Memories of the Alhambra tells the unique and suspenseful love story of Yoo Jin Woo and Jung Hee Joo.
Strong spirited Yoo Jin Woo is the CEO of an investment company with a degree in engineering and a knack for developing video games. He has an adventurous and competitive spirit. Suffering after his best friend betrays him, he takes a business trip to Granada, Spain in search of the mysterious inventor of an innovative augmented-reality video game. He ends up at a hostel that Jung Hee Joo owns.
Hee Joo is a former classical guitarist who came to Spain to further her studies. After the death of her parents, she takes on various jobs to support herself, including running the old hostel .
They are both drawn into a series of strange and unexpected events.
(Source: MyDramaList) Add Synopsis In Portuguese
Cast & Credits
- Hyun BinYoo Jin WooMain Role
- Park Shin HyeJung Hee Joo / EmmaMain Role
- Min Jin WoongSeo Jung Hoon [Jin Woo's secretary]Support Role
- Park HoonCha Hyun Suk [CEO of Neword Soft]Support Role
- Kim Eui SungCha Byung Jun [Hyung Suk's father]Support Role
- Park Chan YeolJung Se Joo [Hee Joo's younger brother]Support Role
Unpredictable plot with script that makes you constantly think & analyse (SPOILER: Ending Explained)I really love this drama as a whole. I love how groundbreaking and interesting it is that each episode seemed like its only 15 to 30 minutes long. I love how unpredictable it is like literally, you cant guess whats coming and I love how it is structured to make you speculate and ask questions. The editing was made to show the future first and later flashback scenes will follow aka Christopher Nolan’s ‘Momento’ kind of storytelling. You know that a story is great when it can evoke you all kind of emotions and this drama is exactly that. It made you care for the characters, only to play you around and makes you wanting for more. And I salute the writer for her ability to engage the viewers like she did in this drama.
Aside from that, I really love the writer’s little clues here and there. She did a looooot of foreshadowing in this drama. It sure raise a lot of questions but you know whats coming with that. I mean, we after all can predict Jeong Hun’s death the moment Jin Woo asked Jeong Hun to join him at Granada (as in the train flashback scene, Jin Woo is alone and not with Jeong Hun). We also know right away that Marco is the one who hunt Se Joo the moment he made his appearance in the drama (as a blue checkered guy is the one who shot Se Joo). We also know as early as in Episode 2 that Jin Woo’s leg will be injured but his limp is cured the moment he’s playing the game. The dynamic of Jin Woo and Hee Joo’s relationship is also foreshadow since in the earlier episode on how she’s sitting in front of Jin Woo in the rain is making him feel protected and safe. Hee Joo didnt kill the enemies like Jeong Hun would (since after all she cant see Hyeong Seok's NPC), but her presence and existence is like a buffer between Jin Woo and the game and that particular scene perfectly show what would her role be in Jin Woo’s life in the future.
Jin Woo has become one of my very fave Kdramas’ lead characters ever. And I have to give credit to Hyun Bin for that. He played Jin Woo in such a depth that you literally feel his pain just by looking in his eyes. I have watched Hyun Bin for the past 15 years and I have to say that this is simply his best role to date (although Hyun Bin's Robin from 'Hyde, Jekyll, Me' is my soulmate :P). Its been a really long time that I’m this emotionally invested in a character and Hyun Bin portrayal of Jin Woo made me feel Jin Woo’s soul. Aside from his outburst in Episode 1, Jin Woo is actually a really nice, humble and level-headed guy. Its evidenced with the way he talk to other people despite their status – he actually use a polite language (instead of Banmal) to everyone even to his low-level workers. And not to mention that despite his trouble with the game, he still treat people with utmost respect and care despite he himself is facing a real life and death situations.
Now regarding the romance part of the drama, I thought it was done very tastefully and slowly -- in a mature kind of way. You could see clearly why Hee Joo falls for Jin Woo. The mixture of Jin Woo kindness (still giving her the full amount of the contract), to him touching her soft spot (playing guitar), to him still taking care of his ex-wife (despite he didnt need to), to him facing real & death situation when he falls at her hostel, to her taking care of him and Jin Woo asking her to stay... And later when she realised the length Jin Woo went through to find Se Joo. All this small details contribute to why she loves him. And as for Jin Woo, its obvious that he falls for Hee Joo's kindness and strength. He was impressed with her ability to feed her family and was also taken back by her kindness (the length she is willing to go to help him either in interpreting to taking care of him when he's sick), to her quirkiness on how she explodes when she's mad. Plus, the most important of all is how her presence made him feels safe -- even when Hyeong Seok NPC is in front of him (during the rain scene). Hee Joo is like a buffer between the game and Jin Woo. He just unintentionally ask her to stay by his side since he is just too scared to be alone. He didnt understand it either but later, he realised that he likes her for her sincerity -- the one he never get from Su Jin or Yu Ra. And he actually smile and laugh when she is around him which he never did the whole 1 year after their last meeting at Granada when the game make him question his sanity. That is why he had the urge to see her before he completed the final mission since she is someone important in his life. IMO, the romance part was dealt with many minor details and mature way thats why I ended up really liking how their relationship grows despite the horrible situation they're in -- its not too much nor too little. When you are deal with real life and death situation, your feelings intensifies which explain their relationship perfectly.
All in all, I give the drama 9.5/10. It is not perfect but it was interesting as hell and full of unpredictable plots. I would love it more if the writer actually explain how the characters die because loss of blood when they were killed in the game but I guess she just lump sum it up as part of the 'fantasy and mysterious’ part of the game when Emma made the reality and game world collide when Marco stabbed Se Joo with real knife. But aside from these minor details, this drama has become one of the most nerve-wrecking Kdramas in my book. Its rare for me to have palpitation when I watch Kdramas but this drama is one of a rare case and it will always be special in my heart because of that. :D
~ SPOILER ~
Explanation on the Ending:
ITS OBVIOUSLY A HAPPY ENDING. WHY?
I know that many people are really dissatisfied with this drama’s ending. I personally thought the writer trying to be creative with her ending but kind of backfired as many people got confuse with the game concepts and thought that the bug cycle was repeating themselves over and over again now that Jin Woo is still stuck in the game.
On the surface, the drama ended with a bittersweet note with a glimmer of hope at the end. However, after a second viewing, I have to admit that it is after all a clear cut happy ending. I realised many small details that the writer gave to us – that it was clear that despite the ending is ambiguous, the writer aimed for a happy end to both of our main leads. First of all, lets clear the confusion regarding the concept of the game world.
1. At first, I thought that Emma, while one of her features is to delete bugs, is a bug itself as she’s the reason why the game world and the reality world collide when Marco stabbed Se Joo with real knife. I mean, if she’s not there, the whole mess of the game become real wouldn’t happen as Se Joo will just bleed after the stab and probably recover after he go to the hospital. Jin Woo wouldn’t be in that mess and the only one suffers is only Se Joo with the stab wounds on his stomach.
2. Marco is Se Joo’s bug thus he do not need to be deleted for Jin Woo to reset the game. Plus, Jin Woo can't see Marco anyway unless he made an alliance with Se Joo. Bear in mind that Se Joo is the one who create this game and he set the rules. Among the rules are those who gave Fatima the Key to Heaven will win the game and become the new Master. And he also put one of Emma’ s features is to delete bugs and once bugs are deleted, the game will reset. And that is exactly what Jin Woo did; level up, get the key, kill the bugs and hand over the key to Emma and Emma reset the game. Now, why Jin Woo is a bug and need to be deleted? It is because he played the game while the game is in error state. Had other testers of the game made a duel and killed their opponents like Jin Woo, they will be in the same position as Jin Woo as well.
3. Jin Woo made sure he killed all of the bugs and also sacrificing himself in the process to end the game’s sinister elements. Since he already do this and reset the game to zero, there are no more evil cycle of one has to sacrifice themselves to save the others. Once Emma reset everything, it is a new game without bugs/errors/glitches. J One lost all the data and build the game back from scratch that is why it took them another 1 year to release the new game as they have to rebuild everything. The good thing about the whole thing is that is game is finally safe to be played unlike Se Joo’s original game which mix game world and the real world. The writer made it clear that the evil part of the game was buried once and for all when Jin Woo sacrificing himself at the end.
4. It was obvious that Yang Ju finally delete Emma from the new game when we hear that he regretted of keeping Emma where Emma in the end reset the whole game and delete all their hard work for the past 1 year. So no Emma, no more error in the game. There is no more Emma so the features of her to delete bugs and reset back the game is no longer there as well.
5. Regarding whether Hee Joo can see Jin Woo or not, she can see him as she is wearing lenses. All game users can see Jin Woo if he made an appearance that is why the guy at the restaurant insisted that Jin Woo is not NPC but an advanced user. But why there's no name for Jin Woo in the new game? It is because Emma has deleted everything including Jin Woo's game name 'Zinu' that is why he is without name. ‘Instance Dungeon’ is to make one become invisible from the enemies and hide themselves. Se Joo did hide himself for 1 year as Marco is there to hunt him so he keep using the instance dungeon feature to remain safe. Jin Woo in the other hand just use the feature to save himself from getting deleted by Emma. So if he didn't use the instant dungeon feature, other game users can see him. The problem is getting him out of the game and I believe that is Se Joo's task to do that.
And now the for ending, the writer purposely tell us about the 'Instance Dungeon’ and how a user can use it to hide themselves. And later at the end, it is shown that Jin Woo after all did use that feature to save himself. But why is he helping in killing low-level NPCs for other game users just days after the game was released? It is not actually a 'Master’ task to do that and he knew the game is now free from bugs and no one is getting killed for real. But he did it anyway. Why? He did that as a call of help to alert everyone that he is after all still alive but somehow still stuck in the game. He clearly let them know that he is still alive by helping the other game users. Now that Hee Joo knew that he is alive and hidden, it is only a matter of time for him to be saved just like how he saved Se Joo the year earlier. So, technically, it is only a matter of time before he can get his happy ending.
I am pretty much disappointed with the ending but upon second viewing, it wasn’t really that bad like I initially felt. The writer for surely aimed for a happy end, it just that, its not in-your-face type of ending like other dramas.
The constant replaying of the previous scenes were at times necessary but mostly unnecessary in my view. I skipped them quite often which is something I dont like doing as the series is so beautiful ,that I am scared I will miss a scene and I would like to watch each series without intervention to appreciate it optimally.
I enjoyed Ko Yoo-ra's antics especially in the end when it was said that she only marries rich guys. It was SO funny!
The main characters are very attractive and they play their roles very convincing. The end was a bit disappointing but I understand that a second series is probably planned. I will definitely be watching season two. Cant wait!