2016 Year in Review: K-dramas Meet Fairytales



Looking over the year of dramas I’ve watched, I was struck by an undeniable theme: fairytales. I’ve always adored fairytales and finding that connection really excited me. Some drama had fairytale themes that were merely coincidental; others were intentional; but the motifs were hard to ignore in either. So I’m calling 2016 the year of the K-drama fairytale! Here’s a list of six popular fairytales re-imagined in K-dramas.

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

Scarlet Heart: Ryeo-
I was surprised it took me more than halfway through the show before I realized that this was obviously a Beauty and the Beast story with 4th Prince, the beast; hiding his unwanted “hideous” features (his scar) behind a mask. Hae-Soo is the gentle Beauty who loves him as he is and even becomes trapped in the palace. Her love helps him change and grow.

CINDERELLA

Cinderella and the Four Knights-
I mean Cinderella is in the title, haha. The Cinderella theme is really prominent in the first two episodes, complete with Hyun-Min being her fairy god-friend who gives her a dress and shoes to go to a rich party. The rest of the show deals with the sweet romance and obstacles that a rich and poor couple face (mainly grumpy grandfathers, lol).

THE LITTLE MERMAID

Moonlight Drawn By Clouds-
This is a very loose interpretation of The Little Mermaid story, but the heroine, Ra-On herself, confirms it when she tells the mermaid fairytale story to the Crown Prince, subtly comparing their romance to the impossible love of a mermaid and a human prince. The Crown Prince is amusingly angered by the sad ending of the fairytale, but happily for Ra-On and her lover, their own ending is much happier than the fairytale.


The Legend of the Blue Sea-
The Legend of the Blue Sea is actually about a mermaid who becomes a human and falls in love. While technically The Legend of the Blue Sea is based on a classic Korean fairytale story about a magistrate who sets a mermaid free, the story is still vastly similar to The Little Mermaid, as the show asks the question – how can a mermaid and human ever be together?

SNOW WHITE

The K2-
Shortly after starting The K2, I was reading the recap on Dramabeans where I saw commentators translating the dramatic choir music from German to English – which told of a girl running in the forest from an evil queen.  It wasn't hard afterwards to see this was a Snow White retelling: Choi Yoo-Jin was the queen, Je-Ha the huntsman and Anna the innocent Snow White. It was officially confirmed when Yoo-Jin herself spoke of her Mirror (her super information computer program) and Je-Ha “kissed” (CPR, lol) Anna to life after she was “poisoned” with a food allergy to “strawberry” (poisoned apple).

OTHERS:

Mirror of the Witch – Rapunzel
Though I didn’t watch this drama, I heard good things about it on Dramabeans. The show was often compared to a Rapunzel retelling which I thought made a lot of sense.

Shopping King Louie – The Wizard of Oz
You can check out this Dramabeans post on the correlation between The Wizard of Oz and Shopping King Louie, which I thought was super cool!


Comments

  1. Love this! I hadn't realized how many fairytale-based dramas there were this year, despite watching most of these myself, lol.

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    1. Aw thanks! I know, it surprised me too!

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  2. The K2 is so a Snow White retelling!! I think I made that connection at least once while watching it. But it annoyed me at times.

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    1. Yeah I did feel some annoyance as well. Tho not really at the fairytale but their interpretation of it. Or just at how they did The K2. I enjoyed the show, just felt like there were a lot of missteps they could've done better. If that makes any sense, lol.

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  3. I do like fairytale references to these show, most of which I didn't see but I get it.

    not sure about comparing the mirror of the witch to rapunzel, sure she is semi-trapped and being haunted and had to find a cure to her curse, similar but not quite. I did watched the show and thought it was rather good but the ending was stupid, as noble sacrifices go, this was kind of dumb, I suppose if you can imagine a different ending, then perhaps the show would have been better

    have you seen 'surplus princess'? that is definitely like the 'little mermaid' story

    also, I think 'rooftop prince' is like snow white & the seven dwarves except snow white is a bit bossy and very fierce.

    have a lovely day.

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    1. I heard the ending of The Mirror of the Witch was a let-down. Yeah, I've had to imagine different endings for some shows (I'm looking at you, BBC Merlin).

      I haven't seen Surplus Princess, but I think I remember hearing about it some time ago. It was also a mermaid story, so definitely would fit in the fairytale category!

      Aww, I love your comparison of Rooftop Prince and Snow White! I can totally see that!

      Thanks Lissa!

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