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Hwarang: Episode 5

We’ve finally gotten to the part of the show I’ve most been looking forward to — the budding friendships between the boys. It’s early days yet, but you can see by the way that they fight together that eventually, they’ll be working together instead of against each other. They have a long (long, long) way to go before they’re true friends, but the seeds are there, and the little glimpses we’re already getting are well worth the wait.

 
EPISODE 5 RECAP

Sun-woo comes out of unconsciousness to find himself tied up and hanging from the ceiling of an old building. He remembers Ah Ro’s kidnapping, confronting Scarface (whose name is actually DOO-WOO) and his minions, and grabbing the dagger held to his throat and daring Doo-woo to kill him. One of the minions had knocked him unconscious, and he’d been left here.

He suddenly thinks of Ah Ro and looks around, but instead he finds Sammaekjong hanging next to him. Sammaekjong wakes in a panic and flails wildly, and Sun-woo dryly tells him to calm down before he makes his headache worse. Too late.

Sammaekjong scoffs when Sun-woo asks why he was following him, and points out that they’re wearing the same outfit (the Hwarang uniform). He says that he knows Sun-woo was following Ah Ro, and warns him to watch out for his status, what with him hanging out with a “half-breed” like her. He pokes a little more, saying that Ah Ro must be something for Sun-woo to chase after her, and now, it’s on.

Sun-woo manages to land a kick, and the boys end up swinging and batting at each other as best they can while tied up in midair. Sun-woo even gets in a good bite to Sammaekjong’s shoulder. HAHA, I could watch this all day.

Meanwhile, the rest of the Hwarang line up in the palace courtyard, ready to be officially appointed by the queen regent. Su-ho and Ban-ryu’s factions can’t help but argue even here, but Ban-ryu knows that his father as well as his adoptive father Minister Park are both watching, and warns the others to shut up.

Queen Regent Jiso arrives and looks out over her new Hwarang with triumph. She shoots a look at Minister Park that reminds him that the officials’ sons lives are hers now, and he thinks that she’d better not let down her guard, or he’ll find Sammaekjong and steal his throne.

The queen regent notices that her ace card against Ahn Ji-gong, Sun-woo, hasn’t arrived yet. At the same time, Hwa-gong sees that the spot reserved for “Kim Ji-dwi,” the name he knows Sammaekjong by, is also empty.

The boys have stopped fighting, but only because their ropes have gotten so entangled that they can’t reach each other anymore. Sun-woo says that Ah Ro is his sister, wondering why Sammaekjong even cares, but Sammaekjong says they can discuss it further once they get free. Funnily enough, Sammaekjong seems much more inclined to work with him upon hearing that Ah Ro is his sister and not his lover.

They work together to untangle their ropes, and look around the building. They realize it’s a slaughterhouse, judging by the sharp implements and bloody meat everywhere.

Doo-woo and his minions are nearby, planning what to do with Sun-woo and Sammaekjong. Doo-woo argues for not killing Sun-woo, since Minister Park has offered a bounty for him, but he doesn’t care if they dispatch Sammaekjong and Ah Ro.

The Hwarang boys get antsy when the ceremony doesn’t begin, and Yeo-wool, the notorious pretty boy, muses that it’s a test. Only Su-ho doesn’t seem to care as he takes the chance to look his fill at the beautiful queen regent.

Sun-woo and Sammaekjong hear footsteps, and a mountain of a man enters the slaughterhouse carrying a massive ax. The giant stops to paint his face with blood, then inexplicably licks what looks like a raw leg of lamb, which is both gross and alarming.

Sammaekjong politely asks the giant not to do what he’s thinking of doing, but the giant picks up his ax and approaches. Sammaekjong avoids the first few swings, then Sun-woo yells at him to kick, so Sammaekjong kicks the giant’s ax-hand, hard.

The ax flies into the air, and Sun-woo catches it with the hand he’s just freed from his bonds. Sun-woo cuts himself down and lands in an ungraceful heap, and the giant picks him up and flings him across the room. The giant pulls out a couple of small knives, and Sun-woo smacks one of the hanging slabs of meat into his face. This is awesome.

Sun-woo gets in a few good jabs to the giant, but his punches do absolutely nothing. Even a mighty kick to the giant’s chest just ends up with Sun-woo on the floor again.

Doo-woo goes to see Ah Ro, who’s blindfolded and gagged in a nearby building. He tells her in an ominous voice that he’ll take care of her since “that Dog-Bird” likes her, all the while running the point of his knife along her face.

Sun-woo is badly losing his fight with the giant, and he picks up the nearest thing he can find to wield as a weapon, which turns out to be the leg of lamb. He whacks it right into the giant’s family jewels, and follows it up with a leg-of-lamb-smack to the face, knocking the giant out cold.

Sun-woo bandages his hand, seeming to have no intention of cutting down Sammaekjong as long as the suspended man keeps barking orders at him. When it looks like Sun-woo might actually leave him there, Sammaekjong asks humbly, “Save me,” and Sun-woo turns back.

Eventually, the queen regent can’t delay any further and orders the ceremony to begin. She hands Hwa-gong a ceremonial sword, and they each note that they seem to be missing their “card” (they each agreed to give the other one choice they wouldn’t challenge — the queen’s is Sun-woo, Hwa-gong’s is Sammaekjong).

Doo-woo and his minions enter the slaughterhouse to find the place seemingly empty. Sun-woo and Sammaekjong burst out of hiding at the same time, taking the bandits by surprise and knocking them out one by one, even employing some pretty impressive teamwork.

They make their way to Ah Ro’s building, and when Sammaekjong tries to take off her blindfold, she head-butts him in the face. Sun-woo softly tells her that he’s here, and she stops struggling to let him remove her blindfold and gag.

The moment she sees his face, Ah Ro bursts into tears and throws herself into his arms. She sobs that she thought he was dead, and he looks a little gobsmacked that the thought of him dying upset her this much. Sammaekjong rolls his eyes at the tender reunion, noting how Sun-woo awkwardly strokes Ah Ro’s hair before telling them that they have to go.

And not a moment too soon, because the bandits are on their way. Ah Ro’s arms are still tied, so Sun-woo slings her over his shoulder. Sammaekjong tells Sun-woo to run for it, and he’ll hang back and stall the bandits.

Sun-woo carries Ah Ro to a safe area and unties her, then starts to head back to help Sammaekjong. Ah Ro stops him, so he tells her he’ll be back before the count of two hundred, and she tells him he has till she counts to one hundred and fifty to come back safely.

He arrives back at the hideout just as Sammaekjong is growing overwhelmed, and their excellent spontaneous teamwork evens the odds a bit. They even use some of the same moves they used during the ballgame, but eventually the bandits get the upper hand due to sheer numbers.

Just when it looks like all is lost, arrows start to thunk into the bandits one by one. Doo-woo barely manages to see the hidden archer hiding in a nearby building—it’s Sun-woo’s adoptive father from the village! He creates enough of a diversion to allow the boys to escape, and even gets Doo-woo in the shoulder with an arrow.

The new Hwarang accept their new swords one at a time, while those aware that there are two men missing begin to fidget. By the time there are only two swords left, the queen regent has decided that Sun-woo must have run away, and she stands to conclude the ceremony. But just as she begins, the courtyard door opens to admit Sun-woo and Sammaekjong.

The queen regent’s face goes pale as she sees her son, the king of Silla, marching in to accept his position in the Hwarang. She can’t say a word or she’ll expose his true identity, and he knows it.

He steps forward to receive his Hwarang sword under the name Ji-dwi (and we’ll be calling him this from now on, since it’s his new assumed identity). Just for a moment he meets his mother’s eyes, determined to do this despite her agenda to keep him hidden.

Sun-woo steps up next to accept his Hwarang sword. His thoughts are full of his friend Mak Mun, the real Sun-woo, and he wonders if he can really live his friend’s life. He takes the sword and his voice rings with strength: “Hwarang, Sun-woo! I’ll accept the name of Hwarang!”

The queen regent collects her wits and makes the announcement that with the Hwarang, she intends to make Silla the strongest of the three kingdoms. The new Hwarang swear loyalty to the kingdom and the king (which Ji-dwi recites with a marked sneer in his voice), and the crowd goes wild.

As soon as he can, Ji-gong asks Sun-woo about this Doo-woo person that confined him. Sun-woo tells him that Doo-woo used to collect taxes in his old village, which is how they know each other. He says they don’t have a great relationship, but he doesn’t know why Doo-woo came after him this time.

He expresses regret that Ah Ro was put in danger because of him, and Ji-gong’s voice goes hard as he warns Sun-woo that if it happens again, he won’t forgive him. He continues that they can’t go back from here, so whatever Sun-woo does now will also affect Ji-gong.

Later that night, Sun-woo sighs over the rips and stains in his Hwarang uniform. Ah Ro walks in on him shirtless and nearly has kittens at the sight of his bare chest, and no matter how hard she tries, she can’t spit out the word “oraboni” (older brother).

She spots his clothes and, grateful for something to talk about, offers to repair them for him. Sun-woo pretends not to notice her fidgeting, but after she leaves, he smiles to himself. His thoughts of Ah Ro won’t let him sleep, so he creeps out of bed to peek at her as she sews his uniform.

As she works, Ah Ro lectures herself on her inability to call Sun-woo “oraboni,” and Sun-woo grins at her sadness that she has to call him that at all. He grows mesmerized watching her sewing his uniform, and when she nearly spots him he flings himself inside like a giant dork. HAHA.

Later, Sun-woo pretends to be asleep when Ah Ro comes into his room. She takes his injured hand, the one he used to grab Doo-woo’s knife, and unwraps it as she says she has something to tell him while he’s sleeping. She finally calls him “Oraboni,” and thanks him for saving her life.

Ah Ro continues that she’s always believed she was on her own — but for the first time, she’s met someone she wants to rely on. She’s says she’s happy to have him as a brother, but that her new feelings are scary, and she wonders if she can do this.

She finishes cleaning and bandaging Sun-woo’s hand, and softly tells him not to get hurt again. Sun-woo drops his act and grabs her by the wrist. He says in a low voice that he’s also scared that he won’t be able to protect her. He says it’s the first time anyone has depended on him, but he asks her to anyway, because she’s not alone anymore.

Queen Regent Jiso is in a fury, and orders her bodyguard Hyun Chu to get the king out of the country immediately. Hyun Chu says that it’s better that he’s here, since there’s no safe place for him in the capital. But nobody would ever imagine the king himself would be in the Hwarang.

Ah Ro hovers outside Sun-woo’s bedroom door the next morning, deliberately making noise to wake him. He startles her by sitting down next to her and pointing out her awkward behavior. Sun-woo seems to enjoy making Ah Ro even more flustered, as he keeps touching her and leaning in close, acting all innocent.

Doo-woo and his number one minion report back to Minister Park, who’s interested to learn that Ahn Ji-gong’s supposed son is really an orphan boy from the low-born village. He finds it fascinating that the queen regent formed the Hwarang so quickly after the king came to the city. He thinks that Sun-woo must have seen the king’s face, which is why the queen regent made him Hwarang.

Sun-woo dresses in his uniform, but has some trouble figuring out the belt. Ah Ro steps in to help, and Sun-woo pretends to be annoyed, but he can’t stop from smiling whenever she’s not looking. He mock-complains that the belt is messed up from her terrible sewing, but she just snaps back that she was pretty good at sewing him up. Point to Ah Ro.

She steps back to check Sun-woo, and gets flustered again at the fine figure he cuts in his uniform. He teases that she knew from the beginning that he was handsome, and he clearly enjoys repeating her drunken words back to her and making her frown. Aaand point to Sun-woo.

She tells him that she’s going to watch the Hwarang procession on the way to the barracks, and tells him to wave if he sees her. Sun-woo says he won’t, grouching that having a sister is annoying, hee.

All the ladies turn out to see the Hwarang procession and swoon over the pretty men. The boys notice the ladies too, and even Ban-ryu seems to lock eyes for a second with one beautiful girl — Ah Ro’s friend Soo-yeon, who also happens to be his archenemy Su-ho’s sister. Uh oh.

As they walk, Hwa-gong’s assistant asks if he’s not worried to put all these hot-headed young men in the same place. He warns Hwa-gong that he’s here to evaluate things, and if anything goes wrong he’ll recommend the queen regent disband the Hwarang.

Minister Park and Ho Gong, Ban-ryu’s biological father, sit in Joo-ki’s teahouse to watch the young men who weren’t chosen for the Hwarang because they didn’t have the necessary pedigree. Minister Park figures that these are the young men who will be most against the queen regent now, and plans to “buy them.” They’re amused by one furious boy in particular, Kang Sung, the same guy who beat up Mak Mun in the club.

Ji-dwi’s bodyguard Pa Oh is posing as a street vendor, and he’s surprised to see Ji-dwi out of uniform and skipping the procession. He assumes that Ji-dwi changed his mind about being in the Hwarang, but Ji-dwi corrects him and says that he’s going later.

Despite his grumpy claims, Sun-woo scans the crowd for Ah Ro during the procession. He doesn’t see his adoptive father, Woo-reuk, watching him from under a straw hat, and he completely misses Ah Ro when she finally pushes through the crowd.

Someone barrels through the crowd, and Ah Ro accidentally rips his sleeve trying not to fall. It’s Kang Sung, Ban-ryu’s angry friend, and he screams at Ah Ro for ruining his expensive clothing. He refuses her offer to repair them and raises his hand to strike her, but he suddenly recognizes her as the storyteller, and his tune immediately changes.

He makes assumptions based on the racy nature of her stories, and offers to forget the whole thing if Ah Ro spends some time alone with him. Gross. He drags her off as Ah Ro loudly objects.

Suddenly, Kang Sung is smacked in the face by a bag of coins. A second one hits him, and Ji-dwi shows himself, explaining that the first bag is to pay for Ah Ro, and the second is an apology for hitting him in the face with the first bag. HA. Kang Sung lurches at Ji-dwi, but a sharp jab in the solar plexus by Pa Oh has him thinking twice. He picks up the coin bags and leaves, and Ji-dwi moves towards Ah Ro.

She apologizes for not being able to pay him back, but he’s more interested in her debt to him for saving her life earlier. He takes a paintbrush and draws a half-moon on her forearm, explaining that it’s a long-lasting paint that will serve as a bond of debt — when she repays him, he’ll erase it.

Hwa-gong leads the new Hwarang into their new barracks, and their first challenge is to drink several cups of alcohol in quick succession. The boys choke their way to hilarious drunkenness, all except Ji-dwi, who looks perfectly sober after all the drinking. Poor Sun-woo looks sick as a dog, unused to much drinking at all.

Once they’re all good and wasted, Hwa-gong calls them forward to choose their room plates. Ban-ryu, Su-ho, Ji-dwi, and Sun-woo all pull the same black room plate, making them roommates. Hwa-gong tells the boys that there are no more rules for today — they can steal each other’s room plates, or even roommates, however they like.

In private, his assistant complains that getting the boys drunk and setting them loose on each other is a terrible idea. He wonders how they can teach the boys lofty ideals now, and Hwa-gong just laughs and tells his assistant to just teach the boys the consequences of their actions.

Sun-woo is found out by several boys who were at the club fight and know he’s low-born, and they proceed to beat him soundly and kick him into a ditch. But just when they think they’ve gotten the best of him, Sun-woo comes up, completely sober now, and returns the beating easily.

Out in the courtyard, Ban-ryu and Su-ho have realized they’re sharing a room, and are trying to steal the black room plates from each other. It’s kind of adorable how indignant they are, yet they can’t manage to even lay a finger on each other for all the drunken swaying. These two are going to be so cute once they’re besties.

Hwa-gong’s assistant won’t let the subject drop, and Hwa-gong asks if he’s worried about the boys, or about what to report to the queen regent. He thinks it doesn’t matter if the boys kill each other now, because they’ll only kill each other later. Hwa-gong reveals his true plan — to let the boys interact, shape, and reshape each other, so that they can take them and form something new.

Ji-dwi tries to ignore Sun-woo as he sits in pain, but he stops to ask what happened anyway. Sun-woo clutches his sore ribs, and Ji-dwi sees the dragon-head bracelet he’s still wearing as he asks if it’s true that Sun-woo is the queen regent’s chosen Hwarang. Sun-woo just asks if Ji-dwi has ever carried anyone before.

Ji-dwi says that will never happen, warning Sun-woo not to even think of it. Cut to: Ji-dwi piggybacking an unconscious Sun-woo into the dorms, HA.

Ji-dwi finds the black-plate room, which is already occupied by Su-ho and Ban-ryu, both sleeping. A third young man sits near one bed — it’s Yeo-wool, the highest-ranked Hwarang in the group. Yeo-wool looks at Ji-dwi with hooded eyes, and asks dryly if his shocked expression is because he’s never seen a beautiful man before.

Ji-dwi dumps Sun-woo on the unoccupied bed, and Yeo-wool swipes his black plate. He counts up the boys in the room, and figures that these are the five who will be sharing living quarters. He looks amused and says, “This is going to be fun, don’t you think?”

 
COMMENTS

Aww, I think I’m going to like Yeo-wool. There’s something removed about him, as if he’s above all this petty social bickering, but he doesn’t seem jaded. It’s more like he wields enough power on his own that he can afford to ignore it and just coast along doing whatever he wants. I’m fascinated by his character more than the other Hwarang boys, and curious to see how he’ll fit into the friendship that will form.

I think I’ve figured out why Ji-dwi isn’t going to get the girl, and it’s really no wonder. I doubt, living in exile, that he’s had much experience with women. His approach to Ah Ro seems to be pretty assertive, almost aggressive, which is definitely not going to work with a strong-willed girl like her. He’s forceful with her, not necessarily in a bad way, but in a way that raises her hackles and makes her push back, creating distance between them instead of the closeness he clearly wants.

On the other hand, it’s understandable that Ah Ro is having confusing feelings for Sun-woo, because while he’s calling himself her brother, he’s acting like a guy who loves her. He’s gentle and thoughtful, slowing down and meeting her on her emotional level at every turn. I liked their little scene when she admitted it’s the first time she wanted to rely on someone, and he confessed to being scared he can’t protect her. It was a pretty big moment for Sun-woo, to be open enough that he admitted to being afraid and willing to ask her to lean on him, since the one time he was in a position to protect someone, they died. But mostly I just love the way he always thinks of Ah Ro first — a good example being when the boys rescued Ah Ro from the bandits. Ji-dwi just started manhandling her, trying to untie her, but without speaking to her first. Of course she thought he was a bandit there to hurt her! But Sun-woo slowed down, spoke softly, told her they were there to help, and she calmed right down. He thinks of her needs first, which is really nice to see.

It’s interesting to watch, because the characters of Sun-woo and Ji-dwi seem to be switched from the usual dramaland lead and second lead mold. So often the lead is the one that’s aggressive and pushy with the woman. He’s arrogant and prickly, but she sees through all that to the marshmallow inside. But in this case, it’s Ji-dwi who’s those things, and Ah Ro isn’t having any of it. Meanwhile, Sun-woo is doing all the usual second-lead things like taking care of the girl, being sweet to her, and casting longing looks in her direction — only for once, it’s totally working. I’m on board to see more of this.

Speaking of Sun-woo, his crush on Ah Ro is so cute, I can’t even. He’s definitely aware of his feelings, and even looks like he’s enjoying them, though when she finally called him “oraboni,” it seemed to have sunk in for the first time that he’s in no position to truly court her. And it’s more than obvious that Ah Ro feels the same attraction, so I do hope she learns that he’s not her real brother soon. I still don’t find it completely icky, because to Ah Ro this is a guy she just met, plus he’s gorgeous, so it’s natural for her to find him attractive when she didn’t grow up attaching any familial associations to him. I can understand finding a new person handsome, even if you think he’s related, for a short time. But eventually (if you’re truly related) you have to move past that, and that time is swiftly approaching for Ah Ro. If she keeps being attracted to Sun-woo past the initial “just met this person” time frame, then it will get weird. It’s a delicate timing issue, so here’s hoping that Ah Ro learns the truth soon.

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Thank you for the caps Lolly! I wish there was less fighting and more interacting this episode, but oh well. Had to go on DB to find your recap because I can't take the tension of watching shows without recaps. Thank you for coming out just in time before I die of anxiety of not knowing what's going to happen HAHAHA THANK GOD FOR DB AND THANK GOD FOR YOU

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Park Seo Joon is pretty intense, the only time that he was somewhat subdued coz of his confining character was in She was Pretty. But the Park Seo Joon in The Witch's Romance was really good and of course, um, sexy,heehee. What age gap? They made it work, the chemistry was there and they sizzled on screen. Fact.
Now, much as I want to get with the program, I just don't find Go Ara that pretty, yes she's got beautiful brown iris but that's it. I understand that her character is somewhat feisty but so what, I mean I can't understand the attraction. There are a lot of not so pretty actresses but they're cute and somehow there's chemistry. ok, sorry, babbling here. same reason why I didn't watch Reply 1994.Ok, so the King/Prince can have her.

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I thought the person who rescued Sunwoo and Jidwi by shooting arrows is Jidwi's faithful bodyguard. No? He comes out whenever Jidwi whistles..

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I keep trying with this show and I don't know why.

It's disconcerting that 5 episodes in and the PD decided we needed a 3 and half minute recap of what's gone on....filler?

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isn't many drama does that in a certain point?
Goblin does that in more longer way almost every episode and hwarang just does that now.
I think it give viewer good perspective since they have a week gap from what happen before.
To sum a new stage\arc for the story and they didn't do it for ep 6

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Instead of a filler, I find it as promotional strategy. Recap for those potential viewers who missed Ep1-4 but wanted to give it a try.

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Don't watch W if you don't want long recaps! haha :D Sometimes they had 15 minute recaps of previous things.

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oh that W intro.... They always make my brain spin. Skip that for healthier life 😂😂😂

Goblin does that too with better recap, but I think Hwarang's was short and clear enough to recap things weeks before, and yeah clearly helps the ones who haven't watched before.

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W was worst they reminded us everything and never gave the answer.... Something just don't fade away with new year! 😏....

Comparatively this is normal...

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Omg the W recaps drove me nuts. I'm used to recaps but it feels early in this series. Haven't noticed it in Goblin though....

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I'm with the Show but it seems like there was no episode where Ah Ro was not a damsel in distress after she met the boys. I'm looking forward to the next episode though, hopefully more interaction between the Hwarang boys without the punches.

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I think this is the only time she is actively being a damsel in distress and that's not even because of her.

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Did I miss something here? How did Ah Ro's hair grow so fast?

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I meant Sun Woo's hair. I'm still asleep...

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The magic of a silla hair straightener!

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bromancr magic and acupuncture

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Hee hee. I think it was more poofy before and then they de-poofed it which made it longer.

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I agree, that is one glaring plot hole, however thankfully it is not an important one so I can overlook it.

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That's the upgrade from low born to half breed.. or may be came attached with hwarang uniform 😁😂

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At some point this episode, I became convinced that the big twist is that Ah Ro and Ji Dwi/Sammaekjong are going to end up being siblings.
I feel like the way that they bicker is very sibling-y. He's definitely got a crush on her, but then she has a crush on a guy she thinks is her long-lost brother, so it makes perfect sense in the context of the show.

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They said that her mother is a peasant but it could be the queen? hmmm. nice theory tho

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It is possible but I think her father may have married a peasant on purpose so his children can be free. They are poor half breed but they are happy doing what they want to do.
Look how miserable those royals and nobles are even with all their power. I do pity the young king. What are heavy load to carry, a whole country with no confidence in himself.
Rooting for you Sammaekjong!

In history Lord Alcheon's father was a sacred bone but he didn't want his son to grow up and fight over the throne so he married a true bone.

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That could happen but honestly i have a feeling sun woo has some sort of royal connection as well we don't actually know of his birth parents neither does he and it seems possible that he could be of some lineage somehow.

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I think it's more likely sun woo and sammaekjong that would turn out to be siblings/half. I still think that he's a contender for the throne, that is his 'fate'

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I also think that they are half siblings (sunwoo & sam maekjong)

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...what if Sun Woo is the actual "hidden" king, and Ji Dwi is the fake? The queen ordered someone to swap them when they were infants and acts like Ji Dwi is her son, but he isn't... And the final twist is that whoever was meant to swap them didn't actually, so Ji Dwi is the real king in the end (though the Queen doesn't know until the last minute)

Maybe not, LOL.

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that's interesting and a bit makjang-y!! i'd love to see this happen lmao

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While birth secrets etc may or may not be the case I kind of like how their interaction forged their future.

Maybe we are looking at the future king and his loyal general.

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*is forging*

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yeah I like that whatever their relationship turn out by their birth,
their interaction in the present time is genuine,
they learn about each other as a person before knowing their back story,
this is all like a back story but I like how it gonna shape up the future too,

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That's the part of the story that I'm looking forward to the most. Surely this confused Sammaekjong who is pretty much lacking confidence to rule his country didn't become the great King Jinheung without help.

His first order of business when he became king was appointing a faithful and capable general as his right hand man before he started expanding Shilla's territory and his dream to unify the 3 kingdoms.

I wish Sammaekjong would be a bit more calculating because Jinheung played Baekje and Goguryeo to his and his country's advantage.

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Thank you for the recap lollypip. I find the tone of this drama really strange but I seem to enjoy it nonetheless. Like the whole scene with Hwa gong and his assistant would have been a serious one where we learn of his plan for shaping Hwarang but for the finger burning part (!). I like that its not a weighty sageuk and hope it continues a comic approach even when the political machinations start acting up.
This episode really sold our OTP to me. Till now I was not sure I saw why the King couldn't be the one to get the girl but all the Ah ro and Sun Woo interactions this time were so charged! I really hope they clear up the (fake) brother-sis dynamic ASAP (like next ep!) so we can have more of them testing the waters without it being icky. On another note did they introduce Yeo wool in earlier episodes? I seemed to have missed this dude who looks like he's an anime character. Can't wait till all the room-mates are sober again, let the bromance begin!
P.S Happy new year to all the beanies!

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That finger burn part cracked me up so much!! xD

It really fits with Hwa-gong’s character. He looks he is all silly, but he is a smart and thoughtful man. He has unconventional methods in teaching the guys.

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I LOVE that this show is so goofy and off beat. I find the heavy political machinations of Sageuks to be pretty dull and they often go over my head. So the less time we spend with ahjussis in red robes the better!

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Theu only properly introduced Yeo-wool in this eps. But I remember Ah-ro introduced him together with the other boys to Hwa-gong in eps 2/3.

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Yep he was introduced along with the other guys but he got like 5 seconds of screen time but hey he was there

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Yeowool's intro last eps was only said that he is the 'neutral', not on Queen's side like Suho or the opposite like Banryu. That makes it interesting... That neither of the boys have the same side (reminds me with Moonlight's)

Suho: Queen's side | Banryu: Queen's opposite | Yeowool: Neutral | Seonwoo: Queen's card | Jidwi: King (lol) | Hansung: ... (his char is also interesting, can't tell he's neutral or queen's or neither)

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Hyung Shik .. Hyung Shik.. Hyung Shik..

I didn't know who he is before this.. and pleasantly surprised to realize he was in heirs..

And totally loving how well he is pulling off his role..

THere is nothing pathbreaking per se.. but i am really liking the series, everyone has very clear arcs.. and all characters are not lost in the main triangle..

I like that Choi Minho and Bangkyung guy have their own line.. rivalry, friendship, romance.. everything.. and not necessarily overlapping with the 3 leads..

I looooooved Yoo ryul .. he is such a pretty boy.. literally..
and that bTS guy is such a cute puppy..

All in actors doing decent job, lead female.. not doing much for me.. but then i didn't exactly like her in reply 1994 either.. its always the guys with her who seem to make the chemistry work..but then she is pretty.. and not horrible actress..

********
I don't get what the deal with the queen is.. is she really trying to protect her kid, was she always manipulative or became one only now, why would a teenager/20 ish man like a woman as old as his mom and queen nevertheless.. and i can see that jisoo knows Choi minho likes her.. and will totally use it to her advantage

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Suho have seen to be playboy and probably a karma that his heart got stolen by someone older.
I mean we've seen girls like older men before or smitten by their charisma, I bet it also works for other people too,

age can be problem as couple but not exactly a problem in attraction,

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I can totally see how the queen regent would milked Su-ho's attraction toward her and created huge friction between the boys.

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Have to make a comment about the Ah Ro character---I'm definitely not feeling her. I see the two leads around her doing all the emoting and reacting, trying to establish the relationship dynamics, but I'm not really seeing her being involved with either one---she's seeming rather flat in this aspect. Granted she has some good comic reactions and all, but for her to be the female lead, I expect more from her portrayal. The guys are carrying it, she is not. My opinion because I was wondering why I couldn't "feel" her involvement. I don't think it's there yet, on screen. Hope she can pull this off...

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I really enjoy the show because it does thing certain way that makes me know them.The character is visible, they say what they thought out loud and not scheming only on their mind.
We have different type of interaction at this stage and it's all different.
This is kinda what I want with the big cast of scarlet heart.
The sole story is probably between ji dwi and sunwoo but then we have banryu, suhoo, ahro, yeo wol,
the elders play their own part with different relationship with every character.
It wasn't just about picking side but realising their own purpose.
It's like everyone has their own life and not just trying to sabotage the hero's journey for weird reason.

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+10000000 to this!

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THIS COMMENT SUMMARIZES WHY I AM HOOKED TO THIS DRAMA and makes me overlook some of its flaws particularly, musical scoring (it sometimes ruin the scene tbh)
+100000 to this

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Yep, same here...only...and I feel a bit terrible for saying this, but...

...the thing that is bugging me & that I have to overlook isn't the music, it's the eyebrows.

The makeup artist went one shade too dark & waaaaaay too heavy-handed/sloppy (I checked the previous episode to make sure I wasn't imagining things...I was not.)

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They made the character more visible than the plot (which is interesting, it makes me wanna know the present episode more rather than the problem of creating Hwarang and the ending itself)

Even I still don't know which ship I would take: Sunwoo or Sammaekjong, since they both swoon-worthy, and I clearly doesn't care Ahro ends up with.

...Just don't make Suho-Queen work, that's... weird enough...

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I ship sunwoo & sammaekjong... I came here for Bromance😆..

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I'm here for the bromance too. Sunwoo-Jidwi and Banryu-Suho are already both super endearing to me.
I'm probably in the minority but the main OTP or love triangle is probably the most boring part in the series in my eyes. I don't know what it is but neither relationship is selling it for me. I'd rather watch the bromance and I was so upset that most of this episode was outside the Hwarang gates.
I am a bit intrigued by the Banryu and Suho sister possible love line though. My poor baby Banryu needs so love!

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Yayyy Hwarang house! The guys are all here. I love watching them fight and bicker. Cracks me up. The fight scenes in the beginning were well done and quite entertaining. I like that while Sammaekjong and Sun Woo dislike each other, they still help each other and fight together against the baddies. Teamwork, people! :)

And wait a minute. I thought the arrow shooter was Sammaekjong's bodyguard Pa Oh since Sammaekjong was making whistle signal sounds to get an alert out.

I can already tell that Ban Ryu will fall for Soo Ho's sister. She's so cute and bright, a contrasting character to cold and mean Ban Ryu. Excited to see their side of the story.

Ji-dwi piggybacking Sun Woo was freaking hilarious and sweet at the same time! xD

Whoa, I didn't know Yeo-wool was the highest-ranked Hwarang. He's still a mysterious character. I don't know who his father/family is.

This show is giving me a vibe similar to tvN's Three Muskeeteers. Fun and humorous. Brimming with bromance. Some romance and depth included with the more serious storylines.

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So the arrow shooter is not Ji Dwi's bodyguard? who is that?
Did I miss something?

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LollyPip said it was Sunwoo's adoptive father Woo-reuk so I replayed that scene and she is right! ^^ The scene happened so fast and I barely got a glimpse of him. I also assumed Pa Oh was following Sammaekjong.

Woo-reuk only appeared in this episode like twice, but now I know he's looking out for Sun Woo, which this is nice.

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This tends to support the theory that Sun-woo has some birth secret, like being a hidden royal.
Why else would he have a "father" who is a skilled archer and possibly master bodyguard / warrior ??

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since i support that theory. so he must be sun woo's shadow bodyguard, like what pa-oh is to sammaekjong.

so where was pa oh when the king needed him? lol i can totally see sammaekjong bitching about it when he finds out xD

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Maybe he's the son of the previous king with another woman? He's a royalty for sure IMO, but whose son he is...

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It was Pa-oh! I re-watched that scene just to be sure and yes it was him. Sammaekjong kept whistling -some kind of signal maybe - he even sighed in relief when the arrows started flying!

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Okay, I had to go back to watch that scene again, and it's Sun-woo' father from the village!

Sorry LollyPip.

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At this point, I'm just sad for poor Park Seo joon... looks like he's forever cursed to act like the brother of the girl he loves, even when he's not :P

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Orion!!! *sobs*

on the other side, Go Ara plays another Najung where she falls to her brother's friend who act like the real one when he's not.

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Ohhh... the META!!

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Though I'm liking Hwarang, I wonder why they show a couple of things in the preview, but it doesn't air in the next episode? Considering its pre-produced, they have more than enough time to decide the previews.

Anyway, I enjoyed it this week, and glad to see the interactions between the boys and more of each of our leads with A-Ro. However, there was like at least 30 minutes of schoolboy-fighting in either episode, I wonder if they could have used this time to move the plot forward?

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Why is everyone convinced Ji Dwi wont get the girl? I think the Sun Woo has taken the name and can't go back even if she gets to know the truth.

She hasn't allowed herself to respond to JD -its a self presevation mechanism because of her status. She knows who she is and is quite pragmatic.

SW is like getting a puppy. Its cute, adorable, teachable and will give you unconditional love - but then it grows into a dog.

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"Why is everyone convinced Ji Dwi wont get the girl?"
-Drama rule number 1-First lead gets the girl

"I think the Sun Woo has taken the name and can’t go back even if she gets to know the truth."
drama rules find the way to work ALWAYS, even if one of the main characters is
1 in comics
2. will born in century or two
3. Sociopath
4. already died and became vampire
5. is alien

"She hasn’t allowed herself to respond to JD -its a self presevation mechanism because of her status. She knows who she is and is quite pragmatic."
-It is one way to look at things, in my opinion she is simply annoyed by him

"SW is like getting a puppy. Its cute, adorable, teachable and will give you unconditional love – but then it grows into a dog."
-some people also like dogs, they are same as puppies except maybe being teachable

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Ha ha!You've totally destroyed me there!

Remember Reply 1988? Its not always so obvious who gets the girl. Both males are in the posters.

Yes a dog grows from a puppy. But a dog is not as malleable. SW is cute and malleable right now but might not be so in the future as he becomes his own 'SW'.

Ah Ro said it herself that DW was 'dangerous'. I don't think she wants to acknowledge the attraction.

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I don't think the reply series counts because "husband hunting" is the main device that pushes the plot

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"-Drama rule number 1-First lead gets the girl"

Most of the time, yes but they were instances where second male leads got the girl in the end...King of Baking, Kim Tak-Goo is one of them, Yoon Shi Yoon was the lead, Joo Won ended up with main lady Eugene. Queen of Reversals is another one with Park Shi Hoo getting together with Kim Nam Joo. What happened in Bali? So Ji Sub was probably the lead but Jo In Sung had his big break with this drama, no wonder things got tangled and no choice was made in the end (I won't spoil for the ones who haven't watched it yet).

There's probably many other examples but too lazy to do a research lol ...That's rare but it has happened from time to time...though I think pre-produced dramas will prevent this kind of thing to occur in the future...directors were probably greatly influenced by audience at that time and changing things to please that said audience was quite common.

I'm not saying our King will get Aro in the end, almost certain he's on the losing end but I just wanted to point out they were exceptions to the rule.

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Oh I know that , but it is exceptions which happen very-very rarely. So when drama isn't from Dream High or reply series or doesn't star Park Shi Hoo as a second lead drama rule number one often and sometimes unfortunetly works.
On another note, in Kim Tak Gu I always thought it was Tak Goo who ended up with second lead, not the other way around-maybe because her choice was based on revenge and not love, and in What happened in Bali Zo in Sung was a lead. Oh and main lead's actor shouldn't have any recent sexual harassment scandals, as funny as it sound Park Shi Hoo didn't got a girl when he was finally a first male lead in Neigborhood hero.
I didn't wrote so much before, sorry @Moose if I made it sound like I think it is wrong to ship Aro/Ji Dwi, afterall shipping is funniest part of watching drama and I wanted to say shortly why we are all so sure that Sun Woo would get a girl

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@ Nina all in good fun. I'm calling it -Ji Dwi gets the girl! See you around ep 9/10.

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In wikipedia it says king jinheung/ ji dwi will end up with minho's sister..

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But it seems like it will be soo ho's sister and banryu. There is 0% interaction between Ji Dwi and her while we get some with Banryu in this ep

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I mean princess sookmyung*..sorry

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Oh really??? How? I'm intrigued

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"Why is everyone convinced Ji Dwi won't get the girl?"

Because he is the king and he will have to marry a sacred bone.

Ah-ro is strong willed. She is going to be with the guy she loves and it looks like it's going to be her fake brother.

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much as I'd like it to be the King and Go Ara guess she'll end up with the main lead Sun Woo, ok. Eventhough the King got the first king, he's in for a heartbreak.

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I don't like Ah Ro's character maybe the actress or the way the character is written, it's my first time watching Go Ah Ara in drama, but I don't like her acting let's see when the other girl shows up i also didn't like her in Moorim School.

Nothing much happened in this episode, it felt like watching a show for pretty faces while the girls screaming, those scenes are cringy, well this is what this drama is all about i guess.

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I actually kind of like Ah Ro. She is smart and level-headed and I hope they won't turn her into another typical K-drama damsel in distress.

While I enjoy this drama, I admit that I do feel bothered with how cheeky the girls in Silla as portrayed in this drama. They girls been practically chasing guys days in and days out, with endless gushing and screaming. I get that they want to emphasize the fact that Hwarang comprising of really good looking pretty warriors but why need to degrade the women to such extend? That's somewhat bothersome.

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i feel like they're trying to emulate modern day fangirls of idol groups.. and if you've seen videos of them whenever their idol is nearby i think this drama is pretty accurate

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Yeah. May be I just have to look passed on this one as just to add in the comical vibe. I really like this drama, just the depiction of fangirling done a bit over the top. May be I am a bit conservative when it comes to sageuk.

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I actually like those girls reaction cause I feel like they tried to mirrored what somehow happen in the back of fangirls thought,
like when they keep telling that the boys is looked at them,
I take it as reaction I need to see at least for once,

so many pretty and handsome people in saeguk but we don't really see people/woman talks about it,
the palace maid di go gaga over god-byeongwon in MDBC and that's actually funny

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I think the fan-girling is spot on. These young Hwarangs were considered to be the best in the country. Young, noble, talented, beautiful etc.

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This makes me wonder though if they had fansites in Silla. If these guys are as hot as they say and are members of Hwarang(which i see it as Silla-version of SM,JYP and YG in one) i bet you there would be dedicated fans of these guys. They be giving away caricatures of the boys in paper or maybe hand embroidered napkins with "Ban Ryu' as cold as Ice, but we love for LIFE" or "Soo Ho may break my heart, with just a wink I see heavenly Art" *flowers and sparkles*

Also, do you think they have fanwars is Silla? Was the power struggle within the palace all just a ruse for the fangirl war happening with the female population of Silla?

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I'm excited that Ah Ro's best friend will be more than just a sidekick, the actress is so pretty and seems to have a spark that's deserving of more screen time! Cool.

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I'm impatiently waiting for the time when Ban-ryu truly fall for her charm, because him trying to win Su-ho's blessing as the older brother wilm be such a hoot.

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That will be too funny!
I saw a real life interview with the cast and they were asked who in the group made the worst first impression? I'm pretty sure it was unanimous, everyone pointed to the actor playing Ban Ryu (he wasn't surprised) because he came in acting like the character.

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same, im also excited to see her's and ban ryu's love line, nothing get's me going then seeing a cold guy falling in love with someone who's the total opposite and on top of that with his enemies sister. also i really love ban ryu

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Mee too. The actress is really pretty. Im glad she will have more screen time.

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I don't know why but I find the editing especially choppy - not Moon Lovers level choppy but the dying start of music in an abrupt scene change really gets to me.

I honestly thought hwarang wouldn't be able to live up to the hype, but just one tiny look at the boys interaction had me swooning this episode, so I truly believe it will get better. The first episode was kind of disconnected - in the way that none of the characters were living up to the bar that we'd set up for them; but now that the dissonance is gone, and expectations have been readjusted I find Park Seo Joon's Sun Woo so exceptionally, trul, madly, deeply adorable. He's such a closet sweetie and I want him to be loved by all the boys.

On the other hand, Ji Dwi is a fifty-fifty stakes for me right now. Sometimes, I find his character sizzlingly charming, and other times, I feel like there is a lot left to be desired in the actual culmination of personality of his character. But I feel myself warming up to him. He's prickly and I want all the boys to bring him down a notch.

Su-Oh. He's...um...puppy like? Like a perpetually high golden retriever? I kind of like him, but I'm also kind of dreading his eventual love line with the Queen - me-no-want-that. Srsly.

On the other hand, Ban Ryu's loveline with Su Oh's sister is one of my most awaited ones. I want him to fall hook, line and sinker before he realizes that he'd eyeballs deep in this mess called Larve. Haha. :D

I'm not quite invested in the rest of the score just yet, but here's hoping to more bromance and more recaps. Thanks for taking the time Lollypip. ^^

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My personal theory:

Fake Sun Woo is the real king and Ji Dwi is actually the fake king. There's just absolutely NOTHING said about fake Sun Woo, he doesn't even have a real name... This is a drama, so it's obvious this lack of information means there's something big coming.

I've got two takes on this:

1. He's the real son of the Queen and the reason why she doesn't want anybody to know Ji Dwi is the king is because he's not. She wants to be sure the throne is strong and secure before putting her real son on it i.e fake Sun Woo, whom she has given to the old guy to raise, hiding his true identity to be sure he's safe.

2. We don't know some part of the history. Maybe, Fake Sun Woo is the first son of the former King with another wife. The current queen has poisoned the former wife hoping to kill her child in the process, but the child escaped hence she knows some people know the real prince/king is alive somewhere and she wants to be sure she annihilate any form of rebellion before putting her son on the throne.

I wouldn't bet my hand on it but I'm okay with a couple of bucks. Rendez-vous in 6/7 episodes or so guys, mark my words.

PS: On the other side, it's better than Boys Over Flowers but the music just make my ears bleed. It sounds like what you would choose for a TV movie made in the early 90s. It just kills the mood. Epic scenes are turned just pathetic - yeah not even funny - by these awful choice and sometime you hear some epic music when it's just not the place or the way it's filmed just doesn't call for it. It's just aw-ful... especially when you've finished your week with the music feast that is the Goblin, only to hear that on Monday. This show could be so much more with better music choices. SO.MUCH.MORE.

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Ooh. I like your theory except

1. We saw flashbacks of JD as a kid and Queen sending him away for protection. I would say he is definitely her child.

2. This one seems more likely. Former king could have had a child with concubine and the child smuggled away to protect it from the Queen.
Could be why that dude was in jail - they blamed the pregnancy on him.

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AHA!

1. It could be just a trick. After all, they could have been switched at birth, and the Queen is just a very good actress.

2. My second theory would be for the King to have been married and to have had his wife die, hence the Queen would be his second wife... I don't know if the son of a concubine can be considered as a true heir to the throne...
When you speak about 'that dude" I understand you're referring to Sun Woo and Ah Ro's father?
...

Hmm... Honestly I have no ideas about where his conflict with the Queen is rooted. It seems she was in an unrequited love with him and that she made him pay the fact he didn't like her using I don't which excuse. I'm waiting for more intel ^^

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I've always thought that Sun Woo (fake) is a royal blood, perhaps the sibling of the King or at least someone important. You dong make a main lead with unknown background for nothing. He should be someone important :p

Anyway, I love the show. As someone who doesnt really like lovey dovey romance idol drama, it's surprising coz I found this to be entertaining and interesting. Love PSJ, for his acting and coolnes. And I dont mind Go Ara, despite some complaints of her being the damsel in distress. I think everyone has their own coolness : Sun Woo in his manliness and bravery, while Ah Ro in the way she teaches him to ride a horse and to write and to socialize/make connections. I dont see anything wrong with her being good at some things while lacking in others (say : needing to be rescued), coz each character has their own roles.

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I love how Sunwoo continued to unknowingly steal Sammaekjong's thunder and make him do many unthinkable things, and ultimately left our young king's ego in bruises. But then again, they said it's all just a part of growing pains. So... hang in there, Sammaekjong!! ;-)

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I love seeing Sammaekjong's utter disbelief as he experiences the impossible over and over: This girl isn't swooning for me? That person laughed in my face?? This guy JUST BIT ME?!?

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Hmmm...
IMHO..i think the music is pretty bad,gosh why ruin such a (hopefully)decent drama with bad choice of music
the music is mismatch and making me fast forward some scene because that music so cringe in my ears-_-..then the story in this episode seems a little bit slow than previous one but i still like it.and please next episode dont do too much fighting and bickering which is kind of over the top...and i like the acting from Male main lead they do a good job..But from Go ara(its my first time seeing her)her crying scene sometime was cringe and sometime she just overacting imo i hope director know it and change the way how she portray her character later(but i think it cant coz its preproduce-_-)
well guys dont get me wrong i like this drama and i love to see the improvements for next episode coz eps 5&6 kinda let me down a little bit..

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Don't worry, you're not the only one who thinks the music sucks BIG TIME.

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I haven't noticed the music at all and I've been enjoying the show. This conversation makes me think about how differently we all experience dramas and what we notice. For some it's inconsistent directing, others the use of plot devices and cliches etc. I think it's fascinating that even in what bothers us, one can see the diversity of the community

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Actually, overall I think it's a good show. Nothing new and it's pretty conventional. The way it's filmed is pretty standard as well especially compared to other pre-produced shows ( except Scarlet Heart and Cinderella and the Four Knights which I didn't bother to watch)... The Goblin and Legend of The Blue Sea just look really slick in comparison and while I'm not a huge fan of the music in Legend, it doesn't ruin the mood, it enhances it. The Goblin's music is marvelous, although one could argue they overuse it at times but it plays the emotion of each scenes wonderfully.

Here however... it just kills the mood every time, a problem I also had with Boys Over Flowers which acting for some of the second leads was seriously lacking (fortunately that's not the case here). That totally killed the show for me and I never managed to get pass the 4th episode in spite of multiple tries and of being a fan of the manga and the Japanese dorama ( Long Live Matsumoto Jun!).

Gosh, during this scene when they have to drink and their teacher is making the announcement, the music reminded me of the background music you would hear in an RPG. And yeah, in an RPG such music would have worked, but not in a drama. In fact, lots of scenes had some music which would have nailed it in an RPG.

There are many shows which music I wouldn't listen on my own without the drama... but it didn't prevent me from loving the drama when I watched it. Bad music though, well, you can't help but notice how it kills the show.

I'm sticking with it, because it's light and fun, but a better record would have done wonders.

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Agree. The show is good but sometimes the music just ruins the moment. They could have opted for an instrumental version of the OST for a more added effect.

Also I think Goblin is live shooting (base on the new bts posted on Soompi) but kudos for the team for pulling off such stunning cinematography.

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The music sounds so old skool,like something out of a 90's drama

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I don't think the music is that horrible, I don't find it distracting while watching. Though its definitely not as amazing and majestic as the music in Goblin.

On the other hand, I think one reason why I'm not bothered by Hwarang's music choice is because I just almost finished Night Watchman which has really horrible music choices that's both cringe worthy and laughable when paired with the scenes. And for me to notice and be bothered by the music in Night Watchman when I'm just playing it to be a background noise while studying is a feat of its own.

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There is something so goofy and comical about this show…like it really doesn't take itself seriously which I love, but has really good moments of depth and tension.

I see the guys coming together slowly, and I like how we're not rushing it…the drinking scene was so funny..actually this episode had so many laugh-out-loud moments…

Why do I feel like MM/Seon Woo might be Hwa Gong's son. We don't have much of a backstory of Hwa Gong and why he was in prison or whether he had a family of his own. As someone also mention, the theory that MM/Seon Woo might also be the real king is also a really interesting theory and would be a very cool twist!

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Oh, being Hwa Gong's son is an interesting idea. I kept thinking SW would turn out to be the son of the Queen's (hunky) henchman (how epic that your father kills your best friend and almost you etc etc) but with zero development of that character so far, I've pretty much given that up.

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Sunwoo wearing the king's bracelet really makes me think that he could br the king.
Its been emphasized multiple times that he has it.

Anyway, didn't sun woo know that ji dwi is the owner of that bracelet? Is he aware that there are actually two persons that night? I'm afraid he is confused because he passed out.
Are we completely over the revenge-for-my-friend part?

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But Park Hyun Shik have slip or said in his interviews that Saemmaekjong will be a great king or strong king in the ending. And when he invited the viewers to watch Hwarang, he said to watch his character journey into becoming a strong and great king. They already finish taping so he knows his character's ending. And he also said his character is the real great King Jinheung in history and that is why he was so burdened while taping. He couldn't have been saying this confidently on his interviews is he wasn't the real King Jinheung right?!

And there is a photo of future episode towards the end (atleast spoilers said it will be a scene in last 2 episodes) where Saemmaekjong is wearing the red royal outfit (king's clothes for fighting) and Sunwoo in a commoner or simple outfit (not a Hwarang clothes) and Sunwoo seem to be trying to kill Saemmaekjong in the photos. They are in the throne room.

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I see that he is the real king jinheung, perhaps Sun Woo is a contender for the throne? half sibling? Idk but we barely have any info about sunwoo's family and I think there is something bigger behind it.

Sun Woo trying to kill sam maek jong on the latter episode - I wanted to see the photo. Because I'm so lost on why it seems like he doesn't recognize sam maek jong to be the man from that night the real sunwoo died.

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It could be that Sun-woo unknowingly put on the king's bracelet and becomes the king's place-holder.
Sammaekjong is not ready to step up and take the reins from his mother.

Minister Park and his minions thinks that he is the king because he was allowed to join the Hwarang by the queen's recommendation. Maybe the bracelet might confirm their suspicion even though he is not the real king.

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Minister Park believes Sun-woo (PSJ) was the peasant who saw the King's face that's why he was allowed to join Hwarang.

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Thanks elric. My last paragraph doesn't count then but still a possibility with the bracelet lol.

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I like it but I don't love it. It needs some spice. A kick I'm looking at. Whether it be political, romance, bromance or others. I'm expecting a lot coming from KBS plus its a pre-produced drama but I guess it's like Uncontrollably Fond and Moon Lovers. It didn't wow me compared to DOTS and MDBC that were also pre-produced. I know the layout have been placed but it doesn't really excite my mind. Maybe because I'm watching Goblin at the same time as well. But it's a drama I can easily drop or not follow desperately every episode.
I think the cinematography is good but dark. The tone is not that bright. As for music, the OSTs are good but the editing is bad just like Moon Lovers. It would cut at wrong times it bothers me. Though I like it when they cut the music on romantic scene then turn funny then romantic again like Ahro and SunWoo's first meeting with the shoe. Sometimes the music choice just doesn't fit the scene at all.

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MDBC was live shooting.

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i feel like this drama is itching to break out in the rating, going by ep 3 when romantic doctor wasnt on, it got 13%. there is something about this drama that get people watching and its holding well against romantic doctor as well. im waiting to see how it does in the rating when romantic doc finishes. also it looks like no doubt things will get heated, dynamic and relationships are being formed now as well as obstacles.

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I guess this is where taste comes in, because I didn't like DOTS (couldn't get past the first few eps), and MDBC is a cute drama but I still am not in the mood to finish it. Whereas with Hwarang, I find myself watching without skipping any part of the episode, and I am captured by the drama so far.

Amongst the 3 historical dramas of 2016, which are "Scarlet Heart", "Moonlight Drawn by Clouds", and "Hwarang", so far Hwarang is my favorite. As for the OST, I agree that Hwarang's one weakness is that its "song" OST (not the instrumental ones which are good) is weak. Other than that, I am really enjoying this.

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You say it all ~ i feel the same

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I am loving the bromance more than the romance and it's a first for me. I think the twist maybe is that fake Sun Woo is actually the King and maybe he'd actually be the second lead? It's highly interesting that he ended up with Sammeokjeong's bracelet. Can't wait to see how it will all play out

on the side note: Ban Ryu is my brooding, bad boy kind a guy

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hi-5 on bany ryu, sometimes i feel like spritzing him with water like "bad Ban Ryu, bad... but i still love you." he really is a sinnamon roll emphasis on sin ;)

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banryu definitely killing the bad boy things,

I think I am more on the side of yeo wol,
the beautiful man,

side note : I think yeo wol practically seal my view for the drama cause I really like this trope of character, like sha jie jie from hua qian gu

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This reminds me so much of SKKS. I am so torn between the first and second lead. When Ah Ro is with Sun Woo I cannot imagine her with anyone else, but then in JiDwi's scenes, he just oozes chemistry that I really wish they were the OTP. Is there a threesome syndrome in KDrama land? Coz right now that's the only "pairing" I'd be truly happy with.

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Same here. I know it is not a second lead syndrome because everytime ah ro & sunwoo are together, I don't have this thought saying "No no, don't fall inlove with him! What will happen to my poor second lead." Instead, I enjoy their moments and think that they will be a real cute couple when they already got to freely express their feelings.

And with Sam maek jong & ah ro, My heart just can't take the oozing chemistry between them and it stubbornly goes "thug! thug! thug!" can't help but to hope for more & more scenes between them.

If we have SLS, what do you call this syndrome? :(

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Haha, you're just like me! There are times when is feel that why can't the girl have her cake and eat it too? :P They should have that kind of 'pairing' too. :P

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I will continue to call Saemmaekjong with his name and not Jidwi since I am already accustomed with it. They call him that in presscon, interviews and promotions. At least with Sunwoo they have always promoted him with that name and not Moomyung.

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The one who saved them from bandits was pa-oh, sammaekjong's shadow bodyguard. Thats why he's been whistling all along which is their code for 'i need backup you'd better get in here stat or else', while everyone else thought he'd lost some marbles lol

I love these two together

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I double-checked just in case, and it's definitely Woo-reuk, Sun-woo's first adoptive father from the village. He's been established as a great shot with a bow and arrow, and he wears the same cloth hat with the same scuffs on the edges during the parade later :)

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I love that I got faked out by that. I couldn't tell who it was and had to assume it was Sammaekjong's guy and then reading the recap was like oh! the village dad isn't just some bumpkin and is gonna be important too! I'd forgotten he was an ace archer.

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Oh wow I didn't notice thanks, good catch! This makes it more interesting.

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I also thought that it is Sammaekjong's body guard but upon reading Lollypip's recap, I rewatched and yes! that is his adoptive father from the village. His face appears for 1-very-fast-second. Thank you lollypip for your sharp observations! I'm so happy that woo-reuk role doesn't end up outside and he even followed Sun woo inside the capital and secretly guard him perhaps because he is worried after that scar face man's threat to find sunwoo no matter what.
He seems like that kind of father who is tough outside but actually cares inside.
As sunwoo's remaining family from outside the capital, i'm so glad he is not just in a cameo.

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huh, good catch. i really missed that one. i guess his role here is similar to pa oh then, except to sun woo. that supports my theory that sun woo is somehow a contender for the throne and might be the king's sibling

but where was the real pa oh when the king needed him? lol i can totally see sammaekjong bitching about it when he finds out xD

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@lollypip i watched hwarang special episode. They showed the scene and said the arrow shooter is Pa Oh. He is said someone that shows up whenever sammekjong whistles.

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The Behind story of hwarang https://youtu.be/QiZl2YEwuEo jump to minute 42:00

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But in Hwarang Special Episode (Epsiode 0) they should the scene and clearly said it was Pa On who save Sunwoo and Saemmaekjong. They said Saemmaekjong whistling is him calling for Paoh to interfere and that he needed help. Go Ara (aka Ahro) was even the one who narrated it. So that definitely is PaOh. The writers are already the one who said it was him.

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The archer who saved Sam Maekjong and Sun Woo from the kidnappers is not Sun Woo's adoptive father but Sam Maekjong's bodyguard. That's why he keeps whistling when he was tied up or before he face the kidnappers by himself, because his bodyguard will show up if Sam Maekjong whistles.

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I thought so too, but the whistling was a failed attempt to get Pa Oh's attention.

Fortunately, Woo Reuk was there to help. I still had my video open so here is the visual proof:
Archer shot: http://oi65.tinypic.com/1zdx2r9.jpg

Parade shot: http://oi64.tinypic.com/1grtht.jpg

Same hat and beard.
Pa Oh's beard is more gray and different. xD

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I forgot that Woo Reuk is a great archer too! :)

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As you can see from the above #25, it really is not the bodyguard. And I'm glad you bring it up because it points out that even with all that whistling, the bodyguard never came. Just where the heck was he, anyway? Shouldn't he have been following Sammaekjong closely as he left for the Hwarang ceremony in the first place?

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Same big question. Where is his bodyguard that he left him unguarded? After all his all-out killing to anyone who see sam maek jong's face, why is he missing in action? I always have this bad feeling towards that bodyguard

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All the Hwarang boys are great but... did anyone REALLY love how V pulled up the yellow badge while in a drunken state?

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I did!! Now I just need him to have more screen time! I am sad he is bunking in a different room. But, maybe circumstances will facilitate him moving in with our boys.

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Aw. He is such a cutie. I love it when he told his cup to stop moving

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I would like to dedicate this post to the sizzling chemistry between Ah Ro and Maek Jong, and Ah Ro and Sun Woo/Moo Myung. I will say that whenever Ah Ro is with Maek Jong, I just want them to start ripping each other's cloths off and meld into one. The way he looks at her is so intense (I'm talking about ep 6 as well here).

As fro Ah Ro and Sun Woo/Moo Myung, with them I want them to start kissing slowly first and then make sweet passionate love, since they have the type of chemistry that is calmer but feels deeper. I know that this is a PG drama, so even tasteful and tame intimacy scenes of this sort are not going to happen, but the chemistry between the leads really is some of the best I have seen in a while, and it is what made me type this.

I will say that when I compare the chemistry in this show with the chemistry between JJH and LMH in "Legend of the Blue Sea", I find that JJH/LMH don't have any sort of sizzle between them, and their chemistry is so lacking in comparison. They only have a cute/playful chemistry. The reason I compare, is because these are the two k-dramas I am following now.

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Are you me? Because I was thinking/imagining the exact same thing. :P Though honestly, Sammaekjong and A-Ro's heated chemistry is nice, no matter how much I love Park Seo Joon, I wish Sammaekjong was the male lead. :P

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You know this is the first drama where I love the first and second male leads equally, to the point where I sometimes like Sun Woo more, and then Maek Jong appears and I like him more. So in this drama I really can't decide who I like more. I just hope that Maek Jong will get a happy ending too, because I like him too much.

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This is the reason why I ship these two. That chemistry is undeniable.

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I'm so glad I'm not the only one who sees the chemistry among the leads this way.
Sam maek jong stares makes me lost and swoon while Sun woo's stares makes me feel weak.

I wonder if go ara feels the same.

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you need to go to comment of the week for this description

Sam maek jong stares makes me lost and swoon while Sun woo’s stares makes me feel weak.

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Sam Maek Jong has the same effect on me.
He makes reading subtitles really really hard.

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I went through this. my personal solution is to watch it first solely focusing on his face then again to subtitle

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I can see the imagination,
ji dwi using all force to her and it seems she will give up because she has this faith on him even if she looks afraid,

then when she is with sunwoo, they are more laid back but when they start the spark, it will last longer,

Ahro alone scene is more funny and exaggerated but when she meets the boys, it feels like they give it more gravita,
I really like her expression actually,
it's clear and it feels like she just show it all,

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honestly i didn't think i would enjoy this show as much as i am. i can't wait to find out more about everyones pasts, futures, and how their relationships will progress X)

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I totally agree with LollyPip, the characters do really seem switched. Sun-woo feels like the puppy second lead who gets stuck with his one sided love for her while she falls for the baddie. Though I know it won't, part of me wishes this will be the case here, I just love Ji-dwi, Park Hyung Shik is doing it right for me!

And what was that with Ban-ryu and Soo-yeon? Is he going to fall for the sister of his archenemy? oh, that's going to be fun to watch!

Thank you for the recap.

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I initially wanted her to end up with the King because of that. He was sizzling hot and his actions were so swoony, like you said, the "baddie". But Sun Woo has grown on me very quickly. There is something about their relationship dynamic that is so pure and lovely. Perhaps SW's selflessness? How he would willingly throw himself in danger to save her with no second thought. And how Ahro herself seems so comfortable around him. She genuinely enjoys his company and they are absolutely adorable together. Meanwhile, you can see her feeling slightly uncomfortable taking favours from the King. Sure, you could say that it's because she believes Sun Woo is her real brother, but she probably has a niggling feeling deep down that she isn't, and cannot control her growing attraction toward him. Sun Woo's maturity is also quite attractive to me. He's strong willed, intelligent and extremely capable. Sometimes the immaturity and rash actions of the King annoy me. His jealousy and intentions toward Ahro are quite selfish in my opinion.

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I do believe that Sun-woo really cares for Ah-ro but part of it still feels like he's doing it out of the guilt he feels for not being able to protect Mak-moon. He still blames himself for his friend's death, and Ah-ro was precious to Mak-moon, he wouldn't want anything happening to her!

I have to agree, the King still has a long way, but I cannot wait for him to change into being a strong and capable King for his people, I can't help it, I'm rooting for him!

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Well Sunwoo is very rash too. He could have been dead by now because of what he pulled in episode 3 if he wasn't lucky. Attacking in the middle of royal procession is one of the most stupid thing I have seen. Not only could he have been dead but he could have Ahro and her father killed with him. I still failed to see how Sunwoo is smart or intelligent? He is great at fighting and is sweet and kind at the girl but he is cold and close off to everyone else.

Saemmaekjong on the other hand is more smart and intelligent for me. He knows when to back off and he is also plotting his own plan (even when he is alone) of taking back his throne and him joining Hwarang to protect himself and gain power is a genius move. And he is good at fighting too even if he isn't as great as Sunwoo.

About his immaturity towards Ahro well you couldn't blame the guy. He is born a 'sacred bone' the highest rank ever. You can't compared that with Moomyung who grow up as peasant and very poor. And he lived and was raise in luxury. He became King at 7 years old. And even if his mother is reigning for him at the moment, fact still remains that he is the king. Period. If he died then the Queen can't be his regent anymore and will also have no power. So he still hold some power despite not ruling at the moment. And he still live as a rich kid and still get what he wants. Honestly he is already way too kind and humble for a king and a scared bone. It makes sense that he has that immaturity and insecurity when he did not get Ahro's attention since he is probably used to girls liking him and getting his way with Paoh. This is probably the first time someone talk him down as well.

Let's be honest if Ahro knows Saemmaekjong is the King do you think she will still act like that to him?! And if he is really selfish, he would claim his throne, be a King and declare Ahro as his concubine. She wouldn't be able to say no anyway because of his position. If he did that then I would be the first to got mad at Saemmaekjong for going that low. But I doubt he will do that.

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Fair points. Thanks for the insight. I meant intelligence as he in he can pick up skills really quickly - he has a lot of potential as demonstrated by how fast he picked up writing and reading. I agree though, Sun Woo is rash. And yes, it's probably because of how he grew up vs. how Sammaekjong did. Which is fine. His character just attracted me more because he seemed more independent. :)

Yeah, he's not a bad guy. But as stated by Lollipip above, some of his actions might cost him a potential relationship with Ahro.

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Thanks for the recap, LP!

I'm quite liking the fact that Hwarang is starting to shape up and paving the way for the bromance and friendships. YW is definitely an intriguing character and I can't wait to see how he affects the dynamics of the group. Of course, those five would be roomies. I think SH and BR will become close later. They seem to understand each other, probably due to their upbringing, and I feel that underneath the surface, they care about each other

Totally LOLed that JD had to carry SW into the room. Not to mention, he had to ask to be saved earlier. JD sure is learning a lot about humility with these life experiences. The whole hanging in the slaughter house scene just shows how great these two can be as a team.

I love how you pointed out how SW is so attentive to AR's needs. He's gentle and sensitive, and knows exactly what to Su's to assure her and calm her down. It's really refreshing to see that in a lead. PSJ is nailing this role and is such a cute dork. I love his crush on AR, stealing glances at her and whatnot. My fave scene was their little bedside exchange when she was bandaging his hand. I love how it's the first time for them to be able to lean on someone and to guard someone. Their life now has new meaning with the other person in their own lives. It's a great mix of feelings--relieved, nervous, fearful, worried, curious, awkward--all so novel to both of them.

Can't wait for MORE!!

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Forgot to say that I'm so glad WR, the adoptive dad, is still part of the picture. I love how SW has a guardian in him like JD has PO. I'd bet WR is the one who knows the most about SW's identity. Maybe he was entrusted to raise him by a higher authority. Would be interesting to find out later.

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that moment when ban ryu is walking in the parade and spots sooyeon(suho's sis). made my heart jump a bit. it reminded me of darcy walking in down in the dancing hall and spotting Elizabeth and then looking away. it was a small moment but it got me onto their ship.

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Jumps on the ship and waits patiently for it to sail!

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too many ship to jump,
how about sung dong il and kim kwang kyu?

at one point I even think of ban ryu x su hoo, sun woo x ji dwi x ahro x suho's sister,

go all out with everything and everyone

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