Journey to the West

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Journey to the West

Post by Eardrum73 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 6:18 am

I’m not sure if it’s quite right to call this set JTTW cards, mainly because I’m not sure if Fox Queen even appears in JTTW?
Perhaps it is better to call them Chinese gods but that isn’t quite right either. Only two out of the five cards are actual gods (kinda). Perhaps this set is more appropriately titled “Legends of Chinese folklore”… but what kind of title would that make? lol
 
To put context to these cards, one must get a brief understanding of what Journey to the West (JTTW) is about in literature.
JTTW is basically a novel of Chinese folklore about a Monk travelling to India (west of China) to retrieve some Buddhist scriptures. In the journey he was protected by a monkey, a pig and a river ogre, and rode a horse that was a dragon in disguise. Together they overcame all kinds of obstacles to reach their goal. The tale is filled with magic, demons and supernatural occurrences. The hero of the epic is no doubt, Wukong the Monkey King.

Wukong
He was a blonde naughty monkey…. mischievous, arrogant and powerful. So naughty that he stole from the Dragon Kings and rebelled against Heaven. He was super awesome in magic (he knew 72 spells) and was such a kickass fighter that no one in heaven could beat him. The Jade emperor had to enlist the help of Buddha to finally defeat him.  
As punishment for his misdeeds Buddha imprisoned him under a mountain for all of eternity. (wink, wink)

Five hundred years later Wukong brokered a deal with QuanYin (both a Taoist and Buddhist deity)  and agreed to protect the Monk on his journey to the west in exchange for his freedom. As means to safeguard his obedience to the monk, a torque was placed on his head. When he disobeyed the monk, the monk could make the torque shrink and hurt wukong’s head by reciting some mantra’s. (You can see the torque in the 6 star version of Wukong’s card)  
His trademark items are a magical staff (it’s really just a heavy gigantic pillar that he could shrink and put it in his ear), a feathered cap, some cloud walking boots and a mail armour of some sort. All this he stole from the dragon kings. You can actually see the staff, armour and boots (on the cloud) in the card but the feathered cap is nowhere to be seen.  
Anyway, Wukong uses his guile, magic and skill to see the monk safely through to India.

He did have a “Fiery gaze” where he could spot out demons in disguise but I don’t understand how his leader ability “cast iron shield” relate to his story since he never carried a shield. Maybe if MH said “Cast Iron skin” it would make more sense……. “sigh MH”

East Dragon King, Ao Guang
Basically he is a dragon, and he ruled the Eastern part of the seas. Was he not the most powerful of the four dragon kings?
He had a brief appearance in JTTW. He just served as a backdrop when Wukong doved into the seas to  (ahem) “take” four treasures from each of the dragon kings. His trademark magic staff originally belong to the East Dragon King. Basically he was pretty much scared shitless of Wukong and rolled over to let the monkey take the treasure without a fight.
I’m not even sure if Ao Guang appeared in JTTW after that. If he did it would be a very obscure reference. Can anyone confirmed?
He features heavily in Nezha’s story as East Dragon King and Nezha were deadset enemies, since Nezha killed one of his sons.  

Nezha, the Lotus Prince
When he was born, he was a flower. The flower opened up to reveal a boy inside. (who was Nehza – duh!)
Nezha isn’t a main character in JTTW as he only appears twice in the JTTW, first when Wukong storm the gates of heaven, he tries to fight Wukong but is defeated by the blonde monkey. He appears a second time (albeit briefly) to help Wukong capture the Demon bull king during their journey to the west.  
His trademark items are:  A set of flaming wheels that he stands on (that just sounds really painful), a red shawl that he wears around his body, a large ring (really it’s just a disc with sharp edges that he can throw or use as a melee weapon) and a spear. He can sprout six arms and attack enemies multiple times so I’m guessing this is what his leader skill “hellfire” is about!

Demon Bull King
He was basically a demonic bull with awesome fighting and magic skills.
If ever there was a match for Wukong, DBK would be it. He was Wukongs Equal in every respect, both might and magic.
He features in JTTW as an enemy of Wukong and the two of them go toe to toe for days without any clear sign of victory.
In order to defeat the demon bull king, Wukong had to call for aid…. It came in the form of Nezha and somebody else (I can’t remember who) and only their combine might could they capture DBK.

Fox Queen – Daji
Daji was a historical character, a cruel concubine that supposedly caused the downfall of the Shang dynasty. It was said that she liked to watch people suffer and even devised clever but cruel implements to torture people.  
But I don’t seem to find any reference of her in JTTW? (Can someone confirm this?)
In Chinese folklore she is often depicted as a nine tail fox. (you can see her nine tails in the 5 star version of the card)


Last edited by Eardrum73 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Journey to the West

Post by larken on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:27 pm

Pretty familiar with Chinese legends myself (grew up with them).

Ao Guang was pretty much a side character in JTTW, but played a much bigger role in Feng Shen Yanyi (Investiture of the Gods).

Wukong's tale is awesome (and pretty damn long) to tell, though I think alot of the singaporeans in the guild would know his story well. I'd skip the details Very Happy There's just so much to tell, I think reading the books or wikipedia would be easier.

Demon Bull King was in fact, Wukong's sworn brother prior (when they were considered as minor demons) to Wukong's imprisonment under the Five-finger mountain (Buddha literally laid the smackdown on him there).

Nezha was not born a flower, but instead a gob of flesh. His father (quite antagonistic in Nezha's story), thought that his wife had given birth to a demon (her gestation period was much much longer than a normal person's. I forgot how long, but it was years). Anyway, he struck the gob of flesh, and it split open, where Nezha jumped out, already a young boy. If I remember correctly, he lost his body (sacrificing himself to save the people of Chen Tang Jiang, which was under the threat of being flooded by Ao Guang and his brothers; they were quite the a-holes in the story), by committing suicide by carving up his own flesh and dismembering his bones "returning" these to his parents in repayment for the debt of his birth. The Dragon Kings then hosted a huge celebration (bastards).

He was later brought back by his teacher (another sage/deity) who reconstructed his body using lotus roots (thus the title of Lotus Prince), and gave him the weapons to fight against the Dragon Kings; and also to kill his father, since he had been quite a jerk to his own son (which was stopped by the intervention of yet another deity).

Daji was depicted as a fox in the same tale (Feng Shen Yan Yi) - though it was said that the real Daji (dead by the start of the story) was possessed (or replace) by the fox spirit. She doesn't appear in JTTW. Nine-tailed foxes in myths are pretty prevalent in several cultures; Korea (Kumiho), Japan (Kyuubi). The tale of Tamamo-no-Mae (the Japanese parallel of Daji) is pretty similar in nature.

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Re: Journey to the West

Post by Eardrum73 on Wed Mar 19, 2014 3:56 pm

A gob of flesh..... Thats disgusting lol!
The gestation period for Nezha was said to be 3 years, 6 months or something abnormal but most of these stories are.
I just remember him sprouting out of a lotus and dancing around immediately afterwords (could have been after his resurrection like you say)
I remember seeing that in some "old school" chinese animation and found it pretty disconcerting at the time lol. (We were forced to watch it in language school)

Nezha sacrifice himself by putting his organs into 3 separate jars to appease Ao Gang (East dragon king). Some versions say that he did it to protect his people, while other sources mention a direct threat from East dragon King to his parents, or both.

I always found Wukong's treatment of Demon Bull King to be a betrayal of sorts (seeing as they were sworn brothers and all). It just didn't sit well with me at all. in that whole Iron Fan affair I was rooting for DBK instead lol.
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Re: Journey to the West

Post by larken on Wed Mar 19, 2014 4:17 pm

Yea well, if it helps, there are similar tales in Japanese folklore about a boy named Momotaro, who was born from a giant peach. the conflicts of the story isn't that similar though. I think that dancing thing was the part after he come out of the gob of flesh though; but I guess different media would have variations in its portrayal.

I kinda disliked everyone in Nezha's story to be honest. The dragon kings were real pricks, Nezha's father was way too cruel to his own son (after Nezha sacrificed his physical body, his soul remained, and appeared to his mother to ask that she build a temple for him so that he could rest in peace. She did, and for a while people came and prayed to him, and Nezha blessed them in return. However, when his father (Li Jing) got wind of this, he actually went and burnt down the temple). Even Nezha was a little too much of a brat to me.

You do have a point about DBK and Wukong's relationship, but he could've just asked his wife to lend Wukong the fan Very Happy
I guess its a little weird to have an old friend show up after five hundred years and ask you for a favor, lol. That monkey's rascally charm makes me root for him though. Definitely one of my favorite characters in Chinese mythos.

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Re: Journey to the West

Post by Kalvis on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:35 am

Damn guys... its so nice read this. Curently im reading forgottem realms. Buy i think I will put my hands on Chinesee mythology. Its pretty interesting.
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Re: Journey to the West

Post by Eardrum73 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 9:54 am

Yay, another customer!

Which Forgotten Realms books are you reading Kalvis?
I didnt know they came in Polish lol.


Last edited by Eardrum73 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Journey to the West

Post by Kalvis on Thu Mar 20, 2014 10:03 am

Eardrum, In fact we have one of the most extended fantasy books market in europe Razz i mean the the great number of translations. Curently Im reading those about Drizzt D'Urden Very Happy
Im reading fantasy since i was 12. i heard about Realms 2 months ago.
I was Lost for 9 years not knowing about such a great character Very Happy
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Re: Journey to the West

Post by larken on Thu Mar 20, 2014 11:04 am

Ooo. I have every book of Drizzt Do'Urden by Salvatore until the most recent ones. Definitely one of my favorite characters in fantasy.

Poland eh? I really enjoyed the Witcher games, though I never read the novels by Andrzej Sapkowski.

The thing about Chinese mythology books is that the translated works aren't very well-done in English or otherwise. It's passable to read, but rather poorly translated.

If you're into myths and legends and stuff, there is a rather fun (though derivative) urban fantasy series called the Dresden Files you might want to check out.

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Re: Journey to the West

Post by Kalvis on Thu Mar 20, 2014 1:28 pm

Larken. Ive read really huge numbr of fantasy titles. It may seem a bit hermetic and patriotic Razz but. the Witcher is the most Charismatic character ive ever seen Razz U playedvgame so u have a little bit of what is book about Razz
But as I know there are only 2 first tomes translated into english. But still worth seeing.
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Re: Journey to the West

Post by Eardrum73 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:12 pm

I find Drizzt more like a super hero than a fantasy hero. And Salvatore's main characters are practically immortal no matter what damage they suffer lol.

One of my all time favourites is Dragonlance Chronicles. (3 books) A classic composition of a D&D adventuring party that gets thrown into an adventure. The later series just aren't as good.

Another series I highly recommend is "Slayer Chronicles" or sometimes called the adventures of Gotrex and Felix. Its a straightforward read with no super complex plot but the action is fast and furious and the fantasy world its set in is simply awesome.
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Re: Journey to the West

Post by Kalvis on Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:33 pm

woooooo Very Happy i read dragonlance at age of 13 Razz. raistlin majere is one of my best characters as well Razz damn. memories awaken Very Happy thanks Ear Razz
Unfortunately every single tome has been translated in polish Sad
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Re: Journey to the West

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