Friday, September 23, 2011

TPM - another background

8 people including Kim Jil and Jong
The Princess’ Man is heavily inlaid with politics. It takes up over 50% of the time screen. Various meetings, scheming, subterfuges and traps set in such a way it’s practically impossible to avoid. What makes it even worse, is the fact it really happened, only in a more brutal way the drama shows. Of course, they couldn’t be precise in depicting all horrendous events that made Joseon drown in blood. Moreover, writers craftily created characters that history left only one word for them. I don’t mind if it wasn’t Seryeong who fled the capital with Seung-yu. What I’m sure is the fact that one of Suyang daughters did that. The name is not that important. It's all the game of archetypes. We are watching beautiful and haunting story. Whatever the ending, I will accept it. Because it’s beautiful. There is not even one character left out, cardboard character, a filler etc. And when we are talking about characters, I’d like to talk a bit of Ministers that were sentenced to death by Suyang because of their failed rebellion.

They are known in history as “six martyred ministers”. But first, few other characters.
Danjong of Joseon (1441 – 1457): one of those characters that every reader sheds few tears upon. A tragic kid. His only fault was the fact he stood on a way of power-hungry Suyang to the throne. And Suyang had absolutely no mercy in deposing (or killing) his own family. Since he was only 12 in the moment of his enthroning, the government was in hands of two people recommended by king Munjong: premier Hwangbo In and vice-premier and General Kim Jongseo. He was overthrown in a coup led by Prince Suyang in 1453, and in 1455 Danjong was exiled. This didn’t stop few loyalists from counter-coup (if I may call it like that) that ended in another wave of massacre. Danjong was confined in a residence, and while in his room, Sejo ordered to lock the room and overheat it, and in results burning boy to his death.

Prince Suyang (Sejo of Joseon): born in 1417 and died in 1468 (ruled: 1455 – 1468). He was the second son of the Great King Sejong. After Sejong’s death, the throne passed to Munjong (May 18, 1450 - May 14, 1452) who was of a very weak health, and ruled only two years (died at age of 37). After Munjong his son was proclaimed as the King, and was later known as Danjong, who ruled three years (May 14, 1452 - June 11, 1455), and died on December 24, 1457 (aged 16). King Munjong had many children (not as many as Sejong himself), and among them tragic Danjong and Princess Gyeonghye (1436-December 30, 1473). Gyeonghye married Jeong Jong about whom only the family (son of Jeong Chung-gyeong) and his death date are known, he died in 1461. As I mentioned in some earlier post, after his death (according to unofficial history), the Princess became a slave.

   Suyang had few advisors and the most known out of them are Han Myeong-hoi who was the one that encouraged him to lead the coup, and also Shin Sukju (father of Shin Myeon), who is somewhat ambivalent person in a history. He is either called as a “traitor” or a “kingmaker”.
The first son, Yi Jang, Royal Successor, died in 1457 having barely 20 years. His daughter, Princess Uisuk (1440 or 1442 – 1477) is our Seryeong although her name was Seseon. The second daughter, Sehui is an apocryphal daughter and it’s unsure if she ever lived (all those children are from the main wife, Queen Jeonghui). The second son, Great Prince Haeyang became the successor then. If I may add some digression, “what goes around, comes around”, and death of his oldest son, and then the second one, may be seen as a payback for killing young Danjong. Their death at such young age is really eerie, although according to sources, the oldest son was of a weak health. Also, the second son, who succeeded his father to the throne ruled around 14 months and died in 1469.

Six Martyred Ministers (Sayukshin): Seong Sam-mun, Pak Paeng-nyeon, Ha Wi-ji, Yi Gae, Yu Eung-bu, and Yu Seong-won. They were members of Hall of Worthies (or Hall of Treasure, because I found also such name) and they were appointed as support to both Munjong and Danjong by King Sejong. And naturally, they became a hindrance to Suyang after his coup. As long as they were alive, he could not claim his rights to the throne in a “clear way”. In 1455 they devised a plot of killing Suyang using as the pretext Ming envoy visiting the capital. Along with them the plot was known to Kim Jil, who, minutes before the assassination, had a weak moment and betrayed them. All of them were seized and tortured, Yu Seong-won committed suicide, and Pak Paeng-nyeon was tortured to death in the prison, the rest was publicly executed. Along with them around 70 other people involved in a failed coup lost their lives, all men in the families were put to death and children and women became slaves.

Their “death poems” responded to the poem sent by Suyang to the prison. And they refused to acknowledge him as the King, but only as the usurper. Useless to mention that Kim Jil became trusted man of King Sejo and raised into the position of Governor of Gyeongsang Province later on.

 and Jong:

Yi Gae was the teacher of our three friends: Seung-yu, Myeon and Jong, and before his death he wrote a poem responding to the one sent by Suyang:

방안에 혔는 촛불 눌과 이별하엿관대
겉으로 눈물지고 속타는 모르는다.
우리도 천리에 이별하고 속타는 듯하여라.

Oh, candlelight shining the room, with whom did you part?
You shed tears without and burn within, yet no one notices.
We part with our Lord thousand miles away and burn like thee.

Few other informations:
Kim Jongseo had 3 sons: Kim Seung-gyu, Kim Seung-byeok, and maknae Kim Seung-yu. And the one that is shown having wife and A-gang as the daughter is the eldest one – Kim Seung-gyu.
The messed up part starts here, because nothing is known about the youngest son, and maybe this is why he was chosen by writers as the tragic hero of the tale? The same goes for Seryeong, in official history I found no one with such name, but it’s Princess Uisuk who is credited for opposing to her father. But, few unofficial sources mention Seryeong (born in 1440), so I guess two of the characters were moulded into one.
I will translate some more sources, but in few weeks time, maybe 2.