Welcome back, faithful readers, to the blog of the Internet’s favourite Page of the Wind podcast, about the Internet’s favourite novels, The Name of the Wind. (Suck it, Game of Thrones!) Jeremy here, as ever, with this week’s notes.
This week, I want to talk about violence. Kvothe just got beat up pretty badly – for not the last time, I’m sorry to say. And Tarbean, which is to be Kvothe’s home for the next three years, is often a violent, ugly place.
Now, when one thinks of Patrick Rothfuss or The Kingkiller Chronicle, violence might not be the first thing you think of. These books are not in the “grimdark” fantasy genre, like Joe Abercrombie, Richard Morgan, or George R. R. Martin. Kvothe is not a swashbuckling swordsman who dispatches hordes of orcs or unruly thugs by the bucketload. Nevertheless, violence is a part of his world.
As we discuss on the show, when Patrick Rothfuss does write a violent scene, or a fight scene, it feels visceral and alive … and nasty. Especially in The Name of the Wind, there are no beautifully choreographed duels or epic battles. Instead we get nasty back-alley brawls, between children or near children. And usually, our hero Kvothe ends up getting the worst of them.
The fights in The Kingkiller Chronicle feel real. They feel painful, and they have repercussions. Kvothe doesn’t shrug off his wounds – he curls up in an alley and spends the next few days licking his wounds. (Later he’s lucky enough to have a nearby Medica full of trained doctors.)
When Aragon kills an orc, we don’t see how that affects the orc’s family back in Mordor. Violence in the world of Temerant has consequences. The beating in the alley comes back to haunt him, and perpetuates a cycle of violence – an effect we can see in the real world.
I guess what I’m getting at here is that, in this fantastic world where names have power and sympathetic magic is real and vital, violence feels the way it does in the real world – not something we get to cheer for, not a simple case of good guys and bad guys and cool moves and action-hero swagger. Violence hurts and has consequences. Violence adds a layer of verisimilitude – one of many that makes the world of Temerant feel that much more real.
That’s your blog for this week! We always look forward to hearing from our loyal listeners – you can get in touch with us through the blog’s comments, our e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) our Twitter and Facebook @pageofthewind, or our Patreon!