「ちぎれた絆」 (Chigireta Kizuna)
Betrayal all around.
I’m really happy to have received the chance to cover Yona here, and pretty damn pleased with the way the adaptation is looking from here on out. I have a few concerns, mostly over the use of flash-forwards (*cough*spoilers everywhere*cough*), but otherwise I’m genuinely enjoying the ride. I often like to think about Yona’s development in the stages of grief, though it is a flat way of looking at a dynamic change. After her father’s death at the hands of her beloved Soo-won, Yona is firmly routed in the stage of denial; she refuses to believe her father could have died, and even more so that the boy she had grown up with and admired could have become a cold blooded murderer.
In truth, however, Soo-won isn’t necessarily cold-blooded. In fact, what drives him is revenge for his own father’s death, which he claims was at the hands of King Il himself. There is no reason given for the fratricide, but it’s possible that Il killed his brother in the name of peace; Soo-won’s father was a war lord, and thus would have spread suffering among the people through violence and all its consequences. Perhaps Il was simply jealous or insecure in his position as King despite being the younger brother. Whatever the reason, the murder became Soo-won’s driving force, and he claims he never was the warm and kind person everyone else thought he was.
For Yona, however, it’s impossible to comprehend just how her cousin, raised by her gentle father, could ever point his sword at his uncle or at her. She does have base instincts of survival and she does run for her life, but it isn’t really important to her in the midst of her grief. If it weren’t for Hak, in fact, Yona probably would have embraced the death planned for her. She’s gone numb from shock, and it all feels like a horrible nightmare to her.
Unfortunately for her it’s not a dream, and while she’s lost in her grief, Hak and Min-soo, the servant, don’t have the luxury of mourning. Hak does what he can to get the princess out of the castle alive, and Min-soo even sacrifices his own life in order to protect Yona’s. Hak and Yona use the opportunity to flee into the forest, but for Yona it’s all the same; what is she supposed to live for now that her father is dead? Now that Soo-won is no longer the one she has fallen in love with?
Perhaps it sounds a bit shallow, but it’s important to understand that Yona’s life was exceedingly sheltered and planned out. All she knew was life in the castle, a life of luxury and peace where everyone treated her and her father with kindness and respect. She knows how to give orders, but nothing about how to live on her own. She always believed she would marry and become the wife to the next king, and she accepted this as her inevitable reality. Her only hope was that she would get to choose someone she loved to marry, but otherwise she didn’t care to fight her fate. Now, in the blink of an eye, she’s lost everything she ever knew and cared about. She has no family, no home, no future, and it seems like her own life is forfeit. She only has Hak to cling onto now and that doesn’t change the fact that she feels lost and without purpose. What does a princess do when she loses everything? What should she do when her entire life is obliterated and everything she knows or believed is no longer valid?
What reason does she have to survive? It’s this question that fuels and changes Yona from here on out.