- An Aesop: People who desire ever greater power for selfish reasons will lose something dear, while those who didn't ends up acquiring more power than the former.
- Demi Gods And Semi Devils:
- Duan Yu and Xu Zhu both became top-tier martial artists without ever wanting to be one.
- Murong Fu was already a formidable fighter and wanted ever better skills to restore his former ancestors kingdom, but lost everything after his underhanded schemes failed at every turn.
- Legend of the Condor Heroes:
- Kind and slow witted Guo Jing ended up with 18 Dragon Slaying Palms and unwittingly also had the all-coveted entire Nine Yin Manual committed to memory.
- Similarly, the childlike innocent Zhou Botong became the strongest out of the second generation of the Five Greats despite not using any part of the Nine Yin Manual that Wang Chongyang has entrusted to him.
- Huang Yaoshi wanted Nine Yin Manual and got the second half of it...But lost his wife after she memorized it by heart from the original manual from Zhou Botong and died out of sheer exhaustion after working to write a copy for 3 days straight.
- Ouyang Feng wanted Nine Yin Manual too, but lost his sanity after being tempted into practicing the corrupted version.
- Yideng refused to save Yinggu's child to preserve his internal power for the second Huashan martial tournament, ended up with Yinggu hating him for it and causing him a lifetime of regret. But as a karmic twist, he learned the powerful internal energy cultivation techniques of the Nine Yin Manual after selflessly expending his precious power to save Huang Rong.
- Demi Gods And Semi Devils:
- Butt-Monkey: The Golden Wheel Monk. Ostensibly a fighter on par with the Greats, he ends up getting his ass kicked at every turn and humiliated constantly. He does have a change of heart at the end and sacrifices himself to right a wrong he had committed, however.
- Draco in Leather Pants: Xuedao Laozu ("Blood Saber Elder") of all people. Namely in the 2004 TV adaptation of A Deadly Secret. Just going through the comments on Chinese sites about his scenes, one can find an abundance of people admiring him and calling him the best as well as being incredibly badass. To his credit, though, he was the character that provided the most comic relief in that entire series.
- Designated Villain: The Ming Cult in Heaven Sword and Dragon Sabre. Despite generally regarded as a malevolent organization by orthodox sects, as a whole it hasn't done anything evil. Sure, one of its senior members went on a killing rampage to avenge the murder of his family members, but he was indirectly manipulated by his malicious ex-master and later repented his wrongdoings. In addition to that, it's the only group in the entire novel that has the galls to directly confront the Yuan government.
- Ending Aversion: The ultimate fate of Miao Renfeng, a major character in Other Tales of the Flying Fox and Flying Fox of Snowy Mountain, is left unrevealed.
- Subverted in Ode To Gallantry, which ends with Shi Potian questioning his identity, after his abusive adoptive mother dies without divulging any important information. However, the answer is incredibly obvious to the reader.
- Ensemble Dark Horse: In Legend of the Condor Heroes, quite a few fans' favorite character is one of the Five Greats instead of the actual protagonists. The most prominent one might very well be Zhou Botong.
- Fridge Brilliance: Wei Xiaobao ended up with an impenetrable vest and a knife that could cut anything. By owning both at the same time, he avoids the inevitable paradox, since he would have no reason to turn the knife on himself and he never loses either to an opponent.
- Strangled by the Red String: The most widely agreed upon is the romance between Chen Jialuo and Princess Fragrance. And then there's quite a large hatedom for Duan Yu and Wang Yuyan... including a memetic mock shrine dedicated to them. As for the love between Yang Guo and Xiao Long Nu, while some fans feel that it's a very touching, Romeo and Juliet-ish eternal romance, there's also quite a few fans that felt it was very forced and exceedingly Wangst-filled.
- The Woobie: In his stories, almost always there will be at least one. For a lot of fans, Ouyang Feng managed to achieve woobie status during Return of the Condor Heroes despite being one of the main Big Bads of the previous series. Probably has to do with the fact that he was one of the few people who actually treated Yang Guo with any warmth or decency.
YMMV / Jin Yong