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2016 Year in Review: K-dramas Meet Fairytales

Looking over the year of dramas I’ve watched, I was struck by an undeniable theme: fairytales. I’ve always adored fairytales and finding that connection really excited me. Some drama had fairytale themes that were merely coincidental; others were intentional; but the motifs were hard to ignore in either. So I’m calling 2016 the year of the K-drama fairytale! Here’s a list of six popular fairytales re-imagined in K-dramas.


Scarlet Heart: Ryeo-
I was surprised it took me more than halfway through the show before I realized that this was obviously a Beauty and the Beast story with 4th Prince, the beast; hiding his unwanted “hideous” features (his scar) behind a mask. Hae-Soo is the gentle Beauty who loves him as he is and even becomes trapped in the palace. Her love helps him change and grow.


Cinderella and the Four Knights-
I mean Cinderella is in the title, haha. The Cinderella theme is really prominent in the first two episodes, complete with Hyun-Min being her fairy god-friend who gives her a dress and shoes to go to a rich party. The rest of the show deals with the sweet romance and obstacles that a rich and poor couple face (mainly grumpy grandfathers, lol).


Moonlight Drawn By Clouds-
This is a very loose interpretation of The Little Mermaid story, but the heroine, Ra-On herself, confirms it when she tells the mermaid fairytale story to the Crown Prince, subtly comparing their romance to the impossible love of a mermaid and a human prince. The Crown Prince is amusingly angered by the sad ending of the fairytale, but happily for Ra-On and her lover, their own ending is much happier than the fairytale.

The Legend of the Blue Sea-
The Legend of the Blue Sea is actually about a mermaid who becomes a human and falls in love. While technically The Legend of the Blue Sea is based on a classic Korean fairytale story about a magistrate who sets a mermaid free, the story is still vastly similar to The Little Mermaid, as the show asks the question – how can a mermaid and human ever be together?


The K2-
Shortly after starting The K2, I was reading the recap on Dramabeans where I saw commentators translating the dramatic choir music from German to English – which told of a girl running in the forest from an evil queen.  It wasn't hard afterwards to see this was a Snow White retelling: Choi Yoo-Jin was the queen, Je-Ha the huntsman and Anna the innocent Snow White. It was officially confirmed when Yoo-Jin herself spoke of her Mirror (her super information computer program) and Je-Ha “kissed” (CPR, lol) Anna to life after she was “poisoned” with a food allergy to “strawberry” (poisoned apple).


Mirror of the Witch – Rapunzel
Though I didn’t watch this drama, I heard good things about it on Dramabeans. The show was often compared to a Rapunzel retelling which I thought made a lot of sense.

Shopping King Louie – The Wizard of Oz
You can check out this Dramabeans post on the correlation between The Wizard of Oz and Shopping King Louie, which I thought was super cool!


  1. Love this! I hadn't realized how many fairytale-based dramas there were this year, despite watching most of these myself, lol.

    1. Aw thanks! I know, it surprised me too!

  2. The K2 is so a Snow White retelling!! I think I made that connection at least once while watching it. But it annoyed me at times.

    1. Yeah I did feel some annoyance as well. Tho not really at the fairytale but their interpretation of it. Or just at how they did The K2. I enjoyed the show, just felt like there were a lot of missteps they could've done better. If that makes any sense, lol.

  3. I do like fairytale references to these show, most of which I didn't see but I get it.

    not sure about comparing the mirror of the witch to rapunzel, sure she is semi-trapped and being haunted and had to find a cure to her curse, similar but not quite. I did watched the show and thought it was rather good but the ending was stupid, as noble sacrifices go, this was kind of dumb, I suppose if you can imagine a different ending, then perhaps the show would have been better

    have you seen 'surplus princess'? that is definitely like the 'little mermaid' story

    also, I think 'rooftop prince' is like snow white & the seven dwarves except snow white is a bit bossy and very fierce.

    have a lovely day.

    1. I heard the ending of The Mirror of the Witch was a let-down. Yeah, I've had to imagine different endings for some shows (I'm looking at you, BBC Merlin).

      I haven't seen Surplus Princess, but I think I remember hearing about it some time ago. It was also a mermaid story, so definitely would fit in the fairytale category!

      Aww, I love your comparison of Rooftop Prince and Snow White! I can totally see that!

      Thanks Lissa!


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