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
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?