The King: Eternal Monarch – Notes

One of the comments made by my drama-watching aunt after she finished the first episode of Kim Eun-sook’s latest offering The King: Eternal Monarch (더 킹: 영워의 군주) starring Lee Min-ho, Kim Go-eun etc. was “It was confusing?!”. Considering that it’s just the pilot episode, it’s understandable but I was slightly intrigued about it. I can think of several shows with the time travel concept but the parallel universe is quite rare in kdramas. It’s still early into the story, hence I’m keeping all the possibilities open for now. But then, where’s the fun in watching something without all the conspiracy theories? Please keep in mind that there are spoilers in these notes of mine, and I’m trying to abstain myself from reading the detailed character descriptions so that I can watch without being too spoiled 😝

Updated 14.06.2020 (The cancellation of episode 13’s original broadcast disrupted my watch plan so I decided to watch the last 4 episodes in one sitting. Thanks for reading and enjoy these theories!)

WEEK 8 (EPISODE 16)

  • I was wondering how on Earth Lee Gon was going to travel through time if he enters through his own portal, before realizing that he probably had the time set with Sin-jae for Lee Rim to enter his portal at the same moment like him. It’s just that Tae-eul is the one who is with Lee Rim as Lee Gon goes to change the past, this time together with Yeong.
  • Both Tae-eul and Lee Gon have set up their minds to gamble everything for this attempt to change the past, because they are aware that it will be either everything or nothing. Even when he is cornered without any option left, Lee Gon knows that he will have to abandon everything eventually in order to restore the balance between the worlds.
  • Remember when Lee Gon told Tae-eul that the wind does not blow and the time does not flow in the void? Once the balance is restored by preventing the flute from being broken into two and Lee Rim from disturbing the order of both worlds, the wind blows and the time flows. Now that Lee Rim dies in the past, his present has no reason to stay alive.
  • Although all of them are supposed to forget everything that has happened prior to Lee Gon slaying Lee Rim with the Four Tiger Sword himself, the Yoyo boy (who turns out to be someone hanging out nearby both Lee Gon and Tae-eul all this while) chooses to let some keep their memories: Lee Gon, Tae-eul, and also Yeong. I assume that it is due to their whereabouts when the incident happens and how they are not supposed to be there, which renders it impossible for them to have their memories wiped out so that they could escape the situation they are in. Lee Gon eventually finds his way to the Empire, but with the perfect flute in his hands, it means that it will be harder for him to travel linearly from the Empire to the Republic on the same plane. Of course, I don’t mean the flying plane there 😉
  • The different “versions” of Tae-eul whom Lee Gon meets in his quest to find his Tae-eul by “opening every door in the universe” got me thinking, and it reminds of Lee Gon’s theory about space and time axes. Although the drama does not even try to explain it (I have some gripes about it to be very honest….), what if the condition of the flute dictates its power? We have already seen how it gives its owner the ability to travel through space (or worlds) with half of the flute, while the time travel is allowed when the two halves exist in the void at the same time. Hence, it is not too far-fetched if the flute in its perfect condition allows the owner to travel through different dimensions. Remember the Cartesian plane, the x-axis, the y-axis, and the z-axis we learned back in school?
  • The x-axis and y-axis are both pretty self-explanatory, but the z-axis or the dimension axis is vague since it’s my own interpretation so please bear with me while I explain! I think that the dimension depicts different versions of the lives of the characters according to the choices they make along the way in their lifetimes. Imagine yourself taking a different path from what you chose at one defining point in your life. Surely, your life might change a lot depending on what your choice is. Just like that, Lee Gon manages to see Tae-eul at different points in her lives and in different dimensions, depending on the choices she made. She becomes a police officer, a soldier, and even an actress in different dimensions. As for that one time he meets Tae-eul in the past, it is also possible for Lee Gon to slightly go back in time since he is not familiar yet with how the perfect flute works.
  • Perhaps, Lee Gon and Lee Rim’s movement in the void through time and space could be visualized better if they provided different directions, instead of showing them walking on the same sandy plane, how about showing them going up or down; floating and sinking to show the difference?
  • Still, from what I have gathered, the drama chooses to portray the different planes and axes as simply doors; doors which open to different time, space, and dimension inside the void. A number of Anywhere Doors beyond the portal, perhaps?

WEEK 8 (EPISODES 14 – 15)

  • Now we have the most conclusive evidence on why Hyeon-min/Sin-jae doesn’t have any lightning scar; unlike my earlier theory about real Sin-jae dying of natural causes, he is actually alive!
  • both Lee Rim and Lee Gon know that they could travel through time (past and present) aside from space (Republic and Empire). they could only go back and forth between the worlds since they only had half of the flute each, but the power seemed to work when the two halves are present together in the void. According to the Yoyo boy, the flute will transport the owner(s) to the time they/he wish(es) to go, and of course, both end up on the fateful night of treason back in 1994.
  • Lee Rim’s half disappeared when he died in the past. Why? Because the owner died, hence his flute also ceased to exist? But the Lee Rim from the present did not disappear, and the same goes with Gon’s flute…which has to disappear too if Lee Rim’s half is gone. I get it if the flute does not work anymore, but to have it disappear is just…weird? And then Gon’s flute is still there alive and well despite coming from the same origin with the disappearing half? Yeah, we got one crack in the parallel world’s mechanism here.
  • With Lee Rim’s flute absent from the void, Gon can only travel linearly between the Empire and the Republic but in 1994. He is stuck in the past but figures out that he could wait for about 4 months in the void to go 26 years into the present…but it is easier said than done. He knew that Tae-eul in the present would be waiting for him, so he appears in front of her in the past so that she will form new memories of him.
  • It’s still a mystery on why present Gon made use of Luna to become the clock rabbit to his new past self. If what happens to him in the original past was also instigated by another him from another time, then the same thing keeps repeating itself since he isn’t getting out of the loop yet, hence the new past will still lead to the same present, from how both Gon and Tae-eul’s new memories are formed and etched in their present selves.
  • I’m still trying to wrap my head around Lee Rim: so the new past self of him has grown into the new present him? While Gon is there appearing between his new present self and his original self in the original timeline? Indeed, nothing much has changed for the rest of the crew except for Lee Rim and Lee Gon, and they all now have the slightly altered past with original Gon appearing between time. From how Eun-sup and Lee Rim still meet in Haeundae despite the altered past, it’s safe to assume that everything unfolds similarly because nothing has changed significantly.
  • The offer comes to Sin-jae (albeit forcefully) from Lee Rim to get the flute from Lee Gon, using his mothers from both worlds. Way to make Sin-jae even more pitiful, show…..
  • Lee Gon tried to open Rim’s portal but it won’t work since the owner is Rim; however, it’s a different story when the halves of the flute are reunited again in Gon’s hands, opening the real and perfect portal of the unscathed, perfect flute. I still find it weird that the halves are still working despite coming from different flutes, technically.

WEEK 7 (EPISODE 13)

  • I actually joked around with my aunt about Court Lady Noh being a person from the Republic and she crossed over with Lee Gon’s grandfather back then….and our jokes turned out to be true. Oookay….so she was indeed from the Republic and the late Emperor Haejong went through the portal himself! Lady Noh herself had a copy of Kim So-wol’s poetry herself and that was the reason her voice was always heard in the voiceover, reciting the poems. In our discussion (yeah, we discussed A LOT about this drama!), my aunt deduced that Emperor Haejong was curious enough to try and check out the real power of the flute, which resulted in him going back and for between the Republic and the Empire. Since Court Lady Noh crossed over in the year 1950, Emperor Haejong might have made another travel after Lee Rim’s birth in 1951; Lee Rim might have witnessed the portal opening up in front of his own eyes, leading to his fascination and obsession towards the flute.
  • Lee Gon realizes that the thunder/lightning scar is not just simply the side effect of the journey through the portal, but it is ‘tattooed’ on the body of the alternate version whose doppelganger/counterpart has died as a result of the opening of the portal. He has seen it himself when Seo-ryeong’s scar appears, and now it is confirmed that both Tae-eul and Eun-sup are fine since Luna and Yeong are still alive despite crossing over and staying in the world they are not supposed to be at.
  • Gosh, they should have brought Seo-ryeong and Lee Rim’s coalition in sooner! She is sure consistent with her dreams and ambitions for her to grab the chance of going for sightseeing on the other side of the world, and he is just a wizard to know so much about people’s innermost desires.
  • I just find it goosebumps-inducing that Ji-hun’s mother (Song Jeong-hye) knew Sin-jae’s mother. Fate is sure full of surprises, isn’t it so? But then, it is just ironic when Sin-jae, who used to be bedridden in his comatose state, is now up and running, while Ji-hun, who used to be healthy, is no longer alive.
  • Lee Gon is also hopeful about finding a time axis, since the space axis exists to link between the parallel worlds. He assumes that since the coin he tossed floats (don’t forget the balloons!) while Tae-eul’s magic lily seeds sink, there might be a way to go up and down.
  • Luna is really a dangerous existence to Tae-eul’s life, moreover with the “normal” life of Tae-eul at stake. Too bad we did not get to know Luna any sooner, because it would be interesting to see how different their lives were, up to the current point of their lives and how it makes Luna yearn for a home to go back to and a family she can rely on…and right now, she sees Tae-eul’s position in the Republic to be the most perfect place for her to fit in.
  • Lee Gon finally realizes that he was the one who saved his younger self in the past! I think everyone saw it coming since it is difficult to imagine anyone else with that height to NOT be Lee Min-ho, but yeah, about time! The only gripe I have is with Lee Rim’s realization made to match with Lee Gon’s. I get that they want to portray the parallelity, but it deviates from Lee Rim’s meticulous and sharp self. Why? Because it would be more plausible for him to think of the savior after meeting grown-up Lee Gon in Haeundae and link Lee Gon to him.
  • After Tae-eul realizing the importance of getting your meals tasted by someone beforehand, now Lee Gon also learns it the hard way on how not to let his guard down even with someone you are close with, until you are sure that the person is the one you know.

WEEK 6 (EPISODES 11 – 12)

  • Lots of new info this week, aren’t they? Lee Rim is sure one resourceful man, for he manages to track down Luna almost immediately and is quick to offer her the prospect of having a family she has never known all her life. He knows how to tackle someone’s heart and mind really well, and that makes him a very formidable enemy.
  • We can be sure that the flower-bearing Lee Gon in his imperial regalia last week was indeed a version(?) of him in the future. He has hinted that he will go to the end of the world and open every door he can find just to see her. I still think that it is (or was? or will be?) another version of Lee Gon who saved his younger self.
  • I said it below, and I will say it again: the flower seed Tae-eul bought is indeed magic/surprise/resurrection lily.
  • The Yoyo boy has spoken! He has admitted that he is a single entity who goes back and forth between the worlds, but what is exactly his real identity? A god? A lesser god? Or a deity? He could be the God of Thunder, Dragon King, or the God of Matchmaking. Lots of questions remain: what is with the yoyo? Was he the one who controls the weather and the thunder? How does the red thread fit into the whole situation…and Luna? Also, Tae-eul’s blue lanyard is still giving me this uneasy feeling…maybe it’s just me.
  • Lee Rim is slowly approaching Sin-jae…and I can’t help but wonder what is his deal this time. Is he planning to negotiate something with Sin-jae?
  • Prince Buyeong was a wise man until the end (ㅠ.ㅠ) I really like how he describes the word unmyeong: steps taken (運) and life (命) risked are what make up fate (運命).
  • Was that really Eun-ah that Tae-eul met? The order of events happening is still vague, but it seems that it was the last time Eun-ah was seen alive…before Seo-ryeong went for sightseeing under the guise of being Eun-ah. Seo-ryeong would never stay calm if she was in the Empire when the news of Gon announcing his Empress was spread, but she was the last person to find out about it. No matter how cooped out she was in the few days, it was so unlike her….unless she was focusing on something more interesting, like a journey to a parallel world? She looked a bit nervous in front of Yeong and was too nonchalant to see someone being shot in front of her, for someone who doesn’t see guns every day. Very suspicious, indeed.
  • That got me thinking if Lee Rim and Seo-ryeong reached their agreement in the deal prior to Tae-eul’s kidnapping and switching.
  • The frozen time: Lee Gon finally figured out the duration of the frozen time, so it was nice to know that they had gotten longer. The drama didn’t really show how the duration was not the same, hence it’s great to have the numbers laid out. Perhaps, the first two “freezes” could be regarded as negligible since they were too short to be noticed, but I can’t help but wonder who made the first and second journey. It takes two to tango, and in this case, two parallel travelers to notice each other’s movement through the time freeze. Lee Rim first noticed Lee Gon’s crossover when the freeze took a significant duration of 25 seconds, and it continued from there. I can assume that the missed time (not shaded) might have taken place when one of them was sleeping. It might seem far away just yet, but the hours will only grow longer with each leap made between the worlds by either Lee Rim or Lee Gon.
  • On Euler’s number: I found articles about Euler’s Identity, saying that the equality is “the most beautiful equation”; a mystical “mathematical proof for the existence of God.” The equation itself bears five most important symbols of mathematics in one single equation: 0 and 1 are numbers which are constants; e is the constant Euler number; π (pi) is also another constant; and i the imaginary number that is defined as √(-1) or square root negative one. Remember when Lee Gon said that Tae-eul is like the special 0? The other symbols might also be assigned to someone…
  • More and more people are seeing flashes of their doppelgangers, and Na-ri said that it could be a form of deja vu which allows people to see their alternate selves in parallel worlds. Deja vu is defined as the feeling of having experienced the same situation before. And then Yeong also gets shot like Eun-sup, as if the drama trying to affirm their statement…but to think of it, it was supposed to be Yeong, so the world tried to find its balance?
  • Tae-eul guessed that the whip Lee Gon carried with him all the time was the key to the door of parallel worlds and it’s something to worry about when Lee Gon only had one of that, while Lee Rim probably had few pieces of the flute cut and hidden in the many umbrellas he had at home.
  • When I thought that the traitor bookkeeper was going to die, Lee Rim now had the upper hand when he planned for his loyal subject to be transported to the Republic with him, leaving the temporary Secretary Yoo to take the bullet (literally) for the team. Still, it looks like his days won’t be getting any calmer with Luna around. The girl is like an unpredictable ticking bomb, and I hope she will slowly drive Lee Rim crazy.
  • The thunder/lightning scar!! The side effect of the travel has gotten to almost everyone who has crossed over through the portal, except for Tae-eul and Sin-jae (as for now). My theory is that both Luna and Tae-eul are still alive and well, hence the lack of so-called ‘cursed’ lightning/thunder scar on her. As for Sin-jae, his Republic counterpart died of natural causes and his travel was made involuntarily, so he has no reason to be punished with the scar. The others are burning from the scar including Lee Gon, so it might be linked to the alternate versions’ death because of the crossover made through the portal. Even if Lee Gon didn’t kill Ji-hun himself, the scar probably served as a reminder for him to restore the balance of both worlds.
  • Court Lady Noh dropped the bomb at the end. Wow, so the reason she was so fascinated with Kim So-wol’s poetry was because of the yearning for her hometown….in today’s Republic of Korea.

week 5 (episodes 9 – 10)

  • They are starting to work together for the case, including Sin-jae! I’m so glad that Sin-jae needs his time to collect his thoughts, but he knows that the issue needs a proper closure…and the only way is to help the investigation related to the murder cases. The details might be vague and easy to miss, but now that they have a hunch of what is going on behind it, they are getting closer to the person who started all this: Lee Rim.
  • Lee Gon chose not to tell the details about the how the travel works, not even to Yeong and Tae-eul. A smart move there for now, because knowing as much as him won’t bid well for people around him. But then, I just realized that Lee Rim had two umbrellas with him: he left one of it at the fish shop of Seo-ryeong’s mother, while walking around and traveling back and forth just fine with another umbrella. I might be mistaken about it, but if he did break the other half of the flute to produce a backup, then he might not be easily defeated.
  • Seeing how Seo-ryeong is open to “negotiate” with the person who sent her the mysterious newspaper, will we get to see her teaming up with Lee Rim and Luna?
  • The mystery behind Luna’s easy release from the prison is solved: she is terminally ill.
  • Lee Gon learns a lot about the parallel worlds and only now realizes that Lee Rim is using the place between the flowing time to maintain his youthful look. Assuming that 1 day inside there equals to 2 months (roughly 60 days) outside, then he would only need to stay there for 2 months for 10 years to pass by in reality. This is also the reason why he adjusts his watch whenever he is back in the Republic. Lee Gon has also tried this himself, staying there for few hours and days have passed by outside. The balloons also multiply in number there…or did he made Eun-sup carry a bunch of balloons from the Republic the other time they traveled to the Empire?
  • The point of entrance and exit for Lee Rim are still shrouded in mystery. I’m still wondering how they are going to explain entering the portal from Busan in the Empire and then arriving at Seoul in the Republic….
  • How does the time travel fit into this narrative, then? Will he be able to go back to the past and also travel to the future? Because that Lee Gon who came bearing flowers for Tae-eul doesn’t seem to be the same Gon in the present…and his choice of words too is suspicious. Instead of the usual 세계 or world when he talks about the parallel worlds, he uses 우주 or universe when describing his journey that time, stating that he crossed the universe for her.
  • The CCTV recording from the future features the bookstore frequently visited by Lee Rim and where the Yoyo boy always hangs out. The current name is Eosu Bookstore, but Lee Gon has noted that the name on the board is Haesong Bookstore.
  • The Yoyo boy is also seen reading a book about King Arthur while engaging in a conversation with Lee Rim. Which book of King Arthur is he reading, though?
  • 相思花 – The flower that Tae-eul bought in Episode 6 while she was in the Empire and also the seeds she scattered in the place that stood between time was surprise lily. Also known as resurrection lily and magic lily, the flower blooms unexpectedly, just like the name suggests. Despite the flower language of lily being death, birth, or resurrection, surprise lily is called 상사화, and the word 상사(相思) means to think and remember; to yearn and miss each other.
  • The flower Lee Gon brings with him when he meets Tae-eul is most probably azaleas, the same flower which become the titular poem for Kim So-wol’s sole poetry collection. While the flower bears the language of self-love and first love, the poetry entitled Azalea by Kim So-wol tells the story of a woman talking to a lover who is about to leave her behind.

Week 4 (episodes 7 – 8)

  • Lee Gon becomes more confident in his theory about Lee Rim’s treason: that his half-uncle only had eyes on the flute Manpasikjeok and wanted to rule over both worlds, not just the Empire. Lee Rim’s modus operandi is also made clearer, with the replacement and transportation between the two worlds go both ways: he’s putting his band of traitors from the Empire in safe (and even higher) positions in the Republic, while selling the temptation of climbing through the social class for the Republic people to replace their more noble doppelgangers in the Empire…which mostly linger around (and even near) to Lee Gon himself. A smart move indeed, because those Republic origins will surely swear their loyalty to Lee Rim, whom they regarded as their saviors. Lee Gon also gets to confirm it himself that the number of people who had been transported by Lee Rim is actually more than what he imagined. Gosh, I had goosebumps all over my body when that restaurant owner had his knee-jerk reaction, accidentally showing respects to Lee Gon as his Emperor…it’s just straight up creepy to have someone recognizing you in a world where you aren’t supposed to be known!
  • Lee Rim has been using the care center where his doppelganger used to stay as his operational headquarters. He probably thought that no one will be able to see through his acts and get away with everything effortlessly…
  • Lee Rim is definitely approaching Seo-ryeong with the intention of letting her know about her doppelganger…while Seo-ryeong has met Luna herself, confirming it with her own eyes that Luna was not the traveler she saw with Lee Gon. Man, I’m feeling uneasy over this…
  • Seo-ryeong is now seeing flashes of her doppelganger too, presumably when the glitch between the two worlds happen…just like how Tae-eul saw her Luna’s reflection on the mirror and Eun-sup feeling the pain from the hot coffee that Yeong held.
  • Na-ri’s doppelganger theory has been haunting me ever since I saw the preview, and the superstition has always been on the bad side with regard to doppelgangers. There are various beliefs from the West that seeing your doppelganger means one, or worse both, of you will die. She’s right about the balance needed in this world, so having two of the same thing in one place might not be the best situation to be in. The worst case is to have the weaker one being defeated and killed by the stronger one.
  • It’s now official: the Yoyo kid in front of the secret bookstore (named Eosu Bookstore) has a connection to Luna, just like how his Republic counterpart is connected to Tae-eul. The Republic kid was the one who caused Tae-eul’s old ID card to fall into the storm drain,while the Yoyo kid in the Empire is the safe keeper of Luna’s key.
  • Tae-eul’s ID card that was in Lee Gon’s possession didn’t just disappear into thin air just because Tae-eul appeared there in the Empire with her newly made one; it was stolen by the palace mole, who turns out to be Sin-jae’s mother in the Empire.
  • Man, Sin-jae was indeed from the Empire…..the symbol he saw was not from any of the murder cases but from his own childhood memories, which he thought to be a weird thing and caused him to be distraught over the years. (ㅠㅠ) Maybe his mother in the Empire thought he is living well from the photos sent to her, but only if she knew what he had to go through all this while…..

WEEK 3 (EPISODES 5 – 6)

  • We learned about Lee Gon’s effort to learn more about the parallel universe and the ‘constant space’ that lies between the two worlds, but I’m a bit bummed that it’s done offscreen. Everything including time does not flow there, and he uses Euler’s number to measure it. We’ll see how it changes, though, with the seeds planted by Tae-eul there, and the balloon possibly popping out all of a sudden.
  • We get a rough idea on what exactly Lee Rim is doing this week, as we are given more insight on his modus operandi: he targets people who are struggling in the Republic and gives them an ultimatum in turning their lives around, but the price includes them having to kill their doppelganger in order to take over the better lives of the doppelgangers.
  • The thunder/lightning scar is also seen on Lee Rim, but his scar placement is much more visible and…straight up menacing. So, both Lee Gon and Lee Rim possess the scar, probably as a side effect of being the owners of key to the door of parallel universe. But why does it flare up when there is lightning? Does it hurt Lee Rim too, or has he learned to live while withstanding the pain?
  • I thought that Lee Rim’s next target would be Prince Buyeong, but it turns out that he’s focusing on Sin-jae and has started hanging out around the place Sin-jae frequents. At this rate, he’s bound to run into Lee Gon very, very soon…

WEEK 2 (EPISODES 3 – 4)

  • Lots of new details about the journey between the parallel universes, thanks to Lee Rim. It turns out that he did not bring his Kingdom henchman to cross over to the Republic; instead, Lee Rim went to find the Republic version of him and made him his new henchman. Smart move there.
  • I went to rewatch the first episode, only to realize that there is another important factor which enables the opening of the portal: blood of the owner. Both Lee Rim and Lee Gon’s blood was shed on that night as they held the flute in their hands. Is this a ritual that requires one’s blood for him to see the unseen, hence the requirement for the owner to be present together with the flute for the portal to appear?
  • Time stops when someone crosses over, but is the journey really that linear? Lee Rim is seen adjusting his watch when he returns to the Republic from the Kingdom, so there might be time discrepancies between the two worlds.
  • What is the meaning behind Lee Gon’s thunder scar on his back? It’s highly possible that it’s the side effect of using the portal, but it only appears when there is roaring thunder…is it a coincidence, or is the thunder a call for Lee Gon to go to the other world?
  • The mole inside the palace might be the palace tea lady, since she is seen entering the bookshop which belongs to Lee Rim’s henchman. It’s giving me goosebumps to realize that the lady is also Sin-jae’s mother in the Republic…please protect hyungnim at all cost!
  • There are also recurring appearance of certain plants, like bamboo, ginkgo tree, and the mysterious flower seal of Kingdom of Corea. While bamboo is the essence of the flute, ginkgo tree and the luscious yellow leaves of it during autumn isn’t that closely related to the flute, yet it makes frequent appearance here and there in the story. Both the Republic and the Kingdom had the trees featured in the background, as if enhancing the symbolic meaning of longevity behind the relentless tree.
  • As for the flower seal of Kingdom of Corea, what kind of flower could it be? Is it a plum flower, which was the emblem of Joseon royal family clan, or a camellia flower? Camellia is also the official flower of the modern day Busan.
  • As for the symbols(?):
    • Plus (+) for Gon
    • Minus (-) for PM Gu
    • Zero (0) for Tae-eul
    • Equal (=) for Jo Yeong/ Eun-sup?
  • I’m sure Lee Rim isn’t killing people aimlessly without any planning or direction, so could it be that he’s targeting the royal relatives, including those who are related to Prince Buyeong, Lee Jong-in? That voice record which Tae-eul listened to also mentioned a certain Professor Lee Jong-in….
  • Book of the week:- Azaleas: Selected Poems of Kim So-wol.

WEEK 1 (EPISODES 1 – 2)

  • It’s been proven through Prince Imperial Geum, Lee Rim (Lee Jung-jin) from the Kingdom, that the parallel universe has no effect on each other, from how he remains unharmed after killing the Republic version of himself. Also, the Republic version of Lee Ho (Kwon Yul) is still alive while his Kingdom version has already passed away. It’s still unclear where Lee Gon’s mother is at when the regicide happens in the Kingdom, but in the Republic, she is still alive and well until 2019.
  • The flute, the portal, and the Imperial family in both Kingdom and Republic versions are entwined with bamboo; perhaps, the bamboo wind chime hanging by the door of the Lees’ house in Republic holds a thin connection to the flute.
  • Mechanism of the portal: The flute seems to make a sound when the portal opens, calling its owner or the person possessing it. Those who know about the portal might be made aware of any cross over made through it when the time momentarily stops flowing in front of their eyes. Living things other than the flute’s owner can also cross over the portal, possibly together with the owner, as proven by Lee Rim’s henchman and Lee Gon’s Maximus.
  • The information obtained by Jung Tae-eul (Kim Go-eun) in the Republic about Lee Rim, as seen in the beginning of Episode 1, probably came from the Kingdom, seeing how he is called by his own name and the date of death recorded on the document is his. The year is probably 2020 when interrogation occurs.
  • Tae-eul’s ID card: 2019 version features her straight hair untied in the photo, and this is the one in her possession at the moment of the drama. 2020 version (aka the one from the future) has her hair tied, and this is the card in Lee Gon’s hand after he took it from his saviour in 1994.
  • It’s safe to assume for now that both Lee Rim and Lee Gon are transported by the portal from the capital of the Kingdom in Busan to the capital of the Republic in Seoul. So far, the cross over seems to be linear, in the way that they depart and arrive on the same date in both universes.
  • Important dates:
    • 28.10.1987: Lee Ji-hoon’s birthday (Lee Gon’s Republic version)
    • 27.05.1990: Tae-eul’s birthday
    • 08.12.1994: Lee Ho’s death; Lee Rim’s first cross over to the Republic
    • 24.05.1995: Lee Rim’s ‘death’
    • 10.09.2019: Lee Gon’s first cross over to the Republic
    • 11.11.2019: Tae-eul’s ID issuance date
  • Lee Rim seems to cross over frequently back and forth, between the Kingdom and the Republic, and that contributes to his youthful physique. He is also seen among the audience of the Charity Rowing Competition, attended by Lee Gon.
  • Book of the week:- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

 

14 thoughts on “The King: Eternal Monarch – Notes

  1. Parallel universes are universes that have the characters in different aspects in each universe If something happens to a character. Sample gets killed the other character of the universe experiences something similar. Or if one character goes into the other characters’ universe he creates a shift in time. This is why they are parallel (following the same timeline with different backgrounds. So I was totally confused with The Eternal monarch.I know its a fantasy but the writer should take this into acct.

    1. There’s too much leeway given to Lee Rim as for now and for what we know so far, he’s living well and acting like a God delivering punishments to those he deems unworthy. It was pretty bold of him to kill his own self, albeit in an alternate universe! There are lots of things to nitpick, and I’m taking notes to see how Kim Eun-sook will deal with the setting she has laid upon us, and for her not to be caught up in the trap of mistakes. We shall see…..

    2. I guess they are trying to make a twist making the story more flexible. I guess quite similar to some segauk drama that are based on history for example queen seon deok and empress ki. they did not apply the exact story.

  2. This drama showed a lot of promises. I am curious about the parallel world and sometime wonder if these parallel world is true I am curious about the other me. Anyway I am a new Lee Minho fan and this is my first time to watch or wait for a drama of another artist aside from Hajiwon. I am not new to talking cupboard I was here I think during empress ki’s time. that was quite a long time ago…now I am back. moving on, I am also curious about the female lead, and I would like to really know her because she seemed to in a popular drama always. I will become a fan too someday. Back to thise drama I think the power of the flute is working, but the king is not yet aware, while the villain is using it to his advantage. I am just curious bout why he suddenly appeared in some situation, for example you remember that birthday party scene, with a boy in his wheelchair, with mom trying to make him happy, and the three bad boys who were not sympathetic but trying to hurt the boy like adding salt to the wound with their gift. Then that villain man appeared, asking the mother what was her wish and when she said she wished her child to walk again, the man frankly said he can no longer walk but how about changing the wish like making those three kids crippled and it happened… I wonder why he needed to intrude to that… I guess it will be answered in the coming episodes. How many episodes will this be? I have lots of questions in mind, and I am guessing who is that saviour that carry’s the female leads’s Id. I will take down notes too, need to memorize the names

    1. Hi! Glad to have you back 😉
      I bet our villain, Lee Rim, enjoys his role-playing time as a God who delivers punishment from the sky, and he probably has something to do with the mysterious death investigated by Tae-eul’s team. He is targeting those whose deaths will bring some comfort to people in their lives, just like how he seemingly killed the Republic version of Lee Gon (named Lee Ji-hoon) and his father, so that the mother could be free of her misery (but we all know the real reason he did that!). His entrance at the Chinese restaurant seemed random, but we shall see if he possesses another power given by the half of flute.
      By the way, I have a hunch of who that person in black, but it is still too early to play a guessing game on that. Oh, I forgot to mention that this drama is slated to run for 16 episodes! We still have some time to enjoy the ride.

  3. the pilot was just a tad comnfusing because it showed flashback so viewers got a little confused if parallel universe means different time year. but no, same year, just a different world. good chemistry between the two leads, but lousy secondary cast eg: kim yongji woodohwan and prime minister, lousy.

  4. Thank you for the info on Euler’s number and your table of the values of the time freezes. This writer has always been ambitious in her use of symbolism, and in this series math + poetry + flower lore are a significant part of the story. As we get to the end of this show (tears), all of the strings of the story are drawing together. I feel there will be a sad time when it appears Lee Gon has disappeared, but I am so hopeful that there will be a final happy ending for our royal couple. I was trying to keep up with untangling the described “strings of fate”, but now I am just going to enjoy the story, knowing that I am going to be re-watching it with the knowledge of the end over and over again. I’m so sorry that this show is not receiving more love as far as ratings. The actors are all knocking it out of the park, especially Lee Min Ho – who is not wooden at all!!! Thanks for you comments each week. I look forward to them.

    1. You’re welcome 😀

      I totally feel you on the struggle of keeping up with the theories and stuff, but I’m trying my best to just sit back and enjoy the story without overthinking…although that is not easy at all! I know that I’ll be sad once this show is over, but I’m hopeful that the ending will tie all the loose ends and answer all the questions, so that we all can go back and watch everything to find the hidden clues.

      The ratings are quite a bummer, but I’m still glad the cast is having fun on the set; they all look like happy kids from what I have seen in the making of videos 🙂 Even if some might say that this show is bordering on being a failure, I personally think that it has shown me a rare and different side of Lee Min-ho (I’m not over his suppressed anger look <3) and also allow me to discover other actors (Kim Kyung-nam and Woo Do-hwan!!).

      See you next week! I’m also looking forward to discussions 😉

  5. I’m wondering if this may not be an instant hit but will be enduringly strong. It’s not quick fix Kdrama and requires some effort in understanding but I think it’s one I’ll watch from the beginning again once it is concluded. I’m a new Lee Min-ho fan. First time I’ve seen him in anything and I’m now obsessed and going to watch his back catalogue. Maybe he is slightly less versatile than some actors but he conveys what the character feels with very small alterations of his expressions that I think are very effective. I think he is cast well as the King – he is stately. I’ve seen some people say there is no chemistry between him and his leading lady. I humbly disagree. I think this is two intelligent adults falling in love elegantly. When he comes out of the mist on his horse to save her and draws his sword I have to say that I was blown away. Anyway I am very very into this show. It’s certainly hitting my buttons as a women in her 40’s.

    1. Awwww ❤ I find myself smiling and nodding while reading this. Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a comment!

      I agree with you on everything you have stated. Some might find the issues surrounding the drama a bit distracting, but this is a fun watch that allows me to enjoy the emotions before racking out my brains trying to find the clues. From what I’ve seen, it certainly fares better among international viewers, and I’m certainly going to rewatch the complete episodes all over again.

      I have watched Lee Min-ho for quite a long time (watched almost everything on his filmography because I was a bit obsessed with him :D) and I can see what you mean. He has this kind of charm that oozes out when he does the littlest things like a smirk, a smile, and even a giggle. He has a beautiful smile (and the dimples!!) but it’s so rarely portrayed through his characters over the years. I think he’s gotten better post-military service and I’m totally digging that suppressed anger mode he has whenever Lee Gon is dealing with Lee Rim.

      Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, and so is chemistry. I love seeing Gon and Tae-eul together, rooting for the best thing to be waiting for them at the end of the whole ordeal. Perhaps, the drama doesn’t have much opportunity to show how long they have been apart in between their encounters, but the yearning they have for each other made it believable that they are in love but time is running out for both of them.

      This is slowly turning into a review of the series LOL I better stop here! It’s okay to watch something as long as we enjoy it, no matter what others say about it. To each their own 😉 May this end on a high note for us who are still watching and loving it ❤

  6. I’m curious to know what you think about when LG gives JTE the flowers in episode 10! What timeline do you thinks he’s in? Some theories think that it’s right before he decides to sacrifice himself and he goes back to say goodbye one last time, but he didn’t have the ability to travel to any specific point in time. And even if he did, why the past? Why that moment and not that timelines present day? If he’s seeing her after he already had the full magic flute, which would make sense cause he now has the ability to travel to that point in time… why not just stay? He’s says he has to leave so it makes it seem like the story isn’t over. If he was searching the universe for her he found her and there would be no need for that final update scene with the flowers. Lol I know I’m overthinking and I should just accept the plot holes in the story and enjoy it cause it really was such a great show but I’m just wondering what you think!

    1. Hello!

      My take is that the flowers scene in episode 10 was one of the time and space Gon reached when the full flute was already in his possession. I think at that time, he did not know how to find out his destination (let’s say that it’s the “present Tae-eul”) and he’s literally opening all the doors to every time, space, and dimension to find the “present Tae-eul”. The Tae-eul in episode 10 was not the “present Tae-eul” he was looking for; true, it was the Tae-eul he loved, but it wasn’t the same Tae-eul who was, at that time, waiting for him patiently to come back to her. If he decided to stay then, the drama would be meaningless ^^; Poor “present Tae-eul” would be left heartbroken waiting for Gon to come back but unknown to her, he decided to stay with her alternate version. That won’t go in line with the drama theme, right?

Rant Out, Souls!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s