Because this show is more than just a pure xianxia romance and because it has enthused so many viewers into sharing their thoughts and insights, I thought I'd take the time to compile some of the more insightful posts made by commenters here. It may help new viewers to gain a better and deeper understanding of this show, hence hopefully increasing the enjoyment of it. So here it goes...

IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER

Dori_G explains about Jin Mi's characterisation vis-a-vis novel!Jin Mi:

"There have been comments about how the show deviates from the book. I watched the show's press junket interview where they introduced the show and the cast. The reason they changed things from the book is that the Jing Mi character as written in the book appears really heartless and unlikeable when acted out. Since the book is written from her POV, we get to know her and understand her naivete and thought process. However, Yang Zi can't do a running voice over for the entire show. So they re-wrote parts of the book to make her less mercenary. For instance, the Unfeeling Pill only prevents her from understanding/feeling Romantic Love, but still allows her to have feelings of friendship and familial love. In the book she's constantly asking for lingli so she can attain immortal status, which can come across as greedy. So in the show they gave her a back story for why she is asking for lingli."


Aryael gives a quick summary of the history and relationships of our leads' parents i.e. Emperor, Empress, Water Immortal & Flower Immortal:

"1) Heavenly Second Prince (the current heavenly emperor) saw the Flower Goddess and fell in love at first sight.

2) Second Prince accidentally met with Flower Goddess at the mortal realm as she was viewing an opera. Knowing that she liked opera, he kept going to the same place and eventually they both fell in love.

3) Second Prince planned to topple the crown prince to assume power of the heavenly throne. In order to do so, he needed the political backing from the Bird Clan. Hence, to get the throne, he married the princess of the Bird Clan (the current heavenly empress). By doing so, he broke the Flower Goddess' heart.

4) Flower Goddess returned to the flower realm heartbroken. Water God, who's her senior from the same teacher, comforted her. Actually, the Water God had always secretly liked her. Under the Water God's companionship, the Flower Goddess recovered from her heartbreak and fell in love with the Water God.

5) The emperor couldn't forget the Flower Goddess. He wanted both the throne and the beauty. Hence, he tried to persuade the Flower Goddess to be his concubine. She refused because she had already fallen for the Water God. The emperor raped the Flower Goddess and imprisoned her in his palace, not knowing that the Flower Goddess was already pregnant with Jin Mi. This was why he misunderstood that Jin Mi was his daughter.

6) The emperor found out that the Flower Goddess had fallen in love with the Water God. Out of spite and jealousy, he arranged for the Water God to marry the Wind Goddess. The Water God declined and told the emperor that he will only marry the Flower Goddess.

7) The heavenly empress was jealous of the Flower Goddess. She tried to kill the Flower Goddess but she escaped. However, she's seriously and mortally injured. She knew she did not have much time left.

8) The Water God went to the Flower realm to ask the Flower Goddess to marry him but the Flower Goddess turned him down. She lied that she had never loved him and that she had only ever loved the heavenly emperor. The Flower Goddess decided to do this because she knew she was dying and she wanted the Water God to have a happy and long married life with their childhood friend, the Wind Goddess.

9) The Water God was heartbroken. He believed the Flower Goddess and had no choice but to follow the imperial decree. He married the Wind Goddess.

10) On the day of the Water God and Wind Goddess' marriage, the Flower Goddess gave birth to Jin Mi. Before she died, she gave Jin Mi the Unfeeling Pill. This is the first scene in Ep. 1.

Therefore, the previous misunderstanding on who is Jin Mi's real dad stemmed from the heavenly emperor thinking that Jin Mi was his daughter (because he raped the Flower Goddess and because Jin Mi said she was born around 4000 years ago at a later date which was a lie the Flower Leader manufactured in order to hide Jin Mi's real identity). In actual fact, Jin Mi was born on the day of the Water God's wedding which was a year earlier than the date she was given. The Flower Leader kept the Flower Goddess' death secret for a year before announcing it to the world. Again, this was to keep Jin Mi's real parentage a secret. Hope this explains the confusion!"


Alysha Johnson on the realms and rankings:

"The bird realm is not under Heaven Realm. "Technically" the heaven realm is the boss of all six realms. However, the bird realm is its own realm and is associated with the Heaven Realm through marriage, aka the Empress. The bird realm and flower realm is on equal status.

The Water God is a royalty within the Heaven Realm. Just like how the Heaven Realm has Fire God (XF), Night God (RY), Water God and Wind God. Water God is a respected God of the same generation as the Emperor.

Jinmi is Water God's daughter so she will succeed his title. Kind of like if a Duke has a daughter, she will succeed as Duchess. Except in real life I believe that is only for male descendant. Since this a make-believe god world, there is no differences between male or female.

She is also the Flower Leader as she is her mom's daughter. By birthright, she is the true leader of the flower realm, however her mother has given the position to the group of 12 flower gods. But if Jinmi want it she can take it back anytime. Being the direct descendent it also mean she has innate power that is higher and more powerful than the other 12 flower gods. Remember, she is the only who can grow lingzhi or the night rentetta (sp?) something only her mother was able to do.

So by technicality, she is at least Sui He status, but higher because her dad is Heaven Realm's royalty. She is royalty to 2 realms, while Sui He is only one."


Alysha Johnson on Night & Jin Mi's arranged marriage:

"Technically, no one in the drama actually take the arranged marriage seriously. It can be changed. It all depend on JinMi.
Because Water God knew who kill the Flower God, he has the right and status to refuse the marriage. Additionally, RY never liked the idea of the arranged marriage anyway. Remember the scene in the underworld, he look quite displeased.

I think at this point, the arranged marriage is just an "excuse" or tool for all our characters to get what they want.
For Water God, to avoid the Empress and have Jinmi marry someone she likes.
For Emperor, to have the daughter of his lover be tied to his son so that Water God can't take revenge on him, and to create stronger alliance. Additionally, to mend the relation between Flower and Heaven Realm.
For RY, because of politics. The fact that Jinmi is pretty and kind is just the cherry on top.

One thing I disliked about the drama is that it switched events around for RY. His mother was killed before he met JM in the novel, but here it was after. In the novel, I like Night even though he approached JM with an ulterior motive is that although he started with bad intention, he realized what big mistakes he made by falling in love with his "prey". He intended to use her and then falling for her.
But with the drama, it seemed that he fall in love with Jinmi first. Then he was attacked, and became desperate and entitled to her. It's harder for me to understand him because he knowingly use a woman he love to exact revenge.

That made a big difference for me. In the novel, he used a woman as tool and unexpectedly fall for her. In the drama, he used a woman he love as a tool."


On Xu Feng's limitations and on Imperial court dynamics:

MusicalVeggies: "I think you also need to make allowances for filial piety and parent-child dynamics. I'm slightly less judgemental about Xu Feng because :-
a) I see that he does care for Run Yu as a brother. He rushed into the palace when he heard that Run Yu was being interrogated and he was also active in pursuing investigations to clear his brother's name;

b) I don't think he realises or knows just how evil his mother is. I think he is aware of her ambition because she constantly tells him to take the throne, but I don't think he knew the extent of what she has done to secure it. You could see he was a bit disturbed when it was first revealed;

c) under Confucian teachings, a child respecting and honouring his parents is seen as a virtue. I personally think that Xu Feng is trying his best to work within this constraint. He is continually making it clear to his mother that he doesn't have the same ambitions as she does, and he warns her about some of her behaviour. He is also, from a chinese perspective, borderline rude and dismissive to some of her suggestions;

d) as part of the Imperial family, there is also perception and example to think about. If Xu Feng, as a child, were to openly defy his mother in front of others, he will not only be seen as being unfilial but also setting an example to all children that it is okay to defy one's parents. Only parents and spouses have the privilege of rebuking a person, not a child. Also, by showing disapproval of his mother, he will also be giving off the perception that the Heavenly family are fractured and vulnerable, leaving openings and opportunities for outsiders to enter and create instability in the realm. This will become a national problem and will affect the lives of many. As a responsible Immortal with rank, he needs to tread carefully. "


Alyssa Johnson: "1. Distancing and refusing affection: Unacceptable. First there are two types of relationship between XF and Empress. Mother-son, Superior-Subject. It is unacceptable in both cases for XF to distance himself, for RY. It make no logical sense, is an unacceptable social behavior from anyone POV. It only acceptable if XF was five, or a toddler. But as they are royalty, even if XF was a toddler, he cannot throw that kind of "tantrum" either. The relationship in the royal are more formal and strict. I don't know if you know, but many of XF's scene with the Empress when he spoke plainly to her and refuses her are really over the line. The only reason that it is accepted is because this is a Xianxa romance. If this is a typical historica taking in human realm, (not even historically accurate) that kind of behavior will throw people off as it is completely unfit considering the setting.

2. Demon Realm Scene: RY position is extremely delicate because he is the FIRST son, but not from the Empress. By tradition, first son are eligible for crown prince. HOWEVER, crown prince is usually from the Empress. The ideal scenario is that the crown prince is BOTH. When you have the first son that is not Empress' son, it create this conflict. The worst scenario that could happen is the first son trying to win "points". RY is unhappy, but you know what would be worst for him? If XF speak up for him. Why? Because first it will show that XF is "understanding" which will score XF points, second it will look bad on RY because it will look like he trying to "score" points. If XF was calculating, speaking up to RY would be the best move to his advantage.
It's hard to explain this underlying power dynamics, but this is something that is very well understood among Chinese population due to the history. One of the most famous illustration of this is BBJX, the power-fight among 8 princes. It is well known that unless you are the potential crown prince, appearing to win battle or trying to score points look bad on you. (How? You appear stupid because you don't know how to play the game). You have to appear like you don't care for the throne = which RY was doing. If XF speak up for RY at that point, it put RY in an extremely undesirable position. So even when RY was helping XF, RY would not be look at favorably. However, if RY helped without anyone stating the obvious, he will be look at favorably. (How? Because it will show that he help without even being granted glory)

3. One of the reason why XF is asked to go to battles and not RY is to protect RY. For similar reasons stated above. RY is born out of wedlock, XF is from the Empress. If Emperor give the sons the same chances, it will create chaos in the court. Usually Emperor will always favored one son outwardly, so that the court don't take side. When the emperor are unclear, the court will form factions and support the prince. Princes fighting among each other for the crown is on the worst scenario. It always happen though, but by being clear which one the Emperor favor, it tempered down the chaos. So how does that protect RY? Because he is born out of wedlock. If the court take side, he will have more enemies than just the Empress. By traditions, he cannot be a contender for the throne."

"I agree that RY live a very unfair life due to his birth circumstances. That's why I was never mad at him, and overall I still think it's more fair that he got the throne and lose JM, otherwise he would not have anything since it's obvious JM is destined to love XF.

Having said that I don't think it's up to XF to correct the wrong-ness of RY's birth. It is not up to him to make it fair for RY. What he can do is to treat RY kindly, and help him out when he could. Other than that, how Emperor and Empress treat RY is out of his hand. As son and as subject, there are certain line he cannot crossed. And when it come to delicate matter like the power struggle for the crown, you know they are treading on dangerous water. One wrong move XF do to help RY could mean death to RY. You know why? If XF help RY become a contender to the throne, sorry to say, the Empress doesn't have to kill RY, the Emperor will.

Second I want to address one of the point you brought up about the army. There is a certain dynamic I want to explain.

First the army come with the position, not anyone can just mobilise the army. Traditionally, the army only listen to the general, that has recruit, train and battle with them. In this case is XF. Historically there are many cases where the General usurp the throne so the decision to who can command the army is not easily given. XF is given the authority because he is destined to become the next Emperor.
Second you said that even Moon Immortal can offer himself to lead the army. That is very wrong. The Moon Immortal is the Emperor's brother. Usually when an emperor ascend the throne, the princes cannot even live in the same city but instead deployed to live at the border. If there are even rumors that they come to the city or mobilize the army, they are behead immediately, true or not. As this is Xianxa and talk about Gods that is why Moon Immortal is even allow to stay in Heaven Realm and given such a non-threatening position as God of Marriage. By comparison, you know why RY was given the position of the Night God, because it is non-threatening."

(More in next post...)

Insights into Run Yu vs Xu Feng's personalities and characters:-

Dori_G: "RY is better at politics and setting up alliances. That will become apparent in a few more episodes. Whereas XF is known as a hot head and powerful fighter, RY has a reputation as thoughtful and steady. XF even says that he is not as intelligent as his older brother."


Alysha Johnson: "Yes Run Yu is more calm and calculating, which make him a better leader. One of the earlier instances is when they went to the Demon Realm to talk to the Demon Lord to catch Qiong Qi. Even before they meet, RY already told XY to be careful of his words. During the meeting, XF offended the Demon Lord couple times, RY had to step in and appease. XF did not say anything wrong, but he's too straightforward. Meanwhile RY grew up having to fend for himself, so he's better at reading people and know how to act.
One of the reason why the Empress hated RY so much because RY is actually a very capable leader. He's the first born, and his natural self is a DRAGON, while XF is only a Phoenix. They both great creature, but the fact that RY natural self is a dragon mean he inherit great power. Not only that, RY is great at politics so much that Empress couldn't get him no matter how much she try to scheme. Compare to RY, XF is just like a little boy.
The Emperor actually has a soft spot for RY, he knew he has a capable son and yet he cannot groom him as well. But at the same time, he knew that RY's situation is actually a good opportunity to shape him. If you watch the latest episode, before he died the Emperor said of RY, "My good boy!" The demon lords who learned of the Emperor's death commented on RY, saying he actually very similar to the Emperor when he was younger. The Emperor was the 2nd prince, we never given the story, but from the pieces we were told, I bet the Emperor also usurp the throne or snatch it from his older brother. Since we know that the Emperor teamed up with the Empress in order to gain the power.
The Emperor's power is not absolute. That is why even the Empress is a handful to him. Even when he tried to rescue Jin Mi, he has to find a round about way to stop the Empress. Everybody around know that RY is a capable leader, but they also see his biggest weakness: his lack of army. You can't rule if you don't have an army. XF has one, because he has the backing of the bird tribe.
I think it is obvious to everyone: the empress, emperor, water god, and even the little soldier that work for RY. She said he is a dragon that is in undesirable circumstances."


MusicalVeggies: "Having finally watched up to episode 52 with subs, I have to hand it to the drama for showing us in small ways just how much Xu Feng is actually treasured and respected by the people around him. Although we get a lot of time to flesh out Run Yu and his eventual change in motivation and character, we now also get a chance to see how Xu Feng is coping with the changes in his life, and how much he still commands the loyalty, respect and love from the people around him.

I really liked how they showed it in the Heavenly Realm where the soldiers surrounding him all gave way one-by-one to let him pass and each citing reasons for their doing so. You can see a glimpse of Xu Feng's character as a leader and a general here - he fights alongside his men and does his best to look after them and protect them on the battlefield - and how much they respected him for that.

Also, the fact that despite the fact that he lost his parents, lost his homeland and lost his identity in overnight, he still never lacked support and care. Liu Ying, her father, Mu Ci and Sui He are like his own little family now, willing to harbour him and provide a place for him. He's still got a lot of love around him despite his reduced circumstances and I think it's a beautiful way of showing that he might not have the political skills or capabilities as Run Yu, but that he has his own ways of reaching other people's hearts and gaining their loyalty. He doesn't do it by underhanded, deceptive and manipulative means. He does it by according them the respect, care and consideration of equals. And they, in turn, reciprocate in respect, care and consideration back. Beautiful.

With Run Yu, on the other hand, he is like the other side of the coin and I like how the drama shows these 2 disparate and different personalities and how they impact the people around them.

Run Yu is intelligent, clever with strategies, manipulation, smooth-talker and politically astute. And interestingly enough, the outcome is that he doesn't really have loyal followers the way Xu Feng does. Aside from Kuang Lu, nobody is really there to lay down their lives for him or to really fight for him. Their loyalty is either dependent on Run Yu's status, power and promise of promotion - unstable foundations. This is what happens when you don't treat people with sincerity and when you manipulate them into doing your bidding. They do it out of an inner duress, rather than from outright loyalty.

And for all his 'sad' background, it's interesting to see the 2 half-brothers' differing reactions to the huge losses in their lives. Run Yu reacts with hatred, vengeance and blaming others for his misery. He uses others' mistreatment of him as excuses for vengeance and cruelty. I find it telling that even his own family (which somehow he likes to conveniently overlook and keep thinking that he has nobody!) - his uncle the Moon Immortal, his stepbrother Yan You - they also don't agree with his course of actions.

Contrary to him being lonely, Run Yu actually has people around him who do care for him. The Moon Immortal, while favouring Xu Feng, still has a place in his heart for him. He has his 2 step-brothers in Yan You and Li-Er. He has Kuang Lu. He's not as alone as he thinks he is or likes to believe he is. In fact, he was a lot more alone in the C-novel because there, he really had nobody but Jin Mi. But here, he actually has a small set of people around him who do care about him but does he see that? No. No, he doesn't. He is blind to their care and concern and chooses to continue to see himself as a victim, as someone who has nothing and has to earn or grasp everything for himself. If he comes to a lonely and sad end, honestly, he has nobody to blame but himself for it.

It is no wonder that Xu Feng who decides to bear the burden of responsibility for others' wrongdoing (especially his mother's), has earned the sympathy and respect of those around him while Run Yu who chooses to use all those wrongdoings as excuses for cruel behaviour, is causing people to turn away from him."


Concerning the Jin Mi redemption arc and Xu Feng's actions:-

Missnymeria on episode 54 & 55: "Some thoughts...

1* I know some people were bothered by the seemingly random side love story between Puchi and Sui He but I wasn't. There were hints of it from the beginning of the drama, and it also filled in some important plot points. First, it showed us the beginning of the Infamous Duo when Sui He manipulated her way into the Heavenly Empress' good graces. Also (and this is just my personal opinion), I felt that the writers used Puchi's declaration to mirror Xu Feng's current feelings that he cannot voice to anyone: namely that although Jin Mi hurt and killed him, he couldn't help but still love her.

2* I think the writers made it super clear that up to the Jin Mi/Sui He confrontation in the cave, Xu Feng was in love with Jin Mi (and was aware of it) and hadn't even really given up on her. He lashed out in different ways to hurt her in return and was a mess emotionally but he still desired her (he couldn't help stealing a kiss) and had no plans to marry anyone else, even to express gratitude. During the first part of the confrontation in the cave, he tried his best to get her to leave and only kept hurting her because she wouldn't give up on attacking Sui He. When he saw he wouldn't be able to make her leave, he resorted to the Phoenix feather to launch a final attack (this part is a bit shady because the feather was never described as a weapon before). That was when he was placed face to face with the true depth of his love for her in spite of everything and it shocked him. He knew he still had feeling s for her before this but here he had tangible proof of the extent of them. But the real blow came when Run Yu arrived to save Jin Mi. Seeing them together brought back the fact that they're a united front who successfully teamed up to kill him once already. This is when he really had to face what he probably calls his "stupidity".

3*The cave scene was the turning point for him. Believing Sui He in that moment was a matter of survival when it came to his sanity. He had no choice but to believe her in order to keep going or he would have ended up as dead as the first time, at least as far as he knew. That's when he changed his attitude and knew he had to sever all ties with Jin Mi in an irrevocable manner. Because I believe he kind of enjoyed torturing himself by purposefully letting her come seemingly unnoticed to the Demon Realm before. Each time he saw her he wavered and was stuck in this love/hate vicious circle. So he devised the cruelest way possible to hurt Jin Mi and ensure she would never come back to the Demon Realm. He deliberately used her petal to create the garden scene and carefully orchestrated the phoenix flower and the proposal to Sui He so that Jin Mi could watch. Even then, it almost killed him to give the petal back and sever all ties when it came down to it. He almost couldn't do it and it was clear that he was hurting himself just as much as he was hurting her by doing so.

4*He so clearly wanted to believe Jin Mi's declaration of love and her explanation but couldn't afford to and I can't blame him. Although Jin Mi's reasoning for convicting and killing Xu Feng was flimsy, he has true proof of her betrayal and nothing up to this point could have made him think otherwise.

So I'm not hating on Xu Feng as much as I thought I would before watching the episodes. It's so sad to see him still painfully in love even after Jin Mi's betrayal. He hates himself for it but he can't help it."


MusicalVeggies: "Agree with @missnymeria's insight here. Also, my personal take on the phoenix feather is that it was never a weapon - from the earliest episodes, Xu Feng made it clear that he had given it to Jin Mi to protect her so it was always a protective amulet/ object.
My take from seeing the episode is that he knew he was going to have to throw a powerful attack at Jin Mi to a) scare her and bring home to her the fact that he was serious about his threats, and b) there was a 3rd party (Sui He) around and I think he also wanted to put up a front that he hated Jin Mi in front of this 3rd party. But I think he was worried that his powerful attack might seriously injure Jin Mi (she was already injured from his earlier less potent attacks), so he hid the Phoenix feather in his palm and threw it at her at the same time as his attack so that the feather could protect her. And then pretended to get angry at the feather for protecting her and 'betraying' him. And I think him trying to destroy that feather is also a bit like him trying to destroy his heart/ love for Jin Mi because his heart, like that feather, longs to protect her despite everything that Jin Mi had done to hurt him. The poor boy is truly tormented."

"I see Xu Feng equating the feather with his heart on the 'betraying' bit. Both are betraying their owners by protecting the person who killed the owner. I don't think he mentioned 'betrayed' in the context of him expecting the object to work in a particular direction only for the object to work differently. It would be stupid of Xu Feng who knows about the feather's protective ability better than anyone else to expect the feather to act differently. So it doesn't make sense and he can't have meant 'betrayed' in that context."

I couldn't agreed with you more. You have said everything that I wanted to say!! 

¨°o.O O.o *.:。 ✿*゚‘゚・✿.。.:* *.:。✿*゚’゚・✿.。.:* *.:。✿

Can someone shed some light on why Jin Mi & Phoenix's son has two names (Uncle Night called him "Tang Yue".  His parents called him "Xiao Lu")?  He mentions that only Night remembered his name/real name.  

I was wondering if he was reincarnated from another character like Phoenix's bodyguard, but his name was Qin Tong (秦潼).

 Jeanette:

Can someone shed some light on why Jin Mi & Phoenix's son has two names (Uncle Night called him "Tang Yue".  His parents called him "Xiao Lu")?  He mentions that only Night remembered his name/real name.  

I was wondering if he was reincarnated from another character like Phoenix's bodyguard, but his name was Qin Tong (秦潼).

"Bai Lu" mean Egret which is his identity . As he was born from Phoenix + Frost. So, some people called him like little Egret. 

"Tang Yue" is his real name. That was the name of JM's father from moral realm. (also previous water god) 

Thank you so much, MkT!

Actually, 'Tang Yue' was the name of the shop/ store that Jin Mi lived or was brought up in before she was bride-kidnapped by Xu Feng. 


 MkT:

"Bai Lu" mean Egret which is his identity . As he was born from Phoenix + Frost. So, some people called him like little Egret. 

"Tang Yue" is his real name. That was the name of JM's father from moral realm. (also previous water god) 

Who killed the Water Immortal and Wind Immortal?

 SMK:

Who killed the Water Immortal and Wind Immortal?

Sui He disguised herself as Xu Feng and killed them.