Jan 22, 2009

Hong Gil Dong (5)

To start off, Hong Gil Dong was a fictional character from a Joseon dynasty story. He robbed from the rich so he could give the money to the poor; The Robin Hood of Korea (I didn't know this when I was watching the drama, I thought he's a real-life historical figure, so now knowing this I kinda feel better about the drama in general). Anyway, since its a fictional book in Joseon dynasty era, the drama is very loosely based at the time it was set in, and the King was not really as mad (I think!) as it was potrayed.

Hong Gil Dong albeit born to a high ranking aristocrats, but being illegitimate and his mother was a slave, he was (could not) be acknowledge by his father (and the world at large) as his son. He also didn't fit-in in either society, he wasn't an aristocrats but not really a slave also. He got ambition when he was young, but it was drilled on him by his father, he could do nothing (meaningful) as he was a slave. So he spent his years growing up doing nothing, just lazed around and harassing the town people. Since he could do nothing about the world, he couldn't care less whats happening to the world around him; just minding his own business. Oh yeah, he's good at fighting since a local monk took him under his wing and taught him martial arts. He's not truly bad - just more like a naughty child.

Heo Yi Nok, had just returned to Korea from China with her grandfather. They made their living by putting on shows and selling their special brand of medicine in the marketplace. She's a simple-minded girl with a kind heart - a bit slow on the uptake though. She first met Gil Dong when he accosted her to teach him to speak Chinese while she was peddling her medicine at town. A simple friendship started at first, but begin to develop into more as they got to know each other....but then Gil Dong had to take the blame, and sacrifice himself. He was shot with an arrow and fall down the cliff. Don't worry, that isn't a spoiler (much) since it was in episode 6 or something, so obviously he didnt die, but only believed to be dead to the world and sob! sob! Yi Nok.

Gil Dong was first an 'accidental' hero, then a 'reluctant' one before he really feel the injusticeness of the world he live in and inspired to fight for equality in the society. I like this conversation he had with Chang Hwi.

Gil Dong: “So this is all to take your stolen place back from the king?… Why must you become king? Because you’re the legitimate blood prince? Just as I cannot be anything but a servant, being born to a servant, you were born to be king, so you must do anything to become king, is that it? As I promised, I’ll die. You’ll live on, so keep thinking about it — why it is that you must be king.”

and afterward Chang Whe laments, “I’ve never once thought about why I must be king..."

Lee Chang Hwi had been told since he was young that he was the rightful heir to the throne which had been usurped by his half (illegitimate) brother. He had also just returned from his hiding in China and was plotting to overthrow his brother the king. How bleak would your life seems to be knowing your mother sacrifice herself in order for you to live unhunted. Maybe, the reason to live was only because if you didn't then the reason your mother had given up her life would be for nothing.

The three got entangled in love, hate, loyalty and betrayal and only one side can win. And sigh! its another 'hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' again. Chang Hwi although he got reasons (his love for Yi Nok and political) to force Yi Nok to stay at his side, he didn't. Well, at first he did, saying that when she's only precious to him, he can let her go so that she can be happy but now that he had another reason to need her to stay, he wont let her go anymore. But alas he did, with tears (unconvincing) in his eyes.

Ahem.. I digress, anyway there was this aristocrat lady who was engaged with Gil Dong's legitimate brother, but was obsessed with Gil Dong. I know her life being in the gilded house might be dull, so she wants some adventure which she could find when she was with Gil Dong. But please why can she be satisfied with her life and let Gil Dong and Yi Nok be? In Hyung wasn't so bad for a husband, yes he's a coward, and no so smart but he truly cares for her. But no!, since she could not have Gil Dong, then he had to die. Argh! I really hate it when they showed how the men are more giving while the women are petty and vengeful - and this drama was written by the Hong sisters (female!). But maybe on the positive side, female had more backbone than male, they fought what they want rather than being meek and step back.

Then, there is Gil Dong's father/master, his blind, stupid, stubborn loyalty to the crazy king was beyond my understanding (kinda remind me of Hang Tuah). Yes, maybe the king was a decent man at first, with ideals to make the world a better place -before he got sidetrack with his guilt and insecurities - but when the king turns 180 degrees (or should it be 360 degrees?), why couldnt he own up to his mistake, count his losses and make it right? Adding more wrongs won't make it right. Why did he as the monk said "could only look on when the world he help to build and protect kills the persons he love"?

There's so many scenes that I love in this drama, so many dialogues...to describe it all would make this post even more longer. Lets just keep it short and say I LOVE KANG JI HWAN! Haha... I don't know if I love KJH or his character here. Its just that his face are so expressive. It was said Joo Ji Hoon and Jo Hyun Jae were supposed to star in this drama as Hong Gil Dong and Chang Hwi but they both were unable to make a compromise with the production agency. Much as I love Jo Hyun Jae, but I don't think he's suitable for the role of HGD, maybe Chang Hwi... (Sorry, I don't like Joo Ji Hoon - he's much a wooden actor compare to Jang Geuk Seok).

Jang Geun Seok, what can I say about him? Maybe, it's just hard to act as a cold person. Would it need a haughty look? a sad look? or maybe seems like wooden man or a robot. But I love him as the young master in Hwang Jini, cry buckets over him. Here, not so much (but I bet he's better than Joo Hi Hoon would be :P ) When I was watching the HGD's special at the end of the drama he was so cute and adorable when he smiled and laughed. Hmm... if one of my nephews look more like him, maybe I would be like 'pilih-kasih' (favoritism) just to see him smile... haha...maybe!

Sung Yuri - love her here! After dissapointed with her passable acting in Snow Queen and One Fine Day (hate her in First Love of Royal Prince), she really shows some improvement in this drama. And the chemistry she had with Kang Ji Hwan - no wonder they won the KBS best-couple award.
There's this scene where she offered Gil Dong some kinda food (maybe candy) to Gildong. He ate it at first, and commented on the weird taste. She told him the candy get wet cause she didn't remember it was on her when she took a bath at the stream earlier. Gildong remember then, she not only took a bath in the stream, she also took a piss there! He took out the candy out of his mouth and gave it back to Yi Nok, and she non-chalantly put it in her own mouth. Did she really ate the candy Gil Dong spit out? or did they swap it with a new one?

Hmm... to date I think this is the first drama that I rewatched immediately after finished watching the entire drama - to the point I put Yi San Vol.4 on hold. The 2nd time around, I watched it at more leisurely pace - since I already know the ending - savoring the good scenes. The 2nd time around, I noticed the ridiculousness of the band of thieves would help Chang Hwi claimed the throne, being Chang Hwi group that killed their former leader in the first place. They said he was a good man, their leader - worth dying for; but they thought they foiled Chang Hwi first attempt to dethrone his brother was a sufficient revenge??? Ridiculous!

Love the sountrack, especially these two songs:

If - by Tae Yeon

Fate - by Park Wan Kyu


Name: 강지환 / Kang Ji Hwan *
Real name: 조태규 / Jo Tae Kyu (Cho Tae Gyu) *
Profession: Actor *
Birthdate: 1979-Mar-20 *

Triple (MBC, 2009) *
Hong Gil Dong (KBS2, 2008) *
Capital Scandal (KBS2, 2007) *
90 Days, Falling in Love Days (MBC, 2006) *
Exhibition of Fireworks (MBC, 2006) *
Be Strong Geum Soon (MBC, 2005) *
Save the Last Dance for Me (SBS, 2004) *
More Beautiful Than a Flower (KBS2, 2004) *
Nonstop 4 (MBC, 2003) *
Summer Scent (KBS2, 2003) *

Dying to see Triple (Yoon Kye Sang is also in here!), gonna rewatch Capital Scandal, Err...hesitate to watch 90 days and Fireworks coz i don't like both lead actress and can't find Geum Soo with a subtitle!!!!

Name: 성유리 / Sung Yu Ri (Seong Yu Ri) *
Nicknames: Shil Shilee / Tokki *
Profession: Actress and singer *
Birthdate: 1981-Mar-03 *


Swallow the Sun (SBS, 2009) *
Hong Gil Dong (KBS2, 2008) *
The Snow Queen (KBS2, 2006) *
One Fine Day (MBC, 2006) *
Prince's First Love (MBC, 2004) *
Thousand Years of Love (SBS, 2003) *
My Platoon Leader (MBC, 2002) *
Bad Girls (SBS, 2002) *

Name: 장근석 / Jang Geun Seok *
Profession: Actor, singer *
Birthdate: 1987-Aug-04 *

Beethoven Virus (MBC, 2008) *
Hong Gil Dong (KBS2, 2008) *
Hwang Jin Yi (KBS2, 2006) *
Alien Sam (2006) *
Lovers in Prague (SBS, 2005) *
Nonstop 4 (MBC, 2003) *
Daemang (SBS, 2002) *

Still wonder why they cast him in a love-triangle alongside KJH and SYR, he's so much younger than them!!!!


Anonymous said...

And i still wonder how could she choose the other gay?!

bleuelle said...

You mean why she choose HGD over Chang Hwi? Well, she might have choose Chang Hwi if he was nice to her in the beginning; for he was the first guy she was attracted to. But then Chang Hwi has missed the train; she had fallen for HGD n there's no turning back.

mahy said...

kang ji hwan birthdate not 1979 his birthdate is March 20, 1977
jang geun suk younger than him about 10 years and half and hong gil dong wasn't nice with yinok in the beginning also