So I’ve been watching a few dramas and movies lately, like an episode for every meal, to de-stress and to keep my sanity while I study. Among them is the HK TVB drama, War and Beauty which I’d been meaning to watch for a while. Yes, I know it’s old, and I watched bits and pieces of it before. But I never got to sit through it because it was always aired at 10 or 11 at night and being a child then, it was way past my bedtime. Could only catch glimpses.
It’s a typical harem drama, concubines vying for the emperor’s favour and all that sort of jazz. Quite a few big stars here.
I liked Maggie Chung’s characters the most, also cos Maggie’s character’s name resembled mine lel lel.
Maggie starts out as the chief maid, clever enough to avoid the power struggle in the harem and to win the king’s favour for her mistress. She was going to live happily ever after with her grandma and her suitor, the guard Hung Mo/ Kong Wu (played by Moses Chan), after ending her term at the palace. But her grandma died in an accident which wasn’t really an accident. The Empress had her killed so that On Sin could stay in the palace and groom this concubine to win the king’s favour so that he would neglect the Empress’ competitor, Yue Fei / Sheren Tang. When On Sin finds out, she plots her revenge and becomes a concubine herself to win the king’s favour from the Empress.
It’s not as complicated as it sounds.
It’s just sad that On Sin decided on this path for revenge in the end. When she could have lived happily ever after with Hung Mo. But, I guess, for revenge.
Sheren gets involved too. She starts out as a baddie but becomes good later on when she falls from the king’s favour.
She kind of falls in love with Hung Mo but it’s so not explicit that I sort of doubt it.
Then there’s the love triangle between the concubines Yuk Ying, Yi Sun and the physician Suen Pak Yeung.
More like a love square. Lady Fuk also has a thing for this doctor.
(Pentagon – there’s that woman he goes back to at the brothel but she kicked him out yay)
Out of all of Suen’s lovers, I liked Lady Fuk ze best. First, I think she’s the prettiest in the really classy and elegant way ahaha. Yi Sun has a similar vibe but she’s still a bit young and I don’t think she’s as preets. Fuk carries the mature air better. Loved her unassuming character and how she preserves her integrity by laying low and staying away from the politics. I think Fuk was the one Suen really loved (before Yuk Ying at least).
I would never understand why he would choose Yuk Ying over everybody. Honestly. The only time I liked Yuk Ying at all was when she calmed down from being put under quarantine and was bffs with On Sin. That didn’t last long since On Sin ‘schemed’ to become a concubine and hence Yuk Ying’s competition. Even towards the end, I didn’t get her and how she was determined to stay in the palace even though there was a coup. I think she mentioned something about preserving the honour of her family. But still. Didn’t like her cocky attitude muchh.
Liked Yi Sun towards the end. I think she got better under Lady Fuk’s influence haha.
Watching all dat politicking made me feel like there wasn’t a good or bad side, there were just sides, your side or mine. My good side was with On Sin until she tried to plot against Yi Sun and disillusioned me.
The ending is just tragic. They pretty much killed of everyone save for a couple. 😦 Yue Fei lived, though, sadly, I’m sure, since she let Hung Mo run away with On Sin. Yue Fei and Hung Mo’s vague mutual love was just that – vague.
Overall, I think it’s quite a good concubine drama. For 30 episodes, it packs just about enough.
Mah fave concubine show will always be Empresses in the Palace/The Legend of Zhen Huan 后宫·甄嬛传, which I shall hopefully be able to cover soon but that one is much much longer than this and so convoluted.
I know there’s a War and Beauty 2/ Beauty at War (such an original title) but I heard that it wasn’t as good as this one so I’m still undecided about whether I want to watch it. I don’t think I will.
Maggie’s not in it.