Haechi as the judge of good and evil in SBS fusion sageuk
I feel like whenever we get an onscreen King Yeongjo, it’s very often in the context of his turbulent relationship with his son, Prince Sado, and its tragic conclusion. Which is why I’m quite excited to see upcoming SBS drama Haechi take a different angle and focus on his rise to power, which should prove just as interesting and dramatic, given the circumstances surrounding his ascension to the throne. The newly released teaser for the fusion sageuk gives us a glimpse of all our main players, including Jung Il-woo’s (High-End Crush, Cinderella and the Four Knights) Prince Yeoning – or future King Yeongjo.
Haechi, or haetae, as it is more commonly referred to in modern-day Korea, is a mythical creature in East Asian folklore and the Korean iteration describes it as having a lion’s body but with scales, and a horn on its head. For those of you who’ve been to Seoul, you’ll likely have seen its likeness as sculptures in front of various landmarks. They’re supposed to act as guardians, but also as “judges of good and evil,” as described by Lee Kyung-young (Room No. 9), who plays the head of the Noron political faction.
He goes on to say that this creature only exists in legends because judging good from evil is impossible in reality. We see a bloody Jung Moon-sung (Hymn of Death) as Milpoong-gun, a distant royal descendant who later becomes the figurehead of a Soron-led rebellion, and Park Hoon (Memories of the Alhambra) as the “king of the streets” Dal-moon. I’m so happy to see Park Hoon getting higher profile roles after going around haunting Hyun Bin so successfully over at tvN.
Lee Kyung-young continues and says that there are some “fools” that believe it is possible for the haechi’s purpose to exist in this world. The first of these fools is Go Ara (Ms. Hammurabi), who will play a damo, or female assistant, of the Saheonbu investigative bureau. She vows to catch a murderer who killed someone she knew. Next is Kwon Yul (Voice 2), whose character is of noble origin, and is currently preparing for the civil service exam in order to become an officer. He insists in the teaser that those who commit crimes must be punished proportionately, no matter who the perpetrator is (i.e. what status they are).
And, last but not least, is Jung Il-woo in the king’s robes. His chyron changes from “lowly prince” to “King Yeongjo” as he asks a question that sounds much more like a challenge to his enemies: “What will you do if I become the most king-like King in all of Joseon’s history?” Bold words coming from the son of a former water maid, who only ascended to the throne after the death of his older half-brother, and accusations of his involvement in his half-brother’s death plagued Yeongjo throughout his reign. It’s a little unfortunate, because Yeongjo is regarded as one of the most competent rulers among Joseon’s kings, but his accomplishments have largely been overshadowed by political intrigue and familial strife. Hopefully, we see a little more of the positive sides to Yeongjo’s capabilities in Haechi.
Haechi will air on SBS’s Monday-Tuesday slot starting February 11, to follow currently airing My Strange Hero.
Via Sports Chosun