Mirror of the Witch is a fantasy romance sageuk about the Joseon royal physician, Heo Jun, known as the father of Eastern medicine who becomes involved with a cursed princess who has been turned into a witch. The two work together as they try to break the curse and save the kingdom.
Mirror of the Witch is like a dark fairy tale that I found to be different from many other kdramas I have seen. While there are moments of humor scattered throughout, the overall feel is dark and moody.
The story sets up with the current queen unable to conceive a royal heir. A shamaness is brought in who uses dark magic to get the Queen pregnant with twins, a boy and a girl. But this dark magic results in the princess becoming cursed and having to be hid away from the world.
Yoon Shi Yoon plays Heo Jun. I really enjoyed the wide range of emotions he was able to bring to the drama. We do get to see moments of his signature playfulness, but he really delivers the needed emotion to bring the character of Jun to life.
Jun has a tough life in many ways and getting involved with the princess only makes things more complicated. But his feelings continually build for her as he becomes her protector. He has to deal with a lot of heartbreak, but when it comes to being with her, he would sacrifice anything.
Kim Sae Ron is our cursed princess Yeon Hee. Kim Sae Ron is such a talented girl and was able to portray Yeon Hee’s sweet and innocent side as well as her more strong and take charge one. She completely fit the part of our lovely princess that had so much coming against her.
Many people were worried about the real life age gap between the two actors, but I didn’t find that it affected anything. Yoon Shi Yoon looks so youthful that the age gap didn’t seem that large. And the two were quite adorable as a couple with a very nice rapport.
Both actors were very convincing in their feelings for each other. It was always kept very pure, but it had a maturity to it. I really loved watching their love blossom. As Yeon Hee just longs to break the curse and be normal, Jun is the one who loves her no matter what she looks like or is cable of.
These two had some really intense moments in their long fight for survival. Their longing gazes say so much, and the heartbreak they have to deal with is written on their faces. They were my favorite part of the drama, and I really enjoyed their fairy tale like love story.
Hong Joo (Yum Jung Ah) is the lead shamaness whose use of dark magic sets everything in motion. She is ruthless and powerful and will stop at nothing to accomplish what she wants.
Her power is so far reaching that she is basically able to make almost everyone into her puppet at some point. You can’t let your guard down for a second when it comes to this woman.
Choi Hyun Soo (Lee Sung Jae) makes it his mission to protect Joseon and the cursed princess as he works to find a way to break the curse. But because of a complicated history with Hong Joo, their rivalry is never a simple matter.
Yo Gwang (Lee Yi Kyung) is part of Hyun Soo’s team of good guys and helps protect Yeon Hee. He puts everything on the line to protect her and break the curse.
Poong Yeon (Kwak Shi Yang) is Hyun Soo’s son who develops feelings for Yeon Hee while she is hidden away. It creates problems since she really only sees him as a brother. Kwak Shi Yang certainly brought some intensity to this character as Poong Yeon has many demons to overcome.
There are a number of talented supporting characters who heavily influence events in Mirror of the Witch. Queen Shim (Jang Hee Jin) becomes a willing participant in Hong Joo’s plan since she is desperate to conceive a child.
King Seon Jo (Lee Ji Hoon) finds himself as one of Hong Joo’s puppets as she holds a tight grip over him. I found him to be a very intense character, and many times it was hard to predict just what he was going to do.
Heo Ok (Jo Dal Hwan) is Heo Jun’s half brother who cause him much heartache in the first part of the drama. He looks down on Jun for being born from a slave. Saying their relationship is strained would be an understatement.
And as Poong Yeon’s right hand, Sol Gae (Moon Ga young) is always by his side in his quest to protect Yeon Hee. She is dedicated to him and has to deal with her own growing feelings.
The main negative I had with Mirror of the Witch was that it felt pretty slow overall and got quite draggy in the latter third. Many times it just lacked an intensity that I felt should be there. Rather than focusing on Hong Joo and her repetitively casting spells so much, I wish the drama would have spent more time on Jun and Yeon Hee since they were so captivating when on screen.
But Mirror of the Witch sets up a very interesting and solid mythology that runs throughout the entire drama, and I really enjoyed the many fantasy elements. All of the supporting cast also really brought their individual characters to life with solid performances.
And of course, Yoon Shi Yoon and Kim Sae Ron nailed their roles and both gave moving performances. Their love story was also sweet and beautiful like a fairy tale. These things all made Mirror of the Witch a mostly enjoyable watch that was a nice departure from what else is out there.
My Rating: 6.5/10
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