Summary: Cheon Bong Sam, a son of a former merchant started from scratch after his father died. He honed his business skills when he started to work at a stable. From there with personal and business trials that never left his side, he worked his way to the top as one of the most influential businessmen during his time.
Likes: World of merchants Joseon style! That for sure was a new sub genre for me. It’s interesting to see how they do business and trade during that time. Tough world to survive but already there was ambition, passion, determination, ethics even tradition from these hard-working pioneers.
I love the costumes and the realistic setting. From the hats, sandals, clothing of the peddlers to the traditional hanboks of the wealthier merchants. The markets looked convincingly real and the stable looked appropriately right with the tough guys living at the place.
Though it’s heavily focused on business, it’s got its fair share of love and tragedy. The love of our merchant for the most beautiful woman in their world and how that happiness was taken from him. This side story was essential in keeping the interest in the whole business thing :).
Formidable characters and the actors who took the roles. Definitely an impressive performance by everyone. Let’s start with…
Jang Hyuk as Cheon Bong Sam– if the great merchant was really handsome then JH was a great choice. A wise character with an excellent business skills. Tough stable guy but became softhearted for the lady he loved. A great leader like his father who always protected his flock. It sounds too good to be true, right? Let’s just say he didn’t get or acquired everything but he always ended up victorious.
Lee Duk Hwa as Shin Suk Joo – LDH is a great actor and portraying the smart and powerful Shin Suk Joo is an addition to his very attractive resume. I love how his character who started at the top dropped vertically after he met his lady love curse.
Yoo Oh Sung as Gil So Gae – he was annoying from the very beginning and he stayed like that until his very end.
Kim Min Jung as Mae Wol – her love for Cheon Bong Sam was deadly. She’s gonna be remembered as the ex-peddler, ex-pristess who almost got what she wanted but didn’t.
Lee Dal Hyung as Choi Dol – I’m giving him the best actor award for his topnotch performance as Bong Sam’s close friend who was quite slow for his age but the most loyal and was willing to sacrifice himself for his friend. It was heartbreaking to let him go.
I love all the dramatic character-ending in this drama. The ending of Shin Suk Joo with the setting sun. The terrifying death of Jo So, Bong sam’s wife. The sad but heroic ending of Choi Dol. The fate of Gil So Gae which was like his father’s. All tragic but makes me remember them more!
All Bong Sam’s speeches in this drama were very touching. He could easily start a rebellion at that time through his powerful speeches but in the end, his being a great speaker was used to teach his young followers how to be a great merchant themselves.
Dislikes: Too long for this kind of theme.
Sometimes women were so perfectly made up, it doesn’t look like Joseon era.