The Name of the Wind
|The Name of the Wind|
|Series||The Kingkiller Chronicle|
|Publisher||DAW Books Hardcover|
|Pages||662 pp (hardcover)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.6 22|
|LC Classification||PS3618.O8685 N36 2007|
|Followed by||The Wise Man's Fear|
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day One) is a fantasy novel by Patrick Rothfuss, the first book in a series called The Kingkiller Chronicle. It was published in 2007 by DAW Books with two possible hardcovers: one features the face of the Green Man with the title letters in silver and the other shows the figure of Kvothe with the letters printed in gold. A new cover was released in subsequent reprints, depicting a cloaked figure under a dark sky in a windy field.
Rothfuss spent 7 years writing The Name of the Wind during his nine year stint towards earning his B.A. in English. He drew inspiration from the range of college courses he explored, and from his personal interests & hobbies. A short story excerpted from the novel The Wise Man's Fear (sequel to The Name of the Wind), "The Road to Levinshire", won the Writers of the Future contest in 2002, leading to the book's publication. The sequel, The Wise Man's Fear, was released on March 1, 2011 by DAW Books.
The book is divided into two time periods, the first in the present and the other covering years of the past, chronicling Kvothe's youth as he tells his life story to a Chronicler who asks for the unexaggerated version of his life.
The story begins in the backwater town of Newarre, introducing the innkeeper Kote and his assistant Bast. The Inn is sparsely used, and widespread troubles from an ongoing war have further reduced travelers passing through the small town. It is revealed that Kote is actually the legendary hero Kvothe in hiding. Kvothe has a reputation as an unequaled swordfighter, magician and musician, who among other things is rumored to have killed a king and is somehow responsible for the war. His assistant and student Bast is a prince from the mystical Fae, magical creatures of great beauty but vulnerable to iron. Kvothe saves Chronicler, a travelling scribe, from spider-like creatures called Scrael. Chronicler recognizes him as Kvothe and asks to record his story. Kvothe initially refuses but eventually gives in, to tell the truth about the events that made him a legend. He tells Chronicler that this will take three days (corresponding to the planned trilogy of novels).
Kvothe begins his story with his childhood amongst the Edema Ruh, a troupe of travelling performers. Kvothe is extremely intelligent and a talented musician, particularly with a lute. The troupe picks up an arcanist by the name of Abenthy, a graduate of the University, who begins to train Kvothe in matters of science and "sympathy", a form of magic which allows the user 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). Abenthy also knows true names, thus giving him power over those things he knows the true name of. Kvothe witnesses Abenthy calling the wind to fend off suspicious townspeople and henceforth vows to discover the titular "Name of the Wind."
Meanwhile, Kvothe's father Arliden is composing a song about the "Chandrian," a mythical force of evil and corruption. This leads the Chandrian to find and kill the troupe; Kvothe survives by having been out in the woods at the time. Heavily traumatized, he spends three years in the city of Tarbean as a street urchin. After a storyteller named Skarpi tells Kvothe a tale of the Chandrian and their enemies, the Amyr, he makes his way to the University to continue his education and gather further information on the subject. On the road to the University Kvothe meets Denna, a beautiful and talented young woman with whom he immediately is infatuated. Kvothe is accepted at the university despite his lack of tuition funds and performs admirably as a student, but also faces difficulties due to continuous money problems and rivalries with the wealthy student Ambrose and the arrogant Master Hemme.
Kvothe's research about the Chandrian is marred by taking a candle inside the University's famous Archives, resulting in a sustained banishment from the Archives by the Master Archivist. Kvothe buys a lute despite his poverty, and performs at a famous musical tavern called the Eolian in the hopes of earning some much-needed money. At the Eolian, he earns talent pipes that designate him as a master musician, and also meets Denna again, with whom he develops a romantic but unassuming friendship. Kvothe is careful not to chase Denna away, who has many suitors and often disappears for weeks at a time, but seems to return his feelings.
When Kvothe hears reports of blue fire and murder at a rural wedding, he realizes that it could be the work of the Chandrian, and rides to a small town called Trebon in his attempt to find proof that the Chandrian do exist. After an unexpected reunion with Denna, who was meeting with her mysterious patron, the two set out to find out what happened at the wedding. They meet a local farmer who reported strange sightings of blue fire, and later that night they encounter a massive fire-breathing herbivorous draccus. The draccus is later discovered to be addicted to denner trees (the trees have a resin that can be made into highly addictive drugs) and goes on a rampage through the town of Trebon, nearly burning down the whole town before Kvothe manages to kill it with a clever use of sympathy. Upon returning to the University, Ambrose taunts Kvothe, taking and breaking Kvothe's lute. Kvothe subconsciously breaks Ambrose's arm by roaring out the name of the wind. Because of this feat, Master Namer Elodin accepts Kvothe as an advanced student and attempts to teach him the power of naming.
In the inn, the first day ends when a mercenary possessed by a demon arrives at the inn and attacks the patrons. Kvothe attempts to use sympathy to light the man on fire, but fails. After the man is killed by a patron, and Chronicler goes to bed, Bast breaks into Chronicler's room and urges him to focus Kvothe on the more heroic aspects of his story. Chronicler refuses, wanting Kvothe's story as true and objective as possible, but Bast threatens him. Bast explains to Chronicler that he lured him to the inn because he wanted to shake Kvothe out of his monotonous life, that Kvothe's simple life is killing him and that Bast hopes that some good will come from the Chronicler helping Kvothe remember his days of glory.
In The Name of the Wind, multiple types of magic exist, with different limitations. The first type of magic, called "sympathy" is essentially a combination of thermodynamics, quantum entanglement, and voodoo dolls. It is described as using a special force of will called Alar to create a sympathetic link between two objects, to enable a shift of energy between them. In this context, the magic remains limited by the laws of thermodynamics. For example, lifting a pair of objects using a sympathetic link takes more force than the total weight of the two objects, because energy is lost in the form of heat into the objects themselves, into the sympathist, and into the space between the linked objects.
The second variety of magic, naming, involves no such semi-scientific limit; it is instead limited only by the ability of the namer to awaken his "sleeping mind" to find the "true name" of some object or element. When a namer finds the true name of a thing, that namer temporarily wields the power to call that thing to do whatever the namer wills; yet because names cannot be understood directly by the conscious, calling the true name of something is possible only with great effort, or in circumstances dire enough to rouse the sleeping mind.
There are at least two other types of magic in the world of The Name of the Wind: sygaldry, which is essentially sympathy that is inscribed using runes (which makes it a mechanistic, almost medieval-steampunk, style of magic); and alchemy, whose limits can perhaps be best understood as an alternative line of chemistry (though one of the characters does make it abundantly clear that alchemy is nothing like chemistry.) For example, one of the compounds that can be produced by alchemy is mostly non-flammable if put in a little water, but highly flammable once heavily diluted (contrary to the patterns observed by chemists in the real world).
Awards and honors 
- Quill Award (2007) - Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
- "Best Books of the Year" (2007) - Publishers Weekly - Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror
- Alex Award (2008) - Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)
See also 
See The Kingkiller Chronicle for an additional description of key characters and the setting.
- Rothfuss, Patrick. "A Glimpse of Things to Come". Patrick Rothfuss. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- http://www.bookweb.org/btw/awards/Quills.html, The Quill Awards list on www.bookweb.org Retrieved September 10, 2010
- Staff (11/05/2007). "PW's Best Books of the Year". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- "Alex Award Winning Books for Mature Teenagers – Another Book List". Word Press. September 1, 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2012.