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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 2/18/2019 at 4:11 AM, greenwatch08 said:

I finally finished the drama. There's so much to unpack.The longest drama I'd ever watched & I'm quite satisfied with it. All in all I really enjoyed the show, especially seeing how both ML & TY's development & growth unfolds from the beginning to the end, along w/ their relationship/interaction w everyone else. 

 

As for the last episode, it was a solid conclusion. My only gripe is how Empress Dowager didnt serve time/exiled for her action/set of events leading up to the rebellion/end when she was mostly responsible for. The most ingrate of them all along w/ Molan. 

 

I have to agree with you about there being so much to unpack. It was during my second watch (I love this drama so much) that I realized how truly romantic this drama is. Now the conversations and meetings between TY and ML before their marriage take on new meaning. It's clear to see that he's always been intrigued by her. Every time that he's rescued her, he's never taken her back immediately, but instead he wanted to spend time with her. 

 

This is definitely on my favorite historical dramas rewatch list. I wish I could find another drama where both the leads are smart and intelligent. They are very good at outwitting the evil people. 

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On 2/24/2019 at 4:24 PM, believed said:

EXACTLY. This is my #1 complaint with this show/the ending. I HATE that they just let Molan get away with everything she did because not once did she ever feel true remorse about the things SHE did and the problems SHE caused. She didn't LEARN anything. And to have to accept that, through this ending for her, we're supposed to pretend none of her previous deeds actually occurred?? I hate it and it actually really dampens my overall enjoyment of the show.

 

I personally thought she did suffer. The writer made it known, by what her brother told her, that even though she got what she wanted, she still wasn't happy; and she wasn't. She only had a title, but no real love from her husband. He then betrayed her in the worse way--with the servants--slaves and then kicked her out. Each of the sisters in this drama reflected the personality of the "mother/grandmother" that raised them. Out of all of these, Molan had the poorest example. I felt sorry for her at the very end, glad that the writer had her realize the "having is not as good as the wanting".

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On 2/25/2019 at 10:33 AM, insertusernamehere said:

Agree that was a resolution for GTY's insecurities, but I don't think it was a resolution for Minglan's lack of trust. There are two things going on here: we/GTY/ML don't know how ardently ML loves GTY (we can conclude that she definitely does!), and how much she is willing to "burden" him, to comfortably rely on him without worrying that it will make him tired of her. That I think was never cleanly resolved. That conversation about her not wanting to amicably separate didn't address completely her trust issue (I remember as far as ep 70 there was still one time she said she would take care of things herself instead of troubling GTY). I don't mean that GTY is right. Sometimes people are just fiercely independent and that's ok, it's not an indication of lack of trust or love. 

 

I really don't think ML's lack of trust is still an issue at the end.

 

I think from the point when they had that conversation about being a burden when GTY told her he can't say anything because it would drag her family down, ML started putting trust into GTY and believes he won't get tried of her. I think she realized if he is willing to go this far for her and her family (farther than what her father or anyone else was ever willing to do for her -- putting his own family and himself in danger for her family), there's nothing he is not willing to work through with her.

 

Afterwards, she demonstrated her trust by letting her husband go through that crazy ruse with the emperor and sticking with him even though outwardly it doesn't look like a guarantee win. 

 

Not fully related to the above but just something I noticed after a second viewing of some of the episodes that made me feel a bit better about the risk GTY took. I think the ruse started way before GTY killed the Wong family woman. From the point when the queen refused to return the ruling jade, the ruse had started. You can tell by the way the doors were always open when he spoke with the king, the fact he speaks with the king's son louder than required around other officials, and also the way he exchanged looks with the king's son. 

 

This means had the poisoning didn't happen in ML family, he probably would have taken a less risky route. But ML was personally attacked (aka, he realized there's going to be major risk without without him moving forward) and both him and the emperor just want to end everything once and for all, they moved up the final stage of their plan. This makes the comment by the king on how GTY is the most meticulous person inside more well earned. 

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5 hours ago, arcchidus said:

 

I really don't think ML's lack of trust is still an issue at the end.

 

I think from the point when they had that conversation about being a burden when GTY told her he can't say anything because it would drag her family down, ML started putting trust into GTY and believes he won't get tried of her. I think she realized if he is willing to go this far for her and her family (farther than what her father or anyone else was ever willing to do for her -- putting his own family and himself in danger for her family), there's nothing he is not willing to work through with her.

 

Afterwards, she demonstrated her trust by letting her husband go through that crazy ruse with the emperor and sticking with him even though outwardly it doesn't look like a guarantee win. 

 

Not fully related to the above but just something I noticed after a second viewing of some of the episodes that made me feel a bit better about the risk GTY took. I think the ruse started way before GTY killed the Wong family woman. From the point when the queen refused to return the ruling jade, the ruse had started. You can tell by the way the doors were always open when he spoke with the king, the fact he speaks with the king's son louder than required around other officials, and also the way he exchanged looks with the king's son. 

 

This means had the poisoning didn't happen in ML family, he probably would have taken a less risky route. But ML was personally attacked (aka, he realized there's going to be major risk without without him moving forward) and both him and the emperor just want to end everything once and for all, they moved up the final stage of their plan. This makes the comment by the king on how GTY is the most meticulous person inside more well earned. 

 

After watching the drama for the second time,  I see a clearer picture and agree with everything you stated above.  After the grandma's poison, I too don't think ML has any trust issue with GTY. They talked about how he was upset that she didn't write to him while her sister in-law did. Her reason was that she didn't trust him to not get in trouble.  Unlike her brother CB who had it easy since birth.  CB's life was a smooth sailing while her husband had a difficult childhood and it's not an easy journey for him to reach his accomplishment hence why she didn't want to burden him with her problems.  It's not that she didn't trust him but she is protecting him from any more grievances and burdens that he may encounters.  It's her way of protecting him just like GTY chose not to involve ML in his grand scheme just in case if it didn't go well as planned then she would be part of their demise and punishment.  In this case it's his way of protecting her and their family. 

 

 

 

 

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This is a drama that I could easily get addicted to. This is the second time and one thing is not clear, what happened to the Young Lord Yanro and his wife? Have a missed something that shows how she may have died? Why is the Imperial consort say: Your wife harmed my biological little sister? Anyone can tell? Even Molan character is not something to like, the actress does an incredible job. She is one of the best actresses. The main wife of Sheng is a great actress as well. They all have become one with their role. Well done! 

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4 hours ago, GPU71 said:

This is a drama that I could easily get addicted to. This is the second time and one thing is not clear, what happened to the Young Lord Yanro and his wife? Have a missed something that shows how she may have died? Why is the Imperial consort say: Your wife harmed my biological little sister? Anyone can tell? Even Molan character is not something to like, the actress does an incredible job. She is one of the best actresses. The main wife of Sheng is a great actress as well. They all have become one with their role. Well done! 

 

Remember the scene where a girl that was thrown out of the carriage in the middle of the street? Well that was the sister of the imperial consort. She was kidnapped and raped on the orders of Prince Yong.....YuanRuo's first wife's family.....only because their daughter wanted to marry YuanRou....and so did that other girl.  

The girl later committed suicide. Thats why Imperial consort helped Prince Yan to stage a coup, to avenge her sister by killing Prince Yong, his wife and his daughter. Princess Pingning, Yuan Rou's mom saw their bodies and went crazy.....or pretended to.      

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On 2/26/2019 at 6:44 PM, lclarakl said:

 

I personally thought she did suffer. The writer made it known, by what her brother told her, that even though she got what she wanted, she still wasn't happy; and she wasn't. She only had a title, but no real love from her husband. He then betrayed her in the worse way--with the servants--slaves and then kicked her out. Each of the sisters in this drama reflected the personality of the "mother/grandmother" that raised them. Out of all of these, Molan had the poorest example. I felt sorry for her at the very end, glad that the writer had her realize the "having is not as good as the wanting".

Initially, I, too, thought that Molan got off easy.  But after reflection, I agree with you that she is suffering and that is her punishment.  She has no love in her own house and she gets to see her sisters living happier lives.  I really like how the writer's showed her breaking down and crying, after her husband left with the servants.  Molan was in dismay, because, as she stated that behavior worked for her mother.  She is clueless as to why it's not working for her.  And, as you stated, "Molan had the poorest example" -- her mother.   There's a part of me that would like to see a sequel to see how all the sisters and families are living now.

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@faithwalker, I too would love a sequel to see how the sisters are living. This has truly become one of my favorite dramas. In re-watching it, I pick up on little things that I missed before or maybe didn't really let it sink in.  I was really surprised that Ming Lan's father decided to kill Molan's mother. At first I really didn't understand why she died or why he didn't morn her death. Re-watching it, I picked up on points I heard but didn't piece together. Ming Lan's father, as observed by Gu Ting Ye, "Loves a clean reputation more than his own wife and children."

 

When Molan's mother plotted by having her daughter have an affair then went out and spread it in the streets, that was a huge strike against her. Then when he realized that she had used that same plot against him (a married man--he brought her home pregnant) and only wanted to be with him because he had money, he then decided that he wanted nothing else to do with her. He had his servant who was skilled at beating people to death but leave no real obvious signs to beat her in such a way that she would die.

 

Molan's mother never told her about marrying for love, it was only about marrying for position--the higher the better. She also never told her to marry someone who will respect her. Molan looked at all those around her and knew the type of man she wanted, Gu Ting Ye also knew the type of husband he wanted to be and the woman he wanted to marry. 

 

I really could have used another 5 or more episodes. Truly love this drama.

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Did anyone else wonder if the author/screenwriter got inspired by reading Pride and Prejudice? There are so many parallels:

- The high number of daughters in the house

- ML indecent behavior is similar to Lydia

- Both mothers are shortsighted and a bit silly

- Main character married above her situation, and is envied for it

- Guy is really rich and has a title that can be inherited and a bit unlikable in the beginning

- Girl actually said that she would never marry the guy before actually marrying the guy

- A father who is not very involved with the education of his daughter, whose behavior allowed at least a few of his daughters to act shamefully

 

Obviously there's a lot more in this story than P&P but the similarities!!

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On 3/7/2019 at 9:04 PM, arcchidus said:

Did anyone else wonder if the author/screenwriter got inspired by reading Pride and Prejudice? There are so many parallels:

- The high number of daughters in the house

- ML indecent behavior is similar to Lydia

- Both mothers are shortsighted and a bit silly

- Main character married above her situation, and is envied for it

- Guy is really rich and has a title that can be inherited and a bit unlikable in the beginning

- Girl actually said that she would never marry the guy before actually marrying the guy

- A father who is not very involved with the education of his daughter, whose behavior allowed at least a few of his daughters to act shamefully

 

Obviously there's a lot more in this story than P&P but the similarities!!

 

I did think about it while watching the drama, but I think the similarities are more on the drama versus the book. At least from the small parts that I read, it didn't feel similar at all. 

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On 3/8/2019 at 11:04 AM, arcchidus said:

Did anyone else wonder if the author/screenwriter got inspired by reading Pride and Prejudice? There are so many parallels:

- The high number of daughters in the house

- ML indecent behavior is similar to Lydia

- Both mothers are shortsighted and a bit silly

- Main character married above her situation, and is envied for it

- Guy is really rich and has a title that can be inherited and a bit unlikable in the beginning

- Girl actually said that she would never marry the guy before actually marrying the guy

- A father who is not very involved with the education of his daughter, whose behavior allowed at least a few of his daughters to act shamefully

 

Obviously there's a lot more in this story than P&P but the similarities!!

I doubt the author was inspired by P&P. I think she was mostly inspired by Dream of the Red Chamber 红楼梦, the most famous classical novel in China. Apart from many references and comments on DotRC in the novel, she also said she wanted to write about the rise of a family in ancient China, which is in great contrast to DotRC, where a key theme is the downfall of a noble family. A similar theme shared in both novels is the fate of women, regardless of their social status and age differences.

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On 3/7/2019 at 10:04 PM, arcchidus said:

Did anyone else wonder if the author/screenwriter got inspired by reading Pride and Prejudice? There are so many parallels:

- The high number of daughters in the house

- ML indecent behavior is similar to Lydia

- Both mothers are shortsighted and a bit silly

- Main character married above her situation, and is envied for it

- Guy is really rich and has a title that can be inherited and a bit unlikable in the beginning

- Girl actually said that she would never marry the guy before actually marrying the guy

- A father who is not very involved with the education of his daughter, whose behavior allowed at least a few of his daughters to act shamefully

 

Obviously there's a lot more in this story than P&P but the similarities!!

 

Actually, it didn't strike me as that similar. They just happen to be slice-of-life dramas.  ML is Very different from Elizabeth and GTY isn't like Mr. Darcy at all. 

 

-In P&P, the Bennet family was uncommon in the number of daughters, in SoML, many children was the norm.

-In P&P, Lydia was headstrong and frivolous, but she was not malicious and she was enticed by a man who had done that type of thing before. Molan, who was both malicious and manipulative actively seduced her husband.

-In P&P, Mr.Darcy is rich and noble, and  above reproach, while GTY has had to fight for everything he has and has a terrible reputation. 

-In P&P, Mr. Darcy's good reputation was a a key aspect of his character whereas  it was GTY's specifically bad reputation that caused him so much difficulty over the years, i.e. getting blamed for his cousins' actions & having trouble getting a reputable bride.  

-Elizabeth has never had any real hardship (the Bennets are not rich but comfortable enough), but ML has had many trials

-The royalty played very little in P&P, but was essential in SoML

 

Mothers who are silly, fathers who are not actively engaged in their children's lives, and a romance that starts with a personality clash are just the norm for family stories and romances.

 

That being said, I do love the slice-of-life genres and that was one of the things that made Jane Austin's works, and this Drama stand out in excellence.

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I have watch this drama three time already and with each time I watch it gets better and funnier.. Love when Shitou tells Gu Ting Ye (Them people from there have come) WTF :w00t::w00t:

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On 3/7/2019 at 7:04 PM, arcchidus said:

Did anyone else wonder if the author/screenwriter got inspired by reading Pride and Prejudice? There are so many parallels:

- The high number of daughters in the house

- ML indecent behavior is similar to Lydia

- Both mothers are shortsighted and a bit silly

- Main character married above her situation, and is envied for it

- Guy is really rich and has a title that can be inherited and a bit unlikable in the beginning

- Girl actually said that she would never marry the guy before actually marrying the guy

- A father who is not very involved with the education of his daughter, whose behavior allowed at least a few of his daughters to act shamefully

 

Obviously there's a lot more in this story than P&P but the similarities!!

 

Lol that's actually how I introduced it to my friends and family at first, "the Chinese version of Pride & Prejudice". I don't know if the author was inspired by P & P per se, but I agree with the similarities you listed. 

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On 3/13/2019 at 5:28 PM, valerie savage said:

I have watch this drama three time already and with each time I watch it gets better and funnier.. Love when Shitou tells Gu Ting Ye (Them people from there have come) WTF :w00t::w00t:

 

Lol, I've rewatched it 5 times myself, from beginning to end, and some episodes much more than that. Every time I get to the ending, I just feel sad and wish so much that they took their time. There are certain scenes that seemed rushed, such as the baby's first month celebration and the very last scene...you only caught glimpses of people who were there but some of them didn't even get a full shot. It's as if the camera just didn't have time to focus on them.

 

I would've even liked to see the emperor talk to Ming Lan at the end when he is showing them his harvest. I think someone mentioned in the novel that ML and GTY regained their title and even got a promotion? I would've loved to actually see that. I know it's inferred that it's a happily ever after ending, but after journeying with them for 70+ episodes, I think we deserved more than just guessing what happened to certain people. I wished that they would've done a small time skip and showed us Ming Lan's second baby's birthday, where all of her families and friends were together again. 

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@Razberry, I actually could have written your post because everything you said is exactly what I've done and felt. This is truly one of my favorite dramas.  There are so many little small things I picked up on each time I rewatch it. There are also scenes where I wished the camera had focused more or given a little more backstory behind an action.

 

For example, I would have loved it attention was given to the fact that each time Gu Tingye rescued Ming Lan, he always took her with him and not back to the group she was traveling with. When he rescued her from the pirates, he took only her back to his camp.  When the funeral procession was attacked, he took her back to his army post, not back with the rest of the group. Even when he rescued her when delivering the decree, he made time to spend with he before leaving. He could have had and Shitou take her back home immediately, but he didn't. Gu Tingye wanted to take every opportunity to spend time with her. 

 

I also wish we had a little more camera time in ep 25 when after rescuing Minglan from the funeral procession chaos, Shitou arrived and he realized it was "Sixth Miss" at the army post having tea with Gu Tingye, he told him, "We are quite fated with Sixth Miss."  The expression on Gu Tingye's face was hilarious--as if Shitou and exposed his secret in front of Minglan. I wish the camera had focused more on him. 

 

Just love this drama. I wish I could find another one just like it--good quality writing, with a love story behind it.

 

@valerie savage, agree with you, each time I watch I see something new or I really get the humor that I missed the first time. The fact that he liked her years ago, only truly unfolds in the conversations he had with Minglan and with the guy she used to like.  He told Minglan that he wanted to marry her after he rescued her from the pirates. However, when he's talking to her first love, we see that it was before that. He didn't want to come between them--he was determined to support them.  I personally, think when he first joined their "school", he was intrigued in Minglan and wanted to know what she was thinking--he remembered how she was as a little girl when he let her win the arrow throw (he did the same thing again years later at the polo match).  Her first love only saw the outer facade of her, Gu Tingye saw the deeper side of her. He wasn't surprised by anything she did, because he knew she was capable of so much.

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On 3/16/2019 at 7:11 AM, lclarakl said:

 

@valerie savage, agree with you, each time I watch I see something new or I really get the humor that I missed the first time. The fact that he liked her years ago, only truly unfolds in the conversations he had with Minglan and with the guy she used to like.  He told Minglan that he wanted to marry her after he rescued her from the pirates. However, when he's talking to her first love, we see that it was before that. He didn't want to come between them--he was determined to support them.  I personally, think when he first joined their "school", he was intrigued in Minglan and wanted to know what she was thinking--he remembered how she was as a little girl when he let her win the arrow throw (he did the same thing again years later at the polo match).  Her first love only saw the outer facade of her, Gu Tingye saw the deeper side of her. He wasn't surprised by anything she did, because he knew she was capable of so much.

 

I actually disagree with you there on the timing.

 

Although he found her kind of interesting before, I don't think he had romantic feelings for her until after the river incident. I think before that, he was too busy with his family drama to really see clearly (and for a while, she was just too young anyway).

 

I think after she told him to raise his girl better, he started seeing her in new light, and actually took extra care to make her life as easy as possible. Before that he just treats her like a friend. 

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On 3/16/2019 at 7:11 AM, lclarakl said:

@Razberry, I actually could have written your post because everything you said is exactly what I've done and felt. This is truly one of my favorite dramas.  There are so many little small things I picked up on each time I rewatch it. There are also scenes where I wished the camera had focused more or given a little more backstory behind an action.

 

For example, I would have loved it attention was given to the fact that each time Gu Tingye rescued Ming Lan, he always took her with him and not back to the group she was traveling with. When he rescued her from the pirates, he took only her back to his camp.  When the funeral procession was attacked, he took her back to his army post, not back with the rest of the group. Even when he rescued her when delivering the decree, he made time to spend with he before leaving. He could have had and Shitou take her back home immediately, but he didn't. Gu Tingye wanted to take every opportunity to spend time with her. 

 

I also wish we had a little more camera time in ep 25 when after rescuing Minglan from the funeral procession chaos, Shitou arrived and he realized it was "Sixth Miss" at the army post having tea with Gu Tingye, he told him, "We are quite fated with Sixth Miss."  The expression on Gu Tingye's face was hilarious--as if Shitou and exposed his secret in front of Minglan. I wish the camera had focused more on him. 

 

Just love this drama. I wish I could find another one just like it--good quality writing, with a love story behind it.

 

 

re: GTY wanting to spend time with ML: I love that you noticed that too! First time I saw the funeral procession scene, I was laughing my butt off because at first I couldn't understand why he was carrying her off with him when the procession and her family was much closer and probably could've used his help. Of course later on it became clear why and how sweet all this gestures were. I love that with this show, once you watch it through once and then go back to rewatch it, you appreciate every little gesture and expression even more and you realize you've been clued in on certain things way earlier than it was revealed. 

 

I've been trying to find another drama like it but with no luck whatsoever. I've watched many Cantonese dramas as well and nothing compares. Usually with chinese dramas whenever there's comedy, they usually overdo it to the point where it's not even funny at all. But what makes TSoML stand out from others is that the comedy is usually very lowkey and therefore much more successful. Some scenes you don't even realize it's played for comedy until the music kicks in. Love the score for the show as well. Fits every scene so perfectly. And of course I've been playing the ending credits song on repeat. i especially like the cast version, and I really appreciate the fact that it replaced the regular credits song in the episode where they got married. I love little touches like that, lets you know the creative team behind the show cares and pays attention to even the smallest details.  

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