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The Emperor: Owner of the Mask – A Must Watch Korean Historical Drama That Finds Relevance Even Today


The Emperor: Owner of the Mask – A Must Watch Korean Historical Drama That Finds Relevance Even Today
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If you are a lover of Korean dramas, you should watch this show. If you are a fan of actor Yoo Seung Ho, then you should definitely watch this show. And in case if you are none, then you must watch this show just to understand the politics, business and how a corrupt system makes a common man also part of the same corruption unknowingly. This corruption eventually makes us dependent and addicted. We just keep on surviving then. We don’t live, just survive.

 ‘The Emperor: Owner of The Mask’ is a tale of the Joseon empire wherein a royal family member to become the emperor himself, seeks help from the age-old secretly operating Pyungsu society. They hatch a plan to murder the sitting emperor. However, the catch is that the new emperor has to gulp down a poison made with the help of a certain kind of ‘Jim’ flower. If you take it once, you need to take it after 15 days every month in order to stay alive. In other words, it’s an addictive poison and the doses are required at definite intervals to survive.

What is poison in the show, can easily be replaced by today’s contemporary drugs. If you become an addict, you need it frequently.

In the story, the Pyungsu society starts controlling the emperor, his ministers, his officials and eventually half the kingdom by making everyone addicted to the poison.

The common man gets the heat of it as their children are trafficked to work in the fields where the flowers are nurtured and also when artificial water crisis is created in the kingdom and people are made to pay hefty bucks for just one bucket of essential water. If you try to steal water, your punishment is death.

The emperor regrets his actions and alone tries to fight the Pyungsu society, but then it seemed to him that although he was the ruler, the ultimate decision-maker yet he was just a puppet to people who wanted to do business.

If you are an intelligent viewer, you will definitely be able to co-relate the show with the contemporary world we live in today.

Here are some of the factors that you would love in the show –

The Unforgettable second Female Lead 

In India, mostly on television, the second female leads are not as much liked by the audience as they like the primary female lead. But Hwa-Gun, is just unforgettably admirable.

She will make you think, does this sort of love really exist?

She falls in love with the idealistic crown prince whom her grandfather, the head of the Pyungsu society, wants to kill off.

She does everything for the prince asking for nothing in return. Neither she hopes to become the queen nor does his wife, neither she asks him to love her back nor she demands any favours from him.

She just struggles to make him live. Her fight is just to keep her love safe and that also asking for nothing in return.

But do not think of her as a sacrificial queen. She is anything but that. She is a courageous woman without whom the hero could never have become a hero in this story. You may even wonder while watching the show, if Hwa-Gun is the real hero of the story here.

The Jim Poison and Its Spread 

When you try to find the root of corruption, you eventually end up discovering that the whole system is rotten from the inside.

Either people are bought by money or by their weaknesses. If you want to survive in the system, you will have to become corrupted or else there’s no place for you in there.

The idea of making everyone an addict of the Jim Poison by Pyungsu society was actually to keep the entire system under control. If everyone’s life depended on them, who would actually raise a voice against them?

The show tactfully shows how to run a corrupt system for years without hindrance by slowly and steadily making everyone a part of it. It may be based in historical times yet, the problem they showed is very contemporary.

The Water Department 

Creating artificial crisis of the most important thing that humans need to survive and then charging a heavy price for it – That’s how the water department becomes the wealthiest of all in the kingdom. The business of water becomes the most profitable and also earns the right of imprisoning people and giving them sentences for crimes related to water.

Their power increases over the years and then they ask for the right of printing money in the kingdom.

It’s actually interesting to see how that part of the plan fails with the return of the crown prince five years later after his parents are murdered.

The Just Ruler 

The crown prince, the main male protagonist of the show played by Yoo Seung Ho, learns politics the hard way. He learns how just with good intentions, decisions can’t be made in politics.

His good intention but bad politics leads to the death of his own parents, the father of the lady he loved the most and also a common man. This breaks the 18-year-old soft hearted crown prince who doesn’t understand why and how bad people can be so dangerous and why his father, the most powerful man of his empire, can’t beat them away.

His journey from the royal palace to a man on the streets trying to understand business to being the leader of the travelling vendors will make you admire him and at the same time will make you understand that politics and diplomacy at times are time consuming.

He eventually grows up to be a king who loves his subjects. He fights, but not with hatred. He fights with love and also with minimum casualties to take care of. His strategies at a later stage are indeed something to look forward to in the story.

And what about his love story? That is also a beautiful tale full of conflicts and love of course. But the end somewhat may remind you of a situation in one of the Indian epics.

As the crown prince returns to his kingdom and sits on the throne as the Emperor, his subjects tell him that he can’t marry his beloved, because she was already taken by another man before he became the king.

So, what did our Emperor do then?

For that you will have to watch the show that is available on MX Player

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