Queen Seon Duk


Reviewed by: sukting

February 17, 2012

Rating: three-point-five

How long
62 episodes

Foreword
De Man is born a twin but sent to a place far away by her father, King Zhen Ping in order to protect her from being killed by an influenced royal court lady, Mei Shi who tries to snatch away the throne from the royal successor. Her dream is to become the queen.

De Man returns to the Silla palace, where she joined forces with her twin sister Princess Tian Ming to oppose Mei Shi. After Tian Ming is accidentally killed, Princess De Man gets General Yu Xin to eliminate Mei Shi. She then becomes Queen Shan De, the first female ruler of the Silla kingdom. This drama is about a story of her giving up her love to save the people and thus, leaving behind many brilliant achievements.

Story/Introduction on characters

1. Lee Yo Won as Princess De Man, later Queen Shan De
She is born a princess but never enjoy the benefits due to one belief - the second twin princess spells the end of having a prince. King Zhen Ping gets Zhao Huo to bring her away with Wen Nu's help. He places the small knife with her, hoping that she will be unharmed. Mei Shi is on her heels. Zhao Huo becomes her adoptive mother and brings her up in the China desert. She gets her to read the loyal classics and she even knows Latin.

She returns to Silla, disguising as a guy to become Hwa Rang's disciple under Yu Xin's charge. Yu Xin learns of her disguise but keeps from the rest. She has trouble accepting her identity as she is abandoned all along and wants to escape with Yu Xin as lovers but Mei Shi will not let her off. Tian Ming's death makes her stronger and she returns to battle with her. Initially she loves Yu Xin but later Pi Tan. She has to give up love in order to achieve success, ending up dying lonely.

I have never really liked Yo Won. She looks spiteful, revengeful and evil - it seems that she resembles a villain more. Furthermore, the way she walks lacks loyalty airs. When compared with Hyun Jung, she is still raw in many scenes. No wonder the viewership ratings dip after Mei Shi's death.

Nam Ji Hyun as 15 year old Princess De Man
De Man suffers a lot in her young days. She sells goods as a living and has to take care of Zhao Huo who is partly blinded in a fire caused by Mei Shi. She befriends Tian Ming when both are in a temple looking for Wen Nu. She has thought that Wen Nu is her father to abandon her so she is bitter about it after Zhao Huo disappears in quicksand when Qi Su runs after them.

2. Ko Hyun Jung as Lady Mei Shi
She is a complicated woman with complicated status. She has 3 sons, borne by different men but she is not afraid to admit this fact so Bao Zhong and Xia Zhong acknowledge her openly. All her sons hold high positions in court. It is only Pi Tan that she doesn't wish to admit as he reminds her of her disgrace.

She uses her beauty to capture the hearts of the kings and Hwarang leaders with a political agenda. She is initially King Zhen Xing's secret kept woman and is known as the seal leader to protect his seal. After his death, she becomes King Zhen Zhi's concubine. However, King Zhen Zhi has no desire to make her his queen so she abandons their son, Su Zhong in anger. She then causes King Zhen Zhi to lose his throne to let the young King Zhen Ping take over.

She sends killers to try to kill Mrs Mo Ye but fails to stop her to become the queen when she returns. She then marries Shi Zhong, hoping to become the queen when he becomes the king one day. When De Man is born, the sky shows eight stars in a line, depicting that Mei Shi's era will end soon. Mei Shi regards Tian Ming as a thorn in her flesh and both are at odds. She gets married to Shi Zhong but still dreams of becoming the queen. All go to her for tactics and support all these years.

After Tian Ming's death, she faces a bigger challenge by De Man who breaks her image as the sacred lady who knows to tell the future. De Man and Chun Qiu awaken her - one woman wants to become the regent and the other said that royalty is nothing. Since she has so many achievements, why can't she be the ruler? She sets De Man up by framing her to harm the ministers but De Man makes her comeback.

Mei Shi has to escape from the palace with her men after nearly killing De Man. Knowing that she has no chance of winning, she pins all her hopes on Pi Tan. Her mother instincts come when she doesn't want him to be killed by the rest. She wants the others to support him to be the next ruler after she poisons herself. Being a conceited person, she doesn't want Pi Tan to call her mother before her death.

What a change from her lousy performance in 'Spring Days'! I really admire her efforts in looking somber and powerful. If words can kill, she has shown it. She manages to make Mei Shi look pitiful before her death.

Uee as 18 year old Mei Shi
She is pretty but is never innocent. Since young, she knows how to manipulate men with her fingers so that they either become her lovers or work for her willingly.

3. Uhm Tae Woong as Kim Yu Xin
He is the son of Princess Wan Ming and Shu Xuan. He is powerful in martial arts and becomes the leader of a Hwarang group. He trusts people and gets to know the twins when they are outside the palace. He pities De Man's plight and falls for her. De Man trusts him the most but she can't be an ordinary woman. He decides to follow her - not to marry her but to lead his people to work under her.

He becomes Feng Yue leader after defeating E Chuan Kang, Bao Zhong and Pi Tan. It is now this time that he has to change camps to work for Mei Shi in order to save his clan people when Mei Shi finds that he has let his clan people stay on his land for free to accuse him of rebelling against the country. During De Man's reign, he becomes the great general.

Another hurdle for him to clear will be how persistent his clan people are to make him the king. However, he is only willing to be the second fiddle to maintain stability in the country. But Pi Tan will never stop to make him look guilty. He uses his power as the investigation chief to arrest all the men and Yu Xin has to prove his innocence.

Tae Woong has improved so much from 'Sassy Girl Chun Hyang' to include many inner feelings for his role. He also does well in fighting scenes.

Lee Hyun Woo as young Kim Yin Xin
He shows his leadership when young to rescue Tian Ming when she is pursued by Mei Shi's killers. Tian Ming then recommends him to work in the palace after knowing his identity.

4. Park Ye Jin as Princess Tian Ming
She is the remaining princess staying in the palace to grow up to be outstanding to build her own power of controlling a Hawrang group. She is wise and shows leadership. She becomes a widow when Long Shu dies and falls for Yin Xin. Upon knowing that De Man is also in love with him, she backs out. To help De Man get out from Silla, she is killed accidentally by Da Nan Pu. Her biggest regret is De Man never calls her sister before her death. Ye Jin is pretty and shows Tian Ming's alertness in dealing with court matters.

Shin Se Kyung as 15 year old Princess
She meets De Man in a temple and is saved by her when going out to look for Wen Nu. They get along well. However, they do not know that they are related.

Kim Yoo Jung as 10 year old Princess
She lives in constant fear as Mei Shi is always hostile to her. Mei Shi has disliked her for having royal blood. She vows to get back at her when she grows up.

5. Yoo Seung Ho as Jin Chun Qiu
He is Tian Ming and Jin Long Shu's son. He holds De Man responsible for Tian Ming's death so he often sticks with Mei Sheng. He even falls for Bao Zhong's sister, Bao Liang to make Yin Xing and De Man worry for him. But this is to know more about power and building up relationships. After De Man becomes the queen, he often makes suggestions to her to combine the 3 states together.

He is not good in martial arts but is an eloquent speaker. But after crossing swords with Mei Shi, he discovers that using his mouth is not enough. He also discovers that he isn't powerful enough and is touched on how De Man wants to win him over. He works with her to supply her tactics.

He learns to ride horses and later becomes a good warrior as Pi Tan and Yu Xin train him. Unlike De Man, he doesn't trust Pi Tan and wants to get rid of him. He can never forgive Mei Shi for killing his grandfather, father and mother.

6. Kim Nam Gil as Pi Tan

He is King Zhen Zhi and Mei Shi's son born out of wedlock. Mei Shi abandons him so Zhen Zhi leaves him under Wen Nu's care. He is clever and his character of not wanting to lose to others is similar to Mei Shi. That is why he defies Wen Nu's wishes to compete with the other 3 for Feng Yue leader position. Wen Nu has noticed that he is powerhungry so he doesn't impart him all his skills. Having good memory, he remembers all the strokes even by watching in secret.

Yu Xin is unable to tame Chun Qiu down as he is very lazy in studies and martial arts. When Pi Tan becomes his teacher, he is very terrified as he has seen how he tortures Lian Zhong. After Wen Nu's death, he becomes a Hwarang. De Man later makes him the investigation chief so that Mei Shi's subordinates work under him peacefully since he is Mei Shi's son. But unlike Yu Xin who is willing to work under De Man, he wants to overpower her.

He loves De Man all his life and hopes to marry her. He even passes Wen Nu's book to Yu Xin to show his loyalty. De Man also trusts him but he is later made use by Lian Zhong to stage a rebellion against her in Silla. Yu Xin has no choice but to kill him. I find his acting exaggerating at times - the way of looking wicked is too deliberate.

Park Ji Bin as young Pi Tan
Wen Nu writes a book on how to combine the 3 states and is initially thinking of Pi Tan as the successor. Pi Tan has shown his ruthless nature when young to poison those to death who try to snatch the book. Since then, Wen Nu gets wary of him instead of guiding him on the correct path.

7. Lee Seung Hyo as E Chuan
He becomes Yu Xing's friend after Bai Ji's battle to become Tian Ming's bodyguard. However, Tian Ming's death gives him a hard blow and nearly kills himself. De Man persuades him to work for her. He is among the first few who support them. He shares the same position of great general like Yu Xin. Unlike Yu Xin who goes to battles, he is her bodyguard. He becomes the prime minster after Pi Tan's death.

Ho Hyo Hoon as young Yin Chuan
He is talented since young and often looks upon Yu Xin as his closest contestant.

8. Jung Ho Bin as Wen Nu
He is the 8th leader of Hwarang Warriors and is known as the title of Gookseong (Guo Xian). He saves De Man from Qi Su and brings up Pi Tan. He has wanted to marry the two but Zhao Huo opposes this. He doesn't want Pi Tan to become ambitious like Mei Shi and doesn't acknowledge his efforts.

He looks down on De Man who wants to be the ruler. He is later killed by a poison arrow when Pi Tan fights with him over the book. He realizes that he lets Pi Tan down when Pi Tan doesn't go after the person who runs away with it but to try to save him instead.

9. Jo Min Ki as King Zhen Ping
He is the twins' powerless and indecisive father. He doesn't know how to deal with the evil officials in court and his daughters have to worry for him. He dies peacefully when knowing that De Man wins the war against Mei Shi after being her hostage.

Baek Jong Min as young Zhen Ping
He is unhappy when he is nearly forced to marry Mei Shi to be his queen when Lady Mo Ye is missing. This is so unthinkable as Mei Shi is old enough to be his mother and she is also once his grandfather's concubine! Luckily, Lady Mo Ye escapes from Mei Shi and reveals that she is pregnant to cause Mei Shi's dream to be unfulfilled.

Kang San as child Zhen Ping
He witnesses how his ailing grandfather dies after he gives him the small knife. It helps the old man to kill the tiger by chance and not through bravery.

10. Yoon Yoo Sun as Lady Mo Ye
She is the twins' mother whose three sons do not survive long after they are born. She blames it onto herself but dotes on Tian Ming. After Tian Ming's death, she is determined to keep her only child, De Man beside her this time to reveal how she has suffered all these years to the people. After Zhen Ping's death, she stays in the temple.

Park Soo Jin as young Mo Ye
Unlike other queens who are well taken care of, she is very ill-fated. Mei Shi is after her life so she has to hide from her when she is pregnant. After giving birth to twins, she has to send the younger one away. She is wary of how Mei Shi is like to protect Tian Ming well.

11. Seo Young Hee as Zhao Huo
She is King Zhen Ping's maid and is constantly on the run from Qi Su. After she is saved by Qi Su from the quicksand, she is seriously ill to lose her senses and her speaking ability. Qi Su takes care of her and falls for her. She is later reunited with De Man and De Man still treats her like her mother. She knows it but hides from him as he is Mei Shi's man. She disguises as De Man to escape from the enemies' tracks and is killed by Qi Su accidentally.

12. Im Ye Jin as Lady Wan Ming
She is the king's sister and Yin Xin's mother. She elopes with Shu Xuan to marry each other as he isn't a Silla but a Gaya native. She returns after giving birth to Yu Xin. She also gives Yu Xin the best upbringing and pities Mo Ye for suffering so much.

13. Jung Sung Mo as Jin Shu Xuan
He is Yin Xin's father who is also a general. He is also strict with him but is glad that he is an upright man. He supports him in whatever he does. He controls the army with an iron hand.

14. Park Jung Chul as Jin Long Shu
He is King Jin Zhi's eldest son and Princess Tian Ming's husband. He is a general who gets killed in a war caused by Mei Shi. Tian Ming discovers that she is pregnant with Chun Qiu. To protect this future heir to the throne, she hides in the temple while looking for Wen Nu.

15. Do Yi Sung as Jin Long Chun
He is King Jin Zhi's second son who is a firm supporter of King Zhen Ping. He later becomes the prime minister after Shi Zhong steps down. He is peeved when De Man gets Pi Tan to replace him as he also doesn't trust him.

16. Shin Goo as Yi Ji
He is considered as the foreign minister. Upon knowing that De Man has returned, he orders for her killing without King Zhen Ping's knowledge. King Zhen Ping is so badly affected by Tian Ming's death that he holds Yi ji responsible to make him resign from office.

17. Lee Soon Jae as King Zhen Xing
He is King Zhen Zhi's father and King Zhen Ping's grandfather. His dream is to combine 3 states into one. Mei Shi has used her beauty to attract him and e realizes too late when she becomes too strong. Mei Shi has wanted to poison him to death but he dies of illness so she pours the poison into the plant pot beside it. A child King Zhen Ping is shocked to see how the plant dies.

18. Im Ho as King Zhen Zhi
He is King Zhen Xing's second son whose mother isn't the queen. De Man's grandfather is the eldest son but he dies young. So he gets his position with Mei Shi's help. Mei Shi becomes his concubine but he has no intention to make her his queen. She gets so mad that she abandons their son, Pi Tan. He has to abdicate from the throne when Mei Shi reads King Zhen Xing's decree that King Zhen Ping is the real successor.

19. Jung Woong In as Mei Sheng
He is Mei Shi's younger brother; the 10th leader of Hwarang Warriors. He is a womanizer and has 100 over children. He can never forget women so he can recognize Zhao Huo at one glance even though they have not met for many years. Like Chun Qiu, he also doesn't know how to ride a horse and is lousy at martial arts but he is a cunning man.

20. Dok Go Young Jae as Shi Zhong
He is Mei Shi's cunning husband and the 6th leader of Hwarang Warriors. His position is almost the same as the prime minister. He has known that Xue Yuan is her lover all along but doesn't voice his disapproval openly. Mei Shi has dreamed of making him the king so that she can become the queen. He is dismayed that she wants to be the ruler later but he still gives his support. After her death, he retires to the countryside as he gets too disillusioned.

21. Jun Noh Min as Xue Yuan
He is Mei Shi's lover and the 7th leader of Hwarang Warriors. King Zhen Xing wants him to kill Mei Shi but he protects her instead. He is as smart as her to read her thoughts and follows her instructions in defying King Zhen Xing to bring her into power. He is seriously injured in a war to want to help Pi Tan strengthen his position. Before he dies, he urges Pi Tan to control De Man unless he is contented to be the second fiddle like him.

22. Kim Jung Hyun as Xia Zhong
He is Mei Shi and Shi Zhong's son; the 11th leader of Hwarang Warriors. He thinks very highly of himself to be rich and often looks down on Bao Zhong. He often bullies the common folk and expects them to pay him high taxes yearly. After the rebellion, his high position is revoked and he ends up having a lower position than his two younger brothers. He is never close to Xue Yuan but cries after his death.

23. Baek Do Bin as Bao Zhong
He is Mei Shi and Xue Yuan's son. Although not as evil as them, he is also involved in their criminal activities. He often gets humiliated by Xia Zhong but keeps mum. Mei Shi knows that he feels neglected and showers him concern when he needs it - especially when he loses to Yu Xing. However, he admits defeat and admires Yu Xin's guts. I know it sounds unbelievable but Bao Zhong calls her mother in public, signifying that Shi Zhong also acknowledges their relationship.

Kwak Jung Wook as young Bao Zhong
When young, he looks upon Yu Xing and E Chuan as his closet rival. He is the one who hunts the twins down to the temple.

24. Song Ok Sook as Zhe Li
The fortune teller whom Mei Shi trusts. She has warned Mei Shi of her downfall if De Man returns to the palace but she will not listen to her. When De Man returns, Mei Shi's regime ends when the sky has 8 stars instead of 7. Thus, she gets Mei Sheng to try to kill De Man. Mei Shi is enraged that she defies her wishes and keeps warning her as she feels that she is invincible. Thus, she gives her poison wine to drink.

De Man sneaks to want Zhe Li's life after Tian Ming is killed Zhe Li sees De Man and has the vision of her being queen. She gives up on her and hints to De Man where Reverend Yue Tian is before her death.

25. Ahn Kil Kang as Qi Su
He is Mei Shi's bodyguard who gets her command to hunt Zhao Huo and De Man down. After saving Zhao Huo, he falls hopelessly for her. Even though he loses his eyesight, he protects her well and tries to get her cured without success. Seeing Qi Su so tense over her, Mei Shi gathers Zhao Huo's identity. She gets Reverend Yue Tian to cure both. In return, Qi Su becomes Wonsanghwa (yuan shang hua) - to control all the hwarangs.

He is later given the mission to kill De Man secretly. Zhao Huo disguises as her to die in his hands instead. He is overcome by grief upon discovering this. Even after knowing that Mei Shi is dead, he still insists of carrying out De Man's assassination but is killed by Pi Tan and Yu Xin.

26. Lee Moon Shik as Zhu Fang
He steals from De Man when she is young. He is a born lier and thief. They become friends and work in Yu Xing's camp as dangtu - his subordinates. Being always with women, he is surprised to be fooled by De Man's disguise. De Man appoints him as Yu Xing's assistant. He falls for Zhao Huo and is saddened by her death. He later becomes a rule minister in court.

27. Ryu Dam as Gao Dao
He is also a commoner and is De Man's good friend too. However, he is often brainwashed by Zhu Fang. He only discovers his strength later to become a warrior.

28. Ryu Sang Wook as Da Nan Pu
He is Mei Sheng's son who is a hwarang. His shooting skills are excellent but is dismayed to know that he has killed the wrong princess. Chun Qiu gives him hell by ordering him around.

Kim Sang Bin as young Da Nan Pu
He combines efforts with Bao Zhong to hunt down Tian Ming when she is young.

29. Park Eun Bin as Bao Liang
She is Bao Zhong's sister and Chun Qiu's wife. Although her family uses her as a political pawn, she falls for Chun Qiu who is knowledgeable. She doesn't even mind being kidnapped by him even though this causes Xue Yuan and Shi Zhong to fall out with each other. The two elope to get married.

30. Qri as Ling Mao
She is Xia Zhong's daughter and Yin Xin's wife. Xia Zhong wants to tie Yu Xing down with this additional relationship. She gets pregnant soon after their marriage but Xia Zhong doesn't give her face to want his head when he helps De Man escape from the palace.

31. Park Jae Jung as Sa Da Hen
He is Mei Shi's first love. He knows of Mei Shi's motives all along but supports her silently till his death to leave a book of calendars and secrets for her.

32. Reverend Yue Tian
He is excellent in making predictions on the eclipses and medical healing. He works for Mei Shi as Sa Da Hen saves his life but is tired of doing evil for Mei Shi to cause the commoners worship her so much. Initially, he also refuses to work for De Man but after seeing how she wants to set up a star grazing tower to get the people to be less superstitious, he helps her to calculate when the lunar eclipse will be out so that she can become a princess openly again.

33. Go Yoon Hoo as Hu Ya
He is the 14th leader of Hwarang Warriors. His 'retirement' is due after a term so that is why so many fight over his position. After Yu Xin succeeds him, he becomes 'seung seong' (shang xian) He works very closely with Mei Shi as he believes that she is right. After discovering that she plans to rebel, he sides with Yu Xin after believing that Wen Nu is still alive to support him.

34. Lian Zhong
He is a trader but also works with Wen Nu on the book. He is infuriated to learn that Wen Nu intends to give it to an unknown, Yu Xing. Thus, he kills him secretly with poisonous darts to seize the book back. Lian Zhong passes the book to Chun Qiu to read and is surprised that he can remember the pages clearly although they are not in order.

Pi Tan is angered to retrieve it and leaves a scar on his face. He bears a grudge and pretends to be under his control. He works with Mei Sheng to cause Pi Tan's death later. Pi Tan has no plans to dispose De Man's position initially but they trick her into believing it. Pi Tan is so furious that he kills him.

35. Yue Ye - Joo Sang Wook
He is the spy of Gaya clan and is the son of Prince Yue Guang. He has wanted to raise a rebellion but Yu Xing changes his mind to work with him for De Man. He has thought that Yu Xing wants to be the king and is started to know that he has no intention of this. He supports him after he becomes Feng Yue leader. However, he still has secret activities to plan to overthrow De Man. De Man has to use her sincerity to win him over after Pi Tan discovers his secret.

36. Xue Di - Jung Ho Geun
He works for Yue Ye and is prepared to give up his life when Xue Yuan asks for the rebels' leader's head. Even De Man also approves that as she doesn't want to lose Yu Xin. Yu Xing protects him and chooses to work for Mei Shi. Xue Di is touched as he owes him his life.

37. Shi Pin - Hong Kyung In
He is grateful to Mei Shi for giving him a chance to be the captain although he comes from a poor family. That is why he is very loyal to her. He even stages the scene of stabbing Shi Zhong to frame De Man's men of doing it so that Mei Shi can be the ruler. When the rebellion fails, he still refuses to back off and fights till the end with his life.

38. Lin Zhong - Kang Ji Hoo
He is Zhen Ping's bodyguard. Later, he serves De Man and Yu Xing faithfully.

Most favourite character
Yu Xin, De Man can be reckless in thinking how she should be queen but he is a magnanimous man who refuses to give in. He is more suitable to be the king, actually. That is why even Wen Nu and Qi Su also hold him in high regard.

Most hated character
King Zhen Ping, he relies on his daughters to do everything for him while he gives them more of the emotional support.

Interesting scenes

How Mei Shi gets desperate over the queen position - she doesn't even mind marrying a man so much younger than her. Can you imagine Zhen Ping is about Bao Zhong's age?! Plus her identity as Zhen Xing's secret kept woman, she can be considered to be his grandmother.

De Man returning to the palace. She is devastated to know how her family treats her after Yi Ji tries to kill her. Luckily, Yu Xin is by her side all the time.

Pi Tan nearly gives De Man to Xue Yuan for the sake of saving the villagers. Luckily, he discovers on time to combine forces with Yu Xin to save her out.

De Man claiming her status as princess. Mei Shi almost destroys her whole bedroom after knowing this but keeps her calm to doll herself up before turning up at the ceremony. She gets annoyed when she is reminded not to touch her.

De Man lowers the price of wheat. This annoys Mei Shi's gang as they can't exploit the villagers anymore and they will incur losses.

De Man decides to give barren land to a village and they can keep the land if they are able to grow crops. Yet, the villagers escape after getting the village tools. To make sure she means what she says, she kills the village head to make sure that they stay.

De Man drops a bombshell by claiming to be want to be the future regent and will remain single. Due to tradition, her future husband as the prince consort should be the regent. This sends all speechless. Mei Shi pushes Chun Qiu out but he states that bring royalty is nothing. Mei Shi starts to review her thoughts to want to be the female ruler instead.

De Man is framed of assassinating Shi Zhong. She escapes from the palace but not for long. She passes messages from flying lanterns to inform the commoners of Mei Shi's scheme. She even surrenders herself to Mei Shi. Mei Shi shoots her but she is protected by the little knife.

De Man wants Mei Shi to work under her. Mei Shi knows that De Man is in need of her men. She laughs bitterly - De Man keeps citing that the country is hers but how much effort has she put in? The country contains blood of Mei Shi's men. De Man is speechless as she can never outtalk her.

Interesting facts

The drama centres on Hwa Rang (hua lang), a military establishment. Hwa Rang literally means Flower of the Youth Soldiers. The Chinese translation means a man of chivalry. The Hwarang members were trained hard in arts of war and be loyal subjects to the court. Yue Guang, consolidated Buddhist-Confucian virtues in the their education. Hwarang is respected by the Korean as a symbol of Korean spirit.

Did Nam Gil fall for Yo Won? Yo Won was ill due to the hectic filming. She said that his eyes often passed the wrong love messages. Nam gil laughed and joked that he was in indeed interested in her to often tell Tae Woong off for getting close to her. Tae Woong protested and joked that he was the one to tell Nam Gil off jokingly. Yo Won had wished that De Man could get both men. Yu Xing was close to De Man in the drama but off screen, she was closer to Yo Won who was very humerous.

After reading the whole script, she thought she was destined to act as Queen Shan De after wearing her robes. She was thrilled to act opposite Hyun Jung, who is her idol. Hyun Jung also found that she needed to adjust filming this drama as it was very different from her past dramas. She thought that fighting for the top position is a bloody affair. Women will find it tougher and also lonely to try to survive.

To her, Mei Shi seems strong on the exterior but in reality, she is a weak woman who gets tense and also frightened over what happens around her all the time. The clothes department used lots of good threads for De Man's clothes but silver colours for Mei Shi.

The part where Zhao Huo was killed and De Man cried uncontrollably touched many and the ratings went to 41.7%. The drama ratings rose from 16% to 44%.

The list of awards that it won were seen below :

2010 46th Baeksang Art Awards: Daesang Grand Prize (Ko Hyun Jung) , New Actor TV Section (Kim Nam Gil), Best Drama nomination, Popularity Award Female TV Section nomination (Lee Yo Won), Popularity Award Female TV Section nomination (Ko Hyun Jung) and Popularity Award Male TV Section nomination (Kim Nam Gil)

2009 MBC Drama Awards: Daesang (Grand Prize) (Ko Hyun Jung),
Top Excellence Award - Actress (Lee Yo Won), Top Excellence Award - Actor (Uhm Tae Woong), Excellence Award - Actor (Kim Nam Gil)
Best New Actor Award (Yoo Seung Ho and Lee Seung Hyo), Drama of the Year Award
Best Couple Award (Kim Nam Gil and Lee Yo Won), PD Award (Shin Goo)
Special Child Actor Award (Nam Ji Hyun), Golden Acting Award (Ahn Kil Kang)
Golden Acting Award (Seo Young Hee), Writer of the Year Award (Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yun)

Hyun Jung was divorced from Samsung holdings successor. Yet, she picked up her career quickly after her comeback in 2004. She was very generous to the cast. After her win, she got them wonderful presents that were quite costly and they were very grateful to her.

Conclusion

At first, I get giddy after seeing so many hwarangs. I skip introducing many characters in detail as there are about 20 over in all, each belonging to different camps. They were divided into 4 camps - red, purple, (both wicked), yellow and blue (both benevolent). It takes a long time to find out who they are and where they belong to as their youth days are also projected. It is hard to associate the faces with the names.

Most are written in Chinese - the meaning is exactly the same. Many will have a sense of belonging when seeing the written language and also wonder how it almost vanishes completely to have the present Korean language. When the ministers hold meetings, they have 'agree' and 'disagree' wooden chips in their hands for any notion.

Mei Shi and De Man are the watchers but Mei Shi often has the upper hand of controlling the ministers as De Man only has two supporters - Long Shu and Shu Xuan. The traditional saying is ' there is a successful woman behind a man' but this drama shows the other way round - not a man but many men.

However, is the royalty creating incest? The rule keeps insisting that only royals can marry each other. That ends up cousins marrying each other. Zhen Xing and Zhen Ping's children get married. I am quite baffled by how Mei Shi gets so much power in court. Shi Zhong, the prime minister also listens to her! Mei Shi is right indeed - all the men belong to her. After her death, the story also goes downhill. I nearly lose the urge to watch as it becomes so boring. Pi Tan is definitely not her match although he resembles her.

The story is on the queen but the main focus in on Mei Shi. Many will enjoy watching how she rises to power and falls from grace. Without her, the luring power is no longer there. MBC should have kept this character till the end. Nevertheless, this drama is worth watching by the strong storyline and the cast.

Sukting's ratings :

On acting : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)

On story : ***1/2 (Scale of 5)


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