Jiang Cheng was born the second child of Yu Ziyuan and Jiang Fengmian. He has a bad temper from his youth, and his father treats him distantly, holding him fewer than five times that he can remember.
As a child, Jiang Cheng has three puppies named "Jasmine," "Princess," and "Love." However, after Wei Wuxian is brought to live at Lotus Pier around age nine or ten, Jiang Cheng's puppies are sent away due to Wei Wuxian's intense fear of dogs.
This, along with the fact that Jiang Fengmian holds Wei Wuxian his first night at Lotus Pier, causes Jiang Cheng to initially resent Wei Wuxian. He locks his new martial brother out of their room and threatens to send dogs after him, prompting Wei Wuxian to flee.
Afraid his father will find out and dislike him even more, Jiang Cheng recruits his elder sister Jiang Yanli to find Wei Wuxian. As he is too afraid to tell anyone else, he trips and injured his leg. In the end, Jiang Yanli has to carry both boys to Lotus Pier on her back, as both have injured their legs. By the end of their excursion, Jiang Cheng promises Wei Wuxian he will chase dogs away for him.
Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian both attend the Cloud Recesses to learn from Lan Qiren. Although Jiang Cheng often lectures Wei Wuxian for his provocative behavior in the hopes of curbing his wild antics, his efforts are typically in vain. According to the Author's Weibo, Jiang Cheng also notices that Wei Wuxian takes on a flirtatious tone when speaking with Lan Wangji, in contrast to Wei Wuxian's tone with him. He finds it creepy. Still, Jiang Cheng occasionally participates in some of Wei Wuxian’s mischief, drinking forbidden liquor and looking at pornography alongside Wei Wuxian and Nie Huaisang.
Despite his lectures, Jiang Cheng carries Wei Wuxian after he was beaten as punishment, and expresses anger when Wei Wuxian is beaten so severely he needs several days to recover.
After Jin Zixuan insults Jiang Yanli and expresses his dissatisfaction with his engagement to her, Jiang Cheng intends to punch him. Wei Wuxian pushes him aside and strikes Jin Zixuan first, and was sent home from the Cloud Recesses as a result.
After the Qishan Wen Clan demands that the Yunmeng Jiang Clan hand over at least one key member of their family to attend their training, Jiang Cheng quickly volunteers to go instead of Jiang Yanli. Yu Ziyuan is infuriated, and turns her anger on her son when he defends Wei Wuxian, reminding him that Wei Wuxian still surpasses him in cultivation.
At the training, Jiang Cheng warns Wei Wuxian not to start trouble after noticing that the dangerous Wen Zhuliu guards their pompous leader, Wen Chao. However, tensions erupt during the night-hunt on Dusk-Creek Mountain, when Lan Wangji and Jin Zixuan defend Mianmian from Wen Chao's order to bind and bleed her to lure out their prey.
After the Xuanwu of Slaughter emerges, and the Wens flee, Jiang Cheng finds himself trapped in the cave alongside the others. He uses his swimming skills to find a hole at the bottom of the pool that they can escape through and helps guide those who cannot swim out of the cave.
When Jiang Cheng reprimands Wei Wuxian for playing the hero by joining the fight to support Lan Wangji and Jin Zixuan, Jiang Fengmian rebukes his son. He claims that Jiang Cheng still does not understand their clan motto, and Yu Ziyuan interrupts to criticize her husband for again favoring Wei Wuxian.
Yu Ziyuan pulls Jiang Cheng over to her side and insists that Jiang Fengmian remember which boy is his son. When his arguing parents leave, Jiang Cheng attempts to leave too, but Wei Wuxian insists on speaking with him.
Jiang Cheng expresses his frustration that Wei Wuxian has gained the glory of killing the Xuanwu of Slaughter, while he suffered the less-sensational but arduous journey to find rescue. He insists that his father does not like him or think he will be a good clan leader.
Wei Wuxian then promises Jiang Cheng that when he becomes clan leader, he will serve as his right-hand man. Like Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji are the Twin Jades of Gusu, so they will be the Twin Prides of Yunmeng.
Massacre of Lotus Pier
Jiang Cheng quickly realizes that Wang Lingjiao, the mistress of Wen Chao, has visited Lotus Pier for revenge against Wei Wuxian for his actions in the cave. Yu Ziyuan commands her two maids, Jinzhu and Yinzhu, to hold Jiang Cheng back as she whips Wei Wuxian with Zidian.
Once Wang Lingjiao requests that Yu Ziyuan sever Wei Wuxian's right hand, Jiang Cheng breaks free and begs his mother not to agree. To his dismay, Yu Ziyuan orders the doors closed. He and Wei Wuxian then watch in shock as Yu Ziyuan slaps Wang Lingjiao while Jinzhu and Yinzhu kill the Wen cultivators accompanying her.
Jiang Cheng is injured when Wen Zhuliu intervenes, and Wang Lingjiao sends off a signal for the Qishan Wen Clan to attack. Recognizing the danger, Yu Ziyuan takes Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian to a boat and binds them with Zidian. She embraces Jiang Cheng, appoints him the owner of the weapon, and requests that Wei Wuxian promise to protect Jiang Cheng with his life. She then sens the two away, while Jiang Cheng desperately struggles.
The returning Jiang Fengmian finds and releases them, unaware of the situation at Lotus Pier. As soon as Jiang Cheng mentions Wen Zhuliu's presence, Jiang Fengmian rebinds both boys and sends them away as he returns for his wife.
When Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian return that night, they find the entire clan massacred, including Jiang Fengmian and Yu Ziyuan. Jiang Cheng fights Wei Wuxian, insisting on recovering his parents' bodies, before choking Wei Wuxian and screaming to know why he had protected Lan Wangji and Jin Zixuan in the cave. Eventually, he releases his martial brother and breaks down in tears.
Losing and Regaining a Golden Core
In the aftermath of the massacre, Jiang Cheng and Wei Wuxian find themselves fugitives as they travel to the Meishan Yu Clan to find Jiang Yanli. When Wei Wuxian ventures to the market one day, Jiang Cheng notices cultivators from the Qishan Wen Clan swarming the market. He runs out to distract them, and as a result, he is captured instead of Wei Wuxian.
Jiang Cheng is taken back to the Lotus Pier, where Wen Chao has him tortured and beaten. He is struck once with the Discipline Whip on his chest, and Wen Zhuliu melts his Golden Core. According to Wen Chao, Jiang Cheng screamed and pled for his core, but his captors did not care.
Wen Ning aids Wei Wuxian's rescue of Jiang Cheng, taking both fugitives to hide with his sister Wen Qing in Yiling. As a skilled doctor, Wen Qing treats Jiang Cheng but requests that they leave quickly, lest she fall under suspicion.
Jiang Cheng believes his life as a cultivator over without his golden core, until Wei Wuxian suggests that his mother's teacher, the legendary Baoshan Sanren, can restore his core. He takes Jiang Cheng to a mountain and instructs him to follow a path up the mountain, where he will meet Baoshan Sanren.
Although Jiang Cheng believes he really has met Baoshan Sanren and that his core has been restored, the matter is actually an elaborate plot constructed by Wei Wuxian. Wen Qing poses as Baoshan Sanren, and Wen Ning assists his sister as she transfers Wei Wuxian's golden core into Jiang Cheng.
When Jiang Cheng returns down the mountain, he cannot find Wei Wuxian, who has been caught by Wen Chao.
Jiang Cheng becomes the leader of the Yunmeng Jiang Clan and begins recruiting disciples to join his clan and their rebellion against the Qishan Wen Clan. He coordinates with Lan Xichen and Lan Wangji to retrieve the swords of those who had attended the Wen's training and carried Wei Wuxian's Suibian alongside his Sandu.
After retaking many places in Yunmeng, Jiang Cheng joins with Lan Wangji to attack the supervisory office where Wen Chao is hiding. To their surprise, they discover that Wen Chao has fled and that most of the Wen cultivators have already been killed, including Wang Lingjiao.
Jiang Cheng leads his cultivators to hunt Wen Chao and Wen Zhuliu while Lan Wangji returns to Gusu to analyze the strange talismans they have found. Two days later, Lan Wangji returns, explaining that the talismans summon evil, rather than oppose it. Jiang Cheng is unconcerned with dark technique so long as the user kills their shared enemies.
On the fourth day, he and Lan Wangji finally catch Wen Chao and Wen Zhuliu in a courier station. Before they can attack, the person behind the talisman approaches, revealing himself to be Wei Wuxian.
Jiang Cheng uses Zidian to strangle Wen Zhuliu and defends Wei Wuxian from the appalled Lan Wangji. He and Wei Wuxian then force Wen Chao to bow in the direction of Lotus Pier before torturing him to death.
After Wei Wuxian's return, Jiang Cheng leads the war on the Jianglian front before approaching Langya to aid Jin Guangshan. At Langya, he has to stop Wei Wuxian from beating Jin Zixuan after a misunderstanding with Jiang Yanli pushes her to tears.
Defection of Wei Wuxian
Jiang Cheng's insecurities grow after the Sunshot Campaign, as people suggest that the Yunmeng Jiang Clan has only survived because of Wei Wuxian, rather than Jiang Cheng.
When Wei Wuxian rescues Wen Ning, Wen Qing, and the rest of the Wen Clan's remnants from the Lanling Jin Clan, killing several of their cultivators in the process, Jiang Cheng initially defends the two Wens who had saved their lives, though he apologizes for Wei Wuxian's actions. However, Jin Guangshan suggests that Wei Wuxian has insulted Jiang Cheng, playing on Jiang Cheng's insecuritites.
Jiang Cheng then visits Wei Wuxian at the Burial Mounds. Jiang Cheng insists that Wei Wuxian forsake the Wen remnants, as society is determined to hate them, and says that he cannot protect Wei Wuxian if he refuses. After seeing that Wei Wuxian is determined to restore the consciousness of Wen Ning's Fierce Corpse, he and Wei Wuxian quarrel more, until Wei Wuxian insists on leaving the Yunmeng Jiang Clan to protect them from trouble.
Three days later, Jiang Cheng duels Wei Wuxian. He stabs Wei Wuxian, and Wei Wuxian commands Wen Ning to break one of his arms. Both leave the duel cursing each other.
However, once Jiang Yanli becomes engaged to Jin Zixuan, Jiang Cheng helps his sister sneak into Yiling to show Wei Wuxian her wedding robes. He also suggests that she ask Wei Wuxian to choose a courtesy name for her future son.
Bloodbath of Nightless Sky
After Jiang Cheng is told that Wen Ning, under Wei Wuxian's control, has killed Jin Zixuan, he attends the pledge conference at Nightless Sky to pledge his opposition to Wei Wuxian. However, once Wei Wuxian appears and begins to battle them, Jiang Cheng realized that Jiang Yanli is also present.
He shouts at Wei Wuxian to stop the corpses from attacking her, but realizes that Wei Wuxian seems to struggle to maintain control. Lan Wangji ultimately kills the corpse to save her, and Jiang Cheng holds the injured Jiang Yanli in his arms. As Wei Wuxian gains enough mental strength to begin stopping the corpses, Jiang Yanli pushes him suddenly out of the way; taking a sword to the throat, she dies to save Wei Wuxian. Jiang Cheng is so devastated, he fails to realize what has happened at first, as the enraged Wei Wuxian then pressed the two halves of the Yin Tiger Tally together, commencing battle that becomes a bloodbath.
First Siege of the Burial Mounds
Jiang Cheng leads the clans against Wei Wuxian, blaming him for Jiang Yanli's death. Accordingly, Jiang Cheng's and Jin Guangshan's clans fight the most in the battle, during which cultivators also slaughter the the Qishan Wen Clan remnants under Wei Wuxian's protection.
Jiang Cheng is rumored to have killed Wei Wuxian himself, but the truth is that Wei Wuxian is torn apart by spiritual backlash.
After Wei Wuxian’s death, Jiang Cheng develops a deep hatred of all who practice Demonic Cultivation. He begins to capture all cultivators whom he suspects are possessed by the soul of Wei Wuxian, taking them back to Lotus Pier for torture. Though Sizhui states that no one taken in this manner ever leaves Lotus Pier, the ubiquitous understanding among the cultivational world is that he tortures them half to death rather than killing them.
A female innkeeper in Yunping City confirms this account, as she tells Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji that she knows a person who once approached Lotus Pier to help him deal with a problem. However, he happened upon Jiang Cheng violently whipping a demonic cultivator he had captured, and he was so scared that he fled.
During the night hunt on Dafan Mountain, Jiang Cheng helps set up the Deity-Binding Nets to give Jin Ling an advantage over the other cultivators. He is infuriated when Lan Wangji destroys them and further infuriated when he encounters Wei Wuxian resurrected in the body of Mo Xuanyu, as Wei Wuxian has both accidentally reprimanded Jin Ling for not having a mother and used demonic cultivation.
Jiang Cheng then harshly tells Jin Ling not to come back if he fails to capture the soul-consuming beast. But when Jin Ling is nearly killed by the Heavenly Maiden, Jiang Cheng berates him for not calling for help.
Jiang Cheng is shocked and enraged to discover that "Mo Xuanyu" has managed to summon Wen Ning. He uses Zidian in an attempt to expel Wei Wuxian's soul, though the technique fails because Wei Wuxian's soul has not actually possessed Mo Xuanyu's body. Lan Wangji then insisted on taking Wei Wuxian with him to the Cloud Recesses, and Jiang Cheng has no choice but to let him go.
Jiang Cheng takes Jin Ling in search of the man-eating castles rumored to be near Qinghe. Jin Ling runs away after a fight one morning, and by the time Jiang Cheng finds him, Jin Ling declines to tell his uncle that "Mo Xuanyu" has saved him from being eaten by the Stone Castles.
Wei Wuxian admits his identity, and Jiang Cheng angrily reminds him of his remark about Jin Ling's mother. He is interrupted, however, by Jin Ling, who lies about seeing Wen Ning. When Jiang Cheng leaves to hunt Wen Ning, Jin Ling frees Wei Wuxian and flees before his uncle's return.
Jiang Cheng sarcastically greets Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji outside Golden Carp Tower. Jiang Cheng then turns his wrath on Jin Ling, while Jin Guangyao tries and fails to pacify him.
When Qin Su kills herself in the secret treasure room of Golden Carp Tower, Jiang Cheng angrily demands an explanation. He then witnesses Wei Wuxian accidentally reveal his identity by using Suibian, which had sealed itself after his death.
Second Siege of the Burial Mounds
After over a hundred junior disciples, including Jin Ling, are kidnapped and taken to the Burial Mounds, Jiang Cheng leads a second siege against the Yiling Patriarch. However, to his surprise, Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji, and Wen Ning had arrived earlier to free the juniors.
Jiang Cheng is among those whose spiritual power are sealed during the first wave of corpses, and he takes shelter along with the others in the Demon-Slaughtering Cave. After Su She was revealed to have sealed their power with altered music, following the instructions of Jin Guangyao, Jiang Cheng began to learn that Wei Wuxian was not at fault this time.
As more corpses approached, Jin Ling wished for Jiang Cheng to comfort him, but the closest Jiang Cheng came was giving his nephew Zidian, much like his mother had given it once to him. Jin Ling, however, returned the weapon and fought the corpses with Suihua, despite Jiang Cheng's frantic worry for his safety.
Eventually, Wei Wuxian decides to risk his own life to allow the cultivators to escape. When Jin Ling attempts to stay, Jiang Cheng throws him to the ground and runs back into the cave himself. Everyone is ultimately saved by the fierce corpses of the remnants of the Qishan Wen Clan killed during the First Siege.
Return to Lotus Pier
Jiang Cheng allows the survivors to return to Lotus Pier to recover their spiritual power, and did not forbid Wei Wuxian from accompanying them.
When Sisi and Bicao arrive, Jiang Cheng spends a significant amount of time interviewing the two women about Jin Guangyao's misdeeds. Once he is convinced they are telling the truth, he allowed them to speak to the rest of the cultivators present.
Later that evening, Jiang Cheng goes looking for Wei Wuxian and is disgusted to find him under a tree, caught in an embrace with Lan Wangji. He follows his Wei Wuxian to the ancestral hall of their clan and confronts Wei Wuxian about his role in the deaths of Jiang Fengmian, Yu Ziyuan, and Jiang Yanli, as well as his relationship with Lan Wangji.
Wei Wuxian angrily denies their relationship and falls unconscious when the three engage in a fight. Wen Ning then appears with Suibian in his hands. He forces Jiang Cheng to pull the sealed sword from its sheath and reveals that Wei Wuxian had given Jiang Cheng his Golden Core.
Jiang Cheng flees the scene and spends the rest of the night running amok at Lotus Pier, demanding to know if any cultivators besides him can unsheathe Suibian.
Jin Ling runs away from Lotus Pier to seek Wei Wuxian, and Jiang Cheng follows to seek his nephew. Fairy leads him to the Guanyin Temple, where he discovers Jin Ling, Wei Wuxian, Lan Wangji, Lan Xichen, and Nie Huaisang all held captive by Su She and Jin Guangyao.
Jiang Cheng clangs two swords together to overpower the sound of Jin Guangyao's guqin. When the two begin hand-to-hand combat, Jiang Cheng originally holds the advantage. However, when Jin Guangyao implies that he has long known of the golden core transfer, Jiang Cheng's composure slips.
Jin Guangyao then feigns an attack against Wei Wuxian. When Jiang Cheng attempts to save Wei Wuxian, Jin Guangyao stabs him in the chest. Jiang Cheng is then captured and forced to seal his spiritual power.
Jiang Cheng verbally lashes out at Wei Wuxian, prompting Lan Wangji to warn him to "spare some virtue." However, eventually Jiang Cheng begins to weep bitterly that Wei Wuxian had not told him. He reveals that he had been devastated when Wei Wuxian left the Yunmeng Jiang Clan and broken his promise to be the Twin Prides of Yunmeng with him.
Jiang Cheng then turns his anger towards Jin Guangyao, especially after Jin Guangyao admits he had sent Jin Zixuan to the confrontation on Qiongqi Path, although Jin Guangyao maintains that he had not intended for Wei Wuxian to kill Jin Zixuan. In fury, Jiang Cheng calls Jin Guangyao the "son of a prostitute." In retribution, Jin Guangyao reminds Jiang Cheng just how easily he had allowed his jealousy and pride to keep him from protecting Wei Wuxian.
When Jin Guangyao holds a guqin string to Jin Ling's throat to bargain his escape, Jiang Cheng begs to be taken hostage instead, but Jin Guangyao declines due to his injuries. His escape, however, is interrupted by the arrival of the Fierce Corpse of Nie Mingjue.
Jiang Cheng strikes Jin Ling for crying out for Jin Guangyao to run. However, Nie Mingjue mistook Jin Ling for Jin Guangyao due to their close blood relationship, and lunged for him. With his spiritual power sealed, Jiang Cheng holds forth Sandu and places himself in front of his nephew. Just before Nie Mingjue can kill him, however, Wen Ning leaps in between and takes te punch through his own chest, astonishing Jiang Cheng.
After the death of Su She renders Nie Mingjue even more dangerous, Jiang Cheng realizes that Wei Wuxian is the only one who can save them. He then reveals that he has brought Wei Wuxian's flute Chenqing and tosses it to him.
Before Wei Wuxian and Lan Wangji elope, Jiang Cheng considers telling Wei Wuxian that he had gotten caught by the Wens to save him, but finds himself unable to speak the words.
After the death of Jin Guangyao, Jiang Cheng takes Zidian to Golden Carp Tower to ensure that Jin Ling will inherit the position as clan leader of the Lanling Jin Clan. Nevertheless, he continues to trail his nephew on night hunts in case of any danger.
Rather than teaming together to hunt Wen Chao, in the Animation, Jiang Cheng and Lan Wangji are captured by Wen Chao during a fierce battle of the Sunshot Campaign. They are then saved by Wei Wuxian's return as a demonic cultivator.
Jiang Cheng appears near Gusu to save Jin Ling from a serpent-like creature, thereby encountering Wei Wuxian a second time before the Stone Castles.
He learns of the golden core transfer after the Guanyin Temple incident, and they leave before he breaks down in tears. In the aftermath, Jiang Cheng retreats into seclusion.
Audio Drama Divergence
The audio drama adds a scene of Jiang Cheng's infamous inability to connect with women. He offends his third prospective bride, Rong Yan, by telling her that she wears unsuitable colors and that her perfume is like a noxious poison.
Web Series Divergence
As a teenager, Jiang Cheng encounters Wen Qing at the Cloud Recesses and develops romantic feelings for her. He gives her a red comb that she accepts, and after the Sunshot Campaign begins, offers to marry her if she will defect from the Qishan Wen Clan. Wen Qing refuses, citing the rest of her family, whom she cannot abandon and returns the comb.
After the Guanyin Temple incident, Jiang Cheng reflects on how he once sacrificed himself for Wei Wuxian and also includes a heartfelt wish for his martial brother to live well.