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Sunday, September 24, 2006 - 6:52 PM
Overview : Secret Battle of the Majesty


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English Title: Secret Battle of the Majesty
Chinese Title: Kwan Lam Tin Ha
Vietnamese Title: Cuu Vuong Doat Ngoi
No. Episodes: 40
Year Released: '94
Cast:
Kwong Wa
Lawrence Yan
Kwok Fung
Kent Tong
Poon Chi Man
Erica Choi
Annie Man

Verdict
If you love series based on quarrels and fights among the palace, Secret Battle of the Majesty is the one to watch. It might not have the best choreography or the most glam costumes or breath taking sceneries but it is a really appealing, addictive and an emotional series. Secret Battle of the Majesty is a classic.


Characters
Kwok Fung as Prince No.2
Prince No.2 is the most loved son of Hong Hei simply because he is the only child from Hong Hei's beloved concubine. Prince No.2 was made the successor who would rule the kingdom once the emperor dies. He is made the successor neither because he is noble or intelligent but because the emperor simply loves this son for no good reason at all. He slept with one of his father's concubines, murders, attempted to kill his father etc. Even with all that, his father still loves him very much and would always forgive him regardless of how outrageous he is. What is Prince No. 4 to do with him in the way? He has to rid him because the emperor simply would not give anyone a chance with this arrogant prick in the way. He had a lady seduce Prince No.2 who later poisons him to insanity. With him out of the way, there are now more opportunities for other candidates to be elected as crown prince.

Kwong Wa as Prince No.4
Prince No.4 is unflavored from his father. His father felt that he had been too ruthless from executing some generals in the past and becomes totally biased against him ever since. During a hunting trip, his fellow brother No. 2 drugs him and thus, causes him to rape a peasant woman who later becomes his most beloved concubine. His father goes berserk and locks him up for years under Prince No.2's control where he endured hardships. During the course of those years he met Nin Kang Yew who is ordered from Prince No.2 to guard him. They become friends and vows to achieve greatness. Prince No.4 is released after Prince No.2’s failed attempt to kill the emperor. It appears that Miu Yan, who was the lady that Prince No.4 raped, gave birth to a baby boy. Prince No.4 wants to bring the baby into the palace but his father absolutely refuses. His father tells him, “It’s either the baby stays and you leave.” And so, Prince No.4 leaves. He was told that his grandpa is actually still alive and he is currently resting at a monastery. He embarks on a trip to search for his grandpa where he hoped that his grandpa will give him approval to come back to the palace. Before he leaves, he uses all the money he had to buy Nin Kang Yew a placement in the army. He earns Nin Kang Yew’s dead loyalty after that. On his journey to the monastery, he befriends a very intelligent man named Tai Fu who plays a huge role in his success later on in the series. His grandpa believes that Prince No.4 is made to be emperor so before he died; he wrote a letter to the emperor telling him that Prince No.4 must be made emperor. On his trip back to the palace, his brothers tried to assassinate him but were unsuccessful. Hong Hei did not promote Prince No.4 the successor but instead he promoted him a duke even when he had his grandpa’s will. Prince No.4 becomes bitter and vows to get the throne by all means. And I mean he would do anything to achieve his sole purpose.

I would not say he is evil after he becomes a little more ruthless. Circumstances and situations force him to become unrelenting to achieve the throne. He had to do what he had to do. His brothers, his lover, the monks all went against.

So what were the reasons why they went against him as emperor?

1. He killed his blood father to achieve his ultimate purpose which is to become emperor.
Prince No. 4 is the best candidate from the brothers who has the potential and qualities to rule the whole nation. His other brothers are too stupid, too arrogant or downright too soft. Only someone who is shrewd and cunning can cut it as emperor and Prince No. 4 definitely has the intelligence. His father is too biased against him. It does not matter how hard Prince No.4 worked, his father will never give him the chance. Prince No.4 had no choice but to kill his father off. I am not saying this act is the right or moral thing to do; in fact, I think it is an unfilial act. I do understand why had to kill him.

2. He killed his own brothers.
Prince No.4 did not kill any of his brothers to acheive the throne. He killed his brothers after he gets the throne. Why? Because they tried to overthrow him. They rebelled against him repetitively. He gave them all a second chance and he gave them the opportunity to assist him in ruling the country. But nope, they wanted to be emperor and therefore created multiple plans to overthrow him. But of course, Prince No.4 is too intelligent to fall into their trap holes. The winner becomes emperor while the losers becomes the beggar. All his brothers were against him and pledges to avenge for their father. When really most of them were not against Prince No.4 because he killed their father but it was because they simply wanted to be emperor. What was Prince No.4 to do when all his brothers are trying to kill him? Shall he stand there and do nothing and let them kill him first? How many times have they attempted to kill him? Not once, but twice or even more than twice. First time they betray, Prince No.4 forgives. Second time they betray, Prince No.4 kills. Prince No.4 had to kill his brothers under those circumstances to protect him and the nation.

3. He forced his mother to her dead bed.
Prince No.4 did not tell his mother that "If you kill yourself then I'll ….." His mother committed suicide herself without the influence of anyone. I think it is ridiculous that his brothers dumped the responsibility of her death onto him.

It is funny that the brothers say Prince No.4 should not be emperor because he killed his own father and flesh blood brothers. When indeed they also attempted to kill Prince No.4 too who is still their brother after all. They are hypocrites. They say that Prince No.4 “killed” his brothers is an immoral and inhuman act and therefore they shall kill Prince No.4 to avenge for the so called victims. And yet they try to kill him who is their brother regardless. I do not see how it makes their actions more justified than what Prince No.4 had done. They can not understand that while Prince No.4 did crawl over dead bodies to achieve the throne, he is a good emperor after all! The citizens loved him. As Prince No.4 said to Prince No.14, “I killed my father; I killed my brothers to achieve the throne. Who in this country have never heard about this? However they are not cursing at me for my coldness but they are in fact cursing at you for rebelling.” The citizens loved him as the emperor and did not like the idea of his brothers trying to overthrow him. Like I said, Prince No.4 does bad things but he is a good emperor and that is all that should matter.

The Turning Points of Prince No.4
There are two turning points actually. The transition of his character was developed very smoothly.

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1. When he comes back to the palace with his grandpa's will which states that the emperor must promote Prince No.4 the successor. His biased father feels that Prince No.4 is incapable of ruling the nation, thus promotes him as a duke instead. He burns the will in front of Prince No.4. Prince No.4 is full of angst (wonderfully portrayed by Kwong Wa). Prince No.4 learned from this experience that no matter how hard he worked, his father would never change his view against him.

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2. Prince No.2 gets locked up after he failed to assassinate the emperor. But because Hong Hei loves this son so dearly, he releases him. Prince No.2 goes back into power and is named the successor. He did not change one twit during the years he was locked up. He is still the arrogant prince. He forced Prince No.4 into drinking his urine. Prince No.4 was very angry that his father can promote someone like Prince No.2 as his successor. He did however endure that one minute of humiliation and moved on to do bigger and better things.

Lawrence Yan as Prince No.14
Prince No.14 is another son who Hong Hei loved too. He had no intention whatsoever to be emperor. He may be nice and noble but he can never rule the country simply because he is too nice. He would most likely lose out to those who are more ruthless and cunning than he is. At first, he didn’t believe it when people kept telling him that Prince No.4 killed his father to become emperor. He did however go in doubt after he discovered that his father made him his successor but somehow in his father’s will he was not made emperor but Prince No.4 was. He later attempted to overthrow Prince No.4 three times. He failed and he was executed from Prince No.4 with poison wine.


Most Pitiful Characters

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First one the pops to mind is Nin Kang Yew. He is the most loyal assistant you can ever ask for. For Prince No.2, he was willing to kill his own sister, give up his lover and die for him. He was so loyal to Prince No. 4 because Prince No.4 used all his fortune to buy him a position in the army. He then owned himself to Prince No.4. He treated Prince No.4 as his friend, his equal. When Prince No.4 fell out with Miu Yan, Prince No.4 became so affected that he couldn’t govern. Nin Kang Yew went to beat up Miu Yan because he felt that she was the cause of all this. Miu Yan fell into a coma after Nin Kang Yew beat her up. Prince No.4 went angry and demoted him as a normal soldier. His loyal soldiers were angry for Nin Kang Yew and felt displeased with the emperor’s decisions because Nin Kan Yew fought so hard for the kingdom and the emperor. They told him to rebel against the emperor and that he has their full support. Nin Kan Yew did not rebel. He remained loyal to the emperor even when the emperor presented him with poison wine, he was still loyal. He died loyal. Prince No.4 did not regret any of his actions even when he died. If Prince No.4 had the chance to go back in time, would he still have done what he did? Would he still have chosen to kill his father? Yes he still would have done the same thing. He did however regret one thing. This was executing Nin Kang Yew who was his only companion and friend. That was his deepest regret.


Most Hateful Characters
I do not hate Prince No.4. I indeed pitied him because nobody understood why he did what he did besides his loyal servants. Nobody was there to share his happiness and triumphs. There is no such thing as justice in the palace. Only the shrewd and cunning ones survive. Prince No.4 was a lonely man. I pitied him.

In fact I dislike Miu Yan, the monks, the brothers (except prince no.14). In other words, I disliked everyone who went in Prince No.4’s way.


Theme Videos

Part I



Part II



- Specials -

These are some clips I managed to extract. I had trouble ripping them. I wanted to upload more prominent scenes but I just couldn't. I guess these will do.













Performance Evaluation
Kwong Wa was the shining star! His eyes speak so much volume. So much hatred, so much angst when he faced his enemies. And yet to Miu Yan, his eyes turn soft and his smiles so sincere. You would not hate Prince No.4 at all because Kwong Wa made him so endearing and so easy to love. And he looks absolutely ravishing in emperor attire. His physique and looks just suits perfectly. There is nobody, and I mean nobody who has his look to carry out emperor roles at all.

The actor that played Nin Kang Yew was also very good. His body frame is suitable as the captain of the army. He is so big (not fat) that it looked like he can squash anyone with his thumb. He was very dominant and gave a feeling of authority and righteous. A very good performance.

Lawrence Yan who played Prince No.14 was really good too. He played the wussy-ness and indecisive part of his character very well.

Aside from Erica Choi who gave a decent performance, all the other actresses were no different than a log of wood.

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