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

Darwin

Journeyed there and back again
@afa Thank you for posting that, it was very illuminating. The question the interviewer asked that led to the second response you quoted was
What can readers expect from the two sequels and the trilogy that will follow this one?
So...looks like we're going to be having another "Finish the series before you die!"

Another noteworthy quote from the interview, perhaps a hint at things to come:
Each book needs a good beginning and a good ending. People get pissed off when you don't close things off properly at the end.
And I LOVE this exchange:
- Given the choice, would you take a New York Times bestseller, or a World Fantasy Award? Why, exactly?
Can I pick the Pulitzer instead?
- No. But seriously, would you rather have commercial success or recognition from your peers?
My peers? I think you have a strange perception of who my peers are. I've been a reader and a fantasy geek my whole life. My peers are fellow fantasy readers.
If those folks read my book, and enjoy it enough to talk to their friends about it, I'll have all the commercial success and recognition I want.
And this one:
- Honestly, do you believe that the fantasy genre will ever come to be recognized as veritable literature? Truth be told, in my opinion there has never been this many good books/series as we have right now, and yet there is still very little respect (not to say none) associated with the genre.
The lion's share of old-school literature IS fantasy, they just pretend it isn't. The Odyssey is full of gods and spells. Oedipus Rexhas a sphinx and a prophecy. There are witches in Macbeth, faeries in Midsummer Night's Dream, and a ghost in Hamlet. Dante's Inferno? Beowulf? All looks like fantasy to me....
I think a lot of people read and respect fantasy storytelling. A lot of the more forward-thinking colleges offer classes studying it, though they usually call it speculative fiction or magical realism to make themselves feel better. We all know the truth though: it's fantasy.
As far as having my book recognized as literature? [Pat shrugs] Why would I want that? I mean, have you read Great Expectations? Gech. Why would I want to invited into their little club? Give me Tim Powers and Phillip K Dick. Give me
Le Guin, Gaiman, and Pratchett. Give me McKillip and Whedon. These are the storytellers. These are our modern mythmakers. Our oracles. Our dreamers. I want to be on that team.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
Thanks for posting the link to that interview afa. Very interesting read. I can't for the life of me figure out why book 3 hasn't been released ages ago if the books were practically finished by the time he gave that interview.

He's either revising time and time again or he wasn't entirely truthful.
 

afa

Journeyed there and back again
Yes, the interview was good. I've read/heard a couple of other interviews with him, and the guy is definitely an interesting person to talk to. Seems to be smart, knowledgeable, and opinionated enough that he won't just give diplomatic answers. (Like his answer to the "Fantasy as literature" question that @Darwin quoted.) I just wish I liked his books more.

Regarding his books - I don't know (and haven't checked) what he has ever said about the reason for the delay. But it looks like the guy is a perfectionist when it comes to writing, almost obsessive to his own detriment. I read another interview where he said that before he submitted The Slow Regard of Silent Things, he went through 80 drafts. Now that number is most likely hyperbole, but it nonetheless points to what seems to be his biggest weakness - he is not able to leave well enough alone, and keeps writing and rewriting and editing and re-editing, to the point where it is actually preventing him from finishing the damn thing.
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
I don't get it. I mean if it's coming out anytime this year, or maybe next year. With all the waiting fans one might think Rothfuss would have said anything. Since he hasn't said anything at all it feels like that's because it's nowhere near to being complete yet.......

Feels like 2018-2019 or something tbh.

Which is completely insane when the last book came out 2011.
 
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wakarimasen

Journeyed there and back again
I've written the first two books in a trilogy which were incredibly well received... by my wife.. who they were for... but she's asked for the third for christmas and I'm pretty much writing anything but the third installment as I can't think of a way not to dissappoint her somehow. That's what I reckon has happened with Rothfuss. The weight of expectation on the shoulders of a perfectionist has simply crushed him to a halt.

Just like Rothfuss me. Without the money. Or the recognition. Or the dedication and skill. Or a beard. NO chance of a beard here...
 

Valiarde

Killed in the battle against the Mad King
"Audio-Reading" 2nd book right now. I'm only 20% into it though.

At the moment i don't like the pacing at all. It feels a bit boring right now, story is always around Denna, somewhere in a bar or at the library. Maybe this is done on purpose to lull the Reader before pacing and real action sets in...to have a contrast. But I feel he could shorten the book alreay a bit. Even when I like his prose and detailed description of common things.

As for Kvothe' arrogance...I think it is okay for me - he is Young and I often have Hayden Christensen in my mind when thinking of him in his Star Wars role of Young Darth Vader :D Growing up teens/men often act like that.
 

Darth Tater

Journeyed there and back again
I don't understand why so many believe Kvoth is an unreliable narrator

Yeah he plays his musical instrument well (all his people do...granted that's according to him). Yeah girls like him but he also tells how awkward he is. Never even sleeps with them so those aren't really war stories. He constantly speaks of getting his butt kicked. Hey, not everyone has a demon hanging around as a sidekick who worships you
 

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
I don't understand why so many believe Kvoth is an unreliable narrator

Yeah he plays his musical instrument well (all his people do...granted that's according to him). Yeah girls like him but he also tells how awkward he is. Never even sleeps with them so those aren't really war stories. He constantly speaks of getting his butt kicked. Hey, not everyone has a demon hanging around as a sidekick who worships you
Because what Kote tells us in his point of view is so separate from Kvothe. One of them is lying.....
 

jo zebedee

Journeyed there and back again
Been almost a year since I read them but, I don't remember anything like that. What exactly did he say that is an obvious lie?
It was the nuance of the character rather than anything said per se - Kvothe can do anything and is a Mary-Sue, Kote is (seemingly) powerless, world weary and far from perfection. That they are one and the same character (no spoiler, there, I think since it's revealed at the beginning?) Either the 'myth' of Kvothe is more than the man was (which leads down one story path) or Kote is hiding what he really is - to do that in first makes an unreliable narrator (although I'd argue all close narrators are unreliable but that's for another day). I'm looking forward to finding out which it is. :)
 

ReguIa

Journeyed there and back again
Well if he's lying about it or just making stuff up it would end up making the so far great story into a pile of horse shit.. IMO.

Hopefully it's just something traumatic or magically that ended up making him sort of ''lose faith'' and give up. Possibly getting handed it to him by the Chandrian or starting the end of the world or something, which I got the feeling was implied.

At first I was hoping he was only playing a part to lure the Chandrian or something. Something that would mean the story doesn't end before he comes to the Waystone. That would be a huge twist but sadly with only 1 book left and with the amount of backstory left, I don't see how Kvothe's story could be wrapped up and then continued in the present unless it's maybe 2000 pages long....
 
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Bierschneeman

Journeyed there and back again
The Wise Man's Fear

What does the book title refer to?
It should be a play on words for a biblical reference.
" a wise man wins souls"
Often used allegorical ly as "a/the wise mans soul"

But the allegory is so diluted from overuse in popular culture, the author could mean it as something else without knowing it's origin.
 

Silvion Night

Sir Readalot
Staff member
It should be a play on words for a biblical reference.
" a wise man wins souls"
Often used allegorical ly as "a/the wise mans soul"

But the allegory is so diluted from overuse in popular culture, the author could mean it as something else without knowing it's origin.

The Wise Man's Fear
What does the book title refer to?
Bierschneeman is right, but in the context of the story it in fact refers to a saying that is popular in the world in which the story takes place.

"There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man."
 

kenubrion

Journeyed there and back again
It was the nuance of the character rather than anything said per se - Kvothe can do anything and is a Mary-Sue, Kote is (seemingly) powerless, world weary and far from perfection. That they are one and the same character (no spoiler, there, I think since it's revealed at the beginning?) Either the 'myth' of Kvothe is more than the man was (which leads down one story path) or Kote is hiding what he really is - to do that in first makes an unreliable narrator (although I'd argue all close narrators are unreliable but that's for another day). I'm looking forward to finding out which it is. :)
I've thought from the beginning, with the same character reveal, that Kote was the growup world weary version who is now going to finish the job. The story telling will be finished and the present will present ;) the rest of the story. With so little accomplished though, it cannot be a trilogy. Unless it's this "Having finally graduated, Kvothe changed his name to Kote and started polishing glasses. The End. Suddenly the door flew open!" kinda crap.