The Legend (TV series)

The Legend (TV series)

Infobox Television
show_name= Legend

caption=Original title card
format=Historical/Fantasy Drama
audio_format = Surround sound
runtime=60 per episode
director=Kim Jong Hak, Yoon Sang Ho
creator=Kim Jong Hak, Song Ji Na
starring=Bae Yong Joon
Moon So-ri
Lee Ji-ah
Choi Min Soo
country=Flagicon|South Korea South Korea
composer= Joe Hisaishi
picture_format = 480i (SDTV)
720p (HDTV)
first_aired=September 11, 2007
last_aired=December 5, 2007
num_seasons =

"Legend" ( _ko. 태왕사신기, Hanja: _ko. 太王四神記) is a South Korean TV series created by Kimjonghak Production that aired on MBC.

The story is loosely based on the legend of Dangun and Gwanggaeto the Great of Goguryeo. The story also adds mythical elements of the Four Symbols depicted in fantasy form as the four guardians who serve the king of Jyushin. The addition of fantasy to a Korean historical drama (사극) makes this series unique and distinguishes itself from its predecessors in Korean television series. The characters also speak in a modernized Korean language which marks a departure from a typical historical drama.

Alternate English titles

An English reading of the original Korean title is Tae Wang Sa Shin Gi. "Tae Wang" refers to the title used by kings of Goguryeo, and means "the Great King."

"Sa Shin" literally translates to "four gods," however, a more accurate description of "Sa Shin" would be "four guardians" because the "Sa Shins" are mythical creatures that serve the Great King. Although they possess supernatural powers, they are not deities. Rather, they are servants of god of heaven.

Hence, literal translations of the title have yielded English titles such as The Story of the Great King and the Four Gods, The Story of the First King's Four Gods.


A long time ago, a tribe that respected the tiger and controlled fire called the Ho-jok (Tiger Tribe), ruled the world. They eliminated and assimilated all tribes except the tribe that respected the bear, called the Ung-jok (Bear Tribe). The Tiger Tribe and the Bear Tribe fought, and Hwanung could not bear to see so many people getting killed. He brought the three gods of nature; Baek-Ho (백호, the White Tiger), Cheong-Ryong (청룡, the Green Dragon), and Hyeon-Mu (현무, the Black Turtle-Snake).

He removed the power of fire from the leader of the Tiger Tribe, Gajin, sealed the power into an artifact called the Heart of Ju-Jak (주작, the Red Phoenix), and gave it to the woman he loved; Se-o. However, Gajin was mortally wounded while attacking another tribe, and she seemed to die until Hwanung healed her. This thoroughly convinced Gajin to not make a grudge against Hwanung. When her tribe was revived to take back the power of fire, they didn't listen to Gajin and decided to attack the Bear Tribe. Gajin then slew her tribe's council with her own blade, and escapes from her own tribe and heads towards the Bear Tribe, deciding to become Hwanung's woman.

However, Hwanung likes Se-o and declared his love for her, not knowing that Gajin was watching them secretly when this took place. Gajin was infuriated by this and began reforming the Tiger Tribe and attacked the Bear Tribe. Unfortunately, this was the time when Se-o was pregnant, and when she had given birth, the baby was kidnapped by Gajin who offered Se-o a deal to trade her baby for the power of fire. When Se-o refuses Gajin, Gajin responds by dropping Se-o's baby from a cliff, leading to Se-o going out of control and releasing the Heuk-Jujak (Dark Phoenix), even though Hwanung had saved the baby. (Note: Jujak is roughly the equivalent of Phoenix.) Hwanung's subordinates, the White Tiger, the Green Dragon and the Black Turtle-Snake fought the Dark Phoenix, but they were no match for it.

Left with no choice, Hwanung used his Heavenly Bow to kill Se-o, the source of the power of the Dark Phoenix, and managed to seal it once again in the heart of the Red Phoenix. Gajin committed suicide by jumping from the cliff because she now "had no reason to live in this world any more." Hwanung sealed the powers of the 'Four Gods' (The Red Phoenix, White Tiger, Green Dragon, and the Black Turtle-Snake) in certain artifacts and left them in the care of certain people, telling them that they will wake when the King of Jushin is born.

Many centuries later, Damdeok, the reincarnation of the son of Hwanung, was born. Along with him, the artifacts of the guardians of the King were born. Damdeok met difficulties in becoming the king of Goguryeo, mainly because of Yeon Hogae who mistook Damdeok for the murderer of his mother, and his father who turned the king's parliament against him.


;Damdeok (담덕): the prince of Goguryeo, and also the reincarnation of Hwanwung. (It should be noted that the same actor plays both Hwanwung and Damdeok.) He came across a girl named Kiha while he was reading a book at night, and later came to her again to ask her to heal his father who was poisoned by Hogae's mother. He had grown to a pleasant young man, but in his heart he always suffered because of Hogae's mother who had committed suicide, causing Hogae to believe that Damdeok killed her. He was later found to be the destined King of Jushin. In order to protect him before he becomes the king, he asked him to not show his true self to anyone, where in he pretended that he has no skills, especially in fighting. The image he showed to everyone was not hidden just by him and his father but he also trusted Kiha about him being a good fighter. It also prevented him from being harmed by people who wanted the throne, who didn't see him as a threat.

:As a king, he was despised by the leaders of the four tribes that form his parliament for several reasons. However, he proves himself to be an excellent fighter and a schemer who can win entire castles without a single casualty on both sides. This was done by avoiding killing, and instead providing love for his future people. Despite being betrayed by his officials, he still saw them as his people. :He was enraged at the idea of the tribal leaders that the king of Jushin must be a powerful warrior who can command his army to dominate the world easily. His intention was to unite the world as a brother, not as a conqueror.

:At the end of the series, he realizes that the task of the King of Jushin was to answer the gods whether humans needed their help to continue surviving. He answers by unsummoning the heavenly artifacts of heaven to avoid killing more people, especially Kiha who was then about to release her power which would consume the world again (Cheongung/천궁: literally "Heavenly Bow") and of the Four Gods. The answer he told the gods was that he that he should return the powers and that humans could carry on by themselves.

;Sujini (수지니): The mistress of the Dark Phoenix. The reincarnation of Se-o. When she was just a little baby, she was hidden in a pot of beans by her sister, Kiha to protect her from danger. Then a village called Hyeon mu, adorning white cloaks found her. It was after they heard a cry from Sujini as a baby, there they found her and saw a phoenix sign embossed on her forehead that only the black Phoenix can have they knew she is the dreaded Black Phoenix. Due to that they always look after her carefully and never allow her to play with fire. The leader was about to kill her, however, one person, Hyeon Go, denied having seen the heart-black sign but a heart-red sign instead. He promised if she became one, he will kill her with his own hands.

:Sujini was pick up as an orphan by Hyeon Go and considered him as her teacher. Growing up in the tribe where men are her companions she developed a boyish traits, but still she was kept by the tribe tenderly. Sujini’s life was hard so she really "loved" money especially used it for buying wine. The way she earned money was quite interesting and funny. She met Damdeok by chance one day while she was getting in somewhat little trouble and Damdeok helped her. Naturally, they had become friends since then. When she got into trouble again, they were watching a polo games. Therefore one more time Damdeok helped her. At that time she discovered that he is actually a prince.

:Damdeok frequently sneaked out of his palace into the streets. Sujini and Damdeok often wandered together and she commonly helped him when he got into trouble. Their relationship was strengthened over time. Sujini also gave a big contribution helping Damdeok to recognize himself as the king of Jushin (because of the conflict with Hogae). She always tagged along with him, even onto the battlefield. Sujini was very good at archery (It should be noticed that the artifact that protected Jushin King's life is also a bow). When she discovered that she was the one that would release the black sparrow she chose to live alone. She thus moved away without Damdeok's knowledge and brought up the son of Damdeok and her sister. After nine years, they met again but Damdeok had by then realized she was the one he truly loved.

;Kiha (기하): The mistress of the Phoenix. She was born as a noble in Sabi Castle just like her sister, Sujini. On the day of the arrival of the night of the Jushin star, the forces of Hwacheon struck the province and killed everyone in sight. Before being killed by the warriors, Kiha's mother instructed her to protect her sister, Sujini, no matter what. Kiha obeyed by hiding Sujini in a pot of beans before fainting in the smoke caused by the fire that the Hwacheon forces started. While unconscious, the heart of the Phoenix exploded in a form of watery energy, extinguishing the fire to save her, thus showing that it chose her as the owner. She was discovered shortly afterwards by someone from Hwacheon, the master-of-fights of Hwacheon, and taken to the base of Hwacheon clan. The Daejangro branded her to control her, while using her power of the Phoenix to regain his youth. She was trained in martial arts by Saryang, who developed an elder-brotherly feeling for her and even save her child and went against hwacheon to help her(although he treated her with high respect to his death & she as a close friend and elder brother since he has always look after her since young).

She met Damdeok by chance one night in the royal library and began to fall for him. Their relationship was going well, until the day that Damdeok's father faked his death as an assassination by Kiha to prevent any harm on Damdeok. She became a cold person since, especially after seeing Damdeok having a good time with Sujini. She came to think herself to have been 'used'. Later finding that she was pregnant, she decided to reform the whole of Goguryeo for her child. She went as far as deciding Hogae to be suitable for the father for her child even though her love for Damdeok never disappeared. At the end of the series, she unwillingly and accidentally cut her and Damdeok child on the finger and had the power of heaven. What happens next is unknown.

;Hogae (호개): The rival of Damdeok. At first he was very open and pleasant towards Damdeok, but after his mother's death he resolved to take revenge. This was combined with his character changing devastingly to a cold, cool type from a warm, pleasant person. He had been winning many battles as early as his teens, and grew to a powerful warrior. He joined Hwacheon to kill Damdeok. He was killed by Damdeok in the last battle after killing Damdeok's right-hand general, Gouchung. Damdeok impaled him with the very spear that Hogae used to kill Gouchung. However, Damdeok's look showed great remorse even as he threw the spear, and possibly Hogae came to understand him in his final moments. (His face at death was not enraged. Instead, his eyes were tearful and pure, perhaps implying that he finally understood Damdeok.)

;Hyeongo (현고): The leader of the Geomul village and the master of Hyeonmu. He carries a stick given to him when he was appointed as the leader of Geomul. This stick is the Heavenly Artifact of the Turtle-Snake. He is slightly irresponsible and does not act his age enough. Sure enough, he cheated customers by claiming to be an astrologer. He was the leader of the masters of the Four Gods, and was therefore to identify the King of Jushin and serve him. Damdeok called him his 'Teacher' and asked him to teach him the basics of a king. (Note: His final fate in the drama was never shown.)

;Cheoro: The master of Cheongryong who fights with a spear. He became the lord of the Gwanmi fortress of Baekjae at a mere ten years of age when his father infused Cheoro with the symbol of the blue dragon. Though this made him much more powerful, Cheoro's skin became covered in a bark like substance (because the dragon's element is wood), and always wear a mask. Damdeok was able to remove the artifact, and Cheoro began to serve under him. He is very silent, loves being with trees and forests and it is implied that he loves Sujini.

;Jumuchi: The master of Baekho who fights with an axe. The leader of the Talgal Mercenaries, he served under Damdeok under the promise that Jumuchi's people will have their land returned to them. His three rules to be hired are 1. not to attack anyone from the rear 2. not harm women, children, or the elderly 3. If he dislikes the client's face, he will not accept.

;Saryang: The right hand man of Daejangro of the Hwacheon. He has long gray hair and a mask that obscures 1/3 of his face. He has ninja like attributes such as great speed and proficiency with shurikens and blades. He is a caretaker for Kiha when she was younger, and appears to be one of the few people who truly care for her. He ultimately betrays the Hwacheon clan, to protect Kiha's child.

Reference to the Korean mythology

*Hwanung (환웅): A son of the god in the heavenly world. He had longed to live in the surface world for long until he was finally given permission to do so. He was said to have brought three Guardians of the world: the Blue Dragon, the White Tiger and the Black Turtle-snake. After marrying a woman who was born as a bear, he had a son and returned to the Heaven.

His heavenly artifact is the Cheongung (천궁) which normally takes the form of a fancy cylinder and enlarges to form a glowing white bow. It is said to be able to either kill or give life to anyone it shoots. It is used to kill the leader of the Hwacheon clan in the last episode. And its destruction means the death of the King of Jushin and the unsummoning of the Heavenly power.

*Blue Dragon (청룡/Cheong-Ryong): The ruler of the East and the guardian of the clouds, hence the alternative name Unsa (운사/雲師: Cloudmaster).

Its heavenly artifact is a bluish stone that looks slightly like a shellfish. It is said to activate when "The King of Jushin feels 'cold mercy' in his heart." When activated, it can weaken the power of the wielder of fire. It was also shown to speed the healing of its master when in physical contact with him.

*White Tiger (백호/Baek-Ho): The ruler of the West and the guardian of the winds, hence the alternative name Pungbaek (풍백/風伯: Windleader).

Its heavenly artifact is a white twisted piece of metal. It awakens when "The King of Jushin feels 'pure courage' in his heart."

*Black Turtle-Snake (현무/Hyeon-Mu): The ruler of the North and the guardian of the rain, hence the alternative name Usa (우사/雨師: Rainmaster).

Its heavenly artifact is a black cylinder that is usually shaped as a long twisted walking stick. It awakens when "The King of Jushin feels 'dark rage' in his heart." When it awakens, the time stops along with everything other than its master and the King of Jushin, enabling the leader of the Four Guardians to identify the King.

*Crimson Sparrow (주작/Jujak): The ruler of the South and the guardian of the fire. It is not a subordinate of Hwanung, and was portrayed as becoming evil when its 'host' is engulfed with anger. Unlike its actual incarnation, it controls fire, resembling Bonghwang (봉황) more than Jujak.

Its heavenly artifact is a large red gem orb. It awakens when "The King of Jushin feels 'burning passion' in his heart." It glows in red when activated.

For the first time in Korea, a king has been associated with the Four Gods. King Gwanggaeto is generally considered as one of the greatest rulers in the history of Korea. The Four Guardians were found engraved in his tomb (as in any other king's), inspiring the drama.


Major Casts

*Bae Yong Jun (배용준) as Damdeok / Hwanung
*Moon So-ri (문소리) as Seo Giha / Gajin
*Lee Ji-ah (이지아) as Sujini / Se-o
*Oh Kwang-rok (오광록) as Hyeon-go
*Choi Min-soo (최민수) as Daejangro(Leader) of Hwacheon Clan
*Yoon Tae-young (윤태영) as Yeon Hogae
*Park Sang-won (박상원) as Yeon Garyo Other casts

*Park Seong Min (박성민) as Saryang
*Philip Lee (이필립) as Cheoro
*Park Sung-Woong (박성웅) as Jumuchi
*Lee Da-Hee (이다희) as Gakdan
*Yoo Seung-Ho (유성호) as young Damdeok
*Park Eun-Bin (박은빈) as young Giha
*Oh Seung-Yoon (오성윤) as young Hyeon-go
*Shim Eun-Kyung (심은경) as young Sujini
*Kim Ho-Young (김호영) as young Hogae


The film started with a rating of 21.6%, making it 3rd highest drama rating.

*1st: 21.6 (3rd)
*2nd: 27.7 (1st)
*3rd: 28.3 (1st)
*4th: 33.3 (1st)
*5th: 33.1 (1st)
*6th: 25.3 (1st)
*7th: 33.0 (1st)
*8th: 26.4 (2nd)
*9th: 29.3 (1st)
*10th: 28.6 (1st)
*11th: 29.7 (1st)
*12th: 30.2 (1st)
*13th: 30.4 (1st)
*14th: 29.0 (1st)
*15th: 31.0 (1st)
*16th: 31.0 (1st)
*17th: 31.9 (1st)
*18th: 31.5 (1st)
*19th: 32.8 (1st)
*20th: 32.1 (1st)
*21st: 33.4 (1st)
*22nd: 32.9 (1st)
*23rd: 34.6 (1st)
*24th: 35.7 (1st)

Note: Seoul only


Awards and Nominations

*MBC Won, Best Drama
*MBC Won, Highest Award 대상 (Bae Yong Jun)
*MBC Won, Populartiy Award (Bae Yong Jun)
*MBC Won, Popularity Award (Lee Ji Ah)
*MBC Won, Best New Actress (Lee Ji Ah)
*MBC Won, Best Couple Award (Lee Ji Ah and Bae Yong Jun)
*MBC Nominated, Top Excellence in Acting 최우수상 (Choi Min Soo)
*MBC Nominated, Best New Actor (Lee Philip)
*MBC Nominated, Popularity Award (Choi Min Soo)

International Broadcasting


*Airing date: March 10, 2008
*Broadcast Network: GMA Network [,-March-10]
**GMA Network is granted the rights to be the first in Asia to air the series outside of South Korea.
**The theme song, "Go The Distance", which originally sung by Michael Bolton for Disney's Hercules, is sung by Ariel Rivera.
**This is the fourth historical Koreanovela for GMA Network after Hwang Jini, Jumong, and Jewel in the Palace.



External links

* [ Korean Official site] ko
* [ MBC Official site] ko
* [ Japanese Official site] ja
* [ Taiwanese Official site] zh-tw

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