It is unlikely that we will get news about Jo Hyun Jae’s new drama, “King’s Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang” (KDSBH), in the next few days as the Koreans are busy with Chuseok, one of the important holidays in Korea. So while we are waiting for news and pictures from KDSBH I thought of watching “Seo Dong Yo” (SDY) once again.
After reading that Jo Hyun Jae’s role in KDSBH is associated with his role in SDY I became nostalgic for JHJ’s 2005 drama. Not that it takes much for me to become nostalgic of SDY. Ha! Ha!
I have lost count of how many times I have watched SDY already; I have watched it so many times that I don’t need the English subtitles anymore to know what is going on.
But would you believe that every time I watch SDY it is as if I am watching it again for the very first time? My heart still beats fast from anticipation and excitement. I still find myself eager to get on to the next side of a cliffhanger. I still cry every time Jang (Jo Hyun Jae) is separated from his beautiful and beloved Princess Sun Hwa (Lee Bo Young). I still cry from so much joy every time Jang and Princess Sun Hwa are reunited. I still feel that quiet happiness and still goes teary-eyed every time I watch that scene of Jang and his Princess finally making that commitment to each other.
New JHJ fans may not know what I am talking about here because they have not watched SDY yet – previous online links have been taken down already, and the price of the SDY DVDs is quite prohibitive. How I wish I can share this wonderful drama online with those who have not watched it yet, but with copyright issues that would be a little difficult. But, thankfully, there are fan-made SDY MVs that capture some of the scenes from the drama.
The video clip below shows some of the poignant scenes of Jang and his beautiful Princess. Towards the end of the video is the scene where Jang and his Princess make their commitment to each other. The music used for the MV is titled “Haemil” from SDY’s OST – a very beautiful song that makes me go teary-eyed every time I hear it. English lyrics of the song follows the video.
When the sky turns grey,
immerse me in the blue.
Pity this cruel love,
buried deep in my heart.
When flower petals fall,
will our love end as well?
Longing for, yet unable to hope,
with no place to return.
Reflecting on the time passed,
tears create an ocean.
My unfulfilled love
falls to sleep in the sorrow.
Wanting to go back,
but no way to return.
Live in the flower hues,
the tearfully beautiful love.
And here is the English translation of Princess Sun Hwa’s and Jang’s declaration of their commitment to each other:
Sun Hwa: One day you told me your beginning would be made of trees. I want us to start as a tree and end as a tree. When it is young, it gets shaken and snapped, yet a tree grows tall and strong. Don’t expect us not to be shaken or snapped through hardships. Like a tree spreads its roots as it gets shaken and snapped, I hope we take our roots deep and wide and become strong like a tree.
Sunhwa opens the palm of her hand and shows Jang a pair of black wooden rings.
Sunhwa: That’s why I wanted to give you a wooden ring.
Jang (giving her his jeweled necklace): I am giving myself to you. I will forget about my search for my father and for my identity. I will just think of my life with you, my Princess. If you tell me to be a tree, I will be a tree. If you tell me to be a mountain, I will be a mountain. If a sea… then I will be a deep sea for you.
SPOILERS AHEAD! Those who have not watched the drama yet and would not want to be spoiled I suggest you skip the next part.
Those who have not watched SDY yet may be wondering why the Princess is wearing commoner’s clothes. Due to a series of circumstances, Jang will be accused and found to be a Silla spy by the Taehaksa* people hiding in Hanuelchae. Death is the penalty for spying. To save Jang (and Giroo, played by Ryujin, who is the real Silla spy) from death the Princess will run away with Jang.
During this period the Princess renounces her title and will live with Jang as a commoner. Jang, at first, will try to change the Princess’ decision by showing her the difficult life of a real commoner – you have to work really hard all the time to earn a living, but still not have enough to live a decent life. In the end, it is the Princess who convinces Jang that she can be a commoner – for Jang she can be a commoner.
That scene of Jang and his Princess declaring their commitment to each other is one of my favorite scenes in the drama. It is such a quiet and simple scene, just the two them making a commitment to each other. No histrionics, no I-will-give-you-the-moon-and-the-stars type of love declaration. They are not naive, they know that life will be difficult, there will be bumps along the road, but they still want to take that road together.
* The Taehaksa people (of which Jang is one) are scientists/scholars/students who escaped from Baekje. Hanuelchae is within the borders of Silla where the Taehaksa people hid for many years after escaping from Baekje.
Credit: English translation of the song and the dialogue and photo 2 from houlengjai.com; video as labelled. Thanks!