Winter Sonata is THE show which propelled me into the world of kdramas.

               

It is also the drama I have rewatched countless times and the only drama that made me go crazy over for a very long time. The feeling of attachment to WS is quite different from other dramas I’ve also raved about. After it made its way to the top of my all-time favourites chart, I can’t seem to replace it anymore. Seriously, I doubt if I can ever craze over a drama more than I did for WS. I used to stay awake the whole night simply REwatching the drama till the crack of dawn!! @.@

                           

(super long post ahead!)

                                     

THE STORY: 

Whoever’s never heard of Winter Sonata?! Confess! >< I’m not going to say out the whole story again; i’ll trust you guys to do your own research. ^^

I feel that Winter Sonata is a story about first love. First love consists of a collection of “first times” which are always the most beautiful and unforgettable. Most importantly – it’s the first person you open your heart to.

                  

       

 

The cute and carefree couple 10 years back                     

The conflict of the show also arises because of first love. JOON SANG is YOO JIN’s first love but also CHE LIN’s first love and YOO JIN is in turn SANG HYUK’s first love. Each struggles to hold on to their respective love and in the process get themselves and others hurt.   

                   

                      

 
  

Certainly, Winter Sonata is not just about romantic love but also parental love. However, the latter seems to be portrayed in a negative light in the show. Kang Joon Sang(or Lee Min Hyung)’s mother is one example. She definitely loves her son, but was over protective. Joon Sang was cold to her and when he lost his memory, she replaced them with happy but false memories. She wanted to change her son, to change his attitude towards herself. Although her aim was to make Joon Sang happier and erase unpleasant memories, she took away his past – without his knowledge and permission. As a result of her selfish actions, Yoo Jin lived in pain for 10 years, not knowing that Joon Sang is actually alive and living happily as Lee Min Hyung.

 As if that wasn’t enough to torment the poor couple, she had to lie about the birth of Joon Sang: that he is the illegitimate son of Yoo Jin’s father. And how did she defend herself? That she loved Yoo Jin’s father so much she wanted herself to believe that Joon Sang is his son. Grr -.-                

THE SYMBOLS:

I love symbols, especially if it is central to the show and hits the nail on the head. The star Polaris represents JOON SANG, who first mentioned it to YOO JIN when she got lost in the forest hike. When he returned as MIN HYUNG, he mentioned it again and promised to her that he will be her Polaris, always staying in one spot so she can find him whenever she wants to. I think this symbol is very apt because even though the twist of fate separated the two lovers, Joon Sang somehow made his way back to Yoo Jin’s side again. 

                                              

                          

10 years later

                              

 

                  

Another important symbol is the missing puzzle piece representing YOO JIN in JOON SANG’s life. The first time was when Yoo Jin was at MIN HYUNG’s workplace to meet the new in-charge and happened to see the jigsaw puzzle delivered to his office. She found the missing piece of jigsaw and pieced it back. It was then that the door dramatically sprang open and Min Hyung walked in. Yoo Jin had entered his life again.

           

Another time was after three years at the house Min Hyung built. Yoo Jin saw the house on a magazine and immediately recognised it as her own design. She found the house and saw the jigsaw puzzle hanging on the wall with a missing piece. She finds it on the floor and puts it back in place. Min Hyung appears just then. She is the missing jigsaw in his life up till that point. Without her, a part of him is missing.

                        

               

It may sound rather plain in words but believe me, it is these little things that make Winter Sonata such a wonderful drama.     

 

    

                             

                      

I also really like the “switch” between Joon Sang and Yoo Jin’s personality 10 years later. 10 years ago, Yoo Jin was the carefree and bubbly teenager while Joon Sang was the lonely mysterious transfer student. I still remember Joon Sang telling Yoo Jin about the man who lives in the world of shadow. Yoo Jin didn’t understand Joon Sang was referring to himself then. 10 years later when Yoo Jin and Min Hyung were walking along the same path, Yoo Jin told him the same story Joon Sang told her. She finally understood that the guy living in the shadows was Joon Sang, because now she is that person, living under the shadow of Joon Sang.   

            

              

          

           

Just like Yoo Jin sought to make the usually downcast Joon Sang happier, Min Hyung was always the one trying to make Yoo Jin live as herself again. Ironically, Joon Sang and Min Hyung were the same person, but 10 years apart.

                      

 

THE CAST AND CHARACTERS:

            

Winter Sonata could not have worked the magic it had were it not for its cast, and particularly its two stars, Choi Ji Woo and Bae Yong Jun. 

      

Bae Yong Jun as Kang Joon-sang/Lee Min-hyung

 

                              

Bae Yong Jun isn’t really handsome, but he is charming and charismatic in the show. He portrayed both Kang Joon Sang and Lee Min Hyung with considerable ease. As Kang Joon Sang, he was introverted, cold, and lonesome. As the latter, he was friendly (even a bit flirtatious), warm and confident. 

                

Besides his skilful acting, the stylists and the director had a great part to play in the success of Joon Sang’s transformation 10 years later. It almost made it believable for Joon Sang and Min Hyung to be 2 different persons, if not for the inklings here and there. As you can see, the dyed, slightly curly hair, the brighter outfits, the spectacles which gives Min Hyung a softer look… the stylists definitely put in a lot of effort to create a prince charming.

              

 

                             

         

Joon Sang is a flawed character. He grew up as an illegitimate child and probably felt ashamed of the fact. He longed for a father but her mother refused to reveal his parentage. The purpose of his transfer to Yoo Jin and Sang Hyuk’s high school was to find out the truth about his father whom he suspected was Sang Hyuk’s father. Therefore he treated Sang Hyuk with animosity right from the start. He is jealous and filled with hatred to see that Sang Hyuk has a happy family while he is left fatherless. He felt bitter that Sang Hyuk had so much love, namely a father and a childhood sweetheart (or so he thought). Hence he might have approached Yoo Jin with an ulterior motive of distancing her from Sang Hyuk and ultimately snatch her from his side. However, gradually he fell in love with Yoo Jin.

             

  

           

                           

Joon Sang v.s Min Hyung

                 

Personally I feel that Min Hyung loves Yoo Jin more than he did as Joon Sang. I know it doesn’t seem like a fair comparison since Joon Sang was only given a few episodes to love Yoo Jin and their love didn’t have time to blossom until 10 years later. When Joon Sang found out that Yoo Jin and him might share the same father, the first thought that came to his mind was to escape. Perhaps the knowledge was too painful and he lacks the courage to face it. Perhaps his love for Yoo Jin was not strong enough. When Min Hyung was beginning to recover his memory, he was haunted by nightmares (that was when the creepy music was played :s) in which he sees a picture of not only his mother and Sang Hyuk’s father but also a third person he hadn’t known – Yoo Jin’s father. He didn’t fly off to America immediately like Joon Sang wanted to. He confronted his mother who told a BIG FAT LIE. Well, at least Min Hyung tried his best. It’s not his fault he has a mom who lies through her teeth and enjoys wrecking others’ lives.   

              

                 

                  

                  

Choi Ji Woo as Jung Yoo Jin

 

Choi Ji Woo made me love the show and her. Enough said.

Jung Yoo Jin is my favourite kdrama character. She isn’t perfect, I know. Fans of Sang Hyuk might curse her for breaking the former’s heart. Indeed, she accepted Sang Hyuk not because she loved him but because it was comfortable. It was such a gradual and comfortable development after Joon Sang’s alleged death that she found herself relying on Sang Hyuk to fill up the loneliness in her heart. Maybe she cheated herself into believing that she does love Sang Hyuk, or will. Either way, she causes Sang Hyuk much pain by falling into indecisiveness after meeting Min Hyung.

Technically speaking, Choi Ji Woo only portrayed 1 character, but she definitely portrayed 2 personalities. Although the switch in personality is quite drastic, I wouldn’t call it unbelievable because the Yoo Jin 10 years later is no longer the happy go lucky high-schooler. She is burdened with the scar of her demised first love. She is never truly happy because she’s still trapped in her memories.

Yoo Jin also had some cute habits. She always falls asleep on the bus. (and she likes to sit on the last row with Joon Sang – ahhh relive the happy past!)She likes to walk on raised platforms or logs but she can’t balance. (That’s what guys are for! – ‘lend a helping hand’) And she’s always LATE. XD

              

Choi Ji Woo does a fantastic job showing both the bubbly and melancholic sides of Jung Yoo Jin.

Park Yong Ha as Kim Sang Hyuk

           

     

Some people exclaim that Sang Hyuk was too weak a contender for Yoo Jin’s love especially against Bae Yong Jun’s perfect character. But in reality, he’s the perfect guy isn’t it? He stayed beside Yoo Jin for 10 years and helped her nurse her wounded heart. While Min Hyung was blissfully unaware of Jung Yoo Jin’s existence, he was there to take care of her, waiting patiently for her to put the past behind her and start to notice him.

                 

                  

When he found out that Yoo Jin loves Min Hyung, he told himself that she really loves Joon Sang, who’s dead. He accepts that the one Yoo Jin truly loves is Joon Sang but he cannot accept the fact that Yoo Jin is falling for Min Hyung as well. I think to him, it’s like losing another battle to Joon Sang. When he found out that Min Hyung is indeed Joon Sang, he did the only thing he could to protect his love – to hide the truth from Yoo Jin. It was despicable yes, but I really can’t bear to blame him. He waited for 10 years! Should he just sit back and let things end without a care in the world? I think he wants to as well, but his heart refuses.

               

                              

Park Yong Ha is not a very experienced actor and I think he did quite a good job portraying his character. There were times I detested him for his selfishness but there were also times I really sympathised with him. The most memorable scene was when he realised it’s the end between Yoo Jin and him and he walked aimlessly in the neighbourhood where they once shared happy memories. The accompanied soundtrack was really tragic and awesome for the scene. *coughs* The fact that Park Yong Ha is super cute helped too *coughs*

                    

Park Sol Mi as Oh Che-lin

              

                     

A character I hated but slowly grew to understand and sympathize. I was all ANTI-Che Lin when she maligned Yoo Jin in front of Min Hyung and made her seem like someone of loose morals. I was gleeful when Min Hyung found out about the truth and from then on, pushed her aside.

          

But to think about it, Che-lin is really quite ill-fated. She laid her sight on Joon Sang before Yoo Jin did. She was also the one who literally brought Min Hyung to Yoo Jin’s side 10 years later, although not intentionally of course. She is also very much wounded by Min Hyung and Yoo Jin’s reunion but carn say I sympathise with her as much as Sang Hyuk! xD

                             

 

 

                        

MEMORABLE SCENES: 

             

There were so many scenes in the show that are forever etched in my memory!

 

            

                 

              

One of the important scenes in the drama. Go count. Joon Sang helped Yoo Jin wear her shoes 3 times in all. 

                         

              

Happy times!

                              

                                

           

Only a touch-and-go but still one of the best and most romantic onscreen kiss cos it’s between the best onscreen couple ever!      

               

 

            

The painful scene when Yoo Jin stepped out of the changing room and sees Min Hyung. I can almost hear Min Hyung’s heart (and mine) go ‘bling blang’ when he sees the bride-to-be.

                 

          

The most moving departure.

 

 

 

 

        

Love this scene when Min Hyung told Yoo Jin to cry freely because no one can hear her there.

                            

        

                 

If you still haven’t watched Winter Sonata, you gotta catch it. Like NOW.

            

OFFSCREEN

                  

               

… left to our own imagination ;D

                       

                

                 

                                

A BIIIIIIIIIIIIIG THANK YOU TO THESE PEOPLE AND MORE! ❤

                   

      

          

Pics credit: DVDBeaver, koreanfilm, KBS

 

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Comments
  1. Anonymous says:

    It was a good drama. Sort of reminded me of Stairway to heaven. I think it’s because the lead girl is Choi Ji Woo and the story line is sort of similar. But they also have their differences. Hate me or not, I still think her on-screen tandem with Kwon Sang Woo is the best. Just my opinion.

  2. nariman says:

    i love winter sonata so mush but i ask my self always if in life the real love as i see and feel in winter sonata?

  3. Nordelm says:

    Winter Sonata started me in getting hooked on Korean dramas. It’s a very good drama, I love it, but Stairway to Heaven is my favorite, sorry. Stairway to Heaven showed me the biggest love of a man to a woman, no matter what. He didn’t care about losing everything, but not Han Jung Suh his childhood friend & sweetheart. He even married her eventhough she’s blind & dying. Such a great great love & great faith that they’ll meet again in Heaven. This drama was so romantic, too.

  4. Care says:

    I really love this Winter Sonata it really fantastic ….. Must watch, you will never regret watching , Cheers for the Bae Yong Jun & Choi Ji woo . Both of them are so compartible . Hope that in future both of them will be together and forever …………………

  5. Gulnoza says:

    iits very beautiful

  6. Maria says:

    Hi Dahlia,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Winter Sonata. Like u, I find this drama most enchanting. I don’t like tear jerkers though…but this one is an exception. I specially like your comment when Yu Jin was at the Chelin’s boutique ” I can almost hear Min Hyung’s heart (and mine) go ‘bling blang’ when he sees the bride-to-be” !

  7. kdrama fan says:

    Thank you for explaining on the symbols especially on the missing jigsaw puzzle scene.Its like some kind of English Literature…I really like winter sonta but i started watching stairway to heaven first berfore WS.Neveretheless, i love both dramas since its starring choi ji woo & of cos those storyline which makes me go crazy for more..And i also used to watch kdramas till dawn and i’m still rewatching these dramas even now.

  8. jessica says:

    ya i love this film and CHOI JI WOO very much…!!

  9. NCDM says:

    Choi Ji Woo is the best. I love her acting in all her dramas. She’s a very talented actress & very beautiful as well. I’m looking forward in watching WS anime version which will be televised in Korea & Japan sometime next year. Ofcourse, I have to depend on the internet because I live in the U.S.A. Winter Sonata is a classic. WS started me on watching Korean dramas. I was so impressed with it that I got hooked on Korean dramas especially Choi Ji Woos’

  10. lily says:

    Hi… yah you’re right… same here with me. The drama that started it all for me… and my ongoing fascination for a certain dashing Korean actor named Bae Yong Joon. I really like this drama… it has a different kind effect on me. I have rewatched it too for a countless times… the more i have this feeling of wanting to see it again!!! hmmnn especially the one dubbed in tagalog (Phil.language) hmmmp kinda a confusing feeling for me…but that how it goes …Winter Sonata is like a chocolate for me… I crave for it everytime I remember it and when i watched it again, even if only on selected scenes the more i like it….
    Hmmnn i guess you can say that I’ve never totally recover from Winter Sonata fever….or maybe to BYJ… ha ha ha!!!

  11. NJ says:

    D’ BEST… Love love love this drama. i’ve seen it so many times and yet still loves to watch it. Hope Bae yong joon and Choi ji woo would make another one with a happy ending like getting married. Miss the cast of WS so much.

  12. robocop says:

    this was the best love/ drama story i have watch. ive seen a few of the episodes suring those days it was on TV. I only appreciate the story when i watch it on youtube. heheh;
    i came into conclusions that koreans are damn great in making love story, they are the best.

  13. hepty says:

    i really like this drama. so much
    it reminds me of my ex.
    thx for the effort of the creator…
    love this drama so much

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