The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind

Infobox Book
name = The Name of the Wind

image_caption =
author = Patrick Rothfuss
country = United States
language = English
cover_artist =
series = The Kingkiller Chronicle
genre = Heroic Fantasy
publisher = DAW Books Hardcover
release_date = 27 March 2007
media_type = Print (Hardcover)
pages = 662 pp (hardcover)
isbn = ISBN 978-0756404079
preceded_by = n/a
followed_by = The Wise Man's Fear

"The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One)" is a fantasy book by Patrick Rothfuss, the first book in a series called "The Kingkiller Chronicle". It was published in 2007 by DAW books and features two possible hardcovers, one features a gargoyle's face surrounded by leaves with the title letters in silver and the other shows the figure of Kvothe with the letters printed in gold. Orson Scott Card compared the novel favorably to the "Harry Potter" series. [ [ Patrick Rothfuss - The Reviews ] ]


The series is essentially the biography of a famous musician, arcanist, and adventurer named Kvothe. After gaining notoriety at a young age, he disappears from public life and is eventually tracked down to a backwater inn by Devan Lochees, who goes by the name 'Chronicler'. After some persuasion, Chronicler convinces Kvothe to tell him his life story, which Kvothe announces will take three days (hence the name of the novel—"The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day One"—and its division into volumes). However, Kvothe's first-person narration is occasionally punctuated by interludes, during which it becomes clear that someone is looking for Kvothe. Meanwhile, Kvothe's friend and apprentice Bast is unwilling to let Chronicler tell all of Kvothe's story. The story thus proceeds on two levels, as we learn how Kvothe came to be the man he is now, whilst other events take place in the present, hinting at a greater story to follow.

Kvothe begins his story in his childhood amongst the Edema Ruh, a travelling and performing people. Kvothe, even for an Edema Ruh, is an extremely talented musician, particularly with lute and voice. As a youth, his father's troupe picks up an arcanist by the name of Abenthy, a graduate of the University (there is only one), who begins to train the extremely bright Kvothe in matters of science. Particularly, he teaches Kvothe "sympathy," a form of magic which allows the sympathist to link two objects together and cause changes in the bound object by manipulating the other (a system drawing equally from modern thermodynamics, quantum entanglement and voodoo dolls). However, sympathy is only the weaker form of magic in Rothfuss' story; Abenthy also knows the secret of naming, thus giving him power over those things he has named, particularly wind, as he demonstrates to an astonished Kvothe by using it against a suspicious townsperson; Kvothe spends the remainder of the novel attempting to find someone to teach him the titular "Name of the Wind."

Meanwhile, Kvothe's father is attempting to compose a song about the "Chandrian," a mythical (if human) force of evil, occasionally referenced in children's rhymes but otherwise submerged in the murk of legend. Kvothe's father's curiosity leads the Chandrian to visit the troupe and put everyone to the sword; Kvothe escapes by the simple expedient of having been out in the woods at the time. Now orphaned, Kvothe spends three years in the city of Tarbean, forced to become a street urchin, before finally making his escape to the University to continue his education. There he bargains for, and obtains, enrollment on a shoestring budget, gaining acceptance to the University but being forced thereafter to scramble constantly to make ends meet.

While at the University, Kvothe continues to feed his love of knowledge, as well as resuming his pursuit of music, which helps ease his monetary woes after a significant down payment on a new lute. He also renews his acquaintance with Denna, a beautiful young woman whom he met on the road from Tarbean to the University and who has since taken up residence in a town near the University. He begins a rivalry with a rich fellow student, Ambrose, and with an arrogant head faculty member, Master Hemme; he also attempts to gain the attention of Master Elodin, who holds the promising title "Master of Naming". After Ambrose "helps" him explore the University's library by renting him a lit candle, Kvothe is banned from the stacks for life, and expends considerable effort in (successfully) finding another way in. Finally, he takes up his father's interest in the Chandrian, eventually investigating a destroyed farmhouse outside Trebon where those mythical villains supposedly slaughtered a wedding party; this leads directly to a confrontation with a drug-addicted dragon (the herbivorous tree-eating "draccus," which has stumbled upon a "denner resin" farm, and is about to attack Trebon in its euphoria). As night falls, Kvothe relates how Elodin finally took him as a student, after Kvothe demonstrated that, even if only subconsciously, he has the power to name (and command) the wind, injuring Ambrose because he had destroyed Kvothe's lute. However, the novel ends before Kvothe can reveal any more details about himself, such as which king he killed and why, what became of his love for Denna, under what circumstances he leaves the University, and who the Chandrian are.


"Kvothe:" Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as 'quothe', is the main protagonist of "The Kingkiller Chronicle". The first novel in the trilogy, "The Name of the Wind", is a retelling by an adult Kvothe of his own life, from his earliest memories to some point after he has gained access to the University's library. Born with fiery red hair, he is the only child of a pair of gifted and loving artists who head a talented traveling entertainment troupe known as the Edema Ruh. With this upbringing, Kvothe himself becomes a good actor and has learned to play the lute by the age of 8. Through the course of his family's travels with the troupe, Kvothe comes into contact with an assortment of people from who he is quick to learn a varity of trades and knowledge. One of these people is Abenthy (Who he nicknames Ben). Ben and Kvothe become good friends, and Ben spends much of his time training Kvothe in the ways of science and the basics of sympathy. Eventually Ben leaves the troupe, but before doing so tells Kvothe that he should make an attempt to gain entrance to the University as soon as he is of age and capable. After Ben's departure, Kvothe is orphaned when his whole troupe, along with his parents, are killed. Kvothe then makes his way alone to the large city of Tarbean where he survives as a street urchin and a proficient thief. After 3 years, he is able to make his way to the University and gain acceptance. Once accepted, Kvothe becomes obsessed with gaining access to the University library so that he can learn more about the Chandrian. This time of his life is difficult because most of the students are children of wealthy merchants or noblemen, while Kvothe is usually penniless. Academically Kvothe does well, but he also develops a strong sense of pride due to his self-consciousness about being poor while among so many wealthy people. This sense of pride sometimes leads him to folly in the choices he makes at the University, one of them being that he develops a dangerous rivalry with a powerfully wealthy student named Ambrose. During this time he also begins to have romantic feelings for an elusive local musician, Denna. Throughout his life Kvothe accumulates a multitude of nicknames: Maedre- which can mean The Flame, The Thunder or The Broken Tree depending on how its pronounced, E'lir, Dulator, Shadicar, Lightfinger, Six-String, Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. At the beginning of the novel he uses the cover name of Kote which translates to 'disaster'.

"Devan Lochees:" He is also known in "The Kingkiller Chronicle" as Chronicler. In the "The Name of the Wind", Chronicler is making his way to a small inn owned by the adult Kvothe, in an attempt to secure an interview with him. Along the way, Chronicler has his horse stolen from him by highwaymen and is forced to walk the remaining distance. The lack of the horse forces him to spend an unplanned night in the woods. In the woods he sees a fire, and goes to it hoping to find a helpful campfire. Instead, a finds a somewhat deranged-appearing Kvothe. Shortly thereafter, they are attacked by some Scrael and Chronicler is injured and knocked unconscious. Kvothe saves him and carries him to his inn and mends his wounds. After some prodding, Chronicler is able to convince a somewhat reluctant Kvothe to tell the story of his life after he impresses Kvothe with his note-taking abilities. Here it is revealed that part of the secret of Chronicler's success is that he has developed his own note-taking language. This specialized form of writing allows him to take notes as fast as a person can speak, and can only be read by Chronicler himself. Kvothe also agrees to the interview because of the fact that The Chronicler is a distinguished graduate of the University's Arcanum and is considered to be the foremost chronicler of his time. Kvothe decides to tell his life's tale to Chronicler over a 3-day period.

"Bast:" Bast is a student of Kvothe's and assists him in running the inn. Although he attempts to pass himself off as human, Bast is actually a Faerie. He is over 150 years old and his whole title is Bastas, son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Telwyth Mael. He secretly leaked the location of Kvothe to Chronicler in order to have Chronicler seek Kvothe out and convince him to tell his life's tale.

"Ambrose:" He is the firstborn son of a powerful and wealthy Vintas nobleman. Ambrose despises Kvothe due to Kvothe's fast rise in the ranks of the Arcanum, and because of his overall poverty. The two of them are constantly escalating the degree of their conflicts.

"Denna:" A beautiful young woman from uncertain circumstances, she flits in and out of Kvothe's life at unexpected times. For unspecified reasons, she has no family or friends to rely on, and thus is in a position to understand Kvothe's poverty, though the attention she gets from suitors is generally enough for her to get by on. She is also a deeply talented musician and singer, helping Kvothe prove his talent by joining in on a difficult song which she had heard only a few times before. By her own confession, she is just as attracted to him as he is to her.

"The Chandrian:" A mysterious group of villains whose signs are enumerated by Kvothe's father Arliden: metal rusts and wood decays in their presence, and fires burn blue, which Kvothe observes at his troupe's wagons and later in the town of Trebon. Both times that the Chandrian strike are attempts to eliminate people who know things about them: the first is to kill Kvothe's father and all those who have heard the song that he wrote about them, and the second is at a wedding in Trebon because the groom's family had dug up an urn depicting the Chandrian and their signs. Only two Chandrian have been identified by name: one, the leader, is "Lord Haliax", and one of his subordinates is called "Cinder".

"Skarpi:" A relatively minor character in "The Name of the Wind", though he has (in the present day) befriended Chronicler, and was instrumental in discovering Kvothe's post-kingkilling whereabouts. He enters Kvothe's narrative in Tarbean, as an eccentric old man who will tell any story asked of him. Kvothe asks for the story of Lanre and Lyra, two heroes of the ancient world-spanning "Creation War." It is the hearing of this story which breaks Kvothe out of his three-year subsistence-level existence on the streets of Tarbean and spurs him on to the University, to learn as much as he can about the Chandrian.


#"Quill Award" (2007) - Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror []
#"Best Books of the Year" (2007) - Publishers Weekly - Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror []


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