It is a rainy October day and here I am with a new drama review. This time the subject is “Scholar Who Walks the Night”, that aired on MBC until one month ago. It is taken from a webtoon called with the same name.
SWWTN tells the story of a scholar, Kim Sung Yeol (Lee Joon Gi) who supports his friend and king that has to face a menace for the palace, the old vampire Gwi (Lee Soo Hyuk) who has been ordered what to do to the kings until now. The king wants to defeat him thanks to a Memorandum where there is a secret plan to destroy him, but he loses his life and the scholar gets turned into a vampire himself. His mission is to find the book with the secret plan so he can avenge his friend and destroy the evil presence forever. It is 120 years later that he finally finds somebody who may be related to the Memorandum: Jo Yang Sun (Lee Yoo Bi), a bookseller who is able to find thousands of titles. Nobody but her family knows that she is a woman dressed up as a boy to earn money, and that she has been dressed like that since she was born. When the scholar finds out, he realizes why he is attracted by her and that she may also be closer to the book he wants that she knows.
I have no idea why I am attracted again by vampire stories. It seems that they literally “lure” me to watch or read them, but not all are good. This one is a simple story with a lot of tropes but it was really enjoyable to watch. And it was my first saeguk drama, because I don’t usually like historical things since I have no knowledge about Korean history and I thought I wouldn’t like this genre. I was surprised to find out that I do, first because of the scenarios with those beautiful palaces et all. Then because of the way they are dressed and the hairstyles of the women of the time.
Pushing this aspect aside, which is purely superficial but that’s what the eye see beforehand, let’s return on the story. It is classical yet has some secret clues that entwined together. I would say “History repeats itself” in this case, because that is what happens but it is executed in a nice way. Some aspects are explored such as diversity and the human’s heart. The vampires often debate whether or not they have one.
The night scholar Kim Sung Yeol thinks that he is a beast but he hasn’t lost his human part, which is what makes him be able to blend among regular citizens. His heart is soon moved by Yang Sun whom he appreciates because she is able to go through a lot of hardships. He fights to save her but also with himself, because deep down he doesn’t believe the woman should love him because he is not worthy of the love of a person with a ‘pretty heart’ like he tells her. He is afraid that she will be upset once she sees his dark side, his vampire side, which is what happens at first but it doesn’t last long, because Yang Sun tells the scholar that it hurts her that it must have been hard for him to live that way for 120 years.
There’s another couple of debates going on. The opposite one to Sung Yeol and Yang Sun, is the one going on between the ‘bad’ vampire Gwi and the future queen Hye Ryeong (Kim So Eun). The woman was taken inside his palace because of her father, the Prime Minister. Fate wanted that she looked exactly the same as Sung Yeol’s lover of when he was a human, who he drained when he turned into a vampire and has brought the displeasure in his heart since then. Gwi kept Hye Ryeong purely to lure the night scholar, but he didn’t realize he developed a strong feeling of attachment with her, until he killed her when she showed she loved the king Lee Yoon (Shim Chang Min) and wanted to save him at any cost. Gwi couldn’t accept any feeling such as jealousy, or love, and he ended up killing everyone at the palace because he couldn’t get over he had killed the only person he had wanted to turn into a vampire to keep by his side forever. More than the secret plan, it’s that realization and Gwi’s reaction to heartbreak that lead him to his death. He didn’t want to admit it, but his life felt useless after Hye Ryeong was gone. “If you came to know that life is temporary, you will also see the world differently”, this is what Kim Sung Yeol tells Gwi right before his death. Gwi has lived for centuries and he was tired of doing so because he spent his life hating and killing rather than living each day giving a new meaning to his endless life, like the night scholar probably did. Sure, he also lived with the only intent to destroy Gwi, but he saved people he also kept by his side and that were grateful to him, and that was his reason to live despite he didn’t believe he had the right because of who he was turned into.
Have I told you all these things about love and revenge, but were they acted well? SWWTN had several fights scenes and vampire scenes where blood was present. It also had a lot of kisses between the main couple, and the actors chosen for this project were all perfect for their roles. Lee Joon Gi, who I have known since “My Girl”, is one of the saeguk kings of dramaland. He loves the genre so much and he is good at it. He is the kind of actor who is able to show several emotions and shades to his characters and his acting has only got better with the years. Plus, he is very handsome as the vampire and he could really pass for somebody who lived in the Joseon era. I was a little thoughtful about Lee Yoo Bi. I had seen her on “Pinocchio” and she was fun, but I don’t know, she didn’t convince me too much. She is a good actress, but I think she has to do more to get in my heart… But overall, I liked her performance and her chemistry with LJG was superb. Lee Soo Hyuk as Gwi was awesome. His complexion makes him really look like a real vampire, add that obscure and deep voice he has, you created a perfect combo. With his eyes with subtle undertones, he acted the part of Gwi magnificently. He was cold and showed the doubt and crazy thoughts of the vampire in a way I couldn’t ask for more. I would love to see him act a different role to see the difference.
If I may, I want to just write a complaint (lol). The drama overall was good, but in my opinion there were some episodes in between that prolonged the story too much instead of going directly to the point without losing more time. Those episode made some things and thoughts useless, and could have made someone lose the interest in the drama. Perhaps it could have had 16 episodes instead of 20, but what can I do now, lol.
The music of this drama had ‘historical’ touches. The songs were of my liking but I especially suggest you to listen to Eun Ga Eun “Sad Wind”, G.NA “Don’t Cry” and the song by Yook Sung Jae “Love You Again”.
Who would I suggest this drama to? First of all, to saeguk lovers. Then vampire lovers, because you should be able to bear all the blood and deaths that happen on this drama! Hehe.
See you next time. ❤ ❤ ❤