The Legend of the Condor Heroes

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The Legend of the Condor Heroes
Legend of Condor Heroes 1959 edition 1st volume.jpg
Cover of a 1960s edition of the 1st volume of the novel
AuthorJin Yong
Original title射鵰英雄傳
CountryHong Kong
SeriesCondor Trilogy
PublisherHong Kong Commercial Daily
Publication date
1 January 1957 to 19 May 1959
Media typePrint
Preceded byDemi-Gods and Semi-Devils 
Followed byThe Return of the Condor Heroes 
The Legend of the Condor Heroes
Traditional Chinese射鵰英雄傳
Simplified Chinese射雕英雄传
Literal meaningStory of the Eagle Shooting Hero

The Legend of the Condor Heroes(Chinese:射鵰英雄傳)is a wuxia novel by Chinese writer Jin Yong (Louis Cha). It is the first part of the Condor Trilogy and is followed by The Return of the Condor Heroes and The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber. It was first serialised between 1 January 1957 and 19 May 1959 in Hong Kong Commercial Daily.[1] Jin Yong revised the novel twice, first in the 1970s and later in the 2000s. The English title is imprecise since neither species of the condor, the Andean condor and Californian condor, is native to China.


The story is set in China during the wars between the Jurchen-led Jin Empire and the predominantly ethnic Han Song Empire. Yang Tiexin and Guo Xiaotian, a pair of sworn brothers, pledge that their unborn children will become either sworn siblings (if both are of the same sex) or a married couple (if they are of opposite sexes). One day, Yang Tiexin's wife, Bao Xiruo, saves a wounded Jurchen warrior, who turns out to be Wanyan Honglie, the sixth prince of the Jin Empire. Smitten by Bao Xirou's beauty Wanyan Honglie later sends his troops to attack Yang Tiexin and Guo Xiaotian's village. Guo Xiaotian is killed while Yang Tiexin goes missing.

Guo Xiaotian's pregnant wife, Li Ping, wanders into Mongolia, where she gives birth to their son, Guo Jing, who grows up in Mongolia under the care of Genghis Khan. He learns martial arts from the "Seven Freaks of Jiangnan" and Ma Yu of the Quanzhen School, as well as archery skills from Jebe. The Chinese title of the novel is derived from an incident in Guo Jing's youth when he shot two eagles with a single arrow. On the other hand, a pregnant Bao Xiruo captured by Wanyan Honglie, believing her husband to be dead agrees to marry Wanyan Honglie. She gives birth to a son, Yang Kang, who is raised as a Jurchen nobleman. Although he is mentored by Qiu Chuji of the Quanzhen School, he also secretly learns the evil "Nine Yin White Bone Claw" technique from Mei Chaofeng.

Guo Jing is honest, loyal and righteous, but slow-witted. In contrast, Yang Kang is clever, but scheming and treacherous. They eventually meet each other and their respective lovers, Huang Rong and Mu Nianci. The main plot follows Guo Jing and Huang Rong's adventures and their encounters with the "Five Greats", the five most powerful martial artists in the wulin (martial artists' community). During their adventures, both Guo Jing and Huang Rong learn various martial arts techniques from the most powerful martial artists in wulin at that time. Guo Jing also discovers who was behind the death of his father.

Meanwhile, Yang Kang plots with the Jurchens to conquer his native land, the Song Empire. Yang Kang refuses to acknowledge his Han ethnicity and is strongly driven to acquire wealth, fame and glory. His treachery is slowly unveiled throughout the novel in the encounters he has with Guo Jing and Huang Rong.

With Guo Jing's assistance, the Mongols conquers the Jin Empire and subsequently turn their attention towards the Song Empire. Guo Jing is unwilling to aid the Mongols in attacking his native land so he leaves them and returns to the Song Empire to helps his fellow Han people counter the impending Mongol invasion. On the other hand, Yang Kang dies from poisoning after attempting to kill Huang Rong with a palm strike, but ends up hitting her spiked soft armour, which was accidentally stained with poison. He leaves behind Mu Nianci and their unborn son, whom Guo Jing names "Yang Guo". In the meantime, the Mongol invasion of the Song Empire is temporarily halted when Genghis Khan dies.


English translation[edit]

The novel has been translated into English in 4 volumes:

  1. A Hero Born by Anna Holmwood[2]
  2. A Bond Undone by Gigi Chang
  3. A Snake Lies Waiting by Anna Holmwood and Gigi Chang
  4. A Heart Divided by Gigi Chang and Shelly Bryant



Year Production Main cast Additional information
1958 Emei Film Company
(Hong Kong)
Cho Tat-wah, Yung Siu-yee, Lam Kau, Lai Kwan-lin See Story of the Vulture Conqueror
1977 Shaw Brothers Studio (Hong Kong) Alexander Fu, Tien Niu, Lee I-min, Kara Hui See The Brave Archer
1978 Alexander Fu, Niu-niu, Lee I-min, Kara Hui See The Brave Archer 2
1981 Alexander Fu, Niu-niu, Yu Tai-ping See The Brave Archer 3
1993 Scholars Ltd. (Hong Kong) Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Jacky Cheung See The Eagle Shooting Heroes
1994 Leslie Cheung, Brigitte Lin, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai, Tony Leung Ka-fai, Jacky Cheung See Ashes of Time
2021 Lajin, Media Asia Film, CFM, M&H Pictures Eddy Geng, Lin Yu Rou, Alex To, Eddie Kwan, Lam Chi Chung, Yue Dong Feng See The Legend of the Condor Heroes: The Dragon Tamer
2021 Kevin Yan, Ruan Ju, Tracy Wang, He Changxi, Tim Huang, Charles Lin See The Legend of the Condor Heroes: The Cadaverous Claw


Year Production Main cast Additional information
1976 CTV (Hong Kong) Jason Pai, Michelle Yim, Bruce Leung, Mang Chau See The Legend of the Condor Heroes (1976 TV series)
1983 TVB (Hong Kong) Felix Wong, Barbara Yung, Michael Miu, Sharon Yeung See The Legend of the Condor Heroes (1983 TV series)
1988 China Television Co, Ltd. (Co-production)(Taiwan) Howie Huang, Idy Chan, Poon Wang-ban, Chiu Shu-yi See The Legend of the Condor Heroes (1988 TV series)
1992 TVB (Hong Kong) Ekin Cheng, Fiona Leung, Gallen Lo, Eddie Kwan, Vivian Chow See Rage and Passion
1993 Julian Cheung, John Chiang, Fiona Leung, See The Mystery of the Condor Hero
1994 Julian Cheung, Athena Chu, Gallen Lo, Emily Kwan See The Legend of the Condor Heroes (1994 TV series)
Ekin Cheng, Marco Ngai, Wong Siu-yin, Charine Chan, Chan Wai-yee, Wayne Lai See The Condor Heroes Return
2003 Ciwen Film & TV Production Co. Ltd. (Mainland China) Li Yapeng, Zhou Xun, Zhou Jie, Jiang Qinqin See The Legend of the Condor Heroes (2003 TV series)
2008 Chinese Entertainment Shanghai Ltd.
(Mainland China)
Hu Ge, Ariel Lin, Justin Yuan, Cecilia Liu See The Legend of the Condor Heroes (2008 TV series)
2017 Dragon TV (Mainland China) Yang Xuwen, Li Yitong, Chen Xingxu, Meng Ziyi, Michael Miu See The Legend of the Condor Heroes (2017 TV series)


In 1998, Hong Kong's Ming Ho Press (明河社) published a 38 volume manhua series illustrated by Lee Chi Ching. This was published in Indonesia by MNC Comics in 2000.

Video games[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), p. 56.
  2. ^ Senior, Antonia (17 February 2018). "Historical fiction round-up: Attack of the flying squad". The Times.