Nirvana in Fire 2: The Wind Blows Through Chang Lin brings all of the royal drama of its predecessor but also shows that family bonds transcend all.
I was very skeptical when word got out about the sequel to Nirvana in Fire. VERY. SKEPTICAL. Nirvana in Fire revolved around Hu Ge‘s Mei Changsu/Lin Shu, an unlikely hero trying to accomplish the impossible to redeem his family’s honor. So when I found out that its sequel would feature an entirely new cast AND and be set decades after the original, I was very “meh.” What were they going to do with this story? However, I watched the trailer and thought, “Hey, this could be good.”
It stars Huang Xiaoming, who I loved in the 2006 Return of the Condor Heroes, so I was intrigued. It also was done by the same production team as the original. As a result, I was pleasantly surprised that the series defied my low expectations with its focus on family bonds.
Ping Zhang and Ping Jing
The first relationship that shows itself is the dynamic between Ping Jing (Liu Haoran) and his older brother, Ping Zhang (Huang Xiaoming). Initially, Ping Zhang comes off as the stoic older brother loaded down with familial responsibilities, while his carefree brother is chilling in the cut at Langya Hall. Despite their different personalities, Ping Jing clearly loves his brother, even though he has zero desire to take on his position in the Chang Lin army. More importantly, Ping Jing shows his affection with his brother, eagerly embracing him when he visits Langya Hall. As the series goes on, we see that Ping Zhang also has similar affection for his brother. When Ping Jing is falsely imprisoned, Ping Zhang’s visit to his cell shows that he will stand for his brother no matter what. What is great is that they accept each other even though they have different temperaments. Because if Ping Jing was my brother, I definitely would have beat him down a couple of times.
Their brotherhood is tested when Ping Zhang tells Ping Jing (all nonchalantly, give a man time to prepare!) that they are not blood-related; Ping Zhang is adopted. Obviously, Ping Jing needs some time to process, but Ping Zhang is clearly concerned that his brother may not view him the same way. When Ping Jing returns, he clearly has not lost any love for his brother. Ping Zhang even jokes that Ping Jing feels he doesn’t have to listen to him as his older brother.
The Emperor and Prince of Chang Lin
The brotherly theme continues with the dynamic between the Emperor (Liu Jun) and the Prince of Chang Lin, Xiao Tingsheng (Sun Chun), the father of Ping Zhang and Ping Jing. While many historical dramas are built on the rivalry between brothers as they vie for the throne, it is refreshing to see how well these two get along as brothers. The Emperor is, well, the emperor, so even though he’s his brother, the Prince of Chang Lin is his subject, albeit a high-ranking one. They try not to let their relationship interfere with the Emperor’s rule, (but you know how haters are). At the same tie, the Prince of Chang Lin offers his advice and experience in military affairs to help his brother succeed in foreign affairs. This is a challenge, because everyone suspects that the Chang Lin manor has negative intentions (haters gonna hate). When the Emperor is sick, the Prince comes to visit comes to visit (awwww!). This is how the brotherhood between Ping Zhang and Ping Jing would be like in their old age.
Prince of Chang Lin and His Sons
Speaking of the Prince of Chang Lin, the bonds are equally strong between him and his sons, Ping Jing and Ping Zhang. Initially, it seems that Prince of Chang Lin favors Ping Zhang because he has taken on the mantle of leadership in the Chang Lin army and is keenly aware of the politics of the court. When Ping Zhang completes a particularly difficult task, Tingsheng takes both his hands in his to show is approval. However, nothing is more emotional than Tingsheng’s response to Ping Zhang’s death. He truly mourns his son, finding it difficult to let him go. The Emperor tells him poignantly, “The child is gone.”
You would think that Ping Jing was not Tingsheng’s son, the way he treats him. Ping Jing never seems to measure up. Tingsheng seems to have unreachable standards for his younger son. As the series continues, though, we begin to see that Tingsheng really loves his son, and is trying to prepare him for the responsibilities of the family. And when Ping Jing accomplishes what neither he nor Ping Zhang could, he takes Ping Jing’s hands into his own. Still touching!
Meng Cheng Xue and the Xiao Family
While the family dynamics often revolve around male relatives, the drama also shows that loyalty is not confined to one gender and that family bonds involve women as well. Meng Cheng Xue (Tong Liya) comes from a military family (she’s the grandneice of Meng Zhi (Chen Long) from the original) and she is fully aware of the family into which she married. She knows what it means when Ping Zhang has to go to defend the frontier. She doesn’t whine when he has to go; she just sends him off. And she is there until the bitter end. As the mistress of the Chang Lin manor, she’s not having shenanigans at the house, even if the shenanigans come from the court. When the new young emperor, acting on bad advice, attempts to give a bad royal order, Cheng Xue dares the messengers to enter the manor. One (foolishly) thinks he’s going to force her to let them in. Uh-uh!
Cheng Xue’s relationship with Ping Zhang is simultaneously cute and touching. She is always supporting her husband. They gently tease each other, but Ping Zhang clearly respects his wife. He trusts her to save his brother when he cannot. Yet, he is also greatly concerned about her health and his reaction to her medical problem makes him husband of the year.
Nirvana in Fire 2: The Wind Blows in Chang Lin clearly has plenty of punks on TeamEvil, but the Chang Lin manor shows what familial relationships are all about.
“First Impressions: ‘Nirvana in Fire 2’ Has All the Makings of a Major Hit Like Season 1.) soompi. 19 Jan 2018. https://www.soompi.com/2018/01/10/first-impressions-nirvana-fire-2-wind-blows-changlin/ (6 May 2018).
“First Impressions: “Nirvana In Fire 2” Has All The Makings Of A Major Hit Like Season 1.” Kdrama Fandom. 10 Jan 2018. http://kdramafandom.com/2018/01/10/first-impressions-nirvana-in-fire-2-has-all-the-makings-of-a-major-hit-like-season-1/ (30 Apr 2018).
“Promo Round-up: Nirvana in Fire 2: The Wind Blows in Changlin.” cfensi. 18 Dec 2017. https://cfensi.wordpress.com/2017/12/18/promo-roundup-the-wind-blows-in-changlin/ (6 May 2018).
Viki Global TV. “NIRVANA IN FIRE 2 – OFFICIAL TRAILER [Eng Sub] | Liu Hao Ran, Tong Li Ya, Huang Xiao Ming.” YouTube. 27 Dec 2017. https://youtu.be/lAi-RUfut-U (6 May 2018).