Monday, January 28, 2013

Death of the Woodalchi and Choi Young

by Hanjae

@farstrep, I think it's because Eun Soo is at the root of Choi Young's inner conflict. It's hardly her fault and it's obvious that Young would never blame her (only himself), but in the end she is the reason why he couldn't be with the Wudalchi when they fell. For Gongmin to be the one to whom Young talked to, particularly since he is one of the people that Young believes he should be sorry to because he failed to protect him, is more meaningful.

Despite how heartbreaking it was watching him grieve for his "children," this is one of the best emotional moments in Faith; not only because Choi Young admits that Eun Soo had always held first place in his heart, but also due to the conflict it poses. I've always marked this as the earliest point at which Young's mental battle over the weight of his sword began to surface.

The death of so many Wudalchi and the danger to Gongmin, the king to whom he had sworn his allegiance, hit Young hard. This is the first time he had acted as a general should, by directing and dividing his forces, and what it emphasizes most of all is that he carries an enormous burden. The lives of the Wudalchi as well as the king and queen rests on his shoulders - bargaining his own life as he used to do may have been one thing, but bargaining the lives of so many is quite another matter. But what hit him hardest is the hardest was the realization that if he was allowed to choose again, he would STILL have chosen to save Eun Soo, thereby (as he believes) sacrificing the Wudalchi due to his absence. His declaration that Eun Soo had always held first place in his heart wasn't just a grand confession, but a simple expression of the battle that he was fighting inside as he felt like he was torn between two halves of himself. The first is the Choi Young that he had always been - honorable, placing duty above all. The other is Choi Young the man, whose heart and soul has been claimed by Eun Soo.

Young's statement that Eun Soo has always been first and that he had never really known such a thing as "allegiance" to his nation goes far beyond being an expression of his love for a woman. To me, it connects to the idea that Eun Soo is the home that Young had never had - a symbol of warmth, happiness, refuge and something to fight for. How much must she have meant to a man like Young, who had never known peace? His life in the Jeogwoldae required him to be constantly on the move without a settled place to live, and he continued to be tossed around even within the palace when one king replaced another. In Eun Soo, he had found not only home but allegiance - his home is where she is, his nation is where she lives. This realization shakes the very core of his being, which had previously known only honor, duty and loyalty to his master and his king.

This building conflict within him is expressed later in a very literal manner - his sword hand shakes because his heart and mind are pulling him in different directions. The challenge, then, lies in finding a balance between the two so that he can fulfill his duties to his king and subordinates without endangering Eun Soo.

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