Word of Honor | Smart Bitches, Trashy Books


Word of Honor poster - two men in blue and red robes standing back to back one holding a fan and the other a sword

Content caution: Ableism, abuse, harmful masculinity, toxin, suicide, indentured servitude/slavery, abuse.

Shout out to Aube for drawing me up the mountain!!!

Word of Honor (山河令) is a BL/Dānměi Chinese historic dream series that was based upon the webnovel Faraway Wanderers (天涯客) by Priest, who has actually had other webnovels adjusted into series, too. This one centers around Zhōu Zǐshū and Wēn Kèxīng.

Zhōu Zǐshū led the martial arts sect and intelligence company “Window of Heaven” till sorrow, disillusionment, and regret drove him to stop incredibly significantly to roam about previously fading into the great night. His approach of option is likewise a possible trigger-more on that later on. Wēn Kèxīng leads the much reviled Ghost Valley and is out for impressive vengeance and for getting with his guy. As all the traditions and self interests of the different sects and gamers churn about the 2, they flirt, angst, consume, and kid raise their method to success and each other’s arms.

This series is among those stories that isn’t ideal. It gets some things so right, and others so incorrect that the expression ‘mixed feelings’ doesn’t even start to cover how I feel towards it. Word of Honor is:

  • as flamingly gay as a TV/streaming series can be under federal government censorship
  • is exceptionally ableist
  • reveals the tones of grey a household can be
  • is unnecessarily classist
  • includes attractive bisexuals being untidy
  • demonstrates how love isn’t enough by itself
  • makes extremely pointed remarks about civilian casualties and breaking cycles of violence
  • yet supports violent retribution as justice…

The list simply goes on!!!

Me considering the program

Smol girl looking like she's hurling up her soul as she screams

But prior to we enter into all that, let’s return to that ‘fade into the good night’ bit. First and primary, the gays are great. This reveal definitely is worthy of a catastrophe tag, however not for burying its gays. While Zhōu Zǐshū’s life-span is among the main stress, this program is a campy romp with lovely guys being badasses and raising their cinnamon roll of a kid. Don’t get me incorrect, they extract the angst for sure, however the method they established this angst cow of a plot point telegraphed that Zhōu Zǐshū is going to live. But like I stated, there was a reasonable quantity of knife-in-my-heart angst, too. If any of that would still be setting off for you, reasonable.

And now I can speak about the excellent things and the extremely bad features of the program!!! HURRAY!!!!

When I stated this program is flamingly gay, I imply it is genuinely, incredibly, deeply gay.

Truly, Madly, Deeply Gay

Wēn Kèxīng and Zhōu Zǐshū staring soulfully into each other’s eyes as they revolve around each other.

While the source product is unambiguously a m/m love, federal government censorship will not permit any television series to reveal characters as canonically queer. In deference to this constraint, Word of Honor queer coded the ever caring shit out of whatever they could.

Everything.

Zhōu Zǐshū stroking Wēn Kèxīng’s entire wrist and hand before finally taking a bottle from him.

Like a great deal of C-dramas, the character’s voices are called in post. It’s essentially a market requirement at this moment, and it suggests they can alter the lines of the characters…while leaving the cam riiiight up on their faces. For factors.

Reasons

Wēn Kèxīng soulfully saying, “You’re my soulmate.”

Also for factors, you can reveal the character cutting sleeves, which is a recommendation to an emperor who cut off his sleeve so his beautiful fan can keep snoozing. You can reveal them getting envious.

You can reveal a straight-laced grouch slightly consenting to satisfy the sly, warm, outrageous guy once again, “If the fates allow it”…just to reverse and nearly instantly see the exact same outrageous guy bring up in his boat.

And what about referencing romantic poetry all over the location and gifting barrettes the method couples do? Or how about referencing a particular m/m webnovel trope from a specific years?

These are simply the suggestion of the iceberg of how lushly romantic this series is, and there’s likewise other queer couples in the story! Avenue X’s videos on youtube were my primary source for finding out about all the methods cultural and literary referrals were utilized to layer love in, so absolutely take a look at her videos if you’re interested! Even if you’re not, there’s still sparring as foreplay, looking stellar considered into each other’s eyes, domestic happiness, caring assistance, and aaaalll sort of romantic tropes overdid besides.

Here is a list of links to Avenue X’s videos need to you want to deep dive with me (you do!)

Combined with the chemistry in between the leading stars, the program dished out soooo much squee!!! Among my preferred squee minutes are Zhōu Zǐshū and Wēn Kèxīng spending quality time with Zhāng Chénglǐng, who is successfully their adoptive boy. Family is a huge style in the program, and I believed it was dealt with much better in some locations than others.

First and primary, it was mainly a favorable representation of 2 papas and their boy. There were actually charming minutes like Zhāng Chénglǐng adopting hugs when he’s a little worried to be separated from them for a while or requesting bedtime stories then grumbling to Wēn Kèxīng about how Zhōu Zǐshū’s stories are too uninteresting.

What I didn’t value was minutes like Zhōu Zǐshū embodying the Stern and Demanding Patriarch and Wēn Kèxīng playing Peacekeeping Mother. There were times when Zhōu Zǐshū was unreasonably extreme to Zhāng Chénglǐng, and Wēn Kèxīng informs the young boy Zhōu Zǐshū is just like that, “Because he cares.” It’s an extremely harmful and harmful story that perpetuates the concept individuals you enjoy are permitted to, expected to, disrespect and even abuse you. The scenes of Zhōu Zǐshū pressing Zhāng Chénglǐng to over-train slaps an unsolicited layer of harmful masculinity over all of it.

There were numerous other parts of the program that highlight the value of psychological intelligence and how requiring that kids abide by particular standards or what the adult figure believes is right can be dreadful. Being part of the East Asian diaspora, I comprehend the reasoning underpinning these various options, however I’m still extremely annoyed with them.

How the program deals with class is a lot more haywire. There are indentured servants in the program, and initially, why exists a Beggar sect? Just…WHY? Where the program didn’t utilize indentured bondage as a little, fiddly little bit of window dressing, it utilized indentured servants to prop up the ‘benevolence’ and ‘good heart’ of other characters. In truth, indentured servants were compared to pets at one point, due to the fact that their masters need to have the ability to look after them and safeguard them… Yuuup. Yup, excuse me, there’s a pillow that requires yelling into.

I never ever made it to the pillow

Demonic cat screaming

Similarly patchy was how the program checked out redemption.

Redemption and ableism

There’s a throughline that there are ‘types’ of individuals who innately are worthy of redemption and individuals who don’t. It is possible to read it as there are individuals who can redemption and work towards it, however that analysis doesn’t work for me. There was no significant expedition of among the most critical atrocious character’s inner life, which may have permitted that analysis.

This likewise connect how the program is mind bogglingly ableist. Two of the characters in the program are Little People, and both were placed and coded as ‘evil’ and ‘other’ gratuitously. One of them was among the primary bad guys, and his whole inspiration simply made no sense.

Inigo Montoya saying to Vizzini, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The dispute took a whole arc of the program, all ending with him selecting a dreadful death due to the fact that he’s unable to stroll. Pass me that pillow once again.

I've Hulked out. I’ll need an extra large pillow.

Production smart, this program was absolutely nothing short of a wonder. Apparently, it didn’t even have a shoe string for a budget plan, and while that did impact the quality of the modifying, set style, and outfits, in some way it handled to pull whatever together. There were numerous lovely shots, pleasurable battle choreography, and for all my inconvenience at how unevenly the program dealt with a few of its styles, it kept internal consistency for the majority of its run.

The highs in Word of Honor make the lows even more annoying, in no little part due to the fact that the highs frequently show the program absolutely might have taken a various turn. It’s likewise deeply relocating to me that such a romantic, mentally nuanced piece of queer media, revealing more than one queer couple, was made in a location where succeeding fracture downs versus LGBTQ areas and media have actually been occurring hardly a month after this program ended up airing. At time of composing, a great deal of dānměi webnovels are vanishing, and say goodbye to programs based upon dānměi books can be made. I love the love, strength, and bravery that made this adjustment possible.

But while this series welcomed queerness in many methods, it likewise replicated numerous hazardous stereotypes and stories. Good thing this isn’t a book, due to the fact that I would have been at a loss how to grade this. I feel actually strange for both advising it and not advising it.

If you’re trying to find a really romantic series with great deals of flirting and numerous queer couples, and numerous circumstances of individuals, the majority of them queer, selecting who they enjoy, then this series serves that up in spades. But count your spoons prior to you head in because, once again, this series does feature a significant catastrophe tag, is extremely ableist, and has some other concerns too.

Word of Honor is 36 episodes plus epilogue, with each episode being ~45minutes long, and the worst of the ableism lasts a whole arc. And as I stated, while it is extremely romantic and psychological, there are extremely legitimate factors to invest your time in other stories.

Word of Honor is on YouTube, Youku, Rakuten Viki and Netflix. On YouTube, Youku, and Viki, the last little bit of the ending lags a paywall, though I’m unsure about Netflix.

Synesy.org