There has apparently been many upset viewers after watching the final episode of Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi. This was not helped by the script writer Song Ji Na who posted a copy of the original script on her website which had a vastly different ending. No matter what, the PD makes the final call since he is the director and he must have wanted an ambigious ending that makes people wonder rather than one where it’s predictable and everyone lives happily ever after.
My two cents worth
After watching the finale part twice and reading all the mutlitude of opinions on both Soompi and chinese forums, I have no real complaints about what the PD wanted to put across. It made more sense than the original script and were much more concise without being too cheesy. It would be really weird if Damdeok ended up with Sujini and Ajik happily ever after.
But because the PD made changes to the script, it wasn’t as good since the editing was just so bad, particularly the transition parts. Didn’t like how many of the secondary characters weren’t shown or explained properly and some were like killed off too easily in the final episode. Too many loopholes and poor editing was pretty evident in the last episode. Damdeok just suddenly appear at the final scene, how did Sujini eventually end up at Abullansa and many more. And we never will know who exactly is the owner of the Jujak. They didn’t even show the awakening of the Jujak power. It shocked me when Kiha became the Black Jujak because all along from the start, we are led to believe that Sujini is the one judging from the synopsis and production pictures.
The PD decided that Damdeok should destroy the Cheonggoong which sets off a chain reaction, destroying the four sacred symbols. He wants to tell us that Damdeok wants us to not follow the marked destiny that heaven had set out for us. Rather, the people should go out there and find their own ways and means to survive, rather than relying on objects from heaven. So in a way, he was returning the heavenly power back home and leave earth as it is before. And it is befitting of the series english title, Legend. And so the legend of that and the four sacred symbols ended with Damdeok.
I have nothing against the ambigious ending of Damdeok ascending to the heavens and bringing the four symbols together with him. He just wanted to end people’s dependence on them and create bloodshed over them. I believe that Sujini understands his intentions and she wouldn’t want him to kill Kiha and then be together with Sujini and Ajik.
An underwhelming ending as the director seem to have taken the easy way out with a sloppy finale. The last episode really spoiled the rating for me. Other than the piss-poor finale, the series were generally good with excellent acting and impressive CG. Cannot think of anyone other than Bae Yong Joon as Damdeok.
Differences between the actual and original ending
1. Abullansa Battle
The original script was more detailed. Cheoreo and Jumochi were acting as cover for Damdeok as the latter raced towards Abullansa. Damdeok actually requested Sujini to go and save the child first. Gochooga tried to clear the path for Sujini and died as a result of that. Actual ending showed Sujini galloping away towards Abullansa. No mention was made as to what actually transpired while Gochooga was just shown getting stabbed and dying.
2. Damdeok & Ho Gae’s 1-on-1
Actual ending sees General Ko dying and an angry Damdeok flinging a spear towards Ho Gae chest, killing him instantly. The original script was more detailed. It made mention of whose child it was, the death of Ho Gae’s father who committed suicide. Their battle was also longer and sees Ho Gae getting injured on his shoulder and wielding his spear with another hand. Also a scene where a dying Ho Gae asks Damdeok to save Kiha and calls him an old friend.
3. Dae Jang Ryo possessing Kiha
In the actual Abullansa scene, Kiha had a battle with Dae Jang Ryo over Ajik and we see them struggling with each other to stab Ajik. The original script wrote that Dae Jang Ryo had no chance of killing Ajik who had the blood line of the heavenly god and mother earth. Dae Jang Ryo eventually manages to cut Ajik’s fingers and the blood awakens the four symbols which made the owners stronger and more powerful fighters, but these were not shown.
4. Symbols awakening and how they were destroyed
The original script had a more detailed view of what happened when Damdeok broke the Cheonggoong. The four owners subsequently got weaker as a result of Damdeok’s action. Cheoreo had his left hand sliced off. And during the process, Damdeok was in pain as blood started flowing from his ears and mouth, we can also see his intestines. Kiha dies while Sujini saves the world as she can put out the fire.
5. What happens in the actual script ending
The actual ending didn’t show the aftermath of Abullansa. In the script, we can see Gooknae Castle returning to peace and Sujini drinking again happily, wine battle with her subordinates. Damdeok and Ajik are playing around and teaching him how to fight. It also showed how General Ko died tragically.
6. Back to modern times
We are transported to the present as Sujini and Hyun Go (their reincarnated form) arrives at Korea Incheon airport with backpacks, getting ready to visit the Gwanggaeto Stele in Abullansa. As they are reading the words off the Gwanggaeto Stele, we can see a short-haired Cheoreo and Ho Gae in a suit some distance away. We also see Damdeok in a crowd somewhere unknow.
For some reasons unknown, possibly due to budget, lack of episodes, or Bae Jong Joon who was really banged up, those details were omitted.
Original ending script (credit: soompi)
(starts after DD killed DJR, and KH is already on her way to Black Jujak-ing)
DD: Kiha. [turns and looks at KH, who has apparently lost consciousness] Please, stop now.
DD: [picks up the bow, and with tears in his eyes, pulls back the string to release the arrow. stops, and puts down the bow]
SJN: [from behind DD] please, stop my sister, before it’s too late.
DD: [turns around to look at SJN, who, carrying her child in her arms, looks at him imploringly] is this supposed to be it? wait 2000 years to gather all the gods who are activated by the blood of the Jyushin king… and all i can do is kill the mother of my child?
SJN: the world is going to become an ocean of fire. stop my sister before she commits a bigger sin. please.
DD: [looks at SJN with a sorrowful face before turning to look at KH] if we’re talking about sins, i sinned too. i didn’t believe you. i have to say this to the heavens: this is being human. regretting the things that you do wrong, and learning the things you don’t understand — that’s being human. Yes. now i understand.
DD: [holding the bow handle in both hands, breaks it and throws it behind him] KH. don’t you understand? Heaven is asking us whether or not we can stand on our own, or if heaven has to guide us with its power.
(the pieces of the bow disintegrate suddenly. KH opens her eyes and with an unseeing face, turns toward DD)
DD: Heaven never chose us. We are the ones who chose heaven.
(the Baekho relic disintegrates. At that moment, DD feels the effects and wavers on his feet)
(JMC, still fighting, throws up blood and falls down. Cheoro sees from far away. JMC uses his ax as a crutch and supports himself)
DD: the answer to the question was the Jyushin King. that’s what the Jyushin King was supposed to do.
(the Chungryong relic disintegrates. DD stumbles. SJN looks frantically between the relics and DD. She knows that everytime a relic disintegrates, DD sustains a wound. Blood drips from DD’s ear.)
(Cheoro stops and feels theh pain. He wavers. The Hwachun soldier next to him takes the opportunity and swings his sword. Cheoro’s arm gets cut and blood spurts out. He drops his spear.)
SJN: [screams desperately] please stop, unee. (older sister) if all the relics disintegrate, the King will die. please. help him stop.
DD: [blood drips from DD’s mouth] this is my answer. I find that i must return heaven’s power to heaven. I’ll also send the Jujak’s power too. So… you’re going to be ok, no. I answered everything.
(the Hyunmoo relic disintegrates. DD falls to one knee, but manages to withstand it)
(HG collapses as if he felt a huge shock)
(KH looks tenderly at SJN. SJN looks back. only SJN can hear the words from KH’s heart)
KH: my little sibling. Put me out.
(SJN looks at her crying)
KH: this is what i want. help me.
(the red Jujak jade starts to glow –> like all the other relics started to glow before they disintegrated. it starts to rise in mid-air)
(SJN’s hair is tossed all over the place by the wind created by her power. the red Jujak relic flies into SJN’s hand. She holds the Jujak relic to her chest (like Hwangwoong taught Saeo previously), and the light emanating from SJN lights up the whole area. The flames that had been burning start going out. The light envelops DD, and DD, whose breath had slowly been stopping, raises his head)
(KH looks at the child, who is lying peacefully on SJN’s lap. DD looks at KH. KH looks at DD and smiles. Suddenly, KH starts to disappear. –> when fire is put out by white light, it disappears.)
(DD stands up before the disappearing KH, and we see his silhouette. The unconscious child opens his eyes from the brightness and turns to look at DD. SJN looks at DD. SJN still clasps the glowing Jujak relic in her hand, which did not break but remains intact.)
(the scene fades on DD’s silhouette)
(at this point, there’s a narration in HG’s voice, about what is written on the stele of Gwanggaeto –> i translated it on a previous page)
(CR, JMC and the Hwachun soldiers they were fighting with, cover their eyes from the bright light and look to the sky. The darkness lifts, and a clear sky/bright sun shines thru)
(HG lifts his head and sees the blinding light, as do his surrounding Gomoolchon compatriots)
(HG’s voice over narration continues)
# Back in Goguyreo – on the street
We see people talking and moving around. among them, we see CR walking and holding his spear to his chest. Passing underneath a bridge path, he feels something and smiles widely, while stepping quickly to the side. JMC, who had been waiting on top of the bridge platform to attack, jumps in. CR ducks and doesn’t want to fight at all. CR tosses a big container at JMC, who, after tossing the container away, discovers that CR isn’t there anymore. JMC complains to himself.
(voice over continues)
# In the barracks…
The arrow-wielding troops are gather around, shouting and cheering on something in the middle. there is a liquor-drinking contest going on. SJN, wearing armor, is having a contest with another soldier. they are drinking from big bowls of alcohol, surrounded by empty bowls. SJN, having finished her bowl first, holds it above her head to show that it is empty and sets it down with a thump (now showing her real self.) Her opponent is still drinking.. and while still drinking, falls over in that position. SJN won. Her cheering fans let out a big yell, and SJN pounds her chest while grinning.
# Training area
The young AJ (whose name is Guh Ryun), uses all his strength to swing his sword as he attacks his opponent.
(more narration, important part of which: the King wanted 100 years of peace. the years following the 100 years would also belong to the people.)
Only then do we see who Guh Ryun’s opponent is: it’s DD. Laughing, he is being his training partner. From the side, an aged General Go watches, also laughing. DD grabs GuhRyun’s wrist as he makes a final attack, and brings him in for a hug. it’s clear that he really loves him.
(more narration: but at the age of 39, the King left the world. His son, King Jangsu, spread his father’s land even more widely and for 100 years, peace reigned.)