K-Drama Review: “Haechi” Permeates Life Encouraging Lessons Through Its Characters’ Heroics
The journey in becoming a worthy King sums up the triumphs and sufferings of Yi Geum in historical drama Haechi.
Witnessing how a prince reconciled his emotional breakdowns to man up as a virtuous King has helped to achieve the unswerving direction of SBS series Haechi.
Theme: Historical, Political
Length: 48 Episodes
Broadcast Date: 11 Feb 2019 – 30 Apr 2019
Main Leads: Jung Il Woo, Kwon Yul, Go Ara
Related Dramas: Dong Yi, Six Flying Dragons, Yi San
Portraying the main victor of the story, Jung Il Woo resonated the right blend of emotions required of his character. The support he got from fellow actors yielded conceivable, while they moved in the highs and lows of the narrative.
Having a reputation of overloading information and characters, historical drama has been a genre that viewers would easily skip. What’s interesting about Haechi is how it was conveniently framed to a storytelling mood. Hence, it diligently relayed the bends and problems in the most fathomable way.
A remarkable hero’s journey
Korean history books praised King Yeongjo as the ruler who gave Joseon bountiful reign. Dubbed as the “people’s King”, the years spent outside the palace as a prince born to a peasant mother, had him suffered in finding his identity and purpose. Powerless because of his birth situation, Yi Geum traipsed a harrowing sojourn to realize his value. How he could make use of his innate gift to lead a Kingdom afflicted with political struggles span the conflict that ran in the story. Portraying Yi Geum, Jung Il Woo provided a texture to the hero’s life. As a once passive member of the royal family, he conquered the extremes of hope and despair. Daring to dream for the sake of vulnerable subjects of the Kingdom, his story taught us sacrifice, courage and self-love.
Unadorned yet heartfelt narration
Close-knit characters traversed the narrative of Haechi. Fueling the exciting triumphs and enthralling conflicts were the forged friendships, which guided Prince Yi Geum to his fate of ruling a Kingdom that he was initially reluctant to claim. Kwon Yul as Park Mun Su and Go Ara as Yeoji headlined the supporting cast, which walked side by side the lead hero in ensuring societal justice are uphold at all times.
If you have been used to grandiose iconic period series, Haechi does not appear like that. Modestly delivered, it has presented elaborated production design and decent warring scenes. However, it capitalizes on gravitating the focus of viewers to the growth of Prince Yi Geum as a monarch, who thwarted the ceaseless problems that tested his reign.
A clear-cut character distinctions
Another noticeable feature on Haechi is the specific division of the competing camps. When period dramas do not drown viewers with excessive characters, it is considered efficient. Unlike the usual trend of unlimited supply of baddies to be conquered by the heroes, the series only had four resident villains, who complemented the four resident protagonists.
Representing the staple government officials who contended with Yi Geum were veteran actors who added depth and conveyed with conviction on some of the most compelling lessons on life and politics.
I had to hit online history resources after watching Haechi because I wanted to know more about King Yeongjo’s tenure. His early life as a ruler inspired people to never lose faith in their dreams. That there would be bad choices, but having pure intentions to do good deeds, always generate happiness and peace. Not at all seamless in terms of the tangibles and intangibles presented in historical based stories, it is interesting that I barely remember feeling cold towards the series. Probably because as a viewer, I accepted the treatment of how the flow of the story would circle on Yi Geum’s ascension to the throne.
For weeks, the drama streamed to escalating problems that Prince Yi Geum needed to overcome. Though the issues were repetitive and disheartening, seeing the realization of the hero to be a reliable ruler trumped the evident lapses of the series.
Dramatically effective, it became easier to root for the victories of young King Yeongjo. Plagued with adversities without a family to rely on, he created a bond with friends, who eventually became his family.
If you want a quick serving of a Joseon-set series that celebrates bravery and patriotism, pocket this SBS offering for your next binge-watch schedule.
ABOUT THE WRITER
abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting K-Drama watching as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Gregory House, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.
Recommended Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful, Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.