I can honestly say I feel really bad for Yeom-jang and have always felt sorry for him. I feel like he thinks that everything is just hopeless. He probably never knew his parents, and unfortunately was raised by pirates. Not that it gives him an excuse for things that he's done, but seriously, the only man that has been involved in his life and whom he probably loved as a father was a pirate, what is he to do? He probably felt like he had no choice but to follow the orders that were given to him. He has probably looked back and wondered "what if" I'm sure that him and Bogo could've been the best of friends, just like Bogo said before he had him branded!!!! which by the way I couldn't stand to see that scene, blood practically coming out of his eyes, I had to turn away! So sad. Now that 2 years have gone by, I'm sure that hatred and bitterness have overcome him, and any good that was in him, is probably gone. All he wants now is revenge. In a way it would've been better for Bogo to just kill him. Allowing YeomJang to live only puts everything that Bogo has accomplished at risk!
It's really one of the tragedies of the series, Alexa. I found myself drawn to the Yeom Moon character even more than the Bogo character. Yeom Moon is a brilliant businessman, military tactician and all around hotter ;D. Song Il Guk was dubbed "the lead killer" because this role was more sympathetic than Bogo's.
I found YM's loyalty to Master Lee touching - you are right, that was his only father figure, always trying to seek his approval. But the friendship he feels toward Bogo, and all the "what ifs" becomes another part of the tragedy later on.
I'll be very interested in reading your continued take on the series. It was the first kdrama I ever saw and for that reason means a lot to me.
Yum Moon is a tragic character, and to my mind, the most interesting character in the show. Unfortunately, even when he knows he's being used, he continues to do others' dirty work. He continually makes poor choices. Don't get too sympathetic towards him...