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Hwarang: Episode 10

One thing I appreciate about Hwarang is that as soon as one conflict is set aside, three new ones crop up in its place. Several questions are raised in this episode, mostly regarding Sun-woo and his origins, and I’m eager to learn more about our “nameless” boy with the sad eyes and the blank past. At least life is never boring behind the gates of the Hwarang.

 
EPISODE 10 RECAP

Ah Ro watches as Ji-dwi meets with Queen Regent Jiso, and is shocked to hear him call her “Mother.” The queen regent’s bodyguard, Hyun Chu, finds Ah Ro accidentally eavesdropping and drags her off — she’s doomed now that she knows Ji-dwi is really the king.

As Ban-ryu struggles to decide whether to follow Minister Park’s orders to destroy the musical instruments, his father Ho Gong finds him and asks if the deed is done. He tells Ban-ryu that this is a test, and Ban-ryu asks if his father is that scared of Minister Park.

His father skirts the question, and simply says that everything they’re doing is for Ban-ryu. Ban-ryu growls that he knows that, but he also doesn’t believe that Ho Gong cares what he thinks.

Troublemaker Kang Sung sneaks into the instrument tent, and with a mad cackle, begins to slash the drums to ribbons. By the time the Hwarang boys find them, every single instrument is broken beyond repair.

Of course, Su-ho thinks this is Ban-ryu’s doing, since he’s been missing from the group for quite some time. Han-sung worries this means they can’t perform, but Sun-woo eyes his former adoptive father and teacher Woo-reuk before saying that he won’t let it end like this.

Ban-ryu finds his way back to the Hwarang tent, unaware that the instruments have been destroyed. Su-ho grabs him and accuses him of the deed, and says that if they all fail their test because of this, he’ll kill Ban-ryu himself.

As Woo-reuk thinks about how to fix their problem, Hwa-gong reports to Princess Sookmyung about the broken instruments. She asks if this was a ploy to embarrass the royal family or if he’s simply incompetent, and informs Hwa-gong that the Hwarang must perform, no matter what.

Woo-reuk works a miracle and fashions makeshift instruments out of leftover supplies. The boys go onstage and the music sounds wonderful, and their dance goes off without a hitch. The boys whirl around the platform in near-perfect synchronization, ending in a dramatic pose amid towers of flame. The crowd goes insane.

Minister Park glares at Ho Gong, who insists that the instruments were destroyed, exactly as he ordered. The officials leave the festival in an angry huff. However, the queen regent sends Hwa-gong a satisfied nod before leaving herself.

In the audience, a strange man watches Sun-woo as he celebrates with his Hwarang brothers onstage.

Hyun Chu brings the still-unconscious Ah Ro to the queen regent’s tent, and the queen regent asks if she truly saw the king’s face. Hyun Chu confirms it, and the queen regent draws a sword and points it at Ah Ro’s throat.

Soon after, Ji-dwi sees Hyun Chu carry a large bundle to his horse and ride away with it. Pa Oh finds Ji-dwi to report that he thinks Ah Ro overheard his conversation with his mother, and Ji-dwi realizes what the bundle Hyun Chu was carrying must have been.

He rushes to intervene, sure that his mother plans to kill Ah Ro, though Pa Oh warns that he’s putting himself in danger. But Ji-dwi says that if Ah Ro is killed, Pa Oh will see just how dangerous he can be.

Ah Ro is taken to the queen regent’s quarters at the palace, and the queen regent asks if she saw the king. Ah Ro bravely admits that if the king is Ji-dwi, then she did. The queen regent says that she knows Ah Ro’s father and that she takes after her mother, and Ah Ro replies that she also knows the queen regent resents her mother.

Queen Regent Jiso crouches down to look Ah Ro in the eye, and says that she tried to think of a way to allow her to live. “But,” she says, “I couldn’t find one.” She orders Hyun Chu to kill Ah Ro.

Ah Ro cringes and backs away in terror as Hyun Chu raises his sword. He swings it down — but it’s stopped by another sword, inches from Ah Ro. Ji-dwi stands in front of Ah Ro, looking thunderous, and orders Hyun Chu to kneel before his king.

Hyun Chu obeys, and the queen regent nervously stammers that she was only trying to protect Ji-dwi. Ji-dwi answers in a strong voice that Ah Ro is one of his subjects, the only one who can comfort the king of Silla, so he will protect her.

His mother screams his name in fury, “Sammaekjong!” But Ji-dwi yells back, “I am not Sammaekjong, I am Jinheung! This nations’s king!” While the queen regent reels in shock, Ji-dwi takes Ah Ro by the arm and rushes her out of the palace.

Behind him, his mother vows to break Ji-dwi and Ah Ro apart.

Once they’re safe, Ji-dwi and Ah Ro walk together, and she asks nervously if he’s truly the king. He admits that he is, and asks why she’s not saying anything when she keeps quiet. He says this is a huge confession for him, and Ah Ro admits that she’s remembering all the times she was disrespectful to him.

Ji-dwi finds her discomfiture adorable, and laughs when she asks if he plans to kill her. He teases that since they had some good times together, he’ll let her decide how he kills her.

They walk on, and Ah Ro asks if they should really be together when everyone who sees the king’s face dies. Ji-dwi answers that she’s his only subject who knows who he is, which makes her that much more special to him. He tells her to just behave normally towards him.

Sun-woo has been looking for Ah Ro worriedly, and comes upon Ji-dwi and Ah Ro just then. He asks Ah Ro where she’s been, and when Ji-dwi starts to answer, Sun-woo snaps, “I wasn’t asking you.”

Ah Ro tries to act naturally with Ji-dwi as he requested, and stammers a thanks for today. She leaves, and Sun-woo follows her, though not before sending a glare in Ji-dwi’s direction.

Once they’re alone, Sun-woo blows up, asking if Ah Ro knows how worried he was. She angrily asks why he cares, when he’s not her brother or anything at all to her. Sun-woo reminds her that he’s trying to do what her real brother wanted, but she yanks her hand away and says she won’t accept him.

To make his point, Sun-woo takes Ah Ro to Mak Mun’s grave. He tells Mak Mun that he’s sorry he took so long bringing his sister, and agrees that she’s as pretty as Mak Mun said, but adds that she’s not kind or smart.

As Sun-woo remembers his old friend, he tells Ah Ro that Mak Mun saw her once, wearing her wooden necklace. He says that until the very end, Mak Mun missed her and worried about her. Ah Ro kneels by Mak Mun’s grave, touching the stones and crying. Behind her, Sun-woo whispers, “I’m sorry it was me, that I survived instead of your brother.”

As they walk back to the city, Ah Ro asks Sun-woo what her brother was like. Sun-woo tells her that Mak Mun smiled a lot and was generous, and that he was Sun-woo’s only family. Ah Ro says sadly that she would have liked to meet him in person, and Sun-woo turns her around to look at him.

Ah Ro’s eyes harden, and she tells Sun-woo again that he’s not her brother, even if he acts like one. Again Sun-woo says that whether or not she accepts him, he will live as her brother. He says it’s the only way he can stay by her and protect her: “Protecting you is the only reason I’m still alive.”

In the low-born village, Woo-reuk has a drink with the mysterious man who watched Sun-woo at the Moon Festival. Woo-reuk apologizes for not keeping his promise, but the man says kindly that this is Sun-woo’s fate. To Woo-reuk’s surprise, he says that Sun-woo may be able to live quietly this way, so perhaps they should leave him alone.

The mysterious man visits Ahn Ji-gong next, who is busy trying to figure out what poison the queen regent is being given. Ji-gong immediately recognizes him as HWI-KYUNG (Song Young-kyu), an old acquaintance, and Hwi-kyung says he came to get his legs treated.

Ji-gong seems familiar with Hwi-kyung’s weakened legs from a degenerative illness, and says that nothing can be done. Hwi-kyung sits, musing that if he hadn’t lost his ability to ride a horse and go to war, he wouldn’t have lost his place as successor to the throne and his sacred bone status. Well, he just became about a thousand times more interesting.

Still confused, Ji-gong asks why Hwi-kyung is here. Hwi-kyung tells him that Ah Ro was taken to the palace on the night of the Moon Festival, and that he’s worried Queen Regent Jiso may be planning to harm her. Ji-gong asks why Hwi-kyung is telling him this, and Hwi-kyung says it’s payback for everything Ji-gong has done for him.

The officials are in a tizzy now that their plan to humiliate the Hwarang (and by extension, the queen regent) backfired on them. Minister Park muses that Hwa-gong is more shrewd than they thought. One of the officials suggests that since the queen regent put Princess Sookmyung in Hwarang, they should put in someone of theirs.

Ho Gong visits Ban-ryu, and warns him that even if he refuses to help, things will happen as the officials want. He advises Ban-ryu to stop thinking of him as a father and find a way to ingratiate himself to Minister Park. Ban-ryu replies that he has no father at all, since one doesn’t recognize him as his son yet, and the other is saying to forget about him.

The Hwarang boys get a night off, and Ji-dwi sits with Pa Oh in his private room at the Okta club. He’s happy that Ah Ro is the first person to discover his identity, and levels a glare at Pa Oh when he dares to suggest she’s not that pretty. He warns Ji-dwi that his mother won’t let this go lightly, but Ji-dwi orders Pa Oh to kill anyone who hurts Ah Ro.

Ban-ryu is also at Okta with a couple of his lackeys, who ask if he really didn’t destroy the instruments. Suddenly, Kang Sung bursts into the room and makes himself at home. He asks if Ban-ryu is thankful, since he had to do his work for him.

In another room, Su-ho tells Yeo-wool and Han-sung that he’s certain Ban-ryu didn’t do it. Yeo-wool quips that he can’t tell if Su-ho and Ban-ryu are friends or enemies, and Han-sung breathes that it’s amazing how Su-ho knows so much about Ban-ryu, but not about “the breast incident.”

Yeo-wool claps a hand over Han-sung’s mouth, and suddenly Soo-yeon bursts into the room, blinks at her brother, and leaves again. Okay, that wasn’t weird at all. Han-sung is all That was the breast!, and Su-ho wonders why she was carrying a bottle of wine.

Su-ho’s memory of the night they sneaked out comes rushing back all at once, and he recalls how it looked as though Ban-ryu grabbed Soo-yeon’s breasts. He stands, calmly declaring that he’s going to kill that bastard, then screams, “BAN-RYUUU!”

Ban-ryu bursts out of his private room, fed up with Kang Sung’s behavior. Soo-yeon grabs him and drags him to a different room, and aww, Ban-ryu looks so flustered, it’s adorable.

Soo-yeon says that the performance was great, and holds the bottle of wine out to Ban-ryu. But before he can take it, Su-ho bursts in and punches Ban-ryu, knocking him to the floor. He straddles him and settles in to deliver a solid beating.

Soo-yeon rolls her eyes and calmly knocks her brother out with the wine bottle. (That’s what you get for toughening up your little sister.) She calmly rolls Su-ho off of Ban-ryu, helps Ban-ryu up, and leaves Su-ho to Yeo-wool and Han-sung.

Sun-woo visits Ji-gong, who does a quick health checkup and asks him how things are going in Hwarang. Sun-woo refuses to answer his questions, belatedly remembering to speak formally, and Ji-gong sheepishly admits that he thinks of him as the real Sun-woo. He adds that he hopes Sun-woo can think the same of Ah Ro and behave as her real brother.

Over breakfast the next morning, Ji-gong seems to sense the strain between Sun-woo and Ah Ro and tries to make small talk. He asks if they’re going back to Hwarang in the afternoon, and says it’s a relief to see Ah Ro’s brother beside her. Sooo awkward.

Su-ho and Soo-yeon are also having breakfast with their father, who fusses at Su-ho for getting himself injured (ha, he’s wearing a neck brace). Their father knows that Ban-ryu passed the essay test while Su-ho failed, and tells him that he must pass all of the physical competitions at the very least, implying that his body is his only strong suit.

After breakfast, Su-ho grabs Soo-yeon in a headlock and demands to know why she’s protecting Ban-ryu. She shoves him off, hollering that she’s the one who grabbed Ban-ryu’s butt. She explains that she was trying to get revenge, thinking Ban-ryu was Su-ho, then was so embarrassed that she let everyone think it was Ban-ryu who did the grabbing.

The Hwarang boys reconvene that afternoon, and Hwa-gong tells them that they all passed the festival test. He says that he’ll be announcing their next assignment soon, but first, he plans to give them each a disadvantage.

In a different area of the grounds, a second group of young men are gathered — the best in the country at martial arts. Dan-se is there, Han-sung’s older half-brother, who wanted to join the Hwarang but didn’t possess the pure blood required.

Also there is Kang Sung, looking ready to cause more trouble. Then Hwa-gong pauses to see Pa Oh, who fervently claims to be twenty-two years old, PWAHAHA.

The new group each choose a Hwarang, to act as their Nando, both servants and helpers. Ji-dwi looks annoyed to be assigned Pa Oh as his Nando, but Pa Oh whispers that this was the best way he could think of to protect him.

Yeo-wool is jealous that Dan-se is Sun-woo’s Nando, and Han-sung looks deeply unhappy that his brother didn’t choose him. Sun-woo asks Dan-se why he chose to be his Nando, but we don’t hear Dan-se’s answer.

Of course, Kang Sung chose Ban-ryu, who makes it clear that he wanted anyone but him. Kang Sung sneers that he didn’t want to choose Ban-ryu either, but it was Minister Park’s order.

The next competition is archery on horseback, which looks just as difficult as it sounds. The Hwarang and their Nando practice in teams, and Sun-woo wonders grumpily why he has to shoot an arrow and ride a horse. Dan-se says that’s how you fight in a war.

Sun-woo asks again why Dan-se chose him instead of his brother, Han-sung. Dan-se says honestly that if he chose anyone else, he would have truly had to serve him, but that didn’t seem to be the case with Sun-woo.

Sun-woo agrees with Dan-se that he has no desire to be served. He says that as he sees it, he and Dan-se are the same, and Dan-se is the same as everyone else.

Han-sung visits Ah Ro, and she guesses that he’s disappointed Dan-se didn’t choose to be his Nando. He asks if she’s really a half-blood like his hyung, but she jokes that everyone is half-blood — half mother, half father.

Han-sung admits that their grandfather dotes on him but hates Dan-se, though he adds that he likes Dan-se more than he likes their grandfather. He says he’s disappointed but glad that Dan-se chose Sun-woo, because Sun-woo is a nice person. You sweet puppy, you.

Ah Ro grows instantly flustered when she runs into Ji-dwi, clearly unsure of where to look. He asks if she’s avoiding him because he’s the king, and she freaks out that someone might hear him say that out loud. Then she says “king” herself, and wails that she’s the crazy one.

He carries her books to the library against her objections, then asks if she’s uncomfortable that he’s the king. He smiles, wondering if she’s worried for him, and she says that of course she’s worried that the king is in Hwarang. He jokes that the situation is almost erotic, making Ah Ro start to fuss at him before remembering who he is.

Ji-dwi grows thoughtful, saying that he’s never experienced the feeling of someone truly knowing him before. He looks at Ah Ro almost accusingly, and asks how she doesn’t know how precious and important she is to him.

Soo-yeon visits Ah Ro at the wall later, and orders her to tell her if her brother hurts Ban-ryu. She says fiercely that she’ll come over the wall and defend her man, hee.

Ah Ro reminds Soo-yeon of one of her stories, about one man who has to live as someone else, and one who has to hide his true identity. Soo-yeon asks which she likes better, but we don’t hear Ah Ro’s answer.

Dan-se tries to teach Sun-woo to shoot a bow and arrow from a moving horse, but Sun-woo is still a terrible rider, and just ends up shooting arrows randomly into the air. Dan-se wonders what will happen to the Nando whose Hwarang is kicked out, and jokes that he should probably change his Hwarang member.

Sun-woo bristles, declaring that he’s Dog-bird, and that he will not fail. He objects to Dan-se’s insults, and Dan-se quips that Sun-woo might just hit the target if he keeps practicing for another ten years.

Over lunch, Su-ho growls to Ban-ryu that he’s letting this go for now, but they’re not finished. In a surprising burst of niceness, Ban-ryu gives Su-ho some meat off his plate and says there’s no need for an apology. Su-ho clutches his neck in annoyance, while Han-sung crows that it wasn’t a breast that got grabbed, but Ban-ryu’s butt.

Ah Ro enters the dining room, and Ji-dwi asks loudly if she’s here to see him. Yeo-wool assumes she’s really here to see Sun-woo, but he says she’s not, and so she leaves, frustrated.

She confronts Sun-woo later to ask why he’s avoiding her, but he sighs that he’s just living as her brother. Ah Ro gets angry and says that she wishes all manner of harm would come to him before storming off.

Sun-woo spends the day practicing his horseback archery, though he doesn’t seem to be improving at all. Ah Ro watches from a distance as Sun-woo barely stays on the horse, shooting arrow after arrow into the air.

After many tries, the strain gets to Sun-woo, and he experiences another blackout and falls from the horse. He tumbles to the ground and lies still, while Ah Ro rushes to his side. She feels for a pulse and can’t find one, so she starts to panic.

Ah Ro beats on Sun-woo’s chest, begging him to wake up. She even tries to revive him by blowing air into his lungs, but nothing works. Ah Ro cries in earnest, and says that she’s actually glad he’s not her brother, and that she hates herself for being so mean to him.

She keeps confessing her feelings, saying that she’s falling for him, and that she’s hardly able to breathe when she looks at him. She doesn’t notice Sun-woo’s hand twitch, which means she’s completely taken by surprise when he suddenly sits up, grabs Ah Ro, and kisses her.

 
COMMENTS

Well, finally we have some honesty from Ah Ro — I was beginning to think she’d hide her feelings behind anger for several more episodes before admitting that she’s only angry with Sun-woo because she has feelings for him. At least now he knows, and he’s not afraid to act on it. I’m not really bothered by the not-really-siblings attraction as it’s depicted here, because for one, Sun-woo has always knows he’s not related to Ah Ro. And though Ah Ro tried to convince herself that Sun-woo was her brother, her heart always knew something was wrong, and she questioned the truth of it from the beginning. She even said at one point that she’d go along with it, but only because it felt good to have someone to protect, and someone who would protect her. It makes sense to me that she’d be attracted to the handsome, mysterious stranger who says he wants to take care of her, and who never really felt like a brother. The problem is that everyone else thinks they’re brother and sister, so trying to be together will be a problem because of their public relationship as siblings.

The new characters are really adding some spark to the show, introducing new potential relationships and bringing up a lot of questions. I’m dying to know what former-sacred-bone Hwi-kyung knows about Sun-woo, and why he thinks it might be best to let him continue living as Ji-gong’s son. There are a lot of theories on Sun-woo’s true identity floating around, but I believe his wearing the dragon-head bracelet is a red herring, and is only relevant because later, it will lead people to think Sun-woo is the hidden King Jinheung. It’s also interesting that Woo-reuk was a famous Gaya musician (Gaya was a smaller territory that existed during the time of the Three Kingdoms), and he’s been taking care of Sun-woo all this time, which feels like a big clue. But then, why does a former successor to the Silla throne know all about Sun-woo, and why is he showing up now? I never thought I’d say this, but can we have a little less romantic angst, and a little more political intrigue, please?

Because I think I like Ji-dwi about a thousand times more when he’s being the fledgling king, as opposed to him following Ah Ro around while trying (and failing) to charm her. When he confronted his mother after saving Ah Ro and roared that he is the king, damn it, I literally cheered out loud. When he’s facing off with the queen regent, Ji-dwi is suddenly strong and dynamic, and I find him so much more interesting. I could really do without his loveline entirely — I would rather see him getting to know his people through his Hwarang brothers, making his own strong connections, and growing into the powerful, commanding king we know he will be one day.

I do love watching the Hwarang boys forming a friendship, rudimentary though it is at this point. It was great seeing Su-ho become Ban-ryu’s biggest defender after the festival, since as his archenemy, he’s in a position to know what would be out of character for Ban-ryu. But I also appreciate that the friendships aren’t happening quickly (well, except for Han-sung and Yeo-wool, who seem thick as thieves already), because these aren’t young men who were simply not-friends. They were actually on opposite political ends of the political spectrum with their opposing families, and that’s a lot to overcome.

Speaking of “new” characters and bromance, I really like the reluctant friendship and respect that already seems to be growing between Sun-woo and Dan-se. At first it seemed strange, when Sun-woo hasn’t grown close to any of the Hwarang, even though he’s had more time. But then I realized that, at least from Dan-se’s perspective, he and Sun-woo have a lot more in common. As far as Dan-se knows, Sun-woo is also a half-blood like him, with a noble father and a servant mother. The only reason Sun-woo is a Hwarang is because the queen regent chose him — and even if he were the real Sun-woo, he wouldn’t possess the pedigree to be a Hwarang. So Dan-se’s reason for choosing to be Sun-woo’s Nando makes a lot of sense, and it explains why Sun-woo would feel closer to Dan-se than he does to the rest of the Hwarang. It will be good for Sun-woo to have someone to talk to, who can hopefully be a real friend to him.

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Real life has been putting me on edge, thanks for the recapped and I hope the best for this drama,
and is that a kiss? yeah

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hang in there Sancheezy,

dramaland is a great place to be when real life is troublesome. Extended stress can be detrimental to your health so come here and unwind. =)

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"I could really do without his loveline entirely — I would rather see him getting to know his people through his Hwarang brothers, making his own strong connections, and growing into the powerful, commanding king we know he will be one day"

YEEEEEEES! I would love if this was the focus of his character. the never ending pursuit of ah-ro is boring and repetitive for me. now she will probably give him more attention only because she knows he's the king. I can buy her growing a feeling of sympathy for him, knowing his situation, but that's it.

I loved to see dan-se getting into hwarang because I hope we can know more about their family from his interactions with sunwoo (and maybe form a little group with ah-ro and hansung <3)

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Second to this, I skipped it when Ah-ro appeared, except when she talked to Han-Sung. She seemed to be having good logic and some other good traits, but why she'd be portrayed as someone that boring and has no depth?

But overall, Hwarang seems to should be accepted as light, airy, fun, drama. Because I didn't even get the malicious, cunning, greedy, cruel, smart, manipulative nuances from the so-called-true-blood-officials.

For now, I enjoy it at face value.

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I just hope next week, instead of another prolonged of the love triangle, Hwarang will focus to the depth of the building of the characters and the dynamic (and fierce competitiveness) between Hwarang to his Nando and between each pair of Hwarang/Nando to other pair. Love to see how they grow from boys to men, taking care of others/subordinate is not an easy matter. It will show if you will become a great leader or just a bossy master.

But, judging from the trailer.... from love-triangle it'll be focused on love-square, le sigh. I hope I'm wrong.

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YES! and I feel a bit cheated in a way because all the promos for this drama were totally focused on the male cast, palying with their friendship and all. and when the drama actually happens, we don't spend a lot of time on them? I love romance and I'm on board on the main couple (and I like how their loveline is developing) but the love triangle (or a square one) shouldn't take all this time when we could have been watching what the drama always told us it would be: all about
"bros"

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Go Ara's acting isn't really cutting it up for me. I'm not sure if it's because of the character itself but I find myself getting annoyed whenever she shows up on screen and acts awkward or angry. I am more invested with the other Hwarang's back story.

Speaking of which, I am really impressed with Taehyung's acting particularly on those scenes where he does not have a line and he just lets his expressions show his emotions. That part when Dan Sae stood in front of Sun Woo as head of disciples and Han Sung looked visibly pained. Wow. I noticed this on his other scenes as well. He's good for a first time actor and I'm looking forward to his development in this drama.

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Me too! I do not like her as Ah Ro AT ALL! She's too..damsel in distressy. :(

And I wish Hansung and Yeo Wool had more Screen time!

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All I could focus on during the whole episode were her eyebrows...Do they look uneven?

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ROFL it's the Ah Ro Angry Birds eyebrows. Very distracting. That character is growing more and more annoying to me. Especially her crying. The girl cannot act at all. I have not watched her in anything else so I don't know if it is just in this show she is not doing a good job. But the face seems frozen in an Angry Birds frown ...or she's crying. Soo Ho's sister is way more interesting and likeable Ah Ro character started off likeable and plucky but is now a dumb, crying, boring, whiny deadweight. Even the cranky lisping queen is better to watch. Give us more of the new Princess and Soo Ho's sister and less whiny Ah Ro please, dear writernim ...

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Ah Ro's character and plot are too restrictive in this drama so far, that is entirely the fault of the writing and direction. Although I am enjoying the drama overall, I do find both the fighting/training scenes and the romantic, fall short of other recent dramas. Even the sinister politics and scheming is rather flat. Is it only me, or is there a similarity to the quality of the soundtrack with its plaintive solos and similar treatment in Scarlet Heart Reyo? The latter really scored with me for its funny heart-warming scenes, tragic and romantic moments. Hwarang needs to step up a notch or two to come anywhere close and for that to happen the writer needs to inject a lot more convincing passion!

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Same here! In every single episode, I'm staring at her eyebrows. The makeup artist is so inconsistent. Sometimes, she gives some of the characters strong brows, sometimes it's a bit lighter. On Ara, especially, the thick straight brows just do not work. Even on PSJ, they look painted on at times.. The only person who looks super good with such thick brows is Park Hyung Sik but then I think he naturally has super thick brows.

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The preview for the next episode doesn't bode well for Aro, I just wish she gets out of danger by herself without needing any saving from the boys.
And yes to more screen time for Han sung and Yeo wool, please.

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Ah Ro needs to be saved from her own annoyingness. Please Ah Ro, go back to your pluckiness and can do attitude. It's painful to hear you crying like a petulant child and wandering stupidly into dangerous situations or constantly with that annoying frowny face. And those EYEBROWS.
Please show...make Ah Ro likeable again. Also please more Ban Ryu and his cute girl. And SooHo. And the other boys. And the princess.Thank you.

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Taehyung is really good with expressions. Espacially with angsty and psychopathic ones. XD

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But he's also got me laughing so much with his smart-guy-with-common-sense thing. His head is so deep in thought that he doesn't hesitate to just say something on his mind, regardless of what the consequences may be for those listening. The scene where he tells Su-ho about The Incident is what stands out. So funny! And then to emote when it comes to his half brother, that was very nice to see.

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Yes!! Taehyung plays Hansang so well!! Even though he's a side side character, there are moments where the boy expresses to well with just his eyes. I thought that moment where he sees his brother in front of Seon Woo was really well expressed. It was barely two seconds but enough to convey a thousand emotions.

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V will always be good coz we love him.

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Go Ara's acting is never commentable... she is just plain boring... Her only selling point is her looks, but in this Drama, her eyebrows are so ugly that she is a total turnoff... I guess Hwarang's focus is on the boys, so the production team doesn't even bother to make her standout? Fast forward is my key...

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At this point, the only story line I'm actually interested in is Ban Ryu, his crush on Soo Yeon and his fierce rivalry with Su Oh. How will he get the girl? How will he beat Step Dad? How much will he have to sacrifice to become a noble, respectable human being?

On a related note OMG DID EVERYONE NOTICE HOW BAN RYU WHIPPED AROUND TO SLAY SOMEBODY BUT THEN HIS ENTIRE COUNTENANCE JUST MELTED DOWN TO AWKWARD BASHFULNESS WHEN HE SAW IT WAS SOO YEON WHO GRABBED HIS HAND?? AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHH, I WAS SOLD SOLD SOLD SOLD!!

And I love how Soo Yeon just nonchalantly smashed ANOTHER bottle on Su Oh's head and just stepped over his unconscious body! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! She's precious!

I want more Yeo-Wool and Hansung! Pliss!!

Wow, it seems EVERY character except the 3 main leads are interesting right now. I mean I want to know who Sun Woo really is, but other than that, sigh...

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Lol the way soo yeon claimed she will protect her man..she is too adorable. My man Ban Ryu is all but a puddle of cuteness and awkwardness in front of her.

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I am loving the Soo-yeon and Ban Ryu storyline! They are clearly made for each other. My favorite couple for sure! I just wish she would stop bashing her brother in the head and explain for once! Lol Poor Su-ho.

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Ahahahahaha, she JUST DID! :D I absolutely adore their sibling dynamic! That's actually what brothers are like. <3

I wonder what Su Ho would do when its time to give his blessing. :D

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I, for one, don't mind the brother bashing AT ALL. It's comedic gold to see Su Ho having to accept that his sister would hit him to save the enemy.

And Ban Ryu... He is so precious. The whole outward tough persona melts when he is around her. The way he smiled every time he read her letters and how he was all flustered when she grabbed his hand is just love. I need moar of them. MOARRRR!!!

I am actually more invested in his loveline than the main couple and I am so disappointed that they have so little screentime. UGH.

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Same here it's too frustrating to see writer starting a love line and then adding just 1 scene per episode I would rather see these two then see ah ro crying over his fake brother. I hope she/he focus more on banryu because his character have so much potential! and it's wayyy more interesting then other people in drama

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*her fake brother. lol

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same, these two are my otp, i just love how opposites they are but i almost wish that ban ryu was the lead, i feel like he has the really compelling story. i mean he comes from a abusive home with two crappy fathers who have conditioned him to lust after power which turned him into a cold and harsh person, the inner turmoil and external issues going against them,breaking away from his pride and ego, his rivalry with suho(comedic element) but likely an issue latter in relation to sooyeon, both of them belong to different factions, brotherhood storyline with the hwarang boys+suho. + sooyeon is such a wonderful character, so unabashed. what happened to his mother, him just trying to balance all these things in his life while always being conflicted,. what im getting at here is that i love ban ryu

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My sentiments exactly. He's so brilliantly fleshed out that Ji Dwi and Sun Woo seem so two dimensional. Don't even get me started on Ah Ro. *shakes head in disappointment*

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Ditto! I love Ban Ryu and Soo Yeon, both separately and together.

And yes to more Yeo Wool and Han Sung. Han Sung is getting a little backstory with the big brother (who I also love), but we need more Yeo Wool. His expressions when Soo Yeon bashed Su Ho again and walked over him were hilarious!

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EXACTLY what you said. ?

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OMG!!! I noticed it too. He was so ready to lash out but changed 180 degrees when he saw it was Soo yeon. I'm rooting for this OTP even when I know it's not advisable to do so (Moon Lovers totally taught me that).

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I absolutely love the Banryu Sooyeon ship! Honestly they are just so cute, way better than the messy love triangle between Ahro/Sunwoo/King. I just noticed Banryu hasn't really talked back to Sooyeon in any of the scenes, can they have a real conversation real soon pleaaaaase?

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The boy is shy in front of his crush. Which is too adorable.

I bet he'd do anything she asked of him. He already fell hook, line and sinker at this point.

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Omg Yeees ! Banryu's expression was so on point when So Yeon grabbed his hand !! I swear i am watching hwarang for those little precious Banryu moments. He has all my attention :D the actor is doing a really good job that i wish banryu has more screentime as he is the most interesting character in the drama. I really can't seem to get enough of his lovely scenes with Soo Yeon ❤ and his bromance with SooHoo too ❤

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i wonder how soo yeon went from butt-grabbing to "MY MAN" in the space of two letters lol. had they been sneaking more letters back and forth behind the scene? and lo ban ryu pls say something when you meet your crush XD

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YES! You have no idea how much I replay that scene when Ban Ryu whipped his read, ready to chew whomever dared to touch him only to turn into a shy puppy when he saw Soo Yeon. Soo yeon is amazing too when she just calmly dealt with the raging Su Ho. Gosh, I love her. Can we have her elevated to main lead?

I cant' wait to see how Ban Ryu would cope with the Kim siblings, as it seems like the brother and sister are quite (violently) alike afterall. I have been thinking what would it be like when Ban Ryu married Soo Yeon. Can you imagine Su Ho having Ban Ryu as his brother-in-law? Su Ho will be forever in denial that his archenemy is now his brother-in-law. Then they'll have to be civil with each other. hat will be hilarious, I hope this show will at least give us this epilogue. Pretty please?

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On the other hand, I admired Ji Han's acting in that scene when his expression moved from furious to shock to shy/embarrassed. The guy has talent. Director-nims over there, please this guy more roles.

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I forgot to add this too:

I love how the role is reversed in Ban Ryu-Soo Yeon relationship. It was Soo Yeon who grabbed Ban Ryu's hand and he had to clear his throat to make her release his hand. The scary Ban Ryu turned into a shy damsel when Soo Yeon is around :D

In other word, Su Ho trained his sister well (or too well), she is now the one wearing the pants in Ban Ryu-Soo Yeon relationship :D

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"Can you imagine Su Ho having Ban Ryu as his brother-in-law?"

he would probably have a grand ol' time ordering ban ryu around lol since he would be the 'older' brother by relation

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Nah, Ban Ryu won't take that lying down. Moreover, Ban Ryu rank higher that Su Ho in the Bone Rank System, so Su Ho will have to suffer acting cordially with his brother-in-law. Maybe Su Ho even have to go to the point where he has to address his brother-in-law politely (and with honorific, the horror!). Imagine Su Ho's facial reaction then :D

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I thought ban Ryu ranks higher because of his adopted/God father. Is his own dad higher ranked than Su ho's dad?

Is Ban Ryu's dad a govt official or minister?

I recall su ho's dad is also a govt official or minister.

Sorry a bit confused. Too many characters in drama

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I think they are about even if you take Minister Park out of the equation.

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Aww the budding frnship btwn Ban ryu & Su ho is such a pleasant thng to watch besides the lead angst! It def. brings fresh air to this drama :)

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Much better episode than yesterday.

Aww Ban Ryu and his lady are too cute for words. More romantics of them please ?

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I wish they would focus more on the friendship between the hwarang guys, instead of the romance. Would make it way more interesting. I hope they address the mystery about who yeo wool's father is- and the possible implications of it. I keep hearing speculations that he's the hwarang that dies at the end.

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Same, this is after all called Hwarang. *sigh*

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I'm hoping that Moo Myung was one of the first Hwarang too. Maybe Sadaham. They may not go with the timeline and make a Kim Yu-shin out of him since he had a Gaya origin.

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They both had ties to Gaya. Sadaham helped General Isabu conquer Gaya and Kim Yu-shin was probably the first Hwarang with a Gaya origin.

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Thanks for the recap LollyPip.

I agree the AR - JD loveline seems a little pointless in light of what we know. I wish the writer had made the attraction a little more subtle on JD's part.

Seems we are going into mid drama lag. I actualy fast forwarded the last crying scene cos I knew he wasn't dead. That kiss wasn't really moving. Go Ara has not fully immersed herself in the role. Every crying scene is the same. When the script says 'crying' its usually left to the actress to interpret what the character is feeling. Crying can simply be a reddening or moistening of the eyes etc. She is wailing and sniffing like a toddler in every scene.

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bang on!

everything in this series works except for go ara.. and her crying is the worst..

actually all expressions are worst..
and that completely ruins any romantic arc of the story.. leaving all the work to the other actor to make those scenes interesting. Personally finding PSH to be able to sail through in his scenes with Go Ara (maybe ebcause story also wants one sidedcrush..so we focus on pHS).. but with PJS its super flat. he can't save the sinking ship these scenes are.

YW-V: ADORBS!!!!
BR - entire arc amazing... and yay! for one romance to be working out in this series..

Suho- like him, but plz just grow out of your love for the queen.. not gonna take you anywhere

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I can't phantom Su Ho's love towards the queen either. However, from drama point of view, it is useless to create an unnecessary and risky older woman-younger man relationship like this for no apparent reason. So I think Su Ho's love for the queen might be used as a plot device later on, perhaps by having the queen to manipulate Su Ho to execute her evil plans for Hwarang/Sun Woo/Sammaekjong. Su Ho, who at that time will be head over heels in love with the queen will do her bidding mindlessly. Remember that Su Ho has been advertised as the best fighter, impulsive, naive and not that smart? The combination of these characteristic will make him an easy pawn for the scheming queen. While I wish to see this happen for entertainment and plotline sake, I feel sorry for naive Su Ho's to be used like this by the object of his affection.

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*fantom.

Duh, this is embarrassing. I shall go and hide in a cave now.

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*fathom

Still another typo. I want to die.

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Hahaha, I feel your pain. I hate when I do that! In the same vein, I almost leapt over the counter at an auto parts store when the clerk said several times that she couldn't "fanthom" how a billion dollars looks, much less that the nation owes trillions. I wanted to grab her by the shoulders and ask her if she really means FATHOM and not fanthom. It's almost as bad irregardless. That one sends my blood pressure through the roof! Okay, grammar rant over. Sorry. Phew!

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Absolutely, with you on that.
Infact, who knows they might even kill him.

and they did show (or jiso's acting communicated such).. that queen realized upfront how smitten he was with her...

poor guy.. i'm expecting a lot of crying in this drama post ep 15

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i learn to accept JD's obsession over Aro- even though we know it wont go anywhere, it seems to serve as a kick in his ass to get into gear and claim his throne- so he can protect the people he cares about. being able to love is necessary for character growth

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Yes i agree that the romantic advances made by Ji Dwi should have been toned down! There were too many scenes of him wooing her, and she went from badass forehead smacking him to now jusg whining and complaining about him being around. See, she's running out of things to do to tell him she's not interested. Although, Park Hyun Shik did a great job being dreamy and giving many viewers second lead syndrome. I forgot Ah Ro had a crush on MooMyung since she has been so angsty around him. So, when she started confessing her feelings I was thinking, "wow that escalated quickly". Wish we could have seen more clearly her having feelings for him but being confused as he's supposed to be her brother but somehow deep down she knows he isn't her brother.

When Park Hyun Shik bellowed "I am Jinheung, this country's KING", whoa it was so powerful and magnetic. Goosebumpsssss! It was so great. I agree with LollyPip, Dwi Ji gets so much more interesting when he's not in a romance scene.

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Yes, I like it very much when Sammaekjong finally asserts his powers as the king. The scene where he ordered the guard to knell was very strong. Even the normally composed queen quivers at the display of the king's authority by the previously beaten down and exiled young king.

If we compare this scene to the scene in the previous episodes where the head guard barged into Sammaekjong's room and proceeded to kill the assassin based on the queen's order and how Sammaekjong noted scornfully that "it's the queen's order", note that the head guard did not even properly honor Sammaekjong as the king when he did not even kneel (or ever kneel to Sammaekjong) and followed the queen's order without any remorse when it is clear that the king did not want the assassin to be killed. However, in this episode, the head guard have to kneel and follow the king's unspoken order (by not killing Aro) and ignore the queen's order (to kill Aro).

It is interesting to know that Sammaekjong can easily reassert his full authority and power by just a single line. This means that he was the one who allowed the queen to belittle and trample over him all these years. It happened because he allowed it, not because she is powerful enough to do it. Maybe he waved off the queen's less than pleasant behavior and words out of the generosity of his heart (he has proven to us countless times that he is level headed when being mistreated) and not because he is too powerless to even defend his pride as a king. This brings us to wonder, how scary can he be, like his warning to Pa Oh.

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I think this show manages to show the organic growth of Jidwi as a Puppet Ling to his current place.

It is difficult to grow out of an authoritative parents, let alone one who has been blackmailing your feeling (by consistently saying that she is doing everything for him and that everything is because she loved him).

He was struggling because he sees her as his Mother first then as a queen. Therefore he struggle to let go of the authority his Mother has over him. Especially since he was to shackled by her.

Now he started to think and formulated what type of King he wanted to be, therefor he is able to stand as King in front of her.

Which is So AWESOME!!!!

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I agree with you.

As for the queen's action, I really can't tell whether she really meant well when she said that she did all those with Sammaekjong in mind or whether she really is greedy for the throne. There are several scenes where she looks like she is protecting Sammaekjong, while in others she looks like she wants the throne for herself. This is so confusing. I hope the show will shed some light on her true intentions

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Archery Lesson One: don't put the targets on a ridge where a miss can send an arrow off to who knows where to hit someone who couldn't even see the archers. Grrr.

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Hahahaha, I didn't even think of that. It would be hilarious if an arrow did happen to hit someone over the hill.

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So hopefully this is the last time we have to endure Ah Ro's ridiculous crying. Please show. I beg you. I'm glad she FINALLY expressed how she felt because she was starting to get on my nerves. It's one thing to be mad at Sun-woo because he lied but she wasn't even really mad about that. And she never really felt like he was her brother anyway so I get the relief she feels but I don't get the anger she feels now that she can openly acknowledge her feelings. Girl.

And I agree with lollypip. Watching Ji-dwi stand up to his mother made me so proud! I also celebrated loudly (probably to the dismay of my roommates seeing as it was 12 am) and I was glad he finally got a chance to show her the strength he has. She seems to be under the impression that he is that weak little boy she sent away and he is not. I also wish they focused more on him regaining the throne because like Pa Oh, I don't get the relentless interest he has in Ah Ro. Let's just focus on the bromance please. Ji-dwi and Sun-woo would make awesome friends and I hate that they are at odds because of a girl. It's ridiculous. She is not the only girl in the world. Even though dramaland will have you thinking that's true. lol

So for my theory regarding Sun-woo's hidden parentage is that the new guy is his real father. But we'll see! Hopefully we get some info soon because I am dying here. Let's not drag this birth secret out for 10 more episodes show!

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Sun Woo could end up being Kim Isabu who was a general appointed by King jinheung. The mysterious man could be his dad or uncle who is a descendant of king naemul since it has been strongly indicated that he could have been a successor if not for his ailment.

And little sun woo was hidden for his safety during the some conflict that must have taken place years ago in the quest for the Silla throne.

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That's interesting if Sun Woo happened to be Kim Isabu. I read that when Jinheung first rule as the true king, he appointed Kim Isabu as the head of military affairs. Since I read the character description that Sun Woo would become a legendary Hwarang, there's a possibility there and we now basically have a hint that he is indeed a true bone.

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Can someone please help to explain:

1. Who is Sammaekjong or jinheung (jidwi)'s father? So the half sister, Princess Sookmyeong’s father was General Kim Isabu? In that case, the appointed military general (according to history) is also the father in law of the king?

2. If Queen Jiso had two children from two different husbands... how does it explain her remarrying so soon after her first husband? I recall from one episode that she wants the physician, Ahn Ji Gong, to elope with her coz she didn't wanna marry an old man? Who was the old man she was referring to?

3. Is Jinheung inheriting the throne because of Queen Jiso's lineage rather than her husband? In that case she was not exactly a queen regent but a queen of her own right.

4. If Queen Jiso was a princess from sacred bone family, why was she betrothed to a non royal man (the physician)?

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1. Sammaekjong's father was King Galmoon and he is named that not because he was a king himself, but because he was the father of a king (i.e. Sammaekjong). Galmoon was a younger brother of King Beopheung (the king right before Sammaekjong) and Queen Jiso's uncle. Therefore, the old uncle she didn't want to marry was this Galmoon. Yes, Princess Sookmyeong was one of Sammaekjong's wives, so that would make General Kim Isabu his father-in-law.
2. Actually, Queen Jiso married many men, not just King Galmoon and General Kim Isabu. Even Youngshil-gong was one of her husbands. In Silla, it seems you were allowed to marry many partners at the same time.
3. Sammaekjong inherited the throne because his mother was a sacred bone (the former king's eldest daughter) and his father was also a sacred bone (the former king's brother and a son of King Jijeung). He was probably the male with the most sacredness in his bone among possible heirs at the time.
4. As I said above, it seems people, especially royals and aristocrats, were allowed to have multiple sexual partners at that time in Silla.

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Hi o_o

Wow you are a walking historian or encyclopaedia!

Thanks for the reply. Very very helpful.

Wait, young shil gong was one of Queen jiso's husbands? Do you mean minister park Young-Sil?

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Very unlikely in my opinion since Princess Sookmyeong's father was General Kim Isabu.

Duke Hwikyeong is based on Duke Bidae, King Beopheung's son with his favorite concubine, Okjin. He wanted to make Bidae his heir but his eldest daughter from his real queen (Princess Jiso) strongly objected of course and the throne went to Jiso's son.

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I figured that Hwi Kyung was just a true bone but didn't know his mother was Okjin.

I don't have excess to Hwarang Segi. Does it go into detail with Sadaham's family background?
He is the one Hwarang that stood out during Jinheung's reign.

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Sadaham's father is Guriji and mother is Geumjin, Okjin's sister. His family was not royal. Also he died quite young, lamenting the death of his best pal, who supposedly died from shame after getting raped by Sadaham's mother. It's unlikely Sunwoo is based on Sadaham.

I think there is a reason why only Sammaekjong and Sunwoo got to stand up and talk about their views of the kingly way and waterway in a previous episode. Both are royal and need to understand what makes a good king. However, people seem to forget that the Silla throne was not the only throne around at that time. There also was Gaya, Daegaya to be more exact, even though it was a country that was dying out at the time.

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Thank you! Yea I knew he was a true bone and he spearheaded the first attack on Gaya etc but I didn't know his family background.
*Sigh* why would he make an oath like that and died so young? I would've been fangirling over him instead of Kim Yushin.
Anything Gaya related is interesting to me because we only have one Gaya sageuk, Kim Suro.

(OT: I heard Ji-sung is going to do a cameo later. If it's true then it's highly possible that he is going to make an appearance as his old character, the first king of Gaya. A flashback commentary maybe).

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Sammaekjong and Shilla is easier to figure out but Moo Myung and Gaya is what keeps me guessing.
I think they'd both make great rulers even though they come from 2 different background with mommy issues.

I think the two Gaya states that is related to this drama is Daegaya and Geumgwan Gaya (Kim Suro). Geumgwan is already a part of Shilla by now if I'm not mistaken. I think Daegaya (where Moo Reuk is from) hasn't fallen to Shilla yet.

Btw, have you seen the movie "Songs of Dreams"? It's supposed to be based on Moo Reuk's story but I can't find it anywhere.

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First time hearing that Ji Sung will make a cameo appearance. Then, it's almost certain Sunwoo is related to the Gaya royals.

"Songs of Dreams"-- is that a movie or a drama? Who appears in it?

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I may have misread about Ji Sung. They'd would have said something earlier since this a pre-produced drama.

Song of Dreams (2011) I think with Lee Sung-jae and Lee Da-hae.

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now that we got THE kiss outta the way i hope we can do away with the romance for good lol

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" It’s one thing to be mad at Sun-woo because he lied but she wasn’t even really mad about that. And she never really felt like he was her brother anyway so I get the relief she feels but I don’t get the anger she feels now that she can openly acknowledge her feelings. Girl."

@JessA: HAHA, girl, i agree with you. I don't get why she's angry if it's not really about him lying?!?

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I love Ban Ryu and Soo Yeon's scenes. The way his anger dissipated and his expression turned from harsh to soft when he knew that it was Soo Yeon who held his hand was precious!
Hopefully, the drama can give them more screen time.

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I might be the only one but I'm more interested in Ban ryu + Sooyeon storyline (esp Ban ryu) That poor boy, it's really unfair how both of his dads are treating him like come on give him a break he looked so stressed out in last two episodes.

AND DAMN! WHEN BAN RYU WAS ALLL ANGRY ABOUT TO KICK SOMEONE AND BECAME A LITTLE PUPPY WHEN HE SAW SOOYEON!,
tbh i like sooyeon more than ah ro, she is fun, pretty and pretty brave , not the ah ro is not like that but tbh her chemistry with sunwoo is a bit lacking in my opinion, I started watching this drama for seo joon but I end up skipping his scene T_T , JiDWi scenes are way better and I TOTALLY LOVED it when he said "The king of this nation" go boy get your seat.

I really do hope there are more banryu-sooho-sooyeon scenes but it doesn't seem like it will happen (there is nothing about them in ep 11 preview T_T) The reaction of both families is going to be epic if they ever find out about banryu+sooyeo relationship lol

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You're not the only one! Ban Ryu & Soo Yeon's story line is more interesting than the main romance. I like the three main leads when their plots are actually focused on something aside the romance.

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so trueee! the story gets so boring with all the flashbacks and there is nothing exciting in their love story as opposed to ban ryu sooyeon couple hahha they are 180 degree different from one another , one is aggressive and manly and the other is funny and cute lol

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METOO ME TOO ME TOO! ALSO MORE HAN SUNG AND YEO WOOL!!

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hahahha his expressions where gold when sooho was getting his memories back and when sooyeon calmly hit sooho and ran off with ban ryu.

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you must not like to read other peoples comments I guess

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hahah it's not like that , I commented first then started reading the comments of others

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The chemistry between Ahro and "Sunwoo" is almost non-existent ?. Park Seojoon is doing a great job, but I can't say the same about Go Ara though... even Queen Dowager is more interesting than Ahro!

I hope there will be more than 1-2 scenes of Banryu and Sooyeon in future episodes, they're the cutest ?

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your not the only, my love for banryu x sooyeon/suho keeps growing. if anything i feel like their storyline feels more fun and compelling to watch. its not that i dont like the main leads, i started this show for park seo joon and hyungsik but ban ryu came out of no where and stole my heart. i just felt so bad for him because he has to deal with his crappy fathers, all he wants is love and acceptance from them or at least from his bio dad. his being pulled in different directions. that ban ryu and sooyeon scene, i died, that boy was about beat someone down and sooyeon just comes along and bam he turns into this shy little dork. i also love suho/sooyeon relationship, its hilariously accurate. idk i just love the three dynamic

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Agree 100% with you, Lollypip!

Ji Dwi is a million times more interesting and likable away from Ah Ro. The parts with the queen and his assistant are great, and Park Hyung Sik is doing a fabulous job. WHY is he not focusing on building up relationships in Hwarang, and becoming stronger, instead of wooing someone who could not be more disinterested?! He sometimes talks big about being king - then just continues to pine after Ah Ro. So frustrating.

I actually feel the same way about Sun Woo. We all know he likes Ah Ro, give him a story! His bumbling attempts at being a Hwarang are great, although what happened to his supposedly amazing fighting skills? Does he just need something to protect to be a bad ass?

Ah Ro is definitely lacking, and I think it's a combo of acting and writing, mostly writing. She was fun in the beginning, and now all she does is mope and cry. No more personality. I like her scenes with Soo Yeon best.

I can't figure out the princess, but I like her. Hoping she doesn't become an evil second lead.

More Ban Ryu and Soo Yeon, please! Ban Ryu is far and away my favorite character. I am more invested in seeing him grow up and find happiness away from his terrible family than I am in any other storyline.

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Re: Sun Woo fighting skill

I always assume him to be the winging it kind of guy whenever he fights. Brute force rather than skill.

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Yup i think so too! Plus he only just learned to ride a horse, so you can't expect him to shoot an arrow WHILE ON A HORSE immediately.

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This is the case with Sun Woo. Remember when Sammaekjong easily beat him during their sparring practice (the one where Sammaekjong is on par with the instructor)? In that scene we can see that in comparison with Sammaekjong's trained and guided moves, Sun Woo's are more experience based. Sun Woo has no formal training and I think it was because Woo Ruk wanted to keep him out of trouble.

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Agree with you about the writing of Ahro's character. Go Ara was great in Reply, kind of meh in You're All Surrounded, and just annoying here, and I'm 100% convinced it's the writing. Too bad. Maybe Ahro will go back to her spunky self now that the whole brother issue is resolved.

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I agree blnmom
The retiring should allow Ah Ro to cry less, two episodes of mopping and grieving is enough.
It's also a shame to have a great second lead like park hyung shik and having her reject him again and again....

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sun wo grew up as a peasant, he learned to fight with his fists in the streets, never formally trained like all the other highborn sons. he'd never even rode a horse before

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In all honesty, I was interested in this drama due to Park Seo Joon. I find him very attractive in Kill Me Heal Me, She Was Pretty, and Witch Romance. But in this story, I found myself more drawn and interested with the king, of how he will get his throne back, and his romance with Go Ara. I discovered Hyung Sik, the actor who played the king, in High Society. I wasn't very impressed then. I do now with his character here. I feel his chemistry with Ara more. While Seo Joon and Ara's chemistry seemed force and really, that "You're not my brother! So leave me alone" blah blah is getting annoying. But then this kiss might save Seo Joon-Ara ship for me haha.

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P.S.

Silla is so rich with eyebrow makeup compared with Joseon.

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Ha! Glad to see that I'm not the only one being completely distracted by the heavily drawn in eyebrows, especially the king's.

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I think only Go Ara is heavily drawn eyebrows. PSJ's eyebrow almost the same as when he s in She Was Pretty. PHS's eyebrows have always been thick and dark. It s shown during Real Men, a show on celebrity doing military training. Everyone in the show are raw face, totally no makeup, we can see the blemish and pimples clearly.

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eyebrows on fleek had never been truer

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I feel the same way. I think it's the writer's fault. They haven't given Sun Woo any backstory at all. Even the hints at it started only at episode six. While the king has this amazing, tragic backstory that makes you immedietly feel for him.

Another thing is that they havent' given the OTP any sensual scenes together. That's very important in handling chemistry.

The scene where the king asks Ah ro for "what happens next in the story", had a romantic music and PHY was dripping sensuality, even his forced kiss, while I didnt like the kiss, I absolutely loved the build up to it. Both in setting, music and how PHS played it out.

As fake brother and sister, there could have been so many instances where they could have shown that push/pull or forbidden attraction, but the writers chose not to, which is sad, becuae Seo Joon can be so good in those kind of scenes.

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Aioaheen
+1,000,000

You mean the scene in the apothecary? Where ji dwi confessed he couldn't sleep after the kiss??? PHS was oozing a trillion loads of charisma when he leaned on the pillar and teased her ...

Haha I like the scene and background music too... anyone knows the background music title during that scene?

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The one I was talking about was at the end of Ep 1. But the apothecary scene was cool too.

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+1000

Couldn't agree more.

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My thoughts exactly! They didn't give MooMyung many scenes to be swoony in his own way, the only ones I can think of involve him saving Aro. E.g. When she was drunk and tripped in the market (first time they met), when she fell off the horse, when she was kidnapped by the scarface guy and his gangsters (what happened to them btw). Oh and him running around the market looking for her after their performance was sweet too, as well as bringing her to her brother's grave. Well she did tell him to get out of her sight, which he respectfully did (unlike Ji Dwi).

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I just feel that some of you are too critical of Ji Dwi.

It's pretty common for a man that type to not stop wooing a girl even when he was asked not to. It's not really disrespectful. Sometimes, they may interpret that as a challenge and the girl playing all hard to get. If any girl asking a guy to stop wooing her and they guy immediately obliged, then the dating world is totally straight forward without rainbows and colours.

I gave him the pass with the forced kiss because of how he was brought up - being a king where he was handed everything. But after Aro telling him to not try such action again, you can see him respecting her - asking her if she wanted him to hug her and so on. And after he rescued her and him revealed as the king, he could command her to how he likes it but he didn't. On that part, I say Ji Dwi is pretty commendable. Whatever with his wooing and confession, I think he is being honest, least of all disrespectful.

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I think Character vs. person is the dilemma. One of my favorite characters is Scarlet o Hara. But she's far from good. One would say she's down right evil in stealing her sister's boyfriend and marrying him for money, pining after a married man, killing a soldier and hiding his body. But she's one of the most dynamic figures I've ever come across on paper. We forgive her because we want to.

In this case, Ji Dwi is acting according to character and PHS is playing it wonderfully. But it's that character that most people don't like, because it hits close to home. It's not easy to forgive a character for an action you've experienced in real life, or seen someone experience, and associate with really bad feelings.

For me personally, I don't like forced kisses, stolen kisses as a narrative device simply because it feels like lazy writing. But I don't judge the character for it. However, if he were to hit the heroine (true to character or not), I'd just stop watching the show, period. For me, there's no coming back from that (I'm not a fifty shades fan).

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They could definitely stand to now give him room to be swoony. I mean, it's not like Park Seo-joon can't do that. See almost any of his other dramas and movies for reference. Please, Writer-nim?

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heck even ban ryu has a sad and interesting back story

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I Agree. I'm more invested with the second (3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th) lead than I am with Sun Woo's story and Ah Ro. I almost wish there would be a twist to make Ji Dwi be the one who gets the girl. Only because his awkward cocky attempts to woo Ah Ro are so sincere. He himself doesn't understand why he feels this way but he's honest about it. It's too bad it's wasted on a girl who's only interested on her brother/not-brother. And yes please no more of her boo-hoo type crying. I skipped that whole mess. Couldn't stand it.
On another note, I'm watching this show because it's simply so pretty to watch lol. And so cute. I'm not looking for anything deeper than that. Pa Oh is just hilarious. Someone mentioned that his scene with the king is more entertaining than the OTP chemistry (or lack thereof). Peace!

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Same same. I like the King's character more than PSJ's character. I am also rooting for the King and Ah ro. Heheheh! :)

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K-dramas, the only place where you can see a brave, physically strong and hot headed character dressed in clothes with butterfly pattern.

On another note, it is hilarious how Ban Ryu has no idea what is going on every time he is with Soo Yeon. One moment girl he has a crush on talks to him and a second later her brother comes out of nowhere and tries to hit him. When Soo Ho was hitting him, poor boy didn't even think of protecting himself

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Ban Ryu would rather let soo ho beat the crap outta him than disgrace soo yeon in public by admitting that SHE was the one doing the grabbing lol. that's why he didnt even try to defend himself

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Ban Ryu, fighting! I was right to trust you, awww!!! I feel so happy. why do I feel THIS happy for him? I guess it is because each of them in an underdog in their own way. but his agony hurts the most to watch. yet at the same time, it induces hope for all.

watching him feels like spring, ice cracking everywhere and all around, getting ready to release an unstoppable force. Same with Ji Dwi, it is great to watch a sleeping mouse become a lion. now only if that lion doesnt bite someones´ head off...

And Soo Yeon is so spunky, I have a hard time getting my head around it.

I am rather surprised also how funny Minho can be! What! and getting better and better, I find myself totally cracking up at his scenes.

I agree with everyone that this story should be more about the Hwarang boys, made to support the weak power of the King, the growing pains, making choices, fighting to live their own lives and forming an alliance that the political power stuggle can´t break. but I guess it is also about puppies in love, we have some love lines that stand out and some that become extra luggage.

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I like the others than the main leads.

For the girls, the sister and the princess are much more interesting. Their acting are very nature. Their character are likable. The sister is so sweet. The princess is cool. Go Ara is something I cant define, its just doesnt seem smooth at all.

The guy looks like a girl such a screen stealer. He appears few seconds here and there but I have to stop every time he appears.

The main leads just doesnt cut it. They are not a bold color but blur color. I cant put much emotion into each.

I have watched every single episode but it feels like I didnt really watch anything. After the first 2 episodes, there isnt anything big happening.

Compare to MDBC, we have clear identity by episode 3, the confession on epi 7, love in the air for few later episode. In hwarang, now its 10th episode already. They put lots of backflash make me thing they dont have much materials but the story still have lots of thing to sort out. I have a feeling we wont have a satisfy ending.

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Do Ji-han 1991
Cho Yoon-woo 1991
Lee Da-in 1992
Seo Ye-ji 1990
we will keep our eyes on you

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The funny thing is... As someone who likes her A LOT, I was browsing this site for Seo Ye Ji's tags earlier today. On the post announcing her casting in her last drama, Moorim School, she was absolutely destroyed. Think she's gaining more acceptance 'round these parts.

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I feel like she is a bit of a one trick poney tbh. She has the bitchy depressed sageuk princess down (Night Watchman and here) but that's about it. As for the rest, I receive her actings as looking overly sad or on the contrary completely hysterical. My impression is that overall she is not as bad as many actresses her generation but she simply does not connect with large audiences. She gets an honorable mention for not being painful to watch but she is not memorable either. I feel like loads of people will concede Go Ara is weaker here. Still even with the shit she gets, her face and personality are tons more engaging.

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Anyone else feel disappointed with that kiss at the end?

I just wish Sun Woo didn't surprise her with a kiss. Just because he learns she likes him doesn't give him permission to kiss her.

Half of the fun in a kiss is in the anticipation. I really wish he'd given her some signal and got some kind of implicit acknowledgement from her before slapping his lips on hers.

My favorite scenes were the one Ji Dwi stands up to his mother. and Ban Ryu and Soo Ho;s sisters one scene together.

oh Ban Ryu, how you have stolen my heart. I loved how he gives Soo Ho some of his rice to cool him down and his gracious, if slightly smug, behaviour after Soo Ho found out the truth.

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Yes. Unless they do something unexpected next, what a waste of a first kiss ☹️ And all in all, what a waste of Park Seo Joon in the last six or so episodes. So bland! Jeez, give him something to do, Show!

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THIS THIS THIS A 100 TIMES THIS!!! although he is the lead ,I don't see him enough. I'm tired of seeing the King more than him. what a waste of Seojoon indeed :'(

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This episode was a heck of a lot better than the previous one.

The music and the dance didn't really impress me. I was kinda waiting for more. Needed cooler choreography or something. And the scenes were edited abruptly, switching from the dance scene to Ah Ro's scene with the queen.

I don't hate Ji Dwi's character. He could be annoying at times, but I can also see how much he cares about Ah Ro. It would be great if they could just be friends....but I don't know if they can happen once Ji Dwi learns that Sun Woo is not her brother.

Last episode had too much angst and crying from Ah Ro and those scenes did not move me. However, I teared up when Ah Ro finally came to her brother's grave. That scene was heartbreaking.

My favorite scenes are the ones with the Hwarang guys hanging out together. Seeing them at Okta again was fun.
Yeo-wool quips that he can’t tell if Su-ho and Ban-ryu are friends or enemies.
^My heart warmed at the fact that Su Ho noticed a little detail about Ban Ryu that indicated he was not the culprit.

The actress playing Soo Yeon is so pretty and adorable. Like one of the cutest actresses I've ever seen. Almost to the level of Park Bo Young cuteness. I love her spunky character. I was laughing my butt off at the brother+sister headlock scene. Too cute and silly.

Dan Se and Sun Woo were cracking me up. It was funny seeing Sun Woo riled up after Dan Se calmly insulted him.

UGH that final scene was not smooth. ............ Ah Ro's mouth-to-mouth move looked fake. She could have put more effort into it and make it more believable. And then Sun Woo's sudden kiss was not swoonworthy for me. But I'm glad they both know each other's true feelings now.

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*I meant Ah Ro's cpr move btw..... not the kiss one.

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Wondering if CPR has even existed around that time? And she was just giving him artificial ventilation (err....to warrant a mouth to mouth contact actually) without compressing his chest.

I predict Ji Dwi is somewhere witnessing this CPR. CPR has never been this heartbreaking before.

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I was disappointed with the dance scene too. I mean, a bunch of those guys are in dance groups IRL and especially BTS is amazing. But the dance choreography was just bleah and they weren't very synchronized. I'm sure it would have killed in Silla, but not so much in 2017. :-)

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I read somewhere that the original choreography was a bit more complicated and flashy but they had to simplify it as some of the actors (namely PSJ) were struggling to perfect it within the time frame they had.

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Ok, so that explains it. Some parts felt awkward to me, like that one part where they form astraight line and they all turn their heads. I like that one part of the choreo where one guy jumps and the others step out into a line with Yeo wool at the end.

I guess Park Seo Joon didn't really have to act that he can't dance, haha.

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I was kinda disappointed too because I was expecting Scarlet Heart level of dance (the demon purge dance). So thank you for your explanation, it correlates on how the other actor made fun of PSJ's turtle neck dance during the Special. I guess his lack of grace in the training scene is all natural :D

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WOoooOW.....
This drama is sooooo cute with its romance and bromance. I want more of Ban-ryu and Soo-yeon scenes. I loved Su-ho's reaction on getting his memories back and the 180 degree expression turn of Ban-ryu on seeing Soo-yeon. I knew that there would be a birth secret and waiting for a week or two for that the secret to be revealed...I think I'd go mad thinking what happens next.
I like...errr...love King Ji-dwi... He was darn cute and handsome when he made his position clear. I was cheering for him to go and drag his mom down and occupy that throne. I believe he would be the best and the strongest King of all....
Can't wait to see the budding bromance between the hwarang and their nandooos.

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I totally have second lead syndrome, Sun Woo is lacking in something for me. I'm still on the fence for this drama, I want to like it but I need more, I need more action, I need a faster pace, and I want less flashbacks and crying from Go Ara, that's all she does!

Also for putting so much emphasis on the dance, they barely showed it, a few minutes really doesn't do much.

Hopefully things will pick up in the later half, I'm looking forward to more Dan Se, his relationship with Sun Woo and V, and Ban Ryu with Soo Ho's sister.

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SLS is taken into a whole new level for me for this drama.

Talking about the dance, I love the dance practice scene more. Probably because of the accompanying music from BTS which elevated that scene. The actual dance performance didn't leave that much impression on me. It was too quick and rush, the lighting was too dim and there was no climax that I was expecting. A bit disappointing somehow.

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You're right so anti climactic for the dance and Park Hyung Sik has a way of stealing our attention, High Society is the perfect example, even in Heirs I enjoyed his character.

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As much I like this show, the conversation between Ah Ro and Sun Woo was so weird from ep 9 and 10. I mean her brother died and all she is thinking about is her feelings for Sun Woo. That just doesn't make sense.

Like everyone, I was so proud of Ji Dwi for standing up for himself. Can we stop with the whole damsel in distress and focus on Ji Dwi getting the throne back (with the help of his friends of course)?

The resurrection from the dead kiss was so weird as well. Poor Seo-joon...Damn, why is this writer just doing weird stuff now? I still think Sun Woo is an interesting character but it could have been developed better at least we should know more about his birth secret by now. Is this drama 16 or 20 episodes long?

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My thoughys exactly. When the truth was finally revealed and Ah Ro burst into tears and fled I assumed it was because she found out her brother is actually DEAD and she will never get the opportunity to ever meet him again. But noooo, she is sad because she can't reconcile her feelings for Sun Woo? Lame. I was glad they did finally address her brothers death by visiting his grave, just wish that had been sooner and the reason for all those weepy tears. Her reaction seemed out of place for what was actually going on in the story.

Go Ah Ra is the weakest link in this show.

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Seconding that. Go Ara's acting abilities just haven't matured the way some of the other actors have, such as Park Seo Joon.

The other issue may be in the writing of her character too, with Ah Ro simply pouting and crying, being kidnapped/attacked, and more pouting and crying. Not a very nuanced character in the first place. But I do think, if Go Ara had been a more capable actress suited for this type of role, she would have brought more nuance into making even a less dimensional character into a fuller figure.

I say this in my objective opinion, but I also respect Go Ara in other roles she has filled in past dramas. She's also quite pretty--I'm envious of her seemingly perfectly symmetrical face.

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I do think that the role isn't helping her in any fashion way or form. I had no problems with her in You're All Surrounded. Also, I do not like her styling in this drama either. I find her visuals unappealing especially compared to the styling of her bff. Oh well, what could have been.

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I agree with you. I have liked Go Ara in other roles like You are all surrounded and Reply 1994. Ah Ro's character here is just poorly written. They should have addressed the brother's death in ep 9 and focused on her feelings in ep 10.

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My favourite scene of this episode is when Ji Dwi confronted his mother. Gosh, that was intense and powerful and I applaud Park Hyung Sik for such charismatic performance. He is to me, the main force that continue to draw me to watch this drama.

I agree, I prefer him so much better away from Aro because I am done seeing him acting like a love sick puppy when the lady love isn't reciprocating. But I found that Ji Dwi seems to have taken a step back with his approach on Aro in this episode. He could have taken advantage of the situation (saving her and revealed as the king) but he didn't. So I am truly glad that he continues to be respectful of her and probably just establish a friendship with her instead of romance.

The surprise kiss by Sun Woo is truly unexpected. If that comes from Ji Dwi, he surely would be blasted. But I think Sun Woo would be saved since I have no doubt that Aro would permit that kiss. The kiss is the seal deal for the main OTP but that's the end of Aro and Ji Dwi for me. Now I just want him to become King that he is destined to be.

Also, I am interested to see how the boys will choose side once it is revealed that Ji Dwi is the King. Sun Woo will surely go up against him, Su Ho is strongly attached to the Queen Regent, so that's leaving Ban Ryu, Han Sung and Yeowol.

Bring it on, drama!

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I should not have looked at the preview; Ah Ro damsel in distress again. *sigh* At least now the danger is actually important for the plot: the Queen is out to kill you.

I agree the performance didn't shine as it should have. I wonder if it was the camera moving around so quickly, showing different angles, with bursts of fire in the middle? I would prefer the camera to zoom out and show the complete choreography, then perhaps focus on individual moves. And a bit of slow mo is acceptable here (thinking of that hauntingly beautiful dance in MDBC).

My theory: Sun Woo is the son of the guy with polio, who got disinherited. If the nobles or the Queen learn of this (and they will), it will be chaos. Bring it on. (Wow, I'm also asking for more political intrigue! Unbeliebable.)

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I'm always up for more theories until they tell us who Moo-myung is.

If I'm not mistaken Lord Hwi Kyung is Queen Regent Jiso's brother. Having any physical health/mental issues like polio would disqualify him from being king.
Maybe he was just a true bone.

Moo-myung said he had a sister that died. I'm not quite sure how to connect Lord Hwi Kyung and Moo-myung. If he is the father then why is he alive and one of his kids died and one is wandering without a name?

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Even if Hwi Kyung had sacred bone issue before he was disqualified, wouldn't his line also have been down ranked? So why would he need to hide his kids when they are not eligible anyway.?

I think he knows who Sun Woo is but I dont think he is the father.

This writer is quite simplistic so I'm thinking something quite basic like the Sun Woo is the son of the previous King. Ji So might have grown ambitious for herself and her son and was going to kill him (and his sister) and they were saved by sympathetic servants who snuck them out.

Sun Woo might be Jiso and Hwi Kyung 's brother?

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Perhaps his son was hidden to prevent anyone from killing him or anyone on opposing side of queen regent Jiso making use of him ....

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I'm not sure if I'm answering your question but I'll try.

If he was borned a sacred bone he would still be a sacred bone for the rest of his life unless he is being charged with a serious crime like treason etc or he himself volunteered to give up his high rank for a lower rank.

If he is a sacred bone who married a true bone then their children would be true bones. If he is a true bone who married a true bone then the children would be true bones also.
Only a sacred bone who married a sacred bone would produce sacred bone children.

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I see. So what you are saying is that if Hwi Kyung is his father, Moo Myung would have a sacred bone father. His mother would have to be sacred bone as well for him to have a right to the throne, but of this we have no clue.

In any case, I hope the mysterious musician speaks up soon, or Moo Myung gets a bit curious and asks him a few questions like 'how come you pretended to be a peasant all those years?'

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Right, it's a big IF.

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This is my theory. He and Queen Jiso had another sister who married the Gaya King to have Sunwoo and his sister. Because Queen Jiso wanted to take over Gaya, too, she abandoned her nephew and niece in Mangmang Village?

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