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


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I think Shaoning have as much depth as Ning Chuan, she cared deeply for him, but she can also be vicious like him. she's so spoilt that even when she comes up with deadly plots, they are full of holes. She think she likes Wei Zhi because he's mean to her and she's determined to get him, Wei Zhi is like some unobtainable toy to her. Being upfront and straightforward about her feelings and intent is kind of refreshing in this drama hahaha. It's interesting to use her as comparison to the princes, because she's never eligible for the throne, the emperor can dote on her all he wants and don't have to put his guard up against her.

 

Ning Qi never felt like a big boss to me, I think he did as much damage to Ning Yi because of timing and circumstances rather than him being evil mastermind. His latter schemes were helped by 4th prince too. He didn't actually manage to sway the gov officials to his side even near the end. Xin Ziyan said Ning Yi had a hold on 3 of the 6 branche I think? I'm not sure he controlled even 1 branch tbh. I like the scene where he stabs his hand though. 

 

I actually find Ning Chuan kind of bland for like half the episodes he's in, especially his earlier ones. I blame the moustache.

 

7 hours ago, niniandkun said:

I think my next c-drama will be the infamous NIF I hear so much about. But where can I watch it with subs?

Viki I think? If it's not licensed in your area, just google watch NiF online or something, bunch of sites will pop up.

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I'm going through Phoenixes very slowly and am only up to Episode 20. Life's busy and one can only do what one is able.  Fascinating show and as a whole I find it worth persevering through. When it's

If there is anyone who is 100% fluent in Chinese, please make corrections to this! I had trouble translating since a lot of the lyrics draw from ancient poetry. Chinese also doesn't have tenses and in

I think somewhere down the the director forgot that this is called the RISE of the FREAKIN PHOENIXES, not the FALL of the FREAKIN PHOENIXES.     

2 hours ago, skibbies said:

Ning Qi never felt like a big boss to me, I think he did as much damage to Ning Yi because of timing and circumstances rather than him being evil mastermind. His latter schemes were helped by 4th prince too. He didn't actually manage to sway the gov officials to his side even near the end. Xin Ziyan said Ning Yi had a hold on 3 of the 6 branche I think? I'm not sure he controlled even 1 branch tbh. I like the scene where he stabs his hand though. 

Yeah, he kinda forced people with the edict his father gave. Ning Yi had become really powerful before he left his seat. He could have staged a coup and win, but he didn't. 

 

Anyway, I re-watched some of the episodes again (when will I ever stop?) and I kinda changed my mind about the ending. Not on the way it was presented because everyone knows it wasn't edited well. However...

Spoiler

Now, I think that Zhiwei forcing death might be the more hopeful and lighter choice. She actually damned her soul to never reincarnate if she married Ning Yi in this lifetime. For some reason I actually missed that part and thought it was just a reiteration of her old oath. I don't know why my brain just registered the old oath. But I was wrong.

 

So  basically the faster way to be with him is to forsake this life and go to the next. Marrying Ning Yi would have meant they will never be together except this one time. And Ning Yi once said, he wanted Zhiwei not just on this lifetime, but through all her lifetimes. How can that be possible if he possessed her now? Ning Yi was being naive this time around.

 

But it really needed to be presented better.

 

And I still wish the oaths never happened. lol.

 

But as I understood that more, I kinda despise her for asking Ning Yi where he was when she was down, and that it was Helian Zheng who made her smile. Good for Helian Zheng because he wasn't grieving too. Ning Yi on the other hand would not have been able to make her smile because he was crying too. Don't you remember girl, he basically came twice to comfort you, and you just break his heart in return. I couldn't fault her for that as she was grieving but asking where Ning Yi was later on was kinda absurd. I guess, girls will be girls. lol!

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I didn't intend to watch The Rise of Phoenixes (TROP). The 70 episode length was daunting and despite the stunning cinematography, cast and novel material, I was just too burned out to invest the time. All I could think about was last year's disappointment with Tribes and Empires...what could of been exceptional, ended up as a drawn out mess.

 

I was still going on my dreary way, trying to get over The Legend of Yunxi (LOY). None of the new C-drama releases piqued my interest and I was getting desperate, even to the point of editing subtitles and timing for LOY because I was so bored. Of course all that rewind activity didn't go without notice; my Youtube recommendation feed became flooded with C-drama videos. On the mobile app, the videos start playing automatically without sound. One night I randomly stopped on an interview of Chen Kun regarding his role as Ning Yi. Even without sound, I was intrigued by him. I ended up watching the interview in full and decided that I'd give the drama a try.

 

Chen Kun and his portrayal of Ning Yi did not disappoint. He truly anchored the drama and was the most consistent character, despite some gratuitous plot lines. I liked Nini's portrayal of Feng Zhiwei, but I did not like what they did to the character of Feng Zhiwei. I hated all the tropes that they forced on her...the everybody loves me syndrome, the damsel in distress, the unknowing pawn, the noble idiocy, and so on....As early as the 20 episode mark I was already at my wits end. Seriously, how could someone be so smart and calculating but always fall into other people's traps? When she wasn't interacting with Ning Yi, I had to start fast forwarding or else I would have had to quit the drama all together.

 

The supporting characters were also a mixed bag. The Emperor, Headmaster Xin Ziyan, Head Eunuch Zhao Yuan, and the deposed Crown Prince Ning Chuan were the more memorable of the bunch. The exceptional abilities of each actor to portray multifaceted, complex individuals is commendable. As for the rest, I felt that they were merely check boxes for dramaland requirements...the run of the mill mastermind, some bad guys, some good guys, the lackeys, the second lead, everyone that hates the main leads, every that loves the main leads, etc. Although they fulfilled their purposes, none really gave a believable performance that I could connect with.

 

It's not unexpected that TROP falls in with the usual 90% of C-Dramas where the last act goes off the rails and the ending is a hodgepodge of how to richard simmons viewers off to no end. However, I still can't believe how disappointed I feel. Personally, I don't mind sad endings, but only if the journey is worth it. In my mind, it was absolutely not worth it for poor Feng Zhiwei. It was a disgusting waste of her character, to have her be tortured with such loss and not have any real closure in the end. The last arch of the drama was an absolute misstep. If I ever re-watch this drama, I'll stop at episode 50 and consider that the Ning Yi and Feng Zhiwei eventually fulfilled their promise to marry and be together for the rest of their days. Forget the rest of the crap that came afterwards...LOL

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2 hours ago, yang0837 said:

I liked Nini's portrayal of Feng Zhiwei, but I did not like what they did to the character of Feng Zhiwei. I hated all the tropes that they forced on her...the everybody loves me syndrome, the damsel in distress, the unknowing pawn, the noble idiocy, and so on....As early as the 20 episode mark I was already at my wits end. Seriously, how could someone be so smart and calculating but always fall into other people's traps? When she wasn't interacting with Ning Yi, I had to start fast forwarding or else I would have had to quit the drama all together.

Maybe it's because I don't watch a lot of cdramas, or that when I do watch I can't usually finish most that I start, or the fact that I don't really like stories of leads being "the chosen one" or something of the sort that I loved the character of Feng Zhiwei. I really liked her more than a lot of female leads I've encountered in cdramas. Yes, there are some moments near the end that I wish she didn't say or do, and there are moments when I think she could have done more (some of her scenes were cut), but overall, her character was awesome.

 

I don't really know much of cdrama cliches but unknowing pawn was something I think is not true. She was more of the "I know I am being used but I owe him" kinda mindset.

 

As for damsel in distress, well at least she didn't fall into distress out of idiocy, she was in a really dangerous position from the start. And she did a lot to get Ning Yi out of a pickle as well. But as someone said before, the more she was unmasked, the more her character seemed to diminish. 

 

The "everybody loves me syndrome" did annoy me quite a bit. It's one of the reason I despise "chosen one" types of leads because everybody usually ends up falling in love with them. I guess this was something they took from the book which focused more on Zhiwei and had more of "the chosen one" feeling. I love the fact that in the series, her being a remnant was simply a painful curse and nothing more. It didn't give her more power or strength or any extraordinary skill. It simply was a burden. But at least Zhiwei was steadfast in her feelings and not once had she glanced at any other guy. I loved how she said that her heart was small and could only contain one person. I loved it when she said she was afraid of the real Zhiwei who didn't care if the world was destroyed and only wanted "him". I sometimes wish we saw that side of her.

 

But in any case, I think she was a wonderful character, who got butchered later on in the last few episodes, but then again who wasn't. I didn't even like Ning Yi anymore by then. lol

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9 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

Anyway, I re-watched some of the episodes again (when will I ever stop?) and I kinda changed my mind about the ending. Not on the way it was presented because everyone knows it wasn't edited well. However...

 

I guess after a while the ending sort of sinks in. It's right after watching it that you're so outraged and disappointed, when the story is still fluid in your mind. Now that I've surrendered to it, I can't even imagine alternate endings. Like you said, only thing left is to hope they'll be together in another lifetime.

6 hours ago, yang0837 said:

If I ever re-watch this drama, I'll stop at episode 50 and consider that the Ning Yi and Feng Zhiwei eventually fulfilled their promise to marry and be together for the rest of their days. Forget the rest of the crap that came afterwards...LOL

 

Yup. Up to Ep 63 for when I really have no self-respect.

 

12 hours ago, skibbies said:

Viki I think? If it's not licensed in your area, just google watch NiF online or something, bunch of sites will pop up

Ah its available! thanks :)

---

Oh I just finished Mr. Sunshine. It's only 24 episodes (1hr) and the ending's not butchered. Won't say anything more cuz spoliers. Another recommend.

 

 

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Haha... the cave scene between the OTP was pretty cute. Seeing the two of them shyly and awkwardly shifting closer toward each other to keep each other warm before falling into a proper embrace was chuckle-worthy. In fact the scenes leading up to the cave scene were quite delightful as well. NY looking so chuffed and being so openly affectionate was gold. 

 

It's occurred to me too that even though the OTP don't have what one might conventionally call a lot of "romantic" or "intimate" moments, one has very little doubt in all their scenes together that they really love each other and that they would absolutely die for each other. NY can pretend all he wants to be strategic and Machiavellian with her (well, okay it's not entirely an act) but she's bright enough to know that he genuinely cares about her. Well, it should be fairly obvious anyway. Their love for each other is such a force of nature that even if the other men in this reverse harem are pretty good fellows in their own right, she's understandably fallen under NY's charismatic spell for good. On the other hand, there are good political/strategic reasons why they shouldn't be too open about their affection for each other. Nonetheless I am pinged off with Qiu Mingying's imposed vow on ZW... that never bodes well in these sorts of dramas.

 

Did a bit of marathon on the weekend so I've passed the halfway mark but still a bit of a way to go. The drama got even more interesting after the crown prince's long overdue demise. Especially when NY and ZW are much more front and center. As a whole I like ZW although I'm still inclined to think that she's rather naive and that naivete has consequences as seen in her relationship with Shaoning and how that played out. It was always doomed to end in tears. For someone who purports to hate the political infighting, ZW can be a bit of a busybody. But most busybodies mean well but they don't think through the consequences well enough. Her so-called compassion and need to respond instantly overrides her ability to play the long game.

 

Speaking of NiF comparisons, for me the one thing that is superior about this drama (aside from the charismatic lead male) is the writing of the emperor. He's a dubious father-figure but there's no doubt he's a sharp operator who has his eye on the big picture. It's natural for a man in his position to be somewhat paranoid but at least he has quite a high level of self-awareness and can admit his mistakes publicly. I really appreciate the character although I imagine that he will cause plenty of problems for NY down the track.

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15 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

Now, I think that Zhiwei forcing death might be the more hopeful and lighter choice. She actually damned her soul to never reincarnate if she married Ning Yi in this lifetime. For some reason I actually missed that part and thought it was just a reiteration of her old oath. I don't know why my brain just registered the old oath. But I was wrong.

 

So  basically the faster way to be with him is to forsake this life and go to the next. Marrying Ning Yi would have meant they will never be together except this one time. And Ning Yi once said, he wanted Zhiwei not just on this lifetime, but through all her lifetimes. How can that be possible if he possessed her now? Ning Yi was being naive this time around.

 

But it really needed to be presented better.

Yaasss. This is why FZW has to die in all alternate fanfic endings for this screen series. Or at least live as someone else and never be with NY. Otherwise, their love is doomed to some hellish awfulness. :'( 

 

I cried so much when she said that vow. It was HORRIBLE.

 

I don't know why Ning Yi said that at the end. He heard her vow. Did he have a lobotomy between episode 51 and the final episode? Ugh!

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11 hours ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

Did a bit of marathon on the weekend so I've passed the halfway mark but still a bit of a way to go. The drama got even more interesting after the crown prince's long overdue demise. Especially when NY and ZW are much more front and center. As a whole I like ZW although I'm still inclined to think that she's rather naive and that naivete has consequences as seen in her relationship with Shaoning and how that played out. It was always doomed to end in tears. For someone who purports to hate the political infighting, ZW can be a bit of a busybody. But most busybodies mean well but they don't think through the consequences well enough. Her so-called compassion and need to respond instantly overrides her ability to play the long game.

Yes, Zhiwei kinda has some unrealistic ideals (although so does Ning Yi) and she basically dislikes seeing people hurt regardless. She is not much for vengeance and she likes to believe the best in people. She is smart enough though to forgive Ning Yi and others of their views. Although she stands for what she believes, she doesn't blindly hate anyone for believing differently. 

 

I don't dislike her naivete because these types of people is needed for the world. We can't all be cynics. The world would be such a dark place. I loved it when she told Ning Yi "You are a rabid demon, but you are also Zhong Kui." (Which is funny because Chen Kun actually played that role in Snow Girl and the Dark Crystal.) She basically can see Ning Yi's darkness clearly and yet she also sees the light in his heart. Because some parts of her is naive, she chooses to trust this person who her brain is screaming to stay away from. In the end, she was perfect for him. WAS until some episodes later when I feel like her core changed... she lost her spark.

 

11 hours ago, 40somethingahjumma said:

Haha... the cave scene between the OTP was pretty cute. Seeing the two of them shyly and awkwardly shifting closer toward each other to keep each other warm before falling into a proper embrace was chuckle-worthy. In fact the scenes leading up to the cave scene were quite delightful as well. NY looking so chuffed and being so openly affectionate was gold. 

 

It's occurred to me too that even though the OTP don't have what one might conventionally call a lot of "romantic" or "intimate" moments, one has very little doubt in all their scenes together that they really love each other and that they would absolutely die for each other. NY can pretend all he wants to be strategic and Machiavellian with her (well, okay it's not entirely an act) but she's bright enough to know that he genuinely cares about her. Well, it should be fairly obvious anyway. Their love for each other is such a force of nature that even if the other men in this reverse harem are pretty good fellows in their own right, she's understandably fallen under NY's charismatic spell for good. On the other hand, there are good political/strategic reasons why they shouldn't be too open about their affection for each other. Nonetheless I am pinged off with Qiu Mingying's imposed vow on ZW... that never bodes well in these sorts of dramas.

There is no question of how strong their love was. It is swoon worthy. I kinda love the fact that their intimate moments are few because it leaves you craving for more. It doesn't become cheesy and you don't get sick and tired of seeing them all over each other. lol

 

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8 hours ago, morganian said:

I don't know why Ning Yi said that at the end. He heard her vow. Did he have a lobotomy between episode 51 and the final episode? Ugh!

IKR. He shouldn't have forced her to marry him. If I were Ning Yi, I would have given her a position at court. And then she still could be his. She only vowed about marriage, she never said anything about anything else... you know... lol! 

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On 10/19/2018 at 11:54 PM, morganian said:

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. 

Just wanted to reiterate that what you pointed out here is exactly why I love this drama so much. I would never have bought into Ning Yi's character if not for this tragedy. Just like it's more realistic for a son born into a wealthy household with a silver spoon in his mouth being unable to sympathize with his father who is a self-made man, and then eventually squanders his inheritance, Ning Yi probably would have never understood the plight of the downtrodden and poor if not for himself experiencing injustice and loss. 

 

On 10/20/2018 at 1:57 AM, Pollen Ainne said:

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. 

Ziyan was my second most favorite character after Ning Yi & Zhiwei, so unlike you I never feared him at the beginning. Why? Because he was unsettled by the bloodshed that happened at the beginning when Bloody Pagoda, under the Crown Prince's control, attacked Gu Yan and the Royal guards. He knew something was amiss and mused about the many lives being sacrificed in order for someone to ascend the throne. He finally asks the question, "Is it all worth it?" He's so human here that I related so much to his character. 

I don't feel that "change" is necessarily a bad thing when there is so much corruption around you. 

 

As for Ning Yi and this "change", I believe it's for the greater good. Gu Yan asked this question of Ning Yi about the remnant of Dacheng in the beginning episodes. Could the emperor really allow that remnant to live? We know the answer to that. What makes Ning Yi so different from his father, and why I think he will be a great ruler, is that he very well could. If he was anything like his father, he would have tried to

Spoiler

imprison Zhiwei when she refused to stay with him, and Ziyan would have never been able to turn him down at the end without his head rolling.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, sonosong said:

As a person new to C-drama, can anyone explain to me what this term means?

 

Richard Simmons is an euphemism for another word that describes anger; 4 letters, starts with P, middle I, and ends in double S. 

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1 hour ago, sonosong said:

Ziyan was my second most favorite character after Ning Yi & Zhiwei, so unlike you I never feared him at the beginning. Why? Because he was unsettled by the bloodshed that happened at the beginning when Bloody Pagoda, under the Crown Prince's control, attacked Gu Yan and the Royal guards. He knew something was amiss and mused about the many lives being sacrificed in order for someone to ascend the throne. He finally asks the question, "Is it all worth it?" He's so human here that I related so much to his character. 

I don't feel that "change" is necessarily a bad thing when there is so much corruption around you. 

 

As for Ning Yi and this "change", I believe it's for the greater good. Gu Yan asked this question of Ning Yi about the remnant of Dacheng in the beginning episodes. Could the emperor really allow that remnant to live? We know the answer to that. What makes Ning Yi so different from his father, and why I think he will be a great ruler, is that he very well could. If he was anything like his father, he would have tried to

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imprison Zhiwei when she refused to stay with him, and Ziyan would have never been able to turn him down at the end without his head rolling.

 

 

I think you might have misunderstood something. Xin Ziyan being scary doesn't mean I don't love his character. He too is one of my favorite characters in the show. My interest in his character is second only to that of the leads and sometimes even equal to that of Zhiwei.

 

But although I agree he is human, he was scary because his logic was usually not tempered by any emotion and even when it was, it was more like an eye for eye and tooth for a tooth. He chose his duty over his family. Then killed an innocent for revenge. The fact that he killed Lady Wang without any regrets goes to show how scary this person is. Then he reminded Ning Yi that he needed to be punished to make true their vision for the future. So he probably was gonna end up executed. And he stated this so simply. He was really charming and yet his single-mindedness kinda scared me. 

 

And yes, he asked that question about "Is it all worth it" but he answered that same question long before Ning Yi ever could. And his answer was yes. And the moment he found that answer he forged his way without looking back. And in the end he was the only person that won. Zhiwei lost her life with defeat on her trail, the Emperor lost his throne, Ning Yi lost people that he was not willing to sacrifice to achieve his goals. Ning Yi finally sat on the throne at the point when he already gave up on it, and at what cost to his heart and soul? But Xin Ziyan got what he wanted. He got Ning Yi on the throne and Ning Yi would do anything in his power to make their dreams come to fruition. And Xin Ziyan was ready to give his life too to make this vision true. And thus Ning Yi would not even have him.

 

Everything Xin Ziyan did served a purpose, the only times he did something he didn't want to do was when Ning Yi was involved. Because well, Ning Yi was his osprey...

 

And I am sorry, I don't believe the change in Ning Yi was good. Maybe I am idealistic, but I don't want to believe that there is no other way to rule a kingdom. I saw a great ruler in Ning Yi when he was being more idealistic. When he asked how he could save the people if he could not save the woman he loved. When he didn't want a revolution because it would hurt the people of Minhai. When he angrily commanded the guards to move when they blocked his path. At those times I thought, this is an Emperor.

 

As for him being like his father, he is nowhere near similar...

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2 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

I think you might have misunderstood something. Xin Ziyan being scary doesn't mean I don't love his character. He too is one of my favorite characters in the show. My interest in his character is second only to that of the leads and sometimes even equal to that of Zhiwei.

 

But although I agree he is human, he was scary because his logic was usually not tempered by any emotion and even when it was, it was more like an eye for eye and tooth for a tooth. He chose his duty over his family. Then killed an innocent for revenge. The fact that he killed Lady Wang without any regrets goes to show how scary this person is. Then he reminded Ning Yi that he needed to be punished to make true their vision for the future. So he probably was gonna end up executed. And he stated this so simply. He was really charming and yet his single-mindedness kinda scared me. 

 

And yes, he asked that question about "Is it all worth it" but he answered that same question long before Ning Yi ever could. And his answer was yes. And the moment he found that answer he forged his way without looking back. And in the end he was the only person that won. Zhiwei lost her life with defeat on her trail, the Emperor lost his throne, Ning Yi lost people that he was not willing to sacrifice to achieve his goals. Ning Yi finally sat on the throne at the point when he already gave up on it, and at what cost to his heart and soul? But Xin Ziyan got what he wanted. He got Ning Yi on the throne and Ning Yi would do anything in his power to make their dreams come to fruition. And Xin Ziyan was ready to give his life too to make this vision true. And thus Ning Yi would not even have him.

 

Everything Xin Ziyan did served a purpose, the only times he did something he didn't want to do was when Ning Yi was involved. Because well, Ning Yi was his osprey...

 

And I am sorry, I don't believe the change in Ning Yi was good. Maybe I am idealistic, but I don't want to believe that there is no other way to rule a kingdom. I saw a great ruler in Ning Yi when he was being more idealistic. When he asked how he could save the people if he could not save the woman he loved. When he didn't want a revolution because it would hurt the people of Minhai. When he angrily commanded the guards to move when they blocked his path. At those times I thought, this is an Emperor.

 

As for him being like his father, he is nowhere near similar...

I think this was very well-put, and you managed to vocalise the thoughts and feelings that I had an inkling of, but wasn't able to fully register or comprehend. Initially, when I started to realise just how pragmatic Xin Ziyan was, to the point where I felt mildly disturbed, I was thinking "There's no way he only views NY as a means to achieving a goal."  However, I soon realised that he never seriously factored NY's happiness into the grand scheme of things. Even when he agreed to help NY rescue ZW from execution, it certainly seemed like he did so because NY would make an irreversible mistake without XZY pulling a few strings. If that happened, they would've had to kiss their dreams goodbye. 

 

I don't think I've met a side-character quite as chilling yet charismatic as XZY. He had me fooled and sitting on the fence when I was trying to figure out how much of a friend he truly was. I'm used to characters being multifaceted to the extreme, but I can't say I've encountered a character that is single-minded to the extreme and well done. His facial expressions, body language, calculated decisions (e.g. From drinking with a 'friend' when they were at their lowest, to murdering someone in cold blood), none of those things gave enough away for me to pick up a more complicated motive or drive that's tainted with self-interest. 

 

Even after having finished this series two times (once raw, and the 2nd time with subs) he is still a stranger. I can only marvel at how frighteningly complex and yet beautifully simple his character was. The actor really did a stellar job. 

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2 hours ago, galea said:

I think this was very well-put, and you managed to vocalise the thoughts and feelings that I had an inkling of, but wasn't able to fully register or comprehend. Initially, when I started to realise just how pragmatic Xin Ziyan was, to the point where I felt mildly disturbed, I was thinking "There's no way he only views NY as a means to achieving a goal."  However, I soon realised that he never seriously factored NY's happiness into the grand scheme of things. Even when he agreed to help NY rescue ZW from execution, it certainly seemed like he did so because NY would make an irreversible mistake without XZY pulling a few strings. If that happened, they would've had to kiss their dreams goodbye. 

 

I don't think I've met a side-character quite as chilling yet charismatic as XZY. He had me fooled and sitting on the fence when I was trying to figure out how much of a friend he truly was. I'm used to characters being multifaceted to the extreme, but I can't say I've encountered a character that is single-minded to the extreme and well done. His facial expressions, body language, calculated decisions (e.g. From drinking with a 'friend' when they were at their lowest, to murdering someone in cold blood), none of those things gave enough away for me to pick up a more complicated motive or drive that's tainted with self-interest. 

 

Even after having finished this series two times (once raw, and the 2nd time with subs) he is still a stranger. I can only marvel at how frighteningly complex and yet beautifully simple his character was. The actor really did a stellar job. 

Yes! I am glad someone felt as disturbed as I was. I do love his character a lot but not because I found him admirable. But because he was very complex (in a subtle way), even more so than Ning Yi. The actor really did a terrific job. You can watch the entire show without looking deeper into his personality and not think anything about it because he was chipper and a really fun character. He was indeed a good friend to Ning Yi when it comes to their united dreams, but throughout the show I have always questioned... would Ning Yi still be your friend if he gives up on those dreams. And the answer was he moved on and decided he was going to use Ning Ji. That is who Xin Ziyan is.

 

When Ning Yi gave up his title, I hated it because it made him weak (not just in power but in confidence). However, when Xin Ziyan talked about loosing his family, although I felt really sorry for him, deep down I was thinking... If Ning Yi knew about the choice he was going to make, Ning Yi would have told him to prioritize his family. Prioritizing their dreams over his family was not something Ning Yi would have ever asked of him. Did he once ever understood Ning Yi's heart?

 

I guess in the end, what one finds scary can be different. But people who act based on emotions don't scare me at all. It is the normal way of life. Doing something because of greed, jealousy, anger, revenge or love is normal. Most of the other characters were driven by these emotions... Xin Ziyan was unique... he was driven by just dreams, and every other emotion was secondary to the fulfillment of his dreams.

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I knew before going in that the drama is a slower paced, political intrigue type of drama but gosh, it is really slowly paced! I'm watching it on Netflix but am only on episode 15 - out of 70! I really hope it picks up the pace soon.

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9 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

Yes! I am glad someone felt as disturbed as I was. I do love his character a lot but not because I found him admirable. But because he was very complex (in a subtle way), even more so than Ning Yi. The actor really did a terrific job. You can watch the entire show without looking deeper into his personality and not think anything about it because he was chipper and a really fun character. He was indeed a good friend to Ning Yi when it comes to their united dreams, but throughout the show I have always questioned... would Ning Yi still be your friend if he gives up on those dreams. And the answer was he moved on and decided he was going to use Ning Ji. That is who Xin Ziyan is.

 

When Ning Yi gave up his title, I hated it because it made him weak (not just in power but in confidence). However, when Xin Ziyan talked about loosing his family, although I felt really sorry for him, deep down I was thinking... If Ning Yi knew about the choice he was going to make, Ning Yi would have told him to prioritize his family. Prioritizing their dreams over his family was not something Ning Yi would have ever asked of him. Did he once ever understood Ning Yi's heart?

 

I guess in the end, what one finds scary can be different. But people who act based on emotions don't scare me at all. It is the normal way of life. Doing something because of greed, jealousy, anger, revenge or love is normal. Most of the other characters were driven by these emotions... Xin Ziyan was unique... he was driven by just dreams, and every other emotion was secondary to the fulfillment of his dreams.

Absolutely! I said before that I was mystified with NY, and that was indeed the reason why I stayed in the first place, but the side-characters helped flesh out the drama so much. This definitely made it easier to endure even the slower parts. Actually, this entire series was a whole new experience. To put it bluntly, I'm so used to side-characters being one dimensional wastes of budget that I was completely taken aback by the quality of the entire cast. I had quite a similar experience with NIF, but that was years ago, and I hadn't encountered another series that evoked similar feelings. Even other popular dramas like TMoPB seemed very shallow in comparison, fun storyline aside, ofc. If only the fandom for TRoP was larger... :'(

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5 hours ago, galea said:

I had quite a similar experience with NIF, but that was years ago, and I hadn't encountered another series that evoked similar feelings. Even other popular dramas like TMoPB seemed very shallow in comparison, fun storyline aside, ofc. If only the fandom for TRoP was larger... :'(

I really wonder... I watched 30 episodes of this in 2 days and started watching raws because I wanted to see what happens next. For me, every episode went by so fast... but a lot of people think its slow. And I guess, in most asian dramas, what people look for is either power female leads or bromance/pretty boys. lol. I mean that is what I usually see. This drama does not have a lot of pretty boys you can swoon over. Nor does it have a female character you can easily "self insert" yourself into. So although it is enjoyable, people don't gush over it. And I guess not everyone can appreciate a character like Ning Yi. 

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21 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

He chose his duty over his family. Then killed an innocent for revenge.

You hit the bull's eye on a lot of great points. I'm actually rewatching it again and on Episode 9 now. (I would move along faster if I could just stop replaying every Ning Yi-Zhiwei scene a million times LOL). I can see that some of the things you pointed out makes sense. Also, I can wholeheartedly agree with this. Ultimately, he sacrificed his family in order to protect Ning Yi in his ascent to the throne, thus fulfilling his duties. 

16 hours ago, Pollen Ainne said:

If Ning Yi knew about the choice he was going to make, Ning Yi would have told him to prioritize his family. Prioritizing their dreams over his family was not something Ning Yi would have ever asked of him. Did he once ever understood Ning Yi's heart?

From my understanding, Ziyan doesn't know what we know about Ning Yi. He just sees a guy who gave up on his dreams and is trying to live his merry life with his mother while he (Ziyan) lost everything. I don't think he truly understood him either. They may have shared the same dreams, but they were definitely not on the same page.

 

The thing I can say is that it was never in his plans for

Spoiler

Erhua to be murdered nor for Dahua to lose her unborn child.

The threads of his meticulous planning were unraveling before the Emperor in Ning Yi's absence, and this was a terrible miscalculation on his part. 

 

I doubt there will be a US release with english subs, but I hope that they will have a Japanese release for me at least. Chinese TV series are popular in Japan and get really nice boxsets. I just purchased Nirvana in Fire on Blu Ray. I definitely think this show is replay-worthy, and I would shell out that 60,000+ ¥ for the entire series if I have to! 

 

 

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