[Review] Goodbye My Princess (东宫)

This drama is probably the first drama to ever make me feel all sorts of emotions. I have never ever loved and hated a drama at the same time before. Watching Goodbye My Princess was like riding on a roller coaster, lots and twists and turns and ups and downs. And even though the drama had tons of angst and painful moments, it was still an outstanding and unforgettable drama.

Just an FYI, this review is going to be a tad bit longer than the usual ones I’ve written…

BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

Title: Goodbye My Princess (东宫)
# of Episodes: 52
Release Date: February 14th, 2019
Where to WatchViki

Plot/Storyline
Click here to see information about the plot and character list at my First Impression page on this drama.

Overall

Xiao Feng


Xiao Feng was my favorite character throughout the drama. The reason is because her character fully embodies what a typical person would react and be like if they were to be put in her situation. She’s not strong yet, she doesn’t yield down. She’s weak, but still holds on to her beliefs. She may feel helpless, but never gives up hope. She’s definitely not the strongest or most outstanding female protagonist, but she still stands out in her own way.

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Watching her throughout the drama, I couldn’t help but sympathize with her. All she ever wanted was to remain in Western Liang and roam the grasslands with her Little Red Horse and the person who she loves. She wanted freedom and the ability to choose her own life. But her status as the 9th Princess made her unable to do so. It was the reason why Gu Jian couldn’t acknowledge his feelings for her, why Li Cheng Yin approached her, why she had to marry into a strange land, and why she had to submit to everyone all around her.

Li Cheng Yin

This guy… is full of crap. I loved and hated Li Cheng Yin. I liked his charisma and his love for Xiao Feng. Even after all the painful heart breaks he made Xiao Feng endure, he did truly love her. But it all doesn’t justify his actions.

Li Cheng Yin, like Xiao Feng, was originally innocent and naïve. But once he starts to battle for the position of the Crown Prince, he becomes a scheming and heartless person. He manipulates and emotionally tortures Xiao Feng with the excuse of ‘protecting her’. The more he made her miserable, the more his enemies would not hurt her. But the more she tried to get away from him, the more he tried to cage her in his palace. When he wants to, he’ll be nice to her and shower her with his love. But other times, he’ll outright insult her and label her as an evil and jealous woman. And this is why I hated Li Cheng Yin. He never cared about her feelings or what she wanted. He was possessive and only cared about himself. All that mattered to him was to keep himself satisfied. It was never about Xiao Feng or her happiness.

Xiao Feng and Li Cheng Yin

To be honest, I loved Xiao Feng and Li Cheng Yin together in the beginning. I loved how they met, fell in love, and devoted themselves to one another. But I don’t think Li Cheng Yin ever deserved Xiao Feng. He was never honest with her and he never truly cared about what she wanted. He only cared about himself and what was good for him. Xiao Feng was just someone he could drag alongside him to keep him happy and make him feel good. Yes, he did love her and care about her. But Li Cheng Yin would always carry the title of the one who killed her grandfather and her maternal family. And, that’s why, regardless of how he tries to make it up to her, he’d never be able to.

Another reason why Li Cheng Yin doesn’t deserve Xiao Feng is because of how he treats her when they were married. I know he wanted to put a show on for his enemies and that was why he always pretended that hated Xiao Feng. But his actions were always so mean to her. She was patient with him and endured him and always give herself reasons as to why he was doing those things to her. But, in the end, his actions weren’t necessary and just added to the sufferings that he had inflicted on her before.

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Gu Jian and Pei Zhao

An interesting turn of events is that both of these men were in love with Xiao Feng. And, unlike Li Cheng Yin, their love was more selfless and centered around the safety of Xiao Feng.

Gu Jian was Xiao Feng’s Shifu and has been with her for many years. He is also the first person Xiao Feng loves. Even though he reciprocated her feelings, his adopted father forced him to give up his feelings and let her go. When he realizes how much pain and suffering Xiao Feng had to go through because of Li Cheng Yin, he begins to regret and wish that he had taken her away. His regret becomes his only reason for living, as he solely devotes himself to only protecting Xiao Feng.

I think the reason I love Gu Jian is because he always put Xiao Feng first, except for when he got her entangled with Li Cheng Yin. But, majority of the time, Xiao Feng was always on his mind and the first thing he thinks about is her. And, unlike Li Cheng Yin, Gu Jian was willing to give up his life for Xiao Feng.

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Pei Zhao, on the other hand, was silently in love with Xiao Feng. I’m not quite sure when his feelings developed or how it developed, but there were feelings. He was always there to protect her and bail her when she was outside of the palace doing her own things. He was her companion who accompanied her when she was lost in her own thoughts during the middle of the night. He was also her friend in need, when she needed someone to talk to.

But while Pei Zhao was good at protecting her and listening to her, he failed at truly understanding her. He knew that her marriage with Li Cheng Yin was torturing her and he knew how much she hated to stay in the palace, but he never said a word and he always caught her back under Li Cheng Yin’s orders. He may have loved her and cared for her, but he would never sacrifice his life or betray Li Cheng Yin for her.

Ah Du

I think the only other character that I truly sympathized with, other than Xiao Feng and Ming Yue, is Ah Du. This girl is sooooo pitiful. Her entire clan was destroyed and she, like Xiao Feng, was forced to come to the Li Dynasty. But, unlike Xiao Feng who has the luxury of not remembering her memories, Ah Du had to live everyday remembering everything that happened. Whenever Xiao Feng talks about how much she misses home and how much she wants to see her family, Ah Du begins to tear up because she knows that there is no home for her to return to.

I feel sooooo bad for Ah Du. She always has to stay strong for Xiao Feng because she’s the one who Xiao Feng comes to when she’s sad or needs someone. Ah Du is so selfless and always puts Xiao Feng first before herself.

The End

If I had a word to summarize this entire drama, the word I would use is Tragic. From the beginning, Xiao Feng was never meant to live a happy life because she had to marry off into a kingdom far away from home and her romance with Li Cheng Yin was never meant to be good because he only approached her because he wanted to use her. Xiao Feng and Li Cheng Yin both were people who, in the end, fell victim to the struggle for power.

But even though this drama was a tragedy, I think it does a good depiction of political marriages, the struggle for power, and the sufferings of women who have to be sacrificed for the better good of the nation. In the end, happy endings are not always what happens and true love doesn’t always prevail. Lots of things happen, people change and become different from who they were, and happiness doesn’t always happen at the end of the road. And that’s what this drama touches on. Yes, it breaks our heart to see Xiao Feng suffer so much from Li Cheng Yin and struggle to live a good and happy life. But it all just symbolizes and represents that reality isn’t all just about happy endings.

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16 thoughts on “[Review] Goodbye My Princess (东宫)

  1. Afterall i really love and enjoy this lovely yet tragic romance drama and so far i loved the most even though the director maybe too old to add in more romance on XF n LCY relationship at the finally part of the drama.

    Alwayszhenxin, many thanks to your review on this drama and looking forward more review from you too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Gu Jian a very selfish person instead of truly protecting of XF being hurt. At the last part of the story Gu Jian has actually deceived XF admited that he is GXW. In fact Gujian left only 6 months of his life due to severe internal injury, and i really hate of Gu Jian selfishness to bring XF to Xi Zhou even Gujian knew that XF parents have passed away, left only his brother and XF was actually nothing much to be recalled n stay in xi zhou instead XF has many good friends in Shang Jin.

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    1. Yeah, I didn’t like that he pretended he was Gu Xiao Wu. In the novel, he didn’t do that at all. I’m not sure why they changed it in the drama. I do feel bad for Gu Jian, but he was the one who pushed Xiao Feng away at the beginning AND introduced her to Gu Xiao Wu. She even said so herself in one episode that he was the one who pushed her onto Gu Xiao Wu. All in all, Gu Jian is as much as fault as Li Cheng Yin is for the death of her grandfather.

      Like

      1. After watching the drama for twice (the 52 episodes and 55 episodes taiwan version) really hard to pacify myself. The director should have let LCY having more room to pamper XF when there’s no spier within them. Cause XF always being let down n suspected that LCY’s love wasn’t true n thinking that LCY only loved Zao She She.

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        1. I agree! I was sooo disappointed when they didn’t really show any scenes of any grief Li Cheng Yin dealt with when I remembered his memories. It was just he remembered and now he’s gonna go to war. There was nothing about the pain or grief he shouldn’t felt about remembering how much pain and suffering he brought to Xiao Feng, which was disappointing! Overall, I felt the ending was too rushed. They wasted too much time extending the useless side stories of the other characters and should’ve focused more on the main characters.

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          1. Yes, the director of this drama has actually missed out lot of good moment that can actually enhance the story before putting an end to this tragic love drama.
            I remembered GXW in the begining of the drama was telling a story of a Prince to XF about The Prince unwillingness but forced to betrayed n lying to his very important friend and he asked XF …. whether will u forgive the prince that has done something really wrong to her n XF answered was “Certainly!”. It should be a good chemistry between XF n LCY if the director to slot in this moment when XF has recalled the past but LCY to tell the same story of prince to XF again and asking for forgiveness when things turn in to facts and letting XF to recall of GXW…..making lot more sweet moments n sparkle to the story……how i wish the drama can be a little bit more romance before putting an end to the drama.

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            1. YES!!! I totally agree with that! If they did something like, it’d make XF and LCY’s more better… Darn… Sometimes I really wonder that the directors are thinking when they decide which scenes to keep and delete… T_T

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  3. I really do not like the last part of the story about GuJian to assassin the King and kidnapped XF. GuJian is totally a spoilers of the plot and as well as he sabotaged the relation of LCY n XF. GuJian has totally turn the scenario around when LCY n XF have actually n gradually built a firmer relationship and trusts at very last part of the story whereby the plot of LCY would finally succeeded to destroy Gao’s conspiracy.

    GuJian’s blind love n selfishness on XF is actually indirectly forcing n lead XF to the dead afterall. so i really hate GuJian in the drama. He is a spoiler of the drama and causing the real tragic at the end of the story!

    i believe no matter of GXW or LCY is truly and deeply in love with XF afterall, even LCY has couples of time wanted to express and telling XF his love to her yet just stopped him because his plot yet to be succeeded.

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  4. Thank you for the review and everyone’s comments. It gave me more insight into the characters but can you clarify who killed Ming Yue when she was sleeping with the emperor? Was it suicide?

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  5. Okay, I missed that part in your review. But yeah, I mean I agree that will everything that has happened there could be no happy ending for XF and LCY but you have to agree that if LCY openly loves XF, she wouldn’t live till the final eps.

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    1. I think he put up that act not because he didn’t want to show his feelings towards her, but rather because he knew that behind Xiao Feng was the Empress and her uncle. He knew that if he openly loved her, he’d easily be a pawn for the them and they’d always use her against him. And that’s something he definitely didn’t want because he is scheming against them and trying to get away from them. Personally, I think with Xiao Feng’s personality and extreme righteousness, she’d understand why he was doing what he was doing. If he had explained and opened up to her about all of his grievances and told her the truth, she’d be more understand and actually probably even act along with him. But he failed to let her know the truth and that’s why the misunderstanding between got even bigger and out of control. I agree that he truly loved her and I don’t doubt his feelings. I just feel like he didn’t really consider her own feelings and what she truly wanted.

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  6. I think you skipped all the political parts. Chengyin never calls Xiaofang as an evil, jealous woman? It was an act to fool the Empress and Prime Minister Gao. He made everyone see that he doesn’t care for Xiaofeng so that no one will bother or sabotage him through her because he learned the lesson when his father favored his biological mother too much causing her to die.

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  7. OH!!!!! wow!!!! for the review. I loved this drama in spite of knowing about the sad ending. I was ready for the heartbreak. Even though I hated LCY, i loved him in spite of his harsh doing towards XF. He was just pulling back and forth our heart strings due to his actions. XF was a pitiful woman who had to bear all these sufferings and she had that bubbly character which had her going till the end. But there has to be a stop for all the sufferings and that’s what happened when she gained her memories. Even when she tried to kill LCY, she could not coz she loved him more. I think both PXR and CXX portrayed their character excellently inspite of this being their first lead characters. Their chemistry was excellent and especially i like CXX for portraying this anti hero character coz i could feel him. Hope i could see them in a modern or period drama with a HEA ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I totally agree with all your points about the drama…. Xiaofeng was a character worth noting because she was quite resilient (but not the strongest) in some sense. I also pitied Li Cheng Yin but did not agree with what he did, and he did not deserve her love. Pei Zhao was an interesting character because I initially thought he took care of Xiao Feng because of Li Cheng Yin, but as the drama got further along, it was pretty obvious he also had some feelings for her. It is certainly one of the most saddest if not most tragic love stories I have ever seen, and the ending was very fitting as it really was not possible for them to be together. The sand art video was beautiful and mesmerizing, thanks for posting that!

    On another note, I thought both main actors did a pretty good job, as it was both their first roles as main leads. It was also pretty cool they learned horse back riding and the drama was filmed in such beautiful places.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Resilient is a great description for XF. With or without her memories, she knew what a political marriage was and how other wives/concubines might be involved. She seemed determined to not be a third wheel and to get along. Yet, the ups and downs of LCY’s political planning really made this impossible. For me the really bad characters were the Emperor and Master Chen((?) – who both manipulated so many people for their own benefits. I’ve watched the final unsubbed episodes so many times now!

      Liked by 1 person

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