A week prior to the broadcast, Six Flying Dragons presented a special program to introduce the drama to the fans, as well as the potential viewers who might be interested to watch it after encountering the special. The program, entitled Six Flying Dragons – Who Are the Six Dragons? was aired on 28 September, and the day marks the final seven days countdown to the first episode of the drama! I hope I am not the only one who is beyond excited about it, and hopefully you will enjoy the summary of the special!
(MINOR SPOILERS AHEAD! CONSIDER YOURSELF WARNED) 😉
First is the introduction to the title: 육룡이 나르샤, which caused a bit of confusion because the word ‘나르샤’ (nareusha) is also spelled like Narsha’s name in Korean. Just like Tree with Deep Roots, the title originated from a book published by King Sejong the Great in 1445 in order to promote the usage of Hangul: Yongbieocheonga (용비어천가), or Songs of the Dragons Flying to Heaven. Taken from the first line of the first verse, the six dragons here refer to the ancestors of King Sejong: Mokjo, Ikjo, Danjo, Hwanjo, Taejo, and Taejong. As for the drama, it takes the motif into creating six dragons at the time Joseon was founded: the historical figures Taejo Yi Seong-gye, Taejong Yi Bang-won, and Jeong Do-jeon; and the fictional characters Lee Bang-ji, Boon-yi, and Moo Hyul.
Yoo Ah-in stated that the reason he accepted the role is because he is Yi Bang-won. Although he’s carrying a huge burden on his shoulder to portray a figure who have been acted by a lot of actors before, he takes it as a challenge to portray a younger image of the king who was mostly viewed as a ruthless ruler later in his life. Young, energetic Bang-won also has colourful sides to him: dorky, childlike, and not to forget, a man full of charisma as someone who will be a king later.
Kim Myung-min actually swore off sageuk after doing his last historical drama The Immortal Lee Soon-shin (which had a total of 104 episodes!). It was difficult, experiencing summer twice and winter once while filming the long drama, and it won’t be human-like for him to do it again. However, it has been around ten years since then, and he feels like it is okay to do the drama, although 50 episodes is very long. There’s burden and expectation in portraying Jeong Do-jeon as he is a historical figure, but KMM sees it as a challenge for him to figure it out.
There will be two faces of Jeong Do-jeon in the drama: one will be the hot-blooded youth who yearns for better society, while the other – older and maturing through his 8-year exile – is sly, wise, and detailed. He also shares his way of monitoring his acting and comparing himself transforming into his character to wearing clothes, he’s like wearing up to the socks, since it’s still in the early stage of the drama.
Shin Se-kyung is the only flower among the six leads, but she is an ordinary beggar this time. The young girl Boon-yi grows up into a strong, reliable, and trustworthy lady. She can be regarded as a democratic leader, representing the citizens who faces the hard times, dreaming of a reform. Comparing Boon-yi to her character in Tree, So-yi, she states that Boon-yi doesn’t have any gift like So-yi’s remarkable memory, but there will be enough reason to stick with the woman who will play an important role in opening a new era for the suffering country.
Yoon Kyun-sang, on the other hand, shows his awe and respect towards Jo Jin-woong, who portrayed the older version of Moo Hyul in Tree, while recollecting his friends’ doubt about him playing the character in Dragons. Different from the cool Moo Hyul later in his life, the younger swordsman is an innocent man who is out to make a name of himself in the world of martial arts. He basically knows nothing and heads out to the world with the strength he has in him, for the sake of his nine younger siblings and his grandmother.
Byun Yo-han is the younger Lee Bang-ji, and different from Moo Hyul in Tree, the older Bang-ji only appeared once in a while, showcasing his skills as the best swordsman in the history of Korea. For that reason, the actor starts to practice his sword fighting skills one and an half month prior to his shooting. Since Lee Bang-ji, or formerly known as Ddang-sae, will be younger in Dragons, it is just fitting for him to be faster and stronger, to match the swift older version of himself later. All the hours of practicing are worth the result, indeed..and possibly, because he has the knack for it.
Chun Ho-jin is the founder of the Joseon Dynasty, Taejo Yi Seong-gye, but the drama will follow his journey from a loyal General of Goryeo Dynasty to the fate he cannot avoid: becoming a politician before overthrowing Goryeo and a force to be feared by everyone, especially the Goryeo officials. He has to choose between his loyalty to the country and the will to protect the suffering citizens, ultimately leading himself into the arena of politics in the turbulent Goryeo.
A little history lesson..
At the end of Goryeo Dynasty, the nation was plagued with attacks from north and south: Red Turban Army from the northern side and the Japanese pirates from the southern side of the country. As a result, the citizens suffered the most during that time: killed, robbed, and even kidnapped from their families. The officials were too busy fighting over the ownership and possession of land, and these nobles, known as Kwonmun Sejok (권문세족), wielded their power and took over the citizens’ land, claiming it as theirs by dividing the territories among themselves. Famine and starvation became a common sight around the nation, prompting the rise of a new group of scholar aristocrats, knows as Sinjin Sadaebu (신진사대부), whose members included Poeun Jeong Mong-ju and Sambong Jeong Do-jeon.
Jeong Do-jeon, who had been exiled because of the discord between him and the corrupt officials, had the opportunity to live among the lowborns in Jeolla-do for two years. The time he spent there taught him a precious lesson about the citizens’ lives, and their dream of a democratic country by dynastic revolution (역성혁명). But then, there’s another problem: he had the brain, but he didn’t have the power and support behind him. There were two promising candidates who became popular among the citizens after defeating the pirates: Generals Choi Young and Yi Seong-gye.
Although Choi Young was the prime candidate as Jeong Do-jeon’s partner in the revolution, the general was not going to let go of his influential family status, which would be nothing when the new era was to be opened. So, Jeong Do-jeon figured out that Yi Seong-gye would be a good leader material for the revolution, because he came from a humble family in Hamgyeong-do serving as low officials in the government. Plus, Yi Seong-gye was also a close friend of Poeun, who was also Sambong’s senior.
But then, there was a difference between Poeun and Sambong: the former wanted to keep the royal family of Goryeo (and also the country) intact and the revolution could be done progressively, but Sambong wanted to establish a new nation from scratch, changing the king of the nation. Hence, they were divided into two groups in constant discord: the revolutionists (혁명파) and the loyalists of Goryeo (유지파). The one who put an end to the conflict was no other than Yi Bang-won, the smart and capable fifth son of Yi Seong-gye with the tendency to choose violence.
Yi Bang-won saw Poeun as a threat but Yi Seong-gye was reluctant to do anything to his longtime friend. However, Yi Seong-gye suddenly got hurt after falling from a horse and Poeun saw it as his chance to get rid of both him and Sambong. Yi Bang-won had been watching him closely and invited Poeun for a drink, and they exchanged poems in the former’s attempt to persuade the latter one last time, onlt to be rejected by the latter, who hinted his loyalty towards Goryeo. After that, Yi Bang-won sent assassins to kill Poeun Jeong Mong-ju and the official was killed on the historical Sonjuk Bridge, three months prior to the founding of Joseon.
Other characters being introduced are the corrupted nobles: Chief Supreme Chancellor Yi In-gyeom (inspired by the real historical figure Yi In-im, played by Choi Jung-won), Sungkyunkwan Headmaster Baek Yoon (Kim Ha-kyun), and State Councillor Gil Tae-mi (fictional version of Im Gyeon-mi, portrayed by Park Hyuk-kwon. He had to put on lots of make up for the character ^^;).
Relationship between the dragons: as we already know, Yi Seong-gye is Yi Bang-won’s father, and looks like he is trained to become a warrior by his father the General, who is also the pride of their family. Ddang Sae is Boon-yi’s older brother, and they will be separated when they travel to the capital to find their missing mother when they are still young. Poor kids! Jeong Do-jeon and Yi Seong-gye are the main partner in the revolution, and they will be joined by the young souls following Sambong: Bang-won, Boon-yi, and Ddang Sae.
The love line will be present between Boon-yi and Bang-won, and Yoo Ah-in looks so delighted to be able to act alongside Shin Se-kyung again! Their relationship seems to be like a cat and a dog, with all the brawling and chasing and biting involved, but she will definitely become a huge catalyst in his life. Not to forget, the love triangle between Jeong Do-jeon, Yeon-hee (Jung Yoo-mi), and Ddang Sae. One is her current lover, and the other was her childhood sweetheart. I like how Jung Yoo-mi puts her thought on her character’s feelings towards both men: feeling of betrayal and scarred, mixed with love and yearning for Ddang Sae; and Jeong Do-jeon as someone she looks up to, a big person she can learn a lot from, and a reliable figure in her life.
With so many dramas premiering this October, will Six Flying Dragons attract its cult followers to be glued to the screen for the next six months? We’ll see, but I’ve already registered my name months ago. Am I excited? YES, I AM.