K-Drama Review: ‘Scholar Who Walks the Night’ Tells a Story of Vampires in the Joseon Era

The side effect of drinking Yang-sun’s blood makes Sung-yeol lose control of himself. He is battling with the voices in his head. The Human Sung-yeol reminds him of his purpose and insists that he is not a beast. On the other hand, the Vampire Sung-yeol hisses that his human side died 120 years ago and there is no use in clinging to his humanity. There is also the Evil Sung-yeol who says that he is superior to humans and encourages Sung-yeol to drink Yang-sun’s blood again and get even stronger. When he wakes up, he has no memory of what happened after drinking Yang-sun’s blood. But slowly, his memory after drinking Yang-sun’s blood returns. He is feeling guilty because he has no idea of how many people he killed when he lost control of himself.

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After recovering himself by drinking lots of human blood, Gwi declares himself as the new king. Choi Hye-ryung accompanies Gwi as the queen in an effort to keep Yoon alive (Crown Prince Yoon had been appointed as a king but then exiled). Gwi lets loose vampires in town, shoots them down with silver bullets and rides up like the big hero. The citizens see him as their savior and bow down before him.

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Yoon asks Sung-yeol to help him solve the vampire attacks that are springing up in new cities. Yoon urges Sung-yeol to believe in himself that he is not a beast. While Sung-yeol fights with his physics, Yang-sun fights with her writing. She finishes writing her novel about Night Scholar to help people see the truth and not be blinded by fear.

Yang-sun’s novel spreads far and wide. And soon, rumors of Gwi’s heroism begin to be contradicted by those who’ve read the Night Scholar novel. When the crowd screams in horror when they see that Sung-yeol is a vampire, a girl runs over to his side and helps him up. She was one of the girls who had been rescued from being sacrificed to Gwi. She tells the crowd that Sung-yeol is the Night Scholar, the hero from Yang-sun’s novel. Then, people start running over to help him. Yang-sun and Sung-yeol managed to turn the public sentiments in their favor.

Scholar Who Walks the Night
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On the other hand, Gwi plans to lure Yoon to the palace by using Hye-ryung as bait. Yoon arrives at the palace and Gwi leans in to turn Yoon into a vampire. Behind Gwi, Hye-ryung pulls out her plain silver hairpin, grabbing the dagger hidden inside and stabs him. The dagger sinks into Gwi’s back, and he roars in pain and whirls around—and in the process, he slashes Hye-ryung in the throat. She collapses, bleeding out, and Yoon rushes to her side desperate to keep her alive. Yoon with rage goes after Gwi with a spear, but interrupted by Sung-yeol, who steps in and delivers several painful blows to Gwi before disappearing.

Scholar Who Walks the Night
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Gwi staggers in pain from the stab wound, screaming at Sung-yeol to come at him, then looks down at Hye-ryung’s dead body. It stokes him new anger. Gwi carries Hye-ryung’s body back to his lair and says that he didn’t want to kill her easily. He wanted to keep her with him for hundreds, thousands of years. Not knowing that what he feels for Hye-ryung is love. Then the throne room gets full of dead bodies, while Gwi sits on the throne with blood smeared on his body. He is sad by what happened with the queen because he didn’t mean for that to happen.

Scholar Who Walks the Night
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Meanwhile, Sung-yeol plans to kill Gwi by blowing up his underground lair with both Gwi and Sung-yeol trapped inside. Sung-yeol begins his plan and heads down into Gwi’s lair to trap him, but finds it empty and sitting on the throne is a drawing of Hye-ryung, soaked in blood. Sung-yeol then fights the group of warrior-vampires as the entire palace is filled with vampires. Yoon’s team also heads inside the palace and loads up with guns. They also kill every vampire they meet. They meet Sung-yeol in the main palace where the largest vampires nest is. Sung-yeol then stands in the courtyard just waiting for Gwi to find him. Gwi then appears behind him and they start fighting each other. Sung-yeol manages to draw the fight in and get closer to the lair, so he invites him to fight underground.

Scholar Who Walks the Night
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Sung-yeol enters the lair alone and is alarmed to find Yang-sun already waiting for him inside and telling him to drink her blood. They kiss for one last time before he moves down to her neck and bites down. However, Sung-yeol is actually fighting the effects of the blood and has an internal battle within himself. The human Sung-yeol is fighting with the evil Sung-yeol and manages to kill the evil Sung-yeol. Sung-yeol is finally able to control himself.

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The fight below rages on all night, and it’s sunrise by the time Yoon completes setting up the explosives. After he lights the fuse, the charges begin to go off, and soon the lair is rumbling and begins to collapse. The sunlight penetrated inside the lair. Sung-yeol breaks free and pushes Gwi directly into the light, and his skin starts to sizzle and smoke. Gwi is at last brought to his knees, and he smirks as he looks up at the sun and thinks that it’s beautiful. He seems to embrace his death, shuts his eyes and lets the sunlight burn him until there’s nothing left but his robes in a pile of ash. Sung-yeol gasps for breath and thinks back to his happiest memories with Yang-sun. The cave crumbles around him, and above ground, Yoon and Ho-jin shed tears knowing that he’s gone.

Scholar Who Walks the Night

A year later, the gibang is back in business under Su-hyang’s care. Ho-jin is watching over Sung-yeol’s estate until he returns, at which time he will go back to being a servant. Yoon has returned to his position as a King. In a quiet moment, Yoon holds Hye-ryung’s hairpin in his hands and thinks of her. Yang-sun is teaching little kids how to read and write. On her way home, she sees Sung-yeol is waiting for her with a smile. She goes running into his arms and they hug.

Scholar Who Walks the Night
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