Okay, we’re at the end of the Felurian section now right?
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED FIVE
Interlude—A Certain Sweetness
Look, nothing fucking happens during these interludes apart from at the beginning and end of the books so we may as well dispense with them entirely. It’s not like I’m going to forget what’s going on in the present (ie nothing) if you don’t keep flashing back to it.
Bast is all shocked that Kvothe talked to the magic tree for some reason.
Bast closed his eyes and pounded the table like a child in the grip of a tantrum. “Shut up. Shut up! SHUT UP!”
Jesus dude take a chill pill.
Bast starts to explain that the magic tree is just, like, the absolute worst. Like it’s the most evil thing ever in the whole wide world. I guess. I don’t know, this feels completely pointless, Kvothe spoke to it for a few pages then ran off crying, what’s the big deal? It’s not like it’s coming to hunt him down or something. Also, if we’re told that the magic tree that showed up for one chapter is the most evil thing ever it kind of diminishes the impact of the Chandrian. Not that they haven’t been sufficiently diminished already due to not actually showing up for like 600+ pages.
Bast ran his hands through his hair, leaving it in disarray. “I can’t for all the salt in me guess how you slipped past them, Reshi. If anyone manages to come in contact with the Cthaeh, the Sithe kill them. They kill them from a half-mile off with their long horn bows. Then they leave the body to rot. If a crow so much as lands on the body, they kill it too.”
The magic tree is supposed to be heavily guarded so no one goes near it; I guess Kvothe just sort of blundered straight through the tree’s security. Twice. Either that or someone engineered the meeting for whatever reason.
The reason for all this security is that the magic tree can see all possible futures and how to influence them, meaning it can tell a person exactly what they need to hear to set the worst possible course of history in motion- Kvothe puts two and two together and realizes that a massive war in Fairyland that Felurian told him about was caused by precisely this happening.
“An arrow only hits one person, Reshi.” Bast’s dark eyes were hollow and hopeless. “Anyone influenced by the Cthaeh is like a plague ship sailing for a harbor.”
This is a fairly interesting idea that, unless the tree shows up again in a major way, is going to go completely to waste. Hell this could have been a central element of the plot- Kvothe hears about the tree, journeys to fairyland to find it (completely bypassing the naked sex fairy because he has more important things to do) so he can ask about the Chandrian, gets some hella useful advice on how to totally wreck their shit but oh no! It turns out the tree was trolling Kvothe and he ends up fucking everything up, presumably by killing a king.
Boom! Instant fantasy plot. Clearly I should be writing these books instead.
Chronicler expresses doubt that the magic tree is actually as dangerous as its made out to be so Bast turns some ink and blood into a giant crow and makes it explode. Hey how about they just get this guy to kill the Chandrian, he’s clearly got more skills than Kvothe.
“I swear it by my tongue and teeth,” Bast said crisply. “I swear it on the doors of stone. I am telling you three thousand times. There is nothing in my world or yours more dangerous than the Cthaeh.”
If it’s just going to show up once to make Kvothe cry there’s absolutely no point in this character being in the book, and spending an entire chapter telling us how awesome and dangerous it is just makes it feel more pointless. Unless the idea is that whatever Kvothe apparently did to cause the war was a result of talking to the tree? Which would be super lame, if his downfall was due to accidentally wandering into an evil tree he didn’t even know about beforehand. And in any case he ran off before the tree actually told him anything too surprising.
Kvothe implies he believes his story is over and he’s going to die soon (because of the cut-flower sound, you see).
Kvothe looked at both of them for a moment, then smiled and chuckled low in his chest. “Oh,” he said fondly. “You’re both so young.”
I don’t think I’ve actually mentioned this before but I really don’t like Kvothe as a character. He’s arrogant, cocky, possessive and massively entitled and his present-day version wallows in selfish misery instead of trying to fix the problems he apparently started and with no concern for how his death wish is going to affect the people around him. Of the entire cast Chronicler and Denna are the only two I actually like, and even Denna gets saddled with a whole lot of irritating character traits when she’s around Kvothe.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED SIX
Returning? Does that mean we’re leaving Fairyland? Please say we are.
Kvothe sits around Felurian’s sex grotto and mopes for a while after his encounter with the magic tree. No running off to save Denna or anything? Not worried about how much time might be passing in his world while he waits around Fairyland for days? Kvothe is one of the most passive fantasy heroes I’ve ever seen. If a magic tree told me the love of my life- or even just one of my friends, which is what Denna basically is to Kvothe- was being regularly abused I’d drop everything to go and help them. I’d expect any decent person would have the same reaction, but Kvothe just wallows in self pity over his dead family. I know that’s a tough situation as well, but they’re dead. There’s someone suffering in the present and Kvothe is as far as we’re aware the only person who even knows it’s happening. He’s got a clear moral imperative to at least try to help her.
Felurian brings Kvothe a succession of wacky fairyland fruits and foods and animals, all of which demonstrate the same surprising creativity on Rothfuss’ part that I talked about earlier. I’m really starting to think he might have some untapped talent at surrealism and he’s wasting his time trying to write Tolkien-esque epic fantasy.
Eventually Kvothe recovers from his funk- still no concern for Denna though- and Felurian gives him his finished Shaeaeeaaeaead. Then they have sex again.
After that I knew my time in the Fae was drawing to a close.
Okay? Off to rescue Denna, then?
The fact that I had been within a stone’s throw of the man who had killed my parents and not realized it left a bitter taste in my mouth that even Felurian’s kisses could not erase.
Well yes, but first
And what the Cthaeh had said of Denna kept playing over and over in my head.
Ah, there we go! It only took, like, a week or something (it’s implied he spends a lot of time moping).
Kvothe gets dressed, feeling weird about actually wearing clothes again. And then Felurian leads him back to the waystones and we finally end this stupid part of the book.
Kvothe arrives back the Pennyworth Inn and finds Marten regaling the audience with tales of their encounter with Felurian. Naturally Kvothe picks the most dramatic moment to walk in and be like “lol you thought I was dead but I’m totally not and also I did sex with Felurian”. It seems Dedan and Hespe are finally an item as well.
But that only scratches the bare surface of it. I felt out of place in my own skin. It was profoundly irritating to be wearing clothes again, and I wanted nothing more than to be comfortably naked.
Man, Kvothe really loves being naked. I wonder if Rothfuss is a naturist or
…… what were we talking about again? Something about…. gnome hats….. body hair?
Anyway, Kvothe is all out of place since his time in fairyland, which was apparently even more extensive than I thought. He sees a woman and has to fight the urge to immediately start kissing her. Which is really kind of creepy and gross, actually.
Looking around the room again, everything seemed terribly ridiculous. These people sitting on their benches, wearing layers on layers of clothing, eating with knives and forks. It all struck me as so pointless and contrived.
And Mom and Dad make me mow the lawn sometimes too! All these stupid sheeple and their pointless traditions!
“Come now, I am Kvothe. I am Edema Ruh born. I have studied at the University and can call down lightning like Taborlin the Great. Did you really think Felurian would be the death of me?”
God what a fucking toolbox.
The Inn patrons start to doubt that Kvothe is really as amazing and special as he claims and we can’t be having that so luckily his Shahwaawaaeaeaeahaheraed starts to move as though being blown in the wind.
That hot serving woman who was inexplicably attracted to Kvothe earlier comes over and can tell that he’s been in fairyworld….. somehow.
Losi turned and spoke hotly. “There’s a look a man has when he knows his way around a woman, Ben Crayton.
Can any women in the audience confirm if you and your fellow women actually possess magic sex radar? Asking for a friend.
Kvothe starts to tell them a story about how he escaped Felurian and claims to embellish it even though it’s pretty much identical to what did happen apart from leaving out the magic tree and making the bit where him and Felurian fought with magic slightly more dramatic.
I shouldn’t be coy, I suppose. I implied rather strongly that Felurian thought quite highly of me as a lover.
…..but she did. Remember? Remember THE SCENE? I’ve got the blog post Kvothe,
260millions of people saw it! In fact Kvothe actually makes his story less impressive by saying he’s proud of his newfound sexing skills whereas in the actual event Felurian was already impressed with Kvothe’s sexing skills before she ever taught him anything.
Then him and the hot bar woman have sex and we get this….. thing:
But how could that be? I hear you ask. How could any mortal woman compare with Felurian?
It is easier to understand if you think of it in terms of music. Sometimes a man enjoys a symphony. Elsetimes he finds a jig more suited to his taste. The same holds true for lovemaking. One type is suited to the deep cushions of a twilight forest glade. Another comes quite naturally tangled in the sheets of narrow beds upstairs in inns. Each woman is like an instrument, waiting to be learned, loved, and finely played, to have at last her own true music made.
Some might take offense at this way of seeing things, not understanding how a trouper views his music. They might think I degrade women. They might consider me callous, or boorish, or crude.
But those people do not understand love, or music, or me.
Hey Kvothe, remember that whole thing about Denna being beaten by her abusive patron? Like possibly right this very instant? No? Just gonna have sex some more? Well okay then.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED EIGHT
Quick as in “quick, rescue Denna!” right?
WE SPENT A FEW days at the Pennysworth while our welcome was warm.
GUESS NOT THEN
Yes I’m going to keep harping on this every chance I get.
Tempi continues to teach Kvothe how to fight, because after getting magic skills and sex skills he needs fighting skills to complete the triumvirate of gary stu traits. And make no mistake, he is an example of that trope. Kvothe’s only self-identified weakness or flaw was his supposed-but-not-actually awkwardness around women, which has now vanished under the tutelage of the sex fairy who was way impressed with his ability to do sex before she taught him sexing.
I also pieced together a song about my Felurian experience. I originally called it “In Twilight Versed,” which you have to admit wasn’t a very good title. Luckily, the name didn’t stick and these days most folk know it as “The Song Half-Sung.”
Because that’s so much of an improvement.
Kvothe also brags to all the bar patrons about his great deeds, which I guess is how his legend spreads. Because of course these bar patrons hear “I was admitted into wizard school at the age of 15” and immediately run out the door and start telling people about how he was admitted to wizard school as a zygote after arriving to Earth in a rocket made out of solid gold.
After leaving the Inn Kvothe and co meet some travelling musicians (but not wagon bros) and Kvothe plays his Felurian song for them.
I’d written it to be easy to remember and simple to sing, but I still had to repeat it twice before he caught all of it. As I’ve said, they weren’t Wagon Bros.
More of that Wagon Bro elitism.
He thought some more. “I heard Alveron’s getting married to the Lackless woman.”
“I know a poem about Lackless!” The young boy chimed in again, and began:
Seven things stand before
The entrance to the Lackless door—
Kvothe finally realizes that the door might be interesting and asks the kid to tell him the whole poem.
Seven things stand before
The entrance to the Lackless door. One of them a ring unworn
One a word that is forsworn
One a time that must be right
One a candle without light
One a son who brings the blood
One a door that holds the flood
One a thing tight-held in keeping
Then comes that which comes with sleeping.
“Then comes that which comes with sleeping”? What?
Also, hey, Kvothe? Kvothe?
THERE ARE SEVEN FUCKING CHANDRIAN
THIS IS PROBABLY IMPORTANT
Kvothe is in the middle of practicing the KETAN when four Adem mercenaries approach all stealthy-stealth like. Tempi goes to talk to them. Kvothe approaches and one of them pushes him away; without thinking he starts using Adem-fu to fight back.
Without thinking, I made Break Lion, taking hold of his thumb and turning his wrist away from me. He loosed his hand from mine without any apparent effort and moved to trip me with Chasing Stone. I made Dance Backwards and got the balance right this time, but his other hand struck me in the temple just enough to dizzy me for half a second, not hard enough to even hurt.
I remember reading about how the sword-fighting system in Wheel of Time, which is based on formalized patterns with stupid names, is basically bullshit and was deliberately made to be cinematic rather than realistic. The Lethani seems to be similar; it’s my understand that fighting styles made to actually be practical tend not to have formalized fancy move-sets like this, which are usually the domain of martial arts intended for sports or tradition, although obviously there’s some overlap between the two.
Thankfully Kvothe doesn’t turn out to be a martial art savant and is no match for the more experienced Adem. The one who struck Kvothe was actually a woman, and I’m relieved to see she isn’t sexualized-
But while she was whipcord thin, the tightness of her mercenary reds still revealed the lean curves of hip and breast.
Women must always be hawt am I rite. Can’t be having a woman of sexable age show up without talking about her hip and breast. Her single hip and breast, apparently.
It turns out Tempi is in major trouble for teaching Kvothe secrets of the Lethani and has to travel back to Ademland to face judgement. Kvothe remembers what Felurian had said about going to the Stormwahl (a wall for storms, if you will) mountains to find info on the Chandrian and asks to accompany Tempi. Now I could criticize Kvothe some more for the whole “not saving Denna” thing but to be fair he did sort of get Tempi into trouble by pushing Tempi to teach him; I know Tempi ultimately chose to do it, but Kvothe still shares some responsibility so I can understand going with him, especially since Tempi says that Kvothe going with him will help him greatly with his trouble.
“Accompany?” Tempi asked, his hands moving in a graceful circle intended to break the long bones of the arm.
“Travel with. Follow. To Haert.”
“Would it help your trouble?”
“I will come.”
“I thank you.”
Dawwwwww. I hope they develop an epic bromance on the road.