Kim Seung Yoo in “The Princess’ Man” is a character that changes throughout the drama. This development makes him a very interesting person.
At the beginning of “The Princess’ Man” Kim Seung Yoo is somewhat immature and enjoying the pleasures of life, i.e. playing with the gisaengs and getting drunk with his friends. Meanwhile, he is practicing a responsible profession being teacher at the Royal Academy.
Sometimes his private behavior conflicts with his task as teacher. Say for yourself, do you want to be taught the obligations from a woman towards her husband, when your teacher is bearing the mark of a gisaengs’ kiss on his neck and is supposed to be your future husband? Se Ryeong, who pretended to be the princess that moment, certainly not and she cast it in his teeth. The embarrassing expression on Kim Seung Yoo’s face was heavenly.
Despite his playful character Kim Seung Yoo valued the friendship among his best friends Shin Myeong, Jung Jong and himself and the loyalty towards his family and the woman he loved very highly.
His best friend Jung Jong was of noble origin too, but less fortunate. Besides his inclination with the gisaengs and drinking too much, he also had a weakness for gambling.
Kim Seung Yoo was that kind of friend who helped his friends out of trouble. He took care of Jung Jong’s gambling debts and helped him buy medication for his sick mother.
When Kim Seung Yoo had fallen in love with Se Ryeong, whom he thought was the princess, he didn’t confess he met her outside the palace without knowledge of the King and brought her to the gisaengs after he was imprisoned and being interrogated for this misbehavior. He was prepared to give his own life to save hers.
Kim Seung Yoo was forced to mature in rapid speed, because of the family twist between his father, Kim Jeong Soo who was the King’s Prime Minister, and Grand Prince Su Yang, a younger brother from the King, who was after the throne of his brother. King Mun Jong had a weak health and could die any moment. The crown prince was still very young and his father wanted him, and his daughter, being protected against the evil plans of their uncle Grand Prince Su Yang. Kim Jeong Soo was prepared to take care of this protection and therefore an enemy of Grand Prince Su Yang. Grand Prince Su Yang tried to get Kim Jeong Soo at his side by sending him a marriage proposal between his daughter Se Ryeong and Kim Seung Yoo, which was rejected by Kim Jeong Soo.
Kim Seung Yoo was hit in everything he believed in. Shin Myeong misabused their friendship to turn Kim Seung Yoo into a bait to kill his father, Kim Jeong Soo, in order of Grand Prince Su Yang. “So you have finally become the dog of Su Yang”. The bitterness was so heartfelt. A friendship that seemed to be undestroyable, was broken forever and the foundation of mistrusting everyone, even closest friends, was laid.
The woman Kim Seung Yoo had deeply fallen in love with turned out to be the daughter of the murderer of his father and elder brother. The moment Kim Seung Yoo became aware of this his love for Se Ryeong changed into deeply felt hatred. The way his face changed, when he was imprisoned again and awaiting exile, and Se Ryeong admitted to be the daughter of Grand Prince Su Yang and asked him to come back alive from exile so that she could be killed by his hands and Kim Seung Yoo tried to throttle her, was so disgusting.
In a short amount of time the carefree Kim Seung Yoo had changed into a tortured man full of feelings of hatred who could only think of revenge and kill all who had taken part in the slaughtering of his family, including the woman he had fallen in love with before he knew of her family background.
The exile to the Island of Kang Wha was only a cloak to get all the enemies of Grand Prince Su Yang killed by shipwreck before the island was reached.
Although being one of the survivors Kim Seung Yoo behaved very apathic. He looked like he didn’t care anymore whether he was alive or dead. This changed when he recognized one of the pursuers being the killer of his father. His hatred and wish to revenge returned visibly. His new comrades, Jo Seuk Joo and Jun Noh Kyul, had troubles to stop Kim Seung Yoo from taking reckless actions.
Kim Seung Yoo, Jo Seuk Joo and Jun Noh Kyul managed to return home. They stayed together at a gisaeng house Jo Seuk Joo owned. Kim Seung Yoo had changed into a silent, introverted man with only one mission. His hatred and feelings of revenge made him wanting to kill everyone who was guilty at his father’s and brother’s death with as ultimate goal the killing of Su Yang who finally had become the new King. The warm personality of teacher Kim Seung Yoo had changed into the coldblooded personality of a killer.
Kim Seung Yoo’s love for Se Ryeong was still existing deep in his heart, but he wouldn’t acknowledge it as he had plead her guilty as well to his families’ misfortune.
Slowly, circumstances and Se Ryeong’s actions made
Kim Seung Yoo realize, she was not responsible for her father’s deeds, which she condemned openly.
Kim Seung Yoo couldn’t deny his hearts feelings anymore for the first time, when Se Ryeong saved him from an arrow that was shot at him. Even his comrades noticed he loved Se Ryeong instead of hating her.
After Kim Seung Yoo found out that Se Ryeong had saved his sister-in-law and little niece from slavery, he showed more compassion for her, but still refused to close her into his heart again.
Finally, he couldn’t shut out her anymore, when she had openly opposed to her father by cutting off a piece of her hair as sign of severing all ties with him.
She had already refused to get into marriage with Shin Myeong and refused to live in the palace any longer, but took shelter into a temple.
That moment Kim Seung Yoo came to take her with him, because he didn’t want to live without her anymore.
Their love was sealed forever when the King declined his daughter and convicted her to be the slave of Shin Myeong.
The reunion with his siste-in-law and his new-found love for Se Ryeong melted Kim Seung Yoo’s coldblooded heart into the compassionate heart he had had before the darkness set in over his family.
Kim Seung Yoo took his sister-in-law’s advice to heart that he should act like his father would have done when still being alive and not disgrace his remembrance.
Kim Seung Yoo decided to leave his path of killing left and right and joined his former teacher in his battle to reinstate the rightful King, who was exiled by his uncle, back on his throne and kill King SeJo, Se Ryeong’s father.
Kim Seung Yoo felt supported by Se Ryeong’s love who did everything to support him in his battle for the rightful cause.
Even leaving him temporarily to finish the battle after they had become husband and wife.
Despite his love for his wife Kim Seung Yoo could not give up his ultimate goal: killing her father for what he had done to his family.
During the final confrontation between Kim Seung Yoo and King SeJo a moment of distraction, because he didn’t know yet Se Ryeong was carrying his child, caused Kim Seung Yoo to get captured and almost beaten to death. The queen prevented this because they were in the temple.
In prison a dying Kim Seung Yoo was visited by his wife. She wanted their baby to know about his or her father. The visible love for each other was heartbreaking. Se Ryeong had to promise to look for Kim Seung Yoo in her next life and come back to him. Such a sad ending………..
Finally, the Queen supported her daughter by pretending both Kim Seung Yoo and she were dead. They were brought to a place far away from the King.
“The Princess’ Man” ended with a blind Kim Seung Yoo, but being in peace with himself and his life. No more feelings of revenge, but love only. He lead a poor, but happy life with his wife, Se Ryeong, and their little daughter.
The agonies of life, being hurt into the depths of his soul, didn’t break Kim Seung Yoo, but transformed him into a very matured and loving man. This man at the end of the drama I love much, much more than the playful man in the beginning.
The beauty of this drama is to watch the transformation of the young and innocent Kim Seung Yoo into the matured man with the scars of life who is fully appreciative of the life he is sharing with his wife and little daughter.
Photos edited by Wilma