Jang Ok Jung’s Gentlemen and Scheming Ladies


I’ve been trying to find a good title that can be at the same level as Queen Inhyun’s Man, but this is the best I can come up with. I suddenly became interested in Jang Ok-jung: Live in Love after Hong Soo-hyun joined the cast. I was keeping my excitement low for the time being, but the press conference yesterday did it all for me, leaving me craving and waiting like crazy for next Monday. All I can do right now is praying for the drama to turn out really, really good and become my first sageuk fix of the year.

The last sageuk that I followed closely was Faith and one of the good things about watching period dramas based on the real historical figures is the history. Just like what I did with Faith, I spent the whole day yesterday reading about Jang Ok-jung’s biography. I even went to Korean sites for the sake of obtaining more information until my brain couldn’t take it anymore. The characters in Jang Ok-jung: Live in Love are probably familiar people among those who watched Queen Inhyun’s Man and Dong Yi, but this time, the story is told from Lady Jang / Jang Hui-bin’s point of view. Since all the dramas portrayed her as the evil concubine of King Sukjong, I find it interesting when this drama intends to show the kind Lady Jang while Queen Inhyun and Choi Suk-bin are the evil and scheming consorts.


I think the introduction is self-explanatory and I want to keep the surprise for myself although the history has already mapped the rough plot of the drama. I want to share some interesting tidbits that I found from my reading about the history of Joseon yesterday related to the drama. The more I get to know about the history, I get more curious on how they will twist the plot.

  • King Sukjong, portrayed by Yoo Ah-in in the drama, was born in 1661, making him two years younger than Lady Jang (Kim Tae-hee). In real life, Kim Tae-hee is six years older than Yoo Ah-in.
  • Queen Inhyun (Hong Soo-hyun) was younger than King Sukjong by six years but Hong Soo-hyun is actually five years Yoo Ah-in’s senior.
  • Prince Dongpyeong (Lee Sang-yeob)’s name can only be found in the Korean sources so I had to hunt a bit for his biography. He was King Injo’s grandson from his son with Deposed Lady Jo / Jo Gwi-in and that made him a cousin once removed or cousin uncle to Sukjong.
  • Lady Jang became a lady-in-waiting in the same year of Lady Choi / Choi Suk-bin (Han Seung-yeon)’s birth, which was 1670. Han Seung-yeon is only eight years Kim Tae-hee’s junior. I’m not sure whether we will see Lady Jang become a lady-in-waiting in the drama or not.

'장옥정, 사랑에 살다'의 얼굴들!

  • Jang Hyun (Sung Dong-il), the man responsible in making Lady Jang to enter the palace, was her father’s cousin. Hence, he’s her cousin once removed, or her cousin uncle.
  • Queen Inhyun was actually King Sukjong’s second Queen Consort. His first Queen Consort, Queen Ingyung (Kim Ha-eun), died in 1680 and Sukjong married Inhyun one year after Ingyung’s death.
  • Queen Inhyun’s father Min Yoo-jung was the Minister of Defense.
  • Not sure if we’ll get to see this in the drama, but Queen Inhyun didn’t produce any heir for Sukjong. Lady Jang and Lady Choi both bore a son each that would be the future King Kyungjong and King Yeongjo, respectively.
  • Jae Hee’s character Hyun Chi-soo is a fictional character who’s been harboring one-sided love towards Lady Jang.

[EDIT: for more about the history, visit the final thoughts post here]

If anyone is as impatient as I am, let’s abuse the replay button together for these videos! Here’s the 8-minute highlight…

…and the first episode preview.

Digging the hanbok feast coming my way next week! Not to forget…Hong Soo-hyun! Let the war and the pretty commence, along with some good bromance here and there~



21 thoughts on “Jang Ok Jung’s Gentlemen and Scheming Ladies

  1. Wow. I salute your dedication – I mean, you actually went and studied the history!! 😀

    Thanks for the breakdown – certainly makes the context more rich and interesting! I’m kind of looking forward to this one too, except that I can’t keep up with live watches & always marathon at my own pace after it’s done.. Yay that you’ll be digging into this one soon! ^^

    1. I blame my love for history but I’m so grateful to have sageuk so that I can always learn something new 🙂

      Somehow I really envy you for marathoning dramas after they’re done. I can’t do that because I’m not good at restraining myself. If I watch a complete drama, I have to finish it before I can do other things. The latest case was Ojakgyo Brothers. That’s why I have to follow the dramas when it’s still airing. Hoping that this will be as good as The Princess’ Man! 😉

      1. LOL! You’re so cute, using the live watch as a self control mechanism! ;D I don’t have the discipline to keep up with a live watch so I always feel SOOO behind from not following the live watch!

        I’ve got just 3 more eps of Ojakgyo Brothers so I think I’m going to be done really soon! Hopefully I finish writing my Gaksital review before I finish watching OB.. It hadn’t occurred to me that giving myself a double dose of Joo Won watching Gaksital & OB at the same time would also mean reviewing both shows one after the other ^^ I am surrounded by Joo Won, LOL! 😀

        1. That’s one of the downside of live watching, you got so stay updated with the latest episodes. But the agony of waiting….urgh, even after three years of live watching, I can never recover from the agony of waiting for the next episodes!

          Awwww lucky you, that’s a good thing, to be surrounded by Joo Won! But it must be confusing at times, because his roles are so different in those dramas! Heehee 😛 Can’t wait to read your review of both dramas~ I’m a little sad that I couldn’t keep up with Level 7. I have another 5 episodes to finish but I don’t know when I’ll be able to watch it :/

        2. Lol, you hit the nail on the head! One of the major reasons I don’t mind not live watching (aside from my lack of discipline to do so!) is that if there’s a great cliffhanger, the agony of waiting for the next ep is just excruciating! And the best cliffhangers always happen after the week’s 2nd ep, so it’s a full week before the next one! Sneaky writers! XD

          The Gaksital review is taking me a long time to finish, so I’m hoping I’ll finally get to the finish line in the next day or so 😛 It’s becoming a thesis, I kid you not! >.<

          I'm half hearted about starting L7.. on one hand, so many people were disappointed with it.. but on the other hand.. More Joo Won! Lol!

        3. That’s why I’m regretting my decision to watch Nine. Urgh, the cliffhangers are killing me! It reminds me of Gaksital. Gaahhh watching Gaksital was the most excruciating torture I ever had with cliffhangers >.<

          How nice it is if we can make a real thesis out of an analysis of the dramas. It's hard but at least we're enjoying it. Hehehe. L7 is enjoyable if you don't think too much while watching it. I think I'll have to reset my mind before resuming it…have to focus only at Joo Won…and Chansung too 😉

  2. So much pretty! Those dresses are so, so lovely and if highlighting them is a plot-point I’ll be very happy. 🙂

    Also, Yoo Ah-in. Yoo Ah-in makes me happy, too. 😀

    I love that you dug into the history. I always waver on whether I want to know because spoilers versus of course the drama-creators expect their audience to know… But I do find I learn tons of stuff. Most of it from Wikipedia, but it’s better than nothing.

    1. Me too! It’ll be like watching a hanbok fashion show and I am so excited for this hanbok feast!

      You can take him, I’ll take Lee Sang-yeob. Hehehe! I always enjoy reading the history if a drama is based on the historical figures. It will be spoilerish but learning something new makes the watching experience better 😀

  3. I knew the production was just spouting BS when they said that King Sukjong was 6 years younger than Jang Hee Bin… Yoo Ah In looks like Kim Tae Hee’s kid brother.

  4. Hi, I just discovered your writing but it is amazing!!!! I have been looking for somewhere I could learn a little bit more about the history, since I recently got into more historical dramas. The way you use dramas to explain everything is great! I was really hoping you could have some type of timeline about the history using the dramas. Since I recently (like an idiot) realized the characters overlap haha. But I get easily confused with the titles and names, so yeah. Anyways I am currently watching Queen Insoo and am trying to keep tack of everything hehe:)

    1. Hello! Yeah, just like what you said, the names are actually confusing. Hehehe. A history timeline is a good suggestion, actually. Why I haven’t thought of this before?! I’ll try to do it since I’m currently on my holiday right now 😀 Thanks a lot for the suggestion! 😉

  5. Hi! Is it possible for you to tell me where you read up the history part on? I’ve been googling a lot but I can’t find any good sources of information! I’m really obsessed with Jang Hee Bin for many years now and really wanna find out more. Appreciate your help if you could just email me! Thanks! jeannnnnn-x@live.com! 🙂

    1. I actually read them on Korean wiki and naver, plus some blogs that I couldn’t really remember O.O you can search their names in Hangul on naver and their biographies will appear 🙂

  6. so good watching period kdramas…thanks for all the additional info. i also dig into history to know the real story. i just hope that we all get a nice ending for this drama, from the point of view of jang ok jung.

  7. I like JOJ live in love. I think this drama shows us the different view. In other dramas and movies, In hyun and Choi Sook Bin is too good. And it makes people feel faked. Because in concubine, the women have fo fight each other in order to exist.
    I like Lee Hang in this film. Do you know about Lee Hang’s life and the relationship with Ok Jung in history?

  8. I also this story and trying too search about the history. From the history lady jang was the evil. And from the story jang ok jung i cry for the hee bin. So curious is she the true evil or what

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