Startling by Each Step

步步惊心 / Bu Bu Jing Xin


  • Liu Shi Shi as Maertai Ruo Xi / Zhang Xiao
  • Nicky Wu as Yin Zhen (4th Prince)
  • Kevin Cheng as Yin Si (8th Prince)
  • Yuan Hong as Yin Xiang (13th Prince)
  • Lin Geng Xin as Yin Ti (14th Prince)
  • Ye Zu Xin as Yin’e (10th Prince)
  • Damian Lau as Kangxi Emperor
  • Zhang Lei as Yin Reng (Crown Prince)
  • Annie Liu as Maertai Ruo Lan
  • Liu Yu Xin as Gorolo Ming Yu

Year: 2011

Episodes: 35 (45 minutes)

Opening: One Persistent Thought by Hu Ge and Alan Dawa Dolma

  • Deng Ni De Ji Jie by Liu Shi Shi
  • Ai De Lian Yi by Alicia

Ending:  San Cun Tian Tang by Yan Yi Dan


Zhang Xiao, a contemporary, ethnically Han Chinese young woman from the 21st century, accidentally travels back in time to the Qing Dynasty period during the reign of Kangxi Emperor after experiencing a deadly combination of traffic collision and electrocution, resulting her somehow reliving the life of one of her previous incarnations and forcing her to assumes the identity belongs to her past avatar: Maertai Ruoxi, teenage daughter of a Manchu nobleman, who also had a near-fatal incident in her own time which Zhang awakes from.

Being stranded in the past, in the body of a centuries earlier incarnation of herself, and believe by many of Maertai’s family and friends that the sudden change of her behavior and memory loss is resulted of her head injury, Zhang Xiao awares that there will be a dangerous power struggle known to history between the scheming princes for the throne, which will results Aisin-Gioro Yinzhen to succeed as the Yongzheng Emperor after his father’s death. Zhang Xiao tries to change the future outcomes for the better, hoping to prevent any casualty as written in the future without interfering a man’s destiny, while trying to find a way to return to her time period. However, Zhang ultimately realizes that, not only she fails to alter the course of the approaching events, but also, under a predestination paradox, she is fated to become an instigator of the tragedy she tries to prevent resulted by her actions in the past and the princes’ romantic affections towards her.

Essbee’s Opinion


I’m easily influenced by other’s opinions. When I first heard of this drama, I was ‘meehh’ because I have no interest towards historical dramas. However, I heard that it was a huge success in China, so I decided to take a peak. After a dozen minutes of the drama, I was totally captivated into the whole plot. Starting with a fantastic idea, a modern person from 2011 goes to the past, and continuing through historical events.

I’ve been so attached to all the characters. I feel their happiness, pain and hardships.. Since this drama was inspired from a bestseller book, the plot is already known by netizens. One of the first thing I heard was the change of ending; it became a little more light-hearted than in the original story. I will mention that the summary is well written, especially the part “she is fated to become the instigator of the tragedy she tries to prevent”.

I’m going to explain a little the historical context. I’ve never learned about it, but I will try to explain it as well as I can. Kangxi is an emperor from the Qing period. He is known to be one of the greatest emperor in history. He officially had 24 sons and 12 daughters. The crown prince was supposed to be his second son, but he was demoted. There are a few princes that actually wanted to be the next and there is a fight between the brothers. The fourth son end up accessing to the throne. I cannot confirm all the infos, but I do believe that the drama sounds quite realistic in this aspect.

On the other side, Maertai Ruoxi is a fictional character. We all know that it would be impossible for a woman to go back in time, but I think this girl is amazing. She learnt the language and manners from the past so fast! I would guss that her sister is also a fictional character. However, there are many supporting roles that are inspired of real people, for example, 8th prince’s wife.

I’m not a person who can judge the ‘historic’ side, because I do not know the actual story. However, I think this drama actually helped me understanding more about the Kangxi period. I also adore the acting of all characters. Each personality was presented wonderfully and really, I have been touched sooo many times! I also loved how the writer never forgot that the girl was from 2011, and she knows what happens to every single person… except herself. So here goes a presentation of important characters… Just skip this if you find it long, I had to much to brag.

Ruoxi is our adorable protagonist. She goes from an immature young girl to lovable, reasonable person. Of course, at first, she could not accept some events because she knows about nowadays’ human rights. However, she fits in the society very fast. The reason why everybody likes her is for her lively character and down-to-earth decisions. She knows how to analyze situations and understands other people.

Her sister’s personality cannot be seen through because she is very silent. However, we can see her sense of justice in certain aspects.

Then, i would like to talk about the first friend Ruoxi had. It is the 10th prince. He is a playful and childish person. He seems like someone who isn’t interested into throne because he hates studying. He would only become a responsible person after many years of marriage. His wife is he girl we despite at the beginning. She often attacks Ruoxi verbally, but she will also grow up through her relationship with her husband. I also have to mention her older sister, the 8th prince’s wife. We don’t like her at the beginning neither, but she shows herself as an understanding and caring person.

The 8th prince is a very intelligent man. He will have feelings toward Ruoxi, but will get rejected. I feel that he is a “perfect-man” type of person, during the few moments where he and Ruoxi were together were so cute. He will do some actions that are hateful, but i believe all of them did selfish actions.

His greatest rival is the 4th prince. This one was also remarkably smart. He ends up accessing to the throne, but He did through wrong actions. He is the lover of Ruoxi, but she would have a hard time forgiving him.

The 13th and 14th princes’ were very important too; they were supporters to their brothers and Ruoxi. I personally prefer them to the others. They were not cruel towards others and had qualities that I admired.

Finally, I will mention the emperor, Kangxi. Since his character was not as important as the brothers, I cannot determine whether he w as as great as history says. However, he does not seem like a selfish king. He admits his mistakes and gives his possible to his population.

Furthermore, all the actors and actresses are beautiful people, and this always makes the story even more interesting. Though I hate voice-overs, I did not mind it that much, since the drama completely captivated me. The filming was wonderful and the set up was well-thought. Not matter rain, snow, fire… everything was perfect. The development over many years were done smoothly and I just can’t think of something I hated.

The OST is very pretty, but the one that will stay deep in my heart is ‘Silver Heaven’, the ending theme song. Every time I hear it now, I almost feel as if I was back in that period.

Finally, as I was expecting, the finale was going to be very dramatic. Since this drama has been inspired from a novel, the ending was known by the viewers. However, as soon as the producers announced a different ending, there had been rumors of an ending, less tragic. At the end, even if I was not 100% satisfied, I felt like the story had to be concluded in this way. A extremely sad ending, yet so beautiful and touching. Of course, the real meaning remains to be left to the viewer to determine. [Spoiler]As for me, I believe that the appearance of an identical person to the 4th prince was meant to be an reincarnation. I strongly believe that he comes back after he leaves the museum and he will be engaged in a relationship with Zhang Xiao. [/Spoiler]


Other trailers throughout the whole storyline with English Sub –>> SPOILER ALERT


5 thoughts on “Startling by Each Step

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