Summary: Sung Duk Im is a court lady serving the crown prince of Joseon. Without knowing the real appearance of the prince, she’s been actually talking to him a handful of times while disguised as his teacher. The prince falls in love with Sung Duk Im and she later becomes his royal concubine.
Genre: Period, Romance, Kings & Princes, Books
Stars: Lee Joon Ho as Lee San, later King Jeongjo
Lee Se Young as Sung Duk Im, later Royal Noble Consort Ui
Kang Hoon as Hong Duk Ro / Hong Kook Young
Likes: What made this show so successful is the focus on the romance between Lee San and Duk Im, from the beginning till the very end. All the other stuff, like Lee San’s struggle to get to the throne or his reign and Duk Im’s palace life were secondary (but still very-well covered) to that beautiful romance between these two characters. Well, no doubt this grabbed Kdramastowatch Best Romance award for 2021!
Best Romantic Scenes. Countless in this show but recalling the time when Lee San wasn’t allowed to get out of his chamber and Duk Im came to read the Book of Odes to him from the outside. That was one of the first strong connections, I think. Hm, how about the bath scene? That was crazy hot! And I always found it romantic when these two are bickering, which one time ended up with the first kiss! How about the first night? I won’t even go there 🤭.
Book of Odes Passage. “The north wind is cold, the falling snow is voluminous. If you love me, and are affectionate, with the one I love and who likes me, I’ll hold your hand and part with you.
The north wind is chilly, the falling snow is thick. If you are affectionate and love me, I’ll hold your hand and go back with you.”
Lots of good drama. The story is so rich that although we have the love story of Lee San and Duk Im as the main focus, we’ve got so many others to pay attention to. Like the relationship between Lee San and his grandfather King. I would call it tough love. The ties between Lee San and the Queen (later Queen Dowager), I would call that strong support. The relationship between the chief court lady and the grandfather King, I would call that resentment. The bond between Lee San and Hong Duk Ro, I would call that broken friendship. Then we’ve got the strong friendship and bond between Duk Im and her friends. She even told the king later, you’ve got everything, the country and your subjects, I’ve only got my friends. All these, made this show such an awesome drama! One can easily relate to each situation. And as viewers, we also felt the pain and the happiness.
Cinematography. This is my second for best cinematography. Just so many beautiful scenes and I just love how the camera would move around capturing every nice angles.
Costumes. The details they put on costume is commendable! Although the King’s robes and the Queens wardrobes were always grand and impressive, I love how they managed to give attention to the court ladies uniforms. The court ladies were vital in the story, so there was obviously a need to identify the ranking. Song Duk Im’s court lady uniform which was kept by her friend was later treasured by the king at the very end.
Favourite Quote: “Were you captivated by me or I was captivated by you?”
“Are we really talking about orange?” – Lee San to Duk Im
Top leads with the strongest chemistry.
Lee Joon Ho as Lee San, later King Jeongjo – my gosh I’m so in love with Joon Ho now 🤭! This idol already impressed me in Wok in Love. He is such a fine actor. He slayed the role of Lee San, later King Jeongjo! He was great as King, almost like Lee Duk Hwa’s performance but he was most adorable as someone who was so in love with a court lady. The longing in his looks. The facial expression when he gets angry at her (well for basically ignoring him). And yes the drama he had to endure at the very end. Well done Joo Ho!
Lee Se Young as Sung Duk Im, later Royal Noble Consort Ui – she looked very thin in the beginning that when she smiled, she didn’t look good at all. But when her character developed, she was getting more and more beautiful. I’ve seen a lot of her past dramas and I would say she always delivers. I love Sung Duk Im’s strong and resisting character, it suits Lee Se Young well. And my gosh this lady’s chemistry with Joon Ho was just top, hands down. Wish they would do another drama again.
Ending. I must admit I was taken aback. I didn’t do any research prior. I won’t say it’s completely sad because in the end they were reunited.