Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace: E01 – E08

The wait is over and boy, am I glad the drama is finally out of the dungeon! I was looking forward to the drama since the day it was announced, and the names attached to the series day by day only makes my anticipation grew. Although it took two years and a half for it to finally see the light (aka us the viewers), Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace (如懿传, lit, Legend of Ruyi) arrives at the right time as I am craving for some harem drama, and I count this as my luck :’) As I have been away from blogging for quite some time, these posts will be my personal notes to keep track of the things happening in each episode for future references, should I feel the urge to rewatch certain scenes. So…dig in!

Episode 1

  • Hongli dreams of Qingying being selected as his third brother’s wife. Qingying has ran away from the ceremony and the two have a chat about it, joking about how she would have farted in front of everyone even if she could not escape it.
  • He lures her into joining the selection of his wife next month under the pretense of being his best friend since they were young.
  • The Empress, who is also Qingying’s aunt, supports Qingying to become Hongli’s wife. She knows that her adopted son, Third Prince Hongshi, is already on the brink of losing the Emperor’s favour.
  • Hongli’s adopted mother, Imperial Noble Consort Xi (Niuhuru Zhenhuan) thinks that either Gao Xiyue or Fuca Langhua would be the best candidate to become Hongli’s wife due to their family statuses.
  • Qingying, despite being in doubt whether she should attend the selection, attends it anyway despite being late to it.
  • Hongshi incurs the Emperor’s wrath and gets thrown out of the palace, both literally and figuratively.
  • The Empress also gets her own share for defending him: getting locked inside her residence, Jingren Palace.
  • The selection resumes and Hongli makes up his mind: 100 taels for Xiyue (she’s eliminated), cefujin (consort) position for Langhua, and of course, defujin (wife) for Qingying.
  • The Emperor steps in, overriding Hongli’s decision since Qingying is implicated, being the Empress’ niece after all. The selection is cancelled.
  • Hongli consults his father the Emperor on the matter of his marriage and accept his decision, at the same time being granted the title Prince Bao.
  • Consort Xi is already celebrating her victory against the Empress, but her happiness does not stay when the news of Hongli’s marriage comes: Langhua will be Hongli’s wife, Qingying as his consort, and Xiyue as his gege (concubine). She’s not happy but wishes Hongli luck on his marriage.
  • While Qingying’s parents are thinking of ways to save the Empress, the edict for Hongli’s marriage arrives.

Episode 2

  • Qingying and Hongli meet each other, with Hongli expressing his regret that he couldn’t secure better position for her and Qingying worrying about Consort Xi’s acceptance. However, they’re clear of their real feeling they have for each other 🙂
  • Langhua and Hongli have their wedding ceremony first before Qingying and Xiyue enters the residence.
  • As expected, Hongli visits Qingying that night, admitting that he has not consummated his marriage with Langhua (ooo…kay. Hongli. Okay…). Both Langhua and Xiyue finds out about it; Langhua reassure herself that she needs to become the model wife and support Hongli, while Xiyue is already scheming her next move to side with Langhua and share their discontent towards Qingying.
  • Flash forward to six years later…there are a total of nine ladies (Langhua, Qingying, Xiyue, Jin Yuyan, Su Lüyun, Keliyete Hailan, Huang Qiying, and Chen Wanyin) in Hongli’s harem, with Xiyue being promoted to consort because of her father’s contribution to the court, so she’s on the same level as Qingying.
  • The Emperor passes away and Hongli ascended to the throne, but he has to face an issue: whether to grant the Empress being locked in her palace as Dowager Empress (thus overriding the decree from the late Emperor) or to instate Consort Xi as Dowager Empress.
  • Both Empress and Consort Xi view this as another chance to rule over the other. Consort Xi starts to exercise her power towards Hongli’s consorts, particularly Qingying, knowing that they will soon be under her governance inside the harem.
  • The Empress asks for Qingying’s help to persuade Hongli into giving her the title so that she can regain her position as well as being buried beside the late Emperor.
  • Qingying, being a smart girl she is, suggests that it is better for her aunt the Empress to be sent to Summer Palace and treated like a Dowager instead of granting the title. That will save Hongli from being questioned about his action by both the ministers and Consort Xi.
  • Consort Xi is, of course, furious, and presents Qingying with a solution: only one Ulanara lady can live inside the place, implying that one of them has to die. Qingying offers herself out of her filial piety, but Consort Xi decides that she is just testing her.
  • Qingying doesn’t say anything to Hongli but her actions are all strange, causing him to wonder what is troubling her.
  • When she visits her aunt later that night, she finds the Empress sitting on the throne inside her palace in her full regalia…

Episode 3

  • Qingying approaches her aunt with the news of Hongli agreeing to her plea. However, the Empress doesn’t want to live her later years under Consort Xi’s influence. She knows that Qingying was also presented with the option, just like her. Knowing that Qingying will sacrifice herself, the Empress agrees to accept the poison since she’s aware that Consort Xi only wants to see her die.
  • The Empress wants Qingying to witness her death as to testify that she dies out of grief and deviate any suspicion towards Consort Xi. Knowing that Qingying only wants to live happily with Hongli, she wants her death to serve as a reminder for the young madam to be more ambitious for her love to be eternal, in life and death.
  • Qingying informs Hongli about the death, but Hongli finds out about the possibility of his mother giving the poison to the Empress. He decides to place Consort Xi together with the late Emperor’s Imperial Concubines in retaliation.
  • Consort Xi discusses the matter of the late Empress’ funeral with Hongli and they’re joined by Zhang Tingyu, a minister who insists on bestowing a proper title for the late Empress and finds that the sudden death suspicious.
  • Qingying overhears the discussion and joins them, testifying that her aunt’s death was indeed natural. Thus, Consort Xi makes the decision to hold the funeral of the late Empress as that of a Consort. Hongli tries to lure Qingying into spilling the beans but she won’t budge.
  • Consort Xi thinks that Qingying will say something to Hongli, but Qingying knows that she won’t die at that moment; Consort Xi will need her as a living witness to defy herself against all suspicion around the late Empress’ death.
  • Hongli is formally invested as Emperor Qianlong and Langhua as the new Empress, while Consort Xi gets the much coveted title of Empress Dowager. However, the new Empress Dowager is up for a surprise when her new palace is not yet ready to be occupied, forcing her to move in with the Elder Concubines. (Serves her right hohoho)
  • The Dowager is fast to set up her rules against the young consorts, exercising her power as the most senior member of the harem. Using Qingying’s mourning for her married aunt as an excuse, she orders for Qingying’s title to be conferred later and that she should remain in Hongli’s previous residence to mourn for 3 years.

Episode 4

  • A little over a month passes and Qingying is still staying in the previous residence. Other consorts have moved out, but only Hailan comes by once in a while to accompany her. Through Hailan, she finds out that the Dowager is still staying with the Elder Concubines.
  • Both Hongli and the Dowager are playing a game of tug-and-war with each other: Hongli doesn’t want to give in since his mother might not release Qingying from being grounded, while the Dowager doesn’t want to lose her face over a mere palace.
  • Hongli sends a decorative knot and a music score to Qingying, telling her that he has not forgotten about her. In return, she presents him with a handkerchief she embroidered.
  • Hailan goes to meet Hongli despite years of awkwardness between them, pleading him not to forget Qingying. She makes a stop at the previous residence…and Qingying swaps place with her to meet Hongli.
  • Using a painting on a vase, Qingying brings the matter of the Dowager’s palace into discussion, persuading Hongli to approach the Dowager first out of filial piety, at the same time displaying his action to the nation as an example for his subjects. Hongli hesitates at first, knowing that the Dowager is exerting her power to display her influence, but Qingying advises him that he can wield his power outside the harem.
  • The Dowager gets to move to the new palace, and Hongli suggests a new title for her: Empress Dowager Congqing. She’s appeased and summons Qingying, agreeing to let her move into the palace (YESSS!). Qingying has one wish, that is for the Dowager to bestow her with a new name to replace her childhood name. The Dowager chooses Ruyi, advising her to lay low and stay true to her morals in order to achieve her dream: a long-lasting love.
  • Words travel that Hailan plays an important role in Qingying, now Ruyi’s freedom, hence the Evil Trifecta (Langhua, Xiyue, Yuyan) brainstorm for a counter measure over morning tea, concerning Hailan’s residence.
  • Langhua discusses with Hongli about the issue of conferring titles to the consorts and concubines, suggesting for Ruyi to be made a Consort (fei) first while Xiyue being made Noble Consort (guifei) because her father’s contribution to the empire. She is smart to suggest for Ruyi to be granted a residence far away from Hongli’s, under the pretense that the one he proposed might bring bad memories to the Dowager.
  • The ranks and titles are confirmed, with Xiyue leading the list as Noble Consort Hui. The Dowager scoffs at the title Hui, meaning bright, since Xiyue isn’t the brightest bulb, after all (LOL).
  • Ruyi moves into her residence while Hailan, being only a Female First Attendant (changzai), has to stay with Xiyue. Using this opportunity, Xiyue insults Hailan since she is lower both in rank and family standing.
  • Hailan visits Ruyi later in the evening and Ruyi blames herself for being one step behind the others in asking for Hailan to stay with her.
  • When she goes for her morning greeting with the Empress, Langhua, Ruyi wonders if it is possible for Hailan to stay with her. Langhua explains the reason why she puts Hailan together with Xiyue: since Xiyue is the favoured Consort Hui, the Emperor will surely visit her frequently, hence it will present a chance for Hailan to be noticed by Hongli. (Love how smart Langhua she is, but Hailan will get better chance staying with Ruyi, you know…)

Episode 5

  • Hongli and Langhua get to have a joint portrait painted by Giuseppe Castiglione or Lang Shining, the court painter. Langhua receives a visit from her mother, who reminds her to be cautious and manage the concubines well, but she doesn’t have to get her own hands dirty. There are others she can take advantage of, like her maid Sulian.
  • Hongli and Ruyi discuss about “one and only love”, and Hongli promises not to abandon her. (Arggghhhh all these promises…)
  • While Li Yu, Hongli’s young eunuch sits in for him in front of Lang Shining for the portrait, Ruyi visits the place. Lang praises Ruyi for her beauty and wishes he can paint her, but he is only allowed to paint the official wife aka the Empress. They talk about how different it is for married couples in the West, sparking interest in Ruyi about the possibility of having a marriage life without concubine.
  • Ruyi brings up the matter during her time with Hongli despite her maid, A’ruo’s warning. Of course, Hongli is displeased with the topic of conversation (since he’s the one with the concubines, after all…) and Ruyi excuses herself.
  • Langhua learns about the quarrel and decides to send other concubines like Yuyan and Wanyin, but Hongli is hostile towards both. Ruyi knows that he is giving her the silent treatment, but she has her own plan.
  • Hongli walks out of the hall and Ruyi hurries to join him on his walk. They reconcile and she notices that Hongli is still using the silk handkerchief she made for him, embroidered with the motifs of red lychee (=hongli, homonym of his name) and green cherry blossom. He makes her promise not to talk of absurd things, although he knows that he is the only one she can confides in.
  • Ruyi and Hongli spend time together watching a play until he losses track of time, causing him to be late for his greeting. The Dowager reminds him to treat other consorts and concubines equally to prevent worry. Thus, Hongli has to make his tour inside the harem for a few days until he can visit Ruyi again, but he comes bearing a calligraphy he personally penned.
  • Winter arrives and Langhua, being the model wife she is, instructs the consorts to stop using expensive silk and opt for a simpler one. Although Xiyue, Yuyan, and Lüyun are vocal about their objection, that doesn’t stop Langhua from exercising her power. Hailan is still mistreated at Xiyue’s residence and worse, she has to overhear them badmouthing her (poor girlㅠㅠ). It is through Hailan that Ruyi and Co. finds out about the bad quality of the winter pouches sent to their palace, compared to Xiyue’s.
  • Ruyi’s other maid, Suoxin, reconnects with her childhood friend, Imperial Physician Jiang Yubin. Although they were both from families of servants, they are thankful to be able to work inside the palace and meet each other again.
  • Hongli has been summoning lutenists to his study hall, and he quickly notices one of them: Bai Ruiji. She is warned by Li Yu not to be pompous, but proves herself to be fearless.
  • Suoxin goes to fetch things but A’ruo already beats her to it and begins complaining about the poorly made pouches, plus boasting to the eunuch about the Emperor’s personal calligraphy plaque bestowed upon Ruyi. It’s definitely not a good sign when Langhua’s maid Sulian overhears the complaint..

Episode 6

  • Sulian reports what she heard earlier to Langhua. It’s not something she cares much, but knowing that it will spite Xiyue, she tells her about it. True enough, Xiyue is green with envy and pays a visit to Hongli.
  • Hongli is listening to the lutenists again when Xiyue arrives at the hall. She shows off her talent in front of them and tries fishing out calligraphy plaques from Hongli despite getting so many gifts from him previously. He complies and shows concern towards Xiyue’s affinity to cold, but his eyes linger towards Ruiji as she leaves.
  • Hailan and Ruyi pray and recite sutras for the late Empress. Ruyi notices that Hailan’s hands are cold and learns that she has not been getting enough coal from Xiyue, hence she promises to send some black coal secretly to help her.
  • In his effort to be equal, Hongli makes a number of calligraphy to be distributed inside the harem, including the recently vacant Jingren Palace. He chooses Ruiji to accompany him for the night.
  • The concubines, particularly Yuyan and Qiying, are quick to notice that someone new has been granted the Emperor’s favour the night before. Langhua confirms this and announces that Ruiji will be assigned to a residence of her own with the title Female Second Attendant Mei (daying).
  • The Dowager isn’t happy that Hongli chooses a new concubine among the servants, plus the nation is still mourning for the late Emperor. However, he has to hurry to catch up with his ancestors’ records when it comes to children, since he only has four at the moment.
  • Xiyue finds out that Hailan has been accompanying Ruyi to pray and orders Hailan to make sutra banners in the courtyard despite the cold weather. Hailan finishes everything and returns to her humble room, only to find the coal supply for her being completely cut. She refuses to let her maids tell Ruyi about it.
  • While every concubine is busy sending gifts to the new member of the harem, they are quick to notice that she is getting the best of everything. Hongli is pleased to see Ruiji improving with her lute with his guidance, feeling like a good tutor. She guesses that he doesn’t really like to have Xiyue come over that often to play lute and happy to be at his service.
  • Ruiji joins the ladies for the next morning greeting and proves herself to be quite a difficult one to deal with. Ruyi’s advice? “If she’s difficult to get along with, then don’t interact with her at all.” Genius.
  • But then, it is not easy for Ruyi to shake Ruiji off when the latter wants to join her walk at the Imperial Garden. Ruiji laments that her life is just like a wandering willow, compared to Ruyi’s precious green cherry blossoms. Xiyue ‘joins’ them and makes some snide remarks at Ruiji, but the young concubine retaliates, pointing out at Xiyue’s aging beauty and her clan’s previous humble status.
  • The quarrel turns into a commotion when Xiyue orders her eunuch, Shuangxi, to slap Ruiji as a punishment for being disrespectful towards her as the superior. Ruyi tries to advise Xiyue against it but to no avail. Langhua overhears it and accepts Xiyue’s explanation for the punishment, at the same time admitting that Ruiji is still new and has a lot to learn.
  • Ruiji wails about the injustice, weeping that she has no other way but to inform the Emperor should he inquire about her bruised face. Langhua chides her and tells Ruyi to teach her some manners, only to have Ruiji walk away without bowing to her superiors.

Episode 7

  • Langhua reminds Xiyue that she can wait until the Emperor abandons Ruiji before ‘disciplining her, and Xiyue is afraid that she might be implicated should Ruiji opens her mouth. Thus, Langhua sends Sulian to run errands on behalf of Xiyue.
  • Ruyi follows Ruiji back to her residence, which is lavishly decorated despite her status as a Second Attendant. Ruiji proves herself to be a fearless and sharp-tongued little lady and dares to insult Ruyi. Sulian arrives to deliver a soothing cream as a token of apology from Xiyue, together with a not-so-discreet warning not to speak of the matter. Ruiji agrees and accepts the cream, but not before making Ruyi checks the cream for any sign of tampering.
  • Xiyue finds out about Ruyi secretly sharing her coal with Hailan after witnessing Ruyi’s eunuch, Sanbao, sneaking out of her palace. Meanwhile, although she is treated with no respect with her meager supplies of food and coal, Hailan doesn’t complain as much as her maid. Yuyan makes use of the situation to suggest something to Xiyue: make Hailan a thief for the free coal she gets.
  • That night, Hongli spends the night with Langhua. Ruyi is resting in her quarters when Sanbao reports about Hailan: Xiyue has her dragged out in the cold to be punished for stealing coals. Although she is risking herself, Ruyi arrives to Hailan’s rescue, knowing that she is the only one who can save her.
  • Xiyue makes use of her higher status to carry out the investigation despite Ruyi’s argument that she is just accusing without proof. Knowing that the matter will only grow bigger, Suoxin tries to inform the Emperor and Empress through Wang Qin the old eunuch, but he isn’t willing to help. Luckily, Li Yu is there and he promises to find a way to let the two Majesties know.
  • Luckily, Hongli and Langhua’s arrival at the scene puts everything to a halt. Hailan is already freezing and Hongli brings everyone involved indoors. He notices that it is only a trivial matter and acts like he is the one who told Ruyi to share her red coal with Hailan. Ruyi understands his words and acts along, putting Xiyue into shame since she has made it into something big. Knowing that Hailan’s maid Xiang Yun was the one who made the false accusation, Hongli orders her beaten to death as a reminder for the servants not to incite conflicts in his harem.
  • As for Xiyue, the Imperial Physician deems her severely down with cold and she will need another three months to fully recover. Thus, Hongli instructs her to recuperate and saves herself from the trouble of serving him…for three months. (She’s basically grounded! For three months! Hehehehe~)
  • Hailan’s future days will be brighter, as Hongli instructs her to move in with Ruyi so as not to annoy Xiyue further. Although she is having problems with her feet, Ruyi is relieved to know that it is something that can be treated. It has ended well for the night, but Hailan is troubled with nightmares and Li Yu has to face the consequence for slipping into the Emperor’s bedroom without notifying his superior, Wang Qin, first.

Episode 8

  • Lüyun visits Ruyi’s quarters first thing in the morning, since she wants to visit Hailan too. They are both relieved that Hailan survived the event and got her chance to escape Xiyue. Meanwhile, Xiyue is sulking in her quarters and Yuyan presents her with some ginseng. Although Yuyan was the one who came up with the idea, she does not feel guilty at all; instead, she’s laughing at Xiyue’s backfiring attack.
  • Hailan insists on being alone, feeling traumatized and humiliated by the way she was treated by the servants on that night. Ruyi advises her to face everything with a smile before coming up with a solution, so that people won’t find her an easy target. Ruyi reminds her that she has to look after herself, since Ruyi might not be able to save her every time she is in problem.
  • Suddenly, Ruyi is summoned by Hongli and Langhua for a sudden audience. She finds Li Yu being punished to kneel on broken tiles because of his mistake and inquires about it from Wang Qin. It was for a small mistake and Ruyi knows the old man is just wielding his power as the superior, but she reminds him that he is still a servant.
  • Langhua asks for Ruyi to join them because of another issue: Ruiji’s swollen face has taken a turn for the worse after using the soothing cream. A poisonous herb was found on it, and it is suspected that someone did it with an ill intention. Sulian also used the cream and heals without any problem, hence Langhua asks her whether someone else has touched the cream before she gave it to Ruiji. Of course, Ruyi was the one, and Ruiji is quick to point out that Ruyi might have done it out of her jealousy.
  • Since it can develop into a serious offense of harming an Imperial Concubine, Langhua suggests for the case to be investigated further. However, Hailan joins them, informing Hongli that the herb, Ceylon leadwort, is not in Ruyi’s winter pouch. She had it replaced with another harmless herb, Giant Mucuna, when she redid the stitches, realizing that the leadwort is of sub par quality. So, that itself saves Ruyi from the accusation, and she is tasked with the job of finding the true culprit.
  • Hailan feels that she ought to take Ruyi’s words and remember it, so that she can grow stronger. Just like how Ruyi risked her life to protect her in front of Xiyue, she feels that it is only appropriate for her to do the same in front of the Empress.
  • Hongli is slightly disappointed with Langhua’s inability to control her juniors. He reminds her to be fastidious in carrying out her duties. She is dejected, afraid that Hongli will see her as inadequate, but also feels that Xiyue is to be blamed for causing problems. Still, they wonder if Ruiji intentionally harmed her own face in order to implicate Ruyi.
  • Li Yu goes to Ruyi’s residence later that evening after he has finished serving his punishment. He hesitates to let Ruyi treat his wound herself, but she’s doing out as a token of gratitude for him to inform the Emperor about last night’s incident. At the same time, she give him an advice: hide his intelligence and use it moderately, while keeping his eyes and ears wide open. This is also her way of bringing Li Yu to her side, since everyone seems to be looking for ways to kill her. (Maybe…those words she told Li Yu were actually for her own self, too..)
  • Hongli has a lot to think about the whole day and he has not made any decision on his roommate for the night, so he decides to head towards Ruyi’s palace. It is a surprise, since she doesn’t expect him to visit him that night. He apologizes, explaining that his effort to distance himself from her and treat other concubines equally sent a wrong message. He decides to make it clear that he cares for her and won’t let anyone hurt her. Ruyi also confesses that her three favourite words from him – Don’t you worry – have become a source of comfort and security for her.
  • They are both in good mood after spending the night together, and Hongli promises to visit again in the evening. The cream case has also found its culprit: a servant in the Imperial Medicine Bureau mixed the poisonous herb into the cream. Ruyi instructs for the culprit to be hit with slab before sent to slave house instead of further pursuing the matter. Hailan wonders why she stops there, and Ruyi understands that Hongli has already made it known that those responsible have been reprimanded.
Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Ruyi’s Royal Love in the Palace: E01 – E08

  1. Yaaay! Welcome back, ms.Mimi. You don’t know me,but I’ve been lurking here for a long time,actually since almost 5 yrs ago when I 1st began background-searching about sageuks. I’ve always loved your informative LONG posts.
    By the time I’ve started a baby blog for myself, you’ve gone hibernating and I wondered whether you were sick. Anyway, hope to see more of you from now on!
    Be well !!!

    1. Awww thanks! I’ve been busy working and didn’t have much time to watch and write, so the blog goes into short hiatus. I share the same sentiment with you, hoping to have more posts..and see you around 😉

    1. Of course! I’m a bit distracted by the number of episodes out and I can’t stop watching…hence the delay in writing. I can’t wait to write..but surely with lots of “OHHH”s and “AHHH”s included!

  2. Oh and also Super thank you for recapping 1-8. I really enjoyed reading those episode recaps. You did such a fab job. All the key points in while retaining the atmosphere of what was happening 😀

Rant Out, Souls!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s