Let’s Read The Wise Man’s Fear ch. 93-95

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CHAPTER NINETY-THREE

Mercenaries All

Kvothe wakes up after fourteen hours of post-magic sleep in the bandit’s camp, where his fellow warriors stashed him over night.

Hespe had taken an arrow in the leg when the sentry had surprised them. Dedan had a deep gash along one of his shoulders, which was fairly lucky, considering he’d rushed the sentry bare-handed.

I’m sure none of them will worry about these injuries getting infected in the middle of a forest, as always. It’s like people in these books have antiseptic blood.

One of the sentries escaped the destruction of the camp but none of them feel like chasing him down, and more worryingly the seemingly-invincible bandit leader is nowhere to be found. They assume that he was crushed to death by a piece of the oak tree when the lightning hit it but they don’t actually see his body (spoiler: he’s totally still alive)

We finally get some sort of explanation for how the hell Kvothe was able to do that lightning thing.

The lightning? Well, the lightning is difficult to explain. A storm overhead. A galvanic binding with two similar arrows

But there was only one arrow.

An attempt to ground the tree more strongly than any lightning rod

That doesn’t make sense in either the scientific or sympathetic definition of the word “ground”. Nothing we’ve seen before explains how Kvothe was able to do this.

Honestly, I don’t know if I can take credit for the lightning striking when and where it did

No, fuck you. You don’t get to pull magical powers out of your ass and then try to hand wave it away with ambiguity.

This marks a subtle but important shift in the texture of the story. Before Kvothe had mundane actions elevated to the realm of legend by credulous idiots who jump to make up stories for no apparent reason. Now, he really is doing impressive, seemingly impossible feats. The stories that spread about this are likely going to be no more impressive than Kvothe’s actual actions, except that the exact identity of the mysterious power at work will likely get changed to demons or something.

The tensions of the group lessen considerably now that the job is finished, except that Marten is understandably not eager to spend much time around Kvothe after seeing him stab the shit out of the bandits with magic.

Predictably, when they get around to moving the huge branch that crushed the leader’s tent they find no sign of him (because he’s a Chandrian).

Marten, however, grew distinctly uneasy when we didn’t find his body. He murmured something about demons and refused to go near the wreckage. I thought he was being a superstitious fool

Kvothe, you saw him pull an arrow out of his leg and you have personal, airtight proof that demons, or something very like them, actually exist. Now isn’t the time to be skeptical.

There was also a heavy hardwood box slightly smaller than a loaf of bread. Alveron’s family crest was enameled on the cover, and it was locked tight.

Alveron is the Mayor, by the way. I’m guessing this is one of the tax collection boxes that the bandits had been robbing. In hindsight, putting your seal on the box containing all of your taxes might not be the smartest move. Like I’m guessing governments don’t transport sums of physical currency in bags with SWEET GOVERNMENT CASH-MONEY stamped on them.

Actually this raises a good point, why isn’t the Mayor guarding these transports better? Money tends to justify the most elaborate security measures you can buy, second only to nuclear launch codes. I remember when the euro came in the trucks transporting it to the bank in my town- at the time pretty much a small village- were escorted by actual soldiers armed to the teeth with assault rifles and body armour, and this is for a country where not even organized crime groups tended to have a lot of guns (sadly not true any more). If you absolutely have to move your tax money through the remote bandit murder-forest, maybe invest in professional armed guards and not feckless mercenaries.

In a scene that does finally actually come across as genuinely playing with genre conventions Kvothe jokingly hits the top of the box while reciting magic words from a story about Taborlin, causing the lid to fly open. What actually happened is that Hespe and Marten’s previous lock-picking attempts had loosened it already. See this is the sort of thing that could genuinely lead to Kvothe getting a mythical reputation, but only around people not versed in magic, as fellow wizard school students would know opening boxes with Harry Potter-esque magic words isn’t possible.

The box contains a map of the surrounding forest and piles of cash worth about 500 silver talents. Kvothe and the others quickly work out how much they’re going to yoink before giving the rest back to the Mayor.

“I was hired to find a group of bandits, not destroy a minor military encampment.” I held up my royal. “This is our bonus for services beyond the call of duty.”

I actually don’t have a problem with since I’d have totally done the same given all the bullshit they went through to take out the bandits. Kvothe explains that he also decided on this to lessen the possibility of someone stealing the box on the way back.

Second, I could use the money. Both the royal I had tucked openly into my pocket, and the other three I’d palmed when handing out coins to the others. As I said, Alveron would never know the difference, and four royals would cover a full term’s tuition at the University.

If Kvothe starts angsting about money in the third book after this I’m going to punch Rothfuss into the sun.

Kvothe takes one of the bandit’s swords and after revealing to Tempi that he has no idea how to use it (something Tempi finds hard to believe), he asks Tempi to teach him. Tempi seems very conflicted about this for some reason and asks Kvothe to teach him how to lute in exchange.

CHAPTER NINETY-FOUR

Over Rock and Root

The map they found indicates that they’re closer to town than they thought so they decide to cut through the dense forest rather than follow the road, as apparently none of them have seen The Blair Witch Project.

BlairWitchVisual

During the first night Tempi begins to truly instruct Kvothe in the ways of the KETAN, the Adem’s martial art kata-thing.

Unfortunately their route through the forest takes them straight through swamp-land, prompting them to question the wisdom of traipsing through the woods instead of following the road. They emerge at night, tired and wet, and Dedan and Hespe acknowledge that they want to bone each other or something, I guess.

As we were finishing up, we heard the faint sound of singing upstream

I wonder what this could be? Something stupid, perhaps?

It was Felurian.

Welp, here we go.

For a while now I’ve been implying something incredibly fucking stupid was going to happen later on in the book. This is it. We have reached the edge of the screaming abyss. Walk with me, loyal readers, I can’t handle the fail on my own! IT’S JUST TOO GOD DAMN STUPID

CHAPTER NINETY-FIVE

Chased

So Felurian is a hawt naked woman sitting on a rock by a pond in the moonlight. The scene where our heroes try to track down the source of her song is actually pretty eerie and other-worldy, but unfortunately the mood is ruined when we then have to hear her twee little song again:

cae-lanion luhial

di mari felanua kreata tu ciar

tu alaran di.

dirella. amauen.

loesi an delian tu nia vor ruhlan Felurian thae.

I can’t help but read that in a sort of traditional country-music sing songy voice that really takes all of the atmosphere out of it.

Instead of immediately turning and running in the opposite direction Kvothe takes a completely idiotic notion to go have a chat with Felurian, because “there was magic here, real magic. What’s more, it was a magic of singing”. Even Tempi seems to realize that he should stay away from Felurian but Kvothe steps blithely into the clearing after promising to meet them at the inn in three days. At least leave the money box behind so they can give it to the Mayor and get paid, asshole.

Felurian sprints off in a teasing “come and catch me” way so Kvothe gives chase. Apparently she doesn’t actually “ensnare” men so much as hope  they’ll be horned up enough to follow her to their deaths. Even in our own non-magical world if I was in the woods at night and a mysterious naked woman started trying to get me to follow her I would probably assume something strange was going on and decline the offer.

Eventually Kvothe catches her and they start having hot sweaty fairy sex. This is described with a lot of vague euphemisms about sudden thunder and the thrumming of drums, which I guess is a relief since we won’t have to get any descriptions of Kvothe’s turgid wizard-penis.

And everything stops. All of me arches. I am taut as a lute string. Trembling. Aching. I am tuned too tight, and I am breaking….

Will our hero survive his deadly fairy-boning session? You’ll have to find out next time because I’m too tired to face the rest of this bullshit right now.

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35 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Wise Man’s Fear ch. 93-95

  1. CM

    I remember there was another line that irked me about Kvothe’s arrogance that was supposed to be painted in a positive light, let me see if I can find it (cause I’m surprised you didn’t bring it up).

    Reply
  2. CM

    There was a line I would’ve thought you’d touch on given Kvothe’s arrogant ramblings. When he first meets Felurian, there’s the line:

    I looked back again at my companions. Marten was shaking visibly. Tempi was backing slowly away. Dedan’s hands made fists at his sides. Was I going to be like them, superstitious and afraid?

    Maybe (and this is a small maybe) being afraid is not a good thing here (though it really is), but the superstitious part is what bugged me. Shortly prior to this he didn’t believe in Felurian because it would’ve made him superstitious, now that he knows she’s real he’s STILL found a way to call them superstitious and not himself.

    Reply
  3. redsilkphoenix

    Hallo, recently stumbled across your Kingkiller Chronicle posts, and binge-read them over the last few days. Good stuff.

    Something that lept out at me while reading this summary that I want a bit of confirmation on, since I haven’t read these books, and don’t plan to. Did Rothfuss seriously not only wrote Kvothe (how is that name supposed to be pronounced? Silent ‘v’ or ‘k’, two syllables or one?) as having lost his virginity to a super-hot sex fairy, but was sooooo good in the sack his first time out that the sex fairy didn’t kill him afterwards? (ASSuming that the other men didn’t drop dead because their hearts couldn’t take the extra ‘exercise’ a sex fairy might demand of their lovers, or something like that.)

    And is that a common Nice Guy fantasy, that they’re The Best There Is in the Whole Darn Multiverse when it comes to sexual prowess? And that they’ll gladly give their chosen female a free demonstration if their females would just shut up and spread their legs for them like good little girls……

    Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      Kvorhe actually speculates that it takes most people a few times for the sex-death to kick in, and he may have survived due to bring young and fit.

      However, something more or less exactly like you’re describing is going to happen a bit later.

      Reply
  4. Tams

    Regarding the Chandrian/Bandit Leader; where there any out come from that encounter? I mean, what exactly was the point of the Chandrian being involved with those bandits? It just seems strange that they appear now, with some random bandits, for some unknown purpose. Or is this section treated as some mystery which will get a resolution later?

    Reply
      1. braak

        He is probably just hard-up, and needs to steal those sweet Vintnerian dollars.

        That’s Rothfuss subverting tropes for you — “Everyone says being an invincible Lord of Evil is so great. Can’t be hurt by arrows, fire turns blue when you’re around, the ladies dig it. But nobody mentions that the pay sucks!”

        Reply
    1. ronanwills Post author

      I’m assuming we’ll hear something about that later.

      As for why the chandrian are showing up now, my best guess is they this is a hold over from some earlier version of the story heavily based on the tabletop gaming setting Rothfuss had made (the whole fortified-bandit-camp thing really feels like it) that he for some reason didn’t want to remove.

      In fact I have an idea that when Kvothe goes on about subverting the tropes of stories the “stories” he’s going on about are actually Rothfuss’ gaming sessions. Rothfuss is actually writing Gary Stu fanfic of his homebrew D&D setting.

      Reply
      1. katz

        These bits, yes, but the interminable school sequences feel more like a “subversion” of Harry Potter (or maybe Le Guin). I’ll eat my hat if this isn’t a pastiche of random ideas that he mushed together into one story. I used to do that all the time before I developed a filter.

        Reply
  5. Austin H. Williams

    Wow. That really was just that sudden.

    Was there much set up for this? Was there any foreshadowing, hanging of Checkhov’s guns, any indication that Kvothe would be captured for hawt fairy seks after he’s completed the raid instance defeated the bandits?

    Reply
    1. Sevansl Canzate (@Chackludwig)

      It’s a DLC you can only play after reaching lvl. 40 and completing the quest “Cinder’s Merry Men”, but BEFORE you go to Ademre to get your second sepcialisation (Ketani Raesler, “True Power Warrior”, as this sets off a chain of quests which closes all previously unfinished or unstarted quests branches.

      Reply
      1. phylakes

        Erm, that was in reference to the blurb boast thing and how he tried to subvert it in the first book (the whole “burn down the town of Trebon” thing).

        Reply
    2. ronanwills Post author

      Dedan told a story about Felurian a few chapter ago. I believe this is the first time apart from the appearance of the Chandrian themselves in the first book that something’s been mentioned in a story or legend and actually appeared.

      Reply
      1. braak

        I think he also mentions that he boned Felurian in his Speech About Being the Best from the very beginning of the book, which suggests that Rothfuss has been planning this incident from the outset.

        Reply
      2. katz

        And for some reason, this time, he automatically accepts that it’s actually Felurian instead of writing her off as a superstition and considering other possibilities.

        Reply
      3. Austin H. Williams

        Hm. How many of those boasts that he mentioned at the start of this whole mess do we have left at this point? And does that actually count as foreshadowing, or is it just a checklist of Things Kvothe Must Do before he kills a king and becomes a reclusive innkeeper?

        And of course it’s Fellurian this time. Magic is in the air! >canyoufeelthelovetonight.mp3

        Reply
      4. braak

        Well, one thing that I think is at least slightly interesting is that he mentioned “burning the town of Trebon,” and then later the story revealed that to be just a sort of weird accident that he was only tangentially involved with — in this case, “survived the night with Felurian” is actually straight-up because he is rad as hell.

        Let’s see. He hasn’t stolen any princesses from sleeping barrow-kings — and that’s specifically a plural boast, so I’ll be disappointed if he only steals back one. And he hasn’t been expelled from University yet, which he’d better get moving on, since he is very explicitly expelled at an age that is too young for most people to enter.

        Hasn’t talked to any Gods yet, either, I don’t think.

        Reply
      5. phylakes

        Rothfuss has spent a lot of time trying to do the subverting tropes thing with rumours of Kvothe’s deeds being overblown and misreported, but it looks to me like he just threw in the towel there.

        Yep, Kvothe just straight-up massacred a small army of bad dudes with magic, and then banged a hot sex fairy.

        Reply
  6. braak

    Ostensibly this comment belongs on the previous section, but I didn’t write it there, and I don’t feel like going back, but.

    My favorite part of all of this is how the however-many-hundred bandits’ strategy for dealing with being attacked is “swarming.”

    If that doesn’t reveal that Rothfuss’s ideas about this sort of thing are built on a foundation of videogames and RPGs, then I don’t know what does.

    Reply
    1. Signatus

      I haven´t written before, but I have been following this Reading, and the previous one (both I find brilliant, and very interesting).
      I happened to come across some of Rothfuss blog posts, and after reading both books, I have to say I agree with you. Much of what is portrayed in his books reminds me of Skyrim, Oblivion, Dragon Age, Diablo, Sacred, Morrowind, Mass Effect, and the list goes on (as I am an avid RPG videogame and table RPG gamer). Instead of having a logical structure, his books seem to go from one point to the other and the hero seems to focus in doing boring tasks that are totally unconnected with the bulk of the story (go kill the bandits and I’ll give you the super sword of Frost being a recurrent theme in RPG games).

      This whole adventure could have easily been boarded by using the mage (the one who was posioning the Maer, don’t remember his name), as he did run away after killing some soldiers. As far as we know, the mage could be a Chandrian, could have some sort of relation with them, I don’t know, something that makes sense withing a story.

      Another thing that irks me (aside from the evident archetypes), is how Rothfuss considers he is doing strong women characters (yes, I did read that in one of his interviews and didn’t know where I wanted to laught, or bash my head against a wall). It seems Rothfuss has never heard of Kitiara, Laurana, Eowyn, Daenerys, Marit, to name a few, which strengthens my impression that he is not literate in fantasy literature at all.

      As for the whole deconstruction thing, originality and so (many people claim this drivel to be the most original fantasy book ever written), I have three words; Death Gate Cycle,

      Forgive my english, I am not native and thus try to do it as good as possible, but I make some mistakes I’m not aware of.

      Reply
  7. katz

    I guess there’s no hope of our genre-defying subversive deconstruction deconstructing or subverting any tropes about women, is there? Like maybe the naked fairy bathing in the woods is actually just trying to take a goddamn bath, and she runs away when guys try to approach her because wouldn’t you if someone caught you taking a bath in public?

    But no. When it’s a naked seductress sex fairy, it’s actually just a naked seductress sex fairy.

    Reply
  8. katz

    So…he just decided to sleep in the bandit camp after murdering a bunch of them, knowing that at least two survived? Brilliant, dude. (Or maybe the rest of the party is trying to get rid of him?)

    Reply
  9. Reveen

    What the hell? 17 chapters of fucking around before we get to the bandits but then it’s just *boom* Felurian *BOOM* beautiful fairy sex.

    And I like how the evil, otherworldly Chandrian has nothing better to do than hang out with unwashed bandits and help them steal taxpayer’s dollars.

    Reply
    1. Marcus Livius Drusus

      My reaction exactly.
      Is there any explanation *why* she would be hanging out in the middle of nowhere? And I’d think after the first few mortals seduced and killed the whole deal would become kind of tedious.

      Reply
  10. CmdrBoreale

    “What actually happened is that Hespe and Marten’s previous lock-picking attempts had loosened it already.”

    I’m sorry, but what? Lockpicking is binary. It either works, or it doesn’t. Unless this is the worst lock in the history of locks, a failed attempt to pick the lock would result in either a) nothing happening or b) the lock breaking permanently.

    The more I read of this, the more I wonder if Kovthefuss’ only experience with fantasy is through games, and by proxy, tropes. You have the standard four/five man party instead of sending a whole unit of trained mercs or guardsmen after the bandits, young characters being smarter and overall better than trained adults, the mysterious “Proud Warrior Race Guy” token party member, all of it.

    Reply
  11. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

    Looking at those nonsense fantasy words, I have to wonder if Rothfuss just made a word for word “translation” from english as that seems to be what most fantasy authors do, but maybe he’ll deconstruct our expectations.

    Also I would love to have seen how Kvothfuss would have reacted if Felurian was reciting poetry instead of singing.

    Reply

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