Hwajung: Episodes 13-14 Recap


Queen Dowager: “Heaven is heedless.” Court Lady Jung: “One day the punishment from heaven will catch up to [Gwanghae].” You know it’s not easy to like characters when you see how much they misunderstand Gwanghae. I shake my head in pity because so far this drama is making me feel very biased rather than a more holistic view of the whole drama. Give me something to hate Gwanghae for, danggit!

On another note, these two episodes visually looked more like a soap opera (where it looks too real, and too smooth). Not sure if the drama started shooting at a higher frame rate or the lighting is not as soft, but it definitely bothered me in these two episodes more than in previous episodes.

Continue reading

Hwajung: Episodes 9-10 Recap


So I’m currently road tripping through the midwest to the east, and it’s more exhausting than I expected. Driving on long boring highways with nothing but farmland, thunderstorms that come and go, slippery wet roads from the persistent rain, and the occasional “working zones” on the roads that limit the lanes to one. And did I mention the trucks? The trucks! In any case, road tripping is hard, but I can’t imagine how road tripping from one end of Korea to another – or sailing from Japan to Korea – could be any easier. The mountains!

Continue reading

Hwajung: Episodes 7-8 Recap



The crazy politics out of the way, Gwanghae has sort of settled into his rule. That’s not to say that there is finally peace in the kingdom, as he still has a lot of enemies. However now Jungmyung is out of his way and can grow up outside of her brother’s shadow. I can’t say I really enjoy how Jungmyung’s story is so fictionalized by now, but I understand that what happened to the real Jungmyung probably isn’t very interesting. It’s just that sending her to Japan as a slave is too unbelievable of a path for her.

Continue reading

Hwajung: Thoughts on Episodes 3-4


This show got intense. I really enjoyed episode 3, while episode 4 felt like an abrupt shift in tone. But we had to move forward with history – these kids can’t stay kids forever. It’s pretty amusing to see Cha Seung Won look at the child actors as if they were his own because he’s so much older than them; it implies he looks really old for his “age.” And then it’ll be jarring to think that Jungmyung is going to grow up into Lee Yeon Hee and Cha ends up looking really good for his “age.”

Continue reading

Hwajung: First Impressions


So I tuned in for Hwajung‘s first two episodes, mainly because of having seen The King’s Face. I think having watched The King’s Face has helped me a lot in watching Hwajung because it’s almost like a continuation, but with older actors. Seo In Gook did a fine job as a younger Gwanghae, and, as a nice surprise, Cha Seung Won continued that same character, but gave him a darker spin.

Continue reading