The Return of the Condor Heroes
is a Wuxia
novel by Jin Yong
and the second part of the Condor Trilogy. It was first serialised between 20 May 1959 and 5 July 1961 in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao
. The story revolves around the protagonist, Yang Guo, and his lover, Xiaolongnü, in their adventures in the jianghu (also called wulin, the community of martial artists), which does not approve of their taboo love between master and apprentice.
Alternate English titles of the novel include The Giant Eagle and Its Companion
and Divine Eagle, Chivalric Companion
. Jin Yong revised the novel in 1970 and again in 2004. There are 40 chapters in the second and third revisions. Each chapter has a title composed of four Chinese characters. Most of the revisions are either clarifications or minor alterations of character motivations.
Return of the Condor Heroes presents examples of:
- Action Girl: Pretty much all the girls.
- Affably Evil: Jinlun Fawang.
- Alas, Poor Villain: Ouyang Feng.
- Amazon Brigade: Until Xiaolongnu takes Yang Guo as a student, all adherents of the Tomb school of swordplay are women.
- Badass Preacher: Despite being one of the most powerful fighters in the story, Yideng seems to exist to do nothing but mouthpiece Buddhism.
- Bare-Fisted Monk: Monastic orders per se have nothing to do with it, but for some reason everyone in the very top tier of martial arts seems to eschew weapons in favor of their esoteric palm skills.
- Battle Couple: One of the translations of the novel title is The Legendary Couple.
- BFS: In the novel, the Heavy Sword is a normal-sized jian that weighs 300 pounds because it's made of some weird super-dense material. But in most visual adaptations, they just make the sword huge.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: The Quanzhen Elders have to not only tolerate Zhou Botong's antics, but defer to him as their superior.
- Chick Magnet: Yang Guo, to the point where he starts wearing a mask to stop random girls from falling in love with him at first sight.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Zhou Botong.
- Conflicting Loyalty: Yang Guo, after he finds out who killed his father.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Ouyang Feng's skills.
- Does Not Like Men: The founder of the Tomb swordplay technique, because she was a Woman Scorned.
- Dual Wielding: Besides merely using a weapon in each hand, there also exists a special skill in the story, known only to two people, that allows the user to use a completely separate fighting style with each hand. This turns out to be really important, because there also exist a pair of sword-fighting styles that when used side by side are synergistically invincible.
- Eccentric Mentor: Ouyang Feng, Zhou Botong.
- Emotionless Girl
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting
- Guile Hero: Yang Guo has moments of this.
- Handicapped Badass
- Heroic Sacrifice: No matter what twists and turns occur, for some reason the fact that both lovers are poisoned and there's only one antidote remains constant throughout almost the whole story.
- Hikikomori: Xiaolongnu, who never left the Tomb before she was forced to leave by Li Mochou.
- Historical-Domain Character: Yelu Chucai, Mongke Khan, Wang Chongyang, Qiu Chuji
- Implausible Fencing Powers: Xiaolongnu wielding four swords at once, and then an entire roomful of swords.
- Improbable Weapon User: Zhu Zhiliu uses a brush, Li Mochou uses a fly whisk.
- In the Blood: Huang Rong's reason for not teaching Yang Guo martial arts.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Yang Guo and Huang Yaoshi, Guo Xiang and pretty much everyone in the jianghu.
- Karmic Death: All the villains get one.
- Ki Attack: Lots of things that could qualify for this but the One Yang Finger and its recurring depiction as a ki laser shot from one's outstretched index finger is probably the most glaring.
- Kick the Dog: Gongsun Zhi's willingness to sacrifice his own daughter.
- Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Really more like *with* all her finery since her sleeves are one of Xiaolongnu's favored weapons.
- Knight Errant: Yang Guo's occupation post-timeskip.
- Lady of War
- Lonely at the Top: Dugu Qubai.
- Love Martyr: Gongsun Lu'er.
- Love Triangle: Wu brothers and Guo Fu.
- Master-Apprentice Chain
- No Name Given: The Indian monk who accompanies Yideng.
- Old Master: Half the cast.
- Patriotic Fervor: Guo Jing gives a lot of jingoistic speeches about fighting in defense of the homeland.
- Pet the Dog: What happens when a villain meets Guo Xiang.
- Poisoned Weapons: Used by hero and villain alike.
- Pressure Point: Besides the usual forms of this trope, which are taken for granted, various characters have special skills related to their pressure points that allow them to either negate, evade, or undo pressure point attacks, or to cause esoteric changes in their physiology for medical purposes.
- Rival Dojos: Tomb Sect and Quanzhen.
- Signature Move
- Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace: Yang Guo is not letting Xiaolongnu marry anyone else.
- Stalker with a Crush: Zhen Zhibing.
- Star-Crossed Lovers
- Student and Master Team: Our heroes are technically this.
- Supporting Harem: While Yang Guo loves only Xiaolongnu that doesn't stop him from getting random girls to be attracted to him.
- Talking Is a Free Action
- Tell Me About My Father: No one wants to tell Yang Guo about his villainous father.
- Took a Level in Badass: It's a wuxia series, so characters are constantly training and improving, but Yang Guo's acquiring the Heavy Sword and Xiaolongnu learning to combine Quanzhen and Tomb swordplay ambidexterously are both examples of massive quantum leaps in power that occur in a relatively short timeframe.
- Villain Forgot to Level Grind: Li Mochou.
- Wax On, Wax Off: Catching sparrows.
- Wire Fu