Before I start off with the episodic recap, I think that doing a character introduction will be a good start. I will be introducing as many characters as possible, and it will include the character’s bibliography and my own opinion of the characters after watching the series and I will try not to include any spoiler.
Lan Ling Wang (Gao Chang Gong) | Male, 26 years old
Played by: William Feng Shao Feng
Crowned with the title “Beautiful God of War”, Lan Ling Wang is an undefeatable and strong general, who possesses both strength and intelligence. As a prince with royal blood, he treats everyone equally, regardless of their rank and background. He who fights in the war wishes that every battle he participates in, will bring him closer to his goal of having world peace. Being a kind-hearted man, he chose to wear a demonic mask whenever he goes on a war, and under the mask, he becomes a cruel and heartless general who soar to bring victory to his kingdom. Upon seeing his mother’s fate – not being able to be with the man she loves – he vowed to marry and love only one woman in his lifetime, not wanting his wife to share the same fate as his mother.
Yang Xue Wu (Heavenly Maiden) | Female, 20 years old
Played by: Ariel Lin Yi Chen
The last descendant of the legendary line of female seers known as the Heavenly Maiden. An innocent, cheerful, smart, kind-hearted and innovative girl who loves experimenting and inventing new things, often causing trouble in her village. As Xue Wu had never taken a step out of her village, she is ignorant about things going on in the world and easily trust strangers she meet, and often willing to step out bravely and protect what she think is right. Even with her limited medical knowledge, she is able to cure many illnesses and coupled with her intelligence, people unanimously acknowledged her as the Heavenly Maiden.
Yu Wen Yong (A Guai / Emperor of Zhou) | Male, 25 years old
Played by: Daniel Chan Hiu Tung (Chen Xiao Dong)
As a natural ruler with good looks, wisdom, perception and strength, Yu Wen Yong is also a ruthless Emperor who does not tolerate betrayal. Having to survive in the Palace to protect his throne, he learnt to think calmly, protect himself and to never reveal his weakness to anyone. Even as the ruler of the Kingdom of Zhou who lacks nothing, he is unable to open his heart to anyone due to the cruel environment he grew up in. He viewed Lan Ling Wang as a respectable rival and cares for Lan Ling Wang, unfortunately, only one of them can survive to be the ruler of the North.
Zheng Er / Feng Xiao Lian | Female
Played by: Nikita Mao Lin Lin
Zheng Er used to be the palace maid of the previous Empress of Qi, a beautiful and innocent girl who fell in love with Lan Ling Wang at first sight. She was a candidate for Lan Ling Wang’s Official Wife and is skilled in cooking, music and dancing. She would resort to any means in order to be with the man she loves. Due to various incident, she turned her love for Lan Ling Wang to hatred, took on the identity of Feng Xiao Lian and became the current Empress of Qi. Feng Xiao Lian is an extremely scheming Empress who manipulates the Emperor of Qi (Gao Wei) in the shadow to revenge the two people who made her life miserable.
Crown Prince Gao Wei (Emperor of Qi) | Male
Played by: Zhai Tian Ling
Borned as the Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Qi, many people had high expectations from him. Gao Wei is kind-hearted in nature, but being overshadowed by his cousin, Lan Ling Wang, he slowly became a multi-faceted and cruel man. In the series, he showed the extreme ends of kindness and cruelty of human being, resorting to any means in order to get the throne. He is willing to do anything for the love of his life – Zheng Er – and is blinded by that love.
An De Wang | Male, 20 years old
Played by: George Hu Yu Wei
An De Wang is Lan Ling Wang’s beloved younger brother, he is also a capable assistant of Lan Ling Wang – in his work and private life. Entering the Palace with the same circumstance as his elder brother, he is very dependent and loyal to his brother. He will carry out Lan Ling Wang’s order with no complains and is extremely protective of him. An De Wang is a sweet-talker and flirtatious man who treats every woman with love, hence, he has a harem of concubines in his household. He is also the match-maker of Lan Ling Wang and Xue Wu, and is often the mood-maker in the series.
Han Xiao Dong | Male
Played by: Shawn Wei Qian Xiang
Xiao Dong is the forever guardian angel of Xue Wu and is extremely loyal and caring towards her. He is secretly in love with Xue Wu, and regardless of his poor background, Xue Wu regards him as her best friend. He sees Xue Wu as a beautiful moon in the sky, a faraway beauty in which he can never reach. He vowed to use his life to protect Xue Wu, and he is often seen arguing with Zheng Er. Xiao Dong is an extremely heart-breaking character to watch in this series.
A Shi Na (Empress of Zhou) | Female, 20 years old
Played by: Wang Di
Even though the Empress’s marriage with Yu Wen Yong is a political move, she loves Yu Wen Yong deeply. She is a wise and knowledgeable woman who is able to aid her husband to acquire and become the ruler of the North wholeheartedly. Even with all the things she had done for Yu Wen Yong, she is still unable to capture his heart.
Comments: I love all the casts in this drama, especially the 3 main leads – Feng Shao Feng, Ariel Lin and Daniel Chan (Even though I was pretty pissed with Lan Ling Wang in the middle of the series). I have been a fan of Ariel Lin ever since I watched It Started With A Kiss, and I am extremely happy with her role as Xue Wu, she always pull the innocent and cheerful characters perfectly, and she always cry in a way that never fails to break my heart.
The first time I saw Feng Shao Feng in Palace – Gong Suo Xin Yu, I fell in love with his character right away. PS: Feng Shao Feng and Yang Mi are the only characters I like in the drama, I finished the whole drama just for them. Ever since then, I have been watching his works. I am also watching their recent drama – Legendary of the Military Seal (虎符传奇) – which I think many people does not even know its existence. I practically became a even bigger fan of Feng Shao Feng after watching Lan Ling Wang.
As for Daniel Chan, I only catch a glimpse of him in Material Queen, which I dropped because the story isn’t interesting. Daniel Chan did an excellent job playing as Yu Wen Yong, Yu Wen Yong’s charisma and A Guai’s kindness captured my heart and it was pretty heart-breaking watching him doing so many things for Xue Wu. I pretty much came with a conclusion that most of the Emperors can get everything in the world, but not the heart of the woman they love – ie. Yu Wen Yong & Gao Wei in Lan Ling Wang, Yong Zheng in Palace, Lee Yi in Beyond the Realm of Conscience, etc.
Though I’ve watched numerous drama by George Hu – KO 3anguo, ToGetHer and Love, Now – I never thought that his acting was great. I have to admit that this is the best work of George Hu thus far, maybe because of An De Wang’s like-able character and his American-accent chinese being dubbed.
I can hardly believe that Wei Qian Xiang (Han Xiao Dong) was the same guy who acted as 14th Prince in Palace 2. Xiao Dong is such a lovely but heart-breaking character to watch, I spilled litres of tears for Xiao Dong in the later part of the series and this shows how important the character design and the plot meant for a drama.
Zheng Er and Gao Wei are really made for one another, as a couple, both actors did a perfect job in playing these two villains. You will get to experience eye-rolling moments, like I did, while watching these two characters. I think that playing as the protagonist is indeed hard, but it is even harder acting as the villain that everyone hates. So, 101 points out of 100 for both actors :D