Known as the Yiling Patriarch (夷陵老祖, Yílíng Lǎozǔ), Wei Wuxian died in the First Siege of the Burial Mounds thirteen years prior to the start of the Novel. He then returned to the living world in the body of Mo Xuanyu, who had summoned Wei Wuxian's soul through a Sacrificial Ritual he had invented during his time in the burial mounds.
In his original body, Wei Wuxian is considered quite handsome, ranking fourth in the list of top cultivator gentlemen of his generation. The tips of his eyes and lips typically retain the hint of a smile, though he becomes noticeably colder and paler after his turn to Demonic Cultivation.
In his youth, Wei Wuxian wears the purple disciple robes of the Yunmeng Jiang Clan. After turning to Demonic Cultivation, he wears black robes. His flute Chenqing hangs at his waist, adorned with blood-red tassels.
Beneath his carefree attitude, Wei Wuxian cares deeply for those he loves. He possesses a self-sacrificing spirit that ranges from mild risks like sneaking alcohol to his friends in the Cloud Recesses, to being willing to have his dominant hand severed if it means placating the Qishan Wen Clan's ire towards the Yunmeng Jiang Clan. He has his own Golden Core transplanted into his sworn brother Jiang Cheng after Jiang Cheng's own core had been melted. During the transplant, Wei Wuxian endures, awake and without pain medication, for two nights and one day.
Intelligent and inventive, Wei Wuxian asks Lan Qiren whether there is a way to utilize resentful energy instead of suppressing it. Once he finds himself thrown into the Burial Mounds without his golden core, he invents Demonic Cultivation, and within three months is capable of massacring an entire supervisory office.
Wei Wuxian has a strong sense of justice. He quickly joins the fight against Wen Chao in the cave of the Tortoise of Slaughter. He is bold in protecting the innocent no matter their name or societal prejudice. As a result of his sense of justice, he is capable of ruthlessness: torturing Wen Chao to death for his role in the massacre of Lotus Pier, using Demonic Cultivation to kill members of the Qishan Wen Clan with the corpses of their own families and friends, and, eventually, using the Yin Tiger Tally to battle three thousand cultivators after the death of his sister Jiang Yanli.
Nevertheless, Wei Wuxian often expresses regret and admits his faults. He believes that he became worse and worse every time he met Lan Wangji in his first life, and intends the words "thank you" to draw a clear distinction between himself and the noble Lan Wangji.
As a result of his experiences as both a hero and a pariah to the cultivation world, Wei Wuxian sees nuance where many do not. Despite Jin Guangyao attempt to frame him for mass murder at the Second Siege of the Burial Mounds, Wei Wuxian expresses caution when further stories of Jin Guangyao's misdeeds emerge. He states that the actions of Nie Huaisang are not necessarily justice, noting many of Jin Guangyao's apparent kindnesses. Even after learning Jin Guangyao's role in his first death, Wei Wuxian remains skeptical on many of the resulting rumors, as he recognizes that similar falsehoods had once been spread about him.
- In his original body, Wei Wuxian ranks fourth on the list of best-looking young men in the cultivation world.
- Wei Wuxian is severely Cynophobic due to the trauma of fighting stray dogs for food while living on the streets as a child.
- Mo Xiang Tong Xiu referred to Wei Wuxian in her author's notes as Wi-Fi. This is because Wi-Fi = 无线 (wuxian) is a homophone of his courtesy name.
- According to Baidu, his birthday is October 31 (Halloween in modern times).
- Wei Wuxian adores extremely spicy food. While Yunmeng cuisine was typically spicy, not even Jiang Cheng could tolerate Wei Wuxian's use of spice.
- Wei Wuxian was a talented artist, capable of drawing a "vividly realistic" portrait of Lan Wangji.
- His handwriting was notably messy.
- Before his infamy, he was said to be a master of the six arts: rites, music, archery, charioteering, literacy, and numeracy.