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Lynne

[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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I have saved all my favourite episodes and will watch again at my own leisure.

 

It is really interesting to note that how much acting as they are actually a pair of real life couple. I suppose the elaborate wedding on set can be taken for a real wedding for them too.

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14 hours ago, arcchidus said:

I finally watched this.

 

This was a really beautifully made series. The details were incredible. There were parts that I found to be overly dramatic, but other than that it was good.

 

My mother totally spoiled the pairing for me when she tried to get me to watch it, so I wasn't surprised when she ended up with Gu Tingye. I kind of wish we see more of the Gu family after what happened. I really think now that the madame is gone, the Gu family can coexist in peace.

 

I actually really like the ending where the old queen didn't die. As someone said in Chinese on youtube. When two bosses fights, it's not the bosses that get hurt but people around them. It's so true!

 

I liked the growth in Gu Tingye, the only thing I didn't like was the size of the risk he took at the end! He could have destroyed the future of his wife and his family if anything went wrong!! I mean I know it was calculated risk, but still... I hope he is done with his risk taking days and actually let Minglan have so peaceful days after this! But as a general... he is always going to be in danger especially when the king is planning to fight wars in the future. So, Minglan future may not be as peaceful as she wished.

 

I agree. For me, this whole last minute plan of Emperor to use GTY was very carelessly thought up and planned. The GTY of now, with a family of his own will never take such a risk....playing with his and their lives. Even if he does, he will first make sure his wife and child are safe.....and out of reach from that viper of a stepmom. What kind of person leaves his family unprotected in a such dangerous situation? When he's fully aware his stepmom will never stop until her son has the title.

People are saying if he had told ML, she would not be convincing enough pretending her desperation. Well, I say bs to that. If you remember ML has been pretending to be something she's not, for almost all her life. And she damned well convinced everyone of her act....even grandma to some extent.

 

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On 2/14/2019 at 6:53 PM, linhlinh111 said:

 

And Molan. Like, I get it, she is still welcomed back to the house. But how can they be so casual with her? She freed the woman who tried to kill her own Grandmother, and they just let it pass like that? Are all these people Saints or something?

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.

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On 2/14/2019 at 3:43 PM, lilkat75 said:

One of the things that did slightly disappoint me was the fight/discussion between ML and GTY. I dislike the idea that showing love through being emotional/getting jealous/making a scene means that you truly love a person. To be honest, the 'solving' of miscommunication on this matter wasn't exactly explicit. Yes, I do like the couple and that they are able to speak on personal matters with each other and I certainly know that they both love each other dearly.  My problem was that the execution of overcoming this obstacle was not done very well/not as impactful as I would have liked. From what I've heard from the novel, I wished that the drama/screenwriters followed the fight/how the couple solved their miscommunication in the novel -_-

Agree! I love the conflict because it's internally driven and not because of some second female/male lead. I waited and waited for it to resolve in a more open, direct way, but besides her acting a bit rashly towards the end and showing some jealousy towards the concubine, we really didn't get to see clearer indication of her trusting him in a sense that she would rely on him more. Also I agree with ML, if he didn't care about the concubine why should she feel jealous? When she got a bit jealous of Prostitute Wei (hope I got her name right!), that makes a lot more sense since Wei is GTY's friend and confidante, someone he actually pays some mind to (even though their relationship was platonic).

How did they resolve this conflict in the novel?

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5 hours ago, insertusernamehere said:

Agree! I love the conflict because it's internally driven and not because of some second female/male lead. I waited and waited for it to resolve in a more open, direct way, but besides her acting a bit rashly towards the end and showing some jealousy towards the concubine, we really didn't get to see clearer indication of her trusting him in a sense that she would rely on him more. Also I agree with ML, if he didn't care about the concubine why should she feel jealous? When she got a bit jealous of Prostitute Wei (hope I got her name right!), that makes a lot more sense since Wei is GTY's friend and confidante, someone he actually pays some mind to (even though their relationship was platonic).

How did they resolve this conflict in the novel?

 

This conflict was not in the novel. Atleast not in the way they showed it....GTY wanting to see ML jealous,etc.

But the issue of her not trusting him was very beautifully expressed and kind of resolved. to some extent, in two heartfelt conversations. In one of those conversations ML showed him that he didn't completely trust her either.

 

 If you want to read it .....here is a very nicely summarized version by @linhlinh111 on pg 248

Spoiler

The first argument happened in a similar situation as in the drama, except there were just 2 of them sitting in a closed room. ML pointed out for him while he, as a noble and a man, had little at stake why she, as a lowborn woman, would lose everything once she fell out of his favor and without reputations. It's the same as a conversation she had before about her and QH in the drama, which states that a small amount of value to QH may mean everything to her. This can also apply with GTY. She then cried silently, saying she was indeed selfish, bc she could never put everything on the line for a man's love. GTY then understood how hard it is on her and moved back to sleep with her, never spoke about that again.

 

The second argument happened in a different situation since they changed the sequence of event in the drama. In the book the delivery of her first child took place first, then the poison of Grandma. When GTY was away and ML was near labor, Stepmom plot plans against her, first by having Aunti Kang sending a concubine, which failed. After that she seeked out Manniang (the son was still alive). One thing after another and MN tried to assassinate ML but failed then the fire. GTY, after a while of consideration, decided to exile MN and warned Stepmom by killing the son of her right-hand-woman, which ML agreed to. Later when Daniang's maid was spying on the house (same as drama), Grandma got furious and scolded Daniang, which then lead to the poison case. Later when GTY arrived at the scene (this is similar to drama), he was so surprised seeing ML, who was usually so calm and reserved, lost it in rage. She did so many things that she shouldn't have done, like locking the house down, torturing the maids and threatening her father. She could have thought of a safer method to handle the matter. She then told GTY, Grandma needn't have to stressed things out with Daniang. The maid was actually a really small problem and it could be handled without causing a ruckus with Daniang. But bc Grandma cared about her too much that she didn't think it straight. Grandma was a wise lady and she should have known the best way to handle the problem, but when ML was being targeted all of her wisdom went down the drain and she would rush at anyone who tried to harm her. ML said when people cared too much they made mistake. GTY, on the other hand, was very clever and careful in dealing with the incident with ML. All of his aftermath solutions were calculated carefully to take out their enemies in the future. ML admitted that what he did would benefit them most. But if he truly cared for her than he wouldn't think it that clearly. ML asked him why he didn't burst out in rage, if he were to risk everything just to avenge her even knowing she was safe in the end. The proof of love wasn't how many right things he did for her, but how many stupid mistakes he would be willing to commit for her. GTY stayed silent and could not reply. In the end ML said let's just continue like this, she would be a proper wife and mother. GTY then watch her fall asleep without saying a word.

 

The beauty of these arguments is that it struck really hard into GTY's heart (and also the readers'). It pushed GTY into a realization of how wrong he was in viewing their relationship, how demanding he was of her and how his smart and cunning methods that he was proud of was backfiring at him. He realized that while he was criticizing her of holding back her emotions, he was also wearing a thick armor to protect himself and that there were no shortcuts nor bargaining in love.

 

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10 hours ago, insertusernamehere said:

Agree! I love the conflict because it's internally driven and not because of some second female/male lead. I waited and waited for it to resolve in a more open, direct way, but besides her acting a bit rashly towards the end and showing some jealousy towards the concubine, we really didn't get to see clearer indication of her trusting him in a sense that she would rely on him more. Also I agree with ML, if he didn't care about the concubine why should she feel jealous? When she got a bit jealous of Prostitute Wei (hope I got her name right!), that makes a lot more sense since Wei is GTY's friend and confidante, someone he actually pays some mind to (even though their relationship was platonic).

How did they resolve this conflict in the novel?

 

Wait, I thought the point was they both didn't really resolve the issue earlier, but finally did very clearly in the scene in the jail when GTY told ML they should have an amiable separation and ML refused.

 

GTY shows his feelings more clearly to ML in the show, so the real conflict there is more of GTY's insecurity and ML's emotional amour. GTY was very clear in that scene of his insecurities around his decision on making ML marry him. He wonders if it was better if ML married other people. ML finally said, for the first time ever (and not through logic), that she doesn't want to marry anyone else, she only wants to marry him.

 

The wording mirrors what was said by multiple people in the show (e.g., her 5th sister on her husband, both male leads about ML) earlier. ML had said in the past that it doesn't really matter who she marries, so it really showed that GTY's finally gained her heart.

 

Personally, I was satisfied with that resolution.

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, arcchidus said:

 

Wait, I thought the point was they both didn't really resolve the issue earlier, but finally did very clearly in the scene in the jail when GTY told ML they should have an amiable separation and ML refused.

 

GTY shows his feelings more clearly to ML in the show, so the real conflict there is more of GTY's insecurity and ML's emotional amour. GTY was very clear in that scene of his insecurities around his decision on making ML marry him. He wonders if it was better if ML married other people. ML finally said, for the first time ever (and not through logic), that she doesn't want to marry anyone else, she only wants to marry him.

 

The wording mirrors what was said by multiple people in the show (e.g., her 5th sister on her husband, both male leads about ML) earlier. ML had said in the past that it doesn't really matter who she marries, so it really showed that GTY's finally gained her heart.

 

Personally, I was satisfied with that resolution.

 

 

 

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. 

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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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What a great drama :wub: I really wish this type of drama were done more often. Now, I am back to having nothing to watch. 

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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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