I've read Name of the Wind twice, and now I've read its sequel twice (and some parts thrice). The story is definitely better the second time. I've been thinking on some of the threads of the tale that Pat Rothfuss is weaving, as well as the implications for the Four Corners' future. Below are my thoughts. I would love to discuss any thoughts/theories you might have, either here on the blog, Facebook, or via email.
1. The pacing is improved this time around, though it's still tedious at times (Ademre, Faen). Still yet, I marveled over the cultures Rothfuss created, at how intricate and well developed they are.
- Faen is beautifully described and at the same time mysterious and dark. I love how magicked the Fey are, even though we've only met Bast
and Felurian. This causes them to be highly superstitious (not much
different than those in Severen and Vintas), but their superstitions are
probably based on fact as opposed to legend.
- The Adem, on the other hand, are a simple people, yet highly
philosophical. I am once again fascinated by their double-talk, at how
important hand language is. This is still my least favorite part of the
book, if only because there is very little going on. I feel like
Caesura is vital to the overall story, especially given its bloody pedigree.
Also, the Adem story of the Chandrian and their old names is definitely
important, but I just wish it hadn't taken so long to get there.
- Consider the song Kvothe tells Sim and Will.... Dark Laurian, Arliden's wife,
Has a face like a blade of a knife
Has a voice like a prickledown burr
But can tally a sum like a moneylender.
My sweet Tally cannot cook.
But she keeps a tidy ledger-book
For all her faults I do confess
It's worth my life
To make my wife
Not tally a lot lessIt doesn't seem like much, but given how cunning Pat is, read the last two lines aloud and it sounds similar to "To make my wife Natalia lot less", ergo, Natalia Lockless. That's why she shushes Arliden for his song, to keep her line a secret. See here for more on this fascinating theory.
- The Loeclos box surely is made of
Faen-magic/wood. It's smell is evocative to Kvothe and he vaguely
remembers something, and I suppose it's reminiscent of the smell from
his time with Felurian. He mentions time and again how his memory is muddled from his time there, so his recollection of the smell is muddled, too. Alveron, Meluan, and Kvothe discuss whether or not the
contents of the box are precious. I find this word choice interesting, as it
thematically relates to Denna (and her fear of being "boxed in"). What if the box opens simply with "Edro," the
word for open Taborlin used, and Kvothe, too, when he jokingly opened
the Maer's chest in the Eld. Kvothe didn't try it, I noticed.
- Could Arliden also be more than meets the eye? Perhaps
somehow Fey related/descended? He's a skilled musician/rhymer,
something we know the Fey are. Or, possibly the Ruh are somehow related
to the Fey? Not really sure about Arliden. But we do know that the Lockless family is very old, and so are the Ruh, and Kvothe being from both bloodlines could explain some of his peculiarities.
- The first read Kvothe & Denna's relationship was
annoying. Now, it's still annoying, but less so. Both are young and
stupid. Neither come out and express themselves, explain their broken
histories, or tell their life story. What a shame, too. If only they'd
communicate then things could be so much better. (I'm thinking of Lost here.)
- Bredon must be more than meets the eye. When Kvothe is
going through the papers with rumors and whatnot on them, there are some
rumors that Bredon does pagan rituals and has evil relations. Then,
when Kvothe is preparing to leave Severen, he gives the papers over to
Bredon, mentioning that the man may find them entertaining. This
nonchalance seems too forced (perhaps I'm reading into it), but why else
would Pat bring it up again? This could be a plot device for Bredon.
- A final possibility is that Denna's patron could be none other than Cinder himself. There are some theories to this, and possibly even Bredon being Cinder (or related), but I'm not entirely convinced this is so. Still, this line from one of the last chapters caught my attention (while in Bast's POV): "Nothing but ash and cinder lay inside." With the two words juxtaposed, Rothfuss could be cleverly dropping hints. There's some weight to this, I think, but again, I'm not sold on this idea.
5. Another very interesting thing throughout this book is the role the moon plays. People swear by the ever-changing moon. They tell stories about the moon. Auri's appearance (and Denna's, too) seems related to whether or not the moon is out. Even the Fey regard it as something important. I didn't notice how often the word "moon" appears, but it's presence is overwhelming. This gives even more weight to the story about Jax and his stealing the moon.
- Think of Elodin's question for Kvothe as he's going through the admissions process for the first time in Wise Man's Fear. Elodin asks, "Where does the moon go when it is no longer in our sky?" Elodin obviously knows much (Kvothe recalls Master Namer's eyes when he's in Faen and that they are similar to Felurian's), and his inane babbling turned out rather purposeful in the end. So is this question important? Maybe. Is it a subtle hint? Possibly.
- Remember when Kvothe tells the story of the old man and his
search for food & fire? (Chapter 38, "Kernels of Truth") Sim (or
Will, I cannot recall, but it sounds like Sim) is upset at the ending,
claiming the story wasn't really a story at all. Sim asks Kvothe, "Why
tell a story that's not entertaining?" Kvothe answers, "To help us
remember. To teach us... things." I speculate that this is Pat
foreshadowing the conclusion to The Kingkiller Chronicles. The
ending may seem disappointing (or inconclusive), but that's not really
the point. The point in Kvothe's story (to Chronicler and Bast, and the
reader) is to teach us things, but it's also to help Kvothe remember
who he was and who he still is.
- Perhaps these books will end with Kote becoming Kvothe again
and there will be more books where he puts to right his wrongs or
something. This, I hope, will be the case. Pat has already said he's
got more stories to tell in Kvothe's world. (As an aside, I wonder if
Pat skipped over the ship wreck chapter to leave it open for a possible
novella or short story some time down the road.)
- On Kote becoming Kvothe, recall when Kvothe asks Elodin
about what he thinks about a woman that keeps changing her name. Elodin
reacts as if that's something terrible to do, and his reaction implies
that it's entirely possible. Perhaps Kvothe changed his name to Kote
for a time, though I think Kvothe is wanting to get out (such as when
the hired soldiers fight the innkeeper and Kote remarks that he nearly
forgot himself there for a moment).
- Finally, could Kvothe have become an Amyr and made some choices that were for the greater good? We see his guilt over killing (bandits, false troupers), though they were for the greater good and justified. What if Kvothe became an Amyr and then found out the group was as sinister as the Chandrian and then abandoned his old self to become Kote? (Ironic that Kvothe changes his name to Kote, similar to Denna constantly changing her name to D-----.)
Again, I'd love any thoughts on Kvothe and his story if you've a ha'penny to spare.