Goong or Princess Hours is an alternate reality historical drama; the plot places a constitutional monarchy in modern day South Korea. Goong came out in 2006. Some people may be partial to newer dramas, but you don’t want to miss out on the breakout role of male lead Joo Ji Hoon (very handsome), who plays Crown Prince Lee Shin. The drama also stars a young Yoon Eun Hye playing Chae-kyeong, the female lead. It is available on DramaFever.
The story stems from a friendship between the grandfathers of Chae-kyeong and Crown Prince Lee Shin. The King promised Chae-kyeong’s grandfather that his grandson, the Crown Prince, would be married to Chae-kyeong. Surprisingly, Crown Prince Lee Shin and Chae-kyeong attend the same school. However, Crown Prince Lee Shin is in love with another classmate Hyo-rin, a dedicated ballet dancer. Since the Crown Prince expects to marry soon, he makes a preemptive strike by asking Hyo-rin to marry him. Hyo-rin rejects the Crown Prince, because she wants to focus on her career in the ballet. Hyo-rin quickly regrets this plan when she finds out that the Crown Prince and Chae-kyeong agree to get married. Both parties are entering the marriage unwillingly; the Crown Prince knows that the monarchy is in danger due to his father’s illness, while Chae-kyeong family is facing financial issues.
This love triangle becomes a square when the cousin and former crown prince, Lee Yul, comes back from London after being kept away for most of his adolescence. Whereas, the Crown Prince does not initially warm up to his new bride, Prince Lee Yul is smitten. Prince Lee Yul is tormented by the fact that Chae-kyeong was once his bride. Prince Lee Yul’s mother, Lady Hwa-Yong, is also overwrought with the fact that her son will never be king, because her husband died before he took the throne. Lady Hwa-Yong will do anything to put her son in power and Prince Lee Yul is able to support a plan where he is by Chae-kyeong’s side….
First, Yoon Eun Hye and Joo Ji Hoon make a very good on screen couple. The actors and the plot of the drama were above par. The drama allows you to understood why the characters were having such a hard time falling in love with each other. There just did not seem to be a bad guy, and for a long time I thought Chae-kyeong and Prince Lee Yul should have ended up together. There was so much turmoil in determining who to root for. Additionally, the actors from both families of the lead characters and the servants were superb.
Second, set and costumes. Amazing traditional Korean dress for the Queen, Queen Mother, and Lady Hwa-Yong. I was also impressed by the amount of time dedicated to wedding preparations and the wedding ceremony. If there is a part of Goong you don’t want to miss, check out the early episodes for these moments. If anyone knows whether this was historically accurate ceremony, please let me know.
Third, Lady Hwa-Yong is a great villan. It was bewildering to see her ability to reason her way into good character’s hearts and minds. Her tactics were upsetting and smooth enough to change the most valiant heart. Prince Lee Yul’s strength in the face of Lady Hwa-Yong’s power is part of the reason why his character’s outcome is disappointing.
Fourth, Quirkiness. Chae-kyeong and friends are all written as quirky characters. Who knew that the nicknames of her friends tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum would fit so well? Chae-kyeong’s Crown Prince stuffed animal was comical. I was waiting for a scene where Chae-kyeong hit it so hard the stuffing would come out. The Queen Mother was delightful, funny, and was used as a good mast for the royal family’s rough seas.
Downsides. Goong forced the audience to overlook all of the King’s wrongdoings, because he was ill. The ending was more than underwhelming. While the characters in Lie to Me ended up in a way that pleased the viewers, Goong just perturbed its viewers.The way the line of succession ended was disappointing. The ending became overly convoluted and did not finish key character’s story lines. Although, what concerns me most is who is the father of Chae-kyeong’s baby?
These are the reasons why Goong, which has an exceptional plot, solid character development, and great acting, receives 4 out of 5 stars.
Sidenote: This drama was lacking in the kiss department.
Up Next: City Hall
- [NEWS][2011.9.24] Musical Goong Returned Splendidly (ss501fanblog.wordpress.com)