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Hwarang: A Personal Review

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“No path is a path, someone must walk on it before it becomes one”

   Hi everyone, my name is Ayotola Faith and this is my very first time writing on The Nostalgic Pen. When my girl, The Nostalgic Pen, came to me to review Hwarang, I honestly thought it was too huge of a job to complete. However, Hwarang has managed to capture my heart, ‘cause its’ primary aim is to transfer the baton of refined culture and traditions from the old to the new generation.

   I was deeply touched by the entire plot, there was a different, new feeling brewing from the writers and the cast of the series. Hwarang is a romantic, coming-of-age, historical series, like every other historical Kdrama series, the storyline usually centers around four famous nations: Goryeo, Yuan, Baekje, and Silla. Hwarang is also my first Korean series and it centers around Silla, the smallest of the nations. There is no ancient Korean drama without the steaming drama of the royal family, its scheming officials, the unlucky lovebirds, the uncanny love triangle, and of course, the incorrigible villains.


Hwarang, The Poet Warrior

   In Silla, they operate the Bone rank system consisting of three ranks that make up the society, first is the sacred bone rank (seonggol), true bone rank (jingol), and the noble rank- ranks 6,5,4 and 3,2,1-. The sacred bone was for the royal family, the true bone was for people of royal blood on one side and noble blood on the other and the noble rank was for high officials and the common people.

   This is similar to the caste system adopted by various societies in the past where the rich and powerful segregated against the poor, and if you look deeper caste system still exists today but under palatable disguises such as The High Class, Middle Class, and Lower Class.  The system was so terrible that the ranks only got married among themselves, traded among themselves, and did everything within each rank.


Hwarang Quotes

   However, one man rose to be different, Hwarang We Hwa, the best friend to the former king of Silla, was arrested for committing treason (felony) against the king.  He was pardoned by the Queen, on the condition that he headed an elite society of warriors who would serve the kingdom and keep it safe. He saw it as an opportunity to create a change in the kingdom through the youths, he encouraged these warriors to make their own decisions and challenged them to walk their own path and make it their own as a child cannot walk from the start, he has to crawl and practice for his leg to get stronger before he is able to walk. Change comes from one person who’s mad enough to believe that he can make a difference.

     Hwarang We Hwa let them make important decisions regarding the kingdom cause he believed the Warriors were for the kingdom and not for the personal protection of the royal family. In his words, if a bird leaving its nest wants to fly, it needs many days to train, which was why he nurtured them first and let them go only after he was sure they understood the rubrics of politics and power.

    Another mind-blowing character was the Queen! She started out as a concerned mother whose sole aim was to protect her son but as fate would have it she became too greedy and cunningly wanted to keep the throne to herself, in the guise of protecting the hidden king.


Hwarang Quotes

    There is no Kdrama without a sizzling love story and Hwarang did not disappoint. The movie churned out a conglomerate of unrequited love, between the hidden King and Ah-ro, Princess Sook-Myung and Moo-Myung (Dog-bird), and Soo-ho and the queen.  As for Princess Sook-Myung and Dog-bird, as much as I want to feel pity for the princess and her “hard girl” syndrome. Speaking of unrequited love, let’s examine the love stories in this series which I have categorized from the series.


    First is the true love category, starting with Ban-Ryu and Soo-Yun which started out in a funny way but the end was what I prayed for, tough guy like Ban-Ryu finding true love was really cute, while Moo-Myung and Ah-ro’s true love which was a combination of all the types of love I listed below, theirs was real and true till the end.

    There is the siblings love category, which exemplifies in the love between Soo-ho and Soo-Yun (cat-and-mouse), Mak-moon and Ah-ro (longing), Moo-Myung and Ah-ro (clueless), King Jinheung and Sook-Myung (unlucky), Han-sung and Dan-sae (brotherly) – these individuals all portrayed their love in various, interesting ways; the popular one, was the cat-and-mouse play between siblings, longing love, clueless love, unlucky love, and brotherly love.

Quotes From Hwarang

   There is also the friendship love category, this has to do with love shared between Mak-moon and Moo-Myung, King Jinheung and Moo-Myung, Moo-Myung and Han-sung, Soo-ho and Ban-Ryu and love between the Hwarang themselves. These were enjoyable times as they showed one another love and support in all scenes and happenings. And the rules in Hwarang house gave room for the relationship to grow thicker in their hearts. Because of their relationship with one another, King Jinheung was able to fully establish his authority as the king because he knew that his brothers would have his back at all times. I really enjoyed the bromance in this series which made me love it more

Hwarang poster

    “If there’s no old, there would be no new” The future’s uncertainty is what makes Hwarang a unique series, the plot had a major goal to fulfill, every cast had a purpose to fulfill and this was achieved. All through the series, I kept thinking “this series deserves a review from me”, I’m glad I could do this here. I’ve always admired people who encourage and show support to the good works of other people, however, I appreciate it more when the elders show this much support and encouragement for the progress of the youths and trust in their ability. This was something the queen refused to do, as she doubted the prince’s ability to take over the throne and made greed overcome her original plan of protecting her son leading to the hostile takeover served to her.

   I wouldn’t say the entire series was as magical as I portrayed it to be, in fact, I feel it was too perfect as it ended perfectly as I wanted it to, however, there were a couple of ups and downs like the death of Mak-moon (Sun-woo), the scuffle massacre at Baekje, the manipulations and scheming of the Queen and official Yong-shil, the epidemic and scheming again of official Yong-shil in his devious way to make money, and his absurd discipleship teachings.

   Finally, the uneventful death of Han-sung (V of BTS) – I don’t know the guy in reality cause I’m not a BTS fan, however, I managed to fall in love with his character. He is the symbol of growth and the face of the saying quoted at the beginning of this review. It takes courage to admit to being childish and deciding to take up the role of an adult and its responsibilities, which became short-lived due to the scheming of his grandfather which was executed by his half brother, truly uneventful – all these attributes and themes combined made Hwarang a worthy series, worthy of a review from me.

  Do well to check it out and have a fun time. I hope you enjoyed reading, plus I added an extra trailer from Youtube to convince you to see the movie. Kindly subscribe, tell me your reactions with the emoticons below, and don’t forget to leave your comments!


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Ayotola Faith

My name is Ayotola Faith. I'm a writer, a law student, and a voracious reader. I'm also a perfumer and CEO of Adure Signature (pssst! check me out on Instagram with the username, Adure signature.) Welcome to the Nostalgic Pen where you can read my works as much as you want!

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Itunnu

    V of BTS😩😩 the love of my life😩❤️

    Great review tho🔥🔥

  2. Nkem

    This was an awesome read! I never got to watch Hwarang, even though one of favourite BTS members, V, was in it. This review has done a lot for me. I knew a bit about the plot but this was quite insightful. I like how you gave a review without spilling the entire plot. Great great review!!

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