First Impressions: Sound of the Desert

I said I wasn’t going to post about this and what did I do? I decided to post about it after all.

I don’t watch many Chinese or Taiwanese dramas. I just don’t. Bad me. I figured I’d give a few first impressions of the first seven episodes of this drama (I think there’s like 35 or so total), which has been known under several names before becoming Feng Zhong Qi Yuan/Sound of the Desert. Our start is very light, but if you’ve followed the never-ending delays and the trailers for this drama, or if you’ve read the novel (Da Mo Yao by Tong Hua), you know that it definitely won’t end light.

Our drama opens with a girl who lives with wolves and dresses in raggedy clothes, Xin Yue (Liu Shi Shi). She decides to rob some travellers in hopes of finding a new set of clothes and salt. This is where she first meets the stately and calm (and crippled) Mo Xun (Hu Ge). Oddly enough he keeps his men from punishing her when caught and even gives her the salt and clothes. His parting words is that a woman should be living among humans and not wolves. The next day…or however much time has passed, Xin Yue catches a group of travellers being attacked by bandits and calls her wolves to her to help save them. Thus she is tasked with leading the men out of the desert. This is where she meets Wei Wu Ji (Eddie Peng) for the first time.

Liu Shi Shi, Eddie Peng

Wei Wu Ji & Xin Yue

Xin Yue and Wu Ji have a very teasing relationship from the very beginning. Wu Ji appears cold at times, but he is quite the tease when it comes Xin Yue. He does not give the girl in the desert his real name, just as Xin Yue doesn’t completely trust him either. After these two meetings an all this interactions again with humans, Xin Yue decides to strike out on her own in the city that her adopted father talked about so often. Of course, things in the city aren’t as easy as she thought they would be and she’s quickly without a home, food, or money, and ends up getting kidnapped to a dance house which eventually puts her back into contact with Mo Xun who takes her in and she decides to devote her life to helping this man. She later learns of Wei Wu Ji’s true identity, but since she now has Mo Xun, she does not show herself to Wu Ji, but the two find each other again eventually and the trio’s lives start to entangle.

I am enjoying this drama so far. There are things I don’t find 100% believable, though. I think it’s only in like episode two where Xin Yue decides to devote herself to Mo Xun and helping the man return glory to the Shi House. Oh sure, these two have tons of tense moments while being in close proximity and you can’t deny that Hu Ge and Liu Shi Shi do have some great chemistry together (since I don’t watch a lot of Chinese dramas, I’ve never seen their other pairings, but I do know this couple has a strong following), but I just really don’t see how Xin Yue, who was so cautious when it comes to humans in general, can so quickly jump on the Mo Xun bandwagon. That’s just me. I also didn’t get the feeling that she returned to the city to seek out Wu Ji, although she talks about how she had hoped to find him, but found Mo Xun instead and then she did not need to find Wu Ji anymore.

I’m a huge fan of wolves. I have been most of my life. They aren’t stupid creatures and you know that Xin Yue does have to have some intelligence as she is considered an alpha in the wolf pack, but it is a bit surprising how naïve, intelligent, and how very human she is, how much she knows and how little she knows. I believe she only lived as a human for 6 years after being raised by wolves and then it sounds like something horrible happened and her adopted father passed away. Her father taught her many things about human life, and I guess that means to talk, read, and write, etc. Xin Yue is constantly showing her cleverness and getting praised. But…if they make her very articulate and she can easily maneuver political waters and tense situations and she can read and write…WHY doesn’t she know a thing about money? She easily blows the small fortune Wu Ji gave her for her help leading him and his men out of the desert. She overspends on little things and then buys a meal that cost her the rest of her money….and you know what one of the jobs was she tried to get when she was desperately seeking work? Managing a household’s books.

Does that make sense? Not really. I also think it’s a bit of a stretch that she quickly gets to become the manager of a dance hall. Sure, she has Hong Gu (Kristal) and what’s his name to help mentor her…but it’s pretty unbelievable about how fast she takes on the dance hall with no knowledge of business or anything like that and manages to make the business a roaring success…and this is when she comes back into contact with Wei Wu Ji (who came looking for her after she disappeared into Hong Gu’s dance hall and no one knew her whereabouts). Anywho, I do have a bone to pick about what they choose for her to know so brilliantly well and what they choose for her to be very naïve about. It’s just very inconsistent. I am a bit surprised that she does know about the current emperor and the general idea of what it means to live in the royal harem (enough for her to wonder why the mysterious veiled Qin Xiang wants to enter the palace).

Hu Ge as Mo Xun

Mo Xun

Liu Shi Shi is doing a good acting job with Xin Yue. Her wolf behaviors are amusing, like the way she eats her food and the way she howls her feelings at the moon and even how she attempts to swim in a doggy paddle style. This character in a way does have some strong similarities with Ruo Xi of Bu Bu Xing Jin. This was filmed like right after she did that drama or something like that. I do like her interactions with both Eddie’s character and Hu Ge’s. In a way, her relationship with both men mimic the men’s attitudes themselves. With Mo Xun, even though she still shows her exuberance, Xin Yue is a bit more tamed and is really just as cautious as he is at showing a strong affection. Most of the time she doesn’t even go into his room and just watches silently outside of his door. With Wu Ji she is much more lively and doesn’t really keep her feelings secret and they just seem to have a more open and honest relationship and a nice friendship. Of course, Wu Ji has declared that he will win Xin Yue back (he can tell her relationship with Mo Xun is NOT normal) and Xin Yue equally declares that she is blatantly deciding to ignore his meaning. At least she’s honest about it.

I do have to say, I think it’s episode 7, the naughty books scenes are hilarious. Now knowing Qin Xiang’s history and why she wants to enter the palace, Xin Yue manages to get her an audience with Wu Ji’s aunt and thus she has Qin Xiang start studying everything from The Art of War, to a book about medicine, to books about male and female relationships. Of course they don’t have those books and Xin Yue has to ask a favor of Wu Ji to get them from the royal library. For herself? Nope. I had to laugh when Eddie tells her to study the books as well and ask him any questions—he’d be happy to demonstrate. And the two innocent girls’ reactions with the books are priceless. Although, you have to admit that Xin Yue’s fantasies after looking over the book are very tame—she dreams of kissing Mo Xun.

We are already entering in on very complicated relationships and you know they will only get worse as the drama progresses and you have the scenes from trailers and the opening and ending sequences to back it up. Although you know it will get heavy and heartbreaking, it is enjoyable and hopefully it will continue to delight throughout the series. With Qin Xiang’s (Fala Chen) character and what is coming for her, I have no idea 100% why, but I just can’t help but recall a certain character from Beauties of the Emperor, Miao Ge. She wanted a better life, fell in love with the same man as her best friend, and at times became enemies with her best friend because of said man. Anywho, she entered more than one palace for all the wrong reasons and lost probably a true love in the process. I fell, especially with the introduction of a Master Li Ji (Han Dong aka 9th Prince from BBJX) that’s what we’re going to have for her.

As for Wu Ji’s aunt…I think she’s a concubine of the Emperor just below the rank of Empress…at first I didn’t mind her, but after she gets upset that Wu Ji taught her son a lesson and then started belittling him…you know she’s going to have a hand in some bad things for Wu Ji. We all know her son will be plotting against his cousin as well. So this show will have so many tangled threads being woven together it will be interesting to see how tangled everything becomes…and I’m sure partly annoying as well.

Let the games begin! How well will our characters play them?

Oh, and check out the OST for this drama! The music is absolutely gorgeous! The lyrics of the songs are pretty amazing, too.

12 comments

  • just to clarify, wu ji has two aunts who are major characters. one is his mothers sister and the empress. the other one is his uncles wife and the elder princess.
    xin yue trusted jiu ye cuz he reminded her of her father. her father educated her well, but they lived in the desert and had a different monetary system.

    • That’s right. I keep forgetting that she says Jiu Ye is a lot like her adoptive father, which would bring her to trust him and like him quite quickly.

  • I don’t think the aunt is a concubine, she is a princess. So I think she’s the sister of the emperor? Agreed about the money part, especially now that you mention how she wanted to balance the account books for a job. O_O”

    I think it’s kinda funny how they devoted sooo many scenes to dramatically show Qin Xiang and the guy played by Han Dong passing by each other in slo-mo, marveling at each other’s music, etc. I hope they finally meet soon!

    AHA the kissing dream…at first I was all WHAT how did we skip so quickly to this? Then I realized it was a dream..heheheh. It is official that Xin Yue has fallen for Mo Xun considering how she fantasizes about him..

    • Yep, she’s a total goner for Mo Xun. When Wu Ji says their relationship is not normal, she talks about how much she owes to Mo Xun/Jiu Ye, but you know it’s not just a debt of gratitude for her and that is why Wu Ji made his declaration to win her back from MX.

      I think Li Ji and Qin Xiang’s scenes are hilarious in a way as they talk of fate and soul mates and have all those epic slo-mo moments with the two. When will they “find” each other? And will they recognize who the other is?

      • They’ve barely missed each other like 3 times already! Hopefully they’ll realize it soon. T_T” And it’s not THAT hard to miss Qin Xiang since she’s always wearing the veil. O_O”

        Yup Wu Ji knows it just from one look! Aww!

  • I feel that Xin Yue’s character outshines Mo Xun and Wuji’s personalities. Outshine isn’t really the word, but I can’t think of another one atm. For instance, the drama isn’t letting us get to know the inner thoughts of Mo Xun and Wuji. Their character development is all through the audience’s assumptions. Honestly, if I had not read the novel, Wuji’s cold character seems like he could have been an antagonist at any time. The drama needs to portray more character development for Mo Xun and Wuji, esp. Wuji.

    Despite the flaws of the drama, I still enjoy it very much because of Eddie Peng! (: & I’m finally becoming a fan of Liu Shi Shi.

    SIDENOTE*: I don’t really watch anymore new Chinese dramas because I haven’t been satisfied with how they turn out. Such as Swordsman and Perfect Couple. It lacked so much and it was VERY INCONSISTENT as a whole plot (in my opinion! I’m not trying to offend anyone here…).

    • noo why have you tried other ones based on Jin Yong novels. A lot of people (including me) were mad watching the latest version of Swordsman too.

      • I don’t actually watch too many Cdramas…

  • ooh you’re right never thought of it that way about the inconsistencies with Xin Yue but if she is a genius, maybe she just learns things very quickly.

    I still really like that she’s a strong female lead though – smart, good at fighting and can definitely hold her own.

    • Yes, she is a good female lead. Her lowest point was running away when Jiu Ye/Mo Xun lacerated her heart…which she opened herself up to time and time again. But, she does kick butt and is pretty strong compared to other female leads.

  • The drama is based on a novel. Some of the details are not as well addressed in the drama, so some people may not find the flow of the story as smooth.

    In the novel, her adopted father, a scholar who was the teacher of a prince, taught her loads about politics and war. She was made to recite many classics. The background of the story was the Han dynasty and the original character Wuji is actually a general at that time who died at the age of 23. For some reasons, the drama didn’t get passed China’s official censorship and many names and historical background was changed in order to comply.

  • I agree that the drama is inconsistent with how Xin yue (among other things) is developed, but about the money thing…She is the alpha so she has to be manipulative and smart (etc), so those traits can be translated into interactions with human. However, with spending money for the first time (I’m assuming, but this is where the inconsistency comes in because she lived with humans b4, but maybe because their currency were different? IDK), she doesn’t know how much things are worth. Look at it from the point of view that she is a teenager in a different country with different currency..she pays what she is told. I’m sure I’d do the same if I don’t know how much things are really worth. Also, her being the manager was rushed, and they should’ve spent more time showing her learning, but I’m glad they didn’t because it would’ve dragged out the story and frankly, I really don’t care for it lol. However, the story does show her reading informative books (the book of wars, etc) and flashbacks of her telling her stories (her father teaching her different things), so I saw that as the story explaining her intelligence. Another thing is that although she is clever because she is the alpha, she is “animal clever” not human clever. Animals are pretty straight forward, and humans aren’t. When she lived with wolves, it was either hunt or be hunted. She knew who the enemies were. But in the human world, there were so many fake people, so it’s plausible that she was clever at certain things, but not others.

    Wu Ji has 2 aunts. One biological (the princess–sister of the emperor and the one that raised him, along side the uncle. The second aunt is not biological and is the Empress.

    Xin yue trusted Mo Xun because he reminded her of her father. She was still only a teenager and he took care of her.

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