GoT and Legends of the Condor Heroes

‘China’s Tolkien’ To Be Bigger Than George R.R Martin

Are you ready for the next Game of Thrones? What about another Lord of the Rings? Well, look no further than Jin Yong’s series Legends of the Condor Heroes! Hailed as a classic in China, the series has inspired films, games, comics and TV shows and is being released for the first time in English.


The Guardian notes that ‘in the west, [Jin Yong’s] name is barely known, largely due to the complexity of the world he has created and the puzzle that has posed for translators.’ Many translators have tried and failed to translate the fifteen novel series, however Edinburgh native Anna Holmwood, who studied Chinese at Oxford, has successfully translated the first novel, A Hero Born.


book cover

Image Via Amazon


Holmwood told the Observer that “these books are read by so many Chinese people when they are teenagers, and the work really stays in their heads. So, of course, I felt a great weight of responsibility in translating them – and even more as publication draws near.”


According to The Guardian, the book, set in China in 1200, ‘tells of an empire close to collapse.’


Under attack from the Jurchen Jin dynasty, the future of the entire Chinese population rests in the hands of a few lone martial arts exponents.


These include ‘Guo Jing, a young soldier among the massed ranks of Genghis Khan’s invading army and son of a murdered warrior,’ who could soon be the new Jon Snow.


2017 series

Still from the 2017 TV adaptation of Jin Yong’s series | Via Steemit 


It should be interesting to see how an Eastern series of this size and scale will be received by a Western audience, given the number of nuances and references that will be unfamiliar to an English speaking audience. The Guardian says,


The challenge facing all [the translators involved] is to faithfully represent the kung fu moves along with the Chinese philosophies and religions that are all woven through the plot. Even the fighting skill of the warrior in A Hero Born, for instance, which literally translate as “the 18 palm attacks to defeat dragons”, is in fact derived from a Taoist classic ascribed to Lao Tzu, dating from 2,500 years ago, and has a strong philosophical element in addition to movement.


Jin Yong is the pen name of Louis Cha Leung-yung, the ninety-three-year-old whose books have been the biggest publishing hit in China has seen in the last century.


Featured Image Via Metro and DramaPands