One of the first K-dramas that captured my heart is Princess Hours or Goong. This fairy-tale-like coming-of-age romance series isn’t perfect but there’s a lot of things about it that made it a classic and iconic K-drama. It had beautiful cinematography, an escapist yet relatable storyline, and characters who are easy to fall in love with. I could list down hundreds of things why I like this series but let me tell you about my top five favorite things about Princess Hours.
1. The OSTs
I’ve been harping about how music is one key element that elicits a lot of emotions from the audience in a K-drama. Princess Hours has a good OST line-up. My personal favorite is the melodramatic ballad I’m A Fool while Perhaps Love is one of those K-drama OSTs that would wake up all hidden Goong emotions in me whenever it plays. These songs played in the background in every romantic moment of Shin Chae-kyeong and Lee Shin. Perhaps Love, particularly, has spurred a lot of covers and renditions. With the latest one coming from my girl Yoona and the man I would be willing to spend 2 days and 1 night anywhere, Kim Seon-ho. Oh, if only they could star in that remake! (or at least a lighthearted series, perhaps?)
Personal anecdote: I could still remember how I tripped on our patio one afternoon when I heard the first few notes of this song played on our TV. This series literally scarred me (haha).
2. The Modern Crown Princess
When Princess Hours aired, it was the time when I still believed in fairy tales and loved every modern retelling or anything with a semblance of a royal love story. That’s why it wasn’t that hard to fall in love with the bright and feisty female lead of Princess Hours, Shin Chae-kyeong. Her quirkiness made me laugh a lot. Her impulsive decisions made me want to jump into that story so I could give her a bit of much better advice and stir her away from heartaches. And every time she cries, I wouldn’t even notice that I was also sobbing. And of course, during her heart-fluttering-breath-stopping moments with Crown Prince Lee Shin, it made me wish so hard to have such kind of fairy-tale-ish love story.
Princess Hours is also the series that made me love Yoon Eun-hye. The rest of the Ahjummamshies squad either loves her in Coffee Prince or I Miss You. I also like her in those series but her role as Chae-kyeong would always hold a special place in my heart. Also, I think she’s the first K-drama character whose look I tried to copy. Those light-bulb pigtails? Her bangs? Or her messy side bun? I’ve tried it all.
3. The Complicated Young Love – Are you on Team Lee Shin or Team Lee Yul? Are you on Team Chae-kyeong or Team Hyo-rin?
Long before Team Suho or Team Seojun / Team Do-san or Team Good Boy happened, K-drama fans have been polarized by whether they were on Team Crown Prince or Team Second Prince. Lee Yul (played by Kim Jeong-hoon) had caused one of the first widely known case of second lead syndrome. Everyone fell in love with his unassuming nice guy character. BUT I’m sorry for all the Team Lee Yul out there (mian @grumpyahjumma) but I was and (will always and forever) be on Team Lee Shin.
I know I know, Lee Shin made Chae-kyeong cry a lot of times. He did a lot of things that warranted a smack on the head. But this Prince of Coldness could make anyone’s heart melt with his subtle thoughtfulness and warm rare smile. And so yes, this is the same reason why Ju Ji-hoon will always be my forever K-drama first love.
The story of the second female lead Min Hyo-rin (played by Song Ji-hyo) resonated with a lot of fans as well. She’s the almost-princess. She’s Lee Shin’s first love. And no one – even Chae-kyeong – could ever take it away from her. To be honest, I didn’t like her character the first time I watched this series. But as time passes by, I slowly understood why she chose her dreams over the man she loves; only to realize she couldn’t live without him. I still think though that she and Lee Shin were being selfish when they went into a secret rendezvous in Thailand (I still hate that they did that to Chae-kyeong!).
4. The Modern Monarch
I think one of the best things about Princess Hours was they seamlessly weaved their royal traditions to the modern storyline. They made a believable world where a royal Korean family does exist.
I could still remember scouring reliable sources on the internet just to find explanations on the scenes I saw on TV. On why Chae-kyeong wore that red and blue hanbok on their wedding day. On what’s the difference between 세자빈 (sejabin) and 빈궁 (bingung). It tickled my curious mind and it led me to learn more about Korean culture and traditions.
5. The Back Hugs
Who would ever forget Chae-kyeong’s cute/weird fascination with Lee Shin’s back? Or when Lee Shin pleaded for them to stay that way for a minute and just forget about their divorce predicament? There were a lot of unforgettable moments with them but I must say I love their back hugs the most. I mean just look at these photos:
This series would always have a precious place in my heart. Not just because of how timeless the story of Chae-kyeong and Lee Shin is but also because every time I watch it, I would also remember some childhood memories. Like how I wounded myself in the shin just watch its re-run; on how I’ll sneak to our living room because it’s timeslot on our local network was past my bed time and streaming back then wasn’t an option; on how my school notebook would be filled with cut-out photos of Yoon Eun-hye and Ju Ji-hoon; and on how I suffered with my first case of post-drama sadness when it ended. Those memories were the reason why my initial reaction to the news about its possible remake was doubt; doubt they could actually top how good the original version is. However, I realized that the new generation of K-drama viewers do deserve to have their own version of Princess Hours – that kind of K-drama that they would watch again and again and would never fail to put a smile on their faces.