[Karen]

Let’s start off with the recap for episode one. Then we’ll go more in depth on the major characters and key scenes we want to discuss. 

The show opens and it’s year 1722, 雍正 is recently coronated as Emperor and we’re first introduced to this massive display of what court looks like during his time. 

We meet two officials, 年羹尧 and 隆科多 who are promoted by the emperor to higher ranks within court. As they leave the court, 雍正‘s primary eunuch, 苏培盛, comes out to give medicine to, 年羹尧, as a gift from the emperor for a battle wound he’s endured. They exchange pleasantries and we find out that 年羹尧 not only just got promoted, but his sister is a concubine in the 后宫。

Later, in the evening, the emperor is in his primary residence. His mother, the empress dowager, or 太后 stops by. She mentions that he only has 3 sons while his father had 24. It’s time for a “Selection” or 选秀 to bring more women into the palace.

We are next introduced to the empress 皇后, the official wife of the Emperor, and 华妃, the emperor’s favorite consort. The empress asked 华妃 to stop by her quarters to discuss the preparations of the 选秀 or “selection”. This conversation ultimately ends on a sour note and 华妃 reluctantly leaves with a servant girl from the empress in tow. 

 

[Cathy]

We are finally introduced to our main character, 甄嬛. She’s praying at a temple, hoping not to be selected to the palace. She’s 17 at this time and doesn’t want to marry someone wealthy and powerful, only someone who loves her. As we know, this is more or less wishful thinking. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have a drama to watch. However, when a childhood friend and imperial doctor 温实初 asks for her hand in marriage, she politely rejects him, saying that they are more like brother and sister.

We are also introduced to 沈眉庄, another young woman, who is also prepping for the selection. She and 甄嬛 are friends.

Just before the selection, we have a scene between the empress and the emperor. She is very pleased he is having dinner with her but points that it is important to not eat too much of a favorite dish. This self restraint can also be applied to people. The emperor hears this and becomes annoyed because we know she’s talking about him spending perhaps too much time with 华妃. He leaves and actually goes there instead, leaving the empress dejected.

 

[Karen]

And now… it’s time for the selection! How the selection works is that you are presented to the emperor and empress dowager who decide whether or not you get to stay and are worthy of being in the palace. We are introduced to 2 girls who are going through the selection in addition to our main character 甄嬛 and her friend 沈眉庄。These girls are 安陵容, who comes from a poor, low ranking family, and the other, 夏冬春, who is of a much higher social status. 安陵容 accidentally bumps into 夏冬春 which offends her. Drama ensues and 甄嬛 comes to the rescue. When everyone calms down, they go into the procession for review by the empress dowager and the emperor. By a stroke of luck and her good manners, 安陵容 gets chosen to stay, even though originally the emperor didn’t want her. The arrogant 夏冬春 is selected to stay. When it’s 沈眉庄 and 甄嬛’s turn, 沈眉庄’s poise and beauty are enough for the empress dowager to select her to stay. This is an interesting piece, the empress dowager makes the decision. Not the emperor.

Lastly, it’s time for 甄嬛. She kneels before the emperor and empress dowager. The episode ends on her deliberation. What’s going to happen?

 

[Cathy]

That was the episode in a nutshell. Let’s start discussing some key scenes and introduce some characters

Let’s first introduce the Emperor. 爱新觉罗·胤(yin4)禛 – or 雍正 Emperor, who is portrayed here by 陈建斌.

雍正, was the 5th Emperor of the Qing Dynasty, who was born in 1678 and ruled from 1722-1735. He was 44 when he ascended the throne and ruled for only 13 years.  He came to power after a famous coup, where the story is that 9 sons each plotted to become the heir apparent. In the end, 雍正 reigned supreme which speaks to his cunning, his intellect, and his ruthlessness. These are all characteristics we see displayed fully in the show. He has difficulty trusting people and is very focused on consolidating his power. 

 

[Karen]

Hey, do you remember show came out, there was a lot of controversy around the casting choice and acting style. People said 陈建斌, who is well-known in China, is too old. How could all these women fight over this guy. 

 

[Cathy] 

oh yes! Wasn’t it something about in the original book, the Emperor was this hot, fit dude and totally not like this guy. 

 

[Karen]

Well…雍正 was 44 at the start of this show so in general it made sense. 陈建斌 was I think 40 when he acted this, so totally age appropriate! Also, fans would say that he showed little emotion in his acting and would actually call him pancake face when this was airing. 

 

[Cathy]

haha, yea 煎饼叔. I also want to point out that it might be a play on his name 建斌 and 煎饼 (pancake). It’s just a fun play on words!

Let’s actually talk about the opening scene. The drama opens with the emperor in court and there is a brief introduction of two men, 隆科多 and 年羹尧. These two are true historical figures who were crucial to aiding 雍正 winning the throne. In this scene they just got promoted. 

年羹尧:

A member of the Han Chinese Bordered Yellow Banner, he is a top ranking military commander and brother to 华妃. 

隆科多:

A member of the Manchu Bordered Yellow Banner. He was the younger brother of an empress to the previous emperor. So you could say he’s an uncle of sorts to 雍正。 

This scene is a more realistic depiction of court than most TV dramas since everyone’s outside and the eunuch has the whip to start the proceedings. Usually everyone’s cramped in the small palace which is totally not real. 

 

[Karen]

Let’s discuss 苏培盛, the Eunuch who gives 年羹尧 the medicine.  He, is 雍正’s primary eunuch and he basically governs all the eunuchs in the palace. 苏培盛 is actually one of the few eunuchs who has a historical record.  His burial site is in a known location, which is very rare for eunuchs.

Ok, so 苏培盛 is seen as a pleasant servant right now, bowing to 年羹尧 and being very respectful etc, but 年羹尧is fully aware that 苏培盛is essentially the emperor’s messenger and perhaps one of his most trusted advisors. Basically, you can’t piss this guy off because he’s an extension of the Emperor. 苏培盛 actually wields enormous power within the palace as the head eunuch.

—-

 

[Cathy]

We just met some of the main players in the Imperial Court. The next scene we want to analyze is the discussion between 雍正 and his mother about his 后宫。

In this scene, the Empress Dowager doesn’t directly pressure 雍正 to go to 后宫, instead, the Empress Dowager mentions that the emperor’s father had 24 sons! Our current emperor only has 3! It’s time to start adding more children!  Ok to be fair, 3 at 44 with concubines is a low number.

What is revealed here is that this emperor is not necessarily a philanderer which, plenty and I mean PLENTY of emperors in Chinese history have been. He actually spends a lot of time actually ruling the country, and doesn’t necessarily focus on the pleasures of women. This is true in history. 雍正is known for being a workaholic and having significantly fewer children than his father.

What is fascinating here, is that in western culture, you have one wife who is responsible for continuing your line and running the household. Yes, as the man, you can have mistresses, but generally the children of your mistresses cannot inherit. If you want legitimate sons, you may need to resort to extreme measures, like Henry the 8th in England.  In China, however, at least in the palace, you have one empress, but the emperor can have many concubines and those children from the concubines, at least in this dynasty, can inherit the throne. That was the case with this emperor.

太后 frames it as having children is his “duty” and because of that, we need more women. 

I also want to point out that this is all super transactional. There’s no discussion of “love”. Just – hey, is she going to be able to produce healthy babies. The Empress Dowager, even bluntly says, some of the women in 后宫 are too old to have children! She then finally gets to the reason for coming tonight. She wants 雍正 to have the Selection!

 

[Karen]

Here’s a little bit more information of the Selection: 

The selection (or 选秀)which literally translates to “selecting beauties” generally occurs once every 3 years and it’s a way for young ladies from prominent families to enter into the palace. Translations may vary but we’ll call it the Selection.

He also wants to bring more ladies from the Han Banner families. You see here? He’s trying to be strategic about solidifying this Manchu and Han connection. Now here’s a big distinction, these Han ladies MUST come from Han Army of Eight Banners (汉军八旗). They couldn’t just be plucked from the street. There was a rule that Manchu bannermen and regular Han could NOT intermarry. This rule wasn’t law and it wasn’t strictly enforced but it did limit who family members from the banners could and couldn’t marry. 

 

[Cathy]

太后 agrees, she’s very savvy and knows what her son is doing. She does remind him that just because new people are coming doesn’t mean he should neglect the ladies who are already there, especially the Empress. So at least that’s nice of her. Didn’t she just tell him to get more women? We also want to point out that the Empress is related to the Empress Dowager. It’s all about the politics! 

Let’s briefly talk about the Empress Dowager. 

乌雅成璧, 皇太后, the Empress Dowager – is portrayed by 刘雪华

The mother of 雍正, she was a Consort to Emperor 康熙. She had two sons, the 4th son 雍正 and the 14th son 胤Yin禵. Both of her sons participated in the bloody fight for the throne. Unfortunately 雍正 and his brother were on opposing sides. 雍正 won and 胤Yin禵 is no longer in the picture. 

—-

 

[Karen]

Ok, now we get to my favorite scene we want to discuss. This is where we are first introduced to the Empress (皇后) and 华妃。

 

[Cathy] 

YAY!

 

[Karen]

This is where you learn how to be passive aggressive. Using words to fight battles instead of weapons or fists.  So many back and forths in just one scene. 皇后 starts by thanking 华妃 for coming over to her palace during her normal “afternoon repose”.  华妃 responds by saying that she doesn’t have the luck of 皇后 of being so free, is there something that 皇后needs? She’s basically saying, I have work, and you don’t. What kind of Empress are you?  皇后 ignores this jab and asks 华妃 about preparations for the selection and of course 华妃 wants to show off that she’s prepped and ready to go. Usually, everything is overseen by 皇后 but the Emperor gave 华妃 the reins for this event which undercuts the authority of 皇后. 华妃 can’t wait to start showing off, saying stuff like, “uh 皇上 wants me to be frugal but I can’t lose face for him and so I HAVE to make money appear somewhere. How will anyone know my pain?” 皇后 of course has to put this serene face on and doesn’t say anything.

 

[Cathy]

So I say this is round 1 and I think 华妃 wins.

 

[Karen]

So for round 2, 皇后 offers 华妃 some desserts. 华妃 pauses at first, obviously because she doesn’t want to eat this but, just before 皇后 tells HER servant to force the desserts to 华妃,she tells her main lady maid(颂芝) to pick something from the options of desserts. What does 颂芝 do? She… DROPS it. You could be severely punished for that. Like, bludgeoned to death. That’s so disrespectful to 皇后 and is basically a slap in the face。 

 

[Cathy]

yea, that takes guts.

 

[Karen]

颂芝  drops to her knees and begs for forgiveness. 华妃’s reaction is to say “oh no, she’s so clumsy. If the Empress doesn’t punish you, I will”. Pay attention to the smirk 华妃 still has on. This puts 皇后 in a corner. If 皇后 punishes her, she’ll seem too 小气 petty and not regal which makes her lose face. Pretty much everything in this society is about losing or saving face. Well what does the Empress do? She initially lets it go, and it seems that 华妃 wins this round again. She protects her servant, and also avoids having to eat the dessert. So it’s 2-0 to 华妃。

 

[Cathy]

But, 皇后 is not going to just let this go. She starts to say, “oh no, don’t worry about it. 颂芝 is too senior to be doing this stuff. Let me introduce you to this new servant girl 福子. She’ll do this for you”. As soon as 皇后says this, 华妃’s her smirk turns into a scowl. Of course she doesn’t want this new girl! Who is she, she could be a SPY! 华妃 says no thank you, but 皇后 isn’t going to back down and we see her very sweetly turn the tables and say “oh, 福子 needs to learn more about being a good servant and she can learn from the best with you”. So obviously, 华妃 can’t say no. She is so mad and gets up to leave. 

 

[Karen]

I love how she’s just staring daggers at the servant girl 福子 as she passes her. 

 

[Cathy]

So it’s 2-1? I think 皇后 won that round. Ok, here comes the final kicker. Just as 华妃 is about to step out, 皇后 says “It’s great to have new ladies come in. They will have some healthy children for the Emperor.” 华妃 actually begins to tear up because WHY? She doesn’t have any children. No matter how much 华妃 wants to show off with her money and status, she does not have the most prized possession in 后宫。She will now have to compete with younger and prettier women for the emperor’s affection. 华妃is so wrapped up in how much power she has planning the selection and trying to put 皇后in her place for not being asked to run this show, that she forgot just what the consequences are of this “selection”. It is definitely not lost to 皇后 and she now makes sure 华妃 doesn’t forget it either. Look at that, I think 皇后 just won that round. So it’s 2-2 for this battle.

 

[Karen]

Ok but I think 皇后 really won that scene cause 华妃 had to leave with the new servant girl!

Phew – in this 4 minute scene, you learn so much about these two ladies and how “battles” work in 后宫. It’s passive aggressive. It’s vicious. 皇后 is regal and composed but she’s no Mary Sue. 华妃 is glamorous but brash. 皇后 has the power of being the all mighty Empress, but 华妃has the favor of the emperor and has money. They each know the others weaknesses and will not hesitate to strike all the while putting on a beautiful smile.  

 

[Karen]

After watching this again just now, I want to say that all this drama that happened was totally unnecessary. The only “real” piece of information that 皇后 perhaps needed, was to know how the “selection” preparation was going. The rest is literally the two of them fighting and trying to show off who is superior. Like no one else is in the room. This conversation did not need to happen. But… we get to learn so much about these ladies.

Anyways, as we see 华妃 leaving, she gives an annoyed glance to 颂芝, her main servant, who then promptly yells at the new 福子 to move to the back. The 2 interesting pieces here are that you see just how strong the relationship between a master and her servant can be. Just a glance or a pause, and the servant knows exactly what to do or say on behalf of the master. The second is that, damn, people are so two faced. 颂芝 was super meek in front of 皇后just now, and immediately turns around and is just flat out nasty towards 福子。 That’s just how it is!

Here’s a little bit more information on these two powerful ladies.

乌拉那拉·宜修 – or 皇后 Empress The Empress to 雍正, and his second official wife, she is related to the Empress Dowager and comes from the powerful Ula Nara clan. The 乌拉那拉 clan is one of the main noble Manchu houses and has sent many females to be concubines in the imperial harem throughout the Qing Dynasty. As the Empress, she holds the power of “Middle Palace” and controls the Imperial Harem. Basically it is her job to manage the comings and goings of the 后宫. Her character does not have a historical counterpart so we’ll just go with it. She is portrayed by the Ada Choi, who was most widely recognized for her HK TVB dramas. Though famous previously, she’s gained critical acclaim in mainland China with this role. 

年世兰 华妃 – 蒋欣

Sister of 年羹尧, introduced with a rank of Consort (which means she controls her own palace and is pretty much second in command at this point). She is the Emperor’s favorite and often shows it through displays of wealth and disregard for the other women. Her real life counterpart was actually one of the emperor’s favorite.

—–

Ok, at this point, we’ve introduced most of the major players in the Forbidden Palace – 皇上 (or the emperor), 太后 (the empress dowager), 皇后 (the empress), 华妃 (the emperor’s favorite) and a few others. Let’s now actually talk about our main character. Zhen Huan

甄嬛 – 孙俪 

She is introduced as the eldest daughter of 甄远道, aged 17 at the start of this show. She is from one of the Han Army of Eight Banners and her father is a member of the Court of Judicature and Revision (大理寺少卿 which is an upper fourth rank 正四品, which for all intents and purposes, is modest but respectable. As a daughter from a relatively prominent family at Court, she is sent to the Imperial Concubine Selection.

While we were doing additional research is that we found out that the pronunciation of the character of 嬛 for our heroine’s name 甄嬛 can be pronounced a couple of different ways. In addition to huan2, it can also be pronounced xuan1 and qiong2. The meaning of this character changes depending on context. Because of this drama, this written character has been popularized as huan2, but it could be different.

沈眉庄 or  惠贵妃,济州佐领沈自山之女 – 斓曦  (lan2, xi1)

She comes from a powerful family to the east. She and 甄嬛 are childhood friends.

Both of these ladies, because of their family rank and titles, are going through the process for the “Selection”.

 

She’s prepping for the selection with her mother. In a mock Q&A, she says she’s read the classics of 诗经 (The Book of Songs) or 孟子(Menscius) but her mom says NO, the emperor doesn’t want a scholar, he needs someone to have children. Don’t say any of this. Which to me right now is like UGHHHH.

 

[Karen]

But you know what, that was how it was back in the day. It’s kind of weird because even back then accomplished women needed to know painting, how to play Chinese Go, how to read/write poetry and play musical instruments but there is still the adage of not knowing too much is a good thing. This whole drama is pretty much about how smart (or not) some of these women are. They may not have read too many books, but they are still very strong and capable.

All of this is describing how restrictive the life of a woman is during this time in history. 

 

[Cathy]

The next brief scene we want to quickly discuss is of the Emperor. He’s with 张廷玉, a 1st rank member of court, who says how 雍正 needs to be wary of his favoritism with 年羹尧 and others. 雍正 doesn’t say much back but his lack of response is SUPER telling. 

Later on

Well 雍正 goes to dinner with 皇后。At first it’s very cordial, 雍正 really enjoys the soup that 皇后 made and he tells her that she doesn’t have to cook. It’s amiable and you know she’s inwardly very pleased he’s being nice to her. He asks for another bowl but the Empress stops 剪秋 (her main servant) from giving him more. She quotes a rule that 皇帝 can’t eat anything more than 3 times otherwise he can’t eat it again for some time. 

 

[Karen]

I just want to note here, that this actually was a rule in the palace. One of the reasons was to prevent poisoning. If people can’t figure what the royals prefer to eat, then they can’t specifically poison anything. 

 

[Cathy]

From my interpretation of the scene, the Emperor was ok with the reminder and was also probably thinking, alright, i’ll come back in the future for more. No big deal.

But then, 皇后 sees an opening, and has to add that the rule is in place to not show favoritism and must practice self control. 雍正’s face seems fine but then he responds “It’s the rule for food, but also for people”. He’s pissed. He understands 皇后’s jab to him.She wants him to stop favoring 华妃。 See most things in this drama are subtle.  皇后 offers another dish and the Emperor responds with an idiom “Eat don’t talk, sleep don’t talk”. He then gets up to leave and TELLS her, “oh I’m gonna go to 华妃’s place to check up on her”. Her face drops. She’s crushed. Girl, it’s the first time you’ve seen him in weeks. WHY did you have to bring this up? You just pushed him away! UGHHH. You can tell from this interaction that she’s not favored, even though she has the title of the empress.

雍正goes to 华妃’s place and just as he’s about to step into her quarters, he notices 福子, the servant girl from 皇后. Do you remember? The one that really annoyed hua fei. He notes that she’s young and looks good enough to serve at this palace. And of course, 华妃 becomes pissed. One of her many faults, 华妃 is easily jealous. She cannot believe that 雍正 paid attention to this new servant and took up her time. How dare she…Yup, the girl is dead.

 

[Karen]

Something else to note here is that 华妃 is coy. She knows how to get the affection of the emperor. There’s a word in Chinese called 媚 which doesn’t have a direct translation I think, but ultimately means sexy but in a coy sort of way and would describe her perfectly in this situation. 雍正may have to spend time with 华妃 to appease her brother, 年羹尧, but he’s still enjoying it nonetheless.

 

(Last major scene of the episode).

[Karen]

So the last scene we want to discuss, is the “selection”. This day, the selection is only for Han Bannered

Towards the end of the episode, we see all the ladies lining up in their long Manchu gown, Pot-Bottomed Flowered Shoes, and the coiffure, specifically called 旗头. This is different from Han dress and the style must be worn in the palace at all times. 

In this drama, the ladies wore whatever outfits they wanted. Their hair was also unique to their choosing. This was not actually the case in history. The outfits were standardized. Also, from research that we’ve seen, people have noticed that these actresses wore outfits from other famous dramas. Evidently they were renting clothes from other productions since these aren’t cheap. It was funny to see an outfit from another show that we loved, popping up in these scenes.

So how does the selection work? It’s pretty simple. In this drama at least, ladies from specific banners who are selected for this final round interview are presented to the Emperor and Empress Dowager in small groups. The emperor and empress dowager will evaluate you on a number of factors – obviously your beauty, your family line, among other things. If you are chosen to stay to be a concubine in the palace, You will be given a perfume sachet. Pretty much a pouch with perfume in it. Otherwise, you’re given a flower and sent home. 

The actual selection process is long and arduous. There are many levels of selection across the empire. We only see the final selection at the Forbidden palace to speed things up a bit. Only the ladies who have passed those other rounds are sent to Beijing. Of course, it is a huge honor to be given a perfume sachet. It elevates the status of your family to have produced a daughter worthy of the emperor. But, I also think it’s great that in this drama, even if you’re the emperor, your mom has a say in who you um…bring home. 

 

[Cathy]

We next see a courtyard and the ladies are waiting to be called and presented.甄嬛 and 沈眉庄 quickly catch up. we are also introduced to 安陵容 and 夏冬春。As we mentioned earlier, 安陵容 accidentally bumps into 夏冬春 who promptly yells at her. If you haven’t gotten a flavor yet of how important your matrilineal line is, you get a taste of that here. The first thing 夏冬春 demands is, what’s your family. That’s the most important thing. 安陵容’s father is a low ranking official and 夏冬春’s father is much higher up. 夏冬春 immediately starts reaming into the poor girl upon learning this info. She makes fun of her clothes and her jewelry and as the ultimate insult wants her to 下跪 kneel to apologize. Which, in Chinese culture, is the ultimate humiliation. You only kneel to, for example, your family elders, higher ranking officials or obviously, the imperial family.

What’s interesting in this scene is that other ladies in the courtyard are considering whether or not they should help 安陵容 . They are hedging bets on who will be selected and really don’t want to get on 夏冬春’s bad side if she does get chosen to be in the palace. If that happens, she’ll only get more powerful and may cause trouble for their families back home. An ling rong, on the other hand, doesn’t pose too much of a threat so they are willing to watch her get buillied. Well obviously 甄嬛, our heroine, goes up to help. She’s knows how to handle the situation and 甄嬛 only states is her father’s position. She doesn’t even say her name. 夏冬春’s like whatever, that’s not a high enough rank.  甄嬛 shows off some of her smarts. She says It’s not good to make a scene during selection, especially during the Han Banner selection, you don’t want to give all of us (including your father) a bad name. She directly appeals to 夏冬春‘s ego. Well 夏冬春 can’t do anything and walks away in a huff. 

甄嬛 and 沈眉庄 makes introductions to 安陵容. We see that 沈眉庄 is more reluctant to make the acquaintance but 甄嬛 isn’t worried. She notices that 安陵容 does not have many accessories so she picks a Begonia flower (海棠花) from a nearby bush and puts it in 安陵容’s hair and even gifts her a pair of earrings for which 安陵容 is very grateful. Well our heroine needs to be introduced as the nice girl! It’s the trope! 

 

[Karen]

Soon after, the ladies are called to be presented to the emperor and the empress dowager. The emperor’s standards are incredibly high and he pretty much dismisses almost everyone immediately.

When 安陵容 is called to be presented, she is passed over! But 安陵容 sincerely gives her thanks. This surprises the Empress Dowager. Most girls when being presented with the flower are really upset, but she still shows gratitude. 安陵容 responds that it’s because she is grateful to even have had the opportunity to come to the palace.. The Empress Dowager praises her for understanding etiquette. Then, our TV magic happens, a butterfly lands on the Begonia flower that 甄嬛 gave her. This catches the eye of the Emperor and she is allowed to stay and is given a perfume sachet! As she leaves, 安陵容is ecstatic. However, what’s interesting is that she doesn’t thank 甄嬛…

As the selection continues, the empress dowager becomes annoyed that 雍正 isn’t picking more ladies. So, because of that, 雍正 selects the next woman that pops up. And who is it? None other than the mean 夏冬春。 He notes that her name is interesting and she is over the moon. 

Next up is 沈眉庄 and 甄嬛。沈眉庄 goes first. She’s asked if she’s read any books and 沈眉庄 being the good daughter, and taking the advice from her mother lies and only says that she’s read Examples for Women 女则 and  Advice for Women 女训. How lame. I’ll say 眉庄 just gives off an air that she’s educated, in addition to being poised and beautiful. The Emperor even asks her if she’s read anything else but she says no she mostly knows sewing and other female stuff. He seems disappointed but the Empress Dowager chimes in to say that they’re picking ladies for the lineage, it’s already great that you know how to read. She is selected to stay but what’s interesting here is that the Empress Dowager made the decision. Not the emperor.

Time for 甄嬛。She’s asked the origin of her name, which she quotes the line 嬛嬛一袅(niao3)楚宫腰 from a poem by a Song Dynasty poet 蔡伸. This line basically describes a woman’s figure is feminine, graceful, and beautiful. 雍正’s impressed. She’s educated. So this doesn’t go entirely with the whole we don’t want educated ladies mindset.  

He tells her to lift her head up and DUN DUN DUN!

https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/27578070

End of the first episode! 

 

[Karen]

So that was the first episode of hou gong, zhen huan zhuan. What did you think? We only meet the main character halfway through the first episode. This story is as much about the palace, the politics, survival, and the emperor as it is about her. We just discussed some of our favorite scenes. It really is interesting to see the different dynamics with the characters in hou gong. We got a glimpse of the major characters but we’ll see how the grow and change throughout the drama. 

 We already see different factions in the palace and how battles work in 后宫。 The writing is clever and the acting is phenomenal. The clothing and makeup were also focused to reflect a character’s arch at a certain point in time. The empress and 华妃 have expensive outfits with beautifully ornate coiffures while 甄嬛 and the other younger ladies have much simpler outfits and hair. Overall, the series is 76 episodes long and we look forward to going through our favorite scenes and analyze them with you. 

Looking forward to the next episode!

 

And with that, thank you so much for listening to episode 1 of Chasing Dramas. We look forward to having you join us for the next episode as we chase and discuss hou gong zhen huan zhuan