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Added by shotswerefired on 20 Mar 2019 11:12
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Books of Jin Yong I Enjoyed Reading

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The first part of the renowned Condor Trilogy. Just like with the majority of his works, I went into this book having watched several adaptations of it. I've seen the 1983 and 1994 tv series as well as several Hong Kong films. Even though the 1994 adaptation was in fact the most faithful to its source material, the 1983 version was generally my point of reference especially for comparison sakes due to how endearing it was and the liberties it took, which was for the better from a character development standpoint. There's a good reason why LOCH 94 wasn't as well received, it simply paled in comparison to the one that's most often considered to be the greatest Hong Kong tv series ever made. The characters I grew up watching just weren't as well drawn in written form. Their distinctive traits felt like a work in progress, while on tv they were much more amplified. I never usually put a tv series or a film over a book, but this was one such case where I would. Just like The Godfather and The Shining surpassed their original work, I regard LOCH 83 as the definitive example of the story.

It's a pretty good book on its own accord but in contrast to what he did after, I think Jin Yong was still trying to find his feet here.
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The second part of the Condor Trilogy and a darn good yarn. This was a high point in his construction of detailed fight sequences and the establishment of his idiosyncratic laws pertaining to the wuxia universe. The romance angle was clearly the focal point of the story, and while it did a lot of the heavy lifting, I wouldn't have read it purely on that basis or if it was all it had to offer. I enjoyed the fact that the protagonist this time round by the name of Yang Guo was very different from LOCH. You could even say he was the antithesis to everything the previous hero Guo Jing stood for. Guo Jing was simple-minded, strait-laced and has a by the book approach to everything. Yang Guo on the other hand was shrewd, rebellious and at times temperamental. When their two worlds collide, sparks were going to fly. Their differences really came to a head when Yang Guo refused the marriage of Guo Jing's daughter and instead opted for the hand of his senior and master Xiaolongnu; an act widely seen as taboo apparently. Gee, if they were so hung up on such trifling details in those days, I wouldn't imagine how they could survive the onslaught of radicals and microagressions in our era. They make today's pearl-clutchers look like hard knocks.

Throughout the book, their love is fraught with many obstacles that threaten to break them apart and it's quite moving to see how far they're willing to go for each other. In the end I don't think they've gained the acceptance of the Wulin other than being afforded the privilege of a life free from interference and their meddling.
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The third and final instalment of the Condor Trilogy and easily the best book of the lot. It takes place after the events of the Mongolian invasion where Guo Jing and Huang Rong died defending the Song capital and the ensuing repercussions that befell on the Wulin which arose as a consequence of their deaths. Namely the bloodshed that was brought about from the pursuit of the two most coveted weapons Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre in the world, leading to much conflict within the jianghu.

Zhang Wuji, the protagonist of the novel, was the product of two heritages in opposition with one another, the Wudang Clan and the Ming Cult. Over the course of the book, we see him act as mediator for his parents' two sects and ultimately promoted to leadership of the Ming Cult after becoming the most powerful fighter in the world.

This is the point where Jin Yong really took to task the notion of a 'righteous' sect or clan. In that even those operating under the guise of benevolence will fall foul of corruption. It's been a recurring theme in his later works.
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People who added this item 4 Average listal rating (1 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 0
To this day, this remains my all-time favourite work of his. Whether or not you are a fan, no reader of Jin Yong can deny it's one of his masterpieces. No tv serial can do justice to the orgy of imaginative characters, colourful fight scenes and intense drama on display. The 1982 version was what lit the fire and brought me to discover the world of wuxia and subsequently kickstarted my passion for it. I had previously seen LOCH 83 and ROCH 83 at an extremely young age but it wasn't until my mid teens when I got to see DGSD 82 in its entirety (when it was only snippets beforehand) did I become fascinated with the name of Jin Yong and his brand of martial arts chivalry.

The scope, ambition and depth in story telling and the lore was unprecendented in a wuxia novel. I don't think it has pretensions of being anything other than an entertaining, gripping and action-packed tale despite what some may say. It does look into the psychology of human nature, but doesn't really plumb into its origins. The Buddhist theme is prevalent throughout but not something you would lose yourself into or that you come out of it 10 years wiser. As a martial arts extravaganza, it never failed to deliver.

One thing I also appreciate it delving into is the cult of personality and how gossip is the primary mode of distributing information which can flood the jianghu with all kinds of myths and falsehoods. This is also explored in Tolstoy's War and Peace but to even greater effect. Both novels are similar in some respect not least is their length, which is in excess of 1200 pages.

Overall, I would say this would be the book to go for if you're looking to get into wuxia. It's a lot more chimerical than his other works and since fantasy, magic and superheroes are the cultural zeitgeist of our time, one wonders why no translator has given this book a shot yet.
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The best wuxia novel which reflects our current times and the fact it's not situated in any particular period in history only enhances its worth as an allegory. I also loved the prose, it contains some of his most confident passages to date.

Jin Yong has never been really known for well-written male protagonists. I preferred his side characters more. Hell, even Guo Jing, the one cherished by many has been regarded as deeply flawed. In the case of Linghu Chong, however, if I wasn't teetotal, I can definitely see myself getting along well with him as a drinking partner. Ditto with DGSD's main character Qiao Feng. Both love a good booze. Qiao Feng was a powerhouse of masculinity whereas Linghu Chong is so laid back and chilled it's infectious.

The novel also probably featured the first transgendered character in Chinese fiction, Dongfang Bubai, who remains the most popular in Asian pop culture. Brigitte Lin, tasked to play the role twice on film, gave a very dignified performance for each of them too.
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If DGSD was The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of wuxia fiction, this would be The Unforgiven. It just underlines how much of a pragmatist Jin Yong was, who searches for ways to better himself. Even as far as destroying the very foundations he helped create towards the wuxia mythology. For instance, the protagonist Wei Xiaobao is barely versed in the field of martial arts and prefers to talk himself out of situations. The main character in pretty much every book Jin Yong wrote always ends up being one of the most powerful. WXB is at the opposite end of the tier listing.

The previous heroes were also bounded by a code of ethics, kind of like the samurai in which selflessness is eulogised. Whatever moral standard WXB has cultivated appears to crash and burn at any given sight of trouble. It's what's beneficial towards himself that counts, even if it means kissing asses to gain an advantage in life. As talentless as he is in studying and martial arts, his acquired knack of buttering up is something he could always turn to, to the point of enabling him access to the privileges of high society - including more poontang.

I like the modern feel of the novel. The martial arts on display was of a low standard, nothing like the Dragon Ball Zesque quality of DGSD where opponents can strike you from one end of a street to the next. It also contains BDSM, which is highly unusual by Jin Yong's standards, who prefers to keep the sex innocent or restrained.
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Arguably the greatest writer of wuxia fiction who ever lived. The Tolkien of the East. There was a phase in my early adult years where I was so enthralled by the works of the recently deceased Chinese author Jin Yong (real name: Louis Cha) that it almost took over my life. I had seen the television series but never got round to reading the actual books until much later. It was so compelling on tv when I saw it at a young age, one gets the feeling that it could have been entirely possible that they existed sometime in the distant past. When I found out it wasn't, the sort of epiphany I had experienced was akin to those who finally realised santa claus did not exist.

I got to know some pretty rad people online in both English and Chinese speaking forums who share a similar interest to this genre and acquired a lot of insight and knowledge along the way. In an attempt to brush up my Chinese, I translated several chapters of one of his books Return of the Condor Heroes into English (don't know if they're still around floating in cyberspace after all these years). I also did one in draft for the early chapters of DGSD, both of which I had a lot of fun doing. I amused myself as well participating in debates like "Guo Jing is a flawed written character" and who's the strongest fighter. Guo Jing vs Yang Guo is the most popular topic but they were generally considered closely matched so there's not a lot you can find to separate them. Xiao Feng vs Guo Jing is the one that's interesting to me, and had proper room for speculation, since it not only pits two character's skillsets against each other but compares two very different epochs. In the end, Jin Yong might've hinted on the most powerful when he had been asked who the strongest practitioner of Xianglong 18 Palms is. Xiao Feng was his answer. I had a feeling it was going to be, due to the absurdity of some of the feats that were exhibited in DGSD. On the first edition of the novel, Xiao Feng was able to propagate his palm chi to 100 feet and pile up the waves of energy until it was three times the power. You never hear long distance attacks in the Condor Trilogy of that nature. (if they were even considered 'long distance')

All in all, I've managed to read six books of his (2nd and 3rd editions) and dabbled in a couple more. It was like an affair; brief and intense, but one that fizzed out eventually. Maybe something will rekindle my flame for the genre so that I can revisit Jin Yong with a more worldly lens. I've yet to explore a multitude of other works by other wuxia authors such as Gu Long and Liang Yusheng, but until then I'm content with having known such a great mind. The amount of adaptations over the years created because of this guy speaks for itself.

There are 4 official translations of his works that I know of: The Book and the Sword (Graham Earnshaw), Legend of the Condor Heroes (Anna Holmwood), Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain (Olivia Mok) and The Deer and the Cauldron (John Minford). Graham Earnshaw's book was the very first one I've read in English, it's been a while but I think I got to the third chapter, and I must say, it was a very good attempt. The prose felt natural and fluent to the point that it never felt like a translation. The rest I heard were a mixed bag, from getting the names wrong to making a pig's ear of the martial arts terminology.

Sometimes I ask myself: how is he not more recognised? I mean Liu Cixin's "The Three-Body Problem" got translated in a couple years after its first release and we only got one for LOCH like over half a century later!? The worlds he crafted are just as magnificent as Tolkien, Lewis, Rowling, Martin or what have you, and the principles he implemented for his martial arts system is infinitely more deeper, tighter, consistent and credible than Toriyama's Dragon Ball Z.

Even with Anna Holmwood's admirable help in promoting the work of this master recently, I'm still slightly apprehensive on whether my favourite of his, DGSD, will ever get a translation in my lifetime. If not, I suppose I'm just gonna have to step in lol.

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