Lan Ling Wang, 兰陵王 Episode Recap 1


WOW. This show is good. Legends, war, half naked men bathing in sulfur springs, girl inventors chasing chickens and that was just the first episode. (spoiler: fake marriages and kisses are to be looked forward to if I keep recapping, and I’ve only seen up to episode 6) I can’t believe how good Lan Ling Wang turned out to be, especially because I didn’t think Feng Shao Feng would be a good titular character player but, I have to admit, I’m liking this show already.  For those who don’t know. Lan Ling Wang, Prince of the Kingdom of Qi is a legendary and heartrending beautiful/powerful warrior. In this story, he and his enemy, the King of Zhou fall in love with the same girl whose destiny is to bring power and unite the kingdoms who whoever posses her.


The desolate battlefield is littered with lost souls and a man in a black mask walks past refugees. He tells them not to eat the fish because they’ve consumed the flesh of men who fought and died upstream. True to his words, the refugees find fingers in fishes stomaches

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The masked man releases a multicolored bird and tells it to find the place he needs to go. The bird flies to a village far away in a lush green field. A blind old woman muses that it’s been ten years already; she tells the bird that the masked man is allowed into the village. Mist envelops the man and when it dissipates, he arrives at the gate of the village.

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He visits the grandmother, who asks if the world is still embroiled in battle. The man replies that the Kingdom of Zhou and the Kingdom of Qi are still at war–the world is in uproar. He reminds her that because she is all knowing and because her ancestor Wu Xian had helped the King of Shang gain the world, if she was to help any one of the kingdoms the wars would end.

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As it turns out, Grandmother is descended from a line of women seers called Heavenly Maidens. Prized for their uncanny abilities to see the future and guess what happens as well as other powers. It is said, “He who possesses the Heavenly Maiden, possesses the  World”

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She yells, “Enough!” Because of their mighty powers, Heavenly Maidens are both revered and sought after, but after they have helped whichever king gain the world, they are killed or meet terrible ends because kings are afraid that the maidens will help the next man into power. Grandmother has helped hide the village magically in the mist to protect it from so much harm and war. Grandmother says that because she owes the man a favor, she will tell him who might be the victor and the next ruler of everything. There are four men who might influence the battlefield of the world. Two from the Kingdom of Zhou. They are father and son and are likened to  wolves who will fight each other to the death for power.

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Two are cousins from the Kingdom of Qi. One is the Emperor and the other is Lan Ling Wang (Duke of Lan Ling to be entirely correct). The Emperor might look impressive but he has no power or strength. He doesn’t really have it in him to become the next ruler. The Duke of Lan Ling is beautiful and talented in battle; he has a heart of gold and the aura of the warrior.

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The man interrupts and says that the Duke of Lan Ling will be the man who will win the world. The Grandma sighs and says that while the Duke of Lan Ling is like a phoenix and awesome in battle, he is a phoenix without claws. He is fated to die early in his life unless someone special saves him.

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A little girl who was listening to them at the door peeks in. She is the grandmother’s granddaughter and only living descendant–the last Heavenly Maiden. Grandmother vows that she will protect her only granddaughter from the tragic fate of the Heavenly Maiden. She will keep the little girl in the village.

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Her granddaughter may be fated to meet the Duke of Lan Ling, but Grandmother will try to prevent that with all her might. Outside where the little girl plays with the stranger’s bird, she feverently wishes that Lan Ling Wan will escape Grandmother’s predictions, no matter how accurate they can be.

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10 Years Later-

The Duke of Lan Ling is fighting with a General of Zhou. They fight and it’s clear that Lang Ling Wan is smart; he makes the enemy chase after him and then sets up traps to ensnare them. In the battle his beloved horse Ta Xue is hurt and an old wound begins to bleed on the horse.

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His brother An De Wang (George Hu) who is hot in armor, if only he would take off the iron underwear he calls a helmet , suggests that Lan Ling Wang take his horse to the nearby sulfur hot springs so that the horse can relax. Lan Ling Wang agrees and tells them to hold down the fortress. No one should be allowed to leave it.

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When the men get back An De Wang remarks to his brothers that he forgot to tell Lan Ling Wang that the hot springs are not the only attraction here. It’s said that there is a mystical village where the Heavenly Maiden lives. Whoever possesses the Heavenly Maiden possesses the world. An De Wang says that the maiden must be this breathtakingly beautiful woman, and that if Lan Ling Wang sees one, he should bring her back.


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Meanwhile in  said mystical village, a gigantic explosion and a girl flings open a window. Enter Ariel Lai who plays Xue Wu, the last Heavenly Maiden. She goes back in and tries to get rid of all the smoke. It turns out that she is an inventor and is trying to make some firecrackers.

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Her grandmother comes and and Xue Wu runs around trying to hide the signs of her misdeed. Xue Wu is supposed to be learning medicine; instead she makes firecrackers. Her grandmother scolds her and tells her to be like a ordinary girl and get ready for her coming of age ceremony.

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Three ugly girls come and yell at Xue Wu for the explosion and Xue Wu tells them to go away. She uses her pet toads to scare them away.

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Grandmother tells Xue Wu to behave. Xue Wu is supposed to make a sash that signifies her being an adult. Her sash should be accepted by a boy. Grandmother tells Xue Wu that she can’t go outside the village until she is able to make a beautiful sash. Xue Wu protests and says that she has to find more sulfur for the the firecrackers. Grandmother tells her no firmly.

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Xue Wu is chasing a chicken she calls Old Mother. She tries to catch it and use a needle to try and heal the chicken so that it will give more eggs. (Good Luck with that Ariel, because you’re holding a rooster, I don’t think acupuncture is akin to sex change operation in Ancient China). Suddenly there is thunder and the chicken (rooster) flies off the table. It leads Xue Wu out of the village at a stunning pace.

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Grandmother hears the thunder and wonders if the heavens will have Xue Wu and Lan Ling Wang meet, even though she has done everything to protect Xue Wu. Xue Wu goes to the sulfur hot springs. She needs more sulfur for her experiments and decides to collect more before she sneaks back home.

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Lan Ling Wang is leading his horse into  the pond when Xue Wu runs over. The haze of the water and his back and black hair makes Xue Wu gape. She gasps when he peeks over his shoulder.

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She tells him loudly that it’s okay, don’t be shy! Xue Wu has never seen such a beautiful girl bathing.

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Lan Ling Wang is shocked but Xue Wu tells him that since they are both girls, she’ll strip down and get in too.  No need to be shy! Thankfully she still has her underclothes on when she jumps in. He can’t turn around but his face kind of says it all.

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She jumps in and starts jabbering and asks him to be her friend, since she has never met any other girls. He stands there silently because he has never met such a girl who talked like this to him.  Just then soldiers come for Lan Ling Wang.

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Xue Wu grabs one and starts beating him for peeking at girls in the bath.  Lan Ling Wang looks at her curiously and with some awe before going into battle mode himself. Lan Ling Wang  takes care of the rest of the men while she’s distracted. Only when she raises her head does she see that she has made a mistake and that Lan Ling Wang was a he.


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This  show has stolen my heart, breath and eyes. I know it’s going to break my heart as surely as BBJX did, and it will probably throw me into a pit of despair. BUT based on the first 6 episdoes… IT WAS WORTH IT. This show is probably even better than Lu Zhen, and the chemistry between the three leads is off the charts hot. Granted I don’t think Feng Shao Feng is  good looking (knives are being drawn and thrown at me) enough to play Lan Ling Wang, whose legendary beauty is so breathtaking that his enemies fell in awe on the battlefield because of it, which is why he wears a mask. But this show is GOOD, like I know it will hurt a lot if I keep watching it  but I have to because I can’t bear to not know what happens if I don’t good.

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Yes, the CGI bird and the whole “Heavenly Maiden” is kind of meh for me. I’m not into the idea that just because Ariel’s character is the Heavenly Maiden whoever possesses her shall posses the world. It’s a little too fantasy for me. But since I’m still entranced by the story, and it makes the character a little more special, I’ll let it pass.  Anal Historians everywhere probably had a coronary when they introduced this idea. (E: Rin is not being fair to historians! Many of us adore fantasy. ), Chinese history is practically half mystical to start with. I.E. Nu Wa the half serpent and half woman goddess who created people out of the mud of the yellow river (hence explaining why Chinese people have yellow skin). The three kings who brought order and peace to China. Chang’e the moon goddess who stole the elixer of life and her husband Hou Yi who shot 9 of 10 suns to keep humanity from burning. And my favorite, the White Snake who fell in love with a human being and was punished for doing so by being imprisoned in Lei Feng Tower in Hang Zhou (it’s really beautiful on the inside of the tower, I went there one time).


Author: dramatictealeaves

Love dramas and Cooking, wish I could do both at the same time, but that would destroy both my apartment and my laptop

26 thoughts on “Lan Ling Wang, 兰陵王 Episode Recap 1”


    I haven’t watched the entire first episode but I watched a few scenes and…yes, I saw this…..

    ” half naked men bathing in sulfur springs”

    AHAHAHA. I love it when Xue Wu mistakes Lan Ling Wang for a girl. How’s that for a first meeting, eh?

    My other main impression of LLW is OMG the scenery is so gorgeous!!!!! It is very fantasy-like but not to the point where it looks like bad CG or anything. Very impressed.

      1. Oh and I thought it was funny when Lan Lin Wang’s horse was in the hot springs with him too. HEHE.

        I think Lan Lin Wang will probably be one of the most popular c-dramas of the year.

      2. I agree! My friend and I were seriously impressed with the story and execution. I also love the second lead. I hve mixed feelings about his character, I like and dislike him… which makes him one of the best characters yet. There is so much complexity in him, I cant wait for him to be introduced

  2. Yay!!!!!! I’m so glad you’re recapping this, I watched all 6 episodes and can’t wait for the next three. It’s soooooooo cracktastic! I love the chemistry!! Lol I agree with you, I don’t think Feng Shao Feng is that attractive but he does okay in his department. Ariel is seriously the cutest thing walking this earth, her little antics are so adorable 😀 I think it’s safe to say this has come labelled as historical fluff so any historical nitpicking is useless to be honest, and after watching this I’m actually being tempted to give Lu Zhen a go, even though I couldn’t stand some of Yu Zheng’s previous productions.

    1. Lu Zhen is a train wreck that tried to be too much at once. It was addictive as coke but there was so much good in it that it kept pulling me in, terrible episode after terrible episode, I’m still trying to pull myself together and recap the next few episodes.

      LAN Ling is starting off to a bang and pretty amazing for now. I was more than pleasantly surprised l!!

  3. I was browsing the net for a page, where someone could give me at least a little hint if it will be interesting enough to sink my teeths into its unsubbed episodes and guess what, I am now downloading all six just to wait for next episode’ recap here… what a great treat to start the weekend with :). Thank You, leavie, for flaming up my curiosity in this drama and giving me (again) the possibility to join You in discovering another gem to appreciate in long evening hours 😀

    I can agree with the sentiment of FSF being not beautiful (enough or at all, if I can remember some scenes from Goong correctly). On the other hand, there are moments where he looks gorgeous enough to make me light up as a Christmas tree, so I think (and hope) it will balance itself somwhow in this drama.

    I like Ariel in most things she played (if we scrap ISWAK from the list which is just…. ah, forget it) but I hope one day she will get to play something other than “bumbling, happy go lucky, mischevious bratty princess”. I like her when she turns dramatic, when her characters are facing the wall and are growing a steel backbone, so I am looking forward to the love/power triangle we are hopefully going to experience in next episodes.

    That being said, I am off to watch the raws and will be back for dissecting the second lead with you all as soon as he nears my “hot male alert” zone.

    1. Yay! I’m glad you’ll be joining me o this one. In all seriousness, this drama is pretty captivating from the start so I’m wondering how it will play out. I always liked Ariel especially when she pairs with hu Ge. But she wanted to do this drama cause her celeb crush is playing the second lead, so much so that she unretired from retirement.

      1. But she wanted to do this drama cause her celeb crush is playing the second lead, so much so that she unretired from retirement.

        LOL understandable since the second lead is quite handsome (and good actor too from what I’ve seen so far). I’ve never even seen this guy act before and Yuwen Yong is supposed to be a bad guy yet I can’t help but be fascinated by him.

    2. I totally agree with you about FSF – sometimes he looks ordinary yet sometimes he looks really handsome from certain angles (like when he smiles or when he’s turning his head?). I like him as an actor and I think he has a pleasant face, as in he has nice facial features but not like “OMG drop dead gorgeous”. However, I do like his performance as Lan Ling Wang so far, so I’m not too bothered about how he looks…

  4. To be honest, I was never really a fan of Feng Shao Feng either, but I love Ariel’s acting. But judging on the prior comments and your introduction, lan ling wang looks amazing. So I think I’ll just not spoil myself and watch the episodes before reading this 😛 Bookmarked this page for revisit hehe

  5. Thanks for the recap! I am following LLW, but after reading the episode summaries on Baidu, I’m not sure how engrossed I will be with this story. I probably also had high expectations for a tight plot. Still, the colors are so very pretty in this drama. I find Ariel’s acting to be a little OTT at times, but I love the girl so am willing to overlook it.

    As an aside, the masked man in the beginning of the story is Yang Jian, the future founder of Sui dynasty, which was the short-lived dynasty before the Tang Dynasty. He’s also the emperor in “Jin Guo Da Jiang Jun”, the Mulan-esque drama in which Yuan Hong acts as a nerdy soldier. (I gave up on that drama because I never cottoned on to the female lead.) Oh, and Yang Jian usurped Zhou country, but after Yuwen Yong’s death. Somewhat ironically, he fulfilled Yuwen Yong’s dream of uniting all of China after years of turbulence and separate countries/dynasties.

    1. I love Yuan Hong but like you said, didn’t like the female lead.

      Yuwen Yong died shortly after taking over Northern Qi and his son became emperor, who was then usurped by Yang Jian (future founder of Sui) just like you said. But then Sui dynasty was short cuz the subsequent emperors were so awful that the dynasty was shortly overthrown

    2. Aw Thank you for reading! I wasn’t paying attention to the beginning of the drama (candy crush is addictive) but its good to know what happens after the story. I want to watch Mulan but I haven’t gotten to it.

  6. I’ve tried to research what I could on Goa Changgong. There are several constants. Very intriguing. Am lost in Lanling now. Question: Do you think he really drank the poison?

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