Diary of a Historical Drama Junkie
11 days, 81 hours of Prince of the Legend/Jumong
Song Il Gook as Prince Jumong
Han Hye Jin as So Seo-no
Kim Seung Soo as Prince Dae-so
Jun Kwang Ryul as King Geum wa
Oh Yeon Su as Lady Yoo wa
So why write this diary? I know there are others out there just like me. When I finally got on twitter and started interacting with other drama watchers, it was suggested that I needed to watch Jumong, especially since I’d already seen The Kingdom of the Winds, its sequel. With 81 episodes, there was no way I was going to get that done during a weekend so I saved it for the Christmas break with the intention of watching nothing else.
Why am I a historical drama junkie, you ask? Well, for as long as I can remember, I have been drawn to these types of movies, mini-series, and now dramas. I’ve seen everything from the Greek and Roman period movies like Cleopatra, Spartacus, Caligula, and Caesar; King Arthur and other medieval period movies; European history movies based on all of the World Wars and finally American history like the mini-series North-South, Roots, you name it! Every Korean drama (whether fictional or actual history) I’ve marathon-watched to include Tree with Deep Roots (24 ep, 2 ½ days), Chuno (24 ep, 2 days), Gye Baek (36 ep, 3 ½ days), Iljimae (20 ep, 2 days), Jewel in the Palace (54 ep, 4 days), Queen Seon Duk (62 ep, 5 days), The Kingdom of the Winds (36 ep, 3 days), and Princess’s Man (24 ep, 2 days –3 times!)
Call me crazy, call me a fanatic but when it comes to historical dramas, its not unusual for me to watch one from start to finish. I've been planning this moment all year! There always is that one drama that you put off. The one drama that has been on you PTW (plan to watch) list, like forever! Prince of the Legend or Jumong is truly a masterpiece of a drama! I've personally crowned Song Il Gook, the King of Historical Dramas! No one does it better!! Mane of Glory? No one does it better!!
References: Wikipedia; Asianwiki
[Caution: Some slight drama spoilers]
The first thing a history junkie does is get all of their references in order: wikipedia.org…asianmediawiki.com. All true historical drama watchers have the facts ready to compare. Romance-no romance, I want to know if the facts are right! All historical dramas start out with the child/teen actors to introduce the characters. We refer to this as ‘a child is born’ period.
I refer to these episodes as details, details! A lot of details, so much so that your eyes start to cross at one point! By this point, the object of our main character’s desire is introduced; the start of the love triangle or conflict begins. Our hero learns to fight. So exciting! So breathtaking! A cinematographer’s treat!
Love starts to grow but you’re sitting there wondering when will the OTP kiss! The problem with historical dramas: they are devoid of any real kissing or passion! Oh the subtle, longing looks and just about nothing else. The romantic in you becomes disappointed but then you remember, drama is not always about romance…or should it be? We refer to this period as “Where is the love?”
The slight twinge in your lower back starts from sitting for hours in the same position. More details and more details! Right around this point your eyes start to cross again! Should you move, quit watching for the day? So, you decide to give the drama a rest. Watch a quick movie! Remember your family! Eat! Did I miss Christmas?
Everyone gets married but no one marries the person he or she wants! What’s up with that? I’d just like to watch one historical drama where the OTP get married to each other in the beginning!
I call this the 'Immaculate Conception' period; babies are made and born but we don’t know how, when or where. It’s funny how we never even see the women pregnant. The women literally walk around with their hands draped in front! I guess I’ll contribute that to family TV watching? Just how do children think babies are born?
Lots of fighting, LOTS OF FIGHTING! Are we in the 'Country Making' period yet? Gosh I am tired! But I’m officially past the halfway point. Time for a celebration!
Brother hates brother while other brother hates the other brother. It’s my kingdom; no, it’s my kingdom! This is the period of all historical dramas where if you don’t already hate the character, you will after this point. But can I say, these are some handsome brothers!!
DAY 9 and 10
Old love comes to the rescue; isn't it convenient that your husband has died and his wife and son have mysteriously disappeared? Well, actually she is watching you get married to your first love. So sad! But in drama land, that’s what happens, or is it FATE?
War and intrigue at its finest! More fighting! Get your pillow and/or blanket to get ready to duck; it’s going to get bloody! Did I say I’m tired yet!? My back is now screaming with pain. I...must…move!
Why so good, drama!? For the first time, the story is so interesting that sleep is impossible. Day becomes night becomes day! Instead of celebrating the end, you wonder why they waited so long to introduce a truly interesting character at the end! The missing son! THE END.
At 81 episodes, this is a one-time watch drama! This was the longest historical based drama that I've seen to date! Jumong's story is very compelling! The writer does a wonderful job in conveying it; especially the fight, and military training sequences were amazing! Portraying a master archer, every scene where Jumong picked up a bow was breathtaking! Every battle scene was so realistic, I had to wonder how many animals were hurt during the filming. The love stories were surprisingly non-existent; don’t let the drama poster fool you! If you are looking for a romantic drama, you might want to skip this one. All I can say is, the portrayal of the two women that love Jumong was one you may never see again. Usually when two women love the same man, you get to see strife and bickering; they left that for Emperor Kumwa's Queen and Lady Yoo wa (Jumong's mother).
I can remember each moment I cried because the moments were so sad: the death of Hae Mosu as Jumong watched, the slaughter of the innocent women, children and elderly, the death of Lady Yoo Wa and Mugol. There were times where the story was just okay but those periods thankfully were short! I found with the later episodes, the story of Yuri, Jumong's son to be the only period that I literally could not stop watching. This drama is truly for the historical drama lovers. If you are not completely into the genre, you might want to skip this because it is time consuming to watch.