Tree With Deep Roots
- Title: 뿌리깊은 나무 / Ppurigipeun Namu
- Genre: Period
- Episodes: 24
- Broadcast netwrok: SBS
- Broadcast period: 2011-Oct-05 to 2011-Dec-22
- Air time: Wednesday & Thursday 21:55
- Original Soundtrack: Tree With Deep Roots OST
The drama takes its name from a poem (Yongbieocheonga) that says that trees with deep roots do not sway. Early in his reign, King Sejong accidentally causes the death of his in-laws and their slaves in an attempt to save them from his brutal father, King Taejong. Two young slaves, Ddol Bok and his friend Dam, survive but neither knows the other has. Ddol Bok blames the king and vows to kill him to avenge the deaths of everyone he loved. He spends several years becoming a great warrior. Dam, who has a photographic memory, becomes a court lady called So Yi (Shin Se-kyung), but she feels so guilty about her role in the other slaves’ deaths that she is mute.
Ddol Bok returns to the palace under the name of Kang Chae-yoon (Jang Hyuk) in order to kill the King. However, he becomes embroiled in the mystery surrounding the deaths of several Hall of Worthies scholars. The deaths were caused by a secret society called “Hidden Root”, which was created long ago by followers of Jeong Do-jeon, with the goal of giving more power to ministers and less to the king. King Taejong killed Jeong Do-jeon and all of his family except his nephew, Jeong Gi-joon, who now is the leader of Hidden Root and lives in disguise not far from the King Sejong.
It soon becomes known that the king, with the help of So Yi and the Hall of Worthies scholars, has been working for years on a secret project, which turns out to be the creation of the Korean alphabet. While tracking Hidden Root, Kang Chae-yoon and So Yi each realize who the other is. So Yi begins to speak, and when she shows Kang the simple alphabet and describes how it will give more power to commoners, he is convinced to work with the king instead of killing him.
However, Jeong Gi-joon believes that the new alphabet is a threat to Confucian order, and decides to stop it at all costs. He murders the king’s son, but this only makes Sejong more determined. Jeong is able to stop the king’s dissemination efforts, and on the day the alphabet is to be publicly announced, both So Yi and Kang are fatally wounded by Hidden Root members. However, through their sacrifices, the event is successful, and commoners begin to use Hangul.
Jang Hyuk as Kang Chae-yoon/Ddol-Bok
- A former slave who has become royal guard and detective of King Sejong. As a child, Ddol-Bok protected his mentally retarded father from the teasing of other servants of the Queen’s family. Later, Ddol-Bok ‘s father was arrested and beaten, finally dying in front of him and his childhood friend So-yi. Though he was actually saved by King Sejong, he doesn’t know it, and because he blames Sejong for his father’s death, has sworn to avenge him by killing the king. He becomes a soldier under a changed name, and also trains under a martial arts master. Chae-yoon later becomes a low-level guard along with his friends. He doesn’t know that So-yi is Dam, believing that she is dead.
Han Suk-kyu as King Sejong
Song Joong-Ki as teen Lee Do
- The creator of Hangul. During his early years as king , Lee Do had a strained relationship with his father and harbored guilt for seeing people’s suffering and death (including his wife’s family) under his father’s tyrannic rule. After the death of his father and his wife Seoeun, Lee Do (Sejong) employs Kang Chae-yoon as an investigator (unaware he is the same boy whom he spared years before) and is helped by So-yi in the creation of Hangul. He later finds out that Chae-yoon is the same boy who tried to kill him.
Shin Se-kyung as So-yi/Dam-yi
- Chae-yoon’s friend who was saved as a child by Sejong’s wife and became a court lady. During her early years as court lady, Lee Do apologized to her for his role in her family’s death. She feels so guilty about her role in her fellow slaves’ deaths that she cannot speak, but she is useful in the creation of Hangul because of her photographic memory.
- Jeon No-min as Jung Do-Kwang, Sambong Jung Do-jun’s brother
- Yoon Je-moon as Jung Gi-joon/Ga Ri-on
- Ahn Suk-hwan as Lee Shin-juk
- Lee Jae-yong as Jo Mal-saeng
- Kwon Taewon as Choe Manri
- Jeon Seonghwan as Hwang Hui
- Jo Jin-woong as Moo-hyool
- Sejong’s bodyguard and friend who sacrifice himself for protect his friend
- Park Hyuk-kwon as Jeong In-ji
- Jang Ji-Eun as Queen Sohun
- Kim Ki-bang as Cho Tak
- Shin Seung-hwan as Park Po
- Song Ok-sook as Do Dam Daek
- Suh Joon-young as Prince Gwangpyeong
- Lee Soo-hyuk as Yoon Pyeong – a member of assassin group who was smitten by So-yi while he put her hostage and feelings for her however he see her with Chae-yoon
- Kim Ki Bum as Pak Paengnyeon
- Hyun Woo as Seong Sam-mun
- Jo Hee-bong as Han Myung-hoi/Han Ga-nom
- Jun Young-bin as Mak-soo
- Yoo Hyun-soo as Lee Soon-ji
- Shin So-yool as Mok-yi
- Shim So-hun as Duk-geum
- Baek Yoon-sik as King Taejong/Lee Bangwon (cameo)
- Han Insoo as Sim On (cameo)
- Heo Joon-Seok as Kkeut-Soo
- Ryu Seung-Soo as Jang Sung-Soo
- Baek Seo-Bin as Jang Eun-Sung
- Min Ji-Young as Yeon-Doo’s mother
- Lee Se-Na as Geun-Ji
2011 SBS Drama Awards:
- Grand Prize (Han Suk Kyu)
- Top Excellence Award, Drama
- Top Excellence Award for Special Production, Actor (Jang Hyuk)
- Excellence Award for Drama Special, Actress (Shin Se Kyung)
- Actress Award for Drama Special (Song Ok Sook)
- PD Award (Song Joong Ki)
- Top Ten Stars Award (Han Suk Kyu)