I would be lying to myself if I said that Secret Door was not my most anticipated drama of the year. Everything about it screamed potential ground-breaking series on the paper: the network (SBS!), the screenwriter (her past works included Hwang Jin-yi and The Immortal Yi Sun-shin!), the director (he worked behind Sign, Ghost, and The Suspicious Housekeeper!), and not to forget, the star-studded cast. But then, the drama suffered low ratings despite the hype surrounding it before it premiered. One can argue that ratings aren’t what they used to represent but there are reasons why the drama turned up being underwhelming than what was expected.
This is the last part of the history bits column (?) about Secret Door on this blog, so I hope that these lacking translations can give rough ideas on the history behind the leading figures featured in the drama. There’s another one article related to Sado’s effort to conduct a reform on the state examination and I will translate that one when I have the time to do so. For now, enjoy this post!
The history bits delve into the weekly issues presented in the drama and with Secret Door already at its halfway mark, things could only go awry and worse for Yeongjo and Yi Sun. As much as I am dreading the ending, these little things about the historical background of the characters distract me a bit from the impending heartbreak. History presents its complicated points and the endless possibility of interpretations in these articles, so I hope that this will be an eye-opener for us, learning about other’s interpretation of the history. After all…
There is not just one truth out there. Everyone involved carries their own form of the truth.
I chanced upon several articles discussing the history behind Secret Door, and thought that the mix of history and the author’s view on the current politics in South Korea are worth the time spent to read them. I realize that the author, Kim Jung-sung, also wrote a series of articles (one of them can be found here) in response to the historical drama airing in 2011, Tree with Deep Roots. One thing that I like about historical dramas is that they have the power to generate the public’s interest in the history used as the settings. As a foreigner, this is an opportunity for me to gain more insights regarding the fascinating history of South Korea.
With the currently airing Three Musketeers and the upcoming Secret Door, the focus is not only the characters in the dramas but also the historical figures who inspired the fictional people featured in the period pieces. Although the history could be a major spoiler for those who hate to be spoiled when they are watching a particular drama, to me, the process to reach the conclusion is more important, since it sets a drama different from the others revolving around the same historical figures. Sure, we already know the ending, but it is worth the time if the events leading to the ultimate ending are wonderfully crafted, enough to leave me breathless. Although breathless sounds like an exaggerated expression but that’s what it feels to watch a well-written drama, which is rare nowadays.