Unlike the old-time fairy tale where the princess gets cursed, and only the charming hero can lift that curse through his true love, this time the cursed one is our crown prince hero, but no one can tell if getting entangled with the run-away heroine will lift the curse or put them in further trouble.
It has been three years since our hero, crown prince Lee Hwan got enthroned. The rumor has it he killed his older brother to steal the throne for himself. But the nightmares that Hwan keeps having suggest otherwise. Since he got enthroned, Hwan hasn’t been able to sleep properly. A strange letter from “a ghost” keeps plaguing him day and night.
That so-called ghost has put a curse upon Hwan. He will grow old and die alone without a wife or children. His best friend will backstab him, and many people will die because of his actions. The only way to break his curse is for Hwan to die. Whenever Hwan gets reminded of the curse, his right-hand trembles, and people in the palace keep gossiping that Hwan can’t move his right arm because of the curse.
We see a scar on Hwan’s shoulder which looks like an arrow wound, but it isn’t clear if it was a poisoned arrow or the whole curse thing that caused Hwan to get those trembles. Luckily for him, Hwan has loyal people around. Be it his guard, Tae-gang, or his best friend, Han Sung-on.
We also learn that Sung-on is about to be married to our leading lady, Min Jae-yi. The trio goes a long way back. In their childhood days, Hwan and Sung-on snuck out to bid their teacher farewell before his journey to the Qing. They run into Jae-yi on their way, oblivious to her being their teacher’s daughter. But instead of helping them, our heroine has them roam in the wrong direction after fooling them into paying 2 nyangs.
Hwan teases Sung-on about marrying such a troublemaker of a lady but also sends them a fancy wedding gift. However, things take a dreadful turn, and Jae-yi’s whole family gets murdered on the wedding day. Accused of poisoning her own family to death since she was allegedly in love with another man, Jae-yi has no choice but to run away without being able to send her family off.
Despite her attempts to fight them off, the guards keep chasing after Jae-yi till they reach a cliffhanger. A guard shoots her with an arrow, so she winds up falling off the cliff into the water. For a brief minute, Hae-yi thinks of giving everything up and joining her family. But luckily, she gets reminded of her family’s words to stay strong.
Not only does she have to uncover the truth about her family’s death, but she also has to meet Hwan. In his last breath, Jae-yi’s father tells her to protect Hwan. Besides the wedding gift, Hwan sends Jae-yi’s father a secret letter, but we are yet to find out what it is about. The messenger got killed on his way back to the palace, and till now, no one has found out if he delivered the wedding gift or got murdered before then.
To pass the gates, Jae-yi disguises herself as a man since her composite sketch is plastered everywhere. Seeking a reinvestigation of her family’s death, Jae-yi resolves to go to the capital. Luckily, Jae-yi isn’t alone. She has her maid and best friend, Jang Ga-ram, who is set on following Jae-yi to the end of the earth. Not even at the dagger’s point does Ga-ram budge an inch, but realizing how adamant Jae-yi is, Ga-ram gives in, agreeing to wait for Jae-yi until her return.
Meanwhile, the evil squad of officials, led by right-state councilor Jo Won-bo, who is also the queen’s uncle, are busy concocting a scheme to dethrone Hwan and replace him with his younger half-brother. In a typical palace politics style, Won-bo pressures the king to send Hwan on the next royal hunting. You know, the officials are bound by duty to check the rumor’s validity.
Unless he is reminded of the curse, Hwan’s right arm works fine. There is no telling what might happen there, but with the officials set on poking through his weakness, Hwan has no choice but to go on the hunting trip. As luck would have it, Jae-yi is also there. Having disguised herself as a royal bodyguard, Jae-yi gets to join the hunting trip. It is her only chance to meet Hwan and Sung-on, who also believes she is innocent.
To silence the sly officials’ running mouths, Hwan does his utmost to hunt an animal, and on his heels is Jae-yi being as quiet as possible. Unfortunately, before he can catch anything, Hwan gets reminded of the curse and starts trembling. We end the premiere with Hwan and Sung-on pointing their arrows at each other. However, I doubt Sung-on is trying to betray Hwan. Probably, he senses Jae-yi’s presence and mistakes her for an assassin, so he points his arrow at her, not Hwan.
The drama gets off on a steady foot, introducing us to the characters and laying the groundwork for what is yet to come. Instead of spending much time on childhood connections like typical saeguk fusion dramas, the show didn’t drag it out but jumped into the core right over.
The dynamics between Hwan, Jae-yi, and Sung-on remind me of the love triangle in the forbidden marriage, where the second lead was also about to marry the heroine. However, things take a different turn, and she falls for our hero.
I have many questions running through my head about Hwan’s brother’s death, the curse, and Jae-yi’s family’s murder. Here I am, looking forward to how the rest of the plot unfolds, giving us more information about what happened in the past and making us crave for more. It has been a tremendous premiere, so please show keep up the pace and the thrill to the end.
Have you seen “Our Blooming Youth” Episode 1 yet?