The Fangirl Verdict

Completely biased reviews and fangirling

Review: The King 2 Hearts

25 Comments

THE SHORT VERDICT:

I really, really liked this.

Don’t be put off by the political nature of the premise. I’m not into political stories myself, but I found this easy to like.

It’s got a robust story, lots of great acting, a fast pace, a compelling conflict, strong character growth, chemistry between the leads and a strong romance.

This lent itself to back-to-back episodes, and I finished it very quickly. And I plan to revisit it for more.

The King 2 Hearts OST – 사랑이 운다

 

THE LONG VERDICT:

In the beginning, I wasn’t head over heels in love with the show, but I enjoyed it quite well, and I found  it entertaining. The chemistry between Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won is pretty good right off the bat.

In the earlier episodes, there are more scenes that are played for laughs, and I thought the show was a dark comedy.

But then things shifted so that Jae Ha our hero (Lee Seung Gi) could become the titular king.

I felt sort of wiped out from watching that stretch of the drama, but not in a bad way. The wiped out feeling was due in part to the story going through some really sad but necessary developments.

[SPOILER ALERT]

I kept hoping that they wouldn’t let the elder brother die, but he did die, and I was sorry to see his character go. He was such a benign and kindly character, not just as a king, but as a hyung.

I mean, I kind of always suspected that the elder brother wasn’t the titular king and therefore would probably have to either step down or die so that Lee Seung Gi’s character would be able to step up and become the titular king, but it was still sad to see him go.

This is also the first time I’ve enjoyed Lee Sung Min so much in a role, which added to my reluctance to see his character die.

The accompanying developments kind of put you through the wringer, with Jae Ha having to cope with having to take on the role of king, all while trying to come to terms with his brother’s sudden death. And his sister’s paralysis. Oof.

[END SPOILER]

Like so many before me, I am actually very impressed with Lee Seung Gi’s delivery. It’s literally the best I’ve seen from him in any drama.

Funny that this is the same sentiment I have for Park Yoo Chun in Rooftop Prince and Kim Soo Hyun in The Moon that Embraces the Sun. All of them played royalty and did great jobs.

I guess there’s something about playing royalty that not only ups your cool factor, but forces your scope to open wide.

Lee Seung Gi’s character goes from being a selfish, petty and weak prince to becoming a passionate, committed and courageous king. He is intense and believable every step of the way. I went from being fairly indifferent to him as an actor, to actually liking him in this role.

On the romantic front, I have to say that Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won have very good chemistry. The age difference doesn’t make a difference. They sell it, and they sell it well.

A big bonus is that Lee Seung Gi did a fabulous job kissing Ha Ji Won. Ok, she had fish lips again, but this was in keeping with her character, so I’ll let it slide. More importantly, Lee Seung Gi managed to make the kiss look sensuous in spite of her fish lips, so big points to him for that. A good leading man needs to know how to kiss his leading lady, and kiss her well 😉

I have to say, even though Lee Seung Gi did really, really well, my favorite character by far is Eun Shi Kyung, played by Jo Jung Suk.

He makes Eun Shi Kyung so whole. In his delivery, he makes Eun Shi Kyung a nuanced, faceted character who is earnest, honest, awkward, brave, gallant, bashful, upright and extremely likable. He was someone that I constantly wanted to root for.

I loved his romance with Jae Shin (Lee Yoon Ji). They are one of my favorite parts of the show.

[MAJOR SPOILER ALERT]

I am most wistful about saying goodbye to his character, and yes, I really wish his character hadn’t been killed off.

It was a twist, yes, but I really would have preferred to do without the twist and have him live, and continue to be with the princess and become her prince consort.

But I can see what the writers were trying to do there, and it did make Shi Kyung the character so much more wistful & bittersweet that he stuck with me the most after the drama had ended.

[END MAJOR SPOILER] 

I am so impressed with Jo Jung Suk, and I really really want to see him work his magic in other roles. He is So. Good.

I somehow don’t want to call him an amazing actor, though he is obviously excellent, because it basically feels like he becomes the character; it feels like he’s not even acting, so to call it acting seems to take away something from the magic.

In the end, The King 2 Hearts is a show that somehow lends itself to back-to-back episodes. Perhaps this way, it helps to sustain the reality of the fictional world, and the fast pace at which it turns.

There are other great performances from Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won and the rest of the cast. And I have a strong affection for Young Bae’s character too, whom I found adorable.

And Lee Seung Gi has proved that he is very good at making a good kiss happen even with an actress who continually does fish lips. That was quite a feat.

But in terms of stickiness factor, that goes to Jo Jung Suk’s Eun Shi Kyung alone.

I will revisit this drama again, just for him. Lee Seung Gi’s excellent performance will be a big bonus of course. But Eun Shi Kyung’s the one who’s calling me back.

Jo Jung Suk, please do more dramas. I’ll be watching for sure.

THE FINAL VERDICT:

Worth clearing your schedule for.

FINAL GRADE: A

MV:

Author: kfangurl

Proud to be a k-fangirl since 2007. Main diet of kdramas with movies and kpop on the side.

25 thoughts on “Review: The King 2 Hearts

  1. Pingback: Review: What’s Up? « The Fangirl Verdict

  2. Heeehhh I don’t know if you’re going to see this, but reading reviews of this drama (even almost 1 years after its original run) still makes me happy. I’m glad that you liked it, It stole my heart and soul and won’t give it back LOL

    Liked by 1 person

    • Of COURSE I’d see this! WP makes sure of it 😉 Isn’t it great how we can re-live a drama that way? By reading a review, or watching an mv, or listening to the OST?? It always brings me right back into the thick of the drama, and I remember all over again why I loved it so 😀

      K2H was such an intense, fantastic ride! I didn’t know quite what to expect going in, but came away loving almost every bit of it. Well. Except for how they finished Eun Shi Kyung 😦 That I hated. But Jo Jung Suk was AMAZING, and I will always love his earnest, brave Eun Shi Kyung! ❤ ❤ ❤

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      • Yay!

        Sometimes when I want to re-live a drama but I can’t afford the time to marathon the series again, I’ll go and look for dramabeans recaps LOL And I’d sometimes find myself walking down the street when a drama OST starts to play on my ipod and I’d feel myself thrown back into that universe, you know what I mean?? xD I actually won the OST for K2H over DB last summer so I pretty much relive it everyday LOL I have that MV cut of the prison rescue scene in slow motion set to K.Will’s “Love is Crying” and I usually watch it every other day, even now hahah

        But yeah… this drama also has a very special place in my heart since it’s the one who makes me start to write reviews xD I’ve written countless handwritten pages just to gush about it (for myself mostly because it’s embarrassing xD)

        You’ve probably seen it already, but this is the best MV I’ve seen so far. It’s really the epitome of the lonely journey of being a king ❤ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TWlGa3D7MeM

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        • Woot! You actually won the OST at DB?! How cool is that! 😀 Especially since this drama is so close to your heart ❤ All the better for you to re-live it! I completely agree that sometimes, just listening to the OST of a drama throws me right back into the world of that drama too – even more if I watch an mv. A great quick-fix for a drama craving 😉

          Aw.. I journaled my drama thoughts too, which also eventually led me to putting reviews into a blog – I feel like we have somewhat similar journeys in that way! 😀

          Thanks for the link! It's an awesome mv – it really captures the more epic themes of the drama, and brings us through key scenes all over again. I'd seen it once before, but watching it again today still gave me serious shivers! ❤ ❤ ❤

          Y'know, I'd actually considered including the vid for this review, but decided against it coz it doesn't use a song from the OST, which I usually try to do, & more importantly, is super spoilery in some ways for people who haven't watched the drama.. So I thought, better not risk spoiling an innocent reader..! LOL! 😉

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  7. Thanks…I am new…I finished watching it in the mid december of 2013

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    • Hi sulthanah!! Welcome! 😀 I really enjoyed King 2 Hearts too. Lee Seung Gi really impressed me in this show, and the romance was pretty epic, with all that North-South divide context. What are you watching now? ^^

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  8. This almost made it to my Most favorite dramas…. If only Jo Jung-suk…. *deep sigh*

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    • Omo. That’s EXACTLY my reaction to this show! If only the show had handled Jo Jung Suk’s character differently, it would’ve been a definite contender for best drama of 2012! Jo Jung Suk was SO. GOOD. in this, though. He totally got to me. Oof. My heart.

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  9. Pingback: Dear kfangurl: What is it about bromances that make a kdrama great? | The Fangirl Verdict

  10. As I’ve mentioned over the other review, I miss hanging out here. And this is the reason I visited the site.

    I concur with so many of the things you’ve said. Let me go through them one by one. Heh! That’s how I miss discussing with you here.

    “I kept hoping that they wouldn’t let the elder brother die…He was such a benign and kindly character, not just as a king, but as a hyung.” – I like how the story kept their relationship very personal and botherly. Not once did I hear Jae Ha call his brother majesty.

    “Like so many before me, I am actually very impressed with Lee Seung Gi’s delivery. It’s literally the best I’ve seen from him in any drama.” – Truth! I’ve not seen much LSG dramas. This is the third after My Girlfriend is a Gumiho and You’re All Surrounded. In both cases I’m just satisfied. But here, I’m very impressed. Didn’t know he had it in him. Loved him as a jerk, as a conflicted new king, and as a fierce leader. As you said, there probably is something about acting out a royalty that brings out the best in an actor.

    “On the romantic front, I have to say that Lee Seung Gi and Ha Ji Won have very good chemistry.” – They do. I just did not like much how HJW’s character is both cutesy and fierce. I get that the show wants to emphasize her womanhood but I just didn’t like how’s its treated. There’s some sort of incongruence. There are better ways to show her feminine side without going that way. Me thinks.

    “A big bonus is that Lee Seung Gi did a fabulous job kissing Ha Ji Won… Lee Seung Gi managed to make the kiss look sensuous… A good leading man needs to know how to kiss his leading lady, and kiss her well” – Sensuous. I’m giggling. You should see the last five minutes of Ep20 of You’re All Surrounded (i.e. if you haven’t done so). LSG seems like a very good kisser… makes me wanna be on the receiving end. Hahaha!

    “I have to say, even though Lee Seung Gi did really, really well, my favorite character by far is Eun Shi Kyung, played by Jo Jung Suk.” – Mine too! I noticed his acting the first time he appeared on the screen. His delivery is far more layered. LSG is really good here, right, but he still did not have that degree of layered delivery which tells you there’s so much more into the character with just one shot, which JJS did just like Kim Soo Hyun in Moon/Sun and Song Joong Ki in Tree.

    I’m glad this is one of your shorter reviews Kfangurl. Otherwise, my comments will be as lengthy as the post itself. Hehehe.

    Like

    • Aw, how cool, that we agree on pretty much everything about this show! It’s been a long time since I watched it, but reading your comment brings back such good memories! I remember this show really drawing me into its world, and I really loved some of our characters.

      This was the show were Lee Sung Min blew me away for the first time. Before this, I only really remembered him as the harmless but annoying restaurant manager in Pasta. Which made me even more surprised at how wonderful he was as a kind king in this show. Love him. ^^

      And about Lee Seung Gi, isn’t it amazing that he pulled this off with such intensity and passion? I was so impressed, and was expecting bigger and better things from him on the acting front thereafter, only to be disappointed. I guess there just might be something about that royalty theory after all? 😄 Y’know I haven’t gotten around to You’re All Surrounded. Did you like the show as a whole? Or are you recommending me to just check out the kissing? 😉

      I actually agree with you about JHW’s character in this.. I remember parking the odd bits as being under the umbrella of being different from what I was used to, because her character is North Korean.

      And OMG Jo Jung Suk! He’s amazing. Seriously. Loved him so very much in this. We need to see more of him on our screens!!

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  11. Right! I did not expect this show to be so intense and engaging. And I’m glad I finally watched it. Good decision.

    I checked out You’re All Surrounded as I wanted a relaxed watch. One that I could put off anytime and not marathon. I expected it to be episodic as well and it turned out to be half episodic, half continuous. So I was able to enjoy the ride. But it’s not something I would really recommend considering other good dramas out there, not unless you want a relaxed watch. But yes, I do recommend to check out the kissing! 🙂

    Even if JHW’s character was North Korean, it was still odd. Moreso, she’s in military.

    As I got so impressed with Jo Jung Suk, I checked him out. No wonder he is very good. He is an experienced theater actor. A theater actor. And one with major line up of plays. Very impressive indeed. Respect. And I like his singing voice too! Oh, I should start downloading You’re the Best, Lee Soon Shin. Been wanting to check it out but the volume is too much. Now I have one very good reason. 🙂

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    • Yay that you decided to give this show a chance to wow you, kaiaraia! I know it’s hard to go back to the less recent shows, given the rate at which dramaland churns out new and shiny offerings!

      Thanks for the insight into You’re All Surrounded – it’s not high on my priority list, even though it’s technically still on the list. I’ll take your advice and maybe relegate it to drama nightcap status. That’s when I’m sleepy and may not be able to pay full attention! 😄 I haven’t yet seen the kiss you mentioned. I made a half-hearted poke around youtube and don’t think I found the right kiss. Will let you know when I eventually get to it!

      As for Jo Jung Suk – he is amazing, no doubt about it! Sadly I heard that Lee Soon Shin was disappointing. If you’d like to see another drama of his, I’d recommend What’s Up. He’s not the lead but it’s more of an ensemble cast type of show, so he does get quite a good chunk of screen time. Plus, he gets to sing too, and that’s pretty awesome. 😉

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  12. i really loved this korean drama, most especially Han Ji Won she is superb…and Lee Seung Gi too.. I love you both

    Liked by 1 person

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  14. I started watching King 2 hearts as a Lee Seungi fan, but came out of it as a Jo Jung Suk girl. Till date I haven’t watched the episodes after he died. I just couldn’t get over it. 😦
    And in 2015, Jo Jung Suk eventually did get a wonderful drama and role that he was so deserving of – as the Chef who stole our hearts in Oh My Ghostess. Or as Na Bong Sung says Chep…..Chepunniimmmm.. 🙂

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  15. Oh and by the way.. Is it your birthday today? I thought I saw on Instagram a Song Joong Ki Tshirt birthday prezzie pic? If it is – Happy Birthday!! 🙂 You share your birthday with one of my biases – Ji Chang Wook. (That’s if your birthday is today on the 5th 🙂 )

    Wishing you a great year ahead with health and happiness! You are an incredible writer – witty, sincere and you have a way with words! Fan since 2015. 🙂

    P.S. -Are you a Literature major? Just curious.

    Like

    • Hee. I can totally see how one might come out of this a Jo Jung Suk fangirl.. he was SO FREAKING GOOD in this. I don’t think I will ever get over ErnestBot. ❤ I hated how they ended his arc – it just felt so unnecessary, really. But I suppose it's partly because of how tragic his character turns out to be, that we pine for him so..

      I agree he was great in Oh My Ghostess too – no longer a soldier, but just as awkward and adorable ❤ You can check out my quick review of OMG here, if you like. 🙂

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!! My birthday isn’t the same as JCW’s I’m afraid.. the t-shirt was a belated birthday present. Actual birthday was on June 26th. But rest assured that the lovely wishes (& blog encouragement!) are much treasured, belated or not! And to answer your question, yes, Literature was one of my majors. The other was English. Not that I was particularly brilliant at either 😉

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  16. Hi there mefriend…
    Just finished King2hearts and randomly came to check if you had reviewed it and…
    Voila!

    I truly enjoyed the show, it was so easy to watch and so easy to like.
    Nothing overboard, very endearing, minus the unnecessary kdrama sass.
    I actually found it refreshingly honest in it narrative. A bit slow at times, but nevertheless consistent.
    And consistency is something I find many kdramas lacking…:)
    Also a BIG shoutout for the well wrapped up ending.
    Loved how they took the time for the viewers to savor the king married, living a normal life and now has a prince on board…
    Very sigh worthy…

    This is my first time watching Lee SuenGi and am very impressed.
    his characters growth curve in stellar in the show. And very organic and At no point it felt forced. Enjoyed his relationship development with the leading lady. Their romance was not intense, but steady and very heart-warming.

    Whats with Kdramas and their obsession with semi-to-full-on-sad-endings?
    It would have been beautiful to see the princess and her prince consort finding their love-happiness, but I do realize that this gave more angst and elevation to their part of the love story and gave their subtle romance depth and profoundness.
    Nevertheless, it was tear-trickling moment for me.

    One of those shows that have the repeat-watch status. Definitely a A!
    ~N~

    Like

    • Ah, I’m glad you watched this one, N! I really liked this one too! This show was one of my favorites of that year, and I must agree that Lee Seung Gi did well in this. Also, YES to consistency. These days, more and more dramas seem to be falling off the bandwagon when it comes to narrative cohesiveness and consistency, so this plus point is nothing to be sniffed at indeed. 😉 I did love the arc between the princess and her consort – Jo Jung Suk is so very good in this, he stole all of our hearts, and then some. Most of us will never forgive Show for snatching him away the way it did. It all seemed quite unnecessary to me, tbh.

      If this was your first time watching Lee Seung Gi, I gather you haven’t seen My Girlfriend is a Gumiho? It’s an older show, but so cute and so full of heart that it remains one of my favorites. Shin Min Ah is ethereal and super endearing in it too. 🙂

      Like

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