Essay: Character growth in a fantasy – ‘The Name of the Wind’

‘The Name of the Wind’ is a fantasy novel by Patrick Rothfuss, the first book in a series called The kingkiller Chronicle. It was published in 2007 by DAW Books after being rejected by several other publishers. The Name of the Wind begins to tell the story of Kvothe, a world-renowned figure with a disreputable reputation. The life journey written in a mix of narrative modes demonstrates a well constructed character development, while it leaves space for new fantasy elements that kept my interest. This essay will discuss the exposition of characters as shown by the author.

While Kvothe’s story is told in his own voice, first person, the present day interludes are told in third person omniscient, but usually from certain characters’ points of view. Because the story is truly about Kvothe, you find yourself stepping out of a spotlight when you return to the present day fragments. At this moment the reader’s point of view immediately changes to an omniscient narrator and you notice that the importance of each character is more spread out. In these parts you get a mix of other people’s impression of characters which brings a slight set of emotions to aid in identifying with them, in addition to a gentle showing which might tell us even more. As for the better part of the book, it is the story of Kvothe told in his own voice, and it is here where the book’s brilliance lies. While telling the story, he displays himself as a young boy who has experienced an entanglement of considerable worries, but still with a lot to learn. This is balanced with Kvothe as a man who now has experienced that and more, although he retains the same personality. Because of the book’s well-written quality there is no disharmony between the two Kvothes.

The supporting roles are in their own ways distinctly portrayed and progressively delved into. While not as fully explored as Kvothe, they are appositely lit and gain allure as the story extends. Patrick Rothfuss impressively intensifies various aspects by revealing them at the right moments. He deliberately averts redundant expositions or descriptions of characters. By doing so, he created a book that generally ‘shows’ instead of ‘tells’. Therefore I assume he acknowledges the intellect of his readers. He creates the space for us to use our ability to figure out things for ourselves and contemplate on Kvothe’s adventure even though he is guiding us through the story. As the story unfolds you become all too familiar with the characters besides Kvothe. In a way, they are the ones who make Kvothe such a vivid personality. Even though Kvothe thrives from any experience in his life, they are what complete him as a whole. In the following sentence we can see how the people that are a part of Kvothe’s life can have an impact on his world: ‘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.’

The protagonist in the story, Kvothe, is a striking character. In the book he is, ‘depending on the stories you hear’, good or evil, but you never know his true color. Throughout his life he has retrieved an incredible amount of notorious names. But after reading the book I believe that he is not good or evil. By the way Kvothe tells his life story you can make out that he has a matter of conscience. He is very human, lonely and finding much difficulty in life, yet he is an infamous magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician and for some even a hero. In the following sentence we can see Kvothe’s profound spirit: ‘I trudged through the next day barefoot, cloakless, and thinking grim thoughts about my life. The novelty of playing hero faded quickly in light of my situation. I had one ragged suit of clothes. My flash burns were minor but incessantly painful. I had no money to buy painkillers or new clothes. I chewed bitter willow bark and bitter was my mood.’

In conclusion, the story contains multiple properly explored characters. Nevertheless, this story is mainly about Kvothe and is in consideration the most well-lit character in this book. This story consists of various admirable aspects; the narrative modes and character growth being significant elements of this work.

Source: Essay UK -

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