Sunday, 3 May 2015

Review: Rooftop Prince (2012)

Okay … first review! I haven’t even written anything and I can feel that this post is going to take me much longer than I first expected. I’m not exactly sure if I should call this a review or not … it’s more like an aggregate of post-drama thoughts. The first time I saw Yoochun act was in The Girl Who Can See Smells … which is still airing and I literally started and finished Rooftop Prince in the time between episodes 8 and 9 >< I usually try not to watch dramas with the same lead actors simultaneously though, cause inevitably I begin mixing up the characters. I think the most extreme case was watching YWCFTS while Trot Lovers was airing … literally could not unsee the creepy side of Shin Sung Rok. Let's get back to this review …

The younger of two sisters is selected to be the future Crown Princess. The older sister accidentally-on-purpose burns her sister’s face, and becomes the Crown Princess instead. Many years later the Crown Princess drowns, and the Crown Prince is convinced she was murdered. He recruits three men and while investigating her death, the four get transported 300 years into the future to present day Seoul. Here they meet the reincarnations of personalities such as the Crown Princess and the Crown Prince himself, and continue to solve the mystery of the Crown Princess’ murder which they believe is the key to returning back to their time period.

I really enjoyed this drama and would definitely recommend it - category 1! It was actually a borderline 1 or 2 most of the way through … but following the revelations in episode 20 it shot up :’) It’s got all the elements of a romcom but can be a little darker at times which stops the drama from being too fluffy. I really liked how they paralleled events with the past, it was really clever at times.

Spoilers throughout the rest of the post!

The bittersweet ending breaks my heart but it’s what made this love line so much more beautiful compared to others.

Other Thoughts/Observations

We know from the very beginning what a horrible person the Crown Princess is, having burnt her sister’s face to get to her position. But to me that didn’t invalidate the Crown Prince’s love for her … I’ll have to admit I shed a tear or two witnessing Lee Gak’s heart break as he learns of her death :’( Yoochun managed to make this scene so touching even though we’d known the characters for less than an episode.

It was only a day after finishing the drama that I realised the significance of Se Na wearing Park Ha’s clothes in the modern day reservoir scene! I’d originally dismissed it as just part of the ploy to lure Lee Gak, but later connected the dots and realised the parallel with what happened before Boo Young’s death.

Things which confused me at some point:

The History Book

OMG the history book!!! I still haven’t figured out what the significance of this scene was. And by the looks of it most fans still haven’t figured it out. So at some point quite early on in the drama Park Ha consults a history book, presumably to look up Lee Gak and verify his story. But she closes the book teary eyed, and no explanation is made as to why her reaction was like that. They never mentioned that scene again. What did she read???

I trawled through some fansites and found two hypotheses popular amongst fans.
  1. Park Ha found out that Lee Gak will lead a short life. Apparently there are some uncanny similarities between Lee Gak and King Gyeongjong, a real Joseon King. King Gyeongjong’s first Crown Princess died before he ascended the throne, and it is rumoured that his death had something to do with him eating crab sauce and persimmons, two foods which play important roles in Rooftop Prince.
  2. Park Ha found out that Lee Gak will die by being shot in the chest by an arrow. Before his departure Park Ha gifted Lee Gak a necklace, and told him to ‘always wear it near your heart’. After returning to their time period he does get shot in the chest by an arrow, but it hits the necklace square on which saves his life. Some fans argue that if this really was the case then Park Ha really should’ve gifted him a full on chest guard instead of a measly $2 coin sized necklace to protect him … and I’m not even going to go into the if-she-did-save-him-then-it-wouldn’t-have-shown-up-in-the-history-book argument.
I guess we’ll never know for sure what she read :(

Arsenic and Persimmons

So in the final episode one of the revelations is that Boo Young died after eating the poisoned persimmons in place of the King. However early on in their investigations, before their time travelling adventures, they already found out that the persimmons were poisoned with arsenic! Wouldn’t Lee Gak then have wondered what happened to Boo Young, who actually ate the persimmons??? I guess they must’ve assumed the persimmons got poisoned after Boo Young ate them or something …

The Final Scene

I know heaps of people were confused with the ending scene … was it Lee Gak standing there with Park Ha? Or was it his reincarnation, Tae Yong? Or was it some mixture of both?

Yoochun mentioned in at least two interviews that he was acting as 100% Tae Yong in that ending scene. He said that the audience would obviously be dissatisfied if it was purely Tae Yong and Park Ha, so Lee Gak was shown as a tribute to their transcending love, and as a reminder that Tae Yong is the closest you can get to Lee Gak.

What makes me really sad however, is what happens to Lee Gak! Park Ha gets Tae Yong but who does Lee Gak get??? Boo Young is dead and Park Ha doesn’t exist in his world apart from in his heart and memories *sob* *wipes tear*. The scene where Lee Gak gets teary-eyed while eating omurice really gets at me :’(

I guess the ending makes sense though … the time travelling was to give Lee Gak and Boo Young another chance in their next lives, and not to correct the wrong of their Joseon lives. If Lee Gak hadn’t travelled to the future, Tae Yong would never have met Park Ha (assuming the butterfly was also part of this time travelling force). Without Lee Gak’s intervention Tae Yong would have died in the hands of Tae Mu. Park Ha wouldn’t necessarily love Tae Yong. Lee Gak and Boo Young were destined to be ill-fated, and they were compensated with the chance to love again as Tae Yong and Park Ha.

Here's my favourite Rooftop Prince OST to wrap off this super long blog post :)


  1. Guess, its a long time since I last visited your blog and luckily this was the first page I saw. And because of your synopsis, I think I would like to try watching this. And I already anticipates to see that ending~~~ I also watched Yoochun only from the latest drama and apart from what almost all people day that he's a very good actor, I saw that he really is. Thanks for this review. More power! ^^

    1. awww thanks for visiting! honestly I'm so happy that you decided to come back even though I don't update regularly ^^ I do recommend this drama, I really enjoyed it! But of course can't guarantee if you will since everyone has different tastes :P see you around SFI! :)


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