Korean Drama Review : Hwarang – The Poet Warrior Youth

Out of the so – called ‘Three Kingdoms’ of Korea, I love Silla the most. Of course, it started with the drama Queen Seondeok but also because I read that Silla was a Kingdom ahead its time for being the only Korean Kingdom to have been ruled by a Queen – girl power!!! So I got really excited when I heard that filming for a drama called Hwarang already started. Especially when I found out that the leads will be Park SeoJoon and Go Ara, I started to really expect a lot.

And now that the drama has ended, I want to share my thoughts about it before I move on with my Hwarang-less life.

If you’re looking for a light-hearted plot and a happy ending, I definitely recommend this show for you. It has a lot of romance and comedy, too. However, if you are like me who enjoys the complicated political struggle that usually exists in most Korean historical drama, you will be a bit – just a little bit – disappointed. This drama may not have been exactly what I expected (or wanted) but it had enough romance and comedy to satisfy my KDRAMA Addiction.

Here’s my two cents (or four cents )on why you should watch this drama.

GREAT CAST
Not only did they make sure to get the good-looking ones – they also picked actors and actresses who are perfect for the  role. I’ve been a fan of Park SeoJoon and Go Ara even before Hwarang so I already knew how good they were. I’ve also seen some of Sung DongIl and Kim KwangKyu’s work but most of the cast are new to me. Park HyungSik is really pretty but I was still surprised by how royal he looked when he finally wore the king’s robes. Choi MinHo, Do JiHan, Cho YoonWoo and Kim TaeHyung also did really well on their part. And, a special shout-out to Kim HyunJun who also did great on his portrayal as Suk DanSae.

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COMEDY
When I found out that Go Ara is the female lead, I hadn’t thought  that her character will have a funny personality. I was kinda hoping for her character to be like SooYeon – funny but still lady-like – so that was a bit of a disappointment for me. However, she really did make me laugh a lot with her greed for silver and her sometimes explosive temper. Sung DongIl, of course, had a lot of funny contributions to the drama but he also played an important part when it came to the serious political subplot. Here’s two of my favorite funny scenes :

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BanRyu & SooYeon’s “butt-grabbing” incident from Ep.7
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Sunwoo & JiDwi fighting while hangin on the ceiling from Ep. 5. Sunwoo bit JiDwi in the arm.

ROMANCE
There’s enough romance for everybody – I surely did get my fill – not only from the the love triangle between Sunwoo-Aro-JiDwi but also from my favorite pair BanRyu and SooYeon. To be honest, I liked the BanRyu-SooYeon tandem better than the main leads’ romance. Their kissing scenes made my heart skip a beat and I hoped  to have seen more of it. Luckily, they showed us a bit of their romance again on the finale. Here’s another two of my favorite scenes :

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BanRyu&SooYeon’s Wall Kiss from Ep.18

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SunWoo-Aro Kiss Scene from Episode 16 – Not only was this the sweetest kiss between the leads, the fact that JiDwi saw it added intensity to the scene.

BROMANCE
I really didn’t get what the fuzz was about when it comes to Bromance but I totally understand it now. I don’t look at it in a romantic way, though, it’s the way their love – hate relationships give me goosebumps when I see it that excites me. Here are my favorite pairs and scenes :

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SunWoo & JiDwi – The way they ignore each other at times when in reality they care for each other.

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BanRyu & Suho – The way they just hate each other’s guts but secretly worries about each other.

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Another pair you should watch out for – SunWoo & Hansung – for their Hyung – DongSaeng relationship. HanSung simply adores SunWoo.

A SCENE I’M SURE YOU’LL LOVE

THE SILLA FOOTBALL GAME
Nothing beats Quidditch but that soccer match was HOT. I was fan-girling the whole time and it just seemed like it was a real game instead of a well-choreographed scene from a drama. The actors are all on their competitive mode. It was also funny when at first Sunwoo did not understand the rules of the game and JiDwi’s frustration for not being able to impress Aro.

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SOME SCENES TO MAKE YOU CRY

I AM THE KING OF SILLA
Although this scene is about SunWoo pretending to be the king to save Aro – what really touched me was JiDwi’s acting. The title ‘King’ would have made him the most powerful man in Silla but he was nothing but a powerless and a faceless king. How awful he must have felt towards himself?

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SUK HANSUNG’S DEATH
The fact that he died in the hands of his own brother made me cry. Also, the way he sacrificed himself for SunWoo showed us that although he has an easy-go-lucky personality he is a selfless man who will protect those who are important to him. He saved SunWoo from death and kept his brother from becoming a killer. DanSae’s acting while reading HanSung’s letter was golden.

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EVENTS I HOPED SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED

***Aside from saving the Amity Envoys from the Baeje Crown Price at the Baekje-Silla border, it would have been better if the Hwarang’s have accomplished a much greater deed. I don’t have an idea as to what deed that should have been but something that would have made Hwarang seem like a force to be reckoned with. Master WeHwa kept saying that Hwarang is no longer what they used to be but it there’s no proof that they have become stronger and independent. On the finale, when they chose JinHeung as their King showed that they stand by their own decisions instead of obeying their families but it wasn’t enough for me.

***It would have been great to have seen a traditional wedding for SunWoo and Aro. Am I being greedy?

In summary, this drama is definitely worth the 16 hours of your time. I am not very satisfied with the ending but when was I ever? he-he-he. It just doesn’t seem finished to me. I wanted to see the Hwarang led by Sunwoo and King Jinheung to accomplish great tasks. Maybe a part two?

OVERALL RATING : 7/10

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