Ep 73





Welcome back to Chasing Dramas! This is it, we are finally here at the drama finale of the Story of Ming Lan or 知否知否应是绿肥红瘦. We are your hosts, Karen and Cathy. If you’re listening to us for the first time on this episode, which, I don’t know why you would, I mean enjoy the spoilers? But definitely recommend starting from the beginning.


For today, we will talk about what happened in this final episode and dissect the twists and turns that come to a satisfying conclusion. We will also provide some historical context as to the real life counterpart of the events and finally round out the fates of our favorite characters by supplementing what happened in the book since the drama is not as explicit. 


Are you ready???


Last week, Within the span of a single episode, we saw 顾廷烨 sent off to war, then told from various sources that he perished in battle. Before we even blink at the tragedy, a bloody coup breaks out in the capital since all the capable generals have left the city unprotected. The two key points of the battle are 1) the imperial palace and 2) Ming Lan’s Cheng Gardens. Both places, as well as the rest of the capital, are under heavy attack by order of the Empress Dowager and her allies. Ming Lan is currently protecting her property and children from the onslaught of soldiers while Prince Huan is protecting his parents in the Imperial palace. 


However, at the very end of the episode, we see that Gu Ting Ye didn’t die. In fact, he’s waiting outside the capital with his friend, the State Uncle, with a number of troops. After a flare signal, they rush into the capital to fend off the rebelling soldiers. That is where we start episode 73, the last episode of this drama!



At the Cheng Gardens, the fight is extremely fierce. Ming Lan’s men are doing their best to fight off the rebel soldiers but the problem is that Ming Lan’s men are largely servants or private security whereas the opposing group are trained soldiers and there’s a larger number. No matter how well prepared Ming Lan’s side is, it’s still a tough fight. There’s fire and screams everywhere as the front gate is surrendered to the onslaught. Ming Lan grabs a dagger herself to try to protect herself but with no training, there’s not much she can do. Just as a rebel soldier was about to strike Ming Lan down, a timely arrow to the back stops him in his tracks. Gu Ting Ye and his men have arrived. 


Ming Lan is mightily relieved and cries into his arms when Gu Ting Ye approaches. She is not surprised at all that he’s alive but rather yells at him for being so late. Honestly, I would be upset too! She knew he was going to come back and she was prepared but still, this was not a funny joke! She almost did die! He tries to comfort her as his men come in and swiftly subdue the rebel soldiers. He’s all in a joking manner while she’s royally pissed off at him but he says he can’t stay. He must rush to save the Emperor. And so, he rushes into the palace.


The tides quickly turn as the State Uncle, 沈国舅 engage in fierce battle against the Empress Dowager’s men, or more accurately, Concubine Liu’s brother’s men. When support arrives in the form of Gu Ting Ye, the battle is decided. Concubine Liu, her brother and also one of the Emperor’s close eunuchs are tied and gagged while the Emperor and Empress walk out of their palace unfazed. Concubine Liu screams that it was the Empress Dowager who told her to revolt with her brother but the Emperor responds calmly that they should ask the Empress Dowager herself if she really said those things. 



We turn to the Empress Dowager. She is in her room with her head eunuch. She knows she lost and requests for her eunuch to provide her with poison. He is reluctant to do so and before they say much else, are visited by the Empress and the Emperor. In front of them, the Empress Dowager lets out her frustration at the new Emperor. Within a year of ascending the throne, he has engaged in war and wanted to call his father as well as the deceased emperor as the royal father. Both are disrespectful to the late emperor with whom the Empress dowager was married to for decades. But while she was full of hatred towards the new emperor, she never said she wanted to depose him. That comes as a shock to the bound and gagged Concubine Liu who shrieks outside as she is dragged away. 


And now, much to the Empress Dowager’s surprise, the Emperor reveals that everything they’ve done in the recent past was a counter against the Empress Dowager’s schemes. The Emperor and Empress knew from the beginning that his eunuch, 李内官, was telling everything to the Empress Dowager so they leveraged that knowledge to pass along everything they wanted her to hear. This goes back to, all the way back 30 episodes, when the Empress Dowager refused to give up the Imperial Seal to the Emperor so he could actually govern. Every outlandish and disrespectful thing Gu Ting Ye said and the Emperor’s own dislike for Gu Ting Ye was all an act to make the Empress Dowager believe there were chasms in their relationship. Additional lies include the Emperor’s own headaches and anger at his officials. The Emperor’s health is perfectly fine and he’s not actually angry at his allies. He just acted that way so that the Eunuch would pass this information along to the Empress Dowager and also Concubine Liu so they would act quickly. 


Furthermore, there was not actually any trouble at the border. This was only an excuse to pretend to need to bring Gu Ting Ye and other capable soldiers and generals out of the capital. Gu Ting Ye and Shen Guo Jiu remained hidden just outside the capital, ready to strike while the Duke of Ying actually did head out to the border to complete the ruse. After news traveled back to the Empress Dowager, her men were actually captured so they were working off false information. That is why this revolt was so easily quashed. 


The Empress Dowager is stunned and impressed at just how well the Emperor played the game. From the very beginning, she walked into his trap while thinking she was winning when in reality just got caught deeper into the bog. She willingly accepts death as punishment but to her surprise, is told that she is only being requested to move out of the palace to spend the rest of her days elsewhere. She readily agrees to leave the palace. 



Let’s chat about everything that just happened before we move onto the rest of the episode as it moves back to Ming Lan/Gu Ting Ye’s story. The conflict between the Emperor and the Empress Dowager is quite simple to understand. It’s the growing pains of a new regime. The Empress Dowager wants to preserve the old order established under her husband while the new Emperor wants to govern via his own methods. The drama takes some reference to history as the previous Emperor, 宋仁宗 was revered for his kindness. His pacifist ruling style is what I’m assuming the Empress Dowager and the captured eunuch were referring to about the late Emperor’s regime vs the new one. The Empress Dowager thought she had everything under control and could read the dynamics of court very easily because she had spies in the EMperor’s palace, but in reality, all of that was planted by the Emperor. This drama definitely requires multiple viewings to catch the swift glances between characters to showcase that there was something spoken on purpose. There were many instances where the Emperor was supposedly angry at Gu Ting Ye or other officials and the Empress would note how the Emperor’s headache flared up. Only for the Emperor to say, oh yea, my headache. That was all for the Eunuch’s benefit to then pass along the Empress Dowager. In those scenes, you will see the camera cut to this Eunuch even though he is just standing silently on the side. 


Similarly, Gu Ting Ye was “in” on many of his punishments because the results had too many glaring holes. He was sent to jail after the Wang family, Madame Qin, Bai Da Lang and Man Niang came to court except his sentence was rather hasty. Furthermore, as I noted in episode 70, his jail cell was way too comfortable for someone who was in prison for a murder crime. I’m assuming that the palace didn’t actually want him to suffer too badly. And similarly, while he was in prison, Gu Ting Ye didn’t care about his current predicament, but rather that his wife caused a scene at the Empress’s palace. If any regular person was in prison for murder, I doubt they’d have the energy to spare to think about that. But only because he was in on it that he didnt’ care what situation he was in. 



All of the schemes culminated in the last episode where the men were sent off to war. What was rather peculiar about the last episode was that the Emperor explicitly told Prince Huan to remain in the palace, rather than accompany the State Uncle and Gu Ting Ye to the border. That to me was also carefully planned because the Emperor wanted to have at least some level of protection in the palace. Indeed, during the coup, Prince Huan had the capability of rallying troops and defending his parents’ palace from immediate threat. 


Now something rather confusing was ultimately the relationship between Concubine Liu and the Empress Dowager. Concubine Liu believed that the Empress Dowager wanted to depose the current Emperor and in exchange for her and her brother’s help in doing so, would name her son as Emperor. The Empress Dowager denies this in front of the Emperor. For me, this shows that the Empress Dowager still is a master tactician. She never left any physical evidence of her inclinations and left people to act on what they thought was her will. The Empress Dowager just never made any comment otherwise if it was indeed what she wanted. This was the case with Concubine Liu, as well as Madame Qin and the Wang family. 



Speaking of these people, let’s turn back to Madame Qin. The shouts and screams have calmed down in the capital but she and her maid, Xiang Ma Ma think it’s because the Empress Dowager has succeeded. Only for her son, 顾廷炜, to run over exclaiming happily that his brother has returned! He’s alive! In an instant, Madame Qin’s jaw drops and she gasps for a few moments before figuring out that there was never any conflict on the border and that this whole thing was a ruse. At this moment, she completely snaps. She screams in despair that she plotted her entire life for her son but he is no where near as capable as 顾廷烨. She hates the fact that she, who comes from a noble family, raised a son that cannot do anything. This is a woman who’s entire life just shattered before her eyes. She finally understood that everything that’s happened with the Empress Dowager and Gu Ting Ye was fake. They lost. 


She screams at her servants to tie her son up and throw him into a dried well. They do as she screams and he is tossed in. Meanwhile, she stumbles her way over to the Gu family shrine. In some of the best acting in the drama, Madame Qin, 秦大娘子, tosses everything in the shrine and starts a fire. Gu Ting Ye was summoned by Xiang Mama to save Ting Wei and the group, plus Ming Lan rush over to the shrine to see Madame Qin amidst the roaring flames. She screams at Ting Wei for getting out of the well and also at Gu Ting Ye for being alive. After all the times he told her to join an acting troupe, he is the one who should be in that troupe. And then, at last, she screams out her pain she suffered her entire life. Her sister, a kind hearted person, was pushed aside for the Bai family by the Gu family in order to preserve themselves. The Gu family destroyed her sister, the Bai family and her. She acted her entire life in this household. At the end, she wants to finally live as herself. With those final words, she dives headfirst, I’m assuming to ram her head before the flames consume her. And with that, the formidable Madame Qin passes away. 



Well – All’s well that ends well and the key characters get a satisfying resolution. We get a scene where the Wang family head, son of Grandma Wang, and brother to the deceased Aunt Kang and Madame Wang, has been sentenced and is dragged off as a prisoner. We are assuming he has been sentenced for his crimes in conjunction with the coup amongst other things. It’s not fully clear but we’ll take it as the Wang family paid for their crimes.


After this brutal conflict, court affairs have calmed down. The Emperor’s wheat harvest is bountiful and he shares his hard grown supply with Gu Ting Ye and Ming Lan, as well as the Empress Dowager who is enjoying her days outside the palace, raising Concubine Liu’s son, Yong’er. It’s assumed that his mother, Concubine Liu is either imprisoned or killed. 


As for Qi Heng, after everything that’s happened, he has seen what he should truly appreciate in front of him. On a lovely evening walk with his wife, Madame Shen, he tells her that she, is his future and that they are going to spend the rest of their days together. 


In the drama’s closing scene, there is a family gathering at the Gu family shrine. The Sheng family have arrived to help the Gu family restore the shrine that was destroyed and the harmonious scene couldn’t be more infectious. While creating new plaques, Ming Lan explains to her father that the Empress told her what they were planning after she passed out outside the palace walls in episode 71. This is why Ming Lan loudly proclaimed that all was lost and acted out in a crazy manner after leaving the palace. She needed the entire capital to hear that she had lost faith for the Empress Dowager’s people to believe that there was no chance for forgiveness for Gu TIng Ye. The look on her father’s face when she tells him about this is hilarious. He cannot believe that this scheme took place and was at such a large scale. But he continues that after all of this, everyone’s better days are ahead of them. 



Indeed, through everyone’s hard work, Ming Lan and Gu Ting Ye are able to look forward to happy and peaceful days ahead. In this wonderful closing scene, let me recount who all is around to share in this peaceful and jovial gathering. 


On the Sheng family side, Ming Lan’s siblings, Hua Lan, her husband, Chang Bai, and Chang Feng are all around to help restore the shrine. 如兰 is making tea with her husband outside. On the Gu family side, Gu Ting Ye’s brother’s widow plays with one of the children with Chang Bai’s wife, Madame Hai. Her daughter, 娴姐 and Gu Ting Ye’s daughter 蓉姐 are playing amicably nearby as well. Gu Ting Ye’s younger brother, 廷炜 is also in the shrine helping the Sheng family relatives out. The biggest surprise is actually seeing 墨兰 arrive. Last we saw was her getting put in her place in front of her husband after been exposed of the trickery she used to marry him. But, this time, there’s a really big change in her. It’s just a few quick scenes where she arrives to also see Grandma Sheng who is thankfully healthy and alive but it’s evident Mo Lan is a changed woman. She is much more respectful and deferential in front of Ming Lan and Grandma Sheng. Her clothing choice has also changed. In the past, she has generally worn bright hues but today, she chose to wear black and white or 墨色, which stands for ink colored clothing. This matches with her name very well but also reflects that she has calmed down from her attention seeking days. We can only guess how much she has suffered at home but hopefully this means she has learned the error of her ways and will now be a loving member of her own family. The only person missing is Madame Wang, who is still in You Yang. 


To round out the happy endings, Shi Tou helps his pregnant wife, Xiao Tao up as they prepare to head off to eat. With the doting family all gathered around, Ming Lan and Gu Ting Ye express how glad they are to enjoy these peaceful days together. With that, the husband and wife pair head off to eat. 


The end. 









These lines are spoken by the Emperor in front of his wheat field.


These actually come from the poem called 打麦 or Threshing Wheat, written by the Northern Song Dynasty poet 张舜shùn民. The full poem has 14 stanzas and describes the difficulties of farmers to harvest the wheat and to bring it to the table. 


The specific lines in the poem can be translated as such

When the crop ripens, the farmers quickly harvest the wheat. But they also need to plant the seeds for next year’s crops. Bountiful years are few and far between yet meager years are common. The farmer must toil endlessly but what can he do?


The last two stanzas of the poem go like this

将此打麦词, 兼作插禾歌


Take this threshing poem as your planting song


Now, let’s say the year is around the mid 1060s. It is true that the author 张舜shùn民 succeeded in his imperial exams and became a 进士 in 1065 during the reign of 宋神宗, however, it’s unknown when he wrote this poem specifically. 



Ok – now onto the history of our real life characters!


宋英宗 – the Emperor here. There’s a decent amount of difference between the historical character and the show. The drama of course also had to bring everything together from a book perspective so I’m totally cool with these changes. 


宋英宗 or 赵曙 only reigned for around 4 years, from 1063 to 1067. He died when he was only 35.  We’ve talked about him at length before so I won’t go too much into detail. His main claim to fame during his reign was the big split between naming his birth father his father instead of the Emperor. 宋英宗 was a sickly man and fell ill several times during his reign. His prime ministers supported him but at times Empress Dowager 曹 died act as regent when the Emperor was ill.



Empress Dowager 曹 – In this drama Empress Dowager Cao is portrayed as the villain in the second act. I think villain is too harsh a word because she was preserving what her husband built so I do understand where her anger and hatred for the new Emperor stems from. In the drama, she enacts this coup to try to overthrow the Emperor whereas in history, she actually had a great relationship with the adoptive son of her husband. Because 曹皇后 or Empress Dowager Cao never had children, she understood her role was to foster and help the new Emperor. We also have to commend her for the fact that she stayed in power for so long without children as we all know how important children are to a woman’s status. 


Cao Huang Hou is a woman that perfectly fits the word of 贤惠 or virtuous, supporting her husband as Empress for 28 years before becoming regent for their adoptive son. As mentioned, 宋英宗 only reigned for a few years and Empress Dowager Cao actually helped rule while he was ill. When He passed and the power went on to his son, she continued to help rule. But, unlike many other Empress Dowagers and what was portrayed in the show, she relinquished power when she was no longer needed to rule. That attitude is rather rare even in the dramas we see today which is why she fits the word for virtuous quite well. She died at the age of 64 in 1079年11月16日. 



For me growing up, the 宋 dynasty never got as much notice. Mainly because many of the shows were around the Qing Dynasty but also because the focus of the 宋 dynasty was around its failures to keep invaders at bay. The Song Dynasty was generally looked down upon due to its lack of military prowess and the fact that it was defeated soundly by the Mongols. What I love about this drama is that it really showcases what a powerhouse the 宋 dynasty was during its heyday. It was an economically and culturally advanced society! During its time, the estimated gross domestic product was 3x as much as that of the whole of Europe. This show gives us that glimpse into that world. We never really got that before this show with such life and beauty and I’m so glad it did.



Now, onto book differences!


As i mentioned last week, the drama quickly resolves several plot lines by mashing them together. It works to an extent. 顾廷烨 doesn’t return in time to save Ming Lan. She handles it by herself and figures it out that 顾廷烨 wasn’t truly in danger. 顾廷烨 stays out west to stamp out the book Empress Dowager’s strongholds. He returns to tell Ming Lan about the fate of 曼娘. She goes crazy. They finally have a heart to heart and become a blissfully married couple. Madame Qin doesn’t die in a fire but later. The book empress dowager, also doesn’t die, but is sent away to live out her years.


Book endings for each person – these all are explained in the epilogue chapters or i guess you would call side stories of the book. We focus on different characters rather than 明兰 and 顾廷烨.


Let’s start with 明兰 and 顾廷烨!


The couple essentially lived happily ever after. 顾廷烨 offered to be stationed in the 蜀地, which is now modern day 四川. Of course 明兰 went with him. They essentially stayed there for the remainder of their years, living a fun and relaxing life. They had 4 sons. 明兰 became a legendary figure amongst the women in the capital and of the younger generation of 盛 family girls. No one could quite figure out how 明兰 was so successful. Of course, in the book, she time traveled from a different time so that might have been it.


Let’s talk about their sons! They aren’t actually given names in the book so i’ll just go in order


The eldest – stately and proper, he is most similar to his father without the worst of his traits. 


The second – he was one of the most handsome men in the Empire but alas, followed in his uncle 盛长柏’s footsteps of being a taciturn yet brilliant statesman. 


Both the eldest and second eldest of the 顾 children entered court and became staples of court.


The third son decided to head off east and travel the seas


The youngest son, seeing that his brother turned eastwards, chose to travel westward. During his travels, he chronicled his experiences and wrote an encyclopedia recounting his travels. When he was around 40, he caught the eye of a foreign princess and married into the royal family.



Let’s now cover the 盛 family! The men first!


First is the master of the family 盛纮. He continues his calculated expansion of power for his family and rises to a member of court of the second rank before retiring, which is quite good for him. He stays married to Madame Wang but of course she’s banished for ten years. He has other concubines at the house but no one as crazy as Mistress Lin. 


盛长柏 – the awesome older brother.


In the book, he actually spent most of his time outside of the capital. He was stationed elsewhere. He rose steadily through the ranks to become prime minister and was a critical member of court for two reigns. His students were spread all across the empire. He had 4 sons, 3 of them did pretty well but his youngest was the black sheep of the family. When 长柏 died, the Emperor ordered two princess to carry his casket to his final burial place. 



Mr. 盛长枫 finally did pass his imperial entrance exams and became an official at court. He had several children. His wife Madame 柳 basically saved his butt multiple times. His wife and the sheng family finally made him see the light regarding Mistress Lin and he stopped trying to bring her back into the family. Remember, in the book, she doesn’t die.


盛长栋 – he only shows up in the book. He does quite well for himself too and passes the imperial entrance exams. He married a daughter of the 沈 family that is somewhat related to the state uncle.



Now, onto the ladies!


Grandma Sheng

In the book, Grandma Sheng doesn’t stay in the capital after the events of her poisoning, instead, she joins 盛长柏 and his wife while they head away for his posts. She lived a very long and healthy life. She lived so long that she was still alive when 明兰 became a grandmother herself! 明兰 constantly fought with 盛长柏 on taking care of Grandma sheng, but 明兰 always lost that battle.


Now onto 盛华兰 – the eldest sister!


We don’t really see the hardships she suffered in her marriage but let’s just say, she was one smart cookie and successfully turned it around. Her main obstacle was her pretty evil mother in law. 华兰 and her husband became a very loving couple. She was still having kids in her 40s! I think that’s 4. We know she had at least 1 daughter and 2 sons. Her eldest daughter 庄姐儿 married a very successful general and had many kids.


As for 墨兰


It’s not quite the same as in the drama. Her husband 梁晗 never finds out about the treachery so they have a relatively stable relationship. She has 5 daughters, yes 5 daughters. She did have a few miscarriages though of sons, so I guess the author just didn’t want her to be too successful. All of her daughters married low though. 


Lastly we have 如兰


She had a pretty loving relationship with her husband, though probably not as happy as 明兰 and 华兰. She had a son and a daughter. 明兰 was super jealous of 如兰 because 明兰 wanted at least one daughter, but all she got were sons. 如兰 in the book, really grew up. She learned from her mothers mistakes and was able to maintain a healthy marriage with her husband. It’s not to say that she didn’t have to accept concubines but at least no one was as terrible as Mistress Lin



Now let’s talk about the rest of the 顾 family!


顾廷炜 – he did not come out of the story well at all. He was actually one of the main culprits in leading the band of thieves to the Cheng gardens. Seeing that his men were going to lose, he fled for the forests. Unfortunately for him, 顾廷烨’s men and other captains chased after him, ultimately killing him. For his crimes, his entire side of the family was stripped of titles. His children all died of the plague. This side of the family became depleted.


Madame Qin

After hearing the death of her son and her grandchildren, she fell ill and ultimately died. There was a lot more that happened in the book, in which she ruined another woman. This woman, seeking revenge, was the one who smuggled in plague infested clothes and gave it to 顾廷炜’s children, killing them. 


As for 娴姐儿, the daughter of 顾廷烨’s older brother, she married the son of the House of Liang. So that would actually be 墨兰’s nephew by marriage. This son would inherit the title. The countess of the house of Liang herself asked for this marriage. The book doesn’t tell us how well the marriage went but let’s just say that the House of Liang had enough happening in the book. 娴姐儿 was intelligent enough but she might be in for a spell of hardship to deal with that family. For her marriage, her two cousins, so 明兰’s two oldest sons returned to represent her family.


Next up is 蓉姐儿!

This young lady married 常嬷嬷’s grandson. She was very favored by 明兰 because obviously, 蓉姐儿 saved her son. 常嬷嬷’s grandson also had a very good career ahead of him. He passed his imperial entrance exams and became a favored member of court. For 蓉姐儿’s marriage, 明兰 personally returned from 四川 to manage everything.


I won’t talk about the rest of the 顾 family – there’s a lot more that happens in the book but it’s not worth repeating here.



Now onto the Wang family!


The Wang family were turned into the evil family in the drama, it’s not quite the case in the book. The main black sheep is still Madame Kang. 


Madame Wang serves her 10 years back at the old family of 宥阳. She comes back and helps raise some of 长柏’s kids, mainly the one that didn’t turn out so well. Ah well.


Madame Kang is sent into prison for the rest of her life. She has a daughter 康允儿 that still tries to get her out. 康允儿 is married to the Sheng family and she’s basically burning up all her good will with trying to get her mother out. At this point in the book, even the Sheng family won’t help her. At least the Sheng family likes 康允儿, Madame Kang’s other daughter 康元儿, who is most similar to her mother, basically is sidelined by her mother in law and lives a rather miserable life for the remainder of her life.



And now on to some other characters


贺弘文 – he marries later in life and has a son and wife. His wife also had a previous engagement. Although they don’t love each other, they live a tranquil life together. 贺弘文’s annoying cousin is still in the picture but 贺弘文’s wife is more than capable of handling her.


小桃 – 明兰’s maid marries 石头 and they have several children. The side story is so hilarious because she just does what she’s told by her sister-in-law and is like – I’d like to return back to Madame Ming Lan later in life. 石头 gets SO pissed because he’s like, are you wishing me dead?!


Madame Zhang – she surprisingly has like 6 kids with the State Uncle or 沈从兴. She always wanted a small quiet yard but that didn’t happen with all the kids running around. 


As for the despicable mistress 邹, she was somewhat successful in trying to divide the 沈 family but she was finally thrown to pray in a temple for years until one of the 沈从兴’s youngest daughter 沈玉珠 from his first marriage decided to bring her back to her family and support her.



Finally – let’s talk about 齐衡.


The drama really gives him a happily ever after. He’s not so lucky in the book. He married 3 times. Madame 申 gives birth to twins. Shortly after though, she travels with the children to find 齐衡 while he is stationed elsewhere. Unfortunately all three of them die on the road due to plague. For his third marriage, he married a granddaughter of a princess. However, she also died after giving birth to 2 sons. After that, he never married again and raised his sons by himself. One day, he heads to 盛长柏’s house after returning from his posts away. He sees one of 盛长柏’s granddaughters. She is also ranked number 6, is 庶出 and unfavored by her father. Her father is the black sheep of 盛长柏’s sons that I mentioned before. After a few years, 齐衡 asks for this granddaughter’s hand in marriage for his second grandson. Despite 盛长柏’s initial hesitation, he finally agrees. The two get married and live a happy and bountiful life. On his deathbed, 齐衡 gifts his most treasured possession to this granddaughter. She opens it to see the clay dolls that have yellowed due to age. She finds the dolls have on it 盛小六 and 齐小二. The nicknames that 齐衡 once gave himself and 盛明兰. 盛明兰 rejected 齐衡 but he kept these dolls till his dying day. With this new generation,  盛小六 and 齐小二 are finally together happily ever after.


I really like the side chapter for 齐衡. I guess it’s just wish fulfillment that in our main story, 盛小六 and 齐小二 never made it but a different generation was able to.




When we started out this podcast journey, there were really only two dramas that I wanted to discuss in this detail. One is Empresses in the Palace and two is The Story of Ming Lan. The story of Ming Lan is a drama that is more reflective of every day life and many of the lessons learned and portrayed in the drama I have taken to heart. It is a drama that I return to often to remind myself how to be more like Ming Lan.


This drama does a wonderful job of showcasing to us what the world was like during the Song dynasty and what kinds of challenges both men and women faced during this time. In Empresses in the Palace, we were introduced to the concept of the children born of the wife and children born of concubines. That poses its challenges in the royal family but similarly poses problems for lesser families.


What I think is valuable in this drama is that each person’s character is so full of life and also understandable. We understand why Ming Lan is the way she is, as well as Mo Lan, Qi Heng, Gu Ting Ye and others. Escalating beyond the conflicts of the Gu and Sheng family, we understood why the conflicts between the Emperor and Empress Dowager happened.  



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