The Return of the Condor Heroes
Chapter 1, Part 1 of The Return of the Condor Heroes, as it appeared on the 20 May 1959 issue of Ming Pao
AuthorJin Yong
Original title神鵰俠侶
CountryHong Kong, China
SeriesCondor Trilogy
GenreWuxia, romance
PublisherMing Pao
Publication date
20 May 1959
Media typePrint
Preceded byThe Legend of the Condor Heroes 
Followed byThe Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber 
The Return of the Condor Heroes
Traditional Chinese神鵰俠侶
Simplified Chinese神雕侠侣
Literal meaningThe Divine Eagle and the Heroic Couple

The Return of the Condor Heroes, also called The Giant Eagle and Its Companion,[1][2] is a wuxia novel by Jin Yong (Louis Cha). It is the second part of the Condor Trilogy and was preceded by The Legend of the Condor Heroes and followed by The Heaven Sword and Dragon Saber. It was first serialised between 20 May 1959 and 5 July 1961 in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao.[3]

The story revolves around the protagonist, Yang Guo, and his lover and martial arts master, Xiaolongnü, in their adventures in the jianghu (also called the wulin, the community of martial artists), where love between master and apprentice is seen as taboo. Jin Yong revised the novel in 1970 and again in 2004. There are 40 chapters in the second and third revisions. Each chapter has a title composed of four Chinese characters. Most of the revisions are either clarifications or minor alterations of character motivations or names. The Chinese title of the novel approximately translates to The Magical Condor and its Hero Companion.


The protagonist, Yang Guo, is the orphaned son of Yang Kang, the antagonist in the previous novel. The couple Guo Jing and Huang Rong take care of Yang Guo for a short period of time before sending him to the Quanzhen School on Mount Zhongnan for better guidance in moral values and "orthodox" martial arts. In Quanzhen, Yang Guo is often picked on and bullied by his fellow students, and discriminated against by his master, Zhao Zhijing. Yang Guo flees from Quanzhen and ventures unknowingly into the nearby Tomb of the Living Dead, where the Ancient Tomb School is based. There, he meets Xiaolongnü, a mysterious maiden of unknown origin, and becomes her apprentice. They live together in the tomb for many years until Yang Guo grows up.

Yang Guo and Xiaolongnü develop romantic feelings for each other, but their romance is forbidden by the prevailing norms of the wulin (martial artists' community). Throughout the story, their love meets with several tests, such as the misunderstandings that threaten to tear them apart, and their encounter with Gongsun Zhi, whom Xiaolongnü almost marries at one point. Finally, after their reunion and marriage, Xiaolongnü leaves Yang Guo again, owing to her belief she cannot recover from a fatal poison and promises to meet him again 16 years later, to prevent him from committing suicide. While Yang Guo is wandering the wulin alone, he meets several formidable martial artists and a giant eagle, and improves his skills tremendously after learning from them. His adventures gradually mould him into a courageous hero and perhaps the most powerful martial artist of his time. Yang Guo serves his native land by helping the ethnic Han people of the Song Empire resist invaders from the Mongol Empire, killing Möngke Khan at the Battle of Xiangyang. At the end of the novel, he is reunited with Xiaolongnü and they leave to lead the rest of their lives in seclusion after receiving praises and blessings from the wulin.


Main article: List of The Return of the Condor Heroes characters



Year Production Main cast Additional information
1960 Emei Film Company
(Hong Kong)
Patrick Tse, Nam Hung, Lam Kau, Chan Wai-yue See The Great Heroes
1982 Shaw Brothers Studio (Hong Kong) Alexander Fu, Philip Kwok, Gigi Wong, Lung Tien-hsiang, Lam Sau-kwan See The Brave Archer and His Mate
1983 Leslie Cheung, Mary Jean Reimer, Chen Kuan-tai, Leanne Liu See Little Dragon Maiden


Year Production Main cast Additional information
1976 CTV (Hong Kong) Law Lok-lam, Lee Tong-ming, Jason Pai, Michelle Yim See The Return of the Condor Heroes (1976 TV series)
1983 TVB (Hong Kong) Andy Lau, Idy Chan, Bryan Leung, Susanna Au-yeung See The Return of the Condor Heroes (1983 TV series)
1984 CTV (Taiwan) Meng Fei, Angela Pan, Hsiang Yun-peng, Chang Han-po, Shen Hai-jung See The Return of the Condor Heroes (1984 TV series)
1995 TVB (Hong Kong) Louis Koo, Carman Lee, Jason Pai, Bonnie Ngai See The Condor Heroes 95
1998 MediaCorp (Singapore) Christopher Lee, Fann Wong, Zhu Houren, Shirley Ho See The Return of the Condor Heroes (Singaporean TV series)
TTV (Taiwan) Richie Ren, Jacklyn Wu, Sun Xing, Patricia Ha See The Return of the Condor Heroes (1998 Taiwanese TV series)
2001 Nippon Animation (Japan) Daisuke Namikawa, Mie Sonozaki See The Legend of Condor Hero
2006 Ciwen Film & TV Production (Mainland China) Huang Xiaoming, Liu Yifei, Wang Luoyong, Kong Lin See The Return of the Condor Heroes (2006 TV series)
2014 Yu Zheng Studio (Mainland China) Chen Xiao, Michelle Chen, Zheng Guolin, Yang Mingna See The Romance of the Condor Heroes
TBA Shanghai Tencent Penguin Film Culture Communication and Summerstar Media & Entertainment Group (Mainland China) Tong Mengshi, Mao Xiaohui, Shao Bing, Gong Beibi post-production


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Asiapac Books acquired the rights to produce an illustrated version of the novel in 1995. The 18 volume comic series was illustrated by Wee Tian Beng and translated by Jean Lim with Jin Yong's approval. The lavishly illustrated series won the Prestigious Award in 1997 during the Asian Comics Conference held in South Korea.[citation needed] Notable deviations from the main story include funny strips that poke gentle fun at some of the story's events, in line with conventions of the comic book medium. The series was repackaged in 2021 and Asiapac produced a new limited collector's edition of the comic in both English and Chinese.

In 2002 ComicsOne published the first official English translation of Legendary Couple, a retelling of the novel. The comic series was illustrated by Wong Yuk-long while Jin Yong was credited as the writer.

Video games

In 1997, Softworld released a RPG based on the novel for DOS. The game is only available in Chinese and covers the first half of the novel to the point where Yang Guo meets the Condor.[4] In 2000, Interserv International Inc. published another video game adaptation using a 3D engine.[5]


Fu Tong Wong composed an 8-movement symphony Symphony: The Hero with Great Eagle based on the novel.


  1. ^ Hamm, John Christopher (2005). Paper Swordsmen: Jin Yong and the Modern Chinese Martial Arts Novel. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 9780824828950.
  2. ^ Rojas, Carlos; Chow, Eileen, eds. (2008). Rethinking Chinese Popular Culture: Cannibalizations of the Canon. Routledge Contemporary China Series. Routledge. ISBN 9781134032235.
  3. ^ The date conforms to the data published in Chen Zhenhui (陳鎮輝), Wuxia Xiaoshuo Xiaoyao Tan (武俠小說逍遙談), 2000, Huizhi Publishing Company (匯智出版有限公司), p. 57.
  4. ^ 陳曉莉 (2022-05-03). "智冠科技再推出金庸作品遊戲軟體「神鵰俠侶」 | iThome". Archived from the original on 2022-05-03. Retrieved 2023-03-03.
  5. ^ "【PC】新神鵰俠侶 - 巴哈姆特". 巴哈姆特電玩資訊站. Retrieved 2023-03-03.