Historical Romance Addiction
Is it the age old cliché that most girls/women are still secretly looking for their own Prince to come riding on his valiant steed (horse) waving his sword in the air declaring that you are the most beautiful woman he has ever seen and he must make you his wife?
Are we watching these dramas swooning at our TV screens all night, because the modern woman is
sick and tired of modern love already?
Society throughout history built its foundations on social structure, morals, values, beliefs and propriety which are all things I admire about ancient civilizations. There are so many aspects to old fashioned love and relationships that I think we are missing today.
Many countries around the world today still practice their ancient customs especially when it comes to marriage, but what happened to all of the customs before marriage? There are gestures, and tokens of love throughout these dramas that make me often wonder why don’t we do that kind of stuff anymore today.
What happened to if you really liked someone then that person’s reputation meant more to you than a stolen kiss?
What happened to giving a girl flowers instead of sending an emoji of one?
What happened to treating women like precious pearls that you want to preserve and protect rather than displaying on your arm just to serve as eye candy?
What happened to opening doors and pulling out chairs?
What happened to the prospect of spending time with that person who meant more to you than playing games with your friends?
What happened to that unyielding all-consuming love that could take you to the very edge of life and death itself?
A love that’s worth sacrificing almost anything for, a love worth dying for even…
So, are we completely captivated by these historical dramas because of the way the couples declare their love for one another so earnestly and genuinely? Is it because the majority of the MLs are strong, dominant and authoritative figures who can defend themselves and the ones they love? Is it because the MLs are intelligent, tactical and strategical geniuses who can devise complex plans in order to obtain what they want, including you if that’s what he desired most?
Is it because the women in these dramas are some of the strongest characters even for today’s standards who are talented, resilient, intelligent, tolerant, patient, gentle, mature, natural and beautiful?
We are all hopeless romantics if we’re watching these dramas that’s safe to say, but in today’s society is it deemed wrong to admire old fashioned love? Are we sometimes even ashamed to say that we wouldn’t mind being swept off our feet and treated like a lady again? Do our declarations and gestures of love to one another seem lack-luster (lazy) to you compared to what we see in historical romance? Has anyone ever lit one hundred lanterns for you to show you how special you are to them? Have they told you even after rejection that they will never give up no matter the consequence or hardship which displays determination, commitment and patience- all good qualities? Have you spent weeks or months making something by hand to give
to your significant other, instead of just buying something online you know they will
like? Have you taken the time and consideration to plan a romantic date that
expresses how strongly you feel about that person?
These are just a few of the reasons why I love watching historical romance because the love feels organic and real to me. They didn’t swipe left through thousands of other people until they found each other either-
No, they met when they were children, or he saved her once, or he simply fell in love with her the first time he saw her casually walking through the market one day. He knew the moment he saw her like a bolt of lightning had hit him that she was the one he was going to call his wife, she would be the mother to his children, she would be the one he grew old with. Even writing that made me huff in frustration knowing it doesn’t exist anymore and my biggest fear is that we will never get it back.
First of all let’s tackle the arranged marriage aspect to a lot of these dramas, do we think the family acts as another line of defense for the son/daughter?
Does arranged marriage ensure a person maintains a good reputation, and becomes a productive member of society to obtain a good marriage prospect, or is giving the parents that much control not a good idea?
I’m not talking about forced marriage which is wrong whatever way you try to dress it up, I’m talking about when the family introduces their children to potential matches to see if any sparks appear in time. We have seen it happen so many times in these dramas and we don’t seem to mind because that’s how things were done back then. We are frequently given the scenario of a couple who are arranged, and one of them isn’t feeling it at first, but then a spark happens then boom it’s like an explosion of pure undiluted love given to us wave after wave until our little hearts can’t take anymore.
There’s something thrilling about the mystery and sexual tension that is created between a couple who are strangers who also find themselves thrust together due to unforeseen circumstances. Now, maybe we’re okay with it because most of the time the couples in these dramas are young and attractive! We wouldn’t want a beautiful young woman being married to an old man now would we!? These fine details are key ingredients to a great historical romance.
Ask yourself how many times you have placed yourself in the FL’s shoes and said, “Would marrying this handsome Prince really be that bad? Even though I barely know him and don’t love him. Would running away with this badass warrior be worth sacrificing everything for?
Eh… hell yeah!”
Even when I know the FL doesn’t like the ML at first, and maybe she even hates him I am always on his side when it comes to wooing her. Almost screaming at her through the TV at times “Just let him KISS YOU already!” Give him a chance, look at how hard he is trying. Look at everything he has done for you, can’t you see he loves you more than life itself? Yes, I know we’ve all been there at some point… tearing our hair out in clumps out of sheer frustration.
Which brings me to the other reason why I love these dramas, and that’s the amazing writers who have the ability to give us just enough each episode to keep us coming back to see more fleeting romantic moments between the couple that afterwards we re-watch on YouTube obsessively… we all know we’ve done it!
These writers can fill our hearts with such hope to then rip them out of our chests in a way that almost feels like you’re the one whose had your heart broken by the Prince/Emperor, and when a script writer can create such powerful characters that can evoke that kind of emotion from you then that’s some good writing right there… with some great acting too.
What about the way people dressed back then, does that also have an appeal to us?
I think it’s quite refreshing to see a drama that is capable of creating love stories with electrifying chemistry while remaining conservative. I don’t have to see most of their flesh to know that the ML and FL are beautiful people! I have eyes. But, lets just take a moment to appreciate the clothes back then shall we… because they were on fire I think we can all agree on that! One of my favorite things about a historical romance drama are the exquisite clothes and the effort that went into making them.
Not like today’s clothes made in bulk for the masses, back then one of those dresses could really make a statement (especially the red ones). The females’ hairstyles are also very intriguing due to their complexity, I actually watched YouTube videos to see how they were achieved. Okay, now to one of my favorite things in these dramas which is the hair accessories! Some of the jewelry and head-pieces are stunning. How beautiful and elegant those women must have felt wearing these items.
I envy them… so very much.
Men with long hair in historical dramas? Yes, let’s open up this bad boy too! Personally I think it’s beautiful and very attractive. What’s most appealing about it is they have hair as long as the women, but in no way do they come across as feminine. It’s so refreshing to see a dominant male own his character’s look and work with it even… (Ye Hua flicking his hair back springs to mind!)
So, costumes and hair are also a big factor when it comes to my preference for the historical drama genre. Is that the case for everyone? Please let me know.
Plot twists and turns that keep us guessing. Yes, that’s what springs to mind first when I think of historical romance. The suspicion, scheming, betrayal and endless doubt. I have learned in these dramas to trust nobody, even someone considered a close friend and I enjoy that because it keeps me on my toes. This is another element that all great love stories need which is the antagonist, every fairy tale has an evil queen who tries to stop the main couple from being together. When all of her plans fail she resorts to poison, or in this case a jealous Empress or concubine.
They all love that poison though don’t they?
There’s always a catch isn’t there and for historical romance that’s in the form of the strong possibility that we won’t be given a happily ever after like most fairy tale endings. I’ve been asked before why do you invest so much time into a 50+ episode drama only to see your favorite character die and have your heart broken over and over again? I simply say “It’s not about where they end up, it’s about how they got there!” The journey is what we all enjoy which includes the good times and the bad.
Yes, these dramas take you on a roller-coaster ride of emotion, and even if it ends badly to me it has only earned its place next to all the other great love stories that end in tragedy. In fact I could even say that the dramas which have a sad ending are the ones that I often think about the most because they left the biggest scars across my heart.
So, what is it that we can’t get enough of in these historical romance dramas? I think it will be different things that appeal to different people when it comes to what they really like about historical romance, but for me it’s everything I’ve just mentioned combined into one pretty package. These love stories existed in a society where everything was done following strict rules and protocol which is what also appeals to me.
Traditions and customs should be preserved at all costs. We should never forget the ways of our ancestors, and when I watch these dramas I feel like I’m being given glimpses into a past I only wish I could’ve seen with my very own eyes. A past where men died for honor, and women sacrificed everything in the name of duty. When love was something worth fighting for, and possibly sacrificing everything for. Can we honestly say that it still exists today, or are these dramas the only windows back into a time where love either consumed you completely, or simply killed you in the end?
What are your favorite historical dramas and why?
Thank you for reading the article.