Historical Kdrama- Six of the Best #AToZChallenge

Sungkyunkwan Scandal

There are many historical dramas in South Korean cable television, set in Goryeon, Silla, and Josheon era. They bridge the gap between fact and fiction, generally intermingling the two to create a beautiful tale. They are called Sageuks- the Historical KDramas. These are popular as they showcase the life of the past; deal with storylines of royal families, their heritage, the conspiracies, and the fight for the throne; depict beautiful scenes from that era like horse riding, palanquins, the common folks, the countryside, the large weekly market, and love in those times; and use more honorifics in the language, elaborate mannerisms and etiquettes.  

1.       The Moon That Embraces the Sun-
Adapted from the novel of the same name it deals with shamanism and the Shaman life in Josheon era. It’s the story of a secret poignant and forbidden love story between the king and a female shaman. The king has some kind of ailment which is not cured by medicines, so the elders suggest seeking shamanic help. So the female shaman visits the king only at night, after he is asleep, to sit by his side in his chamber and imbibe away all the negative energies that affect his health. The king is unaware of this ritual, but catches on soon. Happens that she was his bride when they were teenagers, but was put to exile for unknown reasons.

2.       Faith-
Also known as ‘The Great Doctor’ this drama series is a mix of history, fantasy and time-travel. It has a 33 year old plastic surgeon in the year 2012 who by chance travels 700 years back in the past. General Choi Young is in search of her whom they consider the doctor from heaven to help cure the Queen. With time spend in the past Goryeon era the surgeon falls in love with the general, amidst escapades, fights, royal decrees and uncertain fears. It’s a gem of a Kdrama.
3.       Scarlet Heart-
Hae Soo falls into a portal unintentionally during a complete solar eclipse and wakes up in a thousand years in the past Goryeon era.  
It starts with the princes wondering about their 4th brother whom they have never met but heard many a weird tales about. He is rumored to be a very brutal killer who massacred his entire family in his residential place. He is infamously called wolf and is feared by the general public given his instant recognition owing to his half masked face.
Hae Soo is befriended by most of the princes for her cheerful and jolly personality. Some of them adore and pursue her. She grows emotionally attached towards the brothers and falls for the 8th prince. Read complete review.

4.       Sungkunkwan Scandal-
It’s a historical romantic comedy of the ‘gender-bender’ tales, based on a novel named ‘The Lives of SungKyunKwan Confucian Scholars’. It is about a girl who disguises herself as a boy to attend the best university in that era, where the best scholars from around the country went to learn and seek knowledge. Girls were then barred from educational institutes. Set in the Josheon era, it is funny, sweet and romantic. She tries to keep her secrets while hiding her growing feelings for another scholar. It’s an interesting watch with many laugh-out-loud moments.

Arang and The Magistrate
5.       The Princess’s Man-
It’s a tale of star-crossed lovers and doomed love between Se Ryung and Seung Yoo whose families are not only political rivals but staunch enemies of one another. It’s one of the best Korean Sageuk version of ‘Romeo and Juliet’. It will make you laugh, love and cry with the characters. Personally, I had loved this one due to the awesome acting by the leads. It has political conspiracies, treason, murder, exile, vigilantes and all that can cook up a compelling story.
6.       Arang and The Magistrate
This one has history, thrill, horror and romance. It is based on folklore of a young maiden who is murdered. She returns as a ghost, unable to remember how she died, so tries to reveal the circumstances around her death in order to rest in peace. The magistrate is the only person who can see her; they try to solve the mystery with the help of a shaman who can only hear her. The drama showcases the heaven, the Jade emperor and the grim reaper too, in a very aesthetic and creative way.

Linking the post with UBC  and AToZChallenge.


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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