If you’ve ever wanted to take a close peek at the Joseon Dynasty, after it’s been subjected to the manipulation of creative minds, it seems like this week is the week to do it! Coincidentally, not only did our recently featured Man Crush Monday, Crown Prince Lee Gak from”Rooftop Prince,” travel over 300 years to get here, but today, our lucky Woman Crush Wednesday hails straight from the sageuk drama, “The Moon that Embraces the Sun.”
Her name is simply Seol and many will remember or come to know her as Heo Yeon Woo, the chosen Crown Princess’s, maid. That means Seol is the first woman, so far, in our short history of Woman Crush Wednesday with the most minor of roles, but her presence in my heart – and hopefully yours – is anything but.
At this point, you’re probably wondering why and how a maid could even make it onto this list full of main and second leads, so let’s explore the five reasons why Seol, regardless of social status, is most definitely Woman Crush Wednesday worthy (spoilers ahead):
1. Her loyalty is unquestionable.
To anyone else, Seol is nothing more than a servant, an object to be sold or bought, but to a select few, such as Heo Yeon Woo, she is considered human, friend, and family. For the kindness she receives and cherishes like the last grain of rice, Seol returns it with her undying devotion. When she realized that Heo Yeon Woo had “died,” she ran away from her new owners, without fear of punishment and consequences, just to leave some flowers on her grave. Upon realizing the truth, Seol became even more dependable and made protecting Heo Yeon Woo her life mission.
Her commitment to protect doesn’t end at just Heo Yeon Woo, but also Heo Yeom, who named her, Jan Sil, and Jang Nok Young. Up until the very end, Seol never once wavered and poured all of herself into ensuring the safety of those she considered her friends.
2. Seol is a breath of fresh air.
Never mind that she was as sweet as can be as a child, but she retained that loving charm well into her adulthood. She values the small things in life, smiles easily, and doesn’t take anything for granted. This is a trait that I always adore because even though Seol is accustomed to living comfortably now without fear of neglect, surrounded by those who care and love her, she’s never presumptuous or greedy for more. As long as those around her are happy, then she is happy as well. This kind of simplicity is quite refreshing.
3. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind.
Whether it’s threatening to cut someone or scolding Heo Yeon Woo for being reckless, Seol doesn’t hold back. That doesn’t mean she can’t control herself, like Jan Sil, but that she has enough self-confidence and courage to do so. Although Heo Yeon Woo is technically of a higher status than her, Seol speaks to her on more of an equal level, but never without disrespect. She’s bold and tough, a healthy mix of femininity and masculinity. Seol has no qualms about switching back and forth from Heo Yeon Woo’s maid and her protector swordsman. When facing Heo Yeom, her unrequited love, for the last time, Seol is courageous enough to confess her feelings for him as well. She didn’t expect anything in return, but just having the ability to be honest and finally speaking her true feelings, it was enough for Seol.
4. She doesn’t let gender get in the way of her dreams.
A woman as a swordsman in Joseon? That’s practically unheard of, but Seol doesn’t let that stop her from becoming one. Ever since she was young, she’s had an interest in swordplay and watching blacksmiths at work. It’s known in that time era that woman are physically weaker than men, so there were more than one major obstacle for Seol to cross in order to successfully become a swordsman and yet… she did it. She accomplished her dream and she was good at it. The fiery in her eyes and the fluidity of her motions when she held a sword was phenomenally attention gripping. She rivaled some of the best swordsman and I believe that if it weren’t an issue of too many against one, Seol would have made every single one of them attempting to attack Yeo Heom eat dirt.
5. Seol is self sacrificing.
Hold your horses and don’t throw those virtual tomatoes at me until you hear me out! Let me first make it clear that I don’t like stupidity and worthless self sacrifices. This reason is more along the lines of Seol knowing the risks that comes with being a swordsman, but she’s still willing to protect those she loves. When she rushes in to save Heo Yeom, she was confident in her sword abilities but knew that the dangers were high because of how many men she was taking on at once. Her focus was solely on Heo Yeom’s safety and the fact that she didn’t even want so much as a single scratch to mar him. I believe this is tied in with reason one, her loyalty, but many people would not be willing to risk their life in order to remain loyal, especially in the face of danger.
At the same time, I don’t believe that it was due to her unrequited love for him that made her take such a big risk. In fact, I don’t even believe what she felt for Heo Yeom was love. It seemed more like gratitude or simple affection to me because he treated her well and gave her such a lovely name, which humanized her in a world where she would have been seen as an object. If it had been Heo Yeon Woo, Jan Sil, or Jang Nok Young, Seol would have still sacrificed herself for their safety. Even if it was, Heaven forbid, Jin Chae Woon, King Lee Hwon‘s bodyguard, or even Lee Hwon himself, in need of warrior assistance, Seol would have still forsaken herself in order to keep them safe.
One of the very few things I really hated about “The Moon that Embraces the Sun” was Seol’s death because she was so dear to my heart. It was even more unfortunate that she never felt the joy of being in mutual love. Had the drama been approved for its original run of 24 episodes, Seol would have gotten her love line with Jin Chae Woon, which would have been absolute perfection. Still, just because she never got a love of her life doesn’t mean that she can’t be ours. Although her life was cut short, it was the time in which she was alive that won hearts.
What did you think about Seol? Did she make as big of an impression on you as she did for me? Let me know in the comments below! As always, don’t forget to keep nominating your Woman Crush Wednesdays for the mystery reveal coming up in December!