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Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11: Favorites

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Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11 – Quick Summary

In Raven of the Inner Palace episode 11, “Groundwork,” more details came out about Xue Cheng, the lady-in-waiting who had been murdered. A human, not an animal, had chewed out her throat! Shouxue Liu/the Raven Consort asked Ying Wen to investigate the Quechao Palace, which is where the lady-in-waiting had come from. Will he find anything? Will he find too much? And will the Raven Consort ever realize how the people around her feel about her?

Note: This post may include spoilers, so be cautious.

Favorite Quote from Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11

Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11: Jiu-Jiu used her anger to disguise her pain

I think it hurt Jiu-Jiu’s feelings when Shouxue sent her away. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Shouxue started as such a lonely character. Watching as she met Jiu-Jiu, Ying Wen, and the Emperor Gaojun Xia has been one of my favorite aspects of this show. Good character development in general is fun to experience. But when it starts with a sympathetic character who grows into something more fulfilling, that’s really cool.

That’s pretty much what happened here.

But it hasn’t been a smooth journey! When she gets particularly upset, Shouxue still sends Jiu-Jiu away instead of confiding in her. Like when Ying Wen asked Hongqiao So to sketch the eunuch he had secretly observed at the Quechao Palace. The Raven Consort took one look and knew it was the Owl.

Seeing that Shouxue was upset, Jiu-Jiu asked if she should make some tea. Shouxue asked to be left alone. Jiu-Jiu left her alone to go do some anger-sweeping. She flung up so much debris that Siha Yi asked her what was wrong.

Jiu-Jiu, in her most aggrieved voice, said that sometimes the Raven Consort accepted care, and sometimes she pushed Jiu-Jiu away.

She said (16:39), “She’s like the pet cat I once had.”

My cat confirmed that the Raven Consort’s behavior is consistent with a cat’s. Don’t ask how I translated to and from cat-ese – it’s a long story.

Favorite Moment from Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11

Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11: The Emperor's words grounded Shouxue

The Emperor’s words seemed to help Shouxue. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Setup: From Isolation to Community

Shouxue’s story is about her learning to love – and to accept love. That’s a wonderful thing, but it’s fraught with pain, too. As the Raven Consort learned in this episode.

Consider what happened when Ying Wen didn’t come back. Shouxue became more and more agitated until she basically threw herself out the door to go after him. Jiu-Jiu found her first, and then Gaojun and Qing Wei. As the Emperor and Jiu-Jiu helped Shouxue to her feet, Gaojun asked her what was wrong.

She explained that she had sent Ying Wen to investigate, and that he hadn’t come back. The Emperor felt confused; he did not know about Shouxue’s suspicions. So Shouxue decided to put all her cards on the table. She told him, Jiu-Jiu, and Qing Wei that the eunuch who had gotten close to the Magpie Consort probably intended to kill the Raven Consort.

Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11: The Raven Consort could  not forgive herself

Shouxue had a hard time forgiving herself for what she feared happened to Ying Wen. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

Shocking, right? Only Qing Wei didn’t seem surprised, but I think he’s just a low-key kind of guy.

But having gotten that out in the open, Shouxue’s self-loathing came out, too. She blamed herself for whatever had happened to Ying Wen. She said that she should have gone herself.

“I was afraid,” she said (20:19), “so I made Wen Ying do it.”

This is where it got interesting. I remember Wen Ying accepting the assignment. He seemed eager. The Raven Consort did not “make” him do it. He wanted to help, and he knew that the job entailed risks. But that’s how Shouxue saw her journey: as a movement of independent/isolated strength to weakness and cowardice. She made that clear when she added (20:35), “Since I’ve started keeping people around me, I’ve become afraid of dying. I’ve become weak.”

Delivery: All That Entails

As someone who detests relying on anyone, I get where she’s coming from. I’ve had to learn over a good number of decades that relying on people you can trust, and being a person who can be reliable and trustworthy in return, is the very foundation of community and family.

Gaojun seemed to understand. He helped her put the pieces together when he said (20:54), “It’s okay to be weak.” The Emperor telling her that so bluntly had to have a positive impact. What he said next might have rubbed some the wrong way, but I get what he was saying. He put his hands on her shoulders, looked her right in the eyes, and said, “Don’t forget that you’re a 16-year-old girl. It’s not so bad to have you depend on us.”

Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11: The Emperor honestly told Shouxue what she needed to hear

The Emperor was not only honest; he said what she needed to hear. Capture from the Crunchyroll stream.

I’m going to argue that he didn’t mean, “oh, you’re just a girl, so no wonder you’re weak.” He knows how powerful Shouxue can be. I think he meant that she was a kid and should not have to shoulder her burdens alone.

She did not act as if he had demeaned her. Farm from it. His words seemed to help regain her equilibrium. I also liked how it almost completed her journey from complete loner to a treasured member of a small community.

And given what happened in the final scene, I think she’s going to need all the support she can get!

What did you think of Shouxue and the Emperor playing Go? What were your favorite moments? Feel free to let me know in the comments!

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2 thoughts on “Raven of the Inner Palace Episode 11: Favorites

  1. This was such a great episode of character growth. I’m a bit preoccupied with what we learned about the Owl, though.

    Where the Raven is a priestess to her goddess, and pays a heavy price for it, the Owl seems to serve something darker, more vile. The Raven is upfront and honest about what she can and can’t do, and she mostly works to help other souls find peace. The Owl, by contrast, is clearly taking advantage of a woman’s pain and sorrow, promising to bring back the dead and engaging in some sort of grotesque blood ritual which will probably turn a person’s stomach when they reveal the details – a’la that slurping sound that someone reported. We’ve seen one expression on that dead face, at the end of the episode, a vicious, cruel smile with sharp teeth, the first outward showing of the savage creature that lies beneath that stoic exterior, the kind of creature that preys on young women, rips their throats out, and collects their blood. This makes me quite afraid for what happened to the Raven’s eunuch friend, having been surprised and ambushed from behind.

    I will say, you are correct, she didn’t “make” him do anything. He saw in her expression that there was something very amiss, and he chose to go look deeper. Knowing that a girl had been murdered already, he probably had eyes more open than most to the risks. Here’s hoping he got away alive, though probably not unscathed.

    1. First, I want to say that I remember you mentioning owls and ravens are antagonistic in nature. I just want to say, on behalf of crows everywhere, it’s the owl’s fault.

      Just wanted to get that out there.

      Good description of the contrast between the Raven Consort and Owl. I’m really worried Quing Wei, too. Given how realistic this show has been regarding violence, I really don’t see him surviving this. I hope I’m wrong!

      For his sake, certainly. But also for what it would do to Shouxue.

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