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[Mainland Chinese Drama 2018] The Rise of Phoenixes 凰权·弈天下

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2 hours ago, brutusthebear said:

I'm totally obsessed with this show as well! It has a nice balance between being romantic vs. political intrigue focused. Plus Chen Kun's acting is quite good. I was put off at first when he was  "acting naive" in front of his brothers, but perhaps his "act" was supposed to seem like an "act" for the viewer's benefit.  His acting really shines in the later episodes when he's just being himself. I recently watched Babylon Berlin, and like this show it has beautiful cinematography, morally grey characters, great acting,  and an engrossing plot too. You should check it out :)

I actually loved the "fakeness" of it. It was like he was mocking how fake everyone else was. Although everyone else looked sincere, they were as fake as him, but he doesn't even try to look sincere at all. I so enjoyed that. At episode one when he was introduced at Chengmin Palace, he was basically almost rolling his eyes as they heaped praises to each other. And then he came in and faked everything. I got hooked right away.

 

2 hours ago, brutusthebear said:

This is an interesting point. I took a look at Ninja Reflections' translation of the ending for the book and they had a happy ending where Ning Yi left the crown to his younger brother and went off to explore the world with Zhu Wei. I actually feel like that is more in line with his character. We see throughout the series that Ning Yi was primarily motivated by 1) getting justice for his wronged brother Ning Qiao and the people affected by the witchcraft incident and 2) reshaping the government to be fair and benefit the people via a strong justice system. Achieving # 2 doesn't necessarily have to mean that he needs to be emperor, especially since Ning Ji had the same goals and initially sought him out for advise on ruling (in the book). 

 

One thing that I'm confused about that I wanted to get the groups' opinion on: In episode 18, why did Ning Yi have to kill the stableman? Was it premeditated or just something he did out of rage? Did he not want the stableman to confess to the Emperor that he had planned for the stableman to kill the crown prince? Was it to punish the stableman for all his previous evil deeds (basically being a hitman for the crown prince)?  

I read that translation too and I loved it. However, the Ning Yi in the book doesn't seem like the exact same Ning Yi in the series. And also, the Ning Yi in the books became Emperor for some years first before he placed his brother on the throne. And even then he and Zhiwei were basically ruling behind he scenes and the prince was merely a puppet Emperor. I would have loved that ending in the series as well.

 

As for the stableman. Ning Yi lied when he said he was gonna let him live. He never had any intention of keeping him alive. "Eradicate all Evil" is his mantra, and the fact that the stableman allowed Zhiwei to live does not change anything. He was still a criminal. He was the leader of the Bloody Pagoda that Ning Chuan was controlling. Zhiwei was being naive. 

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17 hours ago, skibbies said:

 I always get the impression they wouldn't be allowed to go back to their territory unless the throne fight was settled, since you'd be able to gather your own army and people, but I don't know if this is accurate or where I got this idea from! 

 

...Re: soundtrack, it's officially available here https://y.qq.com/n/yqq/album/003vUii73ljNPo.html#stat=y_new.song.header.albumname which might be region locked now that I think about it, I'm not sure if they'll put it up on itunes or something anytime soon. (where else do people buy music? everyone I know stream OSTs)

 

The drama presumably just doesn't show people that aren't relevant. Ning Chuan and Ning Sheng are presumbly 30 or close to that, there's no way they wouldn't be married and have kids. Honestly Ning Yan should probably be married too, Ning Yi only gets away with it because he was imprisoned for 8 years. We only ever see/know like three of emperor's consort, 3rd, 5th and 10th prince's mother doesn't even get a name.

There's a comment early on (perhaps from Xin Ziyan or Zhuyin?) about how Ning Yi goes against the Emperor's command and leaves the palace to meet up with the army for an undisclosed reason; it is the official reason why Ning Yi was imprisoned prior to the start of RotP. So maybe the princes aren't allowed to leave the city because the Emperor is afraid they will rebel.

 

Alternately, it seems that the princes are all at court to curry favour with their temperamental father and gain supporters. This is where the power play is at. Ning Qi is initially disregarded by Ning Yi and Ning Sheng because he has been at the border and away from the centre of power for so long. Ning Qi's schemes against Feng Hao and Qiu Mingying succeed partially due to Ning Yi's absence; I don't think he would have been so bold if Ning Yi was still in the capital. 

 

I always thought the unnamed princes had died over the years. It's pretty common for children and wives to die young back in the day.

 

Plus if there was 8 years or more of unrest while Tiansheng and Dacheng were fighting it out, some princes might have died then too.

 

Thanks for putting up the link to the OST online. Google Translate started translating the lyrics into English as well, so that was kind of cool.

15 hours ago, niniandkun said:

OHHH I'm so happy to meet a fellow expanse fan!! But don't you think its a little too dry for those who aren't into sci-fi to begin with? ...from a mainstream perspective its very gritty. No humour, and the so called love interest holden has is so empty. No chemistry at all. I can watch and appreciate it because of everything else the show has going for it but I also empathize with the perspective that craves for a love story or a light hearted moment.

Having said that I don't like happy go lucky cheesy plots. I'd prefer a story to be drier and darker than happier and gooier.

 

Of the shows I don't regret watching there's two types ;

1) Where the story, plot and characters are pretty good. Its memorable, you feel like you've learned something or grown a bit after watching and are deeply satisfied. Basically well made shows that usually have good ratings.

2) Shows that enter your heart and you're obsessed with it irrationally. Most shows are in the above category but ROTP was one that really made my heart sing. I was so happy watching it I looked forward to it everyday and thought about it constantly! It's not very often that this happens. I have a thing for romance stories (even suggested ones) that happen in the background of a more important and serious cause or plot. I like this dynamic because the love story then has balance and a foundation to anchor itself to. Makes it more meaningful. Of course characters have to be complex too.

ROTP really hit a subjective sweet spot for me in this regard. I wish I could forget it and experience watching it again. :/

 

I'm watching Mr. Sunshine now. Its very beautiful visually (soundtrack too) and the story is progressing well (while holding my interest). I can't objectively pick out any faults but it doesn't make me feel for it the way ROTP did.

 

Last show I remember being super obsessed with was the Outlander series. Really recommend that, its very different from this but with good characters (especially ones played by Tobias Menzies) , also historical themed with a vague sci-fi element. The sci-fi aspect isn't very smart its just to drive the plot to its eccentric setting and the focus is how our characters are affected by it.

 

I really hope this show gets its due and ratings/reviews start to improve. IMDB rating is good. Maybe this will be a slow crawler. I wish there was more attention to this now that its over. I'm going to do what I can to personally spread the word online.

@niniandkun Glad to meet another Expanse fan! And an Outlander fan too! Yes, Expanse is a bit light on the romance. James Holden isn't the most enthralling protagonist, but I see the entire crew of the Rocinante providing the spectrum of morality, seriousness and humour required. You focus on them as a family, not as individual characters. 

 

Outlander does have that mix of historical drama, romance and politics. James Alexander Fraser and Claire Randall are two wonderful protagonists. Even Blackjack Randall is a well-fleshed out character.

 

However, Outlander is a bit raunchy (other side of the spectrum compared to RotP). Not too much of a fan of the later books from the Outlander series...really struggling to get through book 5, so I'm not sure how to show will play out in later seasons. So far, it's mostly faithful to the books.

 

Umm yeah, Expanse is my husband-friendly show, something I can watch with hubby, and Outlander my husband-unfriendly show, something I have to watch by myself. :P 

 

Totally agree with you on RotP. It has flaws but it gets under your skin. I also suspects the ability to binge watch 15 episodes over 2 days on Netflix has helped with world emersion - much harder to do this with other shows which only release one episode a week. :'( 

 

Since Netflix no longer has a reviews section, I've left one for RotP on Rotten Tomatoes. That's the usual place I go to find out whether something is half decent, so I figured others in my country will do the same. 

 

Mr Sunshine looks good...Saving it for when I have a bit more time on my hands... 

15 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

I feel exactly the same. And it is bad because he actually did the most damage, but unfortunately I feel sleepy when I see him on the screen. lol. I think it is the combination of the role itself and the actor playing it. They basically wanted to make a bland prince who is able to do so much damage. But as an actor, playing bland roles does not mean being bland on screen. You still have to own your screen time, otherwise people will fall asleep. It is weird that despite being a major player in like almost half of the show (more than any of the other princes), he still feels less significant to me.

Prince of Wei should have been bland on the outside but more of a schemer on the inside. He just seems so hollow and unsophisticated. How could Ning Yi be bothered by him at all? It's like a weird video game where the last boss battle is easier than the first..?

 

15 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

But since his mother "died" when he was eight, Ning Yi had lost his father's favor. So unless he got that title before he was eight... wow.

I suspect Ning Yi was his father's favourite son, being the son of the highly favoured Ya Le. I don't think he would have had to do much to get his title. Didn't his father stay at Ya Le's palace a lot while he was growing up? It would also explain why he never really bothered to suck up to his father as an adult; he was used to expecting paternal affection instead of fighting for it like everyone else in his family. In some ways, he is kind of like the male version of Shaoning, and would have been used to getting his own way if tragedy hadn't touched his mother, brother, and himself. 

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2 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

As for the stableman. Ning Yi lied when he said he was gonna let him live. He never had any intention of keeping him alive. "Eradicate all Evil" is his mantra, and the fact that the stableman allowed Zhiwei to live does not change anything. He was still a criminal. He was the leader of the Bloody Pagoda that Ning Chuan was controlling. Zhiwei was being naive. 

This is what I thought also. Ning Yi is all for 'Eradicate all evil' and he tries to explain to Zhiwei that the stableman isn't as innocent as she thinks. 

 

@brutusthebear Welcome to the club! And thanks for the tip on Babylon Berlin. 

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42 minutes ago, morganian said:

I suspect Ning Yi was his father's favourite son, being the son of the highly favoured Ya Le. I don't think he would have had to do much to get his title. Didn't his father stay at Ya Le's palace a lot while he was growing up? It would also explain why he never really bothered to suck up to his father as an adult; he was used to expecting paternal affection instead of fighting for it like everyone else in his family. In some ways, he is kind of like the male version of Shaoning, and would have been used to getting his own way if tragedy hadn't touched his mother, brother, and himself. 

I actually do not find this to be true. Maybe before his mother "died". But soon after that, his father changed. Especially because of the curse between him and Ning Yi. Ning YI has mentioned it before, how suddenly the emperor has ceased to care for him. He was even accusatory when he stated this. He felt like the moment his mother died, his father also abandoned him. He didn't understand anything at that time because he was simply told his mother fell ill. But after he grew up, he understood there was something more to it. This is the reason that the 3rd prince Ning Qiao became his only solace. At that time after his mother "died", Ning Qiao was the only one who showed him affection. After he got out of prison (the temple) he was still doubtful that his father still held some affection for him. There was still a little boy in Ning Yi who craved for his father's love. But then again, I find this true with all the other princes.

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If there's anything I really want to complain about regarding the drama it's there's not enough Ning Yi because he is, IMO the most intriguing character by far. He's an antihero that you want to root for and the terrifying thing is that even though he's somewhat bloodthirsty, his reasons for being so within his context are actually reasonable. 

I certainly understand why so much time was spent playing out the Crown Prince's and Duke Chang's arc. They were the main villains behind Ning Qiao's death and a major obstacle for NY as he plods along towards the throne. But as a villain, CP/NC was your run-of-the-mill typical ambitious, weasley, promoted-above-his-ability successor. "Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown" was one aspect of what drove him to plot and kill. He claimed to have Daddy issues which I believe but in the end that meant that he came across as an entitled spoilt brat throwing an extended tantrum. Which perhaps he was. ;) The observations made by the officials were right. On top of feeling entitled being the first born, he was over indulged by his powerful relatives. While he may perhaps have some claim to his father's affections and being insecure, in the end it was a fairly hollow claim in terms of everything else he ended up getting embroiled in. 

 

The Emperor seems on the surface to be a reasonable man but he's not past manipulating his own children, particularly NY to do his dirty work for him and allows himself to come out of a situation smelling like roses. On some level and as long as their interests align, NY doesn't mind doing his father's bidding. But the emperor needs to be careful about how far he intends to push NY even if he believes that he has him on a leash presently.

 

The exchange between NY and ZW during the palace coup was very telling. Compassion which is supposedly a virtue, in that setting easily becomes a double-edged sword. It can be in our time too especially in the way that it currently dominates public discourse. Compassion as a public policy has adverse consequences too... compassion not tempered by reason and a view of the larger picture can lead to terrible unintended consequences. Of course why compassion or kindness is a virtue is always assumed and not really discussed.

 

The OTP are clearly attracted to each other and perhaps on some level they shouldn't be. Their attraction is fraught with dangers. But I love the tension between them. :D Not just the UST but the philosophical differences as well. Yet it's clear that they care about each other. I knew even before she said so that ZW was trying to save NY rather than the crown prince in that courtyard scene. Even if NY doesn't realise that he's in love with her, it's obvious to most of us that he has been right from the early days. The toying and teasing aside, his concern for her well-being is absolutely genuine.

 

On 10/18/2018 at 4:21 PM, morganian said:

 

What you've said, chiefly NY's need for justice and FZW's need to protect the innocent, makes me think of the themes some comic book superhero/vigilante stories focus on. Daredevil comes to mind for some reason for me.

 

Disguise is another motif in the comic book genre that is also used in this series. Both FZW and NY have dual identities. If FZW had a superpower, it would be her intelligence. Her disguise is Wei Zhi. For NY, it is his powerful connections. NY is like the Bruce Wayne of TS.

 

Unfortunately, when either disguise or 'superpower' is compromised, there is a diminishing in character. The extraordinary individual is made ordinary. ZW loses a bit of agency and brilliance each time she is unmasked.  NY also becomes incredibly vulnerable/helpless when he gives up his royal title. 

 

It's a double-edged sword I think: the power that comes from concealment. One has the element of surprise and hiddenness but deception whatever the intention takes a toll on the soul. I haven't got to the part where she's unmasked but I don't know how long someone can maintain their mask without paying for it in some way.

I like the Batman/Bruce Wayne analogy because NY does teeter on the cusp of that kind of raging vengeance and a well-concealed propensity towards madness. He's like a man who has stared at the abyss for too long and it has taken a hold of him.

 

On 10/18/2018 at 9:30 PM, Pollen Ainne said:

 

 

As for Ning Yi, he is indeed relentless and single-minded. And also arrogant and ambitious. And you are so right, he does want to shape the world. I would like to say more... so many things I want to say... but I am fearful as you have not watched the entire show yet. :D

Haha... that's okay. :D I kind of know what happens at the end BUT hey... I'm still watching. ;) 

 

The 70 episodes put me off at first. I've lost count of the number of C dramas I've dropped this year but so far I really like this one... Chen Kun is just awesome beyond belief. He brings out so many aspects to NY that rather than being threatened, I'm constantly intrigued. I don't know if it's deliberate on his part but the way Chen Kun portrays NY leads me to think that there's an eight year old boy still lurking around inside of adult NY. A very precocious, charming 8 year old who's so angry that the world isn't how it should be.

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35 minutes ago, Pollen Ainne said:

I actually do not find this to be true. Maybe before his mother "died". But soon after that, his father changed. Especially because of the curse between him and Ning Yi. Ning YI has mentioned it before, how suddenly the emperor has ceased to care for him. He was even accusatory when he stated this. He felt like the moment his mother died, his father also abandoned him. He didn't understand anything at that time because he was simply told his mother fell ill. But after he grew up, he understood there was something more to it. This is the reason that the 3rd prince Ning Qiao became his only solace. At that time after his mother "died", Ning Qiao was the only one who showed him affection. After he got out of prison (the temple) he was still doubtful that his father still held some affection for him. There was still a little boy in Ning Yi who craved for his father's love. But then again, I find this true with all the other princes.

Yes, I agree. Sorry, I didn't articulate what I was thinking properly there! Once his mother disappeared, Ning Yi became the least favoured son for the reasons you listed above. But during those formative years (up to age 8?), he probably experienced a much more 'normal' father-son relationship than some of the other princes. 

 

I wonder if Crown Prince Ning Chuan also experienced a lot more love from dad when he was young, since his mother was also highly favoured. It probably explains why he is so desperate to regain his father's affections as an adult. While all the other princes crave that love in varying degrees, I always thought Ning Chuan seems to take daddy's criticism particularly hard. 

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3 hours ago, morganian said:

Yes, I agree. Sorry, I didn't articulate what I was thinking properly there! Once his mother disappeared, Ning Yi became the least favoured son for the reasons you listed above. But during those formative years (up to age 8?), he probably experienced a much more 'normal' father-son relationship than some of the other princes. 

 

I wonder if Crown Prince Ning Chuan also experienced a lot more love from dad when he was young, since his mother was also highly favoured. It probably explains why he is so desperate to regain his father's affections as an adult. While all the other princes crave that love in varying degrees, I always thought Ning Chuan seems to take daddy's criticism particularly hard. 

That is true. Ning Yi was doted upon which is why at a young age, he was arrogant enough to believe he could change everything. That eight-year-old who held hostage the wife and child of Gu Yan and forced him to change sides, was someone who believed he was better than others and that he could do more than anyone else.

 

Although, Ning Yi now has grown to understand the naivete of that little boy, he still retains some of that arrogance. Unlike the others who want to be Emperor because they wanted power, Ning Yi wanted to become emperor so he can change the Kingdom. He was more ambitious than any of them. Xin Ziyan also believes this and feeds Ning Yi's hunger for change. This is what made Xin Ziyan scary to me at the beginning. Although he was Ning Yi's friend, he saw Ning Yi as an irreplaceable icon that can lead to a better future. He was like a parent who fed fire to their child's ambition no matter the consequence. I don't know if you are familiar with that kind of mentoring, but children of prodigies usually find themselves in such situations. But Ning Yi is pretty stubborn so there really was no problem there.

 

I think the crown prince also got a lot of love when he was young. He was the child of the Empress as well as the eldest. But I think Ning Yi's birth changed all that. Suddenly there is this really smart kid who was the son of his father's most beloved concubine. And this smart kid does not stay in the shadows. He flaunts his superiority. I think this is the reason why Ning Chuan wanted to do everything in his power to get back his father's affections. But there was also a greediness in him and a lust for power.

 

Anyway, I just re-watched the part of the show where Zhiwei tells Ning Yi that it's all his fault for being a prince and Ning Yi agreed. But I wonder... if Ning Yi wasn't a prince, would he be the same interesting character he is now? Would Zhiwei even fall in love with him had he been just a normal person without his enigmatic personality? And the same thing for Zhiwei. Had she not been a remnant, would her mother have sent her to school instead of her brother? Had she been just a proper girl would Ning Yi even look at her twice? Unfortunately, I believe these characters have to be in their respective roles to actually see and fall in love with each other.

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21 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

I think it was mentioned in the novel ending translation that he was Gu Yan's son. I think they didn't have enough time to do a reveal? I mean they did lessen Zhiwei's involvement in Minhai, killed off Hua Qiong  and acted as if she never existed, and made a PowerPoint presentation of the ending (I still laugh at the accuracy of this term) so I guess they don't have time to expand on Gu Nanyi's heritage. Or they just decided to make them not related.

 

Which is weird because when he first talked to Ning Yi, Ning Yi was still looking for his family and suddenly they are dead? Hmmm...

I think it's possible Ning Yi could have found out they died after that scene, or he's a master manipulator, both of it could be true too (manipulation ->  find out they are dead). Yeah that was a last minute reveal, in the book Gu Yan didn't leave that much of an impression on me (he was just head of the guards that swayed between Emperor and Ning Yi), it was revealed he wasn't a traitor and he was looking for the real traitor and there was a fight. I'm not overly fussed over it besides the fact I want Gu Nanyi to have family, he's a pretty lonely kid.

 

I'm still mad they didn't even have Zhiwei mention her in passing, they are meant to be best friends, she and Gu Nanyi are literally the only ones who tried to console her. I'm bitter in general that Zhiwei is always kind of second fiddle to Ning Yi because he's the main main character. All the plot that display his abilities gets kept, and hers get cut, which is total bs, this drama is unique in how in sync they are, have similar ambitions/dream but still clash over methods. *grumbles* Characters around her also gets less focus and are less layered.

 

21 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

But since his mother "died" when he was eight, Ning Yi had lost his father's favor. So unless he got that title before he was eight... wow.

I honestly have no idea how that happened. I headcanon'ed that even though he lost favor with his father, he still did amazing things that meant he got the title?

 

Re: Ning Yi in the book. He's darker and much more bitter, he's not as ambitious and he was exhausted at the end (so was Zhiwei,  they both kept trucking along because they can't let down people that supported them). Ning Ji sought them out because he's a good kid and think they are more experienced than him in ruling, he didn't want the job lol.  Nothing really stops you from using the book ending to follow up to drama ending tbh.

 

Re: stableman. aside from that, stableman was trying to kill the emperor at the time. Honestly, that alone, for a son and for a prince, killing him was part of Ning Yi's duty. Not killing him also pose a threat towards Zhiwei since he knows her identity. (although I wouldn't say he wants to protect her, his eradicate all evil principle and protecting the emperor is much more significant here. but Crown Prince could use her connection to Ning Yi to put him in hot water.) The moment stableman appeared, he's basically dead, and he knows it.

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I ve just stumbled upon an eng sub of an interview with Chen Kun talking a bit about his character as Ning Yi and also Nini. He's so enjoyable.

 

 


 Ning Yi is a drama queen. Haha. And now I finally understand the razor remarks several pages back.

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14 hours ago, brutusthebear said:

I'm totally obsessed with this show as well! It has a nice balance between being romantic vs. political intrigue focused. Plus Chen Kun's acting is quite good. I was put off at first when he was  "acting naive" in front of his brothers, but perhaps his "act" was supposed to seem like an "act" for the viewer's benefit.  His acting really shines in the later episodes when he's just being himself. I recently watched Babylon Berlin, and like this show it has beautiful cinematography, morally grey characters, great acting,  and an engrossing plot too. You should check it out :)

 

Really nice to see more new people on here graduating from ROTP! And thank you for this suggestion. I'll give it a shot particularly because you said its got morally grey characters.

 

9 hours ago, morganian said:

Glad to meet another Expanse fan! And an Outlander fan too! Yes, Expanse is a bit light on the romance. James Holden isn't the most enthralling protagonist, but I see the entire crew of the Rocinante providing the spectrum of morality, seriousness and humour required. You focus on them as a family, not as individual characters. 

 

Outlander does have that mix of historical drama, romance and politics. James Alexander Fraser and Claire Randall are two wonderful protagonists. Even Blackjack Randall is a well-fleshed out character.

 

However, Outlander is a bit raunchy (other side of the spectrum compared to RotP). Not too much of a fan of the later books from the Outlander series...really struggling to get through book 5, so I'm not sure how to show will play out in later seasons. So far, it's mostly faithful to the books.

 

Oh I bet we have more shows in common :D  And yea its not like romance is the only worthy or interesting human relationship. But the hopeless romantic deep inside me has got a soft spot for it.

I still love the expanse tho, its vibe and setting is different. Its got so much else going for it that holden not having an interesting romance isn't a big deal. Even if naomi had better chemistry with holden it would still only make a small difference. I liked miller and holden's dynamic better. And more than interpersonal relationships in this show what impressed me was the group and identity politics. Oh and can't forget that U.N. leader in sari. She is very captivating. Ofcourse the mysterious and exciting sci-fi premise also keeps it interesting. I couldn't have watched this story it if it wasn't sci-fi.

 

With Mr. Sunshine too I noticed I wasn't that into the romance. Even though the female lead has chemistry with the male lead, I can't seem to get interested in her. She is so blah. There's a burgeoning unlikely bromance though that's really caught my eye and I'm looking forward to see how that goes.

 

As for outlander, I wonder if this might be one of the few stories that was portrayed better on TV rather than written. I may be biased because I watched the show first but I couldn't even make it through the first book! The characters were more 2-dimensional and all I got from jamie was that he was 6'3, handsome and red headed over and over. looll. Book claire seemed kindof immature too. idk this might not the most informed opinion because I never felt like reading it after that.

And the raunch ahahaha....yea very different from ROTP. But isn't your husband the one person you can watch this with? :P I get it though, its extremely intimate and uncomfortable. Even porn isn't that uncomfortable to see. I think thats the point though. We aren't supposed to fawn over it like a CW show.

 

I'm curious if you'd like shows like Bates Motel and Mr. Robot. Where the protagonists have deeply disturbed minds. Not just NingYi disturbed haha but much more.

 

Yikes am I gonna get banned from here for talking about so many other shows??

 

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7 hours ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

I don't know if it's deliberate on his part but the way Chen Kun portrays NY leads me to think that there's an eight year old boy still lurking around inside of adult NY. A very precocious, charming 8 year old who's so angry that the world isn't how it should be.

 

Ahahaha...well said!! Some parts of his personality does seem to be stunted as an 8yr old.

 

7 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

Anyway, I just re-watched the part of the show where Zhiwei tells Ning Yi that it's all his fault for being a prince and Ning Yi agreed. But I wonder... if Ning Yi wasn't a prince, would he be the same interesting character he is now? Would Zhiwei even fall in love with him had he been just a normal person without his enigmatic personality? And the same thing for Zhiwei. Had she not been a remnant, would her mother have sent her to school instead of her brother? Had she been just a proper girl would Ning Yi even look at her twice? Unfortunately, I believe these characters have to be in their respective roles to actually see and fall in love with each other.

 

I've also thought about this. Feng Zhiwei definitely would not have been sent to school. They were very poor and the education she got was also different from what other girls (even boys) might've received. For starters she read 'overview of dacheng' which even Qingming students hadn't studied. Though she might not have realized I think her education was far superior than many couldve dreamed.

And NingYi's polarizing experience of being an entitled prince yet struck by tragedy and trauma definitely made him the person we got to know. So it becomes a question of Nature vs Nurture. Would they still be as interesting to us and fallen for each other?

Heres my take, its a bit optimistic but I want to say yes...in a way.

Experiences make a profound impact on an individual no doubt but a person's core genetically ascertained personality gets to make the first move. I think NingYi wouldve been smart and ambitious either way and that would've led him down a path that got him in trouble, thereby experiencing hardship which could add 'darkness' to his personality similar to what we know. Someone made a point of him being so strong willed as an 8yr old possibly because he was pampered. But wasn't the crown prince also likely very pampered as a firstborn? Yet Ningyi was stronger willed than Ning Chuan and they both reacted differently to losing their fathers favor.

I think NY's core personality would lead him to live an interesting life and be an intriguing person no matter the circumstance.

 

With FZW its hard to be sure. But I think she would've stood out too. I mean imagine if Yu luo was in Zhi Wei's position. Would she have been interested in her studies and not wanted to marry (a.k.a go against the status quo). I doubt it. I believe even Feng Hao was sent to school yet he and zhiwei turned out so different. Yu Luo wouldve just whined and wanted to be like other girls. Education and opportunity only helps if you are smart to begin with.

It's her inherent curiosity and boldness that made her visit Chu Wang's residence ,personally request him to cancel the marriage, then lead her down the path to qingming and eventually to court as Wei Zhi.

Because she's smart, caring and willing to go against the fray for what she believes in (usually helping others) I want to think she would've turned out an interesting person regardless.

Would they have been interesting enough for us? Maybe not but I think they could've still fallen for each other.

 

2 hours ago, aisama said:

I ve just stumbled upon an eng sub of an interview with Chen Kun talking a bit about his character as Ning Yi and also Nini. He's so enjoyable.

 

Thank you for posting this! He is so damn precious!!! No one else could've played Ning Yi. Period.

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3 hours ago, skibbies said:

I'm still mad they didn't even have Zhiwei mention her in passing, they are meant to be best friends, she and Gu Nanyi are literally the only ones who tried to console her. I'm bitter in general that Zhiwei is always kind of second fiddle to Ning Yi because he's the main main character. All the plot that display his abilities gets kept, and hers get cut, which is total bs, this drama is unique in how in sync they are, have similar ambitions/dream but still clash over methods. *grumbles* Characters around her also gets less focus and are less layered.

Yeah, it would be nice if they expanded more on Zhiwei's side as well, but not at the expense of Ning Yi's of course. The Minhai arc should have more of her participation because I can tell there were a lot of cuts there. I wanted that scene where she meets Ning Yi in the battlefield and they smile at each other.

 

And if she really decided to stand with her people, they should have had her really go against Ning Yi in an all out war, then realize that for peace purposes she has to die. That could work if they wanted a tragedy too. This show really needed at least 90 episodes.

 

But Ning Yi still has to be the lead. But that is my own selfishness. Because to be honest, it is very hard for me to like female-centric dramas. Maybe it's because it usually caters to female fantasies of grandeur, just like Disney princess movies (except that its a totally different dream of course), and even at childhood, I was never one of those kids who dreamed of being "that girl" who the entire story revolves on. For some reason, I always had more appreciation to powerful side characters whose support was necessary for the leads but was not always in the limelight. So in the end, I enjoy seeing female characters in powerful support roles that the main character cannot live without. As I said before, I have very particular tastes.

 

3 hours ago, skibbies said:

I honestly have no idea how that happened. I headcanon'ed that even though he lost favor with his father, he still did amazing things that meant he got the title?

 

Re: Ning Yi in the book. He's darker and much more bitter, he's not as ambitious and he was exhausted at the end (so was Zhiwei,  they both kept trucking along because they can't let down people that supported them). Ning Ji sought them out because he's a good kid and think they are more experienced than him in ruling, he didn't want the job lol.  Nothing really stops you from using the book ending to follow up to drama ending tbh.

Yea, that's what I thought. Or maybe it is just plot devise with no basis. It happens. lol

 

As for the ending, I wish I could just twist my mind like that. I really do. But I am usually the kind of person who treats the movies and books separately. Although I can compare them, I never judge one on the basis of the other. I am the type who can enjoy movies of my favorite books without complaining about changes. Of course, there are some regrets when they choose not to showcase a certain character or add a particular scene I liked in the book. But otherwise, they are stories told by different people. I look at it as an alternate reality. So yeah, I really wanted the series to have a satisfying ending, not necessarily the same as the novel but better than what we got. And I think having that illusion of them being both in the mountain would have been so much better. They didn't really give us a moment to cry for them, I mean did anyone really cry at that end instead of saying "wtf happened?"

 

2 hours ago, aisama said:

I ve just stumbled upon an eng sub of an interview with Chen Kun talking a bit about his character as Ning Yi and also Nini. He's so enjoyable.

 

 


 Ning Yi is a drama queen. Haha. And now I finally understand the razor remarks several pages back.

Yes, and Chen Kun is so funny. Love the guy.

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23 minutes ago, niniandkun said:

 

Ahahaha...well said!! Some parts of his personality does seem to be stunted as an 8yr old.

 

 

I've also thought about this. Feng Zhiwei definitely would not have been sent to school. They were very poor and the education she got was also different from what other girls (even boys) might've received. For starters she read 'overview of dacheng' which even Qingming students hadn't studied. Though she might not have realized I think her education was far superior than many couldve dreamed.

And NingYi's polarizing experience of being an entitled prince yet struck by tragedy and trauma definitely made him the person we got to know. So it becomes a question of Nature vs Nurture. Would they still be as interesting to us and fallen for each other?

Heres my take, its a bit optimistic but I want to say yes...in a way.

Experiences make a profound impact on an individual no doubt but a person's core genetically ascertained personality gets to make the first move. I think NingYi wouldve been smart and ambitious either way and that would've led him down a path that got him in trouble, thereby experiencing hardship which could add 'darkness' to his personality similar to what we know. Someone made a point of him being so strong willed as an 8yr old possibly because he was pampered. But wasn't the crown prince also likely very pampered as a firstborn? Yet Ningyi was stronger willed than Ning Chuan and they both reacted differently to losing their fathers favor.

I think NY's core personality would lead him to live an interesting life and be an intriguing person no matter the circumstance.

 

With FZW its hard to be sure. But I think she would've stood out too. I mean imagine if Yu luo was in Zhi Wei's position. Would she have been interested in her studies and not wanted to marry (a.k.a go against the status quo). I doubt it. I believe even Feng Hao was sent to school yet he and zhiwei turned out so different. Yu Luo wouldve just whined and wanted to be like other girls. Education and opportunity only helps if you are smart to begin with.

It's her inherent curiosity and boldness that made her visit Chu Wang's residence ,personally request him to cancel the marriage, then lead her down the path to qingming and eventually to court as Wei Zhi.

Because she's smart, caring and willing to go against the fray for what she believes in (usually helping others) I want to think she would've turned out an interesting person regardless.

Would they have been interesting enough for us? Maybe not but I think they could've still fallen for each other.

You make an excellent point. I too am a firm believer of a person's inherent being. That circumstances can shape you into what you become only up to the lengths of your foundation or core being. But core being can also just simply be "choices". A person becomes totally different despite going through the exact same circumstance because of the choices they make. So in the end, I guess it could go either way. Depending on the choices they make, they may fall in love with each other or just completely pass each other without notice.

 

Btw, for Feng Hao, he didn't go to school, as far as I know, Zhiwei was supposed to pretend to be him and went to school for him, hence she had been disguising as a male from the start.

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19 minutes ago, Pollen Ainne said:

Btw, for Feng Hao, he didn't go to school, as far as I know, Zhiwei was supposed to pretend to be him and went to school for him, hence she had been disguising as a male from the start.

 

Wasn't there a line in the beginning where mingying asks her to stop her lessons with zong and zhiwei says feng hao is too lazy to study so I'll take his place? as in take his place from now on not "I am already going in his place"?

I get she was dressing as a guy to go outside and attend zong's lessons (since it wasn't acceptable for a girl to do so)

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28 minutes ago, Pollen Ainne said:

You make an excellent point. I too am a firm believer of a person's inherent being. That circumstances can shape you into what you become only up to the lengths of your foundation or core being. But core being can also just simply be "choices". A person becomes totally different despite going through the exact same circumstance because of the choices they make. So in the end, I guess it could go either way. Depending on the choices they make, they may fall in love with each other or just completely pass each other without notice.

 

Ah but choices are also influenced by our personality or core traits. Some people are inherently more empathetic than others, have more ambition, may be more neurotic, more introverted or extroverted etc. So I'm betting that their choices will mostly be in line with their core personality traits. Ofcourse there's no guarantee, external influences can still sway them to make choices and experience life in a way that makes them very different to what we expect. So yea in absolute probability it can go either way but I think the chances for them to be similar to how they are now is strong.

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2 hours ago, niniandkun said:

I'm curious if you'd like shows like Bates Motel and Mr. Robot. Where the protagonists have deeply disturbed minds. Not just NingYi disturbed haha but much more.

 

Yikes am I gonna get banned from here for talking about so many other shows??

 

 

Mr. Robot is the one tv show I've watched where I wouldn't change a thing. Season 2 was a little slow, but it transitioned so beautifully into season 3, which was basically a season long climax. Their depiction of coding is also the most accurate I have ever seen. 

 

It's interesting that people here find Ning Qi kind of bland, but I thought his actor was fantastic in the role. When Zhiwei's mom and brother were facing death, that almost imperceptible flash of sympathy in his eyes was so well done. I did like him because when he was introduced, even I was a little confused as to what his intentions were. His introduction to us in court also harkens back to Ning Yi's first appearance. The character Ning Qi takes his facade very seriously; the faces he wore in front of the emperor were so much more effective because Ning Yi always maintains this mocking undercurrent beneath his obsequeence. Ning Qi utilized the fact that Ning Shizheng was unfamiliar with his character due to banishing him to the borders, along with the attacks launched against him by the Changs, to portray himself as this dutiful, much maligned son, so different from the schemers that abound in the palace. This show set up so many foils to Ning Yi's character, what with Ning Qi and Prince An. 

 

I also felt that Ning Qi was the one prince who suffered no delusions of his father's love. As someone already mentioned, the Crown Prince and Ning Yi, and to a lesser extent Ning Sheng, were all at one point showered with affection by virtue of their mother's status. Yet later on, when all the other concubines of the emperor had already fallen, it is his mother's sincere devotion to the emperor that allowed him to seem honest in association. 

 

I really enjoyed the dynamic between the siblings. Every scene with all of them in court lying to each other, you could tell the most predominant thought in their heads were "I hate my family." Also, I know princess Shaoning was evil, but girl was so dumb I found her endearing. Her manipulations were completely incompetent and she gave us that scene with FZW and NY in the little house. They are all soo extra, pretending to pass out, crying on cue. It added a bit of levity even though I knew their dad messed them all up.

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1 hour ago, niniandkun said:

Wasn't there a line in the beginning where mingying asks her to stop her lessons with zong and zhiwei says feng hao is too lazy to study so I'll take his place? as in take his place from now on not "I am already going in his place"?

I get she was dressing as a guy to go outside and attend zong's lessons (since it wasn't acceptable for a girl to do so)

Maybe I misunderstood it. I thought the convo was that she was asked to stop her lessons but she didn't want to do so and Feng Hao was too lazy to study anyway so she wanted to continue to take his place... but now I am not so sure.

 

1 hour ago, niniandkun said:

 

Ah but choices are also influenced by our personality or core traits. Some people are inherently more empathetic than others, have more ambition, may be more neurotic, more introverted or extroverted etc. So I'm betting that their choices will mostly be in line with their core personality traits. Ofcourse there's no guarantee, external influences can still sway them to make choices and experience life in a way that makes them very different to what we expect. So yea in absolute probability it can go either way but I think the chances for them to be similar to how they are now is strong.

True. However, it can also be just spur of the moment decision that change your entire life. There are a lot of times when your choice could have gone either way despite the urges. Take for example Ning Yi. He decided to drop everything to be with his mother. Had he decided otherwise, had he decided to scheme his way into getting his mother back instead, he might have become a different person than what he became afterwards and yet still stay true to his core.

 

This is simply my own view. But despite the fact that Zhiwei was afraid of Ning Yi's aspirations she also admired and loved him for it. Had she met the broken prince who have given up his dreams without meeting the scheming one, I doubt she would actually have noticed him. She continued to love Ning Yi simply because she already saw the person from before and knows he is still there somewhere. 

 

Zhiwei also made choices that changed her. But had she chosen some other path, she would have still remained faithful to her inherent being, and yet there would be changes to her personality and views. In the end the inherent being is just a foundation and is no basis for love. It is their choices that has mold them to what they become, and regardless of their core, they could have gone multiple ways and not be each other's "chosen one".

 

I can even go so far as to say, that the choices ones make defines their core and adds layers to it. Ones core is not the same from birth to adulthood. It evolves.

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1 hour ago, tendrilsofwind said:

It's interesting that people here find Ning Qi kind of bland, but I thought his actor was fantastic in the role. When Zhiwei's mom and brother were facing death, that almost imperceptible flash of sympathy in his eyes was so well done. I did like him because when he was introduced, even I was a little confused as to what his intentions were. His introduction to us in court also harkens back to Ning Yi's first appearance. The character Ning Qi takes his facade very seriously; the faces he wore in front of the emperor were so much more effective because Ning Yi always maintains this mocking undercurrent beneath his obsequeence. Ning Qi utilized the fact that Ning Shizheng was unfamiliar with his character due to banishing him to the borders, along with the attacks launched against him by the Changs, to portray himself as this dutiful, much maligned son, so different from the schemers that abound in the palace. This show set up so many foils to Ning Yi's character, what with Ning Qi and Prince An. 

It is so weird that I find everything you said perfect and yet proves more to me how bland Ning Qi was. I actually stated it before how I found the "character" itself interesting. And had I read a summary of the character, my interest would be piqued. The idea of this "nobody" character able to wiggle his way and become Ning Yi's darkest nemesis is a very interesting premise. But his presence on screen just totally kills it for me. Maybe it is his lines. Or how he had no charm at all. I don't really know for sure. But the prince of Yue was more interesting to me despite the fact that I didn't like his character at all. I abhor him, but that is a win for the actor because that is something he should instigate to the audience. There is just something missing with the Prince of Wei, why I can't feel anything for him at all except "oh you again?". 

 

For some reason, instead of being angry at him for what he has done to create disruption, I instead feel insulted for Ning Yi, that he was going against this person... as someone stated a similar analogy, it is like having the last boss turn out to be a slime mob, it simply just deals 9999 damage. How odd.

 

You know what. I also just realized that even Ning Yi was not able to muster enough emotion to really hate Ning Qi. When his mother died, he mainly blamed the Bloody Pagoda for it. And then at the end, when Ning Qi was sent to prison after all the pain he caused Ning Yi, he didn't really feel like avenging himself. He basically didn't really care for the guy.

 

Maybe that is the entire reason. Maybe I was so in-tuned to Ning Yi's feelings that the fact that he never really had any deep feelings for Ning Qi, hatred or otherwise made me not care too. Now that I think about it, Ning Sheng was also not as interesting as Ning Chuan to me. His mother, Consort Chang was actually a more interesting character to me. But the fact that Ning Yi was actively scheming against him made me look up to Ning Sheng. He was an adversary. Ning Yi basically let the prince of Wei do anything... which is prolly why I couldn't care less about him.

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3 hours ago, tendrilsofwind said:

Mr. Robot is the one tv show I've watched where I wouldn't change a thing. Season 2 was a little slow, but it transitioned so beautifully into season 3, which was basically a season long climax. Their depiction of coding is also the most accurate I have ever seen. 

 

Definitely. A well made show throughout and on such a level that even if I wanted to I couldn't make any changes that made sense. 

3 hours ago, tendrilsofwind said:

It's interesting that people here find Ning Qi kind of bland, but I thought his actor was fantastic in the role. When Zhiwei's mom and brother were facing death, that almost imperceptible flash of sympathy in his eyes was so well done. I did like him because when he was introduced, even I was a little confused as to what his intentions were. His introduction to us in court also harkens back to Ning Yi's first appearance.

 

I didn't mind him in the beginning. It was later when he started scheming against Ning Yi and getting more priority in the story. I get that they wrote him like a slow ticking bomb that starts out benign then slowly grows to become the enemy know one saw coming. But I don't think he pulled it off. Again idk if it's the actor or the way those scenes were written but I could never see him as a believable evil mastermind. I mostly felt annoyed like I want to shoo him off screen. He was better when he was just a minor character worried about protecting his mom. 

And I really like shaoning she was so cute. She's too immature and simple minded to be considered evil. I felt bad for her death because in the end she never did any real damage for us to hate her and died before getting closure. 

Actually come to think of it I wouldn't have minded if shaoning was the one who grew up, finally got a brain and went against NingYi. It doesn't work for the story but atleast I can watch long scenes with her character. 

3 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

For some reason, instead of being angry at him for what he has done to create disruption, I instead feel insulted for Ning Yi, that he was going against this person... as someone stated a similar analogy, it is like having the last boss turn out to be a slime mob, it simply just deals 9999 damage. How odd.

 

You know what. I also just realized that even Ning Yi was not able to muster enough emotion to really hate Ning Qi. When his mother died, he mainly blamed the Bloody Pagoda for it. And then at the end, when Ning Qi was sent to prison after all the pain he caused Ning Yi, he didn't really feel like avenging himself. He basically didn't really care for the guy.

 

Yea pretty much. In the end even though Ning Qi was supposed to be the big bad villain who wouldn't stop at anything I think of their fate and circumstances as the biggest enemy. 

When they showed Ning Qi in hiding after Ning Yi became emperor my first thought was dude you're still here? Lol idk every scene with him seems too long. Except the emperor reveal scene but that's only because it was such a climax. 

 

 

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3 hours ago, tendrilsofwind said:

I really enjoyed the dynamic between the siblings. Every scene with all of them in court lying to each other, you could tell the most predominant thought in their heads were "I hate my family." Also, I know princess Shaoning was evil, but girl was so dumb I found her endearing. Her manipulations were completely incompetent and she gave us that scene with FZW and NY in the little house. They are all soo extra, pretending to pass out, crying on cue. It added a bit of levity even though I knew their dad messed them all up.

Me too. One thing RotP done right is the dynamics between siblings and father and sons. It was enjoyable to watchas they go plotting behind each other's back, yet when face to face have to pretend they like each other. And even if they all know the other is acting innocent, they can't rebut it. 

 

Oh Shaoning. Even though I can't come to like her character because she gullible and doesn't seem to have a mind of her own. Like her character is programmed with only the one purpose: killing Ning You. Really almost no dimensions. But, still

I even felt a little bad when Ning qi kill her.

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