Royal strife in SBS’s An Empress’s Dignity
I love a good “what-if” story, and I’m really excited for what looks like an adult version of an old favorite, Goong. SBS’s upcoming show An Empress’s Dignity is busy preparing for its premiere next month and has released several stills of its cast to give us a taste of what’s in store for us. On paper, the drama sounds like an amalgamation of romance, political thriller, and mystery, but I’m secretly hoping that there’s an emphasis on the first, since it would be such a waste to cast Jang Nara (Go Back Spouses) and Choi Jin-hyuk (Devilish Joy) without a good loveline.
Jang Nara, sporting a frizzy look in these stills, will play Oh Sunny, a no-name musical actress who becomes the nation’s Cinderella when she marries Shin Sung-rok‘s (Return) Lee Hyuk, the emperor. The circumstances surrounding their marriage are unclear, though reports say that they were high school classmates at one point. Sunny will be at the heart of this story, naturally, and finds herself in a power struggle within the palace that results in the murder of the dowager empress, played by Shin Eun-kyung (Village: Secret of Achiara). This mysterious death threatens the monarchy, and through it all, Sunny finds true love and happiness. Hopefully with Choi Jin-hyuk’s character, stills of whom haven’t been released yet, unfortunately.
Next, we get some stills of the beloved emperor, Lee Hyuk, in action. I have to say, Shin Sung-rok might exude evil charisma, but he makes a pretty convincing royal in these stills. The fictional Korea in this show might be a constitutional monarchy, but it’s Lee Hyuk who has captured the heart of the nation, with his looks and his way with words. I’m sure much of his confidence stems from his relationship with his mother, the dowager empress, who doted on him, to the extent that she neglected her daughter, Princess So-jin, played by Lee Hee-jin (Woman of Dignity) and pictured in black lace with her mother and grandmother, the grand dowager empress.
Veteran actress Park Won-sook (Dear My Friends) plays the formidable grand dowager empress, whose age and experience demands deference, though her charisma is a quiet one. Though she doesn’t compromise when it comes to her beliefs, she wordlessly helps the palace workers behind the scenes. And last, but not least, is Lee Elijah‘s (Miss Hammurabi) character Min Yoo-ra, who fought tooth and nail to work her way up to be the royal family’s legal representative. She’s determined to make Lee Hyuk her man, and elevate her own status through that connection, and so tries to make herself invaluable to the emperor.
I’m really excited to see the world An Empress’s Dignity creates, and these character descriptions sound like a good start to that world-building. The show will take over SBS’s Wednesday-Thursday slot from currently airing Heart Surgeons in mid-November.