Hidden Strength of a Tree: Why I Like Go Ha Jin / Hae Soo from Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo

My current source of romance is watching Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo, which is the Korean remake of the 2011 Chinese drama hit, Scarlet Heart. Scarlet Heart, in turn, is an adaptation of Tong Hua’s novel, Bu Bu Jing Xin, which translates to Startling By Each Step.

Basic story tells that 21st century Go Ha Jin (or Ko Ha Jin) drowned while saving a child during a solar eclipse. The event made her accidentally time-travel to 10th century Goryeo, in the body of Hae Soo, cousin of the 8th Prince’s wife. The scholarly 8th Prince was one of the many sons of King Taejo. One of the princes she met was the 4th Prince, shunned and feared by all, even by his family. Ha Jin / Hae Soo became close to the princes but became worried for them because she remembered that one of these Princes will be the infamous Gwangjong, the fourth Goryeo King said to be brutal and unyielding. As she gets closer to both 4th and 8th Princes, Ha Jin / Hae Soo also has to adapt to her new environment in order to survive.

Ha Jin / Hae Soo seems like a fragile, fragrant flower: born only to bring happiness and kindness to others. She seemed weak and easy to give up. Why wouldn’t she? Her boyfriend and best friend fooled her and left her both heart-broken and in debt, all because of her innate kindness and trustfulness.

However, in the much restricting Goryeo era, she stood her ground and remained true to herself. She maintained her positivity, integrity, compassion and innocence in a world where even family members fought tooth and nail with each other.

She was not afraid to call out the Royal Family members’ rude behaviors, help anyone even if she was not required or allowed to do so, treat people without basing on rank or status, and even hurt herself to survive without hurting other people. She is also confident to showcase her skills and learn new ones if necessary.

I really like her as a fictional person. Some of the instances where she really inspired me:

  1. She stood up for her maid and even took the punishment from the Princess.
  2. She taught the 10th a lesson on being fair, even going further to beat him, when he hit her.
  3. She talked back to the 4th Prince when he was still being rude to her.
  4. She would rather scar herself and face dire consequences than marry the King, all to defend her right to marry the person for the right reasons.
  5. Consequently, she accepted the demotion from noble lady to court lady.
  6. She did not judge people by appearance or rank.
  7. She tried to be as positive as possible in her situation.
  8. She did not reciprocate the 8th Prince’s advances as long as his wife and her “cousin” was still alive.
  9. She stepped out of the line / out of her comfort zone many times to do what she believed as right and good: covering 4th Prince’s scar with makeup and treating the Crown Prince’s symptoms
  10. Her kindness: saved a downing boy, saved the 14th Prince from being attacked, calmed the angry 4th Prince down, consoled the grieving 8th Prince and befriended 13th in times of their shared sorrow.
  11. She can make her own makeup, skincare and soap… oooooh I’d like to do that also. 😛

While reading the Soompi Forum posts for this show, someone there roughly translated Hae Soo’s name to “tree” and I guess it’s because she’s a sturdy, beautiful tree. Ah you’re so great, Soo-ya!

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