Scholar Who Walks the Night is a fantasy historical about a scholar named Kim Sung Yeol (Lee Joon Gi) who becomes involved with a plot to take down the evil vampire Gwi (Lee Soo Hyuk) that results in Sung Yeol becoming a vampire himself. He dedicates his life over the next 120 years to finding a way to destroy Gwi.
Sung Yeol has been haunted by the death of his first love Myeung Hee (Kim So Eun), and it is not until a young woman named Jo Yang Sun (Lee Yoo Bi) comes into his life that his heart begins to warm again. Yang Sun cross dresses as a man to sell books so that she can support her family. Things quickly become complicated as she becomes involved with Sung Yeol.
Scholar Who Walks the Night is a drama that I was highly anticipating, and overall I was very pleased with it. The drama as a whole was a bit rough around the edges though. I actually really enjoyed the unique creepy carnival music choices in some of the scenes, but many times the background music would be very abruptly cut off when transitioning between scenes. Also, the editing sometimes felt a bit choppy in the beginning.
The first half of the drama had a slower, low key sort of feel to it too. Some people found this boring, but I actually found it more relaxing and never felt bored. The second half of the drama definitely picked up the pace along with smoother editing throughout.
For me, the positives far outweighed the negatives with an interesting story that moved along at a nice pace and excellent acting by everyone involved. Lee Joon Gi immersed himself in his vampire role and really sold Sung Yeol’s character. I’m a bit biased as a hardcore Lee Joon Gi fan, but what a convincing vampire he was! Since he had to do a lot of brooding, of course I didn’t get to see near enough of the charming Lee Joon Gi who is full of smiles. Oh well, there are moments scattered throughout. Also, it was particularly fun to watch Lee Joon Gi towards the end of the drama where we get to see a new side of him as he plays the ‘evil’ version of Sung Yeol. It was really delightful!
Lee Yoo Bi was also completely adorable as Yang Sun. I enjoyed her in Gu Family Book and Nice Guy, but her role in Pinocchio really won me over. She was perfect at playing a sort of fan girl of the Night Scholar in the beginning with all of her cuteness. But then she holds her own as she transitions into a more angsty role as she deals with losing her family and having to be there to support Sung Yeol.
It was my first time seeing Lee Soo Hyuk, and he really is the perfect vampire bad guy! He is one of those bad guys you just enjoy watching because he is so good at. He spent a lot of time in his dungeon lair posing on his stone throne, but I loved every minute of it. Even better was when we actually got to see some classic good verses evil battles between Gwi and Sung Yeol.
Shim Chang Min was also a new face for me. He did well as Prince Lee Yoon trying to protect his nation while being faced with difficult choices when it came to those he cared about. His relationship with Sung Yeol’s first love look alike Hye Ryeong added another layer to the plot.
Don’t worry, there were also plenty of wonderful couple moments between Sung Yeol and Yang Sun too. It was difficult for him to allow Yang Sun into his heart because of his hatred of the monster he felt he had become. As he tried to push her away by revealing his true self to her, she held firm in her love. Her devotion to him ran deep, and she was there for him when he needed her the most.
All in all, I found Scholar Who Walks the Night to be a highly enjoyable drama. It felt like an epic fairy tale, and I would love to see more stories like this in kdramas. It wasn’t perfect, but overall Scholar Who Walks the Night hit all the right spots, and I can definitely see myself revisiting this one in the future.
My Rating: 8/10
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