Empress of China: Wu Zetian

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I told myself I wouldn’t start it many times due to the long length of the drama, but I finally caved. The costumes of the Tang Dynasty are just so gorgeous that I couldn’t resist. Now I haven’t watched any of the actors or actresses in the drama before except for Janine Chang, so I really just came for the costumes. I am in the beginning of the drama at the moment, and so far Wu Ruyi, our main character has captured my heart. She has the makings of all the main lead females that I like. She is smart, witty, gorgeous, and a fighter. Wu Ruyi enters the palace as a “imperial wife”, one of the dozens that comes through each year. All the concubines wait eagerly for their chance to be with the emperor even for one night. However, Ruyi, just wants to eke out a living in the palace. By chance, she is able to meet the emperor one night and he becomes interested in her (not sexually). He thinks she has interesting ideas and a cute personality. Instead of sleeping with his other wives, he ends up spending time with her whether that be just talking or hanging out. Of course, as this is the royal harem, all the women get jealous. Not the regular kind of petty jealousy, but the vicious, I’m going to poison so you will never appear in front of His Majesty again. Poor Ruyi made only a few friends in the palace so far, but has already had some stab her in the back. She is also targeted by the higher up concubines who do not like a young thing usurping their power and the majesty’s attentions. However much torture Ruyi endures, she struggles through it and becomes stronger on the outside. She gives it back as good as she has got. She knows that she can’t rely on the emperor’s fleeting favor and has to fend for herself.

I ended up really liking this drama which is surprising because usually I dislike watching internal harem politics and the viciousness of women who are jealous. However, I enjoy how strong Ruyi is and I really couldn’t care less about romance in the story. I just want her to achieve more power and give it back as good as she got it. She is enduring so much pain and misunderstanding now that she can’t get revenge on. Although later we will know that all this hardship will harden her heart and will affect how she rules in the future. I really also hoping that some of the friendships she has made will last her most of her rule because it will be so lonely for her if at the top of her power, she has no one to share her happiness with. However, in such a dog eat dog world, it may be the just the closest ones to her that stab her the deepest. I don’t know how many episodes I will watch of the drama, but so far it had me watching 10 in one sitting!

 

Legend of Lu Zhen: Let Us Be Equal

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Since I like my drama heroines to be strong-willed and smart, I decided to check out Legend of Lu Zhen. This drama tells the journey of the first female prime minister of China. Lu Zhen, played by Zhanilia Zhao of Shan Shan Comes to eat, comes from a wealthy merchant family. However, her birth is of mysterious circumstances and she is heavily bullied by her stepmother who wants the family fortune. Luckily, her stepsister stands on her side and tries to help her out of difficult circumstances often.

Lu Zhen has a modern woman mentality where she doesn’t just want to be married, but prefers to pursue a career and she has the smart to accomplish that. However, due to her stepmother’s evil trap, she is accused of murdering her own father whom she loves deeply. While is able to escape being sold off as a concubine to an elderly neighbor, she accidents kills a man who tries to sexually assault her. She had asked the man to help her make a fake birth status certification, but the confrontation had turned ugly. Lu Zhen decides that she wants to enter the palace to avoid being arrested by the police, but was unable to stay there due to her fake certification being exposed.

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Song of the Desert: Call of the Wild

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Why yes, I am a fan of Tong Hua and Liu Shi Shi as this will mark my THIRD traditional drama with this writer and actress. I don’t know what it is about Liu Shi Shi, but she is casted perfectly each time into this writer’s traditional dramas a female lead who is strong, independent, smart….and creates a little male harem for herself. Again, we are thrown into the political intrigues of ancient China where warring tribal lords are fighting against the Emperor. This time Liu Shi Shi is Xin Yue, a girl raised by wolves in the desert who is then acclimated to civilization by the nomadic tribes of Da Mo (desert). However, due to political strife between the tribes, she almost loses her life as a warlord overthrows the current regime. Devastated, she goes back to her wolf family and into hiding until she meets two special people. One is Jiu Ye, a mysterious merchant who she tried to steal some clothes from. Jiu Ye has a disability and has very weak legs. However, he is the lord of Shi Enterprise which has a large influence amongst the Chinese empire as well as the people of the desert. The other one is General Wu Ji, illegitimate nephew to the Emperor who manages to achieve great military power at a young age. She manages to save Wu Ji from desert robbers and also lead the group back to the city. Enticed by Ji An, the capitol city, she decides to make a living there herself, just for fun and to find these two people again. With the help of Jiu Ye, she manages to take over a dance house and become a prominent business woman. She even manages to help a quiet, but beautiful woman named Qin Xiang to become a concubine to the Emperor. However, this friendship is doomed as Qin Xiang has her eyes set on revenge on the royal family due to a past family tragedy. At first she falls in love with Jiu Ye, who refuses to return her affections due to his noble idiocy about his disability and impotency. Meanwhile, Wu Ji, has already fallen in love with Xin Yue as she is a vivacious girl. While to others he is brash, proud, and stony cold, he always loves teasing Xin Yue. After being rejected one too many times by Jiu Ye, Xin Yue decides to let go of this love and go back to the desert. However, Wu Ji captures her on her way back and convinces her to hang out with him instead. While he is making war on the tribes, she dresses up as a man and participates in the battles with him. Slowly he becomes engraved in her heart.

Now I know plenty of people are aboard the Hu Ge/Jiu Ye ship, but frankly I did not feel a pull towards him at all. Yes, he is quite handsome, but that melancholy air about him is really a downer in contrast to Xin Yue’s playfulness. His noble idiocy was really frustrating at times and frankly I skipped over most of their scenes together. Now, Wu Ji is a whole different story. While most arrogant seemingly secondary leads are annoying, Wu Ji pulls everything off with smoldering looks and charisma. I could not resist his mischievousness and his perfectness for Xin Yue. He treats her like his equal in all manners, including on the battlefield and pushes her to her best. He knows she isn’t one to be coddled and they live in a relationship based on mutual trust and communication. It’s definitely a drama with plenty of scenes to fangirl about.

PS. Liu ShiShi looks so gorgeous in snowy scenes (Bu Bu Jing Xin + Imperial Doctress)