Goong was always highly recommended in many Kdrama favorites lists, so I finally sat down and watched it about a year ago. I’d only seen Yoon Eun Hye in Coffee Prince, so it was a bit startling to see her all dolled up and actually acting girly. *Spoilers Ahead *
I enjoyed the drama a lot. It was slow at times, and often frustrating in that “would you just CONFESS to each other already!!” kinda way. But hoo boy, did the kisses make up for the lack!
It was 11 years ago when I first discovered that anime and manga/manhwa weren’t just for kids. I read a lot of manga online, but when I find one I truly enjoy I don’t mind investing money in acquiring the volumes. Because I enjoyed the drama, I began collecting the manhwa it was based on. Finally, about a month ago, I finished the set and began reading.
I’m not one of those sticklers who thinks a movie/tv show should be exactly like the book/comic it’s based on. I know it’s impossible, if for no other reason than the fact that some things simply will not translate from the written word to the screen. That said, I do appreciate it when those who create movies and dramas from beloved books and comics make every effort to be as true to the original story as possible.
I was quite happy as I read the first few volumes of Goong to find that the drama stayed fairly true to the manhwa. As the manhwa continued, though, the drama deviated more and more, and the ending was completely different from the manhwa. For all I know, the drama may have ended before the manhwa was completely finished, but it doesn’t matter because this is one time when I’m actually glad that the drama was different.
The manhwa is 28 volumes long. The story is wonderful and the art is gorgeous. But by the time I reached volume 20, I was growing tired of the angst and the scheming that kept coming between the OTP. I was glad that the drama left out Yul’s fiancé because she got on my nerves. The pervy old servant dude was funny at first, but about halfway through his scenes started to irritate me. They kept undercutting the serious scenes and destroying the intensity of the moment, so I began skipping them. And I was very relieved that the drama didn’t actually go through with the divorce. Even though Chae Kyung ended up leaving the country, she was still legally married to Shin. I didn’t care too much for the ending of the manhwa…while I can appreciate the implication that Chae Kyung would wait for Shin until he could give the title of Crown Prince to his brother, there was also the implication that it would be years before that could happen. In that respect, I prefer how the drama changed the baby brother to a younger, but grown, sister, allowing Shin to step down and give the position to his sister without making Chae Kyung wait a decade or two.
I do have my gripes about the ending of the drama, even if it was better than the manhwa. In fact, I was perfectly happy with the last episode up until the last few minutes. From one scene to the next, we see Chae Kyung letting Shin know she wants to be with him, to them in a church renewing their vows, to taking wedding pictures – during which she starts gagging, which in Kdrama-speak means pregnancy. To drive the point home, Granny wonders if she might be pregnant, leading Shin and Chae Kyung to stare at each other in shock.
The timing is all wrong. That’s what really bugged me about the ending. Even if Shin and Chae Kyung began sleeping together the same day they reconciled, even if Chae Kyung became pregnant the first time, she would not be showing signs of morning sickness that fast. I guess it’s possible that 3-4 weeks passed from the day they reconciled to the wedding pictures, but I doubt they would wait that long when there was no reason to. I’m not sure how to explain it exactly, but they way the scenes changed gave me the impression that not much time had passed…certainly not enough time for her to be showing any signs of pregnancy, much less morning sickness. It was just illogical.
In all honesty, I felt the pregnancy aspect was overkill. If they wanted to allude to such, I think it would’ve been better if they had skipped the gagging scene and simply shown pictures of Shin and Chae Kyung with a baby or two.
However, having said all that, I still prefer the drama ending over the manhwa ending any day. And my slight disappointment in the endings did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the drama and the manhwa. The drama is one I’ll keep and probably rewatch from time to time, and the manhwa is one I’ll reread again.