Available on: Viki, YouTube
Total episode #: 52
Dumpling-rating scale: 3.25/5
If you don’t enjoy reincarnation and doppelgänger themes I do not recommend The Flame’s Daughter (烈火如歌). If, on the other hand you quite enjoy them, you are in for a treat because The Flame’s Daughter is jam packed with them!
The title of this drama is reference to the female lead Lie Ruge (portrayed by Diliraba Dilmurat 迪丽热巴). Lie Ruge is the doppelgänger/reincarnation of two other characters:
🔥 the first is Ge’er who is in love with and sacrifices her life for male lead Yin Xue (portrayed by Vic Chou 周渝民).
🔥the second is An Ye Ming. An Ye Ming is Lie Ruge’s mother who the antagonist An Ye Lou is in love/obsessed with.
This drama beings with a pretty epic fight where Ge’er is injured trying to protect Yin Xue. Yin Xue in an effort to save her goes back to his academy and begs his teacher to heal her. His teacher tells him that in order to save Ge’er he must go back to the Summit of Ethereality and leave Dark River and its dark magic. Although Yin Xue agrees, it is too late and Ge’er dies.
The drama in addition to being about the story of Ruge and Yin Xue, is also about the power struggle between various sects. The three ‘human’ sects are:
🔥 the Flaming Hill Sect (of which Lie Ruge is a member);
⚡ the Thunderbolt Sect; and
⚔️ the Swordless City Sect.
The two ‘magic’ sect are:
🕊️ the Ethereal Immortality Sect (of which Yin Xue is a member); and
🖤 the Dark River (of which An Ye Luo and Lie Ruge’s mother were members).
Finally there is the Emperor and his Princes who sit on top of the sect and have general rule over the entire population.
Aside from Yin Xun, Lie Ruge has three other men in her life (two of which are in love with her). Her ‘martial brothers’ were raised/trained with her in the Flaming Hill Sect —
🔥 Zhan Feng (portrayed by Vin Zhang 张彬彬). Zhan Feng is the heir apparent of the Flaming Hill Sect and Lie Ruge’s fiance. Zhan Feng loves Ruge but after being manipulated by An Ye Luo breaks things off with her and turns against his tribe.
🔥 Prince Jing Yuan or Yu Zi Han (portrayed by Liu Ruilin 刘芮麟). Yu Zi Han is the 7th son of Emperor. He lost his ability to hear and walk after he was poisoned. Ruge is his only childhood friend and got him through a lot of dark times. As a consequence Yu Zi Han is very protective of Ruge.
🔥 Ji Jing Lei. Ji Jing Lei (portrayed by Chen Ye Lin) is very much a secondary character and doesn’t really contribute to the overall story. He is a good but simple guy and staunch supporter of Zhan Feng.
A completely separate sub-plot is the love story of Lei Jing Hong (portrayed by Zhang He) and Dao Lie Xiang (portrayed by Dai Si). Lei Jing Hong the heir apparent to the Thunderbolt Tribe and Dao Lie Xiang is the Swordless City ruling family’s only daughter (sects who don’t get along with each other). Both Lei Jing Hong and Dao Lie Xiang begin the story in love with Yin Xue but ultimately fall in love with each other (weird).
A weak point of this drama was the extraordinary number of characters in love with the female lead Ruge… it was truly bizarre and over the top. Almost every second episode had a new need-to-marry-Ruge-contender.
The pairing of the Diliraba and Vic Chou was also problematic. It may have been the age difference (in real life and in the drama) or it could have just been the lack of chemistry. I would have much preferred Diliraba and Vin Zhang pairing (where they actually get together unlike – Pretty Li Hui Zhen, The King’s Woman and Eternal Love, yep they have starred in a lot of dramas together).
With so many criticism, why did I even continue watching this drama? I can tell you that it wasn’t always easy … but I enjoyed Diliraba’s performance as Ruge (and I already started putting this blog post together). Ruge isn’t your stereotypical female character. While she is still extraordinarily beautiful and the receipt of copious amounts of male attention, she is also a leader, kind and intelligent.
The Flame’s Daughter started out strong and had the benefit of great accompanying soundtracks. However, as I take you through the episode guide below, the drama progressively became weirder and more confusing. I have starred 🌟 my favourite arcs below:
- Arc 1 | Episode 1 – 6 | Heartbroken Ruge 🌟
- Arc 2 | Episode 7 – 16 | Ruge and Yin Xue get closer
- Arc 3 | Episode 17 – 29 | Ruge is sect leader
- Arc 4 | Episode 30 – 36| Ruge and Yin Xue return
- Arc 5 | Episode 37 – 52 | Defeating An Ye Luo 🌟
Before we move on to the episode guide, please note there will be ‼️spoilers‼️
Arc 1 | Episode 1 – 6 | Heartbroken Ruge 🌟
The first arc of this drama relates to Ruge trying to win back her fiancé Zhan Feng’s affection. As it turns out, Zhang Feng and Ruge were childhood sweethearts and deeply in love until he brought home a lady from a teahouse/brothel.
In order to try and figure out why Zhan Feng fell out of love with her she makes her way to Pin Hua Lou (an infamous brothel) and instead encounters Yin Xue, who chooses her as his companion. Returning back to her clan, Zhan Feng does not reciprocate Ruge affections which leaves her heartbroken.
Instead it is revealed that Yin Xue has known Ruge since her birth and gave Ruge to the Flaming Hill Sect. The deal with Ruge’s father (revealed to be her adopted father) was that even though Ruge is under his care, it is only temporary and there would be time when Yin Xue would be back for Ruge (lets forget for a second that Ruge has any say in this). Anyways, Ruge’s father has no choice but to acquiesce to Yin Xue and together they make their way to Ping An Town.
Arc 2 | Episodes 7 – 16 | Ruge and Yin Xue get closer
The majority of this arc was definitely filler. I couldn’t really tell where it was going but anyway… Arriving at Ping An Town Ruge and Yin Xue discover that everything in this particular town is very expensive (as it is under the control of Swordless City who implement high taxes). Together, Yin Xue and Ruge set up a bakery — Ruge can’t bake but naturally Yin Xue being Mr Perfect teaches her.
In Ping An Town, they make friends with Xiao Feng (the grandson of DuanLei Sect Leader) and meet up again with Lei Jing Hong. As series of events including the death of Xiao Feng and Xiao Feng’s grandfather (who are killed by the An Ye Luo) result in Zhan Feng and Ruge standoff.
Zhan Feng is colluding with both Swordless City and Dark River because he believes his parents were killed by the Flaming Hill Sect. This misunderstanding is all part of the machination of An Ye Luo in his effort to conquer the different tribes. Ruge naturally doesn’t win against Zhan Feng and returns injured to Yin Xin (who she is growing closer too).
Things don’t go smoothly for Zhan Feng either. As part of his An Ye Luo’s master plan, he is now required to marry Dao Lie Xiang … both are naturally unhappy with this. To top it all off, on Zhan Feng’s wedding day his father announces that the next sect lead for the Flame tribe will be… Ruge.
Meanwhile, Yu Zi Han is ‘poisoned’ with a Winter Curse by An Ye Luo (and his minions) and progressively gets weaker. For the sake of Ruge, Yin Xue risks his own life to save Yu Zi Han. It turns out that Yin Xue was An Ye Luo’s real target. An Ye Luo sends his right-hand lady Madam Yan (Lie Jing Hong’s step mother) to assassinate him. While Ruge — who has been getting stronger — is able to take-on Madam Yan, An Ye Luo appears out of thin air and kills Yin Xue.
Arc 3 | Episodes 17 – 30 | Ruge is Sect Leader
Power changes hands in this arc — it commences with the murder of the Thunderbolt’s Sect Leader by Madam Yan (who reveals she is actually An Ye Jun, An Ye Luo’s sister)
Adding to the death toll is the Flaming Hill’s Sect Leader. He is killed/betrayed by his trusted confidant (Brother Yi), who also wants to become sect leader. The Flaming Hill’s Sect Leader’s death takes a huge toll on Ruge who she believes is her father. Ruge following his death must not only fight to be Sect Leader (against her ex, Zhan Feng) but also uncover her father’s real killer. So far, An Ye Luo is using Lei Jing Hong as the scapegoat.
In good news , it is revealed that Yin Xue is not actually dead and is in fact ‘sleeping’. He needs to sleep for 100 years to get rid of the Winter curse that was originally placed on Yu Zi Han. Given the situation with An Ye Luo, Yin Xue decides its time to wake up and provide some much needed assistance to Ruge. He provides his assistance in the disguise of an extremely old man.
We finally also find out why An Ye Luo has it out for the Flaming Hill — turns out that his second in command, An Ye Ming married a member of the Flaming Hill and had a child. An Ye Luo at this stage thinks that this child is Zhan Feng (it is in fact Ruge). It made extremely obvious that An Ye Luo was in love with An Ye Ming but his love wasn’t reciprocated.
In spite of Zhan Feng’s protestations (he still loves her), An Ye Luo next target is Ruge. Ultimately, Ruge is betrayed/stabbed by Xun Yi (her friend and former head attendant) of the Flaming Hill’s pavilion who turns out to be An Ye Ju’s daughter and Lei Jing Hong’s half sister.
Arc 4 | Episode 31 – 36 | Ruge & Yin Xue return
In this arc, Yin Xue returns to his ‘young body’ and Ruge comes back from the dead (again). The martial world however believes they are both dead, including Zhan Feng who is very upset. Things are continue to run amok with plans are being executed to annihilate the Thunderbolt Sect.
However, before Brother Yi can be named Sect Leader, Ruge returns to Flaiming hill with the support of both Yin Xue and Zhan Feng. They clarify a number of misunderstandings for the sect members — the Thunderbolt Sect was not responsible for Ruge’s father’s death and Ruge’s father had no involvement in the death of Zhan Feng’s father — and Brother Yi is deposed.
Arc 5 | Episodes 37 – 52 | Defeating An Ye Luo 🌟
Now that a lot of the sect misunderstandings have been cleared, Ruge (and co) can focus on defeating An Ye Luo. Meanwhile, An Ye Luo has been manipulating Yu Zi Han by giving the ability to hear and walk (through dark magic of course). Yu Zi Han, who couldn’t save Ruge when she needed saving, is adamant on becoming strong — not only to better protect her but also be a suitable match.
A confusing side-plot is the ongoing saga of Dao Liexiang and Lei Jing Hong. The issue is that the Swordless City is responsible for annihilating the Thunderbolt Sect and Lei Jing Hong killed Dao Liexiang’s brother… however they are in love and Dae Liexiang’s marriage to Zhan Feng has been annulled.
For the sake of their love, they decide to get married. However, Lei Jing Hong becomes nothing more than a captive prince in the Swordless City and is constantly abused and belittled by Dao Liexiang’s oldest brother.
The once arrogant Lei Jing Hong does not take this treatment well and grows to resent Dao Liexiang. His anger culminates with him killing Dao Liexiang’s oldest brother after Ruge (with Zhan Feng) interrupt a Sect Conference.
Now back to the story where our main cast is trying to defeat An Ye Luo. Their master plan is to pretend that Ruge is in fact her mother (who An Ye Luo was deeply in love with), lower his defences and kill him.
An Ye Luo quickly sees through the plan and defeats Yin Xue, Ruge and Zhan Feng. While captive, Yin Xue convinces An Ye Luo that he has a technique to bring back An Ye Ming memories through Ruge’s body. For a chance to be reunited with An Ye Ming (and marry her), An Ye Luo agrees to Ruge’s offer to turn into her mother to save Zhan Feng, Yin Xun and Yu Zi Han.
Through the joint effort of Ruge, Yin Xun and Zhan Feng, An Ye Luo is finally defeated at his wedding to Ruge (Episode 50). However, killing An Ye Luo comes at the cost of Yin Xun’s life.
Fast forward two years — the Flaming Hills is prosperous again and guess who didn’t die — Yin Xun. Apparently, Ruge in her previous life saved him from darkness and he is now free to live his life with her. How does this works? I am not entirely sure. Anyway they meet where it all began — Pin Hua brothel.
The endings of the other characters are more ambiguous. Lie Jing Hong doesn’t seem to actually be with Dao Lie Xiang. And while Zhan Feng and Yu Zi Han live (and the latter regains his hearing), it is not clear what becomes of them. I know they are both still in love with her but what else?
In truth, its taken me an incredibly long time to get this post out. My struggle with this drama was mostly just trying to figure out what was happening and where things were going. While I won’t be rewatching this drama anytime soon, I would be keen to hear any thoughts.
What did you think of The Flame’s Daughter?