First Impressions: Story of Yanxi Palace

As a huge fan of palace dramas with catfights and lots of schemings, Story of Yanxi Palace 延禧攻略 is totally my kind of drama as it ticks all the right boxes and even comes with a refreshing plucky female lead that kicks ass and doesn’t allow herself to be bullied since the start of the drama.

Story of Yanxi Palace First Impressions
Story of Yanxi Palace is a surprisingly good watch with palace politics and lots of schemings amongst women.
Synopsis: Story of Yanxi Palace follows the story of Wei Ying Luo (acted by Wu Jin Yan) who entered the palace as a palace maid in a bid to discover the truth behind her older sister’s (who was also a palace maid) death. It chronicles her journey in the Forbidden Palace as she navigates through the perils and eventually rises to become Consort Ling.
Fast-paced and loaded with ‘action’
The first episode is surprisingly fast-paced and packed with ‘action’. We got introduced to the spunky female lead Wei Ying Luo who saved a fellow palace maid from two potential mishaps due to her quick wit (all within one episode of content!), a sneak peek of the undercurrent of tension between the Empress (acted by Qin Lan) and Consort Gao (acted by Tan Zhuo), a glimpse of the other consorts and the hierarchy of power among them.
Story of Yanxi Palace First Impressions
Story of Yanxi Palace chronicles the life of Wei Ying Luo who navigates through the dangers in the palace and eventually becomes Consort Ling.
At this stage, it is still not easy to tell who is really good and who might be secretly bad except for Consort Gao who is blatantly bad. Yes, she is that obvious in her portrayal of a power-hungry troublemaker consort used to getting her way. Expect lots of insolent eye rolling and sneering in Consort Gao’s scenes. In fact when I was watching Consort Gao’s scenes, I can’t help but wonder if the actress was inspired by Jiang Xin’s Hua Fei from Legend of Zhen Huan. The end result is unfortunately a rather one-dimensional portrayal though.
Story of Yanxi Palace First Impressions
Tan Zhuo as Consort Gao, a power hungry consort who is always pitting against the Empress.

The biggest highlight of any palace dramas has got to be the intricate relationships among the consorts and their true selves and motivations. I am definitely interested to know more about the rest of the consorts one by one as well as see them pit themselves against one another as the drama goes on.

Plucky and Intelligent Female Lead that is a refreshing change

I’ve not heard of the lead actress Wu Jin Yan before and frankly speaking, my first thought was ……this lady does not look like a lead. I mean I will believe if she is acting as a sidekick palace maid throughout the drama. However I think she did a decent job in her portrayal, and it indeed helped a lot that her role is a likeable and believable one that makes it easy to be popular among viewers.

Story of Yanxi Palace First Impressions
Wu Jin Yan acted as the spunky female lead Wei Ying Luo who fights back when bullied.
Contrary to typical palace dramas where the female lead is often portrayed as naive and too-nice-for-their-own-good initially, over here we have a female lead unapologetic about standing up for herself and others when bullied. She believes in getting revenge and serving the bullies their just desserts which makes it a really refreshing and satisfying change. It certainly piques my interest and makes me keen in following her journey as she manoeuvres through the dangers in the palace and deals the evildoers the comeuppance they deserve.
Given the hype that this drama is getting right now, I’m curious to see if Wu Jin Yan will propel into A-list fame (much like Sun Li after Legend of Zhen Huan) after this drama ends. While I have no complaints about her acting, I did not detect much star power or anything especially remarkable from her yet and will have to watch on to find out.
Judging from the fast-paced and addictive plot I have watched so far, I expect Story of Yanxi Palace to be a enjoyable and binge-worthy watch, and will especially appeal to viewers who are into grand settings, palace politics and lots of schemings amongst women.

If you enjoyed reading my review, be sure to check out my blog where I write about C-dramas, K-dramas and occasional travel pieces!


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