First Impressions: “Scarlet Heart: Goryeo”

It’s finally here. The day all us ladies have been waiting for. Am I right?


“Scarlet Heart: Goryeo” is the new Monday-Tuesday SBS drama starring Lee Joon Gi, IU, Kang Ha Neul, and a whole lot of boys that I really don’t mind spending my time watching on the small screen. With the revealing of the stellar cast, behind-the-scenes photos, and not to mention the music videos, this drama has set increasingly high expectations leading up to the premiere.

So, what did I think about “Scarlet Heart”? Did it live up to the hype? Keep on reading to find out.

(Note: This first impressions is based on the first two episodes. Also, minor spoilers ahead.)

1. Production Value

The production value for historical dramas tend to be really high and with good reason. They have to make you believe that the drama you’re watching actually took place a long time ago. Dramas like “Goong” spent a lot of money on the set design and costumes to make it look really pretty, but as far as this drama is concerned, I wasn’t thoroughly impressed.

Yes, the setting and certain scenes were quite beautiful and so were the costumes, but it wasn’t anything to be blown away over. Maybe all the money was spent on casting the beautiful group of eye-candy… which I’m totally okay with.


One thing I am a big fan of already is the OST. The melodious voices of Chen, Xiumin, and Baekhyun are music to my ears. Not to mention the song by Loco and Punch. The sweet songs intensified the lovey-dovey scenes and totally brought more feels. I’m a fan!

2. Cast and Characters

This cast…. … is riiiiiiiiiiiiidiculous.

Like, seriously?

IU must have saved a million puppies in her past life to be surrounded by this cast for months. In my next life, I’d like to be IU please. Thanks.

IU plays Hae Soo, your very typical damsel in distress who constantly needs saving. She’s frail, clumsy, and heartbroken. The only good thing about this is that there are a lot of knights in shining armor who are just steps away from saving and protecting her. We definitely don’t feel sorry for her. I’ve never actually seen IU act in a drama, and although she’s getting criticized quite a bit for her acting, I tried to not let it bother me because I really, truly want to like this drama.

One thing I couldn’t get over was how beautiful she looks in the costumes.

Wang So, the fourth prince, played by Lee Joon Gi, is an intimidating character with a lot of baggage. He’s an amazing sword fighter and has a reputation for being a mean killing machine, but despite this, I found myself feeling sorry for him because of the lack of love he gets from his family.

I couldn’t help but be mesmerized by Lee Joon Gi’s presence onscreen. Almost every scene he was in captivated my attention, which is probably because he’s one of the veteran actors. He really did a great job of showing the intensity of Wang So’s character.

This was basically his face for most of the drama so far:

It takes some time to like his character and root for him, but he does grow on you. Especially the scenes where he’s saving IU. As any good male drama lead should, he’s sweeping us off our feet one step at a time.

Surprisingly, Kang Ha Neul, who plays Wang Wook, has totally stolen my heart. I’ve always been a fan of Kang Ha Neul, but he’s really nailing this character. His confidence, his charm, not to mention the way he looks at Hae Soo – it’s all just perfection. Wang Wook plays the eighth prince, but the most popular one among the ladies and we can totally see why. He also seems to exhibit the most throne-worthy qualities. On top of this, he not only takes Hae Soo under his wing, but he’s also the only one who really cares about his brother, Wang So.

Didn’t you just love that scene where he’s walking through the book shelves while Hae Soo scurried around trying to talk to him?

This scene was adorable and I’m totally anticipating the relationship he is going to have with her (whatever that may be, but I will get to that later)!

As for the other actors, they’re all right for now. I couldn’t help but feel like there were too many actors sharing the screen at certain points. Like, there wasn’t a natural flow in their dialogue with each other. I’m confident that as the drama progresses and their characters develop, they will each have their time to shine, but for now, I haven’t seen that moment yet.

3. Storyline

This drama had a pretty appealing first five minutes. I admit it, I was intrigued. A hopeless female lead in a desperate situation? Hae Soo had just broken up with her boyfriend who was cheating on her, which is why she is distraught and drinking her sorrows away. Upon seeing a little boy almost drown in the lake, Hae Soo jumps in to retrieve him. It is at this point that Hae Soo is transported back into time, into this world full of beautiful men. She seems upset about it, which… I don’t understand why. If you woke up to this sight, would you be upset?

Oh, hey.

After she discovers that she’s traveled back to the Goryeo era, we find out that there are 25 princes, (seven of whom are the main ones). They all have their unique personalities, but Wang So is the outcast, living apart from his brothers. One of the reasons for this is probably because his parents are the ones responsible for the huge scar that’s on his face, hence why he’s wearing a mask. I said he had baggage, right? It’s no wonder he’s got some issues!

Most of the brothers are afraid of Wang So and his impulsive violent behavior. Wang Yong, the third prince played by Hong Jong Hyun, is the bad guy out of the brothers and from what I can tell, he’s responsible for the fighting that goes on at the end of Episode 2. I really didn’t expect him to play the villain in this drama, but he’s actually pulling it off! Aside from the drama among the brothers, I really just couldn’t wait until Wang Wook finally met Hae Soo. How excited were you?

Charming, right?

Although I admit Wang So and Hae Soo meeting was exciting, I still think the highlight for me was Kang Ha Neul’s character, Wang Wook. Are you anticipating the love triangle that’s coming our way? Because it’s coming.

Oh, but wait. Did I mention that our lovely Wang Wook is married? Yes, HE’S MARRIED. So this is all very confusing.


If you say so.


There’s also the mystery of trying to figure out which of these princes will become king. Because Hae Soo is from the future, she knows her history and knows that the next king in line is named Gwangjong, BUT we have no idea who Gwangjong is. Although I care a lot about the love story aspect of the drama, I am pretty interested in finding out who will be crowned king. Kind of reminds you of “Game of Thrones,” no?

4. Final Thoughts

The first two episodes did enough to pique my interest, but I need to watch more of the drama to say if I absolutely love it. I have to say, I wasn’t as excited about the drama as I thought I would be by the end of the second episode. I also don’t think the story progressed at a good enough speed for me and it felt like it was kind of all over the place at times.

Despite this, I’m willing to keep watching and it obviously has nothing to do with him:

or him:

(I could keep going).

binahearts is a Soompi writer who can be most often seen singing her heart out at karaoke, walking her dog, or indulging in dessert. Her current obsessions include Song Joong Ki, 1llionaire, and “Cinderella and the Four Knights.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!

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