[Chinese Drama] Royal Nirvana (鹤唳华亭)

Starring: Luo Jin (罗晋), Li Yitong (李一桐), Huang Zhizhong (黄志忠), Jin Han (金瀚) etc.

Total number of episodes: 60

This is one of the rare occasions where I picked up a drama for the actress (usually I pick my dramas for the male leads). Additionally, I was never a fan of the historical dramas of pure palace concept. However, it was not easy to ignore the presence of this drama when Youku dedicates an entire page on their mobile app for this drama. So I decided to get this drama a chance to see if would eventually like it (or dislike it).

I wasn’t expecting much to begin with for Royal Nirvana [RN]; in fact I thought I might just stopped after the first episode; which I was wrong. Somehow RN had got me hooked on and till the point I wanted to see more of the story plot, a lot more.

RN is a drama portray how a crowned prince (Xiao Dingquan acted by Luo Jin) who yearns for his father’s (the emperor, Xiao Jian, acted by Huang Zhi Zhong) love and recognition. After being away for 3 years, Xiao Dingquan returns home and try to prove his abilities as the crowned prince. However, many schemes against Xiao Dingquan. The situation was made worse when the emperor often does not trust him, and always shows favoritism to his eldest son, Xiao Dingtan (acted by Jin Han).

The female lead, Lu Wenxi (acted by Li Yi Tong), used to live a carefree life until her father, a civil servant, was asked to return to the imperial city. As her family returned to the imperial city only to die a wrongful death, she sought to seek vengeance for her family, and she smuggled into the palace as a maidservant.

First and foremost, I had never watched a drama from actor Luo Jin before. There were plenty of scenes that were extremely emotional, so I am very impressed that he had done it so well.

For Li Yi Tong, there was not the first drama I have seen her. (The first drama was the Legend of the Condor Heroes, which I thought she was pretty good acting as Huang Rong). In this drama, similar to Luo Jin, there were a lot of dramas that requires her to be emotional, which I thought she had also pulled it off really well.

I can’t say much here, because anymore and I will potentially spoil the show. 🙂

Unfortunately, for RN, I have mixed feelings on the drama. Initially, I thought this drama would show the budding romance between Xiao Dingquan and Lu Wenxi, and from there continue the plot on how Xiao Dingquan become the emperor etc. However, I was wrong as the drama turn dark so fast and with a lot of plot twists. As per a palace based drama, there were plentiful of scheming against each other and in the middle (25 – 50) it became extremely dragging (I must say, I was fast forwarding the episodes at some point).

Plot wise, I was relatively annoyed with the father and son relationship between the Emperor and Xiao Dingquan + Xiao Dingquan and Lu Wenxi that I there were a few times I questioned why I started the drama in the first place and why am I still watching it.

One thing definitely makes the show tolerable was the acting skills of the female and male lead. Plot wise, I am not so sure… Maybe it was because I had never read the novel (by Xue Man Liang Yuan), so perhaps the drama was following strictly to the novel.

Additionally, the ending was unexpected! So, I guess after completing the 60 episodes, the drama didn’t turn out to be that intolerable after all.

Do I recommend this drama? Well, if you like palace based dramas with a large number of angst and scheming involved, this is definitely the drama to go. Otherwise, I don’t really recommend this drama.

Also… there MIGHT be a possibility for season 2. Who knows? It may happen in the near future.

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