Tag Archives: Word of Honor

Word of Honor – reaction translation

12 May

I’ve been watching various reactions to Word of Honor and have recently come across one by Sang Sang and Ah Yi (桑桑和阿一) where Sang Sang laoshi is a psychologist/therapist. She is able to take note of many small details/characters and logically analyze the hidden plot threads while I was just hyperventilating over WKX half the time on my first watch of WoH lol. I really like the analysis of the psychology of the characters that she does at the end of each 2 episode viewing, so I’ve translated those below for more WoH fans to enjoy. I won’t be doing a word by word translation and will sometimes summarize the points raised. And of course this is a non-professional translation (expressions may be stilted) so any corrections are welcomed!

They have released up to ep11 so far. I will update the translations periodically when I have time to translate. Here’s starting off with ep1-4!

Full episode reaction on Youku

Summary comments on Bilibili

Ep1-2

ZZS: We see his change in status from leader of Tian Chuang to a beggar. He left an environment where he felt stressed and emotional pressure.

When you say you feel stressed, there’s a tendency to look for a specific event as the source of your stress, but you should also consider if it’s the general environment that you are in that is causing the stress.

Outwardly it would appear that beggar ZZS no longer holds the power he once had, but the change in ZZS’s psychological state is evident in the first couple of episodes. He was cold and aloof, his smiles are not smiles and his cries are not cries. But as a beggar he could smile and say he wouldn’t even change this to be the emperor. This is ZZS actively removing himself from an environment that’s causing him stress and improving his state of mind.

WKX: Currently I’m more interested in WKX. We can tell from various details that WKX is in fact the Ghost Valley Master, but outside of the Ghost Valley, he presents himself as a gentleman and takes an unusually deep interest in ZZS.

WKX has not exhibited much of himself so far. The main trait he displayed so far is indifference. He is not interested in the people around him. For example at the run down temple when the boatman died and Cheng Ling/ZZS was visibly upset or affected, WKX appeared to be happy instead. It’s possible WKX was happy at ZZS staying at the temple for the night, thus giving him the opportunity to find out more about ZZS.

General comments: Too many slow-mo fighting scenes, but we can see the old wuxia vibe from the overall presentation of the story.

Ep3-4

ZZS: ZZS went from being a lone beggar to having WKX and Cheng Ling around and went through a few events together.

Some of ZZS’s traits that were displayed in these couple of episodes:

嘴硬心软 Harsh in speech but soft in heart. We can tell this from his interaction with Cheng Ling.

清醒独立 Cleared minded and independent. From WKX blowing the Bodhi mediation song for him at the riverside, ZZS made a judgement on WKX’s character and he has confidence in such judgement he made.

自信要强** Refusing Cheng Ling’s help in wiping blood from his mouth after his internal injuries acted up in the fight with Beggar Sect.

**要强: I have trouble succinctly translating this word. Yao Qiang literally means ‘want (to be) strong’. It seems to be mostly translated as ‘competitive’ but it encompasses the idea of being a perfectionist and not wanting to appear lacking/weak in front of others. Which… yea, it’s our ZZS.

WKX:

体贴周到 Thoughtful and attentive

执着敏感 Stubborn and sensitive. He keeps following and testing ZZS.

很会察言观色 Observant. WKX can easily pick up ZZS’s change in emotions

有谋略 We can tell WKX is plotting something

反差明显 crosses between his 2 identities in front of difference audience. We can tell there’s a lot of complexity in him that will likely be explored in later episodes.

Change in WKX/ZZS’s relationship:

They started off testing and guarding against each other in ep1-2 but in ep3-4 they went through various sudden events which prompted the change in their relationship. ZZS is actually the one initiating this change. ZZS has visibly let his guard down against WKX, whether it be from his own judgement of WKX’s character or from going through those event together. And ZZS being less guarded around WKX gives WKX the space to push forward in the relationship.

I noticed in ep1-2 that both times ZZS killed someone, he used his sword to block the blood from splattering onto himself. And in ep3-4, WKX also displayed this similar detail when he looked at the blood on his hands in disgust after killing the Beggar Sect and immediately washed it off.

I feel that the character set up of ZZS / WKX are being linked by some subtle similarities. What’s interesting is that they are supposed to be characters that are used to killing people but on such detail (getting blood on themselves) which they should be used to, they display a non-acceptance of their actions. In modern terms it’s 自我认同障碍 (not sure what is the scientific expression, it means they have trouble reconciling with their self identity). The characters will need to have with more conversations with themselves and with each other.

General:

The pacing is faster and many different sects have shown up. Shen Shen is one of the more interesting characters I’ve seen. His martial art skills should be pretty good, but he is more simple minded and rash in actions. And for Zhao Jing which appeared at the end of ep4, he looks to be rather thoughtful. I’m not sure how he will develop in the later episodes but I can feel that he will be a crucial character.

Word of Honor – still on the mountain!

25 Apr

Word of Honor is such an interesting case where the drama continues to live on even after it finishes airing. Besides the main leads Gong Jun and Zhang Zhehan going on various variety shows / interviews (which typically is done before and during the drama to promote it?? But then I guess the media outlets are cashing in late after WoH blew up), there’s the endless behind-the-scenes / cut version of certain scenes being released steadily by Youku. I have to give it to their marketing team. Especially on releasing the cut version of some scenes by packaging it as a behind-the-scenes thing I presume it doesn’t have to go through censorship but fans like me can still incorporate those scenes into our version of WoH living in our head, and it wouldn’t affect the officially release version of the drama which continues to appeal to a wider audience by keeping some things less visually explicit between WKX / ZZH (although … the whole drama is really them saying I love you without uttering those exact words).

Then there’s GJ and ZZH being super cute in their real life interaction. ❤ The closest I ever came to shipping 2 celebrities in real life was the Adam couple (Jo Kown / Ga-in) in We Got Married years ago but obviously that went no where hahaah, so I’m very clear minded when it comes to shipping real people, or really when it comes to fangirling any celebrities in general. We see what they show us, and we see what we want to see. So I have fun with the memes and go heart eyes when they interact with / mention each other but well, eventually they will move on to other projects and on-screen partners. I will just appreciate and applaud them from afar for their great partnership in and out of the drama.

Keeping some links here of analysis posts and fanvids that I like. Unfortunately they are all in Chinese 😦

Updated on 22 May 2021

Articles

山河令,一个写给成年人的爱情童话 (Word of Honor, a love fairytale for adults)

婚姻咨询师:周子舒的知己只有张哲瀚?阿絮无人疼被辜负?深度分析两性视角差异,带你与酒桌解密和知己线和解,愿我们都成为更好的自己 (From a marriage counselor: only ZZH knows ZZS? No one cares about Ah Xu being let down?)

婚姻咨询师带你吃刀嗑糖:为什么韩英的结局已经注定?从创伤的角度,聊一聊双向救赎 (From marriage counselor: Why is Han Ying’s destined for his ending? Discussing two way redemption from the angle of trauma)

Reaction / Commentary videos

五彩哥哥 :看哥哥们真情实感的追剧!Partially English subbed reaction of 5 Straight Guys

高冷人设不崩 : 听直男高输出吐槽,各种脑洞大开,不亦乐乎!不喜勿看。

桑桑和阿一 : 桑桑老师逻辑帝!!

橘子是沃特: 剧评和人物志大推

山河令加长 | 全剧70组闭环台词,这是圆规成精吧!! : 每看必哭,真的佩服编剧把他们的感情圆得那么完美。

Fan MVs

鬼开心 vs 人开心

A super cute and accurate lyrics for WKX and ZZS set to the same adorable tune!

老温眼里全员都是狐狸精

I watch this when I need a laugh haha… it’s amazing how fans can fit the mouth shape of the actors in various scene to look like they are actually singing this song about WKX complaining about ZZS flirting with all these vixens surrounding him XD

山河令 《山 神 降 临》

There’s been many many great fan MVs made for WoH but of those I’ve seen so far, this is my favourite. I’ve not heard of this song prior to this fan MV but the lyrics are so beautiful and fitting for WenZhou.

我在红尘等你 人间等你 守繁华之外

揽尽星辰入怀 千川归来 化一片沧海

我在九幽等你 极乐等你 望彼岸花开

长对三生浮白 不畏不改 渡过去将来

— — —

A tip for non-Chinese speakers watching clips on the Chinese platform Bilibili, click on this tiny blue button at the bottom of the video to grey it out to turn off the on-screen comments.

Word of Honor – Light Chaser

4 Apr

Ahhh… still not out of the WoH pit! How can I be when Youku is still stringing us along with the behind-the-scenes clips filled with thought, laughter, sugar and subtle knives? I’m also slowly re-watching WoH together with this reaction series with 5 (occasionally 4) guys and they have some super funny comments.

Beauty Ghost giving her work report to WKX

In Ep11 where Ah Xu’s internal injuries act up and WKX hastily moves over to transfer some energy to him.

Guy in white: Can’t WKX just play the flute?

Guy in green: Playing the flute is like wifi, it’s wireless. This is plugging in the internet cable, the transfer is faster!

Guy in white agreeing: Efficiency is more important in such critical time

They are up to ep12 and I can’t imagine their reaction when all the big knives start coming out in later episodes. Unfortunately it’s all in Chinese… but if you do understand Chinese definitely do check them out!

Re-watching this again reminded me of how I was lured into the world of WoH by our crazy beauty WKX and his shameless flirting, but I ended up a sobbing mess by the end at how Ah Xu and Lao Wen save each other. To be very honest, my heart leans towards WKX. His earlier brazen antics are just his shield against the world and as he slowly falls for Ah Xu, you can see him getting softer and smaller around Ah Xu. IMO the turning point was in ep12 when WKX realizes that Ah Xu believes he is / can be a good person. WKX had no qualms about burning with the world to get vengeance for his parents because what does it matter even if he dies? What value is there living as this half person half ghost? It is exactly because WKX had a heart, he had a family, he had love that he despises the person that he had become even more. But here someone is telling him, no, there is a path back, there is good in you.

I see the good in you.

I see you.

That’s why WKX keeps struggling with hiding his identity because while ZZS keeps reassuring WKX through words and actions, there’s always a part of WKX that believes he is not worthy of someone like ZZS. The greater his desire for light, the greater his fear of rejection.

I’ve seen some viewers go as far as to say that in the last episode WKX was disrespecting ZZS by intending to sacrifice his life for ZZS, because ZZS would hate for someone else to give up their life for this, and ZZS wanted to live free instead of being trapped in the cold mountain. Now, regardless of what you think of the plot’s progression that led to this point in the story, there is just no other way that WKX would’ve chosen. WKX literally cannot live without Ah Xu and in his mind obviously he must give Ah Xu a chance at life. Ah Xu has Cheng Ling, has Qi Ye, has Da Wu, has a host of Four Season Manor disciples waiting for him. Someone will take care of Ah Xu, someone will make Ah Xu smile again. But WKX without his Ah Xu is nothing.

So really, I cannot blame WKX for not fully comprehending how much he means to ZZS because he hasn’t been loved and treasured since his parents died. While he received some human touch from Gu Xiang and maybe even Luo Yi in his formative years, how can he not be emotionally stunted from growing up in the Ghost Valley?

I’ve always thought of the song Light Chaser 追光者 (lyrics translation) when seeing WKX look at Ah Xu, and indeed someone has made a fan MV!

你看我多么渺小一个我

因为你有梦可做

也许你不会为我停留

那就让我站在你的背后

Word of Honor – to have your heart as mine

27 Mar

My thoughts and feelings have been all over the place since I finished Word of Honor so don’t mind me just throwing out anything that comes to mind in this space. Head over to Lovefia’s post for a more coherent review of the drama!

What a ride is has been with WoH, from the initial crazy fangirling at Wen Ke Xing’s shameless flirting, to slowly getting drawn into the game of cat and mouse between the jianghu players plotting against each other, and of course journeying with Lao Wen and Ah Xu as they found light and redemption from their past in each other. Maybe the bar had been set so low for drama watching that I would have been perfectly happy with being entertained by beautiful people flirting and falling in love for 36 episodes, plot or no plot. I mean, I fast-forwarded half of Under the Power 锦衣之下 and the main couple did put a smile on my face whenever they appeared and I had no complaints about that. But but but. WoH came out of nowhere to prove that good storytelling can happen, that characters can be alive! It’s made even all the more precious knowing the restrictions the production faced from their scheduling being thrown off by Covid, lack of budget, to censorship constrains given its BL origins.

It wasn’t a perfect drama and valid criticisms were made for some later episodes but for me, the world and character/relationship build up to that point have been sufficient for me to understand WKX/ZZS to fill in the blanks where the drama isn’t explicit in showing and… I’d say that’s job well done enough. I saw a number of viewers being angry and disappointed by ep31-36, and that’s fine. Drama watching is a subjective affair after all, coloured by the viewer’s experiences and expectations so I can only say I’m personally happy with WoH in its entirety, and grateful that this production with a heart wasn’t axed by the censorship board midway!

There’s 2 parts to the ep31-36 discussion. One, the way the story was presented on screen, and second, the actual plot points/development. Great care had been taken to slowly develop WKX/ZZS’s relationship up to ep30 and the plot just reached a new tension height with ZZS taken by Prince Jin, so naturally audiences were holding their breath to see how Lao Wen would lose his mind to save his Ah Xu. And… it was kinda anti climatic? I don’t have a problem with the scene in itself, I was of course swooning at WKX literally flying in with all his Demon Valley Master glory and snark to chase Duan Peng Ju away and bowing in front of Ah Xu without hesitation as his shidi. But the lack of follow up to that build up really threw me off and 31-32 was just jammed full of plot movement while not giving enough visual cues to link the various scenes together. I appreciate that WoH is a drama that leans towards showing instead of telling (we need more of that in dramaland!), but 31-32 was a lot of half showing and not telling which made me constantly go huh?? When did that happen? We will never know what went on behind the scenes that resulted in the jarring ep31-32, I can only guess that the production had to force 40+ episodes worth of content into 36 due to resource limitations and they had to fastforward the plot themselves!

Moving on to the second point, a good number of viewers are unhappy about WKX keeping ZZS in the dark about his fake!death plan which led to ZZS suicidally forcing out his nails, and by extension feeling that ZZS got the short end of the stick in this relationship given the subsequent developments. Would it have been healthy communication 101 for WKX to discuss his plans with ZZS? Sure, but our boy WKX is not known as Psycho Wen without reason and as much as ZZS has guided him on the path back to the human world, he has behind him years worth of emotional baggage and trauma. It’s partially the fault of the editing / visual presentation of plot mentioned above that makes it unclear on first viewing how much time passed between WKX/ZZS parting and WKX ‘coming back from the dead’, but going by WKX’s original plan, it should be a 1-2 day project and ZZS should still be recuperating in peace when WKX returns in his ‘human form’. It wouldn’t be out of character to me for WKX to want to do this by himself and wrap the result in a bow to present to ZZS. I can almost imagine WKX standing there proud as a peacock going ‘Look Ma Ah Xu! I did this all by myself!’ It has always been his dream to stand in front of his Ah Xu as a ‘clean’ person. As much as ZZS repeatedly showed and told him that he is loved completely and unreservedly as he is, it is WKX himself that is rejecting his own past, and therefore fears that ZZS would reject him the same way like what he tells ZZS in that (SO PERFECT) hugging scene in ep34.

And as with life, things often don’t go the way you plan even with the best of intentions and WKX returns victorious to his Ah Xu who is now going to die in days instead. 不合时宜 – untimely, it’s how WKX described his life. Always so near yet so far, and it has once again taken an untimely turn through this time it’s ZZS bearing the brunt of it. Yet, they still found something precious in return. The encounter with Ye Baiye has shown WKX that ZZS is 120% on his side but I don’t think he truly comprehended the lengths that ZZS would go to for him until he saw ZZS jumping off the cliff after him with no hesitation. And for ZZS, he sampled the immeasurable grief and rage that burned within WKX from the death of his parents. Yes, untimely indeed, but even through that their understanding of each other was deepened.

It’s hard not to feel for ZZS post ep33 knowing that he made such a big sacrifice over a lie, but even as ZZS griefs silently over the lost dreams and possibilities, he is truly happy for WKX. ZZS regrets how things turned out but I don’t think he regrets doing what he did. It is what it is. ZZS accepted it, and so do I.

As for some viewers being upset over WKX apparently not doing enough for ZZS, I can only say that love is not a neat 50/50 split in giving and receiving the exact same things. ZZS is WKX’s light, and I’d like to think that WKX is ZZS’s warmth. ZZS left Tian Chuang as a man disillusioned with the world, a lone wanderer in this vast jianghu counting down his days on earth. But then WKX happened and ZZS found a person to drink with, a person that calls him Ah Xu Ah Xu Ah Xu incessantly, a person that makes him feel that living can be such a good thing.

After finding out about ZZS’s nail situation, WKX accepts ZZS’s attitude about not wanting to be treated at the cost of losing his skills but he constantly keeps this at the back of his mind and asks about treating Ah Xu whenever there appears to be a chance. Later when they returned to the Four Seasons Manor, WKX literally cooked and cleaned for Ah Xu! XD Oh yes, when they fell off the bridge at Long Yuan Ge it was also implied that WKX used his body to break the fall for his Ah Xu. These are all kept in ZZS’s heart, hence he can say confidently to WKX, I don’t know when you are coming, how you are coming, but I know you will come. I don’t believe ZZS ever felt he was loved less by WKX, in fact I think ZZS felt equal parts joy in loving WKX and being loved in return.

And therein lies the beauty of WoH for me.

相见恨晚幸未晚 幸得君心似我心

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Word of Honor musings

4 Mar

Ah, Word of Honor 山河令 . It’s been a while since a drama got me fangirling this hard, enough to get me writing again! If you aren’t watching it yet, head over to AvenueX’s video to get a summary of what the fuss is all about.

Leading man Wen Ke Xing had me hooked from the first moment he appeared, with his charming smile and shameless flirting with our other leading man Zhou Zi Xu. While he has me all heart eyes over the 10 episodes I have watched so far, the appeal of WoH for me is more than that. It’s been a long time since I had a good ol’ wuxia drama that is not yet another remake of Louis Cha’s novel. 仙侠 xian xia (genre featuring magic / deities / demons etc) has been pretty popular in the last few years, why so hard to give me more wuxia?? Ancient Detective 侠探简不知 was a pretty decent effort considering their budget constraints, though it was held back somewhat by lead couple’s acting and their relationship got a bit meh towards the end after a strong start. And my Listening Snow Tower 听雪楼 … sigh. I really enjoyed the novel collection (I even loved the novel sequel which book fans seem to hate on lol) but in the drama adaptation, the scriptwriter changed the female lead set up so much she was practically a different person and I couldn’t bear to watch the drama. Anyway, point is WoH is giving me a new jianghu to indulge in as we uncover WKX’s plan but by bit.

In terms of the characters, if the online comments are to go by everyone is losing their minds fangirling over WKX and his Ah Xu, and who could blame them? Haa, but I also love WKX’s relationship with Gu Xiang. We haven’t gotten the back story to their history in the ghost valley, but while WKX controls the rest of the ‘ghosts’ by fear, he clearly has a close and trusting relationship with Gu Xiang. If they hadn’t cross paths with ZZX, it would have been them against the world in the execution of WKX’s revenge plan and I’m glad at least WKX had the faithful Ah Xiang by his side all those years before.

While they are technically master and servant, he indulges her whims and gets big brother protective when he sees her with another guy haha.

Do you think I’m crazy? Aren’t you scared I’ll go crazy one day and kill you?

I’ll follow you even if you’re crazy. And if you kill me, I’ll follow you as a ghost!

They have probably walked a long and difficult path together to get where they are today, and Ah Xiang has embraced her master for all of his beautiful façade and hidden demons.

But for all that Ah Xiang is to WKX, she is not his equal. For that, we have ZZX.

Looking forward to see their relationship develop as more secrets come to light and for these two lost souls to find their redemption together.

Watch Word of Honor here with Eng Subs! It pains me a little to spell ‘honor’ the American way but most people are spelling it that way so … XD