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[Drama 2013/2014] ♚ Empress Ki (기황후) ♚


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sound the horns!! horses neigh, swords clash.. meanwhile, minds swirl and clash. welcome to the world of empress ki where every day is a battle!

 

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it is past midnight in seoul and wednesday has already begun. we are going to kick-start our re-watch party -- feel free to post your thoughts on ep 1 & 2, gifs, stills, pictures. have fun laughing and dissecting the numerous characters and figuring out who is who!  @partyon @Jillia @MVM @Fandomized Q @joccu @MayanEcho @Sleepy Owl @Ameera Ali @ailanthus @kehrite  ..... are you ready to discover ji chang wook's smile?

 

just like other airing drama threads, chingus are free to join in at any time. if you are swamped for time and other commitments, no worries. feel free to pop in when convenient. if you are following the thread, let us know and we will make sure we tag you for the fun polls and quizzes we have as we go along..

 

:eatscookie:

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Hello friends!   Welcome to the season of swords and destiny. For those who don't know, August 15 was Korea's independence day. Inspired, we decided to create an event season focused o

First script reading for the drama back then. Source: MBC

I watched the first episode and enjoyed it very much. Usually a sageuk would have like 15 or more episodes for the childrens part but it looks like here they're going to fill in everything that happen

Alright, let me get this re-watch party started! @MVM @Fandomized Q @joccu @MayanEcho @Sleepy Owl @Ameera Ali @ailanthus @kehrite 

Keep in mind that this is my first sageuk ever. The reasons why I always before dropped sageuks after 10 min, came flooding into my mind with Empress Ki ep 1.... So please bear with me! This is how my thoughts went watching the episodes:

:joy:

 

Episode 1:

1) Ooh, nice settings. Huge palace. Oppa looking handsome! Swoon.... Ha Ji Won also looking really lovely in her red dress getting married to oppa.

Hmm... She does look a lot older than him, though....?

 

2) Wait, what is this background music? :neutral:

 

3) Tragic childhood. I see, this is going to be a REVENGE drama!

 

4) Ok, why do all the guys look totally the same to me? I can't tell them apart... :cry:

 

Spoiler

tenor.gif?itemid=12594344

 

5) This background music is becoming annoying! :grimace:

 

6) Alright, I am starting to get really confused. What is koryeo and all this other weird terminology they're using? Speed dial @Lmangla and @Jillia for some help.

:crybaby:

7) How can they actually think that Seung Nyang is a boy? Would they never have noticed her lady parts in fights? Ok, best to leave logic out when watching this drama.... :dead:

8) Now I am getting seriously confused! Who is betraying whom? What's with the salt? Speed dial @Jillia and @Berou Help me chingus!

@Jillia posts new character charts and both help out to explain how sageuks work. @Lmangla is laughing when reading my questions.

9) This background music is SUPER annoying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  :kicks:


End of episode 1 <phew, I made it>

 

Episode 2:

1) I can do this !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Don't give up! @Berou has told me that the first episodes of sageuks are always confusing.

 

2) They really are over-acting in this drama, aren't they? Especially Wang Ko!

Spoiler

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He acts like this:

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3) How many kings, princes and crown princes are there? Speed dial my friends again. I think they are starting to get annoyed over my questions, except for @Lmangla who can't stop laughing....

 

4) Ok, so I am starting to understand the story, but PLEASE MAKE THE BACKGROUND MUSIC STOP!!!!!!! :kitty:

 

5) The haraboji king fainting in some lady's arms just makes me laugh.... Also, why are they shouting half of the time?
This overacting is like watching a Spanish speaking telenovela. :joy:

tenor.gif?itemid=16801372

 

Spoiler

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6) Why is there a guy with a modern haircut in this drama? His haircut makes me think of Taeyang....

Hmmm... Did they run out of money for wigs.....?

Spoiler

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images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSsFj9lIku6ktlSb6_YoR6

 

Just sayin'

 

7) Finally Oppa appears! Wait, why is he such a weakling.....?

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But he still seems like a pretty sweet soul.:love:

I can totally see Empress Ki falling for him. He's much cuter than the older dude in my opinion. :joy:

On a side note, love the Mongolian gers (tents) even though they do look a bit  too modern.

 

End of episode 2 <I made it!!!!!!>

 

My verdict? I will continue watching it ! Yay!

The background music though..... :smashes:

 

 

 

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:loolz:

 

@partyon ~ LOL, glad you survived the first two episodes of a saeguk! hahahaha... don't worry, you are not the only one who can't tell all these characters apart, thats my problem too in saeguks! hahahaha... especially since it seems like all the scheming court people are all dressed pretty much in identical uniforms types. just make nicknames for them (like gritting rick from bold and beautiful) and you will be able to remember them. hahahahha... .. :lol:

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@partyon remembering the characters in a Saeguk takes some time. Especially those ministers, they don't really get that much screentime and their uniform is same. So you might take some time telling characters apart. 

 

Also if I were to believe Saeguks, a lot of women back then would cross-dress a lot (would be easier in the joseon era) and the fellow Korean men would never really know they were women :surprisedwut:.

 

Edit: hidden content below is not related to Empress Ki and may not really be a spoiler. 

Spoiler

Saeguk "Sungkyunkwan Scandal" is based on a girl cross-dressing as a guy to go Sungkyunkwan university (during the Joseon era) and there are a lot of RickRoll'D moments in that :joy:. Most epic one being one of the characters sees her, brings his friends to show her to them and she is gone, so he starts thinking that a virgin ghost lurks though the university (something similar to that, i watched it years ago). 

 

Spoiler

The most epic one for me was in "Gu Family Book" in which Lee Seung Gi (the MC) did not realize Bae Suzy (FMC) was a girl initially. He does come to know that she is a girl when he accidentally places his hand on her chest to stop her, they look at each other awkwardly and this is me while watching that :spitswater:.

 

I can give many more examples, but yeah even I was shocked that they could not tell Seung Nyang was a girl. 

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1 hour ago, partyon said:

My verdict? I will continue watching it ! Yay!

The background music though.....

hahahha... don't mock the music; after a few episodes, those notes are going to haunt you! hahahhaa... any dramatic incident in your life and you will hear those notes play in the background... :lol:

tenor.gif

 

... and having difficulty telling apart the characters seem to be common problem for  many viewers because saeguks do these subtitles where they will remind you of who all these characters are in case if you have forgotten. kekeke...:lol:

 

36 minutes ago, Sleepy Owl said:

Also if I were to believe Saeguks, a lot of women back then would cross-dress a lot (would be easier in the joseon era) and the fellow Korean men would never really know they were women

LOL.. perfect gif you posted in response to that trope

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I watched the first episode and enjoyed it very much. Usually a sageuk would have like 15 or more episodes for the childrens part but it looks like here they're going to fill in everything that happened back then with flashbacks. It was also a nice setup, getting the coronation in the beginning and Toghon Temür or his Korean name Ta Hwan demand whether Wang Yoo still loved Seung Nyang or not. It's going to be a interesting ride to get there.

 

@partyon

You're hilarious! I love it! :fullofhearts:

 

As for your questions, let's see if I can answer some of them:

 

What is koryeo and all this other weird terminology they're using?

 

Koryeo was an ancient/medieval era which lasted from 918 to 1392, so right before the Joseon era was introduced in 1392. Judging from the historical figures involved like El-Temür and Toghon Temür and our titular protagonist Empress Ki the drama is set in the late Koryeo era, so the 14th century. :) During that time the Yuan-Dynasty under the Mongol royal family was ruling in China, hence why we have so many Mongol names like Toghon Temür (however in the drama he is simply called by the Korean name Ta Hwan).

 

At the moment, at least in episode 1, we're still in Koryeo aka Korea and the plot still evolves there. I won't go into detail about Ki Seung Nyang because the only thing was hinted at in episode 1 is that she actually belongs to a noble family and was looking for her father after her mother was murdered by the Mongols. But of course she missed her father by seconds in that soup restaurant.

 

Since I haven't seen episode 2 yet I don't know how far they got with that plot but since I think we will get to that in the upcoming episodes I won't spoil anything. :D

 

How can they actually think that Seung Nyang is a boy? Would they never have noticed her lady parts in fights?

 

Hahaha.... no idea honestly. But I think they did a better job casting Ha Ji Won than some Chinese dramas where the woman disguised as man usually look way too feminine. Ha Ji Won also looks feminine and I don't buy it for one second but she makes me forget sometimes she is actually tricking those men. :lol:

 

Who is betraying whom? What's with the salt?

 

Salt was a very important commodity for China back then, even considered more important than gold. I can only judge it by the first episode but it sounds to me that Wang Go wants to make sure China is on his side when he is sending them salt. Koryeo was a vessel state to China, so had to send tributes anyways most likely. But it was also very important to have China on the side of the king of Koryeo to have the power against the political opposition. Wang Go's ulterior motif is to become king and he believes when he sends tributes he will have the favor of China.

 

At this point, there is one Crown Prince of Koryeo which is Wang Yoo, everyone thinks of as the useless crown prince. Wang Go goes behind the back of the king and Wang Yoo to have China on his side, so he will have their support should he become the king of Koryeo. That's my guess here. And Wang Yoo isn't such a idiot like Wang Go thinks and is actually trying to figure out what is going on with the salt trade. :)

 

How many kings, princes and crown princes are there?

 

There is one king of Koryeo but he probably had a queen and several concubines with all of them he had children and all sons are eligible for the throne but only 1 son is named the crown prince (seja). In this drama the crown prince is Wang Yoo (who is actually a fictional character, loosely based on King Chunghye). Meanwhile Wang Go is a historical figure in this drama but he could be related to Wang Yoo, being his uncle or something like that. And it was normal that those who felt had the right to the throne would fight for it. Hence why there are so many intrigues and fights for political power in sageuks. :)

 

Why is there a guy with a modern haircut in this drama?

 

My guess is they wanted to show how WILD and foreign the mongols from Yuan-China were to the people in Koryeo. And probably also wanted to show that time passed. Because in the beginning he had long hair. :D

 

I hope this helps a little bit and it's not too confusing.

 

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@partyon nicknames helps to remember like @Lmangla said.

saguek are always at first confusing because the are usually starting the story in the childhood of the main leads.

 

and in saguek the king usually has many children with different people. there are king and queen, then there are royal noble consort( that is thr title for the kings concubine).

the concubines have different ranks. the ranks 1-4 were considered part of royal family.

 

 

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@Lmangla @joccu

I never had the idea to give them nicknames. :D But that's actually pretty awesome! I'm just always like "okay.... by episode 30 I remember them". :lol: So far I don't have issues. But I think it will get more complicated the more episodes I watch.

 

@MayanEcho

No problem! :D I love researching, so it was fun. I never focused on that part of Korean history during my college time. But I love it!

:wow1:

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1 minute ago, Jillia said:

No problem! :D I love researching, so it was fun. I never focused on that part of Korean history during my college time. But I love it!

 

Please don't make me miss the time while studying in college! :lol: 

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1 minute ago, MayanEcho said:

 

Please don't make me miss the time while studying in college! :lol: 

Believe me I don't miss it necessarily but it was something I had interest in, so then it's fun! :lol:

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9 minutes ago, joccu said:

@partyon nicknames helps to remember like @Lmangla said.

saguek are always at first confusing because the are usually starting the story in the childhood of the main leads.

 

and in saguek the king usually has many children with different people. there are king and queen, then there are royal noble consort( that is thr title for the kings concubine).

the concubines have different ranks. the ranks 1-4 were considered part of royal family.

 

 

Yes nicknames always work. I remember watching Dae Jang Geum for the first time and was literally confused looking at all the court ladies (since they all had same hairstyle and uniform). So initially for me Lady Choi became the the evil court lady, Jang Geum's mentor (don't remember her name) became the good lady, one of Jang Geum's friend used to cry a lot so she became the "cry baby" and so on. 

 

Same was the case with Dong Yi. As far as I have seen, the more modern era becomes (like later Goryeo or Mid-later Joseon), the number of ministers increases and the court becomes larger making it difficult to remember the cases. But then again after watching some 10-12 episodes, you'll start remembering those characters with their actual names. Also many Saeguks are kind enough to write the name and rank of certain ministers who get less screentime so that the viewer can remember it. 

 

The Goryeo, Taejo of Goryeo had around 30 consorts out of which 6 were given the Queen title and around 40+ children, out of which 18 children belonged to the 6 Queens in which 12 were princes. Which means that the throne could go to any of the 12 children. It went to the three 3 one of them and you can also imagine the power struggle it could have caused. So this was the case in almost all eras in Korea, which led to conspiracies and treason.

 

What I am trying to say is whatever Saeguk we watch, they always try to reduce the number of characters so that we can remember them, but the ones remain are usually the ones who can't really be removed. Like I remember reading that King Geam Hwa had 6 princes. But the power struggle among those 6 princes would be too much for the drama, they reduced it to 3 for the drama Jumong.  

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1 hour ago, Jillia said:

During that time the Yuan-Dynasty under the Mongol royal family was ruling in China, hence why we have so many Mongol names like Toghon Temür (however in the drama he is simply called by the Korean name Ta Hwan).

reading your research and having so many questions!

so during the lockdown, ended up randomly watching lots of language documentaries on youtube due to recommendations. so in one, learned about mongolian -- basically they use cyrillic (the russian language script) but are planning to shift to their ancient language script which is quite unique; so people have to now learn that and you read it top down and right across.

 

main-qimg-240c005276706a76c128b7ec572a1b

 

so here is my question -- what language and script are all these Mongol characters in this drama using? for trade purposes, how does it work? is there some sort of common language they can use when they cross borders? and how much did this ruling family retain of their Mongol heritage? or did they assimilate fully?

 

1 hour ago, Jillia said:

Koryeo was a vessel state to China, so had to send tributes anyways most likely.

this often confused me because different saeguks seemed to show different things -- perhaps politics varied through different time periods. so in this drama, how is the vessel state defined? if they have a king, is it a puppet king? how much administrative power do they have and why would there be a tussle to be king? (as in does being king give you any power at all?) am trying to understand if it is like EU type situation where countries are sovereign but have some sort of trade ties or is it like a regional province within a nation where they have some autonomy but certain calls come from the centre?

 

1 hour ago, Jillia said:

Salt was a very important commodity for China back then, even considered more important than gold.

from what I remember, this was also the case in the roman empire @partyon; think at one point, centurions were paid in salt. remember reading something like that once...  basically it was not just about flavour but the preserving quality,  which allows you to store/pickle vegetables and meat during the winter and also for use during the summer (basically doesn't get bad easily), made it highly important. therefore, it had high practical value as they didn't have freezers.

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4 minutes ago, Lmangla said:

 

this often confused me because different saeguks seemed to show different things -- perhaps politics varied through different time periods. so in this drama, how is the vessel state defined? if they have a king, is it a puppet king? how much administrative power do they have and why would there be a tussle to be king? (as in does being king give you any power at all?) am trying to understand if it is like EU type situation where countries are sovereign but have some sort of trade ties or is it like a regional province within a nation where they have some autonomy but certain calls come from the centre?

 

By vassal state, it means that around 1270 onward Goryeo became semi-autonomous state. Their monarchs had to marry the Mongol Princesses from the Yuan Dynasty and they would be the Queen. So basically the Monarchs of Goryeo started becoming the imperial son-in law and grandsons of Yuan Monarchs. By this Yuan Dynasty had very much influence in Goryeo's politics and also usually the Crown Prince would be sent to Yuan for sometime and would also need to get their approval before officially becoming a Crown Prince. This went on for almost 80 years and in the 1350s Gongmin started to push the Mongols out and made Goryeo autonomous again. 

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15 minutes ago, Sleepy Owl said:

By this Yuan Dynasty had very much influence in Goryeo's politics and also usually the Crown Prince would be sent to Yuan for sometime and would also need to get their approval before officially becoming a Crown Prince

ah I see; this explains why in some saeguks, these princes were seen as kind of foreign -- in a way, they were if they were trained under the yuan dynasty for long periods of time especially from childhood....

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Just now, Lmangla said:

ah I see; this explains why in some saeguks, these princes were seen as kind of foreign -- in a way, they were if they were trained under the yuan dynasty for long periods of time especially from childhood....

Yeah if you watched Faith, it starts with Choe Young escorting King Gongmin (who spent many years in Yuan as the Crown Prince) and his Queen (who is a Mongol princess) back to Goryeo as he has now become the King. Also his clothes were based on the royal clothes of Yuan, which he later on abandons. 

 

So basically Yuan keeping Crown princes was for 2 reasons. Firstly and honestly they were hostages so that Goryeo would never think about attacking them or try to reduce their influence in the country. Secondly as you guessed training the Crown Princes in their way and teaching them their own culture. That's why in the years Goryeo was under Yuan (those 80 years), their culture was highly influenced by the Yuan dynasty. 

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Yes, but only by the end of Yuan Dynasty Koryeo was able to be free of Mongol occupation. Also, afterwards they actually did swear loyality to the new Chinese dynasty which was the Ming Dynasty. But towards the end of Koryeo era, the king was not known to be favorable towards Ming-China. This changed when Yi Song Gye formed the new era, the Joseon era. He reformed the whole country and also was seeking tighter bonds with the Emperor of Ming-China.

 

I think due to its geographical location it was better for Korea back then to have good bonds with China to ensure they wouldn't have to suffer through annexion. So they rather welcome delegtions from China or sent delegations to China than to have to worry over a military strike.

 

As for your other question, @Lmangla! :)

 

what language and script are all these Mongol characters in this drama using? for trade purposes, how does it work? is there some sort of common language they can use when they cross borders? and how much did this ruling family retain of their Mongol heritage? or did they assimilate fully?

 

From what I know they used Chinese characters. I never heard of Koreans using Mongolian characters back then. In Yuan China back then Mongolian and Mandarin were the languages used by the people. But I think in trade with other countries, such as Korea, Chinese was the commonly used language since those characters were used until Sejong introduced Hangeul. :)

 

I can't say much about the Mongol heritage. But I think in the end, no matter where you're getting married off you will retain some of the original heritage. Especially since the Mongols followed a different religion as well. And I remember from a Chinese drama that there was also a Korean princess who was married off to a Chinese emperor (not sure which one) and she had to wear Chinese clothes and speak Chinese but with her Korean clothes and dancing skills was able to charm the emperor.

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22 minutes ago, Jillia said:

Yes, but only by the end of Yuan Dynasty Koryeo was able to be free of Mongol occupation. Also, afterwards they actually did swear loyality to the new Chinese dynasty which was the Ming Dynasty. But towards the end of Koryeo era, the king was not known to be favorable towards Ming-China. This changed when Yi Song Gye formed the new era, the Joseon era. He reformed the whole country and also was seeking tighter bonds with the Emperor of Ming-China.

 

I think due to its geographical location it was better for Korea back then to have good bonds with China to ensure they wouldn't have to suffer through annexion. So they rather welcome delegtions from China or sent delegations to China than to have to worry over a military strike.

 

Yes King Gongmin onward, the Goryeo rulers became more intolerant of Ming dynasty and led many campaigns against them. The final being led by general Yi Song Gye who moved his army back to capital instead of fighting the chinese. He said to have said that it is immoral for a small country (Goryeo) to fight a big nation (Ming). He dethroned King U and placed his son as the ruler and after sometime killed his son too and become the ruler. 

 

So after Joseon was founded, the korean rulers maintained political relations with Ming. They did have some influence over their politics but not that much and Joseon pretty much remained self-autonomous until the Manchu-invasions happened. This made Joseon ruler at that king Injo to bow 9 times in front of Hong Taiji (founding ruler of Qing Dynasty) and then Joseon became the tributary state to Qing Dynasty in 1640s I guess. So once again Joseon had to now get approvals for its Crown Princes and send some princes as hostages, princesses as consorts and many girls to serve as court ladies to Qing. 

 

So I think it could have been due geographical location. But also it could have been because they wanted to maintain sovereignty even if it required them to give up some of their authorities. Plus they also needed help from a stronger force to fight off the Japanese who were constantly trying to invade Korea.  

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I watched the first episode and half of the second. Sorry, not to sound shallow but this prince isn’t particularly attractive or charismatic in my opinion, are we seriously stuck with him for 50 episodes…?! Anyway, gorgeous music and I have to say, this black and gold robe at the beginning was stunning. Chaebols in suits can shove off, this right here is my bread and butter! KklNo1I.jpg

 

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Okey, here's my feedback ^_^

 

I was a little taken aback with the opening scene of an Emperor crying and begging a King, presumably lower than him in rank, over the empress who was about to be crowned. 

 

Although I know it's a drama, I didn't quite expect that Empress Ki would really start with an Emperor in tears. :lol:

 

I appreciate that in the first episode, the background of the empress as a child and as leader of her group being shown. I liked it, as well as the colorful attires in that era.  I'm quite amused though that the jackal wasn't recognized right away that he's a she. She must be very good as a crossdresser. Or perhaps, because the males and females are having long hairs, no one is suspecting that the jackal isn't what "he" seems.

 

As for the plot, I assume that the drama would gloss over the bloody paths to be top guy, or to claim the throne. It would also touch on extracting revenges and retributions later on.

 

There are many characters, and it would take time for me to remember their names and who they are allied to. Moreover, to accurately pinpoint the ambitious characters that would further their causes either blatantly, or scheme behind the scenes, like that concubine of the former Koryu ruler and Wang Go.

 

Did I like Empress Ki first 2 episodes? Yeah! I plan to binge watch the rest as soon as I am able to. 

 

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  • partyon changed the title to [Drama 2013/2014] ♚ Empress Ki (기황후) ♚

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