Thoughts on The Untamed or Chén Qíng Lìng (2019)

While writing this review, I have already started rewatching The Untamed or Chén Qíng Lìng on Netflix. It is a Chinese television series adapted from the BL xianxia novel Mo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu, starring Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo. Yes, I am rewatching as in watching it for the second time.

Side note: Xianxia is a genre of Chinese fantasy influenced by Chinese mythology, Taoism, Buddhism, Chinese martial arts, traditional Chinese medicine, Chinese folk religion and other traditional Chinese elements.

Wait. I think I heard something.

Why is she rewatching the series? Is it for the sake of the review? Did she forget all about the series?

I admit I don’t have a great memory; however, it has nothing to do with that. The reason I decided to hit play after finishing the series on September 25 is that I could not forget the TV series; not to mention, the music and the beauty of Lotus Pier and the Cloud Recesses. I can still see and feel the characters and the story. I felt the need to watch it for the second time because I can not move on from the mysteries and tragic events.

The Untamed

Chen qing ling (original title)
50min | Action, Adventure, Comedy | TV Series (2019)
50 episodes

In a magical world of inter-clan rivalry, two soulmates face treacherous schemes and uncover a dark mystery linked to a tragic event in the past.

The Series

As mentioned, The Untamed is available on Netflix. But if you do not have an account, no worries because the whole show is available on WeTV as well as The Untamed Special Edition (2019) which focuses on the encounters of our two main leads – Wei Wuxian and Lang Wanji.

Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji

But now let’s focus on the series. It comprises of 50 episodes which are not enough, to be honest. The first two episodes, which got me hooked, were set in the present. But towards the end of episode two, the viewers were brought back sixteen years earlier before all the madness transpired.

It is the first extreme flashback I have ever encountered. I only started complaining when I realised it wasn’t going to end just yet. And I was right! The flashback was from the last part of episode 2 up to the first half of episode 33. But as I went along their journey, I understood each character more and appreciated this type of flashback. I was quite sure the novel’s written like this, and they arranged it like so fit for viewing.

I must say that the TV version is cleverly-glued to the point that you, as a viewer, are pulled in and try to find out the truth for your beloved character. With all the mysteries; not to mention, the injustices, I can’t help but suspect each character’s motive, action and words even though some of them don’t have several lines.

The Series & The Analysis

That might sound negative but not really. Some of the characters’ emotions and actions say a lot. In fact, I stumbled upon a YouTube channel that analyses and compares specific scenes from the series to the novel.

I pretty much have the same interpretation as the narrator that is why I decided to watch and read what I can on the Internet. Oh, yes, I can’t resist the temptation.

The Series vs The Novel

Moving on, after doing some research and readings, I finally understood everything. No wonder after the flashback episodes I felt incomplete. Various events weren’t shown in the series, not that it isn’t normal. But I think it would make the relationship between Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian deeper. Sadly, there are censorships which we need to respect.

I am okay with that, but the novel was something else. It shed a new light towards our beloved The Untamed characters which were played by great actors of their generation. Now, this does not only included the seniors but the juniors as well. 

In terms of story, I have to say that my heart goes out to the Qishan Wen Sector should I say to Wen Qing, Wen Ning, Wen Yuan (now Lan Yuan), Granny Wen, Uncle Four and the rest of the good Wen clan. They deserved better.

Wen Ning and Wen Qing with the rest of the Qishan Wen Sect

What happened to this beautiful clan was unjust. Whether in fiction or reality, there will always be sect leaders or people in power who will be unfair. Just because they bear the name, Wen means they all have blood in their hands. Only our beloved lead Wei Wuxian, Wei Ying or Yiling Patriarch as most people call him, protected them.

Sure, there were things Wei Wuxian should not have done. However, one decision can and will always affect others. Wei Wuxian sacrificed a lot and was in so much danger which is why I do not blame him for what he did.

“Wei Ying! Listen to me! Protect Jiang Cheng, protect him even if you die, do you understand?!” – Madame Yu

Moreover, the novel Mo Dao Zu Shi showed me how a person makes or breaks another, a special mention to Mo Xuanyu and Nie Huaisang. Though they stayed true to the story, I still hope there will come a time for the entire events from the novel see the light of day. 

Now, I am not talking about the BL part, although I believe it can happen – carefully and beautifully. But there are several beautiful plot points I read. Our Mo Xuanyu and Nie Huaisang also had several things up their sleeves. Plus, the situation with Nie Mingjue was more devastating in the novel.

Oh, it would be great if I can read Chinese and purchase the novel. Pretty sure there will be more secrets and details to uncover. For now, I give The Untamed 10/10. IMDB MyDramaList.

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