封神榜 = draft?
So I've been reading the original text of 封神演义.
Specifically I read the chapter (99) where all the peeps who got deified/canonized by the 封神榜 were listed. Some were daoists of quite established power from both the Zhou and Shang sides, some were normal human members of the imperial court (on both sides), and some were evil evil 妖怪 (from just the Shang side). And the only common link between them was they died at some point in the story.
And then, when I think back through the course of the story and how those daoist members of the group, who explicitly knew (and if they didn't, they were very helpfully reminded of it every other page) about the fate waiting for them if/since their names were recorded on the 封神榜, were so very not willing to go to fate peacefully... I have to wonder if most of them didn't want to give up their old lives of being freegoing wanderers/independent hermits and get burdened by the responsibilities of heavenly office. Not to mention it meant no more possibility of enjoying 'the good life on earth' as it were (power, riches, women, drugs that sort of thing). So I guess that would make the 封神榜 some kind of heavenly draft that the Powers That Be came up with in order to have enough heavenly officials to keep up with the population growth on earth... or something. :p
Interesting enough, there was no mention of those well known figures such as 李靖, 哪吒, 杨戬, etc. who survived to the end of the story, even though we know they were deities and held heavenly office by the time of the Han (Sun Wukong's little ruckus in heaven was 500 years before Tang). In the 封神演义 story, though, they were more daoists than heavenly officers (yet?). So I have to wonder if they got their positions later on in the years, or if they already had positions and were only momentarily deployed to the human world to participate in the whole ordeal.
I can believe the latter for 杨戬, whos mythos had him alive and hoppin' back when there were still 9 suns in the sky, and the text mentions his hound specifically as a '仙犬'. Not so sure about 李靖 and sons, since 哪吒 had only graduated from inanimate (though celestial) object for 10 years or so. I doubt his previous incarnation could have held heavenly office. It's an interesting thing to ponder.
EDIT: Actually, read the last chapter (100) and I guess it was the former case for them... "後来李靖、金吒、木吒、哪吒、杨戬、韦护、雷震子，此七人俱是肉身成圣。"
*off to make some more 杨戬 icons* w00t new icon ^__^