A must read, if you don't already know ...

Written by Funn Lim

This review was posted many years ago, exactly when I am not sure but it should be within months from the original broadcast of this series. I am posting it as I have posted it originally.


How Long : 10 tapes/20 episodes

Who :

Kong Wah~ King
Anne Heong Hoi Lam~ Lady Yang
Kwok Siu Wan~ Wai Fei
Ng Mei Hang~ Mui Fei
Liu Kai Chi~ Hoi Lik See(Eunuch)
Tsang Wai Kuen ~ Yang Kwok Jung
Yuen Siu Cheung ~ An Lu Shan

What & Where : Set during the reign of Emperor Lei Lung Gei,it is a tale about his deep devotion and love for his beloved concubine,Lady Yang and it is also a tale about Lady Yang's undying devotion and loyalty to her king and her country.

Remember : The King has 3000 wives.1 Empress,3 concubines,the rest consorts of different ranks.Overall,5 ranks and Lady Yang entered as the lowest rank at first.

The Verdict : I wanted to put this here first because this review will be a rather lengthy one.First of all,in fact the only thing I am going to write after the . symbol would be only because of the last episode.EXCELLENT.

The storyline : It started off telling us how far Yang Yoke Wan travelled from her village to seek her uncle's care and protection after her father died.Along the way,she almost froze to death if not for a kind man who ordered his 'men' to stop and give her warm water and some food.Being eternally grateful,she found out that that man was the Emperor himself and she fell in love with him even without seeing his face.Then she went to live with her uncle,and three cousin sisters ,the first two were extremely useless and the cause of her misery.In that Yang household,only 3 persons treated her with love,attention and respect,that was her uncle,her third cousin sister,Yang Yoke Yew and her (not related by blood) cousin brother(Tsang Wai Kuen),Yang Kowk Jung.Many unimportant things happened after that and we see her being tortured and humilliated.Because of her anger at how women are treated and blamed in the history books,she lashed out on an old story teller in the street and that was when the Emperor(in disguise) met her,and fell for her intelligence and of course,beauty.She was almost married off to a very corrupt official(who was to marry her cousin,Yoke Yew) when we found out that the King 'booked' her for himself and took her into the palace as a candidate for being his consort(meaning,lower ranked wife).But many many things happened and she ended up being a maid instead until she suffered enough and she finally got to sleep with the King after 4 failed attempts and admist objections by the Empress and the King's mother,she became his consort and because she became pregnant not much later into the episodes,she became Yuk Fei,a Jade Concubine(I think).Well,all seems great until she miscarriaged and discovered that some people wanted her dead,like her personal maid,Tung Yee,and someone living in the palace,believed to be a concubine herself.Well,after this settles,another problem arises which is worse.She was disfigured(slightly) and thought that the King didn't want her anymore.But well,happy ending for that one.And then,a bigger problem,like the rivalry between a fellow concubine who stood up for her but again,that was a happy ending.Well,the final one wasn't.By this time,the King was so much into her,loving her and enjoying her company,he kinda forgotten the fact that as a King,he has to govern the country,which he left to Yang Kwok Jung who by now is a Prime Minister and is extremely corrupted.All this led to a revolt by a fellow Tang General,An Lu Shan and everybody had to leave the palace.When they were at Mawei Village,the soldiers refused to fight in the losing battle with An Lu Shan until every Yang family members are killed,which includes Lady Yang,by now Yang Gwai Fei(Precious concubine).The King was very reluctant at first but the soldiers pressurred him to sign in that Order of his.Will he do it?Or will she do the killing herself?

How Come... : The King had to try 4 times before he succeeded in sleeping withher?Kinda difficult to explain.Simply,every time they tried to do it,either the King's mom wanted to see him or that he has like some other important stuffs to do.Kinda anti-climax when they did do 'it'.

Yang Kok Jung ,the cousin could be a PM?Well,in part because of Lady Yang herself but actually,this is a very street smart man,He couldn't fight,know no strategies but he could really think.Lady Yang never did ask the King to promote him,it was the King's own decision.I would say really bad decision.He seemed like a very fair Minister,hardworking and have the interest of the people as his first priority.But actually,this is a very conniving and corrupted man.He even sleeps with his third cousin,who she herself is a bit low on the morality scale.And because of his own greed,and his own arrogance,and frankly,all thanks to this man,the army hated the Yang family,including Lady Yang herself.So they killed him,in a very unexpectaed fashion.A bit cruel but he totally deserves it.But there was one thing he said when the war with An Lu Shan broke out that kinda seemed true,to me.Why do officials who are corrupted don't just take the money and leave?Because when they tried to climb up the ladder of power,they killed,cheated,extorted.And after many years,they have their own enemies who wanted them dead.So the only thing to protect them would be to climb higher on the ladder,and that means doing more bad things.So,it's a catch-22 situation for them.In the end,either don't start or if you started it,continue with it because if you stop,you're dead.

Someone wants to kill Lady Yang?Well,either something is wrong with this woman or that she just makes people wants to kill her.Actually,it was never her fault.First it was Wai Fei,because if she became and continue to be the King's favourite,she'll lose all her influence on the King.The funny thing was that the King never favoured Wai Fei.She pretended to be really nice(we were almost fooled of course) and then,she used Tung Yee the maid to kill her unborn child.When Yang knew about this,she teamed up with a solitary Mui Fei to overthrow her influence on the King(not that she had any).And at last,Wai Fei quite fittingly died in a very dramatic fashion.Which was fortunate for her because she never saw the almost-demise of the Tang Dynasty.

The Queen doesn't like Lady Yang?Well,simply because Lady Yang occupied so much of the King's precious time,the mother hardly see him and after one dramatic event,the King never even said "mom,how are you?",so the Queen dislikes her.And at last,the Queen begged a General to kill her off so as to protect the kingdom from ultimate disaster,thinking that Yang was the cause of all the problems.

Lady Yang have that flower tattoo on her forehead?Well,during one time when she was again framed for doing something that she did not do,the King's mother ordered her to be confined to the 'cold palace' where she was told by a 'Eunuch' that some concubine wanted to kill her.So she ran with him only to discover she almost became the biggest fool in her century and ran for her life.She fell off a small cliff and hit her forehead on a sharp stone.And because the King's mom thought that she wanted to escape,refused to allow any medical attention.The King,who by this time thought that she did poison Wai Fei and all the other evil stuffs,refused to care about her.So that thing on her forehead became a scar.Thanks to Mui Fei,who helped her and stood up for her and as a result was confined to that Cold Palace too,who treated her with some medicine ,the scar became less prominent.To hide that little scar,she drew a flower on her forehead.In fact,she looked much better with that flower.

An Lu Shan wanted to betray his King?Simple,he wanted power.He wanted Lady Yang for himself(which he did for one afternoon where he raped her).He also wanted to be King.And he hated Yang Kwok Jung .So he decided to betray his adopted country and almost succeeded.

The soldiers demanded for the death of all Yangs : It was actually the King's mom's order to one General.But the General was reluctant at first,until those Yang family was so aroggant and so rude to them and didn't realise the people's extreme hatred for them .They blamed Yang Kwok Jung for all the problems they're in and they blamed Lady Yang for making the King not care about the country anymore.So they started slaughtering everybody,old and young,men and women who are Yang.The King was furious at first,wanted to punish those who did it.About 3000 soldiers and the General admitted to this 'hideous' crime.And they all knelt before the King and demanded for the death of Lady Yang.When he signed it,the soldiers thanked the King and won the war.

The King signed the Order : He had no choice.The soldiers were extremely angry and frustrated.And partly because Lady Yang herself begged the King to sign it.She wanted to do something for the country,and she felt ashamed that her cousin did all those bad things making the country as such.So this was her way of redeeming herself and she knew this was also the only way the soldiers will have the encouragement to fight on.Tearfully,the King signed and screamed.

The King didn't just die with her :We all would wish that,don't we?But no,he didn't do that,simply because he is the King.The country needs him.Basically,the soldiers respected him,loved him but they just hated that woman.And moreover,he promised Lady Yang that he will live on and be a great King.

The Hate Factor : The first to appear would be Wai Fei.Played excellently by Kwok Siu Wan,her Wai Fei seemed extremely nice at first but when someone said one word and then this woman goes and plus another 10 words into it,you know something is very wrong with this woman.She is not just mean,she is downright evil,causing the deaths of many people.So when she died,it seemed ,well like a joyous occassion.

The second one would be Yang Yoke Yew.I don't know the actress but she is good,very seductive and very 'open'.Though she is extremely loyal to Lady Yang and is basically a decent person,she isn't that simple.In fact,she tried to cause the miscarriage of Mui Fei's unborn child and she even seduced the King for one night.But when later she was raped by An Lu Shan,she mellowed down.Almost seemed sad when she killed herself.

The third one would be Yang Kwok Jung.Played by Tsang Wai Kuen,it's an ok performance.He seemd nice,in fact he was nice but somehow greed and power can really change a man.And his ending is somewhat unexpected but frankly,I didn't feel anything for this corrupt and selfish man who put his greed and interest ahead of his country.Sure,he did try to persuade the King to kill off An Lu Shan at first but that was because for his own interest only.

The Fool Factor: The King.Being so smart,I thought he would've been much more smarter in his actions or inactions.He caused his own downfall and frankly,he's my Biggest Disappointment Factor.I expected much more from this King and he is just so...foolish.I mean,is that woman that important that he would neglect his state affairs and just let Yang Kwok Jung to run HIS country,just so that he could go running everywhere with her?There is no denying the fact tht he loved her more than his own country,they even planned to elope.But well,at last he came to his senses.Country much more important.A very simple eqaution indeed.

The Pity Factor: Two people.One the Empress who was framed for poisoning Yang by Wai Fei and was kicked out of the palace and died of depression.Secondly,Lady Yang herself.She is terribly nice,so you would understand why the King loved her that much.She always put the King's interest first.Though she could be unreasonable ,she didn't really mean to cause so much havoc.And being the supposed smart and beautiful one,shouldn't she have advised the King to be more attentive to State affairs?But then,she would never have thought that her own cousin brother and adopted son,An Lu Shan would do what they have done later in the series.When she realised it,she begged the King to order for her death ,in a way to appease the people's hatred for her and also to appease her own guilty consicence.Frankly,she didn't deserve her ending so because of that,I would think of her as The Most Noble Character.

The Best Scenes: Whenever there is the King,and his assistant,the Eunuch appearing in a scene together.Especially the one where the Eunuch was humilliated for his lack of manhood,he cried in front of the King .The King promised that he would have his pride back.The next day,in front of everybody,the King gave him a birthday cake,remembering his birthday and gave him a new rank,a General rank where he need not kneel in front of anybody except the King and the King's mother.

And another scene that would have my vote would be the scene where the intelligent but very unpredictable and drunk Lei Bak( a very respected poet) insulted Yang Kwok Jung(who earlier vowed to destroy him when he refused to create a poem for his dead father) and Lik Si the Eunuch(who earlier pulled rank to get him out of his room to see the King) in front of the King and all ministers before quitting.He is probably the only character in this series that no one could make him fall,not even the King who seemed more amused than angry at his behaviour.

The Best Episodes : Only one stood out as the Best of the Best.Do not miss the final tape.I thought that the ending was going to be a lame one,an anti-climatic one but well,I was wrong.So I could say that you could depend on TVB for history lessons.The ending is simply marvellous,poignant,sad and frustrating.I choked back my tears when I saw the King's old face,remembering his beloved Lady Yang.Get your tissues ready.By the way,you might curse the ending like I did,but hey,TVB can't change an ending that was already written for them.

The Most Excellent Performance : Beyond just being the 'Best Performance',this man had to be the most excellent one.No,not Kong Wah.But the one man that always stood beside the King,never talking,almost smilling,seemed like he wasn't listening but he was.The Eunuch,Liu Kai Chi.An excellent actor,everytime he appeared on screen,all eyes would be on him.His every expression,every mannerism,every smile and every tear was like the best scenes.Because of him,Kong Wah seemed a bit stiff at times in his acting,because this man is just too good.

The Almost Excellent Peformance : Kong Wah,my favourite TVB actor.The 'Almost' is because of his all too familiar role of playing a King.But this is a very different King.He is lusty,unreasonable and foolish.Any other actor would make this King to be the Hate Factor or the Wimp Factor.But Kong Wah gave him something no other actors could give,dignity.That he had plenty of it.And the final episode,revealed this actor's acting chops.That could be the most excellent performance if he just didn't have Liu Kai Chi next to him in almost every scenes.And frankly,he made this King into a reluctant King at last.Being caught in a situation no Kings would ever want to be,he was asked to make a choice.That I felt is his most brilliant performance,his anger and frustration,his disbelief of the soldier's demands.Can this man act.And he is also my vote for the Luckiest Actor in This Series.So he never got to kiss any of them but he got some very beautiful women massaging his shoulder,hugging him,bathing him,looking at him affectionately and of course,who could boast,other than Wai Siu Bo,that he had about 3000 women fighting for his attention?In here,we only got to see at most,5.

The Great Performances : By an actress would be two in this category.Kwok Siu Wan who is consistently good in all of the series she acted in and also,Ng Mei Hang,that played Mui Fei.Her Mui Fei is elegant,educated and beautiful.I never would've thought she could act but in here,she did really well.

The Almost Doesn't Count Performance : Again,another Almost here.Almost Good but not quite so.Almost Bad but yet no quite so either.That would be Anne Heong Hoi Nam.She was really bad in DIF IV and I was ready to laugh at her performance.Surprisingly,she was not that bad.At first,she was rather stiff and quite raw in her acting skills.But you could see her improving as the episodes goes by,and frankly,I though she did well at the end.But what makes her looked not that good is because everybody else is so good which makes everybody else looked great because she wasn't that good.Maybe a few more pictures,she could be better.She is terribly feminine so she has the essence of Lady Yang.Maybe it's her voice that show no emotional range or maybe she just didn't know what to do with her hands that made this performance of hers less than thrilling.But somehow,you could see she is not that good in much more demanding scenes.In less demanding scenes,she was ok.By the way,I would also like to vote her as the Most Compatible Couple with Kong Wah in this series.They do looked really good togetther.

What To Expect : Plenty of women,then men,then bickerings amongst women,then bickerings amongst men.A very lusty King.A lot of dances.A lot of bathing scenes.A lot of bared shoulder women.A lot of cleavage(courtesy of women of course).A lot of hugging scenes.A lot of pulling-of-rank scenes.A lot of computer graphics.A really sad ending.And personally,if you watch this in cantonese,a lot of difficult to understand dialogues.

What Not To Expect : One thing that is clearly missing here is a kissing scene.I mean,so many hugging scenes,with the women slowly and gently putting their heads on their beloved men's shoulder,but why couldn't they just kiss for once?Even without the kissing scenes,this is one series that is terribly suggestive,and sexy too.But just one kiss wouldn't die,right?

Is The King Worth the Fight?: Well,if Jordan Chan can have like 7 women fighting for his attention,why not Kong Wah?But here,there is a big difference between these two characters.In Duke Of Mountdeer,the women never really fight for his attention coz he is a very fair husband.In this series,the King only have eyes for Lady Yang so it is not that unexpected to have one woman poisoning another and clawing their eyes out.Moreover,this man we are talking about is the King.Lose his affection,lose your status.

Is it worth Renting : I personally feel this is one of the Best of year 2000 from TVB.It has been a long time I have said this for a costume series.I remember for modern series I wrote the same thing for Ups And Downs.For costume series,the last one was Happy Ever After.Anyway,I totally enjoyed this story and frankly,I learned something watching this series which is rare you know.I would bet that your mom,granpa,grandma will love it.If you're a fan of Kong Wah or intelligent,fast paced costume series,you will love this one.Again,one word after the . symbol.EXCELLENT.

If I Were The Scriptwriter : I would change the ending.So historians would curse me but you know,this is one of those few series that you would wish for a different ending.Or maybe plus another tape with two episodes to show how the King fought back for his country instead of stopping when she died,then move on to the time when the King is old and frail.You know,even when I was writing this review,thinking about how the old King looked at a dancing girl and saw Lady Yang instead and dying, smilling at her image makes this all into a sad tragedy,it makes me want to cry.

Special Mention : Plenty in here.So I'll say it one by one.

The Sets : Partly real,partly computer graphics,I'll say that ever since TVB knew about this technology called special effects,things changed.No longer just confined to small sets,you could see those palace grounds were not real but looked so real.Here,the graphics was done tastefully as opposed to JTTW II.And the real sets,simply innovative designs and very grand.You would know this is a big production when you see the sets.

The Costumes : Excellent constumes for the women.Almost see through fabrics,the colours were simply magnificent.In fact,people should bring back the Tang Dynasty fashion,which you could never see in any of the later dynasties.Why not make one for a wedding,in white or for your prom night.You may not be too exposed but you would give a feeling that is terribly feminine,sexy and elegant.

For the men,I would always prefer Ching Dynasty.For Tang Dynasty,the men's costumes looked haggard and very uninteresting.But Kong Wah's clothes were ok,it's almost see through where you could see his singlet.I did notice though that the King's official costume in Qing Dynasty was a bit overdone.Not satisfied with just one dragon as a motif for the dress,they had to put about a dozen more.In Tang Dynasty,the belt was a bit lose around the waist and the dragon?Only one in one space of a fabric,making it less prominent and less grand.But still nice.

The Hair Accessories : Those things that the women wore on their heads,simply magnificent.Kudos to TVB make up artists for making these women looked so beautiful that I would say,Bring Back the Tang Do.I especially liked Mui Fei's do.Simple and yet elegant.For men, it was ok.

The Make Up : Very JTTW-ish,probably because same era.The women just looked so well,feminine.People just don't put make up like that anymore.Again,kudos to TVB make up team.

The Sceneries : It would be better if they have shot this in China,like in JTTW II.

The Directing : Something was very different with the directing of this series.It seemed so much more grander,so much more people,probably because of the special effects.I especially liked the ending scene where we could see a lot of kneeling soldiers,the sweeping camera work.Very different is all I could say.

The Script : For once,the writers at TVB did not give us crap for facts,like in Witness To A Prosecution.Here,we have a script that though may have adopted some artistic license for the beginning ,but the whole story basically have the spirit of the real history.If you've read my earlier writings for this Lady Yang page,you would basically have watched the ending of this series.What they may have changed may be the timeline and some actions of the people in here.Other than that,we have a very intelligent script for this series.

Is it BETTER than…: Can't think of any Legend Of Lady Yang series.But if you must have comparisons with stories about the King so in love with a woman and a woman so in love with King that they're willing to do anything,Happy Ever After would be one.Then there's War And Remembrance and Secret Battle of the Majesty.All are equally good and different emphasis,be it the King or the woman doing the sacrificing.The closest fight would be Secret Battle and this series.The former we have a King killing himlelf for a woman's conscience and in the latter,we have a woman killing herself for the King and the country.

Interesting Facts: Every single episode garnered 30 points and above,so it was consistently No 1,or No 2.So it was considered a mega hit that even Threshhold of an Era can't boast the same.Many actors got instant recognition for their roles,mainly those that we thought never could act.Frankly,I felt that Anne Heong wasn't that suitable coz she isn't drop dead gorgeous.But who then?Must it be Miss HKs to play such an important role?Luckilly she did well,if not she could have spoilled the whole show.And I shudder at the thought that it could've been Charmaine Sheh or Lee San San.Definately then,you would never see such glowing review for this series.

I have seen some promotional stuffs they did for this show.Pity the actresses who had to dance with some skin exposed in a shopping mall full of people.Lucky Kong Wah and Liu Kai Chi who only needed to just sit and stand,respectively.

Anne Heong and Mg Mei Hang provided the dancing chop in here(reportedly,they learned dancing before) and the other actresses acting chop.Kong Wah danced in one scene and we all know now that he ain't Aaron Kwok.

I wouldn't mind seeing more of Anne Heong,reportedly the station will promote her more often in the future to make her famous.Which is so sad.Actors had to suffer for 10 years before getting the lead role.Actresses,especially those Miss HKs type,just only need one show to get the lead and they usually did it badly but they always improved but by that time,reputatioon as an actress is all gone.Why?When peoplk suffer,they learn more.Being an actor especially,you have to suffer personal hardships to master the trade.Even Chow Yun Fatt,with such talent had to suffer before he became a lead actor.And very rarely do we see a first time actor being a lead in his first movie.Kong Wah didn't count because he suffered in ATV before he came to TVB for a lead role.Benny Chan for one.And from the first moment he acted his first series and even until now,Felix Wong Yat Wah has been consistently the lead actor in all of the series he acted in.

If this series is the true interpretation of the relationship between the King and Lady Yang,then their love is really sad.All they ever want is to be together forever,as husband and wife.But becuase one is a King,some things are a bit difficult to do.Choices and bad people that surrounds them.In this series,they showed that Lady Yang died becuase of her evil cousin's undoing and also becuase of the King's own "I don't care about the country anymore" attitude.They trusted the wrong people and they were naive.And in the end,she had to die because that was the only way to salvage the King's dignity as an Emperor,but certainly not as a man. I really do feel like crying.

Interesting Fiction : I really doubt that the King was so young when Lady Yang died.She came in when he ruled the second year,and died when his dynasty fell.For almost 40 years this woman was a concubine,either to his son or to the King.So she would have enjoyed enough of this life before she died.And reportedly,she was obese,but very beautiful.And frankly,I would hope to see a series on this King's life,on how he built his dynasty.This series was a bit early in the timeline when the war broke out because in this series,he didn't have enough time to make the Tang Dynasty into its most glorious time.So a bit fictionalised timeline in this series.

And frankly,I doubt that Lady Yang was ever that nice and that understanding.And did she voluntarily died for the King?


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