I have just finished episode 10 which is just about at the point where the climax begins. The audience is left with the cliffhanger of whether the Celadon teacup (made with Cheong Jae soil) is able to retain heat and past the test given by the Ming Empire’s ambassador.
The preview was pretty intense, showing hints of the teacup being faulty to the extent of leaking, perhaps. In any case, Prince Kwanghae is being dragged away in a scene. The entire episode circled around the issue of creating this teacup and the Chief of Bunwon, Lee Kang Chon, being on his toes as he made sure everything would succeed for his son. When the 2nd batch of teacups were tested, it failed to retain heat as it should have. And as far as superstition goes – being in the Joseon dynasty, a time where all societies did not accept women as individuals of any worth – the Chief has come to place the blame on the woman; accusing her of making the glaze although he had told her not to. She swore that she didn’t but as a man and a father to the man who has failed, he had to put the blame on someone. Thus, he proclaimed her to be guilty of causing this failure and saying that she, as a woman, has angered the Klin God.
All of this reminded me of the book I read years ago. It is of a woman in Japan during the Edo period who struggled to become the first female doctor. Her intention was to become a OB-GYN doctor because she felt the shame of having to be treated by men when she contracted gonorrhoea from her first husband – which she later divorced. Similarly in this series “Goddess of Fire”, Jeong YI (disguised as Tae Pyung) aspired to be the first female ceramicist of the Joseon era. It reminds me of what women of the past centuries had to endure in order to achieve their dreams.
The younger generation such as Prince Kwanghae and Lee Yook Do (the Royal Ceramicist and the Chief’s son) are rare examples of aspiring individuals who did not look down on women as much as the others did. They were admirable in many ways, sharing all sorts of ideals and aspirations that would make the society a better place but these characters make me wonder if they do actually exist in those times.
IF there was a flaw to be pointed out about the drama thus far, there would be 2. The antagonists being the Lady In Bi (or Queen, after Prince Imhae and Kwanghae’s mother died). The foil is definitely Prince Imhae. The fact that this character is portrayed by Lee Kwang Soo is funny enough for me to keep a straight face every time I see him try something which always turns out to be ridiculously funny and foolish. I suppose the role is written just for him. Despite Prince Imhae’s endless faulty plans to take Prince Kwanghae down, he is nothing but failure. In fact, he is merely a pawn to the Queen who sees Prince Kwanghae a far bigger threat to Prince Shin Seong – her son which she wishes to be named as the heir apparent. The Queen is constantly plotting against the two older princes and especially Prince Kwanghae that it has reached the point of being hilarious. One reason is that because the King is always finding ways (even really horrendous and inhumane ways) to cover up for their faults. The repeated cycle of these events make all the Queen’s plot all the more futile and funny to watch. I don’t know why she tries so hard sometimes.
I shall continue watching…
Edit: I had to come back and say this (Spoilers ahead!!! You’ve been warned)
So… apparently there is a plot twist. I foolishly believed that they have failed but what a pleasant surprise to have thought of switching the cups first in order to prevent the Ming Empire ambassador from going back on his words. I suppose all things have happened in everyone else’s but Prince Kwanghae that I started to believe nothing good would ever happen to him. I love this plot twist so much. Not much of a magical twist; just strategy, that’s all.