Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama Review

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama - Gong Yoo, Kim Go Eun, Lee Dong Wook, Yoo In Na

Goblin is a fantasy romance about a modern day goblin (Gong Yoo) who seeks to end his cursed immortal life and needs a human bride (Kim Go Eun) to do so. His life then becomes intertwined with a grim reaper (Lee Dong Wook) who is unable to remember his past. But when the goblin finally finds his bride, he suddenly realizes he wants to live and be with her.

Goblin is an epic tale with a story that spans centuries. It was quite an interesting ride filled with some amazing characters, talented actors, and a fresh and unique story woven beautifully throughout each episode.

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I really love seeing a kdrama with such a heavy fantasy concept. It creates a full mythology surrounding the characters and how certain things work. That makes discovering this world and its secrets very interesting.

Visually, Goblin is absolutely stunning. And so much detail went into setting up the shots and individual scenes. It was all done very artistically. The drama also filmed several scenes in Canada that featured some breathtaking scenery.

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There are some very impressive shots in the opening episode featuring an intense battle during the historical portion and a huge ship caught in raging waters. The historical portion as a whole had a very cinematic quality to it that was also very gripping right from the start.

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Gong Yoo plays our cursed Goblin, Kim Shin. There are many different sides to Shin’s character, and Gong Yoo played them all perfectly. He’s a brave and fierce warrior in the historical portion where he finds himself at odds with the king.

In the present, he is lonely and weary from his long life, but meeting his Goblin bride brings out his more carefree and fun side. And Gong Yoo delivered plenty of intensity portraying the emotional journey Shin goes on throughout the drama.

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We then have our Goblin bride, Ji Eun Tak, played by Kim Go Eun. Kim Go Eun was very endearing as Eun Tak. She was bright, adorable, and full of life. Her youthful exuberance is like a ray of sunshine that warms up Shin’s heart. It’s easy to see why our Goblin falls hard for her.

Her reason for existing has always been to break the Goblin’s immortal curse. But she is unaware that breaking that curse will cause Shin to disappear into nothingness. She has a difficult road to travel in her love story with him.

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama - Lee Dong Wook

Lee Dong Wook is our Grim Reaper. I have a soft spot for Lee Dong Wook, and I absolutely loved his character. He has such a commanding presence that instills power and fear, yet he easily transitions to a sort of awkward and bumbling character.

I loved watching him navigate the modern world and dating life so awkwardly. He’s such a genuine guy, and I couldn’t help but root for him to succeed. But he has some difficult truths to face. Lee Dong Wook drew me in with his powerful display of emotions. He has such an intensity that hits me on a deep level.

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama - Yoo In Na

Yoo In Na was lovely as Sunny. She seems a bit bored with life, but things really liven up for her when the Grim Reaper shows up doing all of these things she finds strange and fascinating.

I do think both Yoo In Na as an actress and Sunny as a character were terribly underutilized in the first half of the drama with very little screen time. Luckily, she is able to shine in the second half.

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama - Yook Sung Jae

Yook Sung Jae did well as Yoo Duk Hwa. His family has served the Goblin for 900 years. He’s immature and a bit spoiled, but he has a good heart. He was a nice addition to our Goblin family.

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My favorite parts of the drama were the more dramatic aspects that focused on the story surrounding Shin, his back story, his curse, and how everyone was connected to that.

The story is very rich, and I loved delving deep into it. The drama sets up the story very well with high stakes and plenty of questions. While it does take a while to get answers, once we continue deeper into the story, the drama just gets better and better.

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The drama does include a lot of humor which is something I greatly appreciate, but it was also sort of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I thought they spent a little too much time on basic character interactions without a whole lot of forward plot development in the first half of the drama. Ideally, I would have liked more of the meat of the story to be better dispersed throughout the drama.

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But on the other hand, the characters are all so interesting and likable that I couldn’t help but enjoy their fun interactions that included some hilarious and awkward moments. A lot of the humor is also very dry with a deadpan delivery which isn’t my favorite kind of humor. I usually prefer when one character is more deadpan opposite a more exaggerated reaction.

In the beginning, Shin and the Grim Reaper are mostly the deadpan style. Initially, that made it more difficult for me to warm up to them. But the more I saw of their interactions, the more comfortable I became and the more hilarious I found them to be. As the drama progresses and they grow more comfortable with each other, their humor also became more of the fun and goofy style that I like. And that produces some truly hilarious scenes!

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Which brings me to our bromance. Shin and the Grim Reaper are such a fantastic duo. They start out hating each other, but end up living together. We then see a fun rivalry develop. I loved watching them go head to head whether it be trying to annoy each other or having silverware battles. They were too fun!

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Eventually their rivalry turns into a reluctant partnership as they try to protect Eun Tak and find happiness for themselves when fate seems to be against them. And finally, a close brotherly sort of friendship develops. I loved their little heart to hearts with each other and the bond that developed between them.

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Gong Yoo and Kim Go Eun were a really sweet and fun couple. Their relationship has such a strong importance right from the beginning. Eun Tak was able to warm up the lonely Shin’s heart, and he was able to provide her a family.

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama - Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na

Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na had a very intriguing relationship. It was much slower to get going, but once it does, I was fully on board. I loved their chemistry, and my heart ached right along with these ill-fated lovers.

SPOILERS BELOW

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Things really pick up story wise in the second part of the drama. We learn all the details of how Shin, Grim Reaper, and Sunny are connected. We have Sunny as the reincarnation of Shin’s sister, Sun, and the Grim Reaper as King Wang Yeo. And how tragic it was that Wang Yeo was responsible for the deaths of Shin and Sun.

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama - Lee Dong Wook

It was heartbreaking to watch as the Grim Reaper had to cope with what he had done in the past as his memories eventually returned to him. He was such a different person from who he was back then.

It was so sad to see the Grim Reaper suffer through immense pain and guilt from what he did in his past life.  I was thoroughly moved by Lee Dong Wook’s performance. It was so heartfelt, and he completely drew me into his pain.

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Of course, when Shin learns that the Grim Reaper is Wang Yeo, tensions run high. Shin had carried around this hurt for 900 years, and now the man responsible for his suffering was right before him. It was difficult watching the two men’s relationship become so strained.

But when the time came for Shin’s curse to be broken, and the magical sword was removed from his chest, everyone was in for a difficult reality. Shin disappeared into nothingness while Eun Tak’s memories of Shin were erased. She went on with her life, but she always carried a deep sadness.

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But that inner love and longing for Shin was eventually enough to pull him back from nothingness to the real world. Shin was grateful to be back, but saddened that no one remembered him.

But it turns out the Grim Reaper remembered. It felt very poetic that since the Grim Reaper was the only one who remembered Shin, he felt welcomed by him, and that past connection drew them back together. Grim Reaper was able to truly apologize for his past actions, and Shin was able to finally forgive him. And the bromance returns!

Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama - Lee Dong Wook and Yoo In Na

As for the ending, I was mostly happy with it. It was an ending filled with much sadness mixed in with a bittersweet joy. Everyone eventually remembers Shin. Grim Reaper and Sunny were never able to be together in their current life because their past hurts were just too strong to overcome.

But when the Grim Reaper’s punishment was over and Sunny passed away, the two went on to the afterlife together. Thankfully, years later, the two are reunited in their next life where they are finally able to be together and be happy.

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Shin and Eun Tak are finally reunited, and she actually does become the Goblin’s bride. They were finally happy, and it was all very sweet. But tragedy struck when Eun Tak gave her life to save others. As a ghost, Eun Tak asked Shin to wait for her to return in her next life.

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The lonely Goblin lost his bride, his friend, and his sister and was forced to wait alone. But finally after many years, the reincarnated Eun Tak showed up one day with her memories still in tact. The two would finally be able to be together.

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Goblin is a unique drama in the kdrama landscape. Its rich fantasy story that intertwined everyone’s fates was done very eloquently. Each character is memorable and engaging and completely brought to life by all of the talented actors portraying them.

It’s an epic story of love, friendship, and forgiveness that tugs at the heart. It’s a poignant and moving drama that definitely left a lasting impression.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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19 Responses to Goblin: The Lonely and Great God Korean Drama Review

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    Haha, lol you finished it before me 😂😂 As you may have noticed currently I am a bit slower to respond, and for my own blog the posts are currently a bit lacking. It’s nothing serious, but I do have something that is occupying my thoughts a bit, so I am currently a bit behind on blog activity as well as watching series. Rest assured though, I will try my best to catch up on things, and ofcourse these great posts 😊 As for this review, I skipped over the spoiler parts (lol) but I quite enjoyed reading your thoughts on it. I have so far enjoyed the series immensely, but I also agree with the aspects you point out of the weaker points of the series. I have about 6 episodes to go, which I hope to finish somewhere next week and then I will post my own review. Keep up writing these great posts: always a joy to read them 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Lol, I believe that’s about how many eps you had left when I started it a couple weeks ago. I greatly enjoyed Goblin for all the reasons mentioned. And most of the weaker parts were minor, so that was a good thing.

      If you liked the more dramatic aspects of the series that was set up in the first couple episodes, I think you’ll really enjoy the last 6 episodes since I felt the story focusing more on that in the second half just allowed the show to get even better. I hope whatever has taken up your thoughts settles soon. I will definitely be looking forward to your thoughts as a whole on the series 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. joybran says:

    I’ve only watched three episodes, but I’m already loving it. I skipped the spoilers but looking forward to the show getting even better as it goes along.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Yea! Glad to see you picked this one up 🙂 It really is a fantastic series on so many levels. I only had minor issues that honestly seem very small compared to how well this drama was put together. I loved the set up in the first episodes, enjoyed the humor in the first half, and then loved the story really ramping up in the second half. There’s so much to like! I really hope you enjoy it too 🙂

      Like

  3. Deniz says:

    Will there be a Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo review in the future?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Korean Drama Update for January 2017 | Kdrama Kisses

  5. Joey says:

    Hi! I happened to stumble upon this post while looking for some reviews for Goblin. It’s been 2 weeks since I finished watching the series but obviously, I am still nowhere near to getting over it. Thanks for the comprehensive and insightful review, I appreciate how objective your review is compared to others I’ve read that basked in the show’s weak points but failed to give due credit to its more-than-fair share of good points. ‘Goblin’ has its flaws but I personally think that the unique plot, superb acting, directing, cinematography and OST made up for all the shortcomings. Before this show, I have been on a long hiatus from Kdramaland (since 2009, to be more specific; hi, Boys Over Flowers!), and the only thing that convinced me to give Goblin a shot was the trailer that was honestly so well-made (with all that SFX, OST and mysterious feel to it) that it actually made me wonder if, during the long time I was gone, the Kdrama landscape had developed so drastically that it can now produce shows that can rival its western counterparts when it comes to quality of production and content. Shortly after I started watching it–along with a few other dramas to serve as my basis for comparison–I quickly realized that this series had just set the bar to an all-time high for the Korean small screen industry. I’ve known Gong Yoo from his previous drama “Coffee Prince” (which I did not watch despite its rave reviews and immense popularity) and his recent movie, “Train to Busan” (which I wasn’t really expecting to like but ended up loving), and I should say, “Goblin” was able to bring out the shining Hallyu star in him! Aside from his obviously dashing looks, I have mad respect for his skills as an actor. He chose very well for a Kdrama comeback! I’m so glad Kim Eun Sook was able to come up with a plot that actually deserves to have Gong Yoo in it. I was so scared that ‘Goblin’ was going to be just another ‘Descendants of the Sun,’ which I have attempted to watch because Song Hye Kyo’s character was someone I could heavily relate to, but eventually had to drop because of the stagnating plot, but I’m glad KES outdid herself when she penned the story of Kim Shin and Wang Yeo. It wasn’t the perfect plot, but it’s the closest she’s ever gotten to one, imo.

    I can go on and on about all the things I liked about this series, but for now I’ll end this fangirl rant because reality is calling me back to earth, lol. I agree with the rating you gave for the show (although personally, I would’ve given it a 9.5/10, but then again, I’ve not sat through a Kdrama for /so/ long), and now I shall check out your reviews for other shows that I am interested in watching next (I see you’ve already made one for ‘Signal,’ which I am very, very interested in at the moment). Thanks again for this post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Hello 🙂 I know how you feel! I’m definitely not over the drama either. You certainly picked a great drama to welcome you back into the land of kdramas. I was so impressed with Goblin on so many different levels. Actors, plot, cinematography, heavy fantasy plot, characters. And there was so much attention to detail. And yes, Goblin definitely matches up with the quality of western shows, and it has really set the bar high for future dramas.

      Gong Yoo was a fantastic choice for Goblin. I know Kim Eun Suk had been wanting to work with him for a while, and he finally accepted her offer to star. And he picked a good one! I was also surprised how much I loved Train to Busan. I’m not big on zombie movies, but that one was fantastic as was Gong Yoo 🙂

      And like you said, Goblin was not perfect, but it didn’t really have to be. The qualities you mentioned are more than enough to make up for its shortcomings. It simply did so many things right in a very exceptional way. Truly a superb series.

      Haha, it sounds like we rated it pretty similarly. Something to know about my ratings is that I absolutely love kdramas as a whole. Because of that I would be giving out a lot of really high numbers, but I want to be able to separate the dramas a bit more so the ratings are more meaningful. My 8 would probably be closer to a 9 for most people. If I rate a drama 8 or above, I loved it 🙂

      And if you’re looking for another superior quality show, then yes, do check out Signal! It also has superb acting, great characters, intensity, and an intricate plot that just stands out. If you like crime dramas and don’t mind a lack of romance, it is a truly impressive drama. I really hope you enjoy it 🙂

      Like

  6. Fred says:

    It had every recipe to become the perfect Kdrama. At the start, I thought it would beat my all-time favorite, My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho. But I was disappointed. I had too much expectation because of the impressive start. But along the way it seems to lose its “amazingness”. The conflicts were resolved quite easily and at times became predictable. Like she lost her memory then suddenly got it right back without any clear reason why. It was still a good drama but due to my high expectations at the start, I was disappointed. I was ready to make My Girlfriend Is A Gumiho as my second favorite haha. Anyways, this shows how reliable your reviews are. It is only an 8.5 and Gumiho is a 10. Thanks. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Haha, well of course you just can’t top My Girlfriend is a Gumiho! It’s just special, and I highly doubt it will ever be dethroned from it’s first place position in my heart 🙂 Glad you’re a fellow Gumiho lover!

      But yes, Goblin definitely had some issues. And going in with high expectations can cause a let down too. Luckily, it was an overall really good drama and it did a lot of things right. The actors, stunning cinematography, and OST were certainly done impeccably. If only a few things with the story were executed a bit differently, I think it could have been perfect.

      Like

      • Fred says:

        Yes, Goblin has the best First Episode I have ever seen yet (sorry Mi Ho haha). The premise, cinematography and the OST were too amazing! I was too impressed.

        But in a way I am also happy that Gumiho will still get to keep that special place in my heart.

        Anyways, I have two dramas that I have been hesitant to watch but will now watch because of your reviews. I will watch Uncontrollably Fond (9/10) first before watching Dae Woong become the Gumiho this time in Gu Family Book (10/10).

        You don’t know how happy I feel that I found your site. Now I have a reliable site to base which dramas to watch next.

        Kamsamnida. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          I think my heart would break a little if something ever did actually take Gumiho’s place on top, hehe. But yes, Goblin did have one of the most outstanding first episodes I have seen too. They really nailed everything concerning the initial set up.

          So you’re going to watch Uncontrollably Fond and Gu Family Book. I really loved both of them. Uncontrollably Fond is really great if you like angsty melodramas and don’t mind that the couple stays more on the bickering side. And I definitely have a fondness for Gu Family Book. It had a nice mix of fantasy, humor, and angst. It’s also a really good role for Lee Seung Gi. It’s my second favorite of his next to My Girlfriend is a Gumiho.

          Of course, as with any drama, there are several things other people didn’t like about both dramas, but they just both clicked with my tastes. Hopefully, they fit with yours too and you have an enjoyable time watching them. I’m glad you found the site to and look forward to chatting about more dramas in the future 🙂

          Like

          • Fred says:

            I finished watching Uncontrollably Fond yesterday but I do not want to rate it. I think Goblin ruined it haha. After watching something with super amazing cinematography and OSTs, Uncontrollably Fond became second-rate. I think it may have been a good drama had I watched it before Goblin. So I won’t watch Gu Family Book yet. It might be ruined as well. I’ll just go watch another favorite mine: City Hunter. This drama is on the “cool” side so I won’t be disappointed even after watching Goblin haha.

            I went and checked your rating. It is also a 10/10. So I guess we feel the same way about a lot of dramas. I just cannot say the same right now for Uncontrollably Fond. Sadly.

            I’ll save Gu Family Book for later since you say it is a 10/10. 🙂

            I also noticed you haven’t watched The 1st Shop of Coffee Prince. I watched it around 6 years ago and I think it is also a good drama. I don’t know how I would rate it exactly since I cannot anymore remember how I felt after watching it. But I believe it is worth watching. I might re-watch it sometime. 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              Awww, sorry it ended up on the average side for you. It’s always hard to watch a drama right after a really amazing one. They just can’t live up. I think that’s pretty normal though.

              Revisiting an old favorite can always help though. I definitely have a lot of love for City Hunter 🙂 It does sound like we have some similar feelings towards dramas. Of course, no one will ever agree on every drama. We’re all just too different. That’s why even on dramas I love I usually try to go ahead and point out some negatives in my reviews just so people are aware in case they really don’t like those things even though they may not bother me. A few of my favorites are all positive though, hehe 🙂

              I have actually seen Coffee Prince. It was pretty early in my drama watching and before I was doing reviews. I think I have around 20-25 dramas that I have seen that aren’t on my review list. I’ve been slowly going through them and adding reviews so that hopefully eventually I will have a complete list. But Coffee Prince was a drama I found very average. I really enjoyed the OTP and especially Yoon Eun Hye’s performance, but everything else was pretty so so. Of course, that’s a drama I watched shortly after some of my favorites like City Hunter, Boys Over Flowers, and My Girlfriend is a Gumiho. So maybe like you, it suffered from being compared, lol.

              Like

              • Fred says:

                Oh, I see. I think Coffee Prince is the second Kdrama I watched after Princess Hours (still Yoon Eun Hye). So maybe that’s the reason why I seem to have fond memories of both dramas although I haven’t re-watched them in a really long time.

                I think Boys Over Flowers is the drama that everyone loves but I don’t haha. I REALLY TRIED to finish it TWICE. Only reached episode 13 the last time then I got bored. SOOOORRRRYYYYYY haha.

                But I think the reason for this is that I watched the Taiwanese version (Meteor Garden) and the Japanese version (Hana Yori Dango) before I watched the Korean one. So I probably was kind of bored to watch pretty much the same storyline more than three times. But I did love watching Meteor Garden and Hana Yori Dango.

                I have to ask you this though. Do you like dramas with secrets (secret identities, feelings, etc.) that slowly unravel as the drama goes on? Because that is what I personally like. And you seem to like dramas with those types of storylines. Your 10/10s are Gumiho, City Hunter, Healer. I also like these secrets-laden dramas haha.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Kay says:

                  It’s definitely normal to have extra fondness for those first dramas 🙂 Haha, I understand about Boys Over Flowers. It really seems to be more of a love it or hate it kind of drama. I loved it, but I’m also very aware of its many problems, hehe.

                  And I see how watching the other versions could definitely make the kversion more boring. I’ve tried to watch other versions of dramas and the second version usually leaves me feeling a bit bored.

                  Oooh! I love dramas with secret identities and other big secrets! I love the hero secret identity stories a lot like City Hunter, Healer, Bridal Mask, and Iljimae. I also like a good angsty melodrama where secrets are really ready to shake things up at any moment. Glad to hear your like secret type dramas too 🙂

                  Like

  7. Vera says:

    Ive finished the 16 episodes in 2 days, and watching it over and over again. I just cant move on. Goblin was so good, life changing. It has change my views in life love and death. I super love Gong Yoo, it was a great come back, he again proved that he is Korea’s best. KGE is so refreshing, her character suits her, nobody can play Ji Eun Tak better than her. and Grim Reaper and Sunny were amazing too, all the actors were good. I hope theyll work again together maybe part 2 sine Eun Tak has been reincarnated..pleaseeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee..

    PS I love you Gong Yoo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Sounds like you had a good couple days! Goblin was an amazing drama and so meaningful. And I completely agree. All of the actors were perfect for their roles and really brought those characters to life. I finished the drama back in January and still think about it a lot. It was just really good 🙂

      Like

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