Is Arthdal Chronicles Korea’s Game of Thrones???

Arthdal=GoT

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The highly anticipated Korean Drama Arthdal Chronicles was just released through TvN and Netflix on June 1, 2019.

And after just the first two episodes, there has already been some backlash with some viewers complaining that the show is copying the high profile show which just recently came to an end: Game of Thrones.

I have to admit that the moment I began watching, Game of Thrones immediately came to mind even before I heard about the controversy. While there are some definite similarities, after completing (lol like the only 2 available episodes) I don’t think it is fair to make such assumptions.

Lets take a look at why people are saying this, and debunk the arguments.

The Visuals

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Tagon = John Snow
So what? They are both wearing fur.
John snow wears fur for two important reasons. Firstly its damn cold in the north and secondly, his house’s sigil is the wolf.
Tagon wears fur because fabrics would have been expensive, taken a great deal of time to create and, is not as durable as leather. Early people wear leather and fur, that’s all there is to it.
For both men, the fur gives them distinction as leaders. It is a common trope that the leader is strong and fierce. The fur symbolizes who is the head of the pack by drawing on wolf behavior.

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Taealha=The Red Woman
Red is a symbol of power and sexuality. Caeser and his armies wore red.  Jessica Rabbit? Red. The Moulin Rouge? Red.
Put a woman in a red dress and the viewer instantly knows that this woman is confidant, powerful, sexy and a force to be reckoned with.
As for the “hood” well,
The Red Woman the hood keeps her out of the cold. She only wears red- so what other color would her hood be?
Taealha these are early times and if you look closely, clothing / sweing/ tayloring is kept pretty simple. What could be more simple than draping a square cloth around yourself? Nothing I tell you. we are evoking the elegance of Greece- which hasn’t even happened yet. fairy.PNG

Flower Crowns=Children of the Forest
Why is this even being compared?
Children of the Forest they are thier own kind of being- they are like fairies or nymphs or something
Flower Crowns you’ve got a tribe of humans dressing up for a festival. No fairies. This is not everyday wear.

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Neanderthals=White Walkers
To be honest- I think that opening the show with this as an introduction is what started this whole comparison in the first place. Game of Thrones is just so fresh in our minds after the final season, that we can’t help but see the comparison. I think we’ll all be afraid of our blue eyed friends after the trauma GoT gave us.
BUT belive it or not- piecing, glowing eyes, blue or any other color for that matter, are NOT NEW. GoT did not invent this. Lets look at superheros for example.

We could play this game all day.

Take a look at the visual comparisons yourself and see what you think:

The Plot

The Battle For the Throne

Groups struggleing to be the leader is not exactly a revolutionary idea. That is how cilvization works. Look into recent history and you’ll see imperialism- how is that any different?

While in Game of Thrones you have different houses fighting for the throne, here we have tribes seeking to dominate one another- and to be honest, that seems a lot more plausible. Driven by a desire for wealth, comfort and resources, the tribes fight hopeing to build a more stable nation- its not all politics and title seekers like GoT.

We’ve got to agree with Forbes that “battles at the dawn of time do not make the Arthdal Chronicles Game of Thrones“, in fact the Arthdal Chronicles takes place eons before the world of GoT would ever have existed.

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The Wall

I have to admit that if anything- this one is a bit of a struggle. But I’m going to attempt it anyways.

I can definitely understand that the wall- isn’t really NECESSARY and that it seems like a GoT copy. BUT while it may have visually been inspired by GoT, you can’t deny that big walls like that are part of many other stories and shows (Think of Attack on Titan, Donald Trump etc)

The concept that a civilization builds/uses a wall to protect itself from the ‘other’ is not new. What do you think moats are for in castles? If anything, this wall is different since it is a natural barrier to unexplored territory rather than a deliberate attempt of protection.

But yeah- I’ll give it to you- this aspect does ring Game of Thrones.

The Point?

Lets not get carried away by trying to find similarities between the two. Its complicated to do worldbuilding and creators often resort to classic tropes and symbols as ways of organizing ideas and to imply character traits etc.

Think about how the Divergent series are organized- organized traits given to different groups. Game of Thrones does EXACTLY the same thing (see this video If you don’t believe me).

Think of colors- black is usually associated with evil or mystery and is usually worn by men, whereas white is usually associated with goodness and is often worn by women. Since your Game of Thrones fans, think of John vs. Dany- black and white right there.

My point is, it is easy to find similarities when these authors are trying to express and convey a lot of information in s short period of time. They are definitely playing off what you as an audience already know.

SO? Don’t get too worked up. The tropes you see repeated from GoT- arn’t exactly Game of Thrones originals anyways.

Overall, we really wouldn’t say that Arthdal Chronicles is Korean Game of Thrones.

 

Have you watched this new TV series yet?

Do you agree or disagree with us?

Let us know in the comments below we’d love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

Drama Drop: My First Love 첫사랑은 처음이라서

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Title: My First Love 첫사랑은 처음이라서

Language: Korean

Episodes: 8

Release Date: April 18, 2019 Netflix

Starring: Ji Soo, Jin Young, Jung Chae-Yeon, Choi Ri, Kang Tae-Oh and Hong Ji-Yoon

I have been waiting with great anticipation for Netflix to air My First Love!

Ji Soo in the Lead

I was first introduced to Ji Soo through Strong Woman Do Bong-Soon and saw him again in Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo- both in which he plays the diverted love interest. Here, FINALLY he gets the limelight he deserves and I am so thrilled!

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Plot

Tae-O (Ji Soo) is given his own house for his 20th birthday with the one condition that he is not allowed to have girls over. This plan goes awry when several of Tae-O’s friends show up at his door step, desperately needing a place to stay. This is the story of a group of five friends who are support each other through ups and downs which becomes a tangle of love triangles.

Tae-O and Song-Yi have known each other their whole lives and are best friends. They have each harbored feelings for each other at some point- but they never seem to align. When they each find love interests elsewhere, they hesitate to wonder if they should have been together with each other after all.

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While this show had now great plot, nor great action – it is FANTASTIC.

I am not usually a fan of the every-day-life style drama, but this one is a bit of a roller coaster. While most couples are pretty clear cut from the beginning of the drama- this one will leave you guessing – you heart torn besides the two leads who fight for Song-Yi’s affections.

With only 8 episodes, its a fast watch that is perfect for unwinding.

GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW I’m sure you’ll love it as much as I do!

 

Have you Watched this Drama?

What do you think of it?

let us know in the comments below! We want to hear from you!

 

 

 

Drama Drop: The History behind ‘Hymn of Death’

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Title: Hymn of Death 사의 찬미

Language: Korean

Episodes: 3

Release Date:November 27- December 4 2018

Starring: Lee Jong-Suk, Shin Hye-Sun

This Netflix original is short and sweet. With only three episodes, you can finish the drama in an evening- just be sure to grab a box of tissues and a cozy blanket before you begin!

The Plot

The story begins when Yun Sim-Deok a soprano singer, meets and falls in love with playwright Kim Woo-Jin wile at university. Things become complicated when Sim-Deok discovers that Woo-Jin has family commitments and responsibilities that do not allow them to be together. Fed up with their obligations, the two tragically decide to commit suicide (no spoilers here- that is literally how the show begins!)

True Story

While the incident is famous in Korea, not many westerners know the history behind the drama- and that it is based on a TRUE STORY.

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Yun Sim-Deok (윤심덕) is remembered as Korea’s first soprano singer.

Born in Pyongyang on July 25, 1897, Sim-Deok was privileged enough to study at Kyongsong Women’s Teaching College in Seoul 1914. Education for women at such a high level was unusual during the time. Sim-Deok was eager to further her studies and became the first Korean to study at the Tokyo Music School in Japan where she met Kim-Woo-Jin (김우진).

Sim-Deok had her first debut as a soprano in 1923 and while she was admired for her talent, she was unable to make a living by singing western classical music. This forced her to change course and sing pop and fold music in order to support herself.

She famously committed suicide with Kim-Woo-Jin on August 4, 1926 at the age of 29.

Sim-Doek’s most famous recording was “In Praise of Death” (the first Korean pop song) in 1926 that she recorded with her sister accompanying her on the piano. The piece is set to the tune “Waves on the Danube” by Ivanovici.

Here’s the original 1926  recording:

For comparison here’s a modern rendition of the song:

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It is difficult to find details on the life of author Kim Woo-Jin in English.

No matter how hard I look, I can’t seem to find anything on him- though I would love to insert some of his writings here for you to read!

If you are interested in reading about Kim U-jin on Karel Capek you can find an article written by Sdenka Kloslova in Vol 32, Issue 1, Pg 84 of the Korea Journal

If you can understand Korean though- this documentary published in 1997 looking into his life may be helpful !

If you know or can access the history surrounding this author (or can translate) let us know! We would love to learn more about him!

The Period

I must admit that I am no expert in Korean history- if you were as confused as I was, I went and did some research for you, so here’s a little context for the Drama.

TLDR? Check out the highlighted sections for info directly relating to the Drama

  • Japan attempted to establish diplomatic relations with Korea which were refused. In frustration, Japan began considering war against Korea
  • Japan sent warships to threaten Korea to sign a treaty of commerce and friendship, which it did resulting in the opening of Busan, Wŏnsan, and Incheon to Japanese trade.
  • The increasing Japanese presence in Korea disturbed China who sent troops to Korea.
  • China then forced Korea to sign a trade agreement which led to similar treaties signed with the United states (1882), the UK, Germany, France and Russia who quickly established foreign missions in Seul.
  • This led to rapid modernization in Korea. Many officials and students were sent to the West, China and Japan to study technology and ideology to bring back to Korea.
  • After Japan’s victory in the Sino-Japanese War, the Treaty of Shimonoseki of April 1895 recognized Japanese hegemony in Korea.
  • Encouraged by Russia, the Korean government attempted to push out the Japanese
  • The Korean Emperor secretly sent an emissary to the International Peace Conference at the Hague in 1907 asking for help.  This plea was ignored however and by 1910, Japan dispersed the Korean army and took full possession of Korea
  • Japan set up their government in Korea. Koreans lost freedom of assembly, association of the press and the freedom of speech. The Japanese school system was enforced and as an attempt to assimilate Koreans, the Japanese language was forced onto the people while Korean language and Korean history were no longer allowed to be taught.
  • March 1 1919: The March First Movement, was a nationwide anti-Japanese peaceful protest in which approximately two million Koreans took part. The Japanese responded with brutal violence arresting 46,000 while 16,000 were wounded and 7,500 were killed.
  • Students and Intellectuals attempted to inspire the Korean people with ideals of patriotism and democracy. This was done through western-styled newspapers and through the creation of Korean novels and poems which grew in popularity
  • A big anti-Japanese Rally occurred again in Seoul in 1926
  • A Nationwide student uprising occurred in November 1929
  • Constant uprisings and WWII led to Korea’s independence in 1945 ending 35 years of Japanese rule.

To learn more check out this link

The Romance

TO be honest, this Drama is EXTREMELY TAME. Don’t get your hopes up because there is one and only one kissing scene. While modesty is one of the charms of Kdrama- this one really builds up the chemistry and tension- and leaves you a little dissatisfied.

EVEN SO, it was a nice, short little drama that I really enjoyed.

I loved the struggles of the young author, and the history involved in the series.

I had a fun time and learned something new!

If you have an empty afternoon and are ready to shed a tear- this Drama is PERFECT !

Also, its on Netflix which is really convenient. Next time your browsing your suggestions, look it up!

As a teaser, enjoy this little clip from the drama:

 

Have you seen this Drama?

What did you think?

What is your favorite Lee Jong-Suk Drama?

Let us know in the comments below! We want to hear from you!