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[Drama 2017] Saimdang, Light's Diary 사임당, 빛의 일기

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it only occurs to me recently when I was watching Ep 5... I have this nagging thought that Lee Young-Ae looks so darn familiar to me...

I am not sure if you guys follow Hong Kong movies/drama, but LYA definitely resembles a lot with Lin Ching Hsia when she was very young, a very famous Taiwanese actress in Taiwan and HK that did lots of cross gender roles. 

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This chapter was pretty faithful to the drama with some additional details, particularly the thoughts of YWS and Hwieumdang. The only unexpected difference was the names of MCH's sons, which look to be reversed from the drama. 

Novel Vol 1: Part 2 Dark Memoirs
Chapter 12

1. Baek In Geol visited them to convince Saimdang to let Hyun Ryong attend school. That night, Saimdang and YWS sat wordlessly face to face under the lamplight. The sounds of the children mumbling in their sleep drifted in from the next room. YWS finally broke the silence after appearing to have made up his mind, and told her that he has decided that no matter what, this time he must study hard and pass his exams. Saimdang, who had initially hoped to be able to discuss Hyun Ryong's education with her husband, could not prevent her disappointment from showing, and sighed. YWS continued to reassure that while previously, he studied out of a sense of obligation, this time, it would be different and he had a burning desire to pass it and would kill himself as a penance if he didn't. As such, he would go up to the mountains to focus on his studies.
"It is good that you think that way. This is how it should be." Saimdang's words were like that of pacifying a child who has finally grown up. Saying this, she put out the lights, and the room was covered in darkness. In the dark, two people sat opposite each other, their expressions hidden.
YWS felt sorry towards his wife who could not stop sighing, thus tried to placate and reassure her. He was extremely regretful for being a husband who destroyed the family's finances and was unable to properly look after his children, thus causing his wife to keep going through so much hardships. On the other hand, no matter how incompetent he was, he was still their parent, and he felt hurt at Saimdang's inability to be able to discuss anything with him, but merely sigh. These warring thoughts continued in the night until the break of dawn with the crow of the rooster.


2. The names of MCH's children appear to be reversed from the drama - the older son is Min Ji Seong 閔志誠 while Min Ji Kyun 閔志鈞 is his younger brother.


3. As they were having their meal, no word passed between father and sons, and the atmosphere was cold as if they were strangers. Ji Seong who would be 15 years old in a few months, kept lowering his head to hide his handsome face from his father's line of sight. Although he had done nothing wrong, he always drew back unconsciously from his father. Thick-browed, high-bridged nosed younger son Ji Kyun, fidgeted with his chopsticks silently like he was being punished. Seeing their expressions, Hwieumdang who was serving them by the side, dared not even sigh.


4. Hwieumdang placed the cucumber in Ji Kyun's spoon, encouraging him to slowly chew and eat, but the boy, appearing to hate it, shrunk away, only quickly putting it into his mouth at his father's rebuke. As MCH coldly spoke of the family having no place for losers, the two boys broke into a cold sweat and could hardly hold their chopsticks properly. 


5. Hwieumdang served MCH more like a servant than a wife. The moment MCH left, Ji Kyun spit the cucumber into a bowl, and she watched this with a dissatisfied look on her face. They were all her sons, and she naturally had a mother's love for them. However, the desire to survive and rise up in the world, like the vines that continually crept on the walls, far outweighed a mother's love. To her, her children were her means and stepping stones. They were the reason she could rise up from the daughter of a poor tavern mistress, to become the main wife of Secretary of Government Administration. Now, her only hope was that her sons would pass the state examinations soon and hold government positions. Only then would her dread of being abandoned by MCH be put to rest. As such, the two boys were suffocated by the pressures of their mother's desire, and the fear from their father's relentless demands.


6. Gyeom mulled for several days, unable to sleep after learning of Saimdang's son's plight. If he could, he wanted to provide Saimdang and her children a place to stay at Biikdang, but this was something that could never happen. Saimdang would never allow it, and Gyeom had no intention of hurting her pride. In addition, she had a husband. Despite all this, Gyeom could not just stand idly by. In the midst of drawing, having meals, discussions with other artists, his mind would would inadvertently drift towards her.


7. During his first visit to Biikdang, King Jungjong teasingly chided that these days, Gyeom never stepped into the palace anymore but spent his days in this slice of paradise. Gyeom protested that it was the king who tasked him with the enormous responsibility over Joseon's arts and music, to which the older man responded that he could not help being upset since Gyeom had forgotten the old king in the palace for his art. Nonetheless, in spite of his words, King Jungjong could not hide the satisfied smile on his face as he surveyed the gathering of so many incredibly talented artistes in one place.

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Great reading 

The names of MCH's children appear to be reversed from the drama - the older son is Min Ji Seong 閔志誠 while Min Ji Kyun 閔志鈞 is his younger brother.



In this scene, Shin Saimdang offer Min Ji Gyun a freshly pluck Gaji (가지, aubergine, eggplant or brinjal, depends on the region you come from) from the garden & she had made a side dish known as Gaji-Namul (가지나물, Steamed egg plant) & offer to Min Ji Gyun bowl of rice & mentioned that it is lightly tossed in seasoning not that spicy & palatable. I am sure that Shin Saimdang will have a better method to encourage Min Ji Gyun to eat his vegetable than his own mother & how warm & chatty the Yi children are at meals that became Min Ji Gyun's aspiration in life


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@gerrytan8063 I agree. The drama provides a stark contrast between the two families - one that had all the trappings of luxury but no warmth, another who lived almost hand to mouth, yet was not wanting in love and laughter. I am not sure that being a part of Saimdang's family would have made MJK any less averse to cucumbers (I personally do not like them unless they are pickled, like acar!), but I think the siblings would not have felt so pressurised to pretend to like them, and there might have been some middle ground met (maybe they like them pickled too!).

@hmseen I agree that there are some similarities between 林青霞 Lin Ching Hsia and LYA, but for me, I don't think the resemblance is particularly significant. My favourite, most memorable role of Lin Ching Hsia's is 東方不敗 Dongfang Bu Bai, in which she portrayed to perfection the earlier suave elegance of the male, and the later transformation into the coquettishly beautiful, just as deadly female. I am unable to imagine LYA in a similar role, but am more than willing to be surprised :) 



cr. twwiki.com, theater.ea3w.com


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We come to the end of Part 2. With it, we finally begin to see the first cracks in the once unbreakable relationship between Gyeom and King Jungjong, one that sets chills down my spine despite already knowing what is down the road. Can't wait to read the last 3 chapters in Part 3.

Novel Vol 1: Part 2 Dark Memoirs
Chapter 13


1. Waking up at 9AM, SJY's mother-in-law noticed that she had just come in through the door, appearing to have returned from sending Eun Soo to school. Unlike the past, SJY now greeted her perfunctorily before rushing into her room. Forcibly controlling her irritation, she went into the laundry room.


2. Her son's clothes were soaked overnight in a basin after being hand washed. Whenever she was overwhelmed by insomnia or anxiety over her son, she would take her son's clothes out of the closet and wash them over and over. Just as she finished wringing the clothes dry, she heard SJY leaving the house, calling out indifferently for her to have an early meal. Throwing the clothes back into the basin, she stood up too suddenly, and felt a wave of dizziness hit her. She supported herself against the wall, and breathed deeply to control her anger.


3. When Eun Soo came home with bruises from a fight with his classmate, SJY's mother-in-law looked up the contact numbers and phoned the mother of the boy who laughed at Eun Soo. The mother told her that the news of SJY's termination from the university came from her uncle, who was the director of sociology in Korea University.


4. The morning after being confronted by her mother-in-law, SJY noticed Eun Soo's reluctance as she prepared to bring him to school. When she could not answer his question about losing her job, he started to cry. SJY enveloped him in her arms, and forced herself to answer him calmly, "We are all really sorry for hurting you... myself... Father... we have all let you down. I apologise to you on behalf of your father."
At this, Eun Soo began to cry harder and SJY continued, "I am having a very hard time... Father too, Grandma too... the whole family is going through a tough time. However, I will definitely do my best, because I still have you! No matter how hard it is, I must do my best to get through it, and I will get through it. Eun Soo is my guardian angel! Do you trust me?"
Eun Soo nodded his head vigorously and SJY dried his eyes, then hugged him tightly.
It took her quite some time to pacify her wounded child who shuddered as he cried in her arms, before she finally got him to change and go to school.


5. At the storeroom of the club in Hongdae, a tall, slim girl wearing a T-shirt with the words 指鹿爲馬 on it barged in. It was Anna, the singer at the club earlier. The moment she laid eyes on HSH, she demanded with a smile to know when he was going to write the song he promised her. Hurriedly, he ushered her out of the room. Long after she left, SJY could not take her mind off the words on her T-shirt, which literally meant "Pointing to a deer and wrongly calling it a horse." In other words, using lies to fool everyone. This reminded her of Prof. Min who used a fake Mt. Geumgang painting to make a mockery of the whole world, and she laughed bitterly at the thought of it.


6. Black Peony was mesmerising the artists at Biikdang with her captivating dance movements, akin to a butterfly fluttering over a flower, and the sight of her, her slyly revealed foot as well as the beauty mark under her veil, drove the men to distraction. Nonetheless, Gyeom was disinterested and went into the study, lost in thoughts.


7. Gyeom recalled his audience with King Jungjong, reporting MCH's corruption and influence, covering not just the government, but reaching even into schools, his monopoly of the paper industry, and even controlling the criminal underworld, thus according him great military power. Tyrants like MCH should not be left unchecked, and Gyeom appealed to King Jungjong to grant authority to the three State Councillors to carry out personnel reforms, and prevent men from MCH from being involved in politics.
"From the sounds of it, you are preparing to be involved in politics?" King Jungjong said, displeasure written over his face. Gyeom was taken aback in fear, considering that all these were within the king's expectations.
"I told you to secretly investigate the man, not to interfere in politics!"
"Your Majesty..."
"Did you think that I would have had no knowledge of this, and had been foolishly ignorant all this while? Did you think I was willing to let them behave unscrupulously? There were men like you in the past, pressuring me to introduce reforms. Do you know what fate befell them? ... Do not presume to spout wanton criticism in front of me!" 
No longer interested in hearing any more, King Jungjong flounced off, to the bewilderment of Gyeom who could not understand what had happened. 
Gyeom's hands fell from his temples heavily on to the table. The king's parting words forbidding him to interfere in politics, were left ringing in his ears. What was the hidden meaning behind those words? He did not know why but there was now a tiny crack in his relationship with the king. What could he do to mend the rift? He suddenly had the premonition that darkness would penetrate through the crack, and involuntarily chilled at the thought of it.


8. MCH began investigating into Gyeom in order to find his weaknesses since he could not draw him to his side, with Gyeom having the wholehearted support of the king. From his spy, he found out about Gyeom's broken engagement with Shin Myeong Hwa's daughter, and recalled the confrontation that took place in front of Shin Myeong Hwa's home 20 years ago. Hearing that Saimdang too had recently moved to Hanyang, he instructed his spy to keep an eye on the people going in and out of Biikdang, particularly the women. He then took out Gyeom's peony and bird painting from the drawer. From the moment he first set eyes on the painting, he could not shake off a sense of familiarity about it. Now, as he stared at it, he still could not be certain where he had seen it before, but an answer was slowly forming in his mind. Whatever it was, he was determined to remove Gyeom from King Jungjong's side.


9. The rumour that Prof. Min has become RADE's target was rife in the art world. RADE was a renowned judge of the art world, despite his anonymity. It was not known who petitioned RADE to determine the authenticity of the Mt. Geumgang painting, but there was no mistaking the fact that it had become RADE's newest target. As such, those who were preparing to recommend the painting as a national treasure, withdrew themselves for fear of being incriminated.


10. After being ordered by Director Sun to clean up the mess with the petition against Mt. Geumgang, Prof. Min showed up at SJY's house, to be shown in by her mother-in-law. She was at first hopeful to see him, thinking that perhaps there was a chance SJY would be reinstated. She called SJY to inform her of Prof. Min's visit, then was in a quandary how to receive the guest, seeing she had no food in the fridge, nor any coffee. At her wits' end, she suggested that he waited in SJY's room, which he gladly obliged. Ten minutes later, SJY arrived home. Her mother-in-law lamented that she finally managed to find an apple, which she had sliced and left on the dining table. However, SJY appeared not to have heard her words, frantic at the thought that Prof. Min was alone in her room.


11. Just as Prof. Min was threatening SJY, he was suddenly dragged aside by her mother-in-law. "My God! What is this person saying!" she demanded in fury. As SJY tried to placate her, she continued. "Explain yourself! What has my child done which was so wrong that you would barge into our home to say such things to her! Aren't you supposed to be a professor? Dregs of society? Have you said your piece? Let go of me! Let go!" SJY's mother-in-law continued her vitriol towards the retreating back of Prof. Min while SJY held on to her tightly, trying to calm her down. With a parting threat of "See you in court", Prof. Min slammed the front door and left. 
"What kind of professor would come to people's homes and hurl abuse at them! What exactly has happened in the university? My God... what kind of life is this? My head!" It took quite some time following Prof. Min's departure before her fury finally subsided.

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@gerrytan8063 I do see a similarity between those two pictures of Lin Ching Hsia and LYA, which reminds me that I still have yet to watch JSA. Must do so some time... though at this moment I am very much unable to walk away from this universe just yet. Perhaps in JSA, I will see the steeliness that I have learnt to associate with certain roles of Lin Ching Hsia's.

Back to Saimdang. No news of C-translated Vol 2 yet, but from what I deduce through Google Translate of the following excerpt of the book detail, the ending of the novel and the drama is similar but different, the characters' actions are slightly different, while thoughts are more fleshed out. It appears that the novel was the original story she intended to tell. Can you please help to translate what was actually said? Thank you!

상과 글의 차이를 찾아보는 것도 소설을 읽는 또 하나의 즐거움이 될 것이다. 소설과 드라마의 결말은 비슷하면서도 다르다. 드라마에서처럼 소설 속 인물들도 제자리를 찾았다. 죄 지은 사람은 벌을 받았고 억울하게 내쫓긴 이들도 누명을 벗었다. 그러나 인물들의 동선은 조금씩 다르고, 그 마음 풍경 또한 세밀하고 깊이 있게 묘사되었다. 이에 박은령 작가는 채널예스와 가진 인터뷰에서 이렇게 밝히기도 했다. “작가가 쓴 것과는 달리 방송되는 부분들도 많고, 때로는 그로 인한 비난도 뒤집어써야 하는데, 원래는 그렇게 쓰지 않았었다고 말할 수 없잖아요. 그런데 원작 소설에는 감정선이 잘 살아 있고, 제가 원했던 오리지널 스토리가 담겨 있습니다.”

cr. Naver

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" you please help to translate what was actually said? Thank you!"

I don't have my Korean dictionary software with me on my travels, it is in my desktop both office & home but not on my Tablet at the moment (didn't want to get caught bringing laptop on flights...blowing hot & cold ban)

I suggest that you google translate it to Chinese & you might have a better translation, meanwhile just general reading

The Writer tells that in the novel, the thought movement of the characters are more justifiable than it was broadcast in the drama as the actors might have portray the character differently from what the Writer created from her writings

It is really a sale ad...."Learn more of the characters...buy my novel to read"

"which reminds me that I still have yet to watch JSA. "

Try to watch JSA. I am not sure that you still can get a copy of DVD in your local store 

I do have the DVD in my DVD library.....

"Ji Rok Hwi Ma (지록위마, 指鹿爲馬)" “To call a deer a horse” (or more literally “To point at a deer and deem it a horse”). It refers to turning falsehoods into truths, and vice-versa, to deceive others, especially those in power.

Here is the background story of the idiom

The idiom is in reference to an incident towards the end of the Qin dynasty (秦, 진, 9th century-221 BC) as recorded in the Annals of the Qin Shi Huang (秦始皇本紀, 진시황본기) of the Records of the Grand Historian (史記, 사기), which was written by Sima Qian (司馬遷, 사마천, 145 or 135-86BC):

八月己亥, 趙高欲爲亂, 恐群臣不聽, 乃先設驗, 持鹿獻於二世, 曰: “馬也.”
팔월기해, 조고욕위란, 공군신불청, 내선설험, 지록헌어이세, 왈: “마야.”

On the Jihai day (己亥, 기해) of the eighth month, Zhao Gao (趙高, 조고, ?-207BC) wanted to start a revolt, but feared that his ministers would not listen. Therefore, he first tried to test them, and took a deer as an offering to the Qin dynasty’s second generation emperor saying, “This is a horse.”

  • Zhao Gao (趙高, 조고, ?-207BC) – A corrupt and greedy prime minister and eunuch (宦官, 환관) in the Qin dynasty royal court, he played a pivotal role in bringing down the Qin dynasty and is vilified in Chinese history for his treachery.

二世笑曰: 丞相誤邪? 謂鹿爲馬.
이세소왈: 승상오아? 위록위마.

The second generation emperor laughed saying, “Prime minister, are you mistaken? You called a deer a horse.”

問左右, 左右或默, 或言馬以阿順趙高.
문좌우, 좌우혹묵, 혹언마이아순조고.

The emperor asked ministers on his left and right. Out of the ministers, some were quiet. Others stated that it was a horse in order to flatter and follow Zhao Gao.

或言鹿, 高因陰中諸言鹿者以法.
혹언록, 고인음중제언록자이법.

Some said it was a deer. Zhao Gao thus in secret had all those who said it was a deer ensnared.


Thereafter, all the ministers feared Zhao Gao.

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4 hours ago, gerrytan8063 said:

If you love SLD, LYA, or SSH, please surf over to the Dramabeans review and defend why we love this drama. (I've already posted two comments.)

People commenting in the Dramabeans review don't seem to know that SLD has two versions. Also, some commenters don't seem to know the drama's historical and cultural contexts.


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let's head on Dramabeans peeps...though I may not know the full extent of the Korean history... but I am looking at the representation value of it... how it was delivered which I think it was underrated by some! 

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@gerrytan8063 Thank you for the heads-up regarding the Dramabeans review, and thank you @plainenglish for your very comprehensive explanation of the drama over there. Have dropped by and posted my thoughts there as well. If nothing else, hopefully it means that more people will realise there is a lot more to the drama than what they were privy to in the SBS version.

Been insanely busy of late and not quite done with Chapter 14 of the novel yet, with no Vol 2 in sight from Human Books so far. Can't wait for life to become less hectic so that I can revisit, and hopefully marathon it once more. 

Just heard the Mandarin and Cantonese versions of ZIA's Why You, sung by Joey Yung 容祖兒 and Hacken Lee 李克勤, which brings the feels flooding back once more:

記憶的味蕾 The Taste of Memories


The Wrong Time


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Finally completed Chapter 14! Love the additional insights into Saimdang and Lady Shin's relationship... as well as details of how and why Saimdang dyed the coloured paper - to bring colour and the fragrance of flowers to her lonely neighbour's home. Beautiful!

Interestingly, Min Ji Kyun remains as Hyun Ryong's classmate here, which means any future interactions with Saimdang's family will probably still be from MJK's point of view, like the drama.

Am a little unsure about the use of Ouyang Xiu's poem - GTV and iflix C-subs are very different from the original poem itself, so I have to wonder if they were translated based on the Korean text, rather than from the original source material. 

Novel Vol 1: Part 3 Hope
Chapter 14

1. After all the preparations were complete, Saimdang started searching high and low for a paper maker, and at last found one called Man Deuk. He was a bad-tempered 50-odd year old man with a red nose from over-drinking and thick eyebrows that met in a single line. He once worked as a paper maker, but was kicked out after getting into a drunken brawl. Since then, he had been engrossed in alcohol and gambling, before finally being introduced to Saimdang.


2. During Gyeom's first lesson in the school, he posed a question what constituted a great person. When Hyun Ryong carefully asked if they only needed to answer what was in their heart, his classmates all quietened down and turned to look at him. Gyeom encouraged him to feel free to answer, since there was no definite answer. Before he could do so, MJK interrupted and declared that Confucius was undoubtedly the greatest person. Still, Hyun Ryong pushed on and answered that to him, it was his mother. Ignoring MJK, Gyeom walked to Hyun Ryong and asked his reasons for thinking so, to which the boy explained that his mother always made the best choices for them no matter how difficult the situation, particularly when they moved to Hanyang. To him, she was a strong, yet warm person. As he spoke, he thought of how hard his mother worked all day and night to make paper, and his eyes glistened with tears. With difficulty, he suppressed the swell of emotions and answered guardedly. Gyeom took all this in and looked at the boy kindly, wanting to caress his head and praise him for being a good, intelligent child. This was not because he was Saimdang's son, but out of respect for him, who despite his young age, already displayed empathy and understanding for his mother's heart.


3. Tae Ryong, who had been nervously sitting quietly at the side, also gathered up the courage to answer as well. He declared that when it came to food, his mother was the kindest person in the world. However, he observed that those in Hanyang were not particularly kind in that way, since the food in the city were expensive and the portions small. Hearing his comments, all the children burst out into laughter, apart from MJK who was gritted his teeth and turned red in the face in anger, thinking he had been ignored by the teacher. 


4. As Saimdang rushed home to show the children the paper she made, she was surprised to receive a letter from the deposed queen Lady Shin next door.
"Although spring flowers have withered already, their fragrance still filled up the whole house. The sound of your children's laughter came...and settled on the flower petals like butterflies. It must be a gift from the heavens, taking pity on me, a wilted woman inside of a house. I thought your children might like persimmons, so I have sent them some dried persimmons. Waiting for them to dry in the wind and sun was so very exciting for me. It wasn't for long, but I was very happy during those moments. Thank you."
Thus the letter ended. As Saimdang looked at the beautiful, coloured paper and a basket full of dried persimmons, her heart was melancholic. Although Lady Shin was now a deposed queen, she was once the mother of the nation. When they first moved to Soojinbang, Saimdang had paid her respects by sending her some cakes. She did not expect such a thoughtful response. Apart from gratitude, Saimdang could also feel the loneliness that permeated every single word of Lady Shin's letter, and her heart could not help but ache for the older woman.


5. "Mother..." Wu pulled Saimdang's dress. "Hm?" Saimdang looked at her children who were spellbound by the persimmons.
"Leave these for your father. You can share the rest among yourselves and Hyang." Saimdang put several on the table and pushed the rest in front of her children. Hearing her words, the children's hands immediately reached for the fruits. Absently, she agreed to Hyun Ryong's pleas regarding the mother-son art contest, her mind still on Lady Shin. 


6. She asked Hyang if they still had dried 红花 safflower flowers left, intending to rub them in water, then after removing the yellowish water, use them as dye. The yellow leftover water could also serve as yellow dye. While Mae Chang listened with interest, Hyang was caught up with enthusiasm and suggested plucking some 芝草 turfgrass, which Saimdang agreed, since the roots could be used as a purple dye. Excited, Hyang immediately got to work, determined to obtain all the materials before sundown.

Early next morning, Saimdang prepared the dyes from safflower flowers, turfgrass, 梔子花 gardenia flowers and bamboo leaves. Her children watched the dyeing process with great interest - seeing the paper being dipped into the basin filled with dye, and coming out with a brilliant colour. Hyang would then take over the paper from Saimdang and hang it to dry.

As Hyang admired the beauty of the paper, Saimdang was reminded of a verse in a poem 踏花歸去馬蹄香 "Treading on flowers on the way home, even the horseshoe is fragrant." (please correct me if my intepretation is wrong!). In a low voice, she elaborated that an artist who heard this phrase, pondered how he should depict the painting so that it represented the fragrance that eminated from the horseshoe. Following which, she was lost in her thoughts.

Running over, Mae Chang suggested drawing butterflies, since their presence would indicate that there were flowers nearby. Overjoyed, Saimdang agreed that Mae Chang had found a way to depict the fragrance on a painting. Hyun Ryong added he finally understood. The sight of gardenia water would immediately be associated with gardenia flowers. Likewise, coloured paper would immediately be associated with flowers. He felt that the paper was so magical that even something which could not been seen, was made visible through it.


7. Saimdang neatly placed the coloured paper into a gift box, then changed into an outfit she was satisfied with, although it was just a cotton skirt and upper garment. Hyang and her children were puzzled as she told Hyang to look after them and left the house.
Lady Shin, who was sitting on the kang doing needlework, was pleasantly surprised by Saimdang's visit. Putting down the gift box, Saimdang respectfully greeted her and sat down. Both women, having lived through dark times, could understand each other's sorrow with just a look, a mutual understanding that needed no words.
"No good can come out of being too close with someone like me, who has been deposed and made a commoner," Lady Shin told Saimdang gently, sadness peppering her words.
"Neighbours should care for one another... that is a longstanding virtue. Please do not worry too much," Saimdang smiled and responded after careful deliberation.
Lady Shin's eyes welled up in tears. In life, there could be times where a person could be a source of comfort, just sitting opposite her. For 40 years, she had lived like a sinner, a widow, and now, Saimdang was exactly that person, whose presence was a wellspring of comfort for her.


8. Just before the mother-son art contest, Gyeom provided all the mothers with the aprons after seeing how disparaging the mothers were towards Saimdang's appearance. As Saimdang silently put the apron on, she understood Gyeom's intention, which was to cover her own simple outfit - an act that evoked both gratitude and sorrow in her. Likewise, Hwieumdang saw through Gyeom's act, and by the same token, was enraged and grieved by what he did on Saimdang's behalf.


9. Gyeom observed Hyun Ryong and Saimdang's exchange after the latter fled the contest from behind the wall with great anxiety, but could not do anything. Afraid of being discovered, he dared not approach and support her up, yet could not pretend not to have seen anything. Just then, he heard the school official calling out to him to join the prize-giving ceremony. Distressed, he looked back at her one more time before leaving.


10. "As the endless rain and wind sweep the garden, only sadness and anguish well up in my eyes... and the one whom I await is nowhere to be seen." Startled, Gyeom stopped and turned towards the direction of the voice. There, Hwieumdang stood as if waiting for Gyeom to notice her.
Before Gyeom could say a word, Hwiuemdang continued, "That is Ouyang Xiu's 蝶戀花 Butterflies Romancing the Flowers...", then turned on her heel and left.
As Gyeom watched her swaying figure, a hazy memory resurfaced. Twenty years ago, unable to suppress his longing for Saimdang, he had recited Ouyang Xiu's poem one night, and thus encountered that young girl. Could MCH's wife possibly be the daughter of the tavern mistress in Bukpyeong? Gyeom's eyes were filled with suspicion.


NOTE:  The text in C-translated novel, as well as the C-subs from GTV and iflix, are vastly different from the original poem, though the meaning is similar:

Storms and gale rage in the twilight of March,
Dusk envelops the doors, powerless to hold on to Spring.
With teary eyes, I ask the flowers but they keep silent,
Red petals fly chaotically over the swing.


NOTE #2: This is the correct Ouyang Xiu poem that Gyeom recited (thank you @gerrytan8063!). Once again, the text in the novel and subs are slightly different, but at least the meaning is closer to what was actually spoken in the drama:

畫閣歸來春又晚,    I return to this beautiful pavilion, but spring is late
燕子雙飛,              Swallows fly in pairs,
柳軟桃花淺,           the willow branches sway in the wind, and the peach blossoms flutter in the air.
細雨滿天風滿院,    As the endless rain and wind sweep the garden,
愁眉斂盡無人見。    I knit my brows in grief, but the one I await is nowhere to be seen

(Translation adapted from iflix subs)

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"Am a little unsure about the use of Ouyang Xiu's poem - GTV and iflix C-subs are very different from the original poem itself, so I have to wonder if they were translated based on the Korean text, rather than from the original source material. "

This is taken from TSKS sub, wrote the caption on page 26

As we already know regarding "translation in transit" is likely to be somewhat lost as we have the sample specimen of Dianthus Chinensis (Pae Raeng-i)


Great reading...hope you will be able to procure Volume 2

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@gerrytan8063 I concur that it is probably a case of lost in translation once more, making a full circle from the original Chinese to Korean back to Chinese in its various interpretations.

These are the iflix subs of the poem in Ep4, when young Gyeom was reciting Ouyang Xiu's 蝶戀花 Butterflies Romancing Flowers:

在華麗閣樓等待春天到來    I am waiting for spring to arrive at this beautiful pavilion,
春天卻遲遲未到                 but it is taking a painstakingly long time.
燕子雙飛枝柳搖曳              As pairs of swallows come by, the willow branches sway in the wind,
桃花也紛紛散落                 and the peach blossoms flutter in the air.

細雨滿天風滿院                 As I watch the endless rain and wind that sweeps the garden,
我眼中儘是憂愁…              only sadness and anguish well up in my eyes,
只有等待之人看不見          and the one whom I await is nowhere to be seen.

To compare, I managed to find 3 different poems by Ouyang Xiu, all entitled 蝶戀花. While I think the 2nd verse is from Poem 1, verse 2, I can't see any which is a perfect fit for the first verse. Poem 2, verse 2 seemed to be similar, yet I am not wholely convinced. What do you think? Or are we on yet another wild goose chase with a lost-in-translation caper? :blink:

Poem 1


Poem 2


Poem 3


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"To compare, I managed to find 3 different poems by Ouyang Xiu, all entitled 蝶戀花. While I think the 2nd verse is from Poem 1, verse 2, I can't see any which is a perfect fit for the first verse. Poem 2, verse 2 seemed to be similar, yet I am not wholely convinced. What do you think? Or are we on yet another wild goose chase with a lost-in-translation caper? "

First & foremost, there are plenty of Chinese poems written by poets through the ages that bear the same title "蝶戀花"


According to the above link Poem 1,2 & 3 is from Ouyang Xiu's "蝶戀花", but the verse recited is 



Poem explanation. This is most probably Yi Gyeom reciting the meaning of the poem in simple terms (to the audience) as it was translated in "iflix subs of the poem" rather than reciting the "flowery" poetic language. But then when Yi Gyeom asked Seok Sun whether she could write the poem, Seok Sun wrote the verses in the sand but the Chinese character doesn't correspond to what Yi Gyeom recited but to the original Ouyang Xiu's poem verses "細雨滿天風滿院......愁眉斂盡無人見。           

The Chinese language is a composite language, just look at previously mentioned Chinese idiom "指鹿爲馬" (Ji Rok Hwi Ma ,지록위마), just 4 Chinese characters, you can tell a story

The other famous drama or novel that had use this poem verses is from the famous Louis Cha "Return of the Condor Heroes" (神鵰俠侶). I personally had always prefer Legend of the Condor Heroes than Return of the Condor Heroes


As for poem 2


This poem verse seems to be from Five Dynasty Chinese poet Fan Yan Ji (馮延巳) titled Magpie on the Branch (鵲踏枝) but it could have be originally been Ouyang Xiu verses


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@gerrytan8063 Thank you for the links to the poems. And more so, thank you for identifying the right Ouyang Xiu poem:


which finally coincides with the subs, rather than my head-scratching trying to fit a square into a round hole :tongue: 

I guess part of the confusion also arose because Gyeom was reciting the poem in spoken Korean, not Hanja, unlike when HSH read the Soojinbang Diary out loud to SJY. In any case, am really glad that you have helped clear the air - thank you :) 

I personally enjoy 射雕英雄傳 more than 神雕俠侶 too, while other favourites include 碧血劍 and 連城訣. Never really paid attention to the poetry there, since I am not versed enough to understand all the nuances, but now I might revisit them when I get the time. 

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Appreciate Ouyang Xiu's 蝶戀花 as a lyrics in this song






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This is the famous poem from Return of the Condor Heroes which a lot of people can recite off hand especially the first verse. It is from a Jin Dynasty -Jurchen poet Yuan Hao Wen (元好問, 1190-1257)



I have to thanked Louis Cha's novels who got me interested in Historical dramas, although initially it was NHK Taiga dramas, very well verse in the Sengoku period of Japanese history 

"As Saimdang rushed home to show the children the paper she made, she was surprised to receive a letter from the deposed queen Lady Shin next door.
"Although spring flowers have withered already, their fragrance still filled up the whole house. The sound of your children's laughter came...and settled on the flower petals like butterflies. It must be a gift from the heavens, taking pity on me, a wilted woman inside of a house. I thought your children might like persimmons, so I have sent them some dried persimmons. Waiting for them to dry in the wind and sun so very exciting for me. It wasn't for long, but I was very happy during those moments. Thank you."


Queen Dangyeong letter of appreciation that Shin Saimdang children gave her solace in her later years in life. it will be an anticipation to look onwards to KBS drama "7 days Queen" broadcast this month end or even the light hearted "My Sassy Girl" by SBS (not based on any Joseon history timeline but Joseon of the writer imagination)

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