Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Princess' Drama

     Yes, maniacally rewatching the episodes again and again... Episode 18 was slower than usual when we talk about Seung-yu's actions, only two dead bodies on his account. But if we talk about emotional development? Whoohoo, they were intense, yet calming in some way. Slightly against Kdrama rules, the angst didn't last long, and the main character has enough brain to think everything out. Someone may ask: "hey, lady, you don't know calming and intense don't go together?" Of course I do, but this drama blends so much so far. It even blends fire with ice.

   The psychological development of the characters is terryfic. This is mainly because cast does the job in a proper way, so we are not left in the darkness with only a guess. OK, if the character is supposed to be po-po-po poker face, that's fine, but not every role requires Yul Brynner's trademark. Some characters are emotional. And in the drama about emotions defying fate, and emotions lost in a whirlpool of fate, botox-face is not any advantage. Too many nowadays "actors" care too much to look "heavenly" while crying. Crying is not a pretty thing, ask my laptop what did I look like on Thursday seeing Jong and Princess Kyeonghye.
   I have the similar feeling like I had with SKKS, that the all actors "are" the characters (oh well, Blinky as the exception, plus SKKS was by faar lighter). I have no problems thinking "yes, I bet real Kyeonghye reacted like that", because everything is carefully presented. Nothing spoils the flow of the story. She acts like that because she shows the emotions that everyone even in our modern world can share.
I will leave our main couple for a moment, and Jo Seokju, who became my personal hero. If my Korean is good enough and I don't make the errors, I read on one forum some excerpts (damn, where did I copy it? That's my weak point, I paste everything in Word and print it.) of the story that... how to put it in most subtle way I can - Jong died and Kyeonghye became the slave. The history does say about the future of the main pair. The whole story is named as "the saddest Joseon story". The fact such events really happened makes me feel weird. During those 18 episodes, I yelled at my screen because I KNEW what will happen to them. 

   There is some terryfying power in watching dramas based on true events. We know what will happen, not the characters. That makes the watching so emotional and so heart-wrecking. We can only clench our fists and shed tear (or two, oh well, or the whole bucket), scream in futile fury and whisper the warnings. Of course, if the outcome is positive, we are somewhat relaxed, after many troubles and obstacles, our pair will be united! But when the end of the story is tragic, we feel our tenuity. Nothing can stop the events that are presented before our very eyes. 

   Kyeonghye and Jong are the tragic pair. I'm not denying the others' tragedy, but it's on a slightly different level I'd like to discuss some time in the near future, when Seong-yu will finally make the decision the glimpse of which we had in episode 18th. Princess Kyeonghye and Jong met by sheer chance, when he was running from debt collectors. And after that he was chosen as the Royal Consort just because he had no real power and relations. Kyeonghye despised him, and she even told that to Seryeong before her unrealized wedding - that they both have to marry unloved men. Jong had feelings for the pretty Princess from the start, and from their wedding day he tended to her needs, he shielded her and he stood by her. His devotion moved Kyeonghye who was left completely alone. And Princess, acting all haughty and cold, was, as Jong said, vulnerable. What makes their relationship even more unbearable for the viewers is the steady development of their affection. Kyeonghye started to love her husband in the eve of his demise.

   Their story is so touching, yet not sappy. The writers carefully choose their words, and actors carefully show us the people long gone with all the spectrum of their emotions.We're left with only one ability we have in this situation - to get through this as the cathartic experience. I remember I had the same feelings (and I probably wrote about them as well) when visiting one museum. The portraits from 16th and 19th century moved me because I read one person's history behind the canvas. I was wondering who were they. Were they happy? What if they died two weeks after the painting was done? Right now I feel exactly like this.

   This drama has plenty of "what ifs". But those are tricky. They let our mind wander into pleasant territory. No, not even that, rather a pleasing teritory. We comfort ourselves with all those "what ifs" and it makes us as if we were suspended above boiling cauldron so elated with happiness we can feel the breeze. The breeze removes the feeling of the liquid hell below us, but it doesn't remove the actuall hell.

   Finally they returned to the question that has been bothered me for some time. Seung-yu was on the ship to Kanghwa Island, but along him some common criminals were also sent that way. Fortunately for him, Jo Seokju was cuffed to his right hand, and this way our then-mind/will/spirit/whatever-deprived Mr. Kim survived. he's a brilliant character, not only a cardboard filler, necessary to give some props to the protagonist. We know his character, we can predict his behavior, this is one complete person that was displayed right before our eyes.

   One of the most heartbreaking scenes were this one above, when cute little Agang cried "samchon" (uncle) and rushed into Seung-yu's arms.I already praised the girl^^.

 Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
   If this be error and upon me proved,
   I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
(Shakespeare, Sonnet CXVI)

 And finally, Myeon.

(...)The summer's flower is to the summer sweet,
Though to itself it only live and die,
But if that flower with base infection meet,
The basest weed outbraves his dignity:
  For sweetest things turn sourest by their deeds;
  Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.
(Shakespeare, Sonnet CXIV)
Yes, I'm in a Shakespeare mode, so?
See you next week, good kids, with another "Notes on some drama of the crazy girl".