The Kingkiller Chronicle

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The Kingkiller Chronicle

AuthorPatrick Rothfuss
CountryUnited States
GenreHeroic fantasy
PublisherDAW/Penguin Books
Published27 March 2007 – present
Media typeprint (hardcover & paperback)

The Kingkiller Chronicle is a fantasy trilogy by the American writer Patrick Rothfuss.[1] The first two books, The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear, were released in 2007 and 2011. The books released in the series have sold over 10 million copies.[2]

The series centers on a man named Kvothe, an infamous adventurer and musician telling his life story to a scribe. The book is told in a "story-within-a-story" format: a frame narrative relates the present day in which Kvothe runs an inn under an assumed name and is told in omniscient third person. The main plot, making up the majority of the books and concerning the actual details of Kvothe's life, is told in the first person. The series also contains metafictional stories within stories from varying perspectives that tie to the main plot in various ways.


The Kingkiller Chronicle tells the life story of a man named Kvothe. In the present day, Kvothe is a rural innkeeper, living under a pseudonym. In the past, he was a wandering trouper and musician who grew to be a notorious arcanist (or wizard), known as the infamous "Kingkiller".

The series is framed as the transcription of his three-day-long oral autobiography, where he "trouped, traveled, loved, lost, trusted and was betrayed". Present-day "interludes" concern his life as an innkeeper, with each present day depicted in a separate book.

The series is a secondary world fantasy; the setting is named Temerant. It has its own magic system, mixing alchemy, sympathetic magic, sygaldry (a form of runic magic combined with medieval engineering), and naming (a type of magic that allows the user to command the classical elements and objects), plus others.

Writing and publishing history[edit]

The Kingkiller Chronicle is intended to be a trilogy. The books are set in a fictional world referred to as the Four Corners in-universe;[3] the world's official name, Temerant, was revealed in 2014.[4]

Rothfuss began writing the series in 1994,[5] under the working title The Song of Flame and Thunder; the name was changed because he disliked it, as well as to avoid confusion with the George R. R. Martin series A Song of Ice and Fire.[6] The first draft of the trilogy was completed in 2000,[7] a draft he described as "a hot mess".[5]

In 2002, Rothfuss entered and won a Writers of the Future contest, which led him to a workshop with author Tim Powers.[8] This eventually led him to meeting his agent, who helped Rothfuss revise the first third of the story—now entitled The Name of the Wind—and sold it to DAW,[9] which published the book in March 2007.

Despite promises that the second and third books in the trilogy would follow on an annual schedule,[10] revisions to the second book, including work to bring in the frame narrative and introduce characters that weren't in the original draft, caused delays.[11][12][13] The Wise Man's Fear was released in 2011, topping the New York Times bestseller list.[14]

The Doors of Stone is unreleased as of 2024,[15] a point of contention online.[16] Rothfuss has said that the book would "conclude Kvothe's story", closing off the current arc,[17] but that further stories in the world of Temerant would be forthcoming.[18] He also said that the book presented challenges different from The Wise Man's Fear's.[19] In 2020, Rothfuss's publisher and editor Elizabeth Wollheim expressed frustration with the delay, stating she had not read "a word" of the book nine years on.[20]

In 2021, Rothfuss apologized for the long delay in releasing The Doors of Stone, citing issues in his personal life and his mental health as reasons.[21][22][23]

The books[edit]

The Kingkiller Chronicle is a projected trilogy:

Related works[edit]

  • "How Old Holly Came to Be", an experimental short story, was published in Unfettered (2013), edited by Shawn Speakman.
  • The Lightning Tree, a novella, was published in Rogues (2014), edited by George R. R. Martin & Gardner Dozois. The Lightning Tree takes place in the frame setting of The Kingkiller Chronicle, and includes characters from the trilogy.
  • The Slow Regard of Silent Things (2014, ISBN 978-0756410438), a novella focusing on a secondary character that appears in The Kingkiller Chronicle's main plot.
  • The Narrow Road Between Desires, (2023, ISBN 978-0756419172), is a novella centered around the character of Bast and was published November 14, 2023.[25]

In 2012, Rothfuss sold three other books to his publisher, DAW.[26] He has discussed a standalone novel, centered on a legendary figure in the world, with the working title The Tale of Laniel Young-Again.[27] The project was two-thirds complete when it was shelved to focus on The Doors of Stone.[28][29]

In other media[edit]

Film and television[edit]

In July 2013, 20th Century Fox optioned The Kingkiller Chronicle for a TV series. The production team included Arnon Milchan, Andrew Plotkin, Brad Weston, and Robert Lawrence.[30] Two years later in October, the rights to the books expired and were reverted to Rothfuss.[31][32] At the same time, Rothfuss announced that Lionsgate would be involved in adapting the series through a film, TV series, and video game.[32] Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda was attached to serve as executive producer of the television series, along with John Rogers, Jennifer Court, Robert Lawrence, and Rothfuss, with music composed by Miranda.[33][34][35][36] Showtime began developing the series as of October 2017 but ended their involvement two years later in September, causing the rights to return to Lionsgate TV, which is shopping it around.[37][38]

Lindsey Beer was hired to write the screenplay for the film in 2016,[39] while Sam Raimi was announced as the director in 2018,[40] one of several who reportedly sought the role.[41]


The metafictional strategic board game Tak: A Beautiful Game was released by Rothfuss and Cheapass Games in 2016 and designed by James Ernest.[42] In 2019, Cheapass Games, including Tak, was sold to Greater Than Games.[43] In March 2021, Greater Than Games re-released Tak: A Beautiful Game (2nd Edition) under its own brand, with new box art and board designs co-created with Rothfuss.[44] There are no differences in the rules between the original and second edition.[45]


The series has received critical acclaim. George R. R. Martin called The Wise Man's Fear his favourite fantasy novel of 2011, and said he wished he had written it.[46] Authors such as Brandon Sanderson,[47] Ursula K. Le Guin, Robin Hobb, Tad Williams, Anne McCaffrey,[48] and Michael Chabon[49] have expressed their admiration for the series. Lin-Manuel Miranda credited the books for inspiring a song in his show Hamilton, as well as a story beat in the Walt Disney film Moana.[50]

The Wise Man's Fear topped The New York Times bestseller list,[14] and the spin-off novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things spent a month on the same before dropping to the extended list.[51]

Although fandom on the series has remained relatively small, there are several sites dedicated to fanfiction and fan art. A reason given that there is so little fan fiction is because of the unique style and tone, as well as the amount of time that Rothfuss gives to his writing. Rothfuss himself has spoken positively of fan fiction, saying that he's looked forward to it, and that "when people start writing fan fiction about your stuff, it shows that your writing has attained a level of popularity".[52]


  1. ^ Rothfuss, Patrick (February 19, 2008). "How to pronounce Kvothe's name". Retrieved July 27, 2010.
  2. ^ "Lionsgate Wins Rights to Fantasy Book Series 'Kingkiller Chronicle' (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter.
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  4. ^ Pat. "Our Triumphant Conclusion, Chocolate Malts, and the Name of the World". Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  5. ^ a b "WIRED Book Club: How Patrick Rothfuss Saved a 'Hot Mess' of a Book". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  6. ^ Guxens, Escrit per Adrià. "Patrick Rothfuss: 'I doodled "Kvothe" in a notebook in high school calculus'". Retrieved 2021-07-31.
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  9. ^ Shapiro, Lila (2017-10-30). "Patrick Rothfuss Is About to Be Fantasy's Next Superstar". Vulture. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
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  12. ^ "[Q&A] Patrick Rothfuss Chat Thread". A Forum of Ice and Fire - A Song of Ice and Fire & Game of Thrones. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  13. ^ Pat. "Why I Love My Editor…". Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  14. ^ a b "Hardcover Fiction Books - Best Sellers - Books". The New York Times. March 20, 2011. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
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  16. ^ "First George RR Martin, now Patrick Rothfuss: the curse of sequel-hungry fans". the Guardian. 2020-07-29. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  17. ^ Hester, Patrick (September 27, 2012). "Podcast Episode 153: Interview with Author Patrick Rothfuss". SF Signal.
  18. ^ Hurst, Ashley (2021-01-30). "Patrick Rothfuss: There will be a fourth book after The Doors of Stone". Winter is Coming. Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  19. ^ A Writer of Things | Patrick Rothfuss | Talks at Google, retrieved 2021-07-31
  20. ^ ""Kingkiller Chronicle" editor believes author hasn't written anything for years". Newsweek. 2020-07-27. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  21. ^ r/KingkillerChronicle - Pat on how much he cares about finishing Book 3: "If I didn't care about the book, you would have it by now"., retrieved 2021-07-31
  22. ^ Name of the Wind Chat w/ Patrick Rothfuss!, archived from the original on 2021-12-20, retrieved 2021-07-31
  23. ^ Patrick Rothfuss: "I feel bad about that book 3 hasn't done yet"., archived from the original on 2021-12-20, retrieved 2021-07-31
  24. ^ Ashley Hurst (2022-05-03). "Patrick Rothfuss "moving more slowly than I would like" on The Doors of Stone". Retrieved 2022-04-08.
  25. ^ "Revealing The Narrow Road Between Desires by Patrick Rothfuss |". Retrieved 2023-10-05.
  26. ^ Rocket, Stubby the (2012-09-07). "Patrick Rothfuss Will Write More Fantasy After the Kingkiller Chronicles". Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  27. ^ Triangulation 99: Patrick Rothfuss, archived from the original on 2021-12-20, retrieved 2021-07-31
  28. ^ Projects after book three — Patrick Rothfuss on JoCo Cruise 2017, archived from the original on 2021-12-20, retrieved 2021-07-31
  29. ^ Christopher Paolini Interviews Pat Rothfuss, archived from the original on 2021-12-20, retrieved 2021-07-31
  30. ^ McNally, Victoria (July 19, 2013). "Rothfuss Fans, Your Time Has Come: The Kingkiller Chronicle Optioned for TV Series". Geekosystem.
  31. ^ Siegel, Tatiana; Kit, Borys. "Comic-Con: Fantasy Novel 'Name of the Wind' Sparks Heated Bidding War (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  32. ^ a b Rothfuss, Patrick (October 1, 2015). "Hollywood News".
  33. ^ "Lin-Manuel Miranda to Produce Feature Film, TV Series Adaptation of 'Kingkiller Chronicles'". TheWrap. 2016-11-29. Retrieved 2016-11-29.
  34. ^ Kain, Erik. "'The Name Of The Wind' Could Be The Next 'Game Of Thrones' With New Movie, TV And Video Game Deal". Forbes.
  35. ^ Bradley, Laura. "Secret Geek Lin-Manuel Miranda Might Be Making the Next Game of Thrones". Vanity Fair.
  36. ^ "'The Kingkiller Chronicle' Is About to Take Over Your Life".
  37. ^ "Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Kingkiller Chronicles' Series Set At Showtime". Deadline. Retrieved 27 October 2017.
  38. ^ "Lin-Manuel Miranda's 'Kingkiller Chronicle' Not Moving Forward At Showtime, Being Shopped By Lionsgate TV". Deadline. Retrieved 23 October 2019.
  39. ^ Kit, Borys (2016-04-12). "'Kingkiller Chronicle' Finds Its Writer (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  40. ^ Kroll, Justin (2018-01-29). "Sam Raimi to Direct 'Kingkiller Chronicle' for Lionsgate and Lin-Manuel Miranda (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved 2018-01-31.
  41. ^ Tartaglione, Nancy (2018-05-13). "Q&A: Patrick Wachsberger On Leaving Lionsgate, Industry's Sea Change & What's Next – Cannes". Deadline. Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  42. ^ Rothfuss, Patrick. "Tak: A Beautiful Game". Retrieved 2021-08-02.
  43. ^ Mastrangeli, Tony (2019-05-24). "Greater Than Games has acquired Cheapass Games". Board Game Quest. Retrieved 2021-11-04.
  44. ^ "New Edition of Tak Now Available for Purchase on GTG". Tak Times. Retrieved 2021-11-04.
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  49. ^ Chabon, Michael (January 28, 2020). "100 pp into this (at the recommendation of my fellow #picardeur @terrymatalas) and finding it an excellent traveling companion. Thoroughly imagined, with welcome echoes of #earthsea and #bookofthenewsun, not least in the deftness of its prose. #patrickrothfuss #thenameofthewind". Instagram. Archived from the original on 2021-12-24.
  50. ^ Shapiro, Lila (2017-10-30). "Lin-Manuel Miranda on How The Kingkiller Chronicles Inspired Moana". Vulture. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  51. ^ Cowles, Gregory (2014-12-05). "Inside the List". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-07-31.
  52. ^ "Rethinking Your Thoughts About Writing", Renovating Your Writing, Routledge, pp. 17–22, 2015-09-25, doi:10.4324/9781315662879-8, ISBN 978-1-315-66287-9, retrieved 2022-04-13

External links[edit]