Sunday, August 28, 2016

“Moonlight Drawn by Clouds” aka “Love in the Moonlight” synopsis by episode, Eps. 1-18 (no spoilers)

Update as of February 26, 2018: Kim Yoo Jung Diagnosed With Hypothyroidism; Kim Yoo Jung in need of immediate surgery for thyroid issues
Jump to synopsis of Episode 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; How I made these synopses spoiler-free; Historical backgrounders and other information; Funny scenes, memorable scenes (video reviews): Ra On’s beautiful dance in Episode 4, Kim Yoo-jung’s dance rehearsal, How Ra On passes the eunuch’s physical exam, and others; Free, 500-plus interactive English grammar and vocabulary exercises based on “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds” and other Korean historical dramas (external link); Lessons in photography from “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds”

The only reason I’m writing about this drama is because I’m a big fan of its female lead Kim Yoo-jung.

I first saw Kim Yoo-jung in “Dong Yi” where she was about 9 or 10 years old. Then I saw her in “Hwang Jin Yi” (she was probably 3 or 4 years old), “Iljimae” (probably the same age), “Painter of the Wind” (she was around 5 years old), and in “The Moon That Embraces The Sun” (she was probably 13). I even watched “May Queen” (a non-sageuk) when I found out she was in it.

Kim Yoo-jung has rightfully earned her reputation as Korea’s best child actor. Now at age 17, she’s playing more mature roles. With her talent, she can be Korea’s next international star (after Lee Young-ae).

Kim Yoo-jung in “Hwang Jin-yi” (2007), “Queen Seondeok” (2009) and “Dong Yi” (2010)

But how I wish that Kim Yoo-jung would never grow up! How I wish she would always be 9 or 10 years old like when she played the young Dong-yi!

How I wrote these episode summaries with no spoilers

1. I assumed that you will be reading these summaries and watching the videos chronologically.

2. I narrated the main actions in each episode without revealing the plot’s twists and turns.

3. At the beginning of each summary starting with Episode 2, I placed in a table a recap of the major twists and turns of the previous episode. But because you have already watched the video of the previous episode, they aren’t spoilers anymore.

(I used this same structure in my recaps of “Jumong,” “Dong Yi,” “Six Flying Dragons,” “The King’s Doctor,” and “A Jewel in the Palace.”)

Episode 1: “Destiny in the moonlight”

Hong Sam-non (aka “Ra On”) is an 18-year old girl who is masquerading as a man and earning a living as a street performer and as a relationship counselor for love-struck men.

She’s on the run from some men to whom she owes a lot of money. She also gets into trouble with the authorities.

To help pay for her debts, Ra On accepts her counselee’s offer to pretend to be him and meet the woman whom he loves. But the woman turns out to be a man!

Unknown to Ra On, the man is none other than Crown Prince Hyomyeong, who’s trying to protect his love-struck, younger sister. The Crown Prince (aka “Yi Yeong”) may be a troublemaker in the Palace, but he has a soft spot for his sister.

Episode 2: “A road leading to you”

Episode 1 recap:

Ra On escapes, leaving Crown Prince Hyomyeong stranded in the deep hole, but she ends up later on as a candidate eunuch. Trying to escape from the Palace, she runs into Crown Prince Hyomyeong (who’s now disguised as a warrior).

Ra On somehow passes the physical examination for eunuchs, but she’s determined to escape from the Palace by deliberately failing the written exams.

She goes to an assignment given her by the Head Eunuch who has begun to dislike her. There, Ra On meets again the young man (“Kim Yoon-sung”) who saved her from the soldiers. Unknown to her, he is the Prime Minister’s grandson.

The Prime Minister is the power behind the distracted and apprehensive King, and he plans to use the Queen’s pregnancy to his advantage.

Ra On also meets a strange warrior, who’s really the Crown Prince’s bodyguard (“Kim Byung-yeon”).

Ra On becomes further confused with the Crown Prince’s real identity — first he was a young master, then a warrior, and then a eunuch. Getting drunk one evening, Ra On gets into trouble again with the Crown Prince.

But later on, she faces a much bigger problem when she gets kidnapped.


With the way Ep. 2 ends, a lot of netizens are saying that right at the very start of Ep. 3, Ra On will finally find out that the young master-warrior-eunuch is actually the Crown Prince. But I don’t think so. Why? Well, watch on YouTube the official trailers/teasers, and you’ll find out why!

I think that the revelation will happen late part of Ep. 3 or even in Ep. 4 or 5. The relationship as friends or confidantes between Ra On and the young master-warrior-eunuch must be developed first.

Episode 3: “I Am Standing Behind You”

Episode 2 recap:

Yi Yeong (aka Crown Prince Hyomyeong), his bodyguard Kim Byung-yeon, and Kim Yoon-sung (the Prime Minister’s grandson) were childhood friends. But for one reason or another, Yi Yeong and Kim Yoon-sung’s relationship has become cold.

Yi Yeong misses his late mother and has an icy relationship with the current Queen.

A masked man shoots an arrow at the Prime Minister during a feast celebrating the Queen’s pregnancy.

The Prime Minister dreams about Kim Yoon-sung becoming the King. But Kim Yoon-sung is interested only in art.

Because he’s an aspiring artist who specializes in drawing women, Kim Yoon-sung has known from the very start that Ra On is a woman.

Yi Yeong tries to teach the puppy (aka Ra On) how to behave, but the puppy bites his finger.

The Princess has found out that the person who wrote the love letter to her is none other than Ra On. Feeling mocked, she orders Ra On taken to her and threatens to kill her. But the Crown Prince arrives.
The Crown Prince arrives just in time to save Ra On, and he persuades the Princess to forget everything.

Ra On fails to recognize that the man she knows as the young master-warrior-eunuch is actually the Crown Prince.

Later on, to Ra On’s despair, she qualifies as a eunuch. She wants to directly confront the Crown Prince about it, but Yi Yeong (whom she calls “Silver Spoon”) and Byung-yeon stop her.

Ra On is assigned to serve in the residence of Consort Park — someone close to the Crown Prince ever since his mother died seven years ago.

Consort Park asks Ra On to give her letter to the King. But Ra On runs into trouble at the King’s quarters. Seeing her predicament, Kim Yoon-sung takes her some place.

Consort Park later on asks Ra On to burn all her letters and the King’s replies. But just as she is about to burn the last reply-letter the King sent, Byung-yeon quickly stops her.

Episode 4: “After The Play Ends”

Episode 3 recap:

The Queen (Kim Yoon-sung’s aunt) slaps Ra On for insisting on bringing Consort Park’s letter to the King. But despite that, Ra On still slips the letter among the petitions sent to the King.

The King’s blank reply-letter is actually written with apple vinegar, and as Byung-yeon shows Ra On, the characters appear when the letter is held near a flame.

Through Ra On, the King and Consort Park are reunited.

But the King is tormented by nightmares of 2,000 people dying because of him, and so he tells Yi Yeong that he will abdicate. Yi Yeong agrees to be the Crown Prince Regent, but insists that in times of difficulties, the King must act toward him just like a father would.

(In a flashback, Yi Yeong remembers how the King refused to do anything despite knowing that the Queen was murdered. Now, the King says that doing nothing has been the only way to protect everyone he loves.)

Ra On finally recognizes that the man she calls “Silver Spoon” is the Crown Prince.

The King’s plan to appoint Yi Yeong as the Crown Prince Regent is opposed by the Prime Minister who says that the plan must first be approved by the Qing Empire. Yi Yeong then tells the assembly that he will make a good impression on the Qing envoy during the King’s birthday celebration.

Yi Yeong finally reveals himself as the Crown Prince to Ra On. Dumbstruck at first, Ra On then begins laughing, thinking that the young master-warrior-eunuch is now masquerading as the Crown Prince.

Ra On is assigned to look after the Crown Prince’s needs, especially with helping prepare for the King’s birthday celebration. Because Kim Yoon-sung has previously met the envoy, he also helps prepare things for the celebration.

While the Crown Prince goes to consult a certain Master Jeong, Yoon-sung takes Ra On to the marketplace where the rain soon falls on them.

Byung-yeon tells Ra On that everyone must do their best to help Yi Yeong in preparing for the celebration. A lot of people — like the Prime Minister and his daughter the Queen — want to see the Crown Prince fail miserably in front of the Qing envoy.

As the celebration begins, the Queen puts into action her plan to sabotage Yi Yeong’s preparations.

Episode 5: “Tell Me Your Wish”

Episode 4 recap:

Yi Yeong gives a royal order that when they are alone, Ra On must continue to treat him as a friend.

Master Jeong (aka Teacher Dasan) advises Yi Yeong to “kill his enemies with sweet honey.” Yi Yeong decides to present music and dance, bringing gisaengs into the Palace and preparing for a mysterious number.

At the clothes and accessories shop, Kim Yoon-sung sees Ra On looking longingly at a beautiful dress. Secretly, he buys the dress and an overcoat for Ra On.

On their way home, the rain falls on Yoon-sung and Ra On, and they run to find shelter. Yoon-sung wants Ra On to use the overcoat as protection from the rain. Ra On refuses saying that a boy shouldn’t be wearing a woman’s clothes, and that besides, Yoon-sung bought them for a special woman. Yoon-sung places the overcoat on Ra On and says that he will give the dress and overcoat to the special woman once she can accept them with a happy heart.

As Yoon-sung leaves to buy an umbrella, Yi Yeong comes to the shelter. While waiting for the rain to stop, he begins remembering a childhood scene of his mother and him playing under the rain.

Just when Yi Yeong is about to recognize Ra On as the woman in the shelter, Yoon-sung comes back.

The Queen threatens the dancer who is supposed to give the final performance. As Yi Yeong’s eunuch, Byung-yeon, and Yoon-sung search for the missing dancer, Ra On decides to dress up in the dancer’s clothes. Unknown to her, Eunuch Ma sees her changing into the dancer’s clothes. She then goes to the venue and presents a beautiful dance. (Note: After clicking the “Play” button of the video below, click “Watch on YouTube” for the video to open in a new tab.)

For the mysterious special number, Yi Yeong tricks the Prime Minister into praising the King’s virtues in front of the Qing envoy.

After the festivities, Yi Yeong begins searching for the mysterious dancer. Spotting her at the Palace gate, he goes after her. But Yoon-sung grabs Ra On by the hand and helps her hide.

Yoon-sung helps Ra On hide from Yi Yeong and the eunuchs looking for her. But Ra On still insists to Yoon-sung that she’s a boy and that she had to take the dancer’s place to save Yi Yeong from being embarrassed in front of everyone.

Later on, the Princess and Ra On are having tea in a boat, with the Princess asking about the young master who sent the letters to her. Something Ra On said upsets the Princess, who suddenly stands up, rocking the boat. Ra On falls into the water, but she doesn’t know how to swim.

Ra On goes to dry off at Jahyeondang (the place where she has been staying in with Byung-yeon). Yoon-sung hurries after her and places a blanket around her.

That night, a feverish Ra On dreams about her mother and the night they got separated. In her hazy mind, Ra On thinks that the man beside her and comforting her is Byung-yeon.

Ra On is given a 3-day vacation for “Chuseok” (harvest festival), and Yoon-sung makes her promise to spend the festival’s last few hours with him.

At the festival, the young master who sent the letters sees the Princess and her attendant.

Yoon-sung wants to go and meet Ra On at the festival, but his grandfather (the Prime Minister) orders him to stay and get to know the new Minister of Culture and Education.

At the Palace, Yi Yeong remembers Ra On’s feverish words about her mother and decides to go to the festival.

Episode 6: “When You Want To Tell Me Your Secret”

Episode 5 recap:

Yi Yeong starts thinking that Ra On might be the dancer at the King’s birthday celebration.

From what Ra On said, the Princess realizes that the young master who sent the letters misidentified her pretty attendant as being the Princess herself.

Seeing that Ra On can’t swim, Yi Yeong jumps into the lake to save her.

At Jahyeondang, Yoon-sung pleads with Ra On to see him as someone dependable, someone who will never tell anyone about her secret.

(Jahyeondang is the very same place where Yoon-sung, Yi Yeong, and Byung-yeon spent their happy childhood days studying and playing games together. But now, for one reason or another, Yoon-sung and Yi Yeong’s relationship has gone cold. And Byung-yeon even secretly takes orders contrary to his friendship with Yi Yeong and his duties as royal bodyguard.)

Ra On spends the entire festival waiting at the bridge, hoping against hope that her mother will show up. She then sees someone familiar, but it turns out to be Yi Yeong.

Yi Yeong buys a wish lantern for Ra On from a young girl whose fondest wish is to see the King. (Back at the Palace, the King sees all the wish lanterns up in the sky. He turns to his Chief Eunuch and in a foreboding tone tells him to take good care of Yi Yeong.)

Princess Myeongeun and her attendant Wool-hee run away not from the young master (whom they don’t recognize) but from Yi Yeong who is coming back to Ra On after buying a wish lantern.

As their lantern flies, Ra On sees the wish that Yi Yeong wrote on the lantern. It says, “I wish Ra On will see (her) mother again.” Ra On is surprised why Yi Yeong knows about her mother. She also asks him why he keeps staring at her. Yi Yeong answers, “When I look at you, I see someone else. I see a lady.”

Just then, Yoon-sung arrives and reminds Ra On about their plan to spend the festival’s last few hours together. As Ra On turns to go with him, Yi Yeong grabs her hand and refuses to let her go. With Ra On caught in the middle, Yi Yeong and Yoon-sung stare sharply at each other.

Note: Music video below shows highlight scenes from Ep. 5 like Yi Yeong saving Ra On from drowning, Ra On dreaming about her mother and being comforted by Yi Yeong, and Yi Yeong and Ra On at the lantern festival.

The tension between Yi Yeong and Yoon-sung over Ra On ends only when two gisaengs arrive.

While Ra On and Yoon-sung are walking together, they get caught up in the middle of soldiers chasing after a masked man who had just robbed a nobleman’s house. The mask falls off the man’s face, and Ra On picks up the mask.

Yi Yeong becomes cold and indifferent towards Ra On. At the archery range, he meets Jo Ha-yeon — the daughter of the new Minister of Culture and Education and a former playmate of the Princess.

Yi Yeong begins to suffer from insomnia, and the Royal Physician says that he’s sick with a disease that afflicts widows and nuns.

Eunuch Ma wants to gain the favor of the Qing envoy. He knows that the envoy wants to see again the dancer from the King’s birthday celebration. And so, he brings Ra On at night to the envoy’s quarters.

Episode 7: “Confession”

Episode 6 recap:

While Yi Yeong and Yoon-sung are verbally sparring over Ra On, two gisaengs arrive. They recognize Yoon-sung and invite him to a good time. (One of the gisaengs also recognizes Ra On from Yoon-sung’s drawings.) Yi Yeong walks away from them in disgust.

Ra On begins thinking that the masked man is none other than Byung-yeon. (He has stolen some documents from a wealthy and oppressive nobleman. His master later tells him to look for the children left as orphans because of the riots that happened 10 years ago.)

The Prime Minister recognizes the mask, and the other ministers say that the Hong Gyae Nae rebels are starting to reorganize.

The woman that Yi Yeong met at the lantern festival turns out to be Jo Ha-yeon.

Eunuch Ma forces Ra On into the Qing envoy’s room. Just when the envoy begins to get sleazy with a frantic Ra On, Yi Yeong arrives, threatens the envoy with a sword, and takes Ra On with him.

Yi Yeong’s actions against the envoy agitate the King and the whole government. Ra On is ordered arrested. Yi Yeong pleads on her behalf, but the King orders him confined to the East Palace.

In jail, Ra On learns from her eunuch-friends that Yi Yeong might possibly be dethroned as Crown Prince.

With Byung-yeong acting as decoy, Yi Yeong escapes from the East Palace and visits Ra On in jail. He tells Ra On not to sacrifice herself for anyone, not even for him.

Yoon-sung finds out that it was Eunuch Ma who brought Ra On to the envoy’s quarters. He threatens Eunuch Ma with a gun, firing it near his head. He warns Eunuch Ma, saying, “If you ever reveal Ra On’s secret, I will kill you!”

The envoy later says that he will forgive Yi Yeong only if he can take Ra On with him to the Qing capital. When Yoon-sung finds out about it, he hurriedly sees Byung-yeon and asks for his help.

The King’s eunuch visits Ra On on the day the envoy is supposed to leave. The eunuch becomes agitated when Ra On tells him that she’s 18 years old and an orphan from the peasant riots that happened 10 years ago.

Acting on Yoon-sung’s inside information, Byung-yeon proposes a plan to Yi Yeong that will expose the envoy’s pilferage of the tributes and save Ra On in the process.

The plan works out successfully with Yi Yeong and Byung-yeon attacking the envoy, his men, and the envoy’s business partners, and with the Qing Inspector (brought by Yoon-sung) witnessing for himself the envoy’s misdeeds.

In Ra On’s eyes, Yi Yeong is her knight in shining armor; she doesn’t know what Yoon-sung has done on her behalf. (As they were planning things, Yoon-sung says to Byung-yeon, “I will be fine as long as Ra On is safe.”)

Unknown to Yoon-sung, his grandfather is already arranging his marriage to Jo Ha-yeon.
Rumors begin circulating in the Palace that Yi Yeong likes men, especially Eunuch Hong (aka Ra On).

The Queen is more amused than shocked when she hears the rumors about Yi Yeong. But she becomes angry when a court maid is found to be pregnant. Since the King has not become involved with court maids for a long time, the highest officials among the eunuchs order a new physical examination for all eunuchs.

Yoon-sung continues to pursue Ra On. He runs to her in the Palace after her ordeal with the Qing envoy and later on gives her a special gift.

The Prime Minister tells Yoon-sung that he has already arranged his marriage, and Minister Jo tells the same thing to Ha-yeon.

The Prime Minister informs the King about the increasing activities among the remnants of the Hong Gyae Nae rebellion.

Ra On finds out that Eunuch Ma is involved in a romantic relationship with a court maid. But the court maid wants to end it. Ra On offers to help Eunuch Ma to publicly express his love for the court maid.

But the Head Eunuch and the Queen find out about it.

Episode 8: “You Don’t Know Anything”

Episode 7 recap:

Ra On finds out that it was Yi Yeong, not Byung-yeon, who comforted her when she had that feverish dream about her mother.

Yi Yeong learns from his eunuch that people in the Palace are gossiping about how he likes men rather than women. Ra On begins thinking that she has become a burden to Yi Yeong and on his path towards becoming King.

Ra On meets Yoon-sung while seeking refuge under her now-favorite tree. Yoon-sung gives Ra On the dress and tells her that he will help her leave the Palace so that she can freely live as a woman — with him.

When Ra On finds out about Eunuch Ma and the court maid, Eunuch Ma first becomes hostile towards her. But later on, he helps Ra On pass the new physical examination.

Ra On sets up a puppet play for the eunuchs and the court maids. (When Yi Yeong finds her hiding the puppets in the library, Ra On says, “Is it wrong to confess an unrequited love? The memory of being loved could become the strength to live on for life.”) Through the play, Eunuch Ma is able to express publicly his love for the court maid.

But the Head Eunuch and the Queen find out what the puppet play is all about. The Queen orders Ra On brought before her.

When Yi Yeong tries to take Ra On away, the Queen slaps Ra On. Restraining his anger, Yi Yeong takes Ra On with him.

The next day, at the garden, Yi Yeong finally confesses that he loves Eunuch Hong (aka Ra On).

Before Yi Yeong confessed his love and kissed Ra On in the garden, he has already found out that Ra On is a woman.

But Ra On doesn’t know that Yi Yeong has found out her secret; she thinks that he really likes men, not women. As he begins to treat her with affection, Ra On becomes uncomfortable, especially with the eunuchs and court attendants watching them.

Yi Yeong and Yoon-sung confer at the library about the results of the civil service exams. Yi Yeong is angry that those who passed are all members of the Kim clan. Just then, Ra On comes into the library. Yoon-sung remembers Ra On’s answer to his offer to help her leave the Palace.

On Ha-yeon’s initiative, she meets Yoon-sung, her prospective husband. Later on, Ha-yeon also meets Eunuch Hong (aka Ra On).

Yi Yeong wants the civil service exams to be held again, but his plan runs into a roadblock. He also orders Byung-yeon to find the rebel leader’s daughter before the ministers do. But he later on finds Byung-yeon and himself involved in a street fight, with Ha-yeon caught in the middle of everything.

Episode 9: “The Moment The Heart’s Lock Is Opened”

Episode 8 recap:

When Yi Yeong goes to give Ra On the letter, he chances upon her trying on the dress that Yoon-sung gave her. He realizes that Ra On is the mysterious dancer during the King’s birthday celebration.

Ra On tells Yoon-sung that she wants to stay a little bit longer in the Palace, despite the danger of her real gender being found out.

Yi Yeong releases Eunuch Ma and the court maid from their Palace duties so that they can freely live as husband and wife.

At their meeting, Yoon-sung and Ha-yeon are relieved to know that they’re both interested in someone else. Yoon-sung assures her that an arranged marriage can be amicably set aside.

Ha-yeon later on meets Eunuch Hong (aka Ra On) and asks her advice on how to get a man’s attention. Ra On tells her to act with sincerity and express openly her affection for the man. Ha-yeon promptly learns how to embroider something as a gift for Yi Yeong.

Pretending to be sick with various kinds of illnesses, all the ministers boycott Yi Yeong’s meeting for the new exams. The Prime Minister later sternly warns him to be cautious about his planned reforms.

At the marketplace, Yi Yeong is looking at “eternal love bracelets” when Ha-yeon comes along. As they talk, Yi Yeong sees Byung-yeon being chased by numerous men armed with swords. Yi Yeong helps Byung-yeon fight off the men, with Ha-yeon caught in the middle of the deadly fight.

Ra On’s adoptive father (the street performer) later meets Byung-yeon. He tells Byung-yeon that the rebel leader’s daughter that he’s looking for is none other than Ra On herself.

Back at the Palace, Yi Yeong finally reveals to Ra On that he knows she’s a woman. As he gives her an eternity bracelet, he says, “I will now treat you like the most precious lady in the world.”

Despite Yi Yeong’s emotional appeals, Ra On says, “Yes, I’m a woman, but I’ve never lived as a woman.” She apologizes to Yi Yeong and leaves.

Unknown to Yi Yeong and Ra On, Byung-yeon has heard everything they said. He faces a dilemma knowing that Ra On is the rebel leader’s daughter.

With the Head Eunuch’s permission, Ra On leaves the East Palace and is assigned to Consort Park’s residence. A crisis later on ensues when the Princess (Consort Park’s child) goes missing.

With the ministers boycotting the meetings and the scholars protesting at the Palace gate, Yi Yeong turns to Teacher Dasan for advice.

The Prime Minister scolds Yoon-sung for siding with Yi Yeong on the issue of the civil service exams. He tells Yoon-sung what political power is all about.

Ha-yeon continues to befriend Eunuch Hong (aka Ra On) hoping that in the process, she’ll get to see Yi Yeong.

The Princess has not been able to speak after a traumatic event several years ago. And so, Ra On teaches her how to communicate using hand signals. Ra On says that they’re alike because “I’m also hiding a lot of things like you.”

Later, Ra On meets Yi Yeong in the library. She returns the bracelet and pleads, “Let me leave the Palace.”

Episode 10: “Like A Fairy Tale”

Episode 9 recap:

The Princess (Consort Park’s child) has been traumatized after secretly witnessing how the Prime Minister and his men killed an elderly court attendant who knew how Yi Yeong’s mother really died.

The Prime Minister tells Yoon-sung, “Politics is not befriending the people. People with power lead the people.” Yoon-sung disagrees and tells him also that he will only marry someone whom he loves.

Ha-yeon sees the eternity bracelet on Eunuch Hong’s hand and explains what the bracelet means.

Teacher Dasan asks Yi Yeong, “Is this fight for victory or for change?” Yi Yeong then decides to give in to what the ministers and the scholars want. But he changes the question in the exam to “An opposition to opposition — how will you convince the other?”

After the exam, Yi Yeong tells the Prime Minister that he wants diverse and novel ideas for Joseon’s future.

One of those who pass the exam is young Master Jung, and as he is about to enter the Palace, he meets Princess Myeongeun (Yi Yeong’s sister), who’s no longer fat but who’s still clumsy.

The Princess (Consort Park’s child) goes back on her own to the room and the drawer from where she saw the Prime Minister murder the attendant. Later, she writes to Ra On, “When will we be able to open the door on our own and leave?”

Using the hand signals that Ra On taught the Princess, Yi Yeong tells Ra On that he loves her and that he wants her to stay by his side.

The next day, Ra On, dressed as a woman, meets Yi Yeong in the garden.

But unknown to them, the King has already ordered a state wedding for Yi Yeong.

Ra On agrees to stay in the Palace with Yi Yeong, and he starts to call her “Ra On” instead of “Eunuch Hong” or “Hong Sam-non.” They begin spending happy moments together, like when Ra On tells Yi Yeong the fairy tale of the mermaid and the Crown Prince.

The rebels become bolder as they scatter in broad daylight leaflets calling for a revolution. The King thus becomes more paranoid and orders that everyone in the Palace be searched. Yi Yeong vows to end the “wretched relationship” between the King, the Prime Minister, and Hong Gyung Nae.

The King wants to protect Yi Yeong and to win back the people’s hearts with a stable kingdom. He meets a government minister whose family isn’t controlled by the Kim clan and plans a marriage between Yi Yeong and the minister’s daughter.

The Prime Minister and the other ministers plan to derail the planned marriage. Later, the Prime Minister visits the pregnant and fretful Queen.

Ra On finds out about Yi Yeong’s upcoming marriage; as she seeks solace under a tree, Yoon-sung comes along. Later, Yoon-sung meets and speaks boldly with Yi Yeong.

Yi Yeong tells the King that he cannot marry someone for political reasons. When the King refuses to reconsider, Yi Yeong seeks advice from some people he trusts.

Yi Yeong has become fond of a young child who visits the Palace. But the search ordered by the King results in the child’s arrest. As the hysterical child is dragged away by soldiers, Byung-yeon remembers what happened to his father.

When Byung-yeon later on goes to the rebel headquarters, he’s suddenly surrounded and forced to kneel by other rebels. His rebel master then asks him why he lied about not finding “Hong Ra On.” The master draws his sword and raises it to kill Byung-yeon.

Episode 11: “A Promise”

Episode 10 recap:

The King plans a marriage between Yi Yeong and Ha-yeon, Minister Jo’s daughter. Yi Yeong doesn’t want a political marriage, but Ha-yeon tells her father that she’s willing to do everything to help the Crown Prince.

When the Queen frets about Yi Yeong becoming King, the Prime Minister tells her not to worry. He says: “You were a gisaeng, but I made you queen.”

Later, the Queen visits a pregnant court maid who has been locked up on her orders. Unknown even to the Prime Minister, a shaman has told the Queen that the baby she’s carrying is female; the Queen plans to switch babies at the right time.

Yoon-sung boldly tells Yi Yeong that he loves Ra On and that Yi Yeong must spare her the heartache of seeing all the preparations for his upcoming marriage.

Yi Yeong later on seeks help from Teacher Dasan and young Master Jung (who has become part of the Crown Prince Protectorate Office).

Yi Yeong has met in the Palace the young girl who sold the wish lanterns to him. But the soldiers find rebel leaflets in her wagon and arrest her. The King tells Yi Yeong to punish the girl severely and to make an example out of her. As the girl is taken away, Byung-yeon remembers his father who was accused of and killed for treason.

As the rebel leader is about to kill Byung-yeon, he is stopped by the rebel movement’s real leader — none other than Eunuch Han, the King’s faithful, old eunuch!

Eunuch Han promises that, at the next meeting of the “Baek Woon group,” he will bring Hong Ra On with him.

Yi Yeong finds a way that can allow Ra On to stay with him in the Palace as a woman. As Ra On waits happily for Yi Yeong, she meets Eunuch Kim who, to her shock, calls her “Hong Ra On.”

Eunuch Han, the King’s Eunuch tells Yi Yeong he met Ra On years ago and owes Ra On’s mother a huge debt. He also says that he knows why Ra On cannot be a eunuch.

Later, Eunuch Han meets Byung-yeon and tells him that the three kings he has served all became powerless during their reign.

Despite the stiff opposition from the ministers, Yi Yeong orders the young girl released from prison. But later on, the girl and her father are arrested when poison is found in the King’s food.

Yi Yeong remembers what his mother said years ago: “Protect every single person for they are all your people.” He then asks for help from some people in investigating the attempted poisoning in order to help the young girl and her father.

The Prime Minister tells the King that he has prepared the list of eligible women and that the King should rush Yi Yeong’s marriage. He also tells the King that he can help ease his burden by overseeing the selection of the bride.

The King urges Yi Yeong to marry Ha-yeon, Minister Jo’s daughter. But the Prime Minister meets with Minister Jo and presumes that the arranged marriage between Yoon-sung and Ha-yeon will push through.

Meanwhile, young master Jung starts stalking Princess Myeongeun (Yi Yeong’s sister).

The attempted poisoning of the King causes another search of the Palace, and Eunuch Sung (the Head Eunuch) finds woman’s clothes in Ra On’s quarters. He brings the clothes to the Queen, who orders that Ra On be brought to her. Despite Eunuch Sung’s fears about what Yi Yeong might do, the Queen orders Ra On to undress.

When Eunuch Jang informs Yi Yeong about Ra On and the Queen, Yi Yeong leaves Ha-yeon and rushes to the Queen’s quarters. But to everyone’s surprise, he orders Ra On to undress.

Episode 12: “Faith Becomes Destiny”

Episode 11 recap:

Yi Yeong tells the King’s Eunuch that he can repay his debt to Ra On’s mother by keeping Ra On’s true gender a secret. Later, the eunuch tells Ra On that he will call for her.

Byung-yeon asks the King’s Eunuch what can create hope for Joseon’s people. The eunuch says that the riots that happened ten years ago cannot create hope.

When the Queen insists on having Ra On undress, Yi Yeong challenges her by ordering Ra On to do so. Just then, the King’s Eunuch arrives and sternly warns the Queen: “What will the King say if you, the nation’s mother, while pregnant, looks at a man’s naked body?” He also puts Eunuch Sung on the spot by saying that Eunuch Sung himself has previously examined Ra On.

Yi Yeong tells the King that he will only marry the person he loves. When Ra On tells him that he should marry someone from a powerful family, he walks out on her.

The Prime Minister, meanwhile, warns Minister Jo not to back out of the arranged marriage between Yoon-sung and Ha-yeon.

Yi Yeong remembers the lesson he learned from his mother: “Do not judge by status, take care of the people, listen to your servants, and discern between flattery and counsel.” He then investigates the attempted poisoning, first with Ra On’s eunuch-friend and later, with Teacher Dasan. They both confirm to Yi Yeong that the substance found in the King’s food isn’t poison; the Royal Physicians were just too afraid to contradict the Prime Minister.

The young girl and her father are released from prison, and the girl gets her wish of seeing the King.

Teacher Dasan turns out to be Ra On’s grandfather, and they have a bittersweet reunion at the Palace.

Yi Yeong has asked Teacher Dasan how Ra On can stay with him in the Palace as a woman. While Teacher Dasan has counseled him, he also tells Yi Yeong, “Ra On needs someone else, not you.”

After talking with Teacher Dasan, Yi Yeong promises Ra On that if she waits, he will create for her a Joseon where everyone will be happy. He then tells Ra On that he has found her mother.

Ra On and her mother are reunited, despite Teacher Dasan’s words of caution to Yi Yeong.

Eunuch Han (the King’s eunuch) visits Ra On’s mother later on.

Byung-yeon secretly places the stolen “Book of Records” with the petitions meant for Yi Yeong. He then reports to Eunuch Han and asks him when he will tell Ra On the truth. Eunuch Han answers, “When the Crown Prince cannot do anything anymore.”

The petitions allege the corruption engaged in by Minister Kim Eui Gyo, and the “Book of Records” details the bribes given to him by those who seek government positions.

Minister Kim talks with the Prime Minister, Yoon-sung, and another minister about the “Book of Records” that was stolen by the Hong Gyae Nae rebels. Their spy arrives later on and tells them that the rebel leader’s child is someone named “Hong Ra On.”

While Yi Yeong is searching for Byung-yeon in his quarters, he finds some bloody clothes and a rebel mask. Later, Yi Yeong finds out that Byung-yeon lied to him about being injured in a training session.

Several nights later, about a dozen men wearing rebel masks attack the East Palace. They kill the court attendants, capture Ra On, and corner Yi Yeong.

Episode 13: “Tenderly Goodbye”

Episode 12 recap:

Teacher Dasan cautions Yi Yeong that reuniting Ra On with her mother might harm him later on. But Yi Yeong says, “I will not separate family for my gain.” Teacher Dasan replies, “Destiny is neither created because you wish it to be nor avoided because you wish to.”

Ra On’s mother becomes alarmed upon learning that Ra On is working in the Palace and is in love with the Crown Prince. When Eunuch Han (the King’s eunuch) visits her later, she pleads with him not to involve Ra On with the rebels and their plans.

Y Yeong dismisses Minister Kim for corruption. Later on, Minister Kim plans with another minister about scaring Yi Yeong into submission by sending their men — wearing rebel masks — to attack the East Palace.

Yoon-sung has always known Ra On as “Hong Sam-non,” but he overhears Yi Yeong call her “Ra On.” He realizes that Ra On is the rebel leader’s daughter. Later on, he kills the spy who has found out that “Hong Ra On” is working in the Palace as a eunuch.

Yoon-sung then warns Yi Yeong that Ra On must leave the Palace or else harm will come to both of them. But Yi Yeong refuses to believe him.

When Minister Kim’s men attack the East Palace, Yoon-sung rescues Yi Yeong and Ra On. In the bloody fight that ensues, Yi Yeong gets slashed several times. When a masked attacker raises his sword to finish Yi Yeong off, Yi Yeong asks him, “Is it you, Byung-yeon?” But the attacker is killed by Byung-yeon himself.

Days later, after Yi Yeong recovers from his wounds, Ra On visits her mother at Teacher Dasan’s house. She overhears her mother say that she has protected Ra On from finding out that she is the rebel leader’s daughter.

Ra On’s mother wants her to leave the Palace immediately, but Ra On says that she has to say goodbye to Yi Yeong first.

For the next few days, Ra On takes care of Yi Yeong all by herself. Yi Yeong thinks that she’s becoming jealous and possessive, but as Ra On watches him about to go to sleep, she says, “There are moments when ordinary things and everyday life become precious.”

Yi Yeong and Yoon-sung meet each other for the first time after the attack, and they wonder why things turned out the way they have.

At the assembly of ministers, Yi Yeong is surprised to see Minister Kim Eui Gyo whom he has dismissed for corruption (and who masterminded the attack). But what surprises everyone, including the Prime Minister, is when Minister Jo speaks up.

Ha-yeon meets Eunuch Hong (aka Ra On) and confides her frustrations with and hopes for her unrequited love for Yi Yeong. Later, acting on Ra On’s advice, Ha-yeon visits Yi Yeong at the library.

Young Master Jung decides it’s time to declare his love for Princess Myeongeun.

The pregnant court maid whom the Queen has been hiding gives birth to a baby boy.

Yi Yeong finds out from young Master Jung who the attackers might be. But when Yi Yeong goes to where the surviving attacker is being interrogated, the Prime Minister intervenes.

The Prime Minister reports to the King that the rebel leader’s young daughter is someone named “Hong Ra On” and is audaciously living in the Palace. The King thus orders a thorough search and questioning of all young court maids.

Episode 14: “Foggy Path”

Episode 13 recap:

Yi Yeong tells Yoon-sung that before the attack, it was hard to see him for himself. Yoon-sung replies that it may be because he’s the sole heir of the Kim family.

Later, Yoon-sung warns Ra On that for her safety, she must leave the Palace immediately.

Ha-yeon tells Yi Yeong that he can marry her for the power and influence that her family will provide him. She says, “I will be your nest; you can use my family to fly high and accomplish your great objectives.” Yi Yeong cautions her that he cannot give her his love and that she’ll be “desperately lonely.” Ha-yeon replies, “I don’t care since our marriage will merely be a transaction for mutual gain.”

Ha-yeon conveniently doesn’t tell Yi Yeong what she told Ra On: “I will be patient. The day may come when he accepts my love for him.”

Young Master Jung visits Princess Myeongeun and declares his love for her.

Yi Yeong learns from young Master Jung that the attackers were not really rebels. But when Yi Yeong goes to see the surviving attacker being interrogated, the Prime Minister kills the attacker. Yi Yeong then threatens the Prime Minister with a sword.

When Yoon-sung visits the Queen in her quarters, he hears the faint cries of a baby.

Eunuch Kim — the King’s eunuch and the Baekwoon group leader — overhears the Prime Minister telling the King that the rebel leader’s daughter is “Hong Ra On.” He later orders Byung-yeon to take Ra On to the rebel group’s headquarters.

But Byung-yeon disobeys Eunuch Kim and asks Yoon-sung to take Ra On and hide her in a safe place.

Yi Yeong sees all the young court maids in the Palace being gathered by the soldiers. He’s shocked when the minister tells him that the rebel leader’s daughter is someone named “Hong Ra On.” When he goes to Jahyeondang, he sees the eternity bracelet placed on top of Ra On’s neatly-folded uniform.

Yoon-sung helps Ra On escape from the Palace.

At their hiding place, Ra On’s mother tells her that when she realized that she’d never go hungry with her father, she asked him to marry her. Ra On replies that her father never had a romantic bone in his body.

With Ra On gone, Yi Yeong’s mood darkens even further when he learns about how the corrupt ministers are taxing even babies and those already dead.

Under a full moon, Yi Yeong begins to remember his conversation with Ra On about the moon. Much later, he sees the eternity bracelet on his wrist and starts to take it off.

Young Master Jung tells Yi Yeong that Minister Kim Eui Gyo could have been involved in the attack. But later on, when the Prime Minister justifies the minister’s actions, Yi Yeong begins thinking that Ra On could possibly have helped the attackers by opening the gate for them.

Yoon-sung visits Ra On at her hiding place, and they spend time together watching a full moon.

Young Master Jung visits Princess Myeongeun again.

The selection process for Crown Princess begins.

The Queen gives birth, and she switches her baby girl with the court maid’s baby boy.

The Prime Minister tells the other ministers that “Eunuch Hong” is “Hong Ra On,” the rebel leader’s daughter. When he says that he knows where Hong Ra On is hiding, the other ministers urge him to have her arrested immediately.

Episode 15: “All The Lies That Appeared True”

Episode 14 recap:

Ra On’s mother tells her about what her father was like: “A field to work, rice to eat when you’re hungry, a small house to sleep in at night, those were all your father wanted.”

Yi Yeong senses that Yoon-sung knows where Ra On is, but Yoon-sung tells him, “You and I cannot share any information with each other even if we know something anyway.”

Yi Yeong walks past Ha-yeon without looking at or acknowledging her. Offended, Ha-yeon says, “I envy you. I wish I can walk past as if I did not see you. You are breaking my heart.”

Yi Yeong replies sarcastically, “Why do you look at me that way? You said our marriage will merely be a transaction.”

Ha-yeon gets rattled and says, “Is love the only emotion that a man and a woman can have toward each other? We may have to make transactions together for life.”

Yi Yeong remembers what he told Ra On about the moon: “Whether you see it from the Palace or from a farm, the moon is simply the moon. I may be the Crown Prince, but it does not matter whoever you are. Whenever it is and wherever we are, it’s fine as long as our hearts are the same just like that moon.”

At the lake, Ra On looks at the moon through Yoon-sung’s binoculars.

Young Master Jung proves to be a smooth talker and a fast mover when he visits Princess Myeongeun.

When the Queen gives birth, her attendant and Eunuch Sung get rid of the baby girl, but Yoon-sung sees everything. Later, the ministers begin planning to replace Yi Yeong with the baby boy as the Crown Prince.

During the selection for Crown Princess, Ha-yeon tells the King, “I will love the Crown Prince with all my heart until the end. It’s because I believe that true love is the only thing that will enable me to be patient and to sacrifice myself for His Highness.”

Ha-yeon is selected as the Crown Princess. But when she visits Yi Yeong at the garden, he coldly tells her, “Never visit this place ever again.” Yi Yeong then leaves, with Ha-yeon completely brokenhearted.

Looking at Ra On’s eternity bracelet, Yi Yeong starts to take off the bracelet on his wrist, but he stops. He remembers what he told Ra On (before she was reunited with her mother) about not giving up.

When Ra On finds out that a Crown Princess has been selected, she grieves near her favorite lake. When Yoon-sung comes along, she tells him, “I hate myself for wanting to ask these things about the Crown Prince when you are so kind to me. So, please do not come to this place again.”

Yoon-sung replies, “It’s alright. I think about shameful things as well. I wonder if you would open up to me after all these miserable days are gone. You may cry; I will not hope or delude myself.”

When Ra On starts crying, she says, “I was trying not to cry, but my heart is aching so much.”

Later at the appointed time and place that Eunuch Kim wrote to Ra On, she is shocked to see Yi Yeong instead. But unknown to them both, it’s a trap set by the Prime Minister; he wants to drag Yi Yeong down as Crown Prince for having intimate relations with the rebel leader’s daughter. Soldiers begin surrounding the house.

Yi Yeong expected the meeting with Ra On to be a trap. And so, as the soldiers led by Minister Kim arrive, he asks Byung-yeon to lead Ra On to safety.

The Queen meets Ha-yeon in her quarters and messes with her mind as to Yi Yeong’s masculinity.

In their new hiding place, Ra On asks what her mother’s life was like with her father.

When the Prime Minister compliments the Queen on her handsome baby, Yoon-sung asks her, “Are you happy?”

Later on, the Prime Minister finds out that Yoon-sung is in love, of all people, with Hong Ra On, the rebel leader’s daughter.

The Baekwoon group leaders and Byung-yeon meet to discuss the possibility of someone in the group having become a traitor. The suspicion begins to fall on Byung-yeon.

Eunuch Han (the King’s eunuch) visits Ra On in her new hiding place.

Yi Yeong asks Byung-yeon to set up a meeting between him and Ra On. Meanwhile, someone visits Ra On’s mother at the hiding place.

The royal wedding has been set. The Palace is prepared, and the ministers start arriving. But as Yi Yeong leaves his quarters, Eunuch Jang tells him that the King has collapsed.

Episode 16: “The World You Dream Of”

Episode 15 recap:

At the meeting place, Yi Yeong tells Ra On: “I will listen to you. No matter what lie you tell, I will believe it.” Later with soldiers almost upon them, Ra On tells Yi Yeong: “Don’t be curious about where I am. Regardless of what news you hear about me, please don’t be swayed. That’s what I will do as well.”

Ra On’s mother tells her about what she expected of her father: “Rather than someone who does great deeds, I needed a family with whom I could eat, sleep, laugh, and cry together. How could I not hate him?” Ra On teases her: “You miss him and long for him.”

Yoon-sung has taken the Queen’s real baby and entrusted it to a gisaeng.

Later, by comparing the wanted poster and Yoon-sung’s drawings, the Prime Minister realizes that Yoon-sung is in love with Ra On. When he reminds Yoon-sung that he has made long-range plans for their family and for him in particular, Yoon-sung replies, “Even if it’s poorly-planned and humble, I will draw my own future by myself.”

The traitor turns out to be Byung-yeon’s immediate superior. But before he could make a public confession, he’s found dead in his jail cell. Yi Yeong becomes suspicious of the two ministers whom he sees in the prison.

When Byung-yeon tells Yi Yeong that Ra On has to move away from the capital for her safety, Yi Yeong asks him to set up a final meeting with Ra On.

Ra On remembers Eunuch Han’s advice about making a clean break with Yi Yeong: “While untangling your thread, when you face a knot that is impossible to untangle, you must cut it off, without holding back. Do what’s best for the Crown Prince.”

And so, when Ra On meets Yi Yeong, she pulls out a knife and says: “Right this moment that I am with you is the most dangerous moment for me. Only one word from you could get me arrested. Many things have changed when you did not know my identity. I heard that the King is suffering from his mind’s illness, which he got because of my father 10 years ago. You must resent my father as well. I feel resentful also. Who accused my father of being an evil rebel and killed him?”

When Yi Yeong tries to take the knife away from Ra On, he unintentionally cuts the eternity bracelet on his wrist. He then says, “I know what you mean. I won’t ask you to meet again.”

At the royal wedding, Yi Yeong is about to leave his quarters, but Eunuch Jang rushes to tell him that the King has collapsed.

Ra On’s father — the infamous rebel leader Hong Gyae Nae — is alive and has been arrested.

The wedding is cancelled as the King collapses upon finding out the the rebel leader Hong Gyae Nae is alive and has been arrested.

Everyone is in shock that Hong Gyae Nae is alive — Ra On and her mother, Eunuch Han, and the people in the capital.

The Prime Minister urges the King to interrogate Hong Gyae Nae himself and later to have him executed. On the other hand, Eunuch Han tells Byung-yeon that they must rescue Hong Gyae Nae at all costs.

Ha-yeon sees Ra On’s wanted poster and begins wondering about the mysterious woman whom Yi Yeong loves.

When Eunuch Han visits Ra On and her mother at a new hiding place, Ra On begs him to find a way for her to see and talk to her father. When Ra On says, “The whole nation knows about my father, except me,” Eunuch Han reluctantly agrees.

But at the Palace, Ra On is recognized first by Minister Kim Eui Gyo and later by Eunuch Sung (the Queen’s eunuch). The Prime Minister orders that the whole Palace must be locked down, and soldiers then begin searching for Ra On.

Episode 17: “An Ending For A Beginning”

Episode 16 recap:

Ha-yeon sees that the eternity bracelet is no longer on Yi Yeong’s wrist, and reflecting on past events, she realizes that Ra On is the mysterious woman whom Yi Yeong loves.

Disguised as a soldier, Ra On meets Byung-yeon inside the Palace. Ra On realizes that he’s a part of the rebel group. At the jail, Ra On sees but is unable to speak with her father. She drops a handkerchief with a white egret embroidered on it. As she and Byung-yeon walk away from the jail, she is recognized by Minister Kim Eui Gyo.

At the jail, Yi Yeong tells Hong Gyae Nae, “I’ve lost something very precious because of you. When he asks Hong Gyae Nae why he wants to kill the King, Hong Gyae Nae replies, “A leader is placed for the people’s sake. It’s not for one man alone to sit high above everyone else and fulfill his selfish desires. A leader for the people must be chosen by the people.”

After finding Ra On and Byung-yeon at Jahyeondang, Yi Yeong finds a way for Ra On to meet her father. Her father tells her, “I wanted to change the world into something that’s slightly better for you to live in.” Ra On replies, “Even if you couldn’t change the world, you could have been a there for me, as a father.”

As Ra On and Yi Yeong walk back towards Jahyeondang, Eunuch Sung sees them and reports it to the Queen. But Yoon-sung threatens the Queen that if she says anything about Ra On, he will reveal the truth about her real baby.

Before Hong Gyae Nae is interrogated, Yi Yeong visits him again and asks, “If a leader is chosen by the people, won’t he become the people’s puppet?” Hong Gyae Nae replies, “A King chosen by the people is different. He will consider himself equal to the people as a human being.” Yi Yeong replies, “The world I dream of isn’t different from the world you dream of. Let’s find a way without bloodshed how we can walk together toward the world we dream of.”

While Hong Gyae Nae is being interrogated, the Prime Minister’s men capture Ra On. She is brought before everyone, and the Prime Minister accuses Yi Yeong of being intimate with the rebel leader’s daughter. He then dares Yi Yeong to disprove the accusation by killing Ra On.

In her mind, Ra On tells Yi Yeong, “From this moment on, please stop loving me. Please remember me as the rebel leader’s daughter.” And remembering Yi Yeong’s mother, Ra On also says, “I don’t want to leave you with the horrible pain of guilt that you couldn’t protect the woman you love.”

When a soldier raises his sword to kill Ra On, Yi Yeong draws Byung-yeon’s sword. The rebels, disguised as soldiers and jail guards and placed there by Eunuch Han, move quickly to save Ra On and Hong Gyae Nae. And Byung-yeon finally reveals himself to be one of the rebels by threatening to kill Yi Yeong.

With Byung-yeon threatening to kill Yi Yeong, Ra On and her father are able to escape from the interrogation place. But Byung-yeon is shot with arrows and slashed with a sword.

As Byung-yeon lies critically wounded, Yi Yeong cradles him and tells him that he’s still the only person in the world whom he trusts. Byung-yeon flashes back to lantern festival and remembers the wish for Yi Yeong that he wrote on his wish lantern — “May we be nothing but friends in our final moment.”

Ra On, her father, and the rebels are blocked at the Palace gate, but Eunuch Han intervenes with the guards.

One month later …

Yi Yeong spends his time going to gisaeng houses and gambling dens. The ministers and scholars continue to pressure the King to dethrone Yi Yeong as the Crown Prince. But Minister Jo and Crown Princess Ha-yeon continue to support him.

The Prime Minister tells the Queen that her son will soon become the next Crown Prince. The Queen’s delight, however, is tempered when she remembers Yoon-sung’s warning.

The Prime Minister consoles Yi Yeong that being dethroned isn’t that bad; he can have a long and happy life like other dethroned princes before him. But Yi Yeong says that he can’t leave as Crown Prince yet when the Prime Minister is still controlling the court.

Episode 18: “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds”

Episode 17 recap:

Eunuch Han dies as he helps Ra On and her father escape from the Palace.

Yoon-sung and Eunuch Jang discover that Byung-yeon is still alive.

Yi Yeong pretends to be wasting his time as he goes to gisaeng houses and gambling dens. But he’s actually visiting the recovering but still unconscious Byung-yeon. He’s also consulting Teacher Dasan on how to break the power of the Prime Minister and the Kim family.

When Yoon-sung tells the Queen to confess what she has done in switching the babies, the Prime Minister overhears their conversation.

At the assembly, Yi Yeong methodically exposes how the two ministers from the Kim family masterminded the attack against him at the East Palace. The two ministers are arrested, while the Prime Minister does and says nothing.

Yi Yeong brings the Queen’s real baby into the Palace, and the Queen sees Ha-yeon taking care of the baby.

The Prime Minister tells the Queen that her son will no longer be the next Crown Prince. But the Queen threatens that she will expose what the Prime Minister has done — pretending that she is his daughter when she actually grew up in a gisaeng house not knowing who her real parents are.

The Prime Minister begins thinking again of making Yoon-sung as Joseon’s next King. But Yoon-sung and Yi Yeong have already come to an understanding about their lives and destinies.

Yi Yeong tells Byung-yeong about the new nation that he will create and that he will bring Ra On back to him again. Unknown to Yi Yeong, Ra On hears everything that he’s saying.

Ha-yeon brings to Yi Yeong the medicine that the Royal Physicians have prepared. When she senses that something is wrong with the medicine, she tries to stop Yi Yeong from taking the medicine, but she’s too late. Yi Yeong collapses.

Yi Yeong has been poisoned, and Teacher Dasan rushes to the Palace to treat him. Disguised as a nurse, Ra On helps take care of Yi Yeong. But as Ha-yeon arrives, she hurriedly leaves. Ha-yeon, however, seems to have recognized her.

Based on Teacher Dasan’s explanation, Yi Yeong remarks to Consort Park about the similarities between what happened to him and to his mother years ago. Hearing Yi Yeong words causes the Princess (Consort Park’s daughter) to be anxious. She remembers the elderly court maid who was killed by the Prime Minister years ago.

With Ra On’s help, the Princess goes back to the room where she witnessed the murder. She remembers the court lady hiding a letter. As she struggles to speak, she points out to Ra On where the court lady hid the letter.

But unknown to them, one of the Prime Minister’s men sees them and recognizes Ra On. The Prime Minister orders his men to bring Ra On to him, dead or alive.

Episode 18 recap:

Yi Yeong recovers from the poisoning attempt and sees Ra On at his bedside, taking care of him and wearing the eternity bracelet. But as he expresses his love for her, Ha-yeon sees and hears everything.

The Queen and Eunuch Sung try again to get rid of her real baby, but Yi Yeong catches them.

The Princess and Ra On find the letter that the court lady wanted to give to Yi Yeong years ago. Ra On gives the letter to Yi Yeong, who in turn gives it to the King.

Yoon-sung volunteers to the Prime Minister to lead the men who will take Ra On. But at Jahyeondang, he engages the men in a bloody sword fight to save Ra On. He, in turn, is fatally wounded. In his dying moments, he tells Ra On: “You are the drawing that I have always wanted to draw. If you’re happy in the moment I draw you, then everything is okay. So, please be happy.”

The Prime Minister is expelled, the two ministers who planned the attack against Yi Yeong are beheaded, and the Queen is dethroned. Later, the Prime Minister commits suicide by shooting himself with Yoon-sung’s gun.

Teacher Dasan becomes the new Prime Minister. Young Master Jung, now also a minister, proposes to Princess Myeongeun.

Ha-yeon’s coronation as Crown Princess is invalidated by the King, and she’s free to marry anyone she chooses.

Ra On is pardoned of all her crimes and becomes a bookseller, with Yi Yeong visiting her often.

As Hong Gyae Nae and Byung-yeon watch a disguised Yi Yeong mixing with the common folks, Byung-yeon says: “The King is not like the sun that shines by itself, but like the moon that shines when surrounded by the people.”

Historical backgrounders and other information

1. Crown Prince Hyomyeong (from Wikipedia)

Crown Prince Hyomyeong (18 September 1809 - 25 June 1830), born Yi Yeong and posthumously called King Munjo, was a prince of the Joseon Dynasty.

The prince is the eldest son of King Sunjo, husband of Queen Senjong and father of King Heonjong.

In 1817, the prince was admitted to the Sungkyunkwan. In 1819, he was titled Crown Prince of Joseon. A genius in literature and the arts, he created several court dances to validate and augment the King’s control over the government.

Known to have pursued various political reforms, the prince served as Regent in 1827 until his death 3 years later at age 20.

Related articles:

Crown Prince Hyomyeong and Court Dancing

Hyomyeong, The Crown Prince Who Loved Dancing

2. Kim Byung-yeon (Yi Yeong’s bodyguard in this drama) is based on the historical figure who was a “famous revolutionary Joseon poet.”

3. King Sunjo (Yi Yeong’s father) is haunted by nightmares of dead persons. Wikipedia explains:

Since he ascended the throne at a young age, Queen Dowager Jeongsun, the second queen of King Yeongjo, ruled as queen regent, which allowed her to wield power over state affairs. Despite King Sunjo’s efforts to reform politics, the fundamental principles of government deteriorated. The state examination became disordered and corruption in the government personnel administration prevailed. This resulted in disorder in society and various kinds of riots broke out among the people, including the revolt by Hong Gyeongnae.

4. Episode 4 introduces the character “Master Jeong” (aka Teacher Dasan), who is based on the historical adviser of King Sunjo. The character is played by Ahn Nae-sang, who also played the King in Episode 1-6 of “The Moon That Embraces The Sun” (where Kim Yoo-jung also appeared in). Later on, Ahn Nae-sang played the adoptive father of Kim Yoo-jung’s character in “May Queen.”

5. Up until Episode 4, we still don’t know why Ra On is masquerading as a boy. The drama will, of course, reveal later on the reason, but one reason could be her family’s involvement in the historical “Hong Gyeong-Nae rebellion.”

Funny scenes, memorable scenes (video reviews)

The videos below do not have English sub, and so, I’ve provided summaries of what the scenes are all about. After clicking the “Play” button, click “Watch on YouTube” for the video to open in a new tab.

1. Ra On’s dance in Episode 4:

With the principal dancer missing, Ra On decides to dress up in the dancer’s clothes. She then goes to the venue and presents a beautiful dance. She mesmerizes everyone, especially Yi Yeong because the dance was based on his childhood memories of his mother dancing under the rain.

2. How Ra On passes the eunuch’s physical exam:

Ra On’s friends pass their physical exam. But she refuses to drop her pants even when ordered by the examiner. Just then, another eunuch comes in, announcing that the Queen has fainted. As the examiner hastily leaves, he drops the seal, and the seal lands on Ra On’s record. The seal lands halfway between “Pass” and “Fail.” The eunuch who takes over doesn’t know if Ra On passed or failed, but he finally says, “Hong Sam-non, pass!”

3. The drunken puppy bites the Crown Prince’s finger

While Yi Yeong and Kim Byung-yeon are drinking, Ra On suddenly appears between them. She asks Yi Yeong who he really is — a young master, a warrior, or a eunuch? She then asks Byung-yeon if he’s a ghost who lives in that dark, deserted hall, but Byung-yeon simply glares at her.

Ra On then sees the silver pin on Yi Yeong’s hair, and she reaches up to touch it. But Byung-yeon quickly grabs her hand and orders her not to touch Yi Yeong. Yi Yeong tells him to relax.

Yi Yeong is about to drink some wine, but Ra On snatches the cup from him and drinks it. Not satisfied, she drinks the whole bottle of wine.

As Ra On drunkenly laments her life, she annoys Yi Yeong and Byung-yeon. Byung-yeon agrees with Yi Yeong that a puppy must be trained harshly in order to become obedient. And so, Yi Yeong begins training the puppy (aka Ra On) to follow directions with his finger. But the image of the Head Eunuch appears in Ra On’s mind. She thinks that she’s going to be tossed out of the Palace anyway, and so, she bites down hard on Yi Yeong’s finger.

Lessons in photography from “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds”

From Episode 3: selective or differential focusing

From Episode 3: shooting the sun, golden hours

From Episode 3: natural frame, local frame

From Episode 3: shallow depth of field

From Episode 3: selective or differential focusing

From Episode 4: shallow depth of field; selective or differential focusing

From Episode 4: picture diagonal (composition); shallow depth of field

From Episode 4: low angle shot, low angle point of view

From Episode 4: natural frame (local frame)

From Episode 4: shallow depth of field; selective or differential focusing

From Episode 4: compressed or stacked perspective

From Episode 5: natural frame, scale

From Episode 5: line of direction

From Episode 5: low angle shot / low angle point of view, shooting the sun

From Episode 5: shooting against the light

From Episode 6: silhouette, shooting the sun

From Episode 7: natural frames, rule of thirds

From Episode 7: out-of-focus foliage serving as partial frame

From Episode 8: scale, focus on the eyes, line of direction

From Episode 9: shape, natural frames

From Episode 9: reflections

From Episode 10: rule of thirds, partial frame, low angle shot

From Episode 10: shooting at night

From Episode 10: rule of thirds, silhouette, golden hours

From Episode 11: rule of thirds, diagonal line, out-of-focus images
used as partial frame, compressed perspective,
hidden geometric pattern

From Episode 11: rule of thirds, low angle shot, golden hours

From Episode 11: rule of thirds, low angle shot, golden hours

From Episode 12: linear perspective, foreground interest

From Episode 12: high angle shot

From Episode 12: diagonal lines

From Episode 12: out-of-focus image used as partial frame,
compressed perspective

From Episode 13: partial frame (tree branch on the left),
out-of-focus foliage on the bottom portion as natural frame,
compressed or stacked perspective

From Episode 13: compressed perspective or stacked perspective
(it’s not the focal length of the lens that produces this perspective
but the camera-to-subject distance)

From Episode 13: aerial perspective, scale

From Episode 14: rule of thirds

From Episode 14: out-of-focus highlights (Japanese term: bokeh)

From Episode 15: reflections

From Episode 15: out-of-focus images as natural frames

From Episode 15: bokeh (out-of-focus highlights)

From Episode 15: rule of thirds, partial frame,
aerial perspective

From Episode 16: out-of-focus images
used as foreground frames

From Episode 16: rack focus (focus in, focus out)

From Episode 16: rack focus (focus in, focus out)

From Episode 16: creating depth with foreground blur
and background blur

From Episode 16: Bokeh (out-of-focus highlights)

From Episode 17: low angle shot (low angle point of view)

From Episode 17: line of direction, shallow depth of field

From Episode 17: rule of thirds, shallow depth of field,
compressed perspective

From Episode 18: shooting against the light

From Episode 18: shallow depth of field, compressed perspective,
color temperature (warm and cool colors)

From Episode 18: light tones impart cheerful, open, and optimistic mood


Unknown said...

Great piece of work! I'm also a fan of Kim Yoo Jung & I'm really glad she got to play lead in this drama. :)

Anonymous said...

1. Watch Episode 7 preview from KBS World at

Rumors begin circulating that Yi Yeong is looking at Eunuch Hong (Ra On) in a special way.

Yoon-sung gives Ra On the dress she wanted in Episode 4.

Ra On sees Yi Yeong speaking with Ha-yeon and gets a wee bit jealous.

2. Dramabeans reports that "Moonlight" will be extended up to 20 episodes. The studio has confirmed the extension, but the drama's producers and creative people seem wary about the extension.