Legend of Mi Yue details the legendary life of Mi Ba Zi, a young girl who lived in Chu during the Warring States period. After 80 episodes of hardship, Mi Yue will unite China and become the first Empress Dowager in China’s history. Join me as I embark on this journey to see if Sun Li can deliver a performance better than the one in Legend of Zhen Huan.
1. 338 B.C, Qin Country
In year 338, the King of Qin died. There was a change of power as the crown prince became the new King. The officials under the prince claimed that one of the officials, Shang Yang, had committed treason by one of the princes. Hence, Shang Yang became a wanted man.
Under the Shang-Jun* law, it was very strict and the people didn’t dare to flout the laws. There was an old man that was travelling who wanted to stay over at an inn. However, the owner politely declined him when he could not produce an official pass to state that he is not of dubious background.
*Jun in this case means Master/Ruler and is a form of honorific. Shang Yang is the Shang-Jun mentioned here.
The innkeeper cited the reason that under the Shang-Jun rule, he and his family could all be implicated and made to die if they accidentally harboured a criminal. The old man understood and left while the innkeeper said, “Don’t hate me. Hate Shang Jun if you have to.” The old man replied, “I won’t hate you. I won’t hate Shang Jun either, for I am Shang Jun.”
Right after Shang-Jun and his assistant left, they were chased by the army. Shang Jun’s assistant was killed while he himself was captured alive to await for the punishment by the King.
The King meted out the punishment of dying through being torn apart by five horses (五马分尸). This is one of the most cruel punishment in history. The four limbs and head of the punished person will each be tied to one horse using a rope. And then, the horse will all be let loose and run apart in five different directions, tearing the body apart.
The new king had meted out this severe punishment because Shang Yang had sliced off the nose of one of his trusted advisor in the past. However, Shang Yang remained his stance that he does not regret his decision as even an innkeeper in the suburbs follow the Shang Yang Laws – he will always remain in history even if he died. His only regret is not being able to be alive to see the Qin country unite the world.
2. 338 B.C, Chu Country (This is Mi Yue’s country!)
The King of Chu country heard about what has happened to Shang Yang.
There was a discussion in court about Shang Yang’s punishment and whether the Chu country should use the Shang Yang rule since it was very effective even though it was also very severe.
Out of a sudden, Tang Mei, the astrologer of the Chu country, then excitedly exclaim that the hegemon star (ba xin) has appeared in the Chu country. There will be a birth of the next supreme ruler of the world. This person will unite the warring states.
After hearing this, the King found out there was indeed a pregnant lady in the palace. However, this lady was of low birth and ranking and not an official concubine of the King. The pregnant lady is Xiang-shi* who resides in Lady Ju Ji’s chamber. The King made the Xiang-shi an official concubine and raised her position to ‘fu ren‘.
*shi is also something like a honorific. It usually follows after the surname of a married woman. In this case, Xiang-shi refers to Lady Xiang.
The King then said that with the death of Shang Yang, the Qin country will be greatly weakened. With the birth of the hegemon in Chu country, the Chu country will rule the world.
On the other side, the Queen is making life difficult for Lady Ju Ji. Probably because the Queen is jealous of the King favouring Ju Ji.
The Queen then heard about the news of a hegemon being born by Xiang-shi, who was actually a dowry maid of Ju Ji. She started plotting to get rid of the unborn baby for fear that her son’s position as the Crown Prince will be threatened should the baby be born.
She threatened to make the son of the female physician in charge of Lady Xiang a eunuch if she does not make Lady Xiang lose her baby ‘accidentally’. To her credit, the physician was not evil and made feeble attempts to reject this task. However, in order to keep her son safe, the physician followed the orders of the Queen.
The physician strikes and serves up dubious medicine to Lady Xiang. Lady Xiang comments that the medicine smells weird and is different from the past but the lady physician lies that it is a better form of medicine.
Kui-gu, the loyal maid by Lady Xiang suggested that Lady Xiang drink the medicine later but the physician immediately rejected that suggestion and insist that the medicine will lose effect then. Ya right….
Lady Xiang then brings the bowl to her mouth, ready to drink… But of course, we all know she didn’t because the baby in her stomach is Mi Yue and we have 79 episodes to go!
Lady Ju Ji’s arrival stops Lady Xiang from drinking the medicine. Ju Ji then states that the King had given the order that she will be the one to take care of Lady Xiang’s needs in the future until the baby is born.
After hearing that, the physician pretended to accidentally topple the medicine she served up to get rid of evidence.
Ju Ji then brought Lady Xiang to her room and told her to rest there. Lady Xiang did not dare accept this treatment but Ju Ji told her that if she does give birth to the hegemon, her status would be higher than Ju Ji and maybe even the Queen.
Ju Ji then sniffed at the broken bowl her maid had retrieved. There was the smell of short bamboos. Lady Xiang commented at how it was a waste of good medicine – and Ju Ji asked her, “A pity? A pity that it didn’t take the life of the baby in your stomach?”
Short Bamboos have the ability to make a woman miscarriage. Lady Xiang is shocked and wondered why would the physician would harm her. Ju Ji told her, obviously the physician would not harm her, but the one controlling the palace has the ability to decide who gets to give birth and who does not.
Ju Ji knows best… Because 5 years ago, the Queen had fed the same thing to her and made her lose her baby.
–few months passed–
The Queen had suggested to the King that she help in Lady Xiang’s birth since as the Queen, she will be able to help stabilise the birth with her noble presence. Noble presence indeed….
Lady Xiang is then sent to the Queen’s chambers to give birth. Ju Ji wanted to accompany Lady Xiang but was refused by the Queen’s maid.
Ju Ji then ran all the way to the basilica and interrupted the King’s court session. The King was enraged, but after hearing that it was regarding the birth of the hegemon, he went off with her.
Inside the labour room, the Queen instructed the physician to make sure Lady Xiang’s baby will be a stillborn.
The King arrives but the Queen stopped him from going into the labour room, citing that it was not a place for man to be at.
Ju Ji wanted to run in and just as the Queen stopped her, there were cries of a baby.
The queen looks defeated.
The physician brought the baby out and congratulated the king… on his new princess.
The King was puzzled – wasn’t it supposed to be a prince? He stomped off in anger while the queen smirked. Ju Ji was appalled.
The King then questions the astrologer. The astrologer insisted that his reading was not wrong. If the hegemon was a male, it would be a fortune for the country. However, if it was a female, it was uncertain if it would be a fortune or disaster.
The Queen then fanned the flames and said that the princess might be a disaster, and hence they should get rid of her. The astrologer then insisted that the heavens had decided and they can’t go against the wishes of the heaven.
The King is angry at how the situation turned out and ordered for the astrologer eyes to be dug out as punishment for seeing ‘all these rubbish’ that he is not supposed to. Great logic…
The King contemplates about what to do with the baby while the Queen suggested that they should just let heaven decide what to do with the baby.
The Queen then decreed that the life or death of this baby should be decided by the heavens and sent someone to take the baby away.
Lady Xiang was unable to stop them. Kui-gu asked Lady Ju Ji for advice and she replied, “Since it’s a female infant – is there a difference between having it or not?”
The baby was then put into a basket and left on a river that has a steep drop at the end.
Lady Xiang came running out to look for her baby as she hears the cries of her baby.
Before Lady Xiang got to her baby, the basket fell off the steep cliff and the crying stopped.
Lady Xiang went ballistic and wanted to go into the water to save her baby. She kept on shouting, “My child!”
The King and the Queen arrives and the King told the servants not to stop Lady Xiang.
Suddenly, there was the cries of a baby. Lady Xiang then screamed and ran towards the sound.
The King was amazed by the fortune of the baby and decided that even if she might not be the future hegemon, she does have a good karma. He looked at the moon and decided to name the little princess ‘Yue-er’
Lady Xiang cried and told the baby, “Little princess, from now on, your name will be Mi Yue.”
—3 years later— (they are really fond of time jumps here…)
Little Mi Yue catches her mother staring into space and wonders what she is looking at. Lady Xiang replied, she is looking at the basilica which the King is at.
This gives Mi Yue an idea as she secretly heads to the King’s basilica. She is awfully cute! It’s ridiculous how those guards just stare into space and ignore her though – are they just for display!?
Just then, a guard (finally!) stops her and tried to chase her away. Mi Yue then tricks him and runs into the basilica. I worry about the Chu country if a guard can’t catch a 3 year old girl….
A eunuch then came out to shush them but it was too late – the emperor had heard the din created.
After hearing that it was a child, he told the eunuch to let the kid in as he wanted to see who was daring enough to run into his basilica.
The conversation of Mi Yue and the King is as follows
“Who are you?”
“Who are YOU?”
“Make a guess.”
“You are the King.”
“Mmhmm. So, who are you?”
“Make a guess too.”
“You must be my princess. But, which princess are you?”
“You must know.”
“I don’t know. I have dozens of princesses.”
Little Mi Yue then stomps off and hide behind a pillar. The King saw her and yet pretended to not see her.
After a while, Mi Yue came out and said, “My name is Mi Yue. My name was even given by you!” It’s ridiculous how the King had never visited Mi Yue once in the past 3 years. But I guess that’s how the palace works.
“Oh, it’s you. The little hegemon. I never imagined you were already so big.”
“I can’t imagine either.”
“What can’t you imagine?”
“I thought you were a big tiger. A tiger is the King and you are the King.”
The King then told Mi Yue to imagine him as a tiger and she made him stand up.
Mi Yue then patted the King’s bottom. He was puzzled and she explained, “Mother had said that a tiger’s bottom cannot be touched.”
She then continued patting the King’s bottom. Both of them laughed heartily. The King then carried Mi Yue and Mi Yue happily exclaimed, “The nose, forehead and face of the tiger can all be touched!” as she touched them.
Mi Yue then requested the King to visit her mother. Her mother had missed him all these years and dazed off in the direction of his basilica everyday.
The King told her he already made plans with the Queen and Mi Yue sulked. After seeing this, the King agreed to go to her mother’s chambers tonight. The King also gave Mi Yue access to his chambers through the side door which others don’t know about.
That night, the King visited Lady Xiang’s chambers and she was unprepared and surprised as she did not expect Mi Yue to be telling the truth. The reassurance of the King touched her to tears.
Lady Ju Ji seemed slightly surprised that the King visited Lady Xiang. She commented that Yun Meng Tai had turned into a Cold Palace in these 4 years. She then added that, the King had not thought of Yun Meng Tai, the chambers she shared with Lady Xiang, but he had thought of Lady Xiang. That’s the benefits of having children – at least the King would pay some attention to the mother for the sake of the child.
—End of Episode 1!—
My hands are breaking from typing so much! I think I might have been too detailed but I didn’t want to miss any tiny plot points that might foreshadow the future. I rewatched Episode 1 for about 5 times just to write this recap (and I haven’t got all my screencaps!). This is way more time consuming than I thought but I will preserver! And maybe, be less detailed in the future haha.
I have waited for this series for months and it didn’t disappoint!
Usually, I don’t like watching the ‘young’ episodes and can’t wait to leap into the story proper but I like whatever I watched hence far! This is definitely different from Legend of Zhen Huan. All the ‘plotting’ in the palace which would take up a few episodes in LZH were all resolved in 1 episode here. In Legend of Zhenhuan, the schemes/processes were the focus but in Legend of Mi Yue, the evil is the focus.
It took awhile for me to get used to Jiang Xin as Ju Ji here. She was a lot more subdued than the Hua Fei which she played in Legend of Zhen Huan. Little Mi Yue took me by surprise and I found myself to love her. She’s too adorable and spunky. I’ll be looking forward to seeing her a lot, and that’s good because she is the main lead haha.
This drama has the background of the Warring States and this is what I fear most. I’m not knowledgeable in this aspect and so it would be a nightmare for me to recap when I don’t have background knowledge. Still, I don’t want to completely leave it out since I think it’s pretty crucial to the plot point of Mi Yue uniting all these states in the end so I’m going to try my best. If anyone catches any mistakes, please tell me!
I had initially wanted to put 2 episodes in one recap because 2 episodes are aired daily but this one turned out to be too long. I might do so in the future though as I don’t want to lag behind by too much either.
Ending off with a cute picture of Mi Yue. This is my first ever drama recap and I am so excited in sharing thoughts and discussions with you so please leave me a comment! I think it’s pretty fair since it took me 5+ hours for this recap and you would only take ~5 minutes for a comment :p