Archive for July, 2009


Jung Ryu Won as Princess Ja-Myung/ Pu Ku
Park Min Young as Princess Nak-Rang/Ra Hee
Jung Kyung Ho as Prince Ho-Dong
Moon Sung Geun as King Daemusin
Kim Sung Ryung as Mo Ha So
Hong Yo Seob as Chae Ri
Lee Mi Sook as Lady Hae/Wang JaShi
Lee Joo Hyun as Wang Hol
Yeo Wook Hwan as Il Poom/Heng Kai
Park Hyo Joo as Chi So

Historical, Period


In ancient times, the Kingdom of Goguryeo always had its eye on the fruitful and rich land of the neighboring Kingdom of Nang Nang. General Chae Ri, along with the help of his brother, freed Nang Nang from the rule of invaders and became the King of Nang Nang. He had two daughters, Ja Myung and Ra Hee. With cunning, the Second Queen saved her baby and condemned the First Queens daughter Ja Myung to death.

Little do they know that Ja Myung did not die, but grew up with a couple who ran their own performing group. Ra Hee grows up to be a beautiful and wise Princess, and Ja Myung grows up under the guidance of a banished enemy General. Ja Myung always wonders about her birth parents, and so she grows up with the hope of finding out the real reason she was abandoned.

What happens when both Ja Myung and Ra Hee fall in love with the Goguryeo Prince Hodong? What evil lurks behind the court politics of both Goguryeo and Nang Nang? Which sister will be the one to cause Nang Nang’s downfall? Will the relationship between Ja Myung and Ra Hee ever be revealed?

Review (Mild Spoilers):
I think there are a lot of things that need to be said about this drama, firstly because the ratings were so low, and secondly, I really can see why, but that is not saying that I hated the drama. Actually, the opposite is true.

I really loved the chemistry between the characters and also the overall acting. There were a good spread of comical moments along with serious moments, and none of the characters were excessively annoying or out of line. There were also many moments which were very touching and made me tear up.

Let’s start with Hodong. He is a new face to me and I have never seen him in any drama or movie before. I think that the major flaw with his acting was that it was really hard to read his true emotions throughout the drama. He had moments with Ra Hee and Ja Myung but I could never really tell whether he was serious or bluffing in every scene. Realistically all the scenes he had with Ra Hee were supposed to be fake but sometimes I felt that it wasn’t very obvious unless some extra scenes were added. The romantic scenes keep flip flopping between the sisters that I get lost in his acting and I can’t really read him anymore. Most of the time I feel that it just leaves the viewer assuming that he’s faking it or being true. The rest of his acting was fine. His integral part in court politics and his struggles with the King and Queen are both quite convincing.

The King of Goguryeo seemed a bit too harshly portrayed. I feel that Goguryeo was really shown to us as the brutal and cruel enemy. Although sometimes we see the emotional side of King Daemusin, it is often lost between episodes and we don’t really feel that it is a part of his character. For the most part he is cold and hard and also cruel to both the Queen and Hodong. I never really got the feel for this part and through most of the drama with him just seemed to float around with no depth. He is always broody and unfeeling.

The Queens of Nang Nang did not have too much depth at all, but we do see change in the First Queen. A lot of times I cringed when she really ignored Ra Hee’s feelings. I cannot even begin to imagine how a mother can disregard a child she has raised for many many years for someone she has just met. True, a mother has the right to feel a connection with her birth daughter, but I would really have expected the First Queen to feel for Ra Hee more. We do see this at the very end, but the process that takes us there is sometimes very frustrating. The Second Queen was just pretty static through the first 35 or so episodes. Only in the last few episodes do we see that she is still faithful to Nang Nang.

For some reason I feel that Wang Hol was probably one of the characters with the most dynamic change. We see his growth as a character and also he reveals his love in his own unique way. Sometimes he acts cruel and sometimes very understanding, and that makes him a very human-like character. As for the other generals they all made very good background characters.

Ja Myung. Jung Ryu Won. I looked on wiki and saw that she did a drama in My Lovely Sam Soon and also Which Star Did You Come From but I have never seen them. At first I was a bit reluctant to watch this drama, as some of the action scenes were pretty weird and also the beggning of the drama basically gave the whole story away. I stuck on and just promised myself that I would stop watching if the adult cast was terrible. It turned out that I really enjoyed the first few episodes. When the adult episode came, I really became interested in Ja Myung and Hodong’s chemistry and also how their story would progress. Although I can’t make an unbiased opinion concerning her performance, I just want to say that I really loved her acting. She can portray sadness without bawling her eyes out and she also maintains a very consistent personality throughout. No weird sudden changes. I just wished they would make more scenes with her in it and kicking ass with her martial arts skills.

The music was a great plus to this drama. The production quality was decent at first, but as the drama neared its ending it seemed to become less and less authentic. The costumes and other filming nick knacks seemed to be alright, but sometimes it just didn’t feel right. It is a lot like the feeling I got from watching Hong Gil Dong. Sometimes it just lacks that solid Period drama feel compared to say something like Conspiracy in the Court.

The overall pace of the drama was a extremely rushed starting about half way through. I do understand that they cut out about 11 episodes, but they really made the ending too rushed. It is pretty weird to see characters you’ve followed for 38 episodes all meet their end in less than 5 minutes. Many times I felt like skipping some of the political discussion scenes

All in all, I enjoyed this drama. Although the production quality or maybe even the plot line did not completely suit my expectations, I really think it was a great drama for the most part. The fact that I finished this drama is part of the proof.



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