Mane of Glory Recap #12: Hwarang Initial Thoughts


Hwarang began airing this week and I have thoughts…lots and lots of thoughts.  And while I am not sure that we will be doing weekly recaps for this drama I did want to put down some of my initial impressions. 

UPDATE**** DramaGeek is going to be joining me today to chat Hwarang.  Cross fingers I can get a few other of our bloggers interested over the next several weeks.

As you know if you have read our past posts we don’t recap the whole show moment by moment.  We are more the type to do various observations and sarcastic snarking when warranted.  So if you are looking for a complete play by play check out other blogs…and then come back and enjoy our random thoughts.  Now on to Ep 1& 2 of Hwarang



KMUSE:  First off…….They need them to give him a new name.  Referencing him as just Dog Bird doesn’t work for me.  It totally distracts me from whatever is going on.  Not to mention that one does not come across as very bad ass when going by the moniker Dog Bird.  What are the evil doers going to scream in Gaskital fashion when he thwarts them?  Dog Bird just doesn’t sound at all intense.  I personally am hoping he takes on a new name when he infiltrates Hwarang.

The name and hair (we will discuss that later) aside, Dog Bird is a really great character.  Especially when he gets to the capital and starts confronting people with his obvious disdain for authority and superior fighting skills. Park Seo Joon’s charisma is also slowly overshadowing the bad styling which makes me happy.

Drama Geek: I looked up his character name because I needed more than Dog Bird too. Moo Myung is his current name. Which from what I gather actually means no name. Now we know why he goes by his nickname instead. Park Seo Joon should be given a medal for overcoming one of the worst historical stylings and still look bad ass when he fights. I’m hoping once he enters Hwarang he will wear his hair back more. Or maybe all the time. :)

The Storyteller (Ah Ro)

1a49KMUSE: I like everything about her character so far.  Her erotic stories, her stubbornness (The drinking scene cracked me up), and her total inability to be overly feminine were all hilarious.  So far Ah Ro has been a welcome addition to the show and seems to fit the drama’s concept perfectly.

Drama Geek: I love GO Ara, but I’d hoped for a more unique leading lady. Her performance is spot on with the shows vibe, but I just wish the drama writers could write a historical female lead that was more central to the story. Of course she’ll probably end up having some birth secret and become a political pawn down the road. There is still time once they establish Hwarang to make her more than just a love interest for our two boys.

King Hottie


KMUSE: Oh dear heavens,  Park Hyung Shik is flipping gorgeous and has stolen the show in my opinion.  His chemistry with our leading lady is sizzling hot and I am already sad at his second lead status.  I also am loving the whole hidden (almost dethroned king) concept they have going.  It makes his story much more interesting than just a random nobleman masquerading as a peasant plot line that we usually get.

Drama Geek: LOTR elves meets Kdrama. All this king needs is a bow and arrow. I’m sure they’ll be happy to provide one once he joins Hwarang. I think he got the long stick when it came to wigs. Not that his is that great but it is much better than the rest of them. I’m going to enjoy his chemistry with A Ro and I have a feeling he’ll become great frenemies with Dog Bird.

The Evil Queen

KMUSE: We have had some great evil queens this year in Dramaland.  Which makes it all the more obvious that this actress/character just doesn’t cut it when it comes to throwing out evil shade.

Drama Geek: Okay… so is she really evil? I get the feeling she’s playing all sides and is possibly just trying to protect the throne. Or I could be totally wrong and it’s just bad acting. LOL.

Kwang Soo

2a88KMUSE: Love love love his character and how his life and death gave our leading man purpose.  You knew that he was doomed from the first ten minutes of the show but despite that Kwang Soo managed to make every scene he is in count.  I 100% believed the level of friendship between him and Bird Dog (grrr stupid name) and felt despair when he died.  Congrats Kwang Soo on giving us another well done and memorable cameo performance.

Drama Geek: It’s hard when the person doing the cameo is a better actor than 80% of the cast and they die so fast. Kwang Soo made me fall in love with his character from the beginning and I really did feel a deep sorrow when he died. Though I do wish there was a little less blood. Gurgling on it while you’re saying your last farewells is just so distracting. But in the end he was the catalyst for our hero. Not that Bird Dog seemed to need much to make him want to fight against the establishment.

The Other Khotties

KMUSE: I like both of the prince khotties.  They are vain and snarky which is always a fun combo.  I am also loving how Min Ho looks like he came straight from an 80’s hair band concert.  Maybe it is due to being forced into so many crazy Kpop looks in SHINEE but he seems very comfortable with this style and it comes across in his acting.

Drama Geek: Haha. Min Ho totally seems the most comfortable in this hair. He usually doesn’t do much for me in dramas but I’m really liking his character so far.

Taehyung (V) Gets His Own Category

KMUSE: SQUEEEEEEEEEE!  Taehyung was on screen for only 20 seconds and I might have fangirled the whole time.  He is so adorable and excited to be a pretty boy warrior. #BTSBias4Ever

Drama Geek: Double SQUEEEEEEEEE!!! I was seriously praying to the drama gods that his deep sexy voice would be in tact for this character and that he wouldn’t totally suck. And for 20 seconds he didn’t. LOL. This is the amount of screen time a completely green idol actor should get in a sageuk. Small cute doses.

Wigs From Hell


KMUSE: Never have I witnessed a worse use of styling and/or wigs in a historical drama.   The wigs are horrid and look awkward (except on our kpop boys for possible reasons I expressed earlier) and the clothes are bland if you compare them with other dramas of the same era.  Even the courtesans look like they are decked out in costumes made for a college play.  Nothing screams stylish and expensive and it keeps taking me away from the story.

Drama Geek: After just finishing Scarlet Heart and Moonlight, and currently watching Princess Wei Young & Nirvana in Fire the contrast is glaring. When Park Hyung Sik donned his “kingly’ robes I about choked in shock. That does not look like something a king would wear. I do give major props to all of them for acting past the items on their bodies.

Cheesiness vs Angst

KMUSE: I might have had a tiny bit of narrative whiplash from transitioning between all out cheesy comedy then intense angst scenes.  The cheesiness of episode 1 made me think this was just going to be a filler drama.  But after watching the angsty awesomeness of episode 2 I actually became invested in what is happening and even woke up this morning thinking about the plot.  Hopefully, the writer can somehow combine the two aspects so it isn’t as extreme one way or the other.

Drama Geek: I agree with Kmuse. It looks like the promos were both extremes because the drama is as well. I think the tone of episode 2 with comedic scenes sprinkled in will work out if they can achieve that balance.


1a50KMUSE: So far Go Ara seems to have chemistry with both leading men (when I don’t get distracted by Dog Birds name or horrid hair.)  But if I had to choose only one than it is King Hottie hands down.  I can’t be the only one to gasp at how sexy he was when he had our leading lady up against the wall at the end of episode 1.

Drama Geek: We’ve never seen the leads face to face without her being drunk so I’ll withhold judgement until that happens. I think that Park Seo Joon will probably have the best comedic timing with her, and I have hope that they can sizzle just like the other couple. If anyone questions if PSJ can sizzle please see Witch’s Romance. Boy can throw down with the sexiest. Or you can see his chemistry with Ji Sung. That was pretty impressive as well.

Final Thoughts:

KMUSE: I am intrigued to see where this goes.  I liked the cliffhangers on both episodes and can’t wait to watch the boys start to compete against each other and hopefully fall into a bromance.  Not to mention we should have more Taehyung next week (SQUEEEEEE!)

Drama Geek: I like our three leads. I’m dying for more Taehyung. How I feel about the overall story will probably depend on what happens once they actually form the pretty boy training camp.

We are throwing out a few ideas on how to possible recap this drama.  But as of right now I think we are going to just go week by week and see what happens.

Til next time,

The Fangirls

0 thoughts on “Mane of Glory Recap #12: Hwarang Initial Thoughts

  1. Dog-bird is better in Korean. Gae-sae is one syllable away from Gae-saekki, which is like son of a bitch, which I guess they’re not allowed to say on air. It’s just their way of getting past the censors, they did it in Reply 1997 too. :-)

    You’re right, their hair is terrible (although it makes me nostalgic for the 80s) but so far not too distracting for me as Seojoon and Hyunshik have tons of charisma.

  2. “There is still time once they establish Hwarang to make her more than just a love interest for our two boys.”

    In the context of a Drama very emphatically ALL ABOUT the pretty boys, one in which the pretty boys likely outnumber viewers who care about the female lead, this phrase made me smile at the irrepressible nature of optimism. I’d love it if this came true, but I’d strongly advise not holding your breath.

  3. You’re not alone Kmuse. I had a moment of revelation when PHS put Go Ara against the wall: the manly confidence, the gaze, that soft voice…I was smitten.
    Not sure this drama will be up to the expectations but now I know that PHS is another k-hottie to keep in my radar…gosh, these Koreans never run out of sexy men or what? XD

  4. Watching Hwarang currently and hands down, I love the chemistry between Ah Ro and Ji Dwi better. I’m sorry, I love Dog Bird the most, but his interactions with Ah Ro was just a bit boring and cheesy for me. Thank goodness there’s the mystery of Dog Bird’s birth that always keeps me going.

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