Nirvana in Fire

Nirvana in Fire (2015)

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Ratings: 9.2/10 from 1,124 users
Reviews: 34 users

During the Datong era of the Southern Liang Dynasty, Northern Wei sent troops southward and General Lin Xie took his only child, the 17 year old Lin Shu to the battlefield. Unexpectedly, Lin Xie was framed by a political rival, causing the unjust deaths of seventy thousand Chi Yan army soldiers, just after they drove off the hostile Wei forces. Fortunately, Lin Shu was rescued by a loyal subordinate, although he barely read moreescaped with his life. With the help of Lang Ya Hall, Lin Shu was able to establish the Jiang Zuo Alliance, and returns to the capital 12 years on as the leader Mei Changsu. He secretly assists his friend Xiao Jingyan, the unfavoured son of Emperor Wu and wisely rids the court of all scheming officials.

*The drama is based off the novel by Hai Yan (海宴).

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131 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Nov 13, 2015
  • Overall 10
  • Story 10
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 10
  • Rewatch Value 10
This is such a phenomenal drama, it is truly one of a kind. If you're left unsatisfied after finishing dramas, thinking to yourself if only the writers made better choices, or if only the characters were better developed … then you should give this drama a try. Everything about this drama is AMAZING; it has a mind-blowing screenplay with incredible characters, not to mention its great directing and cinematography. (the action in read more this drama is top-notch, and the war in the later episodes was impressive beyond imagination!)

At First glance, this might look like another revenge drama, but it is much more than that. The goal of the main characters is not to infect pain and suffering on the ones who have done them wrong, and it's not to simply right the wrongs, but to do so while making the ones who've committed the wrong realize the gravity of their actions. In a sense, this is the hardest route to take for correcting what has been wronged, people don’t want to be reminded of their dark past, and even more to accept their faults. Nevertheless, the reason why I love this drama so much is exactly this, the main characters, although they’ve literally been through hell, are not out there for revenge nor to make themselves feel better, but they’re trying to reveal the truth.

The plot is complicated and very intelligently written. There are 54 episodes, but I have to say there is no dull moment. The story has many layers and builds up on its episodes, becoming more and more intense as the episodes go by; we watch the characters execute their plans and try to overcome all the foreseen and un-foreseen obstacles in the most magnificent way possible.

In my opinion there are two main characters, Mei Chang Su and Prince Jing.
Mei Chang Su is the most intelligent character that I’ve ever came across in a drama. For achieving his goals, he uses his knowledge to manipulate people to do exactly what he wants them to do, without them even realizing his involvement! Despite his ingenious and composed personality, he carries the deepest sadness inside him, and that is what gives him the greatest determination for concluding his goals.
Prince Jing is the moral barometer of the story. He is bold and true to himself, he values his loved ones more than anything, and he’s willing to do anything to protect them. That said, he would never go against his moral code, he is a constant reminder for Mei Chang Su (and us the audience) that they should never be untrue to themselves. His bold and strong character attracts capable people to him enabling him to have true leadership characteristic.

This duo is the best I’ve ever seen anywhere, their relationship is so endearing to watch and their personalities compliment each other so well. Just having them both on screen was enough to make me give up everything I was planning to do for the rest of the day and give my undivided attention to this drama.

Another thing that I really like about this drama is that the other characters are all intelligent as well, which makes us understand why they were in power to begin with and why they’ve been successful so far. This point makes watching the main character manipulate these smart and sneaky characters much more enjoyable

This drama is for the intelligent, for the ones who are willing to sit through long conversations and enjoy putting the pieces of the puzzle together, for the ones who understand that sometimes no matter the cost one has to fight for what is right. (sorry for the long review! if you made it this far, that means you're interested!! give it a try, you won't be disappointed!)
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26 people found this review helpful
Other reviews by this user
Dec 6, 2015
  • Overall 9.5
  • Story 9.0
  • Acting/Cast 10
  • Music 9.0
  • Rewatch Value 8.0
Well, I just wouldn't know where to start. This is my first completed Wu Xia drama I was completely amazed by it. I have so much to say and it'll probably be long so let me summarize it first. If you like Scheming dramas, where wining isn't really about how strong you are, or how strong your army is, but how smart, then this is a drama you'll definitely enjoy. However there read more is much more that this drama offers. The characters, their relationships and how things develop around them are at the heart of the drama. Love, loyalty, brotherhood portrayed in such a beautiful way. Like one of the comments I read on a blog said about this drama: *It hurts so good!*

As for the plot, it basically is a Chinese version of The Count of Monti Cristo transposed in Chinese empire. However, the story felt grander than the original French novel, and more than just a revenge tale. It is a story that goes beyond life and death, but setting the truth free. We are introduced to Mei Chang Su, a sickly man and part of the pugilistic world. He has established the Jiangzuo Alliance, a very powerful alliance with eyes and ears basically everywhere. Such power has given Mr. Su the title of Divine Talent. Two princes that are fighting for the throne sought after such talent. He was welcomed to the capital, but he had his own agenda. The two princes have been set against each other by the emperor. However such an act has corrupted the royal court, making the whole empire lose its strength. Mr. Su wants to remove both princes as contenders to the throne and bring forth the seventh prince, who's unfavoured by the emperor and looked down upon in the court. Mr.Su does so by studying the whole situation, going after each of the corrupt officials and brings their misdeeds to light. This is his way of removing corruption, and rebuilding the empire's strength.

That set the story forth as things start changing since the appearance of the mysterious Mei Chang Su. Soon enough, people start realizing that things are moving, and interest starts to increase in that mysterious figure. Little do they know he’s Lin Shu, survivor of the Chiyang army, and a victim of a tragedy from 12 years ago. The capital is full of people who benefitted from his tragedy, and those whose time has stopped since that time, unable to accept reality, but incapable of changing reality. Among them loyal friends join our protagonist in his quest to set things right.

Though the story is all about machinations, with smart villains, and smarter hero, what make this drama so special, addicting, memorable and endearing are the characters and relationships. Starting with Mei Chang Su, he’s a tragic character. The son of General Lin, and cousin to the princes, his world with filled with love, his potential was infinite and his dreams are big. Suddenly, all was stolen from him, even his face. He goes back home but it isn’t home anymore. As much as he denies himself the desire to go back to his previous self, he can’t help but show it in the most vital moments. Then there’s the 7th prince, Prince Jing. He’s very straight forward, to a fault, and never hides his feelings. What he thinks of the Chiyang army is no secret to all, making him unfavoured by his father, the emperor. He and Lin Shu grew up as brothers, and his feelings for Lin Shu haven’t changed. However he seemed to have inherited his doubtful side from his father. He has a hard time trusting Mei Chang Su since Mr. Su isn’t as straightforward as he’d like him to be, and he has a prejudice against strategist. I have to say seeing the relationship between these two develop is the most appealing in the drama, and the most carefully planned.

Then there is Princess Ni Huang, Lin Shu’s fiancé who can’t get her hand on what makes her trust Mr. Su this much. Princess Ni Huang is an army general, and the emperor wants to control her by finding her a husband from the capital. However she isn’t one to be controlled and will always get her way, and has a cute brother watching out for her. She is the weakness that makes Mei Chang Su go back to being Lin Shu, even for a moment. She is always the warmth he needs when things are too hard or too sad for him. Next is general Meng, the ever so loyal friend of Mei Changsu, and captain of the royal guards. He’s the strongest person in the capital, but not the smarted of the bunch. Even so he is one Mr. Su depends on most and when he takes charge, he kicks ass.

Other memorable characters are: the smart and warm Concubine Jing; the strong and childish puppy-like Fei Liu; the upright heartbreaking sweetheart Jing Rui; the sunshine Yu Jin; the kickass Xia Dong… the list goes on and on.

The opposing side doesn’t disappoint either. Many antagonists were interesting but most intriguing for me was Prince Yu. He’s very careful in what he does, and knows how to always make himself look in a favourable light in front of the emperor, making him favoured among the princes. However, there was always this emotional detachment he felt from his father, creating a void in him. Throughout the drama, with all his actions, being good or hateful ones, I felt he was always trying to fill this void. Another intriguing character, and maybe the most intriguing of all characters, is the emperor. My first impression of him is, that man is no fool. However everyone know he’s no fool, and of his doubtful nature, which became a tool used by our protagonists and enemies alike. He gives this fatherly figure impression, but that can change in a moment. He does care for his sons, but the power he has over the throne precedes all. He rather punishes innocents rather than let go of suspect. His conscience still haunts him because of past misdeeds, but he rather ignores it to protect his pride.

What brought those characters to life are talented actors and their on screen chemistry. Those favourite moments of mine when Hu Ge looses his composure, or veteran Ding Yong Dai playing such a complicated character like the emperor, who you both hate to love and love to hate.

Of course there is more to this drama than acting and characterization. The writing itself is fantastic. You got the tight plot, you got the character depth, and you got a great balance between all. Not a moment was wasted, as every arc got better than its predecessor. As for the direction, it was flawless for the most part. The story was fast paced, the action scenes were engaging, and overall the scenery was just gorgeous. The music is spot on, and the OST was beautifully fitting, written just for this drama. My only complaint in that area is the beginning, which was overwhelming with information. Especially to a newbie to cdramas like me, I’m getting to know the actors as well as the characters, and this drama doesn’t make it easy. Thankfully, by episode 4-5 things clear up and everything becomes easier to swallow. Another complaint would be when some characters disappear for a long period of time, and we miss them too much. However we’re usually too preoccupied with what is going on, so it’s not like we have the time to get bored.

The ending did not disappoint, and all brought together, with closure to all.

This drama is a perfect example portrayal of the possibility of what is means to run a kingdom through loyalty, love, strength, and wisdom. I’m usually a cynical person, but the experience we go through in this drama doesn’t leave any cynicism in me. I think it’s mostly the focus on love and loyalty between characters throughout the drama that eliminated any doubt in me.

Again beautiful drama and was worth every moment of my time. If you’re not sure yet do try the OST:

When the Wind Blows by Hu Ge
Loyal Blood Runs Forever Red by Wang Kai
Aging of a Beauty by Liu Tao
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Make a Recommendation More recs (11)Recommendations

Revenge plot galore, great productions, great acting (personally like Nirvana in Fire a bit more because it felt more cohesive and Hu Ge was an amazing actor... however, same can be said for luo jin in The Princess Wei Young)
The romance in nirvana in fire is more toned down than in WeiYoung. Both are highly recommended if you like smart heroes/heroines, political drama, and revenge
Recommended by Ali
Both excellent historical drama. I think Nirvana might be even better. It is more political intrigue but made very interesting. I love the strong female characters in Nirvana.
Recommended by CjRun

Comments (507)

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  • Reply
    Myauntmary 19 hours ago - edited

    Wow!! Best ever!

    I almost gave up on this drama because it was all talk and it bored me to tears. But I persevered because it has got great ratings from viewers everywhere. Until episode 20 happened. What a turnaround!! Couldn't stop watching. Haven't slept in 3 days. Triple A series.❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply
    Rejaul Hoque 4 days ago

    never ever have i watched 6 epis in a row and still want moreee!!!!

  • Reply
    ash k 12 days ago

    10/10 best asian drama ever wish there was a seperate show about lin shu's childhood

  • Reply
    hongberg 13 days ago - edited
    Reveal Spoiler »
    • Reply
      Gian 10 days ago
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    • Reply
      hongberg 10 days ago - edited
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  • Reply
    Ruyi 15 days ago - edited

    I've added this to my Plan-to-watch list but is it actually a great drama? I'm so happy there's HuGe and WangKai tho~

    • Reply

      It's unlike anything I've ever watched before and has probably spoiled dramas for me forever. Hu Ge and Wang Kai both give masterpiece performances - I'm not sure the word great even does this drama enough service

      Keep in mind it has a slow start for some people. I enjoyed it from the beginning, but it didn't have me contemplating locking myself in my room and skipping meals / sleep until episode 20 or so

    • Reply
      Alessa 13 days ago

      I'm in episode 31 and it's AMAZING so far, unlike anything I've ever seen. The story so far is fantastic, but, I think that you should enjoy plotting, intrigues and heavy dialogue dramas (you cannot look away for a second if you're reading subtitles like me) to feel that way.

    • Reply
      lovefordrama 11 days ago

      Ohhh honey, I get it. Its been a year since I've seen it and I still didnt find something better or something that gave me a better satisfaction.

  • Reply
    hongberg 18 days ago

    Just started watching this drama~ I could never really get myself into wuxia dramas cos of the dubbing, but I'm enjoying this show so far. :D

  • Reply
    Akaisora 19 days ago - edited

    While I love intelligent dramas that actually have a plot, I still need my dose of romance, especially in longer dramas... so could someone please tell me, how is the romance in this one? (For example: A lot of it/None of it, Many love stories/A single love story, Many guys after the main lady/Many women after the leading man...?) I'll watch this anyway but if there's a good love story involved, I'll watch much sooner. :D

    • Reply
      TiffanyDantas 19 days ago - edited

      So far I've only watched 15 episodes and the romance is close to none. I don't think there will be any love triangle, with so much political plotline to cover, the romance is very understated in this drama. Still, the romance we do get is very poignant and sweet. This drama will keep you on your feet, I have literally never been this engrossed by political intrigue! So far it is worth the watch ^^

    • Reply
      MinaVIP 19 days ago

      I would say it's almost close to none. It's mostly on the side, as in, like a side-plot. It has an Amazing bromance though, the friendship between Hu Ge's character and Wang Kai's character is amazing! xD

    • Reply
      lovefordrama 11 days ago
      Reveal Spoiler »
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      QueenCherry 11 days ago

      its More BROMANCE than Romance lol

  • Reply
    sweetmelissa 24 days ago

    I finally finished this beautiful drama and what can I say, it was such a wonderful ride full of emotions! I enjoyed every episode of this magnificent piece of art. I think I won't be able to escape its impact anytime soon. The plot is very well written and the story captivating. I couldn't notice any plot holes. The dialogues and strategies are very intelligent. You just can't help but think along with the characters while watching. As for the acting, it's top notch. Every actor did an amazing job with no exception. There is no overacting and no cheesy moments. I very much enjoyed the calm but intense atmosphere of the whole drama.
    Yes, the beginning can be a bit confusing as there are many characters introduced but once you can tell apart who's who, the rest comes on its own. ;)
    The cinematography never failed to amaze me. The costumes, sets, sceneries, directing everything was simply beautiful and done in a very detailed way. Definitely a high quality drama. <3 I also loved the many deep and meaningful messages about life, morals and humanity.
    I only wished to see more bromance between Lin Shu & Jingyan. Also, I wish they wouldn't have shown that very important event in the final in that quick fashion, but that's just me and my own preference. Nevertheless, a well-deserved 10/10 from me. One of the best historical dramas I have ever seen. Highly recommended! :)

  • Reply
    Alessa 27 days ago - edited

    Yesterday I had to study (a lot) and sleep (as anybody); I almost did none of those because of this fantastic drama! I couldn't stop! 14 episodes in one day :O

    • Reply

      Procrastinate much? :P. Please, don't be mad at me!

    • Reply
      Alessa 27 days ago

      I have a degree in procrastination; but not this time.
      When one procrastinates, we usually have a certain “acknowledgement” of the situation; yesterday time flew and I didn’t notice at all; that’s how incredible good this drama is.

    • Reply
      ArtoriasAbysswalker 27 days ago

      Oh, I get it! So it's something like the drama version of you :D

  • Reply
    saeshines 28 days ago

    Watched C-Drama for the first time, watched Nirvana in Fire.
    I have nothing else this worth watching

  • Reply
    saeshines 28 days ago


    Phew.. I registered on this site just to say that.

  • Reply
    naccu Jan 19, 2017

    Took me 20 episodes to get interested and 35 to get addicted!! DON'T GIVE UP ON THIS MASTERPIECE AFTER JUST A FEW EPISODES, TRUST ME I KNOW FROM EXPERIENCE!!! <3 <3 How do I get over this drama now??? :'(

  • Reply
    QAS Jan 16, 2017 - edited

    It has taken me, a year to get to this drama. I am doing a marathon watch, for the first time. I finished 36 episodes in 2 weeks. It is a very intricate, intelligent script, written in the style of Literature, more than an episodic TV drama. All the actors have solid acting skills. Hu Ge carried the drama on his shoulders, and won the acting award for his labors. It is slow at times, but with 54 scripts, (approximately 2,160 minutes of film), the plot could not move swiftly. I wish that this drama had participated in the 2016 International Emmy Awards.

  • Reply
    naccu Jan 11, 2017 - edited

    What is it with Chinese movies/dramas? Why do they constantly defy the laws of physics?? Gravity is something we cannot escape... except if we are Chinese warriors xD Then we can fly around and jump like 5 meters in the air!!

    • Reply
      QAS Jan 16, 2017 - edited

      Also, the characters get stabbed, poisoned, or flogged, and emerge, resilient.

    • Reply
      JennySi 21 days ago

      And they are very prone to spitting blood (not so much in this drama actually). Like, *face gets slapped*-*spits blood*
      *arm gets cut*-*spits blood*
      *poisoned*-*spits blood*
      *getting healed with chi*-*spits blood*
      *spits blood*-*spits blood*

    • Reply
      Akaisora 19 days ago

      I've read like a million comments of people saying that this drama is awesome, everyone should watch it, etc... but it's your blood-spitting comment that finally made me want to watch it lol :D

    • Reply
      QAS 14 days ago

      The best, funniest comments, ever written. I can't stop laughing.

    • Reply
      PickyMcpickleton 14 days ago

      As I recall, they are called Wuxia dramas for a reason. They do not translate well on film but it's juicy to read.

  • Reply
    Aya Jan 11, 2017

    I wish there were more dramas like this one, most historical dramas focus on the romance and neglect the details about its period which doesn't make it realistic at all


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  • Episodes:

  • Aired:

    Sep 19, 2015 to Oct 15, 2015
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  • Duration:

    45 min.


  • Score:

    9.2 (scored by 1,124 users)
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