The King Loves Korean Drama Review

The King Loves Korean Drama - Im Si Wan, Yoona, Hong Jong Hyun

The King Loves is about an ambitious and conflicted crown prince (Im Shi Wan) caught in the middle of a huge power struggle in the Goryeo era. He also falls in love with the daughter (Yoona) of a rich nobleman and ends up in a tragic love triangle with her and his close friend (Hong Jong Hyun).

Finally! A drama with a REAL love triangle! I know dramas with so called “love triangles” are a dime a dozen, but most of the time it is very evident who the main couple is and they usually only have real feelings for each other.

Not so in the King Loves! Our leading lady San has genuine feelings for both our leading men, Won and Rin. And since they are also close friends, things are even further complicated. It was the kind of love triangle I have been dreaming of seeing for a very long time now.

The King Loves is also a feast for the eyes! If you know me, you know I love the Goryeo era. And it has all of those stunningly beautiful costumes and perfectly maintained long flowing hair adorning the characters. The cinematography was gorgeous and showcased the setting wonderfully. This drama perfectly captures why I love the style of the era so much.

We have Im Si Wan as the Crown Prince Wang Won. He’s outgoing and confident and knows how to go after what he wants. He’s also never shy about his feelings for our heroine. But he struggles with his place in the palace and how he fits in. And he finds himself right in the middle of a huge power struggle that causes him to question who he can really trust.

Im Si Wan was great in this role and really added vibrancy to the character. Though I did find Won to be a bit off putting sometimes because of his somewhat aggressive personality. But he is also very patient and kind which brought balance to this.

Hong Jong Hyun plays Wang Rin. He’s the best friend of Won as well as his right hand man. The two share a deep bond that they have had for years. Rin is loyal and selfless and always works to do what is best for Won.

I loved Rin so much! He was such a wonderful character, and it was refreshing to see someone not only be selfless, but also intelligent and very thoughtful in how he handled everything. I thought Hong Jong Hyun played him perfectly by adding so many subtleties to the character and making him feel so full of depth.

Then we have Yoona as Eun San. As the daughter of a the richest nobleman in the kingdom, she finds her life turned upside down by people who seek to gain control of her father’s wealth. This lands her in the middle of the power struggle as well as in the middle of a love triangle.

I thought Yoona was perfect for this character as it really fit her personality and abilities. San is also an independent but caring and sensitive woman. And when she finds herself drawing the affections of Won and Rin, one of her main concerns is not harming their relationship. She was a very solid character.

At the heart of The King Loves is the theme of friendship. I really enjoyed the early episodes where Won, Rin, and San developed a friendship that allowed for some fun as well as some entertaining adventures. If only those innocent beginnings could last.

There’s a lot of very interesting secret identity scenarios at play. San hides her status by pretending to be of lower birth. Won hides his identity as the Crown Prince, and Rin also hides his noble origins. It made for some very fascinating and ever changing dynamics between the characters.

Won and Rin are the friendship at the center of things, and they have been close friends for years. They genuinely care for each other and have each others back. Of course, the dynamic of Won being the Crown Prince weighs the arrangement in his favor a bit.

But when the two guys fall in love with the same woman, well, nothing much good can come from that. And if that isn’t complicated enough in and of itself, there’s a lot of power dynamics at play.

Won already finds himself at odds with his father the King a lot and faces criticism for not being of pure Goryeo blood since his mother was from the Yuan Empire. Now add the fact that part of Rin’s family has been working on a play for power for years, and things just couldn’t get anymore messy.

Let’s take a look at our two couples. I was hands down rooting for Rin and San. Aside from really loving Rin’s character, I thought Rin and San had tangible chemistry. They have a lot of stolen glances as well as those pained gazes of silence between them.

And when they got close, the romantic tension was thick. They are the definition of star crossed lovers because of their families histories as well as because of Rin’s loyalty to Won. I just relished in every little moment of their relationship.

Then we have Won and San. Won doesn’t hide his feelings for San one bit. He’s bold in his attempt to win her heart. They bicker a lot, but San quickly sees underneath Won’s façade and sees the hurt inside. She is drawn to him because he is a good person, and she truly wants to be there for him and help him.

But seriously, this love triangle was impressive. I sure wish more dramas could write true triangles. And this love triangle was especially great because all three involved were also friends. None of them want to hurt anyone in the group. That makes it all the more painful as they each try to prevent that. But it seems to become more and more of an impossibility.


My only negative was that the power politics encompassed a bit more of the drama than I would have liked. But in this case, it was all more than worth it to watch as everything comes to a head in the last quarter of the drama.

The intricacies of the power battle were laid out so beautifully. There were so many characters working hard to gain that power and watching them carefully maneuver to execute their plan was impressive. It was all disheartening to watch as the good guys end up pitted against each other because of their plans.

Of course, the main relationship effected is that of Won and Rin. This pair had such a wonderful brotherly friendship that was a truly beautiful thing. They already have to deal with their feelings for San, but things go to another level as a power struggle between the King, the Queen, and Rin’s family emerges.

Won and Rin’s friendship is continually tested especially as Won begins to question where Rin’s loyalty lies. This was difficult to watch as Rin is so loyal to a fault, and Won tries his best to fight off his suspicions. It was sad to see their relationship continually strained.

The King Loves maintained a wonderful pace throughout, and I was always completely interested to see what would happen next with the love triangle and the power struggle. All in all, it was an excellent drama packed with emotion. I’ll certainly remember the beautiful friendship between Won, Rin, and San that was at the heart of the drama.

My Rating: 8.5/10

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About Kay

Greetings! I’m Kay, creator and author of Kdrama Kisses. Kdrama Kisses is dedicated to bringing you the latest in kdrama casting news, drama trailers, reviews, and more. Happy drama watching to everyone!
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13 Responses to The King Loves Korean Drama Review

  1. raistlin0903 says:

    Amazingly this is another drama that I can see (shock of all shocks 😮😮). It sounds truly wonderful, and as I have yet to start on my first historic drama, this moght be the one that I will eventually watch. The premise and storyline sound interesting enough. As always: great review and post! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      You’re on a roll with the drama availability! And yes, it’s a good one to add to your list of considerations for a historical. It really had so many wonderful elements to it and was very well rounded 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. D says:

    Great review Kay. Wasn’t sure if I should watch this or not but definitely on my list now.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Fred says:

    Holy!!!!!! I do not know where to begin. So I decided to watch this because you mentioned “secret identities” and they all looked happy in the pictures. You know I’m a sucker for secret identities.

    But man, this drama played with my mind and my heart! No other drama shocked me with its ending as much as this did – except maybe some Kim Tae Hee drama I watched in the past which I already forgot about. I could not believe what I was seeing. My mouth was open for a good one minute or even more. ASDASHBVBCNBJBAKJHK??????!!!!!!!

    30 minutes before it ended, I was getting ready to leave a comment here saying “Amazing, Kaye”. That was the first thing on my mind. Then 20 minutes before it ended, I asked “Wait, is this another Scarlet Heart ending? I am not ready for this.” The answered seemed to be NO. But then around 5 minutes to go and BOOM! Mindf**k! DHAGDSADSJDGJDSFSBDJFSDFBBM!!!! Sorry, Kaye. The ending is too much. I was ready to just be happy and move on to watch another drama. I feel much worse than watching Scarlet Heart. At least it prepared the viewer of what was to come. So I was happy somehow in the end. This one just changed course in the last 5 minutes! WHAT DOES THE DIRECTOR OR WRITER WANT???? I do not even know what happened after. Like the reason I now prefer Kdramas over Hollywood is closure. Kdramas generally have closure. But this one. I do not even understand the ending.

    Ok so I liked Rin more most parts of the drama but towards the end I just kind of accepted that this drama was meant for San and Won. So I expected them to be together in the end. But then San and Rin leave and Won ends up living alone. I do not get it! What???? I thought Rin let go of San?????? And what happens after????

    Ok, I’ll just stop. This drama is too much Kaye. It was amazing until the last few minutes! THIS COMPLETELY CAUGHT ME OFF GUARD! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!!!!

    Ok, time for me to move on. HAHAHAHAHA.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Kay says:

      Well, I can definitely see the drama had a big effect, lol. One of the really interesting things about this drama was how real the love triangle was with each guy really having a shot. And the writer and director played that up all the way through so that there was no concrete love line. Viewers were quite divided and had much lively discussion over this drama, who she belonged with, and the ending. Everyone had their own experience while watching and took different things from it. It was pretty entertaining to see, hehe

      I can see why the ending divided people for sure. But I was one that personally loved it. I thought the drama was more strongly hinting at Rin and San throughout. I was going to be very surprised if she ended up with Won. And I do believe Rin was willing to let go of San, but with the way all of the events at the end went down, both he and San were basically going to need to go into hiding. And Won knew they loved each other and that he could never be with either of them, so they set up the plan for Rin and San to be together. It was tragic that Won ended up alone, but it was his fate and there was no way around it. At least his closest friends were safe and happy and he had the memories of them being together. So that was my simplified take away from it.

      But there are plenty of people who had you’re experience. It’s always so interesting to see how different people can experience the same thing because we perceive things differently. I wish you felt the same closure I did to make it a more complete experience. But enjoying 99.999% of the drama isn’t half bad, lol 😉


      • Fred says:

        Actually, Kaye, I was thinking hard about this drama earlier. LOL.

        I was also rooting for Rin and San the whole time (except the last few episodes). Why? Well, the opening scene shows us Won and San kissing. So I kind of thought that was how it was supposed to end LOL. I “forced” myself to actually accept that fact. So I was preparing for this ending: San and Won together with a possibility of Rin disappearing. And they give me the ending I liked previously AFTER I have accepted another ending. What???? HAHAHA.

        I am sober now, Kaye. I understand the ending now. Bittersweet. They have been saying it the whole time: the king cannot have love and friendship. Oh well! They played with my mind and heart. I now have closure. HAHAHA.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Kay says:

          Haha, believe me, I understand all the emotions that go into a drama, especially one like this that can really mess with your head. Sometimes those are the best kind though since they really make you feel something. Yes, a little time and thought can many times bring us the closure we need. Glad to hear you are well on your way to that. Another plus, you’ll probably always remember this drama because of the ending that wrecked you, lol 😉


          • Fred says:

            Mixed feelings, Kaye. Though I like it, I sometimes just want to watch a simple happy ending so I can move on with my life HAHAHA.

            I then wondered whether I would have reacted somewhat the same way about Scarlet Heart had I not asked you about the ending. HAHA

            So to sum it up: Amazing, Kaye. =)

            Liked by 1 person

            • Kay says:

              It can definitely be helpful to have a little heads up on those iffy endings, lol. Here’s my incredibly oh-so-wise advice for future viewings: when it comes to kdrama endings, expect the worst and be pleasantly surprise when they are good, hehe 😉


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