100 Days My Prince: On Becoming WonDeuk

Gradually and quietly, the Crown Prince Lee Yul had become WonDeuk.

In the barley field, HongShim wanted to confess that he wasn’t WonDeuk after all. But he preempted her confession, saying that he already knew what she was going to say.

WD: I already know what you want to confess. I know that you were a daughter of a noble family.
HS: What? I don’t know what you’re talking about. What’s a daughter of a noble family?
WD: You knew that the book I hid was a ledger. That means you can read.
HS: I just became familiar with it after working odd jobs.
WD: You’re able to read, but you didn’t transcribe books. You could have made money with that. That tells me you wanted to hide your identity.

lol. We knew this, too. She didn’t want the others to know that she could read and write. She was almost caught when she mentioned “Mencius” in passing to her best friend.

HS: We didn’t have a book store until just recently.
WD: You also knew that the poor-looking man was a secret royal inspector. That wouldn’t have been easy to figure out.
HS: Goodness. He blabbed about it himself. That’s how I found out.

**Not true. She found out when the inspector held out his “yuchuk” to ward her off when she accidentally went to his room which he shared with her Fake Father.

A secret royal inspector brought a yuchuk or a ruler with him on his secret auditing missions. It was made of brass and he used it as a yardstick to determine whether correct and official measurements were used by the local officials. For instance, there was a different yardstick for measuring fabric, grain and acreage (or land).

Source: intosaiitaudit.org

WD: Your Hanyang dialect comes out from time to time.
HS: I picked it up while working at my cousin’s house in Hanyang.
WD: If you don’t want to talk about it, you don’t have to. I don’t mind getting to know you little by little.

To me, this conversation was interesting because he didn’t realize how his “clues” were pertinent to him as well. While he was proudly pointing out the “clues” that revealed HongShim’s noble birth, he was ignoring the fact that those same clues also betrayed HIS noble birth.

For instance, like HongShim, he recognized the importance of that ledger. He bought the ledger with their hard-earned jeons because he knew its relevance.

Second, he knew how to read and write. And recite poetry.

Third, he wasn’t familiar with “odd jobs” or menial jobs, but he knew the ODDEST things for a penniless man, for like fencing and archery, and reading, writing and math.

Fourth, like HongShim, he recognized that the poor traveler as a secret royal inspector. Although he didn’t see a yuchuk like HongShim, he head the inspector muttering that he’d written the poem for his civil service exam. He knew that the man worked for the government and he guessed that the man was a royal inspector.

And fifth, he spoke with a Hanyang dialect as well. His language was too formal for someone lowborn.

In my opinion, it didn’t dawn on him that he and HongShim were alike in many ways because he has grown to identify himself as one of the villagers. He wasn’t trying to prove anymore that he was NOT WonDeuk. He accepted that he was WonDeuk. Without any milestones to mark his transformation, he’d become WonDeuk.

This is very much different from his mindset in Episode 4 when he was trying to establish his identity. Back then, he told HongShim that he had three proofs that he was NOT this WonDeuk.

HS: You’re not WonDeuk?
WD: That’s right. No matter how much I think about it, I am not WonDeuk. The first piece of evidence was when I woke up and your father asked me what my name was. (flashback of the Fake Father questioning him) If I were truly WonDeuk, then he would’ve (simply) called him WonDeuk. And he wouldn’t have asked me who I am or where I am from.
HS: I’m sure he did that to see if you remembered or not.
WD: Try calling my name. (And he turns around)
HS: Huh? WonDeuk!
WD: See? I’m not turning around. If my name were WonDeuk, I’d automatically turn around. But I didn’t turn around even when you called out for me, “WonDeuk!”
HS: So that’s why you’re not WonDeuk?
WD: The second piece of evidence is that I’ve never bowed my head to anyone. This means that I must have been someone important.
HS: Look! A fly. (And he bows down) Looks like you can bow just fine.
WD: The third piece of evidence
HS: There’s more? (he approaches her.)
WD: This is the third piece of evidence. (Leans in) Is your heart racing?
HS: No.
WD: Same goes for me. If I’d asked you to marry me, and you and I spent the night at the water mill together my heart wouldn’t be so calm.

However, if you notice, his three reasons for NOT being WonDeuk were NO longer valid by Episode 6.

One, he readily answered to the name of WonDeuk now.

Two, although he still refused to bow his head, he discovered that his true worth was tied to the contribution he made. Nobody bowed his/her head to him in the village, but he was very  important to the villagers because he was the only person who could read and give them legal advice.

He was an important person not because he didn’t bow to others or because people bowed to him, but because he was a valuable member of the society.

And three, his heart raced when she was near.

Back then in Episode 4, he was adamant that he wasn’t WonDeuk so he gave those “proofs” to support his assertion.

Now, however, those three proofs were invalidated and reversed, but they’d become irrelevant to him. He was no longer questioning his identity nor seeking to disprove it. Despite the obvious evidences to the contrary, he’d come to accept that he was WonDeuk. And I doubt that we can pinpoint the exact moment or the exact episode when his  transformation occurred. His change had been gradual, and it happened as a result of his proximity to HongShim and his exposure to real life.

Looking at WonDeuk now, I can’t help thinking that this is how Lee Yul WOULD have been, COULD have been and SHOULD have been as the Crown Prince, had he not witnessed the bloody massacre and the coup.




4 Comments On “100 Days My Prince: On Becoming WonDeuk”

  1. lovely!

  2. Ugh! I can’t remember what I wrote here and I wrote that just last night while on my second++ glass of Cabernet. Must have been writing-while-intoxicated again. hahaha.

    Did you read my post on the barley fields yet?

  3. Just finished it! I love it too. If you write like this while intoxicated you need to be intoxicated more often :))

  4. hahaha. Don’t encourage me. I’m a fish. I drink wine like fish drinks water.

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