Let’s Read The Wise Man’s Fear ch. 99-101

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Magic of a Different Kind

Kvothe reminisces about his reputation.

Three-quarters of the stories folk told about me at the University were ridiculous rumors I’d started myself. I spoke eight languages. I could see in the dark. When I was three days old, my mother hung me in a basket from a rowan tree by the light of the full moon. That night a faerie laid a powerful charm on me to always keep me safe. It turned my eyes from blue to leafy green.

How did these rumours start? Educated students wouldn’t be likely to believe most of this nonsense, especially wizard students who know (or think they know) what sorts of supernatural occurances are possible and no one would believe it if he started the rumour himself. How did that even work? Did he leave note around saying “lol Kvothe is awesome pass it on”?

Up until now, I had been playing at being a young Taborlin. I had spun lies around myself, pretending to be a storybook hero. But now there was no sense pretending. What I’d done was truly worth a story, every bit as odd and wonderful as any tale of Taborlin himself.

This better turn out to be Kvothe bullshitting them, or else Rothfuss just got bored with the whole “normal person becomes a legend” thing.

I felt different now. More solid somehow. Not older, exactly. Not wiser. But I knew things that I’d never known before.

like sex

Kvothe realizes there are potent magics he can learn in this place and resolves to investigate. He asks Felurian to instruct him in the ways of fairies. She mistakenly believes he means he wants lessons in advanced sexing.

A few of them in her words: The pinioned wrist. The sigh toward the ear. Devouring the neck. Drawing the lips. The kissing of the throat, the navel, and—as Felurian phrased it—the woman’s flower. The breathing kiss. The feather kiss. The climbing kiss. So many different types of kissing. Too many to remember. Almost.


Felurian is able to tell Kvothe some magics, but magics come so naturally to her she’s not able to actually explain how they work very well.

 I wasn’t blind to the fact that Felurian herself might have the information I was looking for about the Amyr and the Chandrian.

Oh hey, remember that? The plot? Maybe we’ll get more of it!


lol no

Well, to be fair she does confirm that the Amyr existed before their recorded history, but she seems to think the idea of a modern, current Amyr is ridiculous. He tries asking about the Chandrian but Felurian refuses to say anything about them, promising to drive him from Fairyland with her powers if he insists on asking.

“I do not jest,” she said. “I swear this by my flower and the ever-moving moon



Felurian tells him stories about Fae society and culture. To Rothfuss’ credit we don’t get any Unseelie Court bollocks but vaguely sort-of Irish sounding names and phrases that appear to be unique. It’s still not exactly original but I’ll take what I can get.

This was complicated by the fact that Felurian took it for granted that I understood certain things. If I were telling you a story, for example, I wouldn’t bother mentioning that most moneylenders are Cealdish, or that there is no royalty older than the Modegan royal line. Who doesn’t know such things?


Do you see

how clever this all is

I’ve seen a lot of authors try to do this “my fairy realm, let me show you it” thing and I think the only successful example I’ve read is Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, where the fairy world comes across as genuinely other-worldly and strange, and often quite creepy. The fact that it’s portrayed as essentially being a twisted version of our own world, as so often occurs in works of fiction featuring fairies, is manipulated to the setting’s advantage. To be fair to Rothfuss there is a bit of this at play here. The fairy world sounds interesting. I’d like to know some more about it.



Chapter 100! Yeah!

Only 52 to go!


Kvothe explains that the fairy world seems to exist in a state of permanent dusk and he has no idea how long he’s been there or how long may have passed in his world, citing stories about people visiting the fairy world and returning to find that a century has passed.

Blah blah blah, fairy world is weird, Felurian is anxious about the idea that he’ll leave and not return.

I saw her face change, becoming first anxious, then grim, then thoughtful

She was sad, then happy, then anxious, then she laughed, then hungry, then pensive, then

Felurian offers to make Kvothe a special cloak, because he needs another quirky internet cloak to replace the one he lost. Maybe this one will have a special fedora pocket!

“but not for you. you are a night walker. a moon follower. you must be safe from iron, from cold, from spite. you must be quiet. you must be light. you must move softly in the night. you must be quick and unafraid.” She nodded to herself. “this means I must make you a shaed.”

She proceeds to maek him a shaed, which is a protective magic claok.

Felurian and Kvothe head into the forest and the light starts to fade, giving way to light. Kvothe uses magic to turn his hand into a flashlight, but Felurian non-erotically tackles him to the ground as a huge creature stirs above them.


There was a soft sound of movement above us, as if someone was folding a huge piece of velvet around a piece of broken glass.

That makes no sense.

 Saying that I realize it makes no sense


The two of them try not to make a sound to avoid drawing the attention of whatever, which would be quite a tense scene if not for how long the book spends describing how Kvothe gets turned on my Felurian rubbing herself against him (they’re both still naked, keep in mind).

The thing goes away and they continue their traipse through the woods. There’s a quite nice scene where Felurian summons hundreds of tiny glowing moths with patches for wings which faintly illuminate a clearing in the woods. Felurian starts plucking things out from behind trees and stones and comes back with something soft that Kvothe can’t see. They walk back through the forest into an area where starlight pirces the tree layer, which Felurian avoids as though afraid it will burn her. She sits in the middle of the trees and presents Kvothe with a soft, dark object.

Then Felurian reached out a hand, took hold of one of the thin beams of starlight, and pulled it toward the dark shape in her lap.

Kvothe realizes that she’s got handfuls of solid shadow that she’s sewing with beans of light.

This is easily the most evocative section in the entire trilogy so far and shows a level of creativity I frankly didn’t think Rothfuss was capable of. Well done!


Close Enough to Touch

Kvothe tries to extract more information about fairy-magic from Felurian.

What she was doing with the shadow was called grammarie. When I asked, she said it was “the art of making things be.” This was distinct from glamourie, which was “the art of making things seem.”

As distinct from patisserie, which is the art of making things delicious.

Fairyworld doesn’t have a day/night cycle. Instead some walking in one direction will bring you toward daylight and walking in the other direction will bring on night. I swear I had this idea for a fantasy setting when I was like fifteen. Deploy the lawyers!

army of lawyers

I have a good memory. That, perhaps more than anything else, sits in the center of what I am.

What the fuck does that mean

We’ve had like three of these “THIS IS THE CORE OF MY BEING LOL” sentences and I can’t tell if this is supposed to be deep or if Kvothe is just waffling.

Anyway the point of Kvothe telling us this is that his memories of his time in fairyworld are oddly patchy, although he seems to be able to recall Felurian’s boobs with an unusual degree of clarity. When not boning like rabbits they ate many delectable foods. Felurian is one of those weirdos who likes really rare meat.

I can see her even now, naked, laughing, blood running down her chin. She was regal as a queen. Eager as a child.

Yup. Felurian the child-like naked sex goddess.

And she was like none of those things. Nothing like them. Not in the least little bit.

“She was like a queen, but actually not really, and like a child, but not, and a cat, except I guess now that I think about it she also wasn’t like a cat”.

Anyway Kvothe remembers eating but not where the food came from, which I guess is significant. Maybe he was jacked up on mega-drugs the whole time.


18 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Wise Man’s Fear ch. 99-101

  1. meanderingsofanordinarymind

    I thoroughly enjoyed both books, and I am eagerly, if not patiently awaiting the third installment. I don’t think that a book needs to be flawless to be enjoyed. I found the story enchanting and illuminating, especially as to the ways that a normal person’s life can become the stuff of legend. I thought the writing was beautifully done, evocative and poetic. It truly took me away to another place, which is the magic of literature. I say, well done.

  2. Signatus

    I found that whole part with the misterious predator thing to be completely stupid. Unless that is relevant for the plot, otherwise, it makes no sense keeping your readers oblivious. Many amateur writers tend to focus on many tiny misteries to keep their readers hooked, even if it is something pointless that has no relevance for the overall plot.
    We already have enough misteries going on in the book. There was no need to hide the creature’s identity.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      See, I don’t think I’d agree with that because it’s clear the identity of the Whatever in the forest isn’t a “mystery” per se- we’re obviously never going to revisit this and get more information about it, so it’s more about enhancing the eeriness of the scene. I thought it succeeded at that very well.

      1. Signatus

        You’ve got a point and that might be the intention. Maybe I was just so tired about all this pointless drivel and how Rothfuss kept tossing in misteries without solving a single one of them, that I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at that part and think; “Really? Another pointless mistery?”.
        But thinking about it, yeah, it might have been scenery but at that point I didn’t care any more.

        To be honest, I was not impressed by the whole faerieland plotline. I didn’t find the world particularly original or interesting, and the main plot, which had never been all that fast paced to begin with, just made an abrupt stop. I had to force myself to read through those chapters.
        I think Rothfuss fails a lot at world building. His common world is way too generic D&D without the maturity of Forgotten Realms, and his fantasy world is way too generic creepy magical forest without the magic of Pryan, or the Labyrinth (Death Gate Cycle). It’s been done before, and way better.
        The fact that his characters are as interesting as a loaf of bread doesn’t help bring his worlds alive.

  3. Marcus Livius Drusus

    “…I spoke eight languages…”
    Do they even *have* eight language in Kvothlandia? There are mentions of accents, not much of foreign languages. Even the Wagon Bros don’t seem to have their own language.

    1. Somhairle Kelly (@Eithin)

      What got me is that speaking eight languages is supposed to be a miraculous accomplishment on a par with the rest of that paragraph. Especially for a Wagon Bro who’s presumably been brought up travelling widely, that seems unlikely to be miraculous – maybe unusual, definitely Something That People Do.

      1. katz

        That’s what got me, too: Kvothe can be an expert singer, lute player, magician, wind namer, woodsman, swordsman, horseman, and all the rest, but know a bunch of languages? Not possible!

        But I do think Marcus is onto something; since there’s like four countries in this whole world, knowing eight languages might just be physically impossible because there aren’t eight languages, period.

  4. Flauschy

    Did you gloss over that or did Kvothe telling lies about himself actually not happen at all previously? That sounds fairly interesting, him making himself into a legend somehow, but I can’t remember reading that. So Rothfuss pulled that out of his behind or what?

    1. ronanwills Post author

      It’s been vaguely mentioned before that Kvothe has (somehow) helpe to cultivate rumours and legends about himself around the University and Vintas.

  5. Aleph (@needsmorealeph)

    “Up until now, I had been playing at being a young Taborlin. I had spun lies around myself, pretending to be a storybook hero. But now there was no sense pretending. What I’d done was truly worth a story, every bit as odd and wonderful as any tale of Taborlin himself.”

    …when? Did I miss the entry where that happened?

  6. braak

    Chapter 100: Kvothe returns to the real world, 100 years have passed, all of the other incidental characters are dead, the Chandrian have taken over the world. The stories of his time in University have evolved to mythic proportions. Consumed with guilt for not getting on with the fucking plot when he had the chance, Kvothe retires to a bar and makes pies.

    1. braak

      That is a joke, but actually how boss would that be, if halfway through the second book Rothfuss was all, “Nope, a century passed, everything is different now.”

      1. Andrea Harris

        That’s usually how actual fairy tales of heroes who went to Fairyland go, but Rothfuss is Messing With The Tropes so we’re gonna get the really subversive “where did you go, Kvothe? we’ve been waiting for you for a whole hour” scene aren’t we?

      2. braak

        I think it’s just a couple days. Oh, but man, how awesome would that make his relationship with Denna, then? All that faffing around, not actually making a move because he is a stupid dummy, and now she is LOST FOREVER because he couldn’t help himself with a naked sex-fairy.


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