Flash Review: Nirvana In Fire [Chinese Drama]

You know how, when you stumble on something so exciting and amazing that you just can’t help but tell your friends about it, even if it means going off on a tangent? This is that time, you guys.

Basically, it doesn’t matter if you don’t usually watch dramas from China, or if you don’t usually watch period dramas, or if you don’t usually watch long dramas. This drama is, objectively speaking, so splendid and magnificent that if you don’t check it out, you’d be missing out. Big Time.

Not even exaggerating, by the way.

OST ALBUM: FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE

Here’s the OST album, in case you’d like to listen to it while you read the review.

A TOUCH OF BACKGROUND

If you’ve known me for a while, or if you’ve poked around this blog a bit, you would probably know that I watch Korean dramas almost exclusively. It’s partly habit, partly soft spot, and partly the excellent production values that kdramas tend to serve up. Coz I do like pretty things, as you very likely know. 😉

Still, I like to keep an open mind, and when something that’s not within my usual wheelhouse gets a lot of buzz, the curious cat in me can’t help but want to see for myself what the fuss is about.

That’s what happened here. I first became intrigued when my Twitter feed began flooding with spazz over this show. And then my dear friend Eleanor (who loves this show with a passion) posted a few MVs that made me sit up and pay serious attention. Everything looked so gorgeous that I just had to check this out for myself. And boy, am I glad I did.

ON A META LEVEL: WHAT I LOVED

I consider Nirvana In Fire such a marvel in its construction that I just have to pause and give credit where it’s due, before talking about anything else.

1. The polish

The production values of this show are so high that it often feels more gloriously cinematic than modestly small screen.

Everything is carefully, lovingly, beautifully shot, and it is a literal feast for the senses. From the amazing landscapes, to the loving camera angles and every meticulously-framed shot, to every deliberate, painstaking detail in set, costume and background music, everything is precisely, just-so perfect.

Thanks to all of these elements coming together so flawlessly, this drama world feels immersively, wonderfully real. This, despite being set in a very different time and place than my drama sensibilities are used to. I consistently felt like I was transported into another world; a world that felt whole and complete in all of its magnificent, fine detail.

2. The acting

The cast is a sprawling one, as befits the scale of the story, and from the principal characters to the secondary characters, to even the small, incidental characters, every single one is well-acted.

Our principal cast does a tremendous job of bringing their characters to life, and even the baddies are excellently and believably portrayed. Layered and nuanced from the big moments to the quiet, subtle ones, every major character is delivered with an admirable level of mastery and commitment.

Additionally, I must give a shout-out to the casting. It’s spot on, in almost every instance. As a small example, among the secondary characters, I’m particularly taken with the casting for Marquis Yan. Wang Jin Song possesses a keenly shrewd and bright gaze befitting his character’s intelligence, and his lean, sprightly build is a perfect match for his character’s context of having spent years living simply and praying in the temple.

Really good, when you put it all together.

3. The writing

As excellent as the production values and acting are, the writing is truly the star of this entire show. Mad, mad props to Hai Yan, who not only wrote the original novel, but also penned the script for this show.

Scale & detail

The thing that stands out the most to me, writing-wise, is how much detail is maintained despite the immense scale of the story. There are multiple threads, big and small, that get introduced at various junctures of our story. As with many dramas of this scale, some of the smaller threads appear to fade out partway through the show.

Unlike many other dramas, however, here, the smaller threads are not forgotten, and are consistently brought back to the fore – sometimes much, much later – to add to the narrative in a meaningful way. That shows just how much thought and care was put into the construct of our story.

General brilliance

Another major stand-out, is just how brilliant the writing is. I have literally never been this engrossed by political intrigue, ever. Neither can I remember being this impressed by the intricate plotting that goes into creating narrative twists and turns that make total cohesive sense on hindsight, but which appear so impossible and baffling in the moment. There’s nothing quite like having complete trust that your writer knows exactly where she’s going and just buckling in for the ride, and Hai Yan had me edge-of-my-seat spellbound.

I love that almost all of our main characters are whip-smart, whether they’re male or female, good guys or bad guys. It makes for such sharp dialogue, and watching the characters outwit and out-maneuver one another in conversations was consistently like watching resolute flint meet unbending steel. I could almost literally see the sparks fly.

Language

On top of how clever and comprehensive the writing is, the language used is poetic and very beautiful.

A fair amount of the poetry is lost in translation, but even if you can’t understand Chinese, the subbers have done a really solid job of bringing forth as much of the original meaning as possible, without creating unwieldy lines and sentences.

This is one of those rare times when I find myself being grateful for all those years of Mandarin lessons that I suffered through. I realized that I was able to understand and appreciate a lot of the poetry in the dialogue, and – at the risk of sounding hokey – I must say it did stir in me a new-found appreciation for what is technically my motherland.

Themes

Despite its very specific context, Nirvana In Fire remains accessible because of its themes. Righteousness, justice, loyalty and love are universal values that we can all identify with, and these themes resonated with me all series long.

MINOR QUIBBLES

Truth be told, I had to really stop and think about it, when I asked myself what flaws this show has. In the grand scheme of things, these are itty-bitty minor quibbles in a literal ocean of goodies. Still, here they are, just for the record.

1. Episode cliffhangers

While Show did serve up some good cliffhangers, generally speaking, they mostly felt like non-cliffhangers, to be honest. Often, the episodes seemed to end while smack in the middle of a scene, and the so-called cliffhangers often felt random, as a result.

2. A small section of drag

Once Show settles into its rhythm, it feels engaging and quite gripping most of the way through. In fact, things get more and more exciting, the deeper we get into the show. However, I must admit that there is a small spot of drag at around episode 30, that lasts for a few episodes.  Happily, the drag is momentary, and Show picks up its pace in a brisk way right after.

3. Dubbing

Because China is a huge country, with each province often having its own accent, dubbing is used to achieve a consistently pure rendition of the Mandarin that is spoken.

While I must say that the result is very pleasing and melodious to the ears (Mandarin has never sounded more gorgeous to me than in this show, to be honest), I was rather distracted by how the characters’ lip movements sometimes didn’t sync with the sounds that were supposedly coming out of their mouths.

MY FAVORITE THINGS IN THE SHOW

There is so much to love in this show that it’s literally impossible to talk about everything and everyone. Here’s the loving spotlight on just my absolute favorites.

1. Hu Ge as Mei Changsu / Su Zhe / Lin Shu

Hu Ge is flat-out brilliant as our main character Mei Changsu (also known as Su Zhe, and who also harbors a secret identity as Lin Shu).

A character with multiple identities, Mei Changsu is a man with many secrets. Add on the fact that Mei Changu is also a very frail and sickly person, and it’s pretty much a given that Hu Ge had to play him fairly subdued all the way through. What blows me away, is that in spite of having to deliver Mei Changsu as a mysterious and unreadable character, Hu Ge manages to imbue Mei Changsu with subtle layers and nuances, amid the restraint.

Every shift in his gaze, and every minute inflection of his voice, takes on rich layers of meaning. Those deeper layers may or may not be accessible to the audience at the time, but the sense of depth and dimension is always present, and Mei Changsu very much feels like a real, living, breathing (and extraordinarily brilliant) person.

[SPOILER ALERT]

Much as I admire Mei Changsu for his laser-sharp insights and uncanny ability to analyze people and situations, sometimes with very little available information, and much as I love his playful side when he teases his friends (his cheeky smile is adorable!), I must say that the times I felt for him the most, were when he allowed his emotions to rise to the surface.

Like when Princess Nihuang (Liu Tao) recognizes him and cries in his arms, his tears flow so freely, and his delicately frail hands hold her so tentatively, that my heart ached for him, for having to suppress himself so much.

Or when Consort Jing (Liu Min Tao) confirms his identity and weeps for all that he’s suffered. Despite remaining mostly stoic, his emotional upheaval is clear to see in his gaze and slight twitches in his brow. The sadness in his gaze, mirrored only by the same sadness in his voice, coupled with his quiet, pleading, growing desperation for his aunt to keep his identity a secret, is altogether completely heartwrenching. That he has to conceal his true self and restrain his true feelings this much, while digging deep for more strength to gird those around him, broke my heart.

Restrained angst never looked more tragically beautiful than on Mei Changsu, truly.

[END SPOILER]

2. Wang Kai as Prince Jing / Jingyan

Wang Kai does an excellent delivery of the upright, courageous, strong and unrelentingly straightforward Jingyan, who is by design a much less complicated character compared to Mei Changsu, but no less important.

By turn a commanding warrior, a regal prince, a loving son, and a fiercely loyal friend, Wang Kai inhabits each facet of Jingyan’s character in a lovely, believable way. Whether he’s being determinedly stoic, or giving in to his hot-headed streak, or giving voice to his deepest emotions (and what a lovely voice he has), Wang Kai makes Jingyan an empathetic, relatable and likable character.

Major props to Wang Kai, for making it so easy to believe Jingyan, and root for him, from start to finish.

[SPOILER ALERT]

There are many things that I appreciate about Jingyan – his upright character, for one, and his strength and prowess on the battlefield, for another – but if I had to pick just one thing about him that I esteem the most, it’s his unhesitating, unwavering loyalty.

Consistently, we see that he deeply misses his friend Xiao Shu, and treasures every single item that he associates with Xiao Shu’s memory. When Mei Changsu ventures to touch Xiao Shu’s bow (which, really, is his own), Jingyan’s reaction is visceral and aggressively protective. No one can touch Xiao Shu’s bow, it’s that precious.

Later in the series, when Jingyan is advised against bringing up the Chiyan case, for fear of jeopardizing his standing for the throne, Jingyan reacts with a swift, instinctive anger. It’s more than a quest for justice. It’s a quest for justice, for Xiao Shu, for Xiao Shu’s family, for his fellow Chiyan soldiers, who’d lost their lives. Jingyan’s clearly driven by much more than justice in and for itself. For him, it’s a deeply personal thing, that he feels down to his bones. He’s ready to throw away his quest for the throne, if it means that he can obtain that justice for those that he cares about. And I really hafta admire him for that.

[END SPOILER]

3. The bromance

Oh, the bromance. You guys know that I love a solid bromance – even better if it’s of the intense, emotionally potent variety – and this show does not disappoint.

Pretty much every which way you look in this show, there’s a bit of bromance lurking nearby, and I love it. From the emperor and his eunuch (Ding Yong Dai and Tan Xi He), to Jingrui and Yujin (Cheng Hao Feng and Guo Xiao Ran), to Mei Changsu and Fei Liu (Wu Lei), there’s a whole lotta strong male affection going on in the show; a fact that I dig very much.

Hands-down the most compelling bromance of them all, though, is the one between Jingyan and Mei Changsu.

[SPOILER ALERT]

The hook for me, with this bromance, is two-fold.

The first layer, is just how much these two men mean to each other. Like I mentioned earlier, Jingyan deeply treasures every single thing that he has, that he can associate with Xiao Shu. It’s clear that he thinks of his dear friend with a deep sense of longing, and it was heartbreaking to see him even break down in tears in front of his mother, for missing Xiao Shu.

Over on Mei Changsu’s side, we know that Jingyan also means the world to him, even if Jingyan has no idea. The very reason he’s even in the capital as Mei Changsu, is to put Jingyan on the throne. Yes, it’s largely to do with obtaining justice for his family and for his Chiyan troops, but it also has a lot to do with allowing Jingyan to reach his fullest potential, and be the kind of emperor that the kingdom needs. Every time Jingyan speaks wistfully of his friend Xiao Shu, we can see from Mei Changsu’s rueful, melancholic gaze that he misses Jingyan just as much as Jingyan misses him. Which, tears.

The bromantic connection between them is so emotionally potent that I was completely mesmerized.

The second layer, is the star-crossed fact that Jingyan has no idea that his Xiao Shu, whom he longs for so deeply, is right there in front of him. As Jingyan progressively picks up on clues that connect Mei Changsu to Xiao Shu, the will-he-or-won’t-he-find-out of it all, is downright cracky goodness.

While I found the layered double meanings quite delicious in the season that Jingyan didn’t know Mei Changsu’s true identity, I also eagerly looked forward to them finally being able to speak to each other as the besties that they truly are.

I really wanted them to hug it out properly, so much, and rooted for these two with the whole of my fangirl heart, all series long.

[END SPOILER]

Special shout-outs

There are a lot more things that I love in this show, but in the interest of (relative) brevity, I’m selecting just a handful of my favorites for the quick spotlight.

Chen Long as Commander Meng

Commander Meng is seriously one of my favorite characters in the entire show. So strong, straightforward and loyal, and yet, just a touch slower than his unreasonably brilliant friends; poor Commander Meng often comes across as a little dim, purely by association.

I admire him for his courage and leadership on the battlefield, and love-love-love him for his gruff but wholehearted love for his friend Mei Changsu. A dorky, lionhearted sweetie-pie of the best kind.

Wu Lei as Fei Liu

Fei Liu is the most adorable fighting puppy there ever was. I love that he’s so adept at effortlessly kicking ass as a martial arts savant, while being endearingly and poutingly childlike in every other way.

In particular, I love his hearts-in-eyes, puppy-like loyalty to Mei Changsu. He’s always got Mei Changsu’s back, whether it’s warranted or not. And his dismissive “hmph!”s whenever he gets peeved became one of my favorite things in the show.

The romance

With the show’s strong emphasis on bromance, and with so much political plotline to cover, the romance is very understated in this show. Still, what we do get is very poignant and sweet. I very much appreciate the unwavering nature of this OTP’s love for each other, as well as the pure nature of that love.

[SPOILER] Once Nihuang understands that Mei Changsu needs to focus all his energy on his quest and can promise her nothing, she makes no demands on him whatsoever, and simply supports him in every way that she can. She doesn’t even know the full extent of his illness, or how long he has to live, but simply because she senses just how much his goal means to him, she supports him without question. Despite this loveline mostly being in the background, that pureness of her love moved me in a very real way, all the way to the end. [END SPOILER]

Liu Min Tao as Consort Jing

Ahh, Consort Jing. Such grace and wisdom. Contrasted against all the rest of the whining, scheming concubines, Consort Jing is a breath of fresh air, and I loved watching her forward her cause without ever losing her subtlety or her dignity. It pleased me very much, that Consort Jing got more and more screen time as the show progressed.

Tan Xi He as Chief Eunuch Gao Zhan

Chief Eunuch Gao Zhan totally snuck up on me; the more I saw of him, the more I liked him. From giggling with the emperor, to fussing over him like a mother hen, to shrewdly and subtly keeping the cranky, reckless emperor in line, Gao Zhan does it all. He is, in a word, awesome. And cute, too.

THOUGHTS ON THE ENDING [SPOILERS]

What a thoughtful, thought-provoking ending, that managed to move my heart, break it, and fill it, all at the same time.

In the lead-up to Lin Shu going to battle, I was moved by his quiet determination to avail himself for his country, yet I also felt the deep reluctance and distress of those near and dear to him. In particular, the conversation between Jingyan and Xiao Shu on the rooftop tugged at my heartstrings. Jingyan’s tearful, choked-up desperation that his friend not endanger himself, contrasted against Xiao Shu’s gentle understanding and his quiet firmness, was touching to witness. Yet, in that moment, despite their opposing words, both men are on the same page and have the same painful understanding; this is the only choice available to them.

It’s heartbreaking that Jingyan and Nihuang and everyone else is left behind after Xiao Shu’s death, but how moving – and how apt, really – that Xiao Shu essentially gets to finally be himself again, and live as himself again. Not as a sickly, frail strategist, but once again a warrior on the battlefield, using his talents and his passion to protect his people and his country.

Augh, that is such a gut-wrenching, yet poignantly fulfilling arc for our main character. Not only does Xiao Shu finally see the justice that he’s sought for so long, but he gets to really live, as himself, one last time.

That Nihuang understands his desire so deeply, so much so that she would not only yield to his wishes but support him, in spite of her misgivings and worries, says a lot about her love for him. As understated as their loveline is throughout the show, I did choke up at their goodbye scene. Each being strong for the other, while knowing that it’s likely the last time they would see each other. Sob.

In the end, I absolutely love that Jingyan names the new army in memory of his dear friend. After years of having his name associated with treason, Lin Shu is now a name that’s not only clean, but highly esteemed. How very poetic and fitting. This truly is the highest honor that Jingyan can accord Xiao Shu, and I loved that dual demonstration of righteousness and loyalty in one.

At the same time, I love that the name Jingyan chooses for the new army draws from both of Xiao Shu’s identities. What a perfect expression of how Jingyan accepts, embraces and honors every part of his dear friend, and not only the Xiao Shu of the past. So perfect.

Plus, with this army now bearing his name, I almost feel like Xiao Shu’s still with Jingyan, in spirit. Now that’s a thought that I really, really like.

[END SPOILERS]

CLOSING THOUGHTS

What a breathless, breathtaking journey. Equal parts brilliant and satisfying, and executed with such meticulous, fine care, Nirvana In Fire is definitely a drama for the record books.

I never would’ve imagined in a million years, that I would be writing about a Chinese drama in this space. After all, this is a blog about Korean dramas, and I hardly watch anything but Korean dramas. Will this be the first of many Chinese dramas reviewed on this site? Are we witnessing the beginnings of a C-wave that will sweep the world like the K-wave has? It’s hard to say.

One thing I will say, though.

China, you’ve got my attention. This has been nothing short of amazing, and I sincerely hope that you’ll amaze me again. <3

THE FINAL VERDICT:

A masterpiece that is epic, spectacular, gripping, and thoroughly moving. A must-see.

FINAL GRADE: A++

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Wolli
Wolli
3 months ago

Great review! Thank you!

Geo
Geo
5 months ago

I’ve been letting NIF marinate in my mind after such a mind blowing experience. Without repeating too much of what KFG and other posters have said, I will say the cinematography, the costumes, the overall production values, the writing, the storyline and acting are of the very highest quality. NIF feels and shows like a big screen spectacle and not as TV show. The best aspect of the series for me was the cast of well drawn characters; for a cast of the size of the show, every character, even the very secondary ones, were well drawn, acted and identifiable with shades of moral ambiguity surrounding them all, making them very real. There wasn’t any disbelief or jaw dropping at ridiculous or incredulous actions by any of the characters, it was all believable given the context of the storyline and motivations of the characters.

While there weren’t too many cliff-hangers at the end of each episode as you note, KFG, I felt the director just shot the show as one continuous story with intervals set by the required episode lengths. I didn’t find this an issue as I was so absorbed in the development of the storyline and the machinations and scheming of all the court characters. It’s actually quite believable the amount of back-stabbing and plotting that goes on in an imperial court when there are several concubines and many offspring with royal claims.

While it took a little time to sort the characters out and their inter-relationships, I was able to figure out fairly quickly who was who. This is not to say I didn’t miss some of the subtleties, especially in the earlier episodes (I went back to verify what I had missed in one instance) and I’m actually planning to re-watch this show again to see what else I may have missed because the writer was very good at tying up all the secondary and even tertiary plot lines.

NIF may have spoilt for me all the sageuk shows that centre on court politics, this show is like a post graduate course compared to the other sageuk shows I have seen, which are by comparison, of first year undergraduate quality at best. And I really liked many of the sageuk shows I have seen like Mr Sunshine and Six Flying Dragons.

KFG, thank you for the referral to this masterpiece

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – wait, wait, wait for me, please! 🤗 I think (but it might be wishful thinking) but I think @Kfangirl might’ve mentioned a group rewatch of NIF??????

Geo
Geo
5 months ago
Reply to  kfangurl

@KFG;@Beez: Count me in for a NIF group watch. Even though I’ve just finished viewing it, I realize I missed quite a few details as there’s so much going on in the show and also didn’t get all the relationships exactly correct. Reading the other comments has been humbling, I actually understood less than what I thought.

After NIF, I watched My Girlfriend is a Nine-Tailed Fox/Gumiho with Shin Min-ah and Lee Seung-gi and really liked it. KFG, I thought you had reviewed this show but couldn’t find it on your list. Maybe you commented elsewhere? Already a big fan of Shin Min-ah (my vote for sexiest Kdrama actress, if you remember), I was blown away by her performance, I think she actually looks physically and facially like what a fox would look like in human form.

I’ve managed to improve my internet reception by doing a couple of things, one, recognizing that performing certain administrative tasks on my PC actually slowed down my internet speed as it confused the network. Secondly, I ran a PC clean program and got rid of junk files, old registry entries etc that have accumulated over the past 5 years or so. My now pretty functional computer even allows efficient access to “dark” sites to either download or view shows not readily available elsewhere.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – I rarely watch on my computer or tablets any more. On all of my tv’s, I have Roku (has apps Viki, Netflix, Kocowa, Hulu, etc.) and I have an Amazon Fire TV stick which also has the same apps (except Kocowa) and the Firestick also has internet access for when I have to venture outside of legit streaming sites. The settop boxes are pretty cheap with one-time purchasing costs. Firestick just under $50 and Roku under $40.

Geo
Geo
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: I actually watch most of the shows on my Firestick (have one per TV) after downloading them or accessing Netflix. I like the convenience of having the content on my network and being able to pull up at any time, I have a huge amount of different types of media content on my network drives and use Firestick mainly to access this material, also use a tablet at times. I haven’t used Firestick directly to access the “dark” sites, didn’t really think about it but maybe something I should consider. I actually only use one specific computer to access the “dark” sites for obvious reasons.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – Not that I’m very sophisticated about technology but, so far (years), the dark sites haven’t polluted my Fire Tv sticks. I think it’s because it doesn’t recognize it as a computer. Of course, I could be completely wrong on the “why” but I’ve never had a virus causing any malfunction or anything.

I have 3 FireTv sticks. Two are the latest generation but my first one is still going strong since 2013. Although since the latest update to the remotes, it seems to be slow to respond to basic rwind/ffwd commands. That’s the only reason I’m thinking about replacing the old one now.

Don’t get me wrong, the reason that I choose to pay for legit sites is I do believe the artists and companies should be compensated for their work but when I have no choice…

phl1rxd
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

Hi Geo – you are a brave soul to download dramas from those sites! I am too scared to do that.

Kaia
Kaia
11 months ago

After 5 years, I finally made it here. Yes! Such a wonderful production. The details, yes. Love the curtains and the jade tea pots and cups. Truly royal luxury. The emperor is my favorite character here. He was shown to be ruthless but vulnerable as well. Love how he complains about his bickering children and his tender moments with Consort Jing.

beez
1 year ago

– forgive me. I was wrong- not on Netflix. But I KNOW this series has been in front of my face and I’ve been ignoring it until now. Now that I want to watch it, I can’t remember which platform I saw it on. It may have been at one of the Unmentionables.

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Hi Beez – thanks so much! I am already on E6 – I would have been further along but the WiFi has gone kaput in the house so I have to basically watch late at night after everyone is asleep. You know how that is – I end up falling asleep mid-episode. 😴😴

I will say that Leo Wu has matured quite a bit since NIF and is playing an interesting character in this. He is a joy to watch. The CGI is really well done as they merge the human with their game character into the game.

Time will tell but it did get a great AvenueX review so I decided to get on board even though I do not like gaming dramas. Thanks again Beez!

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– well now l’m mad! You’ve gotten ahead of me when I haven’t even started it yet! 😆

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

No worries Beez – there is no doubt in my mind that I will finish behind you. My WiFi leaves a lot to be desired right now. 😫

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

-I bought some gadget to boost my wi-fi and it claims to get around the ISP providers purposely slowing down our internet. I haven’t hooked it up yet cause I’m waiting for my son to do it, but I’m social distancing from him because he’s a suicidal butterfly. So once I get around to hooking it up we’ll see if it works or if I got scammed.

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Beez – WiFi was bearably slow (everybody is home all day on the internet) until we got the Google Nest then all the chicks flew the coop. My Roko will not work but at least I have a work around and I had to drop back and punt and go back to the Fire Stick. Working in Word Press is a test of patience as I am at a crawl. Your son has no fear but you have to have no fear to be a fireman as they are the bravest humans on the planet. Let me know if that new ‘thingy’ works.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I had to Google what “Google Nest” is. That sucks that in trying to embrace the Bluetooth gadgetry of the future, it’s bumped you backwards. 😞 Although I would be raising a stink 😡 and would be pestering (and annoying) the techs on the phone 24/7 trying to figure it out. I’ll be sure to let you know about the thingee – it’s called “RangeXTD WiFi Extender 2-Antenna System Single-Push WPS Button Up to 300mbps Speed Increase WiFi Range Extender”. I saw it advertised on YouTube so I went to Amazon and searched for it because I know I can usually get my money back of its a scam. Although, this time, if it doesn’t work, I fell for the scam because I’ve had it sitting here so long without opening the box that I’m probably past the 30-day return period.

You remembered that my son was a firefighter! He’s not any longer. He got his master’s degree in economics and is now a loan broker. At first he was doing both jobs but I hated his firefighting. He thought I didn’t understand how honorable the job is but I told him I do understand but I can’t handle the risks involved for my one and only child. Ultimately he realized that with his lack of sleep from firefighting, attending school and also putting in hours assisting a local hospital as a paramedic, as also required by the city where he worked – he was a danger to himself and others. I’m very happy that he decided to stick with only his desk job. I’m still very proud of him (but relieved)!

Geo
Geo
5 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez: Your son and I have something in common, a master’s degree in Economics. I found it quite theoretical and subsequently completed another, more “practical” course of study. But I really appreciate Economics and the understanding it provides for the issues of the day. Finally, economics is very much like real life, the answers are often shades of grey rather than black or white and more often than not…it depends….

Good luck to your son, a member now of the oft-misunderstood fraternity of economists.

beez
5 months ago
Reply to  Geo

@Geo – my son is a “different” sort of thinker. I do feel bad for him because when he wants to talk about his day, both my daughter-in-law and me are yawwwwn. Discussing numbers is just not exciting (for the rest of us normal people). 😆

I looked back at my comment and I’d said I would tell you how that wifi booster things works (sorry, I’d forgotten)- I didn’t have any luck with it but I hesitate to bash the product because of the way the plugs in my house (except the kitchen) ALL need an electrician to come out. Plugs won’t fit snugly into the socket and they slowly slip out. I’m told it’s an easy fix so I’ve just got to get around to having it done. I’ve got most things plugged into surge protectors but for something like this product, it needs to be plugged correctly into the wall itself but the weight of something square like this, even though it’s not heavy, just won’t stay in the plug.

beez
1 year ago

– The actor who plays Fei Liu is starting on a new movie called Cross Fire. I think I’ve seen it regimented on Netflix but I wasn’t interested because it’s about video game champions. I’ll have to check. I just found out and my first thought was to come here and tell you!

phl1rxd
1 year ago

I saw that and thought I was bonkers so I deleted the second one – you are a doll! Sorry for the length of the post!! I am having such a good time with Beez and NIF,

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  kfangurl

and phl1rxd – Yesterday, I made two comments 1) my thoughts on the show and the review and 2) I also posted my thoughts on the swoony guys of Fire 😆
Hopefully they’re caught in the spam and will show up eventually.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  kfangurl

– don’t waste your time looking. I must have only thought I added my comments but I see that I still have the draft – typos and all still in my phone notes (I would normally delete them after commenting so that tells me I never added the comment here.) clunk
Here it is:

My take on the characters utilizing my usual shallowness sensibilities:

Mei Changsu – He’s such a big dude! That’s my thoughts every time he’s standing up and we’re reminded of how sickly he is. But then when they show his hands or roll up his sleeves, I’m wondering how they did that? I was actually thinking they had an actress stick her arms out from behind him but through a hole in his sleeves because his forearms are so spindly. They do not go with that shoulder breadth at all! 😆

Prince Jing is awesome although he seems humorless. But I now understand how the bloggers over at The PotUppers posted the actor’s picture every single week (sans costume) for no sane justifiable reason. They weren’t discussing NIF (they had a separate section of the blog for that) so no reason for his picture every few paragraphs. I thought they were crazy – like “what do they see in this average-looking man to be so ga-ga over him?” I get it now. I’m not ga-ga but sometimes a character becomes associated with the actor and Prince Jing is so noble, so righteous, in comparison with everyone else, including Mei Changsu who must needs be duplicitous…

But speaking of ga-ga – General Meng – how do I depict here a continual swoon? So much testosterone yet not an axxhole. I’ve never seen that portrayed before. And that manly laugh. I’m a goner. I told myself as I started watching that I won’t be leaving Kdrama for Cdrama, this is a one off just to see what everyone’s so hyped about. But now, I’ll be checking on this actor’s past roles to see if there’s anything there I want to watch.

Okay. Yes, I’ll acknowledge the show was brilliantly written, awesomely acted, and very well scripted although there were a few times where I wanted to see certain scenes played out instead of just talked about post event. I was quite satisfied with the ending but I don’t know if that’s influenced by my knowing there is a second season so I’m assuming Mei Chansu found a cure and lives on. From peeking just now at the top picture on Kfangirl’s review for Nirvana in Fire 2 – I’m afraid maybe he doesn’t. And if that’s the case then I’ll rant at how Mei Changsi was pissing me off with all the lies to The Duchess and Prince Jing about having ten years more when we viewers heard the real diagnosis of less than a year!

I did find Show very, very interesting but I think so much hype from everywhere does affect my score. I give it a 6-pack out of the nearly impossible elusive 8-pack. (There is no 7-pack. These are human abs we’re talking.) 6-pack is impressive considering no actual abs were shown.

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Hey Beez –

I will take the ending but I ‘wanted to be there’ so to speak as I was so emotionally invested. Once the book is done being translated I will see how that ending was written. You are not alone in your wish to have witnessed some of the scenes play out behind the machinations of MCS’s brilliant mind. It is a common viewpoint shared by many.

FYI – NIF2 picks up 50 years later with Tingshang (Xiao Ting Sheng – surname Xiao as Prince Jing adopted him) in his later years with two sons. There is a brief flashback (I teared up when they showed this flashback) to NIF. An interesting fact – NIF2 has a few key characters from NIF playing different roles (in more ways than one). That took some getting used to!

Chen Long appears with Hu Ge in Game of Hunting – which I dropped flat on its head at episode 29 for its horrible writing. I have seen him in Ode to Joy as well. Other than that I have not gotten around to any of his other dramas. Let me know if you find one as I would watch it. He is very good in NIF – very good – as are all the actors. That screenshot of his face with his right arm held out holding his sword – right before the battle on the mountain – priceless! That would make a great screensaver but I cannot let go of my Jang Hyuk Chuno screensaver. 😍

Wang Kai (aka Kai-Kai to his fans) has some dramas that are very good – my favorite being When a Snail Falls in Love. He excels in this drama which is well written. He is also with a lot of the NIF gang in The Disguiser – Jin Dong (NIF’s Lin Chen) gave a masterful! interpretation of his character (Ming Lou) in this drama.

As for Hu Ge – he was born to play this role and this will probably be the role of his lifetime.

Very pleased that you liked the drama Beez, and that you took the time to watch all 54 episodes. I had to laugh at your “6 pack” rating. Very clever. I can assume that Chuno is rated 8 pack?

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

CHUNOOOOooooo! 8-PACK! YES! 😆

I don’t think I’ll be purposefully looking for the other actors projects but Long Chen – most definitely! I’ll let you know if I come across something good.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

BTW, do you think that Fei Liu is possibly autistic? Although I know there would not have been such a word/diagnosis for that back then. How did the book account for his lack of communication and social skills?

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Below is directly taken from Chaikat’s T__bler post as it would take too long for me to go back and find it in the book – All credit and thanks go to her….

In the novel, MCS describes his first meeting with FL as this:
“Yes. Fei Liu was caught by a very mysterious Japanese organization. The leader of this organization kidnaps and buys children with great potentials for martial arts, and cuts them off from all contact with the outside world. He uses drugs and poisons to control these children. When these children grow up, their mental capabilities cannot fully develop, and cannot tell good from evil, right from wrong. They lack common sense, but they are also highly skilled at the martial arts, and are controlled by the leader for acts of espionage and assassination. […] Fei Liu was the youngest of the children, and had just been taught the tricks of their trade, but had not been released on any of their missions yet; he had no enemies, but was displaced from his home, left alone to freeze and starve to death.”

So Lin Chen and MCS find him on the street, take him in and MCS treats him like a younger brother, The novel shows how much MCS cares for him and it is really quite sweet how well he treats him and spoils him rotten.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

😢 Thank you, phl1rxd. 🤧

beez
1 year ago

– So let me get this straight – SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS SPOILERS
Emperor had sex with Princess Linglong who was a brilliant strategist and ruler of the Hua nation. She gave birth to Prince Yu. Then Emperor, in order to keep the secret of whom Prince Yu’s bio mom is, he appointed Concubine Xing as Prince Yu’s fake bio mom and killed Princess LingLong and the entire Hua people. And then killed Concubine Xing (fake bio mom) all to keep the secret of Prince Yu’s birth mom. Thus causing him to eventually be adopted by the Empress after she lost her own son to illness. So was the secret the Emperor was trying to keep really Prince Yu’s origins or was there another secret that Princess LingLong knew about? (Let me know if I got the details wrong and if there is a different secret but if there is a different secret – don’t tell me what it is 😆)

And was the deceased Prince Qi the Empress’ son (not her ill son that died as an infant or pre-teen, but the prince who was Mei Changsu’s friend) – was he the bio son of this same Empress or was he one of the concubines’ son?

Whew!

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

SPOILERS****SPOILERS****SPOILERS****SPOILERS****SPOILERS****SPOILERS

Looks like you made it past E45! If not – do not read any further until you get to at least 10 minutes in E45. All other references you should have seen already.

Q. – Emperor, in order to keep the secret of whom Prince Yu’s bio mom is, he appointed Concubine Xiang as Prince Yu’s fake bio mom and killed Princess LingLong and the entire Hua people? Was the secret the Emperor was trying to keep really Prince Yu’s origins or was there another secret that Princess LingLong knew about?

A. – Concubine Xiang is Prince Yu’s biological mother (his adoptive mother was Empress Yan). The secret is that Concubine Yiang is actually Princess Linglong of the Hua nation (how they could keep that a secret is a mystery as she is after all a Princess) – see beginning of E42. Now in first ten minutes of E45 Prince Yu tests his father with this question and is sadly disappointed by the answer – a gripping moment and references the first part of your question.

Q. Was the deceased Prince Qi the Empress’ son (not her ill son that died as an infant or pre-teen, but the prince who was Mei Changsu’s friend) – was he the bio son of this same Empress or was he one of the concubines’ son?

A. – He was not the son of Empress Yan. He was the son of Consort Chen (she is also known as Lin Yueyao), and she is the blood sister of Mei Chang Su’s father and MCS’s aunt. She committed suicide.

So Beez – I referenced the NIF family tree (bless the artist who put this together) at https://dramakite.wordpress.com/nirvana-in-fire-characters-family-tree-english-version/ and I coped and pasted the NIF Wiki Emperor page (be careful if you go there as it is packed with unmarked spoilers) for all the children and their mothers – all credit goes to them. The wacky comments are mine Hope it helps and here it is:

Emperor’s Siblings:
• Prince Ji (the non -threatening brother of the Emperor who loved music and was a good friend of Yan YuJin)
• Grand Princess Liyang (wife of villian Xie Yu, sister of the Emperor with those 2 cool hair thingies pasted on either side of her cheeks – Jingrui’s Mom)
• Grand Princess Jinyang (Mei Chang Su’s Mom, sister of the Emperor)

Emperor’s Wives:
• Empress Yan – (the Emperor’s wife, the one in charge of the inner palace who adopted Prince Yu after a pandemic killed her and the Emperor’s child)
• Noble Consort Yue – the shifty one who is mom of the sniffling, sobbing Crown Prince Xiao Jing Xuan
• Consort Jing – AKA Princess Jingping mom of Prince Jing (water buffalo) trained in medicine and one of my favorite characters – she was rescued by Mei Chang Su’s dad when younger and made ‘part of the family’ so she is MCS’s ‘Aunt’ in name only
• Consort Hui – Mom of both Prince Ning and his younger brother Xiao Jingli and good friend to Consort Jing – she had to write the transcripts twice poor dear
• Consort Chen – AKA Lin Yueyao, mom of Prince Qi and blood sister of Mei Chang Su’s Dad – she had a super close ‘sister’ relationship with Consort Jing
• Princess Linglong – also known as Concubine Xiang or Xiangping, was a princess of the Hua nation and was Prince Yu’s real mom (see E42)
• Consort Xu – senior-ranked wife of Emperor and, of the consorts, has been married to him the longest and has one daughter – not in the drama – only in the book.

Emperor’s Children:
• Xiao Jingyu, Prince Qi (drank the poison)
• Xiao Jingxuan, Prince Xian, the former crown prince (sniffler and sobber)
• Xiao Jingting, Prince Ning (was a sickly child, shows up in a few scenes and brother of Xiao • Jingli and is played by the actual art director of the drama)
• Prince Huai (no ambition – a scholar – Mom not a prominent character in drama)
• Xiao Jinghuan, Prince Yu (adopted son of Empress Yan)
• Sixth Prince (no ambition – Mom not a prominent character in drama)
• Xiao Jingyan, Prince Jing (MCS pick for Emperor – water buffalo)
• Xiao Jingli (brother of Prince Ning)
• Ninth Prince (12 years old and I do think we see him but I could be wrong – maybe at the funeral?)

Whew! That was fun Beez. It is very detailed and, out of respect for this author and her work, I pray I got all the spelling, etc. correct. If not, my deepest apologies. In looking at all of these relationships it looks like MCS is linked via blood (his mom is the Emperor’s sister) to a lot of them. However, with all respect to the culture I did not say he was cousins as I am not sure how it is viewed. On a side note – the actor who plays the Emperor looks exactly (really exactly) like a good friend of mine (20+ years) but is opposite in character. Also to reiterate the Tingshang issue asked about 8 posts below – he was the legitimate son of Prince Qi and was adopted by Prince JIng.

Apologies on this long long post and my nutty character comments! I hope you are enjoying the drama Beez.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

“Apologies”! You’ve got to be kidding! I needed this so much! I’m going to print this out and rewatch the series (but not just yet. I’m so far behind in Kdrama and real life stuff that’s been put on hold as I watched this). lol

I finished it yesterday and now I have to marinate on it, and your post will help with that as I’m surprised by quite a few of the relationships. For examine, I thought Prince Jing (Mr. Noble) was the son of Consort Chen and that he was the adopted soon of Consort Jing.
I swear, why is everybody named Jing or Yu(e). I get it with the princes, but everybody else? As if it isn’t hard enough to keep track of everybody %#$!

But thank you, phl1rxd, very much, for investing your time into helping me try to keep it somewhat straight.

Oh! I’ve got to read Kfangurl’s review now.

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

It was my pleasure Beez – by researching these (the spelling), I found the book translation which was a blessing and ugh- I fell down the rabbit hole and watched the drama for the ninth time. I did feel a little better knowing that you were also watching from far away, almost like we were watching together. Good job you for finishing!

There are so many characters and scenarios it is very difficult to keep them straight. Not knowing Mandarin, the culture and the familial naming processes made it more difficult for me to keep up with who was who. My research and re-watches allowed me to pick more details and remember more names and relations each time I watched. It was a real learning experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. This is a drama that kept me interested for a long time.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– you should’ve told me you were rewatching! Maybe we could’ve coordinated on some of the episodes. Or at least discussed in more detail certain scenes. pouting

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

From Philly to Florida – I was with you in spirit! 🙆‍♂️❤🙆‍♂️💥 It is not easy to admit that you watched a 54 episode drama nine times. I was just powerless Beez – I fought it (hard) but lost and ended up down that hole. Plus, I had just found the book and of course I had to compare. 🤷‍♂️ What is so unusual is that the verbiage in parts of the book are exactly the same as in the drama. I am an abashed NIF nerd. Best thing about this blog – I never would have found it without Fangurl’s post! 🧡💙💜

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Where did you find the book? English translation?

phl1rxd
7 months ago
Reply to  BE

Hi BE 🙋‍♀️

Sorry so late getting back to you but I was taking an ‘off the grid vacation’. Ok for the book – google Lang Ya Nirvana Word Press blog. Several translators worked on this novel but she has gathered all the links together (thankfully) on her site.

There are a few differences but you will be amazed at how closely (in many cases even down to exact verbiage) the drama follows the book. BTW – the above translator has started work on NIF 2.

The best part of the book is that you get to go inside the character’s heads/hearts. When I read the book I was playing the drama scenes in my head. I am someone who will often search for and read the book behind a drama. I love to read!

if you do end up reading the book I think you will appreciate the drama even more. I know that I did.

I have not seen Queen Seondeok yet, but based on your comments I will check it out. I have passed it by many times due to the number of episodes. Thanks for the recommendation BE! I appreciate it and will now watch this.

BE
BE
7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

If you have not, find and watch Queen Seondeok, not quite as well put together or evenly paced, but higher highs when it is humming, about the same time period in Korea as NIF, and with a Korean sensibility to it and a spectacular ensemble. I don’t really count Chuno as a sageuk in the classic sense, ie a tale of the court, and so Chuno notwithstanding, of all the sageuks I have seen, I would rate Queen Seon Deok my personal favorite.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

The relationships were even clearer in this comment, phl1rxd (or either my brain is absorbing them better after reading the information again).

beez
1 year ago

Almost dropped it. Not sure exactly when it started to bore me but I think around eps 12 -19. They kept discussing all these strategies. Some of which would result in trials before the court BUT… they never happened. Correction: they happened but we only know that because they TOLD us about it. I was so disappointed as I would anticipate the showdown of words between the characters facing off in court. So I was just thinking “I’m going to give it one more episode and then if nothing starts to happen, I’m dropping Show”. And then… Episode 20! EVERYthing happened! Now THAT’S how you drop a birth secret, in the middle of dinner in front of EVERYbody!

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Beez – that episode is a big one but never fear as there are two more like it, each better than this one (the last being the best). IMHO the drama just keeps getting better. As far as showdowns between characters facing off there is plenty of that in the family 😆. Some folks find the harem dynamics hard to take (yes we need some kimchi slaps here and there!) and some just get bored with all the strategy. There are so many little things in this drama that all mean something and connect together in the end but it is hard to keep track of them and it is understandable that viewers drop this because they simply get lost.

When I would get confused on my first watch the bromances kept me going. With the next and subsequent re-watches the strategies all began to make more sense, the bromances got better and I could really feel everything that Mei Chang Su was thinking in his mind but not showing outwardly.

If you make it to the intro of Xia Jiang take note of his amazing voice and after you have watched E37 do yourself a favor and go back and catch him in that exact episode at V_ki to see how he is dubbed – what a travesty Beez! You will thank yourself again for going over to the other side to watch it.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

The strategies are brilliant, but sometimes I need a break from talking, talking. and more talking. Thank God for L’il Bit (Fei Lau?)

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Fei Liu was rescued by Mei Chang Su who found him and took him in. Apparently the back story is that he was raised in a martial arts sect and was abused pretty badly although I have yet to find any more detail than that. He is a martial arts savant and totally devoted to MCS who dearly loves him as a little brother.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I need an answer but don’t give me to much info:
Xie Yu is in prison and was relying on Head of Investigation Bureau to commute his death sentence. Mei Changsu got him to admit that Head of Investigation Bureau hired School Teacher to forge Nie Feng’s handwriting to incriminate General Lin. But I didn’t catch why? Xie Yu said it had nothing to do with the factions so what was in it for Head of Investigation Bureau? (I’m at episode 23 so if the show has purposely not revealed it yet and will reveal it later, then fine – don’t tell me. But Prince Jing and Mei Changsu are discussing it and neither is asking what Head of Investigation Bureau’s motive was.

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

The following was taken from the Nirvana in Fire Wiki site: Nie Feng was an officer in the Chiyan Army. He was married to Xia Dong (such a badass). During the events of the Chiyan Conspiracy, Xie Yu and Xia Jiang had Li Chongxin imitate Nie Feng’s handwriting to write a letter claiming that the Chiyan Army was in rebellion. This was the pretext for the slaughter of the Chiyan army at Meiling (and for the entire story). There are spoilers on this site so be careful but the name listing is helpful.

The important part of that episode is that Xie Yu mentioned that he and Xia Jiang each had their own separate goals as to why they did it. You will find out at least one of these goals in E38.

Side Note – The Xuanjing Bureau (kind of like the FBI with less restrictions) is run by Xia Jiang and has been in operation since the first Emperor. Its job is to support the Emperor without bias to any ministers, factions, etc. on investigations of criminal activities. Xia Jiang reports directly to the Emperor. Jia Jiang raised his three right hand agents – Xia Dong (such a badass), Xia Qui (her twin in the book) and Xia Chun (taller and sterner). They all took the surname Xia as Xia Jiang as raised them from children. Their first names are named after the seasons. They looked on him as a father as much as their Shifu.

The details will all be revealed – promise!

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Thanks for taking the time to indulge my impatience, phl1rxd.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– In Ep24, I was excited and blown away when Mei Changsu dropped to the ground before Prince Jing and declared his loyalty, but then as he expressed that “from this moment on I will devote myself to investigating this matter” and I realized that even this display could be keeping up the appearance of The Divine Talent because his plan has always been to investigate so that he can retaliate.

seankfletcher
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Don’t come to our house then 😂🤣😂

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Oh. As to the harems – stuff like that doesn’t bother me. In fact, when stories try to clean up how it actually was – one of my biggest peeves. If folks can’t stand how it was then it’s best not to watch/read historical entertainment. Just watch modern day misogyny. There’s still enough of it around. lol

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Amen to that!

beez
10 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I was looking for the best place to get your attention. As the person who convinced me to watch Nirvana In Fire, I wanted you to know that I’m now watching my third Chinese drama, and I’m wondering if you’re watching it too? It’s called The Wolf. I’m almost embarrassed to say just how much I’m liking it so far. I’m on episode 7 and so far, it feels like a Disney faery tale.

phl1rxd
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Ack! Beez – so sorry! I was signed up for every update on this blog but I had to stop as there are so many comment emails it was taking forever to go through them all. My bad! I never saw this until now.

I did take a peek but got distracted by another drama. That is my weakness – I get distracted by the bling too much.

Did you ever finish this? If so, how was it? Please let me know your thoughts.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– No need to apologize as all! (I’ve been away from the blog myself.)
As to The Wolf, I found the romance repetitive as far as they discover they do love each other for all of 30 minutes but the last 10 minutes of the episode we’re back with noble idiocy of he must treat her badly “to protect her”. I can see going through something like that once (maybe even twice) but to keep dragging that on over and over and over again… The actress also got on my nerves. I think it was her voice. And there’s this one scene where she’s supposed to be commanding her family troops and as she’s squeaking out commands, it seemed ridiculous. And even more ridiculous is the pretty-boy-idol actor (sorry, I can’t recall how to spell his name), totally undermines her authority, something that would never be done to a male commander. Even if a subordinate disagreed, they’d obey the commander and tell him later why he should reverse it or be lenient. What made it ridiculous is, prior to this, how often her military kept pledging their allegiance to her that she was their leader but then this total insubordination over something small that took place during drills, not even something dire or dangerous or during an actual war… you’ll have to see it to know what I mean.

That said, the romantic in me that’s a sucker for romance (and especially “boy raised by wolves” stories) really enjoyed it. I fell for Darren Wang’s portrayal of the alpha male wolf/prince, so the popular pretty boy idol didn’t sway me.

Then I moved on to Oh My General and I almost can’t contain the bubble of laughter that welled up just now just from thinking about it. Please tell me if you’ve seen it and if not, you must watch this! 😆 And the General here, she is in total control although she does her best to submit to her husband and save his pride as much as she can. He grows to respect her. Which he should because she’s totally, completely, baddazz.

Then because of how absolutely awesome Korean Mr. Queen is, I decided to watch the original Chinese version of it – Go Princess Go. A complete mess, however I understand the budget was very low (and the show even kept telling me that itself as it advertised it’s Chinese Viagra). But it did make me laugh despite being very fragmented.

phl1rxd
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Hey Beez – I was drawn to the actor who plays the wolf, Darren Wang. He has the “look” that I find intriguing – the best way to describe it is an earthy rawness. I only watched 1 episode. Side note – I never even saw Sean Xiao appear before I meandered elsewhere. Note – I have never been able to finish any of the 4 Untamed vehicles (book, animated, regular series and abbreviated series) and Sean Xiao is most known for this drama which is a global mega hit. I really tried but I lost interest in the story line. I may try again. However, I am going to go back and take another look at The Wolf. Appreciate the mini review.

Now to Oh My General – I have heard a lot of positives about this one. Your comments assured me I will like this so I am going to start it tonight. I am really in the mood for another period CDrama.

Mr. Queen – I really loved your girl in this one. Shin Hye-Sun flat out nailed it. I had a lot of favorite parts but her dancing in the rain and the way she sat and walked around cracked me up. I am now a fan – she absolutely threw herself into it with complete abandon. She really needs to get an award for this one. I thought about you while this was airing and I just knew you were gonna love it. I roared over the sexual innuendoes that were dropping left and right. Shin Hye-Sun is a star. I will bop around the C version just to see what it like – thanks for mentioning it.

It is really great to see you commenting after your break. You had me worried for your health. Glad all was well! Sometimes we just need a break!

Now to Oh My General…..I am gonna bookmark this so I can get back to you on these….

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– Thank you for being concerned and thank God, no negative progression healthwise. So good to have people like you here who care.

Shin Hye sun showed how versatile she is in Mr. Queen. In her scenes with the potential concubines, the expression on her face as she stroked (upchucked?) a girl’s chin and called her “cutie” – I’ve only seen on guy’s faces when they portray a “playa”. 😆 I’ve been exposed to gay women and, no matter how butch they are, it’s not the same look when they’re flirting (at least not that I’ve come across yet). It would send me rolling at the look of appreciation she would wear at the sight of a comely woman and the charm she would turn on to woo them (totally confusing them).

Her later scenes rivaled Jang Hyuk in intensity and execution. SPOILER FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT WATCHED MR QUEEN When her adopted cousin-ex love gave his life for her – the horror, the fear, the devastation, and the emotions – all different, all within a few moments – if Jang Hyuk is the Korean Al Pacino then SHS is the Korean Meryl Streep!

The only flaw, if I just had to find one would be her twerking skills, but we knew that’s what she was supposed to be doing so that was still hilarious.

I started Longest Day too but couldn’t finish the first episode. I’m surprised at you because of your love for NIF which, imo, has a false start with episode 1. If not for your encouragement, I would never have returned to finish it. (Thank you, very much, for that, btw.)

I might give Longest Day… another try.

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– Once you’ve watched The Wolf and Oh My General. Also the craziness that is Go Princess Go – I’d love to hear your thoughts.

As much as I loved Mr. Queen, there were a few good (purposeful) anachronisms of the time traveling queen in Go Princess Go that I wished Mr. Queen’s script writers had also used. But I suppose Mr. Queen had so much more court intrigue & shenanigans that it had to squeeze into it’s 16 episodes so…

phl1rxd
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

Ok Beez – I am in bed with a terrible head cold laughing myself silly over Oh My General. On E21 and my head is spinning. The lines in this drama are cracking me up and Viki’s translators did an excellent job with the T/Ns. I do not know if I am the only one who will back up a drama just to read these. It is so worth it for this drama as they are hilarious. For example – “That’s like the rat guarding the food supplies”. I could go on. I have not laughed this hard since I watched ‘Love is All’.

It is an over the top, topsy-turvy, gender bending tour de force. A sling fest of insults, punches and kisses. I am really enjoying it. I will get back to you once I am done and with almost 40 episodes to go that should be in a day or two….

Really glad you recommended this!

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I’m sorry you’re sick.😢

But I’m glad Oh My General suits your tastes (you never know when recommending to someone). And yes, I hit pause to read the translator notes as I find actually understanding the culture around what’s happening makes me enjoy it more.

I really like the actress playing the General. I should check to see what else she’s been in. She hit just the right balance of not over acting her “male-ness”. Hmmmm. Maybe I should say “tom boyishness” instead as its not the same as some roles of body switching/inhabiting (Come Back Mister and Mr. Queen. Although I’m not saying those actresses weren’t up to par. Quite the contrary, they were stellar in those (two of my favorite) roles.) I’m just observing that there’s a difference in what they needed to convey of actually being possessed by men versus The General never tried to be a man. She was just raised as a girl brought up by a military father, having known only military camps and became a great General. She hit just the right notes for what her backstory/role is.

I should also give props to the actor portraying her husband too, because I didn’t like him during the first third, then I thought he was just okay in the middle, but by the last third of the drama, I really began to like him. And that’s his character ark (not just my usual “if the actor doesn’t make me squee, I’m not engaged 😄)

Feel better soon! (If you think Oh My General is funny, wait until you watch Mr. Queen. If only I was in charge of giving out three Baeksang Award so I could be sure Shin Hye sun received it.)

Now that I think about it, has any actress(es) ever won the Baeksang? I’m off to Google that right now!

phl1rxd
7 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez (I remembered yes!) I finished Oh My General and it was a hoot. What I loved most were those adages, one of my favorites being “You’re in charge of crowing like a cock and snatching like a dog”. I am laughing out loud as I type this. Translation: you are trivial. Thanks for the recommendation Miz B!!

beez
7 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– you’re most welcome. And please recommend similar Chinese dramas to me (like NIF, The Wolf, Oh My General). Anything that does not feature deities and reincarnation. I am finding Chinese dramas a nice change of pace although so far I haven’t found one in modern day that I like. I even tried watching the modern day version of Oh My General called Begin Again but it just didn’t hook me. Although that could be due to the mangled subs.

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  beez

@Beez – Leo Wu who plays Fei Liu in NIF has a new drama out and I am watching it now and I am keeping my fingers crossed on this one. He is all grown up and plays the ML to Dilraba Dilmurat’s FL. So far, so very good Beez. Here is a CDrama where the FL is smart, tough and independent and the ML loves her just the way she is and encourages her to be herself.

I like this drama so much that I quickly read the manhua (even though the author never finished it). I am like you in that I hate to recommend but this one looks good (i am at E18 out of 49 episodes). WIth 31 episodes left to air it is easy to ‘wander’ about aimlessly and lose sight of the relationship growth. Those PPL revenues, you know what I mean?

If you decide to watch please remember that FL is in her late teens in beginning episodes and the story is about her personal growth.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– what’s the title?

phl1rxd
6 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

@Beez – my bad! OMO – I can not believe I forgot to put down the drama name. Blaming that on old age! Ha! The name of the drama is The Long Ballad. If you decide to watch ignore when they use drawings for a very few select scenes. It does not affect the drama. I am up to E21 and it continues to be very good.

beez
6 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I’ll definitely watch it soon. I finished the Sword & Brocade and now I’m watching Dr. Cutie (which is kinda getting on my nerves with its repetitive plots and unnecessary non-communication that’s quite dumb). I’m also in the middle Wolf Princess which is also dumb but that’s okay because that’s the goal. lol

beez
4 months ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I’m mid ep40 and there have been many times I wanted to get your attention about various things going on in this show but I refrained. That is until now. I am cracking up at our OTP’s first kiss which includes cutaways to EVERY thing including their shoes and the lovebirds kissing. 😆

beez
1 year ago

and @The Verdict Crew around these parts: here’s the deal, I started this I don’t know how long ago and the first episode really bored me. So I started it again, still a while ago, and it still didn’t catch me. But I’ve heard everyone raving about it for years so I was determined to see what all the fuss is about. Vicki has it and so I decided to watch even though the only option is dubbed in English. I cannot tell you how bad the voice actors are. On top of that I wondered what I might be missing as it was obvious they were trying to get the voice to line up with the lips. I personally would have no problem with the lips not being in sync as I’d rather get the fullness of the story. So I decided today to check out the subtitled versions on some of the sites that shall not be named. So in the middle of episode 3, which is where I started this time, a scene that I already watched on the English dubbed version is playing and oh what a difference! So now my dilemma is do I go back and watch from episode 1 with the subtitles or do I just continue on from the middle of episode 3 forward? I think it may affect my entire enjoyment of the show if I don’t go back to the very first episode, but I don’t know if it’ll stop my momentum and never ever get into the show that I know I’ll be missing out on. In any event I do I think I will start back at episode 1 but that is so hard when I have such a big watchlist that I want barrell my way through. Sacrificing 3 gotta seems like sacrilege! Wish me luck.🤞

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

EDIT: “sacrificing three hours seems like sacrilege!”

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Beez – I am going to tell it like it is. First – Mad! props to you for putting up with 3 dubbed (how did you do it? 😱😱) episodes. Watching the dubbed NIF is like having a root canal with no novocaine or, like putting a one of a kind hand sewn $500,000.00 Gucci dress on a moose. 😖 I tried this last year and did not make it through the first ten minutes.

This is what I would do – try using the hack of Opera’s VPN and change your country.to keep watching on Viki. Please and thanks, let me know if this is possible as I can plan for the future. If you are unable to do this use the site-that-must-not-be-named. But whatever you do please go back and watch those first 3 episodes as they are important (yes, confusing but only for a few episodes). There are things that happen that show up later on – in fact there a lot of important things going on all the time. Please be patient and hang in until Episode 5 – if at that time you are not swept away by the story then consider dropping it.

Beez – I have seen this 8 times and i still find little things I missed. No romance to speak of – this is political intrigue at its finest and one of the best bromances on the planet and breathtaking cinematography. Ugh – just typing this makes me want to watch it again but I just cannot fit it in.

Good luck Beez!! If this is a good fit for you I would be genuinely interested in knowing your thoughts once you finish.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I did start over. Finished Eps 1-2 yesterday. The dubbed version had no subtlety and all of the humor was lost.

Yesterday, when I first decided to check out the subtitled versions, it didn’t take long at all to see what I was missing. Two examples:
1) When the Grand Empress gathers her grandchildren around her – she’s very wise in her responses because while its obvious that she doesn’t remember anyone, her words are loving, encouraging and playful. Her daughters (in law?) who are coaching her memory – in the dubbed version, one says quite rudely,”Don’t correct her, she’ll forget again in a moment anyway.” Whereas in the subbed version, that line is actually said, yes just as loud as all the other dialogue for the viewer to hear but it’s obvious a whisper intonation is used so it wasn’t said where Grand Empress could hear.

2) When Meng is attacked by that guy whose trying to access his skills for (the Marquis? or was it 6th Prince?), after BadAzz Past Best Friend breaks it up and chastises the challenger, he says to the challenger “Why are you still here? You trying to share a meal with me?” It was said so cool, dismissive and it was funny because he’s so cool and stoic.

These were the two scenes I fell on as I just clicked anywhere on an episode. I didn’t even have to watch a while to see the huge difference. And now that I’m starting over, I’m catching all kinds of things like, the scene where the Princess’ friend who’s been appointed Special Investigator and the Princess greet 7th Prince and when he’s informed that the friend is on a special mission, he throws a dig at her of “…hope it’s not another conspiracy?” Oooo. That was nowhere in the dubbed version or, if it was, it flew over my head because her grievance about the Lin family didn’t really come across in the dubbed. In fact, in the dubbed, I was too busy trying to figure out if Special Investigator and the Princess were lovers because of the weird voice inflections and intonations and cut dialogue.

The English was perfect with no accents and yet the tone for simple words wasn’t right. The tone in which you say “Alright” to someone varies depending on the situation so, of course, I can’t explain it here but it can make a difference in whether the listener knows the person is fine with the decision, resistant, reluctant, doesn’t care either way, disappointed, or upset, etc. (I never thought about this before.) Then add all that crazy (either toneless, wrong inflection, or over the top) to ALL of the dialogue. It was awkward to listen to and worse – just as I thought, lots of dialogue was dropped to squeeze the dubs into the amount of time the actors lips were moving. It was awful and I’m so glad that I decided to restart at the beginning!

By the way, phl1rxd, since you obviously love this show, are you familiar with the Squeecaps done by the PotUppers? I’m reading those after each episode. Their Squeecaps are never full recaps. They don’t go into deep details, it’s more a discussion asking friends of rambling thoughts and a bit of hilarious snarkiness thrown in.

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Hi Beez – Good job you for restarting. This may have worked in your favor Beez as the first three episodes can be confusing. On my 1st watch I stopped at E3 and went back and watched the first three all over again.

Yes to all of your points above and especially the point “lots of dialogue was dropped to squeeze the dubs into the amount of time the actors lips were moving”. You are also correct on the tone in which you say “Alright”. There is a scene where Meng Zhi, after a very intense conversation with Mei Chang Su simply says “Hǎo de” and the way he says it combined with the side shot of his face is so powerful. I would dig out the episode but I try to avoid watching for too long lest I fall down the rabbit hole again.

I had to google PotUppers but once i got there I remembered that I did read the their recaps after my first watch. I enjoyed every single minute! They are very funny. 😝 Looking at their posts now I remember thinking that I should have done that after each episode because there are so many characters and frankly Beez, you have relevant information flying left and right so rapidly so it might have helped with getting a better grip on who was who and what was flying where. There is also this – https://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2016/10/22/nirvana-in-fire/ – and there a few writer’s comments towards the bottom that are very helpful.

I have tried (to no avail) to find this on DVD with good subs and all 54 episodes. There are DVDs out there but the reviews – well, not so good on quality, etc. There is a download button in the-site-that-must-not-be-named but the fear of downloading a ton of viruses keeps me from hitting that button. I await a DVD set with all 54 episodes|good subs and an English translated version of the book.

I hope that you continue to enjoy this Beez. I can usually binge this in 3 days.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

3 DAYS! My mind is blown! It takes me 3 days to binge a 16-er! Now I can’t remember what I wanted to say to the earlier part of your email. lol

I’ll start with this: I just watched episode 4 and I realize in my comment here, I got Mei’s name confused and called him Meng (Mr. Cool’s name)

Oh! Thank you, so much, for the link.

I seem to be following who’s who pretty well so far (I’ve been taking notes) but maybe you can help out with something? I’m confused about 7th Prince who is called Prince Jing. (Which why he gets the shorted nick-name when half the cast are Jing[somethings] is beyond me). But then while Mei & Meng were talking about deceased Prince Qi who they suspect was Ting’s father, they seem to be referring to Prince Qi also as Jing? Was his name Jing too? And then does that mean Ting (slave child) is 7th Prince’s nephew?

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Gotta thank you Beez. In the process of digging around – guess what I found? The translated novel on Novel Updates (the author has 2 different versions of chapters 1/14 😮). I can’t resist it so I am going to have to jump off the FofS1|2 train and fall down the rabbit hole in to this novel – looks like the translation started in 2016 and is being finished now. I will say after 3 chapters in, the drama looks more sophisticated.

Q. I’m confused about 7th Prince who is called Prince Jing. (Which why he gets the shorted nick-name when half the cast are Jing [somethings] is beyond me)
A. There would be a naming convention for each generation within a family. For example, the current line of the Emperor’s sons are named Xiao Jing__. So you have Xiao Jing Yu / Prince Qi, Xiao Jing Huan / Prince Yu, Xiao Jing Xuan [Crown Prince], etc. This will help –comment image?w=960 and google ‘Avenue Xtra Drama Explainers’ E2 (thanks to Sean for guiding me there!). I cannot answer why they called him Prince Jing vs calling him Prince Yan. I hope I typed that all properly.

Q. But then while Mei & Meng were talking about deceased Prince Qi who they suspect was Ting’s father, they seem to be referring to Prince Qi also as Jing?
A. Yes they are referring to Prince Qi also known as Prince Jing Yu (see above) – he was the son of the current Emperor and Consort Chen (Consort Chen was sister of Lin Shu’s [aka Mei Chang Su] Dad).

Q.And then does that mean Ting (slave child) is 7th Prince’s nephew?
A. Tingsheng is the illegitimate son of Prince Qi – rescued by Mei Chang Su and he was raised by Prince Jing (Note – he was the father in NIF2). Prince Qi and Prince Jing are both sons of the Emperor with different mothers. So Tingsheng is his nephew.

Got a headache yet? 😆🤣😂 It was a struggle with the names for me as well as I do not speak Mandarin and I had to learn about the family naming system used in China. All good as we are learning new things and gaining a deeper appreciation for other cultures!

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– thank you. I think. 🤕
I’ll definitely refer back to this comment many times as I plod my way through.

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Beez – just discovered in the book that Prince Qi did have at least a wife so Tingshang may be legitimate (although not officially recognised due to his father Prince Qi being labeled a traitor).

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

– I just went back to Ep3 to check (because I knew it was at the very beginning of the episode) what Prince Jing (the upright hottie guy) said. He said during the introduction of Tingshang’s character that Tingshang’s mom was the “daughter of an official” but she and Tingshang were demoted to slavery. Although, what he said could all be part of the cover up that Tingshang is Prince Qi’s son. At first, I thought for sure that he would turn out to be Prince Jing’s own son. He was so obvious with how he treated him.

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

phl1rxd – Why??? Why does the King favor that nasty sobbing slob of a son, the 6th Prince? I just finished Ep5 and the cliffhanger is he’s begging for his disgusting mother (date rape drug incident) and the King stopped being angry with the Crown Prince for his part in the matter and is now petting his hair. And likewise why does he detest his son, the 7th Prince. I’m dying to know but don’t tell me. I haven’t even read Kfangurl’s review yet because I don’t want spoilers but… it’s killing me!!!!!!!!!!!!

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  beez

Love your adjectives! I will not spoil – I do not know what made him do that. He feels nothing about pitting the brothers against each other – but if they are fighting each other they do not have time to fight him for the throne. He detests Prince Jing as Prince Jing is everything he is not – principled and righteous. He also hates that Prince Jing stood up for all those accused of being traitors when he returned home 12 years ago after a battle. The Chiyan Army incident is the Emperor’s Achilles heel .

beez
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Thanks, for answering yet not spoiling, phl1rxd. 😊 I’ll be starting episode 8 today.

poe
poe
1 year ago

I LOVE this drama! Its ‘story’ (I cant really verbalize my impressions) is soooo ‘rich’ (again, hard to verbalize ) – Even without realizing/knowing the several details u reviewed here (one of which – the production values u mentioned at the beginning of this post. U’re quite a pro reviewer!).

I have to admit tho, despite it seems to be the best ending for Su Zhe/Lin Shu (back to his true self), I am still sad that he died. My selfish mind wished the permanent cure was found to fully heal him..

Special note on the poetry. I personally truly wish I could understand more, not just mandarin (simply the language per se) but also the poetry lines / the classic stories behind them.

If I may suggest another movie that captures my heart (in different ways tho): An Jia 安家. It’s not as rich as Nirvana In Fire, but I just like their journey of finding ‘home’ at each other.

kfangurl
1 year ago
Reply to  poe

Hi there poe! 😀 Thanks for enjoying this review! 🙂 Indeed, NIF is so rich, and I’ve been told that there’s always something new to glean, from each subsequent viewing. My mum watched it 4x, and felt she learned or noticed something new each time! That’s a real testament to the excellent writing! 😀 Thanks for the suggestion on 安家, I’ve got it on my list – along with a whole lot of other shows! 😅 I hope I’ll enjoy it like you did, when I get to it! 🙂

Nelly
Nelly
1 year ago

Just finished watching Nirvana in Fire. It is the best drama I’ve ever watched.

It horrified me that I almost missed out this great drama because of K-wave.
I used to watch C-drama because my parents loved to watch Jin Yong’s wu xia and Qiong Yao’s melodrama.
Then K-wave came along and I was drowned in K-dramasea.
Thankfully lately I was a little bit bored with K-drama and looked for a little refreshment.
Started with cute A Love So Beautiful, I re-started my adventure in C-dramaland. Never thought China could make an adorable and sweet drama like that.
I’ve found some good drama like Story of Yanxi Palace, Story of Ming Lan, and not so good drama like Princess Wei Young, Ashes of Love.
Then I bumped into Nirvana in Fire. Wow! This drama really ruined all the drama I’ve ever watched, in a good way. This drama made me regret dropping chinese lesson in my youth. If only I continued, I would have understand better the drama.

But there are few things that keep bothering me about the drama :
– How could Commander Meng recognized Mei Chang Su as Lin Shu right away in spite of the fact that they have exchanged letters?
And how come it took a long time for Prince Jing to recognize Lin Shu? Commander Meng only joined the Chiyan Army for one year and he was a bit slow, on the other hand, Prince Jing was smart and grew up with Lin Shu.
– When the Emperor looking for suitor for Princess Nihuang, why the Emperor or anyone never thought of Prince Jing as candidate? At that time, Prince Jing didn’t have legitimate consort and didn’t have important position like Prince Yu.

Unlike you, I watched Money Flower First.
While I watched Nirvana in Fire, I kept remembering Money Flower, how similar Mei Chang Su and Kang Pil Joo. Both was very smart; very patient, focus and detail in planning; always one step ahead of their enemies.
Jang Hyuk was super gorgeous with suits in Money Flower, but I like Hu Ge in Nirvana in Fire too.

Now I’m watching Nirvana in Fire 2, and thinking about re-watching which is I rarely do since I have long waiting list drama to watch. 🙂

I have no one to share my fondness of NIF :-(, so I am babbling here in your blog.
It’s hard to persuade people to watch NIF.
Nowadays people underestimated C-drama, and afraid of long episodes. Especially for historical drama, you have to go through some confusing episode to find out who’s who before you can enjoy the drama.

kfangurl
1 year ago
Reply to  Nelly

Hi there Nelly, welcome to the blog! 😀 I’m so pleased you enjoyed this show. NIF really is a masterpiece, and like you, it ruined me for other dramas for a good while, after I got to the end! 😅 So worth it, though!

I’m afraid I don’t have answers for your questions, but perhaps other fans on this page might be able to help? I know several of them have watched this drama multiple times. 🙂

Yes, it’d be great to get more people to watch NIF, but you’re right, people might be intimidated by the number of episodes. In which case, I wonder if it’s worth getting them to start with Money Flower first? Then if they like it, you could sell them the idea of NIF as something similar, but much more epic? 🙂

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  Nelly

Hi Nelly – Apologies on the late reply. I meant to comment but I lost the thread and would never have found it if Beez had not posted above.

The book is where to truly find these answers but it has not be translated into English or it would be in my library 😉. From the sources I have read the book is different from the script although the the author Hai Yan wrote both. AvenueX had several videos with a lot of background on NIF if you google ‘Avenue Xtra Drama Explainers’. They are a ‘must watch’. Next here is a link to a family tree –comment image?w=960. Good job to the person who put this together.

Based on the drama and my opinion|s:
Q. How could Commander Meng recognized Mei Chang Su as Lin Shu right away in spite of the fact that they have exchanged letters?
A. I feel it may be because the letters they exchanged gave Meng Zhi enough detail to figure it out. The drama does not give you enough background on the letters themselves. Perhaps the book contains detail of these letters. It also would have helped to know how the letter were delivered.

Q. And how come it took a long time for Prince Jing to recognize Lin Shu? Commander Meng only joined the Chiyan Army for one year and he was a bit slow, on the other hand, Prince Jing was smart and grew up with Lin Shu.
A. Lin Shu went to great lengths to disguise his identity and Prince Jing is very stubborn by nature. You will notice he starts to pick up clues as the drama unfolds but stubbornly denies what his heart tells him. I also personally believe it is because he fears facing the pain if it was not what he suspects.

Q. When the Emperor looking for suitor for Princess Nihuang, why the Emperor or anyone never thought of Prince Jing as candidate? At that time, Prince Jing didn’t have legitimate consort and didn’t have important position like Prince Yu.
A. Princess Nihuang’s family held the title of Yi Xing Wang (a military Wang|King) – rulers of a country who had sworn fealty to the Emperor and went to battle for the Da Liang kingdom. She and her little brother Prince Mu Qing are from Yinnan a southern border region and are not part of the royal family. They have no blood relation to the Emperor as they are from the house of Mu. An marriage between Prince Jing and Princess Nihuang would have caused the Emperor to fear that Prince Jing, once married, would have too much military strength. Too much of a red flag. Mu Nihuang had all the military forces in the South at her disposal and they were loyal to her. The Emperor was a paranoid man to say the least. Also, both Prince and Princess had ties to the Lin family. She was engaged to Lin Shu and Prince Jing was his best friend. Remember that the Emperor was furious because once Prince Jing returned home and learned of the sad affairs of his brother and the Lin Family, he staunchly defended them. That would have also made the Emperor nervous as the entire Lin clan were supposed traitors. No one had the guts to even talk about it in front of him.

The book can probably address your questions better than I can and may have the details you are searching for. I would dearly love to read it if someone can translate it one day. The Chinese edition is 174 Chapters. I can expect that translating it would be an epic task. It really deserves the best translation available. Somewhere on the Internet some brave soul attempted it but I do not think she got very far as it was too time consuming.

Be safe!

phl1rxd
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Hi Nelly – Correction – I just remembered that in episode three that Meng Zhi told Mai Chang Su that he did not know he was coming. Therefore I would imagine that Fei Liu may be part of the key to him recognizing who he was.

Larius24
Larius24
1 year ago

I tried so many chinese dramas but I can’t seem to get into them. I tried to watch all your recommendations but nothing seems to work for.
There was only one C-drama I could watch and that was “ever night”…

kfangurl
1 year ago
Reply to  Larius24

Hm.. well, since our drama tastes can be quite different, let me list a couple of C-dramas that are popular, but which I may not have liked, or may not have yet watched myself: Joy of Life (supposed to be fun and funny), Under the Power, Winter Begonia, Day and Night, Legends, Young Blood, The King’s Avatar, Arsenal Military Academy (I’m watching this now, so far so good, a few eps in). Maybe one of these might tickle your fancy? 🙂

Larius24
Larius24
1 year ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I might look into those but my favorite dramas are usually slow, funny and low on violence. Especially the last part is hard to find these days.

kfangurl
1 year ago
Reply to  Larius24

Hm, I hear that Joy of Life is funny, and since it’s long, it should be slow too. My mom says it’s not high on violence, though there is some fighting. Might be worth a try, since you finished Ever Night? 🙂

phl1rxd
1 year ago

Wow SKF – cannot believe that you just watched this. Hopefully it was subbed and not dubbed. Viki changed their subbed to a dubbed version – cringe – and I kinda lost it just a little when I went for my 8th re-watch and realized the the dubbed version is flat out unwatchable. I hope that you were able to watch the subbed version as in my humble opinion it makes a big difference to hear the actors speak in their own voices.

This is my favorite drama of all time – my go-to when I am bored with the current selection available and I yearn for a classic. I have found each re-watch as enjoyable as the first, maybe a little more so. I rarely do re-watches (Stars Wars pre-Disney, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and a select few KDramas e.g. being the exceptions) but NIF is a dream re-watch for me and I have never tired of it. I still cry, laugh and shake my fist at Xia Jiang.

I had to laugh at “For someone who was always suspicious and basically not a nice person I always felt he looked like he was peaking out from behind a tree” – very aptly put. The emperor was a complex character for sure and the actor did a fabulous job with the role.

So glad that you took the time to watch (I cannot binge watch it in less than 3 days) and I enjoyed your assessment.

seankfletcher
1 year ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

Hello phl, I did watch the subbed version. I agree that it does make a big difference to hear the actors own voice. There’s a Danish show The Rain that actually gets around the dubbing problem by using the original actors to dub the show into English.

It’s nice that NIF is the show you can go to as a rewatch when bored and yearning for a classic. I rarely rewatch anything tv wise except Doctor Who (although not the more recent series). However, there are a number films I have watched numerous times including the original Star Wars. I always marvel at characters like Xia Jiang, despite my frustration with them. They are always fitter and stronger than their younger counterparts!

I appreciate very much that you enjoyed my assessment of NIF. I did try quite hard to write something worthwhile. I’m also glad I took the time to watch it. Now that I am back into my normal viewing habits I have already caught up on Catch the Ghost (the title has a double meaning it seems). It’s very well done.

seankfletcher
1 year ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Yes, they are long and many I start off liking lose the plot at about the 20th episode. So, while waiting for more to happen re Royal Nirvana, I started on Joy of Life. Well, what a nice surprise. It has a very good cast, some pep in its step, palace intrigue, humour and what looks like some gooey romance ahead 🤩

kfangurl
1 year ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

I’ve been hearing good things about Joy of Life as well! The fact that you like it so far, sounds promising indeed. Do keep us posted! 😀

seankfletcher
1 year ago

Big drum roll! I managed to complete NIF last night after a week taken up mainly by watching the escapades of the Divine Talent (if only to be so talented!). This is on the back of the week before watching all five seasons of a brilliant American show. So, I’m a tad behind on my other dramas 😂

There were a number of things that intrigued me with NIF. The first was where the good guys continually fuelled the bad guys strengths to create their weaknesses and thus bring them undone (this is a genuine tactic that can only be used in certain situations). The bad guys did the opposite: how can we find the good guys weaknesses and use it against them 😎

The second was the under utilisation of one character in particular: Princess Nihuang. The Duchess deserved much more screentime. Similarly with Gong Yu. On the other hand, my favourite character was Consort Jing – she was gracefulness personified and deserved every moment on the small screen 🦋

Thirdly, the bromance, I was a little bit underwhelmed by it. It didn’t quite seem right for me, but I thought General Commander Meng was a worthy character. I’m not sure how someone like him rose through the ranks without much of a clue on how to come up with key tactics and strategies – but an awfully nice guy all the same 😜 As for our favourite Chief Eunuch, his facial expressions were priceless and yes, he knew how to get around the Emperor in the end 😇

Fourthly, the Emperor himself. For someone who was always suspicious and basically not a nice person I always felt he looked like he was peaking out from behind a tree. However, his scenes in the final episodes were excellent as was the scene with the Grand Princess at his birthday in episode 52. In fact, this was the standout episode for me in the whole series 🤩

Fifthly, was Lin Shu a master strategist? Yes, he was. Did the writers get it right when he ran out of mental puff re the attack on the Hunting Palace? Yes, they did. It can happen sometimes. Just ask our ever annoying bad guy Director who had more comebacks than Elvis 😂😂😂

Sixthly, the number of characters that disappeared and then, just when you thought they had been forgotten about so and reappeared. By the way, I thought Tong Lu and his better half didn’t deserve their demise.

Lastly, the hook or cliffhanger at the end of most episodes. They worked for me, otherwise I might have wandered off and watched something else 😱

Is NIF better than many Cdramas out there? Absolutely! Do I rate it very highly? Not so much. A number of things didn’t quite work for me after the first ten episodes (which were very good) including the politics, Lin Shu’s demeanour and Prince Ying’s personae (although Wang Kai did well with the role). Sometimes, the story felt a bit too convenient for me. But hey, I wouldn’t put to much on what I have said here, because I enjoy some really bad shows 😂🤣😂 Would I recommend NIF to others? Most Certainly. It was an epic story with an intriguing, almost Count of Monte Christo thing going on. NIF was consistent throughout and didn’t lose its perspective. It was visually appealing, quite moving at times and was a story that promised of better things to come for the lives touched by the Divine Talent. Another great review Kfangurl and I have enjoyed everyone else’s comments who finally got me to take a peek 🤗

kfangurl
1 year ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Sorry I’m so late to reply this comment, Sean, especially when you finished NIF in record time! I’m still amazed at how quickly you blew through this, especially given the high episode count! 😱 Your drama-watching prowess never ceases to amaze me!

I’m sorry you didn’t love this as much as I did, but I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on the various characters. I agree Princess Nihuang should’ve gotten more screen time, and yes, how DID Commander Meng manage to survive such a dog-eat-dog world, being as simple and straightforward as he was? In particular, I loved your comment on the Emperor: “For someone who was always suspicious and basically not a nice person I always felt he looked like he was peaking out from behind a tree.” 🤣🤣 SO PERFECT! You sure have a way with words, Sean!!

Thanks for taking the time to check out NIF, and for enjoying at least chunks of it, even though it didn’t appeal to you as a whole, as much as I’d hoped it would! <3

seankfletcher
1 year ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I have also started watching Royal Nirvana. It is off to a good start and seems to be well liked by many others so far. The synopsis in a nutshell:

“A story that follows a crown prince who faces enemies from all sides and falls in love with a maidservant who wants to kill him” 😂

Is there an unreasonable emperor scared of his son? – yes. Is the illegitimate prince the favourite? – yes. Does anyone believe what the crown prince says? – no. Will there be a happy ending? – hmmm. Do I feel like yelling at the screen each time the co-conspirators get away with it? – well, yes! 😜

It has a very good cast, nice film sequences with some stunning visuals and I like the opening theme song and credits 😊

kfangurl
1 year ago
Reply to  seankfletcher

Ooh, sounds like Royal Nirvana is a very engaging watch, despite the cliches built into the premise! I’ll keep that in mind, for when I’ve got room for another C-drama! They’re all so longgg! 😅

Nao
Nao
2 years ago

I found your website because I was actually looking for reviews on Well-Intended Love and need a space to vent/complain/fangirl/anguish over (I’m 2 episodes away from finishing it). I started browsing your reviews and it sounds like we have similar tastes! NIF 1 is hands down my favorite drama of all time! I liked NIF2 a lot too. While I usually watch mostly Kdramas, I’m always eager to discover a Cdrama on the level of NIF, although sadly there haven’t been many. I look forward to interacting more with your content from now on. So glad I found this blog!

kfangurl
2 years ago
Reply to  Nao

Hi there Nao, welcome to the blog! <3 I'm so happy you found me! Indeed, we seem to have similar tastes in dramas. NIF is quite possibly my top drama of all time, and I did enjoy NIF2 as well. And I still mostly watch kdramas, while keeping about a third of my drama plate reserved for C-dramas. I also have to agree with you that sadly, I haven't found that many C-dramas that I've loved. Hopefully there will be more! Have you watched The First Half Of My Life? I loved that a great deal, and am always eager to point more people to it. It's such an elegantly done mature storyline with mature characters. If you haven't seen it, you might want to give it a try, since our drama tastes seem similar? 😀

Karren Plaza
Karren Plaza
3 years ago

I’ve read other reviews on NIF2, but your review convinced me. I’m not averse to spoilers, coz i do want to know what i would be getting myself into and then decide if my mood suits the show. I love your reviews and your choice of spoilers coz it really does prepare me. I hate surprises and when a show suddenly changes its genre midway .. 😁😁😁

But I have to watch 1st half of my life first, based on your review, it shows the strength of a woman and i love girl power (the mature ones) 😊😊

kfangurl
3 years ago
Reply to  Karren Plaza

Aw, thanks for allowing me to persuade you, Karren! <3 I think with NIF2, it does help to be prepared. And it's very worth the watch, in my opinion. 🙂

And OMG YES. First Half Of My Life is wonderful. Such a rare drama that celebrates the mature woman, and so elegantly too. I hope you'll love it as much as I did!

Karren Plaza
Karren Plaza
3 years ago

Ever since i finished NIF, i’ve been constantly stopping myself to watch the drama again. And i’ve never re-watched any drama ever. Sadly (or fortunately?), i couldn’t stop myself anymore and i watched episode 1 last night.. 😂😂😂😂 and it really helped that i know the characters already, and with the knowledge from the novel, i could appreciate the importance of that 1st episode to MCS’ journey for redemption. In comparison to my 1st watch, where i was just scrambling to know everybody, this time i could appreciate more the brilliance of his mind and his plans. 😍😍

kfangurl
3 years ago
Reply to  Karren Plaza

Oh, you know what, NIF is THE show which I’ve heard the most number of rewatches. I know of someone who says she watched NIF 9x – and counting! It really is the kind of show that you appreciate more, the more you watch it, precisely for the reason you listed; you pick up a lot more details on subsequent watches, and the brilliance of it all just keeps getting clearer. It’s a rare and wonderful thing when a drama manages to do this indeed. <3 My mum watched NIF 4 times and loved it each time. So what I'm saying is, enjoy your rewatch, NIF is worth it <3

And then when your heart's had enough time to recover, you can consider checking out NIF2. It's not as brilliant as NIF (but what could compare to NIF, really, right?), but it's solid and a worthy sequel. You can check out my freshly posted review here. 🙂

Karren Plaza
Karren Plaza
3 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I read your review first before reading this comment 😁😁 and yeah, my eyes always tear up when reading your reviews (now isn’t the first time it happened). I need to stop reading your reviews during worktime coz its really embarrassing to suddenly cry while my workmates are there wondering what happened. 😊😊

And i’m amazed by those who watched NIF multiple times. Their love for the show seems to never end. I’m starting to worry that i might end up like them.. 😉

kfangurl
3 years ago
Reply to  Karren Plaza

Aw, thanks for making me feel all special, Karren! 😘 It isn’t every day that someone tells me that they tear up at my reviews. :’)

Yes, NIF is very special indeed. I can see myself rewatching it sometime; I know I’ll be appreciating the details so much more than on my first watch! <3 NIF2 is something I might selectively rewatch. Coz Liu Haoran really was so good. I mean, I started the show feeling indifferent towards his character, but by the end, I was all hearts in eyes. 😍😍😍

Karren Plaza
Karren Plaza
3 years ago

I think it’s because i know the storyline of MG2018, that i don’t have to really dwell on it. The predictability became a comfort and that’s why i’m watching it. I also think that i’m really not yet prepared to replace NIF in my thoughts, that even though i’m watching MG2018, i’m still thinking about NIF. 😂😊

Anyway, thank you for always accommodating me and my thoughts.. sometimes, i rather write than talk.. 😁

kfangurl
3 years ago
Reply to  Karren Plaza

Ah, I get what you mean, about thinking about NIF, even though you’e watching MG2018. I guess in that sense, MG2018 is good for zoning out to, while your heart and head continues to process the masterpiece that is NIF. <3

PS: Aw, I feel ya. I sometimes prefer writing to talking as well. Feel free to chat dramas around here, any time you like! 🙂

Karren Plaza
Karren Plaza
3 years ago

I’m not really sure if you remember recommending cdramas to me… well, this is my first cdrama and it was amazing, and perfect, and totally heart wrenching. I was crying even after the last episode was done.. 😁😁😁

Now, if only i could find a female version of Mei Changsu in a drama.. 😊😍😊

Thanks for the review.. 😆😆😚

kfangurl
3 years ago
Reply to  Karren Plaza

Hi there Karren! I’m so happy that you loved this show! It really is magnificent, isn’t it? <3 This one ruined me for other dramas for a while, I have to admit. But it was so worth it.

For a change of pace, and for a mature story about mature women and the men in their lives, I highly recommend The First Half Of My Life. I loved this one a lot, and I think it's a worthy follow-up after NIF, and different enough, that you won't be tempted to compare. 😉

Karren Plaza
Karren Plaza
3 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I’m reading the english translation of the novel now. I think the translations available are not full yet, so i’m worrying how to survive when i finish the available chapters. 😢😳😢😊😁

And i went the opposite way from your recommendation. I’m watching meteor garden now. 😁😂😊 i needed something that doesn’t require emotional investment. NIF drained me and i need to recover first before watching anything heavy again.

kfangurl
3 years ago
Reply to  Karren Plaza

Welll.. I guess the silver lining is that you’ll have new chapters to look forward to? 😉

I get what you mean about needing something light. I liked E1 of Meteor Garden 2018, but have since waned somewhat, in my interest. But lots of folks have been enjoying it, so I hope you’ll have a good time with it! 🙂

Akshaya
Akshaya
3 years ago

Thanks a ton for this review. Being a korean drama addict myself i would never have considered watching this if i hadnt come across your review and i would have missed watching such a master piece. Its indeed one of the best shows i have seen.

kfangurl
3 years ago
Reply to  Akshaya

Ahhh! I’m so pleased that you decided to give NIF a try on the strength of this review!! I feel so chuffed, that I played in part in your magnificent viewing experience 😉 It truly is THE best drama I have ever seen – although I always look for potential dramas that can surpass this one. I guess I’m just greedy that way. Right now I’m waiting for subs for a very promising C-drama historical, Tribes and Empires. It looks AMAZING. Maybe it might rival NIF with its amazing-ness? If it is, stay tuned, I will definitely be writing about it! 😉

Tami
Tami
3 years ago

Well said. thank you very much. You have all the words and works of a professional writer. i love every word you have written and feels like the drama came to life. Indeed the drama was breath-taking. comprises of everything not just romance and still so poignant. Lately I’m loving Chinese dramas than Korean drama. I felt the story line are more precise and very intelligent. This is the first time i came across your blog. i hope you also have “Ten Miles of Peach Blossom”. Until next time, thanks again. I enjoy reading it.

kfangurl
3 years ago
Reply to  Tami

Thanks Tami, I’m glad you enjoyed this review! Indeed, this show is breathtaking, and the best drama I’ve seen so far, in my many years of intense drama watching! I’m super curious about NIF2, which is due out next month! 🙂 Also, since you mentioned it, you can find my review of Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms here. I liked that one a lot too 🙂

By the way, what are some Chinese dramas that you have been enjoying? I’m keen to check out more Chinese dramas, but have had patchy success outside of NIF and Peach Blossoms. 🙂

Yllegjord
Yllegjord
4 years ago

I agree with everything, this drama is fenomenal. A true feast for the eyes and ears and the heart AND the brain. The ending was indeed perfect.
If I were to find some flaws, I must say that the characters were great but I don’t think they had much of a development. Not that this is a deal breaker in any way
Also, the princess disappeared for quite a few episodew and I missed her. And what happened to the lady strategist? She was just given to the marsial artist puppy as a present…? Huh?
Also that ”yeti” thing was a bit wtf.

On the whole, this thing is unbelievably close to perfection.

kfangurl
4 years ago
Reply to  Yllegjord

Lol. The “yeti” thing threw me off too, I must admit! But like you said, this show is unbelievably close to perfection. It boggles the mind, really. I have watched hundreds of dramas, and I honestly think this one could be the one to top that entire list. ❤ Glad you enjoyed this one too, Yllegjord!

Yllegjord
Yllegjord
4 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I’ve been recommending it like there is no tomorrow since I’ve watched it.

But I don’t know if it’s better than Six Flying Dragons. The main difference being, I think, that SFD continues AFTER their initial main plan succeds. It shows what happens after they come to power.

If I were to compare them, I would say that NIF is a very, VERY beautiful, very elegant, well polished silver art nouveau vase, while SFD is a well made sturdy stoneware pitcher that beats you repeatedly on the head and the solar plexus, and you enjoy them both equally.
Also, Yoo Ah In, what a find.

kfangurl
4 years ago
Reply to  Yllegjord

Lol. I love your analogy of the 2 shows, Yllegjord! 😆 Especially the SFD one, where the stoneware pitcher hits you on the head repeatedly, HA! Brilliant! And yes, Yoo Ah In is fabulous. I can’t recall if you’ve seen Secret Love Affair? Yoo Ah In is SO GOOD in that, I was blown away, to a million pieces. <3

Yllegjord
Yllegjord
4 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Glad you liked it 😀
I’m afraid I only watch historical dramas, so I’ve only seen him in Sungkyungwan Scandal and also the movie Sado (he obviously dedicated the year 2015 to controversial Joseon princes). I am very impressed.
People have been raving about Secret Love Affair, but I don’t know, it’s not what I would normally watch.

kfangurl
4 years ago
Reply to  Yllegjord

Secret Love Affair is very much more like a sensitive art film, and not a scandalous, sensational story about an affair that its posters might suggest. If it helps, my review of it is here. Yoo Ah In is magnificent in this, as is his leading lady Kim Hee Ae. I hope you’ll find yourself in the mood to check it out sometime! 🙂

kfangurl
4 years ago
Reply to  Yllegjord

Well, if you’re more into historical type stuff, I did really like him in Jang Ok Jung, Live in Love. I fast-forwarded through all the overly political bits, but was very taken with the love story. It helped that I didn’t have strong feelings for the actual history behind the story. I thought YAI was very lovely as the young, in-love king.

I highly recommend SLA, when you’re in the mood for a sensitive, art-film sort of watch. Yoo Ah In is so fantastic in it, it’d be a pity to miss his performance. And it’s overall so well-done as well. I hope you do give it a chance sometime! 🙂

Nupur Gupta
Nupur Gupta
4 years ago

I. Feel. So. Emotional.
And I am in pieces…

I just finished the last episode a few minutes ago, my first C-drama.
Without batting my eyelids, I can say truthfully, this was probably one of the MOST emotionally intense rides I’ve ever gotten out of a show.
Like Ever.
Thanks chica, knew I just had to trust your A++ judgement and fly with it. And what a ride!

My take: this show is to be watched intensely and obsessively!
There is NO way around.
There is nothing mediocre about this show. From the moment go, you just see superlative actions and reactions.

There is so much my heart wants to say, so much I want to write, but alas, I just saw the last of this beautiful journey and…
My hearts torn as I am sitting with my hands over my mouth in tears for the whole of the last episode.
It’s just…
It really got me.

Poignant. Eloquent. and overwhelmingly agonizing…
I will have to come back for more later, right now I just want to wallow in my angst over my two favorite characters: Lin su & Jing Yan.

~N~

kfangurl
4 years ago
Reply to  Nupur Gupta

Thanks for trusting me on this, dear N.. This show truly is heartrending in every way possible, and so elegant and magnificent while it’s at it, too. I’ve watched hundreds of dramas (literally), and I’ve concluded (for now) that this is the one that sits at the very top of the list, it’s just that amazing and that well done. I definitely plan to watch this one again, and I don’t see myself ever getting tired of this. I know of people who have watched this multiple times, and I can totally see why. It gets under your skin, it grabs your heart, it blows your mind.. Augh, just so good. ❤

It took me a fair while to move on after this one, so I wouldn’t be surprised if you weren’t up to watching another show for a while. Just wanted you to know that that’s perfectly normal! 😘

martin fennell
martin fennell
4 years ago

Hi.KFG. Well, i just finished watching this . It’s not my first Chinese drama, but it’s certainly the best.
The performances were fine especially Liu Tao.
If you see this perhaps you could tell me I’m pronouncing the name right. I say it like this
loo as in loose, and tow as in cow.
I also liked the actress who played her friend.
Great soundrtrack.
Great costumes. I have no idea how authentic they were though.
10/10.

martin fennell
martin fennell
4 years ago
Reply to  martin fennell

Oh, my favourite relationship is the one between the lead character and his Doctor friend.
I have been reading some of the other comments. So on Julianna’s rec, I am going to check out The disguiser on Viki.
I’m not sure if it has been posted already. but here is all quiet in Peking with eng subs.
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLvpAVnYN4lb0CxkIjkJFH724iXAw6fplZ

kfangurl
4 years ago
Reply to  martin fennell

I’m so pleased you enjoyed this one, martin! I love this one, and consider it quite possibly the best drama I have seen from anywhere, ever. 😍

As for your question on how to pronounce Liu Tao’s name, you’re halfway there! It’s more like lew as in lewd (sorry, couldn’t think of another word), and tow as in cow. 😊

Also, thanks for sharing the link to All Quiet in Peking with subs!! I had no idea subs were available for that show, so this is a precious find! 😊

I watched about 14 eps of Disguiser before stalling, coz it was very good, but also hard to watch. I wouldn’t say it’s as good as NIF, but it’s definitely a worthy watch that I will go back to!

phl1rxd
5 years ago

Just have to give you a great, big thank you! I finished this drama and all I can say is how glad I am that I read this review and took your recommendation to heart. NIF is magnificent in so many ways. I loved this drama and I loved that there were so many episodes – your feelings about the characters grew along the way.

**SPOILER ALERT:**
My only 2 negatives (and these are small in relation to the overall excellence of this drama) were;
*First, I felt so invested in Lin Shu, his life and his cause, that at the risk of sounding cruel, I wanted to be there when he died. I wanted to make sure he had a dignified departure befitting his stature. I wanted to hold his hand and make sure that he had peace in his last moments.
*small Second, I got lost so quickly in the first few episodes that I had to watch them twice, if for no other reason than write down names. I took this drama seriously and I did not want to miss a single piece of the story. Note: a re-watch will get rid of this very small negative.

The acting was sublime, the costumes out of this world and the settings believable (except outside the palace where logic says there would have been a thriving community). I literally felt that I could walk through my TV screen and be right there with all the characters. The settings were simply gorgeous.

I am checking your full list review first before I watch another drama! We all appreciate a quality drama, and this is top notch! Thanks a bunch for writing this review – so spot on!

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  phl1rxd

I’m so glad you loved NIF, phl! And I’m so pleased to have been the one to point you in the direction of this magnificent show! It really is wonderfully written and acted and directed, isn’t it? It’s like a meeting of genius, that everyone involved was able to deliver on similar levels of mastery. Just, SO GOOD. <3

[SPOILERS]
In terms of your negatives, I get what you mean about wanting to be with Lin Shu to the very end. At the same time, I feel like this narrative choice actually offered Lin Shu the dignity of privacy in his last moments. Sometimes, shows deliberately veil certain scenes or moments from the audience for that purpose, and in this case, I felt that that was the purpose behind allowing his death to occur off-screen. I hope that perspective helps to soothe the sting at least a little bit. 🙂

And yes, those initial episodes take quite a bit of settling.. It was only at around episode 4 that things started to come together in my head a little bit, and that’s considering the fact that I understand Chinese and therefore should have had less trouble with names and such. You’re so right, though, that a rewatch would fix that right up! 😉 I personally know lots of people who’ve watched NIF multiple times. Coz it’s just THAT good! <3

Curio Serand
5 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

YES! It really IS just THAT good!❤ [- say I, a persistent repeat watcher 😉]

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  Curio Serand

You are so not alone, Curio! I know many people who’ve watched NIF more than once! 😉

xingfenzhen
xingfenzhen
5 years ago

I have just finished NiF a few months ago, and is current watching Disguiser and Ode to Joy. There are lots of good shows coming out of China right now, and quite a few are getting attention internationally. However, there tons of bad and corny dramas coming out of China as well, and I feel on average, the quality of C-dramas have actually gone down…. You can really tell when they are re-making stories from existing drama.
For example, the recent production of Wuxia and Xianxia dramas (Such as Legend of Zu, 2014 version of Return of Condor Heros) felt like idol drama in wuxia’s clothing and the actors can barely convey emotion and action they are trying to portray. They lacked the charm of old HK (and sometimes TW) wuxia drama or the early-to-mid 2000s (1995 Version of RoCH) Wuxia and Xianxia dramas (Chinese Paladin 1, 2006 version of RoCH).
It seems as if many of today’s drama are just fashion shows for pretty stars so they can walk about set with in thing kinds of costumes. Even Hu Ge falls into this as well, for example, Good Times/大好时光, which was produced around the same time NiF and Disguiser is just….bad. Even Ode to Joy, which is a very drama, still lacks the sort of realism and emotional feel of social commentary drama like Dwelling Narrowness. Also adventure stories like 闯关东 (To Northeast,also done by Shanying, NiF’s production company), 血色浪漫 (Blood Romance) are also quite lacking these days as well. It seems people only like to product mediocre and often troupe ridden romance stories for some reason.
As a background, I have being watching C-dramas for nearly my entire life. I think the first drama I watched was the old 1987 version of Drama of Red Chamber as well the 1994 version HSDS (as well as an unhealthy dose of Qiong Yao dramas..), when I graduate from watching cartoons to dramas with my family in the mid-1990s. I’m also guy that loves history and strategy games, so that’s my bias here.
This is my biggest complaint about the current Chinese TV industry, it appears serious historical dramas have completely disappeared as genre for Chinese drama. Ever since the old 1994 version of Romance of Three Kingdoms, it was the strong suit for C-dramas, with actual adult political scheming, philosophical discussions about meaning of government and leaderships, realistic military strategy and diplomacy. It seems the current breed of historic drama is all about palace scheming among concubines, where who will the emperor sleep next is the primary concern, I think Schemes of a Beauty started this trend and it’s now just soak, rinse, and repeat for every single drama. (Though Legend of Zhenhuan is still enjoyable, mainly due to attention to detail) Historical epics like 汉武大帝 (Emperor Wu), 大明王朝1566 (Ming Dynasty 1566), 大秦帝国 (The Qin Empire), 贞观之治(Rule of Zhen Guan) just isn’t made anymore, which is shame since Chinese film budget have improved a lot since then. (Though, the massive battle scene from the old Romance of Three Kingdoms is no longer possible, since the Chinese military has disbanded its Cavalry and you can’t just draft thousands of soldiers just to do a Movie/drama anymore…) NiF does have a few of those plotlines, but it’s far from the main part of their story. I really hope C-Drama can return to this genre, since China has so much rich history and it’s shame to waste it on fictional and often written harem intrigues. Tribes and Empries perhaps can fill this hole in me, but It’s more of an epic fantasy drama, which is still good, rather than an epic historical drama.
Well, enough of my rant. Long story short, while there a few outstanding shows, I think quality of C-dramas have actually decreased, and my favorite genre is gone…

xingfenzhen
xingfenzhen
5 years ago
Reply to  xingfenzhen

Correction:
1987 version of Dream of Red Chamber instead of “1987 version of Drama of Red Chamber”. Which by the way have probably the best cast for that story. However, it is filmed the old Eastern Bloc style, which is quite strange to watch these days. (such as zoom into a small object like a mirror or a bowl to exist a scene. If you watch old Soviet or Yugoslav TV dramas from the 1970s, you’ll see it too, just to show you how far and how different Chinese film/drama make have come)

Tribes and Empires, instead of “Tribes and Empries”. Great trailer, read the book because of the trailer. Story is not bad, but definitely needs a script writer to patch it up.

Just to add, there is also a lack of serious family dramas like 中国式离婚 (A Chinese Divorce), 金婚 (Golden Marriage) as well as Sitcoms like 爱情公寓 (Ipartment), 武林外传 (Untold Story of Wulin) as well…. I kinda missing those days when there a very diverse set of dramas to choose from rather than a bunch of dramas that in essence tells the same kind story.

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  xingfenzhen

Thanks for all the titles of the shows that you do like, xingfenzhen! 🙂 I’ll be sure to keep them in mind, even as I wait for new fab dramas coming out of China! 🙂

Joyce
Joyce
4 years ago
Reply to  xingfenzhen

You have great taste in shows :D. Well they’re filming part two of 大秦帝国 so we have hope there hahaha.
And the up coming 九州海上牧云记 “Tribes and Empires: Storm of Prophecy” looks good – haven’t read the books but the trailer is great.

fiveinone
fiveinone
5 years ago
Reply to  xingfenzhen

Hi, nice to hear your thoughts on C-dramas. You are right, I used to watch those grand historical dramas aired late at night with my father, e.g. Kangxi Di Guo, Yongzheng Wang Chao etc, and I liked them a lot. Even as a teenager (seriously I don’t know anyone my age who watch those dramas a at that time, and it’s very unlikely that I can fully comprehend or appreciate the show because although I cannot remember anything about those dramas I remember bugging my dad with questions on why the emperor does this or that. Lol)

I also remember watching those dramas referencing from 野史 (unverified or unofficial history) which were really interesting as well.

Somehow such dramas disappeared. I don’t pay much attention to c-drama news on a whole, but I do see the trend shifting to those concubine fighting shows (like you mentioned), and perhaps fusion wuxia shows, which seems like the trend these days. I have no patience to watch modern c-dramas, so I’m quite sad to see there’s less good historical dramas like the old days. Lucky there’s Legend of Zhen Huan and Nirvana in Fire, which are gems among the rubble. They are very different from the kind of grand historical dramas in the past though, as the narrative skew towards triggering emotions from audience, rather than subtlety provoking their thoughts like the older series you mentioned. As an audience I find myself more invested in these kind of dramas, but like you, I still wish the older historical dramas make a return. Since I’m older now and more likely to appreciate them better. (:

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  xingfenzhen

Wow, thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience of C-dramas, xingfenzhen! 🙂 I’m very new to C-dramas, so all this is very educational for me. I do know that the quality of C-dramas these days is rather uneven, with a fair number of mediocre ones that might look polished, but lack substance. At the same time, there does seem to be the occasional gem, and NIF is definitely one of them. I was completely blown away by the multiple levels of excellence in this drama <3

Also, if it makes you feel any better, I think the same thing applies to dramas coming out of other countries as well. Many kdramas nowadays also tend to be formulaic and not very good. Yet, every once in a while, there's a gem that makes me feel like it's worth sticking around for. So I'm hoping that there'll be more great dramas coming out of China going forward 🙂

Curio Serand
5 years ago

This is a fantastic write up. I am so glad I happened upon this drama – and it was purely by chance. Like you, I only ever watch KDrama and I could never get into CDrama, try as I might.

And then a succession of serendipitous viewings of “Love Me if You Dare” and “Hua Qian Gu” landed me in the lap of “Nirvana In Fire.” And the rest, as they say is history.

I have a DVD library of favorite KDramas and this is only the second CDrama I’ve added to my library (the other being Hua Qian Gu). With NIF, I even made an iTunes playable version (complete with downloaded subtitles) and now I carry it around on my iPad to play when I got to the gym, when I’m on the train, when I just want something to pass the time.

I’m very glad to hear you say that the Mandarin here is poetic, especially since I have my NIF iTunes playlist on a loop pretty much 24/7 because that means that my brain is getting saturated with beautiful, poetic Mandarin. If I ever learn the language well enough to talk to people, let’s hope this saturation lends some polish to the way I use the language….

Oh dreams…

Anyway, I just want to end by expressing my deepest gratitude to the production team for “Nirvana in Fire.” They really set a high bar for televised storytelling – a boar I doubt can, or will be easily surpassed, but one that I hope other productions aspire to.

Cheers!

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  Curio Serand

Ah, I’m SO GLAD you found your way to Nirvana in Fire, Curio!! It’s SUCH a masterpiece that it would a huge pity to miss it. I used to have a bit of a mental block when it came to Chinese dramas, partly coz I had (wrong) assumptions about their production values, and partly coz I felt somewhat scarred from years of struggling with Mandarin in school. I’m SO GLAD that I gave NIF a chance, coz it blew my mind, and has opened my eyes AND my heart to C-ent and to Mandarin as a language as well. From thinking of Chinese as that annoyingly difficult language that I wasn’t ever any good at in school, NIF opened my eyes to see that Mandarin is a beautiful language. Isn’t that completely life-changing? 😉

The Mandarin in NIF is very poetic. It’s also more formal than you’d hear most of the time, in modern usage. It’s sort of like sageuk language vs. modern Korean. The Korean in sageuks is more formal, and there are turns of phrase that you’d never hear in modern Korea. Same thing with the Mandarin used in NIF. There’s a poetic beauty to it, and there’s also a period bent to it. So if you ever do use phrases from NIF in Real Life, people might end up looking at you funny. 😉 Still, it’s beautiful and well worth sinking into.. I definitely think immersing myself in NIF and other Chinese shows has helped improve my Mandarin! ^^

I am totally with you in hoping that other productions will aspire to the sort of standards that NIF has set. It’s SUCH a well-made show, in so many ways. It’s literally as close to perfection as humanly possible, I think, when it comes to the art of drama-making. I am definitely keeping my eyes peeled for other productions coming out of China, particularly from this production team! I’ve started on The Disguiser, and it’s very good, just 2 eps in. It feels a little like Gaksital in context, but seriously, the production values blow Gaksital out of the water. If you haven’t checked it out, I totally recommend it! 😀

Bingetherapy
5 years ago

I haven’t started watching this drama yet but it looks like something worth adding to my to-watch list! Thanks for the review, I’ll check it out 🙂 Anyone interested in Chinese cooking and drama, welcome to visit my blog 🙂

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  Bingetherapy

This absolutely is a drama you should add to your watch list! This show has shot up to be among the top 3 spots of my all-time favorites list. It’s SO GOOD, in so many ways. It’d be a pity to miss it! ^^

Amirra
Amirra
5 years ago

hi i just started watching this show n i m glad that i found your review here, giving me more motivation haha. its funny how i only found this drama yesterday n normally i only watch C dramas. if ur interested in this genre i ll recommend “Legend of Zhen Huan” and “empress of china ” to u, those r very expensively made with good storyline too, and hv u watched “tiny times” (movie series)? if u did u ll know that actually china got more pretty faces than sk haha n they r all natural lol, they just dont have good story writers, this is the biggest problem, i hv seen a few of c dramas n those rich companies spent fortune to make sure everything visually perfect but with crappy script =.=” anyway, i ll keep on watching nif, it seems that everyone speaks highly of it. thx for your review again:)

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  Amirra

Ah, yay that you’ll keep going with NIF, Amirra! Especially if you’ve been disappointed by poor writing in other C-dramas. Coz the writing in NIF is SO GOOD. I really am impressed by Hai Yan, who clearly put a lot of thought and care into writing the story and the characters. I hope you’ll enjoy your watch as much as I did! 🙂

PS: Thanks for the recommendations, I’ll keep them in mind!

Joy
Joy
5 years ago

Thank you for writing a review about Nirvana in Fire. Without it I would not have found this great cdrama. I have watched a joint production of china and hongkong drama Virtuous Queen of Han last year and i loved it. So when i saw your review it was easy for me to try and think about one day to give it a try. At that time though i was busy with the other kdramas i was hooked on and it was just recently when the other kdramas went on the lunar new year break that i found i needed something to help me get by the one week break of my latest drama craving. AND INDEED IT WAS A POINT OF NO RETURN!! 👍👍👍 I really really love NIF kfangurl. I am at episode 30 and quite sad that I only have 24 more episodes to go. Am i insane hahahah? I know that after i finish this i will miss it dearly but i guess dont worry about tomorrow lol All the episodes i have watched had touched me and made me cry at some point. Even my husband is now watching with me and is so interested in lin Shu’s secret. And the characters are all deep with interesting back story. The setting, the costumes, characters and actors playing them, the writing ~ it is all superb. Im actually recommending this to my mom ~ by the way do you know if a DVD is currently available for sale so i can buy it for her?

So again, thanks so much!!!! I really find your reviews spot on and you and your site has always been one that i rely on when choosing what to watch or drop. Sometimes i feel bad dropping a show and think maybe its me thats weird but i also see that you dropped it and the reasons you cite are the same ones im feeling. So kfangurl i just want to say that im so glad i found your website and thank you for all your hard work and effort reviewing and recapping. Its really appreciated.

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  Joy

Hi there, Joy! I’m SO GLAD that you gave NIF a chance, and ended up loving it! I totally get your wistfulness of having only 24 episodes left! I felt the same way while I was watching – I never wanted it to end, but couldn’t stop myself from watching back-to-back episodes, thus bringing the end ever closer. The silver lining is, NIF is fantastic for rewatches. My parents have both watched it twice now, and both confirm that they picked up so much more in terms of nuance and detail, on the second watch. I rewatched E1-17 immediately after finishing the show and I had the same experience. So many things that feel like throwaway moments in the earlier episodes especially, take on new meaning and significance when you watch it with informed eyes. Suddenly, a lot more stuff clicks into place, and things that characters say take on so much more meaning. I highly recommend a rewatch of NIF – not only will it soothe the pain of the show actually having an end, your rewatch will feel fresh even if you embark on it right away after your first watch. 🙂

As for purchasing the DVD, you can order it here.

Also, thanks for your encouragement with the reviews! It’s always so nice to know that the posts are helpful and appreciated. What a lovely shot of motivation – thank you, Joy! 🙂

kfangurl
5 years ago
Reply to  Joy

Egad. Joy! I hope you haven’t made a purchase, because I JUST realized that the DVD box set on YesAsia does NOT have English subs! Which means to say, even if you order it for your mom, unless your mom understands Chinese, it won’t be much use to her. I’m so sorry!

The thing is, the English subs that are out there right now, are by Viki, ie, the show’s subbed by fans. So there are no official English subs out for this show. It would probably be better for you to show your mom how to use Viki. 😛

dramalandloverj
dramalandloverj
5 years ago

I finished watching Nirvana In Fire recently, and indeed this drama is spectacular in SO many ways. From the story to the cast as well as the cinematography, I was more than just captivated. Never imagined that I would watch a cdrama again after so many years, but this was so good. Thank you for your review kfangurl 🙂 I actually teared up a little thinking about the drama as I read your post; haha can’t believe I love it so much <3

kfangurl
5 years ago

Ahh, I’m so glad you loved NIF, Jas!! And yay that you enjoyed the review! 🙂 This show truly is magnificent in so many ways, and it definitely piques my interest to check out more C-dramas. I really am blown away by just how meticulously handled NIF is, from start to finish, in every aspect, from writing, to casting, to acting, to direction, to execution. Just, amazing and fantastic all-around. I’m SO glad I didn’t miss out on this, even though I generally only watch kdramas. I’ve paused on my rewatch, but I’m definitely going back to it. This one’s worth watching again, and yet again. It’s that good, and that special. <3 Also, thanks to NIF, I'm starting to venture out beyond kdramas, bit by bit. 🙂

dramalandloverj
dramalandloverj
5 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

I sure did, thanks so much ^^ Yesss I agree! I plan to watch 伪装者 – The Disguiser 😉 There are lots of NIF cast in it and it is directed by Li Xue one of NIF’s directors, and from the same producer! Me too, I was so in awe! Haha I used to watch quite a number of Hong Kong and Taiwan dramas; then as the years went by it became mostly Korean :b As for Cdramas, I probably watched them a long time ago when they aired on the local TV. Hmm I haven’t done a full rewatch of each episode, only certain scenes but I will watch it completely again! Yup, it’s definitely a great and unique drama.

kfangurl
5 years ago

Yes, The Disguiser’s on my list too! That’s probably the next drama I’ll check out from this production team. I just need to be ready to see the NIF characters being different people, which totally messes with my head. I mean, I believed them so thoroughly in their NIF roles, that I find it hard to see them as other characters in a different drama world. I stopped watching Disguiser after 15 minutes coz I just couldn’t handle seeing Wang Kai walking around in a suit. In my head, he was Prince Jing, and the image on my screen felt all wrong. XD I will definitely watch Disguiser though. When my heart’s ready. 😉

dramalandloverj
dramalandloverj
5 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Me too! Hahaha we need some time to get used to it, because The Disguiser is set in a different setting, time and with a very different story premise. I know right, all of them were very convincing in their characters, even the less major roles; so I feel you kkk~ I’m waiting for the right time to start it. And there are so many new and upcoming kdramas, we have lots of show choices but need to factor in the time for them. 🙂

kfangurl
5 years ago

EXACTLY!!! My dad was marveling just the other day, at how good the actors are in NIF, down to the minor roles. They’re all so convincing that I almost feel sorry to watch them in something else, coz it means that I will have to admit to myself that the characters aren’t real people. 😛 I almost never feel that way, so NIF is definitely sumthin’ very special! I know, I’m waiting for the right time too, to start Disguiser – there just seems to be no end to new dramas that I want to check out, and I feel like I don’t have enough time to fit them all in. And now that I’m venturing beyond the k-shores, I’ve got more choices than ever! 😛

dramalandloverj
dramalandloverj
5 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Agreed! Everything in NIF was solid – down right to the details. HAHAHA usually by the end of a drama I would think about how good the acting was, etc and despite knowing that it is just a fictional story I sometimes just cannot get over how each and every single character was brought to life by the actors. The feels are that powerful to fans like us, that’s why we get withdrawal symptoms after finishing a drama we really like. Yes, I’ll have to make time to check out what I will end up choosing to watch from the new ones! I’m really glad you’re going beyond kdramaland 😀 there are some really good shows out there too, from C to HK to TW dramas! XD

kfangurl
5 years ago

Oh yes, I know what you mean! Usually, I’m very focused on how well the actors brought the characters to life too.. I think in this case, while I totally know that Lin Shu and Prince Jing and everyone are characters brought to life by fantastic actors, part of me is choosing to believe that these characters are real people. 😛 Which is going to be a real problem, once I want to watch Disguiser. That illusion is going to be shattered, and I don’t know if I’m ever going to be ready for that. 😛

I didn’t know you also watch C & HK & TW dramas!! I’m only just beginning to venture out, and it feels like such a big world of drama out there to explore! I’ve just finished my first TW drama in a long, long time, and I am so surprised by how much I like it! I really need to find more drama time so that I can explore as much as possible! ^^

dramalandloverj
dramalandloverj
5 years ago
Reply to  kfangurl

Yeah, because they have to be relatable to us although they may be fictional characters so that we can feel for them! Hahaha I feel you 🙂 while I was watching NIF they were so close to heart and felt so human. Ahhh i cried so much for them during the drama T.T
Awww take your time! No worries since Disguiser will always be around for us to watch heee XD You may not be 100% prepared but it’s okay! Sometimes we need the write mood for certain dramas – like I heard about how good Misaeng was and tried to start on it afterwards but couldn’t get into it, so it’s still on my watch-list :b

Hehe not so much of cdramas, the only one I remember was 还珠格格 – My Fair Princess that was really long ago. Others are vague memories already. As for HK & TW dramas, I’ve been watching lesser and lesser of them over the years; now I only watch 1 or 2 when time permits. Haha it’s been dominated by the k-wave. Heee I’ve heard about Bromance but have yet to watch it. The most recent TW drama I watched was last year’s Someone Like You – it was quite good! Same here, to your last sentence 🙂

kfangurl
5 years ago

Oh, I totally agree about being in the right mood! Attempting a reputable show while in the wrong mood can tank the show completely for you, even if the show is very good, objectively speaking. I liked Misaeng very well, but it did take me one false start before I actually got into the show. I’m sure that given the right mood, you’ll be able to enjoy Misaeng just fine.. It’s excellent slice-of-life underdog stuff, but it’s languid and long, and definitely not the kind of show that’s good for marathons. 😛

I’ve heard of 还珠格格! But I’ve never seen it. My drama-watching all this time has been dominated by the k-wave, just like you, lol! I think the only other TW drama I’ve watched before Bromance, is Corner With Love, with Show Luo and Barbie Hsu. I liked it quite well, but I wasn’t as sucked in by it as I was with Bromance, that’s for sure! I don’t know what Baron Chen & Megan Lai have done to me, I am quite hooked on them now! 😛 So I’m now checking out their first drama together, 2010’s Because of You. Never thought I’d see the day when I’d do something like that, for a TW drama! XD Guess I really shouldn’t ever say never!