Now, if you so allow me, I will commit to one act – an act that you may well deny; may well laugh in the face of; may well turn your back to. To those who continue onwards, I swear myself to this act.
I will break your hearts.
Here rests a video of one of the tragic of all tales of romance and valour. Here lies the sacrificial stone on which I place your hearts for the ritual bleeding. Here is the video which cannot stand to break you unless you know of its origins.
I will tell you – I shall speak, and with these words you will feel all hardiness slip away.
The first; a synopsis of knowledge that you require.
The second; an opinion to further spread the shards.
Zhào Líng’er is a descendant of the Goddess Nǚ Wā who is widely heralded as the creator of humanity. She is most related to the Miáo people for their reverence of her. Zhào Líng’er is heiress to the Black Miáo tribe. Her father is the King and her mother is the chief priestess of the White Miáo tribe. As a descendant of the Goddess Nǚ Wā Líng’er is a guardian of her land.
Líng’er’s mother was imprisoned when her husband was deceived by the leader of the Moon Worshipping Cult. Líng’er was sent into exile. With her, there was a half serpent (much like Líng’er herself) who acted as her guardian. Both were found by a friend of Líng’er’s mother. She sent them to her island and went searching for Líng’er’s mother. The woman’s grave can be found on the island.
Ten years or so in the future, aged sixteen, after meeting her one true love (who was forced under threat of death to marry her), Líng’er’s home was besieged by members of the Moon Worshipping Cult. Her kidnappers also erased her love’s (Li Xiāo Yáo) memory of her. He found her, rescued her and took her back home. On the island they found that the all of the ‘fairies’ (Celestial Maidens) had been murdered and her ‘grandmother’ was dying. She made Li Xiāo Yáo promise to take Líng’er back to the Black Miáo tribe as she hoped that her mother was still alive.
Travelling together, Líng’er soon discovered signs that she was pregnant. The most notable of which was the discovery of her powers. Much like Nǚ Wā, her ‘true’ form was that of a half-human half-snake. When she first transformed, terrified that she might be a demon, she fled.
Xiāo Yáo – and a woman (Lín Yuè Rú – both a friend and love rival), daughter of a nobleman that had tried to force them to marry – broke away from the ceremony that neither wanted and pursued her. When they did find her, it was in a tower, chained to a giant pillar. As Líng’er hummed a song, Xiāo Yáo regained his memories of their marriage and their meeting on the island. However, in trying to rescue her from the tower, it collapsed. Yuè Rú was killed.
Xiāo Yáo woke to the news of her death and the news of Líng’er’s pregnancy. Determined to keep her alive and save his unborn child, he encountered a White Miáo princess (Ā Nú) who helped him save Líng’er. She also proved vital in defeating the leader of the Moon Worshipping Cult who had killed Líng’er’s father and replaced him with a tree demon. Unfortunately, in that final battle, Líng’er defeated him by self-sacrifice.
On his way home, burdened by many losses, Xiāo Yáo came to find a woman standing under a tree in snowfall. It was Yuè Rú, whose body had been preserved, and his daughter who was named in her honour, Li Yì Rú. She would later go on to retrieve Yuè Rú’s soul at age eight or nine.
Here is a video of Li Yì Rú meeting her father (who, as leader of a martial acts sect, is rarely there) and her mother’s spirit. Look! She drew a picture of them all together! Isn’t that cute?
WARNING: this will break your heart.
Important moments in the video:
When they are on the ground crying, it is because a thief knocked Xiāo Yáo into Líng’er and the vase with her grandmother’s ashes spilled and were mostly carried away by the wind. He later comforts her by saying the wind is blowing her grandmother’s ashes back to their homeland because her grandmother was impatient to see some special flowers. (television series)
The only time that I recall all three being in the boat was when they were leaving the island which had been Líng’er’s home for the last time. (television series)
When they hold hands and there is a glow she is casting the character 靈 (Spirit / líng) onto his hand. It will only remain for as long as he loves her. (television series)
The stone was given to her by Xiāo Yáo when he travelled back in time and she was just a child. He promised that it would sprout when he returned. The powers inherent in her caused the stone to sprout when he walked out on their marriage ceremony. It sprouting convinced him to accept her. (television series)
The flowers floating in the air around them were planned as a treat. She loves red dandelions so he found something as close to red dandelions as he could and sent them flying. Red dandelions are important to her. (television series)
Most scenes of them crying are when she broke up with him because she felt that she had to save her people and she didn’t want to endanger him. (television series)
When she falls on top of his unconscious form, it was after he was mortally wounded and she used her powers to heal him. The amount of magic needed exhausted her. (game and television series)
The pictures of the child are Líng’er. They are from when he went back in time. Thus, they are often referred to as ‘the love that transcends time’ by the television series fans. (television series)
The second phrase that Líng’er says is a promise to take care of him and ensure that he doesn’t go through any more hard times that was said the morning after their wedding. He responds by saying that he should be telling her that. (television series) Episode 2.
Xiāo Yáo’s speech consists of telling her that he loves her. The loud part is ‘forever and ever’. (television series)
His second speech is him begging her spirit to come back to her body. He says that he remembers their meeting on the island and their their marriage.(television series) Episode 28.
They are sitting amidst the flowers which he claimed her grandmother raced back home on the wind to see. (television series)
The nose tapping is an affectionate gesture of theirs. That scene is also the first time that they both do so together. It refers to their perceived ability to be together without any intervention or obstacle.(television series)
They travel on the sword to the battle with the leader of the Moon Worshipping Cult.
The symbol re-appears on his hand as he remembers their time together.
In the television adaptation Líng’er dies in his arms. (television series)
Xiāo Yáo carries their daughter at the end of the series. Yuè Rú’s ‘revival’ is omitted. (television series)
I apologise for the moments which I have not included in this list. I was fearful of boring you.
Personal Opinions on Meaning and Symbolism
One of the reasons that I watch this video every day is because of its opening. I knew what I had searched for, yes. That played its part. The first time, however, I was drawn in because of the butterflies. They were so beautiful. It was the second time that I began to truly appreciate their presence. They were a beautiful sign of what was to come.
They represented fragility, an ephemeral beauty and the little sparkling trail behind them indicated the magic so inherent and beloved in the series (both the game and the television series).
The first time that I viewed this video my thought was that the child opening the song was Yì Rú. It sounded so sad. The voice was too ‘young’ for Yuè Rú to have gotten her soul back and Xiāo Yáo was very busy elsewhere during her childhood so I thought that it was like her singing to her mother out of loneliness, mourning and / or remembrance.
I imagined also that the female voice which came in later was Líng’er in response. As her spirit can visit (as seen in the first video) I thought that she might have re-appeared or joined in from her place up in Heaven. Every single word and sound is tragic. I fell in love with the whole video.
Even the ending. The credits are also beautiful and tastefully done. The music has a certain ‘feel’ that is so fitting with the entirety of the video. The smoke curling upwards, reaching for the Heavens, appears equally as ephemeral as the butterflies in the beginning, thus bringing the beauty and its tale to its rightful close.
(Also – ChinaSorrows)