The Return of the Condor Heroes

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The Return of the Condor Heroes
The Return of the Condor Heroes (cover).jpg
Book cover
Author Jin Yong
Original title 神鵰俠侶
Country Hong Kong
Language Chinese
Series Condor Trilogy
Genre Wuxia, romance
Publisher Ming Pao
Publication date
20 May 1959
Media type Print
Preceded by The Legend of the Condor Heroes
Followed by The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber
The Return of the Condor Heroes
Simplified Chinese 神雕侠侣
Traditional Chinese 神鵰俠侶
Literal meaning The Divine Eagle and the Heroic Couple

The Return of the Condor Heroes is a wuxia novel by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). It is the second part of the Condor Trilogy, and was preceded by The Legend of the Condor Heroes and followed by The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber. It was first serialised between 20 May 1959 and 5 July 1961 in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao.[1] The story revolves around the protagonist Yang Guo and his lover Xiaolongnü in their adventures in the jianghu (also called the wulin, the community of martial artists), which disapproves of the taboo love between master and apprentice. Alternate English titles of the novel include The Giant Eagle and Its Companion and Divine Eagle, Chivalric Companion. Jin Yong revised the novel in 1970 and again in 2004. There are 40 chapters in the second and third revisions. Each chapter has a title composed of four Chinese characters. Most of the revisions are either clarifications or minor alterations of character motivations or names.

Plot[edit]

The protagonist, Yang Guo, is the orphaned son of Yang Kang, the antagonist in The Legend of the Condor Heroes. The couple Guo Jing and Huang Rong put Yang Guo under their care for a short period of time before sending him to the Quanzhen Sect for better guidance in moral values and orthodox martial arts. In Quanzhen, Yang Guo is often picked on and bullied by his fellow students, and even his master, Zhao Zhijing, is biased against him. Yang Guo flees and ventures unknowingly into the nearby Tomb of the Living Dead, where the Ancient Tomb Sect is housed. He is saved by Xiaolongnü, a mysterious maiden of unknown origin, and becomes her apprentice. They live together in the tomb for many years until Yang Guo grows up. After being attacked by Li Mochou, they leave the tomb and stay on the mountain. Xiaolongnü develops romantic feelings for Yang Guo and after a while, he falls in love with her.

However, their romance is forbidden by the prevailing norms of the Confucianist society of their time. Throughout the story, their love meets with several tests, such as the misunderstandings that threaten to tear them apart and the encounter with Gongsun Zhi. Finally, after their reunion and marriage, Xiaolongnü leaves Yang Guo again, owing to her belief she cannot recover from a fatal poison, and promises to meet him again 16 years later. While Yang Guo is wandering the jianghu alone, he meets several formidable martial artists and a giant condor. His adventures gradually mould him into a courageous martial artist, whose prowess matches the Greats of his age. Yang Guo serves his nation by helping the Han Chinese citizens of the Song dynasty defeat the Mongol invaders. At the end of the novel, he is reunited with Xiaolongnü and they are recognised as heroes of their time.

Characters[edit]

Adaptations[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Production Main cast Additional information
1960 Emei Film Company
(Hong Kong)
Patrick Tse, Nam Hung, Lam Kau, Chan Wai-yue See The Story of the Great Heroes
1982 Shaw Brothers Studio (Hong Kong) Alexander Fu, Philip Kwok, Gigi Wong, Lung Tien-hsiang, Lam Sau-kwan See The Brave Archer and His Mate
1983 Leslie Cheung, Mary Jean Reimer, Chen Kuan-tai, Leanne Liu See Little Dragon Maiden

Television[edit]

Year Production Main cast Additional information
1976 CTV (Hong Kong) Law Lok-lam, Lee Tong-ming, Jason Pai, Michelle Yim See The Return of the Condor Heroes (1976 TV series)
1983 TVB (Hong Kong) Andy Lau, Idy Chan, Bryan Leung, Susanna Au-yeung See The Return of the Condor Heroes (1983 TV series)
1984 CTV (Taiwan) Meng Fei, Angela Pan, Hsiang Yun-peng, Chang Han-po, Shen Hai-jung See The Return of the Condor Heroes (1984 TV series)
1995 TVB (Hong Kong) Louis Koo, Carman Lee, Jason Pai, Bonnie Ngai See The Condor Heroes 95
1998 MediaCorp (Singapore) Christopher Lee, Fann Wong, Zhu Houren, Shirley He See The Return of the Condor Heroes (Singaporean TV series)
TTV (Taiwan) Richie Ren, Jacklyn Wu, Sun Xing, Patricia Ha See The Return of the Condor Heroes (TTV)
2001 Nippon Animation (Japan) Daisuke Namikawa, Mie Sonozaki See The Legend of Condor Hero
2006 Ciwen Film & TV Production Co. Ltd. (Mainland China) Huang Xiaoming, Liu Yifei, Wang Luoyong, Kong Lin See The Return of the Condor Heroes (2006 TV series)
TBA Yu Zheng Studio (Mainland China) Chen Xiao, Michelle Chen, Zheng Guolin, Minna Yang See The Condor Heroes (2014 TV series)

Comics[edit]

Asiapac Books acquired the rights to produce an illustrated version of the novel in 1995. The 18 volume comic series was illustrated by Wee Tian Beng and translated by Jean Lim with Jin Yong's approval. The lavishly illustrated series won the Prestigious Award in 1997 during the Asian Comics Conference held in South Korea.[citation needed] There are also cute gag strips that poke gentle fun at some of the story's events.

In 2002 ComicsOne published the first official English translation of Legendary Couple, a retelling of the novel. The comic series was illustrated by Wong Yuk-long while Jin Yong was credited as the writer.

Video games[edit]

Softworld released a RPG based on the novel for the DOS. The game is only available in Chinese and covers the first half of the novel to the point where Yang Guo meets the Condor.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The date conforms to the data published in Chen Zhenhui (陳鎮輝), Wuxia Xiaoshuo Xiaoyao Tan (武俠小說逍遙談), 2000, Huizhi Publishing Company (匯智出版有限公司), pg. 57.