Welcome to the world of Chuno (The Slave Hunters). It’s a world that you enter into rather than just sitting and watching a drama. You get engrossed in their world. It’s a painful world, full of disappointment and anguish. Not an ideal world. A world where everything can change at the drop of a hat. One minute noble, next minute slave – One minute slave, next minute noble, then boom! Dead. Noble to slave hunter – Happiness to sorrow. This is a cruel world, but my heart was captured by it. It was captured in a way that I could imagine myself a part of this world, as cruel as it is. It’s not often that a drama truly haunts me afterwards – Where the remnant memories of what I witness follow me and truly affect me. Truthfully, my heart was captured by Dae-gil, the Slave Hunter. The beauty and pain of his character is unparallelled with anything else I’ve ever seen. This drama is brilliant with impeccable acting, amazing cinematography and complex characters. A must watch for anyone who has the courage to be taken on a journey of the Slave Hunters. Once you start, there’s not turning back. You must see it through until the end. I would be very shocked to hear if you didn’t sob.
Sypnopsis: Lee Dae-Gil (played by Jang Hyuk) was from a good family and was in love with his family’s slave named Un-nyun (played by Lee Dae-Ha). He wanted to marry her, but nobles cannot marry their slaves. She was punished and as a result her brother burned down Dae-gil’s house and both his parents died. Un-nyun thought that Dae-gil died in the fire, but he did not. Dae-gil lost everything. He clung onto his love for Un-nyun and has been searching for her for ten years. During this time, he has become a Slave Hunter (Chuno) returning slaves to their Master’s for survival and in hope that he will be able to find her.
I’ll be honest, I was very anxious about writing this review to the point where I wondered if I should even bother. This drama was so moving, so memorable that I didn’t think I would be able to capture it’s true essence in a mere post. So here I am, writing this review, close to tears, not sure at all how to even do this drama justice with a review. In fact, I can’t do it justice. There’s no possible way I can. I felt like I was given the privilege to enter a world that I would never normally have the opportunity to experience. Normally I can finish dramas I enjoy in three or four days. This one took me quite a bit longer than my usual marathon run. It’s because it felt so real, so sad and so painful to watch. I really had to pace myself because I’m such an emotional TV watcher. I suspected this drama was going to be really sad from the beginning. Well, my suspicions were right, but I don’t regret it. It was worth it.
Things that make this drama so Epic
- The Intro with the stylized images
- The OST – I associate the songs with certain scenes now
- The Cinematography – Seriously breath taking
- Individual character development and unique back stories
- Crazy cool action scenes – I wish I could move like that!
- Lot’s and lots of sexy, sexy abs – Mmmmm choco abs!
**Warning – Spoilers ahead**
Normally I like to try to write reviews that are vague enough that you don’t really get too many spoilers if you haven’t seen the drama. I’m afraid a spoiler free review will not work for this drama. There’s just too much to talk about. I’m not going to break down my review in order of events, so if you haven’t seen this you may want to read with extreme caution because some very big spoilers may be lurking in these words. I would like to focus more on individual characters and relationships rather than how things unfolded specifically. So much happens in this drama too. There’s the main story arc, but there are tons of smaller stories and characters to follow. I was amazed at how many characters they were.
What I thought of certain characters
Ji-ho Cheon (Song Dong-Il): Hey, this guy was a really good actor! I haven’t seen him in anything else before. He played repulsive really well. I didn’t really like him, but I started to feel differently about him when he lost his men. It showed that even though he was pretty crazy and scummy, he was loyal. Really, just like everyone else he was struggling to survive. I cried at the scene where he passes away and Dae-gil’s with him. Even though there were times it seemed like they hated each other, there was a mutual respect and they actually cared more about each other then was perceived.
Kwak Han-Seom (Cho Jin-Woong): I wanted to mention Kwak Han-Seom because I really thought at first that he sold out all his military buddies. I didn’t realize they talked about it ahead of time. He was like a big teddy bear and I felt bad for him that the lady he loved died right after he told her how he felt.
Tae-ha (Oh Ji-Ho): I couldn’t not like Tae-ha. He was really pretty amazing. I didn’t want to like him because I was rooting for Dae-gil to be reunited happily with his love Un-nyun. But really, Tae-ha was very well suited for Un-nyun, and I don’t even think Dae-gil would argue that. If Tae-ha wasn’t a great person, I don’t think Dae-gil would have accepted the marriage. Tae-ha was sexy, strong, and had a similar vision to what Dae-gil originally hoped for in seeing a new world. As painful as it was to watch, I really loved the later scenes in the show when Dae-gil and Tae-ha were finally over their spats and were travelling together. They really did seem like they became friends. I admire them both travelling together with full knowledge that they were both in love with the same woman. I think it was harder on Dae-gil, but it must have also been strange for Tae-ha to be escorted by his wife’s former lover. Tae-ha also knew how Un-nyun felt about Dae-gil, that it was the love of her life and that the reason she wasn’t with him anymore was because she thought he was dead.
Un-Nyun / Hye-Won (Lee Da-Hae): I could see why Dae-gil was so crazy about her. She was beautiful, kind and loyal. I would like to share my two favorite Un-nyun scenes. The first scene is when she first sees Dae-gil and he’s with Seol-Hwa buying fabric. The emotions she goes through were really well portrayed. She’s shocked and it brings all her memories of him pouring back. She’s also relieved to see that he’s still alive.
The other scene I liked with her was when she gets her face to face with Dae-gil after 10 years. He, of course, in true Dae-gil fashion, puts a knife to her throat. This is of course the opposite of what he actually wants to do. Dae-gil has a tendency to act different they he feels. It seems to be a coping mechanism. Anyway, she accepts everything he says to her even though it seems pretty harsh and she’s prepared to be killed by him thinking she deserves it. It really shows how much she loves him, but because of her circumstances, she cannot be with him. When Tae-Ha and Dae-Gil starts fighting, it’s pretty intense to watch her jump between them. Good thing they both have fast reflexes or she would have died right then and there.
Their love story is so tragic. For whatever reason Dae-gil and Un -nyun were fated to be star crossed lovers. I really wanted them to end up together, but once she fell in love with Song Tae Ha and married him, I knew there was pretty much no chance.
Cheol-woong Hwang (Lee Jong-Hyeok): I don’t know how the rest of you felt, but I had mixed emotions when it can to Chel-woong. He did so many horrible things. He killed a lot of characters I really liked and was clearly a villain… but.. Oh man, I don’t know. I hated him, then I’d feel bad for him every once in a while. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not justifying any of his behavior. I mean, let’s face the facts, he was trying to kill the rightful Heir to the throne, he killed Dae-gil Oh Dae-gil! He killed Tae-ha’s men, watched Tae-ha get tortured and had absolutely no problem with it (and the list goes on). He acted plain evil, selfish with the only concern of advancing himself. He was so pitiful at times though. You could tell he really cared about his mother and was worried about her. He wanted to prove himself and he didn’t want to be in Tae-ha’s shadow anymore. He was covered in darkness.
I got emotional during his final scene where he returns to his wife after the battle. He’s wounded and broken. Completely broken, weak, helpless and he weeps on her. She’s really the only one he can go to at this point and still be accepted. She loves him so much and she just breaks down with him. As much as he’s horrible, and has no hope of salvation really, I feel like he’s baring his soul in this moment and is repentful of everything. He feels lost and this is a sad but beautifully raw moment. I didn’t think he was capable of showing us this side of him.
The super sexy Jang-jun Choi (Han Jung-Soo) and hilarious Wang-Son (Kim Ji-Suk): I love these two buddies of Dae-Gil. They had traveled together a long time so they were all like brothers. Even though Dae-Gil denied being like family, these two meant so much to him. One of the hardest scenes for me to watch is when they go missing and Dae-gil knows that there is a very real possibility that they might be dead. He’s sitting eating, and he’s imagining himself eating with them, as he has, everyday for years. He remembers that Officer Choi should have an egg buried in his rice bowl because the inn-keepers both love him and think he’s really sexy and manly.
Sure enough, he finds the eggs and steals it. As he eats it, the flood gates come pouring open and Dae-gil is no longer able to hold in his emotions. He’s not just crying here. He’s morning a loss like you would over the death of someone very close and important to your heart. This moment to me was one of Jang Hyuk’s finest acting moments. He had me bawling my eyes out. Crying while eating and egg.. man oh man! Great scene. The scenes where they reunite is so beautiful too. A very happy moment!
I also love the scene when Wang-Son finds out that Dae-gil has taken the money he has been putting away for them to buy them each a house and land. The only house and land that was not yet fully purchased was his own. Oh Dae-gil! Can’t you ever think of yourself first? Okay, now I’m going to cry.. He was buying it for him and Un-nyun. I’m seriously going to cry now. Sigh… That plan didn’t work out.
Eop-bok (Kong Hyung-Jin): Eop-bok was awesome. I didn’t care for him much at first but he grew on me. He was dealt a bad hand in life. For me, one of the most epic scenes was when this sniper slave starts shooting everyone at the palace gates in the final episode. I don’t encourage violence by any means, but I have to admit I was really cheering him on.
This to me was poetic justice, but bittersweet. I am crazy about that song they play while he’s shooting. It’s pretty cool how he has two guns loaded at once, and switches between then. It’s like “Boom! Dead. Next gun, boom! Dead. Next…”. This scene was so well executed (no pun intended). I would have hoped that he could have lived happily with Cho Bok Yi but he couldn’t sit back and not do anything after all the slaves were deceived and murdered. I don’t think he could have lived with himself. This was him avenging their death.
Seol-Hwa (Kim Ha-Eun): If I were character in this world, I believe I would be Seol-Hwa (and no, I don’t mean I would be a prostitute). I could see myself always longing to be by Dae-gil’s side, not just for his strength and looks, but his beautiful heart often overwhelmed by circumstance. The saddest part is she knew she couldn’t have his heart since it already belonged to someone else. I remember the scene where Dae-gil is crying uncontrollably in public and afterwards she talks about how she never saw a man cry like that and she’s really down.
Wasn’t it cute when he went back to get her? He’s really teasing her here when he puts the coin in his mouth. She was so shocked and she lost the opportunity to touch lips with him! Why did he have to remove the coin so quickly? Bad Dae-gil! It’s not nice to tease! He has no idea how desirable he is.
This scene killed me. Dae-gil was so sad…
Dae-Gil (Jang Hyuk): Dae-gil is really a curious complex fella. He says one thing. But then his heart ends up being revealed when he shows his true self by doing something completely selfless. Dae-gil would laugh at things that you wouldn’t expect someone to laugh at. It was like a really weird coping mechanism he had.
But is there a more beautiful character than Dae-gil? If there is, I haven’t had the chance to meet them yet in drama land. To me, Dae-gil is the most amazing, well acted character. It breaks my heart. Dae-gil shows us a pure kind of selfless love unlike other romantic dramas that are really centered around selfish love. By selfish love, I mean a love where you get something out of it in return. Dae-gil was willing to die for his love. All that mattered was her. This selfless love Dae-gil shows in heartbreaking. Until the very end, he knew he could never have her, so he wanted her to live and be happy. That’s all he was able to give her.
Dae-gil’s death (I shrill at these words)
This is devastating and heartbreaking and yet, it’s so beautiful at the same time. Dae-gil is dying, and thank goodness he does not die alone. I don’t think I would have been able to bear that. Seol-Hwa finds him. His final dialogue with her left me a wreck. She finally has the chance to properly give him the coat she’s made for him. He apologizes to her for being unable to accept her heart and dies in her arms.
I loved this drama and would recommend people check it out even if it’s outside of their comfort zone. I did feel I was at a bit of a disadvantage having to read subtitles. There’s a lot of dialogue and a lot going on. I had some difficulty keeping up. I also wanted to look closely at Dae-gil’s face when he was speaking, but couldn’t focus on his face because I had to make sure I didn’t miss what he was saying. I had to rewind a few times, and watch some parts of it so I could really appreciate it in it’s fullness. This is a drama I will re-watch. I feel like I’ll pick up way more the second time around.
The first half of the drama seemed a little slow. I felt Dae-gil was chasing after them forever. It took a long time for them to have their first face to face. The drama really pick up in the second half of it, and it was well worth sticking with.
I have to overlook any minor flaws and give this drama a perfect score because it simply epic. Dae-gil is epic.
My rating: 5/5
I had to include this clip at the end. There’s no better way to end it. The quality is horrible because I took it with my phone. When I get a better video I’ll switch it out.
58 thoughts on “My heart’s shattered – Review of the Epic Drama Chuno”
Thank you for this review…. You have just expressed everything I felt about Chuno and it’s each characters… I am bit late to watch this drama… When I search about best Korean drama in Google or you tube why Chuno is not there in the top list?… I found this drama when I specifically search about Jang Hyuk… There are many audience like me who would go crazy after watching Chuno… But they have no idea, such a masterpiece exist…..I think little more marketing required…
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Hi! Wow! That’s for your comments. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. It’s never to late to watch Chuno. It’s true, it does get lost in the shuffle with all the other dramas, but that makes it now this magnificent hidden gem. There’s just so many dramas.. it is easy for some really amazing ones to be overlooked. I still remember clearly the emotional response I had to this drama. That’s how you know you’ve watched something truly great.. when it sticks with you and feel strong emotions when looking back on it. I’m still in awe of Jang Hyuk in this. So well done.
I supposed i am quite late joiner of chuno fan. However, i do enjoyed and wish to cherish the drama with the other fan. The drama undeniable great, but i do wish to see more remorse from un-hyun/hyewon for twice leaving the great daegil and taeha for boldly refusal and hold on ‘stealing’. For me, it worth to have sequel (chuno2), the opposite story with hyewon leaving taeha searching for deagil for forgiveness and devoted to their love. To make it more tragic/epic, let make daegil lost memory due to lengthy recovery from last battle. Maybe i overwhelmed but i do wish to cherish more towards better ending for daegil.
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That would be quite interesting, and a nice way to stretch it out. I discovered Chuno late as well. Even though this post is old, I still didn’t watch the series when it first came out (in fact, I hadn’t yet discovered Kdramas at that point).
Thank you for the review. I’ve just discovered this thing and the frase ”better late than never” was never more appropriate. I’m now discovering all the comments and insights by all the lovely people out there ❤
Awww thanks! Chuno was just too good and I had to talk about it. I love reading people’s comments.
OMG why did I come back to this post? that picture of Seolwha on the horse with Daegil is killing me! She is so cute and he is hooottttt!!!!
So much for such a thought provoking post, I have to ruin everything with my drools, sorry! *sweeping the floor*
Nah it’s ok. I go between drools and tears all the time lol. If we didn’t drool the sorrow would be too overwhelming .
Never a “ruin,” Drama Fan! I agree with Zhaoul: the drools are necessary to balance the tears. So, thanks!!
I know. That whole scene was adorable where she wanted to ride with him and ended up getting her way. Oh! Daegil is so sexy. I wish they made lil daegil-seolwha babies.
STILL one of my favorite dramas EVER. I can recall the story, the action, and the characters but most of all the emotion… *Sigh* I just remember that song that always played, “sarang, sarang, nae sarang ah” or “love, love, my love.” I miss Seol-hwa so much, and always wanted her to have a happy ending. *Big Sigh*
Another great review! if only you liked So Ji Sub this much my life would be complete. haha Then I would know what to watch and what not to watch of his stuff. 😀
Lol! I’ll get there! I really do want to watch all of so-ji sub too but i’m jang hyuk distracted at the moment 🙂
*And the Jang Hyuk fandom rejoices and proclaims to not let you go so easy* muahhahhaa, but ok ok, we will allow you some SJS :p
Lol! Let’s just say you know someone is Jang Hyuk obsessed when they turn him into a sim lol. I’m so missing watching him right now 😦
I think so ji sub is also a phenomenal actor
“Hello” to all who have replied to this review, and “thank you” to Zhaoul, for writing such a great and conversation-worthy summary. While I was hooked by Chuno from the first dusty, horseback riding scene and further ensnared by the soundtrack’s perfect backdrop to the swaggering, cocky images, and overall edgy atmosphere, I did not realize I was in for a tragedy until somewhere between episodes 8 and 10. (So…slow at times, so very…slow.) Only at Dae-gil’s death, when I was reaching for words to describe how utterly destroyed I was, did the awareness arrive that I had been blindsided by an almost perfectly executed Greek tragedy. The tip-off was in the catharsis that came after weeping buckets over the ending. A kernel of, dare I say, exultation lay in the sadness, something that smacked of redemption and a righting-of-worlds. Dae-gil lost his vision (and his life), but only so he could see his own truth and Seol-hwa’s heart. (A nod, perhaps, to the blind Thebian prophet, Tiresias, and his ilk.) General Choi was a Greek chorus, while Wang-son served as a messenger, and Seol-hwa as a suppliant. The political themes were necessary, too, since every classical tragedy occurs at both the personal and state levels; the individual is ever-entwined in a comprehensive civil fabric. I could continue and, in fact, would like to, if anyone here would be interested in commenting on such an analysis. To post my argument for why Chuno qualifies as a Greek tragedy and let the community poke holes in the hypothesis would actually be fun for me, so please let me know if you would be game. Cheers!
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I think you are right on the money with the observation that it’s like a greek tragedy. I also agree with how you noticed on when dae-gil was going blind could he see Seol-hwa’s heart. That is truly tragic 😦 I really don’t have anything else to add except thank you for your comments and i’m interested to see if anyone else has anything additional to add.
Thanks, Zhaoul, for creating a forum in which our many ideas may be freely expressed.
I’ve noticed often the comments are way more insightful than my reviews. I really enjoy this.
I’m so game! Skypilot! why are you so insightful? Amazing thoughts! amazing! Do you have a blog? if you don’t you should! if you ever feel like like writing a guest post on our blog please do so! We would be so honored!
Drama Fan, you flatter me, you really do. 🙂 I, myself, would be extremely honored to submit a guest post to you, and perhaps to Zhaoul, as well. (Your hunch is correct, and I do not have a blog of my own.) Please let me know how best to send you the write-up. Thanks!!
Oh that will be awesome! Here is my email address email@example.com 🙂
Oh! MY!! GODDESS!!! I’m SO stunned right now, Skypilot. These were my exact thoughts when I finnished watching the first time. Aristoteles’ definition was the first thing that came to my mind (when said mind started working again). I really felt that I was lead to the cleansing of passions through much awe/fear and pitty.
And thinking of Aristoteles made me think of his teacher and how Dae Gil-Un Nyun’s love was ideal, as in platonic.
Chuno was the first Corean drama I’ve seen, but it wasn’t the first time I saw something Eastern Asian that reminded me of Aristoteles and Plato. I’ve noticed the same thing with a lot of animes and wuxias. Films, series and modern plays from other parts of the world do not remind me of that.
Now, I don’t believe that East Asian film makers have studied their Aristoteles. My uneducated guess would be that they draw from a long tradition that has its roots deep in the human soul, a soul that is common to all people, wherever and whenever they live.
Or that’s just wishful thinking. Perhaps they do start each day at Seul Drama School by standing up and reciting the ”so, tragedy is an imitation of a great deed”-piece in chorus, what do I know.
Fascinating comments, Yllejord!! Just fascinating!! If I may be so bold, I’d like to use the framework within Aristotle’s Poetics and the analytic methods in Northrop Frye’s Anatomy of Criticism to outline how Chuno may very well derive its power from these traditional and time-tested devices. Once the sketch is online, if you could please add your thoughts on anything I have written (or overlooked), as well as the trends you have seen in other East Asian dramas/films/animes/wuxias, I would be delighted. The point you make that films, series, and modern plays from other parts of the world often do not recall Aristotelian or Platonic philosophies is also worth further discussion. (If Western works have moved away from Greek prototypes, why have they done so? And do these creative pieces lose some of their power when they don’t rely on older models?) I, too, have wondered how Aristotelian – or Platonic – formulae could appear so strongly in an East Asian production. (Perhaps a daily mantra is the key. ;-)) More is to come, I’m sure. For now, thanks for joining the forum!!
Hi and excuse me that it took so long to answer, Skypilot. It is in the middle of the gardening season and I don’t want the neighbours gathering outside my fence with pitchforks and torches, shouting that my horrible lawn is bringing down their property values, because a certain series has kept me indoors for a large part of the merry month of May.
You did bring up a pair of very interesting points.
You ask ”If Western works have moved away from Greek prototypes, why have they done so?”
Great question, I’ve been wondering too. I do have some thoughts (I tend to somewhat -but not completely- agree with what Nitsche says about rationality, but that is another discussion) but they are not the result of any serious research, just casual observation, and thus of little value. I would very much like to read someone else’s fruits of serious research on this subject.
And then you ask ”And do these creative pieces lose some of their power when they don’t rely on older models?”
Now THAT is an interesting question.
You mentioned Frye’s Anatomy, so I will take the liberty of expanding the discussion from the form to the myth of tragedy (I do think that all the elements are inseparable) and compare the older and the new models a bit (always refering to pop culture).
Modern Heroes are good guys that overcome hardships, beat or kill the bad guys and win the girl. This sort of happy ending may be satisfying, but is there any kátharsis in it for us?
The Heroes of old did take on a lot of enemies alone just like our new ones. They did some pretty awesome things and some pretty horrible things, they were very unsafe for their friends and loved ones (Hercules, Rostam, Cú Chalainn etc etc, they all killed their own kids) but, most importantly: they died young.
But death has a different meaning to heroes. It is a transition rather, from human to ”more than human”. It is an accomplishment and a reward. They made themselves worthy by transcending human nature and can now unlock the achievment and go to the next level. It is the zenith of their carreer.
The Hero’s Journey is the spine of tragedy.
Which makes Dae-gil’s storyline not only your typical tragedy, but also your typical Hero’s Journey*.
In the beginning he is like an animal or, as Jang Hyuk said in an interview, a child. On the mythical level, that means that he is not ready to be considered a human yet. He has to go through the initiation rituals, be separated from his peers, descent into darkness (also very typical, Hades was always full of all kinds of heroes on one quest or another), face anguish and even ”die” by hanging (while Seol-hwa sings a song about rebirth, if I remember correctly?).
After the initiation he starts the ascent into light that culminates with his triumph, his heroic death.
Yes, it is sad for us that are left behind and yes, I did cry three Amazon rivers but, as you so well put it, Skypilot, there was ”exultation laying in the sadness”. A lot of it.
I’ll be looking forward to anything else you have to bring to this discussion.
*And that amazing Jang Hyuk meticulously takes us through every step of that journey with great richness and detail. Wow…
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OOh dear, I am really crying while writing this T_T what a wonderful review and specially the opening and how perfectly you ended it, LOVED IT ❤
Chuno it was the reason I came out from my lurking mode because I just couldn't control my feelings then and needed to say them out loud.
Nothing can describe Daegil. Daegil = Chuno for me and of course a big part of it is because of Hyukie AMAZING acting. As you said EPIC.
About Un-Nyun, those scenes you mentioned are my favorites too and the scene Gumi mentioned where she confronts herself and Tae-ha with her past while Daegil realizing the new person she became writing her new name. I loved both Tae-ha and Daegil and so I enjoyed watching her scenes with both and I thought that one thing she is lucky in is that she had those two men in her life.
I actually felt that Un-Nyun should be with Daegil and Hye-Won with Tae-ha and as Un-Nyun is already gone (yes she wasn't the same person anymore) so no way we will see her with Daegil but I have to admit that I still wanted to see Daegil happy so I still rooted for their reunion but that marriage wrote the end. It was obvious that she won't be with Daegil unless Tae-ha is dead (I remember the writer saying that the thing he regret the most is that marriage). So, although I really felt so sad for the ending but I still loved it.
On the other side I think this drama is the first I can really feel the bromance, those scenes of our two heros were wonderful to see.
This drama has a very special place in my heart and one of my all time favorites that I related to every character which rarely happens to me in dramaland but I have to say that I still blame the writer for not enabling me to say that this is THE PERFECT drama.
I love your comments! I feel very emotionally connected to this drama. If they didn’t have her get married, do u think they would have had her end up with daegil? That would have really changed things
Thanks dear ^^
Personally I don’t think so. You know how they love to make heroes more heroic with getting them dead.
Ya I know 😦 waahhhh!
Why would the writer say he regretted that marriage? This writer kills me even with his comments outside of the drama lol! just the idea, the possibility of a different outcome, makes me go nuts! I actually feel sorry for the writer. Can you imagine what he went through? He probably loved his characters as much as we do. Decisions, decisions! at the end of the day, I liked what I saw, even though what I saw, made me suffer (does this make any sense? I suppose not lol)
I can totally understand you dear
About the writer, I guess he may said that because it resulted in a weaker love triangle and for me I had a problem with that as well cause it was so early and killed any chance that actually Hye Won (her new and more strong self) has her choice to choose which way she want to go whether with Daegil or Tae-ha as she was still thinking Daegil is dead. I wanted her to take this clear choice even if the outcome is the same. In short it is another problem he did that ruined some chances for better character for our heroine.
That’s interesting. Now that I’m imagining her making a decision to get married to TH after knowing Dae-Gil was alive, would’ve totally destroyed my idea that she loved Daegil as much as he did her. I would’ve hated to think Daegil obsessed over a woman that wasn’t feeling the same way all the time (when we know she was missing him as much) I don’t think that this means she loves TaeHa less, just that both men mean something different for her. At the end of the day, she did choose to go with TaeHa, and didn’t choose to stay and die with Daegil. I don’t think it was just because she was married to TH (that’s why I personally don’t give that much importance to this event, other than it made DG suffer like hell) I think her choice had a lot more to do with what she now considered her mission of saving the Prince and creating a new world, a mission that she was supposed to realize with TH now. I also think it is ok, that she chose to live. Still, she felt really bad doing this, so here we go again, with the freaking pain. I imagine that character still being haunted in the future somehow and trying to reconcile with her decision (and hopefully she did) In a way, going with TaeHa, living and creating a new world, meant she was fulfilling the dream that she started to have with Daegil (loved Gumi’s take on this, and I’m running with it) and this way I’m somewhat satisfied.
I agree. It’s sad, but a very powerful story
I don’t even know what to comment, becuz this post is so epic. You’ve said everything I wanted to say, Zhaoul, and also LadyG and Dramafan in the comments. So rather than overall comment, I’ll just say specific thing that came into my mind just now 😛
I liked Taeha’s character a lot too, and thus enjoyed the show a lot more. Some people only liked Taeha or only liked Daegil, and it’s not wrong to do that but I felt bad for them cuz that means less enjoyment! 😛 but I would like to say, I liked Taeha because he was not perfect. Although he was this cool, gentle and strong character, he had his faults and that’s what made me interested in that character. He was so much more….how do you say…limited? by the caste system. Born noble, raised noble, and even after falling to be a slave, he considered himself noble and acted noble. Looking down on non-nobles. Not in the mean way, but he definitely did look down on non-noble people and believed that people are born differently from roots. And I loved it! It showed what a good, gentle natured people would think if he is raised in a class society! I loved it when in the beginning, how Taeha treats the slaves he ran away together with. The way he talks down on them, with charisma, and how slaves obeyed. him.
I think he was a good foil to Daegil, who was born noble but was much more flexible in the way he thinks. Daegil was much less limited by the class system. Yes, maybe because he loved his slave girl…and that’s a sweet reason to! But I believe by nature Daegil was pretty open and flexible. I love this girl. And she is a slave. This world doesn’t allow me to love her. Then? His solution is to change the world! How young, innocent, flexible and brave! And it is said he ‘changed’ after becoming the slave hunter, but I don’t think the original naive and flexible Daegil was completely gone. I loved the scene where Taeha and Unnyun were talking, and Daegil just walks out the room, squats, and writes the name “Hyewon” on the ground. He is already accepting her new name, her new identity. It contrasted how Taeha found it hard to accept the name Unnyun, keep saying he doesn’t know a woman with such name. Daegil, by nature, is so much more accepting.
And Unnyun, who is a character that ‘dreams’, could probably start dreaming because she was always looking at her young master who was so accepting and flexible. It was Daegil who allowed her to start dreaming. I don’t agree when people say Unnyun is a useless character who does nothing (and yes some people say that). She certainly is not very active in current K drama standard, but considering the time setting when nothing was allowed for women, and nothing was allowed for slaves, she could do the best she could do. She dreamed. She dreamed of loving her young master, she actively kissed him, she got upset when young master’s marriage was being talked about, that’s only possible because she dared to dream what was not allowed. After she marries Taeha, it’s her who gives Taeha the courage and direction to change the world. She says she is most scared of the word that the world is not going to change. She dreams of changing the world. And who initially made that possible? I’d say Daegil. The young master who used to carry her on his back and tell her that he will change the world, just for her. Although it was Taeha she loved in the end, I believe Daegil was the essential part of forming who she is.
And omg this comment is getting ridiculously long so I’ll stop here but the key point is that I loved all the characters, and their dynamics, and Chuno was just great.
I love this idea that Unnyun might’ve started started dreaming the impossible thanks to Daegil opening that door for her, making her just imagine the idea of being free and the existence of a new world. It is a beautiful thought that had not occurred to me.
I don’t really have anything to add. I agree with everything you said. I love these discussions because it makes me think and realise how much I’ve overlooked. The two guys really did complement each other nicely.
I love the “limited” versus “flexible” points, Gumi. Thanks!
I love how emotional you got writing this review. I completely identify with this feeling. I also feel, to this day and having watched a good amount of good dramas and fiction in general, that Daegil is the character I have felt the most. It is that combination of great character and inspired, truly inspired interpretation by an actor who is generally excellent, but who rose to the level of genius with this character. I always say The Tree with Deep Roots is my favorite korean series, and that is only because I also agree that Chuno had that slow first part (at least it felt slow for me) and because there were secondary characters I didn’t care much about, which took Chuno one notch down from a perfect score (from me) but when it comes to my heart, emotionally, me hearts screams that Chuno is my favorite lol!
The secondary characters you have pointed out in your review, however, are my favorite. When you watch The Tree with Deep Roots you will get to see Choi Jin Woong, with a different look and an amazing character as well. He is also a very good friend of Jang Hyuk (I believe it was JH who recommended it for TWDR) and is kind of adorable in general hehe.
I love the fact that you also loved TaeHa! I feel the drama gets much better once one enjoys both guys, their contrasting views and their later connection and bromance. TaeHa was definitely the idealist Daegil had been as a young guy. Deep down, they felt the same way. They both influenced each other, positively. TaeHa reminding Daegil of his idealism, but Daegil calling TaeHa on his prejudice and self righteoussness. Ah, them getting bromantic was definitely one of my greatest joys with this drama. And I looooove their dialogues. I feel they are so deep and beautiful and so much is lost in translation (we must learn korean ASAP and re watch this again fully understanding the language :D) OJH is also very cool in action scenes, and I loved how his fighting style was in contrast with Daegil also amazing but more “street fight” kind of fighting. Ahhh the gorgeous action scenes! Those two fighting, my whole being, melting :p
You have also pointed out two of my favorite Unyunn scenes as well. The woman spoke with her eyes so beautifully. And I felt sorry for her. I don’t think she will ever have peace even with TaeHa by her side. She is also truly tragic. Every time she longed for Daegil and Daegil longed for her, my heart broke. I however felt that Daegil and her were no longer suited for each other (and this also heartbreaking in itself) As much as my brain accepts this though, I still get emotional. Those painful scenes of the three of them eating together. Daegil having to witness Unyunn, no longer his, with TaeHa, as a couple. Daegil always hid his feelings but whenever he opened his heart with General Choi I would just freaking cry “I felt I couldn’t live when I didn’t see her, but now that I see her, I feel like dying” (something like that) (ok, crying while writing this too) Anyway, I didn’t absolutely adore everything about Unyunn, her passiveness at times bothered me. But she evolved and gained courage throughout the series.
Seol-Wah, yes, I wanted to be her (also, not a prostitute lol) but I wanted to have Daegil that close, even if he pushed me away and called me kiddo, I’d cling on to him tightly like a leech. I totally understand this woman lol! You’ve pointed out my favorite moments with her. The “I saw a man cry today, it was the most beautiful thing and the saddest thing. I loved the idea of seeing a man cry like that for a woman, but it is sad because I know that no man will ever cry like that for me” (something like that, I know Im destroying even what the subs said lol) But sill! ahhhhhh I feel your pain girl!!
And then the “Stay put kiddo, its warm” no more words , seriously just the thought of this scene…
Daegil’s death scene, so perfectly acted, when he starts to lose his vision…again, I shall not continue, cause I make myself cry
Daegil is such a complex character that I cannot summarize my thoughts in a few sentences. I know you won’t rewatch this soon. But I will drag you into overanalyzing him when I do my rewatch and start posting on my blog lol! It’s just that, there are so many things to say about him. Daegil was more than what we saw in the present or the past. Jang Hyuk’s interpretation makes me feel, Daegil’s loss transformation and pain is something so much deeper than “just about Unyunn”. I see Unyunn as a representation of everything he lost and wanted to recuperate. In a way, his past, a part of his soul. It makes me speculate about all those 10 years, how were they spent, how did that sweet idealistic boy transform into Daegil the wolf? The story doesn’t explicitly tell us and Daegil never explicitly says anything, but he says so much at the same time.
I voted for Seolwah in your post. Not because I didn’t ache for Unnyun and Daegil and their beautiful hearts and their awesome chemistry, but rationally, they were both different people in the present. In the present Seolwah would’ve made a better companion for Daegil. Unfortunately he was too stuck on his past and his love. Then again, this is what made Daegil so endearing. Once he loved deeply, he always did.
And your final clip, a great way of closing a wonderful beautiful heartfelt review.
Thanks for all your comments. I really appreciate you taking the time to write your thoughts. I feel there are a lot of gaps in my review, but you’re all helping to fill those gaps with your comments. Jang hyuk just keeps impressing me more and more. He went above and beyond expectations with his character analysis. It’s a great story, but no one could have brought Daegil to life like Jang Hyuk.
I absolutely agree with your comment on Jang Hyuk bringing Dae-gil to life like no one else could; truly amazing work! (Don’t know that I see as many “gaps” as you might, though. ;-))
Love reading your thoughts too, Drama Fan. I agree with most. The evening after we watched it all my sis kept texting from the Subway ride home, that she was getting all teary thinking about Daegil and his death scene. It really was amazing. You literally felt him expire. It’s still haunting her. As well as the sad grieving scenes with the egg and Cheon Ji Ho. (She loved what Zhaoul said about that character.) Those memorable sad scenes came from his deepest darkest reserves of grief in himself. Wow. Jang Hyuk is certainly one of the best actors in the world. I came to that opinion not long after I watched Chuno.
You’re very right about some context being lost because of Subtitles. We had to watch it on Viki. Subbing wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t the best. They like to throw in their own ‘choice’ words when even the simplest novice Korean ear like mine knows those are not accurate. I particularly hated the way the conversation was translated when the boys were all interrogating Seoulhwa. It made Daegil a lot less likable.
My first watch was on Netflix, I loved the subtitles there. I’m so disappointed with the Drama Fever version and the archaic language used. I could barely make it through the first scene. lol. I wish they would re-translate.
I think even Jang Hyuk knows that Dae Gil is like the most epic role he has ever played up until now. I really hope his next drama will be something good. Perhaps lighthearted and fun. The man deserves a break from all the dark, brooding films and dramas lately!
I agree, but he does play dark and brooding films well.
One thing, If I were writing a review like this I would have said more about Wang-son and General Choi. I felt Choi was was like the Big Oraboni. He often acted as Dae-Gil’s conscience and kept Wang-Son in line almost like a father. Out of the Secondary characters he was my favorite and If I took one of those ‘Which Chuno character are you?’ quizzes (Is there one? I’d take it! LOL) I’m almost positive I’d get him. I really identified with him. Probably because I’m an older sister. He was the only one who had his head on straight in mostly everything. He tried to avoid drama.
You know, you are absolutely right. General choi was awesome and very level headed.
Oh my gosh, I LOVE your review, because your thoughts are exactly to a ‘T’ The thoughts my sister and I had watching Chuno this past month. Right down to the amazing death scene. For me it was a re-watch, although I swore I’d never watch it again because of the extreme feels, I had to show it to my newly minted K-drama loving sister. (Her first drama was ‘Fermentation Family-One I HIGHLY recommend. If you aren’t already, you will become a Song Il Guk fan for sure.) So, anyway, I melted all over again. And she melted. Great writing and screen captures!
Ya, I don’t think I’ll be re-watching anytime soon because it is very emotional. Thanks for the recommendation. I have not heard of that drama.
And when you watch Fermentation Family (or Kimchi Family) you will go crazy over all the delicious food. It’s really heartwarming, dramatic, has a twinge of mystery, comedic moments…epic feels all around. Great soundtrack! I saw it 2x. I don’t buy dramas (They are massively expensive) but that would be one I want to own. Next to Chuno, of course!
Yeah, I first watched Chuno last year. It took me that long to watch again. But on this 2nd viewing I felt I understood the political side of the story more, and there were things that I missed that became clear. I laughed every time my Sis tried to guess who’s who and what’s what. I felt bad because she really trusted Park Ki Woong’s traitor ‘slave’ character. I had to bite my knuckles and watch her get betrayed. haha. He’s a great actor too.
He is. I was surprised but kind of suspicious of him though.
I guess I should say she liked him more than trusted him. He’s handsome. He reminded her of a ‘Lord of the Rings’ character. LOL. She even had this interesting idea that he and Seolhwa would make a great couple. If only! Had he been a real slave revolt leader and good guy, I could see them hitting it off. That in itself would make a great drama. I felt so bad for her in the end. I have the feeling she would eventually find her way back to Choi and Wang Son and live with them.
That brings up an interesting point of discussion. What did happen to Seolhwa? I agree. I think, or would like to think that she made her way back to Choi and Wang Son.
Reblogged this on Stuck on Hyuk and commented:
No words can express how much I love this Chuno review by Zhaoul
I’m speechless. I love this review and I need some time to react properly.
I love when you say that 🙂