This was such a strong opening to a drama, lots of world/character building so that we can truly understand and empathise with our hero in the “present day”. And what seems to make an even greater hero? One who has suffered.
The special effects were a little clumsy at times, and the music not always up to scratch. However, with every Sageuk Drama I have seen, the imagery and outfits are stunning.
The plot is interesting and I certainly want to see where this drama is headed, especially as it seems the writers are not afraid to go hit you in the face with emotion, both positive and negative. I mean, vampires in Hanbok, what more could I want?! ♥
A flying owl leads us into the first episode of Scholar Who Walks The Night. In voiceover we are told that there is a tale that is passed down through the women of court. That when the king goes to bed, a certain person will appear.
The man (Lee SooHyuk) ‘covets’ the King’s women and makes sure that they die. The man who possesses fatal beauty (well they cast right for this role!). We see him enter the Queen’s or Concubine’s room and drink her blood. The man is a vampire.
Instead of a real story, we find out that it is the plot of a novel that Prince JungHyun (Lee Hyun Woo) has written under a pen name. He is with his friend and our main male lead, SungYeol (Lee JoonGi) perusing a book shop. The pair talk about their writing, JungHyun asking SungYeol why he wastes his skills by being a scholar.
SungYeol brings back the topic of vampires, causing JungHyun to once again ask what his friend thought. He begins to praise him, but it turns swiftly into an insult. JungHyun then brags that many bookshops are vying for the exclusive rights to his next release (is his pseudonym really Lustful Student’?! pahaha perfect!).
SungYeol tells him that he is leaving, causing JungHyun to call him a rascal and shout after him asking if this means he won’t do a book review (haha! I think I’m in love with this idiot).
Both SungYeol and JungHyun have mounted their horses and JungHyun says they should make a bet, the first person to their destination gets to make a wish. SungYeol agrees, and is unable to finish his sentence before JungHyun has made a start. SungYeol smiles at his friend, but is also on edge due the person who was watching them from the rooftop.
The pair are chased by four men on horseback through a wood and onto a clear plain. SungYeol jumps swiftly from his horse, grabbing a stone from the floor and throwing it.
SungYeol is prepared to fight all four men and it is shown he is a skilled swordsmen. However, JungHyun tells him to stop, knowing that they are guards. He asks the captain why he is following him.
Out of nowhere, these three men come strolling in and tell him that King sent the guards. That he is worried about the Crown Prince who has not been home for three days. Even so, SungYeol is angry that armed guards were sent after JungHyun, no matter who requested it. JungHyun also stands up for SungYeol telling the man that this scholar has more skill than a group of armed guards, so needs no bodyguards.
The pair reach their destination, with SungYeol winning the race, saying that he will savour the favour and use it well later on.
While dismounting and walking, JungHyun tells SungYeol that he is going to write a romance novel. Involving a scholar and woman who sleep together before marriage, a scandalous event. SungYeol defends his honour saying that nothing happened that night, that the pair were just escaping the rain. JungHyung continues to tease him.
Finally, SungYeol admits defeat and says he will write the book review. Their conversation turns serious as the scholar asks JungHyun if he knows why the King wants to see him. It turns out the reason is probably because JungHyun has upset him by not wanting a birthday celebration this year.
JungHyun dismisses SungYeol’s concern, telling him to go and see MyungHee and then walking into the palace grounds.
MyungHee (Kim So Eun) is with her non-biological mother and father. The mother is in distress, saying that she will not accept her as a daughter-in-law. However, the father allows her to be wed.
Just then, SungYeol comes home. MyungHee comes out of his father’s room first and the pair smile cutely at each, however stop when his mother appears at the room door. His mother gives her an errand, to which he steps in and says he will do it.
Later on, MyungHee follows a trail and hears a meow and looks up to see SungYeol smiling happily at her. She tells him that someone will be here soon to take care of the stray cats. MyungHee says that this cat (SungYeol) has a bad habit, so can’t go to her room, like he suggested.
He asks what habit and then proceeds to jump off the wall to hand her a bunch of flowers. He hugs and then kisses MyungHee, shocking her. She tells him that the habit is very bad, that he sneaks into an unmarried woman’s room every night! MyungHee acts rather standoffish, however she smiles and jokes with him when she is about to leave. He shouts after to her that he loves her (gosh these two are too adorable! I can’t stop smiling♥).
It looks at though the King wanted JungHyun to discuss less trivial things as his birthday. The vampire story is not a story and the King warns his son to not get on the wrong side of the vampire.
At the same time, at home, SungYeol is immersed JungHyun’s novel. We also see the “vampire” walking through the palace, ending up sitting in the throne, telling the guards to leave before it is too late.
Outside, JungHyun watches as the coffin of the concubine is burnt. SungYeol comes into the small courtyard, in formal attire, and JungHyun snaps at him that he should not be there. SungYeol uses the favour from their bet and asks why he researched all about vampires and why the corpses of the concubines are burnt at night. JungHyun responds that the research was for his novel and the concubines are dying from an epidemic.
SungYeol shouts that the women had bite marks on their necks, as he accidentally saw a corpse as it was being snuck through the palace grounds. This stops JungHyun.
In the pouring rain, JungHyun pleads for his friend not to concern himself with this, while SungYeol wants the truth about whether there are vampires in the kingdom.
Suddenly we are transported to a bamboo forest, where SungYeol starts to fight with a vampire (I’m assuming, but it’s daytime so…). Well, he tries to. The vampire is able to move at great speed and heals instantly when SungYeol slightly nicks his cheek. SungYeol tells JungHyun to run, but he stays put, telling SungYeol to lower his sword.
Meanwhile, the King is visiting the vampire who causes him all the trouble. The vampire is not happy, saying that the next person’s blood he will drink will be the Crown Prince’s as he has not yet been to see him. Which to the vampire means that JungHyun does not mean to serve him.
When the King tries to defend his son, the vampire rages that this country was built on him killing the enemies of the successors to the ancestor that came to him for help. That due to this ancestor they Kings will serve him.
SungYeol and JungHyun are now seated with the vampire they met in the forest, HaeSeo. He explains that he is a protector/guardian and punishes vampires who stray. SungYeol is angry that he has done nothing about Gwi (Lee Soo Hyuk), but HaeSeo explains that it is partly the humans fault, that he went to Gwi in hopes to keep his throne.
JungHyun tells SungYeol to stop and tells him HaeSeo has a plan set in place to get rid of Gwi. Because the King’s concubines are being killed, meaning the new King will be chosen soon, it looks like they are running out of time to put the plan in place. HaeSeo tells JungHyun what he must do.
(He’s supposedly had 200 hundred years, surely everything he needs to prepare has been by now?)
While walking around the palace grounds, JungHyun asks SungYeol if he regrets asking for the truth. He goes on to say that he can’t be King, because then he would have to serve a vampire. JungHyun hates the idea of saying to his son one day that he served a vampire and now he must too.
JungHyun didn’t want to share his burden with SungYeol before he was married, in response to this SungYeol reminisces about something JungHyun said in the past.
JungHyun tells him that he has written down the plan in detail and that if anything happens to him, those notes will be delivered to SungYeol to carry out. SungYeol says this will never happen, as he would risk his life to protect JungHyun (this friendship is causing all sorts of feelings!)
The walk on and we see that Gwi has been watching and listening.
Gwi makes a visit to HaeSeo and proceeds to throw him outside of his own home. He then rips HaeSeo’s arm off and then sees his face, recognising this vampire as his old teacher. A teacher who he could have sworn he killed 200 years ago.
HaeSeo tells Gwi that he should not be here (as in Earth), but Gwi says he wants to rule the humans, which is more fun than when he served under HaeSeo, killing others of his kind. HaeSeo tells Gwi that humans are not as weak as he thinks.
Gwi then stabs HaeSeo with his own ‘sunsa wood’ knife (Rude!) and says:
“You barely saved your life. You should have preserved it more carefully.”
On a lighter note, SungYeol is smiling while watching a sleeping MyungHee. She wakes, saying that he has a dark expression. SungYeol only smiles and says that he loves her.
After a pause, he sits up and explains that there is something he must do for the Crown Prince. MyungHee supports him 100%, saying that he should believe in himself, as she has never seen a thing he wasn’t able to do. She continues to praise him and SungYeol’s spirits look slightly raised.
Meanwhile, in a throne room, JungHyun’s late night reading is rudely interrupted by Gwi. He throws him across the room and picks up the book. The plans for Gwi’s demise. An angry JungHyun refuses to tell him any information, so Gwi threatens to get rid of the plan, the people mention in it and JungHyun.
Gwi then orders one of his green-robed minion to capture the Crown Prince.
The next day, Sungyeol is heading to JungHyun’s room, but finds palace guards outside. He hides and listens to the captain’s orders. One of which is the arrest of himself.
SungYeol races away on horseback to HaeSeo’s home, vowing to get the plans and hoping that JungHyun endures just a little longer until he does.
An invisible force catapults him into the small house, where he finds a dying HaeSeo. Stupidly he obeys the vampire to come closer and is somehow shocked when he goes straight for his throat.
SungYeol demands to know what HaeSeo has done to him. HaeSeo tells him that this is only how far he can go (was turning him a vampire always part of the plan then?) and that SungYeol must use the strength he has given him to defeat Gwi.
SungYeol then convulses violently, blood spurting from his mouth, as fire and black mist rages in his vein causing the transformation.
SungYeol wakes to MyungHee calling outto him, but she isn’t there. He looks around the room in horror, noting the severed limb and pile of ashes where HaeSeo lay. He reaches out to them, but the sun burns his hand.
SungYeol notices the clothes his wearing, and we go back to the night he was turned and hear HaeSeo telling him that the black robes will protect him.
We then see him stumbling through the streets, finding out that three days have passed since he went to HaeSeo’s home.
SungYeol then hears devastating news, people are sobbing and crying out that the Crown Prince committed treason, meaning he has been executed. Not only that, but SungYeol’s father has also been executed (the severed heads are distressing, but I’m so glad I didn’t have to see JungHyun die, I don’t think I could have handled that!)
SungYeol cries out, sobbing as he moves toward the banners and severed heads of the “traitors”. The guards knock him down and he wakes in Gwi’s lair, his magical bindings tightening as he tries to move.
SungYeol notices the dead bodies of JungHyun’s siblings on the floor and struggles even more against his bindings. Gwi walks into frame advising him not to struggle or he will be burnt by the ‘sunsa wood’.
Gwi notices the bite mark on SungYeol’s throat and wonders how he is still alive, as you must drink blood within half a day of being transformed.
SungYeol asks Gwi who he is, instead of responding, Gwi grabs him and throws him to the ground, close to JungHyun’s younger brother. Gwi asks SungYeol how it feels to want the dead boys blood. However, he is shocked to see that SungYeol is resisting his desire.
SungYeol realises who Gwi is and vows to not let him get away with what he has done, that he will kill him.
Gwi is angered by SungYeol rejecting the blood and so inspects the bite marks, asking is HaeSeo did this to him. SungYeol responds by spitting in his face. Gwi strikes him, yet says that he likes SungYeol and even proposes that SunYeol becomes his student.
Gwi even says that he will give him this nation. SungYeol is far from enthused at the prospect and begins to insult him, saying that Gwi can’t even walk in the light and that those who wanted his services only pretended to be afraid. After Gwi brings up JungHyun, SungYeol says just because he is gone, it doesn’t mean the humans of this world won’t get rid of Gwi.
Gwi shout for him to stop and throws SungYeol across the room, where he lies unconscious.
Once again SungYeol wakes up to MyungHee calling out to him, only this time, she is actually present.
Gwi holds a knife to her throat as he leads her down to him from his throne. He asks MyungHee how it feels to see that her lover has been turned into a vampire. Gwi slices her arm and as SungYeol rushes forward to help her, Gwi stabs him through the chest.
Gwi tells SungYeol that the only way he can survive is to drink MyunHee’s blood, and notes that MyungHee looks afraid and is not likely to offer up her blood for him. He puts this down to humans being weak.
An underestimated MyungHee springs up from the floor and pushes herself onto the blade Gwi is holding in his outstretched hand. In a rage to get to MyungHee, SungYeol flings Gwi across the room.
As he holds her in his arms, MyungHee tells SungYeol that this isn’t his fault. That he should drink her blood quickly, to which he refuses. Tearfully she begs him to survive and fulfil his ambitions.
She kisses him and tells him she loves him (sageuk drama’s always make me cry, no matter what!). We are then shown a glimpse of the past where SungYeol and MyungHee kiss in the rain (the rain scene JungHyun spoke of I assume).
Back in the present he drinks from MyungHee who soon dies, after which he cries out in anguish and holds onto MyungHee while sobbing.
120 Years Later
Our female lead Jo Yang Sun (Lee YuBi), who is masquerading as a male, happily walks down the road, a spring in her step and hello on her lips for those she passes (she is so cute~).
YangSun is called over by a hyungnim and happily announces that she has made contact with a noted Scholar and hopes that he will become a regular customer that she can sell books to. Her hyungnim’s and fellow booksellers grumble that she will end up selling all the books in the nation. He shouts after her as she leaves that they should survive together.
Later that evening YangSun heads to a Gisaeng House where she is to meet the Scholar. She gets the door of the room she believes to contain the Scholar and is shocked to find a man, Lee Yoon (Shim ChangMin), drawing a Gisaeng. Relieved she finds out that the man is not her scholar and before she leaves, casually insults him, saying that she knew the Scholar wouldn’t have such a scandalous hobby.
Outside the room, a man waits for her. He asks her what is inside her sleeve as it squeaks and YangSun happily shows him the wounded squirrel, who someone requested she fix. He tells her that she should have left it somewhere else before coming as the walk down the corridor together.
Once they stop, outside the right room this time, YangSun asks about the rumours that this Scholar has many books at the palace and about his extreme book buying habits.
YangSun enters the room and it looks like our noted Scholar is SungYeol, using a different name. He hides behind a fan which closes with a flourish when a screen is lowered down between himself and YangSun.
After he gets her to acknowledge that she said she could find any book, SungYeol asks her if she could find the record books of the Crown Prince JungHyun. YangSun is confused and hasn’t even heard of JungHyun.
Before anyone can say anything else, the squirrel flies out of YangSun’s sleeve and onto SungYeol’s lap. YangSun quickly follows and begins rummaging around the folds of his clothes, exclaiming when she catches the squirrel (his face and the Gisaeng’s face was hilarious! YangSung is pretty naive).
When YangSun fully takes in SungYeol’s face she thinks that he has more beauty than a woman. She nervously says that the squirrel must like him more than her.
Suddenly, SungYeol raises his sleeve to him face and turns away from her, causing her to become embarrassed as she sniffs herself. But then we see that the squirrel bites her. This not only shocks SungYeol, but also the Gisaeng present, who must be privy to SungYeol’s true identity.
As he takes in the scent of the blood, his eyes turn red and his fangs extend in his mouth (frankly after 120 years you’d think he could control himself over a tiny little bit of blood, right?).
Thank you for reading~