Hwarang: Warrior Poet Youth, or just Hwarang is a 2016 South Korean Historical Drama, set in the Silla kingdom. Years after the death of the King, Queen Jiso has been ruling the kingdom as regent. Fearing the possibility of nobles usurping the throne, she creates the Hwarang, a new elite to serve and protect her son, King Jinheung. Unbeknownst to the queen, however, among the young nobles who take on training to become warriors, hide two outsiders: Dog-Bird, a commoner with no name who wants to kill the king to avenge his best friend, and none other than the queen's son, King Jiheung, who has been forcibly hidden from the public by his mother and takes advantage of it to confront his mother for his lack of freedom and agency.
The drama is notorious for its All-Star Cast, which includes Park Seo-joon as Dog-Bird, Park Hyung-sik as King Jinheung, Shinee member Minho and BTS member V, with the latter providing the theme song "Even if I Die, It's You" along with fellow BTS member Jin. However, the series failed to live up to commercial expectations.
Hwarang provides examples of the following tropes:
- Big, Screwed-Up Family: Not big, but the Royal family and most of the Noble families are definitely screwed-up.
- Chivalrous Pervert: It's been stated that Sooho has seduced pretty much all the girls in town except for Aro and, well, his sister.
- The Cutie: Hansung. The youngest, he's innocent, wide-eyed and only interested in the arts, and he only joins the Hwarang because of family pressures.
- Gilded Cage: Much to his displeasure, Jinheung spent the majority of his life hidden from the world by his mother to protect him from potential usurpers, and is under constant vigilance. He infiltrates the Hwarang and puts himself in a position that forces his mother to let him stay there, all so she can see he can make decisions on his own.
- I Have Many Names: Jinheung and Dog-Bird both have several aliases. Ironically, Dog-Bird doesn't have an official name.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Banryu is presented as an elitist snob who only wants the throne, but he really is just a young man who is an increasingly reluctant tool for his father's political ends.
- King Incognito: King Jinheung, aka Jidwi.
- Love Triangle: Both Dog-Bird and Jidwi are in love with Aro.
- Mistaken Identity: Happens a couple of times.
- My Sister Is Off-Limits: Sooho reacts... less than kindly to his sister falling in love with his rival Banryu.
- Plucky Girl: Aro.
- Revenge: Dog-Bird is driven by his motivation to avenge his best friend, who was murdered by one of the king's underlings.
- Revenge Before Reason: When Dog-Bird's friend is executed for seeing the king, Dog-Bird think's it's reasonable to get revenge on the king, who did very little to purposefully kill the friend than just coincidentally be around at the time.
- Stacy's Mom: Queen Jiso is this, according to Suho.
- Unskilled, but Strong: Dog-Bird, in contrast to King Jinheung.
- Weak, but Skilled: Jinheung, both in combat and politics.