meganbmoore: (chae-ohk)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Continuing with comparing and contrasting Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People and Tree With Deep Roots, as of episode 14 of Tree. (More direct spoilers for both shows here than before, I think.)

Rebel: Gil Dong is not the protagonist because he rebels again the king, he’s the protagonist because his rebellion is to save the commoners.

Tree: Jeong Gi Joon isn’t the antagonist because he rebels against the king, he’s the antagonist because his rebellion is about the intellectual elite, and doesn’t take commoners into consideration.


Rebel: After Everything Goes Wrong, Gil Dong is nursed back to health and almost immediately surrounded by surviving members of his family. Gil Hyun (Gil Dong’s presumed-dead brother who also believes Gil Dong is dead) enters the palace under a new identity and is largely alone for years, despite acquiring a friend and a mentor along the way, though both end up villains.

Tree: Dol Bok is alone after everything Goes Wrong and largely remains that way for years, though he does acquire a friend and a mentor along the way. (No sign of either being a villain though.) Dam enters the palace under a new identity and under the care of a powerful protector. By the time we see her as an adult, she pretty much has 2 dads, a protective girl squad, and the crown prince comes to fetch her when he thinks pesky guards are taking too long to interview her.


Rebel: The prophecy says there can only be One Mighty Child. When it is revealed that Mori is a second Mighty Child, neither Gil Dong nor Mori have any particular issue with not being The One And Only Special Dude, though both are well aware of what it means regarding their specific goals and their relationship. (Mori: AT LAST. I CAN FIGHT HIM ON EQUAL FOOTING. Gil Dong: One more reason to adopt this angry abused wolf cub if he ever stops making Terrible Life Choices and trying to kill me.)

Tree: Dol Bok and Pyeong both believe they are The One And Only Super Special Only Student Ever of Lee Bang Ji. When they realize the other is also The One And Only Super Special Only Student Ever of Lee Bang Ji, they are so incredibly put out and petty and THE UNIVERSE HAS BETRAYED THEM. (I hope they stay this petty about it until the end.)


Rebel: It’s impossible to be a good person and a good king, but a king with no interest in being a good king is the worst of any possible world, and the common people have to stand up in opposition, especially if the government officials will do nothing.

Tree: It’s impossible to be both a good king and a good person, but you can certainly try (even if it means you’re always 5 minutes away from a nervous breakdown), and it is the responsibility of the king to protect the common people, even if it’s in opposition to court officials.


Rebel: The class system is cruel and corrupt. It is irredeemable and has to go, even if our writer is well aware that that won’t officially happen for centuries, and that an unofficial version will continue to exist after that. It must and should be challenged, even if it seems to be a losing battle.

Tree: The class system is cruel and corrupt, but it isn’t going anywhere, so we should work within it and find a way (literacy) for common people to be stronger within it.

I don’t think the shows actually disagree on this front, at their core. Tree is set during the reign if one of Joseon’s best-possibly the best-king in relatively steady and prosperous times, while Rebel is set in the reign of what is arguably Joseon’s worst king in a period of almost non-stop political upheaval. The shows are set less than a century apart, but the political environments and rulers couldn’t be any further from each other.

Mori and Pyeong: I threatened this girl and she stood up to me and I 1000% Do Not Like Her and I’m not going to be pining or thinking about her over here in my corner go away I have to be villainous.

It’ll be interesting to see if Pyeong comes to the same conclusions Mori does there.

Also Mori and Pyeong: I am a peasant and a muscle man and most of the people I work with are from a higher social class and so they look down on me and dismiss what I say even though I am far smarter and more observant than most of them and figured out the things they’re still scratching their heads over days ago. Related: I have mastered the Contemptuous Stink Eye and its buddy, The Sneer.


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