Tuesday, September 20, 2011
intro info: Goong (Korean)
Yoon Eun Hye as Shin Chae Kyung
Joo Ji Hoon as Lee Shin
Kim Jeong Hoon as Lee Yool
Song Ji Hyo as Min Hyo Rin
Goong @ dramawiki
Goong, also known as Palace or Princess Hours, is a classic Korean manhwa to television series adaptation that became a huge hit among the South Korean viewers, especially young girls. During it's run in 2006, Goong was one of the highest rated series, placing up to 2nd compared to other series being broadcast at the time. As the series that made Yoon Eun Hye and Joo Ji Hoon the popular young new stars that they are today, there never seemed to be a doubt that Goong wasn't a good series.
The series tells the tale of a young girl named Shin Chae Kyung who reigns from a small, commoner family during a fictional time in Korea where monarchy still exists in modern society; it is the Korean version of England where a royal family exists as significant figures, but not necessarily for governing reasons. Due to an agreement between the grandfather's from two families, Shin Chae Kyung has been promised in marriage to the present Crown Prince Lee Shin. While there is still an option for both of these kids to back out of that agreement, for their own personal reasons, they choose to get married and start their lives together as Crown Prince and Crown Princess.
Along the way, viewers play witness to Chae Kyung's endeavors as she goes through her trials and tribulations, trying to become an ideal princess to the royal family, trying to fit in with palace life, and trying to make her marriage with Shin work despite their differences. And just as any romantic comedy story line would have it, comedic antics ensue, our main couple slowly learn to like each other and eventually fall in love, and along the way, various obstacles force them to continuously doubt and become upset with each other. On an aside, half-baked political intrigue also occur among the adults which end up affecting the kids as well.
This series, as far as storyline is concerned, is told very well through the eyes of Shin Chae Kyung, an easily excitable and happy-go-lucky young girl trying to figure out what she's doing with her life now that she's become a member of the royal family. Her bubbly personality does a number on the people around her, slowly molding the palace to adapt to her strange and chaotic habits. Of course, this isn't to say that she is completely powerful as she goes through her own sadness and depression, being imprisoned in a place where rules and regulations control everyone's lives and where there is no room for mistakes because your every move is watched by the public and a set of men known as the Elders.
The love story between Chae Kyung and Shin cannot be said to be the sweetest or the most exciting. These two are merely two kids thrown together and made to learn how to love each other. Through obligation and after a certain amount of time being together, the two begin to grow on one another, although due to lack of communication and mistrust, are always fighting and coming across misunderstandings. Nonetheless, the story depicts a very natural and slow development of romance for the main couple; two kids falling in love with each other due to circumstances.
The series holds an air of melancholy; the royals are never happy because of all of their duties and their controlled life. Lee Yool and his mother Lady Hwa Yong are convinced that their lives were lost after they were banished from the palace and have returned for revenge. Min Hyo Rin was unfortunately jilted by her two year boyfriend when he ends up marrying a complete stranger. Lee Shin feels trapped in his own family as he never receives any warmth from his parents anymore and cannot even choose to dream a different future other than becoming a king. Chae Kyung's joyous attitude briefly disappears when she finally lets the palace life suffocate her after letting her feelings for Lee Shin overcome her.
There were points in this series that I really felt these kids could use a big reality check; at the age of nineteen, your lives are NOT over because of a lost love or a lost family, or even anything in general. But the way that everyone was going on about how miserable they were, you'd think that the world was coming to an end.
The only saving grace for this series' dark undertones are Chae Kyung's family and her friends who consistently lend support and love for our female protagonist when she's feeling her worst. I especially enjoyed the presence of these people, even Chae Kyung's little brother who is contantly calling her names, because deep down, you can tell he cares about her even if he won't admit it. The warmth that you get from Chae Kyung's friends and her family really does outshine the dreary atmosphere of the royals and the aristocrats. Give me a commoner's home any day, because despite the luxuries and glamor of a rich person's life, I don't think I'd ever be able to have fun.
Nonetheless, Goong is a fantastic series that I enjoyed from beginning until the very end, although there were many fairly irritating aspects to the series that just made my teeth grind. But, alas, not everything can be perfect; I wouldn't have changed any of the story line for any reason anyway since even the irritating parts made Goong what it is today. Goong is a classic television series depicting a tale of love, family, friendship, duty and dreams.
With a charming cast of characters, enjoyable hilarious antics, emotional ups and down, wonderful scenery in am amazing palace backdrop and beautiful costumes, I highly recommend Goong to anyone who is interested in some fun entertainment. It's also rather useful for those looking for a good cry as there are lots of scenes that tug at heartstrings and make you reach for tissues just to dab at watery eyes. Highly enjoyable and a very gorgeous series with some flaws here and there; this is what makes Goong the great series that it turned out to be.
thoughts: Goong (Korean) - a more in depth look at the series in discussion