let’s read the wise man’s fear ch. 33- 36

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CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE

Fire

A young boy arrives at Kvothe’s room and gives him a message from Denna. Apparently one of them finally realized that wandering around Imre hoping to bump into each other isn’t the best way of communicating.

“Fifth bell?” I demanded. “God’s black hands! How long did you take to get here? It’s past sixth bell already.”

What is this, like the sixth time Kvothe has been late for a meeting with Denna?

Kvothe needs to run off and do whatever it is he’s been planning with his buddies so he sends Denna a note back apologizing.

Pstcrpt. If the boy tries to get any money off you, give him a sharp cuff round the ear

Apparently it is possible for me to dislike Kvothe more than I already do.

“Boy seemed a little addled when he came in here,” Anker said.

Maybe Ambrose put the Imperius curse on him to lure Kvothe into a trap of some kind. Can you do the Imperius curse in this world? I’m just going to assume you can.

Kvothe goes back to the bonfire he was at yesterday, where he, Sim and Wil stoke the fire until Fela shows up.

She was also displaying the most spectacular pair of breasts I’d ever seen at that point in my young life.

The wording of this makes it sound like she has a pair of someone else’s breasts sort of pinned to her chest over her clothes, or maybe worn around her neck on a string. I could be mistaken but I don’t think that’s a thing that women generally do.

The reason she needs an extra pair of boobs is to distract Ambrose by going out with him. I love how in fiction when they need to distract someone the only solution the heroes can ever think of is to get the sole woman in their group into something revealing and send her off to seduce the bad guys.

Just then, Mola shows up with a familiar face.

At her side was a small figure with short strawberry-blond hair. Devi.

Aaaaaawkward

“Ambrose beats his whores,” Devi said, interrupting him abruptly. “And if I could kill the arrogant bastard and get away with it, I would have done it years ago.”

I might find your concern for Ambrose’s victims more believable if you didn’t keep calling them whores. Also this is a seriously lazy way to make him seem more like a generic villain.

Kvothe apologizes to Devi and it seems she’s willing to make amends after the mission. I guess that whole sub-plot was pointless, then.

She stepped back and held Fela at arm’s length, looking her over appreciatively. “My lord, you look like a ten-stripe Modegan whore! He’ll love it.”

whores whores whores whores whores

Frank Millar must have ghostwritten this.

After some more shenanigans Fela sets off to distract Ambrose and the The Plan- which involves Devi staying by the fire and wizarding something in Ambrose’s room- begins.

Kvothe and the boys head to the common room of the Golden Pony, Ambrose’s Inn, to wait for whatever is supposed to happen.

The room was full of murmured conversation as wealthy customers gambled, drank, and talked about whatever rich people talk about. How to properly beat the stable boy, I guessed.

You’re not one to start throwing stones, bucko.

It cut through the low murmur of conversation as only a shrill voice filled with panic can. “Fire! Fire!”

This is of course all part of the plan. Devi sets a a small fire in Ambrose’s room while one of the Wizard Boy’s friends alerts everyone else to the presence of a non-existent fire outside, giving Kvothe an excuse to rush into Ambrose’s room. But in order to do that he needs a way to break the door down.

A crossbow stores energy and uses it to shoot a bolt a long distance at a great speed. A siege stone was an inscribed piece of lead that stores energy and uses it to move itself about six inches with the force of a battering ram.

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Kvothe breaks the door down Anton Chigurh style and rushes inside to find the drawers of Ambrose’s dresser burning. Long story short the thing Devi was doing was supposed to set the clay figure of Kvothe that Ambrose had made on fire to make it easier to locate, so Kvothe tosses all the drawers out the window where Sim stamps on the contents to break it. This seems like a somewhat overly elaborate scheme but what do I know about wizarding.

A cluster of amazed onlookers gathered around Ambrose’s staved-in door, and I idly wondered what sort of rumors might spring out of tonight’s performance.

Maybe they’ll say Kvothe totally Hulked out and bashed the door in with his forehead. Or maybe the rumor won’t mysteriously fail to reach any of the wizard school faculty this time, and they’ll come to the obvious conclusion that Kvothe used some presumably-illicit magic to break the door down.

I really wish the book would stop pointing out when it’s being oh-so-clever and original like this, it’s really obnoxious.

Ambrose bursts in red of face and wild of temper and Kvothe gets to deliver some figurative Sick Burns to go with the literal ones. There’s some more witty as hell banter back at the camp fire, where we finally learn what Kvothe’s problem with poetry is.

“Poetry is a song without music,” I said loftily. “A song without music is like a body without a soul.”

But is it the road, and also the map that leads the car onto the road? I don’t know what I’m talking about now

We learn that Wil and Sim scattered women’s underwear and a poem professing his love for Not-Snape in among Ambrose’s possessions, further cementing my assertion that Our Heroes are a pack of juvenile frat boys. But at least Kvothe found a letter indicating that Ambrose left Denna’s ring at a jeweler to be re-set! I’m sure it was worth almost getting arrested and killed for that.

The purse also contained money. Almost six talents.

Enough for three whole sentences without Kvothe pointing out how short on money he is!

CHAPTER THIRTY-FOUR

Baubles

Kvothe arrives back at Anker’s Inn but there’s no note from his waifu. The next day he heads off to the jeweler to get Denna’s ring back. While paying for the repairs he notices a huge emerald necklace that could theoretically be valuable enough for Denna to live off for quite some time, although of course it’s far too expensive for him to buy.

Is anyone else finding it a bit grating that Denna constantly needs to be looked after by a man? The skewed demographics of the University indicate that this is a heavily male-dominated society when it comes to work, but surely there’s some way she could make money on her own? She’s supposed to be an excellent singer and we know Imre is a big music town, so couldn’t she earn at least some money toward independence that way?

Kvothe arrives at Denna’s Inn to discover that she left without leaving any way of contacting her. Again.

CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE

Secrets

While going to Kilvin’s workshop Kvothe is intercepted by a woman in a blue cloak who motions for him to follow her.

She was younger than I’d thought, no more than fourteen.

Oh good, I bet this won’t be creepy or anything.

It turns out the girl is Nina, who Kvothe gave a pendant to at the end of the first book. I hope there’s a good reason to bring this up again.

I felt hope rise in my chest. Nina was the only person alive who had seen the ancient piece of pottery.

Why the fuck wasn’t this in the first book

Nina tells him that the pot had eight figures on it and not seven, so Kvothe concludes that it didn’t actually portray the Chandrian, which seems like a rather large conclusion to leap to. She tells Kvothe that she had dreams after he gave her the amulet, which she believes indicate that God wanted her to help him. “God”? I thought Tehlu was their God? This may have been a mistake in the, er, “unofficial” version I’m using.

She gives Kvothe a drawing of one third of the vase, which she has dreamed of every night since Kvothe gave her the thing.

It was Cinder, the one who had killed my parents.

Good old Frosty. Remember him? I sure thought he was going to show up again in person at some point, but I guess not. The idea that Rothfuss is trying to build this guy up as a villain despite the fact that he’s only appeared once, briefly, more than 700 pages ago is completely ridiculous.

There was a second man, or rather the shape of a man in a great hooded robe. Inside the cowl of the robe was nothing but blackness. Over his head were three moons, a full moon, a half moon, and one that was just a crescent.

Didn’t Elodin ask Kvothe some nonsensical question about moons in one of the books? I honestly can’t remember if that was at the beginning of Wise Man’s Fear or the end of The Name Of The Wind.

There’s also a bloody dude in armor who Nina is particularly afraid of, who accounts for the eighth figure.

He was holding up his hand to stop them. This man was one of the Amyr. One of the Ciridae.

One of the Cricket Brigade, got it. Moon Fey-chan compared Kvothe to one of these guys earlier. I would speculate that it will turn out the Amyr are the real villains, but we’ve only got about 1700 pages before the trilogy wraps up and there’s no way Rothfuss could fit that much plot into such a short space.

“Oh no!” she said pitifully. “I should have been back at the docks by now. My mum’s going to give me a birching!”

You’re sure it won’t be a willowing? I’ve been talking to our sponsors, they were very clear on this. Lose the birch angle.

I laughed.

This sentence immediately follows the previous one I quoted. You’re really kind of an asshole, Kvothe.

After my months of searching, I was fairly certain the Archives held nothing more than faerie stories about the Chandrian.

After reading this sentence I literally slumped forward on my desk and sat with my head in my hands for a while. I just…. I cannot believe how padded out these books are. Surely even if you had never written anything before you’d know this isn’t how to tell a story?

But everyone knew about the Amyr. They were the bright knights of the Aturan Empire. They were the strong hand of the church for two hundred years. They were the subject of a hundred stories and songs.

We learned back in the first book that the Amyr were created specifically to oppose Haliax. If their histories are so closely entwined why would all knowledge of the Chandrian fade into legend, but the Amyr are regarded as a historical fact?

I’m formulating something of a theory on why Rothfuss is leaning so heavily on the idea of the Chandrian being fairy tales to most people, but I won’t present it just yet. Let’s see how the rest of the book pans out.

I knew my history. The Amyr had been founded by the Tehlin Church in the early days of the Aturan Empire.

… but you were explicitly told that this isn’t true back in the first book, at the end of the Tarbean sequence. Has that suddenly been retconned or something?

CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX

All This Knowing

A lot of these chapter titles are starting to sound like the overblown crap I come up with in my head just before falling asleep and then promptly jettison upon waking.

Kvothe and the Wizard Lads celebrate their defeat of Ambrose by going on an epic pub crawl, it’s so awesome it’s like, dude, this one time? When Chad filled a bong with Pabst Blue Ribbon and snorted it up his nose? Dude.

Kvothe briefly panics because he thinks he lost his lute- again– but it turns out he left it with Stanchion back at the Eolian. I regularly think I left my phone or my 3DS on the bus before I realize it’s in my pocket, but I don’t write a book about it on the correct assumption that no one else gives a flying shit.

The Magic Bros have to cross a really big bridge from Imre to the University that hasn’t been mentioned before for some reason, and they’re not sure they can make it because they’re too hammered to walk. Have I mentioned we’re almost a quarter of the way through the book? I just thought I’d bring that up. There’s a nearby Waystone (Greystone?) that Rothfuss apparently just made up on the spot for this scene that the Trouper Trio decide to rest at.

Simmon flopped down in the thick grass while Wilem settled his back against the trunk of a leaning birch.

The villainous Order of The Birch continues their unending war against the Willow Consortium.

There’s some banter and Sim asks Kvothe if he’s really an Edema Ruh (pffft). We get more wankery on how everyone hates the poor, rich, well-educated, talented, elitist Edema Ruh (if you have Edema Ruh you should see a doctor) just because. The ensuing conversation involves terrible song lyrics and quickly takes a hard left turn into stupid town.

“Does it seem odd that it’s the men that always have to do their sleeping somewhere else?”

“It’s pretty obvious women control the bed,” I said.

Yeah, and friend-zoning! And paying for dates! WE HUNTED THE MAMMOTH RED PILL CREEP-SHAMING MISANDRY

“You just have to make your move. This Denna girl is obviously interested in you.”

“She hasn’t said anything along those lines.”

They spend entire chapters spouting faux-Shakespearean moony-eyed drivel at each other, how could they not know? It’s clear that Kvothe is supposed to just be too afraid to ask her, but that doesn’t gel with how the rest of his personality is presented at all. He’s this super-smooth-talking Lothario most of the time, except noooooo he’s just so nervous around Denna except he has no problem telling her how she is the wind that caresses his wizard staff or whatever.

Ugh.

“There are little games. It’s like a dance.” He held up two hands, making them talk to each other. ” ‘Oh, fancy meeting you here.’ Why hello, I was just going to lunch.’ What a happy coincidence, so was I. Can I carry your books?’

Whenever the characters in these books talk about romance I feel like I’m watching a teen soap opera from the mid-80s.

There’s some more bullshit I won’t bother going into and then Kvothe decides to tell them a story.

There is a place not many folk have seen. A strange place called Faeriniel.

The scrabble box was a bit heavy on the vowels today, I see.

This is a story of that place, and of an old man on a long road, and of a long and lonely night without a moon….”

CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN

A Piece of Fire

Oh are you serious? Screw that, I don’t have the patience for this right now. Didn’t we also get another long winded story-time chapter at about this point in the first book?

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17 thoughts on “let’s read the wise man’s fear ch. 33- 36

    1. ronanwills Post author

      Featuring all your favourite characters like Old Librarian, wizard, other wizard and Female #2!

      Reply
    2. Reveen

      If we hit 160,000 dollars for this kickstarter, it will be the highest funded card kickstarter ever.

      That means I’ll have played a part in two of the #1 funded kickstarters ever. (This one, and Torment.)

      To celebrate that, I will make a video of myself singing one of my favorite songs. “I Crush Everything” by Jonathan Coulton.

      You hear that? A years salary for, what, a lawyer? That gets you a video of a shitty author singing like an asshole.

      Reply
  1. Paul

    So if we follow Kvothe’s logic, Shakespeare’s sonnets have less soul than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star? The Love Song of Alfred J Prufrock would be better if it were set to music?

    Is this Rothfuss deliberately characterising Kvothe as a complete moron, or is Rothfuss himself just a total simpleton?

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      I strongly get the feeling this is Rothfuss venting about his own bugbears, since Kvothe’s vehement hatred of poetry doesn’t really make any sense.

      Reply
      1. Andrea Harris

        Americans with any pretension to being thought cultured used to cultivate poetical knowledge along with a host of other things that today’s crass, cartoon-infested pseudo-culture wants nothing to do with. In fact, being cultured at all is considered an inherently unmanly pursuit in American culture, and if you’re a male and you admit you prefer, say, French films over the latest Superburp and the A-whingers muscles and explosions fest, you should expect a chorus of “fag!” and “pussy!” to follow your disclosure.

        Reply
  2. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

    A Song of Ice and Fire is Lord of The Rings as written by Frank Miller.

    The Kingkiller Chronicle is Harry Potter written by someone who decided they wanted to write ASoIaF.

    How Rothfuss mistook boring minutia for edgy grimdarkness I’ll never know. I’d say Harry Potter is darker than these books. There’s certainly a higher body count and one of the themes is growing up which can’t really be said about any of the wacky hijinks these “characters” pull off.

    Reply
  3. Greentree

    “This is a story of that place, and of an old man on a long road, and of a long and lonely night without a moon….”

    This was the point where I decided I should take this book back to the library. I will continue reading the blog, but cannot face the book itself 😉 Fair play to you for being able to read this stuff!

    Reply
  4. braak

    “We learned back in the first book that the Amyr were created specifically to oppose Haliax. If their histories are so closely entwined why would all knowledge of the Chandrian fade into legend, but the Amyr are regarded as a historical fact?”

    One of the things about this book, and about a lot of modern epic fantasy that I think is interesting, is its treatment of religion. I guess I can’t really fault Rothfuss for it, because I know when I was fourteen and really into fantasy, I didn’t know or care about any of this stuff either, but when you look at it with a grown-up eye, this a really glaring disjunct.

    I’m probably overstepping my bounds by guessing at Rothfuss’ background, but a pretty common feature of sort of middle-class, upper-middle class WASP American culture is a failure to recognize that the attitude towards religion (when it’s not basically atheistic) that treats it as something private is actually kind of rare throughout human history. (It’s actually kind of rare just in America.)

    There are not a lot of cultural groups in the world, and throughout history, where you didn’t know what religion someone was. How do these guys have a huge organized religion with an inquisition and everything, but no one ever asks about who the heretics are? Why do you have an inquisition if there’s no one to inquisit? Nobody goes to church, there’s no saints days (before the invention of the weekend, saint’s days were pretty much how you kept track of the calendar), there’s no superstitions. We hear poetry and songs, but no prayers or devotionals. Do the Edema Ruh even have the same religion as everyone else? Is that why people hate them? A large part of why the Romani people are persecuted has to do with their religious beliefs (in medieval days, mostly a kind of idiosyncratic blend of Hinduism and Christianity – though the later possibly came in precisely to avoid persecution)
    .
    Of course, a kid who grew up in a culture with a syncretized and idiosyncratic faith who then went to an irreligious university in a city governed by a strict orthodox church so that he could study religious history would be really interesting, so maybe that’s why Rothfuss didn’t do it. I was thinking it was a kind of WASPy, middle-class privilege that mean he just didn’t realize how essential religion is to every human culture in all of history, but I keep forgetting that he also hates it when things are interesting.

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      This actually brings up something I had forgotten about, namely that the religion of this culture was way more developer in the Tarbean section than in any other part we’ve come across so far, with holy days and an inquisition and all that. This just furthers my belief that that part of the book was written at a different time than the rest, it’s like it’s not even set in the same universe.

      Reply
      1. braak

        I think it probably wouldn’t be too hard to go through these books and hack out what the actual story is, and which parts are the padding. Ruh massacre – Tarbean – some of the library bits – NOTHING ELSE IN THIS BOOK.

        Reply
      2. Reveen

        Maybe the entire series after Tarbean is just Kvothe’s elaborate wish-fulfillment fever dream as he dies of exposure.

        Which would make the in media res itself in media res so to speak. I would actually have respect for Rothfuss if he had the brass balls to do that.

        Reply
      3. braak

        Maybe him telling the story to Devan the Chronicler is actually a delirious flash-forward to an imagined future in which he not only had gained a reputation, but then also became a weary retired hero.

        Reply

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