No worries, you can form your opinions of the novel and the characters after you're done reading. Also, I agree about the translations, some parts tend to be confusing. But the translators have done a great job. I think the problem lies with the difference between English and Chinese and also the cultures. Some things that are said in Chinese lose their meaning despite their best translation to English. Also, a literal translation would make even less sense. The best way to understand the story would be to learn the language and read the original.
The story was changed mostly due to censorship. And I'm with you, I like the idea of WWX losing control because it feels more realistic. But I wouldn't change anything in the drama, I'm happy with what we got and CQL is perfect.
Like you say, each actor interprets the character differently and they have their own style. Not only do the actors affect a role but we as audience also affect it with our thoughts, which are influenced by our preferences. Xiao Zhan has in my opinion found a balance, he has understood WWX very very well and has made sure the audience understands WWX equally well.
Your words on what being an actor means and how they affect the character they play, especially the Russian quote, are wonderful to read. I read it more than once because it's meaningful and poetic. Wishing your sister all the best in her field of work :)