3 Things We Loved & 3 Things We Hated About The Premiere Of “Arthdal Chronicles”

I never thought this day would come, but Song Joong Ki is back on the small screen.

And I can hardly contain myself.


To be honest, I’m not the biggest fan of historical K-dramas, even though this one is not really a sageuk. I obviously gave this one a chance because a) it’s Song Joong Ki b) tvN airs some of the best K-dramas, and c) there was a lot of hype leading up to the premiere.

So here’s a look at three things we loved and three things we hated about the premiere of “Arthdal Chronicles.”

Warning: Minor spoilers for episodes 1 and 2.

1. LOVED: The amazing cast

This definitely goes without saying. With Song Joong Ki, Jang Dong Gun, Kim Ji Won, and Kim Ok Bin as the main cast, you know you’re going to get a quality series. I had read up absolutely nothing about the series prior to, so I really didn’t know what to expect, but it was fun to learn about how all the characters came to be.

First, there’s Song Joong Ki as Eun Seom and Kim Ji Won as Tanya.

Both characters are part of the Wahan tribe. Eun Seom is not blood-related to any of the Wahan tribe people as he was adopted into their tribe as a child when his mother passed, but he is still considered a member of the tribe.

Then there’s Jang Dong Gun as Tagon and Kim Ok Bin as Taealha. Jang Dong Gun is a war hero and leader of the Saenyeok Tribe. His one goal is to be the King of Arthdal and is willing to kill anyone in his way in order to achieve this goal.

I suspect Tagon and Eun Seom will go head to head later on in the series!

And although there isn’t much about Kim Ok Bin’s character yet, we do know that she’s the last survivor and daughter of the Noeantal tribe. She is also the lover of Tagon, but they are not married.

Although she’s siding with the antagonist, Tagon in this series, I’m looking forward to seeing more of her in future episodes. I sense some villainous planning on her part!

2. HATED: The beginning

Hated is a strong word, but the beginning was a bit tough to get through. It could be because this drama is different from the quick pace of a K-drama rom-com, but the beginning of this particular series requires a lot of attention and following along of all the characters. I found myself having to rewind certain parts to make sure not to miss certain details. I knew paying attention was important because it would bite me in the butt if I didn’t know who these characters were in the second episode.

Also, it took a whole hour and 18 minutes for Song Joong Ki to make an appearance in the series, but it was totally worth it.

You get him in pretty much every scene for the rest of the premiere, so it’s all good.

3. HATED: Tagon

Jang Dong Gun’s character Tagon is absolutely loathsome. He strives for power and his only wish is to relinquish any other tribe that is not his own. At the beginning of the series, his younger self is played by ONE, who most recently played the heartthrob idol Cha Si An in “Her Private Life.” Although his character in this series is vastly different from his previous, the role as Tagon in “Arthdal Chronicles” suits him SO well. His beauty and charm fit the role of a powerful ruler.

Despite Jang Dong Gun being more of the antagonist in the series, he’s got so much charm that he really captivates the screen. And even though Song Joong Ki is charismatic, you can really tell the years of experience Jang Dong Gun has over Song Joong Ki with just his presence on screen.

4. LOVED: The production value

What. A. Production.

This series is built just like a movie. There really hasn’t been a K-drama quite like this in terms of setting and cinematography. To be honest, it brings to mind “Game of Thrones” with its castles and nature-esque setting as well as a lot of what Neverland from Peter Pan would look like – minus the castles – with all the greenery, vines, and clear water.

Beautiful, right?

5. LOVED: The romance part of the story

The story of Tanya (Kim Ji Won) and Eun Seom really is endearing and charming. Eun Seom and Tanya first meet when Eun Seom’s mother carries him to the Wahan tribes village. His mother passes away and the tribe takes him in. Eun Seom and Tanya end up growing up together and although Eun Seom gets into a lot of trouble, Tanya is always defending him.

The two obviously have feelings for each other, but their banter and teasing is just like that of best friends. It’s adorable seeing them flirt and sneak longing looks at each other!

I totally approve of this pair!

6. HATED: The attack on the Wahan tribe

The Wahan tribe are preparing for their moon festival where Tanya is to showcase her people’s special dance. Just as the festival is about to begin, the Wahan tribe gets attacked by the Saenyeok tribe. Because the Wahan people do not have weapons, they are unable to defend themselves and most of them are left for dead or captured as prisoners.

I had a feeling everything was going too smoothly. There had to be some sort of conflict and cliffhanger about to happen. It just sucked seeing the innocent and helpless villagers being attacked and killed, especially the children. And although Eun Seom attempts to rescue them, there are just too many men to have to fight so he comes out defeated.

Although he isn’t successful this time, we all know who our inevitable hero and knight in shining armor is going to be, right?

I also enjoyed the story of Kanmoreu and how he’s supposedly a mythical horse that can outrun all the other horses. I’m looking forward to seeing Eun Seom rescue the Wahan people alongside Kanmoreu!

And in case there wasn’t enough Song Joong Ki pics and gifs for you:

Hey Soompiers, how did you like the premiere of “Arthdal Chronicles”? Let me know in the comments below!

binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!

Currently watching: The Secret Life Of My Secretary,” “Angel’s Last Mission: Love,” “One Spring Night,” “Arthdal Chronicles,” “Absolute Boyfriend,” and “Produce X 101”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen and the second season of “My First, First Love”

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