Set in the waning part of the Goryeo period, this snail-paced sageuk tested my patience to a hilt. The long background just span unnecessary side stories that didn’t solidify the intention and the richness of the tale from where it was derived. I almost dropped it but they threw Ji Sung oppa’s pretty face at the right moment so I will overlook the dry beginning and will just focus on the essentials.
In the collapsing years of Goryeo Kingdom, the country was burdened by political instability and power struggles that were being maneuvered by the divination people who aided the monarchy and military in their decision making. King Gongmin was obssessed in finding Ja Mi Won, a legendary grave site that would bring power to his reign. He ordered Mok Dong Ryun, a forecaster, to search for the powerful place, but the prophet received a revelation that it was not the right time yet to reveal its location. Failing to do his task, he became a fugitive but was soon found by Moo Ryu, a princess and a healer from the palace who harbored mutual feelings with him. To save him from harm, she convinced General Lee In Im to conspire that the sacred place was really found and feigned ignorance to the King that the Ja Mi Won location he will be getting was fake.
Lee In Im who slept with the high priestess was encouraged by the latter to harness his ambitions so they ployed on obliterating the barriers along the way. Prince Moo Ryu later on conceived a child but has to marry Lee In Im to save him and his father Dong Ryun. The priestess also conceived a child of Lee In Im but was raised by the princess after the former abandoned her baby through the pouring rain as her role of high priestess will be stripped off if her pregnancy will be discovered. The princess knew the danger awaiting for her child forcedly sent him to his father’s care away from the danger he might get from the palace villains.
At a young age, Mok Ji Sang was showing fortune telling abilities and grew up in a gisaeng’s house while his father made a living as a herbalist. Determined to position themselves to the hierarchy, the priestess and Lee In Im revealed to the king that the Ja Mi Won information he has was a fluke, so the princess was imprisoned and Ji Sang’s father opted to have his bestfriend kill him to avoid torture if the palace will catch him.
The second part of the story paraded grown up con-man Ji Sang who has used his gift of prophecy to make a living for him and his foster parents. He was also bent upon knowing the identity of his biological mother and he knew that the clue was in the palace where he saw the tortoise symbol that was on the ring given by her mother to him when he was a baby. He was able to enter the palace by posing as a revelator but his identity was revealed by Hae-in who was the daughter of his father’s bestfriend. But he was given a chance to stay in the school after he displayed his geomancer skills and found the long lost tomb of a Mongolian official’s mother. To fully realized his potentials he traveled and was mentored by a great monk who knew his destiny of finding Ja Mi Won that will establish a new era of the nation.
Resolutely blinded to seize Goryeo’s authority, Lee In Im and Head Priestess used the king’s concubine’s son to place their grip on the power at the expense of killing the King and the Mother Queen. Lee In Im served as the Prime Minister and made the country’s situation worst by promulgating unreasonable taxation laws and allowing land grabbing practices.
Factions in the great army arose after General Choi Young remained firm with old fashioned beliefs as General Lee Sung Gye felt so pained with the strenuous governance conflicts. Ji Sang became an efficient strategist for Gen. Lee Sung Gye in weeding the poisonous people responsible for the decline of a once powerful kingdom and bring to end the uncovering of Ja Mi Won where the mighty kingdom of Joseon was established by Lee Sung Gye.
The Great Seer really started slow but moved decently. It was not a flashy and a gripping sageuk but it has a very easy to understand and to follow depiction. It was done fairly in story and directing, but I was expecting more considering the talent of the cast. Nevertheless it was consistent in its filial love, brotherhood, and patriotism life lessons. The resident sageuk elements of swaying loyalties, indecisive protagonist, misplaced love were all in full swing and though minimal humor was evident, it didn’t go dry as it switches in each arc of the story.
Ji Jin Hee has always won me over in almost all his historical portrayals and Ji Sung oppa just has to smile and show his charming ways and I would willingly comply to his bidding. *chuckles This drama I thought would be focusing on Ji Sang’s oracle abilities that was passed on from his father but he equally shared the limelight with Lee Sung Gye and towards the end they leaned to the founding of Joseon after a long and exhausting road battle. It was a passing closure but I wished Ji Sang’s soothsayer abilities have been more pronounced when he was acting on it in the series.
The romance sadly though was also most of the time gasping and flat. I got that period dramas were more on wars, politics, throne grabbing and all, but if the love stories would just appear weak then either don’t include it or insert a workable and memorable love scenes. The redemption for the villains was present so even if it was quick, I will buy it, at least they have made the balance of the upper hand in this drama equally challenging for both the protagonists and antagonists.
The story moved in a flowing pace evading bewilderness and explaining instigations. There was a lull on the onset to establish the eventual strife on the “who wants to be the crown-holder” contest but all throughout I was not lost in the progress of the plot. That was the most positive thing about this drama… I didn’t have head-scratching moments and I didn’t question why the character had to do this and that. So although not that much vibrancy and even if the screenplay was not refined at least the writers didn’t write nonsensically. It even made me ponder on that realization of how the monarchy’s belief in superstition has caused serious repercussions to their judgment in running the country.
The Great Seer slowly stimulated me until I finished it. I learned a few things about geomancy as well. It won’t definitely have a second serving for me, but if you are trying to educate yourself with Korean history, this would be a great help as the founding of Joseon era was the culmination of the storyline of this period TV story. –jediprincess ^_^