Remembering Ruler of Your Own World

I watched Ruler of Your Own World back in mid-2004 and fell instantly in love with it.


Here’s what I wrote after I finished the drama:

If you are looking for an atypical Korean drama, I recommend watching RULER OF YOUR OWN WORLD. It will touch your heart and soul. This is the most touching and heartwarming drama I’ve ever seen.

Ko Boksu (Yang Dong-geun) is a reformed pickpocket turned stuntman. He is loved fiercely by two women: Kyung, a rock-band musician (Lee Na-young) and Mirae (Kong Hyo-jin), a cheerleader.

Very early in the drama (Ep. 2) and shortly after he is discharged from prison, Boksu finds out that he has brain cancer. Despite the death sentence hanging over his head (pun unintended) and his criminal past, Boksu sets out to be a catalyst of change for the people around him.

When Kyung’s suitor, Mr. Han (Lee Dong-gun) asks Kyung why she likes Boksu, she replies that she is attracted to Boksu’s heart. “Ever since I saw his heart, my heart has been crying ceaselessly. Boksu is the best person in this world.”

Forget the usual tall and handsome K-hunks. Yang Dong-geun is neither tall nor handsome. In fact, he’s not even famous and there’s precious little to read about him on the Web. But in ROYOW he gives a performance that will take your breath away. I can honestly say his role as Ko Boksu is the very best acting I’ve seen in a K-drama.

ROYOW is not a complicated drama. Yes, it has the fatal disease and the love triangle, but it is as far removed from the usual K-drama as it can be. There isn’t the roller-coaster ups and downs, the “we love each other but can’t be together” teary scenes. There is no one in the story that you want to clobber. There isn’t a scene where you want to say, “Oh, cut out this stupid crap and get on with it.” The dialogue is the most honest I’ve ever heard. The characters in the story tell each other exactly what they think. The honesty is sometimes brutal, but that’s how ROYOW is. It’s about taking charge of your own life and making sense out of it no matter how difficult the circumstances. It’s about being truthful even if the truth hurts like hell.


ROYOW made me cry and laugh. It also made me uncomfortable. I do not know if I can watch other K-dramas in the same way again. Winter Sonata (WLS) was my first K-drama and I loved it so much. But when I was watching ROYOW, I couldn’t help thinking that WLS was so mushy and melodramatic compared to ROYOW. And just several months ago I was so crazy over Attic Cat. Yet Attic Cat seems so trivial and shallow now compared to ROYOW.

Maybe I should just go watch The Sandglass after ROYOW. Sandglass is supposed to be the BEST K-drama ever. Perhaps watching it will help get ROYOW out of my system. ROYOW is making me think and ponder too much. That’s not what a drama should do, right? A drama is supposed to be just entertainment. It shouldn’t make you think so much about life and living.


Postscript:  Four years on, reading what I wrote about ROYOW still brings on the tears.  I shall always love this drama.

Aside: It tickles me so when I read about my old feelings for Winter Sonata.  I certainly don’t feel the same way now! ^^


9 thoughts on “Remembering Ruler of Your Own World

  1. After watching Lee Na Young in Maundy Thursday, I said “darn, I didn’t know her before & she’s such a good actress”, so she immediately become one of my favourite actress alongside Juri Ueno, Kim Ha Neul, Miyazaki Aoi & Lee Young Ae and what more my impression for her as an actress raise after watching Someone Special so watching ROYOW would be fantastic for me as base on your review & a few more, ROYOW is like a precious drama with a great script, plot, top notch acting and great depth overall… So, on my next free time, I’d definitely watch ROYOW. ^^

  2. thundie, I’m rewatching ROYOW right now on DVD. After 6 years my love for this beautiful drama just grows deeper. Boksu remains my most favorite character in K-dramas, period. I love everything about this drama. It’s simply perfection for me. Same as you, I could not come back to Winter Sonata after this. It’s sad though that not many people in my friend circle like it (to be honest, none of them does). People’s tastes are different, what can I say? Maybe that’s why I love it even more.

  3. Pingback: No crack like this crack – thundie's prattle

  4. Hi Thundie.

    I’m watching ROYOW now, its been sometimes in my harddisk but I haven’t watched it yet. Then, by episode 6, it becomes my favorite K-Drama. My favorite was Coffee Prince, because that one coffee packed by heart. ROYOW is amazing, every scene between Yang Dong Gun and Lee Na Young punch me in the stomach. Every. Time.

    I remember reading it was one of your favorite. Like other dramas, after watching, I google about the actors and the dramas itself. Now, I’m think I might have to start to follow everything else you recommend. Kumawoyo Thundie-ssi.

    • I just finished watching it last month. not because i postponed but due to inevitable circumstances like the really hard and long download problem.

      Anyway, I rated it 100 out of 100. because its so good and i feel so good watching it. and reading your recap again, bring tears to my eyes, again.

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