The Fated General, which is a historical drama based on the life of Huo Qubing, stars Zhang Ruoyun (The Evolution of Our Love), Mao Xiaotong (Delicious Destiny), Alan Yu Menglong (All Out of Love) and Bai Yu (Suddenly This Summer). The series has finished production last year but hasn’t aired as of yet and it seems to be drawing flak from critics who think the drama series about the distinguished military general of the Western Han dynasty isn’t historically accurate.
The main cause of the controversy lies in Huo Qubing’s identity. Historically, Huo Qubing is known as the nephew of Wei Qing and Empress Wei Zifu, which makes him royalty. Huo Qubing in the drama is a simple foot soldier. The rumors go as far as to say that leading man Zhang Ruoyun didn’t believe in Huo Qubing’s backstory, thinking that if he were so privileged, why would his family send him off to battle and endanger his life?
Huo Qubing was such a legendary figure in Chinese history because despite his young age, he was fearless and made great achievements. Critics questioned the idea of downplaying Huo Qubing’s family background to turn him into a simple foot soldier?
Through the trailers, naysayers went further to pick apart the scenes. The Han emperor’s robes were historically black but the in drama series, it was yellow. The Fated General also had the heroine dance with a male general in the barracks, which was erroneous since women were explicitly forbidden to enter a military camp back in the day. Another was the speculation that The Fated General added a storyline between Huo Qubing and a Hun general, turning them into confidants who became enemies due to opposing sides. Historically, the Huns were never friends with the Han Dynasty as they were in a state of war.
Several fans of Zhang Ruoyun have expressed their support for the The Fated General by saying that television is for entertainment and that if people wanted history, they should watch a documentary instead.
Due to mounting criticism even before broadcast, The Fated General took to Weibo to answer several of the accusations. They clarify that they have respected historical records and made some reasonable changes without altering the identity and personal design of the historical figures. They further said that Huo Qubing’s achievements were not downplayed and that The Fated General had a professional team of writers wherein actors had no right to modify the story. The producers also mentioned that Huo Qubing was never portrayed as friends with the Huns.
As things stand now, the only way we can be sure of who or what has or hasn’t been changed is to wait for The Fated General to air. Do you think critics have gone overboard? Are too many dramas changing history to fit their story?