Aug 27, 2022Liked by 40somethingahjumma

This review is so much refreshing compared to the chorus of comments saying that HBY is a psychopath, they shouldn't have gotten back together, HBY shouldn't have pursued SS when he knew he had a revenge agenda. But love is not something we usually plan, it happens and for someone who had lost that star in his life quite early, I don't blame him for pursuing it. Even spies on the job do fall in love, it happens.

The writers did drop the ball from the time the RED birthday happened till the end. Everything happened because the writers wanted it that way.

Instead of the big fight scene and the incessant murderous female, how lovely would it have been if HBY and SS sat down to discuss, with SS asking questions about his life, his journey and his thought process. Things said when emotions are heightened are always exaggerated. Having a heart to heart, baring their soul, being honesty with his other would have solved their noble idiocy. Even if they still decide to part at least it would have made more sense.

Did SS learn anything at all, honestly I don't think so. Saying she's stubborn and she can't change is not a good thing. She's 15 right but a 15 year old at that time is massively more matured to one of even of 20 years ago. Most girls marry at that age, build their home and their family. I think this is the one point I disagree with you. Age is not an excuse but her character is one of righteous indignation. She is upset because HBY abandoned her, didn't tell her his plan and honestly got that but at the end of the day she didn't only punish HBY but also herself for 5 years. Their reunion would have made so much sense if she learnt to forgive him during the 5 years exile, encourage him to forgive himself and probably do a QiQi during that period, make vows to themselves under the stars.

Sorry for the long post.

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No apologies needed whatsoever. You're welcome to post as long as the word limit allows you to.

Frankly I agree with you that a 15 year old in the past was probably far more mature than one today. What I've been addressing is the common comment that she's only 15 and so she can be excused from her many sins. It's clear that a 15 year old in those days were adults in every sense. I remember that in True Grit, the more recent version especially that the female character was already responsible for so much at 14, (I think it was). Over the 70-80 years we've definitely prolonged infantilization of our children for one reason or another.

For me as a middle aged woman whose done over two and half decades of marriage with the same man, I have observed that a lot of problems (not all) between couples can be easily solved with honest communication. It can be hard at first because both parties have expectations that they bring to the relationship which are assumed and unspoken. I also agree that (and have personally experienced it) when one party in a relationship refuses to forgive the other, they end up "punishing" themselves in the long run.

I have no idea where this notion of Huo Buyi being a psychopath comes from unless it's a reference to his strong desire for revenge. Revenge killing was a common way of dealing with murder in many ancient cultures where there was no instituted legal system or even when there was. "An eye for an eye, tooth for tooth" was accepted practice and that's certainly the case even in this drama where Wen Di did not condemn him for his revenge against Ling Yi. If that's the case I note that when we modern types watch historical dramas we often project our own sensibilities onto people in the past. I'm sure I'm guilty of it to some degree of it too. However being a student of history in a superficial way at least allows me to be a little more objective.

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I should also reiterate while I'm at it that Shaoshang was never against him taking revenge. She was against him abandoning her after doing it.

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Aug 29, 2022Liked by 40somethingahjumma

Hi Lily! Ah, I feel kinda sad that this is your last post for LLTG. All stories come to an end though.

I just…have so much to say about the ending of the drama, that I think I’ve exhausted all the words I could even think in writing my love/hate letter jumble-of-review regarding the show. There were so many problems in the later parts of the show, and I hated the cheap tropes the writers fell into with the near-death experience actually, though I think you mentioned basically being fine with it, or anything to get the leads back together. RELATE. LOL. I couldn’t stop laughing when you said “No doubt Wang Yanji would be ecstatic to know that she has been deployed for a higher cosmic purpose in her revenge when she finds her way to the underworld.”

My friend and I talked about how being isolated for 5 years and depressed probably did dull her mind a bit, but boy was it frustrating one after the other.

I don’t understand how it came about that Ling Buyi was a psychopath either, when countless other shows have stories with characters whose sole purpose is to exact revenge. Even more frustrating are comments of how HBY should not have fallen for Shaoshang and so forth. Are people watching different dramas that have never had these storylines before? Couldn’t agree more with you about Zisheng being tsundere.

The theatrics of clashing steel and booming explosions were a waste of time in my opinion too. I fast forwarded through the scene where HBY was being ambushed before being lured into the trap. And cracked up when they threw the last villain in at the end with the pathetic conversation Tian Shuo had with HBY. Not to mention, our capable 3rd prince looked like a complete dude-in-distress until HBY came to save the day.

High five! I loved NORTH AND SOUTH too. LOL! Oh gosh, AUTUMN BALLAD was an absolute disaster. True that LLTG did not have a bad ending, but that’s where my heart hurts, because of the potential we were given and shown, that it could have ended just as splendid the way it began.

I spent over a month hanging out on your posts, and I am going to miss these ramblings. Thank you for taking such precious time writing out your thoughts with wonderful insights and references. You truly are a wordsmith. I hope that our paths will cross again in a shared drama.

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It's a shame that Part 2 relied so heavily on plot devices and chose to forsake the character development that shined in Part 1. I'm not against plot heavy stories and do quite enjoy them, but in this particular case, it's like the writers focused on the wrong elements and reneged on the promise they made us in the first half of the show. I hate to say this, but it's like they took the easy way out by relying solely on (excessive) plot elements to advance character arc. Unfortunately, characters and their relationships with each other became nearly one dimensional and lacked the complexity and nuance from earlier episodes.

Also, I suspect people use the term "psychopath" too loosely these days. For all the reasons already stated, HBY is certainly not one.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with us. It's been a pleasure reading. Until next time!

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Apr 6, 2023·edited Apr 6, 2023

While I agree that the line of crazy women ending storyline sucks, I wanted to add two little points (after multi-repeat watching!):

1) JiSheng/BuYi/WuShang never quite gave up hope of some sort of a reconciliation. He left one of his wingmen (Qi?) as her bodyguard for 5 years. Even the King asked the necessity of such a move, since ShaoShang never left the palace. After a few times watching, I've concluded that BuYi might have been at his most tormented self and he might even have initially had Qi stayed as a protector for his love, but the tactician core of the general is still in him. Qi had to have reported to him of what was going on with SS through those years, hence his KNOWING (as he told the Empress) that the engagement was fake. This was confirmed to me (and to him) when he carried the unconscious Niao Niao home and Ma and Pa Cheng did not say one word about any engagement. They would have been the first to rub salt to the wound (or Ma would be, anyhow) as punishment for hurting their girl. BuYi might have been on some sort of self-punishment spree in the war, but he lived to see Niao Niao again, to maybe ask for forgiveness in due time. His cryptic conversation with the Empress said as much.

2) You were right that the adults in this drama was wrong to have left Niao Niao alone for five freaking years. She wanted to hide from the world and they enabled it. But Ma Cheng did mention that the Empress' palace was like the Cold Palace--no one in or out unless with permission. Not sure how even her letters to her daughter got in :), unless Qi passed it along? Obviously, ShaoShang was free to move around, since she appeared to be the Messenger between the Empress and the Emperor and the new Empress Yue. Also, she had SJian to meet with every time. SJ, I assume, gave her advice, which she chose not to follow and in his last ditch effort to "win" her, offered her a fake engagement at the news that the General was coming home. His hope, of course, was for her to make the fakeness reality; he was willing to wait, as he said.

3) However, that first meeting after five years crushed the hopes of both male leads. For BY, as you noted, he'd not expected this big of a change. His love was not only unwilling to forgive him, but the depth of her frozen depression was the antithesis of his manic/suicidal one. But one thing was clear to all, she had not moved on.

For SJ, he could see his love was a lost cause. His words to BuYi actually let the cat out of the bag about the engagement. He knew it and when BY gave him the bow and walked off quietly, SJ knew that BY knew he was bullshitting.

The explosion was needed to break through the frozen mental state of Niao Niao. Could she truly live without LBY? As long as he was out there fighting somewhere, she seemed vaguely okay with it. But the sight of him disappearing in the fire brought back that cliff experience again and somehow, a repeat was no longer acceptable. Not after his speech, perhaps? Not after the way he told her she was his wife for life, perhaps? But certainly, it was a culmination of being with him again that was thawing her frozen heart. OK, it needed a Huuuuge fire too, haha.

3) I also want to bring up that drunken "story" told by during that Hua town trip, after the big Rebel battle told by SJian's master/teacher. The man in his story betrayed his fiancee and left her for seven years. It was a bit of a foreshadowing, I thought. Originally, BuYi was exiled for seven years too, but was called on after five. Maybe seven years, she would have moved on, like the woman in the story, LOL. One can play with the five-year detail and come out with reasons why BuYi finally got his bride :).

But there you have it, a few thoughts as I keep rewatching. I'm not a Mandarin speaker, but a Cantonese one, and am hunting the Net to see if there is a Cantonese version. I need to hear the phrases they utter because some were quite beautifully lyrical.

Thanks for all your amazing insight of this drama.

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