dangermousie: (Chuno - savior)
I have been catching up with Will It Snow on Christmas and it's such a lovely, undestated gem of a drama.

The notable thing is the plot development that bothered me so when I first learned of it (Ji Wan's mother, due to psychological trauma, represses and regresses and believes Kang Jin is her dead son and Kang Jin goes along with it for 3 years) actually makes total sense in character context.

A few character ramblings on Kang Jin )

And while I am metaing all over the place, allow me also to meta about morality in the world of Chuno. I find it interesting that with the exception of Tae Ha (and potentially Un Nyun), no major character in the drama can lay claims to moral heroism, to a code of honor even, of any sort. They are all on a sliding scale of dark.



And this makes perfect sense - in a world not ruled by a fair and strict rules known in advance but whims of the powerful (everyone has someone who could snuff their life out so very easily) - the powerful who can decide that what was good yesterday is bad tomorrow - holding on to absolute moral principles is almost impossible and certainly entails some unbearable sacrifices. Morality is a luxury and if you want to succeed you have to follow not some abstract moral code but whatever the boss tells you is good. Free will is not really allowed.

Perhaps it's fitting that this drama is about slaves and slave-catchers because everyone in the world of Chuno, whether technically free or not, is actually a slave. See the peasants cringe at a mere hint of an official seal. Watch the minister casually tell Dae Gil that if he doesn't carry out his mission, he'd be dead in a month. See the nobles broken, imprisoned and tortured on a whim of a winning political faction. There is no true freedom to be had.

Lengthy rambles on morals and free will )
dangermousie: (Chuno - savior)
I have been catching up with Will It Snow on Christmas and it's such a lovely, undestated gem of a drama.

The notable thing is the plot development that bothered me so when I first learned of it (Ji Wan's mother, due to psychological trauma, represses and regresses and believes Kang Jin is her dead son and Kang Jin goes along with it for 3 years) actually makes total sense in character context.

A few character ramblings on Kang Jin )

And while I am metaing all over the place, allow me also to meta about morality in the world of Chuno. I find it interesting that with the exception of Tae Ha (and potentially Un Nyun), no major character in the drama can lay claims to moral heroism, to a code of honor even, of any sort. They are all on a sliding scale of dark.



And this makes perfect sense - in a world not ruled by a fair and strict rules known in advance but whims of the powerful (everyone has someone who could snuff their life out so very easily) - the powerful who can decide that what was good yesterday is bad tomorrow - holding on to absolute moral principles is almost impossible and certainly entails some unbearable sacrifices. Morality is a luxury and if you want to succeed you have to follow not some abstract moral code but whatever the boss tells you is good. Free will is not really allowed.

Perhaps it's fitting that this drama is about slaves and slave-catchers because everyone in the world of Chuno, whether technically free or not, is actually a slave. See the peasants cringe at a mere hint of an official seal. Watch the minister casually tell Dae Gil that if he doesn't carry out his mission, he'd be dead in a month. See the nobles broken, imprisoned and tortured on a whim of a winning political faction. There is no true freedom to be had.

Lengthy rambles on morals and free will )
dangermousie: (Chuno - savior)
I have been catching up with Will It Snow on Christmas and it's such a lovely, undestated gem of a drama.

The notable thing is the plot development that bothered me so when I first learned of it (Ji Wan's mother, due to psychological trauma, represses and regresses and believes Kang Jin is her dead son and Kang Jin goes along with it for 3 years) actually makes total sense in character context.

A few character ramblings on Kang Jin )

And while I am metaing all over the place, allow me also to meta about morality in the world of Chuno. I find it interesting that with the exception of Tae Ha (and potentially Un Nyun), no major character in the drama can lay claims to moral heroism, to a code of honor even, of any sort. They are all on a sliding scale of dark.



And this makes perfect sense - in a world not ruled by a fair and strict rules known in advance but whims of the powerful (everyone has someone who could snuff their life out so very easily) - the powerful who can decide that what was good yesterday is bad tomorrow - holding on to absolute moral principles is almost impossible and certainly entails some unbearable sacrifices. Morality is a luxury and if you want to succeed you have to follow not some abstract moral code but whatever the boss tells you is good. Free will is not really allowed.

Perhaps it's fitting that this drama is about slaves and slave-catchers because everyone in the world of Chuno, whether technically free or not, is actually a slave. See the peasants cringe at a mere hint of an official seal. Watch the minister casually tell Dae Gil that if he doesn't carry out his mission, he'd be dead in a month. See the nobles broken, imprisoned and tortured on a whim of a winning political faction. There is no true freedom to be had.

Lengthy rambles on morals and free will )
dangermousie: (JJH smile by miss_dian)
(For those not familiar with kdramas, Noona = the way a younger guy refers to an older girl he is friends, family or is close with).



It has not escaped my notice that we are barely a month into 2010 and there are already 3 (!!!) dramas either airing or shortly on the horizon which feature Noona love - a younger man in love with a rather older woman. Kim Bum is currently the Noona lover in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, playing a 22-yr old college badboy musician romancing a lady 10 years his senior - they are the drama's main pairing. Just a few weeks ago, the news came out that Lee Min Ho signed on to star in Personal Taste, playing a 23-yr-old who pretends to be gay in order to rent an apartment from a girl who only will let a guy be a roommate if he is gay. The girl in question (and his eventual OTP) is the 29-yr-old Son Ye Jin.

And finally just a couple of days ago, the news about what March's Oh My Lady is going to be about and who has been cast in it has come out. And it stars 31-yr-old Chae Rim and 23-yr-old Choi Siwon, who play a 35-yr-old woman undergoing a bitter custody fight for her son and a spoiled young actor whom she manages respectively. (Side note: YESSSSSS. I adore Chae Rim and I have always wanted to have Choi Siwon headline a drama - he was adorable in 18vs29 and Spring Waltz).

Kdramas are fairly unusual (compared to Hollywood) in that pairing an older man-younger woman (I am not talking a couple years' difference but difference big enough to put them into different age brackets) is fairly unusual outside of period drama contexts (the only ones which come to mind are My Fair Lady and Who Are You). Even in period dramas, the age difference is usually pretty negligible - Yi San, Damo, Legend, Hong Gil Dong, Return of Iljimae, Jumong, Emperor of the Sea, Seoul 1945, Chuno, East of Eden, Capital Scandal etc etc - all of these are period dramas as varied as very traditional to incredibly purposefully anachronistic and set from dawn of time to 1970s, but feature almost no age difference between the main couple. (Upcoming Dong Yi does feature the age difference between male and female leads of 10+ years but as it's about a King and his Concubine, that rather makes sense).

Kdramas love their reverse - noona love - dramas where the man is younger than the woman, and not just by a year or two - Dal Ja's Spring, Hello My Teacher, What's Up Fox, Spring Days, Kim Sam Soon, Shoot for the Stars, Loveholic, Snow White, La Dolce Vita, Romance, upcoming Daemul are just a few of the ones I can think of (if you know more, do rec!).

But even by kdrama standards, 3 noona love dramas in 3 months is pretty impressive. I wonder why and what gives with this, in 2010?

Kdramas do have one casting peculiarity they must deal with due to mandatory military service by age 30 for men - a lot of their big stars go off to the military when they hit 30 (because they put it off before) and male actors 30-32 are sort of thin on the ground. But that doesn't really explain it. There are plenty of 30+ actors out there (Chuno, which is currently kicking everyone else's butt in the ratings is chock-full of them), not to mention there are plenty of 29-and-younger actors. It's not scarcity of leading men forcing kdrama makers. So I wonder why the sudden popularity?

Not that I am complaining but that is rather odd.

This has been brought to you by Dangermousie's Random Kdrama Thought of the Day. Next random kdrama pondering of the day will be on why kdramas are the only industry where actors play OLDER than their age :) (Short answer - kdramas don't have many stories featuring characters younger than college graduates and younger actors do need to eat :P)
dangermousie: (JJH smile by miss_dian)
(For those not familiar with kdramas, Noona = the way a younger guy refers to an older girl he is friends, family or is close with).



It has not escaped my notice that we are barely a month into 2010 and there are already 3 (!!!) dramas either airing or shortly on the horizon which feature Noona love - a younger man in love with a rather older woman. Kim Bum is currently the Noona lover in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, playing a 22-yr old college badboy musician romancing a lady 10 years his senior - they are the drama's main pairing. Just a few weeks ago, the news came out that Lee Min Ho signed on to star in Personal Taste, playing a 23-yr-old who pretends to be gay in order to rent an apartment from a girl who only will let a guy be a roommate if he is gay. The girl in question (and his eventual OTP) is the 29-yr-old Son Ye Jin.

And finally just a couple of days ago, the news about what March's Oh My Lady is going to be about and who has been cast in it has come out. And it stars 31-yr-old Chae Rim and 23-yr-old Choi Siwon, who play a 35-yr-old woman undergoing a bitter custody fight for her son and a spoiled young actor whom she manages respectively. (Side note: YESSSSSS. I adore Chae Rim and I have always wanted to have Choi Siwon headline a drama - he was adorable in 18vs29 and Spring Waltz).

Kdramas are fairly unusual (compared to Hollywood) in that pairing an older man-younger woman (I am not talking a couple years' difference but difference big enough to put them into different age brackets) is fairly unusual outside of period drama contexts (the only ones which come to mind are My Fair Lady and Who Are You). Even in period dramas, the age difference is usually pretty negligible - Yi San, Damo, Legend, Hong Gil Dong, Return of Iljimae, Jumong, Emperor of the Sea, Seoul 1945, Chuno, East of Eden, Capital Scandal etc etc - all of these are period dramas as varied as very traditional to incredibly purposefully anachronistic and set from dawn of time to 1970s, but feature almost no age difference between the main couple. (Upcoming Dong Yi does feature the age difference between male and female leads of 10+ years but as it's about a King and his Concubine, that rather makes sense).

Kdramas love their reverse - noona love - dramas where the man is younger than the woman, and not just by a year or two - Dal Ja's Spring, Hello My Teacher, What's Up Fox, Spring Days, Kim Sam Soon, Shoot for the Stars, Loveholic, Snow White, La Dolce Vita, Romance, upcoming Daemul are just a few of the ones I can think of (if you know more, do rec!).

But even by kdrama standards, 3 noona love dramas in 3 months is pretty impressive. I wonder why and what gives with this, in 2010?

Kdramas do have one casting peculiarity they must deal with due to mandatory military service by age 30 for men - a lot of their big stars go off to the military when they hit 30 (because they put it off before) and male actors 30-32 are sort of thin on the ground. But that doesn't really explain it. There are plenty of 30+ actors out there (Chuno, which is currently kicking everyone else's butt in the ratings is chock-full of them), not to mention there are plenty of 29-and-younger actors. It's not scarcity of leading men forcing kdrama makers. So I wonder why the sudden popularity?

Not that I am complaining but that is rather odd.

This has been brought to you by Dangermousie's Random Kdrama Thought of the Day. Next random kdrama pondering of the day will be on why kdramas are the only industry where actors play OLDER than their age :) (Short answer - kdramas don't have many stories featuring characters younger than college graduates and younger actors do need to eat :P)
dangermousie: (JJH smile by miss_dian)
(For those not familiar with kdramas, Noona = the way a younger guy refers to an older girl he is friends, family or is close with).



It has not escaped my notice that we are barely a month into 2010 and there are already 3 (!!!) dramas either airing or shortly on the horizon which feature Noona love - a younger man in love with a rather older woman. Kim Bum is currently the Noona lover in The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry, playing a 22-yr old college badboy musician romancing a lady 10 years his senior - they are the drama's main pairing. Just a few weeks ago, the news came out that Lee Min Ho signed on to star in Personal Taste, playing a 23-yr-old who pretends to be gay in order to rent an apartment from a girl who only will let a guy be a roommate if he is gay. The girl in question (and his eventual OTP) is the 29-yr-old Son Ye Jin.

And finally just a couple of days ago, the news about what March's Oh My Lady is going to be about and who has been cast in it has come out. And it stars 31-yr-old Chae Rim and 23-yr-old Choi Siwon, who play a 35-yr-old woman undergoing a bitter custody fight for her son and a spoiled young actor whom she manages respectively. (Side note: YESSSSSS. I adore Chae Rim and I have always wanted to have Choi Siwon headline a drama - he was adorable in 18vs29 and Spring Waltz).

Kdramas are fairly unusual (compared to Hollywood) in that pairing an older man-younger woman (I am not talking a couple years' difference but difference big enough to put them into different age brackets) is fairly unusual outside of period drama contexts (the only ones which come to mind are My Fair Lady and Who Are You). Even in period dramas, the age difference is usually pretty negligible - Yi San, Damo, Legend, Hong Gil Dong, Return of Iljimae, Jumong, Emperor of the Sea, Seoul 1945, Chuno, East of Eden, Capital Scandal etc etc - all of these are period dramas as varied as very traditional to incredibly purposefully anachronistic and set from dawn of time to 1970s, but feature almost no age difference between the main couple. (Upcoming Dong Yi does feature the age difference between male and female leads of 10+ years but as it's about a King and his Concubine, that rather makes sense).

Kdramas love their reverse - noona love - dramas where the man is younger than the woman, and not just by a year or two - Dal Ja's Spring, Hello My Teacher, What's Up Fox, Spring Days, Kim Sam Soon, Shoot for the Stars, Loveholic, Snow White, La Dolce Vita, Romance, upcoming Daemul are just a few of the ones I can think of (if you know more, do rec!).

But even by kdrama standards, 3 noona love dramas in 3 months is pretty impressive. I wonder why and what gives with this, in 2010?

Kdramas do have one casting peculiarity they must deal with due to mandatory military service by age 30 for men - a lot of their big stars go off to the military when they hit 30 (because they put it off before) and male actors 30-32 are sort of thin on the ground. But that doesn't really explain it. There are plenty of 30+ actors out there (Chuno, which is currently kicking everyone else's butt in the ratings is chock-full of them), not to mention there are plenty of 29-and-younger actors. It's not scarcity of leading men forcing kdrama makers. So I wonder why the sudden popularity?

Not that I am complaining but that is rather odd.

This has been brought to you by Dangermousie's Random Kdrama Thought of the Day. Next random kdrama pondering of the day will be on why kdramas are the only industry where actors play OLDER than their age :) (Short answer - kdramas don't have many stories featuring characters younger than college graduates and younger actors do need to eat :P)
dangermousie: (HYD: Rui book)
I don't know how many of you have been following the Cover for the novel Liar controversy. (Short version: the narrator is black but is shown as white on the cover).

Presumably everyone on my flist can agree this is wrong, so I want to mention something else: apparently people buy books based on covers! (What I mean is that the rationalization for having a white cover model was that books with white models sell better). Bwaaaaa?

Surely, I cannot be the only one who couldn't care less about what the cover is as long as the book sounds interesting? When I browse, I don't usually stop because of the cover, unless I am browsing manga which is a graphic art and thus yes, cover art would directly impact my interest - as it would be in the same style as the art inside. Most of my other reading is divided between non-fiction and what is considered old fiction (18th, 19th-century novels of various sorts), so maybe that's why I am cover-blind (non-fiction books usually have the most non-descript cover ever. The history of Korea I am reading right now has something on the cover I can't identify and the dynastic history of Ancient Egypt has a bust of some early Pharaoh) and those 'classic' novels which do have cover art usually go for the tried-and-true reproduction of some innocuous and hopefully period-appropriate painter.

When I browse, I go for authors I like, or have heard of, or topics I am interested in (this latter more often, actually, as I prefer non-fiction) and other than that, I sometimes pick books at random if the title catches my attention. Most of the time, I do searches on-line for topics of interest even for fiction (e.g. I might have a craving for Richard III or Ancient Greece novels so I browse to see what might appeal).

So do people really go for covers when deciding if to get books? And do they pick books based on the race of a cover model? Bizarre and wrong.

So, how do you pick your books in bookstores?
dangermousie: (HYD: Rui book)
I don't know how many of you have been following the Cover for the novel Liar controversy. (Short version: the narrator is black but is shown as white on the cover).

Presumably everyone on my flist can agree this is wrong, so I want to mention something else: apparently people buy books based on covers! (What I mean is that the rationalization for having a white cover model was that books with white models sell better). Bwaaaaa?

Surely, I cannot be the only one who couldn't care less about what the cover is as long as the book sounds interesting? When I browse, I don't usually stop because of the cover, unless I am browsing manga which is a graphic art and thus yes, cover art would directly impact my interest - as it would be in the same style as the art inside. Most of my other reading is divided between non-fiction and what is considered old fiction (18th, 19th-century novels of various sorts), so maybe that's why I am cover-blind (non-fiction books usually have the most non-descript cover ever. The history of Korea I am reading right now has something on the cover I can't identify and the dynastic history of Ancient Egypt has a bust of some early Pharaoh) and those 'classic' novels which do have cover art usually go for the tried-and-true reproduction of some innocuous and hopefully period-appropriate painter.

When I browse, I go for authors I like, or have heard of, or topics I am interested in (this latter more often, actually, as I prefer non-fiction) and other than that, I sometimes pick books at random if the title catches my attention. Most of the time, I do searches on-line for topics of interest even for fiction (e.g. I might have a craving for Richard III or Ancient Greece novels so I browse to see what might appeal).

So do people really go for covers when deciding if to get books? And do they pick books based on the race of a cover model? Bizarre and wrong.

So, how do you pick your books in bookstores?
dangermousie: (HYD: Rui book)
I don't know how many of you have been following the Cover for the novel Liar controversy. (Short version: the narrator is black but is shown as white on the cover).

Presumably everyone on my flist can agree this is wrong, so I want to mention something else: apparently people buy books based on covers! (What I mean is that the rationalization for having a white cover model was that books with white models sell better). Bwaaaaa?

Surely, I cannot be the only one who couldn't care less about what the cover is as long as the book sounds interesting? When I browse, I don't usually stop because of the cover, unless I am browsing manga which is a graphic art and thus yes, cover art would directly impact my interest - as it would be in the same style as the art inside. Most of my other reading is divided between non-fiction and what is considered old fiction (18th, 19th-century novels of various sorts), so maybe that's why I am cover-blind (non-fiction books usually have the most non-descript cover ever. The history of Korea I am reading right now has something on the cover I can't identify and the dynastic history of Ancient Egypt has a bust of some early Pharaoh) and those 'classic' novels which do have cover art usually go for the tried-and-true reproduction of some innocuous and hopefully period-appropriate painter.

When I browse, I go for authors I like, or have heard of, or topics I am interested in (this latter more often, actually, as I prefer non-fiction) and other than that, I sometimes pick books at random if the title catches my attention. Most of the time, I do searches on-line for topics of interest even for fiction (e.g. I might have a craving for Richard III or Ancient Greece novels so I browse to see what might appeal).

So do people really go for covers when deciding if to get books? And do they pick books based on the race of a cover model? Bizarre and wrong.

So, how do you pick your books in bookstores?
dangermousie: (Utahime by timescout)
Watching Last Scandal brought something I've been wondering about back to mind:

Why on earth do Korean and other Asian fans seem to get so appalled and pissed off when they find out that a celebrity has been dating or is getting married. Do they really expect 20-something and 30-something men and women not to be in a serious relationship at all - that is insane! (And if so, why would they want to - someone who is so stunted or isolated that they don't seem to have a romantic relationship at any point is not someone any sane person wants to hang around with).

I mean - regardless of the celebrity being single, married, or into stuffed animals fetish, do they really expect that one day on the street they will bump into an actress or singer of their dreams and he/she will go "OMG, where have you been all my life, random fan! Let's get married!" I understand there are some insane people out there who might actually believe it, but mind boggles to process that there are enough of these people that marriage or dating would actually affect a star's popularity.

And yet - I remember reading all over blogs than Kwon Sang Woo getting married would finish him off, or the crazed fangirl reaction when Hyun Bin had a girlfriend, or, most of all, Kimura Takuya apologizing to his fans for getting married. That last one, especially, was beyond WTF! Why on earth does anyone need to apologize for marriage? (If I were his wife, he would have gotten home to a rolling pin to the head).

I did notice, oddly, that the negative reaction is rather less when it's a celebrity dating another celebrity (preferably a costar, thus enabling RPF fantasy which is another weird thing prevalent in this whole mileau*), which is also incredibly weird to me. "OMG, my idol will never be mine, but at least he/she found someone woooorthy because I can pretend they are their characters." WHAT?

I just seriously do not get that at all. Are swarms of people so overinvested and socially retarded that they can't separate reality from fantasy? I genuinely cannot understand.

* I am not talking even about boybands which feed the fanservice, but random actors who act together and what not. Every successful drama always has hordes of people who genuinely 'ship' the leads as opposed to the characters. Creepy.

ETA: To amuse self, uses icon from a drama couple that because a real couple - heh. I noticed that after Nagase started dating her, Aibu Saki hate went rather up :P
dangermousie: (Utahime by timescout)
Watching Last Scandal brought something I've been wondering about back to mind:

Why on earth do Korean and other Asian fans seem to get so appalled and pissed off when they find out that a celebrity has been dating or is getting married. Do they really expect 20-something and 30-something men and women not to be in a serious relationship at all - that is insane! (And if so, why would they want to - someone who is so stunted or isolated that they don't seem to have a romantic relationship at any point is not someone any sane person wants to hang around with).

I mean - regardless of the celebrity being single, married, or into stuffed animals fetish, do they really expect that one day on the street they will bump into an actress or singer of their dreams and he/she will go "OMG, where have you been all my life, random fan! Let's get married!" I understand there are some insane people out there who might actually believe it, but mind boggles to process that there are enough of these people that marriage or dating would actually affect a star's popularity.

And yet - I remember reading all over blogs than Kwon Sang Woo getting married would finish him off, or the crazed fangirl reaction when Hyun Bin had a girlfriend, or, most of all, Kimura Takuya apologizing to his fans for getting married. That last one, especially, was beyond WTF! Why on earth does anyone need to apologize for marriage? (If I were his wife, he would have gotten home to a rolling pin to the head).

I did notice, oddly, that the negative reaction is rather less when it's a celebrity dating another celebrity (preferably a costar, thus enabling RPF fantasy which is another weird thing prevalent in this whole mileau*), which is also incredibly weird to me. "OMG, my idol will never be mine, but at least he/she found someone woooorthy because I can pretend they are their characters." WHAT?

I just seriously do not get that at all. Are swarms of people so overinvested and socially retarded that they can't separate reality from fantasy? I genuinely cannot understand.

* I am not talking even about boybands which feed the fanservice, but random actors who act together and what not. Every successful drama always has hordes of people who genuinely 'ship' the leads as opposed to the characters. Creepy.

ETA: To amuse self, uses icon from a drama couple that because a real couple - heh. I noticed that after Nagase started dating her, Aibu Saki hate went rather up :P
dangermousie: (Utahime by timescout)
Watching Last Scandal brought something I've been wondering about back to mind:

Why on earth do Korean and other Asian fans seem to get so appalled and pissed off when they find out that a celebrity has been dating or is getting married. Do they really expect 20-something and 30-something men and women not to be in a serious relationship at all - that is insane! (And if so, why would they want to - someone who is so stunted or isolated that they don't seem to have a romantic relationship at any point is not someone any sane person wants to hang around with).

I mean - regardless of the celebrity being single, married, or into stuffed animals fetish, do they really expect that one day on the street they will bump into an actress or singer of their dreams and he/she will go "OMG, where have you been all my life, random fan! Let's get married!" I understand there are some insane people out there who might actually believe it, but mind boggles to process that there are enough of these people that marriage or dating would actually affect a star's popularity.

And yet - I remember reading all over blogs than Kwon Sang Woo getting married would finish him off, or the crazed fangirl reaction when Hyun Bin had a girlfriend, or, most of all, Kimura Takuya apologizing to his fans for getting married. That last one, especially, was beyond WTF! Why on earth does anyone need to apologize for marriage? (If I were his wife, he would have gotten home to a rolling pin to the head).

I did notice, oddly, that the negative reaction is rather less when it's a celebrity dating another celebrity (preferably a costar, thus enabling RPF fantasy which is another weird thing prevalent in this whole mileau*), which is also incredibly weird to me. "OMG, my idol will never be mine, but at least he/she found someone woooorthy because I can pretend they are their characters." WHAT?

I just seriously do not get that at all. Are swarms of people so overinvested and socially retarded that they can't separate reality from fantasy? I genuinely cannot understand.

* I am not talking even about boybands which feed the fanservice, but random actors who act together and what not. Every successful drama always has hordes of people who genuinely 'ship' the leads as opposed to the characters. Creepy.

ETA: To amuse self, uses icon from a drama couple that because a real couple - heh. I noticed that after Nagase started dating her, Aibu Saki hate went rather up :P
dangermousie: (HGD field by miss-dian)
I have been thinking while walking today, about Iljimae and Hong Gil Dong and its approach to outsider protagonists and societies and class. (None of the below is spoilery, btw).

Iljimae follows a traditional (and beloved) trope in having its protagonist being someone who is unjustly displaced from his proper place in society. He is not an outsider by birth but by mistake. But in Hong Gil Dong (as in another of my favorite retellings of the Robin Hood legend, Robin of Sherwood), the protagonist noble-thief/rebel is someone outside of society by nature. By this I mean that in Iljimae, Ryung is someone who has been denied what is considered his proper place by his contemprary standards, if that society was properly run: he is the legimate son of an aristocrat and a noblewoman, whose family has been executed on a trumped-up charge of treason. If certain bad people didn't interfere, if that society was run justly according to its own medieval standards, Ryung would be living as a good aristocrat and an official, probably married to the cute little aristocrat girl Eun Chae etc. (In the very worst scenario, in which what his Dad said was actually treason, all it takes is for a different king to come to the throne who was supported by Dad and Ryung is set...it's aristocrat political infighting). If his Mom did the right thing, Shi Ho, too, would be educated as an illegitimate son of a noble and get some good position, etc...Thus in the story it is not the basic fault of society structure but of certain people unfairly messing with that structure to their benefit.

But in HGD, like in RoS, the hero isn't someone who has been denied his 'proper' position. A good king rules or a bad one. Corrupt officials gun for the family or do not care, Gil Dong is still a slave. The issue in HGD isn't the 'easy' one of making the society run the way it's supposed to according to its own rules, but the fact that society itself is basically unjust. HGD world can have the King who fulfills his duties properly but it would not matter to Gil Dong: he would still be someone not allowed to use his talents in any way, still be a thing. It's not the fact that a particular individual is in power, it's the fact that the society is hierarchically rigid and classist and dead-end that is the issue at HGD.

Iljimae's protagonist would achieve his goals if he could right his world, but Hong Gil Dong wants to remake it. If you think about it, in Iljimae, peasants are by definition happy in their lot if they have a just ruler (and officials) who does not oppress with heavy taxes or what not. But HGD's point is that the mere fact that they are peasants and are not allowed to be more is wrong, as well as the fact that no matter who is in power, there will be corruption and oppression of the less powerful.

The characters of Iljimae want (or should want) to return to their proper roles, but HGD characters are trapped by them: Gil Dong is not allowed to exercise his talent, and Yi Nok is someone who has been so carefree precisely because she has been outside societal rules as a swindler/traveller. Once she is bound by her new-found identity as an aristocrat, she is trapped.

And that is true for secondary characters in HGD too: not just the Prince, who is carrying out a vendetta ready-made for him, and basing his claims on accidents of blood, but even the Creepy Goth Girl (hate her too much to look up her name). Unlike Evil Son in Iljimae she isn't inherently evil, but she is like a child who breaks her toys in a tantrum and then is annoyed the limbs are missing: she sees Gil Dong and others in her life as toys because her privileged life, with her as center of attention, made her incredibly solipcistic. She doesn't see other people as truly real, or life as real for that matter. Her reaction at the end, to consciously retreat into willful blindness of 'this is all a game, none of it matters' is quite appropriate. She cannot handle really living her life, to feel true emotions and consequences.

Of course, Iljimae's quest, at least in the beginning, no idea how it will progress, is entirely personal: revenge for his family. But Hong Gil Dong transforms into a hard-core, completely unpragmatic indealist, someone radicalized by the process. Interesting.

None of this is meant to denigrate Iljimae in any way. I am adoring it to bits and it tells a very different story. I just wanted to try to put into words, more for myself than anything, why HGD worked for me on such a personal, almost visceral level, the way a lot of dramas I love do not.
dangermousie: (HGD field by miss-dian)
I have been thinking while walking today, about Iljimae and Hong Gil Dong and its approach to outsider protagonists and societies and class. (None of the below is spoilery, btw).

Iljimae follows a traditional (and beloved) trope in having its protagonist being someone who is unjustly displaced from his proper place in society. He is not an outsider by birth but by mistake. But in Hong Gil Dong (as in another of my favorite retellings of the Robin Hood legend, Robin of Sherwood), the protagonist noble-thief/rebel is someone outside of society by nature. By this I mean that in Iljimae, Ryung is someone who has been denied what is considered his proper place by his contemprary standards, if that society was properly run: he is the legimate son of an aristocrat and a noblewoman, whose family has been executed on a trumped-up charge of treason. If certain bad people didn't interfere, if that society was run justly according to its own medieval standards, Ryung would be living as a good aristocrat and an official, probably married to the cute little aristocrat girl Eun Chae etc. (In the very worst scenario, in which what his Dad said was actually treason, all it takes is for a different king to come to the throne who was supported by Dad and Ryung is set...it's aristocrat political infighting). If his Mom did the right thing, Shi Ho, too, would be educated as an illegitimate son of a noble and get some good position, etc...Thus in the story it is not the basic fault of society structure but of certain people unfairly messing with that structure to their benefit.

But in HGD, like in RoS, the hero isn't someone who has been denied his 'proper' position. A good king rules or a bad one. Corrupt officials gun for the family or do not care, Gil Dong is still a slave. The issue in HGD isn't the 'easy' one of making the society run the way it's supposed to according to its own rules, but the fact that society itself is basically unjust. HGD world can have the King who fulfills his duties properly but it would not matter to Gil Dong: he would still be someone not allowed to use his talents in any way, still be a thing. It's not the fact that a particular individual is in power, it's the fact that the society is hierarchically rigid and classist and dead-end that is the issue at HGD.

Iljimae's protagonist would achieve his goals if he could right his world, but Hong Gil Dong wants to remake it. If you think about it, in Iljimae, peasants are by definition happy in their lot if they have a just ruler (and officials) who does not oppress with heavy taxes or what not. But HGD's point is that the mere fact that they are peasants and are not allowed to be more is wrong, as well as the fact that no matter who is in power, there will be corruption and oppression of the less powerful.

The characters of Iljimae want (or should want) to return to their proper roles, but HGD characters are trapped by them: Gil Dong is not allowed to exercise his talent, and Yi Nok is someone who has been so carefree precisely because she has been outside societal rules as a swindler/traveller. Once she is bound by her new-found identity as an aristocrat, she is trapped.

And that is true for secondary characters in HGD too: not just the Prince, who is carrying out a vendetta ready-made for him, and basing his claims on accidents of blood, but even the Creepy Goth Girl (hate her too much to look up her name). Unlike Evil Son in Iljimae she isn't inherently evil, but she is like a child who breaks her toys in a tantrum and then is annoyed the limbs are missing: she sees Gil Dong and others in her life as toys because her privileged life, with her as center of attention, made her incredibly solipcistic. She doesn't see other people as truly real, or life as real for that matter. Her reaction at the end, to consciously retreat into willful blindness of 'this is all a game, none of it matters' is quite appropriate. She cannot handle really living her life, to feel true emotions and consequences.

Of course, Iljimae's quest, at least in the beginning, no idea how it will progress, is entirely personal: revenge for his family. But Hong Gil Dong transforms into a hard-core, completely unpragmatic indealist, someone radicalized by the process. Interesting.

None of this is meant to denigrate Iljimae in any way. I am adoring it to bits and it tells a very different story. I just wanted to try to put into words, more for myself than anything, why HGD worked for me on such a personal, almost visceral level, the way a lot of dramas I love do not.
dangermousie: (HGD field by miss-dian)
I have been thinking while walking today, about Iljimae and Hong Gil Dong and its approach to outsider protagonists and societies and class. (None of the below is spoilery, btw).

Iljimae follows a traditional (and beloved) trope in having its protagonist being someone who is unjustly displaced from his proper place in society. He is not an outsider by birth but by mistake. But in Hong Gil Dong (as in another of my favorite retellings of the Robin Hood legend, Robin of Sherwood), the protagonist noble-thief/rebel is someone outside of society by nature. By this I mean that in Iljimae, Ryung is someone who has been denied what is considered his proper place by his contemprary standards, if that society was properly run: he is the legimate son of an aristocrat and a noblewoman, whose family has been executed on a trumped-up charge of treason. If certain bad people didn't interfere, if that society was run justly according to its own medieval standards, Ryung would be living as a good aristocrat and an official, probably married to the cute little aristocrat girl Eun Chae etc. (In the very worst scenario, in which what his Dad said was actually treason, all it takes is for a different king to come to the throne who was supported by Dad and Ryung is set...it's aristocrat political infighting). If his Mom did the right thing, Shi Ho, too, would be educated as an illegitimate son of a noble and get some good position, etc...Thus in the story it is not the basic fault of society structure but of certain people unfairly messing with that structure to their benefit.

But in HGD, like in RoS, the hero isn't someone who has been denied his 'proper' position. A good king rules or a bad one. Corrupt officials gun for the family or do not care, Gil Dong is still a slave. The issue in HGD isn't the 'easy' one of making the society run the way it's supposed to according to its own rules, but the fact that society itself is basically unjust. HGD world can have the King who fulfills his duties properly but it would not matter to Gil Dong: he would still be someone not allowed to use his talents in any way, still be a thing. It's not the fact that a particular individual is in power, it's the fact that the society is hierarchically rigid and classist and dead-end that is the issue at HGD.

Iljimae's protagonist would achieve his goals if he could right his world, but Hong Gil Dong wants to remake it. If you think about it, in Iljimae, peasants are by definition happy in their lot if they have a just ruler (and officials) who does not oppress with heavy taxes or what not. But HGD's point is that the mere fact that they are peasants and are not allowed to be more is wrong, as well as the fact that no matter who is in power, there will be corruption and oppression of the less powerful.

The characters of Iljimae want (or should want) to return to their proper roles, but HGD characters are trapped by them: Gil Dong is not allowed to exercise his talent, and Yi Nok is someone who has been so carefree precisely because she has been outside societal rules as a swindler/traveller. Once she is bound by her new-found identity as an aristocrat, she is trapped.

And that is true for secondary characters in HGD too: not just the Prince, who is carrying out a vendetta ready-made for him, and basing his claims on accidents of blood, but even the Creepy Goth Girl (hate her too much to look up her name). Unlike Evil Son in Iljimae she isn't inherently evil, but she is like a child who breaks her toys in a tantrum and then is annoyed the limbs are missing: she sees Gil Dong and others in her life as toys because her privileged life, with her as center of attention, made her incredibly solipcistic. She doesn't see other people as truly real, or life as real for that matter. Her reaction at the end, to consciously retreat into willful blindness of 'this is all a game, none of it matters' is quite appropriate. She cannot handle really living her life, to feel true emotions and consequences.

Of course, Iljimae's quest, at least in the beginning, no idea how it will progress, is entirely personal: revenge for his family. But Hong Gil Dong transforms into a hard-core, completely unpragmatic indealist, someone radicalized by the process. Interesting.

None of this is meant to denigrate Iljimae in any way. I am adoring it to bits and it tells a very different story. I just wanted to try to put into words, more for myself than anything, why HGD worked for me on such a personal, almost visceral level, the way a lot of dramas I love do not.
dangermousie: (Capital Scandal secondary otp by meganbm)
Subtitles for episode 21 of Hong Gil Dong are out. YAY!

One of the things I find most fascinating about HGD is not the OTP, much as I adore them, but the duality presented by the Prince and Gil Dong. Because the Prince might make a good King, and a just one as far as Kings go, but he is ultimately bound by the medieval society, by its structures, its hierarchies, its codes. He is content to be within the system: in fact he wants to rule the system. He wants to repair some 'cracks' in it to make it more functional but he wants the basic system intact. He is happy with the traditional system, as long as it's ruled by a good King (i.e. him) and not an evil nutter.

But Gil Dong? Oh no. Gil Dong is entirely not like that. He is someone entirely outside the system and society, and while eventually it's by choice (i.e. becoming a rebel), he has been outside of it ever since his birth merely by the virtue of who he is (bastard slave offspring of a nobleman). So he is not bound by it and he sees little good in it. His goal is not the Prince's. It is to dismantle this society to bits. After all, even if the King was not the nutter Kang Hwe but the 'good' Chang Hwe, there would have been no difference in Gil Dong's status of a thing, and someone who is not allowed to use his talents.

Gil Dong is, in essence, a professional revolutionary. He is an idealist, he has no pragmatism in him in how to run a country: he is unsuited to being a member of the government, of any establishment really (I suppose he's been rejected by it for so long, he lost any ability or desire to fit in and be molded). The Prince would stop at a realistic goal: making himself King. It's relatively easily achievable and very quantifiable. Gil Dong is after something much more nebulous: a just world.

That is why I love how the drama shows us, consistently, that ultimately there is no choice but for Gil Dong and the Prince to clash. A popularly adored rabble-rouser is an invaluable ally when you are trying to rock the status quo, but when you are the status quo, and he is incorruptible, idealistic, and radical, you do not want him around. This goes far beyond the superficially present 'Gil Dong has the heart of the girl the Prince wants' or even the fact that the Prince is clearly insecure because Gil Dong not only behaves as his equal, but also because the people follow the Prince because Gil Dong says so. People love Gil Dong, not the Prince (understandably so: the Prince has not been giving them food and shelter and fighting the system for them). And of course, there is the uncomfortable feeling in the back of the Prince's skull that Gil Dong actually is better, more capable etc, than him.

But ultimately, even if all of those were absent, they would still be bound to clash. You cannot be a ruler and satisfy and leash satisfactorily someone like Gil Dong. You cannot be a rebel like GD and be satisfied with a slightly more functional version of same-old-same-old.

I am interested to see how it will all turn out.
dangermousie: (Capital Scandal secondary otp by meganbm)
Subtitles for episode 21 of Hong Gil Dong are out. YAY!

One of the things I find most fascinating about HGD is not the OTP, much as I adore them, but the duality presented by the Prince and Gil Dong. Because the Prince might make a good King, and a just one as far as Kings go, but he is ultimately bound by the medieval society, by its structures, its hierarchies, its codes. He is content to be within the system: in fact he wants to rule the system. He wants to repair some 'cracks' in it to make it more functional but he wants the basic system intact. He is happy with the traditional system, as long as it's ruled by a good King (i.e. him) and not an evil nutter.

But Gil Dong? Oh no. Gil Dong is entirely not like that. He is someone entirely outside the system and society, and while eventually it's by choice (i.e. becoming a rebel), he has been outside of it ever since his birth merely by the virtue of who he is (bastard slave offspring of a nobleman). So he is not bound by it and he sees little good in it. His goal is not the Prince's. It is to dismantle this society to bits. After all, even if the King was not the nutter Kang Hwe but the 'good' Chang Hwe, there would have been no difference in Gil Dong's status of a thing, and someone who is not allowed to use his talents.

Gil Dong is, in essence, a professional revolutionary. He is an idealist, he has no pragmatism in him in how to run a country: he is unsuited to being a member of the government, of any establishment really (I suppose he's been rejected by it for so long, he lost any ability or desire to fit in and be molded). The Prince would stop at a realistic goal: making himself King. It's relatively easily achievable and very quantifiable. Gil Dong is after something much more nebulous: a just world.

That is why I love how the drama shows us, consistently, that ultimately there is no choice but for Gil Dong and the Prince to clash. A popularly adored rabble-rouser is an invaluable ally when you are trying to rock the status quo, but when you are the status quo, and he is incorruptible, idealistic, and radical, you do not want him around. This goes far beyond the superficially present 'Gil Dong has the heart of the girl the Prince wants' or even the fact that the Prince is clearly insecure because Gil Dong not only behaves as his equal, but also because the people follow the Prince because Gil Dong says so. People love Gil Dong, not the Prince (understandably so: the Prince has not been giving them food and shelter and fighting the system for them). And of course, there is the uncomfortable feeling in the back of the Prince's skull that Gil Dong actually is better, more capable etc, than him.

But ultimately, even if all of those were absent, they would still be bound to clash. You cannot be a ruler and satisfy and leash satisfactorily someone like Gil Dong. You cannot be a rebel like GD and be satisfied with a slightly more functional version of same-old-same-old.

I am interested to see how it will all turn out.
dangermousie: (Capital Scandal secondary otp by meganbm)
Subtitles for episode 21 of Hong Gil Dong are out. YAY!

One of the things I find most fascinating about HGD is not the OTP, much as I adore them, but the duality presented by the Prince and Gil Dong. Because the Prince might make a good King, and a just one as far as Kings go, but he is ultimately bound by the medieval society, by its structures, its hierarchies, its codes. He is content to be within the system: in fact he wants to rule the system. He wants to repair some 'cracks' in it to make it more functional but he wants the basic system intact. He is happy with the traditional system, as long as it's ruled by a good King (i.e. him) and not an evil nutter.

But Gil Dong? Oh no. Gil Dong is entirely not like that. He is someone entirely outside the system and society, and while eventually it's by choice (i.e. becoming a rebel), he has been outside of it ever since his birth merely by the virtue of who he is (bastard slave offspring of a nobleman). So he is not bound by it and he sees little good in it. His goal is not the Prince's. It is to dismantle this society to bits. After all, even if the King was not the nutter Kang Hwe but the 'good' Chang Hwe, there would have been no difference in Gil Dong's status of a thing, and someone who is not allowed to use his talents.

Gil Dong is, in essence, a professional revolutionary. He is an idealist, he has no pragmatism in him in how to run a country: he is unsuited to being a member of the government, of any establishment really (I suppose he's been rejected by it for so long, he lost any ability or desire to fit in and be molded). The Prince would stop at a realistic goal: making himself King. It's relatively easily achievable and very quantifiable. Gil Dong is after something much more nebulous: a just world.

That is why I love how the drama shows us, consistently, that ultimately there is no choice but for Gil Dong and the Prince to clash. A popularly adored rabble-rouser is an invaluable ally when you are trying to rock the status quo, but when you are the status quo, and he is incorruptible, idealistic, and radical, you do not want him around. This goes far beyond the superficially present 'Gil Dong has the heart of the girl the Prince wants' or even the fact that the Prince is clearly insecure because Gil Dong not only behaves as his equal, but also because the people follow the Prince because Gil Dong says so. People love Gil Dong, not the Prince (understandably so: the Prince has not been giving them food and shelter and fighting the system for them). And of course, there is the uncomfortable feeling in the back of the Prince's skull that Gil Dong actually is better, more capable etc, than him.

But ultimately, even if all of those were absent, they would still be bound to clash. You cannot be a ruler and satisfy and leash satisfactorily someone like Gil Dong. You cannot be a rebel like GD and be satisfied with a slightly more functional version of same-old-same-old.

I am interested to see how it will all turn out.
dangermousie: (SEI: John Abraham)
I have a confession to make:

girl relationships in a movie/drama/book bore me. I don't mean in a femmeslash sense (which I actually occasionally find very interesting) but relationships between women do not interest me whatsoever.

A relationship between a man and a woman: please yes. Whether it's romantic, family or (as in Capital Scandal between Hero and Secondary Girl) purely friendshippy and platonic? I love. Relationships between men, be they friendships, family, rivalry whatever (but platonic as slash bores me) are also something I get interested in.

But a storyline that focuses on female friendships or family relationships bores me to tears. That is why I do not read a lot of 'women's lit' a la Jennifer Weiner because it's guaranteed to put me to sleep. I need a male character who is at least as prominent as the female in order for the story to really appeal.

And yet, in real life, I am very close to my female relatives and almost all of my friends have been women. Also, I love for my heroines to be strong and cool. How odd.

Another 'shameful' (only I refuse to be shamed :P) pet thing: I do not like stories where women walk all over men, or men are inferior. I don't like the 'am damsel in distress, rescue me' stuff much (the heroine has to have basic competency) but the reversal annoys me just as much. Something like Kimi Wa Petto hits all the wrong buttons for me because of that.

Clearly, am stuck in 19th century.

How about you? Any fiction quirks?
dangermousie: (SEI: John Abraham)
I have a confession to make:

girl relationships in a movie/drama/book bore me. I don't mean in a femmeslash sense (which I actually occasionally find very interesting) but relationships between women do not interest me whatsoever.

A relationship between a man and a woman: please yes. Whether it's romantic, family or (as in Capital Scandal between Hero and Secondary Girl) purely friendshippy and platonic? I love. Relationships between men, be they friendships, family, rivalry whatever (but platonic as slash bores me) are also something I get interested in.

But a storyline that focuses on female friendships or family relationships bores me to tears. That is why I do not read a lot of 'women's lit' a la Jennifer Weiner because it's guaranteed to put me to sleep. I need a male character who is at least as prominent as the female in order for the story to really appeal.

And yet, in real life, I am very close to my female relatives and almost all of my friends have been women. Also, I love for my heroines to be strong and cool. How odd.

Another 'shameful' (only I refuse to be shamed :P) pet thing: I do not like stories where women walk all over men, or men are inferior. I don't like the 'am damsel in distress, rescue me' stuff much (the heroine has to have basic competency) but the reversal annoys me just as much. Something like Kimi Wa Petto hits all the wrong buttons for me because of that.

Clearly, am stuck in 19th century.

How about you? Any fiction quirks?

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