Arthdal Chronicles Season 1 Review – It is a story. A tale about when “Homo sapiens didn’t have dreams, and had not yet reached the top of the great pyramid of nature”. The camera thrusts into a war zone amongst the trees. Something invisible seems to be chasing the humans. Hunting them. One by one. A torn out piece of limb. A head. Bodies lying on the ground and dangling from the trees, dead or painfully dying. Who is hunting them? Let’s get right into the review!
Arthdal Chronicles Season 1 Trailer
Arthdal Chronicles is a historical fantasy kdrama which narrates the tale of the mythical land of Arth and is more like a study of human nature. The show aired on 1st June, 2019 with humble ratings on TVN and was engulfed by controversies. Many compared the series with American fantasy show Game of Thrones. However, many critics also acknowledged the individual appeal of the show. Writer of Arthdal Chronicles Writer Park Sang-yeon commented that, ” I tried to create a great series by building a fictitious world of our own with our imagination and I hope you see our series as it is.”
Although, the ratings of the kdrama was on the low end side in South Korea, for global audiences it fared relatively well to have been renewed for a season 2 which is scheduled to air some time in the first half of 2023. There have been some major changes in season 2, with the transition of lead actors from Song Joong-Ki to Lee Joon-gi and Kim Ji-won to Shin Se-kyung.
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Arthdal Chronicles Season 1 Plot
Arthdal chronicles follows quite a few storylines as it progresses but the emphasis is on two parallel storylines, one of the Wahan tribe featuring the main leads Eun-seom and Tan-ya, and the second featuring Ta-gon and Tae Al-ha. Eun-seom and Tan-ya are peacefully living in a tribe secluded from the centre of the land of Arth where Ta-gon and Tae Al-ha scheme to become the first rulers of Arthdal by hook or by crook.
Arthdal Chronicles Season 1 Review
Arthdal Chronicles is based during the bronze age, when humanity was settled as tribes without the idea of a nation or a single ruler. It feels like a study of humankind, a study of the human species and documents the transition from clan/tribal societies to the making of a centralized nation-state, one that we now call “countries”.
The differences are quite clearly portrayed in the show. The Wahan tribe, the tribe where Eun-Seom and Tan-ya are from, is shown as a tribe enmeshed with nature and the natural. They live amongst the forests, use the resources of the forest and worship them. The members of the tribe have a strong sense of familial ties and the idea of the family reigns supreme. The tribe is a collective force and highlight the importance of a community, traditions and community values.
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In stark contrast is the central land of Arth, ruled by the Arthdal union including the heads of the various tribes residing in Arth. Ta-gon is son of the leader of the union who begins the process of centralization as he aspires to be the first king of Arth. The centre is plagued by scheming rulers where each wants to gain power. There is a clear degradation and break from the values portrayed by the Wahan tribe in the centre of Arth where people live in misery and fear while the rulers aim to preserve their own political interests.
Moreover, Arthdal chronicle’s cinematography is quite visually appealing and the characterization and narrative are extremely interesting especially with the neanthal storyline. Neanthal and humans are portrayed as two different and rival races with neanthals physically superior than humans (saram) . There are also existence of hybrids known as Igutus, who are offsprings of both the races and highly scorned upon in Arth for being mixed, neither fully neanthals nor humans. Similarly the show features many different tribes with their own cultures and storylines which are not only entertaining but interesting to watch. With the impending autocracy of Ta-gon, the neanthals and other various tribes of Arth, excluded from the minority living in the centre, must forge forces and fight.
Arthdal Chronicles Season 1 – JAL Rating
We give Arthdal Chronicles for its storyline and narrative, scope, visuals and characterisation a 4.5 out of 5. It is a slow paced kdrama which builds as it progresses so it might not appeal to those wanting to watch a historical fantasy kdrama with a fast tempo and quick unravelling of events. That is it for our Arthdal Chronicles review, catch the show on Netflix! Let us know your thoughts in the comments and stay tuned for Arthdal Chronicles Season 2!