[Special Post] Ha Ji Won: From A Bright Little Star To A Splendid Sun (Part 3)

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The world of action opens…

Final part.

[Special Post] Ha Ji Won: From A Bright Little Star To A Splendid Sun (Part 1)
[Special Post] Ha Ji Won: From A Bright Little Star To A Splendid Sun (Part 2)

SBS: Secret Garden (2010-2011)

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Rich guy falls in love with poor girl. Sounds cliché? But, this isn’t an ordinary rich-guy-falls-in-love-with-poor-girl story. Penned by one of South Korea’s most prominent screenwriters, Kim Eun Sook, the fantasy-action-melodrama Secret Garden is considered a milestone not only in Writer Kim’s résumé, but also in the development of Hallyu through Asia and beyond. The star-studded combo of Ha Ji Won and Hyun Bin, plus, the additional pretty brought by Yoon Sang Hyun, beauty queen turned actress, Kim Sarang, and Philip Lee had the drama sold abroad on name recognition alone before its premiere. Secret Garden is no doubt, stillHa Ji Won’s and Hyun Bin’s most popular drama to date, and it’d surely reign for a long time. This drama bagged tons of awards from different award-giving bodies, including multiple Daesangs. Ha Ji Won won Top Excellence Award Drama Special, Netizen Popularity Award, Top 10 Stars Award, and Best Couple Award with Hyun Bin at the 2010 SBS Drama Awards and Best Actress Award at the 2011 (24th) Grimae Awards; Hyun Bin won Daesang for TV at the 2011 (47th) Baeksang Arts Awards, and the drama itself was also awarded Best Drama at the 2011 (47th) Baeksang Arts Awards, Outstanding Korean Director, Outstanding Korean Screenwriter, and Outstanding Korean Drama OST at the 2011 (6th) Seoul International Drama Awards, and Daesang at the 2011 (4th) Korea Drama Awards.

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This rich-guy-falls-in-love-with-poor-girl story was about the fated meeting of Gil Ra Im (Ha Ji Won)—a stuntwoman whose greatest dream was to become a stunt director—and Kim Joo Won (Hyun Bin)—LOEL Department Store’s CEO. Ra Im, too, was a fangirl (like us); she was a huge fan of Oska / Choi Woo Young (Yoon Sang Hyun)—a Hallyu star and Joo Won’s cousin with a playboy image but couldn’t get over his first love, Yoon Seul (Kim Sa Rang). Ra Im lived a modest life and gave her all to action after losing her father—a fireman who’d died while saving somebody—at a young age. When Joo Won first met Ra Im, he thought it was bizarre that he found a poor stuntwoman like her amazing and fascinating. Knowing that he couldn’t marry a poor girl like her, that his mother and everybody else wouldn’t allow him to, because his marriage’s purpose would be primarily for M&A (Mergers & Acquisitions), Joo Won treated Ra Im like a plaything, making sure that in the end he could get away himself from her or that she’d be the Little Mermaid who’d disappear like a bubble, which of course angered Ra Im. Alas, things didn’t work out as planned. Joo Won soon realized that his feelings for Ra Im were real, but everything became even more complicated when he and Ra Im began to magically switch bodies every time it rained since coming back from a mysterious place called Secret Garden in Jeju Island…

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I suppose almost every single K-drama watcher out there has already watched Secret Garden (or at least heard about it); those who haven’t, where on earth have you been? Secret Garden was a drama that I’d never ever forget because it was through it that I officially considered myself a fan of Ha Ji Won. I was insanely head over heels for this drama and for the leads’ chemistry. I wouldn’t forget that. I’d loved Ha Ji Won in Hwang Jin Yi, but Secret Garden sealed it. Everyone in this drama played his/her part brilliantly. Although Ra Im wasn’t my favorite character, I believed she still deserved to be called the amazing woman because she really was. My favorite character, actually, was Yoon Seul (shout-out to the gorgeous Kim Sarang for giving life to this character) for starting out as a typical wealthy bitch yet ending up as a really nice person—to Ra Im for encouraging her to fight for Joo Won and to her Woo Young oppa for giving him one last chance and for staying by his side. Secret Garden was indeed phenomenal for having the elements of fantasy, action, melodrama, and comedy combined excellently. The sit-up scene and the cappuccino foam kiss were just legendary, and there have been many parodies done since then. And of course, who would ever forget Kim Joo Won’s iconic tracksuits? It was also thanks to Secret Garden that Alice in Wonderland had topped the best seller list for weeks because the book and its lines had been featured in the drama. “Ms. Gil Ra Im. Since what age have you become so pretty?” *swoons* If you haven’t watched this, then I suggest you do.

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Secret Garden Press Conference

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Secret Garden Mid-point Press Conference

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Ha Ji Won & Yoon Sang Hyun fly to Japan to promote Secret Garden.

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Ha Ji Won and Secret Garden win big at the 2010 SBS Drama Awards.

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Ha Ji Won, awarded Best Actress at the 2011 (24th) Grimae Awards

Sector 7 — Release Date: August 4, 2011

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Having played the role of a stunt woman turned stunt director in Secret Garden, Ha Ji Won continued her venture to the world of action. (Technically, Sector 7 was first because it’d been filmed before SeGa.) Starring Ha Ji Won, Oh Ji Ho, and Ahn Sung Ki, Sector 7 was South Korea’s first sci-fi, action, 3D film directed by Kim Ji Hoon and written and produced by Yoon Je Kyun. This marked Ha Ji Won’s fourth time working with Yoon Je Kyun after Sex Is Zero, Miracle on 1st Street, and the blockbuster disaster film Haeundae, and her third time working with Korea’s National Actor, Ahn Sung Ki. Even though the 14 billion-won project had a disappointing 2.2 million admissions in South Korea, it garnered over 20 million yuan in China after just one week, beating previous records set by 200 Pounds Beauty and The Host. The sci-fi, action, 3D film was sold to 46 different countries. In the Middle East region and Germany, it was sold at the highest price ever for a K-movie to date, becoming one of the most successful movies to have been exported.

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Sector 7 was about the hard work of oil rig workers, who’d been searching for undiscovered oil at the oil rig Sector 7, located south of Jeju Island. Cha Hae Joon (Ha Ji Won) worked as the team’s manager, with her boyfriend Kim Dong Soo (Oh Ji Ho). The team welcomed the arrival of Captain Lee Jung Man (Ahn Sung Ki), who’d been a former colleague of Hae Joon’s late father. Unknown to them, the captain had a different motive as he’d been working on an experiment that’d produce a new form of fuel instead of oil. However, the specimen escaped and grew into a giant, highly dangerous, wild creature and began to hunt for its meal. Armed with nothing but guns, the workers worked together to kill the monster to save themselves, but with its incredible speed despite its size and spear-like tongue, it was almost impossible for them to run for their lives, and they might not stand a chance after all…

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IMO, almost all Ha Ji Won’s movies that followed Haeundae and Closer to Heaven sucked so bad. (Sector 7, the abysmal The Huntresses, and even Chronicle of a Blood Merchant wasn’t really good. And I hope the next one will break the chain of bad movies. I really do.) I wouldn’t talk about Sector 7’s story—everyone had died, though Hae Joon remained the only one alive, it was a sure thing that she’d die, too—so I’d just mention how Ha Ji Won had prepared herself for the movie and how she’d been so immersed in playing her character. She’d voluntarily undergone swimming and scuba diving training and earned a scuba diving license, and she’d also acquired a drivers’ license to ride a motorcycle, all for the movie. She’s amazing like that! However, because of being too emotionally invested in her character, Ha Ji Won later revealed on SBS’ Thank You in 2013 that she’d had to receive psychiatric treatment after the completion of the filming because she couldn’t break away from her character. Poor thing. That explained why she got a bit emotional when talking about the making of this movie.

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Sector 7 Cast at Various Promotion Events

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Ha Ji Won at Sector 7 Promotion in Shanghai

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Ha Ji Won at Sector 7 Promotion in Beijing

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Sector 7 Cast in CINE 21 Magazine

MBC: The King 2 Hearts (2012)

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This is it, hands down my favorite Ha Ji Won drama, also my all-time favorite K-drama. The King 2 Hearts was written by the Hong Sisters (not the Hong Sisters who’d written My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and The Greatest Love, but the Hong Sisters who’d penned Beethoven Virus) and directed by the incredible Lee Jae Kyu, who’d worked with Ha Ji Won 9 years ago in Damo. Armed with the big names of Ha Ji Won and Lee Seung Gi, with a pair of talented second leads Lee Yoon Ji and Jo Jung Suk, great villain Yoon Je Moon, alongside South Korea’s most respected veteran actor and actress Lee Soon Jae and Yoo Yeon Jung, there had been so much high expectations from The King 2 Hearts, adding the fact that its story centered around the sensitive true-to-life situation of the 2 Koreas, though South Korea was supposedly a constitutional monarchy.

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It did well; Ratings-wise, it’d started out victoriously against its rival dramas, with its first episode garnering a rating of 16.2% nationwide (and 18.8% in Seoul), something that weekday primetime dramas couldn’t get (even until today, they barely reach the 10% margin), but unfortunately the ratings dropped, and it ended up at the bottom. Though at the bottom, it never dropped so low to a single digit. I couldn’t care less about the goddamn ratings, but I hated how Ha Ji Won and Lee Seung Gi were snubbed at the 2012 MBC Drama Awards and how Ha Ji Won was robbed at the 2012 (7th) Seoul International Drama Awards. She got a nomination in the Best International Actress Category and was the only Korean actress to have done so, and she also got a separate nomination in the Outstanding Korean Actress Category. And even though she didn’t get the Best International Actress Award, it was a great honor to have been nominated, yet the Outstanding Korean Actress Award, which I fairly believed, should have been hers—more so that she’d topped the online voting, which was 50% of the criteria—was deprived of her. *sighs* On the other hand, The King 2 Hearts was awarded Outstanding Korean Drama (Silver Bird Prize) and Outstanding Korean Drama OST at the 2012 (7th) Seoul International Drama Awards.

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Under the hypothetical situation where South Korea was under a constitutional monarch, The King 2 Hearts revolved around the lives of South Korea’s Prince, Lee Jae Ha (Lee Seung Gi), and a female North Korean Special Forces officer, Kim Hang Ah (Ha Ji Won)—daughter of a powerful and high-ranking North Korean official—as they joined in wedlock as a political strategy. (It wasn’t a typical arranged marriage—wherein no love at all—because they really loved each other and wanted to get married.) South Korea’s King, Lee Jae Kang (Lee Sung Min), Jae Ha’s older brother, tricked him into joining a joint military collaboration with North Korea as a way to appease the public. The unified team, which was led by Kim Hang Ah, would then compete in the World Officers Championship or WOC for the first time. To strengthen the bond between the 2 Koreas, the King secretly planned the Prince’s marriage with any eligible North Korean woman, and knowing this, Hang Ah’s father, who was the Deputy Minister of the North Korean Ministry of Unification, sent his daughter as a candidate. Meanwhile, after overcoming an antagonistic relationship during their WOC training, Jae Ha and Hang Ah eventually became friends and subsequently fell in love with each other. As they tried to set aside their differences to make the relationship work, however, King Jae Kang and his wife, the Queen, were killed by a treacherous group led by the wealthy and powerful Club M’s John Mayer/Kim Bong Gu (Yoon Je Moon), who wanted to eliminate the Royal Family. Now, Jae Ha had no choice but to face his greatest fear—which was to become King—and he had to protect the country and the people he loved, together with his right-hand man Eun Shi Kyung (Jo Jung Suk) and his future Queen, Kim Hang Ah…

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I loved everyone and everything in this drama except the villain of course ’cause it was because of that creepy villain that I had and still have a giant Eun Shi Kyung hole in my heart. (SPOILER: The best character everybody had loved died, and the pretty Princess was left alone with her parrot.) But I was impressed by Yoon Je Moon’s marvelous portrayal of his psycho character. I cringed every time he appeared on the screen; he was insane, and for a moment, I’d believe that all the insanity was real. Awesome, creepy, powerful villain! Also, this was probably the only the time that I cared so much about the second leads and their love story, that I wanted them to have their own happy ending, but sadly, they didn’t. Even until now, whenever I remember TK2H, I always think that maybe Shi Kyung and Jae Shin will get their happy ending, too, in some other time. Jo Jung Suk was a scene stealer, and Shi Kyung’s bromance with Jae Ha was one of the best things in this show. Lee Yoon Ji was, as always, fantastic, and she brought a bright and cheerful mood, always a Princess! And I have to acknowledge the supporting cast/side characters, particularly the WOC members, that they weren’t just guests in this show. In fact, they all helped to stop an impending war. Now tell me, how great was that? Everybody was given his/her own time to shine, to do something for the betterment of the story. There was also Secretary Eun and his dirty little secret, the Queen Mother, who learned to accept and love Hang Ah like her own, and Hang Ah’s super cool dad. Hang Ah’s dad is the best dad ever!

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Initially reported to be the reunion drama of Bali Couple, Ha Ji Won and Jo In Sung, The King created buzz among K-drama viewers, especially those who’d watched and been devastated by Bali’s ending. However, no reunion happened. Won Bin, Lee Byung Hun (THANKFULLY IT WASN’T THIS BASTARD!), Lee Je Hoon, Cha Seung Won… Many actors had been offered to take the role of South Korea’s Prince-turned-King before it ended up in singer-actor Lee Seung Gi’s hands. And honestly, I’d been unhappy with the casting, but Lee Seung Gi proved me wrong for he was amazing here. I hadn’t expected anything grand from him, I hadn’t expected him to have the acting chops to keep up with Ha Ji Won, but he gave them all. Now I couldn’t imagine any other actor, even the previously mentioned ones, playing the role of Lee Jae Ha, other than him. The OTP’s chemistry was unbelievably great that I was amazed how Ha Ji Won and Lee Seung Gi managed to make a 9-year age gap nonexistent. That was brilliant! They made me believe that they were really South Korea’s King and Queen, that they were the rulers that Korea, as a whole, needed. For that, I believe that perhaps if only there’s a Lee Jae Ha and a Kim Hang Ah living in this world, maybe, just maybe, it’d still be possible for the Koreas to become Korea.

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Not to mention, Ha Ji Won mastered the North Korean accent for her North Korean character. Although others said her accent sounded rather weird, I thought it was good enough (though this opinion came from someone who wasn’t an adept at speech/language). Thankfully, Hang Ah was a Queen because I got to see Ha Ji Won in sophisticated, modish suits, plus, the beautiful ribbons/hats in her hair. She was no ordinary Queen but a badass Queen, which made everything cool and sassy. What made TK2H my all-time favorite was that it was a complete package—melodrama, romance, action, a bit of thriller, and a whole lot more—and it had no love triangle or love square ’cause I was aggressively sick of those stuff. In short, TK2H was unique, which was why it wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea because not all people could see that there’s a certain beauty to being different. I wouldn’t tell you to watch this, in case you haven’t, because my cup of tea might not be close to your liking. But you wouldn’t lose anything if you try, would you? At least give it a try until Episode 4, then if you find yourself yawning on your screen even until then, you might as well drop it. But if you find yourself enjoying it, then congratulations, you appreciate the unique beauty of this masterpiece. 😉

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The King 2 Hearts First Script Reading

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The King 2 Hearts Press Conference

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The King 2 Hearts Wrap Up Party

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Lee Seung Gi & Ha Ji Won in Hot Chili Paper (Japanese) Magazine

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“The Royal Couple” Photos for The King 2 Hearts Japan Promotions

As One (Korea) — Release Date: May 3, 2012

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Ha Ji Won crossed boundaries with her acting by playing a North Korean Special Fores officer on the small screen and a South Korean table tennis player on the big screen. Filming the drama and promoting the movie at once… Once, the busy actress had to fly in a helicopter to attend one promotion event of the movie. The sports drama film As One was a cinematic retelling of the true story of the first ever post-war unified Korean team, who’d competed and won at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, held in Chiba, Japan. Ha Ji Won played the role of the South Korean table tennis player Hyun Jung Hwa and Bae Doona played the role of the North Korean table tennis player Ri Bun Hui.

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Synopsis: In Autumn 1990, at the 11th Asian Games, held in Beijing, China, Ri Bun Hui of North Korea went head-to-head with Hyun Jung Hwa of South Korea in the women’s table tennis competition. Bun Hui lost; Jung Hwa then proceeded to her next game but was beaten by Deng Yaping of China. North Korea got the bronze, South Korea the silver, and China the gold. A month before the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, the North-South summit had agreed that the North and the South would unite and compete as one team. The South Korean players were totally against the idea, but the unified team had been already formed. Soon, the North and the South players met at a training camp in Chiba, Japan, where they were forced to become one team. Hyun Jung Hwa and Ri Bun Hui met again, but like the other members in the team, they just couldn’t get along. But after being paired together in training for 46 days, the two found a budding friendship. The 1991 World Table Tennis Championships began, wherein the unified Korea reached the finals thanks to Hyun Jung Hwa and Ri Bun Hui. However, the two women’s final opponent was the reigning Chinese team that was vying for its 9th consecutive win. Another problem came when a political order to abruptly disband the Korean team was made. All that was left was for the two women to prove that unity was possible and that “teamwork could outshine the dark shadows of a painful history”.

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As One’s story was really very touching. The film, as a whole, wasn’t made to be award-winning or to be the highest-grossing in the box office despite having Haeundae and The Host actresses as the main leads; it was simply made with the purpose of conveying to the people, not only the Koreans, but the people from all over the world how powerful unity/teamwork could be. And watching this movie made me feel sad to see the Korean peninsula under such circumstances. Individually, the North and the South could do just well on their own, just as how Ri Bun Hui and Hyun Jung Hwa had achieved the bronze and the silver, respectively, at the 11th Asian Games, just behind China that’d won the gold. But together, as one, Korea, as one, could do so much better than just always placing behind the dominating China because Korea could beat China and be no.1, like what actually happened at the 1991 World Table Tennis Championships, proving that unity was possible. And that was truly remarkable! The cinematic that showed Hyun Jung Hwa and Ri Bun Hui’s sad goodbye after the game—in which Jung Hwa gave Bun Hui her ring as a token of friendship as Bun Hui was seated on the bus that was headed back to North Korea—broke my heart. That was a very touching and emotional moment. It was truly sad to see the Koreans being so much affected by the division of the peninsula. The film ended with Hyun Jung Hwa and Ri Bun Hi meeting again as competitors at the 1993 World Table Tennis Championships held in Gothenburg, Sweden, and according to Hyun Jung Hwa herself, that was the last time she’d seen Ri Bun Hui.

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It was dynamic to have box office queens Ha Ji Won and Bae Doona teamed up for a film that was based on a true story, a story that was perhaps a milestone in the post-Korean war history, to have the North and the South reunited with one goal. Ha Ji Won was Hyun Jung Hwa’s personal pick to play her role. She’d kept up with highly intensive training under Hyun Jung Hwa herself as she’d enjoyed physical challenges of learning the table tennis. She’d also observed her coach’s body language and speech during training, striving to express Hyun Jung Hwa’s habits and playing techniques to epitomize a real Hyun Jung Hwa within herself.

Given the nickname Flower of Reunification for playing a North Korean Special Forces officer turned South Korea’s Queen on TV and a South Korean table tennis player who’d united with the North Korean team, while promoting the movie in LA, Ha Ji Won was asked about her personal thoughts on the current North-South situation, and she replied, “In the end, even with North and South Korea being so different, we’re really the same people just under very different circumstances.”

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As One Press Conference

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As One Media Briefing

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As One VIP Premiere

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As One Promotions in Chiba, Japan

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As One Stage Greeting in Seoul Race Park

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As One Stage Greeting in Gwanghwamun Plaza Central Building Branch

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As One Stage Greeting in CGV, Daegu

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As One Stage Greeting

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As One celebrates one million views via charity event.

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As One Stage Greeting with Korea 1023

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As One Opening & Press Conference in Los Angeles

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As One Promotions in Tokyo, Japan

MBC: Empress Ki (2013-2014)

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*I seriously didn’t want to talk about this crap anymore, but anyway~Empress Ki was a 51-episode pseudo-historical drama about the life, love, and ambitions of the titular character Empress Ki, a Goryeo-born woman who ascended to power and became Yuan Dynasty’s Empress, despite the restrictions of the era’s class system. The series about the fictitious account of Empress Ki’s life was written by Jang Young Chul and Jung Kyung Soon, who’d penned hit dramas Giant and History of the Salaryman, and was unfortunately directed by Han Hee, who was known for his crappy directing. (And I still blame the old dude for a lot of things, which I’ll tell as I go on.) Starring sageuk veterans and Baeksang movie actors, Ha Ji Won and Joo Jin Mo, plus writers Jang and Jung, minus Han Hee (duh~) in the making, Empress Ki had a pair of actors and a pair of writers worth boasting for. Thank goodness, this drama didn’t disappoint in terms of viewership ratings (it almost reached the 30% margin), Ha Ji Won, Joo Jin Mo, Ji Chang Wook, and Baek Jin Hee, and even the writers all received honors at the 2013 MBC Drama Awards, which I believed, they all deserved, including the writers, at least for the first 18 episodes that’d been aired before the 2013 MBCDA. Ha Ji Won won Daesang Award (which she’d first won at the 2006 KBS Drama Awards for Hwang Jin Yi), PD Award, and Popularity Award. She also earned a nomination each in the Best International Actress Category and the Outstanding Korean Actress Category for her portrayal of Empress Ki at the 2014 (9th) Seoul International Drama Awards, where the drama itself won the Outstanding Korean Drama (Golden Bird Prize). In 2015, the drama was awarded Excellence Hallyu Award at the 2015 Korea Communications Commission Broadcasting Awards and Special Jury Prize at the 48th Annual WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival. Empress Ki also particularly ruled in Taiwan, becoming the second highest rated foreign drama just behind Dae Jang Geum.

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Basically… Fearing that she might be sent to Yuan as a tribute just like other lowly women, Ki Seung Nyang (Ha Ji Won) had cross-dressed all her life to pretend that she was a man, and it’d worked. She worked under Wang Ko (Lee Jae Yong)—a traitor Goryeo royal who’d been conspiring with Yuan against Goryeo—and managed to gain his trust. Using her knowledge about Wang Ko’s illegal business, Seung Nyang secretly helped Crown Prince Wang Yoo (Joo Jin Mo), and Wang Ko’s unlawful schemes were revealed to the Goryeo King. As a result, Crown Prince Wang Yoo was crowned as the new King, and he became the King that Goryeo needed at that time. Meanwhile, Yeon Chul (Jeon Gook Hwan), Yuan Dynasty’s prime minister, didn’t want someone as competent as Wang Yoo on the Goryeo throne, so he planned to kill Yuan’s Crown Prince Ta Hwan (Ji Chang Wook) while in exile in Goryeo and blame the Prince’s supposed death on the Goryeo King’s negligence. Knowing that this was the evil man’s plan, Wang Yoo sent Seung Nyang—who was now working at the palace as a soldier (still disguised as a man) alongside her father, Commander Ki—to protect Yuan’s Crown Prince. The Crown Prince was saved thanks to Seung Nyang and Wang Yoo, but when asked who’d attempted to kill him, the Crown Prince—fearing Yeon Chul’s wrath—pointed his finger at Commander Ki, which resulted to Seung Nyang’s father death and Wang Yoo’s dethronement. Soon, Seung Nyang’s real gender was revealed, and she and Wang Yoo were separated. Seung Nyang was taken to the Yuan palace as a tribute, and she swore vengeance to the Crown Prince—who was now the new Emperor—for deeming her innocent father guilty, for Wang Yoo’s dethronement, and for all the pain she’d experienced because of Yuan’s tyranny…

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Revenge, vengeance. But people, don’t expect anything epic from this show, particularly in the second half of its run. You’d be extremely disappointed as I’d been, regardless of which ship you’d embarked. The final episode was literally a massacre; everyone was killed except the heroine because they’d run out of time and they’d had to simply clean the mess . This might be biased or whatever, but the only good thing about this drama was Ha Ji Won and Joo Jin Mo. PERIOD. Despite playing a sick character—even worse than the gold digger Lee Soo Jung of BaliHa Ji Won did it beautifully—even though I honestly wanted to kill her character myself—and I was impressed. But the best thing in the drama was Wang Yoo—the only sane character in the drama together with Tal Tal—played by Joo Jin Mo, despite the fact that he was practically a guest in the last episodes. Leave it to this goddamn drama to waste and mistreat an A-list male lead actor whom others would use as their asset. Because in all Ha Ji Won’s previous dramas, she’d never been paired to someone on her level like Joo Jin Mo, (Hyun Bin, yes, but Binnie, still, wasn’t a Joo Jin Mo) yet thank you, drama, for wasting everything.

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This drama’s biggest issue was the history distortion. The story used real historical figures like Empress Ki—although the character Ki Seung Nyang was also purely a product of fiction—Emperor Huizhong in the name of Ta Hwan, Tanashiri (Baek Jin Hee), Tal Tal (Jin Yi Han) and some other Yuan tyrants, who’d ruled the Yuan Empire, but the story itself was completely a fiction. Wang Yoo (Joo Jin Mo) was a fictional character loosely based on King Chunghye of Goryeo. The real Empress Ki had been a traitor, but here, at least at the beginning, she was portrayed as someone who loved her country Goryeo more than anybody else, while Wang Yoo was the epitome of a perfect nobleman, which was the exact opposite of the infamous King Chunghye, who’d been known for his vices. Thus, this explained why a majority of TV viewers didn’t like the premise of the drama because the writers were basically turning a traitor into a nationalist and a bad King into a perfect one. But I, on the contrary, liked this idea, that you could possibly see the good side of who were known in the history as traitors or bad people. I loved how the writers had let the future Empress Ki meet Wang Yoo, her first love, because who knows, maybe there might have been someone who’d had been in the Empress’ heart before she’d married the Emperor—a man that she’d never loved and just used, at least based on the history—and become Empress Ki? Despite the history distortion issue, this drama had a very promising start. Episode 1 was so beauuutiful… Among all the few sageuks that I’d watched, Empress Ki was the only one that hooked me right off the bat. And I let myself fall in love with it, with Wang Yoo and Seung Nyang’s epic love story because I felt it and I knew right from the start that it was either they’d die together or they’d leave Yuan and live together peacefully and happily without a trace just like how the real Empress Ki had disappeared without a trace. Because my ending—which had been supposed to be the writers’ ending—was how everything that’d been presented in the first 20 episodes would have made sense. But, in one fell swoop, everything was ruined. I’ll stop right here because I don’t feel like bringing up the mess, and besides, what’s done is done. The only thing from this drama that I’ll cherish forever is the beautiful memories of my beautiful OTP:

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Empress Ki First Script Reading

Empress Ki First Script Reading

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Empress Ki Press Conference

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Ha Ji Won at Empress Ki Promotion Events in Taiwan

Photo credit: 苡律

Photo credit: 苡律 Baidu

Photo credit: 苡律

Photo credit: 苡律 Baidu

Photo credit: 苡律

Photo credit: 苡律 Baidu

Photo credit: 苡律

Photo credit: 苡律 Baidu

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Empress Ki Cast – NHK Japan Interview

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Ha Ji Won at Empress Ki Meet & Greet in Singapore

* END *

© 2015, cheshirecat1023. All rights reserved.

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One thought on “[Special Post] Ha Ji Won: From A Bright Little Star To A Splendid Sun (Part 3)

  1. Love how u provide insight to all of HJW’s projects, hope you’d do a part 4 in (lets say…) 2020! Thx thx and thx for this post

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