pink lotus

(no subject)

Interestingly, the 20 episode "Special Cut" version of Untamed on youtube is not just a faster paced digest version for the impatient overseas audience, but actually includes many small added scenes, mostly consisting of deep and passionate looks exchanged between Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. Even though the added scenes are subtle, over the episodes they definitely build up to a more deeply felt relationship between the two.

It is also chronologically organized, so that things probably would make more sense to people who have not read the book. I myself am watching it again for all the new scenes.
pink lotus

(no subject)

The remaining three clans - the write up is a little rought, but I figured it's probably more useful to post them and get over with it rather than to keep on dragging my feet. I want to talk about the characters and the names next, which is a lot more interesting.

The Jin Clan of Lanling, below, is the wealthest of all the clans.  Their symbol is a white peony with golden stamen, and they are known for their ostentious and lavish lifestyle. The family are dressed in cream trimmed with gold, while the servants are dressed in pale gold.  The heir apparent, Jin Zixuan, is engaged to Wei Wuxian's sister, Jiang Henli. He is nicknamed the Golden Peacock by Wei Wuxian, who did not like the idea of his sister married to what he considered a nincompoop.



The Nie Clan is small, but powerful on the strength of its clan leader, Nie Mingjue, who was considered the only one who had both the will and the power to stand up to the Wen Clan.   His younger brother, on the other hand, has no interest and no ability in the magical practice, but instead is far more interested in frivilous pursuites such as paintings, music. He is, however, very good friend with Wei Wuxian, and eventually play a pivital role in the plot. Their symbol is an archiac head of a beast, and they are mostly dressed in grey and black.



The Wen clan of Jishan is the most powerful clan, and as the stories opens they are intent on either controling or destroying all the other clans.  The clan leader's adopted daughter, Wen Qing, and her brother, Wen Ning, are however very different from the rest of the family.  They come from a distant branch of the Wen clan who specialized in medicine.  While Wen Qing is nominally the clan leader's daughter, in actuality she was more of a glorified servant, adopted because of her special skills needed by Wen Rouhan, and her brother was kept hostage to ensure her good behavior. Their symbol is the two headed fire bird, and they dress in shades of red. 
pink lotus

(no subject)

Since I found the playlist for Untamed still on youtube, I rewatched the first two episodes again. In hindsight, having seen the entire series, I realized how packed with details and clues they were. And how utterly confusing and inexplicable they would have been to anyone who just started watching. It is as though the first two episodes are a couple handfuls of pieces from a box of 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Eventually it becomes clear how important these pieces are, but at the beginning they make no sense. Starting with the 3rd episode it becomes almost a different series,

I'm sure it's also not helped by the rather rather bizarre translation of certain terms; really, Cultivator. Do they need a bulb planter too?! And whoever thought that Childe was a good honorific to use instead of young master?

So without giving away everything, let me explain a few of the most confusing points. Wei Wuxian is brought back from the dead by the unloved second son of the Mo household, using a very powerful and forbidden occult spell. The spell involved sacrificing his own life in exchange for a promise of revenge. The scar on Wei Wuxian's arm represents the contract of the spell- each scar represent a person he needed to kill to revenge the second son. That why each time one of the second son's torturer died (his older brother, his older brother's servant, his aunt etc), a scar went away.

What was not explicitly explained is that the spell actually brings back Wei Wuxian, body and all. It's not his soul in the second son's body. That's why he asked the servant what age he was sent away to the Jin family. Because he was sent away when he was very young, and when he came back he was already crazy and always wore a mask, no one really remembered what the second son looked yet, and that's why no one thought Wei Wuxian was an impostor. That's also why Wei Wuxian had to hide himself from Lan Wangji, since he still looked like himself, and Lan Wangji would recognized him immediately. I actually watched the entire series the first time scratching my head about how Wei Wuxian and the second son just happened to look exactly alike and no one from the Jin family remarked on it, but this time I realized that they actually had a very good explanation all along, which is that no one really knew what the second son looked like.

Episode two, Wei Wuxian runs into Jin Ling, the son of his adopted sister, who is a complete spoiled brat. Not knowing who he was, Wei Wuxian taunts him, "didn't your mother teach you any manners?" The English translation here totally made no sense. Only later, when he sees his adopted brother Jiang Cheng, and realizes that Jiang Cheng was Jin Ling's uncle, Wei Wuxian puts two and two together and realize what a cruel thing it was to say; Jin Ling's mother was his own adopted sister, who died when her son was only 1 month old, and fair or not, everyone believed her death was caused by Wei Wuxian himself.

Later, when Jiang Cheng runs into Wei Wuxian again, he strikes him with his whip. This is not actually because he is trying to kill him, but because Jiang Cheng's whip has the special power of being able to drive out any foreign spirit. Since Jiang Cheng also suspect that We Wuxian has come back, and the commonly known way for a spirit to come back is to take possession of a body, Jiang Cheng would be able to prove that by striking him and driving the spirit out of the body. What he was not aware of was that Wei Wuxian did not come back to life by possessing another body, but brought back to life in his own body because of the sacrifice of the second son, and thus his whip could not drive him out. What was why he looked so stunned and puzzled.
pink lotus

(no subject)

I meant to finish posting about the remaining clans yesterday, but this weekend is actually the live farewell concert series for the TV series, so I have spend the all my time glued to Weibo watching snippets and reading live repos instead.

Why is there a live farewell concert for a TV series, you ask?  The reason that this series is so additive is that not only are the main characters fasinating and full of UST, almost all supporting characters are also fully rounded, and have very interesting backstories as well. Every one also have their own theme sound and original music video to go with the story.   And as a farewell thank you to all the fans, the production company have pulled it all into a live concert.

So while I work on  more info dump, you can watch the OMV for Lan Wangji, Wei Wuxian, and their joint theme song.


Lan Wangji's theme song, 不忘 “Unforgotten”:




Wei Wuxian's theme son, 曲尽陈情 "Music's End"




The joint theme song, Untamed, is actually a play on the combination of their names.  无羁, untamed, is actually made up of character 无 from 魏无羡 (Wei Wuxian),and 羁 is a homonyme of 机 from 蓝忘机 (Lan Wangji).



pink lotus

(no subject)

Maybe a little background is in order. The genre that the series Untamed belongs to is known in Chinese as 仙侠,which is kind of like Wuxia, but with an added magical element, so that the characters may have certain super natural powers, or can acquire them by following esoteric or occult practices.  The seat of this occult power manifest itself in body as the "金丹", which Netflixs translated quite literally as the "golden core".   When the golden core is gone or removed the supernatural power goes with it as well.  This becomes an important plot point later, and since this idea of a golden core is quite common and requires no explanation to the Chinese, the series itself will not have any attempt at any exposition.  Think of it as wuxia meets harry potter.

In The Untamed, most people do not have supernatural powers. Those who do possess the power are called 仙,which I would translate in this context as semi-immortals, not demi-gods as the dictionary would have it, and they mostly belong to one of the five major clans, though with some exceptions here and there.  They are regarded with great awe and admiration by ordinary folks.    When the series opens, the family where Wei Wuxian finds himselve revived from the dead, is actually a hanger on to the wealthy and powerful Jin clan, by virtue of the second son being a bastard of the womenizing clan leader Jin Guangshan.

This large cast of characters and the  relationship between them and the clans are what make the series quite confusing initially, especially for people who haven't read the books.  So I'll start with a little explanation of the five clans.  For easy of memory each correspond to one of the five elements, it's not really relevent to the plot, but it is very relevent to the aesthetics the series. It is also somewhat useful for figuring out who's who, as each clan dressed in their clan's colors.

Let me cover the two clans of the main characters, Jiang clan of Yunmeng, and Lan clan of Gusu.

First we start with the Jiang Clan of Yu Jiang Clan of Yunmeng, 云梦江氏. Wei Wuxian's clan. The name of their home is evocative in of itself - cloud dream. The last name, meaning river, also hints at their roots. Their symbol is the 9 petaled lotus, and their element is water.  With exception of Wei  Wuxian, they are mostly dressed in shades of lavender, purple, shading into indigo and periwinkle.  The colors used are the colors of the Jiangnan, of lakes with miles upon miles of lotus, the water shading into the sky.  It is said that the founder of the Jiang Clan was a wanderer and a traveler, and unlike the other clans with their scriptures and three thousand rules, the Jiang Clan has only a single motto, "know what can not be done yet do it".

Wei Wuxian (魏无羡)occupies an awkward place in this clan.  Officially he is the adopted son of the clan leader, Jiang Fengmian, and treated as his own.  If anything, he seems to be preferred by Jiang Fengmian to the actual son and heir, Jiang Cheng, as Wei Wuxian seems in everyway to fit the  ideal of the clan, free, fearless, and unfettered by normal rules or mundan concerns.  However, Wei Wuxian is actually the son of Jiang's majordomo, and thus in this very hierarchal world, he is the son of a servant, and thus really never the equal of his adopted brother.  Jiang Cheng appears to have absorbed this way of thinking from his mother, who obviously dislikes Wei Wuxian, especially as it was rumored that her husband was actually in love with Wei Wuxian's mother. As the series progresses, Jiang Cheng becomes increasingly torn between his fondness and admiration for Wei Wuxian,  and at the same time his sense of his superiority to a servant's son.  The heart of the family is actually the older sister, Jiang Yanli, who in spite of her lack of supernatural powers is the one person who holds the family together. 



Lan Wangji belongs to the Lan clan of Gusu. Gusu is the name of the region, while the actual name of their estate is 云深不知处 - hidden place in the cloud.  Their symbol is naturally the cloud, and the element they correspond to is air. The clan leader is Lan Qiren, Lan Wangji and his brother's uncle.  Their father was in a hidden retreat, for reasons which will be explaned much later.  The Lan clan also have the unique power of embeduing music with supernatural power.  Lan Yichen's reed, and Lan Wangji's zither, are both capable of summoning the dead as well as turning the living to the dead.

The Lan clan is the most rigorous and strict of all the clans, famous for their three thousand rules which all their disciples have to memorize and recite.  They are considered the exemplar of righteous behavior among the clans, and and every year each of the clans send their scions to the Lan clan to be schooled in the supernatural arts,  which is where the flashback sequence starts.   Lan Wangji and his older brother, Lan Yichen, often called the twin jewels of Gusu, are upheld as the examplar of examplar.   Lan Wangji in particular appears at the beginning of the series as that perfect known it all whom everyone loves to hates, but Wei Wuxian's presence turns his perfectly order life upside down.


pink lotus

(no subject)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! As usual I have still not gotten around to sending out my card and gifts yet, but at least I managed to post before the new year.

While chatting with flemmings, I just realized the it's been eight years since our little circle were all watching Woxinchangdan here on LJ, and fangirling about uncle Ming. Piglet is eight, and I remember that I was able to watch that tv series because I was up every night twice nursing him and watching the show at the same time. But finally there is another show which is equally, if not more addictive (in fact many time more addictive by my books), and I'm almost (but not quite) sorry that I no longer have the excuse of nursing Piglet/Thuglet to stay up and marathon the series.

Collapse )
pink lotus

(no subject)

After wasting countless hours staring at pictures of slope garden and other horticultural porn, I did a little sketch of the slope. S said how about some rock steps and more trees, so I added a few, and now I have the start of somthing like a plan. And since crepe murtles do so well here we thought we'd plant a couple on a little ledge. I have also bought three azaleas, which I want to put on the slope somewhere, not sure where.
20140822_225116
pink lotus

(no subject)

When we were house hunting, S was set on having the house on an elevation, being old-fashioned about things like flooding and drainage and such. And boy did we buy a house with elevation. Our front yard is a 15ft high slope with 100% grade(45 degree incline for those of you who do not read landscaping books for entertainment), and covered with daylilies and poison ivies.

It is somewhat attractive for about 2 weeks out of the year when the daylilies bloom and the fireflies are out, but after that the stalks of the spent bloom persist for month and the leaves flops, and the vines hidden between the daylilies take over.
IMG_20140620_170305_249

This summer S killed as much of the poison ivy as we could find, so the slope is somewhat less of a minefield, and now we're trying to come up with a plan for the slope. so, ideas and inputs are much appreciated.