Monday, April 23, 2018

“The Princess’s Man” synopsis by episode, Eps. 1-24 (no spoilers)

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, and 24; Historical backgrounders and other information; Free 500-plus interactive grammar and vocabulary exercises based on “The Princess’s Man” and other Korean historical dramas (external link); Lessons in photography from “The Princess’s Man”

“The Princess’s Man” is a 2011 South Korean television series, starring Park Si-hoo and Moon Chae-won. It is a period drama about the forbidden romance between the daughter of King Sejo and the son of Sejo’s political opponent Kim Jong-seo. (Wikipedia)

Moon Chae-won won Best Actress awards in the Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards and KBS Drama Awards, while the drama won Best Drama Series (Asian Television Award), Golden Bird Prize for Series Drama (Seoul International Drama Awards), and Television Drama - Bronze World Medal (New York TV Festival).

The drama had an average viewership rating of 25.8%, with eight episodes ranking first and five episodes ranking second.

Episode 1

The drama opens in 1453 A.D. during the “Gyeyu Rebellion” when Grand Prince Suyang and his allies kill all their political rivals.

One year earlier ...

King Munjong is the eldest son of King Sejong the Great. But he is very sick, and the Crown Prince is young and inexperienced. Prince Suyang, who is King Sejong’s second eldest son, therefore plots with his allies on becoming the next King.

Right State Minister Kim Jong-seo is King Munjong’s faithful minister and friend. To gain Minister Kim Jong-seo’s allegiance, Prince Suyang proposes a marriage between his daughter Lee Se-ryung and Kim Seung-yu, Minister Kim Jong-seo’s second son.

Kim Seung-yu is an easy, go-lucky guy who enjoys visiting gisaeng houses with his best friends Prefect Shin Myeon of the capital bureau and Jung Jong, an impoverished noble. Despite his love of wine and women, he has been appointed as a Royal Lecturer.

Se-ryung finds out about the marriage proposal and wants to learn more about Kim Seung-yu. She convinces her friend, Princess Gyeonghye, to exchange places: she will dress and act like Princess Gyeonghye during the lecture session with Kim Seung-yu.

Episode 2

Kim Seung-yu rescues Se-ryung from her runaway horse. Despite the nearly-fatal incident, Se-ryung keeps pretending that she is Princess Gyeonghye. Later, Kim Seung-yu brings her to a gisaeng house to get a change of clothes before she heads back to the palace.

At the palace, King Munjong surprises both Minister Kim Jong-seo and Prince Suyang by announcing that he has chosen Kim Seung-yu to marry Princess Gyeonghye. But because of the protests by Prince Suyang’s allies, King Munjong appoints Prince Suyang as head of the selection committee for the Royal Son-In-Law.

Princess Gyeonghye protests to King Munjong that she’s not yet ready to get married. And during the next lecture with Kim Seung-yu, she still allows Se-ryung to pretend to be her.

King Munjong also appoints to the selection committee his trusted friend from the Hall of Worthies, Counselor Shin Sukju (the father of Kim Seung-yu’s best friend, Prefect Shin Myeon).

On Counselor Shin Sukju’s recommendation, the selection committee orders the Office of Astronomy to study the compatibility of the birth charts of Kim Seung-yu and Princess Gyeonghye. Counselor Shin Sukju also demands for round-the-clock security for the Office of Astronomy to prevent the leakage of the results.

Prefect Shin Myeon and his men raid the market to arrest the thugs who are victimizing the vendors. In pursuing one of the thugs, he barges into a room in a gisaeng house where he meets Prince Suyang.

Prince Suyang orders his men to kill Kim Seung-yu.

Episode 3

Prefect Shin Myeon arrives and rescues Kim Seung-yu and Se-ryung from the assassins.

As King Munjong’s condition worsens, Princess Gyeonghye becomes aware of the danger to her and the Crown Prince because of Prince Suyang. She realizes that her marriage to Kim Seung-yu is the only guarantee to their safety. Later on, she orders Se-ryung to avoid seeing Kim Seung-yu.

Prince Suyang’s adviser tells him of the unknown noble lady who protected Kim Seung-yu; on the other hand, after finding out about the assassins, Minister Kim Jong-seo warns Kim Seung-yu about Prince Suyang.

Despite Princess Gyeonghye’s warning, Se-ryung meets Kim Seung-yu again. They wander around the market together, but unknown to them, they’re being watched by one of Prince Suyang’s men.

Prince Suyang orders his men to kidnap the head of the Office of Astronomy. Later on, he invites Counselor Shin Sukju to a late-night meeting at his house. Unknown to Counselor Shin Sukju, Prince Suyang has also invited his son Prefect Shin Myeon.

Episode 4

Episode 3 recap:

Prince Suyang’s men threaten the head of the Office of Astronomy.

Kim Seung-yu’s friend Jung Jong is added to the list of candidates for Royal Son-In-Law.

Prince Suyang proposes a marriage between Se-ryung and Prefect Shin Myeon.

Prefect Shin Myeon advises Se-ryung to tell Kim Seung-yu who she really is.

Princess Gyeonghye finds out that Se-ryung met Kim Seung-yu again, and a court maid finds the letter that Kim Seung-yu wrote to Se-ryung (aka "Princess Gyeonghye”).

Princess Gyeonghye finally reveals herself to Kim Seung-yu.
While Se-ryung is hiding and listening in from a side room, Princess Gyeonghye finally reveals herself to Kim Seung-yu; she says that the woman he knows as the Princess is actually a court attendant who has now been kicked out of the palace.

Kim Seung-yu leaves in haste and, after drinking the night away at a gisaeng house, later begins looking for Se-ryung. But Princess Gyeonghye’s attendant warns him of the consequences if the impersonation is ever found out.

To clear her mind, Se-ryung goes to the valley where she and Kim Seung-yu rode together. Later, still confused by what Princess Gyeonghye said about Prince Suyang’s ambition, Se-ryung asks her father if he really wants to be King.

During an emergency meeting, the head of the Office of Astronomy presents the falsified results of his study. Despite outrage from the allies of Minister Kim Jong-seo, he warns King Munjong of the dire consequences if the marriage between Princess Gyeonghye and Kim Seung-yu pushes through.

While the deliberations on the selection of the Royal Son-In-Law are going on, the Inspector General orders the arrest of Kim Seung-yu.

As Kim Seung-yu is being dragged by soldiers to the place where he will be interrogated by King Munjong himself, he sees Se-ryung among the female members of the Royal family who have gathered along the way.

Episode 5

Episode 4 recap:

Princess Gyeonghye testifies during the interrogation on Kim Seung-yu’s behalf.

Se-ryung secretly visits Kim Seung-yu in prison, but before she can reveal who she really is, Prince Suyang arrives.
After Se-ryung confesses everything to him, Prince Suyang hastily visits Princess Gyeonghye.

Failing to convince Kim Seung-yu to tell the truth about the woman whom he met outside the palace, Minister Kim Jong-seo visits Prince Suyang and begs him for mercy.

Jung Jong is chosen as the Royal Son-In-Law, and Prefect Shin Myeon acts as his best man. But, during the wedding, King Munjong collapses.

Episode 6

Episode 5 recap:

King Munjong accepts the resignation of Minister Kim Jong-seo; Kim Seung-yu is dismissed as Royal Lecturer and exiled.
Kim Seung-yu and Se-ryung meet each other again near the swings at the market.

With Counselor Shin Sukju now appointed to the Royal Secretariat, Prince Suyang pressures the Crown Prince into approving a decree that puts his allies into strategic government posts.

Prince Suyang also forces Princess Gyeonghye to leave the palace and to move into her new residence. On instructions from her mother, Se-ryung visits Princess Gyeonghye, but Princess Gyeonghye berates her, saying that she must never go there again.

As the icy relationship between Princess Gyeonghye and Jung Jong continues, Kim Seung-yu and Prefect Shin Myeon visit Jung Jong. While there, Kim Seung-yu meets Princess Gyeonghye.

Later, panic ensues when Princess Gyeonghye goes missing from her residence. Jung Jong and Prefect Shin Myeon go to the palace to see if she went there. Meanwhile, with Kim Seung-yu whom she met by chance, Se-ryung goes by horseback and by boat to get to where she thinks Princess Gyeonghye might be.

That night, Prince Suyang stuns Se-ryung by telling her that he has arranged her marriage to Prefect Shin Myeon.

On Prince Anpyeong’s suggestion, King Munjong is brought to Princess Gyeonghye’s residence for a visit. Later, Prince Anpyeong brings a surprise visitor to meet King Munjong.

Back in the palace, King Munjong is on his death throes. Prince Suyang prepares a royal decree that appoints him as the Crown Prince’s regent; he also threatens the Royal Guards and the officers of the Board of Military Affairs with treason if they disobey his orders.

Episode 7

Episode 6 recap:

To Prince Suyang’s shock, Prince Anpyeong produces King Munjong’s last will; in the will, King Munjong appoints Kim Jong-seo and the State Council as the Crown Prince’s regent.

Unable to resist his emotions, Kim Seung-yu goes to the temple and embraces Se-ryung.
The Crown Prince is now King Danjong, with Kim Jong-seo as Left State Minister and Kim Seung-yu as a Royal Chronicler. Prince Suyang and other members of the Royal Family have been banned from entering the palace; meanwhile, Shin Sukju has been dismissed from the Royal Secretariat and reverted to the Hall of Worthies.

As they spend time together in Seungbeop Temple, Kim Seung-yu and Se-ryung fall more deeply in love with each other. But later on, Prince Suyang finds out that Se-ryung has been meeting Kim Seung-yu.

Prince Suyang and his allies prepare their highly-trained mercenaries for action, with Minister Kim Jong-seo and Prince Anpyeong as their primary targets. They plan to strike when King Danjong visits Princess Gyeonghye’s residence, as he did during her birthday feast.

Prefect Shin Myeon finds out how Se-ryung really feels towards Kim Seung-yu; later, as he gets drunk in anger and disappointment, Prince Suyang tells him to kill Kim Seung-yu.

Episode 8

Se-ryung finds out about her father’s plans of killing Minister Kim Jong-seo and Kim Seung-yu. She tries to leave her house to warn Kim Seung-yu, but her mother locks her up in her quarters.

Despite opposition from Minister Kim Jong-seo, King Danjong still wants to visit Princess Gyeonghye at her residence.

Prince Suyang and his allies order Prefect Shin Myeon to kill at the designated time all the soldiers guarding Princess Gyeonghye’s residence and to escort King Danjong back to the palace. Later, Prefect Shin orders his adjutant to select their men who will obey him without question. They then begin studying how the royal guards have positioned themselves around Princess Geonghye’s residence.

Prince Suyang sends a letter to Minister Kim Jong-seo, asking for an appointment later that night. Minister Kim Jong-seo’s eldest son immediately increases security around their house.

Se-ryung rips a piece of her undergarments and writes on it a warning for Kim Seung-yu. She pleads with her maid to deliver the letter immediately. But Prince Suyang and his assassins, who are dressed up as sedan chair carriers, are already on their way to Minister Kim Jong-seo’s house.

Episode 9

Minister Kim Jong-seo survives the attack by Prince Suyang’s men, but his eldest son dies. He orders Kim Seung-yu to rush to Princess Gyeonghye’s residence and to inform King Danjong about what’s happening.

But Prefect Shin Myeon and his men have killed all the royal guards, and Prince Suyang falsely accuses Minister Kim Jong-seo and his allies of launching a coup attempt against King Danjong. He confines Princess Gyeonghye and Jung Jong to their quarters and intimidates King Danjong into turning over his royal summoning seals.

Se-ryung escapes from being locked up and rides at full speed towards Princess Gyeonghye’s residence to confront her father. At that same time, Kim Seung-yu has also escaped, and he rushes to where his father has gone into hiding. But unknown to him, he’s being followed by Prince Suyang’s men.

Episode 10

Episode 9 recap:

Minister Kim Jong-seo and his top allies die, and their heads are displayed outside the palace walls.

Kim Seung-yu survives and waits near the entrance of Prince Suyang’s residence to carry out his revenge. But there, he sees Se-ryung among those waiting to welcome Prince Suyang.
Kim Seung-yu finally finds out that Se-ryung is Prince Suyang’s daughter. He charges toward Prince Suyang with a sword, but he’s overpowered by Officer Shim Myeon and other guards. He’s thrown into prison along with the remaining allies of Minister Kim Jong-seo.

Prince Suyang consolidates his power by appointing himself as Chief State Minister and by arresting and executing family members of Minister Kim Jong-seo’s allies.

Prince Anpyeong is captured, but Prince Geumseong reaches out to Princess Gyeonghye and offers to gather support for King Danjong.

As Jung Jong and Royal Lecturer Lee Gae leave the prison, Se-ryung overhears them talking about Kim Seung-yu’s execution set for the next day.

In desperation, Se-ryung threatens to kill herself if Prince Suyang does not spare Kim Seung-yu’s life.

Episode 11

Episode 10 recap:

Strengthened by Prince Geumseong’s defiance of Prince Suyang, King Danjong orders that the executions be stopped. Kim Seung-yu and the other prisoners are exiled to Ganghwa Island.
Se-ryung visits Kim Seung-yu in prison on the night before he’s to be exiled to Gangwha island and confesses that she is indeed Prince Suyang’s daughter.

Prince Suyang and his adviser hatch a plot to finally get rid of Prince Anpyeong.

As Kim Seung-yu and the other prisoners are being marched out of prison on their way to exile, Se-ryung watches from the sideline. While there, she sees a commotion among the slaves, with a young girl collapsing on the street. Later, on her way home, she remembers that she has seen that girl in Kim Seung-yu’s house.

At sea, Prince Suyang’s men sabotage the ship that’s taking Kim Seung-yu and the other prisoners to Gangwha Island.

Episode 12

Episode 11 recap:

Prince Anpyeong is executed by poison.

Se-ryung brings Kim Seung-yu’s sister-in-law and his niece Agang to a doctor.

As the ship sinks, Kim Seung-yu and other prisoners escape by swimming to a nearby island. But Prince Suyang’s men pursue them. Later, Kim Seung-yu kills the man who killed his father.
Prince Suyang arranges Se-ryung’s marriage to Prefect Shin Myeon. Meanwhile, Prince Geumseong tells Princess Gyeonghye that he will stage an uprising with the royal garrison during Se-ryung’s wedding.

Prince Suyang continues to place his allies into sensitive government offices. He also asks King Danjong to give as personal slaves of his allies the relatives of those who have been declared as traitors. Kim Seung-yu's sister-in-law and his niece Agang become slaves of Prince Onnyeong.

On the island, Prince Suyang’s men continue to pursue Kim Seung-yu and four other prisoners, including the cowardly Wang Nogeol and the street-savvy Jo Seokju. Wang Nogeol strikes a deal with Prince Suyang’s men to turn Kim Seung-yu over to them.

The news that the ship that’s carrying Kim Seung-yu and other prisoners sank with no survivors reaches Princess Gyeonghye, Jung Jong, and Se-ryung.

Episode 13

Episode 12 recap:

Kim Seung-yu, Jo Seokjo, and Wang Nogeol escape from the island; in the capital, they find refuge in a gisaeng house.

Prefect Shin Myeon hides Kim Seung-yu’s sister-in-law and his niece Agang in a safe place. Later, as he embraces Se-ryung, Kim Seung-yu sees them from afar.
To earn their keep, Kim Seung-yu and Wang Nogeol become bouncers in Bingok Mansion, a gisaeng house in Mapo Port.

As preparations for Se-ryung’s wedding continue, Prince Suyang’s adviser finds out how and when Prince Geumseong will carry out his uprising.

Kim Seung-yu looks for his sister-in-law and niece Agang, but to his shock, a slave tells him that they both died by drowning. During the ensuing commotion, Prince Onnyeong arrives.

As Se-ryung leaves her house to go to Seungbeop Temple with the jade rings that Princess Gyeonghye gave to her, Kim Seung-yu follows her. But soon after talking with Se-ryung’s servant, Prefect Shin Myeon also goes to the temple.

Episode 14

Episode 13 recap: Se-ryung leaves the double jade rings at the temple, but Kim Seung-yu finds them and smashes one ring with a rock.

Kim Seung-yu kidnaps Se-ryung on her wedding day, but Prefect Shin Myeon and his men immediately pursue him. Meanwhile, Prince Suyang makes up an excuse to cancel the wedding.

Kim Seung-yu hides Se-ryung in a storage room in the gisaeng house, but by nighttime, Prefect Shin Myeon and his men reach the gisaeng house in their search for Se-ryung.

On Prince Suyang’s order, meanwhile, the capital bureau soldiers arrest Prince Geumseong.

Kim Seung-yu escapes from the gisaeng house and takes Se-ryung to an isolated hut in a forest. Later, he sends a message to Prince Suyang telling him to go to Inwhang Valley alone. Despite objections by his allies, Prince Suyang decides to go in order to save Se-ryung.

Episode 15

Episode 14 recap:

Despite Kim Seung-yu’s rough ways and words to her, Se-ryung reacts to him with love and understanding.
Se-ryung gets shot with an arrow while trying to protect Kim Seung-yu. As soldiers rush down to the valley, Kim Seung-yu is dragged off to safety by Jo Seokju and Wang Nogeol.

Prince Suyang and his allies order Prefect Shin Myeon to arrest Jung Jong for conspiring to Kill Prince Suyang and to kidnap Se-ryung.

Prefect Shin Myeon makes a deal with Gong Chilgu, leader of the thugs who control the gisaeng houses in Mapo Port.

Kim Seung-yu learns that Jung Jong has been arrested; meanwhile, finding out that Prince Geumseong and Jung Jong are being tortured, Princess Gyeonghye decides to visit Prince Suyang.

The next night, Kim Seung-yu sneaks into Princess Gyeonghye’s residence. Later on, he attacks Prince Onnyeong.

Episode 16

Episode 15 recap:

King Danjong decides to abdicate in favor of Prince Suyang.
Kim Seung-yu kills Prince Onnyeong and then writes in blood the name “Daeho” (Minister Kim Jong-seo’s nickname). The rumor spreads among the people that Minister Kim Jeong-so has come back from the dead to exact his vengeance.

Even as Royal Lecturer Lee Gae and the scholars from the Hall of Worthies protest King Danjong’s abdication, Prince Suyang accepts the royal seal and ascends the throne as King Sejo. But Se-ryung continues to defy him publicly and refuses to be addressed as “Princess.”

Jo Seokju tries to change Kim Seung-yu’s mind about seeking revenge. Later, Kim Seung-yu attacks Royal Secretary Shin Sukju and his soldier-escorts.

Royal Lecturer Lee Gae finds out that Kim Seung-yu is alive and responsible for killing Prince Onnyeong.

After receiving a tip from Gong Chilgu, Prefect Shin Myeon and his men surround Bingok Mansion.

Episode 17

After Prefect Shin Myeon and his men capture Jo Seokju, Kim Seung-yu follows them and tells Wang Nogeol that they will rescue him later that night.

Se-ryung assures Kim Seung-yu that his sister-in-law and his niece Agang are still alive. Later, after secretly visiting Princess Gyeonghye, she finally accepts her investiture as “Princess” but remains steadfast in her refusal to marry Prefect Shin Myeon.

Kim Seung-yu kills two more men of King Sejo (Prince Suyang). Later, Royal Lecturer Lee Gae urges him to join the plan that he and other scholars from the Hall of Worthies have laid out to oust King Sejo and to restore King Danjong.

Episode 18

Episode 17 recap:

Kim Seung-yu brings his sister-in-law and his niece Agang to Bingok Mansion.

Heeding the advice of his sister-in-law, Kim Seung-yu joins Jung Jong, Royal Lecturer Lee Gae, and other scholars from the Hall of Worthies in their plan to kill King Sejo during the feast for the Ming delegation.
Se-ryung is torn between her love for her father King Sejo and her love for Kim Seung-yu, the two most important men in her life. Meeting Kim Seung-yu late at night in Princess Gyeonghye’s residence, she pleads with him to leave everything behind and to run away with her.

One of the Royal Lecturers reveals to King’s adviser that the scholars from the Hall of Worthies are planning something against King Sejo.

The preparations begin for the feast for the Ming delegation, with King Sejo’s adviser closely watching everyone and with Kim Seung-yu and his men waiting outside the palace.

But just before the feast starts, Se-ryung escapes from the palace and rushes to confront Princess Gyeonghye.

Episode 19

Episode 18 recap:

The plot of the scholars from the Hall of Worthies fails, and they’re all arrested, together with Jung Jong.

Prefect Shin Myeon and his men chase after Kim Seung-yu.
King Sejo finds out from Prefect Shin Myeon that it’s Kim Seung-yu, as Daeho, who killed Prince Onnyeong; he decides to personally conduct the interrogation of Jung Jong and the scholars from the Hall of Worthies.

As the capital bureau soldiers search for her, Se-ryung meets Princess Gyeonghye and Kim Seung-yu, and offers to help in rescuing Jung Jong and Royal Lecturer Lee Gae.

Princess Gyeonghye kneels in front of the palace and, acknowledging King Sejo, begs for Jung Jong’s life.

Se-ryung finds out about her father’s plan to strip King Danjong of his title and to exile him. She takes a small knife from her drawer and then goes to King Sejo’s quarters.

Episode 20

Episode 19 recap:

Royal Lecturer Lee Gae and the scholars from the Hall of Worthies refuse to escape with Kim Seung-yu. The next day, they are executed. Meanwhile, Jung Jong and Princess Gyeonghye are exiled to Jeolla Province.

Se-ryung cuts off her hair in a symbolic gesture of cutting off completely her ties with her father King Sejo.

Se-ryung leaves the palace and goes to Seungbeop Temple. Finding out about it from Princess Gyeonghye, Kim Seung-yu goes there and then hides her in Bingok Mansion.

With Jo Seokju’s help, Kim Seung-yu begins tracking down an officer who served under his father; this officer has contacts with the city garrison and knows how to use cannons.

Prince Geumseong secretly informs Jung Jong that he is gathering support from the magistrates in Jeolla province for an uprising against King Sejo.

The Crown Prince (Se-ryung’s eldest brother) becomes sick, coughing up blood. The Royal Physician says that he has been hiding his sickness for quite some time now.

Prefect Shin Myeon finds out from Gong Chilgu that Se-ryung is hiding in Bingok Mansion; he rushes there with his men and orders them to ransack the place.

Episode 21

Episode 20 recap:

King Sejo orders that Se-ryung become Prefect Shin Myeon’s slave.
Despite appeals by the Queen and the Crown Prince, King Sejo remains adamant in ordering that Se-ryung be demoted to slave status. In defiance, Se-ryung says that she will no longer be “Lee Se-ryung” but instead be a nameless slave.

Kim Seung-yu meets with former officers from the city garrison and informs them of the support from Prince Geumseong’s forces in Jeolla and Gyeonsang provinces.

After the meeting, Kim Seung-yu finds out that Se-ryung has been demoted to slave status. That night, with Jo Seokju and Wang Nogeol providing the distraction, he rescues Se-ryung. They then ride with haste to meet Jung Jong in Gwangju to plan the uprising against King Sejo.

Episode 22

Episode 21 recap:

Prefect Shin Myeon and the capital bureau soldiers capture Se-ryung.
Kim Seung-yu rescues Se-ryung, while the Jeolla soldiers clash with Prefect Shin Myeon’s soldiers. But Jung Jong is arrested after the document from Prince Geumseong is found on him.

King Sejo orders the execution of Jung Jong by dismemberment. Later, upon advice from his closest allies, he orders the execution of Prince Geumseong and King Danjong.

Kim Seung-yu and the former officers from the city garrison decide to build a stronghold in Hamgil Province where Minister Kim Jong-seo was once based.

Se-ryung goes to Seungbop Temple to visit the two young monks, but there, by chance, she meets her mother, the Queen.

Episode 23

Taking refuge in an abandoned hut because of the rain, Kim Seung-yu and Se-ryung consummate their relationship. Later, Se-ryung returns to her ancestral house to take care of her ailing brother, the Crown Prince.

In Hamgil Province, Kim Seung-yu and his allies, including bandit leader Lee Shiae, succeed in their rebellion against King Sejo. They now plan to capture the critical Hamheung Province on their way to the capital.

In response, King Sejo appoints Prefect Shin Myeon as the new governor of Hamgil Province. But he also secretly orders his adviser Han Myeonghwe to take the soldiers from the Board of Military Affairs and to proceed to Hamgil Province.

Concerned about Prefect Shin Myeon’s plan to bring Se-ryung with him to Hamgil Province, the Queen goes to visit Princess Gyeonghye and her son.

King Sejo’s adviser Han Myeonghwe forces Prefect Shin Myeon to use Se-ryung as a bait to lure Kim Seung-yu out of his forest hideout.

Episode 24: Finale (with spoilers)

Episode 23 recap:

The Queen promises to free Princess Gyeonghye from slavery.

Se-ryung escapes and warns Kim Seung-yu about the plan to lure him out of his forest hideout.
Angered by Se-ryung’s disappearance, Prefect Shin Myeon orders his men to search for the forest hideout despite the darkness. But Kim Seung-yu and his men have prepared a trap for them. In the ensuing fight, Prefect Shin Myeon’s adjutant dies.

With nowhere to run, Kim Seung-yu and his men decide to confront the government forces in a head-on battle. Before the start of the battle, he asks Se-ryung to go back to the capital and to hide in Seungbeop Temple.

During the battle, Prefect Shin Myeon dies when King Sejo’s adviser Han Myeonghwe orders his archers to rain arrows on the battlefield. Prefect Shin Myeon dies, and Kim Seung-yu and his men rout the government forces.

Realizing that King Sejo will just continue sending reinforcements, Kim Seung-yu decides to go to the capital and organize the resistance there. Meanwhile, despite Prefect Shin Myeon’s death, King Sejo vents his anger at Minister Shin Sukju.

In Seungbeop Temple, Se-ryung meets Princess Gyeonghye who has been freed from being a government slave. She also finds out that she’s pregnant.

King Sejo is haunted by nightmares about his nephew King Danjong. On the Queen’s suggestion, they go to Seungbeop Temple to pray for the late Crown Prince.

Kim Seung-yu finds out Lee Shiae has been captured because of a spy within their ranks; he decides to assassinate King Sejo.

At the temple, King Sejo and the Queen find out that Se-ryung is pregnant. In anger, King Sejo orders Se-ryung to be locked up in her quarters.

As the Queen berates Se-ryung for having a child with her father’s sworn enemy, Kim Seung-yu, meanwhile, sneaks into the room at the temple where King Sejo is meditating. He points his sword at King Sejo’s neck, but he becomes distracted when King Sejo blurts out that Se-ryung is pregnant. King Sejo’s bodyguards then overpower him.

Kim Seung-yu is severely beaten up, and King Sejo orders that he be locked up in the state prisons and be executed the next day. The Queen and Princess Gyeonghye try to convince Se-ryung to think about her child and to persuade Kim Seung-yu to bow to King Sejo’s authority. But Se-ryung refuses to do so.

Years later ...

Jo Seokju, Wang Nogeol, and the girls from Bingok Mansion think that Kim Seung-yu and Se-ryung both died in the state prisons. But the Queen has arranged everything to mislead everyone, including King Sejo, into thinking that Se-ryung took her own life after Kim Seung-yu died.

The Queen takes an old and weak King Sejo to Ohnyang’s hot springs so that he can recuperate from his various ailments. While traveling though the streets of Ohnyang, King Sejo and the Queen see someone who looks like Kim Seung-yu walking with a young girl.

Kim Seung-yu has become blind but lives peacefully with Se-ryung, their little girl, and Se-ryung’s faithful servant Yeori. As Se-ryung tends to Kim Seung-yu, a remorseful King Sejo watches them from afar.

As they have done years ago, Kim Seung-yu and Se-ryung ride a horse on the open field, feeling the winds of peace and contentment all around them.

Historical backgrounders and other information

1. Princess Gyeonghye and her fabulous costumes

Seryong, with Princess Kyunghye, putting on a “dangui”
and “seuran chima” from Episode 1 of “The Princess’ Man.”
The type of dress worn by Princess Gyeonghye consists of the “dangui” (upper garment) and the “seuran chima” (skirt).

The “dangui” was also worn by women from the “yangban” (noble class) and other court women. But the “dangui” and “seuran chima” worn as everyday clothes by the members of the royal family were distinguished by gold leaf designs known as “geumbak.”

For the “dangui” worn by queens and empresses, dragon emblems were also sewn on the shoulders.

For more information about the “dangui” and other attire of the royal family, surf to Joseon’s Court Attire: Kdrama Style (Part 1). You might also be interested in in the hit 2014 historical movie “The Royal Tailor” starring Go Soo and Park Shin Hye.

2. Forgotten story of Princess Gyeonghye (Korea Times)

Princess Gyeonghye assumed the responsibility as guardian for King Danjong, and with the help of General Kim Jongseo, who loyally served two previous kings, Sejong and Munjong, she devoted herself to strengthening royal authority. However, her efforts were brutally crushed by the armed force employed by her uncle, Grand Prince Suyang, and his followers.

Just before her death, she left a will asking her son to build a shrine for her father Munjong and to faithfully perform ancestral rites. She was only 39-years-old when she died.

“Dec. 27, 1473: I bequeath my estate to my son, Jeong Mi-su. Unfortunately, I became ill. I haven’t yet married you, my only son, but my illness has become worse and my life is at risk. As this has come too suddenly, I have not enough time to list slaves one by one. I bequeath you the house in Jeongseon-bang, Seoul that is bestowed upon me, and the farmland in Tongjin, Gyeonggi-do. After I am gone, build a shrine and perform ancestral rites to your grandfather. And hand down the estate to posterity forever.”

3. The Facts Behind The Fiction: Princess’ Man

4. The annals of the Joseon princesses: Finding out the history of the Joseon Dynasty through the princesses (Gachon Herald)

Princess Kyunghye is known from the TV drama ‘Princess’s Man’, and her real life was unhappy and gruesome. She was the only daughter of King Moonjong, but her father was killed by Prince Suyang (who later became King Sejo); her brother (King Danjong) was also dethroned of his crown and killed by Suyang through the prince’s uprising. Her husband (Jungjong) was killed by Suyang as well and his body was hacked to pieces. The princess’s misfortunes did not end there, as she became a lower class citizen. One day she directly encountered King Sejo, and even though she wanted to avenge her family, she remained calm for the sake of her children. She began going to the temple frequently and always asked about King Sejo. She later reclaimed her status as a princess.

5. Princess Gyeonghye (Wikipedia)

In 1455, Jeong was banished to Gyeonggi Province and Princess Gyeonghye fell ill. Hearing of her illness, the new king Sejo of Joseon sent a servant to tend her, who Princess Gyeonghye used to send a message begging for Jeong to be restored, which was allowed. She was pregnant at the time and Sejo threatened that if she had a boy the child would be killed. Queen Jeonghui, however, issued instructions that the child be spared regardless of its sex, telling the eunuch in charge that she would take resonsibility for deceiving Sejo. After Princess Gyeonghye gave birth to her son in exile, the eunuch dressed the child in female clothes and took it to the court, where it was raised.

In 1461, Jeong was found guilty of rebelling against Sejo of Joseon and was executed by dismemberment. Princess Gyeonghye was judged guilty by association, her rank was reduced to nobi serf, and she was sent to the official royal convent. Queen Jeonghui later intervened on the princess’ behalf, persuading Sejo to restore her status, property, and servants.

6. King Sejo of Joseon aka Grand Prince Suyang (Wikipedia)

Sejo of Joseon (2 November 1417 – 23 September 1468, r. 1455–1468) was the seventh king of the Joseon Dynasty of Korea. Prime minister of Joseon Dynasty 1453 to 1455. He was brother of Munjong of Joseon and uncle of Danjong of Joseon. He produced a coup d'état and became king himself in 1455.

Suyang surrounded himself with trusted allies, including his famous adviser, Han Myung-hoi. Han advised Suyang to take over the government in a coup, and on 10 November (10th day of the 10th lunar month) 1453, he killed Kim Jongseo and his faction, thereby taking the reins of power into his own hands. After the coup he arrested his own brother, Anpyong, first sending him into exile, then putting him to death.

Finally in 1455 he forced his powerless young nephew, Danjong, to abdicate, declaring himself seventh king of the Joseon dynasty. Later he demoted Danjong to prince and ordered him to be poisoned after his younger brother, Grand Prince Geumsung, and later six scholars including Seong Sam-mun, Pak Paeng-nyeon, and Yi Gae plotted to remove the Suyang from power in an attempt to put Danjong back on the throne.

7. King Danjong of Joseon (Wikipedia)

Danjong of Joseon (9 August 1441 – 24 December 1457, reigned 1452–1455) was the sixth king of the Joseon Dynasty. He was forced to abdicate by his uncle, who became Sejo of Joseon, and exiled to Yeongwol County, where he was later murdered and his remains are buried.

Lessons in photography from “The Princess’s Man”

Foreground and background blur, compressed perspective
Conveying depth through overlapping forms
Diagonal lines
Foreground and background blur
High angle shot
Local frame, background blur
Low angle shot, partial frame
Low angle shot
Rule of Odds, natural frame
Sidelighting, focus on the eyes, foreground and background blur
Comptessed perspective, selective or differential focusing
Lines, scale
Natural frame, shapes
Shooting against the light
Low angle shot
Sidelighting, shallow depth of field, lines of direction
Establishing shot
Natural frame
Partial frame, shallow depth of field
Rule of Thirds
Natural frame
Sidelighting, Rule of Thirds
Local frames
Foreground natural frame
Background blur
Aerial perspective, compressed perspective
Linear perspective, partial frame
Linear perspective, low angle shot, keystoning
Low angle shot
Out of focus element as a natural (foreground) frame
Out of focus element as a natural (foreground) frame
Rim lighting

Photographic techniques frequently used in “The Princess’s Man”

1. High angle shots: This drama’s cinematographer loves using high angle shots (or technically, high angle point of view where the camera is positioned higher than the subject being shot). In some instances, as you can see in the last picture below, the camera is placed at an extremely high position.

This drama’scinematographer, of course, also uses low angle shots (as you can see in the pictures under “Lessons in photography”).

2. Rack focus (sometimes called “focus in, focus out”): in the first picture below, Se-ryung’s hands are totally in focus, and her face is slightly out of focus. In the next picture, Se-ryung’s face is now in focus, and her hand is slightly out of focus.

Rack focus is not peculiar to “The Princess’s Man”; practically all Korean TV dramas uses this technique. But as I understand it, Western filmmakers do not like rack focus because it cannot be corrected during post-production.


Unknown said...

Wow....thanks for sharing the different angle of shooting. Enjoyed reading them. I know I am late, but its better late than never.👍

Atty. Gerry T. Galacio said...

You're not too late. Although TPM was broadcast in Korea way back in 2011, people around the world today are still reading this synopsis or watching TPM videos on various websites.

I love Moon Chae-won (the actress who plays the female lead character Se-ryung), and I hope that she makes another historical drama. (Besides TPM, she also appeared in "Painter of the Wind.")