Tree With Deep Roots – Episode 8

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The phaaaaantom of the opera is there…inside my mind (cue epic organ music).

Usually I avoid drawing minor characters since I don’t think anyone will care, but how could I resist such a dramatic shot?  I’m not sure that a molded shimmering mask is historically accurate, but I thought it would be fun to draw.  Also, this guy is a bit girly looking, which probably means he has a cult following.  This one’s for you, cult following!

*Sparkly masks are not fun to draw, unless you’re Seurat.  I eventually just decided that this image was finished because I was too tired to do anymore (and all those dots were to blame!).

*The character’s name is actually Pyeong, but I’ve called him Mr. Mask since his very first scene, and now I can’t think of him as anything else.  I’ve gasped “Mr. Mask!” one too many times for it to be reversible.  Hopefully I can manage his character’s actual name when I watch him in What’s Up.

Speaking of which, has everyone watched the trailer for What’s Up?  Here it is.  It looks like the cheesiest drama of all time (and that’s saying a lot).  They even practice dancing with a smoke machine for no reason!  And why does it look like the 80’s?  Im Ju Hwan’s wardrobe is particularly depressing, but my fellow Team Park Kyu members know he’ll win us over anyways.   Mr. Mask’s character looks like a potential favorite (he even seems a bit menacing as as pianist, but hopefully he keeps assassinations to a minimum).

Despite the obvious cheese, I am so in.  Save the Last Dance, Step Up, Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Fame, Dirty Dancing…I love ’em all.  This type of show is a guilty pleasure that I’m rather ashamed of, but can’t even attempt to deny.  What can I say.  Dancing and music make me happy.

Now back to Deep Rooted Tree!  This is a drama that I never expected to watch.  The invention of an alphabet didn’t seem like the most exciting of premises, and I’m not a sageuk-aholic to begin with.  Before traveling I put a few episodes on my netbook “just in case” and ended up watching them with my brother since he’ll take sword-fighting and politics over romance any day of the week.

Ever since, I’ve been hooked!  This drama is actually a contender to become my favorite sageuk.  The pacing, the intrigue, the characters: all are excellent.  I feel like there has to be a boring episode eventually, but it hasn’t happened yet.  I admire writers of historical fiction that can create such compelling stories around real events.

Since I haven’t talked about this drama before, I’m just going to discuss some of the characters in a haphazard fashion, rather than talk about this episode specifically. I’ve watched the first 15 episodes, so beware of spoilers.


I know a lot of people watched this drama for Song Joong Ki, and he did not disappoint.  I always knew he was a good actor, but this role showcased how incredibly gifted he really is.  His transitions from moments of cowardice to moments of boldness were expertly handled, and some of his scenes gave me chills.  I hope to see SJK in more complex roles like this because it’s a waste for him to do anything less.

All of that being said, I was only distressed over the loss of SJK for about 30 seconds, before realizing that the adult actor (Han Seok Kyu) was just as perfect.  Kudos to the casting director along with the actors, because the teenage and adult versions of Sejong really do feel like the same person.

I don’t usually care for royal or political characters in dramas, but I couldn’t possibly like Sejong much more.  I find myself hanging on his every word, and alternate between wanting to hug him because he’s behaving adorably, wanting to hug him because I feel terrible for him, or wanting to back away from him because he’s scaring me with borderline fanaticism.   His character has been developed with believable but diverse depth, and I can never wait to see what he’s going to do next.

I know I wasn’t going to talk about episode 8 specifically, but how great was the scene between adult Sejong and his imagined teenage self?  I love how adult Sejong’s outrage quickly turned to fear in the face of teenage Sejong’s steely self-assurance and idealism.  Sejong really has internalized the poison of power (as he said he would) and his ongoing struggle is one of this drama’s greatest strengths.

Ddol Bok/Chae Yun:

Although he’s prone to overly-dramatic bouts of yelling, I love this character too. He’s crafty and calculating, but still flawed enough to be interesting.  I quite enjoyed watching him play the bumbling role of Chae Yun while silently weighing the chances of a successful assassination, so I’m actually a bit sad that he’s given up on killing Sejong.  Jang Hyeok was another perfect casting choice, especially since he has a lot of martial arts training (you can always feel the difference).  I was impressed by him in Chuno, and I am impressed again.

So Yi:

I wouldn’t be surprised if some people find her a bland female protagonist, but I think she’s fantastic.  I became a huge fan of her when she made her incredibly intelligent escape from the hands of Mil Bon (counting paces and sorting maps in her mind).  Sure, the photographic memory was largely to thank, but she still had to think quickly and act with determination.  Despite being quiet she is anything but dull, and I appreciate that she doesn’t just play the role of pining damsel in distress. She also brings out the sweeter sides of both Sejong and Ddol Bok, and that makes them both more interesting (I almost cried every time Sejong so earnestly hoped for her to speak again).  As you can see above, there are some great images of her, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I end up drawing her soon.

*It always makes me happy when there are palace maids in a a sageuk.  They make for such pretty screenshots!

Mu Hyeol:

I’m guessing that everyone loves this character.  He’s a badass, but he’s also like Sejong’s cute little sidekick.  His expression when Sejong teases him is hilarious, as are his tentative attempts to advise the king.  I really hope we see him duel Ddol Bok’s master, as well as the Mongol (I was so excited when the Mongol commented to Mr. Mask about Mu Hyeol’s strength).

*We don’t know if the Mongol is actually Mongolian, but it was rumored that he might be, and I have no idea what his name is.  He’s the mysterious guy that plays butcher’s assistant and can turn a tiny branch into a deadly weapon (edit: I watched E16, and his name is Kareupaei).

Jeong Ki Jun (Mil Bon’s leader):

I feel like Mil Bon’s ideals have gotten quite twisted, but this is still a great character.  He plays the role of clueless butcher perfectly, and every time someone foolishly and unknowingly feeds him intel by asking for his help I want to scream in frustration (which I consider a good thing).  Unfortunately Sejong trusts him almost as much as he trusts So Yi, so it could be a good while before he’s found out.  At least Sejong has managed to stay one step ahead of him regardless.

Sam Moon:

He’s a super minor character, but I’m mentioning him because I forsee lead roles in this actor’s future. His sarcastic wit and wry smiles make him a bit of a scene stealer, and it feels like he just walked straight out of Sungkyunkwan Scandal.


Since it’s a sageuk there are about a bajillion characters, but those are the only ones I care to talk about for now.  I don’t even know if anyone is watching this show.  Please chime in if you are!

Btw, any thoughts on what Deep Rooted Tree scene to draw next?


Video of day is a fantastic OB MV by Sailor Enigma (aka Yeni Ulloa).  She used the new Nell song from Ojakgyo Brothers because Softy and I liked it so much, and dedicated it to us over at Cadence.  Isn’t she sweet?  And isn’t the video great?

21 responses

  1. hurray~~~ the drawing is out!! woohoo!
    okay you’ve again done an amazing job with this drawing…how the heck did u manage to draw that mask??? it’s crazily GOOD and REAL!

    I left some of my comments re this show on the Open Discussion page but I’ll add in some more:
    First of all, great casting – everyone is doing a superb job and I tend to think Jang Hyuk’s character still has much rooms for development in terms of depth and diversity, which has started to happen after he has given up on assassinating Sejong (so finally he no longer spends 70% of the time being angrily-looked and the remaining 28% being calculating and the remaining 2% being cute with Chol Dak and the other guy; I wanted a change in the mix of proportion LOL)
    Secondly, kudos to the writer. I know this is based on a novel so perhaps this is why I feel that the plots are so well thought of and nicely weaved with all sorts of elements, be it suspense, bromance (Sejong+ Mu Hyul, Chae Yoon+Chol Dak) , different sorts of emotional rides, political struggles etc. But I also heard that the drama deviates quite a bit from the novel so I still think the writer is to be credited.

    • Haha…let’s not talk about the mask. I am too bitter about all the stupid dots I had to draw 😛

      I loooove the Sejong/Mu Hyul Bromance. Mu Hyul lacks subtly and always thinks 100% literally, which is such a funny combination with Sejong’s wit and casual attitude. MH’s looks of alarm when Sejong says something un-kingly are hilarious.

      I find Ddol Bok most interesting when he’s using his mind and tricking people, so hopefully we get to see more of that as he plots to find Jeong Ki Jun. I like that there’s not tooo much focus on his romance at this point. It feels more realistic that way since they haven’t known each other since childhood.

      It seems pretty common for drama writing to get worse towards the end of a show, so I hoping that it stays as good as it’s been since there’s a novel involved. My fingers are crossed!

  2. OMG I never thought you’d draw Pyung! I guessed that you’d make a drawing out of the otp, but I’m totally wrong…but hey, I love our half-masked man as much I love the main characters!

    I’m grinning from ear to ear reading this 😀 Not many people are speaking out their opinions about this drama, but I’m glad everyone thought it’s a brilliant sageuk. and the bromance just take it to a different level. Sometimes I’m rooting for the bromance more than the actual otp, but I never regret it.

    I love everything about TwDR..amazing casts, superb cinematography, solid script, and the soundtracks..well, there might be some unsuitable ones being used, but I’m currently digging the latest ending song by Kim Bum Soo. A touching song that never fail to make me remember Dahm & Ddol Bok’s reunion :’)

    • The OTP has never seemed like the focus of this show, so I feel a lot more free to draw whatever catches my fancy. I do sort of want to draw that scene between teenage and adult Sejong though. I feel like that scene sort of represents the heart of the show.

      I think one thing I like about this sageuk is that it’s not so over-the-top dramatic. Lots of sageuks have way too much wailing, prolonged death, and slow motion everything. TwDR strikes the right tone in pretty much every way, and it’s due to all the well-done elements that you mentioned.

      Btw, wasn’t the lighting in that reunion scene amazing? I loved the tree silhouetted against the moonlight 🙂

      • oohhh~ that’s one of the most beautiful night scene I’ve ever saw in kdramas! I sometimes replay that scene just to gape at the amazing scene. would you draw that?? *wink*

        and also, the scene where So-Yi dived into the river. it’s quite pretty, but it never fails to take my breath each time I watch it. that was one solid determination she had for her escape! even Pyung couldn’t catch her.

        I love how they managed to make the night scenes in this drama in blue and brown color, far from the usual black night. It’s not a happy thing when it’s night and the characters will disappear into the darkness. glad they decided to avoid the usual way of depicting night, thus making the characters visible throughout the drama. now I won’t have to squint my eyes at the screencaps just to search for a character running through the dark night 🙂

        I understand the urge you had. that’s the most bizarre meeting: the inner conflicts being visually displayed to us. and I don’t know how many screencaps I took for that scene. Joong Ki and Han Suk Kyu are doing great job there. I kind of hoping Sejong would be some kind of lunatic who keeps seeing his past self for the sake of making joong ki in every episode, but that will make our king an abnormal one. heh.

        • Haha, yeah, Sejong is abnormal enough without hallucinating all the time! I certainly wouldn’t be adverse to a little more Joong Ki though 🙂

          Did you watch episode 18 yet? There is some really epic night-time lighting at the end. It’s anything but romantic, but I may have to do a quick drawing.

  3. Pingback: A Glimpse into the Character: Yoon Pyung | one talking cupboard

  4. yay!!! another wonderful drawing from you. and it’s of pyung! yes, i admit to really liking him and his yummy deep voice. i find him quite beautiful in a creepy walking skeleton straight out of a tim burton film sort of way. and what’s up is one of my most anticipated dramas this month so i look forward to all that cheese 😉

    now back to tree with deep roots, i’m loving this show. it’s somehow managed to make me cry multiple times in a single episode. they really did a fantastic job with the casting as the actors are bringing it each week. one of my favorite scenes was the reunion of dok bol and so yi at the tree. the way he cried out for her like a lost little boy was heartbreaking. and the last thing, i’m really pleased by the way both song joong ki and han seok kyu played sejong. they feel like the same person and i think it was one of the most believable transitions between the kid and adult counterpart in a kdrama.

    • A Tim Burton character…that is seriously the perfect description of him. He has an incredibly interesting face (it’s like he’s more 3D than usual) and I’m pretty confident that I’ll be drawing him again (In TwDR or What’s Up).

      I agree that the Sejong transition was one of the most believable transitions I’ve seen, but on top of that it’s also the first time that I’ve liked both versions equally. Usually the older or younger version is a little more interesting, and I’m either sad to see the kids grow up, or impatient to be rid of them. I ship these two both equally as Sejong!

      I’m happy that you’re excited about What’s Up too. At least I have one person to watch it with!

    • the squares up the are getting smaller, so I think I’d reply here 😀

      gosh, that was so epic! I totally didn’t expect him to smile. I pictured him with his red eyes and too angry for words, but the amazing Sejong just smiled. I totally lost my breath during that scene :O finally, the real showdown between those two! I can’t wait to see what will happen between Jung Ki-Joon and Sejong.

      ahhh the night scene 🙂 yes, I agree with you! that’s something worth being preserved in the form of beautiful drawing from you^^

    • I just finished watching it. I love how BOTH Sejong and Jung Ki-Joon smiled at each other at the end. I think one of the biggest frustrations of Sejong was the fact that he can’t talk to Jung in person (since he’s so confident that he can persuade Jung) and that he finally KNOWS who Jung is and that Jung’s at the same time right in front of him? I bet he feels more excited than feeling the danger (poor Mu Hyul XDD)

      Found myself concentrating soooo much while watching TwDR every time… i can’t even leave my eyes off one second because there are so many happenings!! As always, while I was still thinking whether the show is gonna held off the BIG secret re Ga Ri On they gave me this ending of Ep 18… I really can guess no more..LOL Kudos to Han Seok Kyu again…he has spoiled me with his acting episode by episode. How can he be so good?? Gosh…

      • I know, Han Seok Kyu is so good it doesn’t even make sense! I know what you mean about having to focus too. When I was watching it while my family was visiting I’d try to leave for 30 seconds to run to the kitchen or something, and I’d miss like ten things. It’s so packed of important little tidbits that I only even watch it when I’m wide awake.

        I’m trying not to think about it for now though…the end of the episode was way too suspenseful and it fills me with anxiety!

    • I owe the eyes to Lee Soo Hyeok, rather than any talent on my part! He’s only had about 30 seconds of screen-time in What’s Up so far, but I just stared at his eyes the whole time. I think it’s going to result in me drawing him a lot!

  5. Hi Fanderay,

    When I first saw the painting, I thought it was a tv still!

    Just curious about the medium you used. It doesn’t look like watercolor unlike your previous work?
    It looks like oil or acrylic, at least to me 🙂

    • Oops! Usually when I do these drawings I post progress shots and explain more, but I forgot this time. Here’s a progress shot:

      It’s not actually a “real” painting at all. I do a pencil sketch on paper, scan it, and then do the painting in a program called Corel Painter (it basically simulates real artist materials). Even though it’s a fake painting, my technique is still the same as if I used acrylic. I start with an under-painting to lay out the main color tones, highlights and shadows, and then gradually define the rest from there.

      I have thought about doing real acrylic paintings (I like oil more but can’t handle the fumes) but then I would have problems scanning them, and I’d also be stuck with them (I don’t like hanging my own artwork in the house). One day when I find the perfect scene, I think I may 🙂

      btw, the reason I don’t do scenes like this with watercolor is that I find watercolors only work well for bright scenes, and don’t find that they do the night time lighting justice. A large part of that is lack of skill and laziness on my part, but it’s fun to mix it up anyways 🙂

      • Hi Fandaray, thanks for your reply!
        I’ve heard of Corel Painter, just never tried it myself.
        Wow so you do paint those strands of hair painstakingly one by one! Not by some photoshop filter magic.

        Maybe if you do real acrylic and oil painting, you could try selling them off when you’re done, if you don’t want to keep them. One of my friends used to sell paintings of anime characters. And given how crazy people are about dramas, it might work too? Just a thought.

        Anyways, I really love your blog! It offer something different from usual drama recaps sites. I used to do watercolor paintings fairly often last time, and so this blog really resonates with me (: Look forward to your paintings!

        • Unfortunately, yes, I drew them all! I don’t use filters and try to keep the painting as “real” as possible. The hair isn’t actually bad to do at all though. It the little dots on the mask that drove me completely batty.

          It always makes me happy when I hear from other painters! My acrylic paint supply is pretty sad right now so I probably won’t do a real painting soon, but I think in the next year it’ll definitely be a goal of mine. Maybe I’ll just start with black and white or something.

          btw, Corel Painter is awesome! It’s waaaaay more fun than Photoshop 😛

  6. Ohhh, my dear Lee Soo Hyuk!! I first saw him as a model for Vogue and was love at first sight. I remenber thinking: gosh, he’s the perfect vampire XD Later on I rediscovered him as the misterious Yoon Pyeong in Deep rooted tree (I really enjoyed the drama by the way) And now he’s the cool violinist from What’s Up?!!!! I just can’t get enough of him XD I’ll watch Vampire Idol too to see his perfect vampire mode (actually the character is suposed to be cute but nevermind. Perfectly cute vampire is good too).

    I liked a lot your drawing. You have your own unique style. Keep it up! I love seeing your paintings of my favorite dramas. Just great :3

    • Have you seen White Christmas? It’s only 8 episodes and I marathoned it on the weekend. I think I’m going to have to edit my 2011 Drama Review post because White Christmas needs to be on there as one of my favorites.

      I almost didn’t watch it because it’s advertised as a “thriller” and I’m not really a fan of the genre. Even though it’s suspenseful, it’s not gory or very violent, and it’s mostly about the human psyche and the development of the characters. Lee Soo Hyuk is in it, and he’s really good (as usual!). Two of the other guys from Vampire Idol star in it too.

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