The last stop of our guided tour in Seoul is the Changdeokgung Palace, another Seoul’s national pride that made it to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list in 1997. Literally means “Palace of Illustrious Virtue”, Changdeokgung Palace was built in 1405 when the then Joseon King Taejong thought that the existing Gyeongbokgung Palace is inauspicious. As most palaces in Seoul, Changdeokgung Palace is a reconstruction (1610) after it was destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion.
Also known as the Second Palace, Changdeokgung boasts 13 buildings on its palace grounds and 28 pavilions in its gardens. With a palace this big and architectured based on pungsu (feng shui) principles, I still wonder why George R. R. Martin has not incorporated this gem into its Game of Thrones show script yet.
INJEONGJEON HALL 인정전, the main throne hall of Changdeokgung Palace, was used for conducting major state affairs including the coronation of a new king, assembly of officials, and reception of foreign envoys. This, in theory, is where the real Game of Thrones should take action. Seven Kingdoms, my friend, your Iron Throne is out, Injeongjeon is in!
Of course, the two boys with me, hubby Jon and his friend, JT, won’t let this opportunity pass them by. While standing in front of the Injeongheon Hall 인정전, the main throne hall of Changdeokgung Palace 창덕궁 in Seoul, South Korea, they were probably plotting how to win the throne. Nice try Unsullieds!
Apparently, hubby Jon and JT weren’t the only souls hungry for the throne. I checked the Daejojeon Hall (Queen’s chamber) myself in the hope of finding clues on how to win the throne, ideally not the Cersei Lannister way.
Or maybe sneak into the back of Huijeongdang, the King’s residence, and win the throne. Eflida, the King Slayer! Ugh.
But I was reminded by the Starks of virtues and Daenerys’ morals to uphold, so I just took a last look of the palace and called it a day.
I didn’t get the Seven Kingdoms, but I experienced the Changdeokgung moment, perhaps the only closest thing I can get. We had to say goodbye to our wonderful tour guide, Mr. Mark, and thanked him for the fun. All these memories are all to be treasured for until we get old. I am pretty sure Hodor agrees.
TRAVELLER’S NOTE : Visit the Changdeokgung Palace 창덕궁 complex in the afternoon if you intend to avoid the big crowd. There also gigantic bowls on top of the stone platform in front of the Injeongjeon Hall which nobody can miss.They are called Deumeu 드므 and were meant to put out fire if there is any. In theory, these Deumeu were meant to scare away the fire demon called Bulgwisin 불귀신 or Hwama 화마 so that when they look into the water, they will be frightened by its own reflection and would go away. Some scenes fromthe Korean TV miniseries Daejanggeum 대장금, or Jewel in the Palace were also shot here.