Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan

Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan (2012)

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Ratings: 8.6/10 from 476 users
Reviews: 9 users

A young woman born of Eigh Banners family marries the Emperor. After surviving through many murderous scandals and betrayals, she prevails as the most powerful woman in the Emperor's harem, the Empress dowager. In the process, she transforms from a kind-hearted, clever girl to a power hungry, manipulative woman. (source: dramawiki)

  • Native title:

  • Also Known as:

    Hou Gong Zhen Huan Zhuan; Empresses In The Palace ; Inner Palace: Zhen Huan Biography

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22 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Aug 31, 2013
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 7.0
This series is incredibly epic, spanning a lifetime of concubine Zhen Huan. There are many asian series set in ancient time, but none so flawlessly executed as this one. The writer of this story has been very thorough and knowledgeable in the ancient culture of the palace and you will quickly stop seeing the story from our modern cultures point of view.

The story comes in waves, at times there is a read more feeling of melancholy and helplessness of the situation while at other times you will be jumping in your seat from excitement!

Intrigues changes all the time, what was once a dear friend or ally becomes an enemy and vice versa. It's a very complicated story with a big cast which might make it difficult for some western viewers to follow if the series is not watched at a high frequency.

Watching the acting in this series is a treat, the characters become very much alive and they are deeply written. You will always understand why a character behaves as he or she does. There are always motives behind their actions, and even if you might hate a character for some action they did, you will often find yourself later also feeling pity for them because you will see their reasoning behind it.

One of the most popular series in China, give it a try you won't regret it!
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15 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Dec 16, 2015
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 9.0
This drama is an absolute MASTERPIECE, this is the only word that comes to my mind when I think about it, everything about this drama is magnificent it was perfectly produced and written it's simply amazing and personally I would not be able to find the slightest flaw, of course there were things I found a little bit weird especially near the end however it's nothing big so I stand firm on read more my opinion : this drama is a pure Gem. I'm really glad I finally watched it, it had been on my plan to watch list for 2 years but I was kinda scared about the number of episodes and I have to say that everything happens so quickly that without realizing it I was already in the end of the drama. Why there aren't more episodes ???????

I'll try to explain why Legend of Concubines Zhen Huan is so special to me and why eventually it left me speechless but I know that won't be easy job, still I want to write about this drama cause I want to always remember all the things I experienced while watching it and remember how it was a real inspiration for me. First I need to say that it instantly became one of my ultimate favorite dramas, it was totally addicting, interesting, entertaining, and even more informative than any other Chinese historical dramas I've watched about Palace (palace intrigues and palace etiquette) especially about concubine ranks (from Daying to Huanghou), how they have to behave and follow the proper etiquette when meeting the Emperor, Empress, Empress Dowager or concubines with higher rank and even also how concubine's parents have to salute and address them very strict conduct. it's like I've learn lot of things only with that drama and made me want to read a lot more about Qing Dynasty. This drama impressed me on so many levels that I hardly have words to express the beauty of this piece as everything is simply perfect from the writting of characters and story to the costumes which are so exquisite, make up, sceneries, music, poetry … In my opinion the costumes and make up in this drama are the best I've seen, all the concubines look so graceful and sublime in all these different dresses with their make up and headpiece which make them so unique and different from each other, but of course for me the Queen of the Palace is Zhen Huan, she's so dazzling and the most beautiful woman the emperor ever has in his harem and somehow I totally understand why he fell for her, why he wanted to always be in her company and asked a lot about her opinion for private matters because of her superior education and great cleverness.

Now I'll write about Zhen Huan and her story just if you plan to watch this drama I don't really know if what's coming can be considered as a spoil so just in case do not read the next lines, only about Zhen Huan's part though), so it deals with her story and how  from an innocent and pure hearted girl she becomes one of the most powerful and scary women in the harem. What I liked about her when she entered the palace is despite that she was very young she was not careless but very cautious, in the very beginning we can see that she does not want to gain the emperor's favor to stay away from all those schemes/plot and I have to say that it was her most peaceful moments, living in harmony with her two dearest friends. But of course it did not turn like she wanted it to be and after all the sad things that happened to her what she then did was not because she wanted fame and power or favor from the emperor but only to survive and protect the ones that are dear to her, parents and sister, her love, her children, her best friend. Even if people would say she became heartless and greedy I can't really agree with them and I can't hate Zhen Huan either, on the contrary I think she was so smart, strong and daring, all what a woman in the harem needs if she wants to live and survive. After finishing this drama I realise how I love Zhen Huan, she automatically became my favorite female character because she always manages to remain unscathed no matter what's happening to her not showing her true feelings to her opponent, I admire her so much for that, I also love her imposing character, her braveness, her heart and her scary face as well.
I've always liked Sun Li and found her incredibly talented but in this drama she showed another facet of her acting, in my opinion she delivered her most outstanding performance In LOCZH. A Stunning Actress indeed <3.

In this drama I generally like Zhen Huan's relationship with all other characters, I'll talk about some of them :

-Mei Zhuang her sister of heart, the only woman in the palace with whom she could be fully herself and tell all of her inner thoughts, I like so much their bonding and their conversations it was always so genuine and so adorable how they care for each other and help the other when necessary and I can't even count the number of time they tried to help each other in dire situation, her best friend and her best confidant in this awful palace.

-Jing Fei one of Zhen Huan's Jie Jie in the Palace who was always here for her, I love seeing them together and despite their age gap I found their friendship so beautiful, as much as Jing Fei did a lot for Zhen Huan, Zhen Huan always helped her in return and gave her one of her most precious thing in life, one of the most wonderful present ever.

-Duan Fei, I love so much those two, I don't really know why Duan Fei decided to go near Zhen Huan and approached her (maybe I'll understand more when I rewatch the drama) but for sure they have one of the most incredible friendship in this palace, I also love the way they always salute each other, and only both of them do that in the Palace making them look so cool and unique. Duan Fei is such a respectful and dignified woman and I'm glad I could see more of her in the second part of the drama.

-Hua Fei, ahaha what an incredible and hateful relationship they have those two, such a threatening woman Hua Fei is but Zhen Huan never showed her feelings towards her I mean she never ever showed her weakness and so it was so hard for Hua Fei to attack her and destroy Zhen Huan however she's for me one of the greatest villain I've seen in drama, Jiang Xin did a really great job in portraying the cruel and scheming Hua Fei, SUPERB !

-4th Prince, he is cute and very well educated I'm glad Zhen Huan paid attention to him and decided to take care of him and keeping him company.

-Ning Pin, this woman is so unpredictable and dangerous and we love her like that (at least I do), she never ever showed some attention about all those scheming in the palace nor for high position or favoritism cause after all she was like lost in an empty island , a place she was not meant to be and maybe I think that befriending Zhen Huan made her life a bit more positive and interesting, love love so much those two together and all the things she did for ZH . Definitely a character I will never forget since she made such a great impression on me when I first saw her.

Generally I liked all of the different characters even those I haven't cited above (Guo Jun Wang, Zhen Huan's maids especially Liu Zu and Jin Xi, Doctor Wen...)
Frankly speaking there's not a character I truly hated, I rather sympathize with some of them nevertheless there's one exception and that is the emperor whom I just couldn't like and totally hated all what he did to all the concubines, how he treated them like merchandises, shows favoritism to some of them and doesn't even look at the older ones arousing jealousy of each other. I particularly disliked that he couldn't trust them and believe his favorite women and not look for evidence and punish them whe he thought what he had before his eye were crucial proof. I won't say more but yeah that's pretty much what I think.

The Music also was so beautiful, another one of the aspect of the drama I truly enjoy and that's true that at first I did not really notice it I would even say that I did not like it either especially the op and end songs which I found pretty boring but honestly I realised after some time that they fitted perfectly with the tone of the drama and I even started to like them and enjoying listening to those songs that we can hear in some sad and memorable scenes in the drama. I also love so much the instrumentals.

Personally I enjoyed every second of this drama and I know the beginning is a little bit slow I would say the first 15 episodes but it was necessary for the comprehension of the story and the main characters. After that everything was so addicting and all I wanted was to watch the next eps and follow Zhen Huan's and her friend's adventures, how she will evolve throughout the drama and what would she do. I'll definitely rewatch this drama for sure, I'm not scared to rewatch the entire drama as it is one of those dramas we know no matter how much we rewatch them we won't be bored and at least maybe it'll give me the opportunity to understand more the characters and their difficulties.
without any doubt I would recommend it to everyone and especially for those who aren't afraid to watch a long drama and wants to learn more about palace etiquette and how it worked at that time.

This is one of those rare drama I knew I would love and yes it totally lived up to my expectation and even more than that since I loved it much much more than I expected.
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Make a Recommendation More recs (7)Recommendations

Raise the Red Lantern is a movie about a young girl who become the mistress of a rich family, just like Zhen Huan At first she did not want to get married but she soon learns that she needs the master's love in order to live a "nice" life. The mistresses are all very different and they try to win over the master just like in Empress in the Palace.
This is one of the best movies I have ever seen. This literally gave me the chills after I finished the movie.
Recommended by CindyLee
While watching this Drama it often reminded me of Empress Ki. It's the same type of story about the palace and plotting and backstabbing in the harem and which effects it has on people living through it. Empress Ki compared with Legend of Zhen Huan is a bit lighter though
Recommended by fuyushita_risou

Comments (80)

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  • Reply
    Alekwang 24 days ago

    Someone please convince me to watch this drama! It seems to be everyone's favorite

  • Reply
    Pinocchio 29 days ago

    10/10 this is one of the best cdramas that I've watched that was interesting since the beginning till end even if it had so many eps it was still worth it

  • Reply
    krystalsoojungs Jun 1, 2017

    this is hands down my favorite thing to watch out of anything I've ever seen. I've seen the entire series five times and I read all six books from the novel series twice haha

  • Reply
    KianaRose Feb 23, 2017 - edited

    I gave this my first ever 10/10 it was so good. Can anyone enlighten me however on the amount of episodes.... I watched this on Netflix and there was I think 6 episodes about 1 and a half hours long but other places say there is like 76 episodes? Did netflix just squish the episodes together?

    • Reply
      Serina Mar 18, 2017

      yeah they did. They left a lot of details out, which is a shame because this drama is very good. I even rewatched it multiple times. The details really make the story in my opinion. I recommend to watch all the episodes.

    • Reply
      KianaRose Mar 20, 2017

      Thanks. Do you know where I can watch the original version?

    • Reply
      KianaRose Mar 26, 2017

      Awesome thanks :)

  • Reply
    Kiseki Dec 1, 2016 - edited

    The sister-bond between the girls in the palace was touching, but it was so brutal at the same time all those women just doing their best to back stab each other and kill each other. *rolls eyes* Honestly I lost sympathy for all the characters at the end and just felt like 'they had it coming'. Even the tragic romance between the main and her 'lover' just felt to me like she deserved it for jumping back to the emperor one months after her lover's death news.

    • Reply
      Kiie Jul 4, 2017
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    marisols12 Nov 3, 2016

    Great drama, could of watched another 70 episodes.

  • Reply
    irilight Aug 30, 2016 - edited

    The show is also on Netflix IW under the name Empresses In The Palace

    • Reply
      Granuli Sep 1, 2016

      I think this is the crippled version though which got so many bad reactions.

    • Reply
      irilight Sep 1, 2016

      oh, really? I did not hear about that. Thank you for telling me.

    • Reply
      Granuli Sep 1, 2016

      I can't be 100000% sure, but it's very likely, just compare the number of episodes :) I know for sure that the newer, Western re-release is crippled and got lots of bad critics (lack of character development and so on)

    • Reply
      irilight Feb 3, 2017

      You are absolutely correct.

  • Reply
    Mei_Mei Jul 17, 2016 - edited

    This was my first Chinese historical drama and I loved it so much ! So very very different from western drama.

    • Reply
      Mei_Mei Jul 25, 2016

      Sharn and Su Baek Yang ? also not your taste ? I have to admit this are very long-winded series hehe But well I do love it

    • Reply
      Sharn Jul 25, 2016

      I am not sure about King's Daughter, Soo Baek Hyang cos I have never watched it before. The actresses just don't appeal me lol I am really picky when it comes to drama; I watch a lot but drop a lot too xD

    • Reply
      Mei_Mei Jul 25, 2016

      I am sure I will be more picky in a year ! Now i tend to love every historical drama hahahahaha

    • Reply
      Maks Sep 6, 2016

      did we need to know a little bit about this chinese historical era before watching it or not ?

    • Reply
      Sharn Sep 6, 2016 - edited

      Gotta know some basic concubines and palace hierarchy. Also if you understand poems like I do, it would be more enjoyable.

  • Reply
    LPA Jul 8, 2016 - edited

    I watched the first 30 episodes on kissasian.com but they must have changed the translator because the translation was so bad at that point, that I could no longer watch it even though I really wanted to see the remaining episodes. (I also tried YouTube and DramaCool.) So I switched to the six-episode condensed version and it was obvious that there were just too many gaping holes with critical pieces of the story left out. Now I'm trying to find somewhere that has a decent translation of the remaining episodes of the full 76. It is very frustrating but I will keep looking. I hope someone can advise me on where to find a decent translation. Thank you for your help.

    • Reply
      dhaliahn Jul 20, 2016

      I didn't find neither. Even with all these problems, retry kissasian. This drama is really good and the 6 episodes version is too short.

    • Reply
      Joyce Johnson Aug 3, 2016 - edited

      They have the full subtitle drama on Youtube. You just have to put in search, The Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan. This drama has all of the episodes and they are in high-definition. The series is under the subscriber Video Video.

    • Reply
      Joyce Johnson Aug 3, 2016 - edited

      They have the full subtitle drama on Youtube. You just have to put in search, The Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan. This drama has all of the episodes and they are in high-definition. The series is under the subscriber Video Video.

  • Reply
    dhaliahn Jul 6, 2016 - edited

    All men should watch this drama to learn to:
    1) never mistreat women;
    2) never date more than one woman at the same time.

  • Reply
    eoniii May 16, 2016 - edited

    I was planning on watching this as I heard several good feedback about this.
    Then again, I would love to watch romantic dramas.
    Does this have romance in it or just about the situations in the harem?

    • Reply
      Sharn May 29, 2016 - edited

      There are some romance subplots but this drama is more focus on the harem survival, network connections, and personal development as well as show us how cruel things were during that period. A must watch I would say.

  • Reply
    musiq Apr 22, 2016 - edited

    Hello friends, I am on episodes 61 and just realize that An Ling Rong has been considered bad luck to the harem. Can someone explain to me what caused this please. I don't remember the events that lead to this. I know she lost her voice but it seems that see was out of favor even before that? Thanks. Some of the subs were missing so i couldn't get the full story.

    • Reply
      Sharn May 29, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
  • Reply
    Sharn Mar 11, 2016 - edited

    I think I have rewatched this to the point I lose count.

    • Reply
      Sharn May 29, 2016

      Hey nuka~ nice to see you here.
      There are but they don't have as much screen time as the emperor.

    • Reply
      nuka May 30, 2016

      I was happy to see you here, I watched first two episodes the epmrore is so unattractive… should I watch it? but it should have something that make people rewatch it ha?

    • Reply
      Sharn May 30, 2016 - edited

      When I first accidentally saw this on tv four years ago, I wasn't super attracted by it as well. The female lead was not that gorgeous to me and just like you I complained at how unattractive the emperor was. Well, because it was on tv and I loved to spend time together with my mom watching drama, I decided to give it a shot. After a while, I found myself addicted to it and along the process I saw lots more than the outer appearance. This is not your average lovey-dovey romance drama with super gorgeous emperor like in Bu Bu Jing Xin, but it address more realistic views and more onto the relationships between people during that era.

    • Reply
      Sharn May 30, 2016
      Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      nuka May 30, 2016

      you think? ;) ok i get I will give it a try, Thank you Sharn.

  • Reply
    silvermcv Feb 29, 2016 - edited

    I saw the six episode version and I highly recommend that one. It was okay for me, I wanted to know more at the end.

    • Reply
      Sharn May 29, 2016 - edited

      It's a pity you saw the six eps one, I really hate that version.
      You should see the original 76 eps, the storyline will surely blow your mind~

  • Reply
    steph_ravita Dec 31, 2015 - edited

    Oh boy, oh boy. Starting this when I have university on my hands is probably not the best idea I've had but I'm captivated.

    • Reply
      rachso Feb 5, 2016

      is it really that great. Nirvana in fire good or just good for its time. u know like dramas tat were good then but now look sub par

    • Reply
      steph_ravita Feb 6, 2016

      To be fair, I didn't really watch this drama as I should've. It was more a combination of reading recaps and watching the parts that interested me most because I didn't have the full time to devote to it nor did some parts really make me want to watch it. So I'd say it was really a good drama but not the best I've ever seen. If you have the time to, it might be a good ride but I wouldn't be the best person to ask. Sorry if this isn't very helpful! Happy drama watching, rachso~

    • Reply
      rachso Feb 6, 2016



  • Country:

  • Type:

  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Mar 26, 2012 to May 2, 2012
  • Aired On:

    Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Network:

  • Duration:

    45 min.


  • Score:

    8.6 (scored by 476 users)
  • Ranked:

  • Popularity:


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