Excuse the radio silence. I’ve been preoccupied for the past couple of weeks with the aforementioned period drama, Sound of the Desert. And when I say preoccupied, I mean I am entirely consumed by this addictive series.
I can’t remember the last Chinese period drama I’ve watched. They had always put me off with their tacky acting, overdone plots, terrible makeup and gaudy dressing. Plus, palace politics get boring after a while.
But Sound of the Desert is quite something. It has beautiful cinematography, characters with depth and fully fleshed out backstory, credible acting, character development, and loads of swoon-worthy moments that makes a girl like me squeal.
(And of course, there’s Eddie Peng.
|THAT FACE IS A JACKPOT.
I always thought he was just a pretty face, but this show made me a huge fan of his acting!)
Essentially, Sound of the Desert is a love story based on a book series by a renowned Chinese author called Tong Hua, who also wrote Scarlet Heart, another popular drama series that everyone was obsessed with about a year or so ago.
The story centres around Jin Yu (played by Liu Shi Shi), a girl who lived among a pack of wolves in the desert until her adoptive father found her. Her father brought her up to live among humans and regaled her with magnificent stories about the city of Jian An, so she has always wanted to visit the place.
After her father is murdered, she goes to the city to start a new life and changes her name to Xin Yue. Along the way, she meets this handsome, disabled young man called Jiu Ye (played by Hu Ge), who has links with the royal family and is in charge of Shi Enterprises, the biggest commercial player in Jian An. She tries to steal some new clothes and salt from him and his entourage, but is caught. Jiu Ye lets her go but gives her this STUNNING BLUE DRESS that looks like something out of a fairy tale.
She also meets the confident, charismatic, hot, cocky young general Wei Wuji (played by Eddie Peng).
The scene where they meet is so perfect and momentous, and everything unspoken lies in their gazes.
Xin Yue rescues Wuji and his crew from a bunch of desert bandits and helps them return to Jian An, where they then go their separate ways.
Wuji is bewitched by Xin Yue upon their first meeting, and you can see his cold exterior stripped away whenever he interacts with her. While he’s all intense, piercing gaze and clenched, chiselled jaw with his comrades and soldiers, around her he’s all puppy smiles and bright twinkly eyes (yes, the author included that description in the book).
Eddieeeee you slay me! He has such expressive eyes and the cutest smile.
Anyway, so Xin Yue goes to Jian An, is roped into being a dancer in a dance parlour before Jiu Ye finds her (Shi Enterprises owns the dance parlour), offers her a place to stay as well as a job managing the dance parlour instead of performing there. Meanwhile, Wuji searches high and low for the exotic, mysterious girl he met in the desert.
A love triangle develops, where Xin Yue falls head over heels for Jiu Ye, who is calm, collected, beautiful, but detached from everyone. Xin Yue is a shy and uncertain thing around him, and she always has to second-guess her behaviour. Like some lovesick schoolgirl.
Around Wuji, though, she is entirely, freely herself. The way you would be around your best friend, even though you know he’s in love with you. Wuji doesn’t bother hiding the fact that he is smitten with her, even when he’s around his soldiers.
He looks at her like she’s his world,
He openly flirts with her,
So many cute moments between them! Is there any wonder why this pairing launched a thousand ships (and new fans of Eddie)?
He’s there by her side to cheer her up when she gets rejected TIME AND AGAIN by Jiu Ye (although I don’t know what she sees in him),
Look around you, you dolt! Here’s a hot, sweet, charming, brave young general who is willing to lay down his life for you and do everything within his power to make you happy! Why chase a cold, reserved guy who has rejected you harshly thrice in a row because he’s too busy feeling inferior due to his disability? All he does is play the flute, read, and stare out the snowy window in deep thought. YAWN. Wuji, though, is passion, fire, fun.
And Eddie has so much on-screen presence, he commands every scene he’s in. The casting director did goooood with him. I bet Tong Hua is pleased with the decision to cast Eddie as Wuji too, because he doesn’t just play Wei Wuji. He IS Wei Wuji. He fully embraces and revels in the role. In other words, he slaaaayed (the girls over at My Drama Tea feel so too!), and he’s the main reason why I watched the show.
Also, he has set impossible standards for all guys out there.
On the battlefield he’s like,
When he sees her he’s like,
Don’t you just love a guy who is fierce and driven when it comes to serious matters, but lets down his defences around you?
There’s palace politics and other subplots in the show that I could care less about, but the main focus is on this lovely OTP. It’s total “shippy heaven”, according to Dreaming Snowflake, another fan I found on Tumblr who does greater justice to the show in her elaborate and insightful episode reviews. Tong Hua must have been projecting her fantasies with General Wei when she wrote her books. In fact, she did mention that she wrote Ballad of the Desert FOR this character, based on a real-life general called Huo Qu Bing, a young general who has never lost a single battle in all of his 26 years.
|Those sparkling wide eyes!
Wei Wuji doesn’t die in the show – the characters get their happy ending (okay, at least the important ones do) – but there’s a twist at the end that helps the story tie in with historical records. I’m not spoiling it for you, so go watch it! In the meantime, I’m going to go catch up on all of Eddie’s other movies.
Wow. That turned out to be a long post. And most of it was spent gushing about Eddie. Excuse the fangirling. It’s just been a long while since I’ve fallen head over heels for a character that makes me grin to myself like a fool and itch to write another in his likeness.
If you watched the show and are now, like me, irrevocably in love with General Wei and Eddie Peng, let’s spaz together I’d love to hear your thoughts!