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Xiao Ao Jiang Hu  《笑傲江湖
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XAJH Story in Brief !

 

As I said before I do love this serial; it's been one of the best martial arts one I have ever watched (again thanks to IRIB Channel 1 -that played it under the Persian name افسانه شجاعان - despite all their censorings!) So here it is in brief (as how it appeared in the CCTV adaptation of the novel); hope it's not very awful 

This series is based upon the same titled novel written by Jin Yong (金庸)  also known as Luis Cha (born June 6, 1924) back in 1967. Jin Yong (penname of Zhā Liángyōng) is one of the most influential Chinese-language novelists. He is widely regarded as the finest Chinese wuxia ("martial arts and chivalry") writer, and has a widespread, unchallenged, religious following in all Chinese-speaking areas, including mainland China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore (retrieved and excerpted from Wikipedia).

The story is about friendship and love, deception and betrayal, ambition and lust for power. And in the middle of it all is the hero, Linghu Chong, an orphan under the care of Yue Buqun, leader of Huashan Sect and his wife Ning Zhongze. He is the senior disciple of Huashan, and is a carefree happy-go-lucky fellow whose main loves in life are swordplay, drinking, and (beginning in the middle of the series) music. A chance meeting with a reclusive, formerly renowned Huashan grandmaster, Feng Qingyang (of the sword faction), opens his horizons of swordsmanship and the martial world. Due to several incidents, he spends much of the novel forced to fight without the use of internal energy and only using sword techniques taught to him by the grandmaster (LHC belongs to the Qi faction whose impact is on inner energy rather than the sword skills). Using the'9 Swords Of Dugu' skill taught by Feng QinYang, Linghu Chong defeats his enemies with total ease just by merely locating the weak areas of the particular skill he is fighting against and attacking it from there. Even the "Bixie JianFa"(evil exterminating Swordplay) was no match to him in the end.

But this is not how the novel (or actually the series) begins! It begins with the introduction of Lin family, owner of the Evil Resisting Sword Book (Legend has it that there is a martial arts manuscript Bixie Jianfa in the House of Lin, which when learned will give the person god-like speed and power) and runner of the Fuwei Escort House (if I remember well!). And how they're attacked by Yu Can Hai (claiming he's revenging the death of his son killed at the hands of young master Lin Pingzhi while trying to defend Yue Lingshan, daughter of Yue Buqun who along with Linghu Chong were disguised as wine shop runners to have an eye on the Lins,  against him)  and everybody's killed except for Lin Pingzhi who manages to escape the murdering hands of Yu Can Hai and his disciples who actually massacred Lin Pingzhi's family in order to obtain their Bixie Jianfa. On the other hand YCH (who's known for his 'Song Feng Swordplay(Swordplay of the Pine Winds), which allows him to surround his foes in a green shadow) has always held a grudge against the Lins because his master, Chang Qinzhi, had once been defeated by Lin Pingzhi's great-grandfather, Lin Yuantu.

The poor LPZ disguises as a hunchback and this is how he's picked up by the Hunchback of the North, a bandit with high martial arts skillhigh martial arts skill named Mu KaoFeng who too had a lust for Lins' precious book. LPZ was being forced by him to kowtow and call him master when was rescued by Yue Buqun (nicknamed Gentleman Sword because of his manner in sword playing/fighting) in the nick of time. Yue's daughter Lingshan asked his father to accept him as his disciple and finally YBQ agreed to.

Yue Lingshan and Linghu Chong were sorts of sweethearts but after LPZ joining the group, YLS was attracting to him and were spending more time with LPZ than LHC (especially that the latter one had to spend a year on the Repentance Cliff as a punishment of his care-free doings). After all, he was like a big brother to YLS so she only regarded him as that and LPZ as her lover (no wonder they finally got married).

But there's still another girl who loves LHC madly. Her name is Ren Yingying (known as the Holy maiden), daughter of the ex-leader of the so-called Evil Section Ren Wo Xing who's imprisoned by the now #1 Kung Fu fighter Dongfang Bubai (who castrated himself in order to learn RWX's Kuihua Baodian (another copy of the Evil Resisting manuscript). After some incidents (including his being thrown out of the Huashan School), LHC finally learns that the only person who really loves and cares for him is Yingying who taught him how to play the musical instruments and the music score composed by Qu Yang and Liu Zhengfeng (whose family were massacred by the men of Zuo Lengchan, the leader of the 5 Mountains Sword Sects and a master in "Freezing Breath" skill that freezes his internal energy to sub-zero temperature, thus increasing its power tremendously) because of befriending Qu Yang of Evil Cult!) before their death. LHC helps RYY to free his father and very accidentally acquires  Ren Woxing's skill of Xixing Dafa which can absorb the internal energy of any martial arts exponent, thus weakening foes and benefiting oneself at the same time) while being imprisoned instead of him. Later they together defeat Dongfang Bubai and RWX becomes the leader of the Sun-Moon Section once more.

Wow! it would take me lot of time if I want to tell everything here so I'm going to brief it this way that somehow Yue Buqun, whom despite his gentlemanly manners was a real hypocrite and power thirsty person, finds the Evil-Resisting Manuscript and to his shock learns the only way to learn its skills is to castrate himself . He hesistates at first but his hunger for more power (he already had well skilled the ZiXia Shengong (Divine Art of Violet Twilight or Violet Mist Divine Skill) with which he could destroy swords with total ease by just tapping them) won over his wisdom and he did what he was inscribed by the manuscript to do. On the other hand, LPZ too finds the manuscript and he also castrates himself in order to learn the skills to take the revenge of his parents.  

  Zuo Lengchan is also a power hungry person dreaming of ruling the 5 Mountains Sword Schools. So he invites them to discuss the matter (Mistress Ding Yi of South Hengshan School who was against such decision has been killed mysteriously and the nuns, including Yi Lin, now are mastered by Linghu Chong. After some discussions, argues and a bloody event, it's decided that SWORD should chose the leader meaning the ones wishing the become the leader should fight each other to see who's the final winner. YLS who's learnt different sword techniques of different schools fights each school leader (including LHC) and she's the winner. But when it comes to a fight with ZLC, YBQ claims that his daughter skills are not equal to those of Master Zuo and propse that ZLC have a fight with him instead. ZLC smilingly accepts this as he believes he can defeat YBQ but to his and every other person shock, this is Yue Buqun who defeats and even blinds him using some special needles (reminding LHC and RYY of the needle techniques of Kuihua Baodian making Yingying say that he's another Dongfang Bubai!) and finally (after playing some cat and mouse play with the blinded Zuo) kills him. The battle is over, YBQ is the King now

Meanwhile, LPZ's also mastered his family manuscript and is ready to take revenge and he finally does it as he defeats and kills Yu Canhai and the Notorious Hunchback at the price of losing his eyesight since the hump of the hunchback is the house to a poisonous gas/liquid which blinds people and this is the case with Lin Pingzhi when he inserts his sword into this hump. But he's really overjoyed and keeps yelling that he has finally taken his revenge. Then YLS tries to put some medicine to his eyes when she's pushed away by him while being referred to as a devil woman! LPZ accuse her of playing roles to him to fulfill the plan of his bastard father (YBQ) to steal his family Sword manuscript and now he should murder YBQ. Poor YLS is shocked as he can't believe the words coming out from his mouth as her love for him is real. Her shock doubles when she learns he has castrated himself to learn this special sword skill and is informed that his own father is no a longer a man either! She begins to cry and scream at LPZ that her love for him was real but he heartlessly kills her Right then LHC and RYY appear and LHC wants to go after LPZ to kill him when he's stopped by dying YLS who still loves her husband and asks Linghu to take care of Pingzhi as he's blinded. LHC promises and Lingshan dies in his arms.

YBQ knows that LHC has become a powerful guy (though he still respects his shi fu) and wants to somehow get rid of him by either killing him or putting him under his strict control but Ning Zhongze who's lost her daughter and now regards LHC more as her son comes to rescue him and saves his life making his husband ordering some disciples to spy on her daily doings. On the other hand, RWX too wants LHC to join his section and when he hears his negative response threatens to attack Hengshan and destroy him and his group of nuns. LHC is pretty sad and this is only RYY who calms her but one day, after leaving LHC, she encounters YBQ who captures her without any trouble.

NZZ is pretty sad, she's been suspecting for sometimes that there's something wrong with her husband and when she sees he's captured RYY comes to oppose him and hear she learns that YBQ had been waiting for 20 years to finally get his hand on the Bixie Jianfa manuscript to become the elite martial arts master of the pugilistic world. She asks him to release RYY but learns that he wants to sacrifice her in order to make LHC  come rescuing her and he gets time to kill them both and then attack Sun-Moon Section of Ren Woxing so no one's left to threat his reign. NZZ's sadness doubles over learning these and decides to leave him but she's immediately stopped as her pressure points are being sealed by her husband smilingly asking her: "Where are you going? Wanting to inform Linghu Chong, huh?". NZZ closes her eyes.

YBQ joins the disciples of different schools gathered on the Repentance Cliff where LHC learnt his Dugu 9 Sword skills from the cravings on the cave walls. RYY is also  brought in as she's supposed to be sacrificed. YBQ is ordering everybody to stab her when he hears LPZ laughing outside the cave. LHC and NZZ (who's been rescued by LHC) also came to the place and rescue RYY but stay there to see what's going on. LPZ accuses YBQ of stealing his family manuscript and makes fun of him as he's no longer a man and it's quite obvious from his manners. NZZ faints upon hearing this and LHC is shocked. YBQ then has a fight with the blinded LPZ and although he's skilled the Evil-Resisting manuscript, he's no match for YBQ and easily killed. NZZ, LHC and RYY are ready to leave the place when they're noticed and stopped by YBQ claiming that Yingying should be sacrificed. LHC hesitates but NZZ shouts that he's no longer his master as he's turned to an evil man and LHC can do whatever he wants. Then she asks RYY to take care of LHC and kills herself. Suddenly YBQ attacks LHC with his fan but soon he's defeated and is about to fall down to the abyss of the valley where LPZ has already fallen into.

After burying the NZZ's body, LHC and RYY return to Hengshan just to find everybody's dead. They suspect that RWX has attacked them but a half alive nun says that YBQ was there and he had captured and taken the rest of the nuns with him to Hei Mu Yai (Black Wood Cliffs of the Sun-Moon Sect.). RYY and LHc rush to the place to find that a big battle has already begun and YBQ is fighting with RWX. It is obvious that Yue is more powerful than Ren Woxing and can even resist his Xixing Dafa. RYY asks LHC to help her father but he hesitates since YBQ is still his master (though he's learnet that he was the one who killed mistress Ding Yi in the forest). After some rounds of heavy fighting, this is YBQ who succeeds over RWX and although RYY rushes to help her dad, she's been badly hurt by YBQ thrust and RWX is also killed making her screaming and fainting. YBQ proudly turns around and say that now he' s the Best Kung Fu fighter. Now it's time for LHC to do something and show his power, this is the final battle between him and his ex-master. He uses his Dugu 9 sword skills and defeats YBQ but instead of killing him, just cuts off his beard and tells him to be a good guy from now on and throws his sword away and turns to go when he's being attacked by YBQ needles. He emits them but her chest is penetrated by YBQ sword pushing him towards the wall where he's stopped bleeding. YBQ makes a victorious pose announcing that he's still the best. At the time the nuns rush to save their master but are set aside by YBQ perfect inner energy. RYY watching all these just shouts Xixing Dafa and LHC gets the point. He takes YBQ shoulder and like a vacuum cleaner absorbs all the inner energy of YBQ in while he's screaming from pain. After he became sure that no more power's left in him, he throws him up where the nuns throw their swords at him penetrating his body and somehow seal him against the wall. YBQ takes the last breath while gushing out some blood and soon after dies while being watched by LHC, RYY and the rest of the nuns finally taking the revenge of their Mistress Ding Yi.

After putting behind all these, LHC and RYY decide to resign from the martial world and start a new life together. This is how we find the in the final scene sitting on two cliffs where Qu Yang and Liu Zhengfeng once sat and composed the Xiao Ao Jiang Hu tune playing the Xiao Ao Jiang Hu, The Smiling Proud Wanderer song.

After Note:

The Smiling, Proud Wanderer was intentionally written as character study of politicians. In 1980, Jin Yong commented that he did not include any historical setting in this novel to show that these colorful people appear in every era. Furthermore, he pictured the characters (Yue Buqun, Old Man Mo, Zuo Lengchan, Ren Woxing, Dongfang Bubai, Chongxu, and etc.) as politicians rather than the leaders of the martial art sects.

 

 

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Linghu Chong


Ren Yingying


Yue Buqun


Ning Zhongze


Yue Lingshan


Lin Pingzhi


Feng QingYang


Dongfang Bubai


Ren Woxing


Lan Feng Huang


Mu KaoFeng


Zuo Lengchan


Yu Canhai


Qu Yang and Liu Zhengfeng


Yi Lin


Ding Yi

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