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Jin Yong (the Pen Name
of Louis Cha) is one of the most influential modern Chinese-language novelists. He is currently the best-selling Chinese author alive. He is well known for his historical Wuxia
fiction—he pretty much single-handedly raised the Wuxia
to a "legitimate" art form (Wuxia
novels having gained an unfair reputation as "things teenagers and immature adults read") and is the standard against which all other Wuxia
novelists are compared—and a great many Live-Action Adaptation
series have been made based on his books.
His novels, in order of release.
Examples Of Tropes Found In His Work:
- Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder: A main source of angst for Di Yun in A Deadly Secret. His student sister married the guy who caused him to be imprisoned and tortured all those years.
- Absurdly Sharp Blade: To the point where certain blades can cut pieces of hair falling on them. Prominent examples are the Heavenly Sword and the Dragon Sabre which break upon clashing into each other.
- Abusive Parents: Xiao Feng's dad. Look, admit it - he sucked. Although he didn't really abuse his son in any way and what trouble he caused for Xiao Feng was not collateral damage to his true purpose.
- Also, Shi Potian's mother, who literally called him "son of a bitch." she wasn't his biological mother, she whicked him away from his parents when his was a baby because she was driven mad by jealousy, a Miss Haversham-sort.
- Action Girl: Almost all of the female leads in his series can, at the very least, kick a normal civilian's ass. And most of them are much stronger than that.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Some adaptations of his series can be very guilty of this. A rather pronounced example can be found in the recent 2008 version of Legend of the Condor Heroes. Despite Guo Jing normally being described as stout and muscular, and certainly not well known for being incredibly handsome or refined, he ends up being played by teen heart throb Hu Ge. And Hu Ge is pretty much the equivalent of a Real Life Bishōnen. It can be rather wince-worthy when characters mention how "manly" and "plain" Guo Jing is (including several instances where people compare his relationship with Huang Rong as being "A beautiful flower planted in cow dung" - yes, he was even being likened to cow dung), when Guo Jing can◊ look◊ prettier◊ than some of the female cast.
- Somewhat justified in that the 2008 version made Guo Jing almost cripplingly stupid (to the extent that he was probably the slowest martial arts learner to ever live). The dung example above is actually the characters comparing the couple's intellect; Huang Rong is a genius (flower) who inexplicably falls (very very hard) for Guo Jing, a complete idiot (dung).
- Dongfang Bubai in almost every adaptation that came out after 1992. In novel, he was a man who castrated himself for power. After gorgeous Lín Qīngxiá played him however, it became some sort of tradition his role would be play by woman.
- Adaptation Distillation: One of the larger, more widely agreed upon cases would be TVB's 1982 adaptation of LOCH (with Felix Wong and Barbara Yung), which numerous fans consider to be a sort of "one true adaptation" that would be extremely tough to beat.
- Adaptation Inspiration: A Deadly Secret was influenced by The Count of Monte Cristo, with inspiration from the life of a former domestic worker in Jin Yong's family.
- All Girls Want Bad Boys: Let's face it - Yang Guo's devilish good looks and bad boy attitude attracted him a huge harem of adorers. Also, this trope is the only plausible reason why Shi Zhongyu managed to attract so many women.
- Almighty Janitor: The Sweeper Monk from Demi Gods and Semi Devils is the epitome of this. He's the cleaning guy for the library in Shaolin Temple, most of the higher-up monks in Shaolin didn't even know about him, and he ends up being the strongest character in the entire Jin Yong universe.
- Ax-Crazy: Ah Zi, Princess Jian Ning, Huang Yaoshi, Ding Busan...
- Badass: Xiao Feng. He even stands out in his world as this, usually taking several high tier characters to even give him a challenge.
- Been There, Shaped History: More than half of the books take place in a specific historical era and the characters either influence or are influenced by the times around them.
- The historical backgrounds to Ode To Gallantry, A Deadly Secret, The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, Swordswoman Riding West on White Horse, and Blade-dance of the Two Lovers are left ambiguous. However, from obscure clues given by the characters (such as the implication that Zhang Sanfeng has already passed away in Ode To Gallantry), it can be assumed that these works take place at various points of the Ming and Qing Dynasty.
- Betty and Veronica: Pretty much every work has this. Notable examples include: Huo Qingtong (Veronica) and Princess Fragrance (Betty), Xia Qing Qing (Veronica) and Ah Jiu (Betty), Huang Rong (Veronica) and Hua Zheng (Betty), Zhao Min (Veronica) and Zhou Zhiruo (Betty), Shui Sheng (Veronica) and Qi Fang (Betty), Ding Dong (Veronica) and Ah Shiu (Betty), and Ren Yingying (Veronica) versus Yue Lingshan (Betty).
- Big Bad Wannabe: There's Ding Chunqiu from Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, who is too arrogant to realize that the master he betrayed has passed on his incredible martial arts to Xu Zhu, leading him to conclude that he is almighty.
- Wan Zhenshan from A Deadly Secret also counts, though this is simply because the two characters that do eclipse him in slyness go to greater extremes to get what they want.
- Big Eater: Quite a few of the characters, though they're mostly side characters. Hong Qigong for one.
- Book Dumb: Wei Xiaobao, who is illiterate and constantly recites idioms incorrectly. Even Kangxi mentions numerous times that he should read more books. However, this trait can be attributed mainly to his extreme laziness, as he has proven more than enough times that he's certainly smart enough to learn.
- Born Lucky: Xu Zhu from Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils in regards to martial arts. After accidentally solving a Weiqi game, he is bestowed with 70 years worth of martial arts by Wuyazi as a reward. He runs into more luck after rescuing Tianshan Tonglao (a student sister of Wuyazi), who teaches him her techniques in return. As if his luck couldn't get any better, Tianshan Tonglao's nemesis and student sister Li Qiushui unintentionally transfers some of her power to Xu Zhu when the latter tries to stop the two from fighting each other. By the end of the novel, his prowess in martial arts is arguably only second to the Sweeper Monk.
- To a lesser extent, this is true for Duan Yu as well. He learns three powerful skills by chance with little effort: swift dodging of an opponent's attacks, shooting inner energy from his fingertips, and absorbing an opponent's inner energy.
- Bittersweet Ending / Earn Your Happy Ending: Return of the Condor Heroes; The Smiling, Proud Wanderer
- Breakout Character: Dongfang Bubai of The Smiling, Proud Wanderer. For an character that appear once in a novel. After Swordsman II he have one spin-off movie and receive Adaptational Attractiveness on almost every single adaptation that came out after. In 2013 adaptation, they even rewrite character as a female who is one of Linghu Chong love interest.
- Brother-Sister Incest: What Duan Yu's relationships with his love interests keep turning out to be. Unfortunately for them, close incest like that wasn't well accepted in ancient China (cousins, on the other hand...) Of course, later on, it turns out that they're all actually cousins, because of a very complicated mix up of who his father was.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Zhou Botong. Despite his insane, childish personality, the members of the Quanzhen Sect have no choice but to accept his silly ways. Reason being that, not only is he insanely strong, he's also the member with the most seniority.
- Camp Gay: Dongfang Bubai
- Chaste Hero: Most of the protagonists of his series. Though apparently after they get married, they seem to understand the mechanics of it well enough. Protagonists that deserve mention include Shi Potian (who was naive in a lot of other ways, too) and Yang Guo (who, for the life of him, could not understand what Xiao Long Nu was trying to say he did to her).
- Chekhov's Gun: Oh, all the time.
- The Chessmaster: A ton of characters. Huang Rong, Wei Xiaobao, Zhao Min, Cheng Kun...
- Cleaning Up Romantic Loose Ends: The endings of most stories (except The Deer and the Cauldron).
- Clingy Jealous Girl: Zhou Zhiruo from Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre (along with later becoming an out-and-out Yandere) towards Zhang Wuji, Qing Qing from Sword Stained With Royal Blood towards Yuan Chengzhi, Ah Zi from Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils towards Xiao Feng.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Zhou Botong from LOCH, as well as Sha Gu (though she's actually more justified because she's... well, retarded). Also, Huang Yaoshi could definitely qualify, though he's of the much more dangerous, explosively bipolar kind.
- Cool Old Guy: There are lots. Most of the old guys in his series are pretty darn cool.
- Cosmic Plaything: Poor, poor Lin Ping Zhi. Ling Hu Chong similarly has the worst luck ever, and he even gets the Butt Monkey treatment from everybody he cares about.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Lots of side characters. Most notably Zhou Botong.
- Damsel in Distress: Alas, even the Action Girls can fall victim to this.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: There's at least one per novel, but the most infamous is probably the Sunflower Manual/Bixie Swordplay Technique, which requires its male adherents to castrate themselves.
- Deadpan Snarker: Linghu Chong.
- Death Seeker: Dugu Qiubai, a Posthumous Character mentioned in three of the novels, was described as the most powerful martial artist of his era and who died alone in despair as he never found his match throughout his entire life. His name itself is revealing of his objectivesnote .
- Decoy Protagonist: Lin Pingzhi. And quite a few others.
- Despite The Plan: Yuan Chengzhi's attempt at assassinating Hong Taiji fails due to the intervention of Yuzhenzi. Later, Hong Taiji witnesses an affair between his concubine and his half-brother Dorgon, causing the latter to kill him without hesitation.
- Played straight and subverted many times in The Deer and the Cauldron, to both the government and the anti-Qing forces.
- Deus ex Machina: You could make a Drinking Game out of the times a powerful martial artist "just happened" to stumble upon the right place at the right time (though, to Jin Yong's credit, he also gives enough backstory so that it doesn't come off as an Ass Pull most of the time).
- Deus Angst Machina: Xiao Feng from Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. Oh lord. Also, Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nu from Return of the Condor Heroes.
- Disc One Final Boss: Zuo Lengshan from the The Smiling, Proud Wanderer. For the first half of the story he seemed to be the antagonist responsible for every evil deed committed by the orthodox sects. However, Yue Buqun replaces him in the second half of the story as his villainous character becomes increasingly obvious.
- Dirty Coward: Jinlun Fawang, the Golden Wheel Monk.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Ren Wo Xing's Reign of Terror is suspiciously similar to purges that were happening in Red China at the time of the novel's writing.
- Doorstopper: A Harry Potter book can be put into one or two movies. A Jin Yong novel takes a TV series that spans 20-odd episodes for the shorter ones, or up to 60 episodes for the longer ones.
- Downer Ending: Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils again.
- Driven to Suicide: Xiao Feng, for the sake of peace. Granted, he probably also felt that life wasn't worth living anymore, considering that the girl that was waiting for him when it was all over was Ah Zi. Many people theorize that what drove him to suicide was a combination of heroics and the fact that he wanted to escape that manipulative, depressing relationship with her.
- Dumb Is Good: Most of the heroic protagonists in his series are pretty dumb (mainly attributed to their Honor Before Reason way of life). And the smarter, sneakier characters that aren't bad guys tend to be morally ambiguous.
- A notable exception is Linghu Chong, who smartens up considerably after being expelled from the Mount Hua Sect, but retains his heroic personality.
- Dying Alone: Yang Kang's end, where he was poisoned and left to die a slow, painful death alone. No one dared to go near him, and he didn't even get a proper burial. A rather fitting end, considering all the things he did.
- Emotionless Girl: Xiao Long Nu, which is lampshaded countless times in the series.
- Even Evil Has Standards: Quite a few villains will put Honor Before Reason just like the heroes, and at least one Enemy Civil War happened because of this trope.
- Everybody Was Kung-Fu Fighting: What do you expect? It's Wuxia. Even the most harmless looking of old men will inevitably turn out to be a hidden kung fu master.
- Evil Twin: There's Ah Zi, who is the evil twin of Ah Zhu. And then there's Emperor Qianlong, who was made to be the evil twin of Chen Jialuo. And another example, which is extremely integral to the plot of Ode to Gallantry, there's Shi Potian and his evil twin, Shi Zhongyu.
- Extreme Doormat: Xiao Long Nu.
- Eye Scream: Blindness is a common effect of especially deadly poisons. After Ah Zi was blinded by her own poison, the opportunity came to heal her sight if only she had a donor...You Tanzhi cheerfully volunteers. When she decides to join Xiao Feng in death, she plucks out said eyes and throws them back to You Tanzhi.
- Face-Heel Turn: Hua Tiegan in A Deadly Secret. He was part of the "Luohua Liushui" group of orthodox martial artists who wanted to rescue Shui Sheng from Grandmaster Xuedao. However, his three companions are killed while pursuing Xuedao into an enclosed glacier, causing him to fear for his life and beg for mercy. After Xuedao's death at the hands of Di Yun, he realizes that his reputation will be ruined if his act of cowardice and disloyalty is spread by Di Yun and Shui Sheng and unsuccessfully attempt to kill them. After being rescued from the glacier, he accuses the duo of committing sexual acts while they were trapped in the glacier, causing Shui Sheng to fall out with her cousin/fiancé and Di Yun's reputation to sink even lower.
- Li Mochou in Return of the Condor Heroes is implied to be this. Apparently she was not a bad person before her lover fell for another woman.
- First Girl Wins: Qing Qing from Sword Stained With Royal Blood.
- For the Evulz: Almost everything Ah Zi does. The only reason she tortures innocent bystanders is mostly because she's a sadistic little girl that takes pleasure in other people's pain.
- Forbidden Fruit: It's implied that Ah Zi fell for Xiao Feng when she saw him being in complete misery and mourning over Ah Zhu. She was impressed with how dedicated and in love a man could be towards a woman, and wished that she could have someone who would be like that towards her. So although she knew that Xiao Feng would never be able to love another woman, she kept persisting to try to get what she couldn't have.
- Ironically, although this is her stated reason, she herself eventually gets a suitor that loves her very, very obsessively. But of course, You Tanzhi doesn't count, because he's ugly.
- Genki Girl: Huang Rong, Ding Dang (albeit a very violent one), Zhong Ling, and Ah Zi (who is a Spoiled Brat, Ax-Crazy version). Apparently, Hua Zheng also used to be one, before she started Wangsting about Guo Jing. This is lampshaded by her brother, who asks her what's gotten into her, since she always used to be high on life and always smiling.
- Good Adultery, Bad Adultery: Ying Gu's affair with Zhou Botong is shown from her point of view and is very much a product of love rather than lust. None of the other characters, not even her ex-husband, blame her for the affair either.
- Her ex-husband did blame her initially as seen from his decision to not save the child born from the affair. He later blames himself for the death of the child and seeks Ying Gu's forgiveness.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Wei Xiaobao collecting all eight volumes of the "Sutra of Forty-two Chapters."
- Green-Eyed Monster: Qing Qing from Sword Stained With Royal Blood is the queen of this. It's a rather unusual instance where the most jealous and narrow-minded woman in the series is the female lead.
- Grey and Gray Morality: The Smiling, Proud Wanderer. As a whole, both the orthodox and unorthodox sects are shown be morally ambiguous, to the point where many of the dislikable characters come from orthodox sects.
- Handicapped Badass: Yang Guo, who lost an arm about halfway through Return of the Condor Heroes, grows into a Bad Ass who eventually learned to become a true Bare-Fisted Monk by making his one remaining arm so strong and cultivating enough internal energy that swords simply can't stand up to his palm strikes. He eventually got Bad Ass enough that his power was considered equal to Guo Jing, protagonist of the prequel and considered the biggest Bad Ass of the period. He even got elected to join in the ranks of the Five Great Masters (North, East, South, Centre, he's the West Eccentric), inheriting his godfather Ouyang Feng's position (West Venom).
- There's also usually at least one blind fighter in every novel.
- Nun Jiunan in The Deer and The Cauldron, who was previously a princess of the Ming Dynasty. After losing an arm, her martial arts mastery was greatly elevated, giving her credentials to lead a Ming revivalist organization and develop numerous plots to destabilize the Qing government.
- There's also the weaponsmith in Legend of the Condor Heroes who, despite having to use a crutch in place of a leg and having to sacrifice one hand to hold said crutch, managed to fight a major villain to a standstill.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Very much subverted in Legend of the Condor Heroes, where it's pretty safe to say that Guo Jing had a lot less natural talent for kung fu than Yang Kang. However, due to Huang Rong's help, his own ridiculous amount of persistence, along with some of the most legendary kung fu masters pounding all their techniques into his slow head, he eventually manages to surpass Yang Kang and become very strong.
- Heartwarming Orphan: Yang Guo, Zhang Wuji, Yuan Chengzhi.
- Implied in the cases of Linghu Chong and Di Yun, as nothing is ever mentioned about their parents.
- Heel-Face Turn: In the third version of Return of the Condor Heroes, Jinlun Fawang relents at the end and saves Guo Xiang from a burning wooden tower (that he had tied her to in the first place) at the cost of his life.
- Hong Shenghai and He Tieshou from Sword Stained with Royal Blood, who repents their misdeeds and respectively become a loyal assistant and disciple to Yuan Chengzhi.
- Tian Boguang in The Smiling, Proud Wanderer is the most surprising example of this. Introduced as a serial rapist with mastery in Qinggong, Linghu Chong manages to put a stop to his act and even befriend him. He is later forced by Monk Bujie to become a Buddhist monk and the faithful disciple of Bujie's daughter Yilin.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: There's Wang Chongyang and Duan Zhixing. Apparently, they were such good friends that they decided to lock themselves up in a room for around one year to practice kung fu together. This had the unfortunate effect of causing Duan Zhixing's married life to become destroyed, to say the least.
- Hidden Villain: Murong Bo from Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. He is basically directly and indirectly responsible for causing most of the conflict in the novel, including the battle that lead to the death of Xiao Feng's mother, increasing tension between the Song and Liao Dynasty, and Jiumozi's attempt to conquer the wulin. However, the connection between him and the events are not revealed until he makes his first and only appearance in the later part of the novel.
- Historical-Domain Character: Many, many of them.
- The Book and the Sword- Emperor Qianlong, Fuk'anggan
- Sword Stained with Royal Blood- Emperor Chongzhen, Princess Changping, Li Zicheng, Hong Taiji, Dorgon
- Legend of the Condor Heroes- Genghis Khan, Tolui, Jebe, The Seven Disciples of Wang Chongyang
- Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain - Li Zicheng
- The Return of the Condor Heroes - Kublai Khan, The Seven Disciples of Wang Chongyang
- Other Tales of the Flying Fox - Fuk'anggan
- Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre - Zhu Yuanzhang, Xu Da, Chang Yuchun, Chen Youliang, Zhang Sanfeng
- Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils - Emperor Daozong, Wanyan Aguda, Duan Zhengchun
- The Deer and the Cauldron - Emperor Kangxi, Princess Changping, Oboi, Zheng Keshuang, Sophia Alekseyevna
- Sword of the Yue Maiden - Fan Li, King Goujian, Wen Zhong, Xi Shi
- Honor Before Reason: A lot of the protagonists. The most extreme examples are Guo Jing, Zhang Wuji, and Xiao Feng. For Guo Jing's case, he actually became (in)famous even among his enemies for being an incredibly honorable goody-two-shoes.
- Humans Are Bastards: What A Deadly Secret revolves around. From disciples murdering their own master to cannibalism, even The Cynic would find the pessimistic mood to be disturbingly strong. A notable mention is Ling Tuisi, who prematurely buries his daughter as a part of his scheme to gain the secret leading to a hidden treasure.
- Gongsun Zhi from Return of the Condor Heroes. He was taught various martial arts techniques by his wife Qiu Qianchi, and repays her goodwill by cheating on her, causing an infuriated Qiu to poison him and his lover. Qiu claims to have only one dose of antidote to the poison, leading Gongsun Zhi to quickly killing his lover so he can have the antidote. In revenge, he severs Qiu's tendons and imprisons her, hiding the secret from his own daughter.
- Humiliation Conga: Murong Fu succeeds in teaming up with Duan Yuan Qing, a bitter, psychotically murderous man who promises him that he'd be able to become emperor; in exchange, he fatally stabs Duan Yu's parents, but before he can murder Duan Yu himself his mother reveals that Duan Yu is Duan Yuan Qing's biological son, and Duan Yuan Qing relents of the order. By now the Big Damn Heroes have shown up at which point they completely waste Murong Fu. He spends the rest of his life a broken shell of a man who, in his insanity, believes himself to be emperor and appoints the neighborhood children and local wildlife the "officers" of his "court". You almost feel sorry for the guy...
- If I Can't Have You: Guo Fu with Yang Guo, even going so far as to cut his arm off out of rage and spite. Also, Zhou Zhiruo becomes hellbent on destroying Zhang Wuji after he ditches her during their wedding.
- well, that's one interpretation of Guo Fu, it's hard to say if she really did that because she couldn't have Yang Guo. She was angry because Yang Guo convinced the Wu brothers to stop fighting for her affections and basically to give her the cold shoulder. And then she told him about that thing with his master/lover and etc.
- Insufferable Genius: Many characters that are Badass geniuses are not modest. Quite a few times, it's something that makes them all the more endearing.
- Implausible Fencing Powers: It's Wuxia, so all swordplay and martial arts is going to fall under Rule of Cool.
- The king of this in his novels is the Posthumous Character Dugu Qiubai, aptly named "Sword Devil", who by age 30 was such a good swordsman that he was literally the strongest person to have ever lived. He invented a series of stance which allow someone to counter literally any possible offense used on them (making the user effectively unbeatable), and being so good a swordsman that he no longer actually needed a sword to use swordplay: instead all the grass, stone, dirt, and trees in the world would become his sword should he need to defend himself.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: Quite a few times, Huang Rong decides to leave to allow Guo Jing to go with his fiancee, Hua Zheng. Of course, when he makes it clear that the only one he loves is her, she decides to stay with him. Duan Yu did this for Wang Yuyan, as well. His sacrifice lead to the biggest turning point of their relationship.
- Karmic Death: Instead of having the protagonists outright kill the bad guys, this tends to be their ending. It also tends to be a lot more satisfying.
- Ki Attacks
- Kill 'em All: Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils; implied in A Deadly Secret
- Kissing Cousins: Hey, these stories are based in ancient China. It was okay. Examples include Zhu Er with Wuji and especially Wang Yuyan and Murong Fu.
- Lawful Stupid / Stupid Good: Most protagonists (hello, Xiao Feng).
- Last Girl Wins: Most prominently, Zhao Min from Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, who was the very last girl Wuji met out of his harem of admirers. Wang Yuyan from Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils was the last girl that Duan Yu met, and is also the one that he ended up with. And then it's implied that Shui Sheng from A Deadly Secret ended up with Di Yun. Also, Huang Rong from Legend of the Condor Heroes met Guo Jing way after Hua Zheng.
- Like Brother and Sister: What Guo Jing feels towards Hua Zheng.
- Loads and Loads of Characters: And he devotes paragraphs upon paragraphs lovingly fleshing out even the tiniest of bit characters.
- Love at First Sight: Thankfully, Jin Yong tends not to use this trope as much, and normally fleshes out the characters' romance. However, there is Duan Yu towards Wang Yuyan, which culminated in him acting like a Stalker with a Crush towards her. The use of this trope is probably also part of the reason why their relationship is viewed by many as being Strangled by the Red String. There are also one-sided examples, which are mostly viewed negatively.
- Love Dodecahedron
- Love Hurts: Boy, does it. It's capable of transforming originally Genki characters into wangsting drunks.
- Love Makes You Dumb: Happens more often than you think and as long as it's not the protagonist, it's generally fatal for the character.
- Love Martyr: There are lots. Yue Buqun's wife, Yue Lingshan towards Ling Pingzhi, Qi Fang towards Wan Gui. A very messed up one is You Tanzhi towards Ah Zi, to the extent where he accepts her torturing him (including melting a scalding iron mask onto his face), and is willing to kill anyone for her.
- Love Triangle: A staple for every story of his. Every protagonist must be in one. Only certain protagonists, however, start getting more than two love interests.
- Luke, You Are My Father: All the time. The three biggest come in Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, where the true lineage of three of the main protagonists all represent major turning points in their lives - Xiao Feng is revealed to be a foreign prince, causing him to spend the rest of his life torn between the duties to his biological family and his bonds with his former friends, whom he still feels obligated towards despite being forsaken by all but a few; Duan Yu turns out to be the result of a one night stand between Duan Yan Qing and Duan Yu's mother, who was pissed at her husband for being such a playboy, and Xu Zhu is revealed to be the product of an affair between the head monk of his temple and a woman who became a serial baby kidnapper/killer because of this event.
- MacGuffin: Most of the time, it comes in the form of a secret kung fu manual. In The Deer and the Cauldron, an interesting example would be the eight volumes of the "Sutra of Forty-two Chapters." In the books, despite being a huge driving force of the plot, the treasure map found in all eight books never ends up being used to find the treasure.
- Marry Them All: What Wei Xiaobao had in mind, pretty much ever since the beginning, with all eight of his love interests. In his defense, people in those days could do that, and there was absolutely nothing wrong with it.
- Also, Duan Yu of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils is told to marry his entire Unwanted Harem by his dying mother. (In at least one adaptation, she even takes the time to tell him that Da Li ethics are different from Han ethics, and he can marry them all as full wives instead of designating a head wife and make the rest of them his concubines.)
- Martial Pacifist: Quite a few of the martial artists don't care for fighting in any way.
- Meaningful Name: A load of characters, especially those in the Condor Trilogy.
- Guo Jing and Yang Kang's given names combine to form Jingkang, which was used for reminding the duo of the era where the Northern Song Dynasty was toppled.
- Dongfang Bubai translates roughly to "Invincible East", illustrating the character's supremacy in martial arts.
- Murong Bo and Murong Fu's given name can mean "gamble" and "restore". This pretty much matches their intention of restoring a historical state through a series of dangerous gambles.
- Meaningless Villain Victory: Ling Tuisi and Qi Changfa achieves this in A Deadly Secret, as both of them sacrificed their daughter before arriving at their goal. They are hit with karma after touching the poison smeared on the treasure they were after all along, causing them to become insane.
- Minimalism: Sword of the Yue Maiden. Arguably, Blade-dance of the Two Lovers and Swordswoman Riding West on White Horse as well. Interestingly, they are generally regarded as Jin Yong's least popular works, and are the only novels where the female protagonist is featured more prominently than the male protagonist.
- Morality Pet: A rare example of an older, stronger man being a young girl's morality pet can be found in Demi Gods and Semi Devils. Xiao Feng is the only person who can bring out any sort of redeeming qualities in Ah Zi. Any good deed that Ah Zi ever attempts has been in the effort to seek his approval. Too bad Xiao Feng is an idiot when it comes to raising or encouraging kids.
- Murder the Hypotenuse: Zhou Zhiruo made a huge effort to secure her position in Wuji's heart - including attempting to murder any and every woman that got in the way. And then there's Ah Zhi with Xiao Feng... let's face it, anyone who looks to be a nuisance or gets in the way of her and her brother-in-law must die.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Experienced by most protagonists. Often this is a result of false rumours spread about them or the group they're associated with.
- Xiao Feng of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils is the epitome of this simply because of his Khitan heritage.
- Di Yun from A Deadly Secret bears this for almost the entirety of the novel. It wasn't until Shui Sheng began doing good deeds under his name that his reputation began to improve.
- Linghu Chong from The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, due to his association with members of unorthodox sects.
- Not-So-Harmless Villain: Qiu Qianren in Legend of the Condor Heroes. Due his twin brother impersonating him as a con-artist in earlier parts of the novel, he is seen as nothing more than a petty crook by Huang Rong. Cut to Qiu almost killing Huang Rong with his "Iron Palm".
- One-Man Army: Most martial artist masters. There are battle strategies that basically throws them into the midst of the enemy and just let them rip.
- Opposites Attract: Numerous couples. Guo Jing (dumb, honorable, and an all-around Nice Guy) with Huang Rong (tricky and sly, spoiled, and morally ambiguous), Yang Guo (Genki, flirty, and fun-loving) and Xiao Long Nu (boring, Emotionless Girl that hates commotions and would rather live quietly in a coffin), Zhang Wuji (stupid, honorable, and very wishy washy when it comes to women) with Zhao Min (sneaky, one-man woman).
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Guo Polu from Return of the Condor Heroes. Despite being the only son of the Guo family (which meant a lot in traditional Chinese culture), he is constantly cast aside in favour of his infinitely more vibrant twin sister Guo Xiang. His only significant role was being the first person to wield the "Dragon Sabre", one of the coveted weapons in Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre.
- Parody: The Deer and The Cauldron to the rest of Jin Yong's works. Wei Xiaobao does everything that no one would ever expect a hero to do, most notably raping his future wives.
- Passing the Torch: Near the end of Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, Zhang Wuji felt that his leadership of the Ming Cult was constantly being challenged, especially by Zhu Yuanzhang. He ultimately decides to transfer his position to Zhu and live a secluded life with Zhao Min.
- Precocious Crush: Guo Xiang had a huge crush on Yang Guo... she never got over it, and remained single and celibate for the rest of her life. Considering that Yang Guo was a generation older than her, and had even held her in his arms when she was a baby... oh my.
- Ah Zi had a big one on Xiao Feng, who was her dead twin sister's boyfriend. She also constantly manipulates him into staying by her side to protect her, using her sister as her trump card. Unfortunately for Ah Zi, Xiao Feng is not into Ax-Crazy Spoiled Brats. It's probably worth mentioning that Xiao Feng is also much older than her.
- Plucky Comic Relief: The Six Immortals of the Peach Valley in The Smiling, Proud Wanderer.
- The Four Heroes of Taiyue from Blade-dance of the Two Lovers are often regarded as some of the most memorable comic relief characters in his works, as they are actually crucial to plot development.
- Reality Subtext: In the 1983 adaptation of Return of the Condor Heroes, numerous people applauded the performance of how love-struck and romantic Andy Lau (who played Yang Guo) was towards Idy Chan (who played the character's love, Xiao Long Nu). Apparently, Andy Lau has since admitted that he harbored a huge crush on Idy Chan. To quote him, "When I collaborated in Return of the Condor Heroes with her, I really felt that she's my girlfriend. When we go home after work, I would be worried about her and think of her. Then when we collaborated again in Casino Raiders where she played Alan Tam's girlfriend, I felt unhappy about it."
- Reconcile The Bitter Foes: During the reign of Ren Woxing and Dongfang Bubai in The Smiling, Prooud Wanderer, there was constant war between the Sun Moon Holy Cult and the orthodox sects. When Ren Woxing's daughter Ren Yingying came to power, a truce was successfully negotiated between the two sides.
- Subverted in The Deer and The Cauldron, as Wei Xiaobao's attempts at reconciling the Han and Manchus are a constant failure.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Yang Guo and Xiaolongnü in The Return of the Condor Heroes.
- Running Gag: On average, the female protagonists are a lot smarter than the male protagonists, the most glaring examples being Huang Rong and Zhao Min.
- Samus is a Girl: Many Action Girls in his series are this.
- Second Love: Heaven Sword Dragon Sabre has Wuji's first (and arguably strongest) love being Zhiruo. It takes her completely screwing it up for him to eventually decide to go with Zhao Min.
- Selective Obliviousness: Linghu Chong does not see his master's true nature, that would be just too unfilial.
- The same goes for Di Yun and just like Linghu Chong, he does absolutely nothing to punish his master after realizing his cruel and immoral personality.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: A notable example includes Sha Gu (from Legend of the Condor Heroes). Although she's crazy and retarded, it's revealed that after they cleaned her up, she was actually quite pretty. Yang Guo deliberately invokes this in his later years by always wearing an ugly mask to hide his face given how many girls' hearts he unwittingly broke over the years. Given what happened to Guo Xiang after she saw him...it may not be such a bad idea.
- Single-Target Sexuality: A lot of his characters are. Including villains.
- Single Woman Seeks Good Man: Huang Rong towards Guo Jing - as a matter of fact, a huge reason why she decided to start following him and chasing him was because he was just such a nice guy to her, regardless of whether she was dressed as a beggar. And then there's Ah Shiu towards Shi Potian, who is attracted to his kind, naive personality (in contrast to his bad boy, rapist Evil Twin brother).
- Smug Snake: Yue Buqun. Would have been a Magnificent Bastard, if he hadn't taken the "bastard" part too far, and in the end all of his plots came tumbling down. Ditto Murong Fu (and he ultimately failed, too, very, very badly).
- So Beautiful, It's a Curse: The most beautiful women in the Jin Yong universe tend to have the unfortunate fate of getting raped. The most obvious examples being Xiao Long Nu and Ah Ke. And then there's what happened to Princess Fragrance, whose beauty ended up catching the unfortunate attention of the Emperor, which later caused her to commit suicide.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Inevitable given the multiple romanization systems and alternate translations for the novels.
- Spoiled Brat: Guo Fu is the epitome of this. Mostly, it's Huang Rong doing the spoiling, to an infuriating degree. She gets little more than a stern lecture and continues being spoiled after lopping a man's arm clean off. Also, Princess Jian Ning... although she also tends to like being mistreated, since she's a masochist. But still, a spoiled brat nonetheless. Ah Zi is one as well, constantly manipulating and torturing people into doing things she wants.
- Stalking Is Love: In Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils, the series tries to make light of Duan Yu's stalking of Wang Yuyan, passing it off as him being dedicated to his love for her.
- Stalker with a Crush: No matter how you look at it, Duan Yu was a stalker towards Wang Yuyan. A more sinister example would be Yin Zhiping, who keeps the antidote bottle Xiao Long Nu gave him, constantly tries to stalk and watch her, and eventually out-and-out rapes her.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: Numerous TV adaptations of Sword Stained with Royal Blood change Yuan Chengzhi and Ah Jiu's relationship into this. In the books, however, it was much more on Ah Jiu's side, considering that Yuan Chengzhi actually loved Qing Qing more.
- And then there's Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nu's romance. Star-Crossed Lovers pretty much describes what most of that series consists of. Heck, it took more than a decade to finally resolve the situation.
- In Legend of the Condor Heroes, there was Lu Guanying and Cheng Yaojia, whose little sidestory was the equivalent of a Chinese Romeo and Juliet (except with more kung fu). Only, with a happy ending.
- What the romance between Ding Dian and Ling Shuanghua in A Deadly Secret was destined to be. Ding Dian possessed the "Secret of the Linked Cities", something that Ling Shuanghua's father Ling Tuisi was scheming for. Cut to Ding Dian being imprisoned and tortured for a decade by Ling Tuisi for refusing to reveal the secret.
- Street Smart: Wei Xiaobao.
- Sweet on Polly Oliver: Ironically, despite Jin Yong's works having so many Sweet Polly Olivers, this is almost always subverted. Normally, the main characters will be so insanely dense, they won't even have the "primordial sense" to subconsciously be attracted to them. And typically, it won't be until the girl reveals her true gender that the male protagonist will start showing a romantic attraction to her.
- Sweet Polly Oliver: An extremely common occurrence in his stories. Pretty much every single story has at least one girl who dresses up as a man for some important reason or another.
- The Fettered: Li Yan from Sword Stained with Royal Blood. He was critical in convincing martial artists to join Li Zicheng's anti-Ming peasant movement through constantly talking about his vision of creating a populist regime. Unfortunately for him, the newly established government under Li Zicheng was even more unpopular than its predecessor due to rampant corruption.
- Guo Jing's display of this actually saved his life. Due to a misunderstanding about Yang Kang's death, Yang Guo wanted to "avenge" his dad by killing both Guo Jing and Huang Rong. However, after witnessing Guo Jing's loyal and indomitable personality, his murderous thoughts immediately vanish.
- The Gift: Zhang Wuji and Shi Potian, who are shown to be very quick in learning martial arts.
- Ah Qing from Sword of the Yue Maiden, who manage to defeat 2000 palace guards with a bamboo stick. She learned all of her techniques from sparring with a white gibbon.
- The Promise: Xiao Feng promising Ah Zhu that he'll take care of Ah Zi for the rest of his life. God, he would regret that so much in the future. To the point where his only escape was in death.
- Through His Stomach: Xie Yanke warmed up a lot more to Shi Potian after eating his delicious food. Unfortunately, not quite enough to give up his original plan of killing him, but... hey, it helped. Also, Huang Rong managed to get Hong Qigong to take both her and Guo Jing as his disciples by cooking cuisines fit for the Emperor for him.
- Title Drop: The original Chinese title for The Smiling, Proud Wanderer is dropped in the form of being the title of a piece of music.
- Too Kinky to Torture: The ultimate example might very well be Princess Jian Ning from The Deer and the Cauldron. Wei Xiaobao hits her, and she likes it. She's very explicit in her adoration of BDSM.
- Tsundere: Zhou Qi in The Book and The Sword. Especially around Xu Tianhong.
- Unlucky Childhood Friend: Jin Yong apparently hates the idea of childhood friends getting together. In Legend of the Condor Heroes, Guo Jing falls for the first girl he meets right after he leaves his childhood Hua Zheng. In A Deadly Secret, Di Yun doesn't end up with Qi Fang, the student sister he grew up with - and Shui Sheng, the girl he does end up with, doesn't end up with her cousin whom she played with since childhood (and both of them harbored affection for each other that went into romantic territory before she got swept up into Di Yun's business). In The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, Ling Hu Chong doesn't end up with his student sister since childhood, Yue Lingshan, and instead ends up with Ren Ying Ying. In Sword Stained with Royal Blood, Yuang Chengzhi does not end up with Xiao Hui, whom he played with since he was young (although she was initially excited and infatuated with meeting him after all these years, she settles for her student brother). In Return of the Condor Heroes, Yang Guo doesn't end up with Guo Fu (whom he played with when he was young), and instead ends up with his mentor and master figure, Xiao Long Nu. And in Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre, Zhang Wuji not only doesn't end up with Zhiruo or Zhu Er, his idea of possibly marrying Yang Buhui is shot to hell when she reveals that she plans on marrying his student uncle.
- Unwanted Harem: Duan Yu, Linghu Chong.
- Values Dissonance: The attitudes towards women, the borderline jingoistic nationalism, the whole Honor Before Reason thing...though some of it is probably invoked on purpose.
- Fans have also noted a common trend to the fate of female characters in Jin Yong's novels. Most of the female characters that do fall in love with the protagonist but doesn't end up with him (or knows that there's no way he can reciprocate the love) either remains celibate or encounters a tragic end. The most prominent example of this is Gongsun Lü'e, who dies at the hands of her dad while attempting to save her romantic interest Yang Guo.
- Villainous Crossdresser: In The Smiling, Proud Wanderer, those who learn the Dangerous Forbidden Technique all end up a little...queer, to say the least.
- Wall of Text: Jin Yong will sidetrack so often to pontificate about the backstory of the most recently arrived character that it's very easy to lose track of the main plot.
- Wide-Eyed Idealist: A lot of the male characters that side with the protagonists are like this. Unsurprisingly, this is generally their biggest character flaw.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: Jin Yong is quite fond of this trope. Most of his series has a designated "world's most beautiful woman" set during that period. Special mention goes to Xiao Long Nu, Princess Fragrance, Wang Yuyan, and Ah Ke along with her mother Chen Yuanyuan (who was Chinese history's equivalent of Helen of Troy). Expect many heated arguments among Jin Yong fans about who is most beautiful.
- Xi Shi from Sword of the Yue Maiden is so beautiful that after Ah Qing witnesses her beauty, she can't bring herself to kill her.
- Wouldn't Hit a Girl: Most of his protagonists except for Wei Xiaobao.
- Woman Scorned: Zhou Zhiruo is the epitome of this. All hell breaks loose when Wuji leaves her during the wedding.
- Yandere: Ah Zi towards Xiao Feng fits this trope to a "T". She has the cute, innocent, Genki Girl looks... and the incredibly horrifying, sadistic personality. Guo Fu was also one towards Yang Guo. And then there's Zhou Zhiruo towards Zhang Wuji, among others.
- You're Insane!: Di Yun's implicit reaction to anyone who is after the "Secret of the Linked Cities", to the point of him losing faith in his master. Ironically, those who understood the secret and came into contact with the treasure that the secret lead toward became insane.
- Yuan Chengzhi towards the Chongzhen Emperor when the latter tries to kill his own daughter, after having already chopped off one of her arms.