Home > Korean Dramas > Shi Hoo and Shi Wan

Shi Hoo and Shi Wan

Saturday, July 19, 2008 Leave a comment Go to comments

Yay! More meta analysis, very late in the game.

A lot of people are slagging off on Shi Hoo (myself included) and swooning over Shi Wan (myself included too). On the one hand, there’s the palpable goodwill Shi Wan radiates whenever Yong’s around, on the other hand, there’s Shi Hoo’s obvious troubled past (and present).

So, if I had to choose between the two (Iljimae being paired off with Eun Chae, woe), I’d actually go for Shi Hoo. He’s nicer, fundamentally speaking, if somewhat mistaught.

Shi Hoo is in the peculiar place of not knowing who he is. Think about it – he’s the only person in the show who doesn’t know where he’s coming from, and even his life’s goal – to become a yangban – is a sublimated desire to make his mother happy and have her accept him again. So naturally he’s lost. And it’s really not even a question of good or evil – what’s good for Byun Shik was so totally evil for Lee Won Ho and family. He doesn’t have the information we do – Shi Hoo’s smart, but not omniscient.

He’s not evil just because he decided to follow the assassin dude in purple. He is merely doing the best he can, with the indicators he has. A lot of us really hated Shi Wan at the beginning because he was an elitist little shit, but he treated Yong nicely and we suddenly have people fainting over Shi Wan. We actually have no proof that Shi Wan is nice now, he’s just nice to Yong. (Will talk about him later, must not diverge from topic at hand.) Shi Hoo is working against Yong because he believes Yong was to blame for Swe Dol’s death, for Dani’s distance from him (every time he’s seen Dani, she’s chosen Yong over him) and also because it brings him closer to his own goal.

Besides, when he saw Eun Chae in danger, even when he didn’t recognize her as his own sister anymore, he still cared for her enough not to chop her hand off, and even went directly against his mentor (who’s really very important if he wants to be a yangban) for her sake. That’s not something a selfish cold murderer does.

So, Shi Wan? I’d say he’s still the nasty little boy he was in the beginning. He’s just nicer to Yong because he feels that Yong belongs to him in a way that no one did before. Remember when he tried to save Yong from the arrow-shooting ambassador’s son? He protested that Yong was his. And who ended up carrying Yong home? He’s not nice to everyone in general, he’s just okay with someone who’ll follow him around and say things he wants to hear.

All his life, he’s been overshadowed by Shi Hoo and outshone by Eun Chae. He considers that anyone not of purely yangban blood to be inferior, and so in finding someone who’s willing to accept him, thorns and stupidity included, he’s overjoyed. Doesn’t mean he considers Yong an equal, by any stretch of the imagination. (Someone in the same position, with slightly nobler blood – Shi Hoo? He still sneers at him.)

Anyway, the two ‘brothers’ are completely opposite, as one is nice almost exclusively to his family and Yong, and the other one wants his blood and ignores his mother, but seems to treat mostly everyone else with courtesy.

Really, these people are all written that way, so Shi Hoo can’t help doing what he does, though I do wonder if he somehow pissed off the writers. And he needs a psychologist. Possibly a girlfriend too.

Lols at thinking too much about this show,


  1. Joy
    Saturday, July 19, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    Yeah, overall Shi Wan is still a horrible person. I hated the ambassador’s son even more. After Yong saved him from losing his hand, it seems like Shi Wan “respects” him because Yong is kind of like his savior. Of course, the sucking up helps too.

    Shi Hoo is just going to be even crazier. All that he’s worked for/been through to gain prestige and to make Swe Dol and Dani proud is backfiring. He couldn’t save Swe Dol, so in his mind, going after Yong will make things right. I think a part of Shi Hoo believes that if he stays on track and becomes a yangban, he can then use his influence to do good and make amends with his mother. Then again, maybe he’ll become power hungry and evil.

    With 2 episodes left, do you think this one will have a happy ending? If Eun Chae interferes (as in dies for Iljimae), then Bong Soon might survive. Don’t think the writers will kill both. I’m still predicting that Eun Chae will die because in episode 1, after the whole palace heist, Iljimae was tearing up when he saw the plum blossoms – maybe signifying memories of Eun Chae.

  2. Anonymous
    Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 1:31 am


  3. jessica
    Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 1:36 am

    In response to the previous blogger i dont think that in the 1st episode with iljimae looking at the plum blossoms after he robs the palace is a sign that eun chae is going to be dead or something tragic…i mean there can be a chance of such a thing happening…but its just that the plum blossoms symbolizes so many other things than just his love for eun chae… for example the plum tree is a direct reference to iljimae’s childhood and how he remembers his family (as kyung)… so there is that connection… just wanted to point it out to everyone…

    Hopefully im wrong about eun chae and the chinese article is wrong about bong soon and her “dad” (whom im in love with cuz he is SO funny)

    Cant wait till next week

    5 more days 🙂

  4. Raddabay
    Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 3:41 am

    Shi Hoo’s nature is not evil. The circumstances of his life complicated him extremely. Remember, it was him, who put the fake conspiracy paper in Lee Won Ho’s home, in purpose to save Swe Dol, his father. And it was him, who saved Lee Kyum, during the identification saying to the assassin’s man, that the boy was not Lee Won Ho’s son. From the beginning Shi Hoo and Kyum sympathized with each other. Probably after opening Yong’s true identity, finding that Lee won Ho was his blood father and realizing his forced evil role in this drama, he will take Iljimae’s side and sacrifice his life to save him by killing the chief assassin or even ……the king……
    Mmmm, the most likely that the king will not die. Probably the drama will end in the beginning of the civil war…between two kings (with the same tattoos on their chests). On one side the king of the country and on the other—Iljimae—the king of all people ….

  5. koopa
    Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    I’m still on the fence as to whether Shi Wan is evil or not. Recent episodes showed a kinder Shi Wan – kind to even Shi Hoo when he helped Swe Dol get on Shi Hoo’s back after the interrogation. To me, I see him more and more as a adolescent school bully who’s slowly (very slowly) growing up. But, I don’t expect him to kind to anyone else outside his circle. So, still undecided…

    As for Shi Hoo, I’m starting to really dislike him. He has zero sense of honour. One view is that he’s just following his mentor’s teachings of “Kill anyone who stands in your way”, but deep inside he’s still good. That’s interesting, because if Yongee had the same evil assassin as his teacher, I really can’t picture Yongee would blindly follow the same ruthless principle and stab Shi Hoo when the other just spared his life, ( and we all know Yong would be more justified to stab him since he’s indirectly responsible for Yong’s sister’s tragic death). From my point of view, I see Yongee would realize that it’s wrong to kill blindly earlier on and quit the teacher instead. Yongee’s character commands respect because eventhough he’s been so wronged by others in the past, he still maintains a balance and a strong sense of humanity and honour that he can show mercy to Shi Hoo (on multiple occasions) and Byun Shik.

    I agree that there is good in Shi Hoo, but there is also a fair amount of evil. I think a person’s experience will either amplify the inner good or the inner evil. So, his ruthlessness is probably not completely a credit to his teacher. In Yongee’s case, his life is also shaped by his experience – but instead of going on a killing spree, he’s become more focused and determined to do good.

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