The Bride of the Water God

“If you need money more than anything else because money will make you happy, that means what you really need is happiness.”–Habaek (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

“I learned that the one who has more should naturally help the one who has less from my father. It’s also natural for the strong to protect the weak. That’s how the world should be. Just because someone has more than you, doesn’t mean that person is stronger than you.”–Yoon So Ah (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

“The ones who smile during hardships are the winners. The ones who endure it are minors. The ones who cry are losers. I guess I’m a loser. I’ve become a loser because of you. You’re a very bad deity. I tried so hard to have a strong heart. I at least had to become a minor if I couldn’t become a winner. Because I’m alone, I had to be strong so that I could prevent myself from crying like a weak-minded person. I thought I became a winner after meeting you. But I can see now that I’ve only become a loser.”–Yoon So Ah (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

“You asked me what we are. I’ve come to hope that you’d be untouched and unharmed by misfortune. You’re not some distant sound that will fade away. I’m saying you’re not an insignificant, fleeting matter. That’s how I’ve come to think of you. I want to hold you in my arms and kiss you. I want you to be my beginning and my ending. I want my mind to be filled with thoughts of you. When they overflow, I want to just let them be. I want my jealousy to be justified, and I don’t want to feel guilty even after punching someone. But to do all of that, I must begin. Like you said, our predestined future won’t change. But, may I begin?”–Habaek (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

“I’d love to live with her, here in this world.”–Habaek (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

Before talking more about “The Bride of the Water God”, I would like to make a confession that the first time I watched this drama series was actually a year ago around the time when it was broadcasted by tvN. I did it before my Korean-drama-fasting period. And unlike usual (where I usually wait until all episodes aired first before starting watching it), I used to follow each episode weekly. It was around July until August last year, and in that time around, somehow I feel related to the storyline of “The Bride of the Water God”. Perhaps that’s why I followed each episode in weekly basis. This is a love story that transcends time, space, and distance. Perhaps it sounds cheesy, but this story had accompanied me during my loneliest time in life. This story had cheered me up during my most painful moment, where I was left alone, along with some consciousness that someone whom I care about the most was out there making moments with someone else. Though it may sound pathetic for you, this story was all I had back then.
"Bride of the Water God" official series poster | source: asianwiki.com

Title                 : The Bride of the Water God/The Bride of Habaek/Bride of Habaek 2017
Genre               : fantasy, drama, romance, comedy, adaptation
Starring            : Shin Se Kyung, Nam Joo Hyuk, Im Joo Hwan, Krystal Jung, Gong Myung
Channel            : tvN
No. of episodes           : 16
Original broadcast       : July – August 2017

“Bride of Habaek 2017” is a South Korean television series broadcasted by cable channel tvN. It was a spin-off of the 2006 manhwa(Korean comic book) by Yoon Mi Kyung, “Bride of the Water God”. The setting of the storyline was taking place in the modern Seoul in 2017; it marked the major difference from the original comic book, which was set in the Joseon period. The storyline follows the titular character, Habaek’s bride, Yoon So Ah (portrayed by Shin Se Kyung), a psychiatrist who wasn’t aware that she was a destined bride of the God of Water, Habaek (portrayed by Nam Joo Hyuk). Habaek was a narcissistic God of Water who was destined to be the King of Gods ever since his existence. When it came the time when he was about to claim the throne, he must fulfill a duty that required him to visit Earth in order to collect three magical stones kept by the Guardian Gods who were living on Earth for hundred years. That was when Habaek had to find So Ah, who was the descendant of human servant of the Gods, in order to seek for help.
However, according to her background, So Ah didn’t believe in Gods and accused Habaek for having a mental illness. Meanwhile, she was struggling with financial issues caused by mountains of debt for she was living alone ever since her mother’s death and her father’s disappearance. After some events, she was made believe that Habaek was indeed a God in the search of three magical stones held by Goddess of Water, Moo Ra (portrayed by Krystal Jung), who lived on Earth as a famous actress called Hyera, God of Wind, Bi Ryeom (portrayed by Gong Myung), who lived on Earth with pseudonym Ahn Bin, and God of Earth, Joo Dong (portrayed by Yang Dong Geun), who was disappeared and nowhere to be found. While still trying to catch up with her new realization of the universe, So Ah found herself being in a complicated relationship between the Gods and Shin Hoo Ye (portrayed by Im Joo Hwan), a demigod disguised as the CEO of a resort. And the most complicated thing for her is: she found herself falling for Habaek.
I was bothered with so many things happened in my life at the time when I watched “Bride of Habaek” for the first time last year. At that time, I was just recently going the distance with my partner; yes, we were having long distance relationship at that time. And it was awful for me. I was strong before we were together, but somehow I just couldn’t remember how to be strong anymore after he left. Apparently, it was because I was stronger when I was with him; just like how Yoon So Ah was when Habaek left her (to the world of Gods) in the middle of the storyline. Apparently, the arrival of someone significant for us is a life-changing moment. It has changed our life. And we can never be the same again. We won’t even remember how to be what we were before their arrival in our life. We may be used to be strong, but since we’ve known how to be stronger, we cannot just switch ourselves back into the way we used to before. No matter how hard or how difficult the situation is, being together is indeed a way better than being alone. 
For this world is already filled with lonely people. And to find someone who is connected with us in a special way is indeed rare. It is rare to have something real; to hold onto someone who is willing to understand and accept us the way we are. Hence, it is so precious. That is what Yoon So Ah felt when she met Habaek. And that is what Habaek also felt when he met So Ah. And that was what I felt too back then. There are people who hold a lot of anger in them, not because they are bad people, but because they feel out of place. They feel like they don’t belong anywhere in this world. That is what happened to Shin Hoo Ye. And watching Hoo Ye had made me realize more that it is indeed so precious to be able to find someone whom we feel belong to; because the feeling of “belong” doesn’t have to be a place, but it can be in a form of another human being too. And that is what I feel towards my partner. Hence, not having that kind of person beside me, particularly during the time when I need him the most, is the thing that is killing me the most.
There is something about Habaek, the character, that somehow reminds me of my own partner. Beside they’re both gorgeous, of course, (but no offense, dear Nam Joo Hyuk’s fans, I’m a fan of him too myself), there are some of Habaek’s traits that are similar to my partner’s. First of all, perhaps it’s about the rich people syndrome; well, no offense for the rich, but I found that people who come from wealthy socio-economic status have this kind of issue that is regarding to superiority/inferiority. And that is what happened to Habaek. He felt superior as well as inferior when he first came to Earth. On one side, he knew he’s a God, hence he felt somewhat superior. On the other side, however, he also felt inferior since Earth is a whole new world for him; it’s a new territory he needs to adapt to. Along in the way, he learned that the biggest responsibility isn’t the throne or wealth, but how to protect and take care of the love given by people who really and truly care for him. He learned about and how to love. And most of all, he learned that a king must know how to listen to his people, but before that, he must know how to listen to his heart and conscience.
In the end, this drama series reminds me that eventually, what we actually need as a human being is a home to come home to. And it is not always manifested in a form of a place or building, but it can be manifested in a form of another human being; the one whom we want to spend our lifetime with. It is the person whom we will always come back home to in the end. And sometimes, this home is not always the place where we should be, but mostly it is the place where we want and need to be. It is the place where we feel belong to. It is the place we want to be. And it is the place that brings us both happiness and sadness; it completes us. And we know it all too well, that for a place like that to be able to be found by us, to be able to exist, it is an inevitable miracle. Hence, once we know we’ve found it, we won’t trade it for anything else. We won’t just let it slip away. We can’t just let it go. We will hold onto it all we might. At this point, this is what gave me strength to hold on back then; this belief that I have found my home. And though he was far apart from me back then, I believe that we will always find our way back home to each other, somehow, someday, we will.
In the beginning, I started to watch “Bride of Habaek 2017” because of the cast. First of all, of course it’s because of Nam Joo Hyuk. And I got very excited to see him on the screen with Shin Se Kyung, one of my favorite Korean actresses. Besides, Krystal Jung and Im Joo Hwan are my two favorites too for supporting actors. And I have to say that they both play a character that you hate to love yet you love to hate, especially Moo Ra. And Hoo Ye is the character that you can’t help but got sympathized to even though he’s the antagonist. I even think that Hoo Ye is more suitable to be referred as an antihero. Moreover, Gong Myung is such a scene-stealer! He's so adorably gorgeous in this drama series. The cast is not disappointing at all, as well as the beautiful cinematography and the soundtrack. However, I feel that the storyline is still lacking at some point in details, not about the whole plot though. In a nutshell, I still think that “Bride of Habaek 2017” is a recommended drama series to watch. The eye-candy factor is far from disappointing. It really gives sugar and stars to your eyes. And for the record, the kissing scene is top notch!

“How do you differentiate a truth from a lie? It’s always true when you believe what you want to believe. Because that’s less difficult and easier for you to manage. In this way, some truth blind people.”–Yoon So Ah (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

“People can survive anything with the strength they have. But if that strength were love, it would be even better.”–Yoon So Ah (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

“No one should criticize you for your sad past, because no one chooses when and where to be born.”–Yoon So Ah (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

“Even if we have to part ways, I want to be able to convince myself that I loved enough.”–Habaek (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

“Just because it appears to be good on the outside, it doesn’t mean it’s really good in the inside.”–Habaek (Bride of the Water God, 2017)

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