The Name of the Wind – Patrick Rothfuss

The Name of the Wind is the first book in a proposed trilogy called the Kingkiller Chronicles by Patrick Rothfuss. It is a high-fantasy bildungsroman which revolves around our primary protagonist named Kvothe, and how he becomes an exceptionally talented yet infamous magician.

The novel takes place in a fictional world called The Four Corners of Civilisation and begins with a man named Kote who runs a countryside tavern called The Waystone Inn. Kote is shown to be a rather reticent and languished person, isolated from the world and entirely devoted to the well-being of his inn, with the help of his protégé, Bast. There comes a day when an eminent Chronicler visits the inn, who turns out to be an old acquaintance of Kote. It is then revealed to the readers that Kote is actually The Kvothe, the Kingkiller, an infamous magician, who is now in exile and has concealed his identity and we don’t know how he ended up in such circumstances. The Chronicler then insists Kvothe to narrate the story of his life, of how he fell in love with a mysterious girl named Denna, how he became such a talented wizard, and how he ended up murdering a King. The rest of the novel follows his larger-than-life and breathtaking biopic.

Patrick Rothfuss is a an unparalleled author, an enamouring storyteller, and a skilled writer. His prose is lyrical, his flair poetic. The book solely focuses on our primary character Kvothe, with a myriad of other characters having pivotal roles in his development. Rothfuss’s writing style is so beautiful that it’s nothing less than an entrancing charm. The reader gets to experience the surreal spell of the power of words, and how much they can affect people.

Kvothe is a well-written and complex character, he has had his share of losses, he knows the essence of grief, and he is well-versed with the gravity of failure. Throughout the book, we see him developing as we cascade continually through many more such failures, losses and victories. He is confident, calculative, morally sound and determined.

The antagonists of this novel are a band of supernatural fugitives called the Chandrian, whose presence is heralded by the appearance of blue flames and the rusting and decay of matter. Their aim is to ensure that the cosmos remains unaware of their existence, and through an interesting yet heart-breaking turn of events, their paths intertwine with those of our beloved protagonist, who is devoted to unravel their mystery and avenge the death of his loved ones who fell victim to the Chandrians’ brutality.

The themes of this book are just as beautiful as the prose. Music and poetry, being the superior ones. Rothfuss occasionally emphasizes the significance of music and the paramount influence it has on everyone’s lives as the events of this book unfold. Other themes explored in this novel are death, superstition, love, grief, and persistence.

While The Name of the Wind is in itself a bulky volume, it is thereafter followed by its sequel, The Wiseman’s Fear, and follows the rest of Kvothe’s courageous journey and his transition to adulthood.

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. My name is Kvothe, You may have heard of me.

Ashaz Daud is a published author and poet from Delhi Public School Varanasi. He is also the Literary Head of his school and is very fond of reading and writing speculative fiction.