DISCUSSION: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Historical background)

Okay, it’s time to get to work. The best part about BBJX was that the famous battle for the throne can be read online and there’s plenty of information which works the same way as a drama synopsis.

So I did a little digging into Goryeo’s history to see what we can find. There wasn’t much information available honestly – so it doesn’t help much and we still don’t know what’s in store for us in the drama.

Those watching the drama and do not wish to read spoilers – DON’T CONTINUE READING

Anyway, so the king right now is Taejo of Goryeo – the founder of Goryeo. As Hae Soo recently just praised him that he unified the country and something about the battle with Baekje – means that our story starts from the crown prince.

The crown prince, Hyejong of Goryeo, will succeed the throne after Taejo’s death. After he succeeded the throne, that’s when the conspiracies and power struggles between the siblings started, starting with 3rd prince (Wang Yo) and 4th prince (Wang So). Despite knowing, Hyejong does not do anything to stop both of them.

He died from a disease in his second year and the 3rd prince succeeded the throne. 3rd prince (Jeongjong), failed to strengthen the throne despite his efforts.

And 4th prince (Gwangjong of Goryeo), became king after 3rd. There isn’t much information on how he rose to the throne. He was aggressive as a king, strengthening his power and getting rid of his rivals.

So we know that, this is the sequence for the throne succession.

And for those of you who wish Hae Soo end up with 4th prince, sorry but you may have to burst that bubble because you can’t change history. Unless of course, they stay together but without an official title (like Rouxi in BBJX).

4th prince’s consorts are “Queen Daemok” and “Lady Gyeonghwagung”. Queen Daemok is known as the half-sister of Gwangjong, so… I’m placing my bet on Yeon Hwa? Lady Gyeonghwagung is known as the niece of King Hyejong (crown prince).

[EDIT]: In case you guys are confused on why the half-siblings actually got married, apparently, during Goryeo Dynasty, marriage within members of the same clan was permitted. As weird as it sounds, it was okay to do so. It wasn’t allowed during Joseon Dynasty though. 

So I guess that’s a rough idea on how the historical arc in the story will turn out. It’s sad that there isn’t much on the other princes, which means that most of the story involving the other princes won’t give as much impact as BBJX. But I guess that’s up to the writer’s imagination and we’ll see how it turns out🙂

After researching for a bit, there really isn’t much to find. I guess there’s a high chance that the drama would rely heavily on the romance portion. Putting that aside, I am excited to see how the writer manages to portray the throne succession and I hope it would be good.

If any of you knows more of the historical content, feel free to share🙂

111 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (Historical background)

  1. I agree with you. Based on the history. On BBJX, she returned to the future and 2 princes die, I do not know if that will happen here.
    I feel that based on the preview, Prince So will have to marry the princess ( that’s why he was screaming at JM on to to stop it) . Looking forward to the next episode.

  2. We do have to keep in mind that this is also a fantasy drama and not just a historical one. Although they do say that they take a creative turn on history, it is a drama. Hae Soo seems to have no place in history as far as I can see so the addition of her is already a stretch. Who knows what they’ll do and maybe in the end they will appease the fans.

    • I agree to anonymous due fans are expecting hae Soo to be with the 04th Prince…whatever history has taken place cannot be changed. It is a creative historical drama I should think. Maybe also Hae Soo will return to the 21st century and meet the same Wang So but just a different person….ha..ha…ha…

  3. Hey guys, i just started watching the show and don’t understand why the 8th prince’s sister likes the 4th prince. Are they not siblings? or is she adopted or something. someone please explain to me.

    • It’s not just in Korean history…. Most of ancient history, it’s normal to marry within the family. Purpose is to keep the throne within the bloodline.

    • It was very common in ancient times for siblings to marry. Cleopatra married her younger brother that I believe was younger than her by several years. I don’t know if the monarchies of England married siblings but I do believe they married close cousins, first cousins. I’m not sure but I believe the reason siblings of royalty married was to keep the throne in the family.

    • It’s actually quite normal (during that time) , and people from other places also did it. It’s probably to keep the throne within the blood line, and that’s how you get royal blood. (i don’t even know if that makes sense but history doesn’t make sense most of the time)

      • In some cultures/societies even now, you will find brothers and sisters marrying each other to keep the farmland within the family so that the land does not get split. In biology class, when we were studying DNA and genetics, we learned that the English royal family, for example, married within the family as well. It created high incidents of genetic issues, i.e. retarded kids, and other health issues due to inbreeding. Anyways, back in the old days, with less education and more ignorance and trying to keep resources within the family (survival, you know), it would be considered normal that Yeon Hwa is interested in one of her half brothers. She gets the power of the queen.

  4. Hi! Thank you so much for this. I wonder if the show is going to be as complicated as BBJX sounds (from what I read on Wikipedia).
    I honestly hope the ending is a bit different.

  5. Its nice to see this post…and so I’m not alone on thinking how the story will end.

    My bet is that Soo will think her actions in the past will affect the future and will not end up with any of two main leads… She’ll chose to die and diving back to the pool (like a suicide or maybe she get shot and just end up in the pool) and there will be an eclipse again…which will brought her back to where it all started. But before that Prince Wang So seeing that Soo is dying will dive to the pool and then the eclipse will happen.

    So we’re now in the future and we see Soo in the park drowning in the pool…struggling to survive. But before she dies a man reaches out for her hand and save him (which turns out to be Wang So —of the future).

    … I hope they will have a clear wrap up of Soo’s life in the future… Make it like 3 episodes and hopefully she meets all the princes and see them on they will become in their future lives.

    Let me know your take on the story…

    • I like your imagination…… I WISH they would get a chance to meet in the future… Hae Soo and all the princes

    • your idea of the ending is exactly like what I’m thinking lol
      I guess I’m not the only one who think like that. let’s see what will happen~

    • your idea of the ending is exactly like what I’m thinking lol
      I guess I’m not the only one. let’s see what will happen~

    • YES this is actually exactly what I was thinking might happen as well!!! Ever since I started binge watching from episode 1 the other day xD

    • Damn. I was thinking the same thing! Except the part where they dive into the pool. I guess it’s going to happen this way. If you noticed, Queen In-Hyun’s Man has a story a bit similar to this and the main male lead travels to the future in the end (to be with the female lead). So I feel and hope this does happen, it will even explain things much better instead of leaving questions unanswered flying in the air.

      • What if, and i mean what if, So goes into the future while the future So goes back into the past, THEN that So marrying his half sister wouldnt be so bad lol. Like HaeSoo ultimately ends up with the So she fell in love in the past transcending into the future. Cuz So is gentle, and softhearted even when he has to kill ppl, after turning into the King he would kill when needed and it is said he was ruthless, so having the future So playing the King would be MY happy ending lol

  6. just want to add..Queen Daemok is definitely Yeon Hwa from Hwangbo clan..although i dont like the fact..but yeah we cant change history…i hope this drama can turn out to be more romantic between 4th prince and Hae Soo

    • What happened to a scene in the preview where Prince So is holding the astronomer by the neck, asking him how to stop the marriage?

  7. Did anyone of those princes killed all of the other ??? Like this really happened in history ?? Lady Gyeonghwagung is niece of King Hyejong (crown prince). hae soo is wook’s wife’s niece so is dat lady nobody else but our hae soo??

  8. The drama’s already not following bbjx , it has different scenes and senerios , talking about hae soo , well she came from 1000 years ahead , its very logical she cannot stay forever. Its absolutely going to end up with all meeting one another in the future. Lets not forget the drama has fantasy in it’s gnere so we can also expect the impossible and ALSO SINCE WE HAVE HAE SOO AND WANG SO ON THE COVER THEY ARE THE MAIN COUPLE.

  9. I was really curious with the plot of the story. Im so hooked with the character of Wang So. He is so gentle and loving that you’d fall for him. Actually I wished that Hae Soo will end up with him but he’s only the second lead. So in the end, Hae SOo could probably end up with Wang Wook. On the story, Hae Soo wondered who is Gwangjong who killed his brothers. It bothered me also. I was worried it could be Wang So and i wished it to be Wang Wook’s brother. This curiosity made me read about profile of Gwangjong and i’m disappointed to know that his real name is Wang So!!!!!! HOw could that loving man turn into a monster?!!! Gone are those “kilig moments”.. Huhuhuhu.. i should brace myself for an upcoming twist of the story! huhuhu…Im disappointed… Kang Ha-neul what happened! Women are falling for you. huhuhu

    • hahahaha! kilig moments! i think i know where you’re from!

      i am so confused right now. i’m stressing about how this drama will end because i want hae soo to end up with wang so but i don’t want him to be the king. That throne is causing so much troubles! i just hope he’ll choose love over the throne. I like the version posted up there, where hae soo will end up with wang so in the future… i’m just looking forward to that and not the part where he kills his own brothers or nephews. So brutal!

      • 4th prince is Wang So and 8th prince is Wang Wook who is gentle and inlove with Hae Soo but wont get her because Wang So wants her

    • Yes, same with me. When I search about gwangjong in the wikipedia i saw his name wang soo, and after i saw that,i cannot believe what i see in the wikipediaa…i want to cry when i saw a real story about gwangjong..

  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwangjong_of_Goryeo

    If you will look in the history of Late King Gwangjong the 4th Prince during the Goryeo Dynasty you will find that he married Hae Soo… Basically Hae Soo is the queen and she was the only wife of the the 4th Prince… Does it make sense…. but of course twist and turn will come into the story of the series coz this is almost fictional and fantasize character….

  11. I think Hae Soo’s presence in the past will change the “real” history. Gwangjong or Wang So will possibly not kill his brother/s.

  12. I know that from history Gwangjong appear to be ruthless. But perhaps he has no choice but to do so. You know how fierce the power struggle in the palace and seeing crown prince Lee Young in Love in the Moonlight that has so little strength because the prime minister domination, I get the story on why Wang So wants to get rid of his rivals (the powerful clans, the rebels, and even his family) who posed a threat to him. I know it don’t justify the killing, but in the early days, where the sword and martial arts were taught, we knew that each of them are for at least once in their lives have killed someone before.
    Gwangjong (Wang So) brought some of positive changes also: emancipating the slave (return the slave into commoner) and the national civil service examination that continue on until today.
    So I think Wang So is not such an evil person.

  13. waaah.. I’ve been looking for Wang So’s history and end up here. So glad to found this post anyway. And thought that it’s not only me who curious about the real history. A bit sad to know that So will marry Yeon Hwa, but anyway, as you said, we cannot change history.
    Thank you for sharing this post🙂

    • Hay q tener en cuenta q el drama tiene derechos sobre la edición de la historia así q no creo q sea tan específicos aparte de q se guían x la novela China hay muchas posibilidades de q el final no sea tan triste como ya sabemos x lo menos eso quisiera 😭 sino mi cocoro no aguanta

  14. I end up to read the history for gwangjong, anywhere thank you for clean up what i was thinking who will be evil… since this is only fantalizing and i will keep as acting.. hope hae soo will end up with wang so🙂

  15. Thank you for sharing it with us especially about marrying the same clan. That’s explain Yong Hwa – So and Yo – Yong Hwa feelings. I wonder what happen to the other princes specificly to the 8th prince. Since this story is history/fictional genre, I get confius about So killing all his other siblings. Is it the true history?

  16. heyy there ^O^
    I’ve read somwhere that Princess Gyeonghwagung (경화궁부인), niece of Gwangjong is actually haesoo but they changed her from being wang wook’s daughter to being his wife’s cousin, where in truth she is wang so’s niece. According to the info, I guess we can still hope for them to end up together. Also many say that the events are not accurately historical, as they differ greatly from the chinese version🙂 let’s not lose hope and wish for the best ..

  17. ‘This drama has taken a creative license to history.’

    It is always in the beginning of the drama so I’m betting my money that they WILL try to bend history. I think Astronomer Ji Mong is the one who brought Hae Jin/Hae Soo to Goryeo in an attempt to change history. He probably thinks that Wang So can be a great king, even greater than Wang Taejo if he won’t be as violent as he is in history now but with Hae Soo, they might just have a chance to change his attitude and views that would transform him into the best king that Goryeo could have. I mean, Hae Soo is a pretty strong-willed woman with firm values/beliefs and with her influence to Wang So, they can succeed. Although, if they DO decide to go for the ‘history remains unchanged’ route then… what the hell.

    PS. Yes, Queen Daemok IS Princess Yeonhwa, and I want to strangle her. ^^\/ If ever she DOES marry So, I hope it’s when Hae Soo dies (like in BBJX).

  18. From what i read on wiki.. after King Taejo (wang so’s father) there are 2 more king before gwangjong (wang so). They are wang mu (1st son of taejo)..be king for 3 years. Then wang yo (3rd son of taejo).. be king for 5 years. N lady gyeonghwagung (2nd wife of wang so) is daughter of wang mu

  19. so ok there is historical content on it. IDK much abt it other than what I read on wiki (which is not a very reliable source) or anywhere else but some don’t have citations. this might sound nerdy af but if ever they do change the course of history in Goryeo, will there be changes in the future? I’m really curious abt this. any thoughts on this? lol this really fascinates me.

    DISCLAIMER: I haven’t watched the Chinese version so idk how similar it is… and most of what I’m saying are just speculations so there might be bias in what I’m saying.

    so given that Haesoo knows that Wang So is Gwangjong (and from the wiki page I saw, Gwangjong is Wang So) based on her visions or whatever and also being from someone in the future who has learned abt KR history, she’ll probably try to change history to protect everyone else. That one scene with Haneul – the one where he said something about him having a position since he’s a prince yadda yadda yadda – it’s a different Wook that he showed (kudos to Haneul in his acting skills. oh man I’ve fallen for him completely lol). The way things are going I kinda feel sorry for him. His wife died and he was devastated. He loves Haesoo but she might go for So. Things aren’t too great for him. What if it drives him to seek something? Will his brothers back him up? But then there’s Wang Yo… he’s greedy af and his mom’s a bitch. I feel like something’s cooking deep inside. we’re almost halfway through the show and I think shit’s about to happen.

      • Hi leeJIN.. have you watch shine or go crazy ?…I like how the(writer) portraits wang so (Gwangjong of Goryeo) in that drama.. I know is was fantasy but I think 30% facts event in that drama.. romance for sure 100% fantasy ..lol

        • Oh yes I did watched that… but I didn’t finish it and I totally forgot the plot….. I should go dig out back that drama and go find recaps for it to refresh my memory. who knows they have some clues to the history.

  20. I am in love with this drama so far!! However, I think that IU’s character is going to be a major reason to why Wang So becomes a “monster” because she kept telling people that they should watch out for him, so people are going to see him as a great threat. I just feel like Wang So is the sweeeetest guy and he probably isn’t as big of a monster that iu learned about for history.

    • I think it’s the other way around😉 hae soo will prevent 4th prince to become a monster, he will be tamed. Meanwhile, due to circumstances like the throne, hae soo love angle, protecting his clan..the monster inside of 8th prince will be released and he will become gwangjong. Perhaps the writers will change gwangjong for the sake of the drama coz the 1st lead is wang so.
      It breaks my heart actually i love the character of 8th prince and i love kang haneul’s portrayal. I’m not yet ready to watch wang wook to be the antagonist. Huhu

  21. Hiii, is this drama is from real history/event or just a fantasy drama that people are making up? Thank youu!! And btw i inlove with this drama hehe

  22. Yeah right. What if hae soo provoked wang so to become something he is not. He found out that hae soo was inlove with wook, caused his heart to be broken and went rogue. Wang So was deeply inlove with Soo that he pursued to become king so he would control people because Hae soo said that she doesn’t want to be contolled by anyone.
    Eeh just a thought haha

  23. Loving the discussion here…this drama is so fascinating that I also read up whatever info written on Goryeo history and since there was no mention of Wang So (King Gwangjeong) killing his siblings, I hope the visions Hae Soo had won’t come true. I also think Wang Wook will be the one to betray Wang So by taking sides with Wang Yo out of jealousy since Wang So puts a claim on Hae Soo. Sigh…I hope they have a logical but happy ending for Wang So and Hae Soo…

    • Yup! I didn’t see any information on him killing his siblings either – so hopefully that’s false visions >.<

      • It’s because Soo will change the history.🙂 she’ll do everything just to prevent those KILLINGS to happen. SoSoo forevs!

  24. I haven’t found anything about him killing his brothers so what if Hae Soo was sent back in time to fix somethi that should have never been? What if something went wrong and the history that Hae Soo knows should have never been so they are fixing it by sending her back in time. Hae Soo will make it to where what we know in History right now is what will happen? I don’t know if they is making sense. But like if what she knows is incorrect history, they send her back to make it to the history that we know of. So Hae Soo gets him to where he doesn’t kill his siblings aka since he doesn’t kill his siblings actually in what we know. Just some thoughts.

  25. THIS IS FRUSTRATING ME! why bother do a remake of a drama to do the same story line with just different actors ?! if they wanted that , they could’ve just dubbed the Chinese version. Also, if they wanted to narrate historical stuff they could’ve just made a documentary instead of paying huge amounts of money to Korean stars to act in a drama ! this have been said, i would be very disappointed if they chose the easy-cliché way to do this.
    I can’t remember when was the last time i was so excited about a drama but now I’m just angry and scared of them messing things up. I really hope they know we don’t care about them being accurate on the historical point of view as much as we do about our main characters’ happiness !

    • The storyline of the chinese and korean version is different. And all historical dramas always have facts as their base while the story and characters personality and emotions are all purely fictional.

  26. Is the Chinese ver worth watching ?
    I’m really interested in the plot but the ending is immensely discouraging, i absolutely hate open endings/cliff hangers.
    & the endings make a big part of the story for me so i don’t know if i should watch it or not…

    • the Chinese version is really a masterpiece. it’s really worth watching, even if you would dislike the ending. but the ending of the novel and drama is different so it depends which one you prefer but the story itself is beautiful. i would easily say it’s one of the best dramas i’ve watched.

      • If i had to choose between the novel & the sereies i would choose the novel cuz i can’t stand cliff hangers.
        but i found out there’s a sequel to the Chinese version so i’m more than willing to watch it now.
        I already have started watching it.
        i noticed that Chinese dramas always have that over the top factor like when she got hit by a car & got an electric shock, i find this kind of scene funny but..overdone(i guess) & not suited for a serious historical drama.
        It’s not that bad that it can’t be overlooked though, oh & another thing that i found very funny was men’s hair style back then, i wonder why they did that to their hair 😂

        I hope the Korean ver. has a beautiful happy ending although i doubt that, Kirean dramas almost always end in an unsatistying way even when it’s a happy ending but i’ll keep my fingers crossed.

        • I prefered the novel. But the drama does not have a sequel. BBJQ is not a continuation of BBJX and is not by Tong Hua. That’s a common misconception. And I agree with the hair. That’s probably the only Qing Dynasty drama I watched xD.

  27. Yeon Hwa will definitely be the Queen next to Wang So/4th prince. If you look up the history, Queen Daemok’s brother is 8th prince aka Wang Wook so its probably guaranteed Yeon Hwa will be the queen

  28. this is sh*t but hits me. I do have to say if they turn this tragic historical to actually tragic historical. All the efforts of the writers on making the viewers expect a happy end will just go to trash can. I really don’t care about the palace stuff i prefer if hae soo and 4rth prince just run away and live outside that way they can live and breathe with peace and no one to make them worry about status or life.

  29. I don’t really want this to end historically correct.. If this is the case I would rather just watch a documentary. I love watching KD because it feels good whenever it ends well, so no matter how many obstacles come between Hae Soo and Wang So, I hope…wish that in the end, they will be together.

  30. I don’t get the role of the senior concubine Oh, she says she chose never to marry and be senior court lady. Then later she had a miscarriage baby with the King. So what exactly was her role ? But it was so sad, the ending , I cried buckets

    • Maybe she probably was never a court lady and she entered the palace as a court lady instead since it’s the nearest position to her lover. All court lady are the king’s women and he could probably sleep with anyone he wants without officially marrying them. Maybe she rejected the position of being his concubine or maybe she couldn’t because she miscarriage.

      • if I remember it right, Court Oh chose to be that way because she was a low-ranking citizen and couldn’t really marry the King. So, instead of throwing him away she became the court lady instead, in that way she still get to see him everyday. I think this is how Wang So and Hae Soo love story will go once Wang So becomes King.

  31. I’m glad I found this site. But somehow the drama is very much alike to history. I read it somewhere(it wasn’t wikipedia) seems like a legit site. It says there that Wang So will be the 4th King, according to a historian who was present within the reign of 6 kings including Taejo. For the first 8 years of Wang so’s reign he had a good governance he was fair to everyone, including the commoner (slave law) but after 8 years he became ruthless, and killed or prosecuted everyone who against his will. If my guess is right, he probably became that way because of Hae Soo based of the Chinese drama, Hae Soo died without seeing Wang SO because the letter that was sent Hae Soo sent to him got misplaced or something. So, maybe because he was heart-broken and that’s why he became ruthless. That what Hae Soo remembers in history.

  32. king taejo said that b/c lady thinks hae soo as her daughter so he’ll think hae soo as his daughter too. so, is it possible if hae soo is queen daemok? #positivethinking#

    • i don’t think so. in BBJX, rouxi was also highly regarded by the king. it was this position which makes her sort of a political chess piece, which makes it seem that any prince that ask for her hand in marriage wants the throne.

  33. If Yeon Hwa is Queen Daemok, I think I gonna cry = v = I really don’t like Yeon Hwa for some reason… :v I just hope Queen Daemok is someone else but it seem not possible because Yeon Hwa was the only princess appeared in the drama…

  34. On the Last Episode, The King told Hae Soo that she is like a daughter to him since Court Lady Oh saw Hae Soo as her own. Maybe He will secretly adopt her, thus Hae Soo will become a princess and sister to Wang So and then they’ll get married and live happily ever after ehehehe lols… just wishful thinking… anyway this is a fantasy/historical drama..

    People need fantasy and simple happiness through dramas like these… since we are already living in a world of high expectations and disappointments.. brrrrrr! so yeah still rooting for Hae and So ^^^ fighting!

  35. Wang So should be with Hae Soo since they are the two main leading character and this is where the romance took place. Otherwise there will be a lot of fans disappointment. The rest of the story doesnt really matter ha..ha.. ha…

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