Queen Seon Deok

I can't even begin to describe how devastated I felt after finishing this long sageuk. In fact, there is still some lingering sadness whenever I think about it. I was bawling my eyes and heart out at the last episode. Even now when I listen to its OST the song "Windflower". At first, the idea of a 50-episode series (then before it was extended to 62) seemed daunting and tedious. But the first episode got me hooked, and the next 5 or so episodes later proved to be highly engaging. These episodes focused on setting the background and childhood stories, and because of that I think they were really fast-paced and thus exciting. And the child actors are excellent.

Queen Seon Deok depicts the life of Princess Deokman, who became Silla's first female ruler, from childhood until her ruling period (though you can forget about historical accuracies). If you are interested in the actual history, perhaps just google it or visit this wikipedia website: Queen_Seondeok_of_Silla. She was responsible for the foundation of the unification of the Three Kingdoms (Goguryeo, Baekje and Silla) campaign during her reign, which efforts continued after her death. Queen Seon Deok is her name posthumous.

Lee Yo Won (Fashion 70's) played the titular character Queen Seon Deok (Princess Deokman), while her nemesis Lady Mishil was played by Go Hyun Jung (Spring Days). What I love about this drama is because it's about strong female characters and their wisdom. To watch Deokman and Mishil along with their respective allies in the battle of wits and war is like going to class and learn about politics and human psychology. I like the fact that while they are rivals, they also respect each other's wisdom and be enlightened by them, instead of mindless confrontation. And I believe, because there is a powerful opponent like Mishil, only Deokman was able to grow and understand what makes a ruler. 

The last 12 episodes are post-Mishil and focuses more on political reformation and relationship between Deokman and the new balance of power Kim Yushin (Uhm Tae Woong) and Bidam (Kim Nam Gil). This is when Bidam becomes the next central character alongside Deokman. One can say that this drama suddenly turned into a tragic love story, but the truth is the seed has been planted so many episodes before and earlier in the series, but only now has the time to bloom and soon perish. I commend the writers for their effort in making these last 12 episodes after the demise of Mishil as interesting as during her era, albeit from a different angle. At one look, Bidam seems like another Mishil, that blood never lies. But after a while I can say that Bidam is as far from Mishil as it can be. Perhaps, his upbringing has shaped him differently, thus despite his potential to be the next Mishil, he was hindered by his very own Achilles' heel, and that was his obsession towards Deokman. 

This drama series is not flawless, but acting is perhaps the least of its problem. All actors, from main to supporting (that are worth mentioned) had given their best performance. Also, as much as acting, background music and theme songs played as important a role to bring out the emotion and connection in the viewers, and I have to say, Queen Seon Deok OST has one of the best collections. As I mentioned earlier, I still feel like bawling when I heard the song Windflower. 

Last but not least, this drama has one haunting ending scene. It was a nice touch, about Deokman's dream. Most likely, this is going to be one of my more memorable endings in a drama series next to Hong Gil Dong.


I found the translation of the song on a youtube video, credit to ppultaeangyeong for it. i'm not sure how accurate, but at least it's something:-

If I turn my back like this
If i disappear like this
I wouldn't come into bloom

If I just look at you like this
It might be good to love while closing my eyes

Without looking, I see you
Without listening, I hear you
Like a windflower which revived by your breathing

I wish to reach you but I couldn't
I wish to embrace you but I couldn't
Your fingertips reach my heart

Will you know
After a long long night?
The love smiling in tears

I wish to have you but I couldn't
I wish to reach you but I couldn't
Like a windflower which revived in your heart

Without looking, I see you
Without listening, I hear you

Getting scattered in the wind
Getting scattered into your heart.

(A/N: more on characters and memorable scenes in future posts.)

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