4:56 pm - 08/09/2017

The King Loves Ep 13-16 Discussion Post

Synopsis: Won is a crown prince of Goryeo. He has a pretty appearance, but he also has a lust for conquest. He is best friends with Wang Rin who comes from a royal family and is his bodyguard. Beautiful Eun San appears in front of the two young men. She is the daughter of the richest man. The three become good friends, but things change after Wang Won and Wang Rin both fall in love with Eun San.
Cast: Im Siwan, Yoona, Hong Jong Hyun, Park Hwan Hee, Oh Min Suk
Director: Kim Sang Hyub
Writer: Song Ji Na
Network: MBC
Episodes: 40
Release Date: July 17 - September 19, 2017
Runtime: Mondays & Tuesdays 22:00 (35 minutes each / 2 episodes per day)

Watch Here: Viki Dramafire

Source: AsianWiki
kristinl356 10th-Aug-2017 01:18 am (UTC)
I have been very cautious with my praise of this show but I think after this week's eps I am officially upgrading it from not terrible to actually pretty good. I have had issues with the buildup of the romance plots, they felt pretty 'poof! you're in love' which I guess I can accept for Wan's 'no one has ever treated me like this, who is this girl?' obsession but felt pretty poor for Rin's more understated, angsty affair. But this week the romance plots finally felt like they had gained some emotional traction with Rin towards San and somewhat surprisingly San towards Wan (though I wouldn't really classify that as romance so much as deep sympathy for his terrible life and an acknowledgement of how he feels for her, moreso than a reciprocation). I ragged on Hong Jong Hyun a lot after Moon Lovers but I guess I need to stfu because he's actually doing quite well here. His stoic, repressed Rin is coming off as noble rather than angsty. My fears that he would be bringing Siwan down are officially allayed.

It's good to see more of what I'm considering the real meat of Wan's character. His goofy, kind of jerkass personality he puts on with Rin and San always felt fairly hollow (I'm assuming purposefully) and it feels like now we're getting to see past it. The confrontation with his father in the aftermath of the breakup of San and Wang Jeon's engagement was heartwrenching (him in the background of his parents' confrontation wasn't too comfortable either). The public humiliation he suffers at the hand of his father made me livid. I mean, I've wanted to kill the King since basically episode one but now I want to slowly stab him to death with that nail thing the Queen wears on her finger.

Which, by the way, props to the Queen for all these lessons in how to intimidate and terrify lesser beings. I hope I get to use them someday. (Joking! Or am I?) That scene of her casually dropping vases or whatever while the King scolds her? Incredible! Amazing! I've never been happier. Though the thing with Dan was officially over the line, even for me who has not even batted an eye at every other fucked up thing this lady has done. I don't know why I love her so much, she is objectively awful, except that I...admire her anger? Because deep down, I too, am fucking pissed at the world. (And I would also do anything to protect perfect pumpkin baby Siwan.)

Anyway, I am excited for how this show is going and I hope we get Rin back quickly (which I never expected myself to say!).
kristinl356 10th-Aug-2017 01:48 am (UTC)
Oh and here's Siwan's song for the OST. I thought I had read that it was supposed to be a duet. Is he doing another one or did plans change?

hesychasm 10th-Aug-2017 01:17 pm (UTC)
I'm pretty sure the Soompi article wrote that Siwan's OST is in addition to the duet track, so yay! That means we can still expect more of his singing! I love that this video shows him in the studio. I've not yet seen any footage of Siwan (or ZE:A for that matter) recording, so it's cool to get some insight into how he works in that setting.
by_venoms_sting 10th-Aug-2017 02:26 am (UTC)
I feel the same way about the Queen. She can be brutal in a way I don't like (that torture scene was rough to watch) but she's a character that's easy to understand her motivations and has different sides to her.
kristinl356 10th-Aug-2017 02:38 am (UTC)
If Won is the before, she is the after and I wouldn't wish that on anybody. Honestly, I kind of want to save her as much as I do Won except in her case it is almost definitely too late so I mostly just want her to kill everyone that stands in her way. Especially the King. godwhatapieceofshit
kristinl356 10th-Aug-2017 02:36 am (UTC)
oh whoops i am apparently misspelling won's name all over, my bad
modestgoddess79 10th-Aug-2017 01:09 pm (UTC)
I also love/hate the Queen. She does fucked up things but she obviously loves and tries to protect her son in a hostile land. Without Yuan she has no power so she defends the shitty things they do to women. The King on the other hand seems to have no redeemable traits. Rin is amazing, I do think HJH has improved as an actor. I agree that Won has been shown acting rather frivolously but when he immediately went to break up the wedding just cause Rin asked him to that was a true show of loyalty and friendship.
kristinl356 10th-Aug-2017 04:01 pm (UTC)
She's clearly not above using whatever tools she has at hand, no matter how cheap, whether it be sending girls off to Yuan, torturing those people in front of Dan, or her continual abuse of the servants. Though wtf at the King who literally just sat there while the Queen poked holes in his new woman. What a prick.

Won jumping in at Rin's behest, no questions asked was great. I had initially been a little wtf at him immediately deciding to leave Rin in prison even though logically it made sense since 1) Rin chose to take the blame for the things San was accused of, 2) he would have agreed with Won's choice, and 3) Rin wouldn't be treated badly in prison like a commoner would have but I still wish they'd have shown Won mulling it over for a minute. So yeah, this went a long way in establishing how invested Won is in Rin/their friendship.
by_venoms_sting 10th-Aug-2017 02:20 am (UTC)
These episode were so intense for me. They were really good.

I feel like the romance plot (while not as interesting as the politics to me) is actually starting to be believable some what. I don't see an epic love yet but there is something there now.

I felt so bad for so many people this week. San having to deal with the marriage stuff and then finding out the real identities of her two companions, Rin's sister being traumatized by the Queen and then having to try to adjust to the idea of possibly never seeing her family again, Rin doing his best to make sure everyone in his life is safe and happy, and Wan being humiliated by his in front of everyone.

The King is such a weak piece of shit. He's allowed himself to view his own son as a threat and as a result Wan will become a threat. The King has created the situation he's in currently. He's also so focused on the Queen, Wan, and the Emperor that he doesn't consider anyone else a threat. What King is this open with people?? A monarch should be shrewd of everyone without being cold but he is not balancing shit well at all.

I had so much to say after watching these episode but now that the post is here I'm having a hard time putting my thoughts together (it's a common occurrence with me). I'm just filled with rage towards the King right now. I don't want to absolve any of the other characters of their evil deeds or anything but it just became clear this week how much everything goes back to the King and how him not managing his personal affairs better has resulted in the current situation. He opened the door for people to come in and rearrange the monarchy in their own favor (I have have no idea if "rearrange the monarchy" even makes sense but I'm just gonna leave it lol).
kristinl356 10th-Aug-2017 03:08 am (UTC)
Lowkey kind of wanted San to get married and stab the shit out of Jeon on their wedding night, even though that would not have ended well. I kind of neglected San in my review. Her scenes with Rin these last two episodes were really good and it hadn't occurred to me quite what his relationship with her looked like from her perspective until that little voiceover she had. "And the person next to him… would avoid looking at me. Whenever I look at him, he would always be looking at somewhere else. It made my heart ache." It seems so obvious from the viewer's pov that he likes her but to her, he is always hiding behind someone else. Not that I care that much about the love triangle stuff, but if they're gonna do it, I am glad to see them justify it a little more since all the stuff previously was very weighted towards Rin's side.

Everything you said about the King. Yes. Not only is he a prick, he's a fucking stupid prick. The only excuse for why he believes everything that comes out of Song In's mouth is that he's really just looking for excuses to be shitty to Won and he should fuck off with that. That's only slightly stupider than making an enemy out of his wife who is both awesome and, frankly, a babe. She could have been such a good ally if he hadn't basically ruined her by making her life hell for the past however many decades. She would legit kill for you.
kristinl356 10th-Aug-2017 03:32 am (UTC)
A few more thoughts: The Queen's servant/handmaiden/whatever always has this real smug look on her face like she could stab you to death with a hairpin and I hope later we get to find out that she is super badass. Like dollars to donuts, I bet everyone in the Queen's entourage is actually secretly deadly.

Watching Rin beat the shit out of his brother was really satisfying and I hope it happens again. He has a really punchable face and I've wanted to punch him since he was on the worst intern on Misaeng.

The comments on tumblr/dramafire have sort of been driving me crazy. They are almost entirely about the romance shit and everyone lamenting that they're gonna be sad when, in typical kdrama fashion, the second lead doesn't get the girl. I'm really only mad because if this turns out to be a typical romance kdrama, I'm gonna be fucking pissed so please don't. And I've seen more than one person complain that Siwan doesn't look princely enough in his robes/that he looks out of place and I'm pretty sure he's supposed to? That's basically his entire character, the heir to the throne that no one (save his mom) wants. Also lol at the idea of tall, stately, and handsome being considered princely when royal families were routinely inbred in order to keep power within the family.
by_venoms_sting 10th-Aug-2017 03:50 am (UTC)
And I've seen more than one person complain that Siwan doesn't look princely enough in his robes/that he looks out of place

I literally said "What?! What?! What?!" out loud when I read this. Like the commenters focusing on the romance where typical but this threw me for a loop lol.

I think he gorgeous in the show. I mean the sleeves look a bit weird at times but I thought that was just the style~ of the time period the show is supposed to take place in.

Also lol at the idea of tall, stately, and handsome being considered princely when royal families were routinely inbred in order to keep power within the family.

This made me think of the Habsburgs :(

Edited at 2017-08-10 03:51 am (UTC)
hesychasm 10th-Aug-2017 01:15 pm (UTC)
I've finally found my people w/r/t this show! I started watching it solely because of Siwan, so naturally I came in biased because I heard his character would have somewhat of a dark arc. But with these last few episodes showing more of Won's relationship with his parents, I'm so intrigued to see where his character goes. These eps clearly showed how he has both nature and nurture working against him -- his dad is prone to dissolute selfishness and political blindness, his mother is cold and calculating and bitter and resentful, and they both have made loveless marriage into warfare.

Won's only light points in his entire life have been Rin and now San, and per his voiceover, Rin's starting to deceive him and San's now on the other side of a growing chasm, only he doesn't realize it yet. I almost want to watch the rest of the show peeping through my fingers. It's like, if the show takes him dark -- and does it well -- that'll be awesome and tragic and sad. (But they could bungle the journey and piss me off.) On the other hand, I can see the show trying to keep him a good guy and letting him Learn Life Lessons, so that he makes noble sacrifices or something yet remains forever alone, and that'll be awesome and tragic and sad, too. (I loved that we got San's POV line that Wan's smile was always tinged with sadness, even before the terrible tea party. She perceived that much about him.)

It annoys the hell out of me when I see commenters rag on Won -- in my opinion he and his mother are the most fascinating and complex characters in the show. It annoys me even more when I see commenters focusing on the shipping and the SLS while ignoring the politics. Yes, it's called The King Loves and is a romance story, but in my opinion, HJH is a terribly wooden actor and makes me feel next to nothing for Rin. I know he's supposed to be careful with his emotions, as opposed to Won who Siwan can be a bit flashier with, but I've seen secret second lead longing done better. If I didn't already know this was supposed to be a love triangle because of Kdrama tropes and the marketing, Rin's feelings for San would have been a surprise.

I'd like to see maybe more flashbacks to Won and Rin as childhood friends. There have been a few long comments over at Soompi about how their relationship, whether as friends or prince/subject, hasn't actually been established that well. I agree and would like to see more of their history to properly ground this love triangle in an angsty context. And also to better understand Rin's conflict about staying loyal to Won when his family and others are telling him he should be loyal to Goryeo.

I honestly don't have that much to say about San. I liked her a lot when her main focus was finding her mother's killer and we saw glimpses of her issues (all the drinking, crying in her sleep). But that plotline seems to have fallen by the wayside with the marriage stuff and now, I guess, the activation of the love triangle for real. I hope she doesn't get reduced to a prize where "X gets the girl" is the only thing that matters about her.

By the way, this is my first sageuk! I was iffy about the start which seemed sort of shallow and cotton candy-ish, but these last episodes were such an entertaining ride. I'm intrigued by the time period and the Goryeo/Yuan dynamic and am considering Empress Ki. But, gulp, 51 episodes!
modestgoddess79 10th-Aug-2017 02:51 pm (UTC)
Siwan looks great in historical attire. I love them wearing colorful clothes.
modestgoddess79 10th-Aug-2017 05:26 pm (UTC)
In the early episodes I was annoyed with the whole going to get wine storyline cause they were all acting stupid. I don't care how young you are, getting into a shoving match on a rope bridge is not logical.
Things have really gotten interesting starting with the frame the crown prince with arrows plot to the present.
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