26 June 2013

구가의서 Gu Family Book

Title: 구가의서 Gugaeuiseo
English Title:
  • Ancient Medical Book
  • Book of the House of Gu
  • Gu Family Book
  • The Writings of the Nine Houses
Country: South Korea
Language: Korean
Year: 2013
Episode: 24
  • 이승기 Lee Seung Ki
  • 배수지 Bae Soo Ji (수지 Suzy)
  • 유연석 Yoo Yeon Seok
  • 이유비 Lee Yoo Bi
  • 이연희 Lee Yeon Hee
  • 최진혁 Choi Jin Hyuk
  • 이상엽 Lee Sang Yeob

Gu Wol Ryung is a nine-tailed fox who fell in love with a human. Because he wants to be with Yoon Seo Hwa, Wol Ryung took on the difficult task of trying to become human. He failed in his quest and when Seo Hwa incidentally found out his true nature, she betrayed him. Seo Hwa later found out she was pregnant with Wol Ryung's child and after giving birth, she abandoned the baby.

The baby was later found in the riverbanks by an upstanding hotel owner Park Moo Sol. The gentleman took the baby, named him Choi Kang Chi, and raised him as part of his family. Kang Chi does not know about his birth parents and his true nature as a son of a legendary nine-tailed fox.

Dam Yeo Wool is a brave and skilled warrior who trained under her father, a master of martial arts. Yeo Wol meets Kang Chi and little does she know that their fates are intertwined...

I had good expectations about this drama because it seemed as if it has a story to tell and it has a talented cast with good acting skills (except for the lead actress), but it ended up disappointing me in so many ways. I think it could possibly be one of the most frustrating dramas to watch, because you find out as you watch it that the people behind the production don't really know what they are doing.

Considering that the drama's title is Gu Family Book, you would think that it is about Choi Kang Chi's journey to find the said book that can make him human but that was not the case and it was even hinted at the end of the drama that the said book may not exist. So essentially, why is the drama's title so unrelated to the story the drama ended up telling?!

The introduction of the drama focused on the history of the Gu family, or rather the story of Kang Chi's parents. It is honestly the best part of the drama and as a viewer, you are really better off if you just watch the first few episodes.

Gu Wol Ryung and Yoon Seo Hwa had a tragic story because even though they truly loved each other, they did everything wrong (they were not open and honest with each other, they did not trust each other enough, they did not give each other the benefit of the doubt, etc.)

Kang Chi and Dam Yeo Wol also truly loved each other but they did not do the same mistakes that Kang Chi's parents did, so it is only logical to expect them to get a happy ending. It was really surprising that they did not have a happy ending, and could have had a worse ending compared to Kang Chi's parents, because then it's like a 'damn-if-you-do-and-damn-if-you-don't' scenario. So it's like the moral lesson of the drama is don't bother trying to do the right things anyway because it will not be worth it.

I am also quite unhappy with the resolution that even though Kang Chi and Yeo Wol did not have a happy ending in their lifetime, Kang Chi waited for four hundred years and he will possibly have the happy ending with Yeo Wol's reincarnated self. Actually, I just really don't like such story devices as a whole because well, even if the new person retained the old soul, she is her own person and she has her own life to live. In this instance, the reincarnated self may have Yeo Wol's soul but she is not Yeo Wol. What's even worse in this drama is the fact that in the end, Kang Chi is the same person but Yeo Wol is a different person.

Even though I don't like the reincarnation theme, I can accept it in a drama if it is established that reincarnation is normal and to be expected in their world. In those cases, it's easier to accept why it had to happen. In cases like in this drama where it just happened all of a sudden, I can't help but feel cheated as a viewer.

구가의서 Gu Family Book