In the novel, Hua Rong is described as having red lips and white teeth, a handsome and youthful face, a narrow waist, and broad shoulders. He had the ability to tame wild steeds, but is especially renowned for his archery skills, and could pierce a willow leaf with a well-aimed arrow from a distance of over a hundred steps. He is named after Li Guang, a Chinese general during the Han Dynasty also renowned for his archery skills. In Chinese tradition, Hua Rong is often attributed to be sharp, refined, and quick, like the bow and arrow.
Being extremely charismatic, Hua Rong is influential in persuading other warriors to join the Liangshan cause, most notably Qin Ming, a warrior of great strength and reputation. In fact, Qin's entire family is slaughtered by the imperial troops when they learned of his defection, and this left Qin deeply embattled for some time. However, he is soothed slightly as Hua Rong's younger sister was granted to him in remarriage.