Ruyi Versus Yanxi and the Character Relationships Between Your Favorite Qing Dynasty Dramas

Nicky Wu Scarlet Heart Yongzheng Emperor
Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace and Story of Yanxi Palace are two dramas currently airing that are about Emperor Qianlong and his inner court. The story is told from very different perspectives with the heroine in one playing the villain in the other. If we're keeping count, the story actually goes back further than that as the family ancestry of Emperor Qianlong would have started with his father, Emperor Yongzheng

Do you remember Nicky Wu in Scarlet Heart? He played the 4th Prince who later became Emperor Yongzheng

Chen Jianbin Yong Zheng Sun Li Zhen Huan
In the same year that Scarlet Heart came out in 2011, Legend of Zhen Huan was released with Chen Jianbin playing Emperor Yongzheng and Sun Li playing Zhen Huan who will eventually become Empress Xiaoshengxian. 

Zhen Huan in Ruyi, Yanxi and My Fair Princess
In her older years, she will be the Empress Dowager in Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace, Story of Yanxi Palace and Lao Fo Ye in My Fair PrincessIt's funny since My Fair Princess is the oldest among the three since it first aired in 1998. In the photo, you can actually see the physical similarities in the actresses playing the part and you can imagine the character growing older in front of your eyes. 

Emperor Qianlong Wallace Huo Nie Yuan
Zhen Huan's adopted son is none other than Emperor Qianlong. He's the trending topic now due to two dramas centered around the character, played by Wallace Huo and Nie Yuan

Fu Cha Dong Jie Qin Lan
Qianlong's first empress, Fu Cha, is played by Dong Jie and Qin Lan.

Ulanala Ruyi Zhou Xun Charmaine Sheh
Qianlong's second wife, Ulanara, the Step Empress, is played by Zhou Xun and Charmaine ShehRuyi's Royal Love in the Palace portrays her as the main character while in the other, she's a villain. 

Evil Empress Huan Zhu Ge Ge Dai Chunrong
She was the hated villain 20 years ago too when Dai Chunrong played the Empress in My Fair Princess

Imperial Noble Consort Li Chun Wu Jinyan
Qianlong's 3rd Empress, the Imperial Noble Consort, is played by Li Chun and Wu Jinyan. Wu Jinyan has skyrocketed in fame as the main character in Story of Yanxi Palace

Ling Fei Imperial Noble Consort Huan Zhu Ge Ge
She is also portrayed as a good person when Chen Li played Ling Fei in My Fair Princess.

Of course, it's not a proper imperial drama without the royal consorts. Here are the rest of the ladies from both dramas - 

Consort Gao Tong Yao Tan Zhuo
Consort Chun Hu Ke Wang Yuan Ke
Consort Rong Li Qin Jenny Zhang
Consort Yu Janine Chang Lian Lian
Consort Jia Xin Zhi Lei Pan Shi Qi
I personally like the choice of actresses playing the consorts in Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace. I guess they look to be closer in age and somewhat alike so it gives the impression that Emperor Qianlong has a certain type which makes it more realistic.

However, I like the actresses who play the three Empresses in Story of Yanxi Palace. They seem more regal than their counterparts in Ruyi.

I don't know. It's just my opinion. What's yours?

My Fair Princess Huan Zhu Ge Ge 1998
To wrap it up, Emperor Qianlong, played by Zhang Tielin, had kids which paved the way for the 1998 TV series My Fair Princess. Looking at Fan Bingbing, Ruby Lin, Zhao Wei and Alec Su, this was so long ago!


  1. what do you think about the actors who play Qianlong?

    1. Zhang Tielin definitely has a very powerful king aura, he'd played as many other kings as well convincingly.

      Adam Cheng's young Qian Long was charismatic, he portrayed the king as a cheerful but mature man with decent kung fu. The decorations and styling for both him and Zhang Tielin made everything look extremely grand and impressively majestic.

      Maybe the modern ones try to use more expensive items, I really don't know and cannot tell but they just don't make the emperor look as convincingly splendid and dignified...maybe the servants are a bit less than in the past? I don't know but looking back at HZGG and Adam Cheng their kingly status looked really powerful.

      Most handsome Qianlong ever should be Nie Yuan!

  2. Wallace is definitely in the run for the most handsome Emperor

    1. Yes. Walkace is the most handsome Qian Long ����

  3. Seeing that picture of Bu Bu Jing Xin reminds me of when dramas were reasonable length. Only 35 episodes! How I miss those days!

  4. Why is it so hard to access this site? I can’t even read an article without being directed for 5 times! It’s getting really annoying -.-“

    1. try using an adblocker? I don't redirected at all

    2. It doesnt work for me. And i only have this problems with phones which I what I mainly use. The format of the comment is getting annoying too. It really discourages readers to leave a reply or interact. I wish they use Disqus so I can reply to people

  5. thank you for this. very interesting. question: if the dramas are on the same time line and the character are the same, why the clothes and hairstyles are different?

    1. Not sure about the other version, but Yanxi palace tried to stick as true to that period. In a long bts video they show they used old the old technique to embroider the patterns. They used old paintings and references to follow hairstyles and customs (3 earings, the reason giving in episode 1/2 why it was uncommon). Because they tried to be as true as possible to made the clothing from scratch and used more subdued colors. Other period series often reuse/borrow from other dramas. Thiuggh zhen huan was a visual gorgeous from the clothing, to hairstyle, hat accessories and makeup and how it changes (light makeup innocent to very fierce and strong later one) , judging by the old paitings, its vastly different

  6. Wallace is a good looking guy but playing as Qian Long, his character's personality is the type that lacks intelligence and likeableness. It's really hard to root for the main characters in Ruyi and the side characters are only ok. But in Yanxi Gonglue, each and everyone was interesting enough to keep the show going.

  7. Surprisingly I am really liking Yanxi compared to Ruyi, I always found the Step Empress an interesting figure both in reality and on screen. I think the thing I love about Yanxi is the fact that all the characters are different from the usual palace dramas the emperor is not this kind of a dick but still likable especially with the way he is usually aware of when the consorts are trying to lie or manipulate him and I love that Ling is kind of manipulative from the start she is smart and I love the acting of the actresses playing her also the interacrions between her and the emperor is fun to watch from the start.
    My main issue with Ruyi is the characters feel a little predictable, but tjis is not really their fault as it is based on history and we know what is going to happen.

  8. Based on history I personally like Yanxi Palace rather than Ruyi. Ulanara or Hoifa Nara never gained emperor's love as she buried far from emperor's tomb.

    Sorry to say, Wallace Huo doesn't suit to play the role as emperor I Think. 😁