In episode 71 of “King’s Daughter” we were shown the image of Crown Prince Myeong Nong painting plum blossoms against a winter landscape.
In KDSBH’s first trailer, which was released before our drama began its broadcast, Seolnan and Seolhee were presented with flower backgrounds. I don’t have a copy of the trailer, but I was able to save screen captures from the video (see pictures below.)
I asked a Korean friend what these flowers are, and I was told that Seolnan is represented by the plum blossom ….
while Seolhee is represented by the lotus flower….
I have forgotten all about these flower representations of the 2 sisters until I found out from a Chinese friend that the flower the Crown Prince is painting in this episode is the plum blossom.
So, it was the Crown Prince who assigned the plum blossom to Seolnan! Our friend Sulyani Karyadi kindly reminded me that Seolnan’s name means “winter orchid.” The Crown Prince knew this when Ttoldae and Manggu first mentioned her name in his presence back in episode 24. That was when Crown Prince sent Seolnan to the bandits’ den to find out if she is good enough to be accepted as Bi Moon trainee. So, it was Chae Hwa who chose the flower, Crown Prince only drew the flower.
In any case, what do these flowers mean to our drama? To explain, I will be using the meanings attached by Buddhists to these 2 flowers. Remember, that during the time period of our drama, Baekje citizens practice Buddhism. In addition, one of the things Crown Prince Myeong Nong will be known for when he becomes King Seong of Baekje is making Buddhism the state religion.
I will discuss the lotus flower first because I want to end this post on a positive note. Haha!
In Buddhism the lotus flower is known to be associated with purity, spiritual awakening and faithfulness. The flower is considered pure as it is able to emerge from murky waters in the morning and be perfectly clean.
I can understand that the murky waters represent Seolhee’s poor family background, but the rest of the meaning is totally not Seolhee at all. When I read that, I thought whoever would assign this flower to represent Seolhee must be blind. So, I researched some more and found 2 more important things about the lotus flower:
> The stage of growth the lotus flower is in represents a different stage of enlightenment. A closed lotus flower represents the time before enlightenment, while a lotus flower in full bloom represents full enlightenment and self-awareness.
> The muddy water from which the lotus flower grows also has an importance in the meaning of the lotus flower. All humans are born in a world where there is suffering. Suffering makes us stronger and teaches us to resist the temptation of evil. When we banish evil thoughts from our mind we are able to break free of the muddy water. The mud shows us who we are and teaches us to choose the right path over the easy one.
Possible interpretation: If Seolhee continues with her evil ways, she will not get out of the mud (poor background) she came from. She will not fully bloom, but will just wither and die rolling in the muddy waters. But if, at some point in the story, she realizes her mistakes and shows genuine remorse for all her evil deeds she will bloom and break free of her murky background. Is that still possible for Seolhee?
The plum blossom symbolizes courage and hope because it blossoms first and bravely stands against the dangers of winter. The plum tree flowers before its leaves come out in the spring. Plum blossoms are known to be the harbinger of spring, because when the plum tree blossoms it means that spring is not that far away.
Here are some of the things said about the plum blossom:
> In the midst of winter, before the snow melts and the swallow returns, plum trees blossom across the barren landscape, bracing the harshness of winter and reminding people spring will come.
> Plum blossoms are a reminder of the vitality of life, endurance through hardship, and hope that life will regenerate.
> As a “friend of winter”, the plum blossom most vividly represents the value of endurance, as life ultimately overcomes the vicissitudes of time.
> The fragrance of plum blossoms “comes from the bitterness and coldness” of winter. Souls are tempered in the depth of experience, growing in inner strength and unyielding courage.
Seolnan truly lives up to her name. We have been shown throughout the drama of Seolnan’s ability to endure and overcome hardships. Every time she goes through a very difficult situation, she always recovers and still able to face life cheerfully and enthusiastically.
Maybe the plum blossom can also be used to represent the love story of Myeong Nong and Seolnan.
From recent episodes we can tell that dark days are ahead for the relationship of our OTP. A separation seems imminent. But maybe the Crown Prince making a plum blossom painting at this point in the drama is a message of hope from the writer to the viewers – endure the dark days ahead for a while (winter), because light and happy days will soon be upon us (spring.)
Our OTP will experience a lot of difficulties in the coming days. Maybe these difficulties are to test their love for each other?
The plum blossom symbolizes that hope is eternal and renewal is not far away. So, maybe, eventually, Myeong Nong and Seolnan’s love for each other will triumph over all the lies and betrayals, their love for each other will be renewed, and they can build a good and happy life together.
Credit: Information about the plum blossom and the lotus flower from various sites. Photos from gall.dcinside.com/hyunjae. Thanks!