Fact and fantasy go hand in hand in the South Korean period drama The Kingdom of The Winds
This epic 36 episode TV drama from KBS2 has all the elements of a Shakespearean conflict; romance, intrigue, murder, politics and warfare.
Based on the manga by Kim Jin and set in the ancient mythical Kingdom of Kohuryeo it depicts the life of Prince Moo Hyul played by the South Korean heartthrob Song ll Gook, for which he won a Top Excellence Actor award.
The Kingdom of Kohuryeo is ruled by King Yuri, a hard and ruthless man and who is at war with the neighbouring Kingdom of Buyeo.
After the birth of his newborn son Prince Moo Hyul, King Yuri consults a mystic and is told that his son would one day kill his family and destroy Kohuryeo.
King Yuri is unable to kill his son and afraid the prophecy will come true he orders the Crown Prince Haemyung to take Prince Moo Hyul from the palace and put him with a family of commoners to be brought up as one of them.
Years later and unaware of his background he falls in with a group of warriors who are waging war with the Kingdom of Buyeo and trying to bring down their King, King Daeso.
Meanwhile the Crown Prince Haemyung is becoming fearful of his father King Yuri, who is showing paranoid tendencies believing that none of his subjects will recognize him as king.
Fearing for his life as he is the next in line to his fathers throne Haemyung leaves the palace and joins the gang of warriors fighting Buyeo. Here the two brothers are united and the truth of Moo Hyuls birth is revealed to him.
The two brothers come up with a daring plot to Kill King Daeso, but the attempt fails and the warrior gang is destroyed.
This catastrophic failure leads to the suicide of Haemyung.
Believing King Yuri is behind his brothers death and the destruction of their gang, Prince Moo Hyul vows to seek revenge on his father and the Kingdom of Kohuryeo.
With his gang all but gone he has only one option, to join the opposing army of Buyeo.
He falls in with a group of assassins known as The Black Shadows where he meets Dojin Prince of Buyeo. Here he also meets his future love interest, a Buyeo Princess named Yeon played by Choi Jung Won a popular Korean actress.
The story continues with its twists and turns and eventually Hyul becomes Daemusin-wang the third King of Kohuryeo in a turbulent period known as the Three Kingdoms of Korea.
He becomes a great conqueror who in later years expands his empire.
But despite having the world at his feet he becomes like his father King Yuri.
In the end King Daemusin looses the love of his family and the respect of all those around him as he changes into a cold and hardened man.
Historical accuracy is not a focus in this series instead it is the interplay between the characters and the inner life of the people through their humanity and intimacy that gives it a sense of belonging very much to the period.