Hey folks! I know it’s been a while since I’ve last written something on this blog so I’m back with another post! This time it will be about just recently finished Korean drama “Mirror of the Witch” starring Yoon Shi Yoon and Kim Sae Ron. After watching the whole drama from start to finish, I have to say that although the drama might not have ended the way I had wished, the drama overall left me with tender and warm feelings.
For those who aren’t familiar with the drama, ‘Mirror of the Witch’ depicts the story of princess Seo Ri/Yeon Hee (played by Kim Sae Ron) and her journey to getting rid of the curse that’s fallen upon her. “When Queen Shim (Jang Hee Jin) is unable to conceive, she visits the shaman Hong Joo (Yum Jung Ah). Hong Joo’s powerful black magic helps the Queen give birth to a twin boy and girl, Soon Hwae and Seo Ri/Yeon-hee. But the dark sorcery comes with a price when Seo Ri is cursed, causing her to be abandoned and left for dead by the Queen. Seo Ri is rescued by the father of Poong Yeon (Kwak Shi Yang), who becomes her only friend as she grows up in hiding. With Poong Yeon and her helper, Choi Hyun Seo (Lee Sung Jae), by her side, Seo Ri grows up as a witch, all the while trying to figure out how to lift the evil curse on her life.” Meanwhile, through this journey and process, Seo Ri/Yeon-hee’s fate becomes intertwined with royal physician Heo Jun (Yoon Shi Yoon). (Source)
I’m not really fond of fantasy dramas which is pretty much what ‘Mirror of the Witch’ is, but I think it was because of this concept that I stuck around and watched the drama until the very end. It was something different from all the dramas I’ve ever watched before and with the addition of black magic and witchcraft, I was captivated by the drama more easily than I am by other dramas.
(YOON SHI YOON PLSSSSSSS. SWOOOOOOOON <3)
In addition to the concept and feel of the drama, the cast was also another reason for me to stick to the drama for the long haul. I’ve always been a fan of Yoon Shi Yoon. I love him to little pieces and with this drama as his project after returning from the military, I was so excited to finally see him in something again. Yoon Shi Yoon has always been a great actor for me and he didn’t disappoint in ‘Mirror of the Witch’ at all. He’s grown so much from playing a loud quirky Enrique in ‘Flower Boy Next Door’ to the strong and heroic Heo Joon that we witness and support in ‘Mirror of the Witch.’ As for our female lead Kim Sae Ron, the only project I’ve ever watched her in was ‘The Man from Nowhere’ but that was when she was barely just a small kid (she’s still young right now) so I didn’t really have an opinion on her acting. I think for the most part in the drama, she was able to convey the emotions and decisions that her character developed and carried throughout the course of the drama, although I found her acting limited at times in certain scenes. Overall though I was not disappointed by her, but I don’t feel compelled to watch her in another drama after seeing her in this one. Maybe it’s gonna take a few dramas for me to warm up and like Kim Sae Ron eventually. Kwak Shi Yang plays our second male lead Choi Poong-yeon, the “older brother” who becomes obsessed with protecting and saving Yeon-hee that he becomes blinded by his own decisions and wants. I remember first seeing him in ‘Oh My Ghost’ (PARK BO YOUNG <3) as the quiet and mysterious flowerboy chef and now he’s playing an obsessed and complex character who becomes consumed with protecting Yeon-hee for his own good and interest. Kwak Shi Yang definitely proved that he can act through this drama and eliminated any doubts that viewers might have had regarding his acting. Don’t be fooled by his looks! His acting is just as good!
Now onto the plot, I don’t even know where to start. It’s one huge mess that never seems to know when to die (until the end of course). Not only is the Royal Palace infected by the black magic that shamaness Hong Joo (fabulously played by Yum Jung Ah) has spread and controlled, but the entire kingdom of Joseon has also been consumed by the plague. So basically the entire drama focuses on finding the solution to end the black magic and curse that’s fallen upon and affected everyone. I think to start, the drama did not have to be 20 episodes long. It got tiring and frustrating watching the same thing happen over and over again and repeat itself for 20 episodes long – only for our female lead to die in the end to end everything. The drama was basically a repeated process of: trust and rely on Hong Joo although the characters are well aware of the fact that she uses black magic to manipulate and control things and people, become suspicious of her, arrest her because they find out she’s betraying the country and the Royal Palace and how much of a danger and threat she is, bails her out of jail and gives her another chance because the characters thinks she can somehow help them, and then it repeats over and over again until the very end. I understood the reasons why the characters committed these acts and decisions the first few times, but when it kept on happening over and over again and there was no reason for the characters to believe and rely on Hong Joo anymore but they still did in the end, it just got frustrating. I think the drama focused way too much on Hong Joo and her wins and her journey to ruining the Royal Palace like she wanted. There was never really any focus spent on Yeon-hee and Heo Joon and their team in the fight against Hong Joo (uhhh what happened to lighting the candles???). It was as if almost every time Hong Joo had the upper hand in everything when you know that she shouldn’t and you don’t want her to! Urgh!
The whole point of the story was to find a cure for Yeon-hee’s curse so all our characters went through so much trouble to find that cure (lighting candles, battling against Hong Joo, following the Grimoire of Curse) only for Yeon-hee to die in the end as the sacrifice. Which I understand makes sense plot wise but you’re telling me we went through all this trouble for her to die in the end? Lol. We all know that Heo Joon couldn’t have died because he was actually a famous royal physician during the Joseon dynasty known for the famous medical text “Mirror of the Eastern Medicine.” I guess I was just desperate for a happy ending for our main couple who went through so much to be together and to fight against evil only for them to not receive that happy ending that they risked their lives for. It was sad and frustrating to watch.
Of course there were many plotholes throughout the drama such as the mystery behind who helped saved and revived Yo Gwang, the unlimited amount of minions that Hong Joo had with her, the purpose and role of Do-hee’s character, who the character actor Ahn Kil Kang played was, and much more. I have always been loyal to ‘Mirror of the Witch’ but when the drama started dragging towards the end, I got annoyed and frustrated. It should have ended and wrapped up in 16 episodes. Like I mentioned earlier, the drama started going around in circles. Also, I think the contrast between the way that our two female leads died was really interesting (and in a way frustrating and unfair). A few viewers pointed out the way that Hong Joo died, carried in the arms of her love who also killed himself with her despite all the bad things she’s done to the Royal Palace and to our characters was ~better~ than how Yeon-hee died, not even allowing Heo Joon to see her one last time before she dies. It’s so ironic that for all the things that Hong Joo has done, all the evil and pain she’s inflicted in so many people, she gets a peaceful death compared to Yeon-hee who’s suffered throughout the whole drama. I think it was interesting seeing how they both died, but in a way also angered me because it was almost so unfair the way they died.
I know there had also been concerns about the romance between Yeon-hee and Heo Joon as Yoon Shi Yoon and Kim Sae Ron have quite a large age gap in reality. But I was very satisfied with the romance in this drama. It was innocent, sweet, and appropriate. They definitely understood each other and helped the other out when they were in times of stress and sadness. It was bittersweet watching them discuss about what their lives would have been like had this curse and black magic not fall upon them and affect them. Would they still have met? Would they be living normal lives? Would they have fallen in love with each other? It’s was heart-breaking because Yeon-hee and Heo Joon loved each other and wanted to be together, but in the end their fates were intertwined with an ending that they both didn’t want or see. With that being said, although I’m glad that Heo Joon and Yeon-hee reunited 40 years later in the afterlife (I guess that’s the happy ending for us lol), I just wished Yeon-hee didn’t die. I wish there was a way that she could have lived and ended the curse. The characters went through so much trouble to save her and in the end, she loses her life anyways. I enjoyed watching their journey and the process and all the sweet and funny moments between the characters, but I think the ending has just as much impact and unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations.
In a way, I’m glad that Poong-yeon’s character throughout the drama was of his obsession with protecting Yeon-hee and trying to convert her back into the innocent, sweet, little girl that he knew and saw her as. In this aspect, it made him a more complicated and interesting character, but it also gave lots of room for the relationship and love between Yeon-hee and Heo Joon to grow which was relieving and satisfying to watch. Had Poong-yeon just turn out to be your typical second male leads where he’s just kind and there competing for the love and attention of Yeon-hee it would have been frustrating to watch and Poong-yeon as a character would have fell flat. I’m thankful that the drama didn’t make his character go there.
(probably my favorite scene out of the whole drama tbh)
That’s not to say that the drama wasn’t good. I think our cast were very strong acting-wise. I was surprised at how complex and 3D all our characters were (it’s pretty much the first time I’ve ever watched a drama where everyone was not 2D and boring and stupid) and I think that says a lot because even though I might not have agreed and liked the decisions that our characters made (such as the King relying on and supporting Hong Joo), I understood why he did what he did and I can’t get mad at him for that. The OST was great. CG effects were awesome. ‘Mirror of the Witch’ wasn’t bad. I’m sad that it’s actually ended. But it leaves a bittersweet and tender feeling in my heart and I don’t regret spending 20 hours of my time watching this drama. There are a few things (okay maybe more than a few things) I would have changed about this drama, but for the way that it was and the way that it was delivered, I was impressed and captivated from the very beginning and although I almost lost that hope and love for the drama halfway through, I was able to bounce back and watch it to the very end.
I would recommend ‘Mirror of the Witch’ to those who haven’t seen it yet. Just to warn y’all, it’s going to be frustrating and there are many plotholes, but the acting, the cast, the cinematography, and everything else pretty much makes up for those plot holes. Give it a try and tell me how y’all feel about the drama!