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

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On 2/3/2019 at 8:37 AM, purplefall94 said:

I was always wondering how women can become unbearable psychos like Maniang, Big Madam, and Aunty Kang. I still don't understand Maniang (maybe she's a natural psycho lol) but think I can sympathize a little bit with Big Madam and Aunty Kang here. Failure to receive care and love from their husband obviously contributes greatly to their psycho characteristics and directly influences their "everyone has wronged me" view. But this definitely shouldn't be the excuse for them to project their unhappiness to everyone around them. It's just so wrong and so... pathetic.

 

The actress who plays Big Madam did her role great justice in the raining scene at the worshipping room. I can feel her bitterness, disillusionment, dispair and discontent with her marriage. I mean she's definitely to blame for her wicked business, she shouldn't bottle up her emotions for all those year, put on the fake virtuous mask and eventually turn herself into a monster. But I can't help wonder whether we would have been like her if we were in her shoes. Maybe this is why I feel her evilness is more "reasonable" compared to that of Aunt Kang who hates just anyone because they won't let her have her way.

Manniang is a woman from the lowest status in society obsessed about becoming something more than herself. In that era, there is no future for her. No matter how much she struggles, she is meant to be looked down on by others. She is unable to accept her fate, but as a woman in that era, she doesn't know how to change it on her own, so she does it the only way she knows how, by landing a noble husband. I understand her motivation and actually sympathize with her, a woman at the bottom of the hierarchy, living in a world dominated by men, she's trapped and she strives for the top by any means possible, even stepping on others' corpses. However using her own children is unforgivable. I believe she also has some kind of mental disorder.

 

Big Madam is all about authority. What she wants is her full legitimate rights as a main wife, which she never had. Earlier it was concubine Lin who challenged her power. Later when concubine Lin is gone, the other shu daughters are married off to families with status, while her own daughter married a poor scholar. From beginning to end she has almost no say over the shu children in the house. And when she tried to make a move on Gu family (spying over shu children's houses is sth most main wives would do), she was scolded by Grandma and her authority was once again threatened. That's when she lost it.

 

Aunti Kang is a result of bad parenting. Wang Grandma spoiled her since she was a child, she has always been the most favored top priority in the family. Wang Grandma never punishes her for wrongdoings, instead she always covers up her messes, coming as far as asking her sons to clean up for their sisters. Her sons have to waste many favors, costing them many chances to ascend in rankings. Aunti Kang never has to take any responsibility for her action all her life. Her husband is a jackass with many concubines and shu children. That's why she is selfish, arrogant, jealous and hateful.

 

No characters in this drama just appear out of nowhere. They all have backgrounds, upbringings, personalities, reasons and motivations to explain their actions. Some are justified, some are not. But they can all be understood and sympathized (only to a point, of course).

 

There's a Chinese saying: "There are guilt in pitiable people, and there are things to pity in guilty people"

 

@Golden Flower Your opinion of SH is pretty much paralleled to mine. I'm really glad to have someone supporting my view on the characters that most people deem evil. I just figure out after a while of arguing is that those who don't share the same point of view can never agree with each other, bc the standards they base their judgement on are different and they are affected by feelings (mostly the love for main couple), that's why I wrote my last post. All characters can be justified more or less, and they are too complex to be described in just a few words. One has to understand their backstory, their reasons, the historical context to fully analyze them. That's what I find interesting in this story.

 

 

Latest episode: I understand Daniang's motivation but d*mn she's dumb. After reading the novel and now watching the drama, I still can't understand why she's so stupid, like amazingly stupid.

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4 hours ago, Suzzy San said:

Omg.. This is so cheesy.. Wow as expected from GTY, I love this kind of conversation though.. 

arrrrrrggggghhhhhhhh..... beyond cheesy, he needs a knock in the head LOL 

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Wow! I thought it was a little amazing that it was Chang Bai who handed out the "sentence" on his mother for what she did to Grandmother.

 

I am interested in how the Ming Lan's child will turn out to be as his mother was so "active" while he was still in her womb.

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5 hours ago, linhlinh111 said:

Latest episode: I understand Daniang's motivation but d*mn she's dumb. After reading the novel and now watching the drama, I still can't understand why she's so stupid, like amazingly stupid.

@linhlinh111  Chingu, You are not alone. Even Hualan couldn't believe how dumb her mother is. Just to end the conversation she patted her back like she was child needing Comfort. Everytime her daughter told something logical and reason for ML's actions, she then say's “What do you know!!!!!!! “ I am like :huh: :huh: , why does she keep telling her daughter she doesn't know. smsh smh smh  

 

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46 minutes ago, zenya22 said:

arrrrrrggggghhhhhhhh..... beyond cheesy, he needs a knock in the head LOL 

I like cheesiness and romantic interludes between ml and gty. This will balance the evilness of all those withches vying to hurt them. 

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1 hour ago, zenya22 said:

arrrrrrggggghhhhhhhh..... beyond cheesy, he needs a knock in the head LOL 

I have to revise my opinion as I viewed the soliloquy of stepmom Qin.  Stepmom said that the late Marquis prayed that he will meet his wife, stepmom's sister, in the after life that the marquis loved and never forgot stepmom's sister. We know from the first episodes that GTY's mom, after being brought to the Gu manor, was left alone by the Marquis Gu. He only went to GTY's mom to procreate as his first son was sickly? Stepmom then said that TY was also like his father in that regard. GTY loves Ming Lan, his wife, and the only way stepmom can destroy GTY was to get rid of ML. Even if GTY gets married again, that 2nd wife will never compare to ML and the child of ML will be cared by a stepmother and therefore the household of TY will be in chaos. It seems in that whole conversation with herself, stepmom was actually describing her life. So, it is not really the mother of GTY she was angry at, because she died and stepmom never knew her but it was her sister, the first wife and only love of the late marquis that she was angry about.  She had real talent for hiding her feelings of bitterness by pretending to be a caring stepmom. 

 

So, GTY, afterall took after his father. They both loved one woman. How bitter was the feeling for the stepmom, always comparing herself to her sister but taking it out on poor GTY who had nothing to do with the origin of her bitterness except that GTY was loved by the late Marquis more than her son. 

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I have scrolled through comments and it seems there are some misunderstanding bout why QH tries to oppose the Emperor. Here's my explanation (if you are not interested anymore, just pass):

 

First, QH is being manipulated by ED, and he holds a grudge against GTY.

 

Second, even if QH was not being manipulated by ED, and he didn't hold a grudge against GTY, he would still oppose the Emperor.

 

In my previous post, I have mentioned how important reputation is to a man with status, and that includes the Emperor. Whatever, however your purpose or your method is, you have to keep a good name. Even with good intentions, it's worthless if your name is tainted. Moreover, the Emperor is someone the whole country look up to and the people will imitate what he does, so everything he does has to be honorable. The action to honor his biological father as emperor is considered unfilial and ungrateful towards his official father. The Emperor can not have the label unfilial, ungrateful, disregarding the law attached to his name, it will cause him to lose the people's trust. It can turn worse when people try to imitate him, then no one would dare to adopt sons anymore. Thus, this action has to be prevented.

 

Back to QH's position, a Yu shi. His job is to advise the Emperor to raise his reputation and prevent him to dirty his name. There's no point in doing all the good deeds when the Emperor has no reputation to back it off. His first advice, to investigate the rebellion against the late Emperor, help the Emperor gain recognition. The second action has the above-mention purpose. The Emperor's goal maybe legitimate, but is method clearly put him in the wrong. Since becoming Emperor, he has done many things that is unfit for an emperor, the ED seems to have a better name than him right now.

 

There are many men similar to QH in that era. In fact, QH is considered a model image of an honorable noble men of the time. QH represents a very particular type of officials in history. They are mostly scholars, with highly educated background. They are strict, stubborn and old-school. They do not care who is in power, their viewpoint on protecting the rules remains unchanged. They do not care about the intention nor purpose, as long as it doesn't go back on the traditional core value. I think they intentionally create QH as a character opposing GTY, traditional vs open-minded, by-the-book vs flexible, reputation vs content.

 

QH is not a politician.  He doesn't understand that this is not about what's right or wrong, this is a political game where people fight to be in charge. What he says doesn't matter if he picks the wrong side, thus leads to his downfall. But this is actually better for him. He can do more as a local official than a Yu shi. Being away can give him some peaceful time far from the storms in the capital.

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2 hours ago, zenya22 said:

Thank you. Dramas are film industry, it is business, the more viewers the better. I think someone has already posted the same thing as you stated. And many times this drama has not stayed true according to the moors of the time period as in having CL hold the keys and manage the house at the start of the drama and making ML steward when she was a teenager and GTY a one woman man utterly in love with his wife and knocks convention to the point of being unfilial by not wanting a concubine and adding flavor to the characters of QH and Molan by making them "flawed", more interesting and lively. So the opinions/POV of the viewers regarding the characters are based on the drama presentation although there are still differences on that too. Even if the drama presented this show as it was written in the book, viewers will still have different opinions but as you said ratings would be flat.

Loved reading what you wrote.EOD it is meant to entertain by narrating a story.The story of Minglan is well told.I feel the casting crew were the unsung heroes.They picked up good actors to portray the characters and keep this thread bustling.:blush:

 

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Watching this series, reading the book, aren't we all glad to be living in the HERE and NOW?  

 

If you weren't born wealthy, would REALLY suck to be a woman!  Or alive.

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Minglan the smart strategist  whether it's  the Zhangs,Shens or the Empress everyone needs her consultation services.The best part of being in the 11/12th century you aren't charged $$$ for it. 

Aunt Kang,Elder Madam Gu are far better plotters than the men in the imperial court.:D What the room full of officials take days to implement these women singlehandedly accomplish in the same time frame.

Women power and efficiency go hand in hand in this time period too.

If you still doubt the mighty women remember it was the empress who came to rescue the emperor from a political deadlock.

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3 hours ago, linhlinh111 said:

Big Madam is all about authority. What she wants is her full legitimate rights as a main wife, which she never had. Earlier it was concubine Lin who challenged her power. Later when concubine Lin is gone, the other shu daughters are married off to families with status, while her own daughter married a poor scholar. From beginning to end she has almost no say over the shu children in the house. And when she tried to make a move on Gu family (spying over shu children's houses is sth most main wives would do), she was scolded by Grandma and her authority was once again threatened. That's when she lost it.

 

Can I just add to this, it appears she is also feeling lonely well based on her conversation with Hualan on how's she all alone in the inner courtyard. Generally, (before the incident with aunty Kang) I thought Big Madam had a fair bit of power on the house since she has no threat of CL or any other concubines (I know in the book SH has other concubines but we don't really see that in the drama...). All her children are in generally good marriages, the Sheng house is being favoured plus her relationships with Grandmother and SH are respectable/amicable enough (of course before the aunty Kang stuff). In many people's eyes, one could say at this particular moment in her life, she was in a  pretty good position (though when CL was around it was different). Despite all this, she feels really lonely and I kind of like how they mentioned it into the drama and it really humanizes her character. That's why she converses so much with her sister Kang who I think exploits these feelings. I was wondering why she kept interacting with her sister when Grandma told her to stop and previously we didn't see aunty Kang a lot prior to Ml's marriage. Still, I'll admit that Big Madam is pretty foolish/stupid :sweatingbullets:

 

@GoldenFlower I find your perspective and insights with the characters really interesting and I wish I could write as well when explaining /analysing them. :D The Story of Minglan gives a lot of depth to its side characters and it's probably my favourite part of the drama alongside to ML and GTY outmaneuvering those who scheme against them :P  

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Wow.. Stepmom really deranged. She wants to kill ml to cripple gty. She's so jealous of gty & ml passion, just like her late  husband's passion to her late sister. 

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23 minutes ago, leeza77 said:

Wow.. Stepmom really deranged. She wants to kill ml to cripple gty. She's so jealous of gty & ml passion, just like her late  husband's passion to her late sister. 

I wish they had mentioned why she married GTY's father knowing he was devoted to his sister.

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13 minutes ago, minglan1 said:

I wish they had mentioned why she married GTY's father knowing he was devoted to his sister.

Guess she thought she can win his love. She thinks highly of herself. Impeccably manner, soft spoken, virtuous wife. When she realised that the hubby was pinning for her late wife, despite her coaxing.. The resentment made her crazy with hatred. 

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7 minutes ago, leeza77 said:

Guess she thought she can win his love. She thinks highly of herself. Impeccably manner, soft spoken, virtuous wife. When she realised that the hubby was pinning for her late wife, despite her coaxing.. The resentment made her crazy with hatred. 

Thanks for sharing.She is twisted.No wonder she got along so well with Aunt Kang.

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5 minutes ago, minglan1 said:

I wish they had mentioned why she married GTY's father knowing he was devoted to his sister.

@minglan1 and @leeza77  Little MdM Qi is delusional and I still can’t pity her at all. Here are the reasons why I can’t pity her, 1, She knew already her in law was in love with his first wife, he never got any concubine and he has children. What was she hoping for , he would miraculously love her. The man was in love with First wife, grieved for her , saw how he acted after her death, DID SHE REALLY THINK HE WOULD GET OVER HER BECAUSE OF HER. That was her first mistake and second mistake is that he has children. Did she expect him to abandon his children for her. The problem with Stepmom is that she is ungrateful and selfish because he wasn’t a terrible husband. He just couldn’t love her the way she wanted but he gave her respect while she was manipulating him to hate his own son.  Smh smh smh 

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the ending cards on youtube are the worst thing to ever happen to the site! that damn rectangle box thingy is in the way of me being able to properly watch that kiss scene  :triumph:

 

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10 minutes ago, mingerling said:

the ending cards on youtube are the worst thing to ever happen to the site! that damn rectangle box thingy is in the way of me being able to properly watch that kiss scene  :triumph:

 

Ha ha.. Let me tell you. She kissed him four times with loud kissy sound. On the cheek, left, right, left again and the last one gty woke up from his shock and his lip met hers.. Ha ha. Chaste kisses.. Alas so sweet. The beginning of revealation of their love. Every disaster ml & gty will end up with they getting closer. :kiss_wink:

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4 hours ago, UnniSarah said:

@minglan1 and @leeza77  Little MdM Qi is delusional and I still can’t pity her at all. Here are the reasons why I can’t pity her, 1, She knew already her in law was in love with his first wife, he never got any concubine and he has children. What was she hoping for , he would miraculously love her. The man was in love with First wife, grieved for her , saw how he acted after her death, DID SHE REALLY THINK HE WOULD GET OVER HER BECAUSE OF HER. That was her first mistake and second mistake is that he has children. Did she expect him to abandon his children for her. The problem with Stepmom is that she is ungrateful and selfish because he wasn’t a terrible husband. He just couldn’t love her the way she wanted but he gave her respect while she was manipulating him to hate his own son.  Smh smh smh 

 

I kind of get the feeling she had no choice. The marriage with her brother in law was arranged by the parents or maybe the old marquis wanted to assuage his guilt of abandoning their daughter by taking in her sister. 

If she had liked her sister she would be resentful to the marquis....if she didn't like her she would want to take everything of hers to make her own, including the love of her husband. But soon she realized that the marquis has not forgotten her sister....which then made her more resentful of everything and everyone in Gu house. It was then she starts scheming. If her son inherits the title then everything will finally be hers.

Who knows, she may have entered the marriage with a lot of expectations of a loving husband and a good life...only to realize she was just a substitute mother and Daniang....not an actual wife.

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