LOVE OF MAR­TIAL HEROES

Beijing (English) - - FEATURE -

Love is al­ways the first to touch read­ers. In ad­di­tion to the leg­endary jianghu, there must be some­thing be­yond swords­man­ship that con­trib­utes to the great pop­u­lar­ity of Jin Yong's works. Some­thing that arouses res­o­nance in all read­ers. That is deep af­fec­tion.

This can be eas­ily dis­cov­ered when read­ing his works care­fully. Af­fec­tions in his sto­ries, be they hid­den, straight­for­ward, in­ten­sive or im­plicit are like a vin­tage wine, mel­low and se­duc­tive, di­rectly reach­ing read­ers' souls and mak­ing them smile, think or shed tears. Love is an eter­nal theme of the sec­u­lar world, which can send one to the heaven of hap­pi­ness or the hell of suf­fer­ings. All mor­tal be­ings suf­fer be­cause they have love.

Hu Yizhi’s Un­re­quited Love

In the twenty-three years, I only said thirty-nine sen­tences to her. But she said fifty-five to me.

——The Deer and the Caul­dron

Hu Yizhi is a char­ac­ter in Jin Yong's

The Deer and the Caul­dron and is the most fool­ishly pas­sion­ate in Jin Yong's books.

Hu Yizhi's first ap­pear­ance is in a fight in the Li­u­jiang River. He has grey hair, a thin beard, and a dark face full of wrin­kles like a peas­ant, de­spite his ex­tra­or­di­nary kung fu. Sur­pris­ingly, he used to be known as the “Most Hand­some Man” in the jianghu.

A ca­sual look at Chen Yuanyuan more than twenty years ago en­rap­tured him. Af­ter that he re­treated from his pre­vi­ous life and worked as a gar­dener in Duke Pingxi's Man­sion, or a mess cook in a nun­nery, just for a mere chance to get a glimpse of her.

“In the twenty-three years, I only said thirty-nine sen­tences to her. But she said fifty­five to me.” Hu Yizhi even re­mem­bers clearly how many sen­tences they talked with each other, re­veal­ing his in­fat­u­a­tion with Chen. He hap­pily works as a ser­vant, and all he wants in the next twenty-three years is to see her or have a word with her. More­over, he swore he would only love Chen and he would never vi­o­late her by even touch­ing her gown with a sin­gle fin­ger.

Hu tells the novel's main char­ac­ter Wei Xiaobao that he should be glad to sac­ri­fice him­self for the woman he loves. “She may dream of you in the night and oc­ca­sion­ally

think of in day­light,” he says. “Isn't that bet­ter than that she never has you in her heart?”

For Hu Yizhi, love means sac­ri­fice and ded­i­ca­tion with­out re­quest­ing any­thing in re­turn, a pur­suit of peace of mind.

Cheng Lingsu’s Sac­ri­fi­cial Love

My men­tor told me in­tox­i­ca­tion of these three strong poi­sons is cure­less, be­cause he did not be­lieve there is a doc­tor who could save a pa­tient at the ex­pense of her own life. ——The Young Fly­ing Fox

Cheng Lingsu is an ex­tra­or­di­nary char­ac­ter in The Young Fly­ing Fox who is pro­fi­cient in poi­sons, clever and kind­hearted. Ex­cept for not hav­ing a strik­ing face, she is per­fect. In the novel, Cheng falls in love with Hu Fei. How­ever, she finds out that he is in love with some­one else, so her love is hope­less.

Her love for Hu Fei goes be­yond the feel­ings be­tween lovers. She hides her deep af­fec­tion for Hu through­out a long jour­ney, suf­fers from un­re­quited love, and fi­nally dies for him.

“My men­tor told me in­tox­i­ca­tion of these three strong poi­sons is cure­less, be­cause he did not be­lieve there is a doc­tor who could save a pa­tient at the ex­pense of her own life,” says Cheng. “Brother, he did not know ... I could do this for you...” This is most glo­ri­ous but the most painful love.

Huang Yaoshi’s Yearn­ing

Since my wife passed away, I have re­garded all beau­ties of the world as noth­ing. ——The Leg­end of Con­dor Heroes

Jin Yong cre­ated many heroes, but Huang Yaoshi is ex­cep­tional. He is renowned for his match­less kung fu and faith­ful love to his wife. He de­voted all his love to Feng Heng, a clever woman.

In her first ap­pear­ance, Feng Heng tricks Zhou Bo­tong in or­der to get a copy of the Arts of the Nine Ne­ga­tions ( Jiu Yin Zhen Jing) for her hus­band. She writes the ob­scure con­tent word by word from her mem­ory af­ter read­ing the book only once. Two years later the copy is stolen by Chen Xuan­feng and Mei Chaofeng, dis­ci­ples of Huang Yaoshi. In or­der to pacify her hus­band, she writes the book again de­spite her preg­nancy. This ex­hausts her and she fi­nally dies in child­birth.

Huang Yaoshi is torn by the sad­ness of his wife's death and the hap­pi­ness of his daugh­ter's birth.

Huang builds a palace-like tomb in the Peach Blos­som Is­land ( Tao­hua Is­land) which houses all his valu­able col­lec­tions and a por­trait he drew for his wife. He in­scribes her tomb­stone “Tomb of Feng, Host­ess of Peach Blos­som Is­land,” which re­veals nei­ther the sur­name of her hus­band nor her maiden name. Af­ter her death, Huang Yaoshi cuts off all his de­sire for any woman in the world. He swears to stay with his wife for the rest of his life and never leaves the is­land.

Many years later, when Ouyang Feng presents him with beau­ti­ful girls to try to im­prove their re­la­tion­ship, Huang Yaoshi re­fuses, say­ing, “Since my wife passed away, I have re­garded all beau­ties of the world as noth­ing.”

Broth­er­hood of the Three Broth­ers in Demi-gods and Semi-devils

Big brother, do you re­mem­ber what we said when we swore broth­er­hood? We swore to go through thick and thin to­gether, live or die to­gether. To­day you are in trou­ble, how could I leave you alone?

——Demi-gods and Semi-devils

The most im­pres­sive broth­er­hood in Jin Yong's works must be the one be­tween Qiao Feng, Xu Zhu and Duan Yu. Some read­ers may think they were too hasty to swear brotherly loy­alty, but oth­ers be­lieve it re­flects con­ge­nial­ity among men. One drink or con­ver­sa­tion may al­low two strangers in jianghu to be­come sworn broth­ers for the rest of their lives.

Af­ter a bat­tle in the Apri­cot For­est, Qiao Feng is be­trayed by his friends and be­comes a com­mon en­emy of the mar­tial arts cir­cles. The later fight in Jux­i­anzhuang (Heroes Gather­ing Manor) makes him a tar­get that is dis­dained and hunted by the whole world. But his sworn brother stands firmly be­side him. In Shaoshi Moun­tain, when Duan Yu sees all of the more than 1,000 heroes want to kill Qiao, he says loudly, “When you are in

trou­ble, how can I leave you alone?”

The third sworn brother, Xu Zhu, a seem­ingly id­i­otic monk, is not re­ally stupid but sin­cere and hon­est. At Shaoshi Moun­tain, Qiao Feng and Duan Yu are be­sieged by en­e­mies and at the point of death. The lit­tle monk stands up and asks, “El­der brother and younger brother, why don't you call me when you have a drink?” They are loyal to each other, like Du­mas' Three Mus­ke­teers who are “all for one and one for all.”

Though Qiao is mis­un­der­stood by the whole world and ex­pe­ri­ences nu­mer­ous suf­fer­ings, he has two loyal sworn broth­ers who would die for him. It is re­ally a great for­tune for him.

Mu­tual Ap­pre­ci­a­tion be­tween Miao Ren­feng and Hu Yi­dao

The Golden-face Bud­dha sud­denly sighed, “What a pity!” Hu Yi­dao asked, “For what?” The Golden-face Bud­dha replied, “If you were not sur­named Hu, or I not Miao, we must be good friends like Da­mon and Pythias. I have al­ways been ar­ro­gant in the past. This time when I meet you, I am sin­cerely con­vinced. Alas, though the world is big, Miao Ren­feng has no friend ex­cept Hu Yi­dao.”

——Fox Volant of the Snowy Moun­tain

Com­pared with the heroic broth­er­hood be­tween Qiao Feng, Xuzhu and Duan Yu in Demi-gods and Semi-devils, the one be­tween Hu Yi­dao and Miao Ren­feng is sadly mov­ing. They felt like old friends at the first meet­ing and ap­pre­ci­ate each other highly. If not for the so-called blood feud be­tween their fam­i­lies, they would be bo­som friends. But un­for­tu­nately they have to wage a life-and-death strug­gle to sat­isfy the feud. Dur­ing this pe­riod, Hu Yi­dao's wife gives birth to a baby and Miao Ren­feng names the baby Hu Fei.

Later Miao Ren­feng sleeps at the gate of a ho­tel to de­fend Miao and his fam­ily from as­sas­si­na­tion. Hu Yi­dao also goes down a moun­tain in the night and helps Miao Ren­feng to ful­fill his wish, killing Miao's en­emy Shang Jian­ming us­ing the Miao fam­ily's sword­play style. What they do for each other re­veals their mu­tual re­spect and ap­pre­ci­a­tion for each other.

They are fi­nally forced to fight to re­solve their fam­ily feud. They fight for sev­eral days and nights and over time their feel­ings al­ter. Their life-and-death strug­gle changes to mu­tual learn­ing and con­sul­ta­tion. They point out each other's weak­ness and even com­pete with weapons ex­changed so that no one would feel ashamed no mat­ter who was de­feated. Though only get­ting ac­quainted with each other for sev­eral days, they be­come in­ti­mate friends. The blood feud was no longer im­por­tant and they de­cided to set­tle it with one fi­nal fight. Un­for­tu­nately, a vil­lain's se­cret plot ru­ins their plans. Hu Yi­dao and his wife die and Miao Ren­feng lives with guilt for the rest of his life.

Fra­ter­nity among Seven Heroes of Wu­dang

Yu Lianzhou tried his best just now, but could not get out of the in­flu­ence of her whip, scared and as­ton­ished. He cher­ished his younger brother, and said to him­self, “I fight with her first. Even if I die by her whip, my sixth younger brother can dis­cover some­thing about her whip skills. There will be a higher chance of him es­cap­ing.”

——The Heav­enly Sword and Dragon Saber

The Heav­enly Sword and Dragon Saber has many de­scrip­tions of the brotherly love amongst the Seven Heroes of Wu­dang. The most touch­ing is the sec­tion about their bat­tle with Zhou Zhiruo. Yu Lianzhou tries his best, but can­not es­cape from Zhou Zhiruo's whip. So he de­cides to risk his own life for Yin Lit­ing to dis­cover some­thing about Zhou's whip­man­ship. Yin also recog­nises the dan­ger and knows it is nearly im­pos­si­ble for them to es­cape. Thus he has the same idea and wants to fight with Zhou first so his brother Yu can dis­cover the gist of Zhou's mar­tial art. There­fore, he re­fused to hand over his sword and said, “Brother, I‘ll go first.” Look­ing at Yin, Yu re­calls the deep brotherly love among them in the past dozens of years and Yu Daiyan's dis­abil­ity, Zhang Cuis­han's sui­cide, and Mo Shenggu's tragic death. Now only four of the Seven Heroes of Wu­dang are still alive, and prob­a­bly two of them would die that day. Though highly skilled in mar­tial arts, Yin has an ex­tremely weak na­ture. “If I die first,” wor­ries his sworn brother, “He must be dis­tracted and not be able to fo­cus on the fight any more.”

In the crit­i­cal mo­ment, the two broth­ers do not think about how to es­cape for them­selves, but for the other's sur­vival. Their mu­tual un­der­stand­ing goes be­yond words and does not even need eye con­tact.

Deep Emo­tion Be­tween Zhang San­feng and His Dis­ci­ples

Zhang San­feng has lived for a hun­dred years, and spent more than 80 years on mar­tial art prac­tice. He cares lit­tle about the sec­u­lar world. But he and the seven dis­ci­ples are like fa­ther and son. When sud­denly see­ing Zhang Cuis­han, he could not help but hug him closely, cry­ing tears of hap­pi­ness.

——The Heav­enly Sword and Dragon Saber

There are not many good men­tors in Jin Yong's nov­els. But their oc­ca­sional ap­pear­ance can re­ally touch read­ers. The deep feel­ing be­tween Zhang San­feng and the Seven Heroes of Wu­dang is one ex­am­ple.

When Zhang Cuis­han re­turns to Wu­dang Moun­tain from Binghuo Is­land (Ice and Fire Is­land), he finds his teacher Zhang San­feng in seclu­sion for med­i­ta­tion.

Be­cause of the Dragon Saber, mem­bers of the Wu­dang Sect are be­ing forced to con­fess Xie Xun's where­abouts and live in dif­fi­cul­ties for a decade. Al­though their leader Zhang San­feng is phys­i­cally strong, and en­joyed a high per­sonal pres­tige in the jianghu, he spent the 10 years in deep worry about the rep­u­ta­tion of Wu­dang and the safety of Zhang Cuis­han. At the mo­ment he re­unites with Zhang, all his grief and de­pres­sion dis­ap­pear with the wind.

To high­light the re­union, Jin Yong de­scribes it at great length. First Yu Lianzhou goes down the moun­tain to meet Zhang Cuis­han. Then when Zhang Cuis­han has reached the top of the moun­tain, Zhang San­feng is in seclu­sion for med­i­ta­tion and so they can­not meet each other. It is not un­til a few days later Zhang San­feng goes out for his 100th birth­day, that the men­tor and the dis­ci­ple see each other.

Af­ter a long whis­tle, Zhang San­feng sways his sleeves slightly, then the two doors open. The first sight Zhang San­feng catches is of no­body but Zhang Cuis­han, whom he has been miss­ing for 10 years.

He rubs his eyes and think­ing he has made a mis­take. Zhang Cuis­han throws him­self into his arms, sob­bing, and call­ing him, “Men­tor!” Zhang Cuis­han is so ex­cited that he for­gets to kneel down. Song Yuan­qiao and the oth­ers shout hap­pily, “Con­grat­u­la­tions, Men­tor. Fifth brother came back.” Zhang San­feng has lived for a hun­dred years, and has spent more than 80 years on mar­tial art prac­tice. He cares lit­tle about the sec­u­lar world. But he and the seven dis­ci­ples are like fa­ther and son. Zhang Cuis­han falls into his men­tor's arms like a child. Zhang San­feng, in his ven­er­a­ble age, cer­tainly has be­come ac­cus­tomed to part­ings and re­unions, but he is so happy that he sheds tears. The de­scrip­tion un­veils the depth of feel­ing be­tween them.

Close Ties of Kin­ship Be­tween Duke Ruyang and His Daugh­ter

Min­min, will your wounds af­fect your strength? Do you have any money on you?

——The Heav­enly Sword and Dragon Saber

Zhao Min was born in a no­ble fam­ily and is a princess. Her fa­ther Duke Ruyang is good at mil­i­tary op­er­a­tions, com­mand­ing hun­dreds of thou­sands of troops. How­ever, fac­ing his beloved will­ful daugh­ter, the de­ci­sive man is no more than a gar­ru­lous fa­ther.

To save Xie Xun, Zhang Wuji has to part from his bride on his wed­ding day and leave with Zhao Min, who has de­tailed in­for­ma­tion on Xie's lo­ca­tion. When they ar­rive in He­nan Prov­ince, the Mon­go­lian army finds them and Zhao's fa­ther, a gen­eral in the army, asks Zhao to re­turn home with him. Zhao misses her fa­ther and broth­ers but fears her leav­ing might cause Zhang to be killed be­cause he is with­out her help. There­fore, she re­fuses her fa­ther's re­quests and his fa­ther, a strong­man, has to give up and tell her to take care of her­self. Fac­ing his res­o­lute daugh­ter, Duke Ruyang sheds tears and chokes, “Min­min, take care of your­self. Daddy is leav­ing. You must be care­ful.” Zhao Min nods and dares not look at him.

Af­ter walk­ing sev­eral yards, he turns around sud­denly, and asks, “Min­min, will your wounds af­fect your strength? Do you have money on you?” Zhao Min nods, tears in her eyes. No­body knows when she will be able to meet her fa­ther again. Af­ter leav­ing him, she will live a dif­fer­ent life as a wife, a mother, a friend, but not as a daugh­ter. She does not know if she will be as cher­ished in the fu­ture as she is by her fa­ther.

Han Xiaoy­ing’s Ma­ter­nal Love

Think­ing they have lived in the bit­terly cold and tough land in Mobei for more than ten years, her fifth brother Zhang Asheng even died in the alien land, their lec­tures re­sulted in noth­ing but a fool, and that her fifth brother’s life and hard work were fruit­less, Han Xiaoy­ing was mis­er­able and shed tears. She threw the sword to the ground and left with her face cov­ered.

——The Leg­end of Con­dor Heroes

When talk­ing about the char­ac­ters in Jin Yong's works who had a happy child­hood, Guo Jing, a lead­ing char­ac­ter in The Leg­end of Con­dor Heroes, must be the one. He is one of the few char­ac­ters whose mother is still alive in his child­hood, and more­over he has had men­tors, es­pe­cially the “Sev­enth Men­tor” Han Xiaoy­ing, who gives him ma­ter­nal love.

At the be­gin­ning of his train­ing, Guo Jing can­not mas­ter the move­ments his men­tors try and teach him be­cause of his stu­pid­ity. The oth­ers lash Guo, but Han Xiaoy­ing is not fu­ri­ous or does not pun­ish him. In­stead she “was an­guished and shed tears. She threw the sword to the ground and left with her face cov­ered.” That re­flects the unique kind­ness and pa­tience of the woman. When Guo Jing is mis­un­der­stood and about to be killed by Ke Zhen'e, Han Xiaoy­ing stands up and saves him. She is like a warm mother who care­fully de­fends her dis­ci­ple de­spite his clum­si­ness and dull­ness. When Qiu Chuji asks Guo Jing to choose ei­ther Mu Nianci or Hua Zheng, Han Xiaoy­ing dis­cov­ers the dis­ci­ple's worry, “Do you have a sweet­heart?” The sweet­heart is Huang Rong, “The Lit­tle Evil Girl” known to all the Guo's men­tors. The oth­ers are shocked and an­gered at the news. When Han re­calls her love for Zhang Asheng, she feels a lit­tle sad and has some un­der­stand­ing of her dis­ci­ple.

For Guo Jing, Han Xiaoy­ing is his sev­enth men­tor and his mother fig­ure as well, who cares about him all the time.

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