Denna and Kvothe finish their mid-mystery lunch and decide to leave the river and
faff about investigate some more. Suddenly! Something approaches through the trees.
Brush rustling, the sharp snap of a dry pine branch. As the noises got louder, I could pick out the sound of something big breathing heavily. Then a low, animal grunt.
Kvothe suspects it’s a wild bore.
Most people don’t realize how dangerous wild boars are, especially in the fall, when the males are fighting for dominance.
Why don’t most people know how dangerous bores are? Most of the population seems to live in a rural setting, if the place has bores coming out the ass you’d think they’d be common knowledge. Parents would be like, hey. Stay away from the bores. They’re dangerous.
Kvothe is all like “I’m going to be the hero and save Denna” but it turns out to just be a pig covered in mud. Denna says that he’s like a wolf or whatever, but he’s holding his knife the wrong way, and zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Isn’t this the part of most books where we’d be getting toward the climax? Shouldn’t something be happening right now?
“Loo pegs!” A voice came through the trees accompanied by the dull clank of a bell. “Peg peg peg … ”
The swineherd eyed us suspiciously. “Hulloo!” he shouted. “Dain’t be afeerd. Tae wain’t baet.”
“Oi taut Oi heard sommat daen tae water aways,”
What the fuck kind of accent is that supposed to be, and why does he sound totally different from everyone else in the area?
Even in small rural towns like Trebon, folk didn’t have much of an accent these days.
…. Why not? People in different regions have accents today, when there’s a lot more movement and intermingling, surely there’d be even more regional accents in this world.
Here’s what I think happened: Rothfuss decided to write this annoying character with his twee fucking accent then thought “wait why does no one else talk like they’re missing half a jaw?” and pulled this bit of nonsensical world building out of his ass to explain it.
The swineheard asks them what they’re doing there.
“At twere meh coosin,” I said, making a nod toward Denna. “Shae dae have a loovlie voice far scirlin, dain’t shae?” I held out my hand. “Oi’m greet glad tae meet ye, sar. Y’clep me Kowthe.”
Oh fuck me, this is so stupid. How does Kvothe even know how to talk like this?
I’m not going to keep quoting this bullshit, but just keep in mind that every bit of this dude’s dialogue is written this way, as is Kvothe’s when he responds. Also Denna doesn’t speak Stupid Author so she has to pretend to be shy and bashful during the entire conversation, presumably while Rothfuss wanks himself into a coma.
Kvothe grills the farmer guy about the farm the massacre occurred at.
“Mauthens are a right lot o’ bastards, an’ no better than they should be.” He shook his head again. “I keep off Borrorill cause Oi’ve got one lick o’ good sense me mum beat into me. Mauthen dain’t even have that.”
It wasn’t until I heard Schiem say the name of the place in his thick accent that I heard it properly. It wasn’t borro-rill. It had nothing to do with a rill. It was barrow-hill.
Then why did everyone else call it Borrorill even though they don’t speak accent-ese?
The guy who built the house found bones and the structures of ancient tombs while digging the foundations and unwisely decided to keep going. So yes, we’re really getting into “built on an Indian burial ground” territory.
The house owner, Mauthen, also found some sort of treasure in the tomb that he’s been keeping a secret for a long time. Spoiler: it’s Haliax’s favourite Daft Punk t-shirt, he really wants it back.
This cast everything in a new light. I needed to get back up to the farm and look at things again.
Hey remember how Denna and Kvothe were wandering around in front of the farm house for ages and ages but didn’t go inside for no real reason? Remember? Remember that? Because I sure do.
Farmer guy tells them he’s also seen blue fire up in the hills to the north and that it’s common knowledge there’s something strange up that direction. Then he mercifully leaves so we don’t have to listen to him any more.
Denna has a headache so Kvothe gives her some bark to chew (no mention of whether it’s willow bark). It tastes bitter.
“Isn’t that the way of the world?” she said. “We want the sweet things, but we need the unpleasant ones.”
Unless you don’t need the unpleasant ones. Sometimes unpleasant things are just unpleasant. Getting punched in the stomach or thrown head-first down a well probably doesn’t help you grow as a person.
They go to take another look at the farm house. But Denna is worried the house might collapse or something.
“Realize that if you attempt to go inside the house I might be forced to physically restrain you.”
Just….. fucking……get on with it.
This reminds me of one of those old adventure games where you figure out exactly what it is you have to do but the game won’t let you do it until you’ve completed some arbitrary list of objectives first. Except in those games you can actually do stuff to make the story advance, whereas here we just have to sit and wait until Rothfuss decides to stop dicking around.
“Look at the house,” I said. “Now look at the bluff that’s sticking out of the trees behind it.”
Look at the house. Now back at the bluff. Now back to the house, now back to the bluff. Sadly, the house is not made out of willow switches. But if you start using Rothfuss brand Willow Varnish, it could smell like it is. Look down, now look up. Where are you? You’re in wizard school. Look at this barrow, it has a plot Macguffin in it. Look again. The plot Macguffin is now a silver talent. Anything is possible when your wizard school smells like Rothfuss brand Willow Varnish.
I’m in a shitty fantasy novel.
I walked closer to the farmhouse. “Besides, you don’t use stones to build barrows
You sure dude? Because there are barrows like a half hour drive from my house and they totally have stones in them. There are barrows near me that are literally made out of nothing but stone.
Even if you did, you wouldn’t use quarried, finished stone like this.
I’m starting to suspect you’re not really a barrowologist at all.
Kvothe concludes that the “barrow” is actually a buried hill fort because it was built to last, even though the entire purpose of barrows is that they were built to last.
Instead of just going into the house and getting it over with Kvothe and Denna decide to set up camp and waste time some more.
^ Artist’s depiction of Kvothe and Denna camping. I don’t know where the dog came from.
At the top of the hill they’ve chosen to set up camp on Kvothe and Denna find Stonehenge.
The only thing on the top of the hill was a handful of greystones. Three of the massive stones were stacked together to form a huge arch, like a massive doorway. The other two lay on their sides, as if lounging in the thick grass.
I mean, waystones. Remember waystones? Good times.
I set my travelsack on the leeward side of one of the greystones and the two of us began to set up camp. We each went about our business as if we’d done this a hundred times before.
You spent six months in the wilderness, you have done this a hundred times before.
While eating dinner they see flickers of blue fire in the distance and race off to investigate it!
“I can’t see any landmarks in this dark, but in the morning this will show us what direction it was in.”
No? Okay then.
I’m wondering what Kvothe is actually planning on doing if the Chandrian are there. There’s seven(?) of them and he’s completely unarmed, and at least one of them is immortal.
They settle down to sleep and it turns out Denna has mysterious dreams that keep her up at night. If this is leading into a rape-as-backstory plot I’m going to hang Rothfuss off the nearest bridge by his nipples.
“It’s whatever Mauthen found while he was digging up the old hill fort, looking for stones,” I said. “He dug something out of the ruins and gossiped about it for months. The Chandrian heard and showed up to steal it.”
Okay, yes, we all figured that out the instant the swine heard mentioned it.
Denna frowned. “Doesn’t hold together. If all they wanted was the item, they could have waited until after the wedding and just killed the newly weds. Much easier.”
That took some of the wind out of my sails. “You’re right.”
Or they just killed everyone because they’re dicks? They killed Kvothe’s entire troupe even though only his parents knew what his Dad had discovered.
Kvothe actually does figure this out a second later once Denna suggests it, but it still feels idiotic that it takes him that long.
Denna sleeps for awhile with Kvothe keeping watch, but then wakes up from a mystery-dream and lets Kvothe sleep. She wakes him up some time in the night after hearing a noise near their location.
It sounded more like something being dragged up the side of the hill.
That’s actually pretty creepy. The book is making me feel emotions other than rage and apathy, congratulations. Next he hears a large tree branch breaking and a sound like a lion roaring.
Hey, remember how just before Kvothe ran off to Trebon the book mentioned that he had been reading about dragons? Remember?
Oh god the dragon set the wedding on fire, didn’t it? This is all going to turn out to have been pointless, won’t it?
Kvothe and Denna jump onto the waystone arch to get away from it, but Kvothe slips and starts to fall.
Denna caught me. If this were some heroic ballad,
Stop fucking doing that. It’s not clever or original, it’s been done to death, and pointing out when you’re doing it just makes the whole charade more tiresome.
The dragon comes over the hill top and it’s a big black lizard thing. But it doesn’t have wings, so totally original you guys.
Then there was a burst of blue flame.
Yep, the dragon burned down the wedding. Plot progression? What’s that?
Kvothe expects Devan and Bast to not believe he saw a dragon, but they do, so he continues with the story.
To be fair there is one slightly interesting bit in this interlude- the book about dragons that Kvothe had been reading was written by Devan intending to dubunk their existence. Although they’re apparently six feet tall and fifteen feet long so God knows how something that large could go unnoticed, especially if they’re lumbering around farm land.
I started reading the next chapter but the first page is so fucking stupid I have to stop here before I have an aneurysm.
Bonus fun time: acrackedmoon of Requires Only That You Hate fame alerted me on twitter to the existence of this kickstarter project to produce a set of Name of The Wind playing cards, which is currently more than 400% over its goal. The page contains all sorts of materials that may be of interest, such as a video interview with the big P himself where he looks uncannily similar to Saddam Hussein circa 2006 crossed with a wax sculpture of a balding Einstein.
The cards themselves offer a tantalizing glimpse into what the average fan pictures Kvothe looking like (Rupert Grint) and how bland and mundane the imagery associated with this story is so far. The artwork is also frankly not all that impressive, but maybe that’s just me.
Give the interview a watch and see how long you can keep a straight face while the organizer falls over himself to praise Rothfuss. Near the start they mention the “subversive” picture book Rothfuss wrote, which I might take a look at after I’m finished this as a break before I start The Wise Man’s Fear.