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#Yu Ziyuan

*ahem* Because I saw a post that is severely testing my “do not start fights on other people’s posts” resolve: JFM telling JC that trying to let his allies’ children DIE to avoid something that anyone with half a brain could see was inevitable EITHER WAY and then yelling about how saving their lives was a terrible idea is just a little fucked up and not at all appropriate behaviour for a future sect leader is not going to fuck up JC’s self-esteem (and if it does clearly he needs to be taken down a few pegs for the sake of Yunmeng as a whole), nor is it some horrible act of abuse, and YZY screaming about how JFM is being a horrible father is not the correct reaction to have even setting aside the fact that she was the one who caused any potential damage to JC’s self-esteem by constantly treating him like a useless brat. JFM was not a bad father to JC in his own right, the only thing he did wrong was not stopping YZY and regardless of what someone who clearly spends most of her time trying to hurt her family says he does not hate JC or like WWX better. There is no evidence that JFM has ever been unfair to JC or scolded him for things that were not his fault; when we see JFM scold JC it’s for things that are genuinely not appropriate, like kicking an orphan out of his room and threatening to set his worse fear on him or the aforementioned “how dare you not let our allies’ heirs die” situation. The closest the actual text of the novel comes to saying JFM was neglectful is saying that at the age of nine JC had only been picked up a handful of times, which says exactly nothing given a) not all parents pick their children up after infancy (and I seriously doubt JFM never picked JC up as a literal baby) and b) there’s nothing suggesting JFM picked anyone up on a regular basis (remember that JC’s little jealous moment is spurred by JFM picking WWX up once when the poor kid is scared half to death on his first day in Lotus Pier with no mention of JFM ever picking WWX up again or ever picking JYL up period); everything else in the novel involving the claim that JFM was openly preferential (towards WWX, at least; I’d say there’s plenty of evidence for him being preferential towards JC) either comes directly from YZY or can very easily be explained as assumption based on YZY’s words due to lack of evidence (for example JC complaining that JFM would never rush all the way to another sect for him when there’s no evidence that there has ever been a situation where JFM might have had to do so). Claiming that JFM was cruel or abusive towards JC or ever unfair to him is just buying into the claims of a woman who is openly and explicitly verbally abusive towards her husband and children and verbally and physically abusive towards her husband’s ward as she tries to turn her children against their father, and holds no basis in the actual text. Can we please stop taking the words of the most openly abusive character in the entire novel at face value?

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Favorite moments in the MDZS manhua this week, chap 160:

(SPOILERS for MDZS novel chap 56, The Untamed ep 14, the MDZS donghua ep 10, and the MDZS audio drama S2Ep12)

The Yunmeng Jiang pain begins.

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Wei Ying is back at Lotus Pier and first thing he does when he wakes up is ask about Lan Zhan (and then Jiang Cheng). Also, Shijiiiieeeee, I miss you!!! 😭

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Uncle Jiang looking good. But more importantly, no kissy drawings on Wei Ying’s headboard. Boooo!

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Pissed that Wen Chao’s taking all the credit for killing the Xuanwu of Slaughter when Lan Zhan’s the one who killed it, Wei Ying jumps out of bed to…to go beat up Wen Chao?? 😂

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Wei Ying being sweet: giving most of the credit to Lan Zhan for killing the tortoise.

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I love Madam Yu! Love the way she makes this entrance every single time regardless of the medium. So intimidating!

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Wei Ying cute reacting to being scolded.

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Ok I felt bad for JC but this made me laugh so damn hard, mom literally dragging him into the argument with dad. Poor baby.

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“Jiang Fengmian, look well and clearly, he is your actual son. I don’t believe you don’t know what they’re saying, about whether Wei Ying is your–”

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Papa Jiang put a stop to Madame Yu’s words but the damage was already done.

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Poor JC. I wanna hug him. 🥺

~

Official (raw) manhua at: https://m.kuaikanmanhua.com/mobile/1749/list/

WeComics has the official Eng translations but they are behind the raws.

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Yes, that was me! I can definitely expand on my thoughts re: how Madam Yu’s behaviour reads differently to me due to my traditional, Chinese upbringing.

There is a lot of subjectivity as to whether Madam Yu can be read as abusive, and this reading is often influenced by culture—hence you often see completely off-base takes floating around. However, to me, the way that cultural context influences the reading will actually change depending on the relationship, so I will discuss each one separately. Most of the culturally insensitive takes are about her being an abusive or uncaring mother (she’s not), or that she’s a spurned woman (it’s more complicated than that), so you can skip down to the JC, JYL, and CSSR sections for that.

Madam Yu and Wei Wuxian

As a trend, I think western fandom tends to simplify Wei Wuxian’s dynamic with the Jiang family into an entire adopted family. Consequently, Yu Ziyuan gets perceived as this two-dimensional, evil stepmom figure—but I think this doesn’t capture the truth.

There’s a bit more variability among Chinese audiences when they read the Jiang family dynamic, partly due to our deeper familiarity with wuxia tropes, but mostly because there’s a mediocre Netflix translation colouring the western interpretation. Though many Chinese fans do view them all as a sort of family unit and read Madam Yu as a stepmother, I do not. To me, Jiang Fengmian and Jiang Yanli view Wei Wuxian as family—but Madam Yu does not. Madam Yu views him as a servant, a disciple of the sect, and an outsider at the dinner table—and it’s not wrong for her to do so. It’s not gracious, but it’s not unfounded. I don’t think Wei Ying ever gives any indication that he views her as a mother, either.

If you agree that they don’t have anything like a mother-son relationship, all these insults/complaints that Yu Ziyuan levels at him—that he’s the “son of a servant”, that Jiang Fengmian is weird for openly favouring Wei Wuxian over his own son, etc.—these start to make sense? Like, it’s shitty to listen to, but none of it is wrong. Suddenly it reads less like pointless insults and more like actual points.

Additionally, if we consider that Wei Wuxian is a disciple of the sect who goes around and raises the ire of the Wen clan, corporal punishment suddenly looks very normal (again, within the culture). Hence, when I watched the donghua and CQL, I hated seeing Wei Wuxian getting whipped, but I didn’t perceive this as abuse—especially because of the political nature of the decision.

But it is definitely still possible to mistreat a disciple.

In CQL, you see Madam Yu throwing an unnecessary amount of vitriol at Wei Ying. In the novel extras, it’s revealed that she regularly whipped him but never whipped the other disciples, indicating that it wasn’t normal corporal punishment. She also whipped him for absurdly stupid reasons. To me, this signals that she tended to abuse her authority over him. Even if you don’t view her as an abusive mother to Wei Ying, it’s fair to read her as an abusive authority figure.

Importantly however, “abuse” is a loaded word suggesting a violation of social norms, and again, the situation is complicated because the social norms of the setting don’t match those of the modern world. Madam Yu is not overstepping her bounds as master of Lotus Pier—hence, people do not think very much of this treatment in-universe, including Wei Ying himself.

Madam Yu, Jiang Cheng, and Jiang Yanli

Okay, when I first watched CQL, I cringed when Madam Yu started dragging her family because she sounded like My Actual Chinese Mother. I felt for a second like I had transmigrated into Jiang Cheng’s body and I was experiencing his agony firsthand!

Madam Yu reads very realistically, and I think this is why it gets personal for a lot of Chinese people when this fandom discusses her character. Yes, she belittles and hurts her children for their perceived failures, but many Chinese people can tell you that this is just a common parenting style. And while it might look like bullying to an outsider, this behaviour is usually motivated by love. It is often also motivated by fear that the child’s future will be substandard. This is textually obvious when you consider what exactly Madam Yu yells about:

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Fake marriage AU yeah?

Okay so Wei Ying gets back in touch with his family after a long absence, because having guests at a wedding makes it seem real and it’s totally fake guys I swear.

So Auntie Yu figures out that Wei Ying isn’t actually in love with Lan Zhan (at least he’s not aware of it.) And is like “how fitting of you to end up in a loveless marriage like the man that treated you better than his own son.” And Wei Ying’s like “I know you’re loving that, but please don’t tell Jiang Cheng ang Jiang Yanli, they are so happy helping plan the wedding.” And Jiang Cheng is in the living room with A-Yuan and A-Ling in either arm while telling Lan Zhan his wedding ideas are stupid and he’s stupid and that Wei Ying is stupid and A-Yuan is the greatest thing that’s happened to him since A-Ling.

And Auntie Yu is like “oh I’m sure you’ll fuck it up yourself. How much lucky money am I obligated to give him?” And Wei Ying is just. Confused? Why is the primary source of all his childhood trauma being nice to his beautiful son that he birthed? He would expect that from Uncle Jiang, but Auntie?

And she’s like “don’t misunderstand, you suck” and Wei Ying’s like “correct.” And she’s like “but your absence was felt by A-Cheng and A-Li. They love you, and now that you are back in their lives, I would rather not repeat the events of when you left the first time.” And Wei Ying is like “:0” and Auntie Yu is like “by the way, why did you specifically do this while my husband would be at work?” And Wei Ying is like “what invite Uncle Jiang and have him like me where our sweet A-Cheng can see? The thing that made me leave in the first place? Auntie Yu, you know better than all of us how shitty Uncle can be when it comes to showing his children the love they deserve.” And Auntie Yu is like “you aren’t as dumb as I thought.”

So like.

She’s still terrible, but for AU’s sake, she’s trying but only for her son and daughter that she does love.

And then they go back into the living room and Jiang Cheng is talking about how he made the house a WWX nightmare after WWX left. He immediately went out and adopted a dog, trained it to sit outside WWX’s room, called up a fellow dog lover, and then Jin Zixuan had the audacity to actually come over with his dog, and Yanli gave them drinks and JZX was like “hey wait has your sister always been cute??? I don’t remember that being a thing.” And only then is it that JC realizes for real what he did, that his bro would never want to return to this house.

And Wei Ying is like “you brought the peacock into the home to make me suffer and it backfired, now he’s in our lives forever.”

And Jiang Cheng is like “yes and he will annoy you forever because I’m not letting you run away you stupid dumbass” and Jiang Yanli is like “Language A-Cheng, but he is right, you are not allowed to disappear again A-Xian.”

And they have a good time roasting the wedding plans and Lan Zhan falls deeper in love with Wei Ying’s smile as he has his family back.

And Auntie Yu looks at Lan Zhan and then at Wei Ying and then back to lovestruck Lan Zhan and is like “what are you getting out of this?” When they go to the kitchen.

And Lan Zhan is like.

“My uncle will stop asking me to settle down, and my brother will not worry about me.” And Auntie Yu is like “you’ll be in a loveless marriage just to avoid that?” And Lan Zhan is like “not loveless. Only one-sided.” And then Auntie Yu realizes that everyone here is fucking stupid.

And she’s just going to let it roll, because that wedding is going to be a mess.

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I’m only 14 minutes into this episode, and I’m just not getting the dislike people have for Yu Ziyuan.

She’s calling a spade a fucking spade, man. Jiang Fengmian sounds like he’s like, yes you’re going to the Wens it’s all good, and Yu Ziyuan just flat out says what’s in the letter. Like her kids SHOULD know what’s in that goddamn letter.

Yeah, she belittles Yanli (dude, I really enjoy fandom’s take on Yanli, but she is a weak character right now) and she scolds Jiang Cheng for defending his bro to her. And maybe it’s because that’s the kind of rearing I’m used to, but.

1. She wants to make sure Jiang Fengmian acknowledges her kids

2. She’s come in second her entire married life and she’s sick of it. AND SHE SHOULD BE. Why take that shit quietly.

3. She knows (and is frustrated by) her kids’ limits. Yeah, way harsh about it. But she’s not lying about it and she wants them to do well. By her standards.

She’s clearly competent and not willing to take shit. Meanly protective of her wards. Also sharp and striking. She seems like the kind of woman who would end you in a befitting manner, and you’d thank her for it.

I’m thinking I need to read the novel translations. I must be missing something about her that makes fandom hate her so much.

Also, the Jiang siblings are totally the pampered, personable, well-loved lordlings and lady of Yunmeng.

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(Masterpost of All the Recaps)  (Canary’s Pinboard)

Warning: Spoilers for All 50 Episodes

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All righty, this one is going to be a laff riot…not. Let’s do it.

The first half of this episode is like a beautifully executed standalone tragedy, while also threading together all sorts of themes and paying off all sorts of relationship building that’s happened in the previous episodes. My hat is off to the writers, while I also shake a fist at them for making me cry an unreasonable amount.

We’re Sailing on a Strange Boat

The episode starts right off absolutely DESTROYING me with the Yunmeng brothers holding hands, fingers interlaced, in the first of many hand-touching moments that punctuate the episode.

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Jiang Cheng has to be pretty far gone to accept this degree of comfort and tenderness. I think, from their positions, he is also holding Yanli’s hand out of the camera’s view. 

Zidian finally lets the trio go, and they immediately turn the boat around and head back to Lotus Pier. Wei Wuxian gets the clever idea to turn the benches into makeshift oars but nobody gets the clever idea to use magic to push the boat like they do literally every other time they are in a boat. 

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Their emotional need to go back to Lotus Pier is understandable, but they are being disobedient and irresponsible by doing it. Jiang Cheng is the future of the clan, and should not risk his life, particularly after his mother chose to sacrifice herself to protect him and after both of his parents told him to go hide with his sister and personal bodyguard brother. 

On the other hand, Jiang Fengmian, as clan leader, probably had a duty to go into hiding himself rather than go home to die romantically, so his authority is questionable at this point. Anyway, this is the Jiang Clan, they get to kind of do what they want, except when that pisses Jiang Cheng off.

Lotus Pier Massacre

Back at Lotus Pier, the Wens are kicking Jiang ass. The fight choreography is pretty good, taking full advantage of walkways, railings, pools, and other features of the environment. 

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Using the set this way always makes fights feel more kinetic and real, as opposed to simply sparring in an open area. 

(more after the cut)

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(based on CQL)

hate them (sorry!!!) | don’t really care | like them | LOVE them | THEY ARE MY PRECIOUS

ship with: I don’t, particularly, though I will say I am a fan of a universe where she and Jin-furen both ditch their neglectful husbands and run away together, possibly after Jin-furen assassinates Jin Guangshan (think the “he doesn’t deserve you” vine, but as an au plot). I think getting away from their husbands would do them both good. Maybe they would stop violently taking their anger out on their husband’s extra bonus kids if they got to spend a nice long vacation away from it all with their best friend, who knows?

friendship them with: The above AU plot works pretty much any way you want to spin it (friendship, romance, sisterhood), so I guess see above. 

general opinions: When I say I hate her, I mean it as a compliment to the character design. You don’t have to like someone to be compelled by them, and I think she’s fascinating. She’s like the perfect shitstorm of a mother – everything she does blows her kids’ emotional complexes up like five times their original size. The kids don’t even get the chance to process their issues on their own time, because mom is right there dragging everything into the light and shouting about it for the whole family to hear. Watching her scenes is a really rich experience, because I love character analysis and she’s a goldmine of it for both herself and everyone who lives with her.

But like, my god.

Talk about living with a nightmare.

She’s just so…. Much.

Thank you for the ask!!!

[from this ask meme]

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Watching a friend stress over eps 9-10 when Jiang Fengmian broke up WWX and JC’s silly sibling banter while WWX’s still recovering in bed. She thinks it’s an obvious favoritism and JFM’s scolding at JC in that moment was “really uncalled for” bc it’s normal for siblings to have petty fights. All these while thinking Madam Yu is still a bitch to WWX. She fumes even more at JFM though.

It’s the greatest feeling I had in a while bc I see my past self in my friend rn when I first watched the donghua. Explained that the family conflicts ain’t the only reason why WWX and JC’s solid brotherhood went to waste (my voice was hoarse at this point). It was the combination of personal, familial, and political reasons that kept piling up as the plot thickened further. Friend’s face went from listening earnestly to pikachu face :O LMAOOO

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Ah yes, passing down your mdzs mental sufferings is one of the wisest decisions you could ever make lmao

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The Untamed ep11, collage 4: Mother

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YZY: In a few days, when they get to Qishan, we dont know if theyll be given food. They might as well starve for a few days so they’ll get used to it.

***

YZY: Such arrogant words. What does it mean by a direct disciple? It means that between Ah Cheng and Ah Li, one of them must go.

JC: Mother, don’t be angry. I’ll go.

YZY: Of course you’ll go! Were you thinking of sending your sister instead? Look at her, still happily peeling the lotus seeds. Ah Li, stop peeling it! Who are you peeling it for? You’re the master. Not someone’s servant! What? Did I say something wrong? Servant. You don’t want to hear this word? Jiang Fengmian, let me ask you. Are you going to make him go too?

JFM: That depends on him. If he wants to, he can.

WWX: I’ll go.

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Bonus:

JC: Mother

YZY: Why are you calling me? … You’re an idiot. Let me tell you. You won’t ever beat the person next to you, whether in cultivation or monster hunting. … How many times have I told you to stop fooling around with him? Yet, you still speak up for him. How did I give birth to a son like you?

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(Viki subs.) Yu Ziyuan really has been cultivating some serious resentful energy! Well, Jiang Cheng stopped speaking up for Wei Wuxian, eventually. She would have been so proud. But it needs to be said that she is right here about the Qishan Wen and their intents (and is worried about JC’s safety, even if she has a weird way of showing it).

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(masterpost) (other canary stuff)

Warning: Spoilers for All 50 Episodes!

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Have Some Veggies with That Roast

Wei Wuxian wakes up bloody and alone on the cold hard ground, like he’s dating Geralt of Rivia. Lan Wangji is gone and Jin Zixuan is there.

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Jin Zixuan cheerfully rips on him and is embarrassed when Wei Wuxian thanks him, saying he didn’t do it for him. Jin Zixuan is either really good friends with Lan Wangji, or he has a painfully awkward crush on someone who cares about Wei Wuxian. 

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Jiang Cheng delivers the greeting that is becoming the standard way to say hello to Wei Wuxian.

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Having established that his brother isn’t in a coma any more, Jiang Cheng gets busy bitching at him and minimizing his trauma.

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You, my man. You didn’t get any injuries.

(more after the cut)

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