The Dragonmount Fantasy Review The Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss I get asked a lot what books I’d suggest Wheel of Time fans read whilst they’re awaiting A Memory of Light, to such an extent that I thought it might be fun for everyone is we had a regular review of other fantasy novels on the site, fantasy novels which hold something similar to the spirit of Mr Jordan's work--be that in terms of scope, style, themes or whatever. With that in mind I thought that a monthly WoT-oriented look at some of the other shining stars of fantasy could be worth some time. This month's entry will be on the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. The first book, entitled The Name of the Wind, was released in 2007 and the second book, The Wise Man's Fear, was released worldwide on the first of March 2011. What are the Kingkiller Chronicles About? The Kingkiller Chronicles tell the story of a man named Kvothe. Or, perhaps more accurately, tell the story of a man named Kvothe telling the story of a boy named Kvothe. It begins with a historian seeking out the older Kvothe to get from him the true story of his infamous youth, which Kvothe finally agrees to. From there, over the next three days (each day at the inn being one of the books in the trilogy) Kvothe tells the historian his story. And what does that story cover? I'll let Kvothe tell you himself... My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as "quothe." Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I've had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it's spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree. "The Flame" is obvious if you've ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it's unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire. "The Thunder" I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age. I've never thought of "The Broken Tree" as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic. My first mentor called me E'lir because I was clever and I knew it. My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it. I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String. I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them. But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant "to know." I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned. I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep. You may have heard of me. These stories are themselves compelling, but in many ways it is in Rothfuss' skill as a writer, combined with the fact that Kvothe himself is not the most reliable narrator, that the true value of this book comes forth. Kvothe tells the story he wants to tell, and Rothfuss has him tell it beautifully. And, mixed between, interludes in which we get tantalizing glimpses of the modern Kvothe, and see both how the stories inform the man that comes to be--and at times more intriguingly, how they don't. Why Do I Think This Would Appeal To WoT Fans The Story; A Tale of a Boy That Grows Into a Wizard-Warrior Whilst Jordan's story has been around long enough to set the archetypes these days, it doesn't do to forget that he told something original, something which had not been done before. Taking the classical story of the provincial young boy thrown out into the world at the whims of evil powers to learn to be a fantastical hero and leader in the war--only Rand's magic was not wondrous so much as scary, his role was not heroic so much as it was hopeful that when he was done destroying things, something might be left. His sword in the stone was flawed, his wise magical helpers were self-involved and childish, and he was--as heroes go--given a rather shoddy lot of it. Rothfuss also takes the archetypal image of the hero, and plays with it. Through the stories of Kvothe's achievements an image is built, and then through the sardonic storytelling of the elder Kvothe that image is cut down again and again. Kvothe the Bloodless, to proud to bleed. Kvothe the Arcane calling lightning from the sky--if you have expectations on what should happen, they won't. And the few times they do, Kvothe Elder quite disdainfully refuses to tell the story. Indeed, Rothfuss not only plays on what you want to see, but on what you don't. There were several times I found myself thinking 'ok, come on Rothfuss, we get it--Kvothe is cool' then reading the next chapter and practically feeling Rothfuss giving me a little slap on the face and saying 'come on man, you didn't think I'd be that obvious, did you?' So what are the differences, and the downsides? Difficult question, as everyone appreciates stories differently. I will note, for instance, that people often complain about the abruptness of Jordan's climaxes. Battles built across books occurring in a smattering of pages. With that in mind, the WoT Fan should be warned--Kingkillers is definitely a story that is sold in the telling. The style of Rothfuss' writing (portrayed in the first person narration of Kvothe) is engaging, but also bound to Kvothe's inner nature. Thus, Kvothe is far more interested in telling the story of his fascination with a puzzle in a book, or the day spent trying to track down his girl, than he is in depicting his glorious and epic victories. In effect, if you're looking for epic battles, you won't find them. That's not the story that's being told here, and if you're like me, that's fine. Something is being built, slowly and carefully--the juxtaposition between Kvothe Younger and Kvothe Elder is enough to show that, and for that I am content to wait, and enjoy the journey. The World, A Home Fit For A King Worldbuilding was one of Jordan's great skills--the scope and size of the Wheel of Time is something that many fans cite as being the element that draws them back to the Wheel time and again. Now Rothfuss only has two books out, so it’s impossible to compare to a twelve book series, but I will say this, based on the world he has shown so far, I do think Rothfuss has worldbuilding skillz. With a Z. The Adem, for instance, a military society every bit as rich as the Aiel, with customs and language quirks that are amongst the most interesting things I've read in fantasy in a great long time. I'll leave you to discover those for yourself, however, and end with this note: his world is expansive, and his skill in showing us that world is, if anything, growing. One other parallel I would draw is this--Patrick likes to use songs and stories to tell the history of the world. A tool Jordan also uses from time to time, though not as heavily--and like Jordan, he uses it to mess with the reader. The same story can be told in different places with different endings or the same endings told in stories with different players, and from this a picture of the past, confused and fuzzed, begins to emerge, tantalizing us with the depth of the world. It's hardly a technique unique to either of them--but it's one I like, so you'll just have to live with me telling you about it. :D Mr Rothfuss Brings New Life to a Style Tolkien Created and Jordan Revolutionised. Or Something. Ok, so yes--that title is a bit wanky. Sounds like it came off a dustjacket of a b-grade book--or at least that was what I was hoping for. But I'm sure there is a rule somewhere that says all new fantasy authors have to be compared to Tolkien in a review, and I'm not one to break the rules--besides, there is a point I wanted to make, and that is this--it's all about the magic. As a lead in to making this point, I would direct you to a blog entry Brandon Sanderson wrote on the subject of magic systems which he calls Sanderson's First Law. It rather excellently covers the various types of magic systems in fantasy stories, and the roles they subsequently play in the telling of the story. It's a worthwhile read. But for simplicity here, let’s say there are two types. Hard Magic, which has its own set of clearly defined rules which are shown to the reader. I may be biased, but I've always regarded Jordan as the best Hard Magicist (Hard Magi?) about. The One Power with all its (post tSR) clearly defined rules and limitations is the perfect Hard Magic system, to my incredibly loyal mind. Tolkien's soft magic system, on the other hand, is beautiful. It's mysterious, invoking in us a sense of wonder that is not often felt in this modern world of hard science. The days in which maps ended with marks saying 'Here Be Dragons' are past, but they have an appeal which lingers, and are explored in the fantasy genre. And here's the thing, Rothfuss does both, and well. Between the clearly defined sympathy, which Kvothe studies like a science, to the mysterious weaving of moonlight that is a gesture of magic from the Faen, to the Naming of Names which hangs between (or perhaps below, propping it all up) Rothfuss depicts a world which has both the intellectually intriguing element of hard magic with the sense of wonder that we so often feel at the prospect of anything fae and unknown in soft magic. So should we put 'the love child of Jordan and Tolkien' on the dustjacket? I think so, if just for the spluttering that would result. But irrespective I'm sure you all take my point--others do hard magic. Other's do soft. Rothfuss has done something that is new--for me, at the least. He's dabbled in both, and it works well. Very well. Production Times; A Cautionary Tale Ok. So did you notice at the beginning that I said The Name of the Wind was published in 2007, and The Wise Man's Fear in 2011. Yeah... Rothfuss takes his time. The thing is, so did Jordan. And, though I worry about the parallels, so does Martin. And what I notice about all three is that they all produce really good books. There is a sense of polish to The Wise Man's Fear, a sense that each word, however innocuous, adds to the insights of the world, the characters--or even just adds to the smooth flow of the writing itself, a thing that is subtle but which shouldn't be underestimated in terms of its value. If that takes time to produce (and I believe there is quote somewhere saying Jordan usually did somewhere between 8 and 11 drafts per novel) then so be it. I brought this up because I know a lot of you find the wait between new books annoying. Not so for me--tell me an author takes his time, and I'll come to the table full of wide-eyed excitement. But that's me, and I can be somewhat odd. General Thoughts and Conclusions Rothfuss' storytelling is engaging and interesting. Though it is not what you would picture as a standard Epic Fantasy series, it is nonetheless deeply engaging. He uses many older techniques that I have not seen in some time--a story within a story, the switchback between first person and third person prose, the impact of a narrator’s personality on the portrayal of the story--and thus the inherent truthfulness of the narration itself--but he uses them all in a fresh, new way which in effect rejuvenates them. I think the Kingkiller Chronicles will appeal to anyone who enjoyed the scope of the Wheel of Time. Rothfuss is most certainly not Jordan 2.0, but rather, like Jordan has begun something new, and all of his own, and it gladdens me that even as the Wheel ends, new Fantasy epics are rising to keep the genre alive and well. Check out Patrick's official website Hope you enjoyed all that. This is the first time out, so feel free to leave feedback on what you liked and didn't like.
Dragonmount is proud to announce the launch of the Wheel of Time video news! Hosted by Kristen Nedopak, this regular series of brief videos will attempt to showcase some of the exciting events happening in the WoT community. For right now, you can subscribe and get updates when a new video is posted by visiting our YouTube channel. We will provide other methods of downloading and subscribing at a later time. (Once we figure them out) Here's our first episode: http://www.youtube.com/embed/O2gCpMa7Uvo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> About the video team Kristen Nedopak is an actress, show hostess, and huge WoT geek. You may recognize her from the video coverage she did for our Towers of Midnight book trailer. You can see more of her work at Nedopak.com. The Wheel of Time video news was edited by Jonathan Barbato. In addition to video editing, Jonathan is a script supervisor working on set for various film productions. Give us feedback! We'd love to hear back from you about this video. What did you think? What sort of news would you like to see us cover?
Dragonmount is excited to partner with Macmillan Audio to celebrate the release of Winter's Heart on audiobook. Now if that sounds strange to you, there's a good reason. After years of being out of print, the physical CD edition of Winter's Heart --Book 9 of Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series--can now be found wherever books are sold. Macmillan Audio is honored to complete the WoT series on audio with this re-release of fan favorite, read by series' narrators Michael Kramer and Kate Reading. To help celebrate this, check out our very first Wheel of Time video news segment, hosted by Kristen Nedopak: http://www.youtube.com/embed/O2gCpMa7Uvo" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> To celebrate all this new stuff, we're partnering with Macmillan Audio to give away some fun prizes. Our grand prize is a copy of Winter's Heart on audio CD, along with a copy of Towers of Midnight on audio CD and signed by Brandon Sanderson, Harriet McDougal and Michael Kramer. Secondary winners will receive copies of Winter's Heart on audio CD. To enter, reply to this post with your favorite scene from Winter's Heart. The contest ends at 11:59 PM (U.S. Pacific time) on Tuesday, March 15th. This contest is open only to residents of the United States and Canada. (Sorry, folks.) One entry per person, please. We'll draw the winders from a random selection. Be sure to visit Macmillan's Facebook page, where they have a dedicated Wheel of Time section. (Comments are now closed! Thanks to all who entered.)
This week, for Fan Art Friday, we're looking again at the artists who post their art on this site. If you don't know already, Dragonmount is host to the Artists, Writers and Crafters Guild, an online club for creative types. There's lots of stuff going on there every month, you should check it out. The Guild's theme this month was "Love" and all of the art featured this week is on that theme. This is a really nice wallpaper of Perrin and Faile by kirbalouga. I like the way she works in Perrin and Faile's totem animals, the wolf and the falcon. A nice portrait of Moiraine and Siuan from New Spring by Mercutia. Mercutia calls this one "Accomplices" which I think is an accurate description of Moiraine and Siuan as Accepted. I can't be the only one who wants to see a reunion between those two, especially now that they are all het up. That is, unfortunately, all the Wheel of Time art that was posted on the forums last month that fit the theme. Hopefully next month will have more for us to enjoy. Since I usually like to post three or four different pieces each week, here's a little something to round things off. http://www.youtube.com/embed/vSWW8JzG8lw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Some fan on Youtube has put together a nice montage of fan art set to music from the official Wheel of Time soundtrack, which was composed by Robert Berry several years ago. Enjoy!
Dragonmount is excited to announce that beginning Tuesday, March 8th, we will be launching the Wheel of Time Video News. This regular program will feature some interesting WoT news in a brief format. The show will be hosted by the delightful Kristen Nedopak (http://www.nedopak.com), who not only is respected as a fantasy geek and hostess, but got involved with us for the Towers of Midnight book trailer Behind the Scenes. Our first video will debut on YouTube and here on DM. Head over to our YouTube channel and subscribe to our feed to get it as soon as it comes out.
This week, we're looking again at a specific artist. For those of you that read the comments here, you may have noticed one artist in particular gets linked fairly often. That's RoseMuse. RoseMuse has a cartoonish style that seems very inspired by anime to me. Her characters have clean, simple lines, but don't skimp on detail. I love this portrait of Rand with his three ladies, especially the facial expressions. Aviendha looks adorably angry. I think she has a way of capturing the essential of a character, or a moment, even if her characters are a bit "cute". Egwene looks really, really angry in this picture of her calling lighting against the Seanchan. But she also looks cute enough to eat with a spoon. I like the dichotomy. But she also shows real emotion and poignancy. Elayne looks truly haunted by her royal ancestors in this portrait. She can also be freakin' hilarious. I highly, highly recommend clicking through to her gallery to see her "Stages of" series. Each is a character going through the stages of development we see in the books. I was going to feature one here, but I just can't pick one. So go look at all of them. As a reminder, this is the last week for, the Artists, Writers and Crafters Group on Dragonmount this month. The theme for February is "Love", so if you have a piece of Wheel of Time fan art that fits that theme and you'd like to see it here, post it on the forums and I'll choose my favorites to post next month.
The 4th Age podcast presents Episode 96, a second look of the Towers of Midnight. We have nearly a full crew for this episode, with Andrew, Virginia, Spencer, Carrie and Daniel as your hosts for this episode. Check out Dragonmount.com" rel="external nofollow">http://www.dragonmount.com">Dragonmount.com for forums, comments and all the latest news in the Wheel of Time world. ATTENTION! THERE ARE TOWERS OF MIDNIGHT SPOILERS! Also, spoilers on ALL the other books are VERY likely! Yes, there will be spoilers for ToM! If you haven’t read all the way through the Wheel of Time, THERE WILL BE SPOILERS of all previous books! Maybe of other series, too…. we will try to give warning. Did we mention that there will be spoilers….? Hosts: Andrew, Virginia, Spencer, Carrie, Daniel Editor: Norman H http://www.dragonmount.com/Podcast/Media/dm-4thAge-096.mp3">Download'>http://www.dragonmount.com/Podcast/Media/dm-4thAge-096.mp3">Download this Episode now Music by: Josh Needleman His website is at www.joshneedleman.net" rel="external nofollow">http://www.joshneedleman.net/">www.joshneedleman.net and he has the music available to hear on his MySpace page at www.myspace.com/joshneedleman." rel="external nofollow">http://www.myspace.com/joshneedleman">www.myspace.com/joshneedleman. It’s title is Floodgate. Thanks, Josh! Download this Episode now http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/4thAge/~4/416I31UnTac" height="1" width="1"/>
This week, let's take a look at everyone's favorite rogue, Mat Cauthon. Mat is one of those characters that really grows on you as the series progresses. I remember not really caring or noticing him too much at the beginning, except as a plot MacGuffin in The Great Hunt. But after you see his first POV in The Dragon Reborn, you become aware of his sly wit. I like that as the characters gain more and more social standing in their world, there's still one guy who is all "Yeah, what ever. I knew you back when, Miss Hoity Toity." Let's see how he pops up in fan art. This is what I think most of us think of when we think of "Mat". He's got the hat, he's got the scarf and he's holding dice. What's funny is that Mat does really become "Mat" until later in the series than the other ta'veren. Rand starts dressing like a lord in The Great Hunt after Moiraine steals his clothes. Perrin's clothes never really change, just Faile makes sure they are nice now. And they both figure out their unique abilities early on as well. Mat doesn't realize his luck until the third book, and his skill as a general doesn't come until after he encounters the Ael'finn and Eel'finn in the fourth book. This portrait is by solitarium on DeviantArt. This is a photomanipulation by PollyUranus on DeviantArt. I like the way she incorporated images of the Band with Mat. It's an unusual piece. Another Mark Bray piece this week. This is Mat with the Ael'finn in The Shadow Rising. Most of the Mat pictures I've seen are portraits of him all Matted Up. It's nice to see something a little different. And to do something a little different this week, here's a Youtube video I found while looking for something else. Eye of the Tiger, baby! http://www.youtube.com/embed/q3xBhS7Ma40" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> As a reminder, if you're interested in having your art featured on Fan Art Friday, the Artists, Writers and Crafters Group on Dragonmount is doing a challenge this month. The theme for February is "Love", so if you have a piece of Wheel of Time fan art that fits that theme, post it on the forums and I'll choose my favorites to post next month.
This week we're taking a look at fan interpretations of the Seanchan. The Seanchan are a multi-ethnic invading force we first meet in The Great Hunt. They were presented as mysterious foreigners with two defining characteristics. One, they keep "exotics", trained beasts seen no where else in Randland and with no real world counter part. Two, they leash women who can channel with the a'dam, a ter'angreal that prevents her from channeling without permission from a sul'dam. We've learned a lot more about them since that first appearance. This is Mark Bray's version of a grolm and it's handler. Mark Bray was one of the most popular fan artists when Dragonmount first came online in 1998. It's great to see his art is still available. This is another by Richard Boye, we've mentioned his art on Fan Art Friday before. Richard has always had a gift for capturing the clothing as described by Robert Jordan. I think he does a particularly good job of that in this portrait of Tuon and Selucia. For Tuon's outfit especially, you can see the Egyptian influences in the heavy gold collar with gems and the pleating of her linen skirt. https://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/6aXppuFRxPbX9vZDyvLCEQ?feat=embedwebsite"> src="https://lh6.googleusercontent.com/_Rkx61_eB8bY/S-bYgwSIWfI/AAAAAAAADyc/KlOvmBoYJgY/s640/DSC_1972.JPG" height="640" width="426" /> From JordanCon" rel="external nofollow">https://picasaweb.google.com/jennifer.liang/JordanCon2010SaturdayNight?feat=embedwebsite">JordanCon 2010 Saturday Night This is one of the costumes from last year's JordanCon. It's my friend Kelcey as High Lord Turak. Check out those pleated pants. Those took him forever to make. He even did the finger nails. It's a pretty detailed costume. You can see more detail up close. Kelcey also does a pretty bitchin' Asha'man and is working on Uno for this year's JordanCon. As a reminder, if you're interested in having your art featured on Fan Art Friday, the Artists, Writers and Crafters Group on Dragonmount is doing a challenge this month. The theme for February is "Love", so if you have a piece of Wheel of Time fan art that fits that theme, post it on the forums and I'll choose my favorites to post next month.
Since 2011 will not see the release of a Wheel of Time book, many fans are taking this as an opportunity to re-read the series so it will be fresh in their minds for the anticipated 2012 release of A Memory of Light. Some of this was prompted by Brandon Sanderson beginning his own re-read before starting work on A Memory of Light and posting his thoughts on Twitter. We thought we'd compile a list of some of the re-reads going on so you can join in. Leigh Butler's Re-read is the grand-daddy of all re-reads. It's been going on since January 2009. She posts twice a week and has just completed Crossroads of Twilight. Ranting Dragon, a fantasy news and review blog began a re-read this year. They just posted their re-read on The Eye of the World. The Ogier Social Group on Dragonmount also began a re-read last month. You can join in the conversation on our forums. Brandon Sanderson began re-reading the series in January and posting his thoughts on Twitter. You can see archives of his tweets on his blog. Wheel of Time fan Terez has been following along on her blog and posting her thoughts and theories. If you are on Twitter, you can join in the re-read conversation by using the #wotrr hashtag.
Instead of a theme this week, I thought I'd just browse through Dragonmount's Gallery and see what's been posted recently. If you don't know, Dragonmount's Gallery is free to use and lets you display your art to an appreciative community of fans. So if you've got Wheel of Time art, consider hosting it here. src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/1287131573/gallery_1227_35_837261.jpg' alt='Young Moiraine Keepin it Real' /> This one caught my eye because of the title: "Young Moiraine, Keepin It Real". I don't think it's a particular scene from the books (if it is, it's probably from her testing for Aes Sedai), but I like the idea of an action scene with Moiraine and the composition is very nice. It's a very good sketch overall. You can see more of Liriuchen's art here. This next image has small spoilers for Towers of Midnight. Nothing that would ruin your enjoyment of the book however. I just feel obligated to give the warning. src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/1290330182/gallery_11250_61_411751.jpg' alt='Tarmon Gaidon' /> This one has been making the rounds on Facebook and Twitter since Towers of Midnight was released. It's the details, I think, that make it such an instant classic. You have Perrin with his hammer, Mat with, well, he's just being Mat, and Rand holding Callandor, maimed hand behind his back and green grass growing around his feet. You can see the rest of Demander's gallery here. src='http://www.dragonmount.com/forums/uploads/1295656414/gallery_18049_71_60857.jpg' alt='WOT Perrin' /> This is a scene I don't think I've ever seen illustrated before. It's Perrin verses the Whitecloaks in the stedding. You can see Egwene huddled behind Perrin under Hawkwing's hand and one of the slain wolves (Hopper?) at his feet. The style on this one is interesting. The pen and ink style always looks very old fashioned to me. This is by isamux. If you're interested in having your art featured on Fan Art Friday, the Artists, Writers and Crafters Group on Dragonmount is doing a challenge this month. The theme for February is "Love", so if you have a piece of Wheel of Time fan art that fits that theme, post it on the forums and I'll choose my favorites to post next month.
This week, rather than focusing on a character, I thought we could look at an artist. If I had to guess, I think I'd say that Seamas Gallagher is one of the most popular Wheel of Time fan artists right now. He has a very distinctive style that's been seen in many places, from this website, to official licensed prints, to comic book covers. I think part of what makes Seamus so popular is his distinctive style. Rather than the realistic style you see in most Wheel of Time fan art, it's much more stylized. The characters are instantly recognizable by trademark clothing, or expressions. I think he does a great job of capturing the essential of a character. According to his website, Seamas is a professional illustrator who has done concept art for video games, like Bioshock 2 and Tomb Raider: Underworld. And as I mentioned before, his artwork graces the covers of the The Eye of the World comic book adaption. I'm starting to run out of things to say that don't make it sound like I'm slobbering on the dude. So I'll just pick out one more and send you to his website. Seamas's website Seamus's Wheel of Time art