The history bits delve into the weekly issues presented in the drama and with Secret Door already at its halfway mark, things could only go awry and worse for Yeongjo and Yi Sun. As much as I am dreading the ending, these little things about the historical background of the characters distract me a bit from the impending heartbreak. History presents its complicated points and the endless possibility of interpretations in these articles, so I hope that this will be an eye-opener for us, learning about other’s interpretation of the history. After all…
There is not just one truth out there. Everyone involved carries their own form of the truth.
Sado was a victim; in fact, he was a victim of unfairness. This was an undeniable fact, but there was something we had overlooked: we should take a look at the reason behind his failure as well as his own self. He was a victim and at the same time a defeated man, but we were only shown the facts that highlighted his defeat. He was not in an unfavourable position from the beginning; he was actually a failure who fell out of his initially favourable position. That was the reason why we need to take a look at the reason why he ended up as a failure.
Why was Sado considered a failure?
Sado acted as a regent for 13 years, leading the management of government affairs in the king’s stead. His held immense power, surpassing the current Korea’s Prime Minister and even the USA’s Vice President. However, being a regent was not as simple as it seems to be: a regent had to stand against the powerful officials, fighting for a chance of reform. Although Sado was not a king, he used his 13 years as a regent, exerting his power to push through with his idea of reform, being one of the few reformists in the history. In the history, (among the revolutionists and reformists, who possessed the strong desire for reforms instead of those who changed the society,) there were not really much of figures who dared to challenge the powerful ministers rather easily like Sado. He was, in a sense, a lucky person.
However, despite the luck that he had, he did not only fail to achieve his goal; of all places, he died while being locked in a rice chest; defeated in such an absurd fashion. The luck bestowed upon him could not be put into proper use. That was the reason why he only had little contribution for the history before leaving this world forever. The cause of Sado’s failure might not be as great as expected, and from our point of view, it could be a trivial reason. The cause of the failure could be attributed to one thing, which could be traced from the phrase ‘a failed son’.
Sado’s relationship with his father was not a normal father and son’s relationship. The relationship could be regarded as one between a father and his son, as well as between a king and his subject. These two men were both striving for the Great Harmony policy, and with Yeongjo lending his power to Sado when his son was acting as a regent, these two could also be regarded as political comrades. Thus, based on his position alone, Sado could be regarded as a ‘successful son’ if we were to attribute the success in terms of political success. If he became a successful son, the people beneath him would be regarded as successful retainers, while Yeongjo would be seen as a successful comrade. The connection with the harmony policy is something that anyone can think of logically. But then, the prince ended up being a failed son, with his failure in politics being the main factor contributing to his failure.
13 years as a Prince-Regent..that was not the problem
Seven years after losing his firstborn son Crown Prince Hyojang, Yeongjo put all his hope on his young son, the newly born Crown Prince Sado. The king wanted to become a strict father rather than an attentive father to his son, in order to make a strong heir out of Sado. Hence, only 100 days after he was born, Sado was forced to leave his parents’ side to be raised by the court attendants and eunuchs. For the sake of raising a great heir, Sado had to undergo special education since he was young. The prince grew up to become a great child. According to his growth record in the palace documents, he could point out the four directions (North, South, East, West) when he was only seven months old, and by the time he reached two years old, he was able to write 60 characters. The document cited was no other than Hanjungnok, the memoirs penned by Sado’s wife, Lady Hyegyeong.
The young Sado did not only able to pronounce the letters; he could already understand the meaning behind the characters at such a young age. In Hanjungnok, it was stated that when he was three years old, Sado would pick the cookies with the characters ‘fortune’ and ’longevity’ among those presented to him since he understood the good meaning behind the characters. He did not only grow up to become a bright son but also a righteous son. The proof could be traced back when Sado was ten years old. At that time, the royal affine was in discord with Noron regarding an issue. The royal affine seek Yeongjo’s help, with the hope to use the king’s influence over the matter since they were on the same side. Hence, Yeongjo’s view would be the same as the affine. In the modern history of South Korea, there were times when the children of the President would hide their father’s wealth and shielded their father’s mistakes, and there were none who would dare to criticize their father, just like what Sado did. It was something that no one of the same age could do, and it was impossible for those President’s children to match the level of Sado, who was a bright and righteous child.
But then, the discord between Sado and his father started to appear after he was appointed as the regent. Although he received the right as a regent, he was well aware of and respected the fact that his father still held the absolute authority over his own judgment. He made important decisions for the state affairs only after listening to his father’s suggestion, instead of randomly making decision on his own. This was the reason why the problematic father and son relationship could not be attributed to the relationship between the king and his regent. During his term as a regent, Crown Prince Sado attempted to build a strong royal authority while keeping the special powers held by the conservatives in check, leading to a fair political system. This led to Sado being criticized and put under close observation by the conservatives.
The discord between Sado and the conservatives was not only affecting the Crown Prince alone, but also Yeongjo. Even with his influence as the one sitting in the position of the king, the matter was still out of his reach. Although he was the one who pursued the Great Harmony policy, he was still aware that butting heads against the wistful conservatives was something he should not do at that moment. Plus, what Sado did at that time was a potential burden for Jeongjo’s political regime. The problem affected Yeongjo’s attitude towards Sado, which sparked his dissatisfaction, discontent, and disappointment towards his son. Since then, there were many instances where Yeongjo interfered in Sado’s affairs. From a strict father, he turned into a father who condemned and nagged his son harshly.
The son who could not surpass his father: Crown Prince Sado
Although it was not an easy thing to achieve, the most successful son is when he is able to surpass his own father. One who is stuck is the father’s mold and unable to surpass the father’s limitation is not a good son. In the end, the excellent son Sado could not surpass his scary father. Thus, he could not stand against his father. He could not even dream of having his father as the supporter for his political goal; instead, his father became the source of his stress. Although one cannot meet his father’s expectation, he can still try to become a son that can be considered successful, that is through carrying out the task given by the father faithfully. However, this was also something that Sado could not achieve. He continued to be chided by his father, leading to Sado trying to avoid his father at any cost. The best way he could think of in order for him not to run into his father was to stay in his room; hence there were many days where Sado would fake his illness for that reason.
This was interpreted by his father as Sado being lazy and negligent in offering his greetings. In the 8th day of 11th month of his 33rd year of reign (18th December 1757), in the Annals of King Yeongjo, the king stated, “Since the seventh month, the Crown Prince had failed to offer his greetings to Me.” The complaint even made it into the passage, but it was not the end. Sado continued to avoid his father in the following months as he went on a travel to Pyungan-do without his father’s knowledge. This was a well-known story, which led Sado into a complicated situation under the suspicion of high treason. Sado was already 20 years old at that time. It is an age where the people today are just starting their social life but in for someone of that age in Joseon Dynasty, it was a bit late for him to start his life. It was an era where sons as young as 10 years old would be farming on the land, thus the sight of a grown-up, 20 year-old sun avoiding and running away from his own father was a bit unusual.
In addition, Sado could not seem to maintain a good conversation with his father. The passage in which Yeongjo complained about the greetings was not something he said directly to Sado. It was his lament uttered in front of the ministers. Yeongjo’s words that should be said to Sado were instead voiced out by him in front of the ministers and this reflected the abnormal relationship these two shared between them. It was not a simple father and son relationship, but a king and his regent and at the same time, political partners. This was not the only reason why they could not communicate well with each other, as Sado himself avoided Yeongjo, to the point of running away from his own father. He did not only fail to become a son who surpassed his father, but also a son who could not accommodate himself to his father.
The failed son..it was where the downfall started
His failed relationship with his father did not only destroy the ties with his father; it also caused Sado’s mental health to be ruined. He could not find a good way to release the stress he experienced from the relationship. The details about his mental health were recorded in both Lady Hyegyeong’s Hanjungnok and Annals of King Yeongjo, which was compiled by Jeongjo. However, the latter was a more credible source, since Lady Hyegyeong used her memoirs to emphasize that her family had nothing to do with Sado’s death and no one could guess how Sado’s mental illness had been exaggerated. As for the annals compiled by Jeongjo, there was nothing of such in the document.
Sado’s mental illness was acknowledged to a certain degree. In the entry of 4th July 1762, it introduced the regret felt by Sado after he killed the court attendants and the eunuchs. Looking at what happened; it could be that because of the stress caused by his father, Sado lost his senses and released his anger towards the court attendants and the eunuchs. His failed relationship with Yeongjo eventually led Sado into experiencing mental breakdown, which later caused his political collapse. His illness brought on the attacks from the conservatives, who started off with getting rid of his supporters. In the end, Yeongjo’s tacit agreement with the conservatives led to the tragedy in which Sado met his demise in the rice chest on the eighth day of the same month.
Sado was indeed a wronged and pitiful person. He was once a bright and righteous man but ended up as a figure of failure in politics. He dreamed of a great reform and that dream could had been fulfilled, if not for his defeat in vain. The reason can be traced using the truth behind the phrase ‘failed son’.
In Annyeong-dong, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do, there were two royal tombs: one was where Crown Prince Sado and his wife were interred, Yungneung; and the other one was Jeongjo and his queen’s tomb, Geolleung. They were commonly referred to as Yunggeolleung, a combination of the two royal tombs’ names. Sado, who died in 1762, was posthumously honoured as a king in 1899 by Gojong. His tomb was also upgraded with regard to his position as a king: from the median Hyeollyung-won to Yungneung. The tombs for the members of the Joseon’s royal family were classified from the lowest (myo), the medium (won), and the most prestigious (neung).
When one enters the complex of Yunggeollung, he can feel the family’s love present in the atmosphere. The father, Sado, who met his demise in a rice chest at the age of 28, and his son, Jeongjo, who spent his whole life restoring his father’s honour; these two men lied together with their respective wives in the complex.
But then, among the four people interred there, one of them is probably asking, “Why am I lying over here?” while resting uncomfortably there. Perhaps, that person would prefer to leave the place and had a separate tomb. That person was Sado’s wife, Lady Hyegyeong (1735~1816). Perhaps, the fact that she is resting beside Sado is an appalling, creepy thing for her.
The trembling Lady Hyegyeong, facing the harmful interest of Noron and the royal affine
Chul-ga-oe-in (출가외인): a married woman is similar to a stranger to her own family. This saying did not have any impact on both Lady Hyegyeong and her own family. Marrying Sado at the age of 10, Lady Hyegyeong voiced her critics against the conservatives, namely the royal affine and the Noron, while her clan (Pungsan Hong) also faced difficulties because of those people. Unhappy with her husband, she chose to live as Hong Bong-han’s daughter rather than living her life as Crown Prince Sado’s wife. In the drama Secret Door, Lady Hyegyeong is being portrayed as the wife who criticizes her husband when he gets involved with dangerous acts, but she still protect her husband, no matter what happens.
However, the real Lady Hyegyeong might be someone who lived in fear due to the interference of the conservatives. That was probably why she did not mind becoming her family’s spy, reporting every movement of her husband to her family. Even after getting married, she became an important figure of her own family.
When her husband was locked in the rice chest and died, Lady Hyegyeong did play a role in the tragedy. She gave the consent to her husband’s murder through implicit agreement as a condition to secure her son’s position as the nation’s heir, plus blocking Jeongjo’s effort to recover Sado’s tarnished reputation. In light of Sado’s downfall, she took Yi San with her and ran to Yeongjo, begging for help. She was then sent out of the palace, bringing Yi San with her. It was a well-known fact that Jeongjo, who took over the throne later, admired and loved his father, Crown Prince Sado. One of his main goals during his reign was to restore his father’s honou, proving how important Sado was to the king. Jeongjo, who found out that her mother played an important role behind his father’s death, was troubled in his mother’s stead.
After he became the king, Jeongjo had all the key figures behind his father’s death killed. He even ordered death sentence for his maternal granduncle, Hong In-han, plus his maternal family, the Pungsan Hong clan, was practically ruined. Jeongjo showed no generosity in his effort to get rid of the people who caused his father’s death. However, he could not do anything when it came to his own mother. He could not possibly charge his own mother with that offense, plus it was impossible for him to do it personally to the person who gave birth to him. The only thing Jeongjo wished for was for his mother to reflect on and apologized for her mistakes, thinking that it would be the same thing the dead Sado would have asked for if he was still alive. But then, it was not easy for the king to express his thoughts. There were several instances he wanted to say it out loud but fearing that it might be insulting for her mother, he could not bring himself to say it.
But then, it was not the end for Jeongjo’s effort. He made the decision to force the apology out of Lady Hyegyeong indirectly. In the same year of his ascension to the throne (1777), Jeongjo erected a building on the highest hill in Changgyeong Palace for his mother with the name Jakyung Hall. Although the bulding is no longer there in the palace ground, the sign where it once stood is there. If one visit the place, he will find out what kind of building was visible from there, showing the real reason why Jeongjo chose the location for the building. From the pavilion, the backyard of Seoul National University Hospital was visible. There once stood Gyeongmo Palace, where Crown Prince Sado’s ancestral shrine was situated. Jeongjo was hoping that each time Lady Hyegyeong entered the hall, she would feel something when she looked towards the shrine.
Jeongjo’s Aim for Constant Remembrance of Sado
Lady Hyegyeong saw her own husband, Sado, as her political opponent. Although she was not directly involved in the tragedy, she did take part in Sado’s murder. Thus, Sado became ‘a memory she did not want to remember’ to Lady Hyegyeong. She constructed Sado’s ‘Memoirs of a Murderer’ based on her memory, at the same time making herself appear guilty about the matter. That was why Lady Hyegyeong might be mentally tortured at the thought of Sado each time she opened the door, just like what Jeongjo intended for her. However, Jeongjo’s torture for her mother did not end there. He planned something on the 60th birthday celebration of Lady Hyegyeong. The celebration held at Hwaseong, Gyeonggi-do, where Sado’s grave was situated, held the same purpose like Jakyung Hall. Perhaps, Jeongjo wanted to say this line so badly to his mother, “Mother, on a joyous day like this, why don’t you think about Father more?”
On her way to the Hwaseong Fortress riding the palanquin, Jeongjo’s intention might had crossed Lady Hyegyeong’s mind and she might had felt bitter about it. She might be smiling but she was burning inside. Perhaps, that was the reason why after her birthday celebration, she started to write diligently for her memoirs Hanjungnok in the same year. The running theme in the memoirs is her stating the fact that her household had nothing to do with Sado’s death, putting the blame on the Crown Prince’s mental illness. Just like how she silently stood against her son’s pressure, Lady Hyegyeong silently defended herself through the memoirs.
That was how the mother and son pairing were involved in a silent war throughout their lives. The son trapped the mother using the father as he acted like nothing happened, while the mother rejected the trap set by the son. In the end, there was only one winner in the fight and the son won. Despite the strong pressure imposed by her son, Lady Hyegyeong ignored it and tried to get rid of Sado’s shade she’s been living under all this while, but she still failed in the end. 16 year after her son, Jeongjo, passed away, Lady Hyegyeong died in the first month of 1816. Then, her grandson Sunjo decided to get her body interred in the same tomb as Crown Prince Sado. It was probably the thing she was most uncomfortable of, but she ended up being buried together with her husband.
Lady Hyegyeong, ended up being buried together with Crown Prince Sado
According to various encyclopedias and theses as reference, Lady Hyegyeong’s date of death was recorded as 15th December 1815. The actual recorded date was using the lunar calendar, on the 15th day of the 12th month of Sunjo’s 15th year of reign. This record being in lunar calendar might have been overlooked by some people, mistaking it as the actual date. When the date is converted into solar calendar, the real date is 13th January 1816. The reason for Sunjo to bury Lady Hyegyeong together with Sado was because of a message left behind by Jeongjo. When he was relocating his father’s tomb to Hwaseong in 1789, 11 years before his death, Jeongjo made a site on the left of his father’s tomb for another person. It was the place he prepared for his mother’s resting place.
Lady Hyegyeong’s tomb was not far away from Sado’s tomb, situated just next to each other. There was no law dictating that married couples had to be buried together, hence it was purely Jeongjo’s intention to make Lady Hyegyeong’s resting place in Hwaseong. In the Annals of King Sunjo following the death of Lady Hyegyeong, the ministers had agreed to honour the will of Jeongjo, who expressed his wish to have his mother resting beside Crown Prince Sado. Hence, the site next to Sado’s tomb was prepared for the burial according to Jeongjo’s wish and Lady Hyegyeong’s body was interred together with Sado. She ended up being together with the man she was most uncomfortable with during her lifetime, even after her death. Using her mother’s guilt towards his father, Jeongjo’s wish for his mother to repent and apologize for her mistakes brought the matter to such end.
Based on this reasoning, the people visiting Yunggeolleung (Annyeong-dong, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do) might be able to imagine Lady Hyegyeong’s feelings. She might be displeased and wondering,” Why am I lying over here?” That person might find it very suffocating and uncomfortable being there, wishing that she can leave the place at once. The place’s name is Annyeong-dong (annyeong meaning goodbye) but ironically, Lady Hyegyeong might not be able to say goodbye to the place for some time.
SBS Mon-Tue drama Secret Door’s Yeongjo (Han Suk-kyu) is a character that is given rather detailed portrayal, different from the historical dramas before this. In the drama, the character Yeongjo has an obsession with the power, as much as any other king, but his way of conducting his daily activities is rather informal for a king. He likes to be barefoot even in his office and eat his rice mixed with the red pepper paste in a bowl, plus he is considerably foul-mouthed. He is well-mannered if he is to be compared with Tree with Deep Root’s Sejong, but Yeongjo is coarser when compared with the kings in other historical dramas.
Although Secret Door is trying to show a different side of Yeongjo, the most important characteristic that describe him cannot be depicted properly. The most important thing in his personality development is the feminine element present. His mentality is pretty similar to that of a woman; an unusual thing when compared to others. This is actually a result of the environment he grew in.
Yeongjo’s grandson, Jeongjo, lived his whole life missing his father, Crown Prince Sado. This was due to the fact that Sado had a great influence on Jeongjo. If we are to understand the character and behavior pattern of Jeongjo, we cannot ignore the relationship between the father and the son. The same thing goes for Yeongjo; if we want to understand Yeongjo’s life, then we have to put into consideration the relationship he had with someone who had a great influence on him. The person is no other than his mother, Lady Choi Suk-bin.
Although Yeongjo was Sukjong’s son, he was a son from the king’s relationship with a royal concubine. If it was a commoner’s family instead of a royal family, then Yeongjo would have been a son born out of a relationship with a concubine (which made him an illegitimate son). Thus, Yeongjo did not have many opportunities for him to develop a loving relationship with his father, Sukjong. After Sukjong passed away, Yeongjo did not become the king; instead, his half-brother, Gyeongjong, took over the vacant place left by their father. That was the reason why he did not have the chance to receive any proper education as an heir from his father. Even when his father was still alive, Yeongjo was only a prince born out of wedlock (technically), and he was more comfortable to treat Sukjong as a king rather than his own father. That made Sukjong a small contributor in Yeongjo’s development and it could not be helped that his mother had more influence in his life.
The tale of a mother (Choi Suk-bin) and her son from the palace
In addition, there was another reason why Yeongjo could not help but to feel great attachment towards his mother. Lady Choi Suk-bin was not a royal concubine from the noble class; she was originally a lowly palace maid. As the law in Joseon Dynasty dictated, palace maids were selected from the government slaves, hence Lady Choi was a woman of government slave origin. Although it was rumoured that she was a water maid, who held much lower position than a palace maid, it was a groundless rumour. The memorial stone on her tomb, Soryeong-won, proved that she was indeed a palace maid. The story about the water maid origin was just a dramatic tale after seeing how a lowborn woman like Lady Choi succeeded to become a king’s mother.
Lady Choi, who was born a government slave, became an orphan when she was just three years old before she was selected to become a palace maid. She was placed in the sewing department or chimbang inside the palace. In modern days, she would be a staff of the palace’s sewing factory. She managed to catch Sukjong’s eyes when she was in her twenties and became his royal concubine. Lady Choi was actually the key figure behind the 21st until the 27th kings of Joseon, since she was their ancestors. Starting from Yeongjo until Sunjo, they were all her descendants. This story was the reason why Lady Choi Suk-bin, along with Lady Jang Hui-bin, was the icon of success stories in the latter part of Joseon. By the time Yeongjo was born, Lady Choi was an amazing, yet a pitiful woman. He was so thankful towards his mother, who was an orphan before becoming a palace maid and raising him after giving birth to him.
Because of that, Yeongjo became a devoted and loving son to his mother. His mother was everything to him and he was a son who would be moved from the thought of his mother alone. Therefore, his mother was the central figure behind his character, mentality, and behaviour. This was confirmed by the palace maids as recorded in Kim Young-suk’s ‘A Study of Royal Court Custom in Joseon Dynasty’. According to the palace maids’ customs introduced in the book, there was a tale familiar to the palace maids of Gojong, Lady Choi’s descendant. It was a conversation between Lady Choi and Yeongjo. Since Lady Choi was Gojong’s ancestor, the tale involving the mother and son pairing was popular inside the palace at that time. In the said tale told by Gojong, one day in the winter, a young Yeongjo asked to hear the story of his mother’s experience while Lady Choi was working in the sewing department. He asked, ”What was the hardest task you had to do while you were working in the department?” At that time, Yeongjo was still a prince (Yeoning-gun, or Prince Yeoning) and he was in his teen.
Lady Choi replied, “Jungnubi, omok nubi, and napjak nubi (types of quilts) were all difficult, but senubi was the most difficult.” Quilting is difficult, but according to Lady Choi, senubi was the most difficult since it required difficult stitches. Upon hearing his mother’s answer, Yeongjo stood up in front of his mother and took off the quilted clothes he was wearing at that time. He promised not to wear such clothes again since he could not bear wearing the clothes after hearing how difficult it was to make from his mother. That type of clothing was rare during those times.
Yeongjo, struggling for 30 years for his birth mother, Lady Choi Suk-bin
Because of the great attachment he had for his mother, Yeongjo became stronger after his mother’s death and his ascension to the throne. He struggled for 30 years after he became the king to raise his mother’s status. Just like Jeongjo’s fight throughout his 24 years of reign in order for him to restore his father’s status, Yeongjo fought a little longer than that for his mother’s status. The fact that his dead mother’s status remained as royal concubine even after he became the king disturbed Yeongjo. By law, Yeongjo and Lady Choi were strangers. This was because when a concubine’s son became a crown prince or a king, he would have to cut off his relationship with his birth mother and became an adopted son of the queen.
Yeongjo wanted to see the fact that Lady Choi was his mother acknowledged by the law. If this was to be acknowledged, a concubine would have the qualification of a king’s birth mother or sachin. It was an acknowledgement that she was the king’s personal parent. Although the status would be lower than the king and the queen, being declared as sachin would entitle the person to receive the same treatment as the crown prince and his consort. In order to raise his mother’s status to that of sachin, Yeongjo continued to fight for it. However, from his ministers’ point of view, Lady Choi was originally a palace maid, an orphan, and a government slave. They were reluctant to allow such a humble origin lady to be treated on the same level as the crown princess. Yeongjo continued to fight with the ministers and in the end, he succeeded. Lady Choi was finally acknowledged as his birth mother in 1753, 29 years after he was invested as the king. This was the product of Yeongjo’s endless attachment for his mother. The mother he respected and loved also had a great influence on his character. Yeongjo became someone who easily felt sympathy with the women and he easily believed the women’s words. It was a possibility that this behaviour of Yeongjo was a product of his great attachment he had for his mother.
He easily trusted his eldest daughter-in-law Crown Princess Hyun (Crown Prince Hyojang’s wife), who was a palace maid, and the same thing went for Lady Moon Suk-ui, his concubine of a palace maid origin whose words he easily trusted. The trust Lady Moon received from Yeongjo played a part in Sado’s death and that was why Jeongjo ordered death sentence by poisoning for Lady Moon after he became the king. The 65-year old king also showed deep trust in his second queen consort, Queen Jeongsun, who was 51 years younger than him. Hence, Queen Jeongsun might also play an important part behind Sado’s death. In the memoirs Hanjungnok, penned by Yeongjo’s youngest daughter-in-law, Lady Hyegyeong, the king favoured his daughters, Princess Hwapyung and Princess Hwawan over his son, Crown Prince Sado. Plus, he listened better to his daughter-in-law’s words than his own son. Even during the events which led to Sado’s death, Yeongjo weighed in Lady Hyegyeong’s opinion to a certain degree.
The result of Yeongjo’s attachment and ties with his mother.
The attached Yeongjo became a man who easily sided with female. He could easily relate to women and there were many instances he would believe their words without questioning it. This could be a result of his attachment he had for his mother. Taking the point into consideration, we can find out how his character and his heart found a tendency to side with the feminine and delicate ones. For example, when handling someone or something, a woman will naturally take into her consideration about the weak one.
In Secret Door, the drama is trying to show a different side of Yeongjo; but the character traits Yeongjo had thanks to his mother is not depicted and become one of the show’s limitations. If the real Yeongjo is watching this drama, he might be wondering about something 2% that is lacking in the actor’s portrayal of his character.