Author: 公子于歌 / Gong Zi Yu Ge
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Chapter 72: Li Xu and Shen Jintai
After Li Xu’s finale was broadcasted, screenwriter Meng Xiaosheng was interviewed by a streaming platform.
The host said: “Recently, due to Li Xu’s ending, it can be said that audiences across the country are crying. Many people have been sending knives to the screenwriter. Did you know?”
Meng Xiaosheng nodded and said: “I also feel very guilty. In fact, when I finished writing this chapter, I had insomnia all night and cried for a long time. The next day, I asked Director Guo if we wanted to shoot it like this. After discussing, we all felt that this ending was better than the original. Li Xu is indeed a villain. Whether it is an original novel or an adaptation, his fate is unchangeable. Just like the words in the drama, these people were at the peak of power and thought they could control it, but reality was the power was what controlled them. In such a situation, death is inevitable for his ending. How he’ll die and when he’ll die are actually the main issues I considered when adapting. Because there have been many speculations about his fate, if he died very plainly, I felt he would lose the color and extremities of his character. His life was legendary, with highs and lows, and he should be given an ending that the audience can remember.”
“I heard that there were plans to let Li Xu survive in the beginning?”
Meng Xiaosheng nodded: “We didn’t expect the role of Li Xu to be so popular in the beginning. After it caught fire, everyone was worried that if he was written to death, the audience would not be able to accept it. At that time the ending was the prince would pick up Li Xu, who had gone too crazy that he no longer recognize it was Zhou Ying. This was what we originally intended to film but now I’m not sure if I want to shoot it.”
“Li Xu’s death was so unexpected. Everyone thought that he would die, but they didn’t expect him to die like this. In the end, the prince didn’t recognize him, and the letter wasn’t delivered.”
“Honestly, there were many things that were deleted. One version was more bitter than this. We had makeup done to disfigure Li Xu’s face at that time so the prince wouldn’t be able to recognize him. After I looked at it, I said, no I couldn’t stand it. It was too much, so in the end the actor only smeared blood causing many netizens to remark how it wasn’t possible for the prince to not recognize him. In handling Li Xu’s death, we simplified it. We did not shoot the parts of how he died. How to put it… What we wanted was the beginning to be concise and shocking. That is, one minute he’s getting out of the carriage, the next, there was a horse dragging a corpse running throughout the city. After the filming everyone was extremely uncomfortable. Shen Jintai cried directly, saying that he couldn’t stand it. We actually dealt with his death tenderly, allowing him to die on the back of his beloved. He was able to recognize Zhou Ying moments before his death and we did a close-up to focus on this. Zhou Ying will eventually find out that he had accompanied Li Xu during his last moments. This was written in a later inscription. The normal inscription originally was not written to be like this…” Meng Xiaosheng gave a long paused before continuing: “I decided to go under the knife. On one hand, I couldn’t bear it. On the other hand, I felt that it would be better for this character. The tragedy of the character will be stronger, and the character will be more deeply rooted in people’s hearts. Li Xu’s ending is actually also for the theme, foreshadowing the future of Chang’an, the three emperors*, Zhou Cong, He Lanbi, and others of the palace, implying the cruelty of power struggles and its repeated cycles.”
Reminder: *Three emperors = also know as the three sovereigns and five emperors. Originally the three emperor refers to the ancient three gods (Emperor of Heaven, Emperor of Earth, Emperor of Humanity) and later the Fuxi clan. The five emperors in its original sense refers to the gods of the five parties. Later it included the five ancient tribal leaders. || In the context here, they are referring to the person who will eventually become part of the three emperors in history. Think of three emperors as a title, not as the literal translation.
“Does The East Palace have any plans to make a sequel?”
“Not yet. There is an extra story ending. I’m not sure if it will be filmed. Now that the crew is finished, the actors are relatively busy, and the schedule is not easy to arrange.”
The episode with Li Xu’s death set a rating miracle. It was highest rating ever, breaking 8. Because he died so unexpectedly, the ratings for the finale on the second day did not drop. Everyone was watching to see how that dog emperor Zhou Cong would die.
Unfortunately, <The East Place is Coming> did not tell the story that far. Its ending would only allude to the future. When he returned to the palace, Chang’an went to the side of the three emperors, while He Lanbi and Zhou Cong had a rift in their relationship. Zhou Cong’s brutality shown that the future of brotherly mutilation was inevitable.
Most likely because the crew felt sorry for the audience, in the last clip of the series, Chang’an went to the suburbs, planning to visit Li Xu’s grave. When he arrived, he saw a wild rose blooming brightly on the grave next to a monument. He was stunned as he did not set it up. There was an inscription written above it. The camera swept over allowing the audience to read:
[…I don’t know whose name this is, but I only know that it was a beloved husband and wife, buried here together. I listened to his story and felt his affection, so I wrote this engraving. I mourn for him. Though he can’t chase in life, he will meet you in the afterlife.]
While the screenwriter carried the knife, Shen Jintai succeeded. People all over the country sympathized with him. The hot search for “Li Xu’s death” was posted on Weibo for a week. Whenever Shen Jintai participated in an event, it was always filled with people.
Li Xu’s death left a scar in everyone’s hearts that they could only seek a little comfort from Shen Jintai. As such this launched him into a top stream that all women and children knew. Even his black powder was silent, as people couldn’t bear it. It was undeniable. The role of Li Xu was too cruel.
Li Meilan: “I feel that the screenwriter has true love for you. She gets cursed alone but let you sit on the rocket.”
The death of a character had made an actor brilliant. Shen Jintai received countless endorsements, tons of well made scripts poured in, and his popularity reached a new peak, all while Jintai Qiongying’s fanfiction has emerged in an endless stream.
The momentum still held, which led the drama to continued to be rebroadcasted for a few months and its topicality remained a hot discussion on the streets. The nomination for the Guohua Awards was announced and Shen Jintai became the hottest candidate for the golden bell.
“This kind of explosive character that can affect people like this happens once every ten years. If he isn’t crowned emperor*… the judges wouldn’t dare, right?”
*Emperor = refer to the winner of the golden bell (best actor).
“Shen Jintai is worthy of this trophy. His acting skills should be self-explanatory.”
“I found that few people in your district call him Touhua now.”
“Few people really dare to hack him now. They may not be able to bear it, or they may be afraid of being besieged by gold powders. I don’t know if the screenwriter is ruthless, but I know she truly loves Shen Jintai.”
“Really, when I see Shen Jintai now, I want to cry, even though I know that Shen Jintai and Li Xu are two people. But Li Xu is so pitiful, I want to give Shen Jintai all my love.”
“I heard that they are going to make an independent side story, so I humbly ask for a HE.”
“I just want to watch Shen Jintai take the golden bell and this fire burning. The happiness, glory, and hope that Li Xu didn’t have will all be realized in him.”
Not only did netizens think so, but even people around Shen Jintai thought this.
Shen Ruhai, who had always been silent, called him after the play was broadcast. Although he didn’t say it directly, his concern was palpable. It was sometimes difficult for ordinary people to separate the characters from the actors.
Bai Qingquan made time for Shen Jintai: “Are you free? Let’s have a meal together.”
He was an actor himself and knew that Li Xu was just a character. In reality, Shen Jintai had gain massive benefits from this role. Now the black has turned red. Despite all this, Bai Qingquan couldn’t help but feel deeply distressed for Shen Jintai and thought he was in a miserable state. Wuwuwu, his tears are worthless. God knows that he cried directly into a dog at the cinema. His girly heart really couldn’t accept such a cruel ending!
It was needless to say how Mrs. Yan was feeling.
Then there was Yan Qiuchi. He had insomnia for two nights after watching it. His mind kept thinking about Shen Jintai’s face. He knew it was all fake but nonetheless felt extreme distress for him. He wanted to accompany Shen Jintai at that moment. Only by watching him flourish can he be cured.
Everyone was supporting Shen Jintai, pushing him up.
The author has something to say:
The strong desire to survive has made me add more.
Kinky Thoughts: I still can’t get over the last chapter. Bai Qingquan basically mirrors my feelings. Wuwuwu.
My god, I can’t imagine how much crueler they can make this ending!!! Sometimes I wonder if the author is a sadist.
This is what I imagine everyone’s monologues are after this episode aired:
Yang Lizhi’s: ‘Thank the lord! He Lanbi got whitewashed and Zhou Cong is now carrying all the scolding.’
Bai Qingquan’s: ‘Wuwuwu, my poor girly heart can’t take this.’ (You and me both sis).
Mrs. Yan’s: ‘WUWUWUWUWUWUWUWU!!!!!’
Yan Qiuchi’s: ‘My wifey’s in pain!’
Shen Jintai: ‘…’