I’ll be real, other than a promising plot one of the things that got me to watch Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People was how charismatic and cool I thought the main lead looked. And charismatic and cool he was. When I began watching Rebel I wasn’t really looking for a love story, but more of a story in which the underdog triumphs, and that I got.
Yoon Gyun Sang, along with the other impeccable actors of this drama kept me glued to the screen episode to episode.
Now let me let you in on all the things I could not get enough of in this drama, other than the charming leads half smirk that did all sorts of things to my heart.
Disclaimer: Spoilers lie ahead. Tread at your own risk.
The Crafty Characters
If there is one thing that someone could not debate me on about this drama, it is the fact that the casting was impeccable, as the characters did more than bring the drama to life and introduced me to so many talented and fresh faces that I was not aware of before.
Hong Gil Dong
I found myself falling more and more in love with Gil Dong with every episode. As I watched I thought this actor is phenomenal! Where has he been all my life? Like what rock had I been living under before discovering this beauty? It was similar to the feeling I had when I had first been introduced to Lee Joon-gi from Moon Lovers. I was head over heels, and he could do no wrong. From his deep voice that commanded every scene, to the alluring look in his eyes as he courted his lover, his sarcastic tendencies and personality full of humor, his 6’2 height, his honor, pride, confidence, words of wisdom, and the way his eyes crinkled when he smiled full on, displaying an oh so adorable dimple — my biggest issue was figuring out how I could transplant myself into the drama so I could even further revel his perfection.
I mean, how could you not fall in love with this face?
Jang Nok Soo
I loved her from the beginning. She had a cat like manner to her and I loved the way she spoke, often hanging to her every word. She was just gorgeous to put it simply. It was one of the few times I fan girled over a female character since watching Age of Youth. I had a huge girl crush on her.
Aside from that, she was a character that did not speak out of turn, only using her breath when she had something of value to say. Though some of her actions were mislead, she had so much wisdom. She was a person who had really felt life in the negative sense, and she didn’t sit around and let herself or anyone around her feel sorry for her. Instead she did everything she could to survive and faced life head on. She was daring, had an ALL or nothing attitude, and when she spoke about her pain she let you know that though she may have been a product of her circumstances for a while, no one would get in the way of her huge ambition and she was not to be messed with.
Hong Ah Mo Gae
I’ve never seen such a cool ahjussi! I’m sure through the course of the drama he said so many significant quotes, but one that sticks out to me the most was one he was most infamous for: “Because I wanted to.”
He showed me that a person could go through many hardships that could just as well make the world seem like it was over, but still overcome them by staying focused on their goal and playing things smartly.
He had the sickest smile, and was an amazing father and husband with an even more amazing sense of humor. I could definitely see why his wife had fallen so hard for him. Moreover, he was a great ruler. He put a lot of time and effort into his plans, and every single thing he said or did held significance as the viewer saw later on. His acting managed to have me constantly floored, as I raved to my friend about how good he was at portraying his characters emotions and how much I loved his intense scenes. Kim Sang-joong is definitely a practiced actor with years of experience under his belt and I will definitely be watching more dramas featuring him.
Song Ga Ryeong
Two words: Cutie pie! She stole my heart with her amazingly crafty mind, adorable mannerisms, and wittiness. I admired how relentless she was at getting what she wanted and after a while couldn’t see anyone else playing her role. From the moment she slapped Gil Dong for crossing the line with Nok Soo without a care in the world as to who he was, I knew she wasn’t your typical character. She was so likable with her teasing sense of humor and uncaring attitude. I remember thinking she looked pretty young but those thoughts were completely irrelevant as she was such a good actress when it came to displaying a wide range of emotions, and the way she put spunk and personality into acting and brought her character to life made me want to instantly watch another drama featuring her. I look forward to more from Chae Soo-bin in the future, as I feel she has so much potential.
Lee Yoong (King Yeonsan Gun)
I thought he was so good looking and completely adorable among other things. This actor really committed to his role to the point that I was conflicted on how attractive I thought he was compared to how extremely evil and ugly he was being. He portrayed the role of a crazy bastard well, and I loved seeing the dynamic in which he had a soft spot for certain people too. The way he was able to be a cold, wicked king one second then appear like an innocent, lost child the next had me shook. Every emotion his character felt could be seen through his eyes and I had a huge internal struggle of choosing whether to hate, feel sorry for him, or fall madly in love with him.
Hong Gil Hyun
I think it’s a trend for the actors on this drama to be great at displaying emotions because he did not fail to follow suit. His intense crying scenes along with his brother Gil Dong left me more than moved. Though I recognized his brilliance, Gil Hyun is definitely a character that grew on me overtime. He seemed to be a background character in the beginning but took great importance overtime and let me tell you, he was so. freaking. cool! He depicted a filial subject of the king so well and his transition to a cunning, fearless bastard had me wanting more every second. Whenever he smirked I couldn’t help but think how attractive his confidence was. I would have loved to see a love story for him as knowing how caring, attentive, and intense he is, I would have been totally invested.
The Innocent Love Story
Gil Dong and Ga Ryeong’s story started cute and innocent and it remained like that.
Ga Ryeong’s crush was adorable from the beginning as she tried to get a peek of Gil Dong through peep holes and was visibly happier when he gave her simple compliments without thinking twice or she was simply in his presence. I loved the instances I got to watch them be unbearably cute and the way they gazed at each other like their lives depended on it. Even more than that I loved the urgency they both had to see each other after long periods of time.
The main reason this couple worked so much for me was because of the fact that Gil Dong was a blunt, sometimes seemingly uncaring character, whereas Ga Ryeong was fearless and didn’t let his attitude affect the way she felt about him.
Gil Dong started off acting cold towards her and as the relationship progressed you saw how precious she was to him, and how baffled and embarrassed he was until he became confident and forward with Ga Ryeong. The way he would often tease her in a playful way made my heart leap in joy.
I like how this drama stuck to it’s main purpose and made the focal story an uprising of people who were being oppressed, making every moment between Gil Dong and Ga Ryeong all that more significant and leaving me excited at the prospect of any interaction between the two. And even more, a chance for Gil Dong to showcase his amazing kissing skills.
The (Elder’s) Gang
The term “squad goals” must have been derived from this bunch of gangsters. There was not a moment of this drama in which I did not admire their bond and think wow, it would be really cool to have a group of friends that feel like literal family. Until then I would continue to live through their banter, ridiculous jokes, outrageous personalities, crazy antics, loyalty, and pure love for one another. They say that people who go through hard or stressful situations together naturally grow closer over time. Well this bunch is a true testament to that statement.
The Undying Spirit/Determination
Everyone in the cast had a goal they wanted to achieve. Be it a positive or negative goal, they went for it with everything they had, and this alone was admirable. The way Ah Mo Gae adamantly fought for a better life for him and his family, the way Gil Dong relentlessly avenged his father and him and the gang did everything in their power to get justice for the people, the way the king made it his mission to fear the people into respecting his rule after the atrocity that had been done to his mother and brother, the way Nok Soo, the kings woman, strove to be just that, the way Ga Ryeong made sure she was the only one that Gil Dong saw and was willing to die if it meant avenging his “death”, how Gil Hyun strove to be a filial government official, and how the people wanted to live a nice life in which they weren’t bound by the unrealistic needs and demands of their king, more than willing to go to extreme lengths in order to do so.
The way the people came together on multiple occasions to aid the Elder’s gang in order to triumph against the injustice that was being done to them was marvelous. It made my heart soar as a story of oppression in which the people rise up and turn their situation around is more than inspiring to me.
The Strong Emphasis on Freinds and Family
This drama definitely reinforced the fact that through and through family comes first, and through your life you may be lucky enough to acquire friends who feel just like family. Even as Gil Hyun became a government official, when he realized the identity of his brother Gil Dong, he was naturally on his side, as it should be. The Elder’s men who became his family were loyal even at times when they had doubts. Nok Soo’s motherly figure Ha Mae remained loyal to her when she had every opportunity to run, as she saw her as her closest family. These are just a few examples of the power of family and friendship. And what was the most remarkable was that when someone became a part of the Hong family as one of the Elder’s men, they instantly had the protection and trust of the Elder’s people.
The Inspiring OSTs
The official soundtrack of this show was amazing and did a great job of highlighting each and every scene as well as amplifying my emotions. Here are a couple of songs that stood out to me:
“If Spring Comes” – Ahn Ye Eun
This song reminds me of all of the epic cliffhangers, or every time the Elder or a member of his Gang did something so completely badass that I could not even properly express my feeling of awe on, so instead I appreciated how cool they looked as they starred at their enemies in the distance.
“Spring Of Ilkhwari” – Kim Sang Joong
This song was the people’s cry, their resurrection song, the song that kept them pushing forward. A song that they visited when they were both happy and sad, this song took on both tones.
“Nightly Rain” – Jambinai Feat. Park Min Hee
I can’t properly express how much I love this song with just words alone, but I’ll do my best. This song to me is like when all seems to have gone wrong in the world, and you don’t know what to do. And you don’t want to go on, but then it rains, and the rain seems to wash away all your worries and hardships of yesterday. And for a second you feel like you can exhale in relief and inhale without feeling like you’re choking on the toxins that once enveloped your environment. Yeah, that just about sums it up.
The Noteworthy Lessons
I’m one for a drama filled to the brim with meaningful quotes that make me think with the occasional lesson sprinkled in here and there. This drama did not fail to teach and reinforce many lessons in relation to love, life, friendships, and family. Here are some that stood out to me:
- No matter how strong you think your love is, if you betray or are not loyal to someone they WILL move on.
- Taking revenge in a negative form will come back to bite you and that is not the way to go about righting the wrongs that your enemies did to you. If anything, as the Elder’s men showed, it is best to plan carefully so that the enemy eventually destroys them self on their own.
- Once you consistently show that you are loyal in a friendship, there are people who will treat you like their family and protect you with their lives.
These were some of the things that kept me hooked on the drama Rebel: Thief Who Stole the People. Love this drama as much as I did, hate it? Have a favorite scene that sticks out to you? Did you think Gil Dong was an actual babe as well? Let me know in the comments section below!
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Until next time,