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In this blog, let’s explore the names of the characters in the drama Love and Destiny, if you’ve watched my videos on ten miles of peach blossoms, you’d know chinese names often contain a lot meanings and references to a wide array of things.
Let’s begin with our two lead characters, Ling Xi and Jiu Chen. As most of the characters in this drama, neither of them has a surname.
Ling Xi has explained her name’s meaning to Jiu Chen in the drama, as a kind of proof of her intelligence, which is cute but not really logical at all. “Ling” 灵 as she said, can be interpreted as the second character in the word “ji ling”机灵, which means being quick witted, clever or smart, “ling” can also mean spirit, such as in the word “shan ling zu”山灵族, the mountain spirit tribe, which Ling Xi’s maternal line belongs to. “Xi”汐 as she said, means tide, so a tide of cleverness, no wonder the stone-hearted 100,000 years old virgin God of War ended up being completely swept away.
Jiu Chen, “Jiu”九 means nine, “Chen”宸 is character that originally meant the northern star, but throughout the years it gradually took on the meaning of being celestial or the celestial palace in the mythological sense. You might wonder why number nine would be used in a name. If you dabble in Yi Jing 易经, or the more western and butchering way of pronouncing the word, I-Ching, you would be familiar with the concept that traditionally in china, odd numbers are considered male whereas even number female. As the highest single digit male number, nine often symbolizes the highest form masculinity, such as the emperor. For example, the word “jiu wu zhi zun” 九五之尊, literally meaning the revered nine five, is exclusively used to describe the emperor. Five in this case, can symbolize both as being in the center on the Luo Shu 9 number grid 洛书（horizontal, diagonal, vertical 3x3 grid that all add up to 15) , or being the last but one stroke I -Ching’s graph of “qian” 乾, which represents the heaven, and in I-ching, this stroke is also considered to be the best position of the six strokes of “qian”.
So by all meaning, Jiu Chen’s name is filled with reference of being high and mighty and all powerful.
Then let’s look at our two main villains of the drama, Jing Xiu and Yuan Tong. “Jing”景 means view, as a kind of landscape, but it could also be interpreted as an adjective that means grand or big, or a verb that means admire, so, all very positive and good. “Xiu” 休 on the other hand, means rest or stop. It’s kind of ironic that the good and grand things ended up being stopped, pretty much the story of his life.
Yuan Tong is one of few characters who has a surname in this world, which is Yuan 元. The reason for that is never explained, to be honest I don’t think the writer really has an explanation for it either. “Tong” 瞳, being her given name, means iris, the circular structure in eyes.
As for our second lead couple, Yun Feng and Qing Yao. “Yun”云 means cloud, “Feng”风 means wind, if you reverse the order, the word Feng Yun 风云 actually means a kind of unrest and unstable situation, often used to describe a period of a lot of political turmoil. But in the order Yun Feng, it would not take on that layer of meaning.
“Qing” 青 means blue, “Yao” 瑶 is one of at least a dozen Chinese characters meaning jade. Our only nine tailed white fox in this drama’s name means blue jade, I guess it does reflect her eye colour.
We have another character in the drama who’s got jade in her name, Yu Li, the daughter of the medicine god, “Yu” means jade, the quintessential “jade”, as other jade characters are different types of jade. “Li” means pear, a jade pear, how cute and expensive! Come to think of it, her personality probably resembles a jade pepper much more.
Another really interesting name is Hua Yan, when you reverse the characters, it becomes Yan Hua烟花, the word meaning fireworks, but when written as Hua Yan, “Hua”花 means flower, and “Yan” 烟 means smoke, again, it’s like a play on existing Chinese vocabulary and turn it into something new and fresh by simply reverse the character order.
As for the comic relief couple Si Ming and Shi San. Si Ming 司命 is not his name but his title, meaning in charge of fate, as he basically decides the fate of all mortal beings. I hope he’s not overworked these days, 7 billion life story is a bit intense even for a god. His human name before he became a god is Han Yuanxin, "Han“ 韩 is his surname, ”Yuan“ 元, meaning first, or the beginning of something, ”Xin“信 means trust or believe, it can also mean letter when working as a noun.
Shi San is literally the number 13 in Chinese, which is a slight pronunciation variation from her original name Shi Shan when she was a he, the name means 石 Stone 山 Mountain.
Here are the meanings of some other characters in Love and Destiny
As an original script that kind of acts as the successor to Ten Mile of Peach Blossoms, Love and Destiny did a good job in terms of keeping the world setting consistent through out this franchise. The names are perhaps not as intentionally set up as pairs and opposites as you find in Ten Miles, but still, they reflect a reasonable level of understanding of the culture the story is rooted in.