Duan Yu

Duàn Yù (simplified: 段誉, traditional: 段譽) is one of the three male protagonists in Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils.

“Duan Yu, oh Duan Yu, you’ve no shame in both your words and deeds to save Miss Mu. Your flattery and fawning indicates a lack of integrity. What’s the point of reading the books of sages then?”

– Duan Yu

Often referred to as Duan gongzi1公子 – gōngzǐ. A suffix used for the son of an official, a noble or a wealthy man. or Prince Duan, Duan Yu was a young and naïve prince of the Dali Kingdom ruled by his uncle Duan Zhenming.

He was the adoptive son of the Dali Kingdom’s South Conqueror King Duan Zhengchun.

The royal family had a tradition of practising martial arts. However, Duan Yu was an earnest student of Buddhist teachings and had no appetite for bloodshed prompt. Unable to force himself to learn martial arts, he ran away from home.

About Duan Yu

Name: Duan Yu

Nickname: Foolish Boy

Posthumous name: 
Xuanren Emperor of Dali


  • Duan Clan of Dali
  • Zhangmen of the Tiannan Duan Clan

Shifu: None

Disciple: Third Brother Yue


  • Duan Yanqing (Biological father)
  • Duan Zhengxuan (Adoptive father)
  • Dao Baifeng (Mother)
  • Duan Zhengming (Uncle)
  • Xiao Feng (Sworn elder brother & brother-in-law)
  • Xuzhu (Sworn elder brother)
  • Wang Yuyan (Wife & cousin)
  • Duan Zhixing (Grandson)

Martial arts

Neigong: Beiming Power

Qinggong: Lingbo Footwork


  • Spirit Blade of SixMeridians
    • Shaoshang Blade
    • Zhongchong Blade
    • Shaochong Blade
    • Shangyang Blade
    • Guanchong Blade
    • Shaoze Blade

Weapon: None

He wandered the lands and befriended Beggars Guild chief Qiao Feng and Lingjiu Palace master Xuzhu. He also became romantically-involved with three fair maidens Zhong Ling, Mu Wanqing, and Wang Yuyan. However, he discovered that they were his father Duan Zhengchun’s illegitimate daughters and thus his half-sisters.

Despite his aversion for martial arts, a series of events led to him mastering three powerful abilities and immunity to poison. He learnt three legendary feats, the Spirit Blade of Six Meridians, Lingbo Footwork, and Beiming Power. On top of that, his uncle Duan Zhengming passed him the Duan family’s neigong mind skill Back to the Void.

Duan Yu


Duan Yu was born into the Dali Royal Family. He grew up in an environment free from worries and conflict. Yiyang Finger was a martial arts passed down through the generations in the Duan Clan of Dali.

However, he refused to learn martial arts due to the influence of Buddhist teachings. His father and uncle forced him to practice martial arts despite his aversion for martial arts. This pushed him to run away from home.

Entering the jianghu

Only nineteen and without any means to support himself, he went to look for a wealthy man Mawu De after hearing that the latter treated people very well. He then followed Mawu De to Mount Wuliang. Mawu De was an invited guest acting as the judge of Wuliang Sword School’s Duelling Contest. Duan Yu went along for the chance to see the famed scenery of Mount Wuliang.

There, he met Zhong Ling and was unexpectedly drawn into the jianghu. When the Shennong Guild made preparations to attack Wuliang Sword School, he went to the Shennong Guild to persuade them to resolve the feud without any further bloodshed. However, Shennong Guild captured him and Zhong Ling.

They poisoned him with Gut Severing Powder to force Zhong Ling to give them the antidote for the poison she inflicted on them. Duan Yu had seven days to go to the Valley of Ten Thousand Calamities to retrieve the antidote in exchange of his and Zhong Ling’s lives.

Learning his first martial arts

On his way down the mountain, he overheard the conversation of a pair of eloping Wuliang Sword School disciples. While trying to escape from them, he fell into the Mount Wuliang’s Jade Ring Paradise.

In the cave, he discovered in a jade statue the Xiaoyao Order Martial Arts Essential Manual that contained two ultimate skills: Beiming Power and Lingbo Footwork. He then hastened to the Valley of Ten Thousand Retributions to seek help from Zhong Ling’s mother Gan Baobao.

However, a misunderstanding with her husband Zhong Wanchou resulted in Gan Baobao being unable to leave. She instructed him to look for Duan Zhengchun with Zhong Ling’s Eight Birth Characters instead.

He then became acquainted with Mu Wanqing and they vowed to marry each other while they were trapped on the summit of Mount Wuliang.

When Wuliang Sword School captured him, he escaped using the Beiming Power. He accidentally ate the king of poisons, the great crimson bull toad, and ended up with immunity to poisons.

Returning to Dali

He sought out his subordinates to rescue Mu Wanqing, then the party rushed to Dali. They passed by Yuxu Temple where his mother Dao Baifeng was. When Duan Yu hugged his mother affectionately, Mu Wanqing got the wrong idea and became jealous. She struck at Dao Baifeng with her palm. After Duan Yu cleared the misunderstanding, Dao Baifeng went with the party to the Dali palace.

One of the Four Evils of the Lands – Third Brother Yue the Crocodile Deity of the Southern Sea – came to the palace to take Duan Yu as his disciple. However, Duan Yu used his Lingbo Footwork to dodge Yue’s attack and caused the latter to kneel and acknowledge Duan Yu as his shifu.

Duan Zhengchun later discovered that Mu Wanqing was his illegitimate daughter, devastating Duan Yu and Mu Wanqing with the revelation.

Thereafter, Duan Yu absorbed many people’s inner energy with his Beiming Power, causing him to exhibit symptoms of illness. As a result, his uncle Duan Zhengming brought him to Tianlong Temple to seek help.

Learning the Spirit Blade

Duan Yu’s uncle imparted him the Yiyang Finger at Tianlong Temple. When Jiumozhi went to Tianlong Temple and tried to seize the Spirit Blade of Six Meridians Manual, Duan Yu succeeded in learning the Dali Duan Clan’s unrivalled epic feat that had been lost for a long time – the Spirit Blades of Six Meridians.

Jiumozhi forced him to write down the secrets of the Spirit Blade, but he refused. So the demonic monk brought him to Gusu Murong’s home where he befriended Azhu and Abi. Duan Yu escaped from the claws of Jiumozhi with the help of Azhu and Abi.

Meeting the girl of his dreams

The three of them arrived at Mantuo Manor where Duan Yu met Wang Yuyan, who was a splitting image of the Immortal Lady. When they first met, Duan Yu only heard her sigh and said, “This sigh is so lovely. What other sound in the world can match this?”

That sigh alone was enough to leave him madly infatuated with her. Thus, when he finally laid eyes on her beauty, he was completely enraptured by Wang Yuyan.

They received rumours from the jianghu about the Gusu Murong Clan that made Wang Yuyan worried about her cousin. Thus, she left Mantuo Manor for the first time in her life to search for Murong Fu with Duan Yu.

Duan Yu, Wang Yuyan, Azhu, and Abi travelled to the Perfume Pavillion. Wang Yuyan used her knowledge of martial arts to give pointers to those who went there to cause trouble. She recognised the Five Tiger Door Severing Sabre, the Nine Plays of the Qing Character, Eighteen Breaks of the Cheng Character, and other martial arts, garnering the admiration of the crowd.

However, this also made them want to abduct Wang Yuyan as she was a walking tome of martial arts knowledge. Bao Butong finally appeared and chased them away. He also ridiculed Duan Yu, infuriating the latter to the point of leaving on his own.

The Beggars’ Guild Gathering

Duan Yu left Murong’s residence and encountered Beggars’ Guild Chief Qiao Feng in the Songhe Tavern in the city of Wuxi. They discovered that they were birds of a feather and decided to become sworn brothers.

They went to the apricot forest to attend Beggars’ Guild Gathering. There, they met Wang Yuyan, and once more Duan Yu could not take his eyes off her.

Qiao Feng left angrily because of issues over his origins, and was late for the appointment with the Western Xia First-rank Hall. This led to the First-rank Hall using the Sorrow Breeze poison on those present, causing Wang Yuyan and everyone from the Beggars’ Guild to lose all strength.

Duan Yu was unaffected due to the great crimson bull toad he ate. So he carried Wang Yuyan and escaped from the apricot forest. They reached a grain mill and encountered the pursuing Western Xia warriors. Wang Yuyan directed Duan Yu to kill them. They met Murong Fu disguised as Western Xia warrior Li Yanzong.

Duan Yu fought him but was not skilled enough, so he kept using the Lingbo Footwork to dodge. Wang Yuyan asked Duan Yu to escape on his own, but he refused. Murong Fu finally tricked Duan Yu and captured him. Not knowing he was her cousin, Wang Yuyan vowed revenge if he killed Duan Yu. Murong Fu laughed coldly and left, leaving behind the antidote for the Sorrow Breeze poison.

After leaving the grain mill, Duan Yu and Wang Yuyan met the fleeing Azhu and Abi. They agreed that Duan Yu would pretend to be Murong Fu and have Azhu disguised as Xiao Feng to rescue the captured Beggars’ Guild members.

At Tianning Temple where the guild members were held captive, Duan Yu fooled Third Brother Yue with the Lingbo Footwork, making those from the First-rank Hall and Beggars’ Guild believe he was the real Murong Fu. Just then, the real Murong Fu unleashed the Sorrow Breeze, saying, “Doing unto others what others did. Returning the poisonous breeze to its owners.”

Duan Yu and Azhu used the antidote to rescue the Beggars’ Guild.

The Shaolin Gathering

When the Deaf Mute Elder Su Xinghe set up the Zhenlong array during their weiqi game, Duan Yu tried to counter it. However, he failed because he refused to sacrifice his pieces. It was Shaolin monk Xuzhu who accidentally came up with a solution, and that marked Duan Yu’s first meeting with Xuzhu.

Meanwhile, Wang Yuyan – who was separated from him – was reunited with her beloved cousin Murong Fu. The Murong party then accidentally interrupted the Gathering of Ten Thousand Immortals, and Duan Yu secretly followed them to rescue Wang Yuyan.

On Piaomiao Peak of Mount Tian, Duan Yu and Xuzhu became sworn brothers with Xiao Feng as their big brother. At the Shaolin Gathering on Mount Shaoshi, Duan Yu was reunited with his sworn brothers Xiao Feng and Xuzhu.

When Murong Fu, Ding Chunqiu the Xingxiu Old Freak, and Beggars’ Guild chief surrounded Xiao Feng, Duan Yu lured Murong Fu away. His father Duan Zhengchun was severely injured when protecting him.

Wang Yuyan cheered when Murong Fu defeated his father. Her delight ignited a bitterness within him that channelled large amount of internal energy. It was as though he had divine guidance and his fear gradually disappeared.

He recalled the mental techniques imparted by his uncle Duan Zhengming and Tianlong Temple Master Ku Rong, was finally able to fully grasp the intricacies of the Spirit Blade of Six Meridians. This allowed him to unleash a barrage of attacks that Murong Fu was unable to counter.

The three sworn brothers defeated the top martial artists at that time: Ding Chunqiu, Murong Fu, and You Tanzhi. The three brothers became renowned in the Wulin as a result.

Western Xia wedding

When Duan Yu and Xuzhu were searching their big brother Xiao Feng to aid him, they went to the Scripture Library. While everyone was listening to the elderly monk preach, Jiumozhi ambushed Duan Yu with a Flaming Saber attack on his chest, knocking him unconscious.

When Duan Yu woke up, he found himself in the former home of Xiao Feng at the middle of Mount Shaoshi. It was Xiao Feng who brought Duan Yu here safely. They met Zhong Ling by coincidence, then bumped into Azi, and the three sworn brothers were reunited there.

Duan Yu’s father commanded him to head to Western Xia to get married. On the way to Western Xia, he met Wang Yuyan who wanted to jump off a cliff and commit suicide. Wang Yuyan explained to Duan Yu the reason for her heartbreak. Murong Fu wanted to marry the Western Xia princess to become the princess consort.

He knew Wang Yuyan’s was deeply in love with her cousin and wanted to help fulfil her wish. Thus, he was willing to sacrifice for his love and become the princess consort of the Western Xia princess.

Murong Fu thought Duan Yu was eyeing his place as the princess consort. In the deep of the night, Murong Fu used Wang Yuyan’s name as a ruse and pushed Duan Yu into a dry well. Seeing how heartless Murong Fu was, Wang Yuyan jumped into the dry well.

In the muddy depths of the dry well, Wang Yuyan was touched by Duan Yu’s sincerity and devotion. She finally accepted him. They made a solemn pledge of their love in the dry well. It was the happiest place Duan Yu had ever been in his whole life.

Just then, Jiumozhi, who had also fallen into the well, had gone mad and wanted to kill Duan Yu. A panic-stricken Wang Yuyan bit Jiumozhi’s right shoulder, distracting him and allowed Duan Yu to absorb all his inner energy.

Duan Yu almost died, but managed to cheat death and won over Wang Yuyan’s hand in marriage. In a sawmill at the Shu border, he stumbled upon the drunken bees of Madam Wang. Although he was immune to poisons after eating the great crimson bull toad, the bee sting had a sedative effect besides being poisonous. After being stung by hundreds of bees, he became unconscious even if he was not poisoned. He woke up days later to discover countless marks all over his body that were extraordinarily painful.  

Family tragedy

He was captured by Wang Yuyan’s biological mother. At the Mantuo Manor in Southern Shu, she tried to force Duan Zhengchun to take her as Royal Consort. However, Murong Fu’s poisoned her with Sorrow Breeze to force Duan Zhengchun to cede his throne.

To save his mother Dao Baifeng from being killed by Murong Fu, Duan Yu defeated Murong Fu with the Spirit Blade of Six Meridians. However, as he was still in a daze, he was wounded by Murong Fu and escaped through the window. Duan Zhengchun refused Murong Fu’s demand and the latter killed the former’s four lovers. Duan Zhengchun committed suicide.

Before Duan Yu’s mother Dao Baifeng took her own life, she revealed to Duan Yu that his biological father was Duan Zhengchun’s rival, Duan Yanqing. That meant Zhong Ling and Mu Wanqing were not related to him by blood.

He told his uncle Duan Zhengming the Emperor Baoding of his birth, but Duan Zhengming asked Duan Yu to succeed the royal throne of Dali to ensure Duan Zhengchun’s reputation was untarnished.

Becoming Emperor

Upon ascending the throne, he attended to the details of his uncle’s abdication to become a monk and the funerals of his parents and Qin Hongmian. Thereafter, he ruled the kingdom well and handled the smallpox epidemic.

He led Dali’s ministers and army to Nanjing of the Liao Empire to rescue Xiao Feng. Outside Yanmen Pass, he and Xuzhu captured Liao Emperor Yelu Hongji who vowed to never invade Song as long as he lived. However, Xiao Feng took his own life and their sister Azi jumped off the cliff out of her love for him.

After Xiao Feng’s death, Duan Yu bade farewell to Xuzhu and returned to Dali with Wang Yuyan, Princess Yinchuan’s handmaid Xiaolei, and Xuzhu’s subordinate Meilan Zhuju.

At Wang Yuyan’s request, Duan Yu went searching for the manual of the Immortal Skill of Eternal Spring. He went to the jade cave on Mount Wuliang and saw the jade statue once again. He realised that he had been treating Wang Yuyan as the Immortal Lady. Having found his release, he finally saw Wang Yuyan as a younger sister.

Mu Wanqing’s love for him was true and deep. He returned to her and bestowed upon her the title of Noble Concubine. He also named Zhong Ling the Worthy Concubine and Xiaolei the Fair Concubine.

He betrothed Meilan Zhuju to the sons of several of his ministers.

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Personality & traits

Duan Yu was a talented young man. Groomed to one day become the King, he was well-educated from young and was very erudite. He was graced with good looks, but his knowledge made him often pedantic.

Since he lived a sheltered life in the palace, he was simple and trusting. His studied the Buddhist teachings that further amplified his kind-hearted nature, and thus he was compassionate and had a disdain for fighting and killing. He kept to his principle of not killing throughout his adventures in the jianghu.

As a royal prince, he enjoyed a good upbringing and education. Duan Yu received good education since young. He was highly cultured, steeped in propriety, refined, kind-hearted and considerate. However, he was clumsy and others often took him for a bookworm.

Due to his determined nature, he was quick to develop an obsession with certain things. This was how he became a devout Buddhist since young, a proficient gardener, and an expert in weiqi.

He read widely and studied deeply, and would usually remain obsessed with the same thing even after weeks. This led his obsession with Buddhism and the Book of Changes since young. He was well-versed with the various classics and was very knowledgeable despite his youth.

His curious nature and determination led to his parents giving him the nickname Foolish Boy.

He loved playing weiqi and spent countless hours studying the game. This also caused his devotion to the Immortal Lady Li Canghai, and subsequent infatuation with Wang Yuyan.

As a Buddhist, he was compassionate and thus detested killing and fighting initially. After he started wandering in the jianghu, he gradually became less staunch about his principle of not taking life.

Duan Yu was also also risk-averse by nature. Whenever he encountered danger in his adventures, he would rely on his Lingbo Footwork qinggong skill to escape. However, his sworn brother Xiao Feng’s heroism inspired him to ditch his cowardly nature and embrace the chivalry that was always within him.

Martial arts abilities

When Duan Yu first appeared, he did not know any martial arts skills. Due to his obsession with Buddhism and the Book of Changes, so he had a disdain for bloodshed. Duan Yu’s father, Duan Zhengchun, and his mother, Dao Baifeng, are both martial arts practitioners. Thus, they wanted Duan Yu to learn the Duan Clan’s Yiyang Finger.

However, Duan Yu disliked martial arts and stuck to his principles through repeated refusals and even quarrelling with his parents. Note that such behaviour was rare and frowned upon in the Confucian society.

In order to rescue Zhong Ling, who was held hostage by Shennong Guild, he stumbled upon a cave in Mount Wuliang. He saw a jade statue that he called the Immortal Lady.

After kowtowing a thousand times to the jade statue to pay his respects, Duan Yu accidentally found the Xiaoyao Order Martial Arts Essential Manual that contained the Beiming Power techniques. The end of the scroll contained the training techniques for Lingbo Footwork. Duan Yu learnt these martial arts. While he was fairly familiar with Lingbo Footwork, he did not fully master Beiming Power.

At the Dali Tianlong Temple, the Tubo2吐蕃 – Tǔbō. The best-known medieval Chinese name for Tibet. See Wikipedia. monk Jiumozhi seized the Spirit Blade of Six Meridians Manual, and Duan Yu unexpectedly learnt the technique. Although he was unable to control his inner energy to fully utilise the Spirit Blade, it was one of his most formidable martial arts.

As he was only able to use the Spirit Blade in critical moments, Duan Yu later came up with a verse, “Well-trained fighters use sneak attacks, while the divine only use it when given no choice.”

Beiming Power

The Beiming Power was a martial art of Xiaoyao Order that absorbed others’ inner energy for one’s own use to rapidly boost one’s inner energy. The name implies absorbing the inner energy of people in the world for one’s own use like how rivers flowed into the sea.

The scroll stated, “The first principle of this martial art is to accumulate inner energy. Once rich in inner energy, all the martial arts in the world will be mine to use. Just like the BeimingThis refers to the legendary underground sea at the north-most part of the world., boats big and small float upon it, fishes big and small live within it. Therefore, inner energy is first, while moves are last. Practice the following diagrams diligently.”

Duan Yu inadvertently absorbed the inner energy of many wulin experts. Thus, despite his age, he had immense inner energy. He later absorbed the inner energy of several masters in succession. Due to a series of coincidences, he drained Jiumozhi’s lifelong cultivation of inner energy, making Duan Yu’s inner energy unmatched in history.

Lingbo Footwork

The Lingbo Footwork was a martial art of Xiaoyao Order based on the sixty-four hexagrams from the Book of Changes. The unique qinggong movement was strange as it required the one to turn one’s body in midair, or leap forwards and backwards, or dart side to side in order to execute the moves in the scroll.

When defending against an opponent, one only had to move according to the sixty-four hexagrams without having to worry about the opponent’s presence. It was a legendary martial art with an unrestrained style that allowed the user to do whatever they wanted.

The first step to the last made a full circle. The footwork was ingenious and strange, allowing the user to dodge attacks from multiple enemies.

Like the Beiming Power, it was the Xiaoyao Order’s ultimate qinggong. It was not an exaggeration to consider it the top qinggong technique in the world. Derived from Fuxi’s sixty four hexagrams, it also helped with the cultivation of inner energy.

It was the skill that Duan Yu was most well-versed in. He used this technique to outwit the Crocodile Deity of the Southern Sea and took the latter as his disciple.

Spirit Blade of Six Meridians

The Spirit Blade of Six Meridians was the legendary martial art of the Duan Clan of Dali kept in the Tianlong Temple. It was created by the founding Emperor of Dali – Duan Siping.

It focused the inner energy into the fingers and released an invisible sword that could cut through any sword in the world, making it the finest sword in the world. As it was used by the fingers, many people mistakenly thought it was a finger technique.

The Spirit Blades of Six Meridians is actually a swordplay technique that used an invisible qi sword. It uses the Yiyang Finger to form the qi blade that was formless yet formidable and sharp.

The six meridians refer to the six standard meridians in the hands: Taiyin Lung Meridian, Shaoyin Heart Meridian, Taiyang Small Intestine Meridian, Yangming Large Intestine, and Shaoyang Triple Burner Meridian. Duan Yu learnt the skill through observation in the Dali Tianlong Temple. Although the Duan Clan ancestors forbade passing the skill down to secular descendants, there was no restrictions against secular descendants learning it without guidance.

Murong Fu regarded the martial art as one of the two unrivalled martial art gems alongside Shaolin Temple’s Yijin Jing. Duan Yu used the Spirit Blade to defeat Murong Fu on Mount Shaoshi and again on Mantuo Mountain Manor. Having seen the martial art with his own eyes, he exclaimed that it lived up to its reputation as the number one swordplay in the world.

In the Third Edition, Murong Fu also mentioned that one could use six different inner energy from the fingers, combining them for an even more devastating effect.

Yiyang Finger

The Yiyang Finger was a profound martial art that the Dali Duan Clan was famous for. It was elegant when slow and struck like lightning when fast. It was imposing yet graceful, maintaining the air of a king within its mighty ferocity.

Being the foundation of the Spirit Blades of Six Meridians, Duan Yu only learnt the mental techniques from his uncle the Baoding Emperor.

Poison Immunity

At the foot of Mount Wuliang, Duan Yu accidentally ate the king of poisons, the great crimson bull toad, and ended up with immunity to poisons.


He first met Zhong Ling, and then Mu Wanqing while on Mount Wuliang. Between their jests and quarrels, he sowed the seeds of love in their hearts. At the Mantuo Mountain Manor, he met Wang Yuyan, who was a splitting image of the Immortal Lady, and became deeply infatuated.

Duan Yu became sworn brothers with Beggar’s Guild Chief Xiao Feng at Songhe Tavern in the outskirts of the city of Wuxi. He later become sworn brothers with Shaolin monk Xuzhu at Lingjiu Palace on Piaomiao Peak.

Zhong Ling

Duan Yu met Zhong Ling at the Duelling Contest on Mount Wuliang. They were drawn into a life-threatening situation but managed to overcome the danger. She likes Duan Yu but he treated her as a younger sister.

When Duan Yu returned to Dali, he took Zhong Ling as concubine after he ascended the Dali throne.

Mu Wanqing

Right from when Mu Wanqing first appeared, she and Duan Yu were in a life-and-death situation. After their harrowing experience, she slowly fell for him and decided to to let Duan Yu be the first in the world to see her face.

They vowed to marry each other, only to discover that they were half-siblings from the same father. The later find out that they were not siblings.

When Duan Yu returned to Dali and ascended the throne, he took Mu Wanqing as concubine.

Wang Yuyan

Wang Yuyan was a stunning beauty and a splitting image of the Immortal Lady whom Duan Yu saw in the Jade Cave. Although Duan Yu was infatuated with her, Wang Yuyan had a crush on her cousin Murong Fu.

Despite his unreciprocated love, Duan Yu was willing to do anything for Wang Yuyan’s happiness. They adventured in the jianghu together and went through several life-and-death situations together.

Duan Yu looked after her and protected her. He even offered to marry the Western Xia Princess so that Murong Fu could marry Wang Yuyan.

When her cousin did not bother to help when she was faced with death, she jumped into a well to kill herself out of grief. As fate would have it, she encountered Duan Yu in the well and he proved that his love was true. Moved by his devotion, she accepted his affections.

He realised that he was merely infatuated with her and married his other love interests instead, including Zhong Ling Mu Wanqing, and Princess Yinchuan’s handmaid Xiaolei.

Xiao Feng

Duan Yu became sworn brothers with Beggar’s Guild Chief Xiao Feng at Songhe Tavern in the outskirts of the city of Wuxi.

Xu Zhu

When the Deaf Mute Elder Su Xinghe set up the Zhenlong array during their weiqi game, Duan Yu was unable to counter the array. A Shaolin monk came up wit a solution and that was the first time Duan Yu met Xuzhu. He later become sworn brothers with Xuzhu at Lingjiu Palace on Piaomiao Peak.

Duan Yu with Xiao Feng and Xuzhu
From left: Xiao Feng, Duan Yu, and Xu Zhu from the 2003 TV adaptation

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Behind the scenes

Despite his lack of martial arts training, he is still one of the top martial artists in the Jin Yong universe. Jin Yong wrote, “If I had to choose to be a character from my novels, I would want to be Duan Yu of Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils. He never wanted to overwhelm others. He always left room for them.”

Xu Kang and Chen Yingling wrote, “I think Jin Yong infused immense artistic sentiment in Duan Yu. He casted him with a profound cultural and philosophical essence, making Duan Yu a part of the Wulin, but stands apart from the others. He had the cursed romantic fate of Jia Baoyu, the of earth-shattering abilities of the Monkey King, and the carefree spirit of Jigong. He is radiant and profound, and is worthy of being the unique hilarious hero in Chinese literature.”

His grandson Duan Zhixing, also known as Master Yideng, appeared in The Legend of the Condor Heroes and Return of the Condor Heroes.


There were drastic changes to the fates of Duan Yu and his lovers in the Third edition. This sparked extensive discussion and was widely criticised by fans.

In the Second Edition, both Zhong Ling and Mu Wanqing went with Duan Yu to Dali. However, he married only Wang Yuyan.

In the Third Edition, Duan Yu realised that he was merely infatuated with Wang Yuyan and parted with her. Instead, he married his other love interests Zhong Ling Mu Wanqing, and Princess Yinchuan’s handmaid Xiaolei, and made them his concubines.


Several actors have portrayed the role of Duan Yu in several adaptations of the series.

  • The Battle Wizard (1977) by Shaw Brothers studio – Danny Lee
  • Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (1982 film) by New Century Film – Kent Tong
  • Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (1982 TV series) by TVB – Kent Tong
  • Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (1990) by CTV – Eddie Kwan
  • Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (1997) by TVB – Benny Chan
  • Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (2003) by Ciwen Film & TV Production – Jimmy Lin
  • The Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (2013) by Zhejiang Huace Film & TV Production – Kim Ki-bum
  • New Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils (2019) by Tencent Video – Bai Shu

See also

Compelling characters fill the captivating world of this epic tale and their destines intertwine in a mesmerising dance of love, betrayal, and martial arts prowess…