They say better late than never, and I admire the King for admitting his complicity in what happened during the dragon rainmaking ritual. But more for having known Ha Ram's true intentions all along and not interfering. It speaks to the kind of man he is, despite his shortcomings as a King, his intention to protect Ha Ram and those he holds dear is commendable. What was painful to hear though is that unlike what Ha Ram has believed for two decades, it was the demon in him, and him by proxy, even if outside his control, that led to his father's death.
To know his father died, striving to save and ultimately commissioning Shamsin to protect him was crushing, as it was noble. My heart was in pieces for Ha Ram. That knowledge that the one he should seek revenge from is within him -- what a blow. And in that moment, to witness Prince Yang's compassion towards Ha Ram proved to me again what an admirable man and the great King he would become, just as I had come to realize. And all this in just the first five minutes of the episode. My mind cringed at the thought of what more reveals awaited by the end of it.
Only a coward, such as the Grand Prince, would be willing to sacrifice the innocent and the weak to further his own greed. That in spite of everything that happened, he still fails to recognize that his greed is a bottomless pit, which has exhausted him in an endless effort to satisfy a need bound to never be satisfied. I was saddened that the Grand Prince felt so unwanted and unloved that he felt he had no choice but to resort to scheming and trickery. And to know that even as his life lay at the cusp of destruction, the King's duty was to Kingdom before him, that must've hurt.
The fact remains that the Grand Prince is where he is now because of the choices he made, whether two decades ago or in the present time. I guess that is something he will never realize, as they say, the eyes are useless when the mind is blind. The biggest disappointment to the King must've been that the Grand Prince was incapable of understanding why he didn't choose him. It wasn't because he loved Prince Yang more, but because the grand prince continually blamed others for his failures, while Prince Yang readily accepted blame even when he wasn't at fault.
But even as I admired the King for making the tough choices, I blame him for whatever disaster is to come, for not having the courage to end the Grand Prince, because come it will. Trusting that greed can be conquered through intentions alone, and without appropriate punishment, is like believing, given a choice, the demon would repent. I was surprised when Chun Ki restored the King's portrait for the sealing ceremony, without having to deal with Hawacha like her father before her, which meant she wouldn't go crazy like he did.
To find the reason the portrait didn't withstand the demon's wrath was because it was incomplete without a deal with Hawcha (Park Jung Hak), yet to make a deal meant to risk her sanity seemed so cruel. But for Chun Ki though, between her sanity and saving Ha Ram, the choice was always Ha Ram, as saving her was to Ha Ram. As they say though, the devil is in the details, or maybe the forgotten ones. And as such, it makes sense that Mae Yang (Ha Yul Ri), Ha Ram's trusted revenge partner and devoted follower, feels betrayed by him for siding with the very people he swore to avenge. So, to her, choosing to side with the one person she believed would fulfill her need for revenge, the Grand Prince regardless of the consequence must've seemed like a choice worth making.
I will admit I wasn't sure what to make of Wol Seon, the Head Shaman (Kim Geum Soon) for asking the mal-intentioned Mi Soo after everything she's done to head the sealing ceremony. I understood she needed her powers since she lost hers. But then when she brought in a divine new painter, I figured she was surely up to something no good, but I was glad to realize she wasn't trying to sabotage Chun Ki or the ceremony, nor did the new painter. I like that Mi Soo got the opportunity to redeem herself, because admitting one's wrong and realizing she caused a lot of bad things takes a lot more courage than blaming everybody else by herself for her mistakes.
I was curious about the alliance between Mae Yang and the Grand Prince, and expected they would've tried to immediately fulfill their revenge. But five years later, he and his aide Ahn Young Hoe (Jung Dong Geun) still in prison, was surprising. But then I wasn't startled, he bid his time to attack. The many chances he was given, it was only natural that things would end as badly as it did for him. His continually covetousness made a monster and an evil out of him. Kudos to Kwak Shi Yang for making a believer out of me in his talent. I both enjoyed and revered
a Prince Joo Hyang and I look forward to him in future versatile roles.
I like that Lovers of the Sky ended the way it began with a mystical, magical, if not divine war between the three deities, the good, the evil, and the balance between them. But what I loved more is that everyone participated in the sealing ceremony from Samsin to the Tiger Goddess to Prince Yang, Mi Soo, even at the cost of their lives. Too often, most of us live a life that is far out of balance – putting the things that are not as important first or letting them tip the scales too far in one direction, because as it's been said repeatedly and rightfully so, the balance of power is the scale of peace. What I appreciate most about this show outside its plot is the emphasis on balance and the continuous fight to achieve it, especially in the distribution of power.
The battle between good and evil is as old as mankind, and everybody has their own take. Everyone thinks they are the righteous side. The Grand Prince definitely believed he was, and at some point, so did Ha Ram. But only a few select understand the fight is not simply about a momentary win, but forever making sure the right wins over wrong regardless of what and how, because we as human beings can compromise between good, better, and best, and you can compromise between bad, worse, and terrible. But we can't compromise between good and evil, and that was the message I took from this story. The living happily ever after was but the icing on the cake. I cannot say Lovers of the Red Sky is the best historical drama or that it is a must watch, but for anyone interested, it's an entertaining watch. Watch episode 15 & 16 here.