I have finally gotten around to watching The Princess’s Man. Seven episodes through and I am far from disappointed. This drama has been on my to-watch list for awhile now and I am glad I picked it up- I have a feeling this is going to become an all time favorite.
The Princess’s Man focuses on a Romeo and Juliet like love story between the children of Joseon era political rivals. The Romeo character, Kim Seung Yoo (Park Shi Hoo) is the son of Kim Jeong Seo, an ultimately super-important figure in the Joseon era (not going to divulge the actual historical details of any of their roles, feels like a spoiler). Our Juliet, Lee Se Ryung (Moon Chae Won) is the daughter of Grand Prince Su Yang, the brother of King Munjong. Both Se Ryung and Seung Yoo’s fathers are locked in a political tug of war, fixated on the monarchy and who can be the best Joseon Karl Rove of them all. Nevertheless their children are deeply attracted to eachother (it helps that their love story is founded on the fact they are unaware of their father’s bitter rivalry-at least in the beginning).
Our love story starts with Se Ryung impersonating her cousin and BFF, the royal princess, in order to get a feel for the man that her father has tried to join her in marriage with, our Romeo Seung Yoo. Pretending to be the titular princess Se Ryung arrives at the lecture set aside for the royal and finds herself face to face with her maybe spouse- but within days her potential marriage is called off. After several chance encounters Se Ryung and her teacher, Seung Yoo, start to fall in love. Unfortunately Seung Yoo has no idea that Se Ryung is not the actual princess, therefore he gladly goes along with his father’s plan to marry him to the daughter of the ruling monarch (who he assumes he has been teaching all along). Before any kind of happy ending the real princess reveals to Seung Yoo her identity, encourages their marriage (in a bitch-tastic way considering it is her BFF that truly loves him) and tells Seung Yoo that the woman he has been seeing is little more than a palace maid- even though Se Ryung is actually the daughter of a Royal Prince.
Fast forward a little bit and we find a dire circumstances- Se Ryung’s father will not let Seung Yoo marry the “real” princess (that would lead to Seung Yoo’s father gaining too much political power) so he devises a scheme to stop the potential marriage at all costs. His scheming leads to Sueng Yoo’s imprisonment; an event that finds Seung Yoo faithfully tightlipped on who he actually thought was the princess (he is afraid it will end in his true loves death), and his family’s downfall. Before long Seung Yoo is exiled by his family-for a short getaway till it dies down sort of way and Se Ryung is left to cry, watch candles burning long into the night, and be hated by everyone.
So why am I enjoying this drama which, upon description, sounds like a melodramatic heartache? Because this show is shot beautifully and has the kind of plot pacing I am sucked into. I cannot claim The Princess’s Man is a masterpiece (at least thus far) but it looks great and the story moves on at a brisk, but not too brisk pace. There are enough surprises in the story to keep me guessing yet there are enough moments I want to happen that occur at the right time (and I do not have to wait 5 episodes for them) to keep me engaged. It also helps that the look of the show, the cinematography, is stunning and truly invokes a time gone by. I am excited to see where the next seventeen episodes go. I am hoping for a happy ending but the story thus far is not pointing towards one. Nevertheless I am truly interested in the story even if it ends with desperate acts and sadness. At least I know the ride to get there will look great.