Mane of Glory #16: Hwarang Ends, Hong Gil Dong Rises, & Peach Blossoms Dominates

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Between Rebel Hong Gil Dong and Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, we are in Mane of Glory heaven here at DWASOK.  So join us as we fangirl to our heart’s content about two amazing dramas!

Hwarang

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KMUSE: Oh thank the kdrama gods this drama is over.  The few positive aspects were not able to keep this drama from sucking royally.   I won’t go in depth since Drama Geek and I have plans for a future review so we can really let all our feelings out.  I will give one last kudos to Park Hyung Shik for making me care for his character to the end.  I look forward to seeing Park Hyung Shik in a few weeks in his upcoming drama Strong Woman  Do Bong Soon.

Drama Geek: All I’m going to say is I’m going to miss the king’s long locks. But I’m probably too excited for SWDBS. Bring on the pallet cleanser.

KdramaJen: I had to drop this because I kept falling asleep.  I still love Park Hyun Shik, though.  I adore him in Strong Woman Do Bong Soo!  He might not have the Mane of Glory, but he is rocking the role!

Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms

KMUSE: SQUEEEE!  I love this drama so so so much.  Sadly, due to time constraints and there being 10 episodes released a week, it is not feasible to recap this one.  However, I thought it would be tragic if we neglected to share just a glimpse of all the gorgeous men of Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms.  Their acting and their hair is all on point and I might be in love with the really really long hair style of Chinese fantasy.  For more details about this drama, check out the spoiler-free review we did HERE.

CLKYTTA: Double SQUEEEE!  Did you see that our baddie Ghost Prince is K.O. from Love O2O?  Seriously, that hair looks really good on him and I’m not even minding the trees growing out of his forehead or whatever that is.  He still has those soulful eyes and kissable lips. I’m enjoying the long hairstyles and that they don’t all look like really bad hairpieces and wigs.  I’m also having a hard time keeping up, but I’m 20+ episodes in and still interested.  So interested in fact, that I went on Amazon and bought the book, To the Sky Kingdom, that this drama is based on.  When will I have time to read it since I’m a full time mom and college student? I don’t know, but I’ll get to it soon.

Drama Geek: I totally do not have time for 10 episodes a week, but I may add it in to my rotation once I’m finished with Go Princess Go.

Kdrama Jen: This is such an addictive drama.  I also read the book because 10 episodes a week was just not enough for me.  I have a major crush on Ghost Lord and I think the white haired hottie who once ruled the world, but now keeps out of politics is a fabulous character with an epic Mane of Glory.

Rebel Hong Gil Dong Ep 5-8

Gil Dong the Flirt

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Drama Geek: This boy can fliiiiiiiirt. But it’s not always that smoldering sexy flirt. (Though he does throw that in sometimes.) His heart is as big as he is, and it just flows out of him at every turn. No girl in his surroundings is safe.

KMUSE: I loved loved loved our intro to his character.  Dil Gong has some moves and I love that courtesan Honey Lee is thoroughly charmed.  Not enough to give up her dreams of landing the king, but still, you could tell she was tempted.

Kdrama Jen: Can we just take a moment and admire his adorable smile and his lovely eyes?  His eyes tell his story.  I am loving him in this role.

The Family’s Success Puts a Target On Their Future

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Drama Geek: We all knew this was coming. It didn’t make it any easier to watch or live through. Dad didn’t leave slavery life and become a quiet farmer. He ruled his little kingdom and ruffled some feathers. So our little family all paid the price.

KMUSE: From episode one, I kept gearing myself for some extreme tragedy to happen so our hero could be all angsty and revenge driven.  Imagine my surprise when episode after episode occurred without any really tragic deaths.  Yes, his mother died from childbirth, but compared to your usual tortured child saguek lead, this show has been pretty tame so far.

I was especially shocked when the big fallout happened to the adult cast and they all managed to survive.  Not together, but they are not dead either, which is a huge difference from 99% of all other sagueks.

Kdrama Jen: I knew it was coming, but I still felt bad when all of those carefully crafted plans fell apart.

Revenge

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Drama Geek: At this point in the story I’m so happy that the powers of evil aren’t just beard twisting men trying to take over the throne. Nope, it’s a wife seeking revenge for the death of her husband and the demise of her family. And dang she makes a good foe. Not because she has power but because she was able to get Dad where it hurt. And she totally enjoyed doing it. To her, she’s the righteous one and Dad just doesn’t know his place.

KMUSE: I am so happy with the casting of the bad guys so far.  I was not expecting the mistress to be the main big bad (at least in the first portion) and she has been doing an excellent job.  Not only is she intelligent and very machiavellian, but the actress is showing some serious evil buggy eyes that don’t seem overdone. Something that is harder to do than you think.  So bravo for being an awesome nemesis against our heroes.

Kdrama Jen: We knew she had only been kicked down for a while.  I don’t like her, but I certainly have to give a nod to her ability to persevere through adversity.  She is maybe more formidable than the icky guy who likes to beat up young maids.  I can at least understand her better.

Gil Dong Regains his Strength

Drama Geek: Holy wheat weapons. I was sad when he didn’t have his strength, but it was so worth the wait when he just went all Gil Dong Strong on them and took them out with anything and everything he had around him. Do not touch this man’s family. Or those he loves.

KMUSE: Usually I would think this kind of scene would be so extremely cheesy and unrealistic.  However, this director manages to make Gil Dong’s superpower strength seem very natural and I actually am totally on board with him being able to stab wheat stocks through a person’s sternum.  Mighty Child Gil Dong is my new favorite type of Gil Dong.

Kdrama Jen: I watched this scene a number of times.  It could have been ridiculous, but the directing and cinematography made it epic.  This was a hugely symbolic coming of age moment.  I was kind of mesmerized.

Amnesiac Mighty Child

Drama Geek: Because they’d already established Gil Dong tends to have amnesia when he deals with a traumatic situation I could believe this storyline. It allowed our hero to rest and get to know the ladies, and fliiiiiirt. I’m still so worried about who found the sister and what her fate is going to be. My stomach curls at the thought of a pervy man finding her.

KMUSE: It takes a mighty hero to be able to walk around with three arrows in his back and drag his sister from a watery death.  Then to wander around looking for her and finally collapsing at Honey Lee’s house.  It was also a good way of the writer to set up the concept of Gil Dong’s increased recovery speed from near death as a thing.  For once, we will have a valid explanation how someone could have extremely life-threatening wounds and is up and walking a day later!

Kdrama Jen: I am not a huge fan of the amnesia trope, but it did work with the pre-established storyline.

Alternate OTP

Drama Geek: I think their story is a beautiful one of first love. The scene where they have an impromptu sing along took my breath away. I think they’re differing goals in life will prove why they were never meant to be. But they were lovely and sad to watch fall in love.

KMUSE: They have so much chemistry.  Have to admit I am having a bit of a 2nd lead syndrome situation going on.  It doesn’t help that I have been a huge Honey Lee Saguek fan since Shine or Go Crazy.  She just plays these roles so well.

Kdrama Jen: Wait.  What?  This is the ALTERNATE OTP?  I was really enjoying their chemistry.  Oh no.

And This is How You Write A Female Character

Drama Geek: Hello, sageuk drama writers (cough couch Hwarang’s writer) THIS is how you write a woman. She has a life outside of the man in the story. She has a past of her own. She’s layered and damaged. And she’s amazing. If you delve into Korea’s past I’m sure there are so many deep and rich stories about the women that were gisaeng. When I was younger, I read the book Memoirs of a Geisha and that story stuck with me. The real lives of these women would probably break our hearts. And make us realize how strong we can be when we have to.

KMUSE: It is so rare that we actually get a sageuk female character that stays strong… or even is strong from the get go.  They are often thrown in to give the viewers some kind of romance but rarely seem to exist outside of that romantic storyline.  I seriously cried when Courtesan Honey Lee was sharing the story of how her mother sold her into prostitution.  Or why she refuses to raise her child in such a situation.  She has layers upon layers and truly is a great character in her own right.

Kdrama Jen: It is so nice to meet a flawed, yet strong female character. She doesn’t just run around and whine.  Her experiences have made her stronger, and there is such depth to her character because of her past.

The Girl Who Waited

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Drama Geek: This version of her is very different from who we were introduced to at the beginning of the show. It reminds me of Gil Dong when he just wanted to be a farmer. Young and naïve. She’s totally fallen for Gil Dong, and it makes me sad that it may be some time before he looks at her differently. I get the feeling she’s a lot like his mother. I’m excited to see her journey and become one of our rebels. Yes, a girl can be a rebel too. I just hope she doesn’t have to go through pain and heartache to get there. (Dang it. I peeked at the synopsis and it looks like she does.)

KMUSE: I don’t mind this character, but so far I am still firmly on Team Honey Lee.  I am sure that will change as time goes on especially since this writer seems to be intent on sending all the characters through various journeys of growth.

Kdrama Jen: It is going to take a lot of character development for me to get behind her as the love interest.  She just doesn’t compare to Honey Lee.

The Gang Reunited1a61

Drama Geek: Excuse me while I grab a tissue. Okay, it was really a whole box. This is one of the shows biggest strengths. It makes you care about each character and when Gil Dong rounds everyone back up, it felt like a family coming home again.

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KMUSE: I was bawling my eyes out through this whole scene…. good tears, not sad tears.  Everyone reuniting and finding out that the dad was still alive and then the dad’s fear that they wouldn’t come now that he was powerless and crippled.  UGH the feelz.  I just want to bottle up how this drama makes me feel and share it with every other show I am watching.

Justice

Drama Geek: Gah, look at those two. So little spoken with words, so much with their hearts and facial expressions. Prince Pedophile you better watch out!

KMUSE: When the dad smirked I about lost it.  What a wonderful moment to have as the closing of the episode.  It makes me look forward to what is about to occur as well as not traumatized while I wait for the next week’s episodes.

Our Thoughts

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Drama Geek: I am loving every minute of this show and all the characters. I want to stay out of the palace as long as we can. Away from mustache twirling old guys and out with the people and the rebels that will stir them up. How can any of them resist a face like that?

Kdrama Jen: I look forward to this one each week.  The directing, the writing, and the acting are all top notch.  I find myself enjoying even the small moments because it is as if every detail has been carefully considered, like a master artist creating a painting, considering every color and brush stroke.  Love it!

KMUSE: This drama is literal perfection.  There is not a moment, character, or scene that I would change and I can’t wait to go and watch the next episode.

Thanks for joining us as we wax poetic about our favorite manly coiffed heroes.  Be sure to check back for our future Mane of Glory posts.

Til next time,

The Fangirls

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3 thoughts on “Mane of Glory #16: Hwarang Ends, Hong Gil Dong Rises, & Peach Blossoms Dominates

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