FIRST IMPRESSION: Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ep 1 – 3

vlcsnap-2016-08-31-01h10m30s833The much awaited drama, Scarlet Heart Ryeo, finally aired and I’m…. not liking it. There are a few different reasons why I didn’t like it and I won’t deny that I’m probably a little bias towards it since it is after all an adaptation of popular Chinese drama, Bu Bu Jing Xin. I think they did mention they were using the novel and not the drama – but either way, the novel and the Chinese drama is pretty similar.

First of all, way before the drama aired, I was already worried due to the casts. Sure, it’s great eye candy – but whether the actors have the capabilities to bring out the individual roles is a different thing.

It’s impossible for me not to compare Scarlet Heart Ryeo with Bu Bu Jing Xin. As much as I try to, I cannot help it. So I’m pretty sure people get annoyed at me trying to pinpoint all the things Scarlet Heart Ryeo didn’t manage to get right, but that’s okay. I understand and even I think I might sound a little overbearing when discussing about this drama.


Historical content

I considered and think about it for a long time and I came to the conclusion that it’s impossible for the drama to be the same as BBJX. I think I expected too much initially and didn’t think far ahead.

Firstly, the historical events are not the same. In BBJX, it was set in Qing Dynasty during Kangxi’s rule and the story revolved around the political fights between the princes of that time. However, the Korean version is set in Goryeo during King Taejo’s rule. The important factor here is that the princes’ conflicts are no longer the same.

Even though, technically, the main conflict is the battle for the throne – but the subplots in the drama can no longer be the same as the original novel.

Which brings me to the next factor – does this also mean the princes’ ending is no longer the same?

As this is a historical drama, they will certainly maintain a certain amount of accuracy to original events and don’t really have the freedom of creating their own events.

That means that nothing is certain. The only thing which is certain is that 4th prince, Wang So, will eventually become King.

My concern is whether the drama can make the historical events as memorable as the original novel/drama.

It can have different subplots, I can live with that – but whether they would have a subplot which will have a strong impact on the story, like how 13th prince was under house arrest, or how 4th and Rouxi were forced to separate due to a conspiracy, is still not known yet as of now.

Looking on the bright side, I guess it’s a good thing as even though we watched BBJX or read the novel, we don’t know how this version will turn out, since the historical events are different after all. And the drama/novel was at least 90% all about the historical events.

The characters

I could see the effort put in to make the characters similar to the original but only some worked, and some didn’t.

The most important character is Hae Soo. After watching the 3 episodes, Hae Soo is nothing like Rouxi yet. Rouxi came across as sassy, confident and intelligent. However, I’ve yet to warm up to Hae Soo.

Yup she did appear confident at times, but I can’t get rid of the feeling that Hae Soo feels like your typical modern drama female lead transported back to history. Rouxi knew her history and while living in the Qing Dynasty, she used her knowledge of history to her advantage, by choosing how to act and behave to different people.

Hae Soo is nothing like Rouxi yet. Let’s hope this is just for the first few episodes. Acting wise, I find IU a little awkward at times, but pretty watchable so far.

Next is 4th prince, Wang So. 4th prince is known to be ‘cold’ and cruel and I think Lee Jun Ki is a reasonable fit for the role. It’s still a little different from the original 4th prince character but I guess I can live with it.

Lee Jun Ki was charming in his role – and I am captivated definitely. If there was one thing I wished I could change is, I wish kdramas stop thinking all ‘cold’ guys are always acting like assholes.

I didn’t like how 4th treated Hae Soo. In the original, even though 4th was cruel and cold, he was quite the gentleman if I remember correctly. I don’t recall him acting like an asshole towards Rouxi. I wished they had maintain this aspect because it was what made 4th charming for me. Somehow 4th character in this version feels like your modern day chaebol drama male lead.

But still, it’s bearable because Lee Jun Ki is doing a great job so far.

8th prince Wang Wook is pretty similar to the original. The nice, kind gentleman who helps Hae Soo out. I’m pretty pleased with 8th actually so far.

Kang Ha Neul is actually doing well. I was worried about him initially because I wasn’t confident he could bring out 8th’s character, but looks like I was worried for nothing.

I have mixed feelings about 10th prince, Wang Eun. I think that 10th has too many aegyo, so it feels a little off somehow. In the original, 10th was simple-minded and had a quick temper. Even though, 10th in this version seems similar, there is way too much aegyo. On a side note, I think Baekhyun is actually pretty watchable.

I’m not going to worry too much about 10th yet because his character is only important in the initial episodes, according to the novel. If he has a bigger role in this version, then maybe I’ll talk about it again in future episodes.

Hong Jong Hyun is actually pretty good at being 3rd prince. I would say he’s as good as Lee Jun Ki is at playing 4th.

There wasn’t much on the other princes yet but I’m keeping my eyes on 13th and 14th princes. They were both crucial in the original novel and I’m wondering how this version will play out their roles.

Watching the 3 episodes though, 13th and 14th of this version feels like worlds apart from the original version but there are still more episodes so we shall see about that.


Am I the only one who thinks the drama is actually moving at a slow pace? Or is it because I watched BBJX, so I feel this way? I don’t know but it just feels like there hasn’t been much plot development going on.

And personally, I think that there has been too much bloodshed going on. One of the reasons why I loved BBJX was the court sessions. It’s like watching the princes’ battle each other in terms of wit, while they all fear the Emperor.

But then again, since historical content is different so I guess high chances are that the plot would differ greatly as well.

Ending thoughts

So basically, I didn’t like it that much. They say the higher you got your hopes up, the higher the disappointment.

It feels vastly different from the novel and it’s a little slow. However, it’s not exactly bad. If I were to comment on it as a drama on its own (without linking it with BBJX), it’s watchable but not addictive.

However, if I were to comment on it as as adaptation of BBJX, I would say it’s not up to my expectations and didn’t live up to the novel.

I’m still going to watch this obviously and will try my very best to stop looking at it as a BBJX adaptation. As much as I don’t really like how the story is going, there is no reason for me to not watch the eye candies in it ❤ I’ll watch it for them! vlcsnap-2016-08-31-01h11m46s798

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9 thoughts on “FIRST IMPRESSION: Scarlet Heart Ryeo Ep 1 – 3

  1. Hi! I was trying to find someone…anyone I can discuss my feelings about the Korean adaption to and I chanced upon your blog. I totally agree with your assessment of the Korea adaption so far. I do find the adaption to be interesting and charming at times. What I’ve decided to do is to watch this drama, not as an adaption, but as an entirely different story all together. I am not sure why they decided to name the story Scarlet Heart: Ryeo, as it really has nothing to do with the original story at all. They should have kept it as Moon Lovers. I actually hate that they named it Scarlet Heart because now people who watch Ryeo will think that the Chinese version is the same story when frankly it is nothing alike.

    The characters names and roles are similar, the major plot points are similar but the characters themselves are not at all similar. That really irritates me because the whole point of BBJX novel and drama was the character development. Hae Soo is nothing like Ruoxi. Where Ruoxi is adaptable, independent and fearless…Hae Soo is young, naive and quite honestly pathetic. I give her the benefit of the doubt because its only episode 3 and she does play a 16 year old girl. But the real character is supposed to be an adult in a child’s body…why is this Hae Soo so childish?

    Wang So (4th) wears a mask to physically portray his isolation. YinZhen did not need a physical mask. His mask was metaphorical because he never let his emotions betray his true intentions. I find that to be even more powerful than a physical mask. Wang So in the Korean version is also quick to anger and show a great deal of emotion which is the complete opposite of YinZhen. Yinzhen masks his emotions and chooses to move in the shadows. He is brilliant, cunning and cruel (but not outwardly at all until he wins the throne). Wang So is practically at the forefront of everyone’s attention. People fear him openly and are already cautious of him. Frankly, they are two different characters so far. I am not sure if that were the director’s intention but they are supposed to be the same character.

    I am not even going to comment on all the other characters because they are pretty much walking one directional characters with little depth. Analyzing them would be a waste of time.

    So I agree with you, the Korean adaption is leagues below the Chinese adaption. However, I am enjoying watching the drama unfold just not as a BBJX remake.

    1. Yes yes yes to yinzhen being diff from 4th in this! Though i find 4th is alright but yupppp i really wished they kept 4th character as the original! And i totally agree how i hate people actually linking this to bbjx. Its totally different!

  2. Dear article writer I am going to write an article on top of your article.
    Yesss……. hip..hip..hip……hooray!!!!……. finally the much much anticipated drama is here I couldn’t be happier. Let me address the first issue that I think is quite lame and I have to keep on repeating to people all the time.
    1. This is an ”adaptation” meaning ”Make (something) suitable for a new use or purpose; modify”. Comparing it to the C-version or the novel is wrong because it is meant to be an adaptation meaning changing it to suit their own purpose.
    2. Both the novel and c-version are copy rights protected meaning, any tiny reference you make from them needs to be acknowledged. Thus the title. Please go back to your university essay writing not doing that is called ”plagiarism”.
    3. The Chinese audience and the author of the novel are enjoying the change. Why can’t you? ee aba…

    The casts well they are indeed an eye candy. Oh my God I love it…. What k-version tried to do it make the characters more believer able.

    LJG – Have you seen any better swordsmanship? Simply put he owns the character. His emotions written clearly on his face. What more could you want? Please it is getting too annoying coming across come articles and comments.
    1. Again it is an adaptation.
    2. It is a blend of 4th prince from the novel and Prince Wang Soo, who was known in history to be very brutal.
    4th prince is brutal yet deep inside all he wants it attention from his mother and the love of a family.
    I don’t make references because it is stupid. Yes you are right some K-dramas does portray cold guys as assholes yet, i find no trace in this drama. A brute is a brute, sorry at the moment he is just trying to change his faith and life. I will be angry even if a saint messed it up considering the fact that i have a temper. A gentleman he hasn’t done anything yet to show he is not, throwing Hae Soo off the horse she deserved it, as she was giving all the time in the world to get down. Remember he is in secure about himself especially his face and Hae Soo was starring right at it. She even saw his face at the bath. Which insecure person wouldn’t want to kill out of rage? Modern Lead chaebol? Ridiculous comparison. A great job he is definitely doing that.

    IU – Although a bit older IU does look 16yrs. Hae soo cannot be Rouxi and Rouxi cannot be Hae soo that is why it is an adaptation.
    My take on Hae Soo – IU is not acting badly, awkward not in the least considering the fact that i have seen worst in K-dramas. Every 21st century lady going to the past I think, will be insistent on portraying freedom of speech and fairness (eg all are equal regardless of status when she stood up for the maid) as we are portraying on this page. Seriously although IU is in the past, she is still a lady from the 21st century. She just can’t start acting as if she was born in those times. Can she? in my opinion she is adjusting quite well.

    Kang Ha Neul – Is doing great as the 8th prince Wank Wook. I can’t complain.

    Baek- Looks young and therefore the cast but most importantly, I think the 10th prince is suppose to be almost like a spoilt child with very mild learning disability (otherwise why he believe his brothers when they say Hae Soo likes him?). Seriously he is not a terrible actor considering the fact that it is almost his first acting role.
    Hong Jong Hyun – Very good acting from him as 3rd prince I was actually surprised.
    Nam Joo-Hyuk – Wang wook 13th prince, too soon to tell but has a similar persona to Hae Soo just like 8th princes wife highlighted to us, he is free and speaks his mind and a lover of music and hinted on him being in love with 8th princes wife.
    Ji Soo – 14th prince told us his passion for fighting. Probably he wants to be a fighter. I can’t wait to see if he is as good as the 4th prince.
    Kan Han-Na – The princess i my opinion is trying to rub herself on the 4th prince and has great dislike for Hae So.
    The rest we are yet to find out.
    Plot wise
    Oh lalala……. I rub my hand in anticipation for it to develop because it doesn’t drag, straight to the point, good pace, the intro wwwwooo…. what more do you need. Hidden contents almost like i am watching game of thrones where everything has a meaning and everyone serves a purpose. I know…..I know hard for the little brains to decipher. hahahhaha….
    Blood shed? don’t forget this is the 10th and 14th century blood shed was the norm,(battle of the fittest).
    My thoughts
    As a k- fan I enjoy their dramas not because it is amazingly good with exceptional actors like Hollywood. I tend to favour the historical dramas as they give you an insight into their history, a glimpse of their character and sometimes a difference from the normal English lines that I am used to hearing. I think I have watched almost all their historical dramas example Iljimae, scholar who walks the night, the iron Empress, six flying dragons, Queen soen deok…..etc very interesting I must say. In some I saw great, good, passable acting untestable they are not Hollywood. My take on Scarlet heart ryeo: 1. Honestly 4th prince’s swordsmanship will even put Hollywood to shame as I have never seen such brilliant and stunning movement of both body and sword as if they were are one , his acting just as commendable.
    2.They tried to blend in good modern OST’s, it worked almost to a Hollywood standard, with great detail for the darkness around the 4th prince. example ep 1 the parade of the 4th in the town just like in Lord of the rings when the dark lord was riding his horse. good.
    3. My first Korean historical drama that they completed a sword dance with great quality, precision and amazing incantation, never seen that before.
    4.Good acting from all the cast with a little work to do, good age casting that makes you believe the story more, as well as the acting which is adequately suited for their roles.
    5. Good mysteries to uncover. eg how did the 4th prince learn swordsmanship and a great one at that.
    6. What will happen to Hang so and Wang so we are yet to know.
    7. Amazing scenery that leaves me in awe I have not encountered in most of their historical dramas.
    8. The costumes you could see they tried really hard to give it different blends of colouring and similar styling to make it look different from the normal typical ones. eg. the queen mother on the day of spiritual rite looked fantastic and richly dressed not often seen in K-drama but C-dramas with the exception of k-drama Empress Ki.
    9. Editing not amazing but not terrible either, not in the least. Talking about this I went back to look at baebak, doctors similar editing with the only difference being the zooming in and zoom out.
    10. Their video quality and clarity is praise worthy.
    The Korean’s are bitter about a grand scale of production not being cast according to their preference. Ridiculous.
    Please give what belongs to Caesar to Caesar. A lot of praise needs to all the actors, production team, directors and are other supplementary.

    1. I didn’t read through the whole thing. Too long and I don’t particularly enjoy reading “preaching comments” from others. I’m entitled to my own opinions and how I want to view the drama or the characters. It is not up to your decision to make me feel or see what I don’t see in the drama. I find your comment seriously insulting at some points, as though trying to put down all the people who don’t like the drama, as though we are stupid when we’re just stating our own opinions. It’s downright rude and not appreciated.

      And I think you totally miss the point why we’re not liking this. It’s not just about not being the same as the novel/cdrama, or the characters not the same as the novel/cdrama. I don’t even know if you watched the cdrama or read the novel. Anyone who watched/read it would understand where we’re coming from.

      I don’t even want to bother with someone who tries to push their own thoughts as facts on others, and in such a rude manner.

      Any anyway, “A film adaptation is the transfer of a written work, in whole or in part, to a feature film. It is a type of derivative work. A common form of film adaptation is the use of a novel as the basis of a feature film.” I know it can’t be the same as the novel/drama but as an adaptation, there has to be something similar at least. However only the number of princes is the same as of now, so it’s totally natural for some fans of the original to be upset or not like the drama.

      Everyone has their own tastes. Don’t go around bringing others down like you’re any better than them.

      And , “throwing Hae Soo off the horse she deserved it, as she was giving all the time in the world to get down” WAIT WHAT? She deserved being thrown off the horse because she takes her own time to get down? Seriously? I want to see you being thrown off a horse some time. No normal person would throw another person off a horse.

      Thanks for the visit, and you can avoid this site altogether if you think we’re beneath you that much in appreciating/understanding dramas.

  3. Please if you can’t read people’s comments then seriously don’t put any comments either good or bad because we all don’t like reading. Sorry I also came to give my opinion too after all you left a comment slot. Me too me too…… lovely…… No thus not what I’m saying freedom of speech I also gave my take on it, just like you. Really ooooh tooo bad to find it insulting that is opinion I mean….nothing I can do about it. Sorry I am not trying to put anyone down, go to koala’s playground you will understand what it means to put people down.
    You must appreciate it you know I did really appreciate yours and gave my take on it. That is what article writing is about and again you left a slot for comments if you really can’t stand it please stop the comparison and bring out too much of your opinion, honestly, that is how everyone involved in Scarlet heart ryeo is feeling.

    Sorry I don’t think so. I watched the c-version, I didn’t make reference because as I said it is an ”adaptation”………. meaning anything can different and that is point.
    I cannot push anything on anyone. How and why will I do that? It doesn’t make sense. There shouldn’t be a comparison that is it. Please be open-minded I just gave my take. Take it or leave it. Thus it.

    I thought you didn’t understand an adaptation, so you do then why the comparison? It is too soon say as you just said why not wait? You stated that ”8th prince Wang Wook is pretty similar to the original. The nice, kind gentleman who helps Hae Soo out. I’m pretty pleased with 8th actually so far.”, the love triangle which cannot be ignored and the number of princes, then there is a similarity no matter small it is……

    aaaaaaaaa how can I? Again freedom of speech just like you did. WAIT….. HAE SOO didn’t look like she was coming down anything time soon and any other person that is soo insecure about his face and himself as whole might do worse. Take it easy its just a drama and as I said that is my opinion too…. anyway I will be visiting again if it has to do with scarlet heart ryeo…. Watch out for me………Thank you for the warm reception……

    1. I’m fine with comments, and mind you, I always go to koala’s playground to read their articles as well and I’m pretty sure their visitors have basic courtesy and do not leave snide remarks such as “Please go back to your university essay writing” and “I know…..I know hard for the little brains to decipher. hahahhaha….”.

      If you didn’t mean that to be insulting, I don’t know what is. I will always welcome whoever who wanna read and give their own opinion, as long as they have basic courtesy and refrain from making snide remarks at others who don’t share their opinion.

      And please stop with the:
      “The Chinese audience and the author of the novel are enjoying the change. Why can’t you? ee aba…”
      “what more do you need.”

      That is pushing your own thoughts on others. I can choose not to like it and I can feel whatever I want to feel about it.

      Anyway, thanks for dropping by and I’ll be looking forward to the next visit.

  4. Of course I was making reference I mean…. you should know ….. IF you do go to Koala then you know what I am saying……… Nothing much to say. My comments where not rude just my opinion and take that’s it. simple right?

    1. I don’t understand why comparison can’t be made. I agree that it’s best not to compare, but it’s bound to happen. Some people are actually anticipating the K-version mainly because they like the C-version. Each fan has their own reason for liking the C-version, and if that reason is gone in the K-version, of course they’re gonna be disappointed. I think this site is open-minded and mature enough to choose to view and give assessment to the K-version as its own drama. And stop with the freedom of speech thing. An insult is an insult, it’s not a civil way to express your opinion and people are going to get offended. As a result you just seem like a rude person. Which probably you aren’t.
      Sorry for the blogger if I come out as feeding a troll. But for some reason I’m really motivated to comment lol.

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