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


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9 hours ago, caranita said:

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.

Sorry, Huirou. She's fairly outspoken when she was younger too, but you see Empress or her mum telling her off. So even if I consider her behaviour out of line (I don't most of the time because the drama needs someone telling it like it is), I know the drama doesn't necessarily approve, which is different from Emperor or Consort Zhang.

 

Yeah Consort Zhang is much more spoilt and unreasonable in the drama, I'm not sure why they decided to do that, perhaps for dramatic tension? As for the Empress, I expect the dislike, because they are actor fans, so they'll always be on Emperor's side. The Empress isn't always communicative, and often end up arguing with Emperor a lot, so I get it. I just don't approve the way they blame everything on her, or the language they use (calling her names because she has no kid. Geez, she can't produce a child by herself, come on.) Or shifting blame onto the actress because the tv ratings is bombing.:rolleyes:

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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

@tendrilsofwind The scene with Justice Bao is arguably the most dramatic and hilarious of all the court sessions that we've seen. I've not seen the ministers so vigorous and energetic in their actions - blocking the emperor, yelling at his face, pulling his leg, interrupting the prime minister's meal - since Fan Zhongyan led the ministers outside the gates to protest the emperor deposing Empress Gao way back in Ep8 :D Easily one of the highlights of Ep54!

 

@skibbies Exactly. While Huirou does not necessarily comport herself in accordance with the etiquette and norms of her time, she mostly earns a thumb's up from me because she often expresses what I wish someone would say to the characters involved, our mouthpiece within the context of the drama as it were. At the same time, I feel really sad for her too, because this very same spiritedness will be the reason she suffers so much in a marriage she never wanted, unable to break free from the stifling confines of a princess and a woman in that era.

 

Last night's episodes left me with mixed emotions...

Spoiler

so relieved that the fate we feared for Qiuhe did not come to pass, and that she did indeed find happiness with Cui Bai after all. I would have found it really unpalatable if she too ended up becoming the historical Consort Dong. My only regret is that the empress has one less person who sees with such clarity and compassion, though I wonder if the script believes she is now redundant since the royal couple's relationship is finally on the right track. Nonetheless, with Zhao Zhen being convinced to elevate the deceased Consort Zhang to the posthumous status of empress, I wonder how he would excuse himself from this clear affront towards the empress.

 

At the same time, Fan Zhongyan's passing saddened me, and the scene at the country school where he reminisces about the past with Maoze was filled with poignancy - remembering the young Cao Danshu from 20 years ago, his honest appraisal that he is unsuited to be a minister, his initial dissatisfaction with those who opposed the reforms, and the emperor for not forcing it through, and realising the reason for the emperor's decision. He is one of my favourite characters - brutally honest while lacking in political wiles, brilliant, free-spirited - and I will miss his presence very much.

 

EDIT: Just caught tonight's Hunan TV episodes, and just have to express my awe over Wang Kai's spectacular performance towards the end of Ep58, nailing the emperor's condition in that moment perfectly. Bravo!

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I actually love Huiruo.

 

She feels and expresses all the things that I think in a frank manner. Unfortunately for her, the era and context are wrong.

 

The Emperor wanted to spoil his daughter, but he didn't realize that loving a fiery, passionate woman is not going to be the same thing as raising a fiery, passionate woman. He wanted to raise a pameperd daughter but she turned out to be an individual. 

 

Thankfully for Consort Zhang, she died young, so she wouldn't have to be disappointed in him longer once they get older. Huiruo, on the other hand, is starting to experience that disappointment in her father. She can love him and admire him, but she will never be able to love like he did. She's not even allowed to think about that cute boy lol. 

 

The Emperor should realize why the Empress was loved by so many, yet Consort Zhang was loved by so few. Well, he knows but he didn't care, he just decided to indulge her. I am excited to see how he will defend Huirou when she is condemned by others in the future. Basically, I wanna see this man suffer. 

 

EDIT: i was looking up the age of Huirou and Consort Zhang. As it turns out...they were both born in 1999. damn. lmao!!

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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.  She has not had any happy days on this drama after she became empress.  The Princess was mostly happy until she figured out what it is to be a woman.  I love kingdom/dynasty dramas but this has been one miserable watch! :( 

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Just watching 46 after a hiatus.

Spoiler

Did the Emperor and Empress actually just finally consummate their marriage even though it was under pretty rapey conditions?

OMG, this Empress is like a general! She is the archetypal Queen ona chessboard! 

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Okay, been in the mood for this show again,  it may have to stop. For one thing, changing vpn really burns through battery. For another,

Spoiler

while one set of villains went down, now we will have to see the Li family. And the emperor continues to annoy me with his unreasonable behavior. First he threatens the Cao family, and then he expects the son won’t be terrified with all those lives on his shoulders? 

.

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I was surprised to see how severe the divide between the scholar-officials and martial officials were. I guess I had always known that the scholars were considered more distinguished, but that scene with Han Qi and Di Qing was still disheartening. It is interesting though, seeing how Han Qi was changed by his years in exile. One of the things that this show does well is giving each official their own personality and character development. 

 

 

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On 5/12/2020 at 8:31 AM, crackaddict said:

EDIT: i was looking up the age of Huirou and Consort Zhang. As it turns out...they were both born in 1999. damn. lmao!!

Oh I thought Huirou was 5 years younger and Consort Zhang was 5 years older lmao.

 

7 hours ago, tendrilsofwind said:

I was surprised to see how severe the divide between the scholar-officials and martial officials were. I guess I had always known that the scholars were considered more distinguished, but that scene with Han Qi and Di Qing was still disheartening. It is interesting though, seeing how Han Qi was changed by his years in exile. One of the things that this show does well is giving each official their own personality and character development. 

I believe it's especially bad in Song dynasty because how it was found. They were worried that generals may do what Zhao Kuangyin did before? I did like the change in various ministers too, it's nice to see them fleshed out.

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This is one of the most depressing series that i have ever watched, besides royal nirvana. Many times i wanted to stop watching but there is no other interesting shows at the moment (not romance focused) for me.  As someone in this thread has commented, everyone is miserable and no one in the royal family has a happy ending.  I dont understand why did the emperor burn the painting of the empress? Can someone shed light on the symbolic action pls? 

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The rest of the episodes' timeline, copied a bit from the last one just so 1048 isn't cut in half. (DVD/tencent version if there's any difference)

Spoiler

ep 46~49: Wen Yanbo went to suppress a minor rebellion by Wang Ze, 1048 January

ep 46~47: Empress suppressed a minor palace rebellion, 1048 January

ep 50: Su Shunqin dies, 1048

ep 52: Chongyang Festival, September 9th

ep 52: Song Shenzong (Zhao Zhongzhen/Zhao Xu) appears as a baby, born 1048 April 10th 

ep 52: Consort Zhang gets promoted, 1048 October

ep 52: (mentioned on screen, Xia Song dies in 1051)

ep 52: mentioned in passing, Feng Jing aced all three exams so Consort Zhang's uncle wants him as a son-in-law, 1049 March (he later married Fu Bi's daughter after his first wife dies which is mentioned in ep 55, then married another Fu Bi's daughter after second wife dies mentioned in ep 64)

ep 53: Zhang Yaozuo (Consort Zhang's uncle) was promoted (三司使+礼部侍郎), 1049 September

ep 54: Ouyang Xiu returns to the capital, 1049

ep 54: Emperor's birthday, April 14th

ep 54: Zhang Yaozuo promoted again (宣徽南院使+淮康节度使+景灵宫使), 1050 November (but Bao Zheng's criticism happened in 1049? lol Zhao Maoze mentions they argued about it for 2 years?)

ep 54: Wen Yanbo was criticise for gifting 蜀锦 (Sichuan brocade, pretty+expensive fabric) to Consort Zhang and got demoted, 1051

ep 54: Fan Zhongyan gets promoted, 1051 (so did Han Qi and Fu Bi, but the year is different)

ep 54: (mentioned on screen, Fan Zhongyan dies in 1052)

ep 55: Han Qi moved to Bing Zhou, 1053 January

ep 55: Emperor's birthday, April 14th

ep 55: Consort Zhang dies, 1054 January 8th

ep 57: Wen Yanbo & Fu Bi are chancellors again, 1055 June (time skipped? or I guess they just move the events around the timeline)

ep 57: Emperor got sick & two chancellors stayed till he recovered, 1056 January

ep 58: Di Qing gets criticised and demoted, 1056

ep 58: Han Qi returns to the capital, 1056 July

ep 59: Su Shi & his brother Su Zhe aced the exam, 1057 spring

ep 59: Huirou marries Li Wei, 1057

ep 60: Di Qing dies, 1057 March

ep 60: Han Qi becomes chancellor again (?), 1058 June

ep 61: Zhao Zongshi's dad Zhao Yunrang dies, 1059 November

ep 62: Lantern Festival, January

ep 63: Huirou drinks with Huaiji, caught her mother-in-law spying on her, had a huge fight and went to palace in the middle of the night, 1060

ep 65: (Consort Dong is sick and 13th princess has been born, likely 1061, she dies in 1062)

ep 66: Chongyang Festival, September 9th (the young boy is Zongshi's youngest son, born 1056, the teen is probably Song Shenzong)

ep 67: Lantern Festival, January

ep 67 & 68: Li Wei gets demoted and moves away and divorce, Huirou also gets demoted, 1062

ep 69: Zhao Zongshi officially becomes Crown Prince, 1062 August 4th

ep 69: Emperor pass away, 1063 March 29th

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

Thanks to real life demands, it has taken me more than a month to finally put down my thoughts again, during which time, I have had the time to complete my rewatch, appreciating anew details and nuances in the drama that may have eluded me during my initial watch... and finding myself with such an unexpected sense of loss when it finally drew to a close once more. 

 

Can I say that after we get past the harem arc, the last 20 or so episodes are excellent. Wang Kai really embodied Zhao Zhen from his youth all the way to the end of his life, and his performance is absolutely on point. I started off loving Huirou despite her wayward ways, but her arc post-marriage really repulsed me with her behaviour and treatment of her husband. While it is historically accurate, still watching it play out was infuriating, and in that sense, I lost any goodwill I had for the younger couple. The fact that Li Wei is consistently portrayed as warm hearted and generous to a fault, browbeaten in the presence of his lofty wife, makes Huirou's behaviour all the more unforgivable, shallow and mean-spirited. Still the scene when she begs to be allowed in at the palace gates breaks my heart for a moment, when in that instant, all I see is a broken child who is trying to return to the only safe haven she has ever known. What follows is a fascinating push and pull of power between the emperor and his court, him holding them ransom with the deliberate uncertainty of Zongshi's status, even as they, especially the incessantly dogmatic 司马光 Sima Guang continue to badger him to force Huirou to do her duty and punish Huaiji for his perceived part in her abhorrent behaviour. I cannot begin to describe how many times I wish I could reach into the screen and drop a boulder over Sima Guang's head, and was sorry he was not allowed to carry through his threat of committing suicide right in the court :P 

 

It is also heartwarming to see the royal couple finally able to enjoy a harmonious, loving relationship after the wasted 20 or so years. His death scene moved me to tears - how fitting he was reminiscing about her and the moment he started caring for her years before they finally understood each other. How poetic too that when the jar of wine accidentally spilled over the paintings and caught fire, he would stop her from saving them since these were mere material possessions which could not be measured against the actual person behind the events of the paintings - the wife in whose arms he finally died. Her devastated cries of "Don't go! Take me with you!" never fails to move me to tears each time I rewatch, and it is to Jiang Shuying's powerful performance that she embodied every nuance of the empress' desolation and her innate strength of character that would allow her to forcibly pull herself from the depths of her grief to set in motion events that ensures the nation does not fall into chaos at the emperor's sudden passing. Bravo.

 

The drama deviates from the book in more ways than one, and is arguably kinder to the characters, compared to the book, and even history. As initially feared, Qiuhe of the book was, the historical Consort Dong after all, choosing to forego Cui Bai's love by staying back and supporting the empress in her capacity as part of the harem. While Qiuhe's children paralleled Consort Dong's with 3 daughters, thankfully the drama allowed her to find her own happiness with the man she loves, rather than being forever caged in the palace with a man she may respect but not care for.

 

As for Huirou and Huaiji, there can be no happy ending for this ill-fated couple, but at least Huirou's fate is far less harsh, reverting to a child-like persona after the shock of her father's passing, no longer conscious of reality but living in her own world. Huaiji too was freed to leave the palace and be reunited with his own family, and even if they never saw each other once more, at least he was finally free from the confines of the palace. This is far better than their fates in the book, where Huaiji continue to serve in the palace at Hanlin Academy, while Huirou stayed in the palace with her mother until her nephew's reign, when she moved back to the Princess' manor with the elevated status over her in-laws abolished, meaning she had to accord Li Wei's mother the courtesy given to a mother-in-law. Each year she would return to the palace just before the festive season, and hang colourful decorative ribbons she had cut on the peach tree for Huaiji to see from far away. And every year, Huaiji would wait for that one tacit sign from her, until at last on the 8th year, after waiting in vain the whole day, he saw layers of white cloth of mourning hung up as a mark of her passing.

 

After all is said and done, I for one would recommend this drama with its lack of extreme highs and lows despite the oft-idealised portrayal of Zhao Zhen - overly wise, far-sighted, benevolent. The politics are interesting, even if it is more often than not discourse instead of visual portrayal on policies and its implementations. We are treated to a steady stream of influential historical figures from a political and literary standpoint, and I love that these characters are fleshed out with their individual foibles and unique traits, regardless of how brief their scenes might be.  I appreciate too how certain events in history are well-adapted and explained within the context of the script's reinterpretation of these characters and their relationships. One example would be how the empress stayed away from nursing Zhao Zhen after his delusional outburst about her treachery. Historically, Empress Cao stayed away because she dared not nurse the emperor after his outrageous accusations. Here, the drama gave a convincing spin on the events with her staying away for months because she was hurt by his accusations, while he was riddled with guilt with how deeply he had wounded her, but dared not approach her for fear that she would not forgive him. Production, music and performances are top-notch and memorable across the board for the most part. One surprising standout for me is Ren Min who nailed Huirou's every emotion with her portrayal and even the timbre of her voice - her willfulness, mischievous nature, her despondency and misery - even more telling that I would be impressed in spite of how much Huirou's arc infuriated me in later episodes. Well done. And as the curtain draws to a close on the drama once more, I can truly say that I was really sorry that it finally ended, and am glad that I did persevere to the end after all.

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  • 1 month later...

@PPB It's great to see someone else watching the drama, and glad to see that you are enjoying it so far. It is not a popular drama as you can probably tell, nor is it a perfect one. Nonetheless, I loved it a lot, despite being often frustrated with Zhao Zhen's characterisation. The performances are strong across the board, bringing the characters to life, and the drama is replete with nuances that are subtle yet impactful. Anyway, I won't say more. Do share your thoughts here when you can! 

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Thank you @liddi, that's really kind. I absolutely loved Royal Nirvana, (and feel Luo Jin is such an incredibly talented actor) though I did wish there was a bit more happiness somewhere... Lol. So I love that so far it's not all about concubines fighting. There's a lot of that in other dramas and it gets a bit, let's say, limiting. I love the Emperor /ministers battles, the politics are very interesting, also because I read that these are historically based. That's inherently interesting, and easier than reading about it!  I do agree with some that sometimes it is not done in a dramatic way, so it's occasionally a bit flat. However, it remains interesting (and I believe it even gets more complicated later...).

 

I love the Empresses, though I feel occasionally she's a bit too proud and stiff, and can't see the the Emperor actually does like her. That initial refusal on the wedding night has really hurt her deeply! I had not seen anything with Wang Kai before (incredible, I know! Lol), I think he's very good, not an easy role. When he announces the birth of his first child, the Princess, and gives the ministers gifts, it all ends up with them bickering, instead of the happy occasion it was meant to be.  Well, I really did feel sorry for him!

 

It's true that you don't feel like you must absolutely watch what happens next, but for me personally, I love the pace. I like the cinematography too, elegant and understated, though I think RN's was more artistically stunning, a lot of lingering of the camera over some shots, which is a real pleasure for the eyes. 

 

Sorry for my ramblings, will be watching more! 

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  • 1 month later...

I'm up to when the Emperor gets seriously ill and goes off the rails briefly and accuses the Empress of treason... I really like the references to the various real life characters, it invites people to know more about the history, really interesting. 

 

The bit where Huirou is angry with her father who has caught her seeing the young Cai , my goodness, it was really heart wrenching, such deep, deep sadness about it, after all the loving between them. 

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Yes, I like him, he's a very good actor, and though sometimes I find it hard not to see the actors' faces visibly aging (so the passing of time is not exactly obvious, as everyone looks just like they did when young) his demeanour, the way he holds himself, one could definitely see the aging process there. That's not easy and he does it beautifully. 

 

I'm not really sure what to think of the last episodes (at 65 now) After a kind of long calm, there's suddenly a lot of drama, and though the Princess obviously does not  behave appropriately for the times, my goodness what heartache.... It is suddenly very, very sad... I suppose there the "loneliness in the castle" really comes to the fore. Everyone trapped in their tight roles... Hard to watch a sweet, innocent and spirited girl being crushed so thoroughly. And the poor Huaiji... It is a bit of a vice on one's heart. 

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