Released Year: 2013-2014
No of Episodes: 51
Main Leads: Ha ji-won, Joo jin-moo, & Ji chang-wook
Genre: Historical, Political
The series is about Gi Sungnyang, a Goryeo-born woman who pretended as a man and finally ascends to power in spite of the restrictions on the class system! Later, She became Empress Ki of the Yuan dynasty by marrying the Emperor of the Mongol Empire, Toghon Temür, a weak, puppet king, yet determined to win Sungnyang from her first love, Wang Yu. Empress Ki highlights her political ambitions, and how she is torn between the love she had for the King of Koryo, Wang Yu, and the Emperor of the Yuan Dynasty.
Ha ji Won as Empress Ki
Ji Chang wook as Toghon Temür,Emperor( spelled as Togon Or Tagon)
ju jin Mo as Wang Yu, The King of Koryo
The main drawback is the number of episodes, which may stop you from starting it.. But go for it if you like to watch a cold-hearted drama like Moon Lovers!
Another different phenomenon I found is, the love as a strategy! Whom does exactly the Empress love? Have you ever seen a drama where the female lead loves two men! Well, anyways, I loved the scenes between Wang yu and Sungnyang, it was deep and emotional which made me not to continue the drama once I found that she marries someone else.. Well, that may be a point which might lead you not to continue as well… But later, as I never stop watching in-between, I continued…
Ha ji-won acted a Gi Sungnyang, a normal woman who later becomes the Empress of Yuan! The drama centers mainly on the character of Sungnyang and her political tactics! She is a strong-willed and sometimes cunning woman who would do anything to destroy her rebels! Though her love is true, “power” is her foremost priority!
Ji Chang wook acted as Toghon Temür, a weak Emperor of the Mongol Empire. His character portrayal might have seemed like a weak, but his acting was the strong as certainly a newcomer who could pull a string with a drama Queen-like Ha Ji-Won. Why I say him as a newcomer is, despite he acted in a few Korean dramas before, this drama has made him a well-known actor in/outside South Korea. There is no chance that he would take up such a role in the future as after watching the action thriller like “The K2”, his fans would never like him taking such a weak Portrayal.
Ju Jin Mo as Wang Yu, King of Koryo! He deserves an applause for his performance..wang yu is always in a position where he never could express his feelings, be it love or his country! A righteous man under a weak Emperor! He chemistry with Ha ji. Won will be a treat to watch. I personally felt that there could be more romantic scenes between them. i missed that!
Bayan-General Of Yuan
Commander ki- commander general of Goryeo and Sungnyang’s father
Tal Tal- Bayan’s confidant (From Yuan Dynasty)
El-Temur- Regent of Yuan
Yeom Byung-soo-An officer in Koryeo Army
Tangquishi- El Temur First Son and Brother in law of Togon
Episode 1: The Jackal and Wang Yu
The first scene shows the cold encounter between the King of Koryo and Emperor Huizong. So you can deduce that the drama has a long flashback. .From their conversation, it can be predicted that Wang yu’s (King of Koryo) lover is going to marry the Emperor.. Then comes the introduction of ever beautiful Empress Ki… I have seen so many historical Genre Korean Dramas, but never seen such a costume… May be a part of Yuan Dynasty tradition… After the marriage, The Empress eyes turns teary after seeing the Wang Yu who is watching the marriage with heavy heart… However, she looked happy before seeing him as like the marriage happens with her full consent. Then the story tells the flashback. The childhood memories of the crown Prince of Koryo and Seungnyang, a small girl who is held as captive.The women Captives will be forced and will be sent to Yuan as Concubines/Servant. The crown Prince is totally against it but could not do anything as an agreement (business) was signed between Koryo’s powerful men and Yuan. However, the crown Prince wanted to save all his poor and innocent people( women) at any cost.Eventually, he led everyone to escape, but the world is cruel to women, everyone was killed by their own soldiers and the small girl Nyuang (who always pretended as boy) is the only survivor!
With a vow to take revenge, without knowing that he is the master who killed her Mother, she started working as a maid boy for Wang Ko and years went on.. Now Suynyuang, is well trained in archery and works for him. No one knows that she is a girl! Well, a very common thing in Korean drama! No one recognized her Gender in 13 years. Anyways, he/she is quite famous as Jackal, a powerful fighter.
The Crown Prince of Koryo, after hearing about Jackal visits Inju as he is very much interested in Streetfighting! He never reveals who he actually is! But the actual reason is someone told him to visit in order to track the illegal salt deliveries of Lord Wang Ko. On the other side, Wang Ko sends sunyuang to spy on the Crown Prince. But, Crown Price understood the plot and he went after the salt traffickers..
Episode 2: Sungnyang, the Spy and Togan!
Sungnyang is captured by Wang yu and when he demanded about why she is involved in salt trafficking, her accomplice reveals that all they do this to get money in order to release their woman from yuan as it is decided that a considerate number of young unmarried girls from goryeo must be sent to yuan at a regular basis. Wang ko tested Sungnyang to know if she is the spy, understanding the situation Sungnyang managed to act as if she is loyal to Wang ko.note that Sungnyang is actually a woman. The same time, Sungnyang showed the blue ribbon to Wang yu and informed that someone is spying on him. The next day morning she informs that the Salt trafficking are hiding in an abandoned village in Pyongnan on a condition that all her men must be set free. When passing this information to Wang go, the traitor is stopped, killed and they changed the message to be sent to Wang ko so that they call kill all the men in one go! Now the traffickers and Wang ko men kill each other as concocted by Sungnyang and Wang ko is caught red-handed.
But, Wang ko comes up a with a plan and informed the king that Wang yu, the crown Prince is died and the heir is to be proclaimed now. The Queen who is actually an accomplice with Wang ko Suggests Wang ko name itself to the ill king. As per his orders Wang yu is being stopped so that Wang ko can be declared as the heir. However, all his plan is thwarted and Wang yu came to the Palace Hall at the right time. The King now abdicated the thrown and appoint Wang yu as the King Of Goryeo. As per the King’s last command, Wang ko is given royal pardon as well.
Jackal is arrested for treason without the knowledge of Wang yu. Further, jackal/Sungnyang still believes that Wang yu is from censorate and not as the crown Prince of the nation. But all of them released by the commander who desperately searches for nyang, his daughter and his wife. Jackal find out that commander is none other than her father.
She went on to become a decent ranked officer in the Palace.
Yuan Emperor’s brother, Tagon, the prince of yuan dynasty is to be exiled to Koryo. Commander ki jaho meets the now king Wang yu and he is ordered to protect Tagon if not it will lead to tensions between the two nations. Togan is wanted to be killed both by yuan El Temur and Wang ko to carry out their respective plans. El Temur wants an excuse to destroy Koryo whereas Wang ko want to revenge Wang yu.
Bayan, a commander from yuan dynasty brings Tagon, a weak puppet Prince who always in fear over his life.
Sungnyang is suspicious of Bayan’s behavior and as if Togan health is serious. At the same time Togan is scared as he knows he is gonna be killed somehow. Meanwhile, Wang ko also plans to assasinate him. Wang yu travels to inju, togan place, to save him. Togan postpones his further travel as much as possible by asking persimmons and not eating for 2 days unless he gets Korean persimmons. He then plans to escape with officer uniform by keeping someone in his place. To escape from Bayan and tal-tal eyes, He sneaks inside Sungnyang’s camp. But Sungnyang caught him.
Episode 3: Sungnyang meets The King!
In order to assassinate Togon, Bayan Orders the guard to withdraw from the camp. The koryeo commander was not informed of this and commander ki wonders why there are no yuan soldiers in the camp. Meanwhile Togon asks help from Sungnyang by saying that he is prince! but she ignores him and orders him to clean the horse dung. Suddenly, a mysterious people start attacking the camp. Sungnyang was ordered to take care of the prince. The gang killed kwebo who impersonated as Togon thinking that he is the prince by seeing his dress. Meanwhile Togon sneaks himself inside a trunk suitcase. King Wang yu arrived and Bayan threatened him to see the consequences for letting the prince of yuan to be killed in koryeo land. When Wang yu checked the body it is fully burned beyond recognition. But Sungnyang caught him and hand over to Yeom Byung-soo, an officer. Yeom takes all the credits from king and wang yu calls him the savior of koryeo. Sungnyang saw Wang yu and found out that he is the king. The King too found out that Sungnyang found him from Togon himself and hugs her when he saw her, saying that he misses him(her) so much. Meanwhile, insulted Yeom byung-soo joins hands with Wang Ko. Wang Ko orders him to kill Togon to which the latter accepts. By this, Wang Ko wants to gain El Temur’s confidence So that he can outsmart Bayan and Could become the king of Koryeo!
Bayan and tal tal returns to yuan without togon making El Temur furious. They were brutally punished by Tangquishi (Temur first son) and TaLa-hae (Tangquishi’s right hand) for their incompetence. El temur again concoct to kill togon.The king wants Sungnyang to take care of Togon. Togon does everything as he could to irritate her.
Sungnyang misses her ring and commander ki found that. Yeom tries to kill togon but was caught by Sungnyang.
Episode 4: Attempt To Kill Togon!
Commander ki asks his daughter Sungnyang emotionally to see her step brothers to which she refuses. She said she cross-dressed as man to save herself from becoming concubine. And also, she expresses his happiness by being near her father. Meanwhile Togon and Sungnyang spending some good times while the latter teaching sword to the former and enjoying riding on seashore to a point which made the king Wang yu to get jealous. Wang yu could not understand why he is awkward when Sungnyang is with Togon. Even he got teased for liking a Man by his confidants.
El Temur sends his two sons tangquishi and tahalha including Bayan and taltal to kill Togon this time. The people entire island is to killed so that koyeo can bear the consequences. Commander ki found out that yeom is the assasin, but It is too late as the entire camp is surrounded by yuan soldiers disguise as koryeo soldiers. Commander ki orders Sungnyang to save Togon and as a father he wants his child to live as well. Heavy-hearted Sungnyang agrees to leave his father in the battleground for the sake of koryeo.
When Togon and Sungnyang try to escape, they were caught by Bayan and tal tal. But, being a follower of Emperor of gengis Khan, Bayan admires the yuan Emperor Family. So, he and taltal kill all the soldiers and leaves Togon to escape before tangquishi arrival.
Commander ki was captured by Wang ko and he ripped his tongue to frame him as the assassin of Togon.
Episode 5:Sungnyang’s Plan!
Sungnyang and Togon wanted to reach kaegyong despite Togon’s fear of danger. Wang ko promotes yeom to General. The King Wang Gu in disguise found out that something happened to Togon after seeing commander Ki jaho captured and taken away by Wang ko. But why can’t, the king himself could not do anything to release commander ki?, because so far goryeo is under full control of yuan empire. Commander ki was given a brutal punishment, his eyes were dug out, tongue and ears were cut. Meanwhile, King Wang yu is also in search of Sungnyang and Togon. On the other side, soldiers led by tangquishi including Bayan, talalha, taltal in search to kill Togon. reluctant Bayan and taltal pretend like they are with tangquishi.
To escape from tangquishi, Sungnyang and Togon fell from a cliff and drowned in the water. In yuan, the emperor is dead and officially now Togon has become the emperor.
Somehow, Sungnyang and Togon managed to live. As Togon is about to freeze, she had to remove her shirt and to lie on him to make him warm.even after seeing her chest wrapped up, Togon could not figure out that she is a woman.
After predicting the chances that Togon must be dead, El temur invited himself to Goryeo. The King wang yu, who found out with proof that the murderers are not ki jaho, but tangquishi could not do anything. Now koryeo under the full control of Regent El Temur.
They reached kaegyong and Sungnyang fainted as the arrow pierced her arm long back. She lost lot of blood. Togon went to get her the medicine. As he don’t have money he is forced to steal. The men of Wang ko now in search to capture the thief without being knowing that he is actually Togon. King Wang yu confidant saw the spilt arrow bag of sungyang and questioned Togon and finally found that he is Togon. Sungnyang is treated in time. The doctor revealed that sungyang is a woman to Wang yu confidant.
Now the three plans to get into the Palace. Togon get into a coffin, fully covered by salt, a bottle of rotten fish oil is poured so that no one would Dare to open as it could smell even worse than a rotten dead body. And now, Sungnyang meets her bait, yeom byung so.
Episode 6: Togon’s Betrayal!
El Temür wanted Wang yu to abdicate the throne..The King stunned the court by saying that he killed Togon out his own and there is no need to abdicate instead he is ready to be killed. As a true king, he wanted his people to be saved through his sacrifice. Yeom as expected after seeing the body and the reeking smell, now arrested sungyang and produced her in the court.
When Bayan was told to verify, Togon unable to bear salt going inside hus nose, sniffed unfortunately. Immediately Bayan and taltal recognised that Togon is still alive and Bayan pretended like he sniffed die to stenching smell. Sungnyang is happy that the heaven support them.
When everyone mourn for his death, sungyang tells Wang yu that Togon is alive. He just came out of the coffin as if a dead raised. Everyone shocked to see Togon alive. When sungyang insisted him to reveal murderers, as he know what would happend to him, he suddenly acted unconscious and anyways now koryeo is saved. Bayan informed Togon that Emperor is dead and that now “TOGON Is THE Emperor”. But he must be good to El Temur.
Upon Bayan’s insistence, Togon said that it was koryeo soldiers headed by ki jaho tried to kill him as per the King’s order. Shocked sungyang never expected this betrayal from Togon. Now Sungnyang is captured and taken under custody by yuan soldiers. As usual all the king can do is to shout at El Temur to kill him instead.
Sungnyang is put in the same jail as his father is. Her father died just before her saying that he could not take of her mother and nyang,the original name of Sungnyang. Sungnyang is desperately asking for help but finally she could not save her father. Togon never know this commander ki-Sungnyang relationship and he could not do anything. But, she vows to kill Togon. She is being taken as captive to yuan.
Wang yu is even poor now, his title is stripped off and he is taken captive to another city named daidu and Togon becomes the Emperor of Koryo as well. As the treaty like sending koryeo women as concubines, men as Eunuches, gold, silver has to followed on a yearly basis.
Now Wang yu, Sungnyang, 200 concubines, Wang ko, tangquishi and tahalha starts their journey to yuan. Sungnyang to be made Eunuch.
As the women slows the journey, all were ordered to be killed. Wang yu is furious and killed all of them who dare to enter the camp. Tangquishi injured wang yu with an arrow. Sungnyang told them she can carry him to daidu. If she fails, she must kill herself.
Togon is to marry Tanashiri, daughter of El Temur and Bayan and taltal were sent to take care of the border.
Tangquishi who always had a doubt about sungnyang’s gender confirmed that she is a woman by trying to molest her.