K-Drama Mid-Series Review: “Arthdal Chronicles” Impels Excitement Ahead Of Its Culminating Stretch
Two quarters done, fans of Arthdal Chronicles have to endure two months to see the ultimate conclusion of the series.
Amidst all the controversies that hounded Arthdal Chronicles, it is still one of the top contenders for the best Korean drama this season. Overwhelming with its scenic setting, warring clans, and a prophecy connecting the main characters of the story, the series has been gravitating its followers to seek more of what it can offer.
Stepping into the world of Arthdal Chronicles in the last six weeks was always a gratifying experience. Its swift storytelling coupled by dynamic characters incited a habit-forming drive, which led to fans’ commitment to see through its entirety. How it was able to squeeze in the shining moments of its big cast while keeping the supporting cast role matter, is also a laudable feat.
Neatly narrated, Arthdal Chronicles has been clear with its message about human greed prevalent at the dawn of expanding civilization. A fictional realm ambitiously contrived for its story emphasized the life lessons channeled through each character. Additionally, it even gave off a retrospective nudge on how destructive excessive ambition is to human. On that note, how simplifying life could grant you inner peace was also a takeaway projected by the Wahans.
Scouring down K-Drama history, the imaginative tvN series does not have a relative drama to remotely connect to. Probably because of the fusion of epic and fantasy elements as opposed to the usual folklore and supernatural mixture typical in K-Drama stories.
Quick Plot Roundup
Divided in three parts, Arthdal Chronicles trudges on the story set in the land of Arth, a civilization set in the backdrop of Bronze Age. Forged by tribes, the kingdom is reigned by leaders of tribes, who mutual detest each other in secret. When the kingdom’s elite army brought in an isolated tribe, a war eventually broke out as the leaders contend to achieve the kingdom’s highest power.
Arthdal Chronicles Part 1 Highlights
I did expect a lot on Arthdal Chronicles. Considering its cast and showrunners, it was given to believe strongly. Laying out the character details and back stories, the first arc tightly limned the interesting connections that would decide the fates of the heroes and villains.
As what deemed normal for stories taking the premise of power struggle, the show highlighted focus on how the players outwitted each other. A feat, that was interestingly maneuvered by the lead characters in different motivations, hindered by varied weaknesses.
Albeit its big cast, the writer paid attention to a simple storytelling in the elaborated world conceived. Glimpses of Arthdal culture and their beliefs in transcendental beings and divination were highlighted. It’s a whole new world to traverse, and one that also tugs heart because of disheartening scenes brought upon by human’s greed.
Sharing the pure hearted goal to live with what nature provides, the Wahan tribe and Neanthals survive their days creating their own happiness. In contrast, the human tribes pursue advancement and convenience in their way of life. Most of the time, at the expense of causing death or harm to fellow beings.
This aspect of the series has provided the main sentiments and soul of its whole picture. How varying meaning of contentment spur indifference among people.
Arthdal Chronicles Part 2 Highlights
Moments when tears escape from my eyes were but normal, especially in scenes of oppression and unimaginable atrocity. My heart ached a lot for Wahan tribe – for Tanya, Eunseom and Saya. Their intertwining lives along with their pains has had me questioned the Arthdal gods. As protagonists struggling to escape their misfortunes, they sure had whetted viewers attention.
Incidentally, I developed animosity towards Tagon and Taealha. Despite them having their own scars, their motivations to keep a world that would bow down on their knees is disheartening. Because of the heartbreaking reality to achieve it. Nevertheless, a tiny part of myself wants to believe they will redeem themselves still.
Coming from an uncluttered overview of the people who would move in the story, the second quarter of Arthdal Chronicles inclined more on its core conflict. A logical shift to its paradigm as it heads to the climactic point of the narrative.
Director Kim Won Seok skillfully captured the essence of every characters in his masterpiece. Harmonizing them to the buildup of the story, it’s impossible to find something to nitpick on it. His gift in layering sensible depth to the characters is noteworthy.
Through the experiences of writers Kim Young Hyun and Park Sang Hyun, the grand and majestic scale of the drama felt realistic. It makes you really believe that such civilization might have existed. The thriving flow of the story refused to flounder. It just kept on progressing to an excitement level that drew collective encouragement from the viewers. Hence, their fictional concoction is deemed successful.
Still high on Episode 12 of Arthdal Chronicles, this series scares me in case the last stride won’t be able to justify its superb run so far. At the same time, as a critic, it makes me want to pray that its potentially idyllic picture would achieve a historical moment in K-Drama landscape.
Perfectly cast for their roles and committing to the core of their characters, its four lead cast deserve the credits. Rarely does it happen, but the recounting of the story made sure to keep equal exposure for its powerhouse cast.
I never experienced any ounce of negative emotions while diligently following the series. The production team’s effort to conjure a visionary project is what I highly feel and am grateful for.
I mentioned it on my first part review and I will say it again. Arthdal Chronicles is not pieces of ideas from already released epic stories. As is the case for creative works following epic genre, things might felt familiar. Especially for people who can only reference epic stories through its modern Game of Thrones definition. However, in Korean drama landscape, it is a novelty.
A quarter almost done, Arthdal Chronicles will tie the loose ends of its stunning story beginning September 7 via tvN and Netflix.
ABOUT THE WRITER
abbyinhallyuland reads and sleeps a lot when she is not traveling. Her calendar reminders are mostly K-Drama broadcast schedules and birthdays of her favorite Korean actors. Promoting K-Drama watching as stress therapy is her life advocacy. She is fond of Spencer Reid, Gregory House, Kenshin Himura, Starwars saga, Haruki Murakami and Hunter x Hunter.
Recommended Korean Dramas: Reply 1988, Nine, Misaeng, Gaksital, Discovery of Love, Because This is My First Life, Descendants of the Sun, My Love from the Star, Healer, Punch, You’re Beautiful,Coffee Prince, Princess Hours, The Greatest Love, Sungkyunkwan Scandal, City Hunter, and The Smile Has Left Your Eyes.