Warning; Contains spoilers
Every couple of years I pick up The Name of the Wind to see how it stands up to the other books I have read. I only need to read the prologue to be reminded just how much I love this book and know it would take something truly stunning to take its place as my favourite book.
The closest competition so far has been Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, which is a bloody masterpiece.
I have never attempted to review NotW as I am not worthy, nobody is. Despite being made to wait nearly 5 years thus far for Day 3, my views on the Kingkiller chronicles are undeterred as I appreciate Pat is a very busy man making babies, travelling the world giving time to his fans and administrating a highly successful charity which you should all donate to. http:///www.worldbuilders.org/
This review will have taken me a few days with all other commitments, all 2000 words of it, Name of the Wind is approx 260k, whilst day 2 is nearer 400k. Rothfuss craves perfection and will rightly not release anything that he is not 100% happy with, I can totally appreciate this. Rothfuss has a huge following of obsessed devoted fans, a cult of fantasy idealists whose anticipated wait of Kvothe’s conclusion is the most significant amongst the millions of stories in the world today. I do appreciate the frustration of people desperate for day 3, but viewed in another way, how much will we miss it when its over? How much do we wish that JK Rowling made us wait longer or extended it to 10 books, be patient it will surely be worth the wait.
However, I am concerned about a tv series; The Name of the Wind is special because of the unique style of writing Rothfuss has created, the imagery and metaphors he conjures are not easily transferrable onto screen, a good percentage of NotW is focusing on depth and precision. Rothfuss has the ability to make anything beautiful and intriguing, the smallest of things are given a respect most authors would overlook. It’s all part of setting a flawless scene, like a stage being set for a Shakespeare in the West End. (Or maybe Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, yes, I have a tickets and cannot wait.)
In fact I feel Name of the wind would be much more suited to the power of the stage than the screen, much like Shakespeare and Les Miserable. Furthermore I am unsure if I can cope with another Game of Thrones migraine moaning every week how the books have been changed and spoilt when they have not been completed.
I mean this, just thrown on social media. Whilst readers have been sworn to secrecy to non-readers Jon Snows situation, which actually turns out doesn’t matter anyway because the TV show is going to spoil it without a care. Book cliff-hangers have been spoilt with no build up, no thought and no care for anyone but ratings and money. Will the readers have their ending before the TV show for Kingkiller chronicles? I god damn hope so. video game though, if they get it right would be awesome.
So to my re-read; this is something I’ve wanted to do for a while, really delve into some of the finer details. Focus on the questions posed from The Waystone Inn as he holds all the answers, he has lived day 3, maybe even Bast as well. The prologue and first 7 chapters are very easily overlooked before we know he is part of the Edemah Ruh, before the tarbean streets, before the University, the Eolian and of course Denna. Yet this part of the book opens with suggestive information and poses many questions, which many readers I’m sure have forgotten. I am simply going to present the evidence as it is. Comments/theories are welcome addressing the questions, if they are appropriate I can add them to the post. In this post I look at the prologue and chapter 1.
Prologue – A Silence of Three parts;
“If there had been music … but no, of course, there was no music”
Why is there no more music?
‘The Waystone was his, just as the third silence was his. This was appropriate as it was the greatest silence of the three, wrapping the others inside itself. It was deep and wide as autumn’s ending. It was heavy as a great river-smooth stone. It was the patient, cut-flower sound of a man waiting to die’
The first page is stunning.
(Rothfuss, NotW, 2007, p.1)
Chapter 1 – A place for demons;
Cobb tells the story of Taborlin the Great locked in a high tower, with blue flame, the sign of the Chandrian.
But Taborlin knew the names of all things, and so all things were his to command. He said to the stone to “Break!” and the stone broke.
(Cobb, NotW, 2007, p.4)
This is where the title of the book is first mentioned. Taborlin is able to call on the wind to aid him safely down from the tower.
Kote first speaks out correcting his guests when reciting a rhyme. They are surprised to hear Kote speak as he is usually quiet.
‘A tinker’s debt is always paid:
Once for any simple trade.
Twice for freely-given aid.
Thrice for any insult made.’
(Kote, NotW, 2007, p.5)
A small debate begins about the identity of the Chandrian.
“they aint demons” Jake said firmly, “They were the first 6 people to refuse Tehlu’s choice of the path, and he cursed them to wander the corners-“
(Jake, NotW, 2007, p.5)
The Chandrian we soon learn murder Kvothe’s parents. Little is known of them apart from stories, most believe they are a myth. Kvothe’s objective becomes gathering information and seeking his revenge on the Chandrian. Though it would seem that Kote has thus far not been successful in his mission.
Carter comes in after being attacked, his horse savagely killed by a Scrael: a spider like creature, black as slate, large as a wagon wheel with razor claws.
‘They cant have made it this far west yet?’
(Kote, NotW, 2007, p.7)
A result of what he has done? Are the hunting for him? Again Kote must cover his telling his guests a trader gave him the information. The map at the front of the book does not have Neware or Melcombe on it so it is hard to get the bearings of where Kote is and where he has come from. Imre and the University are to the West.
Kote knows how to dispose of the Scrael, playing dumb with his customers he using Iron for those who believe it to be a demon. Kote later relays to bast that he made sure everything was done properly. We meet Bast.
Bast? Who is Bast? Young man. Dark & charming. Calls note Reship (nickname almost) Bast is pupil/student to master/teacher Reshi. Believing himself to be exceptionally clever student and a lover of women. Kote likes Bast, but may just be resigned to no choice, but not likely a prisoner. Kote thinks Bast is bored, but Bast wants to stay and be taught. We do learn Bast is Fae. Could he be the son of Kvothe’s encounter with Felurian? Did one rescue the other after day 3? I love the mystery of their relationship.
“Begone demon!” Kote said, switching to a thickly accented Temic through half a mouthful of stew. “Thus antausa eha!”
Bast burst into startled laughter and made an obscene gesture with one hand.
Kote swallowed and changed languages. “Aroi the denna-leyan!”
“Oh come now,” Bast reproached, his smile falling away. “That’s just insulting.”
(Kvothe/Bast, NotW, 2007, p.14)
The first mention of Denna?
Kote has a large dark chest at the end of his bed made from a rare Roah wood, sealed 3 times. Iron, Copper & (Silver?)
The crowd return the next evening refusing to bring up conversation regarding the Scrael. There are rumours of war in Resavek with the Penitent king struggling with rebels. A long way off, not on our map. Seems to be of little importance.
Kote? Why kote? ‘He had chosen the name carefully when he came to this place.’ (p.10) Names were important to him. Just missing the v & h, when Denna changes her name she often keeps some of the letters. ‘Names were important to him.’ (p.10) Just as in Taborlins story to know the names of all things, is control of everything. When Kvothe meets Denna in the Eolian he ‘gives’ her his name, the significance of that moment felt like he had given his soul, whilst Denna was reluctant to offer hers, though she has so many there is little chance Denna is her real name. But Kvothe is, has he changed his name so he cannot have his name used against him, has changing his name stripped him of his strength and power? He looks to the sky and knows the stories of all the stars and their ‘names’ Kvothe is not even near 30? (p.11) He is 15 at the university. He aged with Felurian but the time in the mortal world was 3 days. I think Kvothe is early 20’s but his years with Felurian means he has aged a few more years than he is, though this could be more as I think there may be another encounter with Felurian in day 3.
Below I have researched some meanings of words with some interesting links.
Kote; Japanese meaning wrist or gauntlet used for Kendo.
Kvothe; I can only really find information relating to NotW.