Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 36 [contd]

wizard's first rule header

[We’re doing another Wizard’s post to finish the chapter off]

Chapter 36

Last time we were introduced to the Wizard’s First Rule. Now let’s explore its mysteries in greater depth.

“People are stupid; given proper motivation, almost anyone will believe almost anything. Because people are stupid, they will believe a lie because they want to believe it’s true, or because they are afraid it might be true. People’s heads are full of knowledge, facts, and beliefs, and most of it is false, yet they think it all true. People are stupid; they can only rarely tell the difference between a lie and the truth, and yet they are confident they can, and so are all the easier to fool.

That certainly was enlightening.

Richard previously decided that he couldn’t let Zedd know he has the book of counted shadows memorized or else Zedd will wizard him to death, because these stalwart friends and heroes will attempt to murder each other at the drop of a hat. So he throws the tooth his dad left him in a river. Bye, tooth! Your relevance to the plot was tangential and contrived.

The hand of Rahl was reaching out to him, even at this distance, and making him do things he didn’t want to

FFS, stop blaming Rahl for the fact that you’re all violent paranoid assholes.

Near the middle of his watch, he became suddenly aware again of the thing that followed them

This has to be like the fifth time Richard has suddenly become aware that they’re being followed.

He hears the thing killing something nearby, then again on his next watch, but decides that whatever it is, it probably doesn’t mean then harm because reasons. Zedd ambles over for a chat and Richard starts angrily interrogating him about not-Gollum from back at Shota‘s place, then bursts into tears again. I guess I shouldn’t criticize this for being another sexual fantasy scene like when Harry Dresden did the same thing.

The prophecies say that the one who truly masters the sword’s magic, and in so doing makes the blade turn white, will be protected from that fate

Gee I wonder if that will happen

Also wait what prophecies.

“Strike you dead. That’s a joke. You’re all I have, all I’m allowed to love.

….or maybe I can criticize this for being a bromantic fantasy at the very least. Richard sure does seem to love quirky old guys. I don’t get the appeal dude, but to each their own.

Richard, I know how you feel about the magic

The characters keep talking about “the magic” but what does that actually mean? The magic of the sword? When Kahlan said that “the magic” prevents her from cutting her hair did she mean her Confessor powers? What kind of The Magic is Zedd using? Are they all the same The Magic or are there different types of The Magic depending on what kind of The Magic user you are?

This falls under the anti-asspull clause of my “no magic worldbuilding” rule, ie I’ll accept or even demand some in-depth magic system waffling to stop an author just making shit up as they go. Goodkind is blatantly doing that here, as with Kahlan’s no-haircutting thing.

Later on Kahlan goes to talk with Zedd over some “rabbit and biscuits”.


Also berries.

“I thought you might like something sweet. Can I share them with you?”

He eyed her up and down. “I guess you’re small enough, you couldn’t eat that many.”

Keep in mind Zedd is talking to Kahlan here, not Rachel.

You are the only one who knows what it is like to be a Confessor. I tried to explain it to Richard, but it takes a lifetime to truly understand

It’s not fucking hard to understand, stop pretending it is.

Kahlan asks if Zedd can use his wizard The Magic to release her from her confessor The Magic and he decides to answer in the most needlessly melodramatic way possible.

His head bent. He didn’t look up. “There is only one way to release you from the magic, MotherConfessor.”

Her heart leapt into her throat. “How?” she whispered.

His eyes came to hers. They were filled with pain. “I could kill you.”

Wouldn’t “no” have done just as well? I guess Goodkind just really wanted another scene where the heroes talk about murdering each other.

Zedd asks Kahlan to tell him what Shota said to Richard, Kahlan refuses so Zedd just strong-arms her into it.

Zedd gave a knowing smile at that; then his face hardened. “Mother Confessor, this is not a request, this is an order. I expect you to treat it as such.”

Such great friends.

Instead of telling Zedd to go fuck himself she spills the beans on what Shota told them, which if you’ve forgotten is that Zedd and Kahlan will both try to use their The Magic on Richard.

Just to recap, all three of these characters now know that it’s been foretold that this is going to happen, and Richard even suspects he knows why Zedd will try to kill him (the Book thing) so clearly the best course of action is to sit down, calmly and rationally get everything out in the open and negotiate a way of going forward that doesn’t involve murder. Instead of, you know, keeping secrets until they inevitably come out at the worst possible moment, which is obviously what’s going to happen.

Zedd brings up the obvious point that the prophecy might end up being self-fulfilling (in which case surely it would have been better for him to now know what it is so he can’t be influenced by it).

“Richard is in the books of prophecies?

The…. wait, what? What books of prophecies? Have they ever mentioned this before?

Also, are we seriously going down this route?

There can also be no doubt who `the Seeker who commands the wind against the heir to D’Hara’ is. It is Richard. Heir to D’Hara is Rahl.

I can’t help but interpret “command the wind” as a weird euphemism for flatulence. “Man I’m really commanding the wind after that chili con carne”. Also hey Zedd are you so sure you’re interpreting that right? Just saying.

“Zedd, why don’t you just tell him these things, like you have told me? Doesn’t he have a right to know all this?”

No Kahlan, that would get in the way of our contrived dramatic tension.

And then there’s some bullshit about Zedd’s wife and how awesome falling in love is okay end chapter.

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10 thoughts on “Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 36 [contd]

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 37-38 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. Reveen

    A prophecy? Now would be a great time Rothfuss’s trope subversion nonsense. Maybe have the prophecies be more like Nostradamus’s writings and are vague and easily twisted to support random people as the chosen one, or have it be a ploy by the bad guy to convince the good guys to sit on their asses waiting to be saved instead of doing it themselves, or maybe it’s put of a time travel debacle where someone created a stable time loop…

    Ah, no. Rothfuss would probably just do something like “The prophet was drunk when he wrote it! *wink* LOOOOOL” or something.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      At this point prophecies have become such a cliche even the subversions are cliches. Self-fulfilling prophecies, vague prophecies, false prophecies, they’ve all been done to death. Any time you see someone bust out the “ah ha ha ha ha, *do you see* how I’m subverting this fantasy cliche OH AREN’T I SO CLEVER” it just turns out to be a permutation of yet another cliche.

      It’s kind of like when you see people do the “oh ho ho HO you see in *my* story fairies are dark and edgy instead of Tinkerbell” even though declaring that your fairies are dark and edgy and not like tinker bell is itself such a huge cliche that a book with tinkerbell fairies would seem fresh and creative.

      Basically prophecy is one of those tropes that I think just needs to go away. It’s been done to death so many times, I really doubt there’s any new or creative spin anyone can put on it.

  3. Signatus

    And Richard KEEPS blaming everyone else for his problems. Such a cute, innocent little boy. It all comes down to CHOICES, we choose our paths, we might choose the easiest, we might choose the hardest, but we choose our paths. Blaming someone else is choosing the cheapest path for when we don’t want to face the emotional consequences of our actions. That is what Richard is doing right now, he chooses to blame Rahl for being a homicidal paranoid psycopath instead of sitting down and saying, “listen, that treacherous witch told me this, what do you guys think of it?”

    As for everything else, I once praised Goodkind because I had the feeling he actually knew where the book was going. I still believe he knows where the book is going, but is filling the middle section with shit as ideas pop in his head, without stoping to consider if they are a good addition to the story. Now we’re tossing in prophecies and a prophecy book, and a bunch of Ancestor Moth Priest… no, wait, a bunch or readers of the prophecies. SURE this wasn’t an important enough element to toss in when we’re 70% through the book!

    And, for goodness sake, SHUT UP with the whole romance melodrama. It’s not that terrible, for fuck’s sake! People get fucking over it all the time, which is pretty normal considering monogamy is not ethologically natural for the human specie.
    Also, I feel whole without needing someone else to complement me, thank you very much. Stop feeding us a bullshit myth that enforces dependant attitudes on people. It doesn’t matter if you never find a mate or bear kids, you will have a plentiful and rich life.

  4. Emily

    I like how Goodkind writes about psych 101 concepts, e.g. confirmation bias, and pretends that it’s something profound.

    PS: I’ve also totally had rabbit-shaped pastries before. They’re adorable.

  5. Alice

    Fantasy authors should be banned from including prophecies in their works. It’s just unbelievably lazy. The only time I liked the use of a prophecy was in Angel, where a prophecy that turned the good guys against each other turns out to have been completly made up by a demon just to screw with them. I liked it because everyone always takes prophecies seriously, no one ever stops to consider that ANYONE can write a prophecy.

    “And lo, on the eleventh day the sun shall rise, and the people shall shower the kipper seller with gold and riches, or else the world shall end!” – Prophecy totally written by a wise oracle, who just happens to smell of kippers.

    Also, if I were an oracle/seer/prophet in a fantasy setting, I wouldn’t sit around writing prophecies, I’d be out and about using my prescience to win at gambling and nip dark lords in the bud while they’re still young and harmless. Prevention is better than cure after all, and if you can see the future I bet you could do a lot more good than a farmboy with a magic sword.

  6. Aleph (@needsmorealeph)

    I don’t suppose there was a bit where Zedd made sure to count himself in among the humans who were full of information which could potentially be wrong to the point of stupid? Or would that be giving way too much credit to the author?

  7. Pingback: Let’s Read Wizard’s First Rule ch. 36.5 | Doing In The Wizard

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