Wanyan Honglie was the sixth price of Jin in the Legend of the Condor Heroes. He was based off a real historical figure.
Wanyan Honglie was first seen in Ox Village when he was in a group of Jin and Song troops to attack Qiu Chuji. However, the soldiers were quickly defeated by Qiu Chuji, and all the men except for Wanyan Honglie were killed. later, Bao Xiruo finds Wanyan Honglie on the ground with an arrow through the back of his shoulder. As Bao Xiruo had always been kind, she saved Wanyan Honglie, who would have frozen without her help.
Wanyan Honglie soon became enchanted by Bao Xiruo's beauty and sent a Song traitor named Duan Tiande to capture her. In the process, Guo Xiaotian is killed, and Yang Tiexing is severely injured. Li Ping is captured by Duan Tiande to use as a hostage. While Bao Xiruo is running away, Wanyan Honglie stages a rescue. He does not want to reveal he is a Jin Prince, so he claims his name is Yan Lie, removing the first and third character of his name.
He is courteous and respectful in his journey with Bao Xiruo, but despite his appearance of proprietry, Zhu Cong of the Seven Freaks of Jiangnan spots that the pair are not married and pickpockets Honglie's money during a brief encounter, purely for the mischief of it. The innkeeper is furious when he cannot pay the bill, and Wanyan Honglie starts fighting the innkeeper as well as many who join the fight. Finally, he tells the men to find Gai Yuncong, the governor of Jiaxing. The men refuse, but then he shows them a letter with his name on it. Gai Yuncong comes and gives Wanyan Honglie gold and silver to make up for the money that was stolen from him. Wanyan Honglie also reveals to Bao Xiruo he is the sixth prince of Jin.
Wanyan Honglie sees the rest of the Seven Freaks when he's walking through town later, as they arrive piecemeal for a mediation with Qiu Chuji. Wanyan witnesses Baoju's prowess on horseback as well as Han Xiaoying's rowing and swordplay, and immediately realizes the potential. He follows them into a restaurant with the idea of offering them wealth and status in the Jin empire to train the Jin military, but before long the other Freaks, as well as Qiu Chuji, arrive, and an extensive fight happens with Wanyan a bystander to the proceedings and the Freaks leave before he can approach any of them with his job offers.
Sometime afterwards he takes Bao Xiruo, who believes herself widowed, as his consort and raises her son, real name Yang Kang, as Wanyan Kang. He's a doting husband and father, indulging Bao's wish to live in a simple peasant hut built on the palace grounds, with mementos from Ox Village as decorations. He saw the talented and clever Wanyan Kang as a worthy successor, everything he would wish for in a son, and by Kang's late teens was including him in meetings so Kang would learn statecraft, diplomacy, and strategy.
Some six years after the incident at Ox Village and its followups, when Guo Jing and "Wanyan" Kang are in their childhood, Wanyan Honglie travels to Mongolia along with his brother the third prince of Jin, Wanyan Hongxi. They are there to make sure the tribes of Mongolia remain fragmented and weak so they will never be a threat to the Jin. To do so, they give Temujin and Wang Khan titles to cause jealousy among the khans who were not recognized beside them. Wanyan's older, less perceptive brother is dismissive of the Mongolians, but Wanyan Honglie grows concerned when Temujin beats a surprise offensive by the rival Naiman tribe when Temujin's forces were greatly outnumbered. He realizes that despite their nomadic life, the Mongolians are a sophisticated and intelligent people of skilled warriors, and if the Mongol tribes all united under a single ambitious leader, especially Temujin, they would be able to conquer Jin easily. Wanyan Honglie and his brother spend the rest of their trip subtly stirring resentment between Temujin and Wang Khan's tribes, with some success.
Some ten years later, Wanyan Honglie returns to Mongolia, as Temujin is becoming more and more powerful. Wanyan Honglie is accompanied by the Four Ghosts of the Yellow River, a moderately accomplished group of martial artists whom he recruited to help him. He succeeds in getting Wang Khan and Jamukha to march on Temujin, yet Guo Jing captures Wang Khan's grandson as a hostage and every time Wang Khan tries to advance, he stops at the threat of his grandson being slain . Eventually, Wanyan Honglie deploys the Four Ghosts, hoping Temujin will kill Wang Khan's grandson and make a permanent rift between the two. Guo Jing manages to hold the Four Ghosts off until the Seven Freaks come and defeat the Four Ghosts easily. Temujin's reinforcements arrive and force Wanyan Honglie back. He escapes when Wang Khan's camp is later attacked by Temujin. Temujin destroys Wang Khan and Jemukha, his two chief rivals in Mongolia, and becomes known as Genghis Khan, ruler of the Mongolians.
The Truth Comes Out
Unbeknownst to Wanyan Honglie, Yang Tiexing survived the attack on Ox Village. Wounded and scarred, he nonetheless lived. Yang's aimless wanderings looking for his wife Bao Xiruo gained him an adopted daughter, an orphan he took in--he named her Mu Nianci and called himself Mu Yu because he would likely be executed under his original name. He raised her, taught her to fight as a means of giving her some means of self-care, and when she was roughly eighteen, they journeyed to the Jin capital to find her a suitably skilled martial artist to wed--but one of the conditions was they had to best her in a brief duel.
Yang Kang saw the spectacle and participated on a whim, besting Nianci, not knowing that he did so in front of his father. He refused to accept betrothal to a commoner, insulting both Nianci and his father. Guo Jing was in the crowd and intervened to chastise Kang. The protracted fight ended with Bao Xiruo, in a litter, arrived to call her son back home. Yang Tiexing caught a glimpse of his wife, whom he hadn't seen in almost twenty years, and immediately suspected her identity--and that of her son, the arrogant princeling.
Yang stealthily entered Wanyan Honglie's palace at night, and spoke to his long-separated wife in the replica of their old home in the Ox Village. He convinced her of his identity and Bao was overcome with grief and remorse at the lost time and her acceptance of Honglie's love. Their discussions let them piece together what happened in Ox Village, and they decided to flee together.
Before they could, they were interrupted by the arrival of "Wanyan" Kang, and he was told the truth of his parentage and invited to join his parents in their flight for a new life. Yang Kang refused to believe it, and notified Honglie, who rounded up guards and martial artists and went in pursuit of the fleeing star-crossed couple. Outmatched, Yang Tiexing committed suicide, and Bao Xiruo followed suit, to join her husband in his death. Wanyan Honglie was stricken with grief, especially because his mother's convictions had shaken Yang Kang and made him question his relationship to Honglie and his place in the world, if only temporarily. Kang remained in Jin, unhappy but still loyal to his adoptive father Honglie.
Father and Son
Months later, Genghis Khan begins attacking the Jin and sends his fourth son Tolui and his general Jebe to seek alliance with the Song against the Jin. Wanyan Honglie sought to intercept them--first he sent Kang to catch the group, but Kang's force was destroyed by Song pirates on Lake Tai. Kang was captured and the detachment of soldiers he had were all killed. Kang was imprisoned and thus delayed. Without word of his son but still with a mission to accomplish, Wanyan Honglie leads a small force against the Mongolian diplomatic mission. Many of the Mongolians are slain, but not the leaders. Tolui and Jebe are cornered by Wanyan's soldiers and Wanyan himself. However Guo Jing came to the aid of the Mongolians and with his new skills he defeated the Jin soldiers and the Four Ghosts easily. Wanyan Honglie fled on Guo's arrival.
Yang Kang, who has been travelling with Guo following his freedom from imprisonment, had by this point heard of how Honglie had arranged the attack on Ox Village purely to make Bao Xiruo a widow and let him gain her as his wife. Kang, who was enormously fond of his mother, is horrified and becomes determined to sever ties with Honglie over this act of selfishness and deception. He's the one that comes across the hiding Wanyan Honglie, and instead of killing him, what filial loyalty he feels for the man who raised him leads Kang to tell Honglie to run and never see him again. Wanyan Honglie convinces his adopted son that his fatherly feelings and regard have always been sincere, and hints that he plans to usurp the throne of the Jin emperor and make Kang his heir. Yang Kang is attracted by the thought of wealth and power and agrees to protect him.
While Yang Kang distracts Guo Jing and Huang Rong, Wanyan Honglie escapes to safety.
Search for the Four Poems of Yue Fei
Wanyan Honglie figured out that Yue Fei had written four poems before his death that contained coded strategies for the Song to beat the Jin. He invited well-established men of the wulin to help him. These men were Sha Tongtian, Hou Tonghai, Liang Ziweng, Ouyang Ke, Lingzhi Shangren, and Peng Lianhu. Wanyan Honglie hopes these martial artists can help him overcome anyone standing in his path.
Wanyan Honglie goes on to search for the poems without much success, leaving without Ouyang Ke, for he was not present and was involved in other matters. Later, he meets Western Venom Ouyang Feng and a crippled Ouyang Ke as well as Guo Jing, Huang Rong, and Hong Qigong. Ouyang Feng joins him, and Wanyan Honglie raids the emperor's palace and finds the box where the poems are supposed to be, but the poems are not inside it.
Later, it is revealed the poems have been taken by the Iron Palm Gang and are in their sacred area.
When Mongolia invaded the Jin, Wanyan Honglie was obligated to abandon his search for the poems. He tried to form an alliance with Khwarazam's king, Muhammad the second. He succeeds, but the Mongolians come to attack Khwarazam. Wanyan Honglie has no choice but to hide in their capital city. The capital of Khwarazam was well built and well-defended, and they were able to hold the Mongolians off until Huang Rong found a way to get in, and Wanyan Honglie was captured by the Beggar Clan when trying to escape.
Wanyan Honglie is brought before Genghis Khan and expresses regret at not having crushed the Mongolians when they were still weak. Genghis Khan executes him.