Mu Nianci

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Mu Nianci
Created by Jin Yong
Appearances The Legend of the Condor Heroes
Personal information
Gender Female
Family Mu Yi (foster father)
Romantic interest(s) Yang Kang
Children Yang Guo
Teachers Hong Qigong (unofficial teacher)
Skills and abilities
Unarmed combat skills Carefree Fist
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Mu.
Mu Nianci
Traditional Chinese 穆念慈
Simplified Chinese 穆念慈

Mu Nianci is a character in the wuxia novel The Legend of the Condor Heroes by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). She is the romantic interest of the antagonist Yang Kang and the mother of Yang Guo, the protagonist of the sequel The Return of the Condor Heroes. Jin Yong describes her appearance as "firm like a piece of jade, despite appearing weather-beaten, she is beautiful, with bright eyes and sparkling white teeth." (玉立亭亭,雖然臉有風塵之色,但明眸皓齒,容顏娟好)[1][2]

Mu Nianci and Qin Nanqin[edit]

The Mu Nianci in the latest revision of The Legend of the Condor Heroes is actually an amalgam of the original character of Mu Nianci and another character called Qin Nanqin (秦南琴). In the first edition, Mu is Yang Kang's love interest but is not Yang Guo's mother. Qin lives with her grandfather and they catch snakes for a living. She develops a crush on Guo Jing after he saves her. However, Qin is raped by Yang Kang and Mu arrives too late to stop him. Qin becomes pregnant and gives birth to Yang Guo and thereafter becomes a nun and travels with Mu before settling down to raise her child. After Yang Kang was poisoned, Mu performs a coup de grâce on him and commits suicide to join him in death. Qin also dies later after being bitten by a snake but she entrusts her son to Guo Jing before dying. Jin Yong felt that Qin Nanqin's role was unnecessary so he merged the characters of Mu and Qin as one in the later editions.

Roles in the novels[edit]

Mu was from Hetang Village (荷塘村) in Lin'an (present-day Hangzhou). She became an orphan shortly after birth when an epidemic killed her family. Months before, her family offered shelter to an injured Mu Yi, who was escaping from Duan Tiande. When Mu Yi returned to her home to offer help, he saw that she was the only survivor in her family of seven (her parents and four brothers died) and decided to adopt the girl to repay her family's kindness. When Nianci became older, Mu Yi decided that it is time for him to find a suitable spouse for her. They travel around the land, staging martial arts contest for interested men to participate. The contestant must defeat Mu Nianci to win her hand-in-marriage but none has managed to overcome her yet. She learnt some martial arts from Hong Qigong after a brief encounter with him earlier, in addition to those taught to her by Mu Yi.

Once, Mu Yi and Mu Nianci arrive in the capital of the Jin Empire to stage another contest. A young Jurchen prince named Wanyan Kang joins the contest out of mischief and defeats Mu Nianci easily. According to the rules of the contest, Wanyan must marry Mu but he refuses. He molested Mu during the contest and took her shoe as a souvenir. Mu Yi is displeased with Wanyan's attitude and he insists that the latter marries his daughter. Wanyan turns violent and shoves Mu Yi away. Guo Jing, who has been watching nearby, stands up for Mu Yi and chides Wanyan for his behavior. Guo and Wanyan start to fight.

Just then, the prince's mother Bao Xiruo arrives on the scene and stops the fight. Mu Yi recognises Bao and is stunned. Mu is actually Bao's first husband Yang Tiexin, who was apparently killed 19 years ago, while Wanyan Kang is actually Yang's biological son Yang Kang. Wanyan refuses to acknowledge his father and his parents commit suicide after being cornered by Wanyan Honglie. Before dying, Yang Tiexin learns that the young man who stood up for him earlier is actually his late sworn brother's son. He decides that Guo could be a suitable spouse for his foster daughter. However, both of them refuse Yang's arrangement, as Guo is romantically involved with Huang Rong and Mu Nianci already has feelings for Yang Kang.

Mu attempts to kill Wanyan Honglie to avenge her foster father but Yang Kang intervenes and stops her. In fact, Yang has fallen in love with her ever since he first met her during the contest. Their relationship gradually becomes more complicated. Yang is unwilling to give up his status as a Jurchen noble so he can enjoy wealth, fame and power. Mu tries to persuade him to give up and follow her to be a commoner. Yang reveals his treacherous nature and collaborates with the Jurchens to exploit his own race while lying to Mu that he has changed.

Mu discovers Yang's villainous deeds eventually and decides to leave him for good. They never met each other again. However, Mu is already pregnant with Yang's child and still loves him despite his misdeeds. She gives birth to a son shortly after Yang's death. The infant is named "Yang Guo" by Guo Jing, who hopes that the boy will redeem his family's honour by doing good. Mu raises Yang Guo all by herself for 11 years before dying from illness. Following his mother's instructions before her demise, Yang Guo had her remains cremated and buried at the Temple of the Iron Spear, in the hope of reuniting her with his father in death.

Martial arts and skills[edit]

Carefree Fist[edit]

When she was 13, Mu learnt the "Carefree Fist" (逍遙遊) from Hong Qigong in a ruined temple in Xinyang. Using the early martial arts training by her foster father as a foundation, she masters the skill within three days. When a combatant utilises the skill, he or she is elegant, extremely light, agile, and appears as if he or she is dancing. Every motion is as beautiful as that of a jade yanornis or huge eagle.[3]

Family tree[edit]

Yang Tiexin
Bao Xiruo
Wanyan Honglie
Yang Kang
Mu Nianci
Yang Guo
Yellow Dress Maiden