|Created by||Jin Yong|
|Affiliation||Ancient Tomb Sect|
|Skills and abilities|
|Qinggong||Ancient Tomb Sect qinggong|
|Unarmed combat skills|
|Armed combat skills|
|Literal meaning||Little Dragon Maiden|
Xiaolongnü is the fictional female protagonist of the wuxia novel The Return of the Condor Heroes by Jin Yong. In the novel, her physical appearances is described as follows: "skin as white as snow, beautiful and elegant beyond convention and cannot be underestimated, but appears cold and indifferent".
Xiaolongnü's name (literally "Little Dragon Maiden") is based on the year she was born, the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese zodiac. Her real name is unknown and is never mentioned in the novel; she is referred to as "Xiaolongnü" by other people, and as "Long'er" by Yang Guo, Granny Sun, and her martial arts master.
Xiaolongnü was abandoned as an infant outside Chongyang Palace (the Quanzhen Sect's headquarters) by an unknown figure. Her cries broke the silence of the night and drew the attention of the Quanzhen priests. Before they could decide what to do with the baby girl because the sect does not accept female members, a middle-aged woman called Granny Sun appeared and took Xiaolongnü away to the nearby Ancient Tomb.
Xiaolongnü was raised as an apprentice by a woman (whose name is not mentioned in the novel), who is the apprentice of Lin Chaoying, the founder of the Ancient Tomb Sect. As a child, she was taught all the sect's martial arts and mastered all of them after many years. She starts learning the sect's highest order skill from the Jade Maiden Heart Sutra, but since her master's understanding of the skill was incomplete, her own understanding is even more limited.
Xiaolongnü's senior, Li Mochou, was expelled from the sect for poor conduct. Xiaolongnü inherited the sect's leadership position when she was 14 after her master died. She is accompanied by Granny Sun only. Meanwhile, Li Mochou spread rumours in the jianghu that when Xiaolongnü turned 16, she will offer her hand in marriage to any man who can defeat her. In addition, the lucky man will claim possession of the tomb, which is said to house great treasures and martial arts manuals. The Mongol prince Huodu believes the tale and travels to the Ancient Tomb, hoping to meet Xiaolongnü. He brings his henchmen with him and they raid Chongyang Palace along the way. Coincidentally, Guo Jing arrives at Chongyang Palace together with Yang Guo and drives away Huodu and his men.
As Yang Guo's teacher and lover
Xiaolongnü meets Yang Guo for the first time when he ventures into the Ancient Tomb while escaping from the bullies at Quanzhen Sect. She does not allow him to stay and asks Granny Sun to send him back to Quanzhen and tell the priests not to mistreat him anymore. However, the Quanzhen priests begin insulting Yang when they see him return. The furious Granny Sun fights with them and is mortally wounded by Hao Datong. Xiaolongnü appears at the critical moment, defeats Hao Datong and saves Yang Guo. Before her death, Granny Sun makes Xiaolongnü promise to take care of Yang Guo. She wants both of them, orphans, to have each other as companions after her death. The Quanzhen priests oblige and allow Yang Guo to leave with Xiaolongnü.
Xiaolongnü accepts Yang Guo as her apprentice and they live together in the Ancient Tomb for several years. During these years, Xiaolongnü imparts most of her martial arts and skills to Yang Guo. Yang Guo does not like to address her as "Master" (Sifu) and prefers to call her "Aunt" (姑姑) instead. Both of them fall in love with each other but their romance is viewed as taboo and equivalent to incest, according to the prevailing norms of the wulin (martial artists' community). They encounter several tribulations after leaving the tomb and numerous tests of their love. Although they are eventually married in Chongyang Palace, they are again separated, this time for 16 years, until their final reunion at the end of the novel.
Martial arts and skills
- Jade Maiden Heart Sutra (玉女心經)
- 'Jade Maiden Swordplay' (玉女素心劍法)
- 'Fist of Beauties' (美女拳法)
- 'Palm of Infinity Web' (天羅地網式)
- Qinggong of the Ancient Tomb Sect (古墓派輕功)
- 'Technique of Ambidexterity' (雙手互搏)
- Nine Yin Manual (九陰真經) skills
- White-silver gloves: Xiaolongnü wears a pair of gloves made from white-silver that are impenetrable by sharp weapons. She can grab hold of enemies' weapons and break them while wearing these gloves.
- Long sash of gold bells: Xiaolongnü's weapon. She uses her skills to manipulate this long and flexible weapon for both long and short distance attacks. Two gold bells are tied at each end of the sash and hidden in the sleeves. The bells are only unsheathed by flapping the sleeves. The rhythmic and random ringing sound of the bells serve as distraction while the bells are used to attack the enemy's exposed acupuncture points and stun them.
- Gold needles of jade bee: This dart throwing technique is one of the fundamental skills of the Ancient Tomb Sect. The poison of a rare breed of bee, known as the jade bee, is carefully coated onto needles made from heavy gold and steel. The needles are thrown at enemies like darts. The degree of poison is higher than Li Mochou's Soul Freezing Needles as the venom causes excruciating pain and eventual death after a long time. The only cure to the poison is the Jade Bee's honey, which has health benefits too.
- Jade bees (玉蜂): The jade bees are Xiaolongnü's only "living" weapon. This special breed of bees can make formations and attack enemies when instructed by playing a musical instrument, rhythmic whistles and honey. Xiaolongnü plays the guqin to instruct the bees and she also carries a bottle of honey with her.
Yang Kang and Mu Nianci's family tree
- (in Chinese) Tan, Xianmao (2005). Xiaolongnü: The Fairy-like and Profound Image of Being Noble and Unsullied. In Rankings of Jin Yong's Characters. Chinese Agricultural Press.