Empress Ki (TV series)
Promotional poster for Empress Ki. Left to right: Toghon Temür, Empress Ki, Wang Yoo.
|Genre||Din Jonas Mehra |Historical|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||51|
|Executive producer(s)||Joo Sung-woo|
|Running time||60 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Victory Contents|
|Distributor||Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation|
|Original network||Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation|
|Picture format||HDTV 1080i 16:9|
|Original release||October 28, 2013 –|
April 29, 2014
|Preceded by||Goddess of Fire|
|Empress Ki at Victory Contents|
Empress Ki (Hangul: 기황후; Hanja: 奇皇后; RR: Gi Hwanghu) is a television series starring Ha Ji-won as the titular Empress Ki. It aired on MBC from October 28, 2013 to April 29, 2014 on Mondays and Tuesdays at 21:55 for 51 episodes.
A domestic and overseas hit, the series received the Golden Bird Prize for Serial Drama at the 9th Seoul International Drama Awards. Ha Ji-won also won the Grand Prize at the MBC Drama Awards for her performance.
- 1 Title
- 2 Synopsis
- 3 Plot
- 4 Cast
- 5 Original soundtrack
- 6 Reception
- 7 Ratings
- 8 Awards and nominations
- 9 International broadcast
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The series revolves around Gi Seungnyang, a Goryeo-born woman who ascends to power despite the restrictions of the era's class system, and later marries Toghon Temür (Emperor of Mongol Empire) to become an empress of the Yuan dynasty, instead of her first love, Wang Yu. It managed to highlight the deep love the Emperor embedded in Lady Ki and depicts her loves and political ambitions.
Seungnyang is a young Goryeo-born girl who witnesses the traumatic death of her mother by the hands of General Dangkise, and grows up as a man to conceal her identity as a woman under the alias, "The Jackal". Her reputation attracts the likes of Wang-Yoo, the deposed prince of Goryeo, who slowly begins to yearn for Seungyang's love, not knowing that she is a woman. Seungnyang also starts to fall for him.
When Wang-Yoo is eventually crowned the King of Goryeo, Seungnyang meets Ta-hwan, the exiled prince of Yuan. After enduring a journey with Ta-hwan to escape his pursuers, Seungyang finds her long-lost father, who is tortured and locked in prison to die after Ta-hwan lied about her father under the pressure of El Temur, without any knowledge that he was Seungyang's father. Ta-hwan returns to Yuan as the new emperor, while Seungnyang's identity as a woman is discovered by Dangkise and Wang-Yoo (after he is deposed once again), causing her to be taken to Yuan as either a water maid in the palace or Dangkise's concubine. She vows to take revenge on Ta-hwan, who is now wed to El Temur's jealous and twisted daughter Tanasiri, is forcefully and ends up in the palace as a water maid. However her identity is soon discovered by Emperor Ta-hwan, who begins to yearn and obsess over Seungyang, who is now known as Nyang. Nyang befriends other Goryeo-born people in the palace, such as Dok-man, Hong-dan, and Lady Pak, while also attracting danger due to the likes of Dangkise, who lusts after her. Meanwhile, Wang-Yoo is fighting a war with the Turks, led by Yon Feisu, and wins, coming to Yuan to save Nyang. He soon befriends El Temur in order to get close to his secrets and gain his trust, and is soon given the rights to take Nyang out of the palace after an incident where she is tortured in prison. Nyang soon becomes engaged to Wang Yoo and eventually bears his child, but in an attempt to leave the palace secretly with Lady Pak, Pak and other maids are slaughtered by Yeom Byung-soo and others under the command of Tanasiri out of jealously towards Pak's pregnancy (Lady Pak was pregnant with Emperor Ta-hwan's child). Nyang gives birth to Star, but soon loses him after they are thrown off of a cliff; fortunately for Nyang, she is saved by Jokho, an ally, but presumes her child to be dead. Meanwhile, Wang-Yoo and Ta-hwan are devastated by the death of Nyang, with Ta-hwan losing his ability to talk and Wang-Yoo marrying in order to strengthen his ties with El Temur and Yuan. Nyang and Jokho are sold into the Eagle House, who plan on auctioning the two off to bidders. Nyang is soon spotted by Tal Tal and Bayan, who buy her. After consulting with Bayan and Tal Tal, Nyang is chosen as the concubine representing their province, and soon surprises everyone in the Yuan palace, including Ta-hwan, who begins to show his favor for Nyang. Empress Tanasiri grows jealous of Nyang, and attempts to get rid of her any chance she has. She also has a son, Maha, who is actually the son of Nyang and Wang-Yoo after he was found by a monk in the river. Unfortunately, her schemes come to an end after El Temur is killed. Tanasiri is publicly hanged, and Dangkise, who is secretly living with Yeom Byeong-soo, watches and plans his revenge on Nyang. Nyang bears a son with Emperor Ta-Hwan named Ayushiridara, and Bayan is named Regent. However, the Empress Dowager and Bayan, who used to support Nyang, begin to try and stop her from becoming Empress, for she is not of Yuan blood. Therefore, Bayan brings his niece, Bayan Hudu, who seems kind and compassionate but is soon revealed to be sinister and cruel. Empress Dowager Budashiri raises Maha, Tanasiri's son, and has him believe that Nyang slaughtered his family, causing him to grow up hating Nyang and Goryeo. Ayushiridara is the favored son of the emperor, and Maha is rejected by Ta-hwan due to the fact that he is believed to be Tanasiri's son. However, Maha is soon slaughtered by Yeom Byeong-soo under the order of the Empress, and Nyang discovers Maha was Star all along. Wang-Yoo soon realizes that Maha was his son, and is devastated by the loss of Maha. Meanwhile, Ta-hwan is growing insane from falsified letters of love between Nyang and Wang-Yoo. Nyang and Tal Tal decide to kill Bayan, who has grown corrupt and blinded by his own power. Bayan Hudu is exiled, and Tal Tal becomes the new Regent.
It is soon revealed to Ta-hwan that Maha was Nyang and Wang-Yoo's child by Dangkise, who is killed in his plan to exact revenge on Nyang. Ta-hwan, after learning of the secret, decides to assassinate everyone who knew of the secret, including Wang-Yoo, in order to protect Nyang. He kills Wang-Yoo, who professes he will always love Nyang and protect her no matter what. Nyang mourns the loss of Wang-Yoo, and becomes the Empress of Yuan. She orders the death of Bayan Hudu and those who are not loyal to the Emperor. It is soon revealed that the Emperor's eunuch was the leader of Eagle House, and was feeding Ta-hwan a secret but lethal poison from which he will soon die.
In order to protect Nyang and Ayushiridara, the Emperor kills his eunuch and exposes the Empress Dowager for her power-hungry ways. The Empress Dowager poisoned herself, Yeom Byeong-soo is stoned to death by Goryeo-born people, and Nyang rules as the Empress Dowager with her son, Ayushiridara, who is the Crown Prince. During the invasion of Mongols, Tal Tal is killed in battle, and Ta-hwan dies in Nyang's arms, after she confesses she has always loved him. In a flashback sequence, Nyang is riding with Ta-hwan before being scolded by Wang-Yoo for not being cautious with Ta-hwan. Ta-hwan defends Nyang, and says that it was his order. Nyang's horse is gone, and she must choose between Wang-Yoo and Ta-hwan.
Empress and Consort of Toghan Temür / Fiancee of Wang Yoo / Jackal
King of Goryeo
Emperor of Yuan dynasty)
Empress or Wife of Toghan Temür / Daughter of Regent El Temür
- Kim Ji-han - Tal Tal (Toqto'a)
- Kim Seo-hyung - Empress Dowager Hwang (Budashiri)
- Jeon Gook-hwan - Yeon-chul (El Temür)
- Kim Jung-hyun - Tang Ki-se (Tangqishi)
- Cha Do-jin - Ta La-hae
- Kim Young-ho - Baek-ahn (Bayan)
- Lee Jae-yong - Wang Go
- Kim Myung-gook - Jang Soon-yong
- Lee Won-jong - Dok-man
- Lee Moon-sik - Bang Shin-woo
- Yoon Yong-hyun - Jeom-bak
- Jung Woong-in - Yeom Byung-soo
- Choi Moo-sung - Park Bul-hwa (Bak Bulhwa)
- Kwon Oh-joong - Choi Moo-song
- Kim Hyung-bum - Jo-cham
- Song Kyung-chul - Jeok-ho / Mak-saeng
- Jeon Se Hyun - Toghon Temür's concubine
- Yoon A-jung - Yeon-hwa
- Lee Ji-hyun - Hong-dan
- Jo Jae-yoon - Golta
- Yoo In-young - Yeon Bi-soo / Batoru
- Seo Yi-sook - Court lady Seo
- Cha Kwang-soo - Go Yong-bo
- Park Ha-na - Woo-hee
- Kim Mu-young - Na-moo
- Kim Jin-sung - Prince Maha
- Sul Wo Hyung - young Prince Maha
- Kim Jin-woo - Biligtü Khan
- Lee Shi-woo - young Biligtü Khan
- Kwon Tae-won - King Chungsuk
- Ryu Hyun-kyung - Princess Kyung-hwa
- Shin Seung-hwan - Kwebo
- Kim Myung-soo - Ki Ja-oh (Gi Ja-oh)
- Han Hye-rin - Lady Park
- Lee Eung-kyung - Court Lady Noh
- Oh Kwang-rok - Heuk-soo
- Shim Yi-young - fortune teller (Episode 28)
- Park Hae-mi - shaman (Episodes 34-35)
- Lim Ju-eun - Bayan Khutugh
|Soundtrack album by |
|Label||Stone Music Entertainment|
OST Part 1
|1.||"Thorn Love" (가시사랑)||4men||3:34|
|2.||"Thorn Love" (Inst.)||3:34|
OST Part 2
|1.||"Love Wind" (사랑 바람)||WAX||3:05|
OST Part 3
|1.||"Love You" (사랑 합니다)||Junsu||3:41|
|2.||"Love You" (Inst.)||3:41|
OST Part 4
|1.||"Just Once" (한번만)||Soyou||4:11|
|2.||"Just Once" (Inst.)||4:11|
OST Part 5
|1.||"The Wind" (ㅂ람결)||Park Wan-kyu||3:29|
|2.||"The Wind" (Inst.)||3:29|
OST Part 6
|2.||"The Day" (Inst.)||3:35|
OST Part 7
|1.||"To the Butterfly" (나비에게)||Ji Chang-wook||4:06|
|2.||"To the Butterfly" (Inst.)||4:06|
|1.||"Empress Ki (Opening Title)"||Kim Jang Woo||3:20|
|2.||"Empress ki (Main theme)"||Kim Jang Woo||5:14|
|3.||"Emperor"||Kim Jang Woo||2:20|
|4.||"Destiny"||Kim Jang Woo||5:29|
|5.||"Flower Blossom"||Kim Jang Woo||5:38|
|6.||"The Greatest Day"||Kim Jang Woo||2:38|
|7.||"Fate"||Kim Jang Woo||4:47|
|8.||"Princess"||Kim Jang Woo||2:58|
|9.||"Heroes"||Kim Jang Woo||2:09|
|10.||"Horse Riding"||Kim Jang Woo||1:31|
The series attained high ratings during its run, ranking first in its timeslot with a peak viewership rating of 33.9 percent. According to a report by Taiwan’s drama channel ETTV, the series was ranked as the best foreign program for 2014 with 5.35% viewership rating, becoming the second Korean drama after Jewel in the Palace (2003) to do so. It also received positive reviews for its strong acting skills, gripping background and elaborate scenes.
Despite its popularity, the series was criticized for its inclusion of fictional elements regarding the characters and storyline. Much concern was raised over the series' depiction of the titular Empress Ki, who was portrayed as a brave warrior in the series. Historians were worried that the audience would overlook the fact that the real-life Empress Ki was responsible for attacking her native land.
In the table below, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
|Episode #||Original broadcast date||Average audience share|
|TNmS Ratings||AGB Nielsen|
|Nationwide||Seoul National Capital Area||Nationwide||Seoul National Capital Area|
|1||October 28, 2013||10.1% (13th)||12.3% (8th)||11.1% (9th)||13.3% (4th)|
|2||October 29, 2013||12.0% (6th)||14.6% (4th)||13.6% (4th)||15.8% (4th)|
|3||November 4, 2013||11.7% (11th)||14.9% (4th)||12.8% (6th)||14.5% (5th)|
|4||November 5, 2013||12.7% (6th)||15.4% (4th)||14.5% (4th)||16.6% (3rd)|
|5||November 11, 2013||14.0% (5th)||17.3% (4th)||14.5% (5th)||16.1% (4th)|
|6||November 12, 2013||14.6% (4th)||18.6% (4th)||16.3% (4th)||18.7% (3rd)|
|7||November 18, 2013||15.2% (4th)||18.4% (4th)||15.5% (5th)||17.6% (3rd)|
|8||November 19, 2013||16.5% (4th)||20.1% (3rd)||16.9% (4th)||18.6% (3rd)|
|9||November 25, 2013||15.4% (4th)||19.1% (4th)||17.2% (4th)||19.5% (3rd)|
|10||November 26, 2013||16.2% (4th)||19.5% (3rd)||18.1% (3rd)||19.6% (3rd)|
|11||December 2, 2013||17.7% (4th)||20.8% (3rd)||17.8% (5th)||20.5% (2nd)|
|12||December 3, 2013||18.4% (4th)||21.7% (3rd)||19.0% (4th)||21.0% (3rd)|
|13||December 9, 2013||19.1% (4th)||23.6% (2nd)||20.2% (3rd)||23.5% (2nd)|
|14||December 10, 2013||18.4% (4th)||23.3% (1st)||19.5% (3rd)||21.9% (2nd)|
|15||December 16, 2013||17.7% (4th)||21.7% (4th)||18.8% (4th)||21.5% (3rd)|
|16||December 17, 2013||18.1% (4th)||21.9% (2nd)||18.8% (3rd)||21.4% (3rd)|
|17||December 23, 2013||17.3% (4th)||20.5% (2nd)||17.3% (4th)||20.1% (2nd)|
|18||December 24, 2013||17.3% (3rd)||20.5% (2nd)||17.5% (3rd)||19.9% (2nd)|
|19||January 6, 2014||17.0% (3rd)||21.8% (2nd)||17.9% (3rd)||20.4% (3rd)|
|20||January 7, 2014||18.5% (3rd)||23.8% (2nd)||19.1% (3rd)||21.3% (2nd)|
|21||January 13, 2014||18.2% (3rd)||23.7% (2nd)||19.6% (3rd)||22.9% (2nd)|
|22||January 14, 2014||19.0% (3rd)||23.9% (2nd)||20.3% (3rd)||22.1% (2nd)|
|23||January 20, 2014||19.5% (3rd)||23.6% (2nd)||20.8% (3rd)||23.6% (2nd)|
|24||January 21, 2014||20.7% (3rd)||24.7% (2nd)||22.6% (2nd)||26.2% (2nd)|
|25||January 27, 2014||21.4% (3rd)||27.0% (2nd)||22.8% (2nd)||26.8% (1st)|
|26||January 28, 2014||22.0% (2nd)||26.3% (2nd)||24.9% (2nd)||28.6% (1st)|
|27||February 3, 2014||24.2% (2nd)||29.8% (1st)||23.9% (2nd)||27.7% (1st)|
|28||February 4, 2014||24.0% (2nd)||29.3% (1st)||25.3% (2nd)||29.1% (1st)|
|29||February 10, 2014||20.8% (2nd)||25.3% (1st)||22.7% (2nd)||25.3% (1st)|
|30||February 17, 2014||25.3% (2nd)||30.9% (1st)||26.5% (2nd)||29.9% (1st)|
|31||February 18, 2014||25.6% (2nd)||30.9% (1st)||26.6% (1st)||29.4% (1st)|
|32||February 24, 2014||24.4% (2nd)||31.0% (1st)||25.3% (2nd)||28.8% (1st)|
|33||February 25, 2014||27.9% (2nd)||33.6% (1st)||28.6% (1st)||31.3% (1st)|
|34||March 3, 2014||26.1% (2nd)||32.4% (1st)||26.2% (2nd)||29.7% (1st)|
|35||March 4, 2014||26.5% (2nd)||32.3% (1st)||28.3% (1st)||31.4% (1st)|
|36||March 10, 2014||26.0% (2nd)||31.4% (1st)||29.2% (2nd)||30.8% (1st)|
|37||March 11, 2014||27.1% (2nd)||32.4% (1st)||29.2% (1st)||32.4% (1st)|
|38||March 17, 2014||25.6% (2nd)||30.7% (1st)||27.7% (2nd)||31.3% (1st)|
|39||March 18, 2014||25.0% (2nd)||29.3% (1st)||26.5% (2nd)||29.7% (1st)|
|40||March 24, 2014||22.4% (2nd)||27.5% (2nd)||24.4% (2nd)||27.9% (2nd)|
|41||March 25, 2014||24.0% (2nd)||29.8% (1st)||26.0% (2nd)||28.8% (1st)|
|42||March 31, 2014||23.5% (2nd)||27.2% (2nd)||25.0% (2nd)||28.8% (1st)|
|43||April 1, 2014||24.1% (2nd)||27.4% (2nd)||25.0% (2nd)||27.9% (1st)|
|44||April 7, 2014||23.9% (3rd)||27.8% (2nd)||24.3% (2nd)||27.2% (1st)|
|45||April 8, 2014||23.5% (2nd)||28.7% (2nd)||25.5% (2nd)||28.7% (1st)|
|46||April 14, 2014||23.9% (2nd)||28.0% (2nd)||25.3% (2nd)||28.3% (1st)|
|47||April 15, 2014||23.8% (2nd)||28.9% (1st)||26.1% (2nd)||28.8% (1st)|
|48||April 21, 2014||22.7% (2nd)||25.6% (2nd)||22.9% (2nd)||24.9% (1st)|
|49||April 22, 2014||23.9% (2nd)||27.2% (2nd)||26.6% (2nd)||29.4% (1st)|
|50||April 28, 2014||25.7% (2nd)||30.6% (1st)||26.2% (2nd)||28.7% (1st)|
|51||April 29, 2014||28.3% (2nd)||33.9% (1st)||28.7% (2nd)||31.7% (1st)|
Awards and nominations
|2013||Grand Prize (Daesang)||Ha Ji-won||Won|
|Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama||Joo Jin-mo||Won|
|Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Special Project Drama||Ha Ji-won||Nominated|
|Excellence Award, Actor in a Special Project Drama||Ji Chang-wook||Won|
|Writer(s) of the Year||Jang Young-chul, Jung Kyung-soon||Won|
|Best New Actress||Baek Jin-hee||Won|
|2014||Best New Actress (TV)||Baek Jin-hee||Won|
|Best Serial Drama (Golden Bird Prize)||Won|
|Outstanding Korean Drama||Nominated|
|Outstanding Korean Actor||Ji Chang-wook||Nominated|
|Outstanding Korean Actress||Ha Ji-won||Nominated|
|Outstanding Korean Drama OST||Thorn Love - 4Men||Nominated|
|Just Once - Soyou||Nominated|
|Grand Prize (Daesang)||Ha Ji-won||Nominated|
|Best Drama||Empress Ki||Nominated|
|Best Production Director||Han Hee, Lee Sung-joon||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actor||Ji Chang-wook||Nominated|
|Excellence Award, Actress||Baek Jin-hee||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama||Joo Jin-mo||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actress in a Serial Drama||Ha Ji-won||Nominated|
|Excellence Award, Actor in a Serial Drama||Ji Chang-wook||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actress||Baek Jin-hee||Nominated|
|Country||Network(s)||Series premiere||Series finale|
|Vietnam||VTV3||May 8, 2014||finished|
|Myanmar||Myanmar National TV||March , 2017||finished|
|Philippines||GMA Network||October 20, 2014||April 14, 2015|
|GMA News TV||July 12, 2016||finished
|Iflix||Available to stream|
|Indonesia||Trans7||November 23, 2015||finished|
|Viu||Available to stream|
|Poland||TVP2||November 9, 2015||February 25, 2016|
|Singapore||Channel U||October 31, 2015||February 21, 2016|
|February 16, 2016
Available to stream
|Armenia||Yerkir Media||April 4, 2016||June 14, 2016|
|May 19, 2017
Available to stream
Available to stream
|Hungary||Duna TV||November 14, 2016|
|Pakistan||H Now Entertainment||March 6, 2017|
|Lithuania||TV1||May 5, 2018||October 27, 2018|
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- Kwak, Hyun-soo (August 14, 2013). "Ha Ji Won's new drama is renamed Ki Empress". Korea Star Daily via Yahoo!. Archived from the original on January 7, 2014. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
- Do, Je-hae (August 2, 2013). "Period pieces dominate Korean cinema, TV". The Korea Times. Archived from the original on September 17, 2013. Retrieved August 29, 2013.
- "Ha Ji-won meets fans in Taipei". Korea JoongAng Daily.
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- "Fact vs. fiction in TV drama". The Korea Times.
- ""Empress Ki" Reigns Over The Ratings But Not Without Controversy". KDramaStars.
- "TNmS Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". TNmS Ratings (in Korean). Archived from the original on November 28, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
- "AGB Daily Ratings: this links to current day-select the date from drop down menu". AGB Nielsen Media Research (in Korean). Archived from the original on December 26, 2013. Retrieved October 28, 2013.
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- "Kim Byung-man, Ha Ji-won win grand prizes". The Korea Times.
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