Arthdal Chronicles Review
Synopsis. Arthdal Chronicles is an 18-episode 3-part kdrama about an empire that enslaves and conquers other tribes for cheap labor and assimilation. What if you were happy in your tribe and didn’t know what lied beyond the physical barrier of the great cliffs? What if conquerers came, burned your village, and enslaved your tribe? What if you were the priestess in training and was captured? What if you loved the priestess, couldn’t save her and was forced to flee to fight again another day? This is the basis for the “good” couple in this series. What if you were a leader in waiting and your father blocked your path to leadership? This is the basis for the other couple in the series. Through each 6-episode part of the kdrama, the story evolves from the initial capture to cusp of change. Different tribes, religious beliefs, discrimination, and secrets abound in this series.
What I liked.
Compelling episodes and top-notch production. Writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Yeon (Six Flying Dragons) created sweeping series set in ancient times. Most historicals are not set in this time window which provided the perfect backdrop for what would unfold. Episode cliffhangers, characters that showed cruelty and kindness to further their agendas, were well used by Writers Kim and Park. Director Kim Won Suk (Signal) lead a production team that brought it all to life. Cinematography, costumes, sets were top notch. You became immersed in this world as you watched this series.
Eunseom (Song Joong Ki) and Saya (Song Joong Ki). The relationship between these two characters unfolds as the series progresses. Song Joong Ki effectively portrayed these very different characters. Eunseom suffered discrimination and hardship as he was thrust into a destiny he wasn’t ready for, but he evolved to the cusp of fighting for his people and the woman he loves. Saya artfully persued his own agenda and was strategic.
Tanya (Kim Ji Won). Tanya suffered hardship as she was thrust into a destiny she didn’t realize she was more prepared for than she thought. She evolved to the cusp of restoring her people and the bringing the man she loved to her. Tanya adapted to change, found her power, was loyal and strategic.
Tagon (Jang Dong Gun). This leader never met a religious ceremony he couldn’t milk. Jang Dong Gun rocked the long hair, earring, furs as he portrayed an intense, bold, strategic, compelling leader with a vision. Tagon was willing to do what he deemed necessary to reach his goals and had no issues being cruel.
Taealha (Kim Ok Vin). This smart, strategic woman welded power in a male dominated world. She was passionate and the perfect partner for Tagon. This was a super couple that I loved to watch.
What I didn’t like.Cliffhanger. The series ended on a cliffhanger. I didn’t realize this when I watched the final episode and it made watching this episode a bit trying as I counted down the clock as things were not happening as rapidly as needed. At the time of this review, it is unknown if there will be an Arthdal Chronicles Season 2. If there is a second season, the core cast (noted above) must return or it would not be a true continuation of this series. If there isn’t a second season, I can live with it. My mind has supplied an outline of what happened next.
Would I recommend Arthdal Chronicles? Yes, the story engaged me, the cast created characters I invested in, and the production team swept me into ancient times. Even with the cliffhanger, I recommend this series.
OST. This drama’s OST was mostly instrumental. The vocal song featured was The Poem of Destiny (link) by Ailee. The 63 track list can be found at dramawiki (link)
To listen to the OST in full use this link or listen to the play list below:
How does Arthdal Chronicles rate? I rate this series as almost terrific, 8.4 on a 10-point scale.