The Princess Weiyoung: Eps 1-11 (First Impressions)

Chinese DramasDrama Reviews

The Princess Weiyoung (also known as Jin Xiu Wei Yang) is a currently airing period c-drama, billed as a princess-gets-revenge story.  It is based on the novel The Poisonous Daughter.  It garnered interest due to its casting of Tang Yan (My Sunshine, Lady and the Liar, Perfect Couple), Luo Jin, and Vanness Wu (Autumn’s Concerto).  I heard good things about the drama from fans, so I decided to check it out.  I ended up watching the first 5 episodes all in one sitting–and then I continued watching more the next day.  What did I get myself into?

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“As a phoenix reborn from ashes, it can’t be reborn if it hasn’t died.  If she [Xin’er] were to attain great success, she would then soar high like the phoenix.”

The Princess Weiyoung tells the story of the last remaining survivor of Liang royalty, Princess Feng Xin’er (Tang Yan).  Xin’er’s carefree life falls apart when her father (the former Liang king) is framed and her whole family is slaughtered.  Li Weiyang, the estranged and illegitimate daughter of Prime Minister Li, rescues Xin’er.  Ironically, the Li family was behind Xin’er’s downfall.  Long story short, the real Weiyang gets assassinated, so Xin’er takes her place and enters the Li household to get revenge.  From here on out, I will refer to Xin’er as Weiyang.  (Note: The official English title and subtitles spell her name as “Weiyoung,” but I think “Weiyang” is more accurate.)

Weiyang is fated to be like a phoenix–literally.  She gets into near-death situations, but she always survives and comes back stronger and better.  Just in the first 7 episodes alone, there are about 5 attempts on her life, and Weiyang experiences the deaths of 5 people who are close to her.  This makes the drama suspenseful and intense, with plenty of cliffhangers that made me watch each next episode.  However, a lot of these life and death situations are over the top.  It feels like the drama is trying to make the heroine go through the worst things possible, just to make it more dramatic.

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Weiyang is a likeable heroine who is easy to root for.  She is loyal, resilient, smart, and quick on her toes.  She’s clearly someone you’d want on your side as your ally.  Tang Yan’s portrayal of Weiyang is pleasant and passable.  The voice actress for Weiyang is really good and sounds natural–I believe she’s the same voice actress who dubbed for the heroine in Legend of Zhen Huan.  Tang Yan’s styling is on-point, with beautiful outfits, jewelry, and colors that suit her well.

Despite Weiyang’s good qualities and likeability, she lacks substantial character development.  Weiyang is so unrealistic that she feels like a superhuman. She goes through horrible trauma, but magically gets through the grieving process by crying a bit and having a few flashbacks.   Even after being treated horribly by her enemies and being on the verge of death multiple times, she emerges undeterred and acts the same as before.  The drama rarely explores Weiyang’s inner conflicts.  Also, Weiyang is not convincing as a vengeful princess.  She is such a good person that it feels unbelievable.  If she really is out for revenge, I want to see her darker side!

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There are plenty of OTP moments between Weiyang and Tuoba Jun (Luo Jin), also known as Prince Gaoyang.  He’s known to be an excellent prince and eligible bachelor–honorable, skilled at archery and martial arts, and gentle.  Hopefully Jun will have more character development once he gets involved in the fight for the throne.  The chemistry between the OTP is really cute and has lots of warm fuzzy feelings.  Jun falls hard for Weiyang and does his best to pursue her once he realizes his feelings.  Weiyang rejects him multiple times even though she likes him too. (Much facepalming ensued on my part.) Their budding romance is slow-going and feels innocent–gotta keep in mind that they are supposed to be young (Weiyang is around 17 years old) even though they look like they’re in their twenties.

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^Top pics: Chang Le and Chuyan Rou / Bottom pics: Li Min De and Li Chang Ru

The antagonists feel like they come straight out of a Cinderella story combined with a harem story.  Madam Li (also known as Chuyan Rou)–the official wife of Weiyang’s father–serves the role of the scheming empress or the evil step-mother.   Her daughter, Chang Le (Li Xinai), is like the competitive rival concubine or the jealous sister.  The drama has done its best to make them as horrible as possible, with no redeemable qualities.  There are a lot of passive aggressive conversations between Chang Le and Weiyang that I usually just fast forward through.  T_T”

Weiyang has a couple allies, aside from Jun.  There’s her cousin Li Chang Ru, who is always making googly eyes of love at Tuoba Yu (Vanness Wu).  And there’s my favorite character Li Min De, her adopted cousin who is a tsundere.  I always love Li Min De’s scenes with Weiyang because he livens up the story!

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Lastly, Vanness Wu made his acting comeback as Tuoba Yu, another prince who is vying for the throne.  To be totally honest, when I first saw Vanness’ picture with his braided hairdo, I seriously thought it looked good.  T_T  Upon watching the drama, I realized that it doesn’t do him justice at all.  It only looks good from certain angles.  Whenever Tuoba Yu has a scene, I get too distracted by his hairstyle and eyebrows….

Overall

All in all, I really enjoyed the first episodes of Princess Weiyoung.  I kept on watching and watching because of those cliffhangers!  I got a kick out of the OTP scenes and seeing Weiyang fight back against her injustices. Princess Weiyoung is not the next Nirvana in Fire or Legend of Zhen Huan.  It’s a typical period c-drama, and that’s ok with me.  Sometimes watching the palace c-drama tropes is just plain fun, even though I’ve seen them all before.

Will I keep watching?  I already peeked ahead at some of the later episodes and it seems like Weiyang’s endless persecution continues.  I may end up dropping the drama out of exhaustion at seeing Weiyang almost dying over and over again.  If anyone has gotten much further, let me know if it gets better…

If Heaven Has Compassion by A-Lin

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heisui

I'm heisui, an Asian drama blogger and the creator of My Drama Tea. I love stories and writing, so I watch dramas and blog. I especially have a penchant for Japanese and Chinese dramas, and those hidden gems that are waiting to be discovered. Oh, and I'm Legend of Zhen Huan-obsessed!
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  • Question is how many episodes you have completed?😂
    I have seen up till 21 I think and the murder attempts continue. Haha. But then she’s also doing her bit to fight back. Which….I am happy with. But I really get annoyed when she treats Jun like that. He’s been nothing but sweet to her.
    And there’s a small plot twist coming with regards to one of her cousins 😉

    • I watched up to around ep15, then I peeked ahead at ep20 and ep30. In both of those episodes, there was another murder attempt. *sigh* I was also so frustrated with Weiyang giving Jun the cold shoulder, especially because it’d be something she’d regret doing.

      If the plot twist is in regards to Chang Ru, I kinda spoiled it for myself when I read her character description on the Wiki. T_T So now, I already know her true nature! Darn it!

  • I’m getting ready to watch episodes 29-30 and its good, but this many attempts to kill Weiyoung is getting old. The Princess Consort is an idiot who falls for the lies of Chang Le all the time. I keep watching mainly for the romance of Le Min Di and the princess.

  • Some of the reasoning and logic isn’t 100% there in this drama but I think you have to remember that given her new identity, she doesn’t have much power to work with. But yeah, Weiyang does seem to walk around with a bulls-eye tied to her back… XD

  • Thanks for the great review, Heisui. I haven’t watched this series at all yet – I’ll have to give it a try. If you haven’t watched it yet, I’d like to recommend to you “When a Snail Falls in Love.” It’s a police drama along the lines of “Love Me If You Dare.” I’m really enjoying it, but it’s pretty intense at times.

  • I heard this drama was coming out from your tweets about it. So I decided to research it and found out that it was basing on an internet novel also called “The Princess Weiyoung/Wei Yang” but also (and appropriately) titled “The Concubine’s Daughter is Poisonous”

    I managed to find a translation of the novel before the drama came out… and WOOH was the story different.

    Firstly, Wei Yang’s kingdom didn’t get destroyed in the first novel, she actually WAS the Li Xiao Ran’s daughter.

    Secondly, Wei Yang was the wife of Tuoba Zhen (or “Jun”), and he had become Emperor with her becoming Empress (not a spoiler, continue reading), and Tuoba Zhen/Jun was an *sshat

    Thirdly, Wei Yang, at the beginning of the novel, had been in the cold palace for TWELVE YEARS, after she was deposed as Empress for going against her sister (Zhang Le/Chang Le), who was giving birth while her son was dying. (explained in the story) AND her legs were cut off.

    Fourthly, Wei Yang actually dies at the end of the first chapter, in fact, the novel isn’t even a princess-revenge story, it was a reincarnation story, with the disillusioned Wei Yang/Weiyoung being executed via poison and waking up with her shrewd, ruthless mid-thirties soul waking up in her 13 year old self.

    Fifthly, Wei Yang. ISNT. KIND. HEARTED. In the novel she was ruthless hard*ss, who gave as little shit about the people around her (except her mother) as there is salt in freshwater. She manipulated her father like it wasn’t sh+t and managed to make him go against Madame Li’s word. She even saved Li Mingde’s life (i believe that’s how his name is spelled in the translation) just to make sure SHE HERSELF wasn’t regarded as a jinx.

    Sorry for my mini rant. Anyway, Chapter’s 1-23 (so far) have been translated by the lovely solstar24 over here: https://solstar24.wordpress.com/chapters-index-2/

    So if you want to read what was promoted, go there.

    • hi saz! glad you beat me to it, i was about to write a long post just like yours promoting the novel over the cdrama LOL.
      im glad more people are reading the novels. if you cant wait for the trans, just go to shusheng bar for the link to the ebook, then use bing translate to machine translate it. its understandable enough. the story get really good, and you will be satisfied at tuoba zhens ending >:)

    • O_O WOW. That’s a lot of changes from the original novel. The novel sounds even more intense. If the drama had been more true to the novel, I think Weiyang would’ve been a much more interesting character.

  • i was waiting for your comment on this drama heisui! im glad you tried it, but now i must recommend strongly to you to try reading the novel! http://www.books.shushengbar.com/?p=6696

    much better revenge story with less romance (you should read it as a revenge story not a love story). i couldnt drop the book and went and had to use bing to translate lol

    im kinda too lazy to rewrite my thoughts, so ill just cut and paste what i wrote on another site lol:

    i was reading the books and only just recently found out that there was a drama series. i watched the first 2 episodes and i was kinda disappointed at how they adapted the origins of her revenge.
    in the novel, it starts with wei young (age 36 also the empress), imprisoned by her husband the emperor tuoba zhen (3rd prince) for the past 12 years who also killed their child. they had married when she was 16 and for 8 years she had given her all in helping him fight for and claim the throne. but as soon as she became empress he discarded her and went with changle. he then orders her execution….
    she then gets rebirth as her 13 year old self, when she was sent to live in the countryside as a mistreated peasant, by her father the prime minister for being the daughter of a concubine.

    That is why there is a very DEEP hatred and thirst within wei young for her to get her revenge on all the people who wronged her. with the main one being tuoba zhen. so she sets out to stabilize her position in the prime minister’s residence and later helping tuoba yu (7th prince who also falls in a one sided love since shes really focused on revenge) to beat tuoba zhen (who also falls in love with the strong woman not the weak wei young of the previous incarnation). also li minde helps her (hes adopted, and he has a crush on her in the first half of the series. later blooms into love in the 2nd half of the books but i doubt the drama is even going to cover that part.)

    throughout the first half she is strong, cunning, intelligent, and determined character unmatched. everyone underestimates and gets beaten by this young 13 – 16 year old girl who is full of wisdom for her age (since she has all those years experience and knowledge from her 36 years of life). she later meets her equal in pei hua the second half of the books when the setting takes place in the west country where she moves for her next revenge targets after the tuoba one is wrapped up. unfotunately i dont think this second part will happen since they are making this drama into a romance and looks like she might end up with a tuoba which is amusing since in the novels it wasnt never in her character to fall in love with either of them since it conflicted with her set determined goals.

    hope you try reading the novels!

    • Hey dgundam, thanks for the rundown on the novel. Might as well call the drama a spin-off since it sounds like it doesn’t hold true to the plot…at all. Changing the genre is already a drastic change in the first place. I would definitely ship Min De x Weiyang. 😛 Darn. There was so much the drama could’ve done if it had been more true to the novel.

  • I’ve watched through ep 20 and am considering dropping- unless something major happens soon, I’m rather bored with the cyclical plotting (schemes, near-deaths, and romance denial). Unfortunately, each time I peak a few episode summaries ahead, it doesn’t seem very appealing.

    It was a nice start though! Too bad it’s kind of phased into the normal standards of meh-mediocre territory. At 54 episodes, I feel like it’ll probably be time wasted. Maybe I’ll check out the novel version instead.

  • I’m up to episode 50 now. The drama really is a stereotypical c-drama plot where the main character gets out of every single plot against them mostly unharmed. I’ve lost count of how many plots there have been to kill her, but there’s a new one every few episodes. There’s a line somewhere where Wei Young says something like “Maybe I am unlucky. Everyone around me that I care about ends up dead or severely hurt.”

    I have no idea how the final four episodes turn out, but so far she doesn’t have the bitterness of Zhen Huan after all that happened to her because of the Emperor and other concubines. Her servant does point out in the first third? or was it first half of the series? that she has changed from a carefree individual to someone that’s more pragmatic and guarded.

    The irritating thing about this drama is she keeps hurting Jun’er, the man of her life, and yet he still sticks by her side. He almost dies or angers the Emperor so many times. I suppose it’s drama logic.

    In history, Tuoba Jun becomes emperor at 12 years old and he dies in his late twenties. But in the drama, thirty or so years elapses from when Xin’er takes on Wei Young’s identity to the end of the drama. Maybe it’s just me, but I wish dramas would be a little more accurate.

    If you watch this drama, watch it for the scenes between Jun Tao and Cheng De (the contrast between the stiff Jun Tao and the comical Cheng De will make you laugh every time) and the scenes with the Princess and Min De (annoying, yet really cute).

    There’s a point where assassination attempts on Wei Young get boring, so if you’re short on time, watch where she gets accused and where she solves the case and maybe some plot/ character scenes in between.

    Also, this drama would have one of the more complicated relationship chart/ maps that can think of. Way too many love shapes

  • I love the drama. All the characters are endearing. Tang Yan does a good job as LWY, she is so clever and strong and witty and pretty, and yet she makes me root for her. Her rejection of Jun is realistic , after all, she shouldnt fall in love with a grandson of the emperor who ordered the death of her family and people! I would have criticised het so-called trait of loyalty , if she can easily follow her own heart/love , and ignore the suffering of her people.And i am so glad it didnt follow the novel because the novel sounds horrible. I also heard that the novel is accused of plagiarism , which is a total No No!

    • Glad you’re enjoying it. I haven’t heard of the plagiarism accusations, but I’m not that surprised about it. T_T It’s an issue even in dramas, unfortunately.

  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts! I had a lot of the same problems as you did but ultimately it brought me a ton of entertainment. Plus, being Luo Jin and Tang Yan onscreen together again was nice. (How do you feel about them going public about their relationship? I was so happy when I found. Congratulations to the couple.)

    And I like that you mentioned that this one doesn’t compare to Nirvana in Fire because I’m currently watching that one and loving it so much. The latter certainly blows other dramas out the water.

    Happy watching and blogging,
    Summer at Xingsings

  • I’m on episode 39 and I do love the story, characters, music and costumes…I did start to feel a little exhausted by the continual plotting and bickering scenes…but I can’t stop myself from watching the rest… it has started to move better now though. I’ll definitely recommend this drama to my fellow drama watching friends!

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