How would you react if you suddenly found out that you are engaged at the dinner table?
Female Assassins in the Palace is quite unique as a comedy-laden historical romance. It has many cute leads, fabulous costumes, and a sleuthing mystery involving 12 dangerous women. One particularly funny scene is how Ady An gets engaged to someone she just hates to be around, even though he is the handsome prince that many of us would wish to have for ourselves.
Watch the clip from episode 4, and I'll explain the characters and how they're related, because understanding what's going on will help a lot toward catching the undercurrents in this drama.
As it is with a lot of Asian families in drama or in life, many discussions and decisions take place at the dinner table. In this case, Ady An's Ciadie is just munching away and half listening to her parents talking with family guests about a marriage proposal, not realizing that she is part of what's being discussed.
By the way, Ciadie (pronounced as Tsai-dieh) means "Colorful Butterfly." It's a very lovely name and perfectly describes her vibrant and bright personality. She is around 18 to 20 years in age, doesn't hide her feelings, and can be impulsive.
Watch what happens at the dinner table:
What a way to find out you just got engaged!
Can you imagine if this happened at the famous show Downton Abbey? A lot of important discussions also take place at the dinner table in the extremely popular British period drama. There'd be a lot of dropped forks and knives, instead of chopsticks, and spilled wine.
Now, let's look more closely at the characters involved in the scene.
Ciadie's father is a member of the aristocracy, and it shows in the highly embroidered clothes that he wears. His wife, Ciadie's mother, therefore wears a very beautiful silk gown and headdress that are appropriate to her stature. What I'm trying to say is that it's actually the norm for such families that marriages are determined by the parents and approved (or denied) by the Emperor.
The father is making the agreement with Prince Beorji, the eldest son of the father's friend.
Beorji's younger brother, the handsome Prince Batu, is surprised to hear about the engagement news, although he is staying pretty calm on the surface. The girl sitting next to him is his cousin Dana, and she is stunned by the news because she is secretly in love with him.
Notice the Mongolian costumes they are wearing? Yes, they are from a Mongolian tribe called the Kharchins, who in history really did inter-marry with the Manchus who ruled China in the Qing dynasty.
Prince Batu is played by handsome Chinese actor Jiang Yi (Steven Jiang), who first became a model in college because of his good looks.
Where do we go from here in the story?
Ciadie and Batu have disliked each other from the first moment they met by sheer accident, when Ciadie literally fell from the sky into Batu's arms. (A gift from Heaven?) We won't be surprised that Ciadie will continue to fight against this intended marriage. But how does Batu take it?
A further complication is, not only cousin Dana, but also Ciadie's two sworn sister-friends, are enamored with Batu, giving rise to three women competing for Batu, when Ciadie doesn't want him at all... or so she thinks!
(Here are Guo Xin and Duan Min, best friends you don't need.)
In the meantime, there is a huge conspiracy involving 12 female assassins who have been trained since childhood for Ninja missions.
I'd have to admit that the special effects aren't great (aka hilariously bad) in this drama, but the fun and attractive leads, palace intrigue, beautiful ladies in fabulous costumes ready to kick and rock with martial arts at a moment's notice, and more, all make Female Assassins in the Palace an interesting watch.
What do you think about getting engaged at the dinner table? Can you imagine being told who to marry? Does your family make important decisions at dinnertime? Comment below!
(Image credit as referenced or tagged)