Arthdal Chronicles (Kdrama Review & Summary)
- Genre: Fantasy, Romance, Historical Costume Drama FICTION
- Release Date: 1 June 2019 (Part 1); 22 June 2019 (Part 2); 7 September 2019 (Part 3)
- Origin: South Korean; Netflix Original
- Kdrama: 6 episodes for each series (18 altogether)
- Jang Dong Gun as Tagon
- Jung Jae Won as young Tagon
- Song Joong Ki as Eunseom / Saya
- Kim Ye Joon as young Eunseom
- Kim Ji Won as Tanya
- Heo Jung Eun as young Tanya
- Kim Ok Bin as Taealha
Saenyeok tribe & Daekan
- Kim Eui Sung as San Woong (Chief of Saenyeok tribe, Tagon’s father)
- Park Hae Joon as Moo Baek
- Park Byung Eun as Dan Byuk (San Woong’s son, Tagon’s half-brother)
- Park Hyung Soo as Gil Sun
- Choi Young Joon as Yun Bal
- Lee Ho Chul as Ki To Ha
- Hwang Hee as Moo Kwang
- Ki Do Hoon as Yang Cha
- Song Yoo Taek as Park Ryang Poong
- Lee Hwang Ui as Dae Dae
- Hwang Min Ho as So Dang
- Kim Jung Woo as Pyun Mi
White Mountain tribe
- Lee Do Kyung as Asa Ron (Chief Elder of White Mountain tribe)
- Son Sook as Asa Sakan (Mother Elder of White Mountain tribe)
- Seo Eun Ah as Asa Mot (Chief Priestess of White Mountain tribe)
- Jang Yul as Asa Yon
- Park Ji Won as Asa Moo
- Choo Ja Hyun as Asa Hon (Eunseom’s mother) cameo
- Jo Sung Ha as Hae Mi Hol (Chief of Hae tribe, Taealha’s father)
- Yoon Sa Bong as Hae Too Ak
- Park Sung Yun as Hae Young Bi
- Bae Ki Bum as Hae Heul Rib
- ? as Hae Ahl Young
- ? as Hae Ka Ohn
- ? as Hae Kka Dak
- ? as Hae Ttae Moon
- Jo Seung Yun as Ha Rim
- Go Bo Kyul as Chae Eun
- Ahn Hye Won as Noon Byul
- ? as Seu Chun
- Ryu Shi Yoon as Mo Myung Jin
- ? as Wool Baek
- ? as Teu Ri Han
- ? as Ra Im
Iark (Wahan tribe)
- Jung Suk Yong as Yul Son (Chief of Wahan tribe, Tanya’s father)
- Kim Ho Jung as Cho Sul (Wahan tribe’s Great Spiritual Mother)
- Shin Joo Hwan as Dal Jae
- Park Jin as Moong Tae
- Yang Kyung Won as Teo Dae
- Kim Cheung Kil as Book Soe
- Go Na Hee as Do Ti
- Shin Moon Sung as Doon Ji
- Song Jae Ryong as Kum Bool
- Park Ok Chul as Ah Ka Ji
- Kim Bi Bi as Woo Roo Mi (Do Ti’s mother)
- Yoo Tae Oh as Ragaz (Eunseom’s father) cameo
- Moon Jong Won as Rakeuneuroopeu
- Ok Go Un as Mooteuroopeu
- Song Jong Ho as Isseuroobeu
- Nichkhun as Rottib
- Choi Ro Woon as young Rottib
- ?? as Noseunaho
- Kim Sung Chul as Ipsaeng
- Tae Won Suk as Badoroo
- ? as Oldadae
- Jo Byung Kyu as Sateunik
- Baek Seung Ik as Chanaraki
- Kim Do Hyun as Shyoreujakin
- ? as Koldoo
- ? as Kuhan
- Karata Erika as Karika (Xabara of Momo tribe)
- Shim Eun Woo (심은우) as Tapien (Sateunik’s wife)
Thank you to Dramawiki for the list of characters!!!
I have to say this drama is well made with stunning cinematography. Though I did find it a tad too long at just under one hour and 20 minutes each episode.
This fantasy drama is about ancient men, how they became social, spiritual, discovered fire, invented the wheel, sharpened objects to make tools and weapons.
There were tribes who were at loggerheads.
But because of insufficient food, the Saram tribe approached the Neanthal to unite.
Saram proposed that they would provide knowledge and expertise of agriculture and farming to till the fertile land of the blue-blooded Neanthal.
Looking at the produce from farming and agriculture, the Neanthals were rather dismissive of Saram’s proposal. They said that they do not need farming as they don’t eat mugworts and garlic as presented by the Saram.
The Neanthals decided to go their own way with no further discussion. However, Ragaz did notice the pretty Saram interpreter, Asa Hon.
Asa Hon, in turn, did not fail to notice that Ragaz was handsome even with purple lips. 🙂
Saram/Daeken tribe’s situation is desperate. They needed lands to farm. One of their young tribesmen, Tagon proposed that they should take the Neanthals’ land by hook or by crook.
Tagon is a brilliant tactician and warrior for such a young age. He suggested a rain of thousand firing arrows over the Neanthals.
The arrows were unforgiving and massacred almost the whole tribe.
Asa Hon saw the futility of the war and felt pity for the Neanthal children.
It so happened that she noticed Ragaz trying to save children. She proposed to Ragaz that they should get away before her people get to them.
A year later, Asa Hon gave birth to twin boys under the streak of the blue comet from the sky. Her children are Igutu, meaning half Neanthal and half Saram.
Asa Hon was having a siesta one day when she started dreaming of the future. Someone from her lucid dream was telling her that her son was a curse, he will create chaos in the world.
Meanwhile, Ragaz was in the forest with the other baby when they encountered the Saram warriors. To protect his son, Ragaz showed himself to the warriors and fought with them. He was a good fighter, ten times faster and stronger than an ordinary human. He was getting the better of the warriors but an arrow shot directly in the middle of his throat. This did not completely stop Ragaz from fighting but it slowed him down until the rest of the soldiers managed to rope him up.
And it was all over for Ragaz but not before he foretold the ultimate fate of Saram. He said that he had a dream last night that Saram will perish. They will kill each other.
The soldiers were asking who shot the arrow at Ragaz, which made all the difference. Suddenly young Tagon appeared and said that it was him who did it.
He was awesome and some of the soldiers even said that he was like the deity, Arumun Haesulle. Some went so far as kneel down before Tagon.
Tagon ordered that all the bodies of the slain soldiers should be taken back with them. He then went ahead with a couple of soldiers. They were only a few minutes ahead of the others when they found a baby among the bushes.
The two soldiers were dismissive of the baby. They said that it was a blue blood Neanthal but Tagon said that the baby was an Igutu, half Neathal and half Saram, he then slashed his knife into the baby’s leg to make sure it was really an Igutu.
When the soldier seemed scandalised to take the baby with them, Tagon killed them without a second thought. He is a brilliant warrior because he lacks empathy and conscience.
Meanwhile. Asa Hon found the body of Ragaz hanging on a tree. After performing the Moon ritual, Asa Hon told the young Neanthal boy that she was going to bring her baby to Iark, a land where Aramun Haesulle has no dominion. It is a free land.
10 Years later
It has been ten years and Asa Hon has yet to reach Iark.
Her son, Eunseom, who is now a very able boy of ten excitedly told his mother that he had found the cave shortcut to Iark. He then gave her a rock salt which made her so happy.
They packed their meager belongings and went on foot towards Iark.
Along the way, Asa Hon had to carry Eunseom on her back while crossing the Sea of Tears, a boiling sulphuric acid bog.
As soon as they crossed it, Asa Hon collapsed among a scenic bed of yellow flowers which happened to be medicinal.
Eunsom was just pulping some of the plants to apply into his mother’s feet when a pack of beautifully scary CGI wolves slowly advanced to his mother. Eunseom went to his mother ready to protect her. He went rather feral as well. The leader of the pack was about to attack when arrows rained on the animals. The villagers found the pitiful mother and son.
For some reason, Asa Hon seemed to have had a eureka moment because she became really upset towards Eunseom. She castigated him for bringing her into Iark. She kept saying that Eunseom had this all planned. He made her come to Iark and not long now others will also be coming to Iark to spread the belief in Aramun Haesulle. They had doomed the people of Iark.
She then collapsed and died.
8 Years later.
Eunseom was woken from his dream by the village boys. They were full of wonder that Eunseom has dreams.
Meanwhile, the expanding Daeken and its affiliates tribes had decided that they needed more lands. One of the elders said that first they needed more manpower and now lands and then manpower again. Their needs seemed neverending.
Tagon’s father said that was progress. He volunteered Tagon to lead the expedition.
The Elder remarked that he must hate his son as Tagon had not been home for years.
Anyway, their destination is Iark.
Tagon is now a fully grown beefy charismatic man.
The village boys were really intrigued and a bit wary that Eunseom can dream. It is very unusual to dream.
They then blamed him for stealing Tanya’s ability to dream.
Tanya was the daughter of YeonSol, the Great Spiritual Mother of Wahan. Her mother died giving birth to her during the time when the azure comet crossed the sky. The same day when Eunseom was born with his twin.
Though the villagers had allowed Eunseom to live with them, they had always been suspicious of him.
He seemed to naturally do things that were uncommon with the Wahan Tribe. He planted an acorn seed which the Wahan Tribe was forbidden to do.
His latest was trying to ride a horse, which scandalised the tribe beyond measure.
The current priestess of the tribe, Mother ChoSeol had told Eunseom to leave Iark as the blue scab on his back had started to come off. He was ordered by his mother to return to Arthdal once the blue scab had gone.
Eunseom did not want to go. He wanted to stay at Wahan. Despite not ever fully accepted, he felt that he was one of the Wahan Tribe.
Mother ChoSeol had told him that he had broken the three most sacred laws of the Wahan, passed down from generations of Great Spiritual Mothers.
Mother Cho Seol admitted that the laws were not widely known because of fear of the fascination of the forbidden. The more you say no, the more people, even ancient people, would do it.
The three laws:
- Worship the Great Black Cliff but do not cross it. (Eunseom and his mother went through the cave which was the Great Black Cliff to get to Iark.)
- Learn the Wisdom of the Seeds but do not grow them. (Eunseom was seen planting acorn)
- Communicate with Animals but do not tame them. (This was Eunseom’s lastest project, he was trying to learn to ride a horse.)
It was a summer festival at Iark. The village men all ceremonially dressed in flower power were on their way to a neighbouring tribe to exchange and barter food supplies. When they got there they found that the whole village had been annihilated. Men, women, and children dead on the ground.
This was of course tragic. They were still looking at miserably at the corpses when arrows started falling onto them as well.
Meanwhile, Eunseom was running after the black horse he was trying to ride. He got waylaid by a wounded man from the other village. The man painfully told him that the killers were stealing the land.
The womenfolks and children at the Wahan village were surprised by men riding horses. They remembered that Eunseom was also trying to ride horse.
One of the children got near the horses. But he did not get close enough because the rider cut him with his sword.
Suddenly everything was in chaos. Some of the women tried to hide the children in a grass bunker.
Their leader then ordered the released of firing arrows and made sure one of the targets was the grass bunker.
The villagers were in shock.
Some of them were slain and the others were attached by the neck in tether noose. Tanya included. They were then marched out into the Black Cliff.
Suddenly Tanya can just make out a lone horse rider. She quickly realised that it was Eunseom.
He rescued some of the villagers but he was encouraged by them to take Tanya away and not to mind them.
Eunseom got on his horse and Tanya with him.
But a Saram wearing a face mask was able to catch Tanya by her leg with his steel whip and took her down.
Eunseom tried to help Tanya but found that the whip was deeply wrapped into Tanya’s leg and the Saram man with the whip seemed to have the same strength as him.
Tanya begged Eunseom to go but to come back and save them one day.
Though Eunseom ached to stay, Tanya did not give him any choice. But he asked her to give him a name before he goes.
Tanya named him Dream, because he was her dream. The one and only time she dreamt, she foretold the coming of Eunseom into their tribe.
Eunseom rode his horse but was chased by the Saram.
The Saram warriors started to notice that their own horses were lagging behind.
They then realised that they were seeing the mythical horse Kanmoreau. The horse that is the direct descendant of the first line of firstborn. It has memories etched to its mind of running around in the valley so no other horse can outrun it ever.
Another more important thought came to them in a split second.
Only Aramun Haesulla can ride Kanmoreau!!!
Moo Baek of Daekan/Arthdal, the leader of the warriors chasing after Eunseom wondered whether the exceptional horse was Kanmoreau indeed.
It that was the case then the rider is the reincarnation of Aramun Haesulla, the founder of Arthdal.
Moo Baek told the other soldiers to go back to camp and report what was happening to Tagon.
Speaking of Tagon, he had a very sophisticated mind. He was able to discover how to apply simple machines; he used a pulley, wheel & axle, inclined plane, lever and screw to create the very first working lift/elevator which was built on the side of the Great Black Cliff.
These proved very useful in transporting their new 2000 Wahan slaves from the bottom to the top of the cliff. It also helped Eunseom with his horse and a little Wahan girl survivor to get to the top much much much quicker. His mother and he took ten years to get to Iark previously.
With the slaves, which would be profitable, Tagon finally decided to go back home to Arthdal.
What he did not know was that his father is planning to take away everything from him, his girlfriend and his life. His father allowed the spread of rumours that he performed a highly complex ritual which only priest and priestess from the ASA clan can do, thus Tagon is a wanted man.
Meanwhile, Eunseom and the little girl were in the outskirt of Arthdal. They met a man who told them off from loitering into his sorghum field. The man then recognised that Eunseom was an Igutu. It got rather heated when the man explained that Igutu is a hybrid from Saram and Neanthal.
When Eunseom asked who are the Neanthal, the man replied that they were monsters. The man then went hysterical and tried to call attention. Eunseom had no recourse but to kill him.
A beautiful woman approached them and said that Neanthal were not monsters. In fact, they were exceptionally beautiful beings. It was only the ASA clan which gave the Neanthal a bad press.
She gave Eunseom a change of peasant clothing so he could blend in with the Arthdal. To complete the new look, the young woman gave Eunseom a red-tinted lip balm to cover his purple lips. She reminded him to apply the red balm often to disguise his purple Igutu lips. She then told them to go away and never return because if they do, she will kill them herself. This was sad because Eunseom has potential chemistry with the girl.
Mihol of the Hae Tribe instructed his daughter, Tae-alha, to poison Tagon but she cannot do it because she had fallen in love with him. She was willing to defy her father.
She fell for Tagon many years ago when he entrusted her with the Igutu baby he found.
Sanung was praying at the statue of Aramun Haesulla. His son, Dan Byuk, was begging him not to kill or banish his brother, Tagon.
Sanung told Dan Byuk not to be a bleeding heart because Tagon does not deserve his sympathy. Tagon is a killing machine. He killed his own mother without compunction. Tagon is different from any of them, he has a desire to hurt other people. Apparently Tagon is actually an Igatu but no one from Arthdal knew of this, only his father and maybe Tae alha.
I have to say Jang Dong Gun is absolutely charismatic. He is so manly and sexy. Even Kim Ji Won as Tanya seemed overwhelmed when she had a close up with the actor. He is gorgeous.
Anyway, Tagon was advised by his brother to go as far away from Arthdal. It was no longer safe for him in Arthdal. He chief priest of the ASA clan was after him for practicing ollimsani. Their father was after him as well.
Tagon told his brother that he will take his chances.
He went to see Asa Ron of the White Mountain Tribe (ASA Clan) to beg him to cooperate with him so he does not get punished for his transgression with the Ollimsani.
Asa Ron agreed because he does not like Sanung who he thinks is getting too big for his boots.
During the Tagon’s trial the next morning, he had the people’s power behind him. Everyone was chanting that he should be forgiven because he was a hero.
He was taken to the inner sanctum of the White Mountain Tribe were the priests and priestess were doing their prolonged rituals of asking the goddess the verdict for Tagon’s ollimsani.
Tagon’s father and his minions gatecrashed the proceeding.
Asa Ron proclaimed that it was not sinful for Tagon to have conducted the Ollimsani because the goddess had gifted him a psychic power.
Sanung was aghast at what was happening, how Tagon was able to manipulate the situation and Asa Ron.
Sanung was more determined than ever to have his son killed even by his own hand.
So in the forest, Sanung and Tagon met up with their respective posse of warriors. In the commotion, Eunseom suddenly appeared and took Sanung with him.
They ended up in the town hall where Sanung pretended to be kidnapped by Eunseom and being help under duress.
Tagon came to the rescue by ended by killing his on father but he blamed Eunseom for it.
Eunseom got away but not before he was able to cut Tagon on the leg. He saw the purple blood oozing from Tagon leg.
Tagon was worried that Eunseom had noticed his purple blood.
Tagon brought out the body of his father into the crowd. He then did a dramatic mourning, crying his eyes out.
The public felt so moved by the grief of their hero so they proceeded to take their anger off the Wahan slaves and beat them almost to a pulp.
Meanwhile, Moobaek went in search of Asa Sakan, the mother of the White Mountain tribe. Asa Sakan had a premonition that that night a son killed his own father.
Tagon had gone to Tae Elha and confessed to her that Eunseom had cut him in the leg and not sure whether Eunseom saw his purple blood. No one at Arthdal knew that he was Igutu.
Tae Elha tried her best to calm Tagon. She told him that Eunseom was from the Wahan Tribe. He would not know that purple blood was and would have not heard of Igutu or neanthal.
Tagon had declared that he will perform his father’s ollimsani as he had the gift of the goddess as .a psychic.
The people were jubilant that their new leader is actually the reincarnation of Arumun Haesulla.
Tagon encouraged their adoration for his new persona as a living deity, Aruumun Haesulla. Everyone was rejoicing except for Moo Baek who had a look at the forensic of Sanung. He asked one of the soldier how can a Wahan kill Sanung with such a clean slit in the neck when the Wahan Boy had not even seen a bronze knife before.
Tagon had the Wahan slaves under his care. He could kill them all or he could use them to make Eunseom quiet.
And he used them. He told Eunseom that he will look after the Wahan, He will protect them in return Eunseom should not interfere with Tagon’s plans.
Eunseom was half convinced by Tagon because he made sense. He said that even if Eunseum managed to rescue the Wahan, where is he going to take them, hide them?
Tagon took Tanya for a quick talk. He said that he will protect them. Tanya was skeptical at first but Tagon said he dare not harm even a toenail of any of the Wahan.
Tanya realised that Eunseom was behind Tagon’s change of heart.
She told what Tagon said to her tribe and they immediately thought of Eunseom. He had come to rescue them. Finally Tanya had a dream. He dream of a being dressed in white pointing to the tower.
But before the Wahan can be reassured they were taken secretly into the Fortress of Fire under the connivance of Asa Ron and Midol.
These two are working together to kill Tagon.
Tagon was furious when he found out that the Wahan are gone. Eunseom also knew that the Wahan are missing. He was annoyed with Tagon from regenging on their deal.
Eunseom sent a letter to Midol saying that he will help him get rid of Tagon.
Midol and Asa Ron were put on the spot when Tagon forced his way in into the Fortress of Fire. He told his brother, who was the head of the Arthdal army that Midol tried to kill him in the morning of the trial.
The brother ordered the arrest of Midol and Asa Ron for questioning but suddenly the Fortress of Fire had gone dark.
The Wahan managed to escape by the elder, Tanya’s father said that Wahan as a tribe is gone. It is now free for all, look after yourself.
Tanya got curious in the dark and climbed the tower of her dream. On top, she saw a mirror which frightened her at first because she saw a reflection, She also saw the bell on the ground.
These things are two of the three heavenly objects that fell from heaven which will end the world. The third one was the sword.
Just hiding by the curtain was Saya, the doppelganger but cleaner version of Eunseom.