Name: The Sword and The Brocade
Writer/director: Wen De Guang, Yang Xiao Bo (assistant director)
Date: February 2021
Number of episodes: 45
Genre: Period, Harem, Embroidery, Romance
Based on book/manga?: Yes, “The Concubine-born Daughter’s Strategies” by Zhi Zhi
Why did I press play? I’m always keen to check out any drama Tan Songyun is in. Plus I quite enjoyed He Hong Shan’s performance in “My Best friend’s Story” and wanted to take a peek at her in another role.
- Initially the paring of the main couple seems an odd one – Wallace Chung and Tan Songyun are different generations of actors and it’s not a predictable paring. But as the plot unfolds and we get to know the characters and their individual stories it all just works (including the age difference). Ling Yi is initially stand-offish with everyone and later admits that he intentionally is like a stone and doesn’t want to be swept up in any sort of emotion because of his heavy family responsibilities. This is more realistic than simply being aloof for no real reason.
- The harem drama isn’t antsy. Yes, it’s certainly there, but it’s slow paced the the villain (Qiao Lian Fang) rarely reaps any rewards for her scheming, in fact it’s just the opposite: instead of making progress towards her goals of capturing Lin Yi’s heart and achieving first wife status, she continually loses all his respect as her conniving plots get exposed.
- This drama is incredibly relaxing and soothing to watch: it’s the combination of the lovely and subdued color palette, slow, graceful movements, everyone’s low tone of voice and well mannered dialogue. The plot isn’t particularly interesting, but this makes the drama perfect for a nightcap because there’s no need to focus to follow along. The watered don’t plot is isn’t a big deal because the drama’s strength resides in it’s rich dialogue and interactions between characters.
- One of the favorite things that Tan Songyun has done with Shi Yi is to at all times embody she embodies her mannerism. In no scene does she falter in losing her poise, posture, abody language suitable to her character’s status. Her perspective, goals, pleasure are all in line with how she carries herself. She has her own agenda, but also respectfully and kindly executes her duties. Because she has her own hidden agenda, she doesn’t get swooped into minor and silly disputes, her value doesn’t come from one-upping anyone. Her comebacks are also a pleasure to watch! Especially at the women’s party thing where the ladies try to embarrass her over the name of the flower.
- Seeing the beautiful embroidery, the pieces really are quite stunning and it’s enjoyable seeing them.
- The “second lead romance” between the maid and Lin Bo. The pair provide much needed comedy.
- The Xu family work together, they each do have their own things going on, but you can see underneath it all they are a team (apart from Qiao Lain) and Shi Yi, continues to contribute to that harmony and not fuel conflicts. The matron of the family Madame Xu is also drama free. She does strongly favor Qiao Lain, but when push comes to shove, she makes decisions that support Ling Yi’s authority and are the most realistic, practical, and best for the family decisions. She always asks for others’ opinions. The example of the son (forgot his name) that was dropped off at the house and they all had to decide too should raise him.
- Perhaps this unity and respect for each other stems from the great loss of a husband and her eldest son. They had to work through the grief and keep moving forward. I get the feeling, when the husband and brother were alive, they were a loving family that got along well. The loss was devastating.
- The plot has a turning point at episode 28 and the drama does switch gears and then there is finally some more development in Ling Yi and Shi Yi’s relationship. I can’t deny that I fast forward much of an episode to get to the plot lines I find interesting. (The Ou family hold little interest for me). I do forward a lot, but there is something special about the story that will keep me going.
The drama does indeed become increasingly interesting. Most importantly, the kiss scene in episode 35 (I think that’s the episode) is worth the watch. I was honestly taken aback by Wallace Chungs confidence and passion. The emotion he portrays throughout in this entire scene is worth his casting choice.
Who are the main characters? Which actors play them? ( Couldn’t track down most of the actors)
Xu Ling Yi played by Wallace Chung
Luo Shi Yi Niang played by Tan Songyun
Qiao Lian Fang played by He Hong San (villainous concubine)
Qu Yan Xing/Lin Shi Xian (likes Shi Yi and member of Ou family)
Madame Xu played by Wu Mian (Xu Lingyi’s mother)
Lin Bo played by Sean Zheng (Ling Yi’s right hand man)
Madame Luo played by Fang Xiao Li
Madame Wen played by Liu Yun
Old Master Luo played by Hou Chang Rong
and MANY more
Theme: Patience and kindness are the best virtues.
What is it good for? Relaxing at the end of each day – I almost doze-off each time I watch it.