YMMV / The Kingkiller Chronicle
aka: The Wise Mans Fear

Watch out! here there be SPOILERS!

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: With The Slow Regard of Silent Things we have Auri: is she aware of the true nature of the world on a level beyond normal people, is her behavior simply crazy and obsessive-compulsive, or both?
  • Base-Breaking Character: Denna comes off as The Scrappy to many, who often find her annoying and unsympathetic for what they perceive as knowingly toying with Kvothe only to spend her free time while she is not luring rich guys to make a living. Conversely, many people like her for being a rare three-dimensional Love Interest who provides both conflict and respite (alternatively) to the story, thanks to how much she matters to Kvothe.
  • Broken Base:
    • The announcement that Rothfuss would be releasing a novella centered on minor character Auri, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, had fans either excited to see a new perspective of the Kingkiller world, especially that of an enigmatic character, or disappointed that he wasn't devoting his attention to the much-anticipated third book. Upon release there was further split as some found the narrative uninteresting and irrelevant and criticized Rothfuss for disappointing them and wasting their time, while others praised the unconventional story and its exploration of Auri's character.
    • Kvothe's time spent in the fae realm in The Wise Man's Fear has also divided the fandom. Many found it a fascinating and increasingly dark high point of the novel, as Kvothe interacts with two demigods of questionable alignment and mystery, while exploring a unique side of the world and separating fact from fiction regarding some of the series' more fantastical history. Others believe it dragged on for too long, and found our hero's interaction with Felurian (along with his defeat of her and subsequent escape) to be testing their suspension of disbelief.
    • Similarly, the time spent in Ademre. It's either a very interesting subplot that enriches the story by showing a different culture of Proud Warrior Race Guys, with an interesting philosophy in the Lethani. Or they are a country of pretentious, anti-intellectual, sexist, arrogant kung-fu guys who belittle everyone else for their perceived shortcomings while ignoring their own backward and strange taboos, not to mention that the entire time there doesn't advance the Myth Arc barring a short conversation at the end.
  • Counterpart Comparison:
    • The series shares a number of common tropes with Japanese Light Novels. Kvothe was in many ways a Stock Light Novel Hero in the past, due to his overpowered abilities and plethora of Love Interests. A teenaged protagonist attracting a literal Harem of women who want to bed him isnít something seen often in western fantasy, but itís a ridiculously common occurrence in Light Novels.
    • Even present day Kvothe has a number of similarities with certain Light Novel protagonists. Personality wise heís very similar to Willem Kmetsch from WorldEnd. Both were once legendary heroes who are introduced living in miserable isolation following some great failure that led to their respective worlds going to hell. The two of them are also Broken Aces who have lost much of their legendary strength and are now shadows of their former selves. The fact that Willem works as an innkeeper at one point in his story makes the comparison even more striking. In a way they are both examples of what happens to heroes who donít win in the end.
  • Crazy Awesome: Elodin, possibly even in-universe.
  • Ear Worm: "Jackass, Jackass" is deliberately written to be one.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Auri, Devi, and Elodin.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Kote was a caravan guard until he took an arrow to the knee. Some suspect the memetic line was actually a deliberate Shout-Out.
  • Ho Yay: Bast is really, really devoted to Kvothe—devoted to the point of staying in a boring human town for his sake, checking on him when he's asleep, and threatening to torture Chronicler if he doesn't help Kvothe get back to being his old self. Some of their interaction can also come off as Like an Old Married Couple, at least from Bast's side:
    Bast: [angrily waving a note Kvothe left him] What am I, some dockside whore?
  • Mary Sue: While not without relevant flaws, Kvothe is idealized enough to qualify for this trope (impossibly brilliant, charming, tough...) Even as a Broken Ace in his early 20s, he's still a brooding badass with "the eyes of an angry god" and is infamous, even in his obscurity. It's known that the character of Kvothe is supposed to be a deconstruction of the trope, but how successful Rothfuss has been deconstructing it is up to debate.
  • Mary Sue Topia
    • The Edema Ruh are the greatest performers in the world. They treat each other like family, with no petty rivalries or distrust between groups. They're always kind and generous to fellow travelers. And they never commit crimes. The rose-colored view of the Edema Ruh might be due to Kvothe's personal biases as a fiercely proud Ruh himself.
    • The Adem, an entire society of warrior-philosophers. They're ruled by their elite mercenary schools, whose martial arts secrets are several orders of magnitude greater than any other society's. Even their lowliest, stupidest members look like superheroes compared to other people. Their leaders are selected purely on merit. They have absolutely no sexual inhibitions, yet also have absolutely no venereal disease. Their language is far more subtle and elegant than any other. They all have iron-clad composure. Their food is delicious. Their medicinal skill rivals the greatest academic institutions. They are technologically advanced. They live in great wealth and comfort, but without needless frills or vanity. They seem to lack crime, corruption and poverty. They do have a number of oddities, but they are all well defended: While their culture believes that women are basically better than men, they are a meritocracy, so their culture is basically evidence of this conclusion. They disapprove of music played in public, but only because they cherish it so much.
  • Moe: Auri, an earnest, eccentric and homeless woman who quickly develops a puppy dog-like relationship with Kvothe.
  • Narm: It can be hard for British readers to take "Lord Haliax" seriously when his name is one letter off being a bank.
  • Plot Tumor: The interminable interlude of faerie sex. Granted, 60 pages in a book with almost a thousand pages is only 6% of the book, and it sets up some of the most important plot points moving forward, including the Cthaeh.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: Some readers think Kvothe's very slowly developing romance with Denna takes up too much time. In the second book, Kvothe acknowledges that he has to dedicate a lot of time to their story on the saying it will be important in the future.
  • Strawman Has a Point: For all that Ambrose is exceedingly prejudiced against the Edema Ruh and abusing his influence to attack him, by the end of the first book Kvothe has in fact robbed him and committed an act of extreme malfeasance against him. It crosses to Unintentionally Sympathetic when one notices that Kvothe's vendettas against Ambrose are often much more vicious than Ambrose's own misdeeds against him, as he mostly sees Kvothe as an annoyance while Kvothe sees him as a cloak-and-dagger mortal enemy.
  • The Woobie: Auri, due to her homelessness and implied Dark and Troubled Past. Kvothe after his parents' death manages to surpass Auri; the Tarbean chapters are downright painful to read. In ''The Wise Man's Fear," the two girls enslaved by the fake Edema Ruh.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: For some, the Fake Edema Ruh arc late in the second book had shades of this. Kvothe runs into another troupe of Edema Ruh, the first he's encountered since his childhood. He spends the evening in their company, but a feeling of gradual unease begins to creep up on him as the night goes on, cemented by the appearance of two teenage girls the troupe had abducted and made into sex slaves. Kvothe is reasonably disturbed and appalled by this, and retires in order to plot what to do about it. Faced with proof that corruption and atrocity are present in even the apparently flawless Edema Ruh, you'd think this would be a huge blow to Kvothe's romanticized bias toward his people; but of course, it turns out they were bandits merely impersonating the Ruh, which Kvothe had quickly twigged right from the start due to the various minor holes in their Ruh knowledge. While still given a very satisfying conclusion, The Reveal removed some of the emotional depth the text was seemingly building up to and reinforced the above stereotype.
  • What an Idiot!: In The Name of the Wind, sure, Denna, why don't you just stick a random substance you find lying around an abandoned house in your mouth? What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Oh, except it's actually denner resin and therefore poisonous.
  • Writer on Board: Occurs twice in The Wise Man's Fear.
    • First when Kvothe glosses over a high-stakes, high-action part of the plot and then goes into an angry rant about how this is his story and Chronicler isn't entitled to hear it any other way than the way he wants to tell it. It's almost impossible to not see that as Patrick Rothfuss' own pre-emptive attack on any readers who would criticize this or any other stylistic shortcoming on his work.
    • Secondly with the subplot with the false Edema Ruh who kidnapped and raped two young girls. Kvothe brutally kills all of the culprits, subjects one to a Cruel Mercy and, while initially feeling shocked by his own savagery, soon decides that he's happy he did it because they deserved all of it and more. When he brings the girls back to their village, one of the villagers try to victim-blame them, and Kvothe casually breaks his arm with his Ketan holds as a punishment before making him apologise, and is later told by the village's resident Cool Old Lady that he was quite right in killing and maiming all those people. This not only turns the "rape is bad" message up to Anvilicious, but also enforces a very ugly form of vigilantism and justifies the abuse of physical superiority.
    • Earlier, in The Name of the Wind, Deoch goes to great lengths and gets unusually worked up explaining to Kvothe the double standards that men use when criticizing women like Denna. It's arguably a case of Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, and Deoch's words play an important role in influencing Kvothe's later treatment of Denna. However, it also feels like Rothfuss using a minor character to express his own preemptive annoyance at how some readers might respond to Denna's behavior.

Alternative Title(s): The Name Of The Wind, The Wise Mans Fear