Hello guys! The drama Hua Xu Yin started airing on July 9th and now, it is pretty much done airing! Yes, no joke. It is sad for people who have read the novel and have anticipated the drama for already three years because, sadly, the drama does not have a proper broadcasting period. Apparently the drama is based on a novel by author Tang Qi Gong Zi (who btw is in a plagiarism scandal right now). The main OTP of the drama is played by Kevin Cheung and Lin Yuan, but we are not here to talk about them. Nope, we are here to talk about the other heartbreakers: Yuan Hong and Jiang Xin (‘s characters) story.
I never read the novel, so I did not know what was going to happen as I was watching their part. Their story starts at pretty much the beginning of the drama and ends at episode 20 (if anyone wants to skip watch like I did). After watching the whole arc, I was not sure if I understood fully the ending. Luckily some other sites had been doing translation and summarizing part of the stories. Here is a short synopsis by ancientchinese.net (see full post here). You can also read the full synopsis with all the details on Koala (clic here)
So off to my review about their love story.
Shen An played by Yuan Hong: Let’s put this straight. I don’t like his character. I know he is actually a loyal son, a prideful general and definitely a good man. However, it is just heartbreaking to see a man destroy the future of two other women because of his lack of communication skills and his too prideful self to express what he has to say. Every time he went to see Song Ning to ask her permission to grant more power to Qiqi (new residence, let her be the second wive, go talk to her, be more understanding, yadi yadi yada), I was like shut up! shut up! SHUT UP!!! I am sure each of these words are like pointy blades/needles going right through her chest. How would you feel if the man you like and who once promised to like you in return is constantly hurting you by asking you to be more understanding when he himself is not? Because he wants to make himself feel better about his choices/actions, he is letting powerless women make them. I hated that about him. Another characteristic I hate about him: his indecisio. For example, at the end, when both women were pregnant and he had only one doctor to send to them, he let the pressure created by the maidens get to him instead of making a clear decision that may have saved all the lives. I mean, if there was not a holy doctor nearby, Song Ning would be dead. And that I would not accept.
Also, the way his character died, I can’t. As a general, don’t you want to die noblely after fighting for your country? His death is however a more symbolic one: all I have in my love life is gone. Hence, I have no reason to live anymore. Let me go in the battlefield and die as a general and basically yes ending my life. Hum, no. First, aren’t you suppose to take revenge for your two wives. The fake maid after all is still out there so you better go find and kill her, since she is reason of all your miseries (her and your communication skills). Also, your friend, your family (father), your country still need you. It is no time to leave this world. Personnally, I find using your love life as an excuse to die is very lame. I know it is drama land, but still, it is both sad and pathetic. Especially when we are talking about a general (yes, double standards, but what can I do? that’s how I feel).
As an actor, there is no doubt Yuan Hong is great. He really inhabited this one and as I was watching I was watching him as the character and did not see the shadow of any of his past characters. This is great. However, for me, a dumb character stays a dumb character. Hence, YH did a great portrayal (and looked hot doing so) as a dumb general.
Song Ning played by Jiang Xin: The girl I was rooting hard for during all these episodes. I really felt how complexed her character is about having to go on the side of the Chen after the defeat of her own kingdom. Imagine: you are the general of your country, but were not able to die on the battlefield with your colleagues. Instead, you will have to marry another general from an enemy country. Just this is the most shameful thing that could happen to a character of her rank. But she went. Because she had hopes for better future with the one she trully love, because her heart dictates her to go there and she just couldn’t betray her heart. So she chose to betray her country. She is heartbreaken, haunted by guilt, thinking about her brother and her princess. She now has to wear normal girly clothing and be trapped in a closed space while before she was commanding a big troop. You can see how she wants to fight during those few practice scenes and when she was cleaning her armor. But she held it in for Shen An. And the results are so NOT worth it. Like really shitty.
The way she is treated hurts me so much. She may be the Big Wife of Shen An, but she did not get any respect at the house. Her in-laws seem to hate her. They hurted her physically (by doing some mysterious electrical thing to her hands), destroyed her baby, made her a maid, etc. It is just unbearable to watch. I really just wanted the happiness of my Song Ning and really, if it takes Shen An to make it happen, I will root for them to be together even if I find him a bit lacking for her.
Furthermore, between the two characters, I am just not buying the whole we are from enemy kingdoms, hence we cannot love and, hence Shen An never wanted to aknowledge her as his savior. That makes no sense. Is their pride really THAT big? If Shen An just thought a little bit, he would understand that indead the only girl who could have saved him on that mountain was her, Song Ning. And why would she not tell him too? Because you are still scared he may discover your identity and hate you? Or is it because of the ‘angelic’ Qiqi? Really, if they simply had one good conversation, they would have been able to have a happy ending. Instead of the shit we get at the end. *spoiler* Song Ning died by chosing to stay in the dream world while Shen An goes die during war. If they talked together, they could live together, have new babies and be happy. But no, they just couldn’t. I know they had a few months of happiness. But that was too short and they never had the chance to recognize each other as their one and true love.
I mean, even they only love scene, it was basically rape between two people who can’t show their feelings as they are. Shen An did not get the approval from Song Ning, but still forced himself on her, saying that this is what she wanted all along. I think at that scene Shen An had already fell for Song Ning and he really just wanted her badly. On the other hand, Song Ning who always loved him could not accept that act of his because she thought he was still mad at her and did not want to sleep with someone who doesn’t love her (so she fight back). If they communicated better at the beginning, their baby would have being conceived in a way more harmonious situation. I know it is a detail, but it just felt very wrong to me.
Liu Qiqi played by Cui Bo: Another very annoying character. Although at first I pitied her, I very soon learned just rotten she actually is. When her character was introduced, I really did feel bad for her. She cannot speak and did pass days healing Shen An. For these, she was also worthy of pity, of love. When she felt in love with Shen An, I felt it was natural for her to want to follow him back (although I was alrady scared of what horrible things she is going to do to Song Ning) and to pass the rest of her days with him. HOWEVER, when she became dumb as s**t and used all her well to destroy Song Ning, oh no I was mad. She lost her baby so that Song Ning would be seen as the culpit, kind of killed Song Ning’s baby, stole her necklace, etc. All very hateful actions. I know she was mostly under the influence of fear and the persuasion of her maid, but it still feels like she was horrible. During most of her scenes with Shen An, I wanted to puke because those two did not look natural together and actually looked stupid trying to make it work. Especially during their love scene.
On a sidenote, I do want to point out some stuff from this production. They did a great job with the fighting scenes (did not use too much CG), but totally failed on the costume and makeup department. Also, I am still not convinced by Kevin Chung as a good choice to play the prince of the Chen Kingdom. But again, I did not read the novel, so my opinion may be a very limited one in comparison to the fans who had years to let the character mature and grow in their heart. Hence take this fast review with a grain of salt. That’s all!
More pics of the OTP: