There were so quite a number of good dramas this year and I decided to compile a list of some of my favourite women from some of my favourite dramas from 2016. This list is not in order of ranking so it’s not me picking which woman I liked most or which one I liked least. These are just women who I either want to be or want to be friends with because they are so awesome. There might be some spoilers, so proceed with caution.
1. Shin Se-kyung as Boon-yi From Six Flying Dragons
Boon-yi’s life began when her mother left her and her older brother Ddang-sae (played by actor Byun Yo-han) and just upped and disappeared one day. After a while, she ended up being separated from her brother too and became truly alone in the world. While she was young, she met Lee Bang-won (played by actor Yoo Ah-in) with whom she became allies after he promised to get his father to use his power to find her friend’s mother. As she grew up, she became the leader of her village people and helped them secretly farm lands to avoid the heavy taxes they had to pay. They were soon caught by the government and she was made to watch some of her people be killed because of their rebellion. She and Lee Bang-won meet again in the future after she robbed him of his clothing and after she set the government storehouse on fire, Lee Bang-won starts to fall in love with her.
Six Flying Dragons is one of my favourite dramas of the year and Boon-yi became one of my favourite heroines of the year. She was an embodiment of bravery, passion for her people, and wisdom beyond her years. She and Lee Bang-won are also one of my favourite couples of the year and my heart will forever be broken because Shin Se-kyung and Yoo Ah-in do not get a happy ending again this time. (They were together in Fashion King as well). I would break down in tears at random times and at random places after this drama ended and I was so devastated that I couldn’t listen to any songs from the OST without crying. Such was my love for the 4th Flying Dragon, Boon-yi. Representative of the People and the love of Lee Bang-won’s life.
2. Han Ye-ri as Cheok Sa-gwang from Six Flying Dragons
Cheok Sa-gwang (played by the very beautiful Han Ye-ri) was the greatest swordsman in all of Goryeo but she hated killing people. She always wore a mask to prevent her face from being seen and this helped her escape from the life and title of being greatest swordsman in Goryeo for a while. All she wanted was to live quietly with the man she loved (who also happened to be the last King of Goryeo) but because of the ambition of Lee Seong-gye, Jung Do-jeon, and Jung Mong-joo, she ended up having to come out of retirement to defend the lives of the people she loved.
Honestly, Six Flying Dragons is chock-full of awesome women however, these two ended up being my favourite because they were women who were neither good nor bad, they were only women who believed in what they believed in and worked hard to protect those beliefs and the people they cared about.
3. Hyeri as Jung Geu-rin from Entertainer
Okay, I know Hyeri is not the greatest actress out there, but her character as Jung Geu-rin (Green) was so endearing and adorable. In Entertainer, she acted as Jo Haneul’s (played by Kang Min-hyuk) very protective adopted elder sister/manager when he joined the Ttantara band and she was also Shin Suk-ho’s (played by Ji Sung) love interest. At first I was really wary of that potential pairing because Ji Sung is much older than Hyeri and a million times better at acting than Hyeri but Jung Geu-rin turned out to be a breath of fresh air. She was cute but not overtly so, her character was also like a soft, soothing balm on the wounds of the other characters who needed her to calm the occasional storms in their lives.
4. Chae Jung-ahn as Yeo Min-joo from Entertainer
Chae Jung-ahn’s Yeo Min-joo is that awesome big sister everyone wishes they had. She knows how to have fun and will spoil you, but she will also scold you with love and keep all your secrets. She’s the one you look for when you need some really strong advice but she’s also the one you call when you need bail money after doing something stupid with your friends. Awesome from start to finish, and she had the cutest romance with the cutest Single Daddy in the world (Na Yeon-soo played by newcomer Lee Tae-sun).
5. Seo Ye-ji as Shim Soon-deok from Moorim School
I don’t care what anyone says about Moorim School, that drama was one of my favourite dramas of the year. It was ridiculously cute but oh so addictive. Shim Soon-deok is a badass martial artist with aegyo for days, proving that there is such a thing as the best of both worlds. Her amazing chemistry with Lee Hyun-woo also helped me in enjoying this drama. She attends the Moorim Institute by day (against her father’s will) and works at a fried chicken place by night to make some money. On one of her chicken errands, she gets entangled in a plot to discredit K-pop star, who also happens to be losing his hearing, Yoon Shi-woo (played by Lee Hyun-woo). Shin-woo has to escape the public’s changing attitude and ends up at Moorim School, where he learns a secret about himself and falls in love with the awesomely badass Soon-deok.
6. Jung Eu-gene as Hwang Sun-ah
Hwang Sun-ah is just as badass as Soon-deok, in fact they are the two best fighters in the school as well as best friends and roommates. Sun-ah also ends up learning a secret about herself over the course of the drama and ends up in a relationship with Wang Chi-ang (played by Vixx’s Lee Hongbin).
7. Song Hye-kyo as Kang Mo-yeon from Descendants of the Sun
This drama is my re-discovery of Song Hye-kyo. I was initially put off at the thought of her playing this character since I didn’t really like her previous performance in That Winter The Wind Blows but I trusted Kim Eun-sook since she writes her heroines in such a way that I can’t help but be enamored with them. Of course, Song Hye-kyo brought so much life to her character of Kang Mo-yeon. A doctor who believes every life is worth saving and would do anything to save a life. She ends up falling in love with Captain Yoo Si-jin of the Alpha Team (played by Song Joong-ki). Their chemistry is something that needs to be experienced and helped along with the ridiculously witty and cheesy dialogue from Kim Eun-sook’s genius brain, my summer months were filled with butterflies.
8. Lee Ji-eun (IU) as Hae Soo from Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
This is another casting I wasn’t too sure about because Lee Ji-eun is much younger than Lee Jun-ki who was her love interest in this drama. I was so wary because in Lee Jun-ki’s previous drama, Scholar Who Walks The Night, he was cast opposite Lee Yoo-bi who is much younger than he is and has a baby-face to boot. It was awkward watching that drama and it didn’t help that they didn’t have any chemistry whatsoever.
Lee Ji-eun plays Go Ha-jin, a 21st century woman who almost drowns in a river and somehow ends up in 4th century Goryeo in the body of Hae Soo, a young noblewoman. She has to navigate her new life in this strange time and ends up catching the eye of a few princes. She had to deal with palace intrigues as she gets swept up in the battle for the throne when the man she loves decided he wanted to become king. One of my favourite things about Hae Soo was her large heart, it ended up being her undoing because she got so heartbroken by all the deaths (her cousin dies and her foster mother dies) and suffering (her best friend betrays her, her first love abandons her, and the man she loves becomes a monster in front of her eyes) she experienced, she soon became sick of it and eventually died. She went from headstrong young girl to tired world-weary woman over the course of her life and the drama. Scarlet Heart: Ryeo was definitely one of the best dramas of the year and one of my forever favourites. I would definitely recommend it, if you don’t care to be a sobbing, emotional mess at the end.
9. SNSD Seohyun as Princess Woo-hee from Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
Princess Woo-hee is the daughter of the last King of the Shilla dynasty and she has a bitter grudge against Wang Geon (the current king of the Goryeo dynasty) because he killed her family. She lives at a gibang (a house of gisaengs) where she trains to be a dancer (and also secretly plots her assassination of the king). She meets Wang Baek-ah (played by Nam Joo-hyuk) who pretends to be a musician at first although he’s one of the princes and gets attached to him. She soon discovers that their love cannot be after she accidentally stabs him while trying to kill his father. They try to work it out for a while and they succeed, until another king ascends the throne and wants to wipe out the rest of her family. They weather that storm too however, their love story just wasn’t meant to end well because she ends up having to sacrifice herself for the unity of the country. I’m not even gonna lie, their love story was so underdeveloped but so damn cute I cried hot tears when she died.
10. Z-Hera as Park Soon-deok from Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
Park Soon-deok is the daughter of Great General Park Soo-kyung, and there are only two things she loves in her life. Fighting and Prince Wang Eun (played by EXO’s Baekhyun). When she was younger, she was a tomboy and Wang Eun was the only boy who thought she was cute. She nursed the biggest crush on him and when she grew up, she decided she was going to marry him. She even killed a bear for him, true love I tell you. Wang Eun wsa having none of that because he was nursing a crush on Hae Soo, who at the time was in love with Prince Wang Wook and saw no one but him (until he abandoned her). Soon-deok managed to marry Eun and eventually win his heart. But just when they start to enjoy being together, Wang Yo (who killed his brother and became king) arrests them on trumped up charges of treason and kills the both if them.
Moral of this story, do not fall in love with a Goryeo Prince, you will die.
11. Park Hye-soo as Yoo Eun-jae, Ryu Hwa-young as Kang Yi-na, Han Ye-ri as Yoon Jin-myung, Park Eun-bin as Song Ji-won, and Han Seung-yeon as Jung Ye-eun from Age Of Youth (The Girls of Belle Epoque)
Age of Youth is possibly one of the cutest dramas about female friendship that I have ever seen. It is a story about 5 girls who live in a share house named Belle Epoque and their different lives. Eun-jae, far left (played by Park Hye-soo) is the youngest and is in her first year in college. She is painfully shy at first and can’t make coherent sentences, however she hides a huge secret. Jin-myung, second left (played by Han Ye-ri) is the oldest and in her final year of college. She has a very hard life and works three jobs to be able to pay off the loans in hospital bills her mother has saddled her with. She rarely laughs and tries not to deal with the other girls too much. Yi-na, middle (played by Ryu Hwa-young) is the second oldest and lives a very lavish lifestyle which she finances through her sugar daddies, however she struggles to find meaning in her life because she suffers from survivor’s guilt after surviving a terrible accident. Ji-won, second right (played by Park Eun-bin) is a journalism student at the same university as Eun-jae and Ye-eun. All she wants is to get a boyfriend and she’s the type to fall in love at the drop of a hat. She’s the bubbliest of them all and tries to act as mood-maker in the house. Ye-eun, far right (played by Han Seung-yeon) is a nutrition student at the same university as Eun-jae and Ji-won. She’s extremely dedicated to her boyfriend even when he’s a total jerk to her. She is sometimes brash and tactless but she is kind when she needs to be. She is also obsessed with not gaining weight. The girls’ friendship develops over the course of the drama as they band together to help one another through difficult situations whether it’s saving the youngest Eun-jae from being attacked, helping oldest Jin-myung work one of her jobs when she gets stuck out of town, comforting Jin-myung when her brother dies and her mother goes to prison, or going to rescue Ye-eun when she gets kidnapped. They laughed together and cried together and helped each other through whatever curve ball life threw at them.
Honourable Mentions: Park Shi-eun as Lady Hae and Woo Hee-jin as Lady Oh from Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
Two women who also fatally loved Goryeo Princes.
Lady Hae (left) was Hae Soo’s cousin who was married to Prince Wang Wook and loved him very dearly. She has a very kind heart and tells her husband to go ahead and marry Hae Soo after she dies because the jerk told her that he was in love with Hae Soo.
After the death of Lady Hae, Hae Soo has to become a court lady because she cut herself trying to prevent the king from marrying her. Since the king had once proposed to her, she became the king’s woman whether he married her or not and no one else was allowed to marry her unless the king released her. She enters the palace as a court lady and Lady Oh takes her under her wing, after much punishment that is. Hae Soo wormed her way into Lady Oh’s heart and Lady Oh became the mother she didn’t have. It turns out Lady Oh and the King (Wang Geon) loved each other at some point in their life and the King had convinced her he wasn’t interested in the throne and would do anything for her, until he became interested in the throne and abandoned her (you know, I’m starting to think there is something awfully evil about that throne). When Hae Soo is accused of trying to kill the crown prince and is sentenced to death, Lady Oh takes her place and sacrifices herself but not before she tells Hae Soo to be careful about falling for a prince because at the end of the day, they will abandon her. If only Hae Soo had listened to mother, because mother always knows best.
So, those are some of my favourite women from k-dramas this year. It has been a really good year for dramas, a lot of good ones came out this year. Goodbye, until my next blog post.
Image Credit to Google since that’s where I found most of these pictures.