I am in love with The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. I cannot be snarky about this one. I have fallen in love completely and it has left me blind to the faults of this novel. I want to speak the name of the wind, I want to find the dragons and I want to go in search of the Chandrian. But I don’t want to do it with Kvothe.
Kvothe is the “Hero” of the story. We first meet him, quietly sweeping his inn as his patrons swap stories of mythical beasts and dangers that lurk beyond the darkness. And Kvothe the kingkiller, Kvothe the bloodless. They know their innkeeper only as a stranger who dropped by a few years ago, started an inn and called himself Kote.
But something happens that night; a townsman is attacked by a spider-like thing and suddenly Kote, the innkeeper seems to know more than he lets on. And because it is a story and stories are lucky Kvothe meets the Chronicler. Or rather the chronicler comes across him as Kvothe is burying the spider-thing as prescribed by an old nursery rhyme. This is the chance for Kvothe to tell his story.
And boy does he tell it.
Look Kvothe is an asshole who, while intelligent and handsome and brave, is also keenly aware that he is intelligent and handsome and brave – this is the story as he likes to tell it himself, portraying his foolish antics in a heroic light. We hear about how he’s almost kicked out of the University on multiple occasions – due to lack of respect and definitely lack of foresight. It’s hard to picture the hero the songs portray him as when he’s sneaking into the library he was banned from, despite being told that patience will earn him his way back. Maybe in the sequel he’ll figure out that he can actually learn things from other people.
“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.” Kvothe
I would normally say something about the women here. Like how all the women in the tale are beautiful, and only three seem to be mentioned more than in passing. This world is a world of men, and while few of them are fully fledged characters I just never understood the need to create fantasy worlds that are so inherently misogynistic.
And the one woman who is actually a character is only interesting, because she is the most beautiful one – renowned for making men fall in love with her. They actually have long (uninteresting) conversations trying to determine what makes her so beautiful – and also explaining that naturally all the women hate her, because she’s so beautiful, and mysterious and free and every woman is worried that Denna will steal their man. It was just such an uninteresting sidestory in a book that about being able to command objects by knowing their true name…But look pretty woman!
It sucks that because I am a woman I am almost completely delegated to being a side piece of ass in this tale. I can’t go along unless I am so special that other women hate me. I will never understand how writers build entirely new worlds, yet still mirror such obvious lackings in our own society.
This is what I would say if I were to critically dissect it, but I really liked this book. So let’s just not. Just this one time
originally posted over at my blog ladyscribble.com