Love Like the Galaxy (2022) Episodes 27-28 Ramblings
Marriage, as they say in all the weddings I’ve ever been to, should never be entered into lightly and it is always commendable for couples to have a good think before making that big step. Niaoniao is brilliant in so many ways and it’s so easy to forget that there’s so much of life that’s been closed to her by virtue of the fact that mother and father weren’t around to model the most rudimentary expectations of life. Marriage being one of those. Her earliest models — Madam Ge and Second Uncle — weren’t exactly the epitome of marital harmony and bliss so I can imagine it’s not something she’s ever given serious thought to.
It’s a relief quite frankly to finally see Yuanyi and Cheng Shi act like parents for a change and give Niaoniao some real guidance about where to go from here. One of the greatest lies (and I choose my words deliberately) ever propagated in my lifetime is that everyone should be able to do whatever they want. Ancillary to that is the myth that anyone can be anything they want to be. Cheng Shi who has seen a thing or two in his lifetime as a farmer and a soldier, knows that life is far more complex than that. Anyone who has the tiniest bit of responsibility in life know this. Even the Big Man in the palace can’t do whatever he wants just because the buck stops with him. In fact it is because the buck stops with him that he has to choose his battles very carefully.
Shaoshang getting an attack of cold feet as the thought of marrying the great Ling Buyi looms large shouldn’t come as any great surprise but it is somewhat unbecoming to hit him below the belt and go straight for the bit between the eyes just because his efforts to please are a tad clumsy. He really really wants to marry her and he really really wants her to look after her but from where she’s looking, it’s just more pressure, more control and she’s having trouble breathing.
I get it. Things seem to be spiralling out of control when he puts the entire Cheng clan under a strict training regime. For those of us with front row seats and popping the corn, it’s a hoot. But the family are understandably exhausted by his enthusiasm to fit in and make them his people. It’s too much love in a short space of time. Clearly Ling Buyi is not one to do thing in halves.
But the fact that he isn’t one to do things half-heartedly is what wins the day. There are usually two sides to the coin. Nothing is too much for the woman he loves. The same “control freak” who puts the family in a strict regime is the same patient guy who sits up with Niaoniao all night when she’s drunk as a skunk and misbehaving. He also goes python hunting so that his girl will have toasty feet in winter and cool ones in summer. I don’t know if he made them himself but it’s the thought that counts. And the young general is someone who thinks big thoughts and plays the long game.
Yuanyi seems to be at her best when she’s giving marriage advice to her daughter. In fact it’s so jarring to hear so much common sense coming out of the mouths the parents that I feel like I’ve entered the Twilight Zone. Life is seldom what you imagine it to be, says Dad. I wish I’d remembered that piece of wisdom the day I returned from my honeymoon. What a shock to the system to find out so early that my new husband was actually capable of letting me down. Looking back I don’t know why I made such a fuss about nothing. But I was much younger then.
It’s up to Niaoniao to join the dots for herself. And thankfully she does. Most of us who have been watching since the earliest days managed to join the dots a while back. Even before she was cavorting with A’Yao we already knew that Ling Zisheng was the one. Not just because he protected her from all manner of dangerous situations nor was it because he was there when it mattered but because he is really the only man who can give her the kind of life she craves with all the backup she needs. Freedom without clout is just gesturing. Indeed I remember the ginkgo grove. I remember what he asked her what she wanted to do in the future. I remember when he thought he’d lost her forever. I also remember the look in his eyes when he said that she was someone with a heart bigger than the world. A man who asks those sorts of questions is a man who thinks ahead and wants to give much. It was always a no brainer.
As Mother says, there is no such thing as a perfect man. And even if there were, my question would be — would he necessarily want to marry you? But Mum and Dad say the most important thing a parent can ever say to their child regarding marriage. It takes a lifetime of accommodation to get a good marriage on track to the final stop. Rather than losing oneself, a good marriage is one where you find more aspects of yourself as your character is refined in the heat of life’s trials . Even more so when children come along. All of us are lifelong learners, under construction work-in-progress. The so-called “self” is not necessarily a fixed entity at the age of 15. The emperor is right. There’s no merit in being content with one’s current state of being for humility’s sake. Niaoniao is still young and there’s much for her to learn even if she doesn’t become the wife of Ling Zisheng.
In reality Ling Zisheng when stripped of all his appellations and military baggage, is really just a really lonely broken guy who desperately wants to give his love to somebody. He chooses the hard road for himself because he feels the weight of what he’s inherited. It’s a torturous legacy of ruffling feathers and revenge. Niaoniao talks about inequality but the truth is that they are probably more alike than she knows. The set-up between them is clear. It’s what Koreans like to call a “healing drama”.
I’m not sure what’s wrong with these spoilt girls with noble pedigree. Maybe there’s something in the water at the palace. Or the fragrance incense that they burn. They all seem to be uniformly tone deaf where Zisheng is concerned. How many times does he have to say that Shaoshang is the only one for him before it penetrates the cranium? Niaoniao hit the nail on the head when she said (in not so few words) that they’re right royal idiots because they don’t even understand what their nasty talk imply about Zisheng and the emperor who approved the match. They’re so busy insulting Niaoniao that they can’t see the wood for the trees. They’re so obsessed with Zisheng as the ideal husband to the point that they can’t even see how they’re demeaning their aristocratic selves.