Korean Drama "Hong Gil Dong" - The Noble Prince
Prince Lee Chang Hui
The Noble Prince
There are many memorable characters in the hit Korean Drama Mini-Series “Hong Gil Dong”. To me, the most memorable one is Prince Lee Chang Hui, beautifully portrayed by actor Jang Geun Seok.
At the beginning of the story, we first meet him on the deck of a boat, arriving from China to Korea. He stands alone in the darkness, running silent tears. We feel an air of mystery and sadness revolving his character. That moment, Yi Nok spots the mournful, handsome young master, and approaches him out of curiosity. The prince is discontented with her presence. He warns her to stay away. His crude reaction is understandable as a flashback shows that he is still suffering the pain of losing his mother, the queen, who was murdered by his half-brother while tries to protect him. He blames himself for his mother’s death, and vows to seek revenge, reclaim the throne that was stolen from him.
In order to lead the revolution that will overthrow the current king, the prince needs the royal sword that has his late father’s will engraved on it, and the sword is in Hong Gil Dong’s father’s keeping. He sneaks into Hong’s house, and is surprised by a gang of real thieves. Badly wounded, he bumps into Yi Nok on the street. She helps him and tends his wound. In the past, the prince would eliminate anyone who knows his existence, helpful or not. But this time, he is unable to raise the sword to his savior.
Her kindness and purity captivate him, and bring warmth to his unfeeling heart. Yet due to his status and the secrecy of the mission, the prince must keep distance between them. That changes, however, when he discovers that Yi Nok is in danger. A group of hired thugs are sent out to capture her. He searches for her all over the town and finally spots her in the crowd. Relieved and overjoyed, he draws her into his arms. That moment, he realizes that he is in love with the woman, though the realization comes a bit too late since she is content with Hong Gil Dong.
Unlike any other jealous rival in a drama, the prince holds his ground with dignity and charisma. He does not interfere with Yi Nok and Hong Gil Dong’s love affair, only silently watches them from distance afar. In episode 17, he detects an arrow aiming at Gil Dong, without thinking, he rushes to his aid and shields him with his own body. (This part reminds me of “The Tale of Two Cities”) a man surrenders his life for the loved one to pursue a chance of true happiness. Very touching and moving indeed and probably why I love this character more and more.
He is a man who is in a position of having everything he desires. But he does not force himself upon the woman he loves. On the contrary, he sacrificed his own life to safe the one Yi Nok treasures. For her happiness is the most important thing to him. It’s hard not to feel pity for the sorrowful prince. Fate is cruel. Love comes when you are not seeking, and perishes when you hunger for it.
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