Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Korean: 쓸쓸하고 찬란하神 – 도깨비; RR: Sseulsseulhago Challanhasin – Dokkaebi; lit. The Lonely Shining God – Goblin) is a South Korean television series starring Gong Yoo in the title role with Kim Go-eun, Lee Dong-wook, Yoo In-na, and Yook Sung-jae. It was shown on the cable network tvN from December 2, 2016, to January 21, 2017. It was written by popular drama writer Kim Eun-sook.
|Guardian: The Lonely and Great God|
|Also known as||Goblin|
|Hangul||쓸쓸하고 찬란하神 – 도깨비|
|Revised Romanization||Sseulsseulhago Challanhasin – Dokkaebi|
|McCune–Reischauer||Ssŭlssŭlhago Ch'allanhasin - Tokkaebi|
|Literally||The Lonely and Great God - Goblin|
|Created by||Studio Dragon|
|Written by||Kim Eun-sook|
|Opening theme||"Round and Round" by Heize and Han Soo-ji|
|Ending theme||"Stay With Me" by Chanyeol and Punch|
|Country of origin||South Korea|
|No. of episodes||16 + 3 specials|
|Running time||60–90 minutes|
|Production company||Hwa&Dam Pictures|
|Picture format||1080i (HDTV)|
|Audio format||Dolby Digital|
|Original release||December 2, 2016 –|
January 21, 2017
Guardian's final episode recorded an 18.68% nationwide audience share, making it the fifth highest rated drama in Korean cable television history. It received critical acclaim and became a cultural phenomenon in South Korea. The show won numerous awards, including the Grand Prize (Daesang) for writer Kim Eun-sook and Best Actor for Gong Yoo at the 53rd Baeksang Arts Awards.
Kim Shin (Gong Yoo), a decorated military general from the Goryeo Dynasty, is framed as a traitor and killed by the young king. Years after his death, he is cursed by the Almighty to stay immortal forever, enduring the pain of seeing his loved ones die as punishment for the soldiers he killed to protect his country. He becomes an immortal goblin, helping people with his powers and being a kind man in spite of his grieving past. The only way to put an end to his immortality is the Goblin's bride, whose aid in pulling out the sword will end his painful immortality.
Ji Eun-tak (Kim Go-eun) is a bubbly high school student who remains cheerful and hopeful despite her tragic life. She summons the Goblin by chance and their fates begin to entwine. The Goblin's nephew, Yoo Deok-hwa (Yook Sung-jae), leases the Goblin's house to a Grim Reaper (Lee Dong-wook) and the two end up living under the same roof. Ji Eun-tak starts working a part-time job at a chicken store run by a charismatic young woman, Sunny (Yoo In-na).
As the lives of Kim Shin, Grim Reaper, Ji Eun-tak and Sunny interweave, a deeper story unfolds, as they are not just strangers who met by chance, but people with deep-rooted relations.
- A 939-year-old immortal goblin and protector of souls who is in search for his bride, who is the only one who can remove the sword piercing through his chest. Once the sword is removed, he may finally move to the afterlife and rest in peace. He served as a General during the Goryeo era, where he was appointed as the regent with his sister being betrothed to the young king Wang Yeo. However, due to corruption by a eunuch, the king's guards killed Kim Shin's sister, soldiers, and household before ultimately killing him with the very sword that is lodged in his chest. As both a reward for the good he had done for his country, and a punishment for all the deaths that he caused, the Almighty God grants him immortality. As he has lived for centuries, he feels lonely and depressed as he has to watch his loved ones and those around him pass away. This is until he slowly falls in love with his bride who gives him a reason to live again.
- An optimistic and bubbly 19-year-old high school student and the legendary Goblin's bride. A "Missing Soul", she can see ghosts and summon the Goblin due to her way of birth; her pregnant mom was in a hit-and-run at the time to which the Goblin intervened to save them both, before the Grim Reaper could take them. Orphaned at age 9 and pursued by the Grim Reaper, she was forced to live with her abusive aunt who was seeking her mother's life insurance money. She immediately becomes interested in the Goblin, who takes her in his home so she can pass her exams and enroll in university, while he begins to rediscover the joy of living through her. Originally oblivious to her duty of removing the sword from the Goblin's chest, she eventually learns the truth and struggles with the decision of fulfilling her duty as she has fallen in love with the Goblin.
- A good-looking, cynical yet humorous grim reaper (Angel of Death) who guides souls to their reincarnations or afterlives and Kim Shin's housemate. Along with many other grim reapers, he became a grim reaper after committing the greatest sin of all in his past life. He has no memory of his past lives, but does possess supernatural powers. Originally preferring to be by himself, he falls in love with a chicken restaurant owner named Sunny who eventually reciprocates his feelings. Through her, he begins to unlock clues to his memories and who he was in the past. His past life was revealed to be the young king: Wang Yeo. Despite the king's original pleasant personality, he became corrupted by the power hungry eunuch and orders his guards to kill everyone including his own wife and his loyal general, Kim Shin. This act drove Wang Yeo insane and caused him to ultimately take his own life.
- The attractive owner of a chicken restaurant who hires Ji Eun-tak. The Grim Reaper begins to fall in love with her, and she soon returns his affection, although she is constantly confused by the Grim Reaper's constant social awkwardness. In her past life, it is revealed that she was the younger sister of General Kim Shin and she became the queen upon marrying King Wang Yeo (now the Grim Reaper). The couple were happily in love until the eunuch began to warp the mind of the king. When Wang Yeo tried to exile his loyal general Kim Shin, she supported her brother as he stood up to the king's ridiculous order and was executed as a result.
- Yook Sung-jae as Yoo Deok-hwa
- A rebellious yet kind-hearted chaebol heir and the only grandson of the Yoo family, a household that has the responsibility of taking care of the Goblin. He originally is a spoiled young adult who was only looking after the Goblin in order to receive a new credit card (after he was cut off). However, he learns of the Goblin and the Grim Reaper's true identities, and the trio grew to become strong friends. It is later revealed that the Almighty God had taken over his body for a period of time so that he could enact his plan of intertwining the lives of Kim Shin, Ji Eun-tak, The Grim Reaper, and Sunny
- Lee El as Samshin, Goddess, the creator of birth and fate
- Kim Byung-chul as Park Joong-heon, a cunning and manipulative eunuch from the Goryeo Dynasty
- Kim Sung-kyum as Chairman Yoo Shin-woo, Deok-hwa's grandfather
- Jo Woo-jin as Kim Do-young, Deok-hwa's secretary
- Yeom Hye-ran as Ji Yeon-sook, Eun-tak's maternal aunt
- Jung Young-gi as Park Kyung-shik, Eun-tak's male cousin
- Choi Ri as Park Kyung-mi, Eun-tak's female cousin
- Hwang Seok-jeong as triplet sisters; two of them as a shaman fortune teller and a ghost
- Ham Sung-min as North Korean soldier
Ghost around Eun-takEdit
- Ahn Ji-hyun as Go Jung-hyun, the ghost in the library who was Eun-tak's mother's best friend
- Park Kyung-hye as Virgin Ghost, who always tries to take Eun-tak with her
- Park Se-wan as Go Shi-won, the ghost who asked Eun-tak to clean her dormitory and fill it up with food so that her mother will not be sad (Ep. 2, 4-5)
- Kim So-ra as Lee Jung-hwa, a vengeance ghost whose husband killed her (Ep. 4, 6-7, 9, 11)
- Go Soo-jung as a ghost (Ep. 2)
People around Eun-takEdit
- Noh Gang-min as the boy in the back-alley of the chicken shop who thinks he has wind powers
- Kim Min-young as Park Soo-jin, Eun-tak's schoolmate who harasses her and takes pictures of her and the Goblin
- Go Bo-gyeol as Kim Yoon-ah, Eun-tak's class president who defends her and later becomes her friend
- Kim Nan-hee as Eun-tak's homeroom teacher who discriminates against her because she's an orphan
- Ma Min-hee as one of Soo-jin's friends
- Yoon Hee-kyung as one of Soo-jin's friends
Grim Reapers around Wang YeoEdit
- Kim Ki-doo as a Batch 21 Grim Reaper who is very serious about his work
- Choi Woong as Wang Yeo's junior grim reaper who lives in the rooftop above Sunny's apartment
- Jo Hyun-sik as a Batch 22 Grim Reaper
- Kim Chang-hwan as a Batch 23 Grim Reaper
- Yun Da-yeong as a Batch 23 Grim Reaper who was once Wang Yeo's Court Lady
- Kim Nam-hee as Overworked doctor in ER
- Yoon Kyung-ho as Kim Woo-sik, Kim Shin's loyal lieutenant from the Goryeo era (Ep. 1, 12, 14)
- Lee Moon-soo as a loyal old man from the Goryeo era who kept Kim Shin's body (Ep. 1)
- Nam Da-reum as Kim Soo-bok, the boy who met the Goblin in Paris (Ep. 1, 4)
- Park Jin Woo as Loan Shark (Ep. 2-3, 6)
- Yoon Joo-man as Loan Shark (Ep. 2-3, 6)
- Lee Seul-bi as a vain woman at café (Ep. 3)
- Kim Hyun-mok as Bus Passenger (Ep. 8)
- Kim Hye-yoon as the young era of a widowed old lady (Ep. 15)
The series was written by Kim Eun-sook, who also wrote the popular series Secret Garden (2010), The Heirs (2013), and Descendants of the Sun (2016). The drama marked her second collaboration with director Lee Eun-bok after both worked on Descendants.
The first script-reading was held at Nuri Dream Square in Sangam-dong, Seoul, South Korea, on 30 August 2016. The Goryeo-era flashback scenes were filmed on Gimje, North Jeolla Province on September 22 for the battlefield scenes, while the palace scenes were shot at Naju Image Theme Park. Goblin and Grim Reaper's house (external shots) was filmed at (formerly) Unhyeongung's Western House, presently inside Duksung Women's University (utilized for administration offices).
Overseas filming mainly took place in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada in October, using locations such as the Château Frontenac, Parc du Bastion-de-la-Reine (the Yoo family cemetery), Petit Champlain (Goblin's door to Canada), and the Fontaine de Tourny. The red door, which in reality is the emergency exit of the Théâtre Petit Champlain, and other sites in Quebec City associated with the show have begun to attract numerous fans of the series.
|Guardian (Original Television Soundtrack)|
|Studio||CJ E&M Music Studios|
|Label||CJ E&M, Hwa&Dam Pictures|
Pony Canyon (Japan)
|1.||"Round and Round"||Heize & Han Soo-ji||3:27|
|2.||"Stay With Me"||Chanyeol & Punch||3:12|
|3.||"My Eyes" (내 눈에만 보여)||10cm||2:37|
|6.||"You Are So Beautiful" (이쁘다니까)||Eddy Kim||3:15|
|7.||"Who Are You"||Sam Kim||4:21|
|8.||"I Miss You"||Soyou||2:49|
|9.||"First Snow" (첫 눈)||Jung Joon-il||4:56|
|10.||"I Will Go to You Like the First Snow" (첫눈처럼 너에게 가겠다)||Ailee||3:49|
|11.||"Wish" (소원)||Urban Zakapa||3:56|
|12.||"Heaven"||Roy Kim & Kim EZ||4:19|
|14.||"And I'm Here"||Kim Kyung-hee||4:07|
|15.||"Winter is Coming"||Han Soo-ji||2:30|
|16.||"Stuck in Love"||Kim Kyung-hee||2:39|
|1.||"Dark Walk"||Various Artists||4:34|
|2.||"Butterfly" (나비)||Various Artists||1:13|
|3.||"First Love" (처음사랑)||Various Artists||4:54|
|4.||"When You Open the Door" (문을 열고 나가면)||Various Artists||3:15|
|5.||"Eun-tak's Waltz" (은탁의 왈츠)||Various Artists||3:04|
|6.||"Sparkling Wind" (반짝이는 바람)||Various Artists||3:12|
|7.||"Small Beach House" (바닷가 작은집)||Various Artists||1:25|
|8.||"When Time Stops" (시간이 멈출 때)||Various Artists||2:25|
|9.||"One Day After A Hundred Years" (그렇게 백년을 살아 어느날)||Various Artists||0:18|
|10.||"Amnesia (기억상실)"||Various Artists||3:07|
|11.||"Their Only Moments" (그들만의 시간)||Various Artists||2:06|
|12.||"No God's Sword" (무신검)||Various Artists||1:02|
|13.||"The Future I Saw Was Right" (내가 본 미래가 맞았구나)||Various Artists||0:34|
|14.||"Whistling" (휘파람을 불며)||Various Artists||2:35|
|15.||"Samshin & Deok-hwa" (삼신과 덕화)||Various Artists||2:10|
|16.||"Feast of the Deities" (신들의 만찬)||Various Artists||3:01|
|17.||"Pray" (기도)||Various Artists||1:45|
|18.||"For That Excuse, I Wish I Could Stay Alive" (그 핑계로 내가 계속 살아 있었으면 좋겠어)||Various Artists||0:54|
|19.||"Warriors Song"||Various Artists||4:34|
The drama has also sparked various fashion trends. Items and accessories worn by the cast members, such as the Lanvin coat worn by Gong Yoo, Lancôme lipstick used by Kim Go-eun and Fedora worn by Lee Dong-wook saw an increase in sales. Kim In-yook's poetry book, The Physics of Love, gained renewed attention after one of its verses was featured in the drama. There was also an increase in visitors at the various filming sites of Guardian, which contributed to a positive economic effect on the country. Additionally, original soundtracks featured in the series also topped local digital music charts. Since 2017, it has surpassed Descendants of the Sun (2016) in video-on-demand sales.
The Korea Times stated, "Its success was attributed to the creative plot" and "...the depth of perspective looking at life of the goblin that bears a bloody sword in his chest and has been given eternal life as punishment, immerses the audience into the fantasy story. The twist and complexity of life and death make the story more interesting."
Despite its success, Guardian was criticized for its several consumer product placements which drew an estimated 2-4 billion KRW from revenue. TV and cultural critics also criticized some aspects of the drama; such as the Cinderella complex feature in the series, where female lead is able to summon the male lead, who has supernatural powers. Furthermore, the female lead portrayed a poor high school student attracted to the male lead's rich 30-something man, which the show poked fun of when a classmate described him as a "sugar daddy". The drama was also criticized for its over-dramatic plot.
The series airs on tvN, a cable channel/pay TV which normally has a relatively smaller audience compared to free-to-air TV/public broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC and EBS). The drama consistently topped cable television viewership ratings in its time slot. Its final episode recorded an 18.680% nationwide audience share according to Nielsen paid platform, making the episode the second highest rated in Korean cable television history. It became the first cable drama to surpass 20% ratings.
|Ep.||Original broadcast date||Average audience share|
|1||December 2, 2016||6.322%||7.540%||6.7%|
|2||December 3, 2016||7.904%||10.024%||8.1%|
|3||December 9, 2016||12.471%||14.274%||12.0%|
|4||December 10, 2016||11.373%||13.768%||12.7%|
|5||December 16, 2016||11.507%||12.075%||14.0%|
|6||December 17, 2016||11.618%||14.772%||13.0%|
|7||December 23, 2016||12.297%||13.993%||13.8%|
|8||December 24, 2016||12.344%||14.748%||11.6%|
|9||December 30, 2016||12.933%||13.333%||14.6%|
|10||December 31, 2016||12.702%||14.551%||13.3%|
|11||January 6, 2017||13.894%||15.749%||14.8%|
|12||January 7, 2017||13.712%||15.680%||14.6%|
|13||January 13, 2017||14.254%||16.525%||15.3%|
|14||January 20, 2017||16.043%||17.767%||16.3%|
|15||January 21, 2017||16.917%||18.829%||17.7%|
|Special||January 14, 2017||9.427%||11.786%||9.1%|
|February 3, 2017||3.606%||5.050%||3.9%|
|February 4, 2017||4.075%||5.582%||4.2%|
Awards and nominationsEdit
First Brand Awards
|Special Award||Guardian: The Lonely and Great God||Won|
|11th Korean Cable TV Awards||Best Drama||Won|||
|Best OST||Ailee (I Will Go to You Like the First Snow)||Won|
|Rising Star Award||Yook Sung-jae||Won|
|VOD Broadcasting||Guardian: The Lonely and Great God||Won|
|5th Annual DramaFever Awards||Best Actor||Gong Yoo||Won|||
|Best Supporting Actor||Lee Dong-wook||Won|
|Best Supporting Actress||Yoo In-na||Won|
|Best Couple||Gong Yoo & Kim Go-eun||Won|
|Best Melodrama||Guardian: The Lonely and Great God||Won|
|Grand Prize (Daesang)||Kim Eun-sook||Won|||
|Best Drama||Guardian: The Lonely and Great God||Nominated|
|Best Director||Lee Eung-bok||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Kim Eun-sook||Nominated|
|Best Actor||Gong Yoo||Won|
|Best Actress||Kim Go-eun||Nominated|
12th Asia Model Awards
|Asia OST Popularity||Chanyeol (EXO), Punch (Stay With Me)||Won|
Brand of the Year Awards
|Actor of the Year||Gong Yoo||Won|
|Outstanding Korean Drama OST||Ailee (I Will Go to You Like the First Snow)||Won|||
|Best Hallyu OST||Won|||
|Best Drama||Guardian: The Lonely and Great God||Won|||
|Best Production Director||Lee Eung-bok||Nominated|
|Best Screenplay||Kim Eun-sook||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actor||Lee Dong-wook||Nominated|
|Top Excellence Award, Actress||Kim Go-eun||Nominated|
|Excellence Award, Actress||Yoo In-na||Nominated|
|Best New Actor||Yook Sung-jae||Won|
|Best Original Soundtrack||Crush (Beautiful)||Nominated|
|Soyou (I Miss You)||Nominated|
|Star of the Year Award||Yook Sung-jae||Won|
|Popular Character Award||Kim Byung-chul||Won|
|3rd Fashionista Awards||Best Fashionista – TV & Film Division||Gong Yoo||Nominated|
|Global Icon||Lee Dong-wook||Nominated|
|Best OST Award||Ailee (I Will Go to You Like the First Snow)||Won|||
|Best Drama Series||Guardian: The Lonely and Great God||Nominated|||
|Best OST||Chanyeol (Exo), Punch (Stay With Me)||Nominated|||
|Ailee (I Will Go to You Like the First Snow)||Won|
|9th Melon Music Awards||Song of the Year||Nominated|||
|Best OST Award||Won|
|Kakao Hot Star||Nominated|
32nd Golden Disc Awards
|Best OST Award||Ailee (I Will Go to You Like the First Snow)||Won|||
27th Seoul Music Awards
|Best OST Award||Won|||
- "'Guardian' -- not 'Goblin'". Kpop Herald. December 7, 2016.
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- [단독] 김고은, 공유의 여자 된다..김은숙 신작 주인공 (in Korean). Osen. Retrieved October 14, 2016.
- "January 21, 2017 Nationwide Cable Ratings" (in Korean). Nielsen Korea.
1st (tvN) 쓸쓸하고찬란하신도깨비<본> 18.680%
- "Goblin Rom-Com Sets New Milestone for Cable Soaps". The Chosun Ilbo. January 23, 2017.
- "Gong Yoo nabs lead role in romance drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. April 22, 2016. Archived from the original on August 7, 2020.
- "Gong Yoo picked for 'Descendants of the Sun' scriptwriter's next drama". The Korea Herald. April 21, 2016.
- "Kim Go-eun nabs lead role in 'Goblin' drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. May 27, 2016.
- [단독] 김고은, 공유의 여자 된다…김은숙 신작 주인공. 네이트뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved October 14, 2016.
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- "극구 부인하던 tvN ´도깨비´, 결국 ´태후´ 이응복 PD가 연출 – 일간스포츠". Joins. August 29, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
- "'Descendants' writer, director team up for new fantasy piece". The Korea Herald. November 22, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
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- 「トッケビ～君がくれた愛しい日々～」オリジナル・サウンドトラック [Guardian: The Lonely and Great God OST]. Pony Canyon (in Japanese). Retrieved March 1, 2018.
- "쓸쓸하고찬란하神-도깨비 OST (孤单又灿烂的神－鬼怪 OST)" [Guardian: The Lonely and Great God OST] (in Chinese). QQ Music. April 2, 2017. Retrieved April 2, 2017.
- "Crush sings soundtrack for 'Guardian'". Kpop Herald. December 16, 2015.
- "Ailee, Urban Zakapa join drama soundtrack". Korea JoongAng Daily. January 7, 2017.
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- "Artists point fingers over song controversy". Korea JoongAng Daily. January 26, 2017.
- Cumulative sales for "Stay With Me":
- Cumulative sales "My Eyes":
- Cumulative sales for "Hush":
- Cumulative sales for "Beautiful":
- Cumulative sales for "You Are So Beautiful":
- Cumulative sales for "Who Are You":
- Cumulative sales for "I Miss You":
- Cumulative sales for "First Snow":
- Cumulative sales for "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow":
- "Gaon Download Chart – Year 2017". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
- Cumulative sales for "Wish":
- "Gaon Download Chart – Year 2017". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
- Cumulative sales for "And I'm Here", "Winter is Coming" & "Stuck in Love":
- "Gaon Download Chart – Week 02". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved January 19, 2017.
- "Gaon Download Chart – Week 03". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- "Gaon Download Chart – Week 04". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved February 2, 2017.
- "Gaon Download Chart – Week 05". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved February 9, 2017.
- "Gaon Download Chart – Week 06". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved February 16, 2017.
- "Gaon Download Chart – Week 07". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved February 23, 2017.
- "Gaon Download Chart – Week 08". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved March 2, 2017.
- "Gaon Download Chart – Week 09". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved March 9, 2017.
- Cumulative sales for "Heaven":
- Cumulative sales for "Love":
- Cumulative sales for "Round and Round":
- * "Goblin OST Pack". Archived from the original on August 27, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- "Gaon Album Chart – Year 2017". gaonchart.co.kr. Retrieved January 12, 2018.
- Goblin OST Sales in China's two major music platforms:
- "Korean Drama "Guardian" lures Asian and US viewers". The Korea Times. 5 May 2017.
- "'Guardian' fever continues". The Korea Times. February 7, 2017.
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