- Title: Nirvana In Fire
- Also Known As: 琅琊榜, Rankings of Lang Ya, The Lang Ya Rankings, Lang Ya Bang, 瑯琊榜
- Director: Kong Sheng, Li Xue
- Screenwriter: Hai Yan
- Genres: Military, Wuxia, Drama, Political
- Country: China
- Type: Drama
- Number of Episodes: 54
- Aired: 2015
- Original Network: BTV
- Where To watch: Viki
- Adapted from the novel “Lang Ya Bang” (琅琊榜) by Hai Yan (海宴)
Nirvana In Fire Synopsis
Nirvana in Fire is a Chinese wuxia drama released in 2015. The story took place In 6th century China. A war broke out between Northern Wei and Southern Liang. The great commander of Southern Liang, Lin Xie, his son Lin Shu, and 70,000 soldiers of the Chiyan Army defeated the Wei troops.
At the same time, when the Chiyan Army was fighting the Wei, the Emperor received news about Lin Xie and the Chiyan Army. It stated that Lin Xie was conspiring a rebellion with the crown prince, Prince Qi. As a result, the Emperor gave out an order to kill Lin Xie and all of his Chiyan Army, along with his 19-year-old son, Lin Shu. Prince Qi and members of the Lin manor were also unjustly executed. Prince Qi’s mother and Lin Shu’s mother committed suicide. Later, it turns out, that the killing order was schemed by someone.
Lin Shu, who survived, fell from the cliff and was accidentally poisoned by the Bitter Flame Poison. He was saved by the master of Langya Hall, Lin Chen. He also had his appearance and voice changed. But the poison was too grave. He lost his martial arts ability and, due to the poison, he must live with a weak constitution and accept the fact that his life won’t be a long one.
And The Story Goes..
Lin Shu then changed his name to Mei Changsu and established Jiang Zuo Alliance and became the chief of the pugilist world. He was the only one who didn’t have any martial arts ability but was able to lead the best martial artists in the world.
Twelve years after the Chiyan Army massacre, Mei Changsu returns to the capital under the alias of Su Zhe. At that time, Prince Yu and Prince Xian were fighting for the throne. Su Zhe uses all means to undertake his revenge plan and clear the name of his family and the Chiyan Army. Secretly, he supports his cousin and best friend, the unfavored Prince Jing, to become emperor.
But Lin Shu’s plan is a race against time. His ailing body was exhausted. Will he be able to help Prince Jing to the throne and clear the name of the Lins and Chiyan Army?
Nirvana In Fire Review
I watched Nirvana In Fire drama in 2019, and rewatched it in 2022. And my verdict of this legendary drama is still the same: Awesome!!
Nirvana in Fire was the first wuxia drama that I watched intently, without stopping. Because it was a masterpiece. No, I am not trying to exaggerate it. But, try to watch it. Nirvana in Fire is a marvel in Cdrama realm. The story was complicated, intriguing, yet it was flowing like a river. Unstoppable. I watched Nirvana in Fire purely out of my curiosity because of the high praise of this drama. I was truly curious about the story and not tempted by the male actors.😆😆
Nirvana in Fire was directed by two talented directors, Kong Sheng and Li Xue. Both of them have worked on several dramas together, such as Battle of Changsa. They also directed the second installment of Nirvana in Fire 2: The Wind Blows in Chang Lin and the upcoming third installment, Nirvana in Fire 3.
This drama was adapted from a novel written by Hai Yan, and she was also the screenwriter for this drama. Hence, she was able to grasp all the crucial parts of the novel and turn them into scenes. Hai Yan also writes for Nirvana in Fire 2: The Wind Blows in Chang Lin and the upcoming Nirvana in Fire 3. I’m excited and can’t wait to watch Nirvana in Fire 3… 👏
Cast & Characters
Nirvana in Fire has an impressive list of actors. Hu Ge as Lin Shu/Mei Changsu/Su Zhe, Wang Kai as the rigid Prince Jing, Liu Tao as Mu Ni Huang, Chen Long as Grand Commander Meng Zhi, Victor Huang as the cunning Prince Yu and also we get to catch a glimpse of Zhang Zhe Han as young Lin Shu.
And its a nice surprise to realize that the one who portrays Fei Liu is Leo Wu. I have never thought he was the Leo Wu that I saw in The Long Ballad and Upcoming Summer. I should have realized it sooner, however I just don’t connect them as the same person, because when he was in Nirvana In fire he was just a 15-year-old kid 😅.
One thing that makes this Cdrama standout is the actors were able to perform naturally. The little gestures and micro expressions were displayed perfectly. I couldn’t think of another word about their acting quality other than outstanding.
The only thing that I would complain about is the costumes. Nope, this time it was not the clothes, but the headdress, especially the one that had been used by the ladies in the palace. In my humble opinion, they were too flashy and the design is too much to bear for me…😭
Other than that, everything is perfect. The sets, the lighting, the camera angle, and the fighting choreography. All is perfection! My favorite part is every scene that has Fei Liu in it.
Jingyan is a law-abiding person. He held his moral values high and his loyalty was unquestionable. He’s a great general and he put his country above all else. He stayed out of the fight for the throne. The emperor was not fond of him because of his stubborn and unyielding nature. Deep in his heart, Jingyan couldn’t forego the Chiyan Army case because he believed that the Lins were a loyal family. They wouldn’t do such a disgraceful act as rebelling, so, for twelve years he refused to believe Lin Xie and his son were criminals.
His action ignites his father’s wrath. But Jingyan didn’t care too much about him. As long as he could do the rightful thing for the country, he didn’t mind to be the hated by his family.
Only after Mei Changsu gave him the insight that he needed his father’s support to be the crown prince, Jingyan was willing to be more flexible. Even though, deep down inside, he held no regard for the emperor.
The only moral support that he holds dear is his mother. He keeps her in check and tries his best to protect her from the people who try to scheme her.
And the sweetest thing is, his mother, consort Jing, also did the same thing. The pair of mother and son try to protect each other as hard as they could in their own way. Well, that’s what a family should do, isn’t it?
Lin Shu, on the contrary, is more flexible than Jingyan. Probably because of his strategic talent and he was also proficient at warfare. He really knows when to move forward or when to step back. Lin Shu has long accepted that his life is not a long one. Therefore, he was able to cut his ties to the world and focus on his plan.
Lin Shu has a strong bond with Xiao Jingyan, his bosom friend and happened to be his cousin. They were related because Lin Shu’s mother is Xiao Jingyan’s father’s sister.
They have been together since they were a child. In the war, when Chiyan Army had misfortunes, Jingyan was stationed outside the city. When he learnt about the news, it was already too late. With nobody to ask, Jingyan kept all the questions about what really happened that time. Yet, he always believed that Lin Shu and his family were innocent. I can see that Jingyan really misses his dear friend. He keeps Lin Shu’s bow in his study and forbids everyone to touch it, including Su Zhe.
Jingyan also has some suspicion towards Su Zhe.
Attention to Details
As a military leader, Jingyan was quite a perceptive and attentive person. He didnt miss any small gesture from Su Zhe. The first time he was suspicious was when he came to visit Su Zhe. They were talking about a fireworks factory and when they were in the middle of a discussion, he saw that Su Zhe’s right thumb and forefinger were rubbing against his clothes. Jingyan was surprised but he didn’t connect the gesture with Lin Shu. He only said that Su Zhe’s gesture was similar to his friend’s. Lin Shu was surprised and tried to hide his hand.
There were also several coincidences where Lin Shu was almost busted. However, every time Jingyan was suspicious, he always gave him a proper explanation that was almost irrefutable. Lin Shu was adamant to keep his identity secret. He was afraid if Jingyan learned his real identity, it would affect the grand scheme that he had been working on and ruin his ultimate goal, which was to assist Jingyan to take over the throne.Therefore, for his friend’s sake, Lin Shu was willing to do the dirty work for him. Because he knows, with Jingyan’s rigid nature, he won’t be able to shoulder the burden.
Lin Shu and Jingyan might seem to have different temperaments. But they have something in common. They both valued friendship and put the country above everything. The bond between Lin Shu and Xiao Jingyan binds them even after Jingyan ascends to be the ruler. A really beautiful friendship. My heart goes for them..😍😍
A Bit of Combination
Even though Nirvana in Fire doesn’t have any romantic tag, I would give a lot of appreciation to Ni Huang and Lin Shu’s relationship that lasts for years. Ni Huang was betrothed to Lin Shu, even though they had to be separated for twelve years. But Ni Huang also has a firm belief in Lin Shu, just like Jingyan does. When she finally learns about Su Zhe’s real identity, she instantly supports Lin Shu. Her understanding was amazing. As a huge fan of romance drama, I really would like to see their love story bloom without any scruples. They could make another drama about Lin Shu and Ni Huang’s relationship… That would be on top of my watch list…😉
As Mei Changsu, the strategist, Lin Shu was quite famous. He was clever and his sources of information were spread all over the world. His reputation has traveled vast and wide in the world. No wonder the princes fought to recruit him into their team. But in my opinion, Mei Changsu was able to devise a superb plan to take down those princes because he understood thoroughly the nature of the royal family. They were his family, literally.
That understanding combined with his knowledge of the power struggle and perceptive nature were a triple combo to devise the perfect plan. All he needs is the perfect time to execute the plan. That’s why he had to wait for twelve years, because the perfect time was when Jingyan was ready to enter the fight for the throne.
The Ending Explain
The ending of Nirvana in Fire is somehow I already predicted. It was a bittersweet ending and I was crying ugly at it.
Lin Shu finally had the chance to live the life that he always dreamed of. The life of Lin Shu, the young Marshall of the Lin Family. He went back to the battlefield carrying the flag of Liang.
Once again, Lin Shu and Jingyan were separated. But now, he was able to send him off from the tower of the capital fortress. Even though deep down inside, Jingyan was unwilling to let him go. He understood that Lin Shu wanted this, and as a good friend, he had to support him.
The last goodbye between Lin Shu and Ni Huang is the most heartbreaking one.Especially when Lin Shu was saying goodbye to Ni Huang.
He said, “They say that fate lasts for three lifetimes. I hope we can be born into ordinary families in the next life and spend our lives together in peace.”
Huhuhuuu.. why dont they get married first before going to the battle? 😭😭
I believe that Lin Shu is feeling contented at the end of his life. He regains everything that has been lost once. His death was saddening, but to everyone around him, they will remember him as a person who lost everything and fought back to retrieve it. Lin Shu, my heart will be forever with you…🥺
The ending is sooo sad, my aching heart is bleeding right now..😭😭😭
There were many aspects that I can write about this Chinese drama, and all of them are going to be full of praise. Therefore, I will stop right here. If you haven’t watched Nirvana if Fire, pick a quiet weekend. Stock up your snacks. Block all the callers. Put a Don’t Disturb sign on your door. Be prepared to be glued to your sofa/chair/couch/bed/whatever thing that you’ve been sitting on.
The journey would be rough, full of heartache, but it was worth it. You’ll be crying, laughing, excited, all at the same time. So don’t forget to put Nirvana in Fire on your agenda. Happy watching!