The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: Goong [Princess Hours]

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THE SHORT VERDICT:

A live-manhwa-meets-contract-marriage-meets-sageuk-meets-fusion-fantasy sort of mashup, Goong is something of a modern classic in dramaland.

Despite its multiple elements, Show is cute and adorable a lot of the time, and manages to serve up some very lovely, melty OTP moments through its run. On the downside, with its mostly raw and inexperienced cast, plus some starkly melodramatic tendencies, the watch can feel uneven at times.

Even so, it’s quite a lovely watch, given the right lens.

Goong OST – Perhaps Love

THE LONG VERDICT:

This was the drama that started it all, for me.

Because my sister came home one day in early 2007 with the DVD box set and announced that we were watching this show, I ended up falling in love with not only this show, but with kdramas in general. Which means that I will always, always have a soft spot for it, in spite of its flaws.

In my early drama-watching days, I rewatched this show something like 5 or 6 times coz I just loved it that much. Despite my soft spot for this show, though, since I started expanding the boundaries of the types of kdramas I watched, and also, since I started blogging about them, I hadn’t actually gone back to this show.

So why the rewatch now, when there are so many other shows that I want to check out? Here are my top 3 reasons for this particular rewatch:

1. Not too long ago, my friend Jo watched this show for the first time, and her squees brought back lots ‘n lots of fond memories. ❤

2. I became curious to see how the sageuk miles I’d clocked would add to/affect my appreciation of the show’s fantasy royal context.

3. There are 2 sets of subs available for Goong, one set by fansubbers and the other by MBC, neither of which are perfect (yes, I’ve watched the show with both sets of subs). I was curious to see how my now-much-better (I’m far from fluent, but hey, it’s all relative, isn’t it?) understanding of the Korean language would add to the richness of the show, since lots of stuff tends to get lost in translation.

I figured these 3 angles would be a pretty great way to tackle this review.

FOND DRAMA MEMORIES

Ahh.. I have so, so many fond memories of this drama.

I remember staying up wayy past any reasonable bedtime as I watched this show with my sister, both of us alternately squeeing and crying in unison, as we gasped at the end of each episode, and then promptly threw any remaining caution or reason out the window as we clicked on the next episode.

1. Tone, music, the entire Goong experience

The Mix

If you think about it, Goong is pretty daring in the elements that it aims to mesh together. Joseon era flavored palace intrigue, with a live manhwa sensibility in the “normal” world. You wouldn’t think it’d mix well, but Show manages it very decently for the most part. If you have sageuk exposure, that sageuk lens comes in handy too, in appreciating the royal context of the show (more on that later).

I like the concept, that this entire drama world is the construct of the hyperactive mind of an over-imaginative schoolgirl. The manhwa touches, with voiceover and sound effects, add cuteness.

The Music

The music is great, and so evocative. Whether it’s slow and mellow, or richly melodious, or bright and tinkly, it always adds to the atmosphere of this world, and deserves a good chunk of credit for making this world as immersive as it is.

One might not consciously think that the music in this show is masterfully conceived and applied, since Show has a tone that’s largely fluffy and light, but really, the music is masterful. It’s always put to perfect use, consistently helping to create the scene’s exact mood and atmosphere, to help immerse us in Show’s drama world.

The Emotional Resonance

This is quite possibly the key to why this show sticks with me so much. It’s that, in spite of its regular bits of campy, there’s a lot of emotional resonance in Show’s characters and their narrative arcs. It’s the emotional resonance that gives weight to the characters, and creates that emotionally sticky effect that Show has on viewers. There’s a hefty amount of heart in our characters, and it’s what causes us to care, and it’s also what creates the cracky quality of the show.

[MINOR SPOILER]

A great minor example, is in the characterization of the family of our female lead Chae Kyung (Kang Nam Gil plays Dad, Im Ye Jin plays Mom, and Yoon Eun Hye plays Chae Kyung).

There’s a distinctly campy bent to how Mom and Dad are portrayed, and we often see them in cartoony situations where they bring the Funny.

Yet, the beat when they are on the brink of sending their daughter to the palace, is extremely poignant. That moment, as they both wonder, with tears glinting in their eyes, whether they’re doing the right thing for their daughter, gives their characters – and the narrative – much-needed weight. These were the moments that made me care.

[END SPOILER]

The bottom line is, Show made me care, as a general rule. It’s why, even though I’d seen this show at least 6 times before this latest rewatch, this time, at the end of the first episode, I still felt like I wanted to keep going. Show had drawn me in, all over again. And that’s a quality that’s not to be sniffed at.

2. Development of the OTP

Treatment of the OTP

You know that saying, good things are worth waiting for? Well, it totally applies in the case of this OTP.

While some dramas quickly develop the OTP’s feelings for each other in order to get us to certain points in the story, it is often served up in hasty head-scratching romantic shorthand that causes us to ask questions like, “Did I miss something? Why does he love her again? When did that happen?”

Goong, on the other hand, takes its time to actually tease out and develop the OTP’s relationship in a way that feels organic and believable. Yes, it’s true that sometimes Show feels slow because of it, but our patience is eventually rewarded with an OTP whose feelings for each other feel true and believable.

Show takes its time to show us the feelings developing on both sides, along with the discomfort and awkwardness that each person feels, as they each deal with the unfamiliar feelings burgeoning. By the time romance blooms properly, it feels real and well worked-through.

From the time the OTP first crosses paths, Shin (Joo Ji Hoon) is regularly portrayed as being cold and brusque to Chae Kyung. Eventually, later in the show, we see that he’s warmed up to her considerably. And here’s the thing: that warming-up process happens in such slight degrees over Show’s episodes, that we barely register the changes. It’s only when we compare Later Shin with Past Shin that we realize with a bit of a start, that his behavior really has mellowed a lot.

That’s just testament to how organically the OTP’s development is treated. Kudos to the writers for managing such a natural and believable development arc.

The entire inch-forward-slip-backwards sort of dance that the OTP engages in, in their journey to truly becoming close, feels real and true-to-life as well.

Treatment of the characters

I really appreciated that even as the OTP takes slow steps towards each other, Show lets us get to know Shin and Chae Kyung better, as characters in their own right.

In the nuances, and in the private moments, we see the layers peel away, and in degrees, we get to understand the person underneath the persona. This had the added effect of making the eventual union of our OTP feel extra gratifying to witness, since by then, we’d come to know them so much better, as individuals.

Joo Ji Hoon was still a pretty inexperienced actor when he played Shin, and I think he did a solid job of the role. More than that, I feel like PD-nim did a great job directing Joo Ji Hoon in the role, because we get to see a good number of nuances in the portrayal of Shin.

Yoon Eun Hye does a fine job fleshing out Chae Kyung as a character, and it’s particularly impressive given that she was also pretty new to acting when she played Chae Kyung. While a little rough around the edges, I feel that Yoon Eun Hye very credibly portrayed the various facets of Chae Kyung’s character. Kudos for her crying scenes too, which felt natural and very believable.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Shin

Between Chae Kyung and Shin, Shin is the one that’s more reserved and less of an open book, but we get regular glimpses beneath the detached manner that he adopts, and slowly but surely, these fragmented insights solidify into an understanding for Shin the person, versus Shin the Crown Prince.

Here’re a handful of those moments:

1. As early as episode 1, we get glimpses of vulnerability in the midst of Shin’s aloofness. For one thing, the first thing we see him do, is to order his guards to stay outside the school instead of follow him around inside it. Right away, we see that he does desire normalcy in his life.

2. Also in episode 1, there’s the way that Shin proposes to Hyo Rin (Song Ji Hyo). We can hear the uncertainty in his voice as he says the words, like he’s actually quite terrified of being turned down.

3. There’s a poignant moment in episode 4, when Shin silently listens to the squeals from Chae Kyung’s water fight with Yul (Kim Jung Hoon) and her friends. There’s a quiet longing about Shin even as he listens, which hints at his inner desire to connect with others.

4. Also in episode 4, there’s a small beat when Hyo Rin sits down next to him and tries to put the earbud of the mp3 player into his ear. Shin doesn’t say anything, but it’s in his minor responses that we see his discomfort with her proximity. When she first sits down, Shin shifts uncomfortably in his seat, and when she tries to put the earbud in his ear, he flinches. These little things tell us more about what’s really going on with Shin, despite his silence.

5. One of the times that my heart really went out to Shin, is in episode 8, when Shin misses the normalcy of Chae Kyung’s family. There’s a moment when he tries to recreate it in his room by himself, which is played for laughs, but which really, is also a little sad. And there’s the moment that he musters up the courage to address the Queen (Yoon Yoo Sun) as Mom, only to be swiftly berated and shushed. That really made my heart ache for Shin, coz it showed just how lonely he is, on the inside.

In general, I also really love, as we progress deeper into the episodes, how Shin starts to leak smiles around Chae Kyung, in spite of himself. ❤

Chae Kyung

In comparison to Shin, Chae Kyung is much more of an open book. Her bubbly nature makes her likable and relatable, while her compassion makes her endearing.

It’s quite lovely to see her infect the people in the palace with her cheer. At the same time, it’s sweet to observe her compassion and empathy at work, especially when it’s directed at Shin. Despite being peeved by his cold behavior towards her, we regularly see her observing the different sides to Shin, and actively wondering what he’s thinking, and what kind of person he is. Considering the fact that Shin is quite prickly and doesn’t come across as the lovable sort, it’s extra moving to see her demonstrate such strong empathy anyway.

While Chae Kyung is a general bright ray of sunshine at the palace, she also has her shades of sadness, and it’s poignant to see her feel so alone and lost without her family. When she misses them and cries, it’s a stark reminder that she’s just a baby at 19 years old, and yet, she’s doing such an adult thing by putting her life on the line to save her family, through this arranged marriage.

All these facets come together to make Chae Kyung a very appealing character that I easily felt for and rooted for.

[END SPOILER]

Goong OST – 두 가지 말

3. Squee-worthy scenes [SPOILERS]

Because of how organic the OTP development feels, the squee-worthy moments are truly, well, squee-worthy. With solid build-up and robust contexts for each couply moment, each little step that brings our OTP closer together feels precious and well-earned.

There are actual subbed video snippets at the end of the review of some of these (remember to check those out later!), but first, here’s the quick spotlight on some of my favorite scenes of this OTP.

1. Visit to Chae Kyung’s family home

One of my favorite parts of the show, is in episode 7, when Shin asks for permission from his parents, for he and Chae Kyung to stay at Chae Kyung’s parents’ home for a few days, because he knows that Chae Kyung is homesick. I love how Shin’s so gruff about it, when really, he’s thinking of a workaround to enable Chae Kyung to be around her family for a while, even though the Queen had earlier forbade it. The entire arc is lots of fun to watch, with lots of warmth, cute and squee packed into it.

I love the bickering fuss that Shin and Chae Kyung get into, over who gets to sleep on the very small, very single bed, and how they end up sharing it. Even better, once they’re sharing, Chae Kyung finds herself obsessed with how sexy Shin’s back is, and can’t stop staring, while wondering at her back fetish. Hee.

That doesn’t stop her from falling asleep eventually, and unglamorously drooling all over Shin’s back, which she’d snuggled up to while unconscious. HAHA.

Shin wakes up to a wet back, and is suitably grossed out, but he’s soon smiling to himself at the absurdity of the situation. I especially love that as he looks at Chae Kyung who’s fast asleep, that his gaze softens. Melt.

I also love the fact that after Shin goes back to bed after exploring the bathroom a bit, that very quickly, Chae Kyung’s got herself all wrapped around him.

Giggle. Girl’s subconscious mind sure knows what it wants. 😉

Another unforgettably cute moment, is when, the next day, Chae Kyung gives in to her over-active imagination and in an almost trance-like state, cleaves to Shin’s back in an unconscious backhug.

Haha! Shin’s stunned reaction face is priceless.

At the same time, through all the cute and funny, I found the most heartwarming and heartbreaking thing of all, was Shin observing the warmth of regular family life, with an understated sense of wonder and wistfulness.

2. The Not-A-Wedding-Night

Another of my favorite OTP milestones is the Not-A-Wedding-Night that our OTP gets duped into by the Royal Elders, in the hopes of the conception of a royal baby.

The entire section is full of cute and funny, sprinkled with a bit of pathos here, and a little sexy there. You can check out most of the section among the Favorite Scenes videos at the end of the review. In the meantime, here are my top highlights.

I love the amusing beat where Chae Kyung needs Shin’s help to remove her elaborate headgear, and as Shin gets to work, so does her imagination. She imagines that Shin passionately puts the moves on her, and her moans of protest, “No, no, no..” eventually turn into dreamy smiles of, “Yes, yes, yes..” HAHA. Too funny. XD

Chae Kyung isn’t the only one battling her instincts, though, as Shin’s been served some vitality tonic prior, and his growing feelings for Chae Kyung, combined with his dialed-up-to-raging hormones practically drive him crazy.

I nearly bust a gut when he starts exercising right then and there, to work it all off, only to have Chae Kyung join in the exercise, and send his imagination right back into overdrive. Snerk.

I also found it quite amusing that Shin and Chae Kyung decide to spend the time playing games, only to have her squeals of protest and pain from Shin’s punishment wrist smacks, be, uh, completely misinterpreted by the court ladies in waiting outside. Hehe.

Sprinkled through the scenes, are some heartfelt gems of quiet conversation between Chae Kyung and Shin, and my favorite bit, is when Chae Kyung asks if Shin hates her because she’s so different from him. I love Shin’s gentle tone when he asks her instead, why she thinks he hates her. Swoon.

Of course, I love even more, that Shin then grabs her for a kiss. YES.

Afterwards, I find it equally funny and squee-worthy, that Shin holds Chae Kyung while she sleeps. It’s so swoony that he’s holding her so close, and it’s so amusing that through it all, he’s still battling those raging hormones. HA.

And how much do I love, that when morning finally comes, we see them sleeping soundly in a sweet mutual embrace.

I find it so telling, that when all the self-consciousness and ego is out of the picture, that these two cleave together so naturally. Love. ❤

3. The backhug-turned-hug

After things come to a head after the photos of Shin and Hyo Rin in Thailand are leaked to the press, and after Shin’s confrontation with Yul for basically hiding Chae Kyung, Shin takes Chae Kyung on a drive, and they end up in the middle of a quiet wooded area.

Unfortunately, the attempt at talking things out doesn’t go very well, and Shin’s and Chae Kyung’s wires keep getting crossed about getting a divorce. The whole upside to this, of course, is that Shin, growing desperate to get through to Chae Kyung and not knowing what to say, is galvanized into giving her a backhug.

I love how the moment is played out; Shin wrapping his arms around her, Chae Kyung allowing herself to be turned around into his embrace; Chae Kyung relaxing into his arms; Shin, feeling her cleave to him, kissing her hair. So sweet!! Eee! ❤

4. Visit to the Summer Palace

Another of my favorite parts of the show, is in episode 16, when Shin takes Chae Kyung to the summer palace, so that they can watch the sun rise.

I love how cute they are, playing on the beach. It’s the most playful and relaxed they’ve ever been together, and I love the fact that Shin is taking photos of Chae Kyung, through it all. Considering that in the past, Hyo Rin had been the subject of Shin’s photos, I find this little detail a Pretty Big Deal.

Another moment I love, is when it rains, and Shin and Chae Kyung simply chill in the car, all sprawled out in the backseat.

While they talk, I LOVE that Shin reaches out and takes Chae Kyung’s hand, in the most relaxed, natural manner. Eee!

Throughout this little trip to the summer palace, I just love all the little throwaway moments when Shin reaches out to touch Chae Kyung.

Like when he’s about to sit down with her at the window of the summer palace, for instance. He reaches out to touch her on the shoulder as he sits down. He doesn’t have to, but he just does. Which is really nice.

Afterwards, at the supermarket, they are super cute together, buying groceries like a regular couple, while Shin’s let’s-buy-everything antics add nice spots of funny.

I loved watching them cook together and eat together, which are typical regular-people things that they never quite get to do, as a royal couple.

Of course, I melted when Shin asked Chae Kyung if she would be willing to live with him for a hundred years. Eee!

Afterwards, I love the quiet beat when Shin wakes up in the middle of the night. He sits up to contemplate Chae Kyung next to him, then lies back down and draws her into the most swoony, tender, close embrace.

Spazz. This moment is quite possibly my favorite in the entire series. So sweetly romantic, and yet so quietly understated. Love.

[END SPOILER]

Goong OST – 닿지 못한 마음

DRAMA DOWNSIDES

As much as I love the great parts of Goong, I hafta admit that Show isn’t without its flaws.

The 3 biggest problems that Show has, is clingy second leads, a manipulative Big Bad, and a draggy final stretch. Combined, these really did work to dampen an otherwise really enjoyable watch.

1. Clingy second leads

It’s unsurprising that second leads are brought in to complete the typical kdrama love square. All series long, Hyo Rin angles to get Shin back, while Yul covets Chae Kyung’s affections.

While Yul remains a relatively more reasonable character for longer, both Hyo Rin and Yul behave in unreasonable and rather illogical ways. It did get annoying after a while, and in the last stretch of the show, I was particularly aggravated by Yul.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Hyo Rin

The thing that I found most exasperating about Hyo Rin as a character, is that she had her own legit chance to be Crown Princess when Shin proposes to her in the beginning of the drama. It’s just so mystifying that she then decides drop the ballet chance of a lifetime – that she’s been working for almost her whole life, mind you – at the mere sight of Shin’s and Chae Kyung’s royal marriage procession.

When Hyo Rin had turned down Shin’s proposal, she’d been shown to do so in a very level-headed manner. She turned down Shin’s proposal very much aware of why. Yes, she wavered a bit when Shin’s engagement was announced, but she went ahead anyway, to pursue her ballet dreams. And now, at the sight of the procession, she throws away the chance of a lifetime? It’s far-fetched, and makes Hyo Rin come across as a rather unreasonable character.

I mean, Hyo Rin later even goes so far as to verbalize to Shin that she’s not happy that Chae Kyung is by his side, and that Chae Kyung doesn’t deserve to be by Shin’s side, because that’s her place. This, when Hyo Rin had turned Shin down flatly. How entitled, and how annoying. Gruh.

Yul

While Yul is introduced as a very nice character – in particular, nicer to Chae Kyung that Shin – he quickly starts to display questionable behavior.

I hated that in trying to dampen Chae Kyung’s growing feelings for Shin, that Yul would say things that hurt Chae Kyung. Like in episode 6, when Yul tells Chae Kyung that it would’ve been better if Hyo Rin were the one to look in on an upset Shin. Ugh. Low blow. Then in episode 8, he does it again. I hate that he tells Chae Kyung that Shin will be nice to her occasionally, but really likes Hyo Rin. I mean, who says that to someone they like? And who says that to a friend about her husband?

I hate that Yul basically treats Chae Kyung as an object to be possessed, rather than as a person with her own feelings and her own personal agency. Multiple times, Yul talks about taking back the crown from Shin, so that he can take Chae Kyung away from him. Every time Yul said something like, “She was mine,” “I’ll take her,” and “Give her back,” it showed me that he only thought of Chae Kyung as an inanimate object. Which, argh.

As the show progresses, Yul’s behavior towards Chae Kyung becomes more and more inappropriate, with forced hugs coming into the picture too. Preying on her feelings and manipulating them, treating Chae Kyung like an object, and forced skinship, all added up to make Yul a very unsavory second lead indeed.

[END SPOILER]

2. Manipulative Queen Mother Wannabe

To amplify the amount of damage that our second leads could do, we also have Yul’s mom (Shim Hye Jin) being Show’s Big Bad.

With her warped ideas of revenge and her cruel methods of manipulation, this Queen Mother Wannabe certainly added dimension to the court politics. Unfortunately, the writers allowed her too much screen time and narrative influence, and the dramatic tension she was likely meant to create, turned into narrative drag.

3. Draggy final stretch

There’s some drag around episode 18, with accumulated miscommunication and misunderstandings between our OTP. This section of drag actually makes sense, though. Given their young age and the amount of pressure they are under, I understood that Shin and Chae Kyung needed to wade through difficult times in order to build a stronger relationship.

The drag around episode 20, though, is really a drag. The story cycles in place with slow and repetitive arcs, and I honestly think the show’s extension didn’t do our story any favors. I’m quite sure that we wouldn’t have had to circle so long, if the writers hadn’t been trying to fill up extra hours of screen time.

SAGEUK LENS INSIGHTS

Rewatching this show, after accumulating a fair number of sageuk miles under my drama belt, felt like a whole new experience, honestly. Many things which had seemed boring or unnecessary in the past, now made much more sense to me.

For example, I used to find the dark opening in episode 1 really slow and boring. This time, though, I actually liked it. I found the troubled, secretive concern of the king’s health very true to sageuk norms, and found the entire arc around the king’s failing health a legitimate premise for turning the royal family’s attention to thoughts of Shin’s marriage.

Plus, the palace language is also true to Joseon era palace language, as far as I can tell, and I like that too.

I also found it genuinely fascinating to see Joseon style hanboks and other touches, mixed with the modern clothes and finishings. The TV in the palace living room, which I’d not thought of twice before, now looks oddly out of place to my eyes, after having seen a good number of sageuks.

That also applies to the royal procession. In a sageuk, this procession would be greeted by commoners standing on dusty sageuk streets, but here, the streets are modern, as are the commoners. It’s an interesting and intriguing contrast. And I think this is a good part of why this show captured Korea’s imagination as well. That what-if, if there was still a royal family in modern Korea.

Interestingly, I also found that I didn’t find the plotting scenes as tiresome as before. Now, with a better understanding of sageuk norms, the palace politics, about who people believe to be the rightful heir to the throne, and the collusion to restore that perceived rightful heir to his throne, actually felt more organic to the story to me than before.

In defense of Show’s slow stretches, the developments therein actually feel quite sageuk-esque. Instead of dismissing Show as slow and melodramatic, it’s actually quite possible to reason that this is part of its sageuk nature.

[SPOILER ALERT]

On a mild tangent, a rather big Aha! moment for me in episode 22, is all the talk around Chae Kyung’s exile. In previous watches, I hadn’t realized that Chae Kyung’s exile was meant to be permanent. But this time, I understood that the dialogue is really about deposing her as Crown Princess, after which she would never again be allowed to enter the palace.

It’s true that later on in the show, this changes to become a “temporary” sort of thing, where Chae Kyung is to leave for a season. While this does take away the sting of permanence, Chae Kyung’s season away could well go on for years. After all, Yul and his mother had spent 14 years away, before finally coming back to Korea. This does give some perspective to all the sobbing and crying that accompanied Chae Kyung’s departure.

[END SPOILER]

Goong OST – 앵무새

LOST – AND FOUND – IN TRANSLATION

Another advantage to rewatching Goong at this point in time, is that I now understand a lot more Korean, compared to when I first watched the show. I discovered that certain scenes hadn’t been translated very accurately, and my new understanding of the dialogue actually brought on brand new squees. Eee! How fun!

Here are the key scenes where I found new things to squee about. 🙂

[SPOILERS THROUGH THE END OF THE REVIEW]

1. Shin’s return from Thailand

In episode 10, Shin comes back from Thailand and Chae Kyung protests and cries that he shouldn’t come near her or she’ll kill him, and that he’s a selfish and a revolting person.

Shin then pulls her in for a hug, and the subs translates what he says as, “I see. I think next time we have to go together.”

What Shin REALLY said was, “This won’t do. Next time it’d be better for us to go together.” Squee! “This won’t do” = It won’t do to have Chae Kyung so upset, which is SO different from “I see,” and which says so much about what Shin feels. Eee!

2. Shin searching for Chae Kyung

In episode 14, Shin seeks out Hyo Rin to ask her if she’s seen Chae Kyung, who’s missing.

Hyo Rin gets upset that Shin looks so worried over Chae Kyung, and asks if he’s really that worried about her. Shin replies, “I am worried.” And then Hyo Rin has the gall to then say, “Do you have to make a face that looks like you would die worrying about that girl? And in front of me too?”

The subs translate Shin’s response as “She is the Crown Princess, my wife as well.”

What Shin REALLY said was, “BEFORE she is the Crown Princess, she is my wife.” Eee!! What a big difference! I mean, Shin actually articulates that Chae Kyung is important to him primarily because she is his wife; the fact that she’s the Crown Princess is secondary. It’s also the reason that he’s worried. Ahh!! ❤

3. Screensaver love

This one’s a minor-ish thing, but it made me squee anyway.

In the beginning of episode 19, when both Chae Kyung and Shin are brooding after their quarrel at Yul’s birthday party, there’s a quick shot of Shin’s laptop next to him as he broods. I never knew it before, but his screensaver reads “Shin Chae Kyung.” Eee! 

THIS is why I like revisiting older dramas, now that I understand more Korean. So much can be lost in translation, literally. Subs really are so important, aren’t they? 

All these little things that were lost in translation really made this feel like a new drama to me, almost. I mean, new squees from an old drama that I’d seen multiple times – who’d have thunk it? 😀 

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING

The ending of Goong is a funny thing, in that my responses to it has evolved over time.

The first time I watched the ending, I’d felt underwhelmed. I’d wanted more romantic intensity in Shin’s and Chae Kyung’s reunion in Macau; the same kind of emotional heft that we’d seen when they’d hugged each other goodbye (that scene made me cry, seriously). On subsequent watches, I’d felt like the ending made more sense, in that because Shin and Chae Kyung had been apart for a while, the awkwardness and tentativeness around each other made sense. This time, though, while I still feel like the awkwardness made sense, I also felt like it was overdone, and I also felt that the episode was too drawn-out, and Macau felt like PPL, for the first time.

Still, I really appreciate the central message, which is that Shin and Chae Kyung choose each other, all over again.

Hyo Rin’s earlier belief, that Shin wouldn’t be married or want to be married to Chae Kyung if he’s not the Crown Prince, is proved wrong at the end of the drama. He isn’t succeeding the throne anymore, but he still chooses Chae Kyung. Which is perhaps even better than if he’d remained as Crown Prince and chosen her. It shows us that even with the obligation of the Crown taken out of the picture, Shin still chooses Chae Kyung. How pure is that, right?

At the same time, we’ve seen that the ability to live freely is very close to Chae Kyung’s heart. In episode 14, when she’d taken her runaway afternoon, it was less about her reaction to the photos of Shin with Hyo Rin, and more about revisiting and reconsidering the world in which she used to live freely, before she became Crown Princess.

This is ultimately an important lens through which to view the finale, because now, Chae Kyung has been given the freedom that she’d craved, and yet, she still chooses Shin, all over again.

In that sense, even though I found the execution rather clunky, I genuinely love the message of the finale. That Shin and Chae Kyung choose each other all over again, this time without pressure of a royal promise between their grandfathers, but powered by their love for each other. They choose each other, simply as a man and a woman who want to spend the rest of their lives together, and I dig that, very, very much indeed. ❤

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Cute and full of heart, despite its melodramatic streaks.

FINAL GRADE: B+

QUICK TASTE:

I couldn’t find a trailer that I liked, but this does the trick really nicely. Here’s the first 2 minutes of the drama, which sets up the context quickly, and in a manner that gives you a taste of Show’s cute, manhwa-esque flavor. Click CC for the subs:

For a more extended taste, here’s a 15-minute cut of the same episode, which sets up what it’s like having teenage royalty at high school. Again, click CC for the subs:

FAVORITE SCENES:

Here’re just a few favorite scenes, for those of you who’d like to relive the Goong magic. Just click CC for the subs.

Episode 7, trance-like backhug:

Episode 13, forced-to-share-a-room, Not-Quite-A-Royal-Consummation scene:

Episode 16, beach scene:

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

77 thoughts on “Review: Goong [Princess Hours]

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  5. Great review!

    Goong was my second drama that I watched. I liked it a lot but I have to say it was really slow (and I don’t mean that in sense of plot development — I’m all for gradual development of romance and love — it was the pace which was veryyyy slow) and boring in between. I fast forwarded scenes of the second leads and some supporting characters most of the time. The OTP was what kept me glued…the production quality was brilliant and it shows that the producers have put lots of money and attention to this show. And I love that song “Perhaps Love” sooooooo much! Especially when it’s played during that beach scene….so, co beautiful.

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    • Aw, yay for shared Goong memories!! 😀 Yes, isn’t the production quality great?? It totally doesn’t look or feel dated, even though it’s almost 10 years old! I’m checking out Goong S, which was made a year later, and it definitely looks cheaper and more dated than Goong, which is a year older. How about that?

      Ah, the pace can feel slow.. but honestly, with the sageuk lens on, it doesn’t feel too bad. The serious tone of the palace politics is probably what added to the slow feel. Comparing it to Goong S (I’m just 2 eps into, at the moment), which is all-around a lot lighter, Goong feels like it’s got more substance and that probably contributes to the greater emotional weight that I feel Goong carries. Goong S is a lot lighter and fluffier all-around, and while that makes it easier to watch, it’s not really sticking much emotionally for me, at the moment. So maybe there’s an upside to that slow pace after all..? 😛

      YES, Perhaps Love is so full of feelz! Gotta love Goong’s OST.. so brilliant ❤

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  6. Ahhhh. And just like that, I missed it all over again! Time to watch it for the nth time! hahahahahah LOVE!

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  7. Though I’ve seen a few korean dramas before, this one also what started it all for me. It was my top 1 until I saw Reply 1997.
    I still go to MBC youtube channel and relive my favorite moments whenever I’m feeling nostalgic. So many favorite scenes, but I think my top 2 was the vacation house date – from the beach to the sleepover, and the arcade date and in the middle of the crowd kiss aaawwww ♥♥♥

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    • Oh yes, that middle-of-the-crowd kiss! Squee! I LOVED that scene too! But it was tinged with sadness too, since it was their goodbye date. *sob* *squee* *tear* XD

      Those MBC snippets are great, aren’t they? Just watching a snippet or two, always brings on the feels, AND the urge to rewatch this show! XD

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Ooops, typo: *my top 2 (moments) ‘were’

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  9. What a lovely review!

    I think I’ve rewatched this 2-3 times (with a lot of fast forwarding in the second and third viewing), and even though this is not the drama that started it all for me, it’s certainly one that turned me into a crazy shipper, back when I still didn’t know what shipping is.

    Loved the premise, loved the soundtracks, triple loved the OTP, but hot damn the story drags like a Monday morning.

    Okay lemme listen to Perhaps Love again ( and it will be played on loop today)

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    • Aw thanks latteholic! SO PLEASED you enjoyed this review! Coming from a fellow Goong fan, it makes me extra happy ^^

      Haha YES, the soundtrack is da bomb. Every time I hear a song from the soundtrack, it makes all the Goong feels come alive all over again, and the urge to revisit the drama strikes. Lol. The story is on the slow side, but I liked it.. Somehow I feel like the palace politics were treated with more seriousness than in Goong S, for example, and that helped to lend weight to our story. I’m just 2 eps into that right now (curiosity got the better of me), and while it’s lighter, it’s also less emotionally sticky so far. Ok, I’m probably also biased; Goong is my first drama love after all 😉

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  10. Dear kfangurl!

    As a newbie who has just started down the kdramas ‘rabbit hole’, I can empathize with the feelings you express for Goong (our intro was BOF-so much fun!). By chance I ran across a review for kdramas on one of my book sites and the rest is history. Netflix and Hulu plus make it so easy to find them!!

    I love your blog/reviews. It is sometimes difficult for me to catch a lot of the underlying cultural meaning, and you always do a fantastic job of clarifying what it all means.

    I an afraid to admit to the number of kdramas I’ve watched so far! My faves are Queen In Hyuns Man and MLFTS, and the hardest was Winter Sonata.

    Thank you! Thank you! I am so glad to find this community.

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    • Hey there, Mary! Welcome to the blog, AND to the wonderful world of kdrama!! 😀

      I don’t know if I do a very consistent job with explaining underlying cultural meaning, so if you’ve got a question, just shoot 🙂 I’ll do my best to help shed some light wherever possible.

      LOVE Queen In-hyun’s Man, AND My Love From The Stars too! I also really liked Winter Sonata – high five, drama sista! Seems like we like similar dramas, so far! And, don’t worry about watching “too many” dramas.. Around here, there’s no such thing as “too many,” just so you know! We’re always happy to talk drama, so the more you’ve seen, the more to chat about! 😉 What are you watching these days?

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  11. I have seen a lot of kdramas, but I still haven’t seen Goong! I’ve been nervous to start it since it seems like more people enjoy it who watch it early in their drama viewing verses people who see it later seem to really feel the dragginess. A lot of the older kdramas are like that though. I guess I just need to dive in and see!

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    • It’s true that most of us who watched Goong early in our drama journeys tend to love it more, but honestly, I do think that with the right lens, Goong makes for quite a lovely watch, even now. Hopefully this review has helped with that part, about finding the right drama lens 🙂

      Additionally, I must say that Goong doesn’t look or feel very dated, given that it’s almost 10 years old. I recently started on Goong S, out of curiosity (I couldn’t handle it before, I loved Goong too much), and I’m surprised to find that Goong S looks and feels more dated than Goong, even though Goong S came out a year later. Hopefully that helps you give Goong a chance! 🙂

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  12. Thanks so much! This is a great review. Goong was also the first kdrama I ever watched and after that I must have re-watched it and choice bits of it 6-10 times. Those were the days when I watched without thinking too much like a reviewer and just took what I was given. Now that I’ve changed in that aspect LOL, and after reading your review, I feel this urge to make the journey into Goong again. I’m sure I will appreciate it even more now, flaws and all. It’s amazing also that I missed so much about the acting of Yoon Eun Hye and Joo Ji Hoon. Those early days, they were just kids to me, but now their abilities and talent makes me want to watch again, how they started (more or less). Like you, I’ll always have a soft spot for Goong. 🙂

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    • Awww! High five, drama sista! 😀 Goong is SUCH a lovely gateway drama, isn’t it?? Its drama world completely captured my imagination, and the OTP stole my heart good and proper. I remember crying during some of their scenes, this show impacted me so much.

      I used to watch without thinking too much as well, and then somehow along the way I started this blog, and never thought to look back on Goong until now. I’m so pleasantly surprised to find new things to appreciate now, even though I’d seen the show about 5-6 times before. Hopefully you’ll have a similar experience revisiting Goong – there’s just something so cool, about watching a beloved show with new eyes, and finding new things to appreciate about it. I’d love to hear your rewatch goes! 🙂

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  13. Kfangurl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I don’t have to say anything, you described my feelings perfectly! Thanks for the post. My favorite episode is episode 16 as you know why… *giggles*. You’re right, 2015 is not over yet and I still have 4 months to go through…. I shall watch my favorite episode now *squeeeeeeeee*

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    • Aw, YAY that you enjoyed this review, Nelly! It’s always such fun to relive the Goong feelz, eh? And ooh, episode 16! Definitely one of the highlight episodes of the show! 😉 Yep, you still have lots of time left, if you wanna revisit Goong before the year ends. What a fun goal to work towards, I say! 😉

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  14. Having taken your advice on a couple of dramas; does this one have a good ending or a WTH type of ending like you said of surplus princess?

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    • Hi there Andy! Goong doesn’t have a WTH ending. In fact, the ending is a happy one. It’s a little more muted than most viewers would enjoy, but it’s happy enough, and it didn’t diminish my love for the show. I hope that helps 🙂

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      • Good, I have added it; though I believe I will start with your suggestion previously of Princess Man and then either Goong or Sung… scandal which you had also suggested. Thanks again.

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        • Goong can feel slow-moving at times, and that’s usually largely to do with the royal setting and the requisite scheming for the throne. If you think of those parts as sageuk stuff in modern clothing, it helps. 🙂 I hope you like the show; I’ve got a huge soft spot for it ❤

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  15. Chaegyeong’s family also isn’t sure how to act with their new royal family member. The Crown Prince and Princess return from their visit with the in-laws.

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  16. Soo! Just finished my third episode and I am having so much fun :)))))! She is just the best :)))) ! She keeps on attacking him, though I do get the feeling that she is sad and she’s feeling trapped. I was glad when he showed up where she had the training and brought her sweets. It doesn’t even matter it wasn’t his idea 😛 .

    So far, so good! Thank you for the recommendation 😀 ! i’ll come back after I finish it or along the way for more comments 😀 !

    *Side note: The first reporter that was saying that the Crown Prince is getting married was speaking romanian. So funny :)))) Even so, I don’t remember the news coming up on TV :)))) Just kiddin’ 😛

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    • I’m glad you are liking it, I have it on my list to watch after Princess’s Man and Three Musketeers.

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      • I’ve so many on my watch list already! I have to make more time for them all :))))

        Ok, so! I’m 15 episodes in (already :))) ) and I really like it! Though I can feel the actors’ lack of experience, it can also be interpreted as a lack of life experience which makes them so naïve and trusting.

        So far my only complaint is that I would have liked the characters a bit more developed (I’ll use this word for now, explain later what I mean). For instance, Shin left me with the impression of only cold. When Chae Kyung went missing, I was expecting him to show more worry, especially since we already know he is perfectly aware of his own feelings for her. I understand that his character is portrayed as a level headed, well educated, non emotional prince, but I think these moments/scenes are the areas where you can see the lack of experience of the cast. More nuance to the facial expressions, the tone of voice and so on would have helped in delivering a real character.

        Chae Kyung too. She had a whole bunch of wise words, yet the way she actually spoke them seems childish. These were the times to take on a more serious face and drop the “baby talk”, so to speak. Also, I would’ve wanted to see more of her interactions with the palace because Shin says at some point that the palace is changing with her and I wanted to see more of that. More of her being natural, trusting, joyful and happy with the people in the palace, despite the hardships she was going through. Though I have to admit that the hula-hoop with her maids was an awesome touch :))))

        As a character though, I have to acknowledge her strength. I mean, by episode 12-13 I think, she had two mother-in-laws and one grandmother-in-law, all from the Royal Family! To put up with that… That’s determination and courage. Though I had to ask myself… when did she stop doing all that for her parents and started doing that for herself and her husband?And she has no emotional support from her husband. I mean, she forgives him waaaay to fast! That I don’t like. She should have been a lot more mad about his secret encounter with Hyorin. She thought it was a coincidence, only to find out that Hyorin WANTED to see Shin, which is why she went there and Shin saw her despite that. And Chae Kyung still forgives Shin so fast despite all that.

        Love the Great Queen! LOVE the Great Queen! At the beginning of the show I was sure she was going to be the Big Bad Wolf. Turns out she’s the sweetest character in the story ❤ !

        I even like Shin's mother because at first, I misunderstood her. She didn't approve of Chae Kyung (for fair reasons, I might add), yet she did her best for her just to protect her son. I think everything she did (making Chae Kyung study so much, cutting off her connections to her parents and so on) were done first of all to save face (what I mean is that they ARE the Royal Family and they need to set the example) and to help Chae Kyung understand the world she's living in and the responsibilities that come with it.

        Except for the name, I like nothing about Hyorin. I don't understand her way of thinking. She played the final card and she lost (when she was expecting Shin to wait for her to become whatever she wanted to become). It just shows how little she understands the laws the Royal Family has to abide. I mean, it wasn't up to him to make the decision to wait or get married. And I don't understand her decision of turning down the scholarship, especially since we later find out the she is not the rich ojousama (let me use japanese for this one 😛 )we thought she was. She is literally destroying her own life because she regrets not saying yes. And she's even up to becoming the bad character just to have a couple of seconds with Shin. I mean, if she loved him so much, she should have said yes from the very beginning! A prince proposed to you, for crying out loud! I was impressed with her determination to pursue her dream, only to be disappointed by all her other decisions regarding that matter. But I guess, this is a classical case of not knowing what you have until you lose it, huh?

        Yul is, again, someone I don't understand, After being stripped of what's rightfully yours, chased away from your own country, after having seen your mother trying to commit suicide because of the pain of having lost everything, you throw that all away for your cousin's wife. Cousin who is now to be the King instead of you. No matter how big the love, he shouldn't behave like that. On the other hand, I can think of the whole battle as being his mother's wish, ambition, and not his. But then, he says "Mom, make me King" and then proceeds to sabotaging himself. Tough, tough…

        Love Chae Kyung's friends, hate Shin's :)))) .
        Chae Kyung's friend stuck with her even after finding out that she became the Crown Princess, They were only upset that she didn't trust them enough to tell them the secret. Love the best friend's hair (I have such a weakness for long, beautiful, long, shiny, long hair :)))) )!

        Speaking of! All actors/actresses in this drama have flawless skin (though I think that's a general "truth" when it comes to korean actors/actresses) and lovely, shiny hair! One scene stuck with me, the one when the red colored glass was shining off of Chae Kyung's hair when she was talking to Shin on the bench inside the palace (forgot the episode 😛 )! Awesome! Just Awesome!

        What I really like about this show is that no character is bad because they want to. I mean, they have solid reasons for carrying out more unorthodox plans, let's say. Even Yul's mother. Though, I think the whole kicking out of the palace was her fault, as we find out in episode 15.

        I'm still not done with the show and the OTP is only just starting to show off their love. So I'll be back with more thoughts on the matter : D !

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    • Wow, Sabina, you really work fast!!! I was busy over the weekend, and I come back to realize that you’ve already burned your way through most of the series!!

      First of all, YAY that you’re enjoying the show! 😀 Not everyone manages to enjoy a retro watch, and as I mentioned before, there’ve been people who found Goong slow compared to dramaland’s more recent offerings.

      Your observation is spot on, in terms of the cast’s inexperience. Both Joo Ji Hoon and Yoon Eun Hye were extremely inexperienced when they did Goong. I definitely credit PD-nim for directing Joo Ji Hoon well, since Joo Ji Hoon was pretty wooden as an actor at the time. Of course, it helps that Shin is supposed to be a stiff sort of character who mostly bottles up everything inside. It would’ve definitely been nice to see more depth in both his and Yoon Eun Hye’s delivery, but I am generally satisfied with what we got, given the circumstances 🙂

      I can understand your reaction to Chae Kyung’s forgiving attitude towards the whole Thailand thing. I was mad, too. But after rewatching it so many times and putting in way more thought than most people would warrant necessary over a kdrama (lol), I feel that it’s in line with her character and what she understood of the situation between her and Shin. To her understanding, despite any signs to the contrary, her marriage with Shin was purely contractual and they were headed towards divorce no matter what. Plus, they had agreed that they would not interfere with each other’s “privacy” which means that she had no “right” to demand his fidelity, in a sense. Additionally, she always felt sort of bad for Shin, that he had to marry her instead of the girl that she believed he’d loved. He had also given her that impression, telling her in his brusque way that he would never want to allow the girl he loved to be cooped up in the palace. Which is why, even though Chae Kyung’s reaction to the Shin’s Thailand time with Hyo Rin feels frustrating to watch, it’s actually understandable.

      Ditto all of your thoughts on Hyo Rin and Yul! I was also impressed at first, with how coolly Hyo Rin turned down Shin’s proposal, and thought she was a focused, modern sort of girl who felt her career and dancing dreams were more important than life as the Crown Princess. Well, she proved me wrong real quick, with the frivolous way she threw away her dance scholarship and came back to be an emotional, clingy second lead. Yul is also aggravating, especially in the later episodes. He’s presented as a really nice guy at first, which is why so many viewers at the time were in Camp Yul. But, I could never get behind him, especially when he began showing possessive and delusional streaks. I was mad at Shin in the beginning for being such a cold jerk, but quite quickly, I came around and was firmly in Camp Shin for the rest of the show.

      And you’re right, even the most aggravating characters in the show have their own motivations and logic as to why they behave a certain way. This is where the sageuk lens can come in really handy, coz all that scheming for the crown can feel tiring when viewed through a rom-com lens. In a sageuk world, though, people behaving in cruel ways, all in the name of putting the person whom they feel is the “rightful” king on the throne, is par for the course. I think this is why the show still works for me now, in spite of its slower pace.

      Also, I do think at E15 (when you left your comment, anyway. You could have finished the show by now, and I wouldn’t be surprised! XD ) and thereafter, is where we get some of the most iconic OTP scenes in Goong. I can’t wait to hear how you liked those! ^^

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      • Yup! Finished it two days ago, but I had to take a break from my laptop because my eyes were starting to hurt :)))). Unfortunately, my job requires working with a computer 8 and a half hours per day and sometimes I take my work home, so my eyes and even my brain started to get tired 😛 .

        Well, I do enjoy a good romance, no matter how slow it might be, but I have to admit that more OTP moments, even in their teasing and fighting mode would have been awesome. The whole focus of the show, in my opinion, is the two of them falling in love and staying in love in those circumstances. Given the lack of experience of the cast, I think that more OTP moments would have made the show better. This could be my judgement or my fangirl feelings, still don’t know :))))).

        When I watch a drama, I unconsciously put myself in the shoes of the main characters. Would I have done that? Of course, unless you actually live the whole thing, you have no idea how you would have reacted, but while thinking like that, I started to become frustrated at Chae Kyung’s forgiving attitude. I understand her thoughts, but for someone so much in love as her, I think any kind of reasoning would have flown out the window when seeing the Thailand thing. But then again, I can let it go by saying that she had enough time to chew on that information before Shin came home. And she did run away from home when she found the other set of pictures.

        As for the second leads, I told you. i couldn’t bring myself to hate them cause I had no reason to do so (though I had this attempt when Yul was feeding Chae Kyung crap, saying that Shin doesn’t think of her in any way, though it was clear that even he noticed that Shin started to fall for Chae Kyung, but then again it was Chae Kyung’s fault as well for not checking the veridicity of those words), but I just couldn’t understand them all that well. I liked the fact that Hyo Rin finally grew some back bone and stopped getting herself manipulated by Yul’s mom and Yul also did everything he could to protect Chae Kyung.

        And you’ve mentioned the fight over the Crown, I’ve seen worse. I don’t know if you’ve seen the miniseries about King Henry the VIIIth, but he had a lot more serious conflicts with his wives. I don’t even want to think of the political fights going on in that castle :))))) So, their fight was justified 😉 .

        And you were right about the OTP moments! So cute! I especially liked the moment when they finally (and I mean, FINALLY! ) confessed to each other. Her sitting on top of him was seriously cute ❤ . What I didn't like was the whole confession on TV thing. If I were her, I would have gotten a divorce then and there, because the only feelings he's ever showed her were the size of bread crumbs. And then he expects her to trust him and just accept that uttered "I love her." on TV, considering the fact that the whole press was saying that they are going through a rough patch and those words could have just been a publicity stunt to shut the press up. And after that, she's the one getting scolded. So unfair! But then again, we can take this as her fault for just believing that everything that flies can be eaten (romanian saying – it means one believes everything one is told without giving it a second thought).

        And the ending was so surprising! When she felt sick and the possibility of her being pregnant came up, I was like "They got to do something that has as result a baby?!" Anyway, their reaction was so funny :))))). I felt the ending was suited, considering the fact that they are no longer the successors to the crown (btw, best decision EVER to let Shin's sister take the throne because I found her the most suited for the job), but I had to ask myself "Where is the priest?! Who officiates the ceremony?".

        Overall, I liked it since I'm into mangas and manhwas. I was actually thinking of reading the manhwa as well and see if there are any similarities between the two 😛 . I'll definitely come back to it again 😛 .

        Thank you for the recommendation and I'm looking forward to the next recommendations as well 😀 ! For now, on with City Hunter and The Healer 😀 . And after that, begin with the ones on your faves list :))))). So many, so many 😀 ! Good thing I have a whole bunch of 'em to choose from :))))) Bad thing i don't have all the time I want to watch them one after the other 😛

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        • Oh my. Your eyes actually hurt? :O That kinda sounds like you’ve been pushing too hard – both at work AND at dramas! I hope that by the time you read this, that you’ve rested and are bright-eyed and drama-hungry all over again! 😉

          Yes, I do think that many viewers wanted more couple moments between our OTP. I did think that the balance could’ve afforded to tip a little more in favor of melty OTP moments, and a little less on the melodrama. Yet, I can’t help but also think that because what we got was on the low side, that it made what we did get, all the more precious. Those OTP moments, especially that getaway to the summer palace (squee!) remain so vivid and melty in my memory. ❤

          Oh yes, I did squee at the fact that post-confession, Chae Kyung was shown lying on top of Shin as they talked. I mean, that's actually really cozy, but it's treated with a bashful sweetness that I found very endearing. Also, now that I've watched a lot more kdramas, I realize that this couple dynamic, of one lying on top of the other, while they interact, is very rare. Off the top of my head, I can't actually think of another drama couple that was portrayed similarly.

          Haha! Yes, the ending – with her showing signs of morning sickness – was a hot topic of discussion between me and my friends who'd watched the show. We conjectured and hypothesized about when they might've been able to conceive etc. Now, though, I realize that the scriptwriters don't always have a plan or reason for everything. There are times when they'll just throw something out there, just coz it fits with that moment or mood. In this case, I think that's what the writers were doing, just throwing that morning sickness bit in there for fun, with no actual answers for when she might've conceived.

          YAY that you enjoyed Goong overall, Sabina! 😀 Because I have a huge soft spot for this show, it makes me happy when other people like it too 🙂 I'm so pleased that you're enjoying the recommendations I've given you so far! I'm very confident you'll enjoy both City Hunter and Healer. I do think you ought to watch something a little different between City Hunter and Healer, to maximize your enjoyment of both shows 🙂

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          • Thanks for the suggestion 😀 ! I’ll watch School 2013 in between. I think it’s enough space between Goong and School 2013 and also between City Hunter and Healer 😛

            Yup! Ready to go at it again 😀 ! I can’t stay away from my laptop for too long anyway :)))) And my eyes have rested enough (hopefully) :))

            On the spur of the moment, I began watching Bride of the Century, also known as Puppy Show 😛 I’ve skipped through most of it right to the OTP moments 😀 so I think I should be able to finish it tomorrow at most :))) And OMG! Puppy is so damn cute ❤ ! I swear, this Jeremy fellow makes me think I could go to jail for corruption of minors :))))) I've no lens on whatsoever, no logic either, so I'm enjoying it so far (the part I've been watching at least, anyway :))) )

            Back to Dramaland 😀 !

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            • Yay that you like the suggestion, Sabina! I’ve found that having longer gaps between similar-themed shows helps a lot. Not long ago, dramaland was awash with shows that featured cops, and while trying to check most of ’em out, I found myself with a fairly serious case of drama fatigue. A rewatch of Healer fixed that right up, but my point is, watching similarly themes shows too close together can really take away from your enjoyment of the shows. So if you decide to insert other dramas in between these shows, that would work as well 😉

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  17. I finished my re-watch just a few moments ago! I spent a few moments basking in the love for this drama that I reaffirmed with this watch. This was 8th drama that I watched. In the very early days I was consuming dramas at such a fast rate that I know that I didn’t absorb all the pertinent details. I was packing so many hours of drama watching into my already full life that I was semi sleep deprived! I think I watched this originally in less than a week, actually I’m pretty sure it took me about 4 days. And that’s with working full time and the hubs and kiddo time too! Whew! It makes me exhausted just thinking about it. With the show fresh on my mind I ran right over here to read your review! I agree wholeheartedly with all of it! But what I love the most is your translation of those few key scenes! WOW! Really! Holy Cow! That changes the entire meaning and adds so much more squeeeeee! So good!

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    • Wow, you really did marathon Goong in a big hurry when you first watched it! I feel ya.. I’ve done that too, with other dramas, and then lived to feel sorry that it was already over so soon! XD I think a rewatch is just the thing – it gives you a chance to relive the awesome all over again, and hopefully savor it a little more the second time around too. Even better if enough time has passed to make everything feel fresh again. And EVEN BETTER, when your grasp of Korean has improved enough to pick up new nuances that lead to more squee! XD Isn’t it FAB, now that you know what was lost in translation in those scenes??? It made me squee out loud, it felt like I was watching a whole new drama, almost! ^^

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      • That is exactly how I felt when it was done the first time. I was like lost and felt a little empty. It took me a few weeks to start another drama, I had a serious drama hangover and I wasn’t sure what to do with myself. I am really very happy that I decided to re-watch this one, and that I took my time with it this time. Let it linger and savor it.
        Now that I know what he was actually saying in those scenes!?! Uhm wow! That made those scenes so crazily squee worthy! So good!

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        • A few weeks! Ok, that’s a pretty serious drama hangover! XD But yes, I totally know the feeling. It’s that lingering, I-can’t-let-go sort of feeling, where you just can’t seem to let the characters go, right? It’s a special drama that does that indeed.

          Yay that you took the time to savor Goong this time around.. I found it very rewarding to rewatch it, after giving it a good long wait. It made everything feel fresh and new, yet wonderfully familiar at the same time, which I loved.

          Yes, aren’t the more accurate translations so much more squee-worthy? Makes one wonder why the subbers didn’t translate it more accurately, eh? But I know that very often, subbers could be translating from Chinese subs, so if the Chinese subs don’t reflect the original meaning closely enough, everything gets messed up from there. Anyway, THIS is why learning/picking up Korean is so useful – it makes us much less reliant on what could be inaccurate subs! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • It was my very first drama hangover actually hehe, well my first serious one at least. I am happy I watched it again and let it linger a little. I can’t believe how such a small change in wording can really make a scene so much more amazing! My Korean is slowly getting better, mostly I can recognize words here and there. But I am hopeful that as I keep going I too will be able to point out those moments where subs weren’t on point and correct them to add to the collective squee!

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            • Aw, it takes a pretty special drama to induce a serious drama hangover, and I completely empathize, since it was hard for me to move on after Goong as well. Congrats on making progress with your Korean! It takes time, but is so rewarding when you start to be able to pick up nuances in the dialogue. Keep on keeping on, and I believe you’ll be depending on subs a lot less in time to come! ^^

              Liked by 1 person

              • I have all the single Hangul characters down now and am starting to learn more complex combinations. It is pretty cool as I can start to understand simple sentences in shows when I’m watching. And I’m teaching words here and there to my hubs and son. It has been really rewarding. Thanks for the encouragement! Hopefully this time next year I’ll be where you are with Korean!

                Like

  18. Pingback: Flash Review: Goong S [Prince Hours] | The Fangirl Verdict

  19. I just finished watching this again for the 7th time. And yes, your review is amazing!!! I agree on it 100%!!

    What I really like about this drama is that it is TIMELESS. It has been 10 yrs and yet it never failed to make me feel like the first time I’ve watched it. Shin will always be our Crown Prince to us and Chae Kyung will always be our Crown Princess. Amazing acting especially for JJH because he really fit into the role! BIGTIME!!! ❤️

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    • High five, Jaicel! I wrote this review of Goong after my 7th watch! XD Thank you for enjoying this review!!

      I totally agree that this show is timeless. It doesn’t even look very dated, despite the show being a decade old as I type this! I loved both JJH and YEH in this show too. I believe a lot of credit goes to PD-nim for detailed directing; I feel like he was the one who took JJH’s tendency for stiffness (understandable, considering he was a newbie at the time) and made it work for the role. I definitely foresee myself watching this one again at some point – watch #8! Wow, I have not watched ANY other show that many times, for sure!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I just finished watching this drama (AGAIN!!!) 2 days ago!! But I have this urge to repeat it again. It is amazing in so many aspects. Come on!! Let’s watch this again together!! 🙂 i really enjoyed ur review especially the part where you tell is the difference of the dialogues in the sub. It made my heart melt ❤️❤️❤️❤️

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        • WOW. You just rewatched this one in the couple of days that it took me to reply your first comment? That’s insanely fast!! :O Hehe.. I am convinced that I’d be unable to keep up with you. I’m a much slower watcher now than I used to be, tbh. I generally watch an episode a day of any given show, and only occasionally do I watch 2-3 episodes of the same show in a single day. That’d have to be a VERY cracky show, heh. I’m also not ready for Watch #8 of Goong.. So I’ll have to take a raincheck on your invitation, Jaicel. Another time, maybe? 🙂

          YAY! I’m SO PLEASED that you enjoyed my translation of the dialogue! It had been so long since my Watch #6, that my Korean had improved significantly by the time I did Watch #7. I was blown away by the actual dialogue, and just HAD to share it in the review. With so many fans depending on subs, I realize all over again what an important role subbers play, in terms of how we enjoy our dramas. There are other nuances that were lost in translation too, but I made sure to clarify the most important ones, ie, the ones that brought on squee. Coz squee is SO VERY important, with this show! 😉 ❤

          Liked by 1 person

          • Wow!!!! I love that you actually reply very fast and really take time to write comments!! 🙂 im so happy stumble upon ur blog!! It’s amazing. Hold on, i should check for ur twitter so next time I’ll just tweet u with anything!!! Sounds good? 🙂

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            • Haha! I’m not ALWAYS this fast with replies, as you can probably tell from the few days it took me to reply to your first comment! 😉 I just happened to be going through comments when YOUR fast reply came in! But I DO make it a point to reply to comments, so even if Real Life gets in the way, I do eventually get to pretty much every comment. ^^ And yes, you can totally find me on Twitter too – my Twitter feed’s on the sidebar 🙂

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  20. where you tell the difference****

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  21. I just finished watching the show for for the i-dont-know-what-number*th time (and yes im still crying like a b*tch rn and im still typing). After the ending i immediately search for the reviews about Goong because i was not satisfied at the ending. So i need someone to enlighten me and you sir did it best!

    I was cleaning my room and i saw my collections of it and was planning throw it away But i decided that before throwing it away i must rewatch it(but now i wont, want to keep forever).

    The first time i watched Goong was year 2007. I was really really really. . . obsessed with it that time, that i collected almost everything that is related to goong (Hahaha). while watching it i realize i forgot almost eveything about goong(except for the part that she is marrying the prince)

    Your reviews and comments about the show was really accurate and worth to read. I was really enlighten by it *chaaar*
    I was hoping that they will have a happy ending at the palace and im crying because i want the wedding to be beautiful and not cheaply done and together with thier family.

    Ps. Sorry for the wrong grammar im not.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw! I’m glad you found this review helpful, Jp! 🙂 And I’m so glad you decided not to throw away your copy of Goong, it’s pretty special and deserves a special place in your collection, I think. I’ve still got my DVD box set – and my set of postcards that came with it! – stored away, even though I mostly just watch from the mp4 files I’ve got saved. 🙂

      PS: Don’t worry about wrong grammar and stuff.. your grammar’s fine, I understand what you’re saying perfectly well! 🙂

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  22. I am a relatively new fangirl with only about 10 kdramas under my belt. i just finished Goong and never have I been more sad to finish a show! I just loved it! But one thing I did not understand is that how did the implied pregnancy in the end fit into the timeline if Shin and Chae Kyung hadn’t seen each other in a while?

    Like

    • Hi there fiza! Welcome to the wonderful world of kdramas – AND to the blog! 😀

      I’m so pleased you enjoyed Goong; I will always, always have a soft spot for this show. ❤ As for your question about the implied pregnancy, it took me many kdrama miles before I understood it, really. Kdrama writers like to throw stuff like that in there, particularly in light rom-coms, tease the audience, as well as gratify fans. Lack of logic doesn't stop them, and doesn't seem to bother fans either. In this case, I believe that's exactly what the writers did. They didn't have any logical timeline to back them up, and probably just felt like it would be a fun thing to throw in at the last moment, to surprise and tease fans. My advice would be, just enjoy it and don't try to find the logic in it, coz you'll never find it. 😉 I hope that helps!

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  23. i’m re-watching this (at episode 11 now, and slowly savoring it) and im SO SO SO happy to find your review and can fill in the puzzles i have since the first time i watched Goong! thank you so much for the wonderful write-up!!

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    • Hi there msyoong! Welcome to the blog! 😀 I’m so glad that you’re enjoying your Goong rewatch, AND that you find this review useful!! Rewatching this after accumulating many more kdrama miles under my belt made a big difference in terms of how much I could appreciate the show – I hope you have the same experience!! 🙂

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  24. Hi! Thanks for another great review. I just saw this review and you really did a good job. I especially love the slow development of our OTP (made me appreciate every squee-worthy thing they do because of the pacing) and my greatest love – the OST. (Highlighting “Perhaps Love”). I’ve got this little theory about Shin and Chae Kyung “bed scene” – maybe after quickly returning from his bathroom tour he overheard his in-laws coming to check over them and he got a little mischievous thus ending in their “sweet pose” meant to cause discomfort towards mom & dad! Hahaha. Recalling all those fave scenes from Goong brings back so many nostalgic moments and I must admit, this korean drama indeed satisfied my childhood “princess-cinderella” dream! Hahaha 😉

    I hope you can write a review for “Pinocchio” and “Kill Me, Heal Me”. Still eager to hear more about your fantastic reviews!

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    • Hi there Samantha! I’m so pleased that you enjoyed this review! 🙂 Goong will always have a special soft spot in my fangirl heart, and watching it again, and writing this review, was a wonderfully nostalgic experience indeed. ❤ As for your theory about the "bed scene"… I dunno, that doesn't work for me, so much. In E13, which happens much later, it's clear that Shin and Chae Kyung have not been intimate prior, which is why they have the heated conversation about first times. To be honest, I don't think there's an actual answer to when the Royal Conception takes place, that Show hints at in the finale. I believe it's just one of those things that the writers threw in, purely to gratify and tease fans. 🙂

      I do plan to review Pinocchio and Kill Me, Heal Me.. Both shows are part of my official backlog, and I hope to get to them sooner than later. I'm more likely to write them Flash Reviews, though, which are quicker 😛

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  25. Hey Kfangurl I just watched the Episode 24 a few hours ago. GOONG actually is one beautiful journey.

    I felt uneasy and upset and sometimes went through Heartache. Several times my eyes were full of tears.
    I smiled I laughed I was excited. My heart beat increased and my stomach gave a different feeling.

    After Reading you review i came to know new things and I truly love this show and Shin Chae Kyung and Lee Shin.

    I saw People were making comment about Pregnancy Even i was surprised to see this at last minute.

    I have 2 things to say 1. In 1st few episodes They show a Picture of Lee Shin and Shin Chae Kyung together with a baby son.

    2. After the Morning Sickness scene they start to show Pictures AND there they show Lee Shin and Shin Chae Kyung with a baby son.

    Yeah We all thought and many like are are still thinking when did they make out. But whatever, FRUIT of their Hard Earned Love is Shown to us all fans and I am truly happy for that.

    I wanted to see much more. I wanted to see Lee Shin and Shin Chae Kyung being happy together and being happy after becoming parents and showering love on the new born son. I wanted to see whole Palace in Joy mode because of new born baby.

    I also wanted to see Choi Sang getting married . She looked really cute and beautiful in new clothes.

    I also wanted to see what happened with Hyorin and Yul.
    What about Friends of Lee Shin and Friends of Shin Chae Kyung.
    What about parents and brother of Shin Chae Kyung.

    There were many things I as a viewer wanted to see and even i felt most of the time was spent showing Shin Chae Kyung suffering and crying and there were very few moments of them happy together.

    BIGGEST HAPPINESS for me was watching Elder Sister taking the Crown and she looked really Beautiful.

    Elder Sister the most wise and sensible human deserved the Crown and I wanted to see more Scenes of her. She needed lot more screentime and she would have really helped Shin Chae Kyung and Lee Shin and Yul Goon.

    I want to write more and more and more but for now It is enough

    Like

    • Hi there CatoCat! 🙂 I’m so glad that you enjoyed Goong, coz it’s one of my favorites, for nostalgic reasons. It truly does take you on an emotional journey, and I totally know what you mean, about the show taking you through joy and heartache and everything in-between.

      I’d love to see a continuation of the story, like what you’ve described. That would make an awesome sequel or drama special, and I’d totally tune in to see our characters again! Although it’s sad that there is no follow-up sequel that allows us to see all of that unfold on our screens, the upside is, we always have our active fangirl imaginations to take us there! 😉

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  26. Hello,

    I stumbled upon this blog when i googled “KIM Soo Hyin Shirtless”😂

    Anyway, Goong will forever be one of my absolute favourite dramas.

    I am so thankful for this review because the Goong I watched (and rewatched over and over and over) had beyond terrible subs which were sometimes quite impossible to understand. Because of this, I could never fully understand:
    1. Why Chae Kyung was hell bent on getting divorce (that talk show thing).
    2. The whole Shin’s exile situation (I know abt the fire).
    3. The relocation to Macau and the exact nature of their statuses.

    If you could enlighten me, I’d be so grateful.

    Also, I love the beach scene to death! I love every scene you mentioned and in addition, I adore when Chae Kyung said that she would love Shin even after thousands of years…*swoon*

    This show makes Yoon Eun Hye “BAE” for me!

    Thank you for your witty and well-thought out review.

    Like

    • Hi Viola! Lol, I can definitely see how you’d land on this blog, if you searched for “Kim Soo Hyun shirtless”!! 😂😂

      Let me try to answer your questions as best as I can..

      1. Chae Kyung was baited into asking for the divorce. It worked to Yul’s advantage since he wanted Chae Kyung separated from Shin, and it worked to his mother’s advantage since a scandal for Shin meant a tainted reputation for him, and more opportunity for Yul to make his mark in the monarchy. So they baited Chae Kyung into it, knowing that she felt suffocated living in the palace, and alienated from the world she once lived in. They told her that the only way out would be to get a divorce, and the best time to ask for it would be on national TV, so that her request couldn’t be ignored. The interview was therefore the “best time” to do it.

      2 & 3. Shin wasn’t exiled. He was investigated for his alleged involvement in the fire, based on false evidence, and that’s why he had to be dragged in for questioning. The exile was Chae Kyung’s. To my understanding, it’s according to historical norms, that a royal could be exiled as punishment for certain offenses. So Chae Kyung was exiled to Macau for bringing shame to the royal family – and to satisfy the court of public opinion. While in Macau, she is not divorced from Shin, but the nature of the exile also implies that she is cut off from the people in the palace.

      I hope that helps! 🙂

      Like

      • Ah…thank you so much.

        I never streamed korean dramas before but have started last weekend (Descendants of the sun). Now, I feel i have to watch the beautiful Goong again. Oh, btw, i googled sooo many times to find out who the set decorator was because I freaking loved everything about the set.

        And, just fyi, now I’m convinced I’m cheating on Kim Soo Hyun with Song Joong-ki…what a girl to do? And throw in Yoo Ah In in the mix and there can never be enough oxygen.

        Damn! Am I glad to find your blog or what!😘

        Like

        • Aw! I’m glad you found the blog too, Viola! 😀

          Oh yes, Goong is definitely worth the rewatch!! (Says the fangirl who watched this a good 6 times!) It’s just so immersive, and despite that overly slow final stretch, I felt so invested in these characters. I hope you’ll enjoy your rewatch as much as I did mine – all 5 of ’em! 😂

          PS: My belief is that a fangirl can have as many k-loves as her heart can hold. So in my estimation, you’re not cheating.. You’re just a big-hearted fangirl 😉

          Like

  27. great review!
    I rewatch this drama over and over again 😀 and i still love it the same 💜

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  28. https://www.change.org/p/mbc-we-want-princess-hours-goong-season-2-with-the-same-main-character?recruiter=722927696&utm_source=share_for_starters&utm_medium=copyLink help share and sign this petition pls:(at least they should know this drama is well loved and 2nd season (not spin off) is very anticipated

    Like

  29. Hello! Just wanted to drop by and comment after stumbling across your review of Goong – a lovely read 🙂
    I’ve also just completed my nth time watching this drama and needed to read a review to cure my drama hangover!
    Wow – it’s June 2017 and 11 years since Goong came out, and yet I still find myself enjoying the series over and over again.
    The music for the drama is so nostalgic and brings back so many feels.
    The tears and the heartwarming emotions I experience when watching Goong never falter, even after 11 years.
    Thank you for posting such a lovely review – I especially enjoyed reading the ‘lost and found in translation’ section. It’s wonderful to see that Shin’s words meant so much more than what the subs had shown. Squee! 🙂 ❤

    Like

    • I forgot to mention that Goong was also the very first drama that I watched (I was very young then, and watched it with my parents during times when we’d gather as a family and watch drama together haha!) so it certainly holds a dear place in my heart, and forever will. ❤

      Like

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