The year is 1402, the first year of the reign of Yongle, Emperor of the Ming Dynasty.
In a fit of rage one day, the impulsive and ill-tempered Emperor orders the execution of royal physician Jing Qing and his entire family.
All die, save one – Jing Qing’s eldest daughter (Tang Wei) – who is rescued by a nobleman named Sun Zhong. The latter adopts her and names her Sun Ruo Wei.
The manipulative, power-mongering Qingzheng Cult has plans for Sun Ruo Wei, however, and plots to marry her off to one of the Emperor’s sons.
But the Cult’s plans hit an insurmountable obstacle when fate intervenes – and she ends up being made the official concubine of Emperor Yongle’s grandson, Zhu Zhan Ji (Zhu Ya Wen).
In September 1424, Zhu Zhan Ji’s father takes the imperial throne upon the death of the Yongle Emperor, with Zhu Zhan Ji becoming the Crown Prince and heir to the title.
Just a few months later, though, Zhu Zhan Ji’s father dies suddenly. Zhu Zhan Ji accedes to the throne, becoming the Xuande Emperor.
Despite finding herself in a union with the grandson of the hateful man who took her family’s life, Sun Ruo Wei discovers that the Xuande Emperor is very unlike his grandfather. Little by little, she starts to believe that goodness and perhaps love live within his heart.
When she gives birth to a son – the new Crown Prince – she must also think about how to help him rule, and one day become Emperor in his own right.
Will Sun Ruo Wei forsake her dreams of vengeance for the good of the Empire…and true love? And will her good judgment help secure the future of the dynasty?
“Ming Dynasty” is a 2020 Chinese period drama series directed by Zhang Ting.