Centered around one woman who gets caught up in a bloody romance with two princes. This drama tells the story of a man who would kill even his younger brother to have the object of his love, the woman who wants to keep the world at a distance, and the intense desires and pure feelings that they experience. Bromance between the royal brothers intertwines with both love and hate. There is a fierce rivalry among the women of the royalty in claiming the ultimate position of queen.
The young woman, named Sung Ja Hyun, is beloved by all and is the daughter of a prestigious government official. She’s so famous for her beauty that she has prospective suitors lined up from all over the country vying for her hand. She’s inherited her scholarly father’s personality; she possesses a strong sense of compassion and righteousness, and tackles things with passion.
Cast & Credits
The story starts out with two brothers, Prince Jin Yang and Prince Eun Sung. One very much wants to sit on the throne, while the other one would rather dedicate his life to the fine arts. Prince Eun Sung is a sensitive artist trapped in the snake nest that is the royal court, forced to fight in a war and act in a way that belies his gentle nature. Prince Jin Yang is the power hungry snake who wants to the throne to make up for the trauma of having to grow up outside the palace without the love of his mother. He takes revenge upon his family like a vicious child, hating his own brother and destroying everyone in his path.
Sung Ja Hyun is a noble man's daughter who wants ~more~ than an arranged marriage and kids, dabbling in painting, which is how she meets Eun Sung. They bond over their love of the fine arts and plan to marry, when their dreams are shattered by court politics.
After Prince Eun Sung is whisked away to a war, Prince Jin Yang, like a child tries to take Ja Hyun as his concubine to take revenge upon his brother. Setting forth some kind of love triangle, but what was refreshing was that it was always clear that he never loved her. It's not played off as some tragic love story, but always portrayed as what it is: him wanting what his brother had. Just like as a child, when his brother had that love of his mother. I think one of the most compelling parts of the drama was the psychology of Prince Jin Yang. Even if you didn't agree, you understood why he did what he did. It made him human, even if there is a lack of humanity in the things he does.
It doesn't quite have the magic and the complexity of the Princess' Man and it sure doesn't have supporting characters quite as strong. It doesn't have that grandness and the feel of epicness either. Many scenes are very similar and seem a bit copy cat in a distracting way, it's not surprising that they were made by the same director. It's been compared a lot to the Seven Day Queen because of the power struggle, but I think that Grand Prince is actually better plotted and executed.
When it comes to the comparisons with those two dramas I would say that they're cousins, similar but also distinct with their owns unique merits. If you have already seen Princess' Man I would skip the drama, as the similarities are a bit too much.
They were only minor characters, but I enjoyed what Ja Hyun's parents brought to the story, supporting their daughter in everything. I also liked Roo Shi Gae, who could have just been a comic relief character, but managed to worm herself into my heart with her charm and steadfast support of her Eun Sung, knowing and accepting that he only loves Ja Hyun.
I didn't feel like acting in this was especially good, neither of the leading trio have been known as great actors, but I think they all did a serviable albeit a bit bland job. Jin Se Yeon improved quite a bit from her previous roles and doesn't stick out like a sore thumb or anything. She isn't exactly great, but not too shabby either. Yoon Shi Yoon was perfectly cast with his boyish charm and twinkle in his eye at the start, he managed to portray the hardening of his character well. Joo Sang Wook while competent was a bit too wooden and he could have added some more flourish to his character, I didn't feel like he portrayed his character to his full potential. One of the weak points of the drama was Na-Gyeom, Prince Jin Yang wife. It was never believable that her and Ja Hyun were ever friends and the evilness of her seemed to be more to move the plot forward, she just wasn't a well developed character.
The drama suffered a bit from a retread of the plot in the middle, but it picked up again when it came to the third act, where it all payed off and came to a satisfying conclusion. The episodes really got better and better towards the end, the tension reaching a boiling point and it all paid off in the very end.
Recommended for saeguk fans who like their saeguks to lean heavily onto the romantic side. It doesn't reinvent the wheel and some parts are a bit too familiar, but it's certainly a 20 hour well spent and entertained.
I loved the main couple. They had chemistry and their love story was nice and interesting, even though it started very quickly and it didn't have time to built up. The second lead was an interesting character as well, the opposite of the main lead, dark and violent. I liked how he was the perfect opposition to the love triangle and how tragic his persona was.
The drama did, however, get a bit tiring, with the many many action scenes and twists. But, it was entertaining nevertheless. So, 8 out of 10.