Year of Broadcast: 2008
P L O T
Based on a fictional book about a Robin Hood in Korea, Hong Gildong, this drama is very loosely based off of that book and the time it was set in.
Hong Gil Dong (Kang Ji Hwan) was the illegitimate son of a high ranked minister. A local monk took him under his wing and taught him martial arts. Hong Gil Dong was inspired to fight for the injustice in this society that divided people into nobles and ordinary citizens whereby the former enjoyed all the privileges due solely to their birth.
The heroine, Heo Yi Nok (Song Yuri), 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.
Lee Chang Hwi (Jang Geun Suk) had been told since he was young that he was the rightful heir to the throne which had been usurped by his half brother. He had also returned from his exile in China and was plotting to overthrow the emperor.
The three got entangled in love, hate, loyalty and betrayal and only one side can win. (source: dramawiki)
T H O U G H T S
This is my second time watching a Saeguk (historical) drama from start to end. First it was Strongest Chil Woo, and now Hong Gil Dong (I tried The Legend, but after reading the summary, I stopped midway).
I can say I’m not a fan of historical dramas because it gives me the impression of antiquity and the sort (=boredom), you’ll only expect me to watch one if I like the casts😉
The reason why I watched this is because of Jang Geun Suk xD I can’t get enough of this guy. But let’s talk about him later. lol
Hong Gil Dong is an enjoyable series, it’s full of funny moments (especially at the beginning) but still it has its moments of seriousness plus while all of these are happening, one gets to see the development of characters.
Instead of enjoying this because of Jang Geun Suk, I soon enjoyed the story, the humor, and the other characters too. How can I say this? Though it is supposed to be about the Joseon Dynasty and the thing about rebels’ discontent with the king/corrupt officials/illegitimate child/killing/thirst for power, Hong Gil Dong provided the viewers with a refreshing take on the traditional saeguk dramas.
Recently, I became familiar with the Hong Sisters, they’re the writers of HGD and other great dramas as well (You’re Beautiful, My girl, Chun Yang). I looked up to them. It’s unbelievable how good they are, what I mean is, they’ve proven their skills in writing modern stories and when they tried with Saeguk, their magic actually still worked.
As for the casts, they were all great. Almost all of them have left their mark on me. What I meant was it wasn’t the conventional drama where in most people will only notice the leads & antagonist but in HGD, the depth of the characters were clearly shown and the actors & actresses live up to their part. I’m especially amazed by Kang Ji Hwan. Initially, I was rooting for Geun Suk, but after seeing Ji Hwan’s portrayal of Gil Dong, I was moved by him and yeah, well I like Gil Dong more than Chang Hui (in the drama, so to speak). Another is Song Yuri, I’ve seen two dramas of her (excluding this), and for me she’s done a great job as Yi Nok. Lastly, there is Gun Seuk, haha, I think roles like Chang Hui’s suit him right? IDK, however, it pains me to see him as the second lead.
Then there’s the ending. I’ve cried buckets. I can say it’s perfect though it was tragic. It’s the perfect ending because even if important lives were sacrificed, it paved way to create the world that they (who died) envisioned. The ending made me realize a lot of things, and the parting words of Gil Dong’s master (connecting their time w/ the future) properly brought such a nice ending to the story.
Watch it. It’s a 24 episode drama, haha, but I’m sure you’ll manage.🙂