Finally, I decided to watch Nirvana in Fire! It has some of the most beautiful setting I have seen in any drama, so gorgeous.
- Number of episodes: 54
- Chinese name: 琅琊榜
- Watch the episodes with Eng Sub on Viki or on Youtube
- Read recap on Dr Myri and My Drama Tea
- Find the full list of character on Wikipedia
- Hu Ge as Mei Changsu
- Wang Kai as Prince Jing
- Liu Tao as Nihuang
- Chen Long as General Meng
- Liu Mingtao as Consort Jing
- Wu Lei as Fei Liu
Lang Ya Bang is a mysterious board with a working knowledge for everything in the world. As the Crown Prince and Prince Yu are scheming against each other, they hear from Lang Ya Bang about Mei Changsu, an advisor of great power.
9/10 Such a powerful drama, and so beautifully executed. I want to give a big SHOUT OUT to the cinematographer, he/she did a splendid job! So much details are put in this drama and from the first episode, I could feel the beauty of Lang Ya world (does anyone remember how the boxes were put in the cupboard?). Most of the time, I closed all lights in my room and enjoyed watching this drama from the comfort of my bed, as if I were in a cinema :).
I have to confess, watching this drama was hard for me, especially since I didn’t understand every expression from their jargon. At many times, I used the recaps by Dr Myri to remember a character or understand a scheme… It is interesting to see how much work has been done on the script which I believe sets Nirvana in fire apart from other period dramas. However, it can also be tedious and long to watch, since it requires great amount of concentration. Watching this drama after work during summer season wasn’t the best choice, lol. I recommend watching a few episodes everyday and not do a marathon.
Now, let’s talk a little about the story: Mei Changsu is simply too smart, the Emperor too stupid, and no matter how everyone else is scheming… it is impossible to destroying this dream combo. As a consequence, every plot orchestrated by The Crown Prince or Prince Yu is bound for failure. Oups, not only failure, but also their own downfall and Prince Jing’s rise. When the drama approached its end, I was more excited to see the Emperor losing than watch Mei Changsu finally succeed. Each time his crown prince, ministers, and people appear in front of him with outrageous charges, he simply put them in jail and get closer to Consort Jing and Princess Jing. This shows the greatest of Mei Changsu. He is able to plot the most perfect traps for his opponents without any trace to track him or Jing Wang. Xie Yu, Banruo, and Xiajiang are all extremely smart and intuitive characters; they know from the start Mei Changsu is their opponent, yet none of them manage to expose his schemes in front of the Emperor. I grew attached to Banruo and Xiajing, (both great characters!) and it was a little sad to see them fail so miserably. In the end, no one will remember them, no one will revenge them, and no one will be sad for them. On the other hand, Mei Changsu is such an amazing character! His only struggle in the drama is his sickness.. because nothing else is much danger to this brainiac. Once you realize how much he struggled and how much he is still struggling, you will feel attach to the character and start rooting for him.
Mei Changsu (portrayed by Hu Ge) is great but his story is just as fascinating. Lin Shu is a man who lost it all (his family, his reputation, his health, his life) and who manage to revive through the character of Mei Changsu. He must fulfill his life purpose and find justice for the dead no matter the costs. He can’t live a life of happiness. This may not be apparent at the beginning of the drama, but it becomes the omnipresent reality in the last five episodes. Who is Mei Changsu? Who is he and what does he represent? When the Chiyan Army case get resolved, what will happen to this person? The drama gives a very satisfying answer: his purpose will be fulfilled and will cease to exist. At the same time, Lin Shu will die… yes, he belongs to the Chiyan Army and his life should have ended at that moment. Beautiful, isn’t it? The last five episodes are among the most previous of the drama, as the relationships with Jing Wang, Nihuang, and Lin Chen all become more crude and honest.
I first thought Jing Wang (portrayed by Wang Kai) is simple and straightforward character. Almost annoying with his lack of long term vision and misbelief in Mei Changsu. He always has the same cold facial expression. And when he made that huge scene in front of the Emperor, begging him to release the General Gang… I wanted to flip a table. But it’s okay, that idiotic moment in Jing Wang’s life was his turning point. From that moment, he realized how important Mei Changsu is for him, started taking wiser decisions, stood up against the Emperor, learn how to scheme. As the story progress, he starts to remember the past and doubt the identity of Mei Changsu, not really believing it. Jing Wang is like a broken toy, still thinking about the past and unable to move forward. I loved the scene where he stood for his ground in front of Prince Yu, when he defied the Emperor to save Mei Changsu, cried in the arms of Consort Jing, looking for some comfort and love, and all his moments with Mei Changsu afterwards. Now I understand why Wang Kai has so many fans, why there are so many fanfic about him and MCS!
Nihuang (portrayed by Liu Tao) appears a lot less compare to the previous two characters, but I want to talk about her. Because she is such an important character! Nihuang is the one who believes Lin Shu since always, when he is hurt, she is hurt. She knows him the best and he can’t hide his true self in front of her. Mei Changsu loves her but is afraid of “breaking” her if he comes any closer. Nihuang understand his pain yet can’t do anything for him. The story can develop more on their relationship (so much love and passion unsaid!) but… it is probably not necessary.
I don’t want to develop too much on the remaining character, but everyone was beautifully casted. Among the supporting roles, Xiajiang is the most memorable: so much angst, ill-placed arrogance… a very powerful character. Xia Dong is another character I particularly adore… even if it is only for when she meets her husband. Such a beautiful fainted smile! Lin Chen and Mei Changsu’s friendship is precious, LC mocks everyone to soothe the atmosphere. General Meng is a big chid and Fei Liu… is a simply boy, both are funny in their innocence. All in all, these are my favourite characters.
Would I watch this drama again? Definitely! It has a lot of nuances and when I reached the last episode, I realized I didn’t fully understand the story. It would be interesting to rewatch and examine it from another perspective. However, this is unlikely to happen in the near future.
Finally, note to self: the actor of Xiao Jingrui is really handsome!