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12 Awesome Brooding Heroes of Asian Dramas!

To brood or not to brood. That is the question. Photo: SBS

Glorious news! Brooding heroes are a universal theme not just limited to regency period dramas. (Though we owe much gratitude to our brooding Mr. Darcy.) Why, there are loads of Asian dramas full of brooding, angsty, tortured souls.

RELATED 25 Times Period Drama Actors Smiled and Your Heart Melted!

If you’d like to know the secret to becoming an expert brooder, there are many paths to reaching your goal, most of them involving tragedy, rejection and life-long isolation! Throw in some boss sword-fighting skills or mega-wealth as a prince or pop idol and you’re well on your way. Here are twelve characters with that unforgettable smolder!

12 Awesome Brooding Heroes of Asian Dramas!

 (in no particular order)

#1 Li Gexiao

Does my face say utter tragic past or what? Photo: Shenzen TV

Drama: The Vigilantes in Masks/Strange Hero Yi Zhi Mei

Country: China

Tragedy is probably Li Gexiao’s middle name. After he lost his beloved wife, he spent his days in his cups until destiny demanded he brood his way to saving the kingdom. He really doesn’t want to be a hero, he just can’t help it.

#2 Choi Young

I brood because I care. Photo: SBS

Drama: Faith/The Great Doctor

Country: Korea

Choi Young knows that being the best warrior in the kingdom means also having a frown permanently seared into his face. He’s been run down by selfish rulers pulling him this way and that. But a spunky time-traveling girl will bring a rare smile to his lips… and lots of anguish to balance it out.

#3 Ha Woo-Jin

I’m not smoldering. I just look this intense because I’m awesome. Photo: TvN

Drama: Liar Game

Country: Korea

Is being smart and being a brooder synonymous? Yes! Woo-Jin only knows betrayal and pain after the heartbreaking death of his mother. That’s why his motto is trust no one. He spends his time furrowing his brows and solving complex reality games turned deadly. And he looks awesome while doing it.

#4 Kim Seung-Yoo

I don’t need food. I subsist upon my own smolders. Photo: KBS2

Drama: The Princess’ Man

Country: Korea

Seung-Yoo, you poor tortured soul. His entire family was wiped out by betrayal and the woman he loved was the key to his family’s destruction. Of course, he spends all his time plotting revenge and sitting in dark rooms, staring at the wall, loathing and longing for his star-crossed love.

#5 Bidam

I only grin when I’m hurting, so this scowl is really me in a blissful moment. Photo: MBC

Drama: Queen Seondeok

Country: Korea

Bidam, the captivating dichotomy. To people around him he wears a façade of craziness; a mischievous fool. But in the shadows we see the dark, vengeful brooder lurking. I mean, his mother abandoned him and his father-figure is terrified of him. That’ll make anyone go a little loopy. He probably doesn’t make the hero list, but he has his moments.

#6 Kang Chae-Yoon

With great brooding comes great responsibility. Photo: SBS

Drama: A Tree with Deep Roots

Country: Korea

You don’t know tortured souls (yes, all great brooders must have a rotten, traumatizing past!) until you meet Chae-Yoon, whose entire family and friends were killed by political intrigue when he was just a child. He broods his way to the king’s palace as a guard, swearing to take the king’s life, but there’s a vulnerable boy inside looking for healing if a fellow girl survivor can find him in time.


By on January 15th, 2016

About Faith White

Faith has always enjoyed movies and TV shows from swoon-worthy period dramas to heart-stopping action-adventure flicks. Her love of Korean dramas started a few years ago when she binge-watched a 62 episode period K-drama and fell in love. She also has a passion for writing stories. Even as a young teenager she entertained her sisters
with episodic superhero adventures. Now she spends her time working,
blogging, sewing, juggling several novels, and watching her favorite
shows, mainly K-dramas. You can visit her blog at:

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5 thoughts on “12 Awesome Brooding Heroes of Asian Dramas!”

  1. LOLLLL I DIEEEDDDD AT THE SMOLDERS…need to watch these to get in on this beautiful angst…your captions were hilarious lolololollll!!!

    • Yes! I was sold on the show the moment Woo Jin walked onto the screen! I definitely wish we could have a second season. Not sure if TvN is going to deliver on that front or not but here’s hoping!!

  2. 4th Prince Wang So gets some serious brooding done in Scarlet Heart Ryeo. Oh yes. AND a mask. That is proper brooding/smouldering material. Scarred in body, scarred in experience – its all there!


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