Stricken with the knowledge of everyone’s complicity, and unable to return home, Li Haolan vows she will never beg for another thing in her life as she tries to claw her way out of her fallen circumstances and avenge the death of her mother and the wrongs done to her. The scheming merchant Lü Buwei purchases Li Haolan and takes interest in the fate of this intelligent, unusual girl. Together, they form an unlikely partnership as they both begin to climb the ladders of power.
(This is the synopsis from Wiki) Betrayed by her family and her first love, Li Haolan finds herself in desperate circumstances. Her father, State Censor Li He, arranges marriage between her and the far-older Yu Ping, who treats his other wives brutally. When she tries to circumvent this fate by begging her first love, Prince Jiao, to marry her, Li Haolan’s stepmother, Gao Min, orders her killed and thrown into the river. Surviving only by chance, Li Haolan crawls back from the brink of death to discover her reputation in tatters, as Gao Min spread the rumor that Li Haolan shamed the family by eloping with a stranger to explain the girl’s disappearance. Li Haolan’s mother, Wang Wan’er, a lowly concubine, has gone mad with grief over her daughter’s unknown fate. Gao Min orders the murder of Li Haolan’s mother and sells Li Haolan into slavery, just as Li Haolan watches her sweetheart marrying her little sister, Li Xiuyu.
Through Lü Buwei’s influence, Li Haolan enters Zhao‘s imperial court and makes a match with Ying Yiren, the captive prince of Qin. As Qin and Zhao fall into war, the balance of power changes, with Li Haolan on top.
The theme this month was a gimme/reader’s choice and I went with not only one of my most recently watched dramas but the one I most need to process. So the summary/synposis is basically everything that happens in the first episode. I have A Lot of Feelings about this series and an overarching summary in my head is “all the men in this series are trash.” There are only one or two that get more than five minutes of screen time that are mostly ok and … they both die. Granted, most the women in the show are truly terrible too. That being said, I’m … actually not mad I watched this series, but man – it is DEFINITELY not a “happy watch.” Production wise, it’s fantastic. This is clearly a big budget production. The sets, costumes, the actors, the music – it’s all so incredibly well done. It’s a historical drama in terms of not only setting, but it’s based on actual people.
I actually watched the whole damn thing in two days, no thank you, insomnia. I also did fast forward through a lot of the scheming because I don’t care about that shit, and you see it play out anyway so that’s something. I honestly don’t think I missed much though, and I “rewatched” the whole series the next day in that I watched the scenes between the heroine and her husband. And I realized – there aren’t that many. I don’t think I missed any in my second selective fast watch, and it’s possible it could all fit in the span of a single episode. Two at most. Yikes. (They’re also apart for five episodes, which covers the span of eight years/has a time jump.)