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The Sword of a Warrior

This piece is a bit different from what I have posted previously for “Faith.” It is a little more analytical than usual and it won’t make you cry. I know that’s what you guys have started to expect from my posts (:D) but this time, I really wanted to just think through the character of Young narratively and explore the journey his character has made from the beginning of the story till now. This type of essay requires certain interpretations of key points in Young’s life and if there are any interpretations that you disagree with, please let me know. I love a good conversation.

Tears of Soldier (“Faith” OST)

The sword of a warrior. How much does it weigh?

Choi Young was born into a family of scholars, yet he chose to be a warrior. Perhaps he was always more athletically inclined and that’s why he wanted to be a warrior but the only thing we know for sure is that he left his home to be one after his father died. We can assume that he was very close to his father since his father was present inside his dream. It was also implied that Young latched onto the Jeogwoldae as a foster family after his father died. The death of his father must have been the turning point at which Young decided to be a warrior.

Young left his house at the age of sixteen to become a warrior. We don’t know exactly when he joined the Jeogwoldae after that but the Jeogwoldae daejang, Moon Chi-hoo, died when Young was twenty-two, which means he was a warrior for six years until that event. As an adolescent, the life of a warrior must have been exciting and idealistic for him because he believed he was fighting to protect his country, even as he killed many people and saw death everyday.

The death of Moon Chi-hoo destroyed the idealism of a warrior’s life for Young. As Jang Bin said, a warrior is someone who protects his master. Inversely, a master should be worthy of that protection. Moon Chi-hoo served his whole life to protect his king and master, only to be killed by him. So after his death, Young saw no purpose in being a warrior. He wanted to leave the palace so he can stop being one. He didn’t want to die fighting as a warrior because he saw what happened to his daejang. Leaving the palace was his only hope for freedom from a life of senseless duty. There was no higher purpose to the wielding of his sword; Young used it merely to keep from dying.

Young quickly agreed to go to heaven to bring back a heavenly doctor because he had nothing to lose if he never returned and also because he wanted to quickly complete the mission of bringing back Gongmin and Noguk safely to Goryeo so he can leave the palace as the previous king, Choong-jung, decreed. As his king, Gongmin, ordered Young kidnapped Eun-soo from heaven. When she was scared and unwilling, he promised to send her back. When Gongmin ordered him to keep her in Goryeo even though he knew that Young had made an oath to Eun-soo, Young experienced the same betrayal that Moon Chi-hoo had- that his master was not worthy of serving. Gongmin had prevented him from keeping his promise as a warrior and for a warrior, his promise is the same as his life. So he didn’t step out of Eun-soo’s way when she ran toward him with a sword since he didn’t keep his oath and in conjunction, his life was void. Being unable to send Eun-soo back destroyed all hope for him to at least keep his integrity and leave the palace, still dignified as a warrior. So when Eun-soo accidentally brought death to him, he welcomed it.

However, Eun-soo didn’t let Young die like he wanted to too. She surgically fixed him up and tried to keep him alive. Young was incredibly angry at her for saving him because he no longer had a master worthy to serve nor was he worthy of being called a warrior; there was no inkling of hope in living. But he was alive so what could he do? He could only finish carrying out his mission to bring Gongmin and Noguk to Goryeo safely. He accomplished that and asked Gongmin to let him go but Gongmin pushed it off and gave him another mission to accomplish before he would consider letting Young go- to find out who and why he had to fight. Young accepted the mission so he can leave the palace after he accomplished and repay the debt that he owed Eun-soo. But what to do after that, he had no idea. As he said to Gongmin, he didn’t know if he had a reason to keep living after he sent Eun-soo back to heaven.

With no reason to live and only desiring to just hang on long enough so he can send Eun-soo back, Young continued to refuse treatment from Eun-soo and grew weaker and weaker until he collapsed and his heart finally stopped. Eun-soo, refusing to let him die and reminding him of his promise to protect her and send her back, brought him back to life. After this, Young lived with renewed purpose to keep his oath to her and he completed Gongmin’s task in order to keep Eun-soo safe from Ki Chul.

In the process of freeing Eun-soo from Ki Chul’s clutches, Young spent more time with her and got to know her. While she was annoying and noisy, she was also vivacious and full of life. He saw her warmth with Choong-jung and she made him smile with her singing. She also lent him her shoulder to lean on. It was at this point, I think, when he could first feel the weight of his sword. Before, he did not notice the smell of blood on him and he always stood upright with his sword by his side. But when Eun-soo offered her shoulder to him and he took it, he was letting the full weight of his sword and all the fighting lay on his head for the first time. He let the weight lean against Eun-soo’s shoulder and for a brief night, stopped being a warrior.

I’ve had ponder a bit why he wiped his blood that first time, when he rescued Eun-soo from Ki Chul’s house, even before she ever said she didn’t like the smell. Was it because he wanted to show her he was alive and well and also to show her that it wasn’t hard to get to her? While I can’t figure out the reason why he did this at that point, we know after that night when he leaned on his shoulder, he became highly aware of the blood on his hands after a fight.

When Young was accused of treason and thrown in prison, Gongmin came to tell him that he only let Eun-soo go to Ki Chul because he believed she was the safest there. With this assurance, Young finally deems Gongmin worthy of being his master and gives himself willingly as a warrior to him. Young is now complete as warrior and his sword has renewed purpose to protect his king.

In episode nine, Jang Bin explained to an angry and frightened Eun-soo that Young only did what he could by killing Choong-jung with his own hand. He said to her that Young didn’t killed Choong-jung; he killed his own heart and every hope to leave the palace for his freedom. I think Jang Bin was wrong. Young’s hope to leave the palace died before when he let Eun-soo stab him. In contrast to what Jang Bin said, I think Choong-jung’s death added new purpose in life for Young, as well as when Eun-soo stepped away from him in fear after she saw him with the bloody dagger. Choong-jung’s death made Young vow to never let that happen again and his determination to fight Ki Chul grew stronger. Eun-soo regarding him with disgust also made him vow that same thing so that he would never have to wield his sword in that manner again. Young vowed to use his sword to protect and never use it again to kill those he loved. Remember, while Young was in prison, he went into that same dreamland again but this time, he fell through the frozen lake and swam out of it to a warm spring. Choong-jung’s death didn’t kill hope; it shifted it to a new purpose.

In the same moment when Young vows to never use his sword to kill the people he loves, the sword becomes heavy with that renewed purpose and history because Choong-jung’s death and Eun-soo’s disgust also showed Young what his sword was capable of doing. As he spent more time with Eun-soo and began to fall in love with her, he saw how much it worried and pained her for him to fight, kill, and get hurt. He also began to see life beyond his duty as a warrior who can die at any moment. As his attachment to Eun-soo grew, so did his attachment to life. While he was prepared to die fighting Ki Chul, he was also scared to die. By fighting Ki Chul one-on-one at that point, Young wanted to end things before he grew more afraid and more attached to life.

After Eun-soo bandaged the hand that had just tried to pull Ki Chul’s sword into his own neck, Young vowed to never risk his life so easily again. It is at this point when the sword of a warrior starts to hesitate. He said to the Chilsa at the smithy that while looking at Eun-soo live life so vigorously, he asked himself, “What the heck am I doing?” Young also washes his bloody hands in the rain and closes the eyes of the dead Chilsa, signifying Young’s changing perspective towards death and his relationship to it. Through Eun-soo, Young reflected on his own life and the choices that he made. As a warrior, he had fought merely to not die which wasn’t the same as living. Young had lived the past seven years as not dying but he was never really living either. But after meeting Eun-soo, he saw what it meant to really live for a future- to plan, to hope, and to dream.

Young’s sword became a burden as it kept him from getting closer to Eun-soo. He quickly cast it away when he had to kneel beside her when she was sick and couldn’t get up. He didn’t even remember to take it with him as he started to run to Deok Heung to demand the antidote; Jang Bin had to remind him to take the sword. When Eun-soo asked him to piggy-back her if she fell asleep, he replied that he can’t because he won’t be able to carry his sword if he did. He also couldn’t use his sword to fight his own men when he had to steal the royal seal to obtain Eun-soo’s antidote. It is at these moments which involve Eun-soo that Young is forced to confront the weight of his sword and his life as a warrior.

Young confesses to Eun-soo while they are on the run to the door to heaven that he now hesitates to use his sword and because a warrior cannot hesitate, he is no longer worthy of protecting his king. Still Young is unsure why he hesitates. When Ahn Jae asks him if Young is leaving the palace because of Eun-soo, he replies that he’s not sure. So Ahn Jae asks if it is because the sword became too heavy for him. Young learns that Moon Chi-hoo felt the weight of his sword and knew it was time for things to end. Through Ahn Jae, he finds out that his beloved leader died not only to protect his men but also because he wanted to be relieved of the weight of his sword. After learning this, I don’t think Young wants to die the same way Moon Chi-hoo. He didn’t just die heroically; he died worn out and wasted by all the years of fighting and all the people he killed. Ahn Jae asks Young how many people he has killed during his thirteen years as a warrior and Young can’t answer because it is innumerable.

Young’s sword- how much does it weigh? It has cut down an untold number of lives but it also keeps many alive. His sword is what protects Eun-soo and Gongmin but it also keeps him apart from her. His sword defines him as a warrior and without it, Young does not yet know who he is. Will Young be able to give up his sword, thus his life as a warrior? Can he? Will the weight of it become too much or will he become stronger so he can carry that weight with grace and honor? How will Young carry out his life from here and where will Eun-soo be in that life? Oh goodness, I can’t wait to find out. I need Monday like right now.

58 Comments Post a comment
  1. JulianeLee #

    Very well written, good analysis too! Thanks joonni.

    At the start of Faith Young was plainly fighting to avoid death (as what you’ve said). Now that he has discovered his new purpose as a warrior he fights not to just avoid death but to protect himself for Eun Soo to be with with her and send her back even if it will hurt him now that he has fallen for her, protect Eun Soo, his country, Gongmin and Noguk.

    I just realized when Young wiped blood from his skin, it was a symbolism that in his mind he was regarding what Eun Soo said that she didn’t like the smell of blood. Also when Young leaned his head on Eun Soo’s shoulder, for me it was his turning point. It meant that he now thinks of living really living. To fight not only to avoid death but to carry out a mission for life itself – The person he is starting to love at that point – to continue dreaming and hoping.

    I don’t remember what Eun Soo exactly said at the scene where she let young rest on her shoulder. What it meant for me is that even a brave warrior can rest and breathe out the stress and pressure to someone who’s there for him and that a warrior can have weak moments too. Taking a rest doesn’t mean a warrior has become weak. And at that point Eun Soo opened herself to Young. Her gestures telling Young “I’ll be here for you when you are weak. You can gather strength from me.”

    It will be Monday soon. 🙂

    October 21, 2012
  2. bleugrass #

    Superb analysis…so great is Faith that every single act, dialogue carries a heavy meaning. Like you… i live for Mondays:D

    October 21, 2012
  3. dje #


    October 21, 2012
    • cho-euns #

      I love the BIG C letters! My thoughts exactly! You can’t feel the depth of the characters, the actions and the dialogues with just watching the drama alone, JOONNI stab it all straight to the brain with her analysis of things. Great, really Great, that’s why I always dropby in this site to learn more and be enrich abudantly of understanding.

      October 21, 2012
  4. Riya #

    Wonderful and keen analysis Joonni:):):) Thank you for ur post:):) AHHHHH!!! monday cum soon!!!!!!!

    October 21, 2012
  5. quirkstine #

    There is only 4 possible endings (that matter) to Young and his warrior ways.

    SCENARIO 1: Something else happens that makes Eunsoo permanently hate him or become scared of him (but she goes back safely to her time).
    Remember how hurt and shaken he was when Eunsoo backed away from him after Choong-jung’s death? I think the only reason he was able to keep himself together was his promise to bring her back to her world. No matter how much she hated him, if he was able to keep his promise to her, he would’ve survived. His honor and duty (a.k.a. those darn promises) would’ve been enough to keep him moving.

    If Eunsoo recoils from him again, I doubt he’d be able to remain a warrior for long. He’d feel the burden of the sword even more keenly. He’d probably recall Eunsoo’s dislike of the smell of blood every time he finds himself bloody after a fight and how much she hates it when he kills people whether good or bad. Add to that the longing for her and regret for whatever it is that’s made her resent him? His warrior days are over.

    SCENARIO 2: Eunsoo dies.
    The last time his girlfriend died, he put his heart in deep freeze and survived by “not dying” and keeping his promise to protect jeogwoldae; essentially becoming a member of the walking dead.

    Now that he’s human again, if his beloved Eunsoo dies, Young’s gonna lose it completely. He won’t just be a psycho in name, he’ll have the psycho mentality too. He might go on a revenge spree and off everyone who had a hand in her death. Afterwards, he very well might commit suicide.

    SCENARIO 3: Eunsoo is poison-free (don’t ask me how) and goes back to her time without Young.
    She goes back to “heaven” in a month and history tells us that Young still has armies to lead in future battles and other epic warrior stuff to do. If we’re gonna go with historical accuracy, Young really can’t go with her. But at least this way even if it’s a bittersweet separation, both of them will have great memories of each other and know that the other person is alive and doing well in his/her time. We already know this is enough for Eunsoo to be able to live without him and if they do separate I think she’s gonna make him promise to truly live, for her sake if nothing else. And knowing Young, he’s gonna keep this promise too. This is how he can still live as a warrior and serve Gongmin.

    SCENARIO 4: Eunsoo is poison-free AND she stays in Goryeo.
    If we’re rooting for a fairytale happily ever after (and a pretty baby or two), this is the only way. Once all the bad guys are defeated, she and Young can go somewhere far from royals and politics and live as an ordinary couple. If it’s a life with Eunsoo, I believe Young can let go of his warrior ways. Who needs historical accuracy in k-dramaland?

    Which scenario do you prefer? My emotional side chooses #4 but my logical side says #3 is more likely.

    October 21, 2012
    • one #

      Could I suggest my scenario?
      Eun Soo is still poisoned and weak when they get to the heaven door, so Young has to drop his sword in order to carry her back into our present. Once he delivers her to the hospital (after asking the same monk for directions), he returns back to his time and fulfills his destiny of becoming the great warrior. It is also possible that Eun Soo made him to promise to live his life in full, so he would be keeping his last promise to her till his death.
      This would be a rather sad scenario, so here is my happy twist: Eun Soo is healed and she tries to go back to the past in order to reunite with Young, but she ends up in father past, so she writes her diary and message in a plastic can and leaves them (plus, whatever the third relict is) the way she had received them in her past… Then after several other jumps into past while earning name of Hwata she finally jumps to proper time with Young and have her “happy ever after” 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Thanks Joony and quirkstine for starting my imagination rolling…

      October 21, 2012
    • Keaton #

      I think perhaps, in the best fairytale happy ending, Eunsoo stays and Young stays a warrior. Remember, she has recently been telling him that if he gives up being “the only thing he knows,” being a warrior, that makes her feel bad. She might be growing up too…in reality past and present, there are always warriors and those who do not fight still value the warrior for makign choices the rest of us can’t make – from policemen to soldiers.

      October 21, 2012
      • One of your previous comment on another post triggered an idea I had for the intro for E21 so I was wondering if I could get your permission to quote you. If you don’t want me to then I will respect your wishes. 🙂

        October 21, 2012
        • Keaton #

          sure 🙂 I am honored 🙂

          October 21, 2012
    • Hyka #

      Originally, history tells that Choi Young 2nd wife last name is Yoo & he is deeply inlove w/ her so it is possible that the story will have a happy ending..maybe the writer incorporate ES last name to CY 2nd wife so it will not create conflict between the original story of Gen. Young..

      (CY 1st wife could b the d girl he was with during his warrior days & she had committed suicide ryt?.. Haha!!! it’s jst my analyzation hehe..that is why our lovely ES becomes his 2nd wife..)

      so I therefore conclude that ES had decided to stay in Goryeo era… Yeyyyyyyy!!!!

      14hrs left…..time is so slow….. 😦

      October 21, 2012
    • joonni #

      With Scenario 3, while Young can hope that Eun-soo will be living well in the future, but he can never be sure. At least Eun-soo will know through the history books that Young is okay…at least until he dies.
      But yes, I think both of them will live well in their respective times because of the promise they made to each other.

      I can’t choose because I refuse to put all of my hopes on one and be given another. I’d be a mess while recapping.

      October 21, 2012
    • I wonder… is it possible for Young to live his entire life in Goryeo and somehow return to EunSoo’s time as a young man?

      October 22, 2012
  6. Cindylala #

    Wow.. Joonni I really admire you for all detail in your writing.. I love it so much..
    Even I love this drama a lot and I see every day again and again ( at lease the OST. ) But I will never can analyse that in word, Just imagine it in my head.

    Thank you to let us be in your Faith…

    October 21, 2012
  7. Cassiopeiae #

    Love it. Very much.
    Sometimes I feel that reading some faithling’s analysis is more interesting than the show itself 🙂

    October 21, 2012
  8. Matilda2012 #

    As always, a wonderful and insightful post, Joonni. Been waiting for your post the whole week. It has made my Sunday morning more bearable because I cannot wait for Monday’s episode.

    The fact of the matter is that this whole story is also about the making of the warrior Choi Young, as Korean history has it recorded in the present.

    Before ES entered into his life, that was the only way of life that he knew. He killed for his own protection as well as for the king that he served. That was the only way to survive in a very cruel and brutal time period, and as he said as he killed the assassins, “for us, to live means not to die”.

    Now that ES is in his life, this person from another time period has given him a different perspective. I can imagine his conversations with her, about how life is in 2012. We know from different episodes that ES has voiced out her disdain of blood and murder especially when she was dragged by Hwasoin and Eumja to witness the senseless killing of innocent people (Ep 10-11). I can hear ES telling CY that killing people in her world is a crime and is punished severely by law. Thus it is not an everyday occurrence.

    On the other hand, ES is coming to grips with the reality of this time period. THe person that she loves is foremost, a warrior. And she knows from recorded history that he is this unflinching and noble soldier, destined to protect the king. Is her presence in his life making the sword a burden to CY?

    The burden of the sword and the burden of his love for ES is weighing heavily on CY’s mind. Dare he have dreams and hopes like Joonni said, of another kind of life with ES? Will Goryeo and the king be able to survive without him, this king that he has also learned to love?

    Writer Song, why are you making our OTP’s suffer so much? Why are you also making us suffer with them, feeding us tidbits of your story and making us crave it so much?

    Aigoo, is it Monday yet?

    Well, Joonni, my longest post ever. You got my brain cells working overtime this morning. (LOL!)

    October 21, 2012
  9. Ilana #

    Great analysis….joonni…. thanks for taking the time to think it out so well…

    I agree with you that Jang Bin’s analysis of Young is slightly flawed….’the previous king’s death gave him renewed purpose….fighting for something that is worth fighting for….just not out of duty….or like a killing machine…

    I enjoy how the writer develops Young’s character… as a journey of to becoming a true warrior…and all her little bits of signifcance with the sword…poignant and meaningful… and when he tosses away his sword to hold the poisoned Eun Soo? I knew at that moment he placed her above everything else…even his duty as a warrior…

    October 21, 2012
  10. I really love to read your commentary….. You are so insightful. I want Monday to come in a hurry too… LOL I am excited to see how CY & ES romance grows and a bit nervous regarding the Prince of the Court and the King’s Uncle and what they have planned… Not to mention how ES will get healed from the poison that is now in her body.

    October 21, 2012
  11. Kay #

    Well done, Jooni! The writers and director ought to read this and execute better as there are thinking and feeling viewers watching closely. I almost want to imagine you as literary critic too, imagine what you can do to help many appreciate literary classics and great contemporary works.

    For a warrior, his sword and he are one. The bind is forged by purpose, and strengthen the stronger the sense and the more noble the purpose. I think what is not apparent in the early storyline is Gen Choe’s view (or dislike) of the Yuan ruling their ruler coupled by unworthiness of the previous king, Gongnim’s hyung. It’s hard for me to imagine a warrior of his time (and caliber) got distracted by the need to be concerned with his love life, and so ES presence brought a twist to a warrior’s linear emotional processing and makes a good storyline for the drama. I read Gen Choe is almost Spartan-like, hates gold and riches, and very disciplined – a warrior to truest sense of the word. I imagine his turmoils stemmed from deeper place and that is, the need for freedom from the claws of Yuan that has oppressed their people, taken their children, and made a puppet of their kings. ES is the balance he needed to keep the sword upright, and ES respects and expects a great warrior of him. Perhaps he thought the sword is the wedge between him and ES. But alas, ES is a sensible woman and knows that for a warrior to be separated from either the sword or purpose is like separating the soul from the body. In the end of an episode, ES adoringly dons the uniform and carried a sword to affirm her commitment to love him as he is, a warrior.

    October 21, 2012
  12. Sunshine #

    Cold spoons. (work wonders for sleepy eyes, though a bag of frozen peas seems to work better…) 🙂 Wow Joonni! Thanks for pulling a late night to give us your profound thoughts, and such a detailed analysis into our warrior’s inner world.

    October 21, 2012
  13. Classy #

    Such a detailed analysis on the Warrior’s Way of life and Duty..
    Joonni, If Goryeo needed a psychiatrist..You could very well fit the post..
    and considering how Warrior boy is feeling of late, I think your analysis will clear his muddled mess..

    Its a big pity i wont be watching tomo’s episode owing to my eye problem and i have been ordered to stay AWAY from the monitor for the next 3 days..

    [In fact i am currently sneaking behind my aunt;s back to read this post..

    SO this is a wonderful post I can keep relating to till I get well..
    SO thanks Joonni…
    [blows kisses..]
    See all of you Faithful’s soon..

    Keep the comments flowing..

    @Pam[ are you a comedian by profession your comments on the previous posts were HILARIOUS.. Ha Ha..Kepp the humor going..FOr SOmehow i think there is angst waiting just around the corner..

    October 21, 2012
    • pam lee #

      I hope you get better, Classy! It stinks you have to abstain from watching Faith, cold turkey! 🙂

      I’m glad you find my comments funny. All of us here really love Faith and it brings out the most extreme emotions in us, be it humor, sadness or happiness. I think I am just using humor to cope with Faith because if it’s a sad ending, I’ll be devastated 😦

      Hope you feel better soon! We’ll be sure to post a gazillion comments for you to catch up on and cackle over in delight.


      October 21, 2012
    • Sunshine #

      Ditto. Hope you feel better!

      October 21, 2012
    • joonni #

      I hope you get better soon Classy! Will miss you here but take care of yourself first!

      October 21, 2012
    • Sorry to hear that, Classy. Wishing you a speedy recovery, so you can join us loonies here. Hope to see you soon!

      October 21, 2012
  14. wits #

    Thanks, as always, Joonni. Wish I have more time…I am off to church duty for now but will be back to provide my 2 cents’ worth. I like all the posts – very cerebral, yet full of heart at the same time. I love this community – *hugs to every Faithling!

    October 21, 2012
  15. pam lee #

    Thank you, Joonni, for giving our fearless warrior an ode or an analysis in this case.
    Young has suffered and sacrificed so much due to his care for his loved ones and his country. I think his burden of the sword will only get heavier and their journey together won’t end anytime soon. But at the same time this burden is also helping him become a better person. He is learning to pick and choose his battles whereas before he just indiscriminately slayed anyone in his path. He said hesitating to use a sword is a bad thing, but it’s not, it’s called having a conscience.

    Eun Soon has definitely influenced his personal growth. When he first met Eun Soo, he found her to be an annoying obligation. Gradually, he started to see her as a brave and self-sacrificing person. In his eyes, she as a doctor is the opposite of him; she’s a “giver” and “protector” of life. If only Young knew the sacrifices Eun Soo has endured to protect his life, both his body and heart, he’d never let her go.

    I think Eun Soo deserves an ode as well. How many times has this poor lady helplessly held her true love dying in her arms or witnessed him emotionally crumble only to revisit it repeatedly? If I were Eun Soo, I’d be in the time-travel loony bin by now! This lady deserves the best girlfriend award of the millennium! This is an understatement. LOL!

    October 21, 2012
    • joonni #

      I’ve been gathering the ideas for an “ode” to Eun-soo but I’m waiting to find out more about her time-traveling to really start writing it. I wonder if we will be given the whole story before the last episode. Hope this week has some answers so I can work on it over the weekend.

      October 21, 2012
  16. Mara #

    What a gift you have for in-depth analysis! You make this ride that is Faith so enjoyable for me and I am very thankful because it has been a beautiful experience. Lee Min Ho has portrayed a wonderful CY (and might I add insanely handsome) and his projection of a man deep in love with his ES is heartwrenching and also heartwarming. There is a certain innocence in his acting which makes what he’s “feeling” seem all the more believeable. Like he said in Personal Taste, it was
    “game over” when he and ES fell in love and he decided she would be #1 in his life.

    I forgot about their real life age difference a long time ago and find it very difficult to imagine two actors who could play off one another so well. He’s younger, yet more stoic, she’s older, yet more playful and connected to her womanhood. Wow! I’m praying for a happy ending because it would break my heart if Hwata/ES and CY never get their chance at happiness (what with all the frequent time travel mileage she’s racked up going back in time to be with him, haha 🙂 ).

    October 21, 2012
  17. What a beautiful insight to Young’s path, to becoming THE Daejang heaven world admires. ***sad sigh*** Im going to miss this story

    October 21, 2012
  18. Maggie H.V. #

    Hi Joonni, as always your analysis is very accurate, I add my intepretation to the first time Young wiped blood from his neck and face: I think he did it because he just didn’t want to scare her with his appearance. For me, he unknowingly was getting conscious of him being alive, not just “avoiding death”, and trying to look well in front of her was a little step. Later, as you wrote, he became aware she didn’t like the smell of blood on him and he always tried to clean himself before going to see her. Again, thank you so much for your hard work!!

    October 21, 2012
  19. dian #

    Even LMH is my 1st top korean actor, l still refused to watch Faith. Same as CityHunter that l live behind in my watching list that ended l’ve watched 3 times straight mode. l spent two days to watch Faith ep 1 until 20. Now, l have two regrets. Regret for not watching it earlier. And regret for watching it and addicted to it. Regret that in whatever circumstances that falls, ES and CY will be parted. Even writer and director try to make it a happy ending to satisfy majority fans, still my opinion, they will be separated, and l dont like it. That’s why l regret watching it having those opinion.

    l’m really hoping that both will be together at last, married perhaps. Not also sure that she’s the one that he’ll marry and had son with that. But the wife died early and he still serve the country until he dies. That’s history, but can K-drama twist it, you dont have to accurately follow history, do you?

    October 21, 2012
  20. Keaton #

    Beautifully insightful, Joonni. I think the writer of Faith is truly gifted to give us this depth of story, and you have wonderful vision to be be able to see it in all its intricacy.

    October 21, 2012
    • SH #

      I love Song Ji Na’s works. She’s well-known for adding social implications and realistic depth to her writing. If you’re interested in her other works, you can check What’s up?, Story of a Man, Sandglass (her most famous work), Legend, and a few others that I’m forgetting.

      October 21, 2012
  21. great job Joonni. I wanted to say save your energy (and wrists) for E21 and E22, but I know how much you love this show. As always, you have quite a way with words. Even when you don’t mean to be poignant, this story sort of does it for you when you put your ideas and words together the way you do.
    P.S. Really looking forward to your Arang related post as well.

    October 21, 2012
    • joonni #

      Not making fanvids or recapping other dramas really help with the wrists. So does your wonderful wrist pad. 😀 I survived this because of you, Softy!

      October 21, 2012
      • cho-euns #

        thanks too Softy, I love you and Joonni doing a conversational recap , as they always say, two heads is better than one.

        October 21, 2012
  22. Missy #

    Very well written, I agree with everything you said. I loved how we found out little by little Young’s back story and how he came to be the person he is now. I think he began to feel the weight of his sword when his fiance killed herself, but he didn’t notice it. All he did was immerse himself into his job and became numb after a while. For 7 years, he was just a warrior and did as he was told. At one point, Eun-Soo told asked him has he done anything that he wanted to do and not what someone else told him(it was ep 19 or 20). He answered her with ‘These last few days’ or something along that line. When he had left with her to save her life from Yuan, he was actually doing something that he truly wanted to do. He looked like he had an epiphany. When Ahn Jae asked him about the weight of his sword, I think that’s when he actually started paying attention to it. He’s wanted to leave the palace when his daejang died, but he’s never been able to do so. Now that Eun-Soo is a Woodalchi it makes it a tad easier on him, though he’ll still feel the need to protect her even though she’s capable of taking care of herself. I don’t think he’ll truly be satisfied until he knows that Eun-Soo will be safe.
    I can’t wait until tomorrow’s episode! I have bad feeling about the ending. She still is poisoned, but I’m holding my hopes up for a happy ending. But also, so sad that Lee Philip won’t return to the series due to his eye injury. Wonder how they’re going to explain Jang Bin’s absence.

    October 21, 2012
  23. Sussie #

    Great analysis Joonni!
    I didn’t notice before that Dr. Jang had to remind him to take the sword when he was rushing to DH :S I just thought that he was telling him to calm down. So, thks for making it clear for me! 😉

    October 21, 2012
  24. SH #


    Excellent piece. Thank you!
    His sword truly holds a certain value, and I love that this part of the story is carefully planned out since the beginning, so that we, viewers, can trace this evolution organically.

    I’ve also been thinking a lot about the word “choice,” and how each character has an opportunity, in essence, to choose their path through their actions. It’s such a strange contrast if we consider that these main characters already met their fate in history or “heaven”, so there’s a certain built-in constraint as to how much the writer can play with the story. Nonetheless, I always feel the choices they are making are what defined their futures, and it’s exciting to watch. Faith has this fusion of “choice” and “destiny” that gives the show a nice balance.

    October 21, 2012
    • joonni #

      Wonderful insight, SH.
      And it think that’s what makes this drama so unpredictable. In addition to being historical figures, we have characters that are bound by their status and roles and yet, everyone has so much agency. What I also like about this drama is how realistically things move so that the questions that each characters face are not solved in a single moment or action, but they continue to struggle and grow.

      October 21, 2012
  25. FANOFKR #

    Yes how would they explain the absence of Dr.Jang? At one point I had hoped he would be a pivotal figure in helping to find an antidote for Enn Soo but now he exits so who else would have the medical knowledge to help her. This question has been haunting me for the past few days, The imperial Dr. has been a steadfast figure in the story, he protected Enn Soo when she was living in the royal clinic, sometimes I think he was better at it than the Woldalchi puppies. He has also been a good listener to Enn Soo, a source of comfort & calm when she broke down, we are in the count down to the day Heaven gate will open, Enn Soo will need someone like Dr Jang more than ever to help steady her nerves & even to lessen her painful side effects from the poison, remember she doesn’t want Choi to know she is in pain.

    October 21, 2012
  26. FANOFKR #

    Thank you Joonni SO MUCH for allowing us to come aboard with you on this Faithful trip, I start & end the day by logging onto this site & since Monday is here finally i will be coming back here even more.

    October 21, 2012
  27. Our very own Daejang burning the midnight oil eh Joonni (heehee). You must be wiped out even before punching the first key to type out your first word, so thank you so very much for this post. Lucky us! I am grateful and absolutely enjoy this analytical piece you’ve woven up. It’s beautifully well written and so profound.

    I agree with Dr. Jang (disagreeing with Joonni…dare I say that…eek) that when CY took Choong-jung’s life to spare him a slow painful death, that CY THEN AND ONLYTHEN killed his own heart and his hope to ever leave the palace. I don’t think he lost that hope when he welcomed ES’s sword piercing through his body in ep 2. That was just ‘Death Wish’ boy warrior cavalierly running into the face of death, because he couldn’t keep his promise to ES when his word is his honor. In ep 4, he still asked King Gongmin to let him leave the palace in honoring the late King’s decree. This tells me that he still has that hope even then. Does that make sense? Again, it’s only my interpretation and I could be dead wrong, but you asked:).

    Even though I agree with you that Choong-jung’s death & ES stepping away from him when she saw him with the bloody dagger added new purpose in life for CY, I don’t think CY made that vow to never let that happen again & his determination to fight KC grew stronger until after his bromance encounter with King Gongmin in his cell. Even when King Gongmin asked CY to teach him how to fight CY answered that he’s now just a criminal charged with treason, so how could he. King Gongmin retorted ‘Are you just going to die like that? Is that how you wanted to end? Even then CY just hung his head in silent. Only until King Gongmin put his hand on CY’s arm explaining that he sent ES to KC to keep her safe as that was his only choice given he has no power otherwise to protect her. I truly believe this is when CY actively chose life for the first time. Only after chosen life, his flashbacks of Choon-jung’s death and ES’s reaction to his bloody dagger gave him the will and purpose to fight KC plus truly serve a King’s who worthy of his General.

    You asked whether or not CY can put down the sword and not be a warrior. I don’t think CY will ever choose that regardless how heavy his sword becomes. Even when he left the palace and cast out the woodalchi who hesitate to use his sword within himself, he’s always looking back in the direction of the palace…worrying for King Gongmin and the Queen. Like on the run in the past or when he was a “criminal”, he never stopped working to protect King Gongmin. Let’s say he stays a warrior. If the situation calls for, what will he choose if given the choice again…ES or King Gongmin (aka Country)? Thus far, we’ve seen that ES always comes first (which backs up his confession to King Gongmin in ep 20). He would drop that precious sword like hot potatoes when it comes to ES (proven when she was poised like you mentioned in your post). Whether the sword is heavy or not, with ES in his life, will his heart allow him to truly be a good warrior (at least to the standard he would expect from a woodalchi) who will sacrifice love for his Country? Can he put Country before ES?

    There’s scene that’s been on my mind. In ep 20 when ES asked CY if he has ever once even just for a day do something that he wanted to do and not what he was asked or ordered to do. His response was ‘yesterday and today’. Are we to take this at face value and believe that he means to imply that being with her for the last 2 days was wanted he wanted to do? Or does he really mean that it’s because he’s living outside the palace as a free man for the last 2 days instead of living in the palace as a ‘woodalchi’? Or could he have meant both? I guess only CY can answer that….

    Whatever CY decides in the end, I just hope that ES will choose to stay in Goryeo by his side to support him in the end. I’d rather have a warrior or not with a happy heart and life!

    Like everyone, I am dying to see the last 4 episodes like yesterday. On the other hand, like a scary-cat, I am afraid to see what the writer has in store for our CY and Imja couple in the end.

    October 21, 2012
    • cho-euns #

      The couple’s ending.
      Such a highly dangerous task for the writers to accomplish!
      WRITERS must do it right or else, …. or else! LOL

      I have been reading comments and the possibility of Choi YOung to be in heaven with Eun-Soo is slim, coz history says he stays in his era till he died. Now if Eun-SOO stayed in his era and became his second wife, i don’t know how ES will survive CY’s profession where she clearly abhors killing as well as smell of blood on him but then she also can’t bear responsibility of CY stopping the thing that he only knows doing. I don’t see any reconciliation between the two, so my scenario will be a very very sad ending like the OST song ” carry on” with their lives

      October 21, 2012
  28. If only Choi Young knew what a fanbase he was amassing.

    Thank you Joonni for this. ♥

    *prepares a care package for you and Softy for tomorrow and the next day*

    October 21, 2012
    • pam lee #

      Joonni and Softy, please share a P.O. box if you have one! Would love to send two you a token of my appreciation! Thanks!

      October 21, 2012
  29. Dreico #


    October 21, 2012
  30. francheska33_phil #

    That was sooo great joonni!! It made me review that scene again, ahn and young.. talking about the sword of the warrior, and then I think it has a link to the next last 4 episodes. I believe young will put down his sword totally because of his love for eun soo.. but then, this is after he completed his mission, providing a secure position for the king and taking care of the enemies for the last time. I think, they will live happily ever after.. that’s the essence of time travelling on eun soo’s part, to meet the right guy for him, from the past.. I guess they will be back to 2012 together!!! (finger crossed)

    October 22, 2012

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