I’m not sure how many know about Prince Sado but there are a few depictions about him both on the small and big screens which have been interpreted in different ways. The Throne portrayed Prince Sado as someone who suffered from a mental illness and as a result led him to perform horrendous acts; the movie also shows how he was neglected by his father and his wife. His wife was always concerned with matters involving their son to which he asked her if he even existed to her at all.
From my perspective, if truly Prince Sado suffered from mental illness, the root of the problem lies with his father who expected so much from him at a very young age and as time passed never acknowledged him no matter how hard he tried. His illness started when he was young and seeing it was so many years back, a lot of medical facilities where not around then to be sure what his illness was. His father-in-law, who was a scholar, was more of a father to him than his own father was. His father was did not have royal blood and probably wanted his son to perform very well to prove he can succeed the throne. In the movie, Prince Sado was portrayed by Yoo Ah-In who did more than a fantastic job in depicting his pains allowing the viewers to almost feel what it was like to be in his shoes. His illness took a darker tone as he aged and grew father from his father. The Throne, using a flashback technique slowly depicts how the prince delved into madness. I really felt for him while watching this scenes and I began to hate his father because if he hadn’t neglected his son and always said hurtful things to him, I’m pretty sure his mental illness would either not be as bad or nonexistent. Prince Sado had reached his limit and he just lost it because honestly, there is only so much a human being can take. At some point, I also thought his father acted a bit strange especially when he had some unnecessary mood swings, when he started washing his ears when he heard something bad or his mouth. He even paid special attention to what doors he used when he entered and left the room.
There was a scene where Prince Sado told his son that marriage meant to love one another forever and I can’t help to think he was throwing shade at his own wife who never acknowledged him. As a wife, I felt she would have been able to stop his growing illness if she showed him love which she didn’t rather she went ahead and wrote a memoir. I won’t be quick to judge her or anything of the sort as they got married very early (I recall the prince was about ten years old at that time) so she really didn’t know much but I felt she should have at least tried to do something than just be a watch as her husband slowly killed himself. According to her memoirs, being chosen as a bride was filled with so much anxiety especially at such a young age though they were welcoming to her and apparently, her parents were not so fond of the idea.
Again, there are two versions of Prince Sado’s life and the lesser known one is that he never had a mental illness and was just an unfortunate victim of bad politics. Various books have opposed the memoir written by Prince Sado’s wife stating he was sane and his political opponents were against his wisdom and virtue. Apparently, this made him scared of his father in the event that they complained about him. I recall a scene where there was a meeting held with the prince, his father and the other members of the party. They had asked him a question on how to solve one of the country’s problems which he answered perfectly but because they didn’t accept it and complained, his father decided to take it out on him which resulted to Prince Sado keeping his mouth shut.
As someone once said, ‘history is always written by the winning side’ therefore, the winning side in this case are the opposing party (Noron) who opposed Prince Sado and made him look like a maniac. Apparently, his wife also belonged to that party. The drama series, Secret Door took this version and Prince Sado was portrayed by Lee Je Hoon who also did a wonderful job.
I’m not sure which version is true but from my perspective, Prince Sado on both sides was pitiable and it’s a sad thing he ended the way he did.