Thursday, December 30, 2010


I'm finished with "The Great Queen Seon Deok." It was indeed a thrilling ride, compelling to its last scene, and the final episode wrapped up almost all the loose ends, except-- unless I missed something-- the fate of Lady Misil's second-most competent son, Bojong (her greatest son was, arguably, Bidam). You can read a little about the real Queen Seon Deok here.

I'll go into the series in greater depth later, but I was amused at how some of the series' imagery resembled moments in Western film and TV. Seon Deok's quiet death strongly reminded me of the passing of Laura Roslin on "Battlestar Galactica," for example. Lady Misil's execution of a court flunky looked to be straight out of "Kill Bill: Volume 1"-- the scene in which O-ren Ishii beheads a surly Yakuza underling. Field Marshall Munno getting hit in the neck with a dart-- and plucking the dart out before collapsing-- was almost shot-for-shot out of "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon": the scene in which Li Mu Bai discovers he's been poisoned.

Weirdly enough, one of the series' most annoying characters, Misaeng, the conniving little brother of Misil, had what was, to my mind, one of the best final speeches in the whole series. Delivered from a seated position on the dusty ground, with Misaeng covered in battle grime and aware that he was facing execution for treason, the speech reflected on Misaeng's strange yet wonderful life-- a life lived deeply and with no regrets. He could just as well have been speaking for all of the series' characters, all of whom lived and loved deeply. I was impressed by Misaeng's speech, and paused to reflect on how this man's sentiments, villain though he be, might apply to my own life.

It's unfortunate that my DVD set doesn't come with any behind-the-scenes "extras"-- you know what I mean: end-of-series cast parties, TV interviews with the actors and directors, etc.; all that "making of" stuff that I love. I would have loved to see what it was like for the actors to train for their fight scenes, for the minutiae of court etiquette, for the rigors of high-register speech in a royal context, and so on. It had to have been hard work. Hats off to the entire cast.

A post about this series would probably take a long, long time to write. What I might do instead is divide my thoughts into discrete sections so I can cover various aspects of the series. So expect a series of posts about "The Great Queen Seon Deok." A series about the series-- a meta-series, if you will-- coming soon, before it all slips from my mind (as things so often do these days).


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