The alternate title for this K-drama is “Shine or Be Mad”. It's based on novel by the same name. This is a love story about a prince and a princess, but it ain't no fairy tale! It's a prophecy!
PRINCE: Wang So (played by Jang Hyuk)
When we first meet this character, he's a very angry young man. His anger is justified. He's a prince who has been exiled. Why? Because there was a scary prophecy about him and people were not quite sure how to intrepret the prophetic writings. So! Just to be safe! They sent him far away. Obviously he is angry for having been abandoned as a child. When he grew up, his father was asked to return home, i.e. to the palace. Some people in the kingdom (including his own mother) are not too happy about his return. They are certain that he's cursed and will bring destruction upon ALL! One might be tempted to think there sure is a black cloud that's following him around. On the first night that he appears before his father, the king, assassins show up!
PRINCESS: Shin Yool / Gaebong (played by Oh Yeon-seo)
When first introduced to her character, she is a very savvy businesswoman, fluent in several languages, operating a successful enterprise in a foreign country. Her name is Shin Yool. When we meet her the second time, she's still savvy businesswoman, but she's dressed like a man and calls herself Gaebong. She's included in the prophecy concerning Wang So. Indeed, she has a very significant role in his future. She is actually a princess who survived her country's destruction and who will help the prince become king.
If you look at the advertising poster for this TV series, you probably notice that there is a another lady next to Prince Wang So. You notice that the prince has his face turned towards one woman, the princess that he falls in love with and his back towards the other woman, also a princess, Princess Hwangbo Yeo Won (played by Lee Ha-Nee), whom he was forced to marry. He's not happy about being her husband and she's not that happy about being his wife. He spends most of his time avoiding her because it's an unwanted marriage. But later on he realizes there is another more compelling reason for avoiding her. She knows all about POISONS! (Just a little bit of trivia. Lee Ha-Nee was the Winner of the 2006 Miss Korea beauty pageant.)
The supporting cast for this series all played their parts well but the supporting character that I liked the most was Kyung (played by Jung Woo-shik). He was Shin Yool's bodyguard. He had an easy script, as far as memorizing his lines. He hardly spoke a word but you had no problems at all understanding him. It mus be cool to have a bodyguard. Ya think?
This Korean drama series has 24 episodes. The good guy warriors wear BLACK. The bad guy warriors wear RED. In addition to the various complicated love triangles there's also lots of palace intrigue, ruthless, avaricious and ambitious people scheming and conniving, murder by poison, spies who spy on the spies, and several very likeable characters that you root for!
I gave this series a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Here’s the logic behind my rating:
I LIKE Jang Hyuk. I have seen him in many Korean dramas. He plays good guys and bad guys. I like him better as a ood guy. Whenever I see his name as a member of the cast — whether the main character or in a supporting role — I am 99% certain that I won’t be disappointed.
I WAS CURIOUS ABOUT Oh Yeon-seo. I have only seen her in one other Korean drama. In both series she plays a princess. I can see why they cast her to play parts as a princess because … she looks like a princess. She’s got that look! (NOTE: Even though I only know her from two (2) TV shows, she has starred in several drama series and movies. Not only that but she also won many acting awards. My bad. I just didn't keep up! 😊)
I deducted points because the soundtrack wasn’t all that outstanding. But even without good background music, it was still very entertaining.
I also deducted points because ... no spoilers but … I didn’t really like the ending.