River -- Episode 7 & 8: Marking One's Territory
Protecting one's dreams, goals, legacy, family, through the good and the bad times, and giving no one the power to decide who or what's in or out is what marks one's most valuable territory. And that's exactly what Princess, Go Geon, On Dal, Mo Yong, and even the evil Go Won Pyo are all trying to do. As said, time and time again, courage is resistance to fear; it's the mastery of fear, not the absence of it.
I love Princess Pyeonggang's fierceness, her steadfast courage, and willingness to risk her everything not only for those she loves but for
Goguryeo makes her a force to be reckoned with, a welcome change to the injustice set by the political authorities of Goguryeo in Go Won Pyo (Lee Hae Young), Hae Ji Wol (Jung In Kyum), Mo Young's father, and the other tribal leaders. I see why Go Won Pyo fears her; she has her mother's warrior soul. I think she might be the strength and righteousness the King needs to be courageous.
I fully understand Go Geon's need to protect the Princess and his love for her by whatever means necessary. It's that selfish love, not because it's not true but because it fears it will lose the little it doesn't have and, despite knowing it fights nonetheless. I guess the son is not that much different than the father. Go Won Pyo, however, is a sly as a fox and even more cunning than I first thought him to be. Not only is he looking to steal the kingship, but he's set a plan in motion that all but guarantees by fathering a child with the Queen, placing him next in line as crown prince. He's quite inventive. I find the dynamics between father and son to probably be the most intriguing aspect of this drama, along with Mo Young, the store owner.
Mo Young (Choi Yoo Hwa), now she's become such a revelation, I didn't think I'd like her, but I was wrong. Aside from Go Geon, she's quickly becoming my second favorite character. Her role reminds me of Oh Yeon Seo's in Shine or Go Crazy. I like that she doesn't try to hide the fact that she'll do anything and use anyone and everyone to get what she wants, including using her Silla spy status. I am not surprised, not one bit, that she has feelings for Go Geon; it was clear as day. I doubt there's a future there not only because he loves another but because they're at such opposite spectrums.
I found Na In Woo as the new On Dal quite appealing; he seemed to be a good fit for the position and has done the best he can with what he had. I will, however, reserve judgment until I've seen him in his new role in the next few episodes. Everyone’s motives are so complicated. There's so much intrigue between the different characters, the tribes, the fathers -- the living and the dead -- making for a compelling drama.