Thoughts on: Tree With Deep Roots

With Six Flying Dragons currently airing, I decided to take a walk on the memorylane and go refresh my memories on the ‘sequel’ aka Tree With Deep Roots. I’d clean forgotten I had writen about it @ LJ, way back when. This is what I thought about TwRD then. 🙂 No spoilers, as far as I can tell.

LJ 8th Nov, 2011
Oh.My.Fracking.Gosh! Everything I’ve read about Song Joong Ki in Tree With Deep Roots is so, so true. I just finished the 2nd ep of TwDR and my heart is still pounding. Damn! I cut off from there as I doubt I could sleep tonight if I’d picked up another episode. I’m so hyped up still. I think I watched most of the ep in slackjawed awe. He’s that good. The first episode didn’t quite grab me and I was hesitant to continue as my current k-drama draught has been pretty prevalent. But oh boy, am I glad I decided to go on. The acting is suberb all around and the main players riveting.

If I’ve got it right, the first few episodes will be all political shenanigans with SJK’s young King Sejong’s and his abdicated father, former King Taejong’s (a chilling performance by Baek Yoon Shik) battle for control of the country. The mind games, they shall begin…. Stuff happens when ‘giants’ have a tumble and collateral damage is inevitable. Which is how two other players get drawn in the mix. I’m sure both have an important role later on. Well, one of ’em will grow up to the lead Jang Hyuk so I guess it’s a given. 🙂 Can’t wait to see how it all pans out. Tomorrow.

LJ 9th Nov, 2011
It’s a pity that SJK’s part in TwDR was only 3 episodes long. I would have loved to see him shine a little bit longer but I must say I like the older Sejong quite a lot too. He uses as foul language as any back street hoodlum, which I find hilarious. 🙂 He’s quite enigmatic as well, I’m not sure I can read him at all. The story is full of wheels within wheels and just about everyone has something to hide. I love complex plots in mystries but I hope they don’t get too clever about it so that they loose sight of the main thread. It’s so easy to get lost in this type of stories with several imporant characters and their agendas. I haven’t watched a drama with so many intriguing types in a long while. How are the ‘battle lines’ drawn? WHO’s side are all these people?! Are they all aware of one another? I’m pretty sure most if not all of the main players are connected in some way. No other way to go but to keep watching if I want to know.

LJ 12th Nov, 2011
I just finished ep 10 of TwDR and was I ever taken in! Maybe I should brush up on my whodunnit skills as that was totally ‘the butler did it’ kinda thing. Darn, I should have at least suspected it, all the clues were right there as were the red herrings. I was fooled by the fact TwDR is a Korean drama and a sageuk to boot so it didn’t even occure to me that they’d go Agatha Christie on us. Well, Chae Yoon isn’t exactly Hercule Poirot nor Miss Marple or he’d already got it but there are shades of Tommy&Tuppence with some ‘Man in brown suit thrown’ in. ;P Based on what I’ve seen so far. I haven’t watched the next 2 episodes so I may be short of some important revelations. The stakes are getting higher and everyone is trying to keep their cards as close to the chest as possible. Only, some of the the cards are marked….

LJ 30th Dec, 2011
So, I finished TwDR….. and while I still enjoyed it, I have to admit that it had started to loose steam, possibly around the big reveal about Jung Ki Joon’s identity. After Prince Gwangpyeong got killed the momentum was just mostly gone. I wasn’t as eager to watch the episodes any more and when I got about half way through ep 21 I noticed this urge to just skip to the last epi and be done with it.

For a drama that was intelligent over all and wonderfully riveting for most of it’s run, it was sort of sad to feel this way. The acting was still top notch, writing and directing fine but the story just didn’t grab me the way it used to. I think it had mostly to do with the fact that there really wasn’t much of great interest to learn after we were past the most important plot points. They also spent far too much time on Milbon and it’s internal strugles which I wasn’t the least bit interested in, so I ended up ff’ing through most of those parts. The ending was sort of underwhelming too. It ended more or less the way I expected, a death toll a few heads smaller would have been a surprise. It did make a rather nice point about how being a ruler is always a lonely job though.

What I loved about TwDR was how it didn’t assume the audience is made of dummies. The philosophical and ideological discussions as well as a peek into a part of Korean history were always interesting and at times riveting. Decisions and actions thereoff had consequences with which one has to live with. Things did not always go as planned, for either party. Acting was great across the board but acting-wise this drama belongs to Han Suk Kyu who was truly wonderful. Song Joong Ki was a revelation as well.

For me TwDR was mainly about the overall story of a king and his alphabet, governing/ruling a nation, whom does knowledge belong to, words vs swords etc. I never got close enough to the characters for some reason, even if they were well built up, which is probably why I wasn’t IN love with this drama though I did love it. If that makes any sense. 🙂

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