Empress Ki : A story of an epic scale
|Empress Ki Poster (behance.net)|
Somewhere in between, her identity as a girl is revealed. The King of Goryeo is deported to Yuan, and she is taken as a concubine. With several turn of events she rises to the position of a palace servant, a court lady, King's consort, and finally the empress; gaining many friends and enemies in the journey, losing many near and dear ones to power plays, scheming her own revenge, escaping death numerous times and influencing Goryeo and Yuan's economy and polity in a major way.
Empress Ki - the TV series is in no way less than an epic. It tells about an entire era.
I adored Wang Yoo and SeungNyang's forbidden yet timeless love story. They led parallel lives where they could never be together as they already had missed their chance, and yet they were with each other in prayers and struggles alike. The ache was palpable through out the series.
And SeungNyang and Toghun's story was more about her revenge and his obsession than love. But it is an incredible tale nonetheless. She made this illiterate Emperor learn the Chinese alphabet secretly; fed his confidence and influence over the court and his ministers; and helped him face his sworn enemy, El Temur head on. Their relationship seemed more like a give and take to me- more loyalty than love.
While Wang Yoo is righteous, honorable, compassionate, brave and in every way an able leader, Togun is lazy, dim wit, unreliable, cowardly, unfit to rule an empire, and relies on false paths to glory instead of serving his people.
The Numerous Characters
What I really like about such epic-like stories are the numerous characters- each relevant in his own space and scope. Every character desires for power and the throne. The Dowager Queen, El Temur- the Regent, the Empress, the ministers- everyone in some position of authority wants to control the throne, the decisions of the Emperor. Some wage wars and some play the palace politics and conspire against the throne.
El Temur is the best antagonist I have ever watched in a Korean series, the likes of whom cannot be recreated. He is so frightening that no one dares go against him. He is so intelligent, shrewd and cunning that no one can fool him, ever. For the best part of the series, he seemed so invincible and immune to all tactics and forces, that I thought he could never be defeated. Was amazed by the coup to kill him, which he managed to escape from and use it for his own benefit time and again.
Some characters whom I had not given much importance, thinking they were the minor or supporting ones, turned out to be with the most important roles. Tal Tal was one of them. And his uncle Baek Ahn. Tal Tal's virtues and knowledge in diverse topics took time to reveal. His reserved expressions, the stoic look, the ability to look through others, judge a situation perfectly, gauge the enemy's abilities just right, and his idealistic views made him one of my favorites.
Many characters changed sides and perspectives throughout the story, as the influence over the throne changed and the number of competitors altered. This was a rather interesting thing to note. The characters you root for go on and assume another personality and a different ideology with time.
|SeungNyang caught in a fight|
And amidst all these, there is a revenge story, war tactics, scheming a treasure hunt, hiding the treasure, and survival through it all. There were fake identities, bandits, eunuchs living in disguise, commanders turning eunuchs, anonymous dealers making money out of illegal trades and so much more. All the ingredients required of a fast-paced thriller. And kudos to the brilliant acting by all of them, the subplots were a great success too.
The costumes are so elaborate. The scenes and settings are so beautiful. It is a visual treat in every aspect.
I would urge you to try watching the first two episodes of this series. You would be hooked.