Pat Rothfuss' The Kingkiller Chronicle [spoilers] - the rambling review of an undecided reader

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I agree with Tater here. The whole "Rothfuss is not your bitch narrative" doesn't fly in my opinion. I read the first book based on the promise from Rothfuss that essentially the entire trilogy was completed, it just needed some editing. 8 years of editing seems a bit steep.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
I agree with Tater here. The whole "Rothfuss is not your bitch narrative" doesn't fly in my opinion. I read the first book based on the promise from Rothfuss that essentially the entire trilogy was completed, it just needed some editing. 8 years of editing seems a bit steep.
If Rothfuss literally said that than I agree. I don't follow him or know anything he is said so I mostly speak in general terms. No author really owes any reader anything because nobody forces a reader to start a series to begin with. On the flipside, if an author specifically makes promises than they should live up to their word just like with any profession.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
If Rothfuss literally said that than I agree. I don't follow him or know anything he is said so I mostly speak in general terms. No author really owes any reader anything because nobody forces a reader to start a series to begin with. On the flipside, if an author specifically makes promises than they should live up to their word just like with any profession.
Just google it. He said it in regards to Martin but it obviously applies to himself. Imagine going to a retailer and you ask the salesman for assistance. But he is filling the shelves and says “I’m not your bitch. I’ll get to you when I finish this”. Oh, but he says he is depressed so the manager lets him off the hook. IMO, It’s pure bullshit.
 

ExTended

Journeyed there and back again
I think that it's the lack of professional integrity and respect for the readers that annoys people the most.

Everybody could get into a writing block or lose the love for writing, especially if he/she becomes rich out of it before-hand. But this is not the case.

He had specifically stated that all of the three books were ready even before the publication of the first. So that's what - 11 years of brain-storming and tinkering an already finished book?

He doesn't act as a person who relates to his fans' frustration. He makes a big deal of every single thing in his day to day life, except his writing. So we know for a fact that he does many things that aren't writing. It's expected, but it's annoying when things are presented in that light.

But in my personal opinion the biggest offender is his teasing. When you are 11 years late on a project and you don't want to give a defined deadline for its completion, and you are getting angry every time someone wants you to own the fact that you are 11 years late, you just don't tease people about said project. It's common sense. But no - he'd have an interview about something completely different, and suddenly his girlfriend would say "And about the last books - it's coming so good you won't even believe it" and he'd be like "Yea, it's just amazing, I am so excited about it", but then comes the line "But I don't know when it will be published and I don't want to talk or be asked about it, because I have feelings too"... well bastard, why are you bringing up the subject then in the first place?

After a month a picture would pop up, with Rothfuss' baby son sitting to a 30cm( that's ~10 inches for you US folk :p ) manuscript saying "The manuscript of the third book is enourmous, and it's so good." But then "I don't want anyone to ask me about it, ever!".

He doesn't act as a man who've mislead millions of people - he acts like a man who's enjoying misleading millions of people. And that makes him a prick. A prick who's milking a cow by publishing side-quests to a last book he's been promising for 11 years to already have been done.
 
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Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I think that it's the lack of professional integrity and respect for the readers that annoys people the most.

Everybody could get into a writing block or lose the love for writing, especially if he/she becomes rich out of it before-hand. But this is not the case.

He had specifically stated that all of the three books were ready even before the publication of the first. So that's what - 11 years of brain-storming and tinkering an already finished book?

He doesn't act as a person who relates to his fans' frustration. He makes a big deal of every single thing in his day to day life, except his writing. So we know for a fact that he does many things that aren't writing. It's expected, but it's annoying when things are presented in that light.

But in my personal opinion the biggest offender is his teasing. When you are 11 years late on a project and you don't want to give a defined deadline for its completion, and you are getting angry every time someone wants you to own the fact that you are 11 years late, you just don't tease people about said project. It's common sense. But no - he'd have an interview about something completely different, and suddenly his girlfriend would say "And about the last books - it's coming so good you won't even believe it" and he'd be like "Yea, it's just amazing, I am so excited about it", but then comes the line "But I don't know when it will be published and I don't want to talk or be asked about it, because I have feelings too"... well bastard, why are you bringing up the subject then in the first place?

After a month a picture would pop up, with Rothfuss' baby son sitting to a 30cm( that's ~10 inches for you US folk :p ) saying "The manuscript of the third book is enourmous, and it's so good." But then "I don't want anyone to ask me about it, ever!".

He doesn't act as a man who've mislead millions of people - he acts like a man who's enjoying misleading millions of people. And that makes him a prick. A prick who's milking a cow by publishing side-quests to a last book he's been promising for 11 years to already have been done.
Great post. This warrants an Obama-style mic-drop.
 

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
Depression usually kills my desire/ability to write, but not always. And its not like its a solid monolithic 24/7 block - there's up days and down days and quite a lot can be done on the up days.

I don't know him or his situation so I can't be sure but there's nothing unusual about the idea. I doubt you'd be particularly happy if you had a dear one suffering and their boss started calling bullshit on them for similar reasons.

Personally, I prefer a generosity of spirit in these circs. I know some people are using it as cover, but sometimes its better to be a sucker than a cynic.

And being a sucker doesn't necessarily mean having to buy his books either! :p
Amen. Kudos to you, Peat xx depression takes many forms and we don’t have the right to say what’s right or wrong in it.

Slow Regard was a small book. Doors of Stone huge with many loose ends. Who knows what staring at it causes? Fear? Panic? Lethargy? Rewrites? We have no right to make judgement

Xx
 

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
I think if a writer sells you a book he has a duty to COMPLETE the story within a reasonable time. Make the series shorter if you’re feeling burned put. No. Then you lose out on the television revenue. It’s essentially a breach of contract with those who bought the earlier books with the reasonable expectation he wouldn’t quit in the middle.
If I start a series and don’t finish it, that’s my business. If the muse departs, also my business. If a project manager starts a project and then leaves for a different project - so what. It happens all the time in industry and the world. We have no right to demand from another that they complete anything.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
If I start a series and don’t finish it, that’s my business. If the muse departs, also my business. If a project manager starts a project and then leaves for a different project - so what. It happens all the time in industry and the world. We have no right to demand from another that they complete anything.
This. If people want to treat an author starting a series as being akin to an unspoken business contract, then you have to accept every business contract in the world has break clauses. No purchaser in the world has the right to lock the supplier in a room and say "You can't quit". They can and they will and the history of half-assed albums/greatest hits compilations etc.etc. in the music industry should give pause to anyone who thinks forcing creatives to do things they don't want to for fear of financial penalty is a good idea.

Not that I'm sure the relationship between reader and author/publisher should be treated that way anyway.


Note - this is more in defence of authors than it is of Rothfuss. I haven't followed the whole story but he has come across as being pretty abrasive (to say the least) about his fans' desire to see the series completed. I don't like that and it's why I only picked up one of his books when I saw it in a charity shop. There's a reason Rothfuss attracts this level of animus and Lynch doesn't.

But both men have the right to be ill and the right to not complete their work.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
This. If people want to treat an author starting a series as being akin to an unspoken business contract, then you have to accept every business contract in the world has break clauses. No purchaser in the world has the right to lock the supplier in a room and say "You can't quit". They can and they will and the history of half-assed albums/greatest hits compilations etc.etc. in the music industry should give pause to anyone who thinks forcing creatives to do things they don't want to for fear of financial penalty is a good idea.

Not that I'm sure the relationship between reader and author/publisher should be treated that way anyway.


Note - this is more in defence of authors than it is of Rothfuss. I haven't followed the whole story but he has come across as being pretty abrasive (to say the least) about his fans' desire to see the series completed. I don't like that and it's why I only picked up one of his books when I saw it in a charity shop. There's a reason Rothfuss attracts this level of animus and Lynch doesn't.

But both men have the right to be ill and the right to not complete their work.
If you want to talk legal contracts you are correct that you cannot force specific performance on an artist. You cannot drag him onstage and make him sing. But if he renegs on the contract you can sue him and make it up in equity.

In the case of Rothfuss obviously it’s ridiculous to think you can legally do this and nobody said they wanted to. But that wasn’t the point was it? So let’s not take it out of context. The purpose of the contract comparison was that there was an implied promise. When you buy a book in a series it is with a reasonable expectation that it won’t be left half completed.

People who say we have “no right” to judge have the right to think or say whatever they want. Likewise, they are in no position to take a moral highground and tell other readers what they have a right to do. “Hey, you have no right to judge Rothfuss and tell him what you think he should do. However I have the right to judge you and tell you what you should do. Uhmmm...hello???

Rothfuss can do as he pleases buf that doesn’t mean that readers cannot be upset and feel he left tbem hanging and that he is being a dickhead about it. From my perspective his “depression” is selective. I don’t care if Silent Regard is 177 pages.He can write or not write as he pleases. It doesn’t mean people need to accept his bullshit excuses and smile when he tells them “thanks for making me rich. Now fuck off.” I think he’s an asshole. If anyone takes exception to that they can kiss MY ass. But, hey, I’m “depressed”, so don’t hold responsible for anyting I’ve stated.
 

Cyphon

Journeyed there and back again
If you want to talk legal contracts you are correct that you cannot force specific performance on an artist. You cannot drag him onstage and make him sing. But if he renegs on the contract you can sue him and make it up in equity.

In the case of Rothfuss obviously it’s ridiculous to think you can legally do this and nobody said they wanted to. But that wasn’t the point was it? So let’s not take it out of context. The purpose of the contract comparison was that there was an implied promise. When you buy a book in a series it is with a reasonable expectation that it won’t be left half completed.

People who say we have “no right” to judge have the right to think or say whatever they want. Likewise, they are in no position to take a moral highground and tell other readers what they have a right to do. “Hey, you have no right to judge Rothfuss and tell him what you think he should do. However I have the right to judge you and tell you what you should do. Uhmmm...hello???

Rothfuss can do as he pleases buf that doesn’t mean that readers cannot be upset and feel he left tbem hanging and that he is being a dickhead about it. From my perspective his “depression” is selective. I don’t care if Silent Regard is 177 pages.He can write or not write as he pleases. It doesn’t mean people need to accept his bullshit excuses and smile when he tells them “thanks for making me rich. Now fuck off.” I think he’s an asshole. If anyone takes exception to that they can kiss MY ass. But, hey, I’m “depressed”, so don’t hold responsible for anyting I’ve stated.
I know I am getting in the middle here but I don't think Peat was implying that you don't have the right to be mad. I think he (like me) was saying that the author doesn't technically owe us anything. As I said, nobody can force a reader to buy the first book of a series just like we as fans can't force an author to complete a series. When you buy the first book that is all you are ever guaranteed.

My personal stance is that I don't have many feelings at all because as I have stated I haven't followed Rothfuss to be apart of his being a dick to fans as many perceive it. I think he should finish not only because the fans have gotten him to this point and are excited about the series but also for artistic integrity. On the other hand I never really give his third book much thought at all. I want to read it but I am more inclined to think about the next Lynch or Martin book.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
I know I am getting in the middle here but I don't think Peat was implying that you don't have the right to be mad. I think he (like me) was saying that the author doesn't technically owe us anything. As I said, nobody can force a reader to buy the first book of a series just like we as fans can't force an author to complete a series. When you buy the first book that is all you are ever guaranteed.

My personal stance is that I don't have many feelings at all because as I have stated I haven't followed Rothfuss to be apart of his being a dick to fans as many perceive it. I think he should finish not only because the fans have gotten him to this point and are excited about the series but also for artistic integrity. On the other hand I never really give his third book much thought at all. I want to read it but I am more inclined to think about the next Lynch or Martin book.
I didn’t think Peat implied that either.
 

Peat

Journeyed there and back again
I know I am getting in the middle here but I don't think Peat was implying that you don't have the right to be mad. I think he (like me) was saying that the author doesn't technically owe us anything. As I said, nobody can force a reader to buy the first book of a series just like we as fans can't force an author to complete a series. When you buy the first book that is all you are ever guaranteed.
Yes. And that comparing it to a breach of contract means it should be compared to actual contracts, which means that either Rothfuss has the right to turn in his notice and say "Yo, I'm done" or just send in an actual turd of a book under the series name to fulfill his obligations.

I will avoid the topic of depression because there is no response I can make that will not be a total flame war.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
Yes. And that comparing it to a breach of contract means it should be compared to actual contracts, which means that either Rothfuss has the right to turn in his notice and say "Yo, I'm done" or just send in an actual turd of a book under the series name to fulfill his obligations.





I will avoid the topic of depression because there is no response I can make that will not be a total flame war.
Again, Rothfuss has the right to think and do as he pleases. Doesn’t mean people cannot interpret that as they will.

Who knows if he has clinical depression. I certainly don’t. But based on what I DO know, I choose to believe that it is not an excuse for not finishing the series. Does he NEED an excuse? No. But since he supplied one I don’t believe it. Wouldn’t surprise me in the least if he came out with book one of a new series next month. Or perhaps a novella about Denna. Or maybe he’s figuring out a way to stretch it to 4 books. Or waiting until his beard reaches his navel? People would knock each over running to the bookstore (do they still have those?) to buy any new book. Not me. Fool me once...

I like his writing so when this series is complete I may buy a standalone. But no incomplete series by him. What’s the big deal about book 3 being perfect anyhow? I’m more forgiving than most people here on the quality if the first two books but his other books were far from perfect.

Comparing his “contract” to a legally enforceable contract was for illustrative purposes only. There are similarities. I don’t see anyone getting in line to join a class action lawsuit.
 
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Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
@Peat

Also, I hope you are not one of those people who take things personally when someone disagrees with you. I am not attacking you but I strongly disagree with your VIEWS in this matter. If I had to name my five favorite people/posters on this forum you would be on the list. As an aside, we usually seem to agree on most issues. But not on this one.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
I think we need to separate the author's depression from him not finishing the book. Would people blame Rothfuss for not finishing the book if he'd had cancer? I don't think so. Depression is no less of an illness/disease than that and for people in his age category one could argue that depression is the more likely cause of death (at least it is here in the Netherlands).

Without going into a big discussion about whether (mental) illness is a valid excuse/explanation for someone not being able to get a certain job done (that would be a nonsensical and frankly uninteresting discussion in my eyes), I think we can conclude that long before Rothfuss got a depression he was stalling on the book and being an ass to his readers. The problem here is not so much that he is slow in and of itself, but the fact that he claimed the entire trilogy was ready years and years ago, thereby misleading his fan-base. He also gets angry when people ask him about the book, but still he constantly trolls his readers with pictures of huge piles of manuscripts and other annoying social media shenanigans. This has nothing to do with his depression, as he did this long before he got that. It's him being disrespectful against his audience.

The same applies to a writer like GRRM. I vividly remember him giving the finger during a Comic Con when his audience asked when he would finish the Winds of Winter.

In which line of work is this acceptable?
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
I am so happy that I never started Rothfuss's books. And I am regretful I ever started Martin's.
The former turned my attitude 180 degrees toward his books. In the scope of few years I went from a fan to somebody that won't buy Winds of Winter if it comes out tomorrow.
Martin clearly botched his series, last two books are awful, and he has no idea how to finish this series. It was never meant to be this long anyway.
Rothfuss can be depressed or not, that doesn't matter in this discussion.

These two guys might be artists, but your kid drawing fridge artwork is an artist. The word people forget to put before artist is 'professional'. Rothfuss and Martin are not professional artists. Professional artists are people who make a living from their profession and who get up every morning to do their jobs. These guys do not have any discipline, any consistency that is required to constantly create. This need to create is very much a constant, present fact in any artist worth his salt. They just need to do it, even if they produced work capable of supporting their lifestyle, without working again.
Perfect example of a professional artist, that creates and produces regardless of his medical or mental health conditions, which was very complicated over the years and in different stages, is Stephen King.
If you wanna see just how a professional artist acts daily toward his craft just watch the conversation between King and Martin. You'll notice the stark differences toward the act of writing, that result in abundance of quality material produced on one hand, and nothing on the other.

Anyone who gets up every morning and starts to write, makes a living from it, is a professional. Martin and Rothfuss no longer belong in this category.

Also, I have the stance that audience doesn't get to dictate anything they didn't pay for, but at the same time lets not pretend that Rothfuss and Martin do everything just not to work. Whatever issue they have for not working, they should have tried to solve it in those 10 years.
My hunch with Martin is that he just doesn't wanna work. He worked his whole life, making very little money and he struck gold relatively late in his life. He's tired and old. But he should just be honest about it, instead of giving middle finger to his audience.
Rothfuss I don't know or follow that much, but if he is depressed he should have worked it out. People live and work with depression, and while it is a serious mental condition ( a chemical imbalance in the brain), it is something that people with medical therapy and drugs learn to manage. But of course, if you do nothing about it, it can only get worse. And if you do not produce artwork every day, you will have nothing to show. If you don't produce it for 10 years, same result.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
I am so happy that I never started Rothfuss's books. And I am regretful I ever started Martin's.
The former turned my attitude 180 degrees toward his books. In the scope of few years I went from a fan to somebody that won't buy Winds of Winter if it comes out tomorrow.
Martin clearly botched his series, last two books are awful, and he has no idea how to finish this series. It was never meant to be this long anyway.
Rothfuss can be depressed or not, that doesn't matter in this discussion.

These two guys might be artists, but your kid drawing fridge artwork is an artist. The word people forget to put before artist is 'professional'. Rothfuss and Martin are not professional artists. Professional artists are people who make a living from their profession and who get up every morning to do their jobs. These guys do not have any discipline, any consistency that is required to constantly create. This need to create is very much a constant, present fact in any artist worth his salt. They just need to do it, even if they produced work capable of supporting their lifestyle, without working again.
Perfect example of a professional artist, that creates and produces regardless of his medical or mental health conditions, which was very complicated over the years and in different stages, is Stephen King.
If you wanna see just how a professional artist acts daily toward his craft just watch the conversation between King and Martin. You'll notice the stark differences toward the act of writing, that result in abundance of quality material produced on one hand, and nothing on the other.

Anyone who gets up every morning and starts to write, makes a living from it, is a professional. Martin and Rothfuss no longer belong in this category.

Also, I have the stance that audience doesn't get to dictate anything they didn't pay for, but at the same time lets not pretend that Rothfuss and Martin do everything just not to work. Whatever issue they have for not working, they should have tried to solve it in those 10 years.
My hunch with Martin is that he just doesn't wanna work. He worked his whole life, making very little money and he struck gold relatively late in his life. He's tired and old. But he should just be honest about it, instead of giving middle finger to his audience.
Rothfuss I don't know or follow that much, but if he is depressed he should have worked it out. People live and work with depression, and while it is a serious mental condition ( a chemical imbalance in the brain), it is something that people with medical therapy and drugs learn to manage. But of course, if you do nothing about it, it can only get worse. And if you do not produce artwork every day, you will have nothing to show. If you don't produce it for 10 years, same result.
Likewise, I’m glad I never started Martin. When I started kingkillers I thought it was complete. Actually, the second book had just come out and so I figured it would be a year or two for the next one. But that was not to be.

If these guys were not filthy rich, is there any doubt they would keep writing? If they were regular people like us would they just quit work whatever they were doing? Most people do not have that luxury.

Oh well, we can talk about it until the cows come home. But the cows have already probably been chopped up and served at McDonald’s so we are SOL.
 

Alucard

In the name of the Pizza Lord. Charge!
Staff member
If these guys were not filthy rich, is there any doubt they would keep writing? If they were regular people like us would they just quit work whatever they were doing? Most people do not have that luxury.
My guess is probably not.

They differ there from actual professional artists, people who are rich or have a comfortable living, but still feel the need to create daily. People like King, Sanderson, Michael J. Sullivan, Kevin Hearne and many more, who come out with new books consistently.
 

rudyjuly2

Journeyed there and back again
Rothfuss delay is something I just don't get. He said the original trilogy was done or something close to it. So why such a long delay? I think part of it is this endless desire to be perfect in his writing. And because that isn't possible it's one thing that drove him to depression or maybe has him quit writing.

PR wrote wrote a blog about how many different ways he could say the same thing. If he thinks like that for every paragraph no wonder nothing gets written. And you could see that in the differences between book 1 and 2. Book 1 was like 660 pages. Second book 1000 but I felt it could have been 800 pretty easily. The third book may be blowing up on him and he gave up. Who knows? But it sucks not to have it finished by now.