10 Reasons why you need to watch Scarlet Heart: Ryeo
1) The characterization is done superbly such that there’s no clear-cut black and white, good and evil, just like in reality - and the best part is that you know what drives each character’s motivations and why they think the way they do.
2) Wang So and Hae Soo form one of the most beautiful love lines ever - instead of needing each other just for the sake of it, Wang So truly depends on Hae Soo to find love and acceptance, while Hae Soo relies on Wang So for protection as she navigates an unknown world.
3) Wang Wook and Hae Soo’s love story is so tragic! I really wish this ship could have sailed but it sunk like the Titanic and I was sad. I want to hate Wang Wook but I can’t, and there’s something in his personality that really draws me to him.
4) So. Many. Hot. Actors. Plus they’re not just handsome, they’re really great at acting too!
5) Taeyeon, who is, like, my favourite OST Queen of all time, sang the OST for the drama!! Plus her OST is kind of like Wang Wook and Hae Soo’s theme song and it hits me in the feels in all the right places.
6) If you’ve watched the original Chinese version (bubujingxin) or read the novel, you would know how amazing this adaptation is because they managed to mould the storyline to fit Korean history, while at the same time preserving several key scenes/motifs/symbols from the original.
7) Even the sub-characters are developed so well that you feel something for them when they die.
8) Baek Ah and Woo Hee~ If my Wook-Soo ship can’t sail, at least let this cute couple get together. I’m really excited to see where this relationship will go.
9) It’s rare for a historical Korean drama to go so far back into Korean history. The only one I can think of is Great Queen Seondeok and maybe Hwarang when it comes out later in the year (plus it features Taehyung from BTS! Much excites!). So this series is “new” in it’s own way and I guess that’s why some customs (like marriage between half-siblings) is weird to the viewers.
I have to say, I do love the inclusion of these three ladies that were not in the original BBJX. All three of them have their own motives, their own items they wish to protect. In a man;s world that only allows them to be sisters, wives, concubines, servants, lovers, but never the explicit players in the game of power.
“Then you should have taught your child better,” I’m paraphrasing what Evil Queen says to Wook’s mother as the latter supplicates herself to ask Evil Queen to step back on destroying Wook and Yeon Hwa.
The role of women may have been as side players, but Moon Lovers never lets us forget that they are the true motivating forces behind the power plays. Yeon Hwa seeks survival and standing, and to be honest, right now she’s the most savvy player, can you imagine if she was born a male?
Evil Queen may do evil things, but she’s compelling. How does she turn one trueborn son after another? How does she love, and control, her sons in different ways? Compare Yo and Jung. She treats them both drastically, manipulating the former while, I believe, truly doting on Jung. So - represents the one mistake she did, believing that the king would not marry another person right after her son’s death - arguably the one instant that changed her. I do not believe she truly meant to her young child So with her hairpin, if any I think she was pushed to the edge when the king threw her away.
WHich leads me to the king saying that Lady Oh “finally chose to abandon [him]”, when to be honest, how many people has he abandoned? His multiple wives, Lady Oh and her unborn child, Hae Soo, So? He says later in the 11th episode, that “Abandon what needs to be abandoned. That what being king entails.” I think eventually, So will also have to abandon certain things. Lady Oh chose to step out of the game, wisely, look at how Yeon Hwa and Hae Soo are implicated.
Yeon Hwa has the agency to make alliances because she must protect herself and her mother, because even as the king’s favourite child she will be sold off as cattle. Wook is being irresponsible - throwing away his mother and sister for love - is essentially relegating them to being cast aways. Yeon Hwa exerts her agency in the ways she can - using her position, her bargaining chip of being Daddy’s favourite – she plays the game because she has to, because her brother refuses to.
I think her relationship with Wook is a tragedy - being Dad’s favourite did not stop Wook from being casted out, does not guarantee protection from Evil Queen’s machinations, and I think she is also a product of her time.
Which again highlight’s Hae Soo’s agency – she cannot exert hers without the protection of male figures – Wook’s position, So’s attention to her – she will have to play the game, and while I think the So/Soo ship is highly problematic, it is the only way of survival for her – she knows who will be king, and unfortunately, it isn’t Wook. As she says to Baek Ah (again, paraphrasing from subs) as she pleads in the empty courtyard for Lady Oh, “it’s better than not doing anything” – the women are all action, all protecting and defending their agency and love ones (even if it’s themselves, because honestly, wanting to survive is not a crime, as Hae Soo reiterates in the earlier episodes). Wook’s inaction will haunt him, and how wonderful it is that it is Baek Ah, not Wook, not So, who comes first to Hae Soo?
For all its problematic handling of romance and abuse, Moon Lovers has done an alright job creating complex female characters who are to differing degrees involved and complicit in perpetuating systemic violence within the spheres of power.
Kim San-ho as Crown Prince Wang Mu (1st prince) Hong Jong-hyun as 3rd Prince Wang Yo Lee Joon-gi as 4th Prince Wang So Kang Ha-neul as 8th Prince Wang Wook Yoon Sun-woo as 9th Prince Wang Won Byun Baekhyun as 10th Prince Wang Eun Nam Joo-hyuk as 13th Prince Baek-ah Ji Soo as 14th Prince Wang Jung
(if they where the princes during Goryeo Dynasty,, i’m willing to be born in this er…. hahahaha)
2014-07-26 SNH48 3rd Gen member Kang Xin: “Phew~ Finally we can meet everyone, I’m so excited. During our seniors’ election event, I laughed and cried with them while watching. Next year I wonder if any 3rd Generation members will make it into the top 16? Ha, I don’t want to get into a serious topic. Nice to meet you, please give me advice! The journey to our future is a long path, we have to learn from our seniors, please look out for us everyone~”