You see, when we meet Lan Zhan - powerful cultivator, expert swordsman, and smart enough to be Wei Ying's rival - his alignment is undoubtedly Lawful Neutral. He'll obey the rules no matter what. But underneath that stone cold, tightly repressed exterior, is a Lawful Good, begging for release.
As with most love stories (and this is most definitely a love story), when the two heroes - Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji - meet, they don't get along at all. They're water and oil. Fire and ice. Republicans and democracy. They cross swords on their first meeting, and it doesn't go much smoother for many moons following. But near the end of Wei Ying's first life, it is plain that Lan Zhan respects and even loves the young troublemaker.
And yet, through his association with Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji slowly starts to thaw. He realises, I suppose, the profound heroism in his opponent and comes to admire, respect and love him so very much that he starts to bend the rules.
Namely, the Lan Clan rule against associating with evil.
But you see, Lan Zhan doesn't believe Wei Ying is evil at all. So though the world tells him he is, he isn't actually breaking the rules. He accepts punishment as if he is, though, because it must feel like he's the only one in the world who knows his soulmate is not evil, and there's really no point in arguing the matter.
One of the things I love most about Lan Zhan is his constant faithfulness to his soulmate; and the secret soft side he shows only to him. He defends Wei Ying when the latter is unfairly maligned. Even when he believes Wei Ying to be dead, he steps in to defend Wei Ying's honour. He doesn't care how it tarnishes his reputation. And yet, when the world was praising Wei Ying, it was Lan Zhan who offered gentle admonishment - proving he was concerned for his love, and not just another sycophant.
But, Lan Zhan does have a weakness.
Dude is a total lightweight. The cheapest of dates. The most hilarious example of a man who cannot hold his liquor.
I love Lan Zhan's stoney face, and his cold demeanour, and I adore watching it slowly ebb away, to be replaced by a genuine, deep love. I also love the dichotomy of an expert warrior being impossibly gentle with the one he loves. It's just... it's really good.
Lan Zhan is my favourite character, I think. His brother, though, is a very close second. More on that next week.