Authentic Air Date: January – March 2012
Plot: Set in Joseon instances, this historic drama is a few fictional crown prince who’s engaged to a wise clever younger girl. As a result of political scheming and corruptness, she finally ends up being cursed, dropping her reminiscence, and turns into a shaman.
Watched As a result of: Kim Soo Hyun was my first ever Kdrama actor crush after seeing him in My Love from the Star. To assist with the MLFTS withdrawals, I needed to search him out in one other drama! After I watched this again in 2019, additionally it is the primary historic drama (sageuk: 사극) I had ever watched.
Moon Embracing the Solar is a twenty-episode historic/fantasy/romance drama set within the Joseon Period. It was extraordinarily effectively obtained in South Korea with a peak score of 42.2%. It additionally gained a number of awards together with the drama of the 12 months and actor of the 12 months on the Baeksang Arts Awards, MBC drama awards, and others. I personally actually loved it and binged it extremely shortly. Right here in 2021, I ended up occurring a second binge after I rewatched it to jot down this weblog. With my Kim Soo Hyun bias lens on, this can be a must-see. However with my blogger analytic hat on, I do acknowledge that the drama had some missteps within the writing and within the casting.
However first, what I beloved!
My studying of the Joseon Period. I do know sageuk’s aren’t for everybody. However I personally do get pleasure from them as a result of I really like studying concerning the historical past and tradition of nations by way of films and television. Via sageuk’s, the historical past of Korea actually come alive for me. Sure, I do know issues are dramatized and Moon Embracing the Solar, is predicated on a fictional king and mystical magical experiences with shamanism. But it surely nonetheless teaches you numerous concerning the political buildings of Joseon, the hierarchies from the King all the way down to the servants, the tradition, the fashion of clothes, the meals, and so on… I discover all of it so fascinating. With each sageuk I watch, I study one thing new about Korea’s previous and it prompts me to start out doing my very own studying and googling of Korean historical past. From this drama, I ended up studying and studying a bit extra about shamanism in Korea’s spiritual historical past.
The kid actors and actresses
The primary 6 episodes have been set 8 years previously with youngster actors and actresses. They have been so superb, I used to be really a bit unhappy to go away them in episode 6 for the time skip to the current and the grownup actors. Having extra Korean dramas underneath my belt, it was additionally thrilling to see acquainted faces of their youthful childhood appearing days.
Yeo Jin Goo, youngster crown-prince. He was superb because the younger spirited crown prince who fell in love along with his princess. After this drama, he was nicknamed the nation’s little brother. His most up-to-date grownup roles are The Topped Clown, My Absolute Boyfriend, Resort Del Luna, and Past Evil.
Kim Yoo Jung, youngster initially betrothed to the crown prince. She was OUTSTANDING because the younger to be a crown princess. So excellent, she fully overshadowed her grownup counterpart (extra of that in my might have been higher part). She was nicknamed the nation’s little sister. She’s been in a billion dramas at a younger age. Her most up-to-date grownup roles are Love within the Moonlight, Backstreet Rookie, and Lovers of the Pink Sky. I actually have the urge to go watch Lovers of the Pink Sky simply to see her.
Kim So Hyun, the younger to be Queen. I additionally preferred her higher than her grownup model. Additionally nicknamed nation’s little sister (I assume they like one of these nickname?) Most up-to-date grownup roles embody Love Alarm, Story of Nokdu, and River Have been the Moon Rises.
Im Si Wan, younger trainer to the crown prince. Once more, I assumed he was a greater solid than the grownup model! His most up-to-date grownup roles embody the lead function in Misaeng and Run On.
I don’t know if it’s the fault of the drama that they left us with the kid actors for thus lengthy, but it surely was actually onerous to go away them after which regulate to their grownup selves. None of them regarded like their characters and a number of them felt like that they had character transplants. It took a number of episodes to get again into the drama with the grownup solid.
Kim Soo Hyun is one of the best king ever.
Okay, that’s solely a barely biased opinion! However he did win a number of actor awards for his portrayal, so the specialists additionally thought he was superb! He had such a commanding regal aura round him. As he barked orders or received indignant at these round him, you felt his energy. Then within the subsequent scene, you possibly can really feel his anguish as he would cry over the scenario he’s in. He might activate the playful king along with his bodyguard and eunuch. Then, he might activate the swoony/cute along with his love. His vary is so good. Significantly, he’s superior.
Eunuch Hyung Solar (performed by Jung Eun Pyo)
I beloved his eunuch a lot. He was effectively written and well-acted. He introduced the wanted comedic reduction to the present. I beloved how playful he was with the king and would assist him to elucidate how ladies’ brains work or what presents imply. I really like that the King would at all times inform him to go face the wall when he received mad at him! I beloved the snowmen he constructed for the king. He had such a great on-screen reference to each the younger crown prince and the older King.
Normally, I loved the plot
For essentially the most half, I discovered the plot to be fairly partaking and fascinating. It was largely a love story set in Joseon instances with household politics and betrayal getting in the way in which. They tended to go away you with cliffhangers on the finish of every episode, so it retains you in binge mode.
The casting of Han Ga In/The writing of her character within the again half. As I discussed earlier, the youthful actress who performed her function was fabulous. She was in a position to do nuanced facial expressions and a wide range of emotional scenes. However the writers additionally wrote her character as a tremendous younger girl. She was clever, she had spunk, she wasn’t afraid to talk her thoughts about ethics and politics. She made the younger crown prince take into consideration the world in a different way. It was straightforward to see how he fell in love along with her. However once we switched to her grownup self, Han Ga In performed the function very flat. Her expression was often open eye shock or tearing up. She spoke very reticently and quietly.
The writers additionally didn’t do her justice. She now changed into a weak feminine who always had dangerous issues achieved to her and she or he simply passively accepted it. I saved ready for that spunk in her to return. I saved ready for her to take cost of her personal future, however to the top, she was passive. And to high it off, as soon as she lastly discovered her reminiscences, she determined to cover them and let herself be in exile? Why would she not inform the king and attempt to problem-solve with him? Then she finally ends up locked in his closet for what number of episodes in hiding? Positive there have been a number of cute moments between them. However how pitiful did she grow to be that she was content material being locked in a closet as a substitute of utilizing her excessive intelligence to determine a approach out of the scenario? However nope, as a substitute, the king discovered on his personal learn how to remedy the dilemma and she or he remained in his closet. What a waste. She ended up being a disappointing lead feminine after the incredible begin.
The plot/ending/character writing
Stagnant Plot. Round episode 13 or so, you notice the plot actually isn’t shifting. It’s the identical cycle of the king and prince combating for a lady. The lady frequently has dangerous issues achieved to her (e.g. that torture scene was robust to observe). The lady accepts the dangerous issues getting achieved to her. Like yeah, don’t fear I used to be nearly overwhelmed to loss of life, however how is your well being king?
Stagnant Love Triangle/Dealing with of Prince Yangmyung. In addition they stretched the love triangle too lengthy with Prince Yangmyung (performed by Jung Il Woo). He simply began to look so pathetic going after Shaman Wol when he knew she didn’t love him and he beloved his brother the king. We didn’t actually need it to get stretched for ALL TWENTY episodes. After which to kill him in the long run as he nonetheless imagined her face. Plus the way in which he received killed was a bit ridiculous. May nobody actually cease that spear coming at him? Why was he resigned to commit suicide? Why does that assist the plot in any respect? What a one-dimensional character that since he didn’t get the lady, he needed to die. Why couldn’t he recover from the lady, and go reside a life the place he went on to do effectively on the earth along with his information of medication.
Not using the facet characters absolutely.
I used to be fairly dissatisfied within the dealing with of Seol’s character. I used to be ready for her to play a bigger function in defending Shaman Wol. I wished to see her bad-ass sword abilities. However the writers by no means used her absolutely, she saved her mouth shut for 8 years and died defending Heo Yeom, which was a tear-jerker scene. But it surely bothered me that they made her die for romantic love for her former grasp fairly than to die in a friendship protecting love for Seol. It might have been a 10x extra heartbreaking scene to die defending Shaman Wol. As a substitute, Shaman Wol came upon whereas being locked within the king’s closet and by no means received to say goodbye to her pal of 8 years.
Your tears don’t idiot me, Princess.
Princess Minhwa character and relationship. Princess Minhwa and Heo Yeom have been missing main romantic chemistry. It could have been the grownup casting of Heo Yeom. However he handled her as a youthful sister he was not considering. And he at all times rebuffed her advances and averted their consummation date. So it was a head-scratcher when she was immediately pregnant. When did they consummate? It’s just like the writers wished a cause to carry on to her when the reality received revealed. However I simply didn’t consider it when immediately Heo Yeom was now in love along with her and after her exile, nonetheless, beloved her and wished to be along with her? And for her to inform the king, she would do it once more and assist “kill” his bride simply to have her husband. What? Speak about zero character growth. And he or she is supposedly married to essentially the most moral and simply trainer within the drama. It simply bothers me that the writers left her alive and ultimately gave her again her husband and youngster when she was spoiled entitled “assassin.” However they determined to kill Prince Yangmyung and Seol, the loyal servant?
*Spoil alert over*
In order you may see, the drama was removed from excellent. Nevertheless, regardless of some writing and casting lapses, I nonetheless loved it tremendously on each the primary and second watches. The plot was fascinating sufficient to me to maintain me engaged to the top. Kim Soo Hyun put in a tremendous efficiency because the King. I additionally loved the appearing by his eunuch, his bodyguard, and his brother the prince. The youthful solid can also be definitely worth the watch on the primary 6 episodes to see a number of grownup actors now of their childhood breakout roles.
It’s a must-see for any Kim Soo Hyun fan. However in the event you aren’t into him or historic dramas, chances are you’ll wrestle by way of politics and violence. If you wish to get your ft moist into the sageuk world, I feel there may be extra lighter-friendly ones to attempt like Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung or Mr. Queen.
Ultimate Opinion: Add it to your sageuk watch record.
Bonus: Right here’s Kim Soo Hyun singing one of many songs from the OST