I’ve been watching South Korean/Asian dramas for about six years now and they’re pretty much my anti-drug. Well they’re more like a drug because they’re so freakin addicting! They’re clean, they’re short and heavy on the eye candy. I thought I’d tell you about one of my favorites because it’s seriously some YA goodness, full of angst and crazy plot lines and trollop stare downs.
Goong (Palace) a.k.a Princess Hours in the States, is based off a YA manhwa series by Park So-hee. This story asks us to imagine that South Korea is a constitutional monarchy with a imperial household and a very eligible Prince Shin. I’ll just break down the first episode for you.
The series starts with news that the King, Shin’s father, is very ill. The Crown Mother decides it’s time to prepare for the future of the royal family. This means finding a wife for Prince Shin, allowing him to take over the royal throne if the situation requires. I mean the future of the family is at stake here! (yeah,yeah,yeah…)
Enter Chae-Kyung (lets call her “CK”) a senior at the Korean Art Academy, majoring in design. She happens to go to the same school as Prince Shin where he hangs out with millionaires and Cinderella wannabes. He’s basically a rake and seems to be in love with the ambitious and talented ballerina Hyo-rin. If he doesn’t pick a bride soon he will be forced to marry according to imperial regulations. Hyo-rin rejects Shins proposal because she wants to purse her career (I really don’t know if she’s dumb or smart, I’ll settle for annoying.) Unfortunately CK happens to overhear this and is able to get away before Shin can catch who she is.
Meanwhile CK’s family gets visited from the palace (which they think is a Chinese restaurant,) not realizing it’s the Royal Palace representatives. They come barring proof of a promise between the late King and CK’s grandfather. A ring that matches one given to CK’s family years ago. The family never taking it seriously, furiously looks everywhere for their ring which happens to be used to level a table in the kitchen. At this point we don’t know what this promise is, but we can guess.
CK is tempted to tell her friends what she overheard, but knowing Prince Shin’s fans are like Justin Bieber’s (rabid and prompt) she holds back. While on his way home Prince Shin happens to recognize CK from behind and promptly commandeers her bike warning her that if she tells anyone she won’t be safe.
So we find out what the promise is and that is the late King was good friends with CK’s grandfather and his last request was that their grandchildren marry. The odd thing is that originally it was meant for his oldest sons child, Prince Yul, but since his eldest son passed away everything transferred to Prince Shin. When shown a picture of this girl, who do you think he sees? Yeah, CK, the girl he just bullied earlier and who heard him propose to another girl.
CK meanwhile freaks and is determined to take back the ring and the seal. And we learn that Shin has agreed to marry her wanting her to give the family a hard time because she lacks class and is not really “qualified” to marry him.
Back at school the ballerina from hell, Hyo-Rin is hearing rumors that the Prince’s fiancee goes to their school. Figuring that the eavesdropper told everyone what she heard she walks off smug thinking the school is thinking about her. Only to find out from Shin, it’s totally not her (yeah, how do you feel now?)
CK knows her family isn’t doing well financially. Her dad’s business has gone bad, and to top that off he signed the guarantee on his friends loan. The friend having run off left the dad with tons of debt. She doesn’t understand why her family would want to sell her off like that.Her family eventually agrees to call off the engagement when all of a sudden loan sharks come and start red tagging everything in the house. Which is promptly the time the representatives from the Palace come to pick her up for a meeting with the Queen. Roughed up and mad she is now determined to fix her family’s problems.
Overall I think this series rocks and the situation gets better and worse when Prince Yul returns from England and decides to enroll in the same school. Yul’s mother of course wants him to reclaim the throne (as it would have been his if his father hadn’t died.) He doesn’t care about that, but how do you think he’s going to react when he falls for CK, the girl who was supposed to be his bride? Oh, and the evil ballerina wants Shin back too. Add that to CK trying to adapt to palace life with its endless traditions and rituals and Shin constantly telling her to “upgrade herself” and you got a killer series. Yeah, she puts Shin in place. You can catch this series subbed on DramaFever, give it a try it’s only 24 episodes and so much fun. Plus you learn about South Korean culture.
Any drama fans out there?