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
20 episodes/10 tapes

Who’s in it
Louis Koo,Yung Hung,Ho Po Sang, and the veteran actor where his name is Da-Wei.

What’s it about
Imperial struggle for the ultimate power: the THRONE(in China during 1700’s)

Really,what’ the plot
Well, very interesting really. It tells of two princes, one the 4th prince who wants to be king called Wang Chau(Ho Po Sang) aided by his 17th uncle and another, 4th prince, Wang Lik(Louis Koo) who is already destined to be king coz his father, Emporer Yung-Cheng already appointed him as one in his will, t hat nobody knows where he hides it ,except his most trusted minister, Ngo Yi To. So a lot of schemes happened and along the way,Louis was kidnapped by Han dissidents, one of them being Siu Yoke(Yung Hung who can’t read and write chinese coz her WHOLE family though were great academicians were beheaded because of some jealous officials. So her Si Fu refused to teach her the Manchu texts.
Of course dear 4th prince liked her from the start coz he’s a bit flirtatious, taught her to read and write and from enemies, became friends became lovers. He was later rescued by a Han warrior who was tricked into saving him thinking he was the son of the King and his old love, Lui Sei Leong, who has died years and years ago. Actually, the 4th prince is the product from the genuine queen. Many many things happened and at last he became king, but being a young king he’s still vulnerable from the challenges of his brother. But after many many things happened in between, and out the competition and having Siu Yoke as his concubine, then there’s the problem of jealousy provided by his Queen(yes, he does have a wife when he was a prince).Then there’s the problem of Heaven and Earth Sect(Tin Dei Wui) who wants the Hans to be king instead of the Manchurians thins young king would have to choose between his kingdom, his love or his loyalty to one Han man who have helped him succeed his throne. This serials is basically an illustration of how great kings secured great kingdom; not honorable at all.

Any annoying factors
Siu Yoke’s sister (Dunno who played her) who was in love with Louis and tried many many ways to win his heart. But when she failed, she tired very very hard to destroy the girl who calls her sister who many many years. Bad bad woman.

Hate factors
Could be the above said woman, or it could be Louis as Emperor Kuen-Lung for the last episode .But come to think of it, what he did was the right solution to his ‘problems’. Which king would want his empire constantly threatened by annoying dissidents that has no power but authority but power from the support of the people? All great dynasty are built on bloodshed so instead we might say, such a bastard but then again….

Pity factors
Siu Yoke ,for believing her man till the end. All she gave was love and unconditional love, almost to the point where if she wanted to live with the king she would have to take some pill where if she used her kung-fu, she’ll die of poisoning. That’s what we call wrong judgement. But the King truly loved her but what is love when she had to endure the pain of seeing her friends die?

Cute factors
None whatsoever. This is a very serious drama.

Fave couple
None also.

Annoying couple
Not that I can think of.

Mismatched couple
Not from the plot but from the looks of their faces, Yung Hung and Louis. One looks more like his older sister than a teenaged girl. Should have been someone else to portray her naïve ways.

The award for Best Actor goes to
I must admit, Louis was excellent here. Not only does he make a very good looking king but because of how he interpreted his role of the king, you’ll forgive him for what he did at the end. Good acting from an actor not known for his acting skills. Quite rare mind you.

The award for, “Well, good try but not good enough” as an actor goes to
Yung Hung,who can’t really portray the youngness of her character, the naïve ways, the innocent ways. Maybe she’s too old. And the way she cries, really suffering for us the viewer .I would thing Charmaine Sheh would fit this role like a glove, but maybe she too is a bit too feminine.

The most dramatic change
To Ho Po Sang’s 2nd Prince. Once he was trying to wrestle the throne away from 4th prince but because of fear of death from the kung fu master, Da-Wei, he suddenly became obedient and nice brother. Of course it helps that the king forgave him but at the end ,so sad.!7th uncle should be the hate factor for his sleazy ways.

Fave scene
When Ngo Yi to opened the box containing only half of the will, and the rest was unknown where it is.2nd prince and his uncle already saw the will and was frustrated as to where the king kept the other half, not knowing that actually, it’s still in the same box. That’s what I call justice of ,life.

Least fave scene
The last scene with firing squad and before that I bet all of you would be cursing the king for being so stupid for believing his scheming uncle but actually, he has his plan. Least favorite simply because a lot of people ,who was actually on their way to save the king from the clutched of the uncle died ,and these are Han people too.

So,the verdict
Love it.

Really,do be honest
Really, loved it. This kind of stories make very very interesting serials. Of course do away with the high flying kung fu, and underneath is a story of the education of a young prince, and the sacrifice of a young king.A great serials that will make you think.

But it must’ve been better than…
All those imperial struggle stories from ATV? Nope.I must admit, ATV is much better in this kind of stories, much more drama and much more scheming queens and uncles and prince. But this one is also good enough.

Any redeeming factors
With Louis Koo as the king, all girls will wish they’re Siu Yoke.

Be serious now
Honest! I bet the king doesn’t look a bit like Louis .I’d rather betray my people if Louis the King say, Live with me in the palace. But then conscience gets the better of you.

Any interesting facts
Plenty. First of all, this is a fiction. Emporeer Kuen-Lung was indeed the son of the Empress and Emperor Yung-Zheng. He was not that handsome. He lived till his 80’s,the longest living king and boasted that he’s one of the great kings of China. But it is a known fact that his grandpa ,Emperor Hong Hei(from the Luk Ding Kei series) was much more respected and beloved by his people. The series showed that he disrespect his mum but in fact, this king is known for his over filial piety to his mum to the point of building some golden stupa to store her fallen hairs. There’s no Lui Sei Leong ,but there are Heaven and Earth sect. I don’t think there were Han girls as concubine and not every girl can be a concubine .Her father must have been a third rank minister before she can even step into the palace for consideration as a concubine of any rank .Maybe if no rank then anybody would be fine. There was no great kung fu master that assisted him and he wasn’t a young man when he became king but in actual fact, he was a little boy then, I think in his teens. And there was no Siu Yoke. So don’t believe everything you see on TV.


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