Drama

Listening Snow Tower: Fuyao 2.0, But Not Quite. Check It Out!




“It’s a tower of joy and sorrow,

Gatherings & farewells.

As the rose and the shadow scatter,

Loneliness resurfaces.

Flowers bloom on the other side

While they wilt where we stand.”

  Unknown



A compelling visual narrative with a plethora of well-performed synergistic martial arts moves…


…. giving vibes of Legend of Fuyao. Somehow it seems virtually impossible to go through the drama without mentally imprinting Wuji on Yi Qing, and Fuyao on Jing Rong and this is where memory lane serves incredibly well to some viewers, or incredibly wrong to others, puffed out from the strenuous psychological exercise of going backwards and forwards between the dramas.



The throwback of the mind…


… to Fuyao.

For those who have watched and enjoyed Fuyao, Listening Snow Tower is a good drama to pick up to maintain momentum as it can postpone the drama’s sad grieving symptoms, despite the fact that Fuyao aired in the summer of 2018. ‘Why did the drama end??? It can’t end! This isn’t happening!!! The drama hasn’t ended at all! It’s just a tormented nightmarish ordeal that is not real!!! Not real!!!’ Denial isn’t good, but both dramas actually are so addicting you can’t believe they come to an end! It’s well documented that psychosomatic illnesses can create physical symptoms which need to be properly addressed. Some can heal quickly, some can take a while to heal, some can even become rather chronic, but there is hope after the end of the drama… with the beginning of another one with a similar premise. This is a great way to skip the remaining four stages of grief altogether.

For those who have watched Fuyao but either dropped it or became immensely averse to it, then stay away. Migrate to other shores, other stories but stay away! There’s no point in getting close to a mental anaphylactic shock for any drama! Really, stay away!

For those who have absolutely no idea what Fuyao is, Listening Snow Tower is a great drama to watch, and then once finished, a binge on Fuyao might be an idea worth entertaining. Keep in mind though that Listening Snow Tower has a faster pace, not really suitable for those that enjoy slow-paced dramas with draggy unnecessary scenes.


Re-trained to focus on the present…



The drama, as the title, so aptly illustrates in three short words is about the Listening Snow Tower, and one should well listen!



… to live in peace!

The pugilistic world is a mess, with the out-of-favour and out-of-power Snow Tower, immersed in a rift of internal power struggles. Betrayal is never done by an enemy and the cliché is proven right once again through an Edward-esque battle against the Volturi in their lair as if it actually mattered to the Listening Snow Tower‘s story development. But hey, a drama without cliches is like a hospital without patients. Both would cease to exist without the purpose of their livelihood. Very poetic, certainly highly predictable like the battles for power, yet the simultaneous fights and skirmishes towards the same goal across different settings make it fundamental to their understanding.



Yi Qing (Qin Jun Jie) is the heir of Snow Tower who takes over from his deceased father. His first task: smoke out the traitors and eliminate them. His second task: rebuild and restore Snow Tower’s reputation to its former glory. His third and last task: start recruiting talent to his army ranks and show the pugilistic world they mean business, and won’t stand up for outright confrontations without retaliation.

That whole eye for an eye, tit for tat is pretty over recycled. The new demiurgic element being Yi Qing’s long-lasting chronic illness which has been nearly constantly on relapse mode, an incurable disease from childhood. A sick man, a very ill person, with state-of-the-art martial arts skills, and a tenacious strategist embodying an array of skills as described in The Art of War.

Illness is often associated with fragility and weakness, with a viral or bacterial infection which causes the body to fight it. Sometimes antibiotics are needed, sometimes not, but the immune system is compromised one way or another, and one needs time to heal. A disease, however, does not mean one is frail or weak unless the person is really young or very old, and therefore much more prone to develop a secondary condition as a result of the main one. Yi Qing’s body might be frail, but when needed, he is able to summon a ginormous inner strength that enables him to be a force to be reckoned with. Then he crashes and gets back up again, and crashes and gets back up again.


Yi Qing loves Jing Rong, the orphan daughter of the Blood Demon. A love that is knitted into his mind, body, and soul.



Unbeknownst to Jing Rong, (Crystal Yuan), Yi Qing took the lovers’ potion, not by choice, but rather through his own choosing amongst a set of three cups including one with wine and the other one with deadly poison. That meant that all the love he felt for her inside, became outwardly clear as water, and all the pain he felt inside when she was not near him emerged, both in a ferocious display of emotional agony. To see her in pain was a slow merciless death to him.

To Jing Rong, Yi Qing was her life! All she cared about was his well-being, apart from her revenge. She loved him as much as he loved her, to the point of stabbing him in the heart to help cure him, and holding him to her in a pool of freezing cold icy Arctic water to regenerate. The yin to his yang, the heat to his cold, the energetic versus the calculated, balanced with innumerable moments of teen angst that are so exasperatingly unbearable in adults.

Yi Qing forcing Jing to bend to him due to his fear of losing her when she climbed a mountain to get a flower which when made into a tea could cure his lover’s potion. Jing getting upset with Yi Qing and throwing a tantrum. Yi Qing paying her back in the same coin. Jing refusing to speak to him, him apologizing and telling her he wouldn’t lie or hide anything from her again while bluntly lying to her face. Jing refusing Yi Qing’s help, him refusing hers. Both characters are in their twenties yet are really childish, and let’s face it, their love experience is next to none, except that of familial/platonic love, therefore both are considered identically naive.

This foreplay between Yi Qing and Jing continues throughout the drama, and they are often at odds with one another due to the love they feel for each other, and the fear of losing one another. They love each other so completely, so profoundly, that existing alone in the world without the one they love is unthinkable.


Symphonious Equilibrium.



Yi Qing protects Jing Rong, helping her become stronger so that she can fight the Moon Sect bent on destroying Snow Tower alongside him and she protects him when he’s hurt and needs to heal, taking over Snow Tower’s affairs on his behalf as the lady of the house. When she discovers that her life is fated to bring others misfortune, she’s filled with guilt and of course she wants to leave and go away, but Yi Qing doesn’t let her bury her head in the sand, showing her that they are a team, they live together, they stay together and they don’t part, won’t part from one another ever.

At least Jing Rong is neither naive nor silly, which is enough to drive someone over to a psychiatrist’s appointment. She’s a young woman who evolves into a strong-willed, fierce warrior, quick-witted and smart, but oh so emotionally dependent on Yi Qing, a dependence that is mutual but that’s how couples are, they depend on one another.


Jing Rong matches Yi Qing in strength and competence, yet she always defers to him in respect, admiration, and love.



Yet, when she leads, she’s as strategic as Yi Qing’s in her game-plan approach. A power couple…


Then there are the battles for power amidst the sects, involving poisonous arrows, flowers, drinks, nothing out of the ordinary, or even remotely original, but well accomplished.

Ahhh, and there’s also… amnesia and a rebellion! A drama without a character having amnesia, how is it possible right? Fortunately, that infelicitous character is not one of the leads! The writer must have thought that if either Yi Qing or Jing Rong had been blessed with the physical condition there might be a mutiny, and hence decided to inflict another character with it in favour of story development and it actually works. Here, amnesia makes sense! Go figure, but it does. 

In regards to the rebellion, well, only an idiotic fool would not see that coming. Gao Meng Fei (Zhao Dong Ze) aka Qing Yu, one of the two boys Jing has grown up with, has fallen head over heels for Xiao Tai, who has always been in love with Yi Qing, who liked her as a younger sister only. Gao Meng Fei builds up his reputation as a strong fighter within Snow Tower and obtains a tremendous amount of power given by Yi Qing which builds up parallel to his jealously of Snow Tower’s master. One day Gao Meng Fei decides to go head to head with Yi Qing to overthrow him so that he could become the leader, and have Xiao Tai by his side as his lady. For brief moments, his uprising appears to have the upper hand when he injures Yi Qing, but then Jing comes to the rescue to save, mediate and eventually protect Yi Qing, and Snow Tower. Nothing new. All extremely easy to foretell but interesting to watch.

The performances do not have the star power of Fuyao, however, the leads and remaining characters are well-matched, and performed by the actors. Nothing exceptional, but nothing to be critical about either. 

Qin Jun Jie as Xiao Yi Qing and Crystal Yuan as Jing Rong are convincing in their roles, and they do a pretty good job as Ha Cheng Yu, Li Ruo Jia, and Bai Shu. Angela Yuen’s Ming He is despicable, and Li Yuan’s Xiao Tai is so utterly annoying one should shake common sense and wit into her, but she might not receive any, a great misfortune. None of the cast is brilliant or has over-impressed, which might incur the perception that the drama is too predictable, which it is, and a bit bland, but bland is healthy.



Appealing to the notions of a happy ending…


Visually, Listening Snow Tower is eye-catching and pleasing, not going over the top with a weird-looking bright palette, coloured costumes, which have dragged many good dramas down with their fruit salad frock look. There’s contrast: white, red, and black imperiously rule while pastel colours adorn the screen, and it works wonderfully for those who like a more manga/comic book look, in a drama with a small number of colour variations.

Overall, Listening Snow Tower is a predictably enjoyable, fast-paced drama with Snow Tower at the centre of the arcs that sequentially begin, and terminate one after the other, until the plot reaches completion. It’s a bit hard to stop watching, a bit hard not to binge on it once one gets into the story, demonstrating how engaging it is.  



Check it out!

You won’t be disappointed, nor will you have to see your doctor to heal your tears, as the drama deviated from the novel a lot, a great blessing!

romance
historical
adventure
wuxia
listening snow tower
qin jun jie
crystal yuan

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