Places of The Untamed - Where They Are in The Real World
It might come to you as a surprise that where the characters come from in the drama are real places in China. Although the drama is based on a xian xia web novel, which means ghosts, curses, talisman, quantum weapons of sheer potentiality and a total disregard of physics are all well accepted, the sets and locations where the story takes place are based on very real places that you can go and visit today.
The five main families in this drama are:
云梦江氏，The Jiang Clan of Yun Meng
姑苏蓝氏，The Lan Clan of Gu Su
兰陵金氏，The Jin Clan of Lan Ling
岐山温氏，The Wen Clan of Qi Shan
And 清河聂氏，The Nie Clan of Qing He.
Let me take you through the list and show you where these places are.
The Jiang Clan of Yun Meng is the home of Wei Wuxian, Jiang Cheng and Jiang Yanli. In the book it’s described as a place of many lakes that are filled with lotus flower. Wu Wuxian’s favourite food is Jiang Yanli’s pork rib and lotus root soup. The drama also features expansive water surface and the lotus flower at this location.
Yun Meng in today’s China, is located somewhere in Hu Bei Province. This name has a history of over 1400 years, although no longer used today, the fact that the ancient site would be somewhere within this province is not disputed.
Yun Meng Lake is a historical large lake that was said to be over 40,000 square kilometres at its peak, although these days it has disappeared completely. As the book describes Yun Meng is a place with many lakes, it could well be the contemporary provincial capital, Wuhan. If you are familiar with Chinese dramaland, you might already realized that this is the home town of actors such as Zhu Yilong and Wang Kai.
Wuhan is a very important city along the Yangtze River, and it has a very famous locate dish - hot and dry noodles. If you ever traveled there, be sure to try it out.
Now let’s look at where our other lead character Lan Zhan comes from.
The Lan Clan of Gu Su. Gu Su is a name that is still familiar to contemporary Chinese ears, which refers to Suzhou.
Suzhou is only half an hour’s high speed train ride from the mega city Shanghai, located in East China. Suzhou has a very rich and colourful history, as one of the most renowned historical cities in China, especially regarding producing highly cultured scholars through many dynasties.
Since I said a few things about Yun Meng…. Well, Suzhou’s food can be summed up in one word - Sweet. Everything is sweet, literally, every dish you can possibly come across will have some added sugar in it. So if you’re on a carb restricted diet, think twice before you visit.
This does get me thinking though, since Wuhan and Suzhou have such different taste in the culinary art, I wonder who calls the shot when it comes to what should we have for dinner between these two.
The third one on our list is The Jin Clan of Lan Ling. Lan Ling is the historical name for an area in current Shandong Province, close to today’s city of Linyi.
Although not a major metropolis today, this area used to be an extremely affluent historical location, producing some of the highest level Gentry Clans during Wei Jin Period. In the drama, the Jin Clan is described as the richest and proudest clan of all the major players in the story’s landscape, and this historical factor could be the reason why the writer decided to give this clan such a status.
The Wen Clan of Qi Shan, which made everyone’s life a hell in the early part of the drama is based in today’s Shaan Xi Province. Qi Shan, meanig Qi Mountain, is the name of a county in the province today, although the county is not a significant place in contemporary China, the capital of the province is one of the most famous historical cities in China, Xi’an. If you’ve been watching the longest day in Chang’an, you would know just how important this area had been in ancient China.
As a province that hosted the capital city for many different dynasties, Shaan Xi has a wealth of cultural and historical riches for you to discover, perhaps most famously the terracotta soldiers of Qin. If you ever travel to this area, please go visit the provincial museum, it is in my opinion one of the best museums in China, and it hosts some of the most incredible artifacts dating thousands of years back.
Actor Bai Yu is from Shaan Xi, and I have absolutely NO CLUE why I mentioned him here.
Finally let’s look at The Nie Clan of QIng He. Qing He meaning clear river, is a county in He Bei Province, and historically, Qinghe has also produced some very affluent Gentry Clans. He Bei in contemporary China often gets overshadowed by the fact that it encircles the capital city Beijing, which means Beijing has kind of taken all of its attention.
Historically, though, it was a very important area for breeding the culture of the Middle Kingdom. Cities such as Handan were once the most cultured city during the Warring State period.
There are many other locations mentioned in the drama and the book, they are mostly ancient names of places in China that still exist today. And by my guess, the ghost town Yi Cheng, judging by how it was described in the book, would be somewhere around my home town Chongqing.
Well, well, well, ghosts or not, the subplot line is in my opinion the best subplot line of the original novel.
Now you know where these places are in the real world, if you ever travel to China, try to hit one or two places on your way.