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[Friday Flashback] Goong

Released: 2006

Genre: Romance, Comedy

Synopsis: In a fictional South Korea still ruled by a constitutional monarchy, a feisty high school student Shin Chae-kyung discovers that she’s betrothed to crown prince Lee Shin. Neither of them are happy with the arrangement, but they begrudgingly grow on each other. Throw in a jealous cousin and an ex-girlfriend that can’t let go, and it’s hard to say which is more difficult for our leading lady: high school or adjusting to palace life.

Why You Should (Or Shouldn’t) Watch Goong:

If you’re new to K-dramas, your first introduction to a fictional modern-day Korean monarchy was likely The King: Eternal Monarch, but let me take you back to 2006, when the reigning Crown Prince of Dramaland was Lee Shin (Joo Ji-hoon). He’s surly, as cold as brain freeze, and none too pleased to find out that his grandfather betrothed him to some random high school peasant.

Our sweatpant-wearing Cinderella is Shin Chae-kyung (Yoon Eun-hye). She’s a plucky Candy-in-training, but — luckily for her — she gets married to a prince before she’s rudely ejected into the real world. No rooftop apartment or late night shelf-stocking at a convenience store for this leading lady. She’s set for life — woo hoo!

But not so fast! Chae-kyung is not the type of girl to jump at the chance to marry the crown prince. She has her own hopes and dreams of becoming a fashion designer, so it’s understandable that she wouldn’t want to trade her youth to become a teen bride and princess.

Her parents and younger brother, on the other hand, are disgustingly eager to sell her off and reap the financial benefits. A slightly dysfunctional family disguised as comedic relief, their chaotic warmth is often used as a foil against the (mostly) frigid rigidity of the royal family. Unfortunately, I can’t move past them trying to bribe Chae-kyung — with a sewing machine! — into marrying Shin, so I find it harder to forgive them for their earlier eagerness and enjoy their endearing and heartfelt sides.

The royal family ain’t no picnic either, though. On the surface, the groom’s family seems more pragmatic and put together, but underneath the fancy hanboks and pristine manners are scandals and teenage princes who are emotionally scarred from poor parenting. About the only likable family member is the queen dowager, but even she’s a bit off-putting with her overzealous desire for great-grandbabies. Yeesh!

Like their sageuk counterparts, modern-day K-drama palaces need intrigue and backstabbing relatives coveting the throne, too, but thankfully, there’s no poisoned tea or attempted murders in this drama. No, in the modern world, the best way to usurp the crown prince is to manipulate the public into thinking he’s a scoundrel. And at the center of the tabloid gossip with Shin is The Other Woman, Min Hyo-rin (Song Ji-hyo).

At first, you kind of feel sorry for Hyo-rin because she was sort of dating Shin before she — quite sensibly — rejected his marriage proposal, but then he had the gall to follow along with his royal betrothal and marry someone else. How dare he do exactly what he warned her would happen!

This wouldn’t be a K-drama without the drama, though, so once Shin gets hitched, Hyo-rin becomes a femme fetale and tries to third-wheel her way into Shin and Chae-kyung’s marriage. To make matters worse, Shin’s aunt and cousin, Lee Yul (Kim Jung-hoon), are each — independently of one another — scheming to take Shin’s title and wife. Although Shin’s aunt stirs up her fair share of drama for our leading couple, 90% of the conflicts can be summed up as teenagers making bad decisions and failing to communicate with one another.

Shin is a classic tsundere, so even when his insides go gooey for Chae-kyung, he doesn’t know how to properly demonstrate his affection, and Chae-kyung — understandably — assumes his cold behavior means he hates her. It certainly doesn’t help matters that Shin keeps galavanting with his ex, so it’s no wonder that Chae-kyung spends the majority of the show feeling rejected and hesitant to voice her own growing affection. But, of course, Chae-kyung hanging out with Yul — albeit more platonically — only makes a jealous Shin more standoffish. It’s a vicious cycle of misunderstanding.

So how does this Friday Flashback fair 16 years later? Not so great if you’re over the age of puberty. While it is certainly believable that a group of young people would struggle to navigate interpersonal and romantic relationships, it’s a bit hard to watch as an adult. I kept wanting to yell at them, “Use your words!” And it doesn’t help that their hurt feelings often lead to dramatic and unnecessarily extreme reactions. Case in point: I didn’t appreciate how an attempted suicide was portrayed as an appropriate response to a romantic rejection.

At its heart, Goong is an adorable fairy tale that speaks to my inner child, but I feel like there is room for improvement. The good news is that it’s getting a remake in the (hopefully) near future, so my wish for the reboot is that it will capture the magic and fun of the original while also making it more palatable for an older audience. I’d enjoy seeing the characters aged up a little bit — college maybe? — but True Beauty also proved that it’s possible to depict a high school romance without making the teenage angst unbearable. My fingers are crossed that the reboot will be a future classic.

 
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This was one of the first dramas that I watched with my younger sister and mother. I am not sure if I could re-watch it today because my drama tastes have changed. I recall that the lead actress was on Myspace (back when it was more popular than Facebook) and I actually messaged her a few times. I was happy when she responded :)

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Why isn't she acting in more dramas? I discovered her in Goong and she was the only watchable character and actor amongst the characters of her age in the drama. She was also completely different in Coffee Prince, which according to me proves she is a capable actor.

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Sadly she got caught up in a pretty shameless plagiarism scandal and haven't been able to bounce back to her original glory ever since.

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She also suffers from a skin condition. On top of that her comeback rom-com a few years ago, LOVE ALERT, was doing well until P.O. decided to quit during the middle of the run- even though he was a lesser character it severely damaged the plot.

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She took a break. Aside from the plagiarism thing she also fell into depression. Was burnt out maybe cos she debuted really young and the pressure. But she’s back now, doing vlogs and variety shows. She said she cant do acting for fun anymore, and it’s been difficult for her to get into character. She’s taking her time. Hoping she returns this 2022 🥰

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my first drama to watch and i loved it! got my first taste of joo ji hoon and loved him too!

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yessss... discovered, and have since followed relentlessly until Kingdom (couldn't hang with the blooood) -- Joo Ji Hoon!! so handsome, so cute with the PIGTAILS and lipstick!!!

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my forever crown prince~
there are other CP coming after Goong but CP Shin has a special place in my heart
with his tsundere act and bad fashion sense
lol

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I watched it when I was younger and new in dramaland too, and nevertheless... I found myself screaming at them all the time. So, a rewatch??? No, please, no. I don't think I would be able to bear it! 😂😂😂😂😂

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But a re-make might clean the story up.

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Maybe... I would wait until the reviews of the remake 😅😅😅😂😂😂😂

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That is a wise approach

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It was one of first k-dramas I watched. I was totally new to k-drams and k-drama tropes such as candy – cold male lead romance, forced marriage etc. I enjoyed it due to novelty of k-dramas but even then, I knew it was quite problematic.
Now I older, wiser and having watched my fair share of far more superior k-dramas, I will not touch this drama with ten-foot pole. I am not even excited for remake unless they age protagonists a bit more. I am not at all interested in forced marriage of teenage kids which is horrid reality of people in some parts of the world.

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I loooooved this back in the day. I bet I'd have a lot of notes if I rewatched today. I loved it so much that I watched it on YouTube back when there was a 10 minute limit to vids, so 6 vids per episode. Towards the end I just stayed up all night to finish. Wild days! I'm hoping for a comeback someday soon for Yoon Eun Hye. I loved her in this.

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I only watched this maybe two years ago? I was watching JJH's dramas, and although it has so many levels of wrong, I'm not ashamed to confess that I loved it. The leads were great. I loved YEH, especially after seeing her in Coffee Prince. The clothes were a visual feast and I adored the teddy bears. I don't care about a remake. It's a classic that like Full House has not aged well, but my kdrama experience would not be complete without.

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It's been a while since I watched it but I think I liked it well enough - certainly more than Full House for instance. But I don't think I would watch a remake unless the prince became a lot less of a d*** and the characters were aged up a bit or a LOT more. Still some of the romantic scenes were pretty memorable and the teddy bear ending montages were adorable.

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One of the early kdramas I watched. I remember on my first watch I was team Yul-goon then on a 2nd watch a year or two after, I was team Shin-goon. As for today, no idea xD I still listen to the OST and it's various versions from different singers.

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Same for me - Team Yul in first watch but switching to Team Shin in rewatch!

It hasn’t aged well but is a big part in my kdrama journey. Visited the teddy bear museum and Seaes Resort in Jeju. Those were the days.

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Oh wow totally forgot the teddy bears 😅😅

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The teddy bears stages were cute.

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The best thing about this drama was the gorgeous Celtic/traditional Korean fusion soundtrack. One could forgive all its sins for the music it was wrapped up in. It would have lost its charm and allure without it.

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I agree, the instrumental track is perfection.
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=PL462ADA520DABAE52

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thank you!

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I watched "Goong" for the first time about a year ago, and I agree that it hasn't aged that well. The endless misunderstandings and lack of communication between the leads were mildly acceptable as conflict for the first half of the drama, but after that, it got very tedious, very quickly. And the second leads were incredibly irritating as well. One trope I hate in kdramas is when the second potential love interest with an unrequited crush decides that if they just get rid of the person their crush *really* likes, then their crush will turn to them. But if someone doesn't like you, they don't like you, amirite? Doesn't matter if their true love is around or not; they're still not going to be into you.
So Shin's cousin--and his overdone lipstick--worked my last nerve throughout the whole thing.

On the flip side, it didn't help that it seemed like Shin remained in love with his ex beyond the time the show started establishing that he had feelings for the heroine. (What was with their jaunt to Thailand? Or was it Japan? I can't remember, but point remains). I also felt Shin was too cold to Chae-kyung, and although I thought the actress (who I'd love to see in a new drama some time soon) did a great job, her constant weeping didn't help endear Shin to me, either.

My overall impression is that the basic story of arranged (royal) marriage is a classic for a reason and I, too, am excited to see the remake for that reason. But Goong desperately needed to be about seven episodes shorter with some tighter, more nuanced writing or just more action. For me, a better version of a similar tale is "King2Hearts."

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I enjoyed King2Hearts.

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My Princess was lovely in my memories. But again, I just remember Kim Tae-Hee and Song Seung-Hun's scenes :p

The FL was an ordinary girl too and she had to learn about this new world.

King2Hearts was pretty good too.

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Goong was great during it's time along with the other rom-coms wherein the conflicts are simple and not much thinking is needed to feel good.

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One thing that really didn’t age well: the male lead’s hair.

I watched about half of this last year before I got distracted by something shiny, and taken as an old drama it was not terrible; but if I was watching it with the same expectations I had of a modern drama, it would be pretty bad, if that makes sense. I’m quite curious to see the update as I like the concept.

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The wig-like hair frozen-in place with half-a-can of hairspray from the 2000's is bound to be replaced by the popular 'mushroom/bowl-cut look'. I wish they stuck to the Manhwa for the stylization. Cuz Shin has a very sexy, semi-gelled, piece-y look to his hair! ^^

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I am getting very tired of the mushroom/bowl look so not really an improvement 😄

The manwha sounds better!

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Yeah, imagine a 2004-ish look be appealing again! Manhwa-Shin also used to be a boxer (not a photographer), so all his sweat would sexily cling onto his hair, after his practice sessions! :')

Tragically, this hairstyle is often paired with guy-liner by boyband members... but I hope we at least got some style inspiration! :P

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Watched this in 2008/2009 i think when i got into kdramas and was in that moment were i was watching almost everything and this was among the most popular on the internet back then and of course i've went in...Nevertheless to say,maybe because i was past my teenage years i didn't ravve about it yet again like almost every comment i saw back then and must say i didn't like it very much per se at the end of it...Hated almost everyone in the story especially the parents who sold her off like that,the way she was treated by Shin and yet she feel in love with because he was the only one she was close too in that situation(if u don't count Yul),the lack of communication and so on...
So i didn't like it back then and for sure i'm not gonna like it now...

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@miky88 Wow if you were on the boards back then you would have felt so outnumbered.

P.S. This also sits in that weird group of SK Dramas about a longing for hereditary royalty. Personally, their not my thing. It took centuries to overcome for so many wish it right back because it looks sumptuous or had stylish ritual. Beware, the most insidious evil always comes in well designed packaging.

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Without doubt that's how it was and the drama was already "oldie",even more as it had the manhwa alongside to add to the love!

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Of all the good dramas, they have choosen this preposterous drama for a remake? Well, I din't need to know this information and I am going to avoid it like a plague because of the numerous problems in the original which I have posted in "WWW:Thread" Comment No.3

Even if one watches it by turning off their brain, it doesn't make for a entertaining watch or prevent one from dissecting its core problem. A teenage girl who doesn't have a fully developed emotional maturity, falls in love with a prick and entire premise is disguised as filial piety.

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@emsel Thank goodness someone said that.

It is a dark study of how abusive relationships are formed and anyone who has seen the aftermath of these know the terrors of what awaits.

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It's my first kdrama encounter and Goong also make me continued my kdrama adventure to mysoju and dramabeans also other kdrama discussion dan translator site until now.

Goong story was cliche and make Its watcher frustrated but at the same time It's addictive and we still can enjoy it, by today

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Ah, Goong. Why did they have to ruin one of my earliest Manhwa-loves so badly? I forgive them a little, because they had about only 50% of the original story to work with in 2006. And they kept going around in circles till they reduced Chae-Kyung's character to a sobbing mess of spineless girl in love. Ugh.
For starters, I hope the remake sticks to the original story/ characterization (& not the drama), while trimming down the 'excess fat'.

It's clearly a story that's focused around 18-24 y/os, but the message is equally empowering for older women too, who are beginning to lose themselves and their sense of identity, in the so-called illusion of 'love' and 'family'. Even after we remove the fantasy (royalty) element, we can see why women should not have to be the only ones to compromise and why it's important to be happy with one's sense of self and worth, before you begin sharing your love and life with someone else.
I loved the fact, that despite everything, they chose to grow up, and give their love a second-shot. And that Shin decided to wait. <3

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I don't remember a lot this drama, just some scenes between Joo Ji-Hoon and Yoon Eun-Hye. They had a great chemistry and the last scene in the middle of the road made Koreans crazy for them :p

The rest? Completely erased from my memory.

Joo Ji-Hoon was asked what changed since his debut during Kingdom area and he said nothing, his first role was a Prince and was still playing a Prince. 😂

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I've never seen this, only clips but JJH¹ is just so... YOUNG. Oh my gosh. So smol hnng.

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🔥 🔥 🔥

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My younger self loved this show since the concept (at the time) was new and there is a gorgeous tsundere crown prince played by Joo Ji Hoon. Would I rewatch the entire thing? Not likely, i will just leave this in the past. Hopefully the remake would update the story a whole lot. I would suggest they keep the constitutional monarchy and contract marriage. Age up the characters, get rid of the annoying second lead revengey characters and change them to a love story or wone story of their own. Keep the palace intrigues about usurping the throne. Maybe make the female lead less Candy and with less dysfunctional family too.

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*whole story of their own

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This drama was the reason why i even started liking k-dramas. Watched it multiple of times and i cant still remember the scenes so well.
First of all the ost Perhaps Love is still in my Kdrama playlist songs. Gives so many feelings when i listen to it.
This drama introduced me to one of the most expressive and talented actress Yoon Eun-hye. She was the soul of this show really. I did like the male lead very much later, but he was a big jerk at the very beginning. Those harsh scenes really made me cry.
This show also brought the love for me for Korean history and saeguk dramas. The colourful hanboks were simply stunning.
I liked how it started and it was engaging for most of the time, but it kinda dragged in the mid of this drama with so much negativity happening in Chae Kyung's life. Wish we could have got some very happier ending, because i always felt like it was kinds incomplete.
I also loved the little teddy bears after each episode's credit. So cute <3
One day i think i will binge watch this show again. Havent watched this in like a decade .HAHA

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I watched Goong when I was relatively new to dramaland but could never really warm up to it. As this was in the olden days when the thought of dropping drama rarely occured, I still finished it. No one in the show cared to communicate with each other and a lot of the conflicts felt draggy and unsubstantial. The only thing worth mentioning about Goong is that kiss.

You know which one I mean.😏

But I'd actually welcome a remake, especially if it featured more mature characters. Contract relationships are my catnip.

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So true, that kiss broke all the kdrama kiss rules up to that point! Not that many kisses since have measured up to it imo😘

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I watched Goong many many years ago when I was fairly new to kdramas. It definitely had its magic then (and I got sentimental when I saw the Teddy bears in the Jeju museum during my travels 10yrs ago). I remember being long time team Yul (before he turned Evil) and that I didn't like the later plot (to stretch the episodes). I liked the music... and the kiss 😁

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I loved Goong and I still love revisiting it because it brings back “all the feels” I had as a relatively new kdrama watcher, back when kdrama could do no wrong for me. The fantasy constitutional monarchy setup was interesting and CK’s manhwa-like narration was cute, as was the whole school setup and the girlfriend group. A great OST and vivid characters, I will always think of it warmly ❤️

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I too hope that the re-make will be an improvement. This show, despite its flaws, is considered a classic but all of the problems mentioned above were there.

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Originally beloved drama. The royal arranged marriage. The slow burn. The palace craziness. The tsundere slowly but surely falling in love with the bright candy girl. Everything was so perfectly, hopelessly, amazingly cliche. I just wished the last 4 episodes hadn't been so draggy.

10/10 would watch it again. I hope the remake can live up to the original's charm.

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This was the drama that started it all for me 14 years ago. I picked up a pirated DVD (with terrible english subs) and marathoned the show in 26 hours with the occasional pee break and pauses to grab snacks. I never turne back after. And though this may no longer be on my rewatch list, it really was the one that made me fall in love with kdramas and the culture.

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It may not have aged well but it did the rom com magic pretty great! I rewatch big parts of each episode even to this day! This was one of my very early kdramas and introduced me to the beautiful world of kdrama and I will always hold this precious. I don’t really care about a remake, this one is a classic although certain plot parts are makjang level trophy.

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*tropey

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This drama was so fun! One of my first dramas and I loved it. I think it's one of the few shows were I had second lead syndrome. I wonder if the ML really was as bad as I remember (well, I don't actually remember but if I got SLS the boy most had been really mean lol).

Recently I watched Coffee Prince and obviously I watched the special, so when I Eun Hye said that people was mean to her and her acting because of Goong and the whole "idol equals bad acting" nonsense I was so mad. I remember little of this show, but I clearly remember that my favorite part of it was Eun Hye. She was so much fun:(

Ps. I love the whole "becoming a princess/queen out of nowhere" trope. I liked it here, I liked it in "My Princess" and "Mr. Queen" (even if it was kinda different). Can we get more shows like that?

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Goong OST is SOOOO GOOD 🔥🤩 I still play the album from time to time. The FL's costumes are also my favorites.

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This was one of my first kdramas and I got totally addicted. The leads’ chemistry was strong but this could have been 2 episodes shorter. Hope the remake will retain the charm.

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I remember loving Goong but also remember the drama dragging in the middle about Yul and his mom. Yoon Eun-hye and Joo Ji-hoon had sizzling chemistry, especially the kiss gave me butterflies. The modern-day monarchy made for a fun story, and "Perhaps Love" is still one of the best OSTs of all time.

I've been dream-casting the Goong remake with up-and-comers until I realized this was Yoon Eun-hye and Joo Ji-hoon's acting debuts.

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This was my first ever drama! I was reading the goong manwha and accidentally discovered that there was a drama version, it was a life changing watch for me and so began my Kdrama obsession.

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my sister and I grew to love different music genres, but Goong's soundtracks made us unite. And we still listen to them sometimes

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So I've decided to watch this drama as it is "iconic." At episode 3, I have a few thoughts: 1-LOVE the idea that South Korea could have a royal family similar to England, etc and find it creative. Must have been so fresh, just like Mr Queen was in 2020. 2-Feels so much like Boys Over Flowers, but this drama came first. Same Mom, same style music and "bratty" teenage girl. Even the spilling something on the shoe of the ML was lifted for Boys Over Flowers. 3-Trying to be patient with style and pace of the drama while remembering this was a gateway drama for so many of my fellow fans. 4-Picking up on Coffee Prince vibes, though this drama came first.

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I watched it, knowing a remake was coming, to see what they changed for a modern audience. It is interesting how the era of the drama influences the pick and mix of the tropes, OST vibe and in actors. This is the era of teddy bear tableau’s of key scenes during the end credits.

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