During the two and a half months I’ve been a translator for WITHS2, I’ve met lots of new people and been exposed to many new dramas that I would’ve never thought to watch before. One of the dramas that got consistent raves from every single person I heard from was Conspiracy in the Court, most counting it among their top favorites. When thunderbolt put up the download links on her lovely blog, I downloaded them and saved them onto my external hard drive, thinking that one day, I might just give CitC a try.
I knew very little about it except for the fact that it was a sageuk that was watched by precious few when it aired, and that relatively unknown actors/actresses took on the lead roles, one of them being Lee Cheon Hee whom I’ve adored ever since Family Outing. The thought of him starring in a sageuk was a bit odd to me because I was used to seeing him as Chunderella, awkward and silly, but that side of him appealed to me so I wasn’t opposed to seeing him in a more serious role. As for the other actor and actress, I caught the first episode of Who Are You? and dropped it because Go Ara annoyed the heck out of me with her shrillness, and I was aware that Jin Yi Han was the supporting actor in that drama. Other than that, he was a fresh face to me as well. Kim Ha Eun was even less familiar to me because I knew she was acting in Chuno, but I wasn’t watching it so I had no idea what her acting was like.
Knowing that CitC was a sageuk, I downloaded the subs that wonderful MisterX translated for WITHS2 because although my Korean isn’t bad, I knew I didn’t know enough to fully understand the Korean of old. And so, for a few weeks, I had the eight episodes of CitC and the subs for them sitting on my hard drive, just waiting to be watched. Because of all the raves that I heard about it, I was almost afraid to start watching it, because I knew it’d be an intense, almost otherworldly ride. I wanted to mentally prepare myself before I dipped my toe into the rich, sensuous experience of watching CitC.
One night, I think it was a few weeks ago, I sat myself down having finished all my homework and translating duties and not having anything else to do, I thought to myself, Why not watch it now? There’s no reason to keep putting it off. And so I plugged in my hard drive, sat back, and began Episode 1. As the opening credits began, I found myself being swept away in the fast-paced scenes that were flashing before my eyes, and I almost felt like holding my breath, afraid I was going to miss something if I blinked or looked away for just a moment.
As I watched the first episode, I gasped, laughed, covered my eyes, and just reveled in the beauty that was unfolding in front of me on my laptop screen. Lee Cheon Hee was transformed into someone I almost couldn’t recognize. Fire and passion blazed in his eyes and on his face, and he radiated an intensity that I could never have imagined from Chunderella. Kim Ha Eun left me in awe, wondering how she could act out so perfectly a character who has such a tough shell on the exterior but is perpetually crying on the inside, her heart bottomless with sorrow. And Jin Yi Han… he embodies his character so well that he’s not acting, but living out Park Sang Gyu’s resentment toward his father, bitterness at being stuck in a position he doesn’t want, and longing for his lost love.
The montage of scenes that was shown in Episode 2 of Sang Gyu and Na Young’s past reduced me to a sobbing, squealing mess, and Na Young’s unendurable, excruciatingly painful suffering after her father is accused of treason made my heart constrict for her. I can’t remember when I last felt so deeply while watching a drama. CitC is masterful at making its viewers feel a myriad of emotions almost on a personal level, that’s how profoundly I wish its characters happiness, but the fact that I know they won’t get it hurts me more than words can express.
I’m only on Episode 3 so far, and yet CitC has already left an impression on me that I know will be everlasting. Thinking about the drama brings tears to my eyes, and listening to the songs of the OST make my heart thump as if I was watching its glorious scenes. I can’t watch more than one episode in a certain period of time (I’ve been giving it a week in between watching each episode) because I want to give myself time to savor and reflect on what I had just seen. Some people devoured the whole drama all at once, but for me, I can’t even fathom doing that. There’s so much intensity and sorrow that if I were to watch the episodes in a whole chunk like that, I’d be depressed for weeks, maybe even months after I finished watching its last moments.
I’m so grateful for MisterX’s impeccable subs because if it weren’t for him, despite the raves of my fellow WITHS2ers, I probably wouldn’t have began watching this absolute gem because I wouldn’t have been able to understand everything. CitC is a raw, hard-hitting, emotional roller coaster that I’m not even halfway through with, but I’m in it for the whole ride. I’ll write another entry when I’m done watching the drama because I’m sure I’ll have plenty to write about when it’s over. See you then~ 🙂