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.
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).
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.