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Series / Insu, the Queen Mother

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Insu, the Queen Mother (인수대비, Insudaebi, literally "Queen Insu") is a 2011 Korean series starring Chae Shi-ra, Ham Eun-jung, Kim Young-ho, Kim Mi-sook, Baek Sung-hyun and Jeon Hye-bin. It's loosely based on historical events.

During the fifteenth century, King Munjong of Joseon is ill. His son Danjong is too young to rule, and his brother Suyang is plotting to take the throne. A noblewoman named Han Jeong — better known as Queen Insu — marries Suyang's son Ui-gyeong and gets increasingly involved in the political plots in the palace. As time goes on she becomes part of a fierce power struggle between herself, her mother-in-law Queen Jeong-hui, and her daughter-in-law Queen Jeheon.

The series can be watched on Viki with English subtitles.


Contains examples of:

  • A Child Shall Lead Them: Danjong becomes king when he's twelve.
  • Adoptive Peer Parent: Hye-bin is younger than her stepsons.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: Han Jeong starts out as this to her older sister, doing things like running off on her own to explore the palace.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Song-yi coughs up blood after being poisoned.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Hye-bin, one of Sejong's concubines, is younger than his sons.
    • Danjong and Jeongsun get married at the ages of fourteen and fifteen respectively.
  • Evil Uncle: Suyang/King Sejo gets the throne by overthrowing and then murdering his nephew Danjong.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: All over the place, on both men and women.
  • Historical Domain Character: Almost all the named characters were real people, most notably Han Jeong, Jeong-hui, and Song-yi.
  • Identical Grandson / Strong Family Resemblance: Seongjong looks exactly like his father Ui-gyeong (and is played by the same actor as an adult).
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  • I Have Many Names: Most of the characters have both a name and a title, and their title may change over the course of the series. Han Jeong, for example, Queen Insu, then Queen Dowager Insu during her son's reign, then Grand Queen Dowager Insu during her grandson's reign, then (posthumously) Queen Sohye.
  • Meet Cute: Jeong and Do-won/Ui-gyeong first meet when Jeong is exploring the palace without permission and asks Do-won for directions.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Danjong was raised mainly by his step-grandmother Hye-bin.
  • Young Future Famous People: Most of the characters who appear as children or teenagers grew up to be important figures in Korean history. The most infamous one is Prince Yeonsan — otherwise known as Yeonsan-gun of Joseon.