The Name of the Wind
|Series||The Kingkiller Chronicle|
|Published||27 March 2007 DAW Books Hardcover|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|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.S. 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 Levinshir", 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 UK version of the audio books of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear narrated by Rupert Degas. Brilliance audio has released US version of the audio books of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear narrated by Nick Podehl. Another version was released on tape narrated by Fred Major for the American Printing House for the Blind.
At the very beginning, the reader hears an old story-teller speaking of a famous old wizard called Taborlin the Great, who was captured by evil beings called the Chandrian. Escaping them, Taborlin fell from a great height - but since he knew the Name of the Wind, he called it and the Wind came and set him down safely. In later parts of the book, characters are often skeptical of such stories. Some kinds of magic are taught in The University as an academic discipline and have daily life applications (those who can afford it could buy magical lamps, much better than the candles used by poorer people...). However, it is doubted that magicians can truly call upon The Wind, and the Chandrian - whose appearance is supposedly heralded by flames turning blue - are often dismissed as mythical bogeymen.
The story begins in the rural town of Newarre, introducing the innkeeper Kote and his assistant Bast, revealing that Kote is the renowned Kvothe: an unequaled sword fighter, magician, and musician, rumored to have killed a king and caused the present war. His assistant and student Bast is a prince of the Fae. Kvothe saves Chronicler, a traveling scribe, from spider-like creatures called Scrael, whereupon Chronicler asks to record Kvothe's story. Upon consenting, Kvothe tells Chronicler that this will take three days (corresponding to the planned trilogy of novels).
Kvothe begins his story during his childhood amongst a troupe of Edema Ruh, highly-reputed traveling performers. He spends a happy childhood, his loving parents training him from a young age as an actor, singer and lute player - and he does extremely well in all of these as in every other field to which he turns his hand. 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.
Kvothe's father, the famous bard Arliden, starts composing what was to be the greatest of his works - a ballad of the ancient tragic hero Lanre. For this composition, Arliden starts collecting all the various tales of the mythical "Chandrian" and trying to get at the kernel of truth behind them - without explaining how this is related to Lanre. This inquiry turns out to have fatal consequences. When the troupe makes a halt, Kvothe's mother sends him to gather sage in the surrounding woods. Upon returning, he finds his parents and all members of the troupe dead, and the all too real Chandrian seated around the campfire which had turned blue. Evidently, they disliked Arliden's researches and came to silence him and everybody else with whom he might have shared his findings. The twelve-years old Kvothe is on the point of being killed by the Chandrian named Cinder when their leader, Lord Haliax, pressures them to depart due to the approach of some mysterious enemies of theirs.
The heavily traumatized Kvothe, alive but all alone, spends three years in the slums of the city of Tarbean as a beggar and pickpocket. He is nudged out of this life by hearing a story-teller recount a story of how the hero Lanre became a renegade after the death of his beloved wife, went over to the evil forces he had fought and destroyed the cities with whose protection he was charged - and then changed his name and became himself the fearsome Lord Haliax of the Chandrian. Before Kvothe could ask more, the story-teller is arrested by the dominant Church, on charges of heresy. (This world has a religion similar - though not identical - to Medieval Christianity).
In order to find more, Kvothe is determined to get into The University (there seems to be only one in this world) whose vast Archives include all kinds of accumulated knowledge - including, presumably, also on the Chandrian. Having with great effort obtained some minimal funds for clothing and travelling, he sets out. En route Kvothe becomes enamored of a talented young woman known as Denna, who is also a musician like Kvothe. 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. A trick by Ambrose causes Kvothe to be banished from the Archives, hampering his research on the Chandrian - though he does very well in other fields of study, advancing extremely fast in academic degrees and gaining some loyal friends. Kvothe buys a lute despite his poverty, and performs brilliantly at a famous musical tavern to earn money, where he also befriends Denna again.
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 as they are searching for the Chandrian, they encounter a draccus, which nearly destroys the local town before it is slain by Kvothe. He does succeed to discover the reason why the Chandrian murdered all participants at the wedding: the bride's father had dug in the earth and discovered an old pot on which were paintings of all seven Chandrian; they came to recover the pot and kill anyone who may have seen it.
Back 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 in the present day, a mercenary possessed by a demonic force attacks the patrons and kills one of them before he is killed by a young patron. The first day ends when Kvothe finishes the first chapter of his story and the town settles down for the night. At night, Bast breaks into 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.
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)
In popular culture
- Finnish symphonic metal band Nightwish wrote and performed a song called Edema Ruh on their album Endless Forms Most Beautiful (2015), named after the traveling people in The Name of the Wind.
- Rothfuss, Patrick. "A Glimpse of Things to Come". Patrick Rothfuss. Retrieved 29 November 2011.
- "The Name of The Wind The Kingkiller Chronicle Day One" California State Library Braille & Talking Book Library Catalog-Retrieved 02/09/2016
- "The Quill Award Winners". Goodreads. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- Staff (November 5, 2007). "PW's Best Books of the Year". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
- "Alex Award Winning Books for Mature Teenagers – Another Book List". Word Press. September 1, 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2012.
- "2008 Alex Awards". Ala.org. YALSA. Retrieved 10 August 2015.