I was sick over the weekend and stumbled across this drama (not a good way to stumble on a real hit drama - I ended up rewatching teehee). I'll try to keep this short but meh.. these are my worthless two cents on the drama:
I am totally in love with the setting of this drama; the actors and the costumes are just amazingly well picked. Due to the nature of it being a 'based off a novel' type of drama, I did expect to be jumping in for quite a roller-coaster ride but I didn't expect how intense it would have been until my feet was halfway into the waters.
All set aside, I don't really want to touch on the family feud. I understand how YLS totally broke down seeing as he seems to be the most emotional of them in the drama and the truth hits him like an invisible cannonball. He did a lot of bad things, but I couldn't hate him. His love for his family is portrayed deeper than the other two brothers.
As for YLK.. his character is of wonders. At first I thought he's just a genius waiting for the time to shine, but throughout the drama it seems like he was never interested in the throne because he trusts his brothers will do well without him. His patience and love for QS is almost hurtful to watch. He had all the patience to wait for her to slowly turn her head to him, to slowly ease herself to be next to him and do anything to not say why he's doing all this to her. I think this must be difficult to endear, especially when he had hand-picked her himself and was already totally in love with her long before their first night as husband and wife. Very admirable in a gentlemanly way. He watches QS from a distance and studies her emotions with a side-glance; how she got scared and hid behind PJC, how she cried because of YY and how terrified she was during the funeral processions. QS has always been too cold to realise the small gestures YLK did to show that he cares. Can't really blame her, she wasn't over PJC when they got married.
QS's character has the most development in the whole drama. In the beginning of the drama, it was mentioned that she did not leave their house but suddenly she decided to follow her husband in death and forced herself up the mountain to see him. Then she became braver as the story moves on, up to the point she could dress up as a soldier and point a gun to YLS. She turned from a fragile housewife to a brave modern woman she had always wanted to be in her high school days. Perhaps YLK had some contributions to her change, as he himself is courageous and faces death sentences as if he's in for a gamble. PJC's return into her life is kind of essential to YLK and her relationship. She was abandoned and hence, was left to no closure on her past love and the pain from it never ceased as she carried on with her marital life with YLK. She constantly thinks of how things could have been different and the man in front of her could be PJC. When PJC barged back into her life, she finally realizes that she has a ring on her finger (the bathtub scene) and its time to finally regain her consciousness and end this chapter of her life with him. So it makes sense then that she finally had a good look at her own husband and his constant change of moods.
Though YLK seems to have the gist that PJC is her past love of whom she will run to, he is torn between keeping her or letting her go for her own happiness. He wants her happy but at the same time, he cannot live on without her, even if its just to occasionally smell her addictive scent. There were so many instances where YLK just closes his eyes and takes in her scent that shows just how much he loves her. His confession at the flower garden was more heartbreaking than touching. He had been keeping it in him for so long and his emotions finally burst on the fright that she will leave him forever. (Took him over 2 years to burst that out, bravo!) Since QS has finally closed her chapter with PJC, the confession made her head to finally turn to the right guy. But if only it had been a little early.
At this point of their lives, they had a short-termed happiness which then quickly ends as turbulence hits them again and again like a shower of never-ending arrows from hell that didn't stop until it killed him. For all the brotherly love from the drama, I couldn't blame YLK for not leaving his brother behind in the battlefield, but at the same time I blame him for leaving QS and their child to be a widow and an orphan in his expense. As a future dad, shouldn't you take care of yourself better? As the only candidate as heir to the Yi Family, I could almost shoot YLK at his knees and drag him home with QS on that fateful day. Of course, I wouldn't expect him to come out unscathed, but I did expect him to fall back with the only army they have left and bring his brother's dead body home. Isn't it just bad strategy to stay on and fight to death? It would be better to fall back, replan and do something about it in the future. For a drama of which its whole length was used on strategists, that last scene was acting against any good strategy and we witness the fall of two heirs of the Yi Family in one sitting. The ending was heartbreaking, seeing QS being dragged away from her husband's voluntary fall in war and their last moment being him shooting to the very grounds she's standing on just to force her to leave.
That being said, the scene of her re-meeting (again) PJC says a lot. She said she's forgotten YLK to live on, and yet the name YLK she will never forget. After yet again rejecting PJC (man, just go away..can't you see yet that your chapter with her is over?) QS could still boldly walk away from him as if nothing matters. The scene of YLK and her drinking the wine in front of YLS comes to mind where she said 'hope you'll remember' while YLK said to her 'hope you'll forget' and they cheered on the drinks they never managed to swallow. YLK till the end protected QS and wants her to forget him and live on. He was the most devoted and patient lover I have ever seen portrayed in such a twisted way ever. He's devoted years of wait to make her willingly be in his arms and yet will do anything to make her leave him when danger comes.
Moral from YLK-QS: if you love someone so much, you have to let them go. YLK struggled to let her go, but in the end shot at her feet to force her departure. Same as QS too, she'd do anything to be with him even if it means death, but in the end she understood he had to stay behind. In the end, she's forgotten bits and pieces of him to live on because she knew YLK would've wanted her to do that, just like he said when he was going to drink the wine. "Yi Lian Kai, this name, I still remember.." Forgetting him is also because she loves him.
Moral from PJC-QS: When you're late for something very important, its too late to go back. QS's heart was shattered into a million pieces, I think even if she didn't end up marrying YLK, there's a very thin chance she would have accepted PJC again. At the ending scene where a hopeful PJC asked QS about the flute sound, she said she'd rather live with the flute sound alone. Rather meant she'd rather have not met him at all.
enough about the drama!
I watched the drama first before reading the novel. At first I was being skeptical and hesitated on this. Sometimes novel-adapted dramas are just not as good as its novel and I would be left feeling 'ahh they should have added this scene..' by the time I read the book. HOWEVER, I was left in a shocking revelation when I read the novel. To summarise the main points, I'll just well.. just points:
1. YLK is way more rude, demanding and stubborn in the book. He would take anybody's life as if he's throwing away clothes. I was utterly shocked at this huge gap in temperament (and we thought YLK in the drama was too much? heh, look at this one). From the beginning of the book, he has caught QS in his arms and forced himself on her. This actually makes more sense with his whole moody personality of not knowing how to take care of a woman's heart. He seeks enjoyment with the wife he married out of love, even if its without her consent and yet made it really clear he's just enjoying life and she's in his life. In the novel, from the moment he met the adult QS, he'd personally plotted to lead QIn Family into bankruptcy, and then force her hand in marriage and also he deliberately made PJC stayed close so he could find fault in QS! His persona is too much to swallow; he is way more gentler in the drama.
2. QS is heartless! I almost can't believe what's going on. Your husband is so into you, he can't take his eyes (or hands) off of you and yet you think he's treating you bad? Wait, what? And she'd even aborted a child of theirs when she knew she was pregnant. Its just well too obvious that she's just feeding YLK more reasons to shout at her at any opportunity. She's portrayed way more heartless and way colder than we have been watching in the drama. She's so fragile, she gets sick all the time too.
3. Romance development turns so confusing and idle at the same time. YLK basically begged QS to keep their child and finally decided to treat her better. His love confessions were almost like a passing note rather than emphasis and QS takes it just as that. Though actions sure do more than words in this novel, but it was almost frustrating how he hides his emotions and hopes QS catches up. But right when she almost catches up to his emotional side, he throws a tantrum or something happened and he has to handle that first. After going round and round in circles, YLK made everyone realised how much he loves QS, but QS has been very vague till the very end. Till the very end YLK treats QS so badly, I feel like strangling him. Instead of making QS leave him with PJC safely, he missed a shot to kill QS as she left, saying he intended to kill her. He was going to kill her... I was beyond shocked at his temperament.
4. There were way more abuses going on in the novel than in the drama. I do understand how they have to tone it down for general public to accept the drama as it is. To be honest, just reading about it makes me feel bad. YLS's character and his torturing means in the book looked like it was written from hell itself. I couldn't hate YLS in the drama, but I certainly can shoot him in the head in the book. Though I actually am glad they killed MHY; I hated her so much in the book.
In one of the most important twist of events, I'm utterly GLAD they changed how YLS and YLK died! In times of great chaos, how in the world can you have a brotherly fight on top of a high wall and end up dying because you fell down?! How heroic! A great strategist and his soldier brother didn't give a damn about war, they just want to kill each other because of money that YLK didn't want to give. I totally didn't see it coming. I would have thought YLK would do anything to be with QS seemingly since they had very little bliss together in the book that their feelings for each other was still very vague and was never spoken out.
On the most touching part of the book that they could have inserted as a narrative in the drama: ..during the time YLK was lying on the floor and dying, he looked at the sky and the blue color reminded him of a dress QS worn. The falling snow touched his cheek and he thought 'will QS be feeling cold?' And that was his last thought before his last breath.
The drama and the novel are both enjoyable in their own ways. In the drama, we gain some satisfaction of their love confessions being accepted, a bit of marital bliss and feelings being sorted out. In the novel, it explains more of how closed QS world is; she wasn't told of much about Yi Family matters nor war matters; she simply tries to live her life at her best. It wasn't surprising how she found it shocking to know how scheming and hurtful her husband could be, and was even more shocked that all the things he's done was to be with her or to protect her (simply because he's in love with her - and she doesn't get that). In my opinion, the book and the drama looks like it compliments each other; almost like a side story to each other. It is a weird way of making a 'novel-adapted drama' but I enjoyed it very much. I love both the drama and the book. It wouldn't have been satisfying without either of them; looks like they have to be side-by-side to truly understand the characters and the events that's happened.
And the love YLK has for QS; that's something that will linger in my head for a long while.