Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch 5 + 6


It’s time for another round of whatever, or something!

Chapter five: Hollow

ON THE THIRD DAY, Auri wept.

Chapter six: The Angry Dark



I guess that was… a biblical reference, for some reason?

Anyway foxen is “full of mountains” which means it’s a “tapering day”, and also the whootsywhosit is splendorous with butter-squash, which means it’s a blithering day.

Even so, burning days were flickersome. Too frangible by half.

But how cromulent are they

Incidentally I’m only now just realizing that Foxen is probably not actually sentient, Auri is just imbuing him with quirky personality. I feel somewhat stupid for not figuring this out sooner.

Then she made her way out of bed under the tenebrific blanket

Okay now you’re just taking the piss.

Auri tries to light some matches but they break, then she sits in the dark and thinks about how empty and meaningless her life was until wonderful, sweet, brilliant Kvothe (or “him”, for some reason the book has yet to refer to him by name) came along. We sure are learning  a lot about Auri in this novella!

What the fuck is so wonderful about Kvothe that people fall all over themselves to praise him, anyway?

Eventually Auri rouses herself from her stupour because she has to get glorious, magnificent, tenebrific Kvothe a present. That means it’s back to Auri wandering around the Underthing some more, but this time in the dark because Foxen is scared or something. At one point she thinks her soap might be gone, but then! It turns out she just couldn’t see it in the dark. Holy shit I think we need to take a break, my heart is pounding here.

All watery and loose inside she searched about,

If you’re feeling watery and loose inside you should consider changing your diet

Auri finds one of her item stashes destroyed by some unknown animal, and her tiny face is shocked (her TINY face just like she runs on her TINY feet and uses her TINY hands to pick up things have I mentioned how TINY and waif-like she is yet also the little girl from the last chapter was TINY and gave a TINY gasp of surprise).

Eight cakes. An entire winter’s worth of soap.

This is perhaps a good reason not to live by yourself underground.

The gesture was so tight with rage she feared she’d snap and crack the world in two.


With this bit of thrilling drama over, it’s time for Auri to wander around some more! She finds a baby skunks flailing around in a pool of water and rescues it, thus introducing the most likeable character in the series so far. Unfortunately she just puts it back outside. Come back, helpless miniature skunk!

Then she did her best to set the place to rights. Hollybottle close beside the folded secrets of the all uncut octavo book?

The what what next to the what in the what now?

Anyway so next Auri’s blanket falls on the floor….. and that’s bad….. or something….. so she like runs around some doing I don’t know whatever…….


But hey she does almost set her hair on fire (HER WISPY HAIR THAT FLOATS AROUND HER TINY, TINY EVERY SO TINY FACE) so that’s dramatic I guess. This entire chapter is just a series of pratfalls where mildly inconveniencing things happen to Auri.

Then she like…. does something with the blanket I don’t know, but then later she goes back and puts the blanket somewhere else, and then there’s some other bullshit she has to do that involves running through an endless succession of rooms with quirky names. Jesus Rothfuss wasn’t joking, this really isn’t like a traditional story. It doesn’t have any plot, or characters, or drama, or tension, or

Eventually after pages and pages of pointless horseshit Auri finds a bottle that has something written on it, which I won’t bother quoting unless it becomes important later.

I’m honestly not sure how much more of this I can take. I cannot imagine how anyone actually managed to finish this thing for fun.

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23 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch 5 + 6

  1. Pingback: Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: 7 + 8 | Doing In The Wizard

  2. Pingback: Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch. 7 | Doing In The Wizard

  3. braak

    A good article I read once — and you’ll have to forgive me, for the most part I’m one of those people who asborbs the idea of what I’m reading without retaining pertinent details (i.e., who wrote it? When? &c.) — was about a Frenchman who’d undertaken a long study about the relationship of “class” and “taste”. He found that there was an unequivocal connection between the two — a surprisingly close correlation heretofore unexplored, and his conclusion was that what constitutes “good” art had very little to do with objective analyses and very much to do with a person’s economic background.

    (Of course that makes sense; even at the most very basic level our standards for what constitutes “good” are, at some level, arbitrary. Sure, a book has to have plot, right? Well, does it? Says who? Since when? Why? Bleh bleh.)

    Anyway, I think that in genre literature it’s especially clear that people like books for reasons that relate much more to personal identity than anything else, and that the explanations for what makes a book “good” are post-hoc rationalizations (the way basically 99% of our feelings are).

    An interesting question, for me, is less “how can people like this thing when it’s manifestly preposterous”, and more, “what is the kind of person you imagine yourself to be, that this is the sort of book you would like?”

    1. steamysalt

      It doesn’t relate exactly to what you described, but I couldn’t help but think of a certain passage from Fernando Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet.

      “The downfall of classical ideals made all men potential artists, and therefore bad artists. When art depended on solid construction and the careful observation of rules, few could attempt to be artists, and a fair number of these were quite good. But when art, instead of being understood as creation, became merely an expression of feelings, then anyone could be an artist, because everyone has feelings.”

      I tend to think this might correlate to the prevalence of wish-fulfillment, self-insert bullshit in fantasy, among other genres.

    2. The Ghost of a Flea

      braak –

      The French sociologist you’re referencing is most likely Pierre Bourdieu. The study you’re describing sounds like the work he published in English under the title “Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste.”

      “what is the kind of person you imagine yourself to be, that this is the sort of book you would like?”

      The impression I get is that the distinction at play is not about class directly, but about notions of intellectual and creative refinement (that echo class distinctions about taste but have taken on a life separate from class as economic status).

      The Kvothe books are an interesting case of cultural capital. They play to the idea of capital-L Literature as a distinction in fiction. You’re supposed to like the florid description because it’s artistic. You’re supposed to like the trope awareness and “subversion” because tropes are conventional. You’re supposed to find the meta-narrative declarations of “if this were a story” wryly observant because…well…because tropes are *still* too conventional. The author is presenting a bunch of superficially clever bits and telling you you’re super clever for appreciating those clever bits.

      If you don’t like it, you’re not being a Serious Reader.

      It’s not a new formula,, it’s just particularly blatant in this case because it’s three (so far) books of nudge-nudge, wink-wink, Don’t You How Smart This Is?

      1. braak

        It’s true that writing books to make a specific subset of readers feel pleased with themselves isn’t exactly new; I think somehow the sense that I get that the Kvothe books are precision-targeted at me makes all of this more insulting.

        Or precision-targeted at me when I was in college.

    1. literarymoses


      How the shit did this book make it into the goodreads awards finals? Not that goodreads is the slightest bit trustworthy in terms of how they rate their books, but it’s still a very big and thriving community, which means a LOT of people somehow voted for this book as being the best fantasy of 2014 or something.

    2. ronanwills Post author

      In the interest of fairness I should point out that’s just a formatting thing- the first three words of every chapter are caps and in bold, it just stands out more because the “chapter” is only one sentence long. Rothfuss likely didn’t have anything to do with it.

      1. Reveen

        I don’t know. I have no idea how it works, but couldn’t Rothfuss just contact his editor or whoever’s putting together the Ebook to make sure this chapter is excepted from the formatting?

        I mean, if the one sentence chapter isn’t important enough to take extra steps make sure the formatting doesn’t screw it up then what’s the point of even putting it in?

    3. Straw Man

      I realize I’m late to the party, but once again I can’t resist commenting.

      There was something I liked about the once-sentence chapter. Each chapter is a day in Auri’s life; day 3 consisted entirely of Auri weeping. It sorta worked for me. Perhaps because I’ve had days that felt like that. (I didn’t literally weep all day, because that would be exhausting and would leave me dehydrated as a piece of beef jerky. But I’ve known days in my life where literally nothing happened, and if I could have been bothered spending the energy to weep, I would have.)

      What didn’t work for me is that if she spent an entire day weeping, doing nothing else whatsoever, it’s clear that we’re talking about utterly crippling depression here. The kind of depression that doesn’t hit you one morning, and then clear up magically the next morning because now it’s a shloofing day and yesterday was the weeping day. The kind of depression that calls for caregivers to make sure you’re, you know, eating and stuff.

      I can deal with a whimsical character. Rothfuss ain’t no Lewis Carroll, but I can dig the basic concept here. I can mostly suspend outrage at the overtones of mental illness–also explicitly present in Lewis Carroll–as well. But this one defeats me. It takes a specific effort of will to remind myself that this guy has no conception of depression, and neither knows nor cares whereof he speaks. He wants us to think that Auri is just a sensitive, artistic soul, and this was her day to dwell on sunrises, and puppies, and lovers’ last kisses on their deathbeds, and other things that make sensitive souls leak out around the eyeballs.

  4. Chackludwig

    Kvothe is the MAIN CHARACTER™, not only of the series, but of people’s actual lives within Kvotheland. That’s why he’s so important… and also why we should call an exorcist (NOT Dresden) to force him out of Rothfuss’s head. He’s clearly a demon. A vain one.

    1. Signatus

      You’ve just reminded me of Dragon Age. XD

      But yeah, it’s amazing how Rothfuss is unable to explore his other character’s lives without having them revolve around Qvothe. I love exploring my characters’ lives, why they are who they are, what lead them to that point, their motivations, their fears. Exploring who they really are.

      It is amazing Rothfuss has created a SINGLE character and he’s unable to let go. It’s not that Auri is all that interesting, but having her say things like; “my life was misery until he came around and gave me a new name.” WTF?

      It’s almost like watching a sort of young god allegory, where everything didn’t exist until HE came around to create it. The sad thing is that might be something worth exploring, but the truth is Rothfuss is just a BAD writer unable to create a compelling, living society.

  5. Signatus

    I’m going to be a dick and toss a bit of realism there. The skunk bit her. I’m not sure if those things can have rabbies but I’m going with yeah, possibly, so there is a chance a bite from a wild animal CAN transmit certain diseases, most of which can be potentially fatal. Even if it doesn’t transmit any diseas, there is a high risk that wound will get infected. It’s a wild animal (and while the chances of dying from a septycemia caused by human bite is greater, due to being the same species and all, wild animal bite can get infected). Auri has not been shown to clean the wound more than put her hand inside water that has been running through SEWERS. No antiseptic, no soap to clean it, nothing. She’s been running about without tending her wounds at ALL. She should be dead by now.

    Even if she doesn’t die due to fatal infection, what about other diseases? She just tossed away her blanket and refuses to pick another blanket simply because “things have to be that way” or some other bullshit. I’m not sure if it snows in Qvotheland, but I do remember he complaining due to the cold and wearing cloaks (yet he buys Auri a friggin dress instead of some pants and a jumper to keep warm). She’s living in a humid, potentially infectious, COLD place without proper ways to protect herself from harsh climate.

    I know people actually live in harsh climates, like the Inuit people or the Touaregs (to mention two extremes), but they’re not a quirky crazy bunch tossing safety out of the drain for some magic induced delusions. They actually use their human cognitive abilities to survive in harsh environments, such as using certain types of CLOTHING, building their houses a certain way and actually prioritizing survival to anything else.

    Auri is not only demented. She shouldn’t even be alive. She is totally unfit to be independent and should be kept safely in an institution. Qvothe is an asshole for permitting a mentally infirm and potentially dangerous to herself woman roam free in an infectious, humid and cold environment.

    1. ronanwills Post author

      No no, you’re getting it all wrong- this is near the “civilizing influence” of the university where sewers are filled with pure, clean water and diseases don’t exist. Or that’s how it seems to work, going by these books.

      I think the water running through the Underthing is actually supposed to be drainage rather than for sewage purposes. Not that that would be much better.

      1. Signatus

        Yeah, Rothfuss is so subversive sewers are not like in Oblivion, an infectious, humid and disgusting hole full of rats and goblins. It’s actually a wonderful place where nothing bad happens.

        Maybe it is drainage, I wouldn’t know as it isn’t specified. Either way, it is still a cold, humid place where something as common as a flu could kill her. When I read about her in the books it was obvious she was crazy, but not THAT level of crazy. I thought she would at least be capable of surviving on her own, through stealing food and covering basic needs like keeping warm and dry. This is even worse, she’s completely deranged in a way that she’s a danger to herself.

        That scene where she sees the little girl and she jumps and prances and screams and laughs like a madwoman… am I the only one who found it terribly disturbing? I’ve written some disturbing stuff myself, but I don’t make them look like something cute or innocent.

        1. Chackludwig

          But mentally ill people are just sooooooooooo funny and cute, and we should all treat them like curious animals. Believe me, I read it in a fantasy novel by A Man With A Beard

  6. q____q


    I’m not sure I should be angry at or awed by all the people involved in this because it’s obviously such bullshit but I guess it will make them some money anyway (it’s #7 in Fantasy and #14 in Sci-Fi/Fantasy on amazon.com right now). In that it’s not unlike Hollywood Movies. Only with even less plot. Which doesn’t seem to matter much (though it does have a pretty high amount of 1 star reviews).

    1. Austin H. Williams

      Let’s be fair here: Hollywood might not produce deep plots, or original ones, but even the most blase lowest-common denominated mindless summer blockbuster is still going to have actual shit happening in it!

      This is much more akin to an art film made by someone who is only familiar with the negative clichés of art films, but who nonetheless thinks making their own horrible, terrible, failure of an art film is a good idea.

  7. Pingback: Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch. 4 | Doing In The Wizard

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