A Tree With Deep Roots

A Tree With Deep Roots (2011)

Your Rating:
Ratings: 8.4/10 from 1,281 users
Reviews: 11 users

Early in his reign, King Se Jong accidentally causes the death of his in-laws and their slaves in an attempt to save them from his brutal father, King Tae Jong. Two young slaves, Ddol Bok and his friend Dam, survive but neither knows the other has. Ddol Bok blames the king and vows to kill him to avenge the deaths of everyone he loved. He spends several years becoming a great warrior. read moreDam, who has a photographic memory, becomes a court lady called So Yi, but she feels so guilty about her role in the other slaves' deaths that she is mute.
Ddol Bok returns to the palace under the name of Kang Chae Yoon in order to kill the king. However, he becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding the deaths of several Hall of Worthies scholars. The deaths were caused by a secret society called "Hidden Root," which was created long ago by followers of Jeong Do Jeon, with the goal of giving more power to ministers and less to the king. King Tae Jong killed Jeong Do Jeon and all of his family except his nephew, Jeong Gi Joon, who is now the leader of Hidden Root and lives in disguise not far from King Se Jong.

  • Native title:

    뿌리깊은 나무
  • Also Known as:

    Deep-rooted Tree; Bbu-ri-gip-eun Na-mu

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28 of 29 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Dec 25, 2011
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 8.0
  • Rewatch Value 10
Without spoilers, this is going to be a hard review to write, but I figured since no other reviews were written for it, I would give it a try. I used to not be a fan of sageuks, but recently I have been proven wrong, and this is one of those that did it.

In terms if writing, the story was well written. I kind of kept you guessing, and the cliffhangers read more were killers. The way the characters were written was brilliant, as well as the way history and fiction were mixed. It kept you coming back for more. Granted there was your typical backstabbing and plot making, but it fit in with the story, so it didn't seem out of place or to be to much.

In terms of acting, brilliant. Each actor portrayed their characters to the point you actually believed they were the character, not an actor playing someone. I have to say I was very impressed by Jang Hyuk, yet again, and after seeing two sageuks of his, I have a hard time picturing him playing any other type of role.

The music, I would have liked to have heard more traditional instruments, but all in all it wasn't bad.

I will definitely be watching this again. I was thinking that with 24 episodes that it would get boring, but never once was I bored. Give it a try.
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21 of 22 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
May 11, 2014
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 9.0
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
I doubt many writers wake up and say “Hey, let’s do a show about creating an alphabet! That will be exciting!” I suspect even fewer producers would greenlight such a project. Presumably, in the case of Tree with Deep Roots, the authors sold it as a conspiracy thriller, emphasizing the murders, mysteries and epic fight scenes. There is plenty of stylishly choreographed action and several hot guys with swords. However, as befits read more the show’s subject, the real battles are fought with words. And those battles are some of the most extraordinary I’ve ever seen on film.

“Tree” took a while to pull me in, but once the writers found their groove and the verbal fireworks began, it was riveting. Against the backdrop of a violent era, it asks if the brush can ever be mightier than the sword. If there is power in writing, and if so, who deserves to use it. If literacy is liberation or a different kind of slavery. Characters wield speech like blades in philosophical duels where systems of government and social orders hang in the balance. This is argument as blood sport – spectacular, visceral and deadly.

The cast tackles their paragraphs of text with gusto, and the director keeps the camera moving and the tension high. The final episodes falter a bit, veering away from ideas and more towards traditional action, with an ending that felt yanked from a summer blockbuster instead of developing organically from the drama's themes. Perhaps this was designed to appease nervous studio execs desperate to get to away from all the talking. It’s a small price to pay though for a show that is otherwise so smart, unconventional, and emotionally engaged as it teases out the limits and possibilities of language.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (7)Recommendations

The Princess' Man is historically the sequel to A Tree With Deep Roots. Some of the same characters will make an appearance. Both great sageuks that will be worth the watch. However, The Princess' Man is more of a Romeo and Juliet romance.
Recommended by silvermcv
A tree with deep roots tells a story of King Sejeong the great. He is a son of Lee Ban Won. Two dramas will give you an complete story about founding of Joseon and invention of Hungul characters. Both dramas consist of well written stories and you'll never regret of watching them.
Recommended by AnjuLakmini

Comments (30)

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  • Reply
    silvermcv 4 days ago

    I just finished this drama and I have to say this is one of the best historical dramas, I have seen
    sageuk at its best. The main actor that plays the King is amazing.

  • Reply
    DragonAlien Aug 24, 2015 - edited

    This drama is pure love. ♥
    I still haven't found any historical drama better and more intelligent than this and I've seen so many of them.

    • Reply
      ArvisJaggamar Aug 26, 2015

      Guess I'll stay away from historical dramas, then? I have nowhere to go but down now... :(

    • Reply
      DragonAlien Aug 26, 2015

      Oh well maybe you'll like some other drama more cause there are a lot of people who didn't like this one. We all have different tastes, for me personally this one is the best. ;)

  • Reply
    ArvisJaggamar Aug 17, 2015

    This was a 9/10 right up until the end. Now it's an 8/10. Still definitely worth watching, but there are more satisfying dramas out there.

  • Reply
    gumix Jul 12, 2015 - edited

    I'm not a big fan of shin se kyung... But because of her face I always wanted to see her in a historical drama. Is her acting good in this drama or better said the role suits her?

    • Reply
      babis3 Jul 15, 2015

      This has been the first drama I've seen shin se kyung playing in, and although she looked younger the the other actor that was supposed to be her age, I remember I felt that I'm glad they've cast her anyway because I really liked her acting. So I guess my answer is yes she's playing very well here. On the other hand I never watched fashion king which I think gave her her bad reputation. And I quit "When a man loves" after a few episodes although I just didn't like the story, I was fine with her acting. So the thing is I never disliked her, so I can't tell you that her acting here is really good in comparison, but I think this drama is worth watching for so many other reasons so I would have recommend you to give it a try even if you wouldn't like her acting at all.

    • Reply
      gumix Jul 20, 2015

      Thank you very much! I'm not sure if i like her acting or not..i just think that when i saw her the roles she played weren't made for her... whenever i see her even if it's just a picture i imagine her in a role as an intelligent woman, that kind of character that doesn't says much but thinks a lot not in a role as a shy teenager in a romantic comedy. So basically because i assume she is made for historical drama i'll watch this drama haha

    • Reply
      babis3 Jul 21, 2015

      An intelligent woman that doesn't say much kind of describes her character in this lol. So you'll be able to check your theory after a few episodes. If it's ok with you, I would like to hear what you'll think after you'll see her in this :)

    • Reply
      ArvisJaggamar Aug 13, 2015

      She's pretty much everything you're describing, man. I can't imagine anyone not liking her in this. She's fantastic.

  • Reply
    Katsura-AA Jul 10, 2015

    One of the best dramas ,I enjoyed every minute of it

  • Reply
    catch_me Dec 9, 2014 - edited

    the Best king I have ever seen in a historical drama
    his acting is awesome!
    I liked his personality ,  he Incarnation the king as a human , not like a mountain steadfast wise against storms etc
    an amazing drama , I enjoyed every minute , every one in the cast done a great job and they deserve every award they have ..

    • Reply
      xxATxx May 10, 2015

      does this have a funny moments and happy ending?

    • Reply
      akisame May 23, 2015

      If you're looking for something light-hearted then you shouldn't watch Deep Roots.

    • Reply
      ArvisJaggamar Aug 13, 2015

      It DOES have funny moments, but they are few.

  • Reply
    mahae Sep 25, 2014 - edited

    from the first ep, it started out really angsty and the motive for ddol bok's revenge or rather the king he targeted was the wrong person ... not to mention the manipulations resulting in innocents' death ...it's too much for me to handle

    • Reply
      ArvisJaggamar Aug 13, 2015

      It gets WAY better. Those first few episodes were really rough and my wife almost quit the show. But the bloodshed and torture almost completely disappear as you go (and then come back briefly in smaller amounts toward the end). It's kind of an important part of the storytelling, though.

  • Reply
    rainruma Sep 25, 2014 - edited

    Very Very Very interesting drama .... ... not just b/c it provides lots of food-for-thought about society and history etc... But also .... b/c the elements of History , Mystery , Politics and Romance are all intricately woven together so very well !!!...

  • Reply
    HAVA-RAVA May 23, 2014

    Just started and watched first 3 episodes. Would watch more but have to sleep as I've been awake soon 24 hours...

  • Reply
    ChoiSima Apr 28, 2014

    I just started watching this drama .. and i didn't know Song joongki was part of it xD !! omg i spazzed hard when i saw him !! missed his baby face ? !!
    anw the drama sounds so epic :D i'm sure i'm gonna enjoy it

  • Reply
    WEPserioja Feb 13, 2014

    good one

  • Reply
    PickyMcpickleton Nov 20, 2013 - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      ArvisJaggamar 16 days ago
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    • Reply
      PickyMcpickleton 15 days ago - edited
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      ArvisJaggamar 14 days ago - edited
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      PickyMcpickleton 11 days ago - edited
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      ArvisJaggamar 9 days ago
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  • Reply
    DiaNine Oct 15, 2013 - edited

    For those who watched this and are wondering... Yes, the Korean alphabet (Hangul) is as easy to learn as they make it sound.

    • Reply
      MaRinaLuli Jun 1, 2014 - edited

      Arabic is only 28 letters and is really easy to write :)

    • Reply
      Ginger Jul 30, 2014 - edited

      yeah but in Arabic each letter has 3 forms and different sounds...the pronunciation is really hard...some sounds are just "impossible" to learn if it's not your mother language!

    • Reply
      ArabianBeauty Aug 6, 2014 - edited

      I learned the arabic, greek & Korean alphabet and tried to learn the Japanese, but was to lazy. But I think Korean is indeed the easiest out of them. And I'm not born with Arabic as my mother language. As ginger said pronunciation is really hard.

    • Reply
      rainruma Sep 25, 2014 - edited

      After watching this show ... I taught myself the Hangul alphabet .... It was Easy !!! ... I can easily read it ... but writing is a bit more challenging , especially if I try writing what I hear only ...
      I would love to learn Japanese or Chinese ... but it seems like a daunting task , especially Chinese ... the Japanese sounds seem simpler for a tone-deaf person like myself .....
      Arabic alphabet is not too difficult , even w/ the 3 forms of each , b/c same rule applies to all.... although the grammar can be daunting ... but structure is still close enough to Latin or Germanic languages , that it is still easier for a westerner than East Asian languages .....
      especially Chinese , which I find very confusing , not only due to structure , but also the noun/verb/adjective confusion ... Japanese is a bit more specific , so not as confusing.

  • Reply
    Starae Oct 4, 2013

    This drama had so much potential....Really not thrilled with how it ended. The first like 10 episodes were really good then it took a plunge, I feel like I wasted hours of my life finishing this.

  • Reply
    Mssankacoffee Aug 11, 2013
    Reveal Spoiler »


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Oct 5, 2011 to Dec 22, 2011
  • Aired On:

    Wednesday, Thursday
  • Network:

  • Duration:

    1 hr. 9 min.


  • Score:

    8.4 (scored by 1,281 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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