This moment has cemented my love and endless admiration not only for this entire drama but most of all for the writer who has been gradually giving new layers and depth to the story and its characters alike; while doing it so subtly and seamlessly. There has been such a huge, unjust backlash pointed at HM’s character as people have been criticizing and bashing her for behaving reckless, unfit for a princess, being naive and risking everything for some lover…
However, everything was completely different from the start - there has never been any lover - the ring belongs to her mother and she’s been escaping the palace each night, risking it all, waiting for her - because her mother is worth all the risks as long there is at least 1% change of meeting, HM will believe in that 1%! SHE IS STILL THAT LITTLE GIRL WHO WAS LEFT IN THE RAIN, CRYING AFTER HER MOTHER, MISSING HER!
And this is where the sheer brilliance of the writing and directing (and editing) comes in because the hints has been always there; there was always something quite not right about HM having a lover - the rumours, the gossips and her enemies said there was one but HM never looked quite like a lovelorn lover, Kang nor her servants were never worried about the return of a man who looked just a little too old for the princess. And just like that so many viewers, like the readers of the pamphlets believed what they were told, never bothering to doubt it, or investigate or be bothered by things that didn’t add up - it was in the news, it was written on paper so it MUST be the truth. Because that’S how rumours and defamation work - the author takes the just a little portion of the truth (which is the least relevant) - the names and the fact that she climbed the wall and spinned it, deforming it beyond recognition.
The audience might have had suspected something wasn’t quite right about the princess and her “lover” but no one could have known the full truth until it was revealed in this scene and yet there has been so many hints that it makes total sense and the revelation doesn’t come out of nowhere like in many other dramas - this is how you edit and write your shows, this is the quality of well-done pre-production.