Oh, I am so glad that I finally finished this drama! Honestly, I lost motivation for this during the second half and it was such a struggle to make it through to the ending but I stuck through and witnessed the progress that was present in the drama. There were some great writing to the drama but at the same time, there were writings which faltered and felt underdone or rushed. Lan Ling Wang (AKA King of Lan Ling) is a historically based drama which some huge tweaks to it to add in Yang Xue Wu (Ariel Lin) as the romance line and create some sort of bromance between Lan Ling Wang (Feng Shao Feng) and Yu Wen Yong (Daniel Chan). I really commend the drama for what it was able to present us with because it is no easy task to create something original with your foundation already laid out for you. However, they worked with it and managed to create a very successful drama that received the ratings as well as lots of love and attention worldwide.
I have no idea what the historical story is but I am pretty sure that there couldn’t possibly have been a friendship alliance between LLW and YWY. Whatever, there was a friendship here and I accept it for what it was worth. FSF and Daniel did not share much scenes together but in the limited scenes that they had together, they were able to really create sparks as the LLW and YWY who had a friendship between each other. It was a relationship that could have been overlooked in the broad scale but it wasn’t because it had a huge impact on moving the story forward as well as showing us the types of people LLW and especially YWY is.
YWY is the best character of this drama. He wasn’t the best written character but he was the one character who I was able to wholeheartedly love throughout the drama’s entire run. YWY’s undying love for Xue Wu was just beautifully portrayed and written. His love for Xue Wu is definitely nothing less than LLW’s; he is definitely worthy of Xue Wu but it was just wrong timing and fate that just meant that he could not get her. Should have met Xue Wu earlier, would he have gotten her? Possibly, but most likely not since her heart never laid towards him. She sees him as a friend, a saviour and someone who she can connect with but she does not see him as someone who she can love. Even during the period of LLW’s fake death, despite his pursuit of her, her heart towards LLW remained resilient. Her heart has been with LLW since the very first day they met and will forever remain with him.
YWY’s love towards Xue Wu is just very selfless and genuine. Even despite knowing that her heart lies towards LLW, he goes out of his way to help her to the very best of his ability, even if it means putting his life and his throne on the line. He knows that he can never get her heart but he harbours hope that maybe one day she will be able to return his love. Though, he is content with seeing her happy and isn’t going to force anything upon her. This is why he went out to save her numerous times without thinking of the consequences that it might bring for him or his citizens. He just wants her to be safe and will do whatever he can to protect her. I really love that he is there to support and encourage her to get back on her feet in the midst of her deepest moments. He doesn’t give up on her but instead he helps her on the journey of standing up again. He doesn’t try to replace the LLW in her heart and neither does he try to force his feelings towards her. He helps her because he has fallen for her and there is just that glimmer of hope that he might be able to get her. He just performs so many selfless acts for her that it really makes you feel for him that he doesn’t get the girl. Xue Wu needs to be chopped in half so that YWY will get to be happy too!
YWY’s love for Empress Ashina (Wang Di) is something very different to his love for Xue Wu. In fact, I am not even sure what the drama was trying to do about his love for his empress right until the last few eps. In RL, YWY did not have any feelings towards his empress but here is shows otherwise. He obviously does not have his heart towards her but this is not to say that he does not love her. He does love her but he loves her as a family member and a friend. He doesn’t love her romantically but she loves him deeply and that is something that he cannot deny. He was cruel to her after he discovered he was going to die soon because he doesn’t want her to hurt even more after all the pain he has put her through.
I absolutely adored Daniel as YWY. He was truly amazing in his portrayal. He really captured YWY and brought it to like in ways that outshone both Ariel and FSF. What he was able to do was make YWY appear competent and ruling in his position. YWY is a complicated character but Daniel was able to unravel those complications. He allowed YWY to show through along with his personal self and this is what helps to bring a character to life. It wasn’t just a paper to actor sort of portrayal but it was more like paper to heart portrayal. I loved that and this was all the more reason why YWY really shone through. Daniel’s acting chops are wonderful. I really loved the emotion invested into portraying YWY as you can really see it onscreen. He had amazing chemistry with Ariel which I really enjoyed seeing. I would much prefer it if Xue Wu ended up with YWY.
Ariel and FSF had some great chemistry together but it wasn’t as amazing as what Ariel and Daniel had. Ariel and FSF are great actors and were compelling in portraying lovers but it was hard for me to actually ship them together because of the way their characters were written. Xue Wu and LLW were just written all too perfectly without flaws. They were destined for each other. LLW would do whatever he can to protect his beloved Xue Wu and Xue Wu would do the same for her hubby. However, due to the way their characters were written, it came flat when they were brought together. They were way too perfect and this made it difficult for them to complement each other.
Ariel was great as Xue Wu but she could have done better. She could have done a whole lot better but she really was great here. She brought Xue Wu through to life which was done so amazingly but it lacked the air to it. Xue Wu felt quite heavy as character. I would have liked to see something airy about her. Xue Wu is a smart, innocent, naive girl. Coming from a village which she has been locked up in for majority of her life, her views towards the real world is quite limited but her intelligence carried her on to survive out in the wilderness. She is strong-minded and will persist on unless something stops her in her pursuit. Throughout the second half of the drama, I was just waiting for Xue Wu to grow into a stronger character than the one we originally met but that only happened ever so slightly which was quite disappointing.
Like Ariel, FSF could have done better on his part. I am sure that his acting skills are so much worthy than what he showed but disappointingly, that did not show through. Well, it’s not disappointing. He did a great job but I just felt that there was a push for him to have done better. LLW started off rough but he definitely improved throughout the drama and that was a progress which was interesting to watch. However, he soon got too bound by love and I was wondering where the tough LLW who we met went off to. It picked up again throughout the latter third of the drama and ended with the tough LLW that we have come to know.
This is definitely a good drama which I enjoyed. It had its flaws but I enjoyed it for the beauty that it gave. It gave me a YWY so that’s got to count, right? The directing and cinematography was amazing and there were definitely some eye candy even if they were robed up and wearing some ridiculous perms. Well, you have to enjoy its for its beauty and then you will be able to see the beauty that it holds.
Check out the OST by Daniel Chan. He has a good voice. The voice actor who dubbed him really suited him unlike the guy who dubbed FSF. FSF just sounds so so so so so so so so different in RL. I just can’t imagine him having such a voice!