This is one of the best scenes in the drama. We find the mature King Sejong meeting and chastising his younger self. The King is stressed out and feeling guilty about the murders that are taking place at the palace. He knows that the rebel group Milbon are behind the murders. But even though his father warned him years ago about the group, he did nothing to try to find the traitors – he even tried to help the one who became the leader of the group: Jeong Gi Joon.
So here he tells his younger self that the rebel group Milbon really does exist – just as his father had warned him. And now Milbon are killing his men. He chastises his younger self for thinking that he could rule peacefully (unlike his father who ruthlessly murdered ANYONE who he thought might be a threat to his leadership).
Historical note: Milbon is a fictitious group supposedly set up by the ex-prime minister Jeong Do Jeon and now led by his nephew Jeong Gi Joon. Jeong Do Jeon was the first prime minister of Joseon but he was murdered for treason by King Sejong’s father King Taejong. Although Jeong Do Jeon contributed a lot to the structure of Joseon, he was seen as a traitor for hundreds of years until his name was cleared. So Jeong Do Jeon was an important figure in Joseon history but Milbon was created for the drama.
Deep Rooted Tree, SBS, 2011, Yi Do (Song Joong Ki) and Yi Do senior (Han Suk Kyu)
King Sejong is in the Jipheonjeon, Institute of Learning. It’s dark and he’s alone when he hears a voice behind him. The lights come on and his younger self is standing there. I will call the young king by his name Yi Do and the older king by his title King Sejong – even though they are the same person!
Time: 50:30 – 53:10
이도: 꼴이 그게 뭔가?
Yi Do: Look at yourself.
세종: 밀본이있다. 아바마마의 말이 옳았어. 밀본이 나의 사람을 죽이고 있다. 모든 권력에는 독이 있어. 그 독을 바깥으로 뿜질 않으면은, (흐흐흐) 이렇게 안으로 썩는 것이다.
Sejong: Milbon does exist. Father was right. Milbon is killing my men. All power contains poison. And if we don’t get this poison out, (ha ha ha) the inside rots like this.
note: 아바마마 was the way for the king’s son to call his father. 흐흐흐 represents laughter/chuckling
vocabulary: 옳다 right/correct/true, 권력 權力 power/authority, 독 poison, 바깥 outside, 뿜다 to emit, get rid of, 썩다 to rot/decay
Yi Do: So?
세종: 권력의 독은 안으로 감추겠다고? 오직 문으로 치세를 하겠다고? (퉤) 네놈의 그 한심하고 잘난 결심이 이렇게 만든 것이야. 네놈이 아무 죄도 없는 사람을, 내 사람을 죽인 것이다. 내가 아니라 너다. 내가 아니라 네가 죽인 것이야.
Sejong: You can hide the poison within power? You only rule through peaceful ways? (spits) Your pathetic, ‘great’ decision has made this situation. You have killed innocent people, my people. Not me, you. Not me, you have killed them.
note:문 文(literally means ‘sentence’ but here means something like ‘peacefully’ – ruling with words not the sword)
vocabulary: 감추다 to hide, 치세 reign, 한심하다 pathetic, 잘난 great, 결심 decision,
이도: 허면, 아직 늦지 않았다. 이방원의 무덤 앞에 가서 눈물흘리며 사죄해라.
Yi Do: In that case, it’s not too late. Go in front of father’s grave and cry and ask for forgiveness.
세종: 이놈이 감히.
Sejong: How dare you ….
vocabulary: 늦다 to be late, 무덤 grave /tomb, 눈물 tears, 흘리다 to cry, 사죄하다 to apologise / ask for forgiveness.
이도: 이방원이 왜 이방원인가? 이도가 왜 이도인가? 그것밖에 되지 않으니 이도인게지.
Yi Do: Do you know why Yi Bang Won is Yi Bang Won? Do you know why Yi Do is Yi Do? Because this is all you can manage Yi Do.
note: He is comparing himself to his father, Yi Bang Won, and he is disappointed with himself. Is this all he can do? He seems to feel helpless and a failure and questions the way he has ruled since now his own scholars are getting murdered. I liked seeing the young King back even just for a moment. I think we can really see the King’s inner turmoil here.
세종: 그만 해. 그만 해.
Sejong: Stop it. Stop it.