Do you think a hotel is an excellent spot for a blooming romance? We think so! A beautiful building, delicious food and everyone on their best behaviour can make the heart flutter without anyone noticing. King the Land is Netflix’s latest Korean drama (aka Kdrama) starring the gorgeous Yoona and the ever-charming Lee Jun Ho. It captured kdrama lovers’ hearts worldwide, and we’re here to talk all about it!
We know that a Chaebol falling in love with an average girl is the plot of about 70% of kdramas! However, not every kdrama can handle this classic plot with as much care as King the Land. The drama is funny, heartfelt, warm, charming, and so romantic! I’m proud to say I binged the whole show in three days! It was so hard to put down. It’s rare to find a kdrama where you get invested in all the characters, plot, and subplot, but that sets King the Land apart!
Now, we will talk about everything in King the Land: the plot, the characters, the setting, the subplots, and everything! So if you haven’t had the chance to watch King the Land yet, leave, watch it on your own time and then come back to read our review.
What Happens in King the Land Stays in King the Land
Before the plot summary, let’s talk a little about the title. When you watch the show, you will understand what the title means. However, if you’re like me, you have probably been confused about the title. Before watching the show, I kept calling it “King the Landing”, obviously thinking about King’s Landing from Game of Thrones! But, no. It’s called King the Land, the name of the VVIP lounge in King Hotel. Remember that.
Let’s talk about what happens in King the Land!
Main Plot Summary
Our main character is Cheon So-Rang (played by Girls’ Generation’s Yoona). Since So-Rang was a little girl, she always had a fascination with hotels and wanted to someday work in one. Having only a two-year university degree, she never thought she’d get a job in a fancy Hotel until King Hotel accepted her!
Won and Sa-Rang Work at King Hotel
As So-Rang starts working at King Hotel, she is quickly distinguished for her exceptional skills. She moves up the ranks quickly, from a butt-sweat whipper at the Hotel’s gym to a front desk employee in no time! Clearly, So-Rang knows what she’s doing, and university graduates got nothing on her!
On the other hand, Gu Won, King Hotel’s chairman’s son, is starting his career from the bottom. His father sends him to work as an intern for King Group. That doesn’t last long, though, as he blows his cover defending another intern (decent man!). Gu Won’s father isn’t impressed with his action, though and tells him to go back to England and come back when he is ready to take actual responsibilities in the company.
Seven years later, So-Rang has been doing so well at King Hotel that she was chosen as the Best Employee two years in a row. Gu Won, all the way in England, has also been using his time effectively. He completed his MBA, and after receiving an anonymous letter about his long-lost mother, he decided it was time to head back to Korea.
When Gu Won makes it back home, his father decides to give him the role of Head Manager at King Hotel (no more interning). As for So-Rang, she gets chosen by the chairman himself to join the staff of the coveted King the Land. Now it’s time for our future love birds to finally meet properly!
Won and Sa-Rang Fall in Love
With Won being the head of King the Land and So-Rang working as a staff member, the two get to do a lot of work together. From a trip to shoot a promotional interview for the Hotel to getting stuck in a dingy little hotel together, Won and So-Rang grow closer, and Won falls in love.
After a jealous incident with a visiting prince, Won finally confesses his feelings to Sa-Rang, and they start their relationship. Despite everything going smoothly with their love life, they keep their relationship a secret from their families and friends. Considering that Won’s sister is an evil witch who would use anything to ensure he doesn’t inherit the Hotel, that was a good choice (at least at the beginning).
Won takes Sa-Rangs and her best friends on a trip to Thailand under the guise of thanking them for their work at King Group. The trip helps the whole group grow closer and forever cements the relationship between Won and So-Rangs.
Won and Sa-Rang Deal With the Consequences
Actions have consequences, and when Won’s evil sister finally finds out about his relationship with Sa-Rang, our lovely couple must face the world. With their relationship all over the media, Won tries his best to protect Sa-Rang by making it clear that he is the one who pursued her. Thank God, Sa-Rang is surrounded by very supportive friends and, surprisingly, co-workers.
However, not everything is well and good. Won’s father sends him on a work assignment abroad, and while he’s gone, he gets rid of So-Rang. He doesn’t hurt her or anything, but he does send her to a dying branch of their hotel, away from Won.
Won comes back from his trip and immediately looks for Sa-Rang. When he finds out where she went, he goes to her and brings her back (boyfriend of the year!). He faces his father and lets him know he loves Sa-Rang, and nothing he can do will change that!
Won and Sa-Rang get Their Happily Ever After
With their relationship out in the open, it’s time for our lovely couple to take the next step. While Won makes elaborate plans to propose to Sa-Rang, Sa-Rang is considering quitting her job. Their signals get mixed for a moment, but then Won decides to postpone his proposal to support Sa-Rang with her new goal: opening her hotel!
With lots of work, Sa-Rang finally opens her cute little Hotel by the ocean. On one beautiful morning, Won finally pops the question, and Sa-Rang happily says yes! They have a quiet fancy wedding at King Hotel and ride into the sunset (figuratively).
The Characters of King the Land
We only summarise the plot surrounding our two main characters’ love story. However, many other interesting characters in King the Land deserve a deeper look. Let’s talk about them!
Our main girl is a determined, goal-oriented and kind woman. From the beginning, we can see Sa-Rang’s passion and love for her job and the people around her. No matter what the world throws at her, Sa-Rang is always kind and faces everything with a radiant smile. Her character is reminiscent of Cinderella, down to marrying a prince-like figure.
Being the heir to a giant corporation is not all fun and games. In truth, it’s very stressful and comes with many strings attached. Won is a very good person whose life wasn’t easy (emotionally speaking). The fact that his mother left him as a young boy for reasons unknown to him left him hungry for love. No matter how much his sister or father hurt him, Won refuses to play dirty. His character treasures love and would do anything to protect it.
As a chairman of King Group and a father to Gu Won and his sister, Gu Il-Hoon is not a wrong person. However, he is the kind of person to sweep problems under the rug and call it a day. From the days of his youth, Il-Hoon never fought for his dreams. He let his father send away the woman he loved and then let the Hotel become a greedy corporation under his daughter’s management. It takes his character a long time to understand his mistakes, but eventually, he gets their thanks to Won.
Gu Hwa-Ran is Won’s older half-sister and the other heir to King Group. From the very beginning, you can tell she is a cold-blooded witch. She hates Won for simply being the son of her father’s second wife. Even Though we understand that her father only married Won’s mother after Hwa-Ran’s mother died. Throughout the show, she does anything to keep Won from inheriting even a single won. She’s even cold toward her little boy, whom she sends away to the States all alone!
Go Won-Hee and Kim Ga-Eun
Sa-Rang has the best friends ever! They are always there for her, with a shoulder to cry on or beer and chicken to celebrate. But that’s not all they are. G Won-Hee is strong with leadership skills. From leading their friend group to leading her store to leading her household, Won-Hee is someone you can always count on. Kim Ga-Eun had a wonderful subplot of being a young divorcee struggling to fall in love again. Through both characters, we get a look into Korean culture at work and at home.
The Setting of King the Land
Obviously, King the Land takes place mainly in Korea, specifically in Seoul, the country’s capital. Seoul is a very vibrant metropolitan city, and in the drama, it is the home of the King Hotel, where most of our characters work. It is also where Sa-Rang and Won live.
However, throughout the show, we get to visit many other places inside and outside of Korea. During one episode, our prominent gang takes a trip to Thailand, where they see the food markets and many of the famous tourist attractions. They talk about how delicious food is in Thailand and how people come from all over the world to eat in Bangkok.
We also see the Korean countryside when we visit Sa-Rang’s grandmother. It is not determined where exactly she’s located, but we know it’s outside Seoul. Another place we see in King the Land is the gorgeous Jeju Island! Full of beautiful beaches and great weather, Jeju is always a staple in kdramas, and it’s fair to say it made a lot of people’s must-travel lists.
Comparison to Similar Kdramas
The story of a Chaebol (wealthy Korean heir) falling for an average (poor-ish) girl is nothing new for avid kdrama watchers. We’ve seen it a million times, and to be honest, we will see it a million and one times gladly. Kdramas are just that good! However, King the Land got compared by fans to a very recent kdrama called Business Proposal.
Both kdramas were very popular on Netflix, and people watched them eagerly. Even though we can see the similarities, we have to say that King the Land is a fairly better drama (sorry, not sorry).
In our opinion, the main characters of King the Land are much more likeable than the ones in Business Proposal. Not to say that Business Proposal wasn’t cute and funny as well! But Won and Sa-Rang were more secure in their love, and the drama surrounding them was always second to how they felt about each other. Both shows did a great job with their side plots, so we’ll give them kudos!
We’d say one thing, though, it’s in our good luck that quality shows as King the Land and Business Proposal exist even if they are similar. There is no reason to pit them against each other! Just watch and enjoy both and applaud everyone who worked on both dramas.
In conclusion, we’d like to say that we thoroughly enjoyed King the Land, and we cannot wait to see what both Yoona and Lee Jun-Ho will do next! We hope you enjoyed this review and always remember “Hermes!”.