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dreamless 2004-12-24 08:19

Have you read any martial arts novel (especially Jin Yong's Lu Ding Ji)?
Personally I read a lot of martials arts novels, and I really love them, but when I first read Jin Yong/Gam Yung/Louis Cha's Lu Ding Ji/The Deer and the Cauldron/The Royal Tramp (no, not the movie, which isn't nearly half as good as the novel), which was more than 10 years ago, I hated it with a passion, despite the fact that Jing Yong is widely regarded as the best martial arts novel writer ever, and Lu Ding Ji is his last and best novel, and supposedly he stopped writing any new novel because he himself cannot surpass the greatness of this novel.

Now after all these years, I picked up this novel again, and this time I'm totally in LOVE with it. I guess the reason why I hated it so much back then was because I was too young, and I couldn't swallow the overwhelming anti-hero theme of this novel. I have to say this gets to be the most anti-hero story ever, the main guy is lazy, dirty, weak, immoral, dishonest, lascivious, and a total coward. he has the manual holding some of the best martial arts secrets in the world, but he's too lazy to actually practice and learn anything from it. And he's very willing to betray his friends for his own benefits. He's like the incarnation of all the dirty and weak side of the commoners. However he uses deception, dirty tricks, street smarts to beat all his enemies and survive great conflicts and get the girls, and end up with seven and a half beautiful wives :twitch:

So I'm kinda wondering if people here have read some martial arts novels? what do you think of them? And anyone else has read this particular novel, Jing Yong's Lu Ding Ji? What do you think of it? ;)

Yebyosh 2004-12-24 10:45

Do manhua, drama series and movies count? :p Though I have yet to read any of his novels, I readily recognise his impact on the literary side for that era ( 80's to 90's were pretty hot for his works ). Then again with my friends who were mad into his works, along with other adapted forms, I dare to say I have fair knowledge of his more famous works.

For 卫小保 ( Wei Xiaobao ), his anti-hero status seem to be Jin Yong's tirade against the standard stereotypical noble hero that pervaded the literary circle then. Besides that, as a younger man, he had many gripes with the higher establishment and as such, he took to writing to express his frustrations by mocking such characters and personifications ( with Xiaobao having "fun" among the higher circle ).

It is worth noting that Jin Yong now has declared that in his eyes, Xiaobao and the story of The Deer Tripod / Elixir Brewing Equipment / Sacrificial or Commerative Vessel :heh: ( I hesitate to call 鼎 a Cauldron... the shapes are simply too different ) , is a mistake of his youth. He had announced that the holding up of Xiaobao as a role model by certain youths was never his intent and he intends to correct it now. As he is re-writing some of his earlier works, he said that in the revised edition of 鹿鼎记, Xiaobao's fate would be in line with the theme of immorality deserving a bitter fate.

Perhaps one day, I shall pick the unrevised editions of his stories, as well as his earlier works, up for a read, and mayhaps compare them...

[NCC 舞-HiME 13 is taking a long time......]

dreamless 2004-12-24 11:02

Hmm... actually I think it's 韦小宝 , not 卫小宝 :heh:

The other Jin Yong's work that I especially love is Lian Cheng Jue 连城诀 , a tale of where almost everyone is/becomes a bad guy. not an orthodoxical novel neither :p

For his more "standard martial arts novels", my favorite is definitely Tian Long Ba Bu 天龙八部 . I guess Legend of Condor Hero might be the most famous here, but personally I think it's just so-so...

Speaking of which, anyone think MGS3 sounds like some kind of parody of Legend of Condor Hero? "I raised you and loved you, I've given you weapons, taught you techniques, endowed you with knowledge. There is nothing more for me to give you. All that's left for you is to take my life..." :eyespin:

Sepiraph 2004-12-24 13:11

I've read four novel series written by Jin Yong, namely:
  • The Return of the Condor heroes
  • The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Saber
  • The Demi Gods and Semi Devils
  • The Smiling Proud Wanderer

Those novels I read many years ago, in my teenager's day. Funny that I never bothered to read The Legend of the Condor heroes, the first of the triology of the Condor series.

As for Deer and the Cauldron (btw this is the most common translation of the name I've seen), I have yet to read it but I also have no intention of doing so either for now. I have some ideas on what the novel is about since I seen bits and pieces of the TV series. Frankly, I don't know how I would react to Wei Xiaobao's character. As for the anti-hero theme, it is definitely different than the traditional theme in martial art novel but being different does not automatically equal to greatness either.

Speaking of martial art novelist, I've also read one of Gu Long's work, namely his novel series on The Adventures of Lu XiaoFeng (Luk Siu Fung). And I've also started reading on Chu LiuXiang (Chor Lau Heung) with every intention of finishing it. From what I've seen in the novel and TV series, I might even prefer Gu Long's novels to Jin Yong, especially when it comes to characters.

Lastly, you guys know you can read their novels freely over the internet right? PM me if you need the link.

dreamless 2004-12-24 13:42

So you have read The Demi Gods and Semi Devils (which I think is the english name for Tian Long Ba Bu right?) what do you think of it? Personally I think it's the greatest traditional martial arts novel ever ;)

Well, I'd say you should try read the Deer and the Cauldron, the novel is much better than the TV series and the movies. Yup being different does not automatically equal to greatness, but in this case it is indeed widely accepted as Jin Yong's best novel (and possibly the best martial artists novel ever), and I now can actually understand why people rate it so highly, although back then I hated it with a passion :heh:

Sepiraph 2004-12-25 02:26

I read The Demi Gods and Semi Devils two times, and it certainly ranks up there as one of the best novels that I've read. I won't go as far to call it the greatest MA novel ever though as there are too many other good novels that I have not read.

In terms of characters, I certainly think Kiu Fung is one of the best characters that Jin Yong has created. Comparing him to his two sworn-brothers and to other main protagonists in Jin Yong's other novels, he definitely stands out as a real hero. His character will remain as one of my favourite characters in a novel. I dislike Duen Yu's character, as I can't really stand weak-hearted womanizer and while Hui Jok's character is decent (but not particularly memorable), he didn't have as much share in the plot as the other two main characters.

The plot is quite complicated and while it is very good, it is not without some plotholes and/or events that really seem forced. The short, bittersweet and ultimately tragic romance between Jin Yong and Ah Chu remains as one of the most memorable events in a novel.

Maybe someday I'll go read The Deer and the Cauldron, but before that I'll have to first finish Chor Lau Heung. That is if I actually find the time to do that with all the work I have to do for my job.

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