Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (2016)

Your Rating:
Ratings: 8.7/10 from 10,866 users
Reviews: 80 users

*There are 2 versions of the drama, read the FAQ thread for more info*
When a total eclipse of the sun takes place, a 21st century woman, Go Ha Jin, is transported back in time to the Goryeo Dynasty of Korea. She wakes up in the body of 16-year-old Hae Soo, an aristocrat living with Lady Hae, her cousin who happens to be married to one of the sons of King Taejo. read moreShe soon befriends several of the princes, who find her carefree and exuberant attitude refreshing. Although she knows she should not get involved in palace intrigues over the succession to the throne, she inadvertently becomes a pawn in the struggle, as several of the Princes fall in love with her. ~~ Based on Chinese novel “Bu Bu Jing Xin” by Tong Hua.

  • Native title:

    달의 연인 - 보보경심 려
  • Also Known as:

    Moon Lovers; Time Slip: Ryeo; Daleui Yeonin - bobogyeongsim Ryeo; Moon Lovers – Scarlet Heart: Ryeo; Scarlet Heart: Goryeo; Scarlet Heart: Ryeo;

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171 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Nov 1, 2016
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
Moon Lovers and I go wayy back. When Scarlet Heart first came out back in 2011, it was all the rage. At that time I was into my second year of drama-watching and I hadn't watched anything much besides Korean dramas. But I remember a bunch of my online friends strongly recommended me to start Scarlet Heart. In fact, 5 years later, I still haven't been recommended a drama like that, with read more such intense passion and by so MANY people. But sadly, I never got around to watching it. I was really uncomfortable with the language, the historical setting, the bald-look of the princes (okay, I SAID IT, I'm sorry, I was shallow). But somewhere, at the back of my mind, I had made this little tale that the drama is going to be made into a Korean drama one day, with all these hot actors as leads and I'll just wait it out and watch it then. And okay, a remake is pretty logical because they go around making a lot of remakes but when they announced this, I swear I got goosebumps. Like "I don't believe this--this what I have been dreaming of all my life--someone please pinch me--I should star in the next Final Destination movie now" sort of goosebumps.

So yes, saying that I was excited for Moon Lovers was putting it very mildly. I was exhilarated. Ecstatic. A lot more words with an E. And they made us wait even longer by making it a pre-produced drama and waiting a whole year before it actually came out.

But the best part? It didn't disappoint one bit. I mean, after such high expectations, it is only natural to feel a little let-down just because of all the hype you've been experiencing. But Moon Lovers actually ended up surpassing all my expectations. The drama was perfect from the beginning till the end.

Coming to the plot, it was extremely well-paced. I mean, for dramas it is rare to find such consistently well-paced dramas. Sometimes the beginning is not that good and sometimes the plot dies down after ep 12-16. But here, you never feel like there is too much or too little. It is really hard to skip anything. You just don't want to. Another important fact is that because an older version is already out there, viewers are prepared for a possibly sad/tragic ending. Even if you come without knowing anything about the parent story, the vibe of the show itself whispers the possibility of an un-fairytale-like outcome. There is an intense and gloomy feeling in the show.

The characters are the strength of the drama. I mean, can we talk about the fourth Prince? He is going down in history as one of my favorite characters ever. Firstly, he is so sexy. I mean, you simply can't get enough of him. I have never really been into Lee Jun Ki before but after this, I plan to check out all his dramas. I have seen a couple of his shows but I never realized he was THIS good. The character of Wang So is so complex and so hard to deliver. And yet, Lee Jun Ki plays him so effortlessly, becoming one with the character. What is even more surprising is that he is such a cutie in real life (lol). I really don't know anyone more perfect for this role. I mean, Kang Ha Neul's character turned to the dark side too but it was nothing compared to Wang So. Wang So was simply..addictive!

Coming for Hae Soo. IU faced a lot of flack for her poor acting skills but I felt she was good in her role. I mean, she wasn't as good as Jun Ki or Ha Neul but she did really well. You could feel her transformation from a 21st century person to Goryeo lady to a woman with a lot of scarring experiences. In her previous works she has only done cutesy roles. I really enjoyed her work in this, she showed her versatility as a serious actor. The 13th Prince. He was gentle and kind and the most perfect friend. I loved his chemistry with Woo Hee. It was surprisingly great!

Wang Eun was a big baby but he was a sweetheart too. I wouldn't say Baek Hyun is a good actor but he was given an easy role and it was handled well. Ji Soo was a delight to watch! So far I have loved him in all his roles (I think I have watched everything he has starred in). The rest of the cast was really good too. My favorite among supporting characters was General Park. His acting was so on-point even though he only starred for a few episodes. I liked his daughter too. Ji Mong was a delight to watch. And court lady Oh Sang Goong, I loved her! I can really go on and on about the characters - the good ones and the bad ones, all did well. The acting was so good here, I just couldn't get enough of it. I cried with them and laughed with them.

The music. OH MAN, the music. I love each and every song. This hasn't happened to me since Dream High (I think). I really can't pick a song that I like more than the other.

I am definitely DEFINITELY rewatching this. I know for sure.

The biggest tragedy that comes out of this drama is that the Korean audience could not fully appreciate the perfection that this drama was. The ratings were so low there. Thankfully, it did well everywhere else and made up for it.
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91 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Nov 1, 2016
  • Overall 7.0
  • Story 5.5
  • Acting/Cast 7.0
  • Music 8.5
  • Rewatch Value 5.0
The Good:

I'm having trouble coming up with things for this one. I think very often it's easy to overlook a drama's strong points because its flaws are so obvious. It is especially so for Moon Lovers. And so I'll acknowledge that this review perhaps isn't really that great of a reflection of the quality of the drama.

Firstly, I think the drama did a pretty good job in executing several parts read more of the story, particularly when the supporting characters die. I think that's partly due to the actors' portrayals, and partly because the writer seemed to have gotten his grip on at the right moments. It would have been great if the writing was more consistent throughout the drama. If the drama managed to relay such poignant emotions more frequently I wouldn't have felt as detached from the story. In any case, I think those scenes were possibly the most awesome scenes in the drama.

Next, Lee Jun-ki. I'm certainly biased, but I think he delivered his character well, especially during the more emotional scenes. I can't elaborate more since I don't want to spoil the story. I also appreciated his cleaned-up look after he became emperor. It was about a thousand times better than that side-swept fringe hairstyle. I'm not that fond of his acting as a "blood-thirsty" emperor however. I like how his expressions changed, but imo he overacted a little when trying to portray Wang So's darker side. I also think Hong Jong-hyun was pretty good in his role as well. All in all, I don't think the acting was deserving of all the criticisms it was subjected to. I won't deny that there are some jarring scenes here and there because of "not-so-great" acting, but on the whole it was pretty watchable as far as I'm concerned and the actors did improve.

Lastly, the romance. I don't think the chemistry was great. However, there were certain scenes which were really cute. I'm personally not a huge fan of lovelines actually, but people who like to watch romance scenes will like it. It's a pity that a couple of scenes were cut from the international version, and you have to scour the Internet to look for the SBS version.

The Bad:

I think they got the OST choices very, very wrong. I'm personally not a fan of rap songs, and I don't think rap songs have a place in a historical drama anyway. The music was really annoying in some of the scenes because of this. Also, the fact that there were English lyrics in a couple of others as well. However, I did give a high score to the music because:
1. The "dadada" song was really catchy, despite the fact that it's not very suitable for the drama.
2. I also liked My Love by Lee Hi and Wind by Jung Seung-hwan.
3. Im Sun-hye's Will Be Back was really really really good. Not something I'll listen to in my spare time, but I felt it added value to the drama.
And seeing how they phased out the more unsuitable songs towards the end, I'm alright with giving them a higher score.

Many people have also complained about the directing. I have to say, I was actually overwhelmed by it at the start. I loved the shot with Wang So riding away from the eclipse. It was beautiful. Till I realised that that's perhaps the only redeeming scene. A lot of close-ups were wholly unnecessary. I don't mind that the director likes to take close-up shots, but I think it should be done in moderation, and only when it's contributing to the drama. The poor directing and editing knocked a lot of points off this drama.

Also, this may seem like a minor point, but despite it being a high budget production they didn't invest a lot in calefares. I understand that they wanted to put focus on the main characters, but does it make sense that no one is on the streets when Wang So and Hae Soo sneaked out? I thought a festival was supposed to be ongoing but there wasn't even a soul on the streets. It just seemed too "cold" because there were only the two of them.

The Ugly:

The writing really let the drama down. I was actually looking forward to more political intrigues, a stronger heroine, better character development in general, and more cohesiveness.

I don't know what the writer was thinking of when he/she first starting conceptualising the characters. They had to dig into Kdrama tropes and hand Wang So a parent issue right at the start. Was that necessary? Was it necessary to give him a scar too? I think the writer was trying very hard to plant conflicts, but it didn't work to plan. And because of the scar, they made the female lead a cosmetics saleswoman. Not very useful in the ancient times. In fact (minor spoiler), it's was awkwardly hilarious that at the end they spoke about how Goryeo was very advanced in terms of cosmetics and tea culture. Riiiiiiight. Furthermore, Hae Soo wasn't the female lead I expected as well. I wanted a stronger, smarter, more independent female lead. Plus the fact that all the princes were crazy for love made them seem like really superficial characters. Personally, if your only motivation to fight for the throne is love, I absolutely will not love you. That's just too lame a reason.

Characters aside, I also have qualms about how they choose to leave out certain scenes. A lot of scenes were left to the viewers' imaginations, and that made the show really incoherent. At the very least they should have added in some of the more important scenes. How Wang So got the throne and all was pretty poorly thought out. The time skips weren't handled well as well (though the same can be said of the Chinese version). They were just there to advance the story so that the next scene can be played out, but the characters didn't really grow or change. Side plots such as the Baek-ah and Woo-hee story line was also choppy and they were given what I'd consider a slipshod ending that didn't make much sense.


The drama is just disappointing. I expected a lot from it, but I don't think the fact that it was a pre-production did anything for it, nor the fact that it was a high-budget production because that totally didn't show. I think it may be worth a look if you like any of the actors, but that's about it.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (30)Recommendations

It basically has the same concept, but in a historical setting. Both dramas have a strong female character who is caught between the good, romantic boy with a sad romantic backstory, and the stubborn, dark bad boy. There are supporting characters very similar to the ones in this show, as well as a mean girl/rival of the main character who has eyes for the bad boy. Both main characters find themselves in a new lifestyle and find themselves being surrounded by royalty (the rich people in Boys Over Flowers, the princes in Scarlet Heart: Ryeo). While one might find the two dramas very different from a distance, they are actually quite similar when you look closer.
Recommended by hangeulbby
Actually it is not a historical period drama like this one yet you can watch it if you hate the end like me. Indeed, Scarlet Heart 2 is the second part of Scarlet Heart chinese version. In this version , you'll see the two main leads in the 21st century.
Recommended by MissHoly

Comments (5287)

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  • Reply
    Rurzii Dec 20, 2016 - edited

    If I was to describe this drama in one word - Heartbreaking. This was a real emotional roller coaster. This drama was truly amazing but I do not think that I will be able to rewatch this without breaking down at every happy/funny/sad/romantic moment while knowing what will happen to each character in the future. This is probably the most I have ever cried in a drama. I marathoned through it in a day and a half so you can imagine my despair when I finished the final episode. A bittersweet ending would have been better than the one that we were provided, however, I do understand their reasoning for such an ending, throughout the drama they have showed us that betrayal, pain and death surround the throne. It was understandable that people would die and no one would live a content life. It shows us how conniving the human mind can be and what a person is willing to do and give up just to gain power.
    And the OST, my God the OST was amazing. I can't stop playing them on youtube and crying over the words and the scenes. I truly do not believe that I would ever rewatch this again unless in snipets on youtube or in the case that they make a second season that ends on a happy note. My heart just can't handle it. It was such a tough journey and all I did was watch, so I am honestly amazed by the superb work done by the actors/director/and the whole team. Kamsamida for the great job you've all done <3

  • Reply
    RuhmaAleem Dec 19, 2016 - edited

    The cast was well-presented, the acting was incredible.
    I loved the lead actress for first 11 episodes. But afterwards her role weakened. I started hating her. (Maybe because I prefer strong lead actress)
    The Main Actors were spectacular. They portrayed their roles amazingly. And I still feel sad for Wang Wook

    • Reply
      TheraTD Dec 29, 2016

      Try to imagine living through what she had gone through. It wasn't easy, pain changes people.

  • Reply
    laurenk0811 Dec 18, 2016 - edited

    I fell in love this drama but I need help and sympathetic ears. I don't have the courage to hope for a sequel, especially since the Chinese sequel didn't do so well and Korean dramas tend to stray away from sequels. But I need something to move my heart deeply without all the melodrama. I don't think I will be able to watch this again, unfortunately, unless there is an official notice by SBS that there will be a sequel. But that is what happens when you fall in love with the characters and their genuine love for each other. "The opposite of love is not hate, it's leaving." The only thing I can do for a story that I fell in love with but pains my heart is to leave it until the story is allowed to find closure and balance. That is melodramatic, I know, but I've tried so hard to forget this drama since November I haven't been able to. I don't think I ever will but I must move on. What recommendations do you have?

    • Reply
      Juh Dec 19, 2016

      I totally understand you. I recommend "Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo", it is light, cute and fun, it helps to cheer up after the depression of Moon Lovers (and if you are in denial mode like me, you can also see the character Joon Hyeong as the reincarnation of BaekAh. At least one of the characters having a happy ending in modern times xD).

    • Reply
      RuhmaAleem Dec 19, 2016

      You should watch Shopaholic Louis. It's cute and light. And one of the best Amnesia tagged drama I've ever seen.

    • Reply
      Raincat Dec 19, 2016 - edited

      If funny and light dramas, suggested here doesnt help and you want something bit more similar but same way strong and powerful....try:
      - Emress Ki
      By timeframe this drama is near of end Goreyo era and Yuan dynasty. Turbulent times, strong characters, fate and will. Romantical scenes that melt you, sad moments worth box of tissues, main characters you never forget and villains whom you love to hate. Stellar acting, good directing and OST a.s.o.
      Dont fear count of episodes, when you finish drama you crave more and start rewatch from beginning again.

      - Six Flying Dragons
      Timeframe of this drama is beginning of Joseon era, how it started. Drama has a lot similarities with MLSHR. Same way first king of era, same way princes who struggle for throne. But it isnt so focused on romance, yet there is plenty of it, some moments are so tender-fragile that you fear breathe. Good bromance moments. Hyped hope and bitter fate, decisions what break people from inside. Choises what change fate of country, burden and lonlyness, simple hapiness and dreams what help you carry on.
      Shockingly good acting, actors fit into their roles like they were born only for this.
      Epic OST. Drama has kinda lot of politics but you never feel that it is boring or dry like usually, characters here create politics with their dreams,emotions,passions and sorrow.Pace is quick and storytelling captivating.

  • Reply
    Rand z Dec 14, 2016

    This is one of the best dramas I came across, it's been really an amazing ride watching it all the way through, the cast choice were absolutely perfect, the costumes were great and even the film8ng the places the choose were breathtaking .
    I loved the script sometimes it would grab your attention making a scene perfect, maybe the 3 episodes before the last felt less interesting than the beginnings or maybe it's the rush in the time line I'm not so sure. But all in all to me this drama was really good everyone did a very fine job and delivered their part in the best way.

  • Reply
    martyfairy Dec 14, 2016
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    Snowcherry Dec 10, 2016 - edited
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      Hessa Dec 11, 2016
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      Otps4Life Dec 11, 2016
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      Snowcherry Dec 11, 2016
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      Otps4Life Dec 11, 2016
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    Steph Dec 10, 2016 - edited

    A decent remake that is worth watching, and not a direct 'translation' of the Chinese version. However, it's best watched by those who've seen the original & can fill in some of the missing pieces of plot & character motivation. The Evil 2nd Lead Female is refreshing in having actual & reasonable motivations for her behaviour, not just romantic obsession.

    • Reply
      Hessa Dec 11, 2016

      The is an adaption of the novel with Korean history, not a remake of the Chinese drama.

    • Reply
      Steph Dec 11, 2016

      Yes, that's what I meant by "not a direct translation." I guess it was a little unclear. (^__^)

  • Reply
    RosieAllen Dec 10, 2016 - edited

    really loved drama, want season 2. i love happy ending for season hope wang so will meet hae soo with bright smile on his face. i don't want to see him being sad.

    • Reply
      Steph Dec 10, 2016
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      ievutae Dec 12, 2016

      I also agree that second season wouldn't be made. usually second season isn't that good as first and episodes are just filled out. But a special episode or a few would be nice to see them in modern life. This drama is still haunting me even though a few weeks has passed already. It was one of the best dramas I've seen and I don't want to ruin it with second season. This drama already made my heart very heavy and took all my emotions. even though second season could be this good as this, I think I may become just a depressed person with hunting memories of both dramas :DDD

  • Reply
    MinKate Dec 10, 2016

    I'm very sure there won't be a 2nd season, but I'm really hoping for a couple of extra episodes, you can't just end a kdrama like that T-T

  • Reply
    Herison Dec 9, 2016
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    Raincat Dec 7, 2016 - edited

    To all who start this drama now!

    Look carefully what version you start. There are two versions:
    - international one ( what was sold to other countries)
    - Korean one ( re-edited and aired in SBS, you can see SBS logo on screen)

    There are a lot differences between thous two versions - order of scenes and scenes what one has and other doesnt. Often feeling is completely different.

    Worst what can happen is when you happen watch version what has episodes from both. Most online places have part episodes from one and part episodes from other version. Even if you download you might get mixed up version.
    Watching this kind version can confuse you and even ruin drama for you.

  • Reply
    Haru Dec 7, 2016 - edited

    The first half was really enjoyable... but the second... well, it was kinda hard to force myself to continue watching. But in the end, it was worth the struggle. Really liked the ending.

    And I personally wouldn't mind a second season. Would like to see all those characters return in a modern setting.

  • Reply
    yoorin21 Dec 6, 2016 - edited

    This drama had flaws but it was such a beautiful drama. Even though it ended a month ago, it's been haunting me. The stories, the friendships, the love and the hate. It has one of the most amazing OSTs I have ever heard and I've been watching Korean dramas for like 10 years. I still listen to the OST every single day. It makes me feel peaceful and happy after a long day at work.

  • Reply
    soepspaansenler Dec 6, 2016 - edited

    Everybody is begging for a season 2 but I wish it wouldn't come. I cried almost every episode, too tired for another season haha T_T

    • Reply
      lainiwaku Dec 6, 2016 - edited

      ahah yeah i like sad drama , but this was was really too much for me
      must not be depressing befor watching ahah....

    • Reply
      MinaVIP Dec 6, 2016 - edited

      I honestly don't think a season 2 would do it any justice. The Bu Bu Jing Xin season 2 was pretty much like every triangle drama set in a modern time ...I don't see the point in having Hae Soo meet up with Wang Wook and Wang Soo again xO but yeah..that's just my opinion.

    • Reply
      soepspaansenler Dec 7, 2016

      nop me neither. Didn't watch the chinese version but read a lot about it, I don't know if I would even watch a modern version...

    • Reply
      LillLovegood Dec 7, 2016

      They broke my heart with this ending -.-' Damn it

    • Reply
      soepspaansenler Dec 8, 2016

      i completely understand you haha! but they already broke my heart halfway around episode 11

  • Reply
    nour093 Dec 5, 2016 - edited

    and after all of that he is not nominated for daesang in SBS drama festival
    I know that the rating weren't as high but !!!! this is not fair and im really mad tbh

    • Reply
      palak Dec 7, 2016

      Because awards are all about success and not talent and performance. Sadly :(

    • Reply
      LillLovegood Dec 7, 2016

      it did not receive positive reviews in Korea - it's what I heard. People overseas liked it better.


  • Country:

    South Korea
  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Aug 29, 2016 to Nov 1, 2016
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday
  • Network:

  • Duration:

    60 min.


  • Score:

    8.7 (scored by 10,866 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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