Sageuks are as bloody as Shakespeare.
So many characters have bitten the dust in Scarlet Heart: Ryeo that the drama echoes Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo+Juliet.
How many have been killed off? Let’s rewind! (And these are just the major characters.)
Princess Hae Myung Hee, Episode 5
The sickly but sweetest of those in Hae Soo’s (IU) circle, Hae Myung Hee (Park Shi Eun), dies in Episode 5, in the arms of Prince Wook (Kang Ha Neul).
Court Lady Oh, Episode 11
Court Lady Oh (Woo Hee Jin) sacrifices herself to save Hae Soo, who was accused of poisoning the Crown Prince (Kim San Ho).
King Taejo, Episode 13
He didn’t need anyone to assassinate him – King Taejo grew sickly and died.
The Crown Prince, Episode 14
In our first coup, the Crown Prince (Kim San Ho) dies, by a royal bathwater-mercury poisoning. Dramatic, right?
Prince Eun and His Wife, Episode 16
Prince Eun (Baekhyun) and his wife, General Soon Duk’s daughter, are killed as part of Prince Yo’s establishment on the throne as king.
Prince Yo (the 3rd Prince), Episode 17
Plagued by guilt and the ghosts of the brothers he killed, Prince Yo (Hong Jong Hyun), meets his end in Episode 17.
Queen Yoo, Episode 18
The evil queen (Park Ji Young), at last, dies. After her favored son, Prince Yo, meets death, she just can’t go on.
Palace Servant Chae Ryung, Episode 18
Who knew that Chae Ryung (Jin Ki Joo) was a spy all along?
Woo Hee, Episode 19
Woo Hee (Seolhyun), the former gisaeng-turned-assassin-turned fiance of Prince Baek (Nam Joo Hyuk), ridden with guilt over her people of Baekje, jumps to her death. Ah, the second love of Prince Baek, dies. Kid just can’t catch a break.
Hae Soo, Episode 20 [Finale]
Yeah, I know – what the WHAT?! You killed off the heroine in the finale? And what a mess that finale was, indeed. More on that tomorrow.
Prince Wook, Episode 20 [Finale]
Prince Wook, after aging in Episode 20 (apparently while everyone else looks EXACTLY the SAME), dies. We don’t actually see it happen – we hear of the news from Prince Baek.
Scarlet Heart’s Total Body Count: 12
And here’s who’s left standing, of our original characters: