Do you like Korean movies? If you do, then I have a treat for you with a horror twist; yes, you read that right, you will read about “Kingdom: Ashin of the North”. A South Korean horror series, that will amaze you.
The first season of the Kingdom is set during Korea’s Joseon Dynasty, three years after the Imjin War, and follows Crown Prince Lee Chang (Ju Ji-hoon) and his subordinates as they investigate a developing political intrigue and reports of the King of Joseon’s death. In the middle of the turmoil and death, Chang encounters allies who try to stop the disease from spreading deeper into the province in the city-state of Sangju, only to learn that the plague has already adapted.
Kingdom: Ashin of the North
The episode dives into Ashin’s genesis narrative and her experiences maturing into a scorned lady who turned against the Kingdom of Joseon, set before the first season’s events.
Ashin (Kim Shi-ah) spent her infancy in the northern village of Seongjeoyain with her sick mother and her father, Ta Hab (Kim Roi-ha), a Jurchen who resided in Joseon and was also the head of their town. The central kingdom of Joseon and the Jurchen frontier tribes of Pajeowi were at odds. The Pajeowi had collected their army in the Pajero River’s basin.
As a result, the Joseon army enlisted the help of some Jurchens from Seongjeoyain to keep an eye on the Pajeowi. As a virtue of his prior promise of devotion to Joseon, Ashin’s father was offered the position of spy. He consented in the hopes that the monarch would give Seongjeoyain governmental representation, which would improve the lives of the people.
When a pair of Pajeowi Jurchen men unlawfully collect wild ginseng in the prohibited area known as Pyesa-gun, they all die abruptly. While their deaths were allegedly caused by a tiger attack, several of the locals were suspicious of the storey being spread.
Interesting Things about Kingdom: Ashin of the North
Kim Eun-hee, the series’ screenwriter, started thinking about the narrative in 2011, intending to portray modern-day worries and anxieties via the perspective of the Joseon period. Originally, the writer believed it would be impossible to represent the narrative in a television series style, so he collaborated with illustrator Yang Kyung-il to produce the webcomic The Kingdom of the Gods in 2014. While the series is based on a webcomic, there isn’t much in common between the two save for the core themes.
Between 2018 and 2019, principal photography for the first two seasons was conducted on-site in Seoul, South Korea, encompassing the provinces of Gyeonggi and North Gyeongsang. In the year 2020, filming for Kingdom: Ashin of the North takes occur on Jeju Island.
Song Joong-ki was approached for the starring part but turned it down. Ju Ji-hoon, Ryu Seung-ryong, and Bae Doo-na were reportedly in discussions to feature in the series in September 2017. Jun Ji-Hyun was confirmed to feature in the second season in November 2019.
Jun Ji-Hyun and Park Byung-Eun will return their respective roles in Kingdom: Ashin of the North, after the announcement of the special episode. Kim Shi-ah, Koo Kyo-hwan, and Kim Roi-ha were also announced to be cast in the special episode.
The first season was well-received by reviewers and viewers alike. Rotten Tomatoes’ review aggregate website gave the film a 93 percent approval rating based on 14 reviews. “An intriguing combination of blood, fear, and political intrigue, Kingdom is a welcome addition to the zombie scene,” says the website’s critical consensus.
A member of the art team died of overwork on January 16, 2018. On March 14, 2019, it was announced that a member of the production team perished in a vehicle accident while filming the second season.
A castle on the set of Kingdom: Ashin of the North caught fire on January 7, 2021, while a team member attempted to melt the snow with a torch lamp. Parts of the castle were damaged in the process of putting out the fire, but no one was hurt as a result.
It was unfortunate to hear the news about one of the art team members, but the hard work of all players is worth watching. So if you are having any second thoughts about the series, you shouldn’t have.
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