No, this is not a joke.
I check in occasionally on r/KingkillerChronicle to see if there's been any news on the third book, or if that big ambitious multimedia adaptation is any closer to being an actual thing (it isn't). Usually it's just the dedicated fans becoming collectively more and more fed up with the failure of Doors of Stone to materialize, but today I found something different. Something both terrible and wondrous.
I found a sex toy review/sex ed webcomic featuring a strip written by Patrick Rothfuss, in which he interviews his characters about their sexual identities.
Reminder: still not joking. This is real. Link is NSFW, in case it wasn't obvious.
So how the hell did this happen? Apparently it was a stretch goal on one of Rothfuss' yearly charity fundraisers: if his fans donated enough, they'd be rewarded with some exclusive Kvothe content, written by Rothfuss himself and drawn by Oh Joy Sex Toy's artist, Erika Moen. The result is...well, it's certainly something that exists.
As the world's foremost expert on the Kingkiller Chronicle, I will now dissect the comic in far more detail than it deserves or was probably intended to receive.
The format is Rothfuss asking various characters about their sexuality. This immediately piqued my interest since the Kvothe books are overwhelmingly straight and heternormative, and the only culture that falls outside that box--the Adem sex ninjas--were clearly crafted solely to give Kvothe more women to have sex with. Still, there are interesting ways you could approach this. You could ask one of the sex ninjas to explain again how they're immune to STDs, since I read the original explanation several times and still don't understand it. You could talk to Denna about her attitude to sex work.
Or you could JK Rowling some extra diversity into the trilogy where none originally existed. You could also do that.
We start with Deoch and Stancheon. You remember those guys, right? No? They're the only two gay people in either book. Yeah, now you remember them. Apparently they're in a non-monogamous open relationship. That's not something that ever comes across in the books themselves, not is there ever any indication that Kvothe's society is more accepting of polyamory than ours is, but now you know that. Hooray.
But they're not the only ones who like a little variety when it comes to sexual partners! Fela is also polyamorous! You know, Fela, Kvothe's classmate who only ever shows interest in Kvothe and then Kvothe's college buddy. She's into polyamory. No really you guys, she is.
This weird ret-conning of the University as a super liberal place where people are just shagging each other in flexible, open relationships left and right continues with Sim, the aformentioned college buddy, who says that he came from a strictly monogamous society and is having a little trouble getting used to the hornier environment he's now in. Which would be a perfectly fine bit of character building, except that it was never brought up at all in the actual books, which are each five thousand pages long and include multiple digressions on every other topic under the sun.
I can't help but get the feeling that Rothfuss developed an interest in polyamory between the writing of The Wise Man's Fear and now. Maybe it's uncouth of me to speculate on a writer's personal life like that (although frankly, most male fantasy authors have no qualms about revealing their kinks and proclivities to their readers, so I feel like it's only fair that we get to treat the topic like public knowledge), but I can't see where else this is coming from. The only time the subject has been mentioned before now, it was handled in an incredibly horny and sexualized way.
Next up we have Devi, who dodges the questions with some vague answers about "negotiation" and "being in control." Is she into D/s or something? You can just tell us, this is going on an 18+ site.
Then we have Bast, who professes to be a "three, leaning a little ladyward" on the Kinsey scale, which means he's bisexual. This surprised me since I couldn't remember any instance of Bast showing interest in men; some quick googling reveals that there does not appear to be one, except for his affection for Kvothe possibly straying into amorous territory, in a sort of fanfic-ish way. So yay for more invisible diversity, I guess.
And then finally, we come to Kvothe himself. And like always, he manages to intensely annoy me by the very act of opening his mouth.
Kvothe professes that while he "thinks about sex a lot" (YEAH NO SHIT), he doesn't know how he'd label himself.
Let me repeat that: Kvothe, who is seemingly constantly horny for all of the women in his immediate surroundings, thinks about sex solely as it pertains to inserting his tab A into women's slot B, and has tons and tons of sex exclusively with women, with absolutely zero evidence in either the framing story or the flashback that he has ever deviated from this, is apparently not comfortable with these "labels", which if you think about it are really only for soup cans.
Kvothe, you're straighter than a lute handle. Get over it.
And then there's some more hurt/comfort stuff where Kvothe implies that he doesn't have any friends or a family and he's ALL ALONE IN THIS CRUEL WORLD, WEEP GIGANTIC PEARLESCENT TEARS FOR HIM.
Apart from doing a Rowling, how is the actual comic, as the only piece of dedicated Kvothe fiction to come along in some time? I'm biased here because I think the idea of interviewing your characters as though they were real people is both self-indulgent and so twee it makes my teeth hurt, but I recognize that it is a Thing that some authors and their readers like, so whatever. What interested me most about the comic is how Erika Moen drew the characters. Here's how she depicts Fela:
And here's how Fela is drawn on a playing card given away as a previous charity reward, forming part of a web of author-endorsed materials that are currently the closes we have to an "official" design for the characters:
It seems like there's some more retcon diversity going on, although to be fair to Moen, she's apparently not super familiar with the characters and this comic was produced in only a week, so the discrepancy could just be a mistake. I found the different ethnicities confusing enough when I was going through the books sentence by sentence, so getting a handle on what exactly they look like in only seven days would be difficult.
In summary, if Doors of Stone comes out and all of the characters aren't pansexual polyamorists, I'm going to be very disappointed.