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One Good Thing: The hit feminist concubine drama that annoyed the Chinese Communist Party
Yanxi Palace was one of the most popular dramas on the planet. Watch it and you’ll immediately see why.
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It takes only a few minutes into Story of Yanxi Palace , the smash hit 2018 Chinese historical palace drama, for the training wheels to fly off.
Alongside our heroine, Wei Yingluo ( Wu Jinyan ), the audience is dropped into the middle of a complicated society with clandestine rules and labyrinthine social codes: the Forbidden City. Governed by the real-life Qing Dynasty Emperor Qianlong, and built around the stratagems and maneuvers of his many concubines, the 18th-century city oozes opulence and ornate luxury — but also teems with duplicity and danger.
Unlike the audience, however, Wei Yingluo has come prepared.
The story opens with a group of lowly embroidery maids, all new to the palace, encountering a group of eligible noblewomen on their way to meet the emperor. After one of the noblewomen bullies them, Wei Yingluo, a new maid, steps in and smooths things over. Yingluo assuages the noble lady’s anger by showing her a unique trick that makes her footsteps trail roses — thus sending her on her way to meet the emperor with a special advantage over the other would-be consorts.
So far, so good: Our hero is a modest, discerning girl who knows how to flatter to keep the peace.
The moment the emperor ( Yuan Nie ) sees the roses the girl has trailed behind her, he realizes she has disobeyed the imperial Manchu decree against footbinding — a huge offense. He instantly disgraces her and her entire clan.
This, we realize, is what happens when someone crosses Wei Yingluo: a devious, subtle form of sabotage that depends upon the perpetrator’s own mistakes to damn them in the end.
Just like that, we’re off to the races. Over the course of 70 episodes, our lowly palace maid faces an endless onslaught of power plays and manipulations, all amid a steady, unprecedented social climb through the ranks of the court. While watching, I kept being reminded of The Queen’s Gambit , a show where the story’s chief appeal is the satisfaction of getting to watch a capable woman being capable, while all the men in her life either support her, get out of the way, or live to rue their mistake in trying to possess her.
Rest assured, Yanxi Palace also has all the betrayal, backstabbing, murder, epic love sagas, and tragedy any fan of other grittier genres and shows, like Game of Thrones or hit Chinese xianxia drama The Untamed , could want. Granted, palace dramas like this one typically have plenty of grim tropes, but I was unprepared for how much violence and bloodshed accompanied a clear focus on women’s storylines. Memorable performances from its giant ensemble cast seal the deal — especially Wu Jinyan as Wei Yingluo, a heroine among heroines. Cunning, reckless, stubborn, but also kind, a little goofy, and a little insecure, she never relinquishes her control over her own life, no matter how much life in the Forbidden City dictates female subservience.
Loosely based on a real historical figure (to tell you who would be a spoiler, but if you must know, here’s a hint ), Yingluo quickly becomes a palace troublemaker: An unruly, outspoken rule-breaker who narrowly avoids certain disgrace by being three steps ahead of everyone around her. Yingluo’s only weapons may be etiquette and embroidery, but she wields them with such skill that she quickly becomes a threat to the palace’s intricate social hierarchy — and a thorn in the side of the emperor himself.
Yingluo’s deliberate social climbing isn’t because of ambition, however; her real goal is to find the person who murdered her sister, a palace maiden who was expelled in disgrace after a murky scandal, only to end up strangled shortly after. Convinced her death was no suicide, Yingluo enters the Forbidden City working as a maid in order to seek the perpetrator. What she finds is a palace full of tripwires and subterfuge, with concubines jockeying for power, willing to do whatever they can to gain the emperor’s favor, including resorting to sabotage, betrayal, and even murder. Within such a power structure, true friendship among women is the hardest-won prize of all — but it also might be Wei Yingluo’s ultimate secret power.
So far this might sound like a typical palace drama, full of shallow scheming and social class structure at play. But even for longtime fans of Chinese historicals, Yanxi Palace stands out for its puzzle-box plotting, infinitely bingeable pacing — 70 episodes might sound like a slog, but there are points where it’s nearly impossible to stop watching — and addictive characterizations. We watch Yingluo level up, shounen anime protagonist style, as she bests opponent after opponent, relying on a combination of practical skill and psychological strategy. Alongside these maneuvers, she has to learn to navigate a series of romantic entanglements: to strike a delicate balance between the affection she has for the young palace guard Fuca ( Xu Kai ), her friendship with the conniving eunuch, Yuan ( Wang Maolei ), and her numerous charged clashes with the emperor.
Yanxi Palace ’s showrunner is the veteran palace drama screenwriter Yu Zheng , putting a loudly feminist spin on tropes he knows well. The palace concubines fight for agency and autonomy in an oppressively patriarchal society. The show also fixates on the relationship between power and influence. Yingluo’s enemies constantly weaponize virtuous concepts in order to manipulate perceptions of truth and use them to ruin lives. The more powerful they are, the harder the “real” truth is to uncover.
Legendary Hong Kong actress Charmaine Sheh is particularly memorable as Consort Xian, a concubine with a legit villain origin story born out of her realization that the meekness, decorum, and gentleness she’s performed all her life have only left her weak and powerless. Consort Xian consigns herself to trust no one, while Wei Yingluo is driven by loyalty to the trusted women in her life. Their separate strategies evolve over the entire series before finally coming into direct conflict, and the payoff is epic.
Very little is known about the life of Wei Yingluo’s historical counterpart or most of the show’s other historical analogs; outside of some key background details, the plot is entirely fictional. (Another palace drama that followed Yanxi Palace , Ruyi Zhuan , presents Charmaine Sheh’s historical figure as the heroine.) But Yanxi Palace also serves up an authentic slice of Chinese history, thanks to its exquisite production design.
The series landed in the middle of a huge craze for historical palace dramas (many of which are on Netflix, if you get a yen for more), and it had a huge budget, reportedly around $45 million. Luckily for us, most of it seems to have gone into the production design, and the faithful, painstaking recreation of cultural and historical details. If you’re a fan of historical dramas but have been disappointed by the gaudy insubstantial feel of shows like The Gilded Age or Bridgerton , the sheer physicality of Yanxi Palace ’s production details might make a refreshing change. The show is full of intangible cultural heritage crafts , some of which the concubines and their maids practice, like rare embroidery and jewelry techniques. The costuming and accessories are often relics of real Qing Dynasty palace garments , which the show hired real Forbidden City relic recreation specialists to make. Individual dresses had exorbitant price tags, and a single crown worn by one consort reportedly cost nearly $150,000.
The investment paid off in a huge way. Yanxi Palace immediately won rave reviews from the public, critics, and cultural experts for its restorative care. Once the show had the public’s attention, the plot carried them away: The show became the most-Googled show of 2018 , despite Google being banned in China. It also boosted museum attendance in China along with Forbidden City tourism.
And, in what is undoubtedly the biggest mark of its cultural impact, its enormous success caused the Chinese Communist Party to harangue that palace dramas had a “negative impact .” Thankfully, it seems as though few audience members agree .
The Story of Yanxi Palace is available for free on YouTube , for free on Viki , and for free on iQiyi and the iQiyi app . I recommend watching on Viki, where the English subtitles feature translators’ notes for additional context. While the main series is not on Netflix, a short sequel featuring several returning cast members, including Wu Jinyan, is exclusively on Netflix. Yanxi Palace: Princess Adventures follows Yingluo’s daughter as she navigates a palace that — largely thanks to her mom — is a little kinder to all the women within it.
For more recommendations from the world of culture, check out the One Good Thing archives.
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Ending Recap: Story of Yanxi Palace
The events of the final episode take place 24 years after Wei Ying Luo ( Wu Jin Yan ) entered the imperial palace as a seamstress, intent on finding those responsible for and avenging the death of her older sister. Since Ying Luo’s mother died after she was born, it was her older sister who took care of and raised her. After many years of not getting along, Ying Luo and the Qianlong Emperor ( Nie Yuan ) finally develop true feelings for each other and Ying Luo becomes one of Qianlong’s most beloved consorts, Noble Consort Ling. She and Qianlong are parents to three children, one son and two daughters.
On to the recap….
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I think it's debatable whether Ying Luo truly loves Qianlong in the end or not. She played her entire way up to the position she is in now and finally got revenge, but with the last conversation about putting court matters first, with her heartbreaking reaction to Fuheng's death, with her explanation to Ulanara of how she successfully got Qianlong's love, and with her exposing her entire plot starting from long ago, there still seems to be a little bit of falsity. From Qianlong's side, I think his true love was the Fucha empress, and he was heartbroken over that and possibly sees Ying Luo as a replacement/stand-in.
yl learned to loved the emperror trully after fu heng’s death,thats what how i understands yl knows that she needs the emperrors grace for her to accomplished all her revenge plan for the empress fu heng is such a good man,though he was not able to marry yl like what he always wanted but never fail to protect and keep her all his life in his heart
I have Yanxi on hold right now. I watched up to ep 42 and I can see why Yanxi has good reviews and online views. Wei Ying Luo starts out with a bang since 3 mins into ep 1 showing how smart and capable she is. I wasn’t planning to check out at first coz I can’t stomach Qing Dynasty styling especially for males, but I am impressed with all those beautifully tailored costumes.
Qian Long’s true love is Empress Fu Cha, as for Ying Luo, she is a fascination and an oddball to him coz when the rest of his consorts are craving for his affection, Ying Luo stays indifferent. He is attracted to Ying Luo mysteriousness in the beginning but after reading the finale recap, I guess he really comes to love Ying Luo. Ying Luo and Fu Heng are first love to each other. Ying Luo love for Fu Heng does not come across as very deep since for YL, things she treasures come before FH i.e. her sister and people around her.
I don’t get too emotionally invested to the characters in the drama but still a good watch with great acting from the casts with adequate production value.
I think he loved fucha Empress and Ying Luo because they both have many things in common. Ying and Empress before she became empress seem to be of similar nature but but empress was tamed alot and tried to embody what was expected of her and be very soft and submissive while Ying stayed mostly true to her nature and only subdued a little. If Emperor was attracted to Fucha empress before they were married then he already liked nature on Ling too, unless he did not know the empress nature before they were married and she subdued herself. You can also love more than 1 person and more than 1 person of differing natures too. So to me he loves em both and i think both women characters have a lot in common.
I agree too he loves Fucha empress, also seems that he had a childhood with her. But he had a crush on Ying Luo even when the empress was still alive, so maybe Ying Luo is not really a replacement. He's just impressed by her ever since the begnning for her quick thinking mouth and unusuallness of ignoring him. His duties come first so he is ruthless like his brother said, even when the empress died he will still continue on duties as usual, his life goes on, and the grieviance wasn't all that long. Although he loves empress and Ying Luo he's still quite a womanizer in someway. But surprisingly! And most amazingly! He isn't that much of an annoyance for womanizing like all other Yu Zheng past dramas. Could be because he's a king after all. In Yu Zheng's usual dramas, they often get ruined and so annoying after the main guy starts cheating for no good reason, they became extremely detestable. Or, if the men didn't cheat then they usually get rape by the overbearing jealousy women. This pattern still happened, Er Qing raped the king LOL. But glad that her scenes were not overtaking and overkilling compared to somebody like Shen Bi in Legend of Luzhen who people wished to just die arleady in each and every episodes 😛 Yu Zheng had tons and tons of those same characters all the time. They were just plainly hateful, unncessary, uninteresting, nothing creative and overly used. But all the evil ladies in Yanxi Gonglue did not happen to annoy me to death because they do have an interesting humanness thing about them that makes me actually wonder what they will be up to next.
And I believe this was really watchable because Ying Luo comes off as a very smart (even too modern minded) woman who knows an emperor is an emperor, he has many women and not worth to love him the way you would for an ordinary husband. So, people don't really tend to ship her and the emperor much, although they were still able to manage coming off as a very cute bickering couple.
I think the way he loves Fucha empress and his love for Ying Luo are very different. His love for the Fucha empress is one laced with deep respect for her purity, her kindness, her graciousness particularly since she came from a respectable Manchu lineage. She was his wife and I guess, his first love. Yet (at least in the show), the Fucha empress was not accessible to him emotionally. She was deeply depressed over the death of her children, the position of empress took its toll on her, a free spirit and the down-to-earth marital relationship she craved never happened because he was after all, the emperor. There are layers between them. Yet they loved each other in their own way.
For Ying Luo, the attraction stemmed from the fact that she was refreshingly spunky and bold, in a time when women, let alone maids, were not expected to be. But that attraction over time grew into grudging admiration and then later, into love. Whether or not she plotted her way into his heart, the fact remains that he did love her and this is said so many times in the show (by Fu Heng), from his actions with Ying Luo. With Ying Luo and the emperor, it was a love that was born over time, through all the machinations of the palace. By the end, I believe they displayed the chemistry of a long-married couple who are comfortable with each other, who still have that playful teasing vibe. I think that's really nice – and yes, you can tell I ship Ying Luo with the emperor!
Historically, this plays out quite correctly as well. The concubine Ling, surnamed Wei, is a Han lowly born woman who came into the palace as a maid and later grew to become the Imperial Noble Consort and posthumously, the third empress in Qian Long's life. Among all the consorts, he had the most number of children with her, he also promoted her the fastest among all the consorts and when she died, he was the one who conferred the post-humous title of empress on her. So I think yeah, he did love her.
Don't get me wrong, I do think that Qianlong loves Ying Luo, even though his first great love was Fucha Empress, but I am doubting whether or not Ying Luo herself truly longs Qianlong considering that she admitted at one point during the show that she was using Qianlong to get revenge for herself and for Fucha Empress (she loves Fucha right up until the very end). Also considering how it seemed like she was still very invested in Fuheng and how she revealed that she knew what Ulanara was up to since a long time ago, which means that she had been plotting for a significant length of time.
Of course it could very much be true that the two of them are truly in love, but palace dramas are very complicated and the women had to be smart to survive!
Oh goodness, I did not know about the Yu Zheng drama situation (DramaPanda, want to do a post about that to inform the less educated people? Haha)
In regards to Qinglong/Ying Luo, like I said below, I agree that Qianlong loves Ying Luo to some degree. She's fresh in that she doesn't give him what he wants (remember when she said: "Why did you tell him" to Ulanara). But I don't know if Ying Luo necessarily loves Qianlong, since her entire motivation throughout this whole drama was revenge: first for her sister, of course, and also for the Fucha Empress. I think it might be significant that they showed her handling Fucha's beads at the end, but it might a symbol of Ying Luo's dedication to Fucha. Plus the plotting in order to rise in ranks and to gain Qianlong's trust and love, etc., etc.
I'm not sure. Ying Luo is too smart of a person for me to easily say that she fell head over heels with the man who was the husband of Fucha (essentially Ying Luo's surrogate sister).
Chua Mei Ling
Just wanna know why the empress dowager refused to kill yuan chun luo… So what's the secret… Sorry I'm used to watching tvb dramas which always explain the plot… Here I'm left hanging many times!
This drama did a great job giving depth to the plot line, in large part due to the entire cast of great actors and high quality script. You can tell a lot of research went into this production. I liked TVB dramas back in its heyday, but I prefer not having to fast-forward because everyone is rehashing or dragging out the same stuff.
Re your question; my take on it was that the Empress Dowager removed Yuan Chun Luo's reason for revenge by denying his existence/his tie to Aisin Jueluo as the ultimate act of revenge. I had to clap at that kind of quick-thinking after a traumatic blow – so smart! Empress Dowager is pretty crafty, that one….and I'm sure she knew the her husband, the previous Emperor, very well. Whether or not his story is true, the Empress Dowager probably didn't want to give Yuan Chun Luo the satisfaction.
Anyhow, thinking that Yuan Chun Luo destroyed his life chasing something false made him the ultimate loser and put him over the edge into crazypants-landia. Being a victim had given him purpose and calling him a nobody, made him pathetic.
But with the refusal to kill Yuan Chun Luo (as supported by Empress Dowager's subtle vulnerably pained face at the end…and the Emperor's quivering eyes as understanding dawned on him), the emperor knew that it could be true: that Yuan Chun Luo is or might be his half-brother. She probably couldn't bring herself to kill a prince – and her character is one that is very religious and loving of her children and grandchildren (although I would bet money that Empress Dowager did some shady things in her time and hence prays all the time to make up for it).
Adding to Jo. If you consider that empress dowager is Zhen huan in the other drama, it explains why she is so religious, having spend multiple years at the buddhist temple when she was banished. While she started sweet, she was abused by many, ordered to kill her true love and she killed a few in the end. She loved her little sister in that drama, wich ties nicely in yanxi palace where she wanted to believe Chen was the reincarnation of her.
It was a very addicting drama and enjoyable from beginning to end. I'm amazed I watched the whole through without subs lol so I def am missing some things. The rebellion & conclusion were all wrapped up so quickly in 2 episodes. I think the ending was a bit rushed, even though it was still satisfying. I wished they gave them a little more time for their happy ending and gave some more history about what happened afterwards. I did some googling out of curiosity and apparently YL's son, the 15th prince, becomes the next emperor. In 1761, a year later after she falls out of favor, the 2nd Empress dies. I was surprised it was a span of 24 years already at the end of the drama. I guess YL enters the palace in 1741 so she's only 13-14 years old in the beginning.
I felt so sad for Fuheng and his family. His sister died, he never really married, got a son that isn't his, and he died. I was suspicious when his wife claimed her son was the king's, I thought there was some hints that she might've had an affair with Fuheng's younger half-brother? Hai Lan Cha is a sweetheart and didn't get a happy ending either 🙁 Def am left with curiosity about Yuan Chun Wang's history but judging by the Dowager Empress' reactions seems like he was a prince. What I'm really curious about is in the beginning her last scene in ep 70, the Empress is praying and you see that one lit candle on the left while the rest are put out. I believe the last one was for the Dowager Empress but since she never killed her or got her revenge for her dad she left it for the last decade? Maybe never gave up on revenge or kept as a reminder?
Never saw the chemistry between Fuheng & YL. Only as felt they were good friends. Tbh they never had much time to interact and she was using/targeting him initially as well… Don't recall why she all of a sudden was like yeah, we're in love, lol. I do think over the years she built a fondness for Qianlong at the very least, if not more. I feel Qianlong(the man) loved YL, while Qianlong(the Emperor) loved Empress Fucha.
The last candle is Qianlong, she stated in episode 69 she hates him the most out of everyone but could never bring herself to kill him because she loved her husband.
Late on the reply but theres an article about scenes that were cut from the show to reduce the episodes. Some of the cut scenes have to do with Chenbi (which was why her storyline was so confusing and why you dont see her face in the first couple episodes) and Erqings storyline (which stated that she indeed did have an affair with Fuhengs brother and the son is his). This was why the brother was always protective of Erqing even when she did such evil things that he didnt like.
I love reading the discussion here! So many in-depth analysis and observation lol
Throughout this drama, I was always curious about who does Qianlong love more. Empress Fuca or Yingluo. As for Yingluo, Fuheng or Qianlong?
Knowing that Empress Fuca took a liking in Yingluo because the latter reminded her of her younger self. I feel like a part of Qianlong also loves Yingluo due to her resemblance to the free-spirited, younger self of Fuca Rongyin. However, I think their love strengthened over time because they are of equal wits. They understand each other without having to say anything. Nie Yuan said in one interview that Qianlong really did love Empress Fuca, but she's really different from him. she kind of expect monogamy and freedom, but being an emperor, he can't grant that for her. Whereas, Yingluo understands his thinking, actions, motives, and the position he is in.
For Yingluo, the love for Fuheng has turned into a somewhat life-time comrade and mutual respect for one another. He was her first love, but then has became her soulmate. Yingluo didnt fall in love with Qianlong just because he is her husband, but I feel like their similarities have built a type of love that is unbreakable over the years. A love full of trust, understanding, and sacrifices.
Haha agreed, this love square was executed very well, full of balanced tension spread over the episodes.
Fucha Rongyi saw her younger self unfettered by duty in Wei Ying Luo and also knew that her brother Fuheng is a kindred spirit in wanting to follow his own heart. It's why she wanted to protect not only Ying Luo, but also their happiness together…which is why it was so tragic. That Er Qing was vicious – everyone liked to say that Ying Luo only loves herself, but Er Qing was the truly selfish one.
I agree, Ying Luo and Hong Li (the Qianlong Emperor), were a very good match for wits, but so was Fuheng in terms of intelligence. He always understood the behind-the-scene plotting machinations and did not fall into traps. One of my favorite moments was when he told the Emperor: "You have to opportunity to be with her, so you should treasure it instead of ruining it with jealousy" or something like that. Fuheng gave up his chance and lost his opportunity to be with Ying Luo, but it never stopped him from loving her. I think Fuheng's continued obvious love for Ying Luo is what simultaneously made the Emperor stew in jealousy, but also fall for Ying Luo harder. The Emperor is used to women vying for his affection and for the first time, he sorta has competition (even though as Emperor, he's in a clear power advantage).
As for Ying Luo, I think she loved both men. If Empress Fucha was burdened by her duties and loss, then Ying Luo's heart was always tied in complications due to her revenge for her sister and for Empress Fucha. Fuheng was her first love (Ying Luo was moved that someone so perfectly good also be so loving and giving to her, even after seeing her dark side). Someone who understands you, truly sees you, and also still loves you? ….yeah, Ying Luo definitely never stopped loving Fuheng – her love just changed as they both accepted their paths were not meant to be taken together in marriage. Fuheng knew and understood all this and more (i.e. that Ying Luo also fell in love with the Emperor, who loves Ying Luo so much that he grants her so many freedoms in order for her to be happy), which is why I think it was fitting his last words after saving her life by getting the antidote and being poisoned in the process were "I'm tired of protecting you, will you protect me in the next life?" So cheeky, and Ying Luo said yes! That was such perfect way to bring closure to their relationship.
true . i also think so .like i had always felt that even though she did love emperor . she never truly stopped loving fuheng . and in the drama that maid ask if she could be a bit considerate of fuheng . but it was obvio that she was so sad that she could nt speak and her last words to fuheng is very meaningful , they were soulmates who were never meant to be together star crossed lovers .
(second part of above comment, lols):
It goes without saying that the Emperor loves Ying Luo, but I don't think it was because she never said I love you to him. That part was kind of mehhh to me. Ying Luo had him wrapped around her finger long before that, and she could've said it and the Emperor would still be crazy for her. I think her love with the Emperor started the same way as her love with Fuheng: she played them both in order to get revenge…and ended up falling in love with both as well. She definitely got jealous when she thought the Emperor had fallen for another consort as fast as he fell for her. The path of love is wrought with competition and jealously and even when a relationship matures and feels secure, those feelings don't go away – you (hopefully) handle them better. The final scene where Ying Luo promised to show her love through her actions embodied how their relationship matured while maintaining that original spark.
There is no doubt the Emperor loved Empress Fucha – they were childhood sweethearts and she was the perfect Empress in so many ways. Her death and sorrow changed the Emperor and in the end, allowed him to better love Ying Luo. Ying Luo is essentially his second chance at love.
Lastly, I thought the Emperor's character was written and acted out very well. He's like the Chinese imperial equivalent of Mr. Darcy from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice…just way busier running the country and such, haha. But like Darcy, he has this huge prejudice against Ying Luo (also from a lower status like Elizabeth Bennet) and tries to protect the people he loves from Ying Luo while fighting his attraction and admiration. Of course, Story of Yanxi Palace is way more dynamic and fleshed out, but the basic premise is there.
Can you tell I binge-watched this entire drama and loved every minute of it? Hehee.
"I feel like a part of Qianlong also loves Yingluo due to her resemblance to the free-spirited, younger self of Fuca Rongyin." Maybe that's why he didn't crown her empress, being afraid she will take Empress Fucha's footstep into losing her freedom and carefree self. But, Ying Luo is still a smart person and will handle things differently for sure. The reason of not getting another empress makes me beileve because there is that one spot for Empress Fucha.
I believe Ying Luo loves the emperor but smart to know she cannot expect monogamy from him. So she is aware not to get too attach to him. Where as Empress Fucha knows that as well, but she loves the emperor too much so she does seem to kind of expect monogamy silently although she never really say it or make it obvious.
Thank you for this article. Was looking high answer low on a recap of the episode because I can’t understand mandarin 100% and am still waiting for the subtitles to come out! And I wasn’t disappointed. Please keep up the good work! Because of you I had the ending explained and life is so goodnight now. THank you xoxo
i believe that ling fei and the emperror love each other so much. feel so sad for fu heng,at first he really need to sacrifice to marry the evil minded woman for yl to be freed.till his last breath he had protect and kept her into his life. well it happens even to this modern day that you dnt always marry the person you love the most for some certain matters RIP fu heng lol i jst love fu heng character here an army in words and deed
fu heng is such a good man and yl still loves him from the deepest part of her heart but thats impossible already for she is the emperror woman yl is a girl that knows to put limits in whatever situation but glad to know that no matter what had happen in the past includes the fact that was not able to marry her i love the way how fu heng help and support her all the time till his last breath i hope theres a seperate story for their nxt life and have happy ending lol….hahahha
I hope so too. That was an very creative idea. To be honest, I was kind of disappointed Ying Luo and Fu Heng was not able to end up together.
All is well in the end, the ending is extremely sad but satisfying in the end with their characters well acted out.
i need to know when YL was dying from poison, before fainting, she saw a man walking past, was it Fuheng that she saw…??? could anyone comments…
I'm pretty sure that is. Ying Luo fainted and was about to die. She met Fu Heng there but since he just walked away, that kind of symbolize that Ying Luo wasn't going to die. It just shows how Fu Heng even at the extent of his own life, still put Ying Luo first. That was so touching.
hope there is another drama based on fuheng & yl on next life….
Hongli must also be included.in this life ;he wil be the loser??.if the backgroung is republic area,it will be nicer
Next Life drama on Fuheng & yl,should be the same actor/actress
just like one and only and forever and ever (1 is in historical sense while other is modern )
Where can I get English subtitles for this drama please
what happened to fifth prince. Did he become emperor?
The did not address it in the show. But in history, the real 5th Prince died early and Yingluo’s son aka 15th Prince became the next emperor. (Thats also because Qianlong lived a veryyyyy long and healthy live) so when 15th pronce was the emperor, Qianlong still hold power as Emperor Regent for another 3 years before he passed away.
The Ulanara Empress was buried as a noble consort and Qianlong was buried between his beloved Fuca Empress and Empress Wei (Yingluo’s title was amended to Empress when 15th Prince ascended the throne)
I believe you have done a fantastic translation almost to the exact word. This is very useful for those who do not understand Mandarin.
an emperor knowing Fu Heng love for YL & yet he still do not bless them but instead have YL for himself ….what a selfsh man…he can have so many concubines he wants, & yet he need to steal YL from Fu Heng…
I agreed at first, but everything turned out the way it is, and I'm happy with it. This forbidden love (kind of) between Ying Luo and Fu Heng just highlights his character.
I really hate emperor for being so selfish but I hate Fu Heng as well for given up so early. YL feeling so hopeless when knowing FH is marrying another women. FH should trust YL more as she is smart women know how to pull out from trap. If only he trust her more.
Do you not remember that Emperor Q said he would kill Ying Luo and relented only after Fu Heng agreed to marry that treacherous witch?
In real life, is there such a man like FuHeng who will stand by his love, YingLuo even though she has married another? I just love this romantic story. I am moved to tears to see YL in pain to hear her FH has died ??.
Thank you for writing such a detailed storyline.
so far YouTube but Viki is trying to pick it up
Great news! Viki has licensed this summer's mega hit web drama Story of Yanxi Palace!
what was the story with Chen bi ? didn't quite catch her arc
Oh boy! With so many woman under one roof Definitely plenty of headache.
How is the Emperor going to run the country effectively (and have the time to). No wonder great dynasties eventually fail and falter.
Towards the later part of the series Came another PYT Demure, Beautiful, Damsel-in-Distress disposition And definitely captivating (to the Emperor)
It turns out that this newbie Concubine Chen Bi is the most vicious ingrate, liar and back-stabber.
In modern office politics, pretty prevalent. Beware of such "chen-bi-saurus"
ps: PYT = Pretty Young Thing. Kudos to her acting. In just 2 short episodes, we are able to witness the 180-degree transformation from goodie-lass to the most vile-creature in the entire series.
I loved Fuheng
i just wished she ended up with Fuheng but overall the ending is good
-normally the rank of Imperial Noble Consort (huangguifei) is equivalent to an Empress-in-waiting; but in Wei Yingluo’s case, the rank is the highest an imperial concubine of non-Manchu banner origins can attain; Lady Weigiya (the RL Wei Yingluo) was of ethnic Han Chinese origin, despite the Manchu-fied clan name, hence she can never become Empress of Great Qing (and anyways, since her son Yongyan became Jiaqing Emperor, it was understood he would posthumously promote his birth mother (who died in 1775) to the rank of Empress Consort as an act of filial piety)
-the “bracelet” Wei Yingluo holds in her hands is actually a Buddhist rosary/prayer beads
-historians theorize that Noble Consort Ling was directly responsible for Step Empress’s downfall, and some opine that Step Empress was alarmed at her promotions from Noble Lady (guiren) to Noble Consort (guifei) in a span of 14 years!
This nice series was just finished here in Ph. A bit weird tho that they sort of changed the some parts in ending, which is rather good. It says that prince Ha was just locked in, it doesn’t say that he’ll be executed. Good since we don’t need another death, and the Empress was quite relieved with news that Lady Ling told her. Yes that’s included in their conversation scene. While the scene woth Prince Ha and Hai Lan Cha was cut off. Huhu. And…. Fu Heng, he got sick with malaria (actual history shows it’s true!) while fighting and getting the antidote, but fu heng wanted not to let the opportunity of winning the war, so rather than go home, he and the army fought. I think that’s a more better story for Fu Heng since he’s really good at fighting only sickness can stop him, and most probably he got it from finding for the plants that can cure (and even prolong youth) for Ying Luo. This is the sad part of the ending tgat made me all teary. ? And I’m a guy! Lol. Nice series! This is actually the first C series that really got us watching.
I respect everything that you have written in this blog. Please continue to provide wisdom to more people like me.
First of all I want to say how good this drama was, like every thing was just perfect the storyline, the plot and both characters and the developments they had. One my first run in watching the drama, I was so captivated in the actors performance that I forgot they were actors in the first place. But on the second run i started picking up on things I missed, and it made suspect if there was any deeper meaning to some scenes. IF ANY HASN’T FINISHED THE DRAMA YET I SUGGEST NOT TO READ FURTHER. WARNING!! SPOILERS!! so anyway these are the questions I need answered: – did wei linglou’s farther ever get bribed by concubine gao. I think it was when concubine gao’s brother was still in power and had most of the court ministers under his control. I’m pretty sure concubine gao was getting sick of yinglou so she went after her farther. But I can’t really remember I think I might have two dramas mixed up, this and “the empress in the palace” – anywaaayyy if that was true, everyone remember when yinglou’s farther just HAD TO GET SICK ON THE NIGHT THE EMPRESS DIED and she had to go babysit his as*. And when the maids report to consort shu or chu? That “yinglou had left the palace, LIKE THEY WHERE EXPECTING HER TOOO” didn’t that also say that “now the guard dog is gone the empress…….?”( <—— can’t remember what comes after that, also don’t quote me on that can’t remember full details) that they could finally take action (honestly I’m a little devil so I was questioning why they didn’t do the scheme while yinglou was still in the palace) soooo IS THAT A COINCIDENCE or not? Like was her farther involved in that scheme. Did he purposely get injured to keep yinglou away from the palace – and lastly (because I’m writing to much) in episode 70 minute 32:19(don’t be calling me out for not remembering the other stuff properly, it’s just that I’ve just finished my * time watching it.) you realise how there’s still one more candle burning. Like the psycho had this pleasure of cutting/ stopping the candles from burning when she got her revenge on so and so. But why is there still one left?? Who was her last enemy ( this is the one I needed answering the most the other two are just there to make it longer)
Thank you for wasting your time on my 4 sentences question. If you reply back with answers (ESPECIALLY THE 3 ONE) to any of the questions I’ve asked if would be appreciated. Bless the kind souls that helped. I apologise for any reading difficulties you had. (Gave up on school work during lock down and due to that any educational teachings I’ve had are slowly being forgotten.BUT I REGRET NOTHING
Good for Noble Consort Ying Luo in the end, but I felt sorry for everyone except the Emperor Q and Empress Dowager.
I wonder if Ying Luo ever found out why Fuheng married that witch who used deception to get impregnated by the Emperor, betraying her former master, the first Empress! He did it because the Emperor Q said he would kill Ying Luo…
The Emperor and the Empress Dowager demonstrated ruthlessness at least twice: the Empress Dowager had the second Empress’s father killed and the Emperor refused to allow Fuheng to marry Ying Luo for what looked like selfish reasons in hindsight…
However, in the spirit of our righteous heroine, Ying Luo, I’ll forgive them.
O amor da vida dela é Fuheng. Ela somente desenvolveu sentimentos pelo imperador, mas não amor de verdade. Isso fica bem claro.
It’s entirely possible to love more than one person and to do so sincerely. Why is it okay for the Emperor to have multiple loves while WY is expected to love only the Emperor? Personally, my own inclination to love is similar to WY and I’ve fallen “in love” and had serious relationships at least four times in my life but I ended up married for almost 30yrs to someone who I knew loved me more than I did him and he was okay with that. What is love anyway? I believe love should be an action that accumulates daily and incrementally. In any event, WY is exactly who the Emperor deserved. Someone who made him sit up and pay attention. She drove him into corners no one else would have dared to and in return he got to live a more fulfilling and loving life. Why then do we need to quantify WY’s “love”?
If it helps, think of Fuheng as WY’s concubine husband. Okay? Women should be allowed to have emotional relationships that aren’t sexual. My opinion of course.
Anyway, this series is a masterpiece of great writing and excellent acting. It drove up my stress level and had me talking to my self. The scale of production is staggering likewise the costumes and set design. The editor deserves an award for cutting out all those awkward long pauses and useless long walks that acts as fillers in most Chinese historicals.
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Story of yanxi palace (chinese drama review & summary).
Drama Story of Yanxi Palace (Chinese Drama Review & Summary) Story of Yanxi Palace poster Genre: Historical, Romance, Intrigue Based on a novel by Zhou Mo called Yan Xi Gong Lue Date Release: 19 July 2018 CDrama: 70 Episodes Cast: Wu Jinyian as Wei Yingluo/Consort Lin Charmaine Sheh as Hoifa-Nara Shushen, Consort Xian Qin Lan as Fucha Rongyin Nie Yuan as the Qianlong Emperor, Hong Li Xu Kai as Fucha Fuheng Tan Zhuo as Gao Ningxin Wang Yuanke as Su Jinghao, Consort Chun Jenny Zhang as Niohuru Chenbi, Consort Shun Lian Lian as Keliyete Ayan, Consort Yu Xu Baihui as Consort Yi Pan Shiqi as Consort Jia Li Chun’ai as Nalan Chunxue, Consort Shu Li Ruoning as Lu Wanwan, Consort Qing Fu Xiaoyu as Socolo Yuli, Consort Rui Wang Xinhui as Consort Wan Liu Lu as Consort Ying Synopsis: Cinderella given a mystery Chinese historical treatment.
I have heard so much about this drama including some controversy which was reported and broadcasted by the BBC. Apparently, the drama is shown in Vietnam ahead of the Chinese viewers. To get to watch it online, one is asked to answer a cryptic question before he is allowed into the site.
I think the question is about the controversial Paracel Islands. Who owns it? It is currently controlled by China but Taiwan and Vietnam lay claims toward them.
Anyway, according to the Vietnamese site, they are the true owner and Vietnam is the only correct answer.
Aside from that, which is a drama in itself, I heard that the drama is spectacularly popular and any drama of that period will sure to be eclipsed.
The intro is like looking at an expensive coffee table Chinese photography book. It is picture perfect. Really sumptuous and you can see and feel that it had been painstakingly composed.
Anyway, it was rather busy at the Forbidden City. Girls from noble families were queuing up to audition for a vacancy in the royal harem.
It so happens that it was a training day for new recruits of palace maids. Because of gossiping among the maids, they lost concentration, which almost ended up in a disaster, Wei Yinglou intervened to prevent a noble against a maid disagreement’s to grow more than what it was.
Wei Yinglou showed quick mind and competence in persuading the noble girl to forgive the lowly maid.
The search for the next concubine had started with the Emperor doing his talent spotting. He knew what he wants and told them what he did not want. He did not like fatties, he did not like swarthy girls, he most especially did not like stupid girls.
Out of the many, there was only one who succeeded, she knew how to give reasons.
This episode is mostly about the new maids.
The dozen or so maids sleep together in a dormitory. Before the first night is over, envy and jealousy are already rearing their ugly heads.
The subject of the envy and intrigue is, of course, Wei Yinglou.
But she was having none of it. She is feisty and self-possessed. She was no victim.
Wei Ying lou entered the Forbidden City to find out and avenge the murder of her beloved sister, who used to be a palace seamstress.
Though she is a strong and a calm girl, it was only in the outside because she gets frustrated too.
She was venting her frustration to a poor cypress tree when the Emperor happened to pass by. She was caught in the act, punching the tree trunk.
What she did not know was that that particular cypress tree is important to the Emperor. More important than most of the females in his life! The cypress has a spirit that follows him to give him shade from the sun and rain.
He ordered immediately that Wei Yinglou should be punished with 30 strokes of the cane.
As Wei Yinglou bent over in supplication, she told the Emperor that she had a reason for her action.
The Emperor was intrigued and asked her what it was.
She told him that she had a dream the night before and the spirit of the tree came to her and told her to stroke its bark as it got an itch. 🙂 🙂 🙂
The Emperor was rather fascinated with her reply and canceled his order to have her beaten up. He told her to go away instead.
The Emperor kept thinking about her wit and cheek that he ordered his manservant to go find her.
The head of the guard of the Forbidden City is an eye candy. The palace maids would stop in their tracks to take in his utter gorgeousness whenever he passes by.
In one such instance, Wei Yilong was left standing alone when everyone runs to watch the passing guard, Fucha. She went to get a colleague so they can finish their task. She was telling her off for running after men, who are not worth the effort, etc.
Her colleague left in a huff but she was surprised by the appearance of Fucha, who told her to stop bad-mouthing men. So cute, instant chemistry.
Anyway, Fucha was on his way to his sister, the Empress, who had been weak and ailing. she had continued to grieve over her dead only son. She had completely lost her joie de vivre .
Fucha told the Empress that she had turned into a sad and pathetic human being and had allowed the harem to run riot. It was her fault for her Aison Gioro, whatever that means. 🙂 🙂
Meanwhile, another jealous maid dropped Wei Yinglou into another palace drama. She told the maid of the senior harem consort that Yinglou had advised concubine Yi that the herb she was given can be poisonous.
Yinglou was frogmarched into the palace of the consort. Quick-witted as ever, Yinglou pretended that she was not quite right in the mind.
Yinglou had started investigating the murder of her sister and she started with the strict head servant as she found out that she has got her sister’s jade ornament.
She noticed that it would be difficult to serve the head servant’s room so she started plotting to get the head servant expelled from her room.
Yinglou begun acting as if she was in the early stage of pregnancy. She pretended that she was having morning sickness, she padded her tummy to have a thicker waits and even flirting with a guard.
The head servant called the eunuch to investigated Yinglou for immorality.
In the end the eunuch punished the head servant and a servant colluding with her. Yinglou went to see the head servant who was now utterly broken. She told Yinglou where the rest of sister’s property is hidden.
13 December 2018) Did you know? The most googled drama of 2018 is The Legend of YanXi Palace.
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I just finished all the episodes this morning. It is a testament of good drama. Even without words or rather translation, the drama was really affecting and enjoyable.
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Home » Yearbooks » Yearbook 2018: Power » Forum: Power and the Patriarchy » The Story of Yanxi Palace
The Story of Yanxi Palace
THE STORY OF YANXI PALACE 延禧攻略 is a historical period drama that gained astonishing popularity in the northern summer of 2018 — with over 14.5 billion online views since its release on the streaming platform iQiyi. The story is set during the reign of the Qing emperor Qianlong (1735–1796), a fictional tale of revenge about one of his concubines, Wei Yingluo 魏璎珞, posthumously known as Empress Xiaoyichun 孝仪纯, and mother of the succeeding Emperor Jiaqing.
Promotional poster for The Story of Yanxi Palace Source: akane847, Flickr
This historical reimagining of court intrigue features seemingly authentic, fabulous costumes and elegant hair accessories; some of the craft skills that went into their making are listed as Intangible Cultural Heritage in Jiangsu province. The vivid portrayal of imperial life through fashion, makeup, and hairstyles distinguished the show from many other imperial palace dramas that spend a huge amount of money on big-name stars but do not put as much effort into visual authenticity.
The Story of Yanxi Palace had its critics. Feminists argued that the protagonist is not so much a female fighter against an unbalanced structure of gendered power as a dependent of the authority of the patriarchal system. Social liberals attacked the show for revelling in the brutality of patriarchal power politics, and for depicting the female body as capital in the struggle for power, as well as a means for manipulating power.
Despite these criticisms, the fast-paced, 70-episode serial was well received by mainstream viewers. Its genre is one that is an eternal favourite with female viewers in China — power struggles within the imperial inner court. To ascend the power ladder of Qianlong’s inner court, concubines are depicted backstabbing each other and otherwise plotting to win the emperor’s favour. Only by approaching the political throne are the women empowered with any kind of authority. Yet the heroine Wei Yingluo is not a mere passive subject of the patriarchy. Her mindset is more modern in that she consciously negotiates with, and sometimes challenges the existing power structure. Her determination to seek revenge for her sister, who is raped by the emperor’s brother and later killed by the brother’s mother, results in her fighting those in power. In her revenge, she seizes every opportunity to undermine her enemies and sometimes even denounces their evil deeds to their face, despite their high-ranking positions.
Wei’s story deeply resonated with its predominantly female audience. She enters the court as a maid but eventually defeats all her enemies to become a high-ranking imperial concubine. As evidenced on Weibo and other social media platforms, a large number of urban women who struggle for better work opportunities identified with her solo struggle to climb the socioeconomic ladder and negotiate a society structured around wealth-based status and male power and privilege. Wei’s diligence and ultimate success encourages the serial’s female fans to pursue their dreams.
Although the drama pits Wei against a powerful clique of evil-doers, she is not depicted as an inherently noble moral figure like the empress, who is constrained by feminine virtues of self-sacrifice and disciplined silence. Wei, by contrast, is a hot-tempered woman who stands no nonsense. In the drama, virtues and ideals die along with the empress. Wei replaces them with a powerful sense of individual entitlement.
The competition for survival in the inner court also has echoes for women in today’s competitive and insecure workplaces, which are governed by cut-throat capitalist values rather than so-called ‘traditional virtues’, and many of which are guilty of practices that objectify the female body (see for example the opening paragraph of the ‘ Girl Power ’ chapter in this volume). Female viewers may find inspiration in Wei’s philosophy of life. Examples much quoted in social media include her lines: ‘People are kind in nature, but they should learn to defend themselves’ 人心存良善，更应懂自保; ‘Beat the snake where it hurts. To revenge on someone, the best way is to wrest what she wants the most’ 打蛇得打七寸，想要报复一个人，最好的办法，就是夺走她最想要的东西; ‘Confront soldiers with generals and stem water with earth. One needs to take whatever measures are called for. If one lives under constant worry and fear, what a feeble life it is!’ 人生处世无非就是兵来将挡，水来土掩，若是处处担忧，心怀恐惧，那还活个什么劲啊. Wei’s continual triumphs clearly inspired the drama’s female audience, although one of the show’s key aspects — female-to-female competition — is hardly a triumph for feminism.
Return to: Forum: Power and the Patriarchy
Story of Yanxi Palace – Wu Jinyan, Nie Yuan, Qin Lan, Charmaine Sheh
Story of Yanxi Palace is a historical court drama co-directed by Hui Kaidong and Wen Deguang, starring Wu Jinyan , Qin Lan , Nie Yuan , and Charmaine Sheh , and co-starring Xu Kai , Wang Yuanke , Tan Zhuo , Su Qing , Hong Yao , Wang Guanyi, Lian Lian , Li Chunai, Jiang Zixin, Pan Shiqi , and Li Ruoning , with Jenny Zhang Jiani in a special role. The drama tells the story of courtesan Wei Yingluo, who overcomes the difficulties of the court with her courage, resourcefulness, flexibility head, and broad-mindedness, and eventually becomes Empress Xiao Yi Chun who assists Emperor Qian Long in his reign.
English Title: Story of Yanxi Palace Chinese Title: 延禧攻略 Genre: Historical , Romance Tag: Harem , Smart Female Lead , Strong Female Lead , Older Man/Younger Woman , Revenge , Sismance Episodes: 70 Duration: 45 min. Director: Hui Kaidong, Wen Deguang Writer: Zhou Mo Producer: Yu Zheng Product Company: Huanyu Entertainment Co., Ltd Released Date: 2018-07-19 Broadcast Website : Viki , MZTV Exclusive , iQIYI , TVBAnywhere NA , Tubi
In the sixth year of the Qianlong reign, a young girl Wei Yingluo entered the Forbidden City as a palace maid to seek the truth about her eldest sister’s death.
After an investigation, Wei Yingluo confirmed that her sister’s death was related to the absurd prince Hong Zhou, and was determined to get justice.
Empress Fucha, who was skilled in rituals and laws, worried that Wei Yingluo has gone astray and tried her best to give her warmth and help.
Under the empress’ careful guidance, Wei Yingluo grew up to be a strong and upright court lady and put aside her grudges to live a serious life.
The unfortunate death of the Empress makes Wei Yingluo misunderstand Emperor Qianlong, but they went from mutual hostility to understanding and supporting each other finally.
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The VAR Review: Should Man United's Maguire have seen red?
Steve Nicol reacts to Fulham's 2-1 win over Manchester United in the Premier League. (2:22)
Video Assistant Referee causes controversy every week in the Premier League , but how are decisions made, and are they correct?
After each weekend we take a look at the major incidents to examine and explain the process both in terms of VAR protocol and the Laws of the Game.
- How VAR decisions have affected every Prem club in 2023-24 - VAR in the Premier League: Ultimate guide
In this week's VAR Review: Manchester United 's Harry Maguire escaped a red card against Fulham , but was it the correct decision? How does it compare to similar incidents, such as the challenge by Chelsea 's Moisés Caicedo on Ryan Gravenberch or Billy Gilmour 's dismissal for Brighton & Hove Albion ? Plus, Burnley 's disallowed goal at Crystal Palace .
Man United 1-2 Fulham
Possible red card: maguire challenge on lukic.
What happened: Fulham attacked on the break in the 35th minute after referee Michael Oliver had played advantage. When the move ended, Oliver went back to book Harry Maguire for a late challenge on Saka Lukic . The VAR, Rob Jones, checked for a possible red card for serious foul play.
VAR decision: No red card.
VAR review: This weekend saw two challenges of similar nature, neither of which resulted in a VAR intervention, and both caused their own controversy. So how does a VAR assess a challenge and what's needed for the threshold to be crossed for a red card?
- VAR Review: Why Liverpool's goal was ruled out in Carabao Cup final
Much has been made of the VAR looking for the buckle of a player's ankle as evidence of excessive force. This has resulted in an expectation that a buckle should automatically always result in a red card. Yet it has only ever been one of many factors a VAR will take into account when judging a challenge. The others include, but are not limited to, the speed at which a player goes into the challenge, the height of contact, if it's made with a straight leg, and whether it leads with studs showing.
Referees get accused of inconsistency because every late tackle with contact by studs isn't given as a red card. Yet, like every subjective decision, it's a judgement call. Consistency can only be possible if all result in a red card, instead there's the perceived inconsistencies produced by interpretation.
Through all this it's crucial to remember a referee is taking into account lots of variations, and no two tackles are ever exactly the same. VAR has introduced a lot of false equivalence around decisions, but you can't blame supporters for not knowing the intricacies of decision-making.
If the contact point is low and the player is stepping into the challenge, that may produce evidence of a buckle, but it's not likely to suggest excessive force; it's only likely to result in a yellow card at most.
Maguire comes out of a challenge with Andreas Pereira and steps into Lukic after the ball has gone. He catches the Fulham player around the top of the boot and it's a yellow card, but the Manchester United player isn't lunging in or using force.
A challenge to compare it to was Moisés Caicedo on Ryan Gravenberch in the Carabao Cup final. That's covered in full in Sunday's VAR Review , yet like Maguire it should be considered that Caicedo has stepped on the Liverpool player; while the challenge caused the injury it wasn't because of the way it was made.
There have been a number of comparable challenges this season, and none of them have led to a VAR intervention for a red card. All those decisions have been unanimously judged to be correct by the Premier League's Independent Key Match Incidents Panel.
Last month, Chelsea 's Malo Gusto caught Willian around the top of the boot with a late tackle .
A week later, Liverpool supporters felt that AFC Bournemouth 's Justin Kluivert should have been sent off after he caught Luis Díaz . While this challenge was slightly higher, importantly Kluivert is stepping in.
In both cases, the panel noted that "the defender is coming out of a challenge into another. He is off balance and there is no real force or intensity." The panel will say the same about the Maguire incident.
Low contact can still result in a red card if the challenge itself produces force, such as Rhian Brewster 's VAR dismissal for a tackle on Emerson for Sheffield United against West Ham United . He came in fast, was off the ground and late in a way which had to endanger an opponent.
We've spoken previously how Liverpool fans now have a Curtis Jones -ometer for all such challenges. The angle of the boot is important, too, as we saw with Jones' red card for Liverpool at Tottenham Hotspur . While he's unfortunate due to a touch off top of the ball, his studs went into Yves Bissouma higher on the shin. The height and angled boot, coupled with the buckle, combines to provide sufficient evidence for a VAR review for endangering the safety of an opponent. Liverpool lost their appeal against this dismissal, and we should expect the VAR to intervene in challenges of this nature.
Indeed, it's similar to the red card Brighton & Hove Albion midfielder Billy Gilmour received against Everton on Saturday, a decision given on the field by referee Tony Harrington which would never be overturned.
Even though Gilmour's challenge didn't have a high level of force, his contact on Amadou Onana was high above the ankle. When contact moves above the ankle and onto the leg then, as with Jones, it becomes as increasingly important as point of contact.
Liverpool fans would argue Kluivert's challenge on Díaz was also above the boot, yet the angle makes all the difference.
Crystal Palace 3-0 Burnley
Possible red card overturn: brownhill dogso on lerma.
What happened: Burnley 's Josh Brownhill was sent off by referee Lewis Smith in the 35th minute. Goalkeeper James Trafford played a short pass to Brownhill just outside the D, but he was robbed by Jefferson Lerma . The Crystal Palace player was brought down before he could move forward on goal.
VAR decision: Red card stands.
VAR review: It's a textbook example of a red card for denying an obvious goal-scoring opportunity (DOGSO). Lerma had taken the ball off Brownhill and he's dragged down when he would have had the chance to shoot.
The player is running towards goal, there's no covering defender able to make a challenge, and the ball is within his control. It's similar to the dismissal of Liverpool 's Virgil van Dijk against Newcastle United earlier this season.
Possible penalty overturn: Vitinho challenge on França
What happened: Crystal Palace were awarded a penalty in the 76th minute when Matheus França was brought down inside the area by Vitinho . The VAR carried out a lengthy check to see if the spot kick should stand ( watch here .)
VAR decision: Penalty, scored by Jean-Philippe Mateta .
VAR review: This took a bit too long, but the check wasn't about the foul by Vitinho, which the VAR, Michael Salisbury, determined fairly quickly was a correct decision.
The question was over the position and whether the foul contact had taken inside the area. With holding, a penalty is given if it continues into the area; with a foul it's the precise point at which a player is fouled.
Possible offside: Assignon on Fofana goal
What happened: Burnley scored a consolation goal in the 87th minute when David Datro Fofana headed home from just inside the six-yard box, but the VAR began a check for a possible offside.
VAR decision: Goal disallowed.
VAR review: We can discuss this one alongside the Wataru Endo offside for Liverpool in the Carabao Cup final, which led to Virgil van Dijk 's goal being disallowed. Is it the VAR getting involved in a decision that can be supported in law, but feels like an unnecessary intervention?
When Fofana plays the ball, Lorenz Assignon is in an offside position. That in itself isn't an offence as he doesn't touch the ball; the VAR has to consider if he's impacted goalkeeper Sam Johnstone .
The officials don't have to consider that Johnstone will definitely make a save. Indeed, it's highly unlikely he'd keep out the header from Fofana. The consideration is about impact upon the ability to challenge for the ball.
It's the same area of the offside law as Endo, where Assignon is "a player moving from, or standing in, an offside position is in the way of an opponent and interferes with the movement of the opponent towards the ball, this is an offside offence if it impacts on the ability of the opponent to play or challenge for the ball."
The VAR will take into account a few factors: that the shot comes from a short distance which means the goalkeeper has less time to react, that Assignon is stood directly in front of Johnstone inside the six-yard box, and that the ball passes an area that the Burnley player has blocked off.
If Assignon had been a couple of yards further forward the goal would likely have counted, but his proximity to Johnstone means the VAR is always likely to get involved.
Jakub Kiwior 's goal for Arsenal against Newcastle United on Saturday is a good comparison. At the point Kiwior heads the ball, William Saliba is in an offside position inside the six-yard area. Yet he isn't in front of goalkeeper Loris Karius , and the ball passes the area between the players -- so Saliba wouldn't be considered to be stopping the goalkeeper getting to the ball.
The only question is whether Saliba was "clearly attempting to play a ball which is close when this action impacts on an opponent," but the ball appeared to be on Karius before the Arsenal player raised his right leg.
Wolves 1-0 Sheffield United
Possible penalty: handball by dawson.
What happened: In the 19th minute, Rhian Brewster had a shot on goal that was blocked by Craig Dawson . Was there a case for a penalty for handball?
VAR decision: No penalty.
VAR review: A quick check by the VAR, Jarred Gillett, with Dawson having his arm close to his body.
The case for a spot kick would be whether Dawson leant into the shot to stop it with his arm, though there would also be a question of whether the ball hit low enough on the arm for it to be handball.
Possible red card: Robinson and Souza
What happened: In the 37th minute, there was an off-the-ball altercation between two Sheffield United players, Jack Robinson and Vinicius Souza . The VAR checked for a possible red card for violent conduct by both players.
VAR decision: No red cards.
VAR review: Shades of Kieron Dyer and Lee Bowyer , the Newcastle teammates who were sent off after coming to blows in a Premier League game against Aston Villa in 2005.
The VAR looked for evidence of violent conduct, and while Robinson and Souza went head to head, there was no movement by either player, and the pushing that followed was to the upper body.
Possible penalty: Handball by Souza
What happened: In the 56th minute, João Gomes tried to flick the ball on inside the area and it hit the arm of Souza. Referee Darren Bond wasn't interested in a penalty, and it was checked by the VAR.
VAR review: Souza had his arm outstretched away from his body, so why wasn't this a penalty kick even with a brush off the chest? The VAR determined that the ball was played against the Sheffield United player from close range and he had no time to react.
Yet we have seen similar arm positions lead to a spot kick through a VAR intervention, most notably against Arsenal's William Saliba vs. Chelsea.
The VAR will take into account that the ball is travelling towards goal, especially if it's a shot, and also if the defending player would expect the ball to come towards them from the direction of play.
These subjective considerations for handball can only lead to confusion and perceived inconsistencies.
Some parts of this article include information provided by the Premier League and PGMOL.
ICJ hearings on Israel’s occupation of Palestine updates: Day two
Week-long arguments continue as representatives of 10 nations make their case before the UN court in The Hague.
This live page is now closed.
- Oral proceedings have continued for a second day at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories .
- South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile presented their arguments.
- More than 50 states and at least three international organisations will address judges at the United Nations’ top court until February 26. A nonbinding legal opinion is expected after months of deliberation by the judges.
- On Monday, Palestinian representatives presented their arguments on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza Strip. The occupation is illegal and must be brought to an immediate, unconditional and total end, they argued.
- Israel is not attending the hearings but sent a five-page written statement saying an advisory opinion would be “harmful” to attempts to resolve the conflict because questions posed by the UN General Assembly are prejudiced.
Thanks for joining us
This live page is now closed, but you can follow our continuing coverage of Israel’s war on Gaza here .
To learn more about the ICJ case against Israel’s illegal occupation of Palestine, read this .
And if you want to know about South Africa’s separate case at the ICJ on the war and the possible crime of genocide, watch this .
Here’s what happened today
We will be closing this live page soon. Here’s a recap of the day’s events:
- Ten countries presented their arguments on the legal consequences of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories.
- South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Bangladesh and Belgium made their case during the morning session, with Belize, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile delivering their statements in the afternoon.
Canada was also initially scheduled to present its arguments but decided to pull out at the last minute.
- Kicking off proceedings, the representative of South Africa compared the Israeli occupation to apartheid and said the ICJ’s hearings could help bring an end to a system of racial oppression that had no place in the modern world.
- Overall, the speakers’ main points revolved around the right of Palestinian people to self-determination and the permanent nature of Israel’s occupation, which is resulting in a de facto annexation.
- They also stressed Israel’s obligation to cease its violations, make full reparation and offer appropriate assurances of non-repetition. Other states have the obligation to cooperate to bring this situation to an end.
Meanwhile, US vetoes another Gaza ceasefire resolution at UNSC
US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield has said the Algeria-drafted resolution would harm the truce negotiations between Israel and Hamas.
Thirteen countries in the 15-member body backed the measure, with one – the United Kingdom – abstaining.
The vote marks the third time the US, which is scheduled to present its arguments tomorrow at the ICJ, has vetoed Gaza ceasefire proposals at the Security Council since the start of the war on Gaza.
Find all the details here .
Who will present arguments tomorrow?
Wednesday promises to be another busy day at the ICJ, with the following countries scheduled to present their oral arguments:
- United Arab Emirates
- United States
Proceedings will kick off at 09:00 GMT.
First 10 countries made clear Israel’s occupation unlawful, should end immediately
Reporting from The Hague
The question of whether the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is unlawful was very clearly answered by all 10 countries: It is absolutely unlawful and it should end immediately.
South Africa argued that this is a colonial apartheid system and that settlements have to be dismantled and reparations paid. Even countries that have very strong ties with Israel, like the Netherlands and Belgium, had very strong words of condemnation.
One legal argument that was very much dominant throughout the hearing was the permanence of the occupation. Israel has long argued that the occupation is temporary, but these countries have argued that there is no evidence that this is so.
That violates international law. There was condemnation for the defiance shown by Israel for the hundreds of resolutions that have been passed over the years.
We are going to continue tomorrow as these were only 10 of the more than 50 countries we will hear from over six days here at the Peace Palace in The Hague.
And that brings an end to today’s proceedings.
It was an eventful today at the court, with presentations from South Africa, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Bangladesh, Belgium, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile.
Stay with us as we continue to bring you analysis and reaction to the second day of hearings at the ICJ.
‘Systematic violation of international law part of Israel’s state policy’
Ximena Fuentes Torrijo continues by saying that the policy and practices of settlements pursued by Israel since 1967 “indicates its intention to claim that its own population has the right to stay permanently” in the occupied territories.
Similarly, Chile’s legal representative notes that the exploitation of Palestinian natural resources also demonstrates Israel’s attempt to exercise sovereign powers over these territories.
“By virtue of its actions, including the exploitation of natural resources, the policies of settlements, the erection of the wall, the legalisation of outposts, among others, Israel has demonstrated its intention to control indefinitely the occupied Palestinian territory,” she says.
“Hence Israel’s occupation has become an annexation.”
Concluding the presentation, Torrijo says that Chile contends that “these systematic breaches are also a basis to declare that the occupation is illegal”, adding that “the systematic violation of international law” is part of Israel’s state policy.
“The obligations of the occupying obviously persist despite the fact that this occupation must come to an end,” she says.
More from Chile’s representative
Ximena Fuentes Torrijo notes that the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has documented a rapid deterioration of the situation in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since October 7, including the disproportionate use of force resulting in unlawful killings, mass arbitrary arrests and ill treatment.
She also says the following:
- High-ranking Israeli authorities clearly express that they have no intent to guarantee the right of Palestinian people to self-determination. Instead, occupation has become indistinguishable from annexation as Israel neither regards itself nor behaves as a temporary occupant.
- Israel’s policies run counter to the possibility of reaching a two-state solution and a sustainable peace in the region.
- The conclusion that Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal lies on two grounds: The occupation has become an annexation. Israel’s systematic violations require an end to the occupation to effectively protect the right of Palestinians.
- Israel is under the obligation to cease these violations, make full reparation and offer appropriate assurances of non-repetition. Other states have the obligation to cooperate to bring this situation to an end.
Chile comes to ICJ with hope of assisting process for two-state solution: Representative
Ximena Fuentes Torrijo, the representative of Chile, says that the two questions submitted by the General Assembly to the ICJ “are of the utmost importance to assist the organs of the United Nations in fulfilling its responsibility under Article 1, paragraph 1 and 2 of the United Nations”.
“Namely to take effective collective measures for the prevention and removal of threats to the peace, to bring about adjustment or settlement of international disputes or situations which might lead to a breach of peace and to develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of people and to take appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace,” she adds.
She also says:
- The situation that affects the occupied Palestinian territory may only find a satisfactory solution on the basis of compliance with the charter of the United Nations, international human rights law and international humanitarian law.
- The right to self-determination to which the Palestinian people living in the OPT are entitled to play a central role in the resolution of this longstanding conflict.
- Chile is home to a large Palestinian community, the largest outside the Middle East and two an important Jewish community, the third in South America … Chile would like to see the implementation of the two-state solution within the internationally recognised and secure boundaries, and it is convinced these advisory proceedings are going to assist in that process … putting an end to the 57-year occupation of Palestinian territory.
- Chile strongly supports the view that by giving the requested advisory opinion to the General Assembly the Court will be acting within the scope of its advisory function, fulfilling its duty to provide the legal assistance that the General Assembly requires to exercise its power in the context of a longstanding conflict.
Chile last country to present arguments today
Ximena Fuentes Torrijo has taken the floor to present Chile’s oral arguments.
Chile’s legal representative is the last speaker we will hear from in today’s session.
More from Brazil’s representative
Maria Clara Paula de Tusco concludes her statement by saying that Brazil has been consistently advocating for a two-state solution that allows for the creation of an independent, sovereign and economically viable Palestinian state coexisting with Israel in peace and security within mutually agreed and internationally recognised borders, which include the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem as its capital.
- The prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territories, including measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of these territories, including Jerusalem, violate relevant rules of international law.
- By extending its jurisdiction over the occupied Palestinian territories and establishing two distinct legal systems, one applied to Israeli settlers and another imposed under military rule to Palestinians, Israel is practising discrimination against the Palestinian population while impairing the recognition, enjoyment or exercise on an equal footing of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.
- Brazil expects that the court reaffirms that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories is illegal and violates international obligations through a series of actions and omissions by Israel.
- The confiscation of Palestinian lands, the destruction of Palestinian properties, the construction of Israeli settlements and of the wall, and the adoption of measures aimed at changing the demographic composition of areas within Palestinian territories must all be taken into account by the court.
Brazil presents its arguments
Maria Clara Paula de Tusco, the head of the United Nations division at the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, says Brazil will highlight the main points of a written statement presented in July 2023 to the ICJ.
- The jurisdiction of the court: There seems to be no doubt according to Article 65 of the ICJ Statute that this court is competent to issue the Advisory Opinion commissioned by the General Assembly.
- People’s right to self-determination: The right to self-determination is enshrined in international law and recognised by the UN General Assembly. Brazil asks the court to highlight the principled position that the Israeli occupation violates the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination.
- Occupation, settlements and annexation: In 1967, the UN Security Council resolution 242 emphasised the inadmissibility of acquiring territory by force and directed Israel to withdraw from the territory it occupied. However, the occupation persists to this day and has been aggravated by the construction of the wall, the building of illegal settlements and the annexation of East Jerusalem.
‘Israel obliged to stop atrocities, genocide in Gaza’
In conclusion, Bolivia’s representative says the policies and practices of the Israeli occupation in Palestinian territory are illegal and have legal consequences with obligations for Israel and other states, as well as the UN, since they violate the rights of Palestinians as people and of Palestine as a state.
- Bolivia considers that Israel as the state responsible for this violation of international law must cease de jure and de facto acts and policies that prevent the exercise of the right to self-determination of the Palestinian people.
- It must also fulfill its obligation to end the situation of illegal occupation and its discriminatory policies and practices designed to maintain and establish dominance in a peaceful, immediate and unconditional manner.
- Israel is also obliged to stop the development of the atrocities of genocide committed more recently in Gaza and to comply with the provisional measures set forth in the order of this court on January 26, 2024.
- As the occupying power, it must assume responsibility for 76 years of occupation, and for the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip and the ongoing atrocities of the crime of genocide.
‘Israeli occupation must be considered illegal in its entirety’
Continuing Bolivia’s oral argument, Roberto Sarmiento notes that the international community has repeatedly condemned Israel’s actions, including through the United Nations, insofar as they hinder the exercise of the Palestinian right to self-determination, including the construction of illegal settlements in occupied Palestinian territories, the construction of the separation wall in the West Bank and other measures that affect the daily lives of Palestinians.
Sarmiento also says:
- Israel’s occupation both in its means and its purpose does not fall within the framework of legality established in international law.
- The de facto annexation of territory imposes restrictions on where Palestinians can live and travel, as well as a racially discriminatory legal and administrative regime that favours Israeli settlers and deprives Palestinians of their most basic rights.
- The conclusion is unavoidable that Israel has used its prolonged occupation as a pretext to pursue its illegal objective of annexing the occupied Palestinian territories in violation of the charter of the United Nations.
- Therefore the Israeli occupation must be considered illegal in its entirety.
More from Bolivia’s representative
- The occupying power lacks the right of sovereignty of the occupied territory as confirmed by the principle of permanent inviolability of the rights of the protected population in the event of annexation.
- The occupying power cannot alienate the land or the properties of the occupied state.
- Thus, Bolivia considers that the Israeli colonialist occupation is clearly illegal.
- Bolivia observes with concerns that Israel’s actions of persecution, operation and domination of the Palestinian people have been accompanied by systematic violations of fundamental human rights.
- These include a system of racial discrimination and a system of apartheid that has not abated despite repeated condemnations from the international community.
Israel’s discriminatory actions result in consequences and obligations for all states: Bolivia’s representative
Roberto Calzadilla Sarmiento, Bolivia’s ambassador in the Netherlands, has told the ICJ that his country considers “the ongoing illegal occupation [of the Palestinian Territories] to be in violation of international law”.
- Bolivia considers the discriminatory measures of a colonial nature imposed by Israel prior to the legal status of the occupation are aimed at a dispossession of the Palestinian population, to the denial of their rights by altering the demographic composition, character and the status of the city of Jerusalem.
- The ongoing situation results in consequences and obligations for all states and for the United Nations.
- Bolivia considers that continuously depriving and denying the Palestinian peoples’ right to self-determination for 75 years, Israel is in a clear breach of its international obligations.
- The transfer of 750,000 Israeli settlers and building of settlements in East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank have been deliberately carried out with the intention of acquiring the territory through annexation, including through colonisation, confinement and the fragmentation of the occupied Palestinian territories.
Belize argues Israel’s illegal occupation of Gaza has been ongoing
Taking Belize’s remarks forward, advocate Ben Juratowitch argues that the Gaza Strip remains occupied despite the withdrawal of Israeli forces and the removal of settlers in 2005. He notes:
- Israel was occupying Gaza before October 7 and is doing so now. Gaza is under Israeli occupation and has been since 1967.
- A state can be occupying a territory even if it has no more troops in it, if it can at any time assume its physical control and has the capacity to send troops within a reasonable amount of time to make its authority felt.
- Israel’s recent conduct is the continuation and intensification of its long-term control over, violence against and incursions into Gaza.
- Israel’s occupation is, at the present time, not necessary or proportional. Israel signed peace treaties with Jordan and Egypt and should not be required to maintain its presence in Gaza or the West Bank.
Belize arguments continue
Philippa Webb, a law professor at King’s College London, has now taken the floor, with her arguments focusing on apartheid and its consequences with respect to self-determination. She notes that:
- Apartheid is the strongest concentration of racist concepts put into action. It goes hand in hand with Israel’s violation of the right to self-determination.
- It is impossible to realise a people’s right to self-determination within an institutionalised regime of systematic racial oppression and discrimination.
- The dehumanising nature of apartheid suppresses the equality, identity and dignity at the heart of self-determination.
- It is indisputable that the Palestinians are a racial group.
- Under Israeli law, the separate identity of the Jewish race is afforded a privileged status, and the right to exercise self-determination in the state of Israel is exclusive to the Jewish people.
- Israel has long-standing discriminatory laws, policies and practices that affect only Palestinians and are designed to benefit exclusively and maintain the dominance of Israeli Jews on both sides of the Green Line.
- Many measures are designed to fragment the Palestinian people and to separate Palestinians from Israeli Jews.
- In the West Bank, there are the separation wall, restrictive permit requirements, checkpoints, and segregated roads. This creates what the Israeli army officially calls sterilisation – areas and roads closed to Palestinians – and Hebronisation, meaning the strategy of repression and segregation is spreading.
- Gaza is under siege and blockade. Millions of Palestinians are confined to ever-smaller strips of land, the longest and most complete siege of the greatest number of people in modern history.
- The whole of Gaza has become an impoverished, desperate ghetto.
- Since 1967, Israel has detained one million Palestinians, including tens of thousands of children.
Israel’s violation of international law with impunity must be stopped: Belize representative Shoman
Assad Shoman, a representative of Belize, has told the ICJ that “Palestine must be free”.
He also said:
- The Palestinian people have an inalienable right to self-determination and complete independence, which has always been systematically denied to them.
- Israel has used systematic manipulation of negotiations to undermine the presumed objectives and ensured that the Palestinian people are prevented from ever exercising that right.
- Israel cannot be permitted to continue flouting one of the most fundamental principles of the international law with impunity. Impunity breeds inhumanity.
South Africa, Algeria key at ICJ hearing
Al Jazeera's senior political analyst
South Africa and Algeria are probably the most relevant countries to speak before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) because they are the predecessors of the colonial reality that we see unravelling in Israel and Palestine.
They’ve scored big against colonialism in the past, against what was the horrendous reality in the developing world. Therefore, they have a lot to teach us.
What is taking place in Palestine resembles so much what took place in their homelands.
Algeria suffered 132 years of occupation and ended up paying the price with the lives of more than a million people. South Africa endured almost five decades of apartheid, another crime against humanity.
The judges are back inside the courtroom taking their seats.
Proceedings should start any moment now.
A reminder that we will hear from Belize, Bolivia, Brazil and Chile this afternoon.
Photos: Day two of ICJ hearings
Life under occupation in East Jerusalem
Munir Nuseibah, an academic and human rights lawyer in occupied East Jerusalem, has described the difficulties of life under occupation.
“The Israeli occupation has been continuously, since 1967 until today, displacing Palestinians from their homes, building settlements and Jewish-only colonies in the occupied Palestinian territory, controlling their movement, where they can go and what they can do,” he told Al Jazeera.
The control of the population, Nuseibah said, extends to measures such as imprisonment and torture, among others.
“These policies amount to apartheid; this is what a number of human rights organisations – Palestinian and international, as well as Israeli – have found after they examined the way that the Israeli legal system works,” Nuseibah added.
“Here in East Jerusalem, after the annexation and the building the wall, which the ICJ in 2004 declared as illegal, Jerusalem is isolated from the rest of Palestine. The Palestinian population is unable to move into Jerusalem, to work in Jerusalem and move freely.”
LISTEN: Why South Africa sued Israel for genocide in Gaza
The International Court of Justice recently heard a case brought by South Africa, accusing Israel of genocide.
Rulings by the ICJ are legally binding, but the court has no way of enforcing them. So, will it make a difference as the Israeli war on Gaza goes on?
What is the Namibia ICJ case of 1971?
Several speakers who presented arguments referenced the ICJ’s advisory opinion of 1971, in which it found the continued presence of South Africa in Namibia was illegal and Pretoria was obligated to withdraw its administration immediately.
Namibia, formerly known as South West Africa, was a German colony. After WWI, it came under direct administration by South Africa, which applied the system of apartheid on its Indigenous people.
The UN Security Council in 1969 described the continued presence of South Africa as illegal and called on it to withdraw.
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PinkPantheress review – deft mashups from TikTok star who stepped seamlessly into real life
Alexandra Palace, London The singer doubles down on her online identity, preening before 10,000 frenzied fans and holding her own against dense, pulsing arrangements
P inkPantheress’s Capable of Love tour might be the least creative-directed pop spectacle mounted this year, and it’s all the better for it. Loosely tying into the lightly gothic conceit of her 2023 debut album Heaven Knows , the show, ostensibly, has a haunted house theme: the 22-year-old producer and TikTok star is surrounded by large ornate mirrors and dusty-looking furniture, and every few songs a menacing voice booms through the speakers to introduce another section of the show.
But, as with Pink’s music, she cannot seem to commit to genre pastiche for more than a few moments at a time. It’s not long before burlesque dancers are swanning across the stage, dancing along to the emo-d’n’b hybrid Where You Are; later, during the feverish funky house joint The Aisle, immaculately coiffed salsa dancers take centre stage as Pink rests on a settee, happily watching. After they depart the stage, she gases them up like she’s bidding to be Strictly’s first zoomer judge: “ They ate. They ate up and down .”
The casual randomness of the show – a sold-out date at 10,000-cap Alexandra Palace, the triumph of which is somewhat underplayed by Pink herself – smartly mirrors the appeal of Pink’s music. She makes deft mashup art, throwing together influences with such abandon as to make them all feel relatively new. It’s intimate music, and she is not a high-energy performer, but that’s not a problem here: the d’n’b breaks that provide the backbone of much of her material are dialled up massively here, and fortified by a live drummer.
Pink herself plays a heightened version of the persona she adopts online, preening and pouting with the half-ironic, glazed-over look of a Jennifer Coolidge character as she walks across the stage, black baguette bag tucked neatly under her arm.
Although she has struggled with live vocals in the past, it’s hard to detect any flubs here; on songs such as Another Life and Capable of Love, she holds her own against loud, dense arrangements, and she cuts easily through more low-key songs such as Bury Me. By the time she reaches her strong closing run, which includes her inescapable 2023 hit Boy’s a Liar Pt 2 and the Central Cee collab Nice to Meet You, the young, adoring crowd is frenzied and agog – expressing total fealty to the rare TikTok star who has stepped seamlessly from her bedroom to crowds of thousands without losing her distinct sense of identity along the way.
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