Tasting the Three Kingdoms: between history and heroic legends

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“Three Kingdoms” is history, and “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” is a heroic legend. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties in China, popular literature with citizen taste developed. For a time, “joking” became popular in history, and one of the directions of “joking” is to rewrite history into a heroic legend.

The romance of the Three Kingdoms is a very successful rewriting. The success lies in the good handling of the relationship between “emptiness” and “reality”. On the one hand, it can take into account the main context of history, on the other hand, it has exceptionally well portrayed heroes, so that for hundreds of years, the images of Zhugeliang, Guan Yu and others have been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people, and even entered the fairy pedigree of folk beliefs.

In recent decades, with the development of technology, teleplay has become a new form of literary expression. Especially in the stage presentation, once upon a time, four Dragon suits in Peking Opera ran back and forth holding flags, indicating that 100000 soldiers were freehand enough, but the realism was poor and not enjoyable; TV can show a much larger scene, with thousands of people appearing in the camera at the same time, which is very spectacular. This is the unique technical advantage of TV and film.

However, in the general idea, the breakthrough of TV series is not obvious. Just like the new version of the Three Kingdoms, including the Three Kingdoms films with considerable investment in the past two years, there is more or less an embarrassment, that is, it seems to be in a dilemma between history and heroic legends. On the one hand, the creators actually take the novel Romance of the Three Kingdoms as the blueprint. On the other hand, they claim to make a return from the romance of the Three Kingdoms and return to a more real history. For example, the film “Red Cliff” emphasizes that the actual commander of the battle of red cliff is Zhou Yu rather than Zhugeliang. For example, the new TV series “Three Kingdoms” hopes to let the audience know that the position of Cao Cao in history is not what the novel says, but much better than that.

How about the effect? There are different opinions. According to the opinions of the masses on the Internet, there are fewer flowers and more bricks. I think from two aspects of this problem, Internet public opinion doesn’t mean everything, but it can’t be said that when the audience scolds, they are low-level and don’t understand it. They still have to go back and find their own reasons.

Let’s say that Cao Cao is a hero that the new Three Kingdoms wants to reshape. Three of my friends have written three paragraphs about this new image of Cao Cao. The first friend wrote a sentence saying that Cao Cao would “be an old man, an old man” if he cursed on TV; The second friend wrote a paragraph saying that Cao Cao’s public comments on Guan Yu and Zhao Yun were: “I love him to death”; The third friend was the funniest. He wrote a long article, saying that the new version gave him the impression that “the prime minister likes to pee”, because Cao Cao peed several times on TV. Of course, “details determine success or failure”, but the question is not whether to make details, but how well the details are done? Compared with Cao Cao, a political figure, military commander and diligent poet in history, a few specious spoken words and informal details in life are not enough to explain the problem at all. To really explain the details of the problem, it is necessary to look for meaningful historical moments. This is a way to seek truth while there is no lack of story.

And if you don’t care so much about reality, or focus on creating a heroic legend, the way can be much “wild”. In fact, the “heroic legends” in the history of Chinese novels have a feature that they mostly describe “a group” rather than “a” hero. Of course, the most famous is the water margin. Lu Zhishen, Wu Song, Lin Chong, etc. Although there are less than 108 people, all of them are brilliant. There are always one or twenty people whose personalities, talents and experiences are remembered by people; Another example is the “Shuo Tang” series of novels formed in the Ming and Qing Dynasties, including Qin Qiong, Cheng Yaojin, Shan xiongxin, Luo Cheng, and so on; The romance of the Three Kingdoms is the same. Liu Bei is not fighting alone. This character can finally stand up and borrow too much light. If it weren’t for the legends of Zhugeliang, Guan Yu, Zhang Fei and Zhao Yun, which are so many heroes, had they all gone to uncle Liu’s big “three part story”, Liu Bei’s image would not be very convincing.

Therefore, to make Cao Cao a new hero, it is better to spend more energy on shaping his team than to vigorously shape Cao Cao alone. From Guo Jia, Cheng Yu to Xu you, from Cao Ren and Dian Wei to Xu Chu and Zhang Liao, there are a lot of characters that can be polished. If these people can stand up, Cao Cao can be very fresh even if he is not as good as Liu Bei. If we feel that Cao Cao’s character image is a little lonely, I think it is not because Cao Cao himself has been shown to be thin, but because Cao Cao’s force and the team as a whole have not been fully shown. In this sense, the influence of the novel the romance of the Three Kingdoms has never been broken.

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