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[Happily never after] The bitter logic of love and life

By ChoHyeri

Editor’s note: This post contains spoilers.

When it comes to tragic fates, I can’t think of a couple with a more tragic and painful fate than Wang So and Su in Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo; actually, I can’t remember any other happily never after couples among the dramas I’ve watched aside from this one. I think I may have been so invested in those two that they cancelled out everyone else.

So and Su went through a lot of struggles to be together, but in the end they were separated by misunderstandings and, ultimately, death. Their end was very painful to me because they couldn’t solve their problems. The two were left with lots of regrets and a never-ending love for each other. I think the more pitiful one of the two was Su, as she was fated to return to the future and was left to live a life fully aware that Wang So was already dead and that she could never meet him again, not even by chance. Wang So experienced the same, but he had a nation to govern. Su on the other hand was completely destroyed and left with nothing to help her move on.

The ending of Moon Lovers was so precious to me because it followed logic rather than feelings. Logically, there was no way Su/Ha-jin could have met Wang So in the future and it was a wise decision not to make Lee Jun-ki appear at that art exhibition at the series’ close. His appearance wouldn’t have been justified, as Wang So never suspected Su to come from a different time throughout the drama, and their meeting in the future would have raised a lot of questions. Moreover, I really can’t imagine So leaving the throne to go searching for Su.

A lot of people wanted So and Su to meet again in the future. But So never learned of or even suspected Su/Ha-jin’s true origins and the drama never explored the reasons behind Ha-jin’s time travel. A reunion in the future would only have been reasonable if, at least in the second half of the series, the show had touched upon any of these issues to lay down a path for the couple to start a journey through time.

For these reasons, I’m happier day by day with how Moon Lovers ended. It stuck to logic, and I appreciated it so much after the emotional turmoil subsided. Even if bitter and painful, I can only hope for So and Su to cherish the great love they experienced and go on with their lives in their different times. Forever apart, but forever one in each other’s hearts.

(I do hope for a Lee Jun-ki/IU reunion in a modern rom-com with a happy ending, though.)

 
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For me they were separated by trainwreck writing... *coughs* *I'm sorry MLSHR fans* *I'll leave*

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omg, I just laughed so hard 😝

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This was the first drama I watched live, and the ending - the lovers separated forever so cruelly. T_T I had no warning this would happen, my broken heart.

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Personaly, I never was invested in their couple. I prefered Hae Soo and Wang Wook because we could really see them falling in love. That and I found Wang Wook more interesting as a character than Wang So, I think they played too much the pity card for Wang So.

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In my opinion, it's not that Wang Wook-Hae Soo were more in love than Wang So-Hae Soo but it's just they had more lovey dovey screen time together than Wang So-Hae Soo. Moreover, the time when Wang So-Hae Soo started their relationship Hae Soo already became more calm and mature.

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It's not why I meant. But the couple Wang Wo- Hae Soo developped in a time jump in the story. So I wasn't really invested in them. It was not only the lovey dovey scenes but the fact we could see all the processus.

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Yes. I agree. There was development with Hae Soo/Wang Wook, whereas very little for Hae Soo/Wang So. It was just all of a sudden that Hae Soo started having feelings for Wang So. I think it had to do with the writing, too, and like you mentioned below, the time jumps did not help. The love between Hae Soo/Wang So was very one-sided for like 75% of the drama and then all of a sudden, Hae Soo started feeling pity towards Wang So, I think, since he kept helping and protecting her, but even during those times, she was still caught up in her feelings for Wang Wook.

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The original chinese version had more episodes. In the korean version, they decided to make a shorter drama, so I guess they had to cut a lot of things. Personaly, I didn't watch the original version, so I was neutral for the love story and I think it's why I prefered Hae Soo/Wang Wook. I was not waiting for Hae Soo/Wang So couple to happen.

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Somebody may trow stones at me but I liked the writers logic and the way it was executed. It was historically appropriate. Even Su's death was logic after delivering a baby - there were no transfusions at that time and by giving birth she lost lots of blood and force, even those happy hormones created by corp when baby is delivered couldn't help. With pregnancy she shared with her precious one all the nutritions in her body and she was anemic which didn't help at all.
Wang Wook made his decision and preferred revenge, power and holding grudge.
Su had fallen in love with So little by little, there was no escape, no regret from it. So was a man with so many logs under his legs and doubting everybody even that one he wanted to protect and love forever. It was heart wrecking but finally Brother Grimm's world won against disneyworld with pinky glasses. Andersen's girl with matches marked our fantasy world.

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To be completely realistic, Su still has access to counselling and antidepressants. She even had her family in the future. What is Wang so left with is that everyone he cherished leaves (the general, the astronomer, his brothers, his only love) and he has to rule a kingdom in that cold dreary palace. He doesn’t love his wife, his son, and can’t acknowledge his love child with Su. He had the cruelest ending imho.

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OT: hey Alf! *waving hand from Melmac*

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Hi! *munches on kitties*

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You're right, some dramas were never the same in this tragic love story. But I also think Wang So's brother (the one who married Su, sorry I forgot his name but played by Ji-soo) was also pathetic. Even though Su was married to him but had somebody's else's child, he still took care of her and the child afterwards. So both brothers' love story had tragic endings.

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A great, short & sweet write-up!!! 😉😉😉

I agree with this, especially coming from watching the original Chinese version and knowing how much that version’s ending deviated from the original novel version just to please audiences, get ratings, and gave itself a reason for a (really sucky and even more unlogical) season 2.... There were many a times that Su would be thinking to herself of how she would one day return to the 21st century, especially in the first quarter of the drama—it was basically all she could think about— but as she formed relationships and friendships with each of the princes, all of that thinking basically was forgotten right up until she was ill and started to wonder again how she’d return.
On the other hand, there is still sympathy for So in the sense that he still lost the love of his life, and regardless if he had politics and the responsibility of being king to ‘take his mind off things’, he was still a human being unable to show his true feelings because he was king and had to show a front

In conclusion, this dear OTP was just.... sigh

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I loved their relationship as best friends. I didn't quite get into the romance, and remember being frustrated by the mess in the final stretch. However, I was ok with the ending, even though my heart bled for Wang So alone in that dark palace. After willfully ignoring the mechanics and implications of time-travel, the show somehow ended logically. Whatever became of their daughter though?

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i will wish for the same--those two in a heady fun rom com! and as sad as it was, i loved that drama.

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So I guess they didn’t follow the original ending?

Personally the original with the modern him showing up was just pointless save-the-writer-from-mad-fans-backlash writing.

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Before I watched the k-drama version, I saw the C-drama and really disliked the ending. People took it as hopeful as she watched in anguish as the guy walked away. This to me seemed a cop out as if they wanted to have the sad ending of the book but, hey, just in case we have a ratings winner, we'll keep it open for a 2nd season. It was a ratings winner in China, and they did do a second season which didn't fare so well.

In the book (which I have to rely on those that could read it), she just dies and that's it. So given the book ending and given the C-drama ending, I actually learned to appreciate the k-drama ending. Don't get me wrong, I was wanting a happy-ever-after, but it really doesn't work with the source material.

So of the 3 endings, the k-drama ending is the winner for me. My main issue with the drama is the pacing of the last 5 episodes was a mess as they originally were slated for 24 episodes and while in production it got reduced to 20. To this day I think the PD overspent in time and $ on the first 5 or so episodes and had to shorten it.

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wow, i didnt know it. But also think that was the perfect ending.

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Every now and then a drama comes alone and when it gets to the end, it's like it's saying "this story served no purpose". That was this drama for me. Her life before and after was the same. She had no character growth, no change, not in herself nor in her life. I really didn't understand why I had to watch 20 episodes of something only for the writers to go, "Never mind!"

Even if the point was something as banal as her recognising her reincarnated soulmate when she saw him, at least that would be something. We got nothing. She lived a short brutal life in both timelines - at least in the future she has a washing machine.

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....and much better feminine hygiene products in the here and now. Seriously, because the source material didn't seem to have much point other than a story to tell, I can see how both adaptations didn't put more insight into this.

I liked both versions of Moon Lovers but didn't love the endings for the point you make. At least with a bittersweet drama like 49 Days, there is a point/lesson and an important one. It is one of the few dramas where I cried. In Moon Lovers, I cried when the court lady dies but not when Hae Su does; that's a fail though I still enjoyed many aspects of the drama probably because of how the writer took some of the details of the original and made them her own (again until the last 5 very messy episodes.)

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24 episodes? Who said that? I didn't know!

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I remember I never fully bought the sudden turnabout of her returning his feelings but damn, what a sad end for them.

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I am doing a rewatch of the drama and I still don't buy their relationship. Her suddenly liking him was just bad writing with no development. Plus, he was being so aggressive and forceful with her in the beginning. That was just a major turnoff and them trying to make him seem like the pitiful, misunderstood hero did not work that well.

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OMG! Ill never forget the end of Moon Lovers. Was the first drama i ever watch and was so sad.... in that time, ill very wait a new chapter or even a second season, but no. Was so sad in very chapters, i really cried a loooot. But was so sincere, was so historically true in some high perspective of life, love, whatever, that i just falling in love with the korean dramas.
Whit the past of the time, i see a lot of dramas, and im still thinking about Moon Lovers, because was so fucking sincere and good that i miss it.
But i never seen it again, because is very sad. Im still not prepare for that. When i cried in the last chapter, i cried for them and for me and my own sad story, but in a catharquical way.

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This show will always be one of my favourite shows and I am always willing to do battle for this show against the whole world. I love your write up and I had so much love and admiration for Hae-soo. It couldn't have been easy for her to make the decision to leave Wang So especially after knowing she was pregnant with his child, but there was no other option for her. There was no way she could have stayed at the Palace, she just wasn't built for that kind of life. Also her being a concubine would have cheapened the love she had for So. He could never be the man she wanted him to be and she understood that. I love the ending, bittersweet as it was. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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Nossa tantos doramas sem logica tem segunda temporada nao entendo porque Moon Lover nao pode ter e muito injusto. vai ver estao esperando eles envelhecer para fazer um remake com outros atores que estejam necessitando de Ibope.

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The only thing that we can be sure of from this drama is their love for each other. Even tho they can't say goodbye to each other, or even met each other until the death took them apart but their love for each others stayed the same. Hae soo still love him even after she "died". In one point of view we can say that it is a tragic ending for Wang So for being left all alone (again). However, in my point of view, Wang So was left with a country to lead, beautiful memories to remember (still hurts to say but at least in his dark life time he has some bright times to always be cherished for the rest of his life, meaning to say not all of it was dark), a child to love, life lessons to apply, and good reputation in the history.

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