How closely does the movie follow the accounts given in The Records of the Grand Historian?
I. Ying Zheng (King of Qin/First Emperor)
II. Jing Ke
and Lu Buwei (the Prime Minister)
In the ninth year of the king’s reign [238 BCE] someone reported that Lao Ai was not a real eunuch at all, but had constantly been engaging in secret misconduct with the queen dowager, and that she had borne him two sons, both of whom were being kept in hiding. “He and the queen dowager have agreed,” said the report, “that, when the present king passes on, one of these sons shall succeed him.”
The king thereupon referred the matter to his officials for investigation and all the facts were brought to light, including those that implicated the prime minister Lü Buwei. In the ninth month Lao Ai and his three sets of relatives were executed, the two sons whom the queen dowager had borne were put to death, and the residence of the queen was officially transferred to Yong. Lao Ai’s followers were all deprived of their household goods and sent into exile in Shu.
The king of Qin wanted to put the prime minister Lü Buwei to death as well but, because he had won great distinction in the service of the former king, and because so many followers and men of eloquence came forward to speak on his behalf, the king could not bring himself to apply the death penalty. In the tenth month of the tenth year [237 BCE] of his reign the king of Qin removed Lü Buwei from the office of prime minister.
Later...[the king] ordered Lü Buwei, the marquis of Wenxin, to leave the capital and proceed to his fief in Henan. A year or so later [235 BCE] he learned that so many of the followers and envoys of the various feudal lords were travelling to Henan to call on Lü Buwei that their carriages were never out of sight of each other on the road. Fearful that there might be some plot afoot, the king sent a letter to Lü Buwei saying, “What did you ever do for the state of Qin that Qin should enfeoff you in Henan with the revenue from a 100,000 households? What relation are you to the ruler of Qin that you should be addressed as ‘Uncle’? Be so good as to take your family and retinue and move your residence to Shu!”
Lü Buwei judged that he would only have to suffer increasing insult and, fearing the death penalty, he drank poison and died. [Records of the Grand Historian, 164-5]
IV. Lady Zhao
contemporary global situation resembles that of the late Warring States
period in many ways.