Diary of a Historical Drama Junkie: Jumong

Diary of a Historical Drama Junkie

11 days, 81 hours of Prince of the Legend/Jumong

Main Cast:
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]

Episode 1-12
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.


Episode 13-17
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!


Episode 18-24
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?”

Episode 25-30
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?

Episode 31-38
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!
Episode 39-44
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?


Episode 45-48
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! 

http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o683/NewKDramaAddict/Jumong4901-tile_zps9fc50974.jpg http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o683/NewKDramaAddict/Jumong4902-tile_zpsd35d08c0.jpg

Episode 49-56
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!!

http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o683/NewKDramaAddict/Jumong7501-tile_zpsf8b059c8.jpg http://i1338.photobucket.com/albums/o683/NewKDramaAddict/Jumong7502-tile_zps04b592c1.jpg

DAY 9 and 10
Episode 57-65
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?

DAY 10
Episode 66-68
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!


DAY 11
Episode 69-81
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.


Last thoughts:
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.

Comments (53)

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  • Reply
    Lorell Feb 8, 2014

    Haha, so true! I'm also big fan of historical dramas and one of the most common thing I do while watching them, it checking the historical facts on Wikipedia XD

  • Reply
    cuzie Jan 21, 2013

    i really love jumong too.. at first i get really bored watching it and i left it at my drawer for weeks before i pick it up again..
    and hey.. it's worth it.. this is the best saeguk drama ever..
    i really hate soya at first, but then i love her so much cuz she's the greatest wife jumong could have.. best story, best actors-actress, it's sure is the best saeguk drama ever.. :)

  • Reply
    dapinaymrs Jan 17, 2013

    What a true blue sageuk drama junkie! The only sageuk I've managed to finish is QSD. I still find it challenging to watch Dong Yi and Yi San and yet I have heard good comments about both and Jumong. What else...Jewel in the Palace too...Hmmmmmm Q____Q

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Jan 17, 2013

      Yes, I am. Next to medical, crime and revenge; sageuks always come first. Must be the masochistic tendencies? Maybe?

    • Reply
      dapinaymrs Jan 17, 2013

      Heheh! Not masochistic but REALLY PATIENT!

  • Reply
    Rule Jan 15, 2013

    I love all sageuk, as the stories are really well written and there is a lot of matter and issues, not just focus on one genre. I simply loved Jumong, queen seon duk, dong yi ( the king was simply adorable) and many many more, currently watching The great seer and quite engrossed in it. even though it didnt have very good reviews I went for it and Im glad. Is anybody else watching it? what do you think? ofcourse it is not good as its giant predecessors but still good watch

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Jan 15, 2013

      I gave Great Seer a breather. I was not happy with how they were characterizing Ban Ya but I plan on finishing it after it's done. Hope it has been good, I'd hate to go and finish it and be disappointed seeing I was only watching it because of my love for all that is Ji Jin Hee!

    • Reply
      Rule Jan 16, 2013

      Ban Ya? why I thought she has a good character, what do you mean. Im at 15 episode yet.
      And Yes up till now JJ hee has a very cute character. Really like him but I really loved him in Dong Yi more than captain. His character as the nasty ol man in the man who cant get married was very cute too.

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Jan 16, 2013

      I guess it was her insistence in having the King's heir regardless kind of bothered me. I left off at 17 so I will finish it later.

    • Reply
      Rule Jan 16, 2013
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Yuki8D Jan 15, 2013

    I really like sageuks but i think Jumong is too long for me. Mayby in the summer break i will have time to watch it. This is going into my PTW list.

  • Reply
    mdemOiselleC Jan 15, 2013

    PTW... holiday movie marathons..

  • Reply
    Ginger Jan 14, 2013

    I'll advice you to watch Sea God...I really liked it & it has the same lead ^^

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Jan 14, 2013

      It's on my list along with God of War, Dong Yi, finish Yi San and Iron Empress.

    • Reply
      Ginger Jan 14, 2013

      I can't marathon historical dramas - but I love them so I watch them while airing on TV...but they usually entertain me more than the others....
      ah...If you want a drama where the leads marry at the beginning...
      watch The King and I...I enjoyed it a lot ^^

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Jan 14, 2013

      I'll add that to my list but already does not sound happy but history is not always happy.

    • Reply
      Ginger Jan 14, 2013

      well it's all about enjoying the drama...whether it's happy or not...you're obviously So Ji Sub fan...you'd know what I mean xD

  • Reply
    akai-kitsune Jan 14, 2013

    You want romance, skinship and an historical drama? Just watch The Return of Iljimae.

    Its really nice!

    I myself love everything history related too. So I watched a lot of hitorical dramas, too. Iljimae, The Return of Iljimae, Hong Gil dong, Gaksital, The Princess' Man, Warrior Baek Dong Soo, Startling with each Step, etc. etc.

    Thanks for the article.

    I don't think I'll ever watch that drama its just too long.

  • Reply
    darkangel662008 Jan 13, 2013

    There's a lot of great Saeguk, what missing in your list are Yi San, The Legend (a little fantasy)...

    And I love Jumong..I happened to watched this drama in our local TV...

  • Reply
    WowCreations Jan 13, 2013

    was i meant to laugh when reading this O.o?
    -just picked up a 60ep drama, maybe i'm just relating to your side comments-

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Jan 14, 2013

      Glad you did. I was trying to put humor into it. 81 hours of sagueks make you loopy!

    • Reply
      WowCreations Jan 14, 2013

      You did a great job with the humor :D haha tell me about you it ..not just loopy for me lol I usually feel fat at the end of it all as well ...that time when you look back and realise all you done is eat and stare at a screen for days and nights :0

  • Reply
    sabrinafairchild Jan 13, 2013

    I love historical dramas. I've learned a lot about Korean History thru these dramas. The stories are interesting. Watching Great Seer right now.

  • Reply
    midwest Jan 13, 2013

    Yes yes yes. My body is so ready for this sort of diary. I just finished Warrior Baek Song Du and loved it.

  • Reply
    alienshore7 Jan 13, 2013

    This is the second Kdrama I ever watched, after Dae Jang Geum. I know some people are scared off by long sageuks, but this is one of the best. #1 History -- In the Western world we're not taught enough about Korean history, & while much of this is purely historical fiction rather than historical fact, it is still enough to get you intrigued by the history of Korea. Korea's history is worth serious study & if you watch Jumong you will want to learn more; I promise you.

    #2 -- Song Il Kook really is one of the best actors working today & Jumong is primary evidence in proving that. He was, I think, around 35 while filming this & yet in the scenes where he has to appear young, he really manages it. The man is a god of acting, & this is his Mona Lisa.

    I could say many more great things about Jumong, but I'm just going to say: check it out for yourself and you will not be disappointed!

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Jan 13, 2013

      Loved Jewel and loved the love story! First time seeing Ji Jin Hee who was amazing! He was the reason I started (not finish yet) watching The Great Seer but he is not in it enough for me!

    • Reply
      alienshore7 Jan 13, 2013

      I love Ji Jin Hee too! I'll watch basically anything with him and I too am watching The Great Seer because of him. Although, I am sticking with it even through its flaws. Somehow, I find it just compelling enough to keep watching. Go figure. It must be the beauty of Ji Sung that keeps me going.

  • Reply
    Evony Jan 13, 2013

    Great article:)
    People seem to be a bit scared of sageuks and I have to confess, that I, too, used to be one of them. Historical dramas have many episodes, there are lots of facts/dates/people you have to remember, all the guys have long hair (and I hate men with long hair!) and there's a lot of talking and plotting and sometimes very little action, but well, they still are awesome and very addicting :)

  • Reply
    pjvalentine Jan 13, 2013

    I keep meaning to watch a sageuk, especially since I think it's a genre I can get my mom to watch with me (and thus make her addicted too! *nefarious plan). She likes epic historical Chinese movies with some action. Do you guys think Jumong would be a good place to start with her?

    • Reply
      NewKDramaAddict Jan 13, 2013

      I'd start with something short for her first. Maybe Tree with Deep Roots but if you really want to suck her in, The Princess's Man would definitely do the trip.

    • Reply
      pjvalentine Jan 13, 2013

      Thanks! I'll check those out.

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