Currently following this romantic serial on 8TV... will be writing my own synopsis soon...
Review for 倾城绝恋 [清宫绝恋] (Qing Cheng Jue Lian):
I just finished watching this and it's such a sad drama that will definitely bring you to tears! If you enjoy watching sad shows, this is one of them! This story mainly describes how Mei Li (美璃), the main character matures as time develops and the number of people her existence affects. You feel really bad for the people in this drama because all their hatred and jealousy for each other comes from some kind of misunderstanding. Through this entire series I was like: So when are these people going to discover the truth? When will they wake up and see who people really are? This drama also has something to do with the fact that women weren't allowed to choose their own destinies in ancient China and that marriages were usually arrange by parents. Love relationships will be torn apart so be sure to handle the sadness! Overall, I thought this drama was filmed pretty well and the acting was well done. I never watched The New Princess Pearl (新还珠格格) but I found out that Li Sheng (李晟) - who plays the main character in this series, also played the main character in The New Princess Pearl. So I had not worries for her. Mickey He is a good actor in my opinion and I watched him in most of 于正Productions films so I actually looked forward to this drama. I also had a connection to the storyline and liked how Mei Li (美璃) kept on switching love interests during this drama. The 'courting' scenes are so cute! (Between Yong He (永赫) and Mei Li (美璃)) I would recommend this drama if you aren't afraid of sobbing!
Even the opening theme song is so emotional!
Mei Li, an Inner Mongolia princess came to Beijing and met Jing Xuan because of a misunderstanding. Although the two do not know each other's real identity, they are love at first sight, and when the two meet again, they sank deeper into this bottomless pit. However, as a result of a chain of tragedies and confusion, the fate of Mei Li, Jing Xuan and their love became a misunderstanding, and finally embarked the point of no return. The two held suspicion and contradiction as more and more people were affected by this relationship. However, the only thing constant is the share of unmitigated love, life, death, and an enduring heart.
Li Sheng (李晟) as Mei Li (美璃)
Mickey He (何晟铭) as Jing Xuan (靖轩)
Wang Ke (王珂) as Su Ying (素莹)
Tian Jia Da (田家达) as Yong He (永赫)
Wang Xi Wei (王希维) as (静贵妃)
Pan Ying Zi (潘迎紫) as (太皇太后)
Being exposed to different languages and dialects over the years, I realised that many foreigners are envious of our ability to switch from one language or dialect to another effortless, though not necessarily good in any particular one. Compare this to a Chinese national who cannot even understand our local Chinese dialects like Cantonese, Hokien or Hakka, not to mention English or Bahasa Malaysia, and you will realise how good we are in being able to speak or understand some of each language.
As events unfolded in later episodes, I got to know the man was Qian, Princess Meili's father. The emperor's mother is particularly fond of Meili and she feels more sympathy and shows concern over her well being since her father's death in the line of duty. This special bond between them was a bane as it invoked intense jealousies from others, particularly, concubine Jing. Accusing Meili as a jinx for all the bad things happening in the palace, most of the tragedies were created by Jing in her evil plots to discredit Meili or even to kill her.
Basically, the story is about a Mongolian princess who came with her father to serve the emperor of China. Being used to freedom riding horse and other outdoor activities, she lacks manners, and this was more apparent with the high standards of protocol expected in the royal palace. Imagine a Mongolian princess who is a bubbly free spirit with a pleasant disposition, friendly to all people she meets. She was naive and knew nothing about the many royal rules and customs of the emperor's palace. As a result, she was clumsy and accident prone both in actions and words, yet charming... During her first few days in the palace, the emperor's cousin, Prince Qing Xuan spotted her and it was love at first sight. Later, a younger palace officer, commoner Yong He also met her by chance and he too fell in love. Both seemed to be around whenever she got into trouble.
There is the Emperor's mother who doted on her. Don't really know the background to this fondness, but her father's death made her feel more sympathetic towards her and to look after her well being, especially knowing her clumsiness and often offending others because of her unfamiliarity with royal customs. More so, when she is a target of others jealous of her popularity.There is the royal concubine Jing who tried several times to create situations which were meant to get her into trouble.
The real problem with this triangle of love started when the Emperor made known his wish for Jing Xuan to marry a royal officer's daughter, Su Ying. This being a royal command, it has to be obeyed or face the death penalty. On the other hand, the emperor's mother made known her wish for Meili to marry another royal officer's son, Yong He. There is another princess, Sang Zhu who is crazy over Yong He in unrequited love. Again, this conflict of royal commands complicate matters for the two pairs involved in this royally arranged intended marriages. Of course, officially the emperor's command supersedes that of his mother, but being filial, he is also reluctant to go against his own mother's wish.
In one episode, concubine Jing came out with a plan to kill Meili. There was to be a game involving horse-riding. But as it turned out, when fire crackers were let off, it was Jing's sister (Meili's sister-in-law) who got killed in the accident instead. It was made out that Meili caused her death and that she should face the death penalty. Before Jing's sister died, she made known to her brother it was not Meili's fault. To get Meili out of this major problem, Jing Xuan suggested to the emperor that Meili should be exiled for 3 years. He was made to be the bad guy who put Meili into misery when in fact, it was to save her life. This was the start of serious misunderstanding between Jing Xuan and Meili. With Yong He assigned to look after her, Jing Xuan got increasingly jealous which was visible to others.
In this house meant for offenders, they had to do chores which included cooking own food and washing own clothes. It sure was punishment for Meili who had lived a life of luxury. The first few days, she refused food and drink.
To cut a long story short, there was a fire in the house, started by Su Ying's father (instigated by concubine Jing). Instead of being killed in the fire, Meili even saved one of the two old women in charge of making her life difficult during her house arrest. The fire and her injuries invoked the sympathy of the emperor who cut short her 3-year sentence.
It was back to the problems involving the two pairs who were royally mismatched. The parents of Yong He tried their best to get their son out of trouble because Meili though matched with Yong He, is still the love interest of Jing Xuan. Not only Yong He, but his parents could face death penalties for neglecting his official duties because of his extraordinary attention watching over Meili.
Jing Xuan has no feelings for his future wife, Su Ying and did not want to go through with the marriage. He approached the emperor and made known his wish to marry Meili, even prepared to die if his wish was not granted. The emperor gave in because Jing Xuan nearly killed himself with the emperor's sword. The compromise was such that Meili was to be his second wife, but Jing Xuan asked for her to be married with him first! Because Su Ying could not accept this arrangement, she attempted suicide by jumping into a pond.
Exasperated with royal arrangements beyond her control, and the serious repercussions on people around her because of her, Meili decided to leave the palace to become a nun. Her maid, Xiao Cui (also Mongolian) followed her. They ended up in a nunnery where the head nun advised her to study Buddhism before committing herself.
Meanwhile, word got to Gau Tu (the bandit leader who killed Prince Qian, Meili's father) that someone is willing to pay a high price for Meili's head. The bandits got to Meili and Xiao Cui first and Yong He happened to witness it. By then, his parents who followed him, managed to stop him from trying to save them by himself. The only way was to plan first. They managed to gather bamboo stems which they made into sharp projectiles which could be released by cutting the ropes holding them. They used bamboo branches to start fire and smoke which created the impression of large number of troops surrounding the hideout fortress.
Yong He started a fire in the premises using the highly flammable wines stored in large containers. He and his parents managed to save Meili and maid, but Meili using a bow and arrow, failed to kill Gao Tu while he was escaping, to avenge her father's death.
Initial love between Jing Xuan and Meili turned to hatred, as events unfolded, starting from the 3-year exile and hard labour. While Jing Xuan had proven time and again to be increasingly selfish in his decisions, love between Meili and Yong He grew stronger as he had proven to be selfless in looking after Meili.
She was left with no choice because when she threatened to die instead of marrying him, Jing Xuan said he will make sure Yong He die too, to be followed by his parents. In order to save Yong He and his parents, Meili grudgingly agreed to marry Jing Xuan, but on the condition that he got royal pardon for Yong He. This further strained their relationships, especially the thought that she would rather die if Yong He could not be pardoned. Her expression of ultimate love for Yong He and her increasing hatred for him would eventually lead to her suicide towards the end.