seek shelter. I will like her more if she doesn't switch to him instantly (unlike weak-kneed me :) but grows slowly to regard him (tho dear god not as slow as GWTW pls). Also, their push-pull/bantering is fun.

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Oh, totally possible, some people are just THAT dense! I also couldn't believe one can be in love and not know it, this puzzled me for years actually, but reality keeps proving me wrong.

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Ask and ye shall receive! Thank you for not posting at my 3am at least anyway, lol!

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Who gave you permission to sleep?

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Brb, my Zombie Queen era is coming I guess then... 🤣

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The drama is getting better episode by episode. That is so far the best cinematography I have watched this year. I love the leads and the supporting characters. I am glad Eun-ae isn't a naive girl, not having an idea about the crush Gil-chae has on Yeon-joon. Like she says, Eun-ae knows Gil-chae better that the latter knows herself. Gil-chae's feelings are with Jang-hyun. Oh, the moment she called him my dear.

One realistic yet infuriating moment was the elderly couple returning back to close the lids so the food or whatever won't go bad. Seriously. The enemy is a few steps from you. Who cares about food or possessions n? Also, the young boy crying not wanting to sit with Gil-chae on the boat. Is it time for whining? It didn't surprise me a bit Gil-chae's most precious thing was shoes.

The scene with Eun-ae asking Gil-chae to keep the incident with the soldier under wraps got me heartbroken. She did nothing wrong and nothing actually happened yet people won't believe her and might have her killed. That reminded me of Tomorrow and how the rumors pushed Ryeon to commit suicide.

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I don't think the couple actually wanted to put lids on pots. The harabeoji saw a crow on a branch and realised (from prior experience) that the invaders - who are accompanied by crows - were close by, so he turned back to set the traps for them. He makes the halmeoni go ahead without him by telling her he forgot to cover the jars. Halmeoni goes after him regardless.
And the kid, yeah, it was annoying, but maybe he didn't know they were escaping. Would an adult really tell a kid they were running to escape invaders? That might have scared the child and made him more difficult to move.

I thought the more frustrating bit in that respect was Gil Chae having her valuables buried and everyone else packing their silks and memorial tablets. Like, dude, pack your non-perishables and something warm and run. But considering how isolated and sheltered the village seems to be, I don't think anyone really understood the urgency and direness of the situation, so I can overlook that.

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Yes, you are right about the grandpa. But I really wanted everyone to survive.

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I could barely handle of the suspense of watching Gil-chae bury her shoes and villagers packing up kitchenware. They were told to FLEE for goodness' sakes!

But yes, surely nobody understood the urgency of the situation. Plus they wanted to bury their precious belongings as insurance, in case their homes were burned while they were away.

Also, it seems geography helped them. There is only one road through the mountains into the village, and Jang Hyun made sure to send the smoke signal in good time. He didn't even have to see the invaders to know they were coming. He just felt the vibrations of hoofbeats (I wonder if he's a Dunedain @sicarius).

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(And also so that the invaders would have a harder time looting their belongings, since they were after women AND wealth...)

After the apparent deliberate Gone with the Wind references (I've never seen or read it somehow, so they're all lost on me lmao), I am now wondering if the LOTR similarities are also deliberate 😂😂😂
Although I feel I've seen the feeling/hearing hoofbeats and horses thing elsewhere too... 🤔

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Hehe, I doubt the LOTR similarities are deliberate.

From what I've read in this thread, it seems MY DEAREST has some similarities with Gone with the Wind. I've read the novel and seen the movie (did you know Margaret Mitchell wrote it already casting Clark Gable in her mind?), and frankly my dear, I don't think this drama needs the parallels. Imho the plight of 17th century Joseon is more than enough inspiration.

Maybe it's a marketing thing to appeal to American viewers? This is the writer of REBEL: THIEF WHO STOLE THE PEOPLE and KING'S DAUGHTER SOO BAEK-HYANG (Baekje rise!). This writer knows how to use Korean history and weave in the fiction.

Or maybe I'm just refusing to see the parallels because I despise the leads in GONE WITH THE WIND and I don't want to see a Korean remake. 😂

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Maybe not but it's still funny.

"Imho the plight of 17th century Joseon is more than enough inspiration."
Absolutely haha.
Yes, I've quite enjoyed not being able to make the parallels, due to, you know, not knowing anything about GWTW. I'd rather make other ones, between the show and itself! 😂

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I’ve heard of GWTW before but haven’t seen it. I’m more of a LOTR fan but my brain is deeply buried in the history to allow any foreign disturbance. 😆
It has been a while since I felt exhausted but excited at the same time over a drama.

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@kiara "exhausted but excited" gosh yes! that's the most apt description ever haha.

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I’m consciously ignoring the GWTW parallels because I loathe that slavery-justifying racist POS. Yes, it’s a fabulous movie in many ways but it’s a palace built on a dungheap. The book is both a beautiful piece of writing and appallingly, openly racist. As for LOTR parallels - I can see them but I’m not sure they’re really there; the Three Companions is a common enough storytelling device that it’s hard to pin it to any specific inspiration here, at least not yet. LOTR itself has multiple threesomes forming and splitting over the course of the story. I've seen the hero detecting distant hoofbeats in many a Western, too.

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Never mind in distant history, in many countries the "shame" still lies with the survivor, not the rapist. In my country, women will still sometimes kill themselves after being raped rather than live with the shame—and society, their own family too, would understand it as "honorable." It's maddening. And it is horrible, and all too real, to watch women teach this. Yes, I understand internalized misogyny, but I still need to vent.

I appreciate the way the drama depicted Gil-chae’s resistance. No, she didn’t agree, but she wasn’t unrealistically modern for her time period. For them, hiding the encounter was the best course of action.

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It is a pity that even after all those years the people still have those horrible beliefs.

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Tomorrow also immediately popped into my mind, so tragic that story was and how they treated the women who survived and fought to get back.

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Episode 4 had me bawling and chuckling. Bawling when the elder couple was killed, chuckling when Gil-chae expected to see the man of her dreams ("Who the heck is that ugly guy?" - so typical Gil-chae).

It may sound strange, but I like the way the war is portrayed. Not heroic, but like the bloody slaughter that it actually is. For the scholars from the village, it was a quick, rude awakening.

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I have the same feelings about the war scenes! I like the direction they've gone with it.

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I'm happy to see Gil-chae become more mature because until now, it was quite frustrating to see how self-centered and selfish she was and to see Jang-Hyun taking decision about his own life for her. It's why I understood why Ryang-eum lied about who she was watching at the announce of war.

I'm not sure why it was Gil-chae who was carrying the servant. She was very protected as a noble and I think Jong Jong would have been more in physical shape to do it. But otherwise, the poursuit was great between the cinematography and the suspens.

It's refreshing to heroes who see the issues with Confucius' precepts because it's so frustrating to see how women are treated like they were nothing.

The end was very swoony :D

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I also like Gil-chae’s character arc. I get they showed her as shallow and petty in the earlier episodes to show her growth. But, a bit like Jang-hyun's foppishness, I think they overplayed it. On their own, her antics hilarious, but playing it so trite, so childish felt more appropriate for a lightweight rom-com than an epic sageuk. They just needed to tone it down a bit.

It also didn’t help those who disliked the age gap. The actress already looks much younger than her real age, adding the immature personality made her feel even more so.

But done’s done, and here she is, on her way to reformation through ordeal. And I'm liking it. (Tho yes, the trial by fire was a *lot* — trekking in freezing weather carrying someone on her back, helping with childbirth, removing clothes from the dead, stabbing a man, etc, etc. 😅 So it goes in war I guess.)

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Though I would say the age gap is honestly reasonable given the time. Women are teenagers when they are shipped to marry... :(

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Yes. Totally realistic. Still happens in some societies even now. Doesn't make it easier to watch for some tho.

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The reason why Gil Chae was carrying the servant was because she's the only one able to. Out of the 3, she's the strongest.

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But it doesn't make sense she's stronger than her servant who had to carry things since she's a child when Gil Chae was protected and never had to carry anything. It's her servant who carried her embroidery equipement for example.

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I wonder whether Gil-chae carrying servant is a device for decoupling the Kdrama from the reprehensible “white wash” view of slavery from Gone with the Wind. Before our heightened awareness of white supremacy and racism, GWTW was a beloved icon of American culture, but now its discredited depiction of the antebellum South is (too) painful to watch.

I appreciate how (so far) My Dearest has repurposed elements of GWTW that many of us love, e.g., the characters (and relationships among them): self-centered strong Scarlett, dashing individualist Rhett, sweet loyal Melanie, and cerebral ineffectual Ashley.

Rhett helped the women flee after Scarlett delivered the baby (mom Melanie in GWTW) in the original film, but any such carrying would have been done by enslaved servants, not Scarlett. Perhaps -- it’s Writernim’s reminder to us that Gil-chae reflects engaging aspects of Scarlett but not the racism embedded in her culture.

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This show is doing a fantastic job. The impending danger, the actual harrowing experiences in a time of war, a monarch faced with only bad or worse options, and our leads rising up to challenges they're faced with ..... it's all coming across without fail. Gorgeously, by the way, thanks to the cinematography.

There will be more action, sadness, and moments of hope and I can't wait to see it all unfold.

On a different note, when Jang-hyun asked the singer, Ryang-eum, who Gil-chae looked at, I'm thinking Jang-hyun knows Ryang-eum lied. We didn't see the full conversation between Jang-hyun and Eun-ae, but I'm assuming she did tell him Gil-chae looked at him. So he knows what really happened.

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I'm assuming so too! Plus Eun-ae wouldn't be the type to come and rub it in that Gil-chae has eyes for someone else, so I figure that her seeking Jang-hyun out to talk speaks volumes in and of itself. I wonder if he asked Ryang-eum though because he doesn't fully believe what Eun-ae said, so he wanted to check?

Plus, idk if its intentional or not but Jang-hyun always carries himself like someone who knows a lot more than he's letting on and is able to discern what's left unsaid. I wouldn't be all that surprised if he already 'knew' that Ryang-eum might be harbouring feelings for him secretly (if this is a thing? can't tell if the show is going to proper hint at this or just chalk it down to possessive platonic jealously).

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I completely agree with you that Jang-hyun definitely knows a lot more than he's letting on!

When Ryang-eum answered Jang-hyun's question, I recall Jang-hyun saying something like, "Just as I suspected" or "Just as I thought". I can't say with certainty that Jang-hyun was "testing" Ryang-eum, but Ryang-eum's lying answer was definitely a confirmation of something Jang-hyun already knew.

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When Ryan Eun answered with his misdirect I yelled “because you luuuurves him!”

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Preeecious...

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I love that both the lead characters are not as they really seem or have been portrayed so far.
They both have been bratish in behavoiur, almost unlikeable chartacters in the first few episodes with their behavoiur towards others, acting selfishly and being very vain. 
There is now a duality to them being shown which makes them so complex and interesting and you can finally start to get behind them.
I'm annoyed that my subtitle translation was slightly different the moment Gil -chae says husband at the end of ep 4 , it said "my dear or dearest" which while ok is not as impactful as knowing she called him husband. I feel like I do miss a lot of the subtitlies of meaning not knowing Korean.
Arrgghhh. 
Beautifully shot, well acted, fantastic costumes. 
Everything about this show screams epicness.  

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I'm also really digging the fact that our leads are so flawed, it allows for much deeper and more nuanced characterisation!
When Gil-chae was initially squirming about helping deliver the baby, my first reaction was to roll my eyes but honestly I'd probably have the same reaction if I was in her shoes. We're all human and flawed and so are they, so it's realistic in that sense. Plus like you said, it makes it even more satisfying when we see them grow/change their tune about some of their beliefs and behaviours when the moment calls for it.

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Also, she's a noble lady, so there's no way she would've been brought up to prepare to help someone give birth in any way at all. That's why she asked Jong Jong first, and then tried to forward the responsibility. But Responsibility had its grip on her and wasn't going to let go that easily 😂

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More deliberate juxtapositions ehhhh~

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