As we all expected, I have softened in my hatred of the emperor, though I’m still not in his camp 100 percent.
The four things in his favor (potential spoilers after the jump):
- He really is quite sweet and gentle to his legitimate wife, though he disdains his concubines i.e. the women he’s forced to marry for political alliance reasons
- his concubines really are very problematic, hahaha. I can see why he really doesn’t want to deal with their constant shit
- he’s very intelligent and can see through most of the cunning and backstabbing and therefore make fair assessments, and I do so enjoy smart men
- our heroine can still run circles around him. she messes with his mind (at great peril to her LIFE) and he doesn’t realize he’s been messed with until an hour later hahahahaha. This is the kind of male-female dynamic I live for!
Of course he’s completely smitten with her. In his mind he hates her and wants to punish her for the disrespect…. but he can’t bring himself to hurt her. All his eunuchs are eye-rolling because he would have ordered floggings and beheadings had it been anyone else. Yet somehow she just gets away with it.
That said, I don’t think he’s the male lead. At this point, anyway. Though they may be pulling a 4th Prince/8th Prince-type switcheroo here. The guy our heroine gets fluttery for is the Empress’s younger brother, whom she at first suspects may be the culprit behind her sister’s rape and death. They’re both hella suspicious of each other, but still so very attracted despite themselves. I enjoy watching them breathlessly circle each other very much!
The heroine is still A+ in my book. Her mind is downright DIABOLICAL, I love it so much. She sets up traps so skillfully that her enemies don’t fall into them unless they themselves CHOOSE TO DO THE WRONG THING. Had they proceeded like a decent human being nothing would have happened. Take the asshole route, and the consequences are draconian. And I mean, our girl isn’t miss-ish about the amount of hurt she delivers either. Holy Cow. She hits back 100x as hard. And props to the writer because it always feels like justice and not overboard cruelty. Life in the palace is not for the faint of heart!
The other happy development in this drama is that the Empress is a genuinely good soul, warm and sweet and wise…but maybe not cut out for the vicious manipulations in the harem. But our girl totally is! And now that the Empress has taken her under her wing, she has a really strong protector in our heroine. Not gonna lie, I love watching her win, even when the situation seems utterly hopeless, she pulls a clever solution out of her ass and it’s just sooooo satisfying!!!!
Yes, I am enjoying this drama very much, and would recommend so far with two thumbs way up!