I have mixed feelings about this drama… It was disappointing, yet not so disappointing at the same time…!
BEWARE OF SPOILERS!!! YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!
Click here to see information about the plot and main characters at my First Impression page on this drama. Below I will list the supporting cast. There are so many characters, but I’ll just list a few of the important ones.
Bai Zhou Yue/Xiao Zhou (小舟), Amy Chen Hao Yu
A princess from the Chu Wei kingdom. Her mother is the ruler of Chu Wei and her father is Bai Yi, the top general of in the Eastern Lands. However, this was kept a secret due to their different status. Xiao Zhou grew up alongside Bai Lu Yan. Since young, she has always loved reading and is considered to be a wise and intelligent woman. She falls in love with Asule and is willing to give up everything for him. However, they eventually have to let go of each other due to their responsibilities to their own kingdom. She eventually decides to overthrow Bai Ling Bo and become the Empress.
Xi Yan (息衍), Li Guang Jie
A general serving Baili Jing Hong. He is the most skilled and powerful of the top four generals in Xia Tang. However, he is secretly a warrior from the Tianqi organization. He is in love with Su Shun Qing. He is also an old friend of Bai Yi and master to Asule.
Bai Yi (白毅), Ken Chang
The most revered general of the Eastern Lands. He is a general of Chu Wei. He was once asked to join the Tianqi organization, but declined in order to protect his lover, Chu Wei’s ruler. He is Xiao Zhou’s biological father.
Baili Ning Qing (百里宁卿), Shawn Wei Qian Xiang
He is originally from the royal family of Xia Tang, but became a servant for Bai Ling Bo. He is blind but is extremely intelligent. He betrays Bai Ling Bo and helps Xiao Zhou become the Empress. After Baili Jing Hong’s death, he becomes the ruler of Xia Tang.
Ying Wu Yi (嬴无翳), Zhang Feng Yi
He is an ambitious warlord who tried to conquer the Eastern Lands. However, he died during a battle against Bai Yi and the other generals from the different countries who allied together to fight against him.
Ying Yu (嬴玉), Wu Jia Yi
Ying Wu Yi’s daughter. She is similar to her father and has an arrogant and obnoxious personality. She bears a grudge against Ji Ye because he took her hostage, but eventually falls in love with him when he joins her father’s army. However, she eventually lets go because she knows that Ji Ye loves Yu Ran.
Baili Jing Hong (百里景洪), Zhang Jia Yi
The ruler of Xia Tang. He is ambitious and wants to rule the world. He secretly plotted with Gong Yu Yi to dominate the world, but eventually loses his life to Asule.
Gong Yu Yi (宫羽衣), Maggie Jiang Shu Ying
Yu Ran’s aunt and a member of the Yu Tribe. She marries Baili Jing Hong in hopes to restore her clan, but she eventually is killed by Yu Ran when she tries to kill Asule.
Yi Tian Zhan (翼天瞻), Jiang Tao
A member from the Tianqi organization. He wields a spear and is a highly skilled martial artist. He originally comes to Xia Tang to find the Shang Yun Gu Xi sword. His real identity is that he is from the Yu Tribe.
Bai Ling Bo (白凌波), Xu Qing
She is a power-hungry woman who wanted to kill Bai Lu Yan in order to get the throne. She collaborates with Lei Bi Cheng and eventually becomes the Empress, but that is short-lived. She is betrayed by Baili Ning Qi and overthrown by Xiao Zhou.
Lei Bi Cheng (雷碧城), Zhang Zhi Jian
A powerful person from Chen Yue. He is the mastermind behind many of the conspiracies against Asule and the Eastern Lands countries.
Su Shun Qing (苏瞬卿), Angel Wang Ou
A servant working for Baili Jing Hong. She is the only person to treat Asule warmly when he stays in Xia Tang. However, she is the one who was hiding the Shang Yun Gu Xi sword and killed anyone who tried to go near it.
I had HIGH hopes for drama. I really, really did! I was looking forward to it since Liu Hao Ran was in it. He didn’t’ disappoint me at all in Nirvana in Fire 2, so I was hoping that this drama would live up to his performance in that drama…. But, unfortunately, this drama was kind of disappointing. And the most disappointing part for me was the lack of development for Asule, until the last 10 episodes of the drama.
In the beginning, Asule starts off as a naïve and innocent boy who just wants to live a simple and peaceful life. However, he is thrown into a chaotic fight for throne and even gets sent off to another country to marry a person he’s never met before. And, you would think that after all of this happened, he’d have some sort of change in personality. BUT nothing really changed. But I do have to admit that he’s really resilient and patient though. Despite everything thrown at him in Qingyang and then in Xia Tang, he’s remained calm and still believed in the good in people. But, sometimes while it’s great that Asule is such a softie and genuinely nice person, it’s not always a good thing. For example, he gets taken advantaged of over and over again by people and he doesn’t even bear a grudge against them. And while I commend Asule for having such a big heart, sometimes I just wished he kicked some ass while he could.
The overall story of this drama actually is very good. The setting was great and even the casting was on point. However, the drama still wasn’t able to flourish properly. And the reason why I think so is because of how it was poorly it was depicted. And this is the other disappointing part. Despite the directors and screenwriters, even though author himself, trying to rewrite the drama to make it more appealing to the audience by taking out certain things and making changes to the story, it still somehow turned out to be a pretty messy and unappealing drama in the end. For example, I felt that the presence of the Tianqi wasn’t as emphasized enough. It appeared here and there, but I felt like that drama was more interested in focusing on Ying Wu Yi’s world domination more. Not to mention, I would’ve liked to learn more about Yu Ran’s story and have more details about what happened to her after she rejoined her tribe. But she just slowly fades away, despite being one of the main characters. And then there’s Xiao Zhoi brief scenes of where she takes out Bai Ling Bo. It was such a cool moment that I wished they put more effort to showing it rather than focusing on Asule’s boring journey back home. Honestly, the story felt pretty choppy and was even confusing at times. I felt like I had to use my imagination a lot to justify what happened to certain characters and how things would turn out the way it did.
Anyway, I didn’t really hate the drama though. I actually enjoyed watching it. The side characters were much more fun to watch than the main characters, and I took joy in watching Bai Yu and Xi Yan’s cute interactions. The two old men who, despite not seeing each other for almost 7 years, still talk to each other like they’ve never left one another. It was great. They really are the truth BFFs. I also quite liked Ying Wu Yi’s character. Even though he was an enemy, I didn’t find him to be despicable or evil. I actually hate Xiao Zhou’s Emperor Brother more than him. To me, I just see Ying Wu Yi as an ambitious man who’s calculative and seeks to rule the world. Unfortunately, his goals means going against Bai Yi and Xi Ya, and the other five countries. And I’m team Bai Yi and Xi Yan all the way!
As for Ji Ye, I initially was rooting for him, but that died after he unintentionally betrayed Tianqi and joined Ying Wu Yi’s army, and then it rose again when he and Yu Ran got together and he and Asule made up. It was always a roller coaster of feelings with Ji Ye. But, at the very least, we got to see Ji Ye grow into a capable and strong man. He definitely had a lot of hurdles along the way, but he eventually become what he wanted, an honorable and respectable warrior. Even though it was Asule who eventually gives his position to Ji Ye as the leader of Tianqi, I think he truly deserved the title because of how much he had grown since the beginning.
Before I end my post, I just have to vent about the most heartbreaking thing for me about this drama. Seriously, this is what ended the drama for me, and it’s what made me angry the most!!! It’s the fact that Asule and Xiao Zhou DO NOT END UP TOGETHER!!! I was sooooooo disappointed when he left her. There was even a brief moment where I actually hated Asule. I mean, Xiao Zhou did a lot for him. She stood by his side and protected him when he lost his memories and she was willing to give up everything, including her status as a princess, just to be with him. But Asule just casually threw her aside (in the scene, it really feels that way!!!). But, of course, Asule had his own reasons. I actually had a feeling that they wouldn’t end up together. Xiao Zhou belongs in the Eastern Lands and Asule is the Crown Prince of Qingyang. He had to eventually return home anyway to take care of his people. But it was just sad that they couldn’t be together. They both were perfect together. Asule was kindhearted and sweet and Xiao Zhou was patient and loving towards him. They matched each other pretty well. But because of their identities, they weren’t able to be together.
Anyway, my overall thoughts about the drama is that, while it was disappointing, it was still very enjoyable to watch. It helps that there are many side stories and the story doesn’t just focus on Asule. It could have been better, but whatever. What’s done is done. I would’ve loved to see more scenes with Asule or Xiao Zhou, but him admitting that she was his true love in the end of the last episode was enough for me to accept that his heart belongs to her.