Memories of the Alhambra: My Timeline Notes

I’m slowly deleting my notes to make way for the new kdrama. I thought that my notes on the timeline might help others. If not… oh well. 🙂


From Ep 9 (21:03) when Jinwoo was in the school yard and the Citadel Hawk landed on his arm:
“Master has sent you a secret quest from Granada. You can only open the quest in Granada. You must fulfill the quest the moment you check it. Your chance will disappear if you exceed the time limit. Citadel’s Hawk will store the quest. Hawk’s parchment 47:59:59 until the quest expires.”

From Ep 10 (10:29):
“Hawk’s Parchment 03:59:30 until the quest expires.”
Jinwoo entered the train restroom and the game advised him:
“You cannot retry a secret quest. Would you like to check your secret quest?”
Jinwoo opened the parchment and a lock with a barcode appeared with the following instruction:
“Rescue master.
Level: 90 or above
Difficulty level highest
Recommended number of users: 4
Reward: ?
Go to the Alhambra
Your quest begins now, hurry!”

*Note: The reward wasn’t mentioned. Sejoo would say later that the reward was becoming the Master. From Ep 16: “If Mr. Yoo Jinwoo was the Master…the reward of the quest was becoming the Master. That means he could have been the Master. You never know. Just like me…he could be alive somewhere.”

It was Jinwoo’s Programmer who told him to search the dungeons for Sejoo. “There’s a place in the Alhambra that used to be an underground prison. Maybe that’s the entrance to the dungeon. That’s the only place where someone could be locked up in.”

Before Jinwoo entered the dungeon, the game warned him:
“This is the entrance to the dungeon. You cannot reenter if you fail the quest.” He had two hours left in the quest.

*He naturally assumed that the dungeon was the location of the master. The game itself didn’t SAY that the master was in there. The game only said that if he failed to do “rescue the master” he couldn’t enter the dungeon again and thereby couldn’t retrieve the key that was hidden in the dungeon which he would need when he played level 100.
“You’ve collected Master’s special item. The gold key was only for users above level 100.”

From Ep 11 (26:39) Jinwoo told Park that he didn’t fail the quest and in fact, went to the end of the dungeon. Instead of Sejoo, he found the item.

He returned to Seoul; he got fired from job. Started dating Heejoo.
Ah! Is this what the writer meant that the romance didn’t get a lot of screen time?

Heejoo nagged him about prepping for the interrogation with his lawyer. Allowed him to stay at her place but only made him sleep on the futon in her workroom.
Remember when JW berated her for her poor treatment of her guests at Hostal Bonita? What a difference from his banter now! He still complained about the dust floating in the air and the uncomfortable bed but the mood was different.

On the day of his police interrogation, instead of going to the station, he visited Prof Cha’s lecture hall. He invited him to become his ally. In exchange, he demanded that the servers be maintained running so he could level up too 100.

HeeJoo checked out NPC Emma at Jinwoo’s hotel. When she got home, consulted her diary. Found notes on the hand and the key in her diary notes.
She then rushed off to search for him in Myeongdong.

They met up in a café and she told him about the legend. He smiled at her, like the way he smiled at her in the Episode 1. He knew something she didn’t. Grrr…

Ep 13 (48:56):
JW: What was the story of the legend?
HJ: On the day the Key to Heaven meets the hand of Fatima, the gate will open and the palace will crumble. What’s this about?
JW: (internally) Why did I think Sejoo would be there? Sejoo wasn’t locked up in the dungeon of the Alhambra when he sent me the hawk. He led me there so I could find the Key to Heaven he hid in the dungeon. Sejoo couldn’t trust anyone then. He thought he might die soon whether it was in the game or in real life. That’s why he hid on his own as he waited for the hidden master key to be handed over to Emma. The quest ends with her.
He imagined himself handing key to NPC Emma in his hotel room.
HJ: Was that helpful?
JW: Yes. I just need to do my part now.

*common interpretation = literal
He meant to say: “Oh no! I might have misunderstood this. Why did I think Sejoo would be locked up in the dungeon? What made me think that he would be trapped there? No. He wasn’t LOCKED up in the dungeon when he sent me the hawk. He was hiding there! He wanted me to find the Key to Heaven that he hid in the dungeon so he led me there. He didn’t trust anyone because everybody was after him: Marco, Hyunsuk and even the police who’d think he killed Marco. He thought he’d die either in real life or in the game. That’s why he hid on his own and waited for the key to be handed over to Emma. The quest ends with her.”

The other thing here is the Usage of the key was “unknown,” just like the reward of the quest was unspecified.

The police came, forcing Jinwoo to run and hide. While he was fleeing from the police and the NPCs, he and Heejoo managed to meet up in the dressing room again. He sent her home and promised to see her the following morning. Heejoo was eyeing the clock at 6am the following day, waiting for him. Park dropped by her place to hear news about Jinwoo. The Programmer called to report to Park that Jinwoo had successfully reached Level 100 a few moments earlier.

Ep 14 (36:44):
“You are now Level 100
Special item
Gold Key, the key to heaven
Now you may use special item of Master”

Jinwoo interrupted the Programmer’s phone conversation with Park and instructed him to move NPC Emma to the Catholic Church. “Move her to where I am. A Catholic Church.” Then he was shot by a soldier but his ally NPC Sec Seo appeared.

Time now: almost 7am?

On the other side of town, Park left Heejoom, reassuring her that everything would be fine. Park said, “Don’t worry too much. This time, I’m choosing to believe him.” (Ep 14 39:30)

Heejoo however didn’t believe him because she went and borrowed Sangbom’s car and searched for Jinwoo herself. Probably her sixth sense?

Meanwhile Jinwoo struggled to get to church. He met a bicyclist who would alert the police about his whereabouts. He arrived in the church where he prayed, “I have never believed in God. but I would like to rely on him. I hope this is the end.” He made a sign of the cross (Ep 14 42:33). In another flashback, he narrated in his voiceover, “Now only one story remains. My last story.” (Ep 15 22:11). He also made a sign of a cross and stared at the crucifix.

Interesting closeup for the crucifix.
Hmmm… What’s the difference between a cross and crucifix?
Cross: Two planks of wood interesting like in an addition symbol.
Crucifix: A cross with Jesus on it nailed to it.
Making the sign of a cross means a) follower of Christ, b) asking for God’s blessing, and c) committing to sharing in His passion and cross. People forget the third part.

His contemplation was interrupted by Soojin’s text. But before he could reply to her apology, the strains of “Memories of the Alhambra” started to play. NPC Emma arrived. He handed her the Key to Heaven and believed his mission accomplished. In fact, the game message said:

Ep 14, 45:28
You have completed Master’s Secret Quest.

He didn’t expect NPC Emma to stab him. He broke away from NPC Emma, most likely because he was unprepared for the extreme pain.

Emma failed to delete the bug.
Emma failed to reset the game.
(Emma disappeared)

Sigh. As usual with this game, every time he leveled up, there’s a trap.

Image result for it's a trap gif

He went through a side door, barely escaping the police. Heejoo came afterward. Not finding him there, she retraced her steps and went to Myeongdong again where they had spent the previous night.

But the key thing to remember here is that Sejoo’s Secret Quest was completed by Jinwoo as of that morning. This is why Sejoo appeared in Granada at nighttime. (There’s a time difference. Seoul is ahead of Granada by 8 hours.) Jinwoo successfully rescued him from wherever his “instance dungeon” was located in Granada. Most likely, the train station.

The owner of Alcazaba Café bought him a ticket to send him home. Time on the iphone:

Now, this is where the timeline can be confusing to understand.

When Sejoo was found alive in Granada, Jinwoo was fleeing the church on foot to get away from police. He was weakened by the key still stuck to his chest and he staggered to find escape. He encountered one NPC soldier but his ally NPC Sec Seo arrived for the second time that day and saved him. Jinwoo went inside a building and he hid in a bathroom where he was found and his doctor rescued him. He was brought to a hotel and Prof Cha was called.

The doctor left Jinwoo that night in Prof Cha’s care. Prof Cha betrayed him and summoned a platoon of high-level NPCs.

Interesting to compare and contrast: JW could see that Prof Cha was at it again: blaming others for his trouble and scandal but JW didn’t lose his cool this time and give him a well-deserved punch on the nose. He learned his mistake from dueling with HS. He could hardly say this to Prof Cha:

JW: (tsk) This is why you’re a bastard. All the traitors in this world say that. Those who betrayed their kings had the same excuse as you. For the people, my ass. The excuses you’re making is proof that you’re a traitor. Traitors constantly spit out dirty excuses. Why? Because they want to hide how dirty and cowardly they are. That’s why you said when you tanked our company.

Father and son Cha: a case of the apple not falling from the tree?

Both Prof Cha and NPC Hyunsuk were killed in the hotel that night. Jinwoo ordered a server guy to turn on the servers for an hour the following morning. That night, he went to stand outside Heejoo’s lighted window because he suddenly remembered Heejoo might be waiting for him (Ep 15 55:56). He hesitated to ring her doorbell.

-Probably he didn’t know how to say goodbye to her.
-Didn’t want her to cry.
-She probably wouldn’t let him go.
-They already said goodbye.

He left the car key in the milk bag (how quaint!) for her to discover the following morning. Sure enough, when she woke up, she found the key and began searching for him again. But at this time, he was already on his way to meet NPC Emma for the last time. He had told the server guy to turn the servers back on between 6am and 7am.

Later that same evening, Sejoo showed up outside their house. Heejoo excitedly call up Park to tell him of the good news and Park deduced that Jinwoo must have completed the task. (Ep 15 8:53) He expected Jinwoo to be back soon since the quest was all over. He immediately went to her place and see her brother to find out what happened.

Heejoo tried to get the full story out of Sejoo. All Sejoo could say was Marco suddenly disappeared. (Ep 15 20:17) “That’s why I got out of there. Someone must have completed the quest. I was waiting for someone to complete the quest. But who did it?”

In a voiceover, Jinwoo said, “Sejoo’s return finally put an end to my long, lonely journey.” (Ep 15 20:52). This narration indicated that, although there was no contact between Jinwoo and HeeJoo since they said goodbye two nights ago, Jinwoo was aware of Sejoo’s reappearance before NPC Emma eliminated him and game rebooted. Thank goodness!

As for Park, on the way to Heejoo’s place, he received an urgent call from Jinwoo’s doctor that he couldn’t contact Jinwoo all day. Park detoured and went to the hotel where he found the dead body of Cha. While pounding on door, he remembered Prof Cha’s words, “I have something to take care of. I’ll call you later”

Good. He wouldn’t suspect JInwoo of killing Cha, but the other way around.

He also received a call from the server guy who informed him of Cha’s order to put the server back on for 10 minutes the previous night, as well as Jinwoo’s order to put it on again the following morning because of “unfinished business.”

Therefore, instead of going to Heejoo’s place, Park ended up rushing to the chuch. Tragically, he was 15 hours too late to see Jinwoo alive. (NPC HS, Cha and Seo were terminated 17 hours previously.)

*Why the two hour difference?

credit: silversunkiss’s tumblr

This was a sad scene for me, too. I hope this actor will have bigger roles next time.

HeeJoo joined him later, and they both witnessed the game reset.


That’s as concise as I can get the timeline. Hope this helps.

3 Comments On “Memories of the Alhambra: My Timeline Notes”

  1. Growing Beautifully

    Thanks so much @packmule3. You never fail to amaze me by your meticulous note-taking and memory too. You’ve done the hard work of figuring out the timeline, which does show that some inexplicable time lapses occur. Maybe it was due either to the ‘faulty guesswork/memory’ of Jin Woo who recounts some of his ‘delusions’ or the writer really did not think it mattered so long as the order of events more or less was in place. 😉

    Oh that farewell and ending of NPC Seo scene was one of the most painful goodbyes I ever saw on kdrama. It hit me viscerally through and through.

  2. I want my timeline more precise and organized but with this script everything is hazy. I think the writer meant it to be that way because we were getting Jinwoo’s disjointed accounts after all. He didn’t create a log; he was sifting through his memories for those events that stood out and he tried to stitch those events to make sense of the situation. It’s another reason the title of the kdrama is expository. They were his Memories of Alhambra, and how the visit there altered the course of his life. And time for him passed like an endless stream of days until he was called to action again.

    If you think about it, all the actions we saw were condensed and packed into three rounds.

    The first round: About four days of nonstop action were followed by a lull of undetermined days. He had a drug-induced lull and woke up on Heejoo’s birthday to flee to Barcelona, then to the US.

    Second round: another ~four days of action which ended after he returned to Seoul and was fired. He had an alcohol-induced lull then he “woke” up on Heejoo’s birthday and started his third round.

    Third round: ~three to four days of nonstop action. And then… his “dungeon” time-out. 😂

    I was surprised that City Hunter was only created 25 days earlier. I thought time passed longer than that.

  3. Growing Beautifully

    Yes, I thought that City Hunter would have been around for more than a few months to help him and to level up. I was also surprised that Prof Cha became an ally only a couple of days before he died. I thought he’d run and hide for the longest time. But if it was only a 4 day spate of action, then he hid for only a day or so and came back because of the Doctor’s call. (Did we ever meet that doctor before? He was a surprise character to me).

    Oh, the other thing that making the sign of the cross means is believing in having a ‘shield’ of God’s protection over one, and for believers, it’s a reminder of their baptism when they were first initiated with 3 (and more) signs of the cross. As Jin Woo was not one who was properly initiated into the faith, I don’t think he realised the full implication of making the sign of the cross.

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