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Wei Ying (魏婴) - Wuxian (无羡) - Yiling Laozu (夷陵老祖)

Voiced by (Mandarin): Zhang Jie note  (animation - adult), Zhao Shuang (animation - child), Lu Zhixing (audio drama - adult, live-action), Ye Zhiqiu (audio drama - child)
Voiced by (Japanese): Ryohei Kimura (animation, live-action), Tatsuhisa Suzuki (audio drama)
Voiced by (Korean): Shim Gyu-hyuk (animation)
Played by: Xiao Zhan (live-action - adult), Su Yaxin (live-action - child)

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Height: 186 cm (in original body); 180 cm (in Mo Xuanyu's body)
Weapons: Suibian | 随便 (jian), Chenqing | 陈情 (dizi)

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/mdzs_wwx_7.png
Click here  to see Wei Wuxian in his original body
Click here  to see Wei Wuxian as the Yiling Patriarch

"Nobody can give me a nice, broad road to walk on. A road where I could protect those I want to protect without having to cultivate the ghostly path."


The son of Wei Changze and the rogue cultivator Cangse Sanren, Wei Wuxian 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 until tragedy befell the Jiang Clan.

A series of events led him to be tossed into the Burial Mounds, a mass grave teeming with resentful energy, where he walked out after inventing the ability to control corpses and other arts 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 Clan, but the post-war political atmosphere did not exactly work in his favor.

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Subsequent events led to the plummeting of his reputation, the besieging of his lair, and he died without leaving a trace. Thirteen years later, the oppressed homosexual Mo Xuanyu sacrifices himself in a dark rite to summon Wei Wuxian to take revenge on the Mo family who abused him until he went insane. Stuck in a new mortal body, Wei Wuxian is then dragged into events not of his own choosing, and followed by an acquaintance of his past — Lan Wangji.


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    Tropes #-B 
  • 0% Approval Rating: A few months after the Sunshot Campaign ended, Wei Wuxian's reputation gradually plummeted for a multitude of reasons, and by the time of the Nightless City attack, it's easy to count the people who still have any good will towards him with one hand. While Wei Wuxian's standing still hasn't improved by the time he came back to life, for the most part he's an outlier that's left alone, especially since the cultivation world's second attempt to lead a siege on him failed and the clans have found someone else to mock and gossip about.
  • The Ace:
    • Wei Wuxian is all but stated to be the best archer of his generation. While he ranks fourth among the top five cultivators in terms of overall charm, archery is the one skill he's superior at, as he can hit his target even while blindfolded. In the donghua, he ranked first at the archery competition during the Discussion Conference at Qishan, surpassing even the likes of the Twin Jades of Lan (never mind the fact that Lan Wangji quit the competition halfway) and Jin Zixuan.
    • The jury is out on who is the most powerful cultivator among the cast, but Wei Wuxian is guaranteed to be among the top. Even before he founded demonic cultivation, he was known to be skilled with the sword and he had already formed a golden core at a young age despite starting his training a few years later than his peers. After the events of the Sunshot Campaign, no one could deny the magnitude of power he possessed from being able to control resentful energy, which is also why many resented him.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: In the donghua, Wei Wuxian still played a direct (albeit inadvertent role) in Jin Zixuan's death, there are heavy implications that his loss of control over the corpses in the Nightless City bloodbath was not a result of only Power Incontinence but also from a few of Jin Guangshan's cronies who could tamper with or exacerbate the negative effects of Wei Wuxian's demonic cultivation. However, the donghua's incarnation of Wei Wuxian still has more blood on his hands than his live-action counterpart, since he still killed countless cultivators with the Yin Tiger Seal.
  • Adaptational Badass: Wei Wuxian was already powerful in the novel as either a spiritual or demonic cultivator, but in the donghua he's able to make a hundred more uses of resentful energy and lives up and beyond to his title as the Yiling Patriarch. Besides inflicting Mind Rape and raising the dead; he can also levitate, manipulate the resentful energy in a manner similar to vectors, and extract golden cores — all of which are just the beginning entries of a long list of all the things he can do. Even being dead for thirteen years hasn't made him lose his touch in the slightest.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: In the donghua, he still disliked Jin Zixuan but he was a lot less violent in how he expressed it. When Jin Zixuan first insulted Jiang Yanli in the Cloud Recesses, Wei Wuxian initially approached him in a casual manner before responding with silent instead of explosive fury when Jin Zixuan continued to talk about both Jiang Yanli and Jiang Cheng with a dismissive tone. Then when Jin Zixuan humiliated Jiang Yanli in Langya, Wei Wuxian opted only to punch him once rather than beat him senseless like he did in the novel, and merely told Jin Zixuan to get out of his sight instead of screaming that he'll kill him one day.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: The donghua has Wei Wuxian possess more maturity in his choice to take up demonic cultivation and the way he reacts to others confronting him about it.
  • Adopted into Royalty:
    • Played with. The Four (then five) Great Clans are, simply put, the elite royal families of the cultivation world. While Wei Wuxian was taken in by the Jiang Clan, he was never formally adopted into the Jiang family even though he was very close with some of its members. Eventually, he ended up leaving, with the one surviving member of the Jiang family renouncing him in every way.
    • This happens to him again with the Lan Clan after he marries one of the two heirs of the Lan family.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Although Lan Wangji initially called him by his birth name to show how annoyed he was with him, over time he starts saying his name in a friendlier, and eventually, outright affectionate tone since he only refers to Wei Wuxian by his courtesy name under dire circumstances.
  • Afraid of Needles: While he doesn't have a phobia of needles like he does with dogs, Wen Qing would usually keep him in check by threatening to use her medicinal needles on him if he continued trolling around.
  • Aggressive Submissive: Wei Wuxian isn't exactly aggressive, but he's definitely more outspoken and candid than Lan Wangji. When it comes to their bedroom activities, however, Wei Wuxian is more than happy to let Lan Wangji take charge, and even enjoys the idea of being pinned down or tied up and left at his beloved's mercy.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Whenever he's confronted with a dog, he's not ashamed to scream, cry, call for help, or get clingy with the person nearest to him.
    • Although dogs aside, this trope is generally averted as one of Wei Wuxian's major flaws is that he doesn't ask others for help, prefers to take on his burdens alone and refuses to involve other people in his troubles, which usually ends with him struggling from carrying more than he can handle. This is why at present, Lan Wangji stays close and imposes his help without bothering to ask for permission first.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Despite everything he sacrificed to save Wen Ning and his relatives, all his efforts were turned against him through both horrible luck and tragic injustice, and it all ended in his death and the remaining Wens being brutally and remorselessly slaughtered. After the Time Skip, however, Wei Wuxian gets the reassurance that his efforts weren't in vain when he learns that Lan Sizhui and Wen Yuan are the same person.
    • The Wens aside, there was also another good deed he performed that proved to have its own rewards in the long term. Yu Ziyuan and Jiang Cheng blamed Wei Wuxian for defending Mianmian (and by extension, Lan Wangji and Jin Zixuan) from Wen Chao and Wang Lingjiao, since both mother and son believed that the act angered them enough into burning down Lotus Pier. Whether there was weight to their claims or not, Wei Wuxian's act of valiance allowed Mianmian to become more aware of the injustice that runs rampant in the cultivation world, which drove her to break free from it and choose her own path. From what the epilogue shows, she's happier as a rogue cultivator.
  • Alliterative Name: Wei Wuxian.
  • Almighty Janitor: Wei Wuxian is counted among one of the most powerful characters of his generation despite being known as the son of a servant. Then again, people tend to forget that his "servant" father was also a cultivator and that his mother was a disciple of the legendary Baoshan Sanren.
  • Aloof Big Brother: Played with. He and Jiang Cheng had a brotherly relationship once, but Wei Wuxian left the Jiang Clan a long time ago, and Jiang Cheng also announced to the entire cultivation world that he was essentially disowned after "turning traitor" to them. But after Wei Wuxian came back to the mortal world, any interaction he has with his former martial brother has him speak as little words to him as possible, and his mood around the man is mostly a resigned one. However, Wei Wuxian wasn't always impersonal towards Jiang Cheng in the past just as how Jiang Cheng wasn't always so hateful towards him back then. While Wei Wuxian holds no ill will towards his old friend, he doesn't make any effort to reach out to him because he knows that he may as well be talking to a giant impenetrable wall, and he feels that the past should stay in the past.
  • Always Someone Better: Wei Wuxian surpasses Jiang Cheng in several — if not, all — fields, and this was what caused tension in their relationship long before their friendship officially ended.
  • Ambiguous Disorder:
    • A lot of his character tics, thought processes, and actions - especially in the novel where the reader sees some parts of the story directly from his point of view - suggests he has ADHD. Aside from his notoriously bad memory, he is also prone to being easily distracted, can be impulsive, has trouble coping with stress, is excessively active, occasionally suffers frequent mood swings, is not the best with long-term planning, and can hyper-focus to an unhealthy degree. This trait becomes downplayed after he came back to life.
    • Given what he went through up until now, it wouldn't be baseless to assume that Wei Wuxian suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. In the last few months of his first life, his ordeals had actually broken both his spirit and mind for some time. While he's proven to have recovered after his resurrection, some adaptations hint that he still gets nightmares about the worst segments of his life, and at times he becomes melancholy whenever he reminisces or is confronted by anything or anyone connected to the bleaker parts of his past. After all, in spite of his maturity, his emotional strength, and his healthier coping mechanisms, Wei Wuxian is still only human and he has his limits.
  • Androcles' Lion:
    • In the past, Wei Wuxian faced endless and ruthless persecution up until his very last moments because of his decision to rescue the survivors of the Wen Clan, who the Jins were torturing. While all of Wei Wuxian's efforts only allowed the Wens to live free for a few more months, the Wens' gratitude towards him still runs so deep that they briefly come back as fierce corpses to protect him during the Second Siege.
    • When Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji, and a group of young cultivators are stuck in Yi City, Wei Wuxian helps shelter the juniors, even acting like a mentor to them. He, Lan Wangji, and Wen Ning would end up saving them once more when the children get captured and left in the Burial Mounds. In return, all the juniors stand against their elders and/or parents when the latter group attempts to unjustly persecute Wei Wuxian a second time, and are firm in showing both concern and support for him.
  • Animal Motifs:
    • Crows. Crows are believed to represent bad luck and are seen as a sign of bad omen, and Wei Wuxian is infamous as the cultivation bogeyman. Crows are associated with death, which alludes to Wei Wuxian's powers of necromancy. They also symbolize change, highlighting the significance in his transformation from a spiritual to a demonic cultivator. Lastly, crows are said to be often misunderstood, much like how Wei Wuxian himself is misunderstood and villainized by almost everyone.
    • In some ways, Little Apple (his pet donkey) shares some characteristics with Wei Wuxian's past self. Both are stubborn, free-spirited, and don't give much thought to what others think about them, though in Wei Wuxian's case, the circumstances are much more complicated. And like his beast of burden, Wei Wuxian would keep a lot of his troubles to himself as to not be a bother to the people around him.
    • Played for Laughs in the Banquet extra when he implicitly refers to himself as a pig by expressing his intentions to "nibble [his] cabbage". This is a reference to the Chinese saying of "the little white cabbage was dug up by a pig", which describes a parent's distress upon seeing their child marry someone the parent deems to be unworthy — a perfect analogy to what Lan Qiren thinks of his nephew's marriage to Wei Wuxian.
  • Animals Hate Him: He lampshades that he's not just unlucky with dogs, but with almost every other animal as well.
    Wei Wuxian: Those that fly, those that walk, those that swim — every single one of them turns around and flees as soon as it sees me.
  • Anti-Hero: After he became the Yiling Patriarch, Wei Wuxian was more ruthless in nature and even exhibited sadism towards some of his enemies. But he's firmly on the side of good, even stating that he took up demonic cultivation to protect his loved ones and so no one else would have to. He's notably the only character in the story who took morally dubious — but never evil — actions either for good reasons, or because he was repeatedly pushed into a corner and he could find no other way out.
  • Archer Archetype: Wei Wuxian is one of the best archers in the cultivation world, and he's the type of person who shoulders a lot of burdens on his own, follows the beat of his own drum and while not entirely arrogant, he does come off as such to the other cultivators. In his second life, he has outgrown some of these traits and learns that it's okay to ask others for help, although at times he still tends to insist on doing things on his own and would often downplay his injuries.
  • The Archmage: Combined with Black Mage, which is a given since he's the founder — and therefore the most proficient practitioner — of demonic cultivation. He may as well also be one of the most powerful characters in the story. Case in point, the Jin Clan saw him as an immediate political threat even though he himself wanted nothing to do with politics, and during the attack at the Nightless City, it was only him against an army of more than three-thousand cultivators.
  • Arrow Catch: The donghua shows him catching an arrow Wen Ning accidentally shoots at him with only mild surprise.
  • At Least I Admit It: He doesn't deny that he's committed a lot of wrongdoings in his past life and he states that he's not asking to be forgiven for anything, and it's why he holds no resentment over his death. However, he makes it clear to everyone that he won't take responsibility for the things he didn't do.
  • Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!: He can get easily distracted, and the donghua shows this best. It's lessened a bit after his resurrection, but there are still times when his attention can quickly shift from one topic to another.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Wei Wuxian can analyze a situation at a glance, coming to quick conclusions by noticing even the smallest of clues. It's a huge part of what made him so successful.
  • Awful Truth: Wei Wuxian feared that if Jiang Cheng knew even a hint about how he really regained his cultivation, Jiang Cheng would take it poorly and break down again. Fearing that outcome, Wei Wuxian never hints to anyone about what happened to him and why he switched to using only demonic cultivation, and tells Wen Ning to never tell Jiang Cheng about the transplant under any circumstances. Wen Ning only ended up breaking his word when Jiang Cheng antagonizes Wei Wuxian past his Rage Breaking Point that he ends up suffering a minor qi deviation.
  • Badass Boast: Wei Wuxian does this a few times, but he does it less to boost his ego and more to warn his enemies about what he's really capable of doing, either as an intimidation tactic or a mocking remark about how much they're underestimating him.
  • Badass in Distress: While he may be a powerful Black Mage, there are a few times Wei Wuxian gets put in a position where he needs saving, either due to bad luck or emotional stress.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": While he has certain tells that allowed a few people to recognize him, to everyone else he's able to pass off as Mo Xuanyu. However, the reader/audience can see that he doesn't really try to act differently from his usual personality, besides occasionally taking the opportunity to act in a dramatic manner without fear of losing face. Even then, the fact that most people can't recognize him is somewhat justified since aside from the people he's personally close to, no one else has a good idea of what kind of person he really is.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: His powers of necromancy made him feared among cultivators, but he's no doubt a hero with noble intentions.
  • Batman Gambit: Wei Wuxian doesn't do it as often as Jin Guangyao or Nie Huaisang does since he's more of a detective than a schemer, but he's capable of pulling one if he has to. One example is him effortlessly getting Su She to expose his true colors in front of hundreds of cultivators just by pressing on his buttons and bluffing him with some sheets of paper.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Zigzagged. His face never gets permanently mangled or wounded in any way, but the rest of his body is fair game when it comes to scars. In his past life, he got a brand mark on his chest then a scar across his stomach, and an extra briefly mentioned that he also had several scars on his back which were inflicted by Yu Ziyuan whenever she would punish him. In the present, excluding the ones he initially got from Mo Xuanyu (which eventually disappeared after Mo Xuanyu's revenge was fulfilled), the only scar that stays is the one he gets from Jin Ling.

  • Be Careful What You Wish For: When Wei Wuxian gave Jin Zixuan another beating for making Jiang Yanli cry, he vowed that one day he would kill Jin Zixuan with his own hands. Well...
  • Been There, Shaped History: Downplayed, since the novel's entire plot spans for about twenty years at best and Wei Wuxian is far from a century old. Still, Wei Wuxian made one unforgettable mark in history by creating demonic cultivation.
  • Beneath the Mask:
    • While he never once seemed upset or distressed over giving away his golden core nor does he regret it, he's actually more melancholy about it than he lets on and lamented deep down about how he would never be able to properly cultivate or use his sword again. The arrogance that others associated with him as the Yiling Patriarch? Part of it is a front he put up so that no one would be clued in to the fact that he no longer had his core.
    • While Wei Wuxian takes any insult aimed at him in stride, it doesn't mean that he's not hurt by a few of those insults to some degree. It didn't help that he never had any intention to trouble or terrorize anyone, yet everyone continues to spin all sorts of rumors and tales that paint him in the worst light possible, which gives the cultivation clans the "cause" they need to harass and persecute him even though he just wishes to be left alone.
  • Berserk Button:
    • In the past, being lectured about or warned against practicing The Dark Arts irritated Wei Wuxian and with only a bit more prodding, instantly enraged him. This is downplayed in the donghua; while he got absolutely livid the first time around, the next few times Lan Wangji brought up the topic, Wei Wuxian would respond in a calmer and more reasonable manner.
    • Jin Zixuan was a walking one for Wei Wuxian, even telling Lan Wangji that he wants to beat the guy up every time he sees him.
    • While more subtle than the other examples, Wei Wuxian doesn't like being called the son of a servant; not because his pride is hurt, but because he takes it as an insult to his parents' honor and memory. Though in contrast to Jin Guangyao, Wei Wuxian never responds to such insults with murder, only irritation.
    • He'll take on any physical or verbal abuse thrown at him by Jiang Cheng with quiet dignity. However, the moment Jiang Cheng directs his insults to Lan Wangji instead, Wei Wuxian immediately calls Jiang Cheng by his courtesy name, and warns him not to toe the line any further or he will not hold back. One insult later from Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian quickly proves that his threat wasn't an empty one.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Combined with Beware the Silly Ones; he's almost always in a cheerful mood and loves to tease others, but is nevertheless kind-hearted and ready to lend a hand. And so help him if he actually intends to haunt and kill you...
  • Big Bad: He has this reputation In-Universe, but the readers soon realize that not all is as it seems.
  • Big Brother Bully: The mild and affectionate version; while he adored Wen Yuan, he loved to tease the child a bit too much. He also seemed to enjoy teasing Jiang Cheng back when they still got along.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Played with, since the Jiangs never officially or unofficially adopted him. However, he's very close to both the Jiang children, and age-wise, he would be considered the middle child of the three. As to how close he is to them, talk badly of — or worse, try to harm — Jiang Cheng and Yanli at your own peril.
  • Big Little Brother: He's taller than Jiang Yanli despite being a few years younger than her. While Wei Wuxian and Jiang Yanli aren't related or officially recognized as adoptive siblings, it's obvious that Wei Wuxian thinks of Jiang Yanli as a sister, and Jiang Yanli makes it clear that she views him as a second younger brother.
  • Big Sister Worship: He adored Jiang Yanli, always looked up to her and felt that she deserved only the best, which was why he was so adamantly against her engagement with Jin Zixuan, who treated her poorly. At the Phoenix Mountain hunt when Wei Wuxian was losing his temper, Jiang Yanli was the only one who could get him to listen and calm down. It was also Jiang Yanli's death which was the final straw that finally broke Wei Wuxian's sanity.
  • Black Sheep: Downplayed. Prior to the Lotus Pier massacre, Wei Wuxian was popoular among the other Jiang disciples, who admire him and enjoy playing with him. However, there are hints that Wei Wuxian is not as close with the new disciples that joined the Jiang Clan during the Sunshot Campaign. Both the audio drama and Mo Dao Zu Shi Q hint that the new disciples actually dislike Wei Wuxian, or at the very least wary of him. And in the donghua, they are shown to be just as quick to attack Wei Wuxian alongside the other cultivators in the Nightless City bloodbath.
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Hailing from Yunmeng, where food leans towards the spicier 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 plays the dizi, which unlike the xiao and guqin, is a peasant's instrument. He also seems more at home in bars and inns, and is able to fit in with, understand, and connect to the common folk compared to Gusu or Yunmeng where he was always a bit out of place.
  • Break Them by Talking: As a people person, he knows what makes someone tick and can get someone to lose their composure by pointing out the flaws in their logic and arguments or poking at their Berserk Buttons. He effectively uses this against the villains a few times.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Played with, as he's less lazy and more unorthodox. As a kid, Wei Wuxian was the top disciple of the Jiang Clan despite his reputation as a slacker goofball. This is best shown during his stay at Gusu where he spent most of his time sneaking out and drinking but was still able to make cheat sheets for his friends.
  • Broken Ace: He may have become one of the most powerful and (in)famous warriors of his generation because he founded demonic cultivation, but all the political and personal trouble involved with it drove him to the corner over and over, and while he tried his best to pull through, there was only so much his mind and heart could take. He gets remarkably better after his revival, but the scars of his past will always remain, something he acknowledges.
  • Broken Tears: Twice. When he inadvertently gets Jin Zixuan killed and breaks down after waking up, and later when Jiang Yanli gets killed trying to protect him.
  • Brought Down to Badass: He gave his golden core to Jiang Cheng, losing all his abilities to cultivate. But then he learned how to raise and control the dead, as demonic cultivation doesn't require a golden core.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    • Nice he may be, Wei Wuxian is earnest and oftentimes doesn't mince his words, especially with the people he doesn't like. A good example is when he bluntly and accurately accuses Jin Guangshan of following in Wen Ruohan's footsteps.
    • His bluntness is not reserved for his enemies only. While it's rare, he can also be sharp-tongued with the people he's close with if provoked enough. For example, he tells Jiang Cheng to his face that he didn't change at all in the years that passed since he died, and his tone makes it obvious that it wasn't meant as a compliment.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In this case, Wei Wuxian is the dragon. People are well-aware that he earned his title as the Yiling Patriarch for a reason, but many cultivators feel that it's easy to take him on as long as they have numbers. It turns out to not be that simple, and the only reason they even had something close to an upper hand in the past was that Wei Wuxian was not in the best mental and emotional state, and other special outside factors had greatly tipped the scales against his favor. Take those out, however, and they would have already been corpse fodder in seconds had that been Wei Wuxian's intention. Lucky for them, Wei Wuxian is above that.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's one of the less kookier examples of the trope. No one can come to an agreement 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 a villain who invented a dark path of cultivation). Everyone can agree, however, 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.
  • But I Read a Book About It: When Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng first realized that Wei Wuxian learned demonic cultivation, the latter asked how he got his newfound abilities. Wei Wuxian claims that he saw an ancient book in an ancient cave somewhere — a statement which Jiang Cheng buys. Lan Wangji, however, knows better than to believe that.
    • This also serves as a Lampshade Hanging to how characters in most xianxia novels tend to learn a new power or spell.
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    Tropes C-E 
  • Cain and Abel: He's the Abel to Jiang Cheng's Cain, and they fit the trope to a tee. Jiang Cheng has long since been bitter about Wei Wuxian being better than him in everything, including (supposedly) winning Jiang Fengmian's affection and favor. Jiang Cheng also led the First Siege with the intent to kill Wei Wuxian, although Wei Wuxian clarifies that Jiang Cheng was not the reason he died. However, their relationship — while complicated — wasn't always so hostile.
  • Call a Human a "Meatbag": He's called a scoundrel or a dog more than a few times.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Downplayed and Played for Laughs. He's unable to understand that others can't stomach his cooking because he tends to make it way too spicy for anyone's palates to handle.
  • The Casanova: Subverted. Wei Wuxian had a reputation for wooing beautiful girls, although Wei Wuxian doesn't actively seek a romantic relationship. In reality, he never actually courts any women per se, his "flirting" amounts to him acting courteous and slightly playful towards them and giving them compliments or gifts as thanks. His First Love even ended up being a man.
  • Cassandra Truth: Wei Wuxian is the first to recognize that the Jin Clan is just repeating the Wen Clan's reign of oppression, even if they're more low-key about their approach. When he stated his thoughts out loud, his voice falls on deaf ears, because the other clans were either too blind to recognize the truth or voluntarily chose to stay blind. The only one who truly heeded his words was Lan Wangji.
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Especially in the second life, where he can often address his enemies in the middle of a fight as if nothing unusual is happening.
  • Casual Kink: When it comes to his "nightly activities" with Lan Wangji, Wei Wuxian is more than open to trying new things, from bondage and roleplay to doing it upside down and even doing it in front of illusions of their younger selves who are also getting intimate. However, there's one thing that Wei Wuxian doesn't allow, and it's being slapped.
  • Character Development:
    • Wei Wuxian's personality after his First Episode Resurrection shows his newfound maturity. He learns from his past experiences that while it's okay to be selfless and to help others, he should still ask help from others if he has to and accept the assistance they offer; and that even with all his smarts and skills, it doesn't mean that he's completely in control of the situations he puts himself into and the burdens he takes upon himself.
    • Wei Wuxian's kind and selfless nature is inborn, but his experiences with the Jiang family often causes him to take his selflessness to unhealthy levels because he believes that his life isn't worth much when compared to the lives of the people he cares for, and thus is rarely honest with others about his innermost thoughts and desires. Combined with society labeling him as nothing more than a servant's son no matter what he does, he has to always be careful about over or under-achieving. After his death, he slowly starts changing this outlook; while his compassion remains intact, he starts to learn to be more open about what he wants without any hesitance or guilt, and he also learns to make his choices and be completely himself without having to conform to society's expectations or to the obligations anyone would try to place on him.
  • Character Tics: In the donghua and the manhua, he holds his chin whenever he's deep in thought.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: While not to the same extent as Lan Wangji, in his past life Wei Wuxian proved to be capable of feats that require near-superhuman strength, such as when he broke the necks of two Wen cultivators in the donghua while trying to rescue Jiang Cheng, when he forcefully opened the jaws of a kaiju-sized tortoise monster with his bare hands, and when he killed the cultivator who murdered Jiang Yanli by snapping his neck in half. The very latter case is more notable since he no longer had his golden core at the time.
  • Cheerful Child: He was this to a tee in the past. He's still this after his resurrection, but he's a lot more grounded by his experiences.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: If someone's in danger or in need of more help than him, or if there's a terrible situation in need of fixing, 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. However, he eventually learns that while there's nothing wrong with acting for a good cause, he still has to be careful about when, where, and how to perform his heroics.
  • Cinderella Circumstances: It's not hard to draw a few parallels between Wei Wuxian and Cinderella, given their similar lives with their foster family. Cinderella lived a good life with her father, but after his death, she found herself under the mistreatment of her stepmother and two stepsisters because they resented and envied her. Wei Wuxian had a happy life with his parents, but he lost them to a night-hunt that went wrong. He was taken in by a friend of his parents, who took him in. Wei Wuxian got along with most of the family, but the mother despised him and abused him both physically and emotionally, and his relationship with the family's son was wrought with tensions since while they loved each other, they were always pitted against each other, and the son ended up despising him completely after one too many tragedies. Ultimately, Wei Wuxian leaves the family and marries someone he loves who sees his value in the form of Lan Wangji, who has the "prince" position with his status and wealth.
  • Class Clown: He didn't exactly perform skits or gigs during class, although his exchanges with both Lan Wangji and Lan Qiren served as a good source of comedy for his classmates.
  • The Cloudcuckoolander Was Right: He's considered a Cloudcuckoolander In-Universe, but not because he's flighty and exhibits alien behavior. He's sane and intelligent, but his progressive and innovative methods and his tendency to think outside the box is seen as unorthodox — and at times heretical — by a society that is all around narrow-minded and opposed to the idea of anything that isn't in line with their rules or methods. However, just because he's unconventional doesn't mean he's also wrong.
  • Color-Coded Eyes: His eye color has a mix of blue, gray, and purple hues. All three colors show how much of a multifaceted character Wei Wuxian is, since part of the story focuses on what everyone perceives him to be and what kind of person he really is.
  • Color Motif: Black and red.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • When he was still a member of the Jiang Clan, his character design for both the donghua and the manhua interestingly depicts him with black and red instead of purple robes, even though purple is the characteristic color of the Jiang Clan. The audio drama art even zigzags the trope, since Depending on the Artist, he's either drawn with purple or black robes in his pre-Yiling Patriarch days.
  • Combat Parkour: In the donghua, he is prone to doing flips in battle or when he gets in a persona scuffle with someone. When he's brought back to life, he understandably does this more as Mo Xuanyu's body isn't as strong as his original one, so he prefers outmaneuvering people to straight-up fighting.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • He's the first to suggest that resentful energy can be harnessed to aid in cultivation and battle, since in the end resentful energy is, by essence, still energy. He ended up being the first to practice this theory.
    • Demonic cultivation aside, he's not above the tactic of catching people by surprise or attacking them when they're at their most vulnerable.
  • Confusion Fu: Wei Wuxian attempts this on Lan Wangji by asking him several questions about the corpse-related case they're investigating before suddenly asking him about how he recognized him. Lan Wangji sees right through it and gives him a Non-Answer.
  • Cool Big Bro: The junior disciples see Wei Wuxian as one, both adoring and respecting him.
  • Cool Teacher: His eccentricities and cooking aside, all the junior disciples see him as this as they highly look up to him and readily listen to any advice he gives them. In the Iron Hook extra, the junior trio even make sure to write down his lectures, a testament to how informative Wei Wuxian is as a mentor.
  • Cool Uncle: Wei Wuxian acts as one to Jin Ling after realizing he's Jiang Yanli's son, even before Jin Ling finds out who he really is. Despite teasing him often, he treats Jin Ling with patience, understanding, and affection. While Jin Ling would never admit it, he grows to see Wei Wuxian as this trope, and soon he lets him call him A-Ling without any complaints.
  • Cosmic Plaything: Fate wasn't really kind to Wei Wuxian in his first life. Thankfully, it decided to give him a break the second time around.
  • Creepy Crows: The donghua takes full advantage of this trope during Wei Wuxian's days as the Yiling Patriarch. Wei Wuxian's Animal Motif is a crow, and in the dead serious scenes, there'd be murders of the feathered creatures flying above the sky to signal his arrival.
  • Crush Blush: In the manhua, Wei Wuxian's face turns pink out of affection plenty of times after he and Lan Wangji share a second drink and he sees just how Endearingly Dorky Lan Wangji gets when he's intoxicated.
  • Cry Laughing: Wei Wuxian does this at the Nightless City when he realizes that no matter what he does and says, everyone will always find a way to blame him and label him a monster.
  • Cuddle Bug: He enjoys casually draping his arm over his friend's shoulders and he and Jiang Cheng would affectionately nudge each other from time to time. He also becomes this around Jiang Yanli when he wants affection from her. In his second life, he slowly becomes this to Lan Wangji as well, especially after the Second Siege. After he marries Lan Wangji, he gets even stickier and loves cuddling with him every chance he gets.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Played with. He thinks that rabbits are cute and he can see why anyone would like them but he states that he prefers eating them, although he may have just been teasing Lan Wangji.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: He exposes himself when he reflexively draws Suibian after Jin Guangyao pulls a surprise attack on him, since Suibian sealed itself after Wei Wuxian's death and thus would respond only to its master.
  • Dark Is Not Evil: He wears black and red and is a necromancer; and Troll tendencies aside, is a kind and caring person.
  • Deadpan Snarker: After he was brought back to life, while he remains a Troll at heart, he's now more prone to dishing out sarcasm especially when he gets annoyed; whereas in the past he would have just sighed or laughed it off.
  • Death Glare: He doesn't do this as much as Lan Wangji or Jiang Cheng, but you will know when he's giving a murderous look.
  • Death Seeker: While he had put up a hell of a fight against the Four Great Clans during the Nightless City bloodbath and the First Siege, he had already crossed the Despair Event Horizon after Jiang Yanli's death, and there are hints that he intentionally triggered his backlash because he wanted to die. While he mainly wanted to destroy the Yin Tiger Seal to make sure it wouldn't fall into the wrong hands, there was the possibility that he also knew it would cost his life and thus decided to kill two birds with one stone. Additionally, he never turned into a vengeful ghost during the thirteen-year Time Skip, indicating that whether he deliberately killed himself or not, he fully accepted his death nevertheless.
  • Deceased Parents Are the Best: Wei Wuxian's parents died when he was very young and he doesn't have many memories of them. However, he does remember his mother telling him to "always remember people's kindness towards [him] and never [his] kindness towards others" which heavily influenced the way he lives his life and, according to him, is the reason for his terrible memory.
  • Defector from Decadence: Demonic cultivation aside, part of what differentiates Wei Wuxian from most other cultivators is that he follows his heart, and marches to the beat of his own drum and no one else's. He is respectful of the rules and traditions of the other clans, but he refuses to involve himself in their dirty politics, which puts him at odds with them then and now.
  • Defiant to the End: When Wen Chao and Wang Lingjiao discussed how they should torture Wei Wuxian to death, Wei Wuxian laughed and vows that whatever they do to him, he will come back as ferocious ghost and haunt and curse the Wen Clan until none of them are left. He kept his words, to an extent, after he came back from the Burial Mounds with the newfound ability to control resentful energy — which he uses to give Wen Chao and Wang Lingjiao Cruel and Unusual Deaths.
  • Dehumanization: After he started gaining controversy as the Yiling Patriarch, no matter what he does or says, more often than not he's treated as — if not a demon — then someone who doesn't deserve any rights to think, choose, or speak for himself. The moment he does, he's immediately branded as an evil rebel.
  • Demonization: On top of being the target of Malicious Slander and Dehumanization, over the years that passed, many people think of Wei Wuxian as less of a human and more of a monster in human skin, with the majority either trembling in fear at his name or itching to strike him down with an attitude of hunters being eager to capture and kill powerful and rare prey.
  • Desecrating the Dead: His powers of raising the dead can be seen as this by normal civilians and cultivators. This makes sense since in Chinese culture, doing anything to corpses that doesn't involve a burial is seen as the highest form of disrespect for the dead, since spirituality is highly valued in China.
  • Determinator:
    • Wei Wuxian is not the type of person who gives up so easily. It takes a lot of resilience and willpower to survive three months of starvation, solitude, and endless amounts of torture in a place that is the nearest equivalent to the cultivation world's Hell on Earth, and come out with newfound abilities.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Subverted. At first glance, it looks like he has a bad habit of doing things without properly considering the consequences and people often scold him for it. However, in spite of how he acts on the outside, upon a more careful reading, one would notice that Wei Wuxian always scans his surroundings and the behavior of the people around him. As he's only human, he can only have so much foresight in his actions and is not always able to prevent bad outcomes in spite of his caution.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: In the donghua, it's implied that he didn't die from cultivation backlash; however, Wei Wuxian doesn't clarify or deny anything, saying that how he died no longer matters.
  • Disappointed by the Motive: Played with in two instances.
    • Wei Wuxian reacts this way when he learns why Mo Xuanyu resurrected him. What dismays him is not Mo Xuanyu's motive. Rather, he's disappointed at Mo Xuanyu's assumption that he's a vengeful spirit, since even though he's been dead for thirteen years and died in completely harrowing circumstances, he never haunted the living world.
    • It's not really the motive that he's disappointed with; it's how the entire fiasco behind the Hundred Holes Curse — which led to all the deaths surrounding Wei Wuxian, including Wei Wuxian's own death — originated from an incident entirely unrelated to him.
  • Discard and Draw: He sacrificed his cultivation powers and discovers demonic cultivation shortly afterwards. In his second life, he uses much less demonic cultivation but compensates with lower-level cultivation and talismans.
  • Does Not Like Spam: He doesn't like radishes, which he says word-for-word while arguing with Wen Qing over whether to plant potatoes or radishes in the Burial Mounds.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": He gets uncomfortable whenever Wen Ning refers to him as "master" and has to constantly remind him to not call him that.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: His actions during the Nightless City bloodbath strongly imply this. He knew that after Jin Zixuan's death, it's only a matter of time until the cultivation clans conspire to kill him, even after both Wen Qing and Wen Ning sacrificed themselves in the (false) hope that the Jin Clan would be appeased. As such, he headed to the Nightless City to confront the other clans himself before they get the chance to ambush him, as he won't go down without a fight and he will always live by his principles to the bitter end.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: It's not really sympathy or pity he hates, but he despises receiving any sentiment that hides the underlying worry that he won't be able to handle something on his own or that he may be tinkering with something that can make him appear evil. He becomes more accepting of others' help after his resurrection, and even tells Lan Wangji that he trusts him to watch his back.
  • Drama Queen: Gender-inverted and Played for Laughs. When Wei Wuxian intends to ham it up, he doesn't hold anything back.
  • Dramatic Irony:
    • When he was still studying in the Cloud Recesses, he would tell Jiang Cheng and Nie Huaisang that he would never want to marry into the Gusu Lan Clan due to all of their stifling rules. He also would tell Lan Wangji no one would ever want to marry him due to his cold personality. After the events of the finale, he ends up living at the Cloud Recesses with Lan Wangji after marrying him.
    • He became the Yiling Patriarch to take revenge on the Wen Clan for slaughtering most of the Jiang Clan. He would soon earn the masses' hatred as the Yiling Patriarch because he protected the clan's remaining survivors, and eventually perished for it.
  • The Dreaded: When he was the Yiling Patriarch, a lot of people were afraid of him, and even after his death he was described as an immoral and reprehensible monster to scare others. After his resurrection, Wei Wuxian's name alone still strikes fear into the hearts of cultivators, but his name gets cleared a bit by the end of the story. The epilogue also hints that Wei Wuxian now uses his reputation to his advantage instead of it being used against him.
  • Dreadful Musician: Wei Wuxian is known to be skilled with the dizi which is explained with the fact that as a master of the Six Arts, Wei Wuxian would naturally be proficient in music. But after he's brought back to life, he initially had trouble playing the instrument since he had been dead for thirteen years and hastily carved his new flute in the middle of battle; hence, it would be understandable that he's a bit out of touch. However, he also deliberately invokes this trope whenever his help is needed but he can't blow his cover. He only stops it when Lan Wangji tells him he knows who he really is.
  • Driven to Suicide: Zigzagged. While most people In-Universe believe it was Jiang Cheng who ended Wei Wuxian's life, Wei Wuxian corrects that he died via backlash, meaning he died at no one's hands but his own.
    • However, the novel and most of its adaptations are completely vague about the exact circumstances behind Wei Wuxian's death. While he did die trying to destroy the Yin Tiger Seal, it's ambiguous whether he knew that it would kill him or not, but there are hints that either way, he welcomed his death with open arms.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Almost all the cultivators conveniently forgot that Wei Wuxian is one of the few good reasons the Four Great Clans even had a chance to take on the Wen Clan once and for all, and preferred to focus on how he's the founder of The Dark Arts, that he's not obsequious to their whims, and that as a "son of a servant" he doesn't deserve to possess so much power and skill.
  • Due to the Dead: Subverted, albeit only by implication. Wei Wuxian worries that no one performed any burial services for him, let alone offer paper money, since he doesn't recall receiving any gifts during the time he was dead. note 
  • Dull Surprise: Wei Wuxian is barely shocked when he learns that Lan Wangji knows who he really is. However, he had already suspected beforehand that Lan Wangji might have already figured out his true identity because of how nonplussed he was at Wei Wuxian's countless attempts to annoy and harass him.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted. Even after Wei Wuxian cleared his name in the Second Siege, several cultivators continue to hold him responsible for all the deaths that occurred in the Nightless City massacre. He accepts this, but also tells them that killing him (again) won't solve anything. The only time this is played straight is with Jiang Yanli, who doesn't blame him for Jin Zixuan's death and even took a blow meant for him.
  • Eating the Eye Candy:
    • Played for Laughs when Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji find the dismembered torso, and Wei Wuxian is amazed at how it's in excellent physical shape that he starts to literally tap the abdomen while marveling at the hardness of the muscles.
    • There are also moments when he finds himself dazed at Lan Wangji's beauty, and the donghua even has him praise the latter's figure.
  • Eidetic Memory: He's normally known for being a Forgetful Jones. But when it comes to music, Wei Wuxian never forgets a melody that he heard at least once, even if he heard it while barely conscious.
  • Embarrassing Old Story: The time when he annoyed a flower spirit with horrible poetry got recorded in history, to his chagrin. Downplayed in that he's not really embarrassed as much as he's befuddled that someone even bothered to write down that part of his life.
  • The Empath: He can use "Empathy", an ability that allows a cultivator to access the memories of corpses and spirits. Wei Wuxian uses said ability on A-Qing, Anxin, and Nie Mingjue.
  • Endearingly Dorky: Both Jiang Yanli and Lan Wangji see Wei Wuxian as this whenever he's in a playful and/or affectionate mood.
  • Everyone Has Standards:
    • Despite his prankster personality, he never intends to have his antics get others in serious trouble, and feels bad whenever that happens.
    • Wei Wuxian hates the Wen Clan for everything they did to his family, but he remembers to distinguish the innocent from the guilty and took the elderly and the children under his wing some time after the Sunshot Campaign was over when he learned that they were kept prisoner by the Jin Clan.
    • While Wei Wuxian had done some questionable things as the Yiling Patriarch, even he's disgusted by fellow demonic cultivator Xue Yang's actions and outright states that he needs to die.
    • A more lighthearted example: while he doesn't mind being reborn in the body of someone who's infamous as both a maniac and a homosexual, he's shocked when he learns that Mo Xuanyu got kicked out of the Jin Clan because he made passes at Jin Guangyao, his half-brother.
  • Evil Genius: The cultivation world sees him as this. Despite condemning him and his abilities, many have a hard time denying the usefulness of his research and inventions. Wei Wuxian even lampshades the hypocrisy of this.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: While Wei Wuxian does use it for good, demonic cultivation is still considered In-Universe as The Dark Arts that is often suspected to have 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 Yin Tiger Seal) or when a loss of control ends in tragedy like the death of Jin Zixuan.
    • That said, it's ambiguous how much were the effects of demonic cultivation and how much was due to his worsening mental state at the time. It's also made clear that any kind of power is neither good nor evil, and it only becomes either depending on the intents of the wielder.
    • The plot also deconstructs this trope. Demonic cultivation is no more or less dangerous or powerful than spiritual cultivation even though it draws from a different power source. What makes people fear it is that it is an entirely new method of cultivation, which means not much is known about it — resulting in others finding it an unpredictable threat.
  • Exact Words: Not intentionally invoked, but it counts regardless.
    • When they were younger, Wei Wuxian promised Jiang Cheng that he would serve him the same way his father served Jiang Cheng's father. However, Wei Changze left the Jiang Clan after eloping with Cangse Sanren; and Wei Wuxian cemented his departure from the Jiang Clan after choosing to be with Lan Wangji. He had already left the Jiang Clan long ago for other reasons; but true to his words, Wei Wuxian did serve Jiang Cheng exactly like how Wei Changze served Jiang Fengmian.
    • He followed Yu Ziyuan and Jiang Fengmian's final order to watch over their son (in Jiang Fengmian's case) and protect him with his own life (in Yu Ziyuan's case), which deeply weighed on him because of his self-sacrificing nature and since he felt that he owed the Jiangs for giving him a home. After he was brought back to life, Jiang Cheng would often bring up the topic of fealty (or lack thereof) whenever he confronted him... except that since Wei Wuxian had already died once, he had already fulfilled his promise and more. As such, he no longer owes anything to the Jiang Clan and is free to live his own life without the concern of debts and gratitude or being burdened by his past, which he resolutely chooses to do.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: It takes a closer look to notice, but the donghua and the Live-Action Adaptation show that he gained these after his time in the Burial Mounds.
  • The Exile:
    • In the past, Wei Wuxian was formerly a member of the Jiang Clan, but he left some time after the Sunshot Campaign. Jiang Cheng even declared that Wei Wuxian was now an enemy of the Jiang Clan, essentially making him this. What further seals this in is when Wei Wuxian finds himself in Lotus Pier once more after he came back to life, he's told by Jiang Cheng to leave and never come back since he's a blight to his clan and his home, and Wei Wuxian takes his words to heart. Whether or not Jiang Cheng truly meant what he said, it's already too late for him to retract his words.
      • Not even the epilogue or the extra chapters hint at Wei Wuxian being able to visit Lotus Pier again. While the Dream Come True extra featured Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji going on a date in Yunmeng, there's no mention of them roaming around Lotus Pier whatsoever, as Lotus Pier is only one of the many areas within the region. The final extra episode of the audio drama did confirm that Wei Wuxian reclaimed Suibian, which was previously in Jiang Cheng's possession, but no explanation is given on how Wei Wuxian got the sword back.
    • 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 anyone listens, however, and even those who initially try to follow the rule quickly forgo it when the old man isn't around. However, Lan Qiren also allowed Wei Wuxian to attend the Lan family banquet, so this is more of the old man being petty than anything else.
  • Experienced Protagonist: Right at the beginning of the story, he's introduced as the founder of The Dark Arts and is said to be a skilled cultivator in his youth. That, and he lived through both a massacre and a war, and then went through some other horrifying ordeals, all of which make him a stranger to almost nothing at alll.
  • Expository Hair Style Change: He was introduced with all his hair tied up in a high ponytail. After his time at the Burial Mounds, as the Yiling Patriach Wei Wuxian wore most of his hair down and tied his red ribbon loosely into the rest of his hair. After he's resurrected in the body of Mo Xuanyu, he puts his hair back up into a ponytail.
  • Extreme Mêlée Revenge: He can be incredibly brutal if he feels that the other party deserves it. There's how he dealt with the Wen Clan in the past, and there's also his inner thoughts that sum up his reaction after hearing about the things Xue Yang has done.
    If he were Chang Ping, he wouldn't have cared how prominent or powerful the Lanling Jin Clan was, or how much glory the road ahead offered him, and he wouldn't have let the matter go. Instead, he would've went to the dungeons on his own, cut Xue Yang up so that he was nothing more than a puddle of flesh on the ground, and summoned his soul back to repeat the process to the point that he regretted ever being born in this world.
  • Expressive Hair: Not usually, but there's one instance in the donghua where his ahoge wiggles in delight when he takes a bite of an ice cream dish.

    Tropes F-I 
  • Facial Composite Failure: After being brought back to life, Wei Wuxian realizes to his consternation that the portraits of him that people sell on the streets do not accurately capture any aspect of his looks. He makes sure to tell the charlatan selling said portraits to make sure to draw him better in the future.
    Wei Wuxian: Wei Wuxian was a man famous for his good looks. What is this that you've drawn?! If you haven't seen the actual person, then don't draw anything. You're gonna mislead the younger generation.
    • While Wei Wuxian doesn't realize it, however, this trope actually works in his favor. Because many are misinformed about his appearance, it's difficult for anyone who's not closely affiliated with either him or Mo Xuanyu to recognize him on sight, which allowed him to remain Beneath Notice for a while.
  • Failed a Spot Check: There's one rare instance in the Phoenix Mountain hunt, where his First Kiss was stolen from him while he was blindfolded. He searched around to find the culprit but found no one nearby... except for Lan Wangji, who was uncharacteristically punching trees in anger and distress. Yet Wei Wuxian couldn't put two and two together.
  • Failure Montage: In the audio drama, an extra has him go through a hilarious one as he repeatedly annoys the Damsel of Annual Blossoms with horrible poetry just so he would be able to see her face.
  • Falling into His Arms: Whenever Wei Wuxian feels faint, Lan Wangji always makes sure to catch and hold him. Wei Wuxian even invokes this trope at one point when he jumps from a tree to see if Lan Wangji would catch him, and he does — symbolizing how Lan Wangji always stood by his side and cared for him, no matter the circumstances.
    • This represents Lan Wangji being capable of protecting Wei Wuxian as much as he is of protecting himself. Him safely catching Wei Wuxian in his arms is a contrast to Jiang Yanli attempting to do the same years ago but is unable to keep a secure hold on Wei Wuxian and she ends up wobbling and the other tripping and spraining his leg. Jiang Yanli was completely willing to protect Wei Wuxian, but she wasn't strong enough to keep them both safe. On the other hand, Lan Wangji is more than strong enough to do so.
  • Fatal Flaw: His selflessness. While it is a noble trait, his experiences with the Jiang family essentially resulted in him believing that he deserves less than them or anyone else, and thus Wei Wuxian takes his altruistic and magnanimous nature to unhealthy levels since he is willing to bring extreme harm to himself if it meant being given even the smallest opportunity to protect the innocents or the people he cherishes. It doesn't help that he almost never confides in anyone about his problems nor does he ask for their help even once, which causes both sides plenty of stress, grief, and misunderstandings.
  • Fate Worse than Death: According to the author, Wei Wuxian didn't find peace even after his death. During the thirteen years he was dead, his soul was said to be trapped in a painful and unending nightmare, although the author doesn't elaborate further on that.
  • Faux Yay: Initially, at least. He has no qualms about flirting with Lan Wangji, in the misconception that doing so would disgust Lan Wangji enough that he'd eventually send him on his way. The problem is that Lan Wangji has been holding a torch for him the entire time, and thought that Wei Wuxian was making fun of his feelings. He only keeps up with it because he's that selfless and in love.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: Part of what soured Wei Wuxian's standing among cultivators after the Sunshot Campaign was his refusal to bring his sword to any formal event, since doing so is a common formality. However, people act as if Wei Wuxian committed a grave crime, although he ignored their complaints.
  • Fight Magnet: In the past, several cultivators wanted to prove their skills and fight Wei Wuxian after he started practicing demonic cultivation. However, they were frustrated as he never brought his sword with him, thus they accused him of being mannerless.
  • First Episode Resurrection: Near the start of the story, he gets brought back to life by Mo Xuanyu.
  • First Love: Although he's incredibly slow to realize it, Lan Wangji is the first person he truly fell for and by the end of the story he marries him.
  • Fisticuff-Provoking Comment:
    • When Jiang Cheng starts insulting both Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji in the Jiang ancestral hall, Wei Wuxian tries to settle the issue non-violently and leave in peace. However, once it becomes clear Jiang Cheng won't let them be no matter what and gets too scathing with his words, Wei Wuxian loses his patience and attacks his former friend with a talisman.
    • In the donghua, Wei Wuxian punched Jiang Cheng in anger when the latter made a callous remark at how Wen Qing and Wen Ning's innocence and their act of saving their lives didn't matter because they were still part of the Wen Clan. In the novel and the other adaptations, he only warned Jiang Cheng to not say or do anything that would make him get physical with him.
    • He has a particularly short temper with Jin Zixuan and is quick to respond with fists. He got expelled from the Cloud Recesses early on because he punched Jin Zixuan for insulting Jiang Yanli. He did this again when Jin Zixuan yelled at Jiang Yanli out of the belief she's trying to take false credit for making the soup he ate.

  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Although Wei Wuxian isn't officially adopted into the Jiang family, he has this dynamic with both children of the family.
    • The trope is zigzagged between him and Jiang Cheng. In the more casual moments, Wei Wuxian is the former whereas Jiang Cheng is the latter. In times of duress, both assume the latter role even with their different approaches due to contrasting temperaments. But in situations where morality is involved, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng tend to be seen In-Universe as the Foolish and the Responsible Sibling, respectively, although the narrative shows that it's the other way around.
    • On the other hand, this trope is played entirely straight with Jiang Yanli who is the sensible older sister to Wei Wuxian's foolish little brother; although this is only during lighthearted moments where they're being playful and affectionate with each other.
  • Foreshadowing: While subtle, there are a few clues that would build up to The Reveal regarding regarding Wei Wuxian and his golden core.
    • The donghua hints earlier on what happened, in the scene where Wei Wuxian gets ambushed. He looks exhausted — a hint that he's just gone through something extremely dangerous. There's also a small Time Skip between Jiang Cheng climbing the mountain and this scene — because during said time skip Wei Wuxian was being operated on to have his golden core transplanted into Jiang Cheng. It's why he's not able to fight back against Wen Chao and co.
    • Ever since the Sunshot Campaign ended, Wei Wuxian's tendency to never bring his sword with him was repeatedly brought up. At one point, Wei Wuxian told Jiang Cheng that he'd rather not bring his sword because he knew he would be repeatedly challenged to a sword fight, which he's not in the mood for. In the present, Wen Ning confirms his claim. A cultivator's weapon is linked to their golden core and Wei Wuxian didn't want anyone finding out that he no longer had his — something which would have been made very obvious the second he engages in a duel with any cultivator.
  • Forgetful Jones: Downplayed. A few characters In-Universe have commented on Wei Wuxian's terrible memory, and Wei Wuxian even admits to his tendency to forget things. This is justified given the emotional trauma he endured in the past, which likely caused him to subconsciously repress a few of his less pleasant memories. Wei Wuxian says that another reason for his forgetfulness is his mother's saying to remember only the kindness others show him and not the other way around.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Wei Wuxian has every right to hate all the cultivators that unjustly slandered and attacked him; but he chooses not to. This is played with, however, since he doesn't exactly forgive them but he sees no point in holding a grudge against everyone who wronged him, whether individually or as a whole. Instead, he just prefers to stay out of their business and seeing that they stay out of his.
  • Forgotten First Meeting: In the donghua's second season, there are a few scenes that feature a rattle drum, and in the final episode he picks up one and wonders why he's so fond of it. A flashback shows that when he was still living on the streets, Lan Wangji stumbled upon him and gave him his own rattle drum out of kindness.
  • Former Teen Rebel: Wei Wuxian sees himself as this when he, while using Empathy on someone, gets to watch his past self from an outside perspective. However, the narrative shows that while he does goof off when he's outside, he's well-behaved at home. And when he was still a child, he was anything but rambunctious.
  • For Want of a Nail: Defied. Wei Wuxian's personality and morals make it clear that even under different circumstances, he still would have helped the Wen siblings despite the political scorn it would earn him.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine.
  • Fragile Speedster: While he was a Lightning Bruiser in the past, he's currently this since Mo Xuanyu has a weaker physical build and lower cultivation power. As such, he mostly dodges when confronted in physical combat and relies mostly on talismans or demonic cultivation.
  • Freak Out:
    • He has a glorious one shortly after the Yi City arc. After learning what the Lan Clan's forehead ribbon symbolizes, his response is to walk around a dead bush at least fifty times, his face constantly changing color all the while.
    • He also has a major freak-out whenever a dog is nearby due to his cynophobia. It's so bad that he screams in fear and climbs the closest thing near him, like a tree or Lan Wangji.
  • Friend to All Children:
    • He can't seem to help himself from mentoring the younger generation or bailing them out of trouble. In turn, all the junior cultivators respect Wei Wuxian and look up to him, even defending him from their parents during the Second Siege.
    • He also bonds with A-Qing and Wen Yuan.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: He was a Street Urchin and the son of a man widely derided as a mere servant, and he eventually became the Yiling Patriarch. Downplayed in that his mother was a famous cultivator but with the way inheritance works in ancient China, no one remembers that.
  • The Gadfly: Being the Troll that he is, Wei Wuxian takes amusement in riling up other people and playing pranks on them, with Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng getting the short ends of the stick during their younger days. He's never mean-spirited about his teasing, however, and he doesn't do it as often as the other characters would have the reader think.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Wei Wuxian is the cultivation equivalent of one, having come up with many inventions (such as the Spirit Attraction Flag and the Compass of Evil) that others admit are highly useful, even if said inventions are created by someone who they had deemed to be dangerous and evil.
  • Gallows Humor: Wei Wuxian tends to make an offhand joke about his death once in a while, and in the past he would make a few morbid jokes about his wounds. Naturally, no one's laughing at them.
  • Generation Xerox:
    • Wei Wuxian mirrors his father in terms of their respective relationships with a leader of the Jiang Clan. Close as brothers since childhood? Check. Made an oath to (or actually did) serve the other? Check. Eventually left their friend's side due to marrying someone else? Check, although in Wei Wuxian's case the circumstances were a lot more complicated. Another notable difference is that while Jiang Fengmian and Wei Changze remained on amicable terms, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng fell out and became enemies for a long time.
    • Wei Wuxian and his mother share a lot of similar traits, from being The Gadfly to even having similar tastes in the men they ended up marrying.
    • While he's not related to the man, he and Jiang Fengmian turn out to have something in common. Jiang Fengmian could never get along with Yu Ziyuan, even though he did care for her, due to their contrasting beliefs and personalities. This is the exact same reason why Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng — the latter of whom highly resembles Yu Ziyuan in both personality and appearance — eventually drifted apart.
  • Genki Boy: He has an energetic and sunny disposition, and is noted by Jiang Fengmian to be a boy who always smiles. This side of him becomes a lot more subdued after the Sunshot Campaign began, but some hints of his jovial personality remain. It gets better after he came back to life, but it's also tempered by him being Older and Wiser.
  • Genius Bruiser: Both his battle skill and his intelligence make him one dangerous cultivator.
  • Giver of Lame Names: His naming sense when it comes to children or pets remains to be seen, but when it comes to songs, he's completely unoriginal. Taking into account his playful nature, however, he might have been doing it on purpose to mess with Lan Wangji.
  • Good Feels Good: In the audio drama's take on the Intrusion extra, Wei Wuxian tells Lan Wangji that he's beginning to truly understand the importance of Lan Wangji appearing "wherever the chaos is", as per his reputation, and it feels nice to accompany him in helping the common folk since that's its own reward.
  • Good Is Not Soft: He's one of the most empathetic and compassionate characters in the story. That being said, however, he always cuts to the chase with his enemies and makes it clear a few times that he's more than capable of dealing with them both swiftly and painfully.
  • Grave Robbing: During the Sunshot Campaign, Wei Wuxian exhumed several graves to add the corpses to his own Army of the Dead.
  • Green Thumb: Used to humorous effect in Mo Dao Zu Shi Q, where an episode features Wei Wuxian using demonic cultivation to grow plants, though he ends up creating sentient plants that wreak havoc in the Burial Mounds.
  • Grew a Spine: Wei Wuxian is not a coward or a doormat. However, his lack of self-worth causes him to always put his needs and wants last in almost every situation. He comes back Older and Wiser after his resurrection, and after looking back on everything that happened to him, he decides to start living for himself for once, not for others.
  • Guile Hero: He's noted to be silver-tongued, and there have been a few scenes in the novel where he wins with words alone. The author even described him as, to paraphrase, "unparalleled in bullshitting".
  • Guilt Complex: Thanks to the influence he grew up with, he definitely has this trope, which is also intrinsically tied to his Heroic Self-Deprecation. He's present or involved in a lot of tragedies, such as the loss of his biological family, his martial family, and then his surrogate family. Given the reasons or circumstances that influenced those events, it's no surprise that Wei Wuxian's spirit is crippled with guilt and shame. It doesn't help that a lot of the people around him tend to blame him whenever something bad happens, even when it has nothing to do with him.
  • Guttural Growler: When he gets seriously angry, Wei Wuxian starts speaking in a low and rough cross of a hiss and rasp.
  • Happily Adopted: Zigzagged. While he wasn't officially adopted and is simply the head disciple of the Jiang Clan, he was well-beloved and got along with everyone in the main family... except for Yu Ziyuan, who resented him because her husband treated him more warmly than he did his own son, who Wei Wuxian just so happened to surpass in every way.
  • Hartman Hips: Played with, since he's never drawn this way, and he's physically fit in both his old and his new body. However, the Incense Burner extras describe Wei Wuxian having a thin waist, slim hips, and quite the round backside. If one takes a closer look, he keeps this figure in The Untamed, especially with the thin waist.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: Whenever Wei Wuxian ever shows signs of being attracted to Lan Wangji, he plays it off with the justification that no one of any gender or rank would be able to resist Lan Wangji's charm, and he also believes that it doesn't need to mean that he has feelings for him. Unlike with the usual examples, however, Wei Wuxian doesn't fear being Mistaken for Gay or anything of the sort; he's just that oblivious to his own feelings.
  • Hearing Voices: Due to his abilities of necromancy, Wei Wuxian has a stronger connection with the dead than most other cultivators. When he and Lan Wangji enter the Nie family's ancestral hall, which is rife with buried corpses and lingering spirits, he's the only one who thinks that the place is insanely noisy.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Wei Wuxian sleeps for a normal amount of time; but his unusual sleeping schedule makes him come across as this. Lan Wangji even tried to adjust his body clock, to no avail.
  • Height Angst: Due to Mo Xuanyu being six centimetres shorter, Wei Wuxian finds himself feeling small when standing right next to the people he remembered being taller than. However, in Real Life, the change of growing or shrinking by six centimetres (about 2.5 inches) isn't that noticeable. However, majority of the official art often feature Lan Wangji standing One Head Taller than Wei Wuxian even though, going by their official height difference, they would realistically appear to stand at around the same height.
  • He Is All Grown Up: Wei Wuxian underwent not only psychological but also physical changes after becoming the Yiling Patriarch, gaining a taller build and more mature features, even undergoing a Vocal Evolution. This is because he no longer had his golden core, which significantly slows the body's aging process.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Whenever Wei Wuxian plays Chenqing, everyone in earshot immediately realizes that they're screwed. Even just him reaching for his flute has the people around him piss their pants in fear.
  • The Hero Dies: The first thing the audience learns about Wei Wuxian at the beginning of the story is the fact that he died. Subverted when he's brought back to life soon afterwards.
  • Heroes Love Dogs: Averted to the nth degree. While Wei Wuxian doesn't hate dogs, he is deathly afraid of them due to trauma inflicted by having to fight rabid dogs for scraps of food when he was still living on the streets.
  • Heroic BSoD: He undergoes one after the events of the Nightless City bloodbath, to the point where Lan Wangji's confessions and pleas all go unheard as Wei Wuxian kept on repeating "Get lost!"
  • Heroic Neutral: At present. He still won't hesitate to do the right thing when he has to. However, he no longer wishes for the adventurous and dangerous life he once had and prefers to live in peace without ever being bothered by anyone's troubles.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Wei Wuxian performed a non-fatal version of this trope by giving his golden core (which is essentially a cultivator's life as it's their power source) to Jiang Cheng.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: He doesn't spend his entire time beating himself up over every little thing or having a low opinion of himself. However, he's so selfless to the point that it doesn't register to him that other people might be concerned about him and want to help him like he helped them, to the point that he even questions why his own well-being is the concern of others. This also plays a part in why he's completely unaware of Lan Wangji's feelings for him.
  • His Story Repeats Itself: In both his first and second lives, the cultivators attempted to lead a siege against him in the Burial Mounds. Whereas the First Siege ended with Wei Wuxian dead and the surviving Wens slaughtered, the Second Siege has Wei Wuxian survive and save the cultivators that wanted him dead.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: The guy who controls corpses gets killed by corpses (the first time around).
    • A discussion of this was done at the climax by, of all people, Jin Guangyao: Wei Wuxian's heroic, free-spirited and defiant nature, combined with Jin Guangshan's ambitions for the Yin Tiger Seal, meant that sooner or later Wei Wuxian was likely to have lost control and created trouble for himself, maybe ultimately dying altogether. Jin Guangyao mainly pushed events along, and bad luck helped the rest. But considering that the Jin Clan was pushing hard on having Wei Wuxian ostracized and eventually killed so they could have his power and inventions all to themselves, which also culminated in Wei Wuxian getting more stressed and pressured to the point of eventually snapping, the validity of Jin Guangyao's statements are dubious at best.
    • A more lighthearted example occurs involving the jars of Emperor's Smile he found in Lan Wangji's bedroom. Initially thinking that Lan Wangji kept the jars for himself, Wei Wuxian refilled the jars that he consumed with water as a prank — and Lan Wangji would end up giving him the same jars the next time they returned to the Cloud Recesses.
  • Honor Before Reason: Downplayed. He insists on doing the right thing regardless of the 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. However, it doesn't always work out for the better, since the cultivation clans don't truly care much about justice and have also taken the habit of making him The Scapegoat.
  • Humble Goal:
    • Even before their Relationship Upgrade, he subconsciously thought of what he and Lan Wangji would do in the future, and his thoughts mainly consisted of them building a home and possibly even adopting a child. The Incense Burner extra also shows that he frequently has dreams of him and Lan Wangji retiring from cultivation and living a peaceful life together.
  • Humble Hero: Zigzagged. While he can be prideful, even claiming to have boasted how he was the best during his youth, he doesn't have an inflated ego. And while he's more of a Thrill Seeker during night-hunts, he still prioritizes saving lives over attaining fame and glory.
  • Hurting Hero: He never lets it show, but Wei Wuxian is deeply affected by his losses and the actions he took to avenge those losses.
  • Hypocrite: Normally, Wei Wuxian is the last thing from one, except during the instances where he encouraged Lan Wangji to be more honest about whether he's in pain or needs help, even though he himself never does the same thing no matter what crisis he's in. This is deconstructed, since his self-contradiction about helping and being helped is connected to his selfless nature and his low sense of self-worth. Growing out of this is part of his Character Development.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • When it comes to his sex life with Lan Wangji, Wei Wuxian is very much open to rough play. Yet he draws the line when it comes to spanking, which is essentially one of the mildest parts of rough play, even when Wei Wuxian has already dabbled in lewder stuff. Granted, it's explained that he dislikes it not because of the pain, but because it feels humiliating since parents do the same thing to unruly children.
    • Combined with Hypocritical Heartwarming; Wei Wuxian takes almost every opportunity to tease Lan Wangji in an attempt to fluster him. However, Wei Wuxian himself gets flustered very quickly just from a few affectionate words from the other. It does makes sense that he gets easily overwhelmed from being shown even the slightest gesture of selfless affection, considering he's been far more accustomed with giving help than receiving it.

    Tropes J-P 
  • I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Wei Wuxian is not a romantically insecure guy, but given his history with Lan Wangji and the kind of person he thinks Lan Wangji is, it naturally never occurred to Wei Wuxian that the man may have fallen for him.
  • I Choose to Stay: It's implicit at best in the novel, where he makes it clear to Jiang Cheng that he will not leave the Wen survivors until he knows they'll be completely safe even when he's not around.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: He has no regrets about taking up demonic cultivation and using it to annihilate the Wen Clan. However, he expresses to Lan Wangji that if he could take a different path, he would. Except that there is no such path, so he'll see things through to the end.
    Wei Wuxian: I, too, wanted to walk the bright path — a path that allows me to protect those I care about without resorting to demonic ways or the Yin Tiger Seal. Now, I no longer can.
  • Idiot Hair: He has an ahoge both in his past and present lives. While he's not an idiot, he can be emotionally dense, albeit not without reason.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Over the course of the story, Wei Wuxian finds out that he doesn't mind being more intimate with Lan Wangji and actually enjoys the idea of the other pampering him. One instance was when he fell asleep on the other after the second siege at the Burial Mounds and thinks about how nice it would be for Lan Wangji to carry him.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: He does this three times throughout the novel.
    • He denies Jin Zixun's accusations of casting the Hundred Holes Curse on him by invoking the trope word-for-word.
    • He tells this to the cultivators who joined in the Second Siege after they suddenly lost their cultivation abilities, stating that they would have already known if he intended to do anything to them.
    • In the finale, when Su She accuses him of poisoning the grave buried beneath the Guanyin Temple, Wei Wuxian replies that he would have used more direct and brutal means to deal with them if he really was the culprit.
  • Ignored Expert: Zigzagged. In the Second Siege arc, when everyone is cornered by the fierce corpses in the Burial Mounds, many are reluctant to listen to Wei Wuxian — despite him being their best chance at escaping the place alive — although they also realize they have no choice but to follow his lead. But as soon as the fierce corpses are dealt with, they attempt to snub him again. Wei Wuxian quickly shuts them down by reminding them that one who nearly got them all killed has control of the Yin Tiger Seal, which is his creation, and bluntly asks them if they know how to handle the matter on their own, which gives them pause.
  • I Hate Past Me: When he recalls how he used to be in the past, his immediate reaction is getting the urge to beat up his younger self for his follies.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved: It's subtle, but it is there. While Wei Wuxian is selfless and has known the love of other people, deep down, he also yearns for someone who would accept him for what he is, who he would love and would love him unconditionally and be there for him no matter what. He finds that someone in Lan Wangji.
  • The Illegible: Downplayed. Wei Wuxian is a master of calligraphy and can write legibly and beautifully, but his default handwriting consists of wild and rough strokes.
  • I Love the Dead: Played with. He's not a necrophiliac, although he doesn't mind being surrounded by undead corpses all the time. In one of his past encounters with Lan Wangji, he had a harem of female ghouls accompanying him. The audio drama subverts this by revealing that while said ghouls are fiercely protective of Wei Wuxian when they feel he's threatened, they're not really a harem and are simply more like a group of female companions that Wei Wuxian engages in friendly albeit platonic conversations with.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Wei Wuxian is not exactly quiet in bed. An extra even has him (unsuccessfully) attempt to goad Lan Wangji into using the Silencing Spell on him so that no one could hear them having sex.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Wei Wuxian can shoot a target while blindfolded. He's even capable of throwing an arrow with his own hands from a great distance and still meet his target dead-on.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: He suffers through abuse, trauma, and several losses, but they all fail to rob him of his heroic and selfless heart. At worst, all it does is teach him that while there's nothing wrong with caring for others without seeking reward, it shouldn't come at the cost of neglecting his own well-being.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Wei Wuxian's free-spirited nature makes him so earnest that there are times when he can hurt other people without intending to.
    • Wei Wuxian always flirted with Lan Wangji either to disgust him away or to tease him, but then it turns out that Lan Wangji had feelings for him the entire time, which would then make it seem like Wei Wuxian was leading him on.
    • Wei Wuxian deeply cares for Jiang Cheng, and is aware that his actions in the aftermath of the Sunshot Campaign deeply affected his relationship with his martial brother. However, Wei Wuxian took enough precautions to ensure that Jiang Cheng wouldn't suffer the consequences of his actions, and he always wished for friend's safety and trusted that Jiang Cheng would fare well even when he's not around. Regardless, he only realizes too late the full extent of how hurt Jiang Cheng is by being left alone; although Wei Wuxian's reasons for leaving the Jiang Clan were gravely understandable and Jiang Cheng wasn't helping the situation either. In the end, both of them are only able to apologize for what happened.
  • Insecure Protagonist, Arrogant Antagonist: Played with. Wei Wuxian is actually confident in his abilities, but his selflessness goes to Ineffectual Loner levels and he suffers from a complete lack of self-regard. On the other hand, Jiang Cheng may suffer from an Inferiority Superiority Complex, but he is haughty, competitive, and quick to show his disdain towards anything or anyone he doesn't like.
  • Instant Expert: Downplayed; after emerging from the Burial Mounds, Wei Wuxian already proved to be skilled with using resentful energy for several kinds of purposes. However, he had time to practice, as three months passed between the time he was thrown into the wasteland and when he came out of it. While those three months were highly implied to be a Training from Hell for him, it still took him only a few months instead of years to gain great control and knowledge over a new and previously unfounded practice of cultivation.
  • Insufferable Genius: Wei Wuxian admits that in the past he was quite arrogant and thought he was a one-of-a-kind talent, which is more or less true as no one could deny his skills in cultivation. However, he never rubbed his successes in anyone's faces, and it wasn't his intelligence but his untamed and selfless nature that caused others to find him insufferable.
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: Combined with Interrupted Intimacy; while in a passionate moment with Lan Wangji, Wei Wuxian was on the verge of confessing to him only to be cut off halfway.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Downplayed. He doesn't have any problems with putting on makeup, and he loves being pampered like a princess. Just ask Lan Wangji.
  • I Regret Nothing: He never says it out loud, but his behavior after his resurrection shows that in spite of everything he went through, not once does he regret suffering from trying to do the right thing and follow his heart and morals.
  • Ironic Name: Wei Wuxian's flute, Chenqing, means "to explain something in complete detail". However, he made the flute after becoming a demonic cultivator, and many of the problems he encountered as the Yiling Patriarch were born from miscommunication.
  • Irony:
    • When he was still studying, he didn't get along with his teacher; but he himself turns out to be a very good teacher who his students would readily listen to.
    • Back when he was a teenager, he commented on how uncomfortable life must be in the Cloud Recesses due to how ascetic and strictly rule-abiding the Lan disciples are, and even stated that he had zero intentions of ever marrying in the Lan Clan because of it. Two or so decades later, he and Lan Wangji become cultivation partners, and he's finally able to live a completely peaceful life in the Cloud Recesses.
    • He would claim he can't sleep without Lan Wangji in order to annoy the other into leaving him, which doesn't work. Hilariously, this lie ends up coming true during the Yunping City arc, where Wei Wuxian finds out that he truly can't sleep without Lan Wangji at his side.
  • I Take Offense to That Last One!: Wei Wuxian doesn't care when others would talk about his reputation either as an Evil Overlord, a crazed power-hungry villain, or The Casanova all of which are false and inaccurate. However, he gets insulted when someone says that his flute-playing is terrible or draws him as ugly; since he takes pride in both his musical skills and his looks.
  • It's Personal: The whole reason he goes after Wen Chao, Wang Lingjiao and Wen Zhuliu is because they were the ones who killed his guardians, burnt his home down, destroyed his friend's golden core and pushed him into the Burial Mounds to die amongst other things. It's telling that they're the only people Wei Wuxian had deliberately exacted slow but painful and bloody vengeance on.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: It wasn't initially his plan to investigate a corpse that's related to a huge conspiracy. After his resurrection, his plan simply comprised of traveling around while keeping his distance from everyone of his past. However, the events in the Dafan Mountain arc show that fate had other plans for him. Then the finale hints that his getting involved in the mysteries surrounding the demonic arm was actually planned from the beginning.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Wei Wuxian isn't a spiteful person nor does he normally feel contempt towards other people, but it's no secret that he hates Jin Zixuan's guts like no other. While he can go overboard with how he expresses it, his anger isn't without reason, since Jin Zixuan did disrespect and humiliate Jiang Yanli more than once before.
  • Jerkass to One: If there's one person Wei Wuxian personally and openly despises, it's Jin Zixuan.
  • Just for Pun: He has an odd sense of humor when it comes to naming things. In the Burial Mounds, he names his residence the "Demon-Slaughtering Cave", because he often sleeps in the cave after his work "slaughters" him, and since the cultivation world sees him as a "demon", he only found the name to be fitting. Lan Wangji doesn't exactly find it amusing.
  • Karmic Jackpot: Wei Wuxian chose to do the morally right thing over following society and ends up dying for it. However, the events that followed his death soon guaranteed him a second chance at life both literally and figuratively. Once the old scores with the Big Bad are settled, Wei Wuxian learns that his efforts to do good were not completely in vain, he enters into a loving relationship with someone who understands him and appreciates him for who he is, and he's freed of the burdens and debts of his old life.
  • Kiddie Kid: He normally acts like his age or even more mature than his age in certain situations, but there are a few times when he acts childish so he could be babied. However, he only acts in such a way towards Lan Wangji and Jiang Yanli whenever he feels like receiving affection from them, since they're the only people he feels completely safe around.
  • Knight in Sour Armor: His personality after his resurrection shows that he's become this, due to seeing the cultivation world at its worst firsthand and suffering, even dying, because of it. He remains heroic at heart, but he's no longer as idealistic as he used to be.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em:
    • After everything that happened in his first life, Wei Wuxian learns much faster on when someone can't be reasoned with directly. However, he still finds other creative ways to get others to listen to him or at least get off his case.
    • Connecting to the above, while he's still someone who will do the best he can to help those who need it, he won't lend a hand to the people he knows are not willing to help themselves. For example, while he saves the bacon of the cultivators that attempted to kill him again in the Second Siege, he leaves them to take care of their own dirty laundry afterwards because he can see that nothing will make them change their ways.
  • Kung-Fu Wizard: Technically all cultivation emphasizes on physical — as well as mental and spiritual — training, 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 as he could no longer wield spiritual energy.
  • Large Ham: Whenever he pretends to be Mo Xuanyu either to not give himself away to old acquaintances or to get Lan Wangji off his back, he tends to act as dramatic as possible. Of course, he's doing it on purpose and the audience can easily tell that he's having a ball with acting as unrestrained as he can.
  • 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 aftermath of the Nightless City bloodbath.
  • Laughing Mad:
    • The audio drama has Wei Wuxian break out into laughter when faced with the cultivators who cornered him in the Burial Mounds as he's reminded of the last time he was in a similar situation.
  • Leitmotif: In the donghua, whenever he starts to use his powers in a fight, it's usually followed by the sound of a flute.
  • Lethal Chef: He claimed to have burned a hole through a wok once; whether he meant it literally or otherwise is unclear. Also, he can only cook insanely spicy stuff; although it's likely that he could have been a decent cook if he didn't spike his food with so much chili.
  • Like Brother and Sister:
    • Wei Wuxian admires Jiang Yanli and is hostile to any guy who shows the slightest amount of disrespect to her, and she dotes on him and enjoys cooking for him. It's easy to think that they're the lovey-dovey pair from those facts alone, but their relationship is purely platonic and sibling-like in nature.
    • He also has this relationship with Wen Qing when they met again after the Sunshot Campaign, though when they bicker they act more Like an Old Married Couple. However, similar to his relationship with Jiang Yanli, Wei Wuxian and Wen Qing are strictly friends.
  • Like Father, Unlike Son: Played with. Not much is known about Wei Changze to completely confirm this trope, although a few characters usually comment on how Wei Wuxian strongly resembles his mother in both looks and personality, and there's no mention of how he takes after his father in any capacity.
  • Loophole Abuse: In Mo Dao Zu Shi Q, he finds a technicality in each of the Lan Clan's rules and gleefully abuses it. He even wrote a book on it for the other students called "How to Survive in the Cloud Recesses".
  • The Lost Lenore: Reconstructed. His death didn't send Lan Wangji into a depression, although the latter mourned his death for some time. After recovering from both his wounds (which he received from defending Wei Wuxian) and his grief, Lan Wangji continued living the best he can, all the while honoring Wei Wuxian's memory.
  • Love Epiphany: Over the course of the story, Wei Wuxian gradually becomes more and more aware that his feelings for Lan Wangji are going beyond platonic. But it takes Lan Xichen telling him about what Lan Wangji did for him during the aftermath of the Nightless City attack to give him the final push to confess his feelings.
  • 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 his clothes, stole his forehead ribbon... Now they're cultivation partners.
  • Luminescent Blush: Wei Wuxian, specifically his post-Time Skip self, easily turns red whenever he feels overwhelmed by his blossoming feelings for Lan Wangji. Even after they get together, there are still some instances when Wei Wuxian breaks into a blushing fit due to his and his husband's mutual affection for each other.
  • Madness Mantra: After Jiang Yanli's death caused him to snap and lose his sanity, Wei Wuxian lost awareness of his surroundings and kept repeating "Get lost!" even after Lan Wangji took him away from the battlefield.
  • Mad Scientist: It comes in tandem with being viewed as an Evil Genius.
    • The cultivation world views him as an outlier at best due to his unorthodox and unprecedented perspectives and his tendency to analyze things from a non-standard point of view. Yet even as they condemn him for his abilities and creations, they're not ashamed to use either because of its convenience.
    • When he settles in the Burial Mounds, both Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng find that his place is a mess since his manuscripts and half-completed inventions are scattered everywhere — and most people who fit the trope are portrayed to have a hard time keeping things in order.
  • Make an Example of Them: When he was still studying in the Cloud Recesses, Wei Wuxian was punished to copy the Lan Clan's rules a few times, but it didn't really do anything to straighten him up. After he left, anyone who would break a rule in the Cloud Recesses would be punished with copying the rules while doing handstands, to ensure that they really learn their lesson.
  • Magic Music: Played with. The use of a flute to control walking corpses does not, strictly speaking, follow any In-Universe rules of magical songs — 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.
  • Major Injury Underreaction:
    • To avoid the Yunmeng Jiang Clan from facing more political scrutiny due to their association with him, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng publicly staged a fight to make the other clans think that they broke ties with the other. Jiang Cheng suffered a broken arm, whereas Wei Wuxian got nearly disemboweled; yet he treated it as if it's merely a superficial injury.
    • When he got shot in the chest with an arrow during the Nightless City attack, his response was to calmly yank out the arrow and throw it back at the archer responsible.
    • When Jin Ling stabs him after finding out who he really is, Wei Wuxian only mentally remarks in annoyance how Jin Ling and Jiang Cheng are really alike since they stab in the same places. However, Wei Wuxian does eventually lose his consciousness from the wound.
  • Malicious Slander: Wei Wuxian is the most frequent victim of this In-Universe, both in the past and the present. Sometimes, it happens behind his back, and other times people are hurling vicious insults right at his face.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • His birth name 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 how he's seen In-Universe as a Fallen Hero.
  • Megaton Punch: His fight with the gravedigger in Yueyang shows that when he powers his punches with resentful energy, his punches become strong enough to go through the ground and break the earth around him.
  • Men Can't Keep House: When Jiang Cheng and Lan Wangji first visited Wei Wuxian in the Burial Mounds (on separate occasions), they quickly saw that Wei Wuxian wasn't someone who liked to organize his stuff as they couldn't take a step in his lair without nearly stepping on something.
  • Mind Rape: During the Sunshot Campaign, Wei Wuxian drove several Wen clansmen mad to the extent that they either committed suicide or died by self-mutilation. However, it's unknown whether he pulled this off through his ghouls/corpses or through another spell.
  • Misery Builds Character: Reconstructed. A good portion of Wei Wuxian's life is linked to the losses he suffered, whether it involves either his family, his friends, or his powers. However, Wei Wuxian's character is defined by how he, in spite of all the pain and loss he had underwent, always remains true to his heart. As such, he is able to overcome his struggles. He can never forget his losses, but his inner strength allows him to accept, learn, improve, press on, and move forward in a healthy manner.
  • Misblamed: It happens to him a lot In-Universe, what with him being The Scapegoat and all.
  • Misery Poker: Subverted. He never once pulled a "woe is me" episode to either wallow in his internal grief or evoke sympathy from others, but in the Second Siege arc he firmly reminds a cultivator who sought vengeance against him that he didn't suffer any less than them, even dying once for it.
    Wei Wuxian: He's missing a leg, while I was cut into pieces; you lost your parents, while my family had long since been gone. I'm a dog who was chased out of its home. I've never even seen the ashes of my parents.
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: Played for Laughs when Jin Ling wakes up and finds himself shirtless... with Wei Wuxian holding his clothes. Wei Wuxian didn't help the situation at first by joking along, although the misunderstanding is cleared up pretty quickly.
    Jin Ling: [panicking] I am not a cut-sleeve [homosexual]!!!
    Wei Wuxian: [beaming] What a coincidence— I am!
  • Mr. Seahorse: Wei Wuxian makes a few jokes about the trope a few times.
    • When Lan Wangji first met Wen Yuan, Wei Wuxian's reply translates to "I gave birth to him," even though he contextually (and falsely) meant that Wen Yuan was his son. Lan Wangji actually bought the joke for a second.
    • In one of the extras, Wei Wuxian joked that if it was possible for men to get pregnant, he would have given birth to a lot of children by now due to his sex life with Lan Wangji.
  • Morton's Fork: In the past, he was always thrown into precarious situations where he's stuck between a rock and a hard place. To name a few examples, here was when Jiang Cheng lost his core, when he rescued the Wen remnants, when he learned that the clans were planning to lead a siege on him; and in every instance, he could never find a compromise or a way out no matter how hard he tried.
    He had known from the start that no matter what he said, nobody would listen to him. What he denied could be forced; what he admitted could be twisted.
  • Motor Mouth: This makes it hard for anyone to win an argument against him. This is also abundantly evident during sex.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Wei Wuxian always has this reaction whenever he finds out something new about Lan Wangji (that usually involves him in some way). It varies between hilarious and heartbreaking.
  • My Greatest Failure: In the present, he regrets ever having created the Yin Tiger Seal, given all the tragedies that took place because the Jin Clan coveted it.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: While he never expected it to happen, he views his revival as this even if he doesn't say it out loud. He ensures that he doesn't repeat the mistakes he previously committed, improves in how he deals with others who have disagreements with him or he used to misunderstand, and he never stays stuck in the past.
  • My Sister Is Off-Limits!: A platonic example; Wei Wuxian highly respects Jiang Yanli and believes that someone like her deserves only the best man — and he doesn't see Jin Zixuan as that man. However, he sees that they grew to genuinely love each other, so he tries to make peace with it as long as Jiang Yanli is happy.
  • The Necromancer: A Chinese take, and one of the main abilities of demonic cultivation.
  • The Need for Mead: His default way of investigating supernatural cases is to hit up the local taverns, buy a drink, and then ask the waiters about rumors.
  • Never-Forgotten Skill: The author confirmed that his state after his death was far from peaceful or liberating, but neither that nor thirteen years of being separated from the mortal world crippled his ability to use demonic cultivation. The donghua takes this Up to Eleven — not even a week has passed since he came back, yet slaying a dangerous mutated beast and breaking an ancient powerful seal (that was said to be nearly impossible to break by just anybody) are still a cakewalk for him.
  • Never Gets Drunk: Difficult to say, but Wei Wuxian is definitely much better at drinking than, say, the entire Lan Clan. He's able to down at least half-a-dozen jars in one sitting and still remain sober. The only liquor that's able to get him drunk is the fruit wine brewed by Uncle Four.
  • Never My Fault: He's one of the very few characters in the entire cast who averts this trope, readily taking responsibility for his mistakes and never deflecting the blame onto others. However, he understandably refuses to take the blame for the things that he didn't even do in the first place — which he makes clear to everybody else.
  • Nice Guy: He is a prankster but is kind and compassionate to people, something reflected in his ability of Empathy, which he uses to interrogate spirits.
  • Nice, Mean, and In-Between: Among Jin Ling's three currently living uncles, Wei Wuxian is the Nice one. He's patient with Jin Ling but never spoils him, readily teaches him lessons about both life and cultivation and lets him learn things on his own but immediately intervenes when needed, and advises Jin Ling instead of scolding him whenever he makes mistakes.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Lampshaded at one point. Shortly after his resurrection, Wei Wuxian expects to be summoned in a place full of resentful energy, dead bodies, and every other nightmarish stuff that exists, because he's more than aware of his reputation as the feared Yiling Patriarch.
  • No Badass to His Valet: He's neither disrespectful nor dismissive of authority, but he's not afraid of calling out the other clans when they're being outright assholes or making zero sense with their logic.
  • No Body Left Behind: His death involved him being ripped apart into nothing that no flesh, bone, or even a speck of his soul could be found anywhere in the Burial Mounds.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He had completely horrible luck when it came to helping others in the past, since for various reasons his actions always backfired on him; such as speaking out against Wen Chao, saving the survivors of the Wen Clan, and rescuing Su She from the Waterborne Abyss.
  • No Respect Guy: No matter what he does, almost everyone will always find ways to blame and demean him. Only very few do recognize, remember, and honor his deeds (e.g. Lan Wangji, Mianmian, and the junior cultivators).
  • No-Sell:
    • Shortly before the Nightless City bloodbath began, Wei Wuxian got shot in the heart by an archer while he was confronting all the cultivation clans that declared to attack him. Wei Wuxian gives no reaction as he merely tears it out of his chest and throws it back at the archer, impaling him through the heart as well.
    • He does this a few times in the final arc towards anything that would come out of the Big Bad's mouth. Aside from the revelation that Lan Wangji was in love with him (and for longer than he would have thought), when Jin Guangyao attempts to give him a Breaking Speech in the final arc, Wei Wuxian simply takes it on the chin. Then later, when Jin Guangyao tries to squeeze any remaining sympathy from Lan Xichen, Wei Wuxian butts in with a half-annoyed and half-embarrassed request that they should just stop talking and start fighting — an unusual twist on the phrase to settle matters with words and not swords.
  • Not a Morning Person: Wei Wuxian's sleeping schedule involves waking up at 9-11 AM and going to bed at 1-3 AM, which is part of why he got in trouble when he was studying at the Cloud Recesses, which runs on a strict curfew. Even after his resurrection, his sleeping habits remain unchanged in spite of Lan Wangji's efforts.
  • Not Evil, Just Misunderstood: Majority of the narrative is how everyone sees Wei Wuxian as a Fallen Hero and an embodiment of pure evil and destruction. But the novel would eventually reveal that this is not the case, and nothing about the legend of the Yiling Patriarch was as simple and black-and-white as everyone believed it to be.
  • Not Good with Rejection: The novel reveals that Wei Wuxian secretly fears the possibility that Lan Wangji would find out about his real feelings and consequently reject them. Consequently, he would rather be seen as a flirtatious fool than get taken seriously yet be dismissed anyway.
  • Not Me This Time: In the Second Siege, Wei Wuxian bluntly tells the other cultivators that while he did cause the deaths of many cultivators during the Nightless City bloodbath, he had no involvement in Nie Mingjue's death, the entire mess with Xue Yang, Qin Su's suicide, or the kidnapping of the younger cultivators.
  • Not So Different: He and Jiang Cheng are as different as ice and fire... because they're both their mother's sons.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: His reaction when he goes to Lotus Pier after the events of the Second Siege, as every part of the place that was once his home is completely different from how he remembered it. That, and he's no longer welcome there, which Jiang Cheng likes to remind him about.
  • 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. He eventually drops the act when Lan Wangji reveals that he knows who he really is, but Wei Wuxian still pretends to be Mo Xuanyu around everyone else.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He usually acts like a goofball slacker until he goes on a night-hunt.
  • Oblivious to Love:
    • Everyone else figures out that Lan Wangji is in love with him. 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, already picking out houses and planning a family without realizing what that meant. Although the audio drama hints that he may not have been oblivious to how he felt about Lan Wangji after all and had simply repressed it the entire time, since a bonus episode details Wei Wuxian giving Lan Wangji a peony while being aware about the romantic symbolism of the flower.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Though he's a more harmless example than most.
    • Even before Jin Zixuan married Jiang Yanli, Wei Wuxian outwardly showed how much he despised him more than once. That being said, Wei Wuxian did respect that both of them had grown to truly love each other, so while he continued to take a few digs at Jin Zixuan, that's about as "bad" as it gets, and he did sincerely appreciate Jin Zixuan offering an olive branch by inviting him to Jin Ling's one-month celebration — hinting that had things gone well, the two might have formed a civil relationship.
    • While he makes an effort to act more polite and considerate towards Lan Qiren, Wei Wuxian still seems to enjoy messing with the old man. It's just in newer ways that now involve his beloved nephew, like going through a couple of rounds of arguably rather loud sex with Lan Wangji, fully aware that Lan Qiren sleeps near their house.
  • Occult Detective: His main role in the present time's storyline, as he and Lan Wangji set out to find all the missing limbs, figure out who the dismembered person is, then investigate why they died.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • With the skittish and quiet Nie Huaisang in the past. Likely due to their unconventional way of thinking and their similar interests in goofing off at the Cloud Recesses led to them becoming fast friends.
    • Although mildly short-lived until his resurrection, Wei Wuxian grew a bit fond of Wen Ning due to treating him a lot nicer than the other members of the Wen Clan ever did. After resurrecting Wen Ning into a fierce corpse, Wei Wuxian tries to have the other treat him as a friend and not a master. While he regrets getting Wen Ning involved in his current affairs, Wei Wuxian clearly cares for him and hopes to give Wen Ning a happier ending.
  • Older and Wiser: In his second life, Wei Wuxian is calmer and more careful with his actions and words. He even comments on how ashamed he is of his younger self. It's likely that the massive Trauma Conga Line leading to his death taught him a few sharp lessons.
  • One-Man Army: During the Sunshot Campaign, he was rumored to have taken on five-thousand Wen soldiers by himself, and massacred them with barely any survivors. Then during the Nightless City attack, he's held accountable for the deaths of at least three-thousand cultivators. However, he does clarify that while he killed a lot of cultivators, it's impossible for him to be solely responsible for a total of three-thousand casualties, and he debunks the claim that all three-thousand cultivators had perished since many of those same cultivators had gathered together once again to attempt a second siege on the Burial Mounds.
  • Only I Can Make It Go: To a degree. Wei Wuxian created the Yin Tiger Seal, which the Lanling Jin Clan wanted because of its power to draw large amounts of resentful energy and command waves of corpses endlessly. However, Wei Wuxian was only able to create it from a sword that spent centuries absorbing the resentful energies of the Tortoise of Slaughter's victims, and such a thing can't easily be found anywhere, let alone replicated. When half of the amulet was obliterated, Xue Yang recreated the missing half, but Jin Guangyao claims that its function and potential is still nowhere close to the original version and can only be used so many times until it becomes a useless scrap of metal.
  • Only Sane Man: He's not fooled by what people say or show, and doesn't take anything at face value. The novel even has some scenes where when he's of the extremely small minority who's thinking clearly and rationally in contrast to the other people in the same room as him.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Wei Wuxian is usually cheerful and patient and one who handles situations with words rather than fists. So whenever he completely loses his temper, something serious definitely happened for him to lose it.
  • Opposites Attract: The outgoing and exuberant Wei Wuxian falls in love with and ends up marrying the quiet and reserved Lan Wangji.
  • Papa Wolf: From the moment he realized that Jin Ling is Jiang Yanli's son, Wei Wuxian developed a bit of a protective streak towards him. He doesn't hesitate to call out the youth on the poorer aspects of his personality, but he also shows worry about Jin Ling's Friendless Background and dreads the thought of any harm happening to him.
  • 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 or creates tiny papermen for sneaking around.
  • Past Experience Nightmare: Some of the adaptations imply that Wei Wuxian occasionally has guilt-ridden dreams about his past.
  • 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 taken in by the Jiang Clan. It doesn't help that he acts like a Lower-Class Lout (though that could be a chicken-egg scenario).
  • Perpetual Smiler: Jiang Fengmian saw that when he first took Wei Wuxian, Wei Wuxian would always put on a smile no matter what went his way. This part of him slowly sheds as he grew older and experienced more and more hardships.
  • Playing Possum: In the past, Wei Wuxian would often prank Jiang Cheng by playing dead.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Normally, Wei Wuxian is charismatic and very good with words, unless any serious matter which is centered around him are involved, in which he immediately puts up his guard and never speaks clearly about his situation since he doesn't want to say anything that would get anyone else involved. In Wei Wuxian's case, it literally cost him his life.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: After the events of the Second Siege, Wei Wuxian faints once he gets on a boat as he's overtaxed himself from fighting waves of fierce corpses. Although it turns out that while he was exhausted, he wasn't going to pass out, but pretended that he fainted after Lan Wangji caught him as he wanted an excuse to sleep in Lan Wangji's arms.
  • Power Floats: In the donghua, Wei Wuxian can use demonic cultivation in lieu of a sword to levitate, control his descent, and outright propel himself at any direction he wishes.
  • Power Incontinence: His degree of control over his powers partially depends on his mental and emotional state.
  • The Power of Blood: Some demonic cultivation spells require the use of blood, and there are times when Wei Wuxian uses his own blood to perform the more complex spells.
  • The Power of Hate: Demonic cultivation is already powerful even with the most basic spells, but what allowed Wei Wuxian to manipulate resentful energy to an extremely destructive scale during the Sunshot Campaign and the Nightless City bloodbath was his hatred and anger towards anyone who wronged him and those he held dear.
  • Precision F-Strike: Wei Wuxian doesn't curse that much, unless he's really pissed or frustrated. Such is the case in the audio drama where he utters "妈的", which commonly translates to "Fuck!", in Jin Zixuan's face.
  • Pride: Played with. On the surface, it looks like Wei Wuxian's hubris contributes to his downfall Greek-tragedy style. However, it soon is revealed that his pride is both genuine and false. His pride is genuine, because he believes that he can control his demonic cultivation — which would have been the case had it not been for the other clans taking every opportunity to force him to lose control. At the same time, his pride is also a mask he wears; to everyone else he comes across as reckless and arrogant, but the truth is he acted that way to prevent anyone from finding out that he lost his core. Also, he wasn't as thoughtless as he seemed to be, since he was well aware that he's almost always forced to play a zero-sum game.
  • Protagonist Journey to Villain: Invoked In-Universe. The overall story shows that Wei Wuxian, while a heroic man at heart, is still far from a complete saint; although this applies for every other character as well, given the novel's Grey-and-Gray Morality. That aside, the flashbacks tell the story of how and why Wei Wuxian came to be known in history as a beloved cultivator turned heretical villain.
  • Proud Beauty: Downplayed. Wei Wuxian is not so narcissistic that he brags about his beauty often or even occasionally, but he still knows that he has good looks. So when he sees in the present that charlatans would depict him as an ugly man, he is extremely offended.

    Tropes R-Z 
  • Rags to Riches: His marriage to Lan Wangji greatly improves his financial situation by the end of the novel.
  • "Ray of Hope" Ending: Downplayed. Wei Wuxian had certainly achieved his happy ending with Lan Wangji, but the fact remains that he's still a pariah in the cultivation world and is still regarded by the masses as an evil figure; he's just no longer the most active target of their smear campaign. In fairness, however, Wei Wuxian is long past caring about that and he's already distanced himself from the business of all cultivation clans once and for all. However, there is the chance that the public's opinion of him will change for the better someday, since the younger generation of cultivators views Wei Wuxian in a far more positive light.
  • Reality Ensues: Physically, mentally, and emotionally durable Wei Wuxian may be, at the end of the day he's still a mortal man, and there's only so much stress he can take before he suffers the consequences from shouldering it all on his own. Lan Wangji solemnly lampshades this during an exchange with the juniors.
    Ouyang Zizhen: Hanguang-Jun, why did Senior Wei collapse?
    Lan Wangji: Fatigue.
    Lan Jingyi: I thought that Senior Wei would never get tired!
    Lan Wangji: We are all human.
  • Rebellious Spirit: Wei Wuxian is not the type of person who easily conforms to absolute authority and rigidity, and freely chooses his own path with little to no regard to what others might say about it. After the Time Skip, he truly becomes this he's no longer burdened by a sense of either debt or guilt.
  • Red and Black and Evil All Over: Played with. His signature colors are black and red, and while he's seen as the villain In-Universe, in truth he's a Hero with Bad Publicity.
  • Red Baron: Wei Wuxian is known by society as the feared and reviled Yiling Patriarch. The mention of Wei Wuxian's title alone gives shivers down almost everyone's spines.
    • That being said, while his title does strike fear in the hearts of many, Wei Wuxian himself does not consider his title a badge of honor at all. This is justified, since almost any time his title is brought up, it always comes with a malignant remark about him. Although in the epilogue, he's hinted to have made peace with this as he uses his title in a playful context when he's flirting with Lan Wangji and telling him how the great Hanguang-Jun "defeated" the Yiling Patriarch; and unlike before, he's now able to use his fearsome reputation to his advantage instead of having it be used against him.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: In the donghua, his eyes glow red whenever he uses demonic cultivation.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: In the more casual moments, he acts as the Red to Jiang Cheng's blue, but when a situation becomes dire, he becomes the Blue to Jiang Cheng's Red.
  • Refuge in Audacity: 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.
  • Rejected Apology: Although not because the other party chose to not forgive him. When Wei Wuxian apologizes to Jiang Cheng for failing to keep the promise he made to him years ago, Jiang Cheng responds with a bitter laugh, stating (in his special roundabout way) that he's the one who should be apologizing to Wei Wuxian for all the times he wronged him.
  • Riches to Rags: Being one of the top disciples of the Jiang Clan and one of the best cultivators of his generation meant he had a lot of good things going for him. After he sacrificed his golden core and thus had to take up demonic cultivation to compensate, his life ever so slowly went downhill, even when it comes to finances. Wei Wuxian himself lampshaded how when he was still with the Jiang Clan, he never had to worry about buying anything; whereas after he left, he and a few other characters remarked on how broke he was.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: After managing to not only survive the Burial Mounds but also make use of the resentful energy found there to control the dead, he unleashed his fury on Wen Chao and his clan. 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. He dealt with Wang Lingjiao by making her eat a table leg and consequently choke on it, then he drove Wen Chao insane enough that he ate a good portion of his flesh to the point that he feared the sight of meat. That was only the beginning of what he had planned, and the rest is left for the reader to guess. And for good reason.
    • In the donghua, he used the corpse of Wang Lingjiao (who he had killed not long before) to attack Wen Chao and then impaling and eviscerate them both with dark energy. And in between, he twisted Wen Zhuliu's legs and right arm until they were broken beyond repair before destroying his golden core, leaving him defenseless when the fierce corpses start to have at him.
  • Running Gag:
    • His pennilessness is brought up every now and then, much to his chagrin. What makes this funnier is when his courtesy name gets misspelled by the townspeople as Wuqian instead of Wuxian, since wu qian translates to "no money".
    • From the past to the present, Lan Wangji sometimes remarks how shameless Wei Wuxian can be, whether it's about his tendency to flirt and pull pranks, or — at present — how brazen he acts in bed.
  • Sacred First Kiss: In spite of his reputation as a flirt, Wei Wuxian was careful regarding who to share his First Kiss with and was shocked when it was stolen from him during the Phoenix Mountain hunt. Years later, he learns who stole his kiss.
  • 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 or when he casually talks about the abuse that was heaped on him by Yu Ziyuan.
  • Sadist: He showed his bloodthirsty side when he was dealing with the Wen Clan, and he held absolutely nothing back with his brutality at that time. However, this is the only instance where he ever showed delight in inflicting pain and suffering on someone else, and considering what the Wen Clan had done then, it's not hard to see why.
  • Samaritan Syndrome: Jiang Cheng, alongside many other people, accuses him of having the need to play hero. He's half-correct; Wei Wuxian does has the habit of saving people in need, but Wei Wuxian doesn't have a hero complex and doesn't help people to make himself feel better; he does it because it's the right thing to do. However, this gets deconstructed in the moments where Wei Wuxian's acts of kindness get used against him in the long run.
  • Sanity Slippage: Whether it was really due to practicing demonic cultivation or simply because the emotional trauma of the tragedies he suffered started to take its toll on him, after becoming the Yiling Patriarch, Wei Wuxian became more temperamental and stubborn and was partly hostile to almost everyone. He finally lost it after Jiang Yanli's death and unleashed hell during the Nightless City siege.
  • Say My Name: There are many who tend to address Wei Wuxian's name, birth or courtesy, with an accusatory or derogatory undertone. Jiang Cheng takes the cake, and the only one who calls him by his full name without the hostile undertone is Lan Wangji.
  • 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 his name in a successful defence.
    • He tends to be this in general. Whenever something terrible happens — even if Wei Wuxian isn't at fault — the people who are involved or affected always lash out at him because they have a hard time accepting responsibility for their actions, can't admit that no one was truly at fault for what happened, or need someone to let out their resentment on, and Wei Wuxian's Ineffectual Loner status make him a very easy target.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!:
    • This is one of the core aspects of Wei Wuxian's character. If there's trouble afoot, he's the last person who you would expect to sit on his laurels and wait things out. And if the law is holding him back, he won't think twice about breaking said law and will risk landing in hot water with those who disapprove of his actions as long as he's able to help those who are suffering from the injustice of others.
      Jiang Cheng: We aren't even able to care for ourselves; how do we have the time to care about the trivialities of others?
      Wei Wuxian: First, this isn't a triviality. Second, things like this, somebody will have to care about them, sooner or later.
    • As such, this trope is his entire attitude towards saving the Wen survivors after the Sunshot Campaign. While the other clans, especially the Jins, have gone out of their way to eradicate the surviving Wens, Wei Wuxian finally refuses to follow them anymore after Wen Qing begs him to save her brother and he sees what was done to Wen Ning, which makes him fully realize that the cultivation world does not truly care about chivalry and justice. In the donghua, he literally and metaphorically destroys the bridge between him and the cultivation world, showing that he will no longer stand aside as innocent people get tortured and slaughtered and he'll protect them with his path of dark cultivation.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Shortly after his First Episode Resurrection, when Lan Wangji first takes him to the Cloud Recesses, Wei Wuxian immediately tries to leave under the assumption that Lan Wangji does not trust demonic cultivators and might have something bad planned for him. He gives up after every attempt blows up in his face.
    • While Wei Wuxian initially engages in Teeth-Clenched Teamwork with the cultivators that failed to kill him again in order to deal with the Big Bad, once Wei Wuxian gets more information about Jin Guangyao from Sisi and Bicao, he and Lan Wangji set out to handle the rest on their own without waiting for the cultivators to start mobilizing.
      • However, Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji didn't set out for Yunping City immediately after Sisi and Bicao told their stories. At first, the two only left to roam around the rest of Lotus Pier instead of dining with the cultivators, only leaving after they were accosted by Jiang Cheng. However, Wei Wuxian previously expressed annoyance and disapproval when the other cultivators quickly slipped back to their old ways and declared their plans to siege Koi Tower and fell Jin Guangyao, hinting that he had no intention of joining them in their schemes one way or another.
  • Seen It All: He gives off this impression most of the time after his reincarnation. It's justified, given the many horrible experiences he had in his first life.
  • Self-Made Man: Zigzagged. One one hand, Wei Wuxian never sought power or fame. However, he still stands out from other skilled cultivators on his own right, despite the fact that he's not born from a wealthy and prestigious clan. While Jiang Fengmian did take him under his care, Wei Wuxian is not officially listed as a member of the Jiang family, and society's stance on whether to regard him as a ward of the Jiang Clan or a son of a servant is fickle at best and his status is used against him more often than not. As such, any renown, infamy, or skill Wei Wuxian acquired is more notable because he earned them solely through a combination of both innate talent, keen judgment, and hard work, without once currying favor from those in power.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: The Intrusion extra shows that Wei Wuxian has gained a habit of accidentally wearing Lan Wangji's inner robes whenever he wakes up. Given their respective sleeping schedules, this is likely invoked on purpose by Lan Wangji.
  • Sherlock Scan: He's a master of this trope. Almost no detail goes past him, and he almost immediately comes to the correct conclusion after making a few observations.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Part of the narrative is showing the difference between Wei Wuxian as the person he really is and the legend everyone sees him as.
  • Signature Hair Decs: He uses a red ribbon to tie up his hair both in his first and second lives. While it's subtle, this makes him stand out from the other male cultivators, who wear special crown-like hairpieces — something which Wei Wuxian never has.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: He discarded his Jiang Clan disciple attire with a set of black robes after his Cold-Blooded Torture in the Burial Mounds. After coming Back from the Dead, he wears a different set of robes, which is a combination of the clothes he would wear when he was still a member of the Jiang Clan and when he became the Yiling Patriarch. This symbolizes that while he embraces his past as a part of him, he's also moved on from it and now simply sees himself as Wei Wuxian of neither the Jiang Clan nor the Burial Mounds.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Downplayed. Wei Wuxian is bisexual; he has shown to be attracted to women before and isn't immune to admiring the physique of other men, but Lan Wangji is the only person he has ever fallen for.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Downplayed. During night-hunts, while he'll give good advice to the juniors and step in if he sees that their lives are in real danger, he'll usually sit off to the side as they handle whatever ghost they're trying to exorcise and brush them off if they ask for his help. He even tells them that they shouldn't rely too much on their seniors to intervene on their behalf.
  • The Smart Guy: 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 the Jin Clan helped influence the events that would eventually lead to the First Siege, 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.
  • The Social Expert: Wei Wuxian is better at interacting with people than most other cultivators of his generation, especially since he approaches them without any regard for their reputation, gender, or status.
  • Something Only They Would Say: More like something only he would know. What gave him away to Lan Wangji after his resurrection was him playing the song "WangXian", which Lan Wangji composed for only Wei Wuxian to hear.
  • So Much for Stealth: In the Dafan Mountain arc, he could have gotten away with hiding his true identity had it not been for the threat that the Dancing Goddess posed. Said threat left him with no choice but to summon Wen Ning (which attracted Jiang Cheng's suspicions) and then playing a song to calm down Wen Ning afterwards (which then attracted Lan Wangji's suspicions).
  • So Proud of You: In the Iron Hook extra, Wei Wuxian happily remarks on how much Jin Ling has grown as a person.
  • Squishy Wizard:
    • Downplayed in his first life. While he wasn't as physically resilient as he used to be when he still fought with the sword, he was still able to endure and live through a lot of severe attacks, and what ultimately did him in was being torn apart into nothing — something that no one could ever survive.
    • In his second life, Mo Xuanyu's body isn't as well-built as his original one, which makes him more of this trope. However, Wei Wuxian is still tough on his own, he retains his combat senses and is still able to react quickly when he's in danger. However, he is strongly hinted to be back on his way to becoming a Lightning Bruiser after the audio drama confirmed that Wei Wuxian eventually got to form a golden core in his new body, but he now has the additional perk of being The Archmage due to his demonic cultivation.
  • Stop Worshipping Me: Wei Wuxian gets uncomfortable whenever Wen Ning treats him as if he's his master and prefers that they interact on equal footing. He even encourages Wen Ning to think for himself and carve his own path, and is happy for Wen Ning when the latter decides to follow his own path in the finale.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: During his first lesson with Lan Qiren, after suggesting the use of demonic cultivation instead of wasting the resentful energy that could be used to their advantage instead, Nie Huaisang later speaks to him about his theories and quickly agrees at how useful such a skill would be for the cultivation world. They also both are on the same wavelength when wanting to goof off or play around, where Nie Huaisang actually helped Wei Wuxian in pranking Lan Wangji with porn just so he could later report how Lan Wangji reacted.
  • Street Smart: He's far from Book Dumb, being quick-witted and educated. But compared to the other cultivators of his generation, he's the most well-equipped in casual conversations with the common folk and understanding how the people think and act, especially since he has had the most exposure to a world that lacked the privilege and fortune that the cultivation clans have.
  • Street Urchin: He was one from the time of his parents' deaths to when he was found and taken in by Jiang Fengmian.
  • Suckiness Is Painful: In his attempt to keep his identity a secret, Wei Wuxian played the flute badly enough that anyone within earshot can't help but cringe from the dissonant notes. After Lan Wangji tells Wei Wuxian that he knows who he really is, the next time they play Magic Music together, Lan Wangji makes sure to remind Wei Wuxian to play properly this time.
  • Superpower Lottery: It's understated, but if the audio drama is anything to go by — as it's the most faithful to the novel and any of its additional content is personally approved by the author herself — Wei Wuxian was able to form another golden core in his new body. This would make him one of the few cultivators capable of manipulating both spiritual and resentful energy. And since he's the Yiling Patriarch and was known to be an expert cultivator before...
  • Survivor's Guilt: Played with, as he had already died once and didn't anticipate being brought back to life. While he acts like the past is no longer his concern, some moments would prove that he still often thinks about it. He never goes into episodes of "I could have done something else," or "It should have been me,", and he feels guilt and remorse for everything that happened; but because the past can't be changed, he won't spend the rest of his life holding onto grudges and regrets.
    Wei Wuxian: No matter how much regret I feel, my mistakes will never vanish. The deceased cannot return to life. My death brought an end to the old scores of my previous life. Now that I have come back, I should only look to the future.
  • Sweet Tooth: It's not as pronounced as his love for spicy foods, but Wei Wuxian is also fond of eating desserts. The novel has a chapter where he eats candied haws, and the donghua features him eating ice cream.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Deconstructed. While he understands Xue Yang and Jin Guangyao's motives and why they became the people they are now, he doesn't condone their actions in any way.
  • Take a Third Option: Wei Wuxian always thinks outside the box and does not always approach a situation with a standard perspective. His debate with Lan Qiren and Lan Wangji about harnessing resentful energy shows this best.
  • Tall Poppy Syndrome: It's heavily implied that several cultivators had it out for Wei Wuxian in the past not just because he's a Defector from Decadence, but also because they resent and envy his prowess and how he managed to create and advance an entirely new path of cultivation at such a young age. Normally, the clans wouldn't find this to be that big an issue... except that they don't like being surpassed by someone who's essentially of commoner blood. As such, this fueled their desire to take him down so they could brag about taking down a supposed Evil Genius.
    • The irony is that in any other xianxia story, Wei Wuxian would have thrived and be genuinely well-loved by everyone, since the genre usually depicts a world where a cultivator's rank and reputation are defined by aptitude and skill, not by bloodline. In Mo Dao Zu Shi, however, the cultivation world runs on classism and discrimination against those they feel are not worthy of a high position in society. This just goes to show what happens if a world runs on a system that evaluates someone based on their background and not their capabilities.
  • Taught by Experience: Everything Wei Wuxian imparts to the juniors, whether it's life advice or anything related to cultivation, corpses, and night-hunting, is based on what he went through in his past life.
  • Team Mom: While he likes to cause mischief and is a bit of a prankster, he also has a caring and protective side that shows whenever he's with the junior cultivators. 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.
  • Teen Genius: When it comes to ranking each cultivator by their intelligence, Wei Wuxian has always been in a league of his own. To say that discovering and rapidly developing demonic cultivation at a young age is no small feat is still a major understatement. It says something that despite the many bad things others say about Wei Wuxian, no one ever calls him unintelligent.
  • Theme Song: The opening song of the donghua, "Drunken Dreams of the Past", is sung from Wei Wuxian's point of view as the song narrates how he views his life and how he never goes against his beliefs in spite of all the trials and tribulations he goes through.
    Overlooking both good and evil, I witness the chaos of life
    Side by side, we fight against the world
    Not once did I betray my principles
    Leading a carefree life, I have transcended virtues and vices
    Yet I cannot erase the scars from within my heart
    In this life, we shall not be caught in strife
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: As a result of the events at Qiongqi Path, Wei Wuxian started rapidly losing his grip on his sanity. When he arrived at the Nightless City and is confronted with the injustice, cruelty, and hypocrisy of the other clans — which was worsened by the thought that there's no one left who cares for him and that his own family and friends now see him as a monster — he decided to become what they had always feared him to be.
    He felt that everyone loathed him and he loathed everyone as well. He wouldn't be scared no matter who came at him. It wouldn't matter no matter who came at him. It was all the same anyway.
  • Thrill Seeker:
    • According to the Intrusion extra, Wei Wuxian prefers to go on the more dangerous night-hunts, although he's only after the risk and not the reward.
    • Wei Wuxian takes a liking to foods and drinks that hit hard. There's his love for wine, and he loves to eat anything that's spicier beyond what the human palate can tolerate.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone:
    • His second life is this in a nutshell. Because he chose to follow his morals, Wei Wuxian lost almost everything, including his own life, as a result of the injustice of others and circumstances he was unable to control in spite of his best efforts. After his reincarnation, he doesn't go through the same sufferings once again and after the finale, he now gets to live a pleasant and fulfilled life free of the troubles of the cultivation world's politics and the toxicity of his past.
    • When it comes to his cultivation, he turned to using resentful energy in the past because it gave him — and the other clans — an edge against the Wen Clan. But one other main reason was that he could no longer cultivate normally, since he had his golden core transplanted into Jiang Cheng's body after the latter's golden core was melted off by Wen Zhuliu — although he told no one about this. This is also the reason why he never brought his sword with him again, no matter how much criticism he would get from others. However, when Wei Wuxian was resurrected in Mo Xuanyu's body, he's given the chance to cultivate normally again while still being able to use demonic cultivation when necessary, and the audio drama's final extra strongly hints that he's cultivated a golden core that's powerful enough to let him use Suibian once more.
  • Too Powerful to Live: Despite his assurances, Wei Wuxian isn't always in control of his powers especially when he's stressed beyond his limits. However, the reason why the cultivation world wanted him dead wasn't because they feared that his demonic cultivation was a ticking time bomb waiting to explode. As Jiang Cheng had put it best, when his powers were useful to them, they saw him as the greatest ally they could ever have. But once his interests no longer aligned with theirs, they immediately labeled him as their most threatening liability since they could no longer use his powers to meet their own ends, and it didn't matter to them whether he's truly turning evil or not.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Wine, his shijie's cooking, and all things spicy.
  • Tragic Hero: All Wei Wuxian wanted to do was save and protect the people around him. It always backfired on him and eventually led to his death, although he gets a second chance after he's brought back to the mortal world.
  • Training from Hell: Almost literally, in this case. For three months, Wei Wuxian was stuck in the Burial Mounds, which is a lifeless wasteland that's overflowing with vengeful ghosts and resentful energy. Also, he was in extreme pain from the wounds he received from being horribly beaten and being thrown into the place. Even then, he persevered and in less than half a year, became the first to use resentful energy in an efficient manner.
  • Tranquil Fury: He can display his anger in this manner depending on the target and the reason for his anger.
  • 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 Clan, where he found 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 lost 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.
  • Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Played with, since demonic cultivation wasn't an ability he always had. While it's never shown outright, the entire process of Wei Wuxian learning The Dark Arts is hinted to be anything but easy. After all, he was stuck in the Burial Mounds, emaciated and with broken bones, and he was uncertain whether the Wen Clan would win and if his martial siblings would remain safe. Yet while all the resentment in the place was both physically and mentally wearing him out, he refused to die, allowing him to emerge from the Burial Mounds with a new power at his arsenal in three months' time.
  • Trickster Mentor: He acts as this towards the junior disciples, most notably during the Yi City arc. He properly explains about what others ask him, but he still encourages the juniors to figure things out for themselves and lets them try to solve cases using their own skills. He even tells them it's better to learn from experience than from theory.
  • Troll: One of Wei Wuxian's most defining characteristics is his tendency to mess with others, and not even children are spared from his antics. He's never malicious with his trolling, at least.
  • Uke: Or shou in Chinese terminology.
  • Unaffected by Spice: He loves food so spicy that it inflicts pain on anyone else that eats it, especially Lan Wangji.
  • Uncanny Valley Makeup: He wakes up with this when he comes back in Mo Xuanyu's body, although he rolls along with it as part of his disguise. He washes it off halfway through the Dafan Mountain arc, but at one point he puts it on again when he tries to disgust Lan Wangji into ditching him, to no avail.
  • 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 Phoenix Mountain, and he thought it was a courageous yet shy woman for a really long time.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Zigzagged; most of the story is told from Wei Wuxian's point of view. However, he doesn't intentionally omit or change any details, and any detail that is left out is explained by the fact that he didn't either witness or remember them.
    • One of the two things that makes his recounting of events somewhat doubtful is how his opinion of some events and the people involved in them is unusually forgiving. For example, he brushes off the abuse he suffered with the Jiang family like it wasn't such a big deal, whereas any reader would know that it is a big deal as Yu Ziyuan's constant abuse is one of the primary sources of his Heroic Self-Deprecation tendencies.
    • The second thing that casts doubts on his narration is whenever his relationship with Lan Wangji is involved. Anyone who first reads the novel is likely to believe that Lan Wangji is nothing but impassive and neutral towards him for most of the story, but upon a reread, they would realize that Wei Wuxian is mistaken. Then again, it's not as if he's lying, that's simply what he believes.
  • Unwanted Assistance: Zigzagged. Jiang Cheng is far from elated when he finds out that Wei Wuxian gave him his own golden core so he could cultivate again, but the novel never hints at him expressing or thinking that he didn't want Wei Wuxian to make that sacrifice for him. What Jiang Cheng was shown to be more upset about was how it paints Wei Wuxian's actions, and consequently his, in a completely different light, which makes Jiang Cheng go through a Jerkass Realization that his pride initially tries to resist.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Even if some things were inevitable, it's easy to wonder how much would have changed had Wei Wuxian never made his promise to Jiang Cheng that they would become the Twin Prides of Yunmeng. While it did lift up Jiang Cheng's spirits at the time, it also aggravated his abandonment issues in the long run, which — alongside several outside circumstances, part of which are caused by Jiang Cheng's aforementioned issues — ended up straining their relationship past the breaking point.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty: Played with. While he's certainly not happy with the misfortunes brought on him, he never felt the desire to take bloody revenge against Jin Guangyao even when he and his clan played a huge part in Wei Wuxian's life going downhill after the Wens' defeat. Wei Wuxian only wants to stop Jin Guangyao because he's connected to the murder mystery he's currently investigating. Then when the truth about the Big Bad comes out and all the cultivation clans turn against him, Wei Wuxian feels annoyed, disappointed and disgusted as he's reminded of when he was the target of the same treatment caused by schadenfreude and mob mentality, and he sees that no one learned their lesson about such things.
  • Verbal Backspace: He sometimes says the wrong thing and has to backpedal his words. However, this sometimes makes a situation he's in worse.
  • Villain Protagonist: He is initially set up to be one since the very first chapter of the novel features cultivators talking about how evil and wretched he is, and after he's brought back to life, his actions and motives are rather vague in nature. Over time, the story eventually reveals that any information that points to him being the bad guy are actually false. In truth, he's either framed for the atrocities he didn't commit, set up as The Scapegoat for the crimes of others, or the details about what he did do are either blown out of proportion or completely misinterpreted.
  • Vocal Evolution: Both the donghua and the audio drama show the pitch in Wei Wuxian's voice changing after his time in the Burial Mounds, sounding lower and darker in tone with a sharper edge. In the donghua, his voice goes through a second evolution after his resurrection, being an amalgamation of how he sounded before and after he became the Yiling Patriarch.
  • Weak, but Skilled: At present, Wei Wuxian lacks Lan Wangji's power; he easily gets tired 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.
  • We Are Not Going Through That Again: It's all but stated that the reason he immediately leaves with Lan Wangji after the entire matter with Jin Guangyao and Nie Mingjue is resolved is because he doesn't want to deal with the fallout or anything else the cultivation world might throw at him again.
  • We Used to Be Friends: He and Jiang Cheng were once as close as brothers, but various events, decisions, and circumstances worsened their relationship to the point that Jiang Cheng now hates him. While he still cares for Jiang Cheng and is saddened about what happened between them, Wei Wuxian understands why their friendship deteriorated and is completely resigned to the fact that it can't be repaired. He even tells Jiang Cheng that too much had already happened between them and that it's better if they move on.
  • What You Are in the Dark: Even though it would be extremely disadvantageous for him, Wei Wuxian always chooses to help others. The most shining example is when he sacrifices his own golden core so that Jiang Cheng can cultivate again after the latter's core was destroyed; and he resolves to never let Jiang Cheng find out what he did so as to not upset him with the truth.
  • Where It All Began: For a time, he lived in Yiling as a Street Urchin after his parents' deaths. Yiling is also where he founded demonic cultivation, and where he ultimately perished.
  • 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 often had to fight dogs over scraps of food during his time as a Street Urchin. Consequently, he's also averse to being bitten (unless sex is involved) since it reminds him of dogs.
  • 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 doesn't use demonic cultivation at its full power, though this is because there is no more war and he has no intention to kill anyone, so he has no more need to use demonic cultivation the same way he used to in the past.
  • Willing Channeler: Lots of the plot is uncovered through Wei Wuxian channeling the life experiences of ghosts and one severed head.
  • Wingding Eyes: In Mo Dao Zu Shi Q, his eyes sparkle and shine whenever he gets excited or amazed.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: While his generation as a whole was forced to grow up much sooner than expected because of the discord and wars that they were forced to deal with from a young age, Wei Wuxian still outshines his peers and even his elders with his ability to healthily deal with the adversities that come his way, his profound understanding of human behavior, and his wide knowledge of the world around him.
  • Witch Hunt: The cultivation world's condemnation and eventual persecution of Wei Wuxian runs along the lines of this trope. As soon as his actions do not comply with their whims, they stop praising him as a hero and begin to treat him like a criminal. The moment someone dies in an incident involving him, they become all too eager to plan a siege on him without bothering to look into the matter further or letting Wei Wuxian speak for himself. Even after he dies, people talk of him as if he's the ultimate scourge of the cultivation world, and once the clans realize that he's alive, they attempt to lead a siege on him again and refuse to listen to anything he has to say, although they're unsuccessful in killing him the second time around and are left humiliated since they end up getting saved by him, leaving the chances of them attempting a third siege to be highly unlikely, especially since he soon gets married into the Lan Clan.
  • With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Deconstructed. Lan Wangji feared that demonic cultivation would eventually have adverse effects on Wei Wuxian. While it did mentally wear him out to an extent, it was not the cause of his Sanity Slippage.
  • The Worf Effect: Mo Xuanyu isn't as physically adept or gifted in cultivation as Wei Wuxian, so after being summoned into the former's body, Wei Wuxian isn't as powerful as he used to be. Still, Wei Wuxian remains the most proficient user of The Dark Arts, and the author confirmed in her notes that he's training to cultivate a new golden core in his current body after the main events of the novel. The audio drama confirms that by the time of the Dream Come True extra, Wei Wuxian eventually formed another golden core that's powerful enough for him to be able to carry his sword with him again.
  • Worf Had the Flu: His powers weren't exactly impaired at the time, but it's obvious that the Nightless City bloodbath would have had a completely different outcome if Wei Wuxian's emotional and mental state weren't impaired by all the hardships he's been dealing with. The First Siege would have also ended badly for the other cultivation clans had it not been from Wei Wuxian focusing on destroying the Yin Tiger Seal, where the resulting backlash ended up killing him.
  • Would Hit a Girl: He's generally kind and respectful towards women... unless that woman did something to deserve otherwise. Such an example was Wang Lingjiao, who Wei Wuxian subjected to a Cruel and Unusual Death.
  • Wouldn't Hurt a Child: It comes with being a Friend to All Children. Even when Jin Ling attacks him nonstop during their first encounter, the most Wei Wuxian does to fight back is to use a talisman that pins Jin Ling down, but he doesn't actually hurt him. While he knocks him out later on, it's only to make it easier for him to extract a Curse Mark — whose effects can turn fatal if left unchecked — from Jin Ling's body.
  • Wrong Name Outburst: While he was still posing as Mo Xuanyu, Wei Wuxian strictly referred to Lan Wangji by his title, but slipped to calling him by his birth name whenever he got spooked by dogs.
  • You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Wei Wuxian never calls Lan Wangji or Jiang Cheng by their courtesy names... unless they're talking about a deathly serious matter or either of them did or said something that pissed him off.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Lotus Pier had been his home since his childhood, although Wei Wuxian knows he can never go back there, especially after everything that happened between him and the Jiang family. The one time he does get to visit his old home, he's driven away by Jiang Cheng, who chooses to rub salt in the wound by mocking him and telling him to get out. Although even before that, when he looked around the rebuilt Lotus Pier, he sadly noted that nothing remained of the Lotus Pier he once knew, not just in infrastructure but also in spirit.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: While he doesn't say it word for word, the Flat "What" he gives when the cultivators ask for his help to take down Jin Guangyao near in the finale definitely has this trope as the undertone. It makes sense, considering that the cultivators weren't ashamed to band together to kill him just a few hours ago, so Wei Wuxian's response just highlights his complete exasperation and annoyance towards their hypocrisy.
  • You Remind Me of X: Lan Sizhui tells Wei Wuxian at one point that he's a lot like Lan Wangji, although Wei Wuxian is confused as to why.
  • Zombie Advocate: Before he even founded The Dark Arts, Wei Wuxian had already expressed interest in the potential benefits that resentful energy could provide when it comes to hunting or analyzing corpses and spirits.

    Tropes that apply to him in The Untamed only 
https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cql_wwx.png
Click here  to see Wei Wuxian as a child
  • Acting Unnatural: Played for Laughs; there are moments when Wei Wuxian has a hard time playing things off smoothly when he's caught red-handed.
  • Adaptational Angst Upgrade: The Untamed gives Wei Wuxian more baggage by upping the severity of his Sanity Slippage prior to the events of Qiongqi Path and making him completely unaccountable for the bloodshed that occurs after the events of the Sunshot Campaign, intensifying his status as The Scapegoat.
  • Adaptational Badass: Played with, since his abilities actually get a downgrade (see Adaptational Wimp below). On the other hand, while he's more mentally worn down by his powers, he never lost control like he did in the novel and the events that made it look otherwise (i.e. Wen Ning going berserk and killing Jin Zixuan, and the corpses no longer heeding Wei Wuxian's commands in the Nightless City bloodbath) were instead due to Jin Guangyao and Su She's machinations.
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: After he came back to life in the novel, he acts a lot more distant towards Jiang Cheng whenever they meet, given their entire history and his knowledge of how much Jiang Cheng hates his guts now. The live-action drama softens this aspect of his personality to an extent — in the finale, he's a bit more emotional in his final confrontation with Jiang Cheng and reaches out to the latter while consoling him. This differs from how he acted in the source material, where he keeps his distance throughout and responds to Jiang Cheng in a more neutral and melancholy tone.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: He goes through this the most in the series. For example, after he became the Yiling Patriarch, his fuse was much shorter and his mental state was a lot more volatile, and he even came close to experiencing a total emotional hijack a few times.
  • Adaptational Wimp: He remains a powerful cultivator in his own right and still became infamous as the Yiling Patriarch, but he's no longer the founder of demonic cultivation. He's also a lot more physically frail after he began practicing The Dark Arts, whether he's in his original body or Mo Xuanyu's body, and there has been at least a few times when he either came close to fainting or actually did pass out.
  • Beauty Mark: Wei Wuxian has a mole under the left side of his lip. This disappears after his First Episode Resurrection in Mo Xuanyu's body.
  • But Now I Must Go: His final fate. After the issues with Nie Mingjue's spirit and Jin Guangyao are dealt with, Wei Wuxian decides to travel the world.
    Lan Wangji: Have you decided where you're going to go?
    Wei Wuxian: This world is wide. To a faraway place on a horse ride and wine. All the four corners of this world are our home.
  • Character Tics: He brushes the tip of his nose whenever he's deep in thought.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience: A confusing case in this instance. Wei Wuxian's Color Motif is still black and red in the series, but the colors of the Wen Clan have been changed from white and red to be also black and red, making Wei Wuxian look like he's actually a Wen disciple. However, nobody lampshades this In-Universe.
  • Cool Mask: He wears one to prevent others from finding out that he's Wei Wuxian, since his appearance was assimilated into Mo Xuanyu's body after the summoning ritual.
  • Cuteness Proximity: There are a few scenes where Wei Wuxian is seen playing with rabbits in the outskirts of the Cloud Recesses.
  • Determinator: Wei Wuxian was hellbent on growing lotus flowers in the Burial Mounds despite Wen Qing arguing that he'd be wasting his time because the soil wasn't right for the plants. He ends up growing a small patch of lotus pods and flowers, although the seeds were inedible.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Wei Wuxian's death involved him falling down a cliff instead of being torn apart to pieces by corpses.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: It's implied that after the Sunshot Campaign ended, he started drinking more to deal with the stress he's getting from both his personal losses and the effects of his newfound abilities.
  • Face Death with Dignity: While falling to his death, Wei Wuxian only smiles and closes his eyes.
  • Foreshadowing: The series gives one regarding how Jiang Cheng truly got his core back. After Jiang Cheng heads up the mountains to have his golden core restored Wei Wuxian is moving slowly and clutching his stomach, which first-time viewers might assume just means he's exhausted and hungry. But upon a second watch, it's clear that he is exhausted and in pain after the surgery.
  • Forgot About His Powers: Wei Wuxian exhibits the ability to stop time or other people's perception of time. He only uses this ability in one other instance in the Yi City arc, but never again for the rest of the series. Either this is a lapse on the writers' part, or the ability only works on those with weak or nonexistent spiritual power.
  • For Want of a Nail: Invoked. When Jiang Cheng confronts him over rescuing the Wen survivors, Wei Wuxian retorts that it didn't have to be Wen Qing asking him for help and he still would have done it anyway.
  • Humble Goal: Weu Wuxian wishes on his lantern to be able to always fight for justice and to protect the innocent. This causes Lan Wangji to realize that while Wei Wuxian is a troublemaker, deep down he has a noble heart, and starts having second thoughts about his first impression of the man.
  • I Choose to Stay: When Jiang Cheng implicitly tries to ask Wei Wuxian to leave the Wens once again, Wei Wuxian refuses through the following exchange:
    Jiang Cheng: If you go back this time, you might not be able to see all of us, the people you're familiar with, for a long time.
    Wei Wuxian: But I'm going back to see people I'm also familiar with.
  • Implied Death Threat: In the finale, while he and Nie Huaisang seem to be sharing a casual conversation on the steps of the Cloud Recesses, Wei Wuxian hints that he knows Nie Huaisang was behind everything. While he is grateful for a second chance at life, he subtly warns Nie Huaisang to be careful, especially if his future plans are nefarious in nature. Nie Huaisang is quiet for a beat before acknowledging Wei Wuxian's words and the two eventually part ways for good.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Wei Wuxian can shoot a target while blindfolded, and during the Phoenix Mountain Hunt, he's blindfolded and yet manages to shoot five arrows at once, which hit all of their targets.
  • Laughing Mad: Wei Wuxian laughs at the other cultivation clans in mockery while watching them fight each other for the remaining half of the Yin Tiger Seal. However, he quickly descends into Cry Laughing afterwards before deciding to commit suicide.
  • Mad Scientist: After he started living in the Burial Mounds, Wei Wuxian spends most of his time in the caves and working on creating new items and talismans. Almost every character who fits the trope is featured with their inventions literally blowing up in their faces, which is also what happens to Wei Wuxian in one instance.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: He wears a Cool Mask (like Mo Xuanyu did) since the summoning ritual caused Mo Xuanyu's body to inhabit both Wei Wuxian's soul and appearance, and Wei Wuxian has no plans of being found out any time soon. While this works against unsuspecting strangers and those who never personally knew him, it's a different story with those who do. However, it's his powers that give him away first before anyone even starts thinking of asking him to take off his mask.
  • Screams Like a Little Girl: Lu Zhixing increases the pitch of his screams in the scenes where Wei Wuxian gets scared by a dog, giving off this effect.
  • Secret Keeper: Wei Wuxian figures out that Nie Huaisang was behind everything that lead up to Jin Guangyao's downfall and lets him off with a warning. Nie Huaisang takes the veiled threat with a small nod and the two part ways for good.
  • Squish the Cheeks: He's still a Friend to All Children in the series, although he's more open with showing his adoration towards them. He would often pinch Wen Yuan's cheeks whenever he doted on him; and when he meets Mianmian's daughter, he does the same thing in contrast to when he held back in the novel.
  • Tell Me About My Father: In the first few episodes, any mention of his mother immediately has him ask the person who mentioned her to tell him anything else they knew about Cangse Sanren.
  • We Used to Be Friends: Wei Wuxian has this dynamic with Nie Huaisang, which is shown more explicitly in the finale. The two were close during their teenage years at the Cloud Recesses, but after Wei Wuxian is resurrected and he figures out Nie Huaisang was the reason he's alive again, as well as the one behind Jin Guangyao's demise, he's thankful, but warns him of the one of the Lan Clan's rules that "one mustn't associate with evil". Nie Huaisang understands that they've both changed too much to ever return to their friendship during their youthful years, but they do part on more respectable terms.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: The defensive variant; Wei Wuxian uses his own flute to block sword attacks.

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