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I finished watching “The King Loves” (or “The King in Love”) (2017) and it did not disappoint. This series is based on the novel of the same name. and it is a Viki Original series set during the Goryeo Dynasty historical period.
There are very intricate relationships that were developed in this series: between parents and their child, between BFFs (best friends forever), and between people who fall in love. You know what? It doesn't matter if you're a seriously wicked and evil scheming conniving person, or a ruthless murderous assassin, you still have a heart and there can still be room for somebody in your life that you truly love who can reach your “tender spot”.
The 3 main characters are:
~ Wang Won (played by Im Siwan), the Crown Prince, heir to thr throne and future king;
~ Wang Rin (played by Hong Jong Hyun), his BFF since childhood, who is also of royal blood which means he could be chosen as king, instead of the Crown Prince, if the conniving power-monering people who plot and scheme behind the scenes have it their way; and
~ So Ha also known as Lady San (played by Yoona), the woman who completes the love triangle.
Of course, Wang Won and Wang Rin are both fall in love with her.
Crown Prince Wang Won's parents are King Chungnyeol, 25th king of Goryeo (played by Jung Bo-Suk) and Princess/Queen Wonsung (played by Jang Young-Nam). The mother is Chinese and she is the daughter of the Chinese emperor, Kublai Khan. The royal marriage was clearly arranged to form a strong political alliance between the kingdoms of Goryeo and Yuan.
(REAL HISTORY NOTE: I had to do research to understand the significance of the royal marriage. Kublai Khan (Born 1215 – Died 1294), was also known by his temple name as Emperor Shizu of Yuan. He was the fifth khagan-emperor of the Mongol Empire, reigning from 1260 to 1294. He founded the Yuan dynasty of China in 1271, and ruled as the first Yuan emperor until his death in 1294. From 1231 - 1273, Goryeo (Koryo) was invaded six times by the Mongols. Goryeo became a tributary of the Mongol Yuan Dynasty ( 元朝) in China. Goryeo was under Mongol Rule but this ended in the 1350s when the Yuan Dynasty itself began to disintegrate and King Gongmin of Goryeo seized the opportunity to begin to reform the Goryeo government by removing pro-Mongol aristocrats and military officers.)
The Crown Prince's parents make the mistake that most royal parents make. Instead of loving and nurturing their son like any parent should, they use their child as a pawn in a power play. It does not make for a loving parent-child relationship and the very objective they want to accomplish, i.e. raise their child to one day become a great ruler who cares for and protects the people, gets lost in all the vicious palace intrigue and infighting. Interactions between either parent and the child were always INTENSE!!
So! Here's the PLOT. The Crown Prince is a HALF-BREED!! A child born from the union of a Goryeo king and a Chinese queen. Some of the folks in Goryeo don't like that! There is a clear divide. Those who will be loyal to the monarchy no matter who reigns as long as it's a good person who cares for and protects the people AND those who want a “pure-blood” Goryeo person to be the leader of the nation, as if only a person born without mixed heritage would possibly be the best person to rule the kingdom. Their excuse is that they fear the land of Goryeo will be taken over by a strong foreign power, Yuan, and they will cease to exist as “the true people of Goryeo”. That means they need to get rid of Wang Won, the half-breed. But how do they do that? Can it be done using:
~ Plan A: Place a pure-blood king on the throne without incurring the wrath of the Chinese Emperor and causing a bloodbath ... OR ...
~ Plan B: If they do make the Emperor angry, can they stand against him with their own military might? There will still be blood … but it will be worth it in The End because it will result in a Goryeo nation free from Chinese domination.
The series is 20 episodes. Definitely binge-worthy. I agree with the rating of 8.8 out of 10 stars reported by Viki.com viewers. To be honest, even though the king is the main person, if it were not for the character, Wang Rin, the king's BFF (best friend forever), I would not have been interested. From the moment of being introduced to this character, I wanted him to be my best friend forever! I liked him that much! So I had to follow this series through to The End because I needed to know what was going to become of him. Was he going to be killed OR would he survive the power struggle?