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[Current Mainland Chinese Drama 2018] The Story of Ming Lan 庶女明兰传 / 知否?知否?应是绿肥红瘦

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5 minutes ago, Golden Flower said:

 

The storyline and scenes of QH and ML are potrayed totally different from the book and like I mentioned above, it did not consistently reflect the time period in every scenes. Since they also cut a lot of childhood scenes and put some childhood scenes in later as adult scenes, a few scenes became a little forced and did not potray well of QH's extreme fondness and attachment to ML. ML also loves QH as it became obvious as of recent episodes and upcoming epi 27 as (1) she admitted to grandmom how happy she is when QH told her he requested his mom to ask for ML and they're proposing marriage at CB's wedding (2) she told her maid that she believed in QH's words telling her he would persuade his mom and propose marriage when she came back and that she would like to give him another chance (3) she struggled to catch the doll that QH's gave to her even as she was drowning (4) she sleeps with the doll and it is her precious items (she gets scared of breaking it when Pin Lan took the doll away) (5) epi 26, she told her grandmom that she is willing to deal with the difficulty she might face with QH's controlling and powerful mom as QH is fighting so much for her. She does not even listen to grandmom (6) epi 26, she was eager to meet QH at Lantern Festival and told QH's man servant that she would wait for him as long as he is true to her (7) epi 27 preview, she was so happy to see tired QH and told him that she would always remember him even if he never gets to marry her. 

However, ZLY's potral of ML's feelings in the beginning was not on point, causing us confusion and creating a lot of debates of ML not liking QH, not being in love with QH and just being polite not to say "I do not like you". I'm not sure it was script or directing or ZLY's interpretation of the scenes but she could have subtle expression in her eyes and face of how delighted and happy she was when QH told her she would ask for her hand in marriage as his main wife in the temple. She made suprised exclamation but her back was facing QH when she did that and her face was down most of the time during the entire scene while listening to QH. She could make her eyes a little sad when she was making the brain talk during the scene. On the other hand, ZYL/QH was making great eyes and facial expressions of smack here and there portraying someone who is totally love-struck and filled with longings. So, this entire scene and the scene of conversation during Polo match gave us impression that QH was the one who is bothering ML. Actually, it is very obvious ML likes QH when she was making kneepad for him and during the conversation with grandmom before exam result comes out. She just denied giving QH knee pads as grandmom reminded her of QH's mom and their status difference. ZLY was mostly smiling during the scene when QH came to see her at another city and gave her the doll. Her eyes have no expression. If ML's eyes showed that she was lying and feels sad to lie to QH while saying the right logics to QH, those three scenes would have been better and audience might not feel QH is the only one who is pushing and being inconsiderate. In order for a guy to continue, there needs to have some signal. He avoided her many days after she gave away his pens and asked her maid to tell him to stop sending gifts. However, her knee pads and ingot shape stich in knee pads gave him encouragement to forcefully pursue her. 

Please do not hate me for pointing out ZLY’s acting. I like her in a lot of her other dramas like Lu Zhen, Shan Shan, princess agent but I think she still needs to work on her subtle emotional expressions with eyes and facial movements. I think she is good at characters who are resilient, being survivors and being strong but not good enough yet for characters being calculative, villain pretending to be good which require a lot of subtle facial and eyes expressions. 

I think the drama writers are also making GTY character a lot better than in the book to make funservice. All of his bad behavior (drinking, spending time at plays, brothels, casinos) except having Ma Niang and two kids were only mentioned without actually being shown as well as his idle wondering days. He was not even supposed to be attending school and never took any imperial exam. He was only good at martial arts since he was personally trained by his father. In the drama, he was even supposed to get third place in the imperial exam and only failed because emperor did not allow him to pass since he critized emperor’s punishment for a scholar. In the book, it was QH who was close to CB since they’re only a year apart not GTY. GTY is a few years older than CB. 

 

I think among all three leads, ZYL is the one with best ability in making subtle eyes and facial expressions. I do not see much eyes expression from FSF either though his facial expressions during face-off time with Maniang was good. However, his face should have been calmer and more normal when he first walked into the house to confront Maniang. A little bit of anger was already obvious on his face since he walked in and not normal facial expression he used when he talked to Maniang before. 

 

Again I'm not making a comparison with a book I've never read. But based on the series that I've watched, l'd beg to differ. 

ML is a character that wears a mask, and not many gets to see her true self. Underneath the mask, lies someone that's wise beyond her years, highly intelligent and full of wisdom, yet with no experience in love. But that is a side of her that until recently, only grandma knows of. 

With everyone else, she simply doesn't show what she feels. 

But the show, and ZLY did a pretty solid job to show that ML does indeed like QH, with her treasuring the pen and now the figurine. And she did have a bad heartbreak that even XiaoTao saw her crying. But that's something that she would never show QH, or the world. 

However, there were moments that we see this 15 yo clearly affected by him and his words, and it shows in her actions, or inactions. 

There were short moments where I could feel her mask coming off, only for her to put a brave face and put it back on again very shortly after. 

Just my 2 cents worth.

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2 hours ago, Lunkera said:

@nnnju Also didn't they change which dynasty it is compared to the novel? maybe i remember incorrectly. Anyway, it's good that it is in the song dynasty, since it lasted quite a while. Since it's in the northern song it is during the first half of song dynasty. I tend to feel depressed if the dynasty fall short after the novel story when it's displayed in the past rather than an alternate world.

Actually I can't remember that the author explicitly say it was in Ming Dynasty. It was just ML who as a time traveler made her conclusion that it is an era similar to the Ming Dynasty she knew. The politics in the book also did not reflect any real events in the Ming Dynasty. I guess it is the decision of the production team and the script writers to change it. I like it too. There were not so many historical cdramas about the Song Dynasty. Very refreshing.   

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I think it was clear from LZY acting that she liked him. I just think it isn't true love, just puppy love. They don't know each other, they don't get each other. It's a first love, tender and sweet but it wouldn't survive the real life and its hard moment. And this even if she got to be first wife. Here their relationship appeared doomed from the start.

So she should have rejected him as in the book, it was the smart choice and she knew it too. Rationally it was a mistake and she acknowledged it with GTY. but here she had feelings.

However they developed these feelings just for the drama because in the book Minglan was never attached to him-  But if he had to be the 2ndlead, Minglan should have had feelings.

 

I agree that they are improving GTY. I liked him in the book despite his mistakes, but I guess they couldn't show everything if they wanted the viewers to accept ihim as a viable choice. It's the same reason why GTY is introduced in the beginning. A drama has a different dynamic.

 

I think the show had to make some different choices because it wouldn't have worked if it was kept faithful to the book. However based on the show, I don't consider QH smart or and I think he should have considered all the circumstances and what ML said. And he should have protected her.

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2 hours ago, leeza77 said:

Welcome @nnnju. Glad that you can read chinese. U Might be our guidance as majority of us are non chinese speaker. Godsend. :D

Thank you! I feel very comfortable here as well. :-D But you guys are so fast in posting. One day away, 4, 5 more pages already. Hard to catch up. lol. Sure. just @me if any novel related issues, I can check for you guys. :-)

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12 minutes ago, m0us3y said:

Again I'm not making a comparison with a book I've never read. But based on the series that I've watched, l'd beg to differ. 

ML is a character that wears a mask, and not many gets to see her true self. Underneath the mask, lies someone that's wise beyond her years, highly intelligent and full of wisdom, yet with no experience in love. But that is a side of her that until recently, only grandma knows of. 

With everyone else, she simply doesn't show what she feels. 

But the show, and ZLY did a pretty solid job to show that ML does indeed like QH, with her treasuring the pen and now the figurine. And she did have a bad heartbreak that even XiaoTao saw her crying. But that's something that she would never show QH, or the world. 

However, there were moments that we see this 15 yo clearly affected by him and his words, and it shows in her actions, or inactions. 

There were short moments where I could feel her mask coming off, only for her to put a brave face and put it back on again very shortly after. 

Just my 2 cents worth.

I agree with your interpretation of ML character 

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6 hours ago, zenya22 said:

Ep 23: My favorite scene: ML and GTY strolling the beach at dusk before she left the camp of the sea folks to reunite with her grandma and the rest of her relatives at the Sheng ancestral home. It is as if they had never been apart and they just picked up from where they left off many years ago when GTY helped the 8 year old ML bring the doctor to her ailing mother and then became friends. They were open and easy as they revealed their experience of prejudice and deceit from family members growing up, their means of coping derived from the strategems of war and experience itself. ML is reserved and does not bare her thoughts easily to anyone even with grandma (who can see through her) but not with GTY. Deep down she trusts GTY who in turn has no problem being himself with ML. They even talked about GTY's daughter and advised GTY about how to raise his daughter.  He told ML about Manniang, that ML was right about her and it was him who could not see it. These 2 are family, they are honest with each other. What they talked about, they probably would not easily talk about with other people. 

Just finished the 2 episodes with subs, and I totally agree with you on episode 23. 

Couldn't believe it myself, but I actually shed a tear when ML actually told GTY how the whole family just moved on while she lost her mom, yet she had to choose to survive hence she decided to just behave and be quiet.

That would be one thing that has been weighing in her heart, and could not say a word about, even to her beloved grandma. 

The whole conversation between the 2 was just so honest, so sincere, so heartfelt. 

 

And it does make me think..and wonder...that this is probably the ML underneath her mask. A side that not many has seen. And since she's always been the most well behaved girl with QH (and tried to keep her distance if I may add), doesnt that sorta show that QH doesn't really know ML, and if so, did he fall in love (hard) with someone he really do not truly know or understood?

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@zenya22 I have been withholding to comment for over two weeks and my comment became long. That’s why I put most of them including things related to book in spoiler. 

My main point was not being fair in people comparing QH and GTY in understanding ML and protecting ML. I’m just not too happy with drama writing and direction in creating QH and ML scenes. They took some scenes from book leaving a lot without including some explanations even as conversation and added some to create more scenes but that caused inconsistency with the time and making QH as immature and whiny with no character growth. I do understand they have to make changes to avoid time traveling, create more second male lead scenes, develop first love and heartache to create character development for ML as she was already an mature adult in the book. 

The drama writers could have included 1-2 childhood scenes showing closeness between QH and ML and QH’s mom fondness of ML when she was young like in the book while they added arrow throwing competition, getting doctors for ML’s mom and GTY’s grandfather funeral scenes for GTY. The writers made QH’s mom never met ML before and QH only sees ML during class since they were young. 

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@nnnju Yeah, most period dramas are before Song or during Qing dynasty. The drama being in Northern Song means that it's atleast like 150 years before Song falls. Which makes it alot nicer. I dont know which emperor rules at the moment since i haven't started watching yet if it's even mentioned. It's nice to see some different parts from the spoilers i have read. In episode 23 GTY says he will never go back to Gu Residence, which probably means that Rong won't be abused by the stepmom like she was in the novel since GTY left her with Nannies. I hate seeing children abused, but unfortunely it was pretty normal during those time periods, heck it's not that unusual even today.

Glad that you can escape from the fan wars atleast ^^

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2 hours ago, mrsyooknit said:

While I do feel for QH, I do think he made some big mistakes in how he asked for his family to accept Minglan. However, it wouldnt have mattered anyways since his family wouldnt consider her for main wife. And if she had managed that, she would have suffered a lot on his household. So I am ready for us to move past this storyline and I don't know if the doctor was portrayed better in the book but I really could care less about him in the drama. 

 

I saw some previews and I feel like GTY is looking at Minglan differently, but she doesnt seem equally interested. Is it just me?

 

In the book ML only realized that GTY liked her when she found out about his grand scheme to get her. Going to so much trouble, to put her family in a situation where they could only accept his proposal, that required some deep planning. Even granny acknowledged....how deep his mind must be to plan step by step like this to come inside our door.   

In the drama we might see ML feelings starting to change for GTY...since we are seeing his. And since in the drama they are spending more time together.

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10 minutes ago, Golden Flower said:

@zenya22 I have been withholding to comment for over two weeks and my comment became long. That’s why I put most of them including things related to book in spoiler. 

My main point was not being fair in people comparing QH and GTY in understanding ML and protecting ML. I’m just not too happy with drama writing and direction in creating QH and ML scenes. They took some scenes from book leaving a lot without including some explanations even as conversation and added some to create more scenes but that caused inconsistency with the time and making QH as immature and whiny with no character growth. I do understand they have to make changes to avoid time traveling, create more second male lead scenes, develop first love and heartache to create character development for ML as she was already an mature adult in the book. 

The drama writers could have included 1-2 childhood scenes showing closeness between QH and ML and QH’s mom fondness of ML when she was young like in the book while they added arrow throwing competition, getting doctors for ML’s mom and GTY’s grandfather funeral scenes for GTY. The writers made QH’s mom never met ML before and QH only sees ML during class since they were young. 

I think there might be character development for QH also. He was considered as weak at this point of time to give him reason for further development and strength. 

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Ep 25 ~

1) I love to see this lovng grandma & her sweet pretty grand daughter

 

2) what a cute kidnap scene :P

 

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Both in the book and in the movie, it is clear to this point that GTY aready had eyes on her, but ML still doesn't see him that way. She still considers him an elder that she can respect and be close to. GTY is actually 7-8 yrs older than ML and already had an eldest son from a concubine (which is very disrespecting to his future main wife and her family in that time period) so he is not within the potential husband pool.

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1 minute ago, Golden Flower said:

@zenya22 I have been withholding to comment for over two weeks and my comment became long. That’s why I put most of them including things related to book in spoiler. 

My main point was not being fair in people comparing QH and GTY in understanding ML and protecting ML. I’m just not too happy with drama writing and direction in creating QH and ML scenes. They took some scenes from book leaving a lot without including some explanations even as conversation and added some to create more scenes but that caused inconsistency with the time and making QH as immature and whiny with no character growth. I do understand they have to make changes to avoid time traveling, create more second male lead scenes, develop first love and heartache to create character development for ML as she was already an mature adult in the book. 

The drama writers could have included 1-2 childhood scenes showing closeness between QH and ML and QH’s mom fondness of ML when she was young like in the book while they added arrow throwing competition, getting doctors for ML’s mom and GTY’s grandfather funeral scenes for GTY. The writers made QH’s mom never met ML before and QH only sees ML during class since they were young. 

Since most of us commenting did not read the book our opinions are only based on the drama and even those who have read the book have different opinions of whom and why they agree or disagree with a character. Maybe as the drama progresses we will see an improved, grown up QH.

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@Golden Flower

28 minutes ago, Golden Flower said:

@zenya22 I have been withholding to comment for over two weeks and my comment became long. That’s why I put most of them including things related to book in spoiler. 

My main point was not being fair in people comparing QH and GTY in understanding ML and protecting ML. I’m just not too happy with drama writing and direction in creating QH and ML scenes. They took some scenes from book leaving a lot without including some explanations even as conversation and added some to create more scenes but that caused inconsistency with the time and making QH as immature and whiny with no character growth. I do understand they have to make changes to avoid time traveling, create more second male lead scenes, develop first love and heartache to create character development for ML as she was already an mature adult in the book. 

The drama writers could have included 1-2 childhood scenes showing closeness between QH and ML and QH’s mom fondness of ML when she was young like in the book while they added arrow throwing competition, getting doctors for ML’s mom and GTY’s grandfather funeral scenes for GTY. The writers made QH’s mom never met ML before and QH only sees ML during class since they were young. 

Although I have been happy so far with the adaptation and its changes, I do have to agree with you on feeling a bit disappointed with some of ML and QH parts. I think having one more episode focusing on the childhood scenes with ML and QH meeting would have been nicer and we could have seen their relationship develop to what it is now. QH appeared way more cheeky in the book :w00t: from what I have read with the English translations too. Additionally, QH's mother seemed less haughty (?) in the novel but I guess the drama writers had to tweak her a bit to suit the current characterisation of QH. I'm curious to see how QH will develop then in future episodes. I wish the drama included some more of the sweet scenes from the novel though I'm glad they did add new GTY parts.

Spoiler

For example of sweet scenes was when ML went fishing and cooked food for her grandma. Then QH came along (invited by grandma) and ate the meal too even though ML wasn't too happy about it since it was specially made for her and grandma <_<.  Later ML pretended the other fish/turtle weren't ready for cooking to make QH go away but in the end, he worked around it to be invited for another meal :lol:

 

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I want to explain to you why the fact that GTY already had an eldest son is looking so bad for him. During this time period, normally the family's title and assets would go to the legitimate son. However the eldest son also held certain influence in the household bc he had a few years' advantage and the title 'big brother' (which means he was to be respected by his younger brothers). If the illegitimate eldest son turned out to be a capable man, climbed up in the social ladder he may use his connections and his title as the eldest son to fight for the family title and fortune. That's why in families with status, a concubine would not be allowed to have children before the main wife had produced an heir, or only if the main wife couldn't produce an heir after a few years of marriage. If a man accidentally got his maid pregnant before he got married, the maid would be forced to have an abortion. That's why in the Sheng family, although ML's father favoured Lin concubine, both of his eldest son and daughter were from his main wife. That can also explain why Manniang took the son not the daughter, bc the son was much more important. A man who already had an eldest son would not be able to marry a lady from the same status, since her family would not agree to take that risk. He would have to marry someone from a lower status.

 

It's lucky for GTY later he turned out to become the new Emperor's favourite, or else there's no way his scheme would work.

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4 hours ago, zenya22 said:

The societal/family norms of the time has been explained thoroughly by other posters....

As for the mother, no one said she was manipulative and it may not have been her intention to shame the Shengs but it is the perspective of the characters of the Sheng house who perceived what she did as slight to their honor. Granny and Big Mama said, "that princess looked down on us"

@zenya22 Although I quoted one of the recent posts, I was not commenting solely on that post. There are many posts from a few days ago saying QH’s mom being cunning, manipulative and trying to shame the grandmom and I was trying to point out that it is not the case and the situation will not turn out really bad making grandmom angry if ML and her grandmom did not hear wrong information from QH in advance that his parents would propose ML’s hands. 

What I meant was the drama did not explain/portray well the societal/family norms of the time, not the posters in the thread. Imo, If someone has to explain to viewers even if they’re none native speakers what is going on in a long drama, the drama is not doing a great job. Before the scene where ML telling grandmom about QH’s parents coming to propose for her during CB’s wedding, there were many posts in the thread debating/arguing whether ML likes QH or just being polite to him and didn’t like him at all like in the book. My previous comments were related to those posts (as I just started posting today though have been reading most of the posts in the thread) since it is very obvious in the drama the fact that ML likes QH since she got his two brushes and fruits though her rational mind was preventing her to acknowledge her feelings and the drama is heading towards first love and heartbreak.

Sorry to make some of you confused as I’m writing comments related to old posts that I hold up for over two weeks.

 

 

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2 hours ago, zenya22 said:

Since most of us commenting did not read the book our opinions are only based on the drama and even those who have read the book have different opinions of whom and why they agree or disagree with a character. Maybe as the drama progresses we will see an improved, grown up QH.

I agree. I think that we’ll get to see QH’s character growth as the drama unfolds because there are a couple of scenes in the trailers that shows a different view of him. 

Spoiler

Poor thing watched his mom order his loyal servant beat to death.

 

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I just feel I'm so lucky that I did not board the ship of QH/ML in both the book and the drama. lol. That princess as mother-in-law just shakes away all my possible romance thinking between them. Actually I was nearly on the boat of Dr. He and ML in the book but was early enough to sense something odd and abandoned the ship before it sank. hahahaha.

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8 minutes ago, nnnju said:

I just feel I'm so lucky that I did not board the ship of QH/ML in both the book and the drama. lol. That princess as mother-in-law just shakes away all my possible romance thinking between them. Actually I was nearly on the boat of Dr. He and ML in the book but was early enough to sense something odd and abandoned the ship before it sank. hahahaha.

Spoiler

Well tonight Gty did offer to help him getting together with ML, but he didn't accept the offer of help from gty. Thus, he lost ML and regret it. 

 

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