What is the K-drama ‘The Glory’ all about
The Korean drama The Glory narrates how Moon Dong-eun (Song Hye-kyo), who was brutally bullied in high school, returns after almost two decades to begin a complex plot of revenge that she hopes would bring about the ruin of her high school bullies who are now unrepentant and evil adults.
She was compelled to leave school to preserve her life as the violence escalated. As an adult, Dong-eun’s life is one well-planned scheme for retaliation that aims to exact punishment on her abusers and the witnesses who stood by and did nothing.
Part 2 of The Glory surpasses expectations thanks to its incisive prose, gripping story, and outstanding acting
With each bully falling for Dong- eun’s traps and manipulation at the end of Part 1, her plan had started to take shape.
But in The Glory Part 2, her tormentors start responding. Some chaotically react to protect themselves, while others want to cut Dong-eun off as they learn how deeply she has rooted herself into their lives without their knowledge.
The Glory Part 2 is the perfect continuation of a woman’s journey through revenge and towards redemption. It not only met but greatly exceeded the high standards set by its predecessor which ended with astounding viewership. It has placed no. 1 in 26 countries and is in the top 10 of 63 other countries.
Top Questions about The Glory
Is the Kdrama The Glory Based on a True Story?
The story of The Glory is not directly based on a true story. Its plot and thematic elements are realistic mirrors of the horrors and trauma of school bullying.
However, based on the statements of the people behind the show, the incident of the curling iron is inspired from a true incident of bullying in a certain school in South Korea.
Furthermore, Moon Dong-eun’s experience during high school is true for many high schoolers not just in South Korea but also around the world. The Glory successfully achieved to transform the realities of society into an intensely suspenseful and dramatic television series.
Where to Watch The Glory, Release Dates, and Total Episodes
Part 1 was released on Netflix last December 30, 2022, with 8 intense episodes.
Part 2, which was released on March 10, 2023, also has 8 episodes. A month after it was released, the Korean drama still dominates Netflix Philippines, holding strong in the no. 2 spot.
The Glory Cast of Characters
Song Hye-kyo as Moon Dong-eun (Jung Ji-So as teen Moon Dong-eun)
The Class 1-2 homeroom teacher at Semyeong Primary School. She endured regular verbal and physical abuse from Yeon-jin and her friends while she was in high school. After eventually dropping out of school, she set in motion a complex scheme of revenge against Yeon-jin’s group.
Lee Do-hyun as Joo Yeo-jeong
A plastic surgeon who worked and is the son of the Director of Seoul Joo General Hospital. He became both the shield and the sword of Moon Dong-eun.
Lim Ji-yeon as Park Yeon-jin (Shin Ye-eun as teen Park Yeon-jin)
A weather presenter at a television station. She led the group of delinquents in bullying and physically abusing Dong-eun during high school.
Park Sung-hoon as Jeon Jae-joon
The color blind heir of a country club. He was part of the group that constantly abused Dong-eun. His illicit affair with Yeon-jin will add complications to her marriage.
Kim Hieora as Lee Sa-ra
A member of the choir at her father’s well-to-do church. She had a serious drug problem as a child and is now a well-known abstract painter. She was a member of the gang that bullied Dong-eun.
Cha Joo-young as Choi Hye-jeong
A flight attendant whose parents are self-service laundry business proprietors. Despite being one of the lowest authorities in the group due to her lack of a distinguished background, she was a member of the group that bullied Dong-eun.
Kim Gun-woo as Son Myeong-oh
He belonged to the group that regularly mistreated Dong-eun. He grows up working as a drug dealer for Sa-ra and an errand boy for Jae-joon since he lacks the contacts and education that come with having money.
Jung Sung Il as Ha Do-yeong
Jaepyeong Construction’s CEO and Yeon-jin’s husband. He falls victim to Dong-eun’s meticulously designed trap and opens a Pandora’s Box that jeopardizes his family’s happiness.
Yeom Hye-ran as Kang Hyun-nam
A housekeeper who was employed by the head of the Semyeong Foundation. She experiences domestic violence from her spouse, as does her daughter. By acting as her sleuth, she aids Dong-eun in getting her vengeance in return for killing her husband.
Ahn So-yo as Kim Kyung-ran
A salesperson in a store that Jae-joon owns. After Dong-eun dropped out of school, she was the next victim of ongoing harassment by Yeon-jin’s gang during her time in high school. Her involvement in one character’s death will surely shock you a bit.
Jung-young Kim as Park Sang-im
Yeo-jeong’s mother who is also the current director of Seoul Joo General Hospital. She is the main reason why Moon Dong-eun had a turning point in her decision towards the end of part 2.
The Glory Kdrama Review: Revenge and Redemption of Moon Dong-eun
The Glory is absolutely the perfect K-drama worth watching. The follow-up to a brilliant season 1 has done us fairly by giving us the same adrenaline rush that was magnified by the excellent cast.
In addition, season 2’s emphasis on characters other than the primary leads allowed us to learn more about their respective tales, which increased our empathy for them. Part 2 was able to tie in the loose ends of Part 1 in a fashion that is visually smooth and reasonable.
As opposed to other revenge Korean dramas with character arcs that would put the avenger as someone completely above the law, The Glory triumphs with the narration of a character whose revenge somehow still seeks the justice that could provide after so many years of blindness and negligence as manifested with the imprisonment of Yeon-jin as the police have come to believe Moon Dong-eun’s story which was not heard and was thwarted years ago.
What Made The Glory a Solid Kdrama that is Worth Watching
It has a stellar cast
Sometimes, when a Kdrama has many A-list and famous stars the drama flops or the show does not work well. We have seen this with Jirisan, Jun Ji-hyun and Ju Ji-hoon’s drama together or Song Hye-kyo and Park Bo-gum’s Encounter which did not make so much noise.
However, The Glory succeeded in partnering Song Hye-kyo with Lee Do-hyun. The cast completely delved into their characters that their names in the industry did not matter. Hye-kyo performed the nuanced and cold persona of Moon Dong-eun very well while Do-hyun did the same with Joo Yeo-jeong’s.
It has a compelling narrative
The Glory’s storyline, as it centers on Moon Dong-eun’s character and her journey of revenge and redemption, is definitely good writing.
The events that lead to Moon Dong-eun’s revenge are well established in Part 1 creating a perfect setting for what’s to come. It was able to provide a clear picture of how the trauma cemented Song Hye-Kyo’s character and how she decided to live the rest of her life making her tormentors pay for what she endured.
I also like the dynamics of the villains in the story and how they contribute to the plot’s progression. The complexity of these villains’ interactions with one another, which range from little bullying to a perverted romance, enhances the depth of their characters; making the plot a lot more interesting.
The storyline does not feel rushed. Moon Dong-eun’s revenge plan took time until that climatic event that would set all her tormentors to their deserved ends. It is a complete mix of suspense, drama, thrill, and with classic twists and turns that revenge K-dramas have.
It exposed the harsh truth of how bullying may negatively impact someone’s life
A huge part of the drama’s success I believe is its portrayal of the horrors and dangers of bullying.
What Moon Dong-eun endured in high school and how it was shown on TV is very real. That execution allowed viewers to be heavily invested in the main character’s pursuits.
It also successfully pictures realities in our society; that teenagers such as the characters in The Glory, both the abused and the abusers, exist in real life. By being so realistic in its narrative, the message of the show as to the impact that bullying can have on someone’s life is very heartfelt.
The good execution of the redemptive arc
What is interesting about the K-drama The Glory was Moon Dong-eun not only seeks retribution for all the suffering she has endured against her tormentors but also seeks justice for Yoon So-hee.
She was not only redeeming herself from the years of abuse Yeon-jin and her gang did to her, but she also wants justice for Yoon So-hee’s death. When she visited So-hee’s tomb in the final episode and said, “We’re both finally 19” speaks of the liberation that they both finally have- that the tragic ends of their tormentors freed them and they both finally take back their life.
The drama showed us that no matter how tragic and traumatic one’s life gets, you can absolutely rise from it and redeem yourself. We have seen this play out to the different characters. Moon Don-eun was finally able to pursue architecture. The abused maid and Moon Dong-eun’s accomplice was finally able to start anew with her daughter.
Pain is transformative
Another aspect I want to point out is the beauty of how pained and traumatized individuals gravitated toward each other.
Although they exist to help Moon Dong-eun achieve her plans, they were able to achieve theirs as well as the story ended. As painful as her past is, it was all worth it.
The monologue Moon Dong-eun made towards the end of the drama made such a strong impact on me and magnifies the redemptive arc of the whole story. When she wondered if only there was someone who was there for her and came to the realization that there were good people in her life- good friends, good weather, and even the intervention of heaven, it was a truly good introspection. Her past was a long winter. But spring came and she finally bloomed
Does the Kdrama The Glory have a Happy Ending?
Now, if you ask if The Glory has a happy ending; well, if you consider Moon Dong-eun finally getting her life back and realizing that she was never entirely alone with her revenge helpers also getting to begin anew, not to mention her executioner Joo Yeo-jeong has become her lover, a happy ending then, yes!
The Glory has a sort of happy ending. But I wouldn’t call it happy really. It is more hopeful. It is like finally finding the light after a long dark and treacherous journey.
The Glory is a K-drama with a satisfying redemption story of a woman marked by abuse and neglect who transformed that dark past into her very weapon of claiming what she had lost. If you enjoy this kind of Korean drama, The Glory is definitely a must-watch.
What to Watch After The Glory
Looking for more Kdrama similar to The Glory? Try binge-ing these other revenge-themed Korean drama streaming on different platforms.
Follow the story of how a mafia consigliere, Vincenzo, crushed the villainy of the story’s antagonists using the system of the mafia. The show does not shy away from deaths and torture.
The story of one woman’s quest for vengeance through Seoul’s most vile and savage criminal underworld, My Name is completely visceral and drenched in brutality and cruelty.
Taxi Driver on the other hand is a narrative that shows what injustice can do to people and how a band of individuals who were once victims of this injustice seek justice for those who can’t fight for themselves.
The plot centers on powerful women who break away from social constraints to discover their true “mine.”
Itaewon class follows the journey of a young man who opens a bar-restaurant in the Itaewon district of Seoul after being expelled from school and imprisoned for standing up to a bully. He vows to get revenge on the man responsible for his father’s death and the unfair treatment he has endured.
A story of a devoted, hardworking, and loyal secretary to the Jin family who runs the lucrative Soonyang Group empire. He was betrayed by his masters and was reborn inside Soonyang’s youngest heir.
A woman’s revenge against the people who murdered her scientist father 13 years ago.
Revenge of Others
This drama follows Ok Chan-mi’s quest for vengeance following the death of her twin brother.
Vagabond is an action-thriller drama that revolves around a man seeking revenge for the death of his nephew in a plane crash caused by corrupt individuals. The story follows the protagonist as he uncovers a web of conspiracies and corruption, and battles against powerful forces to bring justice to his family and the country.
The show portrays the determination of three underprivileged sisters named In-ju, In-hye, and In-keong to find love, money, and independence.