According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, empowerment is defined as “the granting of the power, right, or authority to perform various acts or duties.” I believe though that empowerment is not about just taking action, but it’s also being able to listen and realize when your deeds are wrong and doing something to correct it💪🏻
Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung gave women a voice — an influence and power that one can only dream of in a dynasty such as Joseon. Not only Hae Ryung, but supporting characters such as the Queen Dowager, Mo Hwa, Sa Hui, and even the Crown Princess, who stood up for themselves at one point in time and didn’t let other people deter them from speaking their mind when it was necessary. The men here (Prince Lee Rim, Crown Prince, Officer Min, etc) were also nothing short of gracious and respectful to our heroines — without their help, a woman’s revolution at the time would have been impossible.
I cannot emphasize enough my high regards for this because of the unique angle given to women, the romance, and the overall fresh storyline💞 Read about my recommendation post for this kdrama if you’re interested in watching this. My recaps for this show is also available for your reading pleasure!
Unnie Life Lessons
1. Just because you know and speak the truth doesn’t mean other interpretations or opinions are necessarily wrong. Sometimes, understanding the reason for such actions can open our eyes to an issue/perspective.
- Hae Ryung is a smart and knowledgable female lead who rarely hesitated to voice out worldly facts. I appreciated the fact that she loved to read books but it also isn’t wrong if someone has a different opinion about a particular topic.
- In the historian exam, Hae Ryung wrote that a solar eclipse was a natural phenomenon and that it’s not something that a King can control simply by performing a ritual. But when the Crown Prince explained that not everyone in Joseon can have a good education like her (Since Hae Ryung is a noble), they wouldn’t know that fact. There are poor people all over and the ritual is meant to calm the villagers nerves and assure them that everything will be okay.
- Yes, what Hae Ryung answered was true but it also makes sense that not everyone can have access to that information. I know that back then was a different time because now, information is readily available for anyone to peruse. But we can’t expect everyone to perceive an issue the same way — there could be different solutions to a problem and both could either be right or could be improved upon.
- Even when it doesn’t make sense to us, putting ourselves in another person’s shoes can give us more insight on their situation giving us clarity about their actions.
2. Doing the right thing is not always met with everyone’s approval. Be prepared to take responsibility for your actions and be mindful if your decisions can affect other people too.
- Hae Ryung submitted a petition that got her into trouble because it involved palace politics. She was made to do all of the tasks left by the assistant clerks and was frowned upon by her male historian peers.
- Like Officer Min pointed out, one must be ready for the responsibility of such deeds. Don’t complain or lament that you only did the right thing because every action, no matter how good the intention, can elicit a consequence that you must be ready to handle.
- Doing the right thing is not a crime, but we must consider the effect our actions can have on other people and try exploring other ways to deal with a problem. Hae Ryung could have approached the stipend corruption in a different manner and pondered some more about how the petition can affect her coworkers as well.
- All throughout the kdrama, Hae Ryung insisted to help and divulge the truth and true enough, she humbly accepted any praise or backlash (if there was) that came along with it. Like her, Sa Hui was bold enough to make her feelings for the Crown Prince known even if it meant people would gossip about her. I know this example is not a “right thing” per say but the fact that she was ready for any punishment is owning up to her actions😁
3. Accepting the fact that there are things in life we cannot change and that this shouldn’t stop us from continuing to live our best days.
- Mo Hwa comforted Hae Ryung when the latter found out that her decision led to a child’s death. She felt responsible because she could have taken the child with her back to Haeju, but because of Hae Ryung’s concern that the kid might already have smallpox and infect others, she decided against bringing her there.
- Death is a permanent part of life. Hae Ryung thought of what was best for everyone but it doesn’t mean that if she had decided to take the child with her, that the child would have survived either. If someone we love passes away, we mourn and feel sad about it. But we don’t let such an event weigh us down forever, we have to make good use of our time and do what we can to live well.
- It would be unfair for us (the living) to deprive ourselves of what life can offer, both joyful days and hardships, by blaming ourselves for things that are out of our control. Let’s use the time we have to continue to work hard and pursue the things that make us happy🦋
4. Be true to yourself and don’t compromise your values just because there are people/situations who/that put you down. Your sincerity and honesty will attract good karma & people into your life.
- Hae Ryung’s character was never shy in speaking the truth and fighting for what she believed in. She fought tooth and nail to be heard and ruffled up a few government feathers along the way but eventually won over the good graces of people. In the scene below, she was bold enough to persuade the King to stop hating the historians because their role is not to criticize the Royal family, but rather, to write their good traits as an example for the next generation.
- Even when the King had given her a hard time, she was still perceptive enough to impart such a realization without compromising any values as a historian.✍🏻
- In relation to tip #2, when Hae Ryung submitted the petition to request for a special investigation regarding the past, she was supported by her fellow historians. It was a risky move but because it was the right thing to do and she did it properly, everyone backed her up and they were eventually rewarded with a happy ending.
Like I mentioned in my last episode recap for the kdrama, Hae Ryung was an imperfect character that also learned a lot from her experience as a historian. In the end, I do think that she and the other women have come a long way since the 1st episode. They are now respected and treated as equals who possess thoughts that matter as well✨
Just like the traditions of the past, it’s not always easy to speak one’s mind and have the courage to be ourselves now in a world where social media triggers comparison and hateful comments. But I believe that as long as we’re mindful of our words, don’t treat mistakes or odd comments as a negative but rather a learning experience, we’ll live an empowered and loved life😊💕