You should watch Ruyi's Royal Love in the Palace

Saturday 9 January 2021


Ruyi Royal Love In the Palace Review

It only took the main character 75 episodes to finally stand up for herself and put every-single-one-of-them in their place! Fortunately while we were waiting this monumental moment we were entertained so we can safely forgive....

(I need to get ALL the emotions off my chest.  I watched it alone...I need to vent!) 

From the beginning I wasn't really sure about  
Hongli's (Wallace Huo) and Qingying's (Zhou Xun)  love. 
Qingying is playful, a free spirit who just happens to be
 the beloved niece of Empress Jingren (Joan Chen). 
Her Aunt has ambitious dreams for their Ula Nara clan;
her niece must follow her as the next Empress!
Qingying is being pushed to marry the prince with the potential to become the 
next Emperor in the Forbidden city

But she's not interested in the royal life, 
and demonstrates this by farting during the wife selection ceremony,  
and almost missing the second opportunity when Hongli selects his consorts. 

Hongli wants her as his first official wife, but his prospects change when he becomes the crown prince. With that change comes deep responsibility, 
his choice of wife and consorts becomes political
 and a formidable part of his families's royal legacy.
He can no longer choose, instead his parents choose for him. 

Qingying is quickly cast to the side as a result of her Aunty's power hungry mistakes,
 Empress Jingren is abandoned by her Emperor husband and locked up in her palace till death. 
Hongli must beg his father to atleast allow Qingying to be his 'second wife' if not the first.

A few years into their 'marriage', Qingying realizes she must change herself , she cannot be the same person she was in her youth. She requests the Empress Dowager Chongqing to give her a new name,  and she's granted the name Ruyi. There is a beautiful bit of foreshadowing that I missed while watching the first time around, where she warns Ruyi of how her pure and 'saviour like' characteristics will ultimately cause her downfall in the harem.   

Eventually, Ruyi becomes Empress, the legal wife to her true love, but by then she has lost quite a lot of her youthful playful essence, majority of it brought on by her time in the Cold Palace
A place where unwanted concubines are banished to die.
 Ruyi is extra cautious and keenly observant of her surroundings. 

I want Ruyi to crush her enemies after all they have put her through but her core values and morals won't let her. She attempts  many times to discipline the power-loving concubines, 
but their evil intentions won't be curbed! 

This Empress Dowager (Vivian Wu) is the wisdom that keeps on giving throughout the series.
She the only one who's lived the whole harem life as a concubine of the late Emperor, and thanks to her adopted son becoming the current Emperor she's beaten all her co-wives to the coveted seat. 
She never kneels bows or curtseys, but even the Emperor bows to her.

Everyone should listen to her, but they don't. They think they know better. 
And so she's left to amuse herself by watching her son and his consorts fall into 
the same mistakes and traps they continually set for them selves. 

She refuses to pick a favorite amongst the concubines, 
 though she gifts the Emperor
Consort Shu and Concubine Mei to spy on him for her. 
She would rather 'have many flowers blooming in the harem rather than just a few'.

Am only left wondering why she did so little to protect the pregnant consorts and the royal heirs, that she cared so much about. She knew from her past experience these bad  things would happen.

At one point the Emperor has 12 wives and only three children...nobody was suspicious!?
She should have been worried...

Then there's Empress Xiaoxian (Dong Jie) from the Fuca Clan.
The Fuca Clan is a mighty and valuable ally to the Emperor,
which is why she is chosen as Empress and official wife. 
I didn't want to like her but somehow I feel like she wasn't really an evil person.
She is the result of her circumstances with so many cups to fill; 
Always thinking of her clan, her family, her children, the harem, the emperor, etc... 
Most of her time is spent listening to the people around her, servants, concubines and family members. They often remind her that she is a target by default.
Because the Emperor loves Ruyi , Xiaoxian automatically makes her an enemy. 

The loss of her sons and the guilt of all her misdeeds kills her. 
And the very people who helped her trample on Ruyi abandon her so easily and willfully. 
She's an interesting character, really leaving me very torn.
I wonder how different the story would have been had she chosen an alliance with Ruyi instead.
I think she would have enjoyed her life, but then we wouldn't have a series to

Poor Emperor in order for the series to end, we have to hate him. 
I mean why else would he completely go against 
the character they have been building for 60 episodes. 
Mid life crisis?
Most likely. 

Qianlong Emperor (Wallace Huo) is the love of Ruyi's life. 
He wasn't raised to inherit the throne but
 his elder brother is removed from the line of succession 
due to misconduct, and so Hongli's life is changed forever. 

Watching the second time around means I realized that I 
 appreciated his character until around episode 70, where
nothing he does after that makes sense. 

For the first 70 episodes they show us a sincere, clever and calculating character. He is as he often reminds us alone and unable to truly trust anyone
 around him because everyone needs him for something.
 He knows that his actions are significant and have consequences. 
He sees all his wives and concubines not just as companions 
but political game pieces contributing to his legacy as a leader. 
 All, except Ruyi, she is there because he wants her there, 
with no powerful family or clan as her backing. 
Maybe that's why he is not afraid to disrespect or use her, 
 and he ends up compromising and betraying Ruyi quite a lot throughout the series. 

We forgive and forgive until he starts believing his astrologers out of nowhere...
Then also his strange infatuation with Concubine Rong...
Then we...well actually I...I stopped forgiving.... 

Imperial Noble Consort Hui (Tang Yao) is a character used by all her 'friends'.
She enters the palace because her father and her clan are very powerful.
Basically she's is the spoilt rich kid. 
Honestly I didn't feel there was much depth to her at all, 
all the evil things she did, didn't benefit her in any way other than her promotions.
No children.
No love from the Emperor. 
No great friendships.
She dies in her garden alone next to her fitting...  

That is exactly what Nobel Concubine Jia (Xin Zhilei) is.
   She is the real evil in the harem, and it takes her counterparts toooooooo long to realize. 
Totally abandons Noble Consort Hui and the Empress Xiaoxian in the end! 

She has no heart except for her first love (the head of the Yu clan) and her children. 

She makes one bold and stupid attempt for the Empress seat,
 and another for the Crown Prince seat but fails miserably.
 When she uses the hands of others she is successful, 
when she gets cocky and uses her own she is too brash and careless.  

She like all the other women in the harem, is a powerless female pawn. 
Her father marries her off to the Emperor without telling her. 
She represents her clan like the Empress, 
so there is pressure for her children to become successful.
Smarter than most of the men around her, she is still trapped in the body of  a woman.
Her cunning brain is designed to create policies and strategies, but women in those days were not 
allowed to participate in such...

She assumes her real enemy is Ruyi, and underestimates Imperial Nobel Consort Ling. She sets the tone and unfortunately her death brings about round two of a different type of deadly  
venom in the inner palace..... 

This Harem was something else....
Sometimes I would switch off and think happy thoughts for the rest of the day.
It was too much..

Fresh off watching Story of Yanxi Palace, Concubine Ling (Li Chun)
was a shock to my naïve system. 
I certainly was not prepared for this unlovable character...

Before the natural target amongst all the wives was Ruyi,
but Concubine Ling just threw ALL those  rules out the window and killed 
anyone and everyone that stood in her way. 
Mostly being mentored by the slimy eunuch JinzHong (Jiang  Xueming),
 she ruthlessly abandons her childhood sweetheart Ling Yunche (Jing Chao) for the Emperor,
but is extremely vexed when he later develops a secret crush on Ruyi.
It doesn't make sense...don't try to make it make sense.

Ling has the BEST meltdown of the series in episode 85
Actually the last three episodes were really well put together.
I enjoyed the suspense and intrigue.

First special mention goes to Aruo (Zeng Yixuan) who provides the ultimate betrayal in episode 18.
I had to rewind five times, and pick my jaw off the floor!

Second Special mention goes to Consort Yu (Janine Jang)  who like Empress Dowager is not disillusioned about this whole palace life. She knows right from the start the Forbidden City is about survival, but she takes a few episodes to find her courage.  Her sisterhood with Ruyi is more important than any other adult relationship. Quietly smart she makes the decisions that Ruyi refuses too, 
and saves her bestie countless times. 

The costumes were AMAZING, I mean just look at the pictures below.

Some reviews on the costumes can be found here and here 

This was a beautifully filmed, and I enjoyed the storyline. I appreciated it more the second time around. The actors did a great job, they were believable and easily immersed us in this wonder-filled world.  Although I feel the writers did not do the emperor's character justice towards the is still worth the watch during your lazy idol Sunday afternoon moments. 

You can watch the full series here.

Oh Ruyi my heart broke for you and the series left me with a headache...

No body wins in this one but still worth a watch!

Photo Credit: ChinaDailyHK, agparistravel, chinadaily, dramapanda, viki, Ecns, IMDb, patron, daydaynews,

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