To think this could outshine itself with a lift of a hand.
To think I was still sure I am watching some weightless sweet puff of cotton candy cute.
Cloud nine it is. Here I am. I am not worthy.
Since that kiss, and THAT smile and her peeking trembling during That kiss, the swoonmagic should tide us over a few episodes of (boring) angst. It is delightful we had an episode 8 of steady plot progression The physical token of love bracelet which serves the story sensibly but lacking whimsy. I am more than prepared bracing more necessary angst and so be it. But this episode, and actually the under current of 8 has me convinced I have underestimated the writers, how authentically REAL they can make fantasy characters progressing all the predictable steps in this genre be. This is way out of whatever rainbow colored clouds can draw in my head to even imagine enjoying before my eyes.
That is all the carefully controlled physical touching allowed in this episode, who needs fanservice when we have simplest visual poetry of romance. There is also a cessation of his urges to touch her to grab her to stay with him the moment, once she gave him a definitive denial… Swoon is how he speaks louder always with his actions than words, he is loving her as his most precious lady and he respects her every thought, every word, every action.
She is a young girl who disguised her gender not just out of getting herself out of an impossible situation, committing a crime punishable by death taking up a position in his inner court. She has been living as a boy almost all her cognitive years. He insists on loving her as she is, a woman, a bit understandably naive to not consider all the repercussions in his precarious situation with the court to abuse his authority bending rules and laws…for romance. It is so understandable though congruent to our little smartass PrincePunk, he COULD even play the angle this slip of judgment on such lofty notion of ‘free love’ to draw another layer of his innocuous childish cocoon for protection of himself, and thus extends to RaOn down the line. It is so real RO accepts the love bracelet in the cloud of such intensely romantic a moment, a reconfirmation of love, how could her heart not possibly be owned by him proclaiming love for her as a woman, more significantly she IS his most precious woman…when how it is to be a girl is so foreign, which is different from her constant longing to be. She has never been her true gender last 10 years now, though it is her pipedream, crossdressing is her most familiar skin, an armor a door closing herself off against an unforgiving world, a straw to cling onto her memory of her Mother, the only thing she imposed on her. For her to discard that protection, AND causing him, the country he passionately loves and desires nothing more than to serve… harm, RO is too pragmatically intelligent to take that leap for her happiness.
So we have the lovely angst droning throughout the episode, it is not explosively glorious as our hero and heroine have the wit to expect hindrances to some capacity, but a tender constant heart-rending, none fabricated. This is serious, necessary angst, angst used so tranquilly painting depth to their romance. There is no outrageous misunderstanding, the thought, tenacity of never ceasing energies they put towards their love is incredibly serious and mature yet ingenious that could only be stemming from these young first loves, and we have a very authentic teenage puppylove (such sweet double entendre of Yeong and hisPuppie). What we assumed as a fantasy fluff elevated to a real, rich, beautiful romance. Authentic in, as unconventional, free-spirited as teenage lovebirds they desire to be, the confines of conservative Joseon is something they have never lose sight. Bright and mature beyond their years as each of them is, congruent to their character’s trials and tribulations growing up, they have already given it sleepless nights and dazed days of good thought and they are handling every bump with great tact, the sweet innocent sensibility belonging only to such breathtaking first romance, untainted by any guarding of heart after broken…only this availability of naivete can love be distilled to just…be by my side, just be by his side…or even just being not by his side. This is the episode I fall in love with it all, adding an appreciation of the title. The evanescent boon of moonlight with shadows painted by passing clouds is the beauty of impermanence, of young love… just like the several scenes in this episode alone where sun is lit from behind the gorgeous young prince on her mind, putting him in an imposing most lovely looming shadow, or how two hands of some fated lovers dazzles under the sun…adding precious, because it is transient, meaning to our existence.
if I have known you had wanted to leave me every chance you could,
I would not stew over whether you are a eunuch or a lady.
I would have feign not knowing so as to keep you by my side as long as I could.
I am sorry…
Can you endure the hardship for me still, despite…
staying right here,
Pensively, persuasively worded, he fears scaring her asking too much from her to be anything, anyone, adding on the burden of feelings, of loving him. He would be the last one to ask her to suffer for him yet he is frankly pleading, begging for her to simply stay.
This is an episode where there is negligent physical intimacy at play yet the romance permeates and flourishes more intensely, every thread of their feelings and insecurities are in the open. They shared limited scenes together with RO shutting her heart by physically blocking, along with all the uncontrollable feelings for him, from him. Often RaOn evades his pouring of love in steadfast swooning eyes on her, it has been almost the same precise token of his love since confession, but acutely sharpwitted, he is aware of their woes, and the smiles of PBG are exquisitely befitting. I do doubt it is mad, shrewd skills at play, more likely it is just the fine talented cutiepie putting his natural intuition to use, in conveying that undercurrent of wistfulness un-contained under the infectious smile, it was less of the commanding dazzling purest brightness with constant impish flare of a facade before love deliciously complicates his life further. It is more a contemplative yearning instead of the jovial rapture at realizing his feelings for her and at the happiest receiving end of her feelings for him back at the pivotal climax of ep7. It has a touch of withdrawn, I bet some could interpret PBG appears a bit lacking in consuming expressiveness. But PrinceYeong could no longer smile the brightest from the bottom of his heart with how much he is worrying and concerned about the uncertainty, even when no love is lost, how easy he could have, could still lose her forever, and had crossed her mind many times before unbeknownst to him…all out of her love for him , but smile on he did at her, still most genuinely speaking his entire heart, he is trying his best to comfort and convince her and himself to not bother while he must be constant brainstorming a way to open her heart…jawdroppingly awesome is this happens all the while he has serious politicking, stepson caring for a mama, bigbrotherly loving to juggle.
I am in uncontrollable LOVE with Kwak DongYeon and his BY. He has just a scene with few words true to his discreet taciturn BY form but the passionate love and concern he has for people he clearly cares more than he should, sets into powerful expressive angsty sword dance, into heartbreaking flickering escaping slightest from his eyes on his otherwise expressionless bodyguard extraordinaire pokerface.
[credit: thanks to santorii @weibo]
He visibly winces a nuance furtively at what must be a devastating heart rending of imagining how hard growing up must’ve been for RaOn. GOLD. With so little trembles he conveys how sensitive and sharp and warm and capable a loyal trustworthy friend for Yeong and RO my heart is eased to just SWOON at his magnetic hotness…that he would help out our OTP with all his might, his life, his everything.
It must have been hard… (growing up without her dad, without even knowing anything about her dad)
Do you still …like the palace… this very moment?
What makes them real is how much understated tact is instilled in the way they think and speak, what I would imagine of the decorum of yore. He knows everything about RO, cognitive of every progression witnessing their budding romance, how Prince feels towards RO he does not miss a beat, he knows more than she knows about herself, things he has to keep to himself true to his station and to not instigate more conflict, hurt and pain on these friends he is so invested in, people he clearly treasures more than his life, fishing for how to feel and act, he needs to be aware of her exact feelings towards PrinceY with the weighted history of her Father and the royal families somehow on his shoulder to keep secret, ruminating what and when he could disclose to the parties involve to minimal daggers…even to his own heart.
I need to give a medal at shoujo finesse to the writers though. ‘Pampering’ us comfort of all the predictable tropes under the sun, done in steadfast flawless beats, which often serve multitudes highlighting their tweaks pleasantly surprising time and time again in packing most effective emotional punches… when we are fine enough sitting back and enjoy the cuteness, done so perfectly, squeeing at ease. We were thrown a pebble all along babysis Princess Youngeun (Heo JungEun is a piece of art at work, another beacon of industry a gen after YooJung/SoHyun…)
I am still awestruck how great and subtly poetic this scene was, this tiny lil princess wrought with fright, fight her demons, facing it head on, opening door to the closet on her terms with just a bit of provocation.
This tiny cutiepie does not look like PBG’s PrinceYeong facially, but that implish grin is so from her bigbro:
She is most predictably mute due to trauma by the baddie Kim Hun, again a formidable antagonist serving the side (or main) job to illustrate how promisingly bright our young Prince is causing the old fox a havoc of inconveniences, albeit played formulaic stagy by Chun HoJin. I mean it is fine feeding us the character this readily comprehensible with textbook reaction faces I have seen from the veteran last decade+ EVERYWHERE, but it would have been more delightful if all the menacing scheming for the greater good of citizen of Joseon achievable only by the commandeering of Kim clan and Kim clan only, is under tighter wrappings of a sickly anodyne saccharine disposition, effort in disguise, no!?
Chae SooBin is stealing my heart too, doing a gd job with her endearing character, again only exists in a perfect shoujo dream of mine. In another drama she is easily a winning heroine and here a little touch on how she reacts seeing RO’s bracelet, no scheming is spinned this young lady is intelligent a bookworm to fault, with a great sense of self deprecating humor, there is not a mean bone nor game in her, a breathe of fresh air is her innocent compassionate achiever heart, isn’t this what one imagine a real bright young Joseon noble lady should be exactly?! Jin Young is also easing into his more and more tender role, a weaker arc of storytelling is how he is so smitten by RO, but he has legitimate reason to stop his usual filial placidity towards an arrange marriage for the benefit of a cause he could not stand behind, it could also be just the young guy desperate at rebellious, marking the end of youth.
Anyway, the RaOn factor with her seat neatly prepped for her to bond and be the catalyst of babysisPrincess out of psychological hostage, is predictable. The fact PrinceY fell for RO more witnessing her sweet interactions with his babysister in raging pain fresh with her refusal(s), more predictable. However how deftly PrinceY engineers that piece of keenest observation, along with his enchanting rapport with his babysister, how she become their catalyst of a bridge for communication, poring over what he diligently constantly learns of how RO operates and evolving his understanding of her, thus effectively swoons her surprisingly off her feet irrevocably with the hand signs, professing louder poetry than words.
It is not just love but a newfound security of how competently, tenderly sensitively creative he could be, loving her, easing her concerns and worries, and all the while still trying his best at his new most difficult real job…and be humble and resourceful asking for guidance fr Teacher with the eager perceptive aware.
I could never get tired of PBG’s outsmarting the antagonist’s hot face. This nuanced brooding of smarts, take my heart and lock them away.
I feel these characters are alive and real with this constant fluid engaging growth, this humble pill he puts to use softening his pride for a compromise with Kim clan, also facilitates his sharp intuition to perfect yet another genuine love confession with his newfound humility. Just because he has the power to have his way often all his life and he has been utmost patient and assiduous with their romance, hesitant to express his love without vagueness because he could not yet love her like a man should, treating her as his most precious, when she is his lowly eunuch; confident he could profess his love now as a man to a lady because he gained new power with the regency, to at least sufficiently protecting her at his side…
…what he did not yet equip is the capacity to be in her exact shoes, he must’ve assumed she has been cross-dressing for a living as a writer, then eunuch, when it runs much deeper for survival, for yearning, loving her Mom;
Her mother instilled in her she could live as a girl once she is brave and strong enough to protect herself. To think her mother’s hands must be the last one grabbing her, as her true identity a girl, out of love…till PrinceY. Yes, swoon.
I am speechless in love how ultimately it is RO breaking her cage of fear with the strength in the memory of her Mother, in her self worth of how brave and how much she has grown the years without her by her side. Now that this man she dares not dream is begging, pleading, persuading her incessantly most ardently she COULD brave it at his side, with HIM by her side, for him, it is mighty effective.
He must have thought of himself chivalrous, catching her desire to live as a woman dressing in hanbok, and has the ability to do ‘hundreds and thousands of things for her’ to rescue her being crown Prince, when she is the actual one valiantly safeguarding their love living as a eunuch by his side, her only choice to stay, perspicacious to his ignorance. Credible is her reasoning in everything eliminating any nitpicking why she can not come forth earlier, especially to him, knowing he would put himself in danger of losing it all, to be the honorable man of his words, his heart on sleeves he is…and he would not care, because of her. In an episode, in the midst of the beauty that is mostly wistful angst and longing, he learns how to speak to her through his perceptive persuasion in such most subtle creative wordless gestures of simpliest expression of love, which is concocted not by some miracle lightbulb moment falling on his lap, but with so much intricacy by writer every step of the way, every thread of the episode is also a yarn weaving this most rewarding burst of most romantic swoon with such tasteful subtlety again TRUE and REAL to time and persons, nothing short of miracle.
Do you know how much I hate myself while ahhing at PBG’s face this very moment and still chuckle at the perceived slip ALL the eunuchs and officers, some hawk eyes of Kim clan just let them be precious?!?!? THEN hating myself more the lovely writer has Eunuch Jang being the foot and foot in mouth and darling unknowing rescue to our sharpwitted Prince he is just gesturing for space (to be alone with his RO) all playing in authentic enough to his ‘dung’ prince image causing the usual snickering or pensive sighings?! I love immediate slapping of my face cutting me to size by brilliant writing I am never capable of dreaming up.
Let me swoon on, OTP’s reflection framed by the stone bowl like a moon and the frame of the curved arbor, framed by the blooms, impermanence of beauty, of time and its passing… is a new shade of muted blushing pink of her hanbok. They are illuminated by sunlight now that the looming clouds are cleared for the while….when it was the same garden of a lusher magenta (<click on that link and it is uncanny how it befits scene, these lovely characters…I am trying to stay rational, and not reading too much into colors empowering cuckooness, but I can not unread.)
Ra On ahhhh~~~