In Which I Blather About “The Name of the Wind”
Posted on March 7, 2011 Posted by John Scalzi 23 Comments
As part of Tor.com’s appreciation of the top ten books in their Best SF/F of the Decade poll, I was asked to write something about Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind. As it happens, I have a very good Name of the Wind story, and I tell it over there. Go on and go over and see what it is.
Want a hint? Okay: It involves stew.
Mmmmm… hearty stew.
Pat is tired of me telling this story, I’m sure. But I’m not! Bwa ha ha ha hah ha!
I was lucky to hear him and Gail Carriger speak at SF in SF on Thursday last week. He’s a pretty neat guy, had some very interesting answers about his writing process (write naked, like Ben Franklin) and the state of beards and how they relate to manhood.
Man, I wish I’d read this yesterday. I drove the whole family to Houston (from DFW) to meet Pat and this would have been great to bring up, especially after he brought up Unicorn Pegasus Kitten.
Thus the secret to making you read a book has been let slip to dozens, nay, scores of hopeful authors.
1. make it really big and heavy so you cannot pack it
2. sign it
3. leave it for you while you are on tour (see: the helpful Fuzzy Nation tour stop calendar)
4. make it, like, totally *not suck* (understatement alert)
Very much agree with “And after that I had begun started being sad that I was coming to the end of the book and then there would be no more book to read, just when I was totally into it.”
Note to self: In next fantasy novel taverns serve biscuits and gravy, grits, and salt pork. Better set it in the Carolinas.
I cannot agree with you more. I got so into the world and the story that it was a surprise when I got to the end and there was no more book; and despite that i turned around and read it again just recently so that everything from The Name of the Wind would be fresh in my mind for when I read The Wise Mans Fear. On that second reading I realized that I had been so motivated to find out more of the story and what happened to Kvothe, that I had missed little things that where amazing along the way that I picked up on in the second reading. Little stuff that I had missed or glossed over in my mind because I had the pressure of the story on my back driving me to read just a little faster so that I could know what happened. I think that its a testament to Patrick Rothfuss that he created such an engaging world that on a second (and i suspect third, fourth and fifth) reading that its still engaging and wonderful to read. Its the best fantasy that I’ve read in a long time.
And they call the wind… Murray…
Stew or no stew, I can’t praise Rothfuss’s books enough. He certainly earned his beard writing those two.
II think that the “elephantine bulk” of Patrick’s books make an excellent selling point for the Nook and/or Kindle . Fortunately, this most excellent book (and its sequel, The Wise Man’s Fear) is available on both. :)
LOL! I was the text designer on the book, and when the ms of NotW was given to me, I started reading a bit and hit the exact same bowl of stew, and had the exact same reaction.
The funny thing about this book is that it is filled with fantasy conventions. As someone who’s read several thousand fantasy novels, I found it hinted at hundreds of them (I’m pretty sure Pat’s read a lot of the same books). It isn’t even intricately plotted. But it’s just damn good. Plain and simple,it shows off the power of strong world building, and the compelling voice of a well wrought character, and most importantly, of good writing. I go into nauseating detail in my own review HERE.
Rothfuss’s books are amazing. He manages to take every fantasy trope and make them all new and fresh and shiny. I just finished The Wise Man’s Fear over the weekend, and I was terribly tempted to flip back to the first page and reread immediately, just like I did after finishing The Name of the Wind, but unfortunately, duty calls. But as soon as I get my next two assignments out, I am totally rereading books 1 & 2, both. The wait for book 3 is going to be long and sad and full of woe. Really the best fantasy that I’ve read in decades.
Synchronicity – I just started reading The Name of the Wind this week, having gotten it as a Christmas gift…
Am I the only person who didn’t like “Name of the Wind”? Amongst everyone I know personally who has read it, I am. Everybody’s tastes are different and whatnot, but I’m usually the one who likes something most people don’t, not vice versa!
I agree that Rothfuss is a fine writer but the young version of the protagonist seemed a tad too perfect for me. I blame GRRM for making me prefer severely flawed individuals in my fantasy.
[I posted this comment in the linked thread, but it seems relevant here, too]
What kind of reader even notices what the characters are eating enough to know that it’s cliche? And what do you expect them to serve in an ordinary tavern? Lobster Thermidor? Beef Wellington?
Keep the stew coming, Patrick. I like it just fine. :-)
The fact that you have the second book in your possession makes me hate you even more . . .
and I thought it impossible, what with the writing career, movie deal, and new cool Mini . . .
but the impossible becomes possible, here on your blog.
I saw him at SFinSF as well. I went for Gail Carriger, hoping she would read from the upcoming book but it was not to be. Patrick was someone I hadn’t heard about enough about to remember was the other guest. He was a lot of fun and I picked up the first book even though I can’t remember the last time I read a fantasy novel. All the fans made me think there was something there so I picked it up. He was pretty entertaining and was very glad I went. Looking forward to reading my first fantasy book since probably high school.
So you’re saying that Patrick is probably stewing over your story?
Much like you describe I got caught in The Name of the Wind and didn’t look up until it was done. I’m driving 4 hours next week to go to a book signing with Rothfuss. If he’s not completely dead tired by that point I’ll try and bring this up.
Oddly enough, I’ve spent the weekend face down in the sequel to NotW…”A Wise Man’s Fear”. My turn finally came around at the local library and I’m going to need nowhere near the three weeks allowed to finish.
I will say, however, that young Kvothe annoys me in many of the ways Fitz Chivalry did in the Assassin’s Apprentice series by Robin Hobb. Their mouths and attitudes get them into trouble more often than not.
I admit, I kind of like that Kvothe is kind of an ass, and not totally honest. No, I *really* like it. He’s complex and conflicted, but not so much so that the story loses its “fun.”
I still love the Goblins Comic’s take on the books. http://www.goblinscomic.com/03032011
After reading this, I went to the Sony site and bought Name of the Wind. I started it right away and after giggling at the 5 bowls of stew, settled in to read what quickly became a very engrossing book.
Then I got an eye problem and my vision went blurry – although I am very visually focused (haha) I was mostly mad that I couldnt finish the wind book. Now my vision is coming back and I can read but annoyingly slowly. but that didnt stop me from finishing it and then buying the wise man’s fear. I doubt I would have picked it up if not reading your very funny stew story.