Titles: 解忧公主 (Jie You Gong Zhu) / Princess Jie You
- Zhang Xin Yi as Jie You
- Yuan Hong as Weng Gui
- Yuan Wen Kang as Jun Xu Mi
- Liu Guan Xiang as Huai Tian Sha
- Ye Qing as Feng Liao
- Yang Yi as A Cai
- Zhang Yi Luan as Hu Gu
- Wu Qiang as Changshan Xi Hou
- Jiang Xiao Chong as Mu Ha Zi
- Yang Lin Zi as Ming Gu Liang
- Xue Xiao Ran as Gu Rui Ya
- Qiao Lei as Yi Lu
- Lu Qi Wei as A Yi Na
Directed by: Lu Yang
Written by: An Qi Jie, Yu Yang, Sun Hao and Xue Jiao
Plot (from Wiki):
To seal a political alliance between the Han and the Wusun, Princess Jie You left the Chinese capital city and all its comforts to marry Chieftain Jun Xu Mi on the steppe of Central Asia. She unexpectedly fell in love with his cousin Wen Gui. Her wisdom and compassion for the people of Wusun not only neutralized the threats against the Han Dynasty, she spread Chinese culture to the west encouraging the exchange of cultures.
I’m so in love with this show. It has been a while since I got the chance to watch such a wonderful series. My main reason to watch Princess Jie You (PJY) was Yuan Hong’s participation, but thanks to that I could meet more new formidable actors.
(SPOILERS) My most interesting discovery was Zhang Xin Yi, our amazing protagonist, Jie You. She is first shown as an orphan who was raised by a traveling circus. Before knowing her real identity as Han’s royal princess, she met and fell for Yuan Hong’s character: Wusun’s general Weng Gui.
Princess Jie You (PJY) is set in Han dynasty, a period in which it was common among royals to have arranged marriages. In order to seal the peace between Han and Wusun, Han’s emperor decides to marry Jie You with Wusun’s chief, who also happens to be Weng Gui’s cousin. With this brief comment you can already imagine how tearing and painful the story will be.
Jie You isn’t someone who needs to be saved, but everyone wants to save her. I think this says a lot about Zhang Xin Yi’s character. She’s witty, courageous and cheerful. In many chinese dramas, the female lead is kind to the extreme of being dumb, but Jie You is intelligent enough to know who are her friends and who are her enemies. Frequently, I realize that characters only fall in love with the female lead because she’s the female lead, but in this case there are plenty of reasons to adore Jie You and understand why someone would love her.
From the beginning, we get to know Jie You’s most playful and fearless side. The first time she meets Weng Gui, he’s killing some Xiongnu assassins. Jie You is afraid of that stranger, but she has the guts to reprehend him for staining desert’s precious water with his victims’ blood. Later, she decides to save Weng Gui when he’s severely injured.
The first episodes are incredibly funny, and you will laugh a lot with their interactions. While watching, I couldn’t believe how much I was enjoying those scenes: Jie You healing Weng Gui’s wound, Jie You and Weng Gui chatting at night, Jie You tricking Weng Gui as her “master”, and Jie You about to be executed because of owning Weng Gui’s dagger (being this last scene one of my favourites).
Zhang Xin Yi and Yuan Hong have a marvelous chemistry, and they became my OTP since the very first episode. Their chemistry is so pure that, after shooting PJY, they began to date in real life and eventually got married this year (✿ ♥‿♥).
Circumstances made the couple take different paths (Jie You goes to find her family and Weng Gui visits Han’s Emperor as Wusun’s ambassador). Weng Gui gifts Jie You with his most treasured possession (the dagger) and promises to come back for her in three days. However, fate tricks them and this separation becomes the decision they will most regret.
Jie You gets to know her uncle and her grandmother, who explains that Jie You’s parents abandoned her because her dad was sentenced as a traitor and this brought tragic consequences to her family. During this conversation, her annoying cousin (whose name doesn’t deserve to be remembered) blames Jie You’s dad of implicating the family. Jie You replys how absurd are these complains, because nobody disapproved his father when he brought fortune and wealth to the family; even her, who was born as an orphan and grew in poverty, was grateful for everything she has. Her badass speech this time gained her uncle’s admiration and turned me into her lifelong fan.
Because of this annoying cousin’s fault, Jie You ends up turning into the chosen princess to marry Wusun’s chief. It should be noted that Jie You really waited for Weng Gui and Weng Gui really returned to find her, but they missed their chance. Weng Gui came back too late and Jie You was already destined to become Han’s marrying princess.
Weng Gui is sent by his cousin, Wusun’s chief (“Kunmi”), to escort the arriving bride, and they both found out, in the most tearful way, how destiny had tricked them. Yuan Hong (particularly) and Zhang Xin Yi’s way of looking is amazingly expressive, it’s like their eyes could scream. I cried watching their anguish, Jie You’s impotence and Weng Gui’s confusion. No one could have portrayed their characters better.
Weng Gui tries to flee with Jie You, and Jie You craves to escape with him. In fact, they did (at least they tried). They hid in one of Weng Gui’s friends village and spent a short (but magical) time together. Unfortunately, they are ambushed by Xiongnu’s assassins, this causes the death of the villagers and Weng Gui’s friend, including her little daughter ಥ_ಥ After this, Jie You isn’t able to escape anymore, she becomes aware of her responsability as Han’s bride and all the people who depend on her. There’s no way back for them.
Jie You finally arrives to Wusun and finds out that Xiongnu had also sent their own bride to seal a political alliance with Wusun. In order to survive in Wusun’s palace, Jie You is forced to change, every movement she makes and every word she says is representing her nation, and one single mistake could end up fatally for her people. The Jie You we see now is full of fears and uncertainty, but above everything, she has to betray her heart constantly, acting like she doesn’t care about Weng Gui.
As for Xiongnu’s bride (Hu Gu), she was meant to marry Wusun’s chief after Jie You, and so becoming her little sister (this is kinda important in royal dynastys because the marrying order has influence in power). However, due to Xiongnu’s incessant attacks during the trip, Han’s escort and Jie You arrives many days later. Jie You gets there precisely at Hu Gu’s and Wusun’s chief wedding day. The “Kunmi”, Jun Xu Mi, who is already aware of rumours claiming Han’s bride isn’t pleased of that marriage, tells Jie You that she can attend to his wedding with Hu Gu as her “rightful” wife (although they haven’t held any ceremony). Jie You knows that this would be an affront to Han’s dynasty, and even ‘though she doesn’t care about turning into the big sister or the little one, she refuses to become his wife without any ceremony.
As a result, Jun Xu Mi and Jie You begin a will duel, in which Jie You promises not to enter the palace (with her whole escort) until Jun Xu Mi give in. Still, after several days, a storm is approaching, threatening Jie You’s will. But meanwhile, Weng Gui (who will always help Jie You, always) persuades Kunmi to allow Jie You’s request. In this way, Jie You gets the wedding ceremony she demanded.
This wedding ceremony is one of the most tearful moments I have spent while watching one drama. I can’t explain how painful was each second. I couldn’t stop crying, and I even blamed Zhang Xin Yi and Yuan Hong’s performance for being that terrific. I don’t want to spoil the details of such a stunning scene to any reader, so I’ll just say that Kunmi had the “amazing” idea of leaving the ceremony preparations to Weng Gui (basically, he forced him to marry the woman he deeply loves to his cousin and chief, R-U-D-E). No need to say how beautiful was the wedding ceremony Weng Gui arranged (he claimed that was how he had pictured his own wedding, with Jie You ಥ_ಥ).
Everyone is celebrating the union, dancing and laughing. Everyone except my OTP. Weng Gui gets drunk, acting like he’s euphoric; and Jie You accepts her destiny in the most mournful way. I wasn’t going to say anything else about this horrible scene, but I can’t help to mention Jie You’s dance. There’s a moment when Jie You starts a Han traditional dance, in order to “celebrate her wedding”, but in fact this is a dance that she promised to dance in her wedding with Weng Gui (R-U-D-E) ಥ_ಥ During the whole performance she stares at Weng Gui, with her eyes filled with tears. What’s even worse, Kunmi is too drunk to even realized how beautiful Jie You is…
Things don’t get any better. When the ceremony is almost over, Kunmi acknowledges that Han’s emperor has sent many troops at the borders between Wusun and Han, with the purpose of pressuring him in case the wedding isn’t held. Kunmi, furious about this, takes it out on Jie You. She basically rapes her in their wedding night, making Jie You to almost kill herself (with Weng Gui’s dagger) and later, raising this dagger over an asleep Kunmi. Of course, she doesn’t do any of these. During the same night, Xiongnu sent some murderers to kill Jie You (in order to assure Hu Gu’s status), but Kunmi saves her.
Many things happen around Kunmi and Jie You’s relationship. Jun Xu Mi‘s first rightful wife also came from Han dynasty, but she passed away in strange circumstances during the labour of their child (who also died). Kunmi truly loved her and he was devastated over her death. His marriage with both Hu Gu and Jie You is merely political. Although in appearance he becomes infatuated with Hu Gu, he slowly develops (real) feelings towards that lovely and stubborn Jie You.
Kunmi is, in fact, a lonely guy who isn’t able to trust anyone. Weng Gui’s existence threatens his status, because the last Wusun chief wanted to make Weng Gui his heir. He knows that Weng Gui, in order to soothe his fears, pretends to be a careless and irresponsible man who can’t assume the throne; but even ‘though, he can’t really trust him. In Kunmi’s mind, Weng Gui will always have a chance to dethrone him. Obviously, things get even more complicated when rumours about a romance between Weng Gui and Jie You are spread.
I ended up feeling pitty over Kunmi. He touched me deeply when he realised that he had fallen in love with Jie You but she doesn’t love him, not in the same way he loves her. He finally found someone in which he could trust, but Jie You’s heart already belonged Weng Gui.
Many of the things he does, in appearance hurting Jie You, are done to protect her from Xiongnu’s attention. He even protects her over his own mother, the emperor dowager. Understanding Jun Xu Mi’s character felt like a natural process to me and I unconsciously got attached to him.
Yuan Wen Kang’s acting was flawless with awesome performances. Some examples are Jie You and Kunmi’s conversation after her miscarriage, which is one of the most tearful and powerful moments of the series (I can’t enumerate all the wonderful scenes that stands out in PJY). Besides, another superb scene is Kunmi accepting the fact that Weng Gui and Jie You are in love, almost going crazy. Later, when he loses the power and is (essentially) dethroned, Yuan Wen Kang marvelously proves again his talent. In my opinion, this last scene is incredibly significant, because here he realizes how “trivial” is the power he has been keeping over everyone he had ever cared.
While talking about Kunmi, I can’t help but mention his loyal Mu Ha Zi, the servant who always follows him and maybe the only person in which Kunmi can really trust. I like Mu Ha Zi and I felt unfair how suddenly he died. Poor Mu Ha Zi, watching over his Kunmi even with his last breath…
In addition to Jie You, Kunmi has two other wives: the mentioned Hu Gu (from Xiongnu’s tribe) and Yun Gu Te (from Wusun’s tribe). The emperor dowager points out how important it was the existence of these wives, each one from one of the three tribes (Wusun, Han and Xiongnu), since it balances their power. Yun Gu Te married Kunmi before Hu Gu and Jie You’s arrival, but their marital story is darkened by various miscarriages. She also has a little brother who has a charge in Wusun’s army (Na Lin Yu Hou).
On the other hand, Hu Gu is announced at first as an highly intelligent woman who is meant to become Jie You’s worst enemy. However, after their first encounters I immediately realized how overrated she was: not match up to Jie You. She felt like a dumb jealous whiner most of the time, but surprisingly towards the end of the series, after becoming the mother of Jun Xu Mi’s unique descendant, she turns into a kinda likeable character. I really loved that (very sudden) twist in which Xiongnu’s general was in fact loyal to her, willing to betray his own tribe and leave everything behind for her. Still, I think she fell in love with Kunmi too abruptly (I couldn’t understand why she was suddenly so in love with Jun Xu Mi, maybe having his child helped).
Another important supporting character is Huai Tian Sha, Jie You’s faithful knight. He’s a really gifted man with a promising future as one of the most skilled Han warriors, loyal at first to Han’s emperor. When Huai Tian Sha’s character is introduced, we see him as a cold-hearted general who doesn’t seem to care about anyone or anything, but this is due to a traumatic past in which he had to kill his own father. Thanks to Jie You, he finds out how charming life can be (yes, he also falls in love with Jie You). He betrays Han’s emperor in order to save Jie You of becoming Han’s bride, and later gives up everything to follow her. He turns into Jie You’s knight, her shield and sword. Everything he does (which is a lot) is done for Jie You.
He is aware of how much Weng Gui and Jie You love each other, but for the sake of everyone (and mainly Jie You), he frequently impedes their meetings. I love the pair Weng Gui and Huai Tian Sha makes, like a magic duet obsessed over Jie You’s security.
Another fact about PJY is how much I enjoyed every fighting scene (particularly Huai Tian Sha and Weng Gui’s duels). Each fighting scene is shot brilliantly and it didn’t feel boring at any single point.
Liu Guan Xiang (Huai Tian Sha’s actor) also has many esteemed scenes. Among my favourite ones: his horrified expression when Han’s Emperor tricks them, making Jie You believe Huai Tian Sha betrayed her; the suffering and decision reflected in his eyes when he proves to Jie You that he didn’t let her down; and basically every time he lost his usual cool when he thinks Jie You is in danger.
Huai Tian Sha is a great guy, and you would have shipped him with Jie You (and maybe someone would also have shipped Jun Xu Mi with her) if Weng Gui wasn’t in this show. Unfortunately for both Huai Tian Sha and Kunmi, the viewer is meant to ship Jie You with Weng Gui since the very first second.
Obviously such a popular guy has his own suitors. I’m talking about Feng Liao, a traveling trader and skilled warrior. She fall for Huai Tian Sha at first sight, and almost at the same time she realized how senseless her love is, because Huai Tian Sha was already in love with Jie You. Unlike Huai Tian Sha, Feng Liao has the courage to confess her love, although being rejected.
You will feel sorry for every single character in this series. Huai Tian Sha and Feng Liao aren’t any exception. I couldn’t stop crying in the last scene: Huai Tian Sha dying by Feng Liao’s side while watching sunrise. Feng Liao once promised Huai Tian Sha that she would tell him the truth about her past (why she wants to take revenge over Changshan Xi Hou), but Huai Tian Sha died without giving her that chance. It broke my heart hearing Feng Liao silent mourn, reproaching Huai Tian Sha for having abandoned her and their promise.
It’s even worse if you consider that Feng Liao also has her suitors: Wusun’s You great general (the other pillar of Wusun’s military force, alongside Weng Gui). He appears briefly, in comparison with other characters, but I immediately adore him. He’s noble and courageous, and refers to Feng Liao as “the woman I love” (how sweet can that be). Also, he doesn’t want to take advantage of Feng Liao, and when she offers her body in exchange of a favour, he rejects her offended.
There’s another member in the Jie You “party”: A Cai. She was part of the traveling circus that raised Jie You, and followed her to Wusun as her maid when she became Han’s bride. It is shown from the beginning that she is interested in Weng Gui (for no reason?), and this grows into an insane obsession. I really tried to (slightly) like her character, since she is someone important to Jie You, but I couldn’t. I didn’t find anything good in A Cai: her actions are disappointingly predictable and later, when she is manipulated by Hu Gu, I couldn’t stop rolling my eyes about how stupid she was.
Otherwise, I must dedicate a few words to the traveling circus chief. Her love to Jie You is purely paternal, caring and selfless.
As I said before, Weng Gui and Jie You will always be my everlasting OTP. I’ve been a long-time fan of Yuan Hong, but PJY surely presents his best role. Everything in Weng Gui’s character is marvelously appealing and prodigious. As Jie You says, Weng Gui is like Wusun’s fields: he embodies the purest form of freedom, courage and simplicity.
Weng Gui falls in love with Jie You and he takes this love to the very end. His pain is so genuine that can make you forget the real world. He’s aware of how miserable their love will make them, so in order to make things easier to Jie You, he decides to leave to Wusun’s limits. This doesn’t last too long because he hears that Jie You is in danger and leaves everything behind just to save her (no need to say he almost died in the attempt). This happens many more times but it doesn’t feel repetitive or overfilled at any point. Jie You tries to keep distance with Weng Gui, but he always appears by her side when everything is falling apart, protecting and guarding her from every kind of risk.
I adore(d) that scene in which Weng Gui gets horribly jealous of Kunmi, for whom Jie You puts all her efforts in winning an archery contest with Xiongnu’s tribe. That kiss, with awesome scenography and brilliant context, is one of the best on-screen kisses I have ever watched (✿ ♥‿♥)
PJY’s writers tear you apart even more when they decided that Weng Gui should also have a wretched wedding (organized by Jie You this time… R-U-D-E). Weng Gui’s wedding and its eve are other indescribably impressive scenes ಥ_ಥ. I won’t spread myself anymore in praises and spoilers, but if you have read this review until here, you may be asking if it’s true how flawlessly I’m depicting PJY. My answer: just watch and see it by your own eyes.
I confess to have felt horribly hopeless around the last episodes, almost wanting to drop the series, because I was convinced that Jie You and Weng Gui weren’t getting their deserved happy ending… I literally shouted of joy when I found out that I was pleasingly wrong (ﾉ◕ヮ◕)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧
Of course, the show is not all about love and drama, there’s a suspense element. The premise is that the prior Han’s bride died in strange circumstances. After Jie You’s arrival to Wusun’s palace she realizes there’s a mysterious presence spying on her, who is later revealed as the prior Han’s bride maid (Xi Nü). She escaped after becoming aware of the many strangeness surrounding her lady’s death. After that, she stayed secretly investigating the truth.
The big bad guy in this show is Changshan Xi Hou. I wasn’t really “expecting” this, because he just seemed like a normal antagonistic with no major moves. If I had to point our any flaw in the script, I would say that they introduced all these things too abruptly. It’s like the show took a strange turn all suddenly. I was expecting something more, an awesome twist which was at the level of PJY’s quality (I thought the villain would be someone unforeseen: maybe Weng Gui’s father, Mu Ha Zi, or another character not introduced). Basically, when Changshan Xi Hou was exposed as the big bad guy I was like “meh, okay”.
Changshan Xi Hou has a little sister, A Yi Na. She grew up with Weng Gui and Jun Xu Mi, and has been in love with the first one since ever. She was at first a good friend of Jie You, but after marrying Weng Gui and becoming aware of his real feelings, she hates Jie You for lying and betraying her. No need to mention that Jie You arranged a beautiful wedding ceremony for Weng Gui and A Yi Na. I don’t dislike A Yi Na, ‘though her constant weeping and her suicide attempt felt kinda annoying. In the end, when she dies protecting Weng Gui you will feel sorry, because she may have deserved more. It’s the same as Jun Xu Mi or Huai Tian Sha. Weng Gui and Jie You’s ship is so unquestionable that you can’t see any of them with another person, independently of how perfect he/she is.
If it was up to me, I would spent days and days talking about how much I loved this show and the incredible performance of the cast. Zhang Xin Yi and Yuan Hong were in the show’s spotlight, but Yuan Wen Kang’s acting as Jun Xu Mi and Liu Guan Xiang’s as Huai Tian Sha were also terrific. I haven’t got any kind of criticism over the cast: they carried out a brilliant script to a even more amazing point.
I can’t believe how underrtaed Princess Jie You is, I would recommend this show to everyone. In my opinion, it has the perfect formula to create an unforgettable artwork capable of touching people’s heart.
The soundtrack is accurate to the feelings portrayed, sensitive enough. Every time I heard its songs I’ll recall the awesome scenography of PJY: the boundless fields of grass, the bluest sky and the vastness of the desert.
These are, in conclusion, the reason why I am giving PJY the highest score. I could name some flaws (an ordinary villain who is not at the level of the show’s quality, too suddenly introduced twists or plot lines…), but these “defects” are nothing if you take a general look at the whole work.
I was pleasingly surprised by PJY, felt inevitably in love with each character and cried sorely because they managed to bring fiction to whole new level. I’m thankful for this experience, because watching PJY surely felt like a lifetime experience.
I will leave some of my favourite photos of Yuan Hong and Zhang Xin Yi’s wedding (why? never ask why to a fangirl). At first, when I heard Yuan Hong was getting married I was really impressed, even more when I knew the bride was an actress I’d never met before. After watching PJY, I understood everything. That kind of chemistry can’t be helped.
Besides, their wedding had the best groomsmen of the history: Hu Ge, Ma Tian Yu, Eddie Peng and Liu Hao Ran.
- Plot: 20/20
- Cast: 20/20
- OST: 10/10
- Scenography: 10/10
- Costume: 10/10
- Overall: 10/10