Scarlet Heart: Ryeo - An Introduction

by , Tuesday September 20, 2016
1 Like
 Scarlet Heart: Ryeo - An Introduction

A historical K-Drama starring some of the hottest actors of 2016...

MY FIRST USER BLOG. How fun. Naturally my first thought was to procrastinate and get writing when I saw this new feature, and so my second thought was wait, about what? But I didn’t think for long. Recently I’ve been 100% consumed in this particular thing and so of course I’d love to write about it…

Scartlet Heart: Ryeo

This is totally relevant to writing by the way because I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been inspired to write all sorts of crazy plots courtesy of the shows I watch…​

This is certainly a k-drama for anyone interested in history as well as laugh-out-loud moments and squee-ing. It’s set in the Goryeo dynasty rather than the more popular Joseon dynasty and therefore watches differently due to encapsulating differing period styles and manners. If you’re familiar with historical shows from other countries/periods, then I reckon it’ll go down fine.

This drama uses the plot of the Chinese version – also called Scarlet Heart – and focuses on multiple princes embroiled in a conflict ultimately for the throne. The Chinese version focuses on real-life historical Chinese figures and so the Korean version focuses on real-life historical Korean figures, only using a similar story line. The Chinese version has two seasons as well as an entirely separate remake called Jade Palace Lock Heart. The Korean version is likely to only have the one season.

The Korean version of Scarlet Heart is set during the reign of King Taejo and his sons. Another drama set in this period is Shine or Go Crazy. The basic idea of the plot is a 21st century girl called Ha-Jin seemingly dies, but before she does she reawakens in the royal bath house of 10th century Korea. There she first lays eyes on the princes, who recognise her as cousin to the wife of the 8th Prince Wang Wook. Her name is Hae-Soo.

Hae-Soo has to adapt quickly to her life as a near-enough royal and using knowledge from brief history lessons in school, comes to realise that as recorded in history, one of the princes will murder their brothers to succeed the thrones… Hae-Soo can’t remember what prince and fears the day she finds out who, because as episodes progress she becomes friends with each one of them.

Hae-Soo isn’t fitting in well to her new life, and it’s all so coincidental that the real Hae-Soo had a dangerous accident the moment before the new Hae-Soo appeared. This might suggest the two have swapped places or they both have died. Hae-Soo’s accident seemingly renders her illiterate and as said by other characters has made Hae-Soo a completely different person. This only increases the princes’ interest in the girl who was supposedly cold and unfriendly before.

Meanwhile, the 4th prince Wang So, is just returning to the palace after a life of exile since a young boy after his own mother, Dowager Empress Yoo, rejected him and in doing so marred him with a large disfiguring scar on his face. The people fear him and so Wang So is a cold and brooding figure rumoured to kill without thought or feeling. His return triggers conflict with his brothers who also dislike him. Hae-Soo and Wang So, however, develop a special relationship which helps Wang So remain calm in the palace that seems set out to hurt him.

Wang Wook, the 8th prince and husband to Hae-Soo’s cousin, is developing his own feelings for Hae-Soo. Even in early stages of the drama you can sense a triangle developing which I reckon will expand even further as the drama progresses.

So far on the date I’m writing this, there are only 9 episodes out. It’ll run for 22 episodes so there’s plenty to come yet. What interests me in this drama is the cast – the cast of princes is filled with some of the most famous and most popular celebrities in Korea and that has helped in terms of viewership and interest.

What I’m looking forward to in this drama is how Hae-Soo will figure out what prince it is in history that succeeds the throne and kills all his brothers so she can put a stop to it. So far it looks like it’ll be Wang So, and in the Chinese version it was the 4th prince that kills all his brothers so you never know.

The directors did say there would be significant difference from the Chinese version so who’s to say anyone dies at all? Hae-Soo might stop it before it’s too late. She might change history unlike the Chinese version.

I’m feeling positive about the outcome; so far Wang So has come across as a very misunderstood character.



You can watch this drama legally on if you live in one of the licensed regions that usually cover the Americas. Additionally, there are sites like,, and that upload the drama globally.



Loading ...