Character List


Chia Ching Chia Tai-hua's son; father of Chia Chen and Hsi-chun. He gives up his noble title and devotes the rest of his life to studying religion and taking elixirs every day, hoping to become an immortal.

Chia Chen Chia Ching's son; Madame Yu's husband. His son Chia Jung is married to Chin Ko-ching. Chia Chen is a dissipated person and has an illicit relationship with his daughter-in-law.

Hsi-chun (Compassion Spring) Chia Cling's daughter. She is on good terms with the nun Miao-yu and is planning on becoming a nun herself.

Chia Jung Chia Chen's son. His father buys him a position as an officer of the fifth rank in the Imperial Guard. Chia Jung is also a dissolute person, dallying with beautiful girls whenever he can.

Chin Ko-ching Chia Jung's wife; she comes from a poor scholar's family. Her brother Chin Chung is a good friend of Pao-yu.

Lady Dowager (the Matriarch) Daughter of Marquis Shih of Chinling; wife of Chia Tai-shan, who has been dead for many years. She has two sons, Chia Sheh and Chia Cheng, and a daughter, Chia Min. She is so attached to her grandsons and granddaughters that she makes them study in the Jung Mansion so that she can be near them.

Chia Sheh Son of Lady Dowager. After the death of his father, he inherits the title of Duke of Jungkuo. He is a lecher who fancies beautiful girls and bullies weaklings. He is arrested, but is released because of the Emperor's amnesty.

Lady Hsing Chia Sheh's wife. Her dissatisfaction and jealousy cause her to urge Lady Wang to declare that a search be made throughout the Grand View Garden.

Chia Lien Chia Sheh's son; Wang Hsi-feng 's husband. Like others, he too is dissolute and secretly marries Second Sister Yu so that she can be his concubine.

Wang Hsi-feng (Phoenix) Chia Lien's wife; Lady Wang's niece. She is pretty, clever, and competent; she is also talkative, greedy, and cunning. She runs the Chia household affairs expertly, but sometimes uses her power and position to bully the weak. She dies a tragic death.

Chiao-chieh Pretty daughter of Chia Lien and Wang Hsi-feng .

Chia Cheng Younger son of Lady Dowager. Upon the death of his father, the Emperor gives him the rank of Assistant Secretary; then he rises to the rank of Under Secretary in the Board of Works. He is strict with his son, Pao-yu, hoping that Pao-yu will enhance the family reputation.

Ying-chun (Welcome Spring) Chia Sheh's daughter by a concubine. She is a lenient, weak girl and finally marries the villain Sun Shaotsu.

Lady Chao Chia Cheng's concubine. Her son, Chia Huan, hates Pao-yu and plots with his mother to kill Pao-yu.

Chia Chu Lady Wang's elder son. He passes the district examination at fourteen, marries before he is twenty, and has a son, Chia Lan, but suddenly falls ill and dies, leaving a widow, Li Wan.

Li Wan Wife of Chia Cheng's late son Chia Chu. Her son Chia Lan finally passes the official examination, along with Pao-yu. She takes no interest in the outside world, content to wait on her elders and look after her son.

Yuan-chun Chia Cheng's daughter. Her name is symbolic of the fact that she was born on the first day of the year. While she is still a young woman, she is chosen as the Imperial concubine, and the Grand View Garden is built for the purpose of her first royal visit home.

Chia Pao-yu Chia Cheng's son; he came into the world with a piece of clear, brilliantly colored jade in his mouth. He is strongly attached to the girls in Grand View Garden. He isn't interested in honors, advancement, or an official reputation. The feudal marriage system prevents him from marrying Lin Tai-yu, the girl whom he loves most. In the end, he goes away with a monk.

Hsueh Pao-chai (Precious Virtue) Aunt Hsueh's daughter, Chia Pao-yu's wife. She is a filial daughter and a faithful wife, a model of the feudal, ethical norm.

Tan-chun (Quest Spring) Chia Cheng's daughter by the concubine Lady Chao. She is a competent, but rebellious girl. She organizes a poetry club for the girls in Grand View Garden.

Lin Ju-hai Lady Dowager's son-in-law; Lin Tai-yu's father.

Lin Tai-yu (Black Jade) Lin Ju-hai's daughter, Lady Dowager's granddaughter. Upon her mother's death, Tai-yu comes to live with the Chia family. She is a delicate and outstandingly intellectual girl, although a bit sentimental. She loves Chia Pao-yu very much, but her delicate health and sharp tongue keep her from being in favor with Lady Dowager and Lady Wang. She dies for her ideal of love.

Chia Tai-ju Principal of the Chia family clan school; Chia Jui's grandfather.

Chia Jui Chia Tai-ju's grandson. He is an amorous person but meets his match when he tries to flirt with Wang Hsi-feng . He dies because of one of Hsi-feng 's cunning tricks.

Shih Hsiang-yun (River Mist) Lady Dowager's granddaughter; Pao-yu's cousin. She comes often to see Lady Dowager and stays with the girls of the Chia family. She is pretty and talented.

Aunt Hsueh Hsueh Pao-chai's mother, from the Wang family. She has one son, Hsueh Pan, a good-for-nothing who kills two persons. He is arrested for the second murder but is pardoned by an amnesty.

Hsia Chin-kuei Daughter of a royal merchant; Hsueh Pan's wife. She is pretty but treacherous — a shrew. She mistreats Hsueh Pan's concubine Hsiang-ling badly and, at one point, plots to poison her, but poisons herself by mistake.

Hsiang-ling Chen Shih-yin's daughter, Ying-lien (Lotus). She is kidnapped, then seized by Hsueh Pan as his concubine; she marries him and dies in childbirth.

Pao-chan Hsueh Pan's concubine. She plots with Hsia Chin-kuei to win Hsueh Ko's hand.

Hsueh Ko Hsueh Pan's cousin — a kind, honest, and helpful person. He finally marries Hsiu-yen, the daughter of Lady Hsing's brother and sister-in-law.

Hsiu-yen A girl from a poor family, but an honest and sensible girl. She is betrothed to Hsueh Ko, and, after marriage, they prove to be a happy couple.

Pao-chin Hsueh Ko's sister. She is a talented girl and has traveled to many places with her parents. She marries the son of Academician Mei.

Bailiff Wu Bailiff of the manor in Black Mountain Village. He comes to pay taxes and rent in kind to the Chia family every year.

Leng Tzu-hsing Son-in-law of Mr. Chou Jui (the steward of the Chia family), a curio-dealer in a village tavern. He does business with monied families.

Chen Shih-yin He lives in the city of Kusu with his wife and daughter Ying-lien (Lotus). After his daughter disappears and his house burns, he goes off with a Taoist monk to faraway places and finally becomes a Taoist himself.

Chia Yu-tsun A poor scholar, he is appointed as the prefect of Yingtian with the help of Chen Shih-yin. He is an ungrateful person, seeking only fame and fortune. He is finally reduced to an ordinary citizen.

Miao-yu A nun from Iron Threshold Temple. An unconventional person, her eccentricity makes her look down upon all vulgar people. Finally she is kidnapped and killed by brigands.

Third Sister Yu A past wanton, she is now reformed. Her failure to marry Liu Hsiang-lien causes her to commit suicide with one of Liu's swords in front of him.

Second Sister Yu Madame Yu's second sister. She marries Chia Lien as his concubine and is finally driven to suicide by Hsi-feng .

Granny Liu A peasant woman; mother-in-law of one of Lady Wang's remote clansmen. She is simple, honest, and wise. She visits the Chia family three times, the first two times for financial assistance. The extravagant life in the Chia Mansion is presented vividly through her visits to the Chia family.

Liu Hsiang-lien An orphaned son of a good family. He teaches Hsueh Pan a lesson by giving him a good beating. His uprightness makes him break his betrothal to Third Sister Yu because he thinks that there is nothing clean in the Chia family. He wants to have no association with them.

Lin Chi-hsiao and His Wife Steward and stewardess of the Chia family.

Lai Ta Chia Cheng's steward.

Chiao Ta A servant and benefactor of Chia Chen's father and grandfather. He is a loyal and outspoken servant and looks down on Chia Chen and Chia Jung, calling them descendants of a houseful of rutting dogs and bitches in heat.

Ho San Chou Jui's adopted son. Chia Lien has him whipped because he fights with Pao-erh. This causes him to conspire with outside brigands and rob the old lady of her gold and silver. Ironically, he is killed by Pao Jung during the robbery.

Yuan-yang Lady Dowager's favorite maid. She refuses Chia Sheh's proposal to be his concubine. When Lady Dowager dies, Yuan-yang hangs herself in an act of devotion.

Hsi-jen (Pervading Fragrance) She originally served Lady Dowager, but was given to Pao-yu as his servant. She is loyal to both Lady Dowager and Pao-yu and tries her best to help Pao-yu to study hard so that he can continue the Chia family's reputation as scholars. At last, she marries Chiang Yu-han (Chi-kuan).

Li Kuei Son of Pao-yu's wet nurse, Nanny Li; a man-servant to Pao-yu.

Ching-wen (Bright Design) Pao-yu's maid. She is rebellious against all unfair treatment. Lady Wang is prejudiced against her and dismisses her. After she arrives home, she falls ill and dies.

Tzu-chuan Tai-yu's devoted maid. After Tai-yu's death, she is asked to serve in Pao-yu's quarters. At last, she offers to join in Hsi-chun's devotion to Buddhism.

Chin-chuan Lady Wang's maid. Lady Wang has seen Pao-yu flirting with her and dismisses her. Once home, she drowns herself in a well.

Mrs. Liu A cook for the Chia family. Her daughter Liu Wu-erh serves in Pao-yu's quarters.

Liu Wu-erh Mrs. Liu's daughter. She looks like Ching-wen and serves in Pao-yu's apartment.

Numskull A maid who does rough work for Lady Dowager. She unintentionally reveals to Tai-yu a secret: Pao-yu will be secretly married to Pao-chai instead of to Tai-yu. This news is responsible for Tai-yu's death.

Mr. Chen Ying-chia A Chinling native of noble ancestry; principal of the Chinling Provincial College. The Chen and Chia families are interrelated and have a warm, friendly relationship. When the Chens' house is raided and searched, he sends his servant Pao Jung to serve Chia Cheng.

Chen Pao-yu He looks exactly like Chia Pao-yu; like Chia Pao-yu, he too likes to be in the company of girls, but — unlike Chia Pao-yu — he is very interested in seeking fame and fortune.