Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung (2019)


Drama: Rookie Historian Goo Hae-Ryung (신입사관 구해령)
Network: MBC
Episodes: 40
Release Date: July 17 – September 26, 2019
Runtime: Wednesday & Thursdays 21:00 (35 minutes each / 2 episodes per day)
This drama tells a fictionalized story of the first female historians in Korea. Goo Hae Ryung is a smart, progressive female historian who is not afraid to speak up when necessary. One day, she meets and argues with Yi Rim, who she later founds out to be Prince Dowon, the son of the King. She is assigned to follow his daily activities in Nokseodang.
Main Cast
Shin Se Kyung – Goo Hae-Ryung
Cha Eun Woo – Yi Rim / Prince Dowon
Park Ki Woong – Yi Jin / Crown Prince
Lee Ji Hoon – Min U Won
Please check out my previous posts for my detailed review of each episode until episode 17. This is the only historical drama I watched all year and I was not disappointed. It took a lot of time for me to complete the drama, mostly because I was so busy with work and recording an audio comment for each episode was hard work, especially trying to fit everything in under one minute.
Gu Hae Ryung and Prince Dowon
I liked this drama, mostly for Gu Hae Ryung – I thought she was a great heroine — so ahead of her time. She was smart and compassionate, she apologizes when she’s wrong and speaks up when she’s right. I also liked Prince Dowon – he may be young and naïve but like Gu Hae Ryung, he stands up to his father/king when needed. I also loved their relationship, I didn’t even feel that the Prince was younger than Hae Ryung – they complemented each other well. The only thing I didn’t like with Hae Ryung was when she kept everything she knew hidden until around episode 17 or 18. She knew so much yet never spoke about it to anyone – maybe it wouldn’t have gotten that far had she talked to her brother.
The historians
I already mentioned in one of the episodes that I didn’t like the historians group. I don’t know if they made the team purposely funny/light hearted but I didn’t like how they were always looking down at the 4 female historians, esp. at the start, and they don’t seem like they are really working (they just kept complaining that they have too much work). Even when they finally stood up against the others since their historian pride is being trampled on, I still didn’t like the team. Even the girls, to be honest. Sa Hui and the two girls who kept whining. Even the stony faced Min U Won – was just okay, he let the team down so often by being silent and only in the end when he led the protest against this father did it feel like he finally got free from his father’s shadow.
I also liked how the drama tackled the role of historians in history. They say that the winners write the history and to some extent, it makes sense. I liked that topics such as how much and what kind of information need to be documented since these are the things that the future generations will read and learn from. Also, how much influence does the king have on what is being written and how independent should these historians be (what if they also try to manipulate the truth?)
The King, the Second State Counsellor and the Queen Dowager
Ugh. Hated them to pieces. especially the smug face of the second state counsellor. The story took some time to tell the story of what happened to HoDam and that night. Even now I still don’t understand the motivation of the second state counsellor and why he was so bad. But then I guess it’s really greed for power and being afraid of the change that Ho Dam was initiating that time. As for the Queen Dowager, it must have been terrible for her to find out her son killed her other son and she had to wait for so long to avenge her son’s death. Oh I didn’t particularly like or dislike the Crown Prince so I don’t have anything else to say except he would be a better king that his father. He is more just and listens to the people.
Mohwa and Jae Kyung
Another brave and bold woman ahead of the time was Mohwa. I love her and Jae Kyung. I thought all this time that Jae Kyung was a traitor but it turns out he had no choice that time and he was being biding his time when he can redeem himself. He’s a nice guy to take care and raise Hae Ryung all along.
Special mention
I loved Sambo, the two funny handmaidens and Hae Ryung’s hand maiden!! They are too hilarious and made the show easier to watch.
Overall, this drama is not the best historical drama but worth the watch once.
Rating: 7/10