Korean Drama Review: Goong/ Princess Hours

Princess Hours

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Synopsis:

Goong or Princess Hours is an alternate reality historical drama; the plot places a constitutional monarchy in modern day South Korea. Goong came out in 2006. Some people may be partial to newer dramas, but you don’t want to miss out on the breakout role of male lead Joo Ji Hoon (very handsome), who plays Crown Prince Lee Shin. The drama also stars a young Yoon Eun Hye playing Chae-kyeong, the female lead. It is available on DramaFever.

The story stems from a friendship between the grandfathers of Chae-kyeong and Crown Prince Lee Shin. The King promised Chae-kyeong’s grandfather that his grandson, the Crown Prince, would be married to Chae-kyeong. Surprisingly, Crown Prince Lee Shin and Chae-kyeong attend the same school. However, Crown Prince Lee Shin is in love with another classmate Hyo-rin, a dedicated ballet dancer. Since the Crown Prince expects to marry soon, he makes a preemptive strike by asking Hyo-rin to marry him. Hyo-rin rejects the Crown Prince, because she wants to focus on her career in the ballet. Hyo-rin quickly regrets this plan when she finds out that the Crown Prince and Chae-kyeong agree to get married. Both parties are entering the marriage unwillingly; the Crown Prince knows that the monarchy is in danger due to his father’s illness, while Chae-kyeong family is facing financial issues.

This love triangle becomes a square when the cousin and former crown prince, Lee Yul, comes back from London after being kept away for most of his adolescence. Whereas, the Crown Prince does not initially warm up to his new bride, Prince Lee Yul is smitten. Prince Lee Yul is tormented by the fact that Chae-kyeong was once his bride. Prince Lee Yul’s mother, Lady Hwa-Yong, is also overwrought with the fact that her son will never be king, because her husband died before he took the throne. Lady Hwa-Yong will do anything to put her son in power and Prince Lee Yul is able to support a plan where he is by Chae-kyeong’s side….

Review:

First, Yoon Eun Hye and Joo Ji Hoon make a very good on screen couple. The actors and the plot of the drama were above par. The drama allows you to understood why the characters were having such a hard time falling in love with each other. There just did not seem to be a bad guy, and for a long time I thought Chae-kyeong and Prince Lee Yul should have ended up together. There was so much turmoil in determining who to root for. Additionally, the actors from both families of the lead characters and the servants were superb.

Second, set and costumes. Amazing traditional Korean dress for the Queen, Queen Mother, and Lady Hwa-Yong. I was also impressed by the amount of time dedicated to wedding preparations and the wedding ceremony. If there is a part of Goong you don’t want to miss, check out the early episodes for these moments. If anyone knows whether this was historically accurate ceremony, please let me know.

Third, Lady Hwa-Yong is a great villan. It was bewildering to see her ability to reason her way into good character’s hearts and minds. Her tactics were upsetting and smooth enough to change the most valiant heart. Prince Lee Yul’s strength in the face of Lady Hwa-Yong’s power is part of the reason why his character’s outcome is disappointing.

Fourth, Quirkiness. Chae-kyeong and friends are all written as quirky characters. Who knew that the nicknames of her friends tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum would fit so well? Chae-kyeong’s Crown Prince stuffed animal was comical. I was waiting for a scene where Chae-kyeong hit it so hard the stuffing would come out. The Queen Mother was delightful, funny, and was used as a good mast for the royal family’s rough seas.

Downsides. Goong forced the audience to overlook all of the King’s wrongdoings, because he was ill. The ending was more than underwhelming. While the characters in Lie to Me ended up in a way that pleased the viewers, Goong just perturbed its viewers.The way the line of succession ended was disappointing. The ending became overly convoluted and did not finish key character’s story lines. Although, what concerns me most is who is the father of Chae-kyeong’s baby?

These are the reasons why Goong, which has an exceptional plot, solid character development, and great acting, receives 4 out of 5 stars.

Sidenote: This drama was lacking in the kiss department.

Up Next: City Hall

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17 comments

  1. becomingbitter

    Agree with your review. Goong is such a solid drama that people refer to it as a classic. Have you tried watching Prince Hours/Goong S?

    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      Have not watched Goong S yet, it is on my list of dramas to watch. Although, I do have to admit I was disappointed that they were trying to create a sequel to Goong and the lead actors did not sign up, so this was their solution. Therefore, I decided to take a break to distance myself from Goong, so my expectations would not be as high for Goong S. Thanks for commenting!

      • Becoming Bitter

        You have no idea what a great decision you have made. Go ahead and put it at the very bottom of your list. It’s not all that bad, but it’s no Goong. Of course if you watch it without expecting it to be like Goong then you’ll be okay. That’s not possible though is it? I’m looking forward to your posts about those dramas on your list.

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  6. Nyx

    OK I’m totally confused by your review!!! You must be a newbe to Kdramas cause THE ONLY possible father, IF there indeed is a baby and it’s not just a foreshadowing of their future which we got to see included 2 children by viewing the photos at the end, is and COULD only be SHIN!
    Who on EARTH could there be otherwise? You can safely assume that 90% of the time the lead female is a virgin with a capital V in every romantic drama.
    It doesn’t fit though, so it took me 10 times of re-watching the series to somehow begin to imagine that they actually consummated the marriage before the church scene. They have great chemistry but the scene when he comes to visit her it’s plain obvious that nothing more beyond PG13 happened. So the only possible way for her to have gotten pregnant would have been for them to have consummated their relationship after the car/rings-on-chain scene in ep24, then he travelled away to that conference, and came back like a month and a half later for the ceremony and to help her pack her things to move back to Korea with him.

    PS. I think you’re putting too much emphasis on the Shin/Hyorin/CK triangle in your review while actually HyoRin herself says in ep9 that she’s never actually been his gf, their first and only kiss being the one in ep9, and oftentimes their “dates” included his other 3 buddies and the riding club. I’d say that his marriage with Chae Kyung was the reason why HyoRin suddenly began feeling such strong emotions – both her and Shin behave coldly and indifferently towards others so I see how despite them knowing one another for 2 years the 2 would never have gotten anywhere.
    The MAIN triangle in the show and the manghwa it was based on, leans on the rivalry btw Yul and Shin. The inheritance of the throne didn’t much bother Shin when Yul came back, however even back in ep 5 he already tells him with narrowed eyes to NOT call Bigung by her given name as it is “improper”. I don’t know why so many people put Yul and Hyo Rin both as secondary characters – Yul was most definetely 1 of the 3 main leads, while Hyo Rin was indeed just a spare wheel. And if you pay attention to what Shin tells Yul in a scene in one of the episodes post ep19 – he says that destiny (his/Yul’s/CK’s) was not of their choice but that they have to put a stop to this inherited dirt, and he has no intention of giving up his fate (aka CK, his wife) anytime soon.

    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      First off, let me say that I really appreciate your comment and I am glad that you share the same passion for Goong.

      I was just being facetious and apparently I did not clearly express that in my wording, clearly Shin is the father. This was a more of a complaint about the lack of a bed scene, between Shin and Chae-Kyung. The last episode was very rushed in how Shin and Chae Kyung got back together. In addition, I think since the last episode was so rushed, it brushes over a lot of the story that could have been better exploited in the ever-illusive Goong2. Note: This is why I think there will never be a Goong2, because they tried to tie up things so quickly. I am fully aware that most female characters in K-Dramas are assumed to be virgins. I am not sure I agree with you on your timeline for her pregnancy, because it is quite clear that they had been apart for months when he visits Chae Kyung. That would have been past the beginning of the morning sickness phase and more likely than not she would have been showing. Even us having this discussion only adds to my facetious comment concerning her pregnancy. If it is when he visits its too soon, if it is before he split she would be showing. Now, I have to go re-watch to try and nail down the timeline again, but I have watched several times to try and find an answer. Second, a lot of royal marriages are not able to be annulled if the marriage is consummated, this is not fully explicated in the drama. Note: that I took the pictures of babies from the scene in ep 23 as apart of the dream sequence, not as foreshadowing event.

      I disagree, the drama put a lot of emphasis on Hyorin much more than the manhwa. The idea of dating Korea is definitely different, it is not necessary to kiss or even go out a lot alone to be considered dating in high school, which is why I believe that they both believed they were dating. In episode 9 Hyorin was more so emphasizing that she could not be with him in public. Furthermore, I don’t think that you can judge their relationship by their cameratime together, it was more of a prologue that they had been together for a while, thus there was no need for it to be emphasized on screen. I am sure the viewer is supposed to assume that they had some intimate moments by the number of photographs Shin has stored and all the memories he has in his box. I don’t remember Hyorin saying that she was not his girlfriend, it was more of an issue that that they could not be boyfriend and girlfriend in the public eye, she was not afforded that status.

      If I failed to emphasis that Yul was in a love triangle, it was probably do to the fact that Chae Kyung was never in love with Yul and was never going to choose him, even when she was going to leave Shin. Yul had a one sided love, so his storyline in the drama emphasized the fact that Shin was taking a life Yul believed was rightfully his, which included Chae Kyung. I will not say Yul was a lead character either, because he arrives late in the drama and leaves early. The drama does not even care to explain what happens to Yul, which was a failure on the writers. In fact, Hyorin gets a better send off . I do agree that he is the 6th man or the first in the line of secondary characters. In the drama there are only 2 main characters Shin and Chae Kyung, the writers of the drama clearly started to make Yul distasteful enough for viewers to cut off their emotional connection with him, which is different than the manhwa.

      Hyorin, Shin, and Chae Kyung were a better love triangle in the sense that Shin was truly torn in who he was going to choose. It wasn’t clear to viewers that Shin would remain with Chae Kyung until after his birthday party. Thus, I think that the love triangle between Yul, Shin, and Chae Kyung was more sound.

      I think that the points that you are emphasizing are truly the differences in direction in the manwha and drama.

      • Nyx

        I was seriously contemplating whether to answer on your reply, as I have no desire to begin discuss the set convictions I have about this show – after watching it about 14 times (ALL episodes) and having been discussing it with other Goong fans on MyDramaList.com + VIKI for months, when we tried to decipher the dates and facts of the illusive ep2 and NOTE: talked about HyoRin’s and Shin’s friendship details, putting their “past glimpses” into a chronological order … lets just say that the things I’ve stated in my first comment were not all my ideas ( I too didn’t like watching ep 9 so I MISSED the IMPORTANT dialogue where Min HyoRin says, that “I’ve never even been your girlfriend… We kept saying we’ll wait till college… I have almost no memories of JUST us…” Also, I’d like to point out that the translation here was given to me by a penpal from Seoul who did indeed point out that though dating is different in Korea, the choice of wording in this scene did refer to her doubting ever having been in a proper relationship with him, not her saying that because he’s now married they can’t be PUBLIC/CLOSE couple. It’s like you said the producers clearly tried making Shin out to be the hero in latter episodes, so him acting this way to HyoRin after a “real” relationship and not just a long friendship with a serious companionship with plans of future dreams, it would make him look like a total floozy, incapable of real devoted love going to the girl he lived with now.
        Furthermore, the lack of their “couple” status is stated numerous of times before that “farewell trip”. In ep1 when she rejects him she uses the word “CHINGU” which, as Kfans explained means a PLATONIC friend, unlike its many synonyms referring to a relationship btw namja/yeoja.
        Now, I agree that his photos of her and that box definitely were proofs of their crush, I strongly believe that up till ep6 Shin wasn’t even contemplating on staying married to CK. Afterwards he suggested a mutual divorce because he saw that she was struggling and was hurt by his pre cautious distance from her, so he “he let her in on the secret plot” so to speak in episode 11 I believe it was. However, after that the cold Shin is pretty quickly changed into clingy jealous Shin who has difficulties in controlling his feelings for her.
        Please don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate Min HyoRin, and I’ve not read the maghwa so I couldn’t possibly be trying to make the show’s plot into something it wasn’t. (The character I DID hate was his stupid SISTER, UGH! She just sits there and acts all that… and what’s with the cold attitude towards CK when she came back? Isn’t she supposed to be the polite well-mannered one?!) But you are SO wrong in saying that HyoRin was more of a lead role than Yul? LOL! Seriously?! You just need to go out on google or youtube and type in Yul and you’ll see where I’m coming from. The ongoing shipping-battle back in 2006 when the show was airing BRUTAL. I mean, the Yul fans are still out there and there is NO way of persuading them about anything. What most people agree upon is that the show was actually better than the maghwa in terms that the maghwa only ended NOW in 2012, so you can imagine how DRAGGY it got. Also, a LOT of Min HyoRin’s back story and lovestory with shin is cut out from the show, more so than Yul’s moments – I know THAT for sure. The only parts of Yul’s storyline they skipped was basically his involvement in their impending divorce, blackmailing Shin’s mother and CK. Yul is portrayed much much better in the show as both him and HyoRin-a are more realistic characters, their actions not too exhaggerated, albeit cliche quite often. If you want to keep argue with me I’d say you’d lose out. He’s ALWAYS listed as 1/3 representatives of the show… HR is almost always excluded from any commercial/promotion there was, here’s an example:
        http://www.koreanfashiononline.com/tag/goong/
        And what do you mean he appeared late? He came in ep 2 and went away in the LAST one?! FOUR eps LATER than HyoRin who just flew away in 20, and got pretty much insignificant in 17, I believe it was. And neither’s tale was told properly. We only know that HyoRin went to study ballet at an Arts Academy after high school sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. As do we know that Yul went to take care of his chair-bound mother, away from the Palace, still corresponding with CK (more about this point further on). We also know that at least in the show the two stayed in Korea and didn’t go back to UK yet.
        Not going to argue about the pregnancy, cause personally I prefer to think of it as her simply feeling ill and the grandma jumping to conclusions. I’m certain the two would have a kid pretty young, but not quite yet. However, in the show the producer did try to make it an evidence of her pregnancy – so yeah, it’s a dilemma here… again the only possible time for her to have gotten with child would be in ep24 I think. U misunderstood me. I said that I imagine that they were briefly separated again after he saw the rings around her neck as an acceptance of his proposal – I could see him staying for one more day (and NIGHT) and coming back as soon as the press conference was done for and him and Hwang Tae-Hu Mama arranged a permission with the elders for Bigung to come back now after several months in exile (since in Korea there’s no such thing of separate living arrangement conception for a truly married couple – this was why Shin kept nagging her about where she wants to be before proposing to her)… so although the car scene was directly cut into the church scene I could see it taking like 2 months in real life time. It would take time to arrange everything, as TECHNICALLY Shin is still Next in life to the throne. He gave it to his elder sister, true, but he never said that he “abdicates” so to speak, as that is impossible according to Joseon court Confucian Laws – you are BORN a Prince, you DIE a Prince as long as her father doesn’t name you a bastard you’re an heir to the throne (very simplified here of course), which is why there are also rules, again based on Chinese philosophy, that the only Prince who is allowed to live in the Goong is the one next in line. This was done to avoid the bloodshed and schemes and plots that weant on btw the many sons of the many Imperial Concubines of the Emperor, whoever survived and got in favour with his father first, would be named the next Chinese Emperor – so I understand this law, considering the bloodshed of The Forbidden City in China’s Kingdom.
        It is quite clear that you prefer the 2 girls 1 boy triangle here, and yes I see what you mean, CK was almost strictly platonic towards Yul BUT
        there is a big BUT
        IT is clear that though she may not have been in love with him she cared more deeply so than she does for an average friend, as she does not deny this to Hwang Tae Hu mama when questioned in ep22. I think that what she felt for Yul is like if not the same type of attachment Shin has for HR. Which is why it bother Shin to the point of insanity really, cause he had 2 years with HR and CLEARLY does not want to give the same amount of time to his wife and his cousin.

        Now just 2 more things.
        1) Shin and Min Hyo Rin – the pictures. It’s true that while their relationship was non-physical in any way and their dates were not intimate, they did spend time alone together and albeit their relationship and feelings were not “intimate” they were “personal with a deep level of mutual understanding”. It reminds me of the relationship in “Shining Inheritance” btw the lead male and the girl who keeps calling him oppa. He svaed her from bullies in highschool, they talked and since then understood one another him always spending time with her, and everyone assuming they’d end up together in the future – treating them as a couple, although NOTHING actually happened, not even a kiss. The lead male is well aware of this and is OK with it, thinking if they got married they’d be “comfortable with one another staying together for a long time” (NOTE: THE EXACT words Shin told Hyo Rin in ep 8!!!) That is until he met an infuriating girl who kept bugging him, even though she’s never really actually chasing after him that much, whom he cannot help but feel happier with.
        So going back to the topic, yes, I can definitely see Shin and HR going on walks, him taking pictures of her at school (which is usually the background in practically every pic we saw of her in his studio – the school’s hallway, pay attention…) The two riding together, him introducing her to his friends, the two exchanging gifts and her daring to write something personal on a birthday card, while usually I DOUBT they talked about their feelings. I’m certain the two planned on going together studying in Paris, while shyly indicating that then they’d be able to properly date after school. But that’s not being IN LOVE – that’s companionship, a crush, a break away from his Royal duties and her family issues (it is explained that she is an illegitimate child, hence the economical problems).
        However, Shin DID hold onto these memories till ep. 19. True, he did take the pictures down after their trip to see the sunrise, but he still kept them till episode 19. Whether that was just automatic, why would he throw away his photos, or if he still doubted his future with CK … I’m not sure…
        What I am certain of is that Hyo Rin may have been his childhood crush, but it’s like he says in ep24 while proposing – Chae Kyung is the woman he’s in love with and wants to spend the rest of his life with.
        I think that AFTER he says that, that’s the turning point into the future we didn’t get to see; when their relationship took its final step to being a true adult intimate physical, so to speak, relationship. And them being 20 – I don’t blame CK for looking a bit scared – as this is the 1st time he actually asks her seriously to spend the coming 60+ years together.

        2) CK did say that she heard from Yul after he’s left the Palace. I’m not certain if he’s going to go to UK or stay in Korea, but for now I think he’s in Seoul because of his mother’s medical condition. I just LOVE that 1 sec glimpse of a look on Shin’s face when she tells him this. It’s similar to the one in ep8 when he sees her running to Yul when they are thrown off their horses, taking care of him – the doubt still lingers.
        The thing is that this triangle may be portrayed in a teen drama, but it’s pretty serious. It’ll always be there, btw the lines. So if the Royal Prince and Princess meet him on some event, as I’m sure they will in the future, that feeling of doubt and suspicion on Shin’s part, unrequited feelings on Yul’s part, and the feeling of owed companionship on CK’s part despite loving her husband – it’ll still be there, especially if they won’t see one another on a regular basis.

        I’m glad that Goong ended after S1, so maybe that terrible ep24 wrap was a blessing in disguise. I LOVED ep23, obviously, so usually I just skip ep24, knowing what’ll happen in the end is a happy ending. It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the longer a series is, the more RUINED it gets – so the shorter the better.
        A tip the manghwa writer ought to have received before tormenting her readers with like 27 volumes about a yo-yo relatinonship.

        PS. The thing you said about annulment. True, in ep13 he clearly doesn’t give a fig about that clause. However, he mentions a DIVORCE to her, not an annulment. A divorce can be acquired for numerous reasons, consummation of marriage is usually not an obstacle. He also said that he’d be king and have the power to do pretty much anything he wanted by then so… That was probably one of his worst moments. Telling her that he can divorce her even after they sleep together so “Don’t worry, Bigungmama. It’ll all turn out beneficial for all parties.”
        This hypocrisy on his part is probably the thing I dislike the most about Shin. He doesn’t hide his plans of probably getting together with Hyo Rin and giving their relationship a proper go after the “divorce”, but the guy hits the roof as soon as CK even mentions Yul.

      • peevishmagnifyingglass

        1. I will have to rewatch episode 9, for the girlfriend. I do think that Shin and Hyorin thought that they were in love until Shin understood what real love was. Whereas Hyorin thought she missed the opportunity for love.
        2. I am not sure if I ever referred to Hyorin saying anything about them not being able to date because shin was married. I was stating that in her mind they had a deep relationship, based on the fact that she was expressed her jealously when she saw Shin and Chae Kyung together.
        3. I think even during episode one, Hyorin and Shin already were starting drift apart, because she already placed her emphasis on ballet not on him, so I really did not think anything of episode one’s rejection.
        4. I did misunderstand you I assumed that after he saw the rings, they got married the next day again.
        5. I agree Chae Kyung and Yul had a friendship that Shin should feel uncomfortable with, even if it was platonic
        6. NEVER said that Hyorin was more of a lead role than Yul, just said that she was in more of a love trianle. Clearly said that he was the first secondary character, 6th man. For most stories, the main characters are introduced in the very beginning, are in every episode (I think he was also missing from at least one other episodes than 24), and you find out what happens to them, because the audience will be pissed off if you don’t. I do acknowledge that Hyorin was cast off in ep 20 and I don’t consider her the 4/5 character tied with Yul’s mom. Towards the end the of drama, his screen time was decreased significantly.
        6a. Who wouldn’t like Yul after the first few episodes he had an amazing personality, but then he went off the cliff really quickly. I refuse to ship characters with characters, where one clearly has no feelings towards the other one. I understand how fans could be in love with him based on his early actions, but I think a YEH and Kim Jeong Hoon ship would be more likely to float than Yul and CK.
        7. Again, I am not sure of the extent of their intimacy, but agree with everything in the paragraph entitled 1.
        8. Again, I don’t think that anything would have changed between CK/CG and Yul after 2 years, even though Shin may still feel insecure after 2 years. Hopefully, Yul can meet someone else or found something else to strive for, which would be better ending. Hyorin went back to her dreams, ballet, Yul went back to his crazy mom, Yul deserved a better ending. Furthermore, I don’t think Yul actually knows what love is and is just misguided in his affection/ obsession with CK/CG, because of the way his mother taught him how to love.
        9. Right, Shin did say divorce and he is a hypocrite when he brings it up. On another note, I guess I was subconsciously thinking of the shame CK have to face if they did consumate their marriage and they got a divorce. CK would could be exiled and be apart from her family. So if shin was really the nice guy he was presented as, then he would have waited at least until episode 23.
        10. They way that they introduced Shin’s sister was poor, no explanation behind the motivations of her actions. Were we supposed to think she was Hyorin’s friend? The character that pisses me off the most is the King, biggest hypocrite of all.

  7. Nyx

    Just saw the side note about the lacking of kisses?
    Really??? Compared to say Boys Over Flowers I’d say the kisses in ep’s 13, 15, 18, 23×2 were less cheesy and more “realistic” not certain if that word fits… Yes the last episode was a disappointment, but despite that the ONE thing I never had a problem with in Goong was physical intimacy, since the 1st viewing…
    Which is saying something considering the fact that I saw Coffee Prince first and My Princess (now there’s a drama with Terrible Kissing Issues!)

    • peevishmagnifyingglass

      No, not the lack of kissing scenes. I think that Goong has one of the best kisses of all time and some of the best intimate moments, much better that BOF. If you read that review, I clearly like the chemistry of Kim Bum-So Eun, more than Hye Sun-Min Ho in the drama. I meant the lack of a conception scene, there was no scene I could refer to that clearly said this how CK got pregnant. But maybe, like to said, she wasn’t pregnant at all?

      • Nyx

        Oh I get it, you didn’t mean literally “kissing”, don’t know if you’ve seen My Princess but the kissing pretty much can’t get worse than it was in there – it’d be better if they didn’t include ANY kissing instead of showing us sleazy-eel-liplock… don’t want to be a spoiler, but you’ll get it when you get to the last episode.

        What you said about the King. I disliked him to such an extent that I barely paid attention to him. When Shin had scenes with him, I usually just looked at the actor’s exotic eyes. I don’t think I remember a single outfit the King wore which is saying a lot considering my interest in costume & design.
        While most CK/Shin fans skipped Min Hyo Rin parts I skipped the King parts. I don’t mind rewatching Yul’s mum on her own, with her evil plotting and monologues, but whenever there was a scene with her and the King I skipped it.
        I kept trying to compare Yul/Shin’s parents’ square with the current one and it made my head hurt btw going back and forth considering whom CK seemed to be in this square, the Queen or Yul’s mum. At first I thought it was obvious, Yul’s mum “is” HyoRin CK is the Queen, but as we went on and got to know some of the background stories of the past generation and CK got stuck btw Yul’s obsessive staring with puppy-dog eyes and Shin’s blazing narrowed ones with evil smirks, sharp tongue and was grabbed by the arm here and there – lets just say I could see her turning into Yul’s mum after being bitterly bitterly disappointed in life. But it ultimately came down to the fact that no matter how bitter and angry CK may have been, she’d “never take forcefully what’s not hers” and even for her son I doubt she’d come back to purposefully ruin people’s lives.
        The King did say something interesting, probably the only line of his I paid attention to and remembered. After Yul’s confession about his love for Bingung in front of the family (feels like we’re discussing Godfather II all of a sudden LOL!) he was talking to himself up in that library and asked his dead brother if this was his way of getting back at him. Basically CK is more like Shin’s mum (you know what they say about guys marrying girls somehow “similar” to their mothers), married to Shin and all that … only the irony lies in the fact that now both are in love with “Shin’s mom-The Queen-aka CK” not “the other woman”.

        While I in no way condone ep9 kiss I can’t quite call it adultery per se. And in fact felt sad for Hyo Rin who only later on gets to hear that this was apparently their farewell trip! Again, Shin acts the opposite of gentleman to both HR and CK, so while watching the first time I had some BIG issues with him up till ep 18 where it got pretty clear that the guy is emotionally handicapped and flipped cause he has fallen head over heals for a girl who from his perspective has fallen for his elder cousin. So basically he’s not indifferent or mean or cruel – he’s just NOT thinking (funny since I used to call him Logical Shin).
        But in the latter episodes Yul and CK really pissed me off several times. Sure sure, God sees all, the tables are reversed – but for heaven’s sake, Shin’s been seeing his girl for TWO YEARS! A peck on the lips is bordering on pathetic – it felt like nothing compared to Yul’s flippant inappropriate come ons. The worst thing is that while CK doesn’t respond she still stays by his side. I could understand it in ep 18 because she thinks Shin’s still thinking of going away with HR, but the episodes after that till 23… just UGh! Ep 19 is a classic. I’m on her side, I get why she suffers but the whole bridge scene with her and Yul, I liked the way the episode ended with Shin rebuffing her sharply, basically saying that his wife and his cousin ought to keep their affair discrete and choose more out of sight places for intimate rendezvous.

        It’s just that bad feeling I got post ep 18, like she was really having an affair all this time. It truly felt like it. Platonic or not, it’s your actions that define you, and Shin’s right, even when he tried to reach for her she kept running to Yul to get her feelings comforted.
        I did love that scene in ep18 though. The look on her face when she sees her Prince standing there watching them… the first thing I thought of was that if they were in Joseon dynasty, CK would probably be executed for adultery, which counted as high treason.
        And his last line in that episode took my breath away as that’s what I’ve been wanting to let her know all this time: “I just wanted to let you know/to remind you that I’m YOUR HUSBAND!”

        Basically they have the worst timing, as do most couples while falling in love.

  8. leonardswench

    A comment on Shin’s behavior:

    the character was not written or acted without any redemptive qualities, but some of his behaviors and words were never explained away by story arc or dialogue. Shin as a character was an abortive reluctant suitor/husband, raised in a rigid and defining specialized manner to think of his own interests due to his position above any other’s consideration, and the very duplicity of his hypocritical posturing defined and heightened the characterization of this Prince. It was entirely appropriate that the drama and writers did not find it necessary to leap any further away from his character by redeeming or explaining his every rat bastard move, and they just allowed him to be messy and messed-up and even unapologetic, and still get the girl.

  9. Nyx

    RE: The Prince’s Characterisation
    It was never my intention to suggest that I was somehow unsatisfied or disappointed by any aspect of Shin’s characterisation displayed in the drama. Quite the opposite; though my knowledge of the original manghwa is limited, I still do not plan on reading it due to the fact that the dramatised version more than exceeded my expectations and past experience has proven that an unexpected climax in fiction is followed by disappointment in most cases.

    In my previous comments I was trying to analyse his bahaviour; read btw the lines so to speak. The actor’s performance was top-notch, but trying to read and decipher every facial expression while at the same time frustratingly huffing and puffing at Shin’s latest wanker-move made my head spin – I’ve watched this series over 15 times and still every time I watch it I discover new things previously went unnoticed. It might be due to the subtitles, versions which greatly improved since my first viewing, but the translation for the most “puzzling” scenes remain strangely enough more or less the same so it can’t be just that.

    As you’ve probably noticed how our discussion kept revolving around the subtext in btw the main triangle, and trying to decide which triangle was actually the main one. As the author of the review pointed out the 2 differ seeing as Shin has feelings both for CK and HR, but CK keeps saying that her feeling for Yul are platonic, even if he’s in love with her. I kept on trying to explain that platonic feelings, especially if it concerns such a pure of heart person, are still feelings. Though she did indeed fall for Shin from the very beginning, her strong affection towards Yul nevertheless kept interrupting/persuading her and in the end nearly caused a divorce! So clearly the feelings may be different by nature but they are just as strong as the ones she has for Shin – a problem which the Prince pointed out to her several times: How is he supposed to be OK with such an obstacle lying btw himself & his wife for the rest of their lives, considering that Yul is part of the Royal family and is in this drama for the long haul.

    This is was how we got on the topic of Shin’s character. What right did he have, other than the Joseon traditional male dominance, to dictate her life and friendships, when he himself did the exact same thing? Even if we exclude Hyo Rin out of the equation, he was most reluctant to welcome her into his life or introduce her to his other friends simply out of sheer politeness (odd, since as a prince he ought to have behaved gentlemanly and displayed at least some basic manners). Eventually, I did reach the conclusion that his, as you have stated duplicity and hypocrisy were a natural consequence of his usually reserved rigid state of mind. When his feelings for Chae Kyung broke through this staleness that he himself was used to it was just as he himself said in ep 19: he didn’t know what to do. It’s not that he was this harsh with Chae Kyung because he had more tender feelings for Hyo Rin, rather what he began to feel for Chae Kyung was more passionate and intense and he could not always control the way these feelings towards her affected his behaviour and caused seemingly irrationally severe actions.

    We’ve stated that this very confession proved that while his friendship with Hyo Rin was an important companionship for him as a lonely figure, it was not the love he fell in when he got to know Chae Kyung. I’m not sure whether he thought of it as a romance as such btw himself and HR, or if this whole triangle started because Hyo Rin fell ACTUALLY in love AFTER he got married and seemed to be vanquishing from her already unstable life … but the point is had he known what love was he wouldn’t have acted the way he did while falling: rigid, reluctant, bipolar, confused, aggressive, depressed…

    I went on saying that the main triangle in this drama was actually btw Yul CK and Shin. Albeit up to episode 12 it might have seemed otherwise, what we saw was basically Shin wasting time being conflicted and confused as previously stated, while Yul was getting more and more attached to Chae Kuyng as she was beginning to feel torn btw her “unrequited” feelings and the affectionate fondness which kept growing into loyalty for Yul.
    So basically, once Shin finally begins to come to his senses it’s already too late and the triangle, which could have been avoided, is in full swing.

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