April 15th, 2011, 10:09 AM
I think that in some ways Pat is his own victim when it comes to the "poorly paced" arguments. It may be part of what he's trying to do, but he (or Kvothe) isn't managing readers expectations well when it comes to the direction of the story. As readers we do speculate as to what we may come to down the road. In the case of these books, Kvothe dropped a number of plot points on us early on that he implies he'll be hitting upon (the "I have stolen princesses.....make the minstrels weep" paragraph is part of it, but also the question of kingkiller). All that's very vague, but it gives the impression you'll hit some of these things, that they're important things in his life. But Pat subverts that. They're often misunderstandings or misrepresentations of what actually happened. As such, these aren't the pillar moments of the book. They're not his life. They're the rare occurrences between his day-to-day living. And that may very well be intentional. But to someone looking for a certain narrative flow, this limping from one misunderstood legend to the next can feel disjointed and frustrating. In that case, whether someone likes it will depend on whether they like what he's doing with the book more than they actually like the book.
Then there's another camp that has extrapolated from the facts given that since Kvothe's family was killed by the Chandrian and he's looking for all this information on them that the end will be a big showdown of some sort with them. I don't think it will come to that. But I do see that Chandrian/Amyr/faerie split/moon/etc. as being a unifying idea. The parts of the story Kvothe decides to tell us about invariably come back to something to do with them. So he does feel those are the important bits. How it will turn out, I have no idea. But that's where his focus is. People have an issue with the Felurian section of the book as pointless, but I think the reason Kvothe tells us all of that is to get us to the moon story and the prophecy in the woods. Likewise with the Adem...so we can get that little kernel of information at the end.
And even as one of the people who have had less-than-fully-positive reactions to the "sidequests" I liked the plot throughout the book. I find it interesting in its entirety. But I did have a problem with the asides. And the problem I had was that they felt too detached from Kvothe's life. To me Kvothe's characterization dropped way down when he got to these sections. It seemed like all the things he had previously used to define himself disappeared, sometimes with mention (didn't have time for music) but other times just gone. No thoughts of his friends or nights at the Eolian or even "Hey, this situation with the Maer reminds me of what we talked about in such-and-such a class" or "There was a song about this." In these sections it felt like Kvothe became a cipher, a vehicle to get us to the next dribble of information about Amyr or Chandrian or Lockless...
And for me, that's where the illusion was shattered a bit. It's not that these sections existed. It's that we (or I, at least) saw the man behind the curtain. That's when Kvothe disappeared and Pat showed up. I guess, in short, I feel Pat didn't succeed in keeping Kvothe well-drawn as a character through those sections.
I think some people are reading this book for what they hope will come. I think others are reading it for the history that's slowly being revealed. I think others find the subversions interesting. Others like the idea of a fantasy autobiography.
But I do agree with thirstyVan on something important: It's a novel. Whatever other things Pat's trying to do with it, it should be a good read. And I find that, for the most part, it is. But I don't think it's perfect...or even the best thing I've read this year.
One more thought on the autobiography and what-to-tell thing: Real autobiographies don't tell every little thing that happens to a person. They just can't. There's not enough paper to go into that much detail. But the things they choose are things that are important to them...the things they feel shaped them. But they do usually tell why they felt something shaped them. Taking the Felurian section that dsw13 mentioned in his edit above (go check it out if you haven't), a problem I can see readers having with it is not only the one I mentioned where Kvothe seems to lose himself a little but also the fact that there's no effort made to connect it forward, to take things from that into later sections. We don't see how that shaped him (not to say that we won't later). But as it stands, without feeling that going-forward I am left feeling like that section was there to essentially "haveSex=True" and "give out information points 145-147."
Last edited by Erfael; April 15th, 2011 at 10:19 AM.
April 15th, 2011, 10:53 AM
This is a nice and much more concise summary of what I was trying to get across as well. Again, I appreciate what Rothfuss is trying to do, but I still want to be engaged by each part of the story, even if the overall arc keeps shifting directions. He could have spent the rest of the book with the Maer and never touched upon the Chandrian and I wouldn't have cared in the least because that part of the book was interesting to me. Instead, the story took another turn, which I also would have been fine with if it was just as engaging. For me, although the bandit/Felurian sections might have been important in shaping the legend, they weren't nearly as interesting to me as what had been abandoned (although, as I said in an earlier post, I actually liked most of the Adem section).
Originally Posted by Erfael
April 15th, 2011, 11:21 AM
I couldn't disagree more. It is a fantastic read. Pat's understanding of proper 1st person narration coupled with beautiful prose and masterful storytelling ranks this among the very best stories ever told in fantasy which is high praise given that in the 20+ years I have been reading fantasy I have probably only enjoyed 25% of the books I have read. So many of the adequate or down right poor books I don't even remember anymore.
Rothfuss nailed it particularly with the casual fantasy fan. This is character driven story telling at its finest. Sprinkle that in with a bit of satire and you get the perfect "un" epic epic fantasy.
Someone mentioned earlier about debates not being about winning etc which I think is nonsense. The point of a debate is to win the debate. To prove your position is the superior one and to disprove and/or invalidate your opponents position. Debate and discussion are two different things.
In the end Pat is laughing all the way to the bank with the book on its 4th or 5th printing at the moment. Given that probably 90% of critical reviews are extremely positive I think the detractors are in the minority.
April 15th, 2011, 11:57 AM
By all means then, keep trying to win. Tell anyone who doesn't agree with you that they're wrong and post a few more links to reviews and interviews. In the mean time, we'll keep talking about the book.
Originally Posted by 3rdI
Do you understand that we like the book, that we count it as good, solid, above-average fantasy? It seems to stick in your craw that anyone should have the slightest thing to say that isn't 100% effusive praise. Do you understand that we can like the book, even like the book a lot, and still have criticisms? And just as you love the book and no one is telling you over and over again you're wrong, we can like it with reservations and we're not wrong. We're not dealing in facts here. It's a book. Some people will love it. Some people will hate it. The majority will fall somewhere in between. Posting reviews that say how wonderful other people think it is won't change how people feel about something. Actually holding an in-depth discussion of things may allow people to see it in a different light, though.
April 15th, 2011, 12:16 PM
The point on debating is pretty fun. The sad truth about debates is that most people are so far up the ass of their own opinion that it isn't going to change. There are so few debates that have ever made me change my opinion yet I still consider there as being debates where I have - not lost - but not come across well.
A debate is about sharing opinions. You get an insight into the different arguments against something you feel passionately about and get to answer them and pose your own arguments. It's a way of helping everyone to understand, not a good old fashioned bar fight you can 'win' in some way.
Which sucks, bar fights are fun.
I thnik if your statement were to make any sense, you'd have to go into a debate expecting that, as well as winning, you could lose. That means someone could potentially make you dispise this book series.
Could anyone do that, Third?
No, you've made up your mind. Now, you just wanna' share it. :P
April 15th, 2011, 12:34 PM
Again I think you are getting debate and discussion mixed up. Politicians do not debate to better appreciate the others view point. They debate with the sole intention of smashing their opponents position. Debate is competition.
Originally Posted by Luya Sevrein
PM me if you want to debate the nature of debating lol Don't want to take things off topic.
Last edited by 3rdI; April 15th, 2011 at 02:16 PM.
April 15th, 2011, 12:35 PM
Under that definition I'll go so far as to say that SFFWorld is not the place for debate. It's a discussion forum.
April 15th, 2011, 12:52 PM
I don't want to take it off topic, but I was going to say what Erfael did. xD
Originally Posted by 3rdI
I was actually going to use Politicians as an example. They debate CONSTANTLY, to the point where no one cares anymore because all they spout are non-sensical, inpractical, ad hominem statements until neither side wins.
Cause debates don't have winners.
They have someone who puts their opinion across better than someone else.
In my opinion.
Anyways, you dodged my one topic-related point! No one will change your mind about this book series because you've read it, you've made your choice. So you aren't allowed to debate about it! So there.
April 15th, 2011, 12:58 PM
\m/ BEER \m/
Originally Posted by dsw13
Yes, yes, and yes. The above pretty much encapsulates how I feel about the sidequests I mentioned in my review, though I wouldn't go so far as to say excrutiating, just overlong.
Originally Posted by Erfael
April 15th, 2011, 01:04 PM
There is something inherently dangerous about proclaiming your character (or having him self-proclaim) that he is a Master storyteller. I wouldn't have had the balls. Just because he is amazing at all other creative outlets, I think I'd have gone for the 'Everyone always said I told terrible stories...-grumble grumble-' route - y'know - just to be safe. :P
April 15th, 2011, 01:19 PM
MY posts about MY misgivings or criticisms are based on MY opinions. As only I can know what MY opinions are, I am the only one qualified to state that MY previous posts have adequately set forth as much. Thus, as to any and all debate concerning the proper expression of MY opinions, I declare myself the winner.
3rdI, at least as far as my posts go, you are confusing discussion with debate. It might very well be that others have posted criticisms as if they are the gospel, but I bent over backwards to do no such thing. There can be no doubt that you like the book more than me. However, I still like the book.
Neither of us is right or wrong. As a critique is, by its very nature, subjective, the only thing that can even be possibly open to "debate" is whether a criticism is unfair. If you think my points were unfair, that's fine too. However, you don't automatically win that debate simply because you've posted your opinion more often than I've posted mine or because other reviewers tend to agree with you. All it means is that I'm in the minority, not that my points are unfair.
It would be unfair, for example, if I dismissed your opinions by stating that you simply look at these books through rose colored glasses. For instance, I noticed in a recent thread on Red Seas Under Red Skies that you had problems with the portrayal of female characters in that book. Without further explanation, that would appear to be an unfair criticism. However, you provided more detail and, whether I agree with your opinion or not, I believe it was made in good faith. Thus, it wasn't unfair. You apparently don't have any such issues with the portrayal of the female Adem. Is that an unfair lack of criticism? Before getting defensive or telling me that the Adem are different, I don't think you're being unfair in any event. I think that you so enjoy this work that, even if you fairly could have the same issues as with Lynch's book, you were so captivated by the story that it didn't concern you. Those aren't rose colored glasses and there's nothing wrong with that. In fact, I am genuinely happy for anyone who gets such enjoyment from a piece of literature, whether I share the same affinity or not.
I'm not trying to ruffle your feathers or attack you in any way, but am just trying to illustrate that one would have to be pretty far out there in giving an opinion for it to amount to an unfair criticism, and I haven't really seen much of that in this thread. And, bringing it back around again, if a critique is not unfair, it's just a subjective opinion, which is not open to debate.
April 15th, 2011, 01:47 PM
Collecting my thoughts; here be SPOILERS :)
Good idea about the Ruh! I've been re-reading second story by Skarpi and I noticed the similarity in names that pop up every once in a while:
Ruh - Ruah (at least I remember it being spelled like that). Selitos, Tehlu and some of the trustworthy Ruah become the Amyr.
Here comes some other random ideas (most my own, but others gathered and extended upon from other sites).
The story about Jax/Iax (the same name more the less as the famous namer, as strong as Aleph and Lyra) and the tinker in WMF is very interesting. Basically, it says that Iax found a hermit (which was obviously aware of all names) and spoke to him. The hermit helped him access a house, a pipe and a box. Iax then unfolds the house and it's all strange and unnatural. After doing so he captures the moon in the box.
What this story really tells is how Iax created the Fae (the story mentions how it's different times in different rooms and how there's a different set of stars etc) and captured the moon, which lead to the Creation War. The old hermit told him not to (the protagonist opposes the "changers" in the story about the Creation War that Felurian tells as well).
Iax is obviously the evil "changer" locked behind the door. Also, note how Lanre turned into HalIAX; he's basically extending his powers through Iax somehow.
There's a very education chapter in tNotW that speaks of the 4 doors of the human mind that can be escaped through if life is tough. They are
Also, and here comes the interesting part, throughout the books is dropped some information about Lanre (or rather Haliax). He is said to:
- Not have sleept for 5000 years
- Not forget anything. (He talks about him forgetting about their purpose in a very sarcastic way when Kvothe finds his dead parents)
- He is completely sane. (Selitos says he is, also the "story" Shehyn says explicitly that he is sane).
- He cannot die! Or rather, he wakes again
Obviously, he is kept from entering these "doors", and his only hope is to destroy the whole world to escape.
Also, Arliden knows to identify an Arcanist by his guilder in tNotW. Abenthy is a bit impressed by this as it shows that Arliden is pretty knowledgeable.
But, how did Arliden come to know of this? Yes, he can have learned it in a million ways, but I believe he has learned it from an Arcanist. Someone that was his friend or similar. He has thus likely have contact with Arcanists before, maybe even at the University.
I think that Lorren mentions Arliden because he has been researching the Chandrian by asking an Arcanist, possibly Lorren himself.
Also, and this is completely from someone else on the Interwebs: Kvothe learned how to live in the woods by a person name something like Haclith. The same name is said to turn up in WMF when Kvothe researches the Lackless, or more specificly his mother Netalia Lackless, that run away with a Ruh.
I don't have these parts fresh in memory, but it makes partly sense.
Also, Kvothe's mother must have been the Lackless women. The song that Arliden sings about her, how she cannot cook but keeps track of money etc, is a good hint at her having been a noble.
It also makes sense since "the son will bring the blood" in the verse about the stone doors; Kvothe being the son of the Lackless women would make perfect sense as he probably opens the door, whatever it means.
One of the poems about the door ends with "then comes that which comes with dreaming" (after the doors has been opened). This can mean a lot of things, but I'm guessing wildly that it's meant to mean nightmares. It's not sleeping in general, but dreaming in particular.
Of course, by this reasoning it could also mean power or a ton of other things...
April 15th, 2011, 01:54 PM
I am not concerned with your opinion on the matter. As long as the rules are followed definition is irrelevant. No personal attacks, no excessive cussing, no discussing religion. Fair.
Originally Posted by Erfael
You cannot moderate opinion or intent. You can only moderate what is presented on the page. I am within regulations. Good day.
April 15th, 2011, 02:05 PM
April 15th, 2011, 02:23 PM
You know, you could Photoshop that so the pinky was up as well, and it would change the entire thing.
Originally Posted by thirstyVan
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