Moon Embracing the Sun

Title: 해를 품은 달
English Titles: The Sun and the Moon / The Moon that Embraces the Sun / The Moon Embracing the Sun
Vietnamese Title:  Nhật Nguyệt Tinh Sử
20 + 2 Specials
Network: MBC


Episode 1


Thirteen-year-old Heo Yeon-woo, the daughter of a high-ranking official, accompanies her mother to the royal palace to attend her brother, Heo Yeom’s civil service examination congratulatory ceremony. By chance, she comes across Crown Prince Lee Hwon in the midst of his escape attempt to see his older half brother, Prince Yang-myung. They fall in love and Yeon-woo is chosen as the Crown Princess of Joseon. This upsets Prince Yang-myung, who also loves Yeon-woo.

Before they can marry, however, the Dowager Queen secretly orders her death, in order to install Yoon Bo-gyeong, the daughter of a family clan, as Crown Princess, thus securing more power for herself. She orders head shaman Jang Nok-yeong of Royal Star Mansion (Royal Astrology House) to cast a spell on Yeon-woo to stricken her with an unknown sickness.

However, before Yeon-woo was born, her mother saved a shaman named Ari. Ari promised to repay her kindness by providing protection for Yeon-woo. Before she died, she asked Nok-young to fulfill the promise. Nok-young secretly visits Yeon-woo’s father and gives him a special potion for his daughter, which she tells him will allow Yeon-woo to die in peace. After dying, Yeon-woo is resurrected from her grave, but loses her memories. All believe her to be dead, including the Crown Prince Lee Hwon, who refuses to love another.

Eight years later, Yeon-woo returns as a shaman named Wol (meaning moon). She has not been forgotten by those she left behind, and her fate is still intertwined with Lee Hwon, who is now the king. She must contend with the current Queen of Joseon, the Queen’s Father, and the Queen Dowager in order to reclaim her rightful place as Queen of Joseon. Meanwhile the young king begins to investigate the death of his love after seeing the grown up Wol. But he is fighting against time, because the queen’s powerful political clan wants him removed from power.


The following character profiles are taken from Wiki:

Han Ga-in as Heo Yeon-woo (許煙雨) / shaman Wol (月)
Kim Yoo-jung as 13 year old Heo Yeon-woo

Moon Embracing the Sun’: Destined to be the first Moon, she was born in the interim of Ari’s execution. The daughter of a noble family who is gaining power in the royal court, who is smart, bright and well-loved. Chosen as the Crown Princess, she mysteriously fell ill and passed away before the royal wedding ceremony. Just when she was believed to be dead, she was saved by Jang Nok-young, the head shaman upon the request from her late friend Ari. However, Yeon-woo lost all her memories. Eight years later, she returns to the palace as a shaman, who is named Wol by Lee Hwon, which means the Moon.

Kim Soo-hyun as Crown Prince/King Lee Hwon (李暄)
Yeo Jin-goo as 15 year old Lee Hwon

Sun Reaching for the Moon’: Destined to be the first Sun. An intelligent Crown Prince of Joseon who seeks for a change. He experiences love for the first time when he meets Yeon-woo, but unfortunately she suddenly falls ill and dies. Eight years after her death, he has become a King who hardly smiles. One day, he encounters a shaman who resembles Yeon-woo. Naming her Weol, he starts to have doubts about Yeon-woo’s death and decides to investigate.

Jung Il-woo as Prince Yang-myung (陽明)
Lee Min-ho as young Yang-myung

Overshadowed by the Sun’: The second Sun, he is the elder half brother of Lee Hwon. He always seems to be unfairly treated by his father, King Seongjo. However his father reveals that while Yang-myung is still his beloved son, the harsh treatment he receives must keep up appearances in order to protect Lee Hwon. Seemingly a carefree man, and fiercely loyal to those he loves, he must struggle to reconcile his long, unrequited love for Yeon-woo with the filial love he has for his royal brother Lee Hwon.

Kim Min-seo as Yoon Bo-kyung (尹寶鏡)
Kim So-hyun as young Yoon Bo-kyung

The second Moon who enters the palace as a playmate for Princess Minhwa. She was used as a tool by the Dowager Queen to achieve more power by trying to make her the Crown Princess, which was successful after Yeon-woo’s supposed death. Later, she became Lee Hwon’s queen. Although she’s been in love with Lee Hwon all her life, his only true love remains Yeon-woo.

Song Jae-hee as Heo Yeom
Yim Si-wan as 17 year old Heo Yeom

Yeon-woo’s older brother and Hwon’s tutor, he is a high-ranking official scholar. Females swoon when he passes by because of his good looks. He has a close friendship with Hwon whom he mentored and later when Hwon become the king he become his loyal subject. After Yeon-woo’s death, he becomes the husband of Princess Min-hwa, though he waits a long time to consummate his marriage.

Song Jae-rim as Kim Chae-woon
Lee Won-keun as 15 year old Kim Chae-woon

A 23 year old young warrior. He is the top swordsman in Joseon and is the loyal bodyguard of Hwon. He is blessed with the stunning good looks of his mother, and physical prowess and sword talent of his nobleman father. In spite of these things, Woon holds low rank and low social status because his mother was a gisaeng. Woon was cared for as a child by his father’s legitimate wife. He has deep friendship with Yeom and Yang-myung. His loyalty to Lee Hwon later strains his friendship with Yang-myung.

A lovely character relationship chart for those versed in Korean:


I originally watched this when it finished airing, dubbed in Vietnamese. Which means that I had to struggle through the weird voices for all the characters. When I finally watched it subbed, I finally understood what all the rage was about.

Not only is the story short and sweet, being only 20 episodes long, but the actors portrayal of each character was dead on. Although I must admit…there were some hilarious Soo-hyun crying moments that I would rather never witness again.

The only character that I probably felt was badly written is Yeon-woo’s brother. Though that boy may be book smart, when it comes to love and girls, he’s a stones throw from being a brick wall.

The tone of the entire drama is rather sombre, with lots of death, superstition and revenge. The only bright moments are probably at the very beginning and the very end. There are one or two comedic moments…but, to me, they seemed a bit ill-timed.

If you’ve watched this drama let me know what you think.


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