princess wook

Princess Yeonhwa: The girl who dreams to rise above

“Look like the innocent flower, 
But be the serpent under it.”

–Macbeth, Shakespeare 

Man, I’ll tell you this now–long before Moon Lovers started, I was deeply, deeply interested in Princess Yeonhwa’s character. Knowing her history, the daughter of Taejo, and being future Queen Daemok, wife and consort to King Gwangjong (Wang So), I was curious as to how her character would play out. 

I actually thought that she would already be married to Wang So when the drama started out, because they all got married so young in Goryeo (and Wook was already married, and he’s the same age as So), but I’m glad that the drama is choosing to show more of Princess Yeonhwa before her marriage (and also So) and I think it’ll be greatly interesting to see how her path continues down. 

I adore female characters who have ambition. And I love Yeonhwa for wanting to rise above her brothers–the princes–and the Emperor himself. #usurpthepower #princessyeonhwaforEmperor943AD #SLYTHERIN

Princess Yeonhwa was introduced as a King-Maker, a genius above the emperor. And man, this girl’s got her eyes set on the throne, and then some.

Let’s take a look at her promotional material first. 

“I will become the Empress. If not me, then who will protect His Majesty?” 

(The word “페하” is used; direct translation of how you address the Emperor in a formal way; also “His Majesty.” But who exactly is she talking about? I would assume So, because he’s the only way that she can become the Empress.) 

I think many people worry that Yeonhwa will be reduced to a “bitchy second female lead” and I’d be lying if I wasn’t worried about that myself. Following Lady Hae’s death, I feel that she sort of disappeared from the narrative–but I’m glad that she came back with the rain festival, and with the past few episodes, I’m also greatly happy to see that she’s getting more screentime and seeing her character development and set things into motion. I hope the writers continue down this path. She’s got so much potential. She’s also the closest character to being a second female lead, but even then, that’s a bit of a stretch because there are so many other characters she has to share the spotlight with. 

On her character description, which I’ll loosely translate:

You tried to tie me down through marriage, and so, I will become Goryeo’s owner through marriage. 

The daughter born between Taejo and Queen Hwangbo, who receives her father’s love the most. Fitting to her status, she possesses class and beauty, but she’s also that much obsessed/fixated on her position. Being born a woman, she laments over the fact she cannot rise to the throne. Therefore, she wishes to become the genius above the emperor, a king-maker. She despises Hae Soo, who doesn’t understand how the palace works and has good fortune and love. Because for Yeonhwa, marriage wasn’t about love, it was a matter between life and death. 

Now the first and last last part are both interesting. While Hae Soo can’t control why her fate and wonders why she ended up in such a place as Goryeo, she still finds love. She finds love, and she can choose who she loves–whether it’s Wook or So. But for Yeonhwa, who is a princess, she doesn’t have the sort of control. Thus marriage is also a double-edged sword. Depending on who Yeonhwa marries, it could also harm her. She says they tried to restrain her through marriage, but Yeonhwa isn’t the type to lie low. No matter where she is, she’ll fight for what she wants. 

While she tells So and Yo that she wants a man who cherishes her (I’m not exactly sure if she’s even speaking the truth in the scene because she’s a woman who uses her words to manipulate those around her, along with her beautiful smiles), she will ultimately not have a choice in terms of love. Her marriage is a matter of life and death. 

Which is why it makes her marriage to So a very interesting one. No doubt, it’ll be a political marriage. As people have pointed out, Hae Soo wouldn’t quite have strong political ties as a wife or a queen, and her body is scarred (thus she cannot become a bride of the Emperor, but this rule could be changed or looped out of in the future). The Hae clan is quite a powerful family but they don’t really seemed to be concerned with her–so Soo is pretty much on her own. Yeonhwa has hinted at the possibility of marriage with Yo, who also dreams of becoming the Emperor of Goryeo. It’s not the ideal marriage she wants, and she wouldn’t become queen because he already has another official wife, she still is willing to use him to gain power. 

However, with Yeonhwa wanting to set her brother up to the throne and turn him into an Emperor, she may turn her back on Yo at the drop of a hat. Of course, if her brother becomes the Emperor, she won’t become the queen… but she’ll have protected her family and gain a significant amount of power that she wants. 

But following history, we know that Yo won’t last on his throne, and Gwangjong (Wang So) follows right after him as Emperor. I have a sickening feeling in my stomach that there’s a strong chance that Wook may die. It would explain as to why Yeonhwa may choose So in the end, as a way to survive. A matter of life and death, remember? 

Yeonhwa is also deeply interested in So, perhaps romantically… but perhaps not. I think for her, it’s not so much about love, but she’s interested in the idea of So. She tells Yo: “Sometimes I think it’d be fun to make a man out of a beast.” While Yeonhwa originally helps So in treating his injuries, I think she also thinks of him as someone she can use. (Conversely, I don’t think So is in the state of being where he sees people as pawns; he’s still learning how the palace works and how the people within it operate–which is why he struggles deeply with his mother, who is always playing games). Because in the end, Yeonhwa was also horrified at So’s face. Which is where the divide between Yeonhwa and Hae Soo occurs for So. Soo has seen the truth of So, beyond the scar, but Yeonhwa has merely tapped the surface (though she may divide to dig in deeper in the future). 

I don’t think Yeonhwa and So would make for a bad couple; they don’t hate each other, and they may get along well. Of course, if Soo gets in between them, then that’s where things may fall apart. But Yeonhwa will still be a queen, even if Hae Soo is there (Lady Oh/Queen Yoo parallels, anyone?) I still think it’s a darn shame that Yeonhwa and Soo can’t be friends–I’m so tired of seeing women being pitted against each other. BECAUSE GUESS WHAT, KOREA! NOT ALL WOMEN ARE OUT TO DESTROY ONE ANOTHER! 

Being the Slytherin she is, Yeonhwa is deeply invested in protecting her family. She greatly fears that the other clans will retaliate against her clan, and she already knows that compared to the Yoo family, their family has no power. Queen Yoo drove out her mother, her brother and her–it’s an act that Yeonhwa cannot forgive and forget. But in order to make her brother the emperor, Yeonhwa is ready to ally with Queen Yoo to gain that power. She can set aside her differences to get what she wants. Yeonhwa is cunning, sly, and resourceful.

But she’s still young. She played with fire, but I think the last few episodes showed that Queen Yoo has been playing this game for longer, and Yeonhwa is still on the weaker side. Queen Yoo, although she helps Yeonhwa, she would be willing to through Yeonhwa away to protect what’s hers. And I think Yeonhwa realizes that. That’s why she steps up to “drink the poison,” following So. She’s a fast learner, and I don’t doubt that she could easily surpass Queen Yoo one day. 

I really hope that Yeonhwa doesn’t become a character that is simply evil. She’s so much more than that. She’s a princess, she will be a queen, she will be one of the ones who survives the bloodshed that will inevitably come after Taejo’s death. She may be cruel or mean. She’s also fixated on her status and the rules. She’s had years of practicing her smile, using it as a weapon, and using her words to manipulate those around her. Taejo probably doesn’t even know that she’s got so much ambition inside of her, burning deeply. She is a flower, but a deadly one. She’s not to be taken lightly. Power is important to her, because she wants to her protect herself and her family. And I understand that, and that is why I find her to be a compelling character. 

This is also where I see similarities between her and Soo, because I think they both have people to protect. But Soo is kind and wants to be helpful to everyone around her, but Yeonhwa wasn’t raised that way–she’s seen the cruelty and ruthlessness in the palace–and she doesn’t have that luxury. The palace is a place where you can trust no one, and a place where you have doubt those closest to you. 

And so, while the princes grapple for the throne in their bloodshed, Yeonhwa will play her game slowly, using her power (no matter how limited it is as a princess) and using men in her family as much as she can to get what she wants–and she’ll succeed. 


kdrama gif challenge:


Because every girl deserves a tall oppa 😍😍 What’s your favorite?? Mine are 3, 4, 5, 8, and 9 :D

Inspired by @奋斗在韩国

Yeonhwa, the girl who played with fire

“There are girls who would tear you apart with their lips.” 
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night 

Slytherin, thy name is Yeonhwa.

Yeonhwa continues to a cunning, compelling character and I think we see a new side to her this week (dare I say, her vulnerable side)… and we see her slowly, slowly playing her cards. I honestly find her interactions with her brothers, Wook, Yo and So, to be deeply interesting. She sees them as men she can use: make her fully-blooded brother Wook become the king, get married to Yo and become queen, or make So desire the throne and become his person. A kingmaker, remember? A god above the princes and the throne.

We all know how her story ends–she marries So, becomes the Empress, and essentially gets what she wants (POWER!!!). She’ll be a victor. The question as to how she gets there is still up for grabs in terms of speculation. 

And who she ends up marrying, whoever she ends up staying with, I’m assuming that it’ll be with whoever Yeonhwa thinks will survive until the very end. The one person she can use, so that she can survive too. Because her marriage isn’t about love, it’s about a matter between life and death. 

I think there are two important scenes in both episodes 12 and 13 where we see a very vulnerable Yeonhwa. 

Let’s start at the beginning of episode 12. 

Yeonhwa basically brings Queen Yoo down to her knees. Queen Yoo may have been playing games for a longer time, but Yeonhwa is an apt pupil and she’s not going to lose to Queen Yoo. Even Queen Yoo says to Yo that her ambition is greater than it is for most men and that he should stay away from her. 

And of course, Yo is deeply attracted to her ambition, her desire for power. If anything, Yo’s fixaton on Yeonhwa unnerves me–it’s predatory. It’s an all-consuming sort of obsession. He has to have her, because he loves the idea of her: a girl who will not back down. And he wants to conquer her. 

As if Yeonhwa is going to let him do that. 

She’ll use him if she can, and if she can’t, she’ll throw him away too. 

But here is also another thing that unnerves me: the fact that Wook is very willing to use Yeonhwa too, for his purposes of gaining the throne. I think Yeonhwa is even shocked that Wook would consider her using her as a hostage against Yo, but I think Yeonhwa has lost the position of being his “pretty, sweet sister” when she betrayed him. They’re both indebted to each other. And I think this is the first moment Yeonhwa begins to her fear her brother. Wait, no. She feared him when he ruthlessly killed that servant in front of them, but she realizes that Wook could just as easily harm her. 

And it’s because Yeonhwa fears for her life and senses danger being between Yo and Wook, that she turns towards a possible third path: Wang So. She once desired him–and still desires him–but because he had no dreams of gaining the throne, she’s distanced herself from her. However, So is much kinder where Yo and Wook are not. He may be her last hope. 

It’s no secret that Yeonhwa has feelings for So. She claims it’s love, but I do question how deep her feelings run. I talked previously about how she may be possibly enamoured by the idea of So, rather than him himself. The whole “I think it’d be interesting to turn a beast into a man” business. It’s obvious she cares for him, and he cares for her, too. 

They have a good relationship; they respect each other. Whether or not it’ll actually ever grow into something more is another question. Their marriage will be political, but they’d be good partners. Yeonhwa claims that they’re fated to be together, but So doesn’t believe in such a thing as fate. So rejects her kindly. And Yeonhwa seems hurt that he loves Soo–something that is bound to cause problems for the three of them (Yeonhwa, So, and Soo) in the future. 

It’s also interesting because Yeonhwa and So are quite different human beings. Yeonhwa has felt empty, and wanted to fill the void with power. To protect herself and she cares about, she desires it. So has felt empty, and wanted to fill the void with love and warmth–something that he wanted more than anything else in the world, and Hae Soo gives that to him. 

But this scene also sort of breaks my heart. Yeonhwa had hoped So would say yes, because then she’d have a way out of the mess Wook and Yo are creating… but her plan fails. 

But here is another truth: they’ll both need each other one day. The only reason that Yeonhwa would turn to So is when she decides Yo and Wook are not worth it–Yo may get his throne (since he is future Jeongjong of Goryeo) and Wook may want to become king (but I have a strong feeling that he may die trying)… but Yeonhwa will be the one who survives the bloodshed that is to come. And if So wants to take the throne, he’ll need a powerful political partner, and who else to fit the bill other than Yeonhwa? 

As her father passes away, she asks him to watch her. Taejo knew of her great ambition, that was too much for a woman of her time, but she vows to make the throne hers. And she will. She’s just as much a wolf as her brothers are. 

I will become the Empress. If not me, then who will protect His Majesty? 

Watch on

Empire of Lust (2014, Korean Movie)

Kang Ha-neul & Kang Han-na

I heard that they filmed a sex scene in the movie but never saw it lol I just found the scene on youtube.

and now they’re siblings in Moon Lovers! The 8th Prince Wook & Princess Hwangbo Yeonhwa.

So awkward to see this after watching moon lovers……lol

  • Moon Lovers Writers: Princess Yeon Hwa is mean and rude.
  • Me: Okay ... but which royal family member treated So as a person first?
  • Moon Lovers Writers: Princess Yeon Hwa tried to kill the Crown Prince she's a villain.
  • Me: Okay ... but she's literally only trying to survive since her brother might just ditch her.
  • Moon Lovers Writers: Princess Yeon Hwa manipulated Wook.
  • Me: No she literally just exposed him fo-
  • Moon Lovers Writers: Princess Yeon Hwa is A VILLAIN FOR GODS SAKE

2005               Sympathy (Lee Han-sol)

2010               Ghost (Baek Hyun-wook)

                       Prosecutor Princess (Lee Woo-hyun)

                       Secret Garden (Han Tae-sun)

2011                High Kick: Revenge of the Short Legged (Ahn Jong-suk)

2012                As One (Choi Kyung-sub)

                       R2B: Return to Base (First Lieutenant Ji Seok-hyun)

                       When I Was The Prettiest (Yoon Jung-hyuk)

                       School 2013 (Go Nam-soon)

2013               I Hear Your Voice (Park Soo-ha)

                       The Face Reader (Jin-hyeong, Nae-gyeong’s son)

                       No Breathing (Woo Sang)

2014               Hot Young Bloods (Joong Gil)

                       Doctor Stranger (Park Hoon)

2014-2015      Pinocchio (Choi Dal-po/ Ki Ha Myung)


Via: irenetan