Do-jeon (played by Kim Myung-min) is the most politically important of the "Six Flying Dragons". He doesn't become royalty, and without spoiling too much, Do-jeon is in many ways fighting an overall losing battle. But in the immediate sense, his goals are the same as Yi Seong-gye- Do-jeon wants to avoid war. In this conflict, he has to struggle against a political system which favors (poor) long-term strategy over short-term reality.
The day-to-day reality in this drama is incoherent and maddening. What makes the situation borderline comical is that the leaders perpetuating bad situations are quite literally using the Goryeo name as a self-reenforcing tautology. Any action intended to preserve the Goryeo state is automatically the correct way of supporting the Goryeo state, regardless of whether or not it will actually succeed on its own defined goals.
From the perspective of political analysis "Six Flying Dragons" shares a fair amount with "Jing Bi-rok" right now. Both dramas deal with governments where public and foreign policy has gotten to be completely broken, and real-world political analogies are difficult to avoid. American politicial rhetoric frequently involves the speaker wrapping themselves in the flag as a way to try and deflect any possible criticism. But whereas modern-day American culture is mostly insulated from direct consequences of bad policies, poor political decisions in Korea could provoke outright rebellion from the lower classes in the right context.
While this serves to make "Six Flying Dragons" interesting, the similarity with "Jing Bi-rok" also brings about another flaw- at times it's very difficult to figure out what exactly is even happening. That's the problem with having a story so heavily dictated by logic that doesn't actually make sense. Even knowing that the characters in "Six Flying Dragons" are based on real people doesn't necessarily make the thought process any easier to understand.
What is easy to understand is the emphasis on the lower class characters who aren't in the historical record. It's easy enough to have sympathy for Bang-won when he insists, almost to the point of absurdity, on hanging out with and helping street urchins. It's pretty clear that the the reason why "Six Flying Dragons" is mixing up historical record with fictional embellishment is precisely to put all these major political battles in full perspective. That, more than capability or moral rightness, is what's defining the main characters. They're focusing on the people.
Review by William Schwartz
Staff writer. Has been writing articles for HanCinema since 2012, having lived in South Korea since 2011. Started out in Gyeongju, then to Daegu, then to Ansan, then to Yeongju, then to Seoul, lived on the road for HanCinema's travel diaries series in the summer of 2016, and is currently settled in Anyang. Has good tips for utilizing South Korea's public bus system. William Schwartz can be contacted via email@example.com.
"[HanCinema's Drama Review] "Six Flying Dragons" Episode 2"
by HanCinema is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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