“Curse of the Royal Harem” Synopsis

TVB will be airing new series, Curse of the Royal Harem <萬凰之王> on Monday, October 31st. Produced by Chong Wai Kin ( 莊偉建), the 29-episode Qing period drama features Jessica Hsuan (宣萱), Myolie Wu (胡杏兒), Sunny Chan (陳錦鴻), Gigi Wong (黃淑儀), Nancy Wu (胡定欣), Joel Chan (陳山聰), Cheung Kwok Keung (張國強), and Elena Kong (江美儀).

At the same time Emperor Daoguang (Sunny Chan) announced that Tunggiya Yuen Yuen (Myolie Wu) will become the Empress Consort Hao Sun, Empress Dowager Kung Chee (Gigi Wong) forced her elder son’s wife, Niuhuru Yee Lan (Jessica Hsuan) to be a sacrificial victim at the prince’s funeral.  Emperor Daoguang put aside the ceremony in which Yuen Yuen would be pronounced the Empress Consort in order to save childhood friend, Yee Lan. Emperor Daoguang broke tradition and declared Yee Lan his concubine, inciting a jealous rivalry among concubines in the palace.

Left exhausted by the repeated battles, Emperor Daoguang also accidentally discovered that Empress Consort Hao Sun was allegedly having an affair with his younger half-brother, Prince Sui (Joel Chan).

Caught between the different political forces within the palace, Yee Lan did not want her fate to be maneuvered by others. Abandoning her kind nature and turning evil instead, Yee Lan became a ruthless woman….

Jayne: More political scheming in a Qing era palace. Despite the atrocious English title, will Curse of the Royal Harem be a hit or miss? Will Emperor Daoguang be the only one left with a headache when the epic battles among the concubines are done?

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  1. Everyone looks somewhat miscast to me. Sunny Chan doesn’t have the aura of an emperor and doesn’t look very grande/commanding in the above poster. Neither does Myolie have the age or regalness down pat. I think the woman behind her in the poster would appear to be better empress, imo. And while I adore Jessica to bits, I always find her face abit too modern for ancient productions.

    1. On second thought maybe that is the purpose. If this emperor can be stuck between so many warring concubines and could do nothing, maybe he is that sort of emperor lacking in those regalness. Because if the master is strict, his dogs can’t be barking senselessly.

    2. @ shadowrain804,personally, i think myolie does have regalness based on the few mins of the trailer i saw, however i think many would agree her features don’t represent ancient chinese beauty. hey who really knows how those people look like back then. and jessica looks mixed not too chinese so…

      1. Empress doesn’t need to be great beauty. She only need to be from powerful family. You try search for photograph of Qing Dynasty court ladies. They were not beautiful at all except Concubine Zhen. No wonder Emperor Guangxu was so into her.

      2. The job of an Empress is to control the harem, not to look beautiful :P.

      3. They don’t have plastic surgeries and beauty injections back then. So the empress and concubines stick to natural ROFL

      4. Not really. Don’t underestimate China. Many beauty products from there, at that time, even got those face massage and facial.

      5. Ancient makeup maybe got but plastic surgeries to transform like Angelababy or Mavis Pan don’t have 😛

      6. Maybe got!! Didn’t Nefertiti got a nose job and she was wayyyyyyyy BC.

      7. Nefertiti in those Pharaoh’s era? Nose job?? Are you serious?

      8. @ Vivien

        Yes, plastic surgery already exist in ancient Egypt, Rome and India.

      9. I never knew that plastic surgery existed way back in the days…. I still question it.

      10. Hm… I thought that ancient times, China and Egypt, they can’t do surgery in such a sophisticated manner as now e.g. precision cuts and using anesthestic, I am surprised that they have plastic surgery!

      11. I also never knew about Nefertiti’s enhanced beauty. All I’ve heard was that Nefertiti and Helen of Troy are among the most beautiful woman of ancient civilizations.

      12. I’ve read up on Nefertiti’s nose. I don’t think the Queen herself has a nose job. But, the sculptor modified her bust (a model of the head and shoulders of a person made out of stone, wood, metal, etc) to make her more perfect looking. According to new findings, the Queen has a bump on her nose.

        But, plastic surgery did exist in ancient time. Of course, their method was not as refine as modern time.


    3. I agree with Funn that it’s on purpose because Sunny look very kingly in Sentinel in his cameo appearance as Emperor Shunzi.

  2. Is Jessica a real villian in this serial ?
    i was told Myolie was the real villian?

    who is the bad girl,Jessica or Myolie?

  3. The cast is a miss, especially Jess. Between all of them, some are too old, some are too young, the makeup is scary, hopefully toned down in the series itself. Story itself is rubbish. If this was in Han or Shang or earlier dynasty maybe but Qing? Rubbish. And what is the darn obsession with Qing dynasty? No other dynasty in Chinese history? And that affair with the prince, etc, rubbish.

    And what headache for the emperor? He can basically order all of them to be killed, exiled, divorced, etc. This is like modern sensibility in ancient thing.

    But knowing TVB synopsis never ever really tally with the actual content, I am hopeful the story is more than this rubbish, I hope for subtlety. But looking at the poster, I am just afraid of another BTROC sort of acting. I have had it! HAVE HAD IT!!!!!!!

    1. And dear lord if I am the empress and I still need to do all those scheming against a concubine, I might as well not be empress. I will be a very patient one; I shall wait for emperor to die and then I shall do whatever I want with his favourite woman.

    2. Funn,
      “And what headache for the emperor? He can basically order all of them to be killed, exiled, divorced, etc. This is like modern sensibility in ancient thing.”

      Haha your comment made me burst out laughing. Perhaps Sunny plays a puppet emperor that has a weak and indecisive nature?

    3. Beside the battles inside the forbidden city, I guess this serial will cover a lot a opium. Opium was all over China during this period. Daoguang was among the worst emperor of the qing dynasty. He was stupid, useless and certainly not qualify to be an emperor. In addition to his disaster policies, he chose the wrong person to succeed him. He should have chose the 6th prince (Prince Gong) who was smart and capable instead of the 4th prince (Xiangfeng) who was pretty much useless.

      It wouldn’t be far from history if Sunny’s a weak emperor.

      1. Oh I see. he was the father of the emperor who married that useless stupid woman called Cixi.

  4. I don’t really mind that they might not necessarily look the part. I mean, people tend to complain about actors being stereotyped into roles and at least these actors are able to get a new opportunity. If they don’t do well, at least they had this chance, but I was watching the clips/trailers and they all seem to do well in the few seconds I see them. haha

    Also, I’m glad that they explain Jessica as a concubine as being a childhood love turned widow, instead of pretending to be someone super young. She looks good for her age, but not half her age…

    1. Usually a concubine at Jess’ real age is usually dead. They do die rather young.

      1. Died young because of scheming by other concubines and empress?

      2. Some, but at that time that’s the average lifespan from too much good food or boredom perhaps or the strain of childbirth or probably the strain of doing absolutely nothing.

      3. Yeah, but I’m assuming that her characters is 10 years younger than her real age instead of 20. lol

      4. Poor emperor if TVB follow their real age his wives are close to dying age now ROFL. There’s no way Jessica and Myolie can be 20.

      5. Maybe the stress makes them look old. After all in the past people usually are considered grown up by the time they reach puberty.

      6. Stress. Boredom won’t make you look old, just makes you look indifferent, stress does.

      7. I assume the palace woman also don’t get much entertainment to cure their stress

  5. Yikes. I see comments hating the series already. I hope the airing of the series can overturn certain people’s views. Yes, there has been 3 qing dynasty series this year. However, TVB has focused on other dynasties too. Ming dynasty was focused this year with Relic of an Emissary. Han dynasty seems to be the focus next year with Back to the three kingdoms and Empress Lu and Lu for King. 2009 and 2010 was focused on Tang dynasty with Beyond and Can’t Buy Me love. Tang dynasty is the worst dynasty for dramas, imo. There isn’t as much war time like in pre-modern or Han Dynasty nor are there great emperors like Yongzheng in Qing.

    1. Eh Tang dynasty got some pretty heavy stuff too and you can show explicit stuff since Tang was morally decadent. The one nothing much to say is Song.

      1. oh yeah. my mistake. I just remembered Tang Dynasty has the great Empress Wu Ze Tian.

      2. I don’t mean any drama. I mean Tang Dynasty has Lady Yang, one of the 4 Great Beauties of Ancient China. She has been the subject of many movies and series, I believe?

        Funny you think I’m talking about a drama. When you said Tang Dynasty has the great Empress Wu Ze Tian, you mean a drama instead of the person?

    2. yongzheng wasnt that great of an emperor. Compared to Kangxi and qianlong he is not so great.. Just saying!

      1. QianLong can be so great because YongZheng has accumulated enough money in the treasury for him to built up the country and have eliminated the corrupt officials so that he can rule more easily.

        I notice that these 2 great Emperors who reigned the longest both left a mess for their predecessors to clean up. Yong Zheng has to refill the treasury and eliminate corrupt officials. Jia Xing also has to do that when he got the throne from Qian Long. Too bad, corruption at that time was already to deep to clean up.

        Kangxi, I can agree is greater than YongZheng since he has to rule new unstable government and also fight for his own right to rule (fight Obai). But, for Qian Long, his ancestors have paved a smooth path for him already.

      2. Yongzheng made a good start for QianLong. QianLong is the one who can say that not that great of a king :P. He failed in the war with Vietnam and almost had to cut Guangtong and Guangsi to Vietnam. In the end, he had to assassinate the Vietnam king Quang Trung in order not to cut the land.

      3. Hanah, put it simply, Yongzheng cleaned up the mess left by the late Kangxi who was perhaps the best of the 3 but declined in later years which is always the case when ruled too long. Yongzheng did all the dirty work, paved the way for Qianlong’s golden era and he got a bad rep for it. Qianlung was great too but in a different way. There are 2 phases to each kingdom; creating one and maintaining one. Both difficult. So I give credit to all 3 emperors. Ever noticed Kangxi is always about conflicts, Qianlung about romance and Yongzheng about power struggle?

        But to give qianlung credit he learned from the best. I think even if the dynasty was messy he could have probably stabilise things. Corrupt officials are never truly eliminated so I suppose he knew who to use, what to use, etc. But again ruling too long will always lead to corruption and favouritism. Something Yongzheng did not have the luxury to “build”.

    3. I can’t recall of any series about Song dynasty without based on wuxia novels. Song one can be interesting about the first king of Song. His life is like a mysterious. Song – Yuen war can be a topic. Maybe the South Song and 5 kingdoms. 3 kingdoms are made on TV, then why not 5 kingdoms (After Song time).

      Tang dynasty has a lot of interesting stories to tell. Example: Yang Lady, Wu Ze Tian, Li Shi Min, the life in Tang dynasty (as it is the most developed time of China ancient period), the open thinking of ppl this time and its culture. I don’t think it’s boring.

      Tang has 2 great kings: Li Shi Min and Li Long Ji, why you say there is no great kings?

  6. I’m so confused by all these names of characters lol. I’m gonna watch this just for Jessica!!! =D

  7. Haha, how could you know the story is rubbish without watching it? We all never watch any episodes of this series, so we couldnt say anything about the story or performance.

  8. This series look like WAB mix BTROC I hope it’s better than BTROC

    1. but they don’t have pretty girls in this one…..Most of main and supporting characters are tomboys at best…

    2. and I hate the hairsets… couldn’t they have made them prettier hair sets?

  9. “Curse of the Royal Harem”

    Indeed a curse for the emperor. Poor man.

    1. That’s correct. Poor the man. Look at his wives, all are not 15-18 :(.

      1. ROFL if ancient age is 30-40 that means his wives are almost reaching ‘retirement’

      2. Poor. I bet TVB will say that they’re 20 years old although they don’t look like it ROFL

      3. CBML: Charmaine, Linda, Fala all 20 years old. Or 18? I forgot their age.

      4. Yes. TVB/Mainland Series always indicate in the ancient series, the girls are in teen ages or, early 20s but we know the truth.

        Mainland have started to have a lot of very young (although many are much worse than bad TVB artists) to meet the audience’s requirements

  10. Just hoping this drama to be better than BTROC but then again I don’t have any high expectation for TVB drama(s) anymore…..

  11. b4 this series was finished filming, my thought was it’s going to be a bust b/c of the cast(I don’t think they have that chemistry). I just hope Sunny & Myolie won’t over do it; and Jessica doesn’t seems like she has the essence for her character.

  12. I love Jessica Hsuan but I do not think this will be a good series (aka: it will suck)
    – Myolie Wu has normal average acting skill like many supporting actors in TVB. She has a unique look but at a few angles: she looks bad.
    – Sunny Chan did have very good acting skill but recently he likes nobody. Let me say: his time was gone.
    – Nancy Wu is cute but everyone can do her supporting job
    – Joel Chan….well…he has a rich girlfriend

    At TVB is not creative in creating story-line, we will see the old story with new people.

      1. I have less issue with Jess’ face than with her acting abilities. She is the same in ALL her series. As for Myolie, please, don’t take lessons from Tavia. Please!! And why is everyone giving sideway glance except the men? Why? WHY?!

      2. Because they’re all evil. As long as Myolie stay clear from Tavia’s HUGE glaring eyes and lots of shouting she’ll be fine. Villains don’t need to shout.

      3. @ Vivien, some villians have different personalities. some are more reserved with a poison hidden agenda and sophisicated or some can be princessy and evil at the same time like gigi from WB?. So shouting isnt a problem as long it’s not overdone =D

  13. Meh, another series with heavy makeup and OTT acting. The only one that seems to be doing a good job in the trailer is Nancy Wu. The rest of them are either trying too hard or being to weak in their roles.

  14. I dont understand why Sunny Chan is being cast as emperor. He looks & sounds weak!

    Like the female cast though.

  15. I thought Myolie is the most evil one in this series, turned out Jessica is evil too.. mmm
    Interesting, interesting…when is this series out??? can’t wait!

  16. Tavia did well in beyond at the end and why does everyone need to bring her up in the conversation just because this drama talks about concubines as well? She won an award for beyond becasue the nietzens supported her. I’m looking forward to her mainland drama next year where she plays an evil concubine again. I know this site hates Tavia, but she has a lot of supporters in Hong Kong and other discussion forms so I care less. I see in other articles where people write mean comments about her nose and what not. Is this necessary? I admit that I am a huge fan of Tavia. TY haters say we cant accept criticisms about our idol, but can they? What if a form has a group of haters who contantly put down myolie/linda/ fala etc? Im just writing this because I HAD it with this site . No need to reply because I will never visist this site again so
    TY haters, continue to make fron of her nose if you want.

    1. Other actors and actresses also get their fair share of criticism in this site. But, Tavia fans are the only fans who claim this site hates their idol and anti their idol.


      1. I think they only can see the thing they want to see and forget wat they do and see about the others.

      2. Chill chill. It’s just other people’s opinions, don’t need to get so worked up about it.


        Well, not all Tavia fans think like that 😛

    2. Bye and don’t see you again :P. And dun lie, you care hehe. If not, you didn’t post.

      Tavia did well in beyond at the end
      So you think she did badly from beginning to middle? Ok, just kidding.

      Uhm, I’ll take your advice and continue :P.

  17. Kong Wah is more appopriate as the king. He has the aura as compare to Sunny/

    1. But isn’t this emperor a weak one? So having too much emperor aura may not do this role justice.

  18. Myolie’s not that good as people said. I wonder if she won the best actress awards when jessica did well in this series compared to her. Pleaseeee looo . Tavia deserve moreeeeee

  19. I am watching this series in english sub I wanted to know if myolie started out nice it look like it to me

  20. I agree with Funn Lim and Kidd. Sunny Chan had to portray a weak emperor, and he played the role to the hilt. You can say he completely assumed the role of a weakling – an emperor that the China couldn’t count on. I suppose history was against Emperor Daoguang and Sunny Chan is perfect for the role of the wimpy emperor. Sunny, who I believe has a sunny disposition in real life, was able portray the powerlessness and despondence of the emperor perfectly.
    Daoguang’s flaws were for all to see. When you watch the series, you get angry at the emperor’s weakness and vulnerability, he being so easily seduced by the ladies of the court, for example by the character portrayed by Nancy Wu.
    Sometimes, you feel sorry for him, for his humiliation at the hands of others. You are sad to see his personal pain for not being able to overcome his opium addiction.
    At other times, you feel disgusted at his plain stupidity. You see stupidity at its best. You feel annoyed at Emperor Daoguang’s lack of understanding of the palace intriques and his inability to see through the corrupt officials and palace schemes. You feel distressed and are in horror at his inablility to distinguish between good and evil. But, you also feel happy for his kindness, and his love for his beloved court ladies, Myolie Wu and Jessica Hsuan.
    Sunny Chan brings you along with him to the highs and lows of Emperor Daoguang’s life. He deserves not only a pat on the back but also an award for his convincing portrayal of a depressing character.

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