In the midst of a paranoid emperor and power-hungry royals, Nirvana in Fire enriches a tale of revenge and redemption with a narrative of love and friendship.
Many people equate princess culture with Disney, but the princesses in wuxia popular culture defy those expectations. The Chinese drama Nirvana in Fire counters mainstream princess culture by drawing from the tradition of strong women in wuxia.
I decided to take it back to my Chinese drama roots and start watching Nirvana in Fire. I knew that Hu Ge would be in the lead role as Mei Changsu / Su Zhe / Lin Shu, but quickly became excited about the other characters. First, there is Lin Chen (Jin Dong), master martial artist/archivist of Langya Hall. I do love a man in white robes and a fan! Then, there is the ever-petulant Liu Fei (Wu Lei), but honestly, dude does a good job as a bodyguard. NOBODY is going to touch Mei Changsu while Liu Fei’s on watch! Imagine my surprise when I discovered Meng Zhi, who is played by Chen Long and was also the lead in one of my favorite Chinese dramas, Patriotic Knights. There is no shortage of strong women. I’ve always liked how nobody bats an eye at women generals like Nihuang (Liu Tao) or heads of investigative bureaus like Xia Dong (Zhang Lin Xin). Palace intrigue, politics and vengeance are the order of the day in Nirvana in Fire!