I pushed play on the latest Chinese historical drama Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace. Come find out my first impressions & unfiltered thoughts and see if this show should be your next binge watch.
I went into this drama expecting to be pulled in immediately. I remember seeing the teaser for Love in the Palace months ago and it promptly went on my to watch list. My love for palace dramas is well known and the quality was noticeably top notch. So when I started the drama and wasn’t hooked right away I was disappointed. The only reason I kept watching was my intention to write this post. Thankfully, I was kept on because by the end of episode three I was hooked and wanting to know what happened next.
I think what kept me from loving the drama from the start was the lack of romantic OTP (One True Pairing) moments. We didn’t see their relationship develop, only Emperor Qianlong asking his father to marry Ruyi and their eventual nuptials. Which happened at the same time he married another woman AND took a concubine. It is a bit hard to believe in true love when it is surrounded by a bunch of other sexual relationships co-existing. Quick Note…. if you have issues with harem stories this is not going to be the drama for you because it is full of them. It was only after I started watching for the political intrigue among the various wives and concubines that I really started getting sucked into the narrative.
Wallace Huo is sexy and smart
Wallace Huo playing Emperor Qianlong is one of the best things in this drama. He is both sincere yet decidedly Emperorish. You can always tell that he is thinking three or four steps ahead over how his actions are going to impact the court. It is fascinating to watch.
That said, it isn’t always the most romantic. Especially when he lets his harridan of a mother force him into the hands of his other wife and concubines. Can’t we just see the OTP be cute without having to worry about how our leading man has to sleep with another woman due to politics?
You really have to pay attention to the dialogue and not just the various character’s physical mannerisms. I am amazed at how many characters remain all smiles and sunshine while plotting another’s demise.
Machiavellian politicking EVERYWHERE
There is so much politicking being done in this drama. With a good 90% of it being done by the inner court (harem). Talk about seeing the viciousness of the fairer sex. The majority of these women are scarier than any hulking warrior might be.
I am in love with the styling in this drama. The vibrant silks and fur-lined dresses are dazzling. It is like stepping into a whole different world full of clothing and accessories that feel extra exotic. Add in the fact that they went all out on the palace decor, and you have a drama that is a visual feast.
Do I recommend?
My feelings are split when answering this question. On one hand, I do like the harem politicking and the beautiful styling/cinematography. On the other, I am not a huge fan of our leading lady’s performance. She isn’t horrible, but she doesn’t make me sit up and say “wow” either. For now, I am going to continue on and see where the journey takes me. So if you really like Harem dramas you may want to give this one a try. But if you are looking for a show that is going to wow you with romance and all the feels that come with it, I would maybe look for something else.
Til our next drama experience,
Dramas With a Side of Kimchi