Even the original author was surprised by ‘Golden Side’ Hyeonjong, crisis of ‘Goryeo Khitan War’

[Reporter Kim Jong-seong]

Goryeo, which was in a desperate crisis due to the second invasion of Khitan, ‘Yang Gyu’s propaganda’ Using his back as a stepping stone, he managed to repel the Khitans. KBS2’s ‘Goryeo Khitan War (‘The Tale of Gogeo’)’ attracted attention by giving prominence to Yang Gyu, who had not been in the spotlight properly. Ji Seung-hyun, who played the role of Yang-gyu, received attention from viewers and won the Excellence Award at the 2023 KBS Drama Awards. In this way, ‘The Tale of Gogeo’ announced the revival of traditional historical dramas.

Wasn’t the Khitan the real enemy of ‘The Tale of Gogeo’, which was cruising at a viewership rating of 10%? The person who held back the popular drama was, unexpectedly, the scriptwriter. The ‘Gao Geojeon’, which had been shaken by the ‘Second Khitan Invasion’, reached its turning point and began to catch its breath. Hyeonjong (Kim Dong-jun), who left Mongjin all the way to Naju, suffered all kinds of humiliation from the local nobles in the process, so after returning to Gaegyeong, he set out to ‘reorganize the local system’

In order to rebuild the country, King Hyeonjong attempted to establish a centralized system by dispatching officials to regions dominated by noble families. However, his subjects, including Kang Gam-chan (Choi Soo-jong), rebelled and conflict arose. Officials of the powerful royal court moved according to the interests of their families. Gang Gam-chan’s opposing logic was his loyalty to prepare for the Khitan invasion, but as a result, he set up a confrontation with Hyeonjong, which left Hyeonjong heartbroken.

KBS2 <Goryeo Khitan War> Related images.
ⓒ KBS2

The ‘Goryeo Khitan War’ failed to persuade viewers.

At the end of episode 18, a scene was depicted where King Hyeonjong, who had a sharp conflict with Kang Gam-chan, could not control his anger and went out on a horse, but suffered a fall from his horse. It may have been an attempt to portray the frustration of King Hyeonjong, who trusted and relied on Gang Gam-chan to that extent. Even considering the intention of ‘Gogeo-jeon’ to capture the growth story of King Hyeonjong, the accidental fall from a horse made Hyunjong’s character a’Geumjigi’. This setting failed to persuade viewers.

Writer Gil Seung-soo, who wrote the original novel of ‘Gogeo-jeon’ (‘Goryeo Khitan War: Heroes of Goryeo’), was also unconvinced. On the 15th, writer Gil wrote on his blog, “Hyeonjong’s reorganization of the local system appears (in the original work), but it is not depicted as a severe conflict like in the drama,”and “of course, the ‘Goryeo Khitan War’ He pointed out that “Hyeonjong’s falling from a horse depicted in episode 18 is not in the original story.” The original author’s complaint caused a great stir.

It is not strange for content that is not in the original to appear in a drama. However, as writer Gil said, the author of ‘Gogeo-jeon’ is trying to avoid the original work, so he is writing while avoiding the history within it.’ Unlike fusion historical dramas, traditional historical dramas value historical facts and actively reflect them. Also, given that heaviness is the charm of traditional historical dramas, the episode of King Hyeonjong falling from a horse felt like a frivolity that broke the flow.

Author Gil, who felt greatly disappointed with the development of ‘Gogeo-jeon’, said, “I wish I had written it with a sense of responsibility.”He appealed, saying, “I pray that dramas can escape from being third-rate.” At this point, he has properly shot Gogo Jeon. Also, regarding King Hyeonjong, he lamented, “They are making a fool out of the man who can be considered the most famous soldier in Korean history.” It is also disappointing from the perspective of viewers who were ready to be fascinated by the character of Hyeonjong.

Kim Dong-jun, who played the role of Hyeonjong, received a lot of criticism for his vocalization and rigid acting that did not match the tone of the historical drama. KBS gave Kim Dong-jun, who was controversial about his acting skills, the ‘KBS Drama Awards’ The grand prize winner created a somewhat embarrassing situation. Kim Dong-jun’s acting became somewhat stable towards the middle, which was largely helped by Choi Soo-jong, who played the role of Kang Gam-chan. However, with this episode of falling from a horse, he fell into trouble again.

‘Gogeo-jeon’, which announced the dramatic revival of traditional historical dramas, is receiving great support from viewers. The passionate performances of Lee Won-jong, who plays Kang-joo, and Ji Seung-hyeon, who plays Yang-gyu, succeeded in driving viewership ratings in the early stages, and the strong presence of Choi Soo-jong, who won the Best Acting Award, is adding strength. Additionally, expectations are rising for the climax of the Battle of Guizhou. However, various controversies surrounding the character of Hyeonjong seem to be holding him back.

How much can “Hyeonjong’s growth story” persuade viewers? How will ‘The Tale of Gogeo’, with Gang Gam-chan’s role reduced due to King Hyeonjong, carry out the build-up to the Battle of Gwiju? From viewers’ complaints to the original author’s criticism, the crisis facing ‘Gogeojeon’ does not seem to be easy.

Additional post | This article is also published on citizen reporter Kim Jong-seong’s personal blog ‘Barack Kim, go your own way'(https://wanderingpoet.tistory.com). a>

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