Patrick Rothfuss

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I realized that's exactly what I had been doing for over a decade with my story. I was writing heroic fantasy, while at the same time I was satirizing heroic fantasy.

Patrick James Rothfuss (born 6 June 1973) is a New York Times bestselling American fantasy writer and a college lecturer. He is the author of the projected three-volume series The Kingkiller Chronicle.


  • Fantasy is my favorite genre for reading and writing. We have more options than anyone else, and the best props and special effects. That means if you want to write a fantasy story with Norse gods, sentient robots, and telepathic dinosaurs, you can do just that. Want to throw in a vampire and a lesbian unicorn while you're at it? Go ahead. Nothing's off limits. But the endless possibility of the genre is a trap. It's easy to get distracted by the glittering props available to you and forget what you're supposed to be doing: telling a good story. Don’t get me wrong, magic is cool. But a nervous mother singing to her child at night while something moves quietly through the dark outside her house? That’s a story. Handled properly, it’s more dramatic than any apocalypse or goblin army could ever be.
  • I remember sitting down once, [at] three in the morning and probably the only person awake in Stevens Point [...] *imitates typing with his fingers* And I stop, and I think: "This is crap! I've spent years of my life writing crap. This will never be published - it isn't good... I've wasted years of my life!" *shrugs and types on* You do it because you like the process. I mean... you write because you like to write.
  • I was heavily influenced by my first attempt at a novel. I started a fantasy novel back in high school, and.... well... it really sucked. It was a plotless, clichéd mess. When I sat down to write this book, I wanted to make something much, much better. I wanted to write something that was pretty much the opposite of that first novel.
    Also, I read Cyrano De Bergerac, right before I started writing the book. Cyrano's character reminded me of some important things, namely, what it really means to be a tragic hero. You don't need a lot of the cliché fantasy trappings to have that cool character.
    I also read Giacomo Casanova's memoirs soon after starting this project. That opened my eyes to how interesting an autobiography could be, provided the person telling it has a way with words and has lived a sufficiently adventurous life....
  • Anyway, I was listening to Beagle answer a question on the panel, he said something along the lines of, "I'd never want to write The Last Unicorn again. It was excruciatingly hard, because I was writing a faerie tale while at the same time writing a spoof of a faerie tale."
    I just sat there thunderstruck. I realized that's exactly what I had been doing for over a decade with my story. I was writing heroic fantasy, while at the same time I was satirizing heroic fantasy.
    While telling his story, Kvothe makes it clear that he's not the storybook hero legends make him out to be. But at the same time, the reader sees that he's a hero nonetheless. He's just a hero of a different sort.
    • Interview with Fantasy Book Critic (25 May 2007)
  • I’m just very careful with my words when I write. Obsessively careful. I’m the sort of person who worries about the difference between “slim” and “slender.”

Official site[edit]

Quotes from (primarily from his official blog)
  • My book is different.
    In case you hadn't noticed, the story I'm telling is a little different. It's a little shy on the Aristotelian unities. It doesn't follow the classic Hollywood three-act structure. It's not like a five-act Shakespearean play. It's not like a Harlequin romance.
    So what *is* the structure then? Fuck if I know. That's part of what's taking me so long to figure out. As far as I can tell, my story is part autobiography, part hero's journey, part epic fantasy, part travelogue, part faerie tale, part coming of age story, part romance, part mystery, part metafictional-nested-story-frame-tale-something-or-other.
    I am, quite frankly, making this up as I go.
    If I get it right, I get something like The Name of the Wind. Something that makes all of us happy.
    But if I fuck it up, I'll end up with a confusing tangled mess of a story.
    Now I'm not trying to claim that I'm unique in this. That I'm some lone pioneer mapping the uncharted storylands. Other authors do it too. My point is that doing something like this takes more time that writing another shitty, predictable Lord of the Rings knockoff.
    Sometimes I think it would be nice to write a that sort of book. It would be nice to be able to use those well-established structures like a sort of recipe. A map. A paint-by-numbers kit.
    It would be so much easier, and quicker. But it wouldn't be a better book. And it's not really the sort of book I want to write.
  • I saw Mr. Martin at Worldcon last year. And I almost went up to him and asked, “How have you gone this long without killing someone?” Because however much flak I happen to get from fans, he has to get a thousand times more.
    In my opinion, he's a saint. If I had to deal with that level of fan dickishness, I would have already lost my shit in some spectacular way. There would be a video of me on youtube, gone all berserk with nerd rage, holding someone up by the neck, shouting "I've got your sequel right here, bitch!"
  • I really don't go in for talking about current events on the blog. The main reason for this is the fact that I am profoundly out of touch with the outside world. I don't have cable and I don't watch the news. On the rare occasion I miss the news and feel the need to absorb some fearmongering bullshit, I just drop a tab of acid and read a Lovecraft story. There's less pretense that way.
  • I mean seriously. If the book had a solid pub date, don't you think I'd mention it? Do you think I'd sit here at home, rubbing my hands together and chortling: "Yes! If I withhold this information another week, I'm sure to get another 100 e-mails asking me about the book!"
    Yup. That's exactly what I'd do. Because obviously I am some sort of alien life form that lives on snarky fanmail and bitchy blog comments. Since I became stranded on your strange world years ago, they have been my only means of sustenance.
  • It’s like this: if you have one piece of cake, and you eat it, that’s fine. If you have two pieces of cake, you should probably share some with a friend. But maybe not. Occasionally we could all use two pieces of cake. But if you have a whole cake, and you eat *all* of it, that’s not very cool. It’s not just selfish, it’s kinda sick and unhealthy.

The Name of the Wind (2007)[edit]

All page numbers from the mass market paperback edition published by Daw Books ISBN 978-0-7564-0474-1
  • A tinker’s debt is always paid:
    Once for any simple trade.
    Twice for freely given aid.
    Thrice for any insult made.
    • Chapter 1, “A Place for Demons” (p. 5)
  • It was one of those perfect autumn days so common in stories and so rare in the real world.
    • Chapter 2, “A Beautiful Day” (p. 19)
  • “I’ll admit, I was disappointed to learn that dragons didn’t exist. That’s a hard lesson for a boy to learn.”
    Chronicler smiled. “Honestly, I was a little disappointed myself. I went looking for a legend and found a lizard. A fascinating lizard, but a lizard just the same.”
    • Chapter 6, “The Price of Remembering” (p. 46)
  • So this is the difference between telling a story and being in one, he thought numbly, the fear.
    • Chapter 6, “The Price of Remembering” (p. 49)
  • So you went looking for a myth and found a man.
    • Chapter 6, “The Price of Remembering” (p. 50)
  • My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “Quothe.” Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person. I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to.
    The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean “The Flame,” “The Thunder,” or “The Broken Tree.”
    • Chapter 7, “Of Beginnings and the Names of Things” (p. 57)
  • I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless, Kvothe the Arcane, and Kvothe Kingkiller. I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.
    But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know.”
    I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.
    I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
    You may have heard of me.
    • Chapter 7, “Of Beginnings and the Names of Things” (p. 58)
  • Call a jack a jack. Call a spade a spade. But always call a whore a lady. Their lives are hard enough, and it never hurts to be polite.
    • Chapter 8, “Thieves, Heretics, and Whores” (p. 60)
  • It’s hard to be wrongfully accused, but it’s worse when the people looking down on you are clods who have never read a book or traveled more than twenty miles from the place they were born.
    • Chapter 8, “Thieves, Heretics, and Whores” (p. 63)
  • He picked the rock back up. “Do you believe that it floated?”
    “No!” I sulked, rubbing my temples.
    “Good. It didn’t. Never fool yourself into perceiving things that don’t exist.”
    • Chapter 10, “Alar and Several Stones” (p. 78)
  • Seven things has Lady Lackless
    Keeps them underneath her black dress
    One a ring that’s not for wearing
    One a sharp word, not for swearing
    Right beside her husband’s candle
    There’s a door without a handle
    In a box, no lids or locks
    Lackless keeps her husband’s rocks
    There’s a secret she’s been keeping
    She’s been dreaming and not sleeping
    On a road, that’s not for traveling
    Lackless likes her riddle raveling.
    • Chapter 11, “The Binding of Iron” (pp. 85-86)
  • When we are children we seldom think of the future. This innocence leaves us free to enjoy ourselves as few adults can. The day we fret about the future is the day we leave our childhood behind.
    • Chapter 12, “Puzzle Pieces Fitting” (p. 88)
  • “You don’t seem the superstitious type.”
    “I’m not,” Ben said. “I’m careful. There’s a difference.”
    • Chapter 12, “Puzzle Pieces Fitting” (p. 93)
  • “How do they feel about demons off in Atur?” he asked.
    “Scared.” My father tapped his temple. “All that religion makes their brains soft.”
    • Chapter 12, “Puzzle Pieces Fitting” (p. 93)
  • “Why do we stop for the greystones?”
    “Tradition, my boy,” he said grandly, throwing his arms wide. “And superstition. They are one and the same, anyway.”
    • Chapter 14, “The Name of the Wind” (p. 112)
  • Lord but I dislike poetry. How can anyone remember words that aren’t put to music?
    • Chapter 14, “The Name of the Wind” (p. 112)
  • Remember this son, if you forget everything else. A poet is a musician who can’t sing. Words have to find a man’s mind before they can touch his heart. And, some men’s minds are woeful small targets. Music touches their hearts directly, no matter how small or stubborn the mind of the man who listens.
    • Chapter 14, “The Name of the Wind” (p. 113)
  • “You’re just getting old.” She gave a dramatic sigh. “Truly, all the more’s the tragedy; the second thing to go is a man’s memory.”
    • Chapter 14, “The Name of the Wind” (p. 113)
  • My father had a dark glimmer in his eye as he moved behind her. “Old?” He spoke in a low voice as he began to rub her shoulders again. “Woman, I have a mind to prove you wrong.”
    She smiled a wry smile. “Sir, I have a mind to let you.”
    • Chapter 14, “The Name of the Wind” (p. 113)
  • My parents danced together, her head on his chest. Both had their eyes closed. They seemed so perfectly content. If you can find someone like that, someone who you can hold and close your eyes to the world with, then you’re lucky. Even if it only lasts for a minute or a day. The image of them gently swaying to the music is how I picture love in my mind even after all these years.
    • Chapter 15, “Distractions and Farewells” (pp. 119-120)
  • But for most practical purposes Tarbean had two pieces: Waterside and Hillside. Waterside is where people are poor. That makes them beggars, thieves, and whores. Hillside is where people are rich. That makes them solicitors, politicians, and courtesans.
    • Chapter 22, “A Time for Demons” (p. 160)
  • “All stories are true,” Skarpi said. “But this one really happened, if that’s what you mean.” He took another slow drink, then smiled again, his bright eyes dancing. “More or less. You have to be a bit of a liar to tell a story the right way. Too much truth confuses the facts. Too much honesty makes you sound insincere.”
    • Chapter 26, “Lanre Turned” (p. 203)
  • Nobles’ sons are one of nature’s great destructive forces, like floods or tornadoes. When you’re struck with one of these catastrophes, the only thing an average man can do is grit his teeth and try to minimize the damage.
    • Chapter 31, “The Nature of Nobility” (p. 222)
  • Fear tends to come from ignorance. Once I knew what the problem was, it was just a problem, nothing to fear.
    • Chapter 32, “Coppers, Cobblers and Crowds” (p. 227)
  • The truth was, I needed to impress them. I knew from my previous discussions with Ben that you needed money or brains to get into the University. The more of one you had, the less of the other you needed.
    • Chapter 36, “Less Talents” (p. 251)
  • Plainly said, he was giving me enough rope to hang myself with. Apparently he didn’t realize that once a noose is tied, it will fit one neck as easily as another.
    • Chapter 39, “Enough Rope” (p. 281)
  • Any student of mine must be able to defend his ideas against an attack. No matter how you spend your life, your wit will defend you more often than a sword. Keep it sharp!
    • Chapter 40, “On the Horns” (p. 290)
  • There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.
    • Chapter 43, “The Flickering Way” (p. 318)
  • Upon him I will visit famine and a fire.
    Till all around him desolation rings
    And all the demons in the outer dark
    Look on amazed and recognize
    That vengeance is the business of a man.
    • Chapter 43, “The Flickering Way” (p. 323)
  • Everyone thinks chemistry and alchemy are so similar, but they’re really not. They’re not even related. They just happen to live in the same house.
    • Chapter 44, “The Burning Glass” (p. 328)
  • Clean, quick, and easy as lying. We know how it ends practically before it starts. That’s why stories appeal to us. They give us the clarity and simplicity our real lives lack.
    • Chapter 45, “Interlude—Some Tavern Tale” (p. 333)
  • As my father used to say: “There are two sure ways to lose a friend, one is to borrow, the other to lend.”
    • Chapter 49, “The Nature of Wild Things” (p. 354)
  • “Piss on etiquette,” Threpe said petulantly. “Etiquette is a set of rules people use so they can be rude to each other in public.”
    • Chapter 60, “Fortune” (p. 437)
  • “Music is a fine thing, but metal lasts.” He struck the table with two huge fingers to emphasize his point....
    As I left, I thought about what Kilvin had said. It was the first thing he had said to me that I did not agree with wholeheartedly. Metal rusts, I thought, music lasts forever.
    Time will eventually prove one of us right.
    • Chapter 60, “Fortune” (pp. 443-444; ellipsis represents minor elision of description)
  • “Trouble,” he chuckled. “What does a boy like you know about trouble? I was in trouble afore you were born. I been in trouble you don’t even got words for.”
    • Chapter 61, “Jackass, Jackass” (p. 454)
  • She looked at me. Looked away. “You think too much of me.”
    I smiled. “Perhaps you think too little of yourself.”
    • Chapter 62, “Leaves” (p. 464)
  • Like all boys my age, I was an idiot when it came to women.
    • Chapter 62, “Leaves” (p. 465)
  • Wilem tapped Simmon’s shoulder. “He’s telling the truth.”
    Simmon glanced over at him. “Why do you say that?”
    “He sounds more sincere than that when he lies.”
    • Chapter 63, “Walking and Talking” (p. 468)
  • Nothing makes a man feel older than a young woman.
    • Chapter 69, “Wind or Women’s Fancy” (p. 512)
  • Mauthen ain’t much for listenen. Nothin’ plugs a man’s ears like money.
    • Chapter 73, “Pegs” (p. 580)
  • That’s a whole new type of stupid.
    • Chapter 73, “Pegs” (p. 580)
  • There are few things as nauseating as pure obedience.
    • Chapter 75, “Interlude—Obedience” (p. 593)
  • Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man’s will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.
    • Chapter 86, “The Fire Itself” (pp. 672-673)
  • Wisdom precludes boldness.
    • Chapter 87, “Boldness” (p. 677)
  • You see, there’s a fundamental connection between seeming and being. Every Fae child knows this, but you mortals never seem to see. We understand how dangerous a mask can be. We all become what we pretend to be.
    • Chapter 92, “The Music that Plays” (p. 716)

The Wise Man's Fear (2011)[edit]

  • On his first hand he wore rings of stone,
    Iron, Amber, Wood and Bone.
    There were rings unseen on his second hand,
    One was blood in a flowing band,
    One was air all whisper thin,
    And the ring of ice had a flaw within.
    Full faintly shone the ring of flame,
    And the final ring was without name.

  • We love what we love. Reason does not enter into it. In many ways, unwise love is the truest love. Anyone can love a thing because. That's as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love something despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.
  • There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.
    • By Kvothe, main protagonist of The Kingkiller Chronicle. The quotation is referred to for the first time in chapter 43 of The Name of the Wind.
  • "It's the questions we can't answer that teach us the most. They teach us how to think. If you give a man an answer, all he gains is a little fact. But give him a question and he'll look for his own answers.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things (2014)[edit]

All page numbers from the hardcover first edition published by Daw Books ISBN 978-0-7564-1043-8
  • Oh it seemed sensible. Oh yes. Certainly. But she knew what seeming was worth in the end, didn’t she?
    • Chapter 2, “What a Look Entails” (p. 40)
  • But no. There is a difference between the truth and what we wish were true.
    • Chapter 2, “What a Look Entails” (p. 40)
  • Answers were always important, but they were seldom easy.
    • Chapter 2, “What a Look Entails” (p. 44)
  • But for half a minute she wished it was a different sort of day, even though she knew that nothing good could come from wanting at the world.
    • Chapter 6, “The Angry Dark” (p. 79)
  • Cruelty never helped the turning of the world.
    • Chapter 6, “The Angry Dark” (p. 94)
  • She knew better than anyone, it was worth doing things the proper way.
    • Chapter 6, “The Angry Dark” (p. 99)
  • It was just as Master Mandrag always said: nine tenths of chemistry was waiting.
    • Chapter 7, “Ash and Ember” (p. 102)
  • It exasperated her, but she knew better than to force the world to bend to her desire.
    • Chapter 7, “Ash and Ember” (pp. 105-106)
  • They made a medley without melding or meddling.
    • Chapter 7, “Ash and Ember” (p. 106)
  • It was better to be gentle and polite. It was the worst sort of selfishness to force yourself upon the world.
    • Chapter 7, “Ash and Ember” (p. 108)
  • She indulged herself from time to time. It helped remind her she was truly free.
    • Chapter 8, “All to Her Desire” (p. 120)
  • It was just as Mandrag said: Nine tenths of alchemy was chemistry. And nine tenths of chemistry was waiting.
    • Chapter 10, “The Hidden Heart of Things” (p. 143)
  • But now she knew much more than that. So much of what she’d thought was truth before was merely tricks. No more than clever ways of speaking to the world. They were a bargaining. A plea. A call. A cry.
    But underneath, there was a secret deep within the hidden heart of things.
    • Chapter 10, “The Hidden Heart of Things” (p. 144)

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