The Name of The Wind
Patrick Rothfuss took an awful lot of time getting his undergraduate B.S. in English. One of the reasons he cites is that he was always distracted by something new that he wanted to learn. Throughout his life, he has learned plenty of courses. From history to mythology, from maths to science. There is hardly any field that he left untouched. His sense of curiosity gave him a width of knowledge and took nine years of his life. But these nine years were not wasted, during his time at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point he began to write a book that he will ultimately release in 2007 – The Name of The Wind.
The Name of The Wind is the result of knowledge on a multitude of subjects, combining everything into one complete fantasy novel. How does he do it? With ease, it seems. The details which construct each page are astonishing. You can feel the knowledge he poured into it. It’s a fascinating feeling.
Kothe is an innkeeper in the town of Newarre He’s an amiable-looking man, with red hair, and a look that says he’s experienced in the ways of the world. And he’s a good at his job.
Days pass by, and Kothe is living with his mysterious disciple Bast. On a fine autumn day, a Chronicler passes through the town, and he instantly recognizes the innkeeper Kothe as the legendary Kvothe, whose name is a myth as well as his deeds.
Unsurprised by the recognition, Kvothe begins to tell his story and uncover the fascinating myths that have haunted him over the years.
Rothfuss said in an interview that he didn’t want to write a typical fantasy because it felt a little “samey.” He wanted to write a different kind of story, a simple one. It is like a memoir of a guy’s adventures, a confession to bust the false rumors surrounding his reputation and confirm the true ones.
The Name of The Wind covers the early years of Kvothe‘s life; from a beggar on the streets to a student at The University. After he reaches the University, the progression is similar to Harry Potter – he has exactly two good friends and one arch enemy. Of course, it’s different, and it’s probably just me, but the comparison never left my mind.
The plot progression is slow. The beginning is terrific, but after a while it becomes tedious. The events are important to the plot, but there isn’t much excitement. But that’s a part of hearing a story; every story is boring at some moment. Rothfuss is in no hurry to get anywhere, he takes his time and builds his characters.
The novel seems a bit fixed only on Kvothe. There aren’t too many characters to crowd the plot, but the ones which are present aren’t well flushed out. Kvothe is, of course, the best-rounded character of all, but the novel seems to a little obsessed with him. The narration is in the first-person, so it’s obvious we’ll always be inside his mind, but the other characters, Kvothe’s friends, or enemies, doesn’t have a lasting impression. They act as comic relief, rather than be a driving force in the progression of the plot. They have tiny parts here and there, but their presence is insignificant, mostly. Throughout the action, Kvothe is always, almost, alone.
Some other significant characters do appear throughout the plot.
Ambrose (Kvothe’s nemesis) is well drawn. His grudge against Kvothe makes for some good moments. He didn’t have a direct role in the book, but maybe he will play a more personal and active role later.
Denna (Kvothe’s love interest) is a fascinating figure. She’s likable and tricky (you have to read it to understand it), She has a lingering presence in the plot. She is the only person who humanizes Kvothe from this brilliantly intelligent guy into a lovestruck fool. In this way, she accompanies to give a more roundness to Kvothe’s character – a somber and serious character.
There are some minor characters which often appear and disappear, and some of them are interesting, and their roles will probably be bigger and have more impact on the story in the next installment.
Patrick Rothfuss has an absolute ease while entering new characters. They are never pushed in front of you, but their presence increases throughout the novel to signify their importance. I wrote an article solely on his writing style. The tiny details and information he crams in the pages and via characters are terrific.
The best part about the book, for me at least, is the magic system. It is not complicated, and it’s very reasonable; it is a culmination of science and fantasy which make it work as well as it does. Rothfuss’s knowledge about science probably paid off here.
How the magic works:
For the purpose of this example, let’s say we have a big iron rod in our hand and we want to light the lamp at the other side of the room.
Now, you begin by concentrating on the task. Real concentration. Then, you bind the iron rod with the lamp. If done correctly, the lamp with light up, if not, you would have wasted a shit ton of energy for nothing. An alternative method requires body heat, but it strains the body a lot more, resulting in a quick burnout.
The object has to be big and strong enough to fit the purpose of our action. If we try to light a man on fire, then it would require a more robust object than an iron rod to burn him. It can also be done without physically holding the object; you would need to be quite experienced, of course.
It is easy to understand the system, and when characters perform it, you can feel the tension in the air. It’s hard to imagine where Rothfuss can take this system because it feels like you’ve seen it all.
Should you read The Name of The Wind?
The Name of The Wind is a distinct book. Rothfuss has indeed reached his aim of writing a different fantasy than what’s out there, and it is a YA book. But, it is not certainly only for young adults; the story is mature to be appreciated even by adults. The characters could have been fleshed out, but they are not annoying, at least. The groundwork that Patrick Rothfuss has laid will be absorbing for the future books. A fantasy which is simple but absorbing and feels fresh, The Name of The Wind is good.