Story of Yanxi Palace

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Story of Yanxi Palace
Chinese延禧攻略
MandarinYán Xǐ Gōng Lüè
GenreHistorical fiction
Based onYan Xi Gong Lüe by Zhou Mo
Written byZhou Mo
Directed byHui Kaidong
Wen Deguang
StarringWu Jinyan
Charmaine Sheh
Qin Lan
Nie Yuan
Xu Kai
Country of originChina
Original language(s)Mandarin
No. of episodes70
Production
Executive producer(s)Yu Zheng
Production location(s)Hengdian World Studios
Running time45 mins
Production company(s)Huanyu Film
iQiyi
Release
Original networkiQiyi
Original releaseJuly 7 (2018-19-07) – October 4, 2018 (2018-10-04)

Story of Yanxi Palace (Chinese: 延禧攻略) is a 2018 Chinese television drama co-produced by Huanyu Film and iQiyi Pictures, and starring Wu Jinyan, Charmaine Sheh, Qin Lan, Nie Yuan and Xu Kai. The series is based on the novel Yan Xi Gong Lüe by Zhou Mo. It was broadcast on iQiyi from 19 July 2018.[1][2] The drama is distributed globally in over 70 countries worldwide.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

In 18th century Beijing, the smart and witty Wei Yingluo enters the court of the Qianlong Emperor, Hong Li, as a seamstress to find the truth behind her older sister’s death. Believing the imperial guard Fuca Fuheng to be her sister's killer, Yingluo purposely attracts the attention of his sister the Empress Fuca, and is successfully transferred to Changchun Palace as a maid. Over time, she learns that the Fuca siblings are honest and kind-hearted people, and also develops romantic affections for Fuheng, who is much admired by many people in the Imperial Palace, including Consort Chun, who assists Empress Fuca's because of her crush on Fuca's brother.

Though Wei Yingluo is not of noble birth, the kind-hearted Empress Fuca personally teaches her how to read and write, and encourages her to treat everyone with kindness. Though Wei Yingluo has reached a stable position as a trusted palace maid, she hadn't forgotten that avenging her sister's death was her top priority. After a long and secret investigation, she discovers that the murderer is a Consort of the former Emperor and mother of Qianlong's half brother, and sets the stage for the culprit's death. Empress Fuca banishes her to the slave house before the Emperor could order her death. There, she befriends and becomes sworn brothers with a eunuch, Yuan Chunwang, who is eventually revealed to be the bastard son of the previous emperor.

Yingluo is eventually permitted to return to the side of Empress Fuca after she falls into a coma due to the machinations of Noble Consort Gao. Empress Fuca then becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son, but Consort Chun, who has been rejected by Fuheng, conspires to drive Empress Fuca to suicide by setting fire to part of her palace and killing her son. After Fuca's death, Yingluo is sent to the Summer Palace to guard over her grave, where she stays for a number of years with Yuan Chunwang. During an imperial visit to Fuca's grave, however, Yingluo becomes aware that Consort Chun manipulated Fuca into suicide, and so decides to reenter the palace to avenge her death.

Yingluo becomes the Emperor's woman, and is given the title of Consort Ling. She outmanoeuvres her rivals in the imperial harem both new and old, such as Noble Consort Chun, whose role in the death of Empress Fuca she exposes, causing her demotion and eventual death at the hands of the new Empress Hoifa-Nara. Her position is briefly threatened by a newcomer, Concubine Shun, a beautiful woman who has a grudge against Qianlong and Fuheng, having been forced into concubinage in the Forbidden City. After being framed by Concubine Shun for attempting to assasinate her, Yingluo is nearly starved to death, but eventually reverses the situation, reveals Shun's treachery, and restores Qianlong's affections for her. At this point, having reached a stable position in the Emperor’s harem, Yingluo declares a truce with Hoifa-Nara, the new Empress, on the condition that in the future she does not harm any of the children of the palace.

A decade later, however, Yuan Chunwang, who has betrayed Yingluo and joined Empress Hoifa-Nara, causes a series of disruptions, forcing the Empress’ hand. Hong Zhou, the Emperor’s brother, at the same time plots to sabotage Qianlong’s Southern tour. In the night, a band of rebels storm the ship and a fire is lit in the Empress Dowager’s cabin, prompting Emperor Qianlong to charge into the flaming cabin and save his mother, seemingly perishing himself in the process.

The next morning, as Hong Zhou has taken control of the ship and seeming restored order, Emperor Qianlong and the Empress Dowager emerge from a secret passage built in the ship by Fuheng as a trap to expose Hong Zhou's treachery. After Qian Long sentences Hong Zhou to death, Yuan Chunwang gets on his knees in front of the Emperor and claims he is a long-lost son of the past Yongzheng Emperor. The Empress Dowager denies this and he is driven mad, although it is left ambiguous whether or not she has lied to protect Qianlong's feelings and reign. Consort Ling emerges from her hiding spot under the protection of the Emperor’s men, prompting Empress Hoifa-Nara to protest the Emperor’s excessive affection for Wei Yingluo. She then cuts her hair, sacrosanct in Manchu tradition.

Empress Hoifa-Nara is permitted to keep her title, but loses the emperor’s affection entirely. Wei Yingluo is given the title of ‘Imperial Noble Consort (皇贵妃)‘, the highest possible rank for someone of her non-Noble birth. Remembering Empress Fuca's teachings, she embodies all the qualities of a virtuous consort, and supports the Emperor until death.[4]

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Wu Jinyan as Wei Yingluo, Consort Ling (令) - A smart girl who enters the palace as a palace maid to find out the real cause behind the death of her sister, Wei Yingning. She falls in love with Fuca Fuheng, the brother of Empress Xiao Xian Chun but ultimately marries Emperor Qianlong.
  • Charmaine Sheh as Hoifa Nara Shushen, Consort Xian (娴) - Consort of Emperor Qianlong. The kind and amiable consort's personality changed immensely after her whole family's demise and she became cunning. She became the empress when Empress Xiao Xian Chun passed away.
  • Qin Lan as Fuca Rongyin, Empress Xiaoxianchun - The Empress of Emperor Qianlong. Kind and amiable, teacher and mistress of Wei Yingluo. Elder sister of Fuca Fuheng. Dies at the hands of Consort Chun after Consort Chun killed her son.
  • Nie Yuan as Emperor Qianlong - Emperor of the Qing Dynasty.
  • Xu Kai as Fuca Fuheng[5] - Leader of the imperial guard, younger brother of Empress Xiao Xian Chun.
  • Tan Zhuo as Gao Ningxin[6] - Noble Imperial Consort of Emperor Qianlong. Vicious, evil and power-lusting. Hates Empress Xiao Xian Chun. After being burned by molten hot iron mixed with urine, she commits suicide after begging the emperor to give her birth mother a place in the Gao family tomb.

Supporting[edit]

Qianlong's Harem[edit]

Female servants[edit]

  • Su Qing as Hitara Erqing[12]
  • Jiang Zixin as Mingyu[13]
  • Zhang Zexi as Jixiang
  • Gao Yu'er as Jinxiu
  • Chen Ruoxi as Linglong
  • He Jiayi as Supervisor Zhang
  • Zhang Tingting as Supervisor Liu
  • Yin Xu as Fang Nizi
  • Fang Anna as Zhen'er
  • Ren Wanjing as Fangcao
  • Qian Chenjie as Ah'Shuang
  • Shi Yufei as Zhilan[14]
  • Chen Mo as Yuhu
  • Deng Sha as Wei Yingning
  • Yang Jingru as Hupo
  • Zhang Tianyun as Zhenzhu
  • An An as Manao
  • Zhao Mengjie as Feicui
  • Gao Rui as Bailing
  • Zhang Jie as Yizhu

Male servants[edit]

  • Liu Enshang as Li Yu
  • Lawrence Wong as Hailancha[15]
  • Wang Maolei as Yuan Chunwang
  • Li Peng as Zhang
  • Tan Xuqi as Cigiya Qingxi
  • Zheng Long as Quan
  • Sun Di as Wu Shulai
  • Chang Cheng as Desheng

Imperial Family[edit]

Production[edit]

The velvet flower headwear used by the main characters was designed based on historical documents or antiques housed in the Palace Museum. Each adornment is created according to the preferences of concubines. Zhao Shuxian, one of the few craftsmen still making velvet flowers, created all the headwear in the show using the art of making velvet flower (ronghua). This technique dates back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and refers to the creation of not only floral displays, but also animal shapes made by silk on a twisted wire frame.[17]

Reception[edit]

The series has generated buzz online for its engaging plot of a "Cinderella" tale with Chinese characteristics.[18][19] It set the single-day online viewership record in China with a total of 530 million views, and has attracted a cumulative over 13 billion views since August 2018.[20] The drama is the most viewed Chinese language drama of 2018.[3] The drama was also Google's #1 trending TV show search worldwide in 2018!

Many viewers praised the story, because unlike the usual amicable heroines, the main character Wei Yingluo fights fire with fire and outmaneuvers her opponents.[17] It also received praise for its well-developed cast of characters and exciting interpretation by the actors; beautiful cinematography and intricate costume design; as well as its accurate portrayal of history and Qing-dynasty settings.[21][22] Due to its success, there has been an increased amount of visitor-ship to the Palace Museum in Beijing, which is where all the main characters in the show used to live in times gone by.[23]

Controversy[edit]

There was uproar in China after a Vietnamese website managed to acquire episodes not yet shown in China and asked visitors to the website to answer questions confirming their Vietnamese identity before the website loads. “This service is for Vietnamese people only. Please answer the following questions: To which country do the Hoang Sa (Paracel Islands) belong? Vietnam, China, Philippines or Japan?”. The only correct answer to the question, according to the website, is Vietnam. The islands are disputed territory. Copies of the episodes were later removed from the platform. [24]

Soundtrack[edit]

No.TitleLyricsMusicSingersLength
1."Look (看)" (Opening theme song)Yu Zheng, Lu HuLu HuLu Hu 
2."Sighs of the Palace Walls (红墙叹)" (Ending theme song)Wang YaoguangWen KuiHu Xia 
3."The Sound of Snow Falling (雪落下的声音)" (Ending theme song)Yu Zheng, Lu HuLu HuLu Hu 
4."Forgetting About Each Other (相忘)" (Ending theme song)Wang XiaoqianYang ChengyinSu Qing 
5."Willows of the Palace (宫墙柳)"Yu ZhengTan XuanLi Chunai 

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
5th Hengdian Film and TV Festival of China Best Television Series Story of Yanxi Palace Won [25]
24th Huading Awards Best Actress (Ancient Drama) Wu Jinyan Nominated [26]
Best Supporting Actress Charmaine Sheh Nominated

International broadcast[edit]

Region Network Dates Notes
 Hong Kong Macau Singapore Malaysia Australia United States and Worldwide TVB Jade 06 August - 06 October (Monday-Friday at 8:30pm)
(Two Episode Back To Back for Saturday & Sunday) at 8:30pm.
Dubbed With Cantonese, August 26 and September 22 Was Not Air. TVB Jade will air at 8.00pm. on 1 October
 Malaysia Astro AOD
 Indonesia fmn Coming Soon Original Language with Subtitles
Vietnam Vietnam Ho Chi Minh City Television 9 August - Present (Monday-Friday at 5:00pm) Dubbed With Vietnamese
 Singapore Hub VV Drama 20 September - (Weekdays 9:00pm) Original Language
 Canada Fairchild TV 2 HD (FTV2HD) 06 August - Present (Monday-Friday)
Vancouver (West) 4:30pm, 8:30pm
Toronto (East) 7:30pm, 11:30pm
Dubbed with Cantonese (TVB Version)
 Philippines GMA Coming Soon Following With GMA The Heart of Asia and Dubbed With Tagalog
 India Colors Coming Soon Dubbed Hindi
Star Vijay Dubbed Tamil
Asianet Dubbed Malayalam
Star Maa Dubbed Telugu
Colors Bangla Dubbed Bengali
 United States CTI America From 3 September, 2018 - (Weekdays) At 7:00 PM (PT)
Repeat at Next Day 3:00 PM (PT)
Original Language

References[edit]

  1. ^ "《延禧攻略》定档719 佘诗曼秦岚领衔"清宫风云"". People's Daily (in Chinese). July 12, 2018.
  2. ^ "Stills of mega-hit drama 'Story of Yanxi Palace'". China Daily. July 27, 2017.
  3. ^ a b "iQIYI Expands Global Footprint with Extensive International Distribution of Historical Costume Drama "Story of Yanxi Palace"". PR Newswire. iQiyi Inc. August 10, 2018.
  4. ^ "延禧攻略拍摄制作备案". SAFRT. SAFRT. Retrieved 4 August 2018.
  5. ^ "《延禧攻略》定档7.19 许凯深情饰演富察傅恒". Netease (in Chinese). July 13, 2018.
  6. ^ "谭卓《延禧攻略》首尝清宫戏传奇贵妃引期待". Ynet (in Chinese). October 9, 2017.
  7. ^ "《延禧攻略》开播 王媛可现已加入豪华套餐". Netease (in Chinese). July 20, 2017.
  8. ^ "《延禧攻略》定档719 张嘉倪扮相惊艳引期待". Netease (in Chinese). July 13, 2018.
  9. ^ "《延禧攻略》将播 愉妃练练尽显端庄娴雅气场十足". Sina (in Chinese). November 3, 2017.
  10. ^ "李春嫒《延禧攻略》"色诱"聂远上演蠢萌反派". Netease (in Chinese). July 26, 2018.
  11. ^ "《延禧攻略》李若宁化身大家闺秀 展温婉之气". Sina (in Chinese). August 29, 2017.
  12. ^ "苏青《延禧攻略》上线 变身古代高级人才玩转后宫". Netease (in Chinese). July 20, 2018.
  13. ^ "姜梓新加盟《延禧攻略》 PK两万人获于正钦点". Netease (in Chinese). June 15, 2017.
  14. ^ "施予斐加盟《延禧攻略》 精致侧颜尽展双面性格". Tencent (in Chinese). July 11, 2018.
  15. ^ "王冠逸《延禧攻略》发布会大胆表白发糖". Netease (in Chinese). July 16, 2018.
  16. ^ "《延禧攻略》官宣定档 洪尧演技爆发挑战荒唐王爷". ifeng (in Chinese). July 12, 2018.
  17. ^ a b "Velvet flower headwear in hit online drama turns heads". China Daily. August 13, 2018.
  18. ^ ""延禧攻略"颠覆宫斗套路 "紫禁城福尔摩斯"一路打怪升级". Sina (in Chinese). July 24, 2018.
  19. ^ "Traditional Chinese culture stars in hit drama". China Daily. August 3, 2018.
  20. ^ "How Story of Yanxi Palace's back-stabbing imperial concubines helped China's iQiyi set a viewership record". South China Morning Post. August 14, 2018.
  21. ^ "《延禧攻略》收获高口碑 女主"黑莲花"引热议". Netease (in Chinese). July 20, 2018.
  22. ^ "《延禧攻略》呈现复古新审美". Beijing Newspaper (in Chinese). July 26, 2018.
  23. ^ "Come rain or shine". The Global Times. August 12, 2018.
  24. ^ https://www.reuters.com/article/us-vietnam-china-southchinasea-drama/vietnamese-website-taunts-chinese-drama-fans-with-south-china-sea-quiz-idUSKCN1L90UE
  25. ^ ""文荣奖"奖项出炉 陈思诚刘涛获最佳男女主角". Netease (in Chinese). October 22, 2018.
  26. ^ "华鼎奖提名公布 《和平饭店》《归去来》闪耀榜单". Netease (in Chinese). October 22, 2018.

External links[edit]