17 August 2010


Genre: Historical Drama (TV series). Country: South Korea. Year of Release: 2009.

This historical TV series of 62 episodes chronicles the life of Queen Seon Duk (or Seondeok). The series is not too long by Korean standard and has many intrigues intermixed with lighter and serious moments, death and life, love and hate, loyalty and betrayal, defeats and triumphs, etc.. The long plot makes it quite interesting and seduces the viewers to keep on finding the end of the story.


Lee Yo Won           as Princess Deokman (older) & Queen Seon Duk
Ko Hyeon Jeong    as Mishil
Uhm Tae Woong    as General Kim Yu Shin
Park Ye Jin            as Princess Cheonmyeong (older)
Yoo Seung Ho       as Kim Chunchu, nephew of Queen Seon Duk
Kim Nam Gil          as Bidam

Directed by     Park Hong Gyoon and Kim Geun Hong
Screenplay by Kim Yeong Hyeon and Park Sang Yeon

Filming location: Shilla Millennium Park in Gyeongju, South Korea
Released   by:     MBC TV
Broadcast in:     May to December, 2009

DVD Versions
Episodes: 62
Original Language: Korean
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Mandarin, and other languages
Dubbed Languages: Chinese, Malay, and other Asian languages

Historical Background

Queen Seon Duk was the 27th ruler of the Kingdom of Silla (57 B.C.-935 A.D.) and acceded to the throne in 632 when Korea was occupied by three ancient kingdoms. Goguryeo was the largest and powerful kingdom situated in the north half of Korean Peninsula. Baekje was smaller and occupied the western portion of the south half while the weakest Kingdom of Silla occupied the eastern portion. When King Jinpyeong (579-632) of Silla died, he had no son but three daughters. The hereditary throne was passed to Princess Deokman, who was given the title Queen Seon Duk. This was probably the first time a female slated for the male-only role of monarch in the Far East. In Japan, Empress Suiko (593-628) assumed the throne as a compromise after the death of her husband, Emperor Bidatsu and the subsequent short rule of her brother-in-law, Emperor Yomei.

In Queen Seon Duk's reign, Silla was beset by continual wars with Baekje and internal strife. In 646, a Lord Bidham revolted against the queen but the rebellion was put down. Bidham and his followers were executed shortly after her death in 647. She was credited with holding the kingdom together, with strengthening ties with Tang Dynasty of China, and with promoting Buddhism. One of her notable achievements is the construction of Cheomseongdae Observatory, a 9.4 m tall tower for star gazing. Her rule laid the foundation for Silla to conquer Baekje first and then Goguryeo. This unification of three distinct kingdoms of own histories on the Korean Peninsula established a single country for the first time in Korean history.

Brief Outline of the Drama

For about two hundred years in Silla, a prophet had been circulating about a royal birth of twins. The palace had kept a stone tablet that was carved with the writing of the prophet, but the tablet was broken and the lower half was lost over the years. Nevertheless, the upper half implied such birth would carry a calamity for the kingdom. When Queen Maya gave birth to a pair of twin girls, King Jinpyeong were forced to keep the birth a secret by smuggling the younger twin out of the palace. However, a scheming Mishil, who had the real control of the palace and had been coveting the throne of queen, sent a bodyguard to track down the baby so she could take advantage of the secret.

Thus, the baby twin, later named Deokman, started a journey from the woods of Silla, through a short stay in central China, to settle in the Taklimakan Desert of western China. After 15 years, Deokman was tracked down by the bodyguard. In a sand storm, the servant who had been raising Deokman as her own child disappeared with the bodyguard in a sand storm. To find out why she was pursued, she decided to travel to Silla; for a safer journey, she dressed as a young boy.

Whilst in Silla, she encountered her twin sister, Princess Cheonmyeong, in the woods of subjugated Kaya. The princess did not know the real identity or the true gender of Deokman but accepted Deokman into her elite male-only Hwarang guards. After many years passed, Deokman learned the skills of warriors and even went to war to fight the soldiers of the Kingdom of Baekje. In later episodes of the TV series, Deokman finally discovered her real identity, wrestled the palace control from Mishil, and became the Queen of Silla.


[Previous|Top| Middle of Page]