If you are a fan of Hua Xu Yin the novel but haven’t read what Tangqigongzi wrote a long weibo dissection on clearly one of her most special character she has created: Shen An in Hua Xu Yin, you really need to.
It is a rare thing when a character stroke a chord in me so completely and I followed his every word and action with a clear understanding, good or bad, he crept into my psyche and instead of judging his/her every action and word, no word is actually necessary while reading it through the pages of a good piece of fiction sprung to realness in my head. But when my interpretation of the character is exactly what the writer created it to be, firstly, kudos to a job well done brilliant Miss writer, but it also builds a special bond with little reader me. @Vivien唐七公子 will forever have a soft spot in my heart: gosh Miss Writer, I do not need more explanation myself but I must WORD your every word.
The special occasion was a free for all livechat with Miss Tang7 at weibo promoting her latest novel, all kinds of questions poured in from her fans, many on the ShenSong couple, in the middle of it, she decided to post her long thorough read of ShenAn, her most ‘controversial’ invention. Imo it was bizarre to read how much loathing and misunderstanding of the character floating around, all the name-calling of ShenAn is the biggest douche towards SongNing. Part of the lovely experience of reading Hua Xu Yin is if the writer chooses to, we have an encompassing view of events along with our protagonist, while each character is limited to his/her own perception of limited knowledge of the truth and have to function convincingly around what they are given. Miss Tang7 did a marvelous job at that with the vignette of 浮生尽/The Denouement of the Floating Life/The Story of ShenAn and SongNing in Hua Xu Yin.
浮生尽/The Denouement of the Floating Life, is so short and written from the first person viewpoint of a third party, a lot of things can not be laid out, but vaguely left blank, for example Shen An is not as fleshed out as little princess. I think a lot of readers are bothered by the following four questions: 1. Is Shen An a douche? 2. Did Shen An love Song Ning? 3. When did Shen An fall for Song Ning? 4. What was exactly the attitude of Shen An towards Liu Qi Qi?
Let me explain it one by one.
First, in my pov ShenAn is not a douche. This is a man who repays kindness towards him, honors his words and promises, filial to his parents, protective and loving towards his wife and child, upright and responsible, what is not good about him?! If this story’s heroine was Liu QiQi, or lets hypothesize some more what if it was Liu QiQi who saved Shen An, and Song Ning abused her power and influence to break them apart, forcing him to marry herself instead?! Stuck with this hopeless conundrum, what we witnessed was him unfazed by Song Ning’s provocation, pouring every ounce of his loyal devotion on QiQi, working hard at what he called love between him and QiQi. Of course this is our wayward hypothesis, just our what-if, but from Shen An’s standpoint, this is his truth: one of them is his fiancee who has saved his life, the other is the third wheel intruding with her formidable sociopolitical power and status. How ruthless he was with Song Ning illustrated exactly how he honors promises and his stern righteousness towards responsibilities. I have a respect for a Shen An like so. Therefore, from the very beginning, Shen An has a clear conscience with his ruthlessness towards Song Ning, this is driven by his honorable sense of responsibility.
Why did Shen An not listen to Song Ning when she explained she was the one saving his life not Liu QiQi? Actually this is a very interesting discussion, if we followed through with our hypothesis just now: Liu QiQi was our protagonist, if the third wheel could stir up mistrust and doubts in our hero easily with only a speech, wasn’t our hero quite loathsome then? What is the highest virtue between a husband and wife? In my opinion, it is trust. Liu QiQi is a mute, she can not defend herself, speaking her words when she is accused. Here, we can see ShenAn’s unconditional trust towards Liu QiQi, very telling of how ShenAn is an honorable man, that is my stance. Also, there is a point to make, even though I have been saying ShenAn is a character with so many respectable, admirable traits, he has his shortcomings, for instance his stubborn pride, compared to Liu QiQi, he is more in denial a lady general from across the enemy line saved his life, this is the pride from the mindset of a commandeer.
Some of you commented, did Shen An hate Song Ning very much in the beginning? I hope a lot of readers noticed in the first battle at Bleak Deer Tundra, Shen An was stunned as he took her weapon, off her from her horse, grasping, ‘You are actually a lady.’ He gave her back her spear, not without saying the obvious, ‘Your spear.’ Although it is a simple gesture and a few simple words, Shen An has a great deal of respect for the young lady warrior. When he saw her dazzling, debilitating gorgeous smile on their wedding night, he was jolted to a momentary stupor yet again, even if he put on his most frigid face right away, he was undeniably stunned. Her bravery is a very direct hit when he set eyes on the young lady for the first time. When he saw her again, her drop dead gorgeousness gave him another forthright visceral startle. When your emotions are unhinged without abandon, this is what I see as the spark of love. All love starts with having a pleasant surprising feeling for that certain someone. It is nearly impossible to say Shen An did not harbor some towards SongNing, even though they have insurmountable obstacles of a thousand and a million mountains, we could say he did not realize he has feelings for SongNing from the get go. Rather than saying he hates SongNing, he hates himself more for not able to fulfill the promise, staying loyal with his heart towards the lady who saved his life, he hates how useless he is under the wrath of fate.
There is a kind of man, the more capable he is, the more responsibilities he would take up. He would never blame others for the misfortunes of fate, and what unlucky hand it dealt him, but he would put all the blame on himself. He regards himself as an important pillar of society, a majestic tree to lean on providing shade for all around. Shen An is one of those, a man among men.
Lets talk more on whether Shen An loves Song Ning or when did he fell for her. If Liu QiQi did not pretend to have saved his life, just like how it played out in the Hua Xu fantasy, when Shen An learned Song Ning saved his life and he is indebted to her, all his initial pleasant first impression of her would explode, blossoming, subliming instantaneously into love, and this pair would make quite a happily ever after couple. But because there is a Liu QiQi, everything is shifted. Imo, even before we know what love curtails, we have a certain frame of reference of a type in our mind, influenced by our upbringing, our education, our aesthetics. SongNing is clearly the type Shen An is attracted to: gorgeous as what drop dead gorgeousness should be defined, bold and brave to the point of scaring an army of men. The most unfortunate snag is Shen An is a guy obsessed with noble morality, his life’s responsibilities, on top of being clueless as to what love is about, he has made up his mind stubbornly what he has towards Liu QiQi is love. Since he married Song Ning, he has been mentally flagellating himself: never fall for Song Ning, can not cheat on QiQi. But Song Ning’s breathtaking beauty, her gallant tenacity, her headstrong stubbornness, every facet of her vivid character has been screaming at him, most attractively. He is in a tremendous inner turmoil, he wishes to sever any ties with Song Ning to prove his virtuous loyalty towards QiQi, but the last thing he wants is for Song Ning to hate him. Therefore, he is actually deeply emotional when Song Ning showed him any hint of care, even he would never show it on his stoic calm front, for instance, we can take a better look at his regard towards the mirror armor/护心镜.
He knows he is in love with Song Ning when he carries her turquoise mirror armor for the heart to battlefield, he realizes this too well. If Song Ning did not badger QiQi for a treacherous hike leading to the miscarriage, if there was no impetuous consummation of the marriage, their story might just ended on a woeful regrettable note there in tune of what ChenKun’s general said to ZhouXun’s fox demon in Painted Skin, ‘I love you, but I have wife PeiLan.’ It would not escalate into their irreversible lamentable ending in the novel. As for the consummation, a lot of readers have expressed their shocking confusion on why that arc is necessary, concluding Shen An is truly a… douche. Let us take a step back and give it a good thought: this is a young lady you like, uncontrollably, against every fiber of your will, the strict honor code and moral compass you have been abiding by diligently for 20 odd years, you have fallen madly deeply in love with her. You know she is a respectable honorable woman, yet she did this deplorable deed. You are heartbroken, you are devastatingly disappointed, and at the spur of the moment, you lose your composure, you want to hurt her, to teach her a lesson most savagely, to cause her pain because here she is, still crossing the line to the extreme, slamming on your buttons, trampling on your heart multiple ways without any sense of regret or remorse, putting to cruel words the poor victim, your doting wife you should love, who has just lost the unborn child because of her, does not even deserve to have your baby to begin with, she is the only one who has the right to bear your every child, ever. For this reason alone, you know she has gone crazy (and you as well), that is the purpose of the punishing consummation. Shen An howled gutturally to Song Ning’s ears, ‘Whatever you want, I WILL give you exactly what you said, just from this point on we are square/兩清 (severance of both physical and emotional ties). Do you know what 兩清 is?!’ It was all hotheaded white knuckled rage talking. He never truly wants to sever anything with her, but this was a soul shattering night for Song Ning. The next morning, she stabs him with her sword right in his rib cage, saying why he did not die in the battlefield and never coming back?! This is a line that truly hurts Shen An, never the physical piercing wound. He held her hand holding the sword and forced her into a hot embrace, impaling the sword deeper into his body, saying to her ear, ‘this is what you want…you want me dead?!’ Shen An asked those words with utmost despair and hopelessness, writhing in heartpain, from this point on Shen An thought Song Ning despised him.
I have nothing to add on the later part. Lastly, on Liu QiQi.
From what I have said earlier, I have touched on Shen An’s attitude towards LQQ. He used to think his feelings towards LQQ was love, just that he did not know what love is. It is mostly a responsibility. A love stemming from repaying an indebtedness, even if it evolved into true love, is not essential enough. To fall for someone, with no regard of agenda, in my regard, have more right and reason to be labelled as love. Frankly in the love story of Shen An and Song Ning, LQQ has and will always be an outsider, a non-factor. She thought she has Shen An under her wraps, but what she has control of is only the guilty conscience of the honorable, responsible Shen An towards repaying a life saving loyalty. In this regard, LQQ is truly tragic.
That is all. I hope I have expressed all I want to say clearly. This story is too angsty, the romance in it is also too heartwretching. Even though I am responsible for writing such story, I do not agree on the outlook on life of Song Ning. The courage to live on for your love is what truly love is, Song Ning is too brash. Living through the story once again, it is still too much woe to bear.
Isn’t this marvelous of Miss Tang7? True to form Loverboy gave a precious sincere thank you to Miss Tang7, giving us a lovely backstory: Tang7 mentioned all the questions on Shen An and Song Ning reminded her of what she wrote for a ‘buddy’ earlier in the year and that buddy is clearly Loverboy, he wrote to Miss Tang7, asking her kindly on the characterization of Shen An and to his most pleasant surprise Miss Tang7 responded with such a dedicated brilliantly worded treasure trove of a read. On top of being moved by Miss writer, he noted her reply helped him enormously on how he built his character.
And that is not the end of the typical Loverboy flirting:
MengMeng (erm literally KTpie which is quite a common nick for YH hahaha), your dedication is very moving as well la~
YH: *blushing* it is not enough. ‘Tis not enough.
I am pretty sure he did not blush one bit.
And this is the day another teaser of Hua Xu Yin dropped with an aplomb! Finally we have substantial scenes of our Jun Fo / Ye Zhen by Lin Yuan. Sadly she has no decent make up on, poorly lit, zero chemistry with Kevin who is more and more unsuitable for the role the more I see *sobz*
But at times, she can look befitting for the role, just not in the teaser/
This is probably some leaked promo vid the production thrown together for the cable channels bidding for broadcasting right/syndication, because I did check my dictionary on what the heck is 情色和鸣 in one of the lines said by JX’s Song Ning of what she could not stand witnessing constantly *and don’t do that, because it will pop up such a lot of NSFW smutfics*. Obviously it should be 琴瑟和鸣 (harmonious marital bliss), and I trust that person responsible for the captions should be fired by now.
But who am I kidding, all I care about HXY is the pairing of two of my favorite-est C actors atvm and from every second I saw of them in their story of 浮生尽, I am slayed and dying of angst and excitement and want. JiangXin is positing herself as even besting her glorious performance as Consort Hua in Zhen Huan Zhuan. This is a much more faceted challenging devastatingly angsty role and she looks more perfect than spot on thus far. Frankly, I am just asking for Loverboy to be able to keep up with her awesome, a feat in itself, and he is doing just that. Even though he is not the most technically sound young thing out there, his read on his characters have always connected with me, I trust him and no one else with Shen An, a character Miss Writer clearly puts a lot of care into sculpting.
11.11 is 光棍节, the unofficial ‘Singles’ Day’ in China for the last few years, it is basically the day where singleton go party online at shopping sites with the biggest sales. It is also common practice if you are off the singleton wagon to announce to the world how blissfully you are in love and get all your single friends to disown you. And Loverboy never misses an online party of any kind.
Loverboy started a few days early posting a pic of him harassing the behind of a tigress:
YH: 越不让越想摸……… The more forbidden, the more I wanna touch….
YH: 硝烟中，也要与你耳鬓厮磨，连天的战火，不过是些烟花为你我燃过。 Air filled with smoke of guns, I still have to intimately rub my ears and brows with you; Fires of battle lighting the skies could be fireworks burning for me and you.
It could be simply him waxing poetic over two cute horseys he caught on set being loveydovey, but it most probably is a veiled love letter to HuGe. Muahahahahaha. And of course there are cute naive fangirls showering him hugs and smooches of him so longing for love he has to resort to the animal kingdom.
And right when he got them all wrapped in his fingers he posted a pic of himself tweeting in tune with the usual short descriptions for any goods on TaoBao looking truly like a chic hobo we will all happily take home with or without the discounts:
YH: 是男且直，是棍且光。#双11全场对折# Is a guy, straight, is a rod, with luster. (he is playing with the characters 光棍/single dude) tagging the tweet with some of the keywords of hottestoctothorpe of the day 双11/11.11, 全场/everything, 折/discount.
JiangXin continues warming the cockles of my heart with her genuinely sweet unabashed tweet to the world proclaiming her love for her significant other Prince10 Ye Zu Xin, in literally words of he is her moon and sunshine and the beautiful cloud carrying her off to happiness, ‘…世間最美妙的事莫過於此：你愛的人正巧也深愛著你⋯ The most beautiful thing in the world is: When the love you love is madly in love with you as well…’ ie the guy reflected in her glasses, ie the only guy she has eyes on. She didn’t address the tweet with the obvious @ to Mr Ye, haha but he cheekily told her she forgot to tag him. AWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!
And Jiang Xin is such a hot commanding beauty in RL, I am a bit bumped the styling of HXY did not capture all of this, but everything is telling me she can make it work with her acting chops.
While love is in the air, the talk of the town love rumor is between ShiShi and Nicky. The tabloid’s report of Nicky and ShiShi spending the night, 8 hours together takes shameless paparazzi fiction to new low *the pics are so poorly blatantly fake and photoshopped it is a joke* Lets face it, if they were/are a RL pair, who can’t be happy for them?! I bet their Lao Yuan can! ^^