The Name of the Wind
|Series||The Kingkiller Chronicle|
|Publisher||DAW Books Hardcover|
|27 March 2007|
|Pages||662 pp (hardcover)|
|LC Class||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 wrote The Name of the Wind during his nine-year advance toward his B.A. in English. He drew inspiration from the range of college courses he explored, and from his personal interests and 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 Wise Man's Fear itself was released on March 1, 2011 by DAW Books.
Orion have also released audiobooks of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear narrated by Rupert Degas.
The book is divided into two timelines: the first in the present, described in third person; the second in protagonist Kvothe's past, narrated by Kvothe himself to a renowned 'Chronicler'.
The story begins in the rural town of Newarre, introducing the innkeeper Kote and his assistant Bast, and revealing that Kote is the hero Kvothe: an unequaled swordfighter, magician, and musician, rumored to have killed a king and somehow caused the present war. His assistant and student Bast is a prince of the Fae. Kvothe saves the Chronicler, a travelling scribe, from spider-like creatures called Scrael, whereupon the Chronicler asks to record his story. Upon consenting, Kvothe tells the Chronicler that this will take three days (corresponding to the planned trilogy of novels).
Kvothe begins his story in his childhood amongst the Edema Ruh, a troupe of traveling performers, shortly before the troupe acquire the scholar 'Abenthy', who trains Kvothe in science and "sympathy", a discipline of causing changes in one object by manipulating another (a system drawing equally from modern thermodynamics, quantum entanglement, and voodoo dolls). Kvothe also witnesses Abenthy calling the wind to fend off suspicious townspeople and vows to discover the titular "Name of the Wind", permitting this control.
Mistakenly summoned by Kvothe's father Arliden, the mythical "Chandrian" destroy the troupe, leaving Kvothe alive but alone. Heavily traumatized, he spends three years in the city of Tarbean as a street urchin, and later approaches their nation's 'University' to continue his education. En route Kvothe becomes enamored of a talented young woman known as Denna. Kvothe enters the University despite his lack of tuition funds, and performs admirably as a student, but faces continuous poverty and rivalries with the wealthy student Ambrose and the arrogant Master Hemme. Kvothe's research of the Chandrian is marred by a sustained banishment from the University's Archives. Kvothe buys a lute despite his poverty, and performs at a famous musical tavern to earn money, where he also befriends Denna. Hearing reports of blue fire and murder at a rural wedding, he suspects the Chandrian, and visits the site. There, Kvothe and Denna meet a local farmer who reported blue fire, and later a fire-breathing herbivorous draccus, which nearly destroys the local town before slain by Kvothe. At the University, Ambrose taunts Kvothe, who breaks Ambrose's arm by summoning the wind; whereupon Master Namer Elodin accepts Kvothe as an advanced student of his own.
In the inn, the first day ends when a mercenary possessed by a demon attacks the patrons. After the man is killed by a patron, Bast breaks into the Chronicler's room and urges him to focus Kvothe on the more heroic aspects of his story, in the hope that Kvothe will abandon his apathy.
The Name of the Wind introduces multiple forms of psychokinesis, with different limitations. The first, called "sympathy" is described as use of a special force of will (called 'Alar') to connect two objects immaterially, and so control both. Doing so remains limited by thermodynamics; in that lifting a pair of objects 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, 'naming', is limited only by the ability of the namer to intuitively discover the "true name" of some object or force. Because names cannot be understood directly by the conscious, calling the true name of something is possible only with great effort, or by fight-or-flight response.
Two other varieties are 'sygaldry', a form of sympathy operating through runes; and alchemy, best understood as an alternative line of chemistry but differing from it in some properties, as when one of the compounds produced by alchemy is non-flammable in a little water, but highly flammable once heavily diluted (contrary to the patterns observed by chemists).
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)
- Rothfuss, Patrick. "A Glimpse of Things to Come". Patrick Rothfuss. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- The Quill Awards list on www.bookweb.org Retrieved September 10, 2010[dead link]
- 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.
- [dead link]