Why The Rebel Princess is my latest addiction!

In one of the more recent podcasts, I mentioned that none of the current airing Chinese dramas was doing it for me. They were all fluff and fantasy and what I really wanted was a down and dirty political historical with a side of romance. Thankfully, someone in my FB group mentioned The Rebel Princess, and 20 hours of binging later, I am officially hooked.

One of the top reasons this drama is working so well for me is the politicking. It is truly amazing how hard it is to find a drama that manages to be clever and intricate in the political shenanigans. To be truly well done, you need multiple smart people, all finagling to kill off each other. Way too often, we have only one bad guy twirling his mustache and hiring inept assassins. While I can sit through that kind of show, it doesn’t make my heart sing.

The Rebel Princess has so many generals, princes, princesses, and concubines you can’t swing a stick without hitting someone plotting to take over the throne. And stuck in the middle of all these is Princess A’ Wu (Zhang Zi Yi), one of the few people that seem not to notice the political chaos that surrounds her. That is until she is forced to marry a General made Prince (Zhou Yi Wei) who heads the strongest army in China. The two find love and common interest in surviving all the political strife and somehow combine to be a major power couple.

Along with the politicking, I am also a huge fan of the effort and money spent creating the outfits and sets for this drama. The clothes are so intricate and luxe. It makes a Fangirl want to play dress up and pretend to be a princess. Several of the action sequences are beautifully shot as well. Although a few others just didn’t hit the same, it is obvious that the director is picking and choosing which scenes need that extra bit of oomph and funding.

There is really only one aspect of the show that was slightly annoying. The story begins when our leading lady is supposedly fifteen. Keep in mind that the actress portraying this character is in her forties. A very young forty but still. To compensate, they had Zi Yi act very immature and, at times, annoying. Do I kind of wish they had maybe gone with a younger cast and aged them up somehow? Or just didn’t mention the age and made us just assume they were in their 20s? Yes, yes, I do. But they didn’t go that route, so you have to just work your way through it. Thankfully, the story is so good, and the acting really is well done; you can suspend disbelief most of the time.

So really, the final question is, is this drama right for you. Because, as much as I love it, I know that a lot of my friends would not enjoy it as much as I am. I think the best way to tell is whether you enjoyed dramas similar to Nirvana in Fire and Rise of the Phoenixes. If these dramas are on your favorite list, then this will 100% be up your alley. But if you are looking for a simple romance or endless fluff, you need to search elsewhere because this is not that kind of show.

So, let me know if you are going to join me in binging this brilliantly done drama. I would love to have more people to fangirl with since most of my besties fall more into the fluff drama category.

Til the next new addiction,


Dramas With a Side of Kimchi

19 thoughts on “Why The Rebel Princess is my latest addiction!

  1. I am there with you. I loved the dramas you have mentioned. You can also add Story of Minlan to it. Also I love the main male lead. Real man, not a flower boy …..

  2. I sure hope you watched “The Longest Day In Chang’an” because Zhou Yi Wei was absolutely fabulous in it AND it is a superior production on all counts: casting, story, tension, plots galore, conspiracies, the setting, the time period, the costumes, the lighting, every single production value… It is hands-down the most beautiful Tang Dynasty drama you’ll likely ever see. If you haven’t, you absolutely must make time for it!

  3. I love Rebel Princess and am always happy to hear more people are finding it. Luckily the early episodes her acting young are pretty few, I think it is worth it because I don’t think a younger actress could have done as well or been as good a foil for the General once they become the bad-ass couple that I can’t get enough of.

  4. yes,,, totally love this drama.. the best i’ve seen in awhile.. great plots and nice action scenes. love the leads… and i have a new love for this zhou yi wei… omg… not very good looking but something abt him and this character… wow… totally in love.. lol

  5. Just finished watching this drama. Love it! Love the leads. Love the love between the leads. Both actors playing the main leads acted very well. Zhou Yi Wei’s on screen charisma in playing Xiao Ci is amaaazing. I was always looking forward seeing him on screen, and seeing the interaction between the two main leads as they are really couple goals. Great cinematography and music, too. I wish that more English-speaking audience is watching this so that there are more people discussing and dissecting this great drama.

  6. Zhou Yi Wei’s & Zhang Zi Yi’s acting never disappoints. They are perfect for their roles & their chemistry is explosive.
    Zhou Yi Wei as Lord Yu Zhang/General Xiao Qi is SUPER…….CHARISMATIC, MANLY, ATTRACTIVE, COOL & CHARMING 😍😍😍😍😍 I am literally in love with him 🥰😊 I have not seen such charismatic actor in China dramas until now. He sets the REAL STANDARD of a General cum Lord!!! As for Zhang Zi Yi, always one of my favorite Chinese actress 😍😍😍😍😍 Watches this drama because of her. Superb drama 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻

    And with the so called ‘controversial’ about Zhang Zi Yi playing a teenager, I really don’t understand what’s the big fuss about it 😓😓😓 It’s her acting skill that matters & she brought that teenage vibe out wonderfully.

  7. I was on quest for a drama to melt my jaded drama heart and found it in The Rebel Princess. I usually find it difficult to find gripping, beautifully-written Chinese historical dramas like Nirvana In Fire, Ten Miles of Peach Blossoms, and The Longest Day In Chang’an; ones with well-acted characters worth investing time in. (Watching over 60 episodes IS an investment.) Imagine my pleasant surprise when I fell in love with The Rebel Princess within the first 3 episodes. Finally a Chinese drama with a strong, mature and absolutely gorgeous female lead and her OTP with a ruggedly handsome male lead worth my devotion!

    I went into this drama asna fan of Zhang Zi Yi. I was aware of of the criticisms of how cringe-y it was to watch a 40-something actress play a cutesy teenager, but I found that with some lens-adjustment I was able to get through those scenes. Thankfully, Zhang Zi Yi settled into her role as her character matured. She’s resplendent as the princess A’Wu. It’s easy to imagine how practically all the men were falling in love with her, even willing to die for her. I love that she’s mature, intelligent, beautiful woman; not some ditsy, malnourished girl with a screechy voice and toothpick legs.

    And have I mentioned Zhou Yi Wei as General Xiao Qi and how melty he is in this drama? Ruggedly attractive in a non-classically handsome way, Zhou Yi Wei’s Xiao Qi is no flower boy. He’s sexy as hell in his armour even when bloody and muddy. I liked that even though Xiao Qi was called boorish and low-class, ZYW portrayed him as a calm, thinking man who didn’t need to raise his voice unless necessary. What I loved especially about this actor is his eyes, so expressive! And did I forget to mention how sexy this character is?

    The Rebel Princess is solid “eye-candy”, with it’s beautiful cinematography—sweeping vistas & well-choreographed fight scenes. The production design is sumptious and the costumes luxurious. Nothing in this drama looks cheap. The music a mood-setter also gets honourable mention.

    Although The Rebel Princess’ story lagged in middle causing the last two episodes to feel rushed, it’s a good, solid watch to lovers of historical drama. Was a totally satisfied with the ending? Not really, since I wanted more baddie heads to roll as punishment for their evil ways. But at least it ended on a good note.

    Oh, and did I mention how sexy Xiao Qi is? 😉

  8. Could you post the ending. Watched on prime. It ended at season 1. Was there a season 2?
    I didn’t find out who she ended up with??

    • She ends up with the general. I don’t believe there is a season 2. Did they have all the episodes there? There should be 68 in total. I watched on viki.

  9. Xiao Qi/Zhou Yi Wei is both adorably and handsome. Most notably that VOICE, those beautiful lips, eyes and lashes. Definitely a very sexy man! Loved this drama and I have watched it more than once! Lol!! I found this drama much easier to follow than Rise of the Phoenixes. It is also magnificent production but I’m finding the storyline harder to grasp.

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