Word of Honor
|Name:||山河令, Shānhé lìng, Word of Honor|
|Date(s):||Feb. 22, 2021 - March 23, 2021|
|Country of Origin:||China|
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Word of Honor previously titled A Tale of the Wanderers (天涯客) is a 2021 Chinese costume wuxia streaming television series - a fantasy drama. It is notable in portraying a male homo-romantic relationship in a much more obvious fashion than is typically allowed by Chinese censors. The show has a large domestic and international fan following, and is part of a wave of modern adaptations of BL novels into mainstream works.
Word of Honor is adapted from the danmei wuxia novel "Faraway Wanderers" (天涯客) by Priest, authored the Guardian (webseries). That was originally published on Jinjiang Literature City (晋江文学城), a popular Chinese fiction website with a pay-to-read business model. This website is also where the author Mo Xiang Tong Xiu published Mo Dao Zu Shi the source of The Untamed TV series.
This story is a martial arts costume drama set in a fictional universe where many warring clans battle to gain access to a fabled storehouse said to contain knowledge of an unbeatable martial arts technique. Two leads and a young boy get caught up in the middle of the battle for the MacGuffin, The glazed armor which will gain access to the site.
The leader of assassin organisation "The Window of Heaven", Zhou Zishu (played by Zhang Zhehan), quits his position in pursuit of freedom with drastic measures. In his travels, he meets Wen Kexing (played by Gong Jun), the leader of Ghost Valley who wants nothing but revenge. The two meet after they become entangled in various machinations within the martial arts world, and eventually become soulmates instrumental in each other's redemption. One conspiracy, two soulmates, five pieces of treasure, twenty years of grievances, and thousands of years of jianghu dreams have linked these two's destinies closely together.
Chinese fans refer to themselves as 'Mountain people'(山人), likely because the first character in the name of the show is mountain, and the main characters end up on a mountain by the end of the show. The show was popular enough to have a live concert (in spite of the pandemic), and fan commentary can easily be found on Chinese websites such as BiliBili. 
Riding on the fame of The Untamed, Word of Honor as the next most popular C-Drama based on a boys love novel, soon gained an international following. It has a growing number of fan works including numerous fan videos on Youtube, fanworks on Archive of our own, and gif sets on Tumblr.
- Wen Kexing/Zhou Zishu: The main ship is the two leads of the series.
- Cao Weining/Gu Xiang: This popular romance was even featured by a wedding in the live show.
- Zhang Zhehan/Gong Jun: The RPF counterpart of the main ship is also popular.
In August 2021 Zhang Zhehan, the lead actor in Word of Honor, was blacklisted from the entertainment industry after tourist selfies he took near the notorious Yasukuni Shrine in Japan in 2018 were circulated on weibo. The Chinese public appear to be genuinely outraged that he posed near a shrine to generals who committed war crimes against Chinese people during World War II. Misinformation also fueled the outrage--initial reports that the photo showed him in an area where he would have had to pay to enter, thereby proving that he went to the shrine on purpose, seem to have been incorrect. Fans believe that the timing of the revelation (right before the anniversary of Japan's WWII surrender, when nationalism was at a fever pitch) was deliberate sabotage by anti-fans and/or industry insiders who hadn't expected Word of Honor to be such a runaway success and wanted to shift the public's attention to newer dramas coming out.
Word of Honor is still available to international fans, but the show was removed from Chinese streaming sites, and videos related to Word of Honor were removed from bilibili. Nirvana in Fire was edited to remove his scenes. The actor's social media accounts were also shut down.
Responding to the news, one Word of Honor fan on fail_fandomanon said,
Is it hypocritical of me to draw a line here and not at government censorship of the medium in the first place? Possibly. But there is something about what this has turned into, the overt making an example of an individual to enforce a broader political conformity, with not only the ruin of an individual's life but a very clear "this could happen to you" to every single other person in the industry, and the element of how it started as business competition orchestrating, that just makes me feel, I don't want to be involved in this at all.
In cfandom, fans of Zhang Zhehan decided to keep quiet and not defend him, for fear of making the situation worse.
- Understanding What Happened to Zhang Zhehan, Friday the 13th : wordofhonor, Archived version, wordofhonor subreddit, 14 August 2021
- Re: Cnovels - Word of Honor/TYK/etc., Archived version, fail_fandomanon thread, 14 August 2021
- Zhang Zhehan Situation From a Chinese Person's Perspective (Sources Added), Archived version, wordofhonor subreddit, 15 August 2021
- The crucifixion of Zhang Zhehan in the age of misinformation, Archived version, medium post by 1000snow, 22 August 2021
- China’s Nationalist Cancel Culture, Archived version by Bingqing Yang, The Diplomat, 5 September 2021
- he did nothing wrong. period., Archived version, twitter moment, 10 September 2021
- i don't know how it gets better than this by livinginaworldofnoise » the inherent absurdity of your students trying to matchmake you with your husband
- First Impressions (are not to be trusted) by BlackwaterVial » It’s all Cao Weining’s fault, really, that Zhou Zishu is currently sitting in this fancy restaurant next to some rich (and stupidly attractive) guy who clearly doesn’t know how to spell the word ‘decency’.
- 替我踏遍天涯; walk the edge of the sky for me by yiqie » We’re going home,” Zhou Zishu huffs when he pulls Wen Kexing’s arms over his shoulders, then hitches his legs around his waist. He hops in place to get a good grip under the bends of his knees, then makes sure his robe is covering as much of Wen Kexing as it can. “If you die before we get there, the first thing Shixiong will do when we see each other on Naihe Bridge is hit you".
- you're the only thing i think i got right by livinginaworldofnoise » the coffee shop au + musician au we all need??
- The Immortals of Siji Valley by purplesky24 » Wen Kexing refused to open the gates to the wedding guests from Qingfeng Sect. It changed everything.
- happy WenZhou is best WenZhou 💞 by @koujaaku on Twitter
- Word of honor WenZhou by Mad-Hatter----X on DeviantArt
- Dragon kiss (AU) by Cudzinec on DeviantArt
- WEN KEXING || HORNS by Lune Blake on YouTube
- Zhou Zishu x Wen Kexing: A Thousand Years by wangwujixian on YouTube
- Word of Honor and Faraway Wanderers fanworks on AO3
- wordofhonor subreddit on Reddit
- ghost_valley community on dreamwidth
- Glazed Armour fic exchange on AO3
- Word of Honor Kinkmeme on AO3
- Word of Honor | 山河令 Youku Youtube Playlist
- Word of Honor Wikipedia Page
- AvenueX Final review
- Chinese humor reviewer, WOH ep 6
- AvenueX Concert Livestream.
- Re: Cnovels - Word of Honor/TYK/etc., Archived version, anonymous comment in fail_fandomanon, 2021-08-15. (Accessed 20 September 2021.)
- happy WenZhou is best WenZhou 💞 by koujaaku, Archived version
- Word of honor WenZhou by Mad-Hatter----X, Archived version
- Dragon kiss (AU) by Cudzinec, Archived version
- WEN KEXING II HORNS by Lune Blake, Archived version
- Zhou Zishu x Wen Kexing: A Thousand Yearsby wangwujixian, Archived version