[recap] Tree with Deep Roots – Episode 13

Secrets are known, and the rival gains another plus point for themselves. Not from me, obviously, because I’m always rooting the good side. Suddenly, my hate for the Mil-Bon people just increases, as I don’t even understand what is their real intention behind all these things. If Jeong Ki-Joon is aiming to make noblemen the masters of Joseon, why did he killed (through Pyeong) all those scholars? Weren’t them the noblemen too? Now, that’s so irrational for me. Now I’ll just go and look at my amazing Moo Hyul. Hum.



Upon hearing Chae-Yoon screaming her name, So-Yi comes out and faces the teary eyed man. She tries calling him, but nothing comes out of her mouth. They move closer, step by step, to each other. She remembers what he told Sejong about his father and puts everything together. Chae-Yoon asks her if she’s really Dam-Yi, and she nods. He hugs her, tears streaming on their faces.

Sejong is informed about Chae-Yoon’s movement and as he might know where So-Yi is, Moo Hyul sends some guards to trail him. A man informs Scholar Shim about the troop following Chae-Yoon, and they also send some men after him. Also, Jeong Ki-Joon (I’m going to use Ga Ri-On’s real name) sends Mil-Bon’s army to find So-Yi, led by Pyeong.


Near a creek, Chae-Yoon tends So-Yi’s injured foot. He thinks So-Yi lost her ability to talk because of the traumatic experience they had, but she says that’s not the cause. She writes something on his shirt, making him recalls what Ga Ri-On said about So-Yi: something about guilt that made people around her died. Then, he remembers what little Ddol-Bok did: he accused little Dam-Yi of killing his father because of her lack of knowledge in writing. The realization kicks in: he’s the one that caused her to become mute. So-Yi puts her arms around Chae-Yoon, comforting her sobbing childhood friend while reminiscing about the day she couldn’t speak anymore.

While the royal guards are on their way, Chae-Yoon is still upset at himself. So-Yi looks at him from afar, expressing her happiness that he’s still alive. She tries calling him, and her voice comes out. She is taken aback and rises to tell Chae-Yoon, only to be blocked by a sword at her throat. Pyeong finds them first before anyone else.

Sejong orders for the whole royal troop to be dispatched after Chae-Yoon’s whereabouts is confirmed. However, he stops Moo Hyul and changes his mind about something.


Pyeong has the upper hand with So-Yi being captured by him. He wants Chae-Yoon to surrender the Mil-Bon letter to him. Chae-Yoon walks towards him cautiously, holding the important will in his hand but before Pyeong could get it, he holds it near to the fire. He wants Pyeong to release So-Yi first. Pyeong tries to distract him using the pouch and he succeeds. He kicks Chae-Yoon’s hand, sending the will flying u in the air before he catches it. Seizing this opportunity, Pyeong throws out a powder, making Chae-Yoon’s sight hindered. Pyeong strikes to kill him, but only successful to wound him at some parts. So-Yi tries hard to scream Pyeong’s position to Chae-Yoon, and she finally utters a word. Thanks to her, Chae-Yoon manages to dodge his opponent’s attacks and wound him. However, some men arrive, putting his effort to defeat Pyeong to its end.


Pyeong orders the men to kill So-Yi first. Chae-Yoon doesn’t wait too long; he blocks the men with his own body to protect So-Yi. Before the man could do anything, he’s killed by a spear. It’s thrown by Moo Hyul, who’s arrived at the scene with the royal guards. Surprised at this turn of event, Pyeong and his men run away.  Chae-Yoon doesn’t forget the pouch containing his father’s will and quickly picks it up. Moo Hyul doesn’t say anything, instead he bows and the guards make a way for Sejong. He walks towards So-Yi and Chae-Yoon.

Jeong Ki-Joon, together with Scholar Shim and Han, are still waiting for the will to arrive. It’s nearly the time to meet the elders of Mil-Bon. Pyeong and another man are blocked by the royal guards and they involve in a fight.


Chae-Yoon thinks what he should do as he’s very close with Sejong and he looks at his dagger. Sejong looks at them and without any words, he leaves. So-Yi’s voice makes him turn around. He’s surprised to hear So-Yi calling him.

Sejong is deeply touched with her success to find her voice again, and he looks over at Chae-Yoon, acknowledging that it might be because of him. When he and So-Yi return to their original positions, Chae-Yoon tries to explain why he’s there, but Sejong cuts him before he could finish his sentence by calling him Ddol-Bok. Chae-Yoon is stunned for a while. He tries to reach for his dagger, but Moo Hyul is faster than him and blocks him. He retreats.


While Chae-Yoon is looking at him with so much hate and resentment in his eyes, Sejong asks for his forgiveness for causing his father’s death. He understands his grudge towards him and his intention to kill him, but he reminds Chae-Yoon about something that is now important to him: his Dam-Yi. He wants him to forget about killing him and leaves with So-Yi. She is an important person to him, and this is Chae-Yoon’s chance to start a new life together with her, while he will stay alive to finish his work. So-Yi hesitates, but Sejong tells her to live a good life, implying that as a royal command from him before leaving.

Chae-Yoon and So-Yi leaves the place, while being watched by Sejong.


A place had been infected with an epidemic and Sejong was there, together with some officials including Minister Jeong and Minister Jo. He’s angry at the local official who didn’t spread the cure for the disease, but the official already did that by putting up notices around the city. It was the people who didn’t follow what had been told to them.  Unable to hold his curiosity, Sejong walked around the city despite the risk of being infected. He ran into a man pulling a carriage with some dead children on. He grabbed the man’s collar, demanding to know why he didn’t follow the order.


The complained that although there were notices around them, it’s nearly meaningless for them as they couldn’t read anything. Sejong was mad and demanded why the man didn’t even try to learn the characters, which wasn’t that hard. The man responded with a sentence that made Sejong speechless: he hardly spent his time to rest between his working times, how could he find the time to learn all those characters? Sejong said he didn’t sleep that much because of his work, and his anger made the commoners scared. They begged him to save them, sending him to layered memories of people begging him to save them from Taejong’s tyranny. He flinched, his shoulders shaking from those bad memories.


Back at the palace, Sejong shot a resentful look over the inventions lining up on his table. He was still pissed about what happened earlier and blurted out, ”Am I doing something bullshit again?” He then threw up a tantrum, pushing down the replicas and throwing away books, sending the court ladies shrieking in horror, except So-Yi. Minister Jeong entered the room and tried to calm him down, but Sejong didn’t easily cool down. Seeing So-Yi’s stoic, unchanged glance, his anger built up and he ordered everyone to leave, except her.

He began to demand why she didn’t even change over the years after what he told and did for her. He stated what he did on the day Lord Shim On died but soon, he grew impatient after she didn’t say anything. He grabbed So-Yi’s shoulders, accused her of doing nothing to improve her life, like a small kid. So-Yi went towards the table after she was released. She scribbled something on the paper and passed it to Sejong. On the paper, she told him to educate them, the people if he thought that they were still children like her.


They sat around a table, where Sejong presented her with a note pad for So-Yi to write all her thoughts and what she’s trying to say to others. He told her about his idea of creating a simple writing system that everyone could learn. It’s also a respond to her suggestion to raise the children, and after listening to his train of thoughts, she wrote a character that translate, “Yes”.


They started to work on the characters, first finding words that had the same initial sounds. Sejong gave out some of the words, while So-Yi and Minister Jeong finding other words and Duk-Geum sketching the words for further references. Minister Jeong admitted that it’s a hard work and Sejong mused over the work that would surely take a long time to be completed. Upon hearing his words, So-Yi started to write on the papers non-stop. Her action called for others’ attentions on her and Sejong had a look on what she had been writing. It turned out that she listed all the words that had the same initial sounds as cat in Korean (almost the same as letter ‘k’).


Minister Jeong was amazed at her skills to remember so many words and the fact that they would be able to finish it faster made him happy, while Sejong teased him about So-Yi’s skills that’s better than scholars like him and threatened to have his salary lower than hers. She stifled a laugh, but Sejong caught this and chided her. He smiled, happy to have someone like her under him. He warned Minister Jeong to work diligently to avoid his pay from being cut and left, smile spread across his face and So-Yi’s.

Cue to the present, where Sejong is alone in the room, clutching the paper that So-Yi wrote her respond on.


Minister Lee is prepared to go to the meeting with Jeong Ki-Joon and before that, he makes Minister Jang prepares to attack, whether the Mil-Bon letter will be there or not. Some people are guarding the shrine, where the meeting is going to be held. Pyeong and his man are still on their way to send the will to Ki-Joon. Meanwhile, Ki-Joon walks towards the meeting place with Scholar Shim and Han when someone approaches him and makes him turns around.

The elders are still waiting but they are complaining why the Root is quite late. They are inclining towards the decision that he doesn’t have the will in his hand. Suddenly, Jeong Ki-Joon arrives.

Minister Jang reminds the men with him, who are hiding outside the shrine, to strike once they got the sign from Minister Lee.


Ki-Joon begins to ask some questions about the real intentions behind Mil-Bon, making the elders sure that he doesn’t even have the will right now. Minister Jang, however, has been approached by someone from behind: he’s the quiet, messy man that attacked Cho-Tak and Park Po. The elders begin to press Ki-Joon into showing the will to them, but he doesn’t do anything. Suddenly, Minister Jang’s unconscious body is thrown into the room, silencing everyone. Ki-Joon throws the will to their faces and brings out another piece of paper that contains their signatures, a proof of their participation as Mil-Bon. He begins taking it out to Minister Lee, listing out the things that he should have done to limit the king’s power. He emphasizes the power that he has and all of them should comply with Mil-Bon and his intention.

Prince Gwangpyeong and Minister Jeong receive the news about Sejong sending So-Yi away and they wonder what will happen to their alphabets making process. Sejong decides to start anew.


Chae-Yoon and So-Yi are sleeping in an empty house. Chae-Yoon wakes up first, patting So-Yi’s head as he recalls what has happened. He heads out and starts preparing for breakfast. So-Yi stirs, looking at him silently while he’s happily cleaning the utensils.

Jeong Ki-Joon finally knows about Chae-Yoon being Ddol-Bok. He admits that it is an interesting twist of fate.

So-Yi and Chae-Yoon gets ready for breakfast. So-Yi finds a chestnut inside her bowl, and she eats it silently. Soon, tears streaming down her cheeks. Chae-Yoon looks at her, stuffing his mouth with food as he cries. They eat between their sobs, silence between them.


They go out for a walk, where So-Yi’s mind flies to the palace, collecting her memories with Sejong. It was the time when they first started to identify how to group the alphabets, in which it took a short time for Sejong to find out about when So-Yi was around. He was so happy with the progress. Chae-Yoon, on the other hand, laughs at his imagination where he’s living comfortably and happily with So-Yi. It’s his first time to be thinking of something besides his revenge. So-Yi bursts out his happy bubble, telling him that they should return to the palace.


Chae-Yoon is angry as So-Yi is taking the King’s side, as if she’s one of the officials and she even share the great cause that Sejong is doing. So-Yi tells him about the writing that she is working on and he thinks she is doing it because of their fathers’ deaths that were caused of their lack of knowledge in writing, but she isn’t. She says if she knew more, she would knew that the little court lady lied to them and she won’t sent Chae-Yoon’s father to his merciless death. Chae-Yoon hates to hear So-Yi praising the king that makes everyone but his life happy. He accuses her of forgetting her father’s death, but she’s actually doing it as atonement for her mistakes to everyone, including him. They part ways, continuing to believe what they believed like before.


At the empty house, Chae-Yoon stares at the place where So-Yi sat before with mixed feelings. He goes out to finally read his father’s will, only to be upset over what his father said in the will. He decides to take his own life and holds his dagger on his throat. But then, he stops.

So-Yi has arrived at the palace. She wants to finish what she has started although Sejong tells her to go. She informs Sejong that his second judge for his writing is coming soon, if he waits for him patiently.

Sejong asks Moo Hyul to remove all the guards that might hinder Chae-Yoon. Although Moo Hyul hesitates, he agrees to follow the king’s order. Sejong wants to personally convince Chae-Yoon, per So-Yi’s suggestion. Chae-Yoon arrives and enters the palace without any hindrance, although the guards are planted everywhere. He walks in and steps inside the room. Moo Hyul ad So-Yi look at him nervously.


Chae-Yoon: Yi-Do.

Sejong: You’ve come.

[END of episode 13]

What are you doing, dear King Sejong? I know, he’s aware of Chae-Yoon’s killer instinct, but still, he ignores what Moo Hyul says about the possible danger with him being in such a close proximity with him. I’m on the same boat as Moo Hyul, worrying about his safety. But I’m also amazed at this wise king, who’s willing to put his own life on line only because he has faith in Chae-Yoon. If he has earned my respect for being a thoughtful king, he’s also one great king in terms of believing his people.

What I like about this episode is how Chae-Yoon’s mind works. He might seem to be one complicated man when he’s judged from his past and his changing emotions, but he’s actually a simple-minded man. I can’t help but adore him to bits when he fantasizes how his life would be, together with his Dam-Yi. To think that they could be living like that if they’re far away from the palace is just heartbreaking. He’s driven by his revenge, but when So-Yi appears in front of him, he’s realistic enough to think of the living more than the dead, thus giving him the strength to leave with So-Yi. But when she leaves him for the palace, his original intention resurfaces, giving him back his motivation to face Sejong for real.

Behind these two great men, there’s a great woman behind: So-Yi. She deserves to be respected for she has such a great authority when it comes to giving Sejong any suggestions. If she’s born a man, she would be one of the ministers. Although her character is a fictional one, I can’t help but wonder, was there really a court lady like her, actively involved in the process of making Hangul?

2 thoughts on “[recap] Tree with Deep Roots – Episode 13

  1. Just discovered your recaps for this show! The scholars and the ministers are two different groups of people, and it seems like Sejong is the one who started giving scholars power and influence. Milbon’s role is to insert their own people as ministers in the government, so they can control the country. When the scholars have power, it threatens Milbon’s power as a result (since the scholars often oppose the ministers). That being said, Milbon has infiltrated the scholars now too 😛

    Milbon doesn’t dislike Sejong specifically, but they realize that he is mortal and that the next king may be terrible. That’s why they try to keep their hand in the government long term, with as much power given to the ministers as possible (as opposed to the king, the scholars, or the people).

    It’s one of my favorite sageuks ever so far, and I was not expecting it!

    1. I too, never thought I’d be so addicted to such a serious-toned sageuk 🙂

      Now I realized what you said is true,but I totally don’t like Jeong Ki-Joon / Garion’s approach in controlling the king. He looks like he’s abusing his power as the Root/ Bonwon to attack Sejong personally, probably due to his own revenge on him and not actually trying to gain an actual control on the cout. Maybe the fact that his plan would always work no matter what happens pissed me a little bit, and also the murders that he ordered Pyeong to do.

      I hope Jeong Ki-Joon would retreat and face Sejong, admitting that the alphabets are good. I keep remembering how Sejong wished for Jeong Ki-Joon to be placed inside Jip-Hyun Jeon, making him one of the scholars inside the hall. Perhaps being a scholar and working for a good cause beside the king would be better and he woould be able to look good in my eyes after all those crime and tricks he did 😀

      Can’t believe it’s 16 episodes already, and 8 episodes before it ends..

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