your post: The Wise Man’s Fear: I know nothing about music, love, or Patrick Rothfuss
Hrm. I suppose you bring up an interesting point, but you have to understand that this is Kvothe talking, not Pat… I mean, indirectly of course it’s Pat because he’s the author, but you have to be able to make a distinction between a character’s thoughts and beliefs and the author’s. Also, if the comparison to instruments rubs you the wrong way, then did the comparison to fire make you feel the same way throughout the first book? Women were likened to hearthfires, coals, sparks… I can see where it bugs you, because being compared a passive object only waiting to be learned/loved is pretty frustrating. But I don’t think it’s a reflection on Pat, I think it’s a reflection on Kvothe. And if him thinking sexist things about women bugs you more than him, you know, lying, cheating, stealing, and killing people, I don’t know what to say about that.
I’ve never really been overly fond of Kvothe as a person, so maybe that’s why it’s easier for me to see that part of characterization definitely fitting in with his personality. I dunno.
You make some good points, and I feel as if I need to clarify my last review. Firstly, I understand that Kvothe is not Rothfuss, and Kvothe’s actions are therefore his own. It irks me when readers mistake characters for their authors, but that’s not my problem here. The book is sexist, not just Kvothe. For example,Tyrion Lannister from the Game of Thrones series has some serious women problems, but I don’t think George R.R. Martin does - or, at least if he does, his books don’t. Even though Tyrion goes around assaulting women and killing prostitutes and underestimating Sansa Stark, the books are still full of diverse, richly-developed women characters. The Kingkiller Chronicles contains some great women characters - it’s not the worst series I’ve ever read, women-wise, but it’s also not the best. I’ll go into that more in another post. However, the inclusion of Felurian is inherently sexist. That’s not something Kvothe does - Felurian is a character Rothfuss includes. (For why this is sexist, visit this blog article.)
Also, I understand that my rant may have seemed like my comprehensive review of the book, but it wasn’t. I sometimes post multiple reviews on one book, and I will in this case. Kvothe’s committing murder was a really big deal for me, both because of how he did it (in a coward’s way, I think), and how he reacted to it later (he basically didn’t). As for his cheating and lying, the theme of the book deals with lies and truth, myth verses reality, how reputations are falsely acquired, etc., so I can scarcely be offended by something when the author is exploring it thoroughly and intelligently.
In a post I made about The Name of the Wind, I mentioned a scene where Kvothe acknowledges his male privilege. If you don’t feel like reading it, it was about the part where Kvothe admits that Denna has had a harder life than him because she’s a girl living in a patriarchal society. (He gets to live off of his wits, but she’s been denied an education and is forced to live off her body.) I thought that meant that Kvothe’s sexism - and transcendence of it - would be part of his hero’s journey. But then in the sequel he becomes this hypermasculine, woman-conquering, fighting machine, and it’s just bizarre.
And, also, yes. The fire comparisons did bother me (less so than the musical instrument one, because fire, heat, flame, etc., are frequently used as metaphors for lust. This is more gender-neutral. Also, fire doesn’t work the same way as an instrument does - it’s something a woman has, not something a woman is or is like, and I do imagine that if Kvothe were gay or a hetero woman he might compare men to fires, too.) Once again, my blog post definitely wasn’t a comprehensive reflection of how I feel about the book; I just needed to get what was bothering me most off of my chest, with the hopes that I can finish what started off as a great fantasy novel. And thank you for your thoughtful, empathetic response!