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Series / Ashes of Love

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Ashes of Love (Chinese: 香蜜沉沉烬如霜; pinyin: Xiāng Mì Chén Chén Jìn Rú Shuāng) is a 2018 Chinese fantasy series based on the internet novel of the same name (alternatively translated as "Heavy Sweetness, Ash-Like Frost") by Dian Xian. A second season is rumoured to air in 2022. It starts Yang Zi and Deng Lun in the leading roles.

The series follows Jin Mi, an innocent and naive grape sprite who been fed an Unfeeling Pill that suppresses her ability to feel and recognize love. Having been sheltered inside a barrier in the Flower Realm her whole life, Jin Mi leaps at the chance to follow Xu Feng, the Second Prince of the Heavenly Realm, to his home realm after she accidentally rescues him. Completely unaware of romantic implications, decorum of the Heavenly Realm, and her true parentage, Jin Mi spends a hundred years causing hijinks in the Heavenly Palace at Xu Feng's side as his Reading Aide. Before long, Jin Mi finds herself drawn into a love triangle between Xu Feng and his brother Run Yu, and the power struggle for not only the Heavenly Throne but for the control all Six Realms in the world.


It can be watched on YouTube with English subtitles.

This show provides examples of:

  • Abusive Parents: All over the place. Tu Yao toward Run Yu. Tai Wei is somewhat manipulative of both his children. Zi Fen robbed her daughter of the ability to feel love. And Su Li repeatedly removed her son's horns and scales to disguise him.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade:
    • In the original novel, Jin Mi and Xu Feng does not properly fall in love and communicate their feelings until the denouement of the story, but in the series they come to an understanding during their Trial together in the human world. This makes their confrontations during and after the wedding a lot more heart wrenching.
    • Run Yu's mother died long before the plot of the novel. Her on-screen death, the elaboration of her backstory, and their impact on Run Yu is one of the most emotional and pivotal plot points in the series.
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  • Adaptation Expansion: A novel that can be read in a few hours is expanded into a series with 63 episodes. Since the novel is told in first person from Jin Mi's POV, the expansions of other characters' arcs mostly work out. Liu Ying and the Demon Realm have been given arcs that stand alone, but changes to Run Yu's storyline and characterization altered the dynamics from the original novel significantly.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: Both Xu Feng and Run Yu have their personality flaws downplayed in the series and become more likeable, but this effectively changes Run Yu's moral alignment.
  • Alleged Lookalikes: Jin Mi is supposed to resemble her mother so much that she could be mistaken for her.
    • Su Li also caught Tai Wei's eye partly due to her likeness to Zi Fen.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Kuang Lu loves Run Yu, who loves Jin Mi, who loves Xu Feng. And Sui He also loves Xu Feng.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent: Jin Mi's parents and Run Yu's mother early in the series. Both reveals came with lots of drama.
  • Archnemesis Dad: Tai Wei is the reason behind most of conflicts in the series, even the personal ones for Xu Feng and Run Yu, but Xu Feng is too sheltered to see it that way.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Why Run Yu falls for Jin Mi.
  • Brainless Beauty: Jin Mi. It's played for laughs until it's not.
  • Break the Cutie: Jin Mi.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Run Yu gives his father a "The Reason You Suck" Speech at his wedding, after his father orders his arrest.
  • The Chessmaster: Both Tai Wei and Run Yu, but the latter is more successful.
  • Combat Hand Fan: Sui He wields a feather fan as a weapon.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Jin Mi's inability to understand romance and lack of exposure to the outside world often leads to this, such as her belief that "Mutual Cultivation" is simply a way to gain more spiritual powers.
  • Cool Mask: Mu Ci wears one while working for Tu Yao.
  • Covered in Kisses: A girl kisses Jin Mi, thinking she's a boy (it's a long story), and leaves a lipstick mark on Jin Mi's cheek.
  • Death by Childbirth: Zi Fen, though she had some help.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight: Su Li dies in Run Yu's arms.
  • Driven to Villainy: Run Yu and Qi Yuan.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: Jin Mi and Xu Feng reunite after 500 years and reincarnation.
  • Evil Matriarch: Heavenly Empress Tu Yao.
  • Exact Eavesdropping:
    • Run Yu learns Jin Mi's real parentage when he eavesdrops on the Pavilion Chiefs talking to Luo Lin.
    • Later Jin Mi eavesdrops on Run Yu and Sui He, and learns several secrets both of them wanted to hide.
  • False Utopia: The Heavenly Realm is one under the rule of the power hungry Tai Wei and Tu Yao.
  • Generation Xerox: The most beautiful woman in all Six Realms, torn and dies in a love triangle with two power deities including the Heavenly Emperor. Are we talking about Jin Mi, or her mother Zi Fen?
    • The Prince who removes a more favored brother to become Heavenly Emperor. Tai Wei or Run Yu?
  • Good Stepmother: Lin Xiu, Wind Deity, for Jin Mi.
  • Horned Humanoid: Run Yu, being a dragon immortal, had horns when he was a child. Until his mother cut them off.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Liao Yuan.
  • Informed Attractiveness: It's stated repeatedly that Jin Mi and her mother Zi Fen are the most beautiful woman in all Six Realm during their time.
  • Love Dodecahedron: There's the Xu Feng- Jin Mi - Run Yu love triangle. Then Sui He and Kuang Lu are in love with Xu Feng and Run Yu respectively. Yan You was once infatuated with Sui He and now seems to have some affection for Jin Mi.
  • Love Hungry: Run Yu becomes this after several millennia of forced social isolation, topped off with trauma of losing his mother and seeing his fiancee sleeping with his brother, all within the span of a few days.
  • Love Martyr: After the wedding, Jin Mi for Xu Feng, and Run Yu for Jin Mi simultaneously...
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The confusion about Jin Mi's parentage leads to Tai Wei believing she's his daughter and telling her so. He's wrong. Luo Lin is her father.
  • Mood-Swinger: Su Li swings between screaming in anger, smiling and almost crying in a few minutes.
  • Neck Snap: How Xu Feng kills the Bird Tribe elder.
  • Nice Guy: Despite being a general and hailed as the "God of War", this is Xu Feng's true nature in the series. He is the only person in the Heavenly Realm who is both kind enough to consistently look out for Run Yu and powerful enough that he doesn't have to worry too much about his mother's disapproval over it. He even forgives him in the finale.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: It's not clear how much different it would have made in the long run, but Jin Mi's habit of agreeing to things (like an engagement!) without thinking them through, or not asking about things she doesn't understand (like marriage!) definitely made life more complicated for everyone.
  • The Nicknamer: Jin Mi.
  • No Body Left Behind: When immortals die, their bodies disintegrate.
  • Parental Substitute: The Pavilion Chiefs and Lao Hu (Carrot) are this for Jin Mi.
  • Redemption Equals Affliction: Run Yu atones for his actions by accepting an eternity of loneliness.
  • Red String of Fate: Jin Mi and Xu Feng were literally tied together by the THE Red String of fate (this work is set in Chinese fantasy) when they underwent their trial together and fell in love.
    • The Red Strings control the love life of mortals but not celestials, but Run Yu remains devoted to the one woman whose gift of Red String that he accepted.
  • Relationship-Salvaging Disaster: Run Yu and Xu Feng eventually reconcile after the woman they both love dies in the crossfire of their war.
  • Royally Screwed Up: The Heavenly Realm's royal family, and how. The Heavenly Emperor became obsessed with and raped Zi Fen. The Heavenly Empress arranged Zi Fen's death, tried to kill Jin Mi, and spent years tormenting Run Yu. Run Yu and Xu Feng both fall in love with Jin Mi, and before long they go to war over her.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • Zi Fen gave Jin Mi the Unfeeling Pill wishing to spare her daughter the heartache she felt, but robbing Jin Mi of the ability to feel and process her feelings dooms her chance of being happy in love.
    • No matter what Run Yu does, Tu Yao reacts to it as a plot to steal the throne from Xu Feng, until Run Yu is convinced that he has no other path.
  • Shipper on Deck:
    • Dan Zhu, the Moon Immortal who is in charge of marriages, is an avid shipper of the official couple. The Red String he tied for them during their trial in the mortal realm arguably made a big difference in them getting together.
    • Most of the Flower Realm and the Water Immortal preferred Run Yu for Jin Mi, if only for the reason that he is not Tu Yao's son.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: To truly tragic extent for Run Yu.
  • Snakes Are Sinister: Pu Chi/Yan You is a snake immortal, and morally ambiguous at best.
  • Subordinate Excuse: Kuang Lu is in love with Run Yu, and works for him to be near him.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver:
    • Jin Mi pretends to be a boy (with the help of a magic hairpin) when she first arrives in the Heavenly Realm, and later while hiding in the mortal realm.
    • Kuang Lu dresses as a man when she enlists in the army.
  • Taking the Bullet: Liao Yuan jumps in front of a sword meant for Xu Feng.
  • That Man Is Dead: Mu Ci says this to Liu Ying when she calls his name.
  • Wedding Smashers: Run Yu and Jin Mi's wedding is eventful to say the least. Xu Feng interrupting the ceremony is just the start of it.
  • Wham Episode: Run Yu and Jin Mi's first wedding.
  • Whip It Good: A whip is Liu Ying's weapon of choice.
  • Wicked Stepmother: Tu Yao to Run Yu, of sorts.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Run Yu. His mother's murdered in front of him, his fiancée cheats on him with his brother, his father has him arrested at his wedding... and all of that on top of the literal millennia of abuse he's already suffered. It's a miracle he didn't snap much sooner.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Su Li cuts her son's horns off.