Korean Drama "Hong Gil Dong" - The Great Finale

Hong Gil Dong

The Finale

Alas, “Hong Gil Dong”, a Korean Drama series about a man fighting against the selfish and corrupt government to save the ordinary peasants, has ended. The final episode leaves me with a sense of peace and relief. Although it has a typical ending, the king wipes out Hong Gil Dong and his followers, and restores order to his troubled kingdom. However, I did not feel sadness or anguish toward Hong’s death, partially because the director and writer execute the death scene with such thoughtfulness. We see no dead bodies lying around, or bloody fight to the very end. Instead, hundreds of flaming arrows fly across the sky like shooting stars, or fireworks that celebrate the life of a hero.

To those who like Prince Lee Chang Hui, the ending is not disappointing. At the beginning of the drama, the prince appears to be cold and ruthless. He would do anything to capture the crown and seek revenge for his mother’s death. The motivation behind his resolution bases solely on the fact that he is the legitimate son of the king, therefore, heir to the throne. Yi Nok’s kindness and Hong Gil Dong’s sense of justice change the way he views the world. He sees the sorrow and joy of ordinary peasants, and develops sympathy for them. The urge of wanting to protect the people who are suffering from injustice turns him into a better human being. He understands without the support of the general public, his existence would be meaningless.

The prince, in my opinion, is a hero with a great depth. As a matter of fact, he is the most complicated figure in the entire story. Unlike other characters, which do not change much throughout the series, his character achieves such tremendous leap. His weakness, sorrow, struggle and strength all display plainly in front of our eyes. We see him strip off the selfishness and become a thoughtful, mature being, shouldering the weight of a nation. It is especially evident, when he learns the bitter truth: his own mother is the one who hungers for power and plots the coup to overthrown the current king. Such secret would have destroyed the prince in the past. However, the King Lee Chang Hui is much stronger than he appears to be. His determination of becoming a great leader pulls him from the verge of insanity. For he has a better reason to be the King: creating a world that all his subjects can live together in harmony.

Hong Gil Dong, on the other hand, wants to build a dream world, where everyone is treated equally, and no rich or poor. People share the same rights and power. We all know such world is non-existing. His idea is beautiful but unrealistic. In the final episode, Hong Gil Dong’s ambition is revealed: in the “fair” world he creates, he too can one day be the leader of a nation. Yet, unlike the prince, he is not willing to embrace everyone in the kingdom. He represents the very bottom of a society, therefore, only fights for the rights of the lowly peasants. As a hero, his idea and action are admirable, but as a ruler of a nation, he only creates dissension and chaos, for he does not grasp the importance of balance and how the real world functions. The society we live in contains all kinds of people. By choosing one side alone disrupts the equilibrium. Consequently, his tragic ending is inevitable.

Final Words

“Hong Gil Dong” is a good Korean Drama Series that has humor, action, romance and humanity. Although it is a historic drama, the story mirrors the real world, satirizes the malady of our society. Also several popular classic music scores appear appropriately in the drama, which is a surprising delight to music lovers. I think many Korean Drama fans would love this mini-series. Even if you don’t understand the culture or history, the drama itself is a lot of fun to watch.

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2 comments

Aka Professor M 5 years ago

Your review is both indepth and yet amazingly insightful, Dreamlin. You have approached it from the perspective of someone who obviously has a fans love of the cultural dramatics portrayed.

Yet what is more astounding is your understanding of the characters, their strengths and weaknesses and how their roles interact. Such clarity is so very rare! You can be swept up in the artistry of the emotions, philosophies and goals of each yet see the reasons why it was necessary to end as reality dictated it must.

I applaud your hub, your skill and voted this up, pushing all the buttons which I feel apply! Very well Done Dreamlin, very well done indeed! An excellent Review!

Regards Mike (Aka Professor M!) ;D


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Dreamlin 5 years ago from New Jersey, USA Author

Thank you very much Professor M for your kind words. I appreciate your generous comments very much. I enjoy your poetry. As a matter of fact, your poems inspire me to create one of my own for this K-drama series “Unreturned Love”. You are a true master of words. I have learned a lot from you.

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