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[Mainland Chinese Drama 2020] Serenade of Peaceful Joy 清平乐


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@tendrilsofwind I feel that the drama is driving home that all the excessive favours, especially towards Li Wei whom Zhao Zhen mentioned earlier resembles his mother (err really?) and is just as kind and gentle as her is due to his unabated guilt towards his late mother. This guilt and need to placate her soul increased when one after another, his children died young, especially the 2nd Prince, which leaves him convinced that his mother deemed him unfilial, which is why she even took his son to be with her. From the irrational way Zhao Zhen is behaving up to Ep40 in terms of his erratic need to lavish favour upon favour on his maternal family, perhaps that would explain why

Spoiler

he would force that marriage back upon Huirou, despite annulling it earlier on. Historically though, it appears that the princess was willful and treated her husband like a servant, even daring to raise her hand against her mother-in-law when she was found drinking with Huaiji. Still, it is a tragic life that was forced upon her. The fact that she would continue to live past the emperor's demise, and see her chances of re-annulling her marriage diminish through the revision of laws under the new emperor, and ultimately die of depression is truly a wretched life indeed, despite all the material trappings that her status accorded her. Definitely a far cry from 整个大宋最快乐的姑娘 "the happiest girl in the whole of Song".

 

On a different note, I don't think we have seen the last of Zhao Zhen and the ongoing saga of his concubines. Historically, Song Renzhong had a Consort Dong, which reminds of 董秋和 Dong Qiuhe, who saved the princess Yaoyao when she suffered an allergic reaction to the pollen, and who was courted by prominent painter Cui Bai. If we do see her becoming a concubine as well, hopefully we will continue to see her loyalty and devotion to both the Empress and Consort Miao.

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I wish we followed her life instead, you know. How she grew up learning to ride and study under Fan Zhongyan but also arrange flowers and make delicious food. We saw glimpse of it and it's fun. I don'

I love my historical C-Dramas but this drama has been miserable the whole time.  Everyone is miserable (well except the Emperor and Zhang).  The Empress was only happy when she was just a citizen.  Sh

I also love the Empress. It makes me feel better that historically she wasn't that into him and lived out a long life highly respected by the following emperors. There is just such a huge difference i

I am seriously disliking this emperor and his poor judgements now. Sorry, but what the heck? In episode 40, 

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he says to huaji, that the empress is perfect and tries to do the right things, so he pampers Consort Zhang who is not and does wrong things. I mean, wtf?! You pamper the person who tries to do right, not the person who does wrong. What a jerk!

 

i am not going to be impressed with his twisted logic over Huirou’s marriage, I’m sure of it.

 

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On 5/1/2020 at 3:22 AM, skibbies said:

The writing is kind of infuriating, Huirou then proceed to be all "oh no it must be so hard to be you, dad". I know it's meant to show that he has to listen to all these ministers and balance between everyone's opinions, but it's absolutely terrible timing, and makes me dislike him more. They really could have used a smaller incident to get that message across.

There's some noticeable signs that the drama is selling opposite message the book was, and I am NOT happy about it. 

I agree. They constantly push the idea that he has a really sad and difficult life, which I get, but at the same time, literally everyone has their own struggles to face. The scene that was the most ridiculous though was when the princess and Huaiji were discussing what it meant to be poor and suddenly it turned into Huaiji feeling bad for the Emperor.....like how does that make sense. This boy's parents died, he can never see his brother again, he was castrated, and doomed to a life of servitude, but I guess that can't compare with how stressed out the Emperor is.

 

On 5/1/2020 at 3:29 AM, liddi said:

From the irrational way Zhao Zhen is behaving up to Ep40 in terms of his erratic need to lavish favour upon favour on his maternal family, perhaps that would explain why

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he would force that marriage back upon Huirou, despite annulling it earlier on. Historically though, it appears that the princess was willful and treated her husband like a servant, even daring to raise her hand against her mother-in-law when she was found drinking with Huaiji. Still, it is a tragic life that was forced upon her. The fact that she would continue to live past the emperor's demise, and see her chances of re-annulling her marriage diminish through the revision of laws under the new emperor, and ultimately die of depression is truly a wretched life indeed, despite all the material trappings that her status accorded her. Definitely a far cry from 整个大宋最快乐的姑娘 "the happiest girl in the whole of Song".

 

 

Yea I think that's the angle the drama is going for. I don't really approve because, like @skibbies also mentioned, it absolves him of all guilt. This makes it seem as if he orchestrated this for her own good--to protect her and the rest of his children from his mother's rage. Looking at it from another angle, why should his daughter have to sacrifice her happiness as repayment for the debt he owes his mother. 

 

Spoiler

It feels like some of the current characterizations will be strained once future events unfold. The princess is currently shown to be kind and understanding, so it would be very strange for her to act as the historical Princess Fukang did and consistently demean her husband. I did see someone comment elsewhere that the Emperor should have raised her as a tool if that was how he wished to use her. Unfortunately, he promised her the world and what he ended up giving her was intolerable in comparison. 

 

 

I do think the actors are doing a fantastic job. Wang Kai emotes very nicely and I was impressed by how Yu Entai subtly modified his voice and carriage as Yan Shu aged. The drooping of his eyes, slightly stooped shoulders, and shortness of breath completely transformed him. 

 

Also, when the dialogue is good, it is very good. I haven't seen a dramas with such fitting use of the classics in quite some time. Just a wonderful breakdown of the concepts and there is always a brief explanation in less archaic phrasing for those of us who didn't completely understand. 

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On 5/3/2020 at 9:01 AM, tendrilsofwind said:

I agree. They constantly push the idea that he has a really sad and difficult life, which I get, but at the same time, literally everyone has their own struggles to face. The scene that was the most ridiculous though was when the princess and Huaiji were discussing what it meant to be poor and suddenly it turned into Huaiji feeling bad for the Emperor.....like how does that make sense. This boy's parents died, he can never see his brother again, he was castrated, and doomed to a life of servitude, but I guess that can't compare with how stressed out the Emperor is.

Yeah, the original drama/book title applied to Huirou, which works as a theme because she should have everything she wanted, growing up as royalty and adore by her dad (she got titles very early). But as a woman, and as a member of royalty, she couldn't choose and she had certain responsibility (couldn't marry who she wanted or probably most of the well learned and ambitious men who would want to make a difference in court).

 

I can certainly see it working for the emperor, but it's more difficult than the writer can manage. It's fairly difficult to convince the audience the most privileged person in the country is suffering, it's just kind of...distasteful and oh woe is me. It might have been better if they applied the theme to Empress, consorts, princess and eunuch, and I suppose in some way, it is. But at the end of the day, the core figure of the drama is the Emperor, and it's very definitely his life I should be following and empathising, but I'm not.

 

There's also that little scene with Empress' previous servant Huan'er, who was sent out of the place when they found her being close (and may be inapproriate) with ennuch Liaozi. I think it was the correct decision, and she probably would find happiness outside of the palace. But I am deeply uncomfortable with the phrasing when she came back to visit, how she felt she was reborn again when she looked at her son and husband, and that her previous relationship was her being crazy. The drama is making parallels and foreshadowing for Huirou and Huaiji and I hate how judgemental it seems. 

 

On Dong Qiuhe, I think she probably is Consort Dong, since Consort Dong was fairly favoured in Song Renzong's latter life. I thought Lantiao might be

Spoiler

Consort Zhou, Consort Zhang's adopted daughter, fairly adored later on, her daughters lived long lives, one even alive until Southern Song. But she might just be entirely fictional.

 

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@skibbies I sometimes find the emperor difficult to empathise with because there is a petulance about him. This is especially marked when the empress disagreed with him about his strategy to go on the offensive against Yuanhao. Then there are times when I do pity him, particularly when he mourned the passing of his 3 children in Ep43. But mostly, he annoys me because of the choices he makes, especially where Consort Zhang is concerned, clearly giving her far more leeway than is right, even though he does rein her in every now and again, still not often enough for my liking.

 

I concur that Dong Qiuhe is very possibly the future Consort Dong. Seeing how she had the opportunity to leave the palace earlier, but is staying back 2 more years and reluctant to leave the empress, it seems to hint that that window of opportunity to leave will be lost to her soon enough. What I cannot imagine is how they would explain her becoming a concubine, especially when she is clearly devoted to the empress, at least for now.

 

Lantiao's surname is 许 Xu. I don't see any Consort Xu in the listing of Song Renzhong's concubines, so perhaps her ploy to win the emperor's affections does not succeed. Much as Consort Zhang annoys me, I am even less willing to see Lantiao become yet another of the emperor's long list of women, and potentially give more grief to the empress.

 

Am rewatching from the beginning at a much more measured pace. The performances are very much spot on across the board, and the politics are intriguing. While there is no massive highs and lows, and resolutions are often described through dialogue, they keep me invested. The harem scenes are definitely my least favourite, with the exception of the scenes of the empress, Consort Miao and little Huirou. On the other hand, little little scenes like when Zhang Maoze deliberately asked young Huaiji to transcribe a copy of his brother's testimony, indirectly letting him know that his brother survived the massacre at 三川口, and laying all his grief and fears to rest, really move me to tears. I love the casting of this younger Huaiji, who really embodied the restraint of his character, even when he is holding so much sadness inside.

 

Some really lovely artwork:

Image may contain: one or more people, people sitting, table and indoorNo photo description available.

 

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Image may contain: one or more peopleImage may contain: one or more people and people standing

No photo description available.Image may contain: one or more people and people standingImage may contain: one or more peopleImage may contain: one or more people and people standing

 

 

cr. --阿ya from Weibo

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So I just caught up to episode 46 and it's so odd. So the Emperor and Empress had never been intimate before this? That's a friggin long time to wait for the "right time." Dang. But I def was feeling frustrated that whenever these two were about to have a real conversation some ish would come up and they'd reel in their emotions. I was frustrated by these 2 ppl who just won't ask one another, "what's your problem?"

 

Consort Zhang is a dumb richard simmons. So you had an unfortunate upbringing, well that doesn't give you the right to be a trash human being. What I hated about her was that she had no understanding of her context and did whatever she wanted. And what I hate about the Emperor is that's why he loved her. Dude, grow up. I feel that he liked her because he could be the adult in control of the relationship. And then there's that gas lighting auntie serving Consort Zhang...they should've gotten rid of her long ago. 

 

My fave character is Zhang Mao Ze. 

 

Huiruo is okay. She was cutest when she was two years old. Liang Huaji is okay. He was cutest when he was around 10/11 years old. 

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I'm just going to dump some historical dates and match it up with episode for a timeline for my own reference and in case anyone else is interested, since I find myself looking up wiki a fair bit, they keep changing the way they name the years in the beginning so I couldn't keep up!! I held up posting it for like 20 episodes since they moved some of the kids' births and deaths (DVD/tencent version just in case there's a difference, mild spoilers up to ep 46)

Spoiler

ep 2: Han Qi passed the exam and ends up in court, 1027

ep 3: Ouyang Xiu aced the exam, 1030

ep 5: Emperor's birth mother dies, 1032 

ep 6: Empress Dowager dies, 1033 March

ep 8: Empress Guo demoted, Fan Zhongyan demoted and leaves the capital, 1033 November

ep 9: Empress Cao marries Emperor at 18, 1034 September

ep 11: Empress Guo dies, 1035 November

ep 12: Fan Zhongyan criticise Lv Yijian for monopolising the court, gets demoted and leaves the capital, 1036

ep 14: Consort Miao (15) gave birth to Emperor's first daughter, Princess Kangfu/Huirou is born, 1038

* Historically, Emperor first child was a son who was born and died on the same day, 1037 June (by Consort Yu, who appears in ep 28 and later)

ep 18: Yuanhao establish Xia, 1038 October 11

ep 21: Battle of San Chuan Kou, 1040 July (? first half of the year anyways)

ep 24: Consort Zhang (16) gave birth to Emperor's third daughter then got promoted, 1040 October

ep 24: Battle of Hao Shui Chuan, 1041 February

* Historically, Consort Miao gave birth to a prince, 1039 August ~ 1041 February (ep 26 & ep 40, roughly moved Prince's timeline two to three years later)

* Consort Zhu (hasn't appeared in drama) gave birth to another prince, 1041 August ~ 1043 January (mentioned in ep 36, died just before two in the drama)

* 3rd princess dies, 1042 May (ep 26)

ep 27: Fu Bi goes on a diplomatic mission to Liao, 1042 June

ep 27: Duanwu Festival, May 5th

ep 29: Qixi Festival, July 7th

* Consort Zhang gave birth to 4th princess, 1042 (ep 30)

* Battle of Ding Chuan Zhai, 1042 September (think they skipped this? mentioned death of Ge Huaimin in ep 35 when talking about Teng Zongliang)

ep 30 & 31: Fan Zhongyan & Han Qi returns to capital, 1043 April

ep 32: Qingli political reform, 1043 September

ep 34: Song-Xia Peace Treaty, 1044

ep 35: Lantern Festival, January

* Consort Zhang gave birth to 8th princess, 1043 (ep 35)

* 4th Princess dies, 1043 August (ep 37)

ep 38: Xia Song faked a letter from Shi Jie to Fu Bi where they talked about overthrowing the Emperor, Fan Zhongyan request going to border, 1044 June

ep 38: Fu Bi request going to Heibei to help with natural disaster, 1044 August

ep 42: Emperor's 8th uncle passes away, 1044

ep 42: Ouyang Xiu gets demoted and leaves the capital, 1045 August (Shi Jie died 1045 July)

ep 42: Yan Shu gets demoted and leaves the capital, 1044 (he dies in 1055)

ep 43: Mid-autumn Festival, August (?? what year is this omg) 

ep 43: Su Shunqin accused of embezzling money from selling waste paper & being disrespectful towards the emperor, gets demoted, 1044 Autumn

ep 44: (mentioned in passing, Du Yan gets demoted due to him being father in law of Su Shunqin, 1045 January)

ep 44: Han Qi gets demoted and leaves the capital & Qingli political reform fails, 1045 March

* 8th princess dies, 1045 April (mentions she's sick in ep 43)

ep 44: Song Yingzong (Zhao Zongshi) marries Empress' niece/adopted daughter Gao Taotao, 1047 March

ep 45: Xi Xia's Yuan Hao murdered by his son, 1048

ep 46: Huirou mentions bunch of classical chinese text that most kid have to recite XD Fan Zhongyan's 岳阳楼记, 1046; Ouyang Xiu's 醉翁亭记, 1046~1047?, Su Shunqin's 沧浪亭记, after 1044, unclear date (I don't think this is required recitation, but it did made the Suzhou garden where this was written more well known, even till today).

ep 46: Wen Yanbo went to suppress a minor rebellion by Wang Ze, 1048 January

ep 46: Empress suppressed a minor palace rebellion, 1048 January

omg I finally met the last Huirou! Can you believe she's only 9 lol 9 years spanning 30 episodes 6 Huirou. FYI, ep 14: baby, ep 20: 1 to 2 years old, ep 24: 3 to 4 years, ep 31: 5 years old even though the kid looks 8. ep 35: 6 to 7 years old even though she looks 10 or even 12 ep 44: 9 even though she's an adult XD. We are past the meat of the drama I think, so time is going to probably go back to an episode or two a year.

 

Xia Song is going to die in 3 years and Consort Zhang in 6 years, thank god! It's a shame Xia Song's achievements were mostly before drama's time + not in the capital, so he end up being some terrible antagonist (he's not super well known but he makes his mark in history). I had fun reading the wiki, most incidents in the drama have some level of bases (some might be from the novel, the novel sound like it did lots of research)

On 5/6/2020 at 12:55 PM, tendrilsofwind said:

Okay that scene in episode 47 felt really rapey. Was not how I expected that to go down. 

LOL I know right. It came right after an argument and when he's clearly trying to establish power over her. The Empress still woke up all dreamy, whyyyy. Learning about history afterwards is even worse! (I'll get there tomorrow lol) idk who marketed the drama, but why did they said this is the first time they slept together!! I basically assumed they already did, just didn't show it, it's just entirely unrealistic for Emperor to not sleep with the Empress for 15 years no matter how much he dislike her. (and he only dislike her when she's disgreeing with him/too capable/too proper)

 

The book fans are all complaining about them changing Cao Ping, rip. Even if I follow that Emperor thinks Cao Ping is playboy(?), the whole I'm going to murder his whole family (extended family included) is over the top, that includes the Empress, does that include you too? :rolleyes: They were just playing and Cao Ping might be bit too full of himself/too carefree, it's not his fault he's good looking.

 

Even if you don't like the Empress or her nephew, that doesn't mean Li Wei is a good choice. Especially the way the drama is characterising him, he seems little slow and doesn't understand a lot of social cues. That doesn't mean he's pure and will never change and treat her well, what's wrong with portraying just completely average guy anyways? The more the drama tries to justify Li Wei as a good candidate, the more I remember actual history and I kind of want to throw the drama out the door. The Empress agreed with the Emperor's decision and then note that Huirou wouldn't want this, and what does this very-nice-to-everyone-adore-his-daughter guy do, get mad and overpower her! god, screw this guy.

 

I'm also bit disappointed by the way they wrapped up the political reform. They laid out all the reasons that it failed, citing different ways the various ministers had failed the emperor and he has to balance between everyone. Did he forget that he suggested it first, and he pulled all these people back to help him, he seems to be blaming the ministers not being perfect tools? (although I did liked that they all had faults, too bad this isn't an ensemble political drama) No, it failed because the reform came too fast, there wasn't enough foundation to reform, and to be honest, he's not capable enough in handling all the naysayers, but the drama sure isn't admitting that. 

 

I noticed the drama really likes to tell the audience what they think Emperor is doing, to show that he's capable or he cares, through his ministers, through Dong Qiuhe to Empress about the way he cares, through Huaiji to Huirou. Sometimes I can see what they are referencing, sometimes it's just "wait are you serious?"

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14 hours ago, crackaddict said:

I thought Huiruo was 14 by the latest incarnation, no? Or was 14 mentioned as the age she comes of age and gets married?

Nope, she's 9. Historically she got engaged when she was 9 and Li Wei was 13 too, and married when she's 19. Coming of age is 15, so that's when a lot of girls will marry. They specifically don't really mention her age after ep 31 Huirou appeared (? I think. they mention she's almost 7 and she stop going to school with the other kids. The only other time they mention her age is about when she's almost 4. This matches up since Chinese age are +1 once you are born, also +1 with Chinese New Year. If you are a December baby, by Feburary, you could be 3 months old and be 2 years old). Li Wei's age was mentioned in passing (almost 12 and no titles) just before latest time skip. It just feels that way because the second last Huirou lasted for a quite a while, 1044 lasted 10 episodes AND they skipped 2 years.

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@skibbies Much respect and gratitude to you for compiling a historical timeline for the drama, broken down by events and episodes. The timeline is something that I struggle to get a grasp of in the midst of everything else, so your painstaking efforts has made it so much clearer for me - thank you!

 

A brief point to note - At the beginning of Ep46, it is mentioned that Li Wei will turn 16 that year (1048), yet historically, he was born in 1035 - 3 years older than Huirou, so he should only have been 14 (by Chinese age) at the time. Is the show trying to increase the age gap between Li Wei and Huirou, or are they hoping to show that Huirou is coming to 13 (regardless of how the years don't match up). I'm not sure...

EDIT: The latest episode states that Huirou is already 14. Since this takes place soon after Su Shunqin's death, it is still 1048, which would indicate the drama has made her older by at least 4 years, and retained the 3-year age gap between her and Li Wei.

 

Historical events seem to be changed to fit the narrative. One event in Ep52 (Hunan TV version) took me very much by surprise, because historically (if it is indeed referencing said event), it should have taken place not in 1048, the same year Su Shunqin died, but 1056.

Spoiler

According to history, in 1056, when Song Renzong was very ill and delirious, he accused the empress and Zhang Maoze of conspiring to commit treason. When Zhang Maoze heard of it, he tried to hang himself, but was saved in time. Prime minister Wen Yanbo persuaded him to live on and serve the emperor, saying that if he died just like that, how should the empress be able to deal with this alone.

In Ep52, after indirectly causing the death of Lantiao and her unborn child, Maoze took poison to atone for his deeds and clear the empress of blame, but was saved in time. Instead, he was ordered by the emperor to live on and make up for what he did, because if he died, the empress would have no recourse but to suffer false accusations that she instigated the matter. 

If indeed it is adapted from this event, then I guess this might mark the exit of arguably my favourite character in the whole drama (yup @crackaddict, Zhang Maoze's scenes are what I look forward to most too!) and I will be very sorry to see him go.

 

After 49 episodes, we finally see the relationship of the royal couple take a turn for the better and become that of a real husband and wife, all thanks to Qiuhe. At last, we see the loving interactions that seemed like it would never come, and I am glad for the empress, after the years of suffering that she lived through. However, what should have been cause for rejoicing, is terribly marred by the way the script persists in idealising Zhao Zhen, serving as an apologist for his actions, irrational or otherwise. Perhaps it is just me, but I am put off by the high-handed way that he is portrayed - always superior in terms of intellect, far-sightedness and his immense capacity for benevolence. Maoze's latest scene with him leaves a really bitter aftertaste in the way he prostrates himself in shame and gratitude before the emperor's superior judgment and forgiving nature. To make it worse, I feel that now even the empress becomes a blabbering mess in the presence of such perfection, tearfully admitting that she was wrong, and pleading with him not to blame himself for his own wrong decisions in the past. Whatever happened to the strong, intelligent Cao Danshu of the past? Seriously? And lest we forget, he is clearly not that wise and lucid, especially in his irrational insistence to marry Huirou to Li Wei, and his sweeping disapproval of the flamboyant, far more capable Cao Ping.

 

Incidentally, based on the Hunan TV trailers for tonight's episodes, it would seem that Qiuhe may end up not becoming Consort Dong after all. Will know more when I do watch the episodes in full. 

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@skibbies thank you for that timeline breakdown! This really helps smooth things out.

That Li Wei situation is really getting out of hand. Also, isn't it creepy how obsessed he is with this girl he met when she was a toddler? I think the drama explains his infatuation as being due to how beautiful the Princess is. So basically his "love" for her is predicated on her beauty, but the Emperor thinks she can learn to love him based on...his primitive nature?? 

 

@liddi I can't agree more. I was also shocked at the Maoze situation. It's one of the larger deviations from history and came quite unexpectedly. However, if they do decide to shake things up and give everyone a happy ending, I won't be too mad lol. I hope Qiuhe gets to leave the palace even if that would not be historically accurate. 

 

The makeup artists are doing an unexpectedly great job at aging everyone. Maoze has progressively gotten more gaunt and tired and they managed to communicate the passage of the years through his face instead of slapping a white wig on a thirty year old. There are so many great elements in this drama, and I do think the overall effect is still nice, but it had the potential to be much better. 

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On 5/8/2020 at 10:24 AM, crackaddict said:

I thought Huiruo was 14 by the latest incarnation, no? Or was 14 mentioned as the age she comes of age and gets married?

wait wait you are correct, I completely missed mention of her being 14 in ep 46 when ministers was agreeing with the Emperor on choice of husband. Man, that is really confusing. That would make her born in 1035 to 1036? (ep 46, 1048 Jan) That's really confusing, because the Empress mentions it's been five years since she came to the palace (1034) around the time Huirou was born, maybe it was when she was toddler mhm. I was really confused because I couldn't keep track of time when they did have dates, which was why I wiki'ed. 

 

Let's see, ep 13 mentions Consort Miao has been in the palace for 6 years, that should make it 1037 or 1038 (counting from when she slept with him, 1032)? Maybe it counted earlier. XD It usually only have dates when there's time skip, which makes this rather difficult. I think moving her birthday to 1037 make sense since the kids would be less out of place, but 1035 or 1036 would be too early. Couldn't they make her 12 when they did the engagement geez, my looks didn't really change from 12 to 20. Anyways, they move around the kids' birth years a lot, so I'm not surprised. Maybe Huirou grow differently in time skips. 

 

@liddi Reading wiki is just like oooh when is xx going to die, when is the war starting, when is the reform starting XD I had more fun reading wiki sometimes, but maybe I just like tracking dates.

 

Li Wei is 12 (mentioned in dialogue in ep 41 after he struggles to use chopsticks, 1044), almost 16 (ep 46 when princess is complaining to Huaiji, 1048 Jan) which would make his birth year 1033 to 1034? I get the impression the production team probably care less about the timeline than me. By the way, when the kids first met, Li Wei looked at least 8 if not 10 to me, I thought the age gap would be like with Huaiji (9 to 10 years). It's even weirder when I think they didn't change the kid Li Wei, while we went through 4 Huirou? 

 

As for the Empress, I think they merged those two events together. 

Spoiler

My wiki says Empress was blamed for the palace rebellion and cause he thought she did it to show her capabilities and wanted awards for it. He wanted to take her title away but the ministers stopped him. He considered Consort Zhang to be his true protector/leader in controlling the situation, so in October, he promoted her using some other excuse. 

 

This is all shown in the drama and it's even string together with outside rebellion and Xia Song's suppose plotting somewhat. They just merged the event to have Maoze involved for some character & plot development. 

 

I can't believe they made him accidentally cause Lantiao's child's death? That sure is convenient way for her to not be an actual consort and unaccounted child. This is like the drama justifying the Emperor's crazy talk.

 

Oh and I found out Lantiao replaced Consort Zhang's adopted daughter's role in the book with the voodoo cursing. also Consort Zhou is Zhang's adopted daughter but Zhou is older????? That is so weird. Maybe we'll avoid harem stuff after all, the not politics time can now br spent on Huirou & her complicated love life. 

 

I absolutely agree with you on your assessment of the Emperor. I don't know why the writer can't trust we'll like him or empathise with his struggles despite all his issues. It's not that it can't point out his fault sometimes, he admit that he couldn't br a great emperor like Shi Jie had dream of, he can only balance between ministers. That's okay you know, it's just life. It does show he's deeply affected by what his uncle said, but I guess it's not empasised? Maybe if whenever he's insistent on Li Wei, he's more like Consort Zhang and her slightly dellusioned ways, it could play up the tragedy more. But the way the drama is portraying things, it turns me off. 

 

Now I actively compare him to the historical figure who is an ok but not great emperor, had the biggest army in Song but lost bunch of battles and couldn't even handle newly established Xia. Had a bunch of awesome ministers, well known essayist/poet but failed to reform in less than a year and half. The country should be incredibly well off by lack of war + stablisation + promotion of commerce & empathising on education somewhat, but his successor had almost no excess money. He had fairly high tax so I guess the money all end up in minister's pocket and mismanagement. A lot of these things could have been very interesting if it strayed away from the emperor for a bit, you can show his greatness and the time's prosperity by showing me stuff ministers do, instead of talk talk talk in court all the time. Or show me your your poems and culture. It does it to some extend (various festivals) so I'm happy about that, but it's not enough? 

 

I've come to dislike the Empress whenever she interact with him, she just turns into a completely different person, and the relationship always seems incredibly unbalanced. She loves him but she can't even begin to hope he loves or cares for her, and they couldn't manage mutual trust. The characterisation just feels off, I know some people can be very different when it comes to love. But you would think she would learn to care less or agree with him more, mhmmm wait I guess she sort of did lately, but it never feels enough, and she just reverts back every now and then. I don't like their scenes at all since they always richard simmons me off one way or another. 

 

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@tendrilsofwind I won't complain either if they did decide to totally disregard history and give every character we care about a happy ending, though I think that's probably a pipe dream :sweatingbullets:  Am so glad that we have not seen the last of Maoze, at least from last night's episodes and hoping that we will continue to see him all the way to the end. Considering that historically he would serve the empress through her tenure as empress dowager to two kings, I am hopeful that would be the case. What I would really love to see is them together in a scene again after all's said and done... truly miss their interactions.

 

Can I just say again how much I adore Qiuhe? It's such a joy to see the easy camaraderie she enjoys with the empress, and I love how she speaks so much sense to the royal couple, far more than how everyone else who cares for them has ever done. One trailer of Ep53 indicates that the emperor himself had arranged for her to be married to Cui Bai, but I've not seen that scene at all in the Hunan version. In any case, whichever episode it does show up, please don't let her somehow get stuck in the palace at the last minute as yet another woman in the harem. 

 

In the same Ep53 trailer I mentioned earlier, upon seeing how he goes that extra mile to bring about Cui Bai and Qiuhe's union because they clearly love each other, Huirou tries to convince herself that her father who clearly loves her, must have his reasons for insisting she married Li Wei whom she does not love. How would she feel once she knows the truth - that her father is trying paying penance for what he deems to be  Heaven's dissatisfaction with him over his lack of filial piety, by using her happiness as collateral. 

 

Looks like the emperor is finally in Consort Zhang's bad graces after he tried to persuade her not to go against the empress, and got kicked out of her quarters even though he told her clearly he wanted to spend the night, clutching his frail heart as he did so. Guess we finally identified his real punishment from Heaven, and that is always fated to be ejected from his consorts' quarters - first for 15 years with the empress, and now with his once most favoured concubine :lol:

 

@skibbies Well said about the emperor and the scriptwriter not trusting us enough to understand or even sympathise with him, without it trying to elevate his character to an absolutely polarising one - politically astute and benevolent yet totally irrational when he chooses to be. Your analysis of what he is in the drama, vs what he was historically, highlights regretfully what his characterisation could have been. As for the empress, I love her when she is interacting with everyone else except him because she then expresses the requisite adoration that everyone is supposed to feel under the thrall of this amazing man. Gah.

 

Great insight into how the historical situations are merged together into the palace rebellion arc. I didn't realise that Lantiao is adapted from an actual historical person after all? Which wiki did you get all this from? I've only been reading up on Baidu and Wiki. In any case, thank you for sharing what you found out. Had a good laugh reading that you find wiki more interesting than the actual drama sometimes :D Fingers crossed the remaining 16 episodes will be more riveting than wiki!

 

One of the things I like about this drama though... is the fact that character backstories, main and supporting, are often fleshed out, which does help for us to empathise with them, even those who are less than likeable. There is no absolute antagonist thus far... and I don't expect there to be. Still waiting for 包拯 Justice Bao to show up, and curious what the Khitan prince arc will be about. 

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12 hours ago, liddi said:

I didn't realise that Lantiao is adapted from an actual historical person after all? Which wiki did you get all this from? I've only been reading up on Baidu and Wiki. In any case, thank you for sharing what you found out. 

I'm just guessing. The voodoo thing is from the book, and in the book it's one of Consort Zhang's adopted daughters, perhaps they just named her. I should just read the book, but I read Royal Nirvana's book and absolutely hated it, so I've been hesitant to start.

 

I go on douban to look at reviews and discussions sometimes, and this drama's douban group is absolutely unreadable. They are all Wang Kai fans, and absolutely adore the Emperor, which is fine and all, but they also absolutely adore Consort Zhang (???? maybe there's some actress fans). For some reason, they feel compel to hate on Empress and her actress earlier, then now it's hating on Huirou, and using some pretty terrible language and twisted logic too. It's like we are watching two completely different dramas, they also flood weibo where ever the drama is mentioned. God, it's okay to like your favourite actor and actress, and criticise their role! If I'm criticising Song Renzong, it doesn't mean I don't like Wang Kai, they (and this drama) ripped my rose tint glasses off.

 

Fair amount of audience are like me, so these days I learn bits and pieces of history from people too mad at the drama and its unreasonable fans. The end of Northern Song (60 years after where the drama is up to, 3 emperors later, these emperors died too fast!!) is absolutely horrifying, especially to women, all the princess, consorts, empress just get SOLD to Jin for sexual slavery. The Emperor and his son did it willingly and help suppressed regular people protecting themselves when their ruler failed them sfhsdkfhskjfh. It's also around the time when women were force to bind their feet and held their virginity/purity in higher regard. (Note that Empress Dowager Liu was married before, when she was in power, she gave her previous husband a position. That's pretty unthinkable in latter dynasties, from my impression of TV.)

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What?! People hate the Empress?! But, why??? I'm frustrated by her behaviors, but I also understand her frustrations. Qiuhe was spot on when she said the Empress didn't just want to be a respected wife, she wanted to be the one true love of a man...who could never have a one true love. If anything, I hate the patriarchy that binds women to their so-called duties and responsibilities in this context and era. Basically every women in the show is suffering from oppressive standards of their time, and they are responsible for upholding them too. Sigh. 

 

I love Wang Kai. He's a great actor and seems like a good guy. But the Emperor is clearly developing some mental health issues related to his mothers. 

 

Maybe there's some cultural disconnect here?

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@skibbies I never went on douban and won't for this drama, after hearing what you described. It is bad enough on the drama official Weibo, seeing what appears to be shouting matches between fans of different actors, cheering their biases on while quarreling with or trying to drown out the rest. It is a real shame, because there is much to appreciate about this drama despite how frustrating it can be, and criticism towards a character's actions and behaviour should not be taken as dislike for the actor in any way.

 

@crackaddict Well said about the patriarchy and the injustices suffered by women during those times. The emperor now seems to always be doing one of two things where his harem and family is concerned - blinded by guilt and perceived punishment from heaven over his lack of filial piety, which in turn leads to his increasingly irrational decisions, and clutching his heart every so often. Historically did he die of heart failure?

 

I like Huirou's character thus far and find that she often expresses what we want to say regarding the injustice and unfairness of what we see unfold and what is regarded as norms during that period. For now, she is far more likeable than what is described of her historical figure, so I am waiting to see how they would portray her life post-marriage. One of the trailers for Ep56 shows a declaration of war between the princess and the father she once adored, so I wonder whether that would be used to explain why she behaved the way she did in her marriage - as a form of rebellion against the father who forced her into it.

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12 hours ago, crackaddict said:

Maybe there's some cultural disconnect here?

No, there isn't. There's bunch of other regular audience that's completely flabbergasted by the rabid fans lol.

 

@liddi Her manners and ways of expression is rather improper and can be considered disrespectful, so while I like her, I can see why people, especially characters in the drama may not.

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@skibbies I was checked the douban group before the drama aired and everything seemed normal. Then a few weeks later, when public opinion seemed to be on the side of the empress, people there started to attack her constantly. I just checked it out again and the comments are really insane. I understand if they don't like the character, but I'm seeing a lot of vulgar and sexist insults...

 

On the bright side though, we finally have our Justice Bao, if only for a brief moment! That was one of the more exciting scenes in this drama. 

 

Also, fun fact, Yelu Hongji is the Liao emperor who befriends Xiao Feng in Tian Long Ba Bu. 

 

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11 hours ago, skibbies said:

Her manners and ways of expression is rather improper and can be considered disrespectful, so while I like her, I can see why people, especially characters in the drama may not.

 

Wait, are you talking about the Empress or Huirou?

 

I haven't got that far, have only been at ep 37/38 (I totally rely on English sub!). But seriously, Cnetz are bashing the Empress on Douban? I said earlier here I was not loving the Empress, as I found her to be passive-aggressive. But the drama also show her character growth: she becomes more graceful and reserved. And of course I love her friendship with He'er, my favorite character. I can't believe the defense to Consort Zhang, although I've read somewhere that the writing for her character in the drama deviates from the book as well.

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  • sugarplum892 changed the title to [Mainland Chinese Drama 2020] Serenade of Peaceful Joy 清平乐

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