Five episodes equal five hours which equals 300 minutes of uninterrupted khottie saguek awesomeness. I am not lying when I say all of this visual stimulation had turned my brain to mush. But the hotness must be shared so we are putting this post together ASAP so you can join us in our state of fangirling befuddlement.
SCARLET HEART: RYEO
KMUSE: We, of course, have to start off our Mane of Glory recap with the prince bath scene in Scarlet Heart. What a wonderful way to introduce a ton of gorgeous princes all at once. I think that we should make it a rule that anytime there is a huge group of khotties in a drama they should all be introduced in a bathhouse.
CLKYTTA: Let’s have a quiet moment and thank the writer for this scene. Not only were we given a fun frolic in the water, but we have brooding half naked khotties reclining outside the water too.
DRAMA GEEK: I wasn’t sure where my eyes should be. There were so many abs and pecs.I also second Kmuse. And it doesn’t even have to be sageuk specific. Modern dramas could all start out at the sauna with back scrubs and cannon balls.
KdramaJen: Forget “manes of glory.” How about abs of glory? Definitely need more bathhouse scenes!
And since there are so many of them, maybe we should address each and give a quick (or more thorough) comment for each one.
Crown Prince (Wang Mu)
KMUSE: He gets a quick nod of acceptance for being the only prince who seems to see 4th Prince’s pain. I hope I don’t end up hating him in the future.
DRAMA GEEK: I think he feels the 4th princes pain because he’s also an outsider with the brothers and I’m pretty sure he has a nicer mother. Everyone has a nicer mother than So. He doesn’t get a whole lot of screen time, but I have a feeling he might end up on the 4th prince’s side even though he’s the one that’s supposed to be king/emperor. Even if it’s just to defeat the evil Maleficent. Oh wait, I mean the Queen whatever long name she has.
KdramaJen: I don’t have too much to say about this prince right now. He seems like a nice guy, but it is Kdrama, so who knows if that will last?
CLKYTTA: I think his character has a lot of potential. He could be the sleeper star or he could end up as collateral damage.
3rd Prince (Wang Yo)
KMUSE: I think it is funny that everyone sees the guyliner and instantly says “Yup, this is the bad guy.” Thankfully, he is doing a pretty good job at being the ambitious momma’s boy who is out to gain the throne no matter what.
DRAMA GEEK: Dear PD nim. We as the viewer can suss out who the bad guy is, no guyliner required. LOL. He is definitely Maleficent’s puppet. Without her, I’m not sure he’d be that evil.
KdramaJen: This prince just looks like the big bad baddiest of all the Crayola Crayon Princes. I predict evil machinations and brooding from this one!
CLKYTTA: Am I the only one who likes the guyliner? He’s bad, but I think he’s going to be a delicious bad. One of those villains that secretly you love even though you know he’d slit your throat in a heartbeat to be King. (KMUSE: After watching him on Running Man I am suddenly a lot more interested in his character. And i don’t mind the guyliner, just think it is funny that he was the only one allowed to wear it)
10th Prince (Wang Eun)
DRAMA GEEK: Okay, I’m risking my life here, but this guy drives me crazy. I thought idol actors who were totally dead faced and barely made an expression were bad. I was wrong. Ones attempting to be overly cutesy are much worse. I really don’t blame it on Baekhyun. Being in a sageuk straight out of the gate has to be hard. And then you add this director’s love for close shots that give very little acting leeway. And you add to that the fact that the writer gave his character a ton of screen time and lines in the first and second episode and it’s a total recipe for disaster. I have a feeling as the drama progresses he will get less focus and probably chill out a bit on the cute. So I have not written his character off yet. I just brace myself when he comes on screen.
KMUSE: Wang Eun doesn’t bug me that much. He is just lumped in with all the other princes. I did laugh when Wang Eun and Hae Su got in a fight and he was beaten up. If nothing else, I will have fond memories of that scene. But anytime he is with his brothers or just by himself ……”meh.”
CLKYTTA: Yawn, I’m not impressed with this character at all. Aside from the fight scene, he’s a filler character.
KdramaJen: I really hope they do something about his buffoonish character. Baekhyun is perfectly capable of turning heads. Anyone who has seen an EXO concert has seen his appeal. His character or the directing or the writing or his portrayal or all of these in combination are just not working for me.
9th Prince (Wang Won)
KMUSE: Sorry 9th Prince. So far you are completely forgettable. Maybe we will see his purpose in future episodes?
DRAMA GEEK: Um, who are we talking about?
KdramaJen: There’s a 9th Prince? Who is he?
14th Prince (Wang Jung)
KMUSE: Ji Soo. I will always love you, but this just isn’t your drama. Maybe it is because they are not letting you brood enough.
DRAMA GEEK: Haha, I was afraid to say it, but since Kmuse did, I will add to that. He’s still very new and has been lucky to get roles that fit his acting style. I’m going to chock this one up to a good learning experience for him and try not to cringe too much when he’s on screen. I do have a sneaky suspicion that the upcoming scenes he has with IU will be much better. He’s just trying too hard at the bromance cuteness.
KdramaJen: Ji Soo… He is one of my favorite young actors, but he is coming across as a bit bumbling and silly. That is such a misuse of his talent. I hope he gets a chance to cast dark looks and brood in the corner.
CLKYTTA: Ok, I asked for Ji Soo to smile more in a drama and I jinxed the poor puppy. He’s really awkward right now, but it looks like we have some more meatier scenes coming up for him. Bring on our angsty underdog and let’s forget about the bumbling puppy.
13th Prince (Wang Baek Ah)
KMUSE: I actually find this Prince rather interesting. I just wish his character arc was a bit better organized. He just seems to pop up randomly with interesting character tidbits. Oh, look, there he is being an artist. There he is playing an instrument and mooning over Wook’s wife. Look, there he is casually shirtless in the bathhouse…… Yup, he is an enigma.
CLKYTTA: I really like this prince, he’s got more depth than we know. I think he’s going to be the peacekeeper/secretkeeper. He’s very tolerant of his brothers and there’s more to the story with him and Myung Hee. I like a strong sensitive type, and he’s very easy on the eyes.
DRAMA GEEK: I loved his scene with Wook’s wife. I thought it brought a depth to both characters that they sorely needed. I don’t know if Wook’s wife liked him back, but was married off to the 8th prince instead, or if it was one sided. I have a feeling that has the romance progresses he’ll be a source of comfort to her.
KdramaJen: Look! It’s Big (Surplus Princess) with a mane of glory! Yeah, I know, he was also the guy who got the girl in School 2015, but I have tried to block that out. I am looking forward to seeing what he can do with this role.
8th Prince (Wang Wook)
DRAMA GEEK: Oh boy, I have such mixed feelings for our deep voiced 8th prince. He seems to be one thing on the surface: an intelligent man who loves his wife, and has a heart for his people and his family. But… there is something possibly darker lurking underneath. And there is also the fact that he’s mooning over his sickly wife’s cousin. If it was common practice for prince’s to take multiple wives and concubines then it might feel different. But I’m pretty sure only the king fills the palace with hordes of women and children. That being said, he is swoonworthy. The looks he gives her. His voice. His obvious amusement at her antics. I have a feeling that romantic rivalry will only be the first step in pitting him against the 4th prince.
CLKYTTA: SLS in 5..4…3…2…1! I’ve mentioned before how much I like Kang Ha Neul, right? I could listen to that voice all day and his little smiles and smirks are pure perfection. He’s the whole package here, caring husband, indulgent brother, mindful master of his home, and talented fighter. I can already sense much heartbreak in his future though, anyone who seems perfect typically gets dealt the worst hand possible in a Kdrama.
KMUSE: I admit I was not really expecting Prince Wook to get to me. Since I have seen the drama before I was going to be #4 Prince from start to finish. But his cute sweetness is winning over this fangirl’s hard heart. I can totally see why his character would catch our leading lady’s attention.
KdramaJen: Well, hello there, Kang Ha Neul! I think I first really noticed him in Monstar, and then he went and blew me away in Misaeng. I was a fan before, but his long hair is Khottie awesome.
4th Prince (Wang So)
DRAMA GEEK: My love for Lee Joon Ki is very strong. His real life knowledge of fighting, horse riding, and all things sageuk make him the ultimate sageuk leading man. He is smoldering and wounded in this. Every scene you can see how much he wants to just be one of the princes. And how much he hides behind that mask. The look of humiliation in the bath scene broke my heart. I really want this guy to get all the love he deserves.
A very quick side note that I will not dwell on again because it’s not about the actual drama but feel like I can’t not mention it. I am not happy with the fact that this director asked him to lose so much weight for this role. It is very hard to lose weight in your face (which is where he wanted the visual of the weight loss to show up) and until you see him disrobe in episode 3 you don’t understand how much he had to lose. I really hope now that the drama is over he will go back to a healthier weight. Joon Ki, fighting!!
KMUSE: Lee Joon Ki is killing it with this role. Talk about commanding attention when one walks into a room. His strength and vulnerabilities are so well done and I can’t stop watching him.
CLKYTTA: I am a sucker for a wounded warrior who just wants to find his place in the world. He’s a killer, but not for killing’s sake, he’s a survivor and to survive, he must kill. When the mask is off, all pretense is gone and we see the real So. He arrives a finely honed death machine, half starved in more ways than one, and I hope that he fills out as he finds love and happiness.
KdramaJen: I know he is dangerous and not gentle (a total understatement), but there is just something about the way we get glimpses of that scared little boy inside that is melting my heart. It just makes me think if only his mother had hugged him more, then maybe he wouldn’t need to be such a scary guy. Seriously, forget hugging. Maybe if his mother had, you know, not slashed his face and sent him off to be the hostage of a rival family, then maybe he would be a tad more warm and fuzzy.
KMUSE: While we are mentioning Wang So being vulnerable ….. can we discuss how crappy Wang So’s family is? If nothing else, I would want him to get the girl, just so he has someone on his side. Watching Wang So go from hopefully to despair every time his family treats him bad is killing me.
DRAMA GEEK: That meeting was epic. Can I have Joon Ki swoop me up like that? I’m pretty sure he could pull it off in one swoop. So far their scenes have been pretty electric. They have a natural chemistry that I like, and she can potentially be that one person who accepts him not matter what. I do hope he stops being so brutal with her. And soon. I’d run for my life if I were her.
CLKYTTA: This one was straight out of a bodice ripper romance novel. A masked man on a crazy horse comes racing along and swoops the heroine up to rescue her from death’s clutches. Then he drops her, mocks her, and rides away. I love their chemistry, I’m pretty impressed by IU’s expression in this scene, it’s a mixture of fascination and fear. She’s going to have a lot of work to do to break down his defenses.
KMUSE: Now this is how an OTP (One True Pairing) should meet. The hero sweeping in and saving the heroine from a tumble down a slight ravine. And then we have the Korean version where the hero promptly dumps her to the ground after and smirks. Yup, both swoonworthy and a jerk all in one. A true kdrama OTP moment.
KdramaJen: I think I might have been holding my breath while she was perched on his horse. I certainly felt my heart skip a beat. Then, I felt just as jilted when he tossed her to the ground. I am so glad she is feisty and won’t take any of his jerkiness without a fight. I can’t wait for him to fall for her. I hope he falls just as hard as she did when he dumped her on the ground!
KMUSE: I like the chemistry between Wang So and Hae Su. Sure it isn’t at all romantic at this point. Understandably since he is literally terrifying. Especially to a girl who is suddenly thrust into a different time and is pretty clueless. But her ability to stand up to him despite her fear is pretty awesome. It also helps show how different a modern girl and a historical girl are. One doesn’t bow to class differences while the others tiptoe around him. Is it any wonder that he is interested?
Our Alternate OTP
KMUSE: I think that this is the biggest problem I have with the remake. In the Cdrama the romance and attraction between Wook and Hae Su worked. In China, the royal princes have multiple wives and concubines. There is a whole social system just for the women of a house that involves rankings and interacting together for the comfort of their husbands. It was a socially acceptable practice that makes it believable that our leading lady and 8th Prince could get married and have a happy life together.
Sadly, that is not the case in Korean royalty (except for the king) and it is coming across as super cheaterish. Which makes me sad since Wook and Hae Su are having some awesome chemistry…. it is just dampened by Hae Su coming across as the other women whenever his wife is around.
DRAMA GEEK: I already commented on this but I wish his wife was evil. LOL. She’s so sad looking that it feels like his interest in Hae Su might just be because she can make him laugh. It would be hard for me to jump to his ship, but with Haneul anything is possible.
CLKYTTA: Yes, he’s married, but this is a tale as old as time. Man has sickly wife, wife has younger family member come to live with them, man falls for young vibrant sweet thing. He’s a prince, he’s childless, and he’s a healthy young man, I’m pretty sure a mistress is allowed, but I don’t think he will go too far in his attachment to her while his wife still lives. They may share a kiss, but he’ll regret it and go all noble idiot. I absolutely adore Kang Ha Neul, so I’m just going to sit back and enjoy all the longing glances he has for our leading lady.
KdramaJen: It is so not cool to poach your cousin’s man, but they certainly sizzle on screen. This is the forbidden fruit relationship, and it is so tempting!
KMUSE: At first, I wasn’t really blown away by the fight scenes in Scarlet Heart. Sure the assassin dance was pretty cool and there were some visually stunning moments, but it was not in the same league as Six Flying Dragon’s sword work. The show has managed to redeem itself in Episode 3 with Wang So battling a whole band of killers. Still, not 6FD level but I will give them a B+.
DRAMA GEEK: The fight/dance scene felt a little unfocused. It could have been because everyone was in a mask. I don’t know. I did find So fighting the tongueless men pretty awesome. Not the best fight scenes I’ve ever seen him do, but still pretty good.
KdramaJen: I am having flashbacks of Bidam from Queen Seon Duk. Like him, our 4th Prince makes battling assassins look easy (and makes me swoon). He also rocks that half mask like nobody has since the Phantom of the Opera.
KMUSE: I think we can all agree that Wang So looks really good covered in artistically sprinkled blood. Not to mention, he was totally a boss walking away from the burning monastery.
CLKYTTA: The fight scenes need some work, and for some reason everyone keeps getting blood all over their faces, but we aren’t really watching for the fight scenes, are we?
Overall Thoughts Episodes 1 – 3
DRAMA GEEK: At times the cinematography is breathtaking. Especially in episode one. I’m already routing for our hostage Prince So. He has had a hard life, and if a modern girl flung back in time is what it takes to be happy, then that’s what I want for him. I want his horrible family to pay for their sins, hopefully without too much blood shed. The music and acting of some of the princes can distract me, but not enough to make me stop watching. All in all, I’d give this drama’s start a solid 3.8 princes.
KdramaJen: It definitely caught my attention and left me impatiently waiting for the next episode. It is not my favorite sageuk of the moment (see below), but it is certainly one I will keep watching. Lee Joon Ki is mesmerizing and the way he can act with his eyes is absolutely fascinating to watch.
CLKYTTA: I like it, there’s definitely room for improvement, but it’s a good story. Hae Soo is believable as a woman who could charm all the princes. Her character is the perfect mix of innocence and rebel and provides a good foil to Wang So’s bad boy who just wants someone to love him. I foresee lots of drama tropes in our future, but I’m ok with that because we have so many wonderful actors to admire.
KMUSE: I have a few complaints, but most of those are in the style of directing which is one of my obsessions. I hated how the night scenes were so dingy for everyone but Wang So’s character. Also, there were definite blips of inconsistency in various scenes that really should have been caught and fixed. Especially considering the amount of money and time they spent on this show. I won’t say where they are since you can’t unsee them after you know, but they are totally there. Story wise I have no complaints. I loved the Cversion and I am really enjoying the Kversion.
MOONLIGHT DRAWN BY CLOUDS
Prince Bo Gum & The King
DRAMA GEEK: Haha, the way Kmuse has this portion of the post separated out has me dying. Anyway, I LOVE this budding alliance between cowardly king, and his son. Prince Bo Gum is smarter and braver than anyone knew. Kept hidden on purpose, or just because he wasn’t sure what he wanted yet in life. But the fact that he offered to shoulder his father’s burden was so touching. And in return that the king would be his strength if he needed it.
CLKYTTA: Oh Bo Gum, the way you can go from laughing to killer stare just gives me the shivers! I like seeing a halfway decent father/son relationship, I want them to take on the world and prove to everyone that they aren’t puppets.
KdramaJen: I actually cheered and woke the dog when the Prince turned the tables on the plotting ministers. I love that there is more to the father-son relationship than I first assumed.
KMUSE: Totally brought out the various emotions for me. Anger, disappointment, acceptance, and then happiness at the father/son bonding. Well done show.
Prince Bo Gum & Step Concubine
KdramaJen: This was an unexpected relationship. I love that she stepped in to comfort him and then he returned the favor years later. This was a lovely way to show the softer side of the prince.
DRAMA GEEK: These two are so sweet. Again, our bratty prince offers to be the support for someone he loves. And allowing her to cry on his shoulder (while he cried on hers) was beautiful.
CLKYTTA: I love this relationship, I actually teared up when he was younger and she comforted him. There is genuine affection on both sides and she is truly his mother in his heart.
Prince Bo Gum & His Besties
CLKYTTA: Guard Kim, Guard Kim, Guard Kim. What is your story? I am utterly fascinated by this man and his hair. His cheering section was cracking me up, it was like watching teenage girls at a Bieber concert. I like seeing that our prince sees the value in friendship. When he said they could be “secret friends” it was really sweet.
KdramaJen: I LOVE that there are Joseon fan girls. And I double love that the Prince was jealous over the attention his bodyguard was receiving! I like this trio of friends. I hope politics and position don’t ruin the friendship.
KMUSE: The scene where Prince Bo Gum told Ra On (Eunuch Han) that he wanted to remain friends in private was so awesome. Not to mention he kept that little bit of snarkiness present. Couldn’t stop laughing when Prince Bo Gum went on his tippi toes so Ra On couldn’t put on his hat.
DRAMA GEEK: I love these two together, but I like it best when Eunuch Han is with them. They make such a perfect trio.
Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better
KMUSE: Poor Yoon Sung. He is doing his darndest to be romantic and sweet and supportive of our fake eunuch. But am I the only one that feels like he does something swoon worthy and then Prince Bo Gum comes and does it better? Let’s take the rain scene where he runs with Ra On to an overhang where he convinces her to use a beautiful female covering that he had just bought.
But then we have Prince Bo Gum come along while Yoon Sung is buying an umbrella and I am all like “Yoon Sung who?” Sorry Yoon Sung (Jung Jin Young). You are doing one of the best performances of your acting career, but it is pointless to fight against Park Bo Gum’s charisma. It is just too strong.
DRAMA GEEK: Woe is the second lead who tries to compete with Bogummie’s presence in this drama. He just doesn’t have a chance.
CLKYTTA: There is no competition when you have a stoic Bo Gum with silent tears running down his face. All second leads must exit stage right. Instead, Yoon Sung, makes one of those heart fluttering moves in classic SLS style that protects our heroine’s identity. He’s a contender, but we are all helpless to Bo Gum’s charm and charisma and no one else really has a chance.
KdramaJen: He has everything necessary to create the perfect case of second lead syndrome: handsome, kind, thoughtful, witty, and insightful. Oh, and moral standards too? I think I squeed out loud when he told the beautiful girl he was painting that he basically had no intention of messing around with someone he does not love. So, you would think he would be able to turn the head of our pretend eunuch. Sadly, though, it is pretty hard to compete against the puppy prince who tears up remembering dancing in the rain with his mother and then practically creates an onscreen fire every time he leans in to get close to our leading lady.
The Hiccup Scene
DRAMA GEEK: SOOOOOOOO CUTE!!! She’s adorable, and I can’t blame her for watching this boy sleep. I love that they’ve retained their closeness (Ahem, sleeping in the CP’s bed close) even after she finds out who he really is.
CLKYTTA: I loved this scene so much. He knows she’s staring, she can’t stop staring and then the hiccups start. I love when they use the physical reaction of hiccups, it’s one of the cutest drama tropes. I’m sure it was a total hardship to just stand there and stare at his face……
KdramaJen: I would totally watch him sleep or whatever else I could get away with. Anyone who has watched more than a couple of Kdramas knows, the hiccups always mean someone is falling in love.
KMUSE: I think this is officially the moment Ra On falls for Prince Bo Gum. I am pretty sure anyone with a pulse would fall for him at this moment. He looks so perfect as he sleeps.
DRAMA GEEK: Be still my romantic heart. I watched this scene twice (okay four of five times) and teared up every time. Kim Yoo Jung was flawless. The first time I saw her was in The Moon Embraces the Sun and I remember how she had this angelic aura about her. During this dance, the emotions she conveyed through her eyes, and body motions set my heart alight and I’m sure the prince’s as well. It will be interesting to see him pine after the mysterious girl, all the while moaning to eunuch han about it.
KdramaJen: This was a scene worthy of cinematic accolades. It was so beautifully filmed and was absolutely exquisite. The juxtaposition of the rain scene and the dancing scene was just breathtaking. I have been impressed with Kim Yoo Jung, but I totally developed a major girl crush after this scene! And…talk about a mane of glory! I watched this scene a few times as well. I bet the prince wishes he could hit rewind too!
CLKYTTA: Our prince loved his mother, and she was someone who loved him very much in return. It only makes sense that his heart is moved by this mysterious girl whose dance reminds him so much of his mother. Kim Yoo Jung is flawless, we all talk about watching her grow up in dramas, but the girl was made to be an actress. She’s so good at making you believe she’s the character.
VARIETY SHOW APPEARANCES
Because I am a total glutton for punishment, I also watched the variety programs that the Scarlet Heart boys and Park Bo Gum were in. Because sometimes what you need after five hours of intense sagueking is some fluffy fun.
Running Man – Scarlet Heart Princes
KMUSE: This might be my favorite Running Man episode in the last two years. I usually don’t bother watching lately since it was getting a bit dull, but this episode brought back all the fun and shenanigans that I loved from the early Running Man years. It also helped that Lee Joon Ki kept in royal form throughout the show. Also, Kang Ha Neul is a fluffy giggling ball of sunshine. So glad I checked this one out.
2D1N – Park Bo Gum
KMUSE: 2 out of the 3 episodes have aired and it is glorious watching Park Bo Gum figure out how to survive the 2 Days 1 Night variety show. Not to mention it is pretty much two hours of watching Park Bo Gum’s gorgeous smile. I would highly suggest watching if you suddenly find yourself going through a Prince Bo Gum slump.
CLKYTTA: I saw snippets of the coin challenge and all I could do was giggle.
Wow, for a simple post this one turned out to be a labor of love. But it was all worth it, even if it was just for we Fangirls to express our opinions and love for the airing shows. Did we miss your favorite moment? Do you have something that drove you nuts? Let us know in the comments and be sure to tune in next week for another post full of Manes of Glory.
Til next time,