Are you looking for Korean dramas with strong female leads who use their strength and power in a good way? If so, add these two (2) K-dramas to your watch list.
This article is Part 2 of a list of four (4) Korean dramas with strong female leads. Part 1 recommended two (2) series where the female leads were strong, but also ruthless and abusive. This part lists the other two (2) series where the female leads were strong, but in a good way. Their strength and power of love motivated them to make the right decisions.
♦ Part 2: Korean Dramas with Strong Female Leads, But in a Good Way
(1) Dong Yi (2010)
This K-drama series is also titled “Jewel in the Crown” (not to be confused with “Jewel in the Palace“, released in 2003). This is a true love story about a king and a woman who could have used the king’s love for her to make herself queen. But instead …
This series follows Dong Yi from childhood to adulthood. The child character (played by Kim Yoo Jung), is a “commoner”, i.e. not a slave but also not born into a noble family. She grows up into a beautiful and intelligent, caring, and compassionate young woman (played by Han Hyo-joo, “Love, Lies”).
Dong Yi did not set out to win the king’s heart but he could not help but fall in love with her. She did nothing to create enemies, but because she was the king’s favorite, that made her the target of jealousy and envy. Her enemies went to great lengths to have her removed from the king’s presence. Strangely though, there were two (2) queens who did not view her as a threat and willingly listened to her thoughts and advice. One queen even adopted Dong Yi’s biological son in order to make him eligible to become the crown prince.
Was there ever a woman in Joseon, in the palace, who had such incredible “powers of persuasion”? The most significant thing that she did in her lifetime was persuade the king to make a LAW that would not allow concubines to become a queen. She saw the treacherous acts that the women of the palace were willing to commit to be able to sit on the throne. To her, the solution was easy and something within the scope of the king’s power. Based on historical records, Dong Yi’s life story is a one of kind.
Viewership and Rating:
- IMDb Rating: 8.1 out of 10 stars
- My Drama List Rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars
- Viki viewers gave this series a rating of 9.6 out of 10 stars.
My personal rating is 10 out of 10 stars.
- If you watch this series, you will understand why the king fell in love with this woman. You would probably think: What’s not to love about this woman? In fact, knowing that this is the story of a real historical figure makes me even more impressed and happy.
This series is 60 episodes and totally binge-worthy. Start a watch party and view it in one sitting. If you begin the party at 8 PM, the party will probably be over by 8 AM, the next day. (LOL.)
LINKS OF INTEREST:
- 6 Of Kim Yoo Jung’s Best Dramas That Are Unmissable | Soompi
- 5 Must-Watch Dramas of Han Hyo-joo That Showcase Her Versatility | sportskeeda
TheGreatQueenSeonDuk. “Dong Yi Trailer.” YouTube, 19 May 2010, www.youtube.com/watch?v=pgjHPVbLTpQ.
(2) Under The Queen’s Umbrella (2022)
In this K-drama series, Queen Im Hwa-Ryeong (played by Kim Hye-Soo) is the definition of an “incredibly intelligent strong woman”. And? And she is definitely a survivor! She bore the king five (5) sons. Bearing sons for the king is the easy part. Keeping them all healthy and alive was the challenge. This queen had to constantly outwit her enemies who wanted to destroy her and her sons. Her enemies included her husband’s mother, a conniving and wicked mother-in-law, who never wanted her to be queen. Deal with that!
Other enemies you can probably eliminate but getting rid of your mother-in-law is no easy feat! You have to convince your husband to CHOOSE! Listen up, King! It’s like this:
- It’s your sons or your mother. I’m the queen and I’ve already picked sides. It’s your move. WARNING! Don’t make me choose between you and our sons.
Contrary to the norm, the queen even showed compassion and understanding to the children of the concubines who were rivals of her sons. Her husband, the king, greatly respected her and would rely on her wisdom. Even though each one of her sons could be king, she taught them to stay bonded together as brothers and support each other. Not only did she save the lives of her sons, but she saved her grandson, as well. He might also one day be king.
Queen Im Hwa-Ryeong showed remarkable strength of character. Everything she did was motivated by motherly love, but not all of the mothers behaved the way she did. For some mothers, their sons were just stepping stones to the throne.
Viewership and Rating:
- IMDb Rating: 8.5 out of 10 stars
- My Drama List Rating: 9 out of 10 stars
I agree with MDL’s rating of 9 out of 10 stars.
- The strong female lead totally won me over. Yes she did act as a mother, who happened to be queen. But in her royal position, she could have resorted to cruel and horrific methods to protect her children, and justify her actions by simply saying: THIS IS WAR! People teased her and insulted her about the way she walked, describing her gait as mannish and ungraceful. But a more accurate description would be she walked with the determination of a single-minded woman with only one aim or purpose. If necessary, sometimes she would RUN!
Netflix K-Content. “Under the Queen’s Umbrella | Official Trailer | Netflix.” YouTube, 3 Oct. 2022, www.youtube.com/watch?v=PW6oCJXONYk.