A very innocent comment was left on my last post on Jang Ok Jung: Live in Love and I had some thoughts and so I kind of let loose with a torrent of words. Enough for it’s very own post really. And so, here it is. With pictures even! (And a few more thoughts at the end — because I never leave well enough alone.)
Minor spoilers through episode 14 below…
Hmm… “done nothing wrong”… I disagree with that assessment of In-hyun. I think she’s very much made her own bed and, yes it pains her to lie down in it, but that was the price she told Lee Soon she was willing to pay. Also, while she is very proper and dignified and calm, she is not kind. There is steel and ambition under her quiet exterior — remember, she stepped over her dead mother to try and win the throne — and it’d be a mistake to underestimate how far she will go to get what she has long decided is hers. (I think she’s kept herself deliberately ignorant of the dirty work her dad has done in the shadows. Which, to my mind, means she’s not an innocent. Not anymore. After a while not asking questions becomes an action in and of itself.)
But I think it does come down to who you see as the usurper here: In-hyun or Ok-jung. Technically (and In-hyun lives and dies by technicalities) In-hyun is the primary wife with Ok-jung at a lower, secondary level. However, the marriage was completely against Lee Soon’s wishes (it’s a terrible, terrible political match for him — practically destroying what power he’s managed to create if he allows it any kind of legitimacy). The only reason he allowed it — or at least, didn’t fight it (I’m not sure how tightly his hands were tied at that point) — was the promise he got In-hyun to make to bring Ok-jung into the inner palace and to provide her protection.
In-hyun broke that promise. And she’s continued to break it — first passively, allowing the Dowager Queen to do the dirty work — but now, I suspect, aggressively. (She’s the one who planted the seed that led to the humiliation of Ok-jung’s mother. I lay that deed at In-hyun’s door.) If In-hyun did manage to conceive a son and heir I absolutely think her promised protection of Ok-jung would be openly removed. She basically told Ok-jung as much.
As to the charge Lee Soon and Ok-jung are being too touchy-feely in front of her… well, if she goes poking around a newlywed’s home, she’s probably going to see some things. But also, the only protection Ok-jung has at the moment is the king’s affection. If there was any hint that his love for her had cooled the inner-palace would destroy her. He knows that. (As does Ok-jung. As does In-hyun, which is probably why she’s been keeping a keen eye on things.) Continuing to show interest is Lee Soon’s way of giving Ok-jung shelter. Extra bonus, it distracts the court from the political moves he’s making as they foam and froth about the power-greedy vixen and her control over him. (I’ve been very impressed with how Lee Soon’s played things thus far. Even while I worry because he’s definitely got some ruthlessness to him.)
I strongly suspect that In-hyun is already planning on ways to cool the king’s support. She’s made note of Prince Dongpyung’s concern. She’s not stupid. And she’s not tender. I worry that in the future, Lee Soon, counseled by his dying father to trust no one, will be given a reason to start doubting both Ok-jung and Prince Dongpyung. And when a ruthless man feels betrayed… well, we already know that story doesn’t end happily.