Drama Series: The Untamed
Based on the novel Mo Dao Zu Shi by Mo Xiang Tong Xiu.
Elle: So there was once a tweet and then there was a reply to that tweet and that is how this collaboration started.
We totally did not plan to post this on Xiao Zhan’s birthday but here we are.
It’s just meant to be. Like Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. (I rhymed).
It’s quite awesome how we started drafting right away and we just happened to finish the post in time for Xiao Zhan’s special day. Without him, Wei Wuxian’s character would not have come to life the way it did. So thank you for being born Xiao Zhan ❤
Rose: Happy birthday Xiao Zhan! We love you so much and we dedicate this post to you. ❤
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MDZS/THE UNTAMED? The story of how you fell into the rabbit hole.
Elle: I just recently got on the train that is Mo Dao Zu Shi this July when I got home after the quarantine and it was a fun ride! I watched the drama first (The Untamed). 50 episodes in 3 days. Can you imagine? That was some ride. Then I immediately looked for an english translation of the novel. Yes, I am that kid who often wants to compare to the source material. The book vs movie kid. And I found that I appreciated the series even more after reading Mo Xiang Tong Xiu. Special thanks to the fans who translated the novel! The characters were fleshed out properly in my head after that and thus continued my descent into their world.
I only heard about the drama because of Wang Yibo and now here I am knee deep into the different adaptations of the series. After watching the drama and reading the novel, I immediately started the donghua. I just could not wait! By the way, this is my first ever BL series and it did not disappoint.
Rose: I’m impressed you finished The Untamed in three days! I started watching The Untamed by myself. I think I was at 12 episodes. I went on a trip to an island with two friends and we ended up watching The Untamed during the trip. They had no prior exposure to the show and were willing to watch where I had left off. To my surprise, they were immediately hooked! We ended up watching it on Day 2 of the trip. Afterwards, we watched it over voice chat every weekend until its completion. The Untamed is special to me for a number of reasons. One of the reasons is because I was quite touched that my friends expressed interest in a show I liked.
After I finished The Untamed, I started watching Mo Dao Zu Shi and Mo Dao Zu Shi Q. In fact, Mo Dao Zu Shi Q is still airing! It’s a chibi donghua, kind of like Attack on Titan Junior High.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve listened to the soundtrack. A lot of the cast sing their character songs which makes it so meaningful. The actors and actresses that starred as Wei Wuxian, Lan Zhan, Jiang Cheng, Wen Ning, Lan Xichen, A-Qing, and the youths sang songs on the soundtrack. Isn’t that the coolest?
WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE SONG FROM THE SOUNDTRACK?
Elle: I think hands down it’s Wuji. The WangXian song. The one Lan Wangji composed in the turtle cave for Wei Wuxian and it’s also the one that made LWJ able to recognize WWX when he returned. This song is very meaningful in a lot of ways.
“wén dí shēng dú chóu chàng/
Listen for the melody of a flute, alone in sorrow
yún shēn yè wèi yāng/
The nights in the clouds are long”
“Hear the flute, alone in its melancholy
The night is still young at Cloud Recesses (LWJ’s home)”
The instrumental in the beginning, the way the track began, was already a beautiful introduction and then added to it the deep and melodious voices of Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo which makes it all the more alluring. The first time I listened to the track, it felt like heaven in my ears and it is still the same even now. Interesting twist that the rapper, dancer and actor Yibo can also sing so well! And some notes in the song are quite high too so I was really impressed! Xiao Zhan, I understand, is also an idol and he is definitely a talented vocalist. This was my first encounter with Xiao Zhan and I’m already in love with his acting and now his voice in the OST too. I want more! It was quite a deviation from his voice in the drama which led me to research about the voice actors who lent their voices to Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian. Dubbing is fairly common to Chinese dramas and I admit it adds to the performance of the onscreen actors too.
But more on the track.. Lyrics wise of course it was also on point. The soundtrack already packed a wallop even without the lyrics and so when you add the meaning behind it, it just hits you differently. More deeply. I had to rely on translations but I think they delivered the meaning really well. But of course some meanings are lost in translation and some fans said that the lyrics are really beautiful when understood properly in the original language. But no matter, because the way I feel about the song just proves that music really transcends barriers. ♥️
“yòu wén qín xiǎng/
The Qin (Wang Ji zither) can be heard again
chén qíng wèi jué/
Chen Qing (Wei Ying’s flute) is still sounding”
The lyrics also mentioned Wei Ying’s thoughts and what he told Wangji when everyone shunned him for his supposedly crooked path. That he will follow what he thinks is right and his heart/conscience will be the judge of whether it is right or wrong. It also echoed Jin Guangyao/Jiang Cheng’s words in the series about how he is The Untamed hero at best but also someone that can be despised by others if he doesn’t conform with their ways.
“hóng chén zhōng huǐ yù dé shī rú hé qù liáng/
In this world, how do we measure praise and condemnation”
There are also references in Wuji about some scenes in the series and also about the two main protagonists. It was interesting to see different translations and the meaning behind the lyrics. The drama as a whole emphasized on the music part because the characters also used instruments as their weapons.
Ultimately, Wuji is the theme song of the series and it helped tell the story of two people who lost and found each other again, and how these two consider each other as their soulmate.
Side note: The OST album as a whole really sounds great! Even the character tracks and the way it tells the story from their own perspective, really adds to the depth of each character.
Rose: I love how you broke down the lyrics like that. My favourite song is also Wuji. I love all of the versions – WangXian duet, Lan Zhan solo, Wei Wuxian solo, the version by Bibi Zhou, the instrumental version, and the piano version. In fact, I bought a kalimba so I could play this song!
Of the different versions, my favourite would have to be the WangXian duet. While the solo versions are still beautiful to listen to, it feels complete listening to the duet. After all, this is their special song. I listen to this song several times a week. It’s one of my top five favourite songs of all time. I love that the background uses traditional instruments. When I listen to this song, I think of The Untamed and all of the memories resurface. Every time, I am reminded of how much I love this series.
Elle: Same! And whenever I listen to Wuji, it makes me want to watch or read the series all over again. I wonder if you already have a Kalimba post? Or are you planning on sharing something soon? ^_^
Rose: I feel the same way. I’ve posted a video of me playing Wuji (badly) on my Instagram. I learned the second half of the song right after I posted but I don’t remember the tabs. I’ll have to learn it again…
That’s it for Part 1! Elle will be posting Part 2 on her blog so be sure to check it out! It’ll be longer than this post as we will be discussing deeper topics. Thanks for reading.