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Kallie Szczepanski

Ancient Silla Queen of Korea Inspires TV Drama

By August 22, 2011

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"The Great Queen Seondeok" is roughly based on the real Queen Seondeok's reign, 632-647 CE.

Some historical figures have such compelling stories that they make great TV or movie characters. One such person is Queen Seondeok of the Silla Kingdom, who was Korea's first reigning queen.

The popular MBC drama "The Great Queen Seondeok" is roughly based on the Silla queen's life. [Readers in the US can watch full episodes of "The Great Queen Seondeok" on Hulu.com.] Seondeok is not the only Asian historical figure to warrant time on the silver screen. In addition to world-renowned people like Genghis Khan, such leaders as Korea's Admiral Yi Sun-sin, Qin Shi Huangdi of China, and both Chandragupta Maurya and Akbar the Great of India have all been featured in eponymous movies or TV shows.

If you watch "The Great Queen Seondeok," be sure to look for signs of the Silla Kingdom's elaborate bone rank caste system. The clues are subtle but present in the costumes, houses, palanquins, etc.

Cast photo courtesy of MBC, Inc.


August 30, 2011 at 2:44 am
(1) Emmy says:

I warmly recommend this fabulous K-drama to those of you who haven’t watched it yet. It’s wonderfully made and its actors, although young, play at their best! Not to mention the astonishing soundtrack (its main theme is interpreted by a great British singer, Paul Pots).

September 2, 2011 at 7:48 pm
(2) Kallie says:

Yes, I agree, Emmy. I’ve watched about the first 1/3 of the episodes, and I am really enjoying it.

Of course, it gets a little melodramatic at times, but that’s the nature of good Korean TV dramas. It’s nice to see historical figures and whole ancient kingdoms brought to life – the shamans, the healers, the warriors, etc.

September 17, 2012 at 10:51 am
(3) Joshua says:

Best drama you will ever watch. It’s a great stroy, great acting and great effects.

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