Welcome back to Blog of the Page! It’s the weekly blog where we talk about Page of the Wind, the daily podcast where we read Patrick Rothfuss’ The Name of the Wind (Got all that?). I am your faithful blogman Jeremy, and this week, we’re covering pages in which we get a brief interlude from Kvothe’s tragic tale, and then we dive right back in to find out how li’l kid Kvothe survives in the woods.
So, this week, I want to talk about the dream sequence Kvothe undergoes. It’s the first of it’s kind in the book – and the only one I can think of right away. It serves multiple purposes in the narrative – it explains how Kvothe knows some of the tricks of woodcraft that he does (and reminds us he had a guy who taught him this stuff, so we find it believable that he knows some of the other stuff he talks about in this part of the book.) He also dreams of Ben, who talks to him about knots, and of his father, and they discuss the greystones (or waystones) – and touching the greystone in his dream is what wakes Kvothe.
It seems to me that in this passage, Rothfuss is drawing on other great uses of dream sequences in fiction. I’m thinking particularly of the masterful surreal dream sequences in David Chase’s Sopranos and the dream episode “Restless” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Those shows, and this book, combine surreal imagery and the weird logic of dreams with the psychology of their characters to offer the audience a cracked-mirror view of what’s going on in their characters’ heads. It’s a way for us to try and psychoanalyze the character without the author having to spell out exactly what’s going on with them. I guess it appeals to the kind of reader who likes to go digging for treasure (or in Nick’s case, crazy theories.) Because the other thing these sorts of surreal dream sequences often do is hide clues for the eagle-eyed audience as to what is going to happen in the book. Even the most cryptic references might yield fruit.
For example, in the dream Ben talks about ropes and knots, and how they relate to binding. Is it possible that Kvothe’s subconscious (or Pat Rothfuss’ authorial hand) is foreshadowing the knotlike patterns on the Lackless box, which are similar to Yllish knots? Yllish knots are known to have some kind of supernatural power. AND we know that Denna weaves Yllish story knots into her hair, which might confer some supernatural power on her. Is dream-Ben trying to warn Kvothe?
When dream-Ben warns Kvothe that the waystones mark old roads – could he be foreshadowing the true purpose of the waystones as a road into the Fey? Or more generally a road into danger?
As is so often the case with these things, hindsight is 20/20. In the meantime, the speculation is half the fun. When the Kingkiller Chronicle is complete and Doors of Stone rests on all of our shelves, we’ll be able to look back at this passage and say “Of course, it always meant this. Or, maybe, just maybe, this dream means nothing beyond what we see on the surface. After all … it’s not like Rothfuss enjoys hiding a double meaning in things. Right? … RIGHT!?
Well, that’s all the blog-space we have for today. Meanwhile, check out this week’s episodes for a deep dive into grief, psychology, dreams, and of course … wild theories. And if you have a theory or two of your own about the dream sequence and what it all means, shoot us an e-mail at email@example.com, tweet or Facebook at us @pageofthewind, or sound off in the trusty blog comments!