About The King and I
Why did they become eunuchs? How could they castrate themselves? What did they live for?
Through this drama, the deeply moving stories and the self-giving lives of the veiled Eunuch Department of the Joseon Dynasty are revealed!
In history, Kim Cheo-sun was considered the best eunuch attendant in the Joseon Dynasty. In this drama, the hero bears the same name. Kim Cheo-sun secretly loves So-hwa, whom he met in his childhood, but he cannot fulfill his love because of the difference in social class. Eventually, when the woman he loves becomes betrothed to King Seongjong and enters the palace, he castrates himself and enters the palace as a eunuch in determination to protect her. In historical dramas, the eunuchs of Joseon are always portrayed as shadows of the king, but none have actually focused on the eunuchs' lives that have much sorrow and joy. "The King and I" presents the convulsion of the political situation in Joseon after the 1453 Purge of Prince Su-yang, the lives of the women of the royal family that were sacrificed in the intense strife among the factions, and the tale of the Eunuch Department that delicately permeates the lives of the royal family.
A eunuch attendant who cut off his manhood for the woman he loves.
Kim Cheo-sun was born to Kim Ja-myung, a general of the Palace Guard Headquarters and a faithful servant to King Danjong. Cheo-sun's father is cruelly killed after being made into a traitor by the betrayal of his close childhood friend, Jo Chi-gyeom. Cheo-sun's mother, Lady Oh, makes her escape heavy with child. As a fugitive, she gives birth to Cheo-sun alone in the woods. While trying to avoid capture, she falls off a cliff after leaving her son well hidden under a tree. The shaman, Wul-hwa, finds him and raises him as her own, oblivious of the true circumstances of his birth.
Growing up in the Eunuch Training Center, Cheo-sun becomes friends with the future King Seongjong, Prince Ja-eul-san, and falls in love with the prince's betrothed, So-hwa. But because of class difference, he cannot pursue her. Instead, in order to remain by her side, he castrates himself and follows her into the palace, getting a job as a eunuch attendant.
He becomes the victim of a cruel destiny that leads him to give poison as a death penalty to the woman he loves more than his life and to his birth mother. He is a loyal character who protects the things he must, no matter what the sacrifices are.
The beautiful deposed queen, Lady Yoon, who achieves her true love through forgiveness.
She begins her relationship with Cheo-sun after Cheo-sun saves her from a poisonous snake bite when she goes to Doseon Temple to offer a Buddhist prayer with her mother at the age of 12. She develops a friendship that transcends class with Cheo-sun and Prince Ja-eul-san, a member of the royal family. However, as she approaches the age to marry, she is in conflict because she realizes she has feelings for Cheo-sun. While paying her respects to Queen Jung-hee with her mother, she meets Prince Ja-eul-san, now King Seongjong, again, and becomes torn between her feelings for Cheo-sun and King Seongjong's advances. Eventually, she decides to choose Cheo-sun, but she gets caught in Jo Chi-gyeom's schemes and ends up as a royal concubine to King Seongjong. Seeing So-hwa longing for Cheo-sun arouses jealousy and obsession in King Seongjong. Her life at the palace takes off with a rocky start as she feels her heart change with subtle emotions after she hears that Cheo-sun followed her into the palace as a eunuch attendant.
A king with an explosive temper who, blinded by jealousy, kills the woman he loves.
He is the second son of Crown Prince Eui-kyung, who is King Sejo's firstborn son, and Queen In-soo, Lady Han. A few months after his birth, he moves out of the palace with his mother to her private residence after his father, Crown Prince Eui-kyung, meets an untimely death. There he forms a friendship with So-hwa and Cheo-sun. After he enters into an arranged marriage with Han Myung-hwe's daughter at 11, he ascends the throne upon King Yejong's early death. Seeing So-hwa again after becoming king brings back old memories and emotions of love, which leads him to pressure Jo Chi-gyeom, the captain of the Eunuch Department, to make So-hwa become a royal concubine. Despite the disapproval of his mother, Queen In-soo, he has So-hwa made into a royal concubine, then later his queen. But So-hwa's constantly melancholy and steely eyes toward him change his love into obsession.
King Sejo's queen. King Seongjong's grandmother.
Historically, she is described as a bold leader.
She has a keen sense in politics which makes her become the first queen mother in Joseon to rule as regent when King Yejong ascends the throne at the age of 19.
King Seongjong's birth mother.
When King Seongjong tries to take So-hwa in as a royal concubine, Queen In-soo harbors ill feelings toward So-wa's honest and upright nature, and later contributes in deposing So-hwa from the throne.
Though he was born into a noble family, he chooses to become a eunuch because of poverty.
Due to his ambitions and political aspirations, Jung Han-soo is willing to do even the most despicable things in order to gain power.
Later in a fight between Kim Cheo-sun and Jo Chi-gyeom, he takes Jo Chi-gyeom's side and drives Cheo-sun into a crisis.
Eunuch Noh's adopted daughter.
She is the adopted daughter of Eunuch Noh, Jo Chi-gyeom's foster father. People think that she is deaf, but she actually is a character more subtle and deeper than one might think, hiding her intentions and keeping the truth about all the secrets she hears.
King Seongjong's third queen.
She is So-hwa's arch-rival who has gentleness, elegance and dignity.
She becomes the queen after So-hwa is deposed and looks after Prince Yeon-san, but after her own son is born, she begins to have inner conflicts because of the friction her maternal instincts cause.
The woman who causes scandals all over Joseon.
Though she is born as the daughter of a nobleman and marries into a prestigious family, she gets deserted by her husband because of her carefree view of love. After that, she has a number of scandals with Joseon's cream of the crop. She even has an affair with King Seongjong, but later is driven to her death after being used in party strife by Jo Chi-gyeom.
Cheo-sun's foster mother.
Though she was born into a noble family, she falls ill and is only cured after promising to dedicate her life as a shaman.
She takes in Cheo-sun, who was abandoned in the woods, as her son and stands by him as he lives out his cruel fate.
Cheo-sun's birth mother.
When her husband is branded as a traitor and is hunted down, she flees, though she is heavily pregnant. She has her son and hides him in the woods, after which she throws herself off a cliff. She survives the fall but loses her memory and works as Prince Ja-eul-san's nursemaid. When the prince ascends the throne as King Seongjong, she enters the palace with him and becomes a court lady.
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