“Goblin: The Lonely and Great God” is a story of a Goryeo General cursed to immortality after being impaled with a sword. Now, he’s been living for 900 years looking for his bride—the only one who can draw the sword that has been pierced through his chest; the only way to vanquish the jinx.
When he meets the Goblin’s bride, the deities seem to have more twists and turns laid upon them—connecting us back to a tragic history, engaging us in the present with more mythical characters living in the modern world and leading us to the possibility of reincarnations and bittersweet reunions in the future.
I love how this show opened a door to Korean folklore that I wasn’t really aware of. If you’d ask me about Goblins, I can only sustain you of the idea of them running the Gringotts Wizarding Bank (hello, Potterheads).
The plot itself is excruciatingly painful for me. It just really proves my irrelevant thought that we are all living just to die. I often asked myself in certain situations like “This won’t matter 5 years from now anyway, so why bother?” But then again it’s the journey that makes everything worthwhile, isn’t it?
Goblin got my attention with its “protector of the souls” thing I kept on hearing. I am obsessed with the idea of knowing someone through the depth of his soul and all that melodramatic shits we have here.
And as an aspiring writer, I am interested in the idea of fantasy. Little did I know that I’d be in so much emotions. As the episodes went by, it wasn’t hard for me to connect with the characters.
Gong Yoo as Kim Shin/The Goblin – The Goryeo General who outlives everyone he loves after being cursed to immortality. In search of the Goblin’s bride, he found himself living with the Grim Reaper who he grows fond of later on the drama even after a lot of conflict between them.
As he wills to die, he also found his will to live. Immortality never sounds this saaaad to me. Goblin only has this family that served him generations after generations. No one really did stuck with him as everyone died and the responsibility of service to him just passed on through the years. The so-called “past” to other characters is still a present to him as he remembers everything completely.
As a Goblin, his supernatural powers include summoning gold and flying. He can also see people’s future. He can pass through a door and arrive to an entirely new place. He can freeze time. He makes it rain when he’s sad and down. He blooms flowers (even in winter!) when he’s happy. I think that adds up to the romance department.
Lee Dong Wook as The Grim Reaper – His job is to take the deceased souls and makes them the tea of oblivion, sending them to whichever place they deserve—Heaven or Hell. He has no name but just “a grim reaper”.
Opposite the Goblin, he forgot everything entirely (that includes his name, yes). He is kinda weird and ignorant of the mundane things even after living for years as they are instructed not to meddle with human affairs. He ended up living with the Goblin and soon discovered why they are pulled towards each other—again.
Grim reapers are the personification of Death in Korean folklore, and apparently, they have committed a very serious sin when they were still alive. It must be another kind of punishment to live like humans (they also eat and sleep) when they are not really alive. How cruel of the gods.
Kim Go Eun as Ji Eun Tak – She is also referred as the “Missing Soul” by the grim reaper as she was supposed to die in her mother’s womb (and wasn’t meant to be born in the first place), but the Goblin interfered and saved their lives.
So, that’s how they are connected to each other. Eun Tak has been seeing ghosts since she was a kid and had heard of her being the Goblin’s bride. She grew up believing that. (We all got to believe that too right at the very first episode).
Her mother died when she was 9 and was forced to live with her aunt and cousins, but they treated her badly. When she met the Goblin and the Reaper, she kind of found home in them. She was meant to pull out the sword in Goblin’s chest so what happens when she doesn’t? Interesting.
Yoo In Na as Sunny – She is the “beautiful” owner of the Chicken Restaurant where Eun Tak works. She became like a family to her, too. Little did we know her part in Goblin and Reaper’s life. Maybe, just maybe, there’s really this thing called destiny.
Yook Sung Jae as Yoo Deok Hwa – the chaebol heir and only grandson of the Yoo family. He will be the one to take care of the Goblin’s possession once his grandfather dies. He may seem naive and only cares for his credit card but you will see how his character matures over time. He also adds joy in the Goblin-Reaper “bromance.” You may also find out something about him that will really make you go like “Oh. Now it makes sense.”
Favorite Scenes & Loopholes
I like the idea of blowing a candle to summon a Goblin. The myth doesn’t say anything about this, but it’s the writer’s idea and I think it’s fun. And Eun Tak sometimes does it on purpose just to annoy Shin and him trying to look “smart” every time – just in case Eun Tak calls for him!
(1) The first summoning, and the iconic buckwheat flower scene.
(2) When Eun Tak finally found out how to summon Shin. She summoned him inside a church. Of all the places!
(3) When Eun Tak summoned Shin by blowing the candle cake (app) on her phone! That’s clever. I don’t know how many rules apply in this whole summoning thing.
(4) The bittersweet summoning. ㅠㅠㅠㅠ
The Goblin and the Grim Reaper. Both immortal. Both cursed. One remembers. One forgets. One is to warmth. One is to cool. One sees the past. One sees the future. One protects. One collects. Do you see the contrasts? They may differ but they also complement each other. I really love the concept of these two.
(1) The battle of kitchenware! They are threatening each other with flying knife and fork. They are so childish in an amusing way.
(2) One is boiling the egg and the other is cooling the beer. Hahahaha! #FriendshipGoals
(3) I am so entertained by how these two are ready to slit each other’s neck one minute and hugging each other the next.
(4) They were as one saving Eun Tak! I’m so happy how they teamed up here.
I CAN’T BELIEVE OF ALL THE MOVIES, THEY CHOSE TO WATCH TRAIN TO BUSAN! GONG YOO WATCHING HIS MOVIE IN HIS SERIES HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I HAVEN’T CRACKED UP THIS MUCH IN MY LIFE, AND APPARENTLY, GOBLINS ARE AFRAID OF ZOMBIES???? HAHAHA
This also looks like something I’ve seen in a movie. (Twilight??) I am no longer be reminded of Edward Cullen by this imagery. It is now you, Gong Yoo. 사랑해요, 도깨비!!!!
I’ve been hearing people making so much fuss about the whole cinematography thing in this series. I couldn’t agree more! I think it adds more warmth to Goblin and Ji Eun Tak’s life and death ordeal when they had their chance to get along in Quebec a couple of times.
Don’t you just love how everything seems to blur around them? Aaaah the focus!
Aaaah the tone! It matches the feelings in the dialogue. It’s so pretty my heart aches in glee.
“Mass is not proportional to volume.
A girl as small as a violet.
A girl who moves like a flower petal
is pulling me toward her
with more force than her mass.
Just then, like Newton’s apple,
I rolled toward her without stopping
until I fell on her,
with a thump.
With a thump.
My heart keeps bouncing
between the sky and the ground
It was my first love.”
The Sartorial Splendor
Do you see how they all look aesthetically pleasing? Not just in the photo shoot, but also in the series! I’m totally into Eun Tak sweatshirts and hoodies. Like the “I woke up like this” and “Broken” inscribe? Gaaaah! If you are too, don’t worry ’cause I got you! The following links will help you find the ones they wore and how much it would cost.
Kim Shin looking for his bride to end his life. Grim Reaper not remembering his past and who he is. Ji Eun Tak lost her mom and has now to face her fate of being the Goblin’s bride. Deok Hwa, after losing his grandfather, has lost his own blood. They were all broken somehow, and I’m glad that they found a home in each other. I AM NOT CRYING.
I get so kilig everytime they kiss because it’s always either awkward or genuine, and I find it both cute. This one is my favorite. The first-ever kiss in the snowfall. Just look at how the snow flies up to the sky in reverse. LIKE MAGIC.
Every moment I spent with you… shined.
Because the weather was good,
because the weather was bad,
and because the weather was good enough.
I loved every moment of it.
When Eun Tak turned 9 and her mother died, she saw the Grim Reaper but she was like “I forgot my scarf” to pretend she didn’t see him. She did the same when they crossed paths again when she was 19. I love how she clings so much to the scarf as if for protection from her mother—like how we long for the safety inside our mother’s womb. This is very moving to me. Also, when Shin wore the same scarf years after..
The Beginning and the End
I wouldn’t say more about these two scenes because I might spoil the whole thing for you. Now that you’ve reached this point, you may stop reading if you haven’t finished the series yet because here comes my questions, and don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.
I have a strong affinity not just with the characters but also with the writer, Kim Eun Sook, so I also did my research.
I searched about the goblins in Korean folklore as it differs from the European ones. Technically, goblins aren’t derived from humans but from an inanimate object instead. This has led me to the conclusion that what made Kim Shin a Goblin is the sword in his chest. So, maybe the power in the sword just manifested to Shin that he himself became the Goblin.
Now here’s the thing, after Eun Tak removed the sword, we all knew he scattered back to ashes (let me just remind you of the heartbreaking scene that is Episode 13).
Okay, going back.. so he was trapped into nothingness or limbo before he was summoned again by Eun Tak. We saw that he still has his powers when he came back to the world, so obviously he is still a Goblin.
Does that mean he is still immortal? Does that mean he still gets to see Eun dies lifetimes after lifetimes? Isn’t once enough punishment? Didn’t he pay the price for 900 years already? Gaaaah! I swear he deserves at least to die with Eun in the same lifetime. DOESN’T HE? NOW I’M MAD AT THE DEITIES. DO NOT LET ME SEE A BUTTERFLY RIGHT NOW. ㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠㅠ
Now, the next big question is about Wang Yeo and Kim Sun. I didn’t notice if they drank the oblivion tea or not? Please do remind me! Since Wang Yeo is no longer a Grim Reaper, it means that he couldn’t now kiss Sunny to remember her past as Kim Sun. Does that mean that they will entirely forget everything?
I don’t know how to feel about this. I’m really sad that they couldn’t get to be happy in this lifetime. They were always breaking up, their kisses are so full of longing – for forgiveness; for genuine love. It makes me happy though that they get to start with a clean slate if that’s really the case. No more grudge and heartache of the past lurking somewhere in the core of their souls.
“To the one who thought that oblivion would bring me peace of mind.. The moment our eyes met, I knew that you too, retained your memories. I pray that in our next life the waiting will be short and the meeting shall be long. That we won’t need an excuse to see each other. Entitled with our dearest names. So we could greet each other when we accidentally run into each other. With our love always being the solution.. I pray that we can meet like that. I’m just happy by seeing your face. Sometimes you’re Kim Woo Bin and sometimes you’re Wang Yeo. Please live a long and happy life. Goodbye..”
Maybe, I’d rather see them as these two new people, happily getting to know each other. But then again, where’s the Reaper and Sunny in them (aside from their faces?)
Why it has always been this devastating with these two? This is why I didn’t include them in my favorite scenes even though I am deeply moved by their characters. It’s just pure torture for me. Though, I must say that there were also a couple of funny moments between them – especially at the DAL.KOMM COFFEE. CUTIES!
Speaking of that coffee shop, don’t tell me you didn’t notice the Made In The A.M poster hanging on its wall?
MY DIRECTIONER HEART IS ALIVE (without the part for Zayn btw)
Also, our dogs will wait for us in Heaven. It’s soothing to know.
I still wonder if I’ll drink the oblivion tea, though. Will you? Is oblivion really a consideration from the gods? Is it really better to forget?
I’M IN LOVE! Every song is just so perfect for the scenes it incorporated with!
So that’s it for my review. What are your favorite scenes? Who is your favorite character? Any thoughts about the folklore? Lemme know in the comment section below!
If you’re going through a tough time as if you can’t take the pain anymore, just remember:
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