by Kairi of the Sky, June 10, 2021


What makes a character interesting? Good looks? Why not? Kind and lovable personality? Absolutely.  A villain and ruthless killer? Hmmm, maybe. There are lots of variables that can be considered, but it's rare for me to be so committed and invested in really knowing the characters.  Fortunately, I found one. 

The name is Hao Du from The Long Ballad, portrayed by the amazing singer and actor Liu Yu Ning

A soldier that wanted the female lead to die. A man you will either hate or love. A guy that you will wish to be happy or just won't care for if he will be alone for the rest of his life. 

A very complex and compelling character. This article will dissect why I was absolutely engaged with him and understood his character.  

Warning: Spoiler alert! And this is entirely my opinion only. :) 

Hao Du is a foster child of Du Ru Hui, one of the ministers of the Tang Dynasty. His father was a big influence on how he did things and his prioritization of his father's will to protect the dynasty with his own life. It was already engraved in his heart and mind ever since he was a child, and it was not easy to change this. Gratitude also kicked in when he realizes that this is how he repays for his kindness. 

He was raised to be a soldier and a really good one at that. A soldier solemnly swears to support and protect the empire. He didn't hesitate to kill anyone that was a threat or betrayed their master. Doesn't matter who you are.  Some of the viewers called him a cold-blooded killer. Well, it was not entirely a lie.  

In my opinion, he was just a soldier doing his job. He was raised to not care so much about other factors, in order to not be distracted and hesitant in completing his mission.  He cares and desires to have peace in the country, but he chooses to be a bad guy in the eyes of others.  He knows his priorities. He will finish the job. 

If you have already watched lots of historical dramas, you know that outstanding swordsmanship is very common, like Bidam (QSD) and Tan Ying (SOTK), and I add Hao Du to the list. Even though there aren't many scenes to showcase his skills, for me, it's enough to be amazed at how meticulous and amazing his technique is. It fits his endearing, cold, and strong personality.

Hao Du is one of the best examples of character development done right. This is the reason why he was loved by many viewers. It's not easy to change what you are accustomed to, and for him, it was a long, painful journey. He really had to think about what was wrong and right. And his eyes reflect how his ways and views changed.

What I also appreciate is that he's not a clich√© character; just because he felt something about a girl, he doesn't just abandon his principles. He came to his senses very slowly and that made me appreciate him more.  

Even before he found the light amid his darkness, Hao Du had a soft heart, even for the people he hated. Somehow, he got that selfless nature hiding behind his sullen and serious look. He hated that he couldn't do anything in the most important situations, and didn't want to disappoint the people around him. 

When he started to feel new emotions, such as liking and protecting another person, that made him understand the importance of life, and it was an unfamiliar feeling for him. If you put yourself in his shoes, it was pretty scary and confusing. But still, he knew what he needed to do to make his loved ones happy, as well as to maintain being a loyal protector subject of Tang.


You choose. 

There is one thing for sure, and it is that you don't want to be on his bad side. He was highly praised and respected for his skills and perseverance, even from Changge and Asun. Even if he changed for the better, he was still the person that was feared by many people. He knew the mind of the evil. A smart, ruthless, and persistent assassin.  

You cannot hide from him. He will definitely find you and HUNT you down.

A guy with a character. Whatever happens, Hao Du will not easily be forgotten. He definitely gave a strong impression to me. 

                                           LOVE HIM.                                                       OR                                               HATE HIM.