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Humans Are More Evil Than Zombies In ‘Kingdom: Ashin Of The North’

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at July 23, 2021

In Kingdom: Ashin of the North, Gianna Jun aka Jun Ji-hyun, plays a member of the Jurchen tribe, who settled in Joseon-era Korea. These East Asian Tungusic-speaking people lived in the northeast of China but some, like her tribe, came to Korea. Her tribe was loyal to Korea for letting them settle there, although they were relegated to a subsistence existence. 

In her quest to find ginseng to help her sick mother, Ashin discovers an inscription that speaks of the restorative power of a blue “resurrection” flower. The inscription warns that the plant will bring the dead back to life, but it will exact a price few are willing to pay. While Ashin is off on her quest, her family is slaughtered. Despite her grief, even at a tender young age, Ashin is resilient and does what she can to survive.

As with the rest of the Kingdom series the zombies in Ashin of the North seem less evil than some of the humans who inhabit Ashin’s world. Zombies kill because they are driven to do so. They can’t help themselves. They’re just made that way. People kill despite knowing the value of human life. The humans in Kingdom: Ashin of the North devalue those they decide to kill and permanently damage those who witness such brutality. 

Ashin begs for help in getting revenge and suffers a hard servitude hoping to exact it. That revenge is a long time coming. After she grows up, strong and skilled in archery, she realizes she must be the agent of her own revenge. 

Jun, who plays the grown-up Ashin heart-rendingly conveys the psychological damage suffered by her character. The rage she feels trembles below her numb exterior until she can finally unleash it. Young Ashin, played by Kim Shi-A, also deserves applause for her harrowing portrayal of a child abandoned by fate. Park Byung-Eun, who appeared in Season 2 of Kingdom, plays a military official who seems compassionate, but, as a soldier, unquestioningly follows orders. 

There’s a social message in Ashin of the North, as there is in the rest of the Kingdom series that those in power must not abuse those they rule over. Kingdoms change, borders move, enemies become allies and again enemies. Inhumanity breeds more inhumanity, only in Ashin of the North, one woman’s inhumane treatment may promote a widespread plague that could destroy an entire kingdom.

Directed by Kim Sung Hoon, Kingdom: Ashin of the North makes wonderful use of lighting. Whether it’s an ominous blue haze at dawn or the red glow created by an indoor fire, the director’s choice of lighting makes every scene seem ominous. It so sets the mood that even a peaceful field in bright sunlight becomes tinged with tension.

Kim Eun-hee, who wrote the drama Signal and the upcoming drama Jirisan, adapted Kingdom: Ashin of the North from the story of her webcomic Burning Hell Shinui Nara, first published in 2015. Kingdom: Ashin of the North has been described as a “sidequel” from Kingdom rather than a prequel, although it hints at the spread of the zombie plague in the first two seasons, which were also adapted by Kim Eun-hee. 

For those who likes zombie tales in the form of a revenge-driven parable, Kingdom: Ashin of the North is compelling viewing.


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