Queen Seondeok (TV series)
Promotional poster for Queen Seondeok
|Written by||Kim Young-hyun
|Directed by||Kim Geun-hong
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||62|
|Executive producer(s)||Yi Chang-su|
|Running time||Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55 (KST)|
|Original channel||Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation|
|Original run||25 May 2009– 22 December 2009|
|Preceded by||Queen of Housewives|
|Revised Romanization||Seondeok Yeowang|
Queen Seondeok (Hangul: 선덕여왕; RR: Seondeok Yeowang) is a 2009 South Korean historical drama as part of MBC television network 48th-founding anniversary special drama, starring Lee Yo-won, Go Hyun-jung, Uhm Tae-woong, Park Ye-jin, Kim Nam-gil and Yoo Seung-ho. It chronicles the life of Queen Seondeok of Silla. It aired on MBC from May 25 to December 22, 2009 on Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55 for 62 episodes.
The viewership ratings for the show topped TV charts almost every week during its run, peaking at 44.7 percent. It swept the 2009 MBC Drama Awards; actress Go Hyun-jung's performance and subsequent grand prize win received near-universal acclaim.
Princess Deokman was born as Princess Cheonmyeong's twin and a member of the Silla royal family, but a prophecy leads to her abandonment as a baby. After an unconventional childhood in the Taklamakan Desert, Deokman eventually returns to Silla, and, disguised as a boy, trains as a Nangdo. There, she joins forces with her twin sister and the naive commander Kim Yushin to oppose the villainous Lady Mishil, a royal concubine and high-ranking official who will stop at nothing to rule Silla herself. Mishil eventually deduces her identity and devises sinister plans to have the two Silla princesses exiled from the kingdom, eventually accidentally assassinating Cheonmyeong. But Deokman and Yushin enlist the help of the dashing yet troubled rogue Bidam to restore her position and sway Kim Alcheon and the rest of the Hwarangs to her side. Eventually, Deokman's faction triumphs over Mishil after her second coup d'état, and Deokman becomes the first female ruler of Silla as Queen Seondeok. But the story is far from over as Bidam and Yushin face off to win the heart of a queen – and the destiny of the Three Kingdoms.
- Lee Yo-won as Princess Deokman, later Queen Seondeok
- Nam Ji-hyeon as young Deokman
- Go Hyun-jung as Lady Mishil (the Beholder of the Seal)
- Uee as young Mishil
- Uhm Tae-woong as Kim Yushin
- Lee Hyun-woo as young Kim Yushin
- Park Ye-jin as Princess Cheonmyeong (Deokman's twin sister)
- Kim Nam-gil as Bidam
- Park Ji-bin as young Bidam
- Yoo Seung-ho as Kim Chunchu (Cheonmyeong and Kim Yong-soo's son, ep 34-)
- Lee Seung-hyo as Kim Alcheon (the commander of an initially non-aligned Hwarang, later Deokman's staunch supporter and bodyguard)
- Ho Hyo-hoon as young Kim Alcheon
- Jung Ho-bin as Mun No (the 8th leader of Hwarang warriors and a mystic loyal to Shilla's kings)
- Jo Min-ki as King Jinpyeong (Deokman and Cheonmyeong's father)
- Baek Jong-min as young Jinpyeong
- Kang San as child Jinpyeong
- Yoon Yoo-sun as Queen Maya (King Jinpyeong's wife, mother of Deokman and Cheonmyeong)
- Park Soo-jin as young Maya
- Seo Young-hee as Sohwa (maidservant to Jinpyeong and Maya, foster mother of Deokman)
- Im Ye-jin as Lady Manmyeong (Jinpyeong's older sister; Kim Yushin's mother)
- Jung Sung-mo as Kim Seo-hyun (Manmyeong's husband; Kim Yushin's father)
- Park Jung-chul as Kim Yong-soo (King Jinji's eldest son; Princess Cheonmyeong's husband)
- Do Yi-sung as Kim Yong-choon (King Jinji's 2nd son, a government minister; Princess Cheonmyeong's ally and confidante)
- Shin Goo as Eulje (senior government minister, friend to King Jinpyeong)
- Lee Soon-jae as King Jinheung (ep 1)
- Im Ho as King Jinji (ep 1)
- Jung Woong-in as Misaeng (Mishil's younger brother; the 10th leader of Hwarang warriors, a political and intellectual genius, though lacking any martial skill whatsoever)
- Dokko Young-jae as Sejong (Mishil's husband, the Prime Minister and 6th leader of Hwarang warriors)
- Jeon No-min as Seolwon (Mishil's lover, the Minister of Defense and 7th leader of Hwarang warriors)
- Kim Jung-hyun as Hajong (Mishil and Sejong's son, a government minister and the 11th leader of Hwarang warriors)
- Baek Do-bin as Bojong (Mishil and Seolwon's son, a Hwarang commander)
- Kwak Jung-wook as young Bojong
- Song Ok-sook as Seori (chief mudang of Shilla, an old friend of Mishil and Misaeng)
- Ahn Gil-kang as Chilsook (formerly a Hwarang, agent of Mishil)
- Lee Moon-sik as Jookbang (a con artist who rips off the young Deokman and later joins Yu Shin's Hwarang)
- Ryu Dam as Godo (a con artist who rips off the young Deokman and later joins Yu Shin's Hwarang)
- Kang Sung-pil as Santak (Seokpum's, and later Bidam's, aide-de-camp)
- Joo Sang-wook as Wolya (last prince of Kaya)
- Jung Ho-geun as Seolji (Kayan commander)
- Choi Won-young as General Gyebaek
- Jun Young-bin as Gok Sa-heun
- Jung Hyung-min as young Gok Sa-heun
- Park Young-seo as Daepung
- Lee Suk-min as young Daepung
- Go Yoon-hoo as Hojae (the 14th leader of Hwarang warriors, later a government official)
- Hong Kyung-in as Seokpum (commander of a Hwarang loyal to Mishil)
- Noh Young-hak as young Seokpum
- Kang Ji-hoo as Imjong (commander of a Hwarang loyal to Kim Yong-choon)
- Kim Suk as young Imjong
- Seo Dong-won as Deokchung
- Lee Do-hyun as young Deokchung
- Jang Hee-woong as Bakui
- Seo Sang-won as young Bakui
- Lee Sang-hyun as Piltan
- Kim Tae-jin as young Piltan
- Kim Dong-hee as Wangyoon
- Choi Woo-sung as young Wangyoon
- Ryu Sang-wook as Dae Nam-bo (the most prominent of Misaeng's sons, a Hwarang commander)
- Kim Sang-bin as young Dae Nam-bo
- Kim Dong-soo as Hyeopseong
- Moon Ji-yoon as Siyeol
- Shin Tae-hoon as young Siyeol
- Choi Sung-jo as Seonyeol
- Oh Eun-suk as young Seonyeol
- Jung Hye-sun as Lady Man-ho (Jinpyeong and Manmyeong's mother)
- Park Eun-bin as Boryang (Bojong's daughter; Kim Chunchu's wife)
- Qri as Youngmo (Hajong's daughter; Kim Yushin's wife)
- Park Jae-jung as Sadaham (Mishil's first love; ep 13)
- Mametkulovs Mansur as Mr. Cartan (Roman, possibly Jewish, trader who teaches Latin to the young Deokman)
- Seo Kang as Yangkil
|Episode||Original Broadcast date||TNMS ratings||AGB ratings|
|Nationwide||Seoul (Metropolitan area)||Nationwide||Seoul (Metropolitan area)|
|1||25 May 2009||16.0%||17.1%||15.3%||16.8%|
|2||26 May 2009||16.6%||17.8%||15.5%||17.2%|
|3||1 June 2009||21.3%||23.3%||18.2%||20.3%|
|4||2 June 2009||22.3%||23.8%||20.3%||21.7%|
|5||8 June 2009||21.6%||23.7%||20.6%||23.8%|
|6||9 June 2009||25.2%||27.1%||23.3%||25.2%|
|7||15 June 2009||27.9%||30.0%||25.8%||27.3%|
|8||16 June 2009||29.7%||32.0%||26.9%||29.1%|
|9||22 June 2009||28.1%||30.0%||25.8%||27.6%|
|10||23 June 2009||27.9%||29.4%||25.5%||26.8%|
|11||29 June 2009||29.4%||30.8%||27.8%||29.4%|
|12||30 June 2009||29.2%||30.5%||29.1%||30.7%|
|13||6 July 2009||29.9%||31.6%||29.0%||30.9%|
|14||7 July 2009||31.0%||31.9%||30.0%||31.8%|
|15||13 July 2009||31.6%||32.8%||30.9%||33.5%|
|16||14 July 2009||31.7%||33.5%||31.0%||34.0%|
|17||20 July 2009||30.7%||32.0%||30.4%||32.8%|
|18||21 July 2009||32.8%||34.4%||30.5%||32.6%|
|19||27 July 2009||32.7%||34.1%||32.0%||34.0%|
|20||28 July 2009||34.9%||36.0%||34.6%||36.3%|
|21||3 August 2009||31.9%||33.2%||29.7%||31.2%|
|22||4 August 2009||35.4%||36.4%||33.2%||35.5%|
|23||10 August 2009||37.5%||39.6%||35.6%||38.0%|
|24||11 August 2009||39.5%||41.7%||38.0%||40.5%|
|25||17 August 2009||39.0%||40.4%||37.6%||39.1%|
|26||18 August 2009||42.0%||44.3%||39.7%||41.7%|
|27||24 August 2009||40.3%||41.7%||38.4%||41.1%|
|28||25 August 2009||42.0%||43.6%||41.0%||43.1%|
|29||31 August 2009||42.2%||44.7%||40.0%||41.5%|
|30||1 September 2009||42.1%||44.4%||41.7%||44.0%|
|31||7 September 2009||43.5%||45.4%||39.7%||42.3%|
|32||8 September 2009||40.6%||42.9%||38.4%||39.8%|
|33||14 September 2009||40.6%||42.1%||39.9%||41.7%|
|34||15 September 2009||42.3%||43.9%||40.0%||43.2%|
|35||21 September 2009||41.6%||44.6%||40.8%||44.4%|
|36||22 September 2009||39.6%||41.1%||38.9%||42.3%|
|37||28 September 2009||39.1%||40.3%||36.9%||39.9%|
|38||29 September 2009||39.5%||40.4%||38.2%||40.6%|
|39||5 September 2009||39.3%||40.6%||39.2%||41.3%|
|40||6 October 2009||39.6%||40.6%||39.7%||43.4%|
|41||12 October 2009||38.1%||39.9%||38.1%||40.3%|
|42||13 October 2009||38.0%||38.8%||37.9%||40.2%|
|43||19 October 2009||38.3%||38.8%||37.2%||39.3%|
|44||20 October 2009||37.6%||38.7%||37.8%||40.4%|
|45||26 October 2009||39.3%||41.5%||38.3%||40.9%|
|46||27 October 2009||40.8%||43.0%||39.4%||42.3%|
|47||2 November 2009||41.7%||43.7%||39.6%||42.1%|
|48||3 November 2009||42.4%||44.1%||40.2%||42.6%|
|49||9 November 2009||44.9%||46.7%||43.6%||45.8%|
|50||10 November 2009||44.4%||46.1%||43.3%||45.7%|
|51||16 November 2009||42.3%||44.4%||39.0%||42.2%|
|52||17 November 2009||37.7%||39.1%||38.1%||41.1%|
|53||23 November 2009||35.0%||36.1%||34.8%||37.4%|
|54||24 November 2009||36.5%||38.3%||34.1%||36.8%|
|55||30 November 2009||35.3%||36.0%||35.3%||37.8%|
|56||1 December 2009||36.9%||38.0%||34.5%||37.4%|
|57||7 December 2009||38.0%||39.1%||34.0%||36.2%|
|58||8 December 2009||36.2%||37.9%||34.4%||35.7%|
|59||14 December 2009||35.8%||36.4%||32.3%||33.9%|
|60||15 December 2009||35.8%||37.4%||32.8%||34.5%|
|61||21 December 2009||35.1%||37.1%||32.3%||34.5%|
|62||22 December 2009||37.7%||39.7%||35.7%||38.5%|
|Special||28 December 2009||12.5%||12.3%||13.4%||14.7%|
The series adopted significant artistic license regarding the portrayal of historical events, so as to accommodate the dramatic storyline. Notably, the reign of King Jinpyeong was compressed by over two decades such that in the series, Queen Seondeok was born within a year of his coronation (her actual date of birth is unknown). Accordingly, the preceding King Jinheung's reign was extended by a similar period, with him being depicted as an elderly man at his death. This allowed for Mishil and other prominent figures during Jinheung's reign to be involved in events concerning the Queen during her time as Royal Princess, even though there is no evidence to suggest what sort of interaction the two had, if any. The same conceit was used to imagine her as being of a similar age to Kim Yushin and Bidam, though again, it is not clear historically if this was the case. Another major change was in the date of her death: Bidam's execution and Kim Alcheon's appointment to his post were ordered by Jindeok of Silla, ten days after Queen Seondeok's death. Queen Jindeok is not even mentioned in the series. More subtly, the real Seondeok likely never left Silla (stories concerning her childhood in the palace survive) and certainly did not know Latin.
On December 31, 2009, Kim Ji-young, an obscure playwright and representative of Great Works Ltd., a culture content company, filed a plagiarism lawsuit against MBC and screenwriters Kim Young-hyun and Park Sang-yeon, saying they ripped off her script for Seondeok, Queen of Mugunghwa, an unperformed musical she said she wrote in 2005. Kim argued that the development of the story and conflict between characters were similar to her play, including discord between two major female characters, Seondeok and Mishil; a romance between Deokman and General Kim Yushin; and the story of the young Deokman wandering through a desert. The MBC drama contains all of these plot twists, which are not based on history but which Kim says she invented. Kim said she shared some of her scripts with the Korea Creative Content Agency to attract investment in the musical, and believed that's how the content was leaked. Kim asked for ₩200 million in compensation and an injunction banning the broadcast of the soap opera. The injunction was turned down and Queen Seondeok ran from May to December 2009, but the copyright infringement case continued.
The MBC network and the series' writers maintained they did not know of the existence of Kim's play. MBC had copyrighted its script in May 2008. After Kim requested for an assessment by experts, the Seoul Southern District Court asked Seoul National University's Center for Law & Technology to investigate. In a process called a "script autopsy," the center first identifies similar content in the two scripts. At that point, university historians confirm historical facts regarding the characters and plot, and differentiates them from literary creations. Afterward, the center makes an appraisal based on copyright laws, then the court makes the final adjudication. In February 2011, the SNU Center for Law & Technology confirmed the plagiarism.
In December 2012, the High Court ruled in favor of plaintiff Kim Ji-young that Queen Seondeok was a work of plagiarism, and fined MBC ₩200 million (US$186,000). In its ruling, the court stated that though the characters and the details were in fact different, "the overall plot was the same" and it is "most probable that the network relied on the script and plot of the musical to produce their drama." Furthermore, any additional reruns on cable TV and internet, and the making of DVD and related books were banned.
- 2009 MBC Drama Awards
- Daesang/Grand Prize: Go Hyun-jung
- Drama of the Year: Queen Seondeok
- Top Excellence Award, Actress: Lee Yo-won
- Top Excellence Award, Actor: Uhm Tae-woong
- Excellence Award, Actor: Kim Nam-gil
- Golden Acting Award: Ahn Gil-kang, Seo Young-hee
- Best New Actor: Yoo Seung-ho, Lee Seung-hyo
- PD Award: Shin Goo
- Special Child Actor Award: Nam Ji-hyeon
- Writer of the Year: Kim Young-hyun and Park Sang-yeon
- Best Couple Award: Kim Nam-gil and Lee Yo-won
- 2010 Korea Producers & Directors' (PD) Awards
- PD Award, Acting category: Go Hyun-jung
- 2010 37th Korea Broadcasting Awards
- Best Actress: Go Hyun-jung
- Best Series Drama
- Outstanding Korean Drama category - Outstanding Korean Actress: Go Hyun-jung
- Outstanding Korean Drama category - Outstanding Korean Screenwriter: Kim Young-hyun, Park Sang-yeon
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