K-Drama Review: “The Crowned Clown” Narrates An Arresting Tale Of Sacrifices For Patriotism & Personal Promises
It was not an easy feat, but Ha Seon was able to create the country which Secretary Lee and the rest of the people longed for and deserved.
The Crowned Clown gave us characters to hate and root for. The internal and external forces driving a wedge between the monarchy and its people seemed overwhelming, and someone with a weak resolve would quickly wilt and lose sanity. Fortunately for Ha Seon, his strong will, determination, and the people who backed him up in the palace became his anchor. With these, he was able to stand his ground against challenges and became triumphant.
TITLE: THE CROWNED CLOWN
THEME: HISTORICAL DRAMA, ROMANCE, POLITICS
LENGTH: 16 EPISODES
BROADCAST DATE: 07 JAN 2019 – 04 MAR 2019
MAIN LEADS: YEO JIN GOO, LEE SE YOUNG, KIM SANG KYUNG
HIGHLIGHTS: FAST-PACED STORYTELLING, YEO JIN GOO
RELATED DRAMA: RULER: MASTER OF THE MASK
In the middle of all the conflicts, the lowly clown’s good intentions prevailed. Cleansing the palace and achieving Secretary Lee’s vision of an ideal nation seemed impossible indeed, but Ha Seon did it. He may not be the real King but the way he handled the politics and the palace life made him a worthy one. His reign has been marred by bloodshed and power struggle, yet he was able to rise above it.
Engaging and swift narrative
One of the things that made The Crowned Clown an enjoyable watch was its quick pacing. The drama presented the villains, conflicts and revelations quickly and at a steady pace. Packed with action and drama each week, the episodes did not overwhelm. Despite the drama’s fast storytelling, there was still room for a few surprises.
The drama did not hold back as well when it came to killing off characters. The deaths were all necessary for the plot’s progression. The demise of King Lee Heon’s brother was the driving force behind the Queen Dowager’s anger and hatred. Lee Heon’s death became the catalyst for all the changes that happened in the palace as it made Ha Seon a real King. Secretary Lee’s demise strengthened Ha Seon’s resolve to rid the palace of its rotten officials and fulfilled the dream of the nation’s most loyal subject.
From its premiere up to the last episode, the drama held my attention as I anticipated how the events would unfold. The events made me eager to witness the resolution to the conflicts. I am glad that the series did not disappoint.
Yeo Jin Goo
This young actor had truly given life and justice to his roles as Lee Heon and Ha Seon. He acted out the nuances between roles that you can’t help but be mesmerized when he was on screen. When he was playing King Lee Heon, I love how he showcased the craziness, paranoia, insecurities and vulnerabilities of the character. Lee Heon is someone you could easily hate because of his attitude and skewed mentality, yet Yeo Jin Goo’s portrayal had me sympathized with the character. I know this has a lot to do with how the character was written but Yeo Jin Goo had truly made him human.
The same goes when he was acting as Ha Seon, as his expression and demeanor was totally different. He delivered the clown’s naivete, determination and sincerity with such conviction. It made it easy to understand the reason why Royal Secretary Lee and even Officer Jang switched their allegiance.
His eyes and facial expressions spoke volumes about each character and it was fascinating to watch as he toggled personas.
The Crowned Clown was such a treat with its immersive story and complex characters. Each week, the drama managed to stir the viewer’s curiosity regarding the story’s trajectory. The conflicts and the major players had been established from the start. So it was easy to remember which characters you needed to keep an eye out for. Though the drama introduced few significant characters as the story progressed, it did not complicate the narrative, it added more meat to it instead.
Just like any historical dramas, power had been the center of the story. The characters had their own reasons for coveting the crown; some for personal gain while others want it for the greater good. Shin Chi Soo easily swayed King Lee Heon. Although Lee Heon had a great vision for his country, Shin Chi Soo’s machinations clouded his judgement. He took advantage of the King’s pain and anger for him to gain authority in the palace.
Royal Secretary Lee shared the same vision as the King. I believe he saw some potential in Lee Heon that he followed him blindly. But the young King was too far gone and as much as he tried to believe in him, he had lost his confidence. However, meeting Ha Seon made him realize there was another option and a sacrifice had to be made.
Ha Seon from the start had no interest in keeping the throne. He was an ordinary person and he would always be. Though he had a taste of the influence and power with such a title held, he was never lured by it. He understood that with it came a huge responsibility and there was someone who could take it and do a better job. But before he relinquished the crown, which was never his to begin with, he fulfilled Secretary Lee’s dream. He could not have done it, but Ha Seon was a man of his words. It was the best he could do in return for the things that Lee Kyu had done for the country and its people.
It is true that humans crave power and could easily be blinded by it. But once we realize there is so much good we can do using it, the world can become a better place – and that is The Crowned Clown’s legacy.
Photos from tvN Facebook Page.
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