Welcome to another review in our ‘Korean Drama Throwback’ series, which features dramas that aired around 10 years ago. We look forward to sharing some of the great dramas of the past and it’s protagonists with you. Being in love with Korean dramas for well over a decade now, it is time for some official reminiscing. Fasten your seat belts and join us on this journey down Korean drama memory lane. Without further ado, lets dive into ‘Goong/Princess Hours’.
Original Release Date: January 11, 2006 to March 30, 2006
- Yoon Eun-Hye as Shin Chae-Gyeong
- Yu Ji-Hoon as Crown Prince Lee Shin
- Kim Jeong-Hoon as Prince Lee Yul
- Song Ji-Hyo as Min Hyo-Rin
‘Goong/Princess Hours’ is based on the Korean manhwa (manga) ‘Goong’ by Park So-Hee.
It is set in a fictitious 21st century Korea where the monarchy has prevailed and is still governing the country.
Shin Chae-Gyeong (Yoon Eun-Hye) and Lee Shin (Yu Ji-Hoon) go to the same school. And that is about all they have in common.
Crown Prince Lee Shin hangs out with a selected group of friends and Chae-Gyeong would never make the cut. Equally because of her lower social status and due to the differences in their characters.
His male friends are considered some of the smartest, talented, richest and handsomest students. The only female also a part of this close circle is Min Hyo-Rin.
Min Hyo-Rin (Song Ji-Hyo) is a gifted ballet dancer with a promising future. Even though it is not official, Hyo-Rin is practically Lee Shin’s girlfriend and therefore is treated with special regard.
Shin Chae-Gyeong is a free spirited character without much thought about her grades or her future. Art is the only thing she excels at as it allows her to give free reign to her creativity.
With a bubbly and lively personality, making friends has never been a concern of hers. Her three loyal friends are her accomplices when getting into shenanigans, which seem to be the order of the day.
A King in the making
Lee Shin is raised with the constant reminder from everyone around him that he will one day inherit the throne. Due to this he started to display a haughty and entitled behaviour.
Lee Shin resents the strict palace rules and royal customs that don’t allow for a normal parent-child relationship. He blames them for his lonely childhood as they prevented him from continuing a close relationship with his parents.
Lee Shin has an older sister who has been living abroad for several years. Not any more fond of certain strict palace ceremonials than her brother, she avoids them by travelling extensively.
The fact that she is not heir to the throne has allowed her this degree of freedom. Although they get on well, Lee Shin often times envies her this freedom.
Despite these facts, Lee Shin does enjoy everyday life hanging out with his friends. In his mind, his days as King are still a far way off.
The King’s Crown
Lee Shin is completely taken aback when the family suddenly announces his father’s plan to step back from his duties. The King is not feeling well due to exhaustion. He decides to pass on the throne to his young son to get some much needed rest.
However, the imperial family has come to the conclusion that the Crown Prince should marry before taking on his new responsibilities. With a carefully chosen mate at his side for support, they are hoping for a smooth transition.
Current opinions among the people about the monarchy and it’s form of government are very unfavourable. The imperial family is hoping that a wedding with the right girl will improve this.
A Fateful Promise
Among plans and preparations comes to light an agreement between the King’s father and a close friend of his. Exchanging a set of jewellery as a token of the agreement, they promise to one day have their grandchildren marry.
And yes, you guessed it! The close friend was none other than Shin Chae-Gyeong’s grandfather.
The King’s father and Chae-Gyeong’s grandfather have since passed away.
The imperial family is slightly taken aback when they discover the humble circumstances in which the descendants of the other party are living now.
But despite this they decide to honour the agreement and have Chae-Gyeong marry the Crown Prince…if her parents agree.
A Crown Prince’s Rebellion
Lee Shin is furious at his family for imposing their will once again on something as personal as his future life partner. In one last attempt to get out of it, he proposes marriage to Min Hyo-Rin.
Contrary to Lee Shin’s expectations, Hyo-Rin refuses his proposal. She knows that marrying him would mean giving up on her own dream of becoming a renown ballet dancer. And she is not ready to give up her life for him.
Numbed by the pain of a broken heart and in a last attempt to change Hyo-Rin’s mind, Crown Prince Lee Shin agrees to his engagement with Chae-gyeong.
A Royal Proposal
Chae-Gyeong is thrown for a loop when she first hears the news of the proposed engagement.
In spite of her carefree attitude, she is conscious of the advantages her union with the Crown Prince will have for her family.
Not only would it be the answer to all their financial struggles but it can also provide many bright opportunities for her younger brother.
Nonetheless she struggles to accept the proposal. For once she agrees, she will have to leave her parents home and move to the palace.
She will have to leave behind her carefree days of hanging out with her friends. Instead she will need to undergo rigorous training to prepare for her future role as the Queen.
After much consideration Chae-Gyeong accepts the proposal and soon after moves into the palace.
The palace turns out to be like a golden cage for the free spirited Chae-Gyeong. While every other young girl in the country wishes to be in her place, she soon wishes to be anywhere but inside the palace walls.
Not allowed to move around freely without someone constantly at her side proves difficult for the new princess. She must also follow a strict daily schedule of studying and participating in royal ceremonials.
Despite missing her old life, her parents and her friends terribly, Chae-Gyeong tries to stay positive and starts winning hearts in her new surroundings.
Although to the outside world they have become a married couple, Lee Shin and Chae-Gyeong’s relationship away from the public eye is a completely different story.
Lee Shin for his part has no desire to get close to Chae-Kyeong and instead takes out his anger and frustration about the circumstances on her.
Chae-Gyeong tries her best to make him like her, but no matter her effort he always brushes her off.
The formerly self assured girl has also lost some of her confidence due to everyone constantly pointing out her mistakes. Chae-Gyeong feels that she just can’t measure up to the standards set for her as part of the royal family.
Things change with the arrival of Prince Lee Yul (Kim Jeong-Hoon), Lee Shin’s cousin who returns from England after being absent for years. His and his mothers presence brings about a wind of change inside the palace not appreciated equally by all it’s occupants.
Lee Yul and Chae-Gyeong become fast friends and soon spend a lot of time together. He seems the opposite of Lee Shin. Where Lee Shin is cold and arrogant to her, Lee Yul treats her nicely, helps her out and treats her like an equal.
Lee Shin initially welcomes the arrival of his cousin. They used to get along well as playmates when they were children. But seeing the interactions between his cousin and the new princess, awakes feelings in him he struggles to acknowledge.
I’m a fool
A crown prince confused about his feelings and a commoner girl tired of fighting to be accepted and loved. How will their story unfold?
A prince caught between his own hopes and the ambitions of his mother, and a girl who believed herself invincible until she lost it all. How far will they be willing to go?
Four young people struggle to find themselves while surrounded by too many individuals with too many opinions on what they should do.
‘Goong/Princess Hours’ is a world where political ambitions and greed run rampant. Everyone tries to push their own agenda and people are often treated like figures in a chess game.
Will they be on time to recognize their mistakes or will regret come too late?
Enemies and allies alike consider emotions a sign of weakness. Love is perceived the biggest weakness of them all and only a fool would choose to follow his heart.
This is one of those classic Korean dramas I believe every drama fan should take the time to watch. It is filled with Korean culture, beautiful old palaces serving as backdrops and impressively gorgeous hairstyles and outfits.
Plus, ‘Goong/Princess Hours’ started the reign for K-Drama queen Yoon Eun-Hye. Can you imagine what we would have missed out on in acting gold if we didn’t have her?
And who knows. Within a cast sprinkled with great actors throughout, you may just recognize other familiar faces.
Thank you for visiting ‘Goong/Princess Hours’ and we look forward to greeting you again in our next review.
Until we drama again,
Have a drama you would like us to review? Please comment below and share in the fangirling.
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