I don't think I felt this much admiration for a princess, well prince's character in a historical drama, as I do for our princess, and all the credit goes to Park Eun Bin. She is brilliant in this role and deserves an award. I loved everything she did to the uncle. He had it coming for a while now for being nothing more than a disgusting, miserable little toad with nothing but his royal name to fall on, and that too was his downfall. But that grandfather, he is the devil walking, and I cringe for what is bound to come from him when he finds out the princess' secret. I think Shin So Eun and the princess in marriage were an excellent idea. And if everything had gone as planned, it would've worked. I am sure the reason the princess accepted her was because she felt her trustworthy. So Eun would've kept her secret. But nothing about this drama ever goes as planned.
I've had an inkling for a while now that Lee Hyun's older brother Prince Won San (Kim Taek) harbored some ill feelings towards the crown princess/prince since they were young. As friendly as Lee Hyun was to the prince, as unfriendly was his brother. Now that they are older, I realize it had to do with their father, the crown prince being deposed by the Left State Councilor. This man seems to leave a slew of people he has wronged on his way to the throne. He simply doesn't care for any one family, or if one stands in his way, he is willing to ram them down. What I didn't anticipate though, and I should've really, was that Prince Won San would ruin the princess' royal wedding through her uncle and singlehandedly incite the royal court to demand the crown prince/princess' dethronement, that was brilliant. I understand why he did it. He believes he is the rightful heir, and maybe he is, but to kill the crown prince/princess' uncle now that was brazen.
I will continue to say this to the end of this drama. Lee Hyun is a true man and friend to both the princess and Ji-un, despite his own feelings doing his best to ease their worries. My heart swells with admiration for him. Next to him, my second favorite is royal guard Yoon. I liked that he protected Ga On even if at the King's order, and respect the King for understanding Ga On's need to avenge his father, and finally understanding why he was so distant with the crown prince/princess. It's not that he didn't care, it's that he felt guilt for not being able to protect his family from the Left State Councilor. He's been trying to shield the crown prince/princess for as long as possible. I admire him for that. Poor Lee Hyun, not only does he have to contend with a broken heart, but also the boiling rage of a brother. I love that his first thought was to let the princess know he knows about her and let her know he would anything to keep her safe, even if they had to sneak her out of the country.
I didn't know what to expect from the King. I had always suspected he knew about the princess and didn't say anything because it was his second chance of doing what he couldn't do when she was born -- protect her. In that sense, I completely understood why the King decided to dethrone the princess. It took a lot of courage to do what he did, and I admire him for it. It was never about the throne, it was always about her, unlike the demon grandfather. Everything has always been about him, never about the crown prince, and he dares talk about the King's greed to defend himself, how about his greed for the throne. It's like they say greed is a bottomless pit, which exhausts a person's endless effort to satisfy a need without ever reaching that satisfaction, and that is exactly what the grandfather is a bottomless pit of greed. The more the takes the more the wants.
I loved the daring rescue and escape from the King to Lee Hyun to Yoon and Ji-un. They are what true men are made of -- the mark of true men is the ones who know when to set aside the important things to accomplish the vital ones. I am sure if they hadn't tried to save the princess the demon grandfather would've gone ahead with his plan to murder the king and have her crowned as King. How I wish father and daughter had more time to know and love each other, but at least the princess knew she was neither abandoned nor hated. She was always loved, and he proved it to her by giving her the chance to be the one thing she's always wanted to be herself, and what better person to do it in front of than Ji-un. I love that he now knows her secret, but I worry about what's to come for her and the King now that her secret might be out, but at least they don't have to face it alone. Watch episodes 11 & 12 here.