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Series / Queen for Seven Days

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Queen for Seven Days (7일의 왕비, 7 Ileui Wangbi; also called Seven Day Queen) is a 2017 Korean series starring Park Min-young, Yeon Woo-jin, and Lee Dong-gun. It's loosely based on historical events.

During the tyrannical reign of Yeonsan-gun of Joseon, Shin Chae-gyeong marries the king's half-brother Crown Prince Lee Yeok. She soon finds her husband's life is threatened by the king's increasing paranoia and insanity.

The series can be watched on Viki with English subtitles.

Contains examples of:

  • Almost Kiss: Chae-gyeong and Lee Yeok lean towards each other, staring into each other's eyes... and then Seo No interrupts.
  • And I'm the Queen of Sheba: Chae-gyeong says she's the king's niece. (Well, nephew; she's pretending to be a boy at the time.) Lee Yeok retorts he's the king's brother. Played with, since both of them are telling the truth.
  • Annoying Arrows: Downplayed. Lee Yeok gets hit by an arrow in the back. Instead of yanking it out he breaks off the shaft. He doesn't act like he's badly injured, but five years later he still has a scar from the arrow.
  • Awful Wedded Life: The dysfunctional marriage of King Seongjong and his second wife Queen Jeheon is partially shown in flashbacks. Seongjong married other women, while Jeheon used her son Lee Yung as a pawn in fights with her husband.
  • Axe-Crazy / The Caligula: Lee Yung, like in real life. In the first episode he threatens to behead Lee Yeok and his friends if Lee Yeok loses a race. He becomes even more insane and cruel later.
  • Bare-Handed Blade Block: Lee Yung threatens Chae-gyeong with a sword. Lee Yeok grabs the sword by the blade and pushes it away from her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chae-gyeong decides not to come back to the palace. She and Lee Yeok write to each other and send gifts, but they only meet again in person shortly before Lee Yeok's death.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Lee Yung has Lee Yeok tortured while Chae-gyeong is Forced to Watch.
  • Crash-Into Hello: Chae-gyeong and Lee Yeok's first meeting. They both reach for a book, crack their heads together, and collapse in pain.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Chae-gyeong has her moments, usually at Lee Yeok's expense.
    Chae-gyeong: They say that men become like little babies after they get married. Are you already getting started?
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Chae-gyeong first meets Lee Yung while he's bathing. She's so distracted by his bare chest that it takes her some time to answer when he demands to know why she's there.
  • Double In-Law Marriage: An especially bizarre example since the wives are actually aunt and niece, but are close enough in age to be sisters. Lee Yung marries Shin Bi, and later his half-brother Lee Yeok marries Shin Bi's niece Chae-gyeong.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Within minutes of his first appearance Lee Yung pointedly ignores everything his ministers tell him, cuts them off before they have a chance to give full reports, and throws a document away.
  • Exact Eavesdropping: Dowager Queen Jasun tries to warn Lee Yeok to beware of the king. Lee Yung hears everything she says.
  • Faking the Dead: Lee Yeok dresses a corpse in his clothes and sends it to the palace to make everyone think he's dead. His mother helps the deception by having the body cremated so no one can check his identity.
  • Foregone Conclusion: The title and prologue make it clear that Chae-gyeong won't be queen for long.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: All over the place, worn by both men and women.
  • Historical Beauty Upgrade:
    • No portraits survive of Queen Dangyeong, but she probably didn't look like Park Min-young.
    • Similarly, no confirmed portraits survive of Yeonsan-gun of Joseon (this one is sometimes claimed to be a portrait of him, but is also labelled as a portrait of the much later (and much saner) King Jeongjo) but we can safely say he looked nothing like Lee Dong-gun.
    • The only remaining portraits of Lee Yeok/King Jungjong show him as an old man, but even when he was young he probably wasn't half as good-looking as Yeon Woo-jin.
  • Historical Domain Character: Chae-gyeong, Lee Yeok, and Lee Yung are the most obvious examples, but almost every named character was a real person.
  • Historical Villain Downgrade: Lee Yung is a villain, but a relatively sympathetic one. The real Lee Yung was a mass-murdering psychopath whose actions included beating two of his father's concubines to death and kidnapping thousands of women and forcing them into his personal brothel.
  • How We Got Here: The series starts with Chae-gyeong/Queen Dangyeong attempting to kill Jungjong. Then it goes back seven years to show the events leading up to this.
  • Impractically Fancy Outfit: As shown early in the first episode, standing in a courtyard under the blazing sun while wearing long, heavy historical clothes is hot and uncomfortable.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Lee Yung is a terrible king to say the least, but he has a point when he criticises the ministers' selfishness.
  • Jitter Cam: Used frequently throughout the series.
  • King Incognito: Happens to Chae-gyeong twice. The first time, she thinks Lee Yeok is an arrogant commoner. The second time, she mistakes Lee Yung for a warrior and ends up having a meal with him and rescuing him from robbers.
  • Laughing Mad: Lee Yung bursts out laughing after he's deposed.
  • Leave the Two Lovebirds Alone: Lee Yeok shoos one of his friends away so he and Chae-gyeong can be alone.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Lee Yeok runs off right after his wedding to Chae-gyeong. Chae-gyeong's nanny thinks it means he's keeping a mistress, while Chae-gyeong herself doesn't believe he's cheating.
  • Princeling Rivalry: A one-sided version. In a flashback we see Lee Yung clenching his fists as he watches their father praise Lee Yeok. Unfortunately he hasn't grown out of his resentment as an adult.
  • Royally Screwed Up: Lampshaded by Dowager Queen Jasun.
    Jasun: Look at Joseon's history. The older brother kills his younger brother, the young brother kills his older brother, the uncle kills his nephew. Do you think your older brother is any different? You two aren't even full-blooded siblings.
  • Sanity Slippage: Lee Yung gets crazier as the series goes on. By the time Lee Yeok deposes him he's completely insane.
  • Shameful Strip: Lee Yung cuts off Myeong-hye's outer clothes and threatens to do the same to her underwear unless she betrays the Snail Brides.
  • Sibling Triangle: Lee Yung and Lee Yeok are half-brothers, and both fall in love with Chae-gyeong.
  • Splitting the Arrow: During their archery practice Lee Yung splits one of Lee Yeok's arrows. Played with, since in this case the villain fires the second arrow.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Im Sa Hong and Jang Nok-su figure out Lee Yeok's identity when they realise how much he looks like his father.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Chae-gyeong is disguised as a boy when she first meets Lee Yeok.
  • Time Title
  • The Un-Favourite: King Seongjong favoured Lee Yeok over Lee Yung and didn't even try to hide it.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Acknowledged in the written narration before the first episode, which states the historical events didn't happen the way they do in the series.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: In spite of everything Lee Yung does, it's hard not to feel sorry for him.