Unnie Recap: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (Episodes 3 and 4)

What madness will ensue now that Hae Ryung & Prince Lee Rim have crossed paths once again? And what will the aftermath be as the Office of Banned Books has taken effect?

Episode 3

Off to a quarrelling start, Prince Lee Rim convinces Hae Ryung to be upfront not just to him, but also to everyone who attended the book reading, out of their genuine adoration to meet Maehwa. Surprisingly, Hae Ryung does apologize and points to Prince Lee Rim as being the true author when suddenly, a swarm of guards enter the premises. They are intent to arrest anyone and everyone at the book reading due to the law of the banned books and both leads get caught in the crossfire. Hae Ryung ultimately sacrifices Prince Lee Rim and escapes as the latter is put to jail (hahaha)🙅🏻‍♂️

The next day, more guards cause havoc in the city as they arrest various authors of the books that have been banned; even people who owned such books had their houses ransacked. The confiscated books are burned for the townspeople to see and Hae Ryung is heartbroken over the vile act. She approaches an official and Officer Min coincidentally to know why this is happening. She demands to know why such books are being banned and argues with Officer Min that even a King can make an error in judgment. She is stopped by her brother and maid from saying anything further and is dragged back to their home. Jae Kyung is furious and tells her that he has found a husband for her ending their discussion indefinitely.

Officer Min is seen writing in his sachaek (A book of historical records) narrating how the Crown Prince and a Vice Chancellor were talking about the current situation of the banned books. He remembers what Hae Ryung told him earlier and decided to put his own input in the journal. He expresses worry and disdain over the issue and writes that the King’s advisors are to blame for this. I don’t know if injecting your personal opinion is allowed but it does show Officer Min’s stand on things.

Episode 4

When there’s smoke, there’s fire — this time, the trouble extends inside the palace when the King summons Prince Lee Rim to see him. This makes him anxious because he has never been summoned before… and he was right. His Majesty is enraged to discover that his own son, Prince Lee Rim, is Maehwa. He threatens to burn every writing tool he owns — paper, brushes, ink, and the books that he owns to teach him a lesson. Even with him getting down on his knees to beg for forgiveness, he fails to sway his father.

Second State Councilor Min meets up with Jae Kyung to talk about the mysterious author of The Story of Ho Dam. Despite his influence, he seems dumbfounded that he doesn’t know who the writer is. He speculates that it must be someone close to him yet that person remains out of his reach — and the scene shifts to the Queen.

Revealed in a flashback, it is highly likely that the present King (Prince Lee Rim’s father) and Councilor Min killed her husband (the former King). What boggles my mind is that she called him Prince Hamyeong meaning that he was bold enough to kill his own father. This kind of betrayal is common in Joseon period kdramas but to have the already established King and a councilor be the big baddies was a surprise to me. I thought it was just the latter who would be evil but this makes the story even more interesting.

Councilor Min’s plans are set in motion as he requests for women to be hired as historians. He argues that it is in line with the Zhou dynasty that female historians can record everyday life in the palace and backs up his defense that the Crown Prince even mentioned rituals and teachings based from the same dynasty. Crown Prince Lee Jin is livid not just because employing females has never been done before but he senses that this is a ploy and could be a way to spy on him further.

Crown Prince Lee Jin has a hard time deciding what to do with the request. He gets advice from his grandmother (The Queen) and also has a bonding session with Prince Lee Rim. It’s nice to see the brothers getting along very well and not be engaged in a battle of power for the throne. Ultimately, he decided to accept Councilor Min’s request but twists it into his favor: Women must pass the civil service exam to become a historian. It won’t be easy for Councilor Min to get just any woman for the job this way. The Crown Prince has the last word and declares that as long as they are well-educated and have a good moral compass, he will gladly accept women as historians.

News has spread all over regarding the upcoming female historian exam. It’s a great sight to see a bunch of women looking excited and actually considering to take the test, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung just changed history and introduced the working woman career. Councilor Min and his minions discuss the issue when an unexpected guest visits them. It is the daughter of a man (Lord Song) among them, Sa Hui, volunteering to take the exam. And the plot thickens…

Hae Ryung is anxious about the impending nuptials as people have gathered at their home for the wedding ceremony. Just as her groom-to-be walks towards Jae Kyung, he hesitates and declares that he just can’t go through with the marriage. At the same time, Hae Ryung is seen taking off her bridal hanbok and running away, you go girl!💃🏻 She is in a hurry, moving fast as her feet can take her as she doesn’t look back. Stopping at the front gate of the exam site, Hae Ryung catches her breath, and declares that she is there to take the female historian exam📚

Thoughts

So this is how females will be allowed to become historians in the story. Since male historians are only assigned to the King/Crown Prince and who he converses with, this is quite devious and smart of Councilor Min to think of. He can hire a spy to check on the Queen’s daily activities and confirm his suspicions that she is the writer of The Story of Ho Dam. But it also baffles me that he thought the Crown Prince wouldn’t be able to counteract his plan, I mean, come on!🤦🏻‍♀️ But logic aside, I am intrigued with Sa Hui and her intentions on wanting to take the exam. I’m not sold on her being a rival yet to Hae Ryung but we’ll see!

Do I smell a love triangle brewing between Officer Min, Hae Ryung, and Prince Lee Rim? Even if it was just a brief interaction, I have a feeling Officer Min will grow to like Hae Ryung when she eventually becomes an apprentice. I’ve been vocal about how I want Hae Ryung to influence change in the palace but I didn’t mean in a romantic sense. But I suppose that’s just a natural consequence of getting to know someone of the opposite sex because Hae Ryung is not only pretty, she also has the brains and personality to back up her beauty.

It’s fun seeing the women take center stage and are actually the ones stirring up trouble. Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung is a testament that women are more than just a wife or a love interest and when given the chance, they have valid opinions, can work hard, and shine as an individual😊

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