In recent months, I have spent a lot of time reading Jin Yong's novels. From "The Legend of the Condor Heroes" to "The Condor Trilogy," and then to "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer," I have basically read all the novels that I have heard of but haven't read before.
I didn't read "The Legend of the Condor Heroes" in the Condor Trilogy this time because I had already read it completely in college and watched the TV series countless times. Therefore, reading the original work didn't attract me as much. On the contrary, I have watched more or less TV dramas based on other novels, but I have never read the novels. In order to fill this regret as soon as possible, I decided to read them together during the cool autumn.
"The Return of the Condor Heroes"#
"The Return of the Condor Heroes" is magnificent and breathtaking. Three main storylines converge, and the final three protagonists come together. The writing style is different from Jin Yong's previous works, which is quite refreshing. Xiao Feng can be regarded as a great hero who fights for the country and the people. He is different from the protagonists in other martial arts novels who are only obsessed with martial arts skills. He has a broad mind and ambition, always keeping the rise and fall of the country in mind. This aspect surpasses many so-called "great heroes." Unfortunately, different positions lead to the tragic fate of the characters, and the love between Xiao Feng and A Zhu is even more sigh-inducing.
"The Return of the Divine Condor"#
"The Return of the Divine Condor" is one of my favorite martial arts TV dramas. One of the main reasons is that Liu Yifei's portrayal of Xiaolongnü has deeply touched people's hearts. At that time, the image of Ling'er from "Chinese Paladin" had already been deeply rooted in my heart, so it was easy to transfer this impression to Xiaolongnü. I have also watched many other versions of the TV drama, but Li Ruotong's image couldn't surpass Liu Yifei in terms of "fairy-like" qualities. Of course, this is just my personal opinion. After reading the original work, I am more convinced that Liu Yifei's image and interpretation are in line with the Xiaolongnü in my mind.
Yang Guo is also a character that I really like. He has a tragic background, being bullied since childhood, but he is extremely intelligent, with a hint of mischief in his cleverness. I have people like this around me, who are unbelievably smart. While others can memorize ten words in ten minutes, they can memorize twenty words in one minute. Unfortunately, such great talent is used for fighting and brawling in the end. Whether he can meet his aunt and learn martial arts from Guo Jing and eventually awaken to become a great hero like Yang Guo is unknown.
"The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber"#
"The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber" is a TV drama that I have watched at least three or four times, and I can basically recite the plot. After reading the original work, I realized that the TV drama cut out a lot of plotlines, such as the process of Zhang Cuishan and Yin Susu meeting, getting to know each other, and falling in love, which was only briefly mentioned in one episode of the TV drama. But this doesn't affect the position of the TV drama version played by Alec Su in my mind.
In the TV drama, Zhang Wuji is portrayed as a good person, but in the novel, he is a person with many love affairs. He flirts with Zhou Zhiruo one moment and then teases Zhao Min the next, and he wavers between several women. He is also indecisive when it comes to important matters, which is why many people call him a "scumbag." In addition, his father Zhang Cuishan is even more of a "scumbag." Even after being married for ten years, the first thing he says when he returns to Wudang Mountain is to tell Zhang Sanfeng, "Disciple is unfilial, married a demonic woman..." It can be said that he is extremely conservative, which is a pity for Yin Susu, a decisive woman.
"The Smiling, Proud Wanderer"#
"The Smiling, Proud Wanderer" is a book that completely shakes the martial arts world with the "Sword Manual of the Divine Slasher," but on the other hand, the song "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer" doesn't receive much attention. People often say "the Five Mountains Sword Sects are of the same origin," but behind the scenes, there are various conspiracies and killings. Dongfang Bubai, who appears frequently in the TV drama, only appears for five minutes in the novel, which is quite funny. Each character in the novel has their own obsession, and those who are deeply obsessed often do not have a good ending. Yue Buqun is deeply trapped in power struggles and steals the "Sword Manual of the Divine Slasher," only to castrate himself in order to become the leader of the Five Mountains Sword Sect. Lin Pingzhi, a pitiful person, carries a deep hatred of bloodshed, and in the end, he also castrates himself to practice martial arts.
If you read them in chronological order, "The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber," "The Legend of the Condor Heroes," "The Return of the Divine Condor," "The Return of the Condor Heroes," and "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer," you will have a feeling of both truth and falsehood, which is very refreshing.
However, while reading, I found that there were many repeated settings, which made me feel a bit fatigued with the plot. For example, in "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer," half of the martial arts world helps Ling Huchong with his illness, and in "The Return of the Divine Condor," the ghosts in Xishan Cave celebrate Guo Xiang's birthday. Another example is the annoying Peach Blossom Six Immortals in "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer" and Bao Butong in "The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber."
After reading the entire series, I discovered an interesting point— as the martial arts era approaches modern times, the protagonists' martial arts skills are constantly decreasing. From the unparalleled martial arts skills such as the "Dragon Subduing Palm," "North Sea Divine Art," and "Six Meridians Divine Sword" in "The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber," to the profound internal skills such as the "Nine Yin Manual" and "Nine Yang Manual" in "The Legend of the Condor Heroes," "The Return of the Divine Condor," and "The Return of the Condor Heroes," powerful weapons begin to appear. It seems that profound martial arts skills are no match for a powerful weapon. A Dragon Slaying Saber can drive the entire martial arts world crazy. In "The Smiling, Proud Wanderer," it becomes even more absurd. The "Sword Manual of the Divine Slasher" causes the Lin family to be annihilated multiple times, showing that at this time, martial artists value weapons more than skills. Ling Huchong, a top-notch master in Huashan Sect, is almost powerless without a sword, which is extremely exaggerated.
Perhaps Jin Yong knew that as he approached modern times, he couldn't write too exaggeratedly, after all, "technology is the primary productive force." No matter how good your internal skills (qigong) are, a gun or even a sharp blade can easily defeat your skills.
Finally, I'll share my reading statistics for the past two months, with more than ten hours of reading time per week. If I were reading books in the publishing industry, I wouldn't even dare to think about it.