Hello 🙂 Today is May 30, 2014. I have just put together the three Damduk-Sujini Pages (1, 2, & 3) into a single Page. The contents remain, and the Page still awaits improving ❤ in the mean time, please enjoy your visit, and thank you for the time.
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Dam Duk, Sujini, and the rest of the story
Hello, welcome to my Damduk-Sujini reflections. 🙂 Today is April 22, 2014. It’s been a while since I’ve started the blog with these early attempts, with all the posts that appear as Pages (except the 1st and the last tabs, just under the header, above). If I make good in school this summer then one of my rewards to myself will be to improve/edit these Pages, probably merge similar themes and then upload illustrations. In the mean time please bear the mess/lack with me and I hope you found something of use to you among these simple sentiments of mine. Thank you for your visit. Have a beautiful day and week ahead. Ciao. ❤
– – – the original post, published on April 5, 2013:
I did not expect I would fall in love again with this story.
The Legend, The Story of the First King’s Four Gods, Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi.
I agree with one blogger who commented that the plot is tight, that everything holds together. Well, almost. I have found loopholes after I got to watch it again. But, these don’t steal away my love for the entire storyline. I love the way I can get true to life tidbits from the dialogues. I love the way the faces of the actors make up for the unuttered words. I love the tempo of the music accompanying gestures and suppressed emotions. I love the parallels.
The 4th episode is playing in the background as I write now. It’s where our hero and heroine meet—Dam Duk and Sujini—this is where they transition from children unaware of each others’ existence into youngsters who will begin to stick to each other like glue. I delight in their partnership.
At this time Dam Duk is in love, and is loved by, Kiha—she’s the antagonist, but her part in this story is amazing. She is one of my favorite characters here. I hope to find another time for putting down my thoughts on her role.
But, it is Sujini and Dam Duk who are destined to be together. He chose to come to her at this time in history, as he chose her to be his wife two thousand years ago when they lived as Sae-oh and Hwanwoong.
We see 10 or 11-year old Sujini living on the streets, earning and gambling away money, wheedling passersby, a walking-around advertiser-promoter for her Master Hyungo who poses as a fortune teller among the sidewalk stalls with the vendors. Master and protégée come from a village of learners of ancient matters. They are, so to speak, wisdom keepers. For now they stay here near Gooknae Castle in order to have firsthand information over the life of the expected Joo Shin King, Ho Gae, who really isn’t (that’s another story for next time).
Sujini is seen loving life, laughing, drinking more than her Master does, freely running around amongst people and is not really so straight in her ethics at this time—she is capable of picking pockets but thankfully her master Hyungo, who dotes on her, tries to keep her in line though he can hardly do so. His Water of the Turtle-Snake can barely control her overwhelming Fire of the Phoenix Heart.
Our Crown Prince Dam Duk, who is about her age, escapes the palace walls every a few days whenever he can and roams the streets, too. He has several friends among the children of the ordinary working people—they all love him and are happy to see him though they don’t really know who he is. He seems to be of help to these friends, giving orphaned children an elder brother model, sharing news with parents that only a palace insider could know, easing workload for an elder who must earn a living because all her men folk had been killed in the wars—this by doing the whole laborious cloth dyeing process himself together with the children he has befriended, from extracting color from plants to hanging the stream-washed final products up in a colorful array to dry. Like Sujini he loves this life amongst the common people.
He has a life with Kiha inside the palace. He also has a life among the street people where Sujini lives.
Now the scene shows our grown-up characters: Dam Duk and Kiha happily riding together as only aristocrats can do. Ho Gae turns out to be a very admirable sportsman and military leader. Sujini is winning and losing in turns at the roulette down the street corner, drinking wine while she’s at it. This is when Dam Duk sees her. He watches her from a building balcony nearby (it’s one of those days he gets out of the palace in to the streets). He watches her enjoyment while smiling to himself, and then laughs at her when she suddenly loses her winnings. He turns away to another window at the arrival of some polo athletes on horseback—there is to be a big tournament in the morrow. Now, here, too, in this part of the streets Sujini goes because she smelled money on somebody. Sure enough she pickpockets the guy and Dam Duk laughs as he sees her gleefully jingling the fished pouch to some folks eating at the nearby table. Clearly he enjoys her antics.
But now he sees, too, Master Hyungo catching truant Sujini in the act, and watches reflectively as our Master pushes our Sujini towards the direction to where Sujini’s victims went, urging her to return the pouch.
The scene intervening shows Sujini struggling with her victims, who turn out to be thugs hired to poison a polo team’s horses (she and Dam Duk will eventually be best friends with this team, but that’s another story yet). They’re about to victimize her and so who turns out to the rescue?—our Dam Duk, of course, who stands on the way of our Sujini’s pursuers and trips them over. This is now when they meet, when Sujini in hiding thankully climbs onto the cart Dam Duk eventually drives by, our perfect strangers meeting for the first time right after an exciting adventure and are now thrown together shoulder to shoulder—no, make that Sujini’s arms all over him because, well, she smelled his money pouch and even got to filch it out of his chest! Our girl is preposterous yet our man doesn’t get mad at her at all.
But why was he there suddenly, as Sujini was fighting off the thugs? Simply put, Dam Duk followed Sujini right after he saw her head onto where her Master was pushing her to go. Why? Curiosity over what would happen to our funny Sujini next, maybe. Curiosity over whether she would really return the pouch, maybe. Or he could have had a bad feeling about the men from whom Sujini pickpocketed from. The fact is it was him who first decided to get involved with her. In a sense, he chose her.
The next scenes will show Dam Duk and Sujini drinking in turns from a bottle of wine as they sit over a bridge street, Sujini pestering him for escapades, him laughing at her antics, and together as a team winning at an intense game of polo. Somewhere in episode 5 the Phoenix Heart will glow right at the time our Sujini stomps off the stands irate over some cheating over the game, and Dam Duk rushes after worriedly knowing she’ll confront the culprits. The Phoenix Heart glows because the guardian and the Joo Shin king are together physically at that time while the Heart’s guardian is passionately mad, and the true king is connecting with her over this emotion. (I may be wrong here, but nevertheless the issues over the Phoenix Heart will be reflected over at another time.)
Dam Duk and Sujini can read each other’s emotions. Dam Duk is attracted to her passionate nature as he himself is passionate though he could mask it (but not from her). When Sujini wheedled him to betting on the Black Team we could simply see how his face catches on to Sujini’s excitement over the possibility of winning over a slim chance. Later near the end episodes we would see him laughingly playing with the Sacred Bow, on which his and the Symbols’ Guardians lives supposedly hang according to the legends. We would see him laughing over tight situations, and then our Master Hyungo will eventually realize that his king gets adrenaline rushes over these challenges. Meanwhile, Sujini will be seen constantly behind or beside him, just doing whatever she wants to do and tagging along him is her first priority.
Oops, there was in fact a long stretch of time when Sujini had to disappear from his sight, and he really went mad when first learns of it. His heart simply couldn’t do without the Guardian of the Phoenix Heart.
Dam Duk’s involvement with Sujini, the Phoenix, leads to his awakening as the Joo Shin King
We find ourselves in the middle of Episode 10. The king Dam Duk, the teacher Hyungo, and the feisty Sujini have just come to Guh Mool Village from Ho Gae’s assault at Dae Ja Castle. Our king and his phoenix have arrow wounds to their torsos. The Turtle Snake has just greeted the Joo Shin King, the first guardian to do so, and now he is presented to the Turtle Snake’s community. The king in tears snickers as he surveys the bowed heads. He sees himself undeserving of this honor—he had wanted to give up his responsibilities and run away with his father and Kiha, and now he finds himself hunted, died for, fatherless, accused, shameful.
Early the next day Sujini wakes up in time to point to the leaving Dam Duk the right exit way. We are now at the point where Sujini makes it very clear to him that she sticks by his side by her own choice regardless of the dangers involved, telling him that she understands his fears, his trying to shake her off—he doesn’t want her and her people to die for him like so many already have.
Sujini delivers his message to Kiha, for them to meet. Dam Duk, beside his father’s bier at the temple, hears from a surviving guard that Kiha held the sword that was impaling the king. They both wait for Kiha at the outskirts, along an unlighted way. It is late and it thunders. Kiha rides in as both are now thick in the attack from all sides by the Hwachun. Heavy rain falls. “Approval” play starts to play. Jumong’s sword’s hilt is focused. Dam Duk sees Sujini get struck. Sa Ryang bars Kiha from approaching Dam Duk, her eyes begging Dam Duk to believe in her. Dam Duk sees Sujini fall. Dam Duk moves away from Kiha, his eyes apologetic(?) regretful (?), and she lowers her gaze in resignation. “Approval” plays on. Dam Duk turns in time to block a fatal blow to Sujini. He finishes off the attackers, casts a goodbye gaze to Kiha, picks up weakened Sujini, rides off clasping her in front of him.
The rain camouflages Kiha’s tears. We have just witnessed Dam Duk’s shift of allegiances, from Kiha and wanting a carefree life, to Sujini and taking up the kingship—from abandoning his dreamt-of destiny to taking up the fires of unwanted challenges.
“First Love” plays as a Guh Mool elder extracts the poison from unconscious Sujini’s backside wound. We are shown a somewhat ancient art of healing using herbal applications and lighted dried poultices. We next see Dam Duk’s hand carefully squeezing drops of water onto a still unconscious yet thirsty Sujini. We next see him turning back from the sink, wet white cloth in hand, and he sees Sujini awake. He deposits back the cloth, sits down, and starts their banter.
He speaks of his horror of her near death, so recent from his father’s and the Julno boys’. He asks her if she just takes her elders’ words about his being the Joo Shin King. It seems he needs to be sure about her say. In answer she shows him her healed wound. She says that he must be like her, able to heal his heart’s wounds within a day, and be the unfailing king to his people. She has just affirmed that his only choice is to surpass all obstacles, to be continually choosing life, and so be able to perform his office well. With a quip she makes him laugh briefly, before going off to sleep again. He solemnly thanks her, and she hides a blissful smile behind an arm.
So, before daybreak, our king heads off to the temple, to ask heaven if it exists, if it has chosen him. Sujini takes her self-assigned post behind him. Teacher Hyungo is compelled to follow. Dam Duk enters the temple, now full of accusers, of the murders of his father and the elders’ sons. Dam Duk speaks of Gak Dan, presents Jumong’s sword, the camera shifts to contain Sujini’s face in the frame, strains of “Approval” start. We are in Episode 11. Dam Duk accepts the Judgment Sword.
Now “Unity” slow strains play. Kiha grabs Jumong’s sword from Ho Gae’s oncoming strike. Unlike Kajin, Kiha succeeds in piercing the king. At the heart. Like Kajin with Hwanwoong, Kiha intends to die with Dam Duk. Dam Duk falls. Kiha falls, pulls out her knife, gets ready to impale herself. Sujini rushes and catches her king before he hits the floor flat, and behind him, her shoulders and left arm supporting his torso and head, her right hand on his chest near the stuck sword, in her loud sobs not knowing what to do.
Sujini’s tears fall on Dam Duk’s chest making a dark green spot on his clothing. Jumong’s sword flares and lights both their faces. Dam Duk regains consciousness, slowly opens his eyes, first looking a bit to his right acknowledging Sujini there, slowly gets up, and Sujini picks up what remains of the pulverized sword: a bow’s handle. “Unity” triumphal strains play. Like the phoenix the king has regenerated. Heaven has answered him and he is strengthened in his resolve.
The first thing the king does is report to two former kings—his father and uncle—in the throne room, where he promised them to become the Joo Shin King on his uncle’s last breath. He caresses the throne, though we never until the end see him sit on it. He asks his father for his protection, as he starts to work for peace in the land. Sujini is close by, as usual, and he asks her if she knows what it’s like to be the king. Her mischievous answer breaks his solemnity, makes him laugh briefly, in that now no one can look down on him, not even his own master. The awakened king and his phoenix go out to a sunshiny morning. We hear the king asking Sujini’s teacher to be his teacher, too, on how to be a good king.
We next enter the episodes first leading to Jumuchi falling in love with the king (“First Love” plays at their first meeting), and next finding Cheoro. Shortly after the king’s awakening three guardians—Hyungo, Sujini, Jumuchi— unbeknownst to all are already converged around him, while the antagonists are obsessed with chasing after the other three symbols. It is with Sujini that Dam Duk at last presents his outstanding skills to the public, to the dismay of his father the king, when he asked her to play with him at the polo games as substitutes to the wounded Julno boys. It is because of Sujini that he meets and frees Cheoro, in Episode 15, and their circle of heaven’s son and guardians completes.
… the drama’s soundtracks are by Mr. Joe Hisaishi …
Clicking on the picture above leads to a fan page, which was created for him in 2002.
❤ I feel like I need to run over the scenes again to make sure that I got the right soundtracks that I have mentioned here. They’re all lovely, even that one for the Hwachun clan. That’s why I simply had to include something on Mr. Hisaishi in this post. I’m still hoping to put scene captures here, too, but I don’t know when that can happen 🙂 The rain scene I described was especially profound for me, in that it was a major turning point of the story. Kiha is a character that I still find very interesting, even more so than I do Dam Duk, and I hope to write more on them, including Ho Gae, one of these days. And then hopefully I’d be able to edit these three Damduk-Sujini pages to my contentment. I’d like to merge them into just one page.
🙂 Thank you for visiting and for bearing with my amateurish post. I was an absolute newbie when I started all this 🙂 [This was first posted on April 11, 2013. This was last edited on April 23, 2014.]
Sae-oh does not die, Hwanwoong’s beloved does not release the Black Phoenix, the Worshippers of Fire are vanquished
If the question is on who the Phoenix is, then the answer is clear. It is Sujini. As the Phoenix rises from the ashes and is regenerated, then so is Sujini whose wounds heal within one day only. As she says it to Dam Duk herself, she cannot easily die.
Yet she nearly dies when she voluntarily withdrew inside herself, giving up the will to live, when she had to be separated from her king. In mythology it is the dragon and the phoenix (vermillion bird, to be more precise) who are partners. So Cheoro, the one whom the Blue Dragon chose, seeks out Sujini for the king. He finds her, carries her to the doctors, settles her among his beloved trees, and relates his visions to her by touching her forehead while she lays down among the lovely autumn leaves in her self-induced coma. Sujini then has visions of Sae-oh’s pains with Kajin dropping her newborn baby over the cliff, of being arrowed by her beloved Hwanwoong as she levitates in her fiery rage, him calling her “Sae-oh”, she answering him “Sujini” as she did with Dam Duk, and she finally awakes to Cheoro’s voice.
Since 2000 years ago the Blue Dragon had already seen Sae-oh, from his view from the skies. When Cheoro was yet unfreed by Dam Duk from the curse, he was seeing the same vision that the Blue Dragon had. He says that for thousands of times he’s dreamt of Sae-oh’s/Sujini’s face, which is why he was halted from spearing Jumuchi during their battle outside Gwanmi Fortress–Sujini’s fast ride toward him, and the supine Jumuchi, arrested Cheoro in mid-strike. Cheoro freezes as he finally sees the face that is in his dreams.
Sujini’s affinity with wine parallels her fiery temperament. She says herself that the acts before she thinks. So she acts on her hurting heart, from her belief that Kiha still has the king’s heart, and the belief that Kiha is among those who killed her clan and parents. So she barges into the Temple, naturally with Cheoro close behind her, and she nearly gets both of them killed. But not before she manifests her ability to handle fire and her inability to control her rage.
But her elders, Hyungo her teacher-master at least, are hot on the issue of punishing Kiha, whom they now clearly see as a false Oracle. But the fact is, the Phoenix Heart by this time is not with Kiha anymore. By this time the king, Dam Duk, has the heart safe in his palace along with the dragon’s symbol. Sujini should have seen the contemptuous expression on his face and his tightening grip on the table as he confronts Teacher Hyungo and the two top generals Go and Heuk Gae in their fear that the king is still in love with the “Hwachun woman”. Sujini overhears the words only, where the king does not even deliver satisfying responses to his questioners. The elders should have realized that Kiha does not have Dam Duk’s heart anymore. She does not hold the Phoenix Heart anymore.
Sujini should have known that Dam Duk has already cut the cord at the entrance of the Temple, like the way he had just cut his tie with Kiha, turning his back and walking away from her. Sujini should have known that Dam Duk finally terminates all that Kiha had lit in than meaningful act of putting out the candle’s light on his study table.
Our passionate Phoenix finds solace in her usual fiery liquid. But that, and the Dragon’s silent presence and physical support (she leans back on him as she spouts her heartaches and fears) could not quelch the fire within. Like Dam Duk who is not content to just sit around, Sujini gets up and heads for a brave confrontation.
Like Dam Duk who many time puts his life in line for a deeply felt cause, so Sujini faces the other most powerful figure in the kingdom, the High Priestess, and accuses her of murder of her parents and kin, and proceeds to exact her own form of punishment with the short sword.
Fiery Sujini is always on the go. She is among the first to enter and to leave the blitzkrieg at Sukhyun Fortress. She rides with the chosen Guardian of the symbol of the Guardian of the Wind Poong Baek – Jumuchi (there’s a reason for this redundance, but that’s another topic) to the next fortress. She leads the troops that fetch Jumuchi back from the night attack at the harbor of Gwanmi Fortress (just as Sae-oh was the fighting leader of her Bear Tribe, an expert with the bow and arrow). She single-handedly fights off, on horseback, the Hwachun fighters in hot pursuit of the king and the Julno youngsters. Ever since their first partnership as substitute players for the Black Team at the big polo game, she becomes a strong support of Dam Duk in his fights. She establishes her rightful place, always just slightly behind him. She sits among the king’s advisers at the meetings. She makes casual conversations with the king as they share from a wine bottle, at the palace’s throne room. Ever since their first meeting with the Julno Team, where Dam Duk helps her escape, the king is always anxious over her ready intervention wherever there’s somebody victimized, and he naturally worries that this might get her into trouble. Yet time and again fiery-tempered Sujini proves herself to be his protector. She protects Dam Duk against Ho Gae at Dae Ja Castle, suddenly inserting herself between them and pointing a poisoned arrow to Ho Gae’s neck as he was about to hit the fallen king with the sword. At the polo game, too, she leaps from her horse to fallen Dam Duk and pushes him away from Ho Gae’s charging horse. She desperately fights for both of their lives, that night in the pouring rain, from the Hwachun attack.
As no one can control the king, so none can control Sujini, not even her Master/foster father Hyungo. General Go complains to General Heuk Gae about the king, that at times he feels like tying him down. General Heuk Gae constantly finds himself aghast at the king’s tactics. Jumuchi, too, is at a loss on how to handle Sujini, ever since that day she brought him to Ba Son’s blacksmith shop, he towering over her 11-year old self at that time, and she casually shoves his shoulder demanding for his name after she just gave hers.
I wonder if Teacher Hyungo realizes that his disciple and the king use the same tactics to get their way—charm, carefree façade, “blackmailing and lying” as the king himself confesses to Jumuchi, and teasing people. Dam Duk and Sujini always have great fun teasing people, he in his suave way, she in her boisterous way—their grins are reflections of each other, and these free-flowing bubbly laughs the king complains to Kiha as something none does with him at the palace.
I wonder if Teacher Hyungo realizes that Sujini and Dam Duk cannot simply leave alone a person in pain without doing anything. She tends to defecting soldiers massacred by Ho Gae’s men. He loses escape opportunity as he turns back and defends against the Hwachuns a stunned mother holding her long dead son—he even finds time to ask for the son’s name. Dam Duk and Sujini got into trouble because they couldn’t stand the way the wounded Julno polo players are battered. Their indignity at cruelty and affinity for excitement led them to an unasked-for involvement in the midst of a need. Sae-oh cried as she tended to her wounded people. Hwanwoong came down from heaven intending to eradicate war. He gave her the Phoenix Heart so that she could use it to help the people, to cover earth with its warmth. (There’s a snag here, but that’s another topic.) As it was, Sae-oh was associated with the Red Phoenix, the guardian of the south, and she completes Hwanwoong’s set of four guardian’s. Both are passionate and compassionate, then and now.
The elders’ question is therefore on the matter of who will be the one to release the Black Phoenix, Kiha or Sujini, since both can control fire—Kiha as the Fire Priestess and Sujini as the reincarnated Phoenix (the sign was briefly seen on her forehead when the Guh Mool disciples found her). Kajin had no power then as she dropped Sae-oh’s baby over the cliff. Sae-oh had the Heart then, hence the power in it, and had as well Hwanwoong’s love and baby. Now, it seems Kiha has the power over fire, too, while it is Sujini who has the king’s love though not the baby. (The elders, and even the king, do not know yet about the baby—not until heading to Abullansa.) Now, it seems that the power of fire is not all contained within the Heart anymore. In fact the Hwachun leader has stolen a small bit of it, lending him a very long life.
At the ending it seems that Sujini and Dam Duk agree that Kiha is about to release the Black Phoenix, and then she would become uncontrollable. We don’t see that happen, because Dam Duk makes a move to prevent it. The conditions, however, are similar: the mother of the baby becomes engulfed in her self-originating fire at the rage of seeing her child hurt.
If Dam Duk dies together with the Guardians then perhaps it will not be the guardian of the Phoenix Heart per se who dies but the one who releases the Black Phoenix in a rage: it was Sae-oh then, it is Kiha now. Hwanwoong lived then, sadly after killing his beloved. This time it is Dam Duk who dies, while he succeeds in protecting Sujini—in fact he says to her at the last episode after he finds her that he has never believed the rumors that she was dead, as he would not permit it to happen.
Hwanwoong/Dam Duk does not get to kill his beloved Sae-oh/Sujini this time. Also, he succeeds in preventing the Fire Clan from creating further havoc to his beloved people by getting rid of its powerful elder and its priestess. It’s still a beautiful ending.
🙂 have a nice day, everyone!
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