Our hero is about to start another term at wizard school, which means it’s admissions time. Remember how much of the first book was taken up with Kvothe worrying about money, and telling us how little money he had, and then getting money, then spending it, then worrying about money again? I’m sure glad that cycle of time wastage is behind me now. I expect it’ll all be high adventure and Chandrian battles from here on out, no more going on and on about
Once the masters set a tuition, it couldn’t be changed. So if my tuition was set too high, I’d be barred from the University until I could pay.
I didn’t see Wilem or Simmon anywhere, so I settled into the nearest line and tried not to think of how little I had in my purse: one talent and three jots.
For the sake of my sanity, from this point on if there’s any more money-angst I’ll point out that it came up but won’t go into detail. If there’s a whole chapter of nothing but that I’m just going to skip it. Let me just say how amazed I am that 700+ pages was apparently not enough time for Rothfuss to resolve this plot point.
Fela was beautiful. The sort of woman you would expect to see in a painting. Not the elaborate, artificial beauty you often see among the nobility, Fela was natural and unselfconscious, with wide eyes and a full mouth that was constantly smiling.
I don’t know why, but this whole “she was *naturally* beautiful!” thing seems to come up a whole lot in fiction, as if we’re supposed to look down on women who use cosmetics or clothes to enhance their looks. Funnily enough, the same standard is rarely applied to men. I think The Hunger Games is the only example I’ve ever seen.
Well, at least she’s not small and delicate and child-like any more.
I could almost hear them wondering why one of the most lovely women in the University would give up her place in line to stand next to me.
It was a fair question. I was curious myself.
Shut the fuck up Kvothe, I swear to God.
Fela announces that Elodin is starting up a class on super-magic and wonder why he wasn’t invited to join it. She also ask about the time he supposedly threw him off the roof of the Crockery, which is odd considering no one else was around to see that. It’s like information spreads through mental osmosis in this world.
I gave an embarrassed chuckle. “That’s a complicated story,” I said, then changed the subject rather clumsily.
In the Name of The Wind Let’s Read I pointed out that Kvothe’s ascension to legend seemed to largely rely on everyone else being gullible or stupid, but we here we see that Kvothe himself is the cause of a lot of the confusion either by deliberately lying or just refusing to tell people what really happened. But there’s no reason for him to act like that except to ensure that people make up rumors about him. When characters act in ways that are only explainable by assuming that they’re deliberately trying to make the plot of the book happen you know you’re in the hands of a poor writer.
After some more talk about how wacky Elodin is Fela and Kvothe get their times for admissions, which are handed out lottery style. Fela asks if Kvothe wants to get lunch but Money Angst so he can’t. Once again he is oblivious to the fact that she wants to jump his wizard’s staff.
Tar and Tin
Kvothe spends a bit of time talking about how his chosen profession is artificing, which involves farming loot from
monsters traders and then using them to craft objects to sell at the auction house to other traders. How much XP points all of this gives is not elaborated on.
This raises the question of exactly why Kvothe is so poor all the time, as he gets free meals and a room at an Inn for playing music in the evenings and has a badge marking him out as an expert musician in case he wants to play in other locations, and he makes money on every doo-dad he creates that the University sells. His only real expenses should be tuition and clothes, and he kept harping on about the injustice of only having two shirts last time so we know he isn’t spending much on that.
Kvothe artifices for a while then heads up to the roof to visit Moon Fae-chan. Joy of joys.
I smiled my best smile of the day. “Hello Auri,” I said. “You smell like a pretty young girl.”
“You smell good” is kind of a weird thing to say to anyone. “You smell like a child” would be creepy even if you were saying it to a literal child. Keep in mind that Auri is a mentally ill woman older than Kvothe and it just makes my flesh crawl.
She grinned. “I have an apple that thinks it is a pear,” she said, holding it up. “And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce.”
Oh my God this character
Such terrible fucking writing
Truth be told, I didn’t even know her real name. Auri was just what I had come to call her, but in my heart I thought of her as my little moon Fae.
Rothfuss, trust me, this is not a line that anyone needed to be reminded of.
The point of this chapter is just to rehash Kvothe’s secret entrance into the Archives, and bring about the downfall of human civilization.
While in the workshop Kvothe gets a tiny drop of Fantasy Liquid on his arm, which we’re told could seep into his skin and eat the calcium from his bones. Stuff like this does actually exist, but we’re told that’s used in presumably magical alchemical designs rather than actual chemistry.
After that Kvothe Needs Money, Money Angst, so they go to the Eolian for music time.
Properly cared for, a voice does nothing but grow sweeter with age and constant use.
Do any singers in the audience want to chime in on this? It sounds kind of implausible to me.
In between explaining how the Eolian works Kvothe claims that he and Ambrose are no longer anime boyfriend-rivals, which is obviously incorrect as anime boyfriend-rivalry is eternal. When the nations of humanity have fallen there will still be spiky-haired youths gazing soulfully at each other with stoic determination among the wastelands.
Manet, an older student who came along to the Eolian, claims that the student’s tuition is only partially determined by the interview; politics and personal grudges among the faculty also go a long way. He estimates that Kvothe’s tuition could be as high as ten talents, which is a problem since he spent most of the money on a new lute and
You know what fuck this, Money Angst Kvothe Needs Money.
Kvothe goes up to play, spotting Denna on the way. She’s with a guy who has dark hair and a “strong jaw”, whatever that means, who is initially disdainful of Kvothe until he spots his talent pipes.
“I am here to win my pipes,” he said, his deep voice filled with certainty. When he spoke, women at the surrounding tables turned to look in his direction with hungry, half-lidded eyes.
He’s a stupid jock who’s no good for Denna, unlike sweet natured sensitive Nice Guys like Kvothe, so of course he’s rude and arrogant for no reason. Denna pretends to lose an earring to have an excuse to spend time with Kvothe, as opposed to just meeting up with him when the other guy isn’t around.
What is the deal with Denna’s arrangement here, anyway? She’s not actually in a romantic relationship with any of the men Kvothe keeps spotting her with, because of course she must remain Kvothe’s pure virginal waifu, so she just acts like there might be a possibility of that happening if they teach her to play musical instruments and give her money? Why? She can already play the lyre and sing, so why not just make an arrangement like Kvothe’s to play for money?
Oh wait that was explained in the first book, some bullshit about how she needs big strong men to protect her or else she’d have to allow herself to be raped or something. Of course the actual reason is so Kvothe can have romantic rivals to smolder at.
I stepped toward her and stood close as she handed me the earring. She smelled faintly of wildflowers. But beneath that she smelled like autumn leaves. Like the dark smell of her own hair, like road dust and the air before a summer storm.
She smelt…. like the smell of her own hair? And wildflowers and autumn leaves and lightning or whatever I don’t even know
I bet Rothfuss has one of those big Wheel of Fortune things in his house full of random words and concepts, and when he needs a metaphor he just puts on his gnome outfit and gives it a spin.
Kvothe’s pals launch into a mostly-nonsensical explanation of how patrons like to take on musicians so their taxes will be lower, during which each of them grin at least five times. I swear, what is it with all of the grinning? Any time anyone does anything in a normal social setting with no imminent threat of death, they grin.
Sim was Aturan nobility, and Wil’s family were wool merchants from Ralien. They thought being poor meant not having enough money to go drinking as often as they liked.
So ask them for some money. If they’ve got that much to spare they shouldn’t have a problem giving you some.
^ A photo of love happening
Kvothe gets on stage and admires his lute for a bit.
The wood was the color of dark coffee, of freshly turned earth. The curve of the bowl was perfect as a woman’s hip.
What does that even mean?
I have heard what poets write about women. They rhyme and rhapsodize and lie. I have watched sailors on the shore stare mutely at the slow-rolling swell of the sea. I have watched old soldiers with hearts like leather grow teary-eyed at their king’s colors stretched against the wind.
Listen to me: these men know nothing of love.
Oh my God shut uuuuuuuuuuuuuup
Kvothe gets on stage and totally rocks the fuck out playing a simple folk song. This impresses most of the audience but some of them start laughing at him. Next he plays a really difficult song and pretends to be bored all through it, because Kvothe is an arrogant little pissant and no one likes him. It turns out the people laughing that first time were musicians, who are super impressed with his ability to I don’t actually care.
A conversation follows about how a noble family was recently lost at sea and Ambrose’s father has moved up to thirteenth in line for the throne, and
Don’t you even dare.
More money angst and banter. It turns out Kvothe has been regularly drinking water disguised as strong alcohol while everyone watches, because he’s a narcissistic jack ass.
Manet nodded. “It’s an old whore’s trick. You’re chatting them up in the taproom of the brothel, and you want to show you’re not like all the rest. You’re a man of refinement. So you offer to buy a drink”
Patrick sighed and gazed at the life-sized poster of George R.R. Martin hanging over his bed. How long he had dreamed of attaining The Master’s glory, of basking in the adoration of the same refined and intelligent readership.
He hit ctrl+F and brought up the search window on his word processor. Find: Woman. Replace: Whore.
“The power was within me all along.” he whispered into the darkness.
This is actually part of some nonsensical plan to get money, whereby Kvothe pretends to drink expensive stuff so patrons of the Eolian will buy him that same expensive stuff when they want to give him drinks to congratulate him, PROFIT, then he splits the money that is conjured by doing this with the barman.
Kvothe goes home, another pointless chapter ends.
I’ve seen people describe the first third or so of this book as essentially a continuation of The Name of The Wind, and that certainly seems to be true. It’s like absolutely nothing has changed from when Kvothe first arrived at wizard school, with the sole exception that he now has a way back into the Archives. And how’s that search for information about the Chandrian going, huh?
No? Didn’t think so.