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Hwarang: Episode 13

A dangerous political wind is beginning to blow, leaving our Hwarang boys little time to worry about personal disagreements. When the future of the country is at stake and the king is effectively missing, who do you turn to that can run the country? The time is fast approaching for Ji-dwi to step up and take his rightful place, ready or not — because if he doesn’t do something, and soon, he could lose everything.

 
EPISODE 13 RECAP

After Sun-woo wins his fight with Minister Park’s man, Ji-dwi finds him sitting alone and asks if he’s okay. Sun-woo smirks, asking why he cares, and suddenly draws his sword to Ji-dwi’s throat. In a dark voice, he asks, “Is it you? Are you… the king?”

Ah Ro happens to see Sun-woo with his sword drawn against Ji-dwi, and she jumps in front of Ji-dwi defensively. She asks if Sun-woo really believes the banner saying the king is in Hwarang, and says it would be stupid for the king to be here among his enemies. She swears that Ji-dwi isn’t the king, and reaches for Sun-woo.

He roars at her to move, and accidentally slices her arm with his sword. He looks horrified, but Ah Ro doesn’t even pause in her defense of Ji-dwi, and Sun-woo can only run away without a word.

Ah Ro crouches in relief, and Ji-dwi asks why she did that. She says she just had to because she doesn’t know why Sun-woo hates the king so badly, but she’s sure that Sun-woo will believe her if she tells him Ji-dwi isn’t the king.

Ah Ro puts ointment on her cut arm while Ji-dwi watches her with sad eyes. He insists on helping when she fumbles one-handed with the bandage, and says that he’s angry with himself for repeatedly putting her in danger. She tells him not to be, that she’s capable of taking care of herself and believing in herself, even if she’s the only one.

As Sun-woo replays the confrontation with Ah Ro in his mind, Princess Sookmyung approaches him to say that he’s still rough, but that he has a lot of talent. Glaring, Sun-woo asks if all members of the royal family are this shameless, referring to the fact that she doesn’t even seem sorry that she shot him with an arrow not long ago.

He starts to walk away, but Sookmyung orders him to stop, and she offers to teach him swordsmanship. Sun-woo says she doesn’t know who he may kill if she does, and this time, she lets him go.

Ah Ro goes looking for Sun-woo, worried about his injuries from the fight with Minister Park’s man. Merchant Joo-ki startles her and offers to walk her out, and he asks why she keeps looking around. Ah Ro just vaguely says that she’s hoping to see something. She doesn’t see Sun-woo watching her from a window nearby.

Ji-dwi confronts his mother about Princess Sookmyung’s behavior in Hwarang, such as ordering the fights, but the queen regent is just happy that everyone thinks another Hwarang is the king. She tells him to keep quiet about it, unconcerned that he’s upset, since she’s prepared to do whatever it takes to get him safely on the throne.

Ji-dwi lies awake that night, unable to sleep easily. Just as he drifts off, a pair of hands circle his throat, and he sees Sun-woo crouching over him with fury written on his face. As Sun-woo throttles Ji-dwi, he accuses him of killing his friend — then Ji-dwi wakes from the nightmare, gasping for air.

Sun-woo isn’t even in their room — he’s wandering outside, thinking about the dragon-head bracelet he lost, and how its image showed up on the banner. Hwa-gong joins him, and Sun-woo asks if he thinks it’s true that the king is in Hwarang. When Hwa-gong asks him the question in return, Sun-woo boldly says, “Ji-dwi.”

But he’s asking if Ji-dwi is really Hwa-gong’s nephew, and Hwa-gong says that he is — though distant, to be sure. He asks why Sun-woo wants to find the king, and Sun-woo says that they have an ill-fated connection. Hwa-gong asks jokingly if he’ll kill the king or something, and Sun-woo is all, Can’t I?

Hwa-gong points out the pond, which looks still on the surface but is teeming with life underneath. He explains that you can’t know everything about a pond just by looking at the surface, warning Sun-woo not to make such a mistake.

Minister Park is furious with his man for not killing Sun-woo during their fight, convinced that Sun-woo is the hidden king in Hwarang. Now that everyone is watching Sun-woo, he can’t send in an assassin to do the job. Still, he tells Ho Gong that an opportunity will present itself eventually.

A riderless horse approaches a pair of guards, and they shrink back when they see several human heads tied to its saddle. A banner drapes the horse’s back, stating that anyone who covets Baekje land (Silla’s political ally at the time) will get the same treatment.

The officials argue over what’s to be done, half of them demanding action be taken against Baekje, the other half concerned that breaking their alliance with Baekje will give Goguryeo (the third kingdom) the chance to take over.

Minister Park finally speaks up to say they should declare war. When the officials speak out against it, he suggests they send the princess to make peace, which was his true plan all along. Faced with a choice between war and peace, the queen regent’s hands are tied, so says that she’ll send the princess with the Hwarang.

Later, Ho Gong says that the council are worried their sons will be chosen to go with the princess. He wonders if their assumption that Sun-woo is the king is correct, since the queen regent was awfully quick to offer to send the Hwarang to Baekje, where they could be captured or killed.

Hwa-gong thinks about a conversation he’d had with Ji-dwi after realizing that he was the king. Ji-dwi had asked if he could even become king, since his mother won’t give him the throne. Hwa-gong had said that Silla needs a real king, not a queen regent, but Ji-dwi had worried if he could ever be that king.

Hwa-gong had assured him that if he truly wants a nation where the people don’t worry, but one where the king worries about the nation, then he’ll be fine. Ji-dwi had said that he wants to be strong, but that he worries that a king who spent his life in hiding can’t be a source of strength.

So when Queen Regent Jiso informs Hwa-gong that she’s sending some of the Hwarang to Baekje with the princess, Hwa-gong tells her that that’s a decision the king should make. She reminds him that she’s in charge for now, and he obediently agrees — though he insists on choosing which Hwarang to send.

Han-sung finds Ah Ro moping over whether Sun-woo is avoiding her, and he cheerfully says that he watched Sun-woo see her and turn away. He wonders why, since brothers usually protect sisters, but Ah Ro just tells him to get lost.

Ah Ro finds Sun-woo and jumps in front of him to ask why he’s avoiding her. She gives him a good dressing-down, saying that if he’s angry then he should tell her why, but all he can think about is how he cut her with his sword. He walks past her without saying a word, leaving Ah Ro fighting her tears.

Sun-woo passes by Ji-dwi with a glare, and when Ji-dwi tries to stop him, he whirls and grabs Ji-dwi by the collar. Ji-dwi asks if Sun-woo still thinks he’s the king, and he asks if he and Sun-woo can’t be friends if that turns out to be the case. Sun-woo growls that the moment he’s sure Ji-dwi is the king, he’ll kill him.

Ji-dwi calmly says that he’ll just continue not being the king then, since he prefers being Sun-woo’s friend. He says it’s true even if Sun-woo thinks of him as an enemy, but Sun-woo counters that Ji-dwi doesn’t know what a friend is, since he’s never had one. He tells Ji-dwi that the only reason he’s leaving him alone is because of Ah Ro.

As soon as Sun-woo lets go of Ji-dwi, Pa Oh runs over to deliver a letter from the queen regent. It consists of one word: “Stay.”

Nearly the entire Hwarang are certain that Sun-woo is the hidden king by now, and they all stare at him as they file into the lecture room. Ban-ryu remembers Minister Park ordering him to find out if Sun-woo truly is the king, while Su-ho recalls the queen regent’s request of him to take care of Sun-woo.

Hwa-gong takes the podium to announce that what he’s about to tell them isn’t an assignment or an order, but more of a request.

Joo-ki finds Ah Ro watching the lecture hall, and she asks him if all men change their hearts so easily. He asks who she means, but she tells him to forget it. The princess’s bodyguard arrives and tells Ah Ro that the princess is looking for her.

Hwa-gong explains that he’ll be asking for volunteers for the delegation the following day, and Ji-dwi realizes that his mother’s note was an instruction not to volunteer. Yeo-wool jokes that nobody would want to go, but Sun-woo’s expression remains stony.

Princess Sookmyung tells Ah Ro that she’s going to Baekje with her as her personal physician, by order of the queen regent. Ah Ro worries over what to tell her father, though she pouts that Sun-woo probably won’t even care.

Ji-dwi is skeptical that sending the princess to Baekje will accomplish anything towards making peace. He grows angry, wondering how long Silla will be pushed around by larger kingdoms.

Hwa-gong is thoughtful that night, and tells Joo-ki that he planned to shake things up, but not this fast. He thinks it’s too soon for the Hwarang to go out into the world.

The next day, not one Hwarang volunteers to escort the princess to Baekje. Princess Sookmyung enters the room with Ah Ro right behind her to address the men. She’s honest about the fact that anyone who goes may not come back alive, but promises a rich reward for those who do.

She mentions that she’s bringing a small retinue, including her doctor, and both Sun-woo and Ji-dwi go on alert. Sookmyung asks again for volunteers, and though Ah Ro shakes her head at Sun-woo, his hand is the first to go up.

Remembering his promise to the queen regent, Su-ho volunteers next, then Ban-ryu. Lastly, Ji-dwi throws up his hand, and when Hwa-gong tries to pretend he didn’t see it, Ji-dwi verbally announces that he will go, much to Hwa-gong’s chagrin.

That evening over dinner, Ji-gong is suspicious when Ah Ro insists he eat everything himself, but she promises him that everything is fine. She praises him for being a doctor who helps everyone, not just the high class, and that night she cries as she writes him a letter explaining that she’s leaving.

Soo-yeon cries to Ah Ro over the wall, worried about Ban-ryu going to Baekje. Ah Ro asks if she’s not worried about her, too, but Soo-yeon just decides she should give Ban-ryu a memento. Ah Ro calls her idea to give him a lock of her hair too burdensome, but Soo-yeon argues that that’s the entire point.

Han-sung whines at Sun-woo that he wants to go with him, and Sun-woo says that he should have volunteered, then. Han-sung begs Sun-woo to ask Hwa-gong to let him come, and even bats his eyelashes at him, hee. His brother Dan-se overhears and physically drags Han-sung away, while Han-sung wails that he wants to go with Sun-woo. So adorable.

Ji-dwi has to deal with Pa Oh, who’s too weak with worry to even stand. He bursts into tears, reminding Ji-dwi that he’s the king and has to take care of himself, unable to hold his sobs in.

Ban-ryu finds Soo-yeon waiting for him outside the Hwarang gates, and she hands him a pouch containing a braid of her hair. She asks if it’s too burdensome, but he quickly says it’s not, looking adorably nervous. Soo-yeon gives Ban-ryu a quick kiss on the cheek and says that she’ll be waiting for him.

She turns to go, but Ban-ryu lunges after her and whirls her back to face him. He gives her a real kiss, which she enthusiastically returns.

Ban-ryu is grinning ear to ear as he goes back into the Hwarang grounds, but then his Nando, Kang Sung, gets in his face. He warns Ban-ryu not to disappoint Minister Park this time (referring to Park’s edict that Ban-ryu find out everything he can about Sun-woo).

Pa Oh tries one last time to convince Ji-dwi not to leave, but it’s no use. Dan-se tells Sun-woo that if he comes back from Baekje alive, he’ll consider truly calling him his master. Sun-woo tells him not to, because they’re equals.

The queen regent comes to see Princess Sookmyung and the Hwarang off, and Hwa-gong gives a speech about pride and loyalty. The queen regent entreats them to secure peace with Baekje before returning, and then it’s time for them to leave.

As they go, they all think about what they’re leaving behind. Su-ho’s father had been proud of him, though when asked what the queen regent said to him, Su-ho only asked if protecting the king is the same as protecting the queen regent. Minister Park had given Ban-ryu something to give to the king when he gets a chance, saying that he’s making a bet, with Silla as the wager.

Ji-dwi thinks about how his mother had warned him to lay low and do nothing, or the people around him could get hurt. And Sun-woo’s biggest priority, of course, is keeping his promise to Ji-gong to protect Ah Ro.

Ji-gong finds Ah Ro’s letter explaining that she’s going to Baekje with the princess, on the queen regent’s orders. She says that Sun-woo is also going, and asks her father not to worry about her too much. It’s too much to ask, and he screams, “How much longer?!” He meets with Hwi-kyung, and says that he needs to know how to bring Queen Regent Jiso down.

When the princess and her retinue stop for a rest, Sun-woo finds her sitting alone and approaches her. He asks why she brought Ah Ro, and she implies that she brought Ah Ro because she knew Sun-woo would come if she did. Sun-woo says that she should have just asked and not involved Ah Ro, but Sookmyung counters that she needed a doctor, too.

Suddenly Sun-woo lunges a fist at Sookmyung’s face, and she cringes in fear. Sun-woo says softly that he should have just left the princess alone, and releases the bee he caught with his bare hand.

Sookmyung grows angry and starts to stand, then she suddenly freezes. She clutches her chest and struggles for air, unable to speak, then topples over sideways. Sun-woo catches her before she hits her head, and she gasps at him not to move for a minute. Ah Ro happens by and sees this scene, which looks awfully intimate from a distance.

Ban-ryu sits by a river, smiling as he remembers kissing Soo-yeon. Su-ho splashes water in his face and Ban-ryu jumps up, dropping Soo-yeon’s braid. Su-ho hands it back and asks what it is, but Ban-ryu just thanks him, and Su-ho laughs at his first-ever thanks from Ban-ryu.

That evening, Sun-woo escorts the princess to her room and tells her to rest, as they’ll be entering Baekje tomorrow. She thanks him for taking care of her earlier, and he softens enough to say that he understands her embarrassment at being seen to collapse.

Ah Ro does her best to hold back tears at seeing Sun-woo holding the princess. She looks up to see him standing right beside her, and she asks if he really came on this expedition because of the princess, and not her. She admits that looking at him breaks her heart, and that she misses him even when he’s right next to her.

She asks if he feels nothing when he looks at her, and Sun-woo just says that it’s all his fault. He looks at the spot where he cut her arm and admits that he was so angry at himself that he couldn’t look her in the eye.

Ah Ro asks if that means he really did miss her. Sun-woo says that he hates himself, but the part of his heart that missed her was strong enough to overcome the hate. He grabs her in a tight hug, and they stay that way for a long time, happy to be together again.

But suddenly, the courtyard fills with villagers carrying torches and makeshift weapons, looking ready for a fight. Sun-woo tries to lead Ah Ro to safety, but they’re quickly surrounded.

 
COMMENTS

I’ll just get this off my chest first thing — I’m really getting annoyed with Sun-woo. It’s not Park Seo-joon’s performance at all, because he’s just working with what he’s been given, but Sun-woo is just so closed-mouthed about everything that it’s difficult to connect to him emotionally. At first it made sense character-wise for him to keep his feelings shut away, as hurt as he was by Mak Mun’s death, but we’re two-thirds of the way through the show, and I was hoping we’d be getting something from him by now. But all I really know of him as a character is that he grew up a low-born, and he’s angry his friend was killed, which we knew eleven episodes ago. I don’t even really understand why he cares about Ah Ro so much, because he never says anything other than that he wants to protect her. I hope that he gets a reason to open up soon, to anyone, so that we can root for him and his desire to see justice for his friend. Because as it stands right now, I want to feel for him, but it’s a struggle because even after thirteen episodes, I just don’t know who he is.

That being said, I was really touched by what Ji-dwi said when confronted by Sun-woo, that he would rather be Sun-woo’s friend than be the king. As much as he wants to be a strong ruler for his people, I think that Ji-dwi understands that individuals are as important as “the people” as a whole. I also think that he knows that Sun-woo needs a friend as badly as he does, even if he’s not able to admit it. Sun-woo is stuck in a bad place, put there by the loss of his only friend, and he needs to know that there’s more to life than revenge. He also needs to understand that making new friends isn’t an insult to Mak Mun’s memory — it’s okay to move forward and live his own life. These two aren’t saying these things out loud, but I think it’s clear from the way they interact with each other (in both positive and negative ways) that they need each other.

I’m a bit disappointed that Sun-woo hasn’t yet learned that Ji-dwi is the king, what with last week’s cliffhanger, though I don’t really think that he’s emotionally ready for the truth yet. I do think that Sun-woo still believes Ji-dwi is the king, but without proof or a confession, he can’t exactly act on his instinct. It’s more that I just wish even one secret would come to light, because it feels as though we’ve been circling around everyone’s secrets for several weeks now, and I think it’s time for something or someone to shake up the status quo. Whether it be Ji-dwi’s true identity, Sun-woo’s mysteriously missing past, or Ban-ryu and Soo-yeon’s clandestine love affair, it’s past time for something to be discovered to give our Hwarang boys something to think about.

I do have hope that this trip to Baekje will be the shaking-up that our boys need to start making decisions on their own. Ban-ryu in particular is at a crossroads, as he has to choose between doing what his adoptive father wants and get in on his plan to usurp the king’s throne, or to follow his own moral compass and do what he believes is right. I don’t for a second think that Ban-ryu wants to be installed as a puppet king, but I think he’s been living in such fear (which is why he’s always so rigid) that he does the bare minimum to stay on Minister Park’s good side. Hopefully this trip to Baekje will get him away from that influence and allow him to start thinking and acting for himself. I hope the same thing for Ji-dwi — he’s realizing that it’s about time for him to step up and act like a king, and this peace-seeking trip to Baekje may be just the catalyst he needs to reveal himself and show the neighboring kingdom that his kingdom is nothing to be trifled with.

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LOL !!! Just like a dog with sensitive ears that can hear high-pitched sounds beyond human hearing, the squeeeeing scream I heard from around the world when Ban-Ryu kissed his girl had me laughing out loud!!! Did you wake up your neighbors? Your husband, your parents, everyone in the library where you were supposedly studying??? All you Beanies who have been begging for weeks to see more of Ban-Ryu’s love story – are you happy now? Wasn’t it adorable? His face when he accepted the gift of her hair was the BEST. I loved knowing how happy all of you must have been. My favorite part of the episode, however, was when V as Han-sung hung onto Sun-woo’s arm and begged him to let him come along. OMG that aegyo!! What made it even funnier was a recent talk by PSJ when he said V is just like that on set – he’s always following PSJ around and saying, “I love you!!” I wonder how many takes the boys had to do to get through this scene without laughing.

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*sits back with pop corn to wait for Su Ho to blow up at Ban Ryu when he finds out BR is, well, essentially dating his little sister.* This is like waiting for the fireworks in new Years´ Eve.

unless they take us by surprise and make SH coolly accept the fact and pat BR on the shoulder and move on.... then I´ll be like: "No fireworks? Really? Did I get the wrong day? Did I miss it? I am on planet Earth at least, no?"

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If there are no fire works i will ask for my money back.

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I hate to disagree but that kiss like so many kdrama kisses was completely awkward and unsatisfying. Those stone statue, mush their lips together and don't move kisses just look stupid and awkward. Better to not kiss at all then give us an open eye, flat a board kiss. Nobody does that unless they have to kiss their 80 year old aunt on the lips.

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I had to replay that kiss again (squeee) but there was some movement. It was not ala Joon-jae or Shin style of passionate kissing. It was chaste and sweet, just like their relationship.

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I gave this drama a break on that front, since I view it as a youth drama where every kiss is probably every character's first kiss. I even bet Suho just gave closed mouth pecks to all his lady loves.

Ban Ryu was really working it, but Soo Yeon was like "ok...."

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Yep, what a letdown. I'd rather watch a cute peck and see both of them flustered rather than awkward whatever it was kiss.

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i was the same, i wasnt expecting the kiss from him but boy can he kiss. get your girl ban ryu, final making the moves and he totally made it count. that after kiss glow tho, smiling like that is made for my heart.

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That kiss was AWKWARD Ban Ryu!! Please do better next time!

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Squeeee Ban ryu kissing his girl was the best thing in this episode ! My heart melted...such a sweet kiss for a very adorkable couple ♥

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Sorry but I thought PSJ's scene was ridiculous not funny. I am glad the intensity is deepening and the plot line moving on apace. It's a glaring weakness of this drama that the main characters are allowed so little development over 13 episodes; indeed there is too little character development in general: it's a neglect of these actors abilities.
LP's summing up of this episode is spot on. I am beginning to feel this drama is ultimately going to fail in living up to my minimum expectations!

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I hope he is not related to any of them. I'm kind of tired of guessing lol.

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I am the type who can not drop a drama I already started but things really went downhill in this drama. Seems like korean audience agree with me since Rebel Hong Gil Dong already beat Hwarang ratings...

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Saw it coming but they can't do a quick fix because this is a pre-produced drama.

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good job, Ah Ro, that´s what you should always be telling yourself: "I won´t cry. I won´t cry."

I can totally understand poor Pa Oh´s plight: Sam Maek Jong is like his own child to him, he has raised him and protected him and when he has to stay home he must be going crazy worrying. I just want to give him a candy and tell him it will be all right, cause it´s only a drama, but I think that might terrify him even more.

I still see no reason to hate the princess. she can seem a bit ruthless, but she doesn´t show any fear. nobody argues with her. she is made of fire which needs not be put out, just be kept and tamed real well so it would serve and not burn the house down.

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Yeah, but after Ahro told herself not to cry, she did it anyway. Sigh. Although, lots of people cried this episode. The most ironic was when Sooyeon was crying and Ahro was annoyed by that.

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Ha! I thought I was the only one who notice that. I was like, but you cried far more often than her.

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Yeah, I rolled my eyes when Ahro told herself not to cry. I'm like "don't even. you're going to do it anyways. Don't cry over a guy who has no manners!"

Aro was annoyed that Sooyeon was crying for Ban Ryu, but not for Aro who was going on that same dangerous journey that Ban Ryu may not return from.

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I feel Pa-oh's pain when he had to let Ji-dwi go. But at the same time, I also understand Ji-dwi's frustration with the way his kingdom treated so far. I also want to tell them that it's okay, it's only a drama, but then that might make their world frozen. And that's definitely not a good thing for anyone involved.

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Loving all the W references in this thread today. ^^

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i wonder why Pa Oh has to stay behind though? he could just secretly follow/protect JD like he has done all along

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Ah-ro was fine before Moo Myung and Sammaekjong showed up. I do feel for her. She is the most unselfish character in this show and so true to her heart. I can't blame them for loving her.
She is no doormat. Who dares call the king pathetic to his face or refuse to wash the princess's feet at her command? Killing people with kindness is her best weapon.

I'm so going to hate this show if there is no compensation for all her kindness.

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Oh thank you, than you Kiara for saying what my heart feels but head doesn't say. I am now your number one fan!

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I was really on board with this drama at the beginning but I'm starting to feel my patience waver. I came in for the brotherhood, that campy boyhood feeling when guys discover their own power and friendship is beyond these political maneuvers but I feel a little disappointed. Mainly because I feel like we have spent way too much time focusing on Ah Ro and her crying. Also Sun Woo hasn't been doing anything this whole time while being in Hwarang. I mean, he walks around broading and staring at Ah Ro or Jwi Di or participating in whatever activity he's forced too, that's about it. He's way too one dimensional for me to get into as the lead. I love Jwi Di though, his character has got movement and depth.

Now, I'm watching for Hansung/Taehyung. His story is intriguing and I like Taehyung so I'll hang onto this. Also cause I heard he has a good acting sequence in ep 17/18.

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+++++++10000

I'm on the same boat with your sentiments. We have 3 weeks left and I crave for more bromance than what they're currently giving us. If loyalty wasn't my compromising trait, I'd drop this drama stat. Taehyungie tho~

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I'm torn on this. The bromance does veer into a fan service category without a strong enough foundation. I keep wanting something more substantial - like shared ideals, grappling with new worldviews, and hardship. Seems like the boys are still entitled. No one has learned anything except maybe Ji Dwi (who also hasn't really grown all that much except he stopped getting into Aro's personal space).

As you said, they're warriors. It's time that they act like them. However, this is a fusion sageuk that is depicting the Hwarang as pretty much a college - though I did a lot more in 8 weeks of college than these guys.

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I wonder what the maturity level was like back then of well trained teen boys in arts, religion, traditional values etc.
Some historical records stated that some of them were as young as 13 yrs old already holding military position in the organization.
If that's true than that means that they were much younger when they first entered for training.

I don't remember the show ever mentioning the Hwarangs' age. Maybe I missed it.

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SMJ was 7 when he became king, and this is Queen's 10th year reigning, so he should be 17-18 years old in the story.

people back then matured much earlier than today's, since their life were so much harder, and life expectancy was way shorter back then (around 40/50 compared to 70/80 today)

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Oh that's right thanks siesta. Still hard to believe especially if you try to imagine them fighting against older and well trained soldiers from the opposite side.

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Yup. The opening was really strong bur then the quality just took a nose dive. I dropped this last week, and have been reading recaps. I still wanna know what happens but can't be bothered to sit through an hour of each episode.

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I thought we were past the angsty parts with our OTP a few episodes ago already ... And when it came back again in this episode, I heaved a really big sigh of frustration ~ it's somewhat inevitable given the main trio's sticky predicament and I understand Aro's protectiveness over the King ~ but boy is it exhausting.. Is there a Silla chill pill, you think? I mean they had SHOWERS.

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i will agree with lollypip's comments. the show is not giving us any insight into SW. besides revenge for his dead friend what is his aim? and the king just happened to be at hwarang by chance. its not as if he did anything actively for his aim. why does he love AR? such a bland hero.

i know this is a light hearted historical but can people at least pretend to give respect to king, queen and princess? SW should have been beheaded by now the way he mouths off to everyone in power

I am more interested in Ji dwi and ban ryu journey.

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I don't know why I have not drop this drama. I dropped Moon Lovers on Ep 3, Goblin on Ep 6, DotS on Ep 4. But with Hwarang, I still can't wait for Monday and Tuesday. Yet, when I do watch the episode, I tend to focus on my cellphone rather than what I'm watching. I don't care what happens, but continue to watch it. It baffles me.

The love story is boring. I want bromance. More bromance. Enough with the main OTP. We know they will end up together. But I want to know how the friendship will be resolved. Is Handling going to marry Yeowol? Is Yeowol going to have a one night stand with Soo Ho? Those are the most important questions of them all. ?

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The lack of rock solid bromance and camaraderie deflates, disappoints and annoys me. Give me more of the boys and less of Ah Ro. And can someone pliss kill that prick of a princess? -.-

Also, more Ban Ryu and Soo Yeon pliss? <3

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With several more serious, compelling conflicts happened, I really hope the romance conflict take a setback for now. It just seems so silly compared to Baekje-Silla conflict, Sun-woo's hatred for the faceless king, Ji-dwi's struggle for his throne and real identity, or Ban-ryu's struggle against his stepfather's command. And also, this director is really heavy-handed with all those flashbacks.

That being said, I still enjoy this drama a lot. Especially since we are likely just 1 or 2 eps away from Ji-dwi declaring himself as King Jinheung. Can't wait for chaos that will ensue.

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I suspect they realized they don't have enough footage after all the editing was done. And since it's all pre-produced, they couldn't fix it.

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I agree that the direction is not good. I love the actors and their portrayals, though, I've warmed up towards Ji Dwi, Su Ho and her sister, Ban Ryu,...even Sun Woo (PJS is still compellling although he hasn't been given much to work with). It's a pity because I think with better script and direction this could have been really good.

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This episode is the calm before the storm. The show dragged out Ji Dwi’s secret a little longer. I think he will reveal himself as the king in the next episode in front of only the Hwarang members who went to Baekje with him and the princess.

I also want to see Sun Woo open up more so we can know some of his thoughts.

Soo Yeon and Ban Ryu’s scene was pretty cute. The hair braid in the pouch was kinda weird to me, but it made BR happy. Haha. Their kiss scene was flat to me though. Wish it was better.

Anxious to see what Ban Ryu will do in Baekje. I want him to do the right thing and go against Minister Park, but I want him to avoid the consequences of doing that too.

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Honestly, PHS is not really my type. I'm more attracted to a face like PSJ's (seriously, I'm trash for him.) But damn, that last screenshot of PHS? That got me dead. He is so damn ethereal & beautiful there, GAWDDAYUM. My eyes feel blessed.

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LOL. My ideal type is always Lee Jun Ki. I always think he is the most beautiful actor who could ever appeared in sageuk. Came Park Hyung Sik, I totally feel he took over the crown from LJK for being minorly flawed and yet, so beautiful. And he does not even try to be beautiful.

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Park Hyun Shik looked so pretty like legolas in the last scenes.

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Oh Legolas. Paddle boarding's Orlando Bloom has forever tarnished my image of Legolas. But gosh.... Park Hyung Sik is ethereally beautiful. It's hard not too appreciate him when he looks so damn pretty. I need him in another good sageuk, and I mean, pre-Joseon sageuk.

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I enjoyed this episode and if the previews for the next episode mean anything it looks like it's all about to blow. Let's talk about Park Seo joon shall we? Lollypip is right he can act but he's not given much. Having said that, I will never torture myself by watching Go Ara in a drama ever again. She's terrible. Cute girl, horrible acting. I don't want either of our handsome heroes to risk their life for her. But Seo joon can do a lot with his handsome face. He's precious

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Park Seo-joon somehow manages to be three types of beautiful. I genuinely cannot figure it out. Usually actors are only one type of attractive but he's cute, handsome and pretty all at the same time! It's so unfair!

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@gryfothegreat +100!!!

PSJ is my undying bias, no matter which drama he appears in. I can't quite put it into words, but I'm charmed~ ?

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I laughed when the four who 'volunteered' were told to protect the princess when we all know they would protect Ah Ro. Is it wrong to laugh? Or even wish the princess would meet her palaquin of doom??

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Palanquin of Doom LOL.

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You had me at Palanquin of Doom. HAHAHA

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lol perhaps the palanquin-carriers will suddenly have simultaneous arm cramps and drop her off a steep cliff? xD

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I'm sorry to say this, but the princess has more chemistry with Sun-woo than Aro does. Park Seo-joon is an amazing actor and when he is in an emotionally charged moment you can feel it, the air around him practically sizzles. Seo Ye-ji is able to match that intensity. Go Ara can't seem to do that. She is good in the comedy area but her emotional scenes don't carry a punch. She always looks like she is pouting. Don't get me wrong, I like her as an actress, but she just doesn't seem to have this part down. Watching her and Park Seo-joon during romantic scenes, they just don't click. I can't tell the difference from how she looked at him as a brother to how she looks at him as a man and there should be a difference. And her crying scenes leave much to be desired. Sun-woo looks like he is firmly in love. Aro looks like she is having a puppy love. Their levels don't match. But I'm still enjoying this show immensely. Ban-ryu is so cute, and it's good to see him finally smile! As for the bromance...GIVE ME MORE! I LOVE IT!

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Don't be sorry, be angry! We should not have to suffer watching Aro and her constipated face just to get three minutes of awesome from every other character this drama serves up!

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Constipated face. I love it. I kept trying to figure out what that expression reminded me of. Good one.

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This comment is spot on!
I can't believe we are 13 hours deep with so much story that has still not been told. There seem to be too many loose ends at this point. & what did we do with all that time? We watched Aro CRY.

My frustration with this show is beyond words. It had the potential to be great but we have spent so much time focusing on a useless romance that has so little to do with the huge issues at play. Not to mention the fact that we still don't have a strong enough bond between the guys. I was hoping to see minds change, world views challenged and men being made.

But no, they are still pompous and self righteous boys especially! That SW.
So one dimensional in this thinking. Why has he not started to investigate why his friend died? If the king is faceless, why did he kill his friend ETC! I could go on and. On and on!!!!!

the only character who has made and real developmental change is our faceless King & even that, I worry, is not enough.

What a waste of a story. Unfortunately, I will watch it till the end because I have come this far ???.

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YES YES YESSS! A THOUSAND TIMES YESSSSSS! SPOT ON!

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They should just switch the couples. Ah-ro with Sam Maek Jong and Sun-woo with Princess Sook-myung. Hwarang will have a better love story than this crappy love triangle we are witnessing.

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This!!!!

The messy love triangle is so unnecessary. It was unnecessary from the beginning & I can't believe they spent so much time of the drama on it.

A drama with this much potential story to tell should not be wasting our time on (who gets the girl?) games.

Take a look at DOTS & Goblin - 4 people in love, no unnecessary triangle. It can be done.

That's not to say that the relationships don't have their own issues and conflicts BUT THIS LOVE TRIANGLE IS A WASTE OF OUR TIME!!!!

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me too! I am shipping Jidwi and Aro and Sunwoo and the princess. I just can't feel Sun-woo's character. Plus It's really hard for me to ship Aro and Sunwoo's character when they keep calling each other donsaeng and orabeoni in between their love lines.

Quick question is the princess the king's full blood sister? coz that's weird if they will have to marry each other. I really hope they will keep Jidwi the king in the end.

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No, Princess is the king's half sister, they shared the same mother. They wouldn't be able to marry if they were full siblings

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i m not madly inlove with this show, I honestly came for some PSJ eye candy. I have to admit though that I have slowly been gravitating towards PHS- maybe because his story is more compelling than those of Sunwoo. SW- is the only trajectory that has not moved on except his romance with Ah Ro. That in itself is even debatable. Speaking of which, what are we to do with this girl, really?

I have seen her in a cop drama with Lee Seung Gi but did not like her so much. I was hoping she would do better here, but alas, the same-yes-constipated face is her favorite go-to emoting strategy.

Her resting face is two expressions: "Massive turd, Incoming!" or giving birth to a coconut. Then you see her crying and we're on to another level of hell. My eyeballs gets rolled so much, my eyebrows are threatening to forever disappear beyond my hairline. Remind me why these guys are gaga over her?

For the 1st time, I want the romance to take a backseat. PSJ has more chemistry with PSH, the Queen, the Princess and a broomstick. Im sorry I maybe way too harsh but Im just frustrated. Im beginning to wish the story revolves around the hidden King rather than birth secrets; more bromance less romance! At this rate the side romance of Banryu gets more squeals than the OTP.

I wish SW gets over himself and be friends with JW already. Sorry, lack of sleep and fatigue finally settling in. I just want my awesome kdrama already! Wah!

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Thank you, your turd/coconut paragraph (all of it) actually made me ROTFL.

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Don't count out Moo Myung (Sun-woo) yet. He is destined to be one of the great future leaders of the country.

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We need behind the scenes bloopers for every scene between Ji dwi and Pa oh. We need to see Hyungshik lose his sh*t trying to play straight man to Yoo Jaemyung! Would also love to see bloopers of scenes with Song Dongil and Kim Kwangkyu to see who cracks up first.

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every quiver of Pa Oh's beard is so hilarious i lost it every time

JD's face everytime Pa Oh let loose another torrent is equally funny though lol, he's like "stop eet pliss oh god no NOT again damnit!"

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I've been watching this show on and off since it began, but for the life of me I can't seem to get behind the OTP. It feels too second lead, and in fact, I'm having a hard time even liking Ah Ro at all. (What is with that perpetual look of constipation she has when she stares at Sun Woo??)

I'm much more invested in the side characters and the few minutes they get, and despite my unreasonable dislike for Ah Ro, I find her chemistry with Jwi Di to be much more believable.

That however I give to Hyung-sik for his performance and excellent brooding. In fact, as he's matured in the last six years or so he's really shown an ability to have chemistry with almost all his female co-stars.

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Ah ro and sun woo have 0 chemistry knowimg it won't be like that but still shipping ji dwi ah ro and sun woo and princess

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So far the Princess seems pretty.. cold, but am I the only one who ships her with Sun Woo, instead of him with Ah Ro?

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Me too Sun woo and princess

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I sort of ship her with Suho, just because he was insulting her. But that would be sort of awkward if it came about that she finds out he was in love with her mom.

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could the adorkable ban ryu and soo yeon get any cuter.

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Yes, please! They are so cute together.

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Why are they still milikng the love triangle storyline where it's useless?

Focus on development, please. I couldn't careless about PSJ and GA since both of them are really passable and their story line is not enticing to be watched.

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I do like this drama and despite all its misgivings, I still look forward to each episode. That being said, I just can't seem to get into the main romance, mostly because I'm losing interest in the 2 main characters. I liked AR in the beginning because I thought she was going to be this spunky won't-take-your-shit heroine. She has moments when I see traces of that which is why it frustrates me to no end when she turns into a whiny crying damsel, usually when she interacts with SW.

As for SW, the recap is spot on. It's just so hard to sympathize with his character when all we've gotten from him was the fact that he's hurting from Makmun's death and is hell-bent on revenge. That worked for the first few eps but we're halfway thru now and I want to see something else. I would've preferred if they emphasized that SW has truly come to think of JD as a friend and is having serious internal conflict over wanting to get revenge for his dead friend and wanting to protect the new one. 13 episodes in and compared to the other boys, I haven't seen much growth in SW. Heck, even Hansung (who gets about 2mins screen time per ep) has turned from 'adorable puppy' into 'adorable puppy smiling on the outside but carrying a burden he never asked for'. To me, SW is still 'grieving lowborn guy wanting revenge' and I'm getting tired of it, which is terrible considering his story is the one we're supposed to be focusing on. The only thing that remotely interests me about him right now is the truth about his parentage.

I still like the show and I'm going to watch it until the end but, at this point, that would be because of the storylines I'm actually invested in - Banryu coming out from Minister Park's shadow and becoming his own man, JD finally revealing himself as king and taking his throne, Suho finding about BR and his sister's relationship, and the unfolding of the Seok brothers' story.

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I agree with you. His plot for a revenge doesn't work out well. They have been milking it for quite sometimes. They need to move on with the plot. To be honest I only watch 10-15 minutes of the show. Mostly, PHS's parts.

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Yes to all of this and what Lollypip said in the recap as well.

I actually think Park Seo Joon is doing a pretty good job, but his character is so flat. All the boys are being moved by their friendships with each other in some way, while he seems to still be 100% focused on revenge (and Ah Ro - who he frustratingly avoids). Ji Dwi treats him like a friend, as do the other guys, and he doesn't seem to care. Blah.

Ah Ro seemed fun at the beginning, but now she just cries and runs around to conveniently witness scenes. Super boring.

More Ban Ryu, Ji Dwi (NOT scenes with Ah Ro), Han Sung, Soo Ho and Yeo Wool please! More Soo Yeon too. At least their stories are moving forward.

All that said - I'm not dropping this show. Some of the earlier episodes were truly great, and it seems like the writer just didn't know what to do with everything so they focused on the romance of the leads, aka the least interesting storyline.

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"seems like the writer just didn’t know what to do with everything so they focused on the romance of the leads, aka the least interesting storyline"

Seriously, THIS. It's so frustrating because there's so much potential in the side storylines and yet we're treated to the boring romance for the bulk of each ep and a few scenes for everything else.

Honestly, I would watch a drama even if it was just about the young faceless king and his journey towards becoming a true king worthy of the throne. Or even the story about the abused stepson torn between political machinations of his two fathers and his own inner convictions. I don't mind having a little romance, but I would've wanted a drama that's more of a 'coming of age' story where the romance was the side story and we're focused on the story of the boys' growth and the struggles that come with it. That would be more compelling, imo.

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thiss is spot on esp the last para.

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I was really excited during their written exam that Sunwoo's words about the relationship between King and water influenced Ji Dwi. Seems like things have gotten derailed. The drama should have been about the Hwarangs and how the Hwarangs and hwarang-adjacent people like Aro help shape Ji Dwi's character and worldview to make him a good king. They're supposed to form a scooby gang. Maybe even a Reply Silla Times.

The whole gang needs to be better integrated. How have we never seen Suho and Aro interact or share one scene together? She's been his sister's friend and champion since they were kids. No protectiveness when Ban Ryu was saying all that nasty crap. What's the point of Yeo Wool? I was expecting Aro to be our audience surrogate, but it's Yeo Wool? And why is he so calm? Any hidden angst? Maybe secretly evil?

Still, I tune in every week and look forward to this drama moreso than even Goblin. What is up with this drama?!

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@AR

"The drama should have been about the Hwarangs and how the Hwarangs and hwarang-adjacent people like Aro help shape Ji Dwi’s character and worldview to make him a good king. They’re supposed to form a scooby gang. Maybe even a Reply Silla Times."

Now _that's_ a drama I would watch.

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I wish you me and all the other lovely people on this thread were on the writing team!

I WOULD WATCH the drama that you just outlined & I would love it.

At the moment, I'm watching this and hating it.

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"Heck, even Hansung (who gets about 2mins screen time per ep) has turned from ‘adorable puppy’ into ‘adorable puppy smiling on the outside but carrying a burden he never asked for’." ------ THIS!! I agree! Thank you for putting what was making me so frustrated into words. I'm glad they don't drag this out though - it would be too much of a story we've seen before. Whatever is shown now is enough.

And LollyPip I agree with you regarding Sun Woo, I wish his story was developed more. Maybe they're trying to be "mysterious" about his background by not giving much info, but then we have a lead character with no meat in his story!

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It makes me sad to read all the unhappiness with Hwarang while I am finding it thoroughly delightful - with an emphasis on the 'LIGHT' part of that word. There's no way to take it seriously so it fills the part in my week right now needed to counterbalance the serious shows I'm watching like Voice and Defendant...and soon to happily see, Rebel. Plus, as so many shows with idol/actors have done in the past, enjoying BTS's Taeyhyung has made me love BTS even more, if that's possible. I could complain for hours about the actress who plays Ah Ro and the Queen's distracting lisp, and the wooden mystery of Sun Woo's character - but I love Park Seo-Joon as an actor so much that I know it's the script.
For me - Hwarang is Hwanderful!!

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I enjoyed that pun!

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Aww, we like it too. It makes us hwappy. We just like to hwhine sometimes. :-)

(that didn't quite work, sorry)

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i think everybody is unhappy mostly because we could see the potential in this drama- the exciting plot and potential bromances. in the hands of a more skillful writer it could've been a truly great ensemble drama. if the cast was terrible than most people would either just drop the drama or simply won't care. yet the fact is we still watch it- mostly due to the chemistry between the guys that should've been exploited better

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@siesta Nailed that thought for sure~ the root of all our frustrations: IT COULD HAVE BEEN .... Le sigh ~

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I like most of the characters individually, except for Aro, the princess, and the queen regent. Even Kang Sung (the little blue psycho who is now orange and red) is better than those three.

The show does a great job with some of the relationships, but it fails with the main one. Love triangles (or any other shape for that matter) are a boring cliche, in my opinion. Unfortunately, the good relationships get overshadowed by the love triangle (possibly now love square?) because it has way too much time. Sun Woo and Ji Dwi are great characters on their own. I might even venture to say the same of Aro and Sookmyung. But the romantic part of the show is flatter than a pancake (except for Ban Ryu and Soo Yeon's).

Criticism aside, it looks like things are getting exciting! Please don't betray our hopes now, Hwarang!

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I know I can't be alone in how emotionally invested I am in Ji Dwi and Sun Woo becoming friends! Like that's all I care about right now. I need them to make it as friends more than I care about any part of the romance.

***

I must say though, the way Ji Dwi looked at Ah Ro after Sun Woo cut her... made me start having some real second lead syndrome. He may not have expressed his emotions well in past episodes, but his honesty in the last few, to everyone, has been quite admirable. I love when a character, who is flawed, still manages to be true to themselves by being wholly and completely honest.

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me! I am putting all my hopes on that friendship! most of all cause Ji Dwi needs an ally badly. he´ll never make it without the support from the other boys. Sun Woo has been turned into a kind of selfish jerk though. he really isnt analyzing things or digging for truth, he just follows a template. please do some calculations and try to see a different perspective!!!

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Right? Sun Woo was particularly bad tempered towards everyone in this episode... but honestly, what has Ji Dwi done recently that's deserved that kind of mistrust? He's been as honest with Sun Woo as anyone. Yeah, maybe not about being king, but about liking his sister, not having friends, wanting to be his friend, etc... and Sun Woo has used it all against him. So cruel. I REALLY hope they become close friends!

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I wonder if he was wondering if Ji Dwi purposely befriended him to mitigate any future confrontation. The audience knows that Ji Dwi is a pretty innocent fellow. But you'd expect a king to be a little more Machiavellian.

If I was Ji Dwi, I would be creating alliances and making my enemies fall in like with me, so they wouldn't oppose me.

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i'm sure that thought has crossed his mind- sun woo is kind, but he's not stupid. and he's like 99.9% sure JD is King by now. yet the King he remembered as his friend's killer is quite different from the King he lives with in hwarang- there must be some (delicious) intense internal conflict he's having rn- to bad the writer doesn't let it show properly to us audience

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*WARNING*
DESIRE TO BE THOUGHTFUL AND PHILOSOPHICAL

Hwa-gong's metaphor about the pond to Sun Woo.

I LOVED that. I think that this is honestly something the everyone could benefit from studying. Just because something looks a certain way to you on the surface doesn't mean you know everything about it as fact. We can't take experiences... or especially people... at "face" or "first" value. We've all got deeper roots. We're all made up of hidden parts. And yes, some of those parts are dark, cold, and frightening, but only when you begin to explore then unknown can you truly hope to KNOW... and learn... and grow as human beings.

I know I've made this mistake countless times. Looking at ideas or people through what I know, see, (or sadly sometimes just hear) about it/them. Instead of seeking truth, searching deeper to find what lies beneath surface level. I think this can be applied to education, to jobs, to ways of thinking, and most to humanity. No pond is without secrets, but the secrets don't have to be something we ignore - nor something we fear. We simply have to be willing to put aside what we "know" (or see) as truth and take a risk to learn and try and understand that which is unfamiliar.

And then... what if I'm the pond? What if I am hiding my truest self for fear others will not want to see... or won't like what they see. "To be seen as we truly are, is the biggest risk we will ever take."

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some ponds come with a bonus of leeches though. Best not explore that one, if you see them crawling around. STAY. CLEAR. OF. LEECHES.

this reminds me of Kaali meteor crater on the island of Saaremaa, Estonia, which looks hella deep at first glance, but frequently dries up to show a flattish bowl of green slime. Really hate when a drama character turns out like that. I hope it won´t happen with Sun Woo. Have more depth, please!

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wow that crater example, that was excellent.

wishing for more depth here too

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This show feels like it was written by a computer, or by an uninspired human using a well-worn pick-a-gimmick bag. But at least they are mostly harmless gimmicks, so it is watchable. I drop shows in the first episode if the first gimmick they pick out of the bag is one I don't like to watch. *cough Defendant cough Saimdang cough*

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I feel like I owe it to this show to be nice after trashing it before it came out. I don't have a love or hate relationship with it. It's just freaking nice to have a sageuk that has nothing to do with Joseon.
I'm going to just zip it and enjoy what it has to offer even if it feels like it's written for middle schoolers.

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Yay @Kiara, simply YAY. As has happened countless other times with your comments in other dramas, I am 100% in agreement with you - especially after watching 14 tonight. The story is wonderful.

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The history behind the show even when it's lacking in primary sources is fascinating. It's too bad this writer is still new and inexperienced with sageuks just as much as most of this young cast.
I have nothing to watch so might as well finish it.

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Is it just me or did someone else too heard Pi Joo ki say the word 'BRIEFING' in English at that??
He did mention western dance moves so does he also learn English language then??

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I heard that too. But tbh, I'm not sure whether he really said 'Briefing' or that was just a korean word that sounds like 'Briefing'. Hmm.. Need help from beanies who knows Korean.

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Pretty sure Aro was the one who coined the term in the earlier episode when she was doing some investigative work on the young masters for Wi-hwa. I think she said I'd give you a presentation so good that you two will have a BURI-PING (as in the moment the fire turns on - aka the lightbulb moment), it is obviously a tongue-in-cheek reference to the English word BRIEFING.

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Ok...I see it now...it is the writing. I think too much dialogue/being told not enough action/expression. I like that Sunwoo spoke honestly, but instead of being told what he felt/was going through I would rather see it and feel it! I like his honest confessions but feel like the show goes around the issue, and then in one dialogue everything is ok. I didnt get Ahros frustration, it felt forced, out of place, unlike Jidwhi and SunWoo's confrontation which was intense and made sense! I felt like they were the couple having issues...while Ahro was kind of just there in this episode in her own frustration. Then Sunwoo makes his speech and everything is rosy again...
Having said that, me too, I don't know why I am still coming back and actually still enjoy watching this show!
It is so corny at times it makes me laugh out loud, but at the end of the episode I always feel content in a way...and then I look forward to Mondays and Tuesdays....what is it!?
Maybe in the end it is just Park Hyunsik and Park Seo Joon...ok I admit it, I am just watching this show for them! More please!

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Interesting. I am of the opposite opinion. I feel like there is way too much brooding, staring into space, and flashbacks thinking back to a scene rather than actual dialogue.

Also, unfortunately Ah Ro is no longer central (dare I say even relevant?) to the story. The only reason she's still around is because the princess used her to get Sun Woo to go to Baekje. Naturally Ji Dwi follows.

Fortunately Ah Ro has reminded us multiple times that she's not a real physician. Still, I was frustrated that when she saw the princess in Sun Woo's arms she didn't think as a doctor (that something was wrong) but instead when into petty jealousy mode.

But yeah, I still come back every week to watch this show.

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Kdramas have a weird relationship with anything medical related. How many times have I screamed "CPR isn't romantic!" at the tv?

I wish Aro wouldn't put herself down as not being a real physician since it's not like there is a licensing exam she needs to pass. She's treated a ton of people and obviously has some talent in diagnosing and closing wounds.

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Like WishfulToki, I also feel like we're getting too much brooding and thinking than communicating via dialogue. I love this drama but the writing isn't sophisticated to connect actions to thoughts to dialogue, so sometimes a sudden stream of dialogue seems disconnected. Reminds me of the last episode when suddenly Hansung had a lot to shout about after saying random things for the last 10 episodes. And suddenly Sunwoo makes a speech explaining why he was brooding the last 40 minutes. it's not spread evenly.

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I agree with you both. I guess I feel like all they are doing is a lot of talking / not much action...talking to themselves, to each other, yes, lots of pacing around and thinking/brooding, flashbacks (do we need to be reminded all the time?) and not much activity. It's like the show is telling us all the time what everyone is thinking, doing, instead of just letting us understand/feel the story they are feeding it to us--very very sl-o-w--l--y. The Hwarang boys are kind of just there, we do not see them doing much except standing around and talking to each other.. but yes as you said, it is not spread evenly, those long dialogues (like when Ahro thought Sunwoo had died) don't feel natural, or at times a rational reaction...I guess a bit dysfunctional...but oh well... we still come back for more...so something is working! I saw a bit of the cast interview and when asked what was the hardest scene they filmed the boys said the football scene...after watching the last episodes I was thinking " well, if that was the hardest scene they did, there must not be much else happening then..."

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Well, typical drama honestly... First leads should always learn from second leads: Get your romantic butts moving yah turtles

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The one thing I liked about Ah Ro in this episode is how she pointed out Sun Woo's biggest flaw which is his tendency to just avoid everything and not communicating what he feels. Many problems could be solved if he just talked with Ah Ro so they won't have to skirt around each other and waste an entire episode trying to make up with each other. Sun Woo has basically turned into Sasuke with his whole revenge concept.

I absolutely loved the interactions with Ah Ro and Ji Dwi the way he helped her bandage her arm was just very sweet. Ji Dwi is developing so much as a character it makes me proud meanwhile Sun Woo is just stuck :c

Hansung is so much like a puppy it's so cute but the scene was a bit confusing though why was Dense so bothered when Hansung was talking with Sun woo? Was it because Danse thinks Sun Woo is the king and wants Hansung to stop treating him as if they are close? Or could it be because Danse feels hurt seeing Hansung admire someone that isn't him? These brothers make me think too much

Ban Ryu and Soo Yeon though that was so so so cute I screamed so loud when I watched it. I hope Ban Ryu chooses to be loyal to the hwarangs instead of going along with his stepfathers plan.

I want to see more Yeo Wool!!! He barely even appears :c I find his background really interesting so I hope they can show us some of that

Like everyone else I would of wanted this drama to be more focused on the hwarangs than this overused love triangle but I'll take what I can get when it comes to the bromance.

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I think it was two fold - Dan Se is Sun Woo's protector, so I guess it was natural for him to step in but also cause Sun Woo is the suspected King, so it wouldn't have been wise for Hansung to "annoy" him, hence Dan Se pulling him away pretty quickly.

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I think he's protecting his little bro also..

How can he let han sung, the little bro he adore and the only "true bone" descendant of the family, to go on such an unknown journey and filled with risk and one might not even come back alive..

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I think I'm going to have to resign myself to awkward transition episodes for the odd number episodes and more substantial even number episodes. Not sure if it's because I'm really upset at the...to put it politely...state of my country's political climate, but I found myself mad at pretty much annoyed at everyone in Hwarang in yesterday's episode except Aro, Pi Joo Ki, Dan Se, and Ban Ryu. Actually, I think Aro and Dan Se should get together. She's cheerful. He's dour. Both have a strong sense of family, devotion, and justice. And have useful talents to boot!

Ahn Ji Gong - your revenge will put your family is danger. I know your son is dead, but you still have a daughter. Don't put the burden of protecting your daughter on Sunwoo. Live peacefully and quietly. I hope you have plans for Aro's future marriage and her dowry. You can't expect her to stay home taking care of you her entire life.

Sunwoo - how hard is it to say thank you and sorry? I don't care if you feel bad. It's only common decency. That was a lot of blood coming from Aro's arm! And your revenge will put real Sunwoo/Mak-Moon's family in danger. Do you think your friend wanted you to do this? So selfish!

Ji So - if Ji Dwi isn't ready to be king, it's your fault. If I didn't like Ji Dwi so much, I would hope he gets himself killed just so I can see your world crumble.

Ji Dwi - you really need to work harder on prepping to be king. You will be eaten alive. You fight well and have memorized your ancient texts, but do you know political maneuvering? Do you know that there are factions? You should be building alliances, not dalliances. For some reason, I'm more into Hwarang than I was into MDBC. But Ji Dwi, you need to be more like Lee Yeong.

Ban Ryu's dads - I hope you get drawn and quartered.

Pa-Oh - you've been raising him since he was 7. Why haven't you prepared him more? You've spoiled him.

Suho - seriously, the Queen?? Stop thinking so highly of yourself. You're just a pawn.

Suho's dad - Do you even care about your kids?

Hwa Gong- what kind of Hwarang training are you running? They've had a written exam in which most failed and were caught cheating. They had a dance performance which they passed. They trained for the death match, but in the end, only Suho, Banryu, and Sunwoo fought. Actually only 4 of the Hwarangs have proven to have good fighting skills. They never got tested on the ride+shoot arrow skill. I was expecting vigorous training to bring the boys together. I had a more academically and physically challenging 7th grade.

Sookmyung - What is your deal? Do you have any thoughts? Did you know you get the second lead crazy eyes sometimes? Resist!

Hansung - why the sudden change from your outburst in the previous episode. Don't you want to try harder? Why aren't you taking this more seriously? I hope Dan Se doesn't have to get sacrificed for you

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+1
However, people seems to only care about how stupid, useless, crybaby and annoying Aro is (since episode 1).. When almost all characters have their own flaws just like what you mentioned. Ji Dwi also always get protected by others (Aro took the SW's sword for him, SW pretends to be king to protect him, Pa Oh & Hwa Gong also protect him etc..., but I don't recall people called him damsell in distress.. Haha... (Opppss... I think I'll get thrown by rocks for badmouthing PHS oppa)

This show is not perfect. I am watching it because the romance, the bromance, little political machination, less war, less intrique.. Hwarang is a light saeguk. If I want to watch heavy political saeguk, i'll watch Trees, Dragons, etc... So far the show meets my expectation.. :)

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You're right about Ji Dwi being a damsel himself! To his credit, he knows it, but doesn't know how to fix it.

I really like Aro (despite the crying which is too much) since she is a good friend and productive member of society. It's sad most people don't find her likable. She is also good daughter, a good employee, a good citizen, and a good subject. She is more careful about Ji Dwi's identity than anyone else. She tries to do her work but everyone is pulling her into all these situations.

I admit I feel protective of female leads in general. The heroes get protection from viewers and from their families. I get to be the one who says You're not good enough for her. I love Ban Ryu, but unless he disowns his dads, he is not good enough to marry my Soo Yeon. Don't drag her into your family drama.

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Ha, your last words. SY & BR are still drunk in love, they probably won't think the impending family drama now (SY with her Tybalt brother and BR with his crazy fathers).

Kinda make me curious withe whole adoption thing in period dramas. I know the firstborn son (royal and noble)is considered precious but people seemed okay to adopt left and right. I thought there should be some resistance of adoption from 'lower' class to the noble class.

Is it how things back then or dramas just easily waive this factor off?

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@AR Can u be my spirit animal? On.Point.Savagery. XOXO

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This show started off with so much potential...SO MUCH!!! Just to be thrown away by bad scriptwriting and bad acting.
Really though, what is Aro still doing in this drama..its soo frustrating..her purpose is gone, she fell in love, we all moved on. Its nt as if she is even the greatest doctor/physician around...she seems even less than a side character, being used as a plot device at every scene ruining them!
Literally every 3-5 mins she is on screen just mopping about with her useless facial expressions, crying that sunwoo is ignoring her or whatever...interuping crucial scenes like when sunwoo asked sam maek jong if he was the king and he started saying " i am..." Then this bitch coincidentally walked around to see this scene and interuppted it. Other more interesting characters are getting very little character development because the director thinks we have to keep seeing her face!
I am soo tired of her getting into trouble n getting the group into trouble...they shud just kill her off n let us have the bromance..it would be a better ending I swear! I have never been soo angry at an actress' portrayal of a character this much before!

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I really have to praise PHS's acting - the way he looked almost physically pained when Sunwoo said he doesn't know anything about friendship, I was seriously like, "Low blow, man." He looks so sad that I wanted to hug him, not that I'd skip on any opportunity to do so lol.

I sort of agree with Lollypip on Sunwoo's character being written flat, and part of my problem with his arc is this. It's like he feels these things momentarily, there's no cohesion to his journey, he's neither more angry nor more tortured, or any less...it's...bleh. Thank God it's Park Seojoon, who offers a tiny bit of interest to me in portraying him.

I just really want more Hwarang scenes. You can leave Aro in Baekje and I'll be okay.

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Is it just me or is everybody's eyebrows getting thicker as each episode passes? x_x.

On a more serious note, looking forward for more plot advancement and (hopefully) less flashbacks. Seriously, can someone tell the director we don't need a full flashback for something we've seen 5 minutes ago??

I think I felt the most chemistry between Paoh and Jidwi to be honest ? So cute!

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Fewer Flashbacks: Not gonna happen. I just watched episode 14 and there was a flashback showing Ban Ryu thinking of something we'd literally seen 3 seconds ago.

Best couple award: Pa Oh and Dan Se. LOL

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Their eyebrows are indeed getting thicker I kept being distracted while watching lol

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i think i'm getting used to the eyebrows since they don't distract me as much now compared to the the few first eps lol

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I wonder what will Ah Ro do when she finds out that the reason Sun Woo is all the rage against the king is that his best friend (her brother) was killed all because he saw the king's face. Will she still protect that secret? Or will it be as Hwa Gong says — not to judge the pond by its surface? (Funny how Ah Ro both has secrets with Sun Woo and with Ji Dwi — which secret will prevail?)

Sun Woo is getting conflicted — he feels it in his bones (though without concrete evidence) that Ji Dwi is the king who is in some ways responsible for getting his best friend Mak Mun killed, yet, he somehow cannot discount the fact that Ji Dwi considers him his only friend. He knows how it is to lose a friend and that how a friend is a good thing to have, but he also cannot sit still knowing that his friend who was like a brother to him died a very wrongful death.

Somehow, Ji Dwi is emerging as the better of the two. From being a stuck-up know-nothing silver spoon he is suddenly realising things which for the first time in his life mattered to him. The changes in Ji Dwi are happening in leaps and bounds, and it is refreshing.

In the other quarters, ack, Minister Park! I thought you were better than that! I honestly thought you saw through the charade that the queen played, but no! Just as you said earlier, Sun Woo being king is a puzzle that is too easy to fit, use you instincts. You were not made the resident evil minister if you were just to take what the queen passes on hook, line, and sinker! I want something more sinister from you.

Also, what's the deal with Hwi Kyung? Does he have an agenda of his own? Why does he keep on egging Ji-Gong eh? I know the Queen is the one who keeps putting straw on this miserable father's back...but something about Hwi Kyung just seems dodgy. Is he after revenge? If he were, can he not do it on his own that he needs someone with enough motivation to do what he himself cannot do? And if he were why would he need revenge for? Ji-Gong's motives are most certainly clear, but for a very long time he just kept quiet, even after his real son was killed. Why act like some flying little devil hovering around his ear, saying ‘Do it, do it! Kill the queen!’? What is it, pull down the queen, and have Ji-Gong take the blame or what? What is the deal with you bro?

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i think Aro would be angry at first but would probably think back to the palace scene when JD stood up to the queen and protected her even though she saw his face/knows who he is. she would realize that the queen must have been the one to order her brother killed

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Agree haha.. Probably the case for ah-ro..

I cant wait for sun-woo to remember the whole thing in order and not his blurry image.. where the truth, its the commander who killed mak-mun under queen order and ji-dwi stopped the commander (but came a little too late)

Would be a lot more interesting if there is a little struggle in sun-woo where one side he thinks ji-dwi is the king and thus responsible for his friend death, but on the other hand, living with ji-dwi without knowing his identity and interacting with him all these time as hwarang, make him think twice on the person the king really is and whether the truth he knows is that really what happened?

should i say i was annoyed? im feeling upset for ji-dwi that he's sparing him for the time being because ah-ro protected ji-dwi and told sun-woo to do so.. i can understand he's angry with the king (but if u suspect ji-dwi is the king and wont his actions and time spent together with u all along have some impact to u?? and he's not giving the king any chance for explanation.. he just want to kill him)

(though its good that hwa-gong reminded him using the pond metaphor, but i would be more satisfied if he comes to the conclusion himself..)

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Heh. I would love that too. Especially since Yoo Jae-myung is almost twice Hyungsik's age. And here he is the king.

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Oops..
It's a reply for @ys

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I have been waiting for the recap the whole of yesterday. Now that I have watched episode 14, I don't dare to come over and read the recap.

I am all set for Ji Dwi to be bashed heavily in the coming episode. Oh show, why? You were so good in earlier episodes? Why the drag? It's getting tiring and frustrating!

If it's not because I love Park Hyung Sik so much, I would have abandoned this drama by now.

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I hope he isn't bashed. I thought EP 14 was really good.

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I wouldn't bash Ji Dwi. He's actually growing on me. I'd bash the writers perhaps.

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I will be bashing all four boys in the amity delegation in the ep14 recap. The girls (yes including the uptight classist princess trash) won ep 14 for me.

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Just watched episode 14. I think I've reached the point where I will drop this and wait until the finale is out. Sadly, it has become a mess. Most of what these characters do doesn't make sense, and they won't say enough words for me to understand and feel for them.

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After watching episode 14, I have decided to drop the show until the finale comes out & then I will be watching it backwards.

Jidwi can't catch a break. Personally, I blame the writing. It is honestly all wrong. Things are starting to make less and less sense as time goes on with no resolution in sight.

I hate the way SW is being made out to be better king material than Jidwi. It's unnecessary. The writer should have watched Descendants of The Sun to learn that a good brotherhood can be formed between the guys without making one look weaker/less than worthy than the other.

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Moo Myung was not guarded with the knowledge that he is a king when he was young. He is a reckless country pumpkin with nothing to lose. He is pretty much free to be himself and he knows what it's like to be a powerless peasant because he lives like one.
I think he is just a natural born leader and there are many ways to be a leader beside being the ruler of the country.

It's natural for the others to follow and admire him even Sammaekjong. That's why he is a Hwarang so he can learn to be a better king to his people. He is learning a lot from Wi Hwa, Moo Myung, Ah-ro etc.
A king doesn't become great on his own. It's the people around him, his loyal subjects who are going to help him become one.
His mother can't do more than protect his life the best way she knows how. It's hard enough to be a single woman with the responsibility of running a country full of men who are trying to kill the only heir to the throne.

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I kind of agree with a lot of the criticisms, but I still enjoy this show. It is meant to be light and focus more on the love triangle than serious political maneuverings.

I don't have major problems with any of the actors or characters but I think a big reason people are getting annoyed is that not much has happened in the last few episodes. The characters seem disappointing because they aren't really doing much that progresses the story or the relationships along like in the first several episodes. I like that the romance became more out in the open, but there's a lull in the action. I'm hoping that since they are going on this mission now, this episode is the beginning of things finally getting some resolution, hidden identities being revealed, and characters stepping up and being heroic.

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All I can say is it's already going on to 14th ep and it's still draggy! I like the show's premise, the individual character (strangely, I always feel happy when Pi Jooki gets his slots! He's just so comedic!)
I'm getting tired of Ji Dwi. I mean, come on, he's the friggin' King! He commands the whole country, all he needs to do is just boots the Queen off his rightful throne already! He has intimate knowledge of his subjects since he's been living outside the palace all his life. Surely he knows what's best for his people?
Ahro is just there as a love token between the two leads. I don't care for her, honestly. I have more to invest on Banryu & Ahro's bestie love line. It's entertaining to watch those two :)
Lastly, those Hwarangs are surely beautiful but damn, I miss the times where drama heroes have normal eyebrows! Overly thick, drawn eyebrows on males are just strange and ridiculous now.

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I think Ji Dwi is in a difficult position. He has no proof he's king, so he can't be king until Ji So says so or he'll have to find some way to force Ji So to acknowledge him publicly. But the drama has been vague about his plans.

even though he lived outside the palace, he hasn't exhibited extra knowledge about his people and their struggles. Does he even know peasants exist and that they get killed for entering the capital walls?

Pi Joo Ki for the win! Also our Cupid, delivering love letters.

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Agreel

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Love this drama but the headband thing is driving me nuts. So during the death match, Sunwoo and jidwi didn't have headbands. And now Ji Dwi has one and not Sunwoo. Someone please get him a headband.

And Sunwoo's hair...why can't they just stick with the long hair. Having it switch between long and short while "at work" is distracting. At least Aro's hair length seems to be more consistent now.

What is the uniform regulation?? Shouldn't you all match better when traveling with royalty.

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everytime i watch an episode i wanted to bonk the writer in the head with a heavy object yet each week i still find myself waiting for new eps to come out.. maybe i'm secretly masochistic or something- or maybe it's all because of park hyungsik's charms

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+1000
Personally, I blame it on Hyungsik's overflowing charisma. ?

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i am so glad we'll be getting another dose of Hyungsik right after this one ends! <3 though i'll be missing the mane of glory- he's downright ethereal with long hair. Sammaekjong is like korea's version of Legolas lol

certainly hope he'd be up for another (hopefully better) sageuk in the future- just not joseon, please! maybe something else from the Three Kingdom era

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I never thought that I will say this since I'm not a big fan of sageuk. But he seriously need to do another sageuk in the future (with a much, much better writer). And hopefully, one that let him show off his mane of glory. Long hair suits him well.

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I agree. Please no more Joseon. I'm so tired of women repression in that era. At least women in pre-joseon era has more spine.

Moreover, I can never find men in joseon topkot and hat appealing.

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everytime the word Nando appears, i think of Nando's peri-peri chicken. matches their red/orange flaming and fiery outfit lol

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You made me laugh out loud at 2AM.

Now I can never take the word nando seriously again.

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Omo me too!!!

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LMAO... too funny hahahahahahaha

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I totally agree. Frankly speaking Sun Woo is one of my least favorite characters (for the same reasons you mentioned), which is awful coz he's the lead. His eyes look dead to me most of the time and I dont feel a connection to him at all. I like Ji Dwi more.

And I just cannot get into the Sun Wo x Ah Ro "romance"...I feel nothing when I look at them. TBH I'm still watching this show mainly for Taehyung (and Hansung's storyline, which is really intriguing - wanna know more about his family and how his character will develop), Ji Dwi's storyline, and Ban Ryu's storyline (reminds me a bit of Draco Malfoy heh). I could care less about Sun Woo and Ah Ro.

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SW is the worst character
The King should be the main character
Wise to be the King in turmoil situation

AR should be smart and cute not try to be cute , poor acting

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The King should be main character
Who is wise enough to make all Hwarangs like and respect him , to prove that he is fit to be the King
I would like to see the friendship developing between them
All I can see here none of them is worrying about their country , all just do everything to protect the doctor
And the doctor is nothing worth to protect
not smart nor cute

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Thanks for the recap, LP!

I also wanna learn more about SW's backstory and identity.
I thought JD would actually tell SW that he's the king and apologize for what happened to MM because of him though he didn't directly kill MM. So, I felt a bit disappointed since SW still doesn't know JD is king.

I like PSJ and PHS, so it's making me wonder if SW character is just written this way. I don't really like SW and AR going in circles in their relationship. They need to just be honest with each other since they both know what happened last time when they had a conflict. They can't keep avoiding each other and with AR doing the confrontation all the time.

So happy for BR and SY!!

HS squishing SW's face and putting on the aegyo is so adorable!

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Dear Hwarang,
I signedup for this for the bromance and the growing up and coming to their own for the boys. And yes I love the surprise adorkable coupl Banryu & Sooyeon. GA was ok in the beginning, but now I'm getting so annoyed with her character, I'd even prefer the Princess over her.

Can we please get back to business, we're already 3 weeks away from the ending. Don't break our hearts, please!

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How could some interesting intertwined characters of the Hwarang make a meh in a promising drama? Every Hwarang has his own background that only enrich and literary creates intense atmosphere in every episode plus it heightened with the need to unite and build a good strong team work and achieve a bigger country; instead it falls flat.

SunWoo, a man of nobody without clear background, who throw into chaos he never intended to be in, burn by the need to revenge and protect his lover & father. JiDwi, an isolated bright, brave youth, clouded by the ambition/fear of become a King. Soo Ho/BanRyu, both successor of noble families, each on the other end of the spectrum. HanSung/DanSe, the switch breed by birth. And others Hwarang/Nando who wants to reach fame and nobility/higher rank, whatever their motives are.

The teachers, the masters (including AnJi as a great physician), the princess/queen, all the noble, the alliance/enemy of Silla. All could be make the drama more interesting, because everyone has their own agenda. And we know that Hwarang successfully established its unique and strong position, served military, religious and educational purposes functions (http://www.dartmouth.edu/~quarterly/vol1/the-hwarang-warriors---silla-s-flower-boys.html)

So, how could we end up here?
(I prefer) reading the recap and comments, because they're more interesting ;p

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Yes, the characters had a lot going for them. That's why I thought it started off really good. But they aren't taking action. It's like they all forgot what their motives were supposed to be. For it to all get tied up is going to require a lot of things to happen in the last couple episodes. Oh well. Still watching to the end and hoping for the best.

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Ok so is incest the new thing?
The Princess is betrothed to her brother. EW GROSS
WHY?
And finally Ban Ryu kissed his girl, although I'm not huge fan of Soo Yeon (because I feel like she's been merely cultivated just to be Ban Ryus chick but that's whole another conversation) I'm happy he's happy and yes I did squel in excitement.
Another note can we find out who Sin Woo is already it's already bwen 13 episodes. Also it's about time Aro stop crying! I can't ship the two if one is unknown and the other is crying 24/7. There chemistry is lacking, like give them some more kisses honestly.
The only character I actually like is Ji dwi. He knows what he wants and hes proactive. Good for you.
Ok I'm done my rant.

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If I am correct, Ji Dwi and Sookmyung are half siblings (same mother) and were married to each other in real life. It's gross to us, but back then it was to preserve the Sacred Bone (royal blood).

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Plotline
Aros a cry baby, Sun Woo is having an identity crisis, JI Dwi has mommy issues, Ban Ryu is lovesick and Su hoo is clueless.

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how accurate

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