Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan

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  • Score: 8.6 (scored by 819 users)
  • Ranked: #183
  • Popularity: #1433
  • Watchers: 2,149

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Completed
Jun_
27 people found this review helpful
Aug 31, 2013
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
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 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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Completed
Dounie
19 people found this review helpful
Dec 16, 2015
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 5
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 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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Completed
chihuo96
5 people found this review helpful
Jul 9, 2015
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
* Story : The book itself is well written. How the story is narrate, how the characters are speaking, everything portray very well the beauty of Chinese language. You can feel everything : hopes, happiness, sadness, desperation, revenge, regrets, loneliness. This story is rich in emotions, and the rhythms is well controlled.
Every single characters are important, even though they won't appear as much as the main. The main is the main, only because she's the one telling her story. They are very humane. They are not entirely good, and they are not entirely bad. They all evolves in a certain way, and they are all only just people being trapped in a very conservative society. Their hope, their wishes, all broken down one by one, for the sake of their family or for their own sake.

* Acting/Cast : They don't try to be someone else, they are the character. It's like they are just telling their own story, not someone else's. You can feel someone's pain, you can understand someone's sadness, you can feel someone's happiness, thanks to the actors.
I would like to add how the drama itself is very well produced. How they adapted the story from the novel, the costumes, the traditions are all very close to the reality. It looks real? No, it's real. They've done a lot of research to be as close as possible to the reality. One of the actors, Zhang Xiao Long, is a teacher of Qing dynasty's traditions : how to bow down, how to speak, how to behave, how to eat, how to drink, everything single details are close to the reality.

* Music : The musics are all very good, and have all the "traditional" feeling without the "old fashioned" sense. it's well chosen, well done, and it's a part of the story as well. The music portray another type of Chinese traditional beauty.

* Rewatch Value : Believe me, I've watched a lot of historical Chinese drama since I was little. And none of them are as good as this one. This drama is god like. I've read the book, plenty of times, and I've watched the show countless time. You cannot get tired of this show.
But for the people who are not used to Chinese historical drama, or don't know much about Chinese culture, it may be very difficult. Even for those who are not able to understand the "old" Chinese way of speaking, you will not be able to understand the whole beauty of it. But I believe you will still enjoy the show!

* Overall : If you have other historical dramas to watch, watch them first. See the god like historical drama at last. Ever since I've watched this show, there's no way I can enjoy other drama as much as when I was watching or reading Empresses in the Palace... Like for real.

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Completed
ddanwyl_23
3 people found this review helpful
Mar 28, 2017
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 9.0
This C-drama was a bit of a mixed bag for me. On one hand, I loved the superb acting from the Emperor to the lowly Enuchs. The fantastic storyline, epic scenes and beautiful costumes were also top notch and unrivaled by most historical C-dramas. However, the dark transformation of Zhen Huan did not sit well with me albeit she had to survive in a male dominated world. In my opinion, the paradox of Zhen Huan was found in her desire to satiate her unquenchable thirst for poltical power. The more power she obtained the more power hungry she became while simultaneously she turned into the very people that she hated. I do admire Zhen Huan's strength and resiliency though. I would recommend this drama to anyone who is looking for a strong female lead who not only adapted to a man's world, but she conquered it while paying a heavy price in the process.

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Completed
bonnie
3 people found this review helpful
Sep 7, 2015
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 9.0
I really enjoyed this drama! Initially I found it on Netflix as the American version with edits. It was condensed from the original 80 something episodes to about 20ish episodes. I suggest watching the full length episodes to understand everything and not miss any scenes, because a lot of events happened.
Sun Li and the supporting cast acted very well. I liked how Sun Li's character changed from the beginning to end while struggling to survive from all the sabotage. She did a great job displaying various emotions. Even though the drama was very long, but the costumes, prop set up, scenes, etc was jaw dropping - so beautiful! Great drama! Definitely one of my favorites.

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Completed
TxshiroHijikata
3 people found this review helpful
Feb 28, 2015
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 7.0
Ok, this drama was totally awesome.

I loved how this drama shows that everyone has a past that has turned them into the type of character they were in this drama. No one was truly the most evil. Everyone had a story. This drama showed there is truly no such thing as a truly full good person. Everyone can turn into a bad person. We are all humans. We can be tempted by greed, lust, power, wealth, etc. We will do whatever it takes to survive. I loved that deep meaning shown in this drama.

The cast in this drama blew me away. The actors were all A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Holy crap. They all deserve an award. They brought the characters to life. I loved how the actors did not over exaggerate. Everything seemed truly natural.

Kudos to the director too. Even though Zhen Huan was the main character, I didn't feel like the director was overly focused on her at all. The director really let all the characters get their time to shine. The director also didn't change the setting into like some fantasy love story with tons of over exaggerated corny action scenes or love scenes, etc. just for the main characters also. The director tried to let all viewers see what it was truly like to live in the palace during the Qing Dynasty.

The costumes.were all fucking beautiful. I would love to own any costume shown in this drama. I think the costumes really added life to this drama. Without the colorful costumes, this drama would be truly bland. No colorful costumes giving eye gasms and spazz moments to viewers~

The music was so enchanting to hear for me. Every song suit the scenes in the drama perfectly.

Even though this drama was amazing, I will not rewatch it. The amount of episodes is way too time consuming. I also feel so constrained in feeling stressed out while watching this drama because the drama is mostly focused on everyone fighting for power in the palace, and that gives off a very stressful feeling for me which ends up making me feel so stressed out. It's like I feel trapped in my emotions of stress when I have to to sit through and watch complicated drama with people trying to all harm each other just for power, which can get annoying and tiresome. While watching this drama, I've had my share of irritation and stress... I don't want any more of that, lol. But if you feel like you could rewatch this drama, go ahead! This drama is just not my kind of drama to rewatch.

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Completed
jane smith
1 people found this review helpful
Aug 12, 2018
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 10
Music 7.5
Rewatch Value 10

Let me start by saying the synopsis here is absolutely not true! the synopsis is what made me set this drama aside for years, lead character being so evil to attain her ambitions? I guess the person who made the synopsis in this site never watched it. The main character is very beautiful, it can display innocence and it can show a scary look. She never killed or schemed someone because of her ambitions, she does not have ambitions to be an empress or empress dowager for her own interest. her evilness as the synopsis says is not even 1/5 of the other villains in the drama. All that prompted her to do what she did is a reaction to what the villains were doing to her, to protect herself, to avenge her lost love, to protect her children and herself, watch this, and even if you're fond of any drama genre, you will never put this down!


i've been watching so much asian dramas for the past 5 years or so to the point that I never have tot urn on the TV to watch anything else and I must tell you, this drama has been one of the most well made drama I have seen.

the plot is simple, very simple:

It's just some story of concubines and empress scheming, 76 episodes and the story only revolves within the harem. You have your emperor, empress and the concubines. Oh and it does have a love story

If you think of it, it does not deserve 76 episodes for such a simple plot. You might start wondering what they have done that it has to be 76 episodes, must be dragging, repetitive, boring.

let me tell you, I watched ten miles of peach blossom , SFD, Nirvana 1 & 2 , they're top notch when it comes to story line, plot and execution. since i watched these dramas, it has always been my standard if i should watch or drop a drama. I wqtched countless chinese historical, fanstasy cdrama, and many more kdramas, even thai dramas. I never had plan to watch Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan thou i've seen it many times when i search here what to watch next. I was watching Lgend of fuyao and i have to find somethign to kill the time while waiting for the next eps to be uploaded online. well guess what, I can stand not watching fuyaos eps till end of the week when all weekly eps were uploaded since i watched Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan.
must I say more?

let me compare it to top rated cdramas like TMOPB, ten miles has a very nice storyline + yang mi of course but it lacked luster when it comes to the most anticipated scenes like the fight scenes and the leads' supposedly moment of stardom. Fuyao has a great great storyline + yang mi, great costumes etc, name it, but let's admit it, it's toooooo draggy, too much reminiscing, crying scenes, in short, it has too much fillers it made the drama so bad that there are episodes that you ca skip entirely and still be on the loop. SFD, you can skip few mins. The only drama i can say that is at par with Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan is Nirvana 1, but Nirvana has it's advantage over Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan, its story revolves around so many people while Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan is only about the harem. while I was watching this drama, I thought about the talents of the writers and scriptwriters of this drama, the director, stage manager, idk but all that made it so beautifully executed I don't dare skip a scene,.. well i tried once but i ended up going back to what i skipped.


Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan is not your typical drama that follows every scene, it always conclude it. what i mean is, if a character asks her servent to get her a cup of tea, it no longer shows unnecessary scenes like servant bringing in the tea, if you know what i mean. this made the Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan one of its kind, fast paced but you'll not be left wondering unless you skip a scene. there's absolutely no boring moment and just like the other reviews and feedbacks, after you finish it, you will learn, you will learn how to be articulate with words, it grows in you while watching.

Nirvana has a very good rating here. I must say and Legend of Concubine Zhen Huan is very much at par it does not deserve 8.6 !!

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Completed
yoonbread
1 people found this review helpful
Nov 1, 2017
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.5
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 5.0
The Legend of Zhen Huan was a beautiful drama.  Just look at the photos of the sets, costumes and makeup...I do not think I've ever seen another period piece that paid this much painstaking attention to detail.  This drama elevated the Chinese period drama bar high after it's initial run on television and for good reason.

With that said, you need to be a person with a certain level of patience to finish this drama.  The story is well executed, the actors high caliber and the drama level high... however, it is very slow paced.  The focus is on the relationship between the leading ladies, the palace intrigue and the power struggles of the inner palace.  There are no gimmicks to entertain the audience.  Therefore, if you are someone who needs plot twists and action after every episode to keep you hooked, this drama is not for you.  

Personally, I loved watching Zhen Huan.  The acting was superb.  The costumes so beautiful.   It felt like I was watching a Chinese version of a Jane Austin novel played on screen.  While Jane Austin's female protagonists can feel a bit vanilla, Zhen Huan was a breath of fresh air.  It was a joy watching her change from a doe eyed, somewhat naive yet bright, young girl into a manipulative, jaded and vengeful Queen B.  She had the makeup and the acting chops to pull it off.  I also learned a lot about Chinese history with this drama.  My knowledge of female titles in the inner palace was limited to concubine and empress...who knew there was such a hierarchy?

All in all, this was a very beautifully executed, smart drama that felt real to its time and worth the journey.  I highly recommend it.


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Completed
suga_eomma
0 people found this review helpful
Oct 17, 2017
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 8.0
Story 7.0
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 2.0
I just finished this drama and I can say it was a good one but not the best.

The pros:

The story is set in the imperial harem and the daily lives of the imperial concubines are imagined, detailed and portrayed in a way that I don't expect to see in any other drama.

Characters are really really good. Especially Consort Hua and the Empress. They were the characters that kept me interested  throughout the drama. Their backgrounds, reasons, intentions and feelings give their characters such a charisma that I think I will never forget.

Visually the drama is second to none and acting is outstanding in a way I can't stress  enough. Also details in behavior, customs and mindset of the characters are very well done.

The music is wonderful and couldn't be more perfect and appropriate.

The cons:

The beginning of the drama is very slow. It takes a long, long time for something important to happen.

Too many times I felt like the writers were focusing too much on side stories and the main plot was less important and didn't feel as elaborated. I never felt like it was the story of Zhen Huan. I mean, she was there and all but her story was never the focus of the drama, like the title suggests. The writers were too busy with side plots and touched too little on her story. We're talking about a drama that is 76 episodes long, people! And we're also talking about a drama that is called 'The Legend of someone' but that someone doesn't do much??

Before watching this drama I thought Zhen Huan was going to be a badass protagonist but she just happens to do nothing...

One of its mistakes was the weak ending. I was expecting so much more!I never felt like it was actually ending except for the fact of having watched too many episodes. The ending happens out of nowhere. There isn't a strong build up. It just happens out of the blue... I'm not saying the ending doesn't make sense, but you'd never see it coming because there isn't enough build up and you can't guess what the main character's intention is in the first place. Like throughout the drama you can never get a clue of what's she's thinking of doing or planning to do. Is it the best decision when writing a story? The main character should be the one you know best but I guess not here.

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Completed
airalee
0 people found this review helpful
23 days ago
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 9.0
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 8.5
Rewatch Value 9.5
This review may contain spoilers
This drama is quiet special to me i dont know why. This drama is actually very slow but it makes sense since it started when she was just choosen to be a concubine of the emperor. She is simple,innocent and doesnt want a palace fight. So to make the story short time has come and its her turn to shine she become emperors favorite. Other concubines started to envy her and do some scheming that cause her miscarriage. She become pregnant again but because of empress sheming she was sent to nunnery and there she meet emperors brother and she fall in love. She thought that the one she love yunli already died she go back to palace and gave birth to twins and she let everyone believe that is emperors child. But soon emperor suspect something that they are having an affair so he order her to kill him by letting him drink a wine with poison. He died even though not her intention and that is the reason why she totally hate the emperor she take her revenge by becomming an empress and secure her sons future.

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Completed
tianai
0 people found this review helpful
Oct 9, 2018
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 10
Rewatch Value 10
I have watched many dramas, and this is by far my favourite. In fact, I love it so much that I've already watched it 5 times and would even consider watching it again in the future.

The acting is superb, every single role is played amazingly by the actors and actresses, particularly Sun Li who plays the lead role of Zhen Huan. When she laughs, you'll laugh, when she cries, you'll ball your eyes out. Even the 'bad' characters are played amazingly, you'll really get to hate them, but you'll even feel a bit sorry for them.

The storyline is very well written, just the right amount of drama, romance, relationships, revenge and sadness, and more. Each time I rewatch the drama, I find out more and more that I didn't notice the previous times. You can tell how much research went into this drama, if anything you'll learn a lot of history while watching. Obviously not all of the characters existed and are only based on a few historical figures, but you really get to learn the ways of life as someone living in the Imperial Palace.

Overall, I'm very bad at writing reviews so I'll stop now, but I would highly recommend this drama to anyone and everyone.

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Completed
Lisa
0 people found this review helpful
Feb 20, 2018
76 of 76 episodes seen
Completed 0
Overall 9.5
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.0
Rewatch Value 10
I love watching historical dramas and this has fast becoming one of my favourite series to go back to watch over and over again. This is a little long so make sure that you have plenty of time to watch this. The cast selection was amazing! I fell in love with the hair, makeup and costume design immediately. There had been so much detail in creating each of the concubine's look throughout the series especially when they gotten promoted or demoted. There was such a difference.
I was hooked from the first episode onwards, the series is very engaging and I loved the music that accompanied the romantic parts.
Each of the cast members had done such a great job in portraying their characters and brought them all to life. The politics between the women were so real and sometimes cruel was facinating to watch. I would highly recommend watching this if you are interested in palace and historical dramas.

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