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This section contains spoilers for the characters or events that have yet to occur in the English translation.
Jin Guangyao (金光瑶, Jīn Guāngyáo), birth name Meng Yao (孟瑶) is the current leader of the Lanling Jin Sect after the death of Jin Guangshan. As half-brother to Jin Zixuan, this made him uncle to Jin Ling.
Due to the power of the Jin clan before and during his reign, he also became the first Chief Cultivator (仙督).
Jin Guangyao is described as having an advantageous face, with fair skin and lively yet not frivolous distinct pupils. His features are clean, attractive, and ingenious, and the shadow of a smile plays on the corners of his lips and brows. His figure is a bit small, and he has a calm demeanor. 
Besides wearing the Jin clan's uniform with white peony motif, he has a vermilion mark on his forehead. A black felt hat also distinguishes his position as the head of the Jin clan.
Under his mask of pleasantry, Jin Guangyao is a ruthless and ambitious character. In Chinese the word to describe him would be 枭雄 - a ruthless hero who is still done in by fate. In Lan Xichen's summary of Jin Guangyao's atrocities, Jin Guangyao has killed "his father, brother, teacher, wife, son, and friend" by the end of the book.
Jin Guangyao is also deeply insecure about his roots. A lot of his ambition to succeed the Jin clan comes from wanting, mentally needing to prove himself to Jin Guangshan.
Jin Guangyao is also filial, more towards his mother than his father. He built a Guanyin temple so that his mother would receive the worship of people and hopefully reincarnate into a better life. In the Xue Yang incident, Jin Guangyao thus chose to kill his sworn brother Nie Mingjue to settle the Xue Yang incident over opposing his father Jin Guangshan. Later, though, after realising Jin Guangshan's lack of care for him as a son, Jin Guangyao elected to kill in a deeply embarrassing manner.
Jin Guangyao also could remember the name, title, age, and appearance of a person after just one encounter. Even after a few years, he’d be able to greet them without any fault, often carrying out solicitous conversations as well. If he had seen someone more than twice, he’d remember all of their likes and dislikes, therefore able to cater to their needs.
Born in a brothel in Yunping City, Yunmeng, Meng Yao was the son of the prostitute Meng Shi and Jin Guangshan, one of Meng Shi's patrons.
When Lan Xichen went on the run after the burning of the Cloud Recesses, Meng Yao would hide Lan Xichen from the pursuit of the Wen cultivators. This would mark the start of his affinity with the cultivational world.
He would later ally himself with the Qinghe Nie Sect an become Nie Mingjue's secretary.
Spy in Nightless City
Distinguishing himself in ambushing and killing Wen Ruohan, Meng Yao was thus recognised by the Jin clan and taken in, taking on the name Jin Guangyao, titled as Lianfang-Zun. He would also take a vow with Nie Mingjue and Lan Xichen at the latter's proposal to become sworn brothers, and was thus known as part of the Venerated Triad (三尊).
Proposed the >1,200 lookout tower network to keep an eye out for supernatural threats.
The Xue Yang Incident
Chaos at Fangfei Hall
Second Siege of the Burial Mounds
Guanyin Temple Incident
Lanling Jin Sect
Nephew. Jin Guangyao gave Jin Ling his dog, Fairy.
Half-brothers. Despite being born on the same day, each received very different treatment.
Half-brothers. The real Mo Xuanyu was, by most accounts, homosexual, and had set his sights to chase Jin Guangyao despite the taboo of incest. Jin Guangyao later drove Mo Xuanyu out of Carp Tower and allegedly insane before the sacrificial ritual which brought back Wei Wuxian.
“Lan Xichen! I have told many lies and took many lives in my lifetime. Just as you said, I have murdered my father, my brother, my wife, my son, my mentors, and my friends. There are no atrocities under the heavens that I have not committed! But I would never think of hurting you!”
Lan Xichen is the one who could be said to be most acquainted with Jin Guangyao's niceness. Lan Xichen did not hold his roots as a prostitute's son against him. In return, Jin Guangyao had indeed repaid that kindness many times over - helping rebuild the Cloud Recesses, supporting the Gusu Lan Sect etc..
Under normal circumstances, Lan Xichen would never suspect Jin Guangyao - because the Jin Guangyao which appears before him has never acted in such a manner to invite suspicion. In fact, Jin Guangyao's relationship with Lan Xichen appears to be a light in Jin Guangyao's life, that Jin Guangyao's last act of pushing aside Lan Xichen from being trapped in a stone coffin with the walking corpse of Nie Mingjue seems to have been a rare altruistic act from him.
Due to Jin Guangyao's eidetic memory, he did not neglect Su She. In response, Su She gave Jin Guangyao his loyalty.
Mutually poisonous friends. Jin Guangyao gave Xue Yang his courtesy name, Chengmei.
Despite being protagonist and nominal antagonist of the novel, Jin Guangyao and Wei Wuxian can actually be understood as foils of each other. Both come from low origins - Wei Wuxian as the son of a servant, Jin Guangyao as a prostitute's son - yet both received very different treatment in life, Jin Guangyao as the downtrodden son whereas Wei Wuxian enjoyed relative freedom as the eldest disciple of Jiang Fengmian.
Jin Guangyao himself, though, did not interact outside of social boundaries with Wei Wuxian until the Stygian Tiger Seal proved too alluring to the Jin clan, and Jin Guangyao was charged with taking it. Jin Guangyao, however, was astute enough to deduce Wei Wuxian's circumstances and general trouble-making personality - to the point of entrapping the latter with the unknowing pawn, Jin Zixun.
Abilities & Weapons
- At 170 cm, Jin Guangyao is the shortest adult male character in the cast.
- He is also referred to in the Chinese fandom as "Little Sister Yao" (瑶妹).
- The novel states that Jin Guangyao and Jin Zixuan shares the same birthday. However, their Baidu pages (and profiles) show different birthdays, which is inconsistent.
- One possibility is that they share the same birthday under the Chinese calendar, which has calendar years of varying length (353–355 or 383–385 days long), adjusted by leap months.