Also Known As : in Mandarin it is Huai Yu Gung Joo, which means Princess Huai yu, hence the English title.
Which is NOT : a series about a pregnant Princess. Somebody was kind enough to point it out to me that Huai Yu in Mandarin sounds very similiar to the word "pregnant", but of course this Huai Yu would most probably be "Wai Yoke", that...hey, it does sounds like pregnant to me! But the word is something "Jade". Definately not a series about infidelity or a lusty princess.
It Is Actually : a series about a Ming Princess falling for a Ching Emperor and vice versa and how they would brave all obstacles and all objections to be together. A love story, not a politically motivated love story.
Note : This series has all the trends of a Qiong Yao series, but I never saw the end credits so I never know. But I will take a wild guess, it is written by Qiong Yao. Give me some feedback on this one ok? By the way, this series will be unmercifully compared to the mega hit, HZGG I, because I see a lot of similiarities between the main lead female character and our Little Swallow.
Latest news. According to Alice in an E-Mail reply to my question above, it ain't a Qiong Yau series. I guee she's right, becuase Qiong Yau's love stories are never so politically complicated.
By the way, this review is INCOMPLETE because I have some parts I have yet to fill in yet. I need some time to reconsider what I should put in there.
Running Time : I was told 80 episodes, but this review will only be on the first 30 episodes because I only got my hands on the first 15 VCDs. And frankly, it's more than I could bear.
Casts: Measely few, could even count because they concentrate on a few people, you count for yourself.
**The actors for the characters will be filled in later; if you notice any mistakes as to the casts' names, pls inform me **
Kang Xi - Eric Suen ( I admit, prior to this amended version, I made a BIG mistake which I am not ashamed to let you know; I wrote Alex Su here though I know quite well this ain't Alex Su. Maybe I was possessed with the spirit of HZGG but anyway, thank you to the many E-Mails that point out my mistake. I am not being sarcastic when I say this after the . symbol; THANK YOU!)
Fu Huai Yu - Jia Yu Cheng
Wu Ying Xiong
Mother of Empress Dowager - Liu Xue Hua
Chief Eunuch, Du Der Hai - Shi Yu
Princess Jing Ling
The rest are only props or I have yet to be able to list them because, well first 30 episodes only.
Plot : Where is the plot I do wonder for a series that span 80 episodes? Not much actually. It started out quite interestingly, like the first 10 minutes and then it just nose dived into boredom and frankly, plain ridiculous for a plot.
It was the end of Ming dynasty, as the Ching army marched head on into the Forbidden palace. The Ming Emperor was guided into escape path but was unfortunatley stopped and killed in chaos. The Empress killed herself so as to save her honour, leaving the General to escape with a little baby Princess. Half way, this General met and fought with a Ching General, he could have won but he spared the Ching's life with a promise to love the Child as his own. The General was touched by the Ming General's willigness to spare his life and agreed, whilst the Ming General killed himself. 15 years has passed, and this little baby girl grew up into Huai Yu Gege, well loved and spolt by the General, who is actually a relative of the Emperor and by her brother and mother. She was vivacious, and would often get into trouble, but was often shielded by loving brother and loving parents. She had a faithful sidekick by the name of Ching Ching who often tried to persuade the Gege to just stay put but being a young, pretty energetic 15 year old, how can?!
During one time where she disguised as a man with Ching Ching, she met another you good looking man who called himself Bai Shih Er, and though they were enemies at first, the ended up being sworn brothers with another older man who has a mysterious background. Many things happened, and she was often helped by a mysterious force who she later knew to be the Emperor Kang Xi himself, disguising as a comoner named Bai Shih Er. The other brother was actually Wu Ying Xiong, the son of Wu San Gui, the traitor of the Millenium. Many moe things happened and when her identity as a girl was revealed, both man who already was fond of her fell head over heels for her. She may seemed friendly with Wu but in the end, she could no longer deny her heart's desire; she actually loved the young Emperor. But there were plenty of obstacles, for one the Emperor who was forced to choose an empress wanted her to be the Empress but Empress Dowager had her own niece, already a concubine to the King as Queen, named Yuen Gwei Ren (Chen Yuen), but he never slept with her because he despises her. But one night, he thought he didn't sleep with her because he was drunk but a few months later, in the presence of Huai Yu whom she knew the Emperor was particularly fond of, announced that she was pregnant, and so a wedding date was set, the Emperor had to marry a woman he hates the sight of, Huai Yu refsued to confess her love for him and decided to run away with the future brother in law of the Emperor, Wu Ying Xiong, and put her whole family in great danger of being beheaded for her irrational behaviour. She came back and rectified the matter, and she could no longer deny her love for the Emperor after one harrowing incident, but the above would be the least of their problems; in the end, can she, being a Princess from the overthrown dynasty Ming marry a man whose fatherr was responsible for killing her whole family? Could she be friends with a man whose father, an ex- Ming general who was responsible for guiding the Ching army into the city and betrayed his own country? Will she assasinate the Emperor and thus destroy her one chance of being with the man she loved or could she let go of the hatred, when the secret of her past is revealed?
Sub Plots : About 4 subplots that has some connection with our heroine.
The Romeo and Juliet plot
Yes, there is a Romeo and Juliet plot in here, only with a happy ending. Huai Yu's brother, was very much in love with the daughter of the Chen family, called Chen Ying, a soft spoken daughter. But after the harrowing accident that almost caused the life of Chen's family only son, these two family became enemies, and thus the love affair of these two love sick love birds was almost doomed. The emperor tried to intervene but the Empress dowager had a louder voice. So they can't be married and her own father wanted to marry her off to a despicable man from a powerful family. She tried eloping, she tried cajoling, she tried killing herself , the Fu son tried to beg, even was beaten half to death and his legs paralysed but to no avail, until Chen Ying wanted to be a nun when she was pusehd away by the crippled Fu out of self-pity but she changed her mind when he came to beg her to come home with him. The emperor was dead set to unite them but the problem would be his mother. His little sister, Princess Jing Ling helped, and concocted about a lie that the King already informed the world thatChen Ying will be like his sister and that a marriage was granted. So reluctantly everybody had to agree but from then on Chen family pretended she never existed. But at least, they'e together.
The Princess Xin Yue plot
Not THAT similiar but we have a concubine who would be Queen taking every opportunity to sabotage the love affair of our hero and heroine and to manipulate her way to power. Actually not even similiar at all but well, jealousy reaigns in this part of the story so I guess it is almost similiar to the rivalry of Princess Xin Yue.
Another Princess Xin Yue plot
In the above series, the son fell for Xin Yue who fell for another. the son had to marry a princess and the princess did many many things to finally win his heart.
In this series, Wu Ying Xiong was forced into marriage with Princess Jing Ling, a woman he just coudn't love because he loved Huai Yu. He reluctantly agreed to the marriage when he knew Huai Yu had her heart set on another. But even at the end of 30 episodes, he may seemed friendly with the spolit princess, but he looked like he was in pain everytime she looked at him adoringly.
The War and Remembrance plot
Remember Louis Koo's doomed love affair with Yvonne Yung Hung? One a Ching and another a Han. They married and had a child but she decided to kill herself when her husband killed all the resistance member. ALmost similiar, we have Huai Yu and the King, only this time it's even more serious in implications. Of course being the hero, I doubt they would show Kang Xi being evil or mean, I have yet to reach the point when she discovered the truth of her past, so this similiarity would have a "wait and see" policy. I will amend this later.
Most Problematic Character : She was like a problem child in here, always getting into troubles, one bigger than the other. People's suffering was because of her own inability to look beyond her own reason and into the world's reason for why things happened the way they did.
The Romeo and Juliet Plot
First of all, life was ok for these two families, until one hunting season where the 2 sons (Chen and Fu) were out hunting for a deer. Our heroine dressed up as a guy and joined in the fun but before she could shoot correctly with her arrow, her horse stepped on something, panicked and her arrow hit the back of the Chen son and he was seriously wounded. She didn't realise the gravity of her action, in fcat she felt no guilt at all. The brother trying to cover up for her admitted the blame, and when the King in realising that it was an innocent mistake and in trying to help her, gave orders for the horse to be executed, the Chen family (except Chen Ying) flew into great rage. How can my son's life be compared to a horse? There must be justice for the Chen, punish the Fu! That started and caused the great pain of the two love birds. And HUai Yu still didn;t realise her own fault and made the situation into "worse zone" when she repeated scolded the Chen family for being old stubborn man, silly,etc. Chen Ying tried to make them understand that it wasn't Fu's fault, in fact Fu went and personally apologised half naked, bound and was kicked and beaten, with his own Fu father watching to end the rivalry and hatred. It didn't work, even after they were married and became ralatives.
The Wu Ying Xiong-Princess Jing Ling plot
First of all, Wu's misguided notion that Huai Yu loved him was caused by Huai Yu herself. She was extremely friendly with him, often affectionate. When she knew he was crazy about her, and he was jailed and almost beheaded for his refusal to marry the Princess, she went to him, and persuaded by using the following words ;
"You must agree to marry the PRINCESS, because only doing so and by being alive there is hope...."
And now you may ask, what hope? Hope to be with Huai Yu of course. I mean this woman was obviously leading him on,and she gave him all the wrong signals, and that was extremely cruel of her. And when she discovered that concubine Yuen was pregnant, she flew into a rage and agreed to elope with Wu! But she was actually using him as a away to escape her wounded heart. But this incident causd the Empress Dowager to be so angry, and Princess Jing Ling so upset, that they ordered that if she did not return by the next day, her whole Fu clan will be stricken off their ranks and forced to do hard labour in a god forsaken state. She came back only to be locked up by the Chen son together with Wu. They of course saved the day because the Emperor tried his best to not believe the rumour which was true by the way. The Princess even accused her own brother of being too lenient with the girl and not caring about his own family! Which was true also. Anyway, again Huai Yu's fault. What does this woman want? Some episodes before we knew what she wanted, she wanted the Emperor but she refused his love and told him to look after his pregnant wife. This is ridiculous which I shall elaborate further some 10 million sentences after this....kidding. Just scroll down somewhere below. Anyway, I feel it's her indecisiveness and his fear of going against the wishes of the Empress Dowager that caused all these drama.
Most Slapped Character : Yes, a woman was repeated slapped in here, that I really pity the actress. We all know for realism, they really slapped the actress receiving the slap; that would be the character of Chen Ying. Father slapped, then brother slapped, then father slapped again,then brother pushed and slapped her, and then bad fiancee slapped her, and then father slapped her again ,and then brother slapped her also.....poor girl.
Most Unrespected Character : Chen Ying was the soft spoken 2nd child of the Chen family, the eldest being concubine Chen and the youngest the Chen son. After that accident, when she knew whose fault it was, she often quarrelled with her family over her decision to keep seeing Fu son. It was at that point her father stopped caring but he actually never wanted to force her to kill herself. But it was her own brother that totally lost his respect for his sister, from scolding her, to pretending she does not exist, to not caring whether she died or not to finally slapping her, this is like the "lost of respect" manual book, stage by stage. The father did nothing to stop him,and in a way, encouraged him to be so damn rude. But I understand his anger, because he really thought though the Fu son may have accidently shot him, but instead of being punished, to add insult to injury, a horse was punished. Thus his deep hatred for the family,and his action of seperating her sister and future bro in law was an act of revenge. Can't get the guy, then get him where it hurts most, his sister. He was despicable but I really feel that the sister should just stop saying good words about the other guy when the brother is like a volcano, waiting for one good monet to burst. But she did not, because she thought as a big sister she had the right to tell her brother off, albeit in a very ladylike manner when he was insulting the Fu son, her lover,because she knew the real truth, it was a mistake by HUAI YU, and not the Fu son. After a while, when you're trying to play the piano for the bull to listn, what would the bull do? Exactly! NOTHING. So she should have just saved her breath.
Most Annoying Character : First of all, Princess Jing Ling, the King's sister. She looked like the most idiotic character in this series at first, but of course later she changed and matured. A good thing.
As I have listed all the similiarities in all Qiong Yau's series and its effect on us the viewers, AND assuming that this IS a Qiong Yau series(hey, if I am wrong, tell me so but I still maintain that this is a Qiong Yau series) in my review under Taiwan's Tattoed Flower(Plum Flower Series I), the most annoying character would always be the lead actress' character, who in this present series is Princess Huai Yu herself. I have many many complaints for this character, listed below:
1) I know showing a young girl being able to protect herself is a good thing but MUST ALL of them know how to fight kung fu so bloody well? I mean Huai Yu's like 15 and she could beat 99% of the guys in here that it's so unbelievable fake.
2) She's 15 but the actress looked 20. So why 15? Why not 18?
Latest addition to this point. Alice wrote in her E-Mail to me that Huai yu is in fact 18, which was told at the beginning of the series. Would you believe me when I say I thought I heard the Mrs. Fu said ;"For fifteen years we have kept this as a secret..", and Huai Yu was just a baby(read:very small infant) when she was given to Mr Fu so she had to be 15 now.Perhaps it was the writer's mistake, but maybe my own mistake, but twice I heard this number, so I can't be THAT wrong is it? Anyway, don't be alarmed. Pleanty of 15 year olds fall in love early. It doens't matter really, because 15 or 18, she still acts like a childish brainless low IQ juvenile to me. Oops! I stepped over the lin of decency, but so what?!Shoot me lar! Ok seriously, I have a habit of writing my feelings unedited in al my review, so I won't bother to change what I've said, because people expect me to be frank with my reviews. But I apologise to all fans of Fu Huai Yu for the mean words but I am not sorry for the spirit of that sentence.
3) Anyway, our Huai Yu just makes thing,which is simple to be so bloody complicated. Small matters become big, because HUai Yu is an over-emotional and uncontrollable pest, that sometimes I do wonder, does being a pest equals cuteness? Because everybody finds her cute in here but I find her to be a very destructive person. She never thinks before she acts, she never shut up when she should, she does stupid things thinking she's right, or even she's wrong she thinks it's right, she feels nothing for other people's plight though she may have a good heart but a very lousy way of showing it, she talks like she is so bloody rude that I do wonder, all the education in kung fu should have at least been spent, JUST A LITTLE in manners and discipline. And wby al these heroines must be so bloody uncontrollable?She just never ever listens, not even when she is 200% wrong. And that makes her so annoying.
4) She seemed smart but for me, a person that does not know when to talk and when not to talk is the most stupidest person, and Huai Yu is such person.
5) Must everybody tolearte her behaviour? Her father did, her brother almost gave his life for her own irresponsibility, but her mother was the first to disown her but later forgave her, after all they're family.
6) Must they all have a sidekick that's either more soft spoken than the master, or mor outspoken, or overprotective, or underprotective or in this series, a much more of an idiot than her own master? Since Huai Yu's 15, I guess the maid should be around that age which wouild explain her ugly uncombed hair, poor sense of dressings and her cowardly manner. But all plus together just makes her look, at first to me when I first saw her, like a total idiot. It's like she's retarded or something and I am being blunt here but I just hate that the maid should be so. Sure she's the comic relief here but was she funny? NO!She was plain ....well...idiotic.
7) Must all the guys, upon knowing her being a girl fall madly in love with her? What's so special about her? I admit the King liked her because well, she's pretty and she talks back. She just wouldn't let the King finish his sentence and will just say her mind,which is sometimes good for this King that I have more to say about, but that just makes her disrespectful. I mean sure the King may be your "brother" but he's still a king and to rebuke him in front of EVERYBODY is like challenging his authority, no wonder nobody respects him. And my question before was why they all MUST fall for her? What's so great about her? Vivacious.....blah blah blah but to me she's just one nosy busybody.
8) She's a princess right, spoilt I know but a princess behaving like her? Getting into fights that are often caused by her inability to control her temper , just so unprincesslike.
9) The dialogue makes hert even more stupid, which I shall elaborate below.
10) What else? Nothing else, except must the King love only her?So boring.No conflict at all.
Most Meddlesome Character : Must ALL King's mom be so nosy? Why can't they just let the King be a King?
Most Useless Character : From where I am right now, about half of this series, I find this character to be most useless of all, that would be Eric Suen's Kang Xi, the King. He would say something, mother bites back, Huai Yu bites back, and then he will retract and this will make you wonder, who runs the country here? I am surte being respectful to your mom is a good thing but must you listen to her every word? One minute he told Fu Lung and Chen Ying to come home after eloping, that he will guarantee that everything will be alright and when they do comeback, what happened? Fu Lung was beaten till he was paralysed, the King tried to unite them in marriage but both family and mother refused and so, he kinda let it go, too easily. He let things go too easily. No respect for this character at all. King like him, how to make a great king if he's just, in the end a Mommy's boy and then a GF's boy? And eventhough he knew Huai Yu ran off with Wu Ying Xiong and everybody is pressing to get her punished, and though the family was at no fault, but his behaviour and attitude of always being on the side of Huai Yu annoyed me big time. I mean, I know he's in love with her BUT must he try to help her all the time? He would think she is cute when she rebuked him. I find that quality in such a king would make this king indecisive, not respectful, not dignified, too soft and is destined not for greatness. the ebst he could do is to presuade dear Mommy to accept Huai Yu. And must they show all Kings not liking their wives? I mean I understand he does not like Chen Yuen because she's always at her mother's site poking fire at everything but frankly, had he ever given her a chance at all? I think he was too much when he was too concerned about his eloped Huai Yu and neglected his supposedly pregnant concubine.But there was one scene that I feel perhaps Huai yu was right to said what she said. After her brother was paralysed, the King came and visited him and Huai yu refused to speak to him, and said; " You promised you'll help my brother and Sister Ying but look what happened? You said one thing and then do another. you never hold true to your promise!!", for which the father scolded Huai Yu to shut up, the King walked away angry but later realised that "Hey,she was right man, I was a no good promise making machine that can never hold true to my promises". That scene I agree with Huai Yu. What does she see in him and what did he see in her? I do not know.
Another I must mention is Mr Fu himself. Father of Huai Yu and Fu Lung. What's so useless? Well, he demanded that his son to kneel in front of Mr Chen and be beaten half to detah, the 1st time. I understand, a man must be responsible for his own actions though that was Huai Yu's fault the 1st time. the second time after coming home from eloping, he demanded that his son bring Chen Ying back home to Che family and receive punishments, ALONE. I mean excuse me? You know that guy hates you and your son and YET you allow your son to go there alone? And so when the son came home half paralysed, who should be blame if as a father you were not at his side? In fcat he should have just asked his son to stay home, forget about going to Chen family for apologies since they're enemies. I just couldn't understand how a father could let his real and only son face the repercussions ALL ALONE.
Most Illogical Plots : Chen Yuen the concubine. She is so smart and conniving,so much so that she pokes fire IN FRONT of the King. Excuse me? She would use trickeries, cheat, lie, cajole, be kind, be nice, be anything to get into the goodbooks of her auntie(Ku-Ma) that is the Empress Dowager, the King's mother. She would try her best to get the King's attention and I would assume the King has been saving his virginity for his beloved because I don't even think they slept together. AND YET she would try to say bad things about Fu family, going against everything that the King said IN FRONT of the King.What she expects after what she did? the king to love her? I mean that's illogical. A person as conniving as her would try to accept Huai Yu, when the mother tries to chop somebody's head she should be the first to say no, and then treat Huai Yu like sister and THEN slowly poison her to death, almost like Happy Ever After's Shuen Gwai Yan, played by Hong Wah and what she did to Nadia's character. I find this present character illogical in her actions.
Mr Fu's plot as stated above.
Our main story itself. Ming Princess brought up by a CHING emperor AND falling for a CHING emperor, became his concubine and lived happily every after forgetting all the pain of the past? EXCUSE ME?!!! First of all this would never happen because hatred runs deep, so much so when your own Ming King of a father was brought down by the Ching King of his father. This ain't feuding family but feuding dynasties man! She would have joined the resistance or tempt the king and kill him. Though they may not admit it, but Ching was much better off in power and in finance than Han back in those days, there were prejudice. The King would have either ordered the Ming people to another country OR kill them all. To marry her? First of all would eb the safety issue. Second of all, though they may be in love, are all the Ministers dead???? It just could never happen. And the starting scene where the Ming general spared our Mr Fu's life ,and so HE WAS SOOOOOOO GRATEFUL that he brought up the Ming Princess. I mean he spared your life in war, you're enemies man! Enemies!!! Grateful? The real Ching General would have killed the Ming general, and the princess, because frankly do you want the next generation of the dead dynasty to be alive and later clain his/her right to your throne? No Way?! ANd moreover, the Ming General to beg for him to save the child. What makes him think that it would be done? A real Ming General would have killed the child and himself to end the torture, misery and potential threats. That was why we see those queens and concubines killing themselves. If being invaded was a good thing, why would there be so much fear? Clearly the Ching coming into their land had a profound effect and created great fear. Moreover rather than be a traitor and serve that new guy might as well just run or kill youself. But to have our Princess being loved as such is illogical, stupid and really pain ridiculous for a storyline. it could never have happened. This is too much of a betrayal no matter how swell that king may be, because frankly what will teh ordinary Han people think of a Han Princess marrying a Ching Emperor? Congratulate them? Do not forget that it was barely 15 years since the invasion, people do not forget that easily. Heck, they did not even forget even before the overthrow of the Last Emeperor. Stupid stupid stupid storyline.
And this one more. I was told he exists, there was such a thing of Ng Sam Kwai a Ming General betraying the Ming Dynasty by opening the gates for Ching to march in. I am not sure. In this series they have such a character and his son Wu Ying Xiong. A nice guy, tyring to run away from his father's bad reputation and influence. Nothing too bad, in fact I kinda like him until I sat down and thoigh, hey that's so stupid! He's Wu San Gwei's son, and being Wu San Gwei, when you know the Ching King may not let you be a Ping Sai Wong (Lord of Pinng Sai) for long, so you must have plotted to overthrow and be a king yourself, ala Duke of Mountdeer. ANd being his son you would have such ambition, and when being asked to marry the favourite princess of the Kings' you would leapt at that chace to create this illusion that you and him are on great terms whilst slowly build your army at the border. BUT NOOOOO> Our hero is in love with our heroine and wants to marry for LOVE. WHAT?!!!Love? Hey, political marriages exist, more so when the Princes is crazy about you. They try to show Wu Ying Xiong as a good man with bad ancestors so to speak, and I like him but what haoppens whan:
1) Daddy decides to be King and overthrow your best friend of a King?
2) Huai Yu decides to kill your daddy for being a traitor?
3) King decides to kill your daddy for being a potential threat?
I do not know the answers because I do not think they have this plot in this long series and even if they have, it will be a happy ending. he wil fall for Jing Linga nd be happy. And the King by marrying King Ling to him will create gerat many problems like;
1) She's the wife of your enemy. So when you kill him, what happens to your sister?
2) She's your sister and a family. Would you make her a widow?
3) She will be taken hostage when there is a war, so what happens? Sacrfice her?
Usually the most favourite princess will be married to an enemy state to show a desire for peace. But in this case we all know it will not be a happy marriage because in real life, our hero the King did went to war with the Wus and others Han generals for almost a decade before he won the war. It will never happen that happily.Wu Ying Xiong is a contradiction. Moreover if you're Huai Yu, would you still be friends with the enemy? And there's one scene where the King wanted to behead Wu, but he regretted and pondered and felt really bad about sucha decision. Illogical. s a King, first of all I won't kill him because he is Wu San Gwei's son, so to just behead him like that could start a war. And even if I have valid reasons to behead him I won't, because the time is not right. Assuming the time is right, I will not regret it because Kingdom above brotherhood. I know it seems selfish to think like that but just wait till you got a muti billion dollar empire and then there's your enemy's son whom you could destroy and ensure that he will not be able to destroy you. See what you'll do. Chinese has a saying, " Luring the goat into the tiger's mouth" what will happen? Goat will die lar...so don't be the goat. OR " When remmoving the grass, remove the roots as well", which would apply to Huai Yu's and Wu's situation for the King. When removing your enemies, remove everything else. I know cruel but do tell me, in whicb dynasty known for its great many things not started out on a cruel tyrant and bloodshed?
Another sub plot, well not really but everytime there's trouble Huai Yu would first run to Wu but after the King became immensely jealous, she ran to him. And he's always running everywhere to help out. What what did her do to help out? Like patching up two lovers, chasing the eloping lovers to come home, etc etc etc. yes, minor stuff that the King should not be bothered with. I mean does he even have the time to do all that? What about the country? With a wife like Huai Yu I guess do not expect him to be a very hardworking political King because to me he looks like a social worker for the minor problems. It's not like during Kang Xi everything is peaceful, there's Wu San Gwei for one and yet he still finds the time to run out for errands, see his GF(or potential GF), find lost lovers, try to match the affair, etc etc etc. either he has great time management or he's just prioritising Huai Yu's stuff over his people. I find him to be a very irresponsible and useles King for the abovementioned reasons.Frankly as a minister, like Fu who probably served his father, I would nkt fear such a young kid of a King. His words has no effect.
Most Dramatic Scenes : **To be filled in later **
Most Favourite Scenes : **To be filled in later**
Some Complaints : The hairstyles of Huai Yu. One second there's some hair on her forehead, (they call that bangs right?), in the same scene a minute later no such hair, or change of hairstyle. No consistencies.
The whole series, at first was remiscent of HZGG I, mostly outdoors but mater into the series, all sets. Too fake, too cheap, too much echo and too unpleasant looking.
The dressings, very unimaginative. What poor dreassings they have.
The dialogue at one scene is plain stupid. I could not believe they could write such a thing. When Huai Yu's first mistake that almost caused the life of the Chen family's only son, the brother took the blame and was arrested. The parenst did nothing because Huai Yu's secret identity must not be told and thye feel obligated to the dead MIng general who spared Fu's life, to at least ensure Huai Yu's well being. Huai Yu could not understand why the paremts did nothing to go against the Chens. So she said, very emotionally, ;
" How can you let big brother be hurt?Be caught? How can you love me so much and not love him as much? He is your own son too?! He is of same blood, how can you play favouritism? "
I thought, wow almost the most stupidest dialogue I have every heard.
The Chen family.What's their problem? I understand their anger but after like 20 episodes of it, i am getting bored with this one sided hatred. Boring.
The relations, almost incestious. In Chinese family you can't marry your father's side's family, because considered brothers/sisters. In this series, Chen Yuen is the niece of the Queen, and she calls her Ku-Ma meaning father's sister. So the Mr Chen's sister is the Empress Dowager the queen. And so the King is a Tong-Brother meaning brother of the father's side's relations. They're first cousin and in chinese world first cousins cannot marry first cousins but Chen Yuen married the King. A bit strange here.
Again the realtions. When Chen family demanded for Fu's son for what happened to Chen's son, The Fu family resisted and the mother even wnet on a screaming match with Mr Fu, saying things like we are from the same noble ranks, I am not afraid of you, we can go to the King, blah blah blah. Strange. Because from what I could observe, the King calls Mrs Fu his mursing nanny (I think), whilst we know Mr Chen's sister is the Empress Dowager. That's totally differenr rank. You see, I shall be clearer;
Empress Dowager - Chen's sister & Mrs Fu - Perhaps some aunt or nursing
Concubine Yuen - Chen's daughter nanny to the King
The King - Chen's nephew & No other relations in the Imperial palace.
Doesn't that kinda tell you who has more influence and power to exert? So what Mrs Fu said is wrong in real life because in blood, Chen family is closer to the King. realy does not matter that if Huai Yu became the concubine because the Empress Dowager herself is a direct realations of Mr Chen. Do you gte my point? It's just so unbelievable.
Eric Suen's voice was dubbed. My question is WHY?! He could sing, and for someone who could sing so well, surely he has a nice voice. Maybe they're trying to make his voice a bit manly but for such a useless king, why depend on the surface thing? I just do nto understand it. Ruby Lin was dubbed, Sou You Peng was dubbed, perhaps that was a right decision but a voice like Charmaine Sheh and Anne Heong was never ever dubbed. Very strange.
I hate it when a character tries to talk but was reluctant and the other had to ask many many times before the "ahh..ah..uhh.ahh.uhh." turned into a proper answer. In this series there's plenty of such scenes and I hate it. Wanna speak speak lar, but nooooooo.... must "ahh...uhh", the the person will ask "what?:.."ahhh...uhh", and then "What?!Just say it"...and the proper answer will come out but before she/he could finish the sentence, there will be some dramatic looks at the aprt of the listen-ee.Boringly long scenes.
Overacting by the actress that played Huai Yu. When she is suppsoedly angry, some tried to hold her but she'll struggle whilst speak her lines and stuggle for the longest time. i thought she knew kung fu.
There was one scene where Mrs Fu hated Huai Yu for eloping with Wu and putting the whole family on the danger list.She ran to the altar where they gave their respect for the dead Ming General and she cried, screamed, kicked. Sad I know I feel her anger but for 20 minutes would be over done don't you think? And what's with the husband pushing the wife away and picking up the dead general's head with the most care? i mean that's just plain silly. i thought the dead general may have saved his life countless of times therefore he was grateful but spared his life only once what? Moreover it was war time man, they were supposed to kill each other for the country! I know I am mean and cruel but frankly, how many can this Mr Fu respect for all the Ming Generals that spared his life? Imagine if it was the Ming King that spared his life,so what would he do? Be a traitor for his own gratefullness? In war there's no time to be grateful man!
Mrs Fu, sometimes loves Huai Yu sometimes hate Huai Yu. I do not understand which is her stand. the way the actress portrayed this character, it's more like she hates Huai Yu for being such a pest but try very hard to treat her nice because hubby asks her too. It's like she's faking her love for Huai Yu, but yet some scenes she would forgive her and hug her, but teh forgiveness looked like it was forced. I really do not understand this character, but i would undertsand why she would hate Huai Yu and almost disowned her because of what happened to her real child, Fu Lung.
Why can't they be more consistent about the titles? One minute its Gege, next it's Gong Zhu. I mean it's the same thing, only in Han they call Princesses Gong Zhus whilst in Manchurian Qing, they call them Gege. But this series is in the Qing Dynasty, no longer the Hans, and thye are all supposed to be Qing nobles, so why Huai Yu is at one minute Gong Zhu and at another Gege? And this apply to how they call Jing Ling also, which could be so annoying and misleading at the same time.
Biggest Complaint : Does this series wants to be a comedy, drama or a little of both? Because the real reason why I hated this series so much , paart from the script would be the special effect sounds, like " Bing...boing...doing..." sounds. Sure it's cute if it is blasted to us during cute moments but not when there's big big drama going on and there's these sounds. It ain't cute no more but plain annoying, irritating and stupid! So what does this series want to be? because I find it to be unfocussed, thanks to these sounds. It's just plain stupid man.....
Best Performances : First of all, everybody is good, but impared by a very illogical, overly too long winded and poorly written script. they did their best but I see so much inconsistencies especially in the character of Chen Yuen.The actress that played Chen Yuen is a fine actress with a character with no focus. A bit confusing character.
Liu Xue Hua who will appear at the end of the first 30 episodes is always good, though older now. Much much older, but she is obviously younger than the Empress Dowager but she is playing somebody older. Strange casting decision.
The actress that played Chen Ying has this classic demeanour of a weak and soft spoken and mid mannered girl. But look carefully and her character is stronger than you think, though too preoccupied with love.
Every other actor is good though their characters no good.
Bad Performances : Princess Jing Ling. Cant' stand her interpretation of her role.
Ching Ching also. For reasons, please read somwhere above.
Eric Suen. The way he plays the King, he is much too weak.He is an ok actor with limited expressions. he should stick to singing because he sings really well, but as an actor he is lacking the ommph. Moreover he is so thin, he looks more like a starving young King than a regal young King.I believe his character's weaknesses is brought about by his inability to convey the King's stand to us thus making the character indecisive and also because it was porrly written and surrounded by other equally poorly written role. I find his character unappealing and unkingly like. A very dissapointing performance by an actor but I must say, ok performance for a singer. Actually he is ok but i am demanding too much because his face is in every single scene.
Can't quite rate her peformance : Jia Yu Cheng, the girl that played Huai Yu. I saw her real hairdo and face the other day and was amazed by her cute and fresh face, something I could not see in Huai Yu. Her acting is good, she could convey the stubborness and the vivacious atitude of Huai Yu but I doubt she wanted her cute character to be said as annoying, but she was annoying. There's something not quite right with her character but she did the best with what she has. First of all, she is a very pretty girl, not drop dead gorgeous but pretty, with a very very charming smile and extremely happy eyes. Even whe she is not smiling, her eyes is twinkling and "smiling" happily. I like that in her and very rare to see such a happy eyes and smiles, more rare in HK and Malaysia. So naturally she is a pretty and energetic looking young girl. But i could feel all that energy on Huai Yu because Huai yu herself is a wrong character to start with. I hope this actress, though became famous will this role will seek a role that she could bring out the best, and with a great script I have no doubt she will be much more than a star, she will be a respected actress, something that's not easy to do with Qiong yau type of series but she will manage because she is a very pretty lady.However I want to note that later into the series where she lost quite a substantial amount of weight and coloured her hair brown, she looked haggard and lost that sparkle in here eyes. I hope to see that sparkle in her eyes. Even Ruby Lin's or Vicky Zhao do not have such happy and smiling eyes. A great pity but I guess you will stull like this series. Maybe I am growing out of these kinda series because I am beginning to see more faults in such series and therefore the entertainment value is lost in me. By the way, she did not even try to put on a Beijing accent. Actually everybody in this series did not even try to put on any accent, but nice voices though.
Is It Worth All The Hoop-La about it : Which is very different from is it worth renting, because this series was a hit, not mega but still a hit. They all became household names. I mean if you like such a series then I guess I can see what's all the hoop la about it.
Is It Worth Renting/Buying : Some might want to buy the VCDs, like a friend of mine did and gave me half of the VCDs as a congratulatory gift, that I like to thank Miss Mary Chong for her over-generous gift. But sad to say, which i told her about it, from the first episode onwards, this series failed to capture my attention. I fast forwarded most of it, though you may notice some blanks have yet to be filled in above because I want to rewatch those scenes and find some dramatic/sad sacenes in it, perhaps this series may have its hidden charm, but I just can't see it. When I thought it was 30 epsiodes long, I was already bored, until I saw the 30th episode and was told that it will only end in about 80 episodes, I feel like this will be a really draggy show, because it was already draggy as it is. It has a policy of one event, 3 episodes long, so you can guess how slow this could be. Maybe I am prejudiced because the main story itself was to me the most ridiculous plot, perhaps I am trying to be too logical here. If I just take it as it is, as for entertainment value, still I do not feel entertained because this series, in Malay I shall call it "tak habis-habis punya" , meaning "Never end one?!", or in proper English, the "Never ending story". After a while, I get tired of the love stories because I hate a man that can't stand up for his own problems, crying, begging, the love stories in here are too dificult to understand but easily solved. they try to put in so much drama in a plot that could be much more politically driven but they emphasised so much in trying to have us love Huai Yu that after a while, I think none of us will be bothered, because this is a series all about love. To have too much of a complicated love affairs like Gallen sleeping with all the young women in ATE is boring, and yet to have one couple throughout the series is also boring, so I guess there must be a balance somewhere. perhaps I am a cynical in love, but frankly, I do not see how or when they fell for each other, I do not even feel for them because I personally feel the real Kang Xi would ahev just shut his mother up by being really politely stern about his wants and just marry this girl. But the idea that she is a Ming princess was meant to add a little bit of complications of them being together, but the emphasis is not there. That is why I do not like this series and I personally feel it has one of the weakest and most tiring script for year 2000.
Interesting Facts : None about this series. But about the Subject Matter of this series, plenty. I am sure you have read my info part in Duke Of Mountdeer in TVB section, or any of the costume drama reviews that I ahve wrote a bit about Ching Dynasty and Ming Dynasty. I referred to books, some may adopt some fiction or guessing work, but all entirely accurate to my knowledge which is not much. I could try to find the real truth about all these dynasties but then Britannica has all of it, so why not go there and do a comparison of what everybody wrote about the Kings. Because The Ching and Ming was not too long ago, at least historically, I could say whatever i am writing here has a great blend of fiction and fact. they all existed, but not Huai Yu I guess. So here goes. A bit different emphasis here.
Ming Dynasty - The fall of it actually. I was told there was a Wu San Gwei(Ng Sam Gwai) but i will not touch on that. But I am sure you're confused too, who the heck is Chor Wong? I guess he could be the almost King between the fall of the Ming and the rise of the Ching. I do not know but I will add it in here once I get the correct info.I hate being wrong, it could eb so embarrasing you know.
Anyway, we all know the first Ming Emperor was called Chu Yuen Jeong, in cantonese, froma peasant background and very ugly guy who loved to eat tofu. The last emperor, which would be the character of Huai Yu's dad, was the 17th Emperor called , in mandarin Zhu Youjian, from 1610 to 1644, 1644 being the last Ming year so to speak. He was the fifth son of the previous King, and tried very hard to save his Kingdom by diminishing the Eunuch's powers, find good Generals and firing the bad ones. But unfortunately, during his first year, there was a severe famine, which many people died of hunger. as a King, he reduced his intake of food, amongst others as a show of support but never really imposed less taxes. Therefore people were unhappy. In 1644, a man by the name of LiZicheng( a character that you'll see in Duke Of Mountdeer TVb version, that monk called Lei Chi Sing, Ah Oh's real father) was pronounced as a King, and ordered for our King to surrender his dynasty to this supposed Great Shun. The King issued a decree acknowledging his poor judgement as a King and poor administration. But that new King refused to let go and in two days, the armies arrived at the capital of Beijing, where officials surrendered, even opened the door for the rebels. The King then ordered for all his concubines and Empress to kill themselves, and tried(rumour has it) to kill his daughter but chopped her left had instead( and thus the myth of Princess Cheung Ping). Then the King climbed to Meishan hill, wrote a suicide note begging the new King to spare his people and claiming his shame in facing his ancestors in the after life, took of his crown, covered his face with his long hair and hung himself. But runour has it that later, the new regime found 1.8 Billion teals of gold in the Imperial Storehouse. So that would amke him a hypocrite, but nevetheless he tried but he was at the end a weak and unfocussed King. By the way, he was only 34 when he died.
Oh yeah, I think Chor Wong IS Lee Chin Sing as mentioned above.
Ching Dynasty - The founder of Ching Dynasty was not KKang Xi's father, eh would be the First Ching in beijing so to speak. The first was Nurhachi(1559-1626), with the well known surname of Aixinjueluo(Ai San Gwok Loh), a chief of a minority group. He knew Han language and when he was 25, he rose to power and fought against his enemy who had assisted the Ming to kill his grandpa and father. And in the end, he started the lifetime war against the Ming for his people's humiliation, and hatred against the Ming. He was defeated later and died of grief at the age of 67.
He 8th son, Huantaiji(1592-1643) took over and he was the one who adopted Manchu as the name of his natinality and changed the rpevious Dynastis name of Jin to Ching, as another Jin invaded Cnetral China and was unpopular there. Though the words may be pronounced and written the same in Manchurian but in Han, its a bit different. And it was said that the word Ching meant water whilst Ming implied fire,so water can put out fire. Anyway the war continued but he fell ill and died at the age of 51.
Now the first Ching to be in Beijing was Kang Xi's father, Fulin(1638-1661), where there was no named heir by teh previous King, so the eldest and the younger brother chose the 9th brother, Fulin to be King, later known as ShiZu or ShunZhi. Because by that time Ming was already down, the regent, big brother of Fulin marched the army and occupied Beijing and ruled over China. The young King, instead of killing the Hans put Hans officials in important posts despite some efforts to curtail the Han cultures. He also erected a tablet to commemorate the dead Ming King as a sign of respect, followed the way of teh Ming's administration, and used both Han and Manchu words in coins. He also suppressed the Anti-Ching by forcing everybody to save their head like the Ching. If not they will be hanged. However, this visionary King died when he was only 23 of illness. imagine if he had lived longer.
Now we finally come to our hero of this series, Kang Xi, but was known as Xuanye which later adopted the name of Sheng Zu but popularly known as Kang Xi. He was the 3rd son of the young king that died and the only reason why this 7 year old Prince could be King because he had already had smallpox, and survived whilst his two elder brothers had yet to have the disease so the King that eventually died of small pox named this young child to be King because he was sure he would survive. But because he was too young, several people were named to assist him, but later they tried to overthrow him. Do refer to my Duke Of Mountdeer Review for more on this. Letr in life, Kang Xi wanted to unify the country, abolished vassal states ruled by Wu San Gwei(Wu Ying Xiong's father in this series), Shang Kexi and Geng Jingzhong. They rebelled against him but this 19 year old Chief Commander spent the next 8 years suppressing them,and won, then took over Taiwan(thus the claim that Taiwan was part of China before Japan took over the administration for hundreds of years, which will explain why Taiwanese are so Japanese in designs,and everything else, in fact they hated the Mainland more than the Japanese during WWII), went to war gaianst the approching Russians and won, but of course the Tsar(Russian King) talked peace and became peaceful nations, stopped much more rebellions, further unified china and streghtening the Ching Dynasty and gaining respect from the Hans, created a basis for the foundations of teh prosperity of the Ching later on for decades (until the end of Qian Long though, rebellions rose again and people were not happy again because of corruptions, favouritism and weak Kings), studied and propogated Confusionism, published books whilst at the same time suppressing anti-Ching scholars. He was also the King with many many children and married many many different natinalities of wives and concubines, loved his Empress very very much and died of illness at 1722 at the age of 69. He was succeded by his fourth son, YingZheng(Yong Zheng) who rumour had it that he killed his father for the throne. For more refer to my Secret Battle Of The Majesties review in ATV, and for Qian Lung, you could try my HZGG I/II review or my review of TVB's War and Remembrance. These 3 Kings are the most seen characters in HK/Chinese TV by the way, because they're nearer to us in history, lots of conflict, great fashions and because well, Qiong Yau.
So now let me ask you this; Does our Eric Suen's Kang Xi any of the above described real King? Surely the real Kang Xi did not have a busy body for a mother which was why he could rule by his own rules and succeeded in laying down the foundations for the Cing. If you notice in TV, Kang Xi is always portrayed as learned though yong, dignified, respected, reasonable, strong,determined and well respected thanks to Jin Yong's Duke Of Mountdeer, whilst YinG Zheng as conniving scheming but nevertheless brilliant ruler, whilst Qian Lung as the wise, all knowing, well respected and well loved King, a little of Kang Xi and Ying Zheng. But in THIS series, our Kang Xi....you know what just read what I have above and you'll understand why I find this character to be a wimp.Actually almost all men in this series are wimps.
By the way, having so much things on his mind, would he have time to play cupid for matters that aren't that important, like in this series? Exactly....you're saying the same answer right? No? Alright, I guess no matter what I say, you'll still like this series. I don't.
By the way, the character of Princess Jing Ling will be the character you'll see in Duke Of Mountdeer played by Ruby Lin or the TVB version played by Rain Lau. They have a character like Wu Ying Xiong there but a villian of course. In here we do not see Wei XIao Bao(Wai Siu Bo) though. A pity because this is the character that in a way taught the King how to rule the country, like his advisor though our King is already smart enough to think on his own. In this series...well, see above.
Interesting Comparisons : It is so similiar to HZGG I and even HZGG II, bu HZGG I is a cut above this series because it deals with a very sentimental and heart wrenching issue, the wants to a parental love. Little Swallow was never loved by a parent, and Zhi Wei seeked such love from a father that never knew she existed. When there was a mistaken identity, you almost feel sorry for Zhi Wei and yet you feel happy for Little Swallow. This is a perfect exmple about a series that could make us fall in love with the characters and feel for them in like 20 plus episodes. It wasn't too long, but it was long enough to say what they wanted to say, which was perfect. It was funny, charming and almost poignant, which is why HZGG I will be my basis to compare all such simliar storuline. Frankly, Vicky Zhao was stunningly beautiful there, she was captivating and mesmerising with her big big eyes and funny demeanours, that she was indeed cute, whilst Zhi Wei could be your Chen Ying, soft sopekn with a kind heart, but Zhi Wei is a cut above Chen Ying because though she may be weak physically, but you can never push her around because she is one determined young woman. And she was beautiful too. HZGG I is a very charming series that unfortunately, this rpesent series tries very hard but could not achieve it all. Moreover, though both characters are as vivacious, energetic and sometimes overboard with their actions, Little Swallow is cuter because Vicky Zhao made her cuter. And the villian of a Queen in HZGG was a character that you could hate but at the same time emphatise with her, because sh has her reasons, whilst Concubine Yuen...well her character is very poorly written.
But hey, no series can be worse than HZGG II as a sequal, though the Plum Flower Series I: Tattoed Flower was really really bad. I guess both as bad then.
The Ending : Which will be apt for me to tell you the ending at the end of this review. Well, I have yet to reach there but just to tell you anyway, if you're really curious and can't wait to finish the series and wait for the me to finish this series, according to my friend Mary, she said;
"The King ordered Concubine Yuen to kill herself and she did by hanging, Princess Huai Yu knew of her past and wanted to kill the King for revenge but decided against it when she remembered how well he treated her and how good a king he is, and she let go of all the hatred and the past, and forgave him and went back to him and lived happily ever after".
If you ask me, if that's the ending, this is really PURE FICTION.
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