The Great King, Sejong (2008) poster
Your Rating: 0/10
Ratings: 7.8/10 from 226 users
# of Watchers: 1,633
Reviews: 5 users
Ranked #3841
Popularity #6092
Watchers 226

Born as the third prince, Chung Nyeong, was far from ascending the throne. His early years were turbulent as Korea faced political tensions from both within and abroad and facing abduction as a boy to make matters worse. Eventually, the young prince finds himself living in a private residence outside of the palace and experiences the everyday life of commoners until he is a young man. Later on his ascension to the throne, Chung Nyeong (now called King Se Jong) stabilizes the newly born country and gives rise to the blooming culture of Joseon. In the process, he invents Hangul, the Korean writing system. Edit Translation

  • English
  • Français
  • Español
  • magyar / magyar nyelv
  • Country: South Korea
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 86
  • Aired: Jan 5, 2008 - Nov 16, 2008
  • Aired On: Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: KBS1
  • Duration: 57 min.
  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 226 users)
  • Ranked: #3841
  • Popularity: #6092
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older

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31 people found this review helpful
Jul 28, 2015
86 of 86 episodes seen
Completed 10
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 8.5
Music 6.0
Rewatch Value 4.0
If the wild historical liberties of fusion sageuk are grating on you, The Great King Sejong is a refreshing alternative. Hewing relatively closely to fact, it generates its dramatic power through complex characterizations and thoughtful explorations of moral quandaries. Sejong’s reign may have been lauded precisely for its lack of drama, but the writers find plenty of conflict to build engaging story lines around, as they explore the challenges of ruling with benevolence rather than terror. They do an excellent job exploring how political systems stymie or support progress, as they build a compelling argument for governing to the better angels of our nature. That being said, this is not a fast show to watch. There are no love triangles, gorgeous warriors with great hair, gravity defying ninja moves, or epic cliffhangers. Many of the best acted and most intriguing characters are the various grey-haired ministers in their matching robes and odd hats, who for once are given compelling personalities instead of serving as indistinguishable agents of repression.

The first half of the show is particularly strong, in part due to outstanding performances by Kim Young Chul as Taejong and Choi Myung Gil as his embittered queen. Taejong may be monstrous, but he’s also powerfully human, and the show loses some of its spark when he exits the scene. The second half is weaker, perhaps because the series was cut down from 100 episodes to 86. This causes pacing issues, as some events are rushed through while drawn-out moments of pathos feel unearned due to a lack of dramatic set-up. Subplots get dropped and major characters disappear without acknowledgment or comment. It also means that Sejong comes off as far more serious than perhaps he was, as the show leaves out such “frivolous” elements of his life as his love of music and his passionate relationships with his concubines. In general, the show is more comfortable in the elegiac than the celebratory mode, but its tendency to emphasize loss sometimes deflects attention from just how extraordinary Sejong’s achievements were. It may be difficult to do great things, but there is great joy in such success as well.

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5 people found this review helpful
Jan 4, 2021
86 of 86 episodes seen
Completed 1
Overall 9.0
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 8.0
Highly recommend to watch Jeong Do Jeon 2014 before watching this drama even though it was released 5 years later than this drama but it is a prequel and provide more back story and context to this show.

What I like:
The story for most part is very well written, most the episodes are intense and engaging. The characters are complex and multidimensional, you know each (whether it is main or side) character's motivation and personalities through their actions (for most part, I'll talk about further why I had some problem with the characters as well). The story cause me to think about my own life, without getting into spoilers, I think the show has a lot to do with power, our perception of power, especially as human how we view ourselves, how we should be treated like what we think we deserve, it is very interesting to see all the characters struggle for power.

Acting here are excellent all around whether it is main or side characters, children or teenage or adult actors I sometimes forget they are acting, whether it's emotional scenes or scenes whereby characters are talking to each other.

Music is beautiful in my option and fits well into the scenes.

The problems I had:
I think the biggest problem for me is the focus on the main character and side characters are not very well balanced, the side characters' stories while interesting they take up a lot of screen time as compared to the main character King Sejong, his name is the title of this show and he only appears 40-50% of the screen time most of the episodes while the rest of the screen time are side characters. I feel there are parts of story missing such as certain characters just disappeared from the show without explanation. The last quarter (70+ to end) wasn't as strong as the rest of the show, I find the characters keep repeating themselves, complex characters suddenly become one-note. The last episode also felt abruptly ended. There are some episodes that has its tropes and melodrama.

For the acting, I find the actor playing Jang Yeong Shil is kind of wooden at times, the character's romance also felt forced and the couple has no chemistry with each other.

Overall I would recommend to those who are into political thriller, concern with good storytelling, good dialogue and like to see faithful adaptation to the real history.

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  • Drama: The Great King, Sejong
  • Country: South Korea
  • Episodes: 86
  • Aired: Jan 5, 2008 - Nov 16, 2008
  • Aired On: Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: KBS1
  • Duration: 57 min.
  • Content Rating: 15+ - Teens 15 or older


  • Score: 7.8 (scored by 226 users)
  • Ranked: #3841
  • Popularity: #6092
  • Watchers: 1,633

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