Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Analysis of Villains by Hanjae

by Hanjae

Oh, I agree that Ki Chul did not regard his siblings in the same manner as he did Choi Young or the painter; I see it as "possessiveness" in the way that he knows and expects that they would remain loyal to him and carry out his orders. To Ki Chul, they are "his people," the people who are of use to him. In a way, it is similar to the relationship between Gongmin and Choi Young, although Gongmin's own character, his sense of insecurity and healthy respect for Young made their interactions very different - rather than expectance, Gongmin merely hopes that Young would continue to support him. Perhaps Ki Chul does have some fondness for Eum Ja and Hwa Soo In (though we can't be sure due his lack of character development), but I suspect that he is not the sort who would condone disobedience or even difference in thinking in the way Gongmin would. Ki Chul respects strength and resourcefulness in other people, but only when they do not oppose him. Whatever capacity for feeling Ki Chul might possess, he is essentially like Deok Heung in that he is completely self-absorbed. In the end, his own wishes come before anything else, and we saw that reflected in his complete lack of concern over the well-being of Eum Ja when Young arrived to save Eun Soo; Ki Chul's only interest was in reaching the portal.

You made an interesting point about the villains' lack of internal conflict. As in other cases, you will always see more apparent conflict between individuals who are on "equal" footing, such as Choi Young and Eun Soo or Gongmin. Although on the surface it seems a laughable idea - after all, Gongmin is technically the sovereign of the country - in reality, Gongmin is not only politically powerless but his desire for not only obedience but respect from his people meant that he valued their thoughts and opinions. That, in a way, made them equals in the sense that they each contributed to the well-being of Goryeo and its citizens and each outcome is achieved through debate and agreement from the council. Unlike Gongmin, who could not wield absolute power over his people, Ki Chul's word was law and his decisions final, thus negating any potential conflict. Rather than his siblings accommodating Ki Chul, I saw it as a relationship formed partly out of loyalty and partly because they were wise enough not to challenge the one who held sway over the lives of everyone in Goryeo. They simply aligned themselves with the winning side.

That's very true about Ki Chul not using Hwa Soo In's powers to soothe his illness, but I think it's hardly possible that neither Hwa Soo In nor Cheon Eum Ja noticed nothing despite how much time they spend under the same roof. Rather, it's more likely that Ki Chul withheld the true extent of his illness from them - it would be in character for one who holds as much power as him to distrust everyone other than himself, because that's the only way they can stay safe. Furthermore, I doubt Ki Chul wanted to acknowledge the fact that he was in mortal danger himself - it was Eun Soo who made him face that uncomfortable truth; it was entirely possible that before she told him that she knew when he would die, he had convinced himself that he was invincible. Also, we must remember that his symptoms only intensified after Ki Chul began to challenge Choi Young for Eun Soo; the power that Young possessed necessitated Ki Chul's use of his own ice powers. It would be within reason for Hwa Soo In not to realize the seriousness of the situation until Ki Chul collapsed later on, rather than it being a lack of perceptiveness on her part.

Thumbs up on your point about Eum Ja! It's a pity we were barely given time to digest Hwa Soo In's death - what with Eun Soo being kidnapped, Young overcoming Ki Chul and the death of Dol Bae, Hwa Soo In died rather quickly and Eum Ja's only chance to emote was to threaten Eun Soo when she awoke at the inn. And then of course the rest of the villains were wiped out during the confrontation with Young... I sometimes wonder how different things would have been if Young simply locked the three siblings and minions in their residence and visited them with his sword earlier in the drama.

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