People tends to mixed up San Guo Zhi with San Guo Yan Yi (or commonly known as Romance of the 3 Kingdoms).

San Guo Zhi is the actual no frills history while San Guo Yan Yi is a "Story" with a lot of make up "facts". Sad to say a lot of people thot that what's being written in Yan Yi is through history which includes the Japanese who used the name "San Guo Zhi" any oh how for their game and comics which is actually based on Yan Yi.

San Guo Yan Yi is 40% based on facts (such as the timing of the events like when the yellow headband bandits starts the revolution, when Dong Zhuo seized Luo Yang) and 60% by makiing it up (such as Zhuge Liang borrowed the East Wind and Guan Yu fighting his way through 6 Wei forts jus to join back with Liu Bei). "Yan Yi" was written in the Ming Dynasty by the writter Luo Guan Zhong.

San Guo Zhi on the other hand was written in the Jin dynasty (the dynasty that follows after unification of Wei, Shu, Wu) which compiles all the history records from the 3 Kingdoms. The real San Guo Zhi is not a novel, it simply states down events that happened.

The common San Guo Yan Yi we know on tv, comics and video games are mostly added with "salt and vinegar" to spice up the story.

A human being able to summond rain?! Of course not! Zhuge Liang most probably have kept very detailed information of the weather reports for the past yrs. This helped him to somehow predicted the rain.

Then there is Zhang Fei at the "Chang Ban Qiao". He single handed scared off the Cao Cao big army. A plain war cry from him can scare a few Cao Cao's general to freak out and died of broken guts?! whahahaaha. Great story line for a game, i say.

Btw, San Guo Zhi is written in Jin Dynasty by one of its citizen Chen Shou.
So there are some sayings that this fellow doesnt really write much "faults" abt the Sima Family...
Dun forget there is this chinese saying "司马昭之心,路人街知" . It says that everyone in the streets know what Sima Zhao is up to.

Recently i am reading up on a novel on San Guo's characters. And i have to agree with the author that i also hate Liu Bei like he does.
If anyone says Lu Bu is a hypocrite and a scumbag, i say Liu Bei is the most hypocrite and biggest scumbag. The worst of the lot.

As most should know. Liu Bei claims to be a descendent of an emperor. Who knows? Only he keeps saying so. Dun forget his occupation was only a shoe weaver...
Then later he formed gangs of army, small ones. He went under Gongsun Zan, and later became his "god bro". Later part, Liu Bei left joined Tao Qian. Tao Qian died, Liu Bei took over Xu Zhou for a period. No sooner, he ate up Lu Bu's territory. Then lost to Yuan Shao, became Yuan Shao's staff. That time, Yuan Shao went up to whack Gongsun Zan, this hypocrite Liu Bei did nothing but just sat back to see his "god bro" losing his battle.

Later, he went to seek help in Liu Biao. Got a small area. But after Liu Biao's death, his role is shaky coz of the internal problems in the Liu Biao's family. Then he ran again, this time to Liu Zhang. This was an very impt "run" to Liu Bei. Coz here, he took over Liu Zhang's big piece of land "Yi Zhou", which set up Liu Bei's strength.
Lets not forget how Zhao Yun rescued Liu Bei' son back from the Cao Cao camp. He did it with great might. But when he handed over the son to Liu Bei, Liu Bei's 1st reaction was to throw the son on the ground and says that he rather lose his son than to lose a top general.
WTF! What a hypocrite act. To think that actually Zhao Yun believed that.

Which brings me to another point when I was in sec sch... my friends were having a discussion on the San Guo characters and one of them insists that Cao Cao is evil and Liu Bei is good... i laughed at him and say nobody is good when he/she start a war...

This is really a grey area, during San Guo era, Cao Cao's Wei kingdom is consider as the truthful ruler (cos the Han Emperor was forced to giv his throne to Cao Cao) while Shu and Wu are actually rebels.

In fact Cao Cao is the only ruler in San Guo that really has the talents and strengths to unify China.

Sun Quan is living on the past glory and establishments passed down by his father and brother, he himself has never went to the battle field.

Liu Bei does not even have to fight for his kingdom in the initial stages, he simply take over what's has been established by Liu Biao and Liu Zhang.

When I was young, i used to tink that Cao Cao is bad and Liu Bei is good, tat's becos we has been physco by those TV series and the fact that Liu Bei was potrayed as a noble man (His loyality to the Han dynasty, his brotherly bond with Guan Yu and Zhang Fei).

but if you examine closely their characters, Cao Cao is actually a guy who works hard to get what he has and Liu Bei is jus those people you always sees in the office, claiming other peoples' credit as his and climbing up.

Jus like someone who said that a person cannot be good if he started a war. But look at it this way Cao Cao started a war so as to end the wars between the warlords which will return peace to the country. While Liu Bei started his war against Cao Cao jus becos he thinks that Cao Cao is not the rightful ruler. Who's is good and bad, isn't it obvious.

Another grey area abt Liu Bei scheming character.
Anyone rem how Pang Tong died?

He was shot to death at "Luo Feng Po". There is sayings that Liu Bei purposely changed his horse with Pang Tong. Everyone know that Liu Bei's horse is that white one. The orders at the valley was to concentrate all arrows on the rider of the white horse.

Then the Great Escape Liu Bei brought his citizen with him when he was on the run? Everyone looked at him with grea admiration.
But that was actually a very vicious strategy. I suspect his real aim in this wasnt really 100% abt caring for them, but to use them as shield for his small troops...
Great trick Zhuge Liang and Liu Bei came up with. Winning support from the masses and yet able to protect his small number of troops.

Anywhere, back to Cao Cao.
He was never declared an emperor. The 1st emperor of Wei is Cao Pi. Cao Cao knew that he mustnt declare himself as emperor coz in his heart he is still a Han official. Also, he wants to leave room for his son.

Cao Cao from young have wanted to be a loyal servant to the Han Dynasty. But just that the central gov wasnt always nice to him.
Cao Cao was from a family of eunuch. This makes him promote fast in the ranks, but also make others look down on him.
Yuan Shao was consider a friend of Cao Cao from young. Yuan Shao was from a family of 1st ranking officials in the gov. So somehow he has the air in him, and he always look down on Cao Cao for his shabby background.
From the book i read. Cao Cao was a clean and uncorrupted official in his early days. But situation made him see red. His dad being killed in the Tao Qian's territory was a start.
Cao Cao actually can be consider a hero of that time. He showed great management of his staff and discipline among the soldiers. I would say the only lost that he ever regret would be the Battle of Ci Pi. Losing to a very bad state. He was wrong to start a battle on the sea when he knew that his troops werent trained in that.
He also shown remorse in the lost of his best ever advisor, Guo Jia. I rem he died ard the Battle of Guan Du with Yuan Shao. A very early age death of a talent...
Cao Cao never liked Sima Yi from start, which is why he never put great responsibility on him. There was a point he even dismiss Sima Yi from position. But when Cao Pi took over and Wei was abit on the down side, his officials advised him to bring Sima Yi back to help.
Sima Yi was still alright. He showed abit of loyalty to the Wei. It was the ambitious Sima Shi and Sima Zhao whom were dangerous.

So overall, i will say the "so called" baddies of San Guo, Cao Cao and Lu Bu, they werent that bad. Coz they were just straight in showing their tots. Unlike Liu Bei, who is always the crying baby and playing tricks to get ppl's sympathy...

According to San Guo Zhi, Liu Shan(Liu Bei's Son) was never a good for nothing, in fact he's a good ruler who works hard and he's the person who actually supported Jiang Wei's suggestion to invade Wei in the twilight years of Shu Kingdom.

Luo Guan Zhong (the author of San Guo Yan Yi) basically used Liu Shan as a scape goat to take the blame for the fall of Shu. The chinese saying "乐不思蜀" is based only on what is written in Yan Yi rather than fact.

Another character who has been misunderstood is Zhang Fei. In Yan Yi he's potyrayed as a hot headed and hot tempered guy with pretty low IQ, but according to San Guo Zhi. Zhang Fei is actually quite clever and a good artist in drawing, he's definitely not that kind of 有勇无谋 person.Actually looking at the war commitments he had contributed to Shu, he cant be that much of a brainless warrior. Also, there are records of the essays he wrote during that period. They are supposed to be pretty well written.

Another saying is that Guan Yu isnt that amazing as written in San Guo Yan Yi. I read something abt him being actually quite 好色.
True or not, there is really no way we present ppl will know..

And yah, another great misunderstanding.
Zhou Yu is most probably not that petty as described in San Guo Yan Yi. And Lu Su was actually the smarter one for suggesting to Sun Quan not to fully go to war with Wei. It is because Wu all along is the one with the least troops among the three countries. They are only depending on their good strategic location as protection, the vast river.

Another thing abt the "bad thing" of Liu Bei.
Do anyone rem the part where Liu Bei declared war after the death of Guan Yu? Did u guys know that the war happended only a few yrs after the death of Guan Yu.
If Liu Bei had sincerely wanted revenge, he would have done it within the yr or even earlier. He was just using the death as an excuse to lay war. Thats another thing showing Liu Bei being an a*****e.

三国志 is not exactly written by a person but instead more like a historical records compilation, pretty enlightening read if u can get pass the 文言文。

Anyway, if u are refering to 三国演义, 司马懿 definitely wins 诸葛亮 handsdown, 诸葛亮 is actually too full of himself, and a big showoff, everything oso wants to cho swee swee, if not because of these reasons, Shu Guo would have won the war. Since Shuo Guo didnt win the war historically, perhaps thats why 诸葛亮 was given such a persionality by the author so that he would never ever win the war, 司马懿 on the other hand is a much more pragmatic person.

In fact, Zguge Liang's very famous 八阵图 (The Eight Formation Diagram) is oso made up by the author of San Guo Yan Yi to make Zhuge Liang a immortal like person, there's no such thing in history.

诸葛亮 and 刘备 are basically birds of the same feathers aka 假仁假义. Among the Shu Guo generals, I really pity 魏延. I feel that 魏延 is a waste of talent.

Recently i am reading discussions by a chinese prof on San Guo.

He mentioned that historically:

1) Liu Bei never visited Zhuge Liang 3times to hire him. It is ZGL whom visited Liu Bei to get himself recommended.
2) 空城計 (Empty Fort Strategy?) was never possibly true. a few reasons to it:
a) ZGL had hardly a couple of hundred, probably no soldiers in the castle, coz he had deployed the troops to Ma Su whom lost Jie Ting. Sima Yi had at least 100k troops (or even a few times of that) by the castle ready to run down ZGL. Why would he stopped?
If SMY is really worried abt ZGL having hidden troops, he could have always sent a small number of excellent long range archers to rain down on ZGL since he was sitting at the top of the city gate.
c) Assuming that SMY ignored the 2 above possibilties, he could also have always surrounded ZGL and the city. Do it for 2-3 mths, and ZGL and ppl will be starved to death and praying for mercy.

Considering that SMY being someone smart and not tot of the above possibilities, 空城計 wasnt real.

3) Zhou Yu should have never been that petty as written by Luo Guan Zhong in Romance of Three Kingdoms (San Guo Yan Yi).
a) He is good looking, has a good career and one of the most pretty beautiful of that era and China history. What else can one Man ask for?
Zhou Yu was borned in a respected family and grew up with proper education.

4) 借东风. This is also not historically correct. According to famous chinese author:

According to a poeist 杜牧,he has a poem which goes “东风不与周郎便,铜雀春深锁二乔”.

Based on the writings of these two, 1st we can assume that ZGL couldnt have staged that ritual to pray for wind, its simply silly and not possible for humans.
2nd, Even if really this did happen, it should be Zhou Yu doing it and not ZGL.

The above are just small no. pointers which are wrong but strongly believed by most ppl.

Actually, he is different from the 5 Tigers of Shu. Guan Yu, Zhang Fei, Zhao Yun and Ma Chao are the earlier batch. Huang Zhong came in later. The 4 were more well-liked by Zhuge Liang for that fact that they were consider the pioneers whom built the Shu with him. Huang Zhong came in later and already gained high recognition. Zhuge Liang didnt really like that also.
Zhuge Liang earlier as an advisor, in terms of ranking in a empire, he is supposed to be lower than the 5 Tigers. Even 魏延, as a general, is ranked higher than him.

魏延 arent swore blood of Liu Bei like Guan Yu and Zhang Fei. He doesnt have a famous dad like Ma Chao. Zhao Yun and Huang Zhong also started off with good reputation.

魏 延 was said to be a bandit before he joined the troops. But he was hardworking and fight to his max, which earned him the promotions slowly. Eventually, he was sent to be the governor of Han Zhong. This is a very very impt post as its a city which will meet up with the Wei.
Everyone tot Liu Bei would have sent his swore bro, Zhang Fei for this post. But Mr Liu stunned everyone with this decision. This did made Zhuge Liang abit unhappy for Zhang Fei.

Actually if 魏延 wanted to revolt, he could have done it way earlier and many opportunties. There was once Zhuge Liang lead the main troop to fight the borders invasion, 魏延 was still the governor of Han Zhong. He could have lead his personal troops into the capital and won with no sweat. But he didnt.
Even on his deathbed, Zhuge Liang still bear the hatred for 魏延. Reminded the rest to be wary of him. This only showed how petty Zhuge Liang was, not how smart he predicted 魏延.

One thing 魏延 didnt do is to network. He was only keeping himself busy in the battlefield, afterall he is really earning his ranks by fighting. He didnt mix ard to make friends with others. This partly caused his downfall. If he had a few generals or small fry on his side, he wouldnt had failed that badly when he was "forced to revolt". He would have more troops and assistants by his side.

Actually there was a 空城計 (Empty Fort Strategy) during the San Guo times, but it's not by Zhuge Liang, it's by Cao Cao.

Cao Cao has deployed most of his troops to collect the harvest, at this time Lu Bu sent his troops to attack Cao Cao.

Cao Cao than come out with the 空城計 (Empty Fort Strategy) which is very similar to the one used by Zhuge Liang. Lu Bu upon reaching the fortress, saw the empty for setup and being suspicous of ambush withdraw his troops. This is the actual 空城計 in the history.

Further to it, the 2nd time Lu Bu come and attack Cao Cao, Cao Cao used by the same strategy but this time Cao Cao place an ambush squad, so when Lu Bu wanted to advance into the fortress he actually kenna ambush.

I dun know abt the Guan Yu in San Guo Zhi (Records of the Three Kingdoms), but the San Guo Yan Yi (Romance of the Three Kingdoms) Guan Yu is certainly an arrogant man. Of which his arrogance brought forward his defeat at the hands of Lu Meng (吕蒙) and Lu Xun (陆逊).

When Lu Xun pretended to take command of the armed forces of Lu Meng and sent a flattering letter to Guan Yu, singing praises of him. This cause Guan Yu to think that Wu is a bunch of cowards and hence advance to invade Wei (using all of his last reserve)

Lü Meng and Lu Xun then staged a lightning attack into Jing province and snatched away the province before Guan Yu knew what was happening. Afterwards, Guan Yu's arrogance doomed him as many of his subordinates defected to the Eastern Wu army. Guan Yu was ultimately captured by Wu and executed together with his god son Guan Ping.

Another case of Guan Yu's arrogance was shown in his reaction when he heard of his title of the "Five Tiger Generals".

The five tigers are placed as 关张赵马黄 which simply means Guan Yu (1st), Zhang Fei (2nd) Zhao Yun(3rd), Ma Chao (4th) and Huang Zhong (5th). Guan Yuan upon knowing that Huang Zhong was included as one of the Five Tigers got angry and threw an insulting comment calling Huang Zhong an old soldier and man of his (Guan) status should not be linked with an old man (吾不与老卒为伍).

Only after much flattering and apple polishing from Liu Bei's envoy that Guan Yu accepted the title together with Huang Zhong.

I never liked Guan Yu in San Guo Yan Yi, preferred Zhao Yun instead.

As for why we dun get to see that often in the Wei and Wu base is becos Yan Yi is writting from the view of Shu Kingdom and they do not focus so much on the other 2 kingdoms.

Just some findings after serving through the internet of how fictional "San Guo Yan Yi" can be:

1) Zhuge Liang (诸葛亮) agreed to served Liu Bei only after Liu Bei went to visit Zhuge Liang three times, according to one of the most recognized Chinese historians, Professor Yi Zhong Tian (易中天), wrote in his book Yi Zhong Tian Pin San Guo (易中天品三国), this story is totally opposite to the history. In history, it is Zhuge Liang who visited Liu Bei and introduced himself to Liu Bei .

2) Story of borrowing arrows (草船借箭) during the Battle of Red Cliffs never happened. This story actually happened in another dynasty, which is several hundreds of years later than the Three Kingdoms era. Besides, Zhuge Liang had never attended the alliance of Shu (蜀) and Wu(吴), so it is impossible for him to meet Zhou Yu (周瑜).

3) Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei fought with Lü Bu (吕布) in this story called SanYingZhanLüBu(三英战吕布) at Hu Lao Pass (虎牢关). This is a fictitious battle that makes Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei become famous in the country, since Lü Bu was well known as the strongest warrior. However, Gong Sun Zan(公孙瓒) whom Liu Bei, Guan Yu and Zhang Fei belonged to didn’t attend the alliance of punitive expedition against Dong Zhuo(董卓), whom Lü Bu belonged to .

4) After the Battle of Red Cliffs (赤壁之战), there is a story called HuaRong Road(华容道), which talks about Cao Cao trying to run to the north after losing the battle. The, Cao Cao came across Guan Yu, who allowed him to leave since Guan Yu used to serve for Cao Cao before. In history, the real person who came to intercept Cao Cao is Liu Bei, but he was late and let Cao Cao ran away .

5) Zhou Yu was irritated by Zhuge Liang. This was not possible, since they never met each other in history and Zhou Yu was a magnanimous person, who died because of excessive tiredness .

6) In the novel, Zhao Yun(赵云),known as one of the five generals of Shu, never lost a battle in his life. Historically, he is a normal general who didn’t have any special combat success.

True, Luo Guan Zhong is a Pro-Liu Bei guy, hence whatever Liu Bei have done be it killing or betrayal (Liu Biao, Liu Zhang) is always for the "good" of the people though i dun really see the rationale.

Of cos apart from the hypocritical he has done, Liu Bei is still consider a hero which Cao Cao recognised as the only guy on par with him (天下英雄,惟使君与操耳!), BTW this statement is recorded in San Guo Zhi.

Guo Jia is actually the Zhuge Liang equivalent to Cao Cao.

According to Prof Yi, Guo Jia dead in the same year when Zhuge Liang came in the scence which shifted the momentum from Wei towards Shu. If Guo Jia had lived longer, Zhuge Liang may not have his way so easily. Too bad we dun get to see the 2 genius strategist going against each other.

Actually Xu Shu cannot be considered as a Cao Cao strategist since he has not given a single piece of advice to Cao Cao according to Yan Yi which I dun know how true it is

Infact Liu Bei has a good team of strategist as well:

Zhuge Liang, Pang Tong, Jiang Wei, Ma Liang, Yi Ji, Jiang Wan, Fa Zheng, Gong Zhi.

But all of the other strategist is being overshadowed by Zhuge Liang.

Some proverbs from the three kingdom:




"一說曹操, 曹操就到"

"三個臭皮匠, 勝過一個諸葛亮"

"宁我负天下, 休让天下负我"

"鞠躬进退,死而后已" (by Zhuge Liang in Chu Si Biao 出师表)

"乐不思蜀" (Talking abt Liu Chan)

"望梅止渴" (Abt Cao Cao in one of his battles)

"兄弟如手足,女人如衣服" (By Guan Yu)