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Golden Bride - The Characters

There are at least seven couples and various other relationships in Golden Bride. Each has its own stories and highlights and serve its own purposes in the overall plot development.. I wouldn't mention all in this entry, though it doesn't mean they aren't important.

1) Nguyen Jin Joo + Kang Jun Woo

Our main couple. Lee Young Ah and Song Chang Ui really compliment each other coz they are both the cute type, and their characters have personalities that truly match. When I first heard that the premise of this series is about an arranged marriage, I was wondering if I would be sitting through 60++ episodes of them bickering and hurt each other. Thus I was surprised and glad that they make up pretty early in the series and the story focuses more about life than silly and endless pull and push relationship by these two characters. About three years ago, Jun Woo had been dumped by the love of his life and after a traumatic experience was unable to move on. If I was previously crazy about the 'perfect' Jo Gook of City Hall, I now watched a different kind of perfection in the character Jun Woo. Even though he started off really hopeless, almost pathetic, and sometimes acted like a jerk to Jin Joo, even so one could still see that he's a kind-hearted person and the reason he pushed Jin Joo away was for her own good. As Jo Gook is perfect for Mi Rae, Jun Woo is perfect for Jin Joo. Once he came out of his bad disguise, he's truly a wonderful man. And for the first time in Kdrama, I found a male character who always got his priority straight. You know how frustrated you get when watching a drama where the male lead is so 'dumb' you wanna hit his head with a hammer. But in Golden Bride,  I always had faith in Junwoo that he would do the right thing, and he hardly failed me every time.

Jin Joo was really admirable herself. Being abandoned by his father and due to her mixed parentage, she really suffered a lot growing up. It's a scary thing to venture into new culture and being around people you hardly know, but she made it through. But since she is way younger than Jun Woo (Jun Woo's colleague called her a kid wife), she can be a little naive and childish and immature sometimes. But she knows when to put her foot down on things that matter and that make her one fine lady. And of course, having a husband who is very understanding and really patient helps a lot to survive in a new place, new culture, and new challenges. I love seeing how their relationship grows. From awkward first date to disastrous honeymoon to lovely pillow talks, they were steadily becoming a real couple.As much as I'm happy for them, I also feel scared. For a couple who always depends on each other, always be there for each other, what will happen if one of them dies first? Will the other be able to move on? Looking at these two, based on their past experiences and the way they cope with them, it's kinda hard to tell. It's gonna be devastating.

2) Ok Ji Young + Kim Young Min

Ok Ji Young was the ex-girlfriend of Kang Jun Woo, who betrayed him for a rich guy (Kim Young Min) and caused an incident that traumatized JunWoo for a long time, which unable him to lead a normal life. Kim Young Min turned out to be the son of Jun Woo's mother's ex-boyfriend. Ji Young was an ambitious girl, and even if she didn't dump Jun Woo three years ago, I bet eventually they would break up because they just weren't right for each other. I don't think Ji Young would ever be satisfied with a life with Jun Woo and being together would only led to sadness and loneliness. I guess, Jun Woo just wasn't the perfect man for Ji Young. It's interesting to note that the actress, Choi Yu Jin, was in My Woman, where her character was the sister of man that got married to a woman who left his boyfriend for a rich guy too. The difference between her character now and her sister-in-law in My Woman is that, her husband, Young Min doesn't know about this particular past of hers, while her brother character in My Woman was fully aware of the fact that the wife left her ex for a rich guy which was himself, and in fact, he was the one who seduced her despite the knowledge. In case of Ji Young, everyday was like a living hell, trying to keep the secrets of her past from her new family when the Kim and the Kang families just kept bumping into each other. She was terrified because her husband believed that she was pure and innocent girl with no dirty past. Kim Young Min was very particular about this (was termed as a neat-freak by his mother-in-law) because he remembered very clearly the sufferings of his own mother when his father left them when he was young because the father couldn't forget his first love. Although the father came back and tried to atone for his sins, Young Min is scarred by it and became really particular about loving someone with no past. I don't know whether this two really loved each other, It seems to me that their love was very conditional. And when all hells broke loose, nothing could really bind them together. Throughout the series though, Ji Young repeatedly said that she loved him and couldn't live without him and tried to prove it, and Young Min himself seemed to be having a hard time deciding what he wanted, so it's probably a love-hate relationship what these two was having. I don't like Ji Young. It's ridiculous how she always thinks the worst of people's intention. At the same time, I kinda pity her. I guess it's true when she said that in her own way, she did love her husband, but it's simply wasn't the kind of love Young Min was expecting. If there's one thing I learnt from this couple is that, you don't build a relationship based on lies. And don't expect too much, you are bound to be disappointed.

3) Kang Sae Mi + Kim Young Soo

This young couple is just adorable. Kang Sae Mi is Jun Woo's sister, while Kim Young Soo is Young Min's brother. They met at a club (not exactly a place I would want to find my future husband, mind you) one night. It was Young Soo who approached Sae Mi. He had mistook Sae Mi's admirer (a friend) who was excitedly dancing and bothering Sae Mi as unwanted (though he was not necessarily wrong there) that he picked a fight with him to gain Sae Mi's attention. After punching him on the face, he took Sae Mi's hand and dragged her out of the club. Acting like he had just saved Sae Mi from a disaster, he was so full of himself that he was surprised when Sae Mi slapped him for acting like a know-it-all. He was love-struck ever since. They met again accidentally during his brother's wedding at a hotel. Sae Mi was there to take revenge on the girl that caused his brother and family much pain during the past years, after finding out that the girl is getting married to a rich guy that day. She eventually chickened out and was speeding away from the hotel and hit Young Soo's car in the process. This unexpected turn of event gave Young Soo the opportunity to pursue the girl he was unable to forget and thus, without knowing the bad ties between their families, their romance blossomed.

They faced hardship when their families opposed their relationship for reasons unknown to them. A lot of things happened and they ran away from home in the belief that their parents would soften towards them and gave them approval soon, which somehow seemed to never going to happen, as they later realized. At one point, they broke up, and Young Soo left for the States and never contacted Sae Mi in the four years he was away. I was actually OK when they broke up coz personally I think they were too young and not ready to commit, even though they love each other so much. I believe they learned from the experience and they grew up through it and because of it. The separation allowed them to focus on achieving their dreams and  taught them to appreciate what they once meant to each other. Sometimes, a good timing is what we need in falling in love.

4) Kang Won Mi + Heo Dong Gu

Kang Won Mi is Jun Woo's and Sae Mi's older sister. Heo Dong Gu was once Sae Mi's stalker. He even proposed to Sae Mi with Won Mi's help. At the beginning, Dong Gu was so obsessed with Sae Mi and Won Mi was usually the one who took care of the mess Sae Mi left behind every time she ran away from Dong Gu or whenever problem arose because of these two. Kang Won Mi is considered a spinster by many and failed a number of blind dates. I found it hard to understand how a pretty girl like her got rejected so many times. Later I thought maybe I knew why. Kang Won Mi is really a cute character but she could be really absent-minded, naive and really, really clumsy. She was however very kind-hearted, almost to a fault. If anything, that was still her saving grace. During Dong Gu's lowest moment after being rejected openly by Sae Mi, Won Mi became involved with Dong Gu's post break-up antics, even pretended to be his girlfriend for a day as Dong Gu had once promised to introduce his young girlfriend to his friends before going to the army soon. Always the kind girl, she agreed to help Dong Gu and from there things just started to get more complicated. She suddenly became his pillar of support and without meaning to, she had caused Dong Gu to eventually fall for her. While Dong Gu was away doing his military training, Won Mi met a dentist through a blind date and was set to marry him. But then Dong Gu came back and pursued her in earnest.

Won Mi's mother really opposed to her being with Dong Gu. I have to admit that if I were the mother, I would probably do the same thing - Dong Gu was yet to have a stable career, and he doesn't really have a great personality to make up for his lacking in other areas, and on top of that, a dentist was pursuing her daughter at the same time.. Plus, it's not like Dong Gu's mother is accepting her either. Thus it's understandable if the mother thought her daughter deserved better than Dong Gu. But as some people say, love makes you blind. Despite realizing that Dong Gu was lacking in many areas, Won Mi had a difficult time letting him go herself. In his desperate attempt to get married to Won Mi, Dong Gu blurted a lie, saying that Won Mi was pregnant with his baby. What else can parents do when their kids had gone too far. So they got married.

But for Won Mi, living with her mother-in-law proved to be very trying. Her clumsiness always got in the way of her good intentions and caused much trouble to her mother-in-law and put strains in their relationship. Dong Gu himself was having a hard time being caught in the middle and at the same time struggling to pass his bar exam. Despite the bad happenings, deep down they really bonded together. And Won Mi, though lacking in many ways as a daughter-in-law, was one patient and kind girl. With these qualities, she was able to survive and eventually gained the affection of her mother-in-law.

5) Kang Woo Nam + Jung Han Sook

They are the parents of Won Mi, Jun Woo and Sae Mi. Han Sook was heartbroken seeing the condition of her son Jun Woo that was having the illness of the heart. She swore that there was nothing she wouldn't do to get him back to normal. She was determined to find her son a bride whom she hoped would love Jun Woo with all her heart and help him heal the pain caused by his past experience. Since finding a Korean bride was quite impossible given Jun Woo's condition, she flew to Vietnam with her husband's sister to find an unsuspecting  Vietnamese bride for her son. It wasn't as easy as they thought. Due to  an unfortunate circumstances involving her mother, Jin Joo, who was supposed to pick them at the airport had failed to do so, which left Han Sook and her sister-in-law on their own. Clueless in an unfamiliar country, they struggled to find their way and had fallen victim to a robbery scheme. Jin Joo gave them a very bad impression, and only when she realized Jin Joo had a Korean blood and was abandoned by her Korean father since she was one year old did her heart soften and  she took pity on Jin Joo.

Han Sook met a couple of potential Vietnamese bride but she found faults in all of them. Finally, Jin Joo, after hearing from the doctor that her mother's eyesight is getting poorer and that she may go blind in a couple of years, decided to have her mother see her father before it's too late cause she knew how much her mother missed the man. She must go to Korea at all cost and so she offered to be the bride for Jun Woo. Han Sook, who was at the verge of giving up, found hope in it and took the chance.

Han Sook later confessed to her husband on why she insisted to find Jun Woo a bride. Han Sook, when she was young was also betrayed by love and thought that it was the end. But Woo Nam had held out his hand and pulled her up. They got married and Woo Nam was always there to give her support during her difficult times. She told him that because of him, she was able to forget the pain and moved on. Therefore she believed that a new person was what her son needed the most, that only a person can heal the pain caused by another. Only when he opened his heart for a new love could he forget the past one.

Woo Nam, though was not as expressive as his wife, was actually very concern about the well beings of their kids. He felt heavily responsible for not being capable enough. He blamed himself for what happened to Jun Woo, believing that if only he was more successful, someone his kids could be more proud of, Jun Woo's girlfriend wouldn't leave him.

As I watched this couple, I thought that there are many reasons people got married. You may not be madly in love with the other person when you married him/her, but somehow you become grateful to that other person, build affection, and that perhaps is as strong a tie as there could be between two persons. I don't know if I could marry someone simply because I'm grateful towards him. I wonder myself, and only time will tell.

6) Yang Ok Kyung + Kam Sang Il

They are the parents of Young Min and Young Soo. Sang Il is a successful man and was able to let his family live comfortably. He was a romantic husband and Young Soo's role model. Young Soo looked up to his father and respected him a lot. Ok Kyung and Sang Il had a long history together. Though now they seemed like a happy and enviable coulple, their relationship was not always smooth from the beginning. Sang Il was actually Han Sook's boyfriend in high school but Ok Kyung stole him away and tied him down by faking pregnancy. During their earlier married life, Sang Il was unable to forget Han Sook. Even though he and Ok Kyung already had a baby at that time (Young Min), he really hated the life he had with Ok Kyung and  decided to leave home. He went to America and the family had no news of him for nearly three years. During this time, Ok Kyung fell into depression and started drinking. Young Min, although young at that time, was old enough to remember the going ons and was heavily affected by this. Sang Il came back to Korea, determined to finally divorce Ok Kyung, only to face the death of his father, who left a will telling him to do otherwise, and that Ok Kyung was the one who had loyally taken care of him when he was really sick. Feeling guilty and grateful, it was a turning point in Sang Il's life in which he decided to turn over a new leaf and save the marriage. From then on, he was a perfect husband to Ok Kyung and treated her like a queen.

7) Gun Ja + Byuk Soo

Unfortunately I don't have a picture for this couple, but I can assure you that they are the funniest and most  hilarious couple to watch. Gun Ja is Kang Woo Nam's sister, which made her the aunt of Jun Woo and his siblings, and Byuk Soo is an employee at Woo Nam's company. Gun Ja was a tomboy and an old spinster who had faced a  number of failures in her attempt to establish her own independence. She met Byuk Soo when she started working at her brother's company. They didn't start off good, what with Gun Ja hitting Byuk Soo hard for mistaking him as a thief, and then forced to compete with each other for a position in the company. Though this couple's story was more for a comic relief and has not much contribution in the major plot line, it's the one couple you don't want to miss. Whenever the drama turns heavy and gloomy, you can expect them to make you laugh out loud. They made the most hilarious comments and sometimes what they did is just unbelievable you gotta gave the actors credit for even managing it.


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