Now, I would like to analyse this taking because I do feel that the director wanted to outline something important.
In this scene, Lee Rim found out the identity of the guest at the palace, he sees Jeong Tae Eul’s ID as police officer. On the left you see the kid with the yo-yo. We don’t know the name of this boy but he has been shown in different scenes. He often appears in front of the book shop where Lee Rim can get info from the palace. Simultaneously, he was the one who made JTE lose her ID.
Here he appears, where the ID tag is revealed to the antagonist. It was as if the boy was following the ID from JTE. From my point of view, the boy with the yo-yo could be a deity, the one who ensures that the balance is maintained. This is no coincidence that he is playing with the yo-yo. Pay attention to the movement of this toy: it goes from one side to the other, you need to maintain a balance in the strength in order to keep the yo-yo to come back and to keep rolling. The yo-yo reflects this balance. And it was the same with the bike. You need to find the right equilibrium in order to ride a bike. The boy fell from the bike indicating that the balance has been shifted.
Remember that I had mentioned that Lee Rim keeps looking down on children as he considers them powerless and even manipulable. But he forgets that a child is linked to innocence and purity which can be seen as strengths as well. The villain is not paying attention to the child as Lee Rim already thinks, he is a god hence strong … yet he has not realized that Luna has already been working for this boy (deity).
In the beginning, I had thought that Luna had worked for Lee Rim therefore on Lee Rim’s orders she was the one who lured Lee Gon to ROK but I was wrong. Lee Rim hasn’t met her yet and he knew nothing about JTE as well. So fate, arranged by the deity, was what brought Lee Gon to ROK. And this is no coincidence that Luna gives the rabbit jacket to the child. It was as if she was giving it back to the rightful owner. Fate was what brought Lee Gon to JTE and Luna was destined to have the jacket and meet the boy in the end. That’s why JTE was able to see her doppelganger and the Prime Minister too. Both were getting warned. Furthermore, we shouldn’t forget about the timing. JTE saw Luna right before Lee Gon and Goo Seo Ryung saw her doppelganger before Lee Rim approached her through the newspapers. Lee Rim is not aware that his fighting is pointless as he is fighting against fate.
Now, let’s go back to this taking. First, notice the similarities between these two rooms: both are full of books (a symbol for knowledge) and both people are put under a light underlining their power and importance. The first difference catching the attention of the beholder is the proportion of Lee Rim’s room compared to the one with the boy’s room. Lee Rim’s room occupies a bigger part of the scene illustrating his actual power. It looks like he is now more powerful than the boy. He has been working for 25 years and his labor has been fruitful. The other difference is that he is not alone. He has his minion by his side which shows that Lee Rim’s power comes from his huge base of supporters.
The boy is on his own, however he is not quite defenseless… his actual “companion” is the yo-yo. This toy represents fate and destiny as the string is often connected to a person’s life. In other words, the boy has his own minions: Lee Gon (LG), Jeong Tae Eul (JTE) and others whose fate is already predestined. JTE is well aware of her own situation hence she chose her destiny… I would even say that she embraced her destiny. We could interpret the shadows (the 4 lines) between the two rooms as a representation of the fight. The boy is fighting against Lee Rim so that Lee Rim’s room doesn’t eat up his “room”. This would mean that Lee Rim had won and would control everything.
Another contrast is the way the books are displayed. Notice the red string surrounding the piles of book… let just say that each red string is a life which means that each stack of books represents a person. If we look at the way the stack of books are displayed, we can come to the conclusion that these people are connected to each other as the stack of books are touching each other. They are all relying on other stacks implying on other people. Furthermore, the color red is significant. Red symbolizes life and love. Love is what connects each person next to the child.
On the other side, in Lee Rim’s book shop, the books are stored on shelves… If we assume that the row of books symbolize a person and as such a doppelganger lured by Lee Rim, we can see that the row of books are not connected to each other. Each life is separated by wood, Lee Rim is the one planning the shelves through his minions. There is no red indicating no real life and love. Here the wood is associated to death (see e. g. coffin). Only order and purpose are what linked them to Lee Rim. The seduced doppelgangers are just pawns and are all relying on Lee Rim in the end.
The red strings remind me of the three Moirai from Greek Mythology: Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos.Clotho is the spinner who spins the thread of life, Lachesis the assignor who measures the length and Atropos who cuts the thread of life. But the yo-yo is different, it is a circle and it moves like an endless loop… from one world (up) to the other (down). So the yo-yo represents a certain person (the eternal Monarch), unlike the red strings behind the boy, those are linked to normal human beings.
There is a disequilibrium reflected in this taking and the boy, a deity, is working to recreate the balance by using people… it’s their destiny. Notice the contrast between Lee Rim and the boy. On both sides, people are asked to choose, yet Lee Rim lures them with temptations and desires for a better life but they are actually deceived, while JTE chose her destiny, although she is well aware that her love could be painful and short-lived. Lee Rim is just an idol, a false god living the illusion that he can take over two worlds, but his fight is pointless as he is limited by time. He might not age but his minions are not eternal and he can not time travel.
One thought on “Lee Rim’s fight against the boy with the yo-yo in “The King: Eternal Monarch””
Excellent analysis! I am wondering what you believe about the ending.
I have some theories myself…
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