The soldier who served his King (Part I)

This post will be featured as a number of parts. It goes through the overall storyline of Eun Shi Kyung in ‘The King 2 Hearts‘ and an analysis of his character. Since he’s one of the best characters ever, and half the life of the drama, I just had to make this post. It’s like a form of closure for the drama itself. Hands down, King 2 Hearts is one of the best Korean series I have ever seen! I like it that that that much! 🙂

Eun Shi Kyung is son to the Secretary of the King and a soldier. His character is simple minded, forward, always optimistic and one who takes everything at face value because he’s that earnest. And the best trait of all is his loyalty. He’s the man who’ll pledge his loyalty to you and then till the moment he dies, you will be the one person he will be willing to lay down it all for. And to Eun Shi Kyung, that one person is Lee Jae Ha.

Where Jae Ha is a carefree player, Shi Kyung is as earnest as they come and down to earth serious. Their first meeting is the beginning of their uncharacteristic friendship which develops in stages thereon. At the WOC training between North and South Korea, Jae Ha tries his best to find an escape route, having been blackmailed into attending. At their first meeting, he asks Shi Kyung if he has a knife so he can cut up his finger, just a little bit, just from the side, so he can be excused from the training and go home. Shi Kyung doesn’t have a knife but he does have a gun. Jae Ha takes the gun from him, aiming it at his head and tries to teach him the correct way to shoot. Except, he doesn’t realize the gun is loaded and fires. Uh oh! Luckily, the bullet misses Shi Kyung’s face and hits the wall behind him. Jae Ha, the playboy and spoilt brat, riles up at him, calling him out for pointing a loaded gun at him (Jae Ha) and tells him he’ll never forget this.

He screams, “Were you actually trying to kill me? Does your father know you’re whack job? It’s too bad for you, because my grudges know no bounds. You Are  Dead.” Hehe, I so love the besties they’re about to become. Shi Kyung doesn’t flinch but rather smiles in return as he admits that he (Shi Kyung) is a bit frustrating and that Jae-ha is somewhat different than advertised. Leaving Jae Ha in the care of other officers, he heads away, leaving Jae-ha fuming, “Who is that asshole?”

Thereon, they spend many a times together during their training and Jae Ha gets jealous seeing Hang Ah and Shi Kyung playing in the snow together. Let’s face it, things do look more meaningful when your forty feet away. During a training session where they pretend it is war between North and South but the team members do not know it is a test, Shi Kyung is the one who stands before Jae Ha with a barrage of soldiers facing them with guns drawn-to protect him and Jae Ha ends up shooting Hang Ah in the heart. Good thing those weren’t real bullets! The WOC team is about to be disbanded and Jae Ha receives more than an earful from his brother for his behavior.  Jae Ha argues it out-they were always taught to despise the North, whom they patronizingly call Reds but Jae Kang counters his argument. These are peace times between the two and “YOU should have risen above all that!” Jae Kang tells him, “Because you’re Royalty! I know you still have a lot to learn but as royalty, you need to set an example! I thought if I pushed you to the edge, you’d do something worthy of your royal blood!”

Angered by the whole episode, Jae Ha tells his brother he will complete the 60km walk alone to stop the disbandment. Hang Ah joins him and is surprised by his gesture but he explains it-he’s royalty, they can’t possibly let him walk it all out alone and leave him to be like this and figures that when they complete two three km, they’ll tell him it’s enough and applaud his thoughtfulness and all will be well in the world again. Except, they leave him to walk the 60 km. When Shi Kyung and the rest of the team join them much later, Hang Ah tells Shi Kyung smilingly, “It’s a good thing you decided to come. Comrade Lee Jae Ha was annoying me anyway. When did you decide to come? I thought of you exactly an hour ago. Is that when you decided to come?” Jae Ha scoffs at her pleasant attitude to Shi Kyung like a jealous teenager and is even more pissy at Shi Kyung’s response.

A smiling Shi Kyung apologizes for being late and asks how she is feeling now, “The gunshot earlier must have startled you.” While Hang Ah downplays it, “It was shot as a means of survival, so there’s nothing much we can do” she says. Jae Ha uses that to release his own stress and guilt Shi Kyung.

“Why are you bringing that up? So I shot the gun! Why do you care? Do you want to blame everything on me? What are you getting at? You should have come right away to help out. You take time out to sleep and eat. You should apologize to me for not coming sooner. Are you kidding me? This is a joke! You should offer to carry me on your back! That would be a drama. You should do at least that much! I mean seriously. Good job, Eun Shi Kyung, Good job Shi Kyung-ah!”

What makes it better is that it works the opposite way. While Jae Ha wanted to guilt him into actually carrying him on his back, Shi Kyung thinks the other way around and apologizes, “I’m sorry. I didn’t understand your highness’ deeper thoughts. I don’t want to be a burden. I’ll leave you to go it alone.Haha. Jae Ha squints as he grits his teeth. “What didn’t you understand? Go Alone? Now you understand my thoughts?Shi Kyung: “But do not forget—that we are always behind you.”As Shi Kyung and the rest walk back to the car, Jae Ha grabs his head, muttering, “Stress…” and Hang Ah can barely contain her smile.

Once they go back to their normal lives before the WOC tournament, Jae Ha takes his revenge on Shi Kyung by admitting him into the Palace as the Head of the Guards. Ever earnest Shi Kyung takes the promotion at face value and thanks Jae Ha for his generosity. Jae Ha plays around a bit with him and then finally lets out all the grudges he’s been holding against him—holding a gun to his head when they met, his sickeningly earnest speeches, and leaving him to run the 60km course alone.

That finally sinks in with Shi Kyung and he can’t help but smile to himself, barely suppressing a laugh. And then Jae Ha adds the kicker, “Do you like Kim Hang-ah that much?” Shi Kyung stares, confused, and Jae Ha goes on in his characteristic style, “Did you have to play in the snow like that? In front of me? Laughing ho-ho, ha-ha?” Even Shi Kyung can see right through him there and smiles.

A twist of events causes Jae Ha to declare his love for Hang Ah in front of the whole world (Well, more like fake love. As it goes, he doesn’t even realize he loves her and tries to convince himself otherwise). However, Hang Ah knows Jae Ha’s nature well and refuses to answer to his public proposal. That sends Jae Ha to bed-in shock and denial. After all, he’d been so convinced she liked him-who wouldn’t like a handsome, smart and cute guy like him? “Why? She… doesn’t like me? WHY?”

By the time Hang Ah decides to answer Jae Ha-more like with the purpose of rejecting him face to face, Shi Kyung calls her up and already decided, she agrees to come. Jae Ha however, interprets it the other way and hilariously fixates on one detail: “YOU called, and she said yes?” Hehe.

JH: “What did you say?”

SK: “It’s been a long time.”

Jae Ha scoffs that he declared his undying love in front of the world and she rejected him, but Shi Kyung said “It’s been a long time” and she agreed?

If you had said you missed her, she might’ve already left the country!” Haha, gotta love the jealous immature bratty prince! And to take revenge for that, Jae Ha calls up the royal guard and informs them Shi Kyung won’t be accompanying him on the date to meet Hang Ah due to ‘personal reasons’.

And so it is that Shi Kyung meets Jae Shin, Jae Ha’s younger sister-the princess. She is the polar opposite to his character-a lively, energetic, bold and full of life girl. At their first meeting, he isn’t able to recognize her since she’s dressed funkily as a normal on stage singer and ends up accosting her for possessing the princess’s phone and demands to know where she got it. She reads his character perfectly in that first encounter (Even rawrs at him on sight like a cat looking at a treat) and chides the whole guard-him included, for looking down on people based on their appearances. She calls him, ‘no fun frustrating fellow’ as a way to tease him. Thereon, all their stories intertwine-his, Jae Ha’s and Jae Shin’s. Funnily, when Jae Ha senses his sisters interest in Shi Kyung, he bursts out, “Did he seduce you too?” and labels Shi Kyung the ‘royal killer!(as in seducer of the ladies)’ and asks him what his secret is and how he does it!

It is Shi Kyung who becomes Jae Ha’s pillar of support when Jae Kang is killed and Jae Ha takes the throne. What’s worse is that Jae Shin is paralyzed after jumping off of a cliff-an event of which she has no memory due to trauma (She was kidnapped by the people who killed the King). The best part about Jae Ha is that he knows he’s led a useless life and everyone has no faith in him, which causes him to doubt himself at times, but he’s always able to overcome those weaknesses in himself and for that, most of the time, it is Shi Kyung who helps him forward. He’s the one who accompanies the Queen Mother to the vacation house where Jae Kang died and who is the first to realize the setup being done against North Korea to frame them for it and instead of reporting it at once, he approaches Hang Ah first. This causes another misunderstanding where Jae Ha wonders why he went to Hang Ah’s quarters and tells his other subordinate- “Next time there’s anything wrong in the bride’s quarters, YOU go!” Haha.

Shi Kyung is a soldier who has great loyalty. His father once advises him that he probably ought to go back to law school – he can do more than just look after a prince. But Shi Kyung says he’s already discovered that he’s not as smart as Dad, and that the life of a soldier is what fits him best.

“But I will be a soldier who doesn’t bring you shame.”

Before the death of Jae Kang, Shi Kyung and Jae Shin go to see the stars from a hilltop. There, she entreats him to make a wish when they see a falling star. He starts to explain that it’s a stupid concept, but she turns on him and is like, who doesn’t know that? Just go with the moment and make the wish! They close their eyes and clasp their hands but Shi Kyung sneaks a little peek at her, turning away abruptly when she opens her eyes and looks at him. He refuses to tell her what he wished for so she teases him, “World Peace?” Only, the look on his face tells her she made the right guess and she’s like, “REALLY? That’s what you wished for?” and then bursts out laughing at it.

But he doesn’t think it’s very funny, and asks what she wished then. Her wish was for her next album to do well. And then he says it’s because she’s a singer that she made that wish and he’s a soldier hence he made the wish he wanted-what is so wrong about that? Before she can even stutter a reply in surprise, he continues. She must think people like him are dumb, naïve, laughable. “Yes, soldiers simple-mindedly and innocently guard this country. But that’s why it’s possible for you to drink with your friends and sing at clubs. It’s because of us! So then why… do you laugh at us?”

She realizes her joke went too far and feels terrible-even worse when she sees his eyes brimming with tears, and offers to sing him a song as an apology. At first he thinks that’s also a tease but she tells him it’s because she’s sorry and words seem like they’re not enough. For good measure, she adds she’s singing it for the first time and no one else, not even her band members have heard it. He nods. The song about first love, and as he sneaks peeks at her while she sings it, you can just see him fall in love with her right there on the spot. He’s that adorably earnest!

A cut of the song from Episode 7

However, crippled after the incident at ‘Anmyungdon’, when she’s in the hospital, he visits her to bring her a pet parrot. He tiptoes into the room so awkwardly when she doesn’t respond to his knock because she’s listening to music. He sees her leg hanging down off the bed and decides he should sneak up and cover it with a blanket. She freaks out when she realizes what’s happened and refuses his help, screaming in a fit at him to leave. He tries to help her up when she nearly falls off the bed, only making matters worse. Watching her, he panics and doesn’t know what to do, so unveils the present he brought – a talking parrot and launches into an adorable but stutter speech, since he’s so nervous trying to get her spirits up. How he found it at a pet shop and the bird had a broken leg, and well… then the parrot didn’t have a broken leg… but that was because the parrot exercised regularly… and… uh… if the princess were to get physical therapy… then she could be like the bird… and…and… it also sings!

At first she scoffs at him, thinking he’s calling her a simpleton like a parrot and retortingly asks if he thinks she’ll be crying and all walking again after hearing that from him. Sweating like never before, Shi kyung asks the bird to sing, entreating it again and again to no response. Finally, the bird lets out, “Stupid fellow, stupid fellow, stupid fellow” towards Shi Kyung. That makes Jae Shin laugh and she tells the bird it’s much better than the ahjusshi (Shi Kyung). She takes the parrot and smilingly talks to it as Shi Kyung just watches her make friends with it in relief.

Part II will be up soon! Hope you guys enjoy the posts! 😉

About hitomiakiko

Architect and Aspiring Writer

Posted on June 2, 2012, in Asian Cinema, Entertainment, Korean Cinema, Potpourri, Recaps, Stories, Uncategorized, Written Excerpts and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Excellent post!!!!! Will be waiitng for next!!!!

  2. I can’t believe you still remember all those details but I agree Shi Kyung was half the life of the drama. I love, love the song! I wish it just wasn’t one minute long though.

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