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Recap: Gu Family Book Episode 1 [Complete]

I remember my hands shaking like this when I live recapped the last episode of Faith. Oh my. Nervous but excited!

***About the “Gu Family Book”: The title refers to a legendary book said to be passed down through the gumiho line. The book was supposedly written by Hwanwoong, the god who came down to earth and founded Korea, to give the animal spirits the chance  to become human.

Character Abbreviations for live recap:


Yoon Seo Hwa (Lee Seung Gi’s future mother)- SH


Gu Wol Ryung (Lee Seung Gi’s future father)- WR


Jo Kwan Woong (the man who killed SH’s father)- KW


Chun Soo Ryun (the head gisaeng)- SR


Priest is WR’s friend. So Jung priest- SJ


Dahm is SH’s maid- Short spelling Dam


Dahm Pyung Joon (the gumiho hunter)- PJ


SH’s brother is brother.

Episode 1


Narration: That high-off and dangerous mountain forest where humans are not easily permitted to enter. The place where only the spirits who protect the forest can enter. A place called Moonlight Garden. An animal god has lived in the Moonlight Garden for 1000 years. SJ priest shouts for WR. WR isn’t there so Preist figures WR is out doing something again.

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WR is jumping around the forest.  He hears the sound of drums. He has come close to a village and sees the bright light coming from the gisaeng house. He runs toward it. SR is playing the drums, putting on a show for the yangban.


WR sees two girls inside a cage and one boy. The guard tells them to get out but they are hesitant. SH is slow to move so guard pushes her. She has blood on her hanbok. SH’s brother shouts at guard for treating them this way, as they are yangban class. SH’s maid yells at guard for being so rude to a family that once helped him. Guard pushes brother onto the ground and knocks on door. Servants come out. They invite the guard in but he leaves. The servants tell the kids to move. SH asks what this place is. The woman says the Choon Hall (Gisaeng house).

Inside house, SR, the head gisaeng, finishes playing the drums. People compliment her. Other gisaengs talk about how the lords fell for her. SR yells at them for being vulgar. Servant comes to report to SR.

SH is saying she won’t go inside. The servant woman yells her at her and grabs her arm. Brother tries to stop. SR comes out and asks who are they. Servant woman says they are from a traitorous yangban family. SH says her father was framed. SR says SH needs to come in and just do what she is told to do. SH says she won’t become a gisaeng. SR tells servants to strip SH. She is stripped and her brother and maid is held back as they scream. WR watches in shock. Yeon Hee shakes in shame and tries to cover herself. SR tells servants to tie her up. SH is tied to a tree. SY tells them to lock up the brother and maid and orders SH to be tied up and left without food or drink until SR says she can be released.


Servant woman explains that SR is trying to break SH’s useless yangban pride. SH is left outside in the cold and she cries, “How can someone to do this to another human being?” and screams, “Please untie me!” WR watches and blue lights start to float around him. He reminds himself, “I promised to my friend (the Priest) that I won’t butt into human affairs” and starts to leave but he hears SH cry, “Help me.” I’m falling in love with WR. Will be incredibly sad to see him go.


Flashback to SH running into her house and seeing her father being accused of treason. The father asks KW, “How can you do this to me?” KW replies, “Because you looked down at me.” He whispers to the father, “You’re daughter will be made a gisaeng and I will go to her often.” The father becomes angry and grabs a sword but he is struck down before he can do anything by KWand blood splatters all over SH. SH screams. Flashback ends.


KW is in gisaeng house having fun. SR comes into the room and congratulates KW on his promotion. He says it’s because he brought in a traitor. SR asks “Weren’t you friends?” KW says that even if they were friends, you can’t take the side of a traitor. KW says he came to ask her a favor. He tells SR that his friend said if his daughter comes in as a gisaeng, KW should be the first man to have her. SR can obviously tell that it is a lie and is disturbed by this. KW asks how long it will be until SH is ready as a gisaeng. SR doesn’t look pleased and says it will take some time. KW says he is busy and wants her ready in five days. SR tries to protest but KW is firm. SR looks disturbed.

It is morning and SH is pale and blue. The village people have come to stare and point. Kids throw rocks. She remembers female servants words about yangban pride. SH vows to herself she will never become a gisaeng. WR watches her all day as SH goes in and out of consciousness. He does the flower petal thing which tells him not to help her. He gets angry at that.

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SR is painting and female servant says it’s been four days since SH has been tied up. She also reminds SR that KW’s request date is coming up.

SH is still tied up and swearing to herself that she won’t become a gisaeng. She completely faints and WR jumps down from the tree to help but priest stops him. He says it’s her fate and WR shouldn’t interfere. KW tries to go to her but priest throws a bead bracelet around WR’s wrist and reminds him of his promise. KW still tries to go to SH and says, “It’s just once. I’m just trying to help.” Priest says, “It’s that just once that is dangerous. Once becomes twice and twice becomes three times.” Priest starts to leave and reminds WR that there is a line between him and humans. WR gets angry and his eye changes. He throws the staff at the priest seemingly, but it was really to kill a snake that was about to attack the priest. WR says to friend,  “See I helped you.” He smiles and turns around to help SH but SH isn’t there anymore. He looks disappointed.


SH is inside the gisaeng house now and she gains consciousness. Dahm says she had a fever all night and SR had her brought in. SH gets up and says she promised she wouldn’t step one foot inside the house. SR comes into the room and demands to know what a girl who was sold as a gisaeng will do then. “A gisaeng must do what she has to do.” SH says she rather be tied up again. She tries to leave but falters.

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SR shows SH her brother who is tied up and says, “Your brother’s life depends on you.” Brother tells SH not to worry. SH can’t reply so SR orders the beating to start. Brother gets beaten in front of SH and SH resolve starts to break. She finally cries, “Stop,” and SR orders the men to stop. SH pleads for her brother to be let go. “I will do whatever you say so please let my brother live.” Brother screams in opposition. SR tells female servant to clean up SH. Brother cries.

Servant woman cleans SH and SH also gets a tattoo. She is also measured for hanboks and SH goes through all this complacently but with a dead look. SR watches with a steely face.

A male servant comment that SH is pretty as he and her brother sweep the yard together. Brother doesn’t say anything and can only watch sister sadly. Servants tells him that KW will be SH’s first client.

Brother informs Dahm of this and asks for her help. He whispers something that shocks Dahm. Brother says, “I know the punishment will all fall on you but please, save my sister.”

SH is dressed up and the other gisaeng says she is pretty. The second one says so what if a gisaeng is pretty. Her life is not hers anyway. SH finds out during this conversation that her first client will be KW. The servant tells gisaengs to shut up but SH tries to confirm. SH is shocked. Servant tells her it is her fate and leaves SH alone.

SH remembers what KW did to her father. She grabs a hairpin and moves to stab herself but she hears Dam outside the door. Dam says let’s change clothing and you can run away. SH asks, “What about you?” Dam replies, “I will be beaten but you need to run away and stay alive so you can have revenge against KW.” SH hugs her and cries. Dam says, “You have to live so you can find me again.” Both hug each other tight and cry. So sweet! Such a beautiful sisterhood!


It is night and Dahm is sitting behind the screen pretending to be SH. SR comes in and tells “SH” to get ready. She turns to leave but senses something. She comes back and orders “SH” to turn her face. She doesn’t so servant forces her and SR finds out that “SH” is Dahm.

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SH is running away with brother in the forest. SR slaps Dahm and asks where they ran. Dahm says, “I just changed clothes.” A gisaeng comes in and reports that KW is here. SY orders servants to find SH. SY says Dam will take SH’s place tonight with KW. Dahm begs but SR threatens her, “If you want to live, you shall do what I say and make sure KW doesn’t find out until he is done with you.” This drama is so cruel.

Men chase after SH and brother through forest. In another part of the forest, WR senses something wrong.

KW complains to SR that it is taking too long for SH to come to him. SR explains that SH is nervous and asks KW to turn off candle. She didn’t tell SH that KW is her first client since he is her father’s killer. KW agrees because he doesn’t want SH to kill herself before he has his fun with her. KILL HIM!!!!

Dahm comes into the room. She remembers what SR warned her about. Still Dahm tries to leave as SR leaves the room and locks the door behind her. Dahm bangs on the door but KW comes from behind and pulls at her roughly. Oh geez. This drama is so cruel. Dahm struggles as KW pulls at her clothing. He says, “I like a girl who struggles” and “You are mine.” And more horrible things I don’t want to translate. KILL HIM!!!!!! Dahm cries out silently for SH- “Lady!”


SH trips in the forest as she senses Dahm scream her name. Brother urges SH to run. SH remembers Dahm’s words asking her to survive. SH resolves to keep running. The men are not far behind, though, in tracking the siblings down.

SR and servant are outside and can hear Dahm screaming. OH MY GOD, why are they making this so cruel! Servant is worried about Dahm but SR begs silently, “Please endure so SH and we all can live.”

SH trips again and hurts her leg badly. She tells her brother to go ahead. They will hide separately and find each other later. Brother refuses but SH reminds him that they have to live for Dahm. She pushes her brother away. Brother says, “You have to stay alive. I will come find you wherever you are in the world.” Brother goes. SH struggles to get up with her injured leg. She pulls out her hairpin and says, “I’m sorry, Dahm. It seems my life has come to an end. But since I saved my brother, please forgive me.” Before she can stab herself though, little blue lights start to float around her and SH looks around in surprise. She faints but WR catches her before she falls to the ground.

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SH’s eyes open and she sees WR. She whispers, “Help me. Help…” and loses consciousness completely.

Men track SH but soon blue lights surround them. One ask if it fireflies or if it’s a goblin? The lead mans sees a shadow and calls out, “Are you human? If you are, answer.” Another man whispers, “Is it a wolf or tiger?” Lead man says neither. He steps forward with a sword but he is flung backward, causing his sword to fall right between his legs.

Man screams, “Are you a man?” but WR’s voice comes out in angry growl, telling them leave immediately. He gathers the leaves around him and creates a floating wolf’s head. He creates a storm using the forest materials accompanied by a deafening sound. The men leave in panic and fear.vlcsnap-2013-04-09-01h29m28s21vlcsnap-2013-04-09-01h29m16s153vlcsnap-2013-04-09-01h29m23s225

Back at the gisaeng house, KW comes out of his room and screams for SR. SR comes and KW slaps her. SR asks why and KW demands to know how SR can present him a slave girl. He demands SH be brought to him. SR tells him he can only have a gisaeng after they are fully trained and ready. She tells him to wait but KW won’t calm down and threatens to kill SR. SR calls him on his bluff- “If kill me, will you feel better?”- but KW is too angry and he means it. He asks for his sword so the servant becomes scared and tells him everything about SH running away. Sr begs for KW to keep quiet and wait for her men to catch SH but KW calls for the police to be notified and slave hunters too. SR sees Dahm crying inside the room, clutching her clothes. All that for nothing!!! ARGH!

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It is morning and SH’s brother wakes up in the forest. He washes his face and thinks about his sister. Slave hunters approach him. They say they heard about the runaways and catch SH’s brother.

At the gisaeng house, Dahm hears that the brother was caught. Dahm runs to where the brother is about to be hanged. She cries out to him. He notices her as the noose is put around his neck. KW approaches the brother and asks where SH ran to. Brother doesn’t tell him anything. He only says, “I am angry that I will die without killing you first.” The brother is hanged and the crowd screams. The brother struggles with his last breath and Dahm watches helplessly. The brother thinks silently, “I won’t ever forget what you did, Dahm.” He and Dahm remember happier childhood times.

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Dahm comes back to gisaeng house in shock. She can only cry silently. She notices a beam on the ceiling.

Servant reports to SR that he saw something he first thought was a goblin but later saw that it was a gumiho with its nine tails.

Another soldier reports the same thing to KW. KW thinks it is foolishness but the soldier reports that all the men there at the scene said the same thing.

Servant suggests that SH was probably eaten by the gumiho. A gisaeng comes in a panic. SR and servant woman enter Dahm’s room to find her hanging from the ceiling.

SH wakes up inside a cave. Her leg hurts but it is bandaged. She notices how nice the cave is with candle lights. She walks outside to the Moonlight Garden. There are blue lights everywhere. So gorgeous.

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KW calls out to SH. “You finally woke up.” SH asks, “Who are you?” WR informs her that she you slept all day so he was worried. SH asks who he is again and WR tells her his name. She looks around so WR tells her, “I chased away the people who were after you. Nobody will harm you or tie you up so don’t worry.” SH is surprised to hear he knows so much about her situation.

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KW calls in PJ. He orders him to kill the gumiho and PJ vows to catch the gumiho.


PJ leads a large troop into the forest and he is shown the way by the men who tracked SH last night. SJ, who is lurking in the forest, sees PJ and goes to warn WR.


SJ sees SH there at the Moonlight Garden. WR shows up from behind and SJ tells him that troops are in the forest. He asks WR who is the girl. WR tells him it is SH. SJ says, “So you interfered!” WR retorts, “She ran into my forest first and asked for help.” SJ advices WR to send SH back. WR says that SH is being chased and if found, she will die. SJ says it’s her fate whether she live or dies and it’s none of WR’s concern. WR says firmly, “No, it is my concern now.” SJ asks, “When did the affairs of humans become your concern?” WR replies, as he looks as SH and smiles, “After I gave that woman my heart.”

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WR asks SJ, “Speaking of which, where can I find the ‘Gu Family Book’?” SJ asks why- WR can’t perhaps be thinking….that?! WR nods. “Yes, I want to become human.”

KW says the gumiho must be found, as well as the dead body of SH.

Narration again: That high-off and dangerous mountain forest where humans are not easily permitted to enter. The place where only the spirits who protect the forest can enter. At the Moonlight Garden, their sad legend was just beginning.

SJ asks WR, “What did you say? You want to become human? You?”

WR says, “Yes. I want to become human.” He smiles brightly at SH.

Episode 2 Preview:

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WR: I met a human female for the first time in a thousand years that made my heart beat fast.

SH kisses WR.

KW: You, who are only a mere gumiho, lied and (can’t hear) to steal the heart of a human female.

WR: Why did you do that when I love you so much? So much!

SH to baby: You aren’t a monster. You weren’t…a monster!

Someone saying: Since you were abandoned in the river (kang in Korean), that is why your name is Kang Chi.

KW: Kang Chi. “Choi Kang Chi” you say?

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Very solid opening. The pace was fast but not overwhelming, allowing plenty of time for viewers to get to know the characters and connect with them. Especially with the solid and convincing delivery of its actors. I must praise Jung Hye-young, who played SR, for showing that subtle underlying guilt and affection for SH and Dahm, even though the writing wasn’t on the same par. This was a case of the actor filling in the gaps in the writing and developing a three-dimensional character. Kudos to her. She really never disappoints.

And Choi Jin Hyuk. Oh my gosh, Choi Jin Hyuk, where have you been all my life? I did not know his voice was so deep and he could look so good with a ponytail. He really played the carefree but ancient spirit creature very well and pulled out all the guns on the relationship with Lee Yeon Hee’s character. So far, all we were shown were his affections for her and with just one hour of him looking at her from a tree, I am hooked line and sinker to this ship and will go down with it to its watery end. I am really, really, really sad to see him go so soon. Really, really sad.

I’ve watched one of the three other dramas this writer has written (as far as I know)- only Hotelier. I did not watch Baker King Kim Tak Gu but I did catch some moments of it because my mother was obsessed with it when I was visiting her. I noticed the writer’s cruel tendencies then (and she did write like that for Hotelier) but I wasn’t prepared for how unnerving some of the scenes in the drama would be. I don’t get the sense yet that she is doing this for the sake of ratings but rather to bang out the emotional investment quickly. Still, I am a little apprehensive about the future. I just hope the fact that Lee Seung Gi and Suzy are “national” stars, the writer won’t be too harsh with their scenes. *Crossing fingers*

Yay! I like this drama and it is off to a good start. Yay!

71 Comments Post a comment
  1. Iviih #

    Omg, I’m so excited and happy that you are recapping it Joonni! Thanks so much ❤

    I needed this drama in my life – I mean I'm just watching Nine, and I need another drama to keep me from going crazy waiting news episodes of Nine LOL but the sad thing is both Nine and Famil Gu airs in the same day so I'll end up suffering waiting for Nine and Family Gu new episodes… bad idea 😉

    Joonni, is okay to post videos here? Like bts/interviews of this drama ? Not sure but I guess you guys all go to soompi, if not, go to Softy's blog KD chats, I posted losts of videos there lol because I was too excited to watch this drama T.T

    April 8, 2013
  2. Iviih #

    Btw, I have a question Joonni, I’m asking this to you because you are fluent on Korean and I guess you’ll know this.

    About LYH, is it true that she isn’t good at delivering her lines? I read some koreans saying this, that her problem is she is bad at delivering her lines and it seems she is reading from the script making it sound robotic/forced.

    Is it true? Since I’m not fluent on Korean and can’t tell the difference I’m curious. Also can you tell us later if LSG and Suzy’s sageuk language is good? I really can’t tell lol and I heard is their first sageuk, so I hope they do good^^~~

    Kisses and sorry for bothering you.

    April 8, 2013
  3. SH #


    Thanks for this incredibly detailed recap. Oh, how I’ve missed reading your recaps 🙂

    April 8, 2013
  4. You are awesome!

    Reading this recap makes me happy and makes me feel reassured about this show. I hope it stays more Hong Gil Dong than Arang, at least for me..

    April 8, 2013
    • Alright just finished the first episode and I DEMAND A SERIES THAT IS ALL HIS PARENTS!

      And where is the petition to get Choi Jin Hyuk and Kim Myung Min to read me the phone book. I need this for reasons.

      April 8, 2013
      • I agree. haha 🙂 Brilliant first ep. I like LSG and Suzy which is why I am watching GFB. However WR and SH has captured my heart. I really hope LSG and Suzy’s performance will be up to par.

        April 9, 2013
  5. tarianant #

    I wanna see more Wol-Ryung. Gumiho is immortal right? Can the guy stick around? I guess no, great story always starts with an orphan hero 🙂 Great Recap Joonni. Thank you.

    April 8, 2013
    • tarianant #

      Just read somewhere that the daddy will stick around, is that true? To lazy to read a synopsis before the drama started…

      April 8, 2013
      • melissa #

        He does stick around. Might not be around for awhile, but he’ll appear again.

        April 8, 2013
  6. racil #

    thank you so much for the recap Joonni awesome job, we appreciate your hard work a lot, see you tomorrow for another episode!!!thanks kindly

    April 8, 2013
  7. Blue Passion #

    Dear Joonni: I did not know if I wanted to start watching this drama;but, when Softy posted that she was coming over here for the recaps; I jump over in an instant. Thank you so much for the wonderful first recap. I am looking forward watching the first episode now.

    April 8, 2013
  8. Thanks for the awesome recap. Love it!

    April 8, 2013
  9. Thank you for your always fast and awesome recap. I forgot to say that before. I have visited this post more than one but I haven’t say it.

    April 8, 2013
  10. deels #

    Thank you Joonni for the live recap!! It’s been too long since Faith ended, the longing in my heart still hasn’t gone away (sob sob – what a disappointment the last scene of Faith was, not even a hug!!!!!). Thank you so much for bringing my attention to Gu Family Book. I’ve always liked Jin Hyuk. Really happy he’s on the screen again! Will be following this just as I did with Faith.
    Hello Softy!! Hello old people from Faith-dom. I was one of those quiet followers, following Softy’s/Joonni’s recaps but squealing behind the laptop, much to the annoyance of my hubby 🙂 It’s good to be here again.
    Thanks again Joonni 🙂 Can’t wait for more updates 🙂 xxxD

    April 9, 2013
  11. Annyeong Jooni, Softy, and everyone I know….
    Been busy, but I don’t think it is too late to start following this exciting drama… 😉
    Thanks for the recap dear Jooni.. Will read it well….
    Looove LSG… :*

    May 20, 2013

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