[recap] Tree with Deep Roots – Episode 17

Here we go again, the moments where Sejong is in dire need of some time for him to ponder about his actions. He’s again challenged by his rival, the Mil-Bon, and his progress is somehow halted for the meantime. He’s way more composed compared to the first time he experienced the big blow from the successive murders. I’m quite relieved he’s staying sane nowadays, although I’m a bit sad because the sane, not out-of-place Sejong means no more room for the young version of him to sneak around and mock his ideology.

At times like this, he looks like someone need to comfort him. Oh, Sejong and his lonely self…



Jeong Ki-Joon sends his man to meet Minister Lee, while Sejong is anticipating his meeting with Minister Lee and Prime Minister. The two ministers have entered the palace, ready to meet Sejong. Lucky for the messenger man, he meets Minister Jang and passes the urgent message from the Root. Minister Lee is just about to enter the meeting place when suddenly, Minister Jang comes to him. He relays the message to cancel the deal with the king to Minister Lee while Prime Minister looks at them from afar.


They still meet Sejong, after all. Before Sejong could give his decision upon the matter, Minister Lee cuts him, saying that he can’t persuade the officials to agree with the publication of the letters. Sejong looks at him, trying his best to suppress his anger towards his minister with the sudden change in decision. Minister Lee asks for his royal order to gather the officials for the royal examination.

Minister Lee receives the next order from Mil-Bon to bring the topic for the royal exam, with his eyes full of questions for the reason behind these sudden changes. Prime Minister gives his thought about Sejong’s idea of Mil-Bon’s involvement in this matter, saying that it’s not impossible as Mil-Bon and the aristocrats are each other’s voices.


Jeong Ki-Joon thinks it’s the time for them to request for Lee Bang-Ji’s help, and with Chae-Yoon on their side, it’ll be easier. He’s quite amazed with Lee Bang-Ji’s willingness to have a disciple, and moreover, it’s Chae-Yoon. Yoon Pyeong is to find him and tell him about Chae-Yoon’s decision to join them. He predicts Lee Bang-Ji will come after hearing that. Jeong Ki-Joon is quite surprised to learn about Chae-Yoon’s wish to kill the king.

Sejong isn’t amused with the sudden turns in the situation, where he possibly could get the upper hand in this matter if he succeeded. He continues to scoff in front of Moo Hyul and Minister Jeong. So-Yi and the other court ladies stay still, afraid of Sejong’s fury.


Still confused with Jeong Ki-Joon’s actions, Minister Lee takes his opportunity to ask him himself when he goes to pass to him the royal examination topic. Ki-Joon asks him back: what does he think make the aristocrats the leaders? He stammers, in which Han answers: it’s their knowledge in Chinese writings and their ability to understand Confucianism that makes them able to lead the nation. According to Jeong Ki-Joon, writings are what make them the noblemen and through the examinations, they possess the power to rule. He could see what Sejong is going to ask in return for his Jip-Hyun Jeon: departments to enhance the usage of his letters and even using it in the exams. Minister Lee thinks it is impossible for a writing system to be easily used by the people, but Jeong Ki-Joon admits that Sejong’s creation is going to make the impossible things possible.


Sejong is still pondering why Mil-Bon suddenly halted their attacks on Jip-Hyun Jeon. Symbolising their battle with Mil-Bon like a sword fight, Moo Hyul predicts something even bigger is coming to them after this: the counterattack after their missed blow to the opponent.

Scholar Shim and Minister Lee demands to know what is the meaning behind his words, but his reply bugs Minister Lee and wants the letters to be shown to them, so that they can judge how good they are. Ki-Joon hesitates, as those letters, if spread to the commoners; will disrupt the order of Joseon. They will become more powerful with the knowledge they will gain easily, although the effect can’t be seen immediately. He doesn’t want to let Joseon falls into the hands of uneducated people and finally ruined. Minister Lee is still not buying what he is saying, and Ki-Joon emphasizes the reason why he’s doing it: it’s the matter of life and death of the noblemen like him.


So-Yi gives her thought to Sejong about the possibility of Mil-Bon to know about the letters, in which Sejong is contemplating whether to believe it or not. As for Jeong Ki-Joon, he’s quite upset with Minister Lee lack of sense towards the betterment of the noblemen in the future, which hinders him from seeing the possible outcomes of the promulgation of the new writing system. For him, the writing skills itself is a powerful tool, and for uneducated  people to be able to learn the writing in such a short time without proper education, that might be a threat to their power in the current system.


Minister Lee is still mad at Jeong Ki-Joon, whom he thinks is going insane after living as a lowlife these days. He voices out his anger to Scholar Shim, who’s still willing to have a drink with him after his unsuccessful attempt to make Scholar Shim into one of his own men. Scholar Shim is (as usual) on their leader’s side, agreeing on what he had foreseen. The power is going to be shared among the noblemen and commoners, and Minister Lee reminds him the real reason behind Mil-Bon is ensure the power to stay in their hands.


Chae-Yoon learns from So-Yi about the recent development and he’s pretty surprised with the sudden halt of the deal. So-Yi is still thinking that it might be because the Mil-Bon has known their letters. Chae-Yoon doesn’t think the letters won’t simply make them the powerful ones, but maybe their opponent isn’t thinking like that and Sejong doesn’t think the matter would end just like that. Sejong sits in the dark alone, while Jeong Ki-Joon is busy writing the next order. And the next thing, the order is already in a man’s hand, heading towards Sungkyunkwan. The day for the royal government examination is finally here.

The examination ends, and Sejong is to judge the scripts submitted by the scholars. He reads them one by one, clearly unsatisfied with the scripts until he finds the one that he thinks has brilliant insights shown through his essay. He picks the top scorer for the examination, and the ministers agree with his decision.


The top scorer, Seo Young, is to be presented with a royal drink from Sejong. The ministers and Jip-Hyun Jeon scholars look at him, clearly pleased to have such a great talent joining them. Seo Yong is asked about his family, in which he starts to undone his ceremonial topcoat and hat. He shows his real clothes underneath and introduces himself as a slave from Banchon. The ministers’ admiring gazes turn into hateful glances once he reveals his real status. Sejong is surprised and stands there, while the ministers are fussing about the man. Seo Yong tells Sejong his wish that has flourished when the king is rumoured to create a writing system. Sejong realizes that this is the counterattack from Mil-Bon.


Everyone inside the palace is gossiping about the slave who took the first place in the exam, and that matter makes some of them recall the same incident in which Sejong took in Jang Young-Shil for his talent in invention. Something like this: a slave getting the first place isn’t an acceptable act, and Prime Minister tells the ministers to shut away this matter. It’s going to be settled and Seo Young is to be sent to Tamra Island (current Jeju). Minister Lee can’t shake his curiosity about Jeong Ki-Joon’s plan this time.

Scholar Choi grabs this opportunity to strengthen his objection towards the new letters, and what has happened proves that with the creation of letters, even a slave could be their Prime Minister. Sejong isn’t the least comforted although the slave has been punished, as he knows there’s more to come.


At a bookshop in Banchon,  a Sungkyunkwan student named Park Se-Myung vents his anger at another slave working there. Apparently, the slave Seo Young worked there to copy the books for the students, but he grabbed that opportunity to study. Enraged with the humiliation the slave brought to the noblemen, Se-Myung along with other students, proceeds outside to burn all the books in the store while lecturing the slaves. Chae-Yoon and Cho Tak witness this from afar, completely amazed with the murderous gaze from Se-Myung. Chae-Yoon wonders why such a trivial thing like slaves knowing to write can bring out such a big fuss over it.

Sejong can feel the terror felt by the noblemen that made them furious with the current happening, driven by the fear of losing their power with the publication of the letters. As it is nearly impossible, Sejong decides to use another method to publicize it, but before that, his emotion also needs to be prepared.


The student Park Se-Myung meets Jeong Ki-Joon, where he is upset over the matter that can makes their Joseon ruined. Jeong Ki-Joon prompts for his answer, and he says he’s ready for something.

Chae-Yoon, Cho Tak, and Park Po are walking around Banchon, and something sends Chae-Yoon and Cho Tak running away before they run into Se-Myung. They apologize and he leaves, but they can’t shake the suspicion around that young man with his abnormal blood thirst that they felt emitting from him. Chae-Yoon decides to follow him and he arrives at the jetty. Se-Myung meets his friends and at the same time,Seo-Young is going to be sent to Tamra Island. Chae-Yoon tries to mave closer, but he’s blocked by other students. Suddenly, Se-Myung walks towards the slave and stabs him.


Wasting no more time, this time with Park Po and Cho Tak, Chae-Yoon goes to Sungkyunkwan to arrest Se-Myung but gets blocked by the students. Before he can enter, they hear a commotion outside Sungkyunkwan and decide to check it out.

Se-Myung is standing on the fort in front of Banchon, with the slaves of Banchon gathering around. He admits his crime of killing Seo Young and before the guards could block him, he takes his own life by jumping down from the fort. He falls to the ground, meeting his death. The slaves scream in fear, while Chae-Yoon freezes. He stares at the dead student, while Jeong Ki-Joon looks at him. Chae-Yoon walks away, still deep in thought about the student and the writing. He walks around the castle while replaying what the people around him told him about the letters. He looks at Sejong from afar, recalling the king’s words to him.


Chae-Yoon meets So-Yi and he immediately asks her thoughts about effects the letters would bring to them. She admits that she felt happy when Sejong first thought about creating letters. However, as they are nearly completed, she begins to feel uneasy, wondering whether the upper class will like such an easy writing system. Chae-Yoon also never thought the process to publication is going to be as hard as this, but he’s still determined to catch Mil-Bon. So-Yi’s mention about Minister Jo sparks some memories about his teacher, and Chae-Yoon gets a clue. He promises to tell So-Yi about his wish once he catches Jeong Ki-Joon and walks away triumphantly with his mind focused on his teacher, Lee Bang-Ji.


A man is busy pasting the Mil-Bon signs around the town of Hamgildo when another man grabs his collar, demanding to know where Yoon Pyung is. Lee Bang-Ji has appeared. He meets with Pyeong, but he refuses to be regarded as a Mil-Bon and Pyeong’s teacher. Pyeong conveys the message from the Root, persuading him to join their cause. He mentions about Chae-Yoon joining them, and Lee Bang-Ji looks at him with a flicker of surprise.

Chae-Yoon meets Moo Hyul on the next day, directly asking him about Lee Bang-Ji. He admits that Lee Bang-Ji was his teacher, and Moo Hyul can’t help but think it is an ill-fated encounter of them.  Chae-Yoon doesn’t know a thing about his teacher’s past, and Moo Hyul tells him bits of what happened to Lee Bang-Ji. Chae-Yoon also tells him about Pyeong’s skills, and that means Jeong Ki-Joon might have encountered Lee Bang-Ji himself. He wants Moo Hyul to tell him everything about the incident. Jeong Ki-Joon, on the other hand, is sure Lee Bang-Ji will come to them after he hears about Chae-Yoon.


The story about Lee Bang-Ji is told by Moo Hyul: someone distracted him to leave Jeong Do-Jeon’s side by kidnapping a woman he loved, who also happened to be Jeong Do-Jeon’s woman. He hesitated between saving the woman or his master, but the woman stabbed herself to make him go to Sambong’s side. He was late, and his hesitation killed the persons he wished to protect. Burdened by his guilt, Lee Bang-Ji disappeared. Moo Hyul himself was one of the guards on duty on that night, but to Chae-Yoon’s surprise, Minister Jo whom he thought to know fewer details about the night was actually the man who distracted Lee Bang-Ji.

Chae-Yoon prepares to leave in order to find his teacher, while Cho Tak thinks he’s going to leave forever. Meanwhile, his teacher is at the spot where the woman he loved was killed, and a man reports about him to Minister Jo.


Lee Bang-Ji goes to Jeong Ki-Joon’s place, facing the excited Root. He’s no ordinary man, as he can senses Gaepayi hiding, ready to fight him if he does anything. He doesn’t want to get involved with things revolving around the noblemen, but Jeong Ki-Joon is poking his old scar, talking about his betrayal. Chae-Yoon is prepared to leave, but then, he decides to stop by at Ga Ri-On’s place for some food.

He admits his mistakes, but Lee Bang-Ji has completed the deal to make Pyeong an assassin as his atonement, but Jeong Ki-Joon doesn’t think of that easily. He wants the warrior to join forces with them, and he tells him that Chae-Yoon doesn’t know the truth about him yet. He comes clean about Chae-Yoon’s real target for the revenge is the king, and that is a big surprise for Lee Bang-Ji.Chae-Yoon arrives, and Jeong Ki-Joon sends Pyeong away. He invites Chae-Yoon inside and Lee Bang-Ji is still there. Chae-Yoon greets the guest cheerfully, still not realizing who that person is.


He steals a glance towards the guest, bringing him and the guest in front of him into a state of shock.  Jeong Ki-Joon looks at them with full anticipation, a wicked grin plastered on his face.

[END of episode 17]

Can someone just help me to stop him from grinning? Thanks in advance.

I might be one of the viewers who hate Jeong Ki-Joon and his endless evil grin, but in this episode, I learn something about him. Just like Sejong, he loves his Joseon so much. But unlike Sejong, who’d like to see the nation changes for the betterment of its people, he prefers for the great country to stay like it is, even in hundred years to come, even when he’s long passed away. He doesn’t think of his descendants or anyone, no, he’s solely wishing for Joseon’s well-being. Sejong, on the other hand, thinks about his people’s well-being, and he knows the nature of the nation. Even the system won’t change, the people will, and they will cause the system to change itself.

Chae-Yoon is like a child who’s trapped between two grown men’s argument. They are clearly living in the same world like him, but like a child he is,he’ll never understand the way they view the world. Perhaps that’s why Lee Bang-Ji doesn’t like the idea of getting him involved in Mil-Bon’s matter, as the way he views the world is very simple, unlike those noblemen.

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