Fighting continues, Kiha has recovered her memories, finally. After all these battles, Kiha’s still a stronger fighter than Sujini.
Then Cheoro gets hit in the chest by a fireball (can the guardians kill one another?) A magical fireball, as it happens, or the ordinary methods of dousing it would have worked. Sujini puts her hand on his chest and literally takes the fire away, which kind of scares Kiha and Sa Ryang. Then she grabs her sword, which is now on fire, and she manages to knock Sa Ryang away, doing significant damage.
I think, by the expression on Sujini’s face, that she doesn’t even register what she’s doing. Kiha begs for her to stop, to spare her child, but Sujini stabs down and gets thrown by the magical Phoenix field. Or the Damduk’s magical child is protecting itself shield.
I was going to reply to the questions in the comments section, and I realized, once again, that I would end up talking too much to be acceptable – so here I am – question and answer time!
Joy: Also, when Yong was telling the warbler story, do you think the writers are hinting the Eun Chae will die?
- I hope not. I have had enough of main leads dying off in my favourite dramas. Thinking objectively, her dad is this super powerful noble who’s obeying the king and quite close to him, she’s fairly smart and astute, she’s got one heck of a protective older brother (who will probably try really hard to kill Iljimae at the same time) and another fairly useless but also protective one. And if she dies, we know Iljimae does too, go drama logic. However, if you think about it – Kyum is the tree. Eun Chae thinks that Kyum is dead, remember? So she’s like the warbler, forever circling the tree and thinking of her dead love. One day a plum tree, aka Yong, pops up, and she is so happy. When she discovers that Yong = Iljimae, she’ll probably have to change herself to better protect the one she loves, and they’ll live with each other happily ever after. It’s my theory. (No dashing cold water on Sevenses, please.)
Emilia: the messenger was the dude trying to deliver the message that kyum’s dad’s friend wrote to kyum?
- No. The king remarks that the messenger was not in fact trying to get to Kyum. He thinks that he made a mistake in the beginning, assuming that Kyum was alive. He is now going to focus his attention on the nobles who have noticed Lee Won Ho’s strange death. The messenger was headed for, I believe, the person Kyum impersonated at the party (didn’t quite catch his name, Minister Kim something or other).
Everyone: What happens to him in the end??
- Lols. No clue. Assuming they don’t go down the HGD road, Eun Chae and Yong will probably get together and pretend to be prosperous hotel owners or something.
Really really itching for Wednesday,
Or, um, maybe several hundred.
Has anyone else noticed that Iljimae/Yong/Kyum has more personalities than he does names? We’ve got tons.
- Idiot (mainly in class with nobles)
- Victim (again, mainly with stronger authority)
- Street boy (usually seen with mafia dude)
- Crazed avenger (whenever his sister comes up into the conversation)
- Soulful loverboy (Eun Chae! Eun Chae!)
- Schemer (um, all the time, really)
- Slick thief guy (Iljimae time)
- Genteel guy (with Eun Chae, and when he has to beat up people, residue of Kyum)
- Angst broody guy (whenever the past comes up)
- Insouciant playboy (also with Eun Chae, after she starts to dislike him, and when off-duty from mafia)
The only other person I can think of who approaches this type of personality count, who isn’t supposed to have clinical schizophrenia, would be Cedric Edward Cullen. And he’s pretty much a wish-fulfillment female fantasy character. I’d say Iljimae is a cut above that. Several, as I have pretty strident views on Twilight. Anyway, I’m not sure what this is supposed to say about him – he’s smart enough to react at the blink of an eye and put tons of masks on and off? (Makes for terribly complicated living, but then his life is pretty messed up already.)
Additionally, despite having 10 episodes, I don’t feel as close as I should to the people in the drama. That isn’t to say I don’t like them. I do. I find Swe Dol terribly sweet and self-effacing, I think Dani needs a good weekend at a spa, I want the monk dude to impart his wisdom to Yong. I love Bong Soon, even if she is too loud (kind of like me, actually) and very impulsive. I feel like giving Kyum a hug, or maybe the king’s head on a silver platter. Sometimes I’d like to hug Shi Hoo, and sometimes I think I should sign him up for a yoga session (and slip him some psychiatry appointments when he can’t get away). Shi Wan I think I shall hang upside down in a tree for a year with bread and water once a day.
Eun Chae I can’t do anything with, she’s too perfect, but you know, I’m starting to like this fangirly side of her. It’s like her entire family is crazy (yes, that includes moody older bro Shi Hoo) so she has to hold everything together, and that’s just turned her into a human robot.
I remember watching Hong Gil Dong: by episode 12 I was head over heels in love with Chang Hui, very concerned for Enok and Gil Dong, and wishful of my own Chisu. But here, I don’t get the same vibe at all. It’s a great deal like work, trying to love the characters. And like Josephine Barry from Anne of Green Gables, I do like for other people to make us love them, because it save the work of having to try yourself.
I’m not sure if it’s because I’m afraid to commit myself to another drama after what happened in HGD, or if it’s because these people are two-dimensional, or whatever. It’s still an enjoyable experience, but less intense and more goof. (They still haven’t gotten rid of the random impossible things – I mean, the only way to logically accept all this is to stop thinking and go along with it, but when I don’t think, I don’t bond with the characters either. It’s kind of like a Jackie Chan movie that way.)
Oh well. It’s summer. What was I expecting?
Iurgnotmis wanted a book review or an anecdote. As I would probably rip Blackburn’s Being Good: A Short Introduction to Ethics to shreds (if I were the sort to rip books, I mean) if I were forced to read it again to review it, I’ll settle for the anecdote, thanks.
So, according to my parents, I was a precocious thing (don’t all parents say that about their children? Practically a litmus test for how much you love your child – a snot-covered toddler will be crooned at to the tunes of “Look at the precious darling, creating Rorschach blots all on his own!”.) and I cared, very much, about how others saw me, even at the somewhat unnoticeable age of 4. (Seriously. I have lower than average height for an Asian, and when you factor age into that… I was a short, wispy little thing.)
Anyway, I was short and little and unimmunized, which meant that I had to undergo that ritualized child-torture routine: shots.
Imagine a crying child, abjectly in fear of people dressed in white and long tube things they carry because they stick it into your arm (or your butt if you’re unlucky, I suppose) and clutching desperately to his/her mother/father/parental figure. Then multiply that by like, 20. Absolute bedlam in the hospital, I say.
There I was, in the queue of wailing children, and I decide to be heroic. (This is all apocryphal – I have no recollection whatsoever of doing what follows – but I do remember the wailing children and hospital walls. Some sort of collective unconscious, seared into the brains of scared children everywhere, I don’t doubt.)
Looking up at my father, I pipe, “Don’t worry. Daddy, I’ll be brave. I won’t cry!”
My father, good man that he is, keeps his doubts to himself.
Once on the crinkling hospital cot, I look at the nurse, with her brisk pre-shot preparations, and I repeat my mantra, “Daddy, I won’t cry.”
Then she approaches. My voice begins to quaver, “Daddy, I won’t … cry?”
“I won’t! I won’t cry… I – I …” And the proverbial floodgates opened.
Ah, for the fallacies of youth.
Now, having divulged an embarrassing childhood story, open thread time, people, while I go hide in my hole and blush.
… and the world explodes.
Currently on ye olde radar:
- The Clinton-Obama-never-ending-contest-of-doom. At this point, dudes. It’s redundant to say anything. Mostly what can be said has already been spewed out there. My adding some verbal diarrhea to this subject doesn’t do anything…
- Montreal people rioting over their home team’s win. Get this. Their hockey team wins, after a lot of tension as to whether they’ll beat the Boston Bruins, and what do they do? They torch cars, beat up police, and scare lots of people on Ste. Catherine’s. Good going, drunken hockey fans. I knew I could count on you for a good, sensible time.
- And J.K. Rowling decides that the HP Lexicon is debasing, pilfered, and badly put-together. Plus, she’s suing Steve Vander Ark for copyright infringement, among other things. I think most of this was Warner’s doing – because which super-popular fantasy series hasn’t sprung more than a few encyclopedic compilations by fans? Admittedly Tolkien is dead and Gaiman is flattered, but how much richer than disgustingly rich do you want to be? Yes, it’s her baby. But she’s used it herself to keep the facts straight during writing – which she has admitted to. I have zero use for the Lexicon, having long stepped out of that particular fandom, but if she honestly thinks fans are out to rip Harry Potter off and make money, she’s going to lose a lot of fans. (Plus, SVA has lots of loyal fanboys, as evidenced by the showing at Prophecy. Just a warning.)
And you may have noticed that the layout has changed… I got tired of the comment thread running waaaaaaaaaaay down where the sidebar ends, so I did a bit of switching around. Am self-professedly bad at this whole CSS/html thing, so it’s pretty much the original layout provided.
Exams. Ha. Do not study the night before. That is all I’m saying.
Having found myself getting involved in myriad debates and emails and discussions about this storm of controversy and mainly condemnation of China, I figured I might as well as unite everything I’ve been saying – it could fill reams of pages, but I’ll try to keep this one short. (Lol, and coherent.)
A month ago, nothing much was happening on this front… and the US economy continued its flailings, Obama and Clinton were busy throwing mud at each other, McCain was doing his thing, Harper added to the amount of carbon dioxide and other noxious gases spewing out of Canada, Dion went on being useless, Putin goes on with his agenda, and so on …
And then Tibetan teens and other angry people throw rocks and attack the Han Chinese, and bam! The media explodes all over how Oppressed The People Are.
The problem is that as long as people hear what they want to, they won’t stop. Especially if they’re not too smart and easily led (read: more than half the world’s population, unfortunately.)
What I’m getting worried about is the backlash from self-righteous ‘westerners’ who think they’ve got something to say to every Chinese person, now that they are confirmed in their superiority… this will give every supremacist bigot another reason to pick on Chinese people. (As evidenced by a very loud, very rude and very dim person on the bus this morning. Up yours, jerk.)
My biggest issue is the utmost hypocrisy the media is indulging in – by presenting themselves as the most impartial, unbiased human rights lovers ever, they somehow carefully ignore the other side of the story – and the other side isn’t a small minority, it’s a rather large country with some very vocal and (increasingly) angry people.
Tibetan protesters assert their independence by snatching the Olympic torch – they get kudos. Chinese people who try to protect a paraplegic girl who had the torch in hand? Arrested or labeled as violent oppressing Communists. Go media. I wave my flag at you. (Unfortunately my flag says ‘fuck you’.) Read more…
I’ve been told that I have been exceedingly mopey these past few days. (Gee, people, could you guess why?)
Remember at the end of 23′s recap, I said, “What will episode 24 bring? I have this vague feeling CH will relent in the end. Either that or everyone dies, and that can’t be possible, so I go for the happy end.”
AHAHAHA. DEAD OF IRONY.
Nonetheless, I have successfully diagnosed myself with the five stages of grief, in regards to Gil Dong and Enok (not to mention the most awesome group of people ever, the HBD!)
They are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Pris was there during my denial phase, ‘Oh no they didn’t!’
You were all there for my giant, capslock-filled anger stage, I think.
I seem to have skipped the bargaining stage altogether in favour for a longer depression period. Not even Korean food with two awesome friends did that much. So… walking towards acceptance as I listen to the soundtrack over and over again.
After that, expect the fanfic. I will not just lie down and let my heart be stomped over, dammit.
(As I type, I’m listening to the fire arrows song and tearing up. Still not over it, I guess.)
Hugs to all of you who are feeling the same.
P.S. The fire arrows song is called ‘Lar Meg a Kjenne’ – it’s Norwegian, and therefore out of my realm of translatability. But I’m sure if you google the song you’ll find lyrics. Here’s the download link – it’s MU.
(Psst, in case you’ve missed it, HGD 22 airs next week.)
I was typing out a response to the lovely Soruyo, who asked, “So would CH go mad now and GD has to stop him in the last episodes?” and then I realized that it got too long, and I should probably make a proper post of it, so here, Soruyo, your answer in full:
I don’t think so, no. But I’m optimistic. Personally I think he’ll go into a period of self-doubt and pull out of it a better person and a better king. I mean, this YN thing is making him sad, but there’s a difference between puppy love angst and going into megalomania mode. Spoilers next, though if you’re reading this I assume you’re not afraid of them.
I think when Chang Hui finds out that the sword is fake, and since that’s the foundation for his life for the past 20 years (and for which his mother, YN’s parents and so many other people essentially die for), he might be feeling terribly shocked. Lost. Finding out that he wasn’t the designated heir, that would hurt quite a lot. He’s pretty singleminded, as we can see, and having that purpose, that sense of entitlement and a place in the world gave him a reason to live on after his mother’s death – now it’s gone.
It’s a particularly hard blow to him, because now he’s just another outlaw. Legally speaking, the real sword has no inscription, which means that the present king might just be the real heir. So Chang Hui would have been committing treason, and while that might not matter to those who love him (GD, YN, Chisu – I exclude Noh, for reasons outlined below), it would to those nobles that are flocking to him precisely because he is the Crown Prince. So they will desert him, and CH will realize who really stands behind him – GD, and those who believe in him.
As a side note, he can also no longer offer YN the possibility of being Queen without feeling somewhat guilty about his own legitimacy – he’s sort of less highly noble, even if he does have the sacred royal blood. (And if YN’s father did conspire with the Queen, well, that just makes the entire thing stink.)
Remember that scene in 15 when Chang Hui met his brother in the cemetery and said, “Sometimes I wish I wasn’t the legitimate heir so I could get up and help the people with Gil Dong“? Foreshadowing like woah. So now’s the time for him to really find why he wants to be king (he hasn’t found it yet, if you look carefully), and to assume the throne with the correct frame of mind according to Gil Dong (he’s not the titular character for nothing, you know, though the way I talk about the series, it’s hard to tell. I’m all about the prince, yum.)
A friend of mine swears that he’s going to go crazy. (Looking at you, Pris.)
I don’t, because I like the character, and I think the Hong sisters have spent too much time carefully crafting him for him to go crazy 3 episodes till the end. I hope he’ll pull through, despite all odds, and become the hottest best king ever. (Also, JGS is just too cute – though in Doremifasolatido he does have to portray a bit of insanity.)
And the Hong sisters do generally write a happy ending – I know, Pris, you’re going to say that they want to try something new – and I see your point – his older brother, after all, went crazy after he thought he wasn’t the proper heir. But Sharp Blade Hong Gil Dong presents many morality tales, with the central theme of contrast between different choices made by people in similar situations (GD and CH, Hong and GD, YN and GD, YN and CH, etc), so I think they will make Chang Hui’s ultimate fate different from that of his brother’s.
Alright, I release you from your reading obligations. The rest is pure rambling.
- Noh not included in list of people loving CH: She cares for CH, she treats him as her master, and she has done a sterling job of keeping CH safe these past 20 years. However, and this is a big one, she thinks she can make decisions for him. Chisu may make suggestions, GD may make infuriatingly sharp comments, YN may outright contradict him, but none of them take away Chang Hui’s right or ability to make his own choices. They respect his intellect and trust him to make the right decisions. Noh? Negative on all counts.
- Also, a staff member has said that the script for HGD is finished, and that the beginning of episode 1 is not going to be seen again. That’s okay – but he/she also said that YN will look back on that incident with fondness as her time with HBD. That rings slightly more ominous bells. I think that episode one’s beginning has yet to come, because a) hairstyles, b) YN is not la ninja de doom yet. Maybe she gets married to CH, maybe she and GD leave for China like they planned… we don’t know.
- Next 3 episodes better be good, as they’re tying up all the loose ends they began in 19 (or, speaking broadly, episode 1). Sit tight and enjoy the ride, folks.
That was an odd experience, following it through. I am glad that Konomi has ended it, I am sure the poor man has had many sleepless nights and torments over the series. And I did love it in the beginning. I dropped off towards Nationals, because, hello, obvious signs of insanity + ghost writing.
Nonetheless – it is one heck of a sports epic.
Things to be “Wha-?” about:
Ryoma being all powerful. We get that, we truly do. But some of the stuff is going above and beyond … well, you know. “Child of God” “The Emperor” etc – these epithets save Konomi from having to develop his characters, which makes the Inner Critic weep.
Why make Rikkai evil? Again? I thought the outcome of the Kansai regionals was supposed to make them find a happier road. Of course, I blame all this on Yukimura taking meds. AAAAALLLLLLLL IN THE MEDS, PPL.
That last shot of Inui made him look like an Egyptian mummy come back from 398238642387489 BC to stalk Tezuka.
Golden Pair not winning once, despite… the Golden Pair ness!
WHY DOES RYOMA GO BACK? This ruins so many fics. Also, I thought he found fulfillment in Japan? Not going back would be a recognition of his lessons learned. But noooooooooo, our snarkboy has to go and find other f***wits to challenge. Rock on, moronic self-insert.
Regardless, I love the series, I love its teams, though Kite should run Konomi around the yard until he promises never to have another flashing scene every again.
Good luck in your next venture, Konomi-san.
P.S. I left out some points, because my brain is like Seigaku after Inui juice right now.
P.P.S. Anyone know why I cannot access WordPress from the home com? I need to upload my 19 and 20 recaps, dammit!
So, chatting with my evil little enabler duckling, flyingcrispi, I came up with some really weird thoughts. And I thought, why not? I will use my blog to weird out the rest of the people who like Hong Gil Dong.
Why I love Hong Gil Dong:
Gil Dong is ajumma-permed, crazy and stick-wielding love.
Chang Hui is guyliner-ed, angsty/broody, floral silk wearing, babyfaced yet still handsome, straddling the line between Machiavelli and adored ruler love. (You can so tell who I like best, can’t you?)
Enok is clueless, cute, eats like it’s going out of fashion and vaguely in need of personal hygiene love.
Suk Geun is half boy love, forever.
Mal Nyeo is slightly-creepy-anarchist-but-still-cool love.
Yeon is woodcraft love.
Gom is too cute for words love.
Hae Myung is weird falsetto voice and scarily prophetic love.
Grandpa Heo is kinda weird love.
Lady Noh is scarlet-lipstick-wearing, way-too-ruthless-and-in-a-bad-way love.
Chisu is forever-a-puppyface-for-CH love.
Yong Jin is suppressed love.
Lord Hong is wtf-misplaced-priorities love.
Lord Seo is politically unaware, showy, too much of a Chinese fan even for me love.
The King is Macbeth reincarnated love.
In Hyung is incapably normal love.
Eun Hye is… not love. (Okay, fine, Eun Hye is causing-all-the-trouble, noble-nose-in-the-air love.)
Grandpa Ryu is teddy bear scholar love.
Now for the pairings:
GD x CH is defending-each-other, yin-yang, and tickling-my-slash-bunny love.
GD x YN is silliness-that-knows-no-bounds, utter-devotion and too weird to be with anyone else love.
CH x YN is made of the all-consuming power of Chang Hui’s smile.
CH x Chisu is purely-crack love.
GD x CH x YN is riding off into the sunset love.
Hope you enjoyed!