Captivating the King, directed by Jo Nam-guk, makes us privy to the palace politics in the kingdom of Joseon. There were people who wanted to fight for the welfare of the people, but there were also some selfish ones who just wanted to look out for their own vendetta. Grand Prince Jinhan gave his all to his nation, but he still had to pay the Price for the sins he never committed. So, let’s find out what happened in Joseon and how Prince Jinhan was branded as a traitor.
What were the demands of the Qing empire?
The Qing Empire invaded the kingdom of Joseon, and though the latter fought valiantly and put all their efforts and resources into the war, they always knew that they were no match for the Qing Empire. The Joseon emperor did whatever he could, but there came a time in Captivating the King when he realized that a lot of people were dying at the hands of the enemy forces. Also, he realized that he wouldn’t be able to win the battle, no matter how many men sacrificed their lives, and that was when he came to the decision that he would surrender. Joseon’s brother, Prince Jinhan, was at the forefront, and he saved the widespread destruction caused by the war. The innocent faces of the kids, the wailing women, the dying men—every sight left a lasting impact on him. The Qing Empire kept many demands in front of the Joseon kingdom, and they made it very clear that the ceasefire would only stay in place until those demands were fulfilled. The first thing that the Qing Empire wanted was to make the Joseon Empire relinquish the royal patent and the seal issued by the Ming. Secondly, they wanted the Joseon Empire to use Qing’s almanac in all their official documents. They also wanted to take the prospective heir to the throne into custody, and since Joseon’s king didn’t have a child at the time, they took Prince Jinhan into custody. They told the Joseon king that if God forbid something happened to him, then they would make Prince Jinhan the next King. They basically wanted someone on the throne who would adhere to their commands and respect the contract that had been entered into by both nations.
Prince Jinhan knew what it meant to stay in custody in an enemy state, but he was ready to do anything for the welfare of his nation. His brother bid him adieu, told him to be safe, and promised him that he would make sure that he returned to his home as soon as possible.
How did Prince Jinhan get released?
Jinhan made good relationships in Shenyang, and he got really close to Prince Rui, who was the reporter’s favorite brother. Both Rui and Jinhan used to play the game of baduk on a regular basis, and Rui was quite impressed when he witnessed Jinhan’s exceptional skill. It was said that Jinhan was probably the best baduk player in the entire kingdom, and he rarely lost any matches. Good players were given a lot of respect in Qing, and that’s how even the Emperor started treating Jinhan nicely. Rui made sure that the ransom of the Joseon empire was not increased, and he also promised Jinhan that he would make sure that the prisoners of war were released and sent back to their nation as soon as possible. Jinhan helped Rui in a war, and the bond between them grew even stronger after that. The day finally came to capture the King when Jinhan was released and allowed to go back to his homeland. Jinhan was happy, but he didn’t know the kind of mindset his brother was in, and he had no clue what fate had in store for him.
What happened between Jinhan and the Emperor?
Jinhan came back to Joseon, and the King made him wait at the entrance gate for hours. Jinhan felt humiliated, but obviously, he didn’t say a word, as he trusted the judgment of his King and knew that there would be some really good reason for doing so. He went inside, and he was shocked when the King, his own brother, treated him with so much disdain. The King had been fed lies, as his queen wanted to plot against Jinhan and not let him sit on the throne at any cost. If she had asked Jinhan, she would have realized that the thought of sitting on the throne would have never crossed his mind. The queen wanted her son to be the heir, and she believed that Jinhan wouldn’t let that happen. There was a rumor that Jinhan was a spy, and he had sworn his allegiance to Price. Jinhan didn’t understand that after sacrificing everything he had and fighting for the welfare of his nation, he was being treated as a traitor. He hadn’t done anything, and he had no intention of betraying his King. The King was also suffering from an illness at that point in time, and his physical condition was getting worse day by day. There were people like the chief state counselor who were still on Jinhan’s side, but the queen made sure that they were not able to do anything about the situation.
What did Jinhan find about Hee-soo?
Hee-soo dressed as a boy, and she went outside and challenged people to a game of baduk. She had heard stories about Jinhan and how good he was at the game. Hee-soo was the daughter of the Chief State Counsellor, and instead of getting married to her nephew, Yung-ha, Hee-soo didn’t like him, and she had made it very clear to her father that she had no intention of marrying him. Jinhan coincidentally bumped into her when she was playing a game with somebody who believed himself to be invisible. Jinhan figured out at the end of Captivating the King that the person he wanted to meet so desperately was not a boy. Jinhan saved Hee-soo from the goons, and it was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. It was very evident that Hee-soo liked Jinhan, and even the latter was intrigued by her personality. In the upcoming episodes of Captivating the King, we will get to know if Jinhan is able to make the King realize that he was wrong in questioning his intentions and if he is able to expose the queen.