Currently Watching: A Tree with Deep Roots

roots1You all know I’m not a sageuk fan. I avoid and delay any good sageuk drama as long as I could. I get criticize by a few of my friends and tweeter friends about it too. Sure as a reviewer, I should not be picky and bias, right? Believe me, I come out with millions of reasons and excuses in my head when I don’t like something. When I’m running out of things to blame, this is the time I drag myself off the floor and decide which next drama will be my victim. As far as I know, my reviews on most sageuk drama are pretty decent (average to bad). Why? I don’t know *shifty eyes* I just prefer the present world we are living with… Yes, yes… I am picky. Call me whatever, sageuk drama bored me to death! I could count with fingers how many period drama I’ve seen in a year. Yup, it’s that bad. So why I finally decided to watch A Tree with Deep Roots? I have promised myself to watch it this month and I thought I could channel all my energy on this masterpiece while I’m on travel work. Well, my travel work didn’t happen (YAY!) but I’m left out with my promise. I hate to disappoint my own self so I went along with it. And then comes Jang Hyuk. THUNK! One gal asked if I based my choice on watching Roots solely on him? HEEEEELLLLLLLLLLL NO! Are you freaking kidding me? *cough cough giggle giggle* No, I swear. I’m not basing my choice on Jang-Hyuk oppa. Jinjja!

So really, the reason I’m drawn to this show is because of the history of the language itself. When I shared the synopsis of Roots with my hubby, he immediately disagree (but he didn’t refrain) with me from watching it. Why? He came from an excellent Chinese literature family background in which one must preserve the language no matter what. And he went on and on about how the Koreans are being disloyal to their ancestors by creating Hangul. I understand where he is coming from and I understand Lee Do’s, the King, decision as well. But if you know eastern history by hard, in which in my case I’m reminded by hubby all the time, changes to anything ancient are not easy and almost difficult to get support and commitment by others. They go through wars and meet up with all sort of discrimination and hatred before they get what they wanted. Similar case with the Roots. Lee Do tried to set a different example to his own people by setting up new and simplify characters with each character has its own sounds and tones. The Chinese characters will still be used but his intention was not widely accepted. For a king who is trying very hard to push his ideas out to the public, there will always be a force, mostly scholars, that against it. By this time I’m fully understood why the Great King (Lee Do’s father) still interfere with the King’s business. The Great King was all about preserving his own absolute power and wouldn’t tolerate a single revolutionist such as Lee Do.


The Roots is not as complicated as it seems to be. The story is pretty direct but it requires you to be somewhat history savvy to understand Lee Do’s purpose to set themselves apart from the Chinese. History is brutal and death is inevitable when pursuing this kind of “happiness,” whatever it may seem. In this drama, the story is mostly about investigation of the secret group Hidden Roots and to discover why there were many death that links to the group and to the Great King. We all know by now anyone that opposed the king will be eliminated regardless of status. And if the king starts to distrust a person? A cut in the neck! *shudders*

OK, OK… Now, of to the best part! If you’re looking for romance, this is the section you want to read *nods*. The romance between Ddol Bok and Dam-Yi. A long lost childhood loveship separated by adult war, both kids grew up not far apart and met up later in life but unknowing to each other of their past. And both found each other again in an unfortunate situation. It was a sad-but-happy and happy-but-sad moment. Having said that, the romance is not the top priority in Roots. So when do you get to see it? Episode 13. How it started? Uhm hello, do you really want me to tell you? Let’s not, ya? Uhm by the way… Can I kill your mood for just this once? Just once? I wonder… I really do wonder if the romance is built up just for the drama or it actually took place? *overthinking it* Yup, yup *agree to self* I think the romance is fictional. Writers!


If you decide to watch the Roots, pay very close attention to the details as it involves a lot of clues and evidences that I mostly missed. It took me awhile to get it and I was forced to rewatch several episodes to jolt my aging brain. There are lots of characters to remember as well but the story doesn’t have too many layers. Yes, it is crunchy but not makjang crunchy. Daenghida! This 24 episode drama is based on true event. So please don’t assume all of it are written accurately. This is a very rich historical drama nevertheless. The mysteries and the conspiracies will suck you in once you are exposed to the Hidden Roots. On top of that, I do want to a few things: superb writings, excellent acting and awesome OST. Expect greatness!

Would I recommend the Roots? I don’t know. Like I said, I’m no sageuk fan. I almost always say no no matter how good the premise is. If you like investigative history drama, this drama is for you. The acting is pretty dramatic and intense and you can tell each character contributed a significant testimonial to the history. What I like about the Roots? The investigative part. The way the Roots is presented made understanding the history much easier and more dimensional like than other typical period and history drama alike. Personally, it is a YES from me. There isn’t much action going on, at least by episode 12, but I’m hoping to see more action and more romance in the next 12 episodes. If you have not watch it, I highly recommend this drama. It is somewhat heavy so be prepared *coz I wasn’t*

While watching the Roots, I’m so drawn to this music. However I couldn’t find any except for this clip. If you find any, please let me know because it is soooooo beautiful.


18 thoughts on “Currently Watching: A Tree with Deep Roots

  1. I’m not a huge fan of sageuk too (I find all the “Cheonaaaaaaaa” abit off-putting) but this one is mentioned alot so it has been on my watch-list…I’ve just let it sit there for a long time. Plus it’s got Jang Hyuk and Song Joong Ki! Glad to see you like it so far, makes me push this up the list abit.

    I laughed when you mentioned about your hubby because I know people like that. Boy, don’t get them started because the lecturing will never end. His mandarin must be high-flying too. 😉


    • OMG thank you for being on my wagon! And you won’t be seeing sageuk drama review in a while after this! But yeah, this is a must watch 😉

      Lol I’m glad you understand me. Yes, he’s one of them. His language is over the top! Constantly correcting either my English, Chinese or Malay! Aish. He’s the type of person who would read Chinese poetry and literature and argue like mad on Chinese website over military stuff, politic agenda, etc. And since he is pro China, I decided to be pro Taiwan or Japan or even Korea lol just because… So much fun!


  2. Same here….I’m not a sageuk fan….have seen only Sungkyunkwan Scandal as it was quite modern… 😉
    I love history and historical movies/ shows but I don’t know why this genre in Kdramas never attracts me….
    Gu Family Book was another drama I was trying but dropped it midway…so finally I think I’ll stay away from sageuks… 😀


    • Yay, another person added into my wagon *no saeguk* list! SKKS was an exception simply because of the environment but the plot is completely modern (did I just quote you on that?), which I like. That Gu Book? My heart said no right away… Yeah, the next sageuk drama I plan to watch *sadly, there is another one on my list* is the Moon Embracing the Sun. I saw couple of eps 2 years ago and I quit. Bleh….wish me luck!


  3. I guess I’m very much alone in my love for Sageuk 😀 After my first one, Queen Seondeok I actively looked for more that would get me as excited. The truth is I might understand the general aversion to them, because after QSD the only awesome ones I’ve found have been Chuno and The Tree. The majority tend to get quite draggy. Still, there is a magic in them that makes me want to find another great one at some point. It might have to do with the fact that I love period pieces in general. I did love SKKS but yeah, that is hardly sageuk. Iljimae is also, not very heavy on the history side 🙂 it’s more like a fantasy/superhero/fantasy story. Anyway, I appreciate your review, even though you are obviously not enjoying it that much 😀 awwww, I hope it gets better for you on the second half.


    • You know Queen Seondeok is on my watch list? I cringe just thinking of it >.<. 60 bloody episodes! Will I live?

      I haven't start fully on the second part of Roots. I'm giving a space to myself lol but it will be finished (fingers crossed) by end of this week.


        • I know one blogger used to do this but he’s been busy with real life and I don’t follow him anymore 😦 He trunk all the episodes down into one giant movie! Cool, right? But it is a lot of work and not sure he was able to grasp all within the time.

          You know Ida, sometimes, long dramas told better stories than short ones. Sometimes though 😉


  4. Pingback: Currently Watching: Six Flying Dragons |

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