Queen Seondeok (TV series)
|Also known as||The Great Queen Seondeok|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||62|
|Executive producer(s)||Lee Chang-soo|
|Original network||Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation|
|Original release||25 May– 22 December 2009|
|Revised Romanization||Seondeok Yeowang|
Queen Seondeok (Hangul: 선덕여왕; Hanja: 善德女王; RR: Seondeok Yeowang) is a 2009 South Korean historical drama produced by MBC for their 48th-founding anniversary, starring Lee Yo-won, Go Hyun-jung, Uhm Tae-woong and Park Ye-jin. It chronicles the life of Queen Seondeok of Silla. It aired on MBC from 25 May to 22 December 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.
The series begins at the end of King Jinheung's reign and continues until the end of Queen Seondeok's reign. Deokman was born as one of the twin daughters of King Jinpyeong and Queen Maya, but due to a prophecy, King Jinpyeong had to send his daughter away from the palace with the help of his clumsy but loyal servant Seohwa, in order to save Queen Maya from being ousted by Mishil, whose ambition was to become Queen. Seohwa raised Deokman as if she were her own, but a turn of events eventually led Deokman into finding out her real identity - only to be abandoned once again by her family in order to save the throne from Mishil's hand, with the exception of her twin sister Cheonmyeon, who ended up losing her life while trying to help Deokman escape. Out of hatred, Deokman set out to take back what was taken from her and avenge her sister by bringing Mishil down and becoming the first female king of Silla with the help of her trusted friend, Yushin and troubled rogue Bidam, who eventually led a rebellion near the end of her reign.
- A charismatic, yet solitary ruler:
She was known as the first female ruler in Korean history. Deokman was born as the twin sister of Princess Cheonmyong and had a close brush with death as a baby due to the attempted assassination by Mi-shil, who had ambitions for the throne. A loyal servant named So-hwa rescued her by fleeing the kingdom with her. She loves to be around people, but after becoming a queen, she lost the liberty to trust them as sincerely and innocently as she once did. As ruling queen, she is deeply lonely and filled with despair. Yet she must hide her true feelings and stand on her own to be reborn as a true king.
- Archenemy of Queen Seondeok:
A Royal concubine who will stop at nothing in order to achieve her dream of becoming a Queen. She rose to power as a result of her relationships with prominent rulers and officials. She was concubine to three successive Silla kings: King Jinheung, King Jinji and King Jinpyeong. She was the wife of Lord Sejong (the prime minister), the lover of General Seolwon and the mother of Bidam.
- The invincible warrior forever remembered by history: With a grand vision of unifying the three kingdoms under Silla's rule, he aligns himself with Princess Deokman who puts her complete trust on him. He became an invincible warrior, admired by all in the capital. He earns a well-deserved place in history, the very thing that Bidam desires.
- Park Ye-jin as Princess Cheonmyeong
Princess Cheonmyeong was Princess Deokman's twin sister, as the first born daughter, King Jinpyeong choose her to stay in the palace in belief that she was the destined child who will bring Mishil down someday. She grew up fearing Mishil which led to her living a life out of politics. She fell in love and married King Jinji's son Kim Yongsu but one day, Kim Yongsu was nominated as a possible candidate for the throne but had to prove himself worthy of it which in the end caused him his death. Believing that Mishil had her hand on his death, she set out gathering allies in order to bring Mishil down one day. She was the first person to find out about Deokman's real identity and did everything she can in order to help her sister which costs her life.
- The glorious downfall of a tragic hero: Bidam inherits the life of Misil, and their story comes to an end. The tragedy of his mother's life comes full circle and he becomes the wretched hero of the same fate. Ultimately he gains nothing he desires - not a place in history, Silla nor Deokman - and ends up forgotten by history, recorded only as the instigator of a mutiny. He is loved then hated, he gains power only to lose it, he earns the trust of people and then loses that trust. He will crash and burn, and his end will be tragic and glorious.. 
- Ruler of the next age and ruler of the Three Kingdoms: This series began with Misil's age, continues through Deokman's age, and will end at the start of Chunchu's age. This precocious genius will find his own footing alongside Deokman, Yusin and Bidam, and gain power in his own way. Ultimately he will be the one to uphold the dream that began with the late King Jijeung and unify the Three Kingdoms.
- He is most well known as Deokman's staunch supporter and bodyguard. He was initially cold and looked down on Kim Yushin and the Yonghwa Hyangdo. Deokman earns his respect during war with Baekje, and then his loyalty later on. He is Yushin's war comrade and close friend. Along with Yushin, he is with Deokman until her final days.
- Jung Ho-bin as Gukseon Munno
- The 8th leader of Hwarang warriors and the Gukseon. Along with Misil, Seolwon, and Sadaham, they were the people who King Jinheung trusted the most during his era. He helps rescue young Princess Deokman from the palace to protect the royal house. He also took care of Bidam, per request of King Jinji. He is later killed by Yeomjeong while compiling the Geographical Survey of the Three Kingdoms, after Yeomjeong learns that he planned to give the books to Yushin.
- Deokman and Cheonmyeong's father. He was a weak king. He was placed on the throne after Misil dethroned King Jinji.
- King Jinpyeong's wife, mother of Deokman and Cheonmyeong. She is extremely devoted to her husband. In her early days, Misil tried to murder Maya after Maya witnessed the Hwarang putting makeup on their faces. Misil then tried to take Maya's place as queen, however, Munno saved Maya, and her twins, from falling to her death.
- Seo Young-hee as Sohwa
- Maidservant to Jinpyeong and Maya, foster mother of Deokman. She brought Deokman to the desert and raised her there, until Chilsuk found them. She "died" once in the desert trying to save Deokman. She dies a second time in an attempt to protect Deokman also.
- Im Ye-jin as Lady Manmyeong
- Jinpyeong's older sister; Kim Yushin's mother, and Kim Seohyeon's wife. She had eloped with Kim Seohyeon in her younger days. Her princess status was not restored until the Queen Mother had forgiven her.
- Jung Sung-mo as Kim Seo-hyun
- Manmyeong's husband; Kim Yushin's father. He is of Gaya descent, and on the hwabaek council.
- Park Jung-chul as Kim Yong-su
- King Jinji's eldest son; Princess Cheonmyeong's husband. He was originally named heir after Princess Cheonmyeong's three younger siblings die (because of the prophecy), and he goes out to war to prove himself. However, he is killed because of Misil.
- Do Yi-sung as Kim Yong-chun
- King Jinji's 2nd son, a government minister; Princess Cheonmyeong's ally and confidante. He was a pungwolju (prior to Hojae), and later served on the hwabaek council. He remains loyal to the royal house and becomes Deokman's ally later on.
- Shin Goo as Eulje
- Senior government minister, friend to King Jinpyeong. He does everything he can to protect the royal house, even if it meant trying to kill Deokman. He is later stripped of his titles by King Jinpyeong.
- Jung Woong-in as Misaeng
- Mishil's younger brother; the 10th leader of Hwarang warriors. He was also a father to over 100 children.
- Dokgo 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
- Mishil and Seolwon's son, a Hwarang commander
- 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. He was given the task to find the lost twin. 15 years later, he found Deokman in the desert.
- 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 Gaya and the leader of the Bokya. He was adopted by Kim Seohyeon, and then replaced Yushin as Yonghwa Hyangdo's leader. Yushin earns Wolya's loyalty after letting the Gaya refugees stay on the Kim family's private land.
- Jung Ho-keun as Seolji
- Kayan commander; he is loyal to Wolya.
- 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 (pungwolju), later a council member of the hwabaek.
- Hong Kyung-in as Seokpum
- Noh Young-hak as young Seokpum
- Commander of a Hwarang loyal to Misil. He comes from a poor family, but Misil gives him his elevated status--this is why he is so loyal to Misil.
- Kang Ji-hoo as Imjong
- Kim Seok as young Imjong
Commander of a Hwarang loyal to Kim Yong-choon
- 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
- Kim Sang-bin as young Dae Nam-bo
- The most prominent of Misaeng's sons, a Hwarang commander
- 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
- Mametkulovs Mansur as Mr. Cartan
- Roman, possibly Jewish, trader who teaches Latin to the young Deokman
- Seo Kang as Yangkil
- Mishil's first love
- In the table below, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
|Episode||Original Broadcast date||TNMS ratings||AGB ratings|
|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 October 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%|
It was filmed on location at MBC Dramia in Cheoin-gu, Yongin, Gyeonggi Province. Other historical dramas such as Dong Yi, Moon Embracing the Sun and Jumong were also filmed there. It was filmed at the Shilla Millennium Park in Gyeongju.
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 mentioned in the series. More subtly, the real Seondeok likely never left Silla (stories concerning her childhood in the palace survive) and did not know Latin.
On 31 December 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.
- Daesang/Grand Prize: Go Hyun-jung
- Top Excellence Award, Actress: Lee Yo-won
- Top Excellence Award, Actor: Uhm Tae-woong
- Excellence Award, Actor: Kim Nam-gil
- Golden Acting Award, Supporting Actor: Ahn Gil-kang
- Golden Acting Award, Supporting Actress: Seo Young-hee
- Best New Actor: Yoo Seung-ho, Lee Seung-hyo
- PD Award: Shin Goo
- Best Young Actress: Nam Ji-hyun
- Writer of the Year: Kim Young-hyun and Park Sang-yeon
- Best Couple Award: Kim Nam-gil and Lee Yo-won
- Viewer's Favorite Drama of the Year: Queen Seondeok
- 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
- The drama aired in Sri Lanka from July 2015 on Rupavahini, under the title ජනහිතකාමී රැජිණිය - Janahithakami Rajiniya.
- The drama aired in Thailand from April 2010 on Channel 3, under the title ซอนต็อก มหาราชินีสามแผ่นดิน (sxn t́xk mh̄ā rāchinī s̄ām p̄hæ̀n din). and re-aired in same name starting on 20 October 2015 on True4U.
- The drama aired in Vietnam from July 17, 2010 on VTV1, under the title Thiện Đức nữ vương.
- The drama aired in the Philippines from January 4 to August 13, 2010 on GMA Network, under the title Queen Seondeok.
- The drama aired in the United States (dubbed in Mandarin) during two different frames
- KTSF from 2009-2010
- Sino TV in 2011
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- TNmS Multimedia Homepage Archived 28 December 2014 at the Wayback Machine.(in Korean)
- AGB Nilson Media Research Homepage Archived 19 June 2014 at the Wayback Machine.(in Korean)
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- Shilla Millennium Park
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