The King's Affection: 3 reasons to watch this Korean palace romance drama

·4-min read
Park Eun Bin as Lee Hwi and Ro Woon as Jung Ji-un in The King's Affection. (Screenshots: Netflix)
Park Eun Bin as Lee Hwi and Ro Woon as Jung Ji-un in The King's Affection. (Screenshots: Netflix)

The King’s Affection is the latest Korean palace romance drama Netflix has to offer. It stars Park Eun Bin as the crown prince Lee Hwi, and Ro Woon from K-pop idol group SF9 as her love interest Jung Ji-un.

Lee Hwi’s real identity is Dam-i, the twin sister of Hwi. As twins were considered an ominous sign in the royal family, the young Dam-i was supposed to be killed. But her mother found a way to disguise the death of her baby daughter, and sneak her out of the palace.

However, the turn of events led to the death of the real Hwi, and Dam-i has to take the place of Hwi. In order to prevent her cover from being blown, Dam-i grows up to be a cold and strict crown prince, wary of anyone who comes close to her. But things become tricky when she meets her first love Jung Ji-un again.

If you are not already convinced by the intriguing plot, here are three reasons why you should not miss this K-drama.

1. It begins with impressive performances by the child actors.

Instead of starting off the drama with the lead actors Park Eun Bin and Ro Woon, and doing a flashback to their childhood, The King’s Affection approaches the concept with a linear plot. Unexpectedly, the child actors were able to keep the story going and the audience engaged.

In particular, Choi Myung-bin did exceptionally well, portraying both the roles of Hwi and Dam-i. Despite being only 13 years old with about four years of acting experience, Choi could bring out the unique traits and behaviours — and even goes so far as the voices — of the two characters of different genders.

What’s even more fascinating is that her appearance allows her to pull off the look of a pretty boy as Hwi, and a cute girl as Dam-i. If you didn’t know that the two characters are played by Choi, you might have thought that they are portrayed by two actual twins!

The plot also increased the acting difficulty for Choi when Hwi and Dam-i swapped clothes and roles. As confusing as this may be, Choi would have to portray four roles in total: the real Hwi, the real Dam-i, Hwi as Dam-i, and Dam-i as Hwi. But if you pay attention to the little details like the sideburns and a scar on the nape, you will be able to tell them apart regardless of what they are wearing.

Fellow child actor Kim Geon, who plays the role of the young Eunuch Hong, also presented a bubbly performance. His round face and adorable stature are a joy to watch, especially when he chases after and attends to the young crown prince.

2. Park Eun Bin is capable in portraying both genders.

With Choi putting up a brilliant performance as the young Hwi, Park Eun Bin’s portrayal of the adult Hwi does not lose out either. In fact, Park gives a more nuanced portrayal with emphasis not just on the way she carries herself, but also a deeper reflection of the nonchalant and stern nature of the overly defensive Hwi.

Yet, when Park lets down her long hair, she immediately gives off feminine vibes and a more gentle look on her face, which are a stark contrast to the masculine Hwi. It is also very rare for an actress to be able to pull off the look of a male character so well, since they tend to have more feminine facial features.

The 20-episode series is currently released till the second episode. Park's juggling between the two genders will definitely be something the audience will look forward to watching in the subsequent episodes.

3. It is an intense battle between the secret keepers and the secret exposers.

Right off the bat, conflicts have already arisen when the twins were born. The royal family wants the death of Hwi’s twin sister Dam-i, while Hwi’s mother hopes to let her live. Although no outsider was left to tell the tale that the royal family has twins, very few knew Dam-i is still alive, much less her pretending to be the crown prince. But as the truth trickles out, more unnecessary deaths will only follow.

On one hand, Dam-i struggles to disguise herself as the crown prince, jeopardising the lives of the people who put everything on the line to help keep that secret. On the other hand, evil-minded people dig into her weakness and try to threaten her power as the crown prince.

Intertwining between the power struggles is Dam-i’s first love Jung Ji-un, who grows up to become the crown prince’s tutor. It is only a matter of time before he leads to the downfall of the crown prince, and the revelation of the top secret.

The King’s Affection is now streaming on Netflix, with new episodes dropping every Monday and Tuesday.

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