This Chinese time traveling romance period drama starring popular TVB actor Kevin Cheng, singer actor Nicky Wu and China actress Liu Shi Shi will be premiering on local TV Channel 8 on 16 January 2011, 7pm every Mondays to Fridays and i highly recommends this drama :) I have been hooked on the drama since watching its first episode recently and hubby has also been watching it together with me and listening to its soundtrack. The show was searched on the Internet more than one million times in the first three days when it was shown in China last year. The drama's popularity in China has helped to boost the popularity of the main actors especially Nicky Wu whose portrayal of the cool (iced cube face) 4th Prince has won the heart of numerous females in China and there are also rumors online of a modern version of "Startling By Each Step 2" which will feature the original cast and filming will take place in the second part of 2012 and it seems Nicky Wu and Kevin Cheng have expressed interest in the drama. I'm hoping its true and hopefully it will have a happy ending for Nicky Wu and Liu Shi Shi's characters.
I seldom watch Chinese ancient dramas as i find some of the dramas too draggy or boring and was interested in this drama due to its interesting time traveling plot and lead actors. The drama started off with many funny and light moments of the main female lead's adventure in the Qing Dynasty but get heavier and sadder once the 4th Prince became Emperor Yongzheng and turns cruel and vengeful towards his brothers whom he feels had harmed those closed to him.
步步惊心 by Tong Hua first became popular through the Internet, attracting over 100 million impressions online. When it was eventually published as a book, it became an instant best-seller and secured a place in the literary circles as a classic of the time travel genre. Chinese actress Liu Shi Shi stars as the female lead in the drama and acts as a 25 year-old modern day woman who woke up from a car accident to find herself in the body of a 16 year-old Manchu girl living in the 18th century Qing Dynasty. In her new life, she became deeply entangled in Aisin Gioro princes’ battle for the throne. I love the songs featured in the drama especially Waiting For Your Season 等你的季节 which is a lovely song with touching lyrics and 三寸天堂 which is a really sad but beautiful song. I have included videos of the 2 songs above and the duet by Liu Shi Shi and Nicky Wu during the Hunan TV 2012 New Year Celebrations. There is a new edition of Tong Hua's novel which includes beautiful postcard from the drama and i have made an order from Kinokuniya as there is no stock at the moment and hopefully i will be able to start reading it when the stocks come in next month. I was told the book will not cost more than S$20/- which is cheaper than if i order it online and its definitely worth the wait ;)
Through a car accident, Zhang Xiao traveled back in time into a body of one of her previous reincarnations, a 16 years old aristocratic Manchu girl, Maertai Ruoxi, living in the Qing Dynasty. Although she knows she should not get involved in palace intrigues over the succession to the throne, she inadvertently becomes a pawn in the struggle, because she could not help but love someone, and others came to love her. Ruoxi finds herself becoming an observer of all the events taking place and is able to predict the future because she's from the future herself. She could not help being pulled into the events and falling for the 8th Prince and trying to prevent the tragic fate of 8th Prince.
Her sister in the incarnation is Ma'ertai Ruolan, who is a concubine of the Kangxi’s 8th son, Yinsi. Initially, Ruoxin tries to return to the future but after awhile adjusted to life in Kangxi's reign. While living in the past, she meets some of the emperor's other sons, including the 4th prince Yinzhen, 10th prince Yin'e, and 14th prince Yinti and formed a close platonic friendship with the 13th prince, Yinxiang. During Ruoxi stay at Yinsi's residence, the latter falls in love with her and she develops a crush with him as well. However, she rejects him due to her disapproval of polygamy and her sister's relationship with Yinsi.
Ruoxi eventually enter the Forbidden City and became Kangxi's lady-in-waiting. During an imperial hunting excursion, romance blossomed between Ruoxi and Yinsi. However Ruoxi wants Yinsi to give up the contest to be the next Qing emperor before accepting his marriage proposal. As a time traveler from the future, she is secretly aware of his fate: that his ambition would ultimately lead him to disgrace with his faction and expelled from the imperial household after Yinzhen succeeded as emperor and die in custody. Yinsi's refusal left her heartbroken. In a last-ditch effort to save Yinsi from his terrible fate, Ruoxi warn him to be wary of Yinzhen.
After Ruoxi's breakup with Yinsi, Ruoxi's interaction with Yinzhen changed her unfavorable opinion of the latter. Yinxiang reveals his observation that she has fallen, unknowingly in love with Yinzhen. Meanwhile, Yinsi's faction, heeding Ruoxi's advice framed Yinzhen for plotting against the crown prince, Yinreng, during an imperial court session so as to eliminate their potential adversary. At the critical junction, Yinxiang bravely step forward to take blame. Yinxiang is sentenced to ten years of solitary confinement. Ruoxi and the princes intercede for Yinxiang and before Kangxi relented. Yinxiang is placed under house arrest instead of solitary confinement. At this time, Yinsi realize Ruoxi is now romantically linked with Yinzhen.
Yinreng is demoted after his notorious crimes are discovered, and is sentenced to life imprisonment. Kangxi began to show preference for the 14th prince, Yinti, and eventually bestow Ruoxi to him. Her bold refusal to obey Kangxi’s order upsets him. As a punishment, she is demoted and transferred to the laundry department.
Yinzhen decides he must succeed his father in order to save Yinxiang and Ruoxi. His cunning schemes made Kangxi distrust Yinsi and favor Yinti. Kangxi eventually die of illness and Yinzhen staged a coup and became Yongzheng Emperor with military support from Longkeduo and Nian Gengyao. As emperor, Yinzhen set Yinxiang free and made Ruoxi his lady-in-waiting and also begins a romantic relationship with her. However, Ruoxi's happiness is greatly marred by Yinzhen's paranoid and his ruthless suppression of Yinsi and his faction. Ruoxi is often caught in the middle among Yinzhen and Yinsi's supporters. Yinsi's wife, Guoluoluo Minghui, reveals to Ruoxi that her husband had schemed against Yinzhen based on Ruoxi’s warning years ago. A shocked Ruoxi realizes, under a predestination paradox that she is the inadvertent instigator of the tragedy she had tried to avoid in the first place. Her despair results in a miscarriage and weakened health.
An enraged Yinzhen blames Yinsi and Minhui for the miscarriage and Ruoxi's critical illness. He issues an edict forcing Yinsi to divorce Minhui as punishment. Minhui committed suicide after the divorce. Ruoxi, fears Yinzhen's punitive actions against his brothers, decides to tell Yinzhen and Yinxiang the truth. Yinzhen is stunned by her revelation and realizes why Yinsi plotted against him during the succession struggles. In a fit of anger, Yinzhen began treating Ruoxi coldly. Unable to take the stress of Yinzhen's distances, Ruoxi asks Yinti to help her leave the palace. Yinti presents the late Kangxi's decree that bestows Ruoxi to him as his wife to a shocked Yinzhen. Yinsi knew Yinzhen will not allow Ruoxi to leave with or without the decree decides to intervene. Yinsi seeks an audience with Yinzhen and reveals details of his past romance with Ruoxi. An angry Yinzhen finally allow Ruoxi to leave the Forbidden City.
Despite Yinti's excellent care, Ruoxi’s mental anguish and broken heart affects her frail health. Ruoxi begs Yinti to send a letter to Yinzhen, requesting for a final meeting before she dies. Unfortunately, a misunderstanding between Yinzhen and Yinti causes the letter to be discarded. Ruoxi struggles to stay alive to see Yinzhen. After three days of waiting, she concludes Yinzhen's absence verifies that his love for her is over. Heartbroken, Ruoxi die sadly in Yinti's arm. When official news of her death reaches Yinzhen, he wails in grieve and rushes to Yinti’s residence with Yinxiang. Yinzhen regrets his actions after realizing Ruoxi remains very much in love with him. Her prized possessions were his gifts, a hairpin, snuff box and an arrow. Yinzhen and Yinxiang pensively scatter Ruoxi's ashes in the wind to honor her last wish.
In 2011, Zhang Xiao regains consciousness in a hospital. She is informed she was in a coma for weeks after the accident, leaving her to wonder whether the experiences at the 18th century were real or otherwise. After recovering, Zhang researches Kangxi's sons about their fate and Ma'ertai Ruoxi's existence, finding that history remains in its proper course: including that Yinsi died in custody as a disgrace after found guilty that he allegedly endangered the stability of the dynasty, Yinxiang succumbed to his illness with his family by his death bed, and Yinzhen also met his own ends after thirteen years reign as Yongzheng Emperor. However, there are apparently no records of Ma'ertai Ruoxi. She later visits a museum displaying artifacts from the Qing Dynasty. To her amazement, Zhang is able to relate to the many artifacts on display. The lady-in-waiting within Kangxi Emperor's family portrait who strikingly resembles Zhang herself is wearing a hairpin, the same one she got from Yinzhen when she was living in the past as Ma'ertai Ruoxi, thus verifies her time travel experiences during the coma.
Meanwhile a man bearing an uncanny resemblance to Yinzhen also visits the exhibit and they have a brief encounter. Even though the man did not recognize her, Zhang Xiao is unable to restrain her emotion and burst into tears after seeing him. However, Zhang Xiao is later again having heartbreak as the man walked away from her, leaving her sadly alone and reminisces her past romance with Yinzhen as Ma'ertai Ruoxi....
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