Lee Dong-wook
Lee Dong-wook in Goblin, episode 11. instagram.com/leedongwook_official

Actor Lee Dong-wook, who portrays the Grim Reaper in 'Goblin: The Lonely and Great God,' is getting an image makeover, thanks to a new role he will be essaying in the upcoming episode of the highly successful drama starring Gong Yoo.

Website Soompi has provided a few behind-the-scenes shots of Lee Dong-wook that show the actor wearing traditional Goryeo robes. The stills reveal Dong-wook's ancient king in a reflective mood. Perhaps he is thinking back on the devastations he caused, including the deaths of his wife Kim Sun and his protector, General Kim Shin. In one still image, his head is hung low, perhaps from the stark melancholy and sadness that has engulfed his life.

"With Lee Dong Wook playing both the king and the grim reaper, he is continuously working hard and is doing an in-depth study on how to play two characters with different emotions. The upcoming episode will actively be showing the Goryeo king's past story," the production team was quoted as saying.

Dong-wook had worked very hard to secure the part. He was rejected a number of times by screenwriter Kim Eun Sook, but he was persistent and finally won her over. Now the show is unthinkable without him.

It was already hinted in episode 10 that the Grim Reaper is none other than the soul of the King Wang Yeo, the king of Goryeo, who ordered the death of Kim Shin and his sister in his past life. Wang Yeo was manipulated by the machinations of the evil eunuch Park Joong-Won who had taught and raised the king. Lee Dong-wook was also seen wearing a Goryeo robe in the last shot of episode 10.

As it has been officially confirmed by the 'Goblin' production team we will see Dong-wook portray an entirely new character. Though it is expected that there will be parallels drawn through the script and Dong-wook's performance with the Reaper character, to tie the two together, it isn't known whether the new role will have much screen-time.

From the preview of episode 11 that was released by tvN, we know that the Grim reaper will take Kim Shin to meet with Sunny, who is the Goblin's sister Kim Sun reincarnated. Sunny will eventually learn that there is more to her relationship with Woo Bin, the name that the reaper gave himself, than meets the eye. In light of these upcoming events, the exploration of the reaper's past life as a misguided king is a very exciting development, story-wise. There will be many surprising revelations in store for the audience, for sure.

The Grim Reaper is serving penance for the sins of his past life. However, though the memories of his past birth were removed by King Yŏmna, the judge of the dead, so that he can concentrate on gathering departing souls to the afterlife, his interactions with Kim Shin's Goblin and especially Sunny, are helping him slowly recover those long lost memories. And this is crucial to the plot of 'Goblin' for it will directly affect Gong Woo's lead character.