A Tree With Deep Roots

A Tree With Deep Roots (2011)

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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 1,093 users
Reviews: 10 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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19 of 20 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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12 of 12 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Oct 5, 2013
  • Overall 9.0
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 7.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
This Drama was heavy, heavy, heavy. For a sageuk themed drama, with the glamour of a King and his followers... this had a fantastic story to tell.

Before checking this out, you, the viewer need the proper mindset before committing yourself into watching this drama (unless you are already into this kind of drama). Why? Because this is too far away from being romcom or light. There are witty scenes where you read more find the "funny" but not so much, because it would be obliterated in a second by the realism of the situation the characters are in. Watching this drama was heart racing, mind boggling and most of all tear jerking if you get to finish this in one go.

It was also frustrating being in the perspective of the king - because a person with so much wealth and power could be so helpless at the same time. *sigh*

My favorite character here was King Sejong - Han Seok Kyu's portrayal of him was so convincing that my heart was moved every time he does or say something. His decisions throughout the drama was really something, because it amounts to the lives that revolve around him, one mistake means the death of someone and one right thing could lead to the abundance of the entire nation. His role was really something and his acting was so deep into the character, I tend to forget that he was only acting about the agony of a king who cherished his people.

Then here comes the King's person: Kang Chae Yoon and So Yi.
These characters were portrayed by high fantastic artists - Jang Hyuk and Shin Se Kyung. Their roles were vital and important for the success of the king's plan and well... the ending was very dreary but there's that sense of fulfillment despite everything they have gone through. All in all their characters made this drama an unforgettable one.

The music isn't that catchy or is something that would stick to your head forever, but it does add to the drama. As for the re-watch value, I would not want to re-watch this lest I want to depress myself or stress myself all over again, but over all this drama is still dear to my heart. I loved this drama and would highly recommend it to those who love watching sageuks involving historical documentations.

Tree With Deep Roots - will move you, haunt you and make you change your outlook about your given language. Because this drama depicts history and the people who sacrificed a lot to make things possible.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (4)Recommendations

One of the standing blocks of QSD is the script, the deep conversations between "good" and "evil" characters, and how much the drama made you think of politics, justice and morality. Tree with Deep Roots also has the same ingredient.
Recommended by Nelly
Both are historical romance dramas based on novel written by the same author
Recommended by tsuneko

Comments (11)

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  • Reply
    catch_me Dec 9, 2014

    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
    mahae Sep 25, 2014

    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
    rainruma Sep 25, 2014

    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
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    onewbaby Nov 9, 2013


  • Reply
    DiaNine Oct 15, 2013

    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

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

    • Reply
      Ginger Jul 30, 2014

      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

      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

      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 »
  • Reply
    Emily May 28, 2013

    Double Post >.<

  • Reply
    Emily May 28, 2013

    I really want to watch this, and I am normally a fan of things for reasons other than aesthetics and romance, but is there any in this drama? I've seen the first two episodes, and so far I haven't seen anything too promising, so I was just wondering if I should expect romance from this drama. Thanks c:

    • Reply
      babis3 Jun 7, 2013
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Emily Jun 7, 2013

      Okay. Thanks for the advice. I plan on watching this drama anyway, I just didn't know whether I should expect too much romance from it. Thanks! <3

  • Reply
    educto1 Apr 28, 2013
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    ManaSura Apr 17, 2013

    I didn't hate this drama at all....Very interesting story (I actually started it coz I wanted to know about King Sejong and Hangeul making) though I hated the two young leads' acting (the male being over-dramatic and the female lead being mediocre with minimum expression-changing) and thought that if it wasn't for the king's acting (both young and old) it would have been a disaster, but anyway acting was never my only point in viewing a drama.<br />despite all that, I have a question that I wish someone can answer for me...why can't I manage to finish it,,,I'm stuck with the final episode for like over a month now!!!

    • Reply
      babis3 Apr 17, 2013

      As someone who liked almost everything about this drama, I'm surprised when ever I see that other people don't share my point of veiw about it (I know it sounds kind of childish, but I'm childish like that when it come to the things I love). So I wouldn't know how to even start and guess what is stoping you in this case, but I know from my past experience in other shows that I can lost interest before the end, if the character I cared about are already out of the series, or if I've heard spoilers about the end and I'm afraid that watching it would made me feel bad, or if I've got sucked into something else that I found more interesting and then somehow it's hard for me to find the right time to return altough I always tell myself I'm going to do it one day.

    • Reply
      ManaSura Apr 17, 2013

      In my case it might have been the "got sucked into something else" one...might be so, but still when I remember how I never managed to finish this one, I'm like "half surprised/half not surprised" (weird and doesn't make sense right?) surprised coz I normally NEVER give up a show after watching more than it's half, and not surprised coz I somehow remember how near the end (the last episodes i watched I mean) I was starting to lose most of the interest in the plot. <br />Btw, now that I've read your comment i'm thinking about giving it another try after all, but I'm afraid I don't remember most of the plot @_@

    • Reply
      babis3 Apr 18, 2013

      In your case (not liking the show very much so no point of re-watching it all for remembering sake, but still want to finish the show and not really sure what happened in the plot) I would have recommend you to try and rewatch episode 23, since you've already watched it, I think it will help you remember where you stopped watching, and give you a better idea of whether you really want to finish this show or drop it.


  • 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 1,093 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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