Summary: It’s a story of how Princess JungMyung, daughter of King Seonjo survived and lived through the reigns of 3 kings; King Gwanghae, King Injo and King Hyojong during her lifetime. With her powerful influence she managed to defeat strong political enemies like Lee Yi Chum, Kim Ja Jeom and Kang Joo Sun.
Genre: Period, Political, Romance
Stars: Cha Seung Won as Prince Gwanghae
Lee Yeon Hee as Princess Jungmyung
Kim Jae Won as King Injo
Seo Kang Joon as Hong Joo Won
Han Joo Wan as Kang In Woo
Jo Sung Ha as Kang Joo Sun
Jung Woong In as Lee Yi Chum
Jo Min Ki as Kim Ja Jeom
Likes: During the whole tenure of the drama, I’ve been going back and forth wikipedia and some other sites and blogs related to the historical background of the drama and I say they come very close to some historical facts and the existence of important characters throughout the drama.
Princess Jungmyung – though she really existed during the time, her fierce character as what was portrayed in the drama didn’t probably hold the truth. But as the ominous princess in the drama, she shone through an entire generation that spanned through reigns 3 kings. Her power and influence that shake the most powerful political enemies and even kings themselves put her in a position that no female royalty could probably attain during that era. Her love story with then husband Hong Joo Won is a lovely kdrama touch in this serious splendid political drama.
Gwanghae vs King Injo – I’m all for Gwanghae. Though not even given the King title but he was definitely more reasonable than his successor. He was always willing to sacrifice (specially his pride) all for the sake of his country and people’s safely. During his reign he achieved a lot and manage to avoid possible wars. King Injo on the other hand was portrayed in this drama as lacking, insecure and even cowardly.
Actors Cha Seung Won and Kim Jae Won are both superb choices for the roles.
Most powerful political enemies…
Kang Joo Sun – he’s got to be on top of this list for he was already active even Gwanghae’s time. Powerful and wealthy, former mayor and palace official, he controlled the businesses in Joseon. He had connections to Ming and later Qing. Owned several houses with private armies. This guy was definitely deadly!
Kim Ja Jeom – a master of manipulation. He made King Injo his puppet. Basically ruling the country during King Injo’s reign. He worked hand in hand with Jo Yeo Jung (Consort Jo) , definitely a deadly tandem!
Consort Jo – Joseon’s deadliest lady. Rumored to have poisoned crown prince Sohyeon, son of King Injo and the heir to the throne. A favorite of the King and Kim Ja Jeom behind her back, she could do whatever she wanted.
Lee Yi Chum – his greed for wealth and political power lead him to do the deadliest acts. He was behind the murder of crown prince Yeongchang.
Kim Kae Shi – her words are valued by Gwanghae. She does everything, poison here and there just to keep her precious Gwanghae on the throne. She was the ears and eyes of the palace. She just knew everything!
This drama has lots of heavy crying moments. Not that I like crying but they were so well-acted and convincing, you get to appreciate the whole sad scenario.
Dramatic exits, lots of them too but the most memorable was King Injo’s. I thought he already died (death bed scene already shown) but next scene he still managed to scold his officials and officially declare Hyojong the next King!
Favorite quote: “Once you sit here, you will also suffocate from its weight.” King Injo to his son King Hyojong.
Ending is a justification why King Hyojong had a hard time ruling. Always staying close to historical facts.
Dislikes: The last 2 episodes were weak. It lost its momentum though the ending was okay.
Dirturbing lighting. So disappointed with this. There were indoor scenes that appeared like a 50’s movie with too much lighting directly on the faces. Just poor.
They casted someone who looks like she had too much botox on the face. That doesn’t match Joseon era.
After 10 years…. then, after 8 years… the men just grew beared but didn’t get wrinkled. Our princess still looked the same 18 years later!