Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch. 7


Chapter 7: Ash and Ember




Can you guess what happens now? What’s that? Auri wander around a sequence of quirkely-named rooms? WHY YOU’RE CORRECT

Seriously, I know I complained about the two Kingkiller books being extremely repetitive, but even though they (the second one in particular) mainly consisted of Kvothe wandering around aimlessly, but he had the whole of the University and Imre to wander around, then Vintas, the big forest, Felurian-land and Ninjatown. In this book Auri is literally just going through the exact same handful of mostly nondescript rooms and corridors over and over again and not really doing a whole lot in any of them. I think we’ve seen her wash her face like six times.

It was just as Master Mandrag always said: nine tenths of chemistry was waiting.

If you think chemistry is bad you should try genetics. Jesus Christ.

She brought it to her face and breathed in deep. Musk and thistle. A smell like a bordello curtain, deep and red and full of mysteries.

See, bits like this prove that Rothfuss does actually have quite a way with words when he’s bothering to actually communicate an idea instead of just engaging in self-indulgent quasi-poetic wordplay.

Anyway we’re treated to some fascinating logistics action as Auri very slowly and methodically moves things from one room to another room, then cooks some food, then puts things into and/or on top of other things. I’ve stopped trying to pay attention to what the things are or why she wants them, because the parts of this book that aren’t Auri wandering are Auri moving things until they’re “right”.

Then she makes a fire! Out of three different types of wood!

The elm was graceful but not inappropriately apetalous, especially for her.

And the hawthorn . . . well. Auri blushed a bit at that. Suffice to say that apetalous or no, she was still a healthy young lady, and there was such a thing as too much decorum.

“Apetalous: having no flowers”

So Auri is embarrassed because the Hawthorn isn’t decorous enough, and she has no petals… no wait, it has too much decorum? Or something? What?

I guess the point of all of this is that Auri is making some soap for herself, to replace the soap the baby skunk ate. This leads dilemmas like certain ingredients being too angry, and her being forced to use the honeycomb she found to add scent.

Three circles. Perfect for asking.

But if there were four circles we’d all be fucked, let me tell you

She rinsed her sooty hands. She rinsed her face and feet.

These two sentences get repeated multiple times. Because it’s poetic, I guess.

After an extremely long and detailed soap-making scene Auri starts to freak out because…. I don’t know, stuff’s jacked up or something.

The nameless empty everything was clawing at the fraying edges of the walls. Even Foxen wasn’t even nearly.

Uh huh

But eventually she sees the gear she found, and it’s like full of love or whatever!

When all the world was palimpsest, it was a perfect palindrome.

Makes sense.

Auri manages to fix the problem of everything not being even by turning the gear upside down. And then….. the chapter ends.

What the fuck is Rothfuss even trying to do with this? Does anyone know? What’s the point of all of this? How am I supposed to be reacting to it, what am I supposed to be feeling? I have no idea.

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10 thoughts on “Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch. 7

  1. Reveen

    You’re simply not sophisticated enough for this book. This is clearly the kind of book that can only be truly enjoyed as a printed book (Ebook blasphemer!), while sitting in a twenty year old Laz-E Boy wearing a floral print bathrobe tumbler of Mountain Dew and Smirnoff in hand.

  2. andrea harris

    Thinking how this drivel was published while other manuscripts with coherent storylines and words that make sense and characters that do things are still languishing on the slush pile.

  3. The Ghost of a Flea

    The beeswax , I understand, acts to soften the resultant soap. Laurel oil is another triglyceride source that’s used for soap, so that’s why it’s considered. Tetradecanoic acid, aka myristic acid, a saturated fatty acid with 14 carbons, it’s another thing you can make soap with. Name-checking that chemical just adds another spoonful of “Huh?” to science-anachronism soup, since you’re into 20th-centurty chemistry to precisely nail down something’s atomic composition.

    More vaguely, the “angry” tallow and the three rings bits seem a bit like old alchemical instructions on how to evaluate your chemistry project without instruments other than eyeballs. On the other hand, everything has emotional states because Auri has learned The Name of Furniture or something.

    When she’s starts getting worried about the “red,” it’s likely a reference to the very alkaline potash solution: red litmus paper equals strong base. So somewhere in her past is some kind of bigger chemistry accident that traumatized her, perhaps? That’s how I read the use of “red” and “screaming” and the subsequent freakout.

    So…yeah. Long run for a short slide.

      1. The Ghost of a Flea


        It’s tedious minutiae reference crap that is specifically taking up space and mental energy to sort out. I’m fascinated by the time and effort put in to making something straightforward so convoluted to no end..

        But if I accept the premise of minutiae reference crap as added-value, this is still not very good.

        Hence “long run for a short slide”–ponderous effort for disappointing result.

    1. Austin H. Williams

      I suppose this would be a “genius bonus” if getting to all that didn’t require, y’know, actually reading this book. I guess it’s more of a “genius consolation prize.”

      It does reveal something though: that Rothfuss is more interested in putting veiled scientific minutiae in his books and winking at you than he is in actually writing a good book. At this point, of course, none of us are shocked.

  4. Chackludwig

    “apetalous”, a lack of petals


  5. Signatus

    His Kingkiller Chronicles were a bitch to get through, with certain passages that could be fully eliminated without loosing content. His obsession with “how to get more money” lead to some terrible and repetitive scenes, and the abuse of things happening to Qvothe (just when you thought he had solved the problem, someone goes and ruins it because Qvothe is such an important snowflake people envy him or some other nonesense). Even then, even when having the adventurers sitting in the forest, all cranky because of the rain, SOMETHING was happening.

    This is a bunch of nonsensical words being tossed together without any sort of coherency. I don’t know what he was trying to achieve and whether he actually managed it, but this is simply bad. Not poetic, not interesting, not compelling, not anything at all. I don’t feel any tension, any emotion, any sort of ANYTHING. I simply don’t care about Auri and her quirky life.

    The only thing I’ve been asking myself is; “How many more mental diseases does this woman have?” because, so far, I’ve identified PTSD, OCD, squizophrenia, some sort of dementia and ADHD.

  6. steamysalt

    You are supposed to be in breathless awe and purchase a membership for the Official Circle Jerk Fantasy Hipster Brigade. I think that’s the reaction Rothfuss is going for, but I could be wrong.

  7. Pingback: Let’s Read The Slow Regard of Silent Things: ch 5 + 6 | Doing In The Wizard

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