aiDorama: An Asian drama & movie fanblog

Hong Gil Dong – thoughts and stuff

Its been about a week now since I finished Hong Gil Dong, but things need to be written! Originally, I planned a half-way through post, so most caps are from halfway, ep 12. I’m writing around the characters, basically. Spoilers and thingies.

Jang Geun Seok‘s Chang Hui

Kongja (Young Master) gave me a lotta problems. Firstly, it’s bloody hard to think beyond how pretty he is, especially at the beginning. Not to mention, his speaking voice is gorgeous. Deep and husky, yet soft and light. It could replace a hot fire on a winter night. You could warm your hands by it. That kinda voice. I think that Jang Geun Seok maybe from his modelling and everything is really used to relying on his face and voice to do a lot of the work for him. And it works, it does, but then it also gets kinda old. His voice is so insanely distinctive, its hard to find expression in it. I went from finding Kongja supercute, to getting bored/annoyed with his monotonous expressions/actions (it’s all hear news! – look down and move eyes from side to side! have an experience! – go stand in front of my window and comment on it with Ji Su standing behind me!) This basically continued until Gil Dong ‘died’, and suddenly, Kongja was smiling like the sun!

And then he went on his datey thing with Yi Nok, and she wants his steamed bun, because its got more red paste…

And then he looks at her… And looks at it…

And does this:

I. DIED. This may be the first cute thing he’s ever done in his life. Actually, no maybes about it. How can I resist? And Yi Nok’s being all, aren’t I funny??

And look at his reaction!!! EGADS.

So, yeah. This continued until the ending few episodes, when his lack of ability to convey beyond his few faces really started to bother me again. To be fair, his character/the script does contribute to that. But maybe Jang Geun Seok also is too used to relying on his already… emotion-ready face/voice. I don’t know, he’s been in a few other dramas and movies, but nothing I’ve seen, so I can’t compare. I’m being overly critical, I guess; he was some pretty rockin’ eye candy, and he did a pretty decent job. Also, towards the end I really started to like his character, for his actions towards both Gil Dong/Hwal Bin Dang, and his country. I liked that looney King’s revelation of the truth about the Sa Yi sword didn’t bring him down. He was strong, and therefore, it was easy to accept that he would be a good king, in his own right, even if he couldn’t see or fathom Gil Dong’s vision of an equal country.

Plus, you gotta feel for the guy; it was always Gil Dong and Yi Nok looking at each other, and him watching:

Sung Yuri‘s Heo Yi Nok

Kkot sa seun (Doe Eyes), again, I haven’t seen in anything else, but I’ve read a million times that her acting previously was not much to write home about. At the start of the drama, I didn’t especially like her acting; I thought she was a bit forced, not really natural. Not too long later, I think both Sung Yuri and me got used to the character, and got to understand her better, and pretty soon, she was many kinds of adorable. The emotional scenes and the overthetop comic scenes were both well done, she transitioned between them well, and her character’s relationship/chemistry with Gil Dong/Ji Hwan was so… ♥ Something that needs to be watched to be understood. She really did very well. When she realised, after Gil Dong came back, that it really wasn’t okay, and came to support and jahyo him anyway, when he went to save Yeon Ssi and Gomi… The emotions in that scene between the two were just perfect. And then, her happiness in being able to be in on the plan with Gil Dong, to work with him… This drama really brings out the emotions.Excuse me while I squee nostalgically.

Kang Ji Hwan‘s Hong Gil Dong

What do you want me to say about him? This drama would very easily have become a mess without Kang Ji Hwan. He is wonderful. How to say, how to say… At the beginning of the drama, he’s a ruffian, a scoundrel. The townspeople think he’s a menace. I thought it would be so interesting to see how he changed, how he started to care, how he would become the peoples’s youngwoong (hero). And it was interesting, but not at all the way I thought it would be. He didn’t start to care, he already did, he couldn’t stop himself from sacrificing himself (that first time). He completely naturally became Hwal Bin Dang’s leader, he completely naturally became the peoples’ saviour, and he had the aura of a true, natural and intended hero, without being all ‘HERE I COME FLYING IN TO SAVE THE DAY *PUFFS OUT CHEST AS HE RECEIVES THE SWOONING WOMEN AND JEALOUS MEN*’ Again, you need to see it to get what I’m saying. He’s insanely accessible, as a person, on top of that, boyish and mischievous (especially, of course, with Yi Nok ^^); really one of the people, and yet still a natural hero. That ‘transition’ I thought I’d be looking out for happened so naturally, it was barely noticeable. And Kang Ji Hwan conveys all this to perfection. His charisma and talent as an actor is FANTASTIC. When he’s emotional, the emotion comes off of him in waves:

And yet, when he’s being boyish and childish, again, he’s completely natural:

He’s poifect, I tell you, poifect. ^^ He’s joined ZaiZai on my list of top actors. Not to mention, of course, that he is gorgeous. His grin is the most charming thing I’ve ever seen. EEP! Hem. Moving on…

Kim Ri Na’s Seo Eun Hye

Eun Hye ended up being a bit of a let down. Her first few scenes were so interesting… And then, that was all it was. Chaemitseo, chaemitseo… Interesting this, interesting that. All she really ended up being was the spoilt princess; she just ended up annoyingly immature. Her character could’ve gone so many ways.. but I suppose, that would’ve been too much invested in a minor character, and there was so much other, so much more important stuff going on, that she got relegated to the background. Gil Dong’s pity/ignoring made me feel sorry for her sometimes, but dammit, Gil Dong/Yi Nok were always just so on. Tough luck, kiddo.

Kim Jae Seung‘s Hong In Hyung

In Hyung was a coward, through and through, and yet, he’s somehow pretty likeable. Okay, I wanted to kick him in the balls when he hurt Gil Dong that time (physically and mentally), but… illegitimate half-brother has the love of his lady and his daddy. Jae Seung played him very well, too. Very, very interesting character.

Kil Yong Woo‘s Hong Pan Seo (Interior Minister/Gil Dong/In Hyung’s Daddy-O)

Il Pan (Interior Minister) was a complicated cookie all right. I means, I spent most of the drama hating his guts; neither me, nor anybody else in the drama could understand WHY he was going around killing his best friend and his son and everybody, for the sake of a crazy, selfish king. In the end, though, it seems like it boiled down down to that most basic principle of a noble/politician/citizen being loyal to/serving his king. That’s why, I guess, at the end, even in that condition, he had dignity.

Jo Hee Bong‘s Kwang Hui and him were a right ol’ OTP. As his only loyal… er, person, ever, in his life (all the other nobles are only out fer themselves), Il Pan is the only one crazy king shows any concern for. He even talks to him after he’s dead, see?

And he cries!!!

This scene, seeing a SANE Kwang Hui, was weird I tell ya.

The actor, again, is pretty fantastic, as a crazy guy knowing he’s crazy. His last scene was reaaaally sad. Also, a special mention to his first (really only) meeting with Yi Nok; that scene was bloody HILARIOUS.

And to finish off…

Okay, so, the first episode(s), although by no means boring, are NOT the type to grab you in. Before you know it, though, around, 4, 5, 6, you get more and more and more into it, and when you realise, (to borrow from Kurosagi), the game is already over. You’ll be sucked in so far, you won’t know how to get out. The ending… many hated, I think, but it was necessary, and not done in a depressing way at all. Plus, the drama’s very first scene. LOOK AT THEIR HAIR. It totally didn’t happen! It’s all about the hair. ^^ kkhhh… Hem, sorry. It really was a fantastic drama. Before I started it, I heard it was hilarious and clever, and then the last few episodes were all angsty and intense. So, I expected it to be rather cracky for most of it, and then a really emo ending. This was so not so. It was a perfect mix of fun/damn funny, and the serious issues that the plot brought up. Even throughout all the fun and sass, underlying it is always the sense that it’s not safe. And even at the end, the intense stuff HAD to happen, it was necessary, and it never lost the humour altogether. Unlike plenty kdramas of christmas past, the atmosphere was never suicidal!depressing, it wasn’t that kind of drama at all. And the last ep was beautiful. That Norwegian song they played was beautiful. I would’ve loved it even more if it weren’t for the fact that my last ep had crack!subs. They were RIDICULOUS. When Yi Nok was all ‘Gil Dongah!’ The subs? They were writing ‘Kyrgyzstan child’. Yeah, thanks. At point, I think he was ‘Kat girl’. =.=” Likewise, Yeon Ssi’s final scene, with Gomi yelling hyung/trying to get back to him – it was really hard to get into it when the subs were saying ‘Columbia’.  Hm, anyway. Finally, the soundtrack RAWKS. ^^

Phew. That was long.



Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * Destiny says:

    Yay for you covering this post… I really wanted to write about it, but I thought that, if I tried, I’d just spend the whole watch screenshotting Chang Hui and Gil Dong’s faces and never finish the drama. =P

    Also, wasn’t it incredible how Kwang Hui’s entire life/sanity/potential is completely destroyed by a lie? His death scene WAS really sad. =(

    -Destiny 😉

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago
  2. * xiahkixiri says:

    I did have more caps, but, damn their hugeness. Meh. Missed out on his Merry Men and everything! Egads. ROFL, yep, that’s why I only capped basically 2 episodes. ^^ I thought I’d lost the ganjue, but it all just came flooding back!

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 5 months ago
  3. * Anonymous says:

    ji hwan is really hot!

    | Reply Posted 10 years, 3 months ago

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