This week I only finished one drama, the 55-episode, ‘Ballad of Suh Dong aka Seodong’s Song.’ Apart from that I was also watching six other on-going online dramas namely, Flame of Desire, Queen of Reversal, Dae Mul, Home Sweet Home, Secret Garden and King Geunchogo. Like I’ve said before, these ongoing dramas are very slow as they are only being uploaded 2 episodes each week. But then I have to follow them as they are the latest dramas or else I’ll be left behind in my quest for k-drama. So this week I shall be only telling you about one drama only.
"Sodongyo" is said to be one of Korea's oldest folk songs. According to the Samgukyusa (The Memorabilia of the Three Kingdoms) from the Silla Kingdom, the song was written by Sodong, a commoner from the Baekje Kingdom. Hearing that Princess Sunhwa, a daughter of King Chinpyong of the Silla Kingdom was beautiful, he wrote a song saying that the princess visited his room every night and spread the song around. When her father heard the song, he sentenced the princess to be exiled. Sodong then rescued her and took her to Baekje, where they become the royal couple of the country.
Producer Lee Byung-Hun and writer Kim Young Hyun of "Jewel in the Palace (Dae Jang Geum)" fame have again teamed up for yet another great historical drama. The Ballad of Suh Dong is a sad but heart- warming love story between a princess and a commoner, a love that transcends social position.
Whilst "Jewel in the Palace" was set in the Choseon Kingdom (1392-1910), " Ballad of Suh Dong " took place during the Baekje Kingdom (18 B.C. - A.D 660).
You will observe that young and inexperienced actors like Lee Bo Young Jo Hyun Jae and Ryu Jin were cast as the main characters in this drama and they really performed well. Also instead of the usual conflict between Baekje and Shilla that we normally see in other historical dramas, we get something extra, in the melodrama of the young Seo Dong and the Shilla spy Satek Giru, not only over the future of Baekje’s throne but also over the love of the Shilla Princess Sunhwa.
Talk about the 21st century as being an era of information technology, wait till you see the fierce technology war that was going on some 1,500 years ago. The main background of this drama is focused on Taehaksa, Baekje's prestigious institute of science technology. As it was in possession of the most up-to-date technology at that time, the institute was always in danger of industrial espionage from other countries like the Koguryo Kingdom and the Silla Kingdom. So in this drama we not only get to see the splendidly rich culture of the Baekje Kingdom but also their ancestors' passion for the information technology. Various agricultural technologies considered the most up-to-date at that time, are shown in the drama, like how they released earthworms to solve the problems of excessive dryness of the land, and how they used ondol (hot floor) for the first time to decrease the humidity in homes. I was really amazed at how advanced they were then in the field of technology.
The drama also reveals the role of monks as industrial spies at that time, an aspect of monks in the past that is rarely focused on. At that time monks were the advance guards of intelligence war. The leaders of the three countries made the best use of the monks' mobility as they were allowed to move freely from country to country on sacred missions.
This drama unfolds the story surrounding Seo Dong’s painful experiences which stems from his roots. Seo Dong’s father was the King of Baekje but he was forced to escape in order to save his life. With a group of faithful followers Seo Dong ends up living his life in the Shilla province. While he is from a completely different background, his identity is kept from others and himself in order to survive. As Seo Dong grows up he becomes fast friends with the Shilla’s princess and the two eventually fall in love! But is this possible? Especially as Seo Dong learns of his roots and eventually becomes the King of Baekje?
The first 28 episodes detail Seo Dong's childhood, his first meeting with Sunhwa, and his maturation at Taehaksa. The last 27 episodes sums up the ante in terms of intrigue, contains the thrilling conclusion to the series, with Seo Dong and Mokrasu fighting to keep the secret of Baekje's Crown Prince intact, and Satek Giru plotting with Buyeo Seon to disrupt their plans.
Don’t know whether you all have noticed but the more I watch historical dramas, I’m beginning to think that the Korean kings of yesteryears were all romantics at heart. Just look at the dramas like Dong Yi, Yi San, Jumong, Kindom of the Winds and Ballad of Suh Dong, it’s all there! Everybody loves romance stories and that this why these types of dramas draw all the crowds.
So if you still haven’t seen this drama I would like to urge you to watch this beautiful drama set in the historic times of the Baekjae and Shilla Dynasty and the exciting turn of events that follow Seo Dong’s life in his fight for the throne of Baekje. You won’t be disappointed!
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