Let’s Read The Wise Man’s Fear ch. 133-135

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(note: TW for rape)



We’re rapidly approaching the end here people. Only like twenty-something more chapters to go!

Almost there!


Kvothe and the two “girls” leave the Bandit Bro’s camp, Kvothe acting as the big protective daddy of the group what with his year and change of seniority over them. Seriously, they even call him “sir” even though realistically shouldn’t be able to tell he’s older then them. I’m really wondering if Kvothe was for whatever reason intended to be a lot older and then de-aged at the last minute, it’s the only explanation that makes sense.

Oh and one of the “girls” is more or less comatose due to the trauma of being raped repeatedly.


I suspect this is actually just because Rothfuss didn’t want to bother writing her dialogue.

Kvothe starts to heal her psychic trauma by being really twee and speaking to her like a child. At least we’re not doing the “hero heals rape trauma with the magic of his excellent boning” thing.

Holy shit we better not do the “hero heals rape trauma with the magic of his excellent boning” thing or I swear to God

“Let’s go and get tucked in then,” Krin said, sounding every bit the older sister.

Jesus this is so bad.

I chuckled humorlessly as I realized she was probably only about a year younger than me.

Yeah, Rothfuss, pointing out your flaws doesn’t actually make them any less jarring.

I remembered the way Kete had cried as I stalked her through the woods. “It was them or me!” she had screamed hysterically. “I didn’t have a choice. It was them or me!”

I guess this is the darkness within that Vashet was so worried about. Still not buying it, this came completely out of nowhere.


The Road to Levinshir

Kvothe and his pets continue on their way. He gets an idea to help break Ellie out of her grimdark rape trauma by using the power of horsies, because there is no woman these books won’t try to infantalize. Specifically he gets her to lead one of the three horses they took from the camp. They can’t ride the horses because the “girls” are still in too much pain from gritty gritty grimdark rape grimdark grimdark.

Seriously, fuck this story.

Kvothe gut-stabbed one of the dudes back at the camp, which means he should be slowly and painfully dying right about now. Also he left a full water skin nearby in order to keep the guy alive and prolong his suffering and seriously, what the fuck? Did Rothfuss and Mark Lawrence get their heads clonked together at a convention and exchange personalities or something?

I had killed two women.

Hey Kvothe I thought you were Of The Lethani and therefore shouldn’t view killing unarmed women as being worse than killing unarmed men. Why it’s almost like those two months in Ninjaland were just a vapid excuse for Kvothe to get good at fighting and have tons of no-strings-attached sex!

The next night Kvothe is having wooby grimdark nightmares about murdering his troupe. He wakes up and Ellie is doing, you know, like, yeah.

“No no,” she choked out. “No no no no no.” Her body shook with helpless sobs when she couldn’t say it anymore. My shirt was wet with hot tears. My arm was bleeding where she clutched it.

Can we please just get to the climacx already

Anyway they get to the town and the “girls” are distraught that they’ll be blamed for what happened and no one will wan to marry them. What’s this, an examination of rape culture? Could it be????

“I hate them!” Ell spat, surprising me with her sudden rage. “I hate men!” Her knuckles were white as she gripped Grey tail’s reins. Her face twisted into a mask of anger. Krin put her arms around Ell, but when she looked at me I saw the sentiment reflected quietly in her dark eyes.



“You have every right to hate them,” I said, feeling more anger and helplessness than ever before in my life.

Are you still here? Don’t fuck this up Kvothe we’re so close to salvaging something from the train wreck that the last few chapters have been.

“But I’m a man too. Not all of us are like that.”


Yes, the period on this sub-plot about teenage girls being brutally raped is BUT WHAT ABOUT MY MAN FEELINGS. You just couldn’t let it go, could you Rothfuss?

Anyway then Ellie and Krin murder Kvothe, dump his body in the ditch, get married and run off to join Denna and her newly formed army of Witch Knights to take on the patriarchy.

I mean, they cry a bit more and then go home.



Oh Christ we’re actually going to have to read this bullshit? Maybe Kvothe will fly off the handle and kill someone again.

LEVINSHIR WASN’T A BIG town. Two hundred people lived there, maybe three if you counted the outlying farms.

Don’t make me go on a rant about town size again.

The womenfolk of the town immediately rush out and mob the two girls with celebratory hugs while the men stand around shuffling their feet and getting suspicious about Kvothe. Just once I would like for Kvothe to have an interaction with the common folk where they don’t act like irrational jackasses.

“You one of those trouper bastards what came through here?”

I shook my head and attempted to look harmless. “No.”

“I think you are. I think you look kinda like one of them Ruh. You got them eyes.”

Actually that raises an obvious plot hole, the Wagon Bros are stated to have fairly distinctive looks which none of the bandits share- the angry dude’s friend confirms this- so how did the bandits manage to pass themselves off for so long?

“You gettin’ smart with me, boy? Maybe you think all of us are stupid here? You think if you bring ’em back you’ll get a reward or maybe we won’t send anyone else out after you?”

If only there was some easy way to confirm or falsify your suspicions, like say if there happened to be two witnesses to the whole thing standing right next to you! Alas.

Things get even more idiotic when Krin starts berating the angry guy for failing spectacularly in the town’s attempt to rescue them and how Kvothe is a real man for saving them. What happened to all the awesome Feminazgul #killallmen stuff, Krin? You used to be cool.

“None of this would have happened if you hadn’t been running around like some Ruh whore!”

Victim blaming is a very real and very odious thing, but that’s not really what this scene is about. It’s actually about Kvothe being a badass by breaking the arm of the guy who said that. There was a time not too long ago when I would have said that copious amounts of random violence would have improved this book immeasurably, but the reality of it is just as inane as everything else.

 I pulled him to his feet by the scruff of his neck. “What’s your name?” I snarled into his face.


I shook him like a rag doll. “Name!”

I took his chin in my free hand and turned his face toward Krin and Ell. “Jason,” I hissed quietly in his ear. “I want you to look at those girls. And I want you to think about the hell they’ve been through in these past days, tied hand and foot in the back of a wagon. And I want you to ask yourself what’s worse. A broken arm, or getting kidnapped by a stranger and raped four times a night?”

“After you’ve thought of that, I want you to pray to God to forgive you for what you just said. And if you mean it, Tehlu grant your arm heal straight and true.” His eyes were terrified and wet. “After that, if you ever think an unkind thought about either of them, your arm will ache like there’s hot iron in the bone. And if you ever say an unkind word, it will go to fever and slowly rot and they’ll have to cut it off to save your life.

I am now going to read Kvothe’s dialogue in Batman-voice for the rest of the book.

Something tickled my memory about the boy’s name. Jason?

Okay I’ll stop now.

Breaking a defenseless teenager’s arm somehow causes all the townsfolk’s anger to leave them (because violence always defuses a tense situation) and Ellie’s dad who is the mayor runs over full of joy and shit.

You find two types of mayor in small towns like this. The first type are balding, older men of considerable girth who are good with money and tend to wring their hands a great deal when anything unexpected happens. The second type are tall, broad-shouldered men whose families have grown slowly prosperous because they had worked like angry bastards behind a plow for twenty generations. Ell’s father was the second sort.


Anyway Kvothe offers to see to the mayor’s arm since it got injured in the botched rescue attempt.

And I know that those sort of things can be tricky to deal with when you’re away from home.” When you’re living in a country that thinks mercury is medicine, I thought to myself.

Somehow the knowledge that mercury isn’t medicine has utterly failed to propagate beyond the walls of wizard school.

It turns out the mayor had actually driven the not-Wagon Bros out of town because he hates Wagon Bros for some reason, and then everyone figures out Kvothe is a Wagon Bro. So is Rothfuss actually going to end this story at all or are we just going to keep futzing around until the page count runs out? Wait, is this the climax of the book? That would be even worse than the stoned dragon from last time.

All the other reindeer are pissed at Kvothe’s Wagon Bro ancestry because in this fantasy world created by a middle class white guy the number one persecuted minority is a group of wealthy privileged creative people. HMMMMM.

Ellie announces that Kvothe killed all the Bandit Bros and everyone is dutifully impressed. At the rate we’re going Kvothe might as well whip out his penis so everyone can start jacking him off literally as well as figuratively. Kvothe “suggests” that the townsfolk use the wagons and other stuff the bandits had as a dowry for the two girls, so I guess that solves the whole marriage problem. I mean I would have preferred a spirited condemnation of victim blaming but this ties into Kvothe frequently noticing the sexism in his world but failing to ever really speak up against it.

Bat-Kvothe growls at the audience some more and goes to see if he can do anything about the guy whose leg got crushed during the rescue attempt. I can’t help but notice that he never offered to do anything for the girls and their injuries, because I guess vaginas only exist for Kvothe’s personal use.

At the local healer-woman-person’s house (who is way more competent that most local healer-woman-people) Kvothe finally breaks down over the whole murder thing and confesses that he’s worried there’s something wrong with him.

A normal person doesn’t have it in him to do the things I do. A normal person would never kill people like this.

You’re suffering from a case of inconsistent characterisation, brought on by the presence of an incompetent author. I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do.

The doctor woman makes a long, incoherent metaphor where she compares doctoring to murdering people and says that what Kvothe did “needed to be done” even though it actually didn’t.

“There were women too,” I said, the words catching in my throat.

Hey remember the Lethani? Remember all that? No?

I think Kvothe should be less concerned with the women and more concerned with the fact that one of the women claimed quite strenuously to have been coereced into taking part in the whole thing.

Gran’s eyes flashed.


A man who would do that to a girl is like a mad dog. He hain’t hardly a person, just an animal needs to be put down. But a woman who helps him do it? That’s worse. She knows what she’s doing. She knows what it means.

Hey anyone notice how this absolves men of moral responsibility for raping women but holds women who facilitate rape fully accountable? Gee I wonder why that might be.

Kvothe goes back to say goodbye to his pets. #killallmen is now forgotten and they’re fully on the Kvothe fanwagon.

“Don’t sell yourself short and many some fool,”

Kvothe just get hit by lightning already, seriously.

Kvothe goes to find the constable so he can be locked up until a court rolls into town to officially clear him of murder, since Rothfuss has decided this is one of the times his world has a functioning legal system, but the towns people like him so much they suggest he “escape” in all the commotion.

And then the chapter finally ends. I realise I keep saying this, but we have now hit the utter nadir of how bad this book can get.


34 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Wise Man’s Fear ch. 133-135

  1. neremworld

    Super late, but you know what’s great? Ronan kind of elided over Kvothe molesting the girls in their sleep. So apparently, ‘YES ALL MEN’.

    Anyways, if this little arc comes off very weird, you might not be surprised to learn that this is one of the bits that have been 100% confirmed to be a pre-written story inserted in. This was actually the first story written by Rothfuss involving Kvothe and was his entry into a contest. Which is why it’s written very differently and basically acts like Kvothe is a new and mysterious character who MIGHT BE AN EVIL RAPIST with the twist being that he’s not and would be more surprising here if it wasn’t for the whole plum and nutmeg deal.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      I don’t recall the bit with Kvothe molesting the girls, but I do distinctly remember being too exasperated by this point to discuss everything that happened during this interlude.

      This whole section originally being a separate story makes a *ton* of sense.

      1. neremworld

        He starts stroking and touching them even when they’re unconscious, as part of the whole ‘HE MIGHT BE A RAPIST TOO?’ thing. Like, the narration suddenly keeps his intention a mystery when up until this bit it overexplained every thought in his head. This was the intention for the original story and Rothfuss just threw it in without changing the fact that this is no longer an introduction to Kvothe.

  2. Elisabeth

    ““But I’m a man too. Not all of us are like that.””

    This, along with all the Felurian crap, is the point where I would have thrown the book if I hadn’t been reading on my e-reader. FUCK YOU AND THE HORSE YOU RODE IN, KVOTHE. I hope your dick rots and gets eaten by cockroaches. Of course women know that not all men are rapists, but you don’t say that to someone who’s just been brutalized by repeated gang rape. It’s not helpful, and it makes their suffering all about your feelings. Egotistical motherfucker. The confrontation in the town makes things even more clear – the point of the whole scenario is to both boost Kvothe’s ego and give him ANGST. In The Kingkiller Chronicles, the sun and stars and moon don’t revolve around Kvothe; instead, he’s the only star in the universe, and all of existence revolves around him.

    At least Rothfuss had the slightest decency to not make the girls “reward” Kvothe with sex for rescuing them – I hate that trope more than “not all men”, more than almost any other trope. But I’m not giving him any feminist cookies, because he doesn’t deserve them. I know he claims to be a feminist, but because of the way he writes women and interactions between men and women, I don’t believe it.

  3. Pingback: Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 42 | Doing In The Wizard

  4. Austin H. Williams

    Interesting thing all the video game comparisons here. One of the commenters here made some pretty observations about another unimpressive-yet-bestselling author’s work, and his tendency to go into vidya gaem territory:


    I’ll give Sanderson this much, at least: there is a discernible plot in his books.

    Also: Sanderson ♥ Rothfuss

  5. Silver

    This whole story has struck me as someone writing a long, meandering fanfic about their player character wandering through Skyrim. Not doing the main storyline, just faffing about in the country side, killing bandits, joining a faction, spending some time in a different country to do all of their side quests… And then this bit reminds me strongly of the Witcher. Over-the-top gritty grimdark, complete with sexism, ignorant one-dimensional townsfolk, and people being weirdly racist toward the dude who just did them a solid (the main character of the Witcher has distinctive eyes that people immediately recognize). I don’t know, maybe I’d feel differently if I was reading first hand, but it really seems like a fanfic compilation of some dude’s self-insert adventuring through the author’s favorite parts of his favorite video games.

    1. Silver

      And in a video game setting, the “Denna is Being Horrifically Abused” quest line would wait conveniently on hold for an indefinite period of time, with the player secure in the knowledge that nothing actually happens to important NPCs while you’re busy.

      1. katz

        Incidentally, that’s one thing I love about Fallout: If you faff around too long, quests will expire before you even get to them.

  6. Reveen

    You know what might salvage this? If the villagers asked if he saw one of the women he killed, or if one of the bandits who was some brain trust from the village who ran off with them. Oops! Smash cut to Kvothe running away from an angry mob.

    But of course not, a daring writer like Rothfuss wouldn’t have the stones to have actual consequences for a characters dark actions would he? Jesus Christ, these books are about as subversive as a Quaker Oats commercial.

  7. Signatus

    Now that I finished reading everything, I can speak my mind about this last part of the book. This was such an archetypical videogame sidequest (kill the bandits, rescue de mayor’s daughter), I can’t understand why people still like this book. There was no reason, at all, for this whole sidequest. It didn’t affect the main plot (the Chandrian, I guess, though I’m not sure any more, as this trainwreck has no plot at all), it didn’t make the character grow, and it only served to show us how much worse this thing can get.

    This last section was so terrible, it almost makes the first book look like a book. The worst of it is how Rothfuss has been uncapable of keeping a consisten character. A published writer should be capable of something so basic, it is part of the foundations of writing a decent, solid book. That Qvothe passes from a prideful asshole into a sociopath murder machine in a matter of a few pages makes no f…ing sense. There is no reason why Qvothe should start behaving like this, there has been not a single moment in the 1500 pages previous to this ones where Qvothe doubts about a darkness within and there deffinitely have not been cold blooded murder tendencies. He has been an asshole, he has burnt Ambrose’s room, but he has not tried to murder him in cold, vengeful blood.

    Then there is the part where the whole town behave like a bunch of idiots. Obviously, they only exist to justify Qvothe’s murder rampage (which, I insist, came out of fu…ing nowhere). Everything ocurring in the town is to make Qvothe realize he took the best option. Apparently sleeping drugs (as the drugs came out of some magic void in one of Qvothe’s pockets), and stealing the horses to rescue the girsls was too mainstream, or not dark enough.

    Once in the town, he takes a teenager, breaks his arm (which obviously is not a terrible thing in the middle ages, where you needed your arms to work and stay alive, and where a wound could get infected to the point you’d need to be amputated), only to get him to say sorry to the girl, and the whole town is ok with that? Townspeople have been known to beat the living hell from bandits only because of thievery, and this has happened in rural areas in third world countries, well into the XXI century. A town living in the most remote region, having recently been attacked by bandits, would most likely turn Qvothe into a pulp for that, and then feed him to the wolves so they don’t bother the cattle.
    For goodness sake, he broke a child’s arm (I don’t care about Qvothe’s age, it’s been long I stopped caring because he sounds much older than he is).

    As for the girls existing solely to bring some grimdark elements into the book and voicing Rothfuss opinion that he’s not sexist at all, and that not all men are terrible, bestial things with uncontrollable primal urges, that’s very bad writing. The fact that he totally failed to deliver the message by implying exactly that, that men are no more than lesser animals in heat, yet women are these sort of cold hearted beings totally conscious about their surrounding, who will decide to stay silent to save their own hides (men wouldn’t do that, it seems…), that was disgusting.
    It is bad enough some writers like boarding topics they don’t know or understand (thankfully, I don’t either, but I don’t write about them), but failing at research, and introducing this elements to voice their opinions, that is worse than bad writing. That’s stupid. That’s failing even at the most basic elements of writing.

    Apparently, this book needed to be longer, somehow. Rothfuss must be being payed by the page, because I don’t understand why Qvothe couldn’t just go from Ademre to the Maer’s City (forgot its name) and be done with this.
    This last few chapters were pointless, stupid, and only served to show Rothfuss is making the book up as he writes. It shows too much.

    1. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

      There really is no other way to think of this book than as a video game where the PC has gone off to grind through every side quest he can reach before advancing the main quest line.

      Rothfuss said that he based these books on a DnD campaign and Kvothefuss reads like a min-maxed PC. He has all these traits that make him overpowered when combined together, and the downsides of these require acting in character, which Kvothefuss is manifestly incapable of doing, so he gets away with being extremely overpowered.

      1. Signatus

        I absolutely agree with you, and I had read that Rothfuss had based his book on a campaign. I also commited that mistake when I was like 18, and tried writing a book based on a really great Hunter campaign, but as good a game it was, it didn’t make a good story.
        Same can be said for the oposite, I tried making a World of Darkness campaign out of a book and it was terrible.

        Anyways, I can see this is no more than a videogame made into paper. What I don’t get is how this trainwreck got some fantasy literature award, became a bestseller, and is being acclaimed by endless readers as one of the best fantasy books ever written. I know I am being arrogant, but it is so glaringly obvious this story is so badly written, I don’t understand how people can’t see it.

      2. Aaron Adamec-Ostlund (@AaronAO)

        Well people like nothing more than the familiar, which these books are, catering to the typical Tolkien-esque fantasy expectations. You throw in video game style wish fulfillment from the bland protagonist and pretensions of literary greatness and the target audience not only eats it up but thinks it’s the best thing ever.

  8. Signatus

    Wait, the Ruh are supposed to have distinctive phisical characteristics? Why am I knowing this now? And how come nobody realizes just by looking at Qvothe? I mean, he does go to the Maer’s palace, and keeps his Ruh identity hidden like a shameful secret. Nobody seems to realize at all.
    Is Rothfuss making these things up as he writes, because he does look like it. Ruh eyes… really?

  9. zephyrean

    “I think you are. I think you look kinda like one of them Ruh. You got them eyes.”

    Note how only some characters who lived all their life in a specific bumfuck nowhere town speak with an accent.
    y cant u rite rothfuss

    > Actually that raises an obvious plot hole, the Wagon Bros are stated to have fairly distinctive looks which none of the bandits share- the angry dude’s friend confirms this- so how did the bandits manage to pass themselves off for so long?

    It’s been a plot hole since forever. Wagon Bros alternate between a culture, a profession, and an ethnicity as Rothfuss sees fit.

    1. M. A. Valentine

      You’d be surprised. I tried to recommend against this book in a forum once, and got berated left and right. People were recommending it to someone who had just finished ASOIAF, and I ended up in a post war over very, very basic problems I had with the book. They defend this shit.

      1. Signatus

        I got shunned by old friends of mine back from college for saying The Name of the Wind was amateurish at best (they were proclaiming it was the best thing ever invented since sliced bread). We are talking about educated people who typically read things like Terry Pratchett, George RR Martin, Tolkien, and books from Dragonlance and Forgotten Realms, to mention a few. Sure, those last series might not be masterpieces, but in their simplicity, they have a plot.
        These old “friends” of mine also play RPGs so they are familiar with the dynamics of a typical D&D campaign.

        I got called an ignorant idiot… because nothing makes your opinion stronger than falling to insults.

        Anyways, I really would like to know which magical spell these books have, that they manage to take educated people and make them fall for its charm. The issues with these thing are so glaringly obvious I don’t understand how people can’t see them.

        1. ronanwills Post author

          “they were proclaiming it was the best thing ever invented since sliced bread”

          What exactly did they like about the books?

      2. Signatus

        Wait, forget I said that. I thought you were asking me about books in general 😛 (language gap, said I might have a few problems with english).
        It’s been a few years so I don’t remember clearly, but basically they said the story was original and interesting, and they liked the main character and so on. To be honest, it was not what you’d say an academic discussion, because as soon as I started talking about gary stus, I got insulted and decided that discussion was not worth my time.

        1. ronanwills Post author

          Whenever people praise this book it’s always for super generic reasons like “it has rich world-building and characters that come to life”. It’s like an alien parasite lives in the pages and infests people’s brains when they read the book.

      3. M. A. Valentine

        To be completely honest, I was actually pretty ok with the books for a while. They were long and kind of boring, but I could see how people could get into them. And then I got to Felurian. And it was like everything I sort of disliked came into focus, and I couldn’t enjoy them anymore. That was, until I was linked to this blog and read all the Let’s Reads. They made me realize just how much terrible I’d missed, and I started to enjoy them in a way that the author certainly had not intended.

        It’s nice to know I’m not alone.

      4. Signatus

        Isn’t that what the critics said about the books?

        Anyways, I might, somehow, understand that people who don’t have a big habit of reading, specially fantasy, might find the world interesting. It isn’t, but to someone who has never seen a rich, compelling world, it might shine like the ultimate goal of imagination.
        But… characters that come to life? One of my biggest issues with the first books is that the characterization was so poor, the only character I was able to portray was Qvothe (who wouldn’t shup up about his money problems and his red hair). That should be glaringly obvious for anyone, even someone who doesn’t read very often.

  10. braak

    Oh, huh. IS this the climax of the book? I think all he has left to do is go back to Vintas to complete the quest and collect his loot, and then go back to Imre to continue not learning anything about the Chandrians.

    1. rmric0

      Doesn’t “climax” imply that there is a plot or that there’s been some rising narrative tension? This is just a thing that happens to have happened.

      1. braak

        Happens to have happened roughly 80% of the way the through the story. I think that’s the actual literal definition of climax, right?

      2. rmric0

        It sounds like the definition Rothfuss is using.

        I always thought the climax was the ultimate point of dramatic momentum, that key turning point like when the Nazis pop open the Ark of the Covenant and just as it looks like they’re going to win, they get their faces melted off. The climax’s position in the narrative arises because once you’ve released that dramatic tension, the rest is just the afterglow.

        My above point was that this episode isn’t the climax because 1) it is not a turning point in the plot (if you cut it from the book, nothing would be changed) and 2) it is not the ultimate point of dramatic tension (There are a couple of other similarly dramatic points in the novel).I don’t think that AWMF has a real climax because it never builds dramatic momentum between episodes. What you have is a set of loosely connected vignettes, each with their own narrative arcs. For the most part, their order and their inclusion (or exclusion) is completely arbitrary.

      3. rmric0

        I thought I detected sarcasm there. But it was an excuse to elaborate on how these books are meandering nonsense.


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