The first drama I ever watched! Heartstrings: that’s what it truly did! It pulled at my heartstrings, tugged at them and made me break down and cry more than once. The most addictive drama I’ve ever seen, and one I sat through over 5 times. Some obsession was this drama. A drama about being young, in love, expressed many a times through the use of music. I could go on and on about the influence it left inside my brain and the fact that it just got me addicted to all Korean dramas, regardless of how boring they might be.
Anyway, I might as well get to explaining what this drama really was. So the female lead is an aegyo-filled Lee Gyu Won, played by Park Shin Hye, I mentioned in my first post. As for the male lead, this was CN Blue’s lead singer, Jung Yong Hwa’s first lead role in a drama and one he almost nailed acting as Lee Sin.
Gyu Won, raised in the house of her grandfather, an old pansori singer, is forced to concentrate on traditional Korean music without being misled by the more modern and contemporary music and art forms. It is her grandfather’s greatest wish to see his granddaughter succeed him as a famous musician of classical music and to achieve this, he separates his son from his granddaughter because Gyu Won’s father had flirted with rock music in his youth, something the grandfather finds detestable. Therefore, for her there is no world outside of her gayageum and her group of traditional musicians called The Windflowers.
On the other hand, is the leader of the most popular rock band at school, Lee Sin, every girl’s heartthrob and usually acts arrogant or conceited. Like Gyu Won’s relationship with her gayageum, Sin has one with his guitar, making use of it to express himself during his different moods.
The whole idea of using music as a base of conflict is something that had me hooked by the end of the very first episode because being from Pakistan; I truly live through the modern music/classical music divide. While some people try to bridge the gap by fusing the genres together, there are those purists who detest the idea of having the sitar play with the guitar, for instance. There are also those, who denounce contemporary music as being just noise and nothing more. For Gyu Won, she expresses her initial hatred towards rock music by saying that it doesn’t settle with her heart, while Sin expresses it by sleeping through her gayageum performance.
Other than that, I found the whole theme of the musical the college is preparing for, rather exciting because back when we were in school, such events used to be a life-and-death scenario: the desperation to get chosen, the need for recognition, followed by some acclaim, even if it was by some of your school-mates. It all seems so useless now, but when one knows that they are being asked to work hard and are doing so and yet, don’t get the results can be rather heartbreaking. Furthermore, the politics, that we saw in the form of an over-burdened Han Hui Joo competing with Lee Gyu Won who has not much to care about. Yet, I adored Gyu Won’s persistence in getting that lead role.
As far as the romance is concerned, in retrospect, it has to be one of the most believable romances in any Korean drama, especially one concerning teenagers. It was a million times more sensible than the kind of mushed up story of The Heirs. Lee Sin had me swooning in every episode starting with their trip out of Seoul.
The downside is that as suddenly as the script writer inserted the romance, it got taken away with equal speed by the second-last episode.Towards the end, the drama became a little messy with some loose ends which weren’t exactly fixed the way the rest of the drama was handled. For instance, even though most of the audience must have understood the parallel between Lee Sin and Lee Gyu Won’s breakup with that of Kim Suk Hyun and Jung Yoon Soo’s but I seriously feel that that breakup at the end was not needed, even though I have shed way too many tears over that scene.
Other than that, the 1 year jump in the middle of the last episode is a tactic I have seen way too many times in many other dramas now and it’s truly overdone. Assuming that by showing the characters a few years in advance all fine and dandy will fix the loose ends of the story is like giving the end a half-assed effort while being super-lazy.
Lastly, Heartstrings only follows behind the heels of Shut Up! Flower Boy Band. Both stories get full marks with regards to originality of script and the development of characters. Yet, the only reason why the two are not a neck-to-neck competition is because of Heartstrings unfulfilling last two episodes. Nevertheless, if you’re a girl looking for some cotton-candy and fluffy sunshine, then definitely watch Heartstrings! It’s both Park Shin Hye and Jung Yong Hwa’s best!
Note: I’m a big Gyu Won-Sin shipper 😛