Arthdal Chronicles

Arthdal Chronicles[2] (Korean아스달 연대기; RRAseudal yeondaegi) is a 2019 South Korean television series written by Kim Young-hyun and Park Sang-yeon and directed by Kim Won-seok, under the production banner of Studio Dragon and KPJ, starring Jang Dong-gun, Song Joong-ki, Kim Ji-won, and Kim Ok-vin.[3][4][5] Regarded as the first Korean ancient fantasy drama,[6] the story takes place during the Bronze Age and is loosely based on the story of Dangun, the founder of the first Korean Kingdom of Gojoseon.[7] The series aired on tvN from June 1 to September 22, 2019, on Saturdays and Sundays at 21:00 (KST) for 18 episodes.[8][9] It premiered internationally on Netflix.[10][11]

Arthdal Chronicles
Season 1 promotional poster
Hangul아스달 연대기
Created byStudio Dragon
Written by
Directed byKim Won-seok
Theme music composerStone Music Entertainment
Country of originSouth Korea
Original languageKorean
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes18
Production locations
  • South Korea
  • Brunei
Camera setupSingle camera
Running time70 minutes
Production companies
Budget54 billion[1]
Original networktvN
Picture format1080i (HDTV)
Audio formatDolby Digital
Original releaseJune 1 (2019-06-01) –
September 22, 2019 (2019-09-22)
External links
Production website

The series was the sixth most preferred Korean Drama among viewers in the U.S. Market in 2019 as per Consumer Research Report by the Korea Creative Content Agency and entered the list of highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television.[12][13]


In a mythical land called Arth, the inhabitants of the ancient city of Arthdal contend with power struggles, while some encounter love along the way. Eun-seom goes through hardships to bring his tribe back to life and learns of his true origins in the process.[14][15]

Cast and charactersEdit


The cast and crew attended a workshop in Yangju, Gyeonggi-do, on August 21, 2018.[16] The first script read was held on August 26, 2018.[17] Filming officially started on December 5, 2018 with the opening ceremony of the set, whose construction took place for eight months.[18] The drama was filmed overseas in Brunei. Song Joong-ki went first on February 24, 2019.[19]

The drama serves as a reunion project for Song Joong-ki and Kim Ji-won who both starred in the 2016 hit drama Descendants of the Sun.[4]

On February 12, 2020, it was announced that the drama was renewed for a second season.[20] On June 11, 2020, it was announced that the production schedule was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been excluded from the 2021 lineup.[21]


Critical receptionEdit

The drama received mixed reviews. It was criticized by Game of Thrones fans for sharing similarities with that series, while critics felt that it employs poor use of CGI, has a formulaic plot, is similar to other foreign fantasy dramas and films centered on ancient times, and has a slow-paced storyline, which can make viewers lose interest.[22][23] Viewers were also bewildered by the historical setting, as the drama is set in the Bronze Age but cast members are seen wearing armors and weapons that do not belong to that era.[24]

Conversely, the drama was praised for its intriguing storyline and unique setting, touching on subjects like the meaning of a tribe, an alliance and a nation, as well as religion.[24] Writer Park Sang-yeon said, "I wouldn't even think of comparing our series to [Game of Thrones] and I don't think our goal is to create something similar... I wouldn't try to claim to do anything similar to the show and I don't think it's an appropriate comparison." He added, "We tried to create a great series by building a fictitious world of our own with our imagination and I hope you see our series as it is."[25]

Although John Serba of gave the series a "Skip It" rating, he said, "Arthdal occurs in a more primitive time than [Game of Thrones], and appears to be set up to explore different ideas about the human creature and its thirst for power and possessions." He said that the show further differentiates itself from Game of Thrones by its absence of nudity and sex scenes.[26] Forbes contributor Joan MacDonald said, "Stunning camera work makes The Arthdal Chronicles a visual pleasure to watch, capturing sweeping panoramas that place fledgeling humans in the context of a wide world waiting to be explored—and possibly conquered."[27]

The series received lower-than-expected viewership ratings, in comparison to its massive budget,[28][29] but the first episode received ratings of 6.7 percent and peaked at 8 percent, placing it first for all dramas in its time slot, including non-cable broadcasting stations.[30] It achieved a ratings high on June 9, with its fourth episode, scoring an average rating of 7.7 percent nationwide, which was an increase of 1.3 percent from the night before. The episode peaked at 8.9 percent nationwide.[31]

Staff mistreatmentEdit

The production team was criticized for mistreatment of its production staff. The production team was accused of violating labor laws from local civic groups, including the Seoul-based Hanbit Media Labor Rights Center and Hope Solidarity Labor Union, as the drama crew had been subject to a "murderous" working environment that made them work up to 150 hours a week.[32] The organizations reported Studio Dragon to the Seoul Employment and Labor Administration. The standards were agreed upon and announced by the studio last September to enhance the labor environment of its staff.[22][33]

Studio Dragon responded to the allegations, saying they abided by its own labor rules, but admitted that they had filmed for 113 hours during the week they went to Brunei in order to make the most out of their time shooting overseas. The studio denied reports that an injured staff member was ignored and told to continue working.[34][22][35]

Original soundtrackEdit

Arthdal Chronicles OST
Soundtrack album by
Various artists

Part 1Edit

Released on July 6, 2019 (2019-07-06)
1."The Poem of Destiny (운명의 시)"
  • Seo Dong-sung
  • Park Sung-il
2."The Poem of Destiny (운명의 시)" (Inst.) 
  • Park Sung-il
Total length:7:18

Part 2Edit

Released on September 22, 2019 (2019-09-22)
1."Bloody Dreams (붉은 꿈)"
  • Seo Dong-sung
  • Park Sung-il
2."Bloody Dreams (붉은 꿈)" (Inst.) 
  • Park Sung-il
Total length:7:10

Special OSTEdit

Released on October 22, 2019 (2019-10-22)
1."The Poem of Destiny" (운명의 시)Ailee3:39
2."Bloody Dreams" (붉은 꿈)Hareem3:35
3."Arthdal Chronicles" (아스달 연대기)Kim Jun Suk1:09
4."Arth, The Prelude To All Legends" (아스, 그 모든 전설의 서곡)Park Sung Il & Kim Sun Kyung4:40
5."Arthdal, The Eternal Dream!" (아스달, 그 영원한 꿈!)Jung Se Rin5:09
6."The Beginning Of A Legend" (전설의 시작)Kim Joon Suk3:06
7."Tagon's Song" (타곤의 노래)Park Sung Il2:43
8."But I Want You" (그래도 나는 너를 바란다)Judah Earl3:04
9."An Unfinished Story" (끝나지 않은 이야기)Kim Joon Suk3:46
10."A Strong Will" (굳센 의지)Lee Yoon Ji3:44
11."An Unforgettable Name" (버릴 수 없는 이름)Judah Earl3:47
12."War In The Silence" (고요 속의 전쟁)Noh Yoo Rim3:53
13."Unexpected Intruder" (예상치 못한 침입자)Joo In Ro2:21
14."I'll Go Save You" (널 구하러 갈게)Shin Yoo Jin3:10
15."High Priest Niruha!" (대제관 니르하시여!)Lee Roo Ri3:24
16."To Their Glorious Deaths" (빛나는 죽음을 위하여)Park Sung Il3:23
17."Taealha" (태알하)Goo Bon Choon1:35
18."Inverted Sky" (뒤집히는 하늘)Kim Hyun Do3:41
19."The Chase Of Daekan" (대칸의 추격)Judah Earl3:13
20."The Man Who Killed His Father" (아버지를 죽인 자)Judah Earl3:03
21."You'll Kill Them All" (모두 죽이게 될 것이다)Kim Hyun Do3:17
22."The Advance Of Tagon" (타곤의 진격)Son Sung Rak2:43
23."The Edge Of The World" (세상의 끝)Lee Roo Ri3:04
24."A Land Of Conflicting Desires" (욕망이 부딪치는 땅)Greg Johnson3:57
25."Chaos Continues" (혼돈의 연속)Kim Hyun Do5:19
26."A Chasing Sword" (조여오는 검)Greg Johnson3:42
27."Alive God, Aramun Haesulla" (살아있는 신, 아라문해슬라)Park Sung Il3:16
28."Eunseom And Saya" (은섬과 사야)Lee Roo Ri3:11
29."People Fallen Into Grief" (눈물에 묶인 자들)Jung Se Rin2:42
30."The Great Black Cliff" (대흑벽)Lee Yoon Ji3:07
31."To The Sea Of Momo" (모모의 바다로)Kim Sun Kyung2:19
32."A Town In Ruins" (폐허가 된 마을)Lee Yoon Ji2:44
33."A Lonely King" (외로운 왕)Kim Joon Suk2:56
34."Fate Divided By Choice" (운명을 가른 선택)Jung Se Rin3:14
35."The Last Greeting Under Moonshine" (달빛 아래 마지막 인사)Jung Se Rin4:30
36."Unfocused" (어긋난 힘)Noh Yoo Rim3:09
37."The Blue Nova And The Foretold Child" (푸른 객성, 그 예언의 아이)Lee Roo Ri3:33
38."A Misfortune" (비운)Lee Yoon Ji2:41
39."Sad Confession" (슬픈 고백)Jung Se Rin4:02
40."A Child In The Tower" (탑 속의 아이)Park Sung Il3:26
41."Horrible Death" (참혹한 죽음)Lee Yoon Ji2:41
42."The Story Goes On" (이야기는 이어진다)Judah Earl3:01
43."The Three Of Us" (같은 날 태어난 우리 셋)Lee Roo Ri4:39
44."Chaos" (혼돈의 연속)Goo Bon Choon2:34
45."Hidden Story" (숨겨둔 이야기)Lee Roo Ri2:26
46."The Confrontation Of Anger" (분노의 대립)Noh Yoo Rim2:52
47."Capturing Race" (수 싸움)Kim Jung Wan2:33
48."The Power To Protect" (지키려는 힘)Goo Bon Choon2:49
49."Curse Of Death" (죽음의 저주)Shin Yoo Jin2:42
50."Bloody Bracelet" (피 묻은 팔찌)Lee Roo Ri3:13
51."Blood of Igutu" (이그트의 피)Joo In Ro3:11
52."Crisis Of Arth" (아스의 위기)Kim Hyun Do3:00
53."Sword Battle" (단칼의 승부)Joo In Ro3:22
54."The Judgment Of The Waterfall" (폭포의 심판)Kim Jung Wan2:18
55."Blood Oath" (피의 맹세)Kim Hyun Do2:22
56."Pure Souls" (순백한 영혼들)Seo Ye Rin1:34
57."The Xabara Of Momo" (모모의 샤바라)Kim Hyun Do2:57
58."Second Coming Of Inaishingi" (이나이신기의 재림)Shin Yoo Jin2:51
59."Conspiracy Of Asa Ron" (아사론의 음모)Joo In Ro2:17
60."Rising Ground" (일어나는 땅)Kim Hyun Do2:35
61."Blade Of Threat" (위협의 칼날)Seo Ye Rin2:14
62."Beginning Of Tragedy" (비극의 시작)Shin Yoo Jin2:30
63."Pursuit Of Blood" (피로 물든 추격)Joo In Ro2:46
Total length:3:16:24


Arthdal Chronicles aired on tvN, a cable channel/pay TV, which normally has a relatively smaller audience compared to free-to-air TV/public broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC and EBS). The first episode recorded average ratings of 6.7% and peaked at 8%, taking first place for all dramas in its time slot, including non-cable broadcasting stations.[36] The drama's personal record of 7.7% was on its fourth episode. Its finale scored an average rating of 7.4% nationwide.[37] The series entered the list of highest-rated Korean dramas in cable television.

Arthdal Chronicles : South Korea viewers per episode (millions)
SeasonEpisode numberAverage
Source: Audience measurement performed nationwide by Nielsen Media Research.[38]
Average TV viewership ratings
Ep. Original broadcast date Average audience share
(AGB Nielsen)[39]
Nationwide Seoul
Part 1: The Children of Prophecy (예언의 아이들)
1 June 1, 2019 6.729% 7.736%
2 June 2, 2019 7.310% 8.222%
3 June 8, 2019 6.435% 6.454%
4 June 9, 2019 7.705% 8.952%
5 June 15, 2019 5.787% 5.955%
6 June 16, 2019 7.226% 7.757%
Part 2: The Sky Turning Inside Out, Rising Land (뒤집히는 하늘, 일어나는 땅)
7 June 22, 2019 5.792% 6.199%
8 June 23, 2019 6.496% 7.110%
9 June 29, 2019 5.767% 6.408%
10 June 30, 2019 6.775% 7.461%
11 July 6, 2019 6.258% 7.131%
12 July 7, 2019 6.771% 7.325%
Part 3: The Prelude To All Legends (아스, 그 모든 전설의 서곡)
13 September 7, 2019 6.115% 6.767%
14 September 8, 2019 7.200% 8.068%
15 September 14, 2019 4.830% 5.416%
16 September 15, 2019 6.924% 7.440%
17 September 21, 2019 6.412% 7.251%
18 September 22, 2019 7.373% 7.581%
Average 6.550% 7.180%
Special May 26, 2019 2.290% 2.804%
  • In the table above, the blue numbers represent the lowest ratings and the red numbers represent the highest ratings.
  • This drama airs on a cable channel/pay TV which normally has a relatively smaller audience compared to free-to-air TV/public broadcasters (KBS, SBS, MBC and EBS).

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Recipient Result Ref.
2018 Korea First Brand Awards Most Anticipated Drama of 2019 Arthdal Chronicles Won [40]
2019 12th Korea Drama Awards Excellence Award, Actress Kim Ji-won Nominated [41]
Asia Artist Awards Actor of the Year (Daesang) Jang Dong-gun Won [42]
9th Korean Wave Awards Cultural Tourism Grand Prize Osan Won [43][44]


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  3. ^ Sung Ji-eun (July 20, 2018). "Star-studded cast of tvN drama revealed". Korea JoongAng Daily. Retrieved July 20, 2018.
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External linksEdit