As we are already halfway through the show, we are happy to report that despite some hiccups and bumps behind the scenes, River Where the Moon Rises not only rose up but consistently delivered on amazing story, cinematography, editing, and of course acting.
Joining us on our Op-Ed is one of our Viuniverse residents @byeol, as well as admins from Kim So Hyun Philippines and Na In Woo Philippines to talk about the show, our love for each respective lead actors, and our hopes for the future of the show.
HISTORICAL DRAMAS AND RIVER WHERE THE MOON RISES
byeol: I love historical dramas, but I tend to think twice if the drama has too many episodes. That’s why it’s nice to see that River Where The Moon Rises has just the right amount of episodes. As for the genre, I enjoy different types of historical dramas but I’m mostly invested in romcoms like “Mr. Queen” or those that are really close to Korea’s history (e.g. using actual historical figures) like “Queen Seondeok.” Still, River Where The Moon Rises has a unique take, since it’s mostly based on a tale.
Kim So Hyun Philippines: I am a fan of historical dramas. I was initially hooked during the 1st episode because of the great cinematography and I am super enjoying watching RWTMR because of the twists and plots of the story and the character development.
Na In Woo Philippines: I am also a huge fan of historical dramas. I am enjoying the drama, and it is really entertaining to watch. It somehow gives me a glimpse of Korean history and I wanted to learn more about the root of their culture because of this.
beesgiggle: Though I’m not a historical drama buff like many, I have had the pleasure of watching a lot of fusion sageuk dramas like Mr. Queen, Moonlight Drawn by the Clouds, and Tale of Nokdu. River is a lot different because there’s actually less comedy, and more on the politics within a royal court. The production team has set out to create a masterpiece – and they’ve achieved just that!
KIM SO HYUN AND NA IN WOO
We’ve had the taste of this “warrior” character with her role of Dong Joo in Tale of Nokdu. Dong Joo, though not a warrior per se, had a very strong personality and could fight with a bow and arrow if she needed to. But Pyeonggang is just so much different. She has this commanding presence that she never had before, and the grace of a true queen. Don’t think another actress could have played the nuances of this character better.
Na In Woo, on the other hand, is also killing it! If what we’ve seen from the Mr. Queen behind the scenes are right, In Woo was able to bring in some of Byeong In and his real self into the role. A real sweetheart, but ruthless in battle, In Woo was able to make On Dal someone you definitely root for.
byeol: They both played characters in historical dramas, but this is the first time that the two are the actual leads in a historical series. It’s also nice to see Na In Woo in a lead role after “Mr. Queen.” I think it’s entertaining to see Na In Woo’s quirky side in River Where The Moon Rises, while it’s also nice to see Kim So Hyun do action scenes.
Kim So Hyun Philippines: Kim So Hyun always gives her best; and for RWTMR, she exceeded her previous performances on her previous works. I am amazed how she performed 3 roles for RWTMR, one for a mother role which she’s too early to portray but she was able to deliver. Another is the intense action scenes using swords which is really amazing for her as well.
Na In Woo Philippines: I first saw him in Mystic Pop-Up Bar and he was such an effective villain there. I came to truly admire him in Mr. Queen when he played the tragic villain Byeong In. Byeong In was neither that expressive nor explosive. His actions are calculated but you could definitely see what he is feeling based on his facial expressions alone. This is why I loved him as Byeong In.
When the news came out that he’d be playing On Dal, I wondered how well he would deliver. I know that he is a commendable actor and I know that he would do well but he exceeded my expectations. His portrayal of the character was so on point that you’d think the On Dal character was written with him in mind. Unlike Byeong In, On Dal was really expressive. Na In Woo being able to perform both roles excellently makes him quite the actor. He came to the drama a lot later, but he found his foothold quickly and adjusted to the role well on such short notice. That in itself is a remarkable feat.
GA JIN OR PYEONGGANG?
Kim So Hyun Philippines: I prefer the fierce Ga Jin because she has the powerful aura. Personally, I love girl warriors so that is why.
beesgiggle: Have to say Pyeonggang in this case! But this is only because Kim So Hyun in historical garb looks so amazing! Can she fight those wars in them too, PD-nim?
NA IN WOO AS ON DAL
Na In Woo Philippines: I feel that Na In Woo gives a degree of jauntiness to the character while giving a sense of reassurance, reliability, and sincerity at the same time. If I am one of the characters in the drama and I see him as On Dal, I would never have doubts about entrusting my life to him.
byeol: After watching his interviews in “Mr. Queen Commentary,” it seems like Na In Woo also has a quirky and fun side just like On Dal!
OUR OWN TAKEAWAYS FROM THE SHOW
beesgiggle: There’s this really old idiom that the sins of the father are visited upon the children – this is prevalent with Pyeonggang especially. Her father’s jealousy had led to death and hatred, and later on despair and guilt. All this she had to shoulder by herself and at some point, even hindered her relationship with On Dal. But what’s so amazing about this show is that spirit of forgiveness and not letting the past get in the way of love – in On Dal’s words, “I chose you, you are the destiny I chose.” And that’s just beautiful.
Na In Woo Philippines: I liked both the politics and the love story. It is really impressive how a person of humble origin rose up to become one of the greatest defenders of his country. This show is all about love, heroism, and patriotism.
byeol: Unconditional love. Not just between On Dal and Ga Jin, but also with Pyeonggang and her mother, the former queen. For the take away, maybe do not judge a book by its cover? On Dal had hidden abilities, and he had to hid his true self due to protect his tribe. Ga Jin was of royal birth, but she can also fight like a general. Hence, what we see might not be all there is to a person.
Kim So Hyun Philippines: I like the character development of the leads, the love for a special person, love for a family, and love for the country. I think since people have different priorities, we should respect it and work hard on achieving our goals without stepping on others or causing conflict with them.
HOW DO YOU THINK IT WILL END?
byeol: Not really sure, but I do know that I just want Pyeonggang and On Dal to live happily ever after.
Kim So Hyun Philippines: I have varying theories but I hope everyone finds peace and contentment in their hearts. But initially, I think Pyeonggang will lead her nation without On Dal if the scene in Episode 1 will really happen; something like what happened in Queen Seondeok and Empress Ki – and it’s fine for me though heartbreaking.
Na In Woo Philippines: If the drama would stay true to the story of On Dal, then I am expecting it to end on a sad note with On Dal’s death.
beesgiggle: Will have to agree with everyone on this one. But if my research on the Samguk Sagi will be the direction of the show, we have to be prepared for the tears! This is actually the first time, I’m hoping the show would steer clear of the source material!
Want to join in the conversation? Join our Facebook Group for Open Thread discussions and follow us on Twitter when we live tweet about the show!
If you haven’t seen the show yet, watch the first episode from the link below!