“The world isn’t important,
But my Soulmate is!
Since my Soulmate is gone,
What do I have to care about?”
This is probably the most lucid love confession you can get, from a strict disciplinarian like Zhou Zi Shu. Imagine the desperation and loneliness he felt to utter those words. Word of Honor ended on an unexpected note last week and the ardent fans are still recovering from the loss. Our main leads ZZS and Wen Ke Xing (WKX) were subjected to innumerable trials and tribulations in the finale episodes. While the script was daringly replicate of the original content, slight modifications uplifted the mood and tone of the storyline. While our unforgettable couple found their moments of glory, the antagonists were begrudgingly punished for their evil deeds. Without further ado, let’s take a walk down the memory lane to recollect some of our favorite moments from this wuxia romance!
As ZZS and WKX settle down in the Four Seasons Manor, Cheng Ling is finally happy with his found family. The news of Lord Seven and his trusted accomplice Da Wu’s arrival uplifts their mood as they eagerly await ZZS’s recovery. But good times come to an end, when Ye Bai Yi arrives at Four Seasons Manor to execute the Ghost Valley Chief. ZZS’s earnest pleas soften his harsh attitude and he leaves with a warning. The couple’s life goes through another major upheaval when ZZS’s apprentice turns up at their doorstep with a stolen Glazed Armor piece. Prince Jin’s henchman Duan Peng Ju apprehend ZZS for conspiring against the Prince. ZZS is arrested and tortured, however WKX rescues him effortlessly.
In order to unmask Zhao Jing’s evil deeds, WKX plans an elaborate scheme and with Scorpion King’s assistance, brings him to justice. While preparations are in full swing for Gu Xiang and Cao Wei Ning’s wedding, the Ghost Valley is attacked by the righteous sects. Although WKX kills Mo Huai Yang [Qing Feng Sect Leader], he is fatally wounded. ZZS leaves on a journey to stop Scorpion King from opening the armory. Miraculously WKX arrives on time to help ZZS. Together they open the armory, discover the long-lost secrets, while WKX helps ZZS recover from his life-threatening injuries.
The Child Led Astray by his Evil Father
Zhao Jing is certainly an unpredictable antagonist- devilishly brilliant in his schemes and a master manipulator. His absolute control on adoptive son, Scorpion King is regrettable. While Zhao Jing is devoid of emotions, Scorpion King is an interesting mix of compassion and murderous intend. He certainly acts humane when he goes against his Father’s command to save Traginomic Ghost and does his level best to cure her. Despite her fervent warnings, Scorpion King never stops trusting his Father, until he witnesses the hardcore reality with his own eyes. In the penultimate episodes, he joins hands with WKX to punish Zhao Jing. Just when you start believing that he has changed for the better, Scorpion King surprises you with his evil schemes to become the Emperor. The saying “Like Father, Like Son” surely describes Zhao Jing distressed relationship with Scorpion King. Would Scorpion King be a better person, if he wasn’t bought up by the evildoer? Some questions are best left unanswered!
Evil Masteminds And Their Devastating Ends
Zhao Jing’s fall from grace was unceremonious, carefully planned and executed with perfection. Although a formidable antagonist, Zhao Jing’s biggest mistake was underestimating his enemy, WKX. Obviously he didn’t expect betrayal from close quarters, but when you are an evildoer (who will even go to the extent of murdering his own son) backstabbing should be anticipated. Ostensibly, Zhao Jing didn’t have a moment of peace after he was publicly executed for his grievous offenses. His maniacal son tortured him until they both succumbed to death while trying to open the armory.
Duan Peng Ju (Commander, Window of Heaven) faced similar circumstances. He held major grudges against his former Commander ZZS and as such, Prince Jin’s favorable attitude towards ZZS grated on his nerves. The man had no commendable qualities, was the worst kind of leader that an impeccable organization like Window of Heaven could ever have and was utterly dimwitted. The fact that Prince Jin found such a mediocre replacement for ZZS is laughable. Being executed at ZZS’s hand was a small concession for this villain who neither had any redeemable qualities nor the intellect to match ZZS.
Prince Jin’s Obsession with ZZS
Prince Jin for most parts seems like a tyrannical ruler with no consideration for human lives. Jin’s ugly intentions are betrayed when he ostentatiously orders Duan Peng Ju to burn the Four Seasons Manor after arresting ZZS. He lashed at ZZS to prove his dominance. Despite his grandeur gesture to organize a banquet for ZZS, it’s obvious that he only wants to own ZZS. Unlike WKX who loves and respects ZZS, Prince Jin’s love for ZZS is borderline obsessive and regressive.
“You are my Soulmate”
“You are not qualified”
Prince Jin is a highly delusional character because he obviously doesn’t understand ZZS’s convictions or his nature. I was left befuddled with their above conversation, because ZZS only considers WKX as his Soulmate and makes his stance clear. Although ZZS injures him gravely, Prince Jin still can’t get himself to execute ZZS. The guy has his heart in the right place, the problem exists in his treacherous mind.
The Side Couples Who Survived the Ordeal
Prince Jing Bei Yuan [Lord Seven] and Da Wu’s romance is a significant part in the second half of the novel. They are a power couple, on par with ZZS and WKX. So, I was kind of disappointed when they were relegated to the status of “Guest Roles” in the drama. Miles Wei and Fan Jin Wei make a beautiful couple and they did impress me with their subtle chemistry for the few episodes they were allotted. Lord Seventh and Da Wu’s supposedly have a separate novel dedicated to their love story. I’m hoping that YouKu might consider adapting it into a spin-off series.
The other side couple with a happy ending are Gao Xiao Lian and Deng Kuan. Cheng Ling on the other hand has an adorable girl child. It isn’t shown whether Cheng Ling is married or if he adopted the girl. He however lives with the happy couple and has his own disciples. It was an utter joy to watch Deng Kuan’s son train as ZZS and WKX bicker like an old married couple .
The Couple With The Most Painful Ending
The sharp tongued maiden from the Ghost Valley (Gu Xiang) and the docile disciple from a righteous sect (Cao Wei Ning)! These two were never meant to be together. Despite the odds being staked up against them, Wei Ning always stood beside Gu Xiang. Even learning about Xiang’s real identity, didn’t dim his love and affection for her. It was actually painful to watch this couple in the finale episodes because I knew about their dreadful ending.
So, while the entire Ghost Valley was decked up for Gu Xiang’s wedding celebrations, I watched the transpiring events in trepidation. Mo Huai Yang’s regressive attitude was depressing. Cao Wei Ning was one of my favorite characters and to watch him getting strangled on his wedding night was a horrendous experience. The culminating battle was inevitable, but watching the fiery Gu Xiang succumb to her injuries was unfortunate. I was really hoping that the scriptwriter would give them a better ending, but for some reason she remained true to the original content. These two deserved a “Happily Ever After” more than any other couple!
ZZS and WKX’s Unbridled Romance
The finale episodes focused on our main couple’s individual life struggles. WKX slowly starts accepting his true identity (that he is Healer Valley Master Zhen Yan’s son). I really enjoyed the tactile shift in their relationship as ZZS draws him out of his shell and teaches him self appreciation. They slowly grow dependent on each other and form a family unit with their adoptive son, Cheng Ling. ZZS even goes to the extent of defending WKX in front of Ye Bai Yi. ZZS and WKX have come a long way, scurrying past their animosities and disbelief. Despite knowing about WKX’s position (as the Ghost Valley Chief), ZZS doesn’t give up on him. Their relationship extends beyond their Senior-Junior dynamics and the drama had no qualms displaying their inevitable romance. It was a blessing to watch ZZS’s slow transformation from a prudish old beggar to shameless flirt. Utterly enjoyable!
When ZZS is arrested and tortured byhis own former assistant Duan Peng Ju at the behest of Prince Jin, WKX dressed in his regal robes makes a formidable entry and rescues his man. He also uses the opportunity to kowtow before ZZS and formally accepts his place beside his “Ah Xu”. The scene was actually heart-warming because the way ZZS’s hands tremble as he reaches out to WKX shows his disbelief. They have left the lies and deception behind, to move on with their new life.
Of course, the couple goes through a separation phase when WKX is publicly executed by Zhao Jing and his mindless henchmen. ZZS is left devastated and in an attempt to seek revenge, he removes all the nails stuck in his chest (which causes irreversible damage to his meridians). When ZZS learns the truth behind the staged murder attempt, he loses his calm. The shocked expression on ZZS’s face when the presumably dead WKX makes a magnanimous entry is a testament of his love for our maniacal Ghost Valley Chief. They care too much about each other and despite the fact, that WKX withheld vital information, ZZS easily forgives him.
While WKX is left fatally wounded after his battle with Mo Huai Yang on Gu Xiang’s wedding day, ZZS barters with Scorpion King to save his life. ZZS then embarks on a journey to stop both Scorpion King and Duan Peng Ju from opening the armory. As he battles with them both and awaits his death, WKX arrives to rescue him again. WKX had handed over the key to the armory to ZZS for safeguarding. This displays their level of trust and understanding. I was actually left astounded when the secret for “Long lasting country” was revealed (frankly it is common sense and there was no need to build an elaborate armory to hide this knowledge). On the other hand, the ending credits where WKX acts as a furnace to revive ZZS’s damaged meridians left me overwhelmed. His final sacrifice will make you tear up, as their journey ends on this unexpected twist.
(We do get to see their future life in the Special Episode, but we aren’t going to spoil.)
The show had some of the best supporting characters in the history of Chinese Bromances. Ye Bai Yi’s fervent bickering with WKX although exasperating was highly entertaining. Watching an immortal face the final stages of his life, while seeking redemption for his past mistakes was truly humbling. Scriptwriter Xiao Chu’s brilliant adaptation of the original novel is praiseworthy. I’m hoping that she gets more opportunities in future to work on more BL adaptations. Zhang Zhe Han and Gong Jun have a sensual chemistry and I’m truly amazed by their impeccable friendship offscreen. These two really outdid themselves and I’m sure BL couples in future adaptations will have a difficult time recreating this magic.
Word of Honor is an unforgettable experience, one that remains with you forever!
Rating- 4.5 out of 5