Is The Glory based on a true story? Exploring the inspiration behind Netflix's latest phenomenon 

Netflix's The Glory is inspired by real-life events (Image via Netflix)

It is unlikely that you haven't heard of Netflix’s latest revenge-thriller drama The Glory starring Song Hye-kyo and Lee Do-hyun in lead roles.

Penned by ace writer Kim Eun-sook, known for dramas like The Guardian: Lonely and Great God, Mr. Sunshine, and Descendants of the Sun, The Glory features a school-bullying victim who decides to avenge her bullies by taking up a job as a homeroom teacher at the elementary school where the bully’s young child studies.

This marks Song Hye-kyo's second collaboration with writer Kim Eun-sook after the 2016 drama Descendants of the Sun. She plays the titular role of Moon Dong-eun, who quits her studies after being constantly bullied and facing major physical abuse by Park Yeon-jin and her gang of friends.

She eventually hatches an elaborate plan to get back at the bullies and avenge Park Yeon-jin and her gang. The 16-episode revenge thriller series showcases several edge-of-seat kind of twists and turns in Moon Dong-eun’s life. The revenge-thriller series has been well-received by fans, but many would be surprised to learn that The Glory is inspired by a few real-life incidents.


The Glory’s writer Kim Eun-sook dishes on the real-life incident that inspired the show


Kim Eun-sook is one of the most prolific screenwriters in the Korean entertainment industry and has written some of the highest-rated K-dramas in recent times. Hence, fans were keenly anticipating The Glory, her latest project, and her second K-drama with Song Hye-kyo.

Kim Eun-sook recently revealed that an honest conversation with her daughter, who is in her sophomore year of high school, inspired her to write The Glory. The ace writer stated that she was always worried that her daughter might receive unnecessary attention in school because of her mother, and she wanted to address that.

However, her daughter showed her mature side by revealing “Mom, you're not Kim Eun Sook like the past”.

What planted the seeds of the drama in her mind was when her daughter asked the rhetorical question - “Mom, would you be more heartbroken if I beat someone to death or if I got beat to death by someone else?"

Kim Eun-sook confessed that she was shocked to hear her daughter’s words. Eventually, the exchange inspired her to pen down the script for The Glory.

Writer Kim Eun-sook also took inspiration from some other real-life incidents for the series.

For instance, in a shocking scene, a young Moon Dong-eun (played by Jung Ji-so) is brutally assaulted by Park Yeon-jin and her gang (the young version is played by Shin Ye-eun). In the horrifying scene, her hand is burnt with a hair iron.

K-drama fans were shocked to see that and wondered if such a brutal form of bullying even existed in real life.

However, the scene is based on a true incident that occurred in 2006 when perpetrator ‘K’ burnt victim ‘J’ with a hair iron, scratched her chest with a hair pin and stole all her money. The perpetrator was arrested shortly after the incident came to light.

School bullying is a serious issue in South Korea, and the number of cases is increasing each year. Kim Eun-sook revealed that the topic of school violence hit home for her and that she wanted to showcase a series depicting the horrific reality of school violence.

Kim Eun-sook also stated that as part of her research for The Glory, she spoke to many school violence victims to understand their situation and the trauma they have been through.

Song Hye-kyo is grateful for the praise she has received for her performance in The Glory

Song Hye-kyo has been receiving rave reviews for her performance in Netflix’s The Glory as the wounded Moon Dong-eun, a young girl who hails from an economically backward family and dreams of being an architect.

During a making video released by Netflix, Song Hye-kyo revealed that she gave her all to The Glory and really pushed her limits as an actor and performer.

The Glory star felt sorry for her followers and wondered what she had been doing all along when asked how she felt about receiving unanimous praise for her performance. She realized that she needed to work harder to live up to the expectations and show a different side of herself to her audience more often.

The second season of The Glory will air sometime in March on Netflix.

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Edited by Dev Sharma