CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-Six
Interlude—Close to Forgetting
You know what this story needs? A little padding.
Kvothe cajoles Bast into going off to the funeral of Whoever who died in the last book, or maybe it was this book. Time has ceased to hold any meaning and the void surrounds me.
After he’s gone Chronicler and Kvothe have some banter and Kvothe grins and nods a lot.
“That’s terribly kind of you,” Chronicler said, relaxing a bit. “I’ll admit I wasn’t looking forward to spending an hour grinding tonight.
You need to get away from the MMOs man, they’re more trouble than they’re worth.
(He’s actually talking about making ink)
Chronicler asks why the sword Kvothe has hanging on the wall doesn’t match the description of the one he got from the Adem and Kvothe explains that it’s a different sword.
Kvothe laughed a rich warm laugh. The sound of it tumbled around the room, and for a moment the inn didn’t feel empty at all.
This book is like a rollercoaster that lurches constantly between gritty gritty grimdark and twee merriment. One minute Kvothe is hacking bandits to pieces with dark magic and the next he’s strolling naked through fairyland with his lute firmly in hand.
“These will be a nice surprise for Bast.” Kvothe grinned at Chronicler
Kvothe returned after several minutes with his apron wrapped into a bundle. He was spattered with rain and his hair was in wild disarray. He wore a boyish grin
In The Wise Man’s Fear alone characters are described as grinning over 150 times. No really, I counted.
Just when the twee is about to reach terminal levels two soldiers come stomping in. Kvothe’s exceedingly young age actually gets acknowledged here, as one of the soldiers calls him “boy” and tells him to get the owner. Of course this is just making me imagine Kvothe as a 25 year old and only draws more attention to the fact that he acts like he’s 50.
The two soldiers have “taken the king’s coin” and so only have a really big gold piece with them that no one can give them change for. That…. seems kind of goofy and weird but okay. Kvothe of course has enough money, because Kvothe must always be the most impressive person in the room. Unfortunately the two soldiers are actually there to rob him, oh oh!
“This hain’t got nothing to do with you, either,” he said grimly, his beard waggling as he spoke.
“Grim” and “waggle” are two words that don’t really belong in the same sentence together.
Also that’s such terrible writing.
Needless to say Kvothe decides to fight instead of handing over he money.
Before the soldier could do more than shake his head, Kvothe stepped forward and calmly kicked him in the shoulder.
Why on Earth would you ever kick someone in the shoulder in a real fight? Do you have any idea how hard that would be to pull off?
Anyway Kvothe manages to flatten the first soldier but the second one catches him off guard and starts pummeling him. I guess being an innkeeper instead of an awesome dude who everyone loves has drained Kvothe’s fighting powers as well as his magic. He gets beaten up for a bit then the two soldiers steal his purse and leave.
In any other book I’d suspect this was an indication that Kvothe had been massively exaggerating his fighting prowess in his stories, but since it’s Rothfuss I’m really not sure. Part of me suspects he is actually going to pull a twist like this since it would see oh so clever and Rothfuss sure does like to be oh so clever, but like I’ve said before that wouldn’t in any way excuse the long, tedious two-volume build-up.
Bast comes in and is naturally shocked that two ordinary non-Gary Stus beat him up.
Kvothe let his arms fall heavily to his sides. “Quit expecting me to be something I’m not,” he said, still breathing hard.
He might have some expectation about your fighting ability because you just got done explaining at length about how much of a badass you are. Just a thought.
Once again the book insists on pointing out contradictions and plot holes that I wouldn’t actually have noticed on my own, as Bast asks how Kvothe defeated all the spider-crabs the day before yesterday but couldn’t take down two ordinary guys. Kvothe waves this away by saying he “picked the time and place” of the spider-crab fight, whatever that means. Come to think of it we didn’t actually see that fight, so maybe Kvothe used some sort of unknown ability or power he’s reluctant to talk about.
Kvothe insists on going back to the story, saying his injuries are no big deal.
“I’m not concussed, Bast,” Kvothe said, irritated. “I’ve got four broken ribs,
Uh, yeah, that is actually kind of a big deal. I don’t know where writers got this idea that broken ribs are a minor flesh wound you’ll sleep off the next day. They make breathing extremely painful and can actually puncture your diaphragm and shit. Multiple rib fractures (like say four rib fractures) can result in something lovely called “flail chest”, a life threatening condition that often requires a ventilator to treat.
Seriously, a broken rib is “holy shit get to the hospital right now” time, not “ah it’s fine”. At the very least Kvothe should be in agony right now. I get the feeling a lot of writers have never broken bones before and don’t realize how painful it is (really really fucking painful).
Anyway Bast performs a mildly creepy magic spell thing to heal Kvothe’s injured tooth that involves basically taking the injury on himself (one of those rare bursts of creativity we’ve been seeing in the book) and then it’s story time again.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED THIRTY-SEVEN
Mercifully the journey back to Severen is skipped over in the space of a page or so. Kvothe rushes as fast as possible before news of what happened with the bandits overtakes him and he winds up arrested. Not sure how that would happen since everyone in town seemed to have decided he was a hero by the end of it, but in these books rumours appears to be transmitted telepathically at roughly the same speed that fiber optic cables transmit data so I guess he has to hurry.
Kvothe arrives back at the Mayor’s pad, setting the iron gibbet we were told about ten thousand years ago.
The sight of the bleached bones in the iron cage did not ease my amdeties. The Maer had put a man in there for simple banditry. What might he do to someone who had slaughtered nine traveling players on the road?
Dude, everyone who witnessed or knows about the incident is going to testify that they were evil rapist bandits, I think you’ll be fine.
Stapes (man this brings back fond memories of my childhood, when we were on the Vint bit) tells Kvothe that the Mayor got married while he was gone. Oh and remember that hanging plot thread with Caudicus, the assassin doctor who vowed to come back and finish the job? Turns out the Mayor’s men tracked him down and killed him while Kvothe was gone. Yes, just like that.
He killed four of the Maer’s personal guard and cost Dagon an eye.
The power level of wizards in this book is all over the place. Back at wizard school I got the impression that just manipulating the heat of a candle was quite an achievement, but now we’ve got Kvothe and Dagon blowing multiple people away with magic, and neither of them have access to powers that other wizards don’t. It really is like this book is composed of multiple often wildly different drafts written over a long time period stuck awkwardly together.
I smiled. “Tell him it’s a wedding present.”
Stapes took hold of the box, smiling. “I’m sure he’ll be delighted.”
He smiled smilingly as he handed over the box, smiling.
Such bad writing.
Kvothe has to go meet the Mayor but he can’t yet because he’s really dirty from travelling so he needs to postpone the meeting PADDING PADDING PADDING can you believe we’re actually approaching the end of this thing?
The Mayor is like “I’m totally coming lol” and then he just leaves Kvothe waiting all say to troll him
The fact that I couldn’t make my way down to Severen-Low to look for Denna was a vast irritation as well.
You already fucking know she left months ago. And why is it so important that you find her now, when you’ve been sitting on your arse faffing around and barely thinking of her up to this point?
Bredon (it’s okay if you can’t remember who that is, don’t bother looking it up) swings round to twinkle at Kvothe merrily and be like “hey I heard someone boned Felurian wonder who that could be by the way that sure is a very fae-like cloak you have there” and also shares some interesting gossip.
The royal court in Renere was busy too. The Prince Regent Alaitis had been killed in a duel, sending much of the southern farrel into chaos as various nobility did their best to capitalize on the death of such a highly ranked member of the court.
I swear to God this better not be going where I think it’s going.
Kvothe ambles around with the Mayor making small talk .
“I have always thought,” Alveron said at last, introducing the topic of our discussion, “that everyone has a question that rests in the center of who they are.”
Oh for fuck’s sake.
After some waffling the Mayor wants to swap Great Centre Identity Questions or whatever the fuck.
I could hardly hope for better encouragement than that. I thought for a moment, choosing my words carefully. “Where are the Amyr?”
Are you fucking serious? Kvothe was farting around Vintas having endless conversations with the Mayor and he’s only now getting around to asking about this? I am literally astonished with how badly plotted these books are. Kvothe just wanders around from side-quest to side-quest until he either randomly remembers what he was supposed to be doing or has the next chunk of information dumped on him. This isn’t how you write a story. I’ve seen amateur fiction better then this. Hell I could write a better fantasy story then this.
Anyway, we don’t actually get any more information except that like Kvothe the Mayor went looking for information about the Amyr when he was younger, like Kvothe he didn’t find anything and like Kvothe he came to the conclusion that the Amyr themselves had expunged the records. Kvothe implies that if he had the Mayor’s blessing he’d be able to get into all sorts of secret libraries and have a good poke around. Which you may recall was the entire reason Kvothe came to see the Mayor in the first place and since he found nothing in the murder forest, fairyland or Ninjatown except some names this means a good two thirds or so of the book were effectively pointless.
Since nothing in this trilogy can happen quickly the Mayor says he’ll “think on” Kvothe’s proposal nstead of just saying “right, off you go”. He tells Kvothe to come to his rooms later, so he can ask Kvothe a question in return. Be still, my heart.