First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

When this drama popped up on my radar, I was reluctant to give it a try.  After all, it’s a period historical and those type of dramas are usually relegated to the bottom third of my watch list.  However, Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung has managed to mix cute and fluffy with the usual palace politicking, resulting in a ‘sageuk lite’ that is absolutely delightful.  Read on, to see if you should add this drama to your watchlist too!


The story takes place at the beginning of the 19th century. Goo Hae Ryung is an intern to become a palace historian. However, it was not acceptable for women to write historical records on that time. She takes one step at a time to create her own destiny in Joseon, where the Confucius ideas are deeply rooted. She wants to fulfill her duties as a historian and prove to the world that everyone is equal. Along with the fight of the female palace historians, the drama will tell her romance with Prince Lee Rim who has a secret of his own. (


Shin Se Kyung is a joy to watch, as the no-nonsense, book loving, spinster, Goo Hae Ryung.  She confident and outspoken, without being pushy and obnoxious.  I especially love that, though she is a noble lady, she doesn’t hesitate to hike up her skirts and jog down to the street to seek justice and help those in need.  This is the type of bold female lead I can get behind!

I’m equally smitten with the puppy prince Lee Rim, played by Cha Eun Woo.  The only other drama I’ve had the opportunity to see this actor in, was My ID Is Gangnam Beauty.  And I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was to see him portray a more lively character here.  He gets to have emotions and bless us with his beautiful eye smiles.  Hooray!  His character is sweet and already smitten with a particular fellow bookworm.

As is typical with most historical dramas there is a large supporting cast, full of recognizable faces.  I already despise King Lee Tae, played by Kim Min Sang.  He always excels at playing that bad guy you love to hate.  And there’s also Kim Yeo Jin, who plays the Prince’s grandmother.  (I remember her most fondly as the mom from Sassy Go Go.)  I’m really anxious to know more of her past history.


It’s a refreshing change-up to see a female taking point in this type of story and I’m hopeful that the writer keeps her character prominent throughout.  Not all of the characters’ backstories have been laid out yet.  It will be interesting to see how everyone is tied together – I suspect a fateful connection that may pop up later on down the road.  But, for now, what I find most intriguing is watching the story from the perspective of the court historians (who were truly like the proverbial fly-on-the-wall).  

Also of note: the costuming is gorgeous and I’m really enjoying the music that’s been chosen to score this drama.  It definitely lightens the mood and helps balance out the more serious scenes. 

Final Thoughts

I was pretty much hooked, after the first 20 minutes!  I’m really enjoying the characters, the storyline and the pretty visuals this show has to offer. Can’t wait for next week to get here already!  How about you drama fans, have you given Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung a try?  Let me know what you think, in the comments below.



Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

3 thoughts on “First Impressions and Unfiltered Thoughts: Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung

  1. I know this period pretty well – these royals are only vaguely recognizable :d Our Puppy Prince is basically a fiction! The Crown Prince is based on the same one that Park Bo Gum portrayed in Moonlight Thru Clouds (which this reminds me of a LOT)
    I happened to like these historical fantasy dramas very much – the reality at the time was so very depressing 🙁
    I love this so far for much the same reasons you do!

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