Mo Dao Zu Shi

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Name: The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation
The Founder of Diabolism
Mó Dào Zǔ Shī
Abbreviation(s): GDC, MDZS, FOD
Creator: Mo Xiang Tong Xiu
墨香铜臭 Mòxiāng Tóngxiù
Date(s): July 9, 2018 – present (animated series broadcast)
June 27, 2019 - August 20, 2019 (The Untamed broadcast)
Medium: Webnovel, Books, Manhua, Donghua, Audio Drama
Country of Origin: China
External Links: Novel on JJWXC
Exiled Rebels Translation
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Mó Dào Zǔ Shī, translated as The Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation, is a fandom based on a Chinese danmei novel that was adapted into multiple forms, including a live-action TV series, The Untamed; an audio drama; and a donghua, a Chinese animated series. The novel, the audio drama, and the animated series are titled Mó Dào Zǔ Shī, but the live-action series is titled The Untamed.


The story opens with the news that the Yiling Patriarch — Wei Wuxian — is dead, a huge shock and relief to those who hear it. In his teenage years, Wei Wuxian was hailed as a hero, but he had fallen from grace and in the end his own adopted brother was the one to end his life in retribution for the evil he had done.

Thirteen years later, a young man named Mo Xuanyu, at the end of his tether due to abuse by his family, offers his body as a sacrifice to resurrect Wei Wuxian so the Yiling Patriarch can exact revenge on those who hurt him.

Once again alive and in a new body, Wei Wuxian is soon reunited with old friends-turned-enemies and finds that only one person — someone he thought still hated him — Lan Wangji.

Together they try and discover the mysteries around Wei Wuxian’s death and everything that has happened in the intervening years.

The novel contains 113 chapters with 13 extras.


This article or section needs expansion.


(Coming soon)


(Coming soon)

Audio Drama

(Coming soon)

Audio Book

(Coming soon)

Live Action

See The Untamed.


  • Wei Wuxian (魏无羡) / Wei Ying (魏婴) / Yiling Laozu (夷陵老祖): Main character and the Yiling Patriarch. He is brought up in the Yunmeng Jiang Sect after the death of his parents and meets Lan Wangji when he and his adopted brother, Jiang Cheng, are studying in the Cloud Recesses. After the events leading up to his death, thirteen years ago, he awakens in the body of Mo Xuanyu and reunites with Lan Wangji and they investigate a murder that is linked to the events of Wei Wuxian's death. In fandom, he may be referred to by the initials of his courtesy name, WWX.
  • Lan Wangji (蓝忘机) / Lan Zhan (蓝湛) / Hanguang-Jun (含光君): Love interest of Wei Wuxian and a famous cultivator of the Gusu Lan Sect. He is one of the only people left supporting Wei Wuxian during the latter's downfall during the events of thirteen years prior. He is able to recognise Wei Wuxian in Mo Xuanyu's body very quickly and immediately takes him to his home in the Cloud Recesses so they can plan their next move. In fandom, he may be referred to by the initials of his courtesy name, LWJ.


Examples of ship names:

  • 3Zun, the nickname for the threesome ship of Nie Mingjue, Lan Xichen and Jin Guangyao (Meng Yao)

English-language Fandom

(More examples needed) The only existing full translation of Mo Dao Zu Shi into English is Exiled Rebels Scanlations' translation. The Exiled Rebels or "EXR" translation has been criticized by some fans for being too literal and removing some of the nuance in the original Chinese, especially during sex scenes - for example, a line translated by @chiaki_himura as "wait a moment" and by froliczxc as "cool down for a minute" is translated by EXR as "stop for a bit". (This example comes from three--rings's meta "MDZS: Sex and Consent".)

Archive of Our Own Canonical Tags

For a long time the canonical tags on AO3 included tone marks for all characters (for example, "Niè Huáisāng" instead of "Nie Huaisang"), causing difficulties for fans because diacritics are hard to type. In response to discourse on twitter in July 2020 over whether or not having/not having diacritics was or was not racist, the tag wrangler pumpkinpaix identified herself as an MDZS tag wrangler who had pushed for the tone marks to be used on MDZS tags and in some of the 36 other Chinese-language fandoms she tag wrangled. She said that the choice to include diacritics was "partially motivated by spite" and that the tone marks were not "the most practical or the most correct." She also expressed that it would be difficult to change all of the canonical tags as at the time of her twitter thread MDZS had "120 canonical character tags, 857 canonical freeforms and 1,051 canonical relationships" that would need to be changed, working out to about 120 per MDZS tag wrangler.[1]

In February 2021, tag wranglers began to switch canonical tags across several fandoms to versions without tone marks. One [[nonny] on fail_fandomanon said that "Judging by internal chatter, MXTX wranglers took a vote. The majority was against diacritics, that wrangler was outvoted, and that was that."[2] Other anonymous users in the thread expressed both joy, relief, and excitement; many said that searching for what they want on AO3 and tagging works would be easier. (See Hello everyone. i'm one of the ao3 tag wranglers for mdzs for more information.)

Podfic Fandom

growth of podfic in the MDZS novel tag on AO3

After the release of The Untamed and the increase in English-language fanfiction available, fans started producing more podfics for fic based on all the MDZS canons. Although podfics make up only about 1.1% of the total MDZS fanworks on AO3[3], from a podficcer's perspective MDZS is one of the largest podfic fandoms of 2020. The AO3 podfic works page, when restricted to 2020, lists the MDZS novel and The Untamed as the second and third most popular fandoms.[4]

One topic of conversation in the fandom is how to pronounce characters' names. A few Chinese-speaking fans created pronunciation guides for MDZS podficcers:

Not knowing any Mandarin has been a source of angst for some would-be podficcers, out of a desire for perfectionism and/or fear of causing offense. Others have posted queries in various forums asking about whether the names should be pronounced in an Anglicized fashion or if strict adherence to Mandarin tones is required. In a dreamwidth meta post Lunatique wrote,

Just as one should approach creating ANY content of ANY culture that is not their own; Do it with conscientiousness and be willing to put in the work.

Here’s my not-quite 3 steps guide to doing that:

Step 0 . Approach the Challenge with a Mindset of Positivity and Openness

Step 1 . Do your homework

Step 2 . Do your best.[5]

A Behind the Pod podcast by non-native English speakers discussed pronunciation issues in Guardian and MDZS fandoms. One person pointed out that when the word you don't know how to pronounce is a character name, that has a bigger impact on the podfic than a random word. Reconciling Mandarin tones with the tonal "melody" of an English sentence can be difficult. They went on to agree that it was annoying when people didn't even try to pronounce words in their languages (French, German), but as long as people tried it was fine.[6]

Later in the podcast, yue_ix commented that a lot of native English speakers had internalized a double standard whereby they enjoyed English-language podfics by non-native English speakers, but thought they (the native English speakers) couldn't do podfics with Chinese words because they didn't know how to pronounce them. "For most native English speakers, they have never been confronted with not being able to say the words, right? This is the first time that they are experiencing it."[6]

Chinese-language Fandom


The author has referred to Wei Wuxian as Wifi, which is a homophone of his courtesy name, Wuxian.

Fanwork Examples

(More examples needed)


Fannish Guides & References




Fannish Resources


  1. ^ pumpkinpaix, twitter thread that starts here(archive) and finishes here(archive).
  2. ^ Nonny, comment on FFA post 1490, 2021-02-18.
  3. ^ Based on a series of tag searches on 29 December 2020: podfic tag + MDZS novel tag + podfic tag + Untamed tag (excluding MDZS book tag) = 445 podfics / the totals of the combined MDZS novel tag + Untamed (minus MDZS novel) + the donghua (minus MDZS novel and Untamed) + MDZS Q (minus MDZS novel, Untamed, and donghua). There were no podfics tagged with only the donghua or the MDZS Q tag.
  4. ^ See the Sort & Filter sidebar (Accessed 29 December 2020)
  5. ^ lunatique. Thoughts about Podficcing in Cdrama fandoms, Archived version, posted to dreamwidth 9 August 2020.
  6. ^ a b Behind the Pod S2, Episode 2: English as a Foreign Language and Other Podficcer Problems, Archived version, posted 2020-08-09