*Full Disclosure, I have bashed Goodkind so many times I can not count them.*
My friend and I were discussing genre writing in general the other day, we eventual got around to Goodkind, I immediately launched into a hate speech. But my friend had another theory which proved interesting. Here goes:
Terry Goodkind is a master Satirist. Stephen Colbert has nothing on him and like Andy Kauffman he refuse to break character. No person in this world could possibly be as obtuse as Terry. Goodkind established Wizards first rule in the first book, "people fear what they believe to be true" Goodkind then has each and every character repeatedly prove the rule in every book that follows. This is not an accident, it is purposeful move on Goodkind's part to see who is paying attention. Goodkind establishes very early on that "The villain never thinks he is the villain", and Richard is this stories villain. His crimes are numerable through out the entire series, he literally tells his armies to quit fighting the battle, and go to the enemies homeland and destroy the innocent people who are just trying to live their lives for crying out loud, he mass murders pacifists, kicks a little girl in the jaw, the love of his life takes over her half-sisters kingdom and then when her half-brothers asks for the kingdom to no be involved in the coming struggles she kills him and threatens to throw her half sister back into the gang rape pit if she does not get in line.
But this goes deeper, think back to Faith of the Fallen (yes I know it hurts). Richard builds a statue that embodies and represents all that is good in people, that just seeing this amazing statue will make the most evil of people see the light and become Objectivists. Except this statue has an inherent flaw in it, just like Objectivism. It may be nice to look at and think about, but if you probe deeper it falls apart like hitting it with a hammer. Goodkinds own views on Objectivism are skewed so far that many Objectivists say that Goodkind does not understand what Rand wrote, that is because he is constantly skewering it, just very subtlety.
At one point our "Hero" tires to win an election against the supposed villains. He loses narrowly, nearly half the people in this country agree with him and want to follow him, but since he lost, what does he do, try to help the people on his side? Invite them to his country to live as he says is best? Nope, he abandons not only them but every person in the world, because he feels they are no longer worthy of him, One set back and our "Hero" quits on humanity.
There are a group of people in his world that have no magic, and can threaten the fabric of reality or something, another ancient wizard locks them away in their own land so they can not threaten creation, Richard frees them, but decides that since they are pacifists they deserve to be locked away for all time, at the end of the series, he does exactly that, anyone who does not agree with Lord Rahl, gets thrown out of Lord Rahl's world. This is our hero?
But Goodkind is also a character. Everyone has heard that he says he does not write fantasy books, but his books use every fantasy trope there is, he actively ape's RJ and WOT at every turn, at the time when Goodkind made this statement RJ was the biggest name in fantasy, an author he is actively aping, who is the biggest name in fantasy, and Goodkind says he does not write fantasy? It is just impossible to be that obtuse unless you are trying to be. My friend lays it our better then I do, but it was a very compelling argument he made.
So Goodkind may be the worlds biggest jerk, or he may have conned an entire genre into thinking he is a nut job and he sits at home counting his money and laughing up his sleeves.