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Dong yi (2010)–A beautiful historical romance

Promotional poster for Dong Yi; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dong_Yi_(TV_series)

Promotional poster for Dong Yi; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dong_Yi_(TV_series)

After Jewel in the Palace sparked my interest in Korean dramas,  I was not disappointed in my next choice–Dong Yi, a Korean historical drama shown in 2010.  Dong-yi is about the love story between King Sukjong (Joseon dynasty) and Dong-yi (Choi Suk-bin) and tells it all in 60 episodes.

The drama  traces the life of Dong-yi,  an orphaned slave who found her way into the Royal palace Bureau of Music and because of her ability to solve court cases, becomes a  palace investigator.  She later became  a royal concubine with the  rank of Suk-bin, then bears a son who, under her tutelage, later becomes the 21st king of Joseon, Yoengjo, the father of Crown prince Sado and grandfather of Yi San.  Throughout her life, she has protected  the lowborn commoners.  Dong-yi met King Sukjong, who  introduced himself as a court judge and enjoyed his treatment as an ordinary person.

I enjoyed watching Dong-yi because its plot was made interesting through a combination of  romance, comedy, history, Korean culture and court life, suspense, intrigue, magic and even sword fights.  In this sense, it is similar to Jewel in the Palace.

Han Hyo-joo won a major best actress award as the optimistic and determined Dong-yi.  I loved the way Jin Ji hee  portrayed the character of King Sukjong–especially when Dong-yi treated him as an ordinary person and even stepped on his back to climb a wall during one of her investigations.  I think Jin Ji hee looks better with a beard and in period costumes.  I saw him in Perhaps Love but I think he looks more handsome in Jewel and in Dong Yi.

The theme song  is also very memorable -“Walking on a Dreamy Road” by Jang Na-ra.  It has a simple yet sad melody.

After Dong-yi, I have not yet found another interesting historical drama that I would like to watch.  A candidate is Jumong, said to be the most popular of all.  But when i watched the trailer, I sensed a heavy kind of drama.  Any recommendations?

 

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Jewel in the Palace (2003): An insight into Korean culture and history

key_art_jewel_in_the_palace

Nine years after this worldwide hit Korean drama series  Jewel in the Palace  (Dae Jang Geum) was first shown in the Philippines in 2005 and was a phenomenal success among Filipinos, It is also a drama that my Korean intellectual friends know.  I finally watched the drama in July 2014.   I am not really a full-fledged drama addict; I do not like sad endings and tearjerkers and do not have the patience to watch dramas in installments.  I have a preference for light comedy-romance dramas that are usually between 10-20 episodes max, so I was hesitant to watch a 54-episode historical drama even when everybody was raving about it.  But after watching my first “serious” Korean historical drama, I was not disappointed.

Jewel in the Palace is a fictional drama based  on a  Korean historical figure  Seo Jang-geum  (played by Lee Young-ae)  during the reigns of King Seongjong (1457–1494), King Yeonsan (1494–1506) and King Jungjong(1506–1544).  It follows the story of Jang-geum,  an orphaned kitchen cook who went on to become the Joseon dynasty king’s first female royal physician. Min Jeong-ho (played by Ji Jin hee) is a goodlooking and intelligent  outstanding Korean scholar who became romantically involved with Jang geum.

Lee Young-ae’s portrayal of Jang-geum, marked by her warm smile despite all the challenges that came her way is very powerful.  The child actress who portrayed the little girl Jang geum was  really good; I liked the way she recited the memorized passages from the classics and the medicinal properties of herbs. Ji Jin-hee was really dashing and  one of the more good-looking Korean actors that I have encountered.

Jewel in the Palace sparked my interest in Korean historical dramas.   I thought Jewel in the Palace would be boring, but  this drama combined the elements of history, Korean culture (Korean royal court cuisine and traditional medicine), comedy, romance, tragedy, mystery and intrigue to make the plot interesting.   Moreover, Jang geum’s  perseverance  in a time when women’s status in society was low was truly inspiring.  The use of traditional Korean music in the theme song “Onara” also enhanced the drama.