let’s read the name of the wind ch. 73-76

Wind

CHAPTER SEVENTY-THREE

Pegs

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.

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.

$(KGrHqZHJBQE7))9WB09BO-gUSvZs!~~60_3

^ Artist’s depiction of Kvothe and Denna camping. I don’t know where the dog came from.

CHAPTER SEVENTY-FOUR
Waystone

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?

CHAPTER SEVENTY-FIVE
Interlude—Obedience

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.

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19 thoughts on “let’s read the name of the wind ch. 73-76

  1. sushisneeze

    THE TICKETS ARE NOW DIAMONDS.

    I can’t WAIT until you get to The Wise Man’s Fear. Ahahahahaohgod.

    Reply
  2. zephyrean

    “…before I start The Wise Man’s Fear.”

    It’s worse, trust me, and I *enjoyed* TNotW. Didn’t like Kvothfuss being stuck in magic school and not doing anything interesting? It gets worse the farther he gets away from it. Did you complain about his permanent money problems? He resolves them via a scheme that CANNOT EVER WORK, so immensely stupid that my head physically hurt from reading about it (think “missing dollar riddle”). Were you annoyed by his informed shyness around women? TWMF will give you a new appreciation for the Star Wars prequels.

    Reply
  3. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

    I am baffled by how people can possibly find this style or writing interesting, much less the “best thing since Tolkien” (which in itself should be the most damning of faint praise) and the only conclusion I can come to is that all of this over descriptive banal focused writing that you also see in works like The Wheel of Time can only succeed because of how effectively it gets people to stop thinking. All the the over writing just gets people to shut down their brains like a summer blockbuster and just go into autopilot. Unlike film though the writer has to write a lot of details to simulate the effect that wall to wall non stop effects have on the brain. Once the brain is in safe mode the cozy writing leaves no room for independent thought to intrude as it guide the reader along from one plot point to another. That Rothfuss has managed to achieve this in a story where nothing happens instead of too many things happening at once is frightening and admirable, like the inexplicable success of Dan Brown.

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      You know, I think you’re on to something here. It’s occurred to me that my reaction to this book is being coloured by the fact that I’m reading it in a fairly unusual way, stopping to analyze every paragraph and line of dialogue I come across. A fairer way to assess the book would probably be to read it through normally and then go back for the analysis. Not that I’m actually going to do that of course, once is just about all I can handle.

      If I was just plowing through the story the lack of stuff happening might be a lot less noticeable.

      Reply
      1. braak

        Yeah, that could be; I remember plowing through it when I read it, and I tend to absorb long blocks of description pretty quickly (or just skip over them if they get too boring). If a lot of people are doing that, it may be why they aren’t disturbed by the fact that a 700-page book has about three or four things happen in it; I skipped about half of it, so really it just felt like a 300-page book.

        Reply
      2. katz

        The writing also comes across much better when you’re reading it quickly. It flows decently and all the silly analogies sound like they should mean something; if you don’t stop to actually analyze it, you may be left with the impression that it sounds nice without ever going “wait, what the hell is ‘the sound of a flower being cut’ supposed to mean?”

        Reply
      3. Gav

        Hard to say. I went into the novel expecting to like it, and plowed right through it, and I almost gave up on it about halfway through because nothing was happening.

        I kept going, because I’d had the thing highly recommended. I think that there’s something about the writing that hits a lot of folks’ blind spots, and then there’s those of us who just don’t get it. Maybe the sentence by sentence stuff you’re pointing out would whizz by, but I think you’d still feel like Kvothe’s a Mary Sue, nothing happens, etc.

        Reply
  4. RSGardner

    I was lolling so hard when Kvothe felt it appropriate to switch dialects. (What was it, Irish/Scottish / I taw a puddy tat?) Actually, a mate and I recently had a night out in Newcastle, and he thought it would be appropriate to start conversing in a thick Geordie accent to match the “locals”. He got punched in the face, and he probably deserved it.

    Equally, I find it rather frustrating how many times Rothfuss/Kvothe feels the need to tell us that we don’t understand something, that we don’t realise something, that we can’t possibly understand how he feels. I recall insisting something similar when I was an angsty 13 yr old shithead giving my parents hell.

    Reply
  5. katz

    Spoiler: it’s Haliax’s favourite Daft Punk t-shirt, he really wants it back.

    Hey! 90’s music references are MY territory!

    The bit where Kvothe thinks Chronicler won’t believe about the dragon is one of the oddest exchanges in a book full of odd exchanges. Chronicler literally wrote the book on dragons. Kvothe and he discuss it earlier. So now he’s going “Why don’t you believe that I saw an animal that you know exists because you’ve studied it?”

    The nomenclature is obnoxious as well. They were calling it a “draccus” earlier, because that’s what the species is called, but right here, Kvothe switches to calling it a “dragon.” And then back to “draccus” for the rest of the sequence. And it’s called the “common draccus.” How in the nine hells can an animal rare enough to be presumed mythical also merit the name “common?”

    Reply
    1. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

      Probably because Rothfuss doesn’t think anything out, wait that isn’t right it must be some kind of deconstruction. This book does seem like it was an attempt at a sort of antifantasy where nothing fantastical happens and nothing provides the protagonist any challenge because he is either so powerful that nothing can stop him or because any challenges he faces are inconsequential and unimportant.

      Reply
      1. ronanwills Post author

        “This book does seem like it was an attempt at a sort of antifantasy where nothing happens”

        I adjusted this sentence to more accurately reflect the book

        Reply
      2. Reveen

        This shit baffles the mind, how do so many people who claim to be storytellers fail to include Things That Happen? That’s kind of a crucial element of a story, is it not?

        I mean, could you see some old dude at a campfire in the bronze age rambling about some dude’s tedious conversations about flowers and clumsy come ones, and then he makes some smart-ass meta aside his buddies tie him up and leave him for the wolves.

        We had this concept down before we figured out the wheel, it’s not like this is some neat “trade secret” that you need to learn in a creative writing class for god’s sake.

        Reply
      3. sonamib

        Apparently deconstructing fantasy means telling no story at all. Ha, you silly readers, you think books are supposed to be interesting? Well, mine is just as exciting as the heat death of the universe, is your mind blown now?

        Reply
  6. braak

    Ugh, they’ve got the suits all wrong. Clubs are fire, THOSE should be the lamps. Diamonds are wealth and materiality, they should be those silver fucking talents Kvothe can never get his hands on.

    Reply
    1. braak

      Of course, that would ALSO be better book than this: Kvothe leaves home with the four weapons — a sword, a lute, a lamp, and a magic coin — and then goes on ADVENTURES.

      (At ICP University.)

      Reply
  7. sonamib

    Kvothe feels like he’s speaking to a modern audience, not to some dudes in his fantasy Renaissance/Industrial Revolution/whatever that time setting is. I mean “most people don’t know how dangerous wild boars are” makes sense when most people live in cities, not when 90% of the population lives in a rural area. Same thing with the “smart” subversions of a detective story last time : Kvothfuss is just bragging to his 21st century readers about his total awesomeness at writing stories.

    The Chandrian burial ground stuff made me think of this.

    Reply

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