Updated: Jul 16
My SoSoo couple that captured my Scarlet Heart
Couple: Hae Soo & Wang So from "Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo"
Le Moment: "Meet Nope"
I was a few years late on watching Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and thanks to reading Star Wars fanfiction, someone had written a story based loosely on Scarlet Heart. Intrigued I did some digging, only to have me watching it last summer with my husband. And to this day, after this show has premiered five years later, fans still haven't gotten over it. And now I'm one of them. It was to the point where I had written notes, yes NOTES, over all of it and wanted to talk it out on some platform. Couldn't be helped with the soundtrack, the feelings, the betrayals, misunderstandings, duty, desire, the pretty, ALL OF IT. But I'll try and contain it all for this overview, but this may be a long #ShippingSunday because I need to get this all out and I've already partially driven my husband and bestie nuts over this. Apologies to you both.
This Korean retelling of the Chinese version and book is a more glamorized turn of the tale, starring a ton of Korean idols and flower boys. But this kdrama one has the familiar vibes of the misunderstood bad boy and the girl who steals his heart by seeing past the front he puts up but also ending up changing him for the better.
And yes, I'm about to light this entire post with beautiful gifs from this beautiful show.
A young woman named Go Ha-Jin (played Good Lord what can't she do Lee Ji-Eun or IU to most fans). She's down on her luck after she
discovers that her boyfriend has cheated on her with a best friend of hers, not to mention, saddled with his debt. After talking with a homeless man, she notices a boy that's about to drown in the lake she’s sitting beside, and Ha-Jin dives in after him. She saves him but is pulled down into the water during a solar eclipse where she's transported to 941 AD during the Goryeo period and into the body of a girl named Hae Soo. She retains all of her 21st-century memories and now has to navigate through court life since her cousin is married to the eighth prince, Wook (played by the cutely adorable Kang Ha-Neul).
Despite being married, Prince Wook is now attracted to the new change in Hae Soo and the two of them do develop feelings for each other. And who could blame her? Wook is scholarly, gentle and hella fine. But Wook will have to wait in line because there are eight princes involved in this reverse harem, several of which form a close bond to Hae Soo, but only two are true contenders to win her heart.
So what's up with the Phantom of the Opera looking one? We'll get all into him in le moment and why this couple has been my lock screen image for the past year.
Le Moment: "Meet Nope" (Spoilers for a five-year-old show)
Towards the end of Episode One, Hae Soo is doing a task for Wook's ROYAL B of a sister until she sees the royal astronomer who looks just like the homeless guy she was talking to in the 21st century. Soo books it after this dude, losing him in the marketplace. What she doesn't realize is that a real a-hole of a rider is blazing through the marketplace at full speed, causing customers and vendors to leap out of the way. She turns around, paralyzed in the middle of the street as the rider doesn't stop, looking like he's about to run her down. Then a man carrying some cargo brushes against her to where she is knocked off balance and struggling not to fall into a crevice. But the man on the horse smoothly reaches down to catch her.
Their attraction is so immediate that they pause to stare at each other. And through this stare, the moment is monumental. This stare is about fate, something beyond anything the two of them could even fathom.
But in this meeting of the eyes, you can tell they feel it. And they continue to feel it as the mysterious stranger literally sweeps her off her feet and in front of him on his horse. And as they ride, knowing full well this man should watch where he's going, they can't stop staring at each other.
It's almost as if they're lost in their own world, their bodies unable to do anything else but to feed off of what they perceive in each other. Even in this gif, you can see him instinctively bear her closer to him. There's also a part of her grasping a tight hold onto his clothing. This meeting carries so much more weight than any of Soo's meetings with the other princes. Now that they've met, their destinies seem to be so tightly woven together.
Once the stranger stops the horse, after staring at her a moment, he decides to follow his gut instinct...by throwing her OFF HIS HORSE! It's almost as if he didn't like the instant-fate vibes she was giving off and wanted to be done with it. But if only this man knew that the battle he'll try to wage against her would be futile.
Hae Soo has no idea who this man is, but before he goes riding away, she tells him off for being rude and riding through so recklessly. He reared his horse to have her back off before riding away, but Hae Soo couldn't stop from popping her mouth off as he did.
She soon learns that he's the fourth prince, Wang So (played by underrated Oppa bae, Lee Joon Gi). He’s given the derogatory moniker "The Wolf Dog" because...people. He's adopted out to a group of terrible people who have mistreated him so he returns back to the palace to where his real family does the same. His mother, Queen Yoo, is a REAL piece of work who denies him the motherly affection that she gives to his brothers but not himself. And his mommy issues run DEEP. Everyone treats him like a pariah because his face is scarred and he covers it with a mask. But it's a source of his pain and torment, and he's very insecure about it.
But why I ship Hae Soo and Wang So so much is that it's a hard-earned love. It's not instant but it takes a while for them to get on that mutual level for love and respect. And it's complex. Not only internally with themselves with their array of feelings but also outside forces as well. Wang So is quick to grasp onto Hae Soo, desperate for the love he's never been given. He's willing to fight for Hae Soo at every turn, no matter the consequence to himself. But he in turn is able to learn how to taper his rough-edged behavior in order to be someone she'd fall in love with because he's the polar opposite of Wook. But her love, to him, is worth the earning since it's one of the rare nice things he's had in his life, thus, worth fighting for.
With Hae Soo, it's a matter of seeing who is truly in her corner in the long run. Most of the time, she's the friend, the comforter to not only So, but to so many of the Wang princes. But as political intrigues become more diabolical and deadlier, it's a test of who could honestly stand by her side to support her when she needs it. And to me and a lot of people, that's what makes Wang So her standout person, the wolf that is dedicated to his woman for life.
And a bit of a side note, I real-life ship the actors, too. Their friendship is so organic, supportive, and sweet. They send food trucks to each other's film sets or showing up at each other's performances. If they ever evolve into anything romantic, I definitely would not be opposed.
Where to Find It:
It's a weird one with this one. It didn't do too well in South Korea when it premiered but it has a HUGE international following. Hoping one day it'll be on a platform like Viki Ratuken or even Netflix, but streaming sites like KissAsian or DramaCool have them. KA is better because there were some parts missing from the DC versions, just FYI. In the meanwhile, let's admire all these pretty princes! You're welcome.
Read & Ship On. :)