Kdrama Thoughts: (MOON LOVERS) Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Has it been a week now? I guess it has. A week since one of my favorite Kdrama of 2016 ended. For most people who know me, watching Korean drama is one of my guilty pleasures; my constant escape from reality apart from reading. I just can’t seem to get enough of Kdramas since they offer a lot of unique stories that I usually don’t see in Philippine telenovelas. Don’t hate me, but I’m just not into love teams, which is typically the norm in Philippine television.

So let me get back to my current favorite Kdrama, and that is Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (what a mouthful) which aired from August 29, 2016 to November 1, 2016 on SBS every Monday and Tuesday for 20 episodes. It was based on the Chinese novel Bu Bu Jing Xin by Tong Hua, which was also adapted last 2011 into a television series in China by the title Scarlet Heart.


Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo or widely known as Scarlet Heart is the story of a 21st-century woman named Go Ha-jin (played by Lee Ji-Eun/IU), who during a total eclipse of the sun, was transported back in time to Goryeo Dynasty. There she wakes up in the body of Hae Soo, and meets the many royal princes of the ruling Wang family.

Initially, she falls in love with the gentle and warm 8th Prince Wang Wook (Kang Ha-neul), but later had a change of heart when she fell in love with the fearsome 4th Prince, Wang So (Lee Joon-gi) who hides his face behind a mask. Meanwhile, as rivalry and politics ensue among the princes in a fight for the throne, Hae Soo finds herself unwittingly caught between it all.

I started watching this series because of Lee Joon-Gi, like who wouldn’t watch this because of Lee Joon-Gi? This guy is just consistently great as an actor and has always been stellar in his performance even if not all his dramas are as successful when it comes to ratings.

Speaking of ratings, it was unfortunate that Scarlet Heart Ryeo did not do so well domestically in Korea. I’m going to lay the blame with its competition, Moonlight Drawn by Clouds, (love that drama too) which aired at the same time; however, that was not the case with the international community where Scarlet Heart Ryeo was well received. And it’s true that by the time Moonlight Drawn by Clouds ended, Scarlet Heart Ryeo was able to achieve a significant boost in ratings; gaining the last episode a double-digit score.


As I’ve said, this drama has become one of my favorites and also the only sageuk I’ve watched this year. I always fall in love with stories of a broken hero being mended by the love of a fair maiden. There’s just something romantic about that for me. So story-wise I was already hooked.

As for the characters, I was pleased with how well most of the actors and actresses delivered their parts. The chemistry is indeed there for each character, and the tension and expressions are spot-on. Though I honestly wasn’t so impressed with Lee Ji-eun (Hae Soo); it felt like she was being eaten alive by everybody else with her acting. I think her looking great beside Lee Joon-gi saved her. That probably sounds harsh, but Kang Han-Na (Yeon-hwa) did way better in her scenes than Lee Ji-eun (Hae Soo). I think I was only able to appreciate her character in the last two episodes. I did cry in her final moments even though I hate the way her character’s mind works. How can a supposedly 21st-century woman who traveled back in time be so close-minded to the one who she says is the love of her life? Yes, that may sound confusing to those who haven’t watch it, but I won’t go much into detail. I highly recommend everyone to go see this series. 😀

The cinematography is excellent; except for the overuse of close-ups, which is kind of bothersome at times. There’s just too many in only one episode, imagine that in 20!

Overall, the drama has it’s own share of shortcomings and issues when it comes to the flow of the story, but the characters are compelling, and you’ll hate, cry, laugh and go through a roller coaster of emotions with all of them. A highly recommended drama.

18 thoughts on “Kdrama Thoughts: (MOON LOVERS) Scarlet Heart Ryeo

  1. I’m currently watching the 9th episode and I can’t stop! I recently finished watching Moonlight and seeing how this has always been compared with it, I decided to give it a try. And I dare say, I like this way, way better! So imagine my confusion when I found out that this got a low rating from Korea. Setting the ratings aside, this definitely won me over – probably one of the series that will leave a great impact once I finished watching it.

    As to Moonlight, it was fine. But if not for Park Bo Gum who was such a pleasure to watch, I would’ve dropped it around ep 7. Not to mention the fact that the story was quite predictable too.

    Scarlet Heart has the tension, conflict and great characters that make a saeguk memorable! And Lee Jong Gi is just…..a must-watch.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know right?! As much as I love Park Bo Gum in Moonlight, Scarlet Heart Ryeo still has more depth of story and more compelling characters. Though there were still flaws with the flow of the story, it is still a remarkable one. Plus cinematography is just beautiful! ❤

      EDIT: I just saw your site! WOw! I love anime!!! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. True, there were noticeable lapses on the storytelling but those weren’t enough to ruin the entire thing. As to the cinematography, I would’ve wished they minimized the zoom-ins, but given that the characters were good looking, I really don’t mind. LOL!

        Really? You like anime too! Cheers!!!


  2. I’m late to the party but I just can’t resist but comment on this one. MLSHR is a big disappointment for me. It had all the right ingredients to become an epic show. Lee Jun Ki, hallyu idols (even if they are not actors their popularity counts) and it was pre-produced which gave the staff enough time to edit properly. Lastly, I believe that the story’s premise is very promising and I can’t help but cry over the many possibilities the show could have gone story-wise while staying true to the core story. But no, they decided to use inappropriate OSTs, 10,000 close-ups, release 2 different versions and my biggest beef with the show was Hae So’s character. I didn’t mind that IU at times can’t deliver. I was willing to overlook that if only her character made sense. I finished the show but I abused the fast forward button for the most part from ep 17-20. Ep 16 is the real ending for me. I’ll just go on thinking that So & Su stayed in that little cabin and lived happily ever after.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hello Cy! Welcome to my page! I knew you would comment on this one. Hahaha! And yes I do feel your sentiments, but I still do love this kdrama. Overall, the story is still compelling for me and even with all it’s shortcomings. 😀


      1. I had to because I had so much hope for this one that I was willing to ignore all the flaws as long as the show gives me a logical ending. I knew that So & Su will not have a happy ending but why couldn’t they be happy before So’s death. I can come up with several scenarios where So will still die but they could have been happy before her death. Audiences are willing to suffer with the character but there has to be a payoff in the end otherwise what is the point. Anyway, I’m watching Hwarang these days and I like it so far. It doesn’t have the gravitas ala “six flying dragons” or “tree with deep roots” but it’s a fun watch.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. I haven’t tried watching Hwarang. I started Legend of the Blue Sea but stopped watching after episode 2 because I was busy for a while. After that I started watching Goblin love it so much I forgot to check out LBS again. ehehehhe! 😀


          1. I don’t know why I haven’t tried watching Hwarang. I feel like it’s just a bunch pretty boys with a no-substance story. Well I could be wrong so maybe I’d still try to watch it if i could. 😀

            Liked by 1 person

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