By psksvp (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Most people who read the Condor Trilogy by JY tended to like Guo Jing and Yang Guo more than Zhang Wuji. However I feel the opposite; I hate Guo Jing, I feel sorry for Yang Guo and I love Zhang Wuji. So I wrote the below to explain what I wrote in the title.
The Condor Trilogy was an epic novel by JY. The trilogy comprised three volumes; The Legend Of Condor Hero (LOCH), The Return of The Condor Hero (ROCH) and The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber (HSDS).
I first read the trilogy when I was in High School. At the time when I read, I have not watched any adaptations; neither movies nor TV (my parents were very strict about TV). A friend borrowed me the first volume. It took me a while to finish. I finished it with mix feeling whether or not if I like it, because I hate Guo Jing, the main protagonist.
The same friend encouraged me to continued the second one; The ROCH. However this time, once I started, I was hooked. I could not stop reading. Every chapters kept my heart pounding. I cried when Yang Guo ran around tried to find His GoGo. I cried harder when Yang Guo and Xiaolongnü had to be separated for 16 years. I cried even more when they reunited.
My friend did not have to encourage me to start the third volume; The HSDS. I went slowly for the first few chapters, after that I could not put it down. Though I was a bit disappointed at the end. I did not like the ending, It felt like JY rushed to finish it, so I wrote the ending that I like.
Though, I still love HSDS the most, because I really love the kind of person Zhang Wuji was and whom I wish, I could be like, but I can never be.
After I finished all three volumes, I and probably many other readers have discovered that the third volume; The HSDS was like a mirror of the first volume; The LOCH. Below are some aspects of the mirror.
- Guo Jing lost his father and later his mother, so did Zhang Wuji. Both were orphans.
- Guo Jing’s father died because of his own stupidity while his mother died trying to save him.
- Zhang Wuji’s parents died at about the same time, because they tried to honor their sworn brother.
- They both led the Wulin to fight with the Mongol, but Guo Jing fail while Zhang Wuji succeeded.
- Guo Jing indirectly destroyed the Song dynasty by helping Temüjin destroyed the Jin Empire.
- Zhang Wuji reunited the Ming cult and Wulin martial art experts which eventually overthrew the Yuan Dynasty (Mongol) and restored the ethnic Han as the ruler of the Central Plains.
- Guo Jing was engaged to a daughter of Temüjin but he left her from Huang Rong (Han).
- Zhang Wuji was engaged to Zhou Zhiruo (Han) but he left her for Zhao Min (Mongol, but to be absolutely correct, Zhao Min’s father was a Turkic who served the Mongol)
In the setting that JY wrote, the Jin was an archenemy of Guo Jing. A Jin prince; Wanyan Honglie and a corrupt Song’s official (Duan Tiande) killed his father. Guo Jing grew up on the far north grassland under the protection of Temüjin.. His young life was not a happy life. His mother always reminded him of who he was and how his farther was killed. To take revenge for his farther, he was used by Temüjin. JY wrote how Guo Jing raged to take revenge had caused the fall of the Song and million of innocent lives.
Guo Jing helped Temüjin destroyed the whole Jin Empire because of just one Jin person; Wanyan Honglie. The fall of the Jin, as a result, created a power vacuum. Of cause, Temüjin’s sight was not just at the Jin, he wanted the whole Central Plains. Guo Jing was really stupid to not recognize that.
The fact that JY tried to show was the Song Dynasty was losing its mandate to rule which the stupid Guo Jing did not understand, Thus he was used. However JY wrote Yang Guo to understand this fact, thus he refused to serve either side. Below is an excerpt from ROCH.
Feng Mofeng shook his head and said, “Though the force of one person is small, the force of many is strong. If everyone thought like you, who’d come out to defend the country against invaders?”
Yang Guo knew that his words were right, but now, there was nothing more important to him than finding his Gu Gu. He had wandered around Jianghu ever since he was small; he had suffered the abuse of officials. He saw that the Mongolians were indeed violent and ruthless, but the Song Emperor may not be a good person himself. There was no need for him to help the emperor. He just gave a wry smile and didn’t reply.
In addition, in order to hunt down Wanyan Honglie, Guo Jing led the Mongol army to destroy another Kingdom in Central Asia; Khwarazm which as a result caused hundred of thousand of innocent lives.
Guo Jing was a stupid fool who could easily be used. JY showed this aspect in the novel when Yang Kang had fooled Guo Jing to think that Huang Yaoshi was responsible for his Shifu death (The stupid 7 Freaks of Jiangnan). Instead of carefully conducting an investigation, he went on a rage to try to kill Huang Yaoshi. If it was not Huang Rong’s wit, either Huang Yaoshi would have killed him or he would have been regretted for the rest of his life.
Moreover, Guo Jing was the one who caused the hardship in Yang Guo’s life. First when Zhao Zhijing who was Yang Guo’s master at Quanzhen Sect, accused Yang Guo of being a dishonest. Guo Jing again, did not carefully investigate but blamed Yang Guo. Second, he openly condemned Yang Guo and Xiaolongnü when they announced their love for each other.
In the end, he took his whole family (except Guo Xiang) to die with him in Xiangyang when the Mongol broke through.
To me, I don’t see Guo Jing as a hero, he was just a fool who was lucky to have Huang Rong by his side. He saw the world in black and white. This kind of people should not know martial art or possesses any power, because they will end up being used by others.
HSDS took place at the time when the Mongol Yuan Dynasty was losing its grip in the Central Plains. The main part of the story took place about 80 years after the Fall of XiangYang which was about 15 years after the end of ROCH.
When Zhang Wuji was young, he lived a carefree life in a far away island. He was a happy child. His father was a WuDang disciple which was a righteous sect while his mother was from an unorthodox sect; The Heavenly Eagle Sect.
Zhang Wuji life changed drastically when his parents took him back to the Central Plains. He was inflicted with a cold poison palm and the tragic death of his parents right afterward. His parents was forced by the six major sects to reveal the location of their sworn brother XiaXun. These six major sects called themselves the righteous sects, they labeled the Ming Cult which XiaXun belonged, the evil unorthordox cult. They called Zhang Wuji an impure child since his mother was from The Heavenly Eagle Sect which broke out from the Ming cult. This event caused lot of plain physically and mentally to the Young Zhang Wuji, but somehow it shaped him into a kind hearted person.
Not long after losing his parents, he went to the Butterflies Valley to seek help for his cold poison from the divine physician Hu Qingniu. He spent about 5 years with the physician which in the end, he learned all the medical knowledge from the physician.
The experiences that Zhang Wuji learned at the Butterflies Valley refined him to be a very kind hearted person. His kindness extended to everyone, friends or enemies. Contrary to Guo Jing, Zhang Wuji did not see the world as black and white, since the physician himself was also the member of the Ming Cult.
After the time at the Butterflies Valley, fate took him to find the Nine Yang Manual which he practiced to cure the cold poison in his body and an accidental encountered with the top secret martial art manual of the Ming Cult which he practiced to save himself from being jailed under the mountain forever. The events gave him limitless power in internal energy and a matchless martial art skill.
However, with the limitless internal energy and unmatched martial art ability that he possessed, he hardly ever used it to harm anyone. He used it to heal and saved lives. JY wrote the sequence of events which the invincible Zhang Wuji encountered. It showed a big contrast with what Guo Jing encountered.
- He took 3 palm strikes from Miejue shitai to save the Ming Cult fighters whom he never met before.
- At the Brightness peak, he fought the six major sects’ martial art experts to stop the Ming cult disciples from being exterminated. These martial art experts were the ones who forced his parents to commit suicide, however, he did not use his limitless power to harm them, but he healed some of them and revealed the evil scheme of others.
- When Zhang Wuji left the Butterflies Valley to send the young Yang Buhui to her father;Yang Xiao at the western region of Mt. Kunlun. They encountered He Taichong and his wife Ban Shuxian. Zhang Wuji healed He Taichong’s concubine but He Taichong repaid Zhang Wuji by trying to poison him and Yang Buhui. Instead of being vengeful, Zhang Wuji saved He Taichong and Ban Shuxian at Wan’An Temple.
- At the end of the Lion Slayer Festival at Shaolin, he met Lu Zhangke and He Biweng who inflicted the cold poison palm on him when he was young. He could have killed the two easily but he did not harm them to take revenge, he used his martial art to destroy their power so they could not harm others with their cold poison.
To me, Zhang Wuji is a hero, a real hero. He turned enemies into friends. He used passion instead of vengeful. He would be happy even though if he were to die with the cold poison. His mind is as pure as a saint.
When I read forums or listened to people talking about the trilogy, it tended to be that Guo Jing was a great hero while Zhang Wuji was just a womanizer, weak and indecisive. However I do not see so, in my opinion, Guo Jing was a stupid fool who could have been used to do evil things, he was lucky to have Huang Rong by his side. Zhang Wuji was a real hero who used his martial art to heal and to make friends.