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Recap: Gu Family Book Episode 2 [Complete]

I saw this official music video for the Gu Family Book OST song “Love Hurts” earlier in the day and I almost cried. I was amazed by how invested I was in Wol-ryung’s and Seo-hwa’s love story and I started getting nervous about today’s episode.

Watch for yourself if you dare. There are scenes from today’s episode, I assume, and I think it’s going to be pretty heart breaking.

I thought about the violence and cruelty in yesterday’s episode and I realized, it is pretty normal for a sageuk, but I was unprepared for it because all I was thinking was, “A Lee Seung-gi and Suzy” drama. I actually didn’t even read any character descriptions or synopsis for this drama before I began yesterday because I have been so busy so everything was pretty much a huge surprise.

And the biggest surprise? Choi Jin Hyuk. Is all I have to say.

Character Abbreviations for live recap:

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Yoon Seo Hwa (Lee Seung Gi’s future mother)- SH

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Gu Wol Ryung (Lee Seung Gi’s future father)- WR

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Jo Gwan Woong (the man who killed SH’s father)- GW

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Chun Soo Ryun (the head gisaeng)- SR

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Priest is WR’s friend. So Jung priest/monk- SJ

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Dam Pyung Joon (the gumiho hunter)- PJ

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Choi Kang Chi- KC

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Dam Yeo Wool- YW

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Park Tae Seo- TS

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Park Chung Jo- CJ

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Gon- Gon

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Dam is SH’s maid- Dam

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SH’s brother is brother.

Episode 2

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A voice narrates, “That high-off and dangerous mountain forest where humans are not easily permitted to enter. The place where only the spirits who protect the forest can enter. At the Moonlight Garden, their sad legend was beginning.

SJ informs WR that troops looking for SH are in the forest and they are led by the famed PJ. “You won’t be able to easily scare them off like usual.” He wants WR to send SH away. He warns WR that if he lets a human female in his heart, WR will get into trouble.

The gisaeng house henchman leads the troops to the place they saw the “gumiho.” PJ finds the hair pin that SH dropped there yesterday when she fainted in WR’s arms.  A hawk flies above the scene and reports back to WR, it seems.

SJ has left and WR is alone with SH. She cautiously approaches him and says, “I think I should leave.” WR asks why. SH replies, “I am a traitor’s daughter.” WR asks nonchalantly, “And so?” SH answers, “I am a runaway slave too.” WR asks again, “And so?” SH explains, “You will get in trouble if you are caught with me. I don’t want you to get in trouble.” WR laughs and reassures her that he can’t be harmed and as long as he is with her, she won’t be harmed either.

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WR holds up a dead rabbit and a turtle for her to choose from to eat. SH quickly chooses the peach on the table. WR leaves to pick a whole tree’s worth of peach. SH laughs happily at pile of peaches in front of her so WR, thinking it isn’t enough, says he will go and fetch a chicken for her. SH holds him back, grabbing his arm. WR is pleasantly surprised by the touch.

SH smells the flowers growing at Moonlight Garden. She turns around to see WR with his arms completely full of fragrant flowers. She laughs once again and starts to fall for him as he smiles back at her.

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WR brings her a bag full of blue butterflies. Hehe, this man doesn’t know the meaning of moderation.

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WR catches SH looking a little sad so he takes her to the top of the waterfall where they can see the whole mountain range and a rainbow. She marvels at the sight and exclaims, “It’s beautiful!” WR says to her, “You’re smiling face is beautiful. Very beautiful.”

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It is night now and WR and SH are sitting by the fire. She asks how long he has lived in the mountains. WR replies he forgot to count because it has been so long. She asks if he has family. He says no, he has been alone for a long time. SH tells him she has a younger brother and a maid who is more like a sister. He asks about their whereabouts and she tells him Dam has been left behind and she had to split up with her brother. She laments the fact that she can do nothing right now to help them. WR sees her sad and worried face and asks if she will feel better if she knows how they are doing. “Will you be able to laugh peacefully?” SH asks WR why he is so nice to her. WR replies, “I want to do anything for you. That is my heart right now.”

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WR has come down to the city to find out about SH’s family. He finds the brother hanging in front of the city walls.

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SR has come to GW to ask him to take down SH’s brother’s body so she can take him and bury him. GW wants the body to hang a little longer as a strong warning. SR asks how he can be so cruel to the son of someone who was once his friend. GW wonders why SR is so concerned- did she once have a thing with SH’s father? SR is offended by the suggestion and replies no. GW’s right-hand man comes to report that the body has gone missing.

WR makes his way back to the Moonlight Garden with heavy steps. SH is waiting anxiously for him. She runs to him and asks about her family but WR can’t reply. WR has buried the body and placed a marker on the mound. SH notices his expression and asks if something is wrong. WR can’t tell her the truth so he lies and says everyone is doing well. “So don’t worry and be at peace. Stay by my side and I will protect you.” SH is happy with the news of her family and embraces WR. WR is surprised by this but his eyes remain sad as SH says, “Now I can finally breathe.” WR can’t bring himself to embrace her back, though, because he has lied to her.

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SH notices what a rash thing she has done and pulls back. She apologies and starts to move away when WR suddenly cups her cheek and wipes away her tears. Green lights start to float around them. WR pulls back and turns away. But suddenly! He turns back to SH and kisses her. KYA!!!!!!!

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After the kiss ends, he asks, “Will you marry me?” Just like before, SH reminds him that she is a traitor’s daughter, and a runaway slave, but just like before, WR doesn’t care and just keeps asking, “Will you marry me?” SH smiles at his acceptance and unconditional love for her. She hugs him and they kiss again. Except we get a wide shot. Why so stingy, drama?!

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SJ can’t believe what he just heard. What? Getting married? WR happily confirms. He asks about the Gu Family Book again. SJ takes WR to the library and pretends to not know where the book about the Gu Family Book is. WR is upset that his friend didn’t take care of a book that was about him more carefully. SJ syas he can’t understand why WR is insisting on getting married. WR replies that SJ would understand if he lived a thousand years alone too. SJ still can’t see why someone who looks as good as WR would get hitched. Yes, remain single for me, Choi Jin Hyuk. 

SJ asks WR if SH knows about WR’s real identity. WR replies that he doesn’t plan to tell her since he will become human.

SJ isn’t even trying hard to find the book but WR finds it. WR can’t read so he gives SJ the book. SJ recites everything from the book, as if he has it all memorized. Yes, SJ was just pretending not to know where the book was to try to convince WR out of his decision.

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SJ tells him what the book says about the Gu Family Book. Nobody has every seen the Gu Family Book. This is because there has never been a protector spirit that became human. This suggests that becoming human is extremely hard. The Gu Family Book appears only after you keep three rules for one hundred days. (From the drama’s synopisis: The Gu Family Book is the record of the oath that Hwanwoong (the god who founded Korea) made with the protector spirits, giving them the chance to become human. To become human, the spirit must keep three rules for one hundred days.)

1. Can’t kill anything.

2. Can’t refuse a human’s request for help.

3. Can’t show his true identity to any human being.

SJ says to WR, “Difficult, right? It is said that the Gu Family Book, which is a record of Hwanwoong’s oath, will appear in front of you after one hundred days. But if you break any of the rules before the hundred days are up, you won’t get a second chance and you will become a demon for a thousand years.” SJ wants WR to think about his decision one more time.

But WR’s resolve won’t be shaken, despite SJ’s sincere concern for his friend. He says, “I met a human female who made my heart beat fast for the first time in a thousand years. If I lose her now, I might have to wait another thousand years.” He leaves, saying to SJ, “I will see you in a hundred days.”

WR and SH get married at the Moonlight Garden. They move inside the cave to get down to business, hehehe, and most notably, WR kisses SH’s tattoo gently.

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GW is at the burial mound. His right-hand man concludes it must the grave of SH’s brother, seeing how fresh it is and with the marker. GW guesses that SH must be alive but he wonders how a girl could have carried the body this far into the forest.

SH calls out to WR, calling him “Husband.” She has packed him a snack. WR notices that she is carrying a basket and asks why. SH tells him that she is going to go pick some plants but WR doesn’t want her to go alone. SH insists she can do this herself; after all, she has lived in the forest for three months now. WR tries to grab the basket from her but she distracts him by planting a wet one on his cheek. WR freezes and SH leaves smiling, saying she will be back before lunch.

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WR is still standing there like an idiot when SJ comes. He calls WR a wife babo (a wife idiot, or someone who is at the mercy of his wife because he loves her too much). He notes how badly WR looks, though, and comments the hundred days must be hard on him.

WR tells him that he only has eleven days left now but sometimes it’s hard when he sees visions of a well-cooked rabbit’s leg in front of him. SJ asks why, with such a pretty wife making you food, and he grabs the snack bundle from WR. He eats the rice balls inside but immediately spits it out. WR laughs and explains that his wife is not a good cook but he got used to it. SJ wonders how WR survived on this food- “The power of love is incredible!”

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Ah, SJ rememebers why he came here. He figured out a way for WR to get rid of the side effect (turning into a demon). SJ gives WR a hand-carved wooden stake and tells him to keep it with him always.

PJ is talking to GW. He wants to leave now since it has been three months with no sightings of the gumiho and no reports of any humans being harmed. He does not think GW should be using a civil servant paid by the government for his own personal mission. PJ is about to leave when a soldier comes into report that SH has been sighted. GW orders PJ to bring her in. He knows that SH was able to survive in the forest because someone was helping her. PJ should find that person too and bring him in.

WR returns to the Moonlight Garden but SH has not returned. SH is gathering food when she senses the soldiers. She moves slowly at first and then starts to run. The soldier shoots a signal into the air and chases after SH. PJ sees the signal and so does WR. He starts to run in that direction like a human at first but in his haste, he uses his supernatural power to run faster.

SH is being chased by troops and she pleads silently, “Help me, Wol-ryung!” Suddenly she is grabbed from behind a tree. It is WR. He pulls her close and makes the leaves on the tree grow to cover them. The troops pass without spotting them. The leaves pull back and WR tells SH that it is safe now. “Let’s go home.”

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Unfortunately, PJ has seen all this. He asks WR how he did that. “Are you human or something else?” WR grips SH’s hand tight and just says, “I don’t want to fight you. My wife and I didn’t do anything wrong.” PJ, who does not know what SH looks like, says, “If that woman isn’t the runaway slave we are looking for, we will apologize. But go with us quietly now.” WR doesn’t want to do this so he stares at PJ’s horse and spooks it. WR and SH take this chance to run away.

PJ shoots a signal into the air and his troops understand that it means they should set up and wait.

SH and WR have been running for awhile and SH says she can’t run anymore. She apologizes for not listening to WR. WR says, “Trust me and I will protect you.” He asks for her to endure just a litte bit more. She agrees and he kisses her forehead.

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Eventually, SH and WR run into the troops. One shoots an arrow at them but WR quickly shields SH. During this distraction, chains come down and entrap WR. He is completely tied up and troops surround him. A soldier identifies SH as the runaway slave to PJ. PJ orders SH to be arrested. WR blocks the troops saying, “She is my person.” But with the chains around him, WR can’t do anything as SH is taken away. She screams his name as his is beaten into the ground by the troops. WR remembers what SJ told him about the rules but WR is unable to contain his anger as he watches SH being dragged away. Suddenly, blue lights start to float in the air. WR uses his supernatural strength to break the chains and pick up a soldier off the ground by the neck using one arm. He has transformed into an animalistic figure.

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SH and everyone else watch in shock as WR kills the soldier with his claw-like hands. More troops attack but they are no match for his strength. WR fights them off, growling, “Don’t lay a hand on my person.” SH watches in shock at this “beast” killing humans left and right and biting them. WR sends out a roar that forces everyone else to cover their ears in pain but SH is in too much shock to be affected. She silently sheds tears.

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All the troops are down so WR walks toward SH. She whispers, “Don’t. Don’t come close!” at first but later screams, “No!” She faints before WR reaches her and WR roars in anger and sadness.

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WR brings SH back to the cave. He is in a lot of pain. SH regains consciousness and immediately moves back in fear. She says, “Go away” to WR. WR tells her to not be scared. “It is me, Wol-ryung.” SH asks, “Wol-ryung? Is it really you?” WR apologizes for showing her this side of him. SH asks again, “It is really you?” WR replies, “Yes, this is the real me. I’m sorry.” SH shakes her head in disbelief and WR collapses. SH cries as she says, “It can’t be. It can’t be.”

SH runs out of cave thinking, “It can’t be him. It can’t be.” She runs away from the Moonlight Garden. Inside the cave, blue lights float around and slowly heal WR.

It is night and PJ’s troops have set up camp inside the forest. Many are injured and PJ looks after them, concerned. He also confirms that a message has been sent back to the city. He is surprised to see SH entering the camp, looking like she is still in shock.

SJ runs into the cave. He exclaims, “I knew this would happen,” and feeds WR water. WR wakes up. The first thing he does is ask about SH. SJ tells him that she is not here. WR asks SJ to search for her for him. SJ says in exasperation, “Even now, all you care about is love.” WR says please. SJ moves WR and leaves the cave. He reminds WR about the stake he gave him and tells WR to do what he told him at the last critical moment.

GW has come to the camp. He slaps SH and she glares at him defiantly. He taunts her, saying she gave up her brother and Dam’s life to live with a monster. SH is shocked to learn that her family is dead. She remembers what WR told her about everyone doing well. GW assures her that what he is saying is true. “I put the noose around your brother myself. If you had become mine from the beginning, your brother would have lived.”

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SH starts to gag to she runs to a tree. She can’t believe that her brother is dead. She weeps for her brother and Dam. Nearby, GW orders PJ to make SH bring him to where the monster is. PJ is to kill the monster and then kill SH too.

It is morning now and WR wakes up. His wounds have healed but he still looks awful. He goes out to drink some water and later notices the troops surrounding him (Although why he didn’t notice before is beyond me. Just drama magic, I guess.) He asks how they were able to come to this place. “Humans can’t find this place.” The troops don’t answer. They only bring forth SH. SH looks at WR with disdain. WR, shocked, asks her “Why are you here? You can’t have possibly led them here? You betrayed me?” Instead of feeling guilty, SH is angry at WR for lying to her about her family. She demands to know why he lied. WR replies “I couldn’t bear to see you sad.” GW steps out from the back to offer his own version.  WR lied to placate her and steal her heart. SH demands to know why WR did not tell her about his real identity. “I believed in you!”

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WR cries. He remembers what SJ told him. If the human still loves him after finding out his real identity, WR is safe. But if she doesn’t, WR must stab her through the heart so that he doesn’t become a demon.” WR takes out the stake and runs toward SH, screaming, “Seo-hwa!” He grabs her shoulder but he is stabbed by PJ. WR asks SH, “Why? I loved you. I loved you so much. Why?” HEART= BROKEN.

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GW orders PJ to finish WR off. WR starts to transform and his claws dig into SH’s arm. PJ pushes WR away and delivers the final blow. WR sheds blue light from his would and floats into the air. He dissipates. SH whispers, “Wol-ryung.” I EVEN LOVE HIS NAME. GW orders PJ to finish the job and leaves.

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SJ arrives on the scene searching for WR. SJ asks, “What happened to my friend?” but no one answers him. SJ falls to the ground and cries. SJ exclaims that WR was just a protector spirit of the mountain. He caused no harm to anyone. PJ informs him that half his troops were seriously injured. SJ asks, “Did your troops start the fight first? All he wanted was to become a normal human and live with that woman.” He faces SH and tells her that all this happened because WR loved her. SJ exclaims that WR only had ten days left until he became human. “A mere ten days!” SJ weeps for his friend. SH looks at where WR stood. The wooden stake is there. He never intended to stab her with it, it seems.

SH starts to gag again and runs off. She realizes that she must be pregnant. PJ had followed her. She turns to him, knowing he know what she knows, and says, “No, it’s not possible!”

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GW received the report that PJ took care of everything. He was also given SH’s bloody hair pin as evidence. We get a flashback of GW possibly liking SH in his own way, if affection is possible for an evil creep like him. But I doubt it.

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The forest grows over WR’s body and the seasons change. It is spring now.

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SH has been kept hidden at the gisaeng house all this time. She has tried to swallow poison again and the other gisaengs are holding her back as SH throws a tantrum. SR tells her to accept her fate and SH yells, “What is my fate? To be a gisaeng? To be the wife of an animal spirit? To be the mother of a monster?!” SR reminds her that SH tried everything to kill the baby but the baby is still growing inside of her. “The baby will die only if you die.” SH screams, “Then kill me!” SR says she can’t due to the request of the person who left her here. SR and the others leave SH and SH starts to feel contractions.

Somehow SH has runaway and inside the forest, she hears WR’s urgent voice call her name- “Seo-hwa!”

SH has made her way back to the cave. She sees flowers growing nearby and remembers all the happy times with WR.

SH gives birth to the baby inside the cave. The baby’s cries fills the cave and blue lights start to float everywhere again, even at SJ’s temple. He whispers, “Wol-ryung?”

SH gets up and uncovers the hatchet. She had wrapped up the baby in the dark, not even getting a good look at his face. She says, “I’m sorry, Wol-ryung. I can only do this,” and raises the hatchet to kill the baby. But suddenly blue lights surround her and light floods into the cave, moving the shadow off the baby’s face. SH sees the baby clearly for the first time and exclaims, “You aren’t a monster. You weren’t a monster!” She wails in guilt over trying to kill the baby.

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Park Mu Sol and others are having a party by the river. He hears a baby’s cry but no one else heard it so he orders the music to stop. Now everyone can hear the baby. It is coming from the basket floating in the river and MS wades in to fetch it. He looks around to see if the baby belongs to anyone but doesn’t see anyone else nearby.  MS carries the baby out and a gisaeng points out the baby looks newborn.

Suddenly SJ is on the scene, exclaiming really loudly, “You’ve picked up a bundle of fortune. If you take care of the baby, he will bring you a lot of good fortune.” Another yangban there names the baby “Kang Chi” because he was abandoned in the river and gives him the last name “Choi” after MS’ manservant’s last name.

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A voice narrates, “That high-off and dangerous mountain forest where humans are not easily permitted to enter. The sad love story between the animal spirit Gu Wol-ryung and Seo-hwa came to an end like that but here, another legend was starting, called…” MS repeats the baby’s name. “Kang Chi. Choi Kang Chi.”

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Preview for Episode 3

SH: Let him grow among normal people as a full human being.

Someone screaming: Choi Kang Chi!

Someone saying: Your destiny (destined partner) will soon appear but if you can avoid it, it is best to avoid that person.

Suzy (YW): Isn’t your destined partner decided by the heavens? If you can avoid it, how could it be destiny?

KC: Don’t worry. I, Kang-chi, will protect you.

YW: What happens if I don’t avoid that destined relationship? What if I won’t be able to?

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Comments: 

No, I don’t hate Seo-hwa. I understand how she could be angry at Wol-ryung for lying to her about her family. If he had not told her that her family was doing well, she would have never let herself find happiness and peace with Wol-ryung. She would have been so guilt-ridden, I think she would have tried to kill herself. Seo-hwa also watched Wol-ryung kill other humans and transform into something that is greatly different from the warm, pleasant face of the Wol-ryung she loved. Seo-hwa just had her whole world fall around her, even worse than when her father was killed, because she just found out she has no family and the person she trusted the most lied to her about something very important.

The final scene in the cave when Seo-hwa exclaims, “You aren’t a monster. You weren’t a monster!”- I see her line in two ways. It can refer to the baby solely or refer to both the baby and Wol-ryung. She might be wailing in guilt over the fact that she thought both Wol-ryung and the baby were monsters, but seeing the baby looks so normal, she has come to realize that she did not get down to business with a monster and beget another one.

Someone asked me about Lee Yeon Hee’s line delivery and I must say that I had pretty low expectations from her so I was pleasantly surprised by her acting. There are still plenty of awkward moments and intonations but Lee Yeon Hee is definitely less stiff than before. She is capable of delivering the emotion of the dialogue overall and her stiffness fits well enough with the prideful yangban character she played.

I haven’t read anything more about Wol-ryung so I don’t understand why his body is just covered up and he doesn’t become a demon like SJ said he would if he didn’t kill Seo-hwa. Will he be coming back? I hope so because the more Choi Jin-hyuk, the better.

My curiosity is really piqued for the characters of Pyung-joon and Soo-ryun. They are characters we can’t easily define as good or evil because while they end up doing bad things to the characters we love, they do so because of their position in society. That is what I love about sageuks. The confining status role always presents interesting conflicts for characters, who are at a risk of losing everything if they do one thing wrong.

What does it mean to be human? Wol-ryung seemed as human to me as anyone else, with his love of Seo-hwa, but he wasn’t a human in anyone’s eyes, except Seo-hwa, before she find out. Wol-ryung never even claimed that he was as human as the next person; he saw himself solely as a animal spirit. He never considered what it meant to be human on a different level from physicality, and actually, that is something I wish we saw a bit more of. Why did he want to become human? Did he not want to be alive after she died? Was he just afraid that Seo-hwa wouldn’t accept him if she found out? Did he not know that an animal spirit and a human were capable of procreation and wanted a baby with her?

I can guess why Choi Kang-chi will want to become human. Once he finds out about his parents, he will want to become human to fit into and be accepted in a society that he grew up in, made friends, and found love. But is being human a mere question of what your physicality is? What about the ability to love? Wol-ryung was certainly capable of that. What makes humans better than animals spirits? People feared Wol-ryung because he was powerful and could kill people. But isn’t Jo Gwan-woong less of a human than Wol-ryung?

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  1. anastassia #

    I can justify what Seo Hwa doing by what you mentioned above. But i think you missed the big turning point and massive plot up there.

    Yes. I understand why she really hurt and surpised but to go back to tho who want her to be captured, raped her and not to mention those who killed his father, his brother and his maid.

    That is just beyond any commen sense and any human emotions.

    That is the biggest flop of the plot for me. I blame it to writing.

    April 16, 2013
  2. Riya #

    Hi everyone and our DAEJANG Joonni and Softy:):) I too will be camping here for Gu Family book:):) Thanks for coming back:)

    April 19, 2013

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