Hey there readers and listeners, faithful patrons! It’s Jeremy here, back with another edition of Page of the Wind’s very own blog. (Blog of the Wind?) In this week’s sequence we get a sense of what life is like for Kvothe’s roving troupe of Edema Ruh – and we’re introduced with one of Kvothe’s many tutors, Abenthy. And we’re also introduced to a recurring theme of Name of the Wind: prejudice.
The Edema Ruh are, to put it mildly, not well liked by the other civilisations of the Four Corners of Temerant. As Kvothe himself puts it, they’re often seen as little more than “thieves, heretics, and whores.” The whole troupe has to watch their step when dealing with ‘polite society’, even with the patronage of a powerful aristocrat. There are real world parallels to be drawn here, between the Ruh and the Roma or Irish Travellers, for example.
Rothfuss is doing something that many great fantasy books do. He’s using a fantastic setting – something that’s not ‘real’ – to comment on a real world problem. Because the lense of fantasy gives us distance and removes our real world biases, we’re able to experience the deeper reality of what it’s like to experience prejudice. We root for Kvothe’s father when he outmaneuvers the bumbling, Foghorn Leghorn-like town Mayor, and we feel Kvothe’s outrage at the way the fellow is treating his family.
Rothfuss never lays it on thick enough to feel preachy – a surefire way to turn off a reader – but Kvothe’s otherness is a persistent element in the story, for good and ill. It colours the way other characters react to him (Ambrose’s instant contempt, for example) and it colours the way Kvothe himself views the world. He has no patience for the high-and-mighty.
Injecting the real-life conflict of prejudice into The Name of the Wind helps to keep the story grounded, helps make the world feel real. And like all the best stories, it might just change the way you look at this world, the one we all have to live in.
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