The King's Woman has captivated viewers with an enthralling romance between a powerful king and the woman he loves. Dilraba Dilmurat plays the beauty who is forced to marry the King of Qin, played by Zhang Bin Bin in a bold performance, while her first love, a chivalrous warrior, will become the most famous assassin in Chinese history. The three vividly portrayed characters are heading toward a long-anticipated showdown in the grand finale. Is it possible to have a happy ending? 

<Spoiler Alert> I've watched through 42 episodes, and I will discuss the historical background in relation to the drama. I don't know what the ending will be. Millions of Chinese fans of this drama are also waiting anxiously to find out, as this drama is simulcast on DramaFever.

I previously wrote about the mystery of King Ying Zheng's birth secret. Now, the next big mystery is how The King's Woman will end.

No matter how much you love the leading couple's fantastic chemistry and performance, the biggest obstacle to a "happy ending" is history itself. 

Over 2,200 years ago, when the King of Qin faced his would-be assassin, one small but significant step in the unfolding incident would have made a huge difference for countless souls in the ensuing decades, and it would have changed the course of history as we know it.

The ambitious king would later unify the Warring States under one empire and become the First Emperor of Qin. Among his achievements, he established the foundation of a unified China based on one written language and standardized measurements, and he also constructed a nationwide road system and implemented economic reforms. However, his accomplishments were also overshadowed by his extreme cruelty and tyrannical rule that resulted in the loss of countless lives. Even the world-famous Great Wall, a popular tourist destination now, was not looked upon fondly throughout Chinese history because it was built with numerous civilians being forcibly drafted to work. The Emperor ruled his empire with a set of codified laws, and yet he also burned books and killed scholars who were deemed to be against him.

Although Jing Ke failed in his mission, history regards him with respect and sympathy. The word "assassin" carries a negative connotation in western languages, but in China, Jing Ke has been revered as the hero who knew he was on a one-way trip with no return even if he were to succeed in his mission to prevent a vicious tyrant from invading other countries.

I believe the production team made an interesting and provocative decision when they detoured from the original novel to focus the leading couple as Li and King Ying Zheng, instead of Li and Jing Ke. 

Zhang Bin Bin, in particular, should win an acting award for his outstanding portrayal of a multifaceted man who won Li's heart when he revealed his innermost weakness, but ultimately he was a tyrant who killed without mercy to advance his goals. Many fans fell for the charismatic king early on in the drama, but affection for the impressive and handsome actor should not detract us from the abhorrence of the actual king's ruthless legacy. 

In many ways, Gongsun Li, the fictional beauty, represents us. What would we do in times of chaos with conflicting loyalties? Would our heart and mind reach the same choice?  As much as the King's Woman is walking a fine line between the king and the assassin, the scriptwriter is now tasked with staking a line between history and fiction while adhering to a moral compass. The drama has been successful so far, so my hope is that the clever scriptwriter will somehow find a way to give us a satisfying ending.

The ultimate question is, what would make it a "happy ending" for viewers?

For the Chinese viewers and those who have studied the documented event, we would be looking for how the drama depicts the famous assassination with convincing tension and thrilling action.

For viewers who are focused on the romance, the answer is more difficult. Would Lady Li fight alongside Jing Ke or defend the king? Will she live or die? A glimmer of hope lies with her son, Tian Ming, who would become a leading character in the novel The Legend of Qin, written by the same author. 

I also applaud the drama for highlighting how the King of Qin was terribly bullied in childhood, which greatly shaped his cunning personality to treat anyone with suspicion and to punish detractors with extreme cruelty. A takeaway lesson is to treat all children with love so that none is bullied and treat those who are in a worse situation than ours with respect and compassion.

Let's hope that in times of chaos and conflicting interests we can protect our loved ones while working toward peace in the world.

COMING SOON

The King's Woman - 秦时丽人明月心

Starring Dilraba Dilmurat and Zhang Bin Bin

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Knowing the history now, what would be your happy ending? Comment below!

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