Flame and Thunder
Kvothe gets over his emotional outburst after playing his song of woe for the Eolian audience.
Even as I sat, the ending I had improvised was fading from my memory. Then came doubt. What if it hadn’t been as whole as it had seemed? What if my ending hadn’t carried the terrible tragedy of the song to anyone but myself? What if my tears seemed to be nothing more than a child’s embarrassing reaction to his own failure?
As someone who produces art and puts stuff out online for people to read, this comes across as quite well observed.
Then there was a murmur of sobs released and sobs escaping. A sigh of tears. A whisper of bodies slowly becoming no longer still.
Then the applause. A roar like leaping flame, like thunder after lightning.
Again, this would be a lot more believable if the actual lyrics to the song weren’t so goofy.
Patrons, Maids and Metheglin
……um. Okay. Apparently that chapter was only a page long.
Kvothe re-strings his lute while Stanchion collects opinions from the crowd.
For a while I simply stared at it dumbly. My lute had been tampered with?
Son of a gun, who ever could be behind this???? The lute has apparently never been out of Kvothe’s sight all day so he’s mystified about how it could have been tampered with. I mean it’s not like you live in a school dedicated to teaching ways of manipulating the world around you without touching it or anything.
Stanchion walks up to Kvothe and pretends to shake his hand (indicating that he’s not getting his musician badge) but of course it’s concealed in his hand and the crowd applauds as Kvothe is formally inducted into the ranks of super cool music people (super cool music people would be a great name for an indie band).
This entire sequence really would have been a great character moment in any other book, but I’ve been so thoroughly soured on Kvothe as a protagonist that it made no real impression on me. I’d also like to remind you- because the book seems to have forgotten- that kvothe is only fifteen here. There’s no mention of being intimidated by the idea of being judged by adults or competing with them, no pride at being able to play so well at such a young age. When I was fifteen I still thought of myself as essentially a child, which I’d wager is true for a lot of people, but there’s not a hint of that in Kvothe’s actions or narration. He might as well be twenty five.
“You’ll have to promise me,” a red-eyed Simmon said seriously, “That you will never play that song again without warning me first. Ever.”
“Was it that bad?” I smiled giddily at him.
“No!” Simmon almost cried out. “It’s . . . I’ve never—” He struggled, wordless for a moment, then bowed his head and began to cry hopelessly into his hands.
Really, really shouldn’t have shown us the song lyrics, Rothfuss.
If you haven’t tried it, then I am sorry I cannot describe it properly.
Oh, you can’t describe it? Maybe you shouldn’t try writing a fucking story then
Okay, deep breaths. Keep in mind the Death of the author. Literally. Preferably with explosions and napalm.
Count Threpe was one of the first to come to me. He looked shorter up close, and older. But he was bright-eyed and laughing as he talked about my song.
Count Threpe goes on for a while about how amazing Kvothe was before handing him seven talents- more money than he’s ever had before- as a way to encourage him to keep playing. I’ve complained repeatedly about how Kvothe trying to get money has been over-emphasized way too much in the story, and I think it would be a lot more tolerable if talents didn’t just keep falling randomly into his lap. This goes all the way back to Tarbean, which followed the same “Kvothe needs money real bad! Hooray Kvothe got money! Kvothe needs money real bad!” pattern. I’ve got quite a chunk of book left to go and I’m really wondering how many times this is going to be repeated.
Threpe does imply that the song Kvothe just played had something to do with the Amyr (the anti-Haliax brigade Kvothe is supposedly looking for) so maybe the Chandrian will catch wind of this and remember that they left Kvothe alive all those years ago? Maybe? Please?
Members of the audience come to congratulate Kvothe and he tries to work out who the woman who sang with him is. It turns out Not-Malfoy ran off looking pale and shaking as soon as Kvothe got his talent pipes. Something interesting is happening with Not-Malfoy! Quickly, narrative, let’s go see what it is!
The symptoms sounded familiar, like binder’s chills. A suspicion began to form. I pictured Ambrose, listening to me glide through the most beautiful song he’d ever heard, and realizing I’m about to win my pipes.
No, narrative! This is boring! Go the other way you stupid tit!
Kvothe figures Not-Malfoy was drawing on his body heat to to work sympathy and finally puts two and two together.
A woman comes to pay her respects to Kvothe.
She was the lovely, golden-haired harper who had tried for her talent and failed. I thought for a moment that she might be the voice of my Aloine, but after a moment’s listening to her, I realized it couldn’t be.
What’s-her-face (we don’t learn her name) is obviously hitting on Kvothe but he doesn’t realize because he’s oh so ignorant about women and nope, not buying it. Kvothe has repeatedly proven to be uncannily good at reading people and finding ways to manipulate them. There’s no reason for him to have this huge blind spot other than to force something resembling a character flaw onto him.
I knew I was woefully inexperienced with women, but I didn’t have to admit to it.
You’re fifteen Kvothe, how much experience could you even have had by this point?
Kvothe goes looking for the woman who sang alongside him and we get a very telling bit of narration:
Do not hope, it said. Do not dare hold hope that any woman could burn as brightly as the voice that sang the part of Aloine.
She will not be as beautiful as you imagine, and then you will despair.
Who cares about her singing ability or, you know, her personality, right?
Coming round the corner of the table I saw her face. Or rather, his face. They were both men.
They looked up, and the fair-haired one smiled at me. “Look Thria, young six-string has come to offer us his respects.” He eyed me up and down. “You’re a fair one. Would you like to join us for a drink?”
“No,” I murmured, embarrassed. “I was just looking for someone.”
“Well you found someone,” he said easily, touching my arm. “My name is Fallon and this is Thria. Come and have a drink. I promise to keep Thria here from trying to take you home. He has a terrible weakness for musicians.” He smiled charmingly at me.
Oh look gay people! Of course they’re just here to confound our young hero on his quest to locate a
vaginawoman (also “he smiled charmingly at me”?)
Then I heard a voice, a voice like burning silver, like a kiss against my ears. Looking up, my heart lifted and I knew it was my Aloine. Looking up, I saw her and all I could think was, beautiful.
Remember how this is totes realistic and not just some silly wish fulfillment story? Remember? Remember that?
The next chapter is an interlude. I would like to remind everyone that we began the current story arc, which was supposedly about finding The Woman, with another interlude in chapter forty-six. It took this long to actually get there.
This book is going to be the death of me.