Guardian: The Lonely and Great God
Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Korean: 쓸쓸하고 찬란하神 – 도깨비; RR: Sseulsseulhago Chanlanhasin – Dokkaebi; lit. The Lonely and Great 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. As of February 2020, it is the fifth-highest rated Korean drama in cable television history.
|Guardian: The Lonely and Great God|
|Also known as||Goblin|
|Hangul||쓸쓸하고 찬란하신 – 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(s)||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 54th 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 and endure the pain of seeing his loved ones die as punishment for the kills he committed in the wars 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. Sunny (Yoo In-na) is a charismatic young lady who runs a chicken shop where Ji Eun-Tak works as a part timer.
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, 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 possesses supernatural powers that come with his immortality, but he has to pay a huge price for this. He feels lonely as he has to watch his loved ones leaving him behind when their lifespan ends. 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. When his sword is finally removed and his body dissolves into ashes, he chooses not go onto the afterlife and instead decides to stay trapped in limbo for 9 years until he is summoned by Eun-tak and returns to Earth with his powers intact.
- 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 Grim Reaper Wang Yeo 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 insurance policy. She immediately falls in love with the Goblin, who takes her in his home so she can pass her exams and enroll in university, while he rediscovers the joy of living. She eventually helps him to remove his sword, although her memories are wiped as a result of his apparent death. Nine years later as a radio producer, she reunites with the Goblin when she inadvertently summons him, and he helps her to regain her lost memories and they marry. However, she is killed by a truck when sacrificing herself to save a bus of schoolchildren. She is reincarnated and reunited with the Goblin.
- A good-looking, cynical yet humorous grim reaper (Angel of Death) (grim reapers receive their jobs as a punishment for committing the greatest of sins in their past lives) who guides souls to their reincarnations or afterlives. Along with many other grim reapers, he has no memory of his past lives. He was a young king named Wang Yeo in his past life. Under the influence of a power-hungry eunuch, he betrayed General Kim Shin and killed his wife, which he regretted for the rest of his life, and eventually committed suicide, which was his ultimate sin. He falls in love with Sunny, who is his reincarnated wife, but she decides to part ways as she finds it too painful, and he accepts that they will not be together in this lifetime. He is reunited with Sunny when she dies and becomes the final ghost he has to guide to the afterlife.
- The attractive owner of a chicken restaurant who hires Ji Eun-tak. The Grim Reaper Wang Yeo falls for her and she soon returns his affection, although she is constantly confused by the Grim Reaper's constant social awkwardness. In her past life she was the younger sister of General Kim Shin and she became Queen upon marrying King Wang Yeo (now the Grim Reaper). However, when the eunuch urged the King to exile her brother, she sided with her brother upon his return and was killed. When everyone else forget their memories, she is the only one who remembers. Ends up with the reincarnated Wang Yeo in her fourth life.
- 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. Living with the Goblin and the Grim Reaper, Deok-hwa learns of their true identities, and the trio grow to be strong friends. It is later revealed that God had taken over his body for a period of time.
- Lee El as Samshin, Goddess, the creator of birth and fate
- Kim Sung-kyum as Chairman Yoo Shin-woo, Deok-hwa's grandfather
- Yeom Hye-ran as Ji Yeon-suk, Eun-tak's aunt
- Jung Young-gi as Park Kyung-shik, Eun-tak's male cousin
- Choi Ri as Park Kyung-mi, Eun-tak's female cousin
- Jo Woo-jin as Kim Do-young, Deok-hwa's secretary
- Hwang Seok-jeong as triplet sisters; two of them as a shaman fortune teller and a ghost
- Park Kyung-hye as ghost trying to take Eun-tak with her
- Park Se-wan as ghost wearing glasses (Ep. 5)
- Go Soo-jung as ghost
- Kim So-ra as Lee Jung-hwa
- Go Bo-gyeol as Kim Yoo-na, Eun-tak's class president
- Lee Moon-soo as an old man from the Goryeo era who kept Kim Shin's body
- Yoon Kyung-ho as Kim Woo-sik, Kim Shin's loyal lieutenant from the Goryeo era
- Kim Byung-chul as Park Joong-heon, a cunning and manipulative official from the Goryeo Dynasty
- Nam Da-reum as Kim Soo-bok, boy who met Kim Shin in Canada
- Kim Nan-hee as Eun-tak's teacher
- Kim Min-young as Soo-jin, Eun-tak's schoolmate
- Ma Min-hee as one of Soo-jin's school friends
- Yoon Hee-kyung as one of Soo-jin's school friends
- Choi Woong as Wang Yeo's junior grim reaper
- Kim Ki-doo as one of the junior grim reapers
- Jo Hyun-sik as Loan shark
- Yoon Joo-man as Loan shark
- Yun Da-yeong as a female grim Reaper
- Ahn Ji-hyun as Go Jung-hyun; Eun-tak's ghost friend
- Lee Seul-bi as vain woman at cafe
- 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, 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)
The drama was a hit and consistently topped cable television viewership ratings in its timeslot. 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. It was also popular among the international audience, which led to parodies of the drama on various social media sites, notably by both celebrities and political figures.
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.
Its success was attributed to the creative plot. The Korea Times stated, "...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 (as well as Kim Eun-sook's previous hit-drama Descendants of the Sun in 2016) 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. The female lead being able to summon the male lead, who has supernatural powers, was criticized by some as an example of Cinderella complex. 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.
In this table, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest 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%|
- Episode 14 was postponed as additional time was needed to work on the special graphics.
- Episodes 15 and 16 were shown back-to-back on January 21, 2017.
Awards and nominationsEdit
|2017||Special Award||Guardian: The Lonely and Great God||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|
|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|
|Asia OST Popularity||Chanyeol (EXO), Punch (Stay With Me)||Won|
|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|
|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|
|Song of the Year||Nominated|||
|Best OST Award||Won|
|Kakao Hot Star||Nominated|
|2018||Best OST Award||Ailee (I Will Go to You Like the First Snow)||Won|||
|Best OST Award||Won|||
- In Brunei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore, the drama aired on Oh!K with subtitles. It was retitled as "Goblin" in promotional materials and during broadcast. It was premiered on December 3, 2016, 24 hours after its original broadcast in South Korea.
- In Sri Lanka, Brunei, Malaysia, the Maldives and Vietnam, the drama is available to stream on-demand on Iflix. It was retitled as "Goblin" in promotional materials. During its original run, episodes of the drama were exclusively streamed on Iflix within 24 hours of its original South Korean broadcast with subtitles between December 3, 2016, and January 22, 2017.
- In Japan, the drama was premiered in March 2017 on Mnet Japan. Later in 2018, it was premiered both on TV Tokyo with Hanryu Premiere on 21 May and BS Fuji on 13 September, both channels with the Japanese dub.
- The series is available on-demand on Viu in Hong Kong, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia with English, Chinese, Indonesian and Malay subtitles.
- Outside of Asia, the drama streams on DramaFever and Viki with subtitles.
- In Thailand, the drama aired in early 2017 on True4U.
- In the Philippines, the series was premiered on ABS-CBN on May 8, 2017, replacing Love in the Moonlight on its Primetime Bida block. On November 13, 2017 the series was re-aired on its Kapamilya Gold block, dubbed in Filipino. It was re-shown on Asianovela Channel, starting on July 30, 2018.
- In Cambodia, the drama was premiered on July 24, 2017 on Town TV.
- In Indonesia, it was shown on GTV, on Mondays to Fridays at 14:00 starting on October 2, 2017.
- In Singapore, it aired on Channel U, on Mondays to Fridays at 10pm starting on November 27, 2017.
- In Hong Kong, Macau, Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia, the drama began on tvN Asia with a variety of subtitles on January 23, 2018.
- In Bangladesh, the drama is available to stream on-demand on Iflix. It was retitled as "Goblin" in promotional materials. It is also dubbed in Bengali in the app.
- In Bulgaria, it premiered on May 21, 2020, from Mondays to Fridays at 21:00pm.
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1st (tvN) 쓸쓸하고찬란하신도깨비<본> 18.680%
- "Goblin Rom-Com Sets New Milestone for Cable Soaps". The Chosun Ilbo. January 23, 2017.
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- "극구 부인하던 tvN ´도깨비´, 결국 ´태후´ 이응복 PD가 연출 – 일간스포츠". Joins. August 29, 2016. Retrieved December 3, 2016.
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- "'Goblin' teaser accompanies fall foliage in Quebec". Kpop Herald. November 15, 2016.
- "Le "Brad Pitt" de la Corée du Sud en tournage à Québec". La Presse (in French). Retrieved October 14, 2016.
- ICI.Radio-Canada.ca, Zone Arts -. "Tournage d'une méga série sud-coréenne à Québec". Radio-Canada.ca (in French). Retrieved October 14, 2016.
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- "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.
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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:
- "'Guardian' finale breaks viewership records". Korea JoongAng Daily. 23 January 2017.
- "Last episode of fantasy rom-com 'Guardian' boasts record viewership". The Korea Herald. January 22, 2017.
- "Korean Drama "Guardian" lures Asian and US viewers". The Korea Times. 5 May 2017.
- "'Guardian' fever continues". The Korea Times. February 7, 2017.
- "Gong Yoo wore 182 different outfits in 'Guardian'". Kpop Herald. February 3, 2017.
- "'Guardian' styles sweeping fashion industry". Kpop Herald. December 29, 2016.
- "Female leads of hit dramas spark lip makeup trend". Kpop Herald. 11 January 2017.
- "Thanks to hit show, fedoras are must-have accessory". Korea JoongAng Daily. February 1, 2017.
- "Book sales jump as Guardian's popularity soars". The Korea Times. December 27, 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
- "'Guardian' filming sites become hot tourist spots". The Korea Times. 18 January 2017.
- "Music speaks volumes in hit TV show 'Guardian'". Yonhap News Agency. January 11, 2017.
- "'Guardian' songs sweeping music charts". Kpop Herald. January 11, 2017.
- "Goblin beats Descendants of Sun in video-on-demand sales". The Straits Times. April 27, 2017.
- "'Guardian' sees strong video-on-demand sales, beats 'Descendants of the Sun'". Kpop Herald. April 26, 2017.
- "Creative plot key to K-drama success". The Korea Times. April 26, 2017.
- "Fantasy drama "Guardian" enjoys unprecedented popularity". The Korea Times. 20 December 2016. Retrieved January 22, 2017.
- "'Descendants of the Sun' under fire for too much PPL". Kpop Herald. April 7, 2016.
- "'PPL 폭탄' 터트린 태양의 후예". The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). April 8, 2016.
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- "Despite flaws, 'Guardian' reaches new heights in rating, themes". Yonhap News Agency. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- 윤고은 (January 22, 2017). "[단독][도깨비 20.5%] VOD 흥행기록 깼다…중국 없이도 흑자③" [[Exclusive] [Guardian20.5％] VOD Breaks Records... China Market Excluded③]. 연합뉴스 (in Korean). Retrieved January 26, 2017.
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