Lee Seon Jae – A shy man or a piano prodigy with Asparger syndrome?

You who have known me for some time now already know that when I start obsessing over something my obsession reaches epic proportions. Well, to say I’ve been obssesing over SLA would be the understatement of the century. The level of my devotion and love grows with each step SJ and HW take towards each other. I just can’t get enough of them and their precious connection. Right now, you feel that every embrace means more than a million kisses, each fleeting, furtive glance feels like an intimate caress and their hunger for each other grows with each new taste.


“I’ve put a lot of thought into this. I even practiced talking about this. I don’t know any difficult vocabulary words. I even have to look up foreigners’ names on the internet. Then write them down in Korean to barely read them. I went through this a lot in my head. So that I could say this without stuttering.”

You almost miss it with all the explosive tension between them but when SJ bares himself in front of HW he also makes another chink into her seemingly impregnable armor. Honesty is often such an underrated personality trait, however, with HW it proves to be the best weapon, With each moment of brutal honesty HW’s resolve to not be affected by his confession crumbles. You know, HW and SJ remind me of two the opposite sides of a magnet that are irresistibly pulled to each other – she is guarded and restrained, while he spontaneous and expressive. I can’t even imagine how desperate SJ was and how much courage he needed to put it all on the line and explain himself – his insecurities, shortcomings, weaknesses and fears. It must have been so dificult to show the woman he so obviously adores his worst. Still, he wants her to know him, all of him, what he is truly like and that’s becuase he trusts her to accept his all. DM has known SJ his whole life but she doesn’t know him like HW does; during all those years, DM never learned as much about him as HW has in these few turbulent weeks.


It’s so gutting to hear how he rehearsed it so she could understand and the way he states it all so matter of factly. SJ’s confession and what later HW reads in his diary explainsl so much about his personality and behaviour: why he has been so taciturn in front of people, only uttering either curt or polite, short sentences or just nodding in front of Kang. His confession gives us a better insight and understanding of his personality – He is shy, awkward and reclusive introvert who has kept to himself and lacked self-confidence since childhood (probably due to the lack of a masculinefather figure as he was raised by his single mother). He is afraid he would end up stuttering so he doesn’t talk much, even with DM and his friend. Yet, he speaks to HW even though he ends up stuttering because NOT talking to her at all is even worse option. She is worth the risk and SJbelieves she is someone who would understand him and wouldn’t make fun of him. The best thing is that the more he talks with her the less he stutters as he grows more confident with her and more ar ease.


Actually, all these symptoms make me wonder whether SJ isn’t suffering from a mild form of Asparger syndrome: his innate awkwardness in social situations and interactions with people as he has difficulty initiating and maintaining conversation, the disinterest in other people’s affair, having only a couple of friends which can mean he has a difficulty making them, However, what’s more people with AS are often exceptionally talented or skilled in a particular area, such as music; many of the most talented piano prodigies has had Asparger’s. This is quite well-known fact and I suspect that the writer knows this thanks to her throrough preparation and research of the whole subject of musical communities, schools and pianists she had done for this drama.


“I just gave you a severe punishment.”

I swear this show knows all my kinks! This is so angsty and shippy – pretty much all my secret fantasies coming true. I wasn’t that much disappointed they didn’t show us the kiss in episode 3 because the ambiguity of that moment left us wondering and unsure like SJ must have felt but after time he, too, realised that she accepted his kiss despite her insistance of otheriwise. And now mere few weeks later in the very same room where HW so cruelly disregarded their kiss and his feelings for her it’s her who kisses him not once but twice! like only one taste wasn’t enough. I feel the kiss is purely instinctive, one given without thinking, rather than deliberate and in more ways than one similar to their first one. Most of all in the way, how one of them is the agressor, the active one, showing her turbulant emotions, her lack of control while the other one, this time it’s SJ on the opposite side, who does’t know or is afraid and unsure how to react, what to make out of this sudden turn of events.

HW’s kiss is fueled by frustration, jealousy and all her jumbled emotions. It seems to me like she wanted to kiss him to get this obsession under conrol and to cure this insanity that captured them. It’s almost like by inflicting the same confused emotions on him, the same she felt in the garage, she’s punishing him for making her feel like that; like she’s giving him her pain and sharing it with him so he would hurt like she does. All their kisses have been so untamed, fierce and almost savage like their need to touch the other was too desperate to care about gentleness. MY FEELS! Look at the way he is holding onto the piano or else he’d jump on her and take her on the spot!!!  Is anyone else here hoping they will make love on that (or any really I’m not picky) piano? it’s my most wanted wish, right now. On another note: Poor SJ! So much flustration and pain without any gain and he is a virgin! No wonder he’s been pounding into that punchbag of his every day. That virile, unspent energy must get out somehow!

About the embrace: THE BEST BACKHUG EVER PERIOD! SJ looks like he wants to encompass her whole! I think what guts me the most is the similar desperate hopelessness and flustration and their eyes. I literally died the moment HW so slowly put her hand on his forearm (this time not to stop him but finally allowing herself to touch him) and then SJ immediatelly grasped it and clutched to it for his dear life.


“I didn’t really like it. How Professor called you, Teacher, Hye Won, and… Using the same room…”

A lot has been said about HW’s situation and the obstacles she is facing due to her feelings for SJ – mainly her insecurities about her looks or age compared to DM. Her problems take the central stage with the viewers, however, SJ is facing his own obstacles, too, they are a little different but no less important. He might not give a damn about HW’s age but he DOES give a damn social chams that separates them – it’s not about about the money or education butthe demands of propriety. Because of it he can’t even call HW by her name– for her it’s perfectly acceptable to call him by his given name whenever she wants but he can’t, not now at least. I think the main reason why he calls her ‘Teacher’ with such reverence and emotion is because to him, it’s a substitute for her name and everytime he calls her ‘Teacher’ out loud inside he is calling her “Hye Won-a”. That’s why he grabs his opportunity and takes this excuse to call her by her name, so intimately, out loud even though it’s indirectly. You can say how nervous and unsure he is by the way he stammers at the first syllable as if he was afraid she would stop him and then savours her name as it rolls from his tongue.


 Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
  How I wonder what you are.
  Up above the world so high,
  Like a diamond in the sky.



SJ is wooing HW with his inspired, hearfelt performance which makes her lower her guards and leaves her enthralled with the mix of earnestness and playfulness in his captivating performance, until she finally succumbs to the temptation. It’s unbelieavable and great credit to his immense talent how SJ can quickly and seemlessly change the different pieces and melodies and with them the mood and his interpretation. Be it the seductive Fantasy or the charming Twinkle Twinkle, SJ casts a spell on his audience (HW) with the lethal combination of his flawless technique and heartfelt interpretation as he calls to her deepest and most secret desires. At first, he didn’t know but I think SJ is slowly beginning to notice that HW can’t resist his music – he knows he is patently bad with words so his musical talent is his way to HW’s heart.


I sense that there is far more meaning behind the inclusion of this particular Mozart’s lullaby – the piece isn’t only about the cheerful melody but also about the adoring and beseeching lyrics. It’s like SJ is invoking HW as his star (dweling so high and unreachable on the night sky) and entreating her to shine brightly on his way in the dark night and not leave him. However, the parable works the other way round as well because it really seems as if SJ is HW’s little star since for her he seems like a diamond, raw and radiating amaranthine light. It’s like they are each other’s beacon on the darkness! My heart stay still!


MY OTP! They are so utterly perfect, comfortable and functional together; in perfect harmony and literally glowing together.This scene makes me smile whenever I watch it – their delight and sheer joy are contagious. They are having a blast, cocooned in a world of their own where nobody but them can enter or intrude.

How adorably carefree and playful they are together and the situation is such a mundane, everyday thing but for them it seems like a monumentous occassion as their lives has been all doom and gloom so far (SJ living in his run-down, mice-ridden abode and HW in her cold palace). A week ago I didn’t even dream that I’ll be writing about this OTP things like adorable and cute but the truth is that they ARE ADORABLE AND CUTE!  They are no different from those other OTPs with ZERO or minimal AGE DIFFERENCE from YAB, SG, MGIAG, Heirs,.. This is another proof that in the suitability department the age difference is a rather inconsequential and trivial factor.


The shots at their hands, now finally touching and each of them initiating the contact, make my heart skip a beat whenever I watch this (whic is pretty much twice every day). Awww, and that little moment when SJ’s eyes flicker towards her to see whether she’s enjoying it as much as he and when he sees she does, it adds to his own pleasure because he is the cause and recipient of her rare, bright smiles; the only person who made her smile liek that and be playful without any worries. This is the first time he saw her like that – completely free, unrestained and relaxed without any tension or caution.

My opinion about the themes of adultery and cheating in SLA

SLA portrays a social phenomenons like adultery, older women-younger men relationship,big age difference and possibly even divorce. Those are all things that occur everyday all around the world. I mean, nowadays almost every second marriage ends in divorce (either one spouse or both spouses have already different lovers or because their marriage is simply dissatisfying), yet despite it being so frequent kdramas seems to overlook it like it was something tabboo. I like that SLA doesn’t pass any judgement whether it’s wrong or good but simply shows how such things occurs and let’s it to the viewer to choose.


I don’t approve of a cheating but let’s face it when you get married you expect from your partner respect, affection, tolerance, support and even some physical love and affection, as well, but HW’s husband doesn’t give her any of those things. There is no sense of warmth, no respect or loyalty between them: HW’s loyalties lies with herself and the SAC triumvirate, she makes fun’s of her husband incompetence with her friends and KJH badmouthes her with SYW. Nor there is any pretense that he loves her or appreciates her; he only uses her for her usefulness and connections and has been using her ever since their wedding. He used to be SYW’s lover and this marriage was nothing more than a business contract, a marriage of convenience and it has NOT become a love match. There is no reason to linger any longer in such a gratuitous, cold and loveless marriage for any of them but even more for HW who is the only of the two who seems to be capable of loving someone other than herself. 


If there were children it would be other matter entirely, however, as the things stand now, there is nothing valuable or worthy that keeps her in that marriage other than provincial morals.

P.S about the scene above: SJ is clearly getting more comfortable around HW thanks to their midnight interlude. He’s even become confident enough to speak to her without stuttering and flirt with her, even teasing her.



  1. How beautifully you describe their love! A fantasy romance between two people perfectly suited to each other, real soul mates, a pure and innocent like Adam and Eve before the Fall! Surely this is the partnership we all want?

    Perfect Love. A goal not easily attained, but worth pursuing. In this drama the effort required to achieve that love and the worthiness of the love itself are both explored.

    We make the decisions that shape our destiny. Sometimes the first step is to really think about what we do instead of drifting mindlessly in our regular routines.

    Thank you

  2. cincin · · Reply

    How insightful this review is! Beyond awsome!

  3. Why did you stop?

    1. Hi, idastravels!
      Why, did I stop? Well, basically, because the real life intruded. In the middle of the SLA run I had to leave for a study trip, then my exam period started, so I only had time for short comments with videos and photos on my tumblr and short posts on the Soompi SLA thread. And when it ended I had already started watching High School King, another ultimate obsession of mine and perfect noona-dongsaeng romance, which took all my time. When I write these detailed, long ramblings it means I’m totally, starking crazy about something and I want to share the perfection of the drama to people, who share my love for the show, so I want the posts to illustrate my thoughts and the screencapping takes a lot of time (even more time-demanding is sorting through the screencaps and choosing the most illustrating one and with a dramas starring the likes of of YAI, SIG, LMH or KSH it’s extremely difficult because I always end up with 1000+ screencaps per episode but can choose only around 50 – oh, the agony of choice) and writing and correcting the text even more. I realised it’s easier to post on tumblr that’s why I moved there. I think I posted two more longer SLA posts on my tumblr blog, you can check them out here if you are interested:
      As of now, I don’t plan to continue to write about SLA, but who knows, maybe in a faraway future I’ll get a craving for a re-watch.
      Thanks for your message 🙂

      1. Thanks for letting me know. I miss your insights although I am late to the party. Soom has been sponsoring re watch live comment weekends ( see and I am trying my 1st one this weekend. Would never have given SA a shot without all the wonderful fans and analysis. Loved YAI as Crazy Horse but would never have recognized him. Thought he was just a pretty boy. Stay well.

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