A fiction historical drama about the ambitions and success of six characters based around Lee Bang Won.
Lee Bang Won was the third king of the Joseon Dynasty in Korea and the father of King Sejong the Great. He helped his father King Taejo establish the Joseon Dynasty.
- Native title: 육룡이 나르샤
- Also Known as: Yookryongi Nareusha;Roots of the Throne;Yukryongi Nareusya;Yookryongi Nareushya
- Screenwriters: Kim Young Hyun, Park Sang Yeon
- Directors: Shin Kyung Soo
- Genres: Action, Military, Friendship, Thriller, Historical, Psychological, Romance, Drama, Martial Arts, Political
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Cast & Credits
I’m asking the world, on deciding life and death
Is there any difference between politics and swords?
These words, from the song “Muiiya,” a Six Flying Dragons OST, emphasize the human cost of both politics and the sword. Six Flying Dragons, as a drama, does the same when it implores the viewer to contemplate the possible outcomes of choice and the effects of those choices on relationships and society as a whole. If anything, Six Flying Dragons attempts to answer this question without limiting the answer toward one argument. As a result, this drama and its writers Park Sang Yeon and Kim Yeong Hyeon effectively communicate the answer to this vital question through the display of its narrative and characterization.
Six Flying Dragons’ narrative ponders the above questions by its creation of characters and actions that test the functions of relationships and its lack of limitation of the characters to a particular faction of good and evil. Characterizations are layered and multi-faceted; for example, Lee Bang Won’s early desire for justice masks a desire for recognition and power. One is surely good, and the other is dangerous, but they both exist within the character. Similarly, in Jeong Do Jeon, one can argue that desire for the people masks desire for recognition and power. Where history tries (and goes back and forth) on the bad/good spectrum of these two characters, Six Flying Dragons delivers realism--the reality, of course, that all humans possess a bug which may swallow them whole. It renders choices, not fate nor relative determinism, as the progenitor of results, effects, and conclusions while maintaining neutrality in its tone.
The narrative achieves this as a whole by offering twists and turns on a grand scale. Tiny, even miniscule character introductions turn into important aspects of character and scene later on; conversations between characters that are seemingly benign hold importance at the right moment. Between betrayals and loyalty, is there any difference? may be the question asked here; the question may also be Between two forms of government, is there any difference? Six Flying Dragons, then, explores these subtexts throughout its frames, urging the viewer to contemplate them as well.
Another way that the narrative urges viewers to explore these notions is through its cinematography. The cinematography of Six Flying Dragons colors and frames the narrative in much the same way that the characterization does. Through use of light, dark, colors (in particular, the deep scarlet of blood), the viewer sees the overt versus the subvert. Overt actions are more splashed in light; subvert or covert actions cloaked in darkness. In doing so, Six Flying Dragons plays on the eyes of the viewer at times, asking us whether the subvert cannot be seen in the overt and vice versa. Between light and dark, is there any difference?
The crispness of character aspect and portrayal not only resides in the narrative, but also in the acting of Six Flying Dragons. With a stellar cast at the outset, one could argue that potential for this drama’s outcome was high, but it would be remiss to leave it at that. The cast of Six Flying Dragons supersedes any previous notion of greatness accorded to it; they crash down the barrier of greatness and replace it with excellence of the highest caliber.
While extending regard to the entire cast of Six Flying Dragons, the focus of the show, and the most compelling character-wise, is its main cast. Yoo Ah In as Lee Bang Won and Kim Myung Min as Jeong Do Jeon bring depth and mindfulness to each of their characters. They allow the viewer to see all aspects of their personality. Yoo Ah In, in particular, plays Lee Bang Won with such nuance that the viewer sees the inner motivations of Bang Won’s heart clearly and sees the influence choices make even in expression and emotion. Kim Myung Min does the same; the viewer sees a man whose concern for the people gets lost a bit in the desire for political recognition. The phrase, “You are the same as me,” is a common and apt theme when it comes to the characters, and in their brilliant acting, one can see how this phrase manifests itself throughout the narrative.
Along with the two protagonists (as I refuse to name either an antagonist), Six Flying Dragons peppers the narrative with great acting. From young men to hardened warriors, Byun Yo Han (Ddang Sae) and Yoon Kyun Sang (Mu Hyul) provide insights from those who are not political but honor bound and how choices made by others affect them. Shin Se Kyung (Boon Yi) ignites a fire and demonstrates the plight of the people in politics--how, between love and loneliness, is there any difference? Jung Yoo Mi (Yeon Hee) shows the importance of standing up for values in light of all other desires. These are just a few of the many great performances Six Flying Dragons introduces into the dramatic world.
As the narrative and action set the drama, music sets the tone. In Six Flying Dragons, the music glorifies an already-rich narrative with lyrical power and earth-jolting strength. This OST is quite simply one of the best. A favorite, surely, is the song “Muiiya,” a song with so much meaning that pervades the narrative and asks the viewer to contemplate its short lyric for far longer than the song. One cannot get enough of the sound of Six Flying Dragons. If I could rate the OST, I would give it a 10, hands down.
Despite its 50 episode length, I need to rewatch this again. There remains much more for me to glean from the drama’s depths, much more for me to contemplate about character, much more for me to study about politics and choices. From someone who could not watch a long drama until last year, I could not get enough. I could go another 20 or 30 episodes if only to see more of this drama’s richness and characterization.
Overall, Six Flying Dragons provides me with the overarching question, Is there any difference between politics and swords? My answer to that question...well, I will let that remain a mystery to the for the new viewer. Instead, I will sit here in the grey, where these questions keep being pondered. Instead, I implore the new viewer to ask themselves these questions while watching and see if they can find a conclusive answer as well.
It's not in my habits writing reviews for a Korean drama, actually it's the 2nd I write but this time I had to, because it was such an exciting and incredible experience. I want to always remember the emotions I went through while watching this drama, I really screamed, smiled and cried a lot (well did not cry that much but some scenes were so touching and lovely which had me in tears) I already feel very empty now we're already in the end. I'm wondering when I'll be able to watch and find such a gripping and fascinating long Korean period drama ?!
I started SFD while it was airing but I had to stop cause I knew waiting each week for only two more eps would be a pure torture for me, so this was only three weeks ago I decided to properly marathon it and aigoo those three weeks went way too quickly. This drama is simply addicting, once I finished an episode I felt the urge to watch the next one, it leaves you no choice but to go watch immediately what's coming.
Maybe now I should tell how this drama managed to captivate me like that and how every ep killed me, first reason is all those references from Queen Seon Deok and Tree With Deep Roots, and I bet all people who watched those two fantastic dramas are/were feeling the same, I was always so impressed and reminiscing about the quotes and characters of these dramas, simply yes I was speechless and always thinking those two scriptwriters are real geniuses to make me going crazy and happy like that. Secondly it's all those political intrigues, the way Sambong and Bang Won were portayed here, how they could manipulate people and control them the way they both did and most of all their ability to read in their opponent's minds, I admire both them for that. I love smart moves and political intrigues in dramas and this drama had all of that. And third reason is that I always wanted to watch a drama which would show how Joseon Dynasty was established and here it was so wonderfully explained and done.
When I think about all the cast I have no words because all actors were so into their characters and we could feel how much invested they were for this long historical drama, they delivered such a electrifying , sincere and wonderful performance, I literally fell in love with all of them, just maybe from my point of view I did not like Seo Yi Sook 's acting (Moo Hyeol's grandmother) it's very personal and I just did not find her very convincing, otherwise all other actors did so well, zero complaint about them simply the opposite, they were all phenomenal.
Of course first I have to comment about Yoo Ah In and Kim Myung Min's awesome's portraits, they were totally the characters they played ''Lee Bang Won'' and ''Jeong Do Jeon'', it did not feel like they were acting, it was simply really as if they were in front of me, like I was seeing each one of their every actions and moves.
Frankly speaking I'm not so fond of Kim M.M but I will never ever forget his flawless performance here, one word : grandiose. As for Yoo Ah In, his facial expressions, words, moves gave me goosebumps, he was too imposing and magnificent. I think I said enough about these two amazing actors, they would definitely not leave you indifferent.
It's hard for me to choose a favorite character cause I think the writers here wrote them so perfectly, there's no one I love more than the rest, well maybe Gil Tae Mi because he added so much fun to this dark and very tense atmosphere, he was so cool, skilled, sometimes stupid and hilarious even when he was about to kill some people, I just couldn't hate him ! Another one I liked a lot was Lee Bang Ji and I personally do think his character was so well written , I'm just a bit too sad he did not have (in my humble opinion) as much screen time as other dragons, in some scenes I was completely missing him and was wondering where he was and what he was doing, I love him because his care for his sister and his loved one was so sincere, beautiful and pure, he did not want to involve himself into politics and all what he did was only because of their dreams and ideals, he lives for them, that's how unselfish his love is for both of them, I can only admire him!
I would like to write some words about other dragons and characters however I think I already said too much, just I will say these things : Cheon Ho Jin as Lee Seong Gye did an awesome job, he never fails to surprise me, I don't know much about Lee Seong Gye and did not read anything about him except that I know he was the first king of Joseon and from what I saw here in SFD he really had a tragic and sad life.
Boon Yi I like her a lot and especially her relationship with her brother which is so beautiful genuine and filled with so much tenderness, I always have a thing in drama for brother/sister's bonding and in this one it was simply just so touching, I was always so happy when they were only together on screen, discussing, eating playing together. Boon Yi is a very caring, brave and smart girl, I really appreciate that she never gives up on her dreams and till the end she believes in it and simply wants to be happy with her family and people.
Moo Hyeol I love him so much in the first place ( eheheh TWDR yeah) so badass, unselfish, generous, strong and sweet at the same time, I always found his way of fighting so cute and funny but in the end he had to grow up and become mature, it was very painful to see and Yoon Gyun Sang did a really great job with his Moo Hyeol's portrayal. I also wanted to say I loved all these supporting characters as well especially Ha Ryun, Yoon Rang (very charismatic woman), Lee Bang Woo, Lee Ji Ran, Jo Joon, Gil Seon Mi and Hong Dae Hong and for sure the drama would be totally different without them <3
Needless to say the sceneries, settings, colors and costumes were so gorgeous, every costume fitted perfectly for each character, I particularly loved Boon Yi's dresses so simple and yet very eye-catching, suited her personality so well, I also loved her hairstyle <3 I would say the same for all other characters' costumes especially those Yoo Ah In, Byun Yo Han, Cheon Ho Jin, Gong Seung Yeon, Park Hyeok Kwon and many other wore, very colorful and elegant .
The Ost was really great and the ballads were always used in appropriate moments though there weren't to my taste, I loved BGM more and songs Muiiya and Cheongsanbyeolgog (I think it's the title) more. In any case the ost was wonderful so no complaints from me.
I'll end this review with those four fantastic quotes, I had shivers all over my body when those sentences were said.
-''The King is just this country's flower. The Roots have to be this land's scholars, confucian scholars and officials"
-''If you want to fool your enemy, you'd have to fool those around you including yoursel''
-''How can betrayal be a sin ? In this turbulent times, believing someone is a bigger crime ''
-"Since the world began, the weak have always been stepped on by the strong. Even a thousand years ago, even a thousand years from now! The Strong steal from the Weak. In this world the only truth is that the strong take and swallow the weak ... this is only the constant truth"
I would probably rewatch this drama as it brought me so much feels since the very first second, Political dramas are generally too heavy for me but I always found Political Historical dramas to be to my liking as I've already seen many and I noticed the writers always manage to make them so interesting and appealing especially when the characters are so well written like it's the case here.
Highly recommended, it's the first time for me to watch such a long drama and to not feel the length, 50 eps of pure awesomeness and if you want my opinion I did not see the time passing.
Last but not least, this is one of the most intelligent dramas I watched and I would recommend for people who haven't wacthed Tree With Deep Roots nor Six Flying Dragons to start with SFD first and then watch DR.