Conspiracy in the Court

What did I do after I watched Conspiracy in the Court (a.k.a. Hansungbyulgok a.k.a. Seoul’s Sad Song, 2007)? Went down on my knees and whispered, “Thank you, KBS, for the DVD.”

Because to own this, to be able to look at and hold it, somehow makes it all tangible. Because I can’t tell you how many times I pinched myself, disbelieving that I had watched the most exquisite of sageuks (period dramas). I thought surely something so underrated (6% average ratings) would not see a DVD release. And with English subtitles, too!

Only eight episodes and yet more intense and complex than sageuks five times its length, Conspiracy in the Court is a thrilling whodunit, a compelling love story, a political duel, a social commentary.

The first episode left me breathless. Characters flit in and out of buildings, a murder takes place and then another, darkness veils the perpetrators, events unfold so fast I could barely keep up. In fact I was so lost I had to pause the video midway so that I could go on the Internet to find a (spoiler-free) synopsis of the drama.

After that bewildering first episode, Episode 2 took me completely by surprise.

In flashbacks powerful and moving, the scenes recall the suffering of the drama’s female protagonist, Lee Na-young (Kim Ha-eun). Few words are spoken and few are needed. Soon I could barely see through my tears.

Her charmed life overturned in an instant when her aristocrat father is accused of treason, Na-young is dragged from her home and thrown into what is best described as hell on earth. Pain (literally) marks her every step and the once spirited Na-young is now a zombie-like slave. Salvation comes in an unexpected form, but her new fate is just as despicable. Once schooled in the humanities (literature, culture and history), she now learns medicine (acupuncture and herbs, particularly poisonous herbs). Once committed to changing lives, she now takes them.

Na-young’s joy and despair, the abyss that she unexpectedly finds herself in, the path now chosen for her that will entail so much bloodshed, her relationship with the two men who love her and who will protect her with their lives…

Kim Ha-eun had to convey a myriad of emotions and she did it with such fortitude and heart. Even now, thinking about her acting, I get goose bumps. Funny how I didn’t think she was pretty at first, but with each episode she became more and more beautiful. In the end I swear her face was glowing; there was such luminosity about her! It was truly a treat to watch acting of such quality.

But it wasn’t just Kim Ha-eun’s acting that astonished. The other three leads, two relative unknowns and one veteran, were a joy to watch.

The man Na-young loves is Park Sang-gyu (Jin Yi-han).

Born to a minister father and a servant mother, Sang-gyu is in that unhappy and ambiguous place where he is not legitimate enough to be true nobility and not illegitimate enough to be a peasant outcast. His relationship with his father is distant; both seem unsure of what to do with the other. Giving birth to him hasn’t altered his mother’s lot one bit; she will always be a servant.

As naturally as laughter from children at play, Sang-gyu and Na-young fall in love. Their fathers are noblemen, after all, and it is not unusual for their paths to cross. Like the peasant children who come to Na-young’s house to be tutored by her, Sang-gyu becomes in a sense Na-young’s student. It’s obvious that good-natured Na-young is the more mature of the two; she takes the lead in their relationship and he follows willingly.

The two spend many joyful days together, studying and taking long walks. (Their interactions are really sweet, and all the more poignant when we consider what will take place later.) On those walks did they talk, among many other things, about a shared future? Undoubtedly. At her urging he agrees to leave for China so that he can pursue a formal education. They can start their lives anew together when he returns. The future has never been more anticipated.

But when Sang-gyu returns from China four years later, Na-young and her family are nowhere to be found.

Sang-gyu’s return means two men are now searching for the missing Na-young. In fact the other man, Yang Man-oh (Lee Cheon-hee), has been looking for her longer. Raised in the Lee household because his father is a servant there, Man-oh has been in love with Na-young for years.

Unlike Sang-gyu, who is resigned to his mixed status, Man-oh is determined to fight for a new social order. He will not be a servant forever, like his father. He will be powerful, like the nobility, and he will empower the poor. With his idealism Man-oh joins a rebel group but learns from bitter experience that violence not only will not oust the nobility, it provides them with a just cause to suppress the people even more. So, with Na-young’s encouragement, he studies and sets his heart on gaining wealth. He will defeat the nobles at their own game.

But even as Man-oh rises to become leading merchant, his overpowering desire is not for a new world order (although that remains important) but a future with Na-young. He is determined to find her first, before Sang-gyu. Also, unknown to Sang-gyu, Man-oh is leading a double life, one that will shock Sang-gyu because of its connection with his father, Minister Park.

The first time I watched Conspiracy in the Court, I was mesmerized by Lee Cheon-hee. He was by far my most-loved character. It wasn’t just the fire in his eyes, which was riveting enough, but his utter adulation for Na-young which I found immensely moving. He was so devoted to her and so committed to her well-being! I cried when he said his foolish love for Na-young empowered him more than anything else in the world.

Although Lee Cheon-hee was best actor for me, Jin Yi-han acquitted himself more than admirably. On my second watch I found myself just as transfixed by him. Witness the way he portrays grief and you’ll have chills down your back. I especially loved the early scenes, before the tragedy that befell Na-young’s family, where he was so playful with Na-young. How I wanted that innocence to return in the later episodes!

Similar to what happened after I watched Eyes of Dawn and The Sandglass, Conspiracy in the Court made me scour the Net for Korean history. This time it was to learn more about the life of King Jeong-jo (played with virtuosity by the amazing Ahn Nae-sang), the central figure in the drama.

I thought a lot about the king and the plight of the commoners during the Joseon era.

In the drama King Jeong-jo is intent on sweeping reforms that would improve the life of his people, particularly the lower class. I felt sad and perturbed to see how the aristocracy (his ministers and others with their own agendas) opposed his plans. The drama is sobering because you realize human decency isn’t such a common trait after all. People can be so callous and cruel if it suits their goals. Yet, in the midst of the darkness, there is still hope and beauty, and love and loyalty.

Because the drama was so complex with its high-stakes intrigues and suspense, I tried to keep things simple in my mind.

As far as I could tell, there were two opposing sides: the king and his pro-reform movement and the conservative keep-things-as-they-are faction. Progressive thinking versus stick-in-the-mud obstinacy. Of course the divide wasn’t so clear-cut and I was confused about many things the first time. Still, the confusion and breakneck speed only made the drama more gripping and fascinating. It was like trying to complete a jigsaw puzzle with pieces that kept shifting!

Conspiracy in the Court is a drama that gets better with each rewatch because you learn more and more; your knowledge and appreciation keep deepening.

But you can’t watch this while ironing or doing the dishes. You need to concentrate, so the calmer the setting the better. And speaking of settings, the ones in the drama are take-your-breath-away stunning; they are so beautiful and so perfectly shot and framed.

Just like Duelist, Conspiracy in the Court is pretty much perfect. And addictive. Be warned, though, that it’ll raise the bar for all sageuks to come.

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Categorised in: K-dramas, Reviews

29 Responses »

  1. And you know what? Eight Days is about five years before the (fictional mirroring channeling real life events, although after the 199 letters have been discovered, the “murder” theory is dying down) events shown here, and Royal Emissary Park Moon-Soo about the king before that, Yeongjo. Decent history lesson there. And happens to be my favorite Joseon period (roughly between Yeongjo coming to power to Jeongjo’s death. Everything after that is just… ㅠ_ㅠ).

    Not getting another masterpiece like this in (if we’re lucky) 5 to 10 years. Maybe longer, if we’re not.

  2. X, with Shin Don ending soon, my guess is Eight Days will fill that void (barely). I’m really looking forward to it.

    Funny how Yi San did nothing to rouse my curiosity about that period of Joseon history (partly my fault since I bailed out after four episodes). Conspiracy, on the other hand, made me so eager to learn more.

    (Note to self: Stop coming to this post just to drool over the images! You don’t have fansubbing to do? *bonk*)

  3. Nah… that kind of void won’t be filled easily. Eight Days is good, but not THAT ridiculously good. And it’s also madly, wickedly complex, as I found out once again by having to go through the torture of translating Chinese astronomy lingo and 16th century prophecies from strange masters I had barely heard of into somewhat understandable Shakespearean tripe. I try to help out every now and then, but can’t turn this into a note fest, and a lot of people will be completely, utterly lost watching this anyway. All 50 of them. ㅋㅋ

    Oh well… so did most Koreans avoiding this gem. This be for them history buffs. But Park Moon-Soo is much lighter (and funnier), so balance is protected. And then Queen Seondeok… oh mama. I can’t wait…. yeah…

  4. Haha…all 50 of them! Funny X. Thundie, I like what you said about not watching while doing other things. That is why I am so behind on Shindon. It absolutely can’t be watched casually and with subbing projects, drama time is so limited. Weird to be a drama addict, but end up seeing so few (for me anyway). After we do 8 days, I will try to get a copy of Conspiracy to watch. Thanks for the review.

  5. I watched this up to 7th ep and somehow didn’t get to finish it. Will probably have to rewatch from the beginning, but I agree with you.. this drama is a master piece.

    I became curious about one thing after reading the comments here. What’s the Korean title for Eight Days?

    • Oh amy, finish Conspiracy! (And may I say the same thing to a certain pal? You know who you are.^^)

      X, one of the meanings of “retainer” is vassal. And you be Chief Retainer, too. *runs*

  6. 8일 정조암살미스터리

  7. Hi thundie !
    I was waiting for your writing about Conspiracy.

    Low budget, no famous names, only 8 episodes – it’s not big hit like Daejanggeum or Jumong. But I was not reallly fond of sageuk before watching this. It makes me want to know more about Korean history. Over and over, I’m still breathless to concentrate every minutes. The plot, the details, the characters, the acting, the music,… A masterpiece you MUST watch before you die !

    The first time I saw a king crying – it was Jeongjo here. Ahn Nae-sang and Ahn Nae-sang… remember the name !

    I did underrate Lee Cheon-hee until watching this amazing performance. Lee Cheon-hee is Yang Man-oh and Yang Man-oh is Lee Cheon Hee !

    Despite the lack of experience, Jin 2 Han is born to be Sang-gyu. I remember the scene in episode 5, when Sang-gyu cried like a child and asked his mother for leaving because ‘this place’s not for people’. You may be surprised, but I like Sang-gyu the character most in this drama – this ‘hero’ is not perfect (like other heroes) but so human, so touching,…

    As same as Jin, Kim Ha-eun really can act although she’s a newbie. And you’re sooooo beautiful, my lady !

    (and a question off the topic: What do you think about my English ? I’m not really confident. My English’s not good enough to say everything I want to say ^^).

    • Hi Non

      Your English is perfect. Don’t stop “saying everything you want to say” about Conspiracy! I love reading your thoughts. This is one drama I would really love to discuss.

      Btw, have you read X’s deliciously long Conspiracy review? I must thank our Temujin’s Chief Vassal for piquing my curiosity about Conspiracy in the first place. Any drama that beats White Tower to first place in X’s annual drama awards needs to be closely scrutinized! ^^

  8. Thanks Temujin (..or X?)!

  9. Temujin is my cat. ㅋㅋ

  10. Of course I’m a vassal. This is the breed of cat that starts acting grumpy and “playing” with you when it’s hungry, and cats are sacred. I am at his service *bows*.

  11. I’ve read most of all writings of ‘the vassal’ at twitchfilm and always scrutinize closely. The ‘Sageuk World Special’ is one of the best!

    By the way, what’s movie (I guess it’s a movie) in your blog header ?

  12. Hi Non

    This week’s blog header is from Lee Joon-ik’s 2006 movie, Radio Star.

  13. I’ve just discovered that Kim Ha-eun played a very very little role in ‘Emperor of the Sea’ (KBS – 2005). She looked beautiful as always !

  14. Subs for Ep 1 (Director’s Cut) are OUT!!!!!

    Get them here at the WITHS2 site.

  15. Hi thundie.

    I just discovered your blog yesterday and I’m devouring it! As can be witnessed by the fact that I should be sleeping now. 🙂 You’re a wonderful writer.

    I heard about Conspiracy in the Court before this, and the adoring reviews made me want to check it out, but I couldn’t find it anywhere to stream or download. Do you have any suggestions?

  16. Hi Laica

    Thanks for the kind words! 😳

    You can download CitC here:

    Happy watching!

  17. Thank you so much! Although I see I’ll have to sign up for Megaupload premium… hmm. Might be worth it though.

  18. Finally I watched this drama! My eyes still smarting after marathoning 6 episodes in one-go, but it’s really amazing! Thank you thundie, for recommending it and providing the download links.

    Really love how the plot lines all tied up together at the end and the twists make sense. Love how it shows the inability of individuals to go against the majority with power, and yet never stop trying until the end. Oh yes, there’s that one wimpy guy who despair at everything and prefer to tell his story to the gisaeng rather than do something, but I kind of understand why he’s doing that, too.

    For me, the Emperor is definitely the best character story. How sad it is to have all your endeavour stopped at every corner, to see your best friend and supporters turned against you because of your ideal, or just because of the pressure of your enemies.

    Second to that is Mr Park, he’s just so… real. I broke my heart for him, even though he’s such a scheming guy.

    Amazed at Yang’s creepy henchman who can keep grinning even in angry scene. His face might be permanently distorted by the time the series end!

  19. Normally I don’t comment if I only have negative things to say, but I chose to watch this after reading your flowing review and having to tell myself not to be bitter about feeling as if I’ve wasted four hours of my life.

    Let me preface:
    • I love history.
    • I’m a huge sageuk fan.
    • I am familiar with and in fact am very intrigued by Yeongjo/Jeongjo era history.
    • I think the world of Ahn Nae Sang.
    • I lap up political intrigue, and intrigues certainly constitute the majority of this particular drama. So much so that it puts Queen Seonduk’s intrigues to shame, especially since the latter’s intrigues were contrived to be obvious political brinksmanship whereas the intrigues in this drama are realistically grounded.
    • I love dramas with great production value, and this drama certainly showcases remarkably high production values despite having been produced with a smaller budget.

    But, as of episode 4, I cannot stand how stupid all the characters in their pigheaded idealism are. Love the actor who plays Man-ho, but cannot stand how misguided his character is. Love Ahn Nae Sang, but can’t stand his Jeongjo, especially for his ineptitude. Cannot stand the heroine, the actress, or her acting. I not only do not find it brilliant but in fact have a very visceral reaction every time she appears as she was in her former life. I find her tolerable only as the cold, vengeful Na Young. And certainly cannot stand how futile, nay counterproductive her vengefulness is. Of course, cannot stand the ineptitude of the well-intended, be it Park Sang-gyu, his sunbae officer (especially when the sunbae rushes headlong into an obvious ambush), etc. Watching this drama made me think, if Joseon was run by people at all like these characters, Joseon and Korea got what it deserved.

    The only interesting storyline is the one involving the Queen Dowager Jeongsun, who’s fleshed out quite differently in this story (as a staunch supporter of Jeongjo) than she’d been in most others (as Jeongjo’s arch-enemy). Nice bit of historical reimagining, especially since the historical record isn’t likely to lend it support.

    If you believe the story evolves in a way that I might find redeeming or worthwhile, do let me know but at this point I am done with it.

  20. “The only interesting storyline is the one involving the Queen Dowager Jeongsun, who’s fleshed out quite differently in this story (as a staunch supporter of Jeongjo) than she’d been in most others (as Jeongjo’s arch-enemy).”

    It might indeed be productive to watch the show without smoking crack beforehand. Watch another three episodes and see how staunch a supporter of Jeongjo she really was (not that it wasn’t painfully obvious from frame one, what with their illuminating discourse regarding what really matters in Joseon). You really think she would be prancing around fuming every time she saw Jeongjo, to signal to the audience and the poor fucker that yes, indeed, she was the villain and was about to cause hell, fire, and brimstone? You watch too many kiddie costume plays by Lee Byung-Hoon or macho fantasies by gambling-addict-cum-Viking-lookalike Choi Wan-Gyu. Complexity, anyone?

    The entire point of the show is exactly that “futile,” counterproductive, pigheaded idealism, and how even exalted figures like Jeongjo are ultimately full of flaws, shortcomings which partly caused their downfall. It’s the leit motif of late Joseon, projected through the individual, the perfect interpretation of the core tenets of fusion sageuk (that of focusing on people over historical events). Of course if you want cardboard cutouts taken from the historical books and shallowly puked back onto the screen without a shred of interpretation, following the Sejong-as-saint-Yeonsan-as-devil mantra, be my guest. But you’re finding faults which are risible at the very best.

    Of course there are people who think Citizen Kane is boring and they’d rather go for New Blood instead, and the world is just and beautiful because they can. Blessed as they are in their eternal oblivion. Hallelujah. Happy Thanksgivings.

  21. @ GangstaKitteh

    There is no need to resort to ad hominem insults. I merely shared my comments to indicate that there may be those who don’t love this, so that any future reader coming across this post can get different perspectives to take into consideration.

    More importantly though, I thought this forum was a mature enough one to handle diversity of opinions. Regardless of the fact that I can’t stand Lee Byung Hoon sageuks and loathe Twilight, it’s unfortunate that you make completely unfounded generalization about someone you’ve never met and make erroneous assumptions about such a person’s intelligence and aesthetic taste.

    As for the futility of the show, yes, it is evident that futility is one of this show’s overarching themes, which is precisely why I don’t want to spend more time watching it. I know where it got us. Moreover, there’s enough inanity in real life to watch it be simulated. These are valid personal preferences, and I hope you can learn to respect them.

  22. …yet you still fail to address Hugh Jass Point No. 1, the fact that you basically didn’t understand the point of the entire show, misinterpreted one of its major storylines, didn’t notice that one of the main villains was indeed one of the main villains (guess they should have tattooed it on her forehead for added effect), and so on. You don’t make much of a convincing point against a show when you don’t understand said production, its thematic consciousness and ultimate message. If you want to spend your free time watching shows that shallowly transport you away from reality, you’re free to do so. But chastising a drama for, mommy, being too realistic (life sucks now, think it was any better in the darkest few decades in Joseon history?) is unquestionably risible. Sometimes a happy ending or fluffy bullshit to send home the masses happy is just not possible. C’est la vie.

    I have no use for people who throw out misguided, groundless and risible accusations at a near-perfect show and then hide behind the “it’s my opinion” pillow. Yes, of course, I could start debating with someone who thinks Beverly Hills 90210 is better than The Wire, but wouldn’t my brain cells sue me for inglorious waste of time? Everyone’s got opinions. Alas, not every opinion has credibility. Especially when made after watching a little over half of one of the most complex shows Korea has ever produced, admittedly understanding very little of what you’ve just watched. When they say “not for everyone,” it doesn’t only mean that not everyone might like it. Not everyone might understand it as well…

  23. First, thanks for toning down the language, so that it’s possible to have a productive back and forth. (On second read, perhaps I’m being generous in thinking you toned it down.)

    It’s true I did not realize the bit about the Queen. I did have a difficult time following the sageuk language and, while for a moment I suspected the Queen at the beginning, I thought myself mistaken after reading some other recapper’s comment that the Queen here is positioned differently, as someone who is invested in safeguarding the power of the royal sovereign, and thus by extension Jeongjo also. As the story unfolded at least through Episode 4, the portrayal of the queen seemed to bear out that characterization.

    I also never said that I didn’t think this show was of high quality. In fact, I believe I did say that the show contained high production values – really great directing, for example. I can even point to some incredibly memorable scenes. But no matter how remarkable a scene or frame, no matter how well crafted the story, I personally need to like the characters (which is not the same thing as saying that the characters are likable) in order to continue to invest time and energy. I even went so far as to read the above-mentioned X’s review on the history of sageuks and Conspiracy in the Court as well as look for any other commentary in order to see if *I* could find value in it. Someone who is out for fluff doesn’t make such effort, and I’m mentioning this only so that anyone else who follows this exchange can see that it isn’t just about fluff versus complexity of material.

    There are a number of really great dramas that I almost didn’t finish because I couldn’t stand one or more of the characters. Return of Iljimae is one that comes to mind: Wol Hee drove me so nuts that I had to step away a number of times, then come back to finish the series.

    All in all, there’s a difference between finding something to be of high quality and liking it: Bertold Brecht (I love), Beckett (love), Theatre of the Absurd (love), Godard (I do not love), Lars von Trier (really like), Wooster Group (love), Fauvism (do not love), Dadaism (love), Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors (do not love), Chunhyang (love), Secret Sunshine (ok), Joyce (love), Na Hye Suk (cannot stand), Nalgae (so, so good but still dislike), Park Wanso (like), etc. These are just some artists/artistic movements that popped into my head, but I hope it’s apparent that the reason why this drama didn’t resonate for me doesn’t necessarily have to do with its complexity. The characters just made me too infuriated.

    If you’re really interested in trying to win people to this series you so value, you might want to approach engaging people differently. Thundie’s original post was so compelling, I chose this series over others, believing I’d really appreciate it based on her description. Had you approached this exchange with me differently, helped me see certain things or more importantly gain patience for the characters, I might have gone back to this drama. After all, I had held that out as a possibility in the original post. Engaging me in the way you have, however, doesn’t make me any more invested in the drama. It seems as if a teaching moment has been wasted.

  24. See… that’s the issue. You think I’m trying to win you over, whereas the reality is a tiny bitsy little different. After three years spent writing about the show in Korean (online and in print), in English, interviewing the producer asking questions most journalists didn’t have the cojones to even hint at; the dozens of hours spent subbing the damn thing trying to somewhat do it justice, and even helping other people push for the release of that director’s cut on DVD, I.Have.Done.My.Job. More so than just about everyone not directly involved in the production of this drama (and did it for free, to boot). I just hold the feeble little torch, I never asked anyone to follow it. You decide to stay in the dark? Your prerogative. I don’t give a rat’s ass, sunshine.

    Emotional investment and quality are two very, very different things, and yes, you do make an half-hearted effort to distance the former from the latter. But setting the matter of not understanding the show’s themes aside for a moment (should I once again devote a tome to the agenda of one Queen Dowager Jeongsun? If you were as familiar about this period as you claim to be, you’d instantly know she was as far from being a Jeongjo supporter as humanly possible, and the drama supports that notion. FROM.FRAME.ONE), you still use elements from the former to criticize the latter, and try to project adverse, subjective feelings (emotional investment) onto what is a pseudo critique (which should be objective). That misguides people.

    Just take a look at what you wrote.

    – I cannot stand how stupid all the characters in their pigheaded idealism are.
    [How else would you have portrayed them, as realists weighing every option on their table with nonchalant pragmatism? Kind of hard when they pry freedom and every last shred of dignity out of your cold, often dead, hands. When you hit rock-bottom, idealism and hopes are all you have. This is what the show is all about. And how exactly is that stupid?]

    – Love the actor who plays Man-ho, but cannot stand how misguided his character is.
    [Every character in this show is misguided, because the show makes the argument that even the shrewdest “player” can lose out in the end because of his inherent flaws. Of course that would have been obvious, had you seen the entire show. Shit happens.]

    – Love Ahn Nae Sang, but can’t stand his Jeongjo, especially for his ineptitude.
    [So you would have preferred a perfect man doing the right thing for his people, conquering all the baddies with a golden smirk emanating from his teeth, and winning the lady in the end? Characters the likes of which Choi Su-Jong would love to play? Wrong show, darling. Here’s reality: Jeongjo, the real one, was flawed. He was a great leader, a virtuous man of arts and culture, and a mostly benign ruler, but an ultimately flawed one, because of the environment he lived in, his political upbringing and the baggage of a few centuries of party strife. The show throws the “proto-democracy” card at him exactly to prove his flaws, exactly to show that nobody is excluded from that initial mantra – the idea that everyone’s got flaws. Is the idea you don’t want flawed people doing what ultimately are futile things a good critical point? In what kind of Bizarro World?]

    – I find her tolerable only as the cold, vengeful Na Young. And certainly cannot stand how futile, nay counterproductive her vengefulness is.
    [noticed how different the two “halves” feel? Ever reflected on why? And really. They destroy your every dream, kill your father for alleged treason, force demise upon your mother, treat you like a dispensable prostitute day and day out… and you just calmly sit down and tell to yourself “Geez, man, I feel no resentment whatsoever. It’s like the freaking sound of music here, so I better think rationally and go marry some rich yangban hoping things will get better. Oh wait, I’m the daughter of a traitor. Afraid that’s not possible.” Again I ask, how would you have portrayed this? And is the fact she annoys you a valid critical appraisal?]

    – Watching this drama made me think, if Joseon was run by people at all like these characters, Joseon and Korea got what it deserved.
    [I don’t know if you’ve ever read the comparisons between the Joseon of those days portrayed in the show — things were actually worse, but let’s forget that for a moment — and the end of Roh Moo-Hyun’s rule. Make a connection. What I find incredible in this sentence is… so what exactly should have the writers and producers done? Should they have drawn an unrealistic, quasi-fantastic portrayal of kings and reigns which never existed just so that you could get your happy ending and your insipid cardboard cutouts doing the right thing? What they did was connecting the leit motif of an era long gone by with the leit motif of the present days (for many people in Korea, at least). Just like in the post-Jeongjo era, things went to hell once 2MB took over — and ironically, Roh’s untimely demise was so eerily similar to that of Jeongjo, the drama becomes even more topical — and people now are facing hardships in certainly different conditions, but the times are equally disarming. The show is one of the few sageuk to not only say something about the past, but to connect that with the present. History is just that, a dialogue between past and present. And you fault a masterpiece for being too realistic, too good at what dramas like this should do? Ha.]

    So in the end your “perspective” is so uninformed, misguided and misguiding that it’s hard to classify it as an opinion worthy of consideration. This ain’t a Hong Sister trendy drama you can understand in 15 minutes. Watch the entire show and present arguments that go beyond the “these people fucking annoy the hell out of me” canon. Then maybe I won’t fall off my chair laughing at the risible attempt to throw mud at one of Korea’s greatest cultural achievements of the last 10 years.

    Oh… The “you have a potty mouth so I refuse to debate you” cop-out excuse is even more pathetic than “I have an opinion, you meanie. Leave me alone.” We’re all grown-ass (wo)men, and some of us like a little more spice in their dialectal mano-y-mano, learn to live with it.

  25. this bantering is kinda sexy.

    i think if you keep watching you might see that what you think might be going on is not what’s really going on and soon you’re cursing shit shit shit because you are gasping to breathe. the build up is the best ever in kdrama. (though it’s kinda spoiled for you now). i totally know what you mean by the “dumbness” about the characters, esp. Manoh, but does it strike you that he’s gonna be misguided no matter what? yet he chose to do something. it really pained me tremendously to realize where he was headed.. yet to see that he had to do something even if he knows it is nothing. this was one powerful drama it really had me shaking by the end of each episode. in a way it was very gruesome as well. i felt like everyone in the drama was getting gang-raped. it was actually hard to stomach but i also couldn’t turn away because my misguided self thought my watching them was in some small sense meaningful to them. OMG this drama made me cry so much.

  26. Good day! I just would like to give an enormous thumbs up for the
    nice info you’ve gotten here on this post. I shall be coming again to your blog for extra soon.


  1. [K-drama scribbles] White Tower – thundie's prattle

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