Princess Jung Myung was the only direct descendant of King Seonjo still alive and when she was born, her birth was celebrated around the palace. She had the sweetest smile a baby could have. Queen Inmok was relieved that she had a baby girl instead of a boy. According to the seer Nam Sa Go, the baby she carried would become the true ruler of the Joseon Dynasty, a king of kings and have a princess proved the prophecy to be wrong. But the turbulent times took a heavy toll on Princess Jung Myung. Upon the death of King Seonjo, Gwanghae ascended the throne and his first order of business was to eliminate Prince Yeongchang and banish Queen Inmok from the palace. Then his next target was Princess Jung Myung. When Inmok learned that her daughter’s life was in danger, she sent her into hiding. But assassins tracked Jung Myung down. Through the heroic sacrifice of her bodyguard, Jung Myung was put on a boat that sailed adrift in the sea. Meanwhile, the bodyguard and nanny set their boat ablaze and died to fool the assassins. Jung Myung witnessed her nanny and bodyguard consumed by the flames. Adrift on the boat, Jung Myung lost consciousness and was picked up by a merchant boat crossing to Dejima in Japan. She was sold as a slave.
To survive in the hostile environment she hid the fact that she was a princess. She also vanquished her memories of ever being a princess so that she could focus on how to get revenge. Posing as a boy, Jung Myung worked as a laborer in the sulfur mine. But she discovered hope in the depths of her despair. It was a friendship between Ja Gyung that helped her cling to life. But she never lost her focus on returning to Joseon one day and brings the downfall of Gwanghae who had taken everything away from her. Then an opportunity arose. She began peddling information and secrets in the sulfur mines. Leveraging her strategic location, she followed the Joseon delegation visiting Japan back to Joseon. Finally, her dream to return to Joseon had come true…
Cast & Credits
So many of the things that I really enjoyed about the drama came to an end around episode 15 with still 35 more episodes of almost nothing really important.
There were so many scenes where the main character just stared "meaningfully" at the camera, or into space, or at each other.
The main character Princess started off as a strong willful and fun character, but then just fell into this "ugh" phase where all she did was act like every other woman in Joseon. I was so disappointed by her. Over all the acting was sub par and the story just got dragged out more and more. Then the "special armory" people who didn't even have a real role would just show up in a scene sitting and talking to each other like they had so much free time, it was so unrealistic. I really like King Gwanghye and the actor in that role but he is not in it long enough, it would have been really interesting if they had made it more about him than her, and King Injo.
It ends with them trying to pull at some heart strings but it just doesn't work, mostly because by that point I was just irritated with all of the characters I didn't see a reason to care. Over all I would not suggest this drama to anyone.
********Skip 'Storyline' if you don't want to know the actual History of this drama before you start it *******But it would be better to read up on the history of each character as they appear - so you will be prepared for what is coming & so you can see how their take on the historical characters.*************
Storyline: We follow the drama as it takes us through the end of Seonjo's reign to when Gwanghae takes the throne, when Gwanhae get's usurped by Injo, the following rebellion, the 2nd Manchu war, Sohyun's demise & finally to Bongrim taking the throne. We also get a fictionalized version of Princess Jungmyung's disappearance & return after they had thought she had died.
I loved watching Cha Seung Won play/portray Gwanghae! <3 My favorite character by far in this drama!!! and he was GREATLY missed after episode 30 :'( I thought he was a really good ruler! Who ended up having a couple of bad subjects that lead to others misunderstanding him. His scenes were the best! I loved watching him give commands & do things in secret! When Kim Jae Won appeared and played Injo - I was pleased by his performance (his first time playing an actual bad guy lol) I pitied his character in this drama a lot - he was such a misguided/mislead king :( He wanted to be a good King but ended up being the opposite - an incompetent King who always listened to the wrong council. I also enjoyed Prince Sohyun's entrance into this drama ^^ He would have been a great ruler! He simply wanted to help his people & his country! I cried when he left us :'( I think he was on from ep.39-44 :) One thing: Seo Kang Joon & Lee Yeon Hee needed to improve their acting - I thought they did pretty much okay during the first 30-35 episodes - but after that they always had the same expressions, same reactions, and were rather poor actors (what happened?) *sigh* SKJ as Joo Won was really innocent and almost nerd-ish in his actions lol - It was cute ^^ I enjoyed his scenes with Gwanghae the most & there were a couple scenes of him with Jungmyung that I really liked as well ;) LYH played Jungmyung - (basically her character was the most fictitious one in the drama b/c the Princess according to Wikipedia stayed out of politics completely - whereas in this drama she is deeply involved in politics - enough to make several enemies - & there is this whole "prophecy" thing surrounding her - that I honestly found annoying in the earlier part of the drama (they had to have some basis for her "revenge" stuff) Her character when she grows up was good for the most part - I started to like her once she let go of her anger towards Gwanghae. She was strong & had a "stronger" part to play in the latter half).
Music: I liked the songs by Lena Park & Yesung the most - and I'd laugh whenever they played this instrumental ost that seriously sounded like they were saying "pyeha" lol - every time it came on - I said and again with the "pyeha" song lol
If I ever rewatched this it would probably only be Cha Seung Won's scenes as Gwanghae - they were the most impactful and meaningful parts to me :)
As someone else said on this page: "the first 30-35 episodes were addictive, after that it went up and down." I remained interested in the story line - up until King Injo dies - Injo lasted until episode 47? I think. After that I started to lose interest in the drama - and kind of pushed myself through the remaining few episodes lol... But, I don't regret watching - if you are interested in Korean History (even if you've read up on it on Wikipedia - like I did lol) and you'd like to see it "come alive" before your eyes (even if parts are fictionalized - like the Princess being involved in politics at all) then you should enjoy this drama overall - despite the poor acting of SKJ & LYH in the latter half...