Though It was not anything to rival the flagship of the k-wave, Jewel In The Palace, it stood up meritorously. Of particular fascination were the entwined romantic relationships that had me plumping for the young characters
I didn’t care much for Kim Hong Do (KHD)…smothering and overbearing, in my opinion he really did not have that much space in (Shin Yoon Bok) SYB’s heart….at-least compared to GH the gaesang. KHD was in a way trampling on his dead friend for even contemplating feelings for SYB who was notoriously younger than himself, also the way he insisted on sticking with SYB after the king had sent her away out of the city was rather tasteless and clingy to the point of nausea. The appropriate thing would have been to ask the king to send a bodyguard with SYB until she was safely out of the city but he kept on waffling about ‘us’ as if she had formally entertained his advances.
Others might say SYB reciprocated these feelings….really? and to the same extent? for her it might simply have been gratitude for him being the first real person to appreciate her as a woman…she might feel obliged to him in some way but not to the extent of marrying him because in her heart there is only one….GH
even the supposed reciprocation,which i strongly contend was borne of extenuating circumstances. SYB could be argued to have been in a vulnerable pyschological state after learning the full details of her parents death and KHD ‘hero’ efforts might have contributed to saviour dependency…the grounds of any such claims can be refuted on these grounds as a passing effect as vindicated by eventual departure. KHD asked SYB to go to his(her?) home and promise not to think of leaving, she just looked down…no answer.
(Jeong Hyang) JH and SYB shared something that transcends normal corporal relationships. It would be an ill-favour to simply classify their relationship as gay. KHD should have got the hint after learning what SYB had requested the merchant do if he wins…that was a clear enough message…SYB cares more for J that anyone on the planet
One thing, however, is suggested by how they leave.
GH is seen getting on a boat and sailing across…SYB is also later seen taking asimilar if not exact same route after leaving her memento to KHD.
Although her face looks sad…perhaps longing for KHD appreciation but it is clear what she was doing…going where her heart told her…
There is no hint i gather that KYD ever finds SYB…in-fact all the evidence from the epilogue and prologue and other final scenes suggest that he never did…
The story he is telling is all in past tense and represents a lonely ,morose haggard man.
As for the casting of the young couple...accolades and overtures! The photogenic and captivating Moon Chae Won gave a compelling performance as the resigned and trapped flower who could only experience the love of her life , beautifully and tragically, if only for but a moment.
The excellent Moon Geun Young was the centre of the show as SYB, although critics had earlier been less than approving they found her performance convincing enough...she did quite a plausible job of boy impersonations and the scenes with JH blew hecklers away and even landed the pair a Best Couple Award which I believe is a first for a same sex couple.
Bravo I say...