I took a sneak peek at the following chapters and it looks like a whole lot of bullshit goes on in them, so in the interest of me not losing my mind we’re going to power through this at warp speed.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED FORTY-ONE
A Journey to Return
Kvothe is on a ship with some sailors. They somehow heard about him boning Felurian, he makes friends with the sailors.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED FORTY-TWO
Kvothe returns to wizard school. Ah, wizard school. You seem like a sweet reprieve after the nonsense we’ve been wading through for most of the book.
I’d been gone for three-quarters of a year. In some ways it seemed much longer, but at the same time everything here felt so familiar that it felt like hardly any time at all had passed.
I beg to differ.
Kvothe goes to visit Simmon and it turns out that everyone thought he was dead after his ship sank on the way to Vintas. He could have easily cleared this up by sending a letter but forgot to,
The thought of writing home was utterly alien to me.
I refuse to believe you’re really still so immersed in the nomadic mindset that it wouldn’t occur to you to inform people that you’re still alive.
Hey Kvothe how about another murder spree right about now?
Kvothe pulls some kind of scam by arranging for the University bursar to draw way more money from the Mayor’s bank account than necessary and split the extra. I can think of a whole load of reasons why that wouldn’t work, but I can’t be arsed to go through them right now.
Kvothe goes through admissions and is quite rusty on some subjects. I’m not sure why this matters since he now has literally infinite money to pay his tuition but whatever. After that he wanders around a bit aimlessly in the extremely vague hope that he’ll run into Denna. Just like the good old days!
But even looking for her and not finding her was comforting in a way. In some ways that seemed to be the heart of our relationship.
Hey remember how Denna is basically enslaved to a man who beats her on a regular basis? Forget about that though, no need to interrupt your pathetic Nice Guy stalking.
After that Kvothe goes to visit Moon Fey-chan, whose existence I had successfully managed to expunge completely from my mind so thank you Wise Man’s Fear for bringing those memories back.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED FORTY-THREE
Kvothe goes back to the artificing workshop and it turns out they’ve been mass-producing his arrow catching thing (now called a “bloodless”) and selling them like hotcakes, so Kvothe has built up more than 20 talents in commissions while he was away.
After that Kvothe takes his money and goes to see Devi.
The door cracked open and a single pale blue eye peered out at me. I grinned.
Did no one even read this before it went off to the printers?
Devi is shocked Kvothe is alive. She blamed herself for his “death” since she assumed Ambrose had had his ship sunk in revenge for the room-burning incident, Devi being the one who actually set the fire.
“His father’s barony is called the Pirate Isles.
That sounds fucking awesome, can we go there in the next book?
Anyway Kvothe pays off his loan and gets his talent pipes and Denna’s ring back (bet you wish you had given her that sooner, huh?).
Then he realizes….. something.
“This doesn’t have anything to do with money,” I repeated. I looked at her books. Her collection had to be worth five hundred talents if it was worth a penny. “You use the money as bait. You lend it out to desperate folks who might be useful to you, then hope they can’t pay you back. Your real business is favors.”
I’m really not sure why this is supposed to be important.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED FORTY-FOUR
Sword and Shaed
It was strange not having to live like a miser. I had clothes that fit me and could afford to have them laundered. I could have coffee or chocolate whenever I wanted. I no longer needed to toil endlessly in the Fishery and could spend time tinkering simply to satisfy my curiosity or pursue projects simply for the joy of it.
This paragraph reveals way more about Rothfuss and his level of privilege than I think he intended.
Kvothe meets Elodin and Elodin asks where he got the Shaeadeaeadedead from so they go to a pub so Kvothe can fill him in on the hot fairy sex.
We sat near a warm radiator and sipped mulled cider
Wait, what the fuck? A radiator? Wikipedia tells me that modern-style radiators were invented in the mid-19th century and having now seen more of it there is no way in hell that Kvothe’s world is at that level of technology yet.
I’ve been thinking, the only way that this book’s setting makes sense is if it was equivalent to some real-world countries in the 19th century that had remained isolated for a long time and hadn’t gone through industrialization but traded and imported technology to a limited degree that they would have lacked the means to mass-produce. That would explain why the area around the University seems to have more advanced gizmos than anywhere else and possesses specialized knowledge that doesn’t seem to have spread to anywhere else- it’s the main trade hub and point of contact for the exchange of goods and information with the outside world. People in Vintas don’t know anything about magic because magic was imported from somewhere else and is still rare and mainly confined to the elite. Maybe people are distrustful of wizards (as we were told way back in the first book even though this has yet to ever be demonstrated) because magic was introduced by an aggressive foreign power?
But of course that’s not the case. As we’ve discussed before it’s not clear that there even is anywhere else besides Kvotheland or that if there is they’e more technologically advanced. Although frankly given how the main persecuted minority in this setting are white middle-class intellectuals I’m amazed Rothfuss didn’t jump at the chance to apply colonial motifs to his setting’s Europe analogue.
Wait didn’t I say this was going to be quick?
Oh shit WARP SPEED
So it turns out that conveniently Kvothe still can’t call the Name of The Wind unless his burning anime passion is high enough, Elodin says he actually called Felurian’s name during their magic battle which makes Kvothe super special awesome, he starts learning Yllish after experiencing the mystery of the Lockless box and its story knot.
I have a vast weakness for secret things.
I’d describe it more as an entitlement complex.
This is super hard to do, but it’s okay because the head linguist and chancellor of wizard school, Master Herma, offers to tutor Kvothe personally! Because of reasons.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED FORTY-FIVE
Uh oh it’s Ambrose time! Still can’t tell whether we’re supposed to view him as buffoonish comic relief or an actual threat.
My tuition was set at eighteen talents and five, earning me four talents and change from the Bursar.
Sales of the Bloodless had slackened over the winter, as there were fewer merchants visiting the University. But once snows melted and roads grew dry, the handful that had accumulated in the Stocks sold quickly, bringing me another six talents.
Okay, Rothfuss, you realize we don’t actually give a shit about where Kvothe is getting his money from right? If you didn’t keep bringing it up I would have completely forgotten about it.
Also hang on a second, Kvothe’s plan with the Bursar is that they’d split any amount over ten talents that he drew from the Mayor’s account, so Kvothe gets 4.25 talents out of 8.5. But does that mean only ten talents went toward his tuition? How, when he still has to pay the full 18.5? Is the idea that the Bursar is drawing 8.5 extra talents and then splitting that with Kvothe? If they’re just taking out more money than they need why do the whole “anything over ten talents” thing, why not just draw a fixed amount every time, like ten? Or twenty? Or hell, why not just take a hundred? Is there some reason why the tuition cost – 10 talents is going to be harder to detect or something? Or wait hang on, is the Bursar just artificially increasing the amount that Kvothe has to pay on the ledgers? But the Masters decide the tuition, not the Bursar. Also that would only work if Kvothe’s actual tuition was always set at exactly ten talents, which it isn’t. The only way I can see this actually working is if the Bursar was withdrawing the money from the Mayor’s account, taking anything over ten to split with Kvothe and then using University money to shore up the difference, except that would be really obvious and he’d totally get caught. And wait, why
Kvothe describes all the neat stuff he spends his money on lavishly while still having plenty to spare, even though a) I distinctly remember him having roughly this much (about ten and a half talents including money from Bloodless sales) in the past and not being nearly as well off, and b) given the kinds of prices we’re told of (one and a half talents for a single old book) it doesn’t seem like his money would cover six suits of fine clothes, paper, engraving tools, ink, clothes for Moon Fey-chan, meals for his friends and a whole lot else.
Auri had new dresses and bright ribbons for her hair
Way back in the first book Moon Fey-chan knew something about the Amyr she shouldn’t have. And she has blonde hair, doesn’t she?
Ordal, the youngest of them all, who had never seen a thing die, stood bravely before Aleph, her golden hair bright with ribbon.
Stories about Kvothe and Felurian reach the University and he laps up the attention because he’s an arrogant dick. Incidentally from the descriptions of the distorted version of Kvothe rescuing the two teenagers from the Bandit Bros I’m fairly certain this is where the “I have rescued princesses from sleeping barrow kings” thing comes from. Note that once again Kvothe’s deeds have stopped being ordinary acts blown into legends; in fact what he really did is arguably more impressive than the story versions, which state that he fought against enormous odds to rescue a number of captured maidens. This is pretty much what actually happened, just with more grimdark.
The second ending was more popular. It involved me calling down fire and lightning from the sky after the fashion of Taborlin the Great.
Except you did call down fire and lightning, you just did it earlier. Hey how exactly did that work, again? I’m kind of iffy on that.
Oh also Kvothe might have aged by a few years while he was in Fairyland. Or something.
CHAPTER ONE HUNDRED FORTY-SIX
You know what we need six chapters from the end of the sequel to one of the most critically acclaimed fantasy novels in recent memory? A long discussion of a made up language.
You couldn’t merely say “the Chancellor’s socks.” Oh no. Too simple. All ownership was oddly dual: as if the Chancellor owned his socks, but at the same time the socks somehow also gained ownership of the Chancellor. This altered the use of both words in complex grammatical ways. As if the simple act of owning socks somehow fundamentally changed the nature of a person.
See, this is what happens when you invent a language whose sole function is to be wacky as opposed to actually making sense.
Kvothe’s other failure is advanced chemistry, which he likes but he resents the fact that it involves having to write numbers down.
He would make me perform the same titration four times simply because my notation was incorrect. Why write a number down? Why should I take ten minutes to write what my hands could finish in five?
Are you fucking kidding me? When I did lab work you did everything in triplicate until the results matched to within a single decimal place in all three instances, and if that meant repeating experiments seventeen times until you got three good results then you repeated the experiment seventeen times, because you don’t just wing it in science. Holy shit.
Kvothe also doesn’t like advanced maths because he doesn’t like purely theoretical maths. I have some sympathy with this since I struggled pretty hard with some of the more advanced stuff in college as well, but the way he expresses it still comes across as arrogant and pompous.
Also Kvothe has casual sex with tons of women. This is supposed to be self-depreciating because he can’t maintain a relationship with anyone for very long, but come on Rothfuss you’re not kidding us with this shit.
Remember how implausible it was that Kvothe’s sword would survive three thousand years? Well we get an explanation of that now, which is: “Eh, whatever”. The University has a collection of objects with strange properties that don’t seem to be magical in nature but can’t be explained otherwise, and apparently the sword is like those. Other examples include two cubes that can create force-fields. My, that totally original and not-at-all like other fantasy novels magic system sure seems like it was worth establishing now, yes indeed.
After that we get a ludicrous series of comedy capers involving Elodin that somehow let Kvothe call the wind some more. Not even sure if we’re supposed to be taking this seriously now.
You may not think these terribly impressive feats of naming, and I suppose you are right. But I called the wind a third time that spring, and third time pays for all.
Is this going to be as exciting as that time you pushed Ambrose around a bit? Because I’m not sure if I can handle anything more thrilling than that.
So I’ve been saying for a while now that we’re taking awfully long to get to any sort of climax for this book. Well I took a quick gander at the chapters ahead and guess what, as far as I can tell there isn’t one! Not even in the framing story, like with the possessed guy in the first book.
Or rather, there was a climax. We passed it already. It was Kvothe defeating the bandits. Just as a third of this book seemed like it was really the end of the first book, half of Wise Man’s Fear has really been part of the book three. I really do think that. Evidently Rothfuss initially planned this out as one giant brick and then didn’t give a whole lot of thought to where the dividing points were going to be.
Anyway, it’s very likely that I’m just going to cram the remaining chapters into one last mega-post, which makes this the penultimate installment of Let’s Read The Name Of The Wind! I can hardly believe we’e almost at the end.