Drama Rating: 8/10
This drama is adapted from the life of Empress Ki, a woman who was neither from the Mongols or Han Chinese descent but instead came from a small kingdom in the Far East called Goryeo which is presently known as Korea. During the Yuan Dynasty, she held immense power and prestige that she’s known in East Asia and East Europe as a tyrant queen.
Before she was an empress, she was known as Ki Seung Nyang. From childhood up to being a woman, she had lived a harsh life. However her previous experiences were nothing compared to the day she became a Gungnyeo – a woman from Goryeo who is offered as a palace woman or concubine for the Mongol Emperor. Despite being brought to another country as a slave against her will, she was able to survive through her wit and perseverance. Eventually, Ta Hwan also known as Toghon Temür the Mongol Emperor falls in love with her not knowing that she was engaged to a Goryeo Prince named Wang Yoo. Due to palace conflicts and her political ambitions, she had to chose between love and survival.
I have this habit of checking out drama’s because of the cast and this drama did not fail me. Ha Ji Won’s acting as per usual, was flawless. I did have high hopes about the script/story during the initial episodes up to the middle part, but the entire show left me with a bitter aftertaste kind of ending. Why did the writers have to put an open-ended ending for the viewers when they could have just wrapped it up simply with a simple choice? It could have ended nicely when she finally became an empress because it was, after all the ultimate goal. What disappointed me was that every 10 to 15 episode the plot line changes and the story shifts its focus on something else aside from the previous problem on hand. That was really annoying, because when they go back to the initial conflict, there were more loopholes into the story which could not be addressed but instead it will be piled up with more issues to cover up the initial problem. Basically it’s a merry-go-round of never ending dispute – which is the norm in politics, only this one was badly portrayed in a drama. If it was me, I would have stuck with the romantic plot line instead of the political side of the story.
Another thing I have to take note of… I could have loved both kings – Yuan and Goryeo alike but instead I fell in love with Taltal, Governor Bayan’s right hand and nephew. Sometimes I day dream that he and Seung Nyang would actually end up together instead of the power driven-infused kings. Their tandem by the end of the drama was more in place than her link with the kings. I did somehow root her to the Yuan King because they had so much onscreen chemistry but decided against it during the later episodes.
As for the OST, the music was timely and I couldn’t ask for a better sound track for it. The visuals in this drama was awesome by the way. I have already re-watched several scenes from random episodes just because I liked the cinematography and the kick-ass fight scenes and archery of our heroine. Over all I would recommend this to watchers who are into saguek and palace-warlord-politics conspiracy, but let me warn you! This drama may seem to have a romantic story line, yet it isn’t the main theme and it might even disappoint in the end.