Sunday, October 28, 2012

Where politics meet magic

   Out of frustration that I'm unable to finish what I'm writing, lack of time to do it and lack of sugar in my blood, I decided to write some of my (hardly any) thoughts on drama that lately became kinda crack for me. Let's hope I won't have the compulsory rehab when all goes wrong, but so far, The Great Seer kicks ass. Literally. Some of the character settings remind me of Gyebaek, but it's understandable, because it all falls neatly in the pattern of "Birth of a Hero", so I'm not complaining. Can't complain about archetypes anyway.

   What settings? Our main character is separated from his mother and lives with father. His father, a great character that he is was, lost an eye during the interrogation after - what has been deemed as failure in finding Ja Mi Won - coming home empty-handed. Well, a plot wouldn't be a plot without hidden real map, so we have it. So our Seer is adamant in not yielding to any threat and doesn't give the map, believing in the inscription. As we remember, Gyebaek's father lost an arm. And now, Ji Sang's father voluntarily died to protect his son/map.

   Desperately waiting for episode 7 right now because of reasons. And I'm not really missing Ji Seong, however his bratty charm will be nice, I guess. Kids are doing just fine, just fine. The one playing young Jeong Geun was actually in Gyebaek, playing young King Euija and I liked him (No Young Hak), Park Minji appeared in Wedding Scheme and despite I hated her character for the first 6 episodes, I like her here playing Ban Ya and I find her more talented than some brooms and tables that receive a lot more attention than they deserve. Jeong Geun also so far has my love as a character, because I feel lots of empathy for him. He desperately tries to gain his mother's favors and gets cold shoulder from his father. He tries and tries and blames himself when Young Ji leaves the house. What possibly can he know that the woman he loves so much (and fears also) is not his mother? He's just the victim of his real mother's cruelty and schemings (this bitch should just die, along with her satan lover that In Im is). In the end, he will be the one hurting the most, rejected in fact by everyone.

   I guess everyone knows the legend about the founding of modern-day Seoul. Lee Seonggye wanted his capital to be in the most auspicious place, so he hired masters of pungsu (feng shui) to find the location. Omo, did I write "pungsu"? Yes, cause it's our well-known in-yang technique. There is of course another legend, much earlier, regarding Lee dynasty and place where Hanyang would be founded. Taejo, the founder of Goryeo dynasty was warned that his line will be destroyed by Lee family. Superstitious as he was, he ordered to plant thousands of plum trees (hanja for the family name Lee/Yi means actually "plum" ) and after few years he ordered to cut them down and burn the roots even as a countermeasure.
As for Seonggye himself... well, the man is crazy, he really is. Choi Young is the noble one, calm and thoughtful, yet Seonggye is wild, dangerous, especially when he goes into crazy mood. Ji Jinhee is perfect man for this role. Plus his voice, oh, how many times I said that already?

   But what actually knocked me off my feet and I pledged I will finish this no matter what was Ji Sang's shamanistic transformation. It was so perfect as almost as a model of it. Shaman during his initiation rite symbolically dies, and during this time he undertakes a spiritual journey to meet his guardians (oh, that's a heavy shortcut here), and after coming back, he's not the same person. Most of the continental shamans are of "arctic hysteria" types, but no matter if it's possessed/chosen one or hereditary, initial rites are a must.
Our Ji Sang died and was buried. And here's the most brilliant thing - in the grave he was woken up/revived by his mother's voice. Perfect, if we know that, all shamanistic elements fall here into right places. When shaman "dies" during his trance, he's in the closed space - a hut, cave most likely, anything that resembles a womb. So when he's coming out after the rite - it's a second birth, spiritual one (in Japan such "birth rites" consist also of crawling through a narrow tunnel from a cave ornated with ribbons symbolizing uterus veins and umblical cord to another place/part of a cave. It's just a comparison to make you easier to visualize it).
I don't have to add that most of the people after unbelievable austerities and trials end their initiation as half-wits or mentally detached people. 
Our Ji Sang died, crawled out from the grave and seems to be a dimwit.
It's so painfully logical I'm waiting for some blunders out of this drama, seriously.

   Also, I know SBS is the youngest out of Main 3 and maybe this is the reason it's slightly more advanced in visuals than the rest of public TV? If only KBS2 and SBS cooperated, oh damn, that would be one perfect drama. First episode - bed scene, decent kissing and brutal killings. If a girl strips down from her upper garment, they don't blur it (well, hello Chuno!) and when a madame puts a bean paste on a hurting man's buttocks, well, he's without damn panties. 
Contrary to many - I don't expect Game of Thrones or True Blood out of every kdrama, I'm satisfied with their recent pace of changing. I really am.