The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber, also translated as The Sword and the Knife, is a wuxia novel by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). It is the third instalment in the Condor Trilogy and is preceded by The Legend of the Condor Heroes and The Return of the Condor Heroes. It was first serialised from 6 July 1961 to 2 September 1963 in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao.
Jin Yong revised the novel in 1979 with a number of amendments and additions. A second revision was published in early 2005, incorporating later thoughts and a lengthier conclusion. It also introduced many changes to the plot and cleared up some ambiguities in the second edition, such as the origin of the Nine Yang Manual. As is typical of some of his other novels, Jin Yong included elements of Chinese history in the story, such as featuring historical figures like Zhu Yuanzhang, Chen Youliang, Chang Yuchun and Zhang Sanfeng. The political clash between the Han Chinese rebels and the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty is also a prominent theme in the novel.
- 1 Plot
- 2 The two weapons
- 3 Characters
- 4 Yuan Empire
- 5 Wudang Sect
- 6 Emei Sect
- 7 Shaolin Sect
- 8 Kunlun Sect
- 9 Mount Hua Sect
- 10 Kongtong Sect
- 11 Beggars' Sect
- 12 Zhu and Wu families
- 13 Others
Set in the late Yuan dynasty, the story revolves around a pair of priceless and extremely powerful weapons, the Heavenly Reliant Sword (倚天劍) and Dragon Slaying Saber (屠龍刀), which are coveted by many martial artists in the jianghu. Either or both of them are thought to allow their wielder to rule the wulin (martial artists' community), according to a widely circulated mantra which goes, "Honoured by the wulin, the precious Saber slays the Dragon. It commands the world. Who dares to disobey? If the Heaven Reliant does not appear, who can challenge it?" (武林至尊，寶刀屠龍，號令天下，莫敢不從！倚天不出，誰與爭鋒？) The origins of this mantra are not known at the beginning of the novel. The protagonist, Zhang Wuji, is of mixed heritage. His father, Zhang Cuishan, is an apprentice of Zhang Sanfeng, the highly revered leader of the Wudang Sect; his mother, Yin Susu, is the daughter of Yin Tianzheng, the chief of the "unorthodox" Heavenly Eagle Cult. He spent his childhood on a reclusive northern island, where he was born, with only his parents and his godfather, Xie Xun, to keep him company. When he is about 10 years old, he returns to the Chinese mainland with his parents. They soon find themselves the target of several martial artists, who try to force them to reveal the whereabouts of Xie Xun and the Dragon Slaying Saber. His parents refuse and commit suicide. At the same time, Zhang Wuji is wounded by the Xuanming Elders, but he survives after seeking medical treatment from Hu Qingniu, an eccentric physician.
After ending up in an isolated valley by chance, Zhang Wuji discovers the long-lost Nine Yang Manual, masters the inner energy skills described in the book, and becomes a formidable martial artist. Later on, he helps to resolve the conflict between the Ming Cult and the six major orthodox sects, which are bent on destroying the cult. He earns the respect of the cult's members and becomes its leader after mastering the skill 'Heaven and Earth Great Shift'. He reforms the cult and helps to improve its relations with other sects. He becomes a key figure in leading the rebel forces to overthrow the Mongol-led Yuan dynasty.
Throughout his adventures, Zhang Wuji finds himself entangled in a complex web of love relationships with four maidens. The first, Yin Li, is a horribly disfigured girl who is actually his maternal cousin. The second, Xiaozhao, is a Chinese-Persian servant girl who understands him very well. The third, Zhou Zhiruo, is a childhood friend whom he develops a strong bond with. The fourth, Zhao Min, is a Mongol princess and his former arch-rival. Yin Li is apparently killed in the middle of the novel while Xiaozhao returns to Persia after it is revealed that she is destined to lead the Persian Ming Cult.
Zhou Zhiruo soon falls in love with Zhang Wuji, but has to turn against him as she is bound by an oath she made in front of her teacher Miejue, who hates and distrusts Zhang Wuji and anyone related to the Ming Cult. Miejue devises a vicious scheme for Zhou Zhiruo to seize the two weapons by exploiting Zhang Wuji's love for Zhou. Zhou Zhiruo also turns vicious after Zhang Wuji reneges his promise to marry her and swears vengeance on him. Zhao Min was initially Zhang Wuji's rival as they were on opposing sides. However, Zhao Min gradually falls in love with Zhang Wuji after their various encounters, and she even turns against her clan to help him.
At the end of the novel, Zhang Wuji decides to retire from the jianghu after he mistakenly believes that the Ming Cult's members are plotting to betray him. He decides that Zhao Min is his true love and they leave to lead a reclusive life far away from society. (The second edition of the novel has an ambiguous ending about Zhang Wuji's relationship with Zhou Zhiruo.) Zhang Wuji gave up an opportunity to become a ruler because the Ming Cult eventually overthrew the Yuan dynasty. Ideally, Zhang would have become the new emperor, but instead, Zhu Yuanzhang takes the throne and establishes the Ming dynasty.
In 2005, Jin Yong published a third edition of the novel, which has a slightly different ending from the earlier versions. In this edition, Zhang Wuji feels disillusioned after failing to save a general's life and addressing Han Lin'er's death. He relinquishes his leadership of the Ming Cult to Yang Xiao and Fan Yao, and then leaves the Central Plains with Zhao Min.
The two weapons
The two titular weapons, the Heaven Reliant Sword (倚天劍) and the Dragon Slaying Saber (屠龍刀), were forged from a single sword, the Heavy Iron Sword (玄鐵重劍), which Yang Guo wielded in The Return of the Condor Heroes. The Heavy Iron Sword belonged to Dugu Qiubai, a great swordsman whose skills were unmatched in his time. Yang Guo chanced upon the Heavy Iron Sword while he was recovering from the Love Flower's poison and the loss of his right arm. When Yang Guo and Xiaolongnü depart from Xiangyang, they left the sword with the couple Guo Jing and Huang Rong. The sword was melted and special steel material was added and it was then forged into the two weapons.
In the third revised edition of the novel, the Heaven Sword was reforged from Yang Guo's Gentleman Sword (君子劍) and Xiaolongnü's Lady Sword (淑女劍) while the Dragon Saber's origin remained unchanged.
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Hidden in the blade of the Dragon Saber is a military treatise titled Book of Wumu (武穆遺書), authored by Yue Fei. Similarly, concealed in the blade of the Heaven Sword are two scrolls detailing the Nine Yin Manual and Guo Jing's "Eighteen Dragon Subduing Palms".
The Dragon Saber was given to Guo Jing and Huang Rong's son Guo Polu, while their younger daughter Guo Xiang inherited the Heaven Sword.
The content of the hidden book and scrolls, in addition to the fact that the weapons can only be damaged and broken when used against each other, was the source of the claim that whoever possesses the Dragon Saber will rule the world and yet only the one who possesses the Heaven Sword can stand against the wielder of the Saber.
The secret of the weapons was passed down only from the leader of each generation of the Emei Sect to her successor. Miejue is succeeded by Zhou Zhiruo and the secret is passed on to the latter. In the novel, Zhou Zhiruo gains possession of both weapons through her cunning and deception and she breaks them to obtain their contents.
In the latest revision, two halves of an iron-plated map are hidden in the weapons instead of manuals. Once pieced together, the map points out to locations on Peach Blossom Island, where the manuals are hidden. Jin Yong reasoned that the change was due to a possibility that the dissection of the weapons will cause the manuals to be burnt, hence two pieces of an iron-plated map would be better substitutes.
In Chinese culture, the Dragon is a symbol of the emperor or sovereign ruler. The full translated name of the Dragon Saber is "Dragon Slaying Saber" (屠龍刀), which implies that it is used to "slay the emperor". In this case, the "emperor" refers to Emperor Huizong of the Yuan dynasty. Throughout Chinese history, several monarchs have become tyrants, just like when the mythical Dragon goes out of control and becomes a menace. The Heaven Sword's full translated name is "Heaven Reliant Sword" (倚天劍) as it embodies Heaven. In Chinese culture, the emperor is respectfully called the "Son of Heaven", which implies that Heaven is the ultimate authority in determining who will be ruler of China.
It can thus be interpreted as such: The secret in the Dragon Slaying Saber can be used to "kill" (dethrone) the (Mongol) emperor and replace him with another (Han Chinese) ruler. Ideally, a brilliant military leader can use the textbook to its full potential by staging a rebellion to overthrow the Yuan dynasty and restore Han Chinese rule. However, if the new emperor turns out to be an incompetent monarch or tyrant, a martial artist can master the skills from the manuals in the Heaven Reliant Sword and assassinate the emperor and replace him with a wise and benevolent ruler.
See also: Template:Zhang Wuji's family tree
See also: Ming Cult
- The Bright Left and Right Messengers serve as the cult leader's deputies. They are:
- Yang Xiao (楊逍; 杨逍; Yáng Xiāo; Joeng4 Siu1) is the Bright Left Messenger (光明左使). He served as the cult's acting leader during its period of internal conflict, and later as an adviser to Zhang Wuji after the latter became the cult's leader. In the earlier revisions of the novel, Zhang Wuji names him the new leader of the Ming Cult before leaving with Zhao Min. He is Ji Xiaofu's lover and Yang Buhui's father.
- Fan Yao (范遙; 范遥; Fàn Yáo; Faan6 Jiu4) is the Bright Right Messenger (光明右使). He disfigured himself and disguised himself as a mute monk called Kutoutuo (苦頭陀; 苦头陀; Kǔ Tóutuó; Fu2 Tau4-to4) so that he could infiltrate Chaghan Temür's army and work as a spy for the Ming Cult.
- The Four Guardian Kings (四大護教法王) assist the leader in overseeing the cult's activities. They are ranked in order of seniority:
- Daiqisi (黛綺絲; 黛绮丝; Dàiqǐsī; Doi6-ji2-si1), nicknamed "Purple Dress Dragon King" (紫衫龍王), is one of the three "Sacred Maidens" of the Persian Ming Cult. Originally, she was sent to China to search for the lost manual of the skill 'Heaven and Earth Great Shift' (乾坤大挪移) and became one of the cult's guardian kings. Later, she broke her vow of celibacy when she married Han Qianye, settled on Divine Snake Island with him, and bore him a daughter, Xiaozhao. She disguises herself as an old hag and calls herself "Golden Flower Granny" (金花婆婆; Jīnhuā Pópó; Gam1-faa1 Po4-po4) to avoid being identified by the Persian Ming Cult.
- Yin Tianzheng (殷天正; Yīn Tiānzhèng; Jan1 Tin1-zeng3), nicknamed "White Brows Eagle King" (白眉鷹王), is Yin Yewang and Yin Susu's father, and Zhang Wuji's maternal grandfather. He left the Ming Cult during its internal conflict and founded the Heavenly Eagle Cult (天鷹教). He dies from exhaustion while trying to save Xie Xun by fighting against the three Shaolin elders.
- Xie Xun (謝遜; 谢逊; Xiè Xùn; Ze6 Seon3) is nicknamed "Golden Haired Lion King" (金毛獅王). His most powerful skill is the 'Lion's Roar' (獅子吼), which allows him to project his inner energy with his voice and cause internal injuries to everyone nearby who hears his roar. His family was murdered by his former mentor Cheng Kun, who disappeared after committing the atrocity. Guided by fury, he went on a rampage to kill many people and push the blame to Cheng Kun, in the hope of forcing him out of hiding, but to no avail. Yin Susu throws her darts at him in self-defence when he is about to attack her during a fit of insanity, and he is blinded as a consequence. He becomes the godfather of Zhang Wuji, whom he names in memory of his own deceased son, Xie Wuji. The families and associates of Xie Xun's victims forgive him after his final confrontation with Cheng Kun. He becomes a monk eventually to seek peace and redemption for his past misdeeds.
- Wei Yixiao (韋一笑; 韦一笑; Wéi Yīxiào; Wai4 Jat1-siu3) is nicknamed "Blue Winged Bat King" (青翼蝠王). His prowess in qinggong is unmatched in the jianghu. He once accidentally infected himself with an icy venom while practising the skill 'Icy Palm'. Since then, he has to suck the warm blood of living creatures (including humans) to keep the freezing poison in his body under control. Zhang Wuji cures him later by using the 'Nine Yang Divine Skill' to purge the venom from his body.
- Yang Buhui (楊不悔; 杨不悔; Yáng Bùhuǐ; Joeng4 Bat1-fui3) is Yang Xiao and Ji Xiaofu's daughter. Her name literally means "no regrets" to reflect her mother's love for Yang Xiao. Zhang Wuji helps her escape from Miejue after her mother's death and leads her on a perilous journey to bring her safely to her father. She regards Zhang Wuji as an elder brother for his care and concern towards her. The trauma of witnessing her mother's death makes her become suspicious of anyone who could be a potential enemy and this intensifies her hatred towards Miejue. This is evident in her treatment towards Xiaozhao, when she and her father suspect Xiaozhao of being a spy from the Emei Sect. It also made her extremely protective towards her father and Zhang Wuji, whom she sees as what is left of her family. She falls in love with Yin Liting, her mother's original fiancé, and marries him despite the large age gap between them. They are expecting a child near the end of the novel.
- Zhu Yuanzhang (朱元璋; Zhū Yuánzhāng; Zyu1 Jyun4-zoeng1) is an ambitious minor leader of the cult who eventually unites the rebel forces under his control and leads them to overthrow the Yuan dynasty. He betrays the cult later and becomes the founding emperor of the Ming dynasty.
- Chang Yuchun (常遇春; Cháng Yùchūn; Soeng4 Jyu6-ceon1) is a cult member who travels with Zhang Wuji to Butterfly Valley to seek treatment from Hu Qingniu.
- Xu Da (徐達; 徐达; Xú Dá; Ceoi4 Daat6) is a minor leader of the cult. Zhang Wuji presents him with Yue Fei's military text Book of Wumu. Xu Da studies the book and uses his knowledge to lead the rebels to victory in the battles against the Yuan forces.
- Five Wanderers (五散人):
- Leng Qian (冷謙; 冷谦; Lěng Qiān; Laang5 Him1), nicknamed "Cold Faced Gentleman" (冷面先生).
- Shuobude (說不得; 说不得; Shuōbùdé; Syut3-bat1-dak1), nicknamed "Monk with the Sack" (布袋和尚).
- Zhang Zhong (張中; 张中; Zhāng Zhōng; Zoeng1 Zung1), nicknamed "Iron Crowned Taoist" (鐵冠道人).
- Peng Yingyu (彭瑩玉; 彭莹玉; Péng Yíngyù; Pang4 Jing4-juk6), nicknamed "Peng the Monk" (彭和尚).
- Zhou Dian (周顛; 周颠; Zhōu Diān; Zau1 Din1), nicknamed "Lunatic" (瘋子).
- Hu Qingniu (胡青牛; Hú Qīngniú; Wu4 Cing1-ngau4) is a physician residing in Butterfly Valley. He is nicknamed "Jiansi Bujiu" (見死不救; literally "watch one die and not save him/her") for his odd practice of treating the cult's members free of charge but not others regardless of whatever they are willing to pay. He helps a young Zhang Wuji slow down the effects of his injury caused by the Xuanming Elders, thereby preserving Zhang's life and buying him time to find a way to heal himself. He also indirectly imparts his medical knowledge to Zhang Wuji. He is killed by Golden Flower Granny in revenge because he refused to save her husband's life many years ago. However, in reality, it was beyond Hu's ability to treat Han Qianye's wounds.
- Wang Nangu (王難姑; 王难姑; Wáng Nàngū; Wong4 Naan4-gu1) is Hu Qingniu's wife. In contrast with her husband, she uses her mastery of toxicology to kill people. The couple become rivals in a contest, in which Wang will poison someone while Hu will try to save the person's life. She imparts her knowledge to Zhang Wuji. She is killed along with her husband by Golden Flower Granny.
- Yang Dingtian (陽頂天; 阳顶天; Yáng Dǐngtiān; Joeng4 Ding2-tin1) was Zhang Wuji's predecessor as the Ming Cult's leader. He was practising the skill 'Heaven and Earth Great Shift' when he discovered his wife's illicit affair with Cheng Kun. He was so infuriated that the inner energy flow in his body was disrupted and he died from the consequent internal injuries.
- Chiefs of the Five Elements factions
- Zhuang Zheng (莊錚; 庄铮; Zhuāng Zhēng; Zong1 Zang1) is the chief of the Gold Banner Faction (銳金旗). He is slain by Miejue.
- Wu Jingcao (吳勁草; 吴劲草; Wú Jìngcǎo; Ng4 Ging3-cou2) is the former deputy chief of the Gold Banner Faction. Zhang Wuji promotes him to chief after Zhuang Zheng's death and tasks him with repairing the damaged Dragon Saber.
- Yan Yuan (顏垣; 颜垣; Yán Yuán; Ngaan4 Wun4) is the chief of the Earth Banner Faction (厚土旗).
- Tang Yang (唐洋; Táng Yáng; Tong4 Joeng4) is the chief of the Water Banner Faction (洪水旗).
- Wen Cangsong (聞蒼松; 闻苍松; Wén Cāngsōng; Man4 Cong1-cung4) is the chief of the Wood Banner Faction (巨木旗).
- Xin Ran (辛然; Xīn Rán; San1 Jin4) is the chief of the Fire Banner Faction (烈火旗).
Heavenly Eagle Cult
- Yin Susu (殷素素; Yīn Sùsù; Jan1 Sou3-sou3) is Yin Tianzheng's daughter and Yin Yewang's younger sister. She meets Zhang Cuishan by coincidence and both of them are cast adrift to Ice Fire Island, where they are married and settled. She gives birth to Zhang Wuji. She follows suit after her husband commits suicide.
- Yin Yewang (殷野王; Yīn Yěwáng; Jan1 Je5-wong4) is Yin Tianzheng's son and Yin Susu's elder brother. He is Yin Li's father and Zhang Wuji's maternal uncle. His first wife (Yin Li's mother) practised the 'Thousand Spiders Venom Hand' (千蛛萬毒手), became infertile and disfigured, and fell out of her husband's favour. Yin Yewang took a concubine who bore him two sons. Yin Li killed her stepmother because she often bullied her mother, and then fled from home to evade her father's wrath. In the earlier editions of the novel, with Zhang Wuji's help, Yin Yewang forgives his daughter and reconciles with her.
- Yin Li (殷離; 殷离; Yīn Lí; Jan1 Lei4) is Yin Yewang's daughter. She practises the 'Thousand Spiders Venom Hand', a deadly skill she inherits from her mother and which causes her to become disfigured. She is thus known as Zhu'er (蛛兒; 蛛儿; Zhū'ér; Zyu1-ji4; "Spider Girl"), a nickname given to her by her mother. Her mother commits suicide to allow her to escape from her father and half-brothers after she killed her stepmother. Her relationship with her father becomes estranged as a consequence. She encounters Golden Flower Granny, who protects her and accepts her as an apprentice. She develops feelings for Zhang Wuji when she first met him in her childhood but does not recognise him when she meets him again later. She is apparently murdered by Zhou Zhiruo but is revealed at the end of the novel to have survived.
- Leaders of the halls and altars:
- Li Tianyuan (李天垣; Lǐ Tiānyuán; Lei5 Tin1-wun4) is the leader of the Heaven Hall. He is Yin Tianzheng's junior.
- Chang Jinpeng (常金鵬; 常金鹏; Cháng Jīnpéng; Soeng4 Gam1-paang4) is the leader of the Vermilion Bird Altar. He is slain by Xie Xun.
- Bai Guishou (白龜壽; 白龟寿; Bái Guīshòu; Baak6 Gwai1-sau6) is the leader of the Black Tortoise Altar. He is slain by Ding Minjun.
- Cheng Chaofeng (程嘲風; 程嘲风; Chéng Cháofēng; Cing4 Zaau1-fung1) is the leader of the Azure Dragon Altar.
- Gao Shanwang (高山王; Gāo Shānwáng; Gou1 Saan1-wong4) is the leader of the White Tiger Altar
- Feng Gongying (封弓影; Fēng Gōngyǐng; Fung1 Gung1-jing2) is the leader of the Divine Snake Altar.
- Yin Wufu (殷無福; 殷无福; Yīn Wúfú; Jan1 Mou4-fuk1), Yin Wulu (殷無祿; 殷无禄; Yīn Wúlù; Jan1 Mou4-luk6), Yin Wushou (殷無壽; 殷无寿; Yīn Wúshòu; Jan1 Mou4-sau6) are three bandits from the southwest who pledged allegiance to Yin Tianzheng after he saved their lives.
Persian Ming Cult
- Xiaozhao (小昭; Xiǎozhāo; Siu2-ziu1) is Han Qianye and Daiqisi's daughter. Her mother sends her as a spy to infiltrate the Ming Cult and find the location of its secret tunnel. Xiaozhao becomes a servant in Yang Xiao's household. The Yangs suspect her of being a spy so they bind her in chains to restrict her movements. Xiaozhao runs into Zhang Wuji and narrowly escapes death with him in the secret tunnel. Xiaozhao falls in love with Zhang Wuji but can never be with him because she has to take her mother's place as a "Sacred Maiden" to save her mother's life. She eventually becomes the new leader of the Persian Ming Cult and returns to its headquarters in Persia. Jin Yong mentioned in the epilogue of the novel that Xiaozhao is his favourite character.
- The Wind, Cloud and Moon Three Messengers (風雲月三使) are in charge of safekeeping the Ming Cult's sacred artefacts – the Holy Flame Tablets. There are the most powerful martial artists in the Persian Ming Cult. The three are:
- Mysterious Wind Messenger (妙風使; 妙风使; Miàofēng Shǐ; Miu6-fung1 Si2)
- Drifting Cloud Messenger (流雲使; 流云使; Liúyún Shǐ; Lau4-wan4 Si2)
- Bright Moon Messenger (輝月使; 辉月使; Huīyuè Shǐ; Fai1-jyut6 Si2)
- The 12 Guardian Kings (寶樹王) of the Persian Ming Cult come to China to search for Daiqisi and bring her back to Persia. Four of them appear in the novel:
- Equality Guardian King (平等寶樹王; 平等宝树王; Píngděng Bǎoshùwáng; Ping4-dang2 Bou2-syu6-wong4)
- Unity Guardian King (齊心寶樹王; 齐心宝树王; Qíxīn Bǎoshùwáng; Cai4-sam1 Bou2-syu6-wong4)
- Transparent Guardian King (俱明寶樹王; 俱明宝树王; Jùmíng Bǎoshùwáng; Geoi1-ming4 Bou2-syu6-wong4)
- Victorious Guardian King (常勝寶樹王; 常胜宝树王; Chángshèng Bǎoshùwáng; Soeng4-sing3 Bou2-syu6-wong4)
- Chaghan Temür (察罕特穆兒; 察罕特穆儿; Cháhǎn Tèmù'ér; Caat3-hon2 Dak6-muk6-ji4), the Prince of Ruyang (汝陽王; 汝阳王; Rǔyáng Wáng), is the father of Zhao Min and Wang Baobao. He is ordered by the Yuan emperor to eliminate the Ming Cult and other anti-Yuan forces in the wulin (martial arts community).
- Lady Han (韓氏女; 韩氏女; Hán Shì Nǚ; Hon4 Si6 Neoi5) is Chaghan Temür's concubine. She is killed in Wan'an Monastery by Lu Zhangke, who wants to prevent her from telling Chaghan about his sexual advances on her. Lu Zhangke then frames the captured martial artists and Ming Cult members for the murder.
- Köke Temür (擴廓帖木兒; 扩廓帖木儿; Kuòkuò Tiēmù'ér; Kwok3-kwok3 Tip3-muk6-ji4), also known by his Chinese name Wang Baobao (王保保; Wáng Báobǎo; Wong4 Bou2-bou2), is Chaghan Temür's son and Zhao Min's elder brother.
- The Xuanming Elders (玄冥二老; Xuánmíng Èr Lǎo; Jyun4-ming4 Ji6 Lou5) are the apprentices of the late Taoist Baisun (百損道人; 百损道人; Báisǔn Dàorén; Baak3-syun2 Dou3-jan4). They specialise in the skill 'Xuanming Divine Palm' (玄明神掌) and once used it on Zhang Wuji in his childhood. They serve Chaghan Temür as mercenaries. Later, after seeing how powerful Zhou Zhiruo has become from practising the skills in the Nine Yin Manual, they attempt to seize the book from her, but are unwilling to share it with each other so they start fighting over the manual. Zhang Wuji and Zhao Min show up to help Zhou Zhiruo and defeat the Xuanming Elders. In the earlier editions of the novel, the Elders lose their powers after their last fight with Zhang Wuji. The two Elders are:
- Lu Zhangke (鹿杖客; Lù Zhàngkè; Luk6 Zoeng6-haak3), a lecherous fiend who has raped many young women. He lusts for Lady Han and Zhou Zhiruo.
- He Biweng (鶴筆翁; 鹤笔翁; Hè Bǐwēng; Hok6 Bat1-jung1), who has a penchant for fine wine.
- Huogong Toutuo's apprentices are recruited by Chaghan Temür as mercenaries. They and Cheng Kun massacred the Dragon Gate Escort Agency and paralysed Yu Daiyan. 20 years later, they ambush and injure Yin Liting. They are defeated by Zhang Wuji in a fight. They are:
- Fang Dongbai (方東白; 方东白; Fāng Dōngbái; Fong1 Dung1-baak6), also called A'da (阿大; Ā'dà; Aa3-daai6), is nicknamed "Eight Arms Divine Swordsman" (八臂神劍) because his skill in swordplay appears to be unmatched. He was originally a high-ranking member of the Beggars' Sect, but later faked his death and joined his sworn brothers in serving Chaghan as mercenaries.
- A'er (阿二; Ā'èr; Aa3-ji6) paralysed Yin Liting.
- A'san (阿三; Ā'sān; Aa3-saam1) paralysed Yu Daiyan.
- Gangxiang (剛相; 刚相; Gāngxiàng; Gong1-soeng3) is killed by Zhang Sanfeng when he tried to ambush him while in disguise as a Shaolin monk called Kongxiang (空相; Kōngxiàng; Hung1-soeng3).
- The "Divine Arrow Eight Heroes" (神箭八雄) are a group of eight martial artists recruited by Chaghan Temür as mercenaries. They are:
- Zhao Yishang (趙一傷; 赵一伤; Zhào Yīshāng; Ziu6 Jat1-soeng1)
- Qian Erbai (錢二敗; 钱二败; Qián Èrbài; Cin2 Ji6-baai6)
- Sun Sanhui (孫三毀; 孙三毁; Sūn Sānhuǐ; Syun1 Saam1-wai2)
- Li Sicui (李四摧; Lǐ Sìcuī; Lei5 Sei3-ceoi1)
- Zhou Wushu (周五輸; 周五输; Zhōu Wǔshū; Zau1 Ng5-syu1)
- Wu Liupo (吳六破; 吴六破; Wú Liùpò; Ng5 Luk6-po3)
- Zheng Qimie (鄭七滅; 郑七灭; Zhèng Qīmiè; Zeng6 Cat1-mit6)
- Wang Bashuai (王八衰; Wáng Bāshuāi; Wong4 Baat3-seoi1)
See also: Wudang Sect
- Zhang Sanfeng (張三丰; 张三丰; Zhāng Sānfēng; Zoeng1 Saam1-fung1) is the founder and leader of Wudang. He was previously from the Shaolin Sect and was known as Zhang Junbao (張君寶; 张君宝; Zhāng Jūnbǎo; Zoeng1 Gwan1-bou2) in his younger days. He is highly respected in the wulin (martial artists' community) not only for his prowess in martial arts, but also for his morally upright character.
- The "Seven Heroes of Wudang" (武當七俠; 武当七侠; Wǔdāng Qī Xiá; Mou5-dong1 Cat1-hap6) are the first seven apprentices of Zhang Sanfeng. They are listed in order of seniority:
- Song Yuanqiao (宋遠橋; 宋远桥; Sòng Yuǎnqiáo; Sung3 Jyun5-kiu4) is Song Qingshu's father. Originally a reputable swordsman and the most likely candidate to succeed his master, he is disgraced by his son's misconduct and loses the opportunity to be Wudang's new leader. Zhang Sanfeng orders him to spend the rest of his life in solitude
- Yu Lianzhou (俞蓮舟; 俞莲舟; Yú Liánzhōu; Jyu4 Lin4-zau1) is the most powerful in martial arts among the seven. He is named by Zhang Sanfeng as his successor.
- Yu Daiyan (俞岱巖; 俞岱岩; Yú Dàiyán; Jyu4 Doi6-ngaam4) was ambushed and paralysed by Yin Susu and lost the use of his limbs. He receives medical treatment from Zhang Wuji 20 years after his injury but only manages to recover partially and can no longer utilise the full potential of his martial arts.
- Zhang Songxi (張松溪; 张松溪; Zhāng Sōngxī; Zoeng1 Cung4-kai1) is the most intelligent among the seven. He occasionally provides advice to his fellows.
- Zhang Cuishan (張翠山; 张翠山; Zhāng Cuìshān; Zoeng1 Ceoi3-saan1) has the best understanding of martial arts among the seven. Apart from being an accomplished swordsman, he is also well versed in scholarly arts and calligraphy. His distinctive weapons earn him the nickname "Silver Hook Iron Brush" (銀鉤鐵劃). He is Zhang Wuji's father and Xie Xun's sworn brother. He meets Yin Susu by chance and they are cast adrift to Ice Fire Island, where they are married and settled there for ten years. He commits suicide after being cornered by martial artists when he refuses to reveal Xie Xun's whereabouts.
- Yin Liting (殷梨亭; Yīn Lítíng; Jan1 Lei4-ting4) was Ji Xiaofu's original fiancé. Their engagement ended when she realised that she loved Yang Xiao and was already pregnant with Yang's child. Many years later, after Yin Liting is injured in the same way as Yu Daiyan, Yang Buhui nurses him back to health and falls in love with him when he is recovering. Yin marries Yang Buhui eventually despite the large age gap between them. They are expecting a child towards the end of the novel.
- Mo Shenggu (莫聲谷; 莫声谷; Mò Shēnggǔ; Mok6 Sing1-guk1) is the youngest of the seven and the most hot-tempered one. He tries to discipline Song Qingshu after discovering his voyeuristic attempts on Zhou Zhiruo and the Emei Sect's members, but is accidentally killed by Song Qingshu.
- Song Qingshu (宋青書; 宋青书; Sòng Qīngshū; Sung3 Cing1-syu1) is Song Yuanqiao's son. He serves as a foil to Zhang Wuji in the novel due to their similar backgrounds. His strong crush on Zhou Zhiruo makes him become extremely jealous when he sees Zhang Wuji and Zhou developing a romantic relationship. That ultimately becomes his weakness because it allows him to be manipulated easily by Chen Youliang and Cheng Kun into doing anything to win Zhou Zhiruo's heart and prove that he is better than Zhang Wuji. After killing Mo Shenggu by accident, he betrays the Wudang Sect and reluctantly joins the Beggars' Sect and helps Chen Youliang. Later, after Zhang Wuji reneges on his promise to marry her, Zhou Zhiruo pretends to marry Song Qingshu and teaches him the 'Nine Yin White Bone Claw' while actually plotting to use him to take her revenge on Zhang. Song is seriously injured at the Lion Slaying Ceremony during a fight against Yu Lianzhou and dies from his wounds on Mount Wudang. In the earlier editions of the novel, he is killed by Zhang Sanfeng as punishment for his crimes.
See also: Emei Sect
- Guo Xiang (郭襄; Guō Xiāng; Gwok3 Soeng1) was the founder of Emei and the younger daughter of Guo Jing and Huang Rong. In the prologue, she met Jueyuan and Zhang Junbao (Zhang Sanfeng) near Shaolin Monastery. Jueyuan recited the Nine Yang Manual to her, Zhang, and Wuse before his death. Guo Xiang's prowess in martial arts improved after she integrated the manual's skills into her existing ones. She inherited the Heaven Sword and knowledge of the secrets in the weapons from her family during the Battle of Xiangyang. After her family members sacrificed their lives to defend Xiangyang from Mongol invaders, she continued to roam the jianghu for years before settling down on Mount Emei, where she founded the Emei Sect. (See Template:Guo Jing and Huang Rong's family tree for her family tree.)
- Abbess Miejue (滅絕師太; 灭绝师太; Mièjué Shītài; Mit6-juet3 Si1-taai3), whose name "Miejue" literally means "destroy and eliminate", is the leader of Emei. She aims to purge the world of evil and make Emei the leading sect in the wulin (martial artists' community). Her dogmatic and extreme views lead her to commit various ethically and morally vicious deeds, including the indiscriminate slaughter of everyone associated with the Ming Cult and unorthodox martial arts sects. She hates the Ming Cult not only because of its "evil" name, but also because of Yang Xiao's indirect involvement in the events leading to Guhongzi's death. At Wan'an Monastery, she names Zhou Zhiruo her successor and plunges to her death from the tower after refusing Zhang Wuji's help.
- Zhou Zhiruo (周芷若; Zhōu Zhĭruò; Zau1 Zi2-joek6)Zhou Zhiruo is the daughter of a boatman from the Han River. Her name "Zhiruo" is derived from her birthplace, Zhijiang. Her mother died when she was very young. When she was 10, her father was killed by Yuan soldiers but she was saved by Zhang Sanfeng. She meets the young Zhang Wuji, who was travelling with Zhang Sanfeng, and they develop a friendship. Zhang Wuji leaves them later and follows Chang Yuchun to Butterfly Valley to seek treatment from Hu Qingniu. Zhang Sanfeng brings Zhou Zhiruo back to Wudang and recommends her to join the Emei Sect. She becomes an apprentice of Abbess Miejue, the leader of Emei.
- Guhongzi (孤鴻子; 孤鸿子; Gūhóngzǐ; Gu1-hung4-zi2) was Miejue's senior. He challenged Yang Xiao to a martial arts contest and borrowed Miejue's Heaven-Reliant Sword in the hope that it would give him an advantage. However, he lost to Yang Xiao and the sword was seized from him by Yang before he could even unsheathe it. Yang Xiao made some unkind remarks, threw the sword to the ground and walked away.
Guhongzi felt disgraced and insulted and eventually died in frustration. His death caused Miejue to bear a grudge against Yang Xiao and the Ming Cult.
- Ji Xiaofu (紀曉芙; 纪晓芙; Jǐ Xiǎofú; Gei3 Hiu2-fu4) is one of Miejue's apprentices who is seen as a potential successor to her master. She is originally Yin Liting's fiancée but falls in love with Yang Xiao instead and bears him a daughter. She secretly leaves Emei to raise her child, whom she names "Buhui" (literally "no regrets") to reflect her love for Yang Xiao. Miejue eventually tracks her down and forces her to kill Yang Xiao, but she refuses and is killed by her master in anger.
- Ding Minjun (丁敏君; Dīng Mǐnjūn; Ding1 Man5-gwan1) is one of Miejue's most senior apprentices. She is jealous of their master's favouritism towards Ji Xiaofu and later towards Zhou Zhiruo. Peng Yingyu once remarked that she is "ugly in appearance and evil-hearted" (毒手無鹽; literally "venomous hand without salt") after she blinded his right eye.
She once self-appointed herself as Emei's acting leader when Zhou Zhiruo went missing, but her peers were reluctant to follow her because of her selfishness.
- Bei Jinyi (貝錦儀; 贝锦仪; Bèi Jǐnyí; Bui3 Gam2-ji4) is one of Miejue's apprentices and a junior of Ding Minjun and Ji Xiaofu. When her master orders her and Ding to pursue and kill Yang Buhui, she decides to spare the child on account of her past relations with Ji Xiaofu (Yang Buhui's mother), so she lies to Miejue that Yang has already escaped.
- Zhao Lingzhu (趙靈珠; 赵灵珠; Zhào Língzhū; Ziu6 Ling4-zyu1)
- Li Mingxia (李明霞; Lǐ Míngxiá; Lei5 Ming4-haa4)
- Su Mengqing (蘇夢清; 苏梦清; Sū Mèngqīng; Sou1 Mung6-cing1)
- Fang Bilin (方碧琳; Fāng Bìlín; Fong1 Bik1-lam4)
- Jingxuan (靜玄; 静玄; Jìngxuán; Zing6-jyun4) is accidentally injured by Zhang Wuji when she was making her way to Bright Peak. She collects the remains of the broken Heaven Sword at the end of the story.
- Jinghui (靜慧; 静慧; Jìnghuì; Zing6-wai6) is an impulsive nun who explains to Zhang Wuji the truth about Zhou Zhiruo's relationship with Song Qingshu.
- Jingxu (靜虛; 静虚; Jìngxū; Zing6-heoi1) is killed by Wei Yixiao during her journey to Bright Peak.
- Jingzhao (靜照; 静照; Jìngzhào; Zing6-Ziu3) attempts to assassinate Xie Xun at the Lion Slaying Ceremony.
- Jingjia (靜迦; 静迦; Jìngjiā; Zing6-gaa1) killed Situ Qianzhong and Xia Zhou at the Lion Slaying Ceremony with the Thunderbolt Fire Bombs (霹靂雷火彈).
- Jingkong (靜空; 静空; Jìngkōng; Zing6-hung1)
- Jingxian (靜閒; 静闲; Jìngxián; Zing6-haan4)
- Jingzhen (靜真; 静真; Jìngzhēn; Zing6-zan1)
- Jingdao (靜道; 静道; Jìngdào; Zing6-dou3)
- Jingfeng (靜風; 静风; Jìngfēng; Zing6-fung1)
- Jingxin (靜心; 静心; Jìngxīn; Zing6-sam1)
- Jinghe (靜和; 静和; Jìnghé; Zing6-wo4)
See also: Shaolin Sect
- Jueyuan (覺遠; 觉远; Juéyuǎn; Gok3-jyun5) was Wuse and Wuxiang's junior. He is credited as Zhang Sanfeng's martial arts master. Before his death, he recited the Nine Yang Manual to his apprentice and Guo Xiang, who respectively founded the Wudang and Emei sects later.
- Cheng Kun (成昆; Chéng Kūn; Sing4 Gwan1), nicknamed "Hunyuan Thunderbolt Hand" (混元霹靂手), is the primary antagonist in the novel and a formidable martial artist. He seeks to destroy the Ming Cult after his junior, whom he had a crush on, married Yang Dingtian and committed suicide to join her husband. He disguised himself as a Shaolin monk called Yuanzhen (圓真; 圆真; Yuánzhēn; Jyun4-zan1) and successfully stirred up conflict between the Ming Cult and the six major orthodox sects through a series of machinations. He pretended to accept Xie Xun as his apprentice and then killed Xie's family in cold blood before disappearing. Although he dislikes the Mongols, he still reluctantly becomes an adviser to Chaghan Temür and helps him devise plans to eliminate the Ming Cult. As the story progresses, he becomes corrupted by his lust for power and plots with Chen Youliang to dominate the wulin (martial artists' community), but their plan is foiled by Zhang Wuji and others. He is eventually defeated and blinded by Xie Xun.
- Four Holy Monks (四大神僧):
- Kongjian (空見; 空见; Kōngjiàn; Hung1-gin3) mastered the art of invincibility. He attempted to appease Xie Xun's rage by allowing Xie to kill him. Xie Xun later often regretted killing Kongjian.
- Kongwen (空聞; 空闻; Kōngwén; Hung1-man4) is the abbot of Shaolin Monastery.
- Kongzhi (空智; Kōngzhì; Hung1-zi3) is Kongwen's hot-tempered junior.
- Kongxing (空性; Kōngxìng; Hung1-sing3) is murdered by Cheng Kun.
- The Three Elders of the Bodhidharma Hall (達摩堂三元老) form the 'Vajra Evil Subduing Ring' (金剛伏魔圈) to guard Xie Xun when he is held captive in Shaolin. More than 30 years ago, they fought with Yang Dingtian after being instigated by Cheng Kun and were injured by him. Since then, they have retreated into a state of "withering meditation" (枯禪). They become more aware of Cheng Kun's wicked intentions after listening to Zhang Wuji's explanations. The Three Elders are:
- Du'e (渡厄; Dù'è; Dou6-aak1) lost his left eye during the fight with Yang Dingtian. He trusts Zhang Wuji despite standing on an opposing side.
- Dujie (渡劫; Dùjié; Dou6-gip3)
- Dunan (渡難; 渡难; Dùnàn; Dou6-naan6)
- Huogong Toutuo (火工頭陀; 火工头陀; Huǒgōng Tóutuó; Fo2-gung1 Tau4-to4) was a traitor of Shaolin. He learnt some of Shaolin's skills and fled to the western regions, where he founded the Vajra Sect (金剛門).
See also: Kunlun Sect
- He Zudao (何足道; Hé Zúdào; Ho4 Zuk1-dou3) was nicknamed "Kunlun Three Sage" (崑崙三聖). He disappeared mysteriously after being defeated by Jueyuan. Yinkexi, one of the two men who stole the Nine Yang Manual from Shaolin, told him the whereabouts of the manual before dying. He Zudao misheard the message and passed on the wrong information in the jianghu.
- He Taichong (何太沖; 何太冲; Hé Tàichōng; Ho4 Taai3-cung1), nicknamed "Mr Iron Zither" (鐵琴先生), is the ungrateful and immoral leader of Kunlun. He and his wife try to kill Zhang Wuji and Yang Buhui after Zhang saved his concubine from death, but Yang Xiao saves Zhang and Yang. Later in the novel, he attempts to kill Xie Xun, who is held captive in Shaolin, so that he can take the Dragon Saber, but is slain by the three Shaolin elders.
- Ban Shuxian (斑淑嫻; 斑淑娴; Bān Shūxián; Baan1 Suk1-haan4) is He Taichong's wife and an expert in the 'Dual Swordplay' (正兩儀劍法). She is killed along with her husband by the three Elders.
Mount Hua Sect
See also: Mount Hua Sect
- Xianyu Tong (鮮于通; 鲜于通; Xiānyú Tōng; Sin1-jyu4 Tung1), nicknamed "Shenjizi" (神機子), is the promiscuous and immoral leader of the sect. Hu Qingniu once saved his life when he was infected with Golden Worm Poison by Lady Miao, whom he previously had a relationship with. Hu Qingniu's sister, Hu Qingyang, fell in love with him while he was recovering and married him. However, he forced Hu Qingyang to die so that he can marry the daughter of his predecessor, even though she was already pregnant with his child. Xianyu Tong's wicked deed was discovered by his senior, Bai Yuan, whom he killed before the secret was revealed. He then framed the Ming Cult for the murder. During the battle at Bright Peak, Xianyu Tong attempts to kill Zhang Wuji, who is aware of his dirty secrets, but is infected with the Golden Worm Poison again. Zhang Wuji defeats him and exposes his past atrocities. Xianyu Tong dies at the hands of He Taichong incidentally during the fight.
- Xue Gongyuan (薛公遠; 薛公远; Xuē Gōngyuǎn; Sit3 Gung1-jyun5) is one of Xianyu Tong's apprentices. He and several others were injured by Golden Flower Granny and went to Butterfly Valley to seek treatment from Hu Qingniu. They are healed by Zhang Wuji, but betray him later and make cannibalistic attempts on him and Yang Buhui. Zhang tricks them into consuming a poisonous broth, which kills them.
See also: Kongtong Sect
- The "Five Elders of Kongtong" (崆峒五老) bore a grudge against Xie Xun after he stole the 'Seven Harms Fist' (七傷拳) manual from them. They are defeated by Zhang Wuji at Bright Peak. The fifth elder's name is not mentioned in the novel. The other four are:
- Guan Neng (關能; 关能; Guān Néng; Gwaan1 Nang4)
- Zong Weixia (宗維俠; 宗维侠; Zōng Wéixiá; Zung1 Wai4-hap6) holds a grudge against Yin Tianzheng after they once fought in the past. He becomes Zhang Wuji's ally in Kongtong after Zhang treats his wounds during their match at Bright Peak. He renounces his past feud with the Ming Cult.
- Tang Wenliang (唐文亮; Táng Wénliàng; Tong4 Man4-loeng6) had his limbs broken by Yin Tianzheng during the battle at Bright Peak. Zhang Wuji heals his injuries and saves him from permanent paralysis.
- Chang Jingzhi (常敬之; Cháng Jìngzhī; Soeng4 Ging3-zi1)
- Jian Jie (簡捷; 简捷; Jiǎn Jié; Gaan2 Zit3) is a minor member of the sect who was injured by Golden Flower Granny. He is healed by Zhang Wuji but repays his kindness with evil by making cannibalistic attempts on Zhang and Yang Buhui. He is tricked by Zhang into consuming a poisonous broth that took his life.
See also: Beggars' Sect
- Chen Youliang (陳友諒; 陈友谅; Chén Yǒuliàng; Can4 Jau5-loeng6) is Cheng Kun's apprentice. He serves the Beggars' Sect as a spy for his master and manipulates Song Qingshu into betraying the Wudang Sect. He defects to the Ming Cult after Cheng Kun's defeat but betrays the cult later and becomes a territorial warlord after the fall of the Yuan Empire.
- Shi Huolong (史火龍; 史火龙; Shí Huǒlóng; Si2 Fo2-lung4) is the sect's chief. He is hardly known to the wulin (martial artists' community) because he rarely made public appearances. He was murdered by Cheng Kun and Chen Youliang, who replaced him with an impostor under their control.
- Shi Hongshi (史紅石; 史红石; Shǐ Hóngshí; Si2 Hung4-sek6) is Shi Huolong's daughter. She was rescued by the Yellow Dress Maiden after her father was murdered. She succeeds her father as the chief of the Beggars' Sect.
Zhu and Wu families
- Zhu Changling (朱長齡; 朱长龄; Zhū Chánglíng; Zyu1 Coeng4-ling4), nicknamed "Heavenly Shaking Brush" (驚天一筆), is a descendant of Zhu Ziliu. He is skilled in using the "Yiyang Finger" (一陽指). He collaborates with Wu Lie to trick Zhang Wuji into revealing the location of Xie Xun.
- Wu Lie (武烈; Wǔ Liè; Mou5 Lit6) is a descendant of Wu Santong. He plots with Zhu Changling to deceive Zhang Wuji into revealing Xie Xun's whereabouts.
- Zhu Jiuzhen (朱九真; Zhū Jiǔzhēn; Zyu1 Gau2-zan1) is Zhu Changling's daughter. Though beautiful in appearance, she is cruel and sadistic. She seduces Zhang Wuji and helps her father and Wu Lie trick Zhang into revealing Xie Xun's whereabouts. She is killed by Yin Li.
- Wu Qingying (武青櫻; 武青樱; Wǔ Qīngyīng; Mou5 Cing1-jing1) is Wu Lie's daughter. She is Wei Bi's romantic interest and Zhu Jiuzhen's love rival.
- Wei Bi (衛壁; 卫壁; Wèi Bì; Wai6 Bik3) is Wu Lie's apprentice. He wants to win the love of both Zhu Jiuzhen and Wu Qingying. He is slain by Wei Yixiao while attempting to sneak up on him.
- Han Qianye (韓千葉; 韩千叶; Hán Qiānyè; Hon4 Cin1-jip6) was nicknamed "Mr Silver Leaf" (銀葉先生). He sought revenge on Yang Dingtian and challenged him to a fight. Daiqisi took up his challenge and they fought in the Icy Lake. They fell in love and later left for good to settle on a remote island, where their daughter Xiaozhao was born. In an earlier edition of the novel, Fan Yao was suspected of poisoning Han to death.
- The Yellow Dress Maiden (黃衫女子; 黄衫女子; Huáng Shān Nǚzǐ; Wong4 Saam1 Neoi5-zi2) is a descendant of the Condor Hero Couple (Yang Guo and Xiaolongnü). Her real name is not mentioned in the novel but her family name is briefly said to be 'Yang' (楊). She appears to help Zhang Wuji in times of danger. She defeats Zhou Zhiruo's 'Nine Yin White Bone Claw' with an orthodox version of the skills in the Nine Yin Manual. (See Template:Yang Kang and Mu Nianci's family tree for her family tree.)
- Situ Qianzhong (司徒千鍾; 司徒千钟; Sītú Qiānzhōng; Si1-tou4 Cin1-zung1) is a drunk martial artist who befriends Zhou Dian at the Lion Slaying Ceremony. He is killed by Jingjia.
- Xia Zhou (夏冑; Xià Zhòu; Haa6 Zau6) is a brother of one of Xie Xun's victims. He is killed by Jingjia along with Situ Qianzhong at the Lion Slaying Ceremony.
- Du Baidang (杜百當; 杜百当; Dù Bǎidāng; Dou6 Baak3-dong1) and Yi Sanniang (易三娘; Yì Sānniáng; Jik6 Saam1-noeng4) are the parents of one of Xie Xun's victims. The couple provided shelter for Zhang Wuji and Zhao Min when they are heading to Shaolin. The couple are murdered by Zhou Zhiruo later.