Things are slowly but surely coming to a head with the prince and Ji-un, but not only that, the prince and the need to decide on a royal wedding, which to my surprise the prince is handling well. And at this rate, it's simply a matter of time before the prince's identity is discovered. The King's persistent opposition to the royal wedding has me wondering if he knows the prince is actually the princess, or is he against it because of the Left State Councilor? At first I thought he kept his distance because he believed the prince was loyal to the grandfather, but now I think there is more to it than that. It's not because he doesn't love the prince/princess, but they are definitely between a rock and a hard place.
Most times I find it hard to read the King, since he doesn't share much. Whatever he is thinking or planning, I hope it is for the princess and not against her. I do however believe he is ready to go to war with Left State Councilor Han Ki-Jae. It's about time because left to his own devices, the Left State Councilor is getting ready to take the throne from right under his nose. I was glad to know the King isn't just a puppet, he seems to have a plan of attack. I'm just not sure he has loyalty within his inner circle of ministers, especially since we now know that his own Chief Eunuch (Shin Min-Soo) schemed with the Left State Councilor to have the preceptor beheaded. But more that the King himself is seeking to turn the tables against the Left State Councilor with the new Queen's father. Trouble is definitely brewing, and I doubt anyone will be safe.
I wasn't sure how Ji-un would deal with his affection for the prince. I mean to find out you have feelings for another takes time to process, let alone finding out it's for another man. But I must say I commend him for his rational, analytical thinking, but more for having the courage to not all accept his feelings, but confess them to the Prince despite the optics of it all. I doubt he would've done it though if he knew the prince was actually the princess. But even as I commended Ji-un, I felt terrible to realize one's feelings, but then to also find out the person you love is getting married. It's a lot to process.
There are so many competing love interests in the palace that it's starting to make my head spin. Lee Hyun is in love with the princess/prince, but she is in love with Ji-un and he with her, but he doesn't know he's a she. So Eun, on the other hand, is in love with Ji-un, but may end up married to the crown prince/princess. And last but not least, there is Noh Ha Kyung, whom I actually like, I didn't reckon I would, she's fallen for the prince/princess, total chaos. And now that the crown prince/princess has announced she's ready for marriage, the King wants her to choose So Eun, the daughter of the Ministry of Personnel, to forge an alliance against the evil grandfather. I can totally understand that. Royal family marriages are about the crown -- alliances and cooperative strategies. They aren't about love, feelings and emotions.
Even as I understood, my heart tugged at both the princess and Ji-un. I loved that the princess decided to give herself that one day with Ji-un, a perfect day of memories to sustain her through what's to come. But I'm not sure things will go as easily for either the King or the Princess. Because in the midst of everything, there is the chaos that is Prince Chang Cheon, the mystery that is Kim Ga On (not sure what he's planning), the evil that is the Left State Councilor, and the brutality that is Ji-un's father, not to mention the overlapping love interests.
It's true when they say there is a first time to everything, because in all my drama watching experience, this is the first time I find myself so conflicted. I like all the love competing interests, and wish they could find their happiness rather than be so entangled. But of all the them, the one that hurts the most is Lee Hyun. To know that the person you've loved for so long loves another, and not only that, it marry, and with everything he knows, it must have been crushing, but worse worrying for the princess' future. I felt pain, actual pain for him.