A world of lies was more beautiful, a love of lies was happier; the lies became the truth.

Typically, the main character of a drama is a protagonist, one that you are supposed to cry with, root for, laugh with, and be happy with. You sympathize with them. Typically, again, the main character is not a villain. They’re the hero. The drama tries to make you hate, despise, and get angry over an evil character. But what are you supposed to do when a character is both a hero and a villain? That is, the protagonist is the antagonist, the person who the drama revolves around is despicable. Are you still supposed to sympathize with the character on their journey, or are you supposed to hate their guts? Or perhaps, are you supposed to do both?

Life has made Jang Miri insecure at her core; she learned not to trust people from her scarred childhood. When she was young, her mother abandoned her, her father died, and she became an orphan. Later, she was adopted, but was forced to work as a maid and hostess to pay off her foster father’s debt. She longs so much for money and power because it is something she never had; she gains a sense of security through it. She merely wants to live happily and peacefully, without having to worry about living on the streets or being abused.

And so, she lies. She lies about attending Tokyo University, because it seems like the only feasible way. Who would accept a girl like her into a company? She lacks a college degree and experience, and is searching for a job on a tourist visa. She is in the worst situation yet, and she lies for the sake of not being deported back to Japan. (Notice how I said that lying seems like the only feasible way; lying isn’t the only feasible way, it just seems like it. She probably would be deported back to Japan had Jang Myunghoon not hired her, but even so, she wouldn’t have to suffer the inevitable pain and humiliation of her true past being discovered later on.)

And as we all know through our various experiences, lies can easily get out of control. Jang Miri becomes a completely new person based on her lies; rising to the top of her game just with the lie that she graduated from Tokyo University, while digging her own grave at the same time.

I can’t help but feel sorry for Jang Miri despite her many wrongdoings; maybe this feeling arises from the nature of humans to empathize with each other.

Whenever I see Jang Miri getting beaten up or hurt, I can’t help but feel sorry for or pity her. Does she deserve it? No, but then again, is life fair? No, that is the fact of the matter, bad things happen to good people and vice versa; we cannot control fate. But then her cruelty — in treating Heejoo like trash and then manizing seducing Jang Myunghoon and throwing him away upon seeing Song Yoohyun’s money — can’t be fully justified either. For Jang Miri to err is only human, but for her to treat the people who sincerely love her like trash is inhumane. So from the screenwriters’ perspective, how are we supposed to feel towards Jang Miri?

Personally, despite her numerous sins, I want Jang Miri to be happy. She was wrong, very wrong, in the first half of the drama. But as her story goes on, the lies become the truth. She realizes that Yoohyun is someone that she wants to be with for a lifetime, gains a conscience, and starts to feel guilty for abandoning Jang Myunghoon, who she truly loved. However, she doesn’t know how to get herself out of the pit she dug for herself. She wants to be honest and real, but she’s afraid of the consequences.

Sympathize with Jang Miri? Yes, I do. Her mother left her family at a young age and her father died soon after. She lived in an orphanage and later had to serve men at a bar, wearing skimpy clothes and being forced to disregard her true value.

Hate her guts? Can’t say I don’t. I hate how Jang Miri is always acting self-righteous. She always feels as if she’s the only one being wronged, and the way that she treats Heejoo is just despicable. She so adamantly denies the truth even when it’s so obvious and in her face.

I guess you could say that Hirayama was right. The truth about Jang Miri (jangmi [장미] means rose) hurts — because roses have thorns. And those thorns are its appeal.