let’s read the name of the wind ch. 72

Wind

CHAPTER SEVENTY-TWO
Borrorill

Denna and Kvothe make their escape from the inn, deflecting the barman who tries to stop them leaving before Denna can be questioned about what happened at the wedding. Kvothe ends up having to pay him off.

I took five jots from my purse and scattered them onto the bar. “Knackers profit from a plague,” I said scathingly, and left.

…. Oh snap, I guess? I have no idea what that means.

(I realize this isn’t on purpose but “knacker” is also a derogatory term for travelers here. Along with the tinker who is a tinker from the previous chapter this is starting to get kind of uncomfortable)

“They were kind enough at first,” Denna admitted, gesturing with her bandaged arm. “But this old woman kept checking in on me.”

Yeah, how dare they be concerned for your welfare. Total assholes.

This ends up being a flimsy excuse to not explain what’s going on yet- Kvothe is about to start asking questions until she complains about everyone else badgering her so instead he just follows her back toward the farm where the incident occurred to see if her stuff is there. Kvothe tells her he was heading in the same direction but she doesn’t remark on this or ask him what he’s even doing there because I guess that would make too much sense.

I had planned on telling whatever lies were necessary to get the information I wanted from the witness. Denna complicated things. I didn’t want to lie to her, but at the same time I couldn’t risk telling her too much. The last thing I wanted to do was convince her I was crazy with wild stories of the Chandrian. . . .

Okay, how about this- “my parents were murdered three years ago and I heard that there was a massacre under similar circumstances here”. That’s not even a lie.

Denna tells Kvothe that she’s close to securing a patron in Imre, but the guy’s a bit of a weirdo.

We never meet in the same place twice, and never in public. Sometimes he’ll set up a meeting and never even show up for it

Yeah, that doesn’t sound dodgy at all. She also suspects he’s using a false name.

Denna staggered as a rock shifted under her foot. I grabbed for her, and she caught hold of my arm and shoulder before she fell. For a moment we were pressed against each other, and I was very aware of her body against mine as she took a moment to balance herself.

Then Denna turns and punches Kvothe, a comically over-sized vein erupting on her forehead. Kvothe flies into the air and vanishes in a point of light, an audible “ding” sound playing over

Oh sorry, I thought I was reading something else there for a second.

she kept her hand resting lightly on my arm. I moved slowly, as if a wild bird had landed there and I was desperately trying to avoid startling it into flight.

Remember, men are mighty towering oaks and women are flighty, delicate creatures.

It turns out Denna’s mystery patron invited her to the wedding that got Chandrianed. So super-sketchy paranoid dude strings her along for weeks with promises of money then invites her to a rural area where a ton of people get killed in a violent massacre. Not suspicious at all, nope.

There’s a sort-of-funny-sort-of-dumb scene where they come up with nicknames for the mystery patron during which a leaf blows into Kvothe’s mouth (just work with me here).

Denna thought this was particularly funny. “Fine,” I said, as I fished the leaf out of my mouth. It was yellow, shaped like a spearhead. “The wind has decided for us. Master Ash.”
“Are you sure it isn’t Master Elm?” she asked, eyeing the leaf. “It’s a common mistake.”

I guess the willow lumber conspiracy stopped paying off Rothfuss by this point.

Denna took a step away from me, muttering and rubbing at her eyes. The part of my arm where her hand had rested suddenly felt very cold.

Denna tells Kvothe that Mystery Man pulled her away from the wedding to ask her a bunch of detailed questions about the people there before the fire started, which seriously seems like it should be setting off alarm bells.

Kvothe tells Denna some story about being sent to investigate the fire by the University but she sees through it immediately.

“You are so full of horseshit,” she said matter-of-factly.

I’ve been waiting for someone to say this to Kvothe for the entire book.

There’s some “charming” banter between them and Denna points out that Kvothe always speaks in seven words or…… something. I’m not really sure what she’s talking about. Eventually it turns out that the fire at the wedding was blue, which means it’s Chandrian Time. Denna claims she got injured by running head-first into a tree, but Kvothe with his expert medical knowledge recognizes that this is obviously not the case. She came back to find Mystery Man but there were no reports of an extra body being found.

Kvothe looks around the burnt out farm house where the wedding was taking place and discovers that the wood frame is partially rotten even though the owners were wealthy.

As I stood there, it occurred to me how foolish the hope was. What had I hoped to find? A footprint? A scrap of cloth from someone’s cloak? Some crumpled note with a vital piece of information conveniently written out for me to find? That sort of thing only happened in stories.

Yes, Rothfuss, you’re very clever. We’re all so impressed. No really, just keep pushing your head further up there, we’ll wait.

Kvothe discovers that a water pump has rusted through and remembers that metal components of a wagon in his troupe had been similarly rusted the night his parents were killed. Hey, how about that! It’s almost like this is a real story and not just a random collection of bullshit.

Anyway, Kvothe finally realizes that the Chandrian were indeed at the house the previous night. And it only took five pages longer than it needed to! I would have expected nothing less from Patrick “why use one word when you can use five hundred” Rothfuss.

Kvothe mentions some waffle about Denna being like a faeling you look for as a child but never expect to find, and I’m going to quote some of the ensuing dialogue  to demonstrate how truly awful the romantic sub-plot in this book is:

“You’re both. Hidden, valuable, much sought and seldom found.”

[…]

“There’s much of the fae in you as well.”

[…]

“You’re never where I look for you, then you appear all unexpected. Like a rainbow.”

You can just tell reading this that Kvothe is a naive fifteen year old with no experience with women, can’t you?

Kvothe and Denna talk (and talk, and talk, and then talk some more, for pages and pages on end) and eventually decide to return to the place where Denna last saw Mystery Man. They don’t find anything except

mushrooms, acorns, mosquitoes, and raccoon scat cleverly concealed by pine needles.

Raccoons, huh? Raccoons are native to North America, which is interesting considering the politics, geography and architecture of Kvotheland are clearly cribbed off of Europe circa Whenever The Fuck.

Kvothe and Denna go to a river to get some water and there’s a lot of painfully self-aware guff about how “if this was a fantasy story ~*wink wink*~ we’d probably take our clothes off and get into some sort of romantic mishap”. Denna sings an apparently quite racy song for Kvothe.

I will not repeat it here, as she sang it to me, not to you. And since this is not the story of two young lovers meeting by the river, it has no particular place here, and I will keep it to myself.

If this isn’t a story of two young lovers meeting by the river, why did you bother to include a scene where two young lovers meet by the river? Also if you’re concerned about excluding material that has no place in the story you could start with the last seven hundred pages or so.

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12 thoughts on “let’s read the name of the wind ch. 72

  1. Tim

    Eh, knacker doesn’t really have that connotation in most English-speaking countries. It’s a clumsy comparison, though, since knackers dealt with dead animals and when we think of a plague we usually think of it affecting people. I’m not sure why he didn’t just use the more normal example of gravediggers or undertakers.

    Reply
  2. dollsgarden

    … even I know how, let’s call it unfortunate, the choice of the word “knacker” is. And I’m German. Oh gosh, Patrick Rothfuss (whose surname, on an amusing side note, can be directly translated from German to “red foot”). Oh gosh.

    Reply
  3. Bryan

    Stop analyzing the story and read it for what it is: entertainment.

    Jesus people. If you’re gonna be this reality-needy, go read the fucking news.

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      Buddy, you’re perfectly entitled to switch your brain off and mindlessly consume what you read but not everyone is comfortable with willful anti-intellectualism.

      (also these books utterly fail at being entertainment as well)

      Reply
  4. Reveen

    First faeries, then fires, then waterfalls of sparks pouring of of whatzit, now rainbows. I’m pretty sure the only proper response to these is “What did you just say about me, you fucking weirdo?”, and then she clocks him.

    Jesus, you’d think an assassination attempt and a wedding massacre would be the signal for things to start HAPPENING.

    Reply
    1. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

      I know and why the hell does he focus on details like hidden raccoon shit? Unless it turns out the Chandrian are really raccoons then why the hell would you include that? Its like anti-foreshadowing, he only includes information that will not advance the story or provide any hints.

      Reply
  5. braak

    “A footprint? A scrap of cloth from someone’s cloak? Some crumpled note with a vital piece of information conveniently written out for me to find? That sort of thing only happened in stories.”

    Wait a minute. What stories? Like, detective stories? Detective stories in Olde Timey Dayes Europe? Is he talking about Thomas Mallory’s The Big Chill? The early Tertullian version of A Study in Scarlet? King Arthur and the Case of the Weird Fucking Footprints?

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      King Arthur and The Case of the Weird Fucking Footprints truly is the greatest entry in the canon of English literature.

      Yeah, that’s the problem with a lot of “oh ho ho do you SEE how I’m subverting your genre expectations”- frequently the author is reacting to pop-cultural stereotypes of the genre that don’t reflect reality or tropes that have already been out of use for decades.

      It’s particularly inane here because Rothfuss is writing a deconstruction of the fantasy genre in an environment where deconstructions of the fantasy genre are arguably more common now than fantasy novels played straight.

      Reply
    2. lampwick

      Ohhh — can anyone play this game? Who really killed the Green Knight? And what’s with the wife of Bath and all those husbands — is she some kind of serial killer?

      Reply

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