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[In Defense Of] An ode to Faith

By Alaskan

Listen my Beanies and you shall hear
of a widely panned drama that I hold very dear
In 2012, I tried a new genre
of serial programs called Korean drama
My first one was Faith and I have to admit
that it began my addiction—it thrilled me to bits
I was quickly sucked into this fantasy story
of loyalty, love, and violent glory
I would watch Faith for hours and hours
Just to see all the villains with their magical powers

I wanted to hang out with Court Lady Choi
And who can’t help but love every Woodalchi boy?
Lee Min-ho as the General captured my heart
He was my kind of hero—kind, courageous and smart
Best of all was Eun-soo, as tough as one gets
She was clever and brave as she faced all the threats
She kept General Choi Young on the tips of his toes
and… honestly? Led him around by his nose
You may laugh, but I loved the king and the queen
And when she miscarried, I actually cried at that scene

I liked all of the intrigue, the politics, the war
(because for me, light romances are a bit of a bore)
So I say to my friends, I don’t care that they think
that the directing was clumsy, the villains absurd
I liked that Oh-sung played Ki Chul with a wink
and I liked Sung Hoon, though he said barely a word
And though I agree that the directing was blah
still the drama did touch me and isn’t that all
that each of us ultimately, eagerly looks for?
So keep the faith all you Beanies, forevermore

(With sincere apologies to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, as well as poets everywhere.)

 
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That was awesome! Total respect!

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This was so cutely written! And yeah Faith was where I discovered Lee Min Ho, Park Se Young, and my wonderful all time favorite Ryu Deok Hwan!! It's still somewhat of a guilty pleasure of mine with the fish-out-of-water shenanigans, cliche but "awww" cute romance, and plenty absurd hilarity

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FAITH was where I first spotted Ryu Deok-hwan, too. He has such presence, and stands out in a sea of Woodalchi and assorted villains. It prompted me to check out his filmography. He's great in MY SON with Cha Seung-won, and I loved him to bits in LIKE A VIRGIN.

IIRC, he should be mustering out of the service any day now. I've missed him in Kdramaland, and am eagerly awaiting is comeback. I hope we get to see him in another sageuk before too long.

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Oh YES he hopefully comes back soon with a new drama!

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Ryu Deok Hwan is indeed amazing as the young fearful king.

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I loved watching him grow as a person and king to protect his queen and become a capable leader!

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So impressed by your poem! It was fun to read 🙂

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This is so cool!!! I really liked this drama a lot. To me it had two lead couples, because I was so attracted and in loved with the royal couple, and yes, I cried too when she miscarried. Good job

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LOL! Great poem @Alaskan !
I'm glad to see that all genres of writing get represented here.

It's true in the end that no matter how bad some shows might have been, there were some of us who (sheepishly) enjoyed them, and yes even better, were touched by something that they portrayed ... and that was really enough. We often know a show could have been better, but it reached us somehow and stayed with us. That was good. :)

I believe that if we demanded a near perfect show before we'd watch it, we'd be very free. :D

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Woodalchi rise!!
Who cares if they were totally inefficient guards. 🤣

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I LOVED THIS! This was great 😄

I like Faith a lot too. It has its fair share of shortcomings, but there are some things in it that are incredibly well done, both acting and directing wise.

One of them was the way Choi Young was always on the alert, watching for danger, his sword ready. He mostly answered to people mechanically and unenthusiastically because he wasn't paying much attention. That made the times when his head snapped back to look at Eun-soo that much poignant to me.

This was a character very very well done in my opinion, and suited LMH very much. It was actually the only role of his that I liked and thought him well-cast.

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I need to say it again, @tinak, this was such a cool and fun post!

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I agree, Choi Young is a great character. I liked LMH in other roles too, but I still look for glimpse of CY.

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yes to all you say about Choi Young/LMH casting. I, too, think its the one time he was properly cast--and the character was SO EXCELLENT because of it!! <3

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I feel like Lee Minho tends to always act his characters the same way, but Faith was the only drama where he had a different acting style, and it was on point. Sure he was well casted in this role!

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This made me smile from ear to ear and I didn't finish the show but I watched enough to know what you are trying to convey.

Rock on @Alaskan!

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Faith is still one of my favorites. Choi Young's departure and visit to "heaven" was great. And the ending wrapped up all the puzzles and made everything make sense.

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I even forgive it its cringeworthy double poisoning trick and laughable villain moments.

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Yes - exactly my thoughts and it’s my favorite go-to drama when I’m in a slump. So much to love about it, I can overlook the other stuff 😉

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The ending was this weird simultaneously satisfying but head-scratching wrap. I loved it, but if I think too much...*head scratch...* Who cares? Love it!

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OMG what an amazing write-up! I love, love your poem. 💕

Also, I love Faith and agree with everything you said. The OST in particular was mind blowing. Also, this is my favourite Lee Min Ho look. ^^ though Kim Hee Sun stole the show.
The only thing that irritated me was the Number. Of. Times. She. Was. Poisoned.

But also, once I read about the bts mess (after I'd finished the show), it kind of took the enjoyment away. Like Hwayugi right now. Apart from this, Faith remains one of my favourite shows, ever.

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Oh, Faith was my discovery of Kim Hee Sun and I absolutely fell in love with her! She was such a hoot, so sassy and relatable.

It was obvious she was older than he, but they had such chemistry!

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Loved It!!! Thank you so much and Faith was also my first K-drama and holds a very special place in my heart. I have since watched it multiple times and have most of the OST as my ringtones. My only regret was the ending but still love it very much but thought the OST chemistry was awesome especially the scene where he brushed her hair.

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Ahh now I want to go watch it again but have so many dramas I am behind on. What is a k-drama addict to do??

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Lol, truly that ending! And to think it was just the last 1 minute that makes so many people unexpectedly filled with rage.

I'm not asking for a Bollywood-style embrace, but was it so hard to crack a smile? Or better yet, an expression of being so overcome by emotion that they could not speak. What we got was this not-smiling smile. Instead of, "I knew you'd finally come( said with conviction and overwhelming relief), it was, "Eh, I knew you'd finally come...*Kanye shrug*....
So small but so oddly annoying, lol

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yes seriously. In the "rewrite an ending" monthly theme, I thought of Faith, too---but I didn't have enough words to submit anything, because all I really wanted to say was "Would a hug or kiss at the end really have been too much??!?"

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This is one on my watch list now. 2012 was a good year and a horrible one at the same time. Such a dichotomy, it makes me want to watch everything made that year. The one that got me hooked was also made in 2012, although I didn’t watch it until 2016!

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what drama was that?

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I’m almost too embarrassed to say. 😜

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I know the feeling. heh :)

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Is it worth to watch it if I only want to see the woodalchi (particularly Deokman character 😆)? I had wanted to watch it because it was Yoon Kyun Sang's debut drama (yeah, I'm YKS's trash 😝), but I haven't started it because Lee Min Ho left such a bad taste to me after BBF

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@keiru,

Yes, I think it's worth watching FAITH because there are some excellent actors in it. I put a couple of clips in my comment below that might help persuade you. ;-)

Court Lady Choi, the general's auntie, is a total badass, and put actress Kim Mi-Kyung on my radar.

The baddies are a strange bunch of mutant super heroes, with Yoo Oh-sung portraying Ki-chul, their ringleader. His performance is pretty campy, but there are times when his deadly-serios villainy is not to be taken lightly. (He was excellent as Lee Joon-gi's nemesis in GUNMAN IN JOSEON.)

LMH's Choi Young is so different from his BOYS OVER FLOWERS chaebol heir that they may as well be in different universes. I managed to watch just the first episode of BOF because I hated the bullying. I thought he did a great job as the laconic general who doesn't care if he lives or dies. He's like the walking dead, but gradually thaws out.

The show starts off with a bang, and it sucked me in immediately. The animated sequence showing the back story of Choi Young's first military unit that was treated like crap by the previous monarch is really well done.

The music is terrific, and was another reason why I kept watching. Yay for MC Sniper! (I loved his OST for CHUNO, too -- and I don't even like rap.)

Yoon Kyun-sang caught my eye in FAITH. He doesn't have a big role, but he's sure got presence, and it's not just because he's tall. I was tickled to bits when he played Gil-dong in REBEL.

I'd encourage you to suspend your disbelief and just enjoy the ride. ;-)

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ohoh, the animated sequences are fabulous. It is a pity there were so few of them. Also did you read the recaps? Although GF and JB were tough in their recaps, they were also right, you know.

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The two big names that were attached to this drama hailed from the golden age with 2 back to back masterpiece (Sandglass and Eye of Dawn).
That raised everyone's expectation and I think that's why they were tough with the recaps.
There were problems behind the scenes and the assistants probably did most of the writing and directing.

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I didn´t know that. But Faith is my safe haven - when I need to boost my energy and a kickass OTP.

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@kiara,

I didn't know any of that background at the time I watched. I can now understand how past hits would have cranked up the expectations, having since observed it several times with recent shows. The financial difficulties that led to suicide (and cast and crew not getting paid) cast a dark shadow. I felt truly horrible for all parties when I read about that.

On a different note, perhaps you could explain something that has confused me. I suddenly realized as I watched that Goryeo's capital would not have been Seoul -- it would have been Gaegyeong (modern Kaesong in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea). So how is it that when Choi Young initially went through the portal to fetch the Great Doctor to save Princess Noguk, he ended up in Gangnam in modern-day Seoul?

In those days, I assume travel between Yuan went by sea and up the Han River to Hanyang (present-day Seoul), and overland north to the Goryeo capital. Overland all the way from Yuan would have been too long, strenuous, and dangerous for transporting the new queen. Thanks for any insights you can provide, Kiara! ;-)

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@pakalanapikake

Yes that suicide hit the industry pretty hard. They lost a talented PD.

I didn't finish watching "Faith" so I'm not sure what historical timeline the writers were following and if they did at all.

Well, you are right to be confuse. When Choi Young took the portal, they were nowhere near Hanyang (Seoul).
It would've made more sense if he was time traveling during the Red Turban invasion that successfully took over Gaegyeong (Goryeo capital) and King Gongmin and Queen Noguk had to leave the capital.
Hanyang (Seoul) was SW and the closest city to the capital (according to the 1350 map) but some historical records said he escaped to Andong. If so, they probably had to travel through Seoul to get to Andong.
(That all came later so it's not relevant to the beginning of the show.)

Maybe we just need to go with "magic" lol. The portal was closer to the Yuan border than Goryeo's capital and even further Hanyang (Seoul).
I think the portal only connects with Seoul because that's where the modern day Hwata (Doctor Yoo Eun-soo) was at.

I'd make a fuss if it was a conventional sageuk but it wasn't and it involves time travelling and all sort of magic.

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FAITH was one of my early Kdramas after DR. JIN, THE KING'S DAUGHTER, SU BAEK HYANG, and then GU AM HEO JOON, IIRC. (Thank you, HULU!) I did read the DB recaps, and all the comments, too, as I struggled to understand what was happening. By the time I was done, I'd watched it four times. Yeah, I was that stuck on it. (And the music was that cracktastic.) Back then I didn't know beans about Korean culture, history, or geography, so that prompted me to start reading up on those subjects. If I were to re-read the recaps now, I'd probably understand them better. ;-)

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I keep seeing Beanies mention "IIRC" -- what show is that?

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@anothernicole
It’s not a show, it’s an acronym for ‘If I remember correctly’.

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"I thought he did a great job as the laconic general who doesn't care if he lives or dies. He's like the walking dead, but gradually thaws out."

This! I appreciated Choi Young's character arc( together with the King 's) and thought LMH's portrayal was spot on. People complained that his performance was dull and lifeless but I think that was exactly what was meant to be felt.

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@ Flighty Gazelles,

It was obvious to me that Choi Young's heart was broken by the death of his beloved leader at the hands of the drunken slob of a king. Not to mention the suicide of his first love and Red Moon sister-in-arms. After seeing his upright, loyal master treated like dirt by the current Yuan puppet, he sleepwalked through life while waiting to die.

Given that back story, I cannot imagine how LMH could have played Choi Young any differently.

Like his Red Moon leader, Choi Young cared deeply for each of his warriors. He may have expressed it gruffly, but he was as loyal to his men as they were to him. I loved him for that.

He also did not shy away from doing the difficult things. It really took me apart at the seams to watch him and the dethroned young king he had served say their goodbyes. The youngster outwitted Ki Chul & Co. to save the general. It says a lot about someone to have others make such sacrifices on his behalf.

I loved Choi Young's conversations in his dreams with his late father on the frozen lake.

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Thank you @pakalanapikake 😊

I did watch some clips but haven't found the strong motivation to really watch it.. I'll try 😉

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@keiru
for the love of Kyunsangie watch this and you'll love him puppy!
and Lee Min Ho did great here and everyone else!
Worth giving a try, it's still on my hard drive so it's for keeps for me.

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I really liked this drama. All the characters were endearing, the main leads did a wonderful job and I loved the romance between the king and the queen (she learned another language just so she can speak to him!) The villains didn't fit the regular model but I found them quirky rather than annoying though I hated how the guy with silver hair died. This drama just needed a slight push on the swing so that it could fly. I liked how it made me feel while watching it, and for me that's what makes a difference when rating dramas.

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I loved Faith! I still go "Hey Psycho" when I see Lee Min Ho. The King and the Queen were so cute together. Fun memories. Still one of my favorites.

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Wow, I love your poem such a well written one. I write poems too but I rarely share it. I am glad I get to read yours. Due to that I guess I can pen faith in my what to watch list. Thanks once again Alaskan for the poem....

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Loved it as well!

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I didn't watch Faith, but thanks for this fun read! Loved it!

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loved your poem*thumbs up*

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pure genius. Faith is my 2nd go-to rewatch after IRY. There is just something so endearing about it. The relationships between king & Choi Young, the king and queen, Choi Young and his aunt, and the OTP, and the woodalchi, there is somehow so much warmth and truthfulness in these relationships. I kind of want to give every single one a hug (except court lady Choi, she´d only scoff at me). Mind you, I don´t usually hug people either, I am saying kind of want to. Not that I actually do. And poor little Ki Chul is just so helplessly repetitive. I kind of want to help him sometimes to get something right, but then again I don´t. The most heartbreaking part was the sick, banished young king. Arrrghhh.

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Lady Choi might scoff at you, but she secretly liked a hug too. 😊

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Yeah, I can't seem to not rewatch it. My sisters love it and whenever its on, can't help but catch some bits

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@Alaskan
Bravo!! Thank you for writing such an eloquent and elegant piece to my one of my top favorite dramas.

Faith is the only drama I have watched more the once and I always get into it like it were my 1st time.

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What a great poem! Thank you for sharing this.
This is actually one of my favorites. I decided to check out LMH dramas after watching Legend of the Blue Sea...dropped The Heirs midway, barely made it through BBF, but enjoyed this one. Go figure. :)

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You might enjoy PERSONAL TASTE. ;-)

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He was so thoughtful and mature in Personal Taste. He and Sohn Ye Jin were like playground kids being forced to make up and be friends during the cohabitation negotiations. All the side-eyes, lol.

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I saw this one too...forgot about it until I saw your comment. I enjoyed it. Thought about putting City Hunter on my "to watch" list but not sure. Thoughts?
BTW...are you by any chance Hawaiian? Just curious.

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I haven't gotten around to CITY HUNTER, but I hear it's supposed to be good. Isn't it famous for the "Game Over" kiss?

I used to live in Hawai'i, so picked lei flowers for my handle. Aloha! ;-)

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Game Over is from Personal Taste. :D

I liked City Hunter because of the Clark Kent thing (why I loved Healer) and the Bad Daddy conflict. It's my favorite Lee Min-ho drama.

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@pakalanapikake, Mary is so right...that kiss is from Personal Taste. There are Youtube cuts of it. ;-)

Great name. I dance Hula with a halau so your name caught my eye. Aloha! :)

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@mary, Thanks for your thoughts!
I will put it on my "to watch" list which seems to be ever-growing. :)
I loved Healer. <3

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@mary,

Well that was embarrassing! Thank you for setting the record straight. Just because I watched PERSONAL TASTE doesn't mean I remember the whole thing. LOL!

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@ximeteagirl
January 12, 2018 at 9:42 AM

Oooh! How lovely that you dance with a halau! Sadly, I did not make the time to learn hula when I lived in Hawai'i. I wish I had.

The hula for "Iesu me ke kanaka waiwai" is one of my favorites. In general, it is kahiko that I really love.

Where is your halau, if I might ask?

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@pakalanapikake,
"Iesu me ke kanaka waiwai" is a beautiful mele and I always love dancing it.
My halau is in Dallas but I don't live there.

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Loved the drama, and Super loved your poem. Now I want to go rewatch it.

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Yes! Finally! Thank you so much for expressing all of my thoughts.
Faith was one of my first dramas I watched and I loved it so much. It was so epic (just like your poem!). And of course, Lee Min Ho. <3

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I didn't finished this but.. reading this poem made me want to try it again. I have a trouble to connect with Lee Min-ho's acting, but since I love Park Se-young, I will try this again. Especially no sageuk to watch at this moment.

Kudos @alaskan for this great post!

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Flawed but so moving
I watched it with my daughter
Faith: first k drama

Thanks for sharing this @tinak

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I love this drama. It is one of my favourite LMHs drama. Reading your post made me wanna rewatch this drama. Okay Im off. Gonna meet General Choi Young now 😚

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I LOVE Faith!
It's still one of the best Dramas I've seen. Well I don't know if 'best' is the term, but one of my favorites. I've seen it 3 times.

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Brava, @Alaskan!

I, too, have a warm spot for FAITH. The cracktastic OST was terrific. You've inspired me to post a bunch of links on my fan wall to my favorite pieces, many of them instrumental.

Out of the blue I recently recalled the excruciating embarrassment of King Gong-min's faithful retainer Ahn Do-chi (Kwon Hae-sung) when Princess Noguk inquired as to his wife's sure-fire stress relief-methods. The look on his face was priceless when he finally spilled the beans under duress, only to have the king enter the throne room, and Noguk beat a hasty retreat. Har!

The scene starts at about 5:00.

Faith Episode 12 English Sub Korean Drama 3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YsVMlGysTRE

In episode 13, Court Lady Choi delivers Princess Noguk's invitation to King Gong-min, starting at about 11:15. Keep watching as their tête-à-tête and the back story of their first meeting in Yuan unfolds. Very sweet. Park Se-young and Ryu Deok-hwan make a memorable royal couple.

Faith Episode 13 English Sub Korean Drama 2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QY0BRSIkZ88

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This was awesome! And I actually completely agree with you. Despite it's faults Faith is actually one of my favourite dramas. I enjoyed every episode, all the characters, the time travel stuff and of course the romance (both the main couple and the King & Queen). When I heard that it was generally regarded not very well, I was surprised. It definitely has issues but I really don't think it's as bad as people make it out to be.
For me at least, it will be one I will always love and rewatch over and over, so this was so nice and fun to read!

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This was wonderfully written :)

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omg i lovelovelove this! your poem is amazing! And I'm SOOOOOO excited to see Faith defended in this month's "series" (or whatever its called :) ). As soon as I saw this month's topic, Faith came to mind, and I was hoping someone would properly do it justice---and you did!! Such a lovely tribute. Agree with all that you said, and with everything the beanies commented. Faith was my first kdrama, too, and I am just so thrilled to find that I'm not alone in my love for it <3

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So cute! Loved your apology at the end to poets haha ;)

I need to watch Faith sometime!

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The PS was gold!!!

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Thank you so much for defending Faith!!
It was also my first drama. I chose it purely by chance, but got hooked eventually and now I can't get enough of dramas :)

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But nobody mention the Mane of Glory ?

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Faith was also my first KDrama 4 years ago, and after watching dozens in all genres, I still love this one unapologetically. I’ve watched it several times since. I also like the ending that many criticize: it’s perfect.

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Awesome poem, and this too was my first drama, and I've watched it 3 or 4 times now, even if it's just for background noise. this drama will always have a special place in my heart.

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Your words is really good. If only I have the talent to play words to convey my feeling. Unfortunately

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Faith was my crack drama for many years. My healthy addiction. I would watch and rewatch it when I was tired, happy, bored, or had a hard day and needed distraction.

Much later I found out it was widely panned on Dramabeans and I never understood why this beautiful drama of perseverance and sacrifice with awesome sci-fi effects wasn’t loved by the community. But it didn’t deter my love for the drama by one bit.

I often think that Faith was the last drama Lee Min Ho actually poured all of himself - heart and soul - in. In later dramas: Heirs and the Legend of the Blue Sea - he goes through the motions, but his heart isn’t really there. There’s a stark contrast in his drama work Pre and Post Faith, I confess his withdrawal from completely immersing himself in his characters made me like him a little less. Not that I blame him, the events following the wrapping up of Faith were tragic and enough to shake the most stalwart of people.

Despite all of that, this drama remains one of my most beloved to date.

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The fact that there's a defence of Faith and that its loved by this many is actually making me tear up. At last, I've found my people.

I did like LMH in Personal Taste, he and Sohn Ye Jin had a natural chemistry that developed comfortably( aside from some questionable decisions of the writing). Admittedly, it was the traditional swoony male lead role, but still...

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@ Flighty Gazelles,

In PERSONAL TASTE, LMH's chemistry with Ryu Seung-ryong was also noteworthy. Jeon Jin-ho's defense of Choi Do-bin was deeply touching. RSR projected immense dignity as the art curator.

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Definitely, their scenes together were among the best in the series.

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I really love the show's treatment of Ryu Seung Ryong' character. You had all these comedic mishaps taking place because of LMH being mistaken as a gay character and all the false stereotypes that comes with it. And then you have RSR, dignified and respected to the end. Love it.

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Aw, thank you, everybody, for your kind comments. The Ode was lots of fun to write, even if it did veer into "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," if not Dr. Seuss territory, at times.

And it's good to know that I'm not alone in my love for Faith, flaws and all.

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Wow, mad respect for you! Those rhymes were great! @tinak Great job!

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Ahh, twas' awesome this post!!
Pouring your heart out is what I love most!
And although Faith wasn't always winsome,
it came and delivered, feelings so wholesome.

Kudos for the wonderful post, Alaskan!

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I absolutely adore Faith and I've probably watched it at least 15 times. Even with the obvious budget issues and circular plot points (how many times are they going to run away and turn back to the palace?!) it is still one of my all time favorites. It was clearly intended to be a much larger scale production and at some point, after the budget for the cool animation and special effects had clearly been cut, the writer must have just decided, screw it, I'm writing a romance novel. The chemistry between Lee Min Ho and Kim Hee Sun was off the charts and they will always be my # 1 KDrama couple.

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Love this!! I too enjoyed Faith even with all its flaws. It was one of my first dramas to watch as it aired. Found out about it through this site, so I had the recaps to help me understand things that were still new to me. Thank you for your lovely poem.

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Faith is my guilty pleasure.
I know it has a lot of flaws and problem behind the scene, but I love it very much, can't help it.

Until these days, I'm still listening "Because My Steps are Slow" everyday, my favorite OST of Kdrama.

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Love this lol you should do more kdramas~

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Lol Alaskan I really liked Faith too! My sister and I both loved it actually. I read that the initial production was full of drama and budgeting issues which probably led to the subpar editing and special effects...but I thought the story was quite good. Not historically relevant (I mean they were throwing lightning and fireballs at each other) and sometimes redundant but it managed to remain entertaining. That may have been largely due to the main leads who executed flawlessly in this drama (in my opinion). Oh and the soundtrack was great, I still listen to it time to time. It was one of my guilty pleasures...my fourth ever kdrama...and one that I repeatedly go back to and rewatch 😬. So yeaa, I sorta feel ya

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I like Faith very much! Not as much as I love the classic Goong but it is still top of my list. This is the only Lee Min Ho drama I like. He was cast really well and he had awesome chemistry with Hee Sun! I had butterflies in my stomach watching that last scene. The villains were funny not in a good way but I enjoyed it all. I remember sincerely wishing the Queen has a happy ending, thinking that she is very beautiful and sweet. What a great post by our guest beanie to celebrate this classic gem!

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I loved this! And I have to agree. Faith may not have been the best drama out there, but I still love it!

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