A lot of viewers give talks on the scene pictured above, the epic, wordless wedding-coronation scene, which was first seen in Episode 1. Why does Seung Nyang seem happy whereas Ta Hwan seems uneasy? Why cry over a man that she abandoned long ago? Is it love or guilt? These are just some of the questions left hanging there, and we seek for answers as the story gets closer to the ending. At present, Lady Ki seems to be unjustifiably comfortable and happy with the the kind of life she has with her new-found family. I find it funny that this drama is mainly about Empress Ki, and yet it’s the heroine herself who gets a lot of hate while her men are continuously receiving admiration and love from the viewers. How Seung Nyang ended up becoming Lady Ki has been answered, the next thing is how the cunning Lady Ki will become Empress Ki. Is it because of love for the Emperor, a crucial part of her revenge or is it out of ambition and power? Or is it fate?
Let’s take a look back on the romance between Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang. Is it really over? Is it right to jump to conclusions and call it broken promises that will just be buried in the past? What if it’s just like a candle that needs to be rekindled? Are there hidden meanings behind the curtain? (Consider all scenes up to Episode 37 as you read this.)
—I’m going back to Goryeo now.
—You’re not attending Consort Ki’s (기귀비, 奇貴妃) coronation?
—Is there any reason I should?
—A concubine being crowned as Empress is an honor for Goryeo.
—As the Goryeo King, I bestow honors in Goryeo.
—If it were not for Her Highness, you would have been dead. Her Highness saved your worthless skin.
—Please convey my thanks.
“Do you still love Seung Nyang? Are you still…are you still carrying a torch for her? I love her. She’s everything to me. She’s not for you. Do you understand?!”
Thanks to this particular scene I’ve had a reason from the very start why I should root for Wang Yoo. I could feel fear in Ta Hwan because Wang Yoo might not say it, but he knew that Wang Yoo still loved Seung Nyang. He was unsure of the future ahead of them. Fate may trifle the three of them; first love may be revived, and true love may prevail. People often say that if you love somebody, you’d let that person go. If the person you love doesn’t love you back, it’s not wise to chase that person and force him/her to love you back; what’s right is to let that person go to be with the one he/she loves even if it hurts you to the very core, that’s love. Wang Yoo has let Seung Nyang go long ago even if doing so felt like a thousand deaths because he loved her, but Ta Hwan would never do that. That’s how different their perspective of love is.
While getting ready for the coronation, Consort Ki took her parents’ rings and gave a poignant smile. Was she saying something like: Dad-I’m-marrying-the-man-that-deemed-you-guilty-so-I’m-sorry, Dad-I’m-marrying-the-man-that-deemed-you-guilty-but-it’s-just-a-part-of-my-revenge or Dad-just-wait-and-see-my-revenge-is-nearly-done? That smile of hers could either mean that she’d already let go of the anger in her heart or a sign that things were working out the way she’d planned. It was hard to read because she seemed to be okay at all, but when told that the Goryeo King was leaving for Goryeo, that smile faded away. She was emotionless, but her eyes spoke for herself.
I wouldn’t say that Consort Ki was happy on that day, but she seemed to be. Ironically, it was Ta Hwan who was apparently uneasy. Something was bugging him? Consort Ki even had to face him and gave a smile as if asking him Are you alright? He smiled to assure her that he was fine, and they both smiled in front of the crowd. It was until Consort Ki saw Wang Yoo from a distance. In one fell swoop, tears fell from her eyes, not minding that she was facing the crowd. They both shed tears until Wang Yoo turned around to leave, with his back as his last image in her eyes. Did she cry because she felt guilty for abandoning him and going on her own path alone when they could have been together or she still loved him after all? Wang Yoo said that he’d leave, but he stayed because he couldn’t stand leaving without seeing her for the last time.
—What’s your reason? Why did you give the information, and why did you risk your life to help me?
—I have my own reasons.
—Work with me. Help me, then……
A short scene that I wouldn’t forget. When asked why she did what she’d done, Seung Nyang didn’t give a specific answer and only said that she had her own reasons. Her response made Wang Yoo smile as he realized that there was someone with the same goal and thinking as his. He offered her to work with him and be one of his men, but she declined without further ado. They always had the same goal, but she politely refused to work together. They had one dream for Goryeo, but she chose to go on her own path as what’s happening in the latest episodes. It was Seung Nyang who always cut their connection.
After the joyride, Wang Yoo noticed the lack of one horse and told Seung Nyang to ride with him, but Ta Hwan said no and told Seung Nyang to ride with him. In the end, the girl chose to ride with Ta Hwan, reasoning that it’d be inconvenient to Wang Yoo (but not to Ta Hwan, huh?!). Ta Hwan proudly gave Wang Yoo a smirk like a little kid boasting for getting the prize. As both horses ran, Seung Nyang tried to look behind at Wang Yoo. She could have chosen to ride with Wang Yoo, but she chose to ride with Ta Hwan instead. Fast forward to Episode 24. She had all the chances to go back to Goryeo and be reunited with Wang Yoo but decided to take the route to Yuan and be Ta Hwan’s concubine instead.
Ta-hwan: Seung Nyang-ah, if ever I get back to Yuan, how about coming with me?
Ta-hwan: Ah, you need the Goryeo King’s permission for that, too?
Ta-hwan (to Wang-yoo): Give Seung Nyang to me.
Wang-yoo: Even if I force
him to leave, he’ll never leave.
―Wherever you go, you must…you must not die. You must…must…must stay alive.
―I’ll definitely stay alive and come back for you. You too, you must stay alive and wait for me. It’s an order, Seung Nyang-ah. Do you understand?
―Yes. I accept your order.
The tough girl who has never cried like this before cried in front of their enemies for she was worried about him. The promise of staying alive wherever they are is the only promise that’s been kept. Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang had been separated by circumstances before they got reunited and separated again. They can go on without the presence of each other under one condition, which is the existence of the other party. Wang Yoo, too, he’d survive without Seung Nyang as long as he knows that she’s living a good life like what’s happening now. After all what he cares the most is her safety. You may say that it’s like a martyr love; I hate it that he’s hurting himself physically and emotionally just to save the girl, but maybe that’s the reason why I stand on his side.
―Why are you so eager to leave?
―To find His Majesty.
―You still…you still serve the deposed King even here? Listen to me. You are in my palace now, here with me! The deposed King is not your lord, I am!
―My body may be here, but I have only one lord.
―Everything in this world changes. Your circumstances have changed and so as your lord!
―A chick imprints on its mother when it breaks out of its shell. It never changes after that. I, also, the Goryeo King is my lord first, last and always.
Can we keep Seung Nyang’s word for that? The only reason why I haven’t lost hope on Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang’s love is because of what Seung Nyang said, that Wang Yoo is her first, last and always…ALWAYS. I prefer loyalty over love because there can be love without loyalty, but there can’t be loyalty without love. It’s just that my conviction to the belief that Seung Nyang will always be loyal to Wang Yoo has waned considerably since Episode 32, and I see no explanation to that. But honestly, a part of me still believes that her heart will always feel emptiness, somehow, because whether theirs is first love or true love, both are significant. First love is never forgotten, and true love never dies despite the passage of time.
The banquet scene in which Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang looked at each other passionately with Ta Hwan witnessing how the two looked at each other and exchanged glances was wordless. Their eyes were the ones that created the atmosphere. Wang Yoo’s and Seung Nyang’s eyes depicted wistful longing for each other, whereas Ta Hwan’s was jealousy and displeasure for seeing the two. Fast forward to Episode 37. The banquet scene is similar to this:
The three crossed paths again. Wang Yoo looked at Seung Nyang. Seung Nyang looked at Wang Yoo. Ta Hwan saw the two looking at each other.
―Do you want to return to Goryeo with me? Let’s go together, Seung Nyang-ah.
―Yes, Your Majesty. I will go anywhere if it means following Your Majesty.
―This matter will be very difficult.
―I’m already prepared.
―It’s also hard to say when it will happen.
―Even if it’s for a thousand years, or ten thousand years, I will always be waiting.
―Just promise me one thing. You must never think of helping me. Seeing you in danger is more painful than dying.
―Yes, Your Majesty. I understand.
There’s no place like home. Before this drama ends with 13 episodes left, I wish we’d be able to see a beautiful and peaceful Goryeo in the reign of King Wang Yoo and his Queen, whoever the lucky girl is. I’m no longer hoping that Seung Nyang would be his Queen, it’s impossible. This drama is Empress Ki, not Queen Ki, but that doesn’t mean that Seung Nyang will be forgotten especially that she’s the one and only Queen in Wang Yoo’s heart. That’s also why he’s silently helping her because she’s precious to him, but he doesn’t want her to know it or receive any help from her in return. I hope Seung Nyang would never forget that Goryeo was the main reason why she sacrificed her everything: freedom, happiness, love and the life that she could have had with the man she loved. I hope she’s still considering Goryeo in what she’s doing now, though it may not look like it. Lastly, I really hope after everything, she’ll be back to Goryeo, the place where her heart belongs now and forever or should I say it used to be.
—Once we come back to Goryeo, can you remain by my side for all my life?
—I’m by Your Majesty’s side now.
—That’s not what I mean.
—Even if Your Majesty abandons me, I will always be by Your Majesty’s side until the end.
On the contrary, Seung Nyang left on her own. She destroyed the castle of dreams that she and Wang Yoo had visualized in order to fulfill her revenge. Yes, Wang Yoo might have been the first one who left the other person. He might have left her, but not without asking if she’d like to go with him. If only she just grabbed his hand and left with him on that day, things wouldn’t have turned out the way they are, and Byul, too. Just imagining how excited and happy Wang Yoo would have been if he was by Seung Nyang’s side when she learned that she was pregnant with his child makes me smile. Just imagining what kind of family they could have created makes me happy. But in the end, I can only imagine because circumstances say no to it.
—What are you wishing for?
—For Your Majesty to regain your throne.
—Is that all?
—I’ll tell you the rest later. But, what did Your Majesty wish for?
—For us to spend our lives together. For us to die at the same moment. And be together forever. That’s my prayer.
—And mine, too.
—Yes. In life and in death, together forever. That’s my prayer.
If life wouldn’t let them be together, perhaps death would. Like what I said previously, and I’ll say it again, for these two to die together at the same moment only defines what true love is, which I think, is what the writers want to execute. Although dying together at the same moment sounds tragic and poignant, at least they could be together in the next life, which is way better than to spend the rest of their time alive separated from each other in a world comparable to a living hell. It’s too much to ask for a happy ending, and the chance is like one in a million, but that’s what I really want. Anyway, I’m not wishing for a fairy tale, just a happy ending will do.
Comments (Episodes 34-37 related)
I’m currently at a certain point in time where watching Empress Ki is something I just do because I think I’m a masochist. The show disappoints me in many ways, but look, I’m still here. I know I can drop it anytime I want, one thing that I could have done episodes ago, but it’s not easy to say goodbye to something that I’ve grown fond of. I curse my screen most of the time because the story is in a whole mess and so unreasonable. This is just a drama, but can’t it be more logical and realistic, at least? For one, I completely understand what made Seung Nyang change. Anyone would change after everything she’s gone through, especially that she’s gone through the worst. At first, knowing that this drama is about a woman’s revenge, I really wanted to see a dark Seung Nyang, a heartless one that would grind the enemies under her feet. Those that are heartless once cared the most, and she’s a perfect example. I don’t have a problem seeing Seung Nyang blinded by ambition and power like most femme fatales, BUT what I don’t like is that it’s just happening now. She could have shown her dark side the moment she stepped in the Yuan Palace, not now that she’s been staying there for a long time because it’d look like she has just turned bad after tasting power, being the Emperor’s favorite. What I mean is becoming a dark Seung Nyang at this time doesn’t seem to be for revenge anymore, it’s more of her personal desire.
I’ve described my love for Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang as inversely proportional—while the other increases, the other decreases, or vice versa. I continue to love Wang Yoo to pieces, and it’s good that there’s a character that tells me that it’s not a waste to continue watching this drama as long as he exists. From the way I see it, he’s slowly moving on from the past he had with Seung Nyang, though it’s not easy and it still totally hurts whenever he thinks of her. It’s not that I’m not into a love triangle, but the fact that Wang Yoo is the only one that seems to be suffering in this love triangle makes me develop an aversion to it. And to think that Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang are the OTP, but their scenes together, which are mostly not centered on romance, are like once every 8 episodes in a month, makes it worse. Nobody can deny that they are OTP, though I know many can’t accept this fact. As much as I want Wang Yoo to forget Seung Nyang, I know he’ll never do so because that’s how royally elegant a King loves. Right now, I love how he has gained Bi Soo’s respect and service. Sure, the Turk girl may replace Seung Nyang in the Goryeo gang, but that’s just up to it, nothing more, nothing less. As a true leader and as someone who has the characteristics of a real King, Wang Yoo serves as his people’s inspiration, and he values them the most because he believes that the loyalty, respect and trust of these people are the most powerful weapons a leader could have. I also admire his thinking that these people are the ones that will give him back his throne, somehow.
The misunderstandings between Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang don’t end. It’ll probably last long or longer, and when they realize that all are just misunderstandings, it’ll be too late by then. That’s the norm in dramas, isn’t it? Good thing there’s Taltal who knows everything and can spill the beans once it comes to him it’s the right time for him to speak. If not Taltal, then there’s Byul. The existence of the love child will either save his parents by reconciling them or harm them because once it comes out that Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang have a child, they’d be dead. IMO, it’s time for Wang Yoo to find out about Byul and that Maha is Byul. Ta Hwan doesn’t have even a little amount of care or love for Maha and only loves Ayu as his son. Seung Nyang, too, still clueless, will try to oust Maha from the Crown Prince title by installing her son Ayu instead. Tanashiri, the only one who cares for and loves Maha with all her heart, has just fallen from power, thus, Maha will be left in the hands of Empress Dowager Hwang, which is also not a good idea. It’s time for Wang Yoo’s subordinates to make an action, tell Wang Yoo the truth *HE HAS THE RIGHT TO KNOW!!!*, and get his son with him. Honestly, I don’t mind what will happen in the Yuan Palace now that Seung Nyang gets worse, I just want Wang Yoo and Byul back to Goryeo and live there peacefully.
Many things can happen in 13 episodes, things which can either increase or even decrease my love for Empress Ki. If it’s the former, then thank you, otherwise, sorry to me. I’ve invested almost 20 weeks of my time in this drama, so it’s hard to turn back now. I don’t know if the problem is with the ahjussi and his awkwardly solid direction or with the writers whose story was so promising during the first half? Or possibly it’s MBC that gives the writers pressure in what they’re doing? Nonetheless, I expect the scenes from the earlier episodes will be of use as indications of future events, leading to the ending. It’d be a waste and unworthy if those foreshadows didn’t mean anything at all. I’ll always be waiting for the time when things fall to the right place. I have my motto: it ain’t over til it’s over.
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