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[2006] Được làm hoàng hậu - Goong / Pricess Hours - Ju Ji-hoon Yoon Eun-hye Kim Jeong-hoon Song Ji-hyo - 2006 MBC Best New Actor/Actress

Được làm hoàng hậu (Hangul: 궁, Hanja: 宮, Phiên âm: Goonghay Gung) thường được biết đến với tên Hoàng cung là một bộ phim truyền hình của Hàn Quốc được sản xuất và phát sóng bởi đài truyền hình MBC vào đầu năm 2006.

Được làm hoàng hậu được chuyển thể từ bộ truyện tranh Hàn Quốc (hay còn gọi là manhwa) nổi tiếng Hoàng cung của nữ tác giả Park So-hee khi bộ truyện còn chưa kết thúc. Với tiếng tăm của bộ truyện cùng dàn diễn viên trẻ, đẹp, tài năng và cốt truyện linh hoạt đã mang lại thành công vô cùng lớn và gây sốt trong cộng động những người mê phim truyền hình vào thời điểm đó tại nhiều quốc gia châu Á, trong đó có Việt Nam.

Cốt truyện

Bộ phim là câu chuyện xoay quanh cuộc sống của gia đình Hoàng tộc Hàn Quốc tại thế kỷ 21 khi "cuộc hôn nhân chính trị" giữa Hoàng Thái tử Lee Shin (Joo Ji-hoon đóng) và cô nữ sinh tinh nghịch, nhí nhảnh nhà nghèo Shin Chae-kyung (Yoon Eun-hye đóng) cùng trường được diễn ra.

Mở đầu phim, Hoàng đế - phụ hoàng của Shin bị bệnh rất nặng, sức khỏe suy kiệt. Cả Hoàng tộc cần chuẩn bị đề phòng cho sự băng hà đột ngột của Hoàng đế. Theo như hôn ước được định sẵn giữa Tiên vương - ông nội của Shin và ân nhân - ông nội của Chae-kyung khi còn sống, cả Shin và Chae-kyung được Hoàng tộc và gia đình âm thầm chuẩn bị hôn sự. Khi biết tin, Shin không chấp nhận hôn sự này. Anh đã ngỏ lời cầu hôn cô bạn thân Min Hyo-rin(Song Ji-hyo đóng) nhưng bị Hyo-rin từ chối. Trớ trêu thay, Chae-kyung lại chứng kiến toàn bộ. Tuy vậy, khi này, cả hai vẫn chưa biết rõ về nhau và hôn sự.

Dù không bằng lòng lấy một kẻ xa lạ, đặc biệt lại là người Hoàng tộc, phải sống tách biệt gia đình, nhưng để giúp bố trả nợ vay nặng lãi, giúp gia đình giữ lại căn nhà, Chae-kyung miễn cưỡng đồng ý nhập cung, chuẩn bị cho hôn sự. Với tính khí nghịch ngợm, nhí nhảnh, lại quen lối sống hồn nhiên, vô tư, Chae-kyung - Thái tử phi "dân gian" - đã gây ra nhiều rắc rối ở trong cung, nhưng lại nhận được rất nhiều sự chú ý, yêu mến từ người dân và người trong cung. Từ cảm giác khó chịu, không thích, Shin dần có cảm tình với Chae-kyung. Khi này, anh họ của Shin - Hoàng tử Lee Yool (Kim Jeong-hoon đóng) cùng người mẹ từ Anh trở về Hàn Quốc với mục đích đòi lại những gì đã mất 14 năm trước. Yool học cùng lớp với Chae-kyung và cũng đem lòng yêu cô - người mà lẽ ra sẽ trở thành vợ anh nếu cha anh không qua đời. Thêm vào đó, Hyo-rin cũng nhận ra tình cảm với Shin, quyết tâm từ bỏ học bổng trường múa ba-lê để trở về Hàn Quốc giành lại tình yêu của mình.

Diễn viên

Diễn viên chính

  • Yoon Eun-hye vai Hoàng thái tử phi / Phi cung Shin Chae-kyung (Thân Thái Tĩnh)
  • Joo Ji-hoon vai Hoàng thái tử Lee Shin (Lý Tín)
  • Kim Jeong-hoon vai Hwi-sung Dae-goon Lee Yool (Nghĩa Thành Đại quân Lý Luật)
  • Song Ji-hyo vai Min Hyo-rin (Mẫn Hiếu Lâm)

Diễn viên phụ

  • Park Chan-hwan vai Hoàng đế
  • Yoon Yoo-seon vai Hoàng hậu Min (Hoàng hậu Mẫn thị)
  • Kim Hye-ja vai Hoàng thái hậu Park (Hoàng thái hậu Phác thị)
  • Sim Hye-jin vai Hoàng thái tử phi tiền nhiệm/ Huệ Chính điện Seo Hwa-young (Từ Hoa Anh)
  • Lee Yoon-ji vai Công chúa Lee Hae-myung (Lý Huệ Minh)
  • Kang Nam-gil vai Bố của Chae-kyung
  • Lim Ye-jin vai Bà Lee (mẹ của Chae-kyung)
  • Lee Ho-jae vai Nội quan Gong (Khổng Nội quan)
  • Jeon Soo-yeon vai Thượng cung Choi (Thôi Thượng cung)

Giải thưởng

  • Đạo diễn Nghệ thuật xuất sắc nhất cho Min Eon-ok tại Lễ trao giải Phim truyền hình Seoul năm 2006.
  • Diễn viên nam mới xuất sắc nhất cho Joo Ji-hoon tại Liên hoan Phim MBC năm 2006.
  • Diễn viên nữ mới xuất sắc nhất cho Yoon Eun-hye tại Liên hoan Phim MBC năm 2006.
  • Diễn viên nam xuất sắc nhất cho Joo Ji-hoon tại Liên hoan Phim MBC năm 2006.

Princess Hours

Princess Hours.jpg

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Profile

  • Drama: Princess Hours
  • Revised romanization: Goong
  • Hangul: 궁
  • Director: Hwang In-RoeKim Do-Hyung
  • Writer: In Eun-APark So-Hee(comic)
  • Network: MBC
  • Episodes: 24
  • Release Date: January 11 - March 30, 2006
  • Runtime: Wed. & Thurs. 21:55
  • Language: Korean
  • Country: South Korea

Plot

Chae-gyeong is an ordinary art high school student. One day, she hears totally unexpected news that, based on her grandfathers will, she must marry the unemotional Crown Prince Lee Shin who attends the same high school. Free-spirited Chae-gyeong resists the proposal, but reluctantly marries him to help her debt-ridden family. As she struggles to adapt herself to the proper manners and royal duties of palace life and to her disagreeable husband, Lee Shins sentimental cousin and second-in-line to the throne Yul steps into her life. She feels like she can rely on Yul to help her, but cant help worrying about her haughty, cold-hearted husband. To help bridge this gap, the senior members of the royal family take some special measures to get them to spend the night together. Along the way, you will encounter numerous delightful episodes among the cute and lively Chae-gyeong, the cold heartthrob Lee Shin, the handsome, down-to-earth Yul, the perfect ballerina Hyo- rin who just cant get over Lee Shin, and all the other members of the royal family. Will the Crowned Princess, Chae-gyeong be up to the challenges of royal life?

Cast

Princess Hours-Yun Eun-Hye.jpg Princess Hours-Ju Ji-Hun.jpg Princess Hours-Kim Jeong-Hun.jpg Princess Hours-Song Ji-Hyo.jpg Princess Hours-Lee Yun-Ji.jpg
Yoon Eun-Hye Ju Ji-Hoon Kim Jeong-Hoon Song Ji-Hyo Lee Yoon-Ji
Shin Chae-Kyung Lee Shin Lee Yul Min Hyo-Rin Princess Hye-Myung
Princess Hours-Shim Hye-Jin.jpg Princess Hours-Park Chan-Hwan.jpg Princess Hours-Yun Yu-Seon.jpg Princess Hours-Kim Hye-Ja.jpg Princess Hours-Kim Sang-Jung.jpg Princess Hours-Choi Bul-Am.jpg
Shim Hye-Jin Park Chan-Hwan Yun Yoo-Sun Kim Hye-Ja Kim Sang-Joong Choi Bul-Am
Lady Hwa-Yong King Queen Min Queen Mother Park Lee Soo Emperor Seong-Jo

'Additional Cast Members:

Episode 01

Inhwa, Year 14, when King Hyun’s (Park Chanhwan) illness worsens, the Queen Dowager (Kim Hyeja) orders Crown Prince Shin (Ju Jihun) to submit to an arranged marriage. Shin (Ju Jihun) proposes to dance major Min Hyorin (Song Jihyo), who he’s secretly dating, but she thinks he’s joking and refuses him, saying that her dream of becoming a successful ballerina is more important to her.

Meanwhile, Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) is an ordinary high school student whose family is in deep financial trouble because her father had been guarantor to a person who skipped town without repaying the loan he’d taken out. When the Royal Family notifies her of the arranged marriage, it throws her world upside-down. What the family had thought was a joke in Grandpa’s will was for real.

Shin has already accepted that as Crown Prince, his life is not his own. He agrees to marry ordinary high school student Chaegyeong in exchange for permission to live in Changdeok Palace and the reduction of the number of bodyguards he must have with him.

Chaegyeong happened to witness Shin’s proposal, and argues that an arranged marriage is ridiculous and illogical. Just then, debt collectors charge into her family’s house and start putting red stickers on everything…

Episode 02

Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) eventually agrees to the marriage because of the state of things at home. However, from the first meeting with the Royal Family, communicating proves difficult. In addition, Shin (Ju Jihun) couldn’t care less about Chaegyeong and is cynical about the marriage, making Chaegyeong regret her decision. It is too late though, as the news has already been publicly announced, and Chaegyeong’s family becomes the center of negative media attention. Meanwhile, Yul (Kim Jeonghun), the son of Crown Prince Su who died 14 years ago in a car accident, follows his mother Hwayeong’s (Shim Hyejin) orders and returns to Korea. Hwayeong wants to reclaim the throne. At the airport, Yul runs into Hyorin (Song Jihyo), who is leaving to participate in a competition, but neither recognize each other. Yul, who studied art in England, transfers to the art high school that Chaegyeong and Shin are attending. Shin is happy to see Yul and greets him as a friend, but the Queen (Yun Yuseon) is worried…

Episode 03

Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) is finally determined to be Crown Princess. As soon as she moves into the palace, her training begins. Learning the palace speech is a given, and it is difficult for her to learn the proper order and etiquette for the upcoming ceremonies, but her fiancé Shin (Ju Jihun) doesn’t so much ignore Chaegyeong, as he is cold to her. Chaegyeong’s palace life is rough and difficult from the start. The ceremony installing the Crown Princess takes place. Shin and Chaegyeong’s traditional marriage takes place in the 21st century as the entire Royal Family and all the citizens look on. Meanwhile, Hyorin (Song Jihyo), who rejected Shin’s proposal, is on stage in Thailand at the ballet competition…

Episode 04

On the first night following the wedding ceremony, Shin (Ju Jihun), butts heads with the adults. It is over the conditions that he agreed to the marriage on. Unlike serious Shin, Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) begins to feel better about being Crown Princess as she slowly adjusts to life in the palace. Shin and Chaegyeong return to school after a long absence. Chaegyeong, who is a real-live Cinderella, becomes an outcast at school. The only person who will talk to her is sweet transfer student Yul (Kim Jeonghun). Shin runs into Hyorin (Song Jihyo), who has just returned from the ballet competition…

Episode 05

Early in the morning, Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) is surprised to see Yul (Kim Jeonghun) in the palace on her way back from saying good morning to the adults. Classmate and transfer student Yul’s true identity is Prince Uiseong. Chaegyeong is having a hard time with the strict training, but through the King and the other adult’s warm concern, begins to appreciate the positive aspects of palace culture.

Meanwhile Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin) opens a yoga center as a front and starts scheming with Editor Choe, preparing for her return to the palace. Yul gets closer to Chaegyeong and her friends.

It is almost Crown Prince Shin’s (Ju Jihun) birthday. Chaegyeong is excited about the party at the Royal Family’s resort but among the guests are Shin’s friends, who think very little of her, and Hyorin (Song Jihyo)…

Episode 06

Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) earns brownie points with the Queen Dowager (Kim Hyeja) with Yul’s (Kim Jeonghun) help. The Crown Prince and Princess begin making public appearances and Chaegyeong’s free and ordinary image is warmly welcomed by the people. Shin (Ju Jihun) admonishes Chaegyeong to stop behaving like such a commoner but she doesn’t listen.

Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin), after overhearing that Hyorin (Song Jihyo), who she met at the opening of the yoga center is Shin’s ex-girlfriend, gets friendly with her while the Queen (Yun Yuseon) gets anxious after hearing the belated news that Hwayeong returned secretly and opened a yoga center.

Meanwhile, a party formally introducing the Crown Prince and Princess to ambassadors from other countries ruled by monarchies is taking place at the palace…

Episode 07

Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) continues adapting to being Crown Princess, and Hyorin (Song Jihyo) starts feeling uncomfortable. Going off of Hwayeong’s (Shim Hyejin) suggestion, Hyorin, who had been reminiscing about her memories with Shin, determines that she will win him back.

Meanwhile, Chaegyeong hasn’t returned home once since she came to the palace and really misses them. After receiving permission from the adults, the Crown Prince and Princess finally set off to visit her home. Chaegyeong is in high spirits, but Shin has a difficult time adjusting to an atmosphere completely unlike what he’s used to at the palace. Chaegyeong’s family also isn’t sure how to act with their new royal family member. Constantly quarreling Shin and Chaegyeong end up having to spend the night together in Chaegyeong’s tiny room…

Episode 08

The Crown Prince and Princess return from their visit with the in-laws. Shin (Ju Jihun) feels hurt because the Queen (Yun Yuseon) is always strict and severe, unlike Chaegyeong’s (Yun Eunhye) family members, who are warm and friendly. Chaegyeong comforts Shin. Shin obtains a car for Chaegyeong’s personal use.

Hyorin (Song Jihyo) get Chaegyeong and Yul (Kim Jeonghun) to join the equestrian club. Shin’s friends don’t know what Hyorin is up to but aren’t happy with Chaegyeong joining the club.

Meanwhile, Shin, in the ill King’s (Park Chanhwan) stead, visits Thailand by himself…

Episode 09

While Shin (Ju Jihun) is in Thailand, Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) wrecks the car and is reprimanded. Lonely and hurt by criticism from her classmates, she asks Yul (Kim Jeonghun) to take her anyplace that isn’t the palace.

Hyorin (Song Jihyo) goes to Thailand with In, Gyeong, and Hwan. She meets Shin and asks him to take her to the airport, leading him on a date.

Meanwhile, the palace is in an uproar because Chaegyeong has gone missing…

Episode 10

Shin (Ju Jihun) just barely makes it back in time to give a well-received speech after taking Hyorin (Song Jihyo) to the airport.

Meanwhile, Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) is punished for going off palace grounds without permission. Seeing this, Yul (Kim Jeonghun) asks Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin) to make him king. Chaegyeong successfully escorts Prince William throughout his visit to Korea with Yul’s help and Hwayeong begins laying the foundation for her plans by asking the King (Park Chanhwan) to bestow the title of King to late Crown Prince Su.

Episode 11

Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) pays no heed to attempts to stop her and tries to practice riding by herself. While racing with the horse, she runs into a stranger. The stranger is none other than Shin’s older sister, Princess Hyemyeong (Lee Yunjin). Shin (Ju Jihun) welcomes his sister, who he hasn’t seen in a long time. Unlike his usual self, he shows a sweet side and talks about his thoughts and feelings with his sister.

The Queen (Yun Yuseon) is upset when she learns of the paparazzi pictures of Shin and Hyorin (Song Jihyo) that have been published in Thai newspapers. When Chaegyeong learns of this, she becomes upset and thinks she’s a fool for having missed Shin while he was in Thailand. Chaegyeong meets Hyorin at school and asks for the full story, but Hyorin shows no shame or regret. Chaegyeong collapses in front of her friends…

Episode 12

Shin (Ju Jihun) says he will give up being Crown Prince. Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) is frustrated because she doesn’t know what Shin is thinking. As Chaegyeong tries to be nice to Shin and get closer to him, she finds more and more of Hyorin’s (Song Jihyo) footprints around him. It gets to the point where she fights with Shin and cries.

Through the granting of the title of King to Crown Prince Su, Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin) and Yul (Kim Jeonghun) expectantly wait to move into the palace. With the appearance of a new power, sides start being taken in the palace. The Queen (Yun Yuseon) and Hwayeong are busy sizing each other up. The Queen Dowager (Kim Hyeja) holds the power to grant the title of King. Shin and Yul run into each other and their conflicting emotions signal the beginning of a psychological war.

Meanwhile, the Queen Dowager leaves for Jeju Island with Chaegyeong to participate in a formal palace event…

Episode 13

Following Her Majesty’s request, Shin (Ju Jihun), Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) and the Queen Dowager (Kim Hyeja) set off on a road trip. Shin and Chaegyeong entertain the Queen Dowager, who is feeling depressed.

Everyone at school is awed by Yul’s (Kim Jeonghun) change in style and Shin sees a deeper meaning behind it.

Meanwhile, the Queen (Yun Yuseon) is anxious over Hwayeong’s (Shim Hyejin) movements since she moved into the palace.

The Royal Family must take special measures against the negative publicity that the Thailand photographs have brought. Chaegyeong is given no reason, but is told she must sleep in the “Uiaehab.” She is thrown into shock when Shin appears. The wedding night they never had has arrived.

Episode 14

The day finally breaks after a night of ups and downs, thus ending their appointed wedding night. Yul (Kim Jeonghun) races over as soon as the sun rises. He hugs Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) in relief when she says that nothing happened. Shin (Ju Jihun) witnesses the hug, and is angry.

Upset over the increasing rumors about the Crown Prince and Princess, Chaegyeong’s friends go after Hyorin (Song Jihyo). Chaegyeong is ill-at-ease after learning Hyorin’s secret by chance.

Someone has left a photograph in the Crown Princess’ quarters. Chaegyeong is shocked when she sees the photograph and doesn’t know what to do. Shin and Yul run around searching everywhere when they learn Chaegyeong is missing…

Episode 15

Shin (Ju Jihun) drags Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) out of Myeonseon-dang. The feelings that they’ve kept bottled inside start to come out.

Shin’s violence toward Yul (Kim Jeonghun) starts an uproar and Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin) warns the Queen (Yun Yuseon) that won’t just let it go. The King (Park Chanhwan) severely reprimands Shin and Shin starts to rebel.

In spite of the negative rumors circulating, the Crown Prince and Princess attend a public event and at photographers’ request for a loving pose, Shin reveals his acting flair.

Meanwhile, the Queen Dowager tries to get the entire family together for a meal in the face of the recent unfortunate events.

Episode 16

Shin (Ju Jihun) and Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) go on a honeymoon. Hyorin (Song Jihyo) recalls memories with Shin and looks for mementos of their love. Ignored by Shin, Hyorin takes to heart the words of Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin) and resolves to be more determined. Yul (Kim Jeonghun) tells Chaegyeong it’s time to let Shin go. Chaegyeong is confused.

The Queen (Yun Yuseon) has been watching Hwayeong’s movements and is starting to get an idea of what she’s planning. Just then, another scandal with the Crown Prince explodes. The Royal Family is mired in another dilemma.

The King (Park Chanhwan) questions Shin’s right and ability to be Crown Prince…

Because of Hyorin’s incident, Shin and Chaegyeong grow apart again.

Episode 17

Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) gets upset at Shin (Ju Jihun), who had gone out and been unreachable all day. Shin hugs Chaegyeong as she tells him why he has to suffer alone and asks her to stay by his side, even if he isn’t Crown Prince.

Meanwhile, the Queen (Yun Yuseon) offers financial support to Hyorin (Song Jihyo).

Yul (Kim Jeonghun) asks the Queen Dowager (Kim Hyeja) for permission to go on a weekend trip for his birthday with the Crown Prince and Princess…

Episode 18

Criticism over whether Shin (Ju Jihun) is fit to be Crown Prince continues and even the King (Park Chanhwan) wonders if Prince Uiseong (Kim Jeonghun) might be more suitable.

Meanwhile, Hyorin (Song Jihyo) discusses her future path with Shin. Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) is distressed when she finds out Shin and Hyorin have plans to study abroad together. Yul (Kim Jeonghun) expresses his feelings for Chaegyeong.

Shin witnesses the two of them in an intimate pose and his jealousy flares…

Episode 19

Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) is upset by the conflict between Yul (Kim Jeonghun) and Shin (Ju Jihun) that took place at Yul’s birthday party.

Shin tries to apologize to Chaegyeong, but she refuses to accept his apology and the two of them grow further apart.

Meanwhile, negative gossip circulates about Chaegyeong’s family and how they are using her name to reap benefits. Chaegyeong hears the rumors and is having more and more difficulty dealing with life in the palace. Seeing this, Shin gives her permission to stay the night at her parents’ home.

However, the Queen (Yun Yuseon) learns of this and severely reprimands Chaegyeong, and an extremely upset Chaegyeong races out of the palace…

Episode 20

An unexpected turn of events throws Crown Princess Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) in the center of harsh criticism. Though she is at the lowest point since she moved into the palace, she is determined to stick it out by herself.

Shin (Ju Jihun) suspects her motives for acting thus and grows more uncomfortable. He orders repairs for Myeongseon-dang and the tension between him and Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin), the King (Park Chanhwan), and Yul (Kim Jeonghun) widen.

The Queen (Yun Yuseon) worries that Shin is isolating himself and meets him to speak of her hopes for him.

Taking Hyorin (Song Jihyo), who has decided to be true to her dream of becoming a ballerina, as an example, Shin decides to take charge of his future both with Chaegyeong and as Crown Prince and resolutely steps out for a formal interview.

Episode 21

Shin (Ju Jihun) just barely managed to cover for Chaegyeong’s (Yun Eunhye) near-fatal slip at the formal interview. The adults are furious at Chaegyeong for breaking palace law, and Shin is also angry and hurt.

This incident rekindles the Crown Princess’ scandals and Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin) decides to sacrifice Chaegyeong to save Yul (Kim Jeonghun). Chaegyeong begs the King (Park Chanhwan) for forgiveness, and Shin ignores her tears and suffering.

Shin’s right to be Crown Prince is further brought under scrutiny and the King’s trust in Prince Uiseong grows. In an attempt to stand by Chaegyeong in her suffering, Yul speaks at a family meeting…

Episode 22

Yul (Kim Jeonghun) is willing to break palace laws, but is determined to be loyal to his heart. Shin (Ju Jihun) argues that palace laws are the strength and life of the Royal Family and demands Yul to think logically. Though their methods are different, and the things they’ve lost are different, the person they both want to stand by is the same.

Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) feels deep sadness for the people who are hurting because of her, but truth and logic escape her. Meanwhile, the King (Park Chanhwan) agonizes over what to do with Yul when the elders demand that the Crown Princess be punished. Shin seeks out Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin) and warns her to leave the Crown Princess alone, but her greed leads her even further down an extreme path…

Episode 23

Shin (Ju Jihun) is the main suspect in the arson case. He maintains his innocence, but all the evidence and circumstances suggest otherwise. Chaegyeong (Yun Eunhye) is the only one who believes him and feels pained at his troubles. Shin takes heart from her belief in him and is able to meet the challenge with composure.

Yul (Kim Jeonghun) discovers Hwayeong’s (Shim Hyejin) role in the incident and tries to stop her, but her greed knows no bounds. Talk of getting rid of the monarchy entirely picks up momentum, and in an attempt to appease the people, the King (Park Chanhwan) suggests sending the Crown Princess away. Chaegyeong decides it is her role as Crown Princess to act in the best interest of the Royal Family and resolves to follow the adults’ wishes.

Meanwhile, Chaegyeong wants to show Shin the world she used to live in. The two create happy memories outside the palace walls, not as the Crown Prince and Princess, but as an ordinary young couple.

Episode 24

An unexpected twist throws Shin (Ju Jihun) into uncertainty about making it through the arson case. In the midst of the turmoil, Shin and Chaegyeong’s (Yun Eunhye) trust and dependence on each other is stronger than ever. Chaegyeong says she has studied and tried hard to become someone who is a good match for Shin, but the two are more alike than they realize.

Regardless of the results of the arson case, the King (Park Chanhwan) says that Shin is fit to be a king who is loved and respected by the people. Hwayeong (Shim Hyejin) races toward victory in self-assurance.

The Queen (Yun Yuseon) shares an intimate moment with Chaegyeong, who has taken on the characteristics of a good Crown Princess, for the first time. Having received encouragement from her mother-in-law and a token of her husband’s love, Chaegyeong steps out to stand by her newfound family and life…

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K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 1-2



Read Episode reviews for:

Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 1-2
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 3-4
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 5-6
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 7-8
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 9-10
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 11-12
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 13-14
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 15-16
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 17-18
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 19-20
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 21-22
Princess Hours/Goong--Episodes 23-24

Contains Spoilers for Episodes 1-2

This is going to be a very prince-and-princessy story. A Cinderella tale full of antagonistic couples, formal outfits, national gossip and really big palaces. Bring it on.

In an alternate-present South Korea, the land operates under an English-style constitutional monarchy (much like in the recent popular show King 2 Hearts). The royal family's Crown Prince Shin is in his last year of high school, but his grandmother decides that it's time for him to marry because the family numbers are dwindling. Shin's bride has already been picked by his deceased grandfather, the former king. But everyone is shocked by the old king's choice of an arranged marriage for his heir--Shin will be marrying a sloppy, profoundly ordinary commoner named Chaekyung.

Our Heroine. Teenage Magnet for Disaster.


What's more, Chaekyung already attends the same arts academy as the prince. She knows that Shin is half-dating/half-best buds with Hyorin, a classy ballet dancer at their school. It's not clear whether they're really a couple, because while some people refer to them as dating, Hyorin talks about not wanting to ruin their good friendship. Shin asks Hyorin to marry him, because otherwise his parents will pick a wife for him. But Hyorin wants to be a world-famous dancer unfettered by the strict palace life, so she turns down his proposal.

Now we learn more about Chaekyung. Her home is chaotic--her dad is a jolly house husband, while mom became the uptight breadwinner after Dad's business went under. When they all learn of the old king's promise regarding the royal marriage, there's a cute scene of Chaekyung debating whether to get married or not as her family goes crazy in the background, hoping she'll agree. (There are some identical conversations in Boys Over Flowers, where the family is thrilled to have their daughter get close with a rich guy, and where mom especially insists that money is everything.)

Forced to Marry a Rich, Handsome Prince to Save her Family. Poor Child.


Chaekyung reluctantly agrees to the marriage, and although Shin agrees as well, he starts to show his full princely coldness to Chaekyung. He outright calls Chaekyung ugly and disgraceful. When Chaekyung asks why he didn't just marry Hyorin instead of agreeing to an engagement with her, Shin says that he wouldn't want Hyorin to be cooped up in the stuffy palace for the rest of her life. But he doesn't care about Chaekyung, so it's fine if she's the one trapped. Ugh. I was on Shin's side until he let loose with that piece of barbed meanness.

Cold and Sharp, Like A...Cold, Sharp Thing.


Meanwhile, we learn that Shin's cousin Yul has been living in England for 14 years, but he's returning home to Korea. All the servants love him and remember him fondly, and Yul is generally lighter-hearted than Shin, perhaps because his life hasn't been so full of official obligations. The Queen Mother is thrilled to see her grandson Yul, but the Queen is displeased because she thinks he might supplant her own son, Shin.


Yul and His Uppercrust Tea-Drinking Habit. 


It turns out that Shin's father, the King, is secretly sick, and the Queen worries that Yul is here to make a true play for the throne, since his own dead father was the current king's older brother. And another Yul-related kicker? The Old King's promise was not that Shin specifically marry Chaekyung, but that "the prince who is to take the throne" would marry her. Ooh. We might get a royal marriage, but it might not be the one we expect! Yul's going to be important later on, I'm sure.

I'm Kind of a Big Deal. People Know Me.

Things I Loved:

1. Chaekyung's Ordinariness. In a lot of rags to riches stories, the girl seems to be essentially a supermodel in cheap clothes. In this case, Chaekyung is cute, but she really looks and seems like a 100% real and average girl, so that makes her extra relatable.

Ordinary Girl With Not-So-Ordinary Problems.


 2. The Pants. I like how Chaekyung wears gym pants under her school skirt. At first I just thought it was a great, quirky wardrobe choice for the character, but then the pants play a part in the plot--it's those very strange gym pants that allow Shin to recognize Chaekyung the next time he sees her, after she eavesdrops on him. Later, Shin tells her to get rid of those awful sweatpants so she'll look more presentable. Chaekyung then leaves the the sweatpants behind in a hallway and Yul picks them up. And keeps them. Not that that's weird.

3. Shin's Gray Morality. To start with, I didn't think Shin was really that much of a jerk, especially in comparison to other K-drama male leads. Shin's a little removed from everyone around him, and at one point he say that a king can have no true friends. He tunes the world out by cranking up his MP3 player all the time, and I could have really sympathized with him until he got mean with Chaekyung. Right now, I don't love him or hate him; I'm just curious to see where his in-between character goes.

Drama-meta bonus: The Queen Mother herself laughs while watching the show My Name Is Kim Samsoon on TV.

Even Monarchs Can Appreciate Hyun Bin.


K-pop bonus: I thought I saw Eunjung of T-ara in a school scene, and it really was her! She's playing a ballet student.

Complaints:

1. The Fake-Outs. This is a common trope in K-dramas, but I don't like watching fun scenes that turn out to be all in the character's imagination. There's no fuzzy border around the shots or anything else to clue you in that it's a daydream, so I take the scene at face value as a part of the story until poof! Just kidding. I'm particularly thinking of the alternate version of the shoe-scrubbing scene.

This Humbling Scene Lost Its Epic Ending.


2. Hyorin. It's not a bad plot point exactly, I just disagree with Hyorin's attitude. Hyorin has no room to be upset about Shin's upcoming marriage, I don't think. Hey guy asked her outright to marry him and he explained the circumstances--that he'd soon be married off to someone else. But Hyorin made her choice and it was a good one; she chose to pursue her future career. So I don't like her staring brokenly at the prince like he deceived her or something He didn't. He put everything on the table, and she chose not to accept. She should have the courage to stand by her convictions.


Themes:


Mom is a Killjoy: Is the Queen ever pleased by anything? The Queen is even a spoilsport to the Queen Mother, pointing out that royal regulations prevent any princes besides the Crown Prince from living in the main palace. So the Queen Mother's long-lost grandson Yul has to stay far away from her. Boo, mom. Boo.

Approximately the Happiest She Has Ever Looked.


New Blood: The Queen Mother busts a gut laughing at Chaekyung's hilariously unflattering paparazzi picture in the paper, and we get the sense that Chaekyung's enlivening influence could be good for everyone in the palace. The Queen wishes they could find a sophisticated girl for Shin, but Queen Mother reminds her that the late king wanted an average child to be the new princess. The royal air is too rarefied, and they need someone who will kick up some dust.

The Unlikely Couple.


Cultural Observances:


Manhwa: This show is based on a comic book series, some of which I actually read in college. There's a meta moment when Shin tells Chaekyung she's like a character in a manhwa.

Traditional Korean instruments: The royal family listens to a performance of whatever these are:

A Traditional Multi-Stringed Whatchamacallit.

New words: Gwieopda is "cute," which is the word Yul uses to describe Chaekyung.


Episode Evaluations: I like it. Princess Hours is nothing too new or different and you know exactly where the plot is going, but it's still enjoyable. The pacing is slowish, but it makes for pleasant viewing. This show aired in 2006 and is considered a classic K-drama, one everyone's supposed to have watched.

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 3-4













Contains Spoilers for Episodes 3-4

Chaekyung is getting princess lessons, and I'm officially having flashbacks of Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries. But Chaekyung's transformation is less about appearances than about manners, although seeing Chaekyung in hanbok is just too funny, since this is the girl who likes to wear sweatpants under her school uniform skirt.

Exhausted By Life. And By Hanbok.

The rest of the royal family is currently worrying about the king's secret disease. I now begin to notice that this is not the healthiest royal family. The old king died just after his oldest son died in a car accident, and now the new king is probably dying. It makes me feel a pang of concern for Shin and Yul. They're not destined to live past 40, are they?

During the pre-wedding preparations, Crown Prince Shin goes to see his bedraggled fiancee Chaekyung. He brings her a present of some candies and chocolate, but Shin also tries hard to cultivate an aloof, unfeeling image for himself. So even while they should be becoming allies, there's always a distance between Shin and Chaekyung.

Metaphorical Distances: He's Outdoors and She's Indoors.

Shin makes a deal with Chaekyung: in a few years, if she can't bear the pressures of palace life any longer, he'll grant her a divorce so that she can escape. He doesn't say it in the sweetest way, but it's actually a kind offer, when you think about it. Then it's time for the internationally televised royal wedding ceremony! It involves a lot of calmish, inexplicable things like drinking tea slowly and holding a live dove in a brightly patterned scarf.


The Bird is the Word.

Prince Yul shows up in the crowd at the wedding, looking wistful. I can't tell if he's missing his deceased father, or wishing that he was the Crown Prince, or what. Surely he can't be wishing it was him going through this endless formal ceremony to marry a near stranger? It's hardly an enviable position.

And the Ceremony is Essentially a Parade of Large Hats.

After the wedding, Chaekyung is trying to figure Shin out. He tells her that he's a cold type who doesn't care for others, but then when she looks sad, he sweetly offers her a handshake and tells her to come to him if she's having problems. He has his moments of jerkishness, but Shin never seems to stick to them for very long. And yet, I think it's kind of awesome that Chaekyung BITES his hand because he's offering her a pittance of attention and courtesy, and she doesn't need it.

This Handshake Does Not End Well.


The marriage isn't consummated because they're underage, and they move into a small palace (more of a summer house) with separate quarters. Yul transfers to Chaekyung's class at school, but because he wasn't visible at the wedding, she still doesn't know who he is and before long, they're good buddies.


And we're back to Hyorin again. She gets all upset because she's losing Shin, so Hyorin turns down an 8-year scholarship to the Royal Ballet School so she can go home and confront a boy who has already married someone else. Oh, Hyorin. Whatever happened to that strong young woman you were in episode 1?

We also finally establish that Yul is jealous of his cousin. He quietly says to Shin's departing car, "Hey you, that's my seat. I should be sitting there." I tend to think that Yul means sitting by Chaekyung as well as sitting in the limo and on the throne.

Channeling His Jealous Energy Into Ironing.

Things I Loved:

1. The Costumes. I may joke about the ceremonial garb, but it honestly looks quite fabulous. So cool and exotic and traditional. It makes classy people look classier and awkward people look more awkward, which is great for a drama.

I Am So Distracted By This Hat.

2. Yul. What a mystery he is. He's a good friend to Chaekyung, but despite the Goong POV-camera following him all the time, we still know so little about Yul's heart and motivations. Is he gonna be a supportive bro to Shin, or a villainous plotter who brings him down? It's too soon to tell. 

I Can't Read This Guy.

3. Wish Fulfillment. I can't help it. I am charmed by the pretty-pretty palace and the spacious rooms. This part of the wish-fulfillment fantasy is so dead on! It taps into that part of every girl's imagination that secretly wants a canopy bed, a white pony, and a room with flowy curtains and cushy carpets. Chaekyung walks around the mansion in a daze, still wearing her puffy PJs from home, and it's easy to step into her shoes and feel the awe.

Complaints:

1. Pacing. There's no getting around it; the show moves slowly. Episode 3 is mainly just the wedding, without a lot of side plots going on. Sure, Yul looks sad, Shin looks reserved, Chaekyung looks uncomfortable, and the nation gathers to watch, but really it just amounts to an hour of wedding-watching.

It Can Get a Bit Drowsy at Times.


2. Hyorin. Warning: rant incoming.

Hyorin has a nice rationale for returning to school. She says she would rather come home and experience all that life has to offer, so that her dancing will be more authentic. A good reason, right? But then she delivers this little gem in a speech to Shin--"For the rest of your life, you're going to regret that you didn't wait for me." 

Excuse me, Hyorin? You told everyone you weren't coming back, period. Also, the Crown Prince can't even sneeze without asking permission. Did you think he could halt his arranged marriage on the small chance that you might one day move back to Korea and decide to promote him from buddy to boyfriend? I don't think Hyorin is a jerk so much as she is spoiled. She wants perfection, spontaneity, a ballet career, and Shin, and she can only have two of those things at most.

Make Up Your Mind!

Themes:

Failed Overtures of Friendship: Shin opens up and tells Chaekyung that he agreed to the marriage only on the condition that they be allowed to relocate to a palace away from the adults. Shin says that if the two of them are living in the faraway palace, she'll get to sneak off and visit her parents, as he knows she wants to do. It's his first real gesture of kindness, I think.

And then Shin produces a whole written-down list of fun "princess" things for Chaekyung to try, like inviting her friends over to the royal resort, but Chaekyung shuts him down hard, not at all impressed with his friendliness. And he's like, "Whatever. It was Yul's list of ideas anyway." Oh, it looks like our boy Shin does not take rejection well.

He Doesn't Take Boredom Well, Either.


Runs in the Family: Chaekyung gets her horrible study skills from her dad. Neither of them are good at recalling their super-formal and super-important parts in the royal wedding. You think it's just a Chaekyung issue, but then you discover it's a family trait!

Dad, Struggling With His Partially Memorized Speech.


Cultural Observances:


New words:
Shikeureopda is "silence!"
Halaboji is "grandfather"

Watch Goong HERE on DramaFever.

Episode Evaluations: The plot still moves at an ultra-slow pace, but Chaekyung's charm and Shin's cool distance are keeping me interested. And the pretty hanbok and luxurious palaces aren't hurting, either!

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 5-6













Contains Spoilers for Episodes 5-6

Our royal couple is not making progress on the friendship front. Shin takes a call from his friend-girl Hyorin at the dinner table, but Chaekyung tries to put him at ease and say that this is fine because he and Hyorin are just buddies. Shin rebuffs her attempt at graciousness and his subtle insults about her family's poverty bring tears to her eyes. Chaekyung boldly tells him off, but she looks heartbroken, and I'd bet $20 that those tears are real, not the usual perfect saline drops added by on set assistants.

 Here, Let Me Give You a Hug. Unnie Knows, Child. Unnie Knows.

Chaekyung storms out to another part of the palace and sees her schoolmate Yul. Yul explains that he's a secondary prince who is forbidden to live in the main palace, so he just visits Shin daily. Chaekyung thanks Yul for the chocolate he sent to her in episode 3, because Shin told her the candy was from Yul when it was really from Shin himself. (Do yourself a favor and take credit for your few noble gestures, Shin!) And with that, the misunderstandings already begin to accrue. Yul doesn't correct Chaekyung's assumption about the candy, and he teases her gently and says "You're really cute. But you're not Shin's type." Meaning that she's your type, Yul?

Putting the Moves on His Cousin-In-Law

Despite his aloofness, Chaekyung finds herself drawn to Shin. While he's listening to music, she sits in a room with him and rhetorically asks, since he can't hear: "Do you still like Hyorin? If my family hadn't agreed to this marriage, would you have found a way to marry her? I feel bad for coming between you two, but I think I'd feel even worse if you were with her." This is significant because it's her first admission of having feelings for the prince. And...he heard every word! His earbuds were in, but Chaekyung discovers that there was no music in his CD player. Omigowrsh, I love little revelatory moments like this, when someone hears something they weren't supposed to.

It Complicates Everything So Nicely.


But the revelation gets them nowhere, because Shin ignores Chaekyung at his birthday party on Jeju Island. And why is Hyorin at this party, getting all serious with the significant glances at Shin? Hyorin gives Shin an expensive new model of MP3 player, while Chaekyung gives him shoes she decorated herself.

The Prince Doesn't Appreciate These Sweet Kicks.

But later that night, some paparazzi are going crazy taking photos of Shin and Hyorin getting semi-cozy. It doesn't look good for the newly married prince, and we find out that it's part of Yul's mom's plot to replace Shin with Yul by turning the tide of public opinion. Next week at the opening of an art gallery, Shin is hit by an egg thrown from the audience. Yul's mom arranged this, hoping the public would see it as another sign that Shin is not universally liked.

And now I get the sense that Yul is in on his mom's plan, though there wasn't a lot of evidence before. Yul holds Chaekyung's hand in comfort after the egg incident, but she pulls away. Then Yul acts like a mastermind, telling Chaekyung not to go see Shin when he's pouting, because Shin would only respond well to Hyorin at this point. But he's wrong--Shin admits that he did want to see Chaekyung after the egging, because her antics could make him forget his disgrace. Chaekyung backhugs Shin and says she's sorry for not visiting him. Shin pulls away and asks if she's only hugging him because she feels guilty for flirting with Yul. Ooh, burn.

Just a Wee Bit of Cousin Rivalry to Liven Things Up.


At the equestrian club, Shin finally confronts his snotty friends about being mean to Chaekyung. Hyorin gets all huffy again, though: "Chaekyung is so inelegant. I can't approve of you being married to someone so beneath you!" Well, no one asked for your approval. Yul's mom gets close to Hyorin, probably so she can influence Hyorin to get closer to Shin, thus ruining Shin's reputation. Yul's mom was a ballet dancer before she became Crown Princess, so she draws a parallel between herself and Hyorin, who is probably already imagining herself as a princess. Dangerous dreams, indeed.

Interesting Note: Yul's friends are almost all girls. Shin's friends are almost all guys. What does that say about them?

Yul and the Ladies at Lunch.
Things I Loved:

1. The Teddy Bears. At the end of each episode, we see cute little white teddy bears dressed in Chaekyung and Shin's outfits, and placed in different poses. The bears can even be seen throughout the show, and they are so cute. It killed me when I noticed Shin watching TV while the bear on the coffee table mimicked his exact slouch.

Chillin' With the Prince and His Bear Avatar.


2. Chaekyung/Yul Friendship. I don't want them as a couple, partly because it's not a big enough challenge and partly because I have a feeling that it's not where the drama is headed. But man, they are so adorable as a pair of good friends. He really has been a big bright spot in her complicated palace life. When Shin's friends are nasty to Chaekyung, Yul finds her and her friends and starts a splash fight with them beside a pond. It's the first fun she's had all day, and it's thanks to Yul.

Always With the Cuteness From These Two.

3. Outfits, Pretty Outfits! The wardrobe in the show is endlessly gorgeous. I want to wear about 80% of the dresses Chaekyung owns, and the fashion for the guys is great, too. I'm such a sucker for white suits.

Which Shin Supplies in Abundance
Complaints:

1. Editing: There's some weird time lapse where Yul and Shin go to an in-resort mogyotang spa during the birthday party, I think? The editing could have been a little more clear in a few instances.

Themes:

Marrying for Bad Reasons: Chaekyung fusses at Shin for marrying her just as a chess move to get himself more freedom. But he retorts back that she just married him for money, so ha, they're even!

Well Played, Cold Prince, Well Played.

Fish Out of Water: Chaekyung gets a lot of laughs for her little flubs as a commoner in an aristocratic world. At a party, Shin and Chaekyung do the awkwardest tango ever and I love Chaekyung for trying to have fun with it anyway.

This Dip Is Kind of Awesome, Though.

Jealousy: Shin insists on treating Chaekyung like a non-entity, but he's most definitely jealous of her attention. Yul and Chaekyung have so many cute almost-couple moments, but Shin sees this and starts messing with Chaekyung over it. Shin also warns Yul to be less familiar and to call Chaekyung by her title, not by her name, when they're around the adults.

Not That He Likes Her or Anything.


Cultural Observances:

Spicy food: There's a cute scene where Yul is not used to dokbokki, since he's been in England too long to be acquainted with regular Korean food.

Gyukbang: The royals play an ancient Korean game similar to golf. Then Shin teaches Yul a form of polo, called gyuku, I think.

New words:

Bbali-gaba seems to be "Hurry up and go"
Eodi-ga is "Where were you?" or "Where did you go?"
Bbali-mogo is "Huury up and eat"

A Beary Close Look at Royalty.

Watch Princess Hours/Goong HERE at DramaFever


Episode Evaluations: The plot's still incredibly slow paced, but I'm happy enough. I'm essentially content to watch Shin and Chaekyung put on a variety of snazzy outfits and go to cool places. I almost don't care about what else happens. The outfits, y'all!

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 7-8













Contains Spoilers for Episodes 7-8

The Queen Mother, Shin's Grandma, is worried about how few children there are in the imperial household (there are precisely three, all of them in their late teens). Queen Mother suggests that Shin and Chaekyung should go ahead and produce an heir. Like, right now. Grandma's very frank about these sorts of things.

 Shin's Mama, However, Is Horrified.


But the idea is quickly dropped. I expect it to make another appearance in later episodes, though.

In an unexpectedly nice move, Shin offers to take Chaekyung to visit with her family for a few days. Shin even fishes for affirmation from Chaekyung, coolly saying that he'll make a lot of trouble for her family, so wouldn't she just prefer to leave him behind? But when Chaekyung seems inclined to leave him, Shin is quick to assert that he has to go on this trip, or else the adults will never let Chaekyung go. Ooh, he was just trying to see if she really wanted him to come along.

In the car on the way over, Shin can't help but grin at Chaekyung's irrepressible happiness. The home visit is uncomfortable, as Chaekyung's family tries to figure out how to treat the Crown Prince, but Shin kinda likes it. What's even better is when Chaekyung's family staggers out of the livingroom as one, panting from the exertion of talking to the prince for so long. After dinner, since there aren't enough rooms for everyone, Shin takes Chaekyung's hand and suggests that they share a room. *gulp*

Mere Words Cannot Describe the Awkward.

Chaekyung gets upset when Shin stays in her room, and she asks: "Did you come to my house just to annoy me like this?" The answer? "Yes." And he looks so happy about it. A mostly one-sided kickfight for bedspace ensues. Chaekyung eventually loses and gets the floor.

Elsewhere, Hyorin feels tense, so she goes to Yul's Mom's yoga studio to chill out. Hyorin already sees Yul's Mom as a mentor and source of relief, which is really bad since Mom's a deceptive and seasoned plotter. Her plans are gaining momentum, and now Yul's Mom outright promises her son to get the kingdom back for him.

Hush Little Baby, Don't Say a Word. Mama's Gonna Buy You a Constitutional Monarchy.

Ah, and it's back to the funny hijinks at Casa de Chaekyung. Shin grins widely while watching Chaekyung's parents doing cute things, and he even smiles when Chaekyung fusses at him for leaving the roots on lettuce they pick for a meal. I am not just enjoying these scenes--I am heartwarmed by them. The cold, distant prince is enjoying a friendly, chaotic home at last.

Shin reports back to the Queen and Queen Mother that everyone at Chaekyung' s house hangs out together and splits the chores evenly. They're like friends! Queen Mother marvels over whether family can really be chingu. Later, Shin tries to apply the warmth he's learned at Chaekyung's house and call his mom eomma, or "Mom" instead of "Your Majesty," but she shuts him down immediately, appalled that he's letting his manners slip. In a flashback we see that the Queen pounded it into Shin's head from an early age that he was special and had to act dignified because he was the next king. Now we see where he gets the coldness from. If only Chaekyung understood some of this, she might know how to handle Shin's bouts of random distancing.

Chaekyung Is Blissfully Unaware of Shin's Hang-Ups.


Back in Hyorin's subplot, Yul's Mom tells Hyorin a story about Prince Charles and Camilla; how although Charles married Diana, his marriage grew rocky and he fell for Camilla. Then after years of struggling, the brave Camilla finally got to marry her prince! Um. I don't think most people view the Charles/Diana/Camilla situation in such a glowing light.

Hyorin follows Yul's Mom's advice and says that she'll use Camilla's example and stay close to the royal family, even helping Chaekyung out, so that she can get her man in the end. Hyorin, before you were somewhat pitiable, but now you've become someone to despise. Ick. It's noteworthy that only Hyorin is supposed to see stealing Shin as a noble thing--Yul's Mom is actually trying to get Hyorin to ruin Shin's reputation, so that Yul can become the beloved William to Shin's disgraced Charles.

Everyone Seems to Be Plotting Shin's Downfall.


While playing a form of polo, Yul's horse runs into Shin's horse and they both fall off. Twenty people run to help Shin, and only Chaekyung runs to help Yul. She doesn't even go see Shin afterward, and this hurts his feelings terribly. But Shin's been hanging out with Hyorin, so Chaekyung thinks he doesn't want to see her. Shin keeps Chaekyung from going on a ceremonial visit to Thailand with him, but his reasons aren't clear. And the episode ends on this down note just as we'd made so much progress! Yargh.



Things I Loved:

1. Shin at Chaekyung's House. Royalty enjoying themselves in the messy common world is one of my favorite monarchical tropes. It's even cute how the prince's table manners have been completely eroded after staying with Chaekyung's family--he's slurping and scarfing his ramyun like a regular guy. Shin even gets into the communal spirit and offers to do the dishes! "You don't think I can do it?" He asks Chaekyung. "I can wash dishes! I used to be in the Boy Scouts!" Gotta love his logic.

Looking Like Average Teenagers, For Once.


2. Shin Talking! It's hard to like a character who never says anything, so Shin gets a lot more likable in these episodes because he's discussing things, for once. Why, in episode 7 alone he probably says more words than in the previous 6 episodes worth of silent moping combined. It's really fun to watch.

He's Capable of Speech! Who Knew?


Complaints:

1. Yul...Good or Bad? I'm leaning heavily toward "bad" at this point, but the storyline isn't making it quite clear how we're supposed to see him. Yul has a monologue with himself in the mirror, saying that he's disappointed in himself...but in what way? Yul is still illusive, even when we get a closer look at him.

Though He's Definitely Angsting Over Something.

2. Hyorin. I think we're supposed to feel sorry for Hyorin, who is being forced to go to school with the guy she loves, but I feel no sympathy. She came back of her own free will and inserted herself into the situation. Plus, I don't think it's been established that she loves Shin; they just have history together and Hyorin hasn't met a guy that she likes better.

In Hyorin's mind, Shin will gladly give up his position as Crown Prince and drop Chaekyung to be with her. Ladies, if your plans for future happiness require the guy you like to dump his current girl and quit his current job just to be with you, you might want to rethink your gameplan.


Themes:

Flawed Hero: There's no hiding the fact that Shin can be a real jerk. He insults Chaekyung or ignores her or pushes her away about 75% of the time. And yet, I think he's on his way to something good. He's rude to her face, but Shin always seems to go behind Chaekyung's back to do nice things, like arranging the visit to her parents' house or taking over dish-washing duties or figuring a way to let her keep riding her forbidden bike on the palace grounds. He's far, far, far from perfect, but I think he has great potential.

When He's Not Being Snooty, That Is.


Character Avatars: We already know about the teddy bear (named Alfred!) representing Shin, but Chaekyung also sews together a big doll of Shin (which is less weird than it sounds). She wants to give it to him, but instead she ends up using it as a punching bag in frustration. Shin sees her doing this and reconsiders his behavior.

The Door Was Open; Did You Think No one Would See?

Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: At school, all the girls are all wearing ugly pink arm-warmers and sweatpants under their skirts, like Chaekyung always has. Her sloppiness has become chic! 

Cultural Observances:
Kai Bai Bo: Chaekyung and Shin play Kai Bai Bo (Korean rock paper scissors) for who gets the bed and who gets the floor at her parents' house. Chaekyung keeps losing despite the fact the Shin never produces any sign other than rock.

New words:

Kansamnida, Mama is "Thank you, Your Majesty"
Ya! Gachi-ga! is "Hey, let's go together!"
Yeobo is "honey" or "darling"
Eegon mwoyeyo is "What is this?"
Cheonyo is "Not at all".
Naga is "Get out!"


Episode Evaluations: Best. Episodes. Ever. This drama is finally hitting the good parts--it's like we have gone past the crumbly graham cracker crust and have reached the delicious chocolate filling of the pie! Horrible analogy, but anyhoo, we've grown into funnier antics and deeper conflicts, which are always wonderful.

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 9-10













Contains Spoilers for Episodes 9-10

Crown Prince Shin is away in Thailand, so in his absence, Crown Princess Chaekyung has put her sewing skills to work and made a little doll-sized outfit for Alfred, Shin's childhood teddy bear which he still keeps around. This may sound juvenile on both their parts--Shin for still having the bear, and Chaekyung for costuming the bear--but it's actually very sweet. Shin essentially had no childhood, so the bear is all that he has to represent a carefree, innocent time. The bear has also been set up as a kind of representation of Shin himself.

Though Shin is More Prickly Than Cuddly.


Chaekyung is getting very lonely while Shin's on his diplomatic trip. I just feel like warning the prince, "No Shin, don't leave her there with Yul!" Nothing good can come of this. Yul is sowing the seeds of discontent with Chaekyung already, telling her that he knows that Shin's mother, the Queen, has never approved of her.

We get back into Yul's POV and flashback to the past, to the time when Yul was about five years old and was told that he was not the Crown Prince anymore and Shin was taking his place. Ah, so Yul does have some hurt feelings, plus a sense of displacement from his home, because his mom took him away from the royal family entirely.

Don't Cry, Baby Yul!

In a very brassy move, Yul admits to his mother that he likes Chaekyung. Yul pulls the whole "she was betrothed to me first" angle, and even goes so far as to say "They stole her from me." Yowza! Here I thought he was just feeling a little overlooked and lonely, when he's actually working through some first-rate resentment. Yul's Mom is not pleased, because she thought the only good thing about being deposed from the throne was that her son didn't have to marry an idiot like Chaekyung.

Very Opinionated About the Romances of Others.

Chaekyung tries to reach Shin by phone several times, but he doesn't call her back. Her loneliness is palpable, and it's not so much self-pity as acknowledging that Shin is very important to her. Yuck, it hurts that Chaekyung's so sad over him, while Shin is meeting up with Hyorin in Thailand. Shin, you're an idiot and I don't like you anymore.

This Counts as Cheating.


Meanwhile, Yul takes Chaekyung out for a drive away from the palace. The difference between what Shin is doing and what Chaekyung is doing is twofold: 1. Shin knows that Hyorin loves him madly and wants to win him away from Chaekung, while Chaekyung has no reason to suspect that Yul is anything more than a friendly cousin-in-law. 2. Shin left Chaekyung behind on purpose. Chaekyung would choose to be with Shin if she could, whereas he's going to great lengths to avoid her.

Paparazzi get pictures of Hyorin and Shin having fun in Thailand and a car chase ensues, I think for the sheer purpose of having a wacky car chase scene set in Thailand. What follows are my least-favorite scenes in the entire show. I don't want to watch Shin and Hyorin holding hands and sight-seeing, or cutely trying out new foods, or free-spiritedly running from the paparazzi. When their trip is over, Hyorin melodramatically states: "I will never forget our time together today. Goodbye, my prince."

Then She Kisses Him. Noooooo!


Back home, Yul has taken Chaekyung to a fairly romantic place, where says some poetic things about trees and reveals a picnic lunch he has packed. Yul correctly deduces that Chaekyung is feeling sad because of Shin and he openly says, "That selfish jerk. If I was him, I wouldn't abandon you like this." Chaekyung admits that she might have crushed on Yul if she'd met him before Shin. Girl, you're pouring fuel on the fire and don't even know it.

Shin and his guards ride motorcycles to get to his next appointment, supposedly because it's the only way to get through the crazy Bangkok traffic, but then they don't encounter any other vehicles during the entire trip until their path is blocked by an elephant procession. Under other circumstances, I might enjoy this cool footage of Thailand, but it doesn't seem to have a point.

"Pink Elephants on Parade, Here They Come, Clippity-Cloppity"

Chaekyung gets blessed out by the Queen when she and Yul return. Yul speaks up for Chaekyung, though. I never expected to say this, but seeing gentle, artsy (and possibly treacherous) Yul standing up for Chaekyung when it could hurt his own future goals...it's downright awesome. Score one point for Yul. After this confrontation, Yul returns to his mom and says, "Make me a king." His mind is now made up, I think because he was powerless to help Chaekyung when she needed defending. If this doesn't get the plot-ball rolling, I don't know what will!

Also, Yul brings Chaekyung yummy chocolates after a hard day of diplomatic princess work. Yul, you'd better do something bad soon, just to remind me why I should be rooting for Shin instead of you, because in these episodes, you've done a lot of thoughtful things for Chaekyung, while Shin has done nothing but neglect her and cheat on her.

His Royal Majesty, Cheaty McCheaterson.

Elsewhere, Yul's Mom talks to Shin's Dad, the King, and asks him to enthrone his deceased elder brother (her dead husband) posthumously. This would make Yul's dad a king, and put Yul, not Shin, next in line for succession. And...there are more than a few hints that Yul's Mom and Shin's Dad once had a romance. So this thing where two guys in the royal family are involved with the same girl? It's not new. It might even be genetic.

It's so strange to have Shin back at the palace after a 2-episode absence. He's surprised at Chaekyung's distance and hints that he wants her to hug him and welcome him home. Why does he think he deserves affection? At least he seems genuine when he tells her that they should travel together next time. Ah, but it kills me that Chaekyung loves the present he leaves for her, when he didn't even pick it out--his butler got the present for her, then guilted Shin into giving it! Shin admits to her that it wasn't his idea because he doesn't care about getting presents for people. JERK.



Things I Loved:

1. Yul's Thoughts. At long last, we know a bit about what he's like! Yul gains my respect when he is adamant about liking Chaekyung, even when his Mom is not pleased: "The more people doubt her, the more I fall for her." I wonder if he sympathizes with her because they're both outsiders in a sense?

Yul finally monologues out his feelings about being a deposed prince. He says he didn't really mind living away from the palace all those years; he only wants to fulfill his mother's dream because she can only be happy as part of the royal family. He changes his mind in episode 10 and decides he wants the throne, but he's not plotting too hard, yet. He's more into reading and baking.

 Yul is All Kinds of Domestic.

2. Sympathy for the Queen. This marks the first time I've felt sympathy for the Queen, Shin's mom. She's cold and fastidious but she clearly dotes on her husband, and after seeing him talking with Yul's mom, she looks crushed. This makes me think that life for the Queen has not always been smooth: she was probably always in second place to Yul's Mom, both in her palace position and possibly in her husband's affection, but then when Yul and his Mom went away, the Queen saw it as her chance to shine. I'm so glad the writers added depth to her primness.


Not the Only One Who's Been Overlooked By Her Man?

Complaints:

1. Hyorin/Shin. My dislike for Hyorin has now reached anger-inducing levels. Not to say that I'm yelling at my screen, but gosh. This girl is wholly unlikable, and Shin is unlikable when he's with her. The two of them launch off on a self-indulgent festival of moping whenever they're around each other. I don't care that they're suffering when they're inflicting it on themselves, apparently just so they can bask in the impossibility of their own circumstances. You are an attractive prince and a lovely, filthy rich ballerina. Get over yourselves.

No More of This Business, Please.

2. Car Chases/Product Placement. The pacing of these two episodes lagged because of so many chase scenes, shopping scenes, and travel scenes. When Shin and Hyorin ran from the taxi paparazzi, the sequence was very long and had some peppy rock song playing in the background, like it was a travel commercial. Shin's big motorcycle ride also adds nothing much to the story, and looks like a commercial advertising sweet rides.

Available For Only $15,999.99 If You Act Now!


Themes:

Shouldn't Be Separated: Everyone thinks it's weird that Shin didn't take Chaekyung to Thailand with him. She's not really happy apart from him, plus it's royal custom to stay together on all state visits.

Lonely, She's Mrs. Lonely...


Grandma Loves You:  Chaekyung has messed up a few things lately, and the Queen says, "I am deeply concerned that you will make a fool of yourself." But the Queen Mother, Shin's Grandma, soothes Chaekyung's feelings and literally wipes her tears. What a darling person!


I Want Her to Be My Grandmother.


Episode Evaluations: Frustration abounds. Episode 9 made me dislike Shin, who I've liked all along despite his coldness, and I'm not sure if I like having the writers take us down this path. Shouldn't our main guy get increasingly awesome, not increasingly bothersome? But Goong is still fun because, what a whirlwind we've had! The Crown Prince has fallen from grace, and steady vanilla Yul has gotten a lot more interesting, partly because he's acting heroic and partly because he's exhibiting villain tendencies. Shin, you're on notice--get more heroic fast, or I'll be forced to move on.

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 11-12













Contains Spoilers for Episodes 11-12

A new girl shows up at the palace, and she's Shin's older sister Princess Hyemyung, returned from her travels abroad. (She's played by actress Lee Yoonji, who I loved as Teacher Shi in Dream High and as Jaeshin in King 2 Hearts. I like this actress so much, and I didn't even know she was in Goong!). It does seem weird that no one mentioned Hyemyung before, except Queen Mother referencing her once. She has been off doing diplomatic and volunteer work, and the household servants love her, so that is our cue that she is a nice person.

A Nice Person With Not Nearly Enough Lines.


In the enthronement plot, Yul's Mom's spies have given her photos of Shin getting close to Hyorin and being kissed by her at the Thailand airport. Good. I hope his name gets dragged through the mud because of this. I don't want to see Chaekyung hurt if these photos are revealed, but it would be a better alternative than Shin going along like he's doing nothing wrong. I hope I don't gloat too hard when he gets his comeuppance. Ah, who am I kidding?

I Will Gloat Like the Madness When He Gets Paid Back.

Chaekyung gently asks Shin whether she was supposed to marry Yul. Shin looks troubled and admits that her original fiance was Yul, then he gets huffy and asks if she's disappointed in the way things turned out. But Chaekyung's a bit sick and she has fallen asleep already. Shin leans close to her as she sleeps. So...he does have feelings for her, but does that change anything? It's a nice cuddling moment until Shin's mom walks in. I can understand a mom frowning at cuddling teenagers, but what if those teenagers are also married? Do you still get to level the disapproving frown at them?

Apparently So.

The Queen yells at Shin for the first time! Wow. She's not so composed when the servants aren't watching, eh? Mom waits until Chaekyung's gone, then throws down a Thai tabloid in front of Shin, displaying pictures of him traveling with Hyorin. Oh yeeeeeaaaah, he's in so much trouble! I now feel like Shin's kid sister, ready to tattle on him for every offense. But seriously, he deserves a big 'ol falling out and this is the first time I've appreciated the Queen's ability to make someone feel lower than a worm's belly.

Chaekyung sees the newspaper and questions Shin about it, but Shin says he doesn't have to report everything he does to her, and that she didn't need to know about him meeting with Hyorin. Chaekyung takes the smart route and says that if his life is none of her business, then hers is none of his.

Maintenance of His Teddy Bear Is Still Her Business, Though.


Now everyone at school knows about the pictures. Shin looks like a cad and Hyorin looks like the Other Woman, but Hyorin still sees Chaekyung in the halls and smiles with a little "Annyeong!" wave. Hyorin's now hurting Chaekyung on purpose by saying things like. "I don't care about being the Crown Princess, I just want Shin." From a combo of sickness and sadness, Chaekyung faints at school. Shin comes to the rescue and carries her away, then tends to her when she's sick. He does it while stylishly dressed, of course.

This Guy and His Bow Ties, I Swear.

Chaekyung's parents visit their sick daughter and ask Shin if they can take her home to recover, Shin says he understands, but he's going through some tough times and really needs Chaekyung by his side. He plays up his jerk quotient and tells Chaekyung that she cannot go home because she must follow his wishes. But the jerkish statement was not entirely true: when he is alone, Shin sadly says, "If I let you go home now, you'll never return."


Shin says to Chaekyung that when he comes of age, he'll resign as Crown Prince. But part of me wants Shin to step up and do a great job as king. He always seems to be running away from things and ducking responsibility if he can get away with it. Wouldn't it be great to see him become a true grownup? Shin meets with Hyorin and finally breaks things off with her permanently, but then he has to be an idiot and turn down a special cake Chaekyung has baked for him.


All Those Hours in Home Ec, Totally Wasted.


Yul has been questioning his role in bringing down Shin, and he tells the Queen Mother that when his father is enthroned posthumously, he still wants to be just another prince in line for the succession behind Shin, not in front of him. Hmm, what does he have to gain by this move? Seems like Yul is trying to figure out a way to get Chaekyung without becoming king. Yul's Mom is angry when she hears what he has done. Yul finds her lying dramatically on the floor, and when he panics she says, "What? Did you think I'd try to kill myself again?"

Oh, the Mental Instability Now Rears Its Head.

The King faints at the posthumous enthronement ceremony, and Yul discovers that his mother is slightly crazypants.Yul's Mom warns Shin to be careful of attacks outside the palace. Shin astutely says he's more concerned about attacks from within. Chaekyung goes into Shin's photo room and finds an entire book full of nothing but Hyorin pictures and keepsakes. (Chaekyung, honey, it's time to get away from these royals. Yul's mother is insane and possibly violent, while Shin is a cold, aloof waffler. Shin is officially such a louse that his prim, emotionally distant mother tells him to be kinder to Chaekyung.) Anyhow, the last episode kind of trails off with Shin making another stab at being nice to Chaekyung.

But You'll Never Be As Nice as Yul.


Things I Loved:

1. Chaekyung. I don't think I mention it enough, but I adore Chaekyung. She may be in my Top 5 Favorite Heroines, right up there with Hyemi in Dream High and Gil Raim in Secret Garden. Her effervescence is amazing, and I like her youthful energy. She's a normal teenager, but she'll be a great woman someday.

Even Cooler Than You Know.

2. Shin's Feelings for Chaekyung. There aren't nearly enough of them, but they are nice.Shin seems to admire Chaekyung when he tells his sister that Chaekyung could never be a princess doll on display, like so many other royals. The formal life that suffocates Shin fascinates her: "She's not getting used to the palace--the palace is getting used to her". Shin's Noona says that he and Chaekyung might fall in love someday.

Today Is Not That Day, Though.


3. Yul's Feelings for Chaekyung. Yul comes to see Chaekyung when she's ill and brings an herb plant to help with her cold. He sweetly says "Don't get sick anymore. When you're sick, I'm sick too." But these episodes don't really advance his plotline or character development much.

A Poetic, Sensitive Soul. Probably Won't End Up Well.


Complaints:

1. Hyemyung's Absence. Why cast someone awesome like  Lee Yoonji in this sisterly role, and then not make any use of her? Hyemyung doesn't have a whole lot to do in these 2 episodes, except give Shin and the Queen Mother someone to discuss important matters with.

Just Here to Keep Baby Bro Dialoguing Instead of Monologuing.

2. Hyorin's Smugness. Chaekyung assumes the best of Hyorin and says, "You probably just happened to meet Shin in Thailand..." But Hyorin says no, it was intentional, because when Shin got married, she could no longer talk to him whenever she wanted, because Chaekyung was always hanging around. "He might have married you, but he asked me to marry him first and he liked me first." (Oh, so we've all got to stick with our first loves forever? I had better go hunt down Mikey from my days at Sunnydale Preschool and see if he wants to reignite our toddler romance...)

One of These Girls Has A Lot of Chutzpah.

3. Chaekyung-as-Puppy. I don't like that Chaekyung's always hanging around, surprising Shin with thoughtful gestures and happily approaching him first. She's a doll and any normal guy should be charmed by her sweetness, but if he wants to see her, he should come to her more often than he does. I just don't knwo what to think of Shin and his relationship with Chaekyung anymore.

Don't Let the Innocent Look Fool You--He's Still a Jerk.


Themes:

Switched Roles: Yuls' Mom and the Queen have, like, a double turnover of reversed roles. The Queen says to Yul's Mom, "Let's play fair (about plotting for the throne)." Yul's Mom says, "To play fair, don't we need to be on the same level, first?" The Queen has everything and Yul's Mom comparatively has nothing, and the Queen has risen in prominence while Yul's Mom has fallen...but all that is about to change again.

The Queenly Smackdown is Stunning.

Survivor's Guilt: The King can't sleep at night, for worrying about his dead brother. The King isn't just guilty that he lived and his brother died; he was actually responsible for the car accident that caused his brother's death. Oh, he'll be putty in Yul's Mom's hands after this.



Episode Evaluations: These episodes are kind of "meh". Shin stands up and acts like a man on a few different occasions, then he's back to being pouty little boy. Yul shows some sweetness, but doesn't really do very much. Chaekyung and Hyorin remain the same as ever, one excellent, one frustrating. The only really new thing that happens is the posthumous enthronement and the revelation that Yul's Mom is possibly crazy and dangerous. I hope the next episodes pick up.


Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 13-14














Contains Spoilers for Episodes 13-14

So after a long hiatus, I'm back to reviewing Goong. Through email and comments, I've received a few requests to continue the recaps and I've also got a K-drama vacancy in my schedule now, since my favorite summer show Big just wrapped up (read my disgruntled recap of the final episodes HERE).

Teenage Princess Chaekyung is feeling low because her husband Shin had been seeing his ex-girlfriend Hyorin. Sure, Shin and Chaekyung's marriage is a political thing and it's not "for real" in a lot of ways, but Chaekyung's feelings for Shin are the genuine article.

And He Tramples on Them Regularly.

The Queen Mother, Shin's grandma, is about the coolest little old lady ever, and in order to break the ice between Shin and Chaekyung, she suggests that the three of them go out for a drive without letting any of their subordinates know.

You Rule Breaker, You!

Queen Mother takes this fun spur-of-the-moment outing as an opportunity to remind the young couple that she would really like to have a great-grandchild. Aww, Grandma. Your heart is so kind and your intentions so good, but I don't think you'll convince Chaekyung to have babies with Shin any time soon. However, on this short trip, Queen Mother does get Shin and Chaekyung to sing the Korean version of the kiddie song "Oats, Peas, Beans and Barley Grow". Love it. If she can't have little kids, she'll make the young people act like kids!


At school, Yul has lost his trademark blondish locks in favor of a conservative black hair color, which makes me wonder, is he just looking for a style change, or trying to be emo, or maybe even subconsciously trying to mimic Shin? Hyorin is now getting shunned at school, and I have very little sympathy for her. The girl willingly involved Shin in a scandal so he'd get kicked out of the palace and have no choice but to divorce Chaekyung and go to her. Hyorin can't see the big picture--all she focuses on is what she wants and how she can get it. Yul's a little more subtle about his manipulations.

*Sigh*

Yul's Mom is now a Queen Mother, too, which necessitates her wearing an unflattering hanbok and headdress. Yul's Mom wants Yul to be a little more plotty for goodness' sake, because she's doing all she can to win him the throne, while he's not really getting with the program. In fact, he is being mopey.

Sad Yul is Sad!

Yul indulges in a hazy mental montage of all the cute moments that made him fall for Chaekyung. It's precious, but somewhat pitiful since we know that Chaekyung never thinks of Yul in such a dreamy way. Even so, Yul and Chaekyung hang out together on the palace grounds, playing mandolins and singing to each other, just generally having a great time.

Elsewhere, Shin's Mom is seriously worried about her son's reputation. The tabloids are full of stories of his marriage problems, and she wonders how to halt the rumors.

You'll Never Guess What Solution She Comes Up With.

Shin's Mom, the Queen Mother, and all the high-ranking household servants decide that it's high time for Shin and Chaekyung to ceremonially "share the marriage bed". Yes, that means what you think it means. It's a very old-fashioned, impersonal approach to something so very personal, but then again, this is a monarchy and there are heirs at stake. Chaekyung and Shin are both 19 and they are legally married, so there aren't any real moral issues here, yet these two kiddos really do seem like kids.


The worst part about these marriage-bed preparations? Nobody tells Shin and Chaekyung it's happening! No, they just treat Chaekyung to a makeover while giggling. And it's even worse for Shin, who gets fed a drink with some "special health-enhancing" ingredients added. He's nineteen! Are they trying to kill him with this?

I'm Scared of Where This is Going.

But since this is a comedy, nothing happens even after the prince and princess are locked up all night in the ceremonial room of royal snuggling. The Queen Mother is thrilled over the prospect of getting a great-grandchild, but Shin and Chaekyung are still as innocent as newborn lambs. Which is good, because it's clear they couldn't handle a more grown-up relationship.

A Picture of Chaekyung's Ceremonial Hat. Just Because.

But while it's funny for the audience, this is a dead serious matter for Yul, who looks like he's going to vomit when he hears about the royal family's plan for Shin and Chaekyung. The next day, when Chaekyung tells him that nothing happened, he's so relieved, he hugs her.

Her Reaction to the Hug Says So Much.

Shin sees the hug and shoves Yul away, saying, "She's my wife, so don't touch her!" Then Shin berates Chaekung for flirting with Yul, which is not conduct befitting a Crown Princess. Ha. That's rich, coming from a guy who ditched his security guards to joyride around Thailand with Hyorin a few episodes ago. Where was your love for propriety then, Shin?

Anyways, Shin's behavior is infuriating and hypocritical, but one thing it does clearly show is that Chaekyung is special to him. Though he has the worst ways of showing it, sometimes. Chaekyung tells him off good for it, as she ought to.

Yul and Chaekyung meet again, and Yul confesses that he likes her. No, more than likes--he wants to marry her after she divorces Shin. Yul says that he'll never leave her alone or ignore her like Shin does, and besides, he was the prince she was originally intended to marry, anyway.

These Are Compelling Arguments.

Chaekyung tells him to stop talking like this, and it brings up the question: Why can't she just like the nice guy who adores her instead of the cold guy who occasionally acknowledges her? But the choice is more complicated than that, and Yul has some secrets he's hiding, too.

At school, everyone's reading fresh tabloid stories with pictures of Shin and Hyorin in Thailand. Chaekyung's friends go and confront Hyorin for her shadiness, and the confrontation is kind of eerie because Hyorin has previously been a mild villain who sees herself as a victim, and now the bullying has made her an actual victim.

Still Don't Like Her, But I Do Feel Sorry For Her.

The sight of the others girls pushing and shoving Hyorin is definitely awful and highlights how disgusting bullying really is: even when characters we like are bullying characters we don't like, it doesn't feel like justice, it feels dirty and wrong.

Hyorin's mom is admitted to the hospital for a serious back surgery and it's also revealed that Hyorin and her mom don't have much money. Um. Then how does Hyorin afford the ritzy arts school, ballet training, horseback riding lessons, nice presents for Shin, and plane tickets to Thailand? I can understand the need for the story to make Hyorin more sympathetic, but it doesn't make sense to make her poor, not after we've seen her living the luxury life for so many episodes.

At the palace, Yul tries to talk with Chaekyung about his feelings, but she puts up walls. She says that she used to feel sorry for Shin, then she grew to understand him, then the more she understood him, the more she liked him. Without saying it outright, Chaekyung is making it known that Shin's the only one for her.

Those Are the Breaks, Yul.

But! After she says that, Chaekyung finds paparazzi pictures of Hyorin kissing Shin in Thailand. Good. Took forever for Chaekyung to know. She feels betrayed and all, but I think the revelation is happening a little late--the audience knew about this a long, long time ago.

Yul and Chaekyung resolve to remain friends after he says he won't mention his feelings to her anymore. They decide to skip school and go have fun, to alleviate Chaekyung's stress. It doesn't really work because Chaekyung still ends up crying over Shin's behavior. And she lets Yul hold her while she cries.

Might Be Sending Some Mixed Messages.

Chaekyung chills on her own for awhile, and Shin worries when she doesn't come back to the palace on time. Shin goes out to find her, with no results. Yul finds Chaekyung in a remote palace building and tells her that he's willing to drop all his royal responsibilities and run away with her if she really feels so stifled by the palace. Yul, I thought you weren't going to mention your feelings anymore? That resolution lasted all of three hours. Shin barges in and punches Yul for not bringing Chaekyung back immediately once he found her. Kind of thuggish behavior for a prince.


Things I Loved:

Music. I'm loving that classical violin that plays all the time in the background. It sounds Irish to me, but I guess it's a variation on traditional Korean music.


Complaints:

Yul's Mom: She's a good villain, I guess, but anything involving her is so frustrating.

You'd Be Grumpy, Too, If You Had to Wear This Headdress.


 
Watch Goong HERE on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations: Still moving quite slowly. To use a footracing metaphor, the story doesn't so much run along the racetrack as it gradually shifts its posture toward the track, before strolling nonchalantly toward the finish line. The characters are nice, and the palace scenery is sure pretty, but it takes a minimum of 6 episodes for anyone to take decisive action on any important matter. But if you don't mind a leisurely pace, sit back and enjoy! We've got 10 more episodes to go.

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 15-16














Contains Spoilers for Episodes 15-16

Prince Shin finished up the last episode by dragging Chaekyung away from his cousin, Prince Yul. He marches Chaekyung to their car, drives away, then parks in order to tell her just how worried he was when she ran away for a few hours.

Shows His Affection Through Worry/Anger.

Shin tells Chaekyung not to get upset over a "stupid picture," meaning the tabloid photo of his ex-girlfriend Hyorin kissing him in Thailand. Rather than feeling relieved, Chaekyung says that Shin has never been earnest with anyone. He went behind her back, and now he's abandoning Hyorin.

Chaekyung says that being by Shin's side is painful to her now, so he should still plan on divorcing her in two or three years. Ironically, Shin has just gotten to the place where he doesn't want to say goodbye to her. He talks about his feelings and nothing is really resolved, but their argument ends in a hug.

Lots of Hugs in This Drama, I'm Noticing.

But the Shin/Chaekyung reunion is counteracted by the palace finding out about Shin punching Yul. Yul's Mom now outranks Shin's Mom, and she never lets her forget it. Yul's Mom is in a tiff over her precious baby getting punched, even though Precious Baby himself doesn't really care--well, not about the punch itself. But Yul is so upset about his impossible love for Chaekyung, he sequesters himself in his room and refuses to see anyone.

Chaekyung Is Concerned, Naturally.

Shin's parents, the King and Queen, get into a big blamey argument over why their son is so rebellious and what they should do to fix him. One thing I've noticed is that Shin gets reprimanded for doing wrong, but he's never commended for doing right, so the palace has a very poor rewards system with no positive reinforcement. Just thinkin'.

And now the citizens are suggesting that with a Crown Prince so volatile, maybe the best solution is just to abolish the monarchy. But Shin and Chaekyung are still getting along well, and tons of affectionate pictures of them are published in the papers. Their happiness drives Hyorin into greater depths of sadness, and she again seeks out advice from Yul's Mom.

No, Anyone But Yul's Mom!

The Queen Mother hosts a nice family dinner to get all the cold factions of the royal family warmed up and speaking to each other, and everyone initially plays nice. But then the Queen Mother introduces what to her is a delightful subject: Now that Shin is married, shouldn't they be thinking about Yul getting married, too? Eek. She even says to Yul, "Don't you want a nice, lovely bride like Chaekyung?" Uh. I think he wants Chaekyung specifically, not just someone like her.

"Never Mind, I'll Find Someone Like You..."

Throughout dinner, Yul keeps saying these intentionally inflammatory things about how he already has someone he likes and how he'll tell everyone her name when the time is right. Shin and Chaekyung both know exactly what he's talking about, but a couple of the adults are clueless. I admire Yul's bravery here, but Chaekyung already told him it wasn't gonna happen, you know? Shin says in a perfect ice-cold tone, "I don't know who she is, but I hope everything works out for you." Yul: "Thanks. It will." Ooh, burn!

 But still, Shin and Chaekyung stay strong. Episode 16 opens with them hanging out and goofing off on a beach during vacation.

Their Royal Cutenesses, Finally Getting Along.

 Shin says that they should just live together forever. He doesn't want to get a divorce after all. But all this sweetness is soon followed up with Hyorin's flashback memory of herself and Shin having a grand time, just to remind the audience that Shin has moved into the present, but Hyorin's living in the past. Hyorin meets Shin for one last desperate conference, to try to remind him of how much they used to mean to each other.

It Doesn't Work.

And then...

And then Hyorin overdoses on pills in a suicide attempt. I can't even. Trying to kill yourself because your ex-boyfriend doesn't love you anymore? Matters of life and death should not be based on something as frivolous as another person's romantic feelings. Hyorin has become so pitiful, I think I've stopped disliking her. One thing I do dislike, though, is the way that the high school students insist that Hyorin's suicide attempt is Shin's fault. He married someone else after she turned him down, and now he's responsible for Hyorin's mental and emotional well-being?  It doesn't really make sense.

Yul draws a parallel between Hyorin's desperate behavior and his own feelings for Chaekyung. I hope he's not unstable enough to do anything dramatic.

Just Say No To Unnecessary Theatrics.

Yul lies(?) to Chaekyung and says Shin will always love Hyorin more than her. I'm not sure if Yul is telling a falsehood or if this is what he truly believes. At any rate, he's manipulating the situation to his benefit, because he wants Chaekyung all to himself. Tricky!

Yul's Mom visits Hyorin in the hospital to encourage her to keep pursuing Shin. *headdesk*

The King and Queen find about about Hyorin's latest scandal, and they yell at Shin over it. He's been stupid about hanging onto Hyorin for so long, but I still maintain that her actions are not his responsibility. But then he goes to visit her when he's feeling sad! Idiot, idiot, idiot.


Things I Loved:

1. Cute Couple Moments. We haven't gotten nearly enough of these, and now here Shin and Chaekyung are, being all adorable and teasing each other. Gives you those warm, fuzzy feelings!

They Even Have Inside Jokes, Now--It's Awesome.


2. Yul. Yeah, he's just causing interference for our main couple, but I like his guts. He's different from Hyorin in that Hyorin turned Shin down, then changed her mind and tried to get him back. Yul started to love Chaekyung after he met her and he never changed his mind about that.

I want Yul to back off soon, but I do like seeing him doing more than just following orders. Pursuing Chaekyung may be a horrible, horrible decision, but it's his decision at least, and maybe further down the road he can turn his newfound self-will in a more profitable direction.

The Ship You Are Seeking Has Already Sailed.


Complaints:

Plot Circles. Around and around we go with the question of whether Shin should be with Hyorin. Why is anyone, Yul included, still arguing for it? We need new conflicts.

Themes:

Love Makes You Smarter. Yul has never done much of anything in this series, but now that he's serious about winning Chaekyung and proving himself to be a good kingly candidate, he suddenly has massive plans for restructuring the monarchy. Wow. I kind of wish the story had prepared us for this by giving Yul a little more of a previous interest in politics. It's like this new governmental savvy-ness came from nowhere.


Watch Goong HERE on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations: Oy. This is what happens when drama writers have 14 episodes' worth of story and have to stretch it out over 24 episodes of show. I've lost count of how many times Yul has explained his love to Chaekyung, or Shin has officially broken things off with Hyorin forever, or Chaekyung has decided that Shin can never love her. We need new revelations. Somebody has to do something other than what they've been doing for the past 16 episodes, or we're going to have one really dull march to the finale.

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 17-18














Contains Spoilers for Episodes 17-18

Crown Prince Shin is feeling sad that everyone's fussing at him for the latest scandal involving his ex-girlfriend Hyorin, so what does he do? Goes and visits Hyorin at her hotel, of course! Like that's not going to compound all of his problems.

I Just Don't Understand This Guy.

Hyorin goes on and on about her good memories with Shin and the promises they once made to each other, but then she says she won't cling to him anymore. I'll believe that when I see it not happening. So far, clinging has been Hyorin's only function in the plot. It might have been nice if she were the daughter of an important dignitary or had some other role that gave her activities and motivations beyond being a romantic interference.

All the royals are still discussing if Shin has what it takes to be a king. Personally, I don't care very much who is king. Shin seems like a better choice, but I don't think that this show has established that he cares about being a ruler.

Meanwhile, Yul is making  arguments for a real monarchy, not just a symbolic one. How are you going to manage that one, Yul? Lots of countries have turned their monarchs into mere figureheads, but I don't know how you'd go about accomplishing the flipside and making a puppet rulership into an actual governing position.

You Get Points for Big Ideas, Though.

In additional to his big political plans, Yul also has some personal plans in the works. He has a birthday coming up, and he wants to have a big party with all his friends. (What friends? Chaekyung is the only person he ever hangs out with!) But you can bet that this party has a specific purpose because these days, Yul doesn't do anything just because. He's got his own end game planned out.

The birthday party involves a big weekend trip away from the palace. Chaekyung is excited about the trip, but Shin is decidedly not. He wonders why Chaekyung is so jazzed for Yul's party and why she likes him so much. Maybe because he knows how to play to her sympathies and you don't?

Yul's Mom is having to backtrack and cover up her shady dealings, because Shin's Mom is just about to find out that she's trying to destroy Shin's reputation.

Beats Me How No One Figured It Out Before Now.

Side note: Yul's Mom looks great in her red business suit. Hanbok (한복) normally looks super cool, but the outfit and headdress they usually have her in is not flattering.


Chaekyung drives her friends out to the weekend retreat/birthday party location and everyone's all excited and--

Hold Up. Who Invited Hyorin?

Yul, issuing a birthday invitation to your cousin's ex who just tried to commit suicide over him might not be the smartest move. But Shin and Chaekyung still bond a bit over the awkwardness of having to share a room on the weekend retreat. Though I don't get the awkwardness, really--although they've only kissed once (by accident) they've shared a room about four times in this series. It shouldn't really be a source of tension any more.

Once He's Seen You in a Towel Hat, the Tension Should Be Gone.


Shin embarrasses Chaekyung when all their friends accidentally see a video of him kissing her cheek while she's sleeping. She's mortified but, eh, what's a little cheek kiss between friends who also happen to be married? Everyone finally regains their composure, and it's time for a masquerade party!

Which is So, So Cool.

At the party, Hyorin's up to her old Shin-winning tricks, mentioning their shared memories and talking about his food allergies, which Chaekyung doesn't know about. Hyorin is considering studying abroad, and when they're alone, she asks Shin to go with her overseas. Shin doesn't agree, but his answers are so doggone vague. I simple "I don't love you, please go and be happy elsewhere" would work wonders for his relationship with Hyorin.

Back at the palace, the King and Queen are angsting.

And It's Just As Melodramatic as The Kids' Angst.

The King has always loved Yul's Mom it seems, and the Queen says that her son must become the next king so that she'll be paid back for all those years of being second place in the king's heart. Aw, that really is sad.

Chaekyung is angry at Shin again and hints that she'll be wanting that divorce in a few years. This again? Chaekyung and Yul spend some extra time together and Yul says it may be his birthday, but he wants to give her a present.

His Idea of a Present.

Yul follows up the forehead kiss with: "I just wanted to say thank you for being in my life. For being my sunshine." Oh, so sweet! But not really helping anyone's situation. Shin hears this, as he always does, and drags Chaekyung away, as he always does. Chaekyung tells Shin that she wants to pursue her own life away from him and yells at him for not being honest.

His Idea of Honesty.

This is kind of a pushy, forceful thing to do, but it does get his point across. Chaekyung slaps him and storms away.


Things I Loved:

Friends. It's good to Chaekyung hanging out with her posse again.


Complaints:

I'm used to most of the show's downsides by now.


Watch Goong HERE on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations: Still not a lot of development here. Everything that happens in these episodes is just reiterating stuff we already knew, such as:

1. The monarchy may go to Yul instead of Shin.
2. Chaekyung likes Shin but is conflicted about Yul.
3. Shin likes Chaekyung but is conflicted about Hyorin.

But, hey. We get to see lots of conflicted pretty people in palaces, so Goong has still got some entertainment value.

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 19-20














Contains Spoilers for Episodes 19-20

Shin and Chaekyung are all awkward with each other.

Which Is Sort of Normal For Them.

Shin tries to apologize for his earlier outburst, but Chaekyung shuts him down. Yul worsens the strained feelings by hinting about how he confessed his feelings to Chaekyung on his birthday trip. Shin's all, "Well, I'm glad you enjoyed the trip, cousin, because I was really annoyed by someone's actions last weekend."

And Shin Has a History of Punching Yul When He's Annoyed.

The Queen Mother picks up on this thinly veiled aggression and reminds her grandsons to stay cool-headed. She says that Shin and Yul need to form a better bond and to work together for the future of the royal household. I doubt that will happen, but I'd love to see it.

Chaekyung goes back to telling Yul that while he was her original fiance, things just aren't going to work out between them. It's all old news, but then Yul mentions something new... When he was ten, his mom tried to commit suicide and he was the one who found her, nearly dead. Since then, he's been terrified of being alone in the world--his dad is gone, his mom is unstable, and he himself is very afraid.

His Actions Suddenly Make So Much More Sense.

This is excellent motivation for Yul. It's kind of extreme for him to keep pursuing a girl who says she's not going to reciprocate his love, but the pursuit works so much better when you know that Chaekyung is symbolic for him. She is affection and stability and companionship. Yul is conflating his romantic feelings with his need for a family, so it makes his fervor much more understandable.

Shin tries to talk Chaekyung into cutting ties with Yul. He says Yul has no respect for boundaries, so she'll have to take the initiative and stop speaking to him. And then Shin attempts to exert his husbandly authority--Chaekyung should stay away from that guy simply because her husband doesn't like him. Honey, you can't just play husband when it suits you.

She Will Respond By Hanging Out With Yul More.

In a nice twist from her usual behavior, Hyorin tells Shin that she's been accepted to a faraway ballet school, and she lets him know that he should open his heart to Chaekyung. Hyorin and Shin were drawn to each other because they were similar, but Chaekyung could be even better for Shin because she's so different. Aww.

Off in an obscure pavilion on the palace grounds, Shin finds an old love letter written from his dad to Yul's Mom. He is understandably squicked out. It also seems to bother him that Yul's Mom walks around the palace all hoity-toity proper when she was once at the center of a big hushed-up scandal.

Not Above Hypocrisy.

For his part, Shin is trying to reach out to Chaekyung these days, but it might be case of too little too late. Yul encourages Chaekyung to run away from the palace for good, and finally all this secretly-meeting-up-with-Yul stuff is discovered and the newspapers are buzzing with the idea that the Crown Princess has a boyfriend on the side--they just don't know the guy she's meeting is Yul.

Naturally, everyone in the royal household freaks out. Meetings are held, princesses are berated, yada yada yada. Chaekyung tries to tell Shin that she loves Shin only, not Yul, but he falls back on his tried and true emotional defense of "Stop talking about hearts and feelings! I just want you to leave Yul alone."

Chaekyung, You May Have Married an Idiot.

Hyorin tells Chaekyung that she's going overseas. Chaekyung asks if she thinks they can ever be friends, someday far into the future. Hyorin says, yeah, maybe. I like that ending for our two lead girls. Too much bad blood between them to part as buddies, but there is hope for the future, for both of them.

Yul is now upset that Chaekyung is changing and becoming more comfortable in the palace. I think she's becoming more mature and responsible, but he's very invested in keeping her just as she's always been. That's surprisingly stifling. Chaekyung will always maintain her sense of self, so it's weird that Yul is so insistent that she's losing her identity.

Shin confronts Yul's Mom about all those love letters he found in the old pavilion (why didn't they burn those?). She slaps him for his trouble. He says he'll pay her back for her insult, and if she bothers him again, he'll show the love letters to Yul.

First Time the Crown Prince Has Shown His Crazy Side.

Shin keeps trying to show Chaekyung how important she is to him, but he does it through weird formal gestures like making her parents address her in polite, deferential language. That's not going to make her like you more! Seriously, this boy does not know the first thing about showing love.


Yul asks Chaekyung to say that she wants a divorce during a nationally televised interview she'll have with Shin the next day. In the interview, Chaekyung is about to bring up the divorce, but before she can say anything, Shin announces to the audience that he truly loves her.

So Why Does She Look So Hurt?



Watch Goong HERE on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations: We've made a little bit of progress! Hyorin is out of the picture, and Shin has admitted he loves Chaekyung, although she thinks he's just lying for the cameras. Also, Shin has uncovered his Dad's weird past, so that's a good development. I'm more than ready for Chaekyung to stop being gloomy and go back to her effervescent self, though. Four more episodes to go...

Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong Episodes 21-22














Contains Spoilers for Episodes 21-22

Chaekyung and Shin are being interviewed on national television, and Shin is waxing eloquent about how their arranged marriage of convenience has blossomed into a love match.

If That's True, Why is Your Bride Cringing?

I could just kick Shin right now. Because it's true--Shin and Chaekyung both love each other, but Shin has never said he loves her until now, which makes him sounds like a grade-A fake who's putting on a charming show for the media circus. He doesn't even hold her hand when they're not in interviews, so she can't honestly feel like any of this is being done for her benefit.

Chaekyung does briefly mention that she considered divorce at one point in the past, but Shin glosses right over her words. At home, the royal family is having conniption fits because she mentioned divorce. The king is acting like such a jerk. He yells at Shin for "letting" Chaekyung say such a scandalous thing. Chaekyung may have pulled a dumb move, bringing up their marital troubles just then in the interview, but neither she nor Shin deserves the dressing down they get from the elders.

Just Made An Honest Mistake.

Shin jumps aboard the blame-Chaekyung train and tells his parents that they made a mistake in marrying him off to a girl who can't manage the basic courtesies. It's another cruel move from Shin, but...his words also make me wonder why it is that Chaekyung can't master the palace courtesies and public behaviors. Surely some of that manners training should be sinking in?

In private, however, Shin gets emotional and tells Chaekyung that his love confession was real. For the first time in his life, his heart belongs to another person--her. Ack, his timing is so terrible.

There's a nice change in the Queen's heart when she tells the King that she was deeply touched by Shin confession of love for Chaekyung. She says that a wife can overcome anything if she has a loving husband by her side. She asks the King if he loves her, but he says nothing at all.

She Becomes More of a Sympathetic, Tragic Figure.

Chaekyung seeks the King's forgiveness through an extremely formal type of penance, seokgo daejo or kneeling in supplication, until he decides to pardon her.

She Kneels For a Loooong Time.

Yul is so upset over Chaekyung's self-assigned punishment, he goes to Shin to ask his cousin to stop her. Shin is indifferent to Yul's pleas, less because he's mad at Chaekyung and more because he's mad at Yul, who the King seems to be favoring lately.

After Chaekyung's been kneeling without food, water, or rest for about 36 hours, the Queen Mother takes matters into her own hands, gathering the family together and telling them to forgive that poor child. The King flounces about how Chaekyung lied to them and won't tell them what guy she met with that night, and Yul confesses that he was with Chaekyung as a friend, but in his heart he loves her deeply.

Has a Knack For Dramatic Statements.

I kind of like how although Yul's love can no longer cause much friction between Shin and Chaekyung, it can still wreck havoc on the rest of the family. His feelings work better as a family complication than a romantic obstacle for the leads, who have plenty of their own obstacles. Yul's confession also has the desired affect of getting Chaekyung forgiven. Yul goes to retrieve Chaekyung from her penance, then they run into Shin in the hallway.

Which Begs the Question: Why Didn't Shin Help Her First?

When Chaekyung later asks Shin why he didn't come for her, he says that the way she plotted with Yul made him sick to his stomach, and he still can't forgive her. JERK. Someone's forgetting his own human frailty and the mistakes he once made which hurt Chaekyung. It's like he thinks he's the only person capable of being hurt. He follows his lovely little speech up with, "I'm going to make you live here with me forever. That's the price you pay for betraying me." Wow.

Shin sits alone at night, wearing the shoes Chaekyung made him for his birthday and thinking about how he never finds the right words to say.

The adults decide that sending Yul far away is the best remedy for this problem. Out of sight, out of mind, as the saying goes.

Unsurprisingly, Chaekyung Also Wants to Leave.

There's talk of deposing Chaekyung as Crown Princess, but it's part of Yul's Mom's plot to keep Yul around. She tells her son that he's going to be king whether he likes it or not.

Chaekyung decides to resign rather than being deposed from her position. Yul is excited at first, but then Chaekyung tells him that she'll never see him again once she leaves the palace. He was a good friend, but he's not for her. Yul's heart cracks into a thousand pieces.

Episode 22 ends with a palace fire, and Chaekyung apparently being trapped inside a blaze as Shin looks for her. What?


Watch Goong HERE on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations: These are really sad episodes if you're emotionally invested in the show, but fortunately I'm closer to "impartial observer" territory. Chaekyung's sadness bothers me but I don't really feel sorrowful as I watch it, and while I disapprove of Shin's cold behavior, I can't stay mad at him for very long either. I'm just documenting Goong at this point, without feeling either connected to it or let down by it.

I'm glad that the royal secrets are all out in the air, now. Everybody knows everything important, and the conflicts are coming to a head. With fire!


Labels: K-drama

K-Drama Review: Princess Hours/Goong, Episodes 23-24














Contains Spoilers for Episodes 23-24

This long running show finally comes to a close in these episodes.

In the last episode, there was a fire on the palace grounds, and I was expecting Shin to rescue Chaekyung from it, but she was never in danger, as it turns out. But now the number one suspect for the arson is Shin himself. The whole thing's a plot by Yul's Mom, who set him up for a fall.


Uh-Oh.

Chaekyung tries to comfort Shin in his time of difficulty, but he doesn't want her pity.

Yul's Mom tells Yul that Shin started the fire, but Yul says, "Mom. Shin isn't that emotional." Ha! That's great that Shin's name could basically be cleared from arson charges just because he doesn't have the capacity for the type of strong feelings required to start fires on purpose. Ice Prince, indeed. Yul realizes that his mom is behind the plot and starts investigating.

Investigating in English, No Less.

Chaekyung visits Shin and again and hugs him tight while telling him that she's sorry for all the troubles they've been through, but she really does want to stay by his side. Dawww. Chaekyung confesses that she loves him and just when it looks like Shin's about to send her away, he says, "Stay by my side. Don't leave me." For Shin, this statement is tantamount to writing her name is rose petals on a moonlit beach. The boy is not romantic, but Chaekyung loves him anyways.

Kissing, Yay!

I'm surprised that I'm still so happy for these two to get together. After all, Shin's been a near-emotionless robot for the whole show and Chaekyung has been bemoaning her fate for eight or so episodes. But hey, happiness is happiness. I'll take it! They have a precious discussion about how she'll earn the money and he'll watch their future kids if they get kicked out of the palace.

So Great, I Kind of Wish It Would Happen For Real.

The Queen Mother comforts her brokenhearted grandson Yul with some words of wisdom and a hug. Good. Yul needed a shoulder to cry on. The royal family soon decides that they have to send Chaekyung overseas--not sure why, it just seems like it'll take some of the national focus off of Shin and his potential misdeeds. But Chaekyung and Shin live it up anyway, going shopping and doing cute couple things. Then Shin and Yul work out what's left of their animosity through fencing.

The Sport of Literal Kings.

Chaekyung tearfully says goodbye to the royal family, but not before bonding with Shin's mom, the Queen, as she has never done before. Yul goes on television and claims responsibility for his mother's involvement in the arson. The King decides that he wants to retire from the kingship due to his failing health, leaving Shin in charge now that he trusts his son again. Yul's Mom finally repents of being such a total rat.

The story picks back up when Shin visits Chaekyung while she's living overseas in Macao. Turns out that Shin let his older sister become the reigning monarch instead of him! Such a nice twist. And then the Queen Mother comes to visit them, as well!

Shin At Right, Looking Sharp In His Suit Coat and Jean Shorts.

The Queen Mother gives Shin her own engagement ring to give to Chaekyung, now that they love each other truly. Shin hands the ring to Chaekyung and says, "Let's get married for real." This time, their marriage will be 100% their choice, not just something arranged by the royal household.

Too Sweet!

They renew their vows with only the Queen Mother and Chaekyung's lady-in-waiting as witnesses. It's a good contrast to the colorful but unfeeling spectacle of their initial wedding. Chaekyung feels nauseated immediately after the ceremony, and grandma suspects that she is pregnant. Shin and Chaekyung look surprised, but they also look like this is a distinct possibility. But...when did they...? There was no time...? Ah, anyways. The show ends with our two leads happily married for the second time, and their future is partly sunny with a chance of babies.

Watch Goong HERE on Dramafever.

Episode Evaluations: It's all over now, and I have trouble finding anything to say about Goong anymore. The ending wasn't bad--it was quite nice, even. Just took us ten too many episodes to get there. Goong is a pleasant Cinderella story that gets weighed down by angst simply because the same old conflicts refuse to resolve themselves. But it's not bad--just very, very slow.

I'm glad I watched the show, just so I'd know for sure what the longstanding buzz was all about, and I'm also glad that this show introduced me to the awesome actress Yoon Eun Hye who plays Chaekyung. There are several cute moments in this series, but they're spread a little too thin over the high number of episodes, so that puts Goong a little further down my list of classic K-dramas to recommend to others.

This is Tiger Holland, signing off and looking for a show with more zippy plot movement.

Labels: K-drama
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