Last updated on January 13th, 2024 at 01:04 am
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Story of Kunning Palace is a drama adaptation based on a novel with actors Bai Lu and Zhang Ling He as leads.
How did this drama do?
This blog post will go into all the nitty gritty details so let’s get started!
The Story of Kunning Palace Synopsis
Jiang Xue Ning climbed her way to being empress and didn’t care who she hurt in the way during the process. She wakes up getting a second chance in life years before she steps foot into the royal palace. How will she choose differently this time around?
The Story of Kunning Palace Main Characters
Jiang Xue Ning
Jiang Xue Ning is a smart, observant, and rebellious lady. In her first life, she was a heartless woman who schemed her way up top. In her second life, she recognized her mistakes and made positive changes when given the chance to renavigate her life.
There are three love interests for her although she only has feelings for two. There’s Yan Lin, her childhood sweetheart, Zhang Zhe, who is her idealized first love, and Xie Wei, the guy that she has mixed feelings for.
Xie Wei/Xie Ju An/Xue Ding Fei
His mom died when he was young while his dad disregarded his life carelessly. Xie Wei never received proper love from his family and was traumatized after a chilling incident as a young child. It forever changed his path due to his unfortunate circumstances.
Xie Wei is an anti-hero and has controversial characteristics for a male lead. He isn’t the type of character that the majority of the audience will root for.
The Story of Kunning Palace might be categorized as a romance but romance is not at the forefront of the show. There is also political intrigue, hidden identity, and themes like redemption and betrayal.
The love story between the main couple slowly builds up anticipation and only speeds up in the last few episodes.
The romance between the two of them is controversial. He’s her teacher which leads to an unfair power balance. Also, he has violent outrages towards her. In reality, they would be that toxic couple that can’t stay away from each other. If you’re looking for a typical romance drama, you won’t find it in Story of Kunning Palace.
They do have strong chemistry though. It was even rumoured that they were dating in real life. Paparazzi leaked a video of Bai Lu visiting Zhang Ling He’s apartment after filming.
The Story of Kunning Palace Actors
Bai Lu had a bit of a unique situation because she was competing against herself when Story of Kunning Palace was airing. Her other drama, Only for Love was airing at the same time on different platforms.
I watched both and can confidently say she has a stronger performance in Story of Kunning Palace. She had more to work with in terms of character development, script, and even partner.
The Story of Kunning Palace showed her versatility as an actress. Jiang Xue Ning is a complicated person and isn’t the typical good girl character the audience is used to seeing in Chinese historical dramas.
(2023 is a thing for complex characters. There was Lost You Forever, Till the End of the Moon, and, now also, Story of Kunning Palace.)
As a rising actress, playing a villain role might not be the most walked path but here, she got the chance to be a villain for a bit just like Cheng Yi in Immortal Samsara. It’s always exciting when actors deviate from their normal route.
You might also be interested in the drama, Till the End of the Moon. Story of Kunning Palace and Till the End of the Moon are similar because they are both time travel dramas, morally grey characters and have the same female actress as the main lead.
Zhang Ling He
Zhang Ling He gained fame after his role in Love Between Fairy and Devil. Even though he was only a supporting character then, he gained enough fame to be a male lead in dramas soon after.
2023 is the year for the audience to get to know him better. He came out with four dramas: Bright Eyes in the Dark, My Journey to You, Tiger and Crane, and Story of Kunning Palace.
I’ve been a fan of Zhang Ling He ever since My Journey to You. He played a nice guy in that drama but that wasn’t the role for him to show his full potential.
He showcased a wider range of acting skills in Story of Kunning Palace but oddly enough, My Journey to You was filmed after Story of Kunning Palace.
His agency is pulling out all the stops for him to be the next big male actor. You can tell because his company keeps putting him in historical dramas. It is easier to gain fans through that genre. Although he hasn’t exploded in popularity yet, there is a strong possibility that it’s only a matter of time.
Liu Xue Ning
Liu Xue Ning is the actress who plays the princess, Shen Zhi Yi. She and Jiang Xue Ning were rivals in her first life. In Xue Ning’s second life, they are best friends and are as thick as thieves. The deep affection for each other meant a touching and unbreakable friendship.
Liu Xue Ning was originally in the KPOP group Gugudan and eventually went back to China to further develop her career. She has been in a few projects before starring in Story of Kunning Palace but this so far is her most notable work.
Hopefully, she can grab the given opportunities after being in Story of Kunning Palace and can continue to show enjoyable projects to the audience.
Cui Shao Yang
Cui Shao Yang is the replacement for Xue Ding Fei. He was a beggar plucked from the streets to be the fake Xue Ding Fei. He puts on a façade of acting like he doesn’t have a care in the world but constantly has this nagging fear about his identity.
Cui Shao Yang stood out in this role because he could carry a playful persona (some actors cannot pull this off but he can) but he is also good at emoting. He has a particularly memorable scene with Xie Wei in episode 34.
Wang Xing Yue
Wang Xing Yue was only 20 years old when he became Zhang Zhe.
Zhang Zhe is my favourite character in the drama. He is a morally upright person and a filial son. If it wasn’t for Wang Xing Yue’s strong performance, Zhang Zhe could have been an easily dismissed character.
In Story of Kunning Palace, their chemistry together shined despite Wang Xing Yue being 6 years younger than Bai Lu.
He has worked closely with Bai Lu in another drama called One and Only. In that show, their characters were in an arranged marriage but didn’t end up together.
Can we please get a drama where they finally get their happy ending?
There is a good chance they will work together again as they are both signed under the same agency, Yu Zheng Studio. Yu Zheng is a screenwriter, producer, and director famous for propelling celebrities into stardom. Stars like Feng Shao Feng, Yang Mi, Zhao Li Ying, and Chen Xiao have all starred in his dramas. Other celebrities in his agency include Xu Kai, Wu Jia Yi, and Wu Jin Yan.
Wang Xing Yue and Zhou Yi Ran are in the running to be rising 00’er stars. In the Chinese entertainment industry, the public has grouped actors and actresses based on the year they were born. For example, some 95’er actresses include Bai Lu, Yu Shu Xin, Yang Chao Yue, Zhou Ye, Tian Xi Wei, Ju Jing Yi, Zhang Jing Yi, and Zhao Lu Si.
I believe that Wang Xing Yue will become like Ryan Cheng from A Familiar Stranger. He started in supporting roles and smaller-budgeted dramas but has serious potential to become the next big star. He has the looks, acting skills, and height. Wang Xing Yue is still extremely young so he has time. I’m rooting for him.
Best Part of The Story of Kunning Palace
1) The Friendship between Xue Ning and Princess
Although many dramas do have a focus on friendship, most of them don’t resonate with the audience emotionally as this pair does.
2) Chemistry between Jiang Xue Ning and Zhang Zhe
Bai Lu tends to have chemistry with her male lead co-stars but she also had sizzling chemistry with the second male lead. Usually, I tend to root for the male lead. It’s rare that I would also be satisfied with the female lead to end up with the second lead. Too bad they didn’t get their happy ending huh.
3) Strong Supporting Leads
The actors in this drama are appropriately cast for their roles. Overall, they did a believable job of portraying their characters.
Memorable Scenes – *Spoiler Alert*
1) When Xie Wei gets petty and trips his son because he’s praising Zhang Zhe.
It’s not easy being Xie Wei and having three generations liking his love rival. Haha.
2) The Princess Wedding Scene
Xue Ning knew what would happen to the princess if she got married. She attempted to convince the princess to leave and run away but the princess chose her people over her personal happiness.
3) Xie Wei Sacrificing to save Jiang Xue Ning
The musical instrument, qin is near and dear to Xie Wei’s heart. Even during life-and-death situations, he is not willing to give it up. He proves the depth of his love for Jiang Xue Ning when he stabs his hand with a knife to protect her.
4) Zhang Zhe and Jiang Xue Ning Hostage
There’s a scene where Jiang Xue Ning lies and says she and Zhang Zhe are lovers planning to elope. Zhang Zhe becomes flustered by her words and is unsure how to react.
Final Thoughts – The Story of Kunning Palace
This show will keep your eyes glued to the screen as you anticipate the next episode.
Watch this drama if you like shows with a darker storyline and strong characters. There is usually one or two supporting characters like Hidden Love and Love and Redemption that will catch your eye but in Story of Kunning Palace, multiple actors are outstanding in their roles. You’ll discover at least one or two new actors that make you want to follow their future projects.
Story of Kunning fans can also watch their reality TV series, As You Wish – Story of Kunning Palace (Love You Seven Times also had the same situation). There are 6 show episodes where the cast gets together for games and challenges. It’s a must-watch for those who can’t get enough of the show and want to watch them interact.
Now to You – The Story of Kunning Palace
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