Juedai Shuangjiao

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Juedai Shuangjiao
Author Gu Long
Original title 絕代雙驕
Country Taiwan
Language Chinese
Genre Wuxia, romance, adventure
Publication date
1966
Media type Print
Juedai Shuangjiao
Traditional Chinese 絕代雙驕
Simplified Chinese 绝代双骄
Literal meaning The Peerless Proud Twins

Juedai Shuangjiao, rarely translated in English titles, like Two Peerless Heroes,[1] is a wuxia novel by Gu Long. The novel spans a total of 126 chapters and was written between 1966 and February 1969. The story is about a pair of twin brothers who were separated from each other at birth and raised under different circumstances. The twins first see each other as enemies but gradually become friends and eventually acknowledge each other as brothers.

Plot[edit]

Jiang Feng, a handsome young martial artist, is injured during a misadventure. He is saved by the sisters Yaoyue and Lianxing of Yihua Palace, who are considered the most powerful female martial artists in the jianghu (martial artists' community). The two sisters fall in love with Jiang Feng, but he spurns them because of their arrogance. He starts a romance with their servant girl, Hua Yuenu.

Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu are forced to flee from Yihua Palace after Hua becomes pregnant with Jiang's child. However, they are betrayed by Jiang Feng's servant, Jiang Biehe, and attacked by bandits. Hua Yuenu gives birth to a pair of twin boys and dies together with Jiang Feng during the attack. Yaoyue and Lianxing soon catch up and find the couple dead. Yaoyue refuses to forgive Jiang Feng for rejecting her love and vows to take her revenge by making his two sons destroy each other. They adopt one of the boys as their own child and abandon the other. The other boy is saved by Yan Nantian, Jiang Feng's sworn brother and one of the most powerful martial artists in the jianghu. Unaware of the first boy's fate, Yan Nantian pursues Jiang Biehe into the Villains' Valley, a place populated entirely by criminals. There, he encounters five of the notorious Ten Great Villains. He defeats them easily but falls into a trap and gets captured. The villains torture him until he loses consciousness, but refrain from harming the second boy and instead decide to raise him as their apprentice and groom him to become the greatest villain in history.

More than a decade later, the twins have grown up and become a pair of handsome youths. Yaoyue and Lianxing name the boy they raised "Hua Wuque", and teach him the martial arts of Yihua Palace. The other boy, Xiaoyu'er, is trained by the Ten Great Villains in different martial arts and a wide range of "villainous" skills such as theft, the use of poison, and the art of disguise. Xiaoyu'er ventures into the jianghu alone and encounters young maidens such as Tie Xinlan, Su Ying and Zhang Jing. He gets into complicated romantic relationships with most of them. At the same time, Yaoyue sends Hua Wuque to kill Xiaoyu'er by lying to him that Xiaoyu'er is a dangerous threat to him. In the various fights they have, even though Hua Wuque's fighting skills are far better than Xiaoyu'er's, the latter always manages to survive by using his wits to escape.

The twins are initially hostile towards one another and have wildly different personalities. Hua Wuque is righteous but naive, while Xiaoyu'er is expedient and cunning. However, the two of them develop an uncanny friendship and mutual respect after braving danger together. At the same time, they also get entangled in love triangles with the maidens they meet.

Yaoyue is determined to make the twins kill each other so she forces Hua Wuque to challenge Xiaoyu'er to a fight to the death. Xiaoyu'er is seemingly killed by Hua Wuque during the duel. After Xiaoyu'er's apparent death, Yaoyue exposes her true intentions to Hua Wuque and tells him about her plan to make their father pay the ultimate price for scorning her. Hua Wuque is shocked when he learns that Xiaoyu'er is actually his twin brother. However, Xiaoyu'er comes back to life later and reveals that he feigned death earlier by consuming a special drug. The twins finally recognise and acknowledge each other as brothers.

Characters[edit]

Protagonists[edit]

  • Jiang Xiaoyu (江小魚; 江小鱼; Jiāng Xiǎoyú; Gong1 Siu2-jyu4), better known as Xiaoyu'er (小魚兒; 小鱼儿; Xiǎoyú'ér; Siu2-jyu4-ji4), is Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu's son. He was raised by the Five Great Villains and trained to become a great villain. Although he is covered with scars and cuts due to his brutal upbringing, he possesses strong charms and rugged good looks which allow him to leave a lasting impression in every woman he meets. He is a formidable fighter, but prefers to rely on his intelligence, cunning, and a variety of "villainous" skills such as thieving and deception. When he first encounters Hua Wuque, he realises that his tricks are insufficient to save him from death, so he seeks to improve his fighting skills. He finds a martial arts manual by chance, learns the skills in it, and becomes a formidable martial artist in his own right. He behaves like a hooligan and comes across as callous and amoral, but is actually a softhearted and kind person.
  • Hua Wuque (花無缺; 花无缺; Huā Wúquē; Faa1 Mou4-kyut3) is Xiaoyu'er's twin brother. He is the heir to Yihua Palace and its only male resident. He bears a striking resemblance to his father, and looks more effeminately handsome than his brother. He is highly respected by in the jianghu for his formidable prowess in martial arts. He is gentlemanly, graceful and polite. However, he has a tendency to suppress his emotions and has a naive outlook towards life, but he changes after he meets Xiaoyu'er.
  • Tie Xinlan (鐵心蘭; 铁心兰; Tiě Xīnlán; Tit3 Sam1-laan4) is the daughter of Tie Zhan, one of the Ten Great Villains. She is beautiful in appearance and appears softhearted, but is actually strong-willed, brash and extremely stubborn. She is a decent fighter and was trained in the skill 'Berserk Hundred Hits' (瘋狂一百零捌打) by her father. She falls madly in love with Xiaoyu'er, even though he initially treats her badly. She later falls in love with Hua Wuque, who has strong feelings for her. She becomes entangled in a love triangle between the brothers and often has to intervene to prevent them from fighting.
  • Su Ying (蘇櫻; 苏樱; Sū Yīng; Sou1 Jing1) is Wei Wuya's foster daughter. She is spoiled, arrogant, scheming and anti-social. She is well-trained in martial arts, well-versed in medicine and extremely cunning. Her intelligence enables her to manipulate many martial artists throughout the novel. Her beautiful appearance and indifferent personality are similar to those of Yaoyue and Lianxing – which was why Wei Wuya adopted her. When she meets Xiaoyu'er, she falls in love with him and decides to follow him until she wins his heart. She is more intelligent than him and knows how to adapt her behaviour according to his mood – thereby making her the only person who can effectively control him.
  • Yan Nantian (燕南天; Yàn Nántiān; Jin3 Naam4-tin1), nicknamed "Best Divine Swordsman Under Heaven" (天下第一神劍), is the most powerful martial artist in the novel. He is Jiang Feng's sworn brother. His prowess in swordplay is unmatched in the jianghu and his "swordsman aura" can be even felt from a distance. He is said to be so powerful that he can shave a man bald in a single move without the person noticing. He is massive in stature and dresses like a pauper. He is ambushed by the Ten Great Villains and enters a coma. He is revived by the physician Wan Chuliu, who kept him alive under the pretext of using his comatose body to test new drugs. He awakens only to find that he has lost most of his original abilities, and trains for long months to regain them, eventually even surpassing his previous level of power. He serves as Xiaoyu'er's role model and trains him in martial arts.

Xiaoyu'er's lovers[edit]

  • Taohua (桃花; Táohuā; Tou4-faa1) is a nomadic girl living on the plains. She is the first maiden Xiaoyu'er meets on his adventures. She plays a hospitable host to him.
  • Zhang Jing (張菁; 张菁; Zhāng Jīng; Zoeng1 Zing1) is nicknamed "Little Fairy" (小仙子). Although beautiful in appearance, she is extremely brutal. She has a fiery temper and hates evil to the core. She is not very powerful in martial arts, but her moves are very fast. Once, to comfort her mother, she decides to find the treasure left behind by her mother's ex-lover, Yan Nantian. She follows Tie Xinlan, who finds the treasure and meets Xiaoyu'er along the way, who gives her her first kiss. She marries Gu Renyu eventually.
  • Murong Jiu (慕容九; Mùróng Jǐu; Mou6-jung4 Gau2) is a member of the Murong family. She seems very cold towards people because she practises the 'Rock Altering Divine Skill' (化石神功). Once, Xiaoyu'er disguises himself as a vengeful ghost to scare her and captures her. She falls in love with him afterwards but marries Black Spider eventually.
  • Tie Pinggu (鐵萍姑; 铁萍姑; Tiě Pínggū; Tit3 Ping4-gu1) is a servant in Yihua Palace. She helps Xiaoyu'er escape from Yaoyue. She is deceived by Jiang Yulang and loses her virginity to him, and is used as a bait to lure Xiaoyu'er into a trap. After she is abandoned by Jiang Yulang, she feels dejected and chooses to join Hu Yaoshi and the Twelve Zodiac. She is the daughter of the "cannibalistic" Great Villain Li Dazhui.
  • Hai Hongzhu (海紅珠; 海红珠; Hǎi Hóngzhū; Hoi2 Hung4-zyu1) is the only child of Hai Laodie, the leader of a wandering performance troupe. Xiaoyu'er disguises himself as "Hai Xiaodai" and sneaks into the troupe. She meets him and falls in love with him. Xiaoyu'er refuses to admit that he is actually Hai Xiaodai after he saves her from danger in subsequent events.
  • Duan Sangu (段三姑; Duàn Sāngū; Dyun6 Saam1-gu1) is Duan Hefei's daughter. She dresses up as a man to help her father with his business. She appreciates Xiaoyu'er's talents and recruits him to be in charge of the medicine shop. She helps Xiaoyu'er once in solving a mystery case. Xiaoyu'er influences her to dress like a woman.

Yihua Palace[edit]

  • Yaoyue (邀月; Yāoyuè; Jiu1-jyut6) is the first mistress of Yihua Palace. Although she possesses beauty, charisma and skill, she is described by Jiang Feng as "not a living person or human being, but fire, a block, ice or a sword instead". Jiang Feng rejects her and elopes with one of Yihua Palace's slave girls, Hua Yuenu. Yaoyue is angered and she pursues and hunts down the couple. After Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu die, Yaoyue intends to kill their twin boys but Lianxing stops her. The sisters choose one of the twins and raise him as their son and groom him to be the heir to Yihua Palace. According to Lianxing, before Yaoyue and Yan Nantian mastered all their respective skills, Yaoyue was slightly better than Yan, so she is actually the most powerful martial artist in the novel.
  • Lianxing (憐星; 怜星; Liánxīng; Lin4-sing1) is the second mistress of Yihua Palace and Yaoyue's younger sister. She is described to be a sweet and pretty woman whose beauty surpasses that of a flower blooming in spring. According to Xiaoyue'er, in comparison to Yaoyue, Lianxing is warmer in character than her sister. This is confirmed by Tie Pinggu, because Lianxing, like Yaoyue, had also fallen in love with Jiang Feng, but was afraid to express her feelings for fear of her sister. After Jiang Feng and Hua Yuenu die, Lianxing saves the twins by suggesting to make them kill each other when they are grown up instead of killing them now. Throughout the novel, it is hinted that Lianxing, unlike Yaoyue, does not take the plot seriously. Lianxing is seen by Hua Wuque as a mother and he treats her with love and respect. As compared to Yaoyue and Yan Nantian, Lianxing is slightly weaker in martial arts than her sister but slightly more powerful than Yan.

Good characters[edit]

  • Gu Renyu (顧人玉; 顾人玉; Gù Rényù; Gu3 Jan4-juk6) is nicknamed "Jade Faced Divine Fist" (玉面神拳). He is honest, simple and easily embarrassed. He practises his family's martial art 'Gu Family Divine Fist' (顧家神拳), which blends in well when combined with Zhang Jing's palm skills. He is initially ordered by his mother to woo Murong Jiu, but falls in love with Zhang Jing instead and eventually marries her.
  • Black Spider (黑蜘蛛; Hēizhēnzhū; Hak1-zi1-zyu1) is a martial artist who dresses in a tight black suit and has a mechanical device strapped to his wrist capable of shooting spider web fluid at enemies. He is an expert in qinggong and is capable of scaling walls with his 'Flying Silver Threads' (銀絲飛渡) skill. He has a strong personal ego and likes to play the role of an older sibling to his friends. He is in love with Murong Jiu but is afraid of confessing to her so he always watches her from a distance. When Murong Jiu ventures into the jianghu, he follows her closely and protects her with his life. They are married eventually.

Villains[edit]

  • Jiang Biehe (江別鶴; 江别鹤; Jiāng Biéhè; Gong1 Bit6-hok6) is Xiaoyu'er's primary nemesis. He was originally Jiang Feng's servant and was previously known as Jiang Qin (江琴; Jiāng Qín; Gong1 Kam4). He betrayed his master for monetary rewards and became an influential nobleman and martial artist. He is brutal and ruthless by nature, but also intelligent and adept at deception. He is hailed as a "Hero of Jiangnan" for pretending to perform heroic and kind acts, while secretly conducting wicked deeds such as extortion and assassinations. When Xiaoyu'er attempts to expose his hypocrisy in public, he attacks Xiaoyu'er verbally and accuses him of committing the very atrocities he is responsible for. However, this backfires when he is tricked into revealing his involvement in those atrocities. He is eventually captured and crippled by Yan Nantian, who sends him to Xiaoyu'er for punishment. Xiaoyu'er spares his life and allows him to leave.
  • Jiang Yulang (江玉郎; Jiāng Yùláng; Gong1 Juk6-long4) is Jiang Biehe's son, who was named after Jiang Feng's nickname. He is trained by his father in martial arts and groomed to support his father in his quest to dominate the jianghu. He has a pale complexion and appears feminine. He is an expert in charming and seducing women, and his many "trophies" include Tie Pinggu.
  • The Ten Great Villains (十大惡人; 十大恶人; Shí Dà È Rén; Sap6 Daai6 Ngok3 Jan4) are ten notorious criminals in the jianghu. In spite of their collective nickname, they are not an official group per se because they often operate independently. Furthermore, their fame is due more to their various eccentricities and quirks rather than actual villainy. Most of the ten are not even evil at all. The five who raised Xiaoyu'er are Du Sha, Haha'er, Du Qiaoqiao, Li Dazui and Yin Jiuyou. They develop an emotional attachment to the boy and treat him with a degree of affection. As such, Xiaoyu'er respects them as his surrogate parents and manages to convince Yan Nantian to spare them. By the end of the novel, all the original ten are dead except for San Guan and Tie Zhan.
  • The Twelve Zodiac (十二星相; Shí Èr Xīngxiàng; Sap6 Ji6 Sing1-soeng3) are a group of bandits named according to the twelve Chinese zodiac signs. They are led by the "Rat" Wei Wuya, a paraplegic yet incredibly dangerous martial artist. Wei Wuya previously fell in love with the sisters of Yihua Palace and challenged them to marry him but lost.

Adaptations[edit]

Films[edit]

Year Title Production Main cast
1971 The Jade Faced Assassin Shaw Brothers Studio
(Hong Kong)
Lily Ho, Kao Yuen, Ku Feng, Lin Chia
1979 The Proud Twins Alexander Fu, Ng Wai-kwok, Wong Yung, Wen Hsueh-erh, Susanna Au-yeung, Kitty Meng, Tang Ching
1992 Handsome Siblings Hong Kong Andy Lau, Brigitte Lin, Sharla Cheung, Michael Miu, Francis Ng, Anita Yuen

Television[edit]

Year Title Production Main cast
1977 Juedai Shuangjiao TTV (Taiwan) Hsia Ling-ling, Chiang Ming, Chang Lu, He Szu-min, Betty Pei, Yin Pao-lien, Wu Heng
1979 The Twins TVB (Hong Kong) Wong Yuen-sun, Shek Sau, Michelle Yim, Wong Hang-sau, Wong Wan-choi, Idy Chan
1986 Xin Juedai Shuangjiao Taiwan Sharon Yeung, Huang Hsiang-lien, King Doi-yum, Wong Wai-man, Tien Feng, Chang Fu-mei, Ku Cheng
1988 Two Most Honorable Knights TVB (Hong Kong) Tony Leung, Hugo Ng, Kitty Lai, Shallin Tse, Maggie Chan, Michael Miu, Elliot Ngok
1999 The Legendary Siblings TTV (Taiwan) Jimmy Lin, Alec Su, Vivien Chen, Theresa Lee, Yu Li, Chang Jui-chu, Lin Jui-yang
2002 The Legendary Siblings 2 CTS (Taiwan) Jimmy Lin, TAE, Li Xiaolu, Lawrence Ng, Yu Li, Elvis Tsui, Zheng Guolin
2005 The Proud Twins Hong Kong Dicky Cheung, Nicholas Tse, Fan Bingbing, Yuan Quan, Elvis Tsui, Wu Qingzhe, Kong Lin

Comics[edit]

In 1997, Hong Kong cartoonist Ho Chi-man drew a manhua series for the novel.

Wong Yuk-long's comic, Force of Buddha's Palm (如來神掌) has a long story arc which reproduces much of Gu Long's novels. This story arc was included in an English translation published in the United States by Jademan Comics from 1989 to 1993.

Video games[edit]

  • 新絕代雙驕 (1999)
  • 新絕代雙驕 II (2000)
  • 新絕代雙驕 III (2002)
  • 新絕代雙驕online (2005)
  • 新絕代雙驕前傳 (2006)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Wu, Dingbo; Murphy, Patrick D. (1994). Handbook of Chinese Popular Culture. Greenwood Press. p. 248. ISBN 9780313278082.