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.
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!
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.
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?