Curse of the Royal Harem Overview

It's already been awhile since I've finished Curse of the Royal Harem and have totally forgotten about a review ^^; So I'll only be talking about some stuff I still somewhat I'm sorry if I left out a whole bunch of stuff T.T

(currently working on Wish and Switch's review behind!)

I've read many reviews for this and overall have not heard many liking this series so much? I personally did not find it so bad and it actually turned out enjoyable at times. Haha maybe because I never expected much from it? Only started the series because my parents were watching it. I've also seen people comparing it to War and Beauty.'s no where near the level of War and Beauty either based on acting or storyline. But if compared to Beyond the Realm of Conscience (also a palace drama focused on the rivalries amongst the concubines), the acting still cannot be in comparison, but I do prefer the story/characters of Harem much more.

Myolie Wu as Yuen Yuen
While the series was airing, there were a number of criticism on Myolie's portrayal of the empress. I agree to some extent but did not think she was absolutely horrible because this is after all her first evil role. It does not surprise me to see her trying so hard to be evil (the eyes...popping) because that is usually what happens (Tavia also did that in Beyond, but just not as much). As for her character, I guess the information I read before hand had kind of mislead my thoughts on her character. I initially thought that Yuen Yuen is fully evil, but turns out she's just an impulsive and rash character. I didn't really like that because when I think of an empress, she just did not fit due to her personality. Her mother was the mastermind behind everything while Yuen Yuen simply stood as a puppet.

To be honest, I found Yuen Yuen to be the most interesting to watch and she's the reason why I did not give up the series. It's amazing how Myolie's acting dramatically improved as the series progressed. She definitely exaggerated in the beginning but as her character turn nice/sad, she became perfect for the role!

Jessica as Yee Lan
I got both disappointment from Jessica's acting and character at the same time. First, I did like her character's intelligence, but overall bland characteristics in comparison to Myolie's. As for her acting, I just...didn't think she fit a gentle character such as Yee Lan. When she wanted to sound calm and gentle, to me, it was rather monotone. The only scene that really left an impression on me is during the fire scene, where Yee Lan had to choose either to rescue Yuen Yuen's baby or not. This moment showed us how her heart is no longer the one of Yee Lan's from before, because she had made the decision to leave a newborn child in the fire. Definitely one of the best scene! Different from Myolie who did well in her gentler scenes, Jessica did not but instead did well in her "evil" scenes.

Sunny Chan as Daoguang Emperor
Sunny arguably gave the best performance among the casts. I thought his portrayal as the caring and weak king was very well done. On the other hand, it is quite unfortunate how he was scripted into such a weak emperor role, in the background of his concubines. His opium addiction scenes are really convincing and are probably the scenes I enjoyed the most from Sunny :)

Illogical or not?
Daoguang Emperor's (Sunny Chan) mother played by Gigi Wong is a very confusing character. Why did she want to take down her "son" (Sunny Chan) from the throne? he is not her blood re-lated son, so that is a reason. Other than that? She took care of him since he was young and also gave him that throne! After twenty years or so...why the sudden change of mind to get the throne back? I really don't get it...or did I miss something while watching the series? Anybody care to explain this?

Joel Chan as Min Yan
An dependable actor whom often get typecasted into evil/jerk roles. Fortunately in here, he plays as the righteous prince who deeply loves Yuen Yuen (Myolie Wu). I enjoyed watching him alot. He is such a devoted lover while still trying his best to keep his loyalty to his brother (Sunny Chan).

The brotherhood amongst the two is something worth mentioning. While other series often script their brothers fighting for the throne, this one showed a stronger bond amongst the brothers. Though their love life often get entangled with each other(Sunny loving his elder brother's wife (Jessica) and Joel loving his 2nd brother's wife (Myolie)), they still maintained (to a certain extent...) their relationship. That makes me really happy :)

Some Memorable Scenes

Cheung Kwok-Keung as Wai Fuk On (aka the empress's eunuch) Devoted his loyalty to only the empress, he fell in love with the concubine (Elena Kong). He risked everything he had for her and only wishes to stay by her side. It was utterly heart-breaking to hear her response, when he asked her if she ever saw him more than a friend. An amazing actor ;)

Yuen Yuen (Myolie Wu) miscarriage. Feeling guilty that Yee Lan (Jessica Hsuan) might lose her baby, Yuen Yuen decided to save her and ended up tripping down the stairs herself. When she woke up though, her own baby was gone. The shock mix with the sadness and urge to stay quiet was a terribly sad sight to see.

Beside that, any scenes involving Yuen Yuen with her baby were also heart-wrenching to watch. (The one where she prayed repeatedly to get her son back (unconscious) etc) Also another one involved her saving Yee Lan's son. Though she might not be so good before...she did not hesitate to save the baby (Yee Lan's baby) while Yee Lan did (Yuen Yuen's baby). How someone act in front of others may not be so true compared to how they act in circumstances like this. Yee Lan hesitated because she saw Yuen Yuen's baby as a threat, while Yuen Yuen saved Yee Lan's baby as an automatic response. We could then see that Yee Lan is not as pure as she showed to be, she is too smart for her own good.

Yuen Yuen's (Myolie Wu) and Min Yan's (Joel Chan) ending. One of the most touching scenes of the series! I could re-watch it again and again and would tear up every time. Min Yan wanted to kill Daoguang Emperor (Sunny Chan) but in the end, he decided to let him go and asked his brother to promise to forgive "their" mother (Gigi Wong). When he wanted to shoot himself, Yuen Yuen threw up the ring he gave her (their "love" symbol?) in order to distract him from pulling the trigger. Unfortunately, he still pulled it while trying to catch the ring. He then told Yuen Yuen to continue and live a happy life...but how could she? Yuen Yuen then pulled out the hairpin from her hair and stabbed herself in the heart. (omg..this was so sad!!!!) In the end, both of them laid in each other's arms mesmerizing the times they shared together in the past. This scene definitely became the highlight of the series for me! So heart breaking Q.Q Their love is so deep...if only there was a way for them to start over again :/

Another includes this:

Yee Lan's ending?
In trade for power and status, she ended up losing the loyal "friends" that stood by her side throughout the whole time and also her husband (Sunny Chan). Yee Lan was no longer Yee Lan, not only did she lose the people beside her...she also lost herself. *sigh* the things we do to gain power/wealth...we sometimes tend to forget our own conscience don't we? :/

Horrendous Moment of the Century!
I asked myself...why? Why in the world would tvb do this? I never got my answer :P Utterly shocked to see the balloon go up. To be honest, after they got on the did they manage to get back down? There were no ropes attached to the balloon should freely fly away (then crash when the fire goes out). Aiya...these scenes burned my eyes :P

More Screencaps 1 -
More Screencaps 2 -


scalae3 said...

The throne first belong to Sunny's older brother, who was also Gigi's biological son. Only when he died, Sunny took over, I guess because it's supposed to be passed down to the second oldest son if the oldest one died before he had any children, I don't know. Another thing is that Sunny seemed to listen to Gigi in the beginning so it doesn't really matter if he's the emperor or not, all the decisions will first go through her anyways. And when Sunny married Yee Lan, he seemed to listen to her more and started to go against Gigi. Feeling threatened, Gigi would naturally want to dethrone him and crown her own son Min Yan instead.

Agree with you that it was a horrendous ending. I couldn't hold my laughter when I first watched the scene :)

lynne said...

Really? I thought Sunny was already the king beforehand o.O wow that is something big I missed...thanks for the explanation though, everything makes sense now :D

lols I know right x) I don't know what in the world tvb was thinking! haha...

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