First Official Stills of the Drama Adaptation of Hua Xu Yin with Yuan Hong and Kevin Cheng

I know I promised to write about period C-novel Hua Xu Yin but I’ve really been so swamped with everything going on it keeps getting pushed back. The good news is that the first official stills are out of the drama adaptation called The City of Devastating Love. I’ve said before that the story is being changed significantly in its drama form that its more accurate to call it loosely based on the novel. My loverboy Yuan Hong is reuniting with his Bu Bu Jing Xin older brother Kevin Cheng for this drama, and he gets to play OTP with red-hot C-actress Jiang Xin, who is still cresting the waves of popularity for her Consort Hua role in The Legend of Zhen Huan. Kevin’s character of Mo Yen (Crown Prince Su Yu) is the male lead, but Yuan Hong and Jiang Xin have their own love story that runs alongside the OTP. Yuan Hong plays General Shen An while Jiang Xin is Princess Song Ning, citizens of warring kingdoms. They meet across from the battlefield – he defeats her and she falls madly in love with him. It’s actually really sweet and cute how this tough-as-nails warrior princess falls for his pretty face and the fact that he kicks her ass since no man in her kingdom can defeat her. Their love story is both really depressingly sad but definitely quite memorable. I was pissed Yuan Hong was playing Shen An since I loathe him, but if there is anyone who can take a total douchebaggy character and make me love him, it would be Yuan Hong. He did the same 7 years ago when he played antagonist Yang Kang in Legend of the Condor Heroes and stole the show from under Hu Ge‘s adorable Guo Jing. I’m pretty amused by these first official stills – Yuan Hong looks great, Jiang Xin can barely move under all the armor, but its Kevin’s look that made me guffaw so hard I think I peed my pants. He looks dreadful, utterly and completely grody. This is going to be interesting.

So the story of Shen An and Song Ning goes like this. She hears about his fighting prowess and sneaks into the battlefield pretending to be a man to challenge him. He soundly defeats her and she falls in love. He falls in battle later on to her brother the General and she rushes through snow and sleet and spends 2 days sifting through dead bodies on the battlefield until she finds him near death. She drags his body off to a remote cave to nurse him back to health. Throughout this time he’s barely conscious and she never speaks a word to him, not wanting him to reject her help because of who she is. Finally she carries him to a town after the snow stopped and drops him off at a local healer. She spots her brother’s men scouring the town for her so she needs to get away from Shen An, lest her brothers men find her and kill him because he’s the enemy general.

She splits a jade in half and leaves a piece with him and takes one herself. She asks the healer and his daughter to please take care of Shen An. She leads her brother’s men away and goes back to her kingdom. Shen An awakens days later and sees the mute daughter of the healer tending to him and assumes she saved his life. The mute girl clearly crushes on him so doesn’t dispel him of that misunderstanding. Months past and the two kingdoms are discussing a marriage alliance to halt the war. Princess Song Ning is arranged to be married to General Shen An, and she is thrilled. She mails her jade to him with a letter explaining how she saved him and that she loves him and she hopes this will be a real marriage and not a political alliance.

On their wedding night, Song Ning’s veil is lifted only to find a furious and angry Shen An before her. He tells her this marriage is solely for the sake of peace between their kingdoms and will be in name only before storming out. Song Ning is confused and cries, wondering why he feels this way about her. The next day she runs into the mute girl from the healers and recognizes her. She also sees her jade around the girl’s waist, the one she mailed to Shen An. She realizes what might have happened and tries to force the girl to explain but Shen An comes out and stops her from harassing the love of his life, this mute girl who saved him. Song Ning realizes he will never believe her if she tried to explain and her pride refuses to bend.

Their misunderstanding and anger towards each other grows, especially after Song Ning causes the mute girl to miscarry her child with Shen An. He returns and moves out with her. Finally he is forced to consummate the marriage with Song Ning as their marriage alliance teeters and she gets pregnant. The mute girl also gets pregnant again. Song Ning gives birth to a son and the mute girl to a daughter. When the two kids are a few years old, they play together and fall into a lake. It’s cold and Song Ning’s son ends up dying of pneumonia. Song Ning loses all will to live since he was her only source of happiness.

Later Song Ning summons the heroine of the story Jun Fu (Princess Ye Zhen), who is now the bearer of the Hua Xu Yin (Hua Xu Tune) who can summon dreams for a person. In the dream, the person’s wish can be fulfilled. And if that person likes the dream world, she can stay there forever and in exchange the rest of her mortal life essence will be given to Jun Fu to extend her life (since she’s a dead person kept alive because of the magic pearl which requires life essence to sustain her). Song Ning tells her love story with Shen An to Jun Fu and wants a chance for the misunderstanding with Shen An never to have happened.

Jun Fu (with Mu Yen in tow) go into Song Ning’s dream and find the moment when she piggybacks Shen An to the healers. They try to divert the mute girl so she never meets with Shen An and falls in love with him. Jun Fu hilariously pushes the mute girl off a cliff by accident (she trips), and the mute girl ends up being rescued by a farmer and falling in love and marrying him. Jun Fu and Mu Yen also divert the men looking for Song Ning so she stays with Shen An until he wakes up. Once he wakes up, he realizes Song Ning saved him and their relationship takes off.

Once this happens, Jun Fu is too kindhearted and doesn’t want Song Ning to stay in the dream world and die in the real world. She decides to sabotage the dream world so that Song Ning will choose to wake up. When Shen An goes off to battle and returns to Song Ning, Jun Fu disguises herself as Song Ning and kills the dream Shen An. She then goes to the devastated dream Song Ning and tells her the story and what is waiting fro her in the real world. She tells Song Ning that she can still salvage her relationship with Shen An in the real world, she just needs to wake up because Shen An is alive in the real world while dream Shen An is now dead in this dream world.

Dream Song Ning hears the horror of her life with Shen An in the real world and how their son is now died. She elects to stay in the dream world. At least in this world she has her son with Shen An, and he loved her back in this dream world. She picks a dream state without Shen An over a real world where she and Shen An have this love-hate relationship. She stays and her body dies in the real world. Real Shen An arrives to find Song Ning and she’s already dead. Jun Fu weaves Song Ning’s story for Shen An and he finally learns the truth that she was the one who saved him and not the mute girl. He carries her dead body away in grief. Months later, Jun Fu hears that General Shen An went to battle and died, apparently it was swift defeat. His concubine the mute girl was said to have hung herself after his death. Super depressing, no?

At least the main OTP of Mu Yen and Jun Fu’s love story isn’t that despondent. But good lord does Kevin look atrocious. He is nothing NOTHING like the way Mu Yen is described in the book. He’s more like Mu Yen’s smarmy uncle who wants to usurp the throne. I’m sure fans of the novel are spitting up blood left and right. If I weren’t so amused by how ridiculous he looks I’d probably be doing that as well. This is just………NO.

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First Official Stills of the Drama Adaptation of Hua Xu Yin with Yuan Hong and Kevin Cheng — 21 Comments

  1. Yuan Hong looking great in the photos. I will always remember him as Yelu Xie in my all time favorite drama, Young Warriors of the Yang Clan.

  2. I don’t see ShenAn as douchbaggery AT ALL, not a bit, I can blame 677 somewhat but from his pov, SN is all spite because he didn’t love her, wishing him death at battlefield and never returns, and physically hurting 677. How can he know any better? He doesn’t have our side of the story to peek into. He’s operating on his promise and gratitude towards the girl whom saved him as he knows it.

    I am more pensive of SN willing to choose in reality death of both of them in exchange for love in a trance, not that I don’t see where she’s from, but I don’t have to like it.

    • SA and SN’s story always makes me exhale a gusty sigh. On one hand, I really wish she chose to come back and have another go at it… but then when you have struggled, given everything you have for a man for the last 7? years… I think even the most strong willed of people might just let it go and take whatever manufactured happiness they can get. In that sense, I don’t see how it can be realistic for SN to choose to come back to a world so filled with pain and loss. She can’t ever leave him, and she can’t ever be with him.

      I know i’m going to be bawling my eyes out.

  3. Oh my! Yes, it is depressing. Don’t think I’ll be watching it… but if it has a happy ending for the OTP, then I’ll watch the end just for that. LOL

  4. personally I think kevin is a wee bit too mature looking for Mu Yen. Koala, thanks for updating with all the juicy bits, just wondering if you have other book recomendations? I only read Hua Xu Yin after reading about it on your blog and I love it:)I love a story where the the hero is totally devoted to the heroine and her alone. Thats why i didnt really like BBJX..

  5. That story with SN and SA is too depressing 🙁 but since it’s not following the novel directly, maybe the ending will be different?? =/ Well, I hope so cus Yuan Hong always seem to end up alone or something in his historical dramas…

  6. The fringe! Oh the fringe!!! It is horrific n a good idea at the same time – because it makes Kelvin looks younger and closer to the real age of Mu Yen in the show.

    The silver garb by Jiang Xin makes her looks like a stag bettle. How can she not lose any battle in a getup like that;) unless the enemy takes one look at her and ends up dying of laughter…… 😉

  7. Woah – Yuan Hong looks seriously hot here. I actually disagree about him stealing the show from Hu Ge in LOCH – I honestly disliked his character AND his acting, I thought he wasn’t very good at emoting and I never really cared for his character (whereas I absolutely loved Yang Kang played by Michael Miu in the 1983 version, where he was even MORE of a douchebag). I actually felt it was Ouyang Ke who stole the show – I was actually rooting for him because his redemption arc was so well-written and my heart hurt for him every time he tried to get Ouyang Feng’s approval (I cried buckets at his death and cursed Yang Kang for a week afterwards).
    Kevin’s hair looks kinda atrocious -.-

    • Ah… I’m “in your camp” with both versions of Yang Kang. The 1983 Yang Kang provides more insights into the character. When they made changes to Yang Kang’s character in the 200x LOCH series, the updated Yang Kang character wasn’t fleshed out very well in some parts.

      I, too, prefer Hu Ge’s work than Yuan Hong in that series. The actor for Ouyang Ke of 1983 wasn’t so good, so it could only improve in other versions 😉

      For Yuan Hong, for YangKang-type roles I liked him best in Yang Family Saga. Kevin Cheng is usually at his best in HK (modern) series though he was pretty good in BBJX. He was also at his prime in looks and they didn’t give him weird, asymmetrical hair cuts there.

  8. To me, Kevin looks quite great and if anything, they’ve made a good job to make him look younger. Perhaps we should wait till the cameras start rolling and see the results first before criticizing him too much.

  9. I totally agree on this man. why kevin? I feel that hu ge is more suitable for mu yan role. muyan is described to be very gentleman. a guy who is in love with jun fo but I don’t think he suits ghe role well

  10. The trailer for this is out and I don’t really fancy Kevin as Mo Yen. TT_TT I guess the novel was just too good haha. I wish they covered the rest of the stories , although that would make this some mega long drama hehe.

  11. Pingback: [Review] Jiang Xin and Yuan Hong; Song Ning and Shen An’s Arc in Hua Xu Yin 华胥引 | cdramadevotee

  12. I guess I’m in the minority when I say I actually don’t mind how Kevin looks. I disagree that Hu Ge would have been a better choice having watched enough episodes of Hua Xu Yin I’d have to say Kevin was brilliant I totally forgot how old he was and he’s not that old really. I find personally that Hu Ge is better suited for comedic roles like Chinese Paladin and such.

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