Guoshi (ROTK12)

Sangokushi 12~13 portrait

Guoshi (郭氏, onyomi: Kakushi), also known as Guo Nuwang (郭女王) or Empress Wende (文德皇后), is Cao Pi's favored consort who became the second empress of Wei. Because she had no sons, she willingly raised Cao Rui after the death of his mother, Lady Zhen.

Role in GamesEdit

Referred to as "Princess Guo", she is a bonus character in the eleventh Romance of the Three Kingdoms game. Like many of the other female officers, she primarily excels at matters involving politics or intellect.

Historical InformationEdit

Guo Nuwang (184 - 235) was born in Xiping County to Guo Yong, a provincial administrator of Nan Commandery, and Lady Dong. She was the middle child amongst five siblings, three of which were boys and one being her older sister. During her childhood years, she displayed an unusual amount of intellect which pleased her father greatly. But when she turned five, her parents suddenly died, leaving their family in further destitution. Guo Nuwang was forced to find work on her own in order to survive.

She became a maidservant for the Marquess of Tongdi before eventually joining the imperial harem of Wei sometime between 213 and 216. There, she caught the eye of Cao Pi who made her one of his concubines. Her shrewdness was said to have helped him become Cao Cao's successor, earning her his gratitude as well as the titles of Lady and Honored Concubine. She also created dissent between him and his wife Lady Zhen when the latter felt neglected by her spouse.

Some sources suspect that Guo Nuwang intentionally fueled the couple's growing friction by pointing out several discrepancies regarding Cao Rui's lineage, leading others to believe that he was actually Yuan Xi's son. When Lady Zhen was forced to commit suicide in 221 for complaining against Cao Pi, Guo Nuwang took over her position one year later. By this point, Cao Pi was willing to bend the rules for his favorite consort as exemplified by his attempts to pardon one of her younger brothers for stealing fabric from the government.

Throughout her tenure as empress, Guo Nuwang was said to have lived frugally and did not enjoy music or extravagance. She stressed the importance of self-discipline as well as the importance of committing good deeds. Towards the other imperial consorts, she treated them fairly while hiding their mistakes from her husband. Not even her relatives were exempt from this treatment as she often advised them to live wisely and not abuse their positions.

At the behest of Empress Dowager Bian (for whom she showed constant filial piety to), she helped convince Cao Pi to spare Cao Hong in 226 despite the enmity shared between the two men. Guo Nuwang was also charged with the task of nurturing Cao Rui since she had no other children of her own to take care of. It is believed that both were on good terms with one another as the empress did not oppose Cao Rui's candidacy to the throne while the newly-inducted emperor, in turn, showered her family with titles and wealth.

After her death in 235, she was buried beside her husband with honors due to an empress. Despite her favorable relationship with Cao Rui, one source claims it deteriorated when the latter learned of her role in Lady Zhen's death from Consort Li. He also discovered that she had Lady Zhen buried with her hair covering her face and her mouth stuffed with rice grain husks so that she would not complain in the afterlife. When Guo Nuwang could not deny the accusations levied against her, Cao Rui ordered her to commit suicide and be buried in the same manner as his mother. Regardless of how she died, her family was still treated well by Cao Rui.

Romance of the Three KingdomsEdit

Lady Guo is introduced in the novel as Cao Pi's latest concubine whose exceptional beauty earned her much praise and affection. Filled with ambition, she plotted Lady Zhen's downfall by having her confidante Zhang Tao accuse her rival of practicing witchcraft to harm their lord. Angered by this news, Cao Pi ordered his wife to commit suicide and had Lady Guo instated as empress. Despite her actions against Lady Zhen, she had no qualms raising Cao Rui.