Welcome to the Song dynasty!
If your historical knowledge comes mostly from TVB shows, it’s won’t be surprising if you don’t know very much about this dynasty. For some reason, the Song dynasty gets very little love from TVB. I believe the last Song era drama was Witness to Prosecution I & II. And TVB has never ventured into the imperial court of Song before King Maker. So here is some background info on the Song dynasty.
The King Maker is set in the Song dynasty. The Song dynasty is split into two time periods: Northern and Southern Song. This is because the capital was moved when Song lost control of northern China to the Jin (“Gold”) Dynasty. The Song Dynasty was most recognized for its scholarly works, including literature, art, philosophy and science. It placed an emphasis on the merits of officials rather than their backgrounds. Agricultural and economic innovations contributed to the prosperity during the period. Famous people from the Song Dynasty include Bao Zheng (包青天), Song Ci (宋慈, the coroner in Witness to Prosecution) and General Ngok Fei (岳飛).
Specifically, this drama is set during the Southern Song dynasty during the reign of Emperor Ningzong, played by Kwok Fung. He was the 13th king of the Song dynasty. He ascended to the throne when his father chose to retire as king and take the title of Taishuang Huang (太上皇). Ningzong was third consecutive Emperor to take the throne before his predecessor’s death. He had two Empresses. The first was Empress Gongshu (Kingdom Yuen).