Monday, March 25, 2013

Episode 24 Discussion

by Hanjae

"...It was also to hear the answer "Yes" from you that I have had you remain behind."

Much had been said in previous weeks about how Gongmin had finally eased into his role as king, but if I had to choose one defining moment where his newfound maturity was on full display, it would be this one. It really underscored Gongmin's growth as a character for him to be ready to accept Young's decision to leave if the latter truly wanted to do so.

Previously, Gongmin had always changed the subject or offered empty promises when Young had asked to resign, even though he knew quite well how much Young had suffered in the service of the nation. Although he felt sympathy and remorse, he waved those feelings aside with the reasoning that "it is for the good of Goryeo," one that so many kings have probably used as a transparent defense in the past. After all, what is the wishes of one captain worth when his contributions could change the tide of their situation against the Yuan? But the question he had been made to ask himself over the course of the drama in his interactions with Young, Noguk and even Eun Soo is: what good is a king who dreams of liberating his nation but cannot even protect the lives of his most loyal subjects? He can win a battle, but lose the war if he cannot even garner the respect of his key supporters.

His decision to accept Young's choice to go through the portal with Eun Soo is the culmination of the most important lesson that Gongmin had learnt in his first steps as a king: how to be a ruler who could actually keep his good men once he had recruited them. 

Eun Soo: "...can you defeat him?"
Young: "I... believe I can beat him."

This exchange brings us full circle to Episode 11, when Eun Soo asked him the same question and he had replied that he did not believe he could beat Ki Chul. At that point, he had not only lost Eun Soo's trust in his production, but faced yet again continued service under a king whose orders he carried out with little conviction.

In direct contrast, he now answers to the affirmative because, with renewed purpose and Eun Soo's unspoken faith in him, he truly believes that he can face any opponents or obstacles that he is challenged with. 

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