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Bu Bu Jing Xin Novel Discussion. (Lot's of Spoilers!) - Page 3
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Thread: Bu Bu Jing Xin Novel Discussion. (Lot's of Spoilers!)

  1. #41
    Senior Member xiaolong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanfeng View Post
    Anyone know how 13th died in the end? I gather in defense of Yongzhen somehow? (A heroic death for a true hero I hope!)
    In history, Yongzheng's first edict as emperor was the immediate release of Yinxiang (13th) from prison. 13th continued to work closely with Yongzheng in matters of the state, but was constantly affected by ill health brought upon by the hard jail term. He died 5 years before the end of Yongzheng's reign, and Yongzheng mourned deeply for him, ordering a three-day national mourning period where no one was allowed to work. 13th's biggest political accomplishment was flood reliefing efforts in Hebei (the Yellow River and Yangtze River saw unprecedented flooding during that period and damaged people's livelihoods). Anyway, Yongzheng ensured all of 13th's descendents were extremely well taken care of, bestowing "iron cap" titles on 13th's sons.

    Yongzheng's personal family life was very sad. Of the 14 children born to Yongzheng and his wives, only 5 survived to adulthood, and his heart broke when he had to order his third son, HongShi, to commit suicide for trying to kill his brother HongLi (the crown prince and eventual Emperor Qianlong).

    Quote Originally Posted by Drgirleam View Post
    Plushie...here is your 4th and.....your duck! Bon apetit!
    OMG!!! Oh my 4th is gonna give me sleepless nites now...
    Last edited by xiaolong; 03-12-11 at 03:23 PM.

  2. #42
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    My eyes are hurting. I finally finished reading 《步步惊心》on PDF (I couldn't wait for my hard copy to arrive from Dangdang), and goodness gracious! It's a very well-written book. I must admit that I wasn't impressed when I finished the 1st half. I can see Tong Hua's writing improving with each subsequent chapter (granted, I read the unrevised version where RuoXi's 'modern identity' was still Zhang Xiao Wen). The second half? Amazing. The bits when everything starts to unravel? Brilliant! The pain! The grief! The helplessness!

    I guess, all of us are familiar with the story regarding the fierce competition amongst Kangxi's sons, and none of the events surrounding each of the sons surprised me. However, the best bits of the novel (to me): RuoXi's characterisation (and character development as the story progresses) and how everything unravelled and how pieces of the jigsaw puzzle fell into place in the concluding chapters of the novel.

    I wonder if Ruoxi would still make the same choices if she never knew the future outcomes of each of the princes.

    My guess?

    She would have allowed herself to truly fall in love with 8th.

    In the story, she never permitted herself to love him unconditionally, and at the back of her mind, she was always conscious of the fact that he would encounter a tragic ending. She fell in love with him at first sight, yet she was afraid of so many potential 'complications' -- the awkwardness of sharing a husband with her sister, her idealistic (and very modern) concept of having one husband-one wife only (though somehow, she allowed herself to let that go when she fell in love and slept with 4th, knowing that the emperor would have many wives), and ultimately, her own fears of losing 8th when the tragic moment of losing 8th befalls her in the future. Her way of protecting her heart reflects the realistic attitudes of modern women -- why pursue a romantic relationship when you know that there would not be a happily-ever-after ending? She never really let herself love 8th the way she had allowed herself to love 4th. Even then, after experiencing the passionate love between her and 4th, she ultimately realised that their love wasn't perfect.

    I still need some time to gather my thoughts.

    (P/S: Does anybody think that YuZheng's 《宫》now feels like a badly-written fanfiction-like alternate universe type of story compared to 《步步惊心》?)
    Last edited by subdereality; 03-13-11 at 05:48 PM.

  3. #43
    Senior Member cutzie's Avatar
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    Does anyone know if there is an English version or translation of the novel anywhere? My friend whose Vietnamese wants to read it but she can't read Chinese and I'm not good enough to translate.

  4. #44
    Senior Member Plushie's Avatar
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    Unfortunately, I do not think an English translation exists.

    I have been a bit tempted to do some translating, but it'll require a lot of work and time. Something I may not be able to commit to.
    Frankly I don't think I'm a good enough translator to do the novel justice.
    I do love translating though.

  5. #45
    Senior Member yanfeng's Avatar
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    Hi Subdereality- welcome to the book club!

    Interesting that you read the unrevised version- I wonder how it differs from the revised version. Plus I was pretty much hooked from the first chapter. I can't judge Tong Hua's merit as a writer except that I liked reading the novel and it was a real "page turner"- I kept wanting to find out what happens next even though I knew roughly the end game.

    Interesting in 8th vs. 4th, so why do you think Ruoxi allowed herself to fall whole-heartedly in love with 4th while not with 8th? Is it the endgame she was worried about, or something else differentiating the two Princes? (I think I've said my piece, but interested to hearing other's p.o.v.!)


    Ha! Gong is pretty rough in terms of plot, characterization and language... funnily enough I think Bu Bu qualifies as a sort of professionally written, free-for-all-to-read fanfic, while Gong is meant to be a commercial, professionally written drama script. Perhaps it says something about the level of script writing today!

    PS Plushie you should start translating it and see how far you get... maybe someone else would be kind enough to take it up after you! If you enjoy it, you should do it for fun (and others' fun too) plus it's good practice in being more bilingual.

  6. #46
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    I was re-reading some 4th-Ruoxi parts, but off a different site from where I had first read the novel. I realized I had actually missed a big chunk out of one chapter (the part where Ruolan dies). No wonder I was thinking it was a little abrupt. All of a sudden, Ruoxi was miserable because her sister had died.

    This was the chapter where the Empress (4th's wife) tells Ruoxi that the time Ruoxi had knelt in the rain for 13th, 4th had returned home but he too went out and stood in the rain. Even though he could not physically be next to her the whole time, he was enduring the suffering with her.

    Also re-read the part where Ruoxi and Yongzheng were not speaking to each other. Yongzheng gave in first and tried to coax away her tears but nothing he did worked. Finally, he cleared his throat and began singing softly to her. Haha! I love how Tong Hua writes how bad Yongzheng's singing is. (When Yongzheng asks if his singing was good, Ruoxi replies that if he wanted to punish an official but didn't know how, he should order the official to listen to him sing.) This part cracks me up, yet it's so sweet at the same time.

    Oooh! Plushie, you're going to translate? I thought about gathering a team of 4-5 people to translate with me, but I realized I'd be incapable. (This story is nothing like Gu Long wuxia.) My knowledge of Manchurian names, court titles, and most of all, poetry (!!!) is simply inadequate. Go Plushie! (And yanfeng, why don't you help? Hehe)
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  7. #47
    Senior Member Plushie's Avatar
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    Honestly, besides some touch ups on the language, fixing little inconsistencies and adding a few moments here and there. There isn't a HUGE difference between the original and revised version of the novel. Some significant changes include, the name of the protagonist (from Zhang Xiaowen to Zhang Xiao), how to died, and a few little scenes. For example, she added a bit more between 4th and Ruoxi when he shows up to teach her riding in place of 13th. It was funny and one of my favorite moments. ^^

    Ah and don't get me started on Gong. I really dislike Yu Zheng, the scriptwriter and producer (?) of Gong. The man has no sense of professionalism at all. What a waste of talents like Yang Mi and co. >=( Honestly Gong wouldn't be so bad if Yu Zheng didn't kept advertising it as something it isn't. His blatant plagiarism puts me off too.

    Wow you guys are quite supportive when it comes to the translation. I'm kinda itching to do some translating now. ^^" I agree with you Yanfeng, it really helps improve both my English and Chinese! I don't have time today but maybe I'll try translating the first chapter in the next few days and put it here and see how it goes.

    I'm alright with the Manchurian titles and such, but it's poetry that will get me. They are hard to understand and even harder to translate properly. I always found translating Chinese poetry into English makes them positively ridiculous sounding. It loses so much of its beauty through translation. There's a beauty that each character embodies that English words simply can't capture.

  8. #48
    Senior Member yanfeng's Avatar
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    Hi Plushie- yay! I'm really looking forward to your translation- it'll be fun to read it in English, plus I think lots of people here who don't read mandarin will get access to the book because of your work! (Even if it's just a few chapters)

    Actually Hoju I have a confession to make. I tried to read the poetry but understood maybe 50% of them... so I liked them, what I understood was pretty, but forget translating, I'm half-illiterate myself there! (I didn't even bother trying with the Manchurian titles!) But yeah, I can be your "cleaning lady"- I can do some really rough translation work if you gals need me here and there to fill gaps, but I'm not Mandarin literate (I'd call myself, Mandarin-enabled.... just about able to get by reading entertainment news that has a vocab targeted to, maybe, an average 10 year old )

    We should scare up a few others so we have a rag-tag team that can sporadically translate here and there, and maybe we'll get lucky and get another real bilingual person or two like Plushie to join in the fun!

  9. #49
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Go Plushie! Actually, before you get started, let me know. I have actually translated the first several paragraphs of Ch. 1 (the new edition). I can either post that here or PM it to you and you can use it as a starting point if you'd like (or not ).

    Haha! Yanfeng, I completely understand. My Chinese reading skills are self-taught, so my understanding of the poetry is pretty poor. That's why when I did translating on this forum, I chose Gu Long because, unlike Jin Yong or Liang Yusheng, he doesn't have the tendency to suddenly burst into poetry.

    Oooh. Plushie, I didn't realize the new addition had some extra little scenes. I didn't start reading the newer edition until more than halfway through the novel. I'll try to go find those little gems now.
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  10. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanfeng View Post
    Interesting in 8th vs. 4th, so why do you think Ruoxi allowed herself to fall whole-heartedly in love with 4th while not with 8th? Is it the endgame she was worried about, or something else differentiating the two Princes? (I think I've said my piece, but interested to hearing other's p.o.v.!)
    I speculated several reasons:

    With Ruoxi, she is always scared of the future -- that 8th would have a tragic ending and 4th would go on to murder/act cruelly towards his opponents. To her, the safest option is to never have a relationship with 8th although she did feel very attracted to him. However, she still went ahead and dated 8th in the Mongolian plains against all rationale (and I really think that those few months are the happiest months of her life in Qing dynasty), and it shows that Ruoxi *did* truly love 8th, but never allowed herself to truly fall in love with him. When she failed to persuade 8th to give up his campaign to get the throne, she took it at a very personal level -- i.e. 8th didn't love and trust her enough to give up his ambitions. That truly broke Ruoxi's heart, and that was when she probably felt that she should turn her attention to 4th.

    As with 4th, Ruoxi's interest in 4th is mainly political initially, and I feel that 4th's initial interest in Ruoxi is political as well. After all, who wouldn't want Kangxi's handmaiden to be part of their 'get the throne' team? Who didn't want a spy who is with the emperor 24/7? In contrast, 8th's interest in Ruoxi is purely attraction (initially, although it might have turned political when Ruoxi became chief servant to Kangxi).

    After Ruoxi broke up with 8th, she probably realised that by being stubborn and devoted to the one-husband one-wife concept isn't going fly in ancient China. Besides, she knew that 4th will be the eventual winner, so why not hedge your bets on the winning team? After all, 4th did love her unconditionally, demonstrated through at least 2 incidents:

    (1) His admission that he wanted to be emperor to Ruoxi, and he has never admitted that to anybody else.
    (2) The arrow incident i.e. knee jerk reflex to save Ruoxi's life whilst endangering his.

    All in all, those actions moved Ruoxi, and to her, there was nothing stopping her from truly falling in love with him. That being said, 8th also loved Ruoxi a lot -- to the point where he admitted his previous relationship with Ruoxi to 4th (although some may argue that bits of it may be vengeful in nature) in order to free her, etc.

    Just an interesting thought: say Ruoxi didn't know the eventual outcome of the princes' fight... What do you think would 4th's answer be if she had asked him to give up his fight to get the throne?

    My guess? He would do exactly the same as what 8th did. Does it mean that he loves Ruoxi any less? Nope. There has to be a balance between ambition and love. You can't survive just on love alone.
    Last edited by subdereality; 03-15-11 at 01:53 PM.

  11. #51
    Senior Member Plushie's Avatar
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    Pfftt.... I don't know if I'm THAT bilingual. I can read and understand Mandarin, but translating it is another issue. English is still my first language. Trust me, I scanned the first chapter already and I can see I'm going to have some trouble already. haha. XD

    Ugh don't even mention poetry.... LOL. Good thing there isn't too much poetry in the novel, compared to books like Jin Yong's.

    Hoju you should translate too. You've translated some Gu long. You are probably better than me! =O

    But yah PM me that part you've translated. I'd like to see it.

  12. #52
    Senior Member Plushie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subdereality View Post
    Just an interesting thought: say Ruoxi didn't know the eventual outcome of the princes' fight... What do you think would 4th's answer be if she had asked him to give up his fight to get the throne?

    My guess? He would do exactly the same as what 8th did. Does it mean that he loves Ruoxi any less? Nope. There has to be a balance between ambition and love. You can't survive just on love alone.
    He won't agree with her request that's a given. At the same time, if she didn't know about the outcome at all, she would never asked that question in the first place. There's no reason for her to.
    Last edited by Plushie; 03-15-11 at 02:09 PM.

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plushie View Post
    He won't agree with her request that's a given. At the same time, if she didn't know about the outcome at all, she would never asked that question in the first place. There's no reason for her to.

    Actually, she would have plenty of reasons to ask the very same question. It has been reiterated several times in the book that fighting amongst family members for the throne is the norm in royal families (可惜出生于帝王之家), and it would make sense for Ruoxi to ask her beloved to give up his quest for the throne even without her foreknowledge of the eventual outcome. After all, there can only be one winner, and the 'losers' would end up with tragic endings (胜者为王,败者为寇). Being Ruoxi, she's very scared of losing the ones she loves, at least in the first 2/3rds of the novel anyway.

  14. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plushie View Post
    Ah and don't get me started on Gong. I really dislike Yu Zheng, the scriptwriter and producer (?) of Gong. The man has no sense of professionalism at all. What a waste of talents like Yang Mi and co. >=( Honestly Gong wouldn't be so bad if Yu Zheng didn't kept advertising it as something it isn't. His blatant plagiarism puts me off too.
    When I was watching some of the Yu Zheng's interviews, I felt like chucking an egg at him. He said something like... 'Nothing's 100% original'. Dude, there's a difference between reusing themes and blatantly plagiarising intellectual property. Some of the lines and scenes in Gong were lifted out of Meteor Garden and Hana Yori Dango. While he didn't claim to own Kangxi and his sons, he committed CHARACTER ASSASSINATION!

    *_* Also? If he wanted to do a light-hearted comedy drama regarding time-travelling and the Kangxi's sons, he should have stuck with the genre from the beginning to the end. Instead? He did a light-hearted romantic comedy with a bunch of plagiarised scenes from other dramas. Then, halfway through, he decided to turn it into a serious drama with loads of crying and heavy themes. In the end? It seems that Gong was a Jack of all trades but master of none. It's neither here nor there.

    I bet you, 《清空万里》would be a much better television comedy than Gong.

  15. #55
    Senior Member cutzie's Avatar
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    I'm so excited that Plushie wants to do some translations. Maybe we could gather a group of people to help translate the book. Kind of like a Fansubbing team except it's fantranslating(?) I'll be happy to help out too, except my Chinese is kind of subpar. I'll try to help with what I can maybe with the editing/QCing?

  16. #56
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Plushie View Post
    Hoju you should translate too. You've translated some Gu long. You are probably better than me! =O

    But yah PM me that part you've translated. I'd like to see it.
    Plushie, check your PM. I sent you what I had translated.

    This is so different from translating Gu Long. So many footnotes to explain Qing peerage titles. >_<
    If we can get a couple other people, I could jump in and do some translating. I'm just a little nervous to commit to too much. My free time is only after my little 8 month old baby has gone to bed and I'm done tidying up for the day. I'd be translating at snail's pace. For now, I can help finish off Ch 1(1) if you'd like. There's not much left. (I'm assuming you're working off http://vip.book.sina.com.cn/book/cha...155_53832.html)
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  17. #57
    Senior Member Plushie's Avatar
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    ^^ Thanks Hoju! Your translations helped a lot.

    I am currently working on chapter 1 and have managed to get up to where you have stopped as well. I've kept most of your translations intact, because it's already fairly well done. ^^ I did change some stuff here and there. I've also added some more tidbits on the footnotes which took a lot longer than I expected.

    All and all, I hope I can crank the thing out by the end of the week. Sorry I can't translate any faster. XD

  18. #58
    Senior Member yanfeng's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by subdereality View Post
    Actually, she would have plenty of reasons to ask the very same question. It has been reiterated several times in the book that fighting amongst family members for the throne is the norm in royal families (可惜出生于帝王之家), and it would make sense for Ruoxi to ask her beloved to give up his quest for the throne even without her foreknowledge of the eventual outcome. After all, there can only be one winner, and the 'losers' would end up with tragic endings (胜者为王,败者为寇). Being Ruoxi, she's very scared of losing the ones she loves, at least in the first 2/3rds of the novel anyway.
    Interesting, I'm with you Subde in the sense that I agree the real reason Ruoxi gave 4th a chance and could allow herself to be touched and fall in love was because there was no spectre of "doom" hovering over her. As you say there's "nothing stopping her" here as opposed to with 8th. And so she let herself fall entirely in love. Though once she did there wasn't any turning back even though at some point it became clear she was killing herself for it!

    I also agree Ruoxi might have allowed herself to fall in love if she didn't know the outcome for 8th, but I actually agree with Plushie that she would not have asked either 8th or 4th to back down.

    It's a BIG ask, and she knew it was a huge risk. I think she only did it because she knew it would save 8th's life for sure. Not _all_ brothers of the emperor get killed after they ascend, even if they were competing before (see 14th, 10th etc.) so if she didn't know it would cost their lives, I'm guessing she wouldn't have asked any more than she asked them to give up their other wives (which would have been more possible than giving up vying for the throne!)

    Only thing is that it might still take a few years of her despairing of doing anything different to accept the multiple wives idea. I think in a way it was giving up on being able to 'retire' on her own that led her to accept 4th first (and then fall in love later). She she still might have ended up rejecting 8th anyway... though I don't think she would have choosen 4th later... maybe 8th again, or (my favorite idea) more likely 13th since she had a great friendship with him and she trusted him probably the most of all the Princes.

    And hey, one could do worse than marry someone like 13th who's a good pal!

    (But all in all, this implies that Ruoxi allowed herself to fall in love out of calculated need. She needed protection- she realized she was naive to depend on Kangxi's good opinion to get her off of a marriage. And she accepted 4th's honest view that she ought to just find a person who could give her what she wanted- be it love, or safety or a chance to get away from the Forbidden city- and at least in that sense get to try to control her fate by asking the Prince to ask for her hand before she gets arbituarily (as she almost did to the doomed and awful Crown Prince!) married off.)

    Hooray on translating- Hoju, my guess is that readers will not be as concerned about the exact position of a relatively minor character. If we simply keep the main characters straight and let the enurchs be enurchs and maids be maids concubines and wives to those, and nobility be just that general title as well, my guess is we'll make our lives a lot easier without compromising reader happiness!

    Yay, I'll wait for you two's Chap 1... maybe I'll jump ahead and do half of a future chapter and then send over to Plushie and Cutzie so Cutzie you can do QA can Plushie you can put it in when you get to that point? I just don't want to translate in overlapping fashion and need QA/QC for my work!

    PS Hoju, yup, sina is my source reading as well, although I _think_ it is actually missing something from Ruoxi's death scene... because I never got to read it!
    Last edited by yanfeng; 03-16-11 at 11:00 AM.

  19. #59
    Senior Member Liu Xiao Xiao's Avatar
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    YAY!!!!!!!!!!!: THANK YOU SO MUCH EVERYBODY!!!


  20. #60
    Senior Member Hoju!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by yanfeng View Post
    Hooray on translating- Hoju, my guess is that readers will not be as concerned about the exact position of a relatively minor character. If we simply keep the main characters straight and let the enurchs be enurchs and maids be maids concubines and wives to those, and nobility be just that general title as well, my guess is we'll make our lives a lot easier without compromising reader happiness!
    That's what I thought, too, but then I actually started translating and got to the part where Ruoxi thinks, "... he is Lian Qin Wang, Eighth A'Ge, Yunsi. But right now, he still hasn't been bestowed the title of 'qin wang' and is still only a 'duoluobeile.' " Haha... maybe Plushie has a better solution than what I came up with.

    Yay, I'll wait for you two's Chap 1... maybe I'll jump ahead and do half of a future chapter and then send over to Plushie and Cutzie so Cutzie you can do QA can Plushie you can put it in when you get to that point? I just don't want to translate in overlapping fashion and need QA/QC for my work!
    That's what I'm thinking of doing. I'm jumping ahead to start the translation on Chapter 5. It's far enough out that even at my snail's pace, hopefully I can make some good progress before the translation reaches that point. Plushie, I can send it to you when you get close to that part so you (or Cutzie or someone else) can QC/check for consistency (in names, titles, etc).

    yanfeng, pick a chapter too!

    PS Hoju, yup, sina is my source reading as well, although I _think_ it is actually missing something from Ruoxi's death scene... because I never got to read it!
    Sina is missing a huge chunk at the end. I had to go find another source to read the last part, but it was the old version. I read the end here: http://www.xiaoshuoku.com.cn/sub_list/6470.html
    Last edited by Hoju!; 03-16-11 at 12:43 PM.
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