On June 18th, the romance costume drama "Destined (Chang Feng Du, 长风渡)", adapted from the novel of the same name by author Mo Shu Bai, directed by Yin Tao and starring Bai Jingting and Song Yi, began airing. The main characters are well-defined and the plot progresses rapidly. As for the current plot, it has outstanding highlights and logical development. As a debut in the summer of 2023, it has stabilized its position.
The plot of "Destined" is full of ups and downs while also paying attention to family and national sentiments. The casting and filming were highly anticipated, not to mention that after wrapping up production, lead actors Bai Jingting and Song Yi were rumored to be in a relationship. Fans as well as viewers who enjoy costume dramas are eagerly anticipating watching this ancient love story which combines palace intrigue, business endeavors, and imperial court politics.
The female lead Liu Yuru. She is an aristocratic daughter from a cloth merchant's family but her father is notorious for favoring his concubines over his wife. Liu Yuru was never valued by her father growing up; her stepmother was unkind towards her while her biological mother suffered from serious illness. This caused Liu Yuru to grow up abiding strictly by rules while understanding what should be done at appropriate times.
After being a model young lady for more than ten years with great difficulty, she was about to start a new life when her beloved Ye Shi'an returned home after taking imperial examination to propose marriage to her. However unexpectedly she met male lead Gu Jiusi.
Gu Jiusi couldn't really be considered much of a gentleman in people's eyes, he was known throughout Yangzhou City as the son of its wealthiest individual; dissolute playboy who accomplished nothing despite having plenty money at his disposal. Whenever he went out, he was the most ostentatious person around, often squandering his riches in the streets, taverns and gambling dens.
However, in reality, Gu Jiusi had been showered with love from his parents since childhood. He had a pure nature, understood right from wrong and knew good from evil; he never did anything bad. Although known throughout Yangzhou City as a notorious playboy whom all girls avoided at all costs, Gu Jiusi believed that there is one true love for everyone's life and he must marry the woman he likes. Not to mention Bai Jingting himself has both looks and charm which make him perfectly suitable to portray this pure-hearted lover with comedic characteristics, it can be said that Bai Jingting is best choice for portraying Gu Jiusi.
The court is in turmoil and the emperor wants to marry off his princess to Gu Jiushi, in order to obtain financial support from the Gu family. However, Jiushi's parents do not want their son involved and are eager for him to get married quickly. Coincidentally, in the first episode, Jiushi and Liu Yuru accidentally become entangled with each other. Knowing that Yuru despises someone like himself who indulges in luxury, immature Jiushi purposely confesses his love for her on a busy street.
This news reaches Jiushi's parents who are thrilled by it. Fearing they might lose this opportunity if they wait too long, they immediately go to propose marriage at the Liu household. The Liu's family fear the power of the Gu family and the concubines greedily eyeing gifts offered as part of the marriage proposal.
Thus inadvertently due to a joke made by Jiushi earlier on, he and Yuru are forced into marriage together. In feudal society women’s fates were tied up with families’ interests but very rarely belonged solely to themselves. Yuru accepts fate's cruel humour and gives up her beloved fiancé while hoping she can live well after marrying into Gu family.
With such expectations, Yuru is dealt another blow on her wedding night when Jiushi tells her that since neither of them likes each other so there is no need for them be genuine couple; they should just separate later when both have found someone suitable instead. This completely shatters any hope she had left about living happily ever after with him. The situation seems hopeless until mother-in-law steps forward offering help.
In comparison with its original work, the drama "Destined" has adapted some female characters. A typical example would be Mrs.Liu, mother of Yurou, living an ordinary woman’s life at that time- no one besides husband, being careful cautious, and treating husband as everything. Such influence shapes even intelligent Yurou's belief that her life will be inevitably tied to her new husband’s family.
The dignified and solemn Mrs.Ye is a typical strong woman who went to battlefield in armor when she was only thirteen years old. After getting married, she became a housewife, taking care of the family business. However, on her birthday, when she saw the painting of an armed warrior sent by Liu Yuru, she expressed rare emotions: "Other gifts were given to housewife Ye, but this one is for myself."
The character who helps newlywed Yuru grow up first is actually Jiushi's mother. Madam Gu is quite a forceful woman. She takes Yuru out on inspection and shows her that even as women they can do many things. Marriage also needs management just like shops.Her example demonstrated how she tamed Jiushi's father at their marriage.
Jiusi's parents treated their daughter-in-law well and were aware of the unstable situation in the capital. Despite being wealthy, they couldn't guarantee their son's safety for a lifetime. Therefore, they entrusted all of the family affairs to Yuru and left her to manage their son as well. After realizing this, Yuru abandoned her gentle ladylike appearance and bravely went into the brothel to bring back Jiusi. She set rules and forced him to study hard so that he could achieve success in life.
Yuru embarked on a challenging journey of taming her husband with laughter and tears along the way. Of course, Jiusi initially vowed never to marry Yuru had ultimately fallen for her charm. The first episode featured an encounter between them while episode two showcased their grand wedding ceremony followed by episode four which opened up the main story plot line - taming one's husband - alongside other intriguing subplots.
The costume design for "Destined" is remarkable without any faux Chinese elements present throughout its production team’s efforts; it’s evident through showcasing how opulent Gu Family Mansion was compared to even imperial palaces depicted in some historical dramas due it being located within wealthier areas. Additionally, the red wedding dress worn during the marriage also stands out brilliantly.
Currently only depicting events occurring within Yangzhou city; where turmoil looms amidst chaotic times with different factions vying for power against each other resulting in devastating consequences such as Gu family suffering from losses leading towards separation from loved ones alike death or abandonment.
As Gu Jiushi steps up becoming an official who shoulders responsibilities; viewers can expect more exciting developments ahead accompanied by supporting cast members: Sha Yi, Zhao Ziqi portraying Jiusi’s parents respectively, Liu Xueyi playing Luo Zishang, Zhang Rui as Zhou Ye, Hu Ke acting out concubine among other notable appearances will certainly have memorable performances throughout this drama series.
Compared to the original novel, one significant change in the adaptation is the transformation of the female lead character. In the original, both taming her husband and doing business were initiated by the female lead herself. However, in the drama, these tasks are guided by the mother-in-law and male lead respectively. Although this alteration provides a clearer character growth trajectory for the female lead, it weakens her initial personality traits.
Nevertheless, thanks to Song Yi's classical beauty and lively spirit portrayal as well as her sincere and resilient yet intelligent demeanor that also shows vulnerability when necessary; she remains an endearing character throughout this series.
The reason why "Chang Feng Du" gained high popularity among readers was due to its atypical characterization of both male and female leads along with their respective growth journeys. The male protagonist was not naturally born a leader but rather evolved from an immature youth who knew nothing about his family's legacy or country's destiny into someone who shouldered those burdens himself through time.
Similarly, unlike other typical fictional characters which tend towards being either naive or arrogant without any explanation behind such behavior, the heroine follows a traceable path from being a ladylike woman into becoming a successful merchant. In times of chaos they supported each other making them better individuals while undergoing emotional struggles together which left viewers deeply moved.
Given such narrative foundation based on Destined’s original storyline framework; it makes one can't help but anticipate what will be next for our protagonists' crucial events that would push them forward towards self-improvement? When will these happen within series timeline? What changes may occur between Gu Jiushi & Liu Yuru? How does Liu Yuru find her own direction in life? And what sort of unexpected twists may lie ahead amidst their lives’ ups-and-downs? Let's look forward to the subsequent episodes together.