Empress Ki

Empress Ki (2013)

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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 2,131 users
Reviews: 31 users

A woman from Goryeo marries Emperor Huizong and becomes a powerful Empress of the Yuan Empire, Empress Ki. The series depicts her loves and political ambitions as she is torn between the two countries.

  • Native title:

  • Also Known as:

    Hwatu; 화투; Qi Empress; Battle of Flowers; Gi Hwang-hu

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22 of 24 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Dec 22, 2014
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
At first, I was skeptical about it. Wanna know why? IT'S A FRIGGIN' LENGHTY DRAMA! To watch a 51-episode historical drama requires full time and dedication to finish it. And yes, I indeed took the challenge. Thanks to those who convinced me and of course to the helpful reviews as well.

Empress Ki, I must say, is a very compelling, powerful and controversial historical drama. I am always deeply enthralled with every read more scene with every scene that leaves you in awe and keeps you wanting for more. I suggest you (future watchers) dramathon it and don't skip a single episode nor a single scene.

Story - I love how the story of EK started and ended. Not the usual save-all-the-main-characters-protagonists kind of plot. I love killings, and I think these killings were the most highlighted parts of the drama aside from the intriguing plot. If you know what I mean. I was overwhelmed by it to the extent that I didn't look for any flaw. And mind you, when I'm really enjoying a particular drama, I become LESS OBJECTIVE. (You might disagree with me on this, but it's actually true.) It only means that I am satisfied about it. There was just one thing though that I got confused about. So if ever you happen to read this one and have watched the drama already, my profile is waiting for your comment to ask me what was it about. But, nevertheless, it was an EXCEPTIONAL sageuk. One thing that I loved as well was the turn of events. They were really unpredictable. I like unpredictable things.

Acting/ Cast: Every actor in this drama did a stellar job in portraying each character. I have not seen any actor acting with an expressionless face nor overrated acting. Again, if you know what I mean. Ha Ji Won's acting here was outstanding. She has that MAJESTIC BEAUTY. Joo Jin Mo did great as well. Just like how much he was great in A Frozen Flower. I mean, his acting. LOL

Special Mentions:
Ji Chang Wook - My first time seeing him in a drama. He did a great job in acting esp in crying scenes. He was the best. Actually voted for him in the MDL 2014 poll for best actor.

Baek Jin Hee - portrayed the Tanasiri character very convincingly. I hold her dearly to my heart. *whispers* I have a girl-crush on her. Hihihi ^^

Jin Yi Han / Tal Tal is a bonus here.

Lee Mun Shik / Bang - ahjussi, I will never forget how well you played in Iljimae and also here in EK. For the comedic parts, I salute you.

Jun Gook Hwan / El Temur - I never hated him even though how ruthless he was.

I loved all the villains in this sageuk except for one. His name is Yom. Yom the Scum.

Music - OST overall is pretty brilliant. Gosh, the feels... I especially liked Xia's I Love You.

Given the chance that I'd want to watch this again, I WOULD.

And finally, watching EK is an adventure which will be with me forever. It felt surreal when I finished it. I can't even start a new drama after watching it. No drama can surpass the roller coaster ride of emotions I felt in this drama.

P.S: Don't get surprised by its long episodes, it's totally worth watching!
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34 of 37 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Sep 27, 2014
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Let me first give a little background on my undying and irreplaceable love for Ha Ji Won. Secret Garden was my second korean drama and still remains my all-time favorite. While it is undeniably Hyun Bin who stole the show in Secret Garden, I realized how much I came to love and respect Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won's character). Then I picked up King2Hearts while it was airing and 2 episodes read more in and I had fallen head-over-heels in love with Hang-Ah. I think she's the only female character I have ever had a girl-crush on. So, it was pretty expected of me to pick up Empress Ki eventually.

Although I don't watch 50 episodes dramas easily, I do pick one up once in a while if it catches my interest. So I started this drama just to watch Ha Ji Won in action again and also because I was in a mood for a historical drama. But honestly, all I was expecting was an overrated drama with a poor, exaggerated plot and brilliant acting. Boy, was I wrong.

Empress Ki is undeniably the best drama of 2013. And this is coming from someone who has watched I Hear Your Voice, Master's Sun and Man From The Stars. The plot is so well-paced that you won't feel like stopping even for a moment and won't feel like skipping a single scene either. The plot evokes such trouble for all protagonists but yet you sit in relief knowing Nyang is there. Watching, observing, plotting, winning.

Nyang. She is the best thing about this drama. She is behind-the-scene most of the time and she defeats her opponents before they even know who they are up against. The girl can plot and fight. She is the perfect one-man army. I haven't seen a more wiser character than her. Coming Wang Yu, he is perfect too. From the beginning you know Nyang and Wang Yu aren't meant to be since she's destined to marry the king of Yuan and become Empress Ki. But even then you can't help rooting for him from time to time and falling for his charms and his sincerity towards Nyang. But the King of Yuan isn't someone you can take for granted. Even though he's a bit of a coward and a puppet played by many, he is still very cute and likeable. Honestly I think he's a naive soul stuck in the horrible politics of the palace with no one to rely on and with no option but to fight not just for his throne but his life. I really loved his devotion for Empress Ki in all circumstances. All supporting actors were simply brilliant and were nowhere beneath the main cast. My personal favorites were El Temur (because I loved seeing him go down!) and his kids (who doesn't love seeing a bitch being tortured!). I also loved the servants of Goryeo and all the eunuchs of Yuan. Tal Tal and his uncle were also amazing. Some characters I loved because they were lovable but some characters I loved for their cruelty.

The music was great and the production was simply breathtaking. From the clothes to palaces and the forests, everything they shot was so beautiful and historically rich.

Coming to the historical significance, many historians complained that the drama portrayed Empress Ki as a national hero where in fact she was a traitor who tried to make her brother sit on Goryeo's throne. The drama has been repeatedly been accused of exaggerating facts and misguiding people (especially young ones, who are not much aware of Empress Ki) into idolizing empress ki.

Although I cannot comment on the historical facts, I would ask people to watch this with an open mind, without trying to find empress ki from history in the character of Nyang. She might not be the same person but the character that has been written is truly worth a watch.

I would recommend this drama to everyone. If you've never watched a 50+ eps drama, this is a good place to start. If you've never watched a historical drama, this is a good place to start. Definitely Ha Ji won's best portrayal so far. She deserved all those Daesang awards she got for this.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (15)Recommendations

Both dramas have similar stories about a poor female with strong personality. Also, it has amazing OST, cast and it's based on real life of the royal concubine Jang Ok Jung/ Jang Hee Bin.
Recommended by patyredf
Historical dramas centered on a woman (empress).

Empress Ki takes place in Korea while The Empress of China takes place in China.
Recommended by Sady

Comments (206)

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  • Reply
    Kawaitanee 3 days ago

    Right now I am on episode 40, but I just feel that every character here is so cruel.

  • Reply
    onewbaby 4 days ago
    Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    megumiryuu 7 days ago

    I don't usually watch historical dramas, but after watching Healer I can't get enough of JCW that's why I'm watching Empress Ki. I'm halfway through and I'm loving it <3

  • Reply
    Doremeduck 7 days ago
    Reveal Spoiler »
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    technololo 8 days ago

    watching it for the 3rd time and still as amazing as before ugh <3

  • Reply
    RedHead5 12 days ago


  • Reply
    lovelydream 13 days ago

    This drama was really great for the first half , then the writers went CRAZY ,to please the audience who wanted more of the emperor they cut down the role of joo jin mo and changed the script , and as much as i love ji chang wook, his character here was SO HORRIBLE ,selfish childish and the the writers kept going and going until an ending that made NO absolute sense , such a dissapointment...

  • Reply
    i_am_andi 13 days ago

    Right after watching it, I would want to write a review but the reviews above pretty much said it all. Just for the sake of saying something, as I always do. I could have given it a 10, if and only if, they will change the ending. It was at its peak when it reached 40's and I was so excited to reach the end, and then I was like: "what the hell?!" The worst ending of 2014! LOL P.S: Jin Yi Han, Nice Meeting You! :) I didn't like knowing he was killed at the end...BUT good thing it was like 10mins before the actual ending. I just love his character.

    • Reply
      Kawaitanee 1 day ago

      I loved Tal tal as well, and I must agree with you with everything you said.

  • Reply
    fun_fun 16 days ago

    I want to start this drama for JCW....
    is this drama proper for me? I mean how is JCW in this drama... he has a bad role, good role? it's 51 eps...can I finish it just for him?

    • Reply
      technololo 16 days ago

      of course you can ! it's the best korean drama of all time at least for me and many other people . You 'll never get bored even for a mnute and you def wont regret watching it

      this drama made me fall in love with JCW , he's one of the lead btw

    • Reply
      TopSecret 16 days ago

      I normally don't watch sageuk, but I started this drama because of JCW. But more than JCW, the story has been keeping me hooked. And also, Ha Ji Won is a very good actress. I'd say: give it a try :)

    • Reply
      fun_fun 16 days ago

      thank u so much....i will start it tonight...:)
      u know when u start a drama for an actor...and if that actor doesn't seem good in that drama even if the drama itself would be perfect...but u kinda will be disappointed...
      I try to watch this drama not just for JCW...it will be better this way...:)
      but still hope he plays a lot...i really miss him after healer. :D
      also not a happy ending...

    • Reply
      TopSecret 15 days ago

      Well since he's one of the main characters, you see him quite often. :)

  • Reply
    Heart 19 days ago

    This drama has moved my heart out and made me cry for the first time in all korean novela ive watch, i dont like watching the old style story but this is the first i cant get my eyes blink while watching this drama, every episode is interesting, i love all the characters and the role they have. but at the end of the story i was very disappointed. many of all korean drama although they have a good story but they have a very poor ending story, and that what makes the rating go down. empress KI the story is one of a kind but very poor in making an ending.

  • Reply
    Enigma_J_S 23 days ago

    It makes me upset when I read comments about how they skipped. the parts with the king because he was "ugly" and how they only watch the parts with the emperor because he is good looking. I felt as if the emperor was th bad guy in this. He did things only a bad person would do out of pettiness and jealousy. He was a coward, whereas the king was brave, strong, loving, and couldn't keep happiness. It's really shallow to disregard someone just becaus o looks. I thought both was hot. But anyway. The acting was great. Even though I didn't like the emperor, I know the actor was playing a role and I still love him. Towards the last few episodes, I dropped it an just read the synopsis. My heart couldn't take anymore.

    • Reply
      Enigma_J_S 13 days ago

      I couldn't fully hate the emperor, but I couldn't fully love him either. Same for all the characters. However, out of the main cast, his role I hated the most. Yes he suffered, but so did the others, it's how you move on and build yourself up that counts.

    • Reply
      silvermcv 8 days ago
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      soneSSSgirl 4 days ago
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Enigma_J_S 4 days ago

      I think the only way to really grasp what we are saying is to continue watching the show. He becomes petty in many things, which is also a par of being immature. You are correct in saying he is that.

    • Reply
      Enigma_J_S 4 days ago

      Silvermcv: yes he did grow and become to want to protect his family. I can't hate him for that, but I just can't like him either lol

  • Reply
    soepspaansenler 26 days ago

    I just can't watch healer because I hated ji chang wook sooooo much here, Even when I already finished this half a year ago I still hate the emperor

    • Reply
      Diana 25 days ago

      lol I'm just watching Empress Ki because I loved JCW in Healer! Give it a try, seriously, that show is awesome (and JCW's character is waaaay better)

    • Reply
      Vthung 24 days ago

      You'll be ok :)
      I hated him sooo much in Empress ki, but in healer he's just awesome. Really, just try it!!

    • Reply
      soepspaansenler 23 days ago

      Haha maybe i'll watch it in a few years

    • Reply
      neaa 22 days ago

      Don't hate the player, hate the game.
      I loved JCW in Healer.

  • Reply
    athleticasian 28 days ago

    What site are you guys using to watch this show?? I'm having a hard time finding one

  • Reply
    sumlee Feb 1, 2015

    So far this to me is like Empress ki is the reincarnation of queen seo deok similar spirit. On ep 11 and so far can't take my eyes off from the plot unfolding!

    • Reply
      kristina303 25 days ago

      But Queen Seon Deok is still way better. Fpr me is is trying to be like QSD but just can't :)

    • Reply
      sumlee 25 days ago

      I have recently just finished Empress Ki and I feel the same way. I love Queen seo deok it touched me in a way that empress ki couldn't.
      Personally mid way I struggled watching Empress ki but was addicted to Queen seo deok. Empress ki is still a great show though to watch, really I just continued for the beauty of Han Ji Won and her scenes.

    • Reply
      kristina303 24 days ago


  • Reply
    ispunaweb Jan 29, 2015

    I can't believe I started watching a 51 episode drama JUST because I like the OST. I'm so crazy :/


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Oct 28, 2013 to Apr 29, 2014
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

  • Duration:

    1 hr. 5 min.


  • Score:

    8.8 (scored by 2,131 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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