Intro: Go Ha Jin dies and goes back in time to prevent the next king from murdering his family and becoming a tyrant in history (Gwanjong. Based on a Chinese novel based on true history). As she’s trying to survive, figuring out who the blood-thirsty king is, and adjusting to her new life as Hae Soo, the cousin to the Hae family, two princes change her life. Will she live long or will her life be caught up in misery due to the influence of the throne?
Final Thoughts below:
Firstly, the Korean audience didn’t tune in, resulting in low ratings. The reason? The fans didn’t like that their precious oppas had been involved in minor scandals. And the heroine had worn an inappropriate lolita outfit onstage once. So they didn’t support the show.
Thank God international fans weren’t complete idiots because they got to enjoy a really good show.
Hae Soo is such a great main character. Yes, she makes mistakes because she’s not a Mary Sue but she’s likable. And she actually does shit! I’m so tired of dramas trying to show us a promising lead only for her to be all talk. Or fall apart at the end. Hae Soo remained true to herself the entire show despite the betrayals and how mistreated she was, the heartbreak, the torture, everything, she never lost herself. She respected herself.
She adapts quickly to survive and when her feelings threaten to hurt those around her, she actually thinks about it and doesn’t let her emotions sway her!
The female relationships in this show range from the typical bitchy girl to the crazy mom to true friends. Sure, I didn’t like some of the batshit crazy ones but they were given backstories to show how they got there. Not to make you forgive them, hell no, but to understand. Same for all the antagonists.
The 8th Prince, Wook, is one of the love interests who, like the other characters, completely changed throughout the course of the show. I loved him at first, but when he was faced with power things turned out a different way. I loved how Hae Soo was able to turn away from him after his lust for power twisted his character. He was still a good guy but the throne ruined him.
The 4th Prince, Wang So, tore out my <3. He only wanted his mother to care about him but she tossed him aside after horribly disfiguring him. The scar has ruined his reputation and hardened him, causing him to lash out at those who provoke him regarding his mother or his face. Hae Soo’s compassion and ability to look past all of that is what causes him to turn a new leaf. He slowly tries to become closer to his family and remains a loyal friend to Hae Soo, even when she rejects his feelings for her. She comes to love him back, but the writers took care in developing her feelings.
Sadly, like all of the characters who get the throne, he slowly goes mad. Hae Soo leaves him after several incidents that only hurt those around them. You can see that he means well but the threat of those stealing the throne from him and trying to hold onto Hae Soo is too much for him. I really hated him after he took the throne because despite all he’d been through, and while it made sense for him to act the way he did, it soured everything.
He tried to blame her for leaving him after he slept with Yeon Hwa for political reasons, for having her friend murdered because she was planning on harming Hae Soo, and more. The throne brought out the worst in him and considering his entire character was the struggle to balance the light and dark within him, it worked. I didn’t like it but it worked and that’s what matters in the end.
Thankfully, this drama took a realistic look at the events of the story and didn’t sugar-coat everything. The ending may not have been the fluff you wanted, but considering the foreshadowing in this show and how often the themes of power corrupting people, people changing, etc came up, it was only time for the ugly to come out.
Honestly, this is one of the better kdramas I’ve seen. I’ve never been a huge fan of them because they’re long, they’re pretty superficial, and it takes sooooo damn long for the heroine to do something. Then again, most of the kdramas I’ve seen were the “popular” ones that came out. The ones that aren’t historical basically.
The heroine is great and I had her back the entire time. She was hurt and tortured, betrayed and endured so much. I really admired her inner strength and her tenacity. The romance was great and heartbreaking.
The entire drama was about how power corrupts people and that people are never steadfast. If we aren’t honest with each other, how can we expect to come out the same? As such, nearing the finale, many people were frustrated by the dark turn the characters faced but it couldn’t work any other way. The show was hinting at it from the beginning and I’m so glad they didn’t pull fluff out of their ass to give us a cliche happy ending.
It was realistic and I enjoyed every single moment. Recommended if you like action, romance, political intrigue, and hot guys ;P.
Available on Dramafever.
What did you think of Scarlet Heart? Do you have any recommendations?
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