let’s read the name of the wind ch.63-65


Walking and Talking

Initially I was just going to include this because the chapter title reminded me of it and also fuck Penny Arcade, but now that I think about it the exact same complaint can be leveled against The Name of The Wind- a whole lot of talking and not much story.

I had been on the other side of the river buying a dram of quicksilver and a pouch of sea salt. The last had cost me dearly, but for once I wasn’t concerned about money. If fortune smiled on me, I would be moving up the ranks in the Fishery soon, and that meant my money troubles would soon be over.

Thank sweet merciful Christ. Maybe then the actual plot can advance? Please?

Kvothe and the bunk buddies talk for a long, long time about the six hours he spent walking around with Denna the previous night. Eventually it comes out that Kvothe has permission to start a journeyman project in artificing, specifically a sympathy lamp which is seen as the go-to project for budding young artificers.

Aaaaand that’s all that happens. Five and a half pages for something that could have been conveyed to the reader in a single sentence.

Nine in the Fire

Kvothe makes a habit of wandering around Imre hoping to meet up with Denna (as opposed to just asking if she wanted to hang out last time I guess).

The owner didn’t know the name “Denna” or “Dianne,” but a young, lovely dark-haired girl named “Dinnah” was renting a room there

These people and their fake names, I swear to God.

But then one day she dissapears without paying her bill at the inn which rather suggests that something bad has happened (yes please).

Deoch told me that it was her nature to disappear like this, and that looking for her would serve about as much purpose as calling for a cat.

I don’t know about you but my cat always comes in when I call him because he wuvs me.

2013-04-27 10.41.56

As much as I would like to continue talking about kitties, let’s move on.

Kvothe presents a sympathy lantern to Kilvin for judgement. It has some unusual properties, such as essentially acting like a flash-light instead of a lantern. Kilvin for some reason has a problem with this.

“I thought sailors used them,” I said.
“Burglars use them,” Kilvin said seriously. “And spies, and other folk who do not wish to reveal their business during the dark hours of night.”

… Or, you know, people who want to see in the dark?

Kilvin allows Kvothe to pass his apprenticeship but instead of selling his lamp and passing on part of the profit to Kvothe, which is what usually happens, he insists on melting it down to stop would-be miscreants from using it for the forces of darkness. Of all the convoluted reasons for Kvothe to not have money we’ve seen so far this has to be the dumbest and most obviously contrived.

Kvothe plans on making some blue lanterns with the super-acid stuff, which is profitable but risky. He asks Manet (his teacher) if he knows any alternate ways into the Archives. Remember that particular plot road-block that’s been clogging up the plot drainpipe for something like half the book’s page count? Looks like it’s finally going to be addressed. Or not, since Manet won’t tell him what it is.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford patience. I was painfully aware of the fact that this term would be my last unless I could find a way to make a great deal of money rather quickly

Wait, what? Why? Didn’t you just say your money problems would be over once you passed your apprenticeship? You’ve go artificing and music as professions now, and if it comes down to it I’m sure one of your rich friends or your buddy Lord Threpe would bail you out. Can’t we just be done with this fucking plot-line already?

Kvothe goes back to Kilvin and asks if he can buy the sympathy lamp himself, but Kilvin gives it to him for free once he promises not to do anything unscrupulous with it.

As I left the shop I was careful to keep my expression neutral, but inside I was wearing a wide, satisfied smile. Manet had told me exactly what I needed to know. There was another way into the Archives. A hidden way. If it existed, I could find it.

And it only took you six months of in-story time and what felt like the page count of half a dozen smaller novels to come up with this idea. Congratulations.

Kilvin’s squeamishness over the lantern comes across as seriously over the top. His treating what is essentially a flashlight like it’s some sort of arcane weapon that will grant supervillain-like powers is kind of hard to take seriously.


Kvothe goes on for a while about some money-making scheme involving playing at the Eolian and getting people to buy him drinks that isn’t really important.

Suddenly! Denna walks in. But it turns out that Deoch, the doorman has something going on with her and it’s so unfair because she’s the hottest girl in schooltown and she’s going out with that dumb jock instead of meKvothe.

Then Deoch turned and pointed. She followed his gesture, met my eyes, and lit up as she smiled at me. I returned the smile by reflex alone. My heart began to beat again. I waved her over. After a quick word to Deoch she began to make her way through the crowd toward us.

Oh, I guess not. I’m so apatheticrelieved.

She lounged into a chair. “What brings such a group of handsome young men out on the town tonight?”
“We’re plotting the downfall of our enemies,” Simmon said.
“And celebrating,” I hurried to add.
Wilem raised his glass in a salute. “Confusion to the enemy.”

I haven’t been quoting most of the dialogue between Kvothe and his friends because 80% of it is  just annoying jokes and time wasting, but reading this exchange and continuing on from the Penny Arcade hate from earlier I just realized what this reminds me of: webcomic dialogue.

I attempt to read a lot of webcomics looking for good ones (there are only like five in total) and the dialogue in your average nerdy gamer humour comic is just like this- recreations of oh-so-funny conversations the author had with his friends at 3 am over the D&D board but with all the Star Wars in-jokes and stegosaurus-with-pleurisy snorting laughter removed. It’s annoying and grating in an online comic about two jackasses playing video games, and it’s annoying, grating and out of place in a fantasy novel.

(Wait, do you even use a board to play D&D?)

My face grew hot and I had the sudden urge to throttle Sim. Denna laughed sweetly. “I suppose I’d better take him then.” She stood with a motion like a willow wand bending to the wind and offered me her hand.

Is Rothfuss being payed to write this by some sort of willow plantation owner or something? It seems to be the only variety of tree that exists in this world.

Denna and Kvothe head for a night time stroll, no doubt to talk about things that they couldn’t discuss on their previous night time stroll for what I’m sure are sound and valid plot reasons.

Denna removed her shoes and danced lightly through the shadows, delighting in the feel of the grass beneath her feet.


It’s a shame, I was starting to like Denna.

We settled on a bench beneath a great spreading willow

Okay, now this is legit getting weird.

They have some more George Lucas approved flirtatious dialogue and it turns out that Denna remembers Kvothe from the first time they met, which he was worried she wouldn’t. Sure aren’t playing into common fantasy story tropes here Rothfuss, no way.

“Denna,” she said softly. “I’d almost forgotten her. She was a silly girl.”
“She was like a flower unfolding.”

Is this supposed to be insipid self-important teenager romantic bullshit, or are we meant to take it seriously? Although I don’t think even teenagers would say something this dumb with  a straight face.

We talked through the long hours of night. I spoke subtle circles around the way I felt, not wanting to be overbold.


So we danced very carefully, unsure what music the other was listening to, unsure, perhaps, if the other was dancing at all.

Okay. Dude. There is no way in hell anything you just said could be interpreted as anything other than “I fancy you, let’s go for a romp behind the nearest willow tree”. I have trouble with social intricacies and even I’d get it. The same goes for Denna, with statements like “from that moment I was yours”. They’ve basically declared their love for each other a dozen times over, let’s just take that as a given and move on.

Kvothe heads back the Eolian where Deoch the Doorman gives him some patented male fantasy author romantic advice:

“You see, women are like fires, like flames. Some women are like candles, bright and friendly. Some are like single sparks, or embers, like fireflies for chasing on summer nights. Some are like campfires, all light and heat for a night and willing to be left after. Some women are like hearthfires, not much to look at but underneath they are all warm red coal that burns a long, long while.
“But Dianne . . . Dianne is like a waterfall of spark pouring off a sharp iron edge that God is holding to the grindstone. You can’t help but look, can’t help but want it. You might even put your hand to it for a second. But you can’t hold it. She’ll break your heart. . . .”

Women are mysterious and powerful and dangerous wooooOOOOooooOOOooOOOooo

How about “women are people, with emotions and stuff, and they have different ideas of what they want in a relationship so make sure you’re both on the same page or it probably won’t turn out well?” No? I guess that would make too much sense.

“Deoch, my heart is made of stronger stuff than glass. When she strikes she’ll find it strong as iron-bound brass, or gold and adamant together mixed. Don’t think I am unaware, some startled deer to stand transfixed by hunter’s horns. It’s she who should take care, for when she strikes, my heart will make a sound so beautiful and bright that it can’t help but bring her back to me in winged flight.”

I swear I laughed for about five minutes straight at this. I don’t think there’s anything I can add that’s funnier than what you just read.

Kvothe made arrangements to meet Denna the next day so I guess he can stop love-stalking her now.


16 thoughts on “let’s read the name of the wind ch.63-65

  1. tomemos

    Hey, this is obviously almost a year late, but I just wanted to say: I love this series and all of these posts, but the Penny Arcade critique in the YouTube video seems inept to me. You could do that with almost any comic strip, even the best of the best: Calvin & Hobbes, say (“sitting in a school desk … sitting in a school desk … sitting at the dinner table … walking through the woods … ” Penny Arcade has its problems but the idea that it is slave to lazy repetition, if that is the idea, doesn’t seem to go.

  2. Shan

    D&D doesn’t require a board. It’s a shared storytelling session, where each of you has a character whose abilities are listed on a character sheet, and whose successes and failures are controlled by a combination of massive rule books, dice rolls, your ingenuity in overcoming the game master’s obstacles. [The best roleplaying games I’ve ever played have involved not bothering with the character sheets, rule books or dice rolls, and just having a shared storytelling session.]

    I’ve been glad to follow along this review because I’ve never had anyone able to tell me what TNotW is about beyond “Kvothe is so awesome and the writing is so beautiful”. I’ve found that people will forgive many an otherwise objectionable/dull story if the writing is really readable and they just get caught up, so maybe that explains why “Some kid’s parents are murdered by X and he’s searching for information about X while attending school, but mainly it’s just him having money problems and objectifying some girl” is lauded as one of the seminal books of the modern age.

    Problem with that theory is all the passages you’ve quoted are plodding and dull, so this book just perplexes me completely.

    1. Reveen

      Yeah, this book probably would have been fine if Rothfuss was a hotshot stylistic and technical writer. Nothing wrong with a book just being a prolonged makeout session with the English language. But the quotes are just… bleh. Rothfuss was clearly trying to write the fuck out of this book, but he clearly doesn’t have enough skill with language to make him worthwhile to read unless he actually has a plot.

      It also seems like Rothfuss doesn’t understand tone. I don’t know whether it helps to read the whole book, but judging by the quotes it wants to be gritty, and then it wants to be twee, then it wants to be tragic and then it wants to be funny. It’s like it’s in tonal limbo.

  3. Andrea Harris

    I’m getting surprised at how commonplace the bullshit in this book is. For example, the dumb “oh, we can’t let this lantern flashlight thing be used because burglars will use it!” even though burglars and the like also use clothing and shoes and eat food, and so on, is something I encountered over and over in bad didactic books for kids when the author wanted to make a point. Only here it’s being used for unneeded pity points for Kvothe, and to draw out the boring “conflict” about Kvothe needing to Struggle! and Scrimp! in an Uncaring World!

    “In a woooorld….!”

    Anyway, then there is the “romance.” Oh my god, the “romance.” I never thought I’d encounter anything that would make me praise J.K. Rowling’s handling of Harry and Cho’s brief “relationship,” but at least she didn’t put awful “lyrical” poetry in Harry’s mouth. At least he actually acted like a kid his age might really act. And at least he didn’t have other adults colluding with him in the Wonderfulness of Cho and feeding him (and us) bullshit about “mysterious women who are like sparks you can’t hold” or whatever that nonsense was.

    By the bye, I had a fiancé for a while (I was experimenting with “normal” life), and he had, back in the day, apparently been really into D&D. He had several shelves of reverently-saved books that were apparently full of D&D rules and whatever, that no one was allowed to touch. I was intrigued, because for whatever reason I had missed the tabletop fantasy gaming thing even though I had been big into fantasy at that time, so I thought “hey, maybe he’ll teach me to game and we can get together with his friends and play and I will finally get to experience this cultural touchstone that is so important to people who like the books I like.” But it was no-go. His D&D gaming days were “in the past” with one of his ex-girlfriends or something and he had “moved on.” Only he wouldn’t get rid of the books. We did end up trying to do a Rifts game (some other gaming universe) but he kept fucking with everyone and it sort of petered out then we broke up.

    So, er, don’t know what I’m trying to say with that, except that Dungeons and Dragons is played on a tabletop, and funny-looking dice are involved, and there’s a sort of math, but beyond that I don’t know.

      1. braak

        Aw, no Rifts is by far my favorite setting.

        Does this game have elves? Yes.
        Dragons? Yes.
        Wizards? Yes.
        Cyborgs? Yep.
        Cyborg wizards? Sure.
        Cyborg wizard half elf dragons? Hell yes.
        What about psychic mutant dog-men who hunt the cyborg wizards on behalf of a fascist police state in an arcology on the ruins of old Chicago? Please, be serious. That is the FIRST BOOK.

        It utterly baffles me that there are a million dumb R A Salvatore novels, and not ONE Rifts tie-in.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      I actually played D&D years ago when someone gave me one of those starter kits aimed at younger players as a gift (which did have a board). I don’t think me and my friends ever really understood what we were doing.

      My problem with D&D is that it seems to focus heavily on (or at least most people seem to choose to focus on) the whole dungeon-crawling aspect over actual role-playing and story-telling. That and the generic fantasy setting. I’d much prefer a non-combat based game in a more interesting world. I’m they exist but they don’t seem to be as popular as the straight up hack and slash games.

      1. Rissy (@TheRedRaptor)

        If you’re interested, the old Earthdawn system by FASA has been described as D&D if the rules and the setting actually made sense. There are no weird existential issues with sentient but “evil” races, for example.

  4. Reveen

    Oh, nice metaphor. Not trite, insulting, or long winded at all. Hey, I got one for fantasy writers!

    Also, good webcomics. Unsounded is awesome. Seriously, updates like clockwork and is the exact opposite of this in terms of dialogue and not-having-a-generic-setting.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      I had never heard of Unsounded but it passes the webcomic litmus test (art doesn’t make my eyes melt) so I’m going to check it out.

      My personal faves are: Gunnerkrigg Court, Monster Pulse, Cucumber Quest, The Lonely Moon. There are a few other potentially good ones that I’m waiting for more updates before I make a verdict on.

      I feel like lately the general quality of story-driven webcomics has been rising.

        1. ronanwills Post author

          I read a bit of that a while ago. The way the author quote dialogue annoyed me but I recognize it’s a quality comic. I’ll have to give it another shot.

    2. Reveen

      Gunnerkrigg Court? From what little I’ve read/heard of that one Unsounded should have some stuff in the same venn diagram. Like, far-out magic and weird creatures an’ shit.

      Though, be forewarned, there’s a bit of fuck up shit going on in the comic. Horrible treatment of children for starters (though only by the bad guys), but it’s kind of filtered through a light hearted tone.

      I really like the comics concept of magic, for one thing. “Concentrating the edges of all the leaves and grass around you into a chopping lance” FTW

      1. ronanwills Post author

        Yeah, I tried reading Unsounded yesterday and it…. didn’t really grab me for various reasons. The “horrible treatment of children” thing was sort of the nail in the coffin because it felt very gratuitous and unnecessary.

        But I’m a bleeding heart when it comes to that sort of thing so it probably won’t bother other people as much as it bothered me.

  5. welltemperedwriter

    Wow, there goes any lingering desire I might’ve had to read this.

    I could buy Kvothe talking like this if Denna gave it the eye-roll it deserved.


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