Tuesday, January 30, 2018

“Queen Seondeok” aka “The Great Queen Seondeok” synopsis by episode (Eps. 1-62, no spoilers) with embedded videos of memorable scenes

(Click the photo above to view or download a much bigger copy.)

“Queen Seondeok” is a 2009 South Korean historical drama produced by MBC for their 48th-founding anniversary, starring Lee Yo-won, Go Hyun-jung, Uhm Tae-woong and Park Ye-jin. It topped the rating charts almost every week during its run, peaking at 44.7 percent. It then swept the 2009 MBC Drama Awards. (From Wikipedia)
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; 31; 32; 33; 34; 35; 36; 37; 38; 39; 40; 41; 42; 43; 44; 45; 46; 47; 48; 49; 50; 51; 52-61; 62 (Finale); How to watch this drama; How to turn on the English, French, or Spanish subtitles for the embedded videos; Historical backgrounders and other information; Theme-based video recaps of memorable scenes; Lessons in photography from “Queen Seondeok”

How to watch this drama

“Queen Seondeok” was originally scheduled to run for only 50 episodes. But due to its high ratings and the clamor by fans, it was extended to 62 episodes.

The lead male characters in this drama are Kim Yushin (played by Uhm Tae-woong; first appearance as an adult in Episode 9) and Bidam (played by Kim Nam-gil; first appearance in Episode 21). You will either love Kim Yushin and hate Bidam, or vice-versa.

Deokman aka Queen Seondeok (ancient Korea’s first female monarch) and Kim Yushin (one of Korea’s greatest generals, who unified the Three Kingdoms)
If you find yourself cheering for Kim Yushin to end up romantically with the title character Queen Seondeok (aka “Deokman” played by Lee Yo-won), then you should only watch Episodes 1-51 and then skip to Episode 62 (Finale) at the 53:17 mark.

But if you become a Bidam-Deokman shipper, then you should also watch Episodes 52-62 in their entirety. Kim Yushin also appears in these episodes, especially Episodes 54-58, but these episodes focus primarily on Deokman’s romantic relationship with Bidam.

(As for me, I’m a Kim Yushin-Deokman shipper; see their memorable, romantic videos below.)

How to turn on the English, French, or Spanish subtitles for the embedded videos

Throughout this blog post, I have embedded HD videos of some great scenes from this drama. (When you click the “Play” button, the video will open directly to the relevant scene.) The videos come from the official MBC Classic YouTube channel; when you click the “cc” icon, you can choose English, French, or Spanish subs. If you have any problem seeing the “cc” icon, here’s what you can do:

1. Read this blog post on a desktop or laptop computer; the “cc” icon at the bottom portion of the video will generally appear at once. Click the “cc” icon and choose either English, French, or Spanish.

2. If you’re using a mobile device (tablet or smartphone), use Chrome as your browser instead of Mozilla Firefox. Chrome usually displays the “cc” icon even on mobile devices.

If your preferred browser is Mozilla Firefox, click the full screen option; the “cc” icon should appear in that mode.

3. If you can’t see the “cc” icon for any reason, right-click the video, copy the video URL and open the video on a new tab.

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 some of 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 synopses of “A Tree With Deep Roots,” “The Princess’s Man,” “The Flower in Prison,” “Saimdang, Light’s Diary,” “The Moon That Embraces The Sun,” “Moonlight Drawn By Clouds,” “Jumong,” “Dong Yi,” “Rebel: Thief Who Stole People,” “Yi San,” “Jejoongwon,” “Six Flying Dragons,” The King’s Doctor,” and “A Jewel in the Palace.”)

Episode 1

Characters introduced in Episode 1:

King Jinheung: 24th ruler of Shilla Empire

Mishil: King Jinheung’s Royal Consort; known as “Seju” (Guardian of the Royal Seals), she is also the “Wonhwa” or leader of the “Hwarang” (Shilla’s elite, young warriors).

Munno: Hwarang’s field marshall referred to as “Gukseon”

Seolwon Rang: Hwarang high official

Prince Baekjeong: King Jinheung’s young grandson and designated successor, later to become King Jinpyeong

Prince Geumnyun: King Jinheung’s second son, later to become King Jinji

Silla Empire, 572-602 AD ....

Anticipating his death, King Jinheung orders his Royal Consort, Mishil, to leave the royal court after his death and to devote herself to Buddhism. Besides appointing his grandson Prince Baekjeong as his successor, he also gives secret instructions to Seolwon Rang to kill Mishil if she disobeys the royal order.

While up on a mountain performing a ritual, Munno mysteriously hears King Jinheung’s prophetic words: “Unless the seven stars of the Northern Dipper become eight, no one able to contend with Mishil’s might shall bless creation. On the day the seven stars of the Northern Dipper become eight, the person who can contend with Mishil’s might will be born.”

Munno rushes back to the palace, but Mishil and her followers have already launched a coup and stormed the palace.

Episode 2

Episode 1 recap:

Before dying, King Jinheung gives to Prince Baekjeong the knife that saved him from a tiger years ago.

With Seolwon Rang’s help, the coup succeeds. Mishil disregards King Jinheung’s royal order that designates Prince Baekjeong as the next King; she seduces Prince Geumnyun to proclaim her as his Queen.

Four years later, King Jinji (former Prince Geumnyun) still refuses to proclaim Mishil as Queen. Mishil thus abandons her son with King Jinji; she leads her Hwarang warriors into dethroning King Jinji and replaces him with Prince Baekjeong. Meanwhile, Seolwon Rang’s men kidnap the pregnant Lady Maya, wife of Prince Baekjeong.
King Jinpyeong (former Prince Baekjeong) escapes from the palace to rescue Lady Maya, but Mishil sends Seolwon Rang after him.

With Lady Maya now missing for several months, the royal court pressures King Jinpyeong to marry Mishil as his new Queen.

When Lady Maya suddenly reappears, Mishil and her allies back down. But later on, the High Priestess tells Mishil something about Lady Maya’s pregnancy that echoes a dire, ancient Silla prophecy.

Episode 3

Episode 2 recap:

Munno saves Lady Maya from the assassins who were sent by Mishil and Seolwon Rang.

Lady Maya gives birth to twin girls; the prophecy says that from then on, the “sacred bone lineage” will end, that is, all the male children of the Silla kings will die. But at the same time, Munno sees one of the stars in the Northern Dipper break up into two — the sign that the child who will contend with Mishil has been born.

King Jinpyeong places the knife from King Jinheung with the youngest baby; despite Lady Maya’s protest, he orders Sohwa (his devoted but scatter-brained court attendant) to take the baby and escape from the palace. But Mishil mobilizes all the palace troops to gather at the shrine to confront King Jinpyeong.
Pursued by Seolwon Rang and his men, Munno breaks into the shrine and helps Sohwa escape from the palace.

King Jinpyeong presents his daughter, Princess Cheonmyeong, before the palace troops and stops the uprising that has been instigated by Mishil.

After seeing the eight stars of the Northern Dipper and finding out the second part of King Jinheung’s prophecy, Mishil sends her bodyguard Chilsuk to pursue and kill Sohwa and the baby. Chilsuk and his men later corner Sohwa and the baby inside a cave.

Fifteen years later ...

After the birth of her eldest child Princess Cheonmyeong, Lady Maya has given birth to several sons. Meanwhile, in a trading town on a faraway desert in China, Sohwa has raised King Jinpyeong and Lady Maya’s baby as Deokman.

Deokman has grown up to be a street-smart, fearless girl who speaks several languages and does business with traders from Rome, Egypt, and India.

But Chilsuk, still pursuing Sohwa after all these years, suddenly appears and meets Deokman in the desert.

Episode 4

Episode 3 recap:

Munno rescues Sohwa and the baby.

Lady Maya and Princess Cheonmyeong blame themselves after the sons of King Jinpyeong die one after the other.

The cruel governor bans the sale of tea; with their livelihoods at stake, the traders appeal to Deokman to help them out, bribing her with an almanac and a magnifying glass.
Deokman and the traders are arrested for violating the ban on the selling of tea. Together with Chilsuk and Sohwa, they’re brought before the cruel governor who orders Deokman to choose one of two small stones. The governor tells Deokman that if she chooses the stone that’s marked on one side with “life,” then she and the others will live. If she chooses the stone that’s marked with “death,” then they will all die. But the governor has secretly marked both stones with “death.”

In Seorabeol (Silla’s capital), King Jinpyeong revives his plan to appoint his cousin Kim Yong Su (son of deposed King Jinji) as his successor, with Princess Cheonmyeong as the next Queen.

After finding the letter that was written by Munno, Deokman asks Sohwa if Munno is her father. But Chilsuk also finds out about Deokman’s true identity, and he chases Sohwa and Deokman as they escape into the desert.

Episode 5

Episode 4 recap:

Through her ingenuity, Deokman saves herself, Sohwa, Chilsuk, and the traders.

Mishil’s allies object to King Jinpyeong’s plan to name Kim Yong Su as his successor; during the Dano Festival, Mishil, in turn, warns Princess Cheonmyeong about trying to compete with her.

In the desert, Sohwa becomes trapped in a quicksand.
As Sohwa sinks into the quicksand and Chilsuk catches Deokman, a huge sandstorm suddenly engulfs them.

In Silla, despite Princess Cheonmyeong’s fears and to silence the opposition to King Jinheung’s plan to designate him as Crown Prince, Kim Yong Su decides to lead the battle to recapture Mosan Fortress from the Baekje forces.

King Jinpyeong tells Princess Cheonmyeong that, based on King Jinheung’s prophecy as recounted by Munno, she’s the only one who can fight against Mishil.

After the traders leave the desert town, Deokman decides to go to Gyerim (aka Silla) and look for Munno. Meanwhile, Princess Cheonmyeong leaves the palace to become a Buddhist monk.

Episode 6

Episode 5 recap:

Sohwa vanishes into the quicksand.

After Kim Yong Su dies in battle, Princess Cheonmyeong goes to a temple to give birth in secret. She also asks her brother-in-law Kim Yongchun to begin searching for Munno. But Lord Seolwon finds out what Kim Yongchun is doing.
Disguised as a boy, Deokman meets Jukbang, a monk who claims to know where Munno can be found. Later, she gets into an argument with a band of teenaged Hwarang trainees who are led by Kim Yushin.

Kim Yushin is the son of Lord Kim Seohyeon (a Gaya noble) and Princess Manmyeong (estranged sister of King Jinpyeong). Lord Kim Seohyeon is the prefect of Manno County where Munno is reportedly living.

Mishil and Lord Seolwon fabricate a treasonous plot involving Lord Kim Seohyeon and Munno; they use it as an excuse to send soldiers to take over Manno County. They also send their son Bojong (a young Hwarang officer) to kill Munno.

Princess Cheonmyeong has given birth to a boy, whom she has named Chunchu. After learning where Munno is, she leaves the temple. Later, when Kim Yongchun finds out that Bojong and his Hwarang trainees have gone to Manno County, he orders Imjong (one of the top ten Hwarang officers) to go after them.

Deokman follows Jukbang’s instructions and ends up by the river where she tries to get on the boat that Princess Cheonmyeong is using. But as Princess Cheonmyeong’s escort throws her overboard, bandits attack them.

Deokman and Princess Cheonmyeong escape through the woods, but they are captured by Gaya refugees.

Note: Located between Baekje and Silla, Gaya is a confederacy of tribes that was annexed by Silla.

Episode 7

Episode 6 recap:

As Deokman predicts to Seolji, leader of the Gaya refugees, it rains within three days. But then as everyone is celebrating, Hajong (Mishil’s son) leads the Silla soldiers in attacking the village.
Despite Princess Cheonmyeong’s efforts, Deokman falls from the cliff into the river below.

Bojong and his Hwarang trainees attack Yeorae Temple at night to kill Munno, but the monks there fight back.

A large-scale search for Princess Cheonmyeong is launched with hundreds of soldiers coming in from the capital; a big reward is also offered for anyone in Manno County who can find her. Meanwhile, using the disappearance of Princess Cheonmyeong as an excuse, Mishil and Lord Seolwon plan to replace Lord Kim Seohyeon with one of their own people.

While on the mountain, Kim Yushin and his group of teenaged, rural Hwarang trainees find someone who’s unconscious and injured on the riverbank.

Jukbang and Godo see an opportunity to make some big money; they contact the Hwarang officers who are looking for their missing fellow officer Bojong.

Episode 8

Episode 7 recap:

Deokman saves Bojong through Jukbang and Godo. Meanwhile, Kim Yushin and his group tie up Princess Cheonmyeong, thinking that she stole the pendant.

Princess Cheonmyeong eventually gets back to King Jinpyeong, and she asks that Lord Kim Seohyeon and his family be allowed to live in the capital. She also asks that Kim Yushin and his group be allowed to join the Hwarang trainees in the capital.

While Deokman hides nearby, Jukbang and Godo meet Lord Seolwon and Mishil.
Jukbang and Godo are kidnapped by Bojong’s men; Deokman sees Kim Yushin and his group and pleads with them to help her. As they’re arguing, Kim Yongchun arrives and berates them for causing a ruckus when King Jinpyeong is about to pass by.

King Jinpyeong becomes optimistic about contending with Mishil after Princess Cheonmyeong tells him about her son Chunchu.

When Kim Yushin asks her to become part of his Hwarang group, Deokman agrees, thinking that she can learn more about Munno from Mishil. But in the capital, Kim Yushin and his group are immediately challenged by Bojong and the top Hwarang officers.

Deokman sneaks into Mishil’s compound at night; in the Hwarang’s Hall of Worthies, she accidentally sees a memorial tablet with Chilsuk’s name on it.

Spoiler alert: Video below shows Deokman training with Kim Yushin’s group and her transition from teenager to adult.

Episode 9

Episode 8 recap:

In front of King Jinpyeong, Deokman identifies Bojong as the man whom she saw at Yeorae Temple. Cornered, Mishil bargains with Princess Cheonmyeong.

Mishil promises Deokman that if Kim Yushin’s group can defeat Bojong’s group, then she will tell her where Munno can be found.

Humiliated by Bojong and the top Hwarang officers, Kim Yushin takes his group through brutal training, with Deokman getting the brunt of the punishment for always coming in last.
Years later ...

Kim Yushin continues to drive hard Deokman and the others during training.

Because of Mishil’s promise and the constant bullying by the other Hwarang groups, Deokman pesters Kim Yushin about joining the yearly competition. But Kim Yushin refuses to allow his group to join, knowing that Deokman and the others aren’t strong enough or skilled enough to survive.

Deokman continues to secretly meet the monk whom she doesn’t know is actually Princess Cheonmyeong.

When the Baekje army captures a Silla fortress, Mishil asks King Jinpyeong to counterattack by using 10,000 soldiers under Hajong’s command.

To force Kim Yushin and his group to join the competition, the other Hwarang groups frame them. When Princess Cheonmyeong finds out about it, she tells Kim Yushin that she will stop the competition.

Episode 10

Episode 9 recap:

The competition is canceled when all the Hwarang groups are ordered to join the battle against the Baekje army.

Lord Seolwon excludes Lord Kim Seohyeon and his soldiers from joining the battle to retake Sokham Fortress.
Lord Seolwon takes the main Silla Army to attack Sokham Fortress; to everyone’s surprise, he takes Kim Yushin along with him.

Under orders from Lord Seolwon, Lord Kim Seohyeon and the remaining 3,000 Silla soldiers attack Ah Mak Fortress.

When the main Baekje army manuevers to reinforce Ah Mak Fortress, Lord Kim Seohyeon’s forces are outnumbered and become trapped in a forest. But despite Kim Yushin’s pleas, Lord Seolwon refuses to send any reinforcement.

In the capital, Princess Cheonmyeong pleads with the royal court to send reinforcements to Lord Kim Seohyeon. But Mishil says that it’s not possible.

Spoiler alert: Video below shows Deokman exhibiting for the first time her innate leadership.

Episode 11

Episode 10 recap:

Deokman is traumatized after she killed a Baekje soldier. Later on, however, she leads her fellow soldiers in defending themselves on a shallow river.

To deceive the Baekje army, Lord Seolwon intentionally sacrificed Lord Kim Seohyeon and the 3,000 Silla soldiers.
Kim Yushin, Alcheon Rang, and their men act as the bait unit in luring the Baekje army away from Lord Kim Seohyeon and the retreating Silla army. But Alcheon Rang strikes fear among the bait unit by killing anyone who has been injured and can no longer fight.

In the capital, Princess Cheonmyeong has reluctantly accepted that Lord Kim Seohyeon, Kim Yushin, and Deokman may not come back alive from the battle. Later, her conflict with Mishil intensifies as she seeks to gain more control over the military.

Using Jukbang’s knowledge of herbs, Kim Yushin leads a counterattack against a Baekje unit that’s led by a general.

The bait unit loses contact with Lord Kim Seohyeon’s retreating army and then becomes surrounded by 2,000 Baekje soldiers near the border.

Episode 12

Episode 11 recap:

Lord Kim Seohyeon’s status, rank, and properties are restored when the Queen Mother forgives her daughter Princess Manmyeong.

Seokpum Rang wants to kill Deokman for disobeying orders, but Kim Yushin, Alcheon Rang, and the other survivors protect her. Kim Yushin offers to lead his group in holding off the Baekje soldiers while Seokpum Rang, Alcheon Rang, and the others escape across the border.
Tensions in the royal court arise when King Jinpyeong praises and rewards Lord Kim Seohyeon and Kim Yushin.

During the celebrations, Kim Yushin asks Deokman if he personally knows Princess Cheonmyeong. Later, disguised as a monk, Princess Cheonmyeong arrives and signals Deokman to meet her.

When Mishil mysteriously keeps silent on Lord Kim Seohyeon’s rise to power in the Ministry of Defense, her son Bojong takes matters into his own hands. He orders one of his Hwarang trainees, a Gayan, to assassinate Lord Kim Seohyeon.

In the ensuing chase, Bojong’s trainee catches Deokman and accuses her of being the assassin. Meanwhile, King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya find out that Princess Cheonmyeong has been secretly meeting a Hwarang trainee.

Episode 13

Episode 12 recap:

Deokman is accused of trying to assassinate Lord Kim Seohyeon; Lord Seolwon interrogates her to cover up Bojong’s complicity.

Kim Yushin realizes that the monk who Deokman has been meeting is none other than Princess Cheonmyeong. Setting up a trap using a fake monk, he and his men capture the real assassin. But at the interrogation grounds, the assassin takes his own life.
Deokman finally finds out that the monk whom she has been secretly meeting all these years is Princess Cheonmyeong.

Through his trusted Minister Eulje, King Jinpyeong entrusts to Princess Cheonmyeong the secret mission that the late King Jinheung gave to Munno.

As Princess Cheonmyeong, Kim Yushin, and Deokman study the book of notes that Munno kept, Deokman notices the inscription “Sadaham’s Maehwa” on one of the pages. Later, she and Kim Yushin go to the Mount Yeoram temple that Munno mentioned in his notes.

In the temple, Deokman and Kim Yushin overhear the High Priestess and Lord Misaeng (Mishil’s brother) mention to a monk that the “Sadaham’s Maehwa” will be brought by the foreign merchants who are accompanying the envoy. Later, King Jinpyeong orders Lord Kim Seohyeon to raid the temple.

Despite Deokman’s urgings, Princess Cheonmyeong says that she can’t place her or Kim Yushin near the merchants because Lord Misaeng is in charge of all the royal protocols.

Trouble erupts later on in the Royal Kitchen when Lord Misaeng finds out that a kitchen maid has spilled all of the exotic “ga-ri” powder that will be used in the food to be served to the merchants.

Episode 14

Episode 13 recap:

Mishil gained her stature as a demigod among the Silla people when she prayed and brought rains after a long drought.

Deokman is shocked when she sees Chilsuk among the merchants with the envoy.
Chilsuk saved Sohwa from the sandstorm and, since that time, has taken her with him while he worked as a bodyguard for merchants.

Through the head merchant Sir Jang, an Indian merchant has brought the “Sadaham’s Maehwa” for Mishil. As Lord Misaeng’s son (an elite Hwarang officer) sets up a meeting with Sir Jang, Bojong
acts on his father Lord Seolwon’s order and watches them from afar. But also watching in secret are Deokman, Jukbang, and Godo.

While Mishil, Lord Misaeng, the High Priestess, and Master Wolcheon (the monk from the Mount Yeoram temple) meet with Sir Jang in a secret place, Deokman sneaks into Sir Jang’s room. To her shock, she finds the book that the Roman merchant Cartan gave her years ago and Sohwa’s identity tag.

Episode 15

Episode 14 recap:

“Sadaham’s Maehwa” is the Gaya almanac that completes the Dae Myeong Ryeuk, the most up-to-date almanac from the Song Dynasty. Through Mishil’s knowledge of astronomical events, she has bewitched people into thinking that she is a messenger of the gods.

To her shock, Deokman finds the book that the Roman merchant Cartan gave her years ago and Sohwa’s identity tag.

Chilsuk tells Mishil in a letter that Sohwa and Princess Cheonmyeong’s twin sister are both dead.

Mishil orders Bojong and his Hwarang trainees to search the capital for Chilsuk.
Deokman gets caught while following Mishil’s palanquin. In Mishil’s quarters, she’s shocked to see on the table the book that Cartan gave her. She begins to think that Mishil sent Chilsuk after her and Sohwa in the desert.

To Lord Misaeng’s surprise, Mishil simply lets Deokman go. But Mishil makes a bet with Lord Misaeng that she can make Deokman cast away her loyalty to Princess Cheonmyeong. Later, Jukbang and Godo begin secretly monitoring Deokman’s movements.

Bojong and the Hwarang trainees catch up with Chilsuk and Sohwa at the river bank; a fight breaks out when Chilsuk refuses to go with them.

Sir Jang finds out that Deokman can understand Latin, which he has been using in conversing with the merchants from India.

Episode 16

Episode 15 recap:

Chilsuk has become almost blind because of the fire in the desert when he tried to kill Deokman.

Mishil brings Chilsuk to a secret place in the palace shrine where she asks Master Wolcheon to treat him.

With Princess Cheonmyeong and Kim Yushin’s support, Deokman gains Mishil’s trust.
Deokman tells Princess Cheonmyeong that Chilsuk has returned and is being hidden inside a secret place in the palace shrine. Showing her mother’s painting that Cartan gave to her, she also says that Mishil sent Chilsuk to kill her and her mother. After agreeing to help by going into the shrine, Princess Cheonmyeong notices Deokman’s bejeweled knife.

Because of a disturbance in the heavens, the High Priestess tells King Jinpyeong that they must hold a ceremonial ritual, with Mishil officiating, in order to appease the gods. King Jinpyeong and his allies become apprehensive over what Mishil will demand in exchange for her revelations.

After conferring with Master Wolcheon, Lord Misaeng and the High Priestess prepare their plans for the revelation.

Deokman continues to visit Mishil in her quarters, hoping to learn what “Sadaham’s Maehwa” is all about. While she translates the book from Latin into Gyerim, Mishil busies herself by painting a tiger.

During a meeting of the Hwarang’s top officers, Princess Cheonmyeong insists that, alongside Mishil, she and Kim Yushin must take part in the ceremonial ritual. Later, however, Mishil warns Kim Yushin not to oppose her.

Episode 17

Episode 16 recap:

Through the almanacs, Master Wolcheon calculates that a lunar eclipse will take place within four days.

Mishil tells King Jinpyeong that he must drive away the Gaya people who are living in the capital.

Fear strikes Deokman, Princess Cheonmyeong, Kim Yushin, and the Silla public when the lunar eclipse takes place.

Mishil tells Deokman that she has known all along that she is Princess Cheonmyeong’s spy. She also reveals to Deokman that “Sadaham’s Maehwa” is the most up-to-date almanac in the world.

While Princess Cheonmyeong is crying and trembling at the shrine, she meets Sohwa.
Deokman tells Princess Cheonmyeong that Mishil knows about everything that they have been doing. Later, Mishil visits Lord Kim Seohyeon and Princess Manmyong and offers a way for them to join forces.

Kim Yushin brings Deokman and Princess Cheonmyeong to see how the Gaya people are being thrown out of the capital into a barren land, all because of Mishil’s schemes.

Deokman goes to see Mishil and tells her about Kim Yushin and Princess Cheonmyeong’s reply. After asking Deokman about her own reply, Mishil then shows her the painting of King Jinheung and the tiger.

On Deokman’s request, Princess Cheonmyeong begins investigating the history behind King Jinheung’s knife (“seoyeopdo”). Princess Cheonmyeong also orders her attendant to discreetly investigate if there ever was a palace slave named “Sohwa.” Later, she orders Kim Yongchun to find out how and when Munno and Chilsuk disappeared.

In desperation, Deokman plans to meet King Jinpyeong in person; she bribes Jukbang and Godo to sneak into the assembly hall and place there a petition with a drawing of King Jinheung’s knife.

Episode 18

Episode 17 recap:

Despite their fears, Deokman, Kim Yushin, and Princess Cheonmyeong vow to help each other in fighting against Mishil.

Deokman is shocked to see that her knife is depicted in Mishil’s painting of King Jinheung. On the other hand, Princess Cheonmyeong is told conflicting versions of the knife by Queen Maya and King Jinpyeong. She also finds out that Sohwa was her father’s attendant and that Munno and Chilsuk both disappeared on the day that she was born.

After going through the records of her birth and finding out about the ancient Silla prophecy, Princess Cheonmyeong is shocked to find that she has a twin and that it could possibly be Deokman.

Minister Eulje orders Alcheon Rang, Imjong Rang, and their men to capture Deokman in the forest.
Deokman hears Minister Eulje order the Hwarang officers and trainees to either capture or kill her. She runs but gets cornered in the forest by Alcheon Rang.

Sohwa wanders off from the shrine and, in the palace, meets King Jinpyeong.

Mishil visits Princess Cheonmyeong in her quarters late at night and gives her the painting of King Jinheung and the tiger.

In her confusion, Princess Cheonmyeong visits Kim Yushin on the mountain, but there, she also meets Deokman.

To find out who placed the petition in the assembly hall, Minister Eulje orders all the Hwarang trainees to assemble. Soldiers surround the trainees and lock down the assembly area. Minister Eulje and Kim Yongchun then order a complete body search of all the trainees. When the turn comes for her, Jukbang, and Godo, Deokman refuses to take off her uniform.

Episode 19

Episode 18 recap:

Jukbang concludes from past events that Deokman is a woman; he then confronts Deokman.

To her shock, Princess Cheonmyeong finds out from Kim Yushin that Deokman is a woman.
Kim Yushin advises Princess Cheonmyeong to delay in telling Deokman who she really is and, for the meantime, to order her to stay at a mountain hideout.

Through her brother Lord Misaeng, Mishil finds out that the woman with Chilsuk is none other than Sohwa herself. Mishil later orders Chilsuk to leave the shrine with Sohwa and to hide far away from the palace. But on their way, Chilsuk and Sohwa are ambushed by Bojong and his Hwarang trainees.

Queen Maya finds out that Sohwa is still alive. Meanwhile, Deokman visits Princess Cheonmyeong to tell her that she’s going to the mountain hideout. When she pleads to be allowed to meet King Jinpyeong before she leaves, Princess Cheonmyeong rebukes her. Just then, Queen Maya arrives and sees Deokman.

Episode 20

Episode 19 recap:

Minister Eulje’s men snatch Sohwa from Bojong and his Hwarang trainees. They bring her to the palace where Queen Maya meets her later on.

Princess Cheonmyeong tells Queen Maya that she has met her twin sister; she also says that her sister must be hidden away to keep her safe from Mishil.

Without Princess Cheonmyeong’s knowledge, Deokman meets Queen Maya and arranges a private, late-night meeting.
Princess Cheonmyeong finally reveals to Queen Maya and Deokman their real identities as mother and daughter. But Deokman walks away in shock and disbelief.

Jukbang is kidnapped and tortured under Lord Seolwon’s orders.

Princess Cheonmyeong and Kim Yushin plead with Deokman, but she’s determined to leave Gyerim (Silla) and go back to the desert.

Master Wolcheon completes his treatment of Chilsuk’s eyes and advises him to rest for a week. But in his anger over Sohwa’s disappearance, Chilsuk immediately leaves the shrine.

Convinced that Deokman knows the mastermind behind the petition with the drawing of King Jinheung’s knife, Minister Eulje orders Alcheon Rang and Imjong Rang to arrest her.

Episode 21

Episode 20 recap:

With Alcheon Rang and Imjong Rang in pursuit, Kim Yushin and Deokman escape from the palace. But as they’re escaping, Chilsuk sees and recognizes Deokman.
Chilsuk shocks Mishil and her allies by saying that Deokman, the Hwarang trainee, is none other than Princess Cheonmyeong’s twin sister. Later, Mishil orders Lord Seolwon to snatch Sohwa from the palace.

Through a messenger, Kim Yushin warns Princess Cheonmyeong that Minister Eulje wants to harm Deokman. As Princess Cheonmyeong confronts Minister Eulje in her quarters, King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya arrive.

Undaunted by Princess Cheonmyeong’s warning, Minister Eulje offers to Lord Kim Seohyeon a deal in exchange for finding and killing Deokman.

Kim Yushin and Deokman hide on a mountain where numerous villagers have died because of a plague. Inside a cave, they meet a mysterious young man.

Lord Kim Seohyeon arrives on the mountain, but unknown to him, one of his men is Lord Seolwon’s spy.

Episode 22

Episode 21 recap:

Minister Eulje suggests to Lord Kim Seohyeon a marriage between Kim Yushin and Princess Cheonmyeong.

Lord Seolwon’s men bring Sohwa to a temple where Master Wolcheon meets them.

The mysterious young man is Bidam, the abandoned son of Mishil and deposed King Jinji. His master is none other than Munno himself.
Bidam saves Deokman from Lord Kim Seohyeon’s men. Kim Yushin arrives, and as they escape, Deokman questions him why everyone, including Lord Kim Seohyeon, wants her either captured or dead.

As Lord Seolwon and his Hwarang officers and trainees arrive and begin their search, Kim Yushin and Deokman escape into the plague-stricken village. There, they meet Bidam and his master whom they don’t know is Munno.

Lord Seolwon and his Hwarang officers and trainees see Bidam as he begs a store owner for ginger roots that Munno can use in treating the villagers. Lord Seolwon offers him a deal — bring Deokman to him and he will have all the ginger roots that he needs to save the 200 sick villagers.

Bidam tricks Kim Yushin and locks him up in jail. He ties up Deokman to a tree and then reports to Lord Seolwon.

In the capital, Minister Eulje tells King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya that Princess Cheonmyeong must marry Kim Yushin to ensure the royal succession. But at the meeting of the Council of Nobles, Mishil and her allies pressure King Jinpyeong by bringing in Chilsuk who reveals everything about Deokman’s real identity.

Episode 23

Episode 22 recap:

Mishil tells the High Priestess that she believes only in herself, not in the gods or in heaven’s grace.

Munno tells Kim Yushin that he fights with a heavy hand and doesn’t really know what he’s capable of doing.

Lord Seolwon and his men ambush Bidam and Deokman, but Kim Yushin arrives.
As more Hwarang officers and trainees arrive to join the fight, Kim Yushin, Bidam, and Deokman escape.

In the palace, Princess Cheonmyeong appeals to Alcheon Rang; together with Imjong Rang and their Hwarang trainees, they leave the palace to rescue Kim Yushin and Deokman.

In their hiding place, Deokman questions Kim Yushin why he’s willing to sacrifice everything and everyone for her. Kim Yushin’s answer leaves her speechless.

Alarmed by the High Priestess’s words, Lord Misaeng orders his son Daenambo (an elite Hwarang officer) to kill Deokman.

Bidam tells Kim Yushin and Deokman that he will get a boat that they can use to escape. But in the woods at night, he and his man face off with Alcheon Rang and another Hwarang officer. Confused by the different colors of the Hwarang uniforms, Bidam refuses to answer Alcheon Rang. But just then, Princess Cheonmyeong arrives.

Spoiler alert: Kim Yushin tells Deokman that he chooses her and that he’s willing to sacrifice everything for her.

Episode 24

Episode 23 recap:

Princess Cheonmyeong rebukes Lord Kim Seohyeon and says that she won’t marry Kim Yushin.

Through Bidam, Princess Cheonmyeong and Deokman are reunited. They spend time together as sisters, and Princess Cheonmyeong tells Deokman to leave Silla with Kim Yushin and live as a happy woman.
As they escape from the mountain, Kim Yushin, Alcheon Rang, Bidam, Deokman, and Princess Cheonmyeong use tricks to deceive Lord Seolwon and his men. But, at the river where Bidam has prepared a small boat, Daenambo (Lord Misaeng’s son) catches up with them; he shoots Deokman with a poisoned arrow. After Bidam shoots back, hitting Daenambo, they run and seek shelter in a cave.

After he’s caught by Lord Seolwon and his men, Daenambo confesses that his father and the High Priestess ordered him to kill Deokman.

In the cave, Princess Cheonmyeong confesses her love for Kim Yushin; she tells him that their marriage was arranged for political purposes, that is, for the royal family to gain the Gaya people’s allegiance. But she also tells him to take Deokman away from Silla, to forget Mishil, and to live happily with each other.

Lord Seolwon, his Hwarang officers, and their trainees march off to continue searching for Deokman. But Lord Kim Seohyeon and his men arrive and block their way. As both sides begin to draw their swords, Alcheon Rang arrives, pulling a cart with a dead body on it.

Episode 25

Episode 24 recap:

Princess Cheonmyeong dies.

Mishil orders her allies to stop pressuring King Jinpyeong about Deokman, Princess Cheonmyeong, and the ancient Silla prophecy.

Minister Eulje and Mishil race against each other in bringing back from the Xiu Nation Princess Cheonmyeong’s son, Chunchu.
Deokman refuses to obey Princess Cheonmyeong’s last wish that she and Kim Yushin leave Silla; she vows to turn Silla upside down.

As Munno questions Bidam about his desire to help people, he remembers his last meeting with Sohwa and the infant Deokman.

In the palace, Alcheon Rang begins his appeal for King Jinpyeong to investigate Princess Cheonmyeong’s death. But Mishil and her allies pin the blame on Minister Eulje and Lord Kim Seohyeon.

In guilt over Princess Cheonmyeong’s death, King Jinpyeong dismisses Minister Eulje from his position.

After meeting King Jinpyeong, Mishil goes to the shrine and orders her brother Lord Misaeng and the High Priestess to drink poison.

Alcheon Rang goes to a secluded place and prepares, as a Hwarang warrior, to take his own life. But Deokman arrives and demands his allegiance to her. Later, she orders him to deliver a message to her father King Jinpyeong and her mother Queen Maya.

Episode 26

Episode 25 recap:

Mishil spares Lord Misaeng’s life after he informs her that Master Wolcheon has predicted a solar eclipse.

As Deokman confronts her, the High Priestess sees a vision of Deokman as Silla’s monarch. When Mishil arrives, she hides Deokman behind the panel. While dying from the poison that she drinks in Mishil’s presence, she then says out loud Master Wolcheon’s name and where he can be found.
Confronted by Kim Yushin on what her ultimate goal is, Deokman says that she will eliminate Mishil and become Silla’s sovereign ruler. She later tells Alcheon Rang and Bidam that they must take Master Wolcheon from the temple.

Meanwhile, Mishil goes to the temple to see Master Wolcheon. But from a distance, Gaya rebels led by Wolya and Seolji are watching and planning to snatch Master Wolcheon.

Master Wolcheon tells Mishil that he can predict when a solar eclipse will occur if he had the Wei Nation’s almanac, which is superior to the Great Ming almanac in calculating the earth’s rotation.

King Jinpyeong learns from Queen Maya that she helped Deokman to sneak into the shrine. He also learns from Kim Yongchun that the people are getting restless and that members of “Bokyahwei” (Gaya Restoration Movement) are moving, with Kim Yushin and his family as their next target.

Posters that call for Queen Maya to be deposed begin appearing all over the capital.

Blindfolded and bound, Kim Yushin is led into the Bokyahwei hideout; meanwhile, Bojong and his Hwarang trainees begin killing the Gaya refugees in a village one by one to force them to reveal where the Bokyahwei hideout is located.

Episode 27

Episode 26 recap:

Kim Yushin makes a deal with Wolya (Crown Prince of Dae Gaya and leader of Bokyahwei). He gives all of his family’s lands for the Gaya refugees in exchange for Wolya and his group’s allegiance to Deokman.
Deokman gives Master Wolcheon her copy of the Wei Nation almanac and asks him to calculate when the next solar eclipse will occur. But Master Wolcheon refuses to help her.

After Mishil finds out that Deokman has taken Master Wolcheon captive, she sends Lord Misaeng to fetch Priestess Seolmae.

Kim Yushin and Alcheon Rang explain to Bidam the origin of the ancient Silla prophecy about the twin births. They explain that the whole prophecy can no longer be known since the stone on which the prophecy was inscribed was broken into two, and the other half was lost.

Deokman reunites with Jukbang, Godo, and the other Hwarang trainees. She sends them to gather human bones and cat’s urine, but before they leave, Jukbang and Godo tell Kim Yushin what happened to Sohwa.

In the palace and in the capital, birds die as they plummet to the ground. Priestess Seolmae, Minister Sejong, and Hajong tell King Jinpyeong that it’s an ominous sign for the royal family. Later, when the well from which Silla’s first king arose begin spewing forth blood, the people begin to panic.

Episode 28

Episode 27 recap:

With the help of Jukbang, Deokman fabricates the second part of the ancient Silla prophecy — instead of the twin birth being a curse, it signals a new, glorious phase for Silla.

Through Bidam, Deokman wants to bluff Mishil into proclaiming that there will be a solar eclipse and thus lose her credibility among the people.

Bidam is arrested and brought before Mishil.
Jukbang and Godo begin spreading the rumor among the people that when the solar eclipse occurs, another Silla princess will appear.

With the people in panic, King Jinpyeong, Lord Kim Seohyeon, and Kim Yongchun pressure Mishil into proclaiming whether there will be a solar eclipse.

Lord Seolwon advises Mishil not to fall into Deokman’s trap but to read people as she had once counseled him to do before he went to a battle. Later, when Deokman sends Mishil a copy of the Wei Nation almanac through Kim Yushin, Mishil senses Kim Yushin’s hesitation in answering her questions.

Through posters that are put up all over the capital, Mishil proclaims that a solar eclipse will not occur. She then orders that Bidam should be burned at the stake in a public square.

Episode 29

Episode 28 recap:

Deokman convinces Master Wolcheon that she is different from Mishil and that she will not misuse science.

Master Wolcheon calculates that there will be a solar eclipse, but to mislead Mishil, Deokman lies to Bidam, Alcheon Rang, and Kim Yushin.
As the eclipse occurs, Bidam recites out loud the ancient Silla prophecy and its fabricated, second part. As the eclipse ends, Deokman appears on a tower that overlooks the public square; Kim Yushin and Alcheon Rang then proclaim Deokman as the princess who will lead Silla to a glorious, new phase.

Mishil orders a loyalty check among the nobles and Hwarang officers who support her; she also orders Lord Misaeng, Lord Sejong, and Hajong to get something from King Jinpyeong in exchange for expediting Deokman’s coronation as a Silla princess.

Deokman was able to get Master Wolcheon’s help by promising to share knowledge with the people. But King Jinpyeong, Queen Maya, and their advisers oppose her plan.

On Mishil’s orders, Bojong, Seokpum Rang, and their trainees snatch Master Wolcheon from the temple. But Kim Yushin and Alcheon Rang arrive, and a fight breaks out.

Episode 30

Episode 29 recap:

Based on Master Wolcheon’s design, Deokman wants to build an observatory that will enable the people to understand astronomy by themselves. But Mishil warns her that the royal family will lose its authority to rule.
Like Mishil, King Jinpyeong warns Deokman that making astronomy available to the people will weaken the royal family’s authority. But Deokman proposes a different basis for strengthening royal authority.

To Deokman’s surprise, Mishil’s allies in the Council of Nobles approve the construction of the observatory.

After finding out that Deokman is Princess Cheonmyeong’s twin, Munno allows Bidam to officially join in serving her. Later, after meeting Deokman at night, Bidam is ambushed by Chilsuk.

Mishil tells Bojong to get rid of Sohwa, but Sohwa escapes from the Hwarang officers who are guarding her. Finding out that Deokman is going to attend the ceremonial ritual for the observatory, she runs there.

Episode 31

Episode 30 recap:

Based on Kim Yushin’s comment, Deokman advises King Jinpyeong to make Buddhism the basis of the royal family’s authority.

As the Hwarang officers catch up with Sohwa, Munno rescues her. But Chilsuk also arrives and recognizes Munno.
Deokman and Sohwa are finally reunited. But later, Sohwa becomes alarmed upon knowing that Bidam is working for Deokman.

After Mishil finds out that Munno has returned, she remembers what King Jinji did to their son.

To prevent Munno from possibly getting the allegiance of the Hwarang warriors, Mishil agrees with Lord Seolwon on the immediate appointment of Bojong as the “Pungwolju” (Hwarang leader equivalent to “Gukseon”). She also asks Chilsuk to lead the Hwarang officers and trainees in counteracting Munno’s influence.

But as Deokman and Mishil prepare to go to the investiture ceremonies for Chilsuk, Munno arrives and forces his way into the Hwarang assembly area.

Deokman finally meets Munno, but to her shock, Munno bluntly tells her that he doesn’t approve of her plan to become Silla’s sovereign ruler.

Episode 32

Episode 31 recap:

Sohwa remembers how Munno told her some 20 years ago about his plan to prepare Bidam, as Mishil’s son, to marry Deokman and become the Royal Adviser.

Munno tells Mishil that he wants to supervise the selection of the next “Pungwolju.”

Mishil remembers that deposed King Jinji entrusted their son to Munno; as Lord Seolwon suggests to her, Bidam could be that son.

Bidam overhears Sohwa tell Munno that she can never agree to a marriage between him and Deokman. Later, Munno remembers how, as a young boy, Bidam killed dozens of people.
Bojong wins the first round of the competition.

For the second part, Munno orders the Hwarang officers to find out King Jijeung’s three meanings of the name “Silla.” Deokman, Kim Yushin, and Alcheon Rang immediately help each other in finding out the meanings.

But Mishil becomes angry with Munno for bringing up the topic. She tells her allies that the third meaning will never be known, and that even if Deokman finds out the meaning from the “Guksa” (Silla’s historical records), she will not dare reveal it to others.

To Munno’s surprise, Bidam begins asking who his parents are, something that he never asked during his childhood years.

Deokman, Kim Yushin, and Alcheon Rang visit the Heungnyun Temple where the “Guksa” was first compiled by scholars who were led by Lord Geochilbu. Deokman tells Kim Yushin that she must find out the third meaning of “Silla” to prove to Munno that she’s qualified to be the sovereign ruler.

Episode 33

Episode 32 recap:

As Munno confessed to King Jinpyeong, he himself doesn’t know the third meaning of “Silla.” Only Mishil and her husband Lord Sejong know the meaning, but they have sworn to bring the secret to their graves.

Deokman and Kim Yushin find out that the third meaning could be hidden in Lord Geochilbu’s magic squares of characters.
Based on Lord Geochilbu’s last letter to King Jinpyeong, Deokman and Kim Yushin find the third meaning as inscribed in King Jinheung’s knife. But they’re shocked by the meaning of the inscribed writing.

Deokman confronts Munno with the third meaning of “Silla,” but Munno continues to oppose her, saying that if a woman is brilliant or talented enough to rule, it’s Mishil, not her.

After listening to Deokman and Munno, Bidam remembers his childhood years when, for some reason, Munno traveled all over the Three Kingdoms. Later, he goes to Deokgil Temple where Munno kept all his notes.

Before the start of the martial arts competition, Kim Yushin is visited first by Mishil, and then by Wolya and Seolji.

Bidam asks permission from Deokman to enter the Royal Library where he reads the “Guksa” annals of King Jinji. After he leaves the library, he meets Mishil along the way.

After Munno confronts him, Bidam goes to see Deokman at night; he guarantees that Kim Yushin will become the “Pungwolju” of the Hwarang officers and trainees.

Episode 34

Episode 33 recap:

Deokman and Kim Yushin find out that the third meaning of “Silla” is a call and a challenge for Silla’s rulers to unite the Three Kingdoms (Silla, Baekje, and Goguryeo). Deokman later tells Munno that she’s qualified to fulfill this call.

Kim Yushin reveals to his parents the call for the unification of the Three Kingdoms.

Bidam steals the books on the geographical features of the Three Kingdoms that Munno has been compiling for more than 20 years. (From the time that Bidam killed dozens of people to get the books back, Munno has feared that he has raised a monster.)

Bidam finds out from the historical records that Mishil could be his mother; Lord Seolwon, however, has been following him everywhere.
Bidam demands that he be allowed to join the Hwarang competition by claiming that he is Munno’s disciple.

Chunchu, Princess Cheonmyeong’s son, is on his way back to Silla where he is awaited eagerly by King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya. But he’s accompanied by Daenambo (Lord Misaeng’s son), and he’s unlike what everyone has imagined him to be.

Before the competition begins, Bidam annoys Bojong and the other elite Hwarang officers. Wolya and Seolji, meanwhile, pressure Kim Yushin by saying that he will help advance the plans of the Gaya rebels if he wins.

After the initial rounds, only four men are left standing — Bidam versus Bojong, Alcheon Rang versus Kim Yushin.

Episode 35

Episode 34 recap:

On the way to the capital, Chunchu escapes from his escorts; at the competition, he meets Jukbang.

Bidam defeats Bojong but later loses to Kim Yushin in the finals. Chilsuk however, questions whether the duel in the finals was fixed.
The Hwarang Council decides to disqualify Bidam and let Kim Yushin prove himself by fighting one more opponent — Chilsuk.

Jukbang patiently continues to teach Chunchu about the different political factions in Silla; from other people in the tavern, Chunchu also learns about Deokman and his mother, Princess Cheonmyeong.

Chunchu finally arrives at the palace and gives his respects to King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya. Later, he meets Deokman at Princess Cheonmyeong’s former quarters and tells her that he doesn’t need her care or attention. He then refuses Alcheon Rang’s offer to escort him and instead, goes out with Lord Misaeng and Daenambo to savor the capital’s nightlife.

Episode 36

Episode 35 recap:

Chunchu resents having been asked by Princess Cheonmyeong to live far away from her. He also says that he has forgiven Daenambo for killing his mother.

Mishil and Lord Seolwon have found out that the Gaya refugees are living and farming on lands that were owned by Kim Yushin’s family; to block Kim Yushin’s appointment as “Pungwolju,” they question his allegiance to Silla.
Lord Seolwon tells Kim Yushin that all suspicions about his allegiance will be set aside if he betrays the leaders of the Gaya Restoration Movement. On the other hand, Mishil warns Deokman that Kim Yushin will never be able to set aside his Gaya ancestry.

To Queen Maya’s disappointment, Chunchu continues drinking and womanizing in Lord Misaeng’s company.

Lord Seolwon’s spy steals from Kim Yushin’s family the documents that transferred, free of levies, the ownership of their lands to the Gaya refugees.

To save Kim Yushin, Wolya and Seolji offer to surrender as the leaders of the Gaya Restoration Movement; despite Deokman’s pleas, Kim Yushin refuses to accept their sacrifice.

Episode 37

Episode 36 recap:

To save the Gaya people, Kim Yushin agrees to marry into Mishil’s clan.

Munno tells his comrade Yeomjeong that they must complete their notes on the geographical features of the Three Kingdoms. He plans to entrust these notes to Kim Yushin, who has impressed him with his integrity and vision.
Deokman congratulates Mishil on getting Kim Yushin into her clan but makes her admit that she cannot fully rely on his allegiance. Afterwards, Kim Yushin reminds Deokman to focus on their ultimate goal of uniting the Three Kingdoms.

As Kim Yushin gets married, Deokman visits the farmlands of the Gaya people; Wolya and Seolji tell her that the Gaya people will follow Kim Yushin wherever he leads.

Munno completes his notes on the geographical features of the Three Kingdoms, but along the way, Bidam ambushes him.

Episode 38

Episode 37 recap:

Munno’s comrade Yeomjeong betrays him and steals the notes. Before dying, Munno tells Bidam to become a Hwarang officer and to support Kim Yushin and Deokman. Bidam goes back to the capital and claims Munno’s authority as “Geukson.”

Bidam tracks down Yeomjeong, the man who betrayed Munno and stole the notes. But Yeomjeong later leads him to Chunchu.
Bidam regains the notes but spares Yemjeong who claims to have a network of spies that can be invaluable later on. Yemjeong also claims that Mishil has decided to make Chunchu as the next king.

As Kim Yushin implements his reforms in the ranks of the Hwarang officers and trainees, Chilsuk becomes suspicious, especially of Wolya.

As drought hits Silla, people begin starving. Later, Jukbang, Godo, and the other Hwarang trainees witness the murder of a grains dealer in the market. When Kim Yushin investigates the murder, he finds out that Mishil, her allies, and other Silla nobles are buying up all the grains.

After finding out what the real intentions are behind the hoarding, Deokman proposes a plan to King Jinpyeong and asks him for complete authority to deal with the crisis. But Kim Yongchun and Lord Kim Seohyeon warn her against the tremendous opposition that will arise.

Episode 39

Episode 38 recap:

Deokman and Kim Yushin find out that the nobles want to force the farmers into debt so that they can claim the farmlands for themselves.

With King Jinpyeong’s support, Deokman releases into the market all the grains in the palace that have been intended for famine relief. To outlast the nobles and profiteers, she also plans to release the grains that are intended for the military.
Mishil and her allies are forced to sell off at a loss the grains that they have been hoarding. As the royal court begins buying back the grains, Bidam’s henchman tells Chunchu that, except for Deokman, the royal family exhibited weakness during the crisis.

The members of the Council of Nobles hastily assemble to challenge Deokman’s release of the military supplies without informing them and to prevent her from ever acting on her own again. But the meeting descends into chaos.

With King Jinpyeong’s permission, Deokman uses all the profits from the sale of the grains to manufacture high-grade farming tools.

People in Angang Province rebel when their taxes aren’t adjusted even when the harvest has failed due to blight. With the governor held hostage and the people in danger of being sold off as slaves, Deokman goes to the province to deal with the crisis.

Deokman gives back to the people their confiscated harvest and provides them with barren land that they can cultivate with the new high-quality farm tools. Despite the protests of Kim Yushin and Alcheon Rang, she suspends the death penalty on the ringleader of the uprising.

Episode 40

Episode 39 recap:

The villagers betray their promise to Deokman by stealing the crops and the farm tools that were given to them. As she tries to reason with them, Mishil’s words on how fickle the people really are come pouring into her mind. She takes Kim Yushin’s sword and kills the two village leaders.
Bidam begins trying to gain Deokman’s heart.

After King Jinpyeong finds out that he’s sick, he tells Queen Maya to look for a suitable husband for Deokman; he will then appoint the Royal Son-in-Law as the successor to the crown.

Mishil and her allies reach out to the noble families from all over Silla who have candidates for Royal Son-in-Law and try to win them over to her side. But Lord Seolwon tells Mishil that, since Bidam is her son, they should also consider putting him forth as a candidate.

During the first deliberation of the royal court on the selection of the Royal Son-in-Law, Deokman shocks everyone by saying that she will not marry and that she wants to be proclaimed as the heir and successor to Silla’s throne.

Tumult over Deokman’s desire to rule spreads among the government officials, the nobles, the Hwarang officers, and Kim Yushin’s Gaya allies.

Episode 41

Episode 40 recap:

Kim Yushin reassures Wolya and Seolji that, as Silla’s ruler, Deokman will protect the Gaya people.

To the surprise of Deokman, King Jinpyeong, and Queen Maya, Mishil presents Chunchu as a potential heir and successor to the Silla throne.
Chunchu surprises everyone by saying that the “bone rank” system is outdated and not practiced anywhere else. Later, despite protests by Kim Yushin and Alcheon Rang that he’s disregarding his mother’s sacrifice, he challenges Deokman.

Infighting among King Jinpyeong’s advisers begins when Kim Yongchun says that Chunchu is a legitimate candidate for Silla’s heir and successor. But Lord Kim Seohyeon accuses him of bias because Chunchu is his nephew. As they argue before King Jinpyeong, Deokman overhears everything.

Conflict also arises between Lord Seolwon and Lord Sejong on who Chunchu’s bride would be; Lord Sejong insists to Mishil that Chunchu must marry someone from his clan, not Boryang (Lord Seolwon’s granddaughter).

Through all these conflicts, Mishil remains silent and distant, thinking about Chunchu’s words about the bone rank system and of Deokman’s desire to be the monarch.

Episode 42

Episode 41 recap:

As Kim Yushin suspected, Chunchu has been using Mishil for his own benefit. After securing Kim Yongchun’s support, Chunchu secretly marries Boryang to join ranks with Lord Seolwon’s clan.
Chunchu arrogantly tells Deokman that he easily manipulated Mishil and that his plans to take the throne will not fail.

With Mishil still absent from the palace, Deokman orders her men to watch Lord Seolwon, Lord Sejong, and Lord Misaeng.

At a mountain lodge with Bidam and Chilsuk, Mishil continues to reminisce her youthful days; she also questions Bidam’s devotion to Deokman.

Tensions escalate when Lord Sejong orders a regiment of 5,000 soldiers to mobilize. Bojong and his fellow Hwarang officers, however, kidnap Lord Sejong. Finding out about it, Hajong and his men strike back against Lord Seolwon.

Deokman finds out where Mishil is staying and goes there in the middle of the night with Kim Yushin. There, they see Bidam.

Episode 43

Episode 42 recap:

Lord Seolwon, Lord Sejong, and their respective forces lay down their arms.

After confirming what Mishil’s plans are, Deokman warns Chunchu and asks him to join her against Mishil.
Deokman tells Chunchu that their words and actions have awakened Mishil’s desire to usurp the Silla throne. Later, she prepares her contingency plans with Kim Yushin.

Deokman warns King Jinpyeong, Kim Yongchun, and Lord Kim Seohyeon about Mishil’s plan to take the throne. To isolate Mishil’s political allies, she proposes some sweeping reforms in Silla’s tax system. On the other hand, Mishil’s allies begin conducting a loyalty check of all the Silla noble clans.

Chunchu visits Mishil to find out what’s really happening, but to his shock, Mishil tells him pointblank that she deposed his grandfather King Jinji and killed his great-grandfather King Jinheung and his mother Princess Cheonmyeong.

Just as Deokman expected, the noble clans who will benefit from the tax reforms pressure the Council of Nobles. With the prospect of angering the nobles and the people should they oppose the reforms, Mishil orders her allies to approve the reforms.

Episode 44

Episode 43 recap:

Chunchu pledges her allegiance to Deokman.

As prearranged by Mishil, only one of her allies votes against the tax reforms. Since the rules of the Council of Nobles require a unanimous vote to pass any measure, the tax reforms fail to pass, and Mishil’s allies avoid the people’s anger.

But Deokman immediately proposes to change the rule on unanimous vote to majority vote.
The Council of Nobles rejects Deokman’s proposal to shift to majority vote, but the nobles and the Hwarang officers who could have benefited from the tax reforms begin grumbling against the Council.

Mishil tells her allies that she’s now willing to do anything to achieve her goal; she then orders her allies to convene the Council of Nobles and vote to expel Deokman from participating in deliberations on government matters.

Finding out about the hasty meeting of the Council of Nobles, Kim Yushin and Alcheon Rang take their men and storm the hall where the Council is meeting.

Episode 45

Episode 44 recap:

Mishil orders Yeomjeong to force Bidam to go on an excursion far away from the palace.

Through Lord Seolwon’s strategy, Mishil and her allies make it appear that Deokman, Kim Yushin, and Alcheon Rang have staged a coup.
While Kim Yushin, Alcheon Rang, Kim Yongchun, Lord Kim Seohyeon, and their men are trapped in the Council hall, Jukbang and Godo rescue Chunchu and Deokman.

As Sohwa tries to escape, she runs into Chilsuk, who helps her hide in Mishil’s secret chamber.

After King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya have been captured and the royal seal has been delivered to her, Mishil issues an order for Deokman’s arrest.

Episode 46

Episode 45 recap:

Sohwa loses the royal seal to Chilsuk, but she finds King Jinheung’s last royal order in Mishil’s secret chamber.

Jukbang gets lost in the maze underneath the palace shrine.

Bidam and several men break into the palace to rescue Deokman and Chunchu. But as more soldiers close in on them, Kim Yushin locks the gate behind him to allow Deokman, Chunchu, and Bidam to escape.
Kim Yushin, Alcheon Rang, Kim Yongchun, and Lord Kim Seohyeon are captured and tortured. Meanwhile, Jukbang and Sohwa escape from the palace shrine.

With Bidam’s help, Deokman sneaks into the camp of Lord Jujin, commander of the 5,000-strong regiment of soldiers that has occupied the capital.

Using the royal seal, Mishil establishes the National Crisis Committee with her allies in complete control; she silences the opposition from the ministers and proclaims martial law in the capital.

Some of the Hwarang officers and the battalion commanders outside the capital begin questioning the legitimacy of Mishil’s orders. Meanwhile, Wolya and Seolji infiltrate the palace to rescue Kim Yushin and Alcheon Rang.

Episode 47

Episode 46 recap:

Having deceived Wolya and Seolji into rescuing Yushin, Chilsuk and the soldiers attack Deokman’s camp.
Chilsuk’s men overrun the camp, but Kim Yushin and Deokman manage to escape.

Deokman finds out that Tang envoys are coming to the capital; through leaflets bearing her name and Chunchu’s name, she urges the envoys, the people, the Hwarang officers, and the ministers to rescue King Jinpyeong.

When the Tang envoy demands as tribute more gold than what Silla produces in a year, Mishil refuses to comply. The envoy then brings out Deokman’s leaflet and accuses Mishil of usurping the throne.

Episode 48

Episode 47 recap:

Chilsuk kills Sohwa, having mistaken her for Deokman.

As Mishil and the Tang envoy proceed to King Jinpyeong’s quarters, Deokman suddenly appears and reveals herself to everyone.
In front of the Tang envoy, Deokman demands from Mishil an open investigation of herself, Kim Yongchun, Lord Kim Seohyeon, and Alcheon Rang.

Conflict arises between Kim Yushin and Bidam over Deokman’s decision to enter the palace by herself.

Mishil approves the open investigation but orders her allies to bring to the capital all nobles who command more than a thousand soldiers each; those who do not obey must be killed. She also assigns her allies and their men to guard specific areas of the capital and the palace.

Chunchu reaches out to Lord Junji to try and convince him to switch allegiance, but as they’re talking, Mishil and Lord Seolwon arrive. They tell Lord Junji that Deokman is planning a rebellion on the day of the open investigation and want him to transfer command of his 5,000 soldiers to them.

After he and Kim Yushin meet some of the Hwarang officers, Bidam visits Munno’s grave.

On the date of the open investigation, Lord Seolwon forces all the nobles to transfer control of their private soldiers to the Board of Military Affairs, which he controls. And on his way to the open investigation, Lord Junji is ambushed on Mishil’s order.

Episode 49

Episode 48 recap:

Chunchu rallies the nobles and their combined forces to march on to the capital.

Bidam and Kim Yushin trick the Hwarang officers and trainees into thinking that Munno is leading the fight to rescue King Jinpyeong.

Mishil takes a bow and shoots an arrow at Deokman.
Mishil’s arrow hits King Jinheung’s knife that Deokman always keeps with her. As Bidam and his men storm the assembly area, Mishil and his allies escape. Meanwhile, Kim Yushin and his men rescue King Jinpyeong.

Mishil and her allies escape from the palace and head towards the impregnable Daeya Fortress. As nobles from other parts of Silla pledge their support to Mishil and supplies like crossbows arrive, Deokman orders Lord Kim Seohyeon and his soldiers to isolate Daeya Fortress.

Deokman remembers King Jinheung’s royal order for Lord Seolwon to kill Mishil. After Sohwa showed it to her, she placed it inside a box, which she buried near a tree in Wolya’s camp. She orders Bidam to retrieve the box.

Later, while in disguise, Jukbang and Godo see Bidam as he lines up at the sentry gate to get into Daeya Fortress.

Episode 50

Episode 49 recap:

Deokman decides to use King Jinheung’s royal order.

Bidam asks Mishil why she kept him away from the palace that day when she and her allies took over power.

Jukbang tells Deokman about Sohwa’s refusal to entrust King Jinheung’s order to Bidam. Later, as Bidam says that he did not find anything inside the box, Deokman asks him what’s his relationship to Mishil.
Bidam denies any relationship between him and Mishil.

Deokman faces a dilemma on what to do since Daeya Fortress has enough food supplies to last for more than a year. While she’s thinking about the consequences of a civil war, Jukbang and Godo come to her with a strategy on how to defeat Daeya Fortress.

After refining the strategy with Kim Yushin, Deokman sends Bidam to deliver a message to Mishil that asks for a one-on-one meeting.

Deokman orders Kim Yushin and her other leaders to start besieging Daesa Fortress. But the general in command of Sokham Fortress leads his 20,000 troops away from the border with Baekje and rushes to Mishil’s defense.

Episode 51

Episode 50 recap:

Deokman’s forces cause panic among the soldiers who are defending Daeya Fortress by spreading the rumor that the water supply has been poisoned.

When the general and his soldiers leave Sokham Fortress, the Baekje army takes the opportunity to attack the border areas. Mishil orders the general to turn around and defend the fortress against the Baekje army.

Mishil orders the surrender of Daesa Fortress.
Mishil takes her own life.

Despite finding out that Mishil is dead, Chilsuk refuses to surrender. While Seokpum Rang and his men provide the distraction, he attacks Deokman on an isolated, mountain road.

Before dying, King Jinpyeong tells Deokman to unify the Three Kingdoms. Despite protests by Queen Maya, Chunchu, Kim Yushin, and the others, Deokman refuses to execute Mishil’s allies.

At Mishil’s funeral, Bidam finds out that Mishil decided and acted as she did so that he can become the next King of Silla.

Episodes 52-61

Episode 51 recap:

Bidam confesses to Deokman that he’s the son of Mishil and King Jinji.

Chilsuk attacks Deokman, but Kim Yushin and Bidam kill him.

Bidam forms an alliance with his mother Mishil’s men like Lord Seolwon, Lord Misaeng, and Hajong. He wants to gain Deokman’s affection and, by marrying her, become the King of Silla.

Conflict arises between Deokman and Kim Yushin over the “Gaya Restoration Movement” that’s led by Wolya and Seolji. After ordering that Kim Yushin be arrested, Deokman later on sends him to exile.

Led by spies and highly-mobile units, the Baekje army of some 20,000 soldiers capture Daeya Fortress. But Bidam assures Deokman that he will save Silla by sending Lord Seolwon as the commander of the counterattack.

With the Baekje army just an hour’s ride away from the Silla capital, Kim Yushin draws up a defense plan. He gives the plan to Bidam, who presents it to Deokman as his plan to save the capital.

Deokman finally decides to marry Bidam and to abdicate the throne in Chunchu’s favor.

After Hyeomjeong and Lord Misaeng connive with the Tang envoys to create intrigue in the royal court, Deokman orders the envoys to be arrested.

Bidam and his political allies launch a rebellion against Deokman.

Episode 62 Finale (with spoilers)

As Deokman lies on her sickbed, Bidam and his allies launch their rebellion.

Grand Marshall Kim Yushin orders his forces to attack Bidam’s fortress at full force and from all directions.

Kim Yushin distracts the attention of Bidam’s soldiers by using a kite that appears like a fallen star that’s going back to its original position; his soldiers then climb up the walls, attack the sentries, and open the gates for Alcheon Rang’s forces.

After his forces are routed, Bidam slashes his way towards Deokman. Kim Yushin and Alcheon Rang finally kill him a few paces away from Deokman.

In her dying moments, Deokman realizes that it was Kim Yushin who has been with her all throughout her life.

Years later, after defeating the Baekje army at the Battle of Hwangsan Plains, Kim Yushin unifies the Three Kingdoms.

Historical backgrounders and other information

“Queen Seondok” plagiarism controversy

Queen Seondeok (Ancient History)

Queen Seondeok (Sondok) ruled the ancient kingdom of Silla from 632 to 647 CE and was the first female sovereign in ancient Korea. Silla was on the verge of dominating the whole of the Korean peninsula and Seondeok helped progress her kingdom towards this goal. Her reign was also distinguished by the increased integration of Buddhism, already the official state religion, and the construction of the famous Cheomseongdae, the oldest observatory in East Asia.

Seondeok gained the throne because her father, king Jinpyeong (Chinpyong, r. 579-632 CE) who had reigned for 53 years, had no male heir. The fact that a queen could rule alone is testimony to the traditional high status of women in the royal lineage and illustrates the rigidity of the Silla social class system. The latter was based on the bone rank system which dictated all manner of privileges and obligations based on one’s birth and bloodline. The highest social level was the sacred bone class which was only held by members of the royal house of Kim. When Jinpyeong died there were no living males of sacred bone rank and so one of two things had to happen: either the whole social class system had to be restructured or a queen was permitted to rule. The latter choice was taken, as it was again for the same reasons for Seondeok’s successor.

Kim Yushin (Ancient History)

Kim Yushin (aka Kim Yu-sin, 595-673 CE) was a general of the Silla kingdom which ruled south-eastern Korea during the Three Kingdoms Period. Kim would greatly help Silla unify Korea, famously leading a massive army to crush the rival kingdom of Baekje (Paekche) in the 660’s CE. His feats won him legendary status in his own lifetime, an elevated position he still enjoys in Korea today.

Kim Chunchu aka Muyeol of Silla (Wikipedia)

King Taejong Muyeol(604- 661), born Kim Chun-Chu, was the 29th ruler of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea. He is credited for leading the unification of Korea's Three Kingdom.

King Taejong Muyeol was born with the “sacred bone” rank of seonggol. His father, Kim Yongsu, was a son of Silla’s 25th ruler, King Jinji. When King Jinji was overthrown, all royalty from his line, including Kim Yongsu, were deemed unfit to rule over the kingdom. However, as he Yongsu was one of the few remaining seonggols, and married a seonggol princess (King Jinpyeong’s daughter Princess Cheonmyeong), their child, Kim Chunchu, became seonggol and thus had a claim to the throne.

Kim Yongsu was a powerful figure in the government. However, he lost all of his power to Kim Baekban, the brother of the king. In order to survive, he had accepted to become a jingol, the rank that was right below seonggol. Therefore, he lost his chance of becoming the king, and so did his child, Kim Chunchu.

Following the death of his aunt, Queen Seondeok, Chunchu was passed over in favor of Jindeok of Silla, the last verifiable seonggol. With her death, all the seonggols were dead, so somebody with the royal blood in the jinggol rank had to succeed the throne. Kim Alcheon (a.k.a. So Alcheon), who was then Sangdaedeung (highest post of government) of Silla was the original favorite to succeed the throne. His father was a seonggol, who married a jingol wife so that his son would not be a seonggol and suffer from the fight for the throne. However, Kim Yushin supported Kim Chunchu, and Alcheon eventually refused the throne and supported Chunchu’s claim. As a result, Kim Chunchu succeeded the throne as King Muyeol.

Queen Seondeok of Silla (Wikipedia)

c. 595~610 – 17 February 647/January 8, Lunar Calendar) reigned as Queen Regnant of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, from 632 to 647. She was Silla’s twenty-seventh ruler, and its first reigning queen. She was the second female sovereign in recorded East Asian history and encouraged a renaissance in thought, literature, and the arts in Silla. In Samguksagi, Queen Seondeok was described as “generous, benevolent, wise, and smart”.

She was the daughter of King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya of Silla. She had two siblings, Princess Cheonmyeong and Princess Seonhwa (although Seonhwa’s existence is controversial due to the discovery of evidence in 2009 that points to King Uija’s mother as being Queen Sataek and not Seonhwa as indicated by historical records), it is unsure whether she was the first born or Cheonmyeong, however, it is widely believed that Princess Cheonmyeong was older than her.

Because King Jinpyeong had no son whom he could pass the crown to, he began to consider his son-in-law, Kim Yongsu (Husband of Princess Cheonmyeong) as his successor - after recognizing his achievements for the country. When Princess Deokman heard of it, she made a plea to her father, asking him to give her a chance to compete for the throne, insisting that she too has the right to compete for the throne as much as Kim Yongsu has. Seeing her determination, the King gave her the chance to prove herself worthy of the throne. Although it was not unusual for women to wield power in Silla (Queen Sado also served as a regent for King Jinpyeong), the thought of having a female ruler sitting on the throne was still unacceptable for most of them. Therefore, Princess Deokman had to prove herself in order to gain the trust and support of her people. Eventually, she succeeded, and was named as King Jinpyeong’s successor – a decision that wasn’t accepted by everyone, and as a result, some officials planned an uprising in order to stop her from being crowned.

Gyeongju Historical Area, where Silla Dynasty comes to life

Origins of TKD and The Hwarang Warrior’s Codes

Theme-based video recaps of memorable scenes

(Note: Click the “cc” button to choose the subtitles in English, French, or Spanish.)

A. Deokman and Princess Cheonmyeong

1. First meeting as they search for Munno: after escaping from the river bank where they were attacked by bandits, Princess Cheongmyeong follows Deokman into the woods.

2. Princess Cheonmyeong saves Deokman who falls off a cliff.

3. As they become adults, Deokman and Princess Cheonmyeong continue to meet secretly at night.

4. After she returns from the war, Deokman reunites with Princess Cheonmyeong.

5. Princess Cheonmyeong reveals to Deokman that they are twins.

6. Deokman and Princess Cheonmyeong relate to each other as sisters while in the mountain hideout.

7. Farewell, Princess Cheonmyeong!

B. Best action scenes

1. Deokman kills someone for the first time.

2. Deokman shows her innate leadership as she rallies her fellow soldiers.

3. Kim Yushin and Bidam fight off Lord Seolweon and his men who have captured Deokman.

C. Deokman and Kim Yushin

1. Deokman and Kim Yushin’s first scene together as teenagers

2. Kim Yushin punishes Deokman for always being last during their training.

3. Deokman and Kim Yushin’s first scene together as adults

4. Kim Yushin tells Deokman that he chooses her and that he’s willing to sacrifice everything for her.

5. Episode 25: Deokman and Kim Yushin share their grief over Princess Cheonmyeong’s death.

6. Episode 25: “Never to feel your touch again”

7. Episode 26: Deokman tells Yushin to abandon her (“Let me cherish how you made me feel like a normal person”).

8. Episodes 36 and 37: Kim Yushin is forced into an arranged marriage with a member of Mishil’s clan to save his Gaya people, as Deokman professes her love for him and pleads for him to find another way.

9. Episode 46: Kim Yushin locks the palace gate to give time for Deokman, Bidam, and Chunchu to escape.

10. Episode 62 (Finale)

Lessons in photography from “Queen Seondeok”

High angle shot, diagonal line
Dutch angle, natural frames
Foreground and background blur
Foreground and background blur
Low angle shot, keystoning
Natural frames
Conveying depth through overlapping forms
Lines of direction, partial frame
Lines of direction, partial frame
Diagonal line, lines of direction
Shallow depth of field, selective or differential focusing
Shooting against the light
Silhouette, Rule of Thirds
Symmetry and balance
Symmetry and balance, lines of direction
Diagonal lines, Dynamic symmetry
Sidelighting, compressed perspective
Compressed or stacked perspective
Lead room, looking space
High angle shot, Dutch angle
High angle shot, shape
High angle shot, shape
Linear perspective
Linear and aerial perspectives
Natural frame, shape
Rule of Thirds
Conveying depth through overlapping forms
Foreground and background blur
Golden hour, warm colors

No comments: