Thursday, June 14, 2012

ZJTV: The Emperor's Harem (后宫) (2011)

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Year Produced: 2011


Director: Huang Jian Xun
Producer: Chen Chun Xia
Written by: Chen Hui Yan
Language: Mandarin
Country of Origin: China


No. of episodes: 46

Cast:
Ady An Yi Xuan as Shao Chun Hua/Li Zi Yun
Jiang Yi Yi as young Shao Chun Hua
Tavia Yeung Yi as Wan Zhen 'Er/ Imperial Consort Wan
Patrick Tam as Wang Zhi
Wu Lei as young Wang Zhi
Feng Shaofeng as Yang Yong
Lv Yi as Shao Qing Zhi/ Imperial Consort Shao
Jiang Yi as Zhu Jian Shen (Emperor Cheng Hua)
He Sai Fei as Empress Dowager Zhou
Chen Sha Li as Empress Dowager Qian
Liu Ting Yu as Bai Han Xiang (Imperial Consort Bai)
Liu Na Ping (刘娜萍) as Ling Qi Qiao
Li Ying as Ling Si Zheng
Yue Yao Li as Zhou Shang Shu
Du Jun Ze as Yang Luo
Wang Jian Xin as 5th Imperial Uncle

Synopsis/Plot/Storyline:
Set in the Ming Dynasty, the story tells of the conflicts and schemes among the women in the Imperial Harem during the reign of the Emperor Xianzhong who ascended the throne following the death of his father Emperor Yingzong.

Emperor Xianzhong has recently crowned his new Empress, according to his mother, Empress Dowager Zhou's wishes but to the displeasure of his favorite concubine; Wan Zhen Er (Tavia Yeung). Image Hosted by PicturePush - Photo Sharing
Wan was actually his sort-of nanny maid who took care of him when he was younger and being bullied by the then crown prince; who was the son of Empress Dowager Qian and that was the reason that he had grown fond of Wan that he took her as his wife when he ascended the throne. However, his mother, Empress Dowager Zhou was unhappy with his choice and denied her the privilege of becoming the Empress based on the reason of her lowly background as a palace maid servant.
In front of the Emperor, Consort Wan seemed to be a loving wife but it was also due to the Emperor's affections that she was quite arrogant and was even a little disrespectful towards the Empress and Empress Dowager (sometimes) but she kept it at a more subtle level.
However, when she refused to greet the Empress and claimed that she was given special privileges provoking the Empress to slap her, she acted on a eunuch, Wang Zhi (Patrick Tam)'s advice to take the opportunity to eradicate the Empress from her position and the plan worked; resulting in the Emperor lashing out in anger and stripped the Empress off her title and even thrown into seclusion, despite the pleas of the Empress Dowager. Consort Wan even went to the extent to poisoning the poor disowned Empress to ensure that she would never make it to threaten her shoul the Emperor turned merciful someday.

Wang Zhi was an extremely ambitious eunuch and after the incident of helping Consort Wan, he was even summoned to serve her as the head in her household and became her right hand man in assisting her in elevating her status in the royal harem. Wang Zhi came from a poor background; as he was a young orphan boy who often stole and begged from the streets. He was once saved by a man with the surname Li, who happened to be a fugitive from the government during the rebellion period. As a young boy, Wang Zhi found out about the reward offered by the government to capture Li and he went forward to expose his own saviour's whereabouts thus resulting in the breakup of the family as Li left behind a wife and a young daughter, Li Zi Yun(Yang Yi Yi), who went into hiding. After Li was executed, Li's wife also passed away shortly and left her daughter to a trustworthy neighbor who took care of her but his wife mistreated Zi Yun and often ordered her to handle most of the heavy chores around the household. Zi Yun was out selling vegetables in the market on behalf of her foster family when she rescued Wang Zhi from being beaten up by the market vendors after stealing a bun from one of the stalls.
As Zi Yun offered to pay for the bun Wang Zhi stole, she was being scolded and disowned by the woman and at that time, she was rescued by another little girl, Shao Chun Hua and her father, who was also an officer and they took her in. Thus Zi Yun began her life as Shao Chun Hua's maid but fate struck again when the little girl Chun Hua, who was the only daughter in the Shao household, was summoned to enter the palace.
(It was a requirement at that time for the daughters of the officials to be selected or enter the palace when they are summoned. That also meant that their life would be subject to the palace life and it may be difficult for them to leave or return to their homes, thus losing their previous freedom).

As the Shaos moan over the fate of their only daughter, Zi Yun stepped in and volunteered to take Chun Hua's place and by doing that, she had to assume the identity of Shao Chun Hua to enter the palace to avoid being discovered by the government which could result in death sentence for disobeying the royal edict. As such, Li Zi Yun has now become Shao Chun Hua, and entered the palace where she met other young girls with the same destiny. In the beginning, she was almost caught along with a few other girls as the inspectors in the palace could tell from their hands that they were not of noble birth and thus deposed them in jail after their confession. Chun Hua, with the interests of the Shao family, refused to confess but she was fortunate enough to win the heart of the head of the household bureau who placed her in one of the bureaus and let her off the hook.

Shao Chun Hua, now a young maiden, played by Ady An, befriended another girl, Bai Han Xiang (Liu Ting Yu) as they worked together in their daily tasks.
Although Chun Hua just wanted to lead a simple life without trouble or any interest except in the field of music which she was exceptionally talented in, her charm and intelligence aroused the jealousy of another fellow bureau member, Ling Qi Qiao(Liu Na Ping), who was also the niece of one of the bureau head and this girl was intent to make Chun Hua's life in the palace miserable as she spins plot after plot and creating troubles in the palace.

The loss of the Empress angered the Empress Dowager but she could not find evidence to nail the Imperial Consort Wan (she had been promoted since) and thus, she engaged the help of the Fifth Imperial Uncle to advise the Emperor to take on more wives to add to the harem to ensure succession to the royal family. The Fifth Imperial Uncle was more blunt in pointing out the obvious which angered the Emperor and also Imperial Consort Wan. As Wang Zhi was also insulted openly by the royal Uncle, he came out with the plot to take down the Fifth Imperial Uncle by creating false accusations which resulted in his death punishment. The Empress Dowager was upset with the news of the death of the Uncle, but that created an opportunity for the Empress Dowager to force the Emperor to crown a new Empress based on the candidate she selected which he had to agree to console his mother.
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Imperial Consort Wan was definitely displeased with the news although the Emperor assured her that he only loved her. She hinted to the new Empress of her powers and the new Empress, not wanting any trouble, focused her time on praying and not meddling in the matters of the harem.
The Empress Dowager was upset with the inactivity of the new Empress and was even more frustrated when she heard of the news that Wan was pregnant. At the same time, the Empress Dowager Qian, who was the previous Empress Dowager but was maintained because the Emperor still respected her and out of his gratitude for her, was also plotting to bring her own trusted aide into the harem to ensure that her position is maintained or strengthened should her aide win the affections of the Emperor.
Imperial Consort Wan gave birth to a baby boy but he died shortly after, and that gave the reason for the Empress Dowager Zhou to further pressure the Emperor to take on more concubines to carry on the royal bloodline, which the Emperor reluctantly agreed to please his mother and also as Wan was still mourning over his child's sudden demise.
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One of the candidates who entered the palace was Shao Qing Zhi (Lv Yi), who was actually the aide trained by the Empress Dowager Qian's own relative (or uncle). However, Qing Zhi was quite unfortunate in the beginning as despite several attempts and close encounters with the Emperor, she just failed in getting his attention (it was also because most of the time her efforts were foiled by Imperial Consort Wan who faked urgencies so that the Emperor would rush to her side).
When Qing Zhi met up with Chun Hua, she could recognize her and it turned out that Qing Zhi was the actual Chun Hua; the identity of the little girl whom she replaced to enter the palace.
They became best friends again, along with Han Xiang as they spent most of their time together.
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At the same time, Chun Hua and Han Xiang were both trying to audition to enter the musical bureau and they both met Yang Yong (Feng Shaofeng), a male musician whom they both fell for. However, Yang Yong was interested in Chun Hua as he had recognized the musical instrument which he initially wanted and was sold to a bidder within the palace. However, due to the strict rules within the palace, they could only kept their feelings in their hearts.
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 Besides Chun Hua's intelligence, Yang Yong was only the main reason Qi Qiao was trying to bring her down. To add to the success of her plan, Chun Hua's intelligence also accidentally stirred the dissatisfaction of the Empress Dowager Zhou an also Imperial Consort Wan.
When Han Xiang also accidentally became one of the Emperor's new favorite concubine (thanks to Qi Qiao's failed attempt to trick her), Qing Zhi became more distressed and fell for Qi Qiao's lies that Chun Hua and Han Xiang were not the friends she thought they were and they were plotting to become the Emperor's concubines themselves, thus stirring the suspicion and anger in Qing Zhi who then turned them away and even treated them with contempt.
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Chun Hua, despite trying to stay away from troubles found herself facing threats everywhere and thankfully, Wang Zhi, who recognized her as the little girl who rescued him and also the same one whom he caused misfortune upon her family, came to her rescue. However, Wang Zhi was jealous of her affections towards Yang Yong whom he wanted to kill all the while and also because Yang Yong was constantly on his heels to avenge his own brother's death (his brother was killed by Wang Zhi).

Wang Zhi had to come to a decision eventually; to save Chun Hua and send her out of the palace which also meant she would get to be with Yang Yong whom he still tries to get rid of, but saving her would be returning the favor/deed to her and her family who had saved him when he was younger.

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My Review:
This is a drama on a rather serious note; focusing on the battle between the women in the harem, from the highest ranks of the Empress Dowager to the concubines and even the bureaus.
Ady An may be the lead in the drama (it was quite obvious!), but our good ol' Hong Kong team comprising of Tavia Yeung and Patrick Tam held roles of equal weight and shared a considerable amount of screen time. Having watched many of Ady An's dramas, I did not see much difference in her role here as she plays yet another damsel in distress who wanted nothing but was constantly the subject of hatred and anger.
There are a few stories that the drama is centered on; such as the feud between the Empress Dowager Zhou and Qian, the Empress Dowager Zhou and Imperial Consort Wan, Imperial Consort Wan versus the other concubines and also Chun Hua, with the help of Wang Zhi, Yang Yong's love for Chun Hua and his quest to avenge his brother's death.
Yeah, so where does the Emperor comes in? Well, he is just the mere figure who appears once in a while to show his affections for his Imperial Consort Wan or to solve the mess in the harem and that is his major contribution to the drama. After all, the title is about the Emperor's harem and not about the Emperor, right?
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Looking at the complex web lying in the harem, I dare say that the Emperor is definitely a busy man to have to deal with all of them each and every day and handling the country's political matters simultaneously.
There is much focus on the role of music; as Chun Hua, Han Xiang, Yang Yong and even Qing Zhi are portrayed with musical talents (Qing Zhi is involved in dancing) but I was just surprised that with music as one of its central theme, there are only 2-3 musical tunes/songs composed for the drama and it just kept playing repeatedly throughout the drama. It gets kind of boring along the way, and I kept wondering how could the Emperor take it again and again and again, each time he requests for the presence of music to entertain him and his family? I mean, I think the producers/directors should have looked into this particular detail. (Comparing to an average Korean drama which had more than 5 soundtracks to each drama, perhaps the producers should have considered having more composers or his composer to come up with more tunes? Just a thought)

As the relationships are all intertwined, let me do an analysis to explore the main plots featured above:

Relationship 1: Empress Dowager Zhou and Empress Dowager Qian
Both of the Empress Dowagers were the wives of the earlier Emperor, who was the father of Emperor Xianzong. Empress Dowager Qian was the Empress then; and since she was alive, she was automatically elevated to the rank of Empress Dowager when one of the princes were crowned the next ruler. (It was sort of the rule at that time, as the Empress was also known as the Mother of the country and therefore most of the princes are also her sons). Empress Dowager Zhou was the biological mother of Emperor Xianzong and she was displeased with the presence of the Empress Dowager Qian whom her own son, the Emperor, seemed to be rather fond of and respected. As the Empress Dowager Qian had no children of her own, she was quite kind to the Emperor Xianzong when he was a kid and that was the reason he liked her so much. However, fearing the threat of the jealous Empress Dowager Zhou, she knew she had to do something to strengthen her position by having someone on her side to serve the Emperor. Her uncle (or brother) adopted a young girl (who was the real Shao Chun Hua) who was now Shao Qing Zhi and took her in to be groomed for this purpose since young; from the art of embroidery to poetry and dancing so that she could someday win the attention and affections of the Emperor when she is sent into the palace.
Empress Dowager Qian was confident when she saw Qing Zhi who was quite a pretty girl, but unfortunately luck was not on her side when Qing Zhi herself was often pushed aside as the Emperor still prioritizes Imperial Consort Wan and slowly, she neglected Qing Zhi whom she perceived as no longer of value to her. When Qing Zhi finally gained the love of the Emperor, she tried to win her affections again, but it was already too late as Qing Zhi had seen through their real intentions and how they treated her when she was in distress.
The feud between the two Empress Dowager was until the end even when Empress Dowager Qian died, Empress Dowager Zhou still refused to allow her to be buried beside the late Emperor although she was the official Empress as she wanted to be recognized as the legitimate wife and also the mother of the current Emperor. (Wang Zhi had to help the Emperor out on this issue to make the Empress Dowager happy).

Relationship 2: Empress Dowager Zhou and Imperial Consort Wan
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Despite her own son's loyal devotion to this one woman, the Empress Dowager never did like Wan Zhen 'Er,for two reasons; she was of a lowly background (a palace maid servant) and was older than the Emperor by a few years (she was his sort-of nanny then, c'mon!). However, another main reason was because she used to be a palace maid serving the Empress Dowager Qian. Alright, I have to stand by the Empress Dowager on this one and it is not regarding the status or the age issue (I have no discrimination against either), but the thing is, she is his NANNY! For goodness sake, this is so close to incest! Why do they like relationships like these? I mean, how could you have someone you used to respect or care for you like your own mother (okay, at least big sister) to be your wife? It is just odd, in my opinion.
I am not about to debate on this topic because I think this part did exist in the history that one of the Emperors did marry his own nanny.  Anyway, the Imperial Consort Wan was displeased with the fact that the Empress Dowager was constantly picking on her and though she tried to be subtle, she just could not hide her own displeasure which was quite realistic as she was not of noble background and therefore lacked in the many qualities of education which was taken note of in the drama.

Relationship 3: Emperor, Imperial Consort Wan and Wang Zhi
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While I am impressed with the loyalty of the Emperor for having so few wives in his harem (he actually only wanted one wife and it was really rare during those era, even more so if he is the Emperor), I just find it weird that he liked his own 'nanny'. Okay, I'll get over that point, but I did feel the Emperor was a little blinded out of his love for his consort, and sometimes even to the point of disrespecting his own mother and uncle. I understand that he does loves her, but in that case, doesn't he know her true character, that she is not as simple as she seemed? I mean, they grew up together,didn't they?
Then comes in Wang Zhi, a low ranking eunuch who suddenly seized the opportunity to present himself and his idea to Consort Wan and immediately gaining her favor which elevated him to a higher rank. However, he was not satisfied with his position and aimed to be next to the Emperor which he succeeded; much to the displeasure of Imperial Consort Wan who realized his intentions. Wang Zhi was a smart fellow, as he did not dare to offend Imperial Consort Wan and even continued to serve alongside the two masters; ensuring for his own safety and yet at the same time, managed to feed his own ambitions and greed using his powers in the palace.

Relationship 4: Chun Hua, Han Xiang and Yang Yong
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 The three of them got entangled in a love triangle in their musical bureau as they were called to work together to perform to the Emperor (or was it more than a love triangle, if you include Qi Qiao who also fell for Yang Yong, but then he never did reciprocate her love, did he?) Yang Yong initially thought that the girl who bought the musical instrument he wanted outside the palace was Han Xiang because he saw her using it, yet at the same time, he just felt inexplicably drawn to Chun Hua (well, her doe-like eyes and sweet smile just exude that kind of charm anyway) and he totally fell for her when he found out that she was the one. It was like the whole picture fits in at that time, and then they began silently communicating through duets over the wall each night (they were separated through a wall due to their gender-based dormitories). They knew their relationship may not come to anything as they were confined to the palace rules and that meant they had no freedom in selecting their own partners, if they had any. Han Xiang was also attracted to Yang Yong but she was the timid and subtle lady, and in a twist of fate, she became the concubine of the Emperor, who just loved her for sweet and quiet personality. The incident awakened both Chun Hua and Yang Yong, especially him as he starts to worry if Chun Hua would get entangled in the same fate. It seemed like it was a relationship with no future for Chun Hua and Yang Yong, and like all romance stories, they went through trials and tribulations before finally ending together, yes, out of the palace.

Characters Analysis/Review:
I think I would like to start with my favorite characters in the drama first...
My Favorite Character
Liu Ting Yu as Bai Han Xiang
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She is just so sweet, and her grace is just the epitome of beauty in that era. I could see why the Emperor could fall for her or how she could win anyone's heart for that matter.
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Even Imperial Consort Wan, who was easily jealous of any newcomer in the harem, did not pose much threat to her because Han Xiang was just so courteous and polite to her and also because Han Xiang was not really interested in the Emperor (she liked only Yang Yong, remember?) This lady had a pure heart and she treated everyone with genuine feelings and true love and that made her so lovable in the drama. In spite of all her qualities, she was actually also the most pitiful and lonely character in the series, for although she seemed to have everything at her doorstep, she was just not happy because those were the things she never really wanted. At least she get to lie in the arms of the one she loved before her end, and I think that was probably the only happiest moment in her life.

Best Performances
Patrick Tam as Wang Zhi
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While many may think that Tavia is the best in the drama (actually she does come very close), but I preferred Patrick's portrayal of Wang Zhi. This is a very good actor, and I was quite happy to see him back on a screen after such a long break (so he ended up in Mainland China too!). His acting was just so natural and poised that he just eased into his role without any effort, or so it seems. It is amazing how coolly he played the ruthless and ambitious eunuch who rose to power and then continued to feast on his greed by serving his masters and attaining his wealth through illegal means (but doing it intelligently). He is indeed a picture of evil, but then again, I liked how Patrick portrayed the humanity and compassionate side of Wang Zhi when faced with Chun Hua, whom he loved and was grateful to as she was his saviour twice when he was younger.

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Despite the harsh and cold facade of Wang Zhi who would stop at nothing to achieve his ambitions, we see him hesitating when it comes to decisions involving Chun Hua and how he would be restless or bothered if she was in trouble. Patrick's expressions just made his personalities evident, as he brought out the different sides of a human being in reality and it is no different for someone as cold as Wang Zhi for he still has his own weakness. Great job, and I hope to see him in more significant roles like these! Absolutely the right choice for this character!

Tavia Yeung as Wan Zhen Er/Imperial Consort Wan
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Without a doubt, she comes really close to being second to Patrick Tam, although I would have placed her on the top of the list regardless and it is no surprise for I have always been a fan of Tavia Yeung. This is the second time she is playing a villain role like this; similar to her first breakthrough role as Yiu Kam Ling in TVB's Beyond the Realm of Conscience (宮心計). Well, to be honest, this drama did remind me a lot of the TVB drama due to Tavia and also the focus on the imperial household bureaus. Anyway, perhaps you can say that I am biased but Tavia, in my opinion has always been a great actress and with roles like these, she has proven herself to be a very versatile actress who could play both the good and even evil roles (I have heard that it is harder and more challenging to play a villain compared to a lovable character).
Her character is an attention-seeking and eager to prove her worth type of lady, who was constantly on her guard to ensure that her position is maintained in the Emperor's eyes. It was known to her that she would never be made the Empress as long as the Empress Dowager was around, or if that was even possible due to her background, but she also kept the newly crowned Empress at bay to ensure that she would not be at threat. In fact, the Empress seemed to fear her more than the other way round. On the outside, it appears as though Wan was a woman crazy for power, but deep down inside, she is just a woman craving for the love and full devotion of her husband and she just wants a monogamous and loyal love between two people. Was she really wrong? Not really, as we women are all bent on the same thing. How many could bear to have your husband taking in more wives and then sharing your husband with all these other women whom you don't even know and yet had to get along with? I wouldn't say that Wan Zhen Er was an extreme villain as judging from her intentions and also her quest to protect herself, and also her affections for the Emperor. All I can say is this is just one jealous woman who just wants her husband to herself and will stop at nothing to attain her goal.

Most Despicable Character/Character I Hate 
Liu Na Ping as Ling Qi Qiao
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Seriously, this lady just get on my nerves and I just felt like slapping the crap out of her every time she appears on screen! She is like, the ultimate source of all the drama and issues happening in the palace and she is always creating trouble everywhere she went. Of course, I do understand that without her there would be no plot in the drama, but still, does she have to be so annoying? She may be a good actress, but a little too good for her sake for I now really hate the sight of her even she appears in other dramas (for instance, I am watching another palace drama which had her in it, and she is again the witch in there, argh!)
She deserved her end, seriously and it was really entertaining when she was put on her toes by Wang Zhi for constantly causing harm to Chun Hua (not that I am a sadist or anything like that)! I just couldn't stand the sight of her, at all and I just couldn't wait to see her being put out of the drama, although it was indeed a very long wait in this drama. Acting wise, she was quite annoying as she constantly puts on this same expression as though she is trying to tell the audience that 'Hey, I am going to do something evil soon' and it is that same expression she wears all the time like it is some tell-tale sign or something. So, nope, I am not that impressed with her acting and it's not just because I am biased because of her role, but to play a villain role, I think she should take some lessons from Tavia or Patrick.

Other Lead Characters doing an average job
Ady An as Li Zi Yun/Shao Chun Hua
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Chun Hua, oh Chun Hua, she is just trying to lead a simple life and yet everyone ends up in her life.
It is just the type of character that Ady would play, get what I mean? I think I have watched Ady many times in stereotypical roles like these where she is always depicted as such a sad character whose life story just warrants the sympathy of the viewers and frankly, it does get a little boring sometimes. She is always casted in roles where all she wanted was to mind her own business but then everyone started minding her business, because you see, her own business somehow started to involve helping others in solving their businesses, and then she became the prey for all those in power. All because of her over-helpfulness.
She had a sad story/background, like most of the main characters in stories like these are bound to have and then she was depicted to have led a tough life but yet maintained a positive outlook in life that she just wanted to enjoy life and stay out of the power struggle within the palace and yet she was just drawn into them because of her indirect involvement in helping her friends and people around her.
Perhaps it was those pretty eyes and sad expressions which Ady seemed to express so well that all the directors seem to like and fitted roles like these perfectly, but in my opinion, there is nothing extraordinary in her role here and I think Ady, despite being one of the leads was overshadowed by Patrick and Tavia and even the other characters as mentioned above.
By the way, did anyone notice how similar her character was to Charmaine Sheh's Lau Sam Ho in TVB's Beyond the Realm of Conscience? (Just too nice to the extent that it was quite unbelievable?)

Feng Shaofeng as Yang Yong 
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I have noticed how often Ady and Feng Shaofeng appeared in the same drama and how they are often paired up with each other, but I didn't mind as they do look compatible with each other and there is just so much chemistry between these two. Feng Shaofeng was another actor in this drama who did not have that much of an importance, as I did not really see him showing off much of his acting skills. Most of the time, being Yang Yong, he had to be subtle and the only time when he had emotions was when he was grieving over his brother's death or trying to avenge his brother by investigating Wang Zhi, but other than that, I did not really feel much anticipation when he appears on screen. I even find his character a little boring sometimes as he was just either in the palace pulling that expressionless face or he was out there battering people to find out about the real reason/people responsible for his brother's death. A little too dull for Feng Shaofeng *yawns*, and I personally felt that it was a waste of his talent in this role.

Lv Yi as Shao Qing Zhi/Imperial Consort Shao

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She is quite pretty, in my opinion but a little too easily manipulated and that makes her one of the saddest but the I-don't-get-it kind of characters at the same time. I mean, her story started when she was supposed to escape palace life by sending another girl as her substitute but her family's downfall reverted her back to being subject to being sent into the palace, as a pawn for the Empress Dowager Qian to strengthen her position and to win the Emperor's affections. This poor girl had nothing to say for herself but to submit herself to the arrangements made for her life by everyone around her, and that makes her really pitiful. Perhaps she was disappointed with her own fate/luck or she was just too humiliated or consumed by her own pride that she just seemed to be so easily misled by the evil Qi Qiao in turning her back to her own trusted friends, Chun Hua and Han Xiang. Isn't that a little silly, and all of a sudden, I was just wondering what is on the mind of this young lady? How could she be so dumb as to believe Qi Qiao over her own bosom buddies?

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Anyway, I guess it was because she was just fed up of being manipulated and then subject to ridicule by even the slaves when she could not succeed in winning the Emperor's affections, and when she finally succeeded (after a very very long time), she strode in her glory but that was when she was threatened by Imperial Consort Wan. However, in spite of all the hardships she went through and maybe those made her strong, she was the last one to survive and probably became the Empress or Empress Dowager after the birth of her own child.

Jiang Yi as Emperor
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I think this guy was just there for the sake of being there for the drama needed an Emperor, which was quite a pity for the actor. His acting skills were not required much except showing anger once in a while or loving, but I just felt that the actor seemed to be carrying the same mood or wooden expression throughout the drama.

My Verdict?
Quite good, I must say despite all the things I have mentioned in my review, and the tunes though only a few, are worth listening to, particularly the theme song which just sounds so soothing to the ears.
The costumes were quite impressive too, and I loved the colors display on the women's attires.

Rating: 3.5/5

Disclaimer: The review is based on the author's personal opinion and is in no way meant to affect any viewer. Watch at your own discretion.
Please take note that the images above are properties of the official website of the drama and do not belong to me. Do inform me if you need them to be removed, thank you.


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