Review: The Princess’ Man



Grand, lush, well-made, well-acted, well-written & well worth watching.

Every detail in this drama is thoughtfully put together, from the characters’ dialogue, to the themes & motifs, to cultural & historical references. Very tightly & seamlessly produced and executed, there is an excellent balance between the action in the story and the emotional development of the characters and their relationships.

Engaging, romantic and thought-provoking. And a gorgeous OST just ups the magic.



The Princess’ Man OST – 돌이킬 수 없는


I know that there is sector of kdrama watchers who prefer their dramas modern, light and fluffy and therefore make it a general rule not to watch any sageuk whatsoever.

I am here to tell you that even if you fall into this category, The Princess’ Man is worth your time. Really.

There are several things about The Princess’ Man that might potentially turn this category of kdrama watcher off from watching it: it’s a sageuk; the plot has political machinations aplenty; it’s hyped as a Romeo and Juliet-esque story, so you know right away that there’s a strong potential for tragedy.

Allow me to address these concerns, to set your minds at ease.



The Princess’ Man is a very special, unique brand of sageuk.

It’s not your typical long sageuk, because at 24 episodes, it is a lot shorter than the more usual 50+ or 60+ episode sageuk like Queen Seon Duk, which ran for 62 episodes.

Most sageuks spend a boat-load of time on political plotting and maneuvering, and romance takes a backseat and is often peripheral to the story.

Well, unless you’re a fusion sageuk, in which case all kinds of rules get thrown out the window (see Sungkyunkwan Scandal). Yet, The Princess’ Man doesn’t quite feel like a fusion sageuk either, even though it doesn’t adhere strictly to traditional sageuk rules.

More importantly, in The Princess’ Man, it is the romance that takes center stage. There is a lot of political goings-on, yes, but the politics and the love story are closely interwoven, so you always feel like things are interconnected. What happens in the political arena has far-reaching influence on the fate of our lovers, and that makes the politics much more interesting.

The writers take great pains in recreating actual historical events, while adding fictional characters and situations that could plausibly fit into history. In this way, it doesn’t feel like a fusion sageuk, but feels more like a peek into the parts of history that didn’t make it into the history books. We can actually believe that our characters were real people who existed in history, and I think that’s really cool.

As for the Romeo and Juliet bent of the story, yes, it’s true that there are a number of tragic characters and there are times when you are more than likely to shed a few tears. But this drama does not present you with tragedy for tragedy’s sake. Instead, there is a profound overarching emphasis on integrity, honor and righteousness, which I find very moving.



The cinematography in The Princess’ Man is nothing short of spectacular. If you liked Chuno‘s cinematography, you might be interested to know that the same fabulous Red One camera is employed in The Princess’ Man.

Everything is beautifully shot and the colors are intense, rich and vibrant. Additionally, the textures look luxurious, making this world feel opulent, fantastical, and yet at the same time, very real. We feel literally transported into a different world.

Scenes are regularly set in sweeping, breathtaking locales, and we get scenes that look like this:


Pure. Gorgeous. Magnificence.

To further bring this world to life, the OST is executed splendidly. The excellent, well-chosen OST has fusion touches, but again, it doesn’t make this feel like a fusion drama.

The music is gorgeous, beautifully scored and expertly employed to enhance the drama. Every track is perfectly selected in terms of lyrics, mood and tone, and is applied just so, at every juncture.

This plays a huge part in creating the atmosphere of the show, from sweet melodies to underscore the moments shared by our lovers, to pulsing arias to heighten suspenseful stretches.

I never felt like the music was intrusive, even though it was a significant presence in the show.



Both Park Shi Hoo and Moon Chae Won turned in excellent performances as our OTP Kim Seung Yoo and Lee Se Ryung.

Additionally, the writing around their relationship is believable and we get to see them fall in love in stages. I find that more believable than having the OTP fall head-over-heels, desperately in love at first sight.

Since a lot of the story in terms of plot development and character choices rests on the strength of this couple’s love for each other, I really appreciate the writers’ attention to detail in building up their relationship.



From the time they first meet each other when Se Ryung impersonates her cousin Princess Kyung Hae (Hong Soo Hyun), to the multiple times that Seung Yoo then spots her outside the palace, to the various instances where they end up saving each others’ lives, we can see the progression and development of their regard for each other.

Their initial mild curiosity about each other grows into a bigger and stronger fascination, and we actually witness the moment they fall in love.

The writers don’t stop there, though. We see how this young love then gets tested, and subsequently, how it blossoms into something more mature, substantial and profound.

Kudos to the writers for detailing our OTP’s development in a manner that allows us as viewers to share in the deepening of their relationship.





Park Shi Hoo’s delivery as Kim Seung Yoo was very impressive.

Although I wouldn’t say he’s the most brilliant actor of them all, he’s come a long way & seems to be making consistently big strides in the right direction.

He had a wide range of scenes in The Princess’ Man, many of which were difficult, and he delivered admirably.

From the midly comic:

TPM13a TPM14

To the charming & suave:


To the angry, angst-ridden & tortured:




One of the scenes where I was most impressed with Park Shi Hoo’s performance is when Seung Yoo is in jail and Se Ryung goes to see him. At this point, he has lost everything. He’s also found out Se Ryung’s true identity, that she is the daughter of the man who’s brought about the demise of his entire family.

In the scene, he catches Se Ryung’s neck in a strangle-hold and his gaze goes from empty, to recognition, to incredulity, to rage, to pretty much crazed, all in a matter of seconds.

We literally see the progression in his eyes and every twitch of his facial muscles. Very impressive indeed.


Park Shi Hoo’s clearly drawing from a much deeper place than he ever did before, which is awesome.

Now, if he could progress onto layered and nuanced delivery, he would be a complete force to be reckoned with.

Styling [SPOILERY]

Through the span of the drama, Seung Yoo goes through several style seasons, each one commensurate with his circumstances, and Park Shi Hoo rocks each style with aplomb.

First, we get Handsome Hanbok:


And then we get Shirtless Sexy:


And then we get my favorite – No-Nonsense Ninja:


Park Shi Hoo as Kim Seung Yoo is so strong, so passionate and yet so cool. Kudos to the stylists for effectively helping to bring out the awesomeness of Kim Seung Yoo.

I especially love that Park Shi Hoo uses the lower registers of his voice a lot as Kim Seung Yoo, particularly in the later episodes. He’s already got a very nice, low voice. But when he deliberately uses the lower registers of his voice, it’s quite gorgeous on the ears, like deep, slightly rough velvet.

Mmm. Very sexy indeed. ♥



Se Ryung as a character goes through a great deal of growth over the course of the show and Moon Chae Won did an excellent job bringing Se Ryung to life in a way that was believable and moving.

Yes, there were rumblings in the drama-verse that Moon Chae Won’s sageuk diction left a lot to be desired. I’m not good enough at Korean to make an informed comment about that, though I do concede that she often sounded like she was curling her tongue way too much, like she had a tiny marble in her mouth that she wasn’t aware of.

Still, Moon Chae Won definitely made up for it with her sensitive and convincing portrayal of Se Ryung.


When we first meet her, Se Ryung is feisty & curious in general, something that we don’t often encounter in our sageuk heroines. She loves horses and has a deep desire to ride one, and steals about stealthily to get herself on a horse, despite her parents’ disapproval (& everyone else’s for that matter).

From the get-go, we get the sense that she’s a brave lass, sometimes to a foolhardy extent. She throws caution to the wind for what matters to her and for what she believes in, thereby landing herself in some life-threatening situations.

Over the course of the drama, though, Se Ryung’s character undergoes major growth, and she eventually convinces us that she’s made of better, more selfless, more noble and more steely stuff.



Early in the show, her foolhardy stealth riding goes awry when the horse that she’s on has a scare and takes off racing towards the edge of a cliff. Seung Yoo happens to see her, and risks his life to save her, all the while still thinking that she is the Princess.

While this does give our OTP some opportunities for encounters of the close kind, I did feel conflicted about Se Ryung lying to Seung Yoo.

When Seung Yoo eventually gets thrown in jail for allegedly consorting with “Princess Kyung Hae,” he comes to realize that Se Ryung is not who he thought she was. Yet, Se Ryung still does not reveal her true identity. Instead, she uses her maid’s name as her own and lies that she is a maid.

It didn’t sit well with me, that Se Ryung was lying to Seung Yoo about so many things, including her name and station in life. Granted, she tried to tell him the truth several times and was interrupted. But still. Lies aren’t ever the best foundation on which to build your love. Especially if your lies threaten the very survival of the man you profess to love.


Later on, though, Se Ryung saves Seung Yoo’s life multiple times, often at the risk of her own life. That was what redeemed her in my mind.

From being a thoughtless young girl, Se Ryung became a young woman who stood by her beliefs with such fierce determination that she would literally put her very life on the line.

She is fearless and unrelenting in her efforts to protect Seung Yoo, always running off to inform him of danger, even if it means putting herself in danger. Eventually, she even takes an arrow for  him.

What a moving journey of growth she charted, and Moon Chae Won brought that journey admirably to life.




Our OTP expressed their love for each other in multiple ways – not least in the regular saving of each others’ lives.

In terms of less life-threatening sorts of expressions of love, however, there were also plenty of goodies for us.

There were more than a few hugs and kisses that our OTP shared, and there were several scenes surrounding the consummating of their relationship which definitely pushed the envelope in regular-saguek-land.

Here’s just a taste of those scenes:


Even more than these scenes, though, I found the silent communication through their hands most quietly poetic.

In the later episodes, our OTP’s hands meet and linger often. The way their hands intertwine are full of meaning, and there are many scenes where their hands speak volumes in terms of love, tenderness, affection, assurance and promise.

Behold some of the lovely conversations between their hands:


So. Very. Lovely.

As the show progresses, we come to realize more and more, that the love between Seung Yoo and Se Ryung is indeed marked by scars and suffering.

Yet, the purity and depth of their love is profound and moving to behold, and we cannot help but root for this couple.



Aside from Seung Yoo and Se Ryung, there is another compelling OTP in Princess Kyung Hae and her Prince Consort, Jong (Lee Min Woo).

Princess Kyung Hae had married Jong purely out of duty, and treated him as only a husband in name. From this point of being married merely by description, the show brings us on a sweet progression of how Jong eventually won his wife’s heart.

Theirs is a love that is bittersweet and hard-won, for it is a love that blossomed while in the grip of fear and uncertainty.



The political upheaval and accompanying fear was the catalyst that caused Princess Kyung Hae to see the truth and extent of Jong’s love for her. Paradoxically, this same catalyst that helped their love to blossom, was at the very same time, the very thing that threatened to drive them apart.

It was heartbreaking & moving to see them finally come together as true husband and wife, only to then fear never being able to see each other again.

In the end, I found their marriage and relationship equal parts tragic and poignant.

Although it was Jong’s devotion that carried their marriage to a point of mutuality, it was Princess Kyung Hae’s love and loyalty to her husband which remained beyond his death.

Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. So beautiful and so tragic, all in one.




Hong Soo Hyun put in a completely masterful performance as Princess Kyung Hae.

From the very beginning of the show, Princess Kyung Hae is fiercely elegant and has a demeanor of steel. As the show progresses, however, and as her fortunes become more and more bleak and uncertain, she speaks with a commanding authority that barely conceals her fragile vulnerability.

Her choices made under pressure reveal her strength of character and it is her courage even when she is most scared that is most moving.



One of the most arresting scenes, in my mind, was around Princess Kyung Hae’s response to her husband’s choice to die.

She desperately tried to persuade him to change his mind, for her sake and for the sake of their unborn child. Her distress is palpable as she weeps without attempting to restrain her tears.

When Jong explains resolutely his reasons for choosing to die, she complies with his wishes even in the midst of her anguish. She steels herself to do the necessary, and then collapses in tormented, muffled cries behind closed doors.


My heart couldn’t help but ache for her.

Hong Soo Hyun’s delivery was subtle, restrained, yet spot-on. Simply amazing.




Lee Min Woo put in a fantastic performance as Jong.

Jong is idealistic, loyal and pure-hearted, and he stands by his beliefs in an unwavering manner, whether it’s to do with love, friendship or national ideals. The fact that he stands unmoved despite being pretty terrified on the inside just makes him all the more awesome.

One of the things I loved about him was his steadfast desire to uphold the friendship between him, Seung Yoo and Myun (Song Jong Ho) despite the enormous political pressure surrounding them.

Usually amiable and unassuming, I loved how he even raised his fist toward his friend Myun, whom he perceived as losing sight of his morals.


Even more than this, I loved how he loved Princess Kyung Hae and won her over with his simple sincerity.

Even though Princess Kyung Hae barely acknowledged his existence from the beginning of their marriage, he never once reproached her for it. Instead, he simply continued to love her in every way that she needed. I found that incredibly sweet.



I loved that he tried to surprise her with rings from his mother for her birthday despite her cool treatment of him.

I loved that he stepped up to reassure her and her brother the young king when intruders led by Myun barged into their compound.

I loved that he took it upon himself to be the Prince Consort even though his wife did not treat him as such.

It was this very choice of his, to simply love his wife and be who she needed – despite her not granting him permission to do so – that ultimately won her heart.


When Princess Kyung Hae acknowledged him and addressed him as “husband,” I found that one of the most sweetly satisfying moments of the entire show. I was just so happy for Jong, that his love was finally requited.


Hands-down, the most tragically captivating part of Lee Min Woo’s performance, was Jong’s decision to die.

He’d been captured for treason and was scheduled to be executed. Princess Kyung Hae desperately pleaded with him to allow her to tell Seung Yoo, who would be able to break him out of prison.

His terrified yet stoic decision to meet his death righteously – so as not to endanger Seung Yoo, and also, so that his decision to die for a worthy cause along with other patriots would speak to future generations of what is right, from the history books – was admirable and heart-rending all in one.

And just when I thought Jong had gotten me completely in the heart, he went one further: he gathered all his fatherly love and instincts into one significant, deliberate act; he chose a name for his unborn child.

When he pressed the piece of paper into Princess Kyung Hae’s hands and said his final words to her, so full of love, gratitude and longing, my heart wept for him.

This was without a doubt the best performance I have ever seen from Lee Min Woo. He was understated, quiet awesomeness personified.




The supporting cast was all-around fantastic, and provided a rich context and acted as great foils for our main characters.

Here, I’m giving a shout-out to just a few of them.

Song Jong Ho was very good as Myun, and provided a point of contrast to Seung Yoo and Jong, both in terms of his treatment of the woman he loved, and his response to political pressure. He believed that he was forced to make the choices that he made, but ultimately, it was his weakness of character that moved his hand.


Kim Young Chul was chillingly convincing as Prince Su Yang, a man so driven by his thirst for power that he did not hesitate to shed an ocean of blood.


Kim Roe Ha was very good as Jo Suk Joo, Seung Yoo’s fellow-fugitive turned comrade. I loved how he started off being the random stranger thrown together with Seung Yoo, and eventually became Seung Yoo’s confidante and right hand man.


Kim Yoo Bin was adorable as Seung Yoo’s niece Ah Kang. She was cute as a button, yet managed to handle difficult crying scenes convincingly and with pathos. What a talented little lady she is! ♥



In the end, The Princess’ Man was not just about a love of epic proportions, but more than that, it was about love born out of an alignment of ideals.

This was true for both our OTPs, and both couples believed in and stood for the same ideals, to the extent of literally putting their lives on the line for what they believed in.

It is why Princess Kyung Hae could understand and honor her husband even in his death, and it is why Se Ryung could empathize with Seung Yoo’s dangerous quest to seek justice.

In Seung Yoo’s “death scene” this is clearly demonstrated, as Se Ryung understands and honors Seung Yoo’s need to stand for what he believes in rather than bow to pressure and renounce his beliefs.

In terms of the writers’ decision to allow Seung Yoo to lose his sight and live, instead of letting him die, I believe it was a response to the audience’s overwhelming desire for some sort of happy ending for our OTP.

Ultimately, though, I liked the ending. It was rather bittersweet, since Seung Yoo became blind and never did succeed in his quest for justice. I understand, though, from a narrative point of view why they wrote it that way.

It was the only plausible way to stop his quest for revenge.

I also found it quite poetic, that Seung Yoo’s closing words to Se Ryung were: I may have lost my sight, but I regained my heart. I lost my revenge, and regained you.

In the end, Seung Yoo regained his perspective on what was even more important than justice: love.

And that, to me, is a lesson that we could all benefit from.



So intense, but so good. This one lingered with me.



This is one of my favorite songs from the many excellent tracks on the OST, set to some lovely OTP moments. Enjoy:

64 thoughts on “Review: The Princess’ Man

  1. arirang

    I agree with you!! I’m a very anti saeguk drama but The Princess Man is an exception… This is the only one saeguk drama that I really like..

    Everything in this drama is a perfection, you’ll fall into the story
    No wonder it won about 30+ international award and even nominated in International Emmy Award as best TV series in foreign language.. Kudos to the leads too, PSH and MCW acting make me crying so many times haha

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  3. martin fennell


    Best performance
    Noh Tae Yub as Danjong. The more I saw of this young actor, The more impressed I was by him.

    I would follow that up by the performances Lee Min Woo as Jung Jong
    and Hong Soo Hyun as Princess Kyung Hye
    I loved the devoloping relationshop between these two, and it was one of my favourite parts of this drama. Predictible? probably. but still lovely to watch. Regarding Jung jong’s character, I could see that he would have more steel, than you were supposed to think.
    My other favourite part of the drama was Moon Chae Won as Lee Se Ryung confrontation with Kim Young Chul as her father Prince Suyang (later King Sejo)
    This was me was surprising to see in a korean drama.
    Another first was the gay guy. I’ve seen gay characters in Thai Lakoprns. But I can’t recall seeing an openly gay character in a K-drama before.
    I also liked the fact that Kim Roe-Ha as Jo Suk-Joo was a better fighter than the hero.

    I found the performance of the two leads ie the aforementioned Moon Chae Won, and Park Shi Hoo as Kim Seung Yoo to be fine. She was probably better than him.
    But I would say that Song Jong Ho as Shin Myun was better than Park Shi Hoo

    The ending. At first I had the wrong idea. So the king and his wife are going somewhere. The king spots somebody who looks like supposedly our hero Kim Seung Yoo.
    So seeing as the king looks so old, I thought the guy he spotted was Kim Seung Yoo’s son. But now, it turns out it’s actually him. Okay, that’s fine, but he din’t look that much older.
    Also The king aka the main villain is now portrayed at the end of the drama as a kindly old man. It#s like seeing Hitler turn into Santa Claus. But when watching
    the ending. I didn’t think it was a bad one. For me it certainly wasn’t a predictible ending, but for that ending the villain had his character complely changed. So the ending is good, in basically letting the villain get away with what he did. But bad in that it conviently forgets what kind of character he was.
    My other niggle is the last time it decided to use Lee Se-Ryung as bait, Sin Myeon acts as if he hadn’t done or thought about it himself earlier.
    Nice kissing scenes
    Overrall, a really terrific drama.

  4. DanglingPointer

    Just saw the whole series yesterday and can’t stop thinking about it today. A bit frustrated with the “wotifs”! Hope the ending turned out different but we all know what happened in Korean history during that century so too bad…

    1. kfangurl

      Glad you enjoyed this show – it really does linger with you afterwards, doesn’t it? I personally find that to be a mark of a good show, that it won’t let you go, even after the final episode. As for the ending, I do think the show meant to give us a happy ending, away from actual Korean history. If not, they would’ve let him die instead of “just” letting him go blind. 😛

  5. San

    I finish this drama last week, with marathon for like 3 days! Lol, a big achievement for me since i rarely doing marathon for drama. I know i’m very late but better late than never, right? And damn, i hook up with this drama, the romance, the friendship, the character, the intense politic etc, its just perfect!!! And my favorite, our hero and heroine, damn it, i envy their love and trust for each other. The potrayal of their love, and then the anger seung yoo showing when he know the truth about se ryung being the daughter of person who kill his family. The love and understanding se ryung showing to seung yoo for his great pain because of her father. Damn, look like i still difficult to move on from this drama. Even after i finish it, i read the series recap on dramabeans, and i even write how i love it on my personal diary for many pages! Never i do it for any drama in my life! And now i land on your blog to read wonderful review from you about this drama. Oh the feels… Do you know how to move on from this drama? Lol
    Thx for this wonderful review, darl. I enjoy it a lot 😉

    1. kfangurl

      Hi there San! I’m glad you enjoyed this review! I can tell that you really love TPM, and I can’t blame ya, I loved it too, when I watched it. The depth and intensity of the OTP’s love for each other was definitely one of the things that captured my heart. Plus, this drama’s very well-written as well, and everything just worked together really well.

      This show lingered with me afterwards too, making it hard for me to move on to another drama. It does sound like it’s lingering with you a lot more than it did with me.. I’d say, enjoy the lingering while it lasts, and don’t rush to move on. You’ll be able to move on eventually, when the drama’s grip on your heart has settled a little more. 🙂 I hope that helps!

      1. kaiaraia

        Oh… I just saw Moon Chae Won in a really cute movie called Mood of the Day with Ji Tae in A Werewolf Boy. She gained some weight but I find her prettier that way.

        1. kfangurl

          Oh, I haven’t seen that one – so many of the movies fly under my radar, honestly. Shall put Mood of the Day on my list, thanks for the recommendation, dear! 🙂

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  9. Melloyello

    Oh my gawd kfangurl, why didn’t I watch this sooner?!! 24 eps in three days…it was that good. The main OTP filled my heart with so many emotions! I loved their relationship and like you said, build up was great. I wish there more more happy scenes of them together in the beginning. Thx again for recap!

    1. kfangurl

      Wow, you finished it in 3 days?? That’s quite an achievement, Melloyello!! I remember having to rest between episodes coz I found it all so intense! You are made of steelier stuff than I, my dear! And yes, it’s an excellent drama. Such high stakes, and so much intensity from both leads. I had been expecting more tragedy coz of how the show was marketed as a Romeo & Juliet type story, so I was actually pleasantly surprised by how much cute there was in the earlier episodes. Funny how context changes so much, eh? 😉 This is definitely one of the shows that lingered with me long after it was over. I’m so glad you made time for it! 😀

  10. kaiaraia

    I’m finally riding this boat and I’m six episodes in. OMG! I can not find the words to express how this drama makes me feel. THAT GOOD, IT IS!

    1. kaiaraia

      Great review kfangurl! As always. Sageuks are what put me on kdrama marathons. And this one will definitely be one of my favorites. I love that it has both politics and romance packed tightly in JUST 24 episodes. Definitely worthy of a rewatch. Two things, which I find more beautiful than the romance and politics, that make this a favorite are: (1) The relationships (other than the romantic kind). It showcased so much of it: father and son, father and daughter, husband and wife, master and servant, cousins, siblings, even random strangers. (2) The frail and the flawed human being. How one handles the conflicts within. I like the contrast mentioned between Se Ryung and Myeon. But the conflict within Sooyang has left a deeper imprint on me. These underscoring of the human weakness has left me thinking and made all of the characters, including Cho Hee, so relatable.

      From the get-go, I find Hong Soo Hyun flat-out brilliant. And yes, the support cast were pretty wonderful even the two ladies-in-waiting and Myeon’s right hand man, Ja Beon (I was crushing on him, hahaha) turned-in neat performances.

      1. kfangurl

        Yay that you enjoyed TPM, kaiaraia!! 😀 It’s an excellent drama, and I loved that they managed to make the palace politics interesting, and interwove it with the romance in a very real way. It never felt like the two things were distinct and separate, but whatever happened in the political arena had such deep impact on our OTP that the politics actually felt critical to our story.

        Great points about the relationships portrayed in the show – I totally see that! The relationship that really got me in the gut was the husband and wife relationship between Jung and Princess Kyung Hye. So real and so heartwrenching. And portrayed with such finesse! Hong Soo Hyun was indeed brilliant. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen better from Lee Min Woo either.

        Definitely worthy of a rewatch! ^^

          1. kfangurl

            Ah! I have high hopes for Joseon Gunman! And now that I’ve seen what Lee Min Woo is capable of, I’ve not doubt that he would be a pretty great king ^^

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  12. coffeenlucia

    My favorite drama ever, tied with Shut up Flower Boy Band.

    btw did you post your thoughts on the jail scene on I faintly remember seeing a comment on it like that 🙂

    Love Park Shi Hoo’s acting too in it– he does do amazingly switching the personalities of his complex character.

    1. kfangurl

      Oh, I love Shut Up too! 😀 And yes, I was really quite impressed with Park Shi Hoo in this. He obviously dug really deep in order to portray his character’s anguish. This is arguably the best performance I’ve seen from him to date.

      And I think the comment on was left by someone who’d read my review and who then posted large chunks of it there, with a link back to the review itself. Kinda like how folks tend to do on Soompi as well ^^

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  16. Cristina

    I think I’m going to continue watching The Princess Man again. I remember watching it in 2011 but I was so madly and deeply in love with 49 Days (and, er, reeling also from the heartbreak that is the ending) that I couldn’t even pick up another drama to finish. But I heard many good things about this drama. Thanks for the review! I’m going to be revisiting your blog once in a while. I like how you do your reviews and recaps. 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Aw thanks! I’m glad you enjoy the reviews!! ^^

      Yes, TPM is worth finishing.. I remember being completely engrossed in it while watching. I’m also very impressed at how the writers manage to weave the story around real events & people in history. A lot of thought definitely went into that, and it shows. I’d be curious to hear how you like it, after you finish it! 🙂

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  20. mawiie

    I loved loved loved loved The Princess’s Man! I marathon this baby a while ago and thank god that I wasn’t watching it live because I would diiiiie while waiting for the next episode. I really loved everything about it, from the cast, to the nice balance between politic and romance, the gorgeous scenery and awesome OST… it was my epic ride of 2011.

    Seung Jo and Se Ryung remained of of my favorite OTP of all times (my first spot is untouchable hahahaha), and I was so glad that they really fought tooth and nail to be together despite all the odds against them. And Princess Kyung Hee and her husband… D:

    1. kfangurl

      Aw I know, this was just such an EPIC show, in so many ways!! <3 It had such a strong sticky quotient – I didn't want to move on after I was done watching it! I marathoned it too – watching live would have been really, really tough! 😛

  21. Indigo

    Funny, I myself just finished and reviewed this drama and now came upon yours. I like the selection of screencaps that you’ve used here, they’re pretty. Even though I felt that in the latter half the drama faded a bit in the cinematography department. But just a bit.
    I do like how you pointed out about Myun – “He believed that he was forced to make the choices that he made, but ultimately, it was his weakness of character that moved his hand.” – this is exactly what I thought. He always seemed to think that he was forced into betraying his friends, and even though he knew it was wrong, he just went along with it. Myun accepted being a bad guy, yet he never owned up to the things he did, saying that he had no other way. There was another way, but he just didn’t use it. That’s why I really disliked his character, especially when all the other main characters were put into similarly difficult positions but managed to still do the right thing. But I guess his character was a good contrast to Se Ryung who stood up to her father, instead of giving in like Myun.
    Anyways I agree with you that it’s not your usual sageuk, in the sense that it’s not the classic kind of historical drama, yet it isn’t a fusion sageuk either. But in any case, the drama is awesome and I really liked your review 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Thank you, Indigo, I’m glad you enjoyed the review!! 😀 Indeed, TPM is an awesome drama!

      Isn’t it such perfect timing, that we both reviewed this drama at practically the same time? ^^ I hopped on over to your site to read your review, and I have to agree with you about Se Ryung being in the most difficult position, and also, the transformation in Seung Yoo’s character from being laid-back to becoming someone who fights for what matters. I hadn’t thought to include that, so thanks for reminding me! ^^

      1. Indigo

        It is kinda funny how we got to review at the same time. And I like how you mentioned things that I didn’t notice in your review, and that I wrote about things in my review that you forgot to bring up in yours. That’s why I like reading reviews on dramas that I’ve already seen and reviewed, because different bloggers remember different things about one show. And then you have this moment when you think “oh, I hadn’t thought of it that way” – it’s really fun 🙂

        1. kfangurl

          Very true! ^^ Sometimes it gets even more interesting when someone else sees things in a completely different light than what I saw. That’s always fun & thought-provoking!

  22. Michele

    You are just freaking awesome! I can only aspire to the level of your admiration and appreciation of this medium. Well-written and thorough – you have me intrigued as I have not embarked on period drama of this kind but do appreciate well-acted, well-filmed and well-scored dramas.

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, that is so sweet of you to say, Michele!! <3 Thank you!!! <3

      Yes, if you appreciate a drama that's well-acted, well-filmed and well-scored, TPM hits it out of the ballpark on all 3 counts! It's one of the best written kdramas out there, imo ^^ Definitely consider checking it out. I honestly feel that even a non-sageuk fan could love this, coz it's the romance that takes center stage 🙂

  23. Timescout

    Yup, I agree that those who like romance in their stories probably liked TPM a lot. I’m not a shipper (generally), so there’s another thing that tends to leave me out when it comes to pairings. ^^ And romcoms very often bore me to tears, so…. I don’t watch ’em much, heh. A good, well written romantic drama is another thing though but only when I’m in a mood for one.

    Yes, I did watch Tree and it was very good, for most of it’s run but unfortunately lost steam at the end part like so many others. They concentrated too much on the inner politics of the Baddie Conspirators, which did not interest me in the least. The ending was also sort of anticlimatic but I could live with that. I have a feeling that it might have benefitted with some pruning as it did get a bit draggy. The bane of most k-dramas, I’m afraid. There are very few dramas that have enough story to tell beyond, say 16-18 epis. Oh well, that’s what the ff-button is for I guess, LOL!

    Have you seen Chuno? That had a pretty good balance as well, imho. It also has an awesome OST (as has CiTC).

    1. kfangurl

      It’s true that many dramas could do with tighter writing – I think that’s one of the side effects of the live shoot system.. I feel like often the writers lose their heads and can’t think or write straight under pressure! >.< A great pity, since many shows suffer from it!

      Yes, I have seen Chuno & I enjoyed it quite a lot! I felt like the 2 main arcs (the slave hunters & the rebel slave faction) could have been better woven together.. At times I felt like I was watching 2 separate dramas on my screen..! But maybe that's just me – I might've missed how those 2 arcs were interwoven.. I most likely was too busy being distracted by Jang Hyuk's shirtless swaggering..! 😉

      I must check out CiTC sometime – I keep hearing such good things about it! ^^

      1. Timescout

        Oh yes, the slave rebels storyline. I guess I forgot all about it. No, you are not alone in thinking that it didin’t mash up with the rest. I seem to recall that it was the writer’s… or was it the PD’s pet project so that’s why it was there. Personally, I could have done without it all together. Jang Hyuk’s shirtless swaggering is enough to distract anyone. ;P

        CiTC is marvellous but not for everyone, I’ve noticed. Decidedly not for the feint of heart. I just listened the main theme again and got goosebumps and tears in my eyes. Gosh, I love that song! It totally captures the feel of the drama. Not sure if you are in any way interested but I did a short, nonspoilery pimp post for it back in the day. Gah, I totally sound like I’m trying to sell something here. Mian. ^^

        1. kfangurl

          Oh, I didn’t know that about the slave rebels storyline! That would explain a lot! I always wondered what the writers were trying to do with that, & I kept expecting it to meet the main arc meaningfully, which it never did. But still. Chuno gave me Jang Hyuk doing the most awesome shirtless swagger known to mankind, so I shan’t hate on it 😉

          Yes, I am totally interested in your post for CiTC!! Please let me know the link! 😀

          1. Timescout

            Ok then, hope this works… I haven’t tried using html in the commentboxes yet. So, here’s the link to 한성별곡. Don’t mind the spelling mistakes (noticed far too many of those, sigh). Darn, I should really proofread what I write. 🙂

            You can probably fix the hyperlink if it comes out all wonky.

            1. kfangurl

              Woot! Thanks for the link, Timescout! 😀 Love what I see, it’s so stylish, yet so darkly beautiful. It’s definitely on my to-watch list now, thanks to your review! <3

              1. Timescout

                You are welcome! I’ve been reading the recaps at Dramabeans and reminicing ( HeadsNo2 is recapping it now). It’s one of those dramas that is very hard to forget, it lingers. So much so that listening to 평행선 gives me shivers, litterally. Even after all this time.

                1. kfangurl

                  Now that you mention it, I have seen the posts featured on the main DB page, but haven’t read any coz I don’t want to read any spoilers. Great to know that HeadsNo2 is recapping it! I love reading her writing, and it’d be such fun to watch CiTC along with her recaps! 😀

                  Thanks for setting me up for such a treat, Timescout! You rawk! <3

                  1. Timescout

                    I also suggest you read MrX’s review of the drama at WithS2 once you’ve done with it. He gives such great background/additional info to the story.

                    1. kfangurl

                      Wow, thanks for the tip! I’m going to need all the help I can get, coz I’m not strong in Korean history but I LOVE seeing how the writers make connections between their story and real people & situations in history. Mr. X it is! 😀

  24. Timescout

    What a wonderful and detailed review! Spot on too I’d say. “Grand, lush, well-made, well-acted, well-written & well worth watching”. I will underwrite the last one too even if I wasn’t totally won over by TPM. I’m one of those strange creatures who like their historicals and action when it’s less about the romance and more about everything else. 🙂 The balance has to be right or I get bored, which of course goes for everything else in the story too.

    Sageuks are a really hard genre to get right so that the drama satisfyingly incoporates all the aspects. Either it’s too much of bearded men talking round the table or the story falls appart in the non-historical parts. That is why I’ve yet to watch a long(er) sageuk that I can truly say I enjoyed all the way. They all had something to whine about, some more than others. *g* We’ll see how it goes when I finally have some time to tackle ‘Queen In Soo’, which is supposedly brilliant in every way. The ones I liked best so far were both shorts; ‘Conspiracy in The Court’ and ‘Joseon X-files’ – could there be two more different ones? LOL!

    1. kfangurl

      Thank you, Timescout! I’m glad you enjoyed the review! 😀

      It IS rare for a sageuk to find that sweet spot between the history, politics and romance. I feel TPM did find a good balance for those who are intrinsically more interested in romance, but I can imagine how it might disappoint others who don’t care so much for the romance ^^

      I’ve watched Joseon X-files, which I found good but quite hard to understand 😛 I’ve heard great things about Queen In Soo too, so it might just be up your alley! I really liked Tree with Deep Roots as well – it sort of reminds me of TPM in terms of good writing, pacing & production values, except with less romance. Did you watch it? I’m curious to know how you liked it 🙂

  25. Eye Candy

    Okay sounds like I might be checking this drama out because I keep wanting to watch a Sageuk I really do! But I got bogged down in the boring political machinations in Faith. Also, I love the two main actors, so I’m pretty much sold. I don’t mind political intrigue as long as it stays interesting and it sounds like it does throughout this show. So looks like I know what I’ll be watching once I finish King2Hearts!

    1. kfangurl

      Yes, absolutely do check this drama out!! I’m not a fan of huge chunks of political machinations in sageuks, but I found the politics riveting in TPM coz it had such huge consequences for our OTP! It’s also fascinating to me how the story is woven into actual history. TPM is quite possibly the best sageuk I’ve watched to date 🙂 I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! <3

  26. Betsy Hp

    This was such an epic drama. What frustrated me about it was, unfortunately, the historically accurate cleverness of the bad guys. Why couldn’t the good guys win one every once in a while? So I was worried about how it’d end. I think though, the ending was really well handled (especially considering the history they were working under) and actually kind of challenged the definition of what a win actually consisted of.

    And you’ve given us such an epic review! It’s like reliving the show all over again. (Oh, the heartbreak of the princess and her husband!) This must have taken a lot of work. Thanks for doing it and giving us a chance to relive the drama. 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Yes, the ending does hold up to further thought, doesn’t it? At first, it felt a little anti-climactic to me, after all the tension and political bloodshed, but after I thought about it, I realized that it was a really well thought-out ending that stayed true to history and also stayed true to our characters. Kudos to the writers, who were meticulously fabulous in so many ways! 😀

      You’re right, this review was EPIC to write! ^^ I didn’t plan for it to be this epic, but the show itself is so meaty that once I dived into writing the review, there were too many things that just could not be glossed over & this is the end result! I’m glad you enjoyed re-living the magic with me.. Writing this also helped me to re-live the awesomeness of TPM! <3 What a fantastic show, truly <3

  27. muchadoboutlove

    Ah, TPM…the drama that never failed to make my eyes glued onto the screen and then ripping my heart into pieces. Your review is just lovely and I’m crying after reading it. The drama is bittersweet and heart wrenching, but it’s too good to be missed out for sageuk lovers :’) I still have the OSTs on my phone, just to be listened to whenever I need some TPM feelings fix. I don’t know how many times I’ve rewatched the drama, I guess I’ll never get tired of it 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Yes, it’s just such a moving drama, isn’t it? I felt the same way too – I was entranced by it, even while it was at its most tragic. I think this is one of those shows that manages to show beauty in tragedy, which is hard to do. Many shows are just plain tragic for tragedy’s sake. TPM shows us love, strength, beauty and courage in tragedy, and I feel that that’s what makes it such a must-watch.

      You know what? I have TPM OSTs on my phone too! In fact, the chorus of the song featured in the YouTube vid is STILL my ring-tone! LOL! High-five, Mimi! 😀

    1. kfangurl

      Aw, I’m so glad that you enjoyed the post!! <3 <3 TPM is an all-time fave of mine too, and writing this really brought me back into the thick of it! It's such an awesome drama in so many ways!! 😀

  28. snow_white

    definitely in my plan-to-watch list…..thanks for the wonderful review (I skipped the spoilery sections 😉 )….initially I was thinking that since it’s a sageuk, it could be boring…..but since it has got so many positive reviews, I’m gonna watch it 🙂

    1. kfangurl

      Yes, definitely, definitely check it out!! It’s anything BUT boring. I usually find the political stuff in sageuks boring, and I was surprised at how interesting I found the political stuff in TPM once I understood how it all affected our OTP! 😉 Suddenly, I was VERY interested in the politics! 😉

  29. Nelly

    Wow, very long review. Sorry, I couldn’t finish reading it all coz I have to get back to work and I really do not want to spoil myself especially when I kept seeing Spoiler Alert sign flashing its bright red (thank goodness it wasn’t blinking!)LOL. Very thorough review, I’m impressed! I’m a fusion sageuk girl so it will be difficult but I’m going to give my hardest to watch as I’ve heard good reviews.

    1. kfangurl

      LOL! Glad the Spoiler Alert headings worked & you didn’t get spoiled! 😉 I hope that the bits you did manage to read added some motivation for you to check this out! I’m usually not one for sageuk OR tragedy, and I still loved this unreservedly. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!! 😀

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