The Golden Winged Great Peng (in Chinese: 金翅大鵬雕), originally known as The Eagle, is an antagonist of the classic Chinese novel Journey to the West. He is a demonic eagle who was born from the primordial Phoenix, and one of the three leaders of the demons in the Lion Camel Ridge, alongside the Azure Lion and the Yellow Toothed Elephant, as well as the usurper and tyrannical ruler of the Lion Camel Kingdom.
In the 1986 classic adaptation series, he was portrayed by Guo Jun.
PersonalityLike your typical demon, Peng is extremely arrogant. His powers and position of being technically the uncle of the Buddha fuels his big ego as he considers himself above everyone else. The 1986 version expanded his character even more, added that he is a lustful and perverted person who forced the Peacock Princess to marry him. He is also potentially one of the most dangerous Journey to the West villains, as unlike many others who abandoned their life as demons upon seeing their deities, Peng refused to redeem himself and even attempted to kill the Buddha and take over his position. Peng is the brain of the three demon kings in the Lion Camel Ridge, far more intelligent than the other two as both the Azure Lion and the Yellow Toothed Elephant mainly had to depend on his plans.
After his defeat at the hand of the Buddha, Peng admits that he enjoys his life as a demon and eating humans, though after listening to the Buddha, Peng has no choice but abandoned his evil goals and redeemed himself in the process.
PastDuring the primordial times, the original Phoenix, the leader of flying beings, gave birth to the Peacock Mahamayuri and the Eagle. The Peacock once consumed the Buddha, who however managed to escape via cut her stomach. The Buddha intended to kill the Peacock, however the Deities told him to stop, thus the Buddha promoted her to be his godmother, therefore the Eagle would be his uncle. This gave the Eagle a high position on Heaven and unfortunately only serves to fuel his big ego.For unknown reason, the Eagle transformed himself into a humanoid form, the Golden Winged Great Peng, ate all the residents of the Lion Camel Kingdom, ruled it for 500 years, and befriend the Azure Lion Demon and the Yellow Toothed Elephant Demon to eat Xuanzang.
The Eagle, like most of other demons in the story, attempted to eat Xuanzang. He set up several plans to capture Xuanzang and his companions and even successfully captured Sun Wukong himself.
After numberous humiliating failures under the hand of the three demon kings, Wukong met the Buddha for help and learned about the backstory of Peng. After a battle between Wukong and the three demons, both the Lion and the Elephant are forced to revert back to their original forms, and the Buddha shows up to subdue Peng and take him back to Vulture Peak.
1986 seriesIn the 1986 series, while it follows a similar format as the original novel, there are some changes in the role of Peng. While in the novel he appeared from the start along with the other two demon kings, in the series he did not appear until when Sun Wukong arrives at his kingdom to find Xuanzang, though was mentioned frequently prior to that. Additionally, the series also added his lust towards the Peacock Princess (an original character for the 1986 version who does not appear in the novel), whose Peng himself is a distant relative of. Also, given the appearances of the Peacock Princess and her female servants, it appeared that not all the residents of the Lion Camel Kingdom were eaten like in the novel, though they're most likely actually magical animals, just like the princess herself, who is actually a magical peacock.
Following the defeat of the other two fellow demon kings, Peng attacks the deities on Heaven. He triumphed, but the Buddha used his magic and forced Peng to revert back to his true form as the Eagle and fly back to him, abandoned his evil goals in the process.
Much later, when Xuanzang and his companion received the scriptures, the Buddha, knew that those are the scriptures with no text, orders the Eagle to chase them and took the fake scriptures. The Eagle did this right away.
Powers and Abilities
The Golden Winged Great Peng is armed with a ji and capable of flying over great distances. He possesses a Flask of Yin and Yang Essence (陰陽二氣瓶) which can suck in unsuspecting victims. After a while, the victim trapped inside the flask will be reduced to a bloody mash. He uses the flask to trap Sun Wukong but the latter breaks out and the flask is rendered useless because its essence has been spilt.
- The character is based on the legendary bird Garuda.
- The Golden Winged Great Peng is possibly one of the oldest villain of the Journey to the West novel, as his age went back to the primordial times.
- It is unknown why the Golden Winged Great Peng desired to eat Xuanzang, as he is already immortal. The Peacock Princess even pointed this out in the 1986 version.