A Beautiful Game
Kvothe gets some fancy new rooms to show that the Mayor thinks he’s a swell guy.
It was a nice gesture, but I couldn’t help but think that these rooms were even farther from the kitchens. My food would be cold as a stone by the time it made its way to me.
Maybe I’m mis-underestimating how gigantic the Mayor’s palace is, but I don’t think food gets cold that quickly. And surely Kvothe could just go down to the kitchens to get his food and find someplace nearby to eat it? Although he seems to think he’s not allowed to leave without permission for some reason.
I opened the door to see Bredon’s dark eyes peering owlishly out at me from the halo of his white beard and hair
Bredon tucked his chin and chuckled, looking even more owlish than usual
Old Guy, during a conversation that involves a lot of chuckling and grinning and more chuckling and shaking of heads (I will never understand how this got published), is super impressed with Kvothe’s mystery ring he got from Stapes.
But the giving of rings goes back quite a ways. The common folk were doing it long before it became a game for the gentry
I really don’t think “the common folk” in ye olde times would have a ton of rings lying around. Old guy says that the rings made by the 99% crowd were traditionally created from common materials you could find lying around, but I don’t think poorer people would waste time, energy and resources making tons of rings just to give them away when they could be doing something that would help them survive.
Anyway the white ring is made of bone, which signifies that Stapes owes Kvothe a great debt. I’m not sure why he didn’t actually tell him that since Kvothe doesn’t know about the rings and would have no idea that’s what it means.
Something just occurred to me about the longer chapters- they’re paced sort of like tv show episodes or serialized mini-novels. There’s usually some sort of arc, with characters returning home at the end of the chapter and a period of time passing at the start of the next one. I get the sense details like what the ring means get left out out of some weird idea that the chapter will be too long or have too much happening in it (pfffft) even though this is a book and the chapters can be as long as you want them to be.
Traditionally, a ring such as this is carved from the bone of a deceased family member
Seriously? You’re telling me a member of this society’s working class, probably a subsistence farmer or someone toiling away just to scrape enough food up to survive, is going to start cutting flesh off their dead family member’s corpse so they can go to the trouble of carving a ring out of one of their bones? Or are there specialized ring-makers who’ll create rings out of whatever random material you bring them?
It’s not a part of games the gentry play, and not the sort of ring you should display.” He gave me a look. “If I were you, I’d tuck it safe away.”
….. is there a reason those sentences rhyme?
“You’ve been such help,” I said. “I wish I could repay—
What the fuck? Are they about to burst into song or something?
Kvothe and old guy play fantasy chess some more and Old Guy kicks Kvothe’s ass and goes into cliched mentor guy mode.
“Again,” Bredon said, a note of command in his voice I’d never heard before.
Old Guy spouts some nonsense about game strategy that, speaking as someone who’s spent a fair amount of time playing chess, sounds like total nonsense, then abruptly vomits out a dizzying array of vacuous bullshit:
Tak reflects the subtle turning of the world. It is a mirror we hold to life. No one wins a dance, boy. The point of dancing is the motion that a body makes. A well-played game of tak reveals the moving of a mind. There is a beauty to these things for those with eyes to see it
I’m guessing this doesn’t actually mean anything and Old Guy is just stoned out of his gourd.
He lifted his hands and shrugged
I swear Rothfuss was brought up in a concrete bunker by robots and has never actually seen another human before.
That’s all that happens in this chapter. I really hope this fantasy chess stuff has some kind of point.
Within Easy Reach
Kvothe lounges around his new rooms for a while. Strangely they no longer seem quite so ill fitting to him.
My new rooms were preferable because they had several cushioned, armless chairs that were perfect for playing my lute
No one fucking cares oh my god
Also just sit on your damn bed if you’re having trouble playing the lute, or if you’re really desperate sit on the table that the armless chairs were presumably designed to fit under.
I decided to dub the room with the good chairs my lutery. Or perhaps my performatory.
Kvothe is just so ker-aaaaaazy and randomroflolol I’m going to go post this on reddit so me and my cheese monkey bros can guffaw at it till our lungs explode
(why no I don’t have a chip on my shoulder why do you ask)
Kvothe drinks wine and plays music in the sun in a scene that I am convinced must have been written while Rothfuss was totally baked, then the Mayor enters.
He sat on a nearby couch
If you had a fucking couch why are you making such a huge deal about the chairs?
The Mayor asks Kvothe to keep playing as he wants to hear the music Kvothe will use to win over whats-her-face who we wants to marry (remember her?).
A passage connects them to my own rooms. We will need to meet frequently in order to discuss my courting
You could launch so many Kvothe/Mayor slash fics based on this premise.
Fingering his lute: An erotic thriller of three parts
Speaking of the courting, I’m confused about how this is supposed to work. Is Kvothe going to beguile this young woman with his music and lack of distinguishing personality features and then, when she’s fallen head over heels for him, announce that he actually wants her to fall in love with this other guy who she’s never met before? Honestly the Mayor would probably be better off emptying bags of money at her feet until she agrees to marry him.
Kvothe disses poets some more and then asks the Mayor for leave to visit the lower city whenever he wants, implying that he apparently had been confined to his rooms before now for whatever reason.
Naturally this is just an excuse to go talk at Denna some more.
A cat does not think of stretching, it stretches. But a tree does not even do this. A tree simply sways without the effort of moving itself. That is how she moved.
Shut the fuck up Kvothe.
Kvothe and Denna share some twee banter that involves Denna comparing a smile to “a faerie woman slipping between the trees”- I’m really starting to suspect Rothfuss was on something when he wrote this shit- and there’s a lot of talk of sunlight shining through pale dew and whatever the fuck. I’ve noticed the purple prose from the beginning of The Name Of The Wind is back in force. Also of note is that Kvothe and Denna basically straight out say that they fancy the socks off of each other, but I’m assuming we’re still going to drag this particular plot thread out as long as it will go.
Then….. the chapter ends. I guess we just needed to be reminded that Denna exists? Rothfuss seems to believe that if she doesn’t show up once every few chapters we’ll forget who she is.
Stapes drills Kvothe on
Wait I just realized what that sounds like
Fuck it I’m leaving it in
Stapes drills Kvothe on dinner etiquette and then we get to one of those bits that you can tell Rothfuss wasn’t interested in because he blows past it with almost no description, namely a dinner party with Meluan Lackless. Kvothe is convinced he’s seen her before but can’t put his finger on where he could have.
If the Lackless lands weren’t a thousand miles away, I would have thought I knew her from the University. But that was ridiculous. The Lackless heir wouldn’t study so far from home.
Is it the door? It’s the door, isn’t it? You can travel through it and get to the one in the library, by passing through, I don’t know, Fairy World. Also Ambrose lives far away and studies at wizard school. Also also, Kvothe has heavily implied the University is the only such establishment in the world so where else would she go?
She was strikingly lovely, with a strong jaw
I bet there’s some sort of statistical correlation between the frequency with which a book features the phrase “strong jaw” and “almond shaped eyes” and how much it sucks.
The line of her neck was
Oh that’s another one.
Kvothe (who is totally bad with women you guys they’re sooooo scary) artfully puts the moves on Meluan, who we are also told has deep red lips with no need for makeup, because only fake ugly harpies have to use makeup, Real Women are naturally beautiful with no effort at all.
I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen this come up in fiction. It’s a pretty unfair cultural pincer-move that the trope presents, complementing the also-prevalent idea that women must spend hours and tons of money on making themselves look attractive with the notion that this also makes them second-rate.
Kvothe lets rip some more quasi-romantic banter while expertly analyzing Meluan’s personality (but he’s so bad with women no really). Earlier I mentioned the idea of Kvothe being a sort of fantasy Sherlock Holmes type, and between this and the thing with the poison I kind of wish Rothfuss had gone more in that direction, because it’s a lot more entertaining than “self-centered wanker who doesn’t do anything” which is what we usually get.
Meluan is also pretty interesting, in that she actually has a personality and doesn’t instantly become sucked into the gravity well of Kvothe’s massive ego the instant she lays eyes on him. I have a feeling that won’t last.
“The roads are always thick with Wagon Bro bandits this time of year,” Meluan said coldly.
Riding the faux pas train all the way to awkward-town station
Yeah so she really seems to hate the wagon bros for some reason. Earlier she made some remark about not liking certain performers so I’m guessing she got upstaged during an audition, as opposed to something interesting. It would have been pretty cool if the Wagon bros actually were bandits in some parts of the world, and Kvothe had just failed to mention this until now. You know, maybe get into some of that subverting of expectations that’s supposed to be going on here by portraying them as an actual realistic culture with positive and negative qualities instead of a two-dimensional childish fantasy.
Kvothe returns to his room to write. Apparently the way this plan is actually going to work is that Kvothe will gather intel on Meluan and then write letters and songs and stuff that the Mayor will pass off as his own, which has the rather obvious drawback that Meluan might just fall in love with Kvothe instead.
In a handful of days there will be a dozen men in the estates who would gladly take her to wife, am I right?
I know “take her to wife” is technically a legitimate way of phrasing this statement but it still sounds totally awkward and weird to me.
“I know nothing of this,” he said with a hint of petulance.
Neither does Kvothe, supposedly. We’re actually supposed to believe that a 16 year old geek with absolutely no romantic experience who specifically and repeatedly states that he is bad at talking to women can run rings around a middle aged high-society aristocrat? How? Why? Where is Kvothe getting all of these mad dating skills from? He tries to wave it away as learning stuff from reading plays and watching Simmon unsuccessfully flirt with women, but I’m not buying that for a second. He comes across in these scenes like a god damn romantic savant. How did Rothfuss or his editor not notice the glaring discrepancy between how Kvothe is described and his actual personality?
I have a strong feeling I know why all of this “Kvothe doesn’t know how to women” stuff is being harped on constantly, but I’ll save it for a Certain Scene I know is coming up.