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Korean Drama TV Series: Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)
“Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo” (2016) is a Korean adaptation of a Chinese novel. Per quotes from Wikipedia: “Despite its ensemble cast, extensive publicity and US$13 million production budget, the series only averaged single-digit audience rating of 7.59% in South Korea, and was overshadowed by Love in the Moonlight (2016). It received criticisms for its screenplay, direction and performances, but was well received overseas.”
Since I’m in America that places me in the “overseas” group that received this series well. This TV show was binge-worthy entertainment that left me with a lingering thought: Does this cruel world really have to be so cruel to live in?
At the beginning of each episode, there is a message to the effect that the scriptwriters took some artistic liberties with the records of history. Artistic liberties? Yes indeed. The idea of a girl from the future falling through water and accidentally ending up in Joseon is the reason my rating is 4 out of 5 stars. Nevertheless, if you don’t know that much about Korean history, especially during the time when Korea was called Goryeo, a Korean kingdom established in 918 by King Taejo, then the artistic liberties taken would hardly be noticeable. Since separating fact from fiction was not important to me, the storyline had me hooked right from the start. I had to follow through to know how it ended.
This is FACT not FICTION: Regardless of what part of the world or what time period you live or lived in … siblings that CAN get along with each other and work together can accomplish a lot more than siblings who CAN’T get together.
Not being a student of Korean history, I don’t know the true historical account and can’t make comparisons between fact and faction. But let’s say for the sake of argument, the TV series is TRUE. That would mean that King Taejo was like the Hebrew patriarch Jacob (who was later named Israel). Jacob had a bunch of sons and only one daughter.
In many cultures around the world, a couple would give their eye teeth just to have one son. This man had several sons. (4th Prince Wang So is so intense!) They were virile strong healthy handsome men with sound minds; each one gifted with a useful talent or talents, very resourceful, and most of them with nice personalities. Most of them? Yeah well. You know how it is with family. It’s usually at least one sibling who is selfish, greedy, and can’t be trusted. But the other siblings figure a way to work around them and … (choke!) … love them anyway. After all, they are blood. Most families only have one child like that. Heaven has to help the family that might have 2 or 3 of them because when they get together to start scheming and conniving for what they consider to be their “fair share”, nobody is safe!! King Taejo had designated a successor to the throne after his death, but that didn’t stop the siblings from fighting over the crown anyway.
You almost feel compelled to ask the deceased king this question:
Mr. King Sir! You can manage to unite three kingdoms under one rule but you can’t teach and train your own sons to have each others’ backs, look out for each other, protect each other, and take care of each other AND lead the united kingdom on to greater prosperity and glory?
You would think that a man so blessed with that many sons, could find a way to stop them from killing each other! Just sayin’.
And the only daughter? She was as ruthless and greedy for power as some of the brothers!
Had the old monarch asked for my advice, I could have told him something that “might” have helped him to reign in his sons’ ambitions and possibly get them all on the same page working together for the good of the nation and not lusting for the seat of power.
My advice to King Taejo? Get rid of the mothers!
Banish them! Only allow limited restricted supervised visits. Those ladies were not mothers. They were vicious meddlers and manipulators! Most sons and daughters will be loyal and devoted to their mothers and many a ruthless power-hungry mother knows that a child’s loyalty and devotion can be weaponized and used to persuade children to commit unspeakable acts to achieve any goal they have in mind.
The mothers created the environment that made the cruel world so cruel to live in.
Whew! Made for a good plot though.
RATING: My rating for this series gets 4 out of 5 stars because the girl coming from the future was just … weird. (O.o) The criticisms about the screenplay is understandable. On the plus side, whoever was in charge of casting deserves a gold star for being able to assemble that many talented actors and actresses under one roof.
♦ For Contrast: A look at a scene from the TV series “Love in the Moonlight” (aka “Moonlight Drawn by Clouds”)