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China’s “Game of Thrones” to be published in English

By Kou Jie (People's Daily Online)    14:00, October 30, 2017

Sixty years after its first publication, The Legend of the Condor Heroes, a magnum opus that towers above any other wuxia novel in China, is expected to be translated and published in English in 2018.

The book, which is the first part of the Condor Trilogy written by famous Chinese novelist Louis Cha Leung-yung, is widely considered as a crowning masterpiece of the wuxia genre and has a widespread following in many Chinese-speaking areas. The book has been hailed by fans as the Chinese version of Game of Thrones and is adapted into comics, TV series, and video games.

The news has intrigued many Chinese fans, who worried that the translation may not fully demonstrate the depth and beauty of the wuxia novel.

“The English title of the book seems to be a mistranslation to me, as condors are not native to China. If I were the translator, I would use eagle instead. Plus, I really doubt if the foreign readers can understand the book due to the lack of profound understanding of xia culture,” wrote a netizen on Sina Weibo.

“Traditional Western literature shares many things in common with Chinese xia culture. [We] are optimistic about the book’s acceptability among English-speaking readers,” Anna Holmwood, the novel’s translator, told Thepaper.cn, adding that the copyright of the Condor Trilogy has already been acquired by a British publisher.

TV adaptation of The Legend of the Condor Heroes. [file photo]

Deriving from China’s xia (heroic chivalry) culture, which emphasizes the importance of martial arts and individual morality in battles against evil and social injustice, the wuxia (wu refers to martial arts) genre of literature and drama is widely celebrated in Chinese popular culture, and has generated remarkable overseas influence in recent years.

According to statistics from Novelupdates.com, a website that translates popular Asian novels for Western readers, Chinese wuxia web novels have created a reading frenzy among foreign readers. Among the site’s top 10 most popular web novels as of October, eight were written by Chinese authors.

“I’m really looking forward to the book’s publication. As a huge fan of Chinese wuxia novels, I’m fascinated by the martial arts hero themes and Chinese traditional cultural elements. It’d be an honor to finally read the most famous wuxia novel in English,” Vegard Vagslid, a 24-year old Norwegian reader, told People Daily Online. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Kou Jie, Bianji)

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