As it has been said in other posts, the drama Goong was based of a Korean graphic novel (manhwa) that was published in 2002 and has been ongoing ever since, now with 25 volumes published. Here at Dramatards we don’t just obsess over Asian dramas and pop-culture, but we also appreciate art and find that following some works of art, we have come to known the wonderful and magical world of Asian dramas. Goong (the manhwa) was not the exception.
The manhwa Goong is a romantic comedy, by author Park So-Hee. As stated above, it was first published in 2002 in South Korea, and now it has also been published in the United States and Canada in the English Language. Aside from the TV drama, Goong was adapted for the stage in 2010, Goong: Musical, as a theatrical musical spin-off the TV drama. Famous pop idols Kimy Kyu Jong (as the prince Lee Shin) and U-Know Yunho starred in the musical. There was also a spinoff drama in 2007 called Goong S, starring Kpop star Se7en, and is set in the same “world” so to speak, but has nothing else in common with the manhwa or drama.
In the TV drama, the director kept fairly true to the story from the first volumes of the manhwa. If you wish to know more about the story and the characters, check out all of our posts on Goong!
The four main characters of the story are:
Shin Chae-Gyung: The heroin of our story, a very cheerful and outgoing girl. Chae-Gyung attends the same high school as Lee Shin, and where they have their first awkward encounter. Because she seems like an irritating spoiled girl at first, Lee Shin dislikes her. But our heroin has a kind heart, and is always honest. After marrying Lee Shin, she starts to fall in love with the always reserved and often cruel prince.
Lee Shin: Our Prince, who often seems cold and irreverent, its constantly annoyed by Chae-Gyung actions. He gives in to the arranged marriage to satisfy his elders, but he is really in love with someone else. However, Shin starts to notice the sweet and honest side of his new wife, and falls for her.
Lee Yul: The Prince’s cousin, who returns to Korea after living in England for many years. Yul was formerly to be the Crown Prince, but after his father died his uncle became the King and the position of Crown Prince was given to Shin. He has a kind nature, and lots of charisma which makes him popular with the girl. By coincidence meets Chae-Gyung at the school, and befriends her. At the beginning, both share a genuine friendship, but later Yul falls for Chae-Gyung and starts getting in between the new married couple.
Min Hyo Rin: She was once really close to Shin, close enough that he proposed to her when the elders told him he needed to marry soon. Not wanting to give up on her dream of being a ballerina she rejected the offer. After hurting her leg she starting wishing she hadn’t made such a hasty decision, and has made it her goal to win back Shin’s heart.
As mentioned above, the director of the drama did keep fairly true to the original story, but after reading about half of the manhwa I’ve already noticed a lot of minor differences (which is to be expected, as nothing is every 100% alike). And just for those who might be curious I was going to post some differences. Now if you have not seen the drama I would advise you to avoid reading this section and scroll on down to the bottom to look at the art. Although I’m only going to mention a few, I think some of them might be a tad bit spoiler worthy if you have not seen the drama. For those who have seen the drama I’m not going to go into full detail, just point out some differences and talk a bit about how I’m liking the manhwa. But if you want to leave yourself surprised and do plan on reading the manhwa, go ahead and brush past this part.
Spoiler Code: BLUE
First things first, I watched Goong this past summer, so while some scenes are a bit fuzzy for me now, I still remember a good bit. I’m 11 volumes in the manhwa right now, so I can’t point out everything (might come back later to update). Remember how in the beginning it started off with the elders speaking to each other and then we get introduced to Chae-Gyung at her school? We find out in the beginning of the drama that she’s an art major. Difference? In the manhwa Chae-Gyung has no talent in any kind of art. I think this is something they added in the drama because of Yoon Eun Hye being good at art.
Also, in the drama, Chae-Gyung’s grandfather has already passed away. But in the manhwa he is still alive and is the one who kept the ring (remember that scene where the parents were freaking out looking for the ring? Funny scene but it doesn’t actually happen like that, haha). In fact Chae-Gyung gets mad at him at first because of the fact that she’s being forced into marriage because of a promise between her grandfather and Shin’s grandfather.
Moving on, Yul seems more focused on getting the crown than he did in the drama, at least I’m feeling that in the manhwa. I didn’t like him much in the drama because of his “give me give me” attitude. I felt bad for him, but he made it hard for me to feel bad for him at the same time. Personal opinion aside, it also seems that while Chae-Gyung and Yul do spend a good bit of time together, it didn’t spin out to the public like it did in the drama (am I speaking to early? I’m halfway through but I feel I should be coming up on the end of the drama in the next 4-5 volumes. I feel, unless there’s more added in between).
Shin and his friends. In the drama he has 3 other friends and together they act like they’re the F4. Haha not really but it was my first impression of them. But in the manhwa Shin doesn’t really have any friends. He’s a loner, he doesn’t get close to people and there’s hardly any mention or scenes with him around his friends. Unlike the drama – there’s the party scene. Or as I remember, the scene where they attempt speaking English (they’re English wasn’t good….haha Yoon Eun Hye made me laugh when she stood up for herself and spoke way better English). Anyways, there’s quite a few scenes I remember in the drama that show his friends, but poor manhwa Shin doesn’t even have them.
Hyo Rin, in the drama she comes back for Shin on her own by giving up her dream. In the manhwa she hurts her ankle and has to give up on becoming a ballerina so she starts to regret not saying “yes” to Shin and tries to interfere and get back the relationship they once had. Chae-Gyung’s brother, Chae-Joon, actually starts developing feelings for Hyo Rin and follows her around. They made him younger in the drama.
Another scene done differently: Remember the scene in Thailand? How Chae-Gyung stayed behind because Prince William was coming to visit the Goong and Shin had business to take care of? In the manhwa it wasn’t in Thailand but in England. I think they added Thailand because it was 1) Probably easier to travel to and 2) the scenery, it was an added touch to the drama. One thing that stayed the same? Hyo Rin still followed Shin to England. Difference? Let me mention the Eunuch in the manhwa (I fail to remember him in the drama now), but he’s a short perverted old man who has a thing for Yul. Yes I’m being dead serious, haha. It’s one of the strange things about Goong.
Anywaysssssss – Prince William visits and in the drama it’s more serious and he doesn’t stay for too long (random thought – why can’t they ever hire good English speaking actors in asian dramas? It’s very rare!). But in the manhwa he’s there for a while and there’s more comedy in it. Although the perverted old Eunuch is very strange indeed… he follows the Prince around and such.
All in all there’s quite a few differences in the manhwa, so if you liked the drama Goong you’ll find yourself enjoying the manhwa (if not liking it better!) While I enjoyed the drama, I’m liking the manhwa better, I’m not sure if it’s because when I watched the drama I liked it, but didn’t really get into it as much (it frustrated me in a lot of parts). I feel that while there’s the stress in the manhwa, there’s more scenes with comedy and I feel the characters developing better. I want to rewatch the drama sometime after I finish the manhwa because I think I’ll enjoy it better the second time around. The story gets better with each volume and I love reading “newer” scenes that didn’t show up in the drama (due to time I’m sure, and the fact that the drama aired before the manhwa was done. That was 6 years ago, too). I really recommend it to anyone who’s seen the drama or is a fan of cinderella type stories. I originally started reading it after I finished the drama, but then I just found myself not in the mood to read manga/manhwa and put it off for a while. At the beginning of this month I picked it up again to make this post, and I’m glad I did! I dunno if it’s because I have a new iPhone and it’s easier for me to read manga/manhwa through this app I have on there or what but I’m able to read more often. I was hoping to finish it by this month but I didn’t have the time, but I might come back when I’m done and update it (:
Spoiler Code: Green
The art of Goong is beautiful. A combination of the reds and yellows is always predominant, while having a touch of blue and green; it makes Park So-Hee’s art sophisticated. She has drawn her characters with elegance and delicate lines, it’s hard not to fall into the magical world she has created. Here are some pictures of the art and some of her drawings from the manhwa: