KBS’s “Hwarang” recently finished its run, but many of us might still be suffering from “Goblin” and “Legend of the Blue Sea” withdrawals and have yet to start on it.
The term Hwarang translates pretty much directly to “Flower Gentlemen” or “Flower Knights”, but don’t let that name fool you, they were an elite fighting force of the Silla Kingdom in ancient Korea also well-versed in the arts and culture. They were traditionally led by male youth from noble houses.
“Hwarang” retells the tale of the organisation’s formation, but in true K-drama style, adds some romance and court intrigue into the mix, along with a star-studded cast of gorgeous actors for you to pick your favourite from.
Here’s a quick look at the stars of this sageuk (Korean historical show) and the actors playing them.
Moo-myung/Dog-Bird/Kim Sun-woo (Park Seo-joon)
“She Was Pretty” star Park Seo-joon takes on the main role of Dog-Bird, a peasant with a mysterious ancestry who takes over the name of his best friend, Kim Sun—woo, early in the show. Moo-myung finds himself attracted to the real Sun-woo’s sister, Ah-ro, who is also pursued romantically by the Silla king hiding in plain sight, Sammaekjong.
Sammaekjong/Kim Ji-dwi (Park Hyung-sik)
ZE:A member Park Hyung-sik, known for his innocent looks, takes on the secondary male lead role of Sammaekjong, the young Silla king ordered to remain in hiding by his mother the Queen for fear of assassins wanting the throne. He uses the name Kim Ji-dwi to join the ranks of the Hwarang, a group created by his mother with the intention of both protecting him and at the same time holding hostage the sons of noblemen with ill-intentions towards the throne. Sammaekjong falls for Kim Ah-ro after hearing her tell her stories in the town square.
Kim Ah-ro (Go Ara)
Known for her roles in “Reply 1994” and “You’re All Surrounded”, actress Go Ara stars as “Hwarang”’s main female lead, Kim Ah-ro. The half-breed (her father is a noble, mother is a peasant) daughter of a physician and sister to the real Kim Sun-woo, Ah-ro initially meets Moo-myung and finds herself falling for him before she thinks he is her “brother”. Ah-ro has a bit of a drinking problem, but she’s also known for telling the most compelling love stories, drawing both the hearts of men and women alike.
Kim Soo-ho (Choi Min-ho)
SHINee’s Minho lends his acting chops as the Hwarang Kim Soo-ho, an ever-smiling noble who supports the Queen Mother and is known for charming the ladies. Soo-ho supports the Hwarang initiative and meets his match when he finds his heart made to flutter by the Queen Mother herself. He and Ban-ryu have an ongoing rivalry that spills from courting the ladies to the football fields of Silla.
Park Ban-ryu (Do Ji-han)
“Basketball” star Do Ji-han drops his smile as the cool and composed Park Ban-ryu, a complicated noble whose biological father and step-father plot to overthrow the Queen Mother and claim the throne. Ban-ryu’s rivalry with Soo-ho leads to him being coerced into the Hwarang, where his fathers hope for him to usurp the organisation for their own purpose. However, he has a soft spot for someone in Soo-ho’s family.
Kim Yeo-wool (Cho Yoon-woo)
Cho Yoon-woo, who made his debut in 2011’s “Flower Boy Ramen Shop”, brings a more neutral stance (in more ways than one) to the Hwarang as Kim Yeo-wool. Known for being more attractive than most women, Yeo-wool also enjoys dressing up, and can be very quick with his words. However, he’s also one of the most compassionate. He has ties to the previous king, but has no interest in the throne of Silla.
Seok Han-sung (Kim Tae-hyung/V)
BTS’ V rounds up the Hwarang cast as Seok Han-sung, the youngest of the Hwarang who has a big heart and tries to get along with everyone. In Silla’s Bone rank system (a way of ranking the aristocracy), Han-sung is the last jingol (true bone, born of noble blood and just one level below sacred bone, which symbolises royalty) of his clan, and thus feels responsible for his family.
After meeting the beautiful cast of “Hwarang”, who will you be rooting for?
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