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Hwarang: Episode 15

It’s four Hwarang against the volatile crown prince of Baekje, with the princess and Ah Ro both needing protection to get out of the country alive. With the odds stacked so firmly against them, it looks as if there’s no way they will get home safely. Sun-woo will have to stay on his toes, not letting his guard down for an instant, or it could cost more than just his and his friends’ lives — he could spark an all-out war.

 
EPISODE 15 RECAP

Crown Prince Chang commands the four Hwarang to reveal which of them is the king. When they don’t respond quickly enough, he has four captive Silla peasants killed, then orders his soldiers to bring more.

Ah Ro is one of the people chosen, and Sun-woo looks down at her in panic while Ji-dwi seems frozen with indecision. Finally, Ji-dwi starts to step forward, but Sun-woo beats him to it, stepping forward to say, loud and strong: “I am the king of Silla!”

The crown prince asks how he can trust that Sun-woo is telling the truth. Sun-woo says that if he wasn’t going to believe him, he shouldn’t have called him out.

The other three Hwarang are taken back to their jail cell, where Ji-dwi stares at the blood on his hand. Su-ho paces, worried that Sun-woo isn’t safe by himself with the crown prince. Ban-ryu asks if Su-ho believes Sun-woo really is the king, and Su-ho says that he does. Ban-ryu retorts that even if he is, they can’t do anything to help him.

Sun-woo is taken to the crown prince’s rooms, where Chang tells him that in his opinion, winning or losing a war comes down to luck. He says that his good luck brought him a chest full of gold from a Silla citizen, and a tip that the king was among the Hwarang.

He asks if Sun-woo came forward because of “that girl,” and Sun-woo acts as if he doesn’t know who he means. The crown prince smiles, and says that he doesn’t care if Sun-woo is the king or not — he’s going to make him into one, then make Sun-woo beg for his life.

Sun-woo scoffs and notes that Chang doesn’t behave much like a crown prince, what with all the threats to a peace delegation. He wonders out loud if the crown prince’s father would be proud of him, and offers him a chance to save face.

He reminds Chang that nobody in Silla knows what the king looks like, and the queen regent could always say Sun-woo isn’t the king. If that happens, it makes Crown Prince Chang a lowlife who killed a peace delegation. He offers that they fight one-on-one, to determine which is better in battle.

Princess Sookmyung can’t reconcile herself with the idea that Sun-woo is her brother, though her bodyguard doesn’t understand why anyone would put themselves in danger if he weren’t the king. Sookmyung insists that he can’t be, based on her gut feeling about him.

Back in her jail cell, Ah Ro thinks about how Sun-woo completely ignored her after making his claim to be king. She realizes how afraid the other peasants are and asks one woman why they came to Silla. The woman says that to people like them, survival is more important than worrying about what country you’re in.

Ah Ro urges the others to stay positive, assuring them that they’ll be rescued. A couple of the men argue that they’re all about to be killed, including the king, asking what a king without troops or weapons can do. Ah Ro swears that Sun-woo would never let them die.

Intrigued by Sun-woo’s proposal, Crown Prince Chang asks how a fight between them would help him save face. Sun-woo says that people will say that he let Silla’s king off easy, making it sound as if he plans to let the crown prince win.

Chang asks what a king who’s never been a king thinks of himself, and Sun-woo grows serious. He asks, if a beast lives alone in a forest, will he forget that he’s a beast? Chang accepts his offer, and says that if he wins, he won’t allow Princess Sookmyung to go home, but that he’ll send the Hwarang and the peasants back to Silla – well, their heads, anyway.

Sun-woo agrees, and before he leaves, Crown Prince Chang tosses his dice to test Sun-woo’s luck. The crown prince throws an eleven, then hands the dice to Sun-woo. Sun-woo simply drops them on the table, and we don’t see his results.

On his way back to his cell, Sun-woo notes the building where the peasants are being held. The crown prince’s general offers to take him to more comfortable lodgings, but Sun-woo requests to be taken back to where the others are held.

Su-ho is glad to see him, correcting himself to speak formally now that (he thinks) Sun-woo is the king. Ban-ryu angrily demands to know if it’s true, and Sun-woo says with a sigh that he’s the king… at least until they get out of here. Ban-ryu asks if that means he’ll be the king after that or not, and Sun-woo says he’ll tell them if they get out alive.

Giving up on the jondaemal, Su-ho asks Sun-woo if he has a plan, and Sun-woo says he’s going to fight the crown prince. Ji-dwi finally speaks up and says that the crown prince has been trained by war and sees killing as a joke. Sun-woo simply says that he will win, since he has something to protect.

He concedes that he means Ah Ro, but adds that he’s also talking about the people who are starving and scared. He gives Ji-dwi a pointed look, almost accusing, as if to say, One of us has to do it.

The news gets back to Queen Regent Jiso that one of Minister Park’s men was seen leaving the country with a chest full of gold. Pa Oh begs her to save the king, so she calls for the council to convene.

Hwi-kyung reports the situation in Baekje to Hwa-gong, correctly guessing that the information about the king was leaked by Minister Park. He believes that Minister Park will stop the council from taking action, and leaves it to Hwa-gong to decide what to do.

Minister Park feigns illness to skip the council meeting, leaving the others to argue over how to proceed. Su-ho’s father wants to send in the troops, but others argue that that could make things even worse.

Those on Minister Park’s side meet in private, and he muses that his “problem” is taking care of itself quite nicely. He’s sure that the king is one of the Hwarang in Baekje right now, but he says that even if he isn’t, they’ll make it so that he is.

Meanwhile, the Baekje crown prince chuckles over his good luck at finding Silla’s king among the peace delegation. He thinks that beating the king in combat will raise his standing with his people, and figures that conquering Silla itself won’t be far behind.

After staying up all night thinking, Hwa-gong asks his assistant (who finally gets a name, Bu-jae) if he thinks the Hwarang will really have the power to change Silla. Bu-jae tells him honestly that at first, he didn’t like the Hwarang or Hwa-gong’s teachings. But now he says that he can see the Hwarang maturing, and he asks if Hwa-gong has a plan.

Su-ho tries to talk Sun-woo out of fighting Crown Prince Chang, but Sun-woo vows that he won’t lose. The general comes for him, and as he steps out of the cell, Ji-dwi says in a small voice, “Don’t die.”

As they’re walking to the courtyard, the general suddenly pulls his sword and slashes Sun-woo’s right arm. He pulls out a bandage and ties up the wound, saying cryptically that he did it out of concern for Sun-woo.

Crown Prince Chang wastes no time unsheathing his sword and approaching Sun-woo, though he stops to stare at Ah Ro and comment that she keeps catching his eye for some reason. Sun-woo doesn’t take his bait, and taunts that he must be afraid since he’s stalling for time.

Chang bellows his official challenge to the king of Silla, declaring that the outcome of this fight will determine the future of the two countries’ relationship. He vows that no matter what happens, he will honor the outcome of this fight.

Sun-woo draws his sword, and the crown prince attacks. He quickly adds a second slash to Sun-woo’s sword arm, then when Sun-woo tries his Dog-bird jump, the crown prince slices his leg. It takes Sun-woo a moment to stand, and the crown prince jeers that he wouldn’t last more than a few minutes in a real battle.

Sun-woo stands and attacks, and the crown prince cuts his other arm. Sun-woo figures out that Chang is trying to wear him down. He holds his sword in a backward grip, thinking that he’ll give Chang his arm, but he’ll cut him, too.

Sun-woo anticipates Chang’s attack, and lunges a half-second early to give Chang a nasty cut to his arm. He attacks again and slashes the crown prince’s ribs, then delivers a roundhouse kick that has Chang on the ground.

The general starts to draw his sword and step in, but Princess Sookmyung firmly reminds him that this is supposed to be a fair contest. The general doesn’t like it, but he’s forced to sheath his sword and stand back.

Sun-woo tosses his sword away, and proposes that they change the rules. Crown Prince Chang agrees, and they continue the fight with only their fists. Unfortunately, the crown prince is a vicious fighter even without his sword, and he soon has Sun-woo on his back.

Chang punches Sun-woo hard several times, then chokes him as he asks if he’s afraid of dying. Sun-woo croaks, “What about it?” which infuriates the crown prince, and he continues slamming his fist into Sun-woo’s face.

Back in Silla, Ji-gong follows Sun-woo’s first adoptive father, Woo-reuk, to the low-born village. Woo-reuk shows him where Sun-woo and Mak Mun lived, and explains that Sun-woo was called Moo-myung because he didn’t have a name.

Ji-gong is worried about something Woo-reuk said earlier, that he’d “unlatched the gate of Fate.” Woo-reuk says there’s no much thing as coincidence, and he asks Ji-gong who he thinks Sun-woo really is.

Crown Prince Chang calls an end to the fight, but Sun-woo isn’t finished, and he punches Chang in the stomach. He manages to get the upper hand and gives the crown prince as vicious a beating as he just got. We see now that after the crown prince rolled an eleven with his dice, Sun-woo had rolled a twelve.

The dice’s prediction comes true as Sun-woo looms over the crown prince. He roars his victory, but nobody celebrates as they watch him, barely able to stand and covered in blood.

Crown Prince Chang opens his eyes to see Sun-woo standing over him, sword to this throat. Sun-woo orders him to acknowledge his defeat, and Chang closes his eyes. His men help him to his feet, and he says that he will not go to war with Silla, and will release the princess and her delegation.

Sun-woo asks about the people he’s holding prisoner, and Chang says they have nothing to do with this. He declares that since they are guilty of theft, their lives are forfeit. They’re taken back to jail, Ah Ro included, and Sun-woo looks as if he’s barely holding in a scream.

Su-ho and Ban-ryu urge the princess to leave immediately, before the crown prince changes his mind. After cleaning up, Sun-woo stands and assesses the buildings around the peasants’ jail, and Ji-dwi joins him to ask if he’s planning to break Ah Ro out. He tells Sun-woo that the moment the crown prince catches him looking for her, she’ll be dead.

The princess and her delegation bid farewell to the general, as the crown prince isn’t feeling well enough to see them off. That night, the men that Ah Ro swore Sun-woo’s loyalty to are angry that she gave them hope, though the ajumma who befriended Ah Ro before defends her now.

Ah Ro says that nobody should die without hope and tells them all to prepare to run when they get a chance. She says that even if they’re going to die, they should never abandon hope of seeing their homes again.

Later, Sun-woo and Ji-dwi sneak back into the palace grounds, silently taking out guards one by one. They manage to get into the peasant jail and break everyone out, though Sun-woo pointedly ignores Ah Ro, enough so that Ji-dwi has to go in and coax her out.

They lead the peasants to the exit, but they’re surrounded by guards in an alleyway. The general confronts Ji-dwi, who asks how they can betray the crown prince’s kindness in letting the delegation go.

Ji-dwi retorts that the crown prince locked them up and treated them badly, and tells the general to let them go as a sign that they truly mean to make peace with Silla. The general just laughs and draws his sword.

Su-ho and Ban-ryu come rushing in just in time to make the fight a bit more even. They lead the peasants out while Sun-woo and Ji-dwi hold off the guards, and soon they’re all escaping toward the border. Crown Prince Chang is pleased when his general reports that he let the Hwarang take the prisoners as he instructed. He declares it time for the hunt.

The prisoners stop to rest and celebrate their freedom. But their celebration is short-lived, as an arrow wings its way into their midst and kills one man instantly. The Hwarang are horrified to see Crown Prince Chang nearby on horseback, with his soldiers shooting arrows at the peasants.

Ji-dwi yells at the people to spread out, but the arrows still find their way to several people. The crown prince takes aim himself at Sun-woo, but Su-ho throws himself in front of Sun-woo and takes the arrow in the back. Ban-ryu rushes to him immediately and helps him to stand.

The crown prince and his men move closer and begin shooting again, but this time, the ajumma who befriended Ah Ro is shot, and she dies begging Ah Ro to save her child. The archers make a half-circle around the Silla group, and it looks as if their time is up.

Sun-woo and Ji-dwi move forward as the crown prince and his general do the same. Sun-woo reminds Chang that he was the victor of their fight, chiding him for going this far. The crown prince says they should have a proper fight, and Sun-woo angrily agrees to another one-on-one, but Chang insists that this one be a true war.

He makes it clear that he intends to kill them all, but Sun-woo fires back that as king, he can’t let his citizens die. Ji-dwi looks a bit shamed again, but he says nothing. Sun-woo draws his sword and invites Crown Prince Chang to just try and kill his people.

Ji-dwi also draws his sword, and Chang tells his general to order the attack. The general raises his arm… and it’s hit with an arrow out of seemingly nowhere. Several archers are also shot, and everyone turns to see the entire Hwarang and their Nandos here to fight, led by Hwa-gong.

The Hwarang position themselves in front of the peasants, and Hwa-gong pulls his horse up between Sun-woo and Ji-dwi. He teases that they look awful, but nevertheless, he’s proud they’re his Hwarang. He turns to the crown prince and jovially informs him that he’s on Silla land.

He asks if this is Crown Prince Chang who is hunting his undefended people, and invites him to observe his Hwarang’s skills before he leaves. The Hwarang draw their arrows, the Nando brandish their swords, and the general advises his prince that it’s time to leave.

Crown Prince Chang sarcastically asks forgiveness for hunting in the wrong place, and Hwa-gong bows to him with a chuckle. Chang says that when they meet again, they’ll finish this hunt, and Hwa-gong manages to hold in his surprise when Chang addresses Sun-woo as “Jinheung.”

Queen Regent Jiso is relieved to hear that everyone is safe, but she glares when Su-ho’s father asks if Sun-woo really is the hidden king.

An illness sweeps the lowborn village so quickly that even Ji-gong is frozen with indecision when faced with the scope of it. Unfortunately, even the capital city is out of the medicine needed to combat the illness.

Meanwhile, Minister Park is unhappy that everyone in the delegation made it home alive (while hoarding something that looks like herbs or medicine). He muses that this isn’t at all what he’d planned.

The Hwarang barracks are noisy with the sounds of the men all celebrating, but Ji-dwi sits alone outside, thinking of the peasants who died because he hesitated. He seems ashamed to recall Sun-woo stepping up as king in his place. He sees Ah Ro approaching a nearby bridge and smiles, but his smile dies again when he realizes that she’s meeting with Sun-woo.

Sun-woo speaks first, hesitantly admitting that he wanted to embrace Ah Ro so badly (in Baekje) that it made him crazy. She asks about his injuries, but when she steps forward to take a look, Sun-woo wraps her in his arms. He apologizes for avoiding her, but she says that she understands that he did it to protect her.

Sun-woo pulls back to look Ah Ro in the eye, and admits that he doesn’t know what to say. After a long moment, he says, “I love you… I love you.” He leans down and kisses Ah Ro passionately, unaware that Ji-dwi has seen everything.

 
COMMENTS

Oh no, I knew that this was going to happen, that Sun-woo and Ah Ro would be seen in a compromising position by someone who thinks they’re brother and sister. Hopefully Ji-dwi will jump to the conclusion that they’re not really related, instead of assuming they are doing something wrong as siblings. Though, he’s betrothed to his half-sister, so it’s hard to say what people’s reaction would be to a situation like this (assuming they were related) between non-Sacred Bones. Either way, the fallout is going to be ugly.

I really loved seeing the Hwarang and their Nando finally getting the chance to stand together against a common enemy, showing the formidable fighting force they will one day become. It feels a bit abrupt, because we haven’t seen much of their improvement — most of their training and growth has happened offscreen, which really is a crying shame. I think the show would have been a lot better if we’d had about fifty percent less moping about romance and instead filled that time with bromantic moments as the Hwarang bonded and worked on their fighting skills. But sending the guys to Baekje was a great move plot-wise, because it let us see them in action and under pressure, and it feels as though the main friendships (Sun-woo and Ji-dwi, Su-ho and Ban-ryu) grew by leaps and bounds once they were united for a common purpose.

I found Ji-dwi’s silence during most of this episode very interesting, particularly for a guy who usually talks about his feelings to anyone who’ll listen. He may have been ready to step forward as king just as Sun-woo spoke up, and it’s just dumb luck that had Sun-woo speaking a half second sooner and taking the responsibility of king out of Ji-dwi’s hands. But knowing how he thinks, I’m guessing that he’s feeling a sense of overwhelming shame at how he hesitated and let some of his people die, not to mention having to watch Sun-woo take a brutal beating and nearly get killed in his place.

At that point I do think Ji-dwi was doing the right thing, because it would only have made the situation worse if two of them had claimed to be the king — the crown prince would have known someone was lying to him, and they’d probably all have ended up dead. But Ji-dwi is also not likely to let himself off the hook on that account, because he’ll feel as though he should have just stepped forward sooner and told the truth at the beginning.

Though, it’s probably better the way things turned out, because while I still feel as though Sun-woo mostly acts from a place of anger, he managed to keep himself under control long enough to buy himself and the others time to come up with an escape plan. He was able to think quickly under pressure, fight just well enough (and just dirty enough) to win the bout with the crown prince, and save everyone’s life. He’s turning out to be a strong leader who’s willing to sacrifice himself for others, which is a great thing to see. I do worry that Sun-woo is a bit too reckless at times, but he’s been living by his wits for most of his life, so it makes sense within his character that he’s still struggling to learn restraint.

I do hope the show tells us more about Sun-woo’s background, because I’m very curious about him. I want to know what Hwi-kyung and Ji-gong (and even his old guardian, Woo-reuk) seem to know about him. Whenever Sun-woo comes up in conversation they all get intentionally vague, so he’s obviously not a simple peasant boy. I don’t think he’s some hidden true king or anything, since history tells us that Ji-dwi goes on to be a great king – well, he already is the king — but I won’t be surprised if Sun-woo is somehow of noble birth and was hidden for his own protection, similar to Ji-dwi, but without growing up knowing his own origins. I do wish the show would clue us in at least a little, since it feels strange that we knew who the “hidden” king was from the very beginning, yet still don’t know one single bit of information about Sun-woo.

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Now we're talking!

This is one the best episodes so far. Sun-Woo turn as the 'fake' king made me want him to be the king. Park Seo-joon just killed it in this episode.

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I agree! This episode was amazing! I just want SW to either be the king or better yet the general (because that would really suite his strong leader personality). I also want SW and AR to get their happy ending. Acting-wise PSJ killed it this episode, he is the best actor in this cast.

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I completely agree! PSJ is a really good actor so I am glad he actually got the chance to shine in this episode.

He would make a great king but I don't think he would be happy in that position. I just want him and ahro to live their lives in peace and happiness; they both deserve it so much.

Now that Ji dwi has seen them, I wonder if he will go "dark." Sun woo unintentionally stole his birthright and the girl he likes (though he should have known he never had chance with her).

This was a great episode and it makes me think the writer has it in her to write really well but I think she lacks experience which is why many of the episodes drag. But lets hope its full steam ahead now til the end.

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I don't think ji Dwi will go dark, but I think Sunwoo has inspired him to finally take some action instead of feeling trapped and conflicted all the time.

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agree x3! Finally this is one episode I watch more than 30 minutes at length. Totally happy with PSJ's great acting. PHS is also very capitivating with his sad puppy eyes. The fighting scenes are hilarious with all injuries healed in a blink, but I won't complain too much as I see the nice kiss in the end :-)

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hahaha about the injuries. And also the clothes- Sunwoo's uniform was all cut up and covered in dust. And after the fight, it looked clean! *facepalm* Can't decide whether or not to blame production staff or PSJ for this.

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Park Seo Joon slayed!! They really shouldn't be slimming this guy down coz he would really look good with a lil heft and toned muscles. He looks so tall and strong, damn. Good thing they angled the camera for the kiss in the last scene. Ahro or Ara doesn't hv any sex appeal, there I said it. They compliment each other in height but that's about it. Park Seo Joon might as well kiss Ji Dwi maybe they could spark some chemistry. I thought this was only 16 eps coz I just want to be done with Ahro.

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I completely agree about Go Ara! And I thought I'm the only one who noticed that. lols And SW and JD kissing? Why not! This iis the first time Im willing to support fujoshi! hahahah

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I agree about Ahro. Too much crying while wondering around aimlessly and making sad pouty lips. I just keep thinking they should have gone with a Shim Eun-kyung.

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Completely agreed. I have watched so many k drama and there is something magical about a kiss scene ( acting, music, etc). My heart always flutter when watching it BUT this is the first time I feel very awkward watching SW and Ara kiss. There is no chemistry, no spark. It really feel like "sibling" or like being force to kiss... I really really want to like Ara character BUT I am getting tire of her :( face. I even have bad thought like" The only way how this character can make a redemption is to sacrifice herself for love and let us watch a nice bromance and political drama in the last couple episodes...lol

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I really liked her in the 1st till 5th episode.
After she got very boring. ..

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I felt both elated and angry with this episode! It is almost the first time the plot and emotions have moved forward organically since the beginning! Here we are at episode 15 and suddenly our hopes and dreams appear to be addressed by the writer. Really, the production team has excelled, as have the actors in achieving believable fighting/combat, execution scenes. There have been far too many episodes where 'nothing-much' has happened. Only a strong cast has kept this drama alive and the writer needs to learn and learn quickly!

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this episode? it's so good it hurts...so sad for Ji Dwi...Park Hyung Sik is one of the those idols who can really sing and act...just by looking at his teary eyes makes me want to cry with him too...and park seo joon is daebak...

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He has puppy eyes that convey sadness very well

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So true about the puppy eyes. They carry vulnerability well too. In previous episodes when Ban Ryu was strangling him and when he dreamt Sunwoo was strangling him, he looked truly scared.

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i could write odes about his eyes lol

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Too true

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I disagree with you about Aro. However talking about SW's background, I think that Aro's father now knows who SW is, because he looked like he was in a stunned stupor after his talk with MM's (interesting that the name he was given means nameless) and the real SW's caretaker.

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I agree with you. I like Princess more than Ah Ro. The princess got charisma and also the detrrmination in her. That's what I like to see in a heroin

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Of course they have to kiss in the center of hwarang school (not sure what you call it) where anyone can see them from all directions. Let's just say they were overcome with passion/love they forgot where they are. I liked the kiss though. No cliche 360 closeup & I liked the fact that AR was actively participating. No dead fish, frozen, ? caught in headlights for our girl. That's one thing I always liked about her & them Silla girls for that matter. They are not afraid to express their feelings.

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I completely burst into tears the moment I saw the rest of the Hwarang coming in to save the guys. My tears surprised me. I think the tension was built up well to that scene. I knew Sun Woo and the guys would be okay; I just kept waiting for the royal army to show up. So seeing the Hwarang boys instead warmed my heart and gave me so much relief!!! ;A; <3

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SAME HERE!!! Tears just burst outta me when all the Hwarang came, omg this was an intense and well built up scene. Kudos to the writer/director. Oh, I love me some Hwarang action TvT

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While I am worried about how Ji-dwi will take this revelation, I'm also hoping that he gets over it pretty quickly and that it's a catalyst for him to step up and focus on what he needs to do to take his throne back. Hopefully now that he's not worrying about a woman who's not romantically interested in him, he can use all of that energy on becoming a good king.

I was even kind of wondering if him seeing Sun-woo pretend to be king would give him an extra push as well. He's been very perceptive of how other people think a king should act, and seeing his friend take his place should be taken as a learning experience. As much as I would hate it if it causes a rift between the two, I'm almost wondering if a bit of jealously over Sun-woo taking his place and the woman he likes will be the catalyst for him to step up.

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Gosh!! I hate the fact that Jidwi was the one who saw the kiss screen.I think sun woo has a hidden birth secret or may be he is the hidden king( the way i think lol) so its ok for jidwi not to reveal himself. Cant wait for de coming episodes!

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The highlight of this episode for me was without a doubt the battle between Sunwoo and the Prince...Sunwoo shined in this episode and showed once more that he was born a leader in more than one way...Anticipating so much for his birth secret to come out and how will he handle it and those around him,also if SMJ will find out soon he isin't A-Ro's real Brother(that they aren't actually in a incestuous relationship)...quite curious how will they manage to add so many plots already left,important big ones in those little time left...

I'm quite facinated with SunWoo and SMJ and kinda sad there wasn't even more in deep look into them...I find it kinda hard in this little time at this point for us to actually see SMJ take the throne and be a powerful King when the writer never bothered to use his own arc to make him gain actually some power,some supporters to back him up before begin a puppet when he takes the crown...He might take down the Queen but without the support of the others it will be hard to manage doing anything or to make them respect and follow and keep those who don't in check...Having the Title is not enough if it's not backed by other things

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This episode, now THIS episode is what I'm talking about. If anything, this episode serves as proof that this drama should've been capped at 16 eps. How is it possible that this is only happening now? Hwarang boys should've been fighting together & supporting one another a few eps ago. There's just been so much filler that I was getting super frustrated -_-

Plus, ABOUT DAMN TIME Jidwi figured out about Sunwoo x Ahro. There's just no point in all the angst & chasing from his side when it's obvious his ship with Ahro was never gonna sail. Like I said, it's just more unnecessary filler. I'm in the minority here it seems, but I've never liked Jidwi more than Sunwoo. (I'm too PSJ trash for that) but I really felt for Jidwi in this ep (probs the last few eps.) Ever since he backed off from Ahro he's grown on me. I really couldn't connect with how and WHY he was pining away for Ahro when she obviously didn't return OR even deserve his affections so it was hard for me to relate to him. However, he's so much more compelling just by himself, or with Sunwoo. Basically, I just don't like his loveline (should I even call it that?) with Ahro cuz her character is the most TOO STUPID TO LIVE character ever, so him liking her so much and chasing her around makes me like him less. Make sense? LOL.

I almost dislike Sunwoo for liking Ahro so much & having her be his sole source of motivation but atleast she likes him back so he's not doing it in vain. Although I don't personally like the girl AT ALL, I can be forgiving since she makes him happy -_____-

Anyway, I will throw a damn chair if Sunwoo actually turns out to be "true heir" to the throne. I can see this happening if:

Jidwi is actually the love-child of the queen & Ahro's father. Sunwoo is the son of the crown prince who was dethroned because of his disability. This would mean that Jidwi is not a Sacred bone and thus, couldn't be king.

However, I do not know the logistics so I am unsure if Sunwoo would have any claim to the throne since his (maybe) father was disinherited. (Someone, tell me lol.

LASTLY, I'm not being salty but wouldn't it just be too unfair for Jidwi if Sunwoo is the rightful king too? Sunwoo basically gets everything that HE himself wanted: Ahro, King, courage, leadership, etc. PHS just plays Jidwi too well for me not to feel for him--even though I am not on his ship because I am pledged to another LOL. I do think he is the best written character & by this point, the most complex and interesting.

Anyway, kudos to this writer/director team duo. This drama is one big mess (bad narration, directing, poor characterization & lazy/sloppy story-telling) but somehow I keep coming back every week for more. I cannot wait for this drama to end and for PSJ to tackle something else so I can get my PSJ fix but wash away this drama from memory. GOOD RIDDANCE.

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I'm calling it. Sun Woo knows JD is the king.

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Duh?!

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You are not the only one...I've been ith SunWoo from the start till now,while i do feel sad for JiDwi situation i never put him before SunWoo not even once...Based on history Gdwi will become King so that's that...Even if SunWoo might be sacred bone,as all the hints show us from 10 episodes ago,aka JiSoo Son he will not become one nor do i think he wants it...I'm more anxious about his birth secret to come open and finally get rid of that Queen chains on him

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JiSoo Brother Son...

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I have the same theory. Sun Woo is of royal birth. He is the son of Hwi Kyung, Queen Ji-Soo's brother and former crown prince who was disenfranchised because of his disability (caused by polio?) In an earlier episode, he was watching Sun Woo closely and had a short conversation with Woo Reuk (SW's adoptive father) which showed his keen interest in SW.

In this episode, the conversation between WR and Ah-Jin also hinted at this. "You have unlocked the gates to destiny." "There is no coincidence in this world. Why did I happen to raise your son as well as that child? Who you think this child is?"

Following this line of thought, then Sun Woo and Ji Dwi are cousins. And if Hwi Kyung was not disenfranchised, he would have been the king by now, and Sun Woo the Crown Prince.

Re SW's mother: I am thinking that she's the one HK referred to in his conversation with the Queen in Episode 13 or 14 - when he said that Queen framed her best friend. Methinks the Queen also did a lot of harm to SW's family to pave the way for Ji Dwi to occupy the throne.

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Right. I love it when SunWood told JD that he needs to save you know those people you call 'subjects'.

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That was one of the best parts

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I agree with everything you just said except the fact that I have been Jidwi trash since the beginning. I love both actors but his character in this drama has ALWAYS had me swooning. I am sad about how weak they have portrayed him to be. I am also concerned about the show making SW The King instead of Jidwi. That would be a huge shame. PHS has done so well with his acting, making me feel every single one of his complex emotions.

The show should have sidelined the love story and focused on the King fighting for his thrown, gaining power, support & respect from his peers.

I can't STAND Aro. Every time she is on screen I fast forward through the scenes which means my watching time is cut down to 25-30 minutes.

You are right it is badly written & all the potential is wasted but I keep Coming back each week. I can't wait for this trash to be over. I will be watching PHS in strong woman to get this mistake of a drama off my mind.

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I completely agree!!! Ji Dwi is the sole reason why I'm still watching this drama, too bad that his character is so poorly written. (All the characters are tbh.) His charisma saved this show for me. It looks like all the characters are lacking in self-growth, I mean it's been 15 eps. and I don't see any improvements in Ah Ro's character /acting she just gets more and more annoying everytime. I really can't stand her!!! Seriously the princess is the better heroine in this drama.

I'm actually excited for Strong Woman though and I can't wait for this drama to end.

With PBY & PHS on screen, no doubt it will be good.

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Agree. I am really frustrated with the writer thumping his character down so much in this later half in order to elevate Sun Woo. What really irked me is the inconsistency. This is not the Sammaekjong that was offered to us in the first half of this show. I think the writer has no other way to glorify the main lead other than to turn Ji Dwi into a coward.

To me, Park Hyung Sik is the best actor of the bunch. Those eyes are so expressive. His Ji Dwi could easily turn so unlikable at this rate but PHS translated all the inner turmoil and complex so well that it's not easy to erase the soft spot for him and still rooting for him to take his rightful place as the king.

I am so done with Aro. The moment she accused Ji Dwi of talking like a jerk to that Baekje's CP Bodyguard, I was hoping for someone to shoot her down with an arrow. I will do with the remaining 5 episodes without her.

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Park Hyung Sik has a gift to make a weak character look good. His character in High Society was basically a mama's boy but OMG, did I just love every moment he was on screen and I kept making excuses for his spinelessness.

I

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Now that you've mentioned it and I just realised - his character as a lazy unemployed maknae Cha Dal Bong is captivating too despite his many flaws.

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Now that u said it, hmm so his new upcoming drama character
suits him too..

Since the female lead is written to be more "manly" and most likely its expected to see scenes where she protect him..

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OMG yes! I went back and watched his breakdown scene at least ten times--his acting was mesmerizing!

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OMG, this is so true.

I just realized both characters are weak and annoying in their own way but it's the portrayal that sets them apart.

And it's not because PHS is a guy and GAR is a girl but it's their acting differences.

For example Seo Hyun Jin's OHY could turn into an annoying character if it wasn't her who portrayed it.

Now I realize why people here treats casting call/news as either a feast or a disaster.

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If you assume that jidwi is ahro's father child it doesn't make him non-sacred bone. Ahro is half because of her mother side, ahro's father is a sacred bone. So jidwi is still a sacred bone.

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Ah-ro's father is a true bone. Her mother was a servant.

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omo ,
didn't see that coming

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The actor playing CP Chang is so charismatic. Seen him in a few small roles before, but glad to see him here in this strong role. Loved his hairstyle and clothes during the one vs one battle. The battle was brutal and realistic. Sun Woo was impressive and confident while he was pretending to be king too.

Ugh, I knew there would be a kiss in the final scene! I couldn't enjoy it, knowing Ji Dwi was witnessing everything. And that they did it inside Hwarang house. -_- Anyway, I felt bad for JD. Sun Woo now has everything he doesn't. He got the title of king and the girl. Worried about the fallout.

I don't think of JD as a coward. The timing was not right yet for him to announce himself as king. It's hard to prove things now. I really want to see him step up just like Sun Woo has done though. The right timing, the right moment.

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I also liked the actor who played the crown prince. And he is good looking to boot! I would watch him again in heart beat.

I really liked the staging of their fight scene. It was bloody and tiring. They weren't just taking punches left and right with no obvious affects.

I am curious as to how Jwi Di will react to the kiss. Cuz to his mind he just saw siblings kiss - yucky. I hope he had a feeling that they aren't really related and the kiss just served up proof.

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Also agree with you about the charismatic CP Chang. I hated him in this episode, but was drawn enough to look him up and realized I've seen him in a lot of dramas before. He was leading man in Damo!

And loved the fight scene too. This drama really knows how to do action scenes. The sword fights are always exciting and very well-shot.

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He was really intense, I'd love to watch him again in a drama with better story/plot.

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I'm kind of wondering now, what kind of extraordinary situation the writer plan to put Ji-dwi in so that he can claim his rightful place. After all, Sun-woo get to claim himself as the fake king in a very dramatic situation. And he even managed to save the real king, princess, hwarang delegation, and commoner's life in Baekje. I'm just curious what will Ji-dwi get to do to finally take back his throne. Hopefully it would be just as epic and satisfying. Especially since he was barely said anything in this eps.

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my theory is he will somehow take the throne first and then forcefully confiscate the medicine from young shil and distribute it to the people to stop the epidemic. that should be enough to make him hero to his people

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I sincerely hope the writer has a plan, a grand plan for Ji Dwi. The whole Baekje trip to me is just to elevate Sun Woo as the main lead of Hwarang.

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am i the only one who thinks ji dwi's entire character arc went to hell in this episode?

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I can believe that Ji Dwi believes he's in hell, but I wouldn't say "went to hell". He just temporarily took a back seat. This will be the experience that changes the course of this life. This experience of being imprisoned, powerless, and watching his people get killed will stick with him as a ruler forever.

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I could not agree more. It's a stark contrast from the earlier version of Ji Dwi. Where has the potential gone? The writer really had so much fun crushing him to the core.

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I feel a little cheated. This show promised us bromance and the growth of hwarang from boys to men. But it seems that the "key points" of this show is happening behind the scene. Hwarang just ended up being another romance drama with some politics on the side. But if these were done well, I wouldnt complain but...

I have so many reasons to drop this drama but I have no idea why I still end up watching every episode when it comes out.

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Agree. It would have been nice if the romance was just a side plot.

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Same here. Maybe because even though the plot is draggy, we still want to see the resolution. (with fast forwards)

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Wait, can someone explain how the Silla King Jidwi has a half sister? SO they have the same mother but who are their dads and where are they?

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Sammaejong's father was the late king's brother King Galmun. It's safe to assume that he is dead since he was 60yrs old when his young niece Jiso married him.

Sookmyung's father is General Isabu. He is not part of the show although he should be alive during the 12th year of King Jinheung's reign.

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Guys!
I know this might sound absurd. I don't know much about Saeguk drama. BBBBBUT, isn't the queen basically telling the princess to marry her brother?!!!
At first I was like, no waaaay. But then the queen was telling both to marry each other. I'm really confused. Please help ?.
Thanks!

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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 was to preserve the Sacred Bone (royal blood).

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Ya', that's the only way to protect the saved bone.

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It happened ALL the time in those days, in order to preserve the line. They were not thinking all then that it was morally bad (no such judgments) nor did they really know that in-breeding reduces the health of a line the way we know it does now, with our current knowledge of DNA. It's hard, I know, as viewers, to not impose our moral attitudes on history, but we must, for the sake of reality.

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in ancient times, royal siblings married each other to preserve the line (sacred bone). Even Cleopatra was married to both her brothers, Ptolemy XIII, then Ptolemy IV, though these unions did not produce any heirs.
In more recent history, we saw the same with European royalty though the royal marriages were mostly between cousins.

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Thank you guys!
But that means that it wasn't even bad for the heroine to (supposedly) love her brother, no?

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How did Sun Woo and Ji Dwi know their way around the palace and get to the prison? Didn't they spend most of their time locked up in a cell? Unless the princess spent her time there exploring the place and then drew a map for them or something. Also, did they just leave the princess without any guards? I mean, she really chewed them out for leaving her the last time, so did they go with her consent or sneak off? Also, how did Hwa Gong know where to find them? Is there only one place to cross the border between Silla and Baekje?

Apologies for nitpicking. I do love this show, but sometimes it makes me want to throw a book at the wall.

I love how Ban Ryu and Soo Ho snap at each other, but when one of them gets hurt, the other drops the act and rushes to help them.

Based on what we've seen so far, this is how they would react to Ji Dwi announcing he's king:

Ban Ryu: (to Soo Ho) I told you that jerk wasn't king!
Soo Ho: (shrugs) What? Sun Woo would have made a great king anyways. (grins and throw arm around said person's shoulder)
Ji Dwi: #seriously #areyoukiddingme #heyimoverhere #noonecares #wow

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It would be fun and easy to throw a book at the wall (or my computer across the room) when seeing all the obvious plot holes, but I am held in check by the spectre of the grand-daddy of em all plot hole dramas with Missing 9 going on. I started a journal minute by minute of all the ridiculousness in continuity mistakes in that drama, then got worn out because it just NEVER ends. Hwarng is heavenly by comparison. I'm just enjoying the hell out of it.

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A couple more plot holes:

Why did it take the delegates so long to reach the border (at least three or four days would be my guess) and the rest of the Hwarang only took maybe one? Also, would the officials really have consented to let their sons go like that?

I was thinking about checking out Missing 9. Maybe not so much anymore...

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Lol! I wondered about that too! I was frustrated when the Crown Prince started shooting and I was like "where the heck are the Hwarang?". It's been like 2 days since they were imprisoned and shouldn't it be like half a day's ride?

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I liked Ji-dwi a lot at first even if I found Sun Woo always much more charismatic as a character. Of course that might just be the difference in acting abilities, but Ji-dwi feels too tame and puppet-like even if the whole time he was fighting to not be one. He screams about wanting to cut off the Queen and yet it feels like he's too scared of consequences should it truly happen. I understand his fears, and his realization of the kind of political uproar it would bring should he announce his real identity. But him thinking of consequences meant lives were lost. And to people, a King who can't protect his people isn't worthy of being King.

Sun Woo, on the other hand, always felt so much more fitted to be King. He's courageous, loyal and truly cares for the people - not just through words, but also through action. He's fearless in a rash way but it always feels like he'd never lose a battle despite being in the weaker side. He's also extremely smart when he needs to be understanding how to deal with difficult people and situations. I find him extremely fascinating and charming. But more than anything, he's trustworthy. And to people, putting your trust on someone who puts everything in line to save others? That's someone really worthy of being King.

I know what history tells me, and yet this story is written in a way that I feel Ji-dwi is completely underserving if Silla has Sun-woo as another option for King. If Sun-woo truly is royal, then it makes it even more difficult to accept someone as cowardly as Ji-dwi (in comparison to Sun-woo). I know why Ji-dwi did what he did - and I understand too. But it still doesn't change the fact that someone else is more worthy and capable of the title he so desperately wants.

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You might want to brace for the incoming storm :)

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Yes. Its a pity for Silla to have a lesser king if they have a better candidate. But this is just a fiction and dramaland. We don't know what the writer had in-store for us. We just have to watch it till the end.

And the storm had just passes by....lol

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I agree with all the qualities you listed of Sunwoo, and I can see where you're coming from, but I don't see Sunwoo as king though. To me he's indeed a leader and most definitely more charismatic, much more than Ji-dwi at the moment, but looking in account of his character, I think he's more fitted to live a free and careless life, like the life he has in the begin of the drama. Being a leader does not mean he has to be king. He has always have that leadership quality, from the way he helped and protected his friend Makmoon, to his void for revenge for the death of his friend, to taking the responsibility as the son of his friend's father and brother to his sister, and of course to all the things he has done now such as faking as the crown prince to help his people.

But instead of thinking he's more deserving to be king, I think it's more accurate to say he's deserving to he called the hero. He doesn't have to bear the title as the king to be the leader/hero of the story.

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I think they're charismatic in different ways. The perfect king would be the blend of the two. Sunwoo has leadership. Sun Woo is courageous, but his courage could potentially put people in danger (like when he attacked the Queen's general early in the series and almost got his friend's dad killed). Ji Dwi has more diplomacy and a willingness to take a breather to think. I think in the end, Sunwoo will be Ji Dwi's right hand man/general and together, build a stronger Silla.

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Agree with your opinion. A king should reflect consequences from all sides. That's why he forbids Su Ho to draw the swords. It is not easy to become a leader of a nation, because of the multi facet problems that a nation has. But I also agree that Ji Dwi will still has to learn to build his courage.
Him not stepping up to acknowledge as a king, for some may looked as a discourage king. But on the other hand, he is right. A dead king will not be a good option.
Sun Woo will be a very good general, to fight and all. But all in all, a king must think thoroughly and not be reckless.

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Title does not necessarily goes to the one that is more deserving, not that I agree that Sun Woo is more deserving to become the king of Silla.

I agree with the qualities you mentioned about Sun Woo but in most cases, I think he acted a lot based on impulse and less on the calculations. This is where I don't see him as having the king's qualities. He takes more into account of the current situation rather than the overall picture. He has the charisma, the leader quality but not the ruling quality.

Ji Dwi has more calculations going on. I really feel he is strongly charismatic in the beginning but now we are on to second half, all the charisma seems to be downplayed greatly. The conflicted feelings appeared to overpower all his fine qualities. I think if he managed to break through that wall of conflicted feelings, he has the qualities to rule. It is just too bad that it took too long a time for him to break free from all that is constraining him now.

I don't agree at all that this has anything to do with the acting abilities. Given the limited materials to work with, I say they are both on the same level.

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There's something about Ji Dwi's character that is more royal and regal than SunWoo, despite the fact that he is holding back and "hiding" for now. Maybe it's because he KNOWS he is the king and therefor is imbued with that sensibility honestly. It could be an innate quality but I have read Ji Dwi as the king from the beginning, just by his behavior. I think Sunwoo is heroic - no doubt about it - but he is jumping in to save the situation, knowing he is strong enough to save both Ji Dwi and Ah Ro if he acts right away. I think he sees the dignified kingly qualities in Ji Dwi and is stepping in to save him in his way. Ji Dwi is going to grow into the role of king - just look at how awesome he is in the brief scenes we've seen of him sitting on the throne! It's like - YEAH - all bow down - this dude is KING!

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Sadly, in real life, a King is surely determined by his blood. We see a lot of incompetent King in real life. That being said, I still think that Ji Dwi is developing and growing. A king needs to have a bigger picture in mind before acts. And he sure thinks a lot (maybe a little too much). But a dead king can't be a good king.so I have to agree with Ji dwi on his choice.

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Thank you. You hit it right there. He is useless once he is dead.

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Well, I watched this drama without looking up on the actual history and assumed it's all fictional. Hence, my assumption that Dogbird will be the real king.
Kinda disappointed now that he may not be if it's based on true history of the king.
P/s Wonder if there's a chance the writer will change the ending into fiction and make Dogbird the king instead. He seems to be much more deserving of a throne.

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King Jinheung wouldn't have been a great king without his loyal generals conquering lands, expanding their territories and protecting Shilla in his name. Their story deserved to be told so I hope Moo Myung is one of those people who actually made a difference on the battlefield.

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I want to know who SW is too >.< I think he's in direct line for the crown or something. Like a veeeery close cousin of the king.
I also think Jidwi caught up on the fact that SW and AR are not sibling which explains why he was jealous of SW in the 1st place lol

I'd like to say this drama had so much potential, but the writers didn't take it where it's supposed to be. And I gotta say if it wasn't pre-produced maybe they could have done something to save it. A shame.

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Despite being a bit reckless Sun Woo really does have a more kingly persona than the king himself (yay PSJ you are a gem of an actor) at this point I only hope that JiDwi becomes the great king he has the potential to be , SunWoo becomes his general nd chief hwarang and for them to always remain best of friends!!! Oh and Sun Woo-AhRo's happy ever after! Every hwarang's HEA! ❤❤❤❤

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I'm only sticking with this because I hate to quit after going this far -- and I want to up my bean count for the next year-end poll. Curse you bean-count poll ! :)

Don't care about much in this show except I'd like to see evil minister Park get what he deserves -- please don't spare him for Ban-ryu's sake. Romance & bromance -- meh. Sun-woo's birth secret -- just make him the secret son of a nobody for all I care.

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This show drives me nuts. *sigh* Yay for the bean count lol.

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Yeah, might as well stay until the end... I had no expectations but actually enjoyed this episode.

My only concern is that Ban Ryu might have amnesia. He doesn't seem to recall betraying his friends. ;)

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Speaking of Ban-ryu, last week some of us were talking about a possible Spartacus moment. Later, after the thread had died down, I decided that what I really wanted was a not-quite-Spartacus moment -- Sun-woo, Ji-dwi and Su-ho all step forward, but Ban-ryu says he's never seen those people before in his life.

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*spit take*. That is such a beautiful burn!

It was bugging me during this episode! Really, Ban Ryu, not a lick of guilt?

I hope Sooyun dumps him for Yeowool, Hansung or Dan Se (but I want to keep Dan Se to myself).

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ikr. i think ban ryu's character just fell to pieces this ep. he was beating himself up over having to destroy some drums but now he intentionally put his entire nation in danger, and not even a moment of guilt for him?

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I think Ban Ryu has a plan after seeing what happened in Baekje. He has got to know by now that his step-father doesn't give a crap about his life.

I have a little bit of hope that this Hwarang organization has thought them to step out from their father's shadow and make their own decision.

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Yes but sooyun looks cute with Ban Ryu. But I agree she will also look cute and good with Han Sung and YeoWool

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I have been reading comments about ppl not liking Ahro which is simply astounding to me.

This poor girl practically raised herself (her father was MIA), she taught herself medicine!, she started earning money from her storytelling and the aforementioned doctoring skills because her father was MIA and treated ppl for free (which is usually great, but not so great when your teenage daughter has to earn for herself and you). At every turn she is shown to be kind, generous and intelligent. It is no wonder to me that everybody in the drama likes her. And by the way while she was doing all of that, the boys were playing football and seducing women.

It is ok not to like a character of course; everyone has preferences but so much of the hatred against Ahro stems from the fact the a) she needs saving, b) she cries and c) she didn't pick Ji dwi who a lot of ppl like better.

a) she needs saving because ppl are constantly kidnapping her because of the stupid boys. It sucks that that happens but it is not her fault. Would it be nice if she knew self-defence? Perhaps, but I am glad she doesn't because most girls don't. She got thrown in the jail because she was being kind to a little boy (the person who actually got them thrown into this mess was ban ryu). Whatever the male leads do in reaction to her is their decision. You don't like the decision, blame your favorite oppas, not her.

b) she cries a lot because she has a lot to cry about. It is not like she has another outlet. So now girls can't cry because that means they are not "strong"? Bullshit. I have zero problems in my life and yet I still cry. If I were in her situation I would be crying a lot more and lets be honest, so would most of you.

c) A lot of the vitrol against her comes from the fact that she rejected ji dwi. Lets not even pretend that that's not true. In most drams, the girl often gives the second lead hope and strings him along but that was absolutely not the case here. She doesn't like your fave, please get over it. She is not a vessel for his happiness. She is her own person who deserves to choose the person who makes her happy.

The misogynist nature of ppl's hatred towards her is what bothers me. Let the girl breath and be. Try to give her the quarter of the leeway everybody constantly gives the male leads. There are always hundred and one excuses for why the guys in the story act the way they do; most of their failings are quickly and easily excused. Try and give her the benefit of the doubt too. She is more accomplished than the guys, she has the guts to do the right thing and always stands up for what she believes in. She has literally never done anything wrong.

Is Go Ara's acting the best in the world? NO. Is it the worst? NO. Is Ahro used as a plot point? YES. Is she used as a prop for the male leads to react to? YES. All of that is unfortunate but this vitriol against her is even more unfortunate.

I apologize for this long post. But...

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Very well said, @Jen!

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I see where you're coming from and I agree with some of your points, but overall, I still do not like Ahro--as a WRITTEN character. The blame is not on the actress herself, but the shitty writing/directing. Hear me out:

I do not like her NOT because she rejects Jidwi. If anything, her rejection of him has been the most constant thing about her throughout this tiring drama. Her one saving grace (to me) is her loyalty to, and love for, Sunwoo. Like you said, Ahro is a plot device. Thus, she is an extension of (mainly) Sunwoo and is only relevant to that extent. She's a one-dimensional cotton candy heroine who's only as important as the love she has with and for the hero. THIS IS WHY PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE HER. Not because she rejects their oppas (or whatever) they do not like her because she is a badly written character that lacks depth and can't emote to save her life (I say it's 80% bad directing/characterization and 10% bad acting.)

I do not blame Go ara that her character is written as a TSTL damsel in distress. That's not her fault. BUT, I can say that she is clearly lacking in this role. Both male leads are acting circles around her and many people cannot connect with either lovelines because of HER, not because of either male leads. They have more chemistry with each other than they do with her. That's when you know she's the problem; that she's the weak link.

But again, I don't completely blame her, like I said. In the beginning episodes she overacted but was bearable. She started off as a spunky character but became a puddle of water (them tears though, lol). You see, it's hard for viewers to reconcile the spunky girl they EXPECTED with the damsel in distress she came to be. Again, I blame this more on bad directing/writing than Go ara as an actress but I can't entirely let her off the hook right? She was weak in this role, we just gotta accept it.

I love that you analyze this deeply and humanize her but seriously, you are giving this drama (its writers/directors) too much credit. They basically wrote her as a weak damsel in distress and as part of both male lead's story arc. They'll remember that she's her own person and throw in the fact that she knows medicine or that she's kind to kids here and there BUT it is not organic. It feels out of place. It's like they're trying to tell us we should like her but we can't BECAUSE they wrote her so badly.

*That scene where the princess tried to shoot her & she just stood there like O.O was like the last f'in straw. I was done with that girl lol.

Overall, the bad writing/directing is the root problem. I say she deserves the hate because out of everyone, she is the worst written. I will not excuse her poor behavior "she cries alot cuz she has reason to, she needs saving all the time cuz of the male leads, etc." NAWH, it's just poor writing & she's a shitty character. Let viewers hate on her so the writers will know they dun royally F'ED UP.

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About Aro freezing when the princess was trying to shoot her with an arrow, I remembered that Aro freezes when she gets very scared and her legs stop functioning (like what happened in ep 3 or 4 when Ji Dwi and Sun Woo first fought). So this is not Aro being stupid, at all. The princess too suffers from anxiety attacks.

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@Kayla I do understand what you are saying; she is an extension of Sunwoo and of lesser extent Ji dwi. She is basically there from them to react against and for her to be the "reward." She does not have a lot of agency.

But I would completely have to disagree on the "she deserves the hate because she is the worst written." Forget all the minor characters (one of them is literally there to look beautiful), the male lead himself is not well developed. PSJ is a great actor and I have to give him props for making sunwoo so likable but we know nothing about sunwoo except that he loved his best friend, now lives for Ahro, has fainting problems and is bad at everything but picks up everything really fast as well lollll. I have a far better handle on who Ahro is and what she wants and what her thought process is. I "get" her character even though it is a token character. If I were to compare her to the only other female soo-yeon (who is a very minor character so this is an unfair comparison but one I am using to make a point). Everyone (including me) loves soo-yeon but she is pretty useless and only exists for Banrys "man pain". Ahro, on the other hand, is infinitely useful. I think all the good she actively does more than makes up for the dangerous situation she finds herself in.

Arguing over fictional characters is silly and futile but when fiction reflects real life I tend to get involved. I am not sure I am explaining myself properly? I guess I am so defensive of her because ppl (women and men) just shit on girls so much for nothing while boys and men are always given soooo much leeway in dramas and real life. If Ahro had betrayed them, or forced herself on someone, or literally had innocent ppl's blood on her hands, do you have any idea how much hate she would get? But the men who do these awful things are forgiven even before they have made the horrible decision.

That arrow got to me too lol. Why would the writer make her stand there?? I do wish she wasn't so often in positions where she needs to be saved, but none of the situations were her fault. I agree that the writer did go overboard "with damsel in distress scenarios" which obviously exist to showcase the male leads. The writing for this whole drama has been all over the place. I see moments where you know this could have been a really great drama but then it all goes down the drain.

I very much hope that they start writing female characters better but better in my eyes doesn't mean someone who is invincible or someone unbelievably strong. If Ahro knew how to fight as well, ppl would say she was mary sue. I guess my point is, I can understand ppl not liking her (that is everyones prerogative), but the sheer amount of hate is astounding.

I hope I made sense; I wrote this in a hurry.

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hear hear, Jen!

Aro isn't all that much more badly written than the other characters, but it seems like the viewers go much easier on the male characters - not only in this drama but in other korean dramas as well. It's like viewers are the "mother-in-laws" protecting their sons from that Candy hussy. They don't hesitate to read more into the male characters and their fears and motivations. But take the female character at face value.

The level of hate Aro receives for being in bad situations not of her own causing is much higher than the level of hate that Ji Dwi received for not speaking up or Ban Ryu for delivering that letter or all the Hwarang boys for losing the amity gold or getting themselves arrested - all boys whose characters are given much more agency but refuse to do anything with it. Why hate and not pity for poor Aro who is being held captive by the writer? #freeAro

It ties back to how in real life, women have to work harder to achieve what men achieve.

I'm one of the few who like Aro. She has a job (and a steady one after she became the Hwarang daughter). A doctor (!) and humanitarian, too. Resourceful. Cooks. Filial. Virtuous. Knows not to lead someone on. Would be a great spouse. Her husband would definitely never starve.

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Very well said Jen, Kayla, ar and others.

For such a superficial show, Hwarang attracts some pretty deep comments. ^^

And to briefly add my thoughts - I really dislike candy heroines. It's the fact that she's always a victim who's done no wrong, that puts me off such characters. Male characters are always given more agency, and therefore stand out more.

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I will take to heart your observation that we can be like bad kdrama MILs and pick apart every little thing about our heroines while the male characters can do little wrong. And thanks for bringing up the scenario where the boys let the delegation's gifts get stolen, that was simply idiotic. I know we had to close our eyes (brains) and accept it or we'd be missing most of the foundation for the next two episodes but seriously - that was so lame. The four of them supposedly fought off a platoon of armed guards with just their scabbards later? Oh god, just stop me, please. ?

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I'm going to be honest and say Go Ah Ra acting just didn't do anything for me except feeling annoyed at her.

I feel the opposite with Park So Dam and Jung Il Woo in Cinderella, I loathe him so much there.

I guess it's the matter of preference?

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Very well said , Jen and ar. Finally fair comments!
I love Ah Ro and have been disappointed with the disproportionate amount of hate that she has been receiving.

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You are completely right about the double standards in kdramaland. Korean society (and essentially, the whole world) is still super misogynistic and this carries over strongly into their kdramas. Unless a kdrama is specifically and intentionally female-centered, you can pretty much expect that the heroines will be written as character props for the hero's overall growth. The hero--HIS pain, HIS love, HIS story--is always the standard. Of course, this is unfair but I think it's only part of the problem. Like @Ar said, the majority of kdrama viewers are female and thus, way less forgiving with female leads. A long history of sexism and its internalization has pretty much ensured that females remain critical of one another & view each other as competition.

So these two points (misogyny & female viewers) contribute to the strong hate for Ahro. The third point, which is the one I have always pointed my finger at, is that, as a female lead, she is horribly written. Meaning: she fits PERFECTLY into all the tropes of a cookie-cutter damsel in distress--which is the very product--of that misogyny that underlines many kdramas. She cries ALL the time, needs constant saving, has a heart of gold, is a giver, a home-maker, etc. On paper, she seems the "perfect female" but once on screen, she falls flat. She is NOT relatable and although some female viewers may not be able to articulate it, their disdain for her is probs a knee-jerk reaction to her cookie-cutter dasmel in distress role. Like I said, the internalized sexism is strong in us females. We love to have heros who save our heroines BUT there is a limit to the saving. Once the heroine becomes a bit too much of a dasmel in distress, she is no longer relatable and the hate pours in.

And this additional reason, the fact that she is the FEMALE LEAD, is why all the other poorly written side characters do not receive as much hate; at the end of the day, they just do not matter as much. Viewers do not pick up a drama expecting to invest themselves with the stories of side characters, but they DO expect to invest in and root for the female lead. However, Ahro is so poorly written (ie. too dasmel in distress-y & used as a prop) to garner much authentic connection from the viewers. Viewers hate her because they are unable to like her, get it? It is bad writing but partly because Go ara is lacking here as well. Like you said, Sunwoo is poorly written but PSJ is able to humanize his character. We feel for him, we root for him. Frankly, I find it hard to care about Ahro and only care about her to the extent that her safety means Sunwoo's happiness. How can I (and others) care for her when she has not been written as a person in of herself? She was a poorly written FEMALE LEAD acted by a (not great) actress which resulted in all the hate. Granted, she does not deserve all this hate but garners it the most because she is a poorly written female lead. It is to be expected.

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PS. I exceeded the character limit (LOL) but yes, you do make sense! I do not view this as arguing. More like productive discussion on this drama. This drama has been soooooooo draining for me that I need to vent about it SOMEWHERE. lol. & here seems like a great place because like @Greenfields said, judging from all these deep, analytical & thought-provoking comments, this drama does seem to attract some very bright people :)

Likewise, I too hope to see better written female characters (especially leads) in kdrama in the future. & hope this does not apply for only female centric dramas. I hope we can get to a place one day where expecting a strong, complex & flawed female lead is just a standard, not the exception. I almost think many people are drawn to the princess in this drama because she does not fit the typical "heart of gold female lead" role. She's A LOT prickly, closed-off, fights and has her OWN inner turmoil to overcome. I personally do not feel much for her (again, because bad directing/writing which = bad execution/poor character development for her) but she sure is a hell of a lot more compelling than Ahro. Makes you wonder why she wasn't the female lead, huh? They probs didn't want to distrub the gender norms prevalent in many kdramas--the princess has too many "male characteristics" and thus, is undeserving of being female lead. She is not WOMAN enough. Lol, now the feminist in me is just clawing out. I digress.

Anyway, I would reccommend the Princess Man if you want a strong female lead. MCW's character is amazing in there. I would say her & the female lead from Kill me, Heal me have been 2 of my most liked female leads. Strong, loyal, can look after themselves & the saving came waaaaaay more from their end than from their heros. For being male-centric dramas, I would say both female leads are great. Above all else, they are their own person and I appreciate that more than anything.

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I am going to keep this short lol. I completely understand and whole heartedly agree with all your extremely valid points about female leads and the awful way in which they are written.

I actually pretty ambivalent towards the princess because she is too inscrutable, is constantly stringing along someone with no power so she can have sun woo be with her, and didn't even bother to apologize for the assassination attempt lol. I think ppl like her because she can wield a sword, which goes back to the idea that the only way females can be strong is if they take up the sword or the gun. I just don't agree with that concept; it is reductive and not representative of reality. There has to be a happy medium btw Ahro and the princess, but usually writers have a hard time finding it.

I suppose my outburst came after watching far too many dramas recently in which female leads and actresses have pitchforks waiting for them and males leads and actors get a perpetual free pass. I do dislike the way Ahro is written and do resent her role as thing sunwoo leans on and I do wish Go ara was a better actress, but despite all that, I don't think she is the worst thing about this show by a long shot. I still understand her better than the boys and there are times when she is literally my favorite. I think she deserves her happy ending, not because her happiness would be sunwoo's happiness but because her happiness would be her happiness.

This drama really doesn't deserve all this discussion though; if the writer had actually thought about characterization we would not be having this discussion. I have spend far too much time and energy on this lol.

p.s I love the princess' man! She was the perfect female lead and the actress was perfect (I haven't tried re-watching though; the rape charge puts me off). Oh well, I will always have Jewel in the Palace.

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Well said Kayla!
I had to slow clap this comment.
STOP ON!

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I was obviously too busy slow clapping to type properly.

I mean SPOT ON!

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As to kayla's point, it is the harsh truth about Ah-ro's character. As a woman, this kind of female representation in drama drive me nuts. Doesn't we get tired of female lead being a damsel in distress, a plot device and romance interest of two men?
Look, this isn't about overlooking other poorly written characters as some of here suggest. It's right that people should POINT OUT this BAD WRITING for female leads because I don't want to see anything like this in future dramas.
I'm skeptic from the start how Ah ro will be put in the mix of men and I'm disappointed that they go on the usual route. I hoped the writer could do better because he/she introduced ah ro's character well but end up being dragged. *sigh*

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I think we also need to consider that female viewers hold female characters to higher standards than male characters. Combine that with tendency for kdrama writing to favor male characters, we've got this gap, which can be frustrating, but also makes me feel sorry for the female leads who get sidelined.

Whenever there is a romance kdrama, there is the hero and there is the heroine. They're supposed to be considered equal, but writing always tend to favor one person's journey/angst and have the other person be the support. And it's more often than not that the guy who gets to be the more central character and the girl who has to play the support. And because dramas are geared more towards women, and as part of some sort of wish fulfillment thing, the girl has to have two guys chase after her and the secondary girl who chases after the guy has to be mean and irrational so as not to provide any worthwhile competition.

We need a W Two Worlds situation where the female character gains self awareness and is like "um...why are you giving all the cool backstory to this fool? I'm actually behaving like a functional member of society."

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I adore this discussion btw.
So amazing considering the many flaws that this drama has.

I was just wondering. Could some of the hate for Aro's character be because women are tired of the damsel in distress stereotype and are therefore not interested in watching her?

Someone has mentioned before that we were promised a spunky strong female but instead we have received a wishy washy cry baby. Like seriously I want to shake her & tell her to get it together. Basically I am saying that the show misled us about who Aro is & we are angry about it. Hence a lack of sympathy & patience for her.

Comparing to Soo Yun (Min-ho's sister) We love that character because she fits who she is supposed to be. Unafraid, proactive & in love. We know exactly what to expect from her & because she delivers we do not complain.

Aro has been spunky & resourceful for about 30% (if that) of her screen time. The rest had been crying or whining about her brother/boyfriend ???

Think about it, would we love her more if she carried on her task as a physician & ignored SW when he was being distant & just got on with her life until he was brave enough to come up to her? How many times have we watched her try to get his attention in the midst of one of his tantrums? How many times has she followed him around and been sad when he rejected/walked away from her. She has been acting like SW is the ONLY thing in her life that matters.

News flash! A strong woman has more going for her than trying to get a mans attention.

Also on a serious note. Her LACK OF CHEMISTRY with both male leads is painful to watch. The guys are, as someone put it, acting circles around her.

A badly written character is 70% of the problem. (We were lied to. We want what we were promised. A no-nonsense strong resourceful woman)

The other 30% is the bad acting.

I hope what I'm saying is clear. We were misled about the character & hence we have little sympathy.

(Oh gosh I didn't mean to say this much. But we have to vent somewhere right ???)

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I'm one of the few who likes AR- flaws and all. Yes, the acting is not the best but I like how different she is compared to other female leads. She's spunky, openly affectionate, cares about other people but she's not a pushover.

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Couldn't agree more. Absolutely correct in all points!!!

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I agree that just because a female cries and gets kidnapped a lot and rejects a man it is not a sign of being weak. I think the main problem with Aro is she is taking away too much time from the possible bromance and her storyline and character drags so much it is a torture to watch. More furiating the fact that she started badass being a great storyteller making money, drinking all the wine to get her money worth from the seller. After that she just went from bad to worse. She cried a lot for different good reasons but her crying scenes had the same feeling: a grade schooler who scraped her knees.
My "favourite" worse is how she went on and on and on about how important is her brother to her and after all these 3 episodes Sun Woo showed her the grave of her REAL brother she cried a little and that was it. The next morning her biggest problem was her love life. I suffered through three meaningless episodes revolving around her un-understandable "agony" than it got resovled by a bit of unrelatable crying.
This Aro character is so poorly written AND acted AND takes up so much time which could be used in many better ways.
On the surface you are right about her and I agree with you but we still cant tell that she's a good character. She's a good person at least. (I really liked when she got food for everyone out of nowhere in the middle of the woods)

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I think we can all agree that Aro is poorly written and too much crying is annoying (though I did like her crying at the grave scene - it was the perfect amount and intensity for a brother who separated from her when she was really little), but it does feel like she takes on the lion's share of the blame when she's only part of a series of problems.

Why aren't other characters being called out for taking time away from the bromance? all the scenes with the Queen (who has a distracting lisp), all of Ahn Ji Gong's scenes? Or the Queen and Ji Dwi scenes? And the Queen's brother who is walking around just talking to people all the time- playing mysterious person and exposition fairy? And musician who raised Sunwoo- who somehow is a music teacher at the Hwarang school and going around being mysterious. Or maybe more bromance can be had with less bros.

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Hahaha I'm sure we could all make Top 10 lists of our own just ranking which stories we'd like to have seen less of ?

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For me it would definitely be Han Sung (I think that is his name) and his older brother plot-line. This plot-line is completely out of sync with the rest of the drama, and just seems to be tacked on. I would much rather see the other main characters or major supporting characters grow, then waste time on this third-wheel plot point that is of no importance to the story at all. If that story-line was completely left out, it would not effect the story at all, that is how insignificant that subplot is.

To a lesser extent the same goes for that other Hwarang guy who always holds a fan, and just seems like a character that was tacked on to add more colorfulness to the Hwarangs.

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Well, Anthony whispered in my ear that the actor playing Han Sung is a popular idol so I am guessing that story line is there for fan appeal? And maybe agency funding?

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"the actor playing Han Sung is a popular idol so I am guessing that story line is there for fan appeal? And maybe agency funding?"

probably for fan appeal, mostly. he's from a rather small agency so I don't think there's much funding involved. tho considering he's an idol acting for the first time, he's doing a passable job. he's a little awkward sometimes but at least he's not cringey. by itself, I do find his story line interesting, but if you consider it along with the main plot of this drama, it does feel like it was just tacked on, tho that's more of an issue with the writers.

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I think other characters are not being called out because they're just tiny distractions like in any other drama. But Aro is the female lead. We, as viewers are supposed to care about Aro because it is HER STORY that is being told to us. So Aro's pointless actions and storylines matter more than any other random character's equally pointless adventures.

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Very well said Jen. Love your c) comment. It is quite annoying to read a lot of bashing on Aro aka Go Ara just becoz of a one-sided love of Ji Dwi.

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I agree

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Very well said! I admire Ah ro (Ara's character and so is the actress) her character is sweet, strong,positive and hopeful. I will always remember her line when she was in prison. " Do not lose hope. it is inhumane if you do. If you are still alive you must do all you can ,after this bad thing,be prepared to be happy"
I like how she stood firm in front of the queen and told her that she will withstand all the hardships.
I really like Go Ara’s dedication in her work. She's been doing all her best all these years and she didn't deserve to be bashed like she's doing bad thing to you,people!! Like any other actors, actresses don't deserve it too.

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Sunwooya, enough already with the dead eyes staring straight ahead at nothing and no one. You even kept those dead eyes when looking at Ahro in the last scene. Give me a brow twitch, blink a little.

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theory (don't shoot me)
....i think sun-woo is actually the son of the queen's brother who hobbled into the narrative recently.

(runs away)

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Don't run away, I think so too! Which would make SunWoo and Jidwhi cousins! And SunWoo ahead of Jidwhi in the royal line. SunWoo cannot hide his royal bloodline and as everyone else who knows who he is in the show...his destiny (which we still don't know what it is). But I think SunWoo will choose his own destiny (that's being with Ahro). It is great to see how great he can be...but he may choose a simpler life...i can totally see him and Ahro going back to where he used to live with Mak Mun...that's where he grew up simply and probably happy.

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I have a theory/suggestion too: let's make Sun Woo the true heir of the throne of Baekje. The king had been hit by a Horse Of Doom, many years ago, and he got amnesia and forgot who his real wife and real son were, and then a bad woman who had a child convinced him that she is the rightful wife. Suddenly the king gets his memory back and remembers how his real son used to have fainting spells. So he sends the bad Crown Prince away, Sun Woo becomes king and the alliance between Silla and Baekje is a done deal!
(runs away and hides under the bed)
But yes, I too think he's the son of the queen's brother. I'm curious if the writer will manage to surprise us with Sun Woo's birth secret.

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Quote: "The horse of doom" LOL... oh please don't give them ideas, this is too funny.

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I'm not bothered by Ji Dwi not declaring he is king yet. As far as I can tell, his character hasn't grown enough for him to feel strong enough to declare who he is. I'm not even sure what he needs to do to feel strong enough or why he's called weak. Maybe being in Hwarang and developing relationships with all the sons of the important political families is what will give him strength. I don't really understand the impatience with Ji Dwi. Cut him some slack. We know what happens anyway. Besides, I don't think Sun Woo wants to be King even if he might be technically ahead in line of Ji Dwi.

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Ditto. You took the words right out of my mouth.

Jidwi is and has been, the best written character in this mess of a drama. The fact that he has not yet found his voice/strength is true to who he is as a character. I would be more surprised if he suddenly just gained the strength to challenge his mother/claim his place as King.

Likewise, it's more in Sunwoo's character to be more hot-headed and impulsive. The fact that he was a few secs ahead of Jidwi in claiming the King's title is highly plausible, realistic even. People need to chill and just let Jidwi grow into himself. The boy spent 20 years in hiding & doubting his entire existence. He can't just get over this in the span of a few months.

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I do think Ji Dwi not taking more advantage of being in Hwarang makes him appear weak. Though i think the description is more like "passive" and "complacent". When he snuck into Hwarang, I was like "Yes! That is genius! Make allies out of all the Hwarang guys - who are sons of important officials! Network! Fight your mom!". But he hasn't done much. Instead, his closest and only friend is someone with little status. His other roommates are sons of really high rank and aren't bad people at all. Hansung and Yeowool are doing more more networking than he is despite their little screentime.

I don't think he's completely ready to declare, but wish he was written to do more to prepare.

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I think that Sun Woo is the son of the Dowager's brother-- meaning he may have rights to inherit the throne. The Dowager married her Uncle who was the king at the time. So they are all from the same lineage.

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@Gigi
This inbreeding can be confusing so I'll try and explain it.

Queen Regent Jiso's uncle and husband Galmun did not rule as king, her father King Beopheung was the king. Galmun was honored with the king title only because their son Sammaekjong was a king.
It's like Wang Wook in Scarlet Heart. He never rule as king but his son Seongjong ruled as the 6th king of Goryeo so he was honored with the title King Daejong.

Queen Regent Jiso's elder brother Lord Hwi Kyung was a concubine's son. He is a true bone no matter what this drama says. His offsprings would be true bones.

Sammaekjong aka King Jinheung is the "only" sacred bone male heir to the throne.
It will end with him on the throne because they are not going to mess with the history especially of a great king like Jinheung.

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Thanks for the clarification. I googled a lot but not much information in English. I really have no idea how you could gather so much information on Korean history when you are not even Korean. It's so unlike China's history with vast information floating on the internet. You are superb!

That is why I am truly frustrated with the direction this show is heading especially with regard to Ji Dwi's characterization. From the general discussion of how Sun Woo is portrayed to be more of a king that the king himself, I say she had so much audacity to try butchering such a celebrated historical figure.

If it's not because of PHS and I am rooting so much for Ji Dwi to deserving take over the throne, I would have already thrown the towel by now.

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check this out - it has a pretty good explanation - in line with what @Kiara was saying: http://dreamingsnowflake2013.tumblr.com/post/156244482049/the-real-king-jinheung-and-his-reign-534-576

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It's pretty much a mix of official (Samguk Sagi) and unofficial historical records (Hwarang Segi).

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Thanks for the info.

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Yes thanks for sharing! I think we've covered most of it in the comment section.

The most interesting thing is, IF Sammaekjong had died Queen Regent Jiso would've been the first reigning queen of Shilla. She would've been next in line to the throne over her true bone brothers.
I have to say that she must have loved her son enough to keep him safe and taught him well to become a great king. He was just a teen ager when he took over. He had great supporters and generals at his disposal, thanks to his mother.

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I too loved SunWoo here! Yes, terrible fighting skills, not pretty at all which is what I like about his character. He is not graceful or polished like Jidwhi, but he has his own appeal and charisma. I really like how he screamed his despair...so raw and natural...when you are in pain you can scream! So many would hide it or try to contain it not him...just let it out! I know I've said it before...he is a perfect hero to me...and yes Park Seo Joon is doing an amazing job here! I think all the actors are! Love them all and their relationships. If it's one thing this show did well, it's the pairing of all the characters...they all have a buddy...even Hwagong (sorry can't spell) and the Queen's man...they all started at odds with each other but came to respect each other and see the end result...brotherhood that knows no blood line and working together towards one goal...I really like how the Hwarangs came together and can see the change that has been happening...to each individual and as as a group.

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I believe Sun Woo stepping in instead of Meak Jong was the best thing!! he was the only one who can really get them out of that danger against that dirty Prince as Meak Jong wasn't ready yet and wouldn't be able to last against him unlike Sun Woo who gave him hard time and showed his leadership ability that will lead to him being Hwarang's leader!! and if I didn't knew better I would have believed he's the King, his actions and confidence were of a King!! swoooooon and I believe he's a Prince from that disqualified King's words to Hwarang's chief!!
I LOVED the team work of my 4 boys during their escape!! that was awesome!!

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forgot to say thank you for the recap!! ^__^

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This episode was so good. Frankly I only have eyes for Park Seo joon. As cute as all the other boys are he is THE MAN. When he yelled, "I am the King of Silla!" and proceeded to out maneuver the older more dangerous and experienced crown prince I almost "swooned". LOL Ji Dwi is a puppy still. Evidently his mama knows he's a puppy. She's been right all along. He's not ready. She's going to feel even more threatened by Sun woo after this. I think he has a familial claim to the throne. He may not be next in line but he's not an ordinary orphan. I'm still not feeling Ah ro mainly because I cannot see any chemistry between her and the two leads. I am not a fan of Go Ara's acting. Seriously how can she have almost zero chemistry with BOTH of them? It's not just the writing it's also her acting. She basically "mugs" for the camera. Sticks her bottom lip out and whines, that's how she plays it. No emotion ever reaches her eyes. No sparks pass between her and the boys. The big kiss scene was only bearable because Park Seo joon is giving it his all.

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I feel like with Go Ara's acting - emotions tend to reach her gaze, but have trouble reaching all parts of her at times. And she is weak at background acting.

I don't think she's chemistry-less with the boys, though I think her chemistry is more of a sister type of chemistry - which she can get away with in a youth drama, but doesn't bode well for her future as a romantic lead in an age appropriate romance drama. This sort of sucks since most kdramas are romance and focus on a couple between the ages of 25-39 type. Then again, there are more varieties of dramas now than ever.

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Another episode, another 60 minutes wasted without doing something to move Sam Maek Jong's story forward.

Many people I know have dropped this drama as early as episode 8 but here I am still standing - hoping - that eventually things will start moving. Alas, I'm once again disappointed and this time my patience is running thin. There are too many plot holes and wtf moments in this episode. Why the random epidemic scene?How many times do they have to playback that scene of Sunwoo claiming himself as king? Where was the princess when they saved the prisoners? Did they leave her unprotected as she travelled back to Silla? And what kind of sucky marksmanship is it to hit people on the ground instead of the Hwarangs who were sitting on top of their horses? Why is Ahro and Sun Woo kissing in public? Ugh.

The only consolation I have is that there are five episodes left. If I was able to stand 15 grueling hours of draggy plot, I can take in five more. The preview for epi 16 looks promising so I am hoping it won't disappoint and it will finally FINALLY address the deadlock on SMJ's story. Ugh.

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When I dislike a drama this much I just drop it and forget about it. I don't bother to read recaps or even comment on it anymore. Maybe you have someone at home you can rant to about it rather than burdening everyone else with how agonizing it is to stick with something that is completely voluntary in the first place. You "wasted" a lot of other people's time just reading your comment. I guess we all have too much time on our hands. Peace.

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To be fair, I agree with the previous commenter's comments on the plot holes and the general feeling about this drama. It's a pity that your time was "wasted" after reading comments you do not agree with. Perhaps you should find a better hobby, instead? Peace.

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I was wondering about those stuff you mentioned too! there's just too many plot holes! but I agree that there's something about this drama that makes us stick to it until the end. *coughs*taehyung*coughs*

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Loved this episode! Especially that fight scene, though I grimaced at thought of having an entire people's lives and the future of Silla hang on the balance of two guys sword fighting and then pummeling each other.

Also, I'm glad Ji Dwi held Sunwoo back from charging in and for pointing out that going after Aro would be