The Flame's Daughter. A Timeless Story of Loving Someone to Eternity

Watching Chinese series and films in wuxia genre with complicated twist and subplot is always mind-bogging. Unless you know the philosophy and logic of the martial arts discipline in ancient China.

Apart from the layers of characters and scenes presented, there's an intertwining story of warrior adventures and flows of conflict that made everything so difficult to absorb.

But I am always a huge fan of wuxia genre because of the breathtaking scenery, exciting action scenes and level of entertainment it offers to the viewers. 

The Flame's Daughter, shown in Philippine television as Fire of Eternal Love, is just one of those fewest wuxia genre series I am so drawn up with.

What is a wuxia genre?

It's a typical genre in Chinese fiction often used in period films and TV series that retell the adventure of martial arts heroes defending kingdoms to restore peace. Wuxia in Chinese means "martial art heroes". 

Usually the plot tells a story of warriors in ancient China, trained in various martial arts discipline aims to defeat evil forces and restore harmony and justice in the land.

Flying warriors, typical in wuxia genre

All those fighting scenes in a traditional Chinese movie where characters seem flying while pursuing their enemies and displaying their unique martial arts skills. That's wuxia genre.

The Flame's Daughter

Now, here comes an adventure-fantasy series in a wuxia genre that tackles, not only the art of warfare and heroism, but more on the different dimension of falling in love.

A transcendental love that knows no bound, a selfish love that destructs lives, an altruistic love that expects nothing in return. These three types of love are framed in an epic adventure fight between the good and the evil.

The Flame's Daughter is a 2018 Chinese TV series based on a novel of the same title by Ming Xiaoxi. The title is a reference to the lead protagonist, Lie Ruge's identity as a daughter of the leader of the Flaming Hill's sect and her ability to produce fire in her hands as her martial arts skill.

Vic Zhou and Dilraba Dilmurat in The Flame's Daughter

The Flame's Daughter is set in ancient China where villages are ruled by sect leaders whose men are skilled warriors trained in different martial arts discipline.

It's a story of timeless love. A fantasy-adventure woven in a web of contrasting events and different characters thrust in conflict, betrayal, power struggle and, yeah,  romance.

The romance element is hardly seen in wuxia genre. Although some of the wuxia films show a bit of love, it is not always the main focus of the story.

The Flame's Daughter is a major shift of that concept.

Synopsis

In ancient times China, various sects of martial arts discipline set out for a fierce rivalry and power struggle to gain favor and trust from the emperor. And to assert authority in the villages they lorded.

The major sects: Flaming Hill/LieHuo pavilion, Thunderbolt, Swordless City and two others that possessed magic -  the Ethereal immortality and Dark River, are the primary elements of the story.

Dilraba Dilmurat in The Flame's Daughter

The LieHuo pavilion, headed by Li Mingjing, opposed Anhe Palace's antagonistic and treacherous practices. Anhe Palace's leader, An Ye Lou, possessed a black magic that persecutes those who opposed his authority. 

The hostility intensified when An Ye Lou's love, An Ye Ming, married a wandering warrior, Zhan Feitian, from the Flaming Hill/LieHuo pavilion.

An Ye Ming had a daughter with Zhan Feitian and to protect the child, Lie Mingjing, exchanged his biological son with Zhan Feitian's daughter. 

He named her Lie Ruge while his son, who grew up believing his father is Zhan Feitian, is named Zhan Feng. An Ye Ming killed herself when Zhan Feitian committed a suicide.

When Lie Ruge and Zhan Feng grew up, they became engaged. However, An Ye Lou tricked Zhan Feng to believe that it was Lie Ruge's father who killed his father. 

This leads Zhan Feng to break his engagement with Lie Ruge and took home a woman from the brothel house. Lie Ruge becomes heartbroken.

Vic Chou as Yin Xue 

Lie Ruge goes to the same brothel house to find out why Zhan Feng was enamored with a brothel woman. However, instead of finding answers, she encounters a mysterious man instead.

Despite the full capacity of the brothel house, Yin Xue, a skilled Guqin (a string musical instrument) player, seems only eyeing her. 

Yin Xue comes from the Ethereal sect and is a skilled martial artist, however, his only mission in life is to ensure Lie Ruge is safe. He becomes her protector who dashes on her side when she is in danger.

However, Lie Ruge is destined to become the head of LieHuo pavilion that a romance with the mysterious Yin Xue seems impossible to fathom.

Standing on their way is the treacherous An Ye Lou hell bent on killing everyone from LieHuo pavilion including Lie Ruge, to seek revenge on An Ye Ming and Zhan Feitian betrayal.

The series

The series begins with Yin Xue carrying the wounded Ge'er to the summit of Ethereal sect to beg his master to let her live. However, it was too late, and she dies.

Yin Xue decided to return to Ethereal sect to acquire immortality so that he could go back to the mortal world and find the reincarnation of Ge'er.

Vic Chou and Dilraba Dilmurat

As a punishment for his betrayal of the sect when he joined the Dark River, Yin Xue needed to give up his martial arts skills and embrace the painful transition where his flesh will turn into snowflakes and bones turn into ice as form of sacrifices to be welcomed back to his old sect. 

The next sequence of the series shows Lie Ruge applying for work in the brothel to find out why her fiance, Zhan Feng, dumped her for a woman he met in the brothel.

Instead of finding answers, Lie Ruge met Yin Xue, a talented Guqin player whose presence both intrigued and charmed her. 

However, Yin Xue is a mysterious man, who is actually a hundred year old warrior who refused to die to make up with his promises to be with the love of his life, Ge'er, who is now reincarnated to Lie Ruge.

The story has several subplot of characters and events and romantic adventures, misadventures, deceit, conspiracy and betrayal that drag them all together into the showdown of power between the good and evil.

Primary Characters

Lie Ruge (Dilraba Dilmurat) is the adopted daughter of the leader of the Liehou pavilion, Li Mingjing. She is trained to be the future leader of the sect. She is also the reincarnation of Ge'er. 

Yin Xue and Lie Ruge

Ge'er was slain for defending her lover, Yin Xue (Vic Zhou) who betrayed Ethereal sect to join the Dark River sect to be with Ge'er. For a hundred years, he prayed in the summit of Ethereal, waiting for Ge'er to reincarnate.

Vin Zhang as Zhan Feng
Liu Ruillin as Yu Zihan

Apart from Yin Xue, Lie Ruge has two other love interests. Zhan Feng (played by Vin Zhang), Lie Ruge's childhood friend and heir of the Flaming Hill sect. Yu Zihan (played by Liu Ruillin), a prince who, as a child was sent to the Flaming Hill to learn martial arts and became close to Zhan Feng and Lie Ruge. He has disabilities.

My review

I would be biased if I would say the first element that attracts me most to watch The Flame's Daughter is Vic Zhou (okay, I have not gotten over with the Meteor Garden phenomenon), but yeah, that's true.

But somehow, as the series progressed, I started to appreciate the essence of the story and charmed with the concept of eternal love.  

Such a heartwarming thing to see Vic Zhou on television again after Meteor Garden and Mars but it's even more extraordinary to follow a series that talks about undying love in a fantasy-adventure plot. 

Pros:

There are several elements in The Flame's Daughter that I love.

I love wuxia genre and The Flame's Daughter gives a different character of wuxia story, a more humanized version because it centers not on bloody war but on the romantic adventures of martial arts heroes, which is a bit more endearing.

I like the concept of Yin Xue's character here. Sweet, soft but dangerous. He portrays an endearing character but has a deadly martial arts skill.

I like how his character is molded. Mysterious, intriguing and peculiar but never as weird as those Shaolin and Kungfu masters in Chinese movies. 

Though he can be playful and humorous, he is not overly bizarre and clown. He is more of a gentle guy preoccupied with love. His smile and protective streak make you fall in love with Yin Xue.

I like the character of Lie Ruge too. She seems so kind, generous and forgiving but emotionally stable who knows what she wants and whom she needs to be with. 

Unlike other heroine who easily misleads with lies and intrigues, Lie Ruge stands with her principles and good intentions. Someone who is willing to do everything she could to keep everyone in her circle safe.

I like Yu Zihan character too. Despite being bullied when he was still a child resulting to his disabilities, he did not harbor bad feelings towards people. He portrays as a gentle and affectionate prince who wants to restore peace and order in his father's kingdom.

He does not also coerce Lie Ruge to love him back, though she seems his only choice for marriage. He allows her to choose whom she wants to spend her life with.

I also love the production design of the story and the location setting. All the elements of a terrific oriental surrounding are there. The trees, wilderness, the relaxing countryside scenery, the beautiful courtyard and its different theme - cherry blossoms, maple courtyard, bamboo forest, home interior and plants in  season. 

I love the musical scoring of this series. The tranquil Asian vibe that touches soul is captured in every note of the scoring. I could feel and smell the relaxed oriental surroundings.

The opening song Ru ge (Like a Song) performed by Jason Zhang and ending song, Yu Huo Cheng Shi (Bathe Fire Into Poem) sang by Dilraba Dilmurat herself and Mao Buyi are soulful, very harmonious to the senses. 

Although I did not understand a bit as lyrics are in Mandarin Chinese, but my God! The melody is enough to make me hook. Especially if it's played during sweet moments of Yin Xue and Lie Ruge.

Loopholes:

Just like the rest of series that did not make up with the expectation of some. The Flame's Daughter has some loopholes too. 

I am disappointed how the character of Yin Xue was developed. Despite being the male protagonist, his appearance is very limited and most scenes of him just presented in flashbacks.

His character is a good material in the series but appears to be just wasted with minimal exposure. It could have been developed more and given important part in every sequence or why he is there other than a protector of Lie Ruge. 

It was really unclear what's his connection with the different sects. It seems like a huge character but poorly utilized in the story. It was not given a chance to progress into important lead.

Another disappointment is the character of Zhan Feng. It is a lead role and he appears to be a strong man destined to become a leader of the Flaming Hills sect.

Vin Zhang and Dilraba Dilmurat

However, he just shown like a regretful warrior laying down his swords, drowning himself in liquor, and just lived his life in despair and remorse.

He still in love with Lie Ruge but would not do any move to win her back or at least approach her and settle things between them when he called off their engagement.

Yin Xue and Lie Ruge scenes are also very short and totally lacking of affection at some point. It's also a bit annoying during their tender moments or each time they discuss things between themselves, there are so many interruptions. 

READ RELATED ASIANOVELA REVIEW: MARS

Conclusion

Anyway, despite loopholes and inaccuracies, The Flame's Daughter is still an amazing series that I have ever watched in recent years. It's one of my super favorites among Asian dramas being shown in Philippine television.

Dilraba Dilmurat and Vic Chou

I would still love watching it over and over again because Lie Ruge and Yin Xue and two individuals who cannot live without each other. I am over the moon with their characters and sweet moments. 

It's so heartwarming to watch this kind of series in this difficult moment of our time. It brings super good vibes, even if you are not a Vic Zhou fanatic.

Though hesitant to express emotions, their characters are great embodiment of couples whose eternal love transcends life. Awesome! Wish to watch Vic and Dilraba in another epic drama as love team.

And yes, I love the musical scoring! 

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