Saturday, January 11, 2014

Okay, the Ship Hasn't Completely Sunk (Empress Ki)

Note: spoilers ahead.

For the past few episodes of Empress Ki (I'm currently on episode 19), I've been increasingly disliking the relationship between two of the leads: Nyang - Empress Ki/Qi - and Wang Yoo, the fictional king of Koryo.

Early on in the drama, I enjoyed them as a couple, as friends. What would it feel like right now if I still shipped them? *sigh* If it wasn't for Mr. Life Ruiner here...

Why must you exist, Ji Chang Wook...?
You're just too adorable.
...then I would have been in love with Nyang and Wang Yoo being in love.

However...then Wang Yoo found out that Seung Nyang was actually a girl named Nyang. (By the way, the beginning is probably one of my favorite gender-bender implementations so far in a drama.) After that, he seemed to treat her more like his obedient subject, even after he was deposed. He began to really act more like a ruler, like a superior figure. 

The fact that she's a girl doesn't mean you can ignore her

For a lot of this drama so far, Nyang has remained loyal and devoted to her king, acting more like the obedient subject he seems to see her as.

Meanwhile, there's the Emperor. Although she is just his maid, and he will sometimes treat her as such, ordering her to do everything for him, he also treats her as an equal. There are even times she seems to be seen as superior to him. He relies on her to read for him so he can sleep. He asks for her advice on leadership, even though she is still just a woman and just a maid. And because he's such a baby - a fatally adorable baby - who can rarely do anything for himself, she looks down on Emperor Togon.

But then all you have to do is put Wang Yoo within earshot or within her peripheral vision, and she becomes a wide-eyed, pathetic mess.

It is because of her pathetic nature, that both parties are blindly fine with, that I have really come to dislike Wang Yoo in his romantic affairs. He's awesome, I'll admit - because the show glorifies those of Koryo descent while depicting most of the Mongols and their allies as unscrupulous mongrels - and I enjoy watching him fight for justice. However, once Nyang is by his side... *thumbs down*

This brings me to the middle of episode 19. Wang Yoo is annoyed that Nyang would even think of picking up a bow and arrow and demonstrating her strength. Granted, she's hurt, but that never stopped her before.

Then, he, Nyang, and his royal posse take a trip to the Koryo quarters of the Yuan's capital city.

Now, maybe it's because Nyang doesn't have any available feminine clothes, as she lived as a man for most of her life, and she doesn't have any dresses now that Wang Yoo took her from the Imperial Palace (and from Life Ruiner :( ), but she's still dressing as a man. It does give me some joy to see that Wang Yoo allowed her to accompany him in men's clothing, despite his restrictions on her non-femininity. He let the future empress dress in robes that were meant for the gender with which she was characterized as exhibiting more strength..

As subtle as this may be, it keeps the ship (you know...that ship) floating for at least another five minutes. Let's see if he screws it up as the episode continues, shall we?

(UPDATE, forty-two minutes into episode 20: Nope, I ship them again. I don't think anyone understands just how much Wang Yoo's theme music, as well as that freaking kiss, affect me.)


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