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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

[mslee's thoughts] Six Flying Dragons Episode 37 - The Burden of Being Lee Bang Won

If last week's episodes were the climax of how far Lee Bang Won could go, how he could execute a decision and stood by it, taking all the responsibilities himself, then in this week's continuation episode [37] was all about the burden of being him. The burden of living off the consequences of his actions and the anger of not only his father Lee Seung Gye turned King Taejo [first king of Joseon] but of the people who was Jeong Mung Joo supporter. They want him executed for the death of Po Eun.

I am really fascinated by the story specifically the characters of Bang Won, Lee Seung Gye and Jeong Do Joon. But most of all, of Lee Bang Won who clearly tried all his best to support the dreams of Sambong yet became the one man who risked it all, who got the wrath of the people and became isolated just because of who he was.

Yes, Lee Bang Won was a complicated character [historical figure] but what I like about him was that he was not afraid to get his hands dirty if it is needed. I find it ironic and somehow fake to believe that one can achieve greater goals such as overthrowing an existing government like Goryeo to a new one and not shed blood. To be optimistic that all will go well as planned is somewhat ridiculous when a battle is going to happen whether physical or persuasion. Historically and politically to achieve greater goals, there will always be casualties on the sides, accidental or not.

Watching episode 37 I was so intrigued to read what history has written about father and son, Lee Seung Gye and Lee Bang Won. Clearly after the assassination of Po Eun and the start of Joseon, Bang Won accepted the fact that he was not a part of the new regime as an active government official and that his father would remain disappointed and angry towards him enough not to acknowledge him even in his presence. I felt sad and hurt for Bang Won who has faced his responsibility and did not make excuses for his actions.

Enough for me to read what wikipedia has stored for their legacy and a summary of what happened.

Reading these pages made me somehow understand the characters.

Just like what happened in this episode, Sambong used what happened to Po Eun to continue his plans. He might have been disgusted and too angry towards Bang Won killing his friend but what he did was hypocrisy and opportunistic at the same time when he hung Po Eun's head to be mocked and named as a traitor. Maybe he was too good to be true but then just like Bang Won surmised, he has his own agenda and want to be the central figure who holds all the reigns in power. With 5 and more positions in his hands, currently he governed the nation and his advises are only a seal away whenever he wants approval from King Taejo [Lee Seung Gye].

I also think that Lee Seung Gye may have accepted and ascended the throne but it was because he was pressured to do it. The great work ahead was a task so big for him that relying on Sambong made it easier for him.

The episode also showed that Bang Won not only accepted his fate as the villain in the new regime but it did not deter him from moving forward to his own agenda. His followers recognized him and even hurt when he was isolated as the sole culprit in the assassination. For what was the reason behind it [protecting his father and family and friends] they knew it was acted with those good reasons and not because he wanted to be popular or be seen as a powerful figure. Bang Won move forward into making his army even more powerful. His wife Min Da Gyung and her family supported him. These were not a secret and Sambong heard about them.

Boon Yi knew how Bang Won must be suffering and stayed by his side. She was confused by Sambong's plans on making Bang Won someone who tarnished the Lee family name and make people realized his actions were not what Lee Seung Gye wanted. In her heart she knew who Bang Won is. [well as for the story at least Boon Yi is not leaving Bang Won's side]

Then there is Moo Myung.

Yeon Hee communicated with Sambong. She let him know of what their organization wants and what they would support. The only thing that they would not support is the land distribution equally for all. Moo Myung does not want Sambong to go on with acquiring all the private lands already in the names of the noble families which some are members of Moo Myung. Gil Sun Mi and Lee Bang Ji [Ddang Sae] met outside. But Gil Sun Mi did not tell Bang Ji that his mother was inside or the leader of Moo Myung.

There were a lot of great policies to be executed. One of them was letting all scholars, from nobles or common, to take state examinations so they will have a chance to fill government positions according to their capability. They will be given a chance, equally. But then scholars went missing and not one appeared or arrived at the hall where the examination would take place in the presence of the King. A huge impact that made all of them dejected at how these scholars could disregard the first "project" under Lee Seung Gye as King Taejo.

Scholars were gathered outside the capital and hung their hats as a sign of completely ignoring the new regime. They were living together and their numbers are getting bigger which would soon be a threat to the palace if known by the people. But they can't do anything about it because the scholars are not doing anything against the government, yet, so they can not be accused of treason.

But then, Bang Won has his own plans and decided to take action after talking with Sambong. He told him he would try to persuade the scholars because it was his responsibility after all that triggered their actions.

Bang Won realized that this is the path he is going to take. Be the bad guy. Be the one who will do the dirty works to achieve the goal. I think he would do this to let his father see that he was doing this to earn his forgiveness or maybe recognize that he has always been the one doing the hard task since the beginning. Historically, Bang Won really did a lot to overthrow the Goryeo kingdom.

I think this is the turning point in Bang Won's life. 

How he was and how he was remembered or named despite the accomplishments he did started with this first action. The plan to burn the village despite the aghast of his followers. His strong leadership to lead and execute a plan makes him an interesting character.


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