Kingdom Ashin Of The North is a special episode and part of the Korean historical period zombie Kingdom franchise. It’s better to have watched the first two seasons of Kingdom on Netflix (available right now!) before checking out Kingdom Ashin Of The North, but you technically don’t have to.
Here’s the reason why:
Kingdom Ashin Of The North: Setting
I previously mentioned above that you technically don’t have to watch Kingdom before checking out Kingdom Ashin Of The North and the reason why is simple.
Kingdom Ashin Of The North is where everything begins. It is a prequel to Kingdom, which means that it takes place before everything that happens in the main series.
The zombie plague that spreads in the first season of Kingdom takes place in the southern region Dongnae of Joseon-era Korea in the late 1500s/early 1600s.
However, the origin of the resurrection plant, and thus where Kingdom Ashin Of The North begins, is in the northern region of Joseon-era Korea. In case you didn’t know, the resurrection plant is what causes people and other living things to come back to life as zombies in the Kingdom series.
The northern border close to the Pajeowi tribe and the Seongjeoyains is where Kingdom Ashin Of The North will take place. Pyesa-gun, a place where the entrance is forbidden for 100 years, is where Kingdom Ashin Of The North protagonist young Ashin discovers the resurrection plant.
Historically, the Pajeowi tribe are not actually Koreans. They are of East Asian Tungusic ancestry, also known as the Jurchen people. The Jurchen consists of many tribes and not just the Pajeowi. They live in close proximity to China, Korea and Japan, which has often brought them in contact with their neighbours.
Meanwhile, the Seongjeoyains are Jurchens who have lived in Joseon Korean lands for over 100 years.
Kingdom Ashin Of The North: What Is The Resurrection Plant?
In the Kingdom series, the resurrection plant is a rare purple flower that can resurrect the dead. Anyone who is resurrected by the plant becomes a bloodthirsty zombie. Disgustingly, the plant does this by having white eggs which hatch into parasitic worms when ingested. The worms infect the brain and turn the person into a monster.
Kingdom Ashin Of The North: The Context
Prior to the zombie problem, the Korean kingdom of Joseon faced various issues with its neighbours. One area of concern is the northern region where Jurchens have consolidated into a powerful group called the Pajeowi tribe (as previously mentioned above). Joseon Korea also keeps an eye on the tribe by using another group of Jurchens called the Seongjeoyains to spy on them.
Kingdom Ashin Of The North: Who Is Ashin?
The story will begin with young Ashin (Kim Si-a)’s life in her Seongjeoyain village. Her father is the head of their village and her mother is bedridden. Desperate to cure her ill mother, Ashin ventures deep into the forbidden area in search of something to help. She comes across the resurrection plant, but she experiences a great tragedy. As a result, adult Ashin (Gianna Jun) is intent on getting revenge.
Kingdom Ashin Of The North: Other Key Characters
Besides the adult Ashin we see at the end of the Kingdom Season 2, the special episode also includes Min Chi-rok (Park Byung-eun) who was the Head of the Royal Commandery in Kingdom Season 2. Some new important characters include Ashin’s father Tahab (Kim Roi-ha) who is the head of their Seongjeoyain village and Aidagan (Koo Kyo-hwan) who is the Pajeowi tribe leader.
Kingdom Ashin Of The North is slated to premiere on Netflix on 23 July 2021. In the meantime, check out the trailer below: