Arknights Lore: Lee as the carp that turns into a dragon

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An Easter egg from 2020

Lee's character had existed for a long time. Seeing that Kuroblood already drew him with the rest of the kids in 1st anniversary picture and there's an entire faction named after him.

Though it was a struggle that despite being this lore important (the kids talk about him a lot), he had no screentime... until Invitation to Wine. Not as bad as other NPCs that become playable though.

Species identification: carp that turns into dragon

Basically the above fanart (and other similiar ones) is what you need to know about Lee's species: a carp that transforms into a dragon.

Many thanks to this article for the lore content that I bring here!

鲤 means carp. There's a story about carp become dragon after jumping over the dragon gate. In Chinese mythology, Longmen (lit. The Dragon Gate) is located at the top of a waterfall cascading from a legendary mountain. The legend states that while many carp swim upstream against the river's strong current, few are capable or brave enough for the final leap over the waterfall. If a carp successfully makes the jump, it is transformed into a powerful dragon. The legend is so famous that throughout China, a common saying is that "a student facing his examinations is like a carp attempting to leap the Dragon Gate."

In Chinese, 鲤跃龙门 (carp jump over dragon gate) also means to get rich as a phrase in modern days. Lee's talent is 和气生财 (gain riches peacefully). So therefore he is merchant archetype.

The most famous pop culture reference to this story is in Pokemon with Magikarp that evolves into Gyarados. This mythology spreads from China to Japan, thus resulting in Magikarp. And the Magikarp parodies of Lee now.

By the way, there are 3 types of Chinese dragons.
1. True dragons
2. Fish that become dragons by training and jumping over the dragon gate
3. Dragon kings: concept originated from the Indian nagaraja, who were serpent kings.

Lee belongs to the second type. Nian and siblings are likely references to sons of the dragon, not true dragons either. Which means Chen is still the only true dragon (lung) that is playable. Congratulations for Lee for being the second playable male (not quite) dragon too.

In his deploy animation, it resembles an exercise move called 鲤鱼打挺 (carp jumping from water). So he's really just exercising in a move that suits his species.


Not a very easy exercise to do because it's like jumping from a lying down position.

A video:


Taoist influences

Lee has has daoshi/ exorcist image. Like Mr Nothing who is a fortune teller, has Taoist ideology but isn't exactly Taoist.

In feng shui, these coin-swords are often hung to frighten away demons and evil spirits.

Talismans focus on benevolent spiritual energies to purify, heal the sick and drive away demons with words written on it.

The Bagua consists of eight symbols used in Taoist cosmology to represent the fundamental principles of reality, seen as a range of eight interrelated concepts.

This can be seen on Lee's case on his bag.

Reverence of carp in Chinese culture

In Taoism, carp are worshipped. Riding a carp is a symbol of becoming a god. In the Qin and Han dynasty, there were many stories of the carp. This led to them becoming gods.

During the Wei dynasty, carp has been declared as as a holy being.

During the Tang dynasty, the national law even made the carp the Chinese national fish. Also declared the king/leader of fish. This is how much carp was revered.

鲤 and 李 (surname) are homonyms with hanyu pinyin of li, therefore his English name is Lee. 李 is one of the most common surnames in China and the world, shared by more than 93 million people in China.

It originated from the title Dali held by Gao Yao, a legendary minister of the Xia dynasty.

This makes the carp connected to nobility due to homonym.

Court officials have to carry a carp charm. Carp were banned from being caught and have to be let go. This is how revered they are.

The Taoists believe that dragons were transformed from carps. So carps have benefitted from this belief. And so Lee is a carp with Taoist motifs.

The emperor of the Tang dynasty had the surname of Li. So carp could not be eaten then.

Li Bai (famous poet, the Ling prototype) is said to be a relative of the emperor. And he was also a daoshi/exorcist too. Then I'll leave the Li Bai and Ling lore to another article~

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About the Author(s)

Just a female Doctor with overflowing love for husbandos and the deep lore of the Arknights story.

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