Memories of the Alhambra: On Badass HeeJoo

I disagree vehemently with the suggestions that HeeJoo be made part of the game as a user. That’s a harebrained scheme.

And sexist if you asked me.

@nearsea and I discussed this last Friday before Episodes 11 and 12 aired. To me, the writer is trying to avoid making HeeJoo into another JinWon wannabe or a Sec Seo replica.

HeeJoo has her own strengths. She isn’t a sidekick like Sec Seo but a “queen” in her own rights. JinWoo might have this big company J One to run, but she also had her own business to run: previously, Hostel Bonita and now this guitar workshop, Emma. She manages to feed and clothe her brood all these years while JinWoo only had himself to take care of.

And she CHOOSES to stand by her man and to stick around even after he did things she couldn’t understand. Her loyalty to him parallels Sec Seo’s allegiance to his boss. So I don’t understand why some viewers are lambasting HER personal decision to champion JinWoo and calling her character a doormat and a weak female for loving the guy?

Are they channeling SangBeom by any chance?

“You have no option.”

The reason SB is a prick is because he thinks HE knows better than she does. He thinks that his way is the ONLY way, the RIGHT choice, and that HER decision-making skill is lamentable. He’s patronizing. She’s “impaired” by her emotions because she refuses to see HIS reasoning.

In a sense, too, the biggest problem with HeeJoo’s naysayers is that their sexist — and they don’t know it. 

They think that the only way a woman can be as good as a man or to be “badass” is to THINK and FIGHT LIKE A MAN. Many of Heejoo’s critics are dying for her to be equipped with the gun and duke it out with the NPCs like a female Rambo.

Or like a She-Ra.

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Ugh! This is an blatantly sexist, pretty stupid, and incredibly pubescent mentality.

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Really now.

“Badass” isn’t defined by the number of NPCs kills or her level in an Augmented Reality game. She’s badass on her own terms whenever she’s tough, uncompromising and relentless in REAL life.

Just look at the way she managed to break down Jinwoo’s reserve. In Episode 11, he told her to leave him alone AND she allowed him to think she left. When he woke up, she got him to do what she intended all along: make him eat. She did what the other guys couldn’t do. By hook or by crook, she was going to get him out of his depression.

She definitely knows his weak spot. And I bet many of the viewers DON’T know it themselves because they’re so oohhhh ~~ mesmerized ~~ by the actor’s dimples.

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If you don’t know what Jinwoo’s Achilles heel is, then just look at the way he couldn’t resist her sister MinJoo.

Or Sec Seo.

Do you see it now? His weak spot?

Let’s throw babies and puppies in there, too. They’re simply irresistible.

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As I was saying…

HeeJoo definitely knows his weak spot. She’s using her brains, feminine wiles and aegyo to get what she wants.

What woman would admit to “dictating” the relationship? lol. The better job description would have been “guiding” or “steering” or “leading from behind.”

This charm of hers is only one of the reliable weapons in her “arsenal” to survive and fight her way through life. Let her be herself. 

Also, I’ve written about it in soompi about the cliffhanger in Episode 12.

A poster asked whether Hee joo joined the game and this was my response:

For what my opinion is worth (lol about 2 cents), I don’t think HeeJoo joined the game as a user.

JW would NOT have risked her life like that without him THERE at her side to fend off the attacking NPCs expected at his level. He was at level 91, and HJ would have been made a tester just like Prof Cha. With her non-existent skills at gaming, she would be a sitting duck to all those Joseon assassins and ninjas.

JW would have been more merciful just strangling her with his own hands and sparing her a thousand cuts from the swords of the Joseon army.

It’s more plausible that once the servers were turned on, the hologram of NPC Emma was also activated and THAT was what JW wanted her to see: the NPC Emma that her brother created in her image because her brother loved and treasured her.

JW probably told her to go to his room and wait for the “truth” about her brother’s “genius” be revealed to her there. The NPC Emma is her brother’s homage to her, and his blessings (or encouragement) for her to continue with her first dream, the guitar.

To me, her memories of Spain is intrinsically linked to “Memories of the Alhambra.”

Her dad uprooted the whole family to Spain DREAMING that her gift would bloom there. Her dad’s dream was similar SeJoo dreaming that his software creation called “Memories of the Alhambra”.  SJ probably thought he could help his family’s situation with the money from the sale of the game, but he didn’t. His dream became an unforeseen nightmare, too.

I find it intriguing that he had unresolved issues with his AR game in the same way that HeeJoo has unresolved issues about her musical gift. Sooner or later, they both have to reset and correct their personal “Memories of the Alhambra.”


9 Comments On “Memories of the Alhambra: On Badass HeeJoo”

  1. Oh, I admit to getting at one point excited about a scenario in which HeeJoo would be in the game. That was in part because the drama tricked me into believing JinWoo would not finish the quest in the dungeon when he actually did.. And if that happened another character would have to level up to level 90 to retry the quest. But now that’s not necessary so meh.
    Anyway, HeeJoo is a fine character as she is. And I don’t even get why Park Shin Hye’s fans are upset at her character not being useful enough.
    But I’d be lying to not admit I’d have loved to see some female player around too. Not her, whatever, some random beta tester when those scenes were shown with testers in Korea/Japan/China. Or some female geek programmer at the office. Were there even female NPCs in the game?

    I don’t get why people thought she’d be in the game just because she saw Emma though.. JinWoo would definitely be against her playing the dangerous game but.. did he send her to wait for him at home knowing Emma would be there, spawned? Does that make sense?
    And writing this I just realised I watched that scene with the impression she’s not logged in.. and it was just another one of the game’s mixing up with reality. I’m starting to feel like it’s very natural for these unexplainable things to happen than to just think she was logged in. That’s funny :)))
    If she was logged in though I see why people think she’ll play the game too now. But not necessarily. Did she just saw the lenses and tried them on? JinWoo wouldn’t tell her to log in.

  2. Howdy! I am only on episode 10 and I have to admit that I don’t even know how JW survived the whole year without going completely insane. I am not a gamer so some of the things that are happening I really don’t understand. I will read all your posts about the drama so I can get a grip of reality. There are bits of the show that I found scary.

    I agree that HJ does not need to join the game at all just so she could be bad ass. She’s the one that keeps JW sane in the real world 🙂 But I am an original She-Ra fan and yes HB’s dimples too hahahaha

  3. hi @agdr03!

    Same here. I would go bonkers if somebody kept coming at me with a sword. But don’t feel too badly for him. SeJoo’s in a worse scenario actually. At least JW could get help and he had Sec Seo but SJ — if he’s still alive — has been trapped in that terrible AR world with no one to converse with for over a year!! If that isn’t hell, then I don’t know what is.

    As for dimples, hahaha.

    I don’t really find HB swoon-worthy. Maybe it’s because when he smiles he looks like a con-man or a used-car salesman. And I CAN resist dimples unless it’s dimples on the butt. Butt dimples are cute.

  4. ‘He looks like a con-man or used-car salesman.

    Butt dimples are cute.’

    Thanks for the laugh 😂 I needed it after trying to get rid of my headache 🤕 I thought I read somewhere that a dimple is an abnormal formation 😄 I don’t mind HB especially when he was with KS but they broke up already ☹️. I wonder when my Oppa’s and Unni’s will get married. Maybe not for a long time 🤔 Sorry got side tracked.

    So true about SJ ☹️ That would be hell.

    I see you’ve got another post about MoA. I’ll read up before I continue on episode 10. So who is the bad guy in the drama? A or the Professor?

  5. My other pet peeve. Militant feminists who think the only woman worth anything has to be like Tomb Raider Lara Croft. Forgetting that there is strength in gentleness, kindness, moral fibre. They imbue post modern thinking onto every drama they watch…even Sageuks. 🙄 Not everyone is Jo March. There is room in the world for Megs, Amys and quiet Beths (actually she was my fave among the March sisters ❤️). I would argue it takes greater strength to say nothing (when you have nothing nice to say) than to blurt out rude insults/cuss to look ‘badass’. Rather than liberating women they are doing the exact opposite – pigeon holing every woman into a fixed badass image. And when they don’t get it they decry how women are being portrayed as downtrodden or door mats. I find them horrendously immature. 🙄

  6. Yap yap… im really agree with you. HJ is a strong character here. Strong doesnt mean you can play sword. Like what her said to JW about someone who proud to have good skill at fighting is childish. Ahhaha..

    I like HJ because she know that she need to push JW although some fans think thats annoying but I think that a wise decision. I was a teacher before and I knew sometime to help my student i nee to be persistent maybe annoying for some of them.

  7. Yes, HJ was persistent in asking JW to prepare for his defense because she was worried. But JW didn’t push back either. If he was annoyed with her persistence or he thought she was nagging about something that didn’t concern her, then do you think he would bite his tongue and let her go on doing it?

    I don’t think so.

    I think he rather liked her fussing over him like that. Take for instance, when she didn’t give him the comfy couch to sleep on (like MinJoo) and just made him sleep on the small futon in the workroom. He griped about it. lol. I thought he was “attention-seeking” and she didn’t fall for it.

  8. Love your thoughts about Heejoo as always. I never really understood why viewers want Heejoo to join the game as a player when the game is clearly defective and messed up and scary af!! (Of course, it would have been nice to see female gamers and testers from JOne in general but) Do we need to see her running around Granada and Seoul dodging bullets and driving recklessly like Jinwoo? I don’t think so. XD Heejoo’s smart and resourceful in her own way, in a very real-world way as I think you’ve mentioned before. To look for her brother in these last episodes, she went to the police and the Korean embassy in Spain, she painstakingly went down a list and called all her brothers’ contacts one by one. She’s practical in a way that doesn’t necessarily mesh with the AR world. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Very curious to see her interaction with Emma though.

  9. I want Emma to be his “voice of reason” and the counterweight to all the delusions and weird things he’s encountering. So I want her far away and “removed” from the killing fields.

    Not only that. Heejoo has family. Her grandmother and her sister are dependent on her. Can you imagine if she dies in the game?? 🤦‍♀️

    JW would not allow her to join the game. Remember when she offered to take a taxi home so he wouldn’t drive her, and he said something like “I can’t let my girlfriend take a taxi so late at night.” 😂👍

    If he thought taking a cab at night was already dangerous enough for his girlfriend, then it wouldn’t make SENSE at all that he would allow her fight Nasrid warriors, Aragon archers, Joseon assassins, Goryo killers, and train terrorists in a game simulation that could kill her.



    However, if for some misguided thought and “noble idiocy” SHE decides on her own to join the game, then he dies saving her. 😂😈

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