Finally a drama I actually finished and loved. Nirvana in Fire, also known as Lang Ya Bang is adapted from a novel written by Hai Yan. Beautifully shot and strong character development, the drama follows an enigmatic Mei Changsu, leader of the Jiangzuo Alliance as he enters the palace under a different identity, Su Zhe. The drama slowly reveals that Mei Changsu/Su Zhe was actually Lin Shu, the son of General Lin Xie who was accused of treason and sentenced to death together with the entire 70000 Chiyan Army. Years later, he enters the palace retaining his identity as Mei Changsu but hiding the fact that he was Lin Shu (since he was a criminal and thought to be dead) with the goal of clearing the name of the late Prince Qi as well as the Chiyan Army as well as push his childhood friend, Prince Xiao Jing Yan to be the next emperor.
What I loved about Nirvana In Fire is firstly, the characters. Hu Ge did an awesome job playing Mei Changsu. His movements were subtle and small, but spoke volumes about his character and the mood of the scene. Of course, credit goes to the director as well for bringing out those scenes so well. I loved how Mei Changsu started off as a quiet and peaceful man but later revealed that beneath his calm demeanor was a heart full of vengeance. Yet despite his strong motivation (his entire family accused of treason, wiped out with the 70000 chiyan soldiers and Prince Qi whom he looked up to sentenced to suicide) he waited ten long years preparing for the day he entered the palace. Just this alone shows the amount of patience this man has.
see how sickly he is, sigh
the emotions on his face when he sees Lin Shu’s favourite bow in Jing Yan’s room
As he enters the palace, we see various scenes of emotional turmoil as Mei Changsu bumps into the people of his past while trying not to reveal his identity as Lin Shu. It was so painful watching him as he struggles to control his emotions from leaking out and revealing his true identity. It just makes you want to scream out at them YES HE IS LIN SHU PLEASE TRUST HIM. One of the scenes was when Mei Changsu visits the Grand Empress Dowager (the king’s grandmother) and she immediately recognised him as Lin Shu despite being senile. So of course no one believed her but the damn the feels. Especially the part when his old lover, Princess Nihuang lets go and he immediately grabs her hand before reluctantly deciding to let go (yes there is romance but it’s not a lot). I love all these little details tells so much about what Mei Changsu must have been feeling.
Nihuang confirms MCS is Lin Shu
yeah Nihuang is pretty badass
This series is more focused on the camaraderie with each characters which drew me in all the more. The interactions between the characters are so cute and funny, especially Meng Zhi who ironically is the most simple-minded of them all but also the first one to realise that Mei Changsu is Lin Shu upon first sight. LOL this is what true bromance is. Though Fei Liu was meant to be the cute little brother but I can’t help thinking of him as his son instead LOL. But all the same he’s so funny especially when he gets teased by everyone else awww. Then there is Prince Jing Yan whose voice is so hypnotic it just draws you in whenever he’s on screen. Wang Kai is bae. His relationship with Mei Changsu is one of the most complex since they are two very different characters with different values. Jing Yan is firm in his values but can be inflexible in the way he does things. Mei Changsu is more fluid had said before that he would do all the dirty work necessary to make Jing Yan succeed the throne with clean hands. Damn the bromance. Makes me so much angrier when Jing Yan wanted to cut off all ties with Mei Changsu. Like after all he has done for you? Seriously? It was so sad though when Jing Yan occasionally talks about his best friend (which is Lin Shu) and how he missed him. He even keeps his favourite bow and never lets anyone touch it, including Mei Changsu lol but that is what makes it even sadder. You can tell that there were times Mei Changsu himself was so tempted to reveal his true identity but he knew that by doing so it will only affect Jing Yan’s motivation to succeed the throne in order to protect Mei Changsu/Lin Shu.
Wang Kai as Prince Jing Yan ❤
“You have loyalty, but why don’t you have brains?!” -Mei Changsu
LOLOLOL – love this scene
Though Lin Chen only has a few scenes in the beginning as well as near the end of the series but his character is so funny and brings out a different side of Mei Changsu. Lin Chen is probably the only one who truly understood Mei Changsu’s character since everyone else only knew Lin Shu and not Mei Changsu. Lin Chen is such a sarcastic character that it brings something refreshing to the series especially when the entire series were full of scheming and plotting against one another. He was also the only one that can come up with schemes as successful as Mei Changsu although he clearly isn’t interested to other than to help MCS.
Lin Chen teasing Fei Liu LOL
Overall, Nirvana In Fire is a must-watch if you love complicated palace politics and super intelligent characters who blur the lines between right and wrong