This time let’s take a look at the main characters’s weapons in The Untamed, you might have noticed they all have unique names. Naming your weapon is not a rare practice across many cultures, the most famous weapons recorded in history are known to us today mostly due to the fact that like people, they had names.
In The Untamed, the author didn’t forget to give unique names to the main characters’ weapons. Let’s begin with our two leads Wei Wuxian and Lan Zhan.
Wei Wuxian’s sword is named 随便，the word means “whatever”, the “I don’t really care” “this is ok that is good too” type of “whatever”. It could also mean being careless, willful or casual. In Chinese you often hear this word used in sentences such as “what do you want for dinner？“ ”随便“, which means I have no preference, anything would do.
This name is a quite perfect reflection of Wei Wuxian’s personality, who is quite carefree, spontaneous and rebelious.
Later when he can no longer use his sword as the main weapon, he uses a bamboo flute called 陈情, which is also what the title of the drama is based on. 陈, means state or declare, 情 means circumstances, situations, it could also mean emotions. To talk about the situation, to express emotion would be the meaning of this flute’s name. This is also a very carefully designed name as a sort of comment on how he is unable to fully disclose his sufferings and reasons for giving up his sword.
Lan Wangji’s sword is called 避尘， 避means avoid, 尘means dust, so the meaning here is pretty straightforward, avoid dust. Obviously this is not to be understood in a literal sense, 避尘 is the good will and hope for the owner of the sword to stay away from the corruptive forces of the world and always keeps his integrity.
Lan Wangji’s Qin is also name Wangji, as I’ve explained in a previous video/blog post, it means forgetting trickery and manipulation.
Jiang cheng’s sword is named 三毒, three posions. I know it sounds pretty scary but this is based in buddhism, where the three poison 贪嗔痴， greed, aversion and ignorance keep you trapped in samsara. His parents gave the name to his sword, hoping he’d be able to cut through the three poisons with his sword, and we all know how well that worked.
He also owns his mothers’s lightening whip, which is named 紫电， meaning purple lightening.
Lan Xichen, the brother of Lan Wangji, owns a sword named 朔月, which is an ancient term for new moon. His 箫, the vertically played flute, is named 裂冰， meaning cracking/cracked ice.
As for Jin Ling, Jiang Cheng’s nephew, his sword is inherited from his father, which is named 岁华. 岁 means age, 华 here would mean time. In literature and poetic writings, the word means the time, often in a sense of lamenting its passage. Somehow this really remains me of a line from Thomas Hardy’s poem During Wind and Rain：
Ah, no; the years, the years;
Down their carved names the rain-drop ploughs.
Another pair of male roles in this drama is Xiao Xingchen and Song Lan. Xiao Xingchen’s sword is called 霜华. 霜 means frost, 华, as a character with multiple accents as well as meanings, can mean both flower and glowing light. 霜华 as a word can mean both frost crystals or the cold and brilliant shine coming from a sharp blade.
Song Lan’s sword is call 拂雪， meaning brushing snow. Clearly these two names are designed as a pair with the relationship of their owners in mind.
Xue Yang, the trouble maker to mess up this relationship, what about his really cool two parted sword? The nameof this weapon is 降灾. Interestingly enough, 降 has multiple pronunciations, making this word reasonable for being jiang zai as well as xiang zai. 灾 means disaster, jiang means descend, xiang means make something yield. So the word can mean either causing disaster, or forcing disasters to yield, the two different meanings happen to be the opposite of each other. We can look at this clever naming as a metaphor for the twisted personality and great inner conflict of Xue Yang.
Jin Guangyao’s sword, is named 恨生， hating to be born, I guess that really can’t be more explicit as a representation of the character’s life story.
Finally, for Nie Mingjue，the elder brother of Nie Huaisang， his sabre is called 霸下. This is one of many names of a mythological creature that is said to be one of the nine sons of dragon. It looks like a giant tortoise, and you can see its sculpture in many ancient historical sites as the creature carrying a stone tablet on its back.
In this contemporary existence, we don’t seem to care that much about naming the things we own anymore, but just like I’ve said in my ming, zi hao video, there’s nothing stopping us from adding a bit imagination and romanticism to our life, starting with naming the things that we love most or use most often. I mean I do have a hard drive called pumpkin… if that counts.