Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils

Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils by Jin Yong was first serialised in newspapers from 3 September 1963 to 27 May 1966.

The story has been revised twice with the second edition published in October 1978 and the third edition released in November 2002.

Title translation

The Eight Races of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils would be a more accurate translation of the story’s title. The Eight Races refer to the deities in Buddhist cosmology. They are: Deva, Nāga, Yaksha, Asura, Garuda, Kinnara, Gandharva and Mahoraga. These demi-gods and semi-devils are above mortals but are still bound to the Saṃsāra1It refers to the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth. It is only through enlightenment that one could escape the cycle. by their own desires.

The widely accepted translation of the title collectively refers to the eight races as demi-gods and semi-devils.

Themes

The story follows the journeys of three protagonists. The main thematic element of the novel concerns the complex, troubled relationships between characters from various kingdoms and sects, and the inherent bond that underlies the struggles of each. The novel examines the cause and effect that forms and breaks these bonds on five uniquely corresponding levels: self, family, society, ethnic group, and country.

Title poem

The title of each chapter is a verse and the ten chapters in each book actually forms a poem. The title of each book actually tells you what type of poem it is. Read the article on the Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils poem to find out more.

Story

The novel is set in the Song Dynasty. It tells of the wulin affairs and civil disputes between the kingdoms of Song, Liao, Dali, Western Xia, and Tufan (Tibetan Empire). The story takes a philosophical high viewpoint to study human life and society, and in the process paints a picture of the grand waves of life.

The moral of the story is that life no one is impartial, all emotions lead to evil. We are bound to our emotions in life. Where emotions exist, humans are subject to the torment caused by our feelings. Reality is harsh and we will inevitably face the challenge and have to endure hardships. In short, fate is a cruel mistress.

Cast

Protagonists

  • Duan Yu – a young and naïve prince of the Dali Kingdom.
  • Xiao Feng (Qiao Feng)– the charismatic chief of the Beggars’ Sect.
  • Xuzhu – a kind-hearted and submissive Shaolin monk.

Important characters

  • Duan Zhengchun
  • Mu Wanqing
  • Zhong Ling
  • Wang Yuyan
  • Azhu
  • Azo
  • Xiao Yuanshan
  • Four Evils
  • Murong Fu
  • Ding Chunqiu

Martial arts

  • Lingbo Footwork
  • Beiming Powers
  • Spirit Blade of Six Meridians
  • Eighteen Dragon-subduing Palms
  • Yijin Jing, literally the Tendon Changing Scriptures

Translations

Book One – Adventures of the Youth

  • Chapter 1 – Righteous scholar travelled the perilous peak
  • Chapter 2 – Moonlight shone brightly on the beautiful cliff
  • Chapter 3 – A swift horse with a masked lady
  • Chapter 4 – High on the cliff away from others
  • Chapter 5 – Tiny steps borne from ripple
  • Chapter 6 – Whose disciple and whose estate
  • Chapter 7 – Helplessly regret being unfaithful
  • Chapter 8 – Majestic and resounding music
  • Chapter 9 – A lady married to a fitting place
  • Chapter 10 – Gleaming sword across dark smoke

Book Two – Shrouding Screen in Suzhou

  • Chapter 11 – Always foolish
  • Chapter 12 – Henceforth obsessed
  • Chapter 13 – Listening to the lady in the waterside pavilion, watching her advise the gathered heroes
  • Chapter 14 – Unrestrained drinking of a thousand cups at a men’s gathering
  • Chapter 15 – In the forest of apricots, discussing the meaning of life
  • Chapter 16 – Reasons of the past
  • Chapter 17 – Wishes of the present
  • Chapter 18 – Vengeance of a foreign man, suppresses the emptying of a hero’s tears
  • Chapter 19 – Even in the face tens of thousand people I will carry on
  • Chapter 20 – Sadness remained at Yanmen, with no words left

Book Three – Breaching the Formation

  • Chapter 21 – The distant vague as a dream
  • Chapter 22 – Both eyes gleaming like the stars
  • Chapter 23 – Empty promise of cows and sheep at the frontier outpost
  • Chapter 24 – Past alliance in the Illuminated side of the lady’s black hair
  • Chapter 25 – A journey through the mist walking on snow
  • Chapter 26 – Slaughtering bear and catching tiger with bear hands
  • Chapter 27 – Clearing enemies with a halberd in a fierce battle
  • Chapter 28 – Surviving in the wilderness forging a cast iron head
  • Chapter 29 – The despicable matchmaking with a freezing palm
  • Chapter 30 – Spraying water to restrain the gathered heroes

Book Four – Song of the Cave Immortal

  • Chapter 31 – Victory or defeat, how can it be predicted!
  • Chapter 32 – Carefree for now with no one supervising
  • Chapter 33 – Enduring anarchy, or apocalypse
  • Chapter 34 – Strong winds, throwing Piaomiao Peak into turmoil
  • Chapter 35 – A beauty abruptly age, a fleeting moment of bliss
  • Chapter 36 – Dreaming of real heartfelt words in a tangible fantasy
  • Chapter 37 – Laughing in unison, it was all for naught in the end
  • Chapter 38 – Recklessly drunk, misdirecting passion
  • Chapter 39 – Unable to withdraw, the post of authority is linked to greed and wrath
  • Chapter 40 – Take a step back and ponder, when would the delusion end?

Book Five – Cry of the Water Dragon

  • Chapter 41 – Eighteen swift riders of Yanyun, galloping like mighty wind and billowing smoke
  • Chapter 42 – Evil and abhorred of all ages, unable to withstand an attack, an inglorious victory
  • Chapter 43 – Grand ambitions to rule and conquer, blood feud, turn them all into dust
  • Chapter 44 – Thinking in vain of winning he beauty, wherefore is the blissful marriage?
  • Chapter 45 – At the bottom of the dry well, in the mud
  • Chapter 46 – Holding the wine to to ask the Emperor three questions
  • Chapter 47 – For whom do they blossom, the camellia that fill the road?
  • Chapter 48 – The descendant of prince fall into dire straits, how can he endure it, dew on a willow branch?
  • Chapter 49 – Worthless riches and glory, unpredictability of life, this life is absolutely dreadful!
  • Chapter 50 – Teaching Chanyu to break arrows, routing the six armies, and rousing the anger of heroes!
  • Afterword

See Also