The Ending: Princess Agents

Princess Agents Final Episode
Princess Agents 楚乔传 just had the mother of all cop-out endings. I don't know what's worse, that such a promising show fizzled out in the least satisfying way or that the showrunners drowned any hope of a happy ending into an icy cold lake. Pushing the airtime back an hour also had its drawbacks as the last three episodes fell below 2.0% with the series finale earning only 1.8%. Really though, it might as well have been due to the fact that no one liked the ending, and I know I'm generalizing here but who isn't a little angry at this point. Warning: Spoilers ahead. 

Princess Agents Final Episode



Episode 58 (Uncut Version) begins with the calm before the storm. After running into each other and catching up over hotpot, Chu Qiao (Zhao Li Ying) warns Yuwen Yue (Lin Gengxin) that they are bound to face each other in battle and that he shouldn't look out for her when the time comes.  

Princess Agents Final Episode

He asks whether she would chop off his head, to which she responds that she wouldn't kill him, but that she would think of ways to defeat him. Yuwen Yue muses, "Is that so, but I can't do that." (aww, go back to him already!)

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Cheng Yuan (Hu Chun Yong) learns about the little run-in through his spies and reports it to Yan Xun (Shawn Dou). They also get information that the 7th Prince (Jin Jia) is heading their way with an entire army and Cheng Yuan stirs trouble for the nth time by implying that Chu Qiao may have switched sides. Yan Xun shoots down the idea immediately, but green-lights the plan to kill Yuwen Yue. 

Princess Agents Final Episode
The 13th Prince (Niu Jun Feng) blocks his brother from waging war on the basis of a letter from Yuwen Yue that might not even be real. We would have known from the previous episode that the 7th Prince already knew it was fake but was manipulated by his advisor to forge ahead anyway. 

Princess Agents Final Episode

The 13th Prince recounts how their father was the one who started it all and that the people cannot withstand another war. He offers up his life to appease his brother's lust for blood and it works for the time being. The 7th Prince sets up camp elsewhere though the 13th Prince knows that his brother wouldn't think twice to attack if Yuwen Yue doesn't come back alive. 

Princess Agents Final Episode


Yan Xun fails to kill Yuwen Yue on his first try and watches as they escape into the forest. Cheng Yuan secretly devises a twofold plan to lure them out which involves using Chu Qiao as bait. He sends men to arrest her and the Xiuli Army on charges of conniving with the enemy and sends one man to relay the message to Yuwen Yue. 

Princess Agents Final Episode


The man tries to pass himself off as one of Chu Qiao's men who urges Yuwen Yue to escape. He also 'unintentionally' lets on that Chu Qiao may be in danger before killing himself for having said too much. 

Princess Agents Final Episode


Yuwen Yue and company find the story hard to believe as Yueqi (Xing Zhao Lin) deduces that there is an 8/9 out of 10 chance that the man is lying. Yuwen Yue agrees but he can't ignore the chance that the man may be telling the truth and says that he has to see her to make sure that she is safe. (ya, he's definitely going to die now)

Princess Agents Final Episode


En route to answer the summons of Yan Xun, Chu Qiao turns grim when it dawns on her that she's being played for a fool because the target all along is not her but Yuwen Yue. She sends her men on their way and rides alone to confront Yan Xun. 

Princess Agents Final Episode


"Where is Yuwen Yue?," demands Chu Qiao. "He's been shot by me," says Yan Xun. Yan Xun justifies his actions by saying that there is nothing wrong with killing an enemy who has trespassed into his borders and adds, "Ah Chu, in your heart, the entire Yanbei and I cannot compare to Yuwen Yue." 

Princess Agents Final Episode


Chu Qiao argues that Yan Xun can kill Yuwen Yue in battle, but not in this way, not by using her and taking advantage of his feelings for her. Yan Xun counters that everything he has been doing was for her, but she calls him out on all the times that he has 'protected' her - killing her comrades, forcing her to abandon her beliefs, doubting her, using her and spying on her. 

She doesn't know whether her feelings for him are love, but he was the most important person to her, and yet she's having doubts as to whether or not it was worth it and whether she really saw him for who he was. Now, he's got his wish because she is going over to Yuwen Yue and for the last time she warns, "if Yuwen Yue dies in Yanbei, I will never forgive you."

Princess Agents Final Episode

The last twenty minutes of the episode brings the focus back to Yuwen Yue as he fights a losing battle. Chu Qiao is the most badass that she's ever been as she avenges Yueqi's death by dealing a skull-crushing blow (is this Game of Thrones?) to Cheng Yuan and stabbing him in the heart for good measure. Xiao He and the Xiuli Army stave off the attackers to allow Chu Qiao to go ahead and save Yuwen Yue.

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Princess Agents Final Episode
She eventually makes it to his side just after Yan Xun shoots another arrow that goes straight through him. Yuwen Yue repeatedly tells her to go but she refuses and cries, "Sorry, I will never leave you again. Hold on, you have to keep holding on. Hold on."

Princess Agents Final Episode
From a distance, Yan Xun does his whole monologue about how he has never changed. Chu Qiao just never knew what it is that he wanted and he is about to show her now. He sends more men in which breaks the ice and causes Yuwen Yue to plunge into the water. Chu Qiao dives after him, but he pushes her away and urges her to live on. 

The waters engulf her and seems to awaken something within her as her flower tattoo reveals itself. At the same time, she opens her eyes. 

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Lasting Impressions: So we get an ending that barely does anything for the plot. Chu Qiao still isn't freeing any slaves and worse, Yuwen Yue dies. Yan Xun trudges the same path of destruction that he's been on ever since his family's brutal massacre while side characters come and go with absolutely no follow through. 

I never caught the name of the man who has become the advisor of the 7th Prince, but he's the big bad that no one even knows about despite it being the last episode. Xiao Ce simply faded along with the potentially intriguing Liang Kingdom storyline, and it's also weird that Xiaoqi and Xiaoba dropped off the map without explanation, not that I miss them. Xiao Yu managed to keep her story going, but that went loopy when the show tacked on a one-sided love with Yuwen Yue that felt so out of the blue. 

I suppose the only consolation is that Chu Qiao finally leaves Yan Xun though I'm still peeved that she actually thinks that it is okay for Yan Xun to kill Yuwen Yue as long as he does so honorably. I get that the show never intended to tell the entire story from start to finish, but I have a hard time seeing the point of killing Yuwen Yue while setting up the stage for a possible sequel. Is he dead in the novels too or is it one mean joke? 

I'm sorry about ranting for so long, but I can't truly diss a show that was ultimately my new crack for the past month. I would have recommended it to anyone in a heartbeat because it was so unique and unflinching. I still blame whoever it is that decided to bring together an A-team only to waste their talents on a half-baked story with filler episodes in between, but props to the cast and crew for making the epic moments stand out and the crappy ones more bearable. In the meantime, I might just watch The Eternal Love to get over the trauma of Yueqi being killed by Cheng Yuan. 



25 comments:

  1. the eternal love is really nice, it's light and low budgeted but enough to make yueqi's death soothened, :D

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  2. The Eternal Love is a cute & pretty light drama. Funny enough, I believe the actor that plays Cheng Yuan is Yue Qi's trusted bodyguard in there.

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  3. To start off with something nice to say: I think three actors did very well: Zhao LiYing, with he expressive eyes and infectious smile, Lin GengXin who IMO infused a classically cold character with an aura of warmth, wisdom and contemplation, and Shawn Dou, who with his infectious smile and high cheekbones made me pay attention to him whenever he was onscreen (I am not as enamored of his portrayal as many people seem to be, but I do agree that he did a very good job).

    As you already know, I am absolutely LIVID about this show. Not the ending so much (don't get me wrong, it pissed me off), but the whole damn shebang. It was a complete failure of storytelling. Yes, the actors did well, all of them, but it does not take away from the fact that this production was abysmal, so bad that the good acting cannot cover up how bad it was. The CGI was bad, the pacing was off, and worst of all, the plot - the freaking narrative! - was terrible. From excessively long introduction episodes, to middle and ending arc that were either so overdrawn as to be filler or did nothing to advance the overall story arc; characters acting out of their established characters, with no explanation for it whatsoever/unbelievable explanations (no, Chun-er COULD NEVER have infiltrated any camp, let alone succeeded at even pretending to be a doctor, and don't get me started with XiaoYu's love. How did 7th Prince suddenly become an unreasonable warmonger); plot threads that just started abruptly outta nowhere and then were left dangling, so that the whole production was a mess of abruptly discontinued/introduced storylines (Zuo BaoCang, Wind and Cloud Decree, the concubine who hated Chu Qiao, the Big-Bad-Guy, XiaoQi and XiaoBa's fate etc etc); letting what should have been side stories hijack the main plotline (this was supposed to be about Chu Qiao's fight to end slavery (and falling in love along the way), but watching it, you'd think we were here to see YanXun's revenge that wasn't a revenge because it left him alone and bitter and unloved by every-damn-bpdy); NOT doing any of their main characters justice (YWY had his hands tied most of the show, YanXun devolved into some static character who was always glaring at everyone, and Chu Qiao was all over the place)........this is just bad storytelling, and that is unforgivable.

    For me as a viewer, that is what hurts and angers me the most. I entrusted over 60 hours of my time to these people in exchange for a good story. Even with the problems in the beginning re CGI and slow -moving plot with irrelevant storylines, I trusted that they knew what they were doing, and would tie the major points up to produce a satisfying and reasonable narrative. But no. They just kept going, making even more and more egregious mistakes, being bigger and bigger failures at storytelling. And I can't let that go. 60 hours of non-reclaimable time. It was a betrayal of trust. I know I'm being dramatic, but I am very upset. Even flippin' GENERAL AND I, which is terrible on all counts, told a COHERENT story. Come on!

    I am fairly traumatized. 60+ hours. Good acting alone can't make up for that. And actors, no matter how great, need to be able to tell a story - which they were not able to do here. I don't think I can watch a Chinese historical production any time soon. Or any production, really. Was looking forward to TRIBES AND EMPIRES, but now I just can't.

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    1. OMG that was a long comment. Also, they killed YueQi. What did he ever do to anyone but be sweet, kind, and adorable????

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    2. I strongly agree with your comments. The plot barely coherent. Despite the fact that they managed to craft very interesting characters (or was that from the book?!), they did not do anything with it. Okay, so Xiao Ce looks silly but is actually really smart. Thank you, Show, for telling me that. So what now? They introduced so many characters but failed to deliver on so many counts. And too many episodes spent at the beginning to develop YWY and Chu Qiao's relationship (which were yummy but really, how many scenes of training (and YWY saving her) do we need in order to know that YWY is training her to be his spy?). Chu Qiao had barely any interaction with Yan Xun and suddenly we have to believe that she would die for him?! Time was spent advancing useless plots (the 4 lady warriors from Yan Bei and the love story with YX's chef-cum-guard?!) and too many cop-outs. There were times when 3-4 episodes in a row did nothing to advance the plot and Chu Qiao appeared for less than 5 mins in those episodes (or disappeared in the case of YWY). Suddenly Chun Er was this big bad who stole the military token and she had command of the whole army and the Wei Dynasty was in trouble because she directed ALL the troops away from the city?! Never mind that everyone knows that the token was stolen. Killing Yu Wen Xi (creepy grandpa) took 3 episodes. 2 episodes of plotting and 181828282 previews for the final moment when she killed him. YX examining his family's head/his 'execution' took up 2-3 episodes. Chu Qiao and YX were stuck in jail for 3 episodes. They were in Chang An for more than 3/4 of the show?! They talked about Yan Bei since forever and they were still in Chang An after aaaaaaall that plotting. Many many scenes of Chun Er whining for YX (before she became evil). Many many scenes of the Liang Princess plotting and the Wei King going mad. Too little scenes of Deng Lun. He appeared for like 2 episodes? And then after that his sole purpose was to save Chu Qiao once. And it wasn't even in his capacity as Da Liang's prince. -.- He could be anyone and still save her. Why did they introduce him if they didnt make good use of that character?! And Xiao Ba had a not-so-secret crush on YWY and then she disappeared. We all thought she was gonna betray Chu Qiao??!!
      I started the show because of the kickass trailers but that seems to be the only thing this production team has done well. And special mention to Hunan Weishi TV station for being a pain in the ass and cutting the episodes so terribly. The plot was so thin and yet the TV station still chopped them up and give like 10 minutes of recap for each episode. LIKE OMG I DID NOT FORGET THE PLOT. WHY DO YOU NEED A RECAP?! AND I THINK I SAW THOSE SCENES IN THE LAST EPISODE. CAN WE JUST MOVE ON???!!!! The actors and actresses had amazing chemistry but even they couldn't save the show. Interesting and dynamic characters wasted on this mess of a production. I will look out for the casts' new show but I really need a break for awhile.

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    3. China dramas tend to increase episodes and profits by too many flashbacks, doing side stories for side characters, outrageous plot twists, outrageous personality changes in the characters, etc. so often it is hard to finish china dramas bec the later episodes tend to deteriorate more as writers become more desperate in figuring out how to add more episodes for more profits.

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    4. I totally agree. The beginning was promising but then I started noticing the flaws, certain scenes didn't make sense or just wasn't cut in properly. The worst scene they didn't edit properly was the last episode. The part where Yuewen Yue was shown to be shot by an arrow first time at night, then the next scene is him sitting (without a wound) being fed false news about CQ. Then we move along to him being on the frozen lake where there is an arrow wound shown. The storyline was all over the place after episode 24 and the only thing holding it together was the reunion scenes between the CQ and Yue. I've seen Lin Geun Xin's previous drama God of War, I felt he was superb. Princess Agents actually is his best acting to date. I hope to see him more in period dramas. He's only 29 years old but he's so down to earth and casual. I never read the books so I don't know the ending but from how the fight scenes were going, I knew it that it was going to be a cliffhanger. I too felt my 60 hours was wasted. I don't have closure, and being part OCD, it's very painful. Re-watching earlier episodes only serve to be painful. For 2017, there really hasn't been any good period dramas as from this one and I'm a picky watcher. It seems the most potential is going to happen late 2017 and 2018 which Legend of Dugu and it's sister show (Queen of Dugu).

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    5. I think I managed to let it all out that I don't have much left to add other than yes to most of the comments above. And yes, I noticed Yuwen Yue's arrow wound disappearing too, and I'm never meticulous enough to notice movie mistakes which says a lot about how bad the ending was.

      The most annoying part was how they saved the rest of the story for later when there is no assurance that they can even bring together the same cast to do it so then what's the point, right? I feel like that decision alone led to characters that were introduced but then left out and then all the fillers in between that had to be there because there was no story left to tell.

      @LadyJaye aww no.. don't lose hope, Monster Killer 2 is coming out this month! As for Tribes and Empires, it looks too good to pass on but maybe to be safe, wait till the show is done airing? haha i doubt I could resist tho have been waiting for that forever. It looks like cinema quality good.

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  4. So,, its good that i did not finished this drama, i wanted it to be like General and I, with war and treason, but with that love that Chu Bei Jie and Bai Ping Tin had... so sad.

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  5. The main problem in the final episodes was they gave too much screen time to Princess Chun Er instead of showing how CQ saves YWY using her super powers. In the novel YWY survived using his own abilities (or was rescued by somebody) bec CQ had no super powers in the novel. I heard the drama expanded the role of Princess Chun Er that was not even found in the novel so maybe that actress was just cheaper. The final episode did answer the most important question of the drama and novel which was who will CQ choose, the evil friend YX or her love YWY. They were not able to deal with the many villains like the assassin from the angry concubine, the assassin with jade ring, the former yanbei official dong feng ji who is probably the usual evil jealous former boyfriend who betrayed Luo He. Season 2 will probably show how Xing Er and Yu Wen Yue go about abolishing slavery and being anti-war. The Xiu Li army will probably help them. Not sure if the Wei government and Eyes Of God spy group will be on the side of YWY (Prince Yuan Che does seem to have more agreement with YWY). The drama invented the Underworld spy group which also wanted to abolish slavery and was anti-war (ep 17). I heard in the novel, the Liang Princess will have a political marriage with YX.

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  6. I feel your anger. I was so mad from this ending I had two bad days in real life. I don't watch dramas to be this stressed out.
    What bothers me the most is that there is a happy ending in the book. They couldn't even add three minutes for her to rescue him. They had to leave it on a cliffhanger. So annoyed. If there is any consolation is that Yuwen Yue survives in the novel. I am also super mad that they killed Yue Qi, who also survives in the novel. They just went after my two favorite characters for no reason.

    I was also so confused by CQ saying it was okay if YX killed YWY honorably. That is why I don't think she loves YWY, you can't love someone and be okay with someone else killing them as long as it is honorably. It doesn't help that CQ has to be one of the most unlikable characters ever.

    The drama was really interesting at first for me then it had a couple of twists and turns that kept me engaged, however the plot went all over the place for the last 10 episodes. I read that they had three writers, so the last part of the drama was written by one writer and I need to know her name so I never watch anything by her. She really messed it up. On top of that Ciwen/Hunan edited the drama and removed parts to give more screen time to supporting cast members with strong backing. Truly a shame. This story had a lot of potential and the actors did a great job, but everything else was not up to part. They couldn't even give us a proper ending.

    I am watching The Eternal Love and it is cute and romantic. Since it is a webdrama acting is pretty weak but okay overall. The story is a bit all over the place but it is fun and light.

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    1. CQ maybe just did not want to admit in front of YX that she loves YWY so she said it was ok for YX to kill YWY. I would guess that CQ was disappointed that YX would kill their friend YWY when YX spared the lives of Princess Chun Er and Prince Yuan Song. My guess is YWY would not kill his friend YX even in war. In ancient china, I do not know if your are supposed to treat prisoners of war humanely bec YX maybe could've kept YWY as a prisoner of war instead of trying super hard to kill the helpless and dying YWY.

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    2. thank u for sharing that YWY survives and Yue Qi too.. I'm just going to ignore what happened in the last episode and revel in the fact that they're alive in the books.

      I feel like CQ didn't really know she loved YWY yet, which is why she said it was okay for YX to kill him, I think she probably only realized her feelings during the final scene when he was dying in front of her and that was the wakeup call. I loved ZLY's acting there - it was so raw and emotional.

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    3. One interpretation could be that CQ was just too dumb to know what is love until the final ep. YWY in danger of being killed was definitely enough to make CQ realize how much she loved YWY. My impression was that CQ already loved YWY since the earliest episodes even though YWY treated CQ like a slave, forced CQ to become a spy, and CQ would not kill YWY even though she thought YWY killed her brother and she only left YWY when she thought YWY did not love her.
      Another explanation is in chinese dramas, people tend to sacrifice love for other greater considerations. Even though CQ loved YWY, it was for the greater good that she leave YWY and prevent YX from doing more evils. Based on earlier episodes, CQ knew that war could validly kill her love YWY so she was ok with YX killing YWY in the war, but of course, she was very disappointed with YX killing his friend YWY which probably was enough to cause the break with YX. YX could have kept YWY as a prisoner of war and CQ probably could no longer stomach the cruelty of YX (YX was probably just jealous and could not spare the life YWY). YX allowing the use of YWY's love to trap YWY was obviously too devious for CQ to stomach so she decided it was not worth it anymore for her to sacrifice her love for what she mistakenly thought was the greater good and she should just be with her love YWY. CQ told YX she has already decided to leave YX and be with YWY and I think that already implies that she admits she does love YWY in front of YX.

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    4. Such a good comment! I am so intrigued by the book! Could you share any other major differences between the relationship between CQ, YWY & YX in the book that was missed in the show? For example do CQ & YX or even CQ & YWY have any sort of obvious romantic relationship in the book? It's been so good reading everyone's comments. I originally thought I kept missing something, or some episodes were missing, but now I know its the bad writing and editing.lo Such a shame, had such high hopes for this one!

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  7. Incredibly frustrated with the way they dropped the ball on this story and ran! I'm just left feeling confused as if no story here was never told. So many unfinished side plots and characters vanished without explanation. Pure laziness on the part of these writers. What were they thinking?

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    1. My guess is they wanted to cover the part about CQ ditching YX for YWY in the final ep so they were not able to cover the many villains such as the assassin sent by the concubine, the assassin with jade ring, and the former yanbei official who seems like the usual evil jealous former boyfriend who probably betrayed Luo He.

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  8. In the book, YQ saves YWY. I think YX sells YWY's "corpse" back to the YWY family, and the family strikes him from the family book and whips his "corpse". CQ takes the "corpse" and buries it, opens up a restaurant and basically hibernates for 3 years. I believe CQ and YWY meet again 3 years later. My recollection is hazy and my reading of the Chinese language isn't the best though.

    Note that the book started with CQ being a special agent in modern times, died, and was reborn into an 8 year old's body, but having the memories of a 27 year old. She didn't have super powers that she inherited from her mom. She spent 8 years living with YX after YX's family was killed, and the book discussed her relationship with YX much more than her relationship with YWY in the beginning.

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    1. In the drama, CQ has super powers so most people are expecting CQ to save YWY using her super powers. What is the use of having super powers if you cannot even save 1 drowning person. Season 2 should probably just skip the boring 3 year apparent death of YWY. In the drama, CQ did not seem to love YX and they only shared the same vision for many years and their relationship quickly fell apart once their visions diverged. In season 1, CQ seems to be mainly a vision driven person rather than a love driven person. In the early episodes, CQ did not have time for love bec she was obsessed with revenge for her dead family members. Later CQ became super busy as she got sucked into the revenge plans of YX, and later felt responsible for preventing YX from doing more evils (she was partly responsible for encouraging YX to get revenge).

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  9. I actually dropped this drama from episode 30 because I thought it was not going anywhere but just kept dragging on. And then I checked out the ending and was literally laughing out loud. It was so ridiculous!

    FYI: In the books..Yan Xun is the main male character and not YWY.

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    1. YX will probably be the main villain in season 2. I heard YX will have a political marriage with the Liang Princess. The drama seems to have expanded the role of Princess Chun Er in season 1 so maybe this actress was just cheaper and I was surprised Princess Chu Er got so much screen time even in the final episodes.

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  10. In order to expand the roles given to the bigger stars, the producers and the writers butchered the original story. They didn't even make a good job at it, with incoherence and plotholes all over the series. The final production makes both the book lovers and, eventually, the drama fans angry. This is so deja vu of Chusen season 1.

    Very rarely an adaptation follows the original source to the T, including those that have been adapted numerous times (eg the Condor Trilogy). Some go to an extreme change, but they ought to be done decently. I'd give Border Town Prodigal a prop for a fine execution of a heavily butchered story. They completely changed the leading roles, as well as the main romance, and altered parts of the story -- but somehow it works. The story was draggy in the middle, some of the characters became quite unlikeable, but that is to be expected in a Chinese drama. The Legend of Qin is another adaptation that IMO is quite successful with its changes. The changes were indeed disliked by the original anime fans, but it still worked for the viewers who never watched the anime. Even when the main character (Jing Tian Ming) needs lots of episodes to grow up & the repetitive scene of Jing Ke attempted assassination drive one crazy, the story as whole is enjoyable, there are character developments, and it has satisfactory closure -- a happy ending that is quite rare in Chinese period dramas (sorry for the spoiler). It's opposite to my experience with PA. I came with zero expectation and no comparison since I didn't read the book, got interested and watched it for 30 something episodes despite my growing impatience with the story -- was staying mainly because of the actors -- but the mess became too much to handle, the characters unbearable, so from then on I just watched a few random episodes though still following the story in blogs and forums. TBH, I don't understand why people demanded that the drama closes with a happy ending following the book, because it has deviated largely from the book from the very beginning.

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    1. Before viewers started on the drama, most have probably read the summary derived from the novel about how the heroine initially helped YX before ditching YX for YWY, and goes about abolishing slavery, and the drama does agree with the novel summary even though many details were probably changed.

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  11. Calling on whoever read the book, I just want to know why does it take 2 years for YWY and Xing'er to meet again? I understand that he probably needs time to heal his wounds, but it shouldn't take 2 years, right? so, why didn't he look for her earlier? was he trying to test her love for him?
    I don't understand why people keep saying that Xing'er doesn't know if she loves YWY or not. Of course she knows that she loves him since the earlier episodes. She cried with disappointment when she thought that he only wanted to use her because she heard his grandpa say that. She had to choose to be with YX to keep him from committing further atrocities, but YX turned out to be worse than she thought so she decided to leave him. The noble Chinese people in that era tended to sacrifice their personal feelings for the greater good. That's all Xing'er was trying to do, but luckily she had her limit.
    Who said that YQ and YWY were dead? YQ told Xing'er to go save YWY and he closed his eyes. He might just faint from his wounds and not dead. YWY pushed Xing'er away and he was sinking, but nobody knows what happens to him after that...was he dead? was he still alive? There are a lot of unresolved plots because they want to make season 2. If everything is resolved, then what will they do with season 2? ^_^

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    1. Good comment, I also have all those same questions, would also love to hear from someone who has read the book! Is the book available anywhere in English?

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