If I was dishing out numbers, this mother would be my number 1. I’m not sure I could do any list anymore without adding some character, some instances, some scene from The Princess’ Man for the simple fact that it was my favorite drama of last year. It’s a drama that had such a profound affect on me, I was in a bit of a drama slump for a month or two afterward.
Creating a female character, that I actually like is rather hard, for women are more consistently portrayed as silly, willful (in a negative sense), intellectually stupid, worldly naive bimbos or jealous-hearted, money hungry, backstabbing, sexually promiscuous lying wenches. It’s virtually impossible to see women portrayed as positive, pretty and professional without her being, petty, pouty and pretentious. Whether women are written young or old, married or single, having birthed sons or daughters the possibilities are endless for her to be the kind of woman you would never want to know, let alone be friends with.
The truth is I’m not looking for women that are like myself, but rather women that live lives and make decisions or statements that I can understand. A woman, where I can rationally comprehend what she’s thinking and feeling and have no urge to kick in the face. Thankfully, The Princess’ Man created a handful of women that take long and graceful strides in the right direction, ergo my feet never left the ground.
Lady Yoon (Kim Seo Ra) —The Princess’ Man
The Princess’ Man was a drama filled with strong, admirable women and Lady Yoon, was no exception. I actually chose this mother because I respected her so much as a wife. We don’t get many glimpses of her but what we do see is her pillar of strength and support to her husband. Prince Su Yang and Lady Yoon, as a couple were a sight to behold because they were two people in sync in a way that we don’t find in many dramas, especially not sageuk. I found their relationship refreshing for the simple fact that they seemed to genuinely care and consider one another equals. She wasn’t just helping her husband as a wife or enabling his deceit, she genuinely agreed with his stance for his place on the throne and loved him enough to do what she could to support him.
Therefore, though she has numerous run ins with her daughter, Se Ryung, and her idealistic views, it is to Yoon’s credit that she reared children that had minds of their own. Also, she never begrudged Se Ryung for being independent or self-reliant, rather, she chided her to reign that willful spirit and remain loyal to her family, regardless of the toll or circumstance. As the drama progresses, however, though Yoon never changes her ideals, nor her loyalties, she extends herself to understand her daughter and protect her. She empathized with her daughter’s distress and broken spirit, giving the sense that she too understood what it was like to love and lose. Or at the very least what a blessing it is to love without regret, to find love in the right place with the right person.
As a mother, there was never a time she seemed to show favoritism, for she placed equal value on all three of her children, filled with pride whenever they succeeded and encouraging them to be greater than herself. When, I think of how much I enjoyed Se Ryung as a character, I can’t help but look to Yoon, for I believe they were very similar. Se Ryung fought for what she believed in and loved deeply without restraint. An example she saw each day in her home, an expression she had no recourse but to emulate.
In the end, Lady Yoon steps in as a mother and rescues her daughter. Not because she agreed with her position but instead, ,accepted and respected the roads that now separated their futures. Lady Yoon is a remarkable mother because she was rational and tactful, not allowing her station to usurp her goals as mother. Furthermore, her final actions as a mother are reflective of a place that all mothers must come in order to be content with their roles– release. Mothers have the enormous task of shaping minds and guarding hearts and at times, trusting those minds and hearts to continue to grow on their own is daunting. Lady Yoon represents a mother that was able to do this seamlessly, without putting further strain on herself or her daughter. And, I call that masterful.