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Different types of Love portrayed by the characters of “The Emperor: Owner of the Mask”

Written by: Jonalyn Infante

Korean historical dramas often leave us astonished by its complex plot and courageous characters. It is also a great way to take a glimpse of the Korean culture and life of the Koreans way back to Joseon Dynasty.

Photo from MBC

I already watched The Emperor: Owner of the Mask in 2018 but I recently fell in love with Kim Myung Soo so I watched all his dramas. I already forgot the plot of this drama since I was young back then so I did a rewatch and boom! I was completely washed out! Again! Like a big wave at sea was trying to drown me with different emotions I don’t know which to feel first.

Whether you are a fan of historical dramas or not, you cannot definitely not notice oppa Yoo Seung Ho, right? Yes, he is the main lead of this drama. The Emperor: Owner of the Mask tells the story of a prince who wears a mask to hide his face and fights against Pyunsoo group, an organization who manipulates the country. It has a total of 40 episodes, each with 30 minutes running time.

What I like most about the drama is how the characters depict their own kind of love. It is true indeed that characters give life to the story, so here are the different types of love portrayed by the characters of The Emperor: Owner of the Mask which will make you ponder and realize that love has so much to offer yet so much to risk. Please note that this review is subjective.

Warning: You may read some spoilers ahead.

Yoo Seung Ho as Crown Prince Lee Sun

Photo from VIU

Courageous love. (I made this type of love myself for his character is very unique.) Fighting for love despite the danger and fear. This love is unconditional and handles all pain to save one’s relationship.

The Crown Prince learned and discovered new things that grew him more courage to fight for the helpless. Truly, his love for his country and his people is unquestionable.

We often see the leading man doing all means to save his woman, but I guarantee you that this is worth watching. One of my favorite lines from him is:

How can a man who cannot protect the woman he loves protect the people of a nation?”

Throughout the story, he endured all the pain and fought very hard in order to protect her love, Han Ga Eun. My favorite scene of all was when he blocked the sword by his bare hand to save Ga Eun. “I will die for you”, “I will die with you”, these lines are all great but with that scene, this bold line came into my mind: “Being without you alone is dying, so I will find a way to save us both and be happy together.” What love could be more courageous than his? Because living alone without love also means death.

Kim So Hyun as Han Ga Eun

Photo from VIU

Enduring love.A love that has matured and developed over a long period of time.Both people are good at making compromises, and each of them puts in equal efforts to make the other person happy.

Han Ga Eun is a woman of justice. And she loves her father so much that she is willing to do everything to clear his name from a crime he was accused of. Her love for fairness in even the simple things makes her a bold character worthy of praising. She once said that she and the Crown Prince had the same dream and that was enough reason for her to love him. She saved the Crown Prince many times and even sacrificed herself to help the Crown Prince gain the trust of the people.

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Her love for fairness in even the simple things makes her a bold character worthy of praising. She once said that she and the Crown Prince had the same dream and that was enough reason for her to love him. She saved the Crown Prince many times and even sacrificed herself to help the Crown Prince gain the trust of the people.

Kim Myung Soo as Lee Sun

Photo from VIU

Obsessive love. Many people who experience this type of love suffer from low self-esteem. They fear losing the object of their love, and this fear compels them to say or do some “crazy” things in order to keep them.

As the story goes on, Lee Sun became selfish. Selfish for his family’s acceptance and the love of her lady, Ga Eun. He had changed, but his love for her became stronger that he became desperate to want her. Many may have hated him for wanting to kill the real Crown Prince but what can you do to someone who has fallen deeply in love but the love is not returned? Love changes every person. To Lee Sun, love made him crazy – crazy in love.

“If it is from Lady Han, I would take it, even if it were poison.”

His desperate love proves that he would throw the 99 others just to have one – and that is her lady. King or not, he would still save his love until the end. His love may be toxic or shallow, but that’s the extremes of what love can do.

If you loved his character, you can listen to Kim Myung Soo’s OST for this drama entitled It’s Okay Even If It’s Not Me.

If you want to listen, you can listen it here:

Yoon So Hee as Kim Hwa Gun

Photo from VIU

Selfless love. It is the highest level of love to offer. It’s given without any expectations of receiving anything in return.

We can all agree that Hwa Gun fell in love at first sight with the Crown Prince. Ever since then, she tried all her very best to avoid Dae Mok from killing the Crown Prince. In her own ways, she had done many significant things to the Crown Prince. Even though she gets hurt, she would gladly endure it, for what she cares most was the Crown Prince.

No love could be more innocent and sincere than Hwa Gun. Just seeing the Crown Prince alive and happy makes her at ease even if she couldn’t get his heart. She knew all along that the Crown Prince loves another woman but the only words that came out from her was this:

“Your Highness, I am not saying I will be Queen or your lover. You may marry the woman you love.”

Kim Seo Kyung as Gon

Photo from VIU

Selfless love. Gon has played a remarkable role that changed my heart. He was torn between following her lady Hwa Gun’s orders or reporting to his Master Dae Mok. The character he portrayed was emotionless yet brave. He kept such a low profile that I was shocked on the major revelation at the last episode. His character has so much more to exhibit and I hope that as you watch this drama, you will learn to understand Gon’s selfless love.

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Heo Jun Ho as Dae Mok

Photo from VIU

Selfish love. Loving yourself is great unless you’re already hurting other people because of that self love.

Dae Mok experienced injustice in his early years so he viewed life in a wrong way. Dae Mok wanted to help the poor because he was once poor, but the greed for power grew inside him and had continued for years. I usually love villains but I just couldn’t help to hate Dae Mok. However, I am thankful to this drama for they were able to showcase another perspective of a villain for us understand. The government is not perfect and bad effects cannot be avoided. It happened that Dae Mok received some of that ‘bad effects’ and lived along with it – blocking hope, understanding, and love.

Their government is not perfect and bad effects cannot be avoided. It happened that Dae Mok received some of that ‘bad effects’ and lived along with it – blocking hope, understanding, and love.

Park Chul Min as Woo Bo, Shin Hyun Soo as Lee Chung Woon, Do Young Gu as Choi Sung Ki, Bae Yoo Ram as Park Moo Ha, Lee Chae Young as Mae Chang, Lee Dae Ro as Chief Eunuch

Photo from VIU

Affectionate Love. A love without romantic attraction and happens between friends or family members. It occurs when both people share the same values and respect each other.

Master Woo Bo had described an authentic picture of the reality by his intelligent words and advices as a teacher. Sung Ki, Moo Ha and Chung Woon (also his loyal bodyguard) had offered their cooperation and trust in order to serve and help the Crown Prince.

The Chief Eunuch, with the support of her daughter eventually saw the true intentions of the Crown Prince and provided help to the best that they could.

All of them has to sacrifice in order to help accomplish the plans of the Crown Prince. And for me, this is one of the best squads ever. Having loyal friends who will never leave you whatever the circumstances may be is very special.
Sung Ki, Moo Ha and Chung Woon (also his loyal bodyguard) had offered their cooperation and trust in order to serve and help the Crown Prince.

The Chief Eunuch, with the support of her daughter eventually saw the true intentions of the Crown Prince and provided help to the best that they could.

All of them has to sacrifice in order to help accomplish the plans of the Crown Prince. And for me, this is one of the best squads ever. Having loyal friends who will never leave you whatever the circumstances may be is very special.

Kim Byung Chul as Kim Woo Jae

Photo from VIU

Familiar love. It’s an infinite love built upon acceptance and deep emotional connection. This love comes easily and immediately in parent and child relationships.

Woo Jae may not be obvious in showing his love to her daughter, Hwa Gun. However, you cannot erase the fact that Woo Jae loves her daughter, as well as Hwa Gun loves her father.

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Because of his failure in being the leader of Pyunsoo group, he was replaced by her own daughter herself.

He may not be that typical strong and brave man, but he accepted his defeat and tried his best to be a better father whom her daughter could be proud of. After all, family comes first right?

BONUS CHARACTER:

Kim Sun Kyung as Queen Dowager

Photo from VIU

I really love the feminism excellently represented by the Queen Dowager so I am writing her as a bonus character. Kings usually have the highest power in court but the Queen Dowager proved that she could also do better. The monarchy in the last hundred years was surely patriarchal yet the drama was able to showcase the power of women. She may be a two faced character and tried to hurt the real Crown Prince but she is a Queen above all, a mother. I was really moved by the conversation she and the Crown Prince had at episode 35.

Kings usually have the highest power in court but the Queen Dowager proved that she could also do better. The monarchy in the last hundred years was surely patriarchal yet the drama was able to showcase the power of women. She may be a two faced character and tried to hurt the real Crown Prince but she is a Queen above all, a mother. I was really moved by the conversation she and the Crown Prince had at episode 35.

The Crown Prince’s biological mother is not her thus, she suffered and felt the pain all by herself. Then I realized what the writer really wanted to say: a woman is not defined by having the ability to bear a child. The Crown Prince expressed his feelings to the Queen Dowager and who would not be touched by the loving words of a son to his mother? The love for family is indeed the highest love of all.

The Crown Prince expressed his feelings to the Queen Dowager and who would not be touched by the loving words of a son to his mother? The love for family is indeed the highest love of all.

There are many other reasons to watch this drama. Seeing the costumes, props, casts and all, the whole production must have cost a lot.Plus, the cinematography was great! Each angles were taken excellently showcasing the emotions of every character and the sceneries were vibrant and pleasing to the eyes.

Special mention to the development of the story which is very engaging along with its political insights that mirror real life situations like poverty, power and manipulation, corruption, treason, pretenses, and death.

It was also well written- the script gives justice to every character. And the acting skills of the casts are super. Plus, the cinematography was great! Each angles were taken excellently showcasing the emotions of every character and the sceneries were vibrant and pleasing to the eyes.

Sources for the Types of Love:

Life Hack and FTD Blog

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