If you enjoyed K-drama titles like Mr. Queen, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, and Hwarang, then check out River Where the Moon Rises, the latest historical drama (sageuk) that’s adapted from the history of the Three Kingdoms, with a romance element (this is K-drama, after all!).
How the Princess met the Idiot
The drama is set in the Three Kingdoms Period (57 BCE – 668 CE), which is so-called because it was dominated by the three kingdoms of Baekje, Goguryeo, and Silla. River Where the Moon Rises is set in Goguryeo.
The story focuses on the legend of Princess Pyeonggang, known to Koreans as the tale of “The Princess and the Idiot”. In the folk tale, she was a chronic crybaby whose crying got on the King’s nerves so much that he often threatened to marry her off to the local village idiot called On Dal if she didn’t stop. On Dal was a village beggar who was reportedly famous for his ugliness, dirty clothes, and seemingly foolish behavior, hence his nickname “On Dal the Idiot”. However, Pyeonggang actually chose to marry On Dal when she came of age, and through her riches and military training, eventually helped On Dal become a great military general.
In River Where the Moon Rises, Pyeonggang, also known as Yeom Ga-jin, is far from a crybaby: born as a princess but raised as a soldier, she has big dreams and ambition to become the first Empress of Goguryeo. Clever, level-headed and strong, she’s more than capable of taking on the obstacles that stand in her way.
However, Pyeonggang’s ambition as the first woman to lead Goguryeo gets sidetracked when she meets On Dal – in the drama, he’s not the ugly “Idiot” but a good-natured and handsome son of General On Hyeop.
When young Pyeonggang sets out on a tour of the kingdom with her Empress mother, they visit the General and his son On Dal. However, both the Empress and the General are assassinated during the visit, prompting Yeom Ga-jin’s quest to uncover dark and dangerous conspiracies in the kingdom – with the help of On Dal, of course.
River Where the Moon Rises is an epic, visually spectacular series with plenty of sweeping mountains, great costumes, and of course, epic battles. This retelling of Princess Pyeonggang’s story also focuses on the romance between her and On Dal.
River Where the Moon Rises is currently airing in Korea, and in Singapore, it premiered on Viu on 15 February. New episodes air every Monday and Tuesday.
The series features Kim So Hyun as Princess Pyeonggang, who’s no stranger to historical dramas, having been in Moon Embracing the Sun and The Tale of Nokdu. Playing her love interest On Dal is Ji Soo, who’s appeared in the popular sageuk, Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.