Before I get onto the body of this post, a practical query - does anyone know where I can download raws for this? This drama is so gorgeous, it is begging for caps.
Now, then. I can barely see straight because my eyes have been open for too long but I don't care! I haven't been this sleeplessly obsessed since my marathon of Three Kingdoms. The one thing that is saving some measure of sanity is that I need subs and only first 4 eps have been subbed so far (on viki). Otherwise, I can see myself watching the entire 30+ eps in one sitting and then keeling over and dying.
I am so in love with this gorgeous, tragic mood piece. The costumes and the sets alone would predispose me to loving this - visually it is an amazing drama. But it's not just that. The writing and acting and the directing - this is getting close to a masterpiece. The characters feel like period people with period people values and behaviors, not modern people in period clothes. One of the things that I love about this drama is that every character is complex, nuanced and interesting. It is very hard to make a cast of characters this huge 3-D but BBJX manages. (It makes me thing of Young Warriors in its ability to manage multiple stories. Both were done by TangRen, hmmmm). Of the themes that run through, the one that gets me the most is futility and lack of freedom - you can see Ruoxi realize that everyone in this society, even those who are as high up as she is, are merely puppets for the Emperor, puppets in a game with deadly outcomes. Her high spirits, which is what initially draws many of the princes to her, are slowly beginning to wilt under the cruel reality. And yet she is trapped - what can she do?
On the shipping front I, the Queen of Canon Shipping, am actually wallowing in uncanon ships! I am obsessed
with Eight/Ruolan and that is even more hopeless than shipping Eight/Ruoxi (a good example of period cdrama dysfunction - Ruolan/Eight are married
and yet it's totally hopeless). I really want to know what is going on with them - he clearly worships the ground she walks on, but he barely visits her, and she (while always polite) treats him as if he has the plague. (Girl, you got Kevin Cheng as a royal in love with you, wtf are you blind?). I actually like the possibility of Ruoxi/Eight too because they have lovely chemistry and would have the world's most beautiful babies, but less then I do Ruolan/Eight.
Also, I know this is totally ridic, but I am uncanon-shipping Ruoxi/Thirteen. There is nothing in the drama text to give rise to that, but Liu Shi Shi and Yuan Hong's crazy chemistry overrides the writing - all I can see is eye-fucking whenever they are in a scene together.
I also really liked Ten/Ruoxi. I think they could have been happy together - they are both impulsive and forthright. (It kinda makes me think of my obsession Eight/Qing Chuan in Jade Palace Lock Heart). The scene where Ten learns he has to marry the girl whose name escapes me breaks my heart (I love how that sequence transitioned to more serious paths for the drama - showing us that it is all pretty and fun until you lose your life)
So far, there hasn't been much of Four and Ruoxi's interactions but the potential is huge. I love their chemistry and I confess to loving Four so very much - he is not a tragic, heroic figure like Eight, but I love his containment, his intelligence, the hidden sense of humor, the toughness. And my favorite scene so far is actually between him and Ruoxi. It's when she asks him "as a hypothetical" what would he do if he were stuck in a nightmare dream that he couldn't wake out of (i.e. her somehow being stuck in Qing) and he replies "I have five words for you: "Make the best of it."" Somehow that gave me shivers and encapsulates his character perfectly. (Also, it's an amazing advice because you can't control your circumstances, especially in that society, but you can control what you make of them).
I also like seeing the brothers before the fall-out. Like Ruoxi, we know what will happen, and we cannot stop it.
As for the ending? What I want is for Ruoxi to wake up back in modern times. Mainly because the logic freak in me has as the only explanation is that she hit her head and is in the hospital.
I adored Jade Palace Lock Heart and it will always be a favorite, but I have room for BBJX too and, tbh, I cannot compare the two - similar plots they may have, but the execution makes them so different, any comparison is impossible.