Hwarang is about the original Hwarang warriors of Silla who are young, elite, and known for being beautiful. The warriors include a man from the lowest class of Silla (Park Seo Joon) and the hidden King Jinheung (Park Hyung Shik) who secretly joins. The men also both fall for the maiden Ah Ro (Go Ara).
Hwarang was such a wonderful historical! I was surprised at just how much I thoroughly enjoyed it. It has everything I love in a good historical. The story developed so nicely with great pacing from start to finish with a wonderful balance of lighthearted humor, romance, political scheming, action, and angsty goodness.
The initial story is set up so well by showing the deep brotherly friendship between Sun Woo and Mak Moon (Lee Kwang Soo). That bond between the two men sets everything in motion to come and had lasting effects throughout the entire story.
Park Seo Joon plays Sun Woo who comes from the lowest class of Silla. After tragedy strikes and he loses his best friend, he finds himself taking on his friend’s identity. But he is also out for revenge on the hidden King who he blames for his friend’s death.
Park Hyung Shik plays our hidden King Jinheung who goes by the name Ji Dwi. Forced to hide for his entire life, he longs to be able to claim his throne. And joining the Hwarang gives him the opportunity to be right in the middle of things.
We have Go Ara as Ah Ro. She is the sister of Sun Woo’s deceased friend, so she ends up believing that Sun Woo is really her brother. Things get a bit complicated as she finds herself developing feelings for him. She also draws the affections of Ji Dwi which creates a nice little love triangle.
There are so many wonderful supporting characters in Hwarang! The drama did so well at developing these characters and giving them meaningful stories. I loved all of the Hwarang boys and thoroughly enjoyed their relationships with each other.
Some of the memorable ones include the tense relationship between Ban Ryu (Do Ji Han) and Soo Ho (Choi Min Ho), Weo Wool (Jo Yoon Woo), and the adorable Han Sung (Kim Tae Hyung or better known as V of BTS – yea BTS!!).
We also have our royal ladies that include a solid performance from our Queen Dowager Ji So (Kim Jee Soo) and the icy and fierce Princess Sookmyung (Seo Ye Ji).
Other great performances include the leader of the Hwarang Wi Hwa (Sung Dong Il) and our weaselly bad guy Park Yeong Shil (Kim Chang Wan).
I really enjoyed the love/hate relationship between the boys. Sun Woo desires to kill the King, but he is unaware that he is Ji Dwi. But it doesn’t take long for him to become suspicous. I loved the dynamic between them as they moved between moments of dislike for each other and a growing friendship. It’s one of my favorite kinds of bromance.
I also enjoyed the complicated scenario of Sun Woo and Ah Ro falling for each other, but she believes him to be her brother. It keeps things interesting. I think I liked the set up and complex dynamic of the romance more than the actual romance itself, but it was still a very enjoyable relationship that I found myself very invested in.
I really loved the setting and time period of Hwarang. It was my first historical set during the Silla/Three kingdoms era. And it had many of the elements I love about my favorite Goryeo era with such lovely costumes and a less rigid structure in place.
Hwrang also has a really great soundtrack filled with so many catchy and moving songs. They are utilized very well throughout the drama and definitely set a wonderful backdrop to an already great drama.
I also thought the sort of “school” setting of where the Hwarang all come together to train was very interesting and entertaining. The whole atmosphere was wonderful with a nice mix of fun and serious.
Hwarang was just my kind of drama all around. The excellent story was rich and full as well as executed at a wonderful pace. The complicated relationships between our main three leads was always intense. The world is also populated with so many interesting supporting characters. And the way all of the elements were balanced was just fantastic. I really loved Hwarang for so many reasons.
My Rating: 8.5/10
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