I’m so glad it’s going to rain. This fits my mood.
There’re some songs that make me feel sad but in a beautiful way – this song is one of them ❤
The following contains major spoilers so hold your horses if you do not want to be spoiled.
An Anti-hero Prince with irresistible charisma
Li Chengyin is the Fifth Prince of the powerful Li Dynasty of Zhong Yuan. He is charming, good looking, intelligent, talented and well-spoken; pretty much everything you imagine your prince charming to be however, he is not your typical cliched justice hero that we are tired of seeing in every cdrama. The Fifth Prince of Zhong Yuan is sharp-witted and quick to react according to situations; demonstrating well-calculated thought in every ploy he takes to attain his royal schemes while furtively loving and protecting Xiaofeng, his love interest. He is excellent in scheming and manipulating the other characters in the drama to reach his objectives. Li Chengyin is often seen playing as a naïve and harmless prince to mislead The Empress and Gao Yu Ming, and revealing his cunning smirk the very next moment he turns his back on his opponent. Wits apart, Li Chengyin is highly skilled in archery and sword art, and a remarkably great swimmer. (~˘▾˘)~ It’s hard to forget the romantic water scenes and how suave he welds his bow and arrow. He also single-handedly defeated the White Eye Wolf King to win King Tomur’s approval in his marriage to Xiaofeng. But what really drives us all nuts is his passionate and undying love for Qu Xiaofeng, the naïve, lovable, headstrong and pampered Ninth Princess of Xizhou.
(We are trying not to melt away every time he looks adoringly at Xiaofeng)
Li Chengyin was portrayed by actor, Chen Xingxu in the drama and everyone can agree that Chen Xingxu did not play as Li Chengyin; he literally is Li Chengyin. Thanks to his amazing depiction of Li Chengyin; we are bestowed with the impressive array of expressions he carried through; portraying the darkness, naivety and endearing faces of our beloved Crown Prince.
He is not cruel as you think
Fans who are angry and calling out Li Chengyin for being evil and cruel; have not been paying enough attention to the non-love scenes in the drama. Admit it, many of you are guilty of skipping crucial political struggle scenes and diving straight into the love scenes; losing your cool over Li Chengyin’s actions without fully understanding the reasons behind. In contrary to some viewers’ calling him out to be cruel, there are countless indications in the drama that show that he is not a cruel person. In fact, many points in the drama show his good-heartedness and thoughtfulness. You may agree or disagree to this but one thing is for sure – Li Chengyin had good reasons behind every action he took:
Pursue of Crown Prince Title
Li Chengyin may be astute, scheming and manipulative however, he is not a mindless, cruel, power hungry prince whose vying for the throne out of pure greed. In the first episode, Princess Ming Yuan revealed to him that his biological mom was murdered by The Empress; he was then adopted by The Empress and raised as her own. His biological mom’s family – the Gu Clan was framed by Gao Clan (The Empress’ Uncle) and massacred overnight – leaving Gu Jian (his cousin) as the sole survivor. In Episode 5, Li Chengyin mentioned in his ‘little story’ to Xiaofeng that the ‘Little Prince’ (himself) hates the conflict and fight for power in the palace but upon discovering the truth of his birth mother, he was determined to take revenge on the Empress and Gao Clan for his biological mom and restore justice for Gu Clan. However, the Empress and Gao Clan are two powerful figures in the kingdom, in order to take them down, he would have to attain enough power status by becoming the Crown Prince.
The Fifth Prince had deceived Xiaofeng and made use of her to infiltrate Danchi. This master plan was conpsired by Gu Jian’s Shifu, Chen Zhen; involving Gu Jian to introduce Gu Xiao Wu (Li Chengyin) to Xiaofeng and eventually have her bring Gu Xiao Wu to the secret location of King Tömür’s royal camp. Xiaofeng was initially infatuated with Gu Jian and Li Chengyin wanted to win her trust by helping her sound out on Gu Jian’s feelings for her. Gu Jian hid his true feelings and rejected Xiaofeng, telling her he liked her only as his student, nothing more. Along the journey of gaining Xiaofeng’s trust, Li Chengyin and the princess both experienced numerous hardship and danger together. Li Chengyin was moved by the princess’s innocence, naivety and good-heartedness; he began to fall for her and went on great lengths to win King Tömür’s approval to marry her. At this point of time (in my opinion) – his love for Xiaofeng was just as important as his desire to avenge his biological Mother and the Gu Clan. Thus, it did not stop him from proceeding with the plan. He knew what he had to do and at the same time, he wanted to shed Xiaofeng from getting hurt as much as possible while also protecting her by getting her out of Danchi first. But this plan was foiled by Li Chengye for bringing forward the attack on Danchi to their wedding day. Although Li Chengyin had entrusted Chen Zhen’s subordinate to get Xiaofeng out, the man failed to do so and Xiaofeng ended up witnessing her grandfather murdered by the hands of Li Chengyin.
War and hatred between Danchi and Li Dynasty had been on-going for many years. Danchi massacred a town under Li Dynasty’s ruling and captured innocent citizens from Li Dynasty into prisoners and slavery. The Emperor set a decree to Li Chengye and Li Chengyin to take down Danchi. Li Chengyin had to conquer Danchi and personally take down King Tömür for two other major reasons.
One: To stand a chance to compete with Li Chengye for the Crown Prince title, Li Chengyin had to achieve the most merit in the conquering of Danchi. To do so, he had to reach Danchi’s royal tent during the infiltration before Li Chengye and personally take down King Tömür.
Two: Li Chengyin, along with the rest were deceived by Li Chengye and Li Yan into believing that Danchi was responsible for the assassination of the Eldest Prince, Li Chengji (the initial Crown Prince who was the only brother who truly cared for Li Chengyin). Witnessing the innocent citizens from Li Dynasty being enslaved and ill-treated by Danchi also fueled his anger into conquering Danchi as a means of revenge for his brother and people.
During the conquering of Danchi, Li Chengyin did not mindlessly murder innocent citizens of Danchi. He had convinced King Tömür to surrender and avoid sacrificing the 100,000 innocent citizens of Danchi for the sake of his pride. King Tömür took sense in Li Chengyin’s advice and struck a deal to use his life to exchange for the lives of his people. Li Chengyin agreed and acted upon his words. He personally took down King Tömür’s head and spared the lives of Danchi’s citizens. The final exchange between the Li Chengyin and King Tömür was matured and amicable; showing both sides had respect for each other. And if you’ve missed it, Li Chengyin was tearing when he was beheading King Tömür. He later on built a memorial tribute temple for King Tömür, acknowledging him as an honourable and brave warlord of Danchi.
Taking the blame entirely on himself
When Xiaofeng found out she had been deceived and used by Li Chengyin and Gu Jian, the devastated princess ordered Li Chengyin to kill Gu Jian; as part of the three wishes he promised to fulfill to her for saving his life in Xizhou. Li Chengyin declined to do, defending Gu Jian saying that he did what he could to protect Xiaofeng and if she had to blame someone, to blame it entirely on him alone. Most people overlooked this and hailed Gu Jian throughout the show as the ‘nice guy’ while quite on the contrary, Gu Jian was putting all the blame on Li Chengyin the whole time for his own betrayal towards Xiaofeng.
Protecting Xiao Feng in his own way
Fans flew into rage at the ‘ill-treatment’ Li Chengyin gave to Xiaofeng in the palace after she married him and became Crown Princess. During the fight for Crown Prince with Li Chengye, Li Chengyin learned a painful lesson that his involvement of Xiaofeng and miscalculation had almost caused her life. Chen Zhen then told Li Chengyin it came to this because he was too soft hearted and allowed emotions take over his mind, thus letting his enemy spot his weakness and attack Xiaofeng. If he wants to protect his loved ones, he has to harden up his heart and not let his enemies read his weakneses. This led Li Chengyin to take a ‘pretentious’ role to protect Xiaofeng by pretending to be hard and cruel on her after he succeeded in being Crown Prince and marrying Xiaofeng.
Throughout the drama, Li Chengyin was constantly under the Empress and Gao’s spy – he used Sese to put on a show to Gao Yu Ming that he’s just an unambitious prince who’s only interested in love; and continued to make this believable by asking to marry Sese. Li Chengyin openly ill-treated his Crown Princess and favored his concubine, Sese; successfully keeping Xiaofeng out of the radar of the Empress and Gao Yu Ming. His constant favoring of Sese caused her to receive the brunt of the Empress’s jealousy and evil ploys.
In short, Li Chengyin masked his feelings towards Xiaofeng for a huge part of the drama as with the Empress and Gao’s existence in the kingdom, showing his true affections for Xiaofeng would allow them to exploit his weakness and ultimately endanger Xiaofeng’s life. Even though it was obvious as hell to us viewers, Xiaofeng is very gullible and oblivious to the Crown Prince’s true intentions. She believes Zhao Sese is Li Chengyin’s one true love and sees herself as a third party that came in between them due to the alliance marriage for the two nations’ peace. （；¬＿¬)
Tolerance of Sese
Many of us want to see Sese die or be treated horribly by Li Chengyin but our Crown Prince is not as ruthless in the drama as he meant to be in the novel. While it did seem that Li Chengyin has some feelings for Sese at the beginning, he was also indefinitely using her throughout. When Xiaofeng came into the picture again after they forgotten their memories, Li Chengyin fell for her deeply again but being the soft hearted person that he is, he manages his guilt of using Sese in his own ways by cushioning her suffering under the hands of the Empress (sending food to her palace when she was banished to a commoner and not punishing her for attempting to frame Xiaofeng and Xuniang); this was on account that Sese was truly loyal and loves him deeply. After the eradication of the Empress and Gao Yu Ming, Li Chengyin no longer has to mask his feelings. He lashed out at Sese for attempting to help Xiaofeng escape out of the palace; telling her he had been using her all along. The shattered Sese eventually lost her mind and pitifully waits in her palace everyday for her Fifth prince’s visit that’s never going to happen.
Helping Xu Niang
Being well aware that Xu Niang was being used by the Empress to break his relationship with Sese and eventually used by Sese to frame Xiaofeng – Li Chengyin saved Xu Niang by faking her suicidal death and getting her out of the palace – in turn killing two birds with one stone as this also taught Sese a lesson that her selfish manipulation caused an innocent life. Li Chengyin did these at the expense of Xiaofeng misunderstanding him and giving him a tight slap – which only caused him to smirk (lol). This piece of truth was revealed to Xiaofeng later on, making her realise that the Crown Prince is not biased and unreasonable as she thinks.
Taking Gu Jian’s life
Many hearts were apparently shattered when Li Chengyin took the life of Gu Jian. Li Chengyin was called heartless in doing so while disregarding Ah Du’s life and making Xiaofeng watch Gu Jian die before her eyes. Opposing most viewer’s opinion, I did not think that Li Cheng Yin was being outrageous for killing Gu Jian.
Gu Jian betrayed Li Chengyin and Chen Zhen’s trust when he strayed off from the original plan of using Li Chengyin as hostage. Instead, he snatched Xiaofeng away. Gu Jian’s rash act led to the Emperor’s suspicion that the kidnapper was related to Xiaofeng – which could potentially jeopardize Chen Zhen and Li Chengyin’s effort and schemes and endanger Xiaofeng’s life if the Emperor came to believe that she had a part in this assassination.
Unfortunately for Li Chengyin, he did not have the privilege of regaining his memories. During the days of Xiaofeng’s kidnap, Li Chengyin missed her terribly. He became insecure that Xiaofeng was going to leave him. When he finally got Xiaofeng back, she had regained her memories and begin to hate on him. Lin Chengyin could not understand her hatred for him and thought that Gu Jian was Gu Xiao Wu and he was having an affair with Xiaofeng. Gu Jian continued to provoke Li Chengyin, telling him that Xiaofeng hates him and he will surely take Xiaofeng back to Xizhou. Xiaofeng went on cold shouldering and hating on Li Chengyin while withholding the truth from him, eventually driving Li Chengyin over the edge of jealousy. Having been through this much in the palace and being so close to achieving his goals of eradicating Gao Yu Ming and finding his happiness with the love of his life, he is now losing her to ‘Gu Xiao Wu’. Driven by jealousy and his possessiveness over Xiaofeng, he proceeded to end Gu Jian’s life. In spite of his deeds, Gu Jian was given a proper burial by the Crown Prince in a scene with Chen Zhen paying his respects. Chen Zhen may have raised Gu Jian as his own but he understood Gu Jian had crossed the line and became a threat to the Crown Prince; he did not blame or habour hatred Li Chengyin for taking Gu Jian’s life.
He loves Xiaofeng dearly
Although Li Chengyin had deceived and used Xiaofeng, his love for Xiaofeng runs deep and real. Their love was hindered by the complications in the palace where Li Chengyin could not openly show her affections to Xiaofeng. Despite so, he took every opportunity he could, out of the enemy’s eyes to shower his love and affection towards her. Li Chengyin took all matters of the palace into his own hands; keeping Xiaofeng away from all the turmoil, bloodshed and danger in the palace. She was completely oblivious of the reasons behind all his actions and at many points, misunderstood him to be a ruthless, power hungry prince.
Towards the end of the drama, Li Chengyin confesses to Xiaofeng that she is the only one in his heart and his ultimate desire above everything else. When Xiaofeng regained her memories and pushed him away. He reaches the point where he did not care if Xiaofeng did not love him and only hated him; saying having her hatred is better turning a blind eye to him. He only asked to have her by his side.
If anybody needed more to be convinced that Li Chengyin loves Xiaofeng more than anything else. He had attempted to forgo everything and die for Xiaofeng not once but FIVE freaking times.
One: Witnessing the hurt he had caused Xiaofeng after conquering Danchi and taking the life of King Tömür, Li Chengyin was shrouded in tremendous guilt and pain. He attempted to pierce the sword Xiaofeng was holding into his body, taking his own life to appease Xiaofeng. This was interrupted by Chen Zhen who told him what had happened already happened and he should not let feelings and emotions deter him from moving forward as there is no turning back.
Two: When Xiaofeng jumped into the River of Forgetfulness, he followed suit and told her that he will accompany her to forget. Both of them hadn’t known for sure if the River of Forgetfulness was real and whether they would survive the ordeal. Regardlessly, he was prepared to give up everything and die together with her.
Three: After Li Chengyin had successfully eliminated Gao Yu Ming, he returned back to the palace and revealed his true feelings to Xiaofeng. He told Xiaofeng that he was willing to let go of her infidelity with Gu Xiao Wu and start afresh with her; before he could finish, Xiaofeng stabbed him and then hesitated. Li Chengyin, devastated by Xiaofeng’s hostlity once again attempted to force her sword into his body and coerce her to kill him. This ‘suicidal’ attempt was resisted by Xiaofeng as she pushed him away and broke down, realising she could not bear to kill him.
Four: Xiaofeng leaped off the gates when she failed to escape from Li Chengyin’s pursue. In desperation, Li Chengyin attempted to jump off after her but was held back by Pei Zhao and his soldiers. Upon seeing Xiaofeng fall, he regained back his memories traumatically and spat out a huge pile of blood in the most exaggerated fashion in cdrama.
Five: In the final episode, right before Xiaofeng sacrificed her life to stop the battle between Li Dynasty and Xizhou, she made Li Chengyin promise her never to step foot into Xizhou with his army again. He agreed hastily and warned her that he will not live alone if Xiaofeng takes her own life. Xiaofeng smiled upon hearing this; reliving the memories where Li Chengyin jumped into the River of Forgetfulness with her. She knew very well that Li Chengyin meant what he said and announced her final promise for Li Chengyin to live well before taking her own life. (ू˃̣̣̣̣̣̣︿˂̣̣̣̣̣̣ ू)
Above are interpreted and written by me, a huge fan of Li Chengyin (obviously). All the internet hate on him is mindboogling. Its frustating to see that many fans of the drama did not seem to understand his character, intent and burden as a Crown Prince (this is pertaining to drama version of Li Chengyin only; the novel version of Li Chengyin is known to be hard cruel and his feelings toward Xiaofeng is not as apparent but do note that the novel is written mostly in the point of view of Xiaofeng – there is little exploration on Li Chengyin and other characers’ intent while the drama, on the other hand showcases all characters’ thoughts and intentions rather clearly; giving plenty of justifications and reasonings to Li Chengyin’s actions).
Hopefully, this piece will give some insights and shed a new light to fans whom have misunderstood our lead protagonist.
These are my own interpretation of the drama. Feel free to share your opinion and I’ll be happy to discuss in the comments.
Never ever have I been this emotionally attached to a Chinese drama – I knew all along this was going to be a heartbreaking ending but it still got me that. I’m so so smitten by the lead protagonist of the series; Li Chengyin. The actor made the character alive so brilliantly and real – I literally felt his pain just by seeing his expression ;_; *officially a fan of Chen Xing Xu* Thank very god they chose a gorgeous and adorable female lead to play his lover – they have such a strong chemistry on screen. This is officially my favourite cdrama alright!
Lately, I’ve been smitten by the lead protagonist of a Chinese drama. Ironically, he is also the antagonist in the show. What intrigues me is that I realize that the hubby has similar characteristics to this character I find so irresistible.
In the last ‘date’ with the hubby, he teased me non-stop. I don’t know why – hubby’s teasing are so silly sometimes even corny but had the ability to make me laugh or even feel embarrassed like an infatuated teenage girl.
Somewhat similarly in the drama, the lead protagonist is always teasing and antagonizing his beloved female lead character.
Hubby says teasing is a way of loving.
The thought of this ‘similar trait’ between the both of them makes me a smile like an idiot.
Dragging my feet to work on a Tuesday morning with my default expressionless face, I start to ponder – what is the meaning of my life again? Five days a week , 9.5 hours a day of commitment to a job that will make my living..?
Oh yes – make a living.
I had a wonderful dinner with hubby talking about strange things we never quite talked about like politics, wut? We didn’t do the typical thing of catching a movie, instead, we had my favourite alcohol, Makgeolli at a Korean food house and talked about moreeee things.
I love it when we have things to talk about. I don’t need expensive meals or entertainment. I just really like spending quality time with you ❤