Sword Snow Stride (2021) poster
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Ratings: 8.8/10 from 4,475 users
# of Watchers: 11,392
Reviews: 93 users
Ranked #205
Popularity #1421
Watchers 4,475

Xu Xiao is the King of China’s Northern Liang in an era of great upheaval. Steppe kingdoms have materialized with deadly intent, as rebellious uprisings threatened to destabilize the Southern realm. Against all odds, Xu Xiao managed to defeat them all. During this period, his unconventional, free-spirited heir, Xu Feng Nian, has been on the road, honing his equestrian skills and bolstering his fighting prowess. On his journey, he encounters the double sword-wielding martial artist Nan Gong Pu She, who’s soon to become his confidante. In the court of Northern Liang is Jiang Ni, a twelve-year-old girl who is actually a princess from a rival kingdom, with a mind for revenge. As Xu Feng Nian ascends the throne, concerns arise, fearing he will be incapable of following in his father’s footsteps. Xu Feng Nian, despite having mounted a decisive campaign, encounters a crisis while en route to a neighboring province. Its outcome could very well determine the entire realm's future. (Source: Viki) ~~ Adapted from web novel "The Snowy Path of the Heroic Blade" (雪中悍刀行) by Feng Huo Xi Zhu Hou (烽火戏诸侯). Edit Translation

  • English
  • 한국어
  • 中文(简体)
  • Русский
  • Country: China
  • Type: Drama
  • Episodes: 38
  • Aired: Dec 15, 2021 - Jan 11, 2022
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: CCTV Tencent Video
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Score: 8.8 (scored by 4,475 users)
  • Ranked: #205
  • Popularity: #1421
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older

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Cast & Credits


108 people found this review helpful
Jan 12, 2022
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 5
Overall 9.5
Story 9.5
Acting/Cast 9.0
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 9.0

Be the chess player, not the chess piece.

Sword Snow Stride evokes all my best wuxia memories; action, adventure, chivalry, an old murder mystery, political intrigue and a dash of romance and a medley of eccentric surrounding characters with astounding martial arts capabilities.Set in a fantasy world, Xu Fengnian is the son and heir of the fearsome warlord Xu Xiao, king of North Liang, Liyang's largest and most powerful fiefdom. Adapted from 烽火戏诸侯 Feng Huo Xi Zhu Hou's epic 20 volume novel The Snowy Path of the Heroic Blade 雪中悍刀行, this first instalment focuses on the coming of age of main protagonist Xu Fengnian.

Anchored by Zhang Ruoyun and adapted by Wang Juan of Joy of Life fame, this was one of 2021's most anticipated dramas and for me, it did not disappoint. The leisurely pace at which the plot unfolds gives the viewer the time to imbibe the rich complexity of the interplay between characters and their relationship dynamics. Wang Juan has taken his writing to a new level, delivering a crisp dialogue that gives the first impression of wit and occasionally irreverent humour that masks profound layers of hidden meaning, wisdom and emotions in conversations within conversations. This is most evident in Fengnian and Jiang Ni's delicious repartees but it also underlies multiple exchanges between Xu Xiao and Fengnian and belie numerous other superficially adversarial relationships. This requires a level of sophistication and nuance in the portrayals that is only done justice by the more experienced actors.This is unfortunate for Li Gengxi whose lack of experience is evident in her immature and shallow rendition of the marvellously atypical Jiang Ni. Despite some endearing moments, she does not "own" the character quite the same way Zhang Ruoyun is Xu Fengnian but he is a tough act to follow and not a fair comparison for a young actress. She warms to the role considerably in the latter half and I would be happy to see her return for the second season.

Do not be deterred by the fact that this drama did not live up to the high expectations of Chinese viewers, whose main issues are with the slow pace, the choice of female lead and the slo mo action scenes. It is true that the direction of some scenes, in particular action scenes could have been better. While the director wanted viewers to appreciate the grace, artistry and difficulty of the actors movements, the end result is the scenes lack the intensity and thrill of imminent peril. This is understandably a dealbreaker for some hard core wuxia action fans but it didn't really bother me. As the drama progresses, there is some speeding up of the fight scenes that are boosted by Marvel universe like CGI. The final encounter is spectacularly ferocious, thrilling and violent enough to satisfy most critics.

The drama opens with the roguish young Xu Fengnian living in the moment while traipsing the world with his groom Old Huang. He is not comfortable with his father's ruthless tactics and eschews his legacy, one that puts him in the crosshairs of those in the highest circles of power. While Fengnian draws inspiration from many mentors, Xu Xiao and Old Huang are by far his most important early influencers. An unconventional thinker, Fengnian refuses to compromise, strives for win win outcomes but does not hesitate to be ruthless when he needs to be. As he steps up into his role, he starts out as a mere chess piece in a high stakes game where his father Xu Xiao is many steps ahead. Along the way, he grows to be the chess player, not the chess piece. He also better understands his father's choices and become more like his father in some aspects. Zhang Ruoyun and Hu Jun have great chemistry and I found their unorthodox banter and relationship hilarious and moving; we really didn't get enough of them together! This must be Zhang Ruoyun's best role, I enjoyed both his portrayal and Xu Fengnian the character even better than his fabulous Fan Xian in Joy of Life.

While Fengnian starts out protected by his father's retainers, he manages to win hearts and minds using his own unique methods and inducements and finds himself surrounded by a formidable entourage of martial artists, retainers and maids with mysterious pasts; leaving a string of alliances and favours owed in his wake. These are classic wuxia archetype characters that make me shiver with delight at their single minded obsession with the quest for supremacy that comes with inevitable sacrifice and regret; who willingly barter their swords and their lives to advance or to honor past promises or debts. While the story revolves around Xu Fengnian, so many of these surrounding master swordsmen captured my heart and imagination with their prowess and their backstories from the laconic and lethal White Fox, Old Huang, Qing Niao and of course Sword God Li Chungang. The many awe inspiring female swordsman makes it hard for Jiang Ni to really shine and leaves the indelible impression that Fengnian is a man with a fleet of many ships.

It is said that a hero is only as good as its villain and in Zhao Kai, Liu Duanduan explores a deeper villain, a riveting opposite character to Xu Fengnian.and pulls off an oddly empathetic antagonist that practically steals the show. They are both scheming and ruthless characters who attempt to escape their destiny but that is where their similarities end. Zhao Kai is utterly lacking in moral fibre and can only win by foul means ,regardless of consequences or how many must die. He is dangerously and humorously self aware of this and stalks Xu Fengnian looking to exploit a moment of weakness. He won my heart with his unabashed appreciation of Xu Fengnian's brilliance and insight; were their goals not in such conflict, Zhao Kai would be Xu Fengnian's greatest fan. It is a great pity Zhao Kai is not an out of box thinker that could have found a way to align his interest with that of Fengnian. Even though Zhao Kai is far from the most powerful antagonist, a big chunk of the season one plot revolves around his pursuit of Xu Fengnian.

Season one draws to a very satisfying conclusion with an epic and very satisfying showdown and major immediate tasks achieved. It leaves me hungering for more but not in that awful cliffhanger kind of way. It will undoubtedly take a few years for season two to materialise but even if it doesn't, we can still think of this as an immensely enjoyable and very satisfying slice of life kind of drama. This is the second 9.5 from me for 2021 that closes the year on the same high note that Word of Honor started it on.

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53 people found this review helpful
Jan 11, 2022
38 of 38 episodes seen
Completed 2
Overall 10
Story 10
Acting/Cast 10
Music 9.5
Rewatch Value 10

The Epic Journey of the True Son of Bei Liang.

This show is a wholesome package. From politics to scheming and strategies, romance and comradeship, family bonds and the journey of growth +cute beasts and martial arts manuals :).....This has a little of everything in a way that doesn't overwhelm you.

This is the story of Xu Feng Nian, the much anticipated future lord of Northern(Bei) Liang. But that doesn't mean he will be under the limelight throughout the show. Each and every person he meets has a character arc that could impress us in the long run. The story is very well developed. The pace may not be uniform but the overall effect is heightened due to this.

This is a show which you must definitely watch once completely before forming an opinion because everything( even what you might think idiotically unintelligible and frustrating) make sense eventually at various check points in the story.
'Once' you finish it I am sure you will hurry to rewatch it and gather clues on what is yet to come.

Can't forget to raise a toast to the stellar cast and their solid performance. Although we have only seen little of some, their roles are too consequential to the storyline to be ignored in the upcoming seasons. So although season 1 has given a worthy closure to the first part of the story, I am looking forward to even brighter follow up seasons.

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  • Drama: Sword Snow Stride
  • Country: China
  • Episodes: 38
  • Aired: Dec 15, 2021 - Jan 11, 2022
  • Aired On: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday
  • Original Network: CCTV, Tencent Video
  • Duration: 45 min.
  • Content Rating: 13+ - Teens 13 or older


  • Score: 8.8 (scored by 4,475 users)
  • Ranked: #205
  • Popularity: #1421
  • Watchers: 11,392

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