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[Drama 2019] The Crowned Clown/The Man Who Became King, 광해 / 왕이 된 남자

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Damn this first episode was intense! I can't wait to see the meeting between the clown and the queen, and the relationship between him and Lee Kyu. And I hope his sister will be safe (please someone get rid of that creeepy noble man).

Poor clown, I don't think he's ready for this palace life.

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Yeah Episode 1 was intense but i feel they should've fleshed out on why he is so angry at his father and killed his brother. I actually thought for a second that he plans to "play along" with evil minister then uproot him and his buddies but i guess that went out the window when he killed his brother.


5 hours ago, ForgottenSoulx said:

How does Masquerade and will this show have a good ending? can put it in spoilers if you know ;p 



That has the review and spoiler for the movie:



Basically Ha-Sun is offered to be real king but he didnt want to kill evil king in a coup so he left... The queen is MIA. So basically evil king is back to the throne :/


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7 minutes ago, shaselai said:

Yeah Episode 1 was intense but i feel they should've fleshed out on why he is so angry at his father and killed his brother. I actually thought for a second that he plans to "play along" with evil minister then uproot him and his buddies but i guess that went out the window when he killed his brother.

I was also a bit confused in regards of his relationship with his father. I wonder why the father disliked his son so much. In the first episode the court lady mentions that the father wanted a legitimate son from the queen - just like Lee Hun wants now. Maybe Lee Hun got targeted by the ministers who planted in his mind that his younger brother would become a threat, so that why he became so cold and unrelenting. But like you I was somewhat half sure he loves his brother still and would just send him away. But nope... not happening. 


From what the ministers mentioned - especially Queen's father - Lee Hun was once a man groomed to be king and also fitting to be a good one (?). But everything changed and we need to find out what happened. I think it would be too easy to just hate Lee Hun and fall for Ha Seon as the good king. Anyways maybe the father saw Lee Hun losing his mind and the way he treated the younger brother and despite his wish for a son from the queen ended up not wanting Lee Hun to be king.


@triplem In all honesty for a moment I was like "am I shipping Soo Won with Lee Hun?". Their scene in her rooms was intense. Oh gosh! I would very much like to know how their marriage started. Was it a purely a political marriage but her father doesn't hold much power or was their relationship once filled with feelings, maybe even love? Her father asked her if she still liked being in the palace. So it sounds like she might've married Lee Hun willingly and even did have a emotional connection with him to a certain point. But everything is gone now with his insanity. So I'm looking forward to the emotional confusion when Ha Seon takes Lee Hun's place. :) 

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[The Crowned Clown] Ep 2 spoilers, Yeo Jin Goo x Lee Se Young



Article: Naver 'The Crowned Clown' Yeo Jin Goo lets go of Lee Se Young's hands and runs away  returns to the palace to take revenge on Gwang Hae Hyo and his son  

1. [+1390,-15]
Yeo Jin Goo is really good at acting... Gwang Dae's [t/n: performer/clown] sloppiness in the future may be able to take care of the people better than Gwang Hae does [t/n: King's name].. The experience accumulated from when he was acting as a child is amazing.. He's not acting as the real King, but as a fake King, with his foolish acting. It was different from yesterday. Anyway, his acting is amazing. Fighting, Yeo Jin Goo. I really like Eunuch Jo. 

2. [+939,-17]
At the last scene, I was confused if he's the real King or the fake King. Even Kim Sang Kyung was fooled by it for a moment. 

3. [+655,-16]
When he hugged his sister and trembled, even his facial muscles were trembling. It feels like a new master of acting is born. ♥ I can only say that his acting is crazy~ The master of acting who can only leave others amazed. ♥

4. [+566,-11]
Yeo Jin Goo's acting is really good. He did well portraying 2 different roles. I think he fits sageuk dramas well. 

5. [+308,-9]
Yeo Jin Goo's acting is good. This is his life character. 

6. [+195,-3]
Lee Byung Hun's famous for his acting, and the story is already known, so it might be too predictable, but I was able to concentrate on the drama because of Yeo Jin Goo showing his new charm and Lee Se Young's stable acting. It's interesting. I'm looking forward to the next episode. 

7. [+177,-2]
Lee Se Young's acting is good and stable too. 

8. [+147,-1]
I laughed so much when Eunuch Jo turned around and touched the knot near the windows while pretending he doesn't know anything today. He's so cute. 





Article: Naver 'The Crowned Clown' Clown Yeo Jin Goo  transforms into a King.. begins his life in the palace!  

1. [+952,-9]
Been a while since Yeo Jin Goo's life drama is born. 

2. [+477,-4]
His acting is really good. 

3. [+332,-6]
I've watched the movie, so I thought it would be boring, but it's interesting~~ To add, their acting skills.. the cast matches their characters well. 

4. [+217,-0]
It's so interesting. He grew up well. He did. 

5. [+110,-3]
Clown Yeo Jin Goo's life in the palace. I'm cheering for him. 

6. [+77,-0]
No, but this is really crazy. Yeo Jin Goo, you're an acting genius. He does well in all kinds of acting. But at that age, it's impossible for him to have those eyes and aura around him. He matches the character so well. This can't be done well without Yeo Jin Goo... 

7. [+74,-0]
Today's episode is more interesting. Yeo Jin Goo's acting is really good. 

8. [+62,-0]
The speed of the development is fast and it's interesting. 

9. [+51,-0]
Yeo Jin Goo's acting is crazy. I had goosebumps. 







Hi @triplem, I'm happy that you've also jumped on the boat. I am shipping the queen with both :lol:, I haven't watched tonight's episode yet but I saw the YT clips. And OMG ! The clown and the queen also have chemistry ! There was tension and attraction between them.

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Yes! Just like @Berou I'm very happy you joined that party. We're rarely watching the same dramas unfortunately. :lol: So very happy to see you here, @triplem. :D 

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@shaselai @Jillia 

OK so a few words about why he had such a horrible relationship with his father and why he killed his brother. (Historically he had even more brothers (or at least one older brother left) and a few nephews and cousins and such whom he all killed.)


The thing is, his father was unable to have a son with his first wife. His concubines gave him a few sons, of which Gwanghae was not the oldest. 


When the Japanese invaded Korea, they conquered large parts of the country in a very short time. Despairing and believing his country to be lost, the king (Gwanghae's father) fled to Ming China, of which Joseon was a vassal country, very shortly before he decided to make Gwanghae the crown prince since his brothers were rather useless, then his hasty flight made Gwanghae de facto king from one day to the next. 


Despite the Chinese sending troops to help and Gwanghae valiantly leading his own people to fight against the Japanese, the war lasted quite a while and was only "won" after the Japanese general died, after which Gwanghae's father returned to his country.


Three problems became apparent then:

1. Kings and emperors of old were always fearful of being overthrown, not the least by their grown up sons. Gwanghae has already acted as king and this gave him a somewhat stronger position, causing his father to doubt and dislike him. Their relationship deterioriated so much that Gwanghae would be refused to even visit the king.


2. Gwanghae was not acknowledged by Ming China as the crown prince. Being a vassal country, such things had to be approved. The Ming court had their own problems at that time because the emperor also favoured a younger son over his oldest. According to confucian rules, only the oldest son born by the wife was the legitimate heir (as concubines had the status of slaves and their children was only semi-legitimate). The emperors favouritism was met with strong resistance by his court. When they heard that Joseon was trying to install a crown prince who was also not the legitimate heir they strongly opposed this, in fact even after Gwanghae was crowned king it took quite a while and some bribing until he was finally recognized. 


3. Gwanghae's father's wife died and he took a new wife, who prompty gave birth to a son. As stated above this would be the true heir to the throne. 


So Gwanghae's father disliked him, he had no legitimacy in the eyes of anybody to be king, and he had a real contender who was legitimate in the eyes of everybody who mattered. That his brother should be crown prince instead of him was something that was extensively discussed in court and his father was seriously considering this, even telling Gwanghae that he should not call himself crown prince as he was only made crown prince temporarily. It was only because of the old king's sudden death that things couldn't be changed fast enough that Gwanghae became king after all. That's also why there were rumors that he'd poisoned the old king.


I hope this explains it well enough...




I liked the second episode also but sadly I have been spoiled before watching it. Still I'm glad to say that I have no idea how this is going to play out and that's so much more fun than being able to predict everything from the beginning. Kudos to the writers.


If anybody wants a recap from memory:



The episode starts right where the last one finished. Gwanghae proceeds to leave the palace as he now has a substitute. Good minister tries to stop him, saying the Ha Sun is untrained and could prove dangerous. However the king tells him he haven't been able to sleep in days and Ha Sun's job would only be to be assassinated or poisoned as he believes would otherwise happen to himself soon.


Ha Sun is given basic information on how to behave, he struggles and is at times obviously self conscious, even goofy, and entirely too nice to impersonate the king. One big problem arises as evil minister asks him to execute his imprisoned father in law. As good minister told him just to say yes whenever anybody should petition him, he says yes. 


Shortly after the queen storms into his quarters, claiming that she wants to kill herself to prove her father's innocence. And indeed she brought a small knife with which she proceeds to stab herself. Ha Sun is shocked and jumps on her to stop her, he manages to wrangle the knife out of her hand and makes her promise to never do anything like that again. She would only do that if he promises to spare her father, which he promises. He doesn't give back her knife though.


Good minister is very angry and Ha Sun but he cannot really do anything, also it was him to said Ha Sun should just say yes to everything. He then visits the real king at night who is smoking opium again and asks him about his father in law. The king thinks about it for a second, then says "behead him". At the shocked and disappointed look on his face Gwanghae remarks that that would probably be how the queen would look at him too, as if they wanted to tear his heart apart. Boy has some serious issues. He is clearly sad and angry that people he likes should not like him back, but he also makes zero effort to be likeable.


Good minister then returns to Ha Sun and tells him to proclaim the king's decision in court the next day. Ha Sun is devastated and says he'd promised the queen to spare her father. Good minister is angry and tells him he had no right to make that promise because he doesn't hold that power. To survive in the palace you either beat down your enemies ruthlessly or close your eyes to things you don't like.


The next day Ha Sun starts reading the king's decree, he says the first part (strip his father in law of all titles), and then changes the second part to send him to a far away place and lock him up. Evil minister is not pleased. Good minister is pleased but also angry and Ha Sun that he dared to change the kings words, lying to the court. It seems that the eunuch caring for the king was the one who gave him that idea. Anyways what's done is done.


Later Ha Sun even makes good minister accompany the queen to see her father off, even though that is completely inappropiate. Women married to the king are not allowed to set food outside the palace. 


The queen says her teary goodbye to her father, both believing that the king is being unusually lenient, the poor old man yells his gratitute and devotion in the direction of the palace like a prayer. The queen then goes to thank Ha Sun who is obviously pleased. She feels reminded of the days when Gwanghae was still a prince and very nice to her. 


Meanwhile the queen dowager is not pleased at all. She's with a third fraction related to Gwanghae, hoping he would usurp the throne. The guy claims that the king has now also lost trust in evil minister to appease her.


Ha Sun develops a kind of friendship with the very young court woman who brings his nightly snacks, he asks her questions about herself and gives her his food when he realizes she's hungry. 


Also Ha Sun sees the court women throwing stones into a river under a bridge. The eunuch tells him that it is rumoured that by doing so your wishes would be fulfilled. The queen stands amongst the women but doesn't throw stones, when Ha Sun asks the eunuch looks perplexed and explains that it's unbefitting a queen to be superstitious like common women. Ha Sun then gives the queen a few hazelnuts he'd picked up from the ground, hoping to give it to his little sister in a few days (as he was told in the beginning that he would only play king for a few days and would receive great amounts of money if he does), and tells her that it is also said that when you bite on hazelnuts, the creaking noise would scare the ghosts that live in houses, and you can wish for something. If the queen is not supposed to throw stones and make wishes where people can see her, she can bite on the hazelnuts in her own chambers when nobody is looking.


Meanwhile Ha Sun's sister is desperate to find Ha Sun, believing him to be incarcerated or even killed she is inconsolable. The creepy guy from episode 1 asks about her and the nice gisaeng says she's no prostitute and no he can't have her. He proceeds to storm off in a rage. However another person who works and the brothel promises him to bring her to him if he is paid properly. Creepy guy pays him and he then goes to Ha Sun's sister, telling her that he can lead her to her brother, which she believes. She is then raped in a shed.


Back at the palace Ha Sun is talking to the court woman again who brings him food. It turns out she and his sister are both the same age: 15 (I could have sworn his sister was 12 at most). He gives her his food again, but it is poisoned, she takes one bite and vomits it back up, then vomits copius amounts of blood and dies. Ha Sun is frantic, he first calls for the doctor and then, believing her to have lost consciousness, carries her to the doctor himself. But she's already dead.


Ha Sun gets mad at good minister who tries to talk to him, realizing that he is in the palace so that he would die for the king. He wants to leave immediately. The minister threatens to kill him but he doesn't care, then the minister threatens his family. In that moment the queen arrives having heard what had happened, the minister has to leave the chamber to give the king and the queen privacy. He and the eunuch pace the corridor outside. They hear a loud noise and despite the eunuch's protest the minister bursts in. Inside they see only the queen with the king's outer robes, Ha Sun has fled through a secret passage to the back of his room.


The queen is shocked, we see what happened between them. She's tried to comfort the king by reminding that he'd once said, when he had still been a prince, that they will be together no matter what happens and support each other always. Ha Sun however says "I cannot do that" and runs off.


He manages to run to the brothel where he meets his uncle who's crying and yelling at him, he realizes that something's happened to his sister. Luckily she's alive but she's got a black eye, some scratches and bruises and everybody knows she's been raped by creepy guy. She's also so much in shock that she's lost her voice (hopefully temporarily). Ha Sun hears that creepy guy is actually evil minister's son. He runs off in rage and threatens to harm creepy guy, but is overpowered at their compound. Evil minister admonishes his son for raping yet another girl and causing such mayhem. He then asks how much a dog costs (2 yang) and tells his lackeys to beat up Ha Sun and give him 2 yang. He doesn't even look at him and just walks away.


Meanwhile there is no king in the palace. After a while of searching and then pacing, good minister sees the king in his room. He thinks it's the real king, but it's Ha Sun. He has come back to learn how to survive in the palace, presumably because he wants to get back at evil minister.


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First impressions - brutal, in your face, sinister, foreboding.  Those are the words I would use for Ep1.


“The throne which you have kept with blood and tears...I will protect it well”.  YiHeon promises at the death of the King.  He sheds tears.  There’s obviously some back story there, he wasn't exactly the King’s favourite son judging from the conversation at the death bed.  The bloodshed that ensued to solidify his ascent to the throne, others shed tears as a result.  That was brutal - the poisoning of his younger brother who could potentially have threatened the throne (it remains to be seen if that was by his command or by another’s hand).


Then the switch to HaSeon (the Clown) who paradoxically is playing the unreasonable King who is to be feared by all his subjects.  He wears a mask (which looks suspiciously like a Monkey - and it’s full significance is revealed only when the story of Son Wu Kong (the Monkey King/God - Hwayugi) is recounted by the King’s advisor who organises the switch of identities later on.  Very clever writer Nim!  Also note that he steals from the Lord’s clay jars to feast on the King’s fish (?) - almost premonitory because soon he will actually be dining like a King.  His antics are actually very similar to the cheeky and mischievous SonWuKong.


I like how the writer flips between the sinister Palace/Palace related scenes with the lighter almost farcical scenes with the street circus.  Evens out the rather heavy and brooding nature of Ep 1.  Also interesting is the fact that when HaSeon originally plays the King in his street act, the performance reflects reality within the Palace walls.  But he is told by the geisha to change his act upon reaching HanYang.  The second act when he plays SoWoon the Queen is erroneous.  She is not the tyrant that they make her out to be.  HaSeon needs to find that our for himself when he meets her in person.


I like the pacing although it surprised me that they already did the switch so early.  I was anticipating maybe 2-3 episodes of separate lives to ease us into it before the swap happens?  Well deserving of it’s 5.7% premiere ratings though - all in all it delivered in spades!  The one gripe I have is that the officials and women (side characters) flit by rather rapidly in Ep 1 and I have a hard time remembering which one is which and how they fit in (and some are done away with quite quickly too...they all have beards and look similar haha…).  I had to watch it again to figure out the women too - DaeBi (Dowager) looked so young and her face was scrunched up in tears so it took me a while to recognize her when she had her normal face again.


EDIT - I wrote this before I read @rittoo 's insightful post above about the backstory.  I haven't watched or read up on historical regarding GwangHae so I have come in with a clean slate and unprejudiced.  It is very helpful though with that historical background because it provides context.


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Please allow me to point out that Hwayugi is only the name of a drama which is very very loosely based on the original Chinese novel Xiyouji, a classic and a must read for every person educated in Chinese literature. It's the novel the king and his minister were talking about. 

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@rittoo Thanks for the historical context . I just want to clarify something - so the reason why the father did not favour him was because he was the Son of a concubine ? So he was suppose to be  a temporary crown prince till the little Brother grew up ? 

I am coming in blind on this one . I don’t know much about the history Nor the movie where this drama is adapted from. Just enjoying the characters as the drama reveals their backstory & motivations. 


@Jillia @Berou Yet to watch eps 2 but from the YT clips , yes the clown & the empress have great connection too . Ooo I love this scene . I wonder if she can sense that he’s different ...

 Yay @stroppyse. Happy you are watching too .

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The drama hasn't established yet - as of episode 1, I haven't seen episode 2 - the historical depth and accuracy. So for me, while I appreciate the writing about the historical background, so far it's not canon for the drama. I wait and see what the drama makes out of the movie material. :) Looking forward to it.


As for Ha Seon acting like the King outside the palace and making fun of him. That's very common practice back then, not just in Korea but many other countries as well. Subjects were unable to criticize the King if they were unhappy with how he acted, they could end up in prison or worse punished by death.


So to make fun of him or playing a parody of the King, exaggerating the negative attributes is a indirect way of acknowledging them. For example: people are aware that anyone who is against the king will be tortured and the drama cuts to the torture scene. It shows there is always truth in these performances, no matter how funny or exaggerated they seem to be.



And if noblemen or ministers try to blame people for laughing it's easy to say "this clown isn't the king".


But also it shows how rumors make their way to the people. For example when it comes to the Queen she seems to have a bad reputation but the viewer actually knows she is a good-hearted person. And when she rejects Lee Hun he tells her "Everyone will think I rejected you". The scene cuts to the next performance and the narrator starts by saying that the Queen is unable to have her husband's heart. So these type of performances can present the truth but also deceive the people. And since they're unable to meet the Queen or have a close look at the King they can never varify but only take what they're told through those perfomances for granted.



Ha Seon will experience first hand how close but also far his performance from the truth are.


So glad you enjoyed the episodes so far, @stroppyse! :D I hope you stay with us. :)


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1 hour ago, rittoo said:


Please allow me to point out that Hwayugi is only the name of a drama which is very very loosely based on the original Chinese novel Xiyouji, a classic and a must read for every person educated in Chinese literature. It's the novel the king and his minister were talking about. 


Yes I know. Thanks for pointing that out though.  The original Journey to the West :) should've been a better reference to mention in passing.

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The Crowned Clown – Season 1 Episode 1 Impressions


Long Live The King

Set in Joseon during the early years of what is now Korea, The Crowned Clown is a serialized remake of the 2012 historical film Masquerade. Having not watching that film myself, it’s difficult to tell how faithful this series is to the source material but what’s here certainly impresses so far. At first glance you’d be forgiven for thinking The Crowned Clown is just another slow-burn historical drama. With a surprisingly quick pace, an engaging story and some gorgeous cinematography, this new Korean drama comes out swinging in its first episode.

While the characters are all introduced pretty quickly, the multiple layers of political intrigue combined with a truly mesmerizing dual-performance from Yeo Jin-Goo make this a 16 part series that holds some serious promise going forward. It all begins with the death of the King. After uttering a chilling promise with his dying breath, the passing of the King turns the throne and crown to Lee Hun. This begins a chain of events that leads to several uprisings from the people, complete with assassinations and shady deals going on behind closed doors to usurp the throne away from the mad King. Surrounded by enemies, Lee Hun quickly learns of one close family member that’s involved and disposes of him with a merciless slash of his samurai sword.

This essentially unhinges Lee Hun further as he teeters on the edge of sanity, unsure of who to trust. This leads to him ruling with an iron fist while hiding his fear for those closest to him that may wish to usurp the throne. An early assassination attempt results in a flurry of swords and impressively shot action before one of the assailants tells Lee Hun they believe he killed his own Father along with his brother to retain the throne for his own.

Obviously Lee Hun doesn’t take too kindly to this and after slicing up the messenger, he comes face to face with one of his concubines, So-Woon, who informs the King that she’s pregnant and expecting a boy. Thinking he would be pleased at the news, Lee Hun flies off the rails and in a mad fit of rage, forces her to drink until she chokes and smashes a teapot to pieces. This storyline is left open for the episodes to come but it doesn’t bode too well for the baby boy when he’s born if this is the King’s reaction now.



It’s not until deep into the episode that we find out just who’s sent the assassins and just what their end goal is. We won’t reveal that here of course but suffice to say it’s a well implemented plot line and plants seeds of doubt ready for future episodes. After finding out the truth about who the assassins are working for, Shin Chi-Soo orders the prisoner into the throne room, only for the captive man to lie and give a false confession, allowing the plot to thicken even more.

While this political madness engulfs the city of Hanyang, an entertainer who looks identical to the King called Ha Sun sets out with his merry band of friends for the city, hoping they can make a name for themselves. This storyline doesn’t get much attention in the first episode but the sprinklings of humour the early parts of this arc bring are nicely scattered through the 80 minute episode, helping to break up some of the tense drama.

After being caught up in a particularly mischievous performance outside one of the temples, Ha Sun is taken to the royal chamber where he comes face to face with the King himself. As they stare each other down, one with fear, the other with crazed wonder, a maniacal, chilling laugh fills the throne room and closes the episode on an ominous but intriguing note going forward.

There is an awful lot going on in The Crowned Clown, so much so that I had to write notes just for the purpose of bringing a thorough review to this Korean drama. Still, there’s no denying that The Crowned Clown is an incredibly endearing, well written series. The costume design, cinematography and general camera work is outstanding too and every aspect of this series breathes a sophistication missing from some historical dramas. While the relentlessness of the story may turn away some people, Jin-Goo’s dual performance is mesmerizing, getting this Korean drama off to an incredibly good start.





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Hello~ I watched the second episode last night and the first half got me giggling endlessly and then there's the second half where my heart was just torn to pieces. T_T  Haseon is such an adorable puppy. My heart broke when Park Shieun's character died and you could tell how traumatized and devastated he was. And Haseon's sister too. :( On top of it all, Haseon is just a pawn to be killed. Indeed, absolutely hats off to Yeo Jin Goo! Amazing acting. I love how he separates both characters so well. I'm rooting for both of them. ;; - ;; 


I'm so happy with the ratings! Keep it up, The Crowned Clown!!!!


This drama is entirely fictional so aside from the customs and what people wore at the time, I agree it can go anywhere. They even changed the character of Gwanghae and the chief secretary and made them fictional in this adaptation.


Episode 2 covers what happened in the movie, so I'm interested to see where they're going to take as next. 

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