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Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung: How can Prince Dowon Yi Rim and Goo Hae-Ryung be together despite the Joseon hierarchy?

Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung
Goo Hae-Ryung and Prince Dowon Yi Rim are romantically involved. Pic credit: Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation

There are only four more episodes left until Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung concludes. Around mid-series, viewers finally got to see the rookie historian herself, Goo Hae-Ryung (Shin Se-Kyung), and her prince, Yi Rim (Cha Eun-Soo), end up together. Unfortunately, their relationship was “cut short” as King Yi Tae (Kim Min-Sang) arranged Prince Dowon Yi Rim to be married.

Apparently, Goo Hae-Ryung and Yi Rim can’t be together, according to the Joseon Dynasty hierarchy. With that detail in place, how can both end up together when society at that time seems to go against their love?

The way to Goo Hae-Ryung and Yi Rim’s love

Looking back on the last 16 episodes, there seem to be two ways that Goo Hae-Ryung and Yi Rim are able to be together if we are to stick to parameters given in the historical (Sageuk) K-drama.

The first way comes from the arrival of Jean Baptiste Barthélemy (Fabien Yoon), a French national who came to Joseon to look for his older brother. Due to miscommunication between Barthélemy and the royal family, Barthélemy finds himself on the run. Fortunately, he is given shelter in Prince Dowon Yi Rim’s home. While keeping Barthélemy safe from King Yi Tae, Yi Rim learns about how the monarchy in France was overthrown by the people during one of their conversations.

Fabian Yoon in Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung
Jean Baptiste Barthélemy and Prince Down Yi Rim have a conversation. Pic credit: Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation

Though the conversation was quite short within the scope of the entire K-drama, it did plant the seed in Prince Dowon Yi Rim’s mind that the people could be a republic or democracy, not needing a royal family. With no royal family, there is no need to keep blood “pure.” This gives Yi Rim the freedom to be with whoever he chooses. In this case, Goo Hae-Ryung.

Though overthrowing the monarchy would be cool to see, it seems the K-drama’s plot is going in in the direction of Prince Dowon Yi Rim’s legitimacy to the throne. In the last two episodes, we learn that his father is the true king. That makes Yi Rim the true and rightful heir.

As king, it is possible that Yi Rim could choose to marry who he wants. He may follow the advice and word of Queen Dowager Yim (Kim Yeo-Jin), in which she may choose Yi Rim’s wife in an arranged marriage. Fortunately, it is possible she knows that Yi Rim and Goo Hae-Ryung are a couple as foreshadowed in Yi Rim’s birthday episode in which Queen Dowager Yim invites Hae-Ryung to the meal table to share a drink with Yi Rim.

As written earlier, there are only four episodes left until Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung concludes. Let’s hope the Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation (MBC) has the time and means to wrap up the K-drama’s story well. A good but engaging ending might provide a boost in ratings as ratings for Korea and Seoul provided by AGB Nielsen Korea and TNmS Media Korea have averaged around 5.5 percent throughout the entire series.

Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung airs on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 9 p.m. on MBC. For international audiences, especially those in the Americas, the K-drama is exclusive on Netflix and requires a subscription to the streaming service.

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