The Story of Yanxi Palace (延禧攻略) has taken China by storm. It is currently the top web drama garnering 100 million views in July and is still climbing. Set in the same time period and with the same characters as the upcoming drama Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace, I originally intended to skip this until I noticed the quality of this show. Here’s briefly what it’s about.
Wei Ying Luo is a smart girl who entered the Forbidden City as a seamstress in order to avenge her sister’s death. Using quick wits and cunning strategies, she rises through the ranks to become the Empress’s trusted personal maid. The Empress admires her bold personality and teaches her how to read and write. After a long investigation, she finds her sister’s killer. With new friendships and relationships at stake, getting her revenge comes with dire consequences.
The plot seems unoriginal and clichéd but there is a reason why everyone is hooked on this drama. Here are my top three reasons why I’m watching Story of Yanxi Palace.
3. The Costumes
There are complaints online that the costumes in this series look muted, dull or simple. In numerous TV dramas, Qing Dynasty royalty clothing was often bright, lavish and colorful to appear mesmerizing on-screen. However, that wasn’t always the case in history. Extensive research and effort was done to keep the costumes as authentic as possible and also complement each character’s personality. Seamstresses personally embroidered each outfit using traditional embroidery techniques that are slowly dying out. As a result, these costumes give a much more elegant and refined look to the characters.
2. The Characterization
While there are probably numerous dramas about finding long lost sisters and schemes in the palace, I feel Yanxi Palace shows a more realistic and heart-wrenching side to each royal consort. The kind Empress’s realization that her inner true self is slowly disappearing in order to be a virtuous queen for the people of China is certain to make your heart ache. And have you ever seen a sly Emperor who actually knows everything that’s going on in his harem? Of course, no drama is without shortcomings. Servants will still talk out of turn in the presence of their owners. Dumb characters will still perish no thanks to their innocence and naiveté. But I believe that’s what makes a show fun to watch.
1. Cunning Female Lead
The top reason I’m watching Story of Yanxi Palace is because of the main character, Wei Ying Luo. In most palace dramas, the female lead is usually the damsel in distress who falls in love or the damsel in distress who changes and becomes a stronger person to fight the antagonist. However in Yanxi Palace, Wei Ying Luo is bold, carefree, and most of all, cunning. Even though she is a lowly servant, she doesn’t hesitate to voice her opinions even to the Emperor! She is articulate and able to talk her way out of things easily. She also has a well-thought-out plan to every tactic. I believe this is the big reason why this drama is so addicting to so many people. Payback definitely makes all our hearts feel good.
If you liked The Legend of Mi Yue, you’ll like this. Story of Yanxi Palace is currently still on-air on iQiyi and available on YouTube. There are a total of 70 episodes and we’re still barely halfway into it.
More Information: Wikipedia
This article is purely of my own thoughts and opinions. Your opinions may differ. Any offense caused by my rants and ramblings is unintentional. Thank you for understanding.