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First Episode 26: 雍正王朝


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A part of the Grand First Episode Project -- See this thread for more info.

emule - youku w/subtitles

Upon a recommendation from Skylee and scheduled for July 26/27 but lo I am starting earlier since I opened it in my browser as well as that Skylee was kind enough to post some words that will be helpful in the first episode.

I've jotted (see below) some of the more difficult terms of the 1st act of the 1st episode and I think it would be better if you could watch it with subtitles.

太子 四阿哥 胤礽 (name) 救災 修河堤 皇阿瑪 英明睿斷 朕 兒臣 泛濫 殫精竭慮 傾力 治河 督撫 奏折 當務之急 降旨 戶部 國庫 胤禛 (name) 奉旨 越俎代庖 九阿哥 胤祀 (name) 無糧可調,無款可撥 杯水車薪 御覽 玄燁 (name) 虧空 庫銀 直隸 燃眉之急 欽差 籌款 賑濟 宗室 六百里加急 啟奏

More description and synopsis to come....


Edited by renzhe
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Oh go on, I'll join you - not doing anything else useful at the moment. Letting Youku preload at the moment . . .

edit: scratch that, taking far too long to load.

Edited by roddy
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Wow...this is taking a LOT longer than I thought (the language is a bit harder and I the names are a bit difficult....I wouldn't make it this time without the subtitles). I put this around high advanced. The language is easier when it is not in the formal setting with 皇阿玛 but is still pretty advanced. The names are very difficult as it changes depending on who is talking to or about that person, so it's hard to remember and keep straight (at least for me).


The scene starts out with what I presume is the 故宫 with 皇阿玛 walking back and forth and all his subordinates looking a bit scared and kneeling there. The scene cuts in and out from that and a guy and a girl doing the dirty (in a not so dirty way) and is 太子.

The next part of the scene is 皇阿玛 is trying to figure out what to do about the flooding of 黄河 and the one who gives the most acceptable answer is 八哥. Then in comes 儿臣 who is then asked why he is late and proceeds to explain how he has found that basically there is practically no money left in the treasury and which point 皇阿玛 is a bit pissed off and realizes that 太子 has been a bad manager.

From here it goes to begin to introduce the state of the country at that point (which is portrayed really well- ie really, really bad). A girl selling herself to get money to bury her mom, two beggars (one playing dead) so they can get some money for his "burial", many things burning, etc.

At this point we are also introduced to 十三爷 and 四哥 who go to 扬州 (kind of secretly- not dressed in the imperial clothing) for the purposes of gathering money for the relief effort. During one of these scenes we find out that the girls are being bought up for 任伯安 (by 车铭) who are both fully introduced in the next scene. Since they went secretly 八哥 is told that they never arrived and two try to convince him that they may be trying to just get the money for themselves.

During this next scene one of the major things being dealt with is corruption in the officials specifically with 任伯安 and 车铭. 十三爷 and 四哥 go and confront them about the girls being bought and what not.

Sorry, I'm half way through the first episode and this has been exhausting, I will do more when I can. I'm sure I'm missing a lot of the details of the dialogs but I'm also not recording everything. A lot of this is introducing the 背景 and setting the story so just trying to give a good overview.

--Summary Cont.--

The next begins to introduce a young girl named 秋月 who is taking care of an elderly gentleman who is called 邬先生 and was formerly the teacher of 四哥.

From here we see a bunch of the 任伯安 and 车铭's friends coming together and have all given a certain amount of money for th relief effort, but it is all to save face. Basically these guys are corrupt and are in league with 八哥 and his guys as they have been pilfering money, 粮食 and the such.

At which point 四哥 goes to find 田文镜 and promotes him (gives him 车铭‘s 官服) and instructs him to clean up the local government, distribute food and the such. And he does with a lot of ferverance and zealousness. There is an issue with some of 田文镜's advisers saying that so many of the people are from another province and therefore they shouldn't give them anything as once word gets out they would have the whole nation on their doorstep. 田文镜 isn't happy about this and comes up with a clever way of dealing with it. (You'll have to watch to know though, I'm not going to spoil it.)

Word of all he is doing reaches 四哥 and 十三爷 and they are quite pleased. Meanwhile in 北京 八哥 receives word of what is going on and proceeds to instruct 任伯安 to just wait it out. However the messenger is intercepted and 四哥/十三爷 realize that 八哥 and 九爷 having been receiving a lot of money from 任伯安 and 车铭 and that he is planning to try and trap them in their efforts (nothing to sinister- yet).

The final scene is 任伯安,车铭,and the other rich people of the city going to 四哥 at which point he invites them to eat with him. After they enter the courtyard the guards proceed to lock the doors and soldiers are posted around the edge of the courtyard as 四哥 then instructs them to sit down, and proceeds to thank them that they have finally given money for the relief effort but then gets upset (okay so it was a sarcastic tone to begin with) that it is not enough....

--End Summary--

Edited by muyongshi
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you might wish to note that -

皇阿瑪 = how the princes/princesses call their father (the emporer) in Qing Dynasty, and in this episode the emporer is Kangxi

兒臣 = how the princes call themselves when they talk to the emporer

阿哥 = princes in Qing Dynasty

四阿哥 = the 4th prince

四哥 / 八哥 = how the younger brothers call the 4th prince / 8th prince

十三爺 = how others call the 13th prince

and that picture is from another series 康熙秘史.

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and wow what is that picture?

According to google, a scene from this show. If I (google) is mistaken, we can change it to a correct one.

EDIT: Fixed

Edited by renzhe
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Fixed the picture....

I downloaded this twice, put it aside and deleted twice. Is it that good?

谈不上好不好看 :mrgreen:

The verdict is still out in my opinion, but so far it has my interest to say the least. And it is a bit of a challenge so that may keep me for a couple episodes. The historical setting and all the confusing names (thanks again for those explanations Skylee) are 勾引ing me.

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I've watched the first episode over the weekend and basically agree with everything that was said. Non-native speakers have no business even attempting this without subtitles, and it will be a challenge even with them for most people.

But the show itself looks interesting. Lots of scheming princes, lots of intrigue, messy political situation, nice historical setting...

Way beyond my level at the moment, though. Even with the subtitles and a hefty dictionary and skylee's explanations, this is hard work for me.

Edited by renzhe
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  • 8 months later...

Just watched the first episode of this on Youku - better than your average historical drama I thought, I quite enjoyed the back and forth politicking. If only they'd been walking briskly around the palace while talking it could have been Ancient China's West Wing.

Biggest issue is just keeping track of of who everyone is. If they'd all have badges with their number on it'd be a lot easier.

Has anyone watched a lot of this? Worth continuing with? I've got a bunch of first episodes, plus at least two unfinished series, to get through, so shouldn't really be committing to too much extra.

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  • 2 years later...
  • 6 months later...

I finished this series this morning. As Skylee promised, it was well worth the effort. Not only is all the intrigue and plotting fascinating, the Chinese language and culture are so intertwined that I think it is almost not possible to be a very advanced user of the language without getting on top of this history, at least in some ways, and what better way to do it than by watching a well made TV series. Based on my limited experience with CCTV historical series, I think they are great and deserve to get more love. My favourite character was 李卫, it was shame not to see more of him.

I've watched the first episode over the weekend and basically agree with everything that was said. Non-native speakers have no business even attempting this without subtitles, and it will be a challenge even with them for most people.

Although almost everything Renzhe says is correct, this is an exaggeration. Thanks again to Skylee for posting the first episode with subtitles, but it was difficult to find subtitled versions of the subsequent episodes, so I bit the bullet and watched the rest of them without subtitles and it was manageable. I'm pretty sure that my 听力 is significantly worse than Renzhe's and it is certainly nowhere near the level of a native speaker, but an upper intermediate learner should be able to compensate for this by:

- knowing the specific court language. There is really not that much of it. Historical dramas are aimed at a modern audience so the language used is maybe 80% modern Chinese with maybe 20% archaic language thrown in for atmosphere. Prior to this I had already watched 2.5 other court dramas with subtitles so I already knew what words like 奴才, 儿臣, 钦此, 进士 etc meant. I find this stuff interesting which makes it easier for me, but there is really not that much additional vocab to know before some really valuable stuff becomes accessible; and

- knowing the history in broad outline. It makes it easier to remember who the main characters are, and to anticipate what they are going to say and do. I was already interested in 雍正 because he is the emperor in the classic novel A Dream of Red Mansions. Actually, the TV series is apparently based on a book that was inspired by the author's love of A Dream of Red Mansions (and 曹雪芹 has a cameo!). Plus, I'd gotten one third of the way through 步步惊心, which is set in the same time period, before its sappiness started sapping my will to live.

Of course, there were still places where I did not follow 100% of what was going on. It was often the case that someone would say something which I would not understand until I heard the reply. For example, I remember one scene where a court official goes to see the Emperor to complain about the most powerful Chinese general, Nian Gengyao. The official goes down on his knees and launches into full blown rant mode. I can tell that he is going on about how terrible Nian Gengyao is, but it all sounds a bit wenyanwen and the details are lost on me. When he finally finishes, the emperor tells him that if he is such a loyal official, then he should go out into the heatwave and pray for rain. At this point, I remember hearing a few "dahan"s scattered throughout the rant and realise that this must have been 大旱 and the official was saying that Nian Gengyao's lack of righteousness was so offensive to heaven that it was responsible for the drought. Actually, I find that the need to problem solve to compensate for my language deficiencies as I watch makes things more interesting and enjoyable.

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