Tuesday, February 14, 2017

“The Moon That Embraces The Sun” spoiler-free synopsis by episode (Eps. 1-20) with embedded videos of memorable scenes





Official trailer with English sub (may contain some spoilers)



Music video



Music video

From Wikipedia: “Moon Embracing the Sun” (also known as “The Moon That Embraces the Sun” or “The Sun and the Moon”) is a 2012 South Korean television drama series, starring Kim Soo-hyun, Han Ga-in, Jung Il-woo and Kim Min-seo.

The historical-fantasy drama is adapted from the novel of the same name written by Jung Eun-gwol. It tells of a secret, poignant love story between a fictional king of the Joseon Dynasty and a female shaman against the backdrop of a Korean traditional palace; and the conflicts and conspiracy of vying political powers.

The drama reached a peak rating of 42.2%, thereby gaining "National Drama" status. It won the Best Drama and Best Actor awards in the television category at the 48th Baeksang Arts Awards, and multiple awards at 2012 MBC Drama Awards, including Drama of the Year.
Jump to synopsis of Episode 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; Free 500-plus interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises based on “The Moon That Embraces The Sun” and other Korean historical dramas (external link); Lessons in photography from “The Moon That Embraces The Sun”

How I made these synopses spoiler-free


(1) I assumed that you will be reading these synopses 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 synopsis starting with Episode 2, I placed in a table a summary 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 “Six Flying Dragons,” “The Flower in Prison,” “A Jewel in the Palace,” “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds,” “Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People,” “Jumong,” and “Saimdang, Light’s Diary.”)

Episode 1


The Queen Mother and Lord Yoon conspire against Prince Uiseong, the younger half-brother of King Seongjo. But Ari, a shaman from Seongsucheon witnesses everything. (Seongsucheon is the government bureau in charge of the shamanic rituals for the Royal family.)

On the run, Ari meets the pregnant Lady Shin in the woods. Later, she has visions of Lady Shin’s future daughter.

Ari is eventually captured, and Lord Yoon tortures her to confess Prince Uiseong’s treasonous plot.

Lady Shin gives birth to a daughter whom she names Yeon-woo.

Years later ...

Lady Shin and Yeon-woo attend a ceremony at the palace where King Seongjo will welcome those who passed the civil service and military exams. Yeon-woo’s brother Yeom placed first in the civil service exams, while Yeom’s best friend Woon topped the military exams.

Also attending the ceremony are Lord Yoon (now the Minister of Personnel) and Yeon-woo’s father Heo Young-jae (Chief Scholar of the Office of Special Advisors).

But during the ceremony, Yeon-woo gets distracted and wanders off to an isolated place in the palace. There, she meets a young man trying to climb over the wall.

When King Seongjo orders a reshuffling of the royal tutors, the Queen Mother orders Minister Yoon to place their allies as the new tutors of Crown Prince Lee Hwon.

Prince Yang-myung, the half-brother of Crown Prince Lee Hwon, arrives in the capital after wandering around Joseon. As he thinks about what gifts to give to his best friends (Yeom and Woon) and the girl of his dreams, he hears about the mystical stones that can cure any sickness. Lining up to buy some of these stones, he meets Nok-young (Ari’s friend and the current State Shaman).

A fight later breaks out between Prince Yang-myung and the men selling the mystical stones.



Episode 2


Episode 1 recap: As Prince Yang-myung watches her from atop a wall, Yeon-woo finds out that the young man whom she accused of being a thief is none other than Crown Prince Lee Hwon.

Prince Yang-myung enjoys a happy reunion with his best friends Yeom and Woon. But the mood turns serious when their talk turns to Yeon-woo and Crown Prince Lee Hwon.

Yeom is selected to be the Literature tutor, but Crown Prince Lee Hwon feels insulted that Yeom is only 17 years old.

That night, Yeom asks Yeon-woo how he can clear up the misunderstanding between him and Crown Prince Lee Hwon.

During their next meeting, Yeom challenges Crown Prince Lee Hwon that if he can answer his riddle, he will quit as the Literature tutor.

While Crown Prince Lee Hwon is going through books looking for the riddle’s answer, his sister Princess Min-hwa arrives and tells him that the answer is so easy.

As Crown Prince Lee Hwon and Yeom argue about the riddle’s answer, King Seongjo and Chief Scholar Heo are outside the Crown Prince’s quarters listening.

Yeon-woo takes her servant Seol to buy some paper at the market. After Seol leaves to go to the blacksmith, Prince Yang-myung arrives at the paper store.

As it starts to rain, Prince Yang-myung takes Yeon-woo to his greenhouse. While they’re talking about King Seongjo, Yeon-woo remembers what Crown Prince Lee Hwon said about Prince Yang-myung.

Unknown to Yeon-woo, her servant Seol has been accused of being a thief and is being beaten in the home of a government official.

During their next session, Yeom brings to Crown Prince Lee Hwon a gift from Yeon-woo. While they’re talking, Princess Min-hwa shows up.


Later, Crown Prince Lee Hwon reads the letter that Yeon-woo sent. She asks him to forget everything that happened that day they met at the palace.

When King Seongjo rejects Princess Min-hwa’s request that she study with Yeom as her teacher, Minister Yoon proposes a solution.

State Shaman Nok-young visits her friend Ari’s grave. Later, on the Queen Mother’s order, she goes to the palace. At the palace gate, she becomes startled as she sees Yeon-woo and Bo-kyung (Minister Yoon’s daughter).

Episode 3


Episode 2 recap:

Yeon-woo rescues Seol from being beaten by Bo-kyung’s servants.

Crown Prince Lee Hwon is amazed by Yeon-woo’s calligraphy and deep knowledge of poetry.

Yeon-woo and Bo-kyung are chosen to be Princess Min-hwa’s study partners.

State Shaman Nok-young realizes that Yeon-woo is the girl that Ari asked her to protect.
Crown Prince Lee Hwon finds out that Yeon-woo is one of the two girls chosen to be Princess Min-hwa’s study partner. Despite his eunuch Hyung-sun’s protest, he sends a note to Yeon-woo asking to meet her in secret.

Yeon-woo and Bo-kyung are brought before the Queen Mother. Unknown to the girls, State Shaman Nok-young is secretly observing them.

Prince Yang-myung goes to the palace, and Crown Prince Lee Hwon asks him to play “cuju” (Joseon football) with him, Yeom, Woon, and some royal guards. Finding out about the game, Princess Min-hwa takes Yeon-woo to watch the game.

After watching the game, Princess Min-hwa, Yeon-woo, and Bo-kyung return to their study quarters. On their way, they meet King Seongjo.

Prince Yang-myung meets King Seongjo and makes what he calls his first and final request.

At home, Yeon-woo asks her servant Seol for advice about the letter she got from Crown Prince Lee Hwon (but without going into the details). Seol tells her that it’s cowardly not to confront the person who sent the threatening letter.

Minister Yoon learns about the letter and reports it to the Queen Mother.

The next day, Crown Prince Lee Hwon orders his eunuch to bring Yeon-woo to “Eunwolgak” (Hidden Moon) pavilion. But gossip soon circulates about the meeting, and it reaches the Queen. When King Seongjo learns about it, he orders Crown Prince Lee Hwon brought before him.

The Queen Mother pushes for the selection of Crown Prince Lee Hwon’s bride.

At the end-of-year ceremony at the palace, Crown Prince Lee Hwon meets Yeon-woo but coldly passes her by.



Episode 4


Episode 3 recap:

Prince Yang-myung asks his father King Seongjo to arrange his marriage to Yeon-woo.

Eunuch Hyung-sun thinks Bo-kyung is Yeon-woo and brings her to meet Crown Prince Lee Hwon.

While being scolded by King Seongjo, Crown Prince Lee Hwon reveals that he’s in love with Yeon-woo.

During the ceremony, Yeon-woo hears a voice telling her to flee. Later, Crown Prince Lee Hwon takes her to Eunwolgak, with Prince Yang-myung and Bo-kyung secretly watching from a distance.

After clearing up their previous misunderstanding, Crown Prince Lee Hwon tells Yeon-woo that he will definitely marry her.

The royal order prohibiting marriage and asking for all eligible girls to present themselves is posted all over the capital. But Crown Prince Lee Hwon is disappointed when Yeom tells him that Yeon-woo is not a candidate.

Yeon-woo’s father wants to obey the royal order, but Lady Shin reminds him of the possible consequences if Yeon-woo isn’t chosen.

Realizing that the Queen Mother has already chosen Bo-kyung as his bride, Crown Prince Lee Hwon talks to his father and pleads for a fair selection process. Later, he orders his eunuch to bring a Sungkyungkwan scholar to the palace in secret.

After meeting a disgruntled Prince Yang-myung, King Seongjo goes to see Princess Min-hwa, who tells him that she also wants to get married.

Yeom confronts Yeon-woo and discourages her from submitting her name as a candidate.

While arguing with the Queen Mother about the selection process, King Seongjo reminds her of how she plotted against his half-brother Prince Euisung.

The night before the first round of selection, Prince Yang-myung visits Yeon-woo and asks her to elope with him.

Episode 5


Episode 4 recap:

King Seongjo decides to directly choose who Crown Prince Lee Hwon’s bride will be, shutting out and angering the Queen Mother.

Yeon-woo is chosen as the Crown Princess, and on her first night alone at Eunwolgak, Crown Prince Lee Hwon surprises her with a puppet play.



The Queen Mother asks State Shaman Nok-young to invoke a shamanic curse against Yeon-woo.
Because of State Shaman Nok-young’s curse, Yeon-woo is cast out of the palace, with Minister Yoon and his minions calling for the punishment of her father Chief Scholar Heo and brother Yeom.

The Queen Mother calls for Crown Prince Lee Hwon and blames him for everything that’s happening and will happen to Yeon-woo and her family.

State Shaman Nok-young visits Yeon-woo’s father and tells him that exorcism is the only way to save Yeon-woo.

Crown Prince Lee Hwon escapes from the palace to see Yeon-woo.

Prince Yang-myung, meanwhile, is living far away from the capital and engages in brawls in pubs.

As Yeon-woo becomes more sick, Chief Scholar Heo sends Yeom away and sells Seol to a new master. He prepares the medicine that Shaman Nok-young prescribed and gives it to Yeon-woo.



Episode 6


Episode 5 recap:

Using the last ounce of her strength, Yeon-woo writes a letter to Crown Prince Hwon.

After drinking the medicine, Yeon-woo dies peacefully.
After Yeon-woo is buried, Prince Yang-myung confronts Crown Prince Lee Hwon and blames him for not protecting Yeon-woo.

Minister Yoon tells Bo-kyung that she will be the Crown Princess.

After State Shaman Nok-young gets the Queen Mother’s permission to leave her duties at Seongsucheon, she immediately goes to Yeon-woo’s grave.

Chief Scholar Heo is exiled, and Lady Shin breaks down emotionally and psychologically over Yeon-woo’s death.

Princess Min-hwa is overcome with fear and guilt over her role in Yeon-woo’s death.

Years later ...

After a game of golf (“Joseon polo”) with the ministers, King Lee Hwon takes them to the Office of the Royal Secretary where he berates them for preventing the people’s petitions from reaching him.

Minister Yoon uses the Grand Queen Mother’s fear of Prince Yang-myung, and together with Queen Bo-kyung, she pressures King Lee Hwon into taking a vacation in Ohnyang.

Prince Yang-myung goes back to the capital and stays at Yeom and Princess Min-hwa’s house. While walking alone at night, he imagines Yeon-woo walking beside him.

At the palace, King Lee Hwon wakes up after a dream. Together with his bodyguard Soon, he goes to Eunwolgak.

While performing a ritual on the mountain near Ohnyang, Shaman Nok-young senses a disturbance in the heavens.

Episode 7


Episode 6 recap:

The drug that Shaman Nok-young prepared didn't kill Yeon-woo; it placed her in a deep state similar to death.

Shaman Nok-young rescues Yeon-woo from her grave, but as a result of the shock of being buried alive, Yeon-woo loses all her memories. Shaman Nok-young tells her that she’s a shaman abandoned by her family.

As Shaman Nok-young goes to see the seer with Jan-shil, she warns Yeon-woo and Seol not to meet or befriend anyone. When the boat arrives at the port, Prince Yang-myung gets off it and passes by Shaman Nok-young and the girls.

Finding out that King Lee Hwon’s entourage is passing by the village, Yeon-woo pleads with Seol to see the King. After hesitating, Seol agrees, but they get into trouble with a guard.


Later, as the villagers bow down while King Lee Hwon’s entourage passes by, Yeon-woo suddenly stands up and causes a commotion. The soldiers and Prince Yang-myung chase after her and Seol.

King Lee Hwon and Woon escape from their entourage and walk around the village. Noticing a spy sent by Minister Yoon, they escape towards the woods, where King Lee Hwon sees a vision of the teenaged Yeon-woo. He runs off to chase the vision, with Woon following him.

Later that night, over food and wine at the royal residence in Ohnyang, King Lee Hwon asks Prince Yang-myung if he still thinks of Yeon-woo.

Back in the palace, King Lee Hwon alarms the ministers when he decides to investigate the funds going into a project. Minister Yoon then secretly meets the State Shaman.

Queen Bo-kyung visits King Lee Hwon in his quarters and asks him to take in a concubine who can give him an heir.

The Queen Mother decides to replace the State Shaman and recall Shaman Nok-young to the palace.

Episode 8


Episode 7 recap:

King Lee Hwon meets on the mountain a young shaman (whom he doesn’t know is actually his beloved Yeon-woo). He gives her the name “Wol” meaning “moon.”

To force Shaman Nok-young to return to the palace, the court officials sent by the Grand Queen Mother kidnap Wol (aka Yeon-woo).
As Wol escapes from her kidnappers, she runs into Prince Yang-myung, who’s in disguise and running away from people seeking his favors.

The Royal Astrologer tells the Grand Queen Mother that Shaman Nok-young refuses to come back to the palace. He suggests using Wol as a human talisman to absorb the negative energies from King Lee Hwon.

Wol is brought into King Lee Hwon’s quarters after he had fallen asleep; Woon is struck silent after recognizing Wol. With Wol beside him, King Lee Hwon dreams of Yeon-woo and audibly speaks her name.

During the meeting with the ministers, the father of the boy who King Lee Hwon met in Ohnyang is brought to court. After questioning him, King Lee Hwon releases him from his forced duties and allows him to go back to his family.

Pleased with King Lee Hwon’s renewed energy, the Grand Queen Mother goes to Seongsucheong to meet Wol.

Wol reunites with Seol and Jan-shil, but Shaman Nok-young tells her that she must leave the palace immediately. Wol refuses, however, saying that she’ll serve King Lee Hwon for the next 30 days.

The palace staff, Minister Yoon, and even Queen Bo-kyung notice that King Lee Hwon’s health and disposition have improved.

On the third night, as King Lee Hwon is asleep and dreaming, Wol reaches out to touch him.



Episode 9


Episode 8 recap:

Prince Yang-myung gets knocked out cold as he tries to save Wol.

Shaman Nok-young becomes head of Seongsucheong again.

Woon saves the father released by King Lee Hwon from the assassins sent by Minister Yoon.

Because of the commotion at the King’s quarters, the Royal Astrologer orders Wol locked up in jail.

Searching for Wol, Prince Yang-myung goes to the palace and meets the Royal Astrologer and the Grand Queen Mother. Later, he goes to a temple.

Thinking about what the Grand Queen Mother said, King Lee Hwon asks Woon about Prince Yang-myung. Later, he asks Woon to check up on Wol.

Seol pleads with Shaman Nok-young to save Wol by telling King Lee Hwon who Wol really is.

Lady Shin dreams about Yeon-woo, and later Yeom finds her in Yeon-woo’s former quarters.

Queen Bo-kyung complains to the Queen Mother about the rumors that she has heard about King Lee Hwon keeping a woman near him every night.

The ministers wonder why King Lee Hwon hasn’t exposed their plans of training a private army in the guise of a building project.

While King Lee Hwon is practicing his archery, Wol is taken from the prison and strapped to a chair. As punishment (and as Seol and Jan-shil scream in terror), a guard takes a hot iron to brand Wol on the forehead.



Episode 10


Episode 9 recap:

King Lee Hwon saves Wol and allows her to continue being his human talisman.

Wol meets Prince Yang-myung and advises him to open his heart to a new relationship.

Queen Bo-kyung sees King Lee Hwon and Wol inside his quarters.
Queen Bo-kyung backs down from entering the King’s quarters.

Against the protest of his head eunuch, King Lee Hwon calls for the Royal Physician.

The next day, King Lee Hwon reads the letter that Wol wrote to him. After Hyung-sun gently reminds him of Queen Bo-kyung, he goes to the Queen’s quarters, to the delight of the Queen Mother and the Grand Queen Mother.

Queen Bo-kyung orders her head court attendant to find someone among King Lee Hwon’s attendants who can be her spy.

At the market, Prince Yang-myung and Jan-shil meet each other.

King Lee Hwon tells Wol that he has read her letter that expresses her resentments, but Wol says that he has misread her letter. While they’re talking, King Lee Hwon suddenly remembers Yeon-woo. He stands up and tells his eunuch that he wants some fresh air.

In Eunwolgak, King Lee Hwon orders everyone, except Wol, to stand back. He then holds Wol’s face with his hands, and to everyone’s surprise, takes Wol and runs away with her.

Wol is shaken by King Lee Hwon’s words, and after getting back to Seongsucheong, she asks Shaman Nok-young who she really is.

Prince Yang-myung goes to Yeom’s house, and Woon later arrives with a message from King Lee Hwon.

Later, that night, Yeom finds the letter that Yeon-woo wrote before she died; Prince Yang-myung, meanwhile, meets Jan-shil on the road.

In the palace, Yeom’s visit creates a stir among the court ladies and Minister Yoon’s allies. Yeom gives Yeon-woo’s letter to King Lee Hwon and advises him to move on and to cherish Queen Bo-kyung.

After reading Yeon-woo’s letter, King Lee Hwon orders his eunuch to bring to him the letter that Yeon-woo wrote after they first met.



Episode 11


Episode 10 recap:

King Lee Hwon is shocked at the similarity of the handwriting in Yeon-woo’s very first letter to him and in Wol’s letter. He orders Wol brought to him immediately, but as Wol is on her way, Prince Yang-myung grabs her aside.
Shaman Nok-young intervenes and orders the soldiers to take Wol away from Prince Yang-myung.

Despite logic and past events, King Lee Hwon thinks that Wol is actually Yeon-woo. When Yeon-woo arrives in his quarters, he cross-examines her about her past.

After Shaman Nok-young kicks Jan-shil out of Seongsucheong, Wol tells her that she wants to stop serving the King and to leave the capital with Seol and Jan-shil.

Prince Yang-myung tells his mother that he will no longer give anything up for King Lee Hwon.

King Lee Hwon studies Yeon-woo’s last letter with Woon and his eunuch; later, he orders Yeom to go on a vacation.

The ministers question King Lee Hwon’s explanation of Yeom’s vacation; later, as King Lee Hwon berates the staff of the records room for their negligence, Woon steals some records.

After Shaman Nok-young visits the Grand Queen Mother, she meets Queen Bo-kyung, who asks her if she can meet Wol.

King Lee Hwon and Woon secretly leave the palace to investigate the true circumstances of Yeon-woo’s death.

As Wol is walking along in the market, she begins having flashes of memories and hearing voices. As she becomes dizzy and starts to fall, someone grabs her by her waist and keeps her steady — it’s King Lee Hwon.



Episode 12


Episode 11 recap:

King Lee Hwon rescues Wol from one of the ministers, and later, they watch a puppet show. But unknown to them, Prince Yang-myung sees them from afar.
Prince Yang-myung confirms with Woon what King Lee Hwon thinks about the similarity in looks of Yeon-woo and Wol. Later that night, he confronts Wol on the street, asking why she didn’t keep her appointment with Jan-shil.

While waiting for Wol to come to his quarters that night, King Lee Hwon is surprised to see Queen Bo-kyung standing in front of him.

After the head eunuch of the late King Seongjo commits suicide, King Lee Hwon orders that a certain judicial officer be secretly brought to the palace.

Minister Yoon warns the Grand Queen Mother that King Lee Hwon is secretly investigating Yeon-woo’s death years ago.

The new date for consummation between King Lee Hwon and Queen Bo-kyung has been set, but King Lee Hwon says that he’s not well enough. Queen Bo-kyung assures her father, Minister Yoon, that this time, King Lee Hwon won’t be able to say no — she will use Wol against him.

In Seongsucheong, Wol thinks about the confusing things that King Lee Hwon has told her. Later, she receives numerous gifts that make her fellow shamans jealous of her good fortune; she also gets a letter from Prince Yang-myung.

When King Lee Hwon refuses to follow the consummation date with Queen Bo-kyung, Minister Yoon threatens him that Wol can be put to death for failing her duties as a human talisman.

Episode 13


Episode 12 recap:

The judicial officer turns out to be the Sungkyungkwan scholar who helped King Lee Hwon when he was still the Crown Prince. He’s ordered to secretly investigate Yeon-woo’s death.

Thinking of Wol’s safety, King Lee Hwon goes to Queen Bo-kyung’s quarters. Meanwhile, in Seongsucheong, Prince Yang-myung offers Wol a way out of her situation by eloping with him.
King Lee Hwon collapses and is rushed back to his quarters. As the Royal Physician attends to him, Wol arrives.

The “Euigeumbu” (Royal Investigative Office) questions the Royal Physician and the three officials from the departments of Geography, Astronomy, and Astrology on what caused King Lee Hwon to collapse.

Queen Bo-kyung tells the Queen Mother and the Grand Queen Mother about her dream of a woman wearing white clothes. Meanwhile, the ministers begin planning on pressuring King Lee Hwon by letting the Confucian scholars know that he has been keeping a shaman in his quarters.

Hong Kyu-tae (the former Sungkyunkwan scholar) continues investigating Yeon-wo’s death years ago. Later, he leads the “Euigeumbu” in arresting Wol.

Minister Yoon visits Wol in prison and threatens her; later Shaman Nok-young also visits her.

During Wol’s interrogation by Minister Yoon, King Lee Hwon arrives and questions his authority.

To save Wol, Shaman Nok-young goes to see the Grand Queen Mother. Later, King Lee Hwon also visits the Grand Queen Mother.

As Wol’s interrogation continues, Prince Yang-myung shows up and says that Wol was with him at the time King Lee Hwon collapsed.



Episode 14


Episode 13 recap:

Despite being tortured, Wol refuses to implicate King Lee Hwon; she also covers up for Prince Yang-myung.

King Lee Hwon begs on his knees for the Grand Queen Mother to save Wol.

Prince Yang-myung confronts King Lee Hwon and says that he's willing to sacrifice everything for Wol.
Wol is convicted as a lewd woman who tried to seduce a member of the Royal family and sentenced to serve at an overcrowded and underfunded public health care center.

After visiting the Grand Queen Mother, King Lee Hwon visits Wol in prison.

When the Grand Queen Mother begins hearing cries from Eunwolgak, the Royal Astrologer assures her that it’s because of the upcoming solar eclipse. He says that there’s a way of cleansing Eunwolgak of its evil spirit.

The ministers order that Prince Yang-myung be placed under house arrest.

Shaman Nok-young bribes a jail officer so that she can visit Wol in prison. She finally reveals to Wol that her friend asked her years ago to protect Wol by all means. Wol becomes confused with Shaman Nok-young’s words and sudden use of formal language.

As Wol is paraded through the streets on her way to the public health center, people start throwing stones at her. Lady Shin and her servant are in the crowd, and when she sees Wol, she cries out, “Yeon-woo!”

To Wol’s surprise, her escorts transfer her to another set of soldiers. The soldiers bring her back to the palace, and the Royal Astrologer locks her up in Eunwolgak.

The solar eclipse begins.

Episode 15


Episode 14 recap:

The Royal Astrologer wants to use Wol to absorb the evil spirit in Eunwolgak, even if it causes her to die.

Hong Kyu-tae reports to King Lee Hwon that Yeon-woo’s body remained warm hours after her death.

During the eclipse, Wol meets the spirit of 13-year old Yeon-woo; it finally dawns on her that she and Yeon-woo are one and the same person.

Wol forces Seol to confess and to tell her everything that has happened for the last several years to her family and about the drug that Shaman Nok-young gave to her father. Later, she sends Seol on a mission.

Prince Yang-myung’s house arrest is lifted, and Woon cautions him to stay away from Wol. But he still goes to the public health center, and after he treats a young girl, the nurses there ask him to help them out since the doctors there are always being called away.

King Lee Hwon sends Hyong Kyu-tae to see the court lady who supervised Yeon-woo’s court education. On his way there, Hyong Kyu-tae sees Seol.

Along with Seol, Yeon-woo visits her father’s grave. But her mother, Yeom, and Princess Min-hwa are also on their way there.

Seol urges Wol to reveal herself as Yeon-woo to her family, but Wol refuses.

As Wol returns to the public health center, she sees Prince Yang-myung playing a stick game with several kids. Prince Yang-myung forces her to join the game. Later, he gives her a stone, which she names “haewooseok” (a stone to which she can tell all her problems).

Queen Bo-kyung orders her attendant to bring Wol to her quarters in secret.

Episode 16


Episode 15 recap:

Yeon-woo overhears her mother confess to Yeom that his father was unable to bear the guilt over Yeon-woo’s death and committed suicide.

After being attacked by two masked men, Hong Kyu-tae finds the court lady dead.

Prince Yang-myung realizes that “haewooseok” is the name of the stone that he gave to Yeon-woo years ago.

After seeing Prince Yang-myung playing with Wol and the children, King Lee Hwon warns him to stay away from Wol.
Queen Bo-kyung is shocked to see how Wol resembles the Yeon-woo that she knew from years past. When Wol tells her that Yeon-woo’s spirit in Eunwolgak wishes her well, Queen Bo-kyung shouts at her to get out.


Wol passes by Eunwolgak and decides to go inside. When she opens the second-story window (just like what she did years ago as the Crown Princess), she sees King Lee Hwon, alone and staring back at her.

At the public health center, Wol finds Shaman Nok-young waiting for her. Wol tells her that she’s not yet ready to talk to her, but Shaman Nok-young tells her that King Lee Hwon wants to know about how Yeon-woo died.

In the palace, Prince Yang-myung confronts the minister who has been stealing the funds meant for the public health center.

The Grand Queen Mother finds out about Shaman Nok-young’s meeting with King Lee Hwon.

As Wol comforts a young girl who refuses to eat or be treated, Prince Yang-myung sees her and hopes that she isn’t Yeon-woo. Meanwhile, at the palace, King Lee Hwon considers the possibility that Yeon-woo is alive.

Hong Kyu-tae visits Yeom and asks him about Yeon-woo’s death years ago. Later, an old servant tells him that Yeon-woo’s grave was disturbed the day after her burial. As they’re talking, Seol passes by them.

Queen Bo-kyung has been traumatized by Wol’s visit, and as her father Minister Yoon comes to her quarters, she orders him to leave.

Based on Hong Kyu-tae’s report, King Lee Hwon calls again for Shaman Nok-young.



Episode 17


Episode 16 recap:

Shaman Nok-young tells Wol about Princess Min-hwa’s role in the shamanic curse used against her. She warns Wol that her brother Yeom will be in danger if the truth is ever revealed.

King Lee Hwon finds out from Shaman Nok-young that Yeon-woo is alive and that she’s none other than Wol.


King Lee Hwon goes to the public health center and addressing Wol as “Yeon-woo,” embraces her. But then, assassins attack them. Woon and Prince Yang-myung arrive, and a fight ensues. As Woon and King Lee Hwon fight off the assassins, Prince Yang-myung escapes with Wol (Yeon-woo).

King Lee Hwon orders Woon to find Prince Yang-myung and Wol (Yeon-woo). Later, he meets Minister Yoon who tells him that a good hunter must continuously pursue his prey.

Minister Yoon tells the Grand Queen Mother that Yeon-woo might be alive and that Shaman Nok-young is missing.

The Grand Queen Mother tells King Lee Hwon to stop investigating events for the sake of someone close to him.

Episode 18


Episode 17 recap:

King Lee Hwon challenges Prince Yang-myung to a sword fight over Yeon-woo. Later, he brings Yeon-woo to the palace and hides her in a secret closet in his quarters.

In the throne room, King Lee Hwon gives Yeon-woo the second hair pin that he ordered made for her years ago.


King Lee Hwon and Yeon-woo lie beside each other at night in his quarters. Meanwhile, Queen Bo-kyung finds out that her spy has been transferred elsewhere, leading her to think that King Lee Hwon is hiding something in his quarters.

Hong Kyu-tae reports to King Lee Hwon about how his father’s investigation involved Princess Min-hwa. Alone afterwards, King Lee Hwon remembers his father’s words of forgiveness and caution.

Princess Min-hwa goes to the palace and reports to the Queen Mother that she’s pregnant. Later, she visits King Lee Hwon.

King Lee Hwon tells the Grand Queen Mother that, for the sake of her health, she must leave the palace.

Prince Yang-myung goes home from the temple and sees the noblemen waiting at the gate. Unlike before, he invites them all in.

Minister Yoon brings to the palace his young niece, which alarms Queen Bo-kyung. Later, he visits Prince Yang-myung, with a dagger hidden inside his clothes.

Episode 19


Episode 18 recap:

With Yeon-woo hearing everything from inside the secret closet, King Lee Hwon tells Princess Min-hwa that he knows about how she participated in the shamanic curse against Yeon-woo.

Yeon-woo tells King Lee Hwon to forget about everything that has happened.

When King Lee Hwon ejects the Grand Queen Mother from the palace, Minister Yoon and his allies decide that it’s time to strike back.

When Minister Yoon offers to depose King Lee Hwon, Prince Yang-myung says that all he wants in return is Yeon-woo.
Minister Yoon finally convinces Prince Yang-myung to betray King Lee Hwon.

Minister Yoon and his minions put up all over the capital posters that reveal how King Lee Hwon has been keeping a shaman in his quarters.

Fearing that her father Minister Yoon plans to abandon her, Queen Bo-kyung calls for the former head of Seongsucheong. Meanwhile, Yeon-woo asks permission from King Lee Hwon to meet Shaman Nok-young.

As Lady Shin leaves for a temple, someone shoots an arrow past Yeom; attached to the arrow is a note about Princess Min-hwa.

Reacting to what happened later in Yeom’s house, King Lee Hwon orders Woon to check on the Grand Queen Mother.

Minister Yoon and all the conspirators meet with Prince Yang-myung to plan their coup during the royal hunt.

Alone at night, Prince Yang-myung is visited by Woon. Prince Yang-myung asks him, “Will you remain my friend despite what I have chosen to do?”



Episode 20: Finale


Episode 19 recap:

Yeom finds out about Princess Min-hwa’s role in the plot against Yeon-woo.

Seol dies trying to protect Yeom from the assassins sent by Minister Yoon.

As the royal entourage prepares to leave the palace for the hunt, Prince Yang-myung, Minister Yoon, fellow ministers, and their soldiers attack King Lee Hwon.
As Minister Yoon shouts at him to kill King Lee Hwon, Prince Yang-myung flashes back to that day when he fought with King Lee Hwon over Yeon-woo.

As the battle rages, Queen Bo-kyung walks alone in the palace, dragging a white cloth with her.

Meanwhile, on King Lee Hwon’s order, Hong Kyu-tae takes Yeon-woo to a safehouse far away from the palace.

Spoiler alert: Videos below do not have English subs, but they’ll give you a pretty good idea of how this drama ends.

Prince Yang-myung



Yeon-woo reunites with her mother and brother



King Lee Hwon and Yeon-woo get married



King Lee Hwon plays the gayageum for Queen Yeon-woo’s birthday



Lessons in photography from “The Moon That Embraces The Sun”


From Episode 2: bokeh (aesthetic quality of the blurred areas),
direction of light

From Episode 2: foreground and background blur;
sidelighting

From Episode 2: low angle shot
(low angle point of view)

From Episode 2: foreground blur as natural frame

From Episode 2: selective or differential focusing

From Episode 2: shooting odd-numbered group is easier

From Episode 2: lines of direction, partial frame, focus on the eyes


From Episode 5: foreground and background blur, partial frame

From Episode 6: reflections

From Episode 6: compressed or stacked perspective

From Episode 7: local frame

From Episode 7: selective or differential focusing

From Episode 7: shapes, warm and cool colors

From Episode 7: foreground blur, partial frame

From Episode 7: rim lighting

From Episode 7: sidelighting, shallow depth of field

From Episode 8: high angle shot,
available light

From Episode 9: high angle point of view, partial frame

From Episode 9: off-center emphasis,
shallow depth of field, selective or differential focusing

From Episode 9: shooting against the light

From Episode 9: line of direction, rule of thirds,
background blur

From Episode 9: rule of thirds, focus on the eyes,
foreground and background blur

From Episode 10: high angle shot, Dutch tilt,
diagonal lines

From Episode 10: shallow depth of field

From Episode 10: foreground blur, partial frame

From Episode 19: foreground and background blur,
dynamic symmetry

Sunday, February 12, 2017

“Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People” spoiler-free synopsis by episode (Eps. 1-30)



Jump to synopsis of Episode 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6; 7; 8; 9; 10; 11; 12; 13; 14; 15; 16; 17; 18; 19; 20; 21; 22; 23; 24; 25; 26; 27; 28; 29; 30; How I made these synopses spoiler-free; Free 500-plus interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises based on “Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People” and other Korean historical dramas (external link); Lessons in photography from “Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People”

How I made these synopses spoiler-free

1. I assumed that you will be reading these recaps 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 synopsis starting with Episode 2, I placed in a table some 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 plot sumaries of “Six Flying Dragons,” Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, The King’s Doctor,” “A Jewel in the Palace, and The Flower in Prison.”)

Episode 1: The Mighty Child


The drama opens with scenes of King Yeongsan confronting Hong Gil Dong, and Hong Gil Dong’s fortress surrounded by enemy forces, with his woman Ga Ryung held captive and tied to a pole.

Gil Dong is the second son of Ah Mo Gae and Geum Ok, who are both slaves of Lord Jo, a cruel noble. As Gil Dong grows up, Ah Mo Gae notices his great strength. Afraid that Gil Dong might be the prophesied Mighty Child, he plans to raise enough money to buy his family’s freedom.




Episode 2: Alliances


Episode 1 recap:

Ah Mo Gae tells Gil Dong that if the Mighty Child cannot restrain himself, he and all his family will die. From then on, Gil Dong hides his strength. But due to an incident with the nasty young master, Gil Dong’s mother is whipped because of him.

Ah Mo Gae is tricked by a group of robbers, but through ingenuity, he’s able to get his rightful share from what the robbers stole.

Ah Mo Gae returns home with lots of good things for his family and silk for Lord Jo’s wife. His master allows him to move to a better house and to become a merchant.

Gil Dong’s mother becomes pregnant, and Ah Mo Gae decides to join the group of robbers that tried to trick him.

For political gain, Lord Jo secretly joins forces with people supporting the deposed Queen.

Lord Jo and his wife become suspicious that Ah Mo Gae is hiding money and other goods from them. They connive with Lord Jo’s uncle to get all of Ah Mo Gae’s hidden wealth.





Episode 3: The tiger


Episode 2 recap:

Hoping to provoke Ah Mo Gae, Lord Jo and his wife ask an uncle to create a scandal with Ah Mo Gae’s wife. Gil Dong comes to his mother’s rescue, but when the soldiers arrive, Ah Mo Gae takes all the blame. Later on, he surrenders to Lord Jo all the wealth that he has accumulated.

Gil Dong’s mother gives birth to a baby girl but dies soon after.

Ah Mo Gae kills Lord Jo, with Gil Dong witnessing everything.

Ah Mo Gae’s alibi fails as Lord Jo’s wife charges him with murder.

Several witnesses come forward to testify on Ah Mo Gae’s behalf, but he’s still tortured.

Lord Jo’s wife begins thinking that Gil Dong is the Mighty Child.





Episode 4: Starting over


Episode 3 recap:

Gil Dong somehow survives his encounter with the tiger.

Ah Mo Gae uses the deposed Queen’s letter to pressure Lord Jo’s wife into dropping the murder charge against him.
Ah Mo Gae and his sons settle down in Ikhwa-ri, a place where runaway slaves, drifters, and ruffians have gathered.

Ah Mo Gae soon becomes the leader of a ragtag band, and they begin manufacturing Joseon’s black linen and selling them covertly on the high seas to Ming traders.

Ah Mo Gae and his group are able to get past the Joseon coast guard, but they’re caught later on by smugglers.




Episode 5: The magic peddler


Episode 4 recap:

With Ah Mo Gae’s help, Eomjachi (the magistrate’s secretary) catches the smuggling group’s leader. He is promoted as the District Magistrate and helps protect Ah Mo Gae’s businesses from corrupt government officials.

Having become prosperous, Ah Mo Gae dreams of making his eldest son Gil Hyeon into a government official and Gil Dong into a military officer. But his sons have different dreams for their lives.

Ah Mo Gae reminds Gil Dong that he is the prophesied Mighty Child, but Gil Dong has been traumatized by everything that has happened. He wants to become a peddler, traveling throughout the nation.

Gil Dong travels all over Joseon as a peddler and has become famous for making women’s dreams come true. In one of his travels, he meets Gong Hwa (a gisaeng) and her servant Ga Ryung.

Ah Mo Gae’s authority is challenged by Heo Tae Hak, a notorious thug who’s involved in selling slaves.

Gil Dong begs his father to leave with him and start a new life.

Ah Mo Gae is summoned by a member of the Royal family.



Episode 6: Musa Gil Dong!


Episode 5 recap:

Gil Dong becomes infatuated with Gong Hwa, an ambitious gisaeng who wants to make the King fall in love with her. He gets slapped by her servant, Ga Ryung, when he tells Gong Hwa to forget the King and be with him instead.

Ah Mo Gae refuses to be involved with Heo Tae Hak and his business of selling slaves. In the ensuing fight between their groups, Gil Dong couldn’t do anything because he has lost his strength.

Gil Dong begs his father to leave his illegal activities so that they can start anew as farmers. Ah Mo Gae agrees, but then, Prince Choong Won orders him to find and bring back a runaway female slave.

Ah Mo Gae and his men find the runaway slave.

Prince Choong Won learns that Ah Mo Gae was a slave who killed his master years ago. He then pressures all the local government officials to turn their backs on Ah Mo Gae.

Prince Choong Won sends thugs to kill Gil Dong and Gil Hyeon. He also wants their 13-year old sister Uh Ri Ni captured and brought to him.



Episode 7: Memories


Episode 6 recap:

Ah Mo Gae and his men release the runaway slave and fake her death. But through Heo Tae Hak, Prince Choong Won learns what really happened. He frames Ah Mo Gae for the slave’s death.

Prince Choong Won also learns from Lord Jo’s wife that Ah Mo Gae was a slave who killed a nobleman.

The District Magistrate betrays Ah Mo Gae and his men.

Gil Dong is beaten up and stabbed by thugs, but when he sees his sister being dragged off, he regains the strength that he had lost. He kills the thugs, but when more thugs come after them, he and his sister fall off a cliff.


Gil Dong and his sister Uh Ri Ni survive the fall from the cliff, but they get separated later on. Meanwhile, Gil Hyeon stumbles upon a mysterious hut in the forest.

Gil Dong ends up losing his memory at a gisaeng house where he meets again Gong Hwa (the ambitious gisaeng) and her servant Ga Ryung.

Gil Dong recovers from his wounds. He begins working for Gong Hwa to earn his keep; he also tries to find out who shot him and who he really is.

A traveling peddler tells Gong Hwa about the Mighty Child.



Episode 8: The gathering


Episode 7 recap:

A romance blossoms between Gil Dong and Gong Hwa, as Gil Dong wins her heart by praising her artistry and empathizing with her sad past that includes an unwanted son. But Ga Ryung also begins to have romantic feelings for Gil Dong.

From what the peddler tells Gong Hwa about the Mighty Child, she begins thinking that Gil Dong could be the Mighty Child.

Uh Ri Ni is captured by a mysterious man, while Gil Hyeon finds a dead man and a book inside the hut.

Gil Dong meets some hunters who can possibly tell him where he came from.

Yeonsan becomes King of Joseon.

Gil Dong regains his memories and starts looking for his sister Uh Ri Ni. Meanwhile, his brother Gil Hyeon acquires a new identity.

Thinking that Gil Dong isn’t coming back, Gong Hwa leaves the gisaeng house.

While searching for his sister, Gil Dong meets the magistrate who betrayed his father.



Episode 9: Choices


Episode 8 recap:

Gil Dong learns that his father is alive but severely injured. He starts looking for and gathering his father’s men; he urges them to reclaim their territory and seek revenge against Prince Choong Won and his thugs.

While still pining for Gil Dong, Gong Hwa goes to the Palace to serve King Yeonsan. Meanwhile, the lovestruck Ga Ryung starts following Gil Dong wherever he goes.

Gil Hyeon dresses up as a scholar and thinks about taking the civil service exams.


Master Song Do-hwan thinks that Gil Hyeon is a nobleman-scholar preparing for the civil service exams. He takes Gil Hyeon to his academy and tells him that he can study there for free.

Despite some setbacks, Gil Dong and his men begin carrying out their plans against Prince Choong Won by targeting his thug Heo Tae Hak.

Ga Ryung volunteers to help Gil Dong.

At the Palace, the ministers object to King Yeonsan’s plan, while Gong Hwa continues hoping to attract the King’s attention.



Episode 10: Crossroads


Episode 9 recap:

At the academy, Gil Hyeon takes the identity of the man whom he found dead in the hut. He also meets a scholar whom he doesn’t recognize is Lord Jo’s son (the young master who bullied him and Gil Dong when they were just kids).

Two of Gil Dong’s men abandon him, but Gil Dong and the rest target Heo Tae Hak in several ways. Ga Ryung also volunteers to help get back the Buddhist rosary that Heo Tae Hak took from Ah Mo Gae.

Terrified, Heo Te Hak turns against Prince Choong Won and delivers him to Gil Dong and his men.

At the Palace, the ministers object to King Yeonsan’s plan to hold a Buddhist ritual for his late father. Meanwhile, Gong Hwa continues to be ignored by the King’s eunuch.


Ah Mo Gae pleads with Gil Dong to reconsider his plans.

Gil Dong persuades Heo Tae Hak to betray Prince Choong Won and come over to his side. Later, Heo Tae Hak arranges for Gil Dong and his men to go with Prince Choong Won who’s on his way to Hanyang to see King Yeonsan.

Gil Hyeon faces a dilemma, whether to take the state exams or to go back home to Ikwha-ri.

More groups oppose King Yeonsan’s plan to hold a Buddhist ritual for his late father.

Gong Hwa challenges the King’s Head Eunuch.





Episode 11: The King’s rage


Episode 10 recap:

Ah Mo Gae tries but fails to convince Gil Dong to abandon his plans for revenge against Prince Choong Won.

Gil Dong orders the magistrate to go back and serve Prince Choong Won. Later, Gil Dong and his men disguise themselves as porters and accompany Prince Choong Won to Hanyang. Gil Dong gets the chance to kill Prince Choong Won but stops himself.

King Yeonsan tells Prince Choong Won to wait for the right time to be called back to Hanyang. He also pushes back against the ministers, exiling some of them, but soon, the minor officials join the scholars in protesting his plan to hold a Buddhist ritual.

Gil Hyeon learns that Ikwha-ri is in shambles, his father flogged to death, and his siblings nowhere to be found. He decides to study at the academy and take the state exams. He becomes friends with Jo Jeong Hak (whom he doesn’t recognize as the young master who bullied him when they were kids).

Gong Hwa dares the Head Eunuch that if she can’t please King Yeonsan, she will leave the Palace. Later, she’s allowed to entertain King Yeonsan.


Gong Hwa pleases the King with her dance.

Gil Hyeon and Jeong Hak (Lord Jo’s son) take the civil service exams, and the topic chosen by the King surprises them both.

Gil Dong wants to put up a gisaeng house as a means of collecting information. But he and his men don’t have the money, and his father has always been against gisaeng houses.

Gil Dong and his men plan to set up Prince Choong Won by spreading rumors that will completely turn the King against him.





Episode 12: The King’s grandfather and the eulogy of treason


Episode 11 recap:

Gong Hwa (who has changed her name to Nok Su) finds out that it’s difficult to keep the King’s interest.

Gil Hyeon and Jeong Hak pass the civil service exams, and their first duty is to record the proceedings in the King’s meeting with the ministers.

The magistrate provides the money to start the gisaeng house, and Gil Dong and his men begin gathering information about Prince Choong Won and his associates.

Gil Dong and his men spread rumors that Prince Choong Won is taking money from the Royal coffers. But to their disappointment, the King doesn’t punish Prince Choong Won.

Ah Mo Gae tells Gil Dong and the others that they must find a way to enrage the King.

King Yeonsan orders Nok Su (formerly known as Gong Hwa) to do something for him in secret, and she asks for a prize in return.

Disappointed that King Yeonsan did not punish Prince Choong Won as they expected, Gil Dong and his men change their plans.

King Yeonsan orders Gil Hyeon and the court historians to look through the records for evidence that he can use against the ministers.





Episode 13: Changing of the guard


Episode 12 recap:

Impressed by Nok Su’s fearless honesty, King Yeonsan orders her to find out what rumors about him are circulating outside the Palace. Nok Su asks, in return, that she be allowed to see someone.

King Yeonsan finds out about the scandalous rumors against his grandfather King Sejo.

Despite intrigues and opposition, Gil Hyeon finds out the treacherous meaning of an elegy written in one of the historical records. King Yeonsan then orders the arrest and interrogation of the meddling ministers.

Gil Dong convinces a scholar who’s about to be arrested to implicate Prince Choong Won in the rumors against King Sejo.

King Yeonsan orders the arrest of Prince Choong Won but allows only the ministers to attend the trial. But since Gil Hyeon is responsible for finding the eulogy of treason, the Royal Historian says that he can attend the trial.

Prince Choong Won calls Gil Dong as his witness, but at the trial, the Head Eunuch recognizes him.



Episode 14: Farewell to Ikwha-ri


Episode 13 recap:

Prince Choong Won is flogged severely and later on, exiled by King Yeonsan.

Lord Jo’s wife appeals to the owner of the academy to help Prince Choong Won by going after Ah Mo Gae and his men.

Ah Mo Gae and his men return to Ikwhari to regain control of the silver mine. Later on, he transfers leadership to Gil Dong.

A shaman tells Ah Mo Gae that Gil Dong will die if he continues to misuse his powers.


Heo Tae Hak plans to double cross Gil Dong and get the silver mine for himself.

King Yeonsan rewards Gil Hyeon (aka Park Ha Sung), Nok Su (formerly known as Gong Hwa), and the others who helped him defend his grandfather’s honor.

Gil Dong wants to gain King Yeonsan’s support.

Episode 15: Gil Dong and the Head Eunuch


Episode 14 recap:

On his way to visit his wife’s grave site, Ah Mo Gae dies. Heo Tae Hak and his men attack the funeral procession, but Gil Dong uses his powers to overcome them. Later, Heo Tae Hak is killed by his adoptive son Mo Ri.

Gil Hyeon is appointed to a higher rank, and Nok Su finally gets her revenge against the government official who abused her and her mother 17 years ago.

Gil Dong gives the silver mine to King Yeonsan, and in return, he and his men are appointed as government craftsmen in Hanyang.

Uh Ri Ni enters the Palace as an apprentice court lady.

The King’s appetite for luxurious things and feasts grows. As the Head Eunuch scrambles to get the money to satisfy the King, he inadvertently meets Gil Dong. He and Gil Dong strike a deal that will benefit both the King and Gil Dong’s businesses.

Gil Hyeon, who has become a traveling Secret Inspector, reports to the King what’s truly happening among the people.

A mysterious woman confronts Gil Dong about the consequences of his choices and actions.




Episode 16: The marriage proposal


Episode 15 recap:

Gil Dong promises the Head Eunuch that he will provide the money for the King as long as the Head Eunuch protects him and his businesses. With the advance knowledge of the King’s liquor ban, Gil Dong and his men make lots of money.

Gil Hyeon reports to the King how the noblemen are getting around the liquor ban, but the King’s actions hurt the common people, rather than the noblemen.

The academy’s owner teaches Prince Choong Won on how to get out of exile by becoming valuable to the King.

The shaman whom Ah Mo Gae consulted appears in Hanyang and warns Gil Dong that if he doesn’t stop misusing his powers as the Mighty Child, he will die. But instead of heeding the shaman’s words, Gil Dong further enlarges his businesses.


Four years later …

The academy owner pleads with the King to end Prince Choong Won’s exile.

Uh Ri Ni is now a young servant in the Palace, while Gil Hyeon continues as an itinerant Secret Inspector.

Gil Dong and his men are prosperous businessmen, and his stature among the people in Hanyang increases. On the other hand, Ga Ryung has become a writer of romance books.

Ga Ryung receives a marriage proposal, and Gil Dong agrees to check the guy out.





Episode 17: The revelations


Episode 16 recap:

King Yeonsan ends Prince Choong Won’s exile. With the academy owner’s help, Prince Choong Won begins to turn the public sentiment against Gil Dong and his men.

Uh Ri Ni is one of the young servants chosen to serve Nok Su and the other royal entertainers.

Lord Jo’s son (now a junior governor) orders the arrest of one of Gil Dong’s men for hitting a nobleman.

Ga Ryung fakes a marriage proposal to make Gil Dong jealous. Finally, Gil Dong finally confesses his love for her.


Prince Choong Won has been freed from exile, and with Mo Ri at his side, he confronts Gil Dong and his men.

Master Song (the academy’s owner) and Deputy Governor Jo Jeong Hak begin investigating “thieves” who are targeting noblemen.

Gil Dong devises a plan to let the King know how absurd and unjust the laws are.




Episode 18: Hong Chum Ji


Episode 17 recap:

Master Song warns Prince Choong Won to stay away from Gil Dong so as not to tarnish his hard-earned reputation.

Gil Hyeon realizes that his friend Deputy Governor Jo Jeong Hak is none other than the young master whose parents oppressed his parents and Gil Dong.

Old man Kim Deok Hyung is tortured but refuses to implicate Gil Dong and his men.

Gil Hyeon convinces the King to correct the injustices brought about by the laws. The King demotes Deputy Governor Jo Jeong Hak and frees old man Kim Deok Hyung.

When Jo Jeong Hak learns from his mother that his father was killed by Ah Mo Gae, he vows revenge against Gil Dong.

In desperation, Jo Jeong Hak joins forces with Prince Choong Won in order to implicate Gil Dong.

Gil Dong confronts Prince Choong Won, but Mo Ri, Jo Jeong Hak, and the policemen are watching nearby.





Episode 19: The band of brothers versus the foreign intruders


Episode 18 recap:

Gil Dong loses the fight against Mo Ri, who has rediscovered his strength as a Mighty Child himself.

Gil Dong and his men find a book listing all the members of Sugwidan, a brutal group of noblemen. The book also lists the men’s assets including servants, one of whom is Uh Ri Ni.

Gil Dong and Ga Ryung get married.

While searching for Uh Ri Ni, Gil Dong and his men exact vengeance on the cruel noblemen, seize some of their assets, and distribute them to the poor folks.


Masquerading as Hong Chum Ji, Gil Dong and his men continue to track down the members of Sigwadon (a cruel group of noblemen).

But Governor Jo, Mo Ri, and soldiers from the capital begin hunting down Hong Chum Ji.

Despite the famine and people’s sufferings, King Yeonsan continues his lavish lifestyle.





Episode 20: Gil Dong and Gil Hyeon


Episode 19 recap:

Hong Chum Ji's heroic reputation among the people grows by leaps and bounds. This alarms Master Song who urges the King to arrest the thieves who are stealing the people's hearts.

King Yeonsan promotes Nok Su as a Royal Concubine and continues to hold his lavish feasts and hunting trips.

While meeting the King, Gil Hyeon is shocked to see the magistrate who betrayed his father.

Gil Dong and his men rescue the people from the foreign intruders.


Gil Dong and his men are cornered at the local Finance Office by the royal forces.

Later, on the King’s order, Governor Jo replaces Park Ha Sung (aka Gil Hyeon) as the new Police Magistrate. He immediately puts up checkpoints and plasters wanted posters against Gil Dong and his men all over the capital.





Episode 21: Mighty Child vs. Mighty Child


Episode 20 recap:

Gil Dong and Gil Hyeon (aka Park Ha Sung, the Police Magistrate) meet each other again. But later, the King strips Gil Hyeon of his office.

Mo Ri captures So Bu Ri and Eop San by himself. With his help, the royal forces capture all of Gil Dong’s men.

Gil Dong is cornered by dozens of soldiers, but he fights them off and escapes with the people’s help.

Gil Dong meets Gil Hyeon and asks to be turned over to the authorities. As he is led, bound, into the palace, Nok Su (formerly known as Gong Hwa) sees him.


During his interrogation, Gil Dong gives to King Yeonsan his copy of the “Hengrok” (a book listing the members of the Sugwidan and their acts against the slaves, commoners, and illegitimate sons).

Gil Hyeon and Nok Su appeal to the King on Gil Dong’s behalf.

King Yeonsan decides to show in a public display that Gil Dong’s powers as a Mighty Child are nothing.





Episode 22: Prey for the hunter


Episode 21 recap:

King Yeonsan is fully aware of the Sugwidan and, contrary to Gil Dong’s expectations, doesn’t plan to take any action against its members.

King Yeonsan orders his Head Eunuch to drug Gil Dong the night before the fight.

Gil Dong defeats his first three opponents but loses to Mo Ri. Bloodied and broken, he’s later tied to a post outside the palace walls for the public to see.

The ministers become courageous in denouncing King Yeonsan’s lavish lifestyle that has bankrupted Joseon.

Lord Jo’s wife tells King Yeonsan about his mother’s letter.


King Yeonsan mocks Gil Dong’s powers as a Mighty Child by leaving him tied to the post for everyone in the capital to see.

Nok Su plans to keep Gil Dong alive, while Gil Hyeon messes with the King’s mind. Meanwhile, Ga Ryung plans to enter the palace and seek revenge against the King.

King Yeonsan begins taking his revenge against all those responsible for his mother’s death, beginning with his father's royal concubines.





Episode 23; The walls in people’s hearts


Episode 22 recap:

King Yeonsan imprisons Gil Dong and later uses him as target practice for his bow and arrow.

Nok Su visits Gil Dong in prison and begins fearing that King Yeonsan could turn against her in an instant.

In his cruelty, King Yeonsan’s beheads the skeletons of long-buried men and forces people away from their homes to make way for his hunting ground.

In the hunting ground, Gil Dong meets Nok Su’s teenage attendants. As King Yeonsan mocks him, he keeps repeating Uh Ri Ni’s name.

Gil Dong regains his strength as he sees the people suffering under King Yeonsan's cruelty and after having a vision of his father.


When Gil Dong fully regains his strength, he breaks his men out of prison.

King Yeonsan assigns Park Ha Sung (aka Gil Hyeon) to lead soldiers in recapturing Gil Dong and his men.

Ga Ryung begins carrying out her plan to kill the King.

Gil Hyeon finds out that Uh Ri Ni is in the Palace.





Episode 24: Ga Ryung and Uh Ri Ni


Episode 23 recap:

After confronting the King in the forest, Gil Dong and his men find refuge in the shaman’s cave.

Believing that Gil Dong is dead, Ga Ryung enters the forbidden hunting grounds and soon gains the King’s affection.

The King uses violence to turn minister against minister, neighbor against neighbor.

Uh Ri Ni doesn’t recognize Gil Hyeon.

People become courageous and begin challenging the King by plastering posters all over the capital.


Despite Gil Dong’s impassioned plea, the men and women in the cave are too afraid to fight King Yeonsan.

As Ga Ryung gains the King’s favor, she makes new friends and new enemies. She also begins thinking that she has finally found Uh Ri Ni, Gil Dong’s little sister.

The terrified ministers seek the help of Master Song. Later, the King plans a grand ceremony where the ministers will pledge their allegiance to him.





Episode 25: Uh Ri Ni


Episode 24 recap:

Following the shaman’s advice, Gil Dong and his men encourage the men and women in the cave with stories of how they triumphed over cruel noblemen. Later, they teach the men sword fighting and archery.

Nok Su (aka Gong Hwa) becomes insecure when King Yeonsan calls for Ga Ryung to comfort him. On the other hand, Sang Hwa (Nok Su’s young attendant) warns Ga Ryung to stay away from the King.

Nok Su asks the King to punish Ok Ran by beheading her. Thinking that Ok Ran is Gil Dong’s sister, Ga Ryung visits her and promises to find a way out for her. But Ok Ran says that the real owner of the blue string is Sang Hwa.

During the celebration at the Palace, Gil Dong and his men attack the King and the ministers.


While Gil Dong and his men attack King Yeonsan and the ministers, his new followers free the prisoners. Ga Ryung takes Ok Ran (the young court attendant), and they also escape.

All by himself. King Yeonsan pursues Gil Dong.

King Yeonsan begins to doubt Nok Su’s loyalty to him. Later, he kicks out of the Palace Nok Su’s young attendant Sang Hwa (the one who’s carrying the other half of the blue cloth that Gil Dong has).

Police Magistrate Jo finally finds out who Park Ha Sung really is.




Episode 26: Uprising


Episode 25 recap:

Gil Dong tells King Yeonsan that he’s not descended from the Goryeo royal family but is the son of Ah Mo Gae, a slave.

King Yeonsan finds out that Nok Su was in love with Gil Dong before she came into the Palace.

Police Magistrate Jo finds out that Park Ha Sung is none other than his childhood slave Gil Hyeon. The King becomes livid when he finds out that his supposedly loyal official Park Ha Sung is Gil Dong’s brother.

Through Park Ha Sung’s urging, Master Song advises the King to use Nok Su’s attendant Sang Hwa as a spy in Gil Dong’s camp. At the cave, Gil Hyeon sees her and thinks that she’s Uh Ri Ni, his long-lost sister.


Gil Dong, Gil Hyeon, and their men try to make Sang Hwa remember that she’s Uh Ri Ni.

Ga Ryung finally gets her chance to kill the King.

Numerous villages begin rebelling against King Yeonsan. To set an example for all of Joseon, King Yeonsan orders that all the people in Hyangjumok Village be killed.



Episode 27: The siege


Episode 26 recap:

After some emotional turmoil, Sang Hwa finally remembers how she was brainwashed by the Sugwidan.

Nok Su stops Ga Ryung from killing King Yeonsan but doesn’t tell her that Gil Dong is alive.

Gil Dong and his men try to save the people of Hyangjumok Village, but they’re outnumbered by the royal guards. When things were looking bleak, the men and women at the cave arrive and rescue them.


King Yeonsan finds out who Ga Ryung really is.

The royal forces storm the walls surrounding Hyangjumok Village.





Episode 28: Gil Dong’s dilemma


Episode 27 recap:

Ga Ryung tries to bite off King Yeonsan’s ear.

King Yeonsan goes to Hyangjumok Village and uses Ga Ryung as a hostage to force Gil Dong to surrender.

More forces arrive for King Yeonsan and increase the pressure on Hyangjumok Village.

With the village beginning to run out of food supplies, Gil Dong faces a dilemma on what to do with Ga Ryung.





Episode 29: Revolution


Episode 28 recap:

Gil Dong shoots Ga Ryung with an arrow to chest, and she barely survives.

The warriors from Sugwidan betray Prince Choong Won and take Gil Dong’s side. King Yeonsan is forced to escape.

After King Yeonsan retreats from Hyangjumok, the ministers advise him to let the soldiers and horses rest and recuperate before attacking again.

Mo Ri is found hiding in the forest.

Master Song asks Prince Pyung Sung to negotiate with Gil Dong and his men.





Episode 30: Finale


King Yeonsan

Master Song of Sugwidan

Master Jo’s wife and son

The King’s eunuch

Royal Concubine Nok Su

Gil Dong and Ga Ryung


Lessons in photography from “Rebel: Thief Who Stole The People”

From Episode 1: aerial perspective,
quality and direction of light

From Episode 2: aerial perspective, rule of thirds

From Episode 4: low angle shot

From Episode 4: shooting against the light

From Episode 6: silhouette

From Episode 6: high angle shot, natural frame,
patterns, diagonal lines

From Episode 7: low angle shot

From Episode 7: shallow depth of field, bokeh,
background blur

From Episode 7: out-of-focus partial frame

From Episode 7: natural frame

From Episode 7: foreground blur as natural frame

From Episode 7: conveying depth through foreground
and background bur; partial frame

From Episode 7: shallow depth of field, background blur

From Episode 8: low angle shot, background blur

From Episode 8: shallow depth of field, background blur

From Episode 8: rack focus (focus in, focus out)

From Episode 11: natural frame

From Episode 11: shallow depth of field, focus on the eyes

From Episode 12: lines of direction, shooting groups

From Episode 12: conveying depth through overlapping forms,
lines of direction

From Episode 13: natural frames, shallow depth of field