Decoding The Memories of The Alhambra: Drama Review (SPOILER ALERT)

By Christina Kim - January 28, 2019

(Poster credits to tvN and all copyrights belong to tvN. This is only for illustration purpose)

**WARNING: Extremely Long post ahead with spoilers revealed, if you have not watched the drama.

It has been a long time since I have written a drama review, and there are so many on my list that you have no idea. However, I have decided to come out of my comfortable cocoon as I felt compelled to specifically complete a review on an interesting Korean drama I have recently watched which kept me intrigued to figure out the mystery of the plot and attempt to unravel the controversy surrounding the drama’s success along with the criticisms directed at it by the avid fans who followed the drama to the end. Many lashed out in anger, frustration and disappointment at the ending which was labeled as a major letdown for the drama had started off on a strong note and delivered an exceptionally refreshing storyline which took the viewers by storm. The popularity of the drama raised expectations at stake, not just the surge in the viewership ratings hence keeping the viewers engrossed in waiting patiently for each and every episode weekly for the revelation of the plot and the subjective end, which could be left to one’s interpretation, no doubt sparked off rage in the viewers who felt that they were left hanging with the questions unanswered, to the extent that they felt “cheated” by the entire experience. Many have also lamented on the fact that there was no happy ending for the main couple in the story, taking to social media and forums to express and share their personal views with other viewers. Therefore, it is a drama which sits on each end of a see-saw, on one it receives high praises for the ingenious and innovative storytelling and on the other, backlashes at its cliffhanger and open-ended ending. The world can be hard to please.
Memories of the Alhambra is indeed a magical ride all the way. It has the ability to transport one into its realm, keeping one engulfed in the charms of its storytelling while being surrounded  by the eye-pleasing surroundings of the actual scenic views of Granada and specifically, the famous Alhambra palace which the story takes inspiration from. To add to all that, the visual effects and the CGI to stage the augmented reality premise was equally impressive which further draw the viewers into the clutches of the story writer. The story takes place within a slow pace but it still manages to captivate the viewers to keep up with the plot and stay glued to the screen for every episode. It was just that riveting to watch. I personally found the experience too quite enjoyable, being an avid story and of course, drama fan. However, most interestingly, for me, it was the after-effects of the drama that had me intrigued for while watching it, it passed off as any drama although I was just as engaged with the story but it was after the drama ended that I found myself longing at the drama and the storyline just would not leave my mind. It kept circling my mind and just had me thinking of it, unable to move on to the next drama. It may be the open ending, which piqued my interest to try to uncover the mystery and to find the answers, or it is the scenes in the story which draw my attention, but whichever it may be, I attribute it to the whole concept the drama emphasised on: Magic. Additionally, perhaps that also is in tune with the title of the drama, Memories of the Alhambra, for indeed, I was continuously plagued with the haunting memories of the storyline, the memories of the Memories of the Alhambra, lingering, and never leaving my mind.
Therefore, following my own thought process and of course, with a bit of reading up on the background of the storyline and the location, I would like share some of my views on the whole story and also offer theories on the ending and the unexplained plots which took place in the story and baffled its audience.

Plot Summary:
Yoo Jin Woo (Hyun Bin) is a CEO of an investment company who travelled to Granada, Spain upon receiving an email on a groundbreaking AR (augmented reality) battle game based in the medieval times from Jung Se Ju (Park Chan Yeol), the young creator behind it. Jin Woo’s former best friend cum business partner, Cha Hyeong Seok (Park Hoon) was the first bidder for the game, whom Se Ju’s partner, Marco contacted though Se Ju was unimpressed with Hyeong Seok’s personality and was reluctant to sell it to him. Suddenly, Marco disappeared and was found dead and Se Ju too, vanished though he appeared to be on the run from someone, or something.
Jin Woo awaited in vain and he checked into an old rundown hostel, Hostel Bonita, as recommended by Se Ju who set up their initial appointment to meet there though he never showed up. Jin Woo had a run in with the hostel’s owner, He Ju (Park Shin Hye), whom he later found out was Se Ju’s older sister. An initial misunderstanding led to Jin Woo’s dilemma when he realised that He Ju is the key to sealing the contract for the game since Se Ju, as the developer is considered a minor in the eyes of the law. He schemed to convince He Ju and ended up buying the hostel, relieving He Ju of her financial difficulties which she had borne for years since the death of her parents and in surviving in the foreign land of Granada. He Ju was grateful to him and eventually fell for Jin Woo, standing by him through his bad times. Jin Woo logged into the game to test out its capabilities and was impressed by the sophistication of the game. He also bumped into Hyeong Seok was a player in the same game and ended up as each other’s opponent in the game, similarly in reality. Jin Woo brushed up his skills to level up quickly to take down Hyeong Seok and eventually did, though bizarrely, Hyeong Seok was also found dead in reality at the very same spot where Jin Woo attacked and killed him in the game. Hyeong Seok’s father, Professor Cha, who was also one of Jin Woo’s company’s key investors shut down the case and halted investigations for the benefit of the company’s image and profits. Park Son Ho (Lee Seung Joon), another of Jin Woo’s best friend and partner (they were a trio who founded the company together), was in doubt for he recalled Jin Woo calling him from Spain upon vanquishing Hyeong Seok in the game, which left Son Ho to wonder if Jin Woo was also referring to reality.
   As Jin Woo became more obsessed with playing the game, he lost the confidence of his shareholders and also friends. It was only his secretary, Seo Jung Hoon (Min Jin Woong) and He Ju, who stood by him and believed in him. Son Ho was genuinely concerned about Jin Woo and constantly tipped him off on any upcoming action/danger from the company/police. However, Jin Woo’s persistence had to do with his concern on the bug in the system which seemed to have somewhat overlapped with reality and he was intent to solve the problem and put a stop to it all, becoming more and more adamant as he levels up. Jin Woo also had another mission, to find Se Ju and investigate his disappearance which he believed had to do with the sinister game. Thus Jin Woo begins his journey into the AR game, Memories of the Alhambra and to the magical palace of Alhambra in Spain, to find his answers.

    Memories of the Alhambra does indeed kicks off with a bang, bringing viewers into a mystical and action-packed world, where skilled soldiers and assassins leap out to attack the players at any time and place. Danger lurks everywhere and there is no predicting when an enemy would suddenly appear out of nowhere to take one down. It was a thrilling rollercoaster ride and viewers enjoy that rush in adrenaline while treating their eyes to an amazing display of visual effects and computer graphics which makes the whole experience seem surreal. We join Jin Woo in his quest and cheer him on when he takes down his enemies. We feel his helplessness when the whole world thinks he is crazy when he says that there is a glitch in the game and that it has somehow merged with reality. He wants to find the answer to eliminate the error so that no one would be hurt if and in any instance the game gets released to the public. Most of all, he is also intent to find Se Ju, whom he believes holds the answers to everything and as a favour to He Ju, who had helped and supported him all the way. Jin Woo had to constantly fend off the ghost of Hyeong Seok who kept appearing as his attacker, and it got to the point where Jin Woo was even afraid to go to sleep for fear of being attacked. Everyone disbelieved him, attributing it to him falling to insanity but Jin Woo knows it is real because he experienced it himself. His secretary, Jung Hoon, though doubtful, chose to then assist him by joining the game as his ally, so that he could be of help to Jin Woo in the realm of the game. Sadly, Jung Hoon was soon defeated and also, to Jin Woo’s horror, was found dead in reality as well. Jung Hoon’s demise was a big blow to Jin Woo, who is even more convinced than ever that there is a something supernatural about the game, or magic, though in a sinister way. 
    There were a lot of mysteries raised in the Memories of the Alhambra, and the biggest question which plagues viewers is the merging of the game and reality. How is that possible? 
Granted that this is labeled as a sci-fi cum fantasy story, it is of course possible and like Jin Woo states repeatedly in his narrative, it is magic. So, we viewers believed that it is indeed possible in a magical world, think Harry Potter. However, it is still logical to wonder or ask, HOW, WHERE and WHEN does the merge actually occur in the story? Perhaps, to stretch it a little further, WHAT really triggered that merge? Now, as viewers, we first realise the merge when Hyeong Seok turned up dead in reality following his defeat by Jin Woo in the game. After all, we are following Jin Woo’s narrative anyway and the sequence of the episodes in the drama. However, in the later episode, it was revealed that Marco’s death could possibly be the first instance of the merge as it was way before Jin Woo’s participation in the game, though how and why, it is again, left to the viewer’s own inferencing and imagination. 
Secondly, it is also perplexing, not to mention terrifying that the dead players (in both game and reality) reappear repeatedly as the player’s enemies and attacked them. It was the case with both Se Ju and Jin Woo (Se Ju was the first Master, the highest level and the victor of the game), who were both chased by the dead Marco and Hyeong Seok repeatedly, which leads us viewers to believe that Se Ju was on the run to hide from the ghost of Marco. These instances could possibly be concluded (by us viewers) as the glitches or bugs in the system. However, it also leaves us wondering, if that is the case, then Se Ju, the creator/developer of the game, should be aware and would be able to identify and fix this bug instead of running away or just disappear into thin air. So, again, magic? It is up to the viewers again, to figure this out.
Thirdly, Emma may seem like an insignificant character, whom Se Ju modelled after the image of He Ju, and responds only to players who had attained higher levels. However, it was later revealed that she plays the role of a peacekeeper where no duel can take place within a certain vicinity from her and her corner is known as the peace/neutral zone in the Alcazaba Cafe. Later, we also find out that she is the key to resetting the game and deleting the bugs. She seems to play an important role in the game, in fact, she seems to be central to the entire game itself, for she has the power to delete bugs and resetting everything. However, is there something more to her character besides that? 
Now, on to the the bugs, which are revealed to be the players themselves, and it was Jin Woo who reset the game which even led to his own deletion, for even he is a bug. How about Se Ju and Marco then? Why are they not deleted? Or were they deleted? How? When?
After deleting the bugs and resetting the system, is it a guarantee that there are no more bugs or the new players in the new game, or even future games would not become bug themselves? 
Further pressing questions remain, it seems that players who have logged in are even able to see the AR when they are not wearing their lenses. Magic again? How does one even connect to the system without the lenses? In another instance, Jin Woo ordered for the server to be shut down to keep Professor Cha safe momentarily. If that is the case, why did Jin Woo not just shut down the server to disconnect and just plain ignore the game? These are just the many questions which surround the viewers’ minds and they appear to be left unanswered by the end of the drama, leaving many hoping for a second season. In fact, the drama’s end seem to leave even more questions and is not satisfying to majority of the audience.
I, on the other hand, cannot decide if I like or dislike the drama yet, for while the drama had its flaws in its script and execution, I find the attention it received and the extent it made me think to draw my own conclusions particularly intriguing. The after-effects of the drama also made all the viewers attempting to solve the mysteries and answer these questions on their own, while cursing the scriptwriter in the process. That whole phenomenon, to me, proved the success of the script for it drew so much attention and interest in its plot. When the drama ended, I found myself thinking, and even started on connecting the dots, recalling the clues which appeared in the drama. I read that some even went through the process of rewatching the drama for the second time, no, I did not do that, I depended on my memory and my own inferencing skills, and applied my problem solving methodology. I even did my research on Alhambra itself, which I personally believe to be the key to whole story, something which many may have overlooked in their conclusion on the storyline.

Unraveling the Mystery.
Here goes, the writer has indeed already provided the clues in the whole drama, in fact, the biggest answer lies in the title of the game and the drama itself: Memories of the Alhambra. It is also the reason the writer set the story in this famous tourist attraction. It is where all of it began. In order for one to do that, it is vital to also learn about the place, Alhambra Palace itself and how it became so pivotal to the story.

Quicks Facts on Alhambra Palace in Spain
This famous cultural spot was originally constructed as a small fortress in AD889. It is a unique structure which holds remnants of both the Muslim and Christian influences, having been established on the remains of Roman grounds. It was first built by the Muslim rulers in Spain, Yusuf I (1333-1353) and Muhammed V, Sultan of Granada (1353-1391). It is symbolic to the Muslim rule and the Moorish culture, combining the craftsmanship of several cultures; from Muslim, Jewish and Christians. It is a remain of the last of the Muslim rule of Al Andalus and became the shelter for artists and intellectuals during the conquer of Al Andalus by the Spanish Christians’ Reconquista. Significant changes were made to Alhambra after the Christians took over in 1492, adding both Renaissance (never completed) and Italian touches to the palace by both Charles I (1516-1556) and Philip V (1700-1746).
Alhambra is derived from Arabic, which means the “red fortress” or literally means “the red (female)”, alluding to the red clay surrounding the building. Another reference to the name would be Nasrid Dynasty which was known as the Banu al-Ahmar, which means Sons of the Red (male) in Arabic, further traced to a Nasrid ancestor, Yusuf Al Ahmar (Yusuf the Red), who could be a possible inspiration for the name.
Alhambra is a magnificent complex which stands proud on the Spanish grounds, and even almost made it to the UNESCO list as one of the wonders of the world. Many battles have taken place here due to the change of ruling power, and their stories have made their way into the complex history and background of the palace. While Alhambra is rooted in its history, it is also equally as immersed in the legends which surround the place.

Legends of Alhambra
  1. As mentioned in the drama, there are two main features at the main entrance into the fortress, which is also known as the Gate of Justice. On the outer arc of the wall, a Hand can be seen carved onto it while there is a Key on the inner arc. The Hand is attributed to the Hand of Fatima, who is considered to be one of the five pillars of Islam and is significant in fighting against evil. The Nasrid believed that when the hand and key are joined, it would signify the end of the world and it is also when the fortress would be totally destroyed, though it was built to be indestructible. Following the conquest by the Catholics, a statue of the Virgin Mary was built on that spot, which was believed to be the Catholics way of preventing the destruction as prophesied.
  2. The Moor’s Sigh relates to the downfall of the Muslim rule in Granada to the Catholics, which also marked the end of the Islamic reign in that region. The last Muslim ruler, Boabdil, left the cit and took a last look at his beloved city from the Moorish Sigh, which was 860m above sea level and is the main connection between Granada and Motril. He shed tears upon the sight and his mother said to him, “Do not weep like a woman over what you could not defend as a man”. Boabdil then just sighed.
  3. Tragedy in the Room of the Abencerrajes: The Abencerrajes were nobles who were framed by their political rivals, that one of them had an affair with the king’s favourite wife and the King, Boabdil, in his rage, took these 39 lives. The red from the fountain was said to be from the traces of the violent execution, where the blood of the victims continued to flow and haunt the palace in their unrest for eternity.
  4. The Paradise on Earth is reflected by the Generalife, which was formerly the castle of the Nasrid Princes where it was said that the image of Heaven can be reflected on the garden, as according to the Muslim concept.

With these bits and pieces of information on the Alhambra, the storyline would seem a little clearer. The whole game is indeed staged on Alhambra for all these reasons, and everything that surrounded the game’s mysteries started in Alhambra itself. When Jin Woo started playing the game, he fended off these soldiers from the Medieval period in the city of Granada itself and he was then slowly led to Alhambra to find more answers. Now, I would like to draw attention to another important detail which was only revealed at the end of the drama, which is the writer’s link to tie everything up together. Note that the writer ended the drama with a quote, “Trust is the magic that changes the world, not technology”. It may not seem to make sense at all, and left viewers with an even bigger HUH at the end for all of a sudden, it is about trust? Again, the theme of the trust was already present in the drama, and was constantly repeated subtly and even explicitly, though many did not take notice of it. For instance, Jin Woo was betrayed by his best friend, Hyeong Seok and his wife, the two people he trusted. When Jin Woo was speculated to be on the verge of insanity, no one believed him, but He Ju said to him, “I trust/believe you”. She trusted Jin Woo’s innocence and his stories, despite how nonsensical it sound. She trusted her brother’s life with Jin Woo, believing that he will eventually find him. Jung Hoon, Jin Woo’s secretary too, trusted him and stood by him, choosing not to quit his job despite his mother’s advice (as mentioned by his mother during his funeral, who blamed Jin Woo for her son’s death inevitably). Professor Cha turned his back on Jin Woo, hurting Jin Woo’s trust in him. He also cast his own son off and kicked him out of the company, ripping Hyeong Seok’s trust in him. Hyeong Seok, who was in a relationship with Su Jin, Jin Woo’s first wife, also finds himself in doubt (not trusting) of Su Jin and Jin Woo’s relationship after their divorce. Then there is also Son Ho, who could not decide to trust Jin Woo, though he did reluctantly. If we were to map all these out, we will notice that the whole drama is about trust. Everyone seemed to have trust issues. Everyone seems to have trouble believing or trusting another person. Jin Woo, ultimately, has the biggest trust issue of them all.
Remember what he said to He Ju in the beginning, which he repeated again, “Do not trust me so much, I am not that decent of a person”, yet He Ju continues to believe him, in all her naivety. It is like a whole big spider web of trust issues cast out in the drama, but because it was all such fine lines as in a spider web, nobody (viewer) realises or even notices it.
When Jin Woo started playing the game, he was faced with doubt by his Team Manager, Yang Ju, and Son Ho, on his abilities for he was quite weak and slow in levelling up. He picked up quickly with his own persistent playing and developed his own skills, teemed with his determination to kill Hyeong Seok in the game. The whole disbelief started when Hyeong Seok was killed yet he returned over and over again as his enemy whom he had to fight against. Jin Woo then eventually chose to believe in his own disbelief and even credited the whole thing to magic. Here, Jin Woo is already giving us the hints in his repetition of magic in his narrative. Right from the beginning, Jin Woo had already said that Alhambra is a place where many would visit for its magic. It is a magical place. If we were to observe, it was constantly repeated throughout the drama. It is the direct clue that the magic started in Alhambra. Jin Woo meets Emma in the Alcazaba Cafe, and was surprised to see her uncanny resemblance to He Ju, only to realise that Se Ju created this character in his own sister’s image. Emma became this key to the game that Jin Woo tried to decipher, through his getting to know He Ju. Indeed, Emma is the main element in the entire game which will be later revealed in the end, but I elaborate further because it is in Emma that I believe the whole merge between the game and reality occur. In other words, Emma is the biggest glitch, or the bug in the Memories of the Alhambra
The first error occurred when Marco tried to stab Se Ju, and it was revealed that it happened right before Emma, who became the witness. Remember the rule that no duel is allowed around Emma, and while Marco’s move was in reality, they were also both players in the game, and that stab triggered the glitch in the system, setting off the game into chaos and igniting its murderous traits. The explanation for this is that Marco and Se Ju are also opponents in the game, thus, their conflict was real in both the game and reality. While many deduced that it was due to their error to commit that act in the peace zone which triggered the bug, I think there is still a little more to that, because that is just the glitch to the system, but the merge of the game and reality? It is still in the magical component, and I believe the answer lies in Emma. The reason is simple, Emma herself is a merge between the game character and a real life person, He Ju and she is dressed in red, which alludes to the name of Alhambra and she is female. Furthermore, she is also the representation of the Hand and the Key, the one who eliminates the world and evil, hence her function in the game to delete and reset, just as in reality, in her magical representation as attributed to the legends of Alhambra. Therefore, it is not just the occurrence of the stabbing which created the error in the system, but magically, Marco stabbing Se Ju, also unleashed the Memories of Alhambra, its murderous and tragic past where all the battles took place. Alhambra has come to live, and it was obvious though viewers have already been too engrossed in the reality of the game and the confusion to even realise how Alhambra has already taken place in the background. That is when the dead came back to life, the attacks became vicious and how attacks in the game became reality.
However, observe those who ended up dying in the game, Hyeong Seok, Professor Cha, Marco, and Jung Hoon. They are all not really victims, with the exception of Jung Hoon, but rather, they are also the traitors who betrayed the trust placed in them. I believe this to be an allusion to the tragedy of the Abencerrajes. Jung Hoon, too, is a tragedy, because if we remember, Abencerrajes was framed by their rivals. Jung Hoon was sacrificed, in the name of trust to prove to the skeptical Jin Woo that trust does exists. In a way, it seems befitting of the Gate of Justice, where Alhambra is taking into hands those who turned their backs on others’ trust. Now explaining this from a technical point of view, the error is also when these dead players (dead in the game) are not deleted from the system and continue to appear as enemies to Jin Woo, except for Jung Hoon, who was Jin Woo’s ally and constantly appear to save him in the critical times of life and death. They are all users who have logged on and thus their images have been saved by the system and due to the error, they return as enemies or as part of the game. At the end, they were all registered as bugs which is synonymous with invaders to Alhambra in the past (foreign forces which showed up and took over Alhambra). Alhambra wishes to remove these invaders and return to its glorious past. Similarly, these “bug” appearances are also vital to the concept of trust as applied in life, that there will always be people around us who will betray our trust, even when we trust, but they are errors and it is not our mistake to trust in the wrong people nor should we stop trusting. For trust still exists, in people like Jung Hoon who will also constantly appear to save the nick of the day as the reminder that even when the world turns its back or closes in on us, there is still someone who will always trust and be there to save the day. Jung Hoon was the epitome of trust and his sacrifice is of hope.
As to why Se Ju and Marco, the initial users were not registered as bugs, they were the main triggers to the technical glitch and also the ones who unleashed the magical prowess of Alhambra and following the occurrence of the error, Se Ju ignited the “Instance Dungeon”, the safe haven which he created into which he went into his hiding. He was invisible to the system and from Marco, thus he was not registered as a bug since he disappeared before the bugs came into full effect. Furthermore, Se Ju attained the level of Master and is also the admin of the system, which the system may not know to handle. As such, the technical errors just snowballed when Jin Woo joined and as the killing occurred again, it triggered the glitch immediately into effect this time. Therefore, all the users who joined after Jin Woo became bugs when they died in the game/reality. Marco would remain one of the question mark, did he also disappear because he was an initial bug, or because Se Ju was hidden that there is no one to attack and that is the reason Marco never reappeared? His nemesis is only Se Ju, and Jin Woo joined much later on which Marco had already ‘expired’ in some way?
Alcazaba Cafe is where the users/players can interact and replenish their energy or purchase weapons, and it is also where Emma resides with her guitar. Interestingly, the name Alcazaba means fortification or a wall within a city. In other words, it is a guarded area within a city and could allude to it being its own zone in the realm of the Memories of Alhambra (game dimension). It is also fortification, or rather, a reinforcement area for one to guard/fend against attacks within the city. It made me think of one’s inner defence mechanism, in guarding against one’s enemies. While we can have weapons to fight off attacks on the outside, Alcazaba is a strengthening of one’s internal system to be able to fend off external/physical enemies. It is a message that before we can be strong physically, we need to first also nurture our mentality to be strong to be able to handle dangers from the outside. 
Jin Woo’s ultimate sacrifice is the most controversial topic, along with the release of the game to the public. It is viewed as an unsatisfactory ending as many felt that Jin Woo deserved a happier end, or at least, not having to be in an ambiguous situation which left the viewers and his loved ones wondering if he is dead or alive. His disappearance and the game’s reset were seen as the biggest problem of all, for one simple reason, explaining one would contradict the other. At the end of the drama, we have Se Ju revealing his own disappearance for a year where he had gone into his own Instance Dimension, a function he created to trigger a safe haven and it is only something that a player of the level Master can do. He retreated into this zone to make himself invisible to his enemies, particularly Marco, though, the magical part which made him also invisible to the world was unprecedented. When Jin Woo reached the level Master, he replaced Se Ju which freed Se Ju from the Instance Dimension which we can assume can only hold one at a time for there can only be one Master. Se Ju’s release freed him of the bug status, which was then passed onto Jin Woo, who now assuming the new Master status, became a bug. He took Se Ju’s place in the entrapment and when the game reset, he lost his user ID and remained trapped within the secret dimension because he was hidden from the game and technically, he vanished because Zinu (his user ID) no longer exists. The weird part is, how did Jin Woo retreat into the secret dimension when we saw his ashes on the floor of the church as his remains upon deletion as a bug? If he had turned into ashes, how did his form escape into the Instance Dimension? This is where it does not make sense, to me. Similarly, the game was released a year after following Jin Woo’s disappearance and the reset of the game/server, and many questioned if it was truly safe to the public. Of course, it can be easily argued that Jin Woo’s company, under the helm of Son Ho, took one year to restart and test the game before the release to ensure that the bugs no longer exist and is stable enough. However, due to the magical spell the game could be subjected to, it is also no guarantee that the bugs would not make a re-appearance. This, the writer cleared off with the change of the game’s name to NEXT, and also notice, that the game is now set in the city of Seoul. It is a direct statement that the magic of Alhambra has been voided, since the game is no longer set in Alhambra. Furthermore, the name NEXT could mean two things, the Next destination after Alhambra to cut ties with Alhambra and its spell, and also for players to move on and forward, as indicated by Next, rather than holding on or being engulfed in the past, i.e.: Memories as in the initial title.
Please take note that these are only my own deductions, and may not be directly representative of the writer’s intent. It may or it may not, or it may be just my own imagination, since I do have a tendency to overthink things sometimes. However, it would be fantastic if this is the case (as per my analysis), because it would mean a really complex and in-depth plot, which is not as simple as the story appears. Well, the story is definitely not simple anyway since it left most of the viewers mooning over the story at the end, deciphering the mysteries in the story. If it is truly as I had outlined, then it is very possibly one that is of brilliance, and I have to applaud the writer for her intelligence in hatching up a story of multi-dimensions and levels of complexity. It is no doubt that she had put in a lot of thought into the story and had done her homework really well, and I am sure would be true for an ingenious creator who was also behind the intriguing dramas like Nine: Nine Times Travel, W, and Black. She had truly delivered a complicated version of Korea’s very own version of the gaming Da Vinci’s Code. I bow to her for her complex intellect and out-of-the-box ideas in her story creations. At the same time, while I am in awe of the intellectual plot, I am not without my own criticisms at the plot and the story development for despite the brilliance of the storyline, it is equally as flawed in its execution. There are many moments in the story which make absolutely no sense, a few of which I have already mentioned in the analysis and though the story falls in the genres of fantasy, sci-fi, and mystery, it is not an excuse to leave things hanging in thin air and questions unanswered. Moreover, the writer obviously had grand ambitions and wishes to convey her ideas and messages to the general audience. However, when the complexity of one’s story exceeds that of one’s audience’s comprehension, it is deemed a failure for no one would understand and that would be a waste of effort. After all, conveying the real intent/message is the most important in reaching out or otherwise, it is all futile, isn’t it? 
However, the biggest issue that bothered me was the fact that there are deaths in the drama, Cha Hyeong Seok and Marco, who were truly killed in reality following their deaths in the game, which went by without much highlight. This is an issue I was screaming with all my might as I looked at the screen and also, how nobody (maybe a handful) took notice of enough to make a fuss, besides pointing out all that problem with the illogical plots. Hello people, if there is a merge between the gaming dimension and reality, that meant Hyeong Seok and Marco died at the hands of Jin Woo and Se Ju, and it doesn’t matter? These are real life human beings, who died, bug or not, and that makes both Jin Woo and Se Ju accidental murderers! They have killed, even without intent, but these deaths are only brushed aside. Even if Hyeong Seok and Marco aren’t making it to bag the favourite characters’ award or to garner their own fans following, they still do not, I repeat, do NOT deserve to die just like that and be ignored. No one deserves to die, period. It really bothered me that no one was even arguing about this issue, the deaths which is actually Murder. It is really disturbing, that everyone is more intent on the technicalities of the drama and not the humanity part. It may be something to ponder upon, be it whether it is all part of the writer’s grand plans or not. It is something we as humans should reflect upon and in my opinion, is the biggest flaw I find with the entire storyline and with the viewers’ reactions.
However, despite all its flaws, I still find this drama truly engaging and worth the time. The times it made me go “Huh?” and also the mind boggling plots are most fascinating, for I am one who enjoys solving mysteries and in understanding the hidden message in a story. I am also in the minority, favouring open endings because it leaves us with a lot of possibilities. While many may be angered by Memories of the Alhambra’s ending, I am one of those few who find it befitting of the concept of the whole story. It sits in very well with the theme of Trust and hope and of course, leaving one with a trail of memories, memories of the Memories of the Alhambra, which is of the game and also of our main characters, Jin Woo and He Ju who remain in each other’s memories, from their acquaintances in Spain to their search and hopeful wait to reunite with each other. All in all, it is all truly magical in these memories, the message of hope and miracle when one believes and it is in this belief that the magic can truly be unleashed. For as the writer concludes, it is trust that is the magic, it is this concept of trust which is the backbone of the story, though the viewers are more hooked onto the technology revolving around the game and overlooked the fact that all of it is due to the issue of trust which is why the writer felt it is important to make a shout out as a reminder of this issue though many felt that it was out of place or never conveyed at all. I am here to tell you, it was conveyed, but we never noticed because we are too focused on the bugs caused by technology that we did not look at the bugs caused by humanity.
That, is truly the Magic the writer conjures in the story, and to say that the Memories of the Alhambra is magical is purely an understatement. It will stay in my memory forever, that’s for sure.

**Again, this is my personal opinion and may not be entirely correct for it is also just based on my own assumptions. Feel free to disagree, but you do not have to be mean, just stop reading if it offends you. Thank you.

*Author's Note: 
This is not a sponsored/promotional post, and solely based on author's personal opinions and do not represent the general public. 
Experiences vary from one individual to another.
You do not have to agree with me.

Art Direction and Photography Styling by Me.
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  1. I rewatched memories after alhambra recently and makes me wonder why? What are the massages this drama wants to tell me , the fist time I've watched it , beside all the enjoyable scenatic and intriguing plot , there was barely a single deep thought I was thinking about which was,,, that so many people die because of hidden scars, slient wounds as the game was sit in a virtual world ,, everything happening inside us , the pain, that some body's words or acts can simply kill us silently without no verdicts of commiting a crime.
    But watching the drama for the second time makes me think though its a magical sci-fi drama , it has a deeper meaning to it
    First is karma , you will be hunted by your own intentions and acts , he was hurt and in pain because of what his own friend did to him, and that pain turns into anger and anger turn into something ugly and an deep desire to kill his friend and this anger and the passion for revenge was the thing that makes him go through all that troubled events.
    He was hunted by his own acts , that ruined his life.

    Why his ally , get killed or their life get ruined too because in life as matter of justice even those who helped other in their own oppression or anything bad , even just by being silenced we get the same karma.

    Why he always needed a shield to protect him , for me it had two meanings , one because when we are defeated by our own thoughts and feelings, such as of shame or guilt we are helpless and we always need something to protect us and it was shown in the drama that it was no only something tangible and materialistic as a door or wall but it also can be people
    It's delivering a massge that people can be your own safe place from yourself and others , the people who loves and care about you.

    The other meaning is that, with time we need to practice a routine to shield our selfs from people , to know that we can protect ourselves from their words, their bad acts and they won't have any powe over all if we practice this is le ans skill.

    Why Emma and the key of resetting ? Because life is based on balance and renewal, Emma is like death card in tarot , it means that something ending for something to begin.

    Why he was in the game as a player, in the ending ? For me it means that he has his own freedom after he paid his own debt, after he let go of everything or something he was thebpayer of his own life or he was in his own journey to find his true self.
    We only him, because he is thebone who travelled his own journey and had the courage to face it and he won his own freedom and regain his power over it.
    And in between all of that , they showed us that park shi hye was the changing point of all that , she was the trigger or transformation
    She was the healer , because she accepted him and believed him after all
    Sometime we batteled our own thoughts, fears , pain and enemies , we battled our hidden secrets and shadows and the things that really kill us is the things that we can't talk about and you know what ,it's not necessarily that we can , all what we need is love and understanding.