Author：Verbena C. W，Elaine Yang，Kitten Wang
Love has always been a hot topic in literature, movies, and creative works of all kinds for centuries. Stories set in the fantasy world, with their mysterious background and characters, are especially unique and have countless fans. The tale of how the beast turned into a prince in Beauty and the Beast, and the unforgettable human/vampire love story in “Twilight” have mesmerized many people.
China has a rich tradition of myths and fairy tales, with many love stories featuring a fantasy element. Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio, an ancient classic of ghost stories, is well-known throughout the world. With the advancement of the internet, more authors of fantasy stories have been creating new classics and sharing them online. In these stories, not only is the leading couple stunning, the secondary characters are also beautiful. The characters often meet by chance in a fantasy world, after falling in love inside paradise, they encounter many obstacles in their realm and have to overcome endless challenges. The stories feature humans, gods, and monsters forbidden from relationships or risk being banished and never to be reincarnated. Stories like these have enchanted audiences far and wide. In 2015, the TV show The Journey of Flower set a daily record of four hundred million online views, with total online views surpassing 20 billion. The mysterious fairy world, the daring teacher/apprentice romance, and the heroine’s tortured journey all left indelible impressions on the audience.
In 2017, before fever for The Journey of Flower has faded, many social media sites and search engines have become enraptured with an all-new fantasy romance, To the Sky Kingdom. Bai Qian, a fox princess, was in the Kingdom of Kunlun to learn her craft, after becoming involved in a battle between the monster Qing Cang and the Sky tribe, she lost her beloved teacher. Seventy-thousand years later, Bai Qian defeated Qing Cang again, however, she also lost her power, her memory, and was demoted to a mortal being. In the forest, Bai Qian ran into the injured prince of the Sky tribe, Ye Hua. After falling in love, she followed Ye Hua to the royal court, where she was blinded by Su Jing, a romantic rival. After giving birth to a son, she jumped off the Zhuxian Pavilion to kill herself, however, the act actually broke Qing Cang’s curse on her and she became a god again. She was still tormented by the memories of Ye Hua, however, so she drank a memory-erasing potion. Three hundred years later, Ye Hua recognized Bai Qian at an East Sea banquet. The two long-suffering lovers would be able to reunite, except there’s more challenges for them… During the airing of the show, national TV ratings surpassed 1.6% in China, with more than six hundred million web views in 12 hours, 10 billion views in 2 weeks, and more than 20 billion views to date.
A lot of media outlets have wondered why fantasy novels and movies are becoming more and more popular in China. Some fans have answered, “We watch it for the heartbreaking drama, we cry for their fate so we can feel better afterwards.” Some fans also joked, “We don’t have so many obstacles in our love lives, so we need the barriers and dangers in a special fantasy world to live vicariously, this way we could feel the drama too.” Some younger audience members have answered that they wanted to be as gorgeous as the characters in these fantasy shows, possess supernatural powers, and long for their other half in a beautiful fantasy world too. The popularity of To the Sky Kingdom has now crossed over internationally, with many overseas audience members looking forward to the movie version airing later this year, which will undoubtedly launch another wave of popularity for fantasy stories.