The second edition of The Heavenly Sword and Dragon Sabre was published in 1979.
Jin Yong made revisions to refine the original version serialised in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao. He later made another round of changes that was published in 2005 as the third edition.
Do not hesitate to contact us if you know of any changes that we missed.
1. Jade-faced fire monkey
The monkey has been removed from the story in the second edition. This had several impacts on the story as the monkey played a key role in several scenes.
In the first edition, Zhang Cuishan and Yin Susu were attacked by a bear in a cave on the Ice Fire island. After killing the bear, they were chased by thirteen bears and were forced to escape by climbing onto a tree. The jade-faced fire monkey rescued the couple by attacking the bears. It fed on bear brains and could rip apart the skulls of the bears to eat the brains.
The monkey offered bear brains to the couple, who forced themselves to eat the brains to avoid offending the monkey since it was their saviour and they had witness its viciousness. They discovered that the brains were actually appetising. The cave became their home and the monkey their companion.
The second edition had less drama without the monkey. Zhang Cuishan and Yin Susu encountered only two bears in the cave, and were well capable of killing them.
As its name suggests, the jade-faced fire monkey was immune to fire. In the first edition, Zhang Cuishan suggested using the active volcano on the Ice Fire Island as a source of fire. However, the unbearable heat prevented them from getting close enough to light their tinder. The monkey carried the tinder to the crater and returned with fire. When they brought the fire back to their cave, the monkey leap into the flames and rolled about in it.
Zhang Cuishan and Yin Susu abandoned the idea of using the volcano to light their tinder and relied on striking a piece of volcanic rock with their sword to create fire.
The monkey went hunting for bears with Xie Xun in the first edition. When the monkey proved to be too efficient at killing bears and spoiling the fun for Xie Xun, the latter got the monkey to play with young Zhang Wuji instead of bringing the monkey hunting.
Daiqisi met the monkey when she went to the Ice Fire Island to see Xie Xun, and later poisoned the monkey.
2. Young Zhang Wuji
Zhang Wuji was portrayed as craftier and more unpleasant in the first edition, as highlighted in several situations.
Avenging his godfather
Zhang Wuji vowed kill Cheng Kun’s family to avenge his godfather Xie Xun after learning that the former exterminated the latter’s whole family. He was admonished by his father Zhang Cuishan for being so vengeful.
This scene was omitted in the second edition.
Avenging his parents
Zhang Wuji swore vengeance on those who forced his parents to commit suicide. He meticulously memorised the appearances of those responsible, and sought to learn martial arts from Zhang Sanfeng in preparation for seeking revenge. He was also reluctant to practise the Nine Yang Manual because it was a Shaolin technique and Shaolin monks were involved in the death of his parents.
Jin Yong portrayed Zhang Wuji as a kinder boy in the second edition. Zhang Wuji was not vengeful, but merciful. After his parents killed themselves, Zhang Wuji declared, “I do not want revenge! I do not want revenge! I just want Father and Mother to come back to life. Second uncle, let’s spare these evil people and think of how to save Father and Mother instead.”
3. The Nine Yang and Nine Yin Manuals
Jin Yong rectified the contradictions between the origins of the two manuals.
In the first edition, Yu Lianzhou revealed that the martial arts techniques of the Wudang School was founded on the principles of the Nine Yang Manual. Grandmaster Jue Yuan recited the contents of the Manual to Zhang Sanfeng, who was too young to fully grasp the concepts and did not have time to fully memorise the what he was taught. Hence, the Wudang techniques were not as perfected as the Nine Yang Manual was.
The Nine Yang Manual was created by Dharma. Zhang Sanfeng analysed what he knew and realised that there were consistent gaps. This led him to speculate that the Manual was only half of a whole, with a Nine Yin Manual that was the opposite and complement of the Nine Yang Manual. Following this line of thought, Zhang Sanfeng created techniques that filled the gaps despite never seeing or even hearing of the Nine Yin Manual before.
When Zhang Wuji discovered the Nine Yang Manual in the abdomen of an ancient white ape, it was reiterated that the Manual was created by Dharma.
What Yu Lianzhou revealed was changed in the second edition. He explained that the martial arts techniques of the Wudang School was founded on the principles of the Nine Yang Manual. However, Zhang Sanfeng was very young when the manual was recited to him and he was not trained in martial arts. Moreover, Grandmaster Jue Yuan merely recited what he had read in the book without giving Zhang Sanfeng any kind of guidance. Hence, Zhang Sanfeng was unable to memorise all of what he heard and he was also unable to grasp the concepts within the passages. This resulted in shortcomings in the Wudang School techniques.
According to Grandmaster Jue Yuan, the Nine Yang Manual was created by Dharma, who founded the Shaolin Sect. However, Zhang Sanfeng found that claim less likely the deeper he delved into the Manual. The essence of the Manual was vastly different from the principles of Shaolin martial arts, and was actually more similar to Taoist pugilist philosophy. Moreover, the Manual was not written in Sanskrit. It was recorded in Chinese characters between the lines of the Sanskrit Laṅkāvatāra Sūtra. As wise as the great Dharma was, he hailed from India and it was unlikely that he was so proficient in writing Chinese. Even if he were, why would he inscribe the Manual between the lines of another book instead of the pages of an empty book?
Zhang Sanfeng speculated that the Nine Yang Manual was written under the name of Dharma by an esteemed Shaolin monk. Although he did not have the whole Manual, Zhang Sanfeng was optimistic that he could fill in the gaps. Through the time he shut himself in his chambers to ponder upon the Manual annually, he eventually developed a new school of martial arts unlike any existing factions.
The second edition also omitted mentioning that the Nine Yang Manual was created by Dharma in the scene where Zhang Wuji discovered the Manual in the abdomen of an ancient white ape.
4. The Eighteen Palms of Dragon Subduing
Zhang Wuji was taught three moves in the first edition, but the second edition portrayed him as not knowing any of the moves. Jin Yong also rectified the contradiction where the technique was said to have been lost but was actually passed down in the Beggar Clan.
In the first edition, when young Zhang Wuji was snatched by a beggar, he instinctively struck out with his palm, hitting the beggar in the back and paralysing him. Yu Lianzhou’s attempt to reverse the paralysis caused the beggar to scream out at the excruciating pain. Zhang Wuji revealed that the move was called Tail Swipe of the Divine Dragon, one of the eighteen moves in the Eighteen Palms of Dragon Subduing. Zhang Wuji’s attack would have been fatal within two hours if not for the efforts of Yu Lianzhou and Zhang Cuishan to save the beggar. Although he kept his life, the beggar lost his martial arts abilities.