Virtuous and beautiful? What, a, catch!
- Wang Luo Dan as Wei Zi Fu
- Raymond Lam as Liu Che
- Niki Chow as Princess Pingyang
- Xu Zheng Xi as Duan Hong
- Shen Tai as Wei Qing
- 47 episodes (uncut version)
- Original run: August 20, 2014 – Sept. 2, 2014
When a lowly servant girl gains the favor of the king at a dinner party set up by his sister, what is waiting to happen? She is clever, well mannered and deeply devoted to the king, the ruler of thousands. Will she help him become a better leader or will she cultivate his destruction?
We all know historical dramas are always super exaggerated and dressed up, so I went into this fully expecting lots of fabricated material, but it was actually fairly accurate (aside from a few minor storylines here and there). The storyline was about how virtuous the queen was, and how she was able to maintain the king’s interest in her for so many years through admiration, not through her ability to flirt and gain favor. (Of course, they didn’t show the end of her life because it got more tragic later on…)
This drama was branded more as a love story rather than the other 宫廷戏 (dramas set in the royal palace) which typically focus on the concubine fights (宫斗) or politics. This show zoomed in on the relationship between Wei Zi Fu and Liu Che as they meet, fall in love and rule the kingdom together. We also play witness to Wei Zi Fu as she uses her wisdom to aide the king in his political intrigues, helping him to become a better ruler and eventually rise to power as the queen at his side. There are a few minor bad guys in the show, but they are easily dismissed in a few episodes of time which made the watching enjoyable (good trumps evil without the long turmoil and agony). If you do like a few tough characters in the series or enjoy long arduous fights against evil, then this might not be the show you want to catch.
Wang Luo Dan did well as the calm and smart Wei Zi Fu. To be honest, I was quite surprised because I’m usually not a fan of her acting, probably because she is often cast in series where she is screaming or yelling all the time, and I just find her too noisy (lol). But this time, she did exceedingly well playing a collected and respectful woman who rose from a talented servant girl to the highest position of power a woman could be at that time.
Raymond Lam was also pretty good as the king, Liu Che. The series wasn’t about him as much as it was about Wei Zi Fu (hence the title), so his acting was limited to expressing some words of love to the queen and making some commands here and there. I can’t say there were any highlights in his acting, but he did contribute to the overall watchability. Needless to say, if he was terrible I wouldn’t have been able to watch 10 episodes, let alone 47.
For someone like me, who don’t normally enjoy historical dramas or those with more than 16-20 episodes, to sit through this feeling like it was actually very good, is a miracle. So take a peek if you are into this genre, or if you are in the market for a breath of fresh air.
This & That:
- This year Wang Luo Dan starred in Taiwanese drama, Fall in Love with You Again with Korean actor, Choi Si Wu. She was in the TV version of the famous tragedy Under the Hawthorn Tree and in the WWII timepiece Hong Nian Zi.
- Raymond Lam is a well established Hong Kong actor who was recently in Line Walker. He previously was in Detectives and Doctors, and movie Hello Babies.
- Niki Chow is a Cantopop singer who signed on with TVB in 2011. She was most recently in A Change of Heart.
13 thoughts on “The Virtuous Queen of Han (Series Review)”
Raymond in his emperor costume reminds me of when he played a very, very tanned Qin Shi Huang in “A Step Into the Past.”
@Anna, LOL, a very tanned Qin Shi Huang! Well, those royalties can afford all the vacas after all!
There’s a tv version of Under the Hawthorn Tree? Has it aired yet?
@bossu, the series aired in 2011. I have not seen it, but you can catch it on several Chinese websites and even Youtube. Be ware they aren’t subbed though.
I’m into this drama as far as the pilot episode and I want to see more. I haven’t seen the main actress in any other drama, so I have the pleasure of watching her for the first time in this role :). However, if I like a drama, I prefer it to be completed, so I can binge on it, it will eat me up if I have to wait on the episode. I went looked at the broadcast period, and it said this series was aired and finished in less than a month, so I have been trying to find a website with the full series. Do you know where I can find it?
@shamim, I watched this series raw when it first aired. I’m not sure if you are familiar with letv, but that’s where I caught it. Be ware though, that whole website is in Chinese, so unless if you can read it, it will be hard to navigate. As for subbed versions, I have seen DramaFever feature it as well as Youtube; Viki has one that’s lower quality. The series is marketed as “bilingual” so I’m sure the whole series will be uploaded sooner or later. Glad you like it so far though 🙂
I’m watching it on dramafever.
I wanted the Battle of Changsha to be my first Chinese drama. Or Back in Time. But subs and/or quality are two factors i can’t set aside. Since you highly recommend this one, i think it would be fine(?) as my first Chinese drama. Your review is definitely tempting although i will still need your final approval so as to proceed with The Virtuous Queen of Han or not as my first Chinese drama since i’m a peasant and you’re Cao Cao 😛
haha! i’m not cao cao, but i think this series would be a great one to start with! although i hope after you watch it you won’t be disappointed by other imperial dramas 🙂
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Thanks and with this, the Chinese drama journey will begin! And i really do hope once i end it the subs for the Battle of Changsha will be there waiting for me in the trenches 😀
Hmmmm… should I start a subbing project? There must be subs somewhere though!
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I think there were subs somewhere, i think on viki, but the quality is bad and dusty I have found it to get it in 720p, but it only has Chinese subs hardsubbed Even though it would be helpful i would never dare to agree, it will devour lots of your time! 🙂
After having watched so many palace dramas which were about the women in the harem fighting each other over the emperor and the king, and in general seem to only pit the women against each other, I really liked this drama! The actress for Zifu did a good job, I thought, going between being quiet and fragile to elegant and determined, and whenever she had to show her authority, she showed it. I also loved how she tried to be a logical empress, understanding the importance of sharing her husband, but still struggling with it. After so much jealousy in other dramas, this included, I liked that for once the empress struggled, but was a good and reasonable authority figure that most of the veteran concubines respected. It had some flaws that I wish they fixed more with, and I especially wished we could see more of Zifu in her job as empress and mother rather than so much about the emperor and his job. What happened with Zifu’s daughters (and son later on)? What more did she do with the harem as empress, how did she interact with her senior concubines? I wonder if there are any other palace dramas that would show that.