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Series / The King Loves

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The King Loves
"This is the story of me, who came to love you more than myself."
Wang Won

왕은 사랑한다 (Wangeun Saranghanda; The King Loves or The King in Love) is a 2017 South Korean historical drama directed by Kim Sang Hyeop with screenplay by Song Ji Na. It is based on the novel of the same name by Kim Yi Ryung. It stars Im Si Wan as Wang Won, Yoona as Eun San, and Hong Jong Hyun as Wang Rin.

This is story about friendship, love, and power. Crown Prince Won of Goryeo, whose good looks and eloquence hide his cruel and ambitious nature, and Wang Rin, Won's childhood friend and bodyguard, an elegant and refined man with an upright nature, both fall for the same girl, Eun San, the daughter of the wealthiest man in town, who possesses striking beauty and deadly charm.

The series can be watched on Viki with English subtitles.

The King Loves contains examples of:

  • After Action Patch Up: Rin tends to San's head wound after the latter sustains an injury while trying to flee from Song In.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Rin and San share one, complete with multiple angles, romantic lighting, and swelling background music.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Won's family.
    • Won's father, King: He dislikes Won's mother, Yuan Queen (Mongolian), and Won, half-Yuan. He looks for a way to make Won lose the position as a crown prince. He badmouths Won and favors his relatives (Jeon and Rin, pure Goryeo royal blood) in front of the Queen. He enjoys Won being ridiculed.
    • Won's mother, Queen: She threw former Queen and her son out of the palace. To protect Won's crown prince position, if she has to, she's willing to physically hurt Won. Also, she dislikes Won's only friend, Rin, thinking that Rin is also plotting to put Won in danger (though this one is somewhat justified in the fact that Rin's older brother, Jeon, is plotting to become the crown prince).
    • Won: When he's mad, he become violent and attacks someone who he knows is in a lower position than him. He enthusiastically mentioned that since San makes him laugh, he should make a huge birdcage for her in a palace and put her in there to make him laugh every day. Also, he acts as if he plays around all days, so that King won't feel suspicious or threatened by him. And he avoids meeting the Queen because he doesn't feel easy around her.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Won becomes king while San and Rin leave together. But then Won hands the throne back to his father and goes to Yuan for ten years, and implicitly never sees San or Rin again.
  • Blood from the Mouth: The queen's illness makes her cough up blood.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: San tearfully talks to an unconscious Rin while he's recovering from a chest wound sustained during a duel with Won.
  • Cool Mask: All the male characters wear masks during the festival. Rin's is especially cool; it's designed to look like a butterfly.
  • Damsel out of Distress: San threatens Wang Jeon with a hairpin, ties him up, and leaves him in the carriage while she escapes.
  • Disguised in Drag:
    • One of the criminals dresses as a woman when he and his friend rob Won's servants.
    • Jang Soo has to dress up as a woman so Won can convince the officials that San is still in the palace.
  • Distinguishing Mark: Moo Seok's snake tattoo is how San recognises him.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Won finally snaps after years of his father mistreating him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Wang Jeon is a complete jerk, and scheming to overthrow Won and take his place, but he still cares for his little sister Dan.
  • Faking the Dead: Rin fakes his death in the final episode.
  • False Rape Accusation: The king wants to depose Won, so he and Song In claim Won tried to rape San. San tries to say it's a lie, but no one listens to her.
  • Famous Ancestor: Won's mother is Kublai Khan's daughter, making him the great-great-grandson of Genghis Khan.
  • Half-Breed Discrimination: Won's father is the King of Goryeo (Korea) and his mother is a Yuan (Mongolian) princess. His father calls him a half-breed to his face and tells him his blood is mixed with barbarians'.
  • Historical Beauty Upgrade: It's unknown what the real King Chungseon looked like, but he almost certainly wasn't as handsome as Im Si-wan.
  • Historical Domain Character: Some of the series' characters were real people, most notably Won, his father, and his mother.
  • Hunting "Accident": Song In tries to arrange one when the king goes hunting, and steals one of Won's arrows so everyone will blame him.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Huratai gets stabbed through the chest, thanks to Song In.
  • Jerkass: Won's father mocks and insults his own wife and son, and he cares nothing for the common people or their opinion of him. He resents Won because his son is the grandson of Kublai Khan, which means — to him — Won's status is technically higher than his own, so he deliberately makes Won miserable.
  • Knight Templar Parent: Everything the queen does is for Won. Unfortunately, her actions often hurt him as much as other people.
  • Large Ham: The Assistant Royal Secretary hams it up every time he appears, with his melodramatic gestures and facial expressions.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Won sees Dan as his sister, and tells her this even when he's offering to marry her.
  • Literally Falling in Love: San falls on top of Won after they climb up the cliff.
  • Love Triangle: The main theme of the drama involving Won, San, and Rin.
  • Mistaken for Betrayal: Happens twice in rapid succession. An assassin tries to kill the king with one of Won's arrows. The king assumes Won was trying to kill him. Rin, who saw what happened, decides to shoot at Won to prove he's also being targeted and so he can't be the assassin. Won didn't see the attack on his father, so from his perspective his best friend attacked him for no reason.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Won doesn't recognise San when she's wearing a veil, even though it only covers half her face.
  • Parting-Words Regret: Won's last words to the queen were telling her to leave the palace if she didn't like how things were going. He regrets this after the queen dies.
  • Pet the Dog: The assassin is responsible for many deaths, including San's mother, but he jumps in front of a horse to save a child.
  • Playing Drunk: Won pretends to be drunk when he answers his father's summons.
  • Poisoned Chalice Switcheroo: Song In gives San and Dan two cups of tea, and says that one of them is poisoned. San pretends she'll give Dan the poisoned one, but she switches them when Song In looks away.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Moo Seok starts to turn against Song In when Song In tells him to kill Bi Yeon. When they finally confront each other, Moo Seok hesitates too long before shooting at Song In, and gets stabbed because of it.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The royal family, as shown under Big, Screwed-Up Family.
  • Sadistic Choice: The king tells Won that he'll kill either San or Rin.
    King: You choose who will be the one person I allow to live.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Rin certainly thinks San does, when he sees her in her festival outfit for the first time.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Jang Ui, one of Won's bodyguards, ships his friend Jin Gwan with Wang Dan.
    • Dan herself ships Rin and San.
    • Within San's household, Bi Yeon and Minister Eun both support Rin and San's romance.
  • Slashed Throat: How Won kills Ok Bu Yong.
  • Snow Means Death: It starts to snow during the attack on San's family and their entourage, when her mother and most of their servants are killed.
  • Spell My Name With An S: The queen's guard is named Hulatai. Or Huratai, or even Furatai. ("Huratai" is the closest transliteration of his name in Hangul. Made extra confusing because he's Mongolian, not Korean, so his name is a transliteration of a transliteration.)
  • Switching P.O.V.: We see both Won's and Rin's POV of their first encounter with San when they were young.
  • Take Me Instead: Rin volunteers to be sent to Yuan in his sister's place.
  • Taking the Bullet: When an assassin tries to kill San, Bi Yeon stands between her and the sword and gets injured instead.
  • Tantrum Throwing: The king throws ornaments around when he has an argument with Won.
  • Terrible Artist: Rin.
  • Those Two Guys:
    • Won's bodyguards, Jin Gwan and Jang Ui. They're rarely seen apart and they follow Won almost everywhere.
    • The two bumbling criminals who repeatedly cause trouble for the protagonists are a villainous example.