[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 3/18/2019 at 2:00 AM, arcchidus said:


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. 


@arcchidus, after having watched this drama, what seems like a 100 times (literally more like 20+......:lol:), I actually think she was on his radar long before the river scene--he just never dared to dream or hope that he even had a chance with her nor wanting to cross the boundary of friendship with the young duke. I go back to when he was talking to the prostitute at the polo match. Although, had admiration for Ming Lan and Ms. Yu; however, the things he said pointed more to Ming Lan than to her friend; however, his goal was help find an out for his mistress.  Later when he went to angrily speak to Ming Lan after his proposal was rejected, he baited her saying that he should have proposed marriage to her instead.....


Not only that, at the polo match there is a clip that was purposeful in that it showed the prostitute in purple taking note of the way Gu Tingye was looking at  Ming Lan when she got into the match.  We later learn more about this prostitute, she's very good at observing people and know more about what's in their heart than they do. That's why I think this clip of the prostitute was added. It also shows during the match before Gu Tingye joined, how interested he was in watching the match and MingLan play. After Gu Tingye "lost" the match, she even asked him if he was  interested in Ms. Yu or Ms Sheng. Gu Tingye said he wanted to make both of them happy.  


When he later told Ming Lan that he wanted to marry her after their discussion on the river, I don't think those are just random thoughts that come out of nowhere. I actually think in his heart of heart, there was a seed already planted. When he was getting gifts ready for his potential engagement to Ming Lan's friend, he didn't want to part with the kneepads she had given him when they were children. He asked Shitou to keep the knee pads, despite being old and cheaply made.  


One last thing. When Ming Lan's brother went to visit Gu Tingye, after his father had died and after his argument with MingLan over his mistress,  Gu Tingye' mistress came in to offer food, but Changhai told her that the "My Sixth...I've brought him some fish porridge."  Gu Tingye waited until after his mistress left and said, "Hey, let me have a taste of that fish porridge."  Gu Tingye then said after tasting the porridge, "The culinary skills of your Sixt Little Sister are indeed outstanding." 


At the river he made ups his mind, but in his heart, I think she's always had a special place there from the time they were children. She was off limits due to his friendship with the young duke and her brother.



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Ok so since I can't get over this drama, I started reading the novel (which was fully translated in my native language, Vietnamese). The last chapter was very satisfying; it really explained why Gu Tingye and Minglan are the way they are. Since the English translation for the novel is only up to chapter 78 (there are 219 in total), I translated key excerpts from the last chapter here, hopefully it gives you some closure/entertainment as it did me :) The full doc has translation footnotes etc., but I'll put here the very last conversation that they had (it'll be more impactful if you read from the beginning! But if you're pressed for time, this convo will suffice). See under spoiler tag:


Note: Beard = Gu Tingye. By now he has grown a full beard and Ming Lan nicknamed him this way (she was also nagging him to shave lol)


He remembered when he saw Manniang in West Liao, she was holding a wooden cane, hitting people left and right, each hit both precise and cruel, no one dared approach her and Chang’er. He knew her for many years and thought that she had a weak constitution; who would have thought she even knew a bit of martial arts.


He felt chills down his spine when remembering that year Manniang fought with his pregnant wife. He had thought it was just the anger of a desperate woman who wanted to bet it all, now in retrospect, if Manniang used Chang’er, she could have hurt Minglan while protecting herself. He felt ice in his heart thinking about this.


“It was my bad luck to have met her; it was her worse luck to have met me.”


Time has changed; he could even explain his story with Manniang this calmly.


Ming Lan bent her back that had become stiff, her brain numb. She didn’t know what to do or say, only felt saddened looking at his cheerless face.


“That year when I sent Manniang mom and son to Mianzhou, you reproached me…” He said with difficulty, “You were right to reproach me.”  


Ming Lan started to say something, but Beard raised his hand to signal her to wait: “Let me finish.” Ming Lan resigned to patiently listening some more.


“I didn’t mean to explain myself. You said I wasn’t fully sincere with you - this is not wrong. But I wasn’t born heartless, I was devoted to another, but in the end I was deceived, insulted, wrongly accused, with nowhere to go and no one to trust...all that was left was to leave for the outside world, leaving behind the title of the Marquis second young master, jade seal, my name, starting over.”


His husky voice was coarse, like the sound of two rough stones rubbing against each other.


“I learned a lot. Carefully planning before acting, analyzing the pros and cons, good and bad, cost and benefit...I learned how to fight against schemes, and how to scheme against others.” He laughed bitterly: “I had to kill the old Gu Tingye to survive.”


Tears welled up in Ming Lan’s eyes, her heart heavy with pain. It couldn’t have been easy for a young master from the Marquis manor who probably didn’t even know how much a bowl of noodle cost, and yet had to fend for himself with his empty, bare hands. She knew, she knew it all. .


“Back then, times were bad. So many people peered at us, waiting for us to make mistakes. Brother Geng was accused, brother Shen was accused, they even found fault with brother Duan who is the most upright. I can’t be close to the Emperor like they are, so I can’t make any mistake.”


His hand reaching out to cover hers, his voice woeful: “When I knew that you and our son were safe, the first thing that I thought about wasn’t that I was worried you were terrified, or that I should take revenge for you. I thought about how to stop the story about Manniang from spreading. When you were mad at me, scolded me, you did right! I am that kind of person, and yet I had the guts to accuse you of not treating me sincerely, I’m a bastard!”


He squeezed her hand tight, his knuckles white, cracking.


“When your grandma was in danger, you knelt by her bed, crying your heart out. You threw away everything, your life,  your wealth, repeatedly risking your life to get justice for her! That was when I woke from my dream; I have been through so much, have learned when to attack and when to defend, but I forgot the most important thing...I forgot how to treat someone with sincerity…”


His voice was hoarse, as if he was tearing off a page from the old book of the past; the moment he finished, tears streamed down his eyes. It was as if he had just seen the skyline at dawn, the light started to shine. Destiny had not been kind to him, his life was never a straight ride, never a smooth road, full of dangers, only when he looked back did he realize that he had left behind a precious past.


Minh Lan choked back her tears, holding his hands in hers: “No, it was me, I was petty, you toil away for us. I could live comfortably like this, not because I’m clever, or know how to deal with people, definitely not because I’m good at managing the house. It’s all because you made your name in court, that’s why everyone flatters me, wants to please me…”  


Tears fell down to their intertwined hands, burning hot.


“You protect me in every way, you never let anyone bully me, in this capital, who wouldn’t admire that? It was because I wasn’t satisfied, because I…” Ming Lan bit her lips, her tears falling down like rain: “Because I was afraid! I was afraid one day you wouldn’t love me anymore, what am I to do then? So I was always calculating, I did not want to lose! If such a day would ever come, I would die from heartbreak!”


She finally burst out crying, now that she had confessed all the thoughts and worries that she had buried deep down for a long time, she was embarrassed to realize how weak and selfish she sounded.


“I know your heart very well. You are very good to me, and not because you want me to manage your household, to continue your bloodline. You sincerely love me, respect me, want me to be happy, want me to live a carefree life....but I pretended not to know! Because I was afraid, afraid that…”


Beard clumsily used his sleeve to wipe off her tears: “Don’t...don’t cry, you just gave birth, you can’t cry…” As soon as he said that, tears fell from his own eyes.


Ming Lan cried even more.


They hugged each other tight, head to head, body to body, tears that they didn’t know they had kept falling down to their chest and sleeves, like two children who were scolded comforting each other, sharing each other’s warmth.


They were two people whose innocence and passion were chipped away early by their realities. They learned how to put on an act in their life, always looking at life and its people with guarded eyes and hesitation, not easily giving out their trust.


After climbing all these mountains, crossing all these rivers, doubts, pains, misgivings, they had traveled far, just to come back to where it all began, and realized that what their hearts longed for had been within grasp all along.


This was the last time Manniang was mentioned in their talk, and in their life.


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@insertusernamehere, All I can say is THANK YOU!  I've watched TSOML so many times, I've lost track. I'm addicted to this drama. I start reading the book too, I wish the who book was subbed in my language--English.  Thank you again for the translation, I have to say these passages give us a little more insight into our couple.


Loved, loved, loved the part of the story you translated. I hope they translate the book into English.



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