@nirvanainfirefest‘s prompt for week 3 was AUs. 

I decided to go with lesbian au for this because we have an elaborate story for this in the discord chat.

1. Mei Changsu -> Su jiejie
Xiao Jingyan -> Princess Jing/Emperor Jingyan
3. Lin Chen -> Lin Chen jiejie
4. Princess Jing very dashingly ‘rescuing’ Su jiejie from the kidnapping that Su jiejie set up.


This case concerns the truth and innocence. It is not just about convicting two people.

Then who else do you intend to convict?

This case concerns cardinal principles of right and wrong. All those who are guilty, all those who failed their duties, need to be punished.

I love how Mu Qing and Yan Que just take the level of shade up to a thousand and are basically saying, “Emperor, why you such an immoral ass?”

more thoughts on morality in Nirvana in Fire

I wrote about this at LENGTH on Thursday but it turns out I still have more to say. This is a little shorter though:

At the start of NIF, Prince Jing is treated as an objectively terrible choice for a run at the throne. The other princes consider him a non-issue. The rest of court dismisses it. When MCS has his “I choose you” moment, Jingyan himself laughs in his face. There’s a bunch of dialog about how Jingyan is politically weak, and furthermore that this is largely due to his nature. He’s stubborn, outspoken, and morally uncompromising. In addition to his disadvantageous birth and history, he’s not willing to play the game enough to get promoted. He’s barely able to keep himself alive in the dangerous court atmosphere.

Mei Changsu is the only one who sees Jingyan as a viable option because he’s the only one willing to imagine a court that isn’t toxic with intrigue and factionalism. It’s true that Jingyan really can’t survive the politics of the court as it is, but while everyone else concludes that this means Jingyan is doomed to obscurity and military service and an early death, Mei Changsu concludes “If good people can’t survive in this court than we must build a better court where they can.”

It takes him twelve years of planning and two of hard work, but he does actually get his better court in relatively short order. And if the second season is any indication, this better court endures for at least the entirety of Jingyan’s reign.

I absolutely love this. “How can a good person survive in a toxic political climate” is a REALLY common court politics conflict. It’s a trope. Usually it’s presented as a binary choice: compromise your morals or fail in your goal. I love how this show looked at these two bad options and made a third option that no one thought of but that was, in retrospect, completely obvious. If the system is terrible, fix the system. The problem was never Jingyan in the first place. Interestingly, from the sound of it, this factionalism is a fairly new thing. Yes there was a LOT of conflict associated with Xiao Xuan’s rise to the throne, but Jingyan and Mei Changsu’s childhoods appear to have been relatively stable and safe. It took less than twelve years for the entire court to collectively forget that the factionalism wasn’t normal or necessary. Of the many incredible gifts that this show gives us maybe the best is this reminder: first, that this kind of political toxicity is not normal or necessary, and second, that systems that require moral compromise for survival are not meant to be preserved or protected. We always have the option of choosing people over systems.