It’s been a while since I raved about a drama series. The last one that made me cry so hard was Scarlet Heart: Ryeo in 2016, and that was my favourite period drama to date. But today, we’ve got a new contender: The Wolf.
(Prepare for lots of gushing and flailing.)
I CAN’T EVEN BEGIN TO TELL YOU HOW MUCH I ADORE THIS SHOW. The plot, pacing, romantic tension, character development, soundtrack, cinematography… EVERYTHING is perfect. I’m a sucker for childhood-friends-to-lovers and enemies-to-lovers, so when you give me a childhood-friends-to-enemies-to-lovers plot, I’m INSTANTLY SOLD.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
The Wolf tells the story of a girl named Xing’er and her childhood bestie Wolf Boy. Ever since Xing’er’s mom passed away, Wolf Boy was her only friend and helped to chase away her sadness. In turn, Xing’er is the only person in the world who treats Wolf Boy like a human and not an animal. They share a very pure friendship and lots of happy times frolicking around in the mountain lol.
One day, Xing’er decides to bring Wolf Boy down the mountain to see if he can assimilate into normal society. Instead, Wolf Boy gets embroiled in a murder case and is persecuted. Xing’er, in an attempt to protect him, hurls hurtful words at him to chase him away from the mountain. Wolf Boy is devastated and falls off a cliff while on the run from authorities. Xing’er is unable to save him in time, and spends the next eight years trapped in her remorse and heartache. Meanwhile, Wolf Boy was rescued by the emperor, who decides to raise/rear him as his son and crowns him a prince, Lord Bo. Under the emperor’s brutal and abusive training, Lord Bo becomes cold and callous, and decidedly hates the girl who left him to die eight years ago.
Then lots of political stuff happens (Xing’er’s entire family is killed because the emperor wants to control the Ma family troop led by her father) and Xing’er and Wolf Boy/Lord Bo cross paths at last. Lord Bo recognises her, but refuses to reunite with her. To control Xing’er and the troop she has inherited from her deceased father, the emperor makes Lord Bo, who leads his own Bo troop, marry Xing’er.
There’s a lot of angst, because Xing’er is tortured by her memories and heartache and guilt, and Lord Bo, though pissed at her, still holds some affection for her. Thus begins their push-pull relationship of loving and hating each other, getting closer to each other but then pushing each other away (he pushes her more than she pushes him, but seriously he was a dick and she should have pushed him more, but she believes he’s her Wolf Boy and can’t bear to be mean to him like he is to her).
The entire story revolves around them and the course of their evolving relationship, from becoming friends to enemies to lovers to enemies to lovers. It’s a WHOLE ANGST-RIDDEN RIDE and you just want them to clear up their misunderstanding and live happily together already, but of course, the writers wouldn’t give us that HEA so easily. There’s lots more political turmoil that they’re swept up in, and they eventually come to a point where they pledge allegiance to rival countries (because she finds out Lord Bo is the one who led the attack on her family under the emperor’s orders and swears to avenge her family – BUT! Lord Bo was deceived by the emperor and didn’t know he was killing her family) and the only time they come face to face is on the battlefield or trying to one-up each other. But then there’s all this delicious sexual tension and I’m just squealing like a teenage girl the whole time.
But little does she know that even though Lord Bo appears to be rivalling her, he’s secretly planning a rebellion against the emperor (for deceiving him and killing his oldest brother), and all he wants to do is keep her safe. He holds a lot of guilt and repentance and plans to sacrifice himself on the battlefield and have her kill him personally so that he can make up to her for everything and free her from the shackles of hatred and vengeance and I’m just like 😭😭😭💔💔💔!!! Lord Bo has to be the most self-sacrificing idiot ever written, but my heart just breaks for him.
So in the end, he gets her safely to her home country and them returns to his and is, of course, branded a traitor and banished to the mines to work as a slave for life. Xing’er rescues him and brings him over to her country and they both agree to join arms to take down the emperor. And FINALLY, along the way, the truth about his non-involvement in the murder of her family comes out and she realises she’s misunderstood him all this time. But then more shit happens and she ends up dying in his arms after spending the last of her days happily with him. Then he joins her shortly and thus ends their very short fate.
This show is EVERYTHING I wished I’d written (maybe sans the tragic ending). It’s exactly the kind of story I want to tell, and this is told so beautifully. From the hatred to the heartache to the intense love they have for each other, every emotion is ON POINT. The plot is full of twists and turns, and I can never predict what will happen next, and the script is so beautifully written. So many quotable lines and cinematically gorgeous scenes! Plus, that soundtrack! The action sequences and sword fights! The costumes! The supporting characters! Nothing goes to waste. There’s no meandering subplots that contribute nothing to the main plot. Storyline is TIGHT.
If you’re looking for an emotional roller coaster with 70% angst and 30% fluff, THIS IS IT. Certifiably the best C-drama I’ve ever watched, maybe even the best period drama. And that’s saying A LOT because I’ve love Scarlet Heart: Ryeo with all my heart since 2016. I love it when a story destroys me inside out. Both Scarlet Heart and The Wolf have tragic endings, but somehow they hurt so good, they make me feel alive. (Does that make sense?) The ending for The Wolf is wistful, heartbreaking, hopeful, melancholic all at once. It comes full circle, back to Xing’er and Wolf Boy, only they’ve both grown so much in those eight years their love runs much deeper than before. It’s just dafjsdlkfjsgklj I HAVE A LOT OF FEELS OKAY 😭😭😭💔💔💔
Thanks to this series, I got so much inspiration for my Land of Sand and Song spinoff, which focuses mainly on the shouren (beast-people) and coincidentally also has a wolf-boy lead. I don’t think I’ll be able to tell a story as impeccable as The Wolf, but I’ll let the idea simmer for a while more (even though I’ve been plotting it since 2019, and three-quarters of the outline is done lol).
Anyway, tl;dr WATCH ‘THE WOLF’. YOU WON’T REGRET IT. 49 EPISODES WILL FLY BY. I’m experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms now, so I’ll just go stare at promo photos and replay scenes in my head some more. 🥲🥲
Favourite quote #1:
“Once upon a time, there was a girl on the Wolf Hunt Mountain. She was always worried that people would think of me as a wolf or a monster. But many years later, I finally realised that the real monsters are those inhumane people who distorted themselves to satisfy their desires for power.
It turns out all the monsters are at the bottom of the mountain.”
Favourite quote #2:
“She’s not a caged bird. A bird in a cage will fly away after some hesitation. She is a bird in a painting. She cannot fly away, nor does she intend to. She will stay on the paper, allowing harsh reality to work its decay, to eat away at her.”
Favourite quote #3:
“Actually that little isn’t brave either. She cried a lot. She cried when her mother passed away. When her best friend was gone, she cried. But then she realised crying and running away will never bring back anything she had lost. Since she couldn’t change her fate, she changed herself. Her only choice was to move on. She had to move faster than everyone else. That was the only way to hide the fact that she was more afraid than anyone else. Remember: no one was born brave. You slowly grow stronger from the fear you experience.”
2 thoughts on “I need to gush about this C-drama series: 狼殿下 (The Wolf)”
Gahhh ok I started reading this but then didn’t want to get too into any spoilers, so I will report back once we watch this too! 😅 So excited, it sounds amazing!!
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Ahh I hope you’ll like it! Can’t wait to discuss it with you (check out the trigger warnings first though!).