Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Princess Hours (Korean: 궁, Hanja: 宫, romanized as Goong and also known as The Imperial Household, Love in Palace, Palace Love or Palace, its literal translation and alternate official title) is a popular soonjong manhwa (Korean girls' comic) by Park So-Hee. It was adapted into an even more well-known live-action comedy/drama series, which had its first season run from January 11 to March 30, 2006. It was distributed by Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation, which ran episodes on Wednesdays and Thursdays every week until the show's completion. The original manhwa (which, as of January 2009, has run for 17 volumes in Korea, and by 2012 17 in America) is being published in English as Goong, while the drama has been released on DVD in North America as Palace by YA Entertainment. Princess Hours became one of MBC's most popular dramas of 2006, second only to Jumong. Overall, the show was the tenth most popular drama of 2006, according to TNS Media. Due to the success of the first season, a second season was to be produced, a rare occasion in the Korean television industry. However, there was controversy over who had the rights to make the sequel, and as a result, two separate parties planned different seasons. However, the sequel, Goong 2 will no longer be produced due to the withdrawal of two main actors. The spin-off Goong S started its run on January 10, 2007. Synopsis Set in an alternate 21st-century reality where Korea possesses a royal family, this show revolves around the lives of the Crown Prince (Hwangtaeja) Yi Shin, and his new bride, Chae-kyeong. The depicted royal family in the show is modelled after the last royal family of Korea, which in reality reigned until the start of the Japanese Occupation in 1911 and was not reinstated after Japanese surrender in WW2. The series starts off with the news that the King, Shin's father, is very ill. With the grim outlook on the King's health, the royal family scrambles to find a wife for Shin, so as to allow him to take over the royal throne if the situation requires. Despite being in love with another girl, the ambitious and talented ballerina Hyo-rin whom Shin initially proposed to (she rejects him to pursue her ballet dreams), Shin eventually marries a commoner to whom he was betrothed by his late grandfather in an old agreement with the girl's grandfather. Shin marries the headstrong yet lovable Chae-kyeong after Hyo-rin's rejection. Despite initially feeling nothing for Chae-kyeong, love eventually blossoms between the couple. In the meantime, however, matters are further complicated with the return of Yi Yul and his mother Lady Hwa-Young, who was once the Crown Princess (Bingoong) before the death of her husband, the late Crown Prince, older brother of the current King. Yul and his mother were chased out of the palace some time after the death of his father, and it is later revealed that this was due to the King's discovery of an affair between Yul's mother and the current King who was his father's younger brother. Yul's mother had returned with a sinister motive in mind; to restore her son back to the throne, which would have been his eventually, if his father had not died. A series of events befall the palace with the schemes Yul's mother carries out, and is further intensified by the various scandals involving the royal family, which are inclusive of the Shin's continuing relationship with his old flame Hyo-rin, and the budding love Yul develops for Chae-kyeong, his cousin's new-found bride.