Well, this shouldn’t be a surprised to anyone that knows me! Why? Even though this drama started in September 2013, it didn’t finish until March, 2014; however, I don’t think I stopped talking about it until June 2014! When I was watching it, I was by my lonesome as everyone was fascinated with what I thought was a boring drama, Empress Ki. Sorry folks. Even my love for all that is Ha Ji Won couldn’t keep me watching that drivel of a drama! I deplore love triangles! I avoid them religiously! So, it was with my Soompi website friends that I got to discuss King’s Daughter, Su Baek Hyang with everyday! At that time, no one had the drama subbed on any website. It was through the rare (and sorely missed now) doings of MBC America that the drama was subbed and provided on Hulu website. So, if you can imagine having to wait daily for an episode to show up on Hulu as well as the 2-4 commercials you had to sit through to watch a 35 minute drama, this should give you an indication of how good this drama was!
MBC made little or no efforts to promote this drama. The popularity of this drama over the last year has simply been word of mouth. As more of us talked about it, more and more people wanted to see it. I can attest to this as I wrote a total of 5 blog posts on my website alone and these posts still remains the most popular ones til this day. So, what made this drama so fascinating to watch daily by all the loyal fans?
1. Excellent story
The screenwriter, Hwang Jin Young, was a relative newbie to the drama world other than a couple of drama specials. However, I feel it was definitely the directions from a director by the name of Lee Sang Yeob who also had very little in his profile besides a couple dramas and specials. These two together put scenes and a script that not only held our attention from week to week but also managed to be a complete story, considering the many, many episodes preempted by the Olympics, Award shows, and other happenings that just seemed to be prevalent in the latter part of 2013 into 2014. The original schedule had the drama having 120 episodes but the final count was whittled down to a mere 108.
2. Strong cast/actors
This drama had a wonderful cast ensemble! There is no way I could talk about this drama without including so many of the main characters as well as the supporting characters. I admit that the main draw for watching this was for two reasons: Seo Woo and Seo Hyun Jin.
I have been a BIG fan of Seo Woo since Cinderella’s Sister and have enjoyed her in many other dramas and movies. The difference with her character of Solhi was it was her first “baddie” role and I was really looking forward to it. Seo Hyun Jin first peeked my interest when I watched (and hated her character) in Feast of the Gods. My interest continued and blossomed for her acting in The Goddess of Fire, Jeongi. As a big fan of Moon Geun Young, even I thought she did better acting in that drama!! Hyun Jin as Solnan, the character had many facades: cute, funny, dangerous, and in love. She played all of that very, very well! The scenes between these two women was amazing! As the conflicts continued to grow; so did the acting.
Lee Jae Ryong as King Muryeong and Jun Tae Soo as Jinmu were two acting forces to be remember. I enjoyed watching these two actors for the first time (I know, Tae Soo was in SKKS but I swear I couldn’t remember him) was an ultimate treat! It is not often that you can watch a character who you know as evil but you still have sympathy for him and at times understand him and his actions. Jinmu was definitely a product of his environment. Growing up, Jinmu was ignored and unloved as well as raised by a man bent on revenge. When it came to Jae Ryong, I’d never seen him in anything before this drama. I must say it was a very pleasant and a powerful one! The scenes between these two; father and son brought me to tears many times.
I didn’t include Jo Hyun Jae as he wasn’t my reason for watching because he was a late addition to the cast. It was a very nice surprise for me when he was added to the cast as he had vowed to never to do a saguek drama again. Hyun Jae was already one of my favorites (think Advertising Genius) and will remain so for a long time. His portrayal of Crown Prince Myongnong/King Seong was awesome as expected and definitely no surprise. Hyun Jae is one of those actors who is very good at projecting his feelings with just a look; through his eyes and most importantly through his demeanor. I don’t think anyone else could have played our Crown Prince any better.
Many of you were “wowing” about this man while watching “The Nightwatchman’s Journal”; however, as I had seen Yoon Tae Young as Ku-Cheon, I was way ahead of you! Through the entire drama, this actor barely spoke a word but he became one of the most powerful and beloved characters! As Ku-cheon, the deaf mute father of Solnan and Solhi, he will be remembered by all. His action scenes were incredible! Yoon Tae Young was impressive and totally memorably! His death and funeral scenes remains one of the best ever filmed and extremely sad! Yes, I cried buckets!
Kim Young Jae as King Sunimun was simply phenomenal! It was amazing to watch this actor take a character from being the most hated to most loved in the same drama. Young Jae’s portrayal of the neurotic and often crazy Sunimun was sheer genius! I think the last time I saw him was in A Love To Kill and The Devil (more like cameo performances in these dramas). However, playing Sunimun should definitely give him recognition, not only by us drama watchers but also future casting directors.
3. Infusion of comedy
That’s right! This was not strictly a melodrama as most sageuk dramas are. There were many, many scenes where you couldn’t help but to LOL as characters like Ddol-dae (played by Kim Roe Ha) and Mang-Gu (played by Kim Min Kyo) were hilarious! You will not often see Kim Roe Ha in a comedic role. He generally plays seriously bad guys in many dramas/movies that I’ve seen. Yeo Ui-Joo as Kang-Bok, the Crown Prince’s bodyguard, was constantly making faces behind his Prince’s back as well as teasing him once the Crown Prince fell for Solnan but there is no question that he loved his Prince dearly. Solnan’s many eating scenes are legendary! That girl could eat a chicken in such a way, even I couldn’t keep up with her! If you compare the early Solnan with the later Solnan, it is a wonder the Prince fell in love with her. Talk about neat freak meets super slob! It’s a miracle these two fell in love; definitely an opposites attract love story.
4. We got LOTS of Bromance going on
From royal brotherhood to a brotherhood of thieves, this was one drama that had not one, not two but three bromances going! Jinmu’s sometimes friendship with the Crown Prince was nice when it was there. Outside Jinmu’s revenge, he did respect Prince Myongyong, at times. In contrast, the affection between the Crown Prince and Kang-Bok transcended their station. Who else could follow and be totally loyal to the super picky and neat freak Prince and never complain? The really funny thing about Ddol-Dae and Mang-Gu’s relationship was it made you wonder whether or not Ddol-Dae was Mang-Gu’s first love. His jealousy towards Yeo-Ok (played by Park Hee Jin) was hysterical at times. If it wasn’t for Mang-Gu falling for Solnan, who knows where the drama would have gone!!
5. Wonderfully Planned scenes and scenery
There were many scenes that were masterfully put together. The use of background, colors and even the winter/rain elements were always taken into consideration when a scene was planned and photographed. I believe this was done because of a lower budget compared to other saguek dramas I’ve seen. Even the battle scenes were work of arts as they made use of their little time spent in featuring every single character within the scene without skipping a beat. One of my favorite scenes, in the battle to the Han can be seen here. Awesome scene! The film director managed to feature all of the cast within just minutes. Very cleverly done!
6. And most important, the Romance!!
It is not that often that you are able to see a “complete” romance in a saguek drama. Heck! You just about never actually see the romance! Most of the historical dramas that I’ve completed just never showed a great romance. There are some that come close but none to rival this drama.
We saw how they met and didn’t like each other. In this case, we had two totally opposite people that meet under dire circumstances (for Solnan). The things that the Crown Prince does to her in the beginning will not leave you with any hope of a relationship! But one thing is for sure; you can definitely see the relationship as it blossoms!
There were many scenes to show the relationship of Crown Prince Myongnong and Solnan. And many were beautifully orchestrated. Like the tattoo scene above. No one could have prepared me for a scene so simple that oozed romance as the tapir tattoo scene. And so many almost and actual kisses! When I think back to all of the other saguek dramas I’ve seen; none can come close like:
*The almost kiss in the barn before our main OTP were rudely interrupted*
*First kiss with the most heartfelt declaration of love I’ve seen in a long time*
*Playful kiss from one of the cutest scenes ever*
*Hugs, cuddles, and even Joseon piggyback scenes*
I could go on and on about the romance between these two. It really was unprecedented in a saguek drama. I know. I’ve seen so many and the few that come close now pale in comparison. This drama is truly in a class by itself. Don’t get me started on the jealousy scenes of the Crown Prince! Every single one was extremely funny and oh so memorable!
I cannot begin to do this drama justice. From beginning to the end, I was totally immersed into the story. The conflicts between not only Solnan and Solhi but also between King Muryeong and Jinmu were well orchestrated as well as filmed. It is rare to watch a daily drama from week to week and not only enjoy it immensely but cannot wait until the next episode. Sadly, the only thing I can complain about is the fact that the drama was dramatically cut. For this reason, there were story lines that we wanted to see that were cut short; especially more in the final scenes as the Crown Prince and Solnan finally got back together in the end. I know I would have liked to see more on their relationship as King and Queen. Man, what a perfect drama that would have been.
So don’t be shy! Don’t let the episode count scare you. I can happily report that everyone that I’ve recommended this drama to has not only loved it but also finished it in record time. Yes, it is that good!
King’s Daughter is available on many sites now. It can be found on such sites like DarkSmurfSub, Gooddrama, Dramacool. Of course , the raw episodes as well as the subtitles are available on just about any torrent site.