The (named) characters of Mo Xiang Tong Xiu's most famous work so far.
Warning: Unmarked spoilers abound while this page is still under construction.
Note on naming: All names here are constructed in the Chinese fashion of: surname （姓） + birth name （名） - courtesy name (if any) （字） - title (if any) （号）.
Main Characters | 主角
Voiced by: Zhang Jie (donghua), Lu Zhixing (audio drama)
Alias: Mo Xuanyu (current body's original owner)
Height: (pre-Back from the Dead) 186 cm; (post-Back from the Dead) 180 cm.
Weapons: Suibian (sword); Chenqing (flute); Compass of Evil, spirit-attraction flag.
Son of Wei Changze and the rogue cultivator Cangse-SanRen (藏色散人), The main Protagonist Wei Ying grew up to become a notorious terror of the cultivation world.
Fourth on the list of top five cultivator gentlemen in his generation, he was originally Childhood Friends with the Jiang siblings and classmates with Lan Wangji, until tragedy befell the Jiang clan. A series of events led him to be tossed into the mass grave teeming with walking corpses the Luanzang Hill, where he walked out after inventing the ability to control corpses and other dark art of The Necromancer, thus founding a dark path to cultivation. He then distinguished himself in the Sunshot Campaign against the tyranny of the Qishan Wen sect, but the post-war political atmosphere did not exactly work in his favour. Subsequent events led to the plummeting of his reputation, the besieging of his new lair the Luanzang Hill, and he died without a whole corpse Thirteen years later, the oppressed homosexual Mo Xuanyu sacrifices him in a dark rite to summon a ghost to take revenge on the Mo family who forced him to death... and Wei Wuxian was the unlucky winner. Stuck in a new mortal body, Wei Wuxian is then dragged into events not of his own choosing, and followed by the archenemy of his past - Lan Wangji.
- The Ace: In archery. While he ranks fourth among the top five cultivators, archery is the one skill he holds superior over the other four, as he can hit his target even while blindfolded.
- Always Someone Better: To Jiang Cheng, even when it comes to Parental Favoritism.
- Animal Motifs: Crows.
- Anti-Hero: After becoming the Yiling Patriarch, Wei Wuxian becomes more ruthless in nature and even exhibits sadism towards his enemies. But he's firmly on the side of good, even stating that he took the dark path to protect his family and so no one else would have to.
- The Archmage
- At Least I Admit It: He doesn't deny that he's committed a lot of wrongdoings in his past life.
- Awesomeness by Analysis: Wei Wuxian can analyze a situation at a glance, coming to quick conclusions by noticing even the smallest clue. It's a huge part of what made him so successful.
- Bad Powers, Good People: His powers of necromancy make him feared among cultivators, but he's no doubt a hero with noble intentions.
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Turned Unresolved Sexual Tension turned Sickeningly Sweethearts.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's almost always in a cheerful mood and will never hesitate to help anyone in need. And so help him if he actually intends to haunt and kill you...
- Big Bad: He has this reputation In-Universe, but readers know better.
- Bi the Way: He flirts with women a lot, but he ultimately ends up with Lan Wangji.
- Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Hailing from Yunmeng (in modern-day Hubei) where food tends towards the spic(ier) side, Wei Wuxian's cooking is especially hot, that even fellow Yunmeng native Jiang Cheng cannot handle it. He spices his foods reflexively too.
- Blue-Collar Warlock: An ancient Chinese version. Wei Wuxian comes from an orphan background and it shows despite his later privileged upbringing. His diction is less refined, he dresses more informally (ties his hair in a messy ponytail, dresses in black) and the dizi, unlike the xiao and guqin, is a peasant's instrument. He also seems more at home in bars and inns, able to fit in with, understand and connect to common folk compared to Gusu or Yunmeng where he was always a bit out of place.
- Brilliant, but Lazy: As a kid, Wei Wuxian the top disciple at Yunmengjiang despite being a slacker goofball. Best shown at Gusu where he spent most of his time sneaking out and drinking but still made cheat sheets for his friends.
- Brought Down to Badass: He gave his golden core to Jiang Cheng, losing all his abilities to cultivate. And then he learned how to raise and control the dead, as demonic cultivation doesn't require a golden core.
- At very few points in the story is Wei Wuxian ever at someone else's mercy.
- Except for Lan Wangji.
- At very few points in the story is Wei Wuxian ever at someone else's mercy.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: No one can agree about how much benefits he brought to the cultivation world (inventing a compass to detect malevolent energy, a flag to attract spirits as bait vs being The Villain who invented a dark path of cultivation). Everyone can however agree that his idea of burying kids until only their heads stick out of the ground 'to make them grow taller' is not good childcare.
- And no, spicy is not the only palate around, nor is force-feeding spicy food a (total) cure to corpse poisoning.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: Combined with Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!; if someone's in danger or in need of more help than him, or if he thinks a situation must be fixed, Wei Wuxian will always try to do what he thinks his right and won't care for what anyone else has to say about it. Although he eventually learns that while there's nothing wrong with being selflessly heroic, he still has to be careful about when, where, and how to perform said heroics.
- Cheerful Child: As a child.
- Color Motif: Black and red.
- Combat Pragmatist: He's the first to suggest that resentful energy can be harnessed to aid in cultivation, since in the end resentful energy is still energy by essence. He also ends up being the first to practice this theory.
- Dark Is Not Evil: He wears black and red and is a necromancer; and The Trickster tendencies asides, is a kind and caring person.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: His biological parents are dead.
- Didn't Think This Through: He had a bad habit of doing things without considering, or more likely, not caring about the consequences. He got away with it as a kid but as Wei Wuxian grew up, the consequences got more dire. Multiple characters scold him for it but it's not until after his death that the lesson sticks.
- Discard and Draw: He sacrifices his cultivation powers and discovers demonic cultivation shortly afterwards. Later in his second life, he uses much less demonic cultivation but compensates with lower level cultivation and talismans.
- Easily Forgiven: Averted. Both Jin Ling and Jiang Cheng hold Wei Wuxian responsible for Jin Zixuan and Jiang Yanli's deaths, and until now hold a grudge against him for it.
- While Jin Ling initially grew to like him as "Mo Xuanyu", when he found out about his true identity he doesn't take it well to the point that he stabs Wei Wuxian, who doesn't hold it against him. However, he eventually lets go of his hatred for Wei Wuxian after learning of the true circumstances behind his parents' death and the fact that Wei Wuxian was unknowingly manipulated into the role of The Scapegoat, to the point that he chews out his uncle (whom he's usually afraid of) for his hostilities towards his former sworn brother.
- Everyone Has Standards:
- Wei Wuxian hates the Wen Sect for everything they did to his family and to the other sects, but he remembers to distinguish the innocent from the guilty and took the elderly and the children under his wing during the Sunshot Campaign.
- While Wei Wuxian had done some questionable tings as the Yiling Patriarch, even he's disgusted by fellow demonic cultivator Xue Yang's actions and outright states that he needs to die.
- Evil Is Not a Toy: While Wei Wuxian does use it for good, demonic cultivation is still The Dark Arts with a negative effect on the soul when overused. It's also very volatile and an art that's only recently discovered, leading to disaster when Wei Wuxian invents a weapon he can't fully control (the Stygian Tiger Seal) or when a loss of control ends in tragedy like the death of Jin Zixuan.
- The Exile: Sort of. After Wei Wuxian gets married to Lan Wangji, Lan Qiren creates a rule that no one should approach, let alone talk to Wei Wuxian lest they face punishment. Not that it stops anyone, however, as he's well-liked by the junior disciples.
- First Episode Resurrection: Near the start of the story, he gets brought back to life by Mo Xuanyu.
- Foil: To the antagonists. See Analysis for more information.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine.
- Friend to All Children: He can't seem to help himself from mentoring the younger generation or bailing them out of trouble. He also bonds with Ah-Qing and Wen Yuan.
- Friend to All Living Things: Unless he's dealing with dogs, he's gentle with any other animal.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: He was a street urchin and the son of a servant who eventually became the Yiling Patriarch. Downplayed in that his mother was a famous cultivator but the way inheritance works in ancient China, no one remembers that.
- Genius Bruiser: Both his battle skill and his intelligence make him one dangerous cultivator.
- Guile Hero: As stated in the Awesomeness by Analysis trope above, Wei Wuxian's greatest strength lies in his strategic abilities, quick thinking and observation skills, as well as his vast knowledge of cultivation. He's also the one who figured out that Jin Guangyao helped influence the events that would eventually lead to the first siege of Luanzang Hill, and also theorized that Nie Huaisang orchestrated the events surrounding his revival and Nie Mingjue's dismembered corpse — a theory that others do not find implausible.
- Happily Adopted: Zigzagged. While he's officially no more than a disciple of the Jiang Sect, he's well-beloved and gets along with everyone... except for the family matriarch Yu Ziyuan, who resents him due to the fact that Jiang Fengmian treats him better than their own son, who Wei Wuxian also just so happens to surpass in every way.
- Heroic BSoD: He undergoes one after the events of Mt. Buyetian, to the point where Lan Wangji's confessions and pleads all go unheard as Wei Wuxian kept on repeating "Get lost!"
- Heroic Sacrifice: Wei Wuxian performs a non-fatal version of this trope by giving his Golden Core (which is essentially a cultivator's life due to being their power source) to Jiang Cheng.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: He doesn't beat himself up over every little thing, nor does he think little of himself. But he's so selfless to the point that it doesn't register to him that other people might be concerned about him and consequently want to help him like he helped them. This also plays a part in why he's completely unaware of Lan Wangji's feelings for him.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The guy who controls ghosts gets killed by ghosts (the first time around).
- A discussion of this was done at the climax by, of all people, Jin Guangyao: Wei Wuxian's prickly personality and hero complex, combined with Jin Guangshan's ambitions for the Stygian Tiger Amulet, meant that sooner or later Wei Wuxian would have lost control and created trouble for himself, maybe ultimately dying altogether. Jin Guangyao mainly pushed events along, and bad luck helped the rest.
- Honor Before Reason: He insists on doing the right thing regardless of consequences, like helping Mianmian (and Lan Wangji and Jin Zixuan) against Wen Chao or helping Wen Ning and his family post-Sunshot Campaign when the Wens are all pariahs, going as far as attempting to bring Wen Ning Back from the Dead. Due to his recklessness, it doesn't always work out.
- Hurting Hero
- I Have Many Names: Birth name Ying, courtesy Wuxian, title Yiling Patriarch.
- Pseudonym Wei Yuandao.
- Innocently Insensitive: Wei Wuxian's kind heart and free-spirited nature makes him so earnest that there are times when he can hurt other people without intending to. And the later chapters reveal that he's been this to Lan Wangji the entire time, since he would always flirt with Lan Wangji in an attempt to disgust him away when it turns out that the latter has had feelings for him the entire time, which would then make it seem like he was leading him on.
- Kung-Fu Wizard: Technically all cultivation emphasises on physical training as well as mental and spiritual, but Wei Wuxian is a rather egregious example in being a competent swordsman, and then switching to using talismans after he gave up his golden core for Jiang Cheng and thus could not normally wield spiritual energy.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: To put it this way, Wei Wuxian could have saved a lot of trouble if he just told Lan Wangji that he doesn't completely remember the massacre he orchestrated at Mt. Buyetian, or its aftermath.
- Lethal Chef: The guy can only cook insanely spicy stuff, and he reveals that he burned a hole through a wok once.
- Like Brother and Sister
- Love Epiphany: While he starts to become aware that his feelings for Lan Wangji may be going beyond platonic, he realizes the true extent of his feelings when Lan Xichen told him about what Lan Wangji did for him during the aftermath of the First Siege.
- Loving Bully: To be frank, Wei Wuxian was only teasing Lan Wangji... and he tricked Lan Wangji into opening a disguised porn book, made jokes about stealing Lan Wangji's clothes, stole Lan Wangji's forehead ribbon... Now they're cultivation partners.
- MacGuffin: Invented the Stygian Tiger Amulet (阴虎符), which was the target of everyone until half of it was lost. Then after his death, it was the target of the Lanling Jin clan, and their reason for protecting Xue Yang was because he could recreate the other half.
- Magic Music: Aversion. The use of a flute to control walking corpses does not, strictly speaking, follow any In-Universe rules of magical song - he can get by with whistles or words, but a flute adds power to his commands. He can however play some magical songs in a duet with Lan Wangji, along with their Leitmotif.
- Meaningful Name:
- His birth name Ying (婴) means 'infant', which in Chinese folklore is associated with the yin principle - dark, cold, death etc.
- His surname Wei (魏) also contains the ghost radical (鬼), furthering his association with ghosts.
- His courtesy name Wuxian (无羡) is pronounced the same as the word for fall (诬陷), fitting considering his status as a Fallen Hero.
- Motor Mouth: Hard to win an argument against him. Also abundantly evident during sex.
- The Necromancer: A Chinese take.
- The Need for Mead: His default way to investigate supernatural cases is to hit up the local taverns, buy a drink, and then ask the waiters about rumours. This, of course, leads to...
- Never Gets Drunk: Difficult to say, but Wei Wuxian is definitely much better at drinking than, say, the entire Lan clan.
- Nice Guy: He is a prankster but is kind and compassionate to people, something reflected in the spirit interrogation technique of his "school" Empathy.
- Obfuscating Insanity: After he's summoned into Mo Xuanyu's body, Wei Wuxian maintains the facade of being crazy (like Mo Xuanyu was) to keep others from suspecting his true identity. The narration in the novel also notes that since he's in the body of a lunatic, he's taking advantage of the opportunity to act all-out.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Usually acts like a goofball slacker until he's on a night-hunt.
- Oblivious to Love: Everyone else figures out that Lan Wangji is in love with him, before he himself. The juniors. Lan Xichen. Wen Ning. Even the story's antagonists figure it out long before him.
- He's equally as blind to his own feelings. He was picking out houses and planning a family without realizing what that meant.
- One-Man Army: During the Sunshot Campaign, he would take on 3000 Wen soldiers by himself. And massacre them with barely any survivors.
- Opposites Attract:
- Motor Mouth to Lan Wangji's The Quiet One.
- The Villain opposed to Lan Wangji's The Hero.
- Lan Sizhui makes a note that the two of them are actually Not So Different, taking on responsibilities and seeing those responsibilities to the end reliably.
- This more or less characterises their entire relationship, except that where it truly matters, the two of them stand firm on protecting the things they hold dear. Circumstances in fact play a large part in making them the Star-Crossed Lovers that they would have been prior to Wei Wuxian's First Episode Resurrection.
- Older and Wiser: Wei Wuxian in his second life is calmer, more careful and more humble. He even comments on how ashamed he is of his younger self. It's likely that the massive Break the Haughty and Trauma Conga Line leading to his death taught him a few sharp lessons
- Paper Talisman: With some preparation, he defaults to using talismans most of the time. It takes on shades of the Paper Master when he animates funerary paper dolls to fight for him.
- Pay Evil unto Evil: His mindset during the Sunshot Campaign. The Wen Clan brought chaos and pain, especially Wen Chao and Wen Ruohan, therefore they should suffer for the crimes they committed. However, his methods, though at the beginning celebrated, came to be questioned and even feared.
- Penny Among Diamonds: Wei Wuxian was constantly gossiped about as the son of a bondsman adopted by the Jiang sect. It doesn't help that he acts like a Lower-Class Lout (though that could be a chicken-egg scenario).
- The Power of Blood: Some of the spells in the art of demonic cultivation require the use of blood, and there are instances where Wei Wuxian uses his own blood to perform more complex spells.
- The Power of Hate
- Pride: Wuxian's hubris contributes to his downfall Greek Tragedy style. In particular, Wei Wuxian has two major flaws. The first is that he has a bad habit of saying arrogant and stupid things, worsening an already bad reputation and making it easy for his enemies to use his words against him. For the second, see Evil Is Not a Toy.
- The Promise: This trope plays a vital role in Wei Wuxian's relationship with Jiang Cheng. He promised to become Jiang Cheng's subordinate once the latter becomes the Jiang Sect leader, and he allso promised to Yu Ziyuan that he would protect Jiang Cheng with his life. He makes sure to fulfill the latter promise, albeit at the cost of the former, which greatly strains their friendship.
- A more lighthearted example of this trope is when he confesses to Lan Wangji and promises to never forget anything about him and what happened between them again.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: His eyes glow red whenever he uses demonic cultivation.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Lan Wangji's Blue.
- Refuge in Audacity: He has no qualms about flirting with Lan Wangji, in the misconception that doing so would disgust Lan Wangji enough to find a chance to escape.
- Generally, this is a trait that embodies who Wei Wuxian is and his methods. Whatever everyone would deem as too outrageous and outlandish to even consider as a possibility you can be sure Wei Wuxian would have already done it and gone away with it.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After managing to not only survive the Burial Mounds but make use of the dark energy found there to control the dead, he unleashed his fury on Wen Chao and his sect. He subtly changed the talismans meant to ward off evil spirits to instead attract them, allowing chaos and fear to reign amongst the Wen army, with the members dying in several different violent ways or even dying on the spot out of fear. Finally, when showing himself to Wen Chao, he used the zombie of Wang Lingjiao (who he killed not long before) to attack her once-lover and then impaling and eviscerate them both with dark energy.
- Sad Clown: He hides a lot of trauma and pain under a cheerful, goofy demeanor. It's present from the beginning when he's glossing over his own death.
- Sanity Slippage
- The Scapegoat: One of the rare cases where he died, and then came Back from the Dead, and was then forced by circumstances to Clear My Name in a successful defence.
- Street Urchin: Was one from the time of his parents' death to when he was found and taken in by Jiang Fengmian.
- Team Mom: While he likes to cause mischief and is a prankster in general, he also has a caring and protective side that shows whenever he's with the younger members of the sects. During his several encounters with Lan Sizhui, Lan Jingyi and Jin Ling he protects them, guides them and gives them reassurance whenever there is danger.
- The Tease: His naturally outgoing personality also translates into being a bit of a flirt. Especially towards Lan Wangji.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Rice wine and all things spicy.
- Trauma Conga Line: Not long after he was born, his parents died, which left him for some of his childhood years living in the streets before being found by Jiang Fengmian and introduced in the Jiang sect, where he did find happiness and family, despite Yu Ziyuan's hostility towards him. However, it is during his teenage years that his suffering began, because of a series of events prompted by the greed and ambition of the Wen clan, he would lose his family, his home, his friends, almost everything, and in his desperation to avenge those he lost and protect those that remained he went against everything he was taught, becoming a feared and hated figure.
- Trickster Mentor: Towards the junior disciples of various sects, most notable during the Yi City arc.
- Uke: Not for lack of trying.
- Unexpected Virgin: No expectations about what Mo Xuanyu was up to, but the flirtatious and infamous villain of the cultivation world had no idea about anal sex until his first time with Lan Wangji. The only kiss he had before his Plot-Triggering Death was with Lan Wangji, at Mt. Baifeng, and he thought it was a courageous yet shy woman for a really long time.
- Villain Protagonist: Technically he's more heroic than other characters, but he has a bit of a bad reputation because of his tendency to offend people. Not to mention, there's how he dabbled in necromancy...
- Weak, but Skilled: Wei Wuxian lacks Lan Wangji's power; he gets tired easily and rarely directly fights anything. He contributes either in a support role (intelligence gathering, protecting the juniors) or through his zombies (which doesn't require cultivation power). Mo Xuanyu wasn't particularly powerful when Wei Wuxian took over his body so it makes sense.
- This also serves as a foreshadowing. Wei Wuxian is used to fighting without cultivation because he spent years without a golden core.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Wei Wuxian turns out to have a pretty severe case of cynophobia. He developed this fear because he would often have to fight dogs over scraps of food during his time as a Street Urchin.
- Willfully Weak: Wei Wuxian spends much of the plot hiding his demonic cultivation to protect his identity and doesn't display the massive power he used in his first life. Although even after he's discovered, Wei Wuxian still refuses to use the full power of demonic cultivation. It's implied that he's being more careful, having learnt some harsh lessons about the dangers of reckless overuse.
- Willing Channeler: Lots of the plot is uncovered through Wei Wuxian channeling the life experiences of ghosts and one severed head.
Voiced by: Bian Jiang (donghua), Wei Chao (audio drama)
Height: 188 cm
Weapons: Bichen 避尘 (sword); Wangji (guqin).
Second young master of the main Lan family, Lan Wangji's excellent reputation as a heroic cultivator for 'being where the chaos is' exceeds itself. Second on the list of top five cultivator gentlemen, not even incomparable looks could help the bitter facial expression that made him look as though his wife had passed away. Together with his older brother Lan Xichen, they are called the Twin Jades of Lan. Of course, people change with time, but Wei Wuxian is rapidly finding out that the Lan Zhan from his youth has changed a lot since the former died...
See the folder below for tropes regarding tropes which apply to him as a member of the Gusu Lan sect.
- Adorkable: The childishness he displays while he's drunk is as hilarious as it is endearing.
- Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Three times, to hilarious effect. When he gets drunk, he gets incredibly childish and possessive of Wei Wuxian. It Runs in the Family... although the actual first time (chronological) he gets drunk is less funny and more heartrending.
- Always Second Best: Lan Xichen surpasses Lan Wangji in many ways - Lan Wangji is only second to Lan Xichen on the list of cultivator gentlemen. Of course, the fact that he never smiles in public might have something to do with that...
- Animal Motifs: Rabbits.
- Backstory Horror: That scar below his collarbone, near his heart? He did that in a drunken meltdown after Wei Wuxian died.
- Beware the Quiet Ones: It's one thing if you're Wei Wuxian and successfully got on his nerves at certain days. It's a whole other thing if you're someone else who's a threat either to his clan or to Wei Wuxian.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: A capable cultivator, but he once tossed a kid into a pile of rabbits as part of childcare.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: He has a reputation of "being where the trouble is".
- He's also one of the few people who stood for Mianmian.
- Color Motif: White and blue.
- Comically Serious: It's really funny to see the normally stoic man get drunk and act like a goofball. Or keep a straight face when faced with Wei Wuxian's antics.
- Conflicting Loyalties: His feelings for Wei Wuxian place him in this position with his clan, and in the past it reached the point where he was ultimately forced to choose between love and duty. He chose the former.
- Covert Pervert: Stoic and reserved he may be, but as it turns out he's the more proactive of the pair when it comes to physical intimacy, even holding Wei Wuxian to his promise of them sleeping together everyday.
- Apparently, his kink is to tie up Wei Wuxian. The Lan clan's forehead ribbon is featured a lot in said kink.
- Of the pair, Wei Wuxian is the one who has read more heterosexual porn, but Lan Wangji is the one who looked up how to have sex with men.
- Chapter 117 drives this trope home even further when both he and Wei Wuxian are able to see the other's dreams. While Wei Wuxian's dream consists of them them having a domestic life outside the Cloud Recesses, Lan Wangji's dream is much, much kinkier in nature.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Believe it or not, this is Lan Wangji within all those Hidden Depths. Thirteen years of mourning plus uncertainty over falling for a self-proclaimed straight man and the strict upbringing of his clan might have contributed.
- Dating Catwoman: In modern terms, Lan Wangji was the class rep and Wei Wuxian the troublemaker when they were in school. Now they're together.
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Not just dating, but also marrying what Uncle hates is more like it.
- Defrosting Ice King: Takes place in the Belated Backstory which is revealed throughout the plot, throughout the chronological events of the plot, and all directed only to Wei Wuxian. Although he also shows a slightly softer side towards his brother and Lan Sizhui.
- Fool for Love: It takes a lot of courage (or recklessness) to disappoint the uncle who've brought you up and even betray your entire clan to defend the love of your life who has no idea about your love.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic.
- Go Through Me
- Hates Being Touched
- Hidden Depths: Lan Wangji as seen through Wei Wuxian's eyes is like an iceberg: a lot more is hidden under the surface.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: His aloof attitude towards Wei Wuxian as well as his attempts to keep some distance between them during their younger years made it hard for Lan Wangji to reach out amd get closer to Wei Wuxian by the time the latter becomes the Yiling Patriarch, which is also when Lan Wangji comes to terms with his growing feelings for the latter.
- Hopeless Suitor: Up until near the end, where his feelings are finally reciprocated.
- Ice King: Has the reputation of one, what with him never smiling and being The Stoic.
- I Have Many Names: Birth name Zhan, courtesy name Wangji, titled as Han Guang Jun.
- Ironic Name: His courtesy name Wangji is a Daoist phrase, meaning roughly to not seek fame or wealth, forget about worldly matters, and be at peace with the world. He managed to resolve everything except his attachment to Wei Wuxian who, at the time, was dead.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy
- Kuudere: A Type 1 with some hints of Type 2, although the latter part is reserved only for Wei Wuxian.
- The Lady's Favour: Wei Wuxian tries to do this with Lan Wangji's forehead ribbon as a joke. What nobody told him was the significance of the ribbon.
- Lost in Translation:
- His courtesy name Wangji is a Daoist phrase。
- Jade is the stone associated with gentlemen in Chinese culture. Beautiful women are also referred to as 'jade-like beauties', because their skin should be as white as white nephrite jade, as opposed to green jadeite. This is why the Lan brothers are called the Twin Jades of Lan.
- The only joke he cracks in the book follows a joke which Wei Wuxian cracks earlier regarding his sword Suibian.Wei Wuxian: (referring to a ghost) what did he say?Lan Wangji: Don't know.Wei Wuxian: Eh?Lan Wangji: He said, "don't know".
- Love Martyr: Not that Wei Wuxian is a bad person, nor would he ever intend to hurt Lan Wangji; but there's no denying that Lan Wangji goes through a lot of pain from Wei Wuxian being completely Oblivious to Love.
- Luminescent Blush: His earlobes turn pink whenever he gets flustered or angry.
- Magic Music: A master of the Lan clan's guqin and associated techniques.
- Mundane Utility:
- The Lan clan's silence spell is a disciplinary measure to ensure quietness. Lan Wangji uses it to stop Wei Wuxian from talking in the library.
- There's also his personal sword, Bichen. For a sword named after 'avoiding dust (mundane matters)', it sure sees a lot of mundane uses aside from chopping up supernatural threats; a shovel, to break through walls, a dildo...
- Muscles Are Meaningless: For someone who's the epitome of a gentlemen-scholar, Lan Wangji has absurdly strong arms. At the height of his adult strength he can lift with one (left, non-dominant) hand a wood coffin, two adult male corpses inside the coffin, a large Guanyin statue of solid rock atop the coffin, and Wei Wuxian atop the statue altogether.
- Name's the Same: Wangji is his courtesy name, and the name of his guqin.
- Not So Above It All
- Not So Stoic: As it turns out, while he's able to maintain a cool and stoic demeanor in the present time, he was much more susceptible to anger and embarrassment when he was younger, courtesy of Wei Wuxian. Although in general, Wei Wuxian is one of the very few people able to elicit any emotion out of him.
- Opposites Attract:
- The Quiet One to Wei Wuxian's Motor Mouth.
- Lan Sizhui makes a note that the two of them are actually Not So Different, taking on responsibilities and seeing those responsibilities to the end reliably.
- This more or less characterises their entire relationship, except that where it truly matters, the two of them stand firm on protecting the things they hold dear. Circumstances in fact play a large part in making them the Star-crossed Rivals-Actually-Lovers that they would have been prior to Wei Wuxian's First Episode Resurrection.
- Power Perversion Potential: What to do with prodigious arm strength? Handstand sex. Although after trying it once, both he and Wei Wuxian agree that it's a terrible idea and they shouldn't try it again.
- Purple Prose: A more laconic example given the expressiveness of Chinese to use poetic language in a few characters, but the text goes into great lengths to emphasize Lan Wangji's looks everytime he's (re-)introduced to the plot.
- This also comes into play when describing his actions in the absence of Wei Wuxian. In one instance, there was a time when Wei Wuxian had to talk to some farm women, and the text goes into detail about how Lan Wangji stares, and stares... and then kicks over a pebble. All his actions take on a new meaning with The Reveal that he was attracted to Wei Wuxian all along, and his heretofore inexplicable actions was him venting out his intense feelings.
- The Quiet One: A lot of his actions need to be understood in context, even if they're as outlandish as kicking random stones, glaring at people, suddenly dragging random maniacs who may or may not be Wei Wuxian back to the family home, etc.
- Real Men Wear Pink: He raises rabbits, which is a double-joke for the Chinese god of homosexuality, and the fact that he's gay.
- And he cooks! Only to invoke Through His Stomach, but the effort counts!
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Wei Wuxian's Red.
- Scars Are Forever:
- His chest is branded with the Wen Clan insignia, which was self-inflicted in a fit of depression.
- The thirty-three scars on his back are meant to last forever, even with magical healing.
- Seme: Of the pair.
- Sibling Yin-Yang
- Silent Snarker: Some of his grunts come off as secretly laughing at Wei Wuxian.
- Single-Target Sexuality: Wei Wuxian is the only person he's ever formed an attraction to, which was tragic because he never expected his feelings to be returned, and then the love of his life died and left him to play 'Inquiry' for thirteen years to check if his ghost was still around. Good thing Wei Wuxian came Back from the Dead.
- Something Only They Would Say: Lan Wangji figured out that "Mo Xuanyu" is actually Wei Wuxian after hearing him play a tune that he composed for him during their time together at Xuanwu Cave.
- The Stoic: Combined with The Quiet One.
- Here is his introduction as translated by Exiled Rebels Scanlations:"Although all of the clans in the cultivation world used extravagant words to describe the Gusu Lan Sects uniform as the best-looking uniform and [Lan Wangji] as an incomparable beauty who only appeared once in a blue moon, nothing could help the bitter facial expression that made him look as though his wife had passed away."
- Here is his introduction as translated by Exiled Rebels Scanlations:
- Team Dad: Alongside Wei Wuxian, he takes an active role protecting and guiding the three youngsters they encounter but he's far more stern and a bit more distant than his partner.
- Theme Song: Composed 'Forget Envies' (忘羡), which is also the official Portmanteau Couple Name.
- Think Nothing of It: Whenever Lan Wangji would give something to Wei Wuxian and would be thanked for it, he gets upset and would immediately take back what he gave. This is because whenever they expressed gratitude to each other in the past, they would always meet again under worse circumstances.
- When He Smiles: Being The Stoic, Lan Wangji has never smiled (or really have much of an expression; his brother is the only one who can read him hence he's called Brother-reading machine). So when he finally did, everyone was stunned, even his brother.
Gusu Lan Sect | 姑苏蓝氏One of the top four families in the cultivation world, the Gusu Lan sect was founded by a monk turned ministrel Lan An centuries ago. Famed for its many, many rules, the elegance of its uniform, and for producing handsome and talented disciples each generation.
Resides in the Cloud Recesses (云深不知处), which is located on a mountain outside of the city of Gusu (modern Jiangsu).
Their motto is 'righteousness'. Its symbol is a flowing cloud-pattern. Direct disciples (as in, those with actual relation to the Lan clan founder) wear a cloud-patterned forehead ribbon. Disciples of other families, guests and associates wear a plain white forehead ribbon.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: According to the author's weibo, the inability to hold their liquor is part of the Lan family genetics. This leads to incredibly specific Alcohol-Induced Idiocy which all start with: fall asleep with one bowl, and then wake up drunk after a while, run wild, and fall asleep when the biological clock takes over to make them sleep.
- Chekhov's Gun: The forehead ribbon. Its meaning is 'to conduct oneself well', but the founder once claimed that before the person one loves, no rules are necessary, hence the forehead ribbon is a token of love between a member of the Lan clan and the lover. Wei Wuxian's reaction upon finding out was hilarious.
- Code of Honour: All four thousand-plus rules crammed into the giant rock wall at the entrance of the Cloud Recesses.
- Creature of Habit: The Lan sect mandates waking up at five in the morning, and going to bed at nine in the evening (barring a night-hunt).
- Borders on Clock King sometimes, as Lan Wangji demonstrated the ability to know what time to sleep without any indicator to tell the time, while drunk.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience： White uniforms, white forehead ribbons.
- Fisher Kingdom: Cultivators tend to pick an area with good fengshui in order to acculumate good qi or spiritual energy. The Cloud Recesses looks like a mountain-top temple complex.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: The school colours are white. Must've been hell to clean...
- It Runs in the Family: Apparently, Love at First Sight and Dating Catwoman is a generational pattern.
- The Lan brothers' father fell in love with their mother, but their mother killed a benefactor of the Lan sect. Heedless of the repercussions, their father brought her back to the Cloud Recesses, did the ceremony, and threatened the elders to take her over his dead body. Then, Honor Before Reason made him seclude himself in the Cloud Recesses and never share a bedroom with her.
- Lan Qiren increased the brothers' education in order to combat this. History Repeats Itself Like Father, Like Son with Lan Wangji eloping with the villain du jour Wei Wuxian.
- Lost in Translation: The Twin Jades of Lan - Jade is the stone associated with gentlemen in Chinese culture. Beautiful women are also referred to as 'jade-like beauties', because their skin should be as white as white nephrite jade, as opposed to green jadeite.
- Meaningful Surname: The Lan clan's surname comes from 伽蓝, which refers to a Buddhist temple, indicating their ancestor's origins as a Buddhist monk.
- Officer and a Gentleman: The ancient Chinese version. The Lan sect strictly upholds 'elegance' as its motto.
- Razor Floss: The Lan clan's String-Killing Technique, which uses guqin strings (usually made of silk).
- Theme Naming: The Lan brothers share in their birth names the water radical (氵).
- Their titles also have an association with light (Ze 泽 means 'lustrous', while 光 means 'light'). As the jewels of the Lan clan, thus they are the Twin Jades of Lan.
Voiced by: Jin Xuan (donghua), Wang Kai (audio drama)
Height: 188 cm
Weapons: Shuoyue (sword), Liebing (xiao vertical flute)
Current head of the Lan clan. Lan Wangji's older brother - together, they are known as the Twin Jades of Lan. Warm and refined, sincere and gentle. Looks very similar to Lan Wangji but has darker eye color. Swore an oath of brotherhood with Nie Mingjue and Jin Guangyao; he is the middle brother. Together, they are called the Three ''Zun''/Respected Ones.
- 100% Adoration Rating: Everyone who meets him likes and respects him (even the series antagonists). For all the atrocities that Jin Guangyao ever did, the only thing he never thought about was betraying Lan Xichen.
- The Ace: The number one cultivator. Lan Xichen is powerful, wise and learned but unlike his brother is also friendly and approachable. He's genuinely a nice person and he's named the world's most beautiful gentleman.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Lan Xichen one of the most genial characters in the story, which is why it's jarring to see him show outright anger at Wei Wuxian when he tells him of the events at the Nightless City and what Lan Wangji had done for him and went through for him then, even telling the latter point-blank that he's the only mistake his younger brother has ever made.
- Big Brother Instinct: He's a good brother to Lan Wangji, as well as his sworn brother Jin Guangyao.
- Break the Cutie:
- The first time was when the Cloud Recesses was razed to the ground in the lead-up to the Sunshot Campaign against the Wen sect, and he was forced to flee for his life with the Lan sect's library.
- He went into seclusion after the death of Jin Guangyao.
- Cool Big Bro
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic.
- Genki Boy: Becomes this when drunk. Drunk!Lan Xichen is the type to be over-enthusiastic; his every sentence would end with three exclamation marks.
- Horrible Judge of Character: Technically this, due to his unrelenting belief in Jin Guangyao right before being captured and held hostage. To be fair, better men than him, including Nie Mingjue who knew Jin Guangyao's tendency to kill people who insult him, have been fooled by Jin Guangyao.
- Lost in Translation: The nickname he shares with his brother as the Twin Jades of Lan. Jade is the stone associated with gentlemen in Chinese culture. Beautiful women are also referred to as 'jade-like beauties', because their skin should be as white as white nephrite jade, as opposed to green jadeite.
- Nice Guy: His defining mark. Lan Xichen is constantly nice to everyone regardless of their social status.
- Non-Action Guy: In the present, he doesn't fight that much. In the past, though, he was one of the three to help in killing the Wen sect leader Wen Ruohan besides Nie Mingjue and Jin Guangyao.
- Not So Different: Like his brother, Lan Xichen's devotion to a loved one (although in his case it's platonic) causes him to cross the Despair Event Horizon after said loved one's death. It doesn't help that he learned that the same person turned out to be responsible for almost every conflict that occurred in the story. Basically, if falling in love with Wei Wuxian was Lan Wangji's "mistake", then trusting Jin Guangyao was Lan Xichen's own "mistake".
- Power Trio: With Nie Mingjue and Jin Guangyao.
- Sibling Yin-Yang
- Shipper on Deck: Played with throughout the story.
- Back then, Lan Xichen encouraged any interaction between his younger brother and Wei Wuxian, albeit in a way similar to how others would want their younger and socially awkward siblings to go out and make friends.
- While he became warier of Wei Wuxian after the latter became the Yiling Patriarch, he didn't mind if Lan Wangji still wanted to talk to him and would prod him to do so.
- Even when he finally harbored a grudge against Wei Wuxian after Lan Wangji went against the entire Lan Sect to protect him, Lan Xichen willingly informed Wei Wuxian of this and even called him out on not knowing about his brother's feelings for him the entire time.
- Then when Wei Wuxian confessed his feelings to Lan Wangji, the only comment Lan Xichen makes is that he chose the best time and place to say it since they were held hostage by the Big Bad at the time, who was also there as a witness.
- World's Most Beautiful Woman: A gender-inverted example; he's at the top of the list of cultivator gentlemen in his generation, which implies that on some level his looks surpass Lan Wangji's.
Voiced by: Liu Cong (donghua), Baomu Zhongyang (audio drama)Elder of the Lan family, uncle to the Twin Jades of Lan. Stern, pedantic, and a strict teacher who turns out outstanding students. The former two traits make people avoid him, but the last trait makes parents try everything to get their kids into the Cloud Recesses for a period of study. The only stain on his otherwise pristine record is Wei Wuxian.
Voiced by: Chenzhang Taikang (donghua), Qian Wenqing (audio drama)
Lan Sizhui is one of the younger-generation cultivators that Wei Wuxian first meets post-Back from the Dead. The Nice Guy, he immediately inspires good feelings in Wei Wuxian, who thinks that Lan Sizhui is just the latest of the Lan clan's famously strict education. Of course, Lan Sizhui has a connection to Wei Wuxian's past too...
- Amnesiac Hero: Spends the series of the book until after the climax forgetting about his past as part of the Wen family. Granted, a high fever at three years old would have encouraged that.
- Forgotten First Meeting: Wei Wuxian forgot about Lan Sizhui. He didn't know that Lan Sizhui was Wen Yuan, or expected that the kid who tried to his flute was still alive after the siege of Luanzang Hill.
- Has Two Mommies: Gender inversion.
- Last of His Kind: He's revealed to be the last surviving member of the Wen Clan.
- Meaningful Name: Invoked by Lan Wangji who gave him his courtesy name. Sizhui means "to remember and long for" which is a hint at his status as the last Wen and Wei Wuxian's relic.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Downplayed, but he's far more calm and stoic than Jingyi.
- Someone to Remember Him By: In a sense. After his birth parents died and his caretaker Wei Wuxian died, he was found and taken in by Lan Wangji who he had met once. Lan Sizhui was essentially Lan Wangji's last connection to Wei Wuxian so it's literally this trope.
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: The Straight Man to Lan Jingyi's Wise Guy.
- Third Wheel: Being the Happily Adopted kid he is, Lan Sizhui ends up as the kid that Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji drag out together the most often for extra training. Most of this extra training ends up being to leave the elders alone for their time together, making excuses to irate clients, the donkey, and lying about when the elders would rise for the day... everyday.
Voiced by: Wang Chenguang (donghua), Xiahou Luofeng (audio drama)
The second younger-generation cultivator that Wei Wuxian meets. Cheerful but brash, Lan Jingyi tends to end up talking without a filter.
- Ironic Fear: Despite being a cultivator who slays ghosts for a living, he is afraid of ghosts.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Downplayed; while he's outspoken and quick to anger, he's not really unpleasant. Nevertheless, despite being often annoyed or exasperated with Wei Wuxian, Lan Jingyi always appreciates his help and never hesitates to speak up for him or defend him from other people.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Downplayed, but he's far more hotheaded and temperamental than Sizhui.
- Straight Man and Wise Guy: The Wise Guy to Lan Sizhui's Straight Man.
- Thinks Like a Romance Novel: During the Yi City arc.Wei Wuxian: Hanguang-Jun, it's up to you now. We're gonna go ahead!
Lan Jingyi: That was it? You're not going to say anything else?
Wei Wuxian: What else do you want me to do? What else should I say?
Lan Jingyi: Why didn't you two say, "I'm worried about you. I'm staying!", "Go!", "No! I'm not going! If I'm going, you're going with me!"? Isn't it a must?
- Vitriolic Best Buds: While they won't acknowledge it easily, he is friends with Jin Ling and it's shown through their several snark filled conversations.
Yunmeng Jiang Sect | 云梦江氏Another of the top four families of the cultivation world. Founded by a wandering swordsman-turned-cultivator Jiang Chi, its home base is at the Lotus Pier in Yunmeng.
Its Motif is a nine-petal lotus. All disciples wear purple. All direct disciples carry a silver bell inscribed with it.
- Back from the Brink: The Yunmeng Jiang Sect was nearly wiped out during the burning of Lotus Pier. Jiang Cheng basically had to rebuild from nothing.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Purple uniforms.
- Honor Before Reason: Their motto is "know it to be impossible but do it anyway", an idiom referring to the persistence in pursuing what one believes is right against all odds.
- Fisher Kingdom: Cultivators tend to pick an area with good fengshui in order to accumulate good qi or spiritual energy. The Lotus Pier is a riverside manor in a lake of lotuses, more or less.
- Inciting Incident: The burning of Lotus Pier is what sparks the Sunshot Campaign.
Voiced by: Guo Haoran (donghua), Santu Bi'an (audio drama)
Height: 185 cm
Weapons: Sandu (sword); Zidian (whip)
Current leader of the Yunmeng Jiang sect. Jin Ling's maternal uncle. Wei Wuxian's Childhood Friend-turned-enemy.
Son of Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan. Sharp and handsome, strong and proud. Grew up with Wei Wuxian, and when they were young, they had vowed the to become the Twin Heroes of Yunmeng. Sadly, the future did not turn out as they hoped, and Jiang Cheng was the one who laid the final blow at the (first) siege of Luanzang Hill.
- Alone Among the Couples: More of a fandom joke than anything else. The author has noted that Jiang Cheng has gone on three matchmaking attempts and has been blacklisted.His requirements are: A gentle beauty who's obedient, is economical when taking care of the household and is from a good family, her cultivations should not be too high, her personality not too strong, doesn't talk too much, isn't too loud, doesn't spend too much money, and is good to Jin Ling.
- Always Second Best: It's basically a running joke. Can shoot down a kite from far away? Wei Wuxian hits even farther, blindfolded. Ran for 7 days to save his friend? Wei Wuxian kills a 400 year old spirit. Rebuilds his sect and gain renown during the Sunshot Campaign? Wei Wuxian invents necromancy and becomes the cultivator bogeyman.
- Berserk Button: Demonic cultivators in general and Wei Wuxian in particular.
- Cannot Spit It Out: Chapter 110 reveals that the reason Jiang Cheng got captured by the Wens was not because he got desperate and blindly walked into the Lotus Pier to scrounge any family relics he could find; because he drew the Wens' attention on purpose to prevent Wei Wuxian from getting caught. He wanted to tell Wei Wuxian about this, although he ultimately couldn't say anything and kept silent.
- The Determinator: His major strength. Jiang Cheng manages against overwhelming odds through sheer force of will.
- Didn't Think This Through: Jiang Cheng can let his emotions cloud his judgement, causing him to act thoughtlessly. Running back to Lotus Pier after the Wen's occupied it is a good example.
- Fantastic Racism
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Choleric.
- Friend Versus Lover: Jiang Cheng took Wei Wuxian's promise of serving as his second when he becomes clan leader to heart, and it's part of why they drifted apart. When he confronts Wei Wuxian over this in the final arc, Wei Wuxian can only apologize as certain circumstances (such as lacking his Golden Core and his status as the Yiling Patriarch) made it impossible for him to keep that promise. There's also the fact that by the time the confrontation happened, Wei Wuxian had already resolved to be by Lan Wangji's side as his cultivation partner.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Inherits this from his mother.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: He was always overshadowed by Wei Wuxian which fed his insecurities and caused him to lash out.
- Kick the Dog: He has a bad habit of lashing out when he's angry, saying and doing hurtful things. Wei Wuxian is a frequent target of his rages.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: This causes him a lot of pain as it's why he and his father are always distant. Jiang Cheng takes more after his mother, to his frustration.
- Locked Out of the Loop: For most of the book, he did not know that not only did he truly lose his Golden Core in the past, but the current core in his body was Wei Wuxian's, which was excised by Wen Qing.
- If he had known, then Jiang Cheng would have been honour-bound to protect Wei Wuxian and the Wen siblings. Wei Wuxian knew, but also knew that it would have taxed the Jiang sect too far in the current political climate. This knowledge combined with his understanding of Jiang Cheng's character probably played into the decision to keep it secret from Jiang Cheng.
- Meaningful Title: The 'three poisons' in his title refers to this.
- Not So Different: As it turns out, both he and Wei Wuxian made the ultimate sacrifice for the other: Wei Wuxian sacrificed his Golden Core for Jiang Cheng, while Jiang Cheng readily gave himself up to the Wens to save Wei Wuxian even if it meant his own death. However, both couldn't tell the other about it, due to selflessness (on Wei Wuxian's side) and pride (on Jiang Cheng's side).
- Parental Substitute: To Jin Ling.
- Shared Family Quirks: Shares his mother's habit of fiddling with Zidian whenever he's really angry.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Jiang Cheng's always struggled with a bad temper and envy but over a decade of grief and bitterness took away a lot of his soft edges and redeeming features.
- Tough Love: He's incredibly strict towards Jin Ling, and even threatens or retaliates with physical violence, but it's obvious that he cares for his nephew.
- Tsundere: One minute he's threatening Jin Ling and he next he's handing him Zidian and trying to protect him.
- The Unfavorite: How he feels compared to Wei Wuxian. Jiang Fengmian is more lenient and caring towards his childhood friend, leading him to believe that his father does not love him.
- We Used to Be Friends: He and Wei Wuxian were as thick as thieves in the past, but at present Jiang Cheng harbors a burning hatred towards him, and only barely tolerates him in situations where they're forced to work together. By the end of the novel, he no longer hates Wei Wuxian and their relationship improves somewhat, but it's clear that they'll never be able to regain the friendship they once had.
- Whip It Good: Zidian, the ring which can turn into a whip and whip ghosts out of the bodies that they possess. It cannot, however, whip out spirits in a body which was offered, hence how Wei Wuxian evaded detection the first time around.
- Young and in Charge: Rebuilt his entire sect from scratch at age 16 after the death of his parents.
Voiced by: Li Shimeng (donghua), Qiao Shiyu (audio drama)
Jiang Cheng's sister, Wei Wuxian's shijie, and Jin Ling's mother. She's not too particularly beautiful but has a gentle and graceful personality, and really good culinary skills. Since young, she's been betrothed to Jin Zixuan, the young master of Lanling Jin clan. Treats Wei Wuxian like a brother.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She's the kindest person you'll ever meet, but if you cross her family she's more than capable of decimating you with words alone.
- Big Sister Instinct: While she's not physically strong nor does she has a high level of cultivation, she tries to protect her younger brothers emotionally and is their greatest support.
- Cool Big Sis: Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng immediately soften in her presence, and it's not hard to see why they're quite protective of her. Likewise, she proves to be a kind and supportive figure to them when their parents can't be just that.
- Happily Married: Eventually and it's implied it took some character growth on Jin Zixuan's part
- Informed Deformity: She's supposed to be rather plain and it's the biggest reason why Jin Zixuan didn't want to marry her. Every depiction we see of her is lovely and beautiful.
- Nice Girl: Implied to take after her father
- Through His Stomach: How she caught the attention of Jin Zixuan.
- Supreme Chef: One of the best cooks in her sect.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth
Voiced by: Tang Shuiyu
Jiang Cheng's father, the previous head of Jiang clan. He was friends with Wei Wuxian's parents and had took in Wei Wuxian when he was wandering in the streets. Treats Wei Wuxian better than he treats his own son and gave Wei Wuxian his sword Suibian.
- Arranged Marriage: With Yu Ziyuan. It hasn't worked out all that well. The novel expands on this: Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan were in the same cultivation school, and in time the Meishan Yu Sect eventually proposed an alliance between clans via their marriage. While he politely declined the first few times since he knew they were too different to get along, he was continuously pressured by the sect until he was left with no choice but to agree to the arrangement.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Rushes back to Lotus Pier to find his wife even knowing that it would mean certain death
- The Leader: Of the Yunmeng Jiang sect.
- Not So Different: Tragically right before their deaths, Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan start unknowingly going echoing each other, going Papa Wolf and Mama Bear on their sons, wielding Zidian in similar ways and even having similar Last Words. They shared more than they thought.
- Parental Favoritism: He's accused of this by Ziyuan, who states several times that Fengmian prefers Wei Wuxian over their son, Jiang Cheng. Unfortunately, she's not the only one, as many characters refer to this and even his own son seems to believe it.
- Parents as People: He's a good man and has undeniably treated Wei Wuxian well. The problem is that he forgot to extend the same courtesy to his own biological son, who he may care for but is clearly more distant with, and he has trouble addressing this issue even as his wife continuously confronts him about it.
- Parting Words Regret: Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan quarreled bitterly the day of the burning of Lotus Pier. Wei Wuxian hoped that they got to exchange one more sentence before they died
- Pining After Protagonist's Parent: When he was young, Jiang Fengmian was in love with Wei Wuxian's mother, but she married his best friend instead. The way he favors Wei Wuxian over his own son and his strained relationship with Yu Ziyuan have made people question if he still has feelings for Wei Wuxian's mother. While he gets angry whenever those rumors are brought up, he neither confirms nor denies them.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan's deaths and the burning of Lotus Pier is the opening blow that kickstarts the Sunshot Campaign
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He never abused of his power and was known for being levelheaded and kind.
Voiced by: Ji Guanlin
Jiang Cheng's mother, Jiang Fengmian's wife. She is a forceful and powerful character. The original owner of Zidian. Due to old rumors surrounding the relationship between Jian Fengmian and Wei Wuxian's mother CangSe-SanRen, she does not like Wei Wuxian.
- Action Mom: Is a high ranking cultivation master in the sect and has the ability and experience to back up her position, as well as being a caring mother for her children.
- Arranged Marriage: With Jiang Fengmian. It's not the happiest of arrangements.
- Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Secretly made Jiang Fenmiang the second Master of Zidian showing that she did trust and respect her husband even underneath all the resentment.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: One of the most awesome deaths. Kills scores of Wen disciples to protect her son, breaks Wen Lingjiao's arm and nearly kills Wen Zhuliu, smuggles her real and adopted sons to safety before dying fighting more Wen soldiers.
- Everyone Has Standards: While her resentment towards Wei Wuxian is undeniable, she never wished on him a horrible fate.
- Innocently Insensitive
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- While it is true that her treatment of Wei Wuxian can be overly hostile, it has to be taken in consideration that her husband seems to prefer the child of someone else over their own. It certainly doesn't help matters that Wei Wuxian's mother was someone many say was the lover of Fengmian, even if that was never proven and she fell in love with his best friend instead.
- While she was lashing out in this particular case (the Wen clan was always going to attack Lotus Pier and was simply looking for a pretext), she's not wrong in pointing out that Wei Wuxian's thoughtlessness, arrogance and Chronic Hero Syndrome would bring tragedy to her family and sect.
- Lady of War: A beautiful and elegant lady who is a recognised master and one of the toughest teachers in the Jiang sect.
- Mama Bear: Would do everything to protect Jiang Cheng and Yanli.
- Parents as People: She's as guilty as her husband is of this trope.
- While most of her quarrels with Jiang Fengmian are out of her love for her own son, she tends to drag the latter into the middle of said quarrels, which doesn't help Jiang Cheng's issues with his self-worth.
- Even if she raises a few valid points about the Parental Favoritism her husband is giving to Wei Wuxian, it doesn't mean that he deserves any abuse (verbal, emotional, or physical) that she would dish at him whenever she's feeling particularly acrimonious towards him, which was often.
- Shock and Awe: Zidian releases purple lighting which she uses to great effect.
- Stern Teacher: Has her disciples follow a strict regime and code.
- The Tell: When she's fidgeting with Zidian, you know she's really mad.
- Whip It Good: As stated before, she was the original owner of the ring Zidian, that can turn into a whip.
Lanling Jin Sect | 兰陵金氏The foremost clan of the four great sects. As the final winner of the hundred-year-long cultivational disruption leading up to the Sunshot Campaign, the Lanling Jin Sect became the head of all clans and sects its leader was even referred to as the commander of all cultivators, the Chief Cultivator.
Its motif is a specific type of peony, 'Sparks Amidst Snow' (金星雪浪). Direct disciples have a vermilion mark between their eyebrows, which means 'opening the doors toward wisdom and aspiration; illuminating the world with the vermilion light'.
Home base in Jinlin Tower (金鳞台, reads as 'Golden Scale Tower'), also translated as Koi Tower.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience： Gold, with a very specific species of peony 'Sparks Amidst Snow' as a motif.
- Fisher Kingdom: Cultivators tend to pick an area with good fengshui in order to acculumate good qi or spiritual energy. Jinlin Tower, on the other hand, is the very opposite, and screams 'I have money'，and feels more like the setting of a Deadly Decadent Court with a Big, Screwed-Up Family.
- Heir Club for Men: The Jin clan plays this with the Dishu system.
- This also forms a motive for Jin Guangyao to want Jin Zixuan out of the way to inherit the Jin clan's leadership, but also leaves him no way to interfere with Jin Ling's eventual inheritance. Luckily or unluckily for Jin Ling, his cousin Jin Rusong - Jin Guangyao's son with Qin Su - died early...
- Jinlin Tower. (金鳞台) reads as 'Golden Scale Tower', but the Exiled Rebels translation switched to Koi Tower halfway through the ongoing translation.
- To be fair, Jinlin (金鳞) and Jinlin (金麟) have appeared throughout the online edition, which makes it hard to pin down any specific translation since which is an honest transcription error versus which is the name that was meant, is unclear.
- Jinlin Tower. (金鳞台) reads as 'Golden Scale Tower', but the Exiled Rebels translation switched to Koi Tower halfway through the ongoing translation.
Voiced by: Yang Tianxiang (donghua), Jiang Kuangtao (audio drama)
Height: 170 cm
Weapon: Hensheng (sword, possibly an urumi since its blade is flexible enough to allow him to wear it around his waist), qin strings.
Current leader of the Lanling Jin Sect. Jin Ling's paternal uncle. Swore an oath of brotherhood with Nie Mingjue and Lan Xichen; he is the third and youngest brother. Together, they are called the Three ''Zun''/Respected Ones.
Illegitimate son of the late clan leader Jin Guangshan, Jin Guangyao's meteoric rise to the position of Chief Cultivator was not without its difficulties. On the surface everything is smooth-sailing for him, but if you look deeper, he was involved in Wei Wuxian's death thirteen years ago... and if you investigate some more, the trail of violence and tragedy doesn't stop there.
- Affably Evil
- Ambition Is Evil: To be fair, it's not hard to see why Jin Guangyao wanted to rise above his origins. The means by which he goes about it is reprehensible, but it's hard to root for anyone else in the Jin clan.
- Batman Gambit: He's very good at predicting how his opponents would act, and is also a decent judge of character. When he knew that someone was looking into the severed head in his vault, he sticks around to catch the possessed paper doll that was doing the sneaking around, and then quickly invents a plausible excuse and reveals Wei Wuxian's continued existence in the meantime.
- Big Bad
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing
- Eidetic Memory:
- He is explicitly stated to have never forgotten a face, along with the preferences, social circumstances and other information of the person behind the face. Naturally, this proves to be extremely useful in building relations in his quest of power ascension.
- He's also stated to have never forgotten the contents of anything he might have read. This enables him to copy techniques from other clans just by looking.
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: While being referred to as the son of a prostitute is his largest Berserk Button, he deeply loves his mother and had a shrine built in her honor.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He might have killed several people in his ambition to climb the social ladder of the cultivation world, significant ones being: father, his son, his sworn oldest brother Nie Mingjue, his teacher, and his friend, and was also involved in the deaths of Jin Zixuan, but the only person that he had never thought about harming was Lan Xichen, because Lan Xichen was the only one who didn't look down on his origins as a prostitute's son.
- Et Tu, Brute?
- Gone Horribly Right: In a way, entrapping Jin Zixuan to face Wei Wuxian and Wen Ning in Qiongqi Way advanced Jin Guangyao's ambitions, but also led him down the path of no return.
- Informed Attribute: He's described in the novel as having a "cheap" face; he's not unattractive but he's not particularly attractive either. But in every official art including him depicts him as looking just as good-looking as the rest of the Cast Full of Pretty Boys.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: One can't blame him for killing Jin Guangshan.
- Meaningful Rename: Meng Yao to Jin Guangyao, to symbolise the recognition of him as part of the Jin Sect.
- Morton's Fork: In his words, in the Xue Yang case he was faced between his father (who doesn't care about his feelings, and in fact threw him down the stairs of Jinlin Tower when Jin Guangyao first arrived at Jinlin Tower to ask for aid) and his sworn brother (who'd already insulted him to his face and kicked him down the stairs of Jinlin Tower). Jin Guangyao kills Nie Mingjue first, and kills Jin Guangshan later.
- Murder Is the Best Solution: by default, he resorts to this if forced into circumstances beyond his control, and then running away once things get too hot.
- Pet the Dog
- Everything regarding Jin Guangyao's treatment of Lan Xichen is this, as he helped the latter in his time of need purely out of altruism and without any ulterior motive.
- Even he can't help but sympathize with Lan Wangji's pining for Wei Wuxian, although that may just be because Everyone Can See It that badly.
- Slave to PR: This is both a strength and a weakness for Jin Guangyao. On one hand, Jin Guangyao's need for recognition drives him to outperform his half-siblings and seize control of the Jin clan, rising to get the highest position of Chief Cultivator amongst the cultivator families. On the other hand, his need to maintain his power, if not his good reputation in the cultivation world, drives him to several unscrupulous acts which eventually come back to bite him in the ass.
- Son of a Whore: His mother was a prostitute whom Jin Guangshan favored for a while, but promptly got bored of. His origins have caused Jin Guangyao a lot of undeserved belittlement and ridicule from others.
- Surprise Incest: Thanks to Jin Guangshan's womanizing ways, resulting in a very Big, Screwed-Up Family and Jin Guangyao's wife also being his half-sister.
- Taking You with Me
- The Usurper: Technically, Jin Ling has more priority in inheritance than Jin Guangyao, and would have automatically inherited the clan leadership after Jin Guangshan died. However, no one in their right mind would let a baby be clan leader. It was always understood though that Jin Ling was the clan heir and Jin Guangyao was a stand-in for Jin Zixuan...
- Values Dissonance: Jin Guangyao is a Foil to Wei Wuxian due to their low origins.
- Understanding how hard both of them had in life requires some idea of ancient Chinese social status and how that social status was often hereditary with very little room for change (except in troubled times). His mother's expectations for him to succeed drove him to the Lanling Jin clan to be recognised by his estranged father, never mind his ability to establish his own clan or continue serving under the Nie clan.
- Villain Has a Point: The current >1,200 lookout tower network he proposed, scattered around remote places of the land, has had notable results to deal with supernatural threats in remote places, as well as provide clean-up after handling those threats. Even if the cultivators who came wanted something in return while the locals were too poor to give them any, the money that the Jin Sect gathered throughout each year would be enough to support them. This policy however invited suspicion that the Jin Sect used it to gain personal benefits and stuff its own pockets.
- The Yi City case proved that the lookout tower policy required expansion, if criminals like Xue Yang managed to evade detection for so long (though it can be argued that Jin Guangyao helped to hide Xue Yang if they were friends like an extra revealed).
- At the climax, Jin Guangyao reveals that he merely took advantage of circumstances to send Wei Wuxian to his death. Wei Wuxian, he argues, was already on a path to self-destruction; Jin Guangyao just pushed a few buttons to make Jin Zixuan go confront him and maybe suffer a bit. Jin Guangyao was equally shocked that Jin Zixuan actually died in the sneak attack at Qiongqi Way, but didn't play a part in Jiang Yanli's death.
- Villainous Incest: Played with. Jin Guangyao had genuine feelings for Qin Su so one can imagine the horror when he finds out just days before the wedding that she's his half-sister. He proceeded to marry her anyway because he needed the connections and power the marriage brings. He never touched her after finding out but she was already a couple month pregnant by then. Hence the Offing the Offspring.
- Villain with Good Publicity
- Xanatos Gambit: Is the victim of one at the end done by Nie Huaisang.
- 0% Approval Rating:
Voiced by: Sun Shangqing (donghua), Li Lanling (audio drama)
Weapon: Suihua (sword, Jin Zixuan's relic), Fairy (dog, against a certain someone)
Son of Jiang Yanli and Jin Zixuan, which makes him the only living legitimate grandson of the direct Jin line. Thus, he has the iconic Jin family vermilion mark on his forehead. He is handsome in a sharp way.
Because of his personality, he's often called da xiao jie or "Little Mistress", but is otherwise good-natured. Doesn't have many friends of his age. Because of his parents' death at the hands of the Ghost General, Jin Ling hates Wei Wuxian and anyone who practices The Dark Arts.
Has a dog named Fairy, given to him by Jin Guangyao.
- Break the Haughty: Goes through multiple rounds of this which finally starts to beat some humility and sense into the boy.
- Deceased Parents Are the Best: Both parents died when he was still very young.
- Establishing Character Moment: Is introduced bullying and chasing other cultivators off a night hunt by setting up 400 nets around a mountain, nicely displaying his pride, wealth and power. Subverted when the real moment is in his second scene when despite provoking an evil goddess, he faces it head on. Showing that underneath the arrogant brat is a brave, strong person with the potential to be a great cultivator
- Friendless Background: Even though he's the heir to the Jin sect, he has no positive relationships with the rest of his generation in the clan, being bullied and ostracised by them. This is why he tends to act alone or go with his uncle Jiang Cheng.
- Heir Club for Men: The Jin clan plays this with the Dishu system. By ancient Chinese standards, Jin Ling has more priority than Jin Guangyao in inheriting the Jin clan leadership, and this clear line of succession was what made him the Unexpected Successor after Jin Guangyao died. Luckily or unluckily for Jin Ling, his cousin Jin Rusong - Jin Guangyao's son with Qin Su - died early, leaving Jin Ling's inheritance uncontested...
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: Acts arrogant because he's the heir to the Lanling Sect and thus holds himself to impossibly high standards.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even at his brattiest, Jin Ling is no doubt brave with a strong sense of responsibility.
- Nephewism: Because his parents died early and his grandmother shut herself off - and then died somewhere, probably - he was mainly raised by his uncles from both sides of the family.
- Someone to Remember Him By: For Jiang Cheng. Jin Lin was for 13 years the only other surviving member of his family.
- Took a Level in Kindness
- Tragic Keepsake: Suihua is the only thing he has left of his parents. One of the few times he breaks down is when someone is trying to take it away.
- Tsundere: Defining characteristic amongst the younger generation. He gets it from his uncle and his father.
- Unexpected Successor: Because of his uncle's awkward status and the death of Jin Rusong, plus his status as Jin Guangshan's only legitimate grandson, Jin Ling was fully expected to inherit from the day he was born.
- Weirdness Magnet: All villanous encounters involve him in some capacity, the only case where he's not involved being the Mo Village case at the book's opening, and the post-canon case details in Extra 4.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Named his dog Fairy.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Neither would admit it, but this is his relationship with Lan Jingyi.
- Abusive Parent: With his abuse basically causing much of the novel's plot.
- Ambition Is Evil: Plotted to make his sect the most powerful and replace the Wen at the top of the cultivator schools.
- The Casanova: Jin Guangshan is known as this but given how despicable he is i.e. raping the wife of one of his subordinate, it's a toss between this and Handsome Lech. Either way, this trait of his leads to a lot of illegitimate children and some horrifying results.
- Greater-Scope Villain: Jin Guangyao served as The Dragon to Jin Guangshan, forced to do his dirty work to advance Guangshan's ambitions. Most of Jin Guangyao's more despicable acts are either following his orders or cleaning up after him
- Karmic Death: Invoked. The real karmic death is being killed by one of his bastards when he spent decades neglecting and abusing his family.
- Out with a Bang: To the entire Jin clan's shame.
Voiced by: Gu Jiangshan (donghua), Liu Mingyue (audio drama)
- Famous Last Words: In a tragic example, his last words were reminding Wei Wuxian of Jiang Yanli who's waiting for him at Koi Tower.
- Happily Married: With Jiang Yanli.
- Hidden Depths: While he may act arrogant and can be a bit of a jerk, he was also willing to stand up to Wen Chao when the latter ordered them to seize Mianmian to be sacrificed in order to lure a monster, protecting her alongside Wangji even though he knew his actions would have consequences.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He may not be the nicest or friendliest, but he truly loves his family and will do what's right.
- While he might not like Wei Wuxian, he understands and accepts how important he is to Jiang Yanli
- Perfectly Arranged Marriage: Played With. Had been betrothed to Yanli since childhood. The arrangement broke briefly but later on they would end up married out of their own free will.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: With Wei Wuxian. They respected each other's abilities but their personalities clashed.
Voiced by: Zhang Jie
Another illegitimate son of Jin Guangshan, Mo Xuanyu was taken in by Jin Guangshan after the death of Wei Wuxian, specifically to counter Jin Guangyao. A homosexual ('cut-sleeve' in Chinese parlance), Mo Xuanyu's choice of paramour was Jin Guangyao - which did not bode well for his reputation in Jinlin Tower. Jin Guangyao was however one step ahead of him, and chased Mo Xuanyu out of Jinlin Tower at the first chance, on top of driving Mo Xuanyu insane. However, Mo Xuanyu had read the theory of the sacrificial rite, and used it to summon a villainous ghoul to possess his body, trading in his own soul to kill the Mo family.
For the current person inhabiting his body, see Wei Wuxian under the Main Characters file above.
- Depraved Homosexual: How he came to be known by just about everyone.
- Plot-Triggering Death: The events of the book really centred around the sacrifice that brought Wei Wuxian back into the world.
- Uncanny Valley Makeup
- Unwitting Pawn: It can't actually be proven, but Wei Wuxian's hypothesis was that Nie Huaisang used Mo Xuanyu to deliberately summon Wei Wuxian back into the world, kicking off the long Xanatos Gambit that Nie Huaisang had prepared for the downfall of Jin Guangyao as revenge for Nie Mingjue's death.
Qinghe Nie Sect | 清河聂氏The fourth of the four great clans, the Nie clan of Qinghe had seen better days since its founding by a butcher (as in the literal guy who sells meat) who slaughtered his way into the cultivation world. Defined by their practice of the dao (Chinese sabre), the Nie clan's overwhelming focus on power and bloodlust also awakened their sabres, and successive generations of clan leaders were driven to death when the spirits of their own sabres drove them to death via cultivation backlash.
Under the leadership of the Chi Feng-Zun Nie Mingjue, the Nie clan reached the height of its power and influence. Following the conclusion of this war, the Nie clan became one of the chief obstacles to the Jin clan's aims of taking the cultivation world under its hegemony. After Nie Mingjue's death due to a cultivation backlash, the Nie clan has since fallen behind in influence. Only the support of Lan Xichen and Jin Guangyao behind the current head Nie Huaisang has kept it afloat thus far.
Located at Bijingshi (不净世) in Qinghe. Motif is a animal-head pattern.
Voiced by: Liu Sanmu
Current head of Qinghe Nie sect. Took over as head after the death of Nie Mingjue, but maintains an attitude of ineptitude in presiding over the household.
As the younger brother of the late clan leader Nie Mingjue, he is cowardly, rather useless, and doesn't strive towards anything. Likes painted fans and raising birds. Often ask Lan Xichen and Jin Guangyao for help.
- Best Served Cold: He can persevere for ten years under the radar to locate his brother's scattered body parts, and subsequently take down Jin Guangyao.
- Beware the Silly Ones: He may seem like he's completely useless, to the point of receiving the moniker "Good-for-nothing", but he is frighteningly calculating and manipulative.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Possibly. After Wei Wuxian pegs him as The Chessmaster behind the novel's plot (in the present time), he speculates that Nie Huaisang sees other people as no more than tools in his plans. It's ambiguous whether this is actually the case, or if Nie Huaisang is genuinely nice and kind but is utterly ruthless when it comes to avenging his brother that he's willing to use his friends in his long Xanatos Gambit.
- Brains and Brawn: He's the Brains to Nie Mingjue's Brawn.
- The Chessmaster: It's implied that he was the one who kickstarted Wei Wuxian's return to life, which sets the rest of the plot in motion.
- Cowardly Lion
- Foreshadowing: There's a lot of hints that Nie Huaisang is smarter than he acts.
- He's fairly calm when explaining the Nie family situation, panicking only when pressed.
- Not only can he muster his disciples on short notice, they also obey him without question even when Lan Wangji is trashing their ancestral burial hall.
- At the second siege of the Burial Mounds, despite acting like a coward, he manipulates the entire mob into calming down and listening to Wei Wuxian.
- His cunning nature was apparent even as a kid. He not only bribes Wei Wuxian into helping him cheat on tests, he also gets away with it with all of the blame falling on Wei Wuxian.
- Mr. Exposition: Explains the rules and family history of the Lans to the Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian
- Non-Action Guy: Deliberately invoked. The Nie family sabers eventually overpower and kill their wielders so Nie Huasiang can't fight if he wants to live past middle age.
- Not So Different: From his brother. Both Huaisang and Mingjue care for family about all else and are willing to dedicate their lives to vengeance.
- Puppet King: Because Nie Huaisang is so weak and vacillating, it's generally accepted that Jin Guangyao and Lan Xichen are the ones running the Nie sect. Or not.
- Unexpected Successor: By the Chinese rules of succession, the clan leadership would never had fallen to him if Nie Mingjue had had a child. Nie Mingjue however saw this coming, and tried to prepare his little brother for the eventual takeover, with... varying results.
- Xanatos Gambit: Plays one against Jin Guangyao. Nie Huaisang arranged not only for Wei Wuxian's return via sacrifice, but also directed Wei Wuxian using Nie Mingjue's severed arm to direct the main couple through half of fictional Imperial China and locate the rest of Nie Mingjue's severed body parts that Jin Guangyao had scattered. The psychological pressure of Nie Mingjue's body being located led to the next step: by threatening to release Jin Guangyao's secrets to the cultivation world, Jin Guangyao was forced to either: run away, or act first and cripple all other sects so that they could not compete against the Jin clan of Lanling. This led to the arrangement of the second siege of Luanzang Hill where Jin Guangyao intended for Wei Wuxian to take the blame (again) and possibly die in the set-up ambush planned on Luanzang Hill. Subsequent events thus attacked Jin Guangyao's power, reputation and name to the point where Jin Guangyao had to cut and run with his mother's grave, at which point Nie Huaisang waited, tricking Lan Xichen at the last pressure-filled moment to stab Jin Guangyao.
Voiced by: Yin Xia Lao Gui
Height: 191 cm
Weapon: Baxia (sabre).
The late Nie Mingjue was the previous head of the Qinghe Nie clan. Taking over the leadership at a young age after his father died from the Wen clan's overbearing tactics, Nie Mingjue made his name at the frontlines of the Sunshot Campaign, and his reputation gave the Nie clan influence to rival the Jin clan.
- Back from the Dead: Zombie-style.
- The Berserker: A Nie family trait.
- Black and White Insanity: Tends to see the world in black and white and can't understand the Realpolitik that Jin Guangyao lives in. He's not wrong but his uncompromising personality and No Social Skills means that he can't reign in Jin Guangyao.
- Blood Knight: Basically only cares for fighting and killing Wen-dogs.
- Brains and Brawn: Nie Mingjue is the Brawn to Huaisang's Brains.
- Dead All Along
- Hair-Trigger Temper: So much that his friends have to regularly magically soothe him.
- Hidden Depths: There are a few scenes where some Nie disciples would warn Nie Huaisang that his brother would break his legs if he quit studying cultivation, which makes it easy for the reader to see Nie Mingjue as a Big Brother Bully. Although by the end of the story, it's hinted that he wants Nie Huaisang to become a cultivator so that he could defend himself. And it's likely that they had a close and good relationship, otherwise Nie Huaisang wouldn't go through the trouble of pulling one hell of a Xanatos Gambit on Jin Guangyao, who would murder Nie Mingjue. Additionally, even when he became a wild and vicious corpse devoid of all reason, he momentarily calmed down at the sight of his younger brother.
- Keeping the Enemy Close: Only became sworn brothers with Jin Guangyao to keep an eye on him.
- Knight Templar: He is firmly on the side of the righteous, and unable to accept Jin Guangyao's less-than-noble tactics.
- His first reaction at Xue Yang's massacre of the Chang clan was not the political fallout, but the immediate death penalty.
- His tactics of pressuring Jin Guangyao, however, had the opposite effect than intended - when faced between his father and his sworn brother, Jin Guangyao killed his sworn brother.
- The Leader: He led the clans during the Sunshot Campaign.
- MacGuffin: His body was scattered across half of modern China to prevent him from coming after his killer.
- Warrior Poet: One of the few cultivators to avert this, being uninterested in art or anything besides training and fighting. Exploited by Jin Guangyao who used his ignorance of music to hide a curse and slowly kill him.
Qishan Wen Sect | 岐山温氏Formerly the top cultivator family in the world, the Qishan Wen sect took things too far and was met with a backlash when the other cultivator families banded together to war against them in the Sunshot Campaign. Many cultivators of Wei Wuxian's generation would distinguish themselves in battle here, and the power vacuum left in the wake of the Wen sect's downfall would set the tone for the troubles which led to Wei Wuxian's death.
Voiced by: Shao Tong (donghua), Teng Xin (audio drama)
Formerly another insignificant if-rather-sheltered disciple of the Wen sect, Wen Ning's fame came after his death when he died and came back as Wei Wuxian's first corpse with his own intelligence. Unfortunately, he proved unable to control the instincts of fierce corpses and accidentally killed Jin Zixuan. The Jin clan responded by announcing to reduce him and his sister to ashes, but secretly they kept him in chains to see if they could control him, which fortunately let him exist another thirteen years to reunite with Wen Yuan AKA Lan Sizhui in the end.
Now spends his days secretly babysitting the juniors on their night-hunts most of the time.
Height: 183 cm.
- Because You Were Nice to Me
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's still genuinely nice and kind even as a zombie. It doesn't mean he can't kill you if he has to.
- Cowardly Lion: He's understandably afraid of Jiang Cheng given that he's responsible for Jin Zixuan and Jiang Yanli's deaths, but when he sees Jiang Cheng antagonize Wei Wuxian to the point that the latter suffers a Heroic RRoD in a futile attempt to defuse the situation, Wen Ning doesn't hesitate to stand up to him and reveal that Wei Wuxian sacrificed his Golden Core so that Jiang Cheng would regain his cultivation abilities.
- The Dreaded: As the Ghost General, Wen Ning is almost as feared as the Yiling Patriarch.
- Dull Surprise: It's given since he's a reanimated zombie.
- Face of a Thug: Being a fierce corpse does not bode well for anyone's first impression of him.
- Friend to All Children: He's highly protective of children and the younger generation.
- From Nobody to Nightmare: When he and Wei Wuxian first met, he was a timid young boy who was looked down on by his clan for being kind and physically frail. Nowadays, he's The Dreaded amongst people as the Ghost General.
- Mundane Utility: Wei Wuxian raises the world's first sentient zombie...and bullies him into watching over children and carting groceries.
- Nice Guy
- Power Incontinence: Occasionally can slip into an unthinking berserk rage with tragic consequences.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: He gives Jiang Cheng a short one after revealing the truth about how he "regained" his Golden Core.Wen Ning: Sect Leader Jiang — you, so driven of a person, have been comparing yourself to others your whole life, but you have to know that you never should've been able to equal him [Wei Wuxian]!
- Secret Keeper: He knew that Wei Wuxian sacrificed his Golden Core to Jiang Cheng the entire time.
- Short-Lived Big Impact: Possibly the cultivation equivalent of this - the first sentient fierce corpse, and possibly the most successful attempt before Song Lan.
- Shrinking Violet: As a teen, he was shy and suffered from nerves.
- Undying Loyalty: A literal example; even as a sentient corpse, his loyalty to Wei Wuxian knows no end. Unfortunately, this earns him the ire of Lan Wangji whenever the latter gets drunk. At the very least, his devotion is purely platonic.
- Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Was a shy and earnest teen, who greatly admired and respected Wei Wuxian but, because of circumstances out of his control and in his attempt to right the wrongs his clan committed, was killed and then reanimated as a zombie. Mind you, he's the one zombie that retains his consciousness, gladly fighting by Wei Wuxian's side, but it took time and during the moments he loses his senses, he becomes violent and extremely dangerous.
- Walking Spoiler: How he ended up as a zombie is interlaced with the Sunshot Campaign and its aftermath.
Voiced by: Qiao Shiyu
Wen Ning's sister and, eventually, a close ally of Wei Wuxian
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: She was willing to beg for help from Wei Wuxian to save her brother.
- Big Sister Instinct: While her strict and direct personality intimidates Wen Ning, when it comes down to it there is nothing Wen Qing wouldn't do or give for her little brother's life.
- Brainy Brunette: She theorized and invented a technique for transferring Golden Cores.
- Combat Medic: Heads a medic branch of the Wen family.
- Cool Big Sis: A stern yet caring sister to Wen Ning. She also eventually became this to Wei Wuxian, dragging him to take care of himself and discipling him when he goofs off too much. This is likely why she gives herself up to protect him
- Famous Last Words: "Thank you... and I'm sorry."
- Fire-Forged Friends: She went from being an aloof outsider who only helped Wei Wuxian as per her brother's request to one of his most loyal allies.
- The Medic: The branch she belongs to, specializes more in healing and she's amongst the best.
- Take Me Instead: She handed herself over to atone for the death of Jin Zixuan, hoping the clans would be pacified into not attacking Wei Wuxian. It was sadly futile.
The leader of the Wen clan.
- Ambition Is Evil: Wanted to rule all of the other cultivator clans (and likely all China) and started a war to do so.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Dies near the end of the Sunshot Campaign but his death leaves an Evil Power Vacuum that causes more strife.
- Jerkass: Not as Stupid Evil as his son, but he does treat anyone that does not belong to his clan as dirt.
- Might Makes Right: Because he and his clan are amongst the most powerful, he sees himself as having the authority over the rest of the clans and imposes his will over them.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning
- Screw the Rules, I Make Them!: Seeing as he's the head of the leading sect that in recent years has accumulated power over the rest, he feels more than comfortable in imposing his will over the others using decrees and laws to restrain the movements of the opposing clans.
Voiced by: Liang Xiaoqiang
The son of Wen Ruohan.
- Bullying a Dragon: He humiliated and attacked the strongest disciples from every prominent clan that were all far more accomplished than him, only getting away with it because of his family name.
- Dirty Coward: Whenever there's danger, you can be sure he will not risk his own neck.
- Flaying Alive:
- Foil: To Jin Ling, being the heirs to the most powerful cultivation clans and are arrogant and prideful as a result. They even have similar scenes where each one provokes a powerful spirit only to get in over their head. The difference is that Jin Ling has the power to back up his boasts and is willing to accept responsibility for his mistakes. Nevertheless, Wen Chao is a warning to Jin Ling and who he can be if he doesn't change.
- Hate Sink
- Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In the donghua.
- Jerkass: One of the biggest in the story.
- Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Throwing Wei Wuxian into Luanzang Hill is what forces Wei Wuxian to harness and control resentful energy. He basically created the Yiling Patriarch.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Only reason he gets away with what he does, is because daddy dearest wields all the power and let's his son use that as a way to humiliate the rest of the clans.
- Smug Snake
- Too Dumb to Live: Bullied the best and brightest cultivators of his generation to the point where he left them to die from powerful spirit he provoked. That in no way will backfire on him.
- Your Cheating Heart: He had a wife but cheated on her with every girl he deemed pretty which were... a lot.
- And Then John Was a Zombie: After being attacked and killed by the zombies of the Wen guards, she became one following Wei Wuxian's orders.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Not that she didn't deserve it, but she's not granted a quick and painless death in any adaptation.
- In the novel, Wei Wuxian fueled her paranoia and drove her insane to the point that she willingly ate a whole table leg... and died from choking on it.
- In the donghua, she's spooked and then devoured to death by some corpses that Wei Wuxian summoned. Then after using her to attack Wen Chao, he tears her apart with materialized resentful energy.
- Gold Digger: She's actually a servant; her status is entirely due to her sleeping with Wen Chao.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Attacked Mianmian because Wen Chao was making (unwanted) advances on her.
- Jerkass: One of the reasons she got along with Wen Chao is because of her taking pleasure of humiliating others.
- Smug Snake
Leling Qin Sect
Jin Guangyao's wife.
- Driven to Suicide: After finding out that she's Jin Guangyao's half-sister and that Jin Guangyao had killed their son once he found out.
- Surprise Incest: Jin Guangshan had raped her mother, the wife of his subordinate. She was the result. No one but her mother knew. Qin Su then went on to fall in love with and marry Jin Guangyao.
Moling Su Sect | 秣陵苏氏
Weapon: Nanping (sword)
- Driven by Envy: He always compared himself to Lan Wangji but was never able to match up to him; he's pretty preoccupied with besting Lan Wangji and gloating about his accomplishments, but he's barely a blip on the protagonists' radars.
- The Generic Guy:
- He was this as a outside disciple of the Gusu Lan sect in his youth, which is hard if your measure of success is compared to the second of all of China's cultivator gentlemen.
- Even after leaving the Lan sect to set up his own, his sect would not have survived without the support of Jin Guangyao, and even the Lan sect junior disciples (secretly, because it's against their rules to tattle) look down on his Su sect's (admittedly copied) arts and techniques.
- Mook Lieutenant: To Jin Guangyao. Possibly The Dragon if we're being charitable, but he's mentioned so few times that it's hard to remember him.
Baling Ouyang Sect | 巴陵欧阳氏
Mentioned in the text during the Yi city arc. Wei Wuxian pegs him as a romantic. Due to the experiences of Yi City, as of the second siege of Burial Mounds he's one of the juniors that have a hard time following their parents' hatred of Wei Wuxian.
Yi City Group (Warning: Walking Spoiler)
Height: 180 cm
Weapon: Jiangzai (sword).
A guest disciple of the Jin clan, Xue Yang was a practitioner of the demonic way. His talent in this obscure new path which had proven its dangers led him to be able to recreate the other lost half of the Stygian Tiger Amulet, which could put all corpses and ghosts under the holder's command.
Having made his name as a hooligan in Kuizhou, Xue Yang's massacre of the Chang clan of Leyang and his eventual arrest by Xiao Xingchen was the point where the Nie and Jin clan began to fall out. Xue Yang was imprisoned in Jinlin Tower until the death of Nie Mingjue, after which Jin Guangshan began to pressure the remnants of the Chang clan to change their statements. After the Chang clan gave in, Xue Yang was then released back into the world, where he took his revenge on Xiao Xingchen's friend Song Lan by massacring all of Song Lan's students in the White Snow Temple and blinding Song Lan, forcing Xiao Xingchen to give his own eyes to Song Lan and thus setting up the later tragedy.
When Jin Guangshan died and Jin Guangyao took over, one of Jin Guangyao's first moves was to remove this stain on the Jin clan's reputation - Xue Yang fled for his life, and was then saved by the already-blind Xiao Xingchen.
- Attack the Mouth: One of his favorite techniques is to slice off his victim's tongues, rendering them mute.
- Chaotic Evil
- Dead Person Impersonation: As Xiao Xingchen.
- Evil Genius: In the three-person band led by Jin Guangyao, Xue Yang arguably fills his role, being the one with the genius to restore the lost half of the Stygian Tiger Amulet.
- Evil Is Petty: Oh yeah. See below.
- The Load: Despite his genius, he becomes this to the Jin family as his unrestrained sociopathy tarnishes their reputation by association. Once the public opinion became too hard to ignore, the family turns on him.
- Moral Event Horizon: Massacring the Chang clan in revenge for one lost pinkie crossed it once. Massacring the White Deer Temple and blinding Song Lan crossed it again. The third time was tricking Xiao Xingchen into killing innocent civilians and Song Lan.
- Even Wei Wuxian, who'd done some unsavoury things during the Sunshot Campaign, summarised it like this: Xue Yang must die.
- Never My Fault
- Revenge by Proxy: Murders the entire White Snow temple sect and blinds Song Lan just to get back at Xiao Xingchen.
- Sweet Tooth: A defining feature.
- The Unapologetic
- Villainous Friendship: With Jin Guangyao.
- Jin Guangyao was, however, pragmatic enough to recognise that a public association with a known hooligan did not bode well for his political aspirations.
Height: 185 cm
Weapon: Shuanghua (sword)
The third and latest disciple of the famed rogue cultivator Baoshan-SanRen, Xiao Xingchen is a well-meaning but rather trusting Taoist priest. Having made his name in one night, Xiao Xingchen's arrest of Xue Yang set the tone of their future interactions as the target of Xue Yang's tactics.
- All for Nothing: Leaves his isolated mountain to try to save the world only to end up broken and dead.
- Blind Weaponmaster
- Break the Cutie
- Cosmic Plaything: Wei Wuxian at one point lampshades his completely abysmal luck.
- Dead All Along
- Despair Event Horizon: After finding out the friend that's been living with him for years is his enemy and has been directing him to kill innocent villagers, as well as his old friend. The end result of all that is being Driven to Suicide.
- Driven to Suicide:
- Handicapped Badass: Even when blind, he still hunts spirits.
- Nice Guy
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The one person he saves turns out to be his evil arch-enemy.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: It's heavily implied that Xiao Xingchen's trusting and kind nature was too overly naive to ever survive. Break the Cutie was inevitable.
- Tragic Bromance: With Song Lan.
- Tragic Dream: His desire to found a cultivation clan based on merit and ideals.
- Trauma Conga Line: This man's life after he leaves his mountain is one tragedy after another leading to his Despair Event Horizon.
- Unwitting Pawn
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Saves his friend's life and eyes? Friend dies anyway a few years later. Adopts a child and rebuilds a second life with another friend? Is manipulated into killing the village by that same friend. Also, his child dies shortly after.
Height: 190 cm
Weapon: Fuxue (sword).
- Badass Normal: She's a normal young girl with no powers and has only her wits as her weapon. She still comes very close to foiling Xue Yang. She's a great example of Wei Wuxian's constant lessons of the cleverness of normal people.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Her ghost helps in the battle against Xue Yang who ends up scattering her soul.
- I Know You Know I Know: Xue Yang suspects that Ah-Qing isn't blind and she knows he knows and suspects he's untrustworthy. Much of their early interaction is them trying to expose the other without revealing their secrets.
- Not Now, Kiddo: Falls prey to this trope. It doesn't help that she can't reveal why she doesn't trust Xue Yang without giving away her lies.
- Plucky Girl: So much that her ghost is still fighting against Xue Yang.
- Street Urchin: Managed to shamelessly and successfully con people to survive.
- Tongue Trauma: Courtesy of Xue Yang.
- Happily Married: She eventually married a merchant who accompanies her on night hunts.
- Name's the Same: She also nicknamed her daughter Mianmian.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Played with. While her real name is revealed since her introduction, in the story she's only ever called Mianmian by the others.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: She leaves her sect when she defended Wei Wuxian during the Sunshot Campaign but was dismissed by everyone on the sexist pretext of her being a woman who Wei Wuxian saved once.
- Took a Level in Badass: An implicit example. Her main role in the story is being a Damsel in Distress whose presence is the (unintended) root cause of the events of the Xuanwu Cave arc. Then the epilogue reveals that since she left her sect, she's been going on night hunts solo.