Hi all, it’s been a while since I’ve posted here. Forgive me for my absence during the majority of the year. Can’t say much to that except that life got busy. But no worries! I am back to post a bit about a drama that isn’t too recent but one that I’ve got caught up with this past month – Queen Seondeok. I don’t want to write a full-fledged review on this massive historical drama so instead I’ll be writing some of my thoughts on the individual characters of this drama. I have so much to say about the characters themselves that perhaps you will get more than you expected (or less…hopefully more though). As I went through this drama, I did some more research and online reading of the real historical people behind the characters which was quite educating. I also had the opportunity to read opinions of some fellow drama viewers regarding this specific drama, which was also quite enlightening. It reminded me of my purpose as a blogger in the past and why I should continue and post more consistently. So although if I were to be honest, I cannot commit to posting consistently, with the rare times that I do have to write about recent dramas that I’ve been watching, I will update you all to the best of my ability.

So if it fits your fancy, please continue reading for some pictures and commentary of the marvelous and thrilling yet complex characters who made up the drama Queen Seondeok. This first post will be the start of a short series where I shall be examining the characters of this drama. I decided to split up the posts because they were getting lengthy and I didn’t want to bore you all too much. (Heads up: spoilers ARE included, so please be ready to be spoiled if you want, and if not, then don’t read this!)

Let’s start off with the two powerful women of this drama, shall we?



First off, you may be wondering why I put Misil first in line and not Queen Seondeok. Good question. The reason for this is because Misil played a huge, gigantic part of the drama. Without Misil, there would be no Queen Seondeok. I remember before watching the drama, I read so much about this Misil and how she was the greatest antagonist to ever exist in the drama world, and I did not understand why. But after this drama, I have finally come to understand why Misil is a much-loved antagonist. You’re supposed to hate the antagonist and to some extent, Misil is a contemptible character. Yet at the same time, she’s so endearing and someone that you can’t bring yourself to hate even though you may despise her. Just as Deokman loved and hated Misil at the same time, I felt those conflicting feelings inside of myself.

How should I describe Misil? It’s so hard to condense into so little words. Misil was present from the first part of episode one. And she remained a powerful character until her death at the end of episode 50. That means that there are only 12 episodes in the drama without her, which, compared to the entire 62 episodes, is a meager amount. That’s how much of a presence she held in the drama. Especially to be able to gain so much influence and power as a woman, now that’s really something. Not to mention that she wasn’t even from a high-standing family (at least in the drama she isn’t, even if in real life she was).

Misil is beautiful yet manipulative and very smart. Perhaps one of the smartest women of her time. She gave generously and gained people’s trust in this way. Started off humbly and worked her way up without rushing. She was very thoughtful and quick to gain understanding while slow to action. However, when she decided to act, she acted swiftly. She embodied the characteristics of a leader and her physical beauty helped her even more, especially in the realm of men, as she slept with and seduced royals to gain more power for herself. She was even willing to abandon her own child to fulfill her personal ambitions.

In the drama, Misil was King Jinpyeong’s concubine and King Jinji’s as well. In history, she is recorded for being consort to three successive generations of kings – Jinpyeong, Jinji, and Jinheung as well. When you think about that, think also about how beautiful she must’ve been to be able to attract three generations of men from the same family.

In the drama as well, Misil is portrayed as evil but also someone who changed lives. She did not use fear all the time to gain loyalty – instead, the tactic of using fear as a means of gaining loyalty was only used with some. With most people though, she lifted them up from their low statuses and supplied land to their families. That is how she gained their loyalty. She was known and respected amongst many and obeyed because her commands were often reasonable and had a certain logic to them (until later in the drama when she gets a little more crazy).

As powerful as Misil was, and as much loyalty people had to her, I still see her as a pitiful and sad character. Powerful and strong on the outside but weak on the inside, a woman who wanted and tried to hard to become queen but in the end failed. She kept pushing herself even when she knew that she was losing and refused to give up until the end when she killed herself by drinking poison. She often threatened and fought for power because of her own insecurities. She acted like she didn’t care about abandoning Bidam but a deeper look into her face revealed otherwise – she acted like she regretted nothing but in reality, you could tell that she did. She loved those who followed her (although at the same time she was very manipulative) but despite gaining loyalty to the point of death, she was never completely satisfied. I find Misil to be a complex character for this reason – she had so many different sides and facades that it was difficult for me to even wrap my mind around who Misil was. Her death was a bittersweet one at that – you would expect complete joy if the antagonist was a hated character, but thus, she was more loved than hated. Even Deokman adored and looked up to this figure whom she deemed an enemy from the get-go.

Honestly, Misil made this drama what it is. It is difficult for me to even decide who is stronger – Misil or Deokman. Both are strong in their own ways, and both have overcome their own set of hurdles and trials, but to me, Misil seriously went above and beyond. It was quite saddening for me (and probably many other viewers) to watch her death.


Queen Seondeok (Deokman):

Moving on now, shall we? Now let’s do a little examination of our heroine Deokman. This girl is the star of the show, and without her, this drama would not exist. Her role in the drama is so important that the drama is even based on this character alone! You can change all the other characters in the drama but you cannot change or replace the character of Deokman. She is that important. So yes, Misil is important, but Deokman is also quite a key character in the drama.

Deokman’s character is easier to analyze than Misil’s. She is strong and courageous – now, this does not mean that she is fearless, for she has normal human emotions such as fear. But what this means is that despite her fear, she chooses to stand up for what she believes to be right and true. Before her birth, Deokman is prophesied as the one who will actually challenge and defeat Misil. Yet her abandonment as a baby seems to change this notion. However, I would like to argue that Deokman’s childhood out of the palace actually grew her more as a person than the palace would’ve. She grew up in rough circumstances and with a very educated worldview. She was also able to interact with many different types of people and learn many things through her experiences with them. As compared to learning from a book, she was able to learn through experience and applied knowledge. As a result, this young lady was fluent in four languages by the time she was 15 and she had a real knack for reading and learning more.

Even more than that though, Deokman really had a heart for those dear to her, such as her foster mother, Sohwa (whom I will be writing about in the next part of this series), and she was willing to risk her life to save those around her. This trait is difficult to find amongst people even nowadays. It was this characteristic that drove her to become a woman who is willing to make the people of Silla her own. Her spirit to keep trying even if death seemed like the only answer kept her and many others alive, and earned the trust and loyalty of people that were once enemies. An example of this is during a war before she became princess and realized who she was, back in her Hwarang trainee days. Alchun, leader of a Hwarang group (the yellow group), demanded that all injured people be killed so that those who are still physically capable of fighting may be able to have their lives spared. When Alchun himself got hurt in the war, he demanded for one of his men to kill him. However, Deokman stood up and spoke – she prevented Alchun and many others from dying just because of their physical handicap, and encouraged the entire group to keep fighting, with the hope that they would be able to escape alive. And escape alive they did.

I noticed that although Deokman and Misil are supposed to be foil characters, they are actually very similar. Both actually admitted to that, and Deokman often followed Misil’s advice and copied her tactics. Like Misil, Deokman was clever and cunning – she was able to see all parts of a situation or problem and wisely decided the best way to act. She used Misil’s old tactics in gaining power for herself. Misil, although the “bad” character of this drama, had a true heart for Silla and loved the country. Similarly, Deokman also loved Silla and wanted to reunite Silla with the other nearby Kingdoms. Yet the different between the two was that Misil started off with no power and rose to such a high position whereas Deokman had royal blood in her, which already gave her enough precedent to step on the throne. She did not have to work as hard as Misil to rise up, but she had her fair share of difficulties growing up with Sohwa and as a trainee under Yusin.

If I were to be honest, I was a little disappointed with the character of Deokman especially during her Hwarang days and even more so when she became Queen and the days following that. I expected Deokman to be that strong warrior who could fight and defend herself well, kind of like Mulan in some sense. But I came to realize that after all those years of training and having sandbags tied to her shoes, Deokman did not become a strong warrior. (But Misil did – that, however, is another story). I was also disappointed with her rule as Queen – she seemed to suddenly weaken and trust in the wrong people. As princess, Deokman was so fair, generous, and trusting of the right people. But it seems as if her brains disappeared once she became Queen, and she began to become harsher in her treatment of the people (instead of loving as she was before) as well as less trusting of those closest to her. Yet I am not completely done with the drama yet (still have about ten more episodes left, but I can’t wait to post this so that’s why it’s published already) so if things change I will update you all.

Not sure if this post was more of a rant or if it was actually something productive. But hope you all learned or took something away from this, whether you’re considering watching this drama or if you already saw it. Part two will be on its way soon (hopefully)!