Oh my Got! Got, a traditional Joseon Dynasty era hat that became famous as a so-called "Kingdom Hat," has created this neologism. ‘Kingdom,’ which caused the Got syndrome, is a Netflix original series that drew people's attention as a unique genre called the K-zombie. Thanks to the popularity of Season 1, which was released last year, season 2 of "Kingdom" was released in March this year. In particular, season 2 has drawn more attention due to the similarity to a plague, as the COVID-19 crisis continues. Let's take a look at what the main characters in ‘Kingdom’ have experienced and how they overcome their plague!
"The king is dead. A new wind will blow." In Hanyang, rumors start to circulate. This is because even though days have passed since the king's collapse with smallpox, only Cho Hak-ju and the Queen Consort Cho could enter Gangnyeongjeon, where the king was staying, and no one could have an audience with him. Crown Prince Lee Chang, who thought it was strange not to be able to meet his father, secretly instructs his man to bring a pharmacy diary. Lee Chang finds out that Lee Seung-hee, who was in Jiyulheon, Dongnae, entered the palace a few days ago through the last written record in the diary. Lee Chang goes there looking for him, where he makes a horrific discovery.
Lee Chang: The crown prince of Joseon. However, due to the limitation of his status as a child of a concubine, fails to consolidate his power. At first, he worried about the situation in which he will lose power and become a defunct prince and may die if the queen gives birth to a son. However, seeing the miserable existence of the poor in Dongnae, he thinks he should become the true king.
Seo-bi: A nurse of Dongnae Jiyulheon. On behalf of Lee Seung-hee, who went to Hanyang, she takes care of the patients, including Young-shin in Jiyulheon. She struggles to help Lee Chang overcome the plague.
Cho Hak-ju: The head of the Cho family. He is the one who starts this mysterious plague. He wants to maintain the power of the Cho family. He in turn made the king undead. This is because Lee Chang inherits the throne if the king passes away. So he tries to buy some time until the Queen Consort Cho gives the birth to a child.
Queen Consort Cho: Cho Hak-ju's daughter and Lee Chang's stepmother. She ignores Lee Chang, the crown prince, but she also acts as a puppet for Cho Hak-ju. She is known to have a king's child, and instead of Lee Chang, she wants to make her child the king and gain power for herself.
The Drama about Hunger
Kingdom begins with "hunger." It goes beyond human instinct, and also means the ambition. Joseon was devastated by a war three years prior. Outside the palace, extreme famine hits and the nation is full of hungry people. Nevertheless, those in power are busy taking care of their own self-interest. The people are suffering because there is nothing to eat while the rulers are suffering for their endless greed. As a result, everyone in Joseon was crying out for hunger.
This situation of hunger resulted in the outbreak of the plague. In the drama, those who became the undead using plants are not contagious, unlike other zombie films. Dan-i is an example. Dan-i follows Lee Seung-hee to Hanyang, where he is attacked by the king who became a zombie. But he is sick and died without becoming a zombie himself. However, hungry Jiyulheon's patients ate Dan-i's flesh without even knowing it, and the plague began to spread. Kim Eun-hee, author of ‘Kingdom’ said “I wanted to talk about hunger. I wanted to express those who have come to live in a hungry and naked era through the monster's appearance.”
It Is Just a Red Fluid Called Blood
The story of "blood" is also implicit in ‘Kingdom’. It means a blood war against the undead plague, and furthermore the war caused by blood. Cho Hak-ju is a person who values blood-based power in the drama. He does not hesitate to turn the king into a zombie in order to maintain the power of the Cho family. But in fact, the queen's child had already been miscarried, and even though she knew it, she continued to pretend to be pregnant. She wants to reign over the entire country by placing her child on the throne, who is neither the blood of the king nor the blood of the Cho family. After all, Cho Hak-ju's efforts to transfer power to his own blood were in vain from the beginning.
In the beginning, Lee Chang also called himself "the only son of the king" or "the blood of the royal family". When he faces the hard lives of the people, however, he thought about the true king. Lee Chang realizes that what is important is not blood but a duty to serve the people in order to become the true king through the blood war he experienced during his journey from Dongnae to Hanyang. Like the lines in the drama, "It doesn’t matter who the blood belongs to. Your Highness, or I, or even some lowborn. We all bleed the same blood."
The undead plague gradually subsides as spring comes. It was unlikely to end but in turn ended one day. This seems to be a little comforting to our reality. It's already May with no springtime to enjoy due to COVID-19. Just as the war of blood has ended as the weather has warmed, CAH hopes the Corona Situation will calm down as soon as possible.