‘The Name of the Wind’ by Patrick Rothfuss

Dana Thompson

So far in this column, I have asked you to revisit your childhood, get a bit creepy and let your inner weirdo out for a breath of fresh air. It’s a lot to ask––I know. But this time I’m going to request another favor: Embrace your inner nerd.

I know you have one. Pretty much everyone here does. And it’s important to know that a neglected inner nerd will wither away without proper nourishment. I recommend you treat yours right and crack open a copy of Patrick Rothfuss’ “The Name of the Wind.”

A lengthy read at 700 pages (don’t get scared, now), this first installation of The Kingkiller Chronicles is a classic example of what is called high fantasy. This rather stigmatized genre usually features some form of magic, a smattering of supernatural beings, a lengthy epic plotline and a healthy amount of swagger.

This last aspect may come as a bit of a shock, but let me explain.

In my numerous dabbles in nerdity, I have spent significant time wondering what makes it so appealing. I think the answer may be the same as the answer to why high fantasy is so stigmatized: It’s not pretending. It’s dead serious. You’d better believe in the evil Chandrian because they could be coming for you any time. You better take time to learn basic commands in Cealdish because Patrick Rothfuss took the time to create them. It’s a complete sell––a window, not a picture, to another world.

Due to the massive page count of “The Name of the Wind,” I gave myself a good chunk of the school year to read a few pages a day. And I have to say I didn’t regret it! There were certainly times when I put it down and thought, “what the cow am I reading?” But overall I was grateful for the small vacation I could take every day just before going to bed.

So, a rundown: Kote is a bartender in a tavern. When a scribe blows through one day and recognizes him as a legendary hero, he insists upon capturing his story. The bartender, now revealed to be the (in)famous Kvothe the Bloodless, at long last agrees to relate the tale of his life. What follows is a long and detailed account of all the adventures––horrible and wonderful––that have shaped both the lofty and majestic legends as well as the unassuming man telling it. Interesting and exciting, “The Name of the Wind” is a worthy addition to your bookshelf.