This review may contain spoilersThrough the course of this drama, I have felt so many emotions. Sometimes all of them in just one episode. I have felt sadness, regret, love, betrayal, anger. I have laughed and I have cussed people out. Even now, as I’m writing this review two days later, I have a lot of mixed feelings about this drama.
Firstly, I would like to express that this drama is not for the faintest of hearts. Especially if you are someone like me who detests polygamy.
You may say, “Well every historical drama has harem! It was the norm then.”
I will say, Ofcourse I do understand. Harems are to be expected in a historical drama. Especially one that surrounds Royalty.
The difference is here is that there are two types of harem dramas.
One, where the Male lead already has an established harem when the female lead walks into his life, and the female lead is the last addition in his harem because he’s fallen in ‘love’ with her (Example: Oh My General) —
And Two, where the Male lead loves the female lead but keeps on marrying more concubines and having sexual relations with them whilst saying that he loves the female lead (Example: Rule The World, This drama. )
There is a very prominent difference in these two types of dramas. An undeniable difference not everyone can build a tolerance to or endure.
I, personally, have a heart too weak to endure such pain. I can not.
Please watch according to your tolerance level and preference :)
Adding on, exclusive of the first point, I am quite fond of the this drama. That is the only reason why despite of being so hurt with the Male lead’s “situation/actions” I kept on watching till the end. The actors all did a wonderful job, especially the female lead.
Can I express just how much pain I felt when I saw her smiling through her pain and acting as if seeing the Male lead getting his other wife pregnant or marrying more women wasn’t hurting her ? I probably can’t without tearing up. She was that good. She was very good.
I suppose that is why I’ve been able to hold such a soft spot for this drama. Initially I was so upset I rated the drama as 7/10. Then it went up to 7.5/10. For the past two days I refused to change rating but I can’t help it. Now, it’s 8/10.
Despite the apparent change that they must have had to do due to the time-travel ban, the story flowed smoothly and everything (except the stupid harem angle) seemed to have a purpose.
If there had been a different circumstance. Without so much marrying of the Male lead and the pregnancies of his wives — I may have given this a 9.5/10.
I can’t help but lament, out of all the men who loved her. I wish she had been Cuyen. I wish.
I also wish we could have seen her future writer self get with the publishing company’s president/director dude in he end instead of the side by side laughing fade to black thing they did.
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STORY (No spoilers)
The script/ plot for this show can be pretty loose and sloppy, unlike BBJX's strongly and tightly woven one. While you do have a lot of time skips which you will need to figure out by yourself, this is nothing compared to quite a few incidents of script illogic peppered throughout the show which got worse towards the end. There were quite a few incidents where I found myself wondering what was going on with a certain situation and never really got an answer so I had to make up my own in order to just move on with the show. Some people might not find this to be bothersome but I personally found it off-putting and I couldn't really immerse myself in the story because of it. It somewhat spoiled the watch experience for me.
Also, aside from our main leads, other key supporting characters were left hanging without closure by the end of the show. It's a bit strange how the show kept introducing new characters as it progresses but never really brought many of them to completion. Again, this might not be too bothersome for some people but I personally was a little dissatisfied with how they got shafted, especially for characters which the show starts introducing and giving quite a bit of screen-time towards the last 5 episodes or so. They were brought out into the limelight at the last minute but at the end I was left wondering why and for what purpose. I get the uncomfortable impression that they were toddled out to either introduce new actors/ actresses or to pad out drama episodes.
The politics and throne-fight were interspersed throughout the show but, in my opinion, it really took a backseat to the romance so for viewers who like shows with deep and complex political machinations, you will be disappointed. However, for viewers who are uninterested in this aspect of a show, you'll likely enjoy it more because this show comes across quite heavily romance-weighted.
And that's the drama's major strength, really - the strong emphasis on Romance in this show. For romance-junkies (like me), this will be a huge draw and can offset a lot of the drama's weaknesses. Our female lead, having the title of 'most beautiful woman' among the Jurchens, will inevitably attract a lot of suitors, some of them creepy and some of them swoony. The show spends quite a generous amount of time focusing on her romances and as the main couple eventually get established, the drama gives us quite a bit of sweet-cute couple time and goosebump-inducing love declarations or love actions which would delight any shippers' heart. This is actually quite a delightful surprise, considering that this is a historical C-drama where romantic gestures and skinship tend to be extremely limited and constrained due to the cultural and historical setting. So, viewers will be pleasantly surprised with this drama's romance offerings.
Our main couple are also left in a very good place when the drama ends so for those viewers who dislike the way historical C-dramas tend to have tragic or open endings, well, you don't have to be worried about that for this drama.
I found the acting here to be more than serviceable across the board - a pleasant surprise considering the youth of some of the cast. I didn't think any particular actor or actress stood out from the rest and the characters felt that they had equal weight in their screen presence.
Our main leads and key supporting characters did well in bringing their characters to life but if you're looking for handsome flower-boys as eye candy, you will likely be disappointed. I do like my pretty/ good-looking male leads, but the broad masculinity and bulky manliness of our male characters on show here, couple with their authoritative air of walking, standing and moving, is very attractive to me.
One also needs to get over the Qing hairstyle shaved-head look for the males, but I hope such an aesthetic won't deter new viewers from watching because it would be a shame to miss out a potentially interesting show just because of hairstyles. I'd like to encourage fence-sitters to consider overcoming their misgivings and to give this show a try.
Limited soundtrack which can come across rather repetitive towards the end. Background music is serviceable.
For me, the romance scenes are the only ones worth re-watching. There are several nice ones!
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It is outright astounding and brilliant, too.The story line with the present day was brilliant! I have a question for the Hair Team, was that Raymond Lam's real hair at the last episode? Anyways, The story line didn't go back n forth as some do. I did take a point off of the story line rating because you had Tina Tang play DongG kind of wavering at times in the characters personality. If I could have another kid I would name him "Daišan", love that name. The costumes helped me get into the characters for that era, which is very good. I didn't notice any background music to busy being focused on the story line but still rate it at 8. I loved the other characters of the 3 brothers but then I saw Qu Chu Xiao towards the end, he is one of my fav actors. Those eyes of his... unt uh uh. Thank you Rule the World team for a marvelous Drama Series.
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