I finally got around to watching this a while back but haven’t posted the review yet. I also need to clarify that I didn’t read the novel so I will just base my review on what’s in the series. I actually tried to read the novel but got impatient and then flipped to the end a bit. I ended up hunting down for the summary of some characters instead and understand a bit about the situation of the adaptation. But back to the series. How was it? I’ll save the rants for it below.
- Lu Han (鹿晗) as Chen Chang Sheng (陳長生). He was really likable and relatable as a protagonist. I felt there were many sides to him that it was enough to be an interesting main lead. He had serious moments (plenty, considering how his death was always looming) and funny scenes–where he interacted comfortably with the others. I liked his intelligence and his kindness toward others. Sure, he had moments where he was super stubborn, but that was what sold me on him, considering how most main leads nowadays were just too good to be true. I felt his rogue side added to the character, but how there was a balance to his character so it wasn’t too over either–like trying too hard and then failed. What I also liked was his sword, lol. Super cool and convenient for road travel. He could store everything in there. This was my first time watching Lu Han and I must say I was surprised. Not that I doubt his capabilities of being the main lead. It was more like I only heard of his name but never watched him before. I was glad to finally watch him in this series.
- Yang Ceng Xi (杨曾曦) as Childhood Chen Chang Sheng (幼年陳長生).
- Guli Nazha (古力娜扎) as Xu You Rong (徐有容) aka Holy Girl (聖女). I don’t know what to say about this character except extreme frustration throughout. Okay, I have a lot to say yet I had to calm down for a bit to be able to write this review. First off, as the main lead, I felt she was really robbed–regarding the script. Sure, she appeared a lot. But I felt the writers played her major time. She was so bland that I felt I couldn’t justify half of her actions. Sure, she was after all their Holy Girl and had to act appropriately according to the rules, whatever. But I felt, later on, her contribution to the plot was so weak. I wished she had a solid story so it convinced me why she was the main lead. I didn’t need her to jump in and save the day all the time. That would be unrealistic. Yet I felt aside from the scene where they conspired to save Chang Sheng out of that maximum-security prison, she didn’t have other scenes where she stood out. Sure, she fought along their side and contributed to help think of plans, but I felt it was still weak. It was still a part of her duty sort of thing. I liked her stubbornness and how she wouldn’t marry QSJ just because the others wanted her to. I liked her rebellious schemes later on–when she finally agreed to join in with the others to break Chang Sheng out (like said before). But why wasn’t she given anymore subplot to convince of her importance? It was 50+ episodes and she only stood around the majority of the time and discussed stuff and be lovey-dovey with Chang Sheng at other times? I got that she was smart in her own way and I liked that she had her reasons for not wanting Chang Sheng to become too obsessed with the constellations. But what else was there for her? Even her scene where she sabotaged Nan Ke’s wedding became a plot for QSJ to turn around. Really? I felt she just became a plot device so QSJ could shine somehow or just a reason for CS and QSJ to disagree–although I do like Chang Sheng a lot. But it didn’t make it any less of frustration to see the main girl so inactive. Aside from that, I felt that Nazha had improved so much with her acting since The Classic of Mountains and Seas. I’m proud of her. It sounds confusing, considering how I criticized the character so much yet I felt Nazha did a good job with portraying such a role, showing the depth of her character with whatever was given. She exuded the Holy Girl vibe very well and was quite articulated. Her ability to express with her eyes also improved immensely as well.
- Lu Chen Yue (吕晨悦) as Childhood Xu You Rong (幼年徐有容).
- Janice Wu (吴倩) as Bai Luo Heng (白落衡) aka Luo Luo (落落). She was my favorite female character in here. I was surprised. I thought I would dislike her because of a possible role in the triangle. But I felt she had exceeded all expectations. She was lively and fun. Not to mention so loyal and caring and lovable. There were so many sides to her. She was sort of spoiled too–somewhat–but she was still likable in many ways. I cried many times for her and felt that Janice did a very good job. I liked her since watching DOMD and felt she acted quite well in there. She took her acting to another level. I think her performance was what made her character so likable and enjoyable to watch. It was really sad to see her acting so passive toward the others later. I thought it would be for the best later since she had to move on anyway. But it was really tragic. The transition of her character also proved Janice’s acting was quite convincing.
- Joseph Zeng (曾舜晞) as Tang Tang (唐棠) aka Tang San Shi Liu (唐三十六). He was hilarious. I loved how he was Chang Sheng’s first friend since arriving at that place. I thought he would be arrogant and look down on Chang Sheng, but he wasn’t so. He was quite grounded for a somewhat spoiled young master. He loved to show off and was very proud of his inventions. Yet he was surprisingly likable. Sure, he did have his crazy moments and was mad at Chang Sheng over some misunderstanding too. But I thought I forgave him since he did leave that one group to join Chang Sheng’s school to show his support. When things mattered, he did back Chang Sheng up. Not to mention, all of those inventions. It was too cool. Anyway, he was my second favorite male character in here.
- Amelie Xu (许龄月) as Mo Yu (莫雨). I didn’t like her at all–if that was too cruel to say. Yet it was too hard to like her. It wasn’t because she sided with QSJ regarding the triangle either. Partly, but like how the rest of that place totally looked down on others–it was like a rule or something, you have to look down on outsiders to be called one of them. I could respect it that she finally admitted it that Chang Sheng had a good side but she was still siding with QSJ regarding the triangle. Yet what I found ironic for the majority of the series was how she didn’t see it that she was forcing You Rong YET she didn’t like the empress’ nephew either (who hit on her multiple times during the earlier parts of the series). I felt bad for her that she had become that way near the end. It was sad for her and Tang Tang yet that didn’t make her a top character for me either. Hey, I found it super hard to like You Rong too so it wasn’t like I was just picking on her.
- Gao Han Yu (高瀚宇) as Xuan Yuan Po (轩辕破). He was probably my favorite male character in here. After having watched him in SCI Mystery, I was ready to see another role of his. In fact, that was the reason why I moved on to watching this series earlier than expected. (Yes, my list’s still super long and I don’t know if I could finish it in this lifetime, really.) I had followed it while it was airing but didn’t think to watch it so soon. Anyway, back to GHY, definitely a different role from SCI since his IQ was brought down even more, lol. But he was a really lovable character. He was funny–without knowing possibly. He was seriously loyal and caring toward his friends. It was hilarious. I also liked his crush on Luo Luo and felt it was too bad they couldn’t be together either. Well, he was going to guard her temple later so it wasn’t for nothing. But still sad. The saddest part was how he was crying–or on the verge of crying–knowing that she would forget him too eventually and seeing how it was already happening to Chang Sheng. What was even funnier with him was how he loved to eat but also could cook up a storm. It was a nice touch since in other series, we only get to see those loving to eat and pig out from others’ cooking. Yet he was able to do both. Anyway, GHY’s acting was quite good in here. I think I like him even more in here.
- Chen Shu (陈数) as Tian Hai You Xue (天海幽雪) aka Holy Empress (圣后). Mixed feelings throughout. Sometimes, I got it from her speeches or her intentions that she was looking at the bigger picture and caring for her citizens. Other times, I just thought she was crazy.
- Eddie Cheung (張兆輝) as Yin Xing Dao (寅行道) aka Royal Scholar (教宗大人) aka Red Robe (紅袍). Um, I have flashbacks of the ’90s when Eddie was portraying villainous roles all over again, lol. His schemes were elaborate and he was smart enough to stay in the background. However, I felt his intelligence could only be so much. Why? Seriously, he wanted to become king and all but ended up having to control the constellations as well? Um, not too smart there. Aside from that, I didn’t doubt Eddie’s acting.
- Yao Di (姚笛) as Nan Ke (南客). I didn’t like her but had to admit her character got some mystery and depth to it. Even if she was from the opposing side, I actually admired her stubbornness at times. I hated her stupid jealousy rants but felt she had a better story than oh-say the main girl. Yes, I kept going back to that, but I seriously don’t get why You Rong got the short end of the stick like that. Anyway, I thought the actress did quite well–like some others did in here. She showed her emotions nicely.
- Johnny Zhang (张峻宁) as Qiu Shan Jun (秋山君). Seriously, right from the start, I didn’t like him. It wasn’t because of his involvement in the triangle. But I’m known to not root for the too-good to be true guy. He was so bland and flaky that I found hard to relate to. People who are way above others/on top of the world would fall the hardest when meeting with obstacles and he indeed fell hard. The fact that he only got more interesting once he turned was really sad. I felt his saving point was the actor’s acting. Because he was so convincing in those scenes, the struggles and the unwillingness to let go of many things in his life. And then there went the reason why I was so mad at the writers. They managed to conjure up such a story for GSJ and couldn’t come up with an ounce of a decent plot for You Rong? Seriously? Even Nan Ke got some depth to her character–aside from the senseless jealousy.
- Archie Kao (高聖遠) as Jin Yu Lu (金玉律). It was really interesting to see Archie in an ancient setting, lol. I wasn’t used to it but found his character likable. Archie didn’t disappoint in the acting department–obviously. I sometimes felt really bad for him for having to chase down Luo Luo time after time. Later, it was revealed their relationship wasn’t just that of master and servant but there was something deeper. He treated her like family and even promised to stay by her side in the future. Too bad he wasn’t able to fulfill that promise. It was really tragic with his death. I shed a few tears. One of the most tragic deaths of the series.
- Lin Si Yi (林思意) as Little Black Dragon (小黑龙) aka Zhu Sha (朱砂). I loved her. She was hilarious. At times, she was so stubborn but she was quite likable. One of my favorite scenes was when she used one hand to hold her food and the other hand to lift the door for them to flee. It was awesome. She was after all a powerful dragon. The other character in here who was obsessed with food, lol. I don’t think I could blame her since she was trapped in that place for so long.
- You Jing Ru (尤靖茹) as Qi Jian (七間). I didn’t care for her sect nor the rest of the members, but she was an exception. Not just because they were isolating Chang Sheng because they were taking their senior’s side, but how they were looking down on Chang Sheng and others in general. Anyway, she was different for me because–although she liked Qiu Shan Jun–but she had a likable persona to her since she appeared. It was like something I was looking forward to finding out more–or if she would appear more than some of the cast in here. It was a different character, so I was curious. She turned out to be quite righteous and reliable later. I didn’t just like her because she later followed them and aided them greatly–that was a bonus, but I liked how she was different from Nan Ke (aka someone else who liked QSJ but reacted differently). She wasn’t jealous of others who liked QSJ or the one QSJ liked. She was grounded in that way and was smart and determined in many areas. Although the others treated her with caution, wanting to protect her at times, but she proved herself to be quite capable.
- Fu Li Jun (冯荔军) as Gou Han Shi (苟寒食). I had to make an exception from that one sect for him too. Sure, I got that he was worshiping QSJ too–it was hard not to, but I liked that he knew how to think for himself, not acting as a crowd to bully Chang Sheng. Initially, he wanted to show loyalty for his senior, but later interacting with Chang Sheng, he learned to respect Chang Sheng. I felt he was actually a true hero among the members of his sect, NOT QSJ. I’m not saying that because I sided with Chang Sheng regarding the other triangle, but I felt Gou Han Shi was a hidden hero, not showy but genuine.
- Liu Kai Fei (刘凯菲) as Zhou Yu Ren (周玉人) aka Black Robe (黑袍). Zhou Du Fu’s younger sister. That was a major surprise. I meant with her relation to Zhou Du Fu. It was interesting how she collaborated with the Red Robe dude and then later wanted to switch sides. It made sense since they wanted to survive or at least take down whichever side they felt was more of a threat. But just found that really interesting. I had some suspicions during the scenes where they were in the tomb like she had a special relation to Zhou Du Fu but didn’t realize it was that close.
- Eric Tsang (曾志偉) as Taoist Ji (計道人) aka Shang Xing Zhou (商行舟). Chang Sheng’s master. I thought he was a funny master, considering how it was Eric and all. But I felt he totally played Chang Sheng major time. Yes, he seemed to have his reasons back then, but it was sooo messed up to inflict such tragedies into Chang Sheng’s life. But I guessed since he had no one, it was so easy to influence and change his life however. I felt Chang Sheng was already so forgiving with the situation. I wasn’t grateful that he sided with them later and not with his junior. I felt it was overdue that he did something.
- Fu Jia (付嘉) as Yu Ren (余人). Chang Sheng’s senior, the real son of the Holy Empress. I seriously didn’t think much of him so it was a surprise that he turned out to be the real son. I didn’t mean I looked down on him or anything. I liked that he was Chang Sheng’s good senior and always supported and encouraged Chang Sheng on throughout. However, I thought he was just another character. Well played.
- Liu Ruo Gu (刘若谷) as Childhood Yu Ren (幼年余人).
- Wang Ce (王策) as White Emperor (白帝). Luo Luo’s father, also the king of the demon clan.
- Gong Bei Bi (龚蓓苾) as White Queen (白后). Luo Luo’s mother, also the queen of the demon clan.
- Xue Jia Ning (薛佳凝) as Mo Yu’s mother (莫雨母亲).
- Zhai Tian Lin (翟天临) as Zhou Du Fu (周独夫). Interesting character yet there were many things I still wanted to know about him.
- Ren Shan (任山) as Tian Hai Cheng Wu (天海承武). Tian Hai You Xue’s older brother. Didn’t think much of him except he was there to cause conflicts.
- Que Zhe Ming (曲哲明) as Tian Hai Ya Er (天海牙儿). Tian Hai Cheng Wu’s son, Tian Hai You Xue’s nephew. I felt his character was as useless as his father. It didn’t really contribute anything except side dramas.
- Quan Pei Lun (权沛伦) as Guan Fei Bai (關飛白). It was indeed a shocker for him when his senior turned and killed him, which he realized wasn’t intentional but it was too late.
- Xiao Yu Liang (肖宇梁) as Zhuang Huan Yu (莊換羽). I didn’t care for him throughout, considering how he was super jealous of Chang Sheng and still dared to act all righteous. He was a coward and despicable. So it was strange to see him trying to help Tang Tang that one time and then died in the conflict. It was strange. Did he repent when I blinked? Because by that time, I was getting really impatient to see the series wrap up.
- Maggie Siu (邵美琪) as Xun Mei (荀梅). Short appearance, but sort of interesting to see.
- Wang Gang (王岗) as Tang Qiu (唐秋). Tang Tang’s father. Mixed feelings.
- Zhang Jia Ding (张嘉鼎) as Tang Hai (唐海). Tang Tang’s adopted brother. I didn’t like him at all. It didn’t matter what his excuses were and his actions throughout. He didn’t gain any sympathy from me. It was sort of funny seeing how Tang Tang kicked him to Kingdom Come, lol.
- Hao Shuai (郝帅) as Xiao De (小德). A general of the demon clan, wanted to marry Luo Luo. I was suspicious of him at times. Or because of his mysterious nature. But anyway, I guessed it was all right. At least he didn’t cause trouble or linger too long.
- Yu Yang (于洋) as Shuang Er (霜兒). You Rong’s servant girl. Couldn’t really like her either although I know she couldn’t really be blamed since she can’t really control her own life.
- He Zhong Hua (何中华) as Emperor of Zhou Dynasty (太宗). Only seen briefly at the beginning of the series and soon passed away.
- Gao Yang (高洋) as Goddess of the demon clan (神女). A somewhat important role that influenced both Chang Sheng and Luo Luo’s destinies later.
- Wu Ze Jin Xi (武泽锦熙) as Medicine Furnace Boy (药炉童子). Hilarious. I enjoyed his scenes. He was what made some of the scenes light up even more.
- Cast. The majority of the cast did quite well.
- The music. Always loved listening to Zhang Jie for theme songs so it was enjoyable for me. The rest of the soundtrack wasn’t bad either. It fitted with the series in general.
- The majority of the friendships/bonds in here. Although some characters I cared for more than others, I had to admire them for their loyalty and support when things mattered.
- Flashbacks. Seriously, this is the problem with the majority of the series nowadays. Once again, I loved the music and liked hearing the songs. But I found at times, the flashbacks were unnecessary–except to promote the songs and possibly extend the length.
- Length/Pace. Seriously, flashbacks contributed to the problem. On top of that, they didn’t know how to focus on the right story.
- Organization. It was a mess. The jump back and forth between scenes wasn’t well planned. I meant there were some subplots that dragged on and on, then later it jumped to another subplot. It made us forgot what in the world happened with the other one. I wouldn’t want them to jump so dizzily from one scene to the next but at times when they show what was happening here vs another, it was really slow. Then at another time, they just glossed over essential details.
Recommended? I think it’s considered average. It could be a good series, but the length killed it. It should have been 35 episodes. Because of the reasons I listed above, the length was unbearable in many ways.
(image capped by DTLCT)
I finished this a while back but was waiting until I finished reading the novel as well before I actually review it. Yes, this was one of those rare adaptations of recent that I actually went to read the novel while watching. Then I just finished watching before reading so I had to wait. Anyway, I thought this was 70% accurate. Although there were some scenes being shuffled, some changes being made, and some additions that were needed to make the story more coherent, I felt the consistent dialogues and the majority of the characterizations were reserved. I actually preferred the series over the novel. Yes, this coming from someone who fought bitterly in the past regarding novel accuracy. I felt the production team did their best. Some of the stuff that was changed, I understood why and it made the flow a tad less confusing. I understood the way it was written, but I think when transferred to the screen, they had to refine the timeline more so it would be less confusing for viewers.
- Dilraba Dilmurat (迪丽热巴) as Lie Ru Ge (烈如歌). She was amazing. I first watched her in Legend of the Ancient Sword and liked her–even though she only had a small part in there. Anyway, I thought she was perfect for this role. At first, I didn’t like how the red outfit was popping up again–yes, due to the overwhelming usage of red robes over the past few years. However, because I learned of her character and the reasons behind her liking red, it made sense. I tried to put that aside and enjoy the series. It wasn’t until I read the novel that I accepted it. This was because in the past years, even if the characters wore it, it was changed from the novel just for whatever reason they felt like it. Since the author chose it, I respect her choice on that. Character-wise, I liked her in the series better. I know she was still very young and inexperienced in a lot of matters and it was normal to react like so and so. However, I felt the organization of the series made her character stronger and smarter. Her stubbornness and determination and the elaborate schemes that she conjured up along with the others. It made her character so full of capabilities. Not to mention how they took her martial arts to another level, showing more and more how she was indeed suitable as the leader–if she wanted it. I think her character grew to another level with what had happened. I thank the author for creating such a story because the novel focused on romances more than wuxia/jianghu theme, I had to choose the series because it had more balance (although they did toss in a bunch of romances too, it was for the others, not just Ru Ge only).
- Amy Zhang (张茗灿) as Childhood Ru Ge (小如歌). She was so cute. I could see the transition so nicely with the childhood version of Ru Ge and the older version.
- Li Yi Xi (李羿希) as Baby Ru Ge (婴儿如歌). What can I say?
- Vic Chou (周渝民) as Yin Xue (銀雪). At first, I felt kinda awkward because I didn’t understand his character. I thought it was supposed to be a serious role (mostly from the beginning scene and how he was chased down by a bunch of groups before meeting Ru Ge in the present time). Then I thought Vic was uncomfortable with the role hence the character not being consistent–and sometimes broke out into being silly. But I loved watching him regardless so I ignored that part and his character eventually grew on me–more or less. It wasn’t until I read the novel that I realized they (the scriptwriters) already toned down on his crazy side. He was seriously too silly in the novel and possibly couldn’t become the main lead if they kept everything, lol. Instead, they chose to portray his humorous side differently and kept his mishaps on the lower end. I actually had mixed feelings toward Yin Xue in the novel. I didn’t like it that he forced Ru Ge to like him throughout and kept pestering her. My favorite part of him in the novel was when he was crying and pretending to be wounded (or was he seriously just dramatic?) that she looked down upon him because he used to be in a brothel. It was funny and cute in a way, lol. Yet the rest of his tantrums, I didn’t care for. The series brought out some of his jealousy by coming up with different scenes than showing his tantrums, which made sense. I didn’t like it but felt it was a tad better. As for screen time, I thought his presence was severely lacking and was somehow doubting that he would end up with Ru Ge at the end. I was prepared for it. Yet when I read the novel, his appearance was even more lacking than ever. In fact, the scene when they were at that one town selling cakes, the novel completely glossed over that part. I felt robbed. (Not just that particular scene either but a lot of scenes throughout the novels were like barely being highlighted.) What was interesting was how the author mentioned she actually quite liked Xue yet killed him off anyway. So yeah.
- Vin Zhang (张彬彬) as Zhan Feng (戰楓). The author actually wanted to kill Zhan Feng in the novel, but it didn’t work out so she didn’t force it. Anyway, I felt Vin was so perfect for the role that I thought I saw the character walked out of the novel. (I thought that was the same for the majority of the cast in here.) The scriptwriters actually wanted to spare him of such a tragic ending so they eliminated some details and tossed it to Yi Lang. For one, he actually killed his own father (and Yi Lang was spying but didn’t interfere like in the series). Although at times I didn’t understand his action (while watching), but I felt Vin’s acting was very convincing. His eyes were full of emotions and they held a mystery that was to be revealed later. Yet it was frustrating (in a sense of the plot).
- Wu Ze Jin Xi (武泽锦熙) as Childhood Zhan Feng.
- Ji Zi Xuan (纪子轩) as Baby Zhan Feng (婴儿战枫).
- Wayne Liu (刘芮麟) as Yu Zi Han (玉自寒). I think I liked watching Wayne portray the role more than the character itself. Not that I was bitter about how it turned out in the novel, but I often steered away from too good to be true characters. He indeed exuded all of the auras that the author mentioned, royalty and stern vibe even if he seemed so fragile on the surface. Wayne’s expression was on point. There was a gentleness and kindness within him whenever he was with Ru Ge. Then there was a fierce, stubborn side of him that was seen at various points. He was actually a complex character, but maybe more so in the series than the novel. Or maybe the novel focused too much on his love for Ru Ge that made it sort of one-dimensional for me.
- Dong Li Wu You (董李无忧) as Childhood Yu Zi Han (小玉自寒). Consistent enough for the younger version and the context of the story.
- Jang Hyuk (张赫) as Lei Jing Hong (雷惊鴻). He was seriously obnoxious. But there was this side of playfulness and kindness that was hard to hate. In fact, he was one of the fun characters in here. Yet it turned out quite tragic for him. That was only for the series though. Sure, he’d gone through some hardships with Yi Lang’s schemes and all, but it turned out quite well for him. He was my favorite supporting character in here–aside from You Qin Hong.
- Dai Si (代斯) as Dao Lie Xiang (刀冽香). She was only mentioned briefly in the novel as it was relevant to the Dao family’s link to Zhan Feng. She was never mentioned again after the wedding with Zhan Feng. The series gave her a bigger role since they did extend quite a few characters in here. Anyway, regarding the series, I think she was all right for the most part, especially how she was secretly helping them at first–mostly because they helped Yin Xue. I didn’t like it that she tricked and captured Lei Jing Hong that one time. Yes, I got it that those other dudes were her brothers and she was really conflicted. However, it was really painful to watch with her forcing him like that. I also got it that she thought that was the best in trying to save his life but that part with him being humiliated by her brother was really frustrating to watch.
- Long Zheng Xuan (龙政璇) as Feng Huang (凤凰). The scriptwriters extended her role to that of a major one since she was only a minor character in the novel. It was mentioned when Ru Ge returned to Wan Hua Lou later that she became a rich dude’s ninth wife and didn’t really get along with the others within the resident. I was fine with the extension since it created a more complex plot and added some more characters to the overall plotline. But I think it cut a little into another character’s territory. Yet it wasn’t like I could do anything about it anyway.
- He Suo (何索) as You Qin Hong (有琴泓). I think I felt for him the most out of all the characters that suffered throughout, at least with the supporting or minor characters. He’d been through betrayal and then Yin Xue took him in and guided him, helping him start over. Yet later, he sacrificed himself and all. It wasn’t too bad. His sacrifice seemed all for nothing but it wasn’t so later. He was very kind and loyal to Yin Xue. Yet in the novel, he turned out to be a spy planted by An Ye Luo–although it was shown he didn’t care much for An Ye Luo either at the wedding scene near the ending. Luckily, the series edited that part out and made it less tragic in that sense.
- Gong Bei Bi (龚蓓苾) as An Ye Jue (暗夜绝). She was crazier in the novel–if that was even possible. The series, although gave us a bit of doubt or created a gray area for her character-with how she was hesitant to kill Lei Jing Hong at times and seemed to keep her words with her supposed husband. However, she seemed to treat Xun Yi about the same in the series and the novel. She manipulated to get her way or just plain ignored Xun Yi. The series sort of gave her a much better ending, even though she died in both versions. In the series, she died after being captured in a battle versus committing suicide because she was obsessed with her brother (the same way her brother was obsessed with his other sister). It was pretty pathetic, seriously. (And very gross too. Either way, not just her but An Ye Luo too.)
- Lai Yi (赖艺) as An Ye Luo (暗夜罗). A lot of gross stuff going on, both because of his creepy appearance and because he was in love with his sister. I think it was mentioned in a flashback scene that they weren’t blood-related? That was the series, not the novel. Because in the novel, it said that she was really his sister. (Ewwww…) But he was really broken. Their parents were never mentioned? So I wasn’t sure how that worked into the whole thing. Or I just plain forgot since I was trying to block the images out of my head.
- Ma De Ya (马德丫) as Xun Yi (薰衣). She played a bigger role in the novel regarding Zhan Feng than the series let on. The series let her off easier (like it did with Zhan Feng in some sense) because it said that she suspected or knew she was Lei Jing Hong’s sister early on but wasn’t involved with schemes of her mother until later. Also, it was emphasized that she had no choice but to comply because her mother had used Ji Jing Lei’s well-being against her. However, that didn’t seem to be so in the novel. She was actually the one who handed the manual to Zhan Feng when he was practicing An He Gong’s martial arts. She was pitiful either way because, in the novel, she didn’t even have her mother’s acknowledgment at all, considering how her mother didn’t think of her father as having any importance. He was just a tool to her and a sacrifice she needed to make to help her brother further his agenda.
- Chen Ye Lin (陈烨林) as Ji Jing Lei (姬惊雷). They extended his role more in the series, which made sense because they needed to develop the stories more and give it better context regarding the big picture with the battles and all (not just mentioning it happening briefly like in the novel). I was really annoyed with him at first for attacking Ru Ge (or seemed to) and really supported Zhan Feng with being the leader until the point that he argued with the others. After he explained what Zhan Feng did for him that one time, I understood him more yet still was quite annoyed with him. Yet he gained my trust in him when he supported Ru Ge throughout the aftermaths after Lie Ming Jing’s death. Not just because he supported Ru Ge, but because he respected his master’s last wish. He argued and appealed to his master when the man was alive, but respected his words and even made sure it got carried out after the man was gone. It was tragic that he lost his sight. At least, in the end, he overcame his worst fears and had a new start.
- James Li (李东恒) as Zhong Li Wu Lei (钟离无泪). He wasn’t supposed to have such a big of a role in the novel. In fact, he was the one who died the night Yi Lang set Lei Jing Hong up, not Die Yi. Yet I think they extended his character because Ru Ge needed another ally within Lie Ruo Shan Zhuang and needed more stories for the series to work. I sometimes suspected him, but he sure lived up to his reputation.
- Zhang Ming Xuan (张铭轩) as Childhood Zhong Li Wu Lei (小钟离无泪).
- Fan Yi Ning (樊驿宁) as Yi Lang (裔浪). He was already a power-driven maniac in the novel, I didn’t need the scriptwriters to pile it on anymore for me to hate him. However, they had to use him as a scapegoat for Zhan Feng and reduced his tragedies in the series. Even so, I felt I liked his ending in the series more, even if it seemed cruel to some people. Because seriously, he got away with it in the novel. It was mentioned briefly after Zhan Feng returned to Lie Huo Shan Zhuang and took over again, Yi Lang disappeared and was never seen again. Seriously, the person responsible for the ruptures and what happened to Lei Jing Hong’s sect got away with it all?
- Huang Yi Kai (黄溢凯) as Childhood Yi Lang.
- Zhao Jun Ze (赵俊泽) as 4 years old Yi Lang (4岁裔浪).
- Qi Hang (亓航) as Dao Wu Xia (刀无暇). Dao Lie Xiang’s oldest brother. I didn’t know what to make of him at first, but he sure made up my mind soon after. And so NOT how he was described in the novel. If anyone felt offended, I think most novels are unrealistic with people’s appearances anyway.
- Gao Yang (高阳) as Dao Wu Hen (刀无痕). Dao Lie Xiang’s second brother. Not what was described in the novel either.
- Yuan Yu Xuan (袁雨萱) as Die Yi (蝶衣). She was sure cute. At first, I felt she was too loud and felt she was pestering Ru Ge too much. I was afraid she would be causing trouble when she snuck out that one time. However, it turned out she was the stubborn yet really caring type, unlike some other fake person. She wasn’t supposed to die in the novel but she was never mentioned again after Ru Ge left Lie Huo Shan Zhuang after Lie Ming Jing’s death.
- Jin Bo Han (金泊含) as Ying Yi (莹衣). The majority of her scenes were accurate, including the part where Ru Ge promised her that she could leave after she told the truth regarding what happened. However, what veered off was how she followed Zhan Feng that one time and even got captured along with him, and then died later. She was never mentioned again after Ru Ge let her go and that was that.
- Wan Mei Xi (万美汐) as Madame Hua (花大娘). She died in the series and that was why Feng Huang later became the new manager of Wan Hua Lou, but in the novel, she didn’t die. In fact, she wasn’t mentioned after Ru Ge and the others left Wan Hua Lou the second time around.
- Xiao Rong Sheng (肖荣生) as Lie Ming Jing (烈明镜). Lie Ru Ge’s adopted father, Zhan Feng’s real father. He looked fierce upfront but was kind and gentle and a caring father behind it all. He was indeed patient and forgiving in the series. However, in the novel, he even mentioned to Ru Ge at one point that if Zhan Feng was a threat to her, just eliminate him (Zhan Feng), which was so cold to me. It was also quite cruel to Ru Ge hence her choosing to shield Zhan Feng from An Ye Luo’s final attack and not Yu Zi Han like she wanted to at first.
- Zhang Hao Cheng (张皓承) as Young Lie Ming Jing.
- Shao Feng (邵峰) as the king.
- Wang Ren Jun (王仁君) as Prince Jing Xian (景献王).
- Li Guang Xu (李广旭) as Prince Jing Yang (敬阳王).
- Xu Min (徐敏) as Old Master of Piao Miao Sect (缥缈祖师).
- Luo Si Wei (罗四维) as Xiang Er (香儿). Used to be at Wan Hua Lou, but was saved by Dao Wu Xia and stayed at the Dao resident as his servant.
- Yan Jing Jie (颜敬杰) as Xuan Huang (玄璜). Loyal to Yu Zi Han and a reliable person. He was somewhat hot-headed at times but it just showed that he cared.
- Sun Xiao Lun (孙晓伦) as Huang Cong (黄琮). She was so cool. I liked her regardless if I learned of how it was in the novel or not. Because she was very reliable and powerful.
- Ge Shi Min (葛施敏) as Bi Er (碧儿).
- Chen Kai (陈凯) as Mu Rong Tang Zhu (慕容堂主). He was indeed an important force of Lie Huo Shan Zhuang and one of the consistent characters throughout, unlike some in here that ganged up on Ru Ge and didn’t understand the situation. (They were deceived, but seriously.) I actually quite liked him–along with Zhong Li Tang Zhu–because he was smart and also an easygoing person–if time allowed.
- Chen Yue (陈玥) as Ling Tang Zhu (凌堂主). Seriously, wishy-washy. I can’t blame him for falling for Yi Lang’s tricks but he didn’t help with the situations at times either.
- Chen Ji Ming (陈继铭) as Lei Hen Tian (雷恨天). Lei Jing Hong’s father.
- Wang Gang (王岗) as Xie Hou You (谢厚友). He was seriously unlucky.
- Anson Shi (石悦安鑫) as Xie Xiao Feng (谢小风). At first, I was somewhat annoyed with the kid, but later enjoyed his arguments with Lei Jing Hong. They were indeed like a family at that part, just enjoying the simple life and all.
- Fang Xiao Yue (方小月) as Huang Sao (黄嫂). Yi Lang’s mother. Perhaps, it was for the best that she didn’t know of Yi Lang’s fate? Because it would break her heart completely.
- Wang Lu (王璐) as Zhan Fei Tian (战飞天). Believed to be Zhan Feng’s father, Lie Ru Ge’s real father.
- Zhou Qi (周奇) as Eldest Student of Piao Miao Sect (飘渺大师兄).
Relationships / Pairings / Whatever:
- Dilraba Dilmurat / Ru Ge and Vic Chou / Yin Xue. I didn’t feel their chemistry at first. I was intrigued as soon as I watched the opening scenes. However, I wasn’t feeling them until way later. Okay, possibly around the time they were at that one town, opening the shop and all. I didn’t like it that he kept placing his hands around her and trying to be as intimate as possible at times, taking advantage of the situation. Yet when their bond improved later, I decided to cut him some slacks, mostly because he had been waiting forever (almost) to be reunited with her after their fate was cut short in her previous life. There were actually quite a few fun and touching scenes between them.
- Dilraba Dilmurat / Ru Ge and Vin Zhang / Zhan Feng. I thought they really had chemistry. It was that was the way the plot was so they couldn’t be together. It was kind of cute watching their younger versions interacting. Too bad, huh? But I think fans of the pairing shouldn’t be too disappointed since they starred in The King’s Women (秦时丽人明月心) together. (Although I think it’s another tragic drama, lol.)
- Dilraba Dilmurat / Ru Ge and Wayne Liu / Yu Zi Han. They totally exuded the brother and sister vibe throughout the series so I was not torn that they didn’t end up together. Sure, they could work (like how it was in the novel) and there were some cute moments together. But I think their boundaries were clearly established in here (except for a few scenes), unlike how it was in the novel. They were much more intimate in the novel and it showed that they would eventually end up together.
- Jang Hyuk / Lei Jing Hong and Dai Si / Dao Lie Xiang. They had really good chemistry and their story aided majorly with the scenes. I thought she was going to die–based on the main theme. Yet it turned out all right, despite all the tragedies happening between their two families. The ending was kind of funny and I was surprised how things turned out, but I was glad in the sense that they could mend their relationship. It wasn’t too out of the ordinary since he explained during the battles with An He Gong, he admitted that he finally realized of Lie Xiang’s situation and how he was being harsh on her. He went on to elaborate that his situation with An Ye Jue was complex as well, at times hating her for the schemes yet couldn’t help but thought of the times she let him go and possibly about the times she actually raised him. So yeah, not too out of nowhere with trying to get them back together at the end. However, I think the scriptwriters turned them into Romeo and Juliet just for dramatic purposes. Because in the novel, he ended up with Huang Cong. Yup, he and Huang Cong bonded and fell in love after that one time she escorted him back to Jiangnan–after the happenings at Lie Huo Shan Zhuang and Ru Ge had to break him out. That was why he became an active force in the final battles on the outside. I also think the scriptwriters transferred some of Huang Cong’s personalities to Lie Xiang because there was one particular scene that stood out (in fact, the second rare scene mentioning them together) that showed and somewhat explained their relationship. That was when Huang Cong snapped at him for wanting to use explosives to blow up An He Gong since that could possibly harm Yu Zi Han as well since they weren’t sure of his location, which Jing Hong stayed quiet because he didn’t want to upset her further. It was explained that he wasn’t the doormat type nor would easily give in to others yet he couldn’t do anything in regard to Huang Cong–because of his love for her, lol.
- James Li / Zhong Li Wu Lei and Yuan Yu Xuan / Die Yi. Their story was so cute yet tragic. I thought they would make it through yet it wasn’t so. Wishful thinking really.
- Music. That was the first thing that popped up in my mind when I thought of this section. Most of the songs in here were unique and addicting in their own way, which tied back to the story in some shape or form.
- Casting. I felt all the cast did quite well with the portrayals of their characters. I liked them even better after reading the novel, because like I said above, it looked like they walked out of the novel. Well, for the majority since I did make some comments above about it.
- Costumes / Makeup. It was almost exactly how it was described in the novel, which was really surprising.
- Flashbacks. Yes, this was unavoidable, especially for recent dramas. But I was getting really annoyed at times with the flashbacks. I felt it was overused. Because some scenes were shown over and over again. I got that flashbacks were necessary in a sense and seriously don’t mean the flashbacks to when they were little at times. But the ones that were in the present timeline or already happened but kept being shown throughout. Moreover, the over usage of flashbacks stuck out like a sore thumb because I knew it was a way to extend the episodes. Not to mention to promote the songs, lol. I loved the songs, but seriously, they were pushing it.
- Length. I think the previous point was responsible for the dragged out episodes. I thought the majority of the plot was all right. The pace was enough–although I didn’t like some of the stuff. It’s impossible to like everything in a series-regardless. Yet what made it a stretch for me was when it hit the 40-mark. Some parts could do without the repetition. If they need to make it to the 50th mark, I would say stop right there. The last two episodes were full of flashbacks and only dedicated a little toward explaining what happened to Yin Xue. Because in the novel, it actually ended at the part where Ru Ge made the cakes for Yu Zi Han so it seemed off with the last two episodes. (I felt the stretch even before finishing the novel.)
- Zhan Feng lost either way. Yes, I saw some outrage when I was doing light searching for information about the drama. Many felt Ru Ge should have ended up with Zhan Feng since he never changed. How soon (52 episodes later more or less) they’d forgotten that he hurt her so badly–even if he had a good reason (or so he thought). It was even worse in the novel because he actually impregnated Ying Yi and caused her to miscarry. Even if it was her desperate attempt to stop the wedding that one time, but his actions showed where he stood on that. Anyway, either way, Zhan Feng wasn’t going to win. Like I mentioned above, the author disclosed in the afternote that she wanted to kill Zhan Feng at first, but because she felt that Ru Ge owed him (or more like that was how Ru Ge felt because of the switch), she didn’t want to kill him off just like that. Then the wedding scene near the ending was supposed to be set for Ru Ge and Zhan Feng, but again, the author wasn’t feeling that either so she scratched the idea. In the series, the scriptwriters (and the production team) favored Yin Xue and the novel favored Yu Zi Han. I side with the series because I felt the ending of the novel was unfair to both Yin Xue and Yu Zi Han. I liked it that Yu Zi Han was able to restore his sight and still reserved his abilities to walk and hear again. However, I didn’t like it that he was going to be stuck with the essence of Yin Xue inside him. Was Yin Xue going to pop up from time to time to disturb them? Seriously? Actually, even if they decided to let her be with Yu Zi Han in the series, I would be fine with it, but I didn’t like the merge. Regarding Zhan Feng, I preferred him in the series over Yu Zi Han, mostly because Yu Zi Han was just too perfect.
- The author was influenced by Gu Long. I just noticed this and guessed. Not sure. Just want to discuss here. The reason was Gu Long was famous for writing short phrases and describing scenes. It made me think of him several times. Then there was also the whole theme behind using a brothel as a front for other activities or reasons. Not that only Gu Long used that direction in his plot, but he was known for a lot of daring plotlines.
Recommended? I think it was worth it. If you’re a Vic fan, it’s a must-watch because he portrayed a completely different role–once again. There were some hints of mischief like some past roles, but this one took on another path. Even if it seemed he appeared so little but it was worth it for me. In fact, I think the majority of the cast did quite well. The story lived up to it. Sure, I complained about some stuff but overall, it was a decent series.