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.

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