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An American Review: ‘Hwarang’ Episodes 1 And 2

After the carefully teased footage, which also included a special press conference before its premier, ‘Hwarang‘ did not disappoint. Having its Monday-Tuesday premier on December 20th, the KBS 2TV show had a viewership percentage of 6.9 rating. Not only was this drama extremely anticipated, but the cast was star-studded drawing in big expectations.

The cast consisting of: SHINee’s Minho, BTS’s V (Kim Taehyung), Do Ji Han, Jo Yoon Woo, Kim Ji Soo, Choi Won, Park Seo Joon, Go Ara, and ZE:A’s Park Hyung Sik take viewers into the famous Shilla Era. Going back 1,500 years the drama follows a group of True Bone youths, as they struggle with their various conflicts throughout the show. The first two episodes were very action packed, giving fans a very thick story line to fall into.

Starting with episode one, viewers are introduced to two characters Moo Myeong and Mak Mun (Lee Kwang Soo). The two are peasants living outside of the capitol. Moo Myeong and Mak Mun are good friends, with a precious relationship. Mak Mun has a goal of finding his family, with the help of his friend Moo Myeong, the two jump the capitol wall together. Their first day in the capitol walls are filled with quite an adventure, sadly, one that ends their fun too soon.

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Moo Myeong, nicknamed ‘dog-bird’, has a street savvy about him that makes him a very eye catching mystery. As the “new” guy in town, he is noticed by many, always finding himself in tough situations. While on a mission to help his dear friend, he runs into a drunk Aro (Go Ara). The humorous encounter leaves an impression on Aro, as well as Myeong. Later in the episodes, it is revealed that Aro has a strong connection to Mak Mun, but it is still a mystery to Myeong who she is.

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As the plot thickens, the introduction of the king follows. King Jinheung (Park Hyung Sik) comes back to the capitol, against his mothers wishes. It is revealed that he was sent away at a young age, after the death of his father, to prevent assassins from ending the royal line. He is strongly advised to keep out of the public eye, to prevent his identity from being known. Due to his situation, the Queen, plans to build a group of Knights to protect her son, and this is where Hwarang is born.

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While walking past a crowd, the King notices a crowd gathered. Going closer, he approaches to see Aro telling a very intense story. Viewers learn that Aro is loved for her ability to tell a good story, which is shown many times in the show. This causes the King to take interest, making him take a liking to Aro. The conflicted love triangle begins, and Aro soon finds herself wining the fancy of both the King and Myeong.

Of course, there can’t be a love triangle without an interest of conflict between the two leading men. While running for their lives, Mak Mun and Myeong are faced in a difficult situation. Suffering from one of his infamous fainting spells, Myeong becomes dead weight as Mak Mun tries to fight for his life. Sadly, both Mak Mun and Myeong become victims of a ruthless crime, leaving Myeong clinging for his life. While in a daze of shock and blood loss, Myeong sees the King standing before him, and vows to take vengeance for what he believes the King had done. This is the quarrel that will take viewers to the end of episode two.

While the plot is set for the three main characters, the introduction of two other main characters are also brought into the story line. Suho (Minho) and Banryu (Do Ji Han) are introduced, as well as their rivalry. Both Suho and Banryu are True Bones, but Banryu is a higher ranking True Bone, which he doesn’t let people forget. Of course, the competitiveness of Suho, and the arrogance of Banryu clash, calling for some entertaining banter between the two.

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Without giving too much away, it’s easy to say that this drama is an easy 10 out of 10. Within the first two episodes, so much was revealed, giving viewers so much to anticipate for next weeks episodes. Normally a slow build up is made for the first few episodes, which can be very boring, but ‘Hwarang’ threw that concept out the window. While ‘Hwarang’ translates to flowering knights, it’s safe to say that it’s a very fitting title. It’s mentioned several times by the Queen how she wants, “good looking knights” so, of course the casting for the show went above and beyond to get the best looking in Korea for these roles. The men are beautiful, but the women are beautiful as well. Both the men and women are adorned with such gorgeous dress and jewels, romanticizing the era even more.

This show is a major recommendation, with more drama to come. Be sure to watch ‘Hwarang’ Mondays and Tuesdays on KBS 2TV. Did you have a favorite moment from the first two episodes? Let us know in the comments below!

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Edited By: Sarah Smith

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Sarah Smith

Sarah Smith

Sarah is a college senior with big dreams. When she is not writing fanficiton or articles for Officially KMUSIC, she is playing guitar and singing. Completing a degree in Political Science, and a minor in Telecommunications, Sarah has dreams of pursuing a law degree in music business and copyright law. Her favorite groups are SHINee, Seventeen, and Epik High.

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