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The Rise and Fall of the Great Wall
(Tần Thủy Hoàng)

ATV production - 1986 (Posted 01/18/02)
English/Chinese name Vietnamese name Role
Law Wing Lưu Vĩnh Tần Thủy Hoàng
Petrina Fung Bo Bo Phùng Bảo Bảo Mạnh Khương
Damian Lau Lưu Tùng Nhân Kinh Kha
? Vương Vỹ Lữ Bất Vy
Michelle Mei Suet Mễ Tuyết Tuyết Vinh?
? Huỳnh Tạo Thời Công Chúa Minh Nghi
Betty Mak Mạch Thúy Nhàn Hàn Ly

My ramblings: :-)

Historians still debate about Tần Thủy Hoàng. The topic about his harsh ruling will never end, but it is hard to justify his motives for this exceptional piece of human works. He ordered the peasants, enemies, and anyone else who was not tied to the land to go to work on the wall. The tradition lasted for centuries under different dynasties. However, the Great Wall became a symbol of China's greatness (a national symbol), and it functioned for hundreds of years to spare the villages the random raids of tribes from the north, lending a stability to life and continuity to the culture and government. It also becomes the top attracts to any tourists who visit BeiJing.

Probably the most familiar legend of the Great Wall is the story of Mạnh Khương. Her husband was drawn to the labor force to build the wall, but since he was a scholar, he was really weak and died shortly after leaving the family. One night, his spirit visited her while she was sleeping. Waking up, she did not know whether her dream had been real or not, she decided to go to the Wall, hoping to find him alive. Once arriving there, the other workmen gave her the bad news of her husband's death, she began to weep and weep and weep....God pitied the young widow, so He sent heavy rains and thunders causing several miles of the newly built wall to collapse.

Of course the Emperor was extremely angry, but he made a bet with her that her tears could not destroy his wall. He wanted to keep her alive and let her stay in the castle, so she could witness the formation of his wall. At first, she could not stand his cruelty, and he could not stand her stubborness. By the way, nobody has ever slapped him in public like she did! However, they gradually understood each other more, and they fell in love, but this is kinda forbidden love: he indirectly caused her husband's death, and she was everybody's heroine for her courage of traveling that many miles to find her husband. The Emperor eventually asked her to marry him. She said "Yes" under two conditions:
  1. He had to provide a formal state funeral to honor all the workmen's death. He granted her wish. The nobles of the court were present, and the Emperor himself took part in the elaborate ceremony. This is one of many memorable parts in the series: the power of love is so strong; Tần Thủy Hoàng is willing to do anything for the woman he loves.
  2. He had to build a long bridge to improve transportation. Again, he granted her wish. Once the bridge was finished, Mạnh Khương took a walk on it, then jumped into the water, so that she could reunite with her husband, but part of her soul would always be with the Emperor. Sniff, sniff....

tth02 (Tan Thuy Hoang/Law Wing/Luu Vinh) This ATV series elaborated many details, and it is a masterpiece of all time with a cast of marvelous stars. Tần Thủy Hoàng has at least fifteen impressive outfits. This role was portrayed by Lưu Vĩnh. His physical built and the shape of his face fit the character so well along with his outstanding performance. I have never seen him in any other series/movies, and I wish I can know more info about him. I sympathize every moment of Tần Thủy Hoàng's life: from his unsual birth in the snow, to his difficult childhood, then to his glory days and eventually to his death.

tth03 (Phung Bao Bao) Phùng Bảo Bảo played Mạnh Khương. She made the audience believing that Tần Thủy Hoàng loved her more than he loved Hàn Ly. Why? She looked more beautiful than Hàn Ly, and her character is much better. A quote from Tần Thủy Hoàng to Mạnh Khương: "I loved Hàn Ly, but she did not love or understand me. You, on the other hand, are the only one in this world, who can completely understand me. In addition, I strongly believe that you are also in love with me." Wow, he is such a confident man!

The episodes that he and Mạnh Khương left the castle and travelled around are unforgettable. Together, they enjoyed a simple life without any stress. He temporarily left behind his power, kingdom, responsibilities and all the criticisms. She temporarily left behind the title "heroine" that the world heavily implanted on her; ironically, this title is also the obstacle that prevented her from falling in love with the emperor.

tth09 (Kinh Kha) If you ask me a talented actor who became famous due to his acting skills instead of his physical appearance, I would be glad to tell you a name -- Lưu Tùng Nhân/Damian Lau. This actor is a pro in playing heroes or swordsmen. He looked so cold as Kinh Kha, a hitman with the "impossible" mission to assasinate Tần Thủy Hoàng. If he could meet Tần Thủy Hoàng before Thái Tử Ðan, things would be different. Anyway, what a tragic ending for both the courageous Kinh Kha and Tần Thủy Hoàng! They admired each other, and they were also the perfect opponents at the same time. As a swordsman, Kinh Kha showed his soft side when he rescued a native girl (performed by Mễ Tuyết/Michelle Mei Suet,tth05 and yes her role was minor). For a moment, I thought that some romance would go on; however, he left her to follow his dream of a swordsman's adventurous life. He later met and became friend with Thái Tử Ðan, a prince who was also the number one enemy of Tần Thủy Hoàng. He got married to Thái Tử Ðan's sister, and again, he left her shortly to carry out the heavy mission, the one that left his name in history forever! tth08 (Minh Nghi)The scene at the canal when Kinh Kha left his wife was terribly sad and emotional: she ran after the raft calling his name while crying; he could hear her so well but decided not to look back even once. Moreover, the music in the background enhanced the dramatic moment. By the way, the actress who played his wife was the one that played the Mongolian princess Hoa Chanh in Legend of Condor Heroes 83. She was very beautiful in this series. Too bad I don't see any of her other works.

So, you think that Tần Thủy Hoàng was ambitious? Think again! Lữ Bất Vy (actor Vương Vỹ) was much more ambitious. tth10 (Lu Bat Vy)I am just analyzing based on the TV series because I am not sure whether Lữ Bất Vy was Tần Thủy Hoàng's biological father. Lữ Bất Vy was a very wealthy merchant, but he would like to have power along with money. He risked all of his assets to help one person to succeed the Qin throne, and he sacrificed his lover (who was then pregnant with his baby) to this soon-to-be king. His plan was flawless, and this baby grew up to become Tần Thủy Hoàng. His actions were kinda scummy; however, the return from his investment was so huge: his son was forever in history as the First Emperor of China. He died happily upon realizing that his son would be even more successful than he was.

The only person that I don't think fit well in her role is Betty Mak/Mạch Thúy Nhàn as Hàn Ly. I would sympathize this character more if played by a different actress, such as Michelle Mei Suet or Gigi Chiu (Triệu Nhã Chi). When Tần Thủy Hoàng went nuts about her and held her dead body on the mountains for several days, I shook my head because I don't think she deserved it. She never loved him!

Let me conclude this long writing by praising the excellent songs by Gallen Lo/La Gia Lương. Hey, I always like the songs, but I did not know that it was Gallen's voice until two years ago!

In reality, the strength and beauty of the Great Wall cannot be fully captured in pictures, movies, books, etc. It can only be captured through the eyes of its admirers. Each step along the wall should be marked as a memory to many many sacrificed lives, and it is a triumph of human works forever.
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