Merry Christmas! It’s traditionally a day to spend time with family where I’m from and it seems more fitting than ever to air The Story of Minglan 知否知否应是绿肥红瘦, which is a story that explores familial relationships. It’s not a drama I’d normally watch, but the hype around it is contagious and for good reason. I know what I’m watching tonight (subbed on Viki)!
Zhao Liying as Sheng Minglan, the 6th and youngest daughter of the Sheng Family. The level-headed heroine tries to survive in a political household amidst countless machinations in her family. Being the unfavored daughter, her father is indifferent towards her and her sisters bully her, making life difficult to bear. Fortunately, Minglan is not the type to bow down to fate. Through the unconditional love and support of Grandma Sheng, she’s discreet about her intelligence and learns to stand on her own two feet to become a force to be reckoned with.
Feng Shaofeng as Gu Tingye, the son of Marquis Gu. Reprimanded by his own father for being a worthless son, Gu Tingye wasted his younger years seeking pleasure in women and wine. He rescues Minglan from harm many times after they meet. As she rises in position, Gu Tingye experiences a misfortune and wanders away until he ultimately finds his path in the military.
Zhu Yilong as Qi Heng, the second son of Duke Qi. He is a famous young noble in the capital. He is handsome, educated and gentlemanly. He and Minglan become mutually attracted to each other at first sight, but politics gets in the way of their relationship and leads to a lifetime of regret.
Shi Shi as Sheng Molan, the 4th daughter of the Sheng Family. She is Sheng Hong and Lin Qinshuang’s illegitimate daughter. She appears gentle and frail but her heart is cruel and ruthless. She is Minglan’s biggest opponent before marriage.
Zhang Jianing as Sheng Rulan, the 5th daughter of the Sheng Family. She is Sheng Hong and Wang Ruofu’s second daughter. She is honest and doesn’t have a shred of deceit. Towards love, she is a brave woman who will fight for the man that she loves regardless of his background.
Cao Cuifen as Grandma Sheng. She is wise and fair. Widowed at a young age, she raised her illegitimate son and helped him on a path to success. In her older days, she cared for and protected Minglan who lost her mother at a young age.
Liu Jun as Shen Hong, the patriarch of the family. He is a man who puts the interests of the Sheng Family above all else. He is ambitious and perceptive, but troubled by the affairs in his household.
Liu Lin as Wang Ruofu, the mother of the household.
Gao Lu as Lin Qinshuang, Shen Hong’s mistress. Just like her daughter, she is adept at scheming and often uses her tears to her advantage.
Wang Renjun as Sheng Changbo, the eldest son of the Sheng Family. He is a kind brother and a dutiful son who can sacrifice his life for the sake of family. He is learned yet humble. He cares for his siblings but often plays a stern figure.
Wang Yinan as Xiao Qin Shi, Gu Tingye’s stepmother. I’m noticing a trend of two-faced characters at this point. As a mistress, Xiao Qi Shi tries hard to play the role of a loving mother and wife while hiding her ambition to help her own son gain favor.
Li Yixiao as Zhu Manniang, playing a villain again I’m sure (if you’ve seen Legend of Dugu and Legend of Fuyao, you’ll know what I mean). She is a calculating woman beneath her gentle exterior. Coming from poverty, she is determined to move up in life and resorts to underhanded methods to fulfill her dreams. After meeting Gu Tingye, she gains the chance to enter the Marquis Household.
Chen Jin as Princess Pingning, Duke Qi’s legitimate wife.
Wang Herun as Sheng Hualan, the 3rd daughter of the Sheng Family and the eldest among the girls.
Zhang Xiaoqian as Sheng Changfeng, the 2nd son of the Sheng Family.