A house and friendship divided in The King Loves
MBC’s upcoming fusion sageuk The King Loves has released a slew of promo material in the final weeks leading up to its premiere, including a new poster, short character teasers, and an extended trailer that was curiously only made available at the recent press conference. I’m pretty pumped to watch this for Im Shi-wan (Misaeng), since this will be his last project before army duty *sad face*, and for writer Song Ji-nah’s drama comeback.
The character teasers are super short, and feature each of our main leads as they narrate a line that hints at the bromantic heartbreak and romantic angst they have in store for us. Im Shi-wan’s Wang Won character says, “Since when did these two become unable to meet each other’s eyes?” Yoon-ah’s (The K2) character, Eun San, gets a bit more variety in her teaser as we see her in multiple costumes, while narrating, “Now I know why my heart would both race and hurt.” And finally, for our third leg of the love triangle is Hong Jong-hyun (Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo) as his character Wang Rin thinks, “I am fooling His Majesty. As expected, he still does not know.” Noo, don’t kill the bromance!
The extended trailer reveals certain plot points that I’m sure are going to wrench my heart out once the show starts: Im Shi-wan narrates that there was once a child between a Goryeo king and a Yuan princess, and that everyone bowed down before that child. However, all does not seem well in the royal household as a young Wang Won joyfully tells his father that the people will no longer resent their king, to which the spiteful ruler, played by Jung Bo-seok (Monster), replies: “Me? Those people are my people, you barbarian mixed-breed.” Seriously, were there any good father figures in Goryeo’s royal lineage?
It’s so sad to hear Wang Won internalize all of that as he ponders whether it would be better for Goryeo to have a pure-blooded king, and it’s also bittersweet to see Wang Rin firmly nip that thought in the bud as he says that it’s the person, not the blood, that makes the throne. Won says, “There’s only one person in this world who would shed tears for me. And I continued living in case I made him cry.” Bah, forget Yoon-ah, can’t you two just run off together and live happily ever after?
But of course, it wouldn’t be a proper love triangle without our heroine Eun San, who apparently has a history with the prince since he recognizes her at first sight. She has her reasons for keeping her identity a secret though (is Yoon-ah supposed to be cross-dressing?), and threatens to kill Won if he keeps showing up in front of her. Her threats don’t deter him though since he gladly gives her license to kill him: “This is the story of how I came to love you more than myself.”
Rin and San are both caught up in some secretive missions, and they bump into each other as they carry them out. One of them involves Rin shooting an arrow in the king’s direction, (intentionally?) making the king think his son is trying to kill him. Aw, Rin, say it ain’t so! As if there aren’t enough reasons to make the two besties turn their backs on each other: They both separately declare that San is their lover, accompanied by an angsty merry-go-round of brooding and soulfully staring into each other’s eyes. We get a glimpse of the three in happier times as Won narrates: “My dear friend, whom I trusted more than myself, began to deceive me. And between my lover and me, an uncrossable river began to flow. He was my only friend, and she, my only lover.”
Man, that’s a lot of Shakespearean tragedy for one drama, but is it weird that I’m looking forward to it, angst-fest and all? It’s definitely a great platform for Im Shi-wan to showcase his acting prowess, and I’m hoping Yoon-ah and Hong Jong-hyun also deliver solid performances in the upcoming sageuk.
MBC’s The King Loves will premiere on July 17, after Lookout ends its run next week.
- Tension in a garden of flowers for The King Loves
- Assassin-filled forests and masked dances in The King Loves
- Main writer behind The King Loves revealed to be Song Ji-nah
- The King Loves to play in azalea-filled forests
- Yoon-ah steals the hearts of two best friends in The King Loves
- Im Shi-wan as a young prince for MBC’s The King Loves