Readers Indigestion – The Kingkiller Chronicle Day One: The Name of the Wind Part 2: The Halfway Point

So here I am, halfway through The Kingkiller Chornicle Day One for the millionth time and this is the first time I’m really going to talk about it in any detail. Getting to this point in the book has been wonderful, just such an amazing journey through the life of Kvothe up until he has been at The University for his first semester. Patrick Rothfuss has created such a great story, a great world and a mythos to match it and I am glad that I have this opportunity to share it with you all.

Please keep in mind that I am talking about the first half of the book in-depth. There ARE GOING TO BE SPOILERS from the first book.

Welcome, once again, to Readers Indigestion.

“I wrote these all by myself!”

 The Name of The Wind focuses on the live story of a man named Kvothe, that being one of the many names he has received throughout his life, a man with “…true red hair.” He has been known as the worlds greatest magician, the worlds greats musician, and one of the smartest, saviest people the have lived in The Four Corners. The book starts off at an inn in the small town of Newarre (“You are, in fact, in the middle of Newarre.” He made a dramatic sweeping gesture with one hand. “Thriving metropolis. Home to dozens.”) run by a man who calls him self Kote. One evening one of the towns folk comes into town with a giant black spider encased in a hard black shell, he says that his horse killed it after it fell on top of it, he brought the thing back into town to see if anyone had any ideas as to what it was. During the exchange Kote tries to stay in the background and not draw attention to himself, but says something that shows he may be more than he appears to be. He expertly dances around what he said and gets the attention away from himself and the even goes on without a hitch. Kote sends his worker Bast to go take care of the dead creatures corps properly (“Let me tell you what to do. Dig a pit that’s ten by two. Ash and elm and rowan too.”).

A few nights later a man named Chronicler comes across a man sitting in a shack with his back to the wall sitting by a fire, wearing a blacksmith’s apron and gloves. They talk for a while when suddenly multiple of the black spiders come running into the shack, the man takes out most of them after Chronicler gets knocked out by one of the creatures. He awakes in Kote’s Inn and quickly realizes the man who runs the Inn is really Kvothe. After some coercing, Chronicler manages to get it out of Kote that he is in fact Kvothe, who has gone into hiding from his many enemies, Bast is his learner. He then beings to tell Chronicler his life story, which he says will take him three days to tell, thus the books are The Kingkiller Chronicle Day One-Three.

This is where the book does something I really enjoyed, something rare in Fantasy novels, it switches from the third-person perspective to Kvothe telling his life story in a first-person narration. He tells of his life as a member of a travelling troupe of the Edema Ruh, a group of performers who have very poor reputations throughout The Four Corners, yet the Ruh are not thieves, they are respectable performers who, in this case, are sponsored by Lord Greyfallow. Kvothe’s troupe are Lord Greyfallow’s Men, they perform for him and carry his name with them wherever they go, which opens doors most Ruh would not have opened to them. Kvothe’s father is the head of this troupe, he is a very well-known songwriter and performer of all sorts, known throughout The Four Corners.

In a town they visit they end up bringing a man named Abenthy, an arcanist, he and Kvothe become fast friends and Ben teachers Kvothe many things: from alchemy to the art of argument. Eventually however Ben leaves Kvothe, but not before telling him that he should go to The University to further his education, that he would do well there, though The University typically would not allow people of Kvothe’s young age to enter into it, Abenthy believed that Kvothe would be impressive enough that they would be able to look past his age. Through a tragic series of events Kvothe ends up homeless and without his parents in the streets of a city called Tarbean, he looses his lute, his most prized possession left to him, after boys destroy it in a fight with him on the streets.

After many years in Tarbean Kvothe finally finds the means to go to The University. He gets excepted, not only at his age, but also received Three Talents from the Masters so that he could afford the term’s books and have a place to live during his time there for the first semester. He makes friends with two great characters, Wilem, a big Cealdish man who has a hard time speaking common occasionally but makes do just fine with Kvothe and their other friend, Simmon, a skilled alchemist and poet and a real ladies man, so he thinks. During the first three day’s at The University Kvothe manages to be banned from the Archives a place with tens of tens of thousands of books, whipped and manages not to bleed or cry out during the whipping, and he makes an enemy who is not to be messed with but who he does anyway, Ambrose Jackis. Ambrose is the son of a rich baron, as soon as the two meet they do not like each other. Their hatred goes so far that they end up trying to sabotage one another.

At the halfway point all of this has happened yet Kvothe manages to get through all of it, the difficulty of spending years as a beggar on the streets of Tarbean and finally making it, against all odds, to The University. Now the second term is starting and Kvothe has no money to speak of and he needs almost 4 Talents for his second terms tuition. How will he get through this? What more could possibly go wrong? I guess it’s time to start reading again.

A cool thing about this book that I would like to mention before signing off here is that every few chapters Pat Rothfuss changes back to the third-person perspective that there was at the opening of the book. There, Chronicler, Bast and Kote will talk about what has happened, go about daily duties, and ocassionlly Kote will go into more detail about a specfic point. It is a really nice break from the main story, but it also leaves you with questions as to what is happening in The Four Corners in their present. It will be interesting to see how Pat goes on with this is further books.

I hope that you choose to read this book, it truely is a work of art, something all Fantasy readers should check out. I’ll see you next week for my Halfway Point of Acacia The War with The Mein.

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