Faith (@ The Great Doctor) is my greatest Korean drama addiction to date. It’s now my no. 1 favorite Korean drama of all time! I’m still not sure how I’ll live without Faith… been dreaming about daejang a couple of times. LOL
Tsk: As far as I know a lot of Faithlings out there are having a tough withdrawal from Faith. I’m having a hard time as well! No other dramas has made me feel this way before. This is the first! What Faith has managed to do is touched our heart and soul, teaching us about faith and love.
Note: If you’re hoping for a Faith novel in English version, do come sign the petition: Here
Btw I’ve made a Faith parody post. Do check it out here. Hope you like it.
Now what really got me into Faith at first is Lee Min Ho (hook no. 1, my fav Korean actor!). He’s never acted in saguek (historical) drama before and for that I gave him a little bit of doubt whether he can pull it off. FYI, I dislike his characters in Personal Taste and City Hunter to which I abandoned both dramas very early on. Tsk he looks really great in CH though. The only thing I like him in is BOF. So when I heard he’s doing Faith, I’m like not sure man.
Then episode 1 came. It was super interesting (story line) plus I immediately fell in love with the bubbly and sometime a lil’ bit too chirpy Eun Soo (played by Kim Hee Sun) (hook no. 2) and NOT so much of the serious+sad Choi Young (played by Lee Min Ho).
Tell you what, I love saguek drama that add real Korean history element into the story. Example Dong Yi and now Faith. That’s the 3rd hook.
Plus that with a time-travel story. 4th hook.
And 4 hooks are enough for me to fall into the Faith M-A-N-I-A.
The reasons for this continual addiction of Faith is because the characters portrayed by the actors are so real and lively. They feel like real people and we’re like snooping at them! This is one of the most beautiful written love story ever in my book. I dare to say it’s EPIC.
Initially I just wanted to follow Faith episodes via OneHD but no, no, no, I couldn’t wait. I need to watch the latest epis! Since Oct 1 I’ve watched all the latest episode (same week it’s been released in South Korea) via online sites. There’s more. I stalk dramabeans and joonni for Faith recaps (I love joonni’s recaps more), stalk Soompi’s Faith forum, watch videos of making/BTS (behind the scene), watch Faith epis over and over again… Yes Faith is messing up my brain, my time, my sleep and my life!
Korean title: 신의
Korean romanization title: Sin Ui
English title: Faith
Alternate English title: The Great Doctor
Chinese Title : 信義
Running period in Korea: 13th August 2012 to 30th October 2012
Runtime in Korea: Monday and Tuesday 9.55pm
Total episodes: 24
Genre: Historical, romance, fantasy, time-travel, medical (just a lil’)
Director: Kim Jong Hak
Screenwriter: Song Ji Na
A fusion historical drama about a love story between a Goryeo Dynasty warrior and a modern day female doctor that transcends over time and space.
(yes… the shortest synopsis ever; you don’t need many words for this drama because the above synopsis truly translate the meaning of this drama as a whole)
Synopsis no. 2 (source from koreandrama.org):
Yoo Eun Soo (Kim Hee Sun) is a 33-year old plastic surgeon in the year 2012. She was originally a general surgeon, but quickly found that it was an overworked, under-paid profession and jumped ship to plastic surgery. Her dream is to someday open her own practice. But one day, Choi Young (Lee Min Ho), 29 kidnaps her and takes her back to the Goryeo era because needing her medical skills. Their love story spans centuries but also warring beliefs. He gave up on love to be an unflinching warrior.
Do check out Wikipedia for alternative synopsis if you want to know more.
Lee Min Ho as Choi Young
Kim Hee Sun as Yoo Eun Soo
Ryu Deok Hwan as King Gongmin
Park Se Young as Princess Nogook
Lee Philip as Jang Bin
Kim Mi Kyung as Court Lady Choi (Choi Young’s aunt)
Kwon Min as An Do Chi (King’s eunuch)
Park Yoon Jae as Prince Deokheung (King Gongmin’s uncle)
Yu Oh Seong as Gi Cheol
Sung Hoon as Cheon Eum Ja (Flute boy)
Shin Eun Jung as Hwa Soo In (Lady fire hand)
Odalchis (King’s elite royal bodyguard/Choi Young’s kids):
Baek Gwang Doo as Bae Choong Sik
Kim Jong Moon as Oh Dae Man
Kang Chang Mook as Dol Bae
Yoon Gyun Sang as Deok Man
Jung Yoo Chan as Joo Suk
Lee Byung Joon as Jo Il Shin
Kim Soo Yun as Deo Gi
Park Sang Won as Yuan Envoy
Ji Yoon Ho as Ji Ho
Choi Chang Yub as Shi Wool
The casting of the 4 main leads (Lee Min Ho, Kim Hee Sun, Ryu Deok Hwan and Park Se Young) is the best thing ever for Faith. They blended so well together and the harmony created is amazing. You just gotta love the relationships between Choi Young and Eun Soo (lovebirds), King Gongmin and his general warrior odalchi; Choi Young (bromance) and King Gongmin and Princess Nogook (lovebirds). It’s through these characters that we learn about faith, trust, respect and love. And it is these relationships that make you obsess with Faith. No kidding. You guys deserved a BIG APPLAUSE!
Then there’s also the villains that you will usually hate in dramas but for Faith case, you just can’t help but to like them too. Gi Cheol is evil, obsessed, weird and comical. His minions Flute Boy and Lady Fire Hand are fun too. Exception is Prince Deokheung aka Prince Duckhind ass (a nickname I learned from Soompi forum) who is such a loser in my book. LOL
Then there’s the woodalchi/odalchi (royal guard 우달치) gang; Choong Sik, Dae Man, Dol Bae, Deok Man and Joo Suk. What would we do without them? They’re so loyal to Choi Young and they also act as his subjects on head knocking! Also how can we forget the way they gossips about their daejang and Eun Soo? I love Court Lady Choi who is ever so protective of her nephew, Choi Young. Enjoyed every bits of their moments together. She’s one tough kick a$$ court lady. And lastly Do Chi, the king’s eunuch that’s been providing much laughter to us viewers. Oh yeah everyone is so likeable. I love the whole cast. They’re like one big happy family!
Kim Hee Sun as Yoo Eun Soo which fits her like Cinderella’s shoe. She’s so beautiful, radiant, cheery, cute, fun and lively! Love ya Eun Soo ah particularly of your strong character. Rarely we can find that in female drama characters. You rock woman.
I think (after watching Faith) saguek drama suit Lee Min Ho very well. Love these: his hairstyle, his clothes, his smile, his smirk, him calling Eun Soo imja. Awwww… I just love the curls! (that’s why I like BOF haha). He brought Choi Young to life. Way to go!
Who would have thought the pairing of Lee Min Ho with Kim Hee Sun (who is 10 years older) will produce such a fantastic blazing hot chemistry (the best I’ve seen in Korea dramaland). Not only they look good together, they are perfect for each other in this drama. Many have said the only thing that’s stopping fans from worshiping ’em together in real-life is because Kim Hee Sun is a married woman and mother.
The development of the love story between Choi Young and Eun Soo is beautifully written. It didn’t take them to like/love each other at first sight. Instead theirs is a slow gradual progression which makes all the nagging, bickering, sleeve grabbing, hand-holding… all these small gesture (which are so brilliant btw) so sweet and meaningful. This is my favorite kind of love story in a drama. And the main reason why Faith is epic and addictive!
Be on the look out for the symbolic Choi Young hair fetish, aspirin, hand on forehead to check fever, blood smell, face cupping and Chrysanthemum throughout the drama.
Names that Eun Soo has given and also addresses Choi Young: Psycho, that person (그사람 geu saram), partner, Choi Young, jang goon-nim, tangshin, ajussi and daejang. While for Choi Young, they’re imja, my woman (내여인 nae yeoin) and Yoo Eun Soo. Did I miss out on anything?
For all these Faith magics to work, there’s one person we gotta kow tow to… yes the writer Song Ji Na. I love this work of hers. Besides Bread, Love and Dreams, this is the second drama that really tugs at my heartstrings. Both dramas Bread and Faith are examples of character driven story. That’s why till this day I still remember Kim Tak Gu vividly and I know I will remember Choi Young, Eun Soo, King Gongmin and Princess Nogook for a long long time to come. Thank You Song Ji Na-nim for writing this rare & beautiful gem called Faith 신의.
Despite Faith being my favorite drama, it has some flaws too. The directing and editing are a bit shaky especially when it comes to fighting scenes (one of the worst I’ve seen in any dramas). Then there’s also the abrupt cut of scenes (not much but noticeable) + loud background music (I’m okay with it because I love the songs but some dislike it). And finally the under utilized Lee Philip as Jang Bin although too bad he has left Faith after episode 19 due to eye surgery. I have no problem with the drama plots (poison, hwata, run-return-run, time-travel Eun Soo, etc). Guess it depends on your taste.
I’m willingly to close one eye on the flaws as I’ve realized good directing is just a small clump of things that make a drama good. Remember Big? The drama that was so good but ended up in the pit hole due to bad writing towards the end. So if I can choose, I would very much prefer an excellent written screenplay and good actors that are able to portray the characters best with wonderful screen presence and chemistry.
Best acting in Faith has to go to Ryu Deok Hwan with his portrayal of King Gongmin of Goryeo. You just can’t take your eyes off him whenever he’s on screen. He may be lacking in height but his acting capability is an exceptional one. He’s an actor that show raw emotions through and through. His portrayal of King Gongmin is by far my favorite king character of all. I respect you man! I have so many favorite scenes of King Gongmin (e.g. the changing robe scene – which gave me goosebumps! it’s like watching real history right in front of your eyes, the scene where Choi Young kneels in front of him in the prison… WOW and the times he’s at lost and need his odalchi daejang Choi Young for help)
Notice his hairstyle here (above pict)? This one never get to air or some say was just a trial shooting. So at last we get the one with ponytail and headband.
Lee Min Ho portrayal of Choi Young at the beginning of the episodes were quite lacking in the emotion department (wooden if I must say so heartlessly, you’re still my fav though) although I get it his main aim is to show us a no-life-purpose general. Still I think he can do so much better. He’s just like a fragile flower boy in the earlier epis. He got it going as the episodes progresses. And really nailed the character Choi Young perfectly and wondrously until the end. He may not be the best actor out there but he sure got charisma and presence. Now whenever I see Lee Min Ho I will still think of him as Goo Jun Pyo but I will also think of him as the great odalchi daejang Choi Young.
And no, without these two leads I think Faith will bring a totally different feel. Those moments and dialogues between the two of them… I will cherish it forever. So romantic!!!
Fyi, Faith started making headlines in mid 2010 regarding the lost of its main male actor, Lee Jun Ki to military service while Kim Hee Sun is already signed on as the lead actress. Then around end of 2010, Kang Ji Hwan signed on the lead but he later dropped the bomb as well due to legal matter.
Early 2012 see Faith finally securing time slot in SBS and finally near mid 2012, Lee Min Ho signed on the lead. But then not all’s well yet. There’s the Dr Jin lawsuit (suing Faith for plagiarism). All in all Faith took 2 years to production, lost 2 lead male actors and underwent a big change of concept and storyline. I think writer Song Ji Na joined during this time. I may be wrong. And it’s by Faith and perseverance that we have the Faith that we all come to know of which is a freaking damn awesome time-travel-love drama!
News and goodies:
1. Lee Min Ho travel to some 14 locations throughout the country to shoot for the drama. Sometimes he even travel 1000miles (over 1000km) in a single day just for that.
2. Wanna know more about the word Imja? Read below:
Snippets are from girlfriday and Kim Yoonmi from dramabeans.
Imja isn’t honey or yeobo. It’s just “You,” spoken slightly more familiarly than formal jondae speech. Think of it as halfway to banmal.
In modern speech, imja is used differently, to mean owner/possessor (of an object, store, etc), and can also be used to mean someone’s significant other.
(The closest equivalent would be something like, “Are you spoken for?” even though the literal question sounds weirder: “Do you have an owner / Do you belong to anyone?”)
That’s probably why people are conflating the meanings(?), but the way Young uses it, it means “you.” That’s not to say it isn’t significant that he chooses a more informal “you” rather than calling her “Doctor,”.
by Kim Yoonmi:
1 [소유주] the owner; the proprietor.
2 [남편] one’s husband.
임자2 상세보기 단어장에 저장하기
1 [자네] you; old man[fellow].
2 [부부간] (my) dear; darling; honey.
We, the translators at viki, tackled this issue and had to resign to using the term “Imja” since it would not translate properly.
At first, Imja as used by Choi Young means “Keeper of the promise” (i.e. to get her back to the door) Then it kind of morphs into meaning you, my owner. Then it morphs again to meaning between my owner to kind of partner/friend/equal then again to owner of my heart. And then recently it’s morphing more into my honey and I expect that it will eventually mean “My wife, my darling”.
Most native Koreans only think of it as an archaeic form of “You” but the writer is messing around with the language so that the archaeic meanings are coming up, so it’s a term of endearment.
3. Faith novel volume 1 is now on sale. It’s written by Song Ji Na (of course!). Wohoo!
Now we’re hoping for this novel to be translated to English. *fingers crossed
I’ve so much more I wanna share but I prefer not to reveal too much. Watch this drama and you’ll know why I love it so much. Or you can scroll down below to read my view on the whole Faith drama (with spoilers of course).
I watch Faith online with English subbed at gooddrama.net and dramacrazy.net. I will be waiting for the DVD and official OST release. They are treasures to keep.
I have so many favorite songs particularly Carry On by Ali and Forever(Carry On-piano version). The song Carry On is so heartfelt. Get me teary everytime.
Btw I don’t think Rumble Fish song’s Ah Love has ever been played in the drama. Am I correct?
Watching Faith make me interested in learning more about Korean history (Goryeo Dynasty, King Gongmin and Choi Young) just like how I learned about King Sukjong, King Yeongjo, Consort Suk and Jan Hui Bin in Dong Yi.
Tomb of General Choi Young (Goryeo Dynasty) 최영 장군의 묘:
Got a little teary when I saw the 2 mounds at the above youtube.
General Choi Young tomb address: San70-2, Daeja-dong, Deogyang-gu, Goyang-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea.
p/s: It’s said (source:viki.com) in real life, Choi Young was very much in love with his wife so that when he died, he was buried together with her. The stele at his tomb shows that his wife’s last name was Yoo (her first name is unknown). It’s no wonder the writer changes Eun Soo name to Yoo at the last moment. Is that the ending we all hope for?
Click for more Faith goodies here.
Faith 신의 drama filming/shooting locations:
1. Bongeunsa Temple 봉은사
Modern world (2012) portal location of Faith drama.
Address: 73 Samseong-dong Gangnam-gu, Seoul, South Korea
Website: Bongeunsa Temple
See my visit to Bongeunsa Temple here.
2. Goguryeo Blacksmith Village 고구려 대장 간마을
Odalchi barracks and scenes from Faith drama.
Built by Guri City at Acha mountain hillside.
Address: 390-1 Gyomun-dong, Guri-si, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea
Website: Goguryeo Blacksmith Village
Website: Goguryeo Blacksmith Village visit by Emily
3. Seongheungsanseong Fortress 성흥산성
Episode 24 finale ending tree scene of Faith drama. This tree also make an appearance in Scent of A Woman drama.
The 400 years old special saw-leaf zelkova tree is called 사랑나무 (sarang namu/love tree) is located on the fortress on Seongheungsan Mountain.
Classification: Historical site no. 4
Address: San1-1, Gunsa-ri, Imcheon-myeon, Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do
4. Standing stone Maitreya bodhisattva statue of Daejosa Temple 대조사 (located below Seongheungsanseong Fortress)
Goryeo (1351) portal location of Faith drama.
Classification: Treasures 217
Address: 761, Gugyo-ri, Imcheon-myeon, Buyeo-gun, Chungcheongnam-do
For more information on Seongheungsanseong Fortress and the tree, click here (in Korean with pictures).
5. Seorak Cinerama 설악 씨네라마
Waterways, bridge, Eun Soo runaway scene, Choi Young and Lady Choi scene, Choi Young with Manbo siblings scene and many more from Faith drama.
Built by Hanwha Resort. Lee Min Ho mentioned this place is really beautiful and also the food in Sokcho is great.
Address: 24-1 Jangsa-dong, Sokcho-si, Gangwon-do
Website: Official site of Seorak Cinerama
Website: Seorak Cinerama visit by My Honeypot
Website: Lee Min Ho at Seorak Cinerama set
Faith is a very fitting name to this drama. It was conceptualized from the beginning until the end standing true to its title: Faith. It’s alternate title The Great Doctor, that I didn’t think fit at all initially. Well because this drama didn’t really go into medical stuff. But then I realized after reading one of the post from Soompi forum, The Great Doctor is a rightful fitting name indeed. We all know Eun Soo is the great doctor and she really did heal and shape Choi Young into the great warrior that we come to know today.
My most heartfelt moment in Faith, I have 3 actually. In epi 23 when Eun Soo ask the queen, Lady Choi and Do Chi to join the king and Choi Young so that she can take a mental picture of them. I cried because it feels like I’m bidding them farewell as well. In epi 25 Hwata 3rd relic the mini projector. I know most people consider it insignificant but oh well I cried crazily when Eun Soo ‘talk’ to her parents (in the video) because she misses them and it’s her only way to bade goodbye to them and her only way to soothe her of her parents. And lastly in epi 5 when Eun Soo’s tears cracks the icy face of Choi Young that brought him back to life.
Favorite moment? Every moment from epi 1 to epi 24 spent between Eun Soo and Choi Young are my favorite moments. I don’t have most favorite because all are equally good, sweet and memorable. Check the youtube below:
Boring moment? Whenever there’s scene of Jo Il Shin. I hate his whining.
Goose-bumps induced moment? When King Gongmin changes his yellow Yuan robe to Goryeo robe.
WTF moment? Gi Cheol – the villain turns out to be a comic-reliever. LOL
Most satisfying moment? When Gi Cheol was ‘spit’ out from the portal. Most probably because he lacks faith.
Scenes that could be better? Most of the fighting scenes and the kissing scene. For the kissing scene (there’s only 1 if you don’t consider kisspirin), I would have liked Eun Soo to response a little bit. Haha
Stuff that’s still bugging me after Faith ended… Yuan envoy’s pocket watch. WTF is that? Most probably he’s a time-traveler himself. And I still couldn’t figure out the time-travel story. I thought I have but it seems I haven’t. LOL The one that didn’t make sense is the trap that make Choi Young died. Anyway I’ve decided not to think too much about it. I’ve made peace.
I think a sad ending would mean the concept of this drama Faith lose its main point and power so I was always (almost) on the positive side. When the happy ending came, I was ecstatic!!!
So do I love the happy ending? Hell yeah! They are finally together… what more can I ask for? I did expect some skinship or conversation like him calling her imja or her calling him psycho (that would be awesome ain’t it? haha) or she asking “Are you there?” (거기있어요? geogi iss-eoyo?) and him replying “I’m here.” (여기.. 있습니다 yeogi.. issseubnida) but oh well I’m still satisfied. Why? Because their eyes DID all the talking. Both with tears and longing. Choi Young looking sweetly at Eun Soo as if he knew she will find him someday and she with a surprise face and then the smiling ‘saying’ I’m finally here daejang. Oh yeah the love that transcends time and space! It was also this moment I cried like an idiot while the song Carry On plays in the background. My tears of sadness+happyness because they are finally together and because I don’t want Faith to end!
I did wish that the long flashbacks used in the final can be turned into useful scenes but I think they have to use those flashbacks due to time constraint. They were still filming on 29th Oct I believe (30th was the last episode).
Another remarkable thing about Faith is that all those sweet gestures were played out so well. Things that Eun Soo did to Choi Young in the earlier episodes, now Choi Young is doing it in the later episodes and vice verse. Like saving each other lives, the use of the aspirin, the cupping of the face and many more. I believe you’ll see it more clearly if you rewatch from epi 1 again (which I’m planning to do soon). Their first meeting started with gaze/stare and how did Faith end? teary loving gazes!
What happened to Gi Cheol after he was ‘rejected’ by the portal, I actually don’t care. He can die frozen or he can live on until he meet his eventual dead.
Now are you curious how Choi Young cure his frozen self? I thought maybe he uses his ki power to heal which Jang Bin has told Eun Soo before in the early episode that Choi Young can use ki power to heal himself. But if you want to know the true reason… well I’m going to reveal a link to some of the script tidbits. You’ll learn from there.
Eun Soo: Someone once said. Earnest desire creates connections. And only memories will bring those moments to life.
Photos from SBS.