Ode to Period C-drama Word of Honor, with Zhang Zhe Han’s Nuanced Performance and Gong Jun’s Charming Portrayal Created a Fresh Take on the Wuxia World

I’ve had this post nearly written for months now and was just lackadaisical on finishing it for posting. So it’s with a heavy heart and a strange sense of serendipity over what has happened in one week to male lead Zhang Zhe Han in C-drama Word of Honor that I feel compelled to finish it as an ode to him. Because his performance and character of Zhou Zhi Shu was, for me, the heart and steely strength in this drama that reminded me of all the great wuxia male leads of yesteryears even if he was truly a unique creation. Word of Honor (Shan He Ling) got so much press for its adaptation of a BL drama and all that bromance between the two leads, which was entertaining but that didn’t move me as much as the idea of this found family and a bunch of broken people trying to do good in a world full of evil and selfishness. This drama wasn’t just a hit because a lot of female viewers in China and around the world were into the danmei (BL) genre, it’s because the story is really good, the action sharp and elegant, and the wuxia world fully realized in world building. I could not stop watching when I finished the first episode and just had to know what would befall waiting to die Zhou Zhi Shu and later on wanting to kill all the other baddies Wen Ke Xing played by Gong Jun. Their dialogue and sparring was so cheeky and fun, I know BL fans think they are OTPs and they are but even taken as platonic best friends/soul mates it works so don’t let the BL tint dissuade you. There is a reason Zhang Zhe Han became the IT actor this year and rocketed to near A-list level thanks to one drama, even if he’s done in the industry permanently I will always remember and hold his Zhou Zhi Shu near and dear to my heart.


Comments

Ode to Period C-drama Word of Honor, with Zhang Zhe Han’s Nuanced Performance and Gong Jun’s Charming Portrayal Created a Fresh Take on the Wuxia World — 14 Comments

  1. I’m not into BL so i didn’t check this one out but now my reason is being afraid of ending up liking ZZH and it would hurt coz there would be no more project to look forward to… i’d rather pass.

    • Its a beautiful masterpiece that stays with you. It also makes you realize how much it sets a new precedent for bl adaptation going forward… it had heart comedy n lots of iconic lines n scenes that make it grow on the viewer

  2. I loved Word of honor, even more so than Untamed. Both the storytelling and the world building is better here but also both male characters are equally strong and interesting plus the dynamics between them is awesome (too onesided in Untamed). I do have to say that I find the last couple of episodes a bit rushed but overall it was a fantastic watch from beginning to end. I agree that it’s a show that works for everyone, whether you are a BL fan or not. So far it’s my favorite show of 2021, the drama addiction was real and I have already rewatched it a number of times already.

    • So much better than Untamed, I think, which I couldn’t finish. Koala’s review is on point! And I thing Going Jun’s portrayal was also unexpectedly layered plus some great characters from very good actors in support. Lively to watch – will become a classic to revisit (unless pulled).

    • I, too, loved Zhang ZheHan in this drama. Gong Jun and he really played the characters well. It’s too bad that their entertainment industry decided to burn and rub him out. It just seems so vicious. Nonetheless, to us foreign fans, we were honored to have known him. I have also watched his other period works. So, when Word of Honor came, I looked forward to seeing it. I was not disappointed. Zhang Zhehan, if you read this… know that I am grateful for your work.

  3. Sometimes I see a slight face cut of Korean actor ji sung in him. He has the aura and looks to be a great actor, he only needed a good production. Sad what has happened. Word of honor was on my watchlist, thankfully it’s still on netflix.

  4. I like him since Legend of Yunxi and he is my mom’s ultimate fave C-actor. Not very much into BL theme, so I didnt enjoy WOH.

    I was so very happy when he finally made it big after WOH because I always felt that he was underrated for so long despite the talent (I think its plain obvious since he was casted as the younger version of Hu Ge in Nirvana In Fire).

    Feel so bad over what happened to him. Hope he will eventually recover from all these and I wish to reiterate what I always feel that the punishments posed on him are way too much for such misdeed.

    • My sentiments exactly! I was really very happy that he was finally getting recognition after WoH. The early episodes of Legend of Yunxi were fabulous, not so much the ending, and I’ve rewatched them a few times, just for him.
      How all this played out is so drama-like, he probably stepped on some bigwig’s toes? I’m sad I won’t get to see him on screen any more. And yes, he should have known better, but he didn’t commit a crime…

    • I agree with you, I’m also not much into BL so I didn’t watch the whole WOH, but I did like his performance in *legend of yunxi* and* the blooms of ruyi pavilion* he is also my favorite C-actor. It’s unfortunate what happened to him and suspicious also, I mean after 3 years all of a sudden they bring this up? You really get evil, jealous and spiteful people in this world. I pray for him because we don’t know what will happen now, they just erased him from everything. The one behind it must be very proud of himself but karma exists

  5. WOH is really gem … The best drama for this year… Every character interact really good…Zhang ZheHan really the actor that can acts really well in each character that he staring… I would like to says… Entertainment has lost one of their best actor…hope he will stay strong

  6. Zhang ZheHan is a real Actor…. I loved his acting in all the Drama…
    Hopefully we’ll see him again soon.
    With lots of love😊

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