The Legend of the Condor Heroes


The Legend of the Condor Heroes

"The Legend of Condor Heroes" (zh-tsp|t=射鵰英雄傳|s=射雕英雄传|p=shè diāo yīng xióng zhuàn) is one of the most acclaimed wuxia novels by Jinyong, first published in 1957 in "Hong Kong Commercial Daily". This is the first novel of the "Condor Trilogy". The title in Chinese literally translates as "The Legend of the Eagle Shooting Heroes". Jinyong revised all of his novels including this one in the 1970s and again in the 2000s.

Chapters

There are 40 Chapters in the 2nd and 3rd editions of this work, each chapter has a four-character title:
# 風雪驚變 Incident in the Blizzard
# 江南七怪 Seven Freaks of the South
# 大漠風沙 The Winds of the Steppes; 黃沙莽莽 in third revision
# 黑風雙煞 Dark Winds' Twin Killers
# 彎弓射鵰 Crooked Bow Shooting Condors
# 崖頂疑陣 Mysterious Happenings at the Cliff's Summit
# 比武招親 Joust for a Spouse
# 各顯神通 Each Demonstrating His Skill
# 鐵槍破犁 The Broken Spear
# 冤家聚頭 Gathering of the Foes; 往事如煙 in third revision
# 長春服輸 Changchun Admits Defeat
# 亢龍有悔 The Proud Dragon Repents
# 五湖廢人 The Crippled Person of Five Lake
# 桃花島主 The Lord of Peach Blossom Island
# 神龍擺尾 The Dragon sways its Tail
# 九陰真經 Arts of the Nine Negations
# 雙手互搏 Technique of Ambidexterity
# 三道試題 3 Test Questions
# 洪濤群鯊 Great Waves of Sharks
# 竄改經文 Doctoring the Scripture; 九陰假經 in third revision
# 千鈞巨岩 Heavy Weight of 1000 Rock
# 騎鯊遨遊 Roaming with the Sharks
# 大鬧禁宮 Disturbing the Forbidden Palace
# 密室療傷 Healing in the Secret Room
# 荒村野店 Desolated Inn in the Village
# 新盟舊約 New Allies, Old Stipulations
# 軒轅台前 Pavilion's Platform
# 鐵掌峰頂 Peak of Mt. Iron Palm
# 黑沼隱女 The Lady Beyond Black Marsh Pit
# 一燈大師 Reverend Monk Yi Deng
# 鴛鴦錦帕 Lovers' Handkerchief
# 湍江險灘 Dangerous Shore Beyond the Rushing River
# 來日大難 Upcoming Disaster
# 島上巨變 Radical Changes on the Island
# 鐵槍廟中 In the Temple of the Spear
# 大軍西征 The West Expedition
# 從天而降 Descending from the Sky
# 錦囊密令 Secret Order Within the Brocade
# 是非善惡 Distinguishing Good & Evil
# 華山論劍 Duel on Mount Hua

ummary

The story was set in the Song Dynasty (960-1279) and at the beginning of the Jurchens' invasion of northern China. The first part of the novel revolved around the friendship of two young village men, Yang Tiexin (楊鐵心) and Guo Xiaotian (郭嘯天) who became heroes in their own right as they fought the invading Jin soldiers. The bond between the two was so deep that they swore to each other their unborn children would become either sworn brothers or sisters (if both were of same gender) or be married (if they were of different genders).

The story focuses on the trials and tribulations of their sons following Guo Xiaotian's murder and Yang Tiexin's disappearance. Guo Jing (郭靖), Guo Xiaotian's son, grew up in Mongolia, under the protection of Genghis Khan. Yang Kang (楊康), on the other hand, grew up as a prince's son in the Jin Empire.

worn Brothers

Yang Tiexin (楊鐵心) and Guo Xiaotian (郭嘯天) were neighbors and sworn brothers. The story begins in 1200. One day they meet the Taoist priest Qiu Chuji (丘處機) and invited him in from the cold to share some drinks together. During this visit, Qiu Chuji was pursued by some men whom Qiu quickly dispatched. Qiu Chuji striked up a fast friendship with the two young men and presented each with a dagger and promised to return to teach their sons martial arts.

Later that evening Yang Tiexin's (楊鐵心) wife Bao Xiruo (包惜弱) goes to hide what she thought was a corpse from the episode with Qiu. To her surprise the person was still alive. He claimed to be a person on business when he was struck by an arrow. Bao treated his wounds and he disappeared in the morning. She did not tell Yang Tiexin about this man.

Winter passed and Bao Xiruo (包惜弱) was now quite advanced in her pregnancy. One evening, Song soldiers led by Duan Tiande (段天德) arrived to arrest Yang and Guo as traitors. Yang Tiexin and Guo Xiaotian resist but they were overmatched. Guo Xiaotian was killed but Yang Tiexin disappeared and was presumed dead. Bao Xiruo (包惜弱) was captured by the Song troops but was rescued by the same man Bao Xiruo rescued earlier (from the evening with Qiu). He turned out to be Wanyan Honglie (完顏洪烈), the sixth prince of Jin. Due to her pregnancy, Bao Xiruo decided to stay with Wanyan Honglie.

Guo Xiaotian's also pregnant wife Li Ping (李萍) was captured by Duan Tiande but was pursued by Qiu Chuji. Duan Tiande took refuge at the Cloud Pavilion Temple and was protected by his uncle, Kumu the Monk. The Monk summoned the Jiangnan Qi Guai (Seven Freaks) (江南七怪) to fight with Qiu Chuji. Qiu Chuji and the Seven Freaks injured each other gravely in a battle and Duan escapes taking Li Ping with him. Qiu (丘處機) and the Seven Freaks (江南七怪) decide to settle their differences in a competition devised by Qiu. Qiu would track down Yang's unborn son and teach him his martial arts. The Seven Freaks would do likewise with Guo's unborn. After eighteen years when the children are grown, they would compete against each other as a competition between Qiu and the Seven Freaks.

Li Ping eventually escaped Duan Tiande and gave birth to Guo Jing (郭靖). She and the infant Guo Jing were taken in by Mongolian nomads. While still a little boy growing up in Mongolia, Guo Jing saved a prominent Mongolian general, Jebe (哲別) from Genghis Khan. This event led to his subsequent tutelage under Jebe and his closeness with the Khan and his family. His childhood friend was Genghis' son, Tolui (拖雷) and daughter, Hua Zheng (華箏). Under Genghis Khan's patronage, Guo Jing would become one of his most trusted general and Hua Zheng's fiance, earning the title "Golden Knife Son-in-law". Later, Guo Jing became a disciple of Ke Zhen'e (柯鎮惡) and the rest of the Jiangnan Qi Guai.

Bao Xiruo gave birth to a boy, Yang Kang (楊康). Yang Kang, on the other hand, grew up in luxury and great comfort in the royal court of Jin. His stepfather, Wanyan Honglie was infatuated with Bao Xiruo and his love was also transferred to her son. Qiu Chuji subsequently managed to track down Bao Xiruo and Yang Kang and became Yang Kang's teacher and taught him the martial arts of Quan Zhen Sect (全真教).

Even though Qiu Chuji was a noble patriot, his tutelage of Yang Kang was driven by his selfish motivation to win the competition with the Seven Freaks. Kang grew up with decent martial arts skills but was a master at manipulation. Throughout the story, Yang Kang was constantly in conflict, having to choose between relationship with his loving stepfather Wanyan Honglie (who indulged him with wealth and luxury) and his patriotism toward fellow Han Chinese. Ultimately, he would choose to remain loyal to Wanyan Honglie, and become one of the most empathetic antagonists in the entire trilogy (The Return of the Condor Heroes and The Heavenly Sword and the Dragon Saber).

"The Copper Zombie" and "The Iron Zombie" (銅屍鐵屍)

The Seven Freaks searched for six years for Guo Jing. Eventually, they stumble upon the six year old Guo Jing and were quite disappointed at his lack of intelligence. Nonetheless, they arrange to meet him at midnight to begin his tutelage. That Evening the Seven Freaks accidentally stumble upon the practice grounds of Mei Chaofeng (梅超風) "The Iron Zombie" (鐵屍) where she was practicing "Nine Yin White Bone Claw" (九陰白骨爪) on a human sacrifice. She was responsible for blinding Ke Zhen'e and murdering his older brother many years earlier. The Seven Freaks knew they wouldn't be able to defeat both Copper Zombie(銅屍), her husband, and Iron Zombie (鐵屍) together so they decided to attack Mei Chaofeng while she was alone. The Seven Freaks were not able to penetrate her "Iron" body training but did succeed in blinding her with Ke Zhen'e's poison darts.
Mei Chaofeng summoned her husband, Chen Xuanfeng (陳玄風) "The Copper Zombie," (銅屍) for help. Chen Xuanfeng (陳玄風) struck Zhang AhSheng, (Fifth Brother of the Seven Freaks) with a lethal hit with his "Heart-Destroying Palm" (摧心掌). Chen Xuanfeng grabbed a hold of little Guo Jing who was there to meet the Seven Freaks. During the battle with the freaks Chen Xuanfeng had used a technique to make his body invincible to the attacks of the Seven Freaks but this left a nodal location vulnerable at his navel. The frightened Guo Jing instinctively took out his little dagger and stabbed Chen Xuanfeng in the navel and thus killed him. Zhang AhSheng died from the strikes he received from Chen Xuanfeng (陳玄風).

Mei Chaofeng, who was blinded in that battle, swore to avenge her husband. Unable to recognize Guo Jing by sight, her only clue was the dagger and name on it: Yang Kang. When she tracked down her quarry, her subsequent attacks on Yang Kang led her to realize that she had the wrong boy. She subsequently became a master to Kang. Yang arranged the human sacrifices Mei needed to perfect her Bone Claw, and in exchange she taught him the basics of that technique. Despite the self-serving nature of each, they eventually developed a strong teacher-disciple bond over the years. All of this, was done without Qiu Chuji's and Kang's parents' knowledge, showing a glimpse of Yang's ability to deceive and willingness to break with tradition.

As the time neared for the duel, the Jiangnan Qi Guai sent Guo Jing on a journey to Song Country. In his wanderings, he met an impish young girl named Huang Rong. Guo Jing befriended her instantly, while Huang Rong was impressed by his open and honest nature. When it was revealed that she was the daughter of the eccentric (and oft reviled) martial arts master and Lord of Peach Blossom Island Huang Yaoshi, Guo Jing still stood by her.

The Contest for a Spouse

Unknown to his family, Yang Tiexin actually survived Wanyan Honglie's massacre and was now traveling through the lands disguised as a martial arts performer by the name of Mu Yi (穆易). His adopted daughter, Mu Nianci (穆念慈), accompanied him. It was during one of their travels through Jin country that Mu Yi first met Guo Jing and his son (although he did not know it yet), Yang Kang (who was called Wanyan Kang, 完顏康, at that time).

Mu Yi wanted to marry his daughter off to whoever could defeat her in a martial arts contest. Yang Kang came upon the contest and decided to join, easily defeating Mu Nianci who was smitten by the handsome prince. However, he refused to marry her, taking her shoe with him as a souvenir. Guo Jing fought with Yang Kang to retrieve the shoe and the girl's honour. The result was the first explosive fight scene between the two.

The fight ended after Yang Kang's mother came to the scene, but Yang Kang still refused to return the shoe to Mu Nianci. Mu Yi immediately recognized Yang Kang's mother, his own wife, but did not reveal his identity.

Later, Yang Kang captured Mu Nianci and her father, whom he had accidentally hurt during the fight with Guo Jing. Bao Xiruo came to free them both, and Mu Yi went to visit her later that night to reveal his true identity to her. Yang Kang ran into them and his mother told him that Yang Tiexin was his true father, but he refused to believe it. It would crush the romantic feelings he was developing for Mu Nianci.

Wanyan Honglie found out about this meeting and Bao Xiruo's plan to flee with her old husband and chased them down with his army. He knelt in front of her and begged her to stay, but she refused. She wanted Yang Kang, who was making progress on accepting his true father, to come with them, but he stayed with his stepfather and both Yang Tiexin and Bao Xiruo committed suicide, as they had no hope of escaping the capital of Jin alive. By following the man who is an enemy of his own country and the one who caused the death of his own mother, Yang Kang was then branded a traitor and reviled by even Qiu Chuji. Qiu Chuji admitted defeat to the Seven Freaks even though Yang Kang was superior to Guo Jing but of far inferior character.

Following the death of Yang Kang's parents, Huang Rong wanted Guo Jing to follow her and see the rest of the world. With his teachers' tacit approval, Guo Jing followed Huang Rong out into the world.

The Greats

Huang Rong and Guo Jing wandered the land, viewing sceneries and enjoying themselves. Guo Jing and Huang Rong then met the Northern Beggar Hong Qigong, leader of the Beggars' Sect and one of the Five Greats. Huang Rong recognized Hong Qigong and convinced him to teach the 18 Dragon Subduing Palms to Guo Jing, by exchanging one style of the skill with one day of good food, cooked by Huang Rong. Being a culinary connoisseur, he agreed and taught Guo Jing 15 of the 18 Dragon Subduing Palms. Huang Rong and Guo Jing then went on to Lake Tai, met up with the 6 remaining freaks again, and exposed a false Qiu Qianren. Wanyan Kang was captured by the people at Lake Tai, and Mei Chaofeng appeared. She fought with Guo Jing, but the fight was ultimately interrupted by Huang Yaoshi, who was looking for Huang Rong. He did not like Guo Jing. Huang Yaoshi - a master of all, with no regard to rules and traditions - cannot accept the fact that his daughter would fall for the dim-witted, plain-looking Guo Jing. Also, he wanted to kill Guo Jing for the death of Mei Chaofeng's husband but he was too proud to lower himself and fight Guo Jing. Guo Jing promised to meet him on his island in one month's time, to prevent dragging the 6 Freaks into a fight with Huang Yaoshi.

Guo Jing and Wanyan Kang talked to Duan Tiande, who was captured along with Wanyan Kang, and found out the truth behind their parent's deaths, - Wanyan Honglie's plot. Duan Tiande was then killed by Wanyan Kang. They then headed off to kill Wanyan Honglie but they never did. Wanyan Kang called himself Yang Kang in front of Guo Jing but he had no intention to kill off Wanyan Honglie. During their travels, Huang Rong and Guo Jing saved a girl from Ouyang Ke. During the fight, Hong Qigong appeared and officially took the couple as his disciples. Guo Jing learnt the remaining 3 stances of the Dragon Subduing Palms. Later, Guo Jing, Huang Rong, and Yang Kang found Wanyan Honglie, but Yang Kang decided to be loyal to his adopted father, and Wanyan Honglie was able to secretly escape. Almost a month passed. Guo Jing and Huang Rong headed to Peach Blossom Island.

When they arrived at the island, Huang Rong and Guo Jing separated. She wanted to try to assuage her father's anger towards Guo Jing first. Guo Jing wandered around and found Zhou Botong, martial brother of the Wang Chongyang (one of the Five Great Martial Artist), living in a cave on Peach Blossom Island. Zhou Botong told Guo Jing of the origin of "The Five Greats" phrase ('Dong Xie Xi Du Nan Di Bei Gai Zhong Shen Tong' or 東邪 西毒 南帝 北丐 中神通), the Nine Yin Manual, and the relationships between him, Huang Yaoshi, Ouyang Feng, and Wang Chongyang. Later, he convinced Guo Jing to become his sworn brother despite their age difference.

Zhou Butong was trapped in the cave by Huang Yaoshi who blamed him for the death of his wife, Feng Heng and wanted to take the Nine Yin Manual from Zhou Botong's possession who refused due to the promise with Wang Chongyang. Zhou Botong, with his playfulness and infatuation for martial arts, had learnt to separate his mind so that he could have his left hand fight his right alone in the cave.

Zhou Botong wanted Guo Jing to fight with him so it can be a four man fight. He also taught Guo Jing the Vacant Fist style, how to fight as two different people by separating his mind, and tricked him into memorizing the entire Nine Yin Manual (which Guo Jing unknowingly obtained from Mei Chaofeng.)

Guo Jing received a note from Huang Rong saying Ouyang Ke (Ouyang Feng's and his brother's wife's son) was betrothed to her by her father and is coming to visit with Ouyang Feng. Guo Jing found his way there to interrupt their meeting. Hong Qigong appeared to try to betroth Huang Rong to Guo Jing. Huang Yaoshi decided to have a contest between Ouyang Ke and Guo Jing to decide things. Guo Jing ended up winning (despite Huang Yaoshi's test favoring Ouyang Ke) and revealed he knew the entire Nine Yin Manual by heart.

The Sea Voyage and The Island

Still, Guo Jing was driven from the island with Zhou Botong and Hong Qigong on a leaking ship when Huang Yaoshi thought that Guo Jing lied to him about giving Zhou Botong the second part of the Nine Yin Manual. The three were captured by Ouyang Feng and Ke. Zhou Botong was tricked into jumping into the ocean later after the capture, because Ouyang Feng wanted him to write out the Nine Yin Manual. Guo Jing eventually provided him with a fake Nine Yin Manual. With the fake manual in hand, Ouyang Feng tried to kill everyone and burned down the ship, planing to escape by using a skiff. Hong Qigong fought with Ouyang Feng to get the skiff but was both poisoned and injured by Ouyang Feng.

Eventually, Hong Qigong and Huang Rong were stranded on an island with Ouyang Ke. His martial arts disabled and on the verge of death, Hong Qigong passed on the command of the Beggars' Sect to Huang Rong, along with the unbreakable revered Dog-hitting Staff. Huang Rong tricked Ouyang Ke into a trap, and his legs were crushed under the weight of the boulder. At this time, Ouyang Feng and Guo Jing floated to the island. Even Ouyang Feng could not move the boulder alone. Eventually Ouyang Feng threaten to kill everyone if Ouyang Ke dies, so the rest of those on the island helped to get Ouyang Ke out.

Uneasy truce developed as Ouyang Feng needed Hong Qigong's students to care for Ouyang Ke. Huang Rong later found remedy for Hong Qigong's condition in the form of clam, but sadly not for the recovery of his martial art skill. Later, a raft built by Guo Jing and Huang Rong for the sake of escaping the island was stolen by Ouyang Feng and his nephew. Huang Rong and Guo Jing managed to sink the rafts, along with both passengers.

Both parties were picked up by Wanyan Honglie's ship, who was on a sea voyage south. There, they met Zhou Botong, who came riding in on the back of a tamed shark. Ouyang Feng had to let Hong Qigong and the rest go as not to break his word.

Return to the mainland

Returning to the mainland, upon the request by Hong Qigong, Huang Rong, Guo Jing, and Zhou Botong went to Song's Capital where a sicken Hong Qigong wished to again taste a special dish prepared for the emperor. There they again met Wanyan Honglie, his subordinate, and Ouyang Feng. Huang Yaoshi, believing that Huang Rong drowned while searching for Guo Jing, blamed the Seven Freaks, who raised Guo Jing, for her death. Eventually, Huang Yaoshi was manipulated into fights with the Seven Freaks and Quanzhen priests. The conflicts were initially dissolved with the appearance of Huang Rong. In the aftermath of their battles, Yang Kang took the Dog-hitting Staff and was taken away by beggars, mistaken him for a new chief; Guo Jing and Huang Rong rushed to the Beggars' meeting to stop Yang Kang; and Guo Jing promised to go to the Peach Island to face death at the hand of Huang Yaoshi.

Beggars' Sect Meeting

At the Beggars' Sect meeting, although Guo Jing and Huang Rong were captured by the Yang Kang, they later ousted Yang Kang as a fake who sought to usurped the Beggars' sect for the benefit of the Jin Dynasty. She proved she was the new chief by showing the Dog-Hitting staff technique and befriending Lu Youjiao, one of the senior beggar. Yang Kang fled with Qiu Qianren to the Iron Palm Sect.

General of the Mongolian Empire and The Path of the Hero

After Huang Rong deputised the affairs of the Beggar Sect to Lu You Jiao, Guo Jing and Huang Rong got a military textbook (Wu Mu Yi Shu) from Tie Zhang mountain. This textbook contained invaluable military maneuvers and wisdom that the famous general Yue Fei used against his enemies before being framed and persecuted.

Returning to Mongolia, Guo Jing joined Genghis Khan's expedition against the Persian army. With the help of Huang Rong, Guo Jing learned and applied the knowledge from the book to his troop. In time, he became one of Genghis Khan most trusted and undefeated generals using superior military maneuvers from the textbook. He captured the last Persian stronghold and captured Wanyan Honglie, ally of the Persian army and the murderer of his father, on site.

But soon, Genghis Khan ordered the massacre of every citizen in the fallen city. Horrified, Guo Jing intervened and fell out of favor with his benefactor. Soon his mother was forced to commit suicide, after telling her son to remember his Song heritage. Fleeing from the Mongol army, he continued his search for his beloved, Huang Rong.

At Mount Hua, he was reunited with Huang Rong. There he participated in the fighting matches among the "Greats" (Huang Yaoshi, Ouyang Feng, and Hong Qigong). Although he was defeated by Ouyang Feng, he showed himself to be one of the greatest martial artists in his time, and finally received the blessing from Huang Yaoshi for his marriage with Huang Rong.

He received a letter from Hua Zheng telling him that the Mongolian forces, under the command of Tolui, had begun their invasion of Song China and that Hua Zheng was the one who turned in Guo Jing and his mother. He rushed to Xiang Yang, a strategic fortified city to organize a defense. There, he found out that Genghis Khan was dying at Western Xia and dearly wished to meet him. Guo Jing and Tolui returned to the warlord's side with Huang Rong for his remaining days. Before Genghis Khan passed away, Guo Jing and he debated over the meaning of the word "hero".

Returning to Song China, Guo Jing and Huang Rong once again met Mu Nianci, and discovered that she had given birth to a son, whom she conceived with Yang Kang. Remembering his sworn brother's villainous and horrific fate, Guo Jing hoped that the child's fate would never be as cruel as his father. He purposefully named the child Yang Guo (楊過), "Guo" (過 / 过) means "fault" in Chinese, and style name "Gaizhi" (改之 / 改之) means "correct it". Guo Jing vowed that one day he will teach Yang Guo and give the child a chance to redeem his family's legacy and honor. Here the author noted that Yang Guo would become a hero of his time, facing numerous dangers and trials. Guo Jing would become one of the greatest heroes in the late Song Dynasty, dedicating his life to defend his countrymen against foreign threats.

The story would continue in "The Return of the Condor Heroes" (神鵰俠侶).

Characters

Protagonists

*Guo Jing (郭靖) - The son of Guo Xiaotian and Li Ping. He was somewhat dim-witted and honest to a fault, but his perseverance made up for his slow learning. He was also absolutely loyal and possessed a strong moral sense. He learned martial arts from the Seven Freaks of the South, as well as internal gongfu methods of the Quanzhen sect. He later learned the fearsome Xianglong Shiba Zhang, or the 18 Dragon-Subduing Palms from Hong Qigong.
*Huang Rong (黃蓉) - The daughter of the eccentric master of Peach Blossom Island, Eastern Heretic (One of the Five Greats)Huang Yaoshi (黃藥師), she initially disguised herself as a little beggar and was befriended by Guo Jing. Clever, quick witted but also somewhat spoiled, Huang Rong falls for Guo Jing's honesty and righteousness. She learned martial arts and formations from her father.
*Mu Nianci (穆念慈) - The foster daughter of Yang Tiexin, adopted while he was wandering in disguise as Mu Yi. Hong QiGong once taught her some martial arts, instantly making her a better martial artist than her foster father. She fell in love with Yang Kang.
*Guo Xiaotian (郭嘯天) - Guo Jing's father and sworn brother of Yang Tiexin. He died in a plot hatched by Jin prince Wanyan Honglie.
*Yang Tiexin (楊鐵心) - Yang Kang's father and sworn brother of Guo Xiaotian.
*Bao Xiruo (包惜弱) - Yang Kang's mother and Yang Tiexin's wife. Believing that Yang Tiexin was dead, she agreed to marry Wanyan Honglie in order to ensure the livelihood of Yang Kang.
*Li Ping (李萍) - Guo Jing's mother and Guo Xiaotian's wife. After Guo Xiaotian's death, she managed to flee and was rescued by Mongolian soldiers.
*The Seven Freaks of Jiangnan (江南七怪) - also called the Seven Variants composed of Flying Bat Ke Zhen'e, Magic Hands Scholar Zhu Cong, Horse Deity Han Baoju, South Mountain Woodchopper Nan Xiren, Smiling Buddha Zhang Ahsheng, Hidden Hero of the Busy City Quan Jinfa, and Yue Sword Maiden Han Xiaoying. Due to a bet with Qiu Chuji, they searched for Guo Jing in Mongolia and when they found him, taught him martial arts.
*Mu Yi (穆易) - Mu Yi is really Yang TieXin. Yang TieXin simply took the Yang Chinese character to split it into Mu and Yi and changed the Mu. 木易~穆易

Antagonists

* Yang Kang (楊康) - The sworn brother of Guo Jing and a prince of Jin. He was the son of Yang Tiexin and Bao Xiruo. He is the epitome of the Chinese proverb, "Love the father who raised you over the father who sired you." Initially introduced as Wanyan Kang (before his biological father is revealed), he lives the spoiled life of a prince's son, his personality progressively darkened as the series went on, as he became obsessed with power, betraying family and friends and masters. He was the disciple of Quanzhen's Qiu Chuji, and secretly became the disciple of Mei Chaofeng. He eventually met with a tragic end when he tried to kill Huang Rong. Yang Kang struck the metal spikes on Huang Rong's protective vest, which had contained blood having Ouyang Feng's extremely virulent snake venom. It was the exact same location that she was hit by one of the dying Jiang Nan 6 Freaks (Guo Jing's first few martial arts teachers) who had been poisoned or attacked by Ouyang Feng and Yang Kang, primarily in order to sow discord between Huang Rong's father and Guo Jing. The scheme was planned out by Yang Kang himself. Ouyang Feng refused to save him as he discovered from Huang Rong that Yang Kang was his illegitimate son's (who was known to everyone else as his nephew as son came as a result of his affair with his brother's wife) true killer. Unable to save Yang Kang and unable to persuade Ouyang Feng to save him, his stepfather Wanyan Honglie, was forced to leave him for dead. His corpse was eventually consumed by wild crows, who also fell dead from the poison in his body. He fathered a son with Mu Nianci, named Yang Guo.
* Ouyang Feng (歐陽鋒) -Father of Ouyang Ke and lord of White Camel Mtn. He goes by Western Poison, or Xi Du. One of the five great martial arts experts in the world, he has committed many heinous acts, including discrediting his "brother," Huang Yaoshi, by impersonating Huang Yaoshi and killing 5 of the 6 teachers (the Jiang Nan 6 Freaks) of Guo Jing. This incurred Guo Jing's wrath. Guo Jing cut off ties with Huang Rong and set to kill Huang Yaoshi. Only did he learn that Huang Yaoshi wasn't the culprit did he realize his mistake at casting Huang Rong aside when he set off for revenge against her father. Ouyang Feng has coveted the Jiu Ying Zhen Jing (Martial Arts Scroll) since he was introduced into the story. He received tidbits from Guo Jing and Huang Rong. But to thwart his evil ambitious, Guo Jing and Huang Rong taught him martial arts movements that messed with Ouyang Feng's qi, driving Ouyang Feng insane.
* Ouyang Ke (歐陽克) - The nephew and disciple of West Poison ("Xi Du") Ouyang Feng. In truth, Ouyang Feng was his father, who had an affair with his sister-in-law. Infamous for abducting and raping many young women, Ouyang Ke desired a union with Huang Rong. He was killed by his friend, Yang Kang, who wanted to be the disciple of Ouyang Feng (who would pass his skills to only one disciple, which was Ouyang Ke at that time) and also because Ouyang Ke's lust for Mu Nianci.
*Qiu Qianren (裘千仞) - The leader of Iron Palm Sect(鐵掌幫). He was unable to participate in the first tournament at Hua mountain, and thus was believed to be less powerful than the Greats. He took great exception to this, and was prideful of his skills. He was known for powerful Iron Palm and his qing gong skills (speed travelling), which was advanced enough to enable him to traverse over water, earning him the nickname of water-skimming (水上飄).
* Qiu Qianzhang (裘千丈) - Qiu Qianren's elder twin brother. Because they look so much alike, he often pretended to be his brother. Qiu Qianzhang has almost no martial art skills and depended on his brother's reputation or trickery to cow his opponents. He was usually used for comic relief.
* Wanyan Honglie (完顏洪烈)- Sixth prince of Jin and Yang Kang's foster father. Having fallen in love with Yang Kang's mother, he arranged for Dian Tiande's attack on the Guo and Yang families, so he could pose as a hero and "save" her. As the king's favorite son and a likely candidate to be the next Jin Emperor, he searched for Yue Fei's War Manual to consolidate his country's domination over the Southern Song and counter the threat of Genghis Khan and the Mongols. His love for Bao Xirou is also transferred onto Yang Kang, his adopted son.
* Chen Xuanfeng (陳玄風)- Husband of Mei Chaofeng and renegade disciple of East Heretic ("Dong Xie") "Huang Yaoshi" (黃藥師). After deciding to elope with his younger apprentice sister and lover, Mei Chaofeng, they stole the second volume of the Jiu Yin Zhen Jing manual. Unable to fully understand the theories therein, they used what they could decipher and adapted their own training methods, which became cruel and dark along with their personalities. He was called "The Bronze Zombie" (銅屍) and with his wife earned the nickname "Twin Ghosts in Black Wind" (黑風雙煞). He was killed rather accidentally by the young Guo Jing in Mongolia. His skin, tattooed with the writings of the manual, was flayed by his wife and preserved.
* Mei Chaofeng (梅超风)- Wife of Chen Xuanfeng and renegade disciple of East Heretic ("Dong Xie") "Huang Yaoshi". She was blinded by Ke Zhen'e in a fight against the Jiangnan Freaks, and secretly became the teacher of Yang Kang. She was called "The Iron Zombie" (鐵屍) and with her husband earned the nickname "The Two Ghosts in Black Wind" (Heifeng Shuang Sha, 黑風雙煞). Despite the fact that she and her husband referred to each other in impolite terms, only her love of her husband could trump her devotion to her teacher. She eventually proved her devotion to her teacher, Huang Yaoshi, when she sacrificed her life for his blocking a surprise attack from Ouyang Feng.

The Five Greats

The Five Greats (zh-cp|c=天下五絕|p=tian xia wu jue), or the five most skilled and powerful martial arts masters of Jin Yong's wulin during Guo Jing's time were:東邪 西毒 南帝 北丐 中神通
* Wang Chongyang (王重陽) - Known as Zhong Shen Tong (中神通) or Central Divinity. Before he founded his Taoist school of martial arts, Quan Zhen Sect, he fought for his country against the Jurchens. He won the martial arts tournament on the mountain Hua Shan (華山論劍) and was thus crowned the most powerful of the five. The prize was the sacred book, Scripture of Jiu Yin (九陰真經 "Jiu Yin Zhen Jing"). Before his death, he split the Jiu Yin Zhen Jing into two volumes: the first dealing with internal energy cultivation, the second dealing with techniques to use that internal energy. If the book were to fall in the wrong hands, it could spell disaster, and Wang Chongyang contemplated destroying the manual before he died. But he could not bring himself to do it because it would be disrepecting to the hardwork of the creator. Instead, he decided to direct his apprentice brother, Zhou Botong (周伯通) to find two places to hide the volumes, preserving it for future generations. Knowing that Ouyang Feng desired the book, Wang Chongyang faked his own death and held back his last bit of life force. When Ouyang Feng attempted to steal the book, Wang Chongyang managed to strike with surprise using his last breath, severely injuring and driving Ouyang Feng away. Wang Chongyang died shortly after.

* Huang Yaoshi (黄藥師) - Known as Dong Xie (東邪) or East Heretic/East Evil. His name means "Medicine Master Huang"; nicknamed "Huang Lao Xie" (黃老邪 "Old Strange Huang"). Labeled an eccentric, he did as he pleased and refused to abide by the rules and tradition that governed the world of (江湖 "Jiang Hu") martial arts at the time. This accounted for the fact that almost his complete martial arts repertoire was created by himself, especially his renowned technique the Divine Finger Thrust. He was the master of Peach Blossom Island and at one time had seven disciples. He could usually be seen with his jade flute which, when imbued with his prodigious internal energy, could drive a person to madness. His wife tricked Zhou Botong (周伯通) into allowing her to read the Jiu Yin Zhen Jing, and her prodigious intellect allowed her to copy the work for her husband verbatim. Two of his disciples, Mei Chaofeng and Chen Xuanfeng secretly fell in love with each other and eloped, thinking that Huang Yao Shi would never approve of their relationship. They managed to steal the second volume of Jiu Yin Zhen Jing when they left. Huang Yaoshi's wife tried to scribe the volume out of memory again while she was pregnant. Weakened by the strain, she died during childbirth, giving birth to Huang Rong. Guilt over his wife's death prompted him to study medicine (hence the name Yaoshi) in an attempt to resurrect her, and also left Huang Yaoshi with a blind rage against those who would study the book that killed his wife. He is an honorable man and when he wants an answer he asks it directly for example when Huang Rong and Huang YaoShi met Hua Jen (華箏), Guo Jing's not-yet-wedded wife, he walked up to Guo Jing looked him in the eye and said," Guo Jing, tell this Mongolian girl that you want to marry my daughter and you will never see Hua Jen again. If you say otherwise, I will kill you if you go anywhere near my daughter." He is too proud of himself to admit if he's made a mistake. For example, he regretted breaking all his remaining students legs out of anger after Mei Chaofeng and Chen Xuanfeng ran away. He created a martial art technique that would help them but he claim it was merely an improvement of an old technique because admitting the true purpose of the technique would be akin to admitting that he was wrong.

* Ouyang Feng (歐陽鋒) - Known as Xi Du (西毒) or West Poison. His obsession with the Jiu Yin Zhen Jing blinded him and darkened his personality. Known for his Toad stance and serpent staff, both of which could deliver crippling or even lethal poison. He is able to change the location of his acupoints, which allow him to escape many dired situation. His disciple and "nephew" Ouyang Ke was actually his illegitimate son, the result of a liaison with his sister-in-law. After seizing a slightly changed copy of the Jiu Yin Zhen Jing from Guo Jing, Ouyang Feng began his corrupted training. Despite the improper channeling of his qi, Ouyang Feng's skills were so great he was able to wrench the incomplete teachings into the power he desired; as a side effect, instead of the death any normal person would have earned, he "merely" goes insane. At the end of The Legend of the Condor Heroes, no one could match his martial arts, from Huang Yaoshi or Hong Qi Gong to the rising star Guo Jing. Finally, he was tricked by Huang Rong into seeking the martial artist she claimed he could never defeat. And so he ran off, never realizing that this "Ouyang Feng" she spoke of was his own shadow.

* Duan Zhixing (段智興) - Known as Nan Di (南帝) or South Emperor. He was the ruler of Dali, an independent country in southern China. Famous for his Yi Yang Finger, which had both medical and combat applications. He had four disciples, all of whom were once government officials of Dali, and afterwards were known as the Fisherman, the Woodman, the Farmer, and the Scholar. Guilt over the death of Zhou Botong (周伯通)'s illegitimate child led him to renounce his throne and become a Buddhist monk, and he lived secluded in a mountain monastery with an Indian monk who was known for his ability to treat poison.

* Hong Qigong (洪七公) - Known as Bei Gai (北丐) or North Beggar. He was the eighteenth leader of the Beggars' Sect and loved gourmet food and wine. Known for his Xiang Long Shi Ba Zhang (降龍十八掌 “The 18 Dragon Subduing Palms”), his Dog Beating Stick techniques (打狗棒法). He severed his right index finger out of guilt when his love of food caused him to fail a mission. This as well as his formidable martial arts prowess earned him the name The Nine-Fingered Beggar Master or Jiu Zhi Shen Gai (九指神丐). Hong Qigong seemed to prefer to teach a few moves where needed (cf. Mu Nianci) as opposed to taking on disciples. Huang Rong used Hong Qigong's love of good food against him, forcing him to choose between the food and accepting herself and Guo Jing as his disciples. Naturally, he soon had two official disciples. Later, he made Huang Rong the 19th chief of the beggar sect. At the end of The Legend of the Condor Heroes, Hong Qigong revealed that he's killed 231 people in his life and each kill was justified.

Adaptations

Most of Jinyong's work has been translated into many other media including "The Legend of the Condor Heroes".

TV Series

*The 2003 adaptation was broadcast in Singapore on MediaCorp TV Channel 8 under the English title "Legend of the Arching Hero" although the Chinese title remained unchanged.

Movies

*The first 3 movies of The Brave Archer movie series, were based on "The Legend of the Condor Heroes". Guo Jing was played by Alexander Fu Sheng. The movies were produced by Shaw brothers.
*The fourth movie also by Shaw Brothers was called "Brave Archer And His Mate" with Alexander Fu Sheng playing Yang Guo this time.
*Shaw Brothers then again produced another one called "Little Dragon Maiden" with the late Leslie Cheung as Yang Guo.
*"The Eagle Shooting Heroes", a parody directed by Jeff Lau
*"Ashes of Time", by Wong Kar-Wai
*A made for TV TVB movie also made a parody of the Condor Heroes called "Back In Time". It was headed by a star-studded cast.

Comics

* In 1998, Ming Ho (明河社) (Charm Max) published a 38 volume for Hong Kong illustrated by Li Zhi Qing. This was published in Indonesia by MNC Comics in 2000.

Video Games

*Many of Jin Yong's Wuxia novels have been adapted into video games. "The Legend of Condor Heroes" have been adapted into numerous role-playing games for computers and one (named "Shachou Eiyuuden: The Eagle Shooting Heroes", developed by SCEI) for Playstation.

Non-canonical drafts

There are two previously unpublished drafts related to the novel written by the author: "The Rise of the Condor Heroes" (射鵰英雄前傳) which is supposedly a prequel, and "The Fall of the Condor Heroes" (射鵰英雄後傳) supposedly a finale. However, they are considered non-canonical despite being written by the author himself, as in "The Fall of the Condor Heroes" (射鵰英雄後傳), Jinyong originally depicted Guo Jing and his wife retreating to Peach Blossom Island after the city was conquered and the Southern Song Dynasty beginning its fall, and Ouyang Feng (歐陽鋒) was depicted as a Mongolian ally. Elements of this story were later used in the canonical "The Return of the Condor Heroes" and "Heavenly Sword & Dragon Saber". Both drafts were published in the 2000s.

References

See also

*The Condor Trilogy

External links

* [http://jinyong.ylib.com.tw/ Jin Yong Teahouse] - fansite of Jin Yong's novels in Cinese
*en icon [http://wuxiapedia.com/novels/jin_yong/eagle_shooting_hero Legend of the Eagle Shooting Hero] - Almost-complete English translation of the novel at wuxiapedia.com
*en icon [http://wuxiaworld.org/forum//index.php?showforum=31 Wuxiaworld] - English translations of Jin Yong novels
*en icon [http://www.spcnet.tv/readingrooms/ Jin Yong Reading Room] - English translations of Jin Yong's novels
*en icon [http://condorheroes.silverthreads.net The Forgotten Heroes] - fansite of the TV adaptations
*en icon [http://www.lairofthecondor.tk Lair of the Condor] - fansite of the anime adaptation


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