The Princess Wei Young (锦绣未央, Jǐn Xiù Wèi Yāng, meaning roughly "Splendid Wei Yang") is a 2016 Chinese series starring Tiffany Tang and Luo Jin. It's loosely based on the novel The Princess Wei Yang by Qin Jian, and even more loosely based on historical events. A side-story/sequel, The Song of Glory, aired in 2020.
During the Northern and Southern Dynasties period, Feng Xin Er is the princess of Northern Liang. Her father is falsely accused of rebellion, and almost the entire royal family of Northern Liang is murdered. Xin Er survives, and is rescued by Li Wei Young, the prime minister's illegitimate daughter. After Wei Young's death, Xin Er takes on her identity and becomes part of the prime minister's household, hoping to avenge her father's death.
The entire series can be watched on Viki and on YouTube with English subtitles.
Contains examples of:
- Action Girl: Jun Tao, Xin Er's bodyguard.
- Adaptation Name Change: In the novel Wei Yang's stepmother's maiden name is Jiang and her personal name isn't revealed. The series renames her Chiyun Rou.
- Adaptation Personality Change: Wei Yang, Xin Er's equivalent in the novel, is much more of an Anti-Hero than Xin Er.
- Age Lift:
- At the start of the novel Wei Yang is thirteen (sort of) and Min De is eight. They're both adults in the series.
- Historically Tuoba Jun was only twelve when he became emperor. He's an adult in both the novel and the series.
- Alpha Bitch: Li Chang Le starts out an arrogant, petty brat who steals her cousins' ideas to make herself look good. She just gets worse later on.
- Always Someone Better: The reason Chang Ru is a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing is because Chang Le always comes on top socially, even after being disgraced multiple times. The first of such incidents is when she weaves for months for Grandma's birthday, and a better tapestry is rolled out right in front of hers at the event.
- Asshole Victim: Min Feng. Only his mother and sister are truly sorry for his death.
- Attempted Rape: Zhang almost rapes Xin Er.
- Becoming the Mask: After deciding to continue living for and as Wei Young, Xin Er's name is basically never brought up again in spite of how this page refers to her.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Between Min De and Tuoba Di.
- Big Brother Instinct: Min De towards Xin Er, though he denies it.
- Big Eater: Li Chang Xi.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Chang Ru is not nearly as nice as she appears.
- Blood Brothers: Blood Sisters, in this case. After their Blood Oath Jun Tao declares that she and Bai Zhi are sisters. Xin Er also says that Jun Tao, Bai Zhi and Zi Yan are her sisters, but there's no Blood Oath involved.
- Blood from the Mouth: This has a tendency to appear when a character is dying. Subverted with Seventh Concubine and Chiyun Rou; both of them cough up blood, but don't die.
- Blood Knight: Jun Tao is very quick to use or threaten violence.
- Bloodless Carnage: Averted. If a character is killed or injured, blood will be seen somewhere.
- Blood Oath: Since they're both sworn to serve Xin Er, Jun Tao puts Bai Zhi through a ritual that involves cutting their fingers and drinking each other's blood. Bai Zhi is not exactly enthusiastic about it.
- Braids of Action: Jun Tao. Tuoba Yu is a downplayed example. He has (many, many) braids, but spends more time scheming than fighting.
- Break His Heart to Save Him: A variation. Xin Er pretends she doesn't care about Tuoba Jun to save the Li family, because if the "witchcraft" incident was revealed it would mean the entire family's execution.
- Break the Haughty:
- Chiyun Rou and Chang Le find their attempt to frame Xin Er backfires badly.
- Chang Le inflicts this on Xin Er after Xin Er is accused of murder.
- Catapult Nightmare: Chang Le has one after helping to murder Crown Princess Consort.
- Childhood Marriage Promise: Between Tuoba Jun and Chang Le. This causes problems once they're grown up, and Tuoba Jun is no longer interested in Chang Le.
- A Child Shall Lead Them: Hong, Tuoba Jun and Xin Er's young son, becomes Emperor after his father's death.
- Cold-Blooded Torture: Tuoba Jun is imprisoned and tortured when Tuoba Yu usurps the throne.
- Cool Old Lady:
- Old Granny Li is over sixty, and one of the few people in the Li household who openly stands up to Chiyun Rou.
- Xin Er's grandmother is this in her few appearances.
- Dark Action Girl: Hong Luo.
- Darkest Hour: After Bai Zhi's murder, and Tuoba Jun's marriage to Chang Le and apparent change of heart, Xin Er declares she's completely out of will to live.
- Dead Person Impersonation: Xin Er pretends to be Wei Young. She's helped by the fact none of the Li family have seen Wei Young for years, but some of them still suspect she's an impostor.
- Death Faked for You: Chang Ru's death is faked by Tuoba Yu.
- Declaration of Protection: Min De promises to protect Xin Er from Chiyun Rou.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight: Wei Young and Zi Yan both die in Xin Er's arms.
- Disappeared Dad: Tuoba Jun's father is dead when the story begins.
- Distinguishing Mark: Xin Er has a birthmark on her wrist. This makes Seventh Concubine realise she isn't Wei Young.
- The Dragon:
- Chun Ming, for Chiyun Rou.
- Cheng An, for Tuoba Yu.
- Driven by Envy: Chang Le already hated Xin Er, but she torments her even more after she discovers Xin Er keeps a fan given to her by Tuoba Jun.
- Drowning My Sorrows: Min De, after his mother's death.
- The Emperor: Tuoba Jun's grandfather is the emperor of Northern Wei. Eventually Tuoba Jun becomes Emperor, and in the final scene of the series, so does his son.
- Eunuchs Are Evil: Zong Ai murders the emperor.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: For all her faults, Chiyun Rou loves Min Feng and Chang Le.
- Evil Uncle: Tuoba Yu and Tuoba Han are Tuoba Jun's uncles, and both are plotting against him to get the throne.
- Face–Heel Turn: Zi Yan and Chang Ru, both because Love Makes You Evil.
- Faking the Dead: An Le fakes her own death (helped by Min De and Xin Er) to escape a marital treaty and a murder plot. Unfortunately, everyone assumes she's been murdered, and suspicion falls on Xin Er.
- Gorgeous Period Dress: And how! Some examples: this red costume◊, this blue costume◊ and Xin Er wearing it◊, the costume Xin Er wears as empress◊, and this blue costume◊.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Chang Le is jealous of Tuoba Jun's interest in Xin Er.
- Happily Adopted: Min De is very happy with his adoptive mother. With his cousins, on the other hand...
- Heroic Bastard: Played with, thanks to the Dead Person Impersonation. The real Wei Young was illegitimate, so everyone assumes this trope is in play for Xin Er.
- Historical Beauty Update: No portraits survive of Empress Dowager Feng or Emperor Wencheng, but it's safe to assume they looked nothing like Tiffany Tang◊ or Luo Jin◊.
- Historical Domain Character: Several characters are fictionalised versions of historical figures, most notably Xin Er, Tuoba Jun and Tuoba Yu.
- Hoist by His Own Petard:
- Chiyun Rou poisons herself to frame Xin Er, and in the process makes herself ill and contributes to her own death.
- Chang Le's attempts to get rid of Xin Er only cause trouble for herself.
- Hunting "Accident": Chiyun Nan and Tuoba Han attempt to kill Xin Er and Tuoba Jun this way.
- If I Can't Have You…: Chang Le, when she realises Tuoba Jun will never love her. It doesn't end well for her.
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Happens to several characters, including Tuoba Yu.
- Incurable Cough of Death: Min De's mother coughs a lot after she catches an epidemic disease.
- In Name Only: The series has very little in common with the novel. The most obvious differences include:
- In the novel Wei Yang is the heroine's real name and she really is part of the Li family. Xin Er's backstory and taking on Wei Young's identity are original to the series.
- The novel starts with Wei Yang already married to Tuoba Zhen (Tuoba Jun in the series), deposed as empress in favour of Zhang Le/Chang Le, and ordered to commit suicide. After her death she time-travels back to her thirteen-year-old self. None of this happens in the series.
- Chiyun Nan doesn't exist in the novel. Wei Yang's stepmother does have a nephew, but his name is Gao Jin and he's a minor annoyance instead of a real threat.
- Li Min Feng, who causes Zi Yan's death even though she was pregnant with his child.
- Li Chang Le tortures Xin Er over a fan.
- Tuoba Yu uses everyone as his pawns, and in one scene says he likes keeping pet fish because they'll attack each other if he gives them food.
- Chiyun Nan plots to kill Xin Er, and has her chosen to be forced into a political marriage knowing that a war will break out anyway and she'll be killed.
- Kissing Cousins: Played with, and ultimately averted. Min De is secretly in love with Xin Er, but thinks she's his cousin Wei Young. Then it turns out that he isn't actually Wei Young's cousin at all. She never returns his feelings, and isn't even aware of them.
- Latex Perfection: Hong Luo uses this in her disguises.
- Love Dodecahedron: Tuoba Jun, Tuoba Yu and Min De love Xin Er, Xin Er and Chang Le love Tuoba Jun, Chang Ru loves Tuoba Yu, and Tuoba Di loves Min De.
- Love Makes You Evil: Zi Yan's love for Min Feng leads her to betray Wei Young. It doesn't end well for her.
- Manipulative Bastard:
- Tuoba Yu manipulates everyone, including his own brother, in hopes of becoming Emperor.
- Chiyun Rou wants Wei Young out of the way and Chang Le to marry Tuoba Jun, and uses her son and daughter to achieve her goals.
- Xin Er has her manipulative moments, especially when up against Chiyun Rou.
- Master of Disguise: Hong Luo, which causes problems for Xin Er.
- Missing Mom: Apart from a brief appearance in the prologue Xin Er's mother is never seen or mentioned, even before the murder of the rest of her family.
- Mistaken for Gay: Min De makes this mistake about Tuoba Di.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: The real names of Seventh Concubine, Old Granny Li, Crown Princess, and Xin Er's grandmother are never given.
- The family names of Seventh Concubine and Old Granny Li are Chen and Luo, respectively, but they are revealed in the very last episode.
- Going by the historical references, Crown Princess's family name is Yujiulu, and even in real life her personal name is unknown.
- Prince Charming: Tuoba Jun, for Xin Er... though she initially refuses to admit it.
- Prince Charmless: Tuoba Yu, also for Xin Er. Chang Ru likes him much better, unfortunately.
- Rags to Riches / Riches to Rags: Xin Er goes through both tropes multiple times throughout the series. She starts out the princess of Northern Liang, then becomes a Noble Fugitive, then pretends to be Wei Young, and that's just the start of the changes of fortune she experiences.
- Royal Brat:
- Tuoba Di has shades of this, especially in her treatment of Min De.
- Min Feng and Chang Le are adult versions of this.
- An Le has her guards attack the laundry bureau over an imagined insult, then tries to have Xin Er caned fifty times because Tuoba Di lost a fight.
- Sacrificial Lamb: The royal family of Northern Liang (minus Xin Er), and the real Wei Young.
- Sacrificial Lion: Bai Zhi.
- Scarpia Ultimatum:
- A by-proxy variation: Tuoba Yu says he'll try to save Xin Er if Tuoba Jun agrees to marry Chang Le. Faced with a choice between marrying a woman he hates, or letting the woman he loves die, Tuoba Jun agrees to it.
- Later Tuoba Yu forces Xin Er to marry him. He nearly succeeds, but then Tuoba Jun arrives.
- Servile Snarker: Cheng De, for Tuoba Jun.
- Slashed Throat: Happens to Xin Er's father and grandmother.
- Spell My Name with an S: The character transliterated "Young" in "Wei Young" is actually transliterated as "Yāng". Whoever came up with the official English title changed the transliteration for some reason.
- Spoiler Opening: The opening credits reveal the fate of certain characters.
- Sweet Polly Oliver:
- Tuoba Di pretends to be a boy for her own amusement, as well as to Troll unsuspecting strangers.
- Xin Er and her bodyguard Jun Tao dress as boys to wander around the town in the first episode.
- Taking the Bullet: Or sword, in this case. When Chang Ru tries to kill Xin Er, Tuoba Yu jumps between them and gets Impaled with Extreme Prejudice.
- Together in Death: Chang Ru kills herself to be with Tuoba Yu.
- Token Good Teammate: Min De, Chang Ru and Old Granny Li are the only members of the Li family to treat Xin Er well. Though Min De isn't really part of the family, and Chang Ru turns out to be a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing.
- Traumatic Haircut: Chiyun Rou attempts to inflict this on Chang Ru.
- The Usurper: Tuoba Yu steals the throne after his father dies.
- Warrior Prince: Several of them, most notably Tuoba Jun.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Xin Er's family and the real Wei Young only appear briefly. Justified, since their deaths set off much of the plot.
- Wicked Stepmother: Chiyun Rou, the real Wei Young's stepmother, is responsible for Wei Young's death, and makes repeated attempts to kill or disgrace Xin Er.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Chiyun Rou poisons herself to frame Wei Young.