It's official. I am in love with Three Kingdoms
after the first episode.
But first a disclaimer - as far as it comes to that period of Chinese history, my knowledge is pretty much zero. And my knowledge of the Romance of Three Kingdoms is only marginally less meager - all I know I learned from Red Cliff I which I do not remember well. I did not even read the wiki article on the book because I do not want to be spoiled (yes, I realize it's like not wanting to be spoiled for The Song of Roland or Morte d'Arthur but there we are). So the below are thoughts of someone who only has one ep under her belt and almost no background knowledge.
Ep 1 revolves largely around Cao Cao's aborted attempt to assassinate Dong Zhuo, who is the de facto ruler of the Han Empire. Cao Cao, a cavalry general, became very close to Dong Zhuo but decides to kill him, whether out of ambition, thirst for glory, or some mix of the two. However, the attempt fails and the enraged Dong Zhuo sends his adopted son, warlord Lu Bu, to hunt Cao Cao down like a dog while taking a side trip to eradicate his household (they really weren't kidding about the whole "if you go against the government, they will kill everyone related to you, down to the meanest slave." Let's hope Cao Cao was single and childless and wasn't too fond of any of his retainers). And thus the story is set in motion...
Here are our movers and shakers (for now).
Cao Cao. He's currently my favorite character, being clever, unscrupulous and larger than life. He's almost irresistibly magnetic. If I traveled back in time, he's the one I'd pick to be concubine n. 75 to. I second mookiehyun
on the whole ahjusshi crush thing.
Dong Zhuo, the warlord who installed a puppet child Emperor and rules the empire. He seems very susceptible to flattery and has interesting ways to get rid of people he doesn't like (see below). He's also supposed to like sleeping in the Emperor's bed (not when Emperor is there, thankfully) and raping palace ladies, though I am not sure I buy that last one because this is in the days before viagra and he's pretty darn old.
Lu Bu, Dong Zhuo's adopted son. Or as I like to call him "psycho Legolas." Legolas because of the hair and the hotness, and psycho because - well - he comes across as scary-dangerous. I kept thinking he was going to stab his adopted daddy with that nifty armor-piercing dagger for the entirety of their conversation. Not that there was anything said about it but the vibe was eeeek. ( A few unspoilery caps from ep 1. Mainly to showcase the gorgeousness of the ep )
In conclusion, this is one of the most intelligent, complicated dramas I've seen and I love it. I think it would be a great dramas for someone not too interested in dramas - it comes across as this wonderful mix of a medieval epic/worldbuilding fantasy novel a la Game of Thrones/HBO series like Rome. Minus the nudity and the sex of course :P
Anyway, go watch it!