With Halloween fast approaching, nothing seems more wondrous for all the Hallyu fans all over the globe to relax and enjoy their favourite ‘Halloween-style’ dramas during this month.
Despite there being no lack of such content, we would like to recommend some of the most favoured ones to you. This week we have chosen to discuss and share some facts about the Korean Mythology depicted in some of the most known dramas. So without any further adieu let us proceed.
Goblin: The Lonely and Great God
Cast: Gong Yoo, Kim Go Eun, Lee Dong Wook, Yoo In Na and Yook Sung Jae
Episodes: 16 + 3 specials
One of the most famous K-Dramas out there, it talks about one of the most legendary and mythological creatures known as ‘Dokkaebi’ or ‘Korean Goblin.’ Associated with nature deities and spirits who possess extraordinary powers and abilities as seen in the drama, where the main lead actor Gong Yoo has access to a wide range of powers which include teleportation, controlling weather, immense strength, they are basically deities. Goblins are considered to bring good fortune and like to associate themselves with the mortal a lot. Although the goblin in the drama is suffering from the curse of immortality with a sword piercing his chest while at the same time searching for his bride who is the only one able to remove the sword, free him from this curse and enable him to move to the afterlife.
As if that wasn’t enough for the writer, we have a ‘Grim Reaper’ in the drama too. Played by Lee Dong Wook, the ‘Grim Reaper’ is an entity responsible for collecting souls and sending them to the afterlife. Although the character possesses supernatural powers they arrive at a cost. It is known that the ‘Grim Reaper’ is an entity that has committed the greatest sin during its past life. Whether by coincidence or by fate the ‘Grim Reaper’ and the ‘Goblin’ become roommates. Different from the typical fictitious scenes, the grim reaper is considered as a part of a large organization or company which manages the afterlife as we can see that the fellow grim reapers have company dinners, write reports and they even have a uniform which includes a long black coat and the so-called brimmed ‘vulgar’ hat.
Those who have already enjoyed the drama can enjoy it again and for those who didn’t, well not much has been spoiled for you guys so hurry up and watch it.
Hotel Del Luna
Cast: Lee Ji Eun (IU) and Yeo Jin Goo
Starring the multi-talented singer/actress Lee Ji Eun also known by her stage name IU, the drama follows her character Jang Man Wol and the famous ‘Guest House of the Moon’ aka ‘Hotel Del Luna,’ a hotel or more like a rest stop for the ghosts before they pass on to the afterlife. The hotel is said to be created by the ‘Eldest Mago’ and is bound to the soul of Jang Man Wol for almost 1300 years in order to atone for the sin of killing many people. The hotel is run by the rules and guidelines set by ‘Mago’ and the ‘Grim Reaper.’ ‘Mago’ is the name used to reference the twelve deities who often refer to themselves as sisters and are responsible for the life and death of the living beings.
The hotel works in a peculiar way, as the ‘Eldest Mago’ gives flowers to the ghost which guides them to the hotel for rest and later the hotel staff guide the ghost along with the ‘Grim Reaper’ to the bridge for crossing the ‘Sanzu River’ which links the afterlife. The writers have very well explained the process of reincarnation and afterlife in the drama and not to mention the visual effects along with the acting which makes it a beautiful drama. If you haven’t watched it yet, then make sure to enjoy it during the month of Halloween.
Tale of the Nine-Tailed
Cast: Lee Dong Wook, Jo Bo Ah and Kim Bum
Another one of the mythological k-dramas out there, starring Lee Dong Wook as a 1000 year ‘Gumiho,’ a legendary nine-tailed fox with supernatural powers capable of shape-shifting and possessing immense strength. The drama sees a host of mythical beings with each of their own backstories. First, we have the main character as a 1000-year-old ‘Gumiho’ also the former guardian mountain spirit of Baekdu-Daegan, which is another important mountain range in Korean tradition often described as the center and core of the Korean peninsula.
Surrounding the protagonist are different mythological beings like ‘Taluipa,’ who is the younger sister of ‘King Yeomra’ (ruler of the underworld) and wife of ‘Hyunuiong,’ gatekeeper of the legendary river of afterlife known as the ‘Samdo River.’ She works in the Afterlife Immigration Office, responsible for keeping a track of all the dead souls. Our protagonist promises to work for her in order to save his lover.
Which brings us to the next part, the antagonist, enacted by Lee Tae Ri, he is an ‘Imoogi,’ another legendary creature from the myth. Reincarnated as a serpent beast, he was originally a dragon and was destined to be the mountain spirit but was disqualified as a human saw him in his dragon form and who was later killed by the protagonist. Now he is back for revenge.
Another mythical being includes the mention of the ‘Snail-Bride,’ a mythical being in Korean folklore. Do watch the drama to know more about how the plot moves ahead.
Legend Of The Blue Sea
Cast: Jun Ji Hyun and Lee Min Ho
Episodes: 20 + 1 special
While everybody has heard of the classic fairytale ‘The Little Mermaid’, in the world of K-Drama ‘Legend of the Blue Sea’ is somewhat equivalent to it. Based on ‘Eou Yadam,’ unofficial stories from the Joeson Dynasty scholar and writer, the story revolves around a fisherman who saves a mermaid from being captured.
The drama describes the tragic fate of a Mermaid which is portrayed by the famous actress Jun Ji Hyun and her struggles for love. Evidently as mentioned in the folklores the mermaid in the drama too has super strength and the ability to manipulate or erase memories.
Oh My Ghost
Cast: Park Bo Young, Jo Jung Suk, Lim Ju Hwan and Kim Seul Gi
Despite the mention of the word ‘ghost’ in the title, the drama is just a bag of thrills and comedy. The story follows a woman who is able to see ghosts due to her ‘Shaman’ grandmother and one day she is possessed by a ‘Cheonyeo Gwisin’ i.e. a virgin ghost.
In Korean history a ‘Shaman’ is a person who acts as an intermediary between God and humans through various rituals and is also able to exorcise ghosts. Whereas a ‘Cheonyeo Gwisin’ is a ghost which could not fulfill her role in life and has died as a virgin. In myths, this was also used as a means to scare and induce fear among the young women so that they may marry early. The ghost can only return to the afterlife once it has been pacified and appeased.
The story in the drama follows one such ghost who possesses the body of the woman in order to resolve her grudge and finds our female protagonist as a suitable vessel for the same. Thus begins the journey of the possessed woman and the male protagonist.
So these were some of the dramas that you could binge-watch during the month of Halloween. Do watch and let us know your favourite mythological K-Dramas!