(note: TW for rape)
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-THREE
We’re rapidly approaching the end here people. Only like twenty-something more chapters to go!
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.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-FOUR
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.
HELL YEAH FEMINAZGUL TIME
“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.
CHAFFER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-FIVE
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.
FAT PEOPLE ARE CRAVEN AND USELESS, GOOD CAPABLE MEN HAVE CHISELED ABS AND JAWS OF FUCKING STONE
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.