|Name:||The Untamed, 陈情令, Chén Qíng Lìng|
|Creator:||Mo Xiang Tong Xiu |
墨香铜臭 Mòxiāng Tóngxiù
|Date(s):||June 27, 2019 - August 20, 2019|
|Country of Origin:||China|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
The Untamed (known in Chinese as Chén Qíng Lìng or 陈情令) is the live-action adaptation of Mo Dao Zu Shi.
The adaptation was announced in March 2018 with the first two actors, Xiao Zhan and Wang Yibo, announced in April. The series started airing on June 27, 2019 on Thursday and Friday with two episodes each day.
Due to censorship laws in China, all explicit romance between the main characters was removed from the story. In addition, some morally-grey characters were made into more black-and-white good vs evil characters. Despite the censorship of the romance, many fans were surprised at what was left in, as if the show was viewed with the original story in mind, it wasn't difficult to construe a romantic relationship between Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. Key moments include being trapped in the Xuanwu Cave with most of the dialogue intact, and a scene that replaces their first kiss during the Hunt on Phoenix Mountain where Wei Wuxian calls Lan Wangji his "soulmate".
The series became available on Netflix in North and South America, Europe, India and Philippines in October 2019, expanding the fanbase as the show reached a wider audience.
July 12, 2019 saw the first Untamed fan meeting followed by a Roadshow that stopped in Hangzhou, Xi'an, Wuhan, Shanghai and Qingdao. Another fanmeeting took place in Thailand  on September 21, 2019. November 1, 2019 will see the final fanmeet in Nanjing, with the event selling out in just 5 seconds.
In English-language online fandom, some fans began watching the show (with fansubs?) through various channels in July/August before it was released to Netflix, so the English-language fandom began gathering steam even before there was easy access to the show. The pattern of the fandom's spread has led to it being called "the ancient Chinese gays pyramid scheme".
"Fans of the series knew the regulations it was up against in China and were careful to protect the storyline. In discussing The Untamed online, chatters avoided explicit mention of the show’s gay undertones, referring to the topic using the misleading but politically charged hashtag “socialist brotherhood” in hopes of avoiding attention from regulators."
- Jiang Cheng/Lan Xichen (Xicheng): A slash ship pairing the brothers of the two main characters, and the second-most popular ship in English-language fandom, after WangXian (based on number of works on AO3).
- Jiang Cheng/Wei Wuxian (Chengxian): An incest ship pairing adopted brothers Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian. In Chinese-language fandom, this is the second-most popular ship after WangXian (again, based on works on AO3).
- Jiang Cheng/Nie Huaisang (Sangcheng)
- Song Lan/Xiao Xingchen (Songxiao)
- Lan Xichen/Meng Yao (Xiyao)
- Jiang Yanli/Jin Zixuan (Xuanli): The canon het pairing of Wei Wuxian's sister, Jiang Yanli, and her husband Jin Zixuan.
Some less prevalent ships/rarepairs include:
- Xiao Xingchen/Xue Yang (Xuexiao) and Song Lan/Xiao Xingchen/Xue Yang (Songxuexiao)
- Jin Ling/Lan Sizhui (Zhuiling)
- Lan Xichen/Nie Mingjue (Nielan), Meng Yao/Nie Mingjue (Nieyao), and Lan Xichen/Meng Yao/Nie Mingjue (3zun)
- Jiang Cheng/Wen Qing (Chengqing): A niche het ship unique to the TV fandom, as Jiang Cheng has no romantic interest in Wen Qing in the original novel. In The Untamed, he has a romantic attraction to her, although they do not become a couple in canon.
- Lan Xichen/Nie Huaisang (Xisang)
- Mo Xuanyu/Nie Huaisang
Tropes & Fanon
- Fix-its/everybody lives & post-canon: Fix-its are commonplace for many of the more angsty and tragic moments in canon, as well as the deaths of key characters. Canon-verse fix-its will often diverge from canon at key moments or have certain characters make better choices in order to reach a happier outcome. Alternatively, fanwork creators will create post-canon works in which the characters resolve their past traumas/differences and move forward in a positive way.
- Kidfic: The character A-Yuan (Lan Sizhui) frequently features in kidfic, commonly raised by Wei Wuxian as a single parent, or else adopted jointly by Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji. In these works, A-Yuan is sometimes a relative of Wen Qing's, usually her nephew.
- Sword names as social media/chat handles: One common trope in chatfic and social media AUs or fics featuring social media is to use the names of characters' words as their online handles. For example, Wei Wuxian becomes Suibian, Lan Wangji is Bichen, Jiang Cheng is Sandu, etc.
- Some of You by tangerinechar: Social Media AU, Lan Wangji/Wei Wuxian. Lan Wangji gets drunk and tweets a love confession, Wei Wuxian panics, and all of twitter decides to matchmake Lan Wangji and his mystery guy.
- The (Several) Convenient Kidnappings of the Chief Cultivator by the Yiling Patriarch by misscam: Lan Wangji/Wei Wuxian, combines novel and TV series canon. “Yes, Clan Leader Jiang. It is most regrettable, but the Yiling Patriarch has once again kidnapped His Excellency. However, we have every confidence in His Excellency’s safe eventual return.”
- A Civil Combpaign by Ariaste: Jin Rulan/Lan Sizhui, arranged marriage
- The Absolutely True Story of the Yiling Patriarch: A Manifesto in Many Parts by aubreyli: Lan Wangji/Wei Wuxian, post-canon fix-it with some incorporation of novel canon. In which the junior disciples (namely, Lan Jingyi, Ouyang Zizhen, and a reluctant Lan Sizhui) turn to RPF in an attempt to rehabilitate Wei Wuxian's reputation so that he and Hanguang-jun can get together and get married and live happily ever after. It's... surprisingly effective.
- Grandmaster of Troublemaking (The Untamed) by NKZephyr Edits. Wei Wuxian-centric vid set to Troublemaker by Olly Murs (feat. Flo Rida)
In English-speaking fandom, there are numerous meta essays, overviews and primers that explain various aspects of Chinese history, culture, linguistic wordplay, etc. in the context of The Untamed to help guide a non-Chinese audience. There is also meta discussing the differences in characterisation, plot, etc. between the original novel and the TV adaptation.
- CQL’s worst crimes, according to cyan: Meta discussing some of the changes made in the TV adaptation compared to the novel, and the perceived issues with them.
- Anonymous asked: I have questions about the untamed's name, specifically, is that a fair translation of the title in Chinese: Meta analysing the choice of title for the TV adaptation in Chinese, 《陈情令》, and its English equivalent.
- kudosmetwice asked: Hello! First of all, I'd like to thank you for all your thorough explanations and translations of the Chinese in CQL!: Meta discussing the linguistic nuances of Lan Wanji's signature phrase in the show, "无聊".
- Anonymous asked: 师父 I have a tiny discussion request (only if you have the time/inclination).: Meta discussing the linguistic implications of a specific exchange between Lan Wangji and Wei Wuxian after the latter returns from the Burial Mounds.
- WRT martial/adopted siblings in Ancient China should not seen as equivalent to modern adoption: why do Jiang sibs call WWX their brother?: Twitter thread explaining how the cultural concept of "siblings" differs between ancient China and modern western norms, and why "martial siblings" like Jiang Yanli and Wei Wuxian would have been extremely marriagable by the norms of the time.
- chinese cultural context for moments in cql—a helpful thread! #陈情令, a Twitter thread by @hobis_pouch
- ever wondered about the chinese title of the untamed, 陈情令? spoiler: it doesn’t translate to ‘the untamed.’ a short thread analysing the meaning of the show's Chinese name and where the English translation of 'The Untamed' came from.
- Nie Huaisang's cultivation style
- Twitter meta about Jin Guangyao and the way that Nie Mingjue and Nie Huaisang react to his actions. By LaT_CQL.
Links & Resources
- 《陈情令》主演齐聚粉丝见面会 肖战王一博合唱
- The Untamed Thailand Fan Meeting Highlights
- The Untamed Concert In China Is Scheduled For November
- Tickets for The Untamed Concert in Nanjing sold out in 5 seconds
- The Untamed: A Primer by sonickitty via Tumblr. "Part 1. Part 1. So You Want To Join The Pyramid Scheme". Published February 20, 2020 (Accessed May 4, 2020) (archive link)
- ‘The Untamed’: Chinese boy love drama we can’t stop watching, visited 5th May 2020.
- Tweet by @asideoftrashpl1: if you filter AO3 works by language, after Wangxian, Xicheng is most popular for English works... BUT CHENGXIAN IS THE MOST POPULAR PAIRING FOR CHINESE WORKS. Food for thought. Posted May 7, 2020 (Accessed May 10, 2020) (archive link)
- Tumblr post by baoshan-sanren on February 16, 2020. (archive link)
- Twitter thread by Lat_CQL on August 8, 2020. (archive link)