YEAH THAT'S RIGHT
We're doing this again. And we're reading The Overton Window, written by Glenn Beck, acclaimed author of The Christmas Sweater and professional right-wing shouty-man.
Didn't I just declare last year that my old let's read format was kind of mean-spirited and Not Good Actually? Yes I did, but I offer the following counter-arguments (to myself):
I'm bored and I need an easy project to work on
It's Glenn Beck
Shut up, that's why
One of the Kingkiller books ostensible strengths is the way they play around with the conventions of story-telling in desconstructive and meta ways. In practice, this amounts to two main themes that run through the novels: the creation of Kvothe's legend, and revealing the more mundane reality behind the events that gave birth to said legend. Today, we're going to mostly look at the former.Read More
Just a quick scheduling note up front: the twice-weekly updates I was keeping to previously have turned out to be untenable given my current medical issues. As such, until further notice this series will update on a strict schedule of "whenever". Carry on.
I'm going to skip over several chapters where Kvothe gets a free pair of shoes, demonstrates his amazing linguistic abilities (which, of course, lets the book show off its wide variety of utterly fascinating invented languages), embarks on a long wagon ride away from Tarbean, and rediscovers his musical prowess. We meet an important character during the trip, but I'm saving her for later.Read More
How's everyone liking the new Kingkiller posts?
I wrote most of what's gone up on the blog so far over the course of a few days, when the neurological problems I've discussed before were at a low ebb and my energy was particularly high. I did this on the assumption that another period like this would come along again before the buffer of content ran out.
That...didn't quite happen for various reasons, so: I've got two more posts lined up for Thursday and next Monday, and then I'm probably going to need a short break--maybe two weeks--to get things rolling again. I may put out something else during that time, if I'm up to it (I had a post going about anime, everyone's favourite topic, that petered out due to lack of energy).
This will likely be a regular occurance going forward, so we may as well get used to it now.
In the meantime, keep SMASHING THAT SHARE BUTTON, LIKE FAV AND SUBSCRIBVE FOR,
(that was meant to be a joke at the expense of Youtubers, but I actually did get too tired to finish the sentence or correct the spelling mistake)
Note: the following consists of two posts edited together after the fact. I decided I wasn't happy with what was going to be part seven, so I deleted half of it and combined it with post eight to make up the difference. Please enjoy this one-time offer of 50% extra Kvothe for the same great price.
Skipping over a few more chapters of sympathy lessons and an interlude back to the framing story that I'll talk about later, we're almost at Kvothe's tragic orphaning. But first, his wise mentor Ben needs to exit the story. He does so in an odd way.Read More
We last left off with Chronicler blacking out after being attacked by a Scrael, leaving Kvothe to fight the beasts alone. The opening of the next chapter sees Kvothe lugging an unconscious Chronicler (whose real name is Devan, in case you're curious--everyone in these books has four or five names) back to the Waystone Inn to patch him up.
Like I mentioned last time, the pieces are basically all set to begin the story proper, wherein Kvothe narrates his backstory to Chronicler and Bast, but it takes a lot of back and forth-ing and descriptions of the shorthand notation that Chronicler uses (no, it's not relevant) before Kvothe eventually agrees to spill the beans, prodded by Chronicler's revelation that the stories about him are starting to take a dark turn in his absence. I'm going to skip over most of that and get to the good stuff.Read More
Note: my current plan is to post two of these a week. I can't guarantee that will always happen though, as my medical issues leave me unable to work on things without warning and I want to keep a stock of pre-written posts as a buffer.
I'm going to skip over most of the rest of The Name of The Wind's first chapter, since it consists of Kvothe and Bast trading dialogue like this ("Reshi" is Bast's name for Kvothe--he has a lot of names, it's kind of his thing):Read More
I remember reading somewhere (Stephen King might have said it) that the opening of a book is a promise, and that the extent to which a book succeeds--the extent to which the reader comes away from it satisfied--depends largely on whether it upholds that promise.
This isn't just a matter of quality or a book being well written. You can promise one type of story and deliver another and get away with it, but you need to be very, very good and, crucially, the story you give the reader must be at least as interesting as the one they signed up for.
So. With that in mind, let's take a look at the opening to The Name of The Wind, the first book in the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy. This is a book that weighs in at just over 200,000 words, whose sequel is nearly double that--almost 1000 pages depending on the typeset used. It's the opening of a gigantic trilogy whose concluding volume has been incognito for nearly six years. A reader turning the first page of The Name of The Wind is standing on the brink of a significant time investment (not to mention the inevitable emotional investment that comes with being a fan of anything long-running and serialized).
Here, in its entirety, is the prologue to The Kingkiller Chronicle:Read More
Roughly 13.5 billion years ago, the Universe took on its current form in a rapid expansion known as the Big Bang.
Nothing much else of note happened until 2007, when American author Patrick Rothfuss published The Name of The Wind, the first installment in a planned trilogy called The Kingkiller Chronicle. That book and its 2011 sequel would go on to be an unexpected smash hit, propelling its author to fantasy stardom and eventually leading to a planned 2018 TV series, to be helmed by Lin Manuel Miranda. As of the writing of this blog post, the world appears to teeter on the brink of full-blown Kvothemania, having barely survived previous onslaughts of Hulkamania and Pottermania.
But lets go back to 2007 for a minute. Unknown to all, on the other side of the planet, another historical titan was preparing to step onto the stage: Ronan Wills, unassuming secondary school graduate and soon to be biology student. In 2013, Ronan wrote a series of snarky and somewhat mean-spirited blog posts picking apart the first two entries in the Kingkiller Chronicle trilogy for a now-defunct blog. They attracted a mild following and sparked a several year stint of sporadic blogging in a similar style, until Ronan finally got a job and no longer had time for that sort of nonsense.
Then, in late 2016, an unprecedented tragedy occurred. No, not that one. Struck down by a car accident, Ronan (who will cease writing in the third person like this very soon) was suddenly handed a whole lot of free time again. Lacking the energy or health to use it for anything worthwhile, an idea bloomed: what if Ronan were to re-examine the Kingkiller Chronicle again, on the eve of its cultural domination, in a somewhat more scholarly and less slapdash manner? And without literally going through the damn thing line by line because really, that was frequently more work than it was actually worth?
So yeah, we're doing this again.
Why? Well, like I said, our pal Kvothe does seem to be on the rise in a way that I never would have expected back in those halcyon days of 2013 (especially with the third book still seemingly no closer to publication than it was back then). If ever there was a time for blog-length Hot Takes, this is it. And I wasn't kidding about not having anything better to do.
Even if you read all of my previous Let's Read posts and bought the Lego playset and commemorative mug, do still stick around, as this is going to be significantly different in style and tone. If you didn't, maybe don't rush off and check them out. I'm not particularly fond of my old stuff these days, especially after I discovered Cinema Sins and realized that my previous style wasn't all that dissimilar from that...thing.
This series will consist of fairly long posts, which means the schedule will by necessity be slow going and dependent entirely on the whims of my symptoms, which are capricious and ever-changing, like the winds. If you don't hear from me for a few weeks (or a month), don't worry.
Writing blog posts--writing anything--takes a much bigger investment in energy for me these days than it used to when I was healthy, so if you enjoy these, please take the time to comment and let me know, as I will probably not continue if it doesn't seem like they're finding some sort of an audience. And consider clicking that share button down there by the heart (click that too) and get the word out that more Kvothe-related content is available for the masses.