I just finished watching this drama on KBS encore, based on the recommendation of my aunt, who told me rightly I’ll enjoy it. When it was first shown on KBS two years ago, I didn’t follow as I do not enjoy period drama, but if Korean period dramas are so cool, I change my mind.
Although this is a period drama from the
Joseon Dynasty, other than the costumes and lack of technology, everything about it, from the social context to the theme could happen in modern-day.
Sungkyunkwan is an educational institution funded by taxpayer money for the brightest male students in the country. The students learn Confusionism and other Chinese philosophical studies to prepare them into civil service.
In the backdrop of the Joseon Dynasty, Noble factions Soron and Noron live in fragile peace among the commoners. In an era where girls are not to be educated, Kim Yoon Hee, a highly intelligent girl who secretly learned from her professor father, disguised as her brother to take the entrance exams and was thus admitted into Sungkyunkwan, a deed that if found out, means death. But studying at Sungkyunkwan means a much needed allowance for medical fee for her ailing brother, a risk she was willing to take.
Lee Sun Joon, a Noron, is the son of the prime minister. A righteous man who live by dictum and principle, he is an idealist who hopes to unite Joseong and remove the faction divides.
Moon Jae Shin, or Crazy Horse, is a Soron who has a secret identity as a red-letter writer hoping to change the system as well. He is a rebel who gets to dress as he wants, with unkempt hair and a temper that scares the others.
Although Lee was expected to join the rest of the Norons at the East Hall, he chooses to remain with Moon and Kim in the West Hall, drawing the ire of the Procter (President of the student body), a Noron and son of the War Minister.
The three, together with Goo Yong Ha, develop a close friendship that sees them winning archery competitions and other odds.
Midway, Goo and Moon discover that Kim is actually a woman. Lee, in his ignorance, found himself liking Kim and wonders if he is homosexual. The episodes where the homosexual theme was hilarious.
Lee asked Goo, a womanizer if this kind of forbidden love is sinful. Goo, knowing better, tells him, no love is sinful, only hate is sinful.
I enjoyed watching every episodes, paying attention to the developing friendship and ignoring the political messages in the background.
If you want to watch this drama, it’s currently on Youtube with English subtitles. Don’t miss it! I suspect it’ll be gone soon due to copyright.