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

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Examples of "rack focus" from “Lessons in photography from Saimdang, Light’s Diary” at https://campusconnection.blogspot.com/2017/01/saimdang-lights-diary-synopsis-by-episode.html#lessonsinphotography

Rack focus (sometimes called as "follow focus" or "focus in, focus out") is a technique oftentimes used in Korean dramas. But as you can read from the Wikipedia article below, Western filmmakers and videographers don't like "rack focus" because it cannot be repaired in post-production.

From Wikipedia:

A rack focus in filmmaking and television production is the practice of changing the focus of the lens during a shot. The term can refer to small or large changes of focus. If the focus is shallow, then the technique becomes more noticeable. In professional films, a camera assistant called a focus puller is responsible for rack focusing. In his documentary film, The Sinister Saga of Making "The Stunt Man" the director Richard Rush claims he developed the technique in the 1960s. In the commentary to the TV series Firefly, visual effects supervisor Loni Peristere comments that rack focus has been taboo in recent cinematography because such shots cannot be "repaired" in post production.

From "Using Rack Focus" at http://dfilmschool.com/using-rack-focus/

"Part of the beauty of the shallow depth of field that you can get with these new HD-DSLR cameras is that you can cause the viewer to look EXACTLY where you want them to by adjusting the focus accordingly. An in focus foreground causes the viewers to “focus” on the foreground. An in focus background with an out of focus foreground cause more attention to be paid to the background.

By adding this selective focus to an other wise static shot, you can actually move the viewer’s attention from one part of the screen to the other. All within the same shot!"

Most Korean dramas use a simple rack focus: focus is on the foreground subject, then it goes out of focus, while the background subject goes into focus. Or vice-versa.

The first GIF below from Ep. 8 (SBS version) shows a superb and complex use of rack focus. It's complex because the background subject (Saimdang and her son, in this scene) are moving, unlike most examples of rack focus where the foreground and background subjects are stationary. (I’ve edited the GIF to slow it down at certain stages):

Hwieumdang is in the foreground while Saimdang, with her son, is in the background.

(1) Hwieumdang is out of focus and Saimdang is in focus;

(2) Saimdang becomes out of focus and Hwieumdang becomes in focus;

(3) finally, Hwieumdang becomes out of focus and Saimdang becomes in focus.

ZZlMU19.gif

Example of a simple rack focus from Episode 8:

(1) As Saimdang leaves, Lee Gyeom is out of focus, while Hwieumdang is in focus.

(2) As Lee Gyeom turns his head around, he comes into focus, while Hwieumdang becomes out of focus.

zF5xNa0.gif

 

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Vol 2 of the C-translated novel is finally released! Yes! Not available yet where I am at, but at least it is a start.

From what I have gleaned from the book preview, the next 3 parts are:

4. 秘密 Secrets
5. 墮落 Fallen
6. 光的日記 Memoirs of Light

covering 20 chapters (correction: it shows excerpts from Chapter 20, and writer's notes). It doesn't show reproductions of the paintings used in the drama... hopefully these are included. Either way, can't wait to read it!

1ecf21676096f1dd24fbf67f4235101d.jpg

cr. humanbooks.tw

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@gerrytan8063 I am waiting for the opportunity to transcribe too! Unfortunately, Vol 2 is not yet available at Popular, so I am still drumming my fingers and wondering if it is possible to have the book shipped directly from Taiwan to Australia to arrive in time while I am still there. Sigh.

Am going to try and peer at the screenshots of the writer's notes as well as the excerpts from Chapter 20 if I get the chance before I leave... will see how I go in between the madness of this next few days.

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@liddi   @gerrytan8063   @saimdang

Below are two videos on K-dramas (including SLD) that will be shown in GMA7 Network Philippines.

0:24 mark up to 0.26 and 1:26 mark up to 1:27 (scenes from Ep 1 and 2; can't tell if these are from SBS or from international version)


1:06 mark up to 1:12 (scenes from Saimdang going up to Keumkangsan, Saimdang and the drifters, and painting the Royal Portrait)

I hope that with SLD GMA7 doesn't make the mistake it made with "The King's Doctor". TKD was an Asian hit, but GMA7 aired it 11 AM time slot, which meant teachers and students from grade school to high school and majority of college students couldn't watch it. {With "Empress Ki" GMA7 aired it 9 PM primetime, making EK a big hit in the Philippines).

Also, my worry is that SLD's nuances in language and culture could be lost once it's dubbed in Filipino/Tagalog.

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Have finally settled and found time to play catch up. Haven't been able to find Vol 2 for purchase be it at home or in eBook form. However, did manage to read what hopefully are two full chapters of Chapters 17-18, which is such a bonus. Most of it is familiar apart from the insights into their thoughts... but there are also differences in sequences yet again, particularly Gyeom's vow, which I guess means we won't see the impetuous hugging scene in the novel in subsequent chapters. Ah well... In any case, hopefully I manage to get my hands on the complete book sometime soon. Having managed to buy the eBook last night (yay!), it is confirmed that what I had read earlier was incomplete, so I have added on the additional details. There are no impetuous, grand declarations from Gyeom after the revelation, and so far, he remains to be her secret, silent support for now. We are also privy to the enormity of Saimdang's realisation that she had carried the burden of guilt needlessly for 20 long years, one which I felt, was perhaps too glossed over in the drama.

 

Novel Vol 2: Part 4 Secrets
Chapter 17

 

1. This was the man whose love for Saimdang was etched indelibly within his heart. That year, she managed to save her daughter from certain death, and now, twenty years after their fated love, once again he braved the snow and stood before their door. It had been exactly twenty years, and however deep the love, that amount of time should have been long enough to erase the memories away. Yet Gyeom never once forgot Saimdang, and even now, was still grieved over her. Was it the same with Saimdang? Was she too, unable to forget this love, and was she too, still shedding tears over him? At this thought, Lady Yi felt a surge of numbness in her back. This cannot be allowed to happen again, such a sad unfortunate, doomed love cannot be permitted!

 

2. There is no narration of the letter that Shin Myeong Hwa wrote to Gyeom's aunt.

 

3. "If you won't tell me, I will have to ask His Majesty myself!" Gyeom rose to his feet.
"Stand still. It's true! It all happened because they saw the poem, as did Saimdang!" At his aunt's words, Gyeom stopped in his tracks.
"Out of all who saw the poem, Saimdang is the only one who survived."
"What do you mean?" Gyeom sat once more before his aunt.
"If you had married Saimdang, you would have not been able to escape death. Such is the cruelty of power!"
"His Majesty..." Gyeom's mind was in turmoil, and he involuntarily felt a stab of fear. To whom did the power his aunt spoke of, belong? Jungjong's benevolent face vaguely emerged, then dissipated in the haziness.
"Saimdang and Scholar Shin made this choice to save your life." Her eyes were filled with regret as she gazed at Gyeom who was devastated by the truth.
"You knew, yet never breathed a word of it to me..." Gyeom's voice was choked.
"If you had known the truth, would you have held your peace? Being hotheaded as you are, you would have barged into the palace and gone on a rampage. If that happened, would you still be alive? You must always remember never to breathe a word of it to His Majesty. That is the only way you can protect the woman you love!" At his aunt's severe warning, Yi Gyeom could not hold back his tears, letting it fall unreservedly.
"You should return to your free and easy life, and forget everything! Live with the clouds as your companions and flow with the wind!"
Hearing his aunt's final words, Gyeom immediately stood up and staggered out the door. Gyeom's aunt was grieved as she watched his retreating figure, and her eyes welled up in tears.
The sun slowly rose on the coast of Gangneung. By the shore, Gyeom rode his horse furiously, as if to put all the pain behind him. As he pulled the reins, it was akin to tightly twisting his injured heart.
The waves rolled up in bursts of white bubbles and broke on the shore, causing the frightened horse to jump, throwing Gyeom heavily on to the sand, who tumbled and rolled into the water.
"Saimdang! Saimdang! How did you live through this? How could you have endured this all by yourself and survived?" Gyeom cried out in tears, beating the ground with his clenched fists.
"I have wronged you! I have wronged you! It was your sacrifice that kept me alive! Now it is my turn to live for you. I must become the most powerful man in Joseon, and enable you to live without a care, become the painter of this generation, live the life you have always wanted to live!" Gritting his teeth, Gyeom stood up and made the vow with resoluteness in his eyes.

 

4. Finally the leader of the drifters departed, leaving Saimdang alone at the prayer site. Her mind returned to that day at Woonpyeongsa. The desolation of the dead drifters was like a candle light that could not be extinguished by the cold winter draft; the anguish in her mind had never abated.
"Please have a peaceful journey to a far better place, just let me be the only one to suffer here! I am the sinner towards Woonpyeongsa..." Saimdang put her hands together in supplication and prayer.

 

5. All the years of accumulated pain and regrets were shattered by Grandpa Pal Bong's words. Twenty years. She had endured the guilt and anguish exactly twenty years. Saimdang's knees buckled beneath her feet and she collapsed to the ground, holding herself together with great effort.
In a daze, she started walking, Grandpa Pal Bong's cries vaguely audible behind her, lost in the wind. She had no idea how long she walked, only stopping when all energy had left her body and mind.
Where was this place? Oppressive darkness fell all around her, and she was unable to make out the end of the path. The icy wind blew relentlessly against her face, while pebbles at her feet fell with a clatter on the ground, startling her so much that she lost grip of the tree branches by her side and fell to the ground. The sounds of the pebbles she had kicked echoed as they dropped into the ravine - just one more step and she would have fallen in as well, finally driving home to her how close she was to death.
Saimdang broke into a cold sweat, and the combination of the scare and the sorrow she had endured finally exploded from within in a loud piercing scream. The years of terror, guilt, having to give up her dreams and love, were all let out in the tears that flowed.
She cried until her sapped energy stopped the pain, the cold wind dried her tears, yet she felt nothing, staring out in desolation and numbness. Where it was once pitch black, a weak streak of light now shone through, like the stirrings of dawn. The trees that had grown sparse in winter, reflected a different brilliance, the colours of which Saimdang previously could never recreate, enclosed between Hanyang and the ripples of the Han river. Saimdang cast a steady glance across to Hanyang. Countless people lived there, each with their individual lives, stumbling in the face of difficulties and standing up again, overcoming the hardships of life; alternating between tears and laughter; learning to endure and accept; love and hate intertwining; doing one's best to survive... all these are happening over and over again. Now, a thin ray of light had entered her life as well. Saimdang brushed away the dirt from her clothes, and walked towards the distant light.

 

6. The morning rays of winter shone on the roof of her home. Having changed into clean clothes, Saimdang opened the door and walked out into the courtyard. The dazzling sunlight shining on the snow was incomparably clear, and Saimdang drew in a deep breath. The white mist dissipated in the air - what an amazing sight. It was as if she had never breathed such fresh air, feeling utterly refreshed and cool. Although she had not slept the entire night, she was not fatigued.
Actually nothing had changed. Although her memories had been turned inside out, she still had not recovered all that she had lost. However, the oppressive guilt was now completely gone, and for that alone, she felt unimaginably relieved, like a butterfly who had escaped its shackles, her heart so free that it could dance. She decided that she would continue to manufacture paper with the drifters, bringing to life both their and her unfulfilled hopes and dreams through the snow-white paper, giving them wings to fly.

 

7. Gyeom and MCH were in the vicinity when the drifters agreed to follow Saimdang's lead after being set free using the title to Saimdang's land and house as collateral. Both were acutely aware of the other's presence and stared daggers at each other.
Returning to Biikdang, Gyeom immediately entered his room, removed the sword from the wall and stared at the sharp blade. His hatred for MCH exceeded all reasoning, and he would love nothing more than to stab him with the sword in his hand.
Several days ago upon his return from his shattering visit to Bukpyeong village, he had rushed to the wasteland to see Saimdang, even if just a glimpse from afar would have sufficed. However, no matter how hard he tried, he could not find her anywhere, until at last he heard news of her efforts to save the arrested drifters. Just as he was thinking how to secretly lend his assistance, she had already used all her assets to have them released, while he could do nothing except worry for her. Just then, he found out that MCH was the mastermind behind all the happenings, and his suspicions were confirmed by his discovery of MCH and the head of the Police Bureau spying on Saimdang behind the mountains.

 

8. As she supported MCH into the room, Hwieumdang threw a disgusted look at Gyeom's retreating back. This surely had to do with Saimdang. Sitting down under the candle light in the room, she stared fiercely at the wall as if her gaze would penetrate it. "Short-sighted and shallow?! Fine. From this moment on, I will let you know what exactly it means to be shallow."
To her, Gyeom was no longer an object of love, but a source of hatred and pain, the object of her vengeance. There was only one way to repay her grudge, and that was to trap the woman he loved in an abyss from which she could never escape. Only then, would Gyeom too go through the torment of hell. Hwieumdang would be there to jeer and mock at his wretched fate the day he fell into MCH's clutches. She must see it with her own eyes, his abject self grovelling at her feet, begging her to spare him.

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@gerrytan8063 You're welcome! I have since managed to buy the eBook, and confirmed that what I read and transcribed previously was incomplete, and as such have added points (4) to (8) to my original post. So glad to finally be able to continue once more with the novel... and now that I have the eBook, there is no need for a month-long wait :D As expected, the sequences are diverging somewhat, which makes me all the more eager to find out how scriptwriter Park explains and concludes the story.  Unfortunately I do not see any reproductions of the paintings used in the drama... which has me concerned that it won't be in the physical book as well... argh! Still toying with the idea of purchasing the physical book when I get home... we shall see.

@plainenglish Thank you for sharing the snippets of Saimdang which will be aired on GMA! When will it be broadcast? I agree about nuances being lost in translation... so hopefully this won't be the case with Saimdang, and that it will enjoy great popularity in the Philippines too. Please do share more as and when it airs, thank you!

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It has taken me longer than expected, but finally I caught up with the next chapter, which gives us a slightly different scene of the lantern-lit meeting, one that was poignant and perhaps more moving. We too learn a little of Lady Shin's childhood, and her empathy for what Hyun Ryong must have gone through in the Central District school. I love too, how here, Saimdang told Baek In Geol straight out, that the school had nothing of worth to offer her son.

 

Novel Vol 2: Part 4 Secrets
Chapter 18

1. When Man Deuk approached Saimdang and the drifters to infiltrate into their ranks, he begged to be accepted, saying he did not know what came over him in the first place. After he was accepted, the leader of the drifters continued to view him with suspicion, unable to shake off his distrust.

 

2. At Yeosu, Dolsan Island, Gyeom was sitting facing outwards atop a large cliff. A thick, white fog masked the lines in the horizon. and haziness surrounded him. All around, everything seemed to have sunk into the ocean, yet also seemed to be floating on top of the clouds. For days, Gyeom had stayed in this ancient temple that faced the sun, yet not once had he seen the sun, and he had a premonition that he too, would never see the sun rise ever again.
A sun that was unable to shine on the world was not a real sun. If the king only cared for his own safety, not the well-being of his people, and instead added on to their suffering, that is not what a real king should be. This was not out of a traitorous heart, but Gyeom's pain and regret towards Jungjong, who was once as close as a brother to him. How should he face Jungjong now? Gyeom felt that the bridge that once tightly connected them both, had already collapsed, and this grieved him immeasurably. 
As a cold wind continuously blew, the sea hiding behind the mist began to thrash against the rocks. Slowly, Gyeom drew back his faraway gaze. He could not hide here forever, with the sea keeping his sighs company. It was time to make a move.
Didn't he still have someone he wanted to protect? Even if he was fated to be alone forever, as long as he lived, he would live for her, and he had determined it would be so. Brushing his clothes, Gyeom got up to his feet.

 

3. It was a mother-of-pearl fan coated with red lacquer that was mixed with cinnabar, which was more precious than gold (a kind of red pigment derived from cinnabar ore. Legend has it that it held special powers, and was often used on amulets).

 

4. Gyeom further explains the details of the custom-made fan as follows:
"The green colour of the fan comes from mother-of-pearl with the pattern of a dragon, while its centre is embedded with a jade dragon pendant, representing the heart of Joseon, the root of all the people, and the symbol of Your Majesty."

 

5. King Jungjong viewed Gyeom with acidity and deep-rooted suspicion when he finally showed up, even more so at Gyeom's suggestion to go on a hunt. Falconry was Yeonsangun's favourite pasttime, to the extent of dismantling the mews from Goryeo era that were used to house the falcons. What was Gyeom planning, suggesting that they went on a hunt? Jungjong tried to deduce Gyeom's thoughts with a suspicious stare, to which he steadily returned.

 

6. Saimdang stopped short in her tracks and looked around her, unable to believe her eyes. Paper lanterns far brighter than the moon and stars, shone on both sides of the trees like blooming flowers. There were smooth pebbles lining either side of the footpath that was illuminated by the latterns. Was this a dream? Who could have done this in the heart of the forest? In that moment, Gyeom's face materialised in her mind.
"My goodness! What is all this?"
Hyang was like an innocent child, walking alongside the colourful lanterns. Just then, Hoo appeared in front of her. After a quiet talk, she followed him down the lantern-lit path. Saimdang who was left alone, looked at the brightly lit lanterns with a sad smile on her lips. Why would such a beautiful sight evoke such sadness? Anyone would not be able to help smiling at such a dreamlike scene, so how long did she intend to continue avoiding it?
"Please smile! Smiling suits your face far better."
Saimdang, about to walk on in the light, suddenly heard Gyeom's voice. She had already more or less guessed that these gorgeous lights was an expression of Gyeom's true feelings, and as such, was not overly surprised. With a sad, compassionate gaze, she looked at him. Thus they stood, staring at each other for some time.

 

7. "I went to Bukpyeong village." Gyeom finally broke the silence. Saimdang's heart started, and she could not find any words in response, merely stood there unmoving.
"I am sorry... I have wronged you." Gyeom's voice was choked. Seeing the tears at the corner of his eyes, it was salt rubbing on her wounds, and her heart ached immeasurably.
"What have you found out?" Saimdang asked, forcibly keeping her emotions in check.
"Everything that happened 20 years ago... the reason you secretly got married, the reason you are making Goryeo paper with the drifters..."
"..."
"I understand it all now!"
"You just need to continue living your life, and I will also live my life well. Please do not concern yourself with anything else." Saimdang stared into the darkness after she spoke her words, then turned to leave.
"I can no longer do that now!" Gyeom reached out and turned her around.
Thrown off guard, Saimdang stumbled, upon which Gyeom caught her and held her in his arms. Feeling his heated face, she struggled to free herself, but the more she did so, the more Gyeom tightened his embrace.
"Let me go!" Saimdang pushed him away with all her might, and glared fiercely at him. To her, they could no longer go back to the way it used to be. She could never return to the past, and would not allow herself to block his future. "Please do not persist in these matters anymore. Just walk your own path in life!"
"Since I already know everything, how can I continue to feign ignorance? Do you think it is even possible?"
"However, this is what we must do!"
"Just think. If I were you and you were me, and our positions were reversed, would you pretend you didn't know?"
"Yes."
"You're lying! You're lying! Lies!" Startled by Gyeom's raised voice, the birds scattered. Saimdang held back the tears that were threatening to flow and avoided his gaze. However, Gyeom, staring at Saimdang, cried out.
"You just continue on with your life! Just as you are doing now... for the drifters, for your family. If that is the path you have chosen, continue on it! However, no matter when, I will always be where I will be able to see you, forever watching over you!"
"You can't do that."
"It doesn't matter that you are now someone else's wife. Even if you disregard my existence, it does not matter!"
"Why are you so reckless! The one who is already married and has to do anything to survive is not you, but me and my family!"
"Even if our paths are parallel lines that can never meet, I will still go before you and clear the obstacles in your path, smooth out the rugged terrain, so that you need not suffer any more. I will live my life in this way from here on!"
"I will assume that you have never said those words," Saimdang responded resolutely, then hardened her heart and left.
"Saimdang!" Gyeom cried out to her, his voice reverberating in the forest.

 

8. Upon leaving the school, Hyun Ryong could not go home in such a state, and so he meandered to and fro in the streets, but had nowhere to go. Finally he squatted beside Lady Shin's brick wall, buried his head and cried his heart out. He could still taste the blood on his lips, and felt extremely wronged. His weeping carried across the low wall and caught the ears of Lady Shin who was talking a walk in the courtyard. Unable to ignore the child's piteous cries, she peered over the wall and asked Hyun Ryong what the matter was. At her gentle, tactful voice, Hyun Ryong poured out all that happened in the school. He made no attempt to excuse his behaviour, only describe all that happened. Lady Shin quietly listened to all he had to say, then having instructed her court lady to bring some dried persimmons, placed them in Hyun Ryong's hands and asked him to go home and rest. Having seen him to his door, Lady Shin immediately instructed her court lady to quickly fetch Saimdang.

 

9. Lady Shin spoke to Saimdang about Hyun Ryong's struggles in school:
"When I was young, I once attended that school with my older brother and younger siblings. As such, I am well aware of the atmosphere there. It is common knowledge that a student would be bullied if there was a disparity between his status and the other students. Students from noble families would use high quality stationery and shelves, even have maids delivering tasty delicacies and tidbits. I think all this must have been bewildering to Hyun Ryong."

 

10. When Saimdang felt bad about accepting Lady Shin's gift, the older woman replied, "Perhaps I do not really understand your standpoint since I do not have any children of my own. However, you must consider the distressed child's feelings. Please think of it from his point of view!" Lady Shin attempted to appease Saimdang's embarassment, and smiled warmly at her.

 

11. As Saimdang returned home with the package, she noticed the downcast Hyun Ryong sitting there, and her face was filled with compassion. 
"Hyun Ryong..." Saimdang put down the bag of clothes and knelt down beside her son, who finally looked up and faced his mother. She did not know how long he had been crying, but his eyes were red and swollen, while both cheeks were now blue and black, with traces of blood still on his lips and nose. Her heart ached at her son's pitiable sight. 
"I'm sorry, Mother!" Hyun Ryong's voice was choked and listless.
"Were you at fault?" Saimdang asked him in a calm tone, which Hyun Ryong did not immediately deny. 
"Mother trusts you..."
Seeing tears quietly falling from her son's eyes without saying a word to defend himself, Saimdang gently caressed his head. Feeling the warmth in his mother's hands, Hyun Ryong could not stop himself from trembling in distress and she took him in her arms and tightly hugged him, patting his back in comfort for a long time.

 

12. Overhearing the mothers describing how Hyun Ryong was slapped twice, Saimdang's expression darkened and she questioned them about it, but they kept quiet. Saimdang was furious as she recalled Hyun Ryong's blue-black cheeks. How could anyone be so cruel and violent! It is evident what was going on, which was a carefully laid-out plan to officially pin wrongdoing on both her and her son. Just then, Hwieumdang walked in. Saimdang's stare was wrath-filled but Hwieumdang appeared gleeful and threw her a smile as she returned to her seat.

 

13. At the childish commotion over the stained skirt, Saimdang felt as if all her energy had left her, and could not even muster up any more anger from within her. Shaking her head, she sighed deeply.
"Bring me a brush!" Saimdang raised her voice, cutting across the din of the mothers' cacophony, immediately drawing their attention towards her.
"I need a brush and ink. Please hurry up!" Saimdang urged in annoyance.
She placed the wet skirt on the ground, like a large piece of paper. Sitting down, she stared at the skirt, while the women watched her every move.
With calmness and resolution, Saimdang slowly lifted the brush and paused to stop her hand from trembling. For a moment, she appeared to make up her mind, then her brush began to dance, its every move followed by the women's eyes. Totally engrossed, Saimdang paid no attention to the commotion around her, focused fully on the skirt in front of her. Where the brush passed through, clusters of grapes began to appear, and the pleats of the skirt were transformed into luscious grapes. The brush in Saimdang's hand was like a butterfly with wings, deftly dancing on the skirt. There was no hesitation in her strokes, and each spot drew involuntary gasps and praises. Each cluster of grapes was inviting and with the completion of each one, Saimdang's expression broke out in joy.
As the painting was increasingly perfected, Hwieumdang's face became even more distorted. At first, she thought nothing of it as she had determined from the mother-son contest that Saimdang no longer had the ability to hold a brush again. However, what played out before her eyes was the total opposite, with Saimdang's work taking on even greater life. With an increasingly anxious expression. Hwieumdang stared at Saimdang.
Finally the black grapes painting was completed. Having carefully looked through the entire painting, Saimdang put down the brush with a satisfied expression and turned to the owner of the skirt.

 

14. "So you still decided to withdraw from the school yourself?" Baek In Geol who cherished Hyun Ryong above anyone else, could not hide his regret.
"I did not make this decision because of the rules set by the mothers. Far more than the student, they care more about the father's wealth and power, and despise the people who are the backbone of the country. From the looks of this, this is merely a place for the children to accumulate knowledge. I do not think there is anything worth learning here for Hyun Ryong." Saimdang relentlessly spelled out, to which Baek In Geol had no reply.
"Thank you very much for your care during this time. We will still come and visit you." Saimdang bowed respectfully to Baek In Geol who could only sigh heavily.

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@liddi   @gerrytan8063   @saimdang

From Soompi June 8, 2017 article: "Lee Young Ae Revealed To Have Made Donation For Sri Lanka Flood Relief"at https://www.soompi.com/2017/06/08/lee-young-ae-revealed-made-donation-sri-lanka-flood-relief/

"On June 6, Sri Lankan news agency Lankadeepa revealed that actress Lee Young Ae donated 56.2 million won (approximately $50,000) for the relief and recovery from the recent Sri Lankan floods.

"Lee Young Ae donated the money through the Korea Foundation for Persons with Disabilities and requested for it to be used for Sri Lankan flood relief and for victims that got injured or disabled. It was confirmed through the Sri Lankan foreign ministry on June 5 that the foundation sent it to the Sri Lankan Embassy in Korea."

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At long last, I finally found enough down time to continue on with the next chapter, which brings us to the end of Part 4. Once again, we are privy to more of the inner workings of the characters we have come to know, particularly Jungjong's insecurities, and Gyeom's selflessness as far as Saimdang is concerned. I love too how Saimdang fobbed off the unwelcome art proprietors, and her involuntary reactions to Gyeom, even if she kept her feelings tightly reined in within herself. Oh... he didn't give her flowers in the novel after all... but to him, she was like a flower...

 

Novel Vol 2: Part 4 Secrets
Chapter 19

1. At the hunting grounds, those responsible for driving and trapping were already lined up in two long groups, to divert the wild animals into the hunting grounds. In the wide expanse of the area, Jungjong, Gyeom, MCH and the three State Councillors could be seen on horseback. The horses were restless, snorting and kicking their hind feet repeatedly. Far away at the foot of the mountain, the sounds of the drums and clappers from the drivers were audible. The royal guard then shot a whistling arrow in the air, signifying the start of the hunt.
At the sign, the falconer flung out his hands, and the gyrfalcon shot up in the air with power and spread its wings. Jungjong, Gyeom, MCH and the three State Councillors were immediately hot in pursuit, following the direction of the falcon. It was a majestic sight as the horses galloped like the wind, scattering the stones and sand beneath the hooves.
Here, status held no significance, instead the focus was on one's hunting ability, the battle between man and beast. Gyeom thundered ahead, with MCH following closely behind, like a battle for supremacy between the two men.

 

2. Gyeom, the first to arrive at the foot of the mountain, loosen the grip on the reins and carefully observed the forest. From the grass, the sound of flapping wings was heard, the source of which was a wild pheasant which had been frightened by the sound of the drums and horses. Gyeom quickly aimed his arrow at the escaping pheasant. Just then, MCH who had just approached, too drew his bow. While Gyeom's arrow aimed at the bird, MCH's was directed towards Gyeom, and the feather of the arrow whizzed past his cheek. A moment later, a animal's shriek was heard, and a huge wild boar died by MCH's arrow.
"That was really close, Prince Euisung!" MCH smiled mockingly as he approached Gyeom.
"Were you hoping to kill the boar, or me?" Gyeom threw back challengingly at him.
"Regardless, I saved your life. Aren't your words too harsh?" MCH replied, seemingly for the benefit of those nearby and deliberately laughed out loud. Following which, he threw Gyeom a sly glance, then turned and left, Gyeom watching his retreating back with narrowed eyes in fury.

 

3. When Gyeom suggested that Jungjong completed the painting of the falcon by drawing its eye, MCH threw a sharp glance at him.
"Doesn't this represent watching over the people with the eyes of a hawk? Your Majesty, please paint the eye of the hawk and add the finishing touch!" PM Yoon addressed Jungjong, stroking his beard as he did so.
Jungjong cracked an enigmatic expression and stared at the sightless bird for quite some time before asking for a brush. Lifting the brush, he dipped it in ink and brought it towards the eye of the hawk under Gyeom and MCH's watchful gaze.
In sight of everyone, Jungjong slowly moved the brush. However, the dark ink failed to be absorbed by the paper, dispersing instead to the sides. All in attendance averted their gazes awkwardly, coughing discreetly as they did so. In the face of this unthinkable situation, PM Yoon suggested that Jungjong wrote a poem on the painting. Flushed with embarrassment, Jungjong sat down in deep thought for a while before writing a poem in the empty space of the painting. Once again, the black ink dispersed.
"It appears that I am too worn out by the hunting!" Jungjong put down the brush, awkwardness written all over his face.
"That is not true, Your Majesty. The problem lies not with your penmanship, but the paper, which is inferior in quality compared to the past." PM Yoon secretly signalled to Right Minister as he said so.
"Your Majesty, I agree," Right Minister immediately interjected after PM Yoon.
"Is this true?" Jungjong addressed Gyeom.
"When I was painting it, I had a hard time mixing glue into several layers of colours. In the past, a single stroke would have sufficed, but this time I had to paint over carefully multiple times in order to complete the painting. Note the hawk. I had no way of using a fine brush to depict its feathers, but could only use the colour of the paint to cover it. Every technology in the world is supposed to advance forward, but I guess the paper industry is an exception." Gyeom seemed to have been waiting for this very moment, as he stared directly at MCH who flushed, finally understanding Gyeom's intentions.
"If that is true, we have a big problem." Jungjong, having observed the friction between Gyeom and MCH, deliberately widened his eyes as if in shock as he spoke. 
Jungjong's only expectation of Gyeom, was to bring about the collapse of their individual interests and weaken MCH's relationship with the three ministers, and this was the moment he had been waiting for.

 

4. Upon hearing of the arrival of the Ming imperial messenger, Jungjong was infuriated to learn of the problem with fading Goryeo paper less than 20 years later.
"I am afraid I should have reported this matter to you when I heard of it before..." PM Yoon quickly spoke up.
"Are you saying you have known of this matter all this while?" Jungjong thundered.
"I only learnt of this from the Ming envoy previously. At the time, MCH said that he would be able to resolve it. As such, I thought that the matter had already been dealt with." PM Yoon threw a wily glance at MCH, and the latter paled.

 

5. Several days later, a notice was put up in the market place, stating that those who could make Goryeo paper should submit a sample of their finest product before the end of the month, and the one which produced the best paper would not only be granted a store at the market place, but also the distributor rights to Ming. Hwieumdang was furious to learn of this, feeling like what was already in her grasp had been snatched away. Her ire was worsened by her spy Man Deuk's intel that Saimdang could already produce Goryeo paper.
On the other hand, Saimdang felt like this was a gift from heaven and could not help feeling overjoyed. In addition, her grape ink painting had become a hot topic, reaching the ears of many artists. Many art sellers had gathered at the backyard of her workplace, hoping to secure her works.
"You must be the famous artist of the grape painting? Your work is absolutely remarkable! Do you have any other works?"
"Please let us see your other wonderful works. I have travelled a long way to see them!"
"Madam, please sign a contract with us! All you need to do is concentrate on your art. We would of course give you the contractual payment upfront!"
"I would pay triple of what they are offering. On top of that, I will prepare an art studio solely for your use." The art proprietors caused a din, trying to outdo each other in getting her to show her works. In the face of this unexpected turn of events, Saimdang was at a loss and could only look around her. Just then, she caught sight of the drifters who were standing at the side, not knowing what to do, their worried expressions reflecting their fear that Saimdang would abandon them.
"There... is no other painting. This is a paper mill. Those who are here to buy paper are very welcome... as for the rest, please leave. Otherwise, you would hinder our work," Saimdang firmly responded.
No matter how Saimdang refused, the proprietors would not give up, forcibly offering their contacts and pleading at the same time. At this, it dawned on the drifters that Saimdang was far more capable than they thought, and they shrunk back timidly.
"Are you able to prepare 900 tons of rice grains, 240 bales of cotton cloth, as well as the accrued interest from the debt within 10 days?" Saimdang asked with a sigh as she unwillingly accepted their calling cards.
"This is..." the art proprietors looked bewildered.
"Everyone here is my family. Are you able to fork out so much money for them? If you can't, please leave!" Saimdang firmly told them, glancing at the drifters as she did so. Then she turned around and reverted to business as usual with the drifters.
At this disappointing outcome, the art proprietors left in regret.

 

6. Filled with motivation, the drifters sang as they worked while Saimdang gazed at the busy drifters with a warm expression. Just then, Hyang quietly came to her side and told her that Gyeom was waiting for her at the lantern-lit path. At her words, Saimdang was filled with unease, wondering what had happened that he would seek her out so early in the morning. Still, she wiped her hands clean, smoothed her hair and straightened out her dress.
Gyeom waited for Saimdang steadily, his gaze focused only on her every step as she approached. Nothing distracted him - not the tree branches swaying in the wind, nor the snow that covered the land, or the emergence of wild hares that hopped here and there. Persistence and eagerness shone from his eyes, and when he finally set eyes on Saimdang, his face was heated.
"I am very excited... truly happy for you!"
What Gyeom did not reveal was how long and desperately he pleaded with the art proprietor for a glimpse of the grape ink painting. Although he was willing to fork out everything he had to buy the painting, the proprietor's hands were tied as the owner had already sold it to someone else. In the end, he could only casually say how excited and truly blessed he felt, to have seen a painting that still retained the indelible essence of who she was, twenty years later.
"I only painted to help a woman who was in a difficult situation, not for any special reason," Saimdang replied, avoiding Gyeom's gaze.
"In that case, all I need to do to see you paint again is send more women in trouble down your path," Gyeom teased.
"What?" Saimdang's eyes widened as she stared at Gyoem.
She was like a flower that drew his admiration towards her, and he broke into a melancholic smile. After that, as if reminded of something, he procured a roll of paper from his sleeve and handed it over to her.
"What is this?" Saimdang asked in astonishment, staring at the paper as she did so.
"It is 200 to 300 year old Goryeo paper that King Chungnyeol of Goryeo sent as tribute. I sent someone to Ming, and finally managed to buy it with great difficulty."
"This is such a precious item!"
"This is deemed the finest paper by the Ming imperial family. There is not much time left to spare. Make such Goryeo paper with your drifters! If you refuse to accept it, I will be angry."
"But..."
"Wasn't the announcement already posted in the market place about the Goryeo paper competition? The news has spread to all the regions of Joseon. This time, the best quality Goryeo paper must be produced!"
"..."
"You must recreate the Goryeo paper of Woonpyeongsa, and use such paper as the canvas for your paintings. I too will set in motion a greater blueprint to weed out corruption within the court so the hard work of the people would be acknowledged and they could have warm, comfortable lives, thus creating an upright world. As such, you must succeed in making the best Goryeo paper, to create a strong foundation for my ideals!"
Saimdang's heart quickened upon hearing Gyeom's vows and encouragement. What a charismatic, captivating man! Nonetheless, this was a fate she could no longer possess nor be near to, and thus, she could only suppress her heart's desire and avoid the man she loved. However, it no longer mattered that she could never claim it for her own, never to be close, even if she had to live the rest of her life missing and yearning for him. 
Swallowing the words she could never verbalise, Saimdang nodded her head.

 

7. After confiding in Gyeom about his doomed future, having to work at the paper mill for the rest of his life, Hyun Ryong was extremely downcast and let out a deep sigh. He had no wish to be like his father who never made it in the government exams and had to depend on his wife for his living, nor did he want to be like his mother, toiling day and night to eke out an existence. The only way out was to study and carve out a different path for himself, but now his mother had made it impossible for him to continue his studies in school. Instead, he had to keep working with the drifters to make paper. According to his mother, this was the only way for him to understand life's principles, yet he really could not understand her way of thinking.
"I really feel sad. It's all my father's fault, making me upset. More and more, I feel that my father is really insignificant these days, and I resent yet pity him. My heart is really in turmoil. That's why I came here. Reading books here at least helps to pacify my anger a little," Hyun Ryong went on his monologue sadly.
With regret in his eyes, Gyeom looked at Hyun Ryong who resembled Saimdang so much, whose acute intelligence evoked fondness in those who knew him. If his marriage to Saimdang had smoothly taken place twenty years ago, perhaps this affectionate boy would have been his son. Gyeom shook his head, casting aside these useless thoughts, and stared at the burning candle, wishing he could do something for this child. He would give his all to create a world where Saimdang and her beloved children could laugh freely and with joy.

 

8. The next day, Gyeom entered the palace to give Jungjong a report of their meeting with the Ming imperial messenger. Jungjong had always been extremely sensitive with his dealings with Ming, as the Ming subjects never acknowledged his ascent to the throne, nor his authority. Instead, the matter of deposed king Yeonsangun was always wielded over Jungjong to oppress him.
"He is here solely because of Goryeo paper? Are you sure there are no other issues?" Despite Gyeom's recount, Jungjong was still uneasy and could not help asking.
"Yes. As long as we can offer them good quality Goryeo paper, the matter would be resolved."
"In that case, quickly have the finest Goryeo paper made and let him bring it back to Ming. This will ensure the imperial messenger goes back to Ming soon!"
"According to the Ming imperial messenger, of all the Goryeo paper offered, the best was the one made during the reign of King Chungnyeol of Goryeo, meaning we should recreate that paper," Gyeom explained in a soothing tone, having perceived Jungjong's unease.
"Prince Euisung impressed the imperial messenger favourably, and they now call each other brothers." So Seyang added.
"Is that true?"
"Yes! He even gifted the imperial messenger a majestic painting, and the imperial messenger gave him valuable books in return," So Seyang elaborated with pride as if describing his own accomplishments.
"This actually happened?"
"We have explained Joseon's situation to the imperial messenger, and convinced him to give us until the end of the month to provide them with high quality Goryeo paper," Gyeom quickly changed the topic in embarrassment.
"That an imperial messenger from a great country would treat you like a brother. In that case, doesn't that make me his brother as well?" Jungjong laughed, pleased.
"Your Majesty, it was merely because we were similar in spirit."
"In that case, it was you, Prince Euisung, who influenced the Ming imperial messenger's opinions, haha!"
"However, Your Majesty, it will be hard to investigate the issue and make genuine Goryeo paper in half a month," PM Yoon interjected, threatened by the attention lavished on Gyeom.
"What kind of words are these? All of you listen up. From this moment on, Prince Euisung will be given full authority to investigate the corruption, and produce Goryeo paper. I want a full investigation into the corruption in the paper manufactury. If need be, those involved may be interrogated!" Jungjong decreed in an authoritative, firm tone.
"Your Majesty, no member of the royal family had ever held an important post in the government. You are breaking tradition! Please reconsider." The ministers, led by PM Yoon, bowed their heads, begging Jungjong to retract his order.
"For twenty years, I have followed all your ideals and decisions, and look where it has gotten us. My decision and will is law. From here on, anyone who makes any irresponsible remarks about my decisions will be dealt with." Jungjong swept a glance at the ministers before returning to Gyeom.
"Find the one who can manufacture the finest Goryeo paper, even if you have to leave no stone unturned. See to it!"
"I accept your command. I will be sure to accomplish this mission." Gyeom bowed deeply to the king and firmly replied.

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@gerrytan8063 Thank you. I just took a look at the table of contents and realise there are 30 chapters and an epilogue... which means I still have some way to go :o:lol: It is amazing how returning to this thread, despite it being a lot quieter now, still feels like coming home. Speaking of which, this is belated but glad that you're finally home again! I just got back more than a week ago, and it has taken me this long to finally get my bearings once more after the long trip. How is Seven Day Queen? Is it reminiscent of Saimdang in terms of Jungjong and Queen Dangyeong, or are they portrayed markedly different from how they are represented here?

@plainenglish LYA is definitely as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside... truly moved to see her compassion. Miss seeing her on screen. SSH will be returning with another drama going forward, but no news of her upcoming projects. Is it too much to hope that we will see them collaborate again one day? Meanwhile, has Saimdang started its broadcast in the Philippines?

@mabelialong So good to see you here, sharing your beautiful fan art with us! Did you just finish watching Saimdang recently? Wish you could have joined us during its broadcast, but no matter. What's important is that you're here and hope you'll continue to stay :) 

And while the drama does not exactly follow the novel... here is the excerpt from Ep17 international version which corresponds to the Chapter 19 of the novel... just because I miss them and want an excuse to see them once more.

 

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@liddi actually i'm not watching this drama fully just yet,,,, it just that it's easy to find beautiful pic of this drama that's why i made the calendar.

 

i do watch the early episodes...  

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@liddi

"How is Seven Day Queen? Is it reminiscent of Saimdang in terms of Jungjong and Queen Dangyeong, or are they portrayed markedly different from how they are represented here?"

In Seven Day Queen, they are a better portrayal than Saimdang

In history Queen Dangyeong did visit Junjong on his last days before his death

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