Putting Bidam and His Story Into Perspective

An official poster of the drama. From left to right: Bidam Sangdaedung, Mishil Seju, Deokman Paeha, Kim Yushin Chamgun, Princess Cheonmyong

An official poster. Left to Right: Bidam Sangdaedung, Mishil Seju, Deokman Paeha, Kim Yushin Chamgun, Princess Cheonmyeong, Prince Kim Chunchu

This is a rumination of the 2009 sageuk (South Korean historical drama) The Great Queen Seon Duk. I rushed my way through Episodes 53 to 62, not having seen everything in detail but enough to grasp the overall picture, and I am now about to store it to where it belongs in my psyche, so that I could draw breaths from it whenever I need to in my ongoing journey of earthly life πŸ™‚ Ja, some intense sageuk characters do hit me hard, almost wrenching me away from non-screen life, and so I have to place them among my scheme of thinking, and so to be washed off of the business-world’s intent to profit from emotions. I really condemn mass media’s shameless exploitation of the human psyhe, but, it’s shikataganai (nothing-can-do-about-it). However, knowing the opponent is a first rule in conflict, and that’s why I have to put into perspective an exploitative drama that is just one among the thousands πŸ™‚ Simply put, I feel the need to tame my reaction to the story πŸ™‚ One of these days I will go back to it, see all the gruesome scenes and hear all the maddening scheme-ings, so that, in Chunchu’s words, I’d be able to turn all the stones.

Mishil, and the valiant men who are willing to die for her

Mishil, and the valiant men who are willing to die for her

This drama presents the extent to how far power can disfigure and dehumanize. Mishil, the concubine to two kings here, pining after a dead love, lover to a general, wife to a noble, mother and aunt to warriors, and mother to the abandoned direct-descendant-royal-prince Bidam, plays with the viewer’s life-defense-instincts until you (at least it happened to me) realize that her angelic smirks are too theatrical to take seriously. And so I managed to shift from being terrified of her potency to laughing every time one of her brows lift.

I have already seen a bit of this drama years ago. I have marked the Bidam character to be worth looking at again, and that’s why I recently did so. I have marked also that the Mishil character is vile, the accompanying OST to her I deemed to be like those from the horror movies. Chincha. Fortunately time has passed, I have seen Sa Taek Bi and Eun Go, I have re-viewed Kiha and her dark-lord guardian, and several other near-invincible antagonists, and so things have resettled again: evil never wins. Mahatma Gandhi is my hero.

Mishil ceases to be an empathetic woman and excels in moving people around in her many years of romance with power. Her early life isn’t depicted here. She only says that one day she suddenly stopped being abhorred by violence — she stopped crying for other people. She simply stopped feeling. And there was that love whom she abandoned, she says, because she went for the king.

young Deokman and her best friend Cartan the Roman merchant

young Deokman and her best friend Cartan the Roman merchant

Deokman and her desert world

Chilsuk and Deokman could have been friends. He catches up with her in her desert world of international merchant-buddies.

That lost love was her downfall: he provided her with the key to more power-sucking, the capability to be seen as super-human through the use of pure science.Β  She used an astronomical almanac and a mathematician monk to get the better of her shamanistic-drenched society. Until Deokman, by her knowledge of the wider world through her international contacts in the desert, and by the naive fearlessness of her friend Bidam, pulled an eclipse on her face. Mishil’s sun was darkened starting that day.

And so Deokman engages in conquering the evils of her inherited kingdom. Alas, she will not prevail. The worm Yeomjong will defeat her. The guile that is her beloved nephew Prince Kim Chunchu will cut her heart to pieces. Alas, we, all of us, continue to contend with evil everyday. Trusted persons may and do betray us. And that’s why we hope, and we also pray. And that’s why we teach our children to hope, and also to pray. And that’s why even sincerely hatched ideologies cannot bring in utopia. And that’s why sageuks and regular dramas will continue to be a very profitable industry. Kaja.

Kim Chunchu the guileful

Kim Chunchu the guileful

The day Deokman wielded power, on her installation as Silla’s ruler, the ‘Deokman’ persona disappears. She must be on guard against everyone and everything because she ultimately is responsible for all that will befall her kingdom. The sense of ‘taking responsibility‘ is taken very seriously in the world of sageuks, and that’s why the ‘ranking’, the ‘ordering of status‘, borders on insanity, borders on discrimination, fosters marginalization, and, since it involves humans, feeds on greed. Shikataganai. That’s how it was then. That’s how it is in the world today, albeit that ‘responsibility’ part is something that only the likes of Kim Yushin can consistently adhere to.

Kim Yushin has it in himself to cleave a rock by striking it thousands of times with wooden swords = the result of a straightforward warrior's weird form of meditation

Result of a straightforward warrior’s weird form of meditation. Yushin has it in himself to cleave a rock by striking it thousands of times with wooden swords.

It is the most staunch of warriors who take the issue of loyalties very seriously. The fiercest in Deokman's generation, from left: Bidam, Yushin, Alcheon, Bojong

It is the most staunch of warriors who take the issue of loyalties seriously. The fiercest in Deokman’s generation, from left: Bidam, Yushin, Alcheon, Bojong.

Gen. Kim Yushin is so steadfast that he can cleave a rock by sheer perseverance. This, his unbending course, almost caused him to deal Deokman a double-wham in the heart, losing both Bidam and him. Yushin is not spared of the tension of wavering between two loyalties. The characters are all presented with agonizing choices of loyalties, be it to persons or to causes or to self. Bidam was torn between Munno, Mishil, and Deokman. Yushin was torn between Deokman and Gaya. Alcheon was torn between which person represents his true calling as the people’s protector: Mishil or Cheonmyeong. Bojong is torn between his father’s sense of personhood and his father’s devotion to Mishil. The viewer’s logic is constantly bombarded with issues of ethics and morality that their real-life manifestations are in danger of being relegated as just matters for passive viewership. Like being slowly convinced that violence is the norm. It’s a very dangerous phenomenon.

The ruler now, formerly Deokman to all, flanked by the heir apparent her nephew Kim Chunchu and the Dowager Queen, formerly Lady Maya.

The ruler now, formerly Deokman to all, flanked by the heir apparent her nephew Kim Chunchu and the Dowager Queen, formerly Lady Maya.

Bidam, his basic persona

basic Bidam, self-sufficient yet empty

Bidam faces

a Bidam of expressions

Bidam, faulty material to begin with

…unguarded moment

Bidam, the mal- and under-fed soul

Bidam, needful soul…

That’s why I have no excuse to offer for the genius of craftiness who is Kim Chunchu. The nearest would be ‘nationalism‘, and that’s why I understand why Germany for one is wary of this noble phenomenon. Like Bidam, nationalism is a double-edged sword, it both builds up and distorts, carrying both life and death. Kim Chunchu, in his nationalistic fervor, cause the downfall of both queens Deokman and Eun Go (of Baekje, of the drama Gye Baek πŸ™‚

Deokman grew up with the boys. Here, in a fierce dialogue with Alcheon.

One of the boys. Deokman clashes with Alcheon.

Deokman and her hands

Bidam says nobody touches this kid.

Even if Deokman had been effective in everything else the presence of Kim Chunchu would constantly threaten her predetermined course. Well, it would be illogical to surmise that Deokman less Chunchu would have been tragedy-less. Even as supreme ruler Deokman wouldn’t have been able to contain all the freely-moving thinking entities surrounding her.Β  Like the way atoms would move, in the Brownian model, to new directions after being mutually hit by others, there’s no way of predicting how isolated human decisions would end up in the domino effect of things. The nakedly base persona who is Bidam — itinerant, instinctual, eccentric, unbound, expressive, vulnerable, deadly, emotionally hungry, naive — through leaps of events that usually happen in fairy tales he metamorphoses into the queen’s soul-mate. Or should I say that, in the words of Bidam himself, all things find their final place. Bidam said this to himself when, upon his engagement to the queen, decided to accede to Munno’s wish of giving the geographical books to Yushin. Bidam’s metamorphosis is reflected in Deokman’s, whom the desert eventually spewed back into Gyerim, where she became one with the boys, though not becoming as warrior-fierce as Mishil once was.

Deokman and her hands (2)

Yushin & Bidam rescue the princess.

Alcheon vs Yushin

Alcheon, a legitimate alpha male candidate, in tournament combat vs. Yushin.

Bidam vs Yushin, the alpha males

Yushin vs. Bidam, tournament

Deokman and her hands (1)

Alcheon steps back, though remains as the queen’s personal guard.

And, as in mirror images, their ‘directions’ are opposite: Bidam came from isolation and had to prepare to be the ruler’s consort; Deokman came from the openness of free thinking but must now focus on the path of wielding absolute control but where as she controls she is also being controlled, manipulating but also being manipulated. Many personalities evolved in this story: Jukbang, Godo, Seolwon, Chilsuk, Munno, Sohwa, but it is the transformation of Deokman and Bidam that are most remarkable. And, between the two, it is Bidam’s. On the contrary Yushin stayed as steady (as the rock before he cleaved it πŸ™‚ — otherwise Deokman would have been left with nobody to be thankful to on her dying chair.

The Great Queen Seon Duk utilizes this steady image of the great hero Gen. Kim Yushin in order to cook up a tale of males vying for the alpha position. The male characters have their own charms, even the funny Santak and Jukbang who in the end teamed up in trying to bridge the misunderstanding between Bidam and Deokman. Even the slime Yeomjong could be attractive to some, with his wealth, position, influence, and the capabilty to mobilize amrs. Ah, needless to speak of the array of masculinity, from Chunchu down to the Hwarangs, down to the resistance movement where Wolya is the most beautiful. I am relieved that Alcheon was spared of the bloody battle for Deokman, and he becomes Deokman’s beta instead (a step down, supporting, positive). The final alpha candidates, Yushin and Bidam, are a confusion to me because Yushin was never aggressive towards Bidam. It was difficult for me to accept the battle between them.

Bidam, the alpha male for me, was simply a damaged material to begin with. But for many that’s no excuse. Episode 53 was a painful watch for me, where Bidam, basking under Deokman’s confidence, starts to push people around including Yushin-the-ever-good. Uhm Tae Woong was a very good choice for this role because his face, even in his ‘fierce’ look, communicates “sincerity”, truth, jinsil.

Deokman-Bidam twin dragon rings (2)

Deokman-Bidam twin dragon rings

Bidam does not want to leave

Bidam, who wants to protect Deokman, is being protected by her. Otoke?

Bidam, loved but scared

A giving, but also a depriving. Otoke?

Deokman, powerful but helpless

Deokman, the helpless ruler

Bidam & Deokman, forced to do something they don't like = be away from each other

Bidam & Deokman, forced to do something they don’t like = be away from each other

Bidam, the instinct to protect what's his

The alpha male’s instinct is to protect. Bidam reclaims his sword.

Bidam crumbles

Bidam, assessing…

Deokman intends to live with him

Deokman ready to retire, with Bidam

However, when Bidam “saw the light”, which is his term for his bond with Deokman, he settles. He refutes Mishil’s reasoning that loving is taking. He says that it is the opposite: it is giving up. He becomes the pupil that Munno would have been howling proud of. His volatility quiets. It didn’t count for him that he’s the son of a Holder of the Royal Seal and a former king. He wishes to forsake the world on the day that, if ever, Deokman dies before he does. He gives up his claim to Munno’s premature promise that he’ll be the one to unify the three kingdoms. He basks in Yushin’s thankfulness. Deokman fully embraces, gives him the highest government post, sends him away to safety as she battles the hidden traitors. She gives him what is equivalent to the West as the marriage ring. He achieved THE alpha position beside the top female. (I have to refocus against the fact that Deokman’s father is his cousin; this might be strange to me but it’s natural in that part of history.)

The fault lies in the Brownian motion. I will side with Deokman and I will not condemn Bidam. The queen may have abandoned the traitor but Deokman did not abandon Bidam. Indeed it was only him who was responsible for all his actions but Bidam was simply too ‘deficient’ to start with, or whatever safe description there is, to take the quantum leap of accepting-betrayal-in-exchange-for-200%-sincerity. Not everyone has the capacity to be like the biblical character Job. The author-philosopher C. S. Lewis says something like it being more laudable to appreciate the man who has traversed from ‘badness’ to even a bit of ‘goodness’ than a man who has always been ‘good’. THAT IS, if Bidam did betray Deokman… Bidam had found his rest. He had renounced all claims in favor of the light who for him is in Deokman. He had become a happy man getting ready to retire πŸ™‚ I was already at rest with his happiness. The writers simply had to find a good excuse to have the drama end ‘very dramatically’. On the other hand I’m glad that it showcased personhood. Personhood is the redemption of the tragedy that is Bidam and Deokman.

I will have to write another post on the anatomy of their separation. It has something to do with the frailty of trust. What I believe in now is that none of the two betrayed each other. Deokman’s hands were tied with the country’s laws. Bidam may act on the contrary in the face of people he intends to confuse but I will stick to my conviction that, in his own reasoning, he will work for what would be advantageous for Deokman.

When Deokman sent him away from the city with a ring the twin of her own Bidam was concerned of the separation, an echo of repeated abandonment in the past, plus he instinctively wants to protect Deokman knowing that she is facing a big problem that is threatening the royal family’s safety. When a fake assassin fails to take him he says something like: if that throne is too heavy for you then I will be responsible for it on your behalf, or I along with those who threaten you will disappear from this earth, or that I will become the throne so that you will not be torn into different loyalties anymore. What’s tragic is that as Bidam was formulating all this, slumped against a tree and clutching his ring, Deokman was writing him a letter, that she will abdicate after she solves the current problem and so he just wait for her, find a temple where they will stay together, because, ugh, she is dying. I don’t want to cry right now so I need to finish this long post fast.

The fault lies in the Brownian motion. Chunchu acts. Yeomjong acts. The power-greedy act. The fearful act. Bidam was cut off from his line of communication with Deokman. Deokman cannot be as expressive as she was in her childhood. Bidam, who only very recently got healed from being damaged, but still hurting from the cruelty of his mother, crumbles in the onslaught. He returns the dragon ring to Deokman. Disaster. Everyone has a field day. I think about life. I mourn for the possibilities. I have to accept so that I could move on. Shikataganai. I breathe because Yushin is still standing. Like Dongyi’s orabeoni. Like Songyeon’s Daesu. He carries on the legacy of the woman that he loves.

Bidam Deokam beginning

Bidam-Deokman, embrace instead of condemnation

Bidam pats Deokman to sleep

Bidam pats Deokman to sleep

Bidam offset by Mishil's trick

Mishil pulls a trick on Bidam

Mishil in a regular meeting with her family

Mishil in a regular meeting with her family

Deokman embraces Deokman in her dream

Deokman embraces Deokman, in her dream

Deokman and Yushin best friends forever

Deokman, Yushin, best friends forever

Deokman and Yushin best friends forever (1)

Not persons, but ruler & subject

Deokman says goodbye

The ring on the limped hand

Deokman says goodbye (1)

goodbye world, hello Bidam

I am relieved that the suave Seolwon died with honor. He was a sincere beta to Mishil’s alpha, and his speaking voice commands respect. I am saddened that Deokman’s and Cheonmyeong’s father, the king, was such a weakling. Perhaps that was the result of being born to a household drenched with tension: one opts for the extremes. The way Mishil’s men face each other at their table meetings, concocting schemes, in terror of her, and maintaining superficial amicability, is sickening. I wouldn’t want children to watch this drama. Mishil herself, with the OST accompanying her, is a dose of unhealthy information about a reality that isn’t necessarily so.Β  I’m sure the Mahatma Gandhi would have thought so, too. Confronting an evil structure does not necessarily entail violence, and so the supposedly frightening monster is reduced to an object of perspective. For Deokman it took only a sincere dialogue with the mathematician monk. And confidence in Bidam’s ingenuity. And the guts to risk a bit bigger than she ever did before.

The likes of the character that is Bidam does not come along often. I am glad that I have come to know him. His image as a killing machine is something I would like to protest against. I don’t believe that anyone as simple as child like him has the heart of a cold killer. He does kill very efficiently, yes, but the standard at that time was to exactly excel in that art. That’s why Munno realized in the end that he was wrong about Bidam. Bidam is his pupil, is like him, and is not a monster. It’s just that Kim Nam Gil’s eyes can really shoot daggers πŸ™‚ His theatricals are excusable considering that Bidam has to be portrayed as a character of extremes. However, I wish the violence in that last fight, one against many, was done away with. If it was only to feature Bidam’s Munno-like prowess then it wasn’t entertaining at all. It was very painful to watch. Why did the writers have to make Bidam decide to fight his way to her? It’s a pointless recalling of the theme of mass murder that happened to him a long time ago. Was it to emphasize who the real Bidam is and so justify the violence done against him? The writers should have made the queen shout for everyone to stop. Or to rope him. Or a net. It’s ridiculous that all those troops couldn’t stop a single un-armored man, as if to really put him across as a killing machine.Β  No wonder Deokman’s heart rioted. Also, I simply protest against the killing of Santak. It was pointless.

I can generalize the story’s theme this way: touching another person creates miracles. The Bidam-Deokman bond was defined when she embraced him, they embraced each other, figuratively andΒ  bodily, instead of condemning him for a lie she found out about. From then on it was only him who could continue to address her casually and hold her hand. He pats her to sleep, a replica of how he touched her forehead when they were babies.

Bidam’s heart was touched at Mishil’s unexpected touch, extracting a stalk from behind his ear, a trick she may have conjured to trick him into filial piety despite everything she did to him. Earlier he was already startled when it was his arm that Mishil took instead of Chilsuk’s to support her on the rough terrain.

The tensions in the entire storyline are tied to the relationships of these three.Β  Mishil’s safety net is her people’s devotion to her. Deokman’s are Yushin and Alcheon. Bidam’s, well, lest I say Munno’s acceptance of him, then he has nothing. But for me Munno would suffice for him, and that’s why I have faith in his final decisions. He faced death just so to relay to Deokman that her love for him was not betrayed. That, I believe, was her foundation why she continued to wear her pair of their rings on the day she died, which was only three days after he did (so, Bidam’s answer to Mishil became true, that he’d die three days before the ruler of the kingdom does). I repeat: The queen may have abandoned the traitor but Deokman did not abandon Bidam. Deokman fulfilled Bidam the vow that he gave to her, to give up the world also in the event that the other dies first. But Deokman went all the way for both of them. She did not merely retire from power. She left everything.

Kim Yushin the incorruptible

Kim Yushin the incorruptible

There was also that embrace from somebody, in a dream when she first came to Gyerim, that she relates again to Yushin. She says she now knows who it was, and Yushin repeatedly asks her to tell him. We don’t hear her tell him. We are instead shown a scene of grayed Yushin and Alcheon (whom to my delight was put by the queen in the position that Bidam vacated, the Sangdaedung, the highest office in the court) unexpectedly meeting at the queen’s mound, each to report of the success that Silla had over Baekje (ah, poor Gye Baek and Eun Go). Next we are shown the teen-age Deokman’s dream: the unknown woman who embraced her was the Queen Seon Duk wearing mourning clothes. Was the queen mourning her own death? Did the queen signify the Deokman who will die once she comes to the palace? Does it say that Deokman has been embraced by ‘non-person’, a queen but not a person, the moment she came back to where she belongs? That one who embraced her also urged her to endure until the end.

Bidam, shikataganai

Bidam, virtual royal consort, put on a pedestal but used shamelessly. Shikataganai. The warrior is a child.

And how about Yushin, her first love? Yushin deserves all her gratitude and more. Yushin more than deserves to hear all those words from her. Yushin became a man side by side with her, had been hers and her twin’s strength. But she and Yushin were not ‘people’ to each other. They were subject and ruler. It was only with Bidam that she is a ‘person’. Naturally she collapses when he died. Three days she was unconscious, on regaining consciousness she goes out to see the sky and the land — much the same scene at Eun Go’s final moments — she goes out and be with Yushin for a few hours, expressing her love for him. She asks him to run away with her now like the way they planned to a long time ago. But Yushin becomes flustered, and seems to say he possibly couldn’t because she, after all, has just left to him all the tasks for the sake of land still left undone . In Bidam’s insecurity he believed that it was Yushin who achieved everything, who had ‘all’. He didn’t see how Yushin would have liked to be in his shoes since a long time ago. Yushin knows how Deokman loved Bidam despite of her being unsure herself of that love. Love for many cannot really be formulated into words. But when Deokman told Yushin earlier that she wanted to spend her final days with Bidam then what more can be said about how she truly felt? So Deokman closes her eyes, tears fall (of regrets? of happiness? of relief?), and then she goes to follow Bidam.

15 thoughts on “Putting Bidam and His Story Into Perspective

  1. Appreciate your thoughtful analysis. I just re-watched for the second time because the first time I watched it I just could not understand or like Bidam. On second viewing, I am completely in awe of his complexity.

    I now realize that his character is so gray that it’s virtually impossible to completely pin him down. I do believe that he sincerely loved Deokman/The Queen. However, this “devotion” that the writers kept hammering home came with expectations. He wanted her affection and reassurance, which is understandable, because he lacked affection so much during his childhood. However, his devotion wasn’t without expectations, and we see this every time he copped an attitude whenever he felt as though the Queen wasn’t reassuring him enough or whenever he felt threatened by Yushin. This is in stark contrast to Alcheon, who was truly devoted to the Queen, and ONLY the Queen, without expectations.

    My heart broke for Bidam because if he had not been abandoned as a child, he would have been capable of great and unwavering devotion to the Queen. Though it’s possible that his goal was to keep the Queen after dethroning her, he was also clearly angry at her; him returning the promise ring on the dead guy’s body revealed that. Right before his insurrection and during some of it, he reflected a range of inconsistent emotions (including spite and hostility). He also kept refusing to believe the Queen didn’t try to kill him, even after receiving her letter from Jukbang. Had his sidekick not personally confirmed it, he would have kept believing the lie.

    Bidam is such an unpredictable character that it’s very difficult to know exactly what he would have done if he had gained the throne. Despite having the best intention towards the Queen, he was simply too damaged to be a reliable partner.

    BIdam is easily the most enigmatic, fascinating, and haunting character I’ve ever seen in a K-drama.


  2. I know that I am years too late in this but I just finished watching this drama and still can’t get over it so I kept on searching for more opinions about it.

    The first time that I watched this series, I thought that the BidamxDeokman love story is a bit too forced – as if it just came out of nowhere – not really believable, however, after re-watching it again and again, I realized that wasn’t really the case, that in the end it actually make sense.

    Honestly, I was shipping Yushin and Deokman at first, I was so touched with the way Yushin protected her after they left the palace and his like “I choose you” was really touching, I thought “who wouldn’t fall for that?” especially when he also show it with his actions.
    However, I do think that their relationship was broken after Princess Cheon died, like Deokman said, it will be hard for the both of them to return to how they were before and be happy together because, even though they weren’t the ones who killed her, both of them felt guilty for her death.

    Yushin and Deokman’s relationship may have been shown longer, but after re-watching this series…there weren’t really signs of how and when did they started to fall for each other? it seems that, all this time their relationship was of that leaderxfollower (Yushin as the leader and Deokman as the follower) although it explains why they both trust each other more than anyone. So to me, their love was like in the middle or just about to start…but cut down eventually. Yushin stayed true to his word and decided to just become her servant so, the moment Yushin vowed to her as her servant, both of them automatically built a wall.

    When Yushin decided to serve her as his Queen and made an alliance to Gaya, Yushin’s love for Deokman got divided = his love for her as a woman, as his leader and his loyalty to Gaya.

    Now about Bidam and Deokman, after re-watching the series…I think, Deokman falling for Bidam will make sense if you will think how she live her life the whole time. She almost never got treated as a woman since she was a child, she had to act like a man and when she finally had the chance to live as a woman, she once again had to act as a “king” – she was surrounded by two kinds of people, those who wanted to use her or get rid of her and those who want to serve her – Bidam on the other hand was the only exception.
    She have loyal followers like Yushin and Alcheon and the rest, but they follow her not only because she is their old friend Deokman, or that they love her but also for their country so it was always with devided into that. Then there is Bidam, who do not care about anything, litterally oozing with “You’re my everything” and that “everything I do, I do it for you” (lol) because he is not serving Silla, nor does he serve her because she is a Queen, he do that because it’s her, the woman he wants to be with.
    Yushin gave up their love for the country but Bidam never gave her up, we all see the difference with how she treated Bidam and Yushin. She have rejected Bidam’s love in such a painful way and yet he never gave her, even his stupid rebellion wasn’t because he hate her but because it’s the only way he think he can get her.
    So for Deokman who almost never get treated as woman, who spent years of her life serving and being serve, Bidam became the exception. Just like what she said in her confession, he was the only one who treated her differently.

    I think the problem with it is the way the writers and the director handle their love story. Back when Deokman was still a Princess, there were instances that Bidam shows his love for Deokman in a sweet innocent way and the way Deokman smile for that, in those scenes, you can tell there is a chance that she will fall for him.
    But I think the writers were torn into making Bidam into a tragic character who never found out that Deokman love him (because they said that Bidam’s reason for starting a rebellion was because of his jealousy over Yushin but then it ended up because of politics and trust issue) and the fans who wanted his love to be reciprocated. And fans weren’t ready to see this “new Bidam and new Deokman” they should’ve spent more time giving them those sweet scenes instead of turning into serious mode.

    But if I am going to change the ending…then I will give them more sweet moments and let the viewers see how Deokman slowly fall for Bidam but Bidam never realize it and thus started a rebellion against Deokman but find outs later on that she also love him. At least this wouldn’t make Bidam who’s clearly good at reading people, easily get deceived by a liar.

    But if we are going to talk about the last episode only then…I wouldn’t change anything except that… I wish he get to her or understand that Deokman still loves him (because )I prefer to see Bidam fighting his way to Deokman than getting caught and only get to see Deokman face to face for her to give his punishment.


  3. This was nicely written but I felt it was written entirely in Bidam’s favour. So many issues in his character and relationships seem to have been miscontrued.

    Yushin was always the alpha male for me. And I feel that the real relationship was always meant to be the one between Yushin and Deokman – I felt that even the scriptwriters intended it to be that way throughout the 60+ episodes.

    Anyway, this made good reading!! πŸ™‚


    • Thank you for this comment πŸ™‚ I can’t recall where I read it but it seems you’re right about the original ‘pair’ being Deokman and Yushin. But then the very interesting and charismatic Bidam suddenly boosted the ratings and the writers picked up from there. If it’s a consolation to both Yushin fans and the original intent of the plot, it’s Yushin who’s with the queen at the end, and beyond, together with the equally nice Alcheon, and Bidam ‘ended’ in tragedy. If Bidam hadn’t been so interesting I would have been happy had Deokman ‘ended up’ with either Yushin or Alcheon. Thanks again! Happy New Year!


  4. Nice and entertaining piece of writing but it seems to me to be biased – it looks as if it’s written in favour of Bidam to be honest.

    Certain flaws in Bidam’s character were ignored and obvious issues in the Bidam-Deokman relationship were a little misinterpreted. I always felt that she turned to Bidam when she realizes she desperately needs love and comfort – not because he made her feel ‘human’. I also have a problem with the ruler-subject thing between Yushin and Deokman; their relationship obviously goes much deeper than that (since they are forced to hide their feelings).

    The Queen was dying anyway – Bidam’s betrayal and death worsens her condition but it was obvious that she would have died sooner or later. So this whole you die – I die kind of thing doesn’t really apply here – she definitely doesn’t ‘collapse’ after his death – she’s on the verge of death and she just can’t handle the stress. The Queen’s death scene also held a lot of significance for both Yushin and herself. Things come full circle for her when she realizes what she always wanted was right beside her when she was dying.

    It’s true that Bidam treats her as a woman but I don’t agree that she felt like a person only with him. She just wants a normal life and he gives her comfort when she is desperate for it and she realizes she could always have that if they married.

    There were too many personal reflections and interpretations given to the plot and characterization but meh….I really enjoyed reading this. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚


    • Hi! Thanks for dropping by! It’s obvious, isn’t it, that like Deokman I also love Bidam, so I made an effort to write nice things about him πŸ™‚ But you’re right about his character and about their relationship, and others might even say it’s not alltogether ‘healthy’ for Deokman. What I can definitely say as of now is that the Bidam character is just one of those that’s neither a definite white nor a definite black, unlike Yushin’s that has always been on the ‘right side’, even when he was just a kid, a warrior-in-training. Happy New Year!


  5. I am currently watching this drama. I’ve been dying to talk to someone about it, but my friends have not seen the drama, and it’s not a drama that’s recent. But reading your posts (this one and the ‘getting to know Bidam better’ post) have been a sort of relief and joy. Although I am reading your thoughts from a couple of years ago, the conversation is new to me, and I feel as if I am reliving the intricacies, the excitement, the emotions, etc in a conversation with you.

    Anyway, you really have a way with words and I am moved just reading your post. I still need to finish watching (I’m on episode 40)… I know, I know, I shouldn’t read spoilers! I’ll be honest, at episode 8, I got slightly bored and jumped ahead to episode 20 (I think that’s when Bidam first appeared). If not for the eventual appearance of Bidam, I would have stopped watching this drama at episode 8.

    By now I have seen episode 62 many many times, and each time I wonder ‘why? why? why?’. Bidam’s character was hyped so much, and now I understand why. Even from his initial scenes, I fell in love with the character. I don’t think I’ve ever grown attached to a character so quickly, but boy did he just knock the socks off my feet!


    • Hi, Bess, I am happy that you feel this way about Bidam and his story (yep, that’s how I see the drama still!). I’m glad I wrote all those down, because I have forgotten many of the drama’s details now, me being busy with something else. Though I feel happy with your very nice comment (thank you!!), I know that there are not-so-subtle and subtle layers to the story that I have no idea of. I can only wish that I understand Korean, both language and culture! But even then I still feel strongly about this drama, especially Bidam!, and I’m sure I’ll be watching it again. Have a nice day and take care!


      • Hi, again! I hope you don’t mind me rekindling some more of your fond memories of QSD πŸ˜€

        I just finished watching episode 51! If you remember, during Deokman’s coronation, Yushin vowed ‘I give my everything to you’, but Bidam’s vow was the exact opposite, ‘Everything you have will be mine’. Ugh, that’s just too sad. Someone at another blog said this, β€œThe downside of childhood is that you don’t have to understand things to feel them. By the time your mind is able to comprehend, the cut is already too deep.” It describes Bidam perfectly.

        I’m going to watch the remaining episodes and it will be bittersweet, but I believe it will be worth all the sadness.


      • πŸ™‚ This was a deeply puzzling scene for me, but I just decided that whatever he meant by that, for sure it was an expression of his intentions that were just as noble as Yushin’s πŸ™‚


  6. Hey, I randomly found your blog after getting addicted to The Great Queen Seondeok! Great read, thanks for the fun ruminations. BTW, what I found great about the show was how they filled in the blanks and motivations for real historical characters where the details weren’t known. Like, the record is unclear on whether Deokman or Cheonmyeong was the older sister, so they made them twins! There really were no more seongol male heirs left. Lord Bidam really was a Sandaedung of unclear birth (but member of the Royal Family) who led a rebellion – why? (Except Queen Seondeok actually died 3 days before he was executed, not after; I’m not complaining). And Yushin outlived them all, served the sacred nation nearly to its glory (one of his sons finished up for him) and lived to a ripe old age, honored by everyone. The real Lord Alcheon was a popular choice for king, but he declined, and he and General Yushin supported Chunchu for the throne. What made such great men happy to be second in command? Pretty cool, they made well-crafted drama out of history.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for dropping by, nyk, and for sharing your thoughts with us. Your comment sure reflects your enthusiasm for this very popular drama. Just now, while quickly recalling the faces that I saw there, I realize that the cast of excellent actresses and actors, including the children/teens, was also a big factor in its success. Indeed, it was a well-crafted drama out of history.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

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 )

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s