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The Rebel

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Synopsis

“The culprit who is posing as a royal official is not stealing wealth. He is stealing the hearts and minds of your people, Your Majesty.” There was a divisive figure in the Joseon Dynasty who was a hero to the people but an enemy to the establishment. His name was Hong Gil-dong. King Yeonsangun had royal lineage but was reviled by his people while Hong Gil-gong was born as a slave but succeeded in winning over the hearts of the commoners. The struggle between these two men demonstrate the qualities that a true leader needs. This TV series portrays the life of Hong Gil-dong who survived in a hostile and tyrannical kingdom as he waged a fight against the powerful elites.

Starring
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Hong Gil-dong: Starring Yun Kyun-sang
During King Yeonsangun’s reign in the Joseon Dynasty, Hong Gil-dong emerged as a remarkable influential force that had not been seen since the founding of Joseon. He was also a trader and a smuggler. After suffering enormous pain and anguish, Gil-dong realized that his mission in life is not only to love and protect his family but to also to stand on the side of the people, uphold justice, and protect the lands. He breaks the shackles he bore as the son of Hong Amogae to become a savior to all, a revolutionist and antiestablishment activist who becomes a significant historical figure.
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Ga-ryeong: Starring Chae Soo-bin
She was a young widowed girl saved by Gil-dong. After her encounter with Gil-dong, she worshiped Gil-dong who also became a father figure to her. After confessing love to one another, they get married. Then one day she is told that Gil-dong was tortured and killed after he left on a trip in search of his missing sister. His supposed killer was King Yeonsangun so she vows to get revenge on him by joining the royal gisaeng harem. She awaits to seek revenge on the king with a plan to kill him when she gets called to the king’s chamber.
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Amogae: Starring Kim Sang-joong
Amogae is Gil-dong’s father. He grew up as a slave from a family of slaves for many generations. The way he lived his life was a legacy that Gil-dong would inherit. However, after he found out that Gil-dong was born to be a strongman one day, he is consumed with anxiety that Gil-dong would fail in living up to that prophecy. He reluctantly decides to break off his chains as a slave to enter the underworld of smuggling and becomes the head of smugglers. Being consumed in fear that he could be persecuted for amassing wealth as a slave, he pretended to be poor and acted appropriately for someone of his low social station. But, one day, he disobeys his master to murder and this objection leads Amogae in danger.
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King Yeonsangun: Starring Kim Ji-seok
He was the 10th king of Joseon and a tyrant with a view that people were inherently evil. He was also a poet and appreciated dancing. When he was a young prince, he was scared that his father would have him killed just like how his mother was executed by a royal order. This lingering fear drove King Yeonsangun to implement even harsher methods to strengthen his rule, which eventually leads to a full-blown tyrannical rule. The king’s policies compels Gil-dong to take action. Later when Hong Gil-dong appears before King Yeonsangun, the king senses that Gil-dong will be his executioner.
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Jang Nok-su : Starring Lee Honey
She is the only gisaeng in Joseon history to ever be chosen as a king’s royal concubine. Jang was one of the few people who saw how lonely Yeonsangun was and understood his madness. She managed the burgeoning royal gisaeng harem and the king admired Jang for being the wisest woman he had ever met. Although Jang had tied her fate to King Yeonsangun, in her heart, she was in love with someone else. Her first love was Hong Gil-dong, who she knew that he was a real man of extraordinary character. But she left Gil-dong to become the king’s royal concubine and when she learns that Ga-ryeong who recently joined the royal gisaeng harem was Gil-dong’s wife and ready to sacrifice her life for Gil-dong, she is furious with jealousy.