Ahahahaha. Yes, JFM is the one projecting his resentment onto a child. It’s all JFM. YZY, no no, she’s just fiiiiiiiiiiine. Also considering the setting I’m pretty sure it would be considerably easier to be openly resentful of his wife or even just divorce her and be done with it than it is to project onto his son and heir who will be leading the sect he’s poured so much of his life into one day and resent him and in doing so teach him the Jiang sect as it is is terrible… Just saying.
Hey, speaking of projecting, methinks the JFM haters are doing it just a bit.
Jiang Cheng has to tell his siblings. He has to. He knows this. He wants to do this.
Jiang Cheng is terrified of telling his siblings.
He’s still terrified even as he drags them back to their shared room at Cloud Recess and locks the doors with a warding talisman. The talisman doesn’t harm anyone who tries to enter the room but it does act like the warding Wei Wuxian had created at the Burial Mounds. No one can enter and no one can tell what is going on inside the room until the talisman runs out or is cancelled.
So I was watching that one episode where the jiang family is eating in lotus pier and I notice that jiang cheng and madam yunhad the same color palette in the clothes while wei wuxian and jiang fengmian had darker colors matching while jiang Yanli had neutral colors, kinda looked like lavender, just a thought about you know how it seems to be divided while Yanli is like a mediator in madam you and jiang femgmian relationship and later the mediator in jiang cheng and wei wuxian relationship
JFM: Jiang Cheng, you still don’t understand our sect’s motto. “Attempt the impossible!”
JC: I spend every day of my life trying to match up to Wei Wuxian in your eyes. I’m a walking emblem of our sect’s fucking motto!!
I’m pretty sure Jiang Cheng thought this at least once in his life.
It is highly probable that people who call Jiang Fengmian abusive never had emotionally absent parents
Meng Yao hesitates before asking. “How does one tell what weapon is suitable for their cultivation?”
Sect Leader Nie says stiffly, “It’s something one’s family or teachers most properly ought to guide. Besides, you’re doing plenty for the campaign without fighting at the front. Carrying water and running messages for my men is dangerous enough.”
Meng Yao swallows hard. It was foolish to even ask - he refuses to shame himself any further by begging.
Sect Leader Nie rises to his feet. Meng Yao holds back a flinch at the approach of this looming figure of authority. “Don’t be anxious. You’re still young, and we’ll put down those damned Wen-dogs soon. It takes a lifetime to walk the path.”
Meng Yao’s heart jumps against his ribs. Sect Leader Nie’s free hand has settled lightly on Meng Yao’s head to give his hair a ruffle - a hand big and broad enough to crush Meng Yao’s skull.
Sect Leader Nie chuckles. “Here, you eat this.” He presses the last half of his flatbread into Meng Yao’s hands.
Meng Yao looks up at him, astonished. The bread is wrapped around a narrow strip of jerky – the meal’s entire ration of meat.
“You need meat to build meat,” Sect Leader Nie says bluntly. “A little sprout like you needs it more than me.”
Several parts of the recent conversation click together in Meng Yao’s mind; his pride stings. “Sect Leader Nie, how old do you think I am?”
Sect Leader Nie looks down on him. “Hm. Thirteen, perhaps? No, you’re too mature, and well-spoken. Fourteen.”
The muscles of Meng Yao’s forehead seize in the incredulous leap of his eyebrows. He knows he has a baby face – plus the dimples quite often have a peculiar effect on people’s judgment - but he does not look fourteen!
“Sixteen, then.” Nie Mingjue hastily revises.
Meng Yao struggles to regain control of his expression. “Sect Leader Nie, I’ll turn twenty this year.”
Writing a fic where Meng Yao sees Jiang Fengmian as a father figure, made me realize that doing so would add a whole other complicated layer in Yao’s relationship with Lan Xichen (romantic or not) since the two sect leaders are so similar to each other personality wise, and I don’t know how to feel about this.
Like holy shit there’s so many flavors of daddy issues I can fit into this one man without even trying.
Following up on the WWX and JYL are functionally JWY parents thing it puts the golden core transfer in a different perspective, undergoing risky, life changing surgery for a sibling is different to doing it for ones child.
There is this whole thing about how often older siblings end up taking on the emotional and mental burdens of partially raising their own younger siblings.
There is also a lot to be said on older siblings doing their best to shield a younger sibling from the abuse of a parent.
All of which can be applied to Jiang Cheng. I really don’t hate him. He’s an amazing character and the fact his best ending is given as him letting go of the poisons that ruined him is something I dearly appreciate.
But yeah, the kind of relationship they share is definitely a bit tinged by the fact Wei Wuxian was raised to protect him. Both intentionally and unintentionally so. So when Jiang Cheng needs that kind of risky surgery…well, of course Wei Wuxian would do that.
And now because you put Jiang Fengmian under “shitty parent” I’m gonna go on a spur of the moment rant because I am oddly defensive of that and very annoyed by that common misconception based on western standards and ignoring the origins of the novel. The only shitty parent is Yu Ziyuan and Jiang Fengmian just bumbles. Which is more him being a character with normal flaws than how Yu Ziyuan is painted in a pretty nasty light.
Full rant below the cut for the sake of how long it got…
That is the hell of political marriages where only one party falls in love. It might actually be worse than political marriages where neither party is in love, because that’s considerably less awkward to navigate; unpleasant, but at least there aren’t feelings getting in the way of it. Also, probably this is half the reason why JFM is so quick to break off the engagement between JZX and JYL; he knows what it’s like to be trapped in a marriage with someone who’s super into you who you don’t love. He loves his daughter, but she’s YZY in this setting; JFM is probably more on JZX’s side here, which is understandable given his own situation. But yeah, probably JFM didn’t realize YZY had serious feelings for him until it was too late; he agreed to marry her because of politics and didn’t realize until afterwards (assuming he ever did actually realize) that she was actually in love with him; makes sense it took him a while, given by all accounts YZY wasn’t all that close with JFM before their marriage.
I’m sure this already exists, but:
Warning: Spoilers for All 50 Episodes!
Message from the Lan Clan
After dinner the Yunmeng bros go to talk to Jiang Fengmian in his study. They’re quiet and respectful here, with no shoulder-shoving or arguing. This scene has such Brady Bunch energy, where Dad’s Study is the Man Place where boys come to talk about Serious Things.
The boys tell Dad Jiang about the Yin Iron and he says yeah, I know. This is probably why he let them run off on their road trip without punishing them, but he could have, like, shared data with them so they might have actually achieved something related to the Yin Iron, rather than just wandering around the countryside bonding with Lan Wangji and Nie Huaisang.
He shows them a letter from the Lans that basically says the Lan Clan is in the shit, and he tells them they’ve got to go to the Wen indoctrination because otherwise they will also be in the shit.
He gives the boys a warning about the Yin Iron, which is that
1. it can be refined and
2. if you refine it carefully, it will not control you.
Awesome tip, will definitely use, thanks pop.
(more behind the cut)
“Oh? Who’s this?” mother asks, voice teasing, when she finds them sneaking lotus cakes from the kitchen. Jiang Fengmian is confused by the question.
“That’s Changze, mother,” he says, and shares a glance with his daemon. Maybe seeing him in Fengmian’s robes and the hairstyle he’d fixed his hair into had left him unrecognizable?
He’ll remember the expression on her face forever. The way her cat daemon steps back, hissing, hair raised. The way Changze turns back into his sneaky-weasel form and throws himself into Jiang Fengmian’s arms in fright, the robes he was wearing collapsing discarded on the ground.
They’re marched to father’s office by mother’s firm hand on Jiang Fengmian’s shoulder, Changze still shivering against his chest. Jiang Fengmian will never forget that for just one moment her hand hovered before settling, like she’s too afraid, too disgusted to touch.
“Why is it wrong?” Changze asks Father’s daemon.
“It’s not wrong,” she says. But she sounds tired. Unconvinced. “It’s never been done before. We didn’t know it could be done.”
“Isn’t that a good thing?” whispers Jiang Fengmian. He doesn’t understand.
She doesn’t answer him.
By the time Changze settles into his final shape at age fifteen, ‘Wei Changze’ has already been given an identity, a position as Jiang Fengmian’s personal servant. An excuse to be at his side, night and day.
Mother has long since given up on her deviant son, but father is kinder. He teaches them both how to run a sect, and lets Wei Changze practice his calligraphy while Jiang Fengmian goes through the expenditure accounts.
There are rumours about Jiang Fengmian, none of them particularly kind. The rumours reached the Cloud Recesses before they did.
Jiang-gongzi is a pampered prince, gets to bring a servant with him.
Jiang-gongzi doesn’t even have a daemon.
Jiang-gongzi’s a weakling, his daemon is a spider he hides in his sleeve.
Jiang-gongzi cuts his sleeve for that kid they call his servant.
It doesn’t bother Wei Changze, that people think he is Jiang Fengmian’s pleasure servant. “Fengmian-gege, I am your soul. Don’t be ridiculous. And I’ve spent many days in your bed.” He says the last seductively, lowering his head and batting his eyes, and Jiang Fengmian cuffs him on the ear. Wei Changze just laughs, then drops down to sprawl on Jiang Fengmian’s bed in the shared room. “I know Fengmian-gege likes women, I’ve seen how much you paid that Nie disciple for the erotic artwork of the-”
Rumours be damned, Jiang Fengmian climbs onto his bed to wrestle his daemon into a headlock, and tries to shut him up.
The thing that people always conveniently forget to mention is that this scene is the only time we see JFM carrying WWX, and it’s when he’s bringing this half-starved child who he probably feared was dead into Lotus Pier for the first time. The number of times JFM picked up JC might add up to less than five, but as far as we know JFM only picked WWX up once. It’s such a ridiculous argument. “JFM carried WWX the first time JC saw him and JC was upset, clearly this means JFM picked WWX up all the time even though future events would have no impact either way on how JC reacted to that first occurrence and there isn’t a single mention of JFM picking WWX up after this point!”
Also, more mdzs donghua (both the main and the chibi one) thoughts: but do you think JFM really ended up falling in love with YZY despite… Everything? I didn’t get that sense in the novel but then the donghua had the hairpin thing and I’ve seen people take it as proof that, “Aww, he did love her, he just won’t say it” and I’m??? If he loved her, he would say it, right? If only so she would stop biting people’s heads off out of insecurity?
It’s been A While since I watched the donghua, but yeah, from what I remember it was really sympathetic towards JC and YZY. I seem to recall that the writer/director/someone important to the adaptation process was a huge fan and very much let that effect their work?
And I seriously doubt that JFM ever loved YZY, and that if he could have she destroyed all chance of it. I mean, she forced him to marry her and then did nothing to convince him that she had so much as a drop of kindness in her. She’s horrible to him and abuses his children and ward, she has done nothing to earn so much as indifference from him. The bit in the donghua where he leaves his sect while the Wens are already threatening violence to repair a hairpin that YZY broke because it might make her slightly less pissy is… stupid. It’s just stupid. At best it’s an act of supreme selfishness, to basically abandon his sect while the powers of the setting are butting heads to make a fancy apology to his wife for her losing her temper and breaking something.
He should have shut YZY down hard and done his best to ensure that she never said anything like that again. It’s a delicate situation, because he wouldn’t be able to change his behaviour towards JC without compromising his beliefs (there’s a reason he scolds JC so much more than he does WWX, and it’s not favouritism), but he should have at least made sure that YZY wouldn’t spout such bullshit. Honestly just in general JFM should have put more work into ensuring that YZY wouldn’t bring any of the children into her little revenge spree on her husband for not loving his abusive arranged-marriage wife. In canon at most he calls her name reproachfully, which is nowhere near the limit of what he could do to stop her, especially given the time and place and the power a husband had over his wife in that period.
As for what would have changed… I don’t know. It depends on how thoroughly JFM shuts YZY down and how much JC believes it. Because while YZY did plant the seeds and probably drove the point home, JC does refuse to acknowledge that being scolded for going against the central beliefs of his sect isn’t a sign of favouritism aimed at his siblings who do uphold his beliefs? And even more so apparently doesn’t even notice that WWX, who is supposedly “favoured”, is never protected from… anything by JFM, and certainly is never protected at JC’s expense except for the dog thing. So probably things would stay fairly similar.
Ah, that makes sense. I did wonder if that might be part of it. Would that make YZY’s fury at the whole situation worse, then? If it’s JFM’s responsibility to take WWX in and she’s throwing a tantrum over it like he’s just announced that WWX is his bastard…
I always got the impression that JFM either couldn’t think of anyone else with the money and time to raise a child with the degree of support (monetary support, at least) that he wanted for WWX (children cost money! There’s a fair chance he genuinely didn’t know anyone who made enough to support WWX without having to spend all their time working, especially given there’s no mention of anyone he’s particularly close to within his sect), or just… wanted to raise his best friends’ child himself, since they couldn’t do it themselves. At worst it was a little selfish to decide that based on his own feelings without discussing the matter with his family first. Hardly as bad as refusing to stop his wife from being abusive. JFM made a lot of mistakes with WWX (I genuinely think it might have been kinder to make it clear that WWX was a favoured servant instead of keeping him trapped in that awkward in-between spot where he wasn’t a servant or a son because JFM didn’t want to/didn’t think he could/was too worried about YZY’s reaction to outright adopt him but couldn’t bear to finalize the fact that he would never officially be part of the family), but just taking him in wasn’t one of them. Also, y’know, “He should have left this child on the street because taking him in upset his wife” is a fairly terrible argument.