let’s read the name of the wind ch.69


Wind or Women’s Fancy

This is going to end well.

Kvothe goes to Imre repeatedly to look for Denna but she’s not around anywhere. He buys some emitters to make more sympathy lanterns. After the lanterns are sold he has a bit of spare money to buy things, like

shirs and sop



2013-04-16 13.32.14

Argh, fuck me. What just happened? Was I alseep? If something really dumb or really infuriating doesn’t come along soon I might not make it through this.

“Stanchion still gives me a hard time about chasing after a girl half my age.” He shrugged his broad shoulders sheepishly. “For all that, I am still fond of her. These days she reminds me of my littlest sister more than anything.”

Hey, that’ll do!

So this is Deoch the thirty-something year old bar man talking about some sort of fling he had in the past with Denna, who is like 17 or 18. And of course she’s just like his “littlest sister” , the possible age of which I will not speculate upon for the sake of my sanity.

We’ve seen this pop up multiple times, and not just in regards to Denna. Women are forever being referred to as small, petite, delicate and child like even when they’re older than Kvothe and it’s getting really creepy. I’m not quite ready to start casting accusations as to the nature of Rothfuss’ motives for writing his female characters this way, but I am currently squinting at him suspiciously.

Deoch invites Kvothe to share a drink and we get The Scene. You know the one I’m talking about. It’s too dudes in a fantasy novel sitting around talking about The Nature Of Women. That scene.

“As I said, largely the same. Lovely voice, light of foot, quick of tongue, men’s adoration and women’s scorn in roughly equal amounts.”

Can’t we just, like, not do this? Please?

 “Women hate Denna,” he said plainly, as if repeating something we both already knew.

No, really, Patrick. Do you prefer Pat or Patrick? Maybe Patty? I’m going to call you Patty. Look Patty, you’re a man. I saw the Wikipedia picture (we’ve all seen the Wikipedia picture). Nothing wrong with that. But when you’re a man and you spend part of your completely dude-centric fantasy novel expounding on What Women Are Really Like, it makes you come across as kind of a sexist tit. Really, it does. It probably seems pretty patronizing to any women reading your book.

 “Good lord, you really don’t know anything about women, do you?” I would ordinarily have bristled at his comment, but Deoch was nothing but good natured. “Think of it. She’s pretty and charming. Men crowd round her like stags in rut.” He made a flippant gesture. “Women are bound to resent it.”

…. Especially when you’re just regurgitating tired old stereotypes. You might want to lay off on doing that. Just an FYI. Just a friendly heads up.

“What options are available to a young, pretty girl with no family? No dowry? No home?”
He began to hold up fingers. “There’s begging and whoring.

Also, stop talking about “whores”. I know Uncle Martin had his characters talking about whores nonstop and everyone loved it for some reason, but you don’t have to copy him.

Deoch explains that Denna has no support network or relatives of any kind and as she’s a woman she has very little opportunities in the world. Which is a bit odd given that women are admitted to the University- are they actually allowed to take up the professions the skills they learn would lead to, or are those jobs men-only? I get the feeling Rothfuss just wanted to have hawt girls for Kvothe to save at wizard school.

Deoch fixed me with a stare. “But what is she to do when some gent gets too familiar? Or gets angry at being denied what he considers bought and paid for? What recourse does she have? No family, no friends, no standing. No choice. None but to give herself over to him, all unwilling….”

…. or just, like, say no? Isn’t that an option?

Remember way back when Kvothe and Denna were talking about Sovoy liking her and I said it seemed like she didn’t believe she had a choice in who she went out with? Yeah. Just a paragraph earlier we have Deoch saying that Denna should be able to accept gifts from men as much as she wants without feeling like she has to sleep with them in return, but that’s totally undermined by the fact that if one of them makes moves on her she apparently has no option other than get out of town or allow herself to be raped.

Also how lame is it that this is the reason for Denna’s mysterious disappearing acts and constant wandering? I was hoping she was on some sort of awesome quest, but apparently not.

“Nevertheless, I thank you,” I said holding up my glass.
He held up his own. “To Dyanae,” he said. “Most lovely.”
“To Denna, full of delight.”
“Young and unbending.”
“Bright and fair.”
“Ever sought, ever alone.”
“So wise and so foolish,” I said. “So merry and so sad.”
“Gods of my fathers,” Deoch said reverently. “Keep her always so: unchanging, past my understanding, and safe from harm.”

Hang on, let me get this thing out of storage:


There we go.

On the way home to wizard school Kvothe is suddenly whacked over the head by the plot.

I was strolling down a poorly lit part of Newhall Lane when something blunt struck me on the back of the head and I was bundled off into a nearby alley, half-senseless.

I know, Kvothe, I’m just as shocked as you are.

The plot turns out to be two burly guys who talk at length about their plan to murder Kvothe in that way you only see when good writers are trying to parody bad writers.

Kvothe drops the bottle of beer he’s holding and uses sympathy to…. make it go on fire, somehow. Once again, I still don’t understand how any of this is supposed to work. Kvothe runs only to find himself at a dead end.

Luckily he’s carrying some pieces of a metal called “bassal” that burns with an “intense, white hot flame” when exposed to a high enough temperature. So it’s magnesium, basically. Kvothe magics the bassal shavings using magic, causing them to ignite.

“Tarn?” The man’s voice was high and frightened. “I swear Tarn, I’m blind. The kid called down lightning on me.”

This is going to another one of those myth-making moments again, isn’t it?

Something just occurred to me, why does everyone piss themselves in wonder every time Kvothe does something the least bit creative with sympathy? Surely sympathy wizards would be doing things like this all the time?

To shake the two assassins off his tail Kvothe attaches some his hairs with leaves and scatters them to the wind in different directions, which is the first legitimately impressive thing Kvothe has thought of so far. While watching the leaves dance Kvothe has a sudden acid flashback:

The more I watched it, the less chaotic it seemed. In fact, I began to sense a greater underlying pattern to the way the wind moved through the courtyard. It only looked chaotic because it was vastly, marvelously complex. What’s more, it seemed to be always changing. It was a pattern made of changing patterns. It was—


Elodin appears before Kvothe can unlock his true power.

“Long ago,” Elodin said conversationally, not taking his eyes from the courtyard below. “When folk spoke differently, this used to be called the Quoyan Hayel. Later they called it the Questioning Hall, and students made a game of writing questions on slips of paper and letting them blow about. Rumor had it you could divine your answer by which way the paper left the square.”

Quoyan Hayel = Questioning Hall, do you see. Even though when other languages are anglicized (like a lot of the place names where I live) they tend to just be phonetically simplified versions of the original rather than the closest English/ Kvothish equivalent. So Dubh Linn becomes Dublin and not, I don’t know, Dove Line or something. See also Nippon = Japan or any of the other Asian countries that go by mangled versions of their original names in English speaking countries.

Also “Quoyan Hayel” sounds nothing like any of the other fantasy languages people have been speaking in this area.

“It was all a mistake though. Bad translation. They thought Quoyan was an early root of quetentan: question. But it isn’t. Quoyan means ‘wind.’This is rightly named ‘the House of the Wind.’

That makes even less fuck it never mind, let’s just get on with this.

Kvothe ponder over what to do about nearly getting killed. He considers going to the Masters but apparently using sympathy on someone even in self defense would count as malfeasance for some reason.

Kvothe discovers a note wedged into his bedroom window that turns out to be from Denna, telling him to meet her some time before the 23rd for lunch and that she had met an interesting “fellow”. It’s a moot point anyway as it’s now past the 23rd. Why she couldn’t just tell him this in person is beyond me.

—Please rest assured that I did not notice the disgraceful condition of your bed linens, and did not judge your character thereby.

Okay that was actually pretty funny.

In an effort to stop the assassins from tracking him by his blood (one of them cut him with a knife) he stuffs his shirt into a wine bottle and throws it in the river. Surely they still track him by all the blood still in his body…?

So stuff is happening at last! It’s bogged down with awful gender bullshit and more padding than an entire sheep farm but it’s still worth it, right? Right?


25 thoughts on “let’s read the name of the wind ch.69

  1. Guest

    Okay, 57, dude. Maybe Mola and Marie doesn’t want to bone, but Fela, and Devi do at one point. And I’d like to know who Manet is. Also, tell me some examples of female awesomeness that you can describe not just told in the book. Like Kvothe told them about in detail.
    Also, Kvothe’s characterization doesn’t follow through completely. No, stupid, nobody blames him, his characterization just doesn’t follow through. Wouldn’t he be awkward around more then just girls? With that little amount of interaction? Sure, it would take a lot longer for him to warm up to girls vs boys, but still. You can’t have cake and eat it too.

  2. 57

    It’s entirely possible that you’re all completely ignorant twits who just believe what you want to believe and are just trying to see problems where none exist. Shall I poke holes in your “Pat Rothfuss is a misogynistic dog because in the world he created, ONE female character we don’t fully understand has a rough go”.
    First off, the one who suggested Auri was odd in offering Mola an apple is completely brainless, or not trying very hard. Auri is the strangest character in that we know she isn’t quite right in the head somehow. Onto the hole poking. (You know, what several of you apparently do to condoms).
    Mola is a genius medical student; woman. Fela the first person we truly watch actually master a Name; woman. Devi, the one who beat Kvothe outright in a battle of Sympathy; woman. Women are more revered and respected in the ENTIRE Adem culture, whereupon Kvothe gets his ass kicked soundly by several females, including a 9-year-old girl. Then there’s Marie, the fiddle player who soundly punched a man in the throat for referring to her as “that mouthy fiddler bitch”. Hespe, the female mercenary that was pretty much soundly badass all around…

    1. chackludwig

      Wasn’t Marie the redhead whom Kvothe got to bed later? You know why I can’t tell? Because all women except Hespe and Auri are virtually interchangable! (Hespe’s my bro tho, what’s she even doing in this book?) For your own sake, try to tell us what character traits these other females have, without mentioning their job or relation to men/Kvothe. Do it. You twit.

      1. 57

        No, Marie lives in IMRE and went on a date with Manet. Losine is a female whose name is largely useless, just like the fiddler MAN who works at her inn.

        Fela liked Kvothe for a while, but she is with his friend. Fela is routinely described as one of the more intelligent women around and I love reading about her; she’s genuinely fun.

        Mola is a little more tough than the average girl, and obviously way brighter since she’s the only one in the book mentioned to have reached El’the. At NO POINT is it even implied that she wants a relationship with Kvothe.

        Think about how many male characters in this book are largely useless and interchangeable then, since there are far more of them. I left out Lady Lackless on purpose, but since your obviously longing for a reason to be a dickhead who hates something “just cuz”,I figured I’d throw her in the mix.

      2. chackludwig

        And the male characters being interchangably bland somehow proves that this is high literature? You just shot yourself in the foot, good person.

    2. ronanwills Post author

      “Mola is a genius medical student”

      And she wants to bone Kvothe

      “Fela the first person we truly watch actually master a Name”

      And she wants to bone Kvothe

      “Devi, the one who beat Kvothe outright in a battle of Sympathy”

      And she wants to bone Kvothe (for information, no less)

      “Women are more revered and respected in the ENTIRE Adem culture”

      And from what I’ve heard a lot of them end up boning Kvothe

      “Then there’s Marie, the fiddle player who soundly punched a man in the throat for referring to her as “that mouthy fiddler bitch””

      Does she bone Kvothe?

      It’s a problem when all of the strong, independent women want to bone Kvothe even though he states repeatedly that he’s terrible at interacting with them. There’s a name for an awkward, geeky male character who has scads of attractive women throwing themselves at him for no identifiable reason- pathetic wish fulfillment.

      1. 57

        1: False. At no point is it even remotely implied that Mola has any feelings for Kvothe outside of genuine friendship.

        2: So what if she did? It was never acted upon and she is in love with his friend, a moment that Kvothe later recalls as being spectacular to watch her falling in love with him, even in that brief moment.

        3: They’ve never even kissed, and she offered it in a last ditch effort to try and pry information out of him; this was a plot device to show that she is extremely driven to get into the archives and chances are, this will show up in book 3. It also shows that she’s her own damn woman and can do what (or who) she wants. Note she says “…and I’ll take you to bed”. In charge.

        4: As sex is revered differently in the Adem culture, there are plenty of them boning eachother a lot more than the two that boned Kvothe, so who fucking cares.

        5: Nope. She does, however, go on a date with Manet.

        Lady Lackless, his unknowing aunt, hates him to death. Also, Kvothe was only awkward with women in the first book, and can you blame him? He never even saw another girl his age until Denna after his parents slaughter, then he lived feral on the streets for years, finally ending up at the university. You’ve never even THOUGHT of relationships if you’re Kvothe at this point. When he travels around, he does a lot of living and breaks out of his shell. Women aren’t some scary creature to him anymore.

  3. lampwick

    This is a reply to q____q — I can’t figure out how get this under the right comment. Anyway, there’s a scene in the second book where Kvothe eavesdrops on Denna giving advice to some other woman. (I, um, sold my copy, so I can’t give the exact chapter.) It really does read to me like someone had just told Rothfuss about the Bechdel test and he immediately ran out and wrote this chapter, but then I may just be overly cynical.

    1. Reveen

      Does it count as passing the Bechdel test if it involves the male POV character creepily spying on them?

      I mean, theoretically you can pass the Bechdel test with a story about Norman Bates. Wouldn’t that run contrary to the spirit of the whole thing?

      Though I guess the fact that he actively sought to correct gender bias, however poorly, means he isn’t a complete blockhead.

  4. Ruth

    Literally nothing frustrates me more than when men insist women all hate each other. It’s incredibly demeaning, and patently untrue to anyone with half a brain. It goes without saying that these books don’t have a hope in hell of passing the Bechdel test, and Rothfuss being a feminist is such a joke I won’t even go there.

    Talking of GRR Martin, though, there was actually a joke in the last GoT episode concerning this very topic. A bowman dude pretty much tells Arya that the reason she hates Melisandre is because she’s a woman. I know that the show isn’t agreeing with this statement, but it was still unbelievably annoying. (Not annoying to get me to stop watching though.)

    And to be fair to Martin, at least he tries to create nuanced, empowered female characters. (Arya, Brienne, Mary Sue Targaryen.) I mean, he massively fails most of the time, but he tries. Rothfuss’s female characters are all EXACTLY the same apart from hair style and profession. Seriously, try and list their distinguishing characteristics, other than “this one is slightly more mysterious” or “this one is slightly more quirky-elf-Lolita.”

    1. magpiewhotypes

      I think the problem goes beyond gender and is more a problem of the narrator’s solipsism–I can’t remember there being a male with any distinguishing characteristics, either, unless you count Ambrose as Designated Antagonist.

    2. Kate M

      Game of Thrones the show is a lot worse than the books with regards to female characters. With Catelyn Stark GRRM identified a problematic trope- that mothers of boy kings are often killed off or simply absent- and decided to try to subvert it by making her the point of view character for her son’s story. He loosely modeled her on Eleanor of Aquitaine, making her a sound political thinker and strategist. The show completely missed the point and relegated her to a background character in her son’s story, giving most of her good ideas to other characters. (Sorry, I start ranting about the hit job the show did on Catelyn at the drop of a hat. It’s that irritating.)

      It’s not just that Rothfuss writes blandly interchangeable characters in general, but that there’s no attempt to subvert problematic tropes. Just because both male and female characters are indistinguishable doesn’t mean the female characters aren’t more problematic. If they’re indistinguishable because they all fall into the same trope (like being young and described in infantilizing terms) then that’s a specific gender representation problem, not just a poor writing problem. There are also less female characters overall and therefore less opportunities for even slight differences. (Is there an older woman character in a position of authority or respect? I can’t remember any.)

      1. Reveen

        Well, women hating women aside I’m glad to see we haven’t seen any out and out misogyny from Rothfuss (yet) just a mixture of naivety, overdudeliness, and strange attempts to invoke fairy-tale/chivalric romance esque archetypes with the women. Rothfuss seems to have odd ideas about women and life in general and I’m tempted to hit up the book at the library to see if it weirds me out the same way.

        Martin certainly does a better job at nuance with women. But he tends to shoot himself in the foot by writing with his dick (more on that in WMF) and doubling down on the dignity loss. I’m still pretty annoyed by his denial of characterization of the x-chromosomed Mormonts and his tendency to turn Brienne into a sideshow.

        Also, Wise Mans Fear is where this all picks up. Because by how I understand it things actually happen in that book. Not good things, but I think there’s less puttering about.

      2. braak

        Because by how I understand it things actually happen in that book. Not good things, but I think there’s less puttering about.

        That was not my experience with Wise Man’s Fear. He spends most of the book on Sabbatical from wizard school, learning kung fu and sexomancy.

    3. lampwick

      There’s a scene in the second book that seems designed to pass the Bechdel test, so obviously so that I can’t help thinking someone described the test to Rothfuss and he decided to write something in response.

    4. katz

      Believe it or not, it actually does pass: Auri offers Mola an apple.

      All his female characters really do read like he’s never met a woman in his life, don’t they?

      1. ronanwills Post author

        The women in this book are so obviously defined by their relationship to Kvothe, the idea of any of them actually interacting with each other is kind of surreal.

  5. Reveen

    Oy vey.

    Y’know what, I get it. I get why dudely writers like Rothfuss want to stick to “historical” gender norms and perceived traits, I mean. That’s what their Generalissimo Martin does (badly), they want to present a world that’s “real” and “raw” too. And maybe they want to try (and fail) at challenging gender roles outright.

    But why is it all these fantasy guys write like medieval-early modern gender roles were like some kind of unassailable monolith that most women will just adhere to without deviation? It seems like they’ve got more rigid ideas about gender than actual medieval people.

    It’s just really, really weird to me. Where are the Joan of Arcs and the Calamity Janes? This isn’t stuff nerds have to dig for, they are prominent archetypes of pop culture.

    1. welltemperedwriter

      I think your first paragraph explains it handily–they haven’t read history, they’ve just read Martin. And maybe watched Monty Python and the Holy Grail without ever quite realizing how it skewers popular perceptions of the period.

  6. katz

    And he’s a feminist, guys!

    If he advised a feminist group, which was presumably mostly women, then however little he listened, he must have at least seen women, at least one of whom was probably hawt, hanging out together in a friendly manner. Hell, if he’s ever been outside in his life he must have seen a hawt woman hanging out with girlfriends somewhere, sometime…right? But apparently he thinks that pretty girls never have friends?

  7. braak

    I would ordinarily have bristled at his comment [that I know nothing about women, like I have been saying every fourth paragraph in this book].

    I don’t understand why Denna has no friends, if Deoch — the burly, wealthy owner of a music theater — thinks of her as his littlest sister? I mean, he acts like he had a crush on her, but seems pretty cool about the idea that she shouldn’t have to sleep with him if she doesn’t want to. He can’t spot her a room and some meals? Let her play some music (since she is a well-known musical genius)? At least let her work there or something?


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