What happens when your heart desires to do one thing, but your role gives you absolute responsibility to do another thing altogether? Could you accommodate your heart’s desire while at the same time fulfil your celestial duties? This is, I find, a hard question to answer. Naturally in many circumstances, we have to choose our duties, while at the same time stealing some precious moments for our heart’s passion, if we’re wise and lucky enough. But living the duties that are not your true nature is hard. Such was the situation with Li Yu, a born poet who was dragged to become the last king of the Southern Tang Dynasty, whose kingdom was annexed by the Song Dynasty in 976 AD.
But one thing I admire from the main characters here: they amended themselves later. Er Huang stopped longing for Zhao. Li Yu realised that his affairs with Jia Min was a big mistake; he returned to his family and kingdom. Jia Min stopped being a spoiled brat and grew to be a better woman, in honour of her sister. Even Emperor Zhao regretted his revenge in the end and mended his friendship with Li Yu, now already his prisoner. Even the nasty lady-in-waiting stopped being nasty and served Queen Zhu Jia Min better, and the coward minister stayed with Li Yu until the end. The only guy who did not evolve into a better being was Zhao's brother who later became Emperor Taizong. He got nastier and nastier in the end.
Li Hou Zhupictures were taken from http://ent.sina.com.cn , self-screen captured, and screen captured from YouTube videos provided by http://www.liutao.org/ and http://www.nickywu-zone.net/. Treasure Venture and Xiao Shi Yi Lang were taken from www.snowblue.net.
Edit 6 December 2015:
It's been a while since I looked at this post; it's now the second-most viewed post (4630hits) in this blog after this post (5521 hits). Recently I realised that the end theme of the series was a poem by Li Yu titled Ji Duo Chou (How Much Sorrow). The following video is the version sung by the late Teresa Teng, which has the English subtitle containing a translated version of the poem. Below the video is another translation of the lyrics in English. Click here for Ji Duo Chou rendition in Chor Lau Heung 1984 and here for a Chor Lau Heung 1984 MV with Du Shang Xi Lou, another famous Li Yu poem.
Ji Duo Chou ("How Much Sorrow", by Li Yu)
Spring flowers, autumn moon, when will they cease existing?
How many past events am I aware of?
Last night, the eastern wind again blew over the little tower.
It was unbearable to look at the old country in the bright moon light
Carved railing and jade layered stairs should still remain
Only the youth countenance changed
Should you ask how much sorrow I can bear
Just like the spring water of Yang Tze River flows to the east