A Little Note on the Characters of Hong Gil Dong

Episode 20 is heart wrenching. Its heavy focus on relationship between characters from the revelation of conflict, whether internal or external, has pushed the show to another climax. Many of the dark hints presented throughout have finally manifested. I’m interested in seeing how each character reconcile with those conflicts.

Chang Whui: I don’t think Chang Whui is much of a dynamic character, yet. Although we see Gil Dong guiding Chang Whui to find a purpose in his mission of fulfilling his entitled right as a King, Chang Whui does not truly develop. Instead, the elements that will push him to the next level, whether good or bad, have been building and building. I’m just waiting for a point where he will be forced to develop.
I think the dilemmas Chang Whui faces are overshadowed by those focused on Gil Dong. As the threat of Gil Dong’s popularity among the people become more and more apparent, Chang Whui is realizing that he is in fact being used by Gil Dong (or “working” with Gil Dong, depending on how you want to word/think it). As mentioned in episode 20, Gil Dong picked Chang Whui to be the king. Therefore, in a sense, Gil Dong is the embodiment of king without the glamor and the status; while Chang Whui is the executioner of the real King’s ideal under the pretense of being the king. To Chang Whui, whose sole purpose in life (to him at least) is to be king, the resentment at Gil Dong’s manipulation seems justifiable. The unwillingness to give up Gil Dong as a friend and partner clashes with his intolerance to share power with Gil Dong. Moreover, the woman he loves wholeheartedly and was meant to be his bride since childhood, is completely in love with the very man who is “stealing” his throne. To put in crud terms, his mission isn’t going as planned And he doesn’t have the girl. So what does he really have as of right now? How will he reconcile with it? Split between jealousy, oppression, and dangerously becoming devoid of meaning, it seems almost inevitable that Chang Whui will be coerced into becoming the man we don’t want him to be. Whether he will be noble as I would like him to be, or selfish as any mortal reasonably is, is entirely up to the Hong sisters and the next episode.

Enok: After 18 episodes of character portrayal, Enok inevitably goes through a transformation to reach a new level of maturity. She now carries a sad tint of gray about her presence. Frankly, although she looks great as a noble lady, I find myself missing the tiger hunting, bun munching, Happy Enok. This transformation is most unwelcome because happy, simple people should stay that way. She should be protected with the utmost care and tenderness (by both men if possible!). She, like Chang Whui and Gil Dong, needs a little time to reconcile with the new conflicts of her life, slowly, at her own speed. I know there is an equal amount of people who want Enok to end up with Gil Dong and those who want Enok with Chang Whui. I would much rather think that she chooses neither in the end because she is too kind to want to hurt anyone. Also because that would be a less disappointing “happy ending”.

Gil Dong: Is there a need to even talk about him? He is definitely the most explored character. I just want to say, I love his boyish personality.

Lord Hong: I think he is very similiar to Gil Dong in the sense that both men are determined to stand by their ideals to the end. As misplaced as Lord Hong’s royalty seems to be, I think that insistence on protecting his belief to the very end is in fact an admirable characteristic. In that sense, he is a classic tragic hero from the start. RIP Lord Hong.

The King: As revealed in episode 20, the king was a good king (that’s why he’s able to gain support from Lord Hong then) until his fears of being ridiculed for his birth filtrates him completely. Consequently, the fear of losing the throne and power diverts him from his path. So completely overtaken by fear, he sees the throne as a symbol of his value as a person. That symbol redefines him and is something he holds on to with utter desperation. This fear and weakness leads him to do everything he can to fend off any threat to his kingship and for the same reason, he loses his initial ideal to become a good king and goes crazy instead.

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