There’s been A LOT of publicity around Scarlet Heart: Ryeo and I admit to being caught up in a bit of it. I also admit that my main reason for wanting to see this series is to watch Lee Joon Gi (이준기), currently my favorite Korean actor.
Scarlet Heart: Ryeo is a remake of the Chinese version of Scarlet Heart. As I understand it, the Korean version has the same basic plot line as the Chinese version, but is set in the beginnings of the Goryeo Dynasty (which was founded in 918 CE by King Taejo). There is no secret, though, that the producers of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo will be taking a lot of creative license in the program. It will be interesting to see just how much they will rewrite history.
I’m watching Scarlet Heart: Ryeo on Drama Fever (dramafever.com). This is the Drama Fever synopsis of episode 1:
“After seemingly drowning in the present day, Ha Jin wakes up in the Goryeo era, assuming the body of Lady Hae Soo. The princes of the palace nervously await the return of their brother, 4th Prince Wang So.”
My initial reaction to episode 1 was a typical reaction: I felt it was a bit over dramatic. I feel this way quite often when it comes to korean dramas, but in this case, I think the producers of Scarlet Heart: Ryeo were attempting to solidify the characteristics of certain characters in the series.
The episode focused mainly on Ha Jin finding herself in the body of some young woman named Lady Hae Soo and on Prince Wang So, the 4th out of 10 princes (King Taejo was quite prolific, it seems). Prince Wang So is feared by just about everyone. I’d fear him, too. He kills a horse with his sword within just a few minutes of being introduced into the story.
Lee Joon Gi (이준기)’s portrayal of Prince Wang So is a little bit over the top, right now, but knowing this actor’s talents, I’m sure the portrayal will smooth out fairly soon. I’ve never been disappointed by his acting, overall.
IU plays Ha Jin/Hae Soo. I’m not sure I’m going to like her very much. Her actions and reactions are campy. She reminds me a lot of an anime school girl. But, I’m not an Asian male. Her portrayal of Hae See might very well be seen as cute. Since this is her first drama (I think), I will wait and see.
It wasn’t a bad episode, as far as first episodes go. The program itself has a lot of potential and I look forward to watching all the princes, especially Wang So played by Lee Joon Gi (이준기).
I should note that in real Korean history, Wang So eventually became the fourth king of Goryeo. That’s no guarantee, though, that the character won’t die or otherwise be forced into another path, as saeguks (historical dramas) are notorious for rewriting history.