You need to watch Story of Yanxi Palace!

Wednesday, 25 November 2020


A Chinese period drama series that had me hooked from the start... English subtitles and all! Story of Yanxi Palace , written by Zhou Mo and co-produced by IQiyi and Huanyu Entertainment,  was apparently the most googled show in 2018. An average of 130 million views per episode when it was first released ... that is really impressive! I was a year late to the party since I watched it in 2019 but I can totally understand why.  I have watched it twice now, episode by episode. 

BIG disclaimer here...I am not an expert on Chinese culture or history so I watched as a naïve newbie to this genre... I am purely here to share my delight over the storytelling and entertainment, so if my comments and opinions appear shallow and unlearned, that's because they just are. If you are interested in more in-depth reviews you can start here, here and here.

So first things first,  the main character is endearing , comical and fun. She's a heroine who fearlessly and stubbornly takes charge of her destiny and opportunities. Avoiding the cliché of looking for love, she is focused on revenging her elder sister's death, the main storyline centers around the misfortunes and triumphs of her antics. Wei Yinglou (Wu Jinyan) begins her journey as a talented embroidery palace maid and climbs her way into the audience's hearts and up the ladders of power 
within the internal court of the forbidden city  

All the evil characters pull out all the stops in humiliating, poisoning, burning , whipping and crushing  their victims; they will stop at nothing even attempting to kill their co-wives unborn or living children just to be 'most favoured' by the Emperor. 

Then episodes later they go pull off the most magnificent dramatic downfalls with violin music and Oscar worthy confessions. We must give a standing ovation to Nobel Consort Gao (Tan Zhuo) , Nobel Consort Chun (Wang Yuanke), Nobel Lady Jia (Pan Shiqi) and Concubine Shun(Jenny Zhang). You love and hate them at once.  

The rise of Empress Hoifa Nara Shushen (Charmaine Sheh) is a plot line to relish. I underestimated Consort Xian from the beginning so it was an intriguing surprise to watch her quietly manipulate and maneuver her way to the top position in the harem. A character arc I didn't see coming but that was needed, imagine committing ALL THE crimes while keeping your hands!  

Li Yu, the Head Eunuch (Liu Enshang) who is always by Emperor Qianlong's side as his most loyal servant and subject is fantastic. I promise he will make you laugh in every episode he appears in, you will look forward to seeing him. His commitment to serving the emperor is under appreciated. I spent most of the episodes wondering when does he get to sleep? Even when the emperor is sleeping he is standing outside the door waiting to be called and requested for anything. 

The accessories worn by the ladies will make you marvel. I mean a lot is never's like they wear all the items in their jewelry box every time. Everything, everytime!  I love it!

Even the palace maids wear flowers in their hair too...

And yes the emperor (Nie Yuan) is handsome... and yes he is one of or if not the best actor in the series. He is charming, jealous and vulnerable all the things we expect in such characters...but that's nothing new... and yes he's character is very problematic and flawed because these women are plotting and killing just to be with him and there is not much he does to elevate the situation. In fact most times in perfect 'Danielle Steel fashion' he makes the whole thing worse... how else will they get us to keep watching though?

Is it weird that I want parts of my home to look like these photos below ?
The series has inspired  me.

I haven't dived deep into the plot and storylines because I want you to have many reasons to go and watch all 80 episodes! Make yourself some good food, grab some tea or coffee and get comfortable. 

Comment below with your thoughts on the series. Did you have a favorite scene, character or episode? Would love to hear from you....

P.S: Netflix is making a sequel called 'Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures', watch the trailer here

Photo Credit: IQIYI, Chinaattlia, steemit, the straittimes, story of yanxi palace, south china morning post, China Film Insider, the world of chinese,


  1. Replies
    1. Good point. It was good, but I suppose I guess I forget to write about