Main Characters: Wei Wuxian | Lan Wangji
Five Great Sects: Gusu Lan Sect | Yunmeng Jiang Sect (Jiang Cheng) | Lanling Jin Sect (Jin Guangyao) | Qinghe Nie Sect | Qishan Wen Sect
Other Characters: Other Sects | Yi City Group | Miscellaneous Characters
Yunmeng Jiang Sect | 云梦江氏
Residence: Lotus Pier | 莲花坞
Region: Yunmeng | 云梦 (based on modern Hubei)
Another of the top four families of the cultivation world, the Yunmeng Jiang Sect was founded by a wandering swordsman-turned-cultivator Jiang Chi.
Their motto is "attempt the impossible", and their Motif is a nine-petal lotus. All disciples wear purple, and the direct disciples carry a silver bell inscribed with the clan symbol.
- Back from the Brink: The Yunmeng Jiang Sect was nearly wiped out during the burning of Lotus Pier. Jiang Cheng basically had to rebuild from nothing.
- Dress-Coded for Your Convenience: Purple uniforms.
- Fisher Kingdom: Cultivators tend to pick an area with good fengshui in order to accumulate good qi or spiritual energy. The Lotus Pier is a riverside manor in a lake of lotuses, more or less.
- Flower Motifs: Lotuses are one of the most significant flowers in Chinese culture, and are known for blooming beautifully from muddy ground. They symbolize purity and clarity, which fits the Jiang Sect as 江 translates to "clear", and the entire body of the lotus (fruit, flower and stalk) represent the past, present, and future, respectively — a concept that describes a good portion of the novel's overall narrative. Lotuses also represent honor, a reference to the Jiang Sect's motto (see below).
- Honor Before Reason: Their motto is "know it to be impossible but do it anyway", an idiom referring to the persistence in pursuing what one believes is right against all odds.
- Inciting Incident: The burning of Lotus Pier is what sparks the Sunshot Campaign.
- Nothing Is the Same Anymore: When Wei Wuxian returns to Lotus Pier after more than a decade, he finds that the layout of the place has completely changed and is nothing like how he remembered it.
- Olympic Swimmer: All the Jiang Sect disciples are noted to be exceptional swimmers, since Lotus Pier is located near a lake.
- Protective Charm: The Clarity Bells (small silver bells that the disciples attach to their belts) serve as this, since it can clear the holder's mind and protect them from the weaker yet nevertheless harmful influences of resentful energy.
- Purple Is Powerful: Purple is their Color Motif, and they're one of the Four Great Sects.
See more information about Jiang Cheng in his character page.
Voiced by (Mandarin): Li Shimeng (animation), Qiao Shiyu (audio drama), Bai Xuecen (live-action)
Voiced by (Korean): Gang Eun-ae (animation)
Played by: Xuan Lu (live-action - adult), Ye Xuantong (live-action - child)
Jiang Cheng's sister, Wei Wuxian's shijie, and Jin Ling's mother. She's not too particularly beautiful but has a gentle and graceful personality, and really good culinary skills. Since her youth, she's been betrothed to Jin Zixuan, the young master of the Lanling Jin Sect.
- Adaptational Badass: Played with. In the novel's canon, her cultivation ability is said to be somewhat below average. In The Untamed, she's proficient enough to join Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng in their apprenticeship in the Cloud Recesses, although the viewer never gets to see her fight.
- All Love Is Unrequited: She always had feelings for Jin Zixuan, who wasn't initially interested in her. However, he began to reciprocate her feelings after the Sunshot Campaign.
- Animal Motifs: Sheeps. Sheeps are known to be docile and were commonly used as wedding gifts in ancient Chinese culture. Fittingly, Jiang Yanli is gentle and sweet, and a huge part of her story involved her Arranged Marriage with Jin Zixuan. Sheeps are also regarded in China as symbols of luck and gratitude, which mirrors how she's the Morality Chain of her family. Lastly, they symbolized justice — likely a twisted allusion to her death, which led Jiang Cheng to finally hate Wei Wuxian and seek revenge.
- Ascended Extra: While she still played an important role in the novel, the amount of appearances she made is very minimal. Her role is greatly expanded in The Untamed, to the point that she has more screentime there than she does in the novel, donghua, and audio drama combined.
- Beware the Nice Ones: She's the kindest person you'll ever meet, but if you cross her family she's more than capable of decimating you with words alone.
- Big Sister Instinct: While she's not physically strong nor does she has a high level of cultivation, she tries to protect her younger brothers emotionally and is their greatest support. It's also not a wise idea to mock either of her brothers while she's within earshot.
- Breaking the Cycle of Bad Parenting: Averted. Unlike her parents, she and Jin Zixuan were different in many ways but they eventually ended up in a Perfectly Arranged Marriage; and while their time with their son was short-lived, they would have undoubtedly been Good Parents rather than well-meaning but severely flawed parents. The aversion is implied to be invoked on her part; given the kind of parents she grew up with, it's understandable if she made sure that she wouldn't repeat their mistakes.
- Brutal Honesty: She's normally gentle with her words, but there's one instance where she drops the tactfulness when someone insults Wei Wuxian at the Phoenix Mountain hunt, bluntly telling the offender that it's not Wei Wuxian's fault if they're too incompetent to catch any prey. This is taken out in the donghua, but she still makes it clear to Jin Zixun and everyone else who is present that she won't tolerate anyone insulting her family.
- Cool Big Sis: Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng immediately soften in her presence, and it's not hard to see why they're protective of her. Likewise, she proves to be a kind and supportive figure to them when their parents can't act as that.
- Happily Married: She eventually attained this status with Jin Zixuan, although it took some Character Development on his part.
- Hidden Depths: Despite lacking any skill in cultivation, the way she handled Wei Wuxian and Jin Zixun's altercation in the Phoenix Mountain hints at some superb diplomatic skills.
- Informed Deformity: She's supposed to be rather plain and it's the biggest reason why Jin Zixuan initially didn't want to marry her. Every depiction we see of her is lovely and beautiful.
- Like Father, Unlike Son: Gender-inverted; she took more after her father in both looks and disposition. What she and her mother have in common, however, is that they become fierce the moment their family is threatened.
- Meaningful Name: Yanli means "to detest separation", foreshadowing the significance of her role in Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng's friendship (see Morality Chain below).
- Morality Chain:
- She acted as one to both Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng during the aftermath of the Sunshot Campaign, and why the two still had an amicable relationship in spite of their growing differences. It was also her death that caused Wei Wuxian to lose his sanity and cause a bloodbath during the raid at the Nightless City.
- She was also this to her family in general. Regardless of the myriad of problems they had with each other, they never once lashed out at her for it.
- Muscles Are Meaningless: Downplayed. While she's no fighter and isn't noted for her physical strength, she was able to carry two young boys on her back on a long walk back to Lotus Pier when she was barely a teenager.
- Nice Girl: She takes after her father, who's gentle and even-tempered. She's so nice that she started having feelings for Jin Zixuan even after he had insulted her and humiliated her. Luckily, things between them worked out well.
- Non-Action Guy: Gender-inverted. She's the only member of her family who isn't a fighter, but she's fine with her role as a caretaker and supporting figure, preferring to watch over her siblings' welfare over learning how to cultivate and wield a sword.
- Not So Different:
- To Nie Huaisang. Both are noted to be weak in cultivation but neither are bothered by it and are more than content with doing other things that aren't related to fighting. Their brothers are fiercely protective of them, and they in turn prove to be loyal to said brothers. While they aren't skilled in battle, they nevertheless have a keen mind. Jiang Yanli showed such a skill when she expertly defended her brother with words alone, and Nie Huaisang proved to be capable of manipulating and deceiving everyone around him to get revenge on his brother's killer.
- She and Lan Wangji are similar in that they're two of the only people who always trusts Wei Wuxian and is always concerned about his well-being. In return, Wei Wuxian completely lets his guard down towards them because he completely trusts them, and such treasures the affection they would give him. The only difference is that Wei Wuxian's relationship with one is purely platonic while it's romantic with the other.
- Only Sane Man: She's the only well-adjusted member of the otherwise dysfunctional and fractured Jiang family as she never suffered from self-esteem and communication issues.
- Parental Substitute: At times, she's more like a mother figure to Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng than their actual mother, who has several shortcomings in terms of parenting.
- Passive-Aggressive Kombat: Do not insult Wei Wuxian where Jiang Yanli can hear you. She might not be able to physically beat you up, but you can bet she can give the most polite tongue-lashing of the century, point out every single fault in your logic, and look good while doing it.
- Sacrificial Lion: Her death in the past signifies that the events of the First Siege was the pinnacle of Wei Wuxian's darkest hour.
- Senseless Sacrifice: She gave up her life to save Wei Wuxian. Not that it mattered, since Wei Wuxian would end up dead a few months later. What's worse is that despite witnessing her willingly taking the killing blow meant for Wei Wuxian and that Wei Wuxian murdered her killer shortly after, Jiang Cheng doesn't acknowledge her sacrifice and spends the next thirteen years resenting Wei Wuxian and blaming him for her death.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Jiang Yanli is essentially the yang to her younger brother's yin.
- While Jiang Yanli takes after their father more, Jiang Cheng is basically a gender-flipped version of their mother. They're also both close to Wei Wuxian, but their relationship with him highly contrasts. Jiang Yanli never held any ill will towards Wei Wuxian and always believed in him to the bitter, tragic end; whereas Jiang Cheng's genuine love for Wei Wuxian clashes with his anger issues and his Inferiority Superiority Complex, causing his trust in Wei Wuxian to become easier to exploit, which led to their brotherhood suffering irreversible damage.
- Silk Hiding Steel: A non-combat example. She may not be a fighter, but she firmly stands her ground if her family is mocked or threatened in any way, and she even has more backbone than her brother when it comes to confronting the other clans over Wei Wuxian.
- Supreme Chef: She's one of the best cooks in her sect.
- Through His Stomach: How she caught the attention of Jin Zixuan.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: She's one of the nicest characters in the novel, being nothing but loving and generous to her family and to everyone else she meets. Naturally, she's dead by the story's present timeline.
- A Tragedy of Impulsiveness: While she undoubtedly meant well, let's be honest, running unarmed into a battlefield where there's fierce corpses on the left and murderous cultivators on the right isn't the best time to try and talk to your younger brother. Even though her death is already a Foregone Conclusion and not the result of carelessness but a more tragic reason, it's easy for one to think of this trope when explaining why she died.
- Tragic Dream: In a similar vein to Wei Wuxian's promise to Jiang Cheng, in The Untamed Jiang Yanli assures Wei Wuxian a few times that no matter what, the three of them will always be together. It's a Foregone Conclusion that this doesn't happen.
- Tranquil Fury: When she calls out Jin Zixun, there are hints that she's doing her best not to outwardly show that she's angry about Wei Wuxian being slighted. The Untamed even plays this role straight; while she remains polite, her expression and the tone of her voice show that she's clearly indignant. This is also displayed in the donghua, albeit in a subtler manner.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Granted, things were already hitting rock-bottom at the time; but her action of charging into the Nightless City and being one of the casualties of the massacre made an irreversible and negative impact on both Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: During the flashback when Wei Wuxian was first adopted into the Jiang family, Jiang Yanli acted a lot more mature than the average eleven-year-old. She also has more maturity than her brother and their parents.
- Yamato Nadeshiko: In terms of traits, Jiang Yanli fits the trope. She's gentle, feminine, a great cook, a great sisterly/motherly figure to both her brothers, and shows more emotional wisdom than the adults around her.
Voiced by (Mandarin): Tang Shuiyu (animation, live-action), Zhang Zhen (audio drama)
Voiced by (Korean): Seoh Won-seok (animation)
Played by: Lu Jianmin (live-action)
Jiang Cheng's father and the previous head of the Jiang Sect. He was friends with Wei Wuxian's parents and adopted him after their deaths.
- Arranged Marriage: With Yu Ziyuan. It hasn't worked out all that well. The novel expands on this: Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan studied in the same cultivation school, and in time the Meishan Yu Sect proposed an alliance between clans via their marriage. While he politely declined since he knew they were too different to get along, he was continuously pressured until he was left with no choice but to agree to the arrangement.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: He rushed back to Lotus Pier to find his wife even when he knew that it meant certain death.
- Berserk Button: Bringing up the rumors about his alleged feelings for Cangse Sanren or how Wei Ying might be illegitimate son is one of the few things that makes him lose his cool.
- Childhood Friends: With both of Wei Wuxian's parents, having studied with the mother in the same cultivation school, and the father being his subordinate.
- Extreme Doormat: Deconstructed. He lets his wife know when he's losing his patience with her haranguing, but instead of properly confronting her, he would say no more than along the lines of a firm "That's enough," and walk away. And in the moments when she would berate any of her children, Jiang Fengmian doesn't make much effort to stop her even when he's displeased. Either he lacks a spine, or he knows it's pointless to try and speak up and decides to not waste his breath.
- Giver of Lame Names: He's the one who named Wei Wuxian's sword Suibian (Mandarin for "whatever"), since when Wei Wuxian was unable to think of a suitable name and shrugged, "Whatever," Jiang Fengmian suggested they could use that as the name. It's even possible that Jiang Cheng got his terrible naming sense from his father.
- Good Parents: Zigzagged. He was a good father figure to Wei Wuxian and, to a lesser extent, Jiang Yanli. However, he failed in being the same to Jiang Cheng.
- Hidden Depths:
- While he was known as a Reasonable Authority Figure, it's still easy to see him as a traditionalist due to the way he regarded his sect's motto and how his son believes that he expected him to do the same. However, there are hints that Jiang Fengmian actually had progressive views given the way he handled Jiang Yanli's engagement, since in ancient China you'd be hard-pressed to find a parent — especially one from a prestigious family — who would act the way he did when they realize that their child and/or the betrothed doesn't want to be in an Arranged Marriage.
- As with Yu Ziyuan, there are hints that Jiang Fengmian did love his wife and tried to reach out and improve their relationship. Unfortunately, irreconcilable differences in personality and ultimately their untimely deaths prevented them from coming to an accord.
- Honor Before Reason: Downplayed. He strongly believes in the motto of his sect, and one of his conversations with Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng imply that he doesn't favor pragmatism over morality. That being said, he isn't difficult to reason with.
- Innocently Insensitive:
- To put it simply, he may be a decent man, but he is no doubt a poor father and husband. While he didn't mean to cause discord in the family, it doesn't change the fact that he's terrible in how he approached them. He shares half the blame for why he and his wife would always run around in circles around one another, and he never once provided Jiang Cheng with the affection, assurance, and approval that he sorely needed.
- While he always treated Wei Wuxian well, his final words to him are not for him to take care of himself, but to protect Jiang Cheng — in a similar vein to the last words Yu Ziyuan left to Wei Wuxian. This leaves a blow on Wei Wuxian's already dismal self-worth and would cause him to take actions out of what he sees as repayment to his debt to the Jiang Sect. However, those same actions also worsened his relationship with Jiang Cheng until tensions between them reached the breaking point.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Though he's less of a Jerkass and more of a horribly, even if Innocently Insensitive man.
- He makes a sensible argument when he advised Jin Guangshan to end their children's engagement, since a marriage is likely to not work if it is forced against the will of the involved parties. What further supported his argument was that at the time, Jin Zixuan looked down on Jiang Yanli.Jiang Fengmian: Although we can set the engagement for them, we can't carry out the marriage in place of them. After all, they are the ones who will be spending the rest of their lives together.
- There is some wisdom to be found in his words when he warned Jiang Cheng to be careful of what he says, especially when he's angry. Being his mother's son, however, Jiang Cheng did not take the lesson to heart, which would bite him in the ass and beyond years later as it would permanently cost him his relationship with his brother.
- He makes a sensible argument when he advised Jin Guangshan to end their children's engagement, since a marriage is likely to not work if it is forced against the will of the involved parties. What further supported his argument was that at the time, Jin Zixuan looked down on Jiang Yanli.
- The Leader: Of the Yunmeng Jiang Sect, before the Wen Sect attacked.
- Never Got to Say Goodbye: In the donghua, the scene where he has one last conversation with Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng before returning to Lotus Pier to fight off the Wens is completely omitted.
- Nice Guy: While he has several flaws as a father, it's still easy to see where Jiang Yanli got her personality from.
- Non-Answer: What caused a lot of problems between him and his family is that he never confirms or denies any of the accusations his wife would make about him regarding whether he favors Wei Wuxian over Jiang Cheng or if he has any feelings for Cangse Sanren.
- Not So Different: Tragically right before their deaths, Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan start unknowingly echoing each other, going Papa Wolf and Mama Bear on their sons, wielding Zidian in similar ways and even having similar Last Words. They may argue often, but they had more in common than they thought.
- Not So Stoic: It happens briefly, but when his wife pushes his Berserk Button, he responds by raising his voice at her, the first and only time he did so.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: Not really (see Reasonable Authority Figure below), but there are implications that the Jin Sect sees Jiang Fengmian as this when it comes to the Arranged Marriage between Jiang Yanli and Jin Zixuan. When he requested that the marriage be dissolved and explained why, said request was accepted without any protest. But after his death, Jin Zixuan's parents subtly pushed for Jiang Fengmian's children to reconsider their father's decision; although they may have been acting on their son's behalf, since he wanted to make things up with Jiang Yanli.
- Parental Favoritism: He's accused of this by Yu Ziyuan, who states several times that he prefers Wei Wuxian over their son, Jiang Cheng. Unfortunately, she's not the only one, as many characters refer to this and even his own son believes it.
- Parents as People:
- He's a good man and has undeniably treated Wei Wuxian well. The problem is that he forgot to extend the same courtesy to his own biological son, who he may care for but is clearly more distant with, and he has trouble addressing this issue even as his wife continuously confronts him about it.
- Jiang Fengmian's indulgence did Wei Wuxian no favors as he encouraged some of Wei Wuxian's worst flaws — in particular his Chronic Hero Syndrome.
- In general, Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan undermined each other's parenting. Both had valid points about raising their children but their constant fighting and overriding each other meant that their lessons went unheeded and ignored.
- Papa Wolf: While not as prominent as with his wife, Jiang Fengmian also wouldn't hesitate to protect his family even if he knows he'll die doing it.
- Parting Words Regret: Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan quarreled bitterly the day of the burning of Lotus Pier. Wei Wuxian hoped that they got to exchange one more sentence before they died.
- Pining After Protagonist's Parent: Jiang Fengmian was said to be in love with Wei Wuxian's mother, but she married his best friend instead. The way he favors Wei Wuxian over his own son and his strained relationship with Yu Ziyuan have made people question if he still has feelings for Wei Wuxian's mother. The more mean-spirited gossips claim that Jiang Fengmian cheated on his wife with her, and Wei Wuxian is his illegitimate son. While he gets angry whenever those rumors are brought up, he neither confirms nor denies them.
- Plot-Triggering Death: Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan's deaths and the burning of Lotus Pier is what kickstarted the Sunshot Campaign.
- Poor Communication Kills: The problem with Jiang Fengmian is that he has communicates differently from everyone else in his family. Jiang Fengmian is a quiet man who prefers to let his actions speak for themselves while the rest of his family (including Jiang Yanli to an extent) are much more vocal about their wishes and feelings. It leaves everyone involved frustrated because they can't understand each other.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Compared to some of his fellow sect leaders (i.e. Wen Ruohan and Jin Guangshan), he was never seen abusing his power and was known for being level-headed and kind.
- The Stoic: A slightly downplayed and deconstructed example. Jiang Fengmian isn't as stoic as Lan Wangji but one gets the impression that he's a quiet man who speaks only when necessary. Deconstructed in that a huge part of his friction with his wife and family is that they have vastly different communication styles and so they don't understand each other. A lot of tension in the family could have been mitigated if Jiang Fengmian spoke what was on his mind instead of leaving his wife and son to make (possibly) erroneous assumptions.
- Tough Love: Implied. Almost everyone believed that Jiang Fengmian is distant with Jiang Cheng due to allegedly holding a torch for Wei Wuxian's mother and was forced in an Arranged Marriage with Jiang Cheng's mother. However, Wei Wuxian believes that he does love Jiang Cheng, but is only treating him with a firmer hand because he's his heir.
- Tranquil Fury: Even when he gets genuinely enraged, he represses his anger as much as possible.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Let's just say that had he and his wife done better both as a couple and as parents, Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng wouldn't have fallen out like they did and suffer the many problems that came with it.
- Why Couldn't You Be Different?: Jiang Cheng believes that Jiang Fengmian doesn't like him because he takes more after his mother, who — to put lightly — isn't on very good terms with his father. The novel even states that Jiang Fengmian didn't like how his wife's personality and beliefs, and upon seeing that their son took after her in those regards, he tried to instill other teachings in Jiang Cheng, but his efforts always ended in failure. He soon gave up and kept his distance from his son from then on.
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Jiang Fengmian usually calls his wife "My Lady" or "Third Lady", but he switches to calling her by her name if he's furious with her.
Voiced by (Mandarin): Ji Guanlin (animation), Zhang Kai (audio drama), Li Jinyan (live-action)
Voiced by (Korean): Jeon Suk-gyeong (animation)
Played by: Zhang Jingtong (live-action)
Weapon: Zidian | 紫电 (whip)
Jiang Cheng's mother and Jiang Fengmian's wife. She is a forceful and powerful character, and the original owner of Zidian. Due to old rumors surrounding the relationship between Jiang Fengmian and Wei Wuxian's mother Cangse Sanren, she does not like Wei Wuxian.
- Action Mom: She is a high-ranking cultivation master in the sect and has the ability and experience to back up her position, as well as sincerely caring for her children despite her flaws as a mother.
- And Now You Must Marry Me: Implied and even then, a non-villainous deconstruction. In the past, her sect proposed a marriage alliance with the Jiang Sect and they repeatedly pressed the issue when Jiang Fengmian initially refused. According to Wang Lingjiao, it was Yu Ziyuan herself who used her sect's influence to force him to marry her, whether it's for political or sentimental reasons. While they got married and bore children whom they sincerely love, they had an Awful Wedded Life.
- Animal Motifs: Spiders. In Chinese culture, spiders represent luck and happiness, but in other forms of symbolism, spiders also symbolize unhappiness and the feeling of being unloved or rejected — and it's the latter case that perfectly applies for Yu Ziyuan's character and her relationship with her family.
- Arranged Marriage: With Jiang Fengmian. It's not the happiest of arrangements.
- Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: She secretly made Jiang Fengmian the second master of Zidian, showing that she did trust and respect her husband even underneath all the resentment.
- Benevolent Boss: She's an extremely strict and terrifying teacher, and as a mother her skills are found wanting, but she does seem to treat her personal handmaids well, given how loyal they are to her.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: In The Untamed, she stabbed herself out of defiance and grief when she's overpowered and sees that her husband is drawing his last breath.
- Dramatic Irony: In the donghua, she got mad at Wei Wuxian for causing the cancellation of her daughter's engagement to Jin Zixuan. However, if it weren't for Wei Wuxian beating sense into Jin Zixuan both then and one other time (during the Sunshot Campaign), Jin Zixuan would have never had a Jerkass Realization — which allowed him to fall in love with Jiang Yanli and properly wed her for love.
- Dying Declaration of Hate: She wasn't dying then, but it still counts. Even in her last moments with Wei Wuxian, she still treated him with contempt and her last words to him are basically her ranting about how much she despises him before ordering to protect Jiang Cheng with his life. Even if her words imply some level of trust that Wei Wuxian will watch over Jiang Cheng, it also implies that she still thought lowly and badly of him up to the very last second of her life.
- Dying Moment of Awesome: She killed scores of Wen disciples to protect her son, broke Wang Lingjiao's arm and nearly killed Wen Zhuliu, and smuggled her real and adopted sons to safety before dying fighting more Wen soldiers.
- Education Mama: She's one of the harshest yet most realistic examples of the archetypal Asian tiger mom. When it comes to teaching cultivation, she's strict on everyone, including her own son. However, her animosity towards Wei Wuxian drives her to keep on pitting Jiang Cheng against him and pushing her son to surpass him, which only served to worsen her son's Inferiority Superiority Complex.
- Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: Deconstructed. While Wei Wuxian doesn't hold any resentment against Madam Yu for how she treated him, he holds no illusions about her transparent dislike of him. There are also hints that he's somewhat aware of how her abuse has scarred him.
- Green-Eyed Monster: There are heavy implications that she hates Wei Wuxian not just for being better than her own son, but for also being the son of the woman Jiang Fengmian is rumored to have feelings for (see Woman Scorned below).
- Hair Decorations: Both her character designs in the donghua and the audio drama portray her wearing a crown-shaped headpiece. In the Live-Action Adaptation, it's replaced with a flower-adorned hairpin that keeps her Prim and Proper Bun in place.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Jiang Cheng got his temperament from her. More than often, it was her anger towards the many issues surrounding her family that did the talking for her.
- Hidden Depths: Her marriage with Jiang Fengmian was arranged for political reasons (and thus neither were expected to love the other), but there are hints that Yu Ziyuan disliked the state of their relationship and desired for them to be more like a truly loving couple.
- Despite often calling out her husband for not being nurturing enough towards their son, she herself is the opposite of nurturing towards Jiang Cheng.
- While Wang Lingjiao deserved a beating, Yu Ziyuan's admonishment of her threatening a "member of her family" rings completely hollow given how she never treated Wei Wuxian like such.
- Iron Lady: Her most defining trait.
- Jerkass Has a Point:
- While it is true that her treatment of Wei Wuxian can be overly hostile and uncalled for, it has to be taken in consideration that her husband seems to prefer the child of someone else over their own. It certainly doesn't help matters that Wei Wuxian's mother was someone many say was the lover of Jiang Fengmian, even if that was never proven and she fell in love with his best friend instead.
- While she was lashing out in this particular case (the Wen Sect was always going to attack Lotus Pier and was simply looking for a pretext), she's not wrong in pointing out that Wei Wuxian's Chronic Hero Syndrome tendencies would invite trouble.
- Kick the Dog: She can get too cruel with her words whenever she's angry; and given her temper, this tends to happen a lot. Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian tend to bear the brunt of her harshness most often, and her son eventually developed the same habit.
- Lady of War: She's a beautiful and elegant lady who is a recognized cultivation master and one of the toughest teachers in the Jiang Sect.
- Mama Bear: She would do everything to protect Jiang Cheng and Yanli.
- Morton's Fork: When she starts an argument, there's no winning with her or calming her down because she'll always find fault no matter what. Even if the other side does manage to win the debate somehow, she'll just start arguing about another issue.
- Never My Fault:
- When the Lotus Pier goes under attack, Yu Ziyuan blamed Wei Wuxian for what happened and subsequently lashed out at him. As stated above, while his actions in the Xuanwu Cave did catch the Wen Sect's attention, the Wen Sect already planned on warring with the Jiang Sect long beforehand as they arrived at Lotus Pier fully armed. Yu Ziyuan also seemed to forget that she's the one who landed the final nail on the coffin by beating up Wang Lingjiao, whereas Wei Wuxian was willing to give up an arm to appease the Wen Sect or at the very least postpone their attack.
- Yu Ziyuan has this behavior in general. While not all of the things she says are baseless, she nevertheless blames every bad thing in her life on Wei Wuxian and not on the true sources of conflict, with one of them being her.
- No Guy Wants an Amazon: Played with. She's noted to come off as unlikable; not because she's an Action Girl, but purely because of her cold and domineering personality.
- Parents as People: She's as guilty as, if not more than, her husband is of this trope.
- While some of her quarrels with Jiang Fengmian were out of her love for her own son, she tended to drag the latter into the middle of said quarrels, which didn't help Jiang Cheng's issues with his Inferiority Superiority Complex. Her resentment of Wei Wuxian also caused her to keep comparing Jiang Cheng to him and driving her son to surpass him, rather than helping Jiang Cheng develop and overcome his own strengths and weaknesses, respectively.
- Even if she raised a few valid points about the Parental Favoritism her husband is giving to Wei Wuxian, it didn't mean that Wei Wuxian deserved any emotional abuse from her whenever she felt particularly acrimonious towards him, which was often. Her abuse even left him with a very low sense of self-worth, even if he never shows it.
- Pride: This is reflected in her personality, oh so much. For someone who tends to find fault in everybody that it's almost her main hobby, she never stops to find even a single fault with herself.
- Prim and Proper Bun: In The Untamed, her hair is tied in this manner, befitting her regal and tough personality.
- The Promise: Yu Ziyuan's dying order to Wei Wuxian would go on to define his relationship with Jiang Cheng.
- Resentful Guardian: Yu Ziyuan was this to Wei Wuxian; and she's so resentful that there wasn't one scene including her where she didn't argue with her husband over how he favored Wei Wuxian over Jiang Cheng, or how Wei Wuxian was always one step ahead of their son, or both.
- Shipper on Deck: It was originally her idea to have her daughter and Jin Zixuan get engaged, after all. In the donghua, when Jiang Fengmian told his wife that breaking their daughter's engagement was for the best, Yu Ziyuan argued that it's only a matter of time until Jin Zixuan would grow to like her.
- Shock and Awe: Zidian releases purple lightning which she uses to great effect.
- Speak Ill of the Dead: An indirect example. When one berates and looks down on someone for excelling despite being a servant's son and speculates that her husband may have had an affair with that someone's mother, they may as well be talking badly of the parents as much as they are the parents' child. And given the type of person Yu Ziyuan is, her spiteful words are strongly hinted to be meant at not only Wei Wuxian but also his deceased parents.
- Stern Teacher: She has her disciples follow a strict regime and code.
- The Tell: When she's fidgeting with Zidian, you know she's really mad.
- Unreliable Expositor: How much of what she says about Jiang Fengmian either not caring for their son or holding a torch for someone else or Wei Wuxian being his illegitimate son being true is extremely ambiguous. It doesn't help that she's speaking out of resentment than objective suspicion.
- Unwanted Spouse: Strongly implied. While they, at the very least, care for each other; their marriage was still merely arranged rather than voluntary, and one that Jiang Fengmian was repeatedly railroaded into until he relented. The audio drama even has Yu Ziyuan expressing in frustration that he would never have married her had Cangse Sanren not married someone else.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Both her and her husband's abysmal parenting contributed to the majority of Wei Wuxian and Jiang Cheng's problems, which exponentially grew worse and worse after the Sunshot Campaign began.
- Whip It Good: As stated above, she was the original owner of Zidian, a ring that can transform into a whip.
- Wicked Stepmother: A more grounded and less-evil example than most, and even then it's played with since Wei Wuxian doesn't see her as anything close to a motherly figure. But no matter how one looks at it, it's hard to argue that she's abusive towards Wei Wuxian both physically and emotionally, essentially treating him like a whipping boy.
- Woman Scorned: Played with. While Jiang Fengmian isn't an unfaithful or abusive husband, their difficult relationship borne from his supposed dislike of her and the possibility that he was in love with someone else doesn't sit well with Yu Ziyuan.