Okay Story, Godawful Sue
Rothfuss has made an interesting, fairly well thought-out world, with a number of interesting characters. Unfortunately, Kvothe is such an unpalateable Mary Sue
as to make the book almost unreadable; he's awesome at everything he tries, he's always right, and the only people who dislike him are strawmen.
The story is okay, but Kvothe's character absolutely ruined it for me.
19th May 11
27th Jun 11
A Mary Sue doesn't have to be a fanfic character, it's just where they most often crop up (due to most fanficcers being young girls, and teenagers in general being vulnerable to the temptation of the sort of ego-crutch that writing a MS supplies.
That aside, the OP has no clue about Mary Sues. Talents, abilities, cool hair colours - those are just common symptoms. They do not make a sue. The main thing that makes or breaks a Mary Sue is whether there is a feeling that the world revolves only as a stage for them. (Put yourself in some 15-year-old fanficcer's shoes - they only want recognition and self-validation, and what better way to get it than write a character who ends up impressing everybody, and even messes up impressingly?) Is that the case with Kvothe?
Well, let's see. His talent and intelligence do nothing to shield him from the trauma of losing his parents (something a Mary Sue would either shrug off, or brood over for the rest of eternity, to highlight their dark and edgy personality), and he loses his father's lute and ends up on the streets through a purely bad judgement call for understandable reasons (i.e. he turns down that farmer's offer of hospitality because he's still a traumatised wreck and goes venturing into an unknown city alone.) He tries begging in the rich part of town despite knowing that it's not done and barely survives. Later on, his stage upbringing causes a lapse of Wrong Genre Savvy
with Eloding and nearly gets him killed - and, taken at face value, is
rather dumb, stepping off a roof like that. He deals with his whipping in an awesome and impressive way, sure, but the after-effects of the drug lead to him being banned from the Archives (something he's dreamed of since forever) and get him on Lorren's bad side. (Is Lorren a strawman to you?) His lack of understanding and his arrogance also cause him to keep antagonising Alfose and underestimate the threat he poses to him, which, likewise, has huge consequences for him, leading to him being eventually expelled in the second book. And, and let's not forget how, for all his fancy calculations on denner resin and the dragon, he ends up only making things worse and causes the whole town to nearly get burned down by the frenzied creature. And then there's his him actually having to work for his money, and his thing with Denna.
So, you know, you might wanna look at the facts next time you start slinging the term "Mary Sue" around like all the cool kids do these days.
10th Dec 11
14th Jul 12
Yes. Kvothe is definitely a Mary Sue.
7th Mar 13
Kvothe *appears* to be a Mary Sue, certainly at the beginning of the book, but the closer you look at it (especially if you take into consideration his present state as Kote), the more you see he can fail miserably, and his brillance also leads to some serious character flaws that get him into trouble (his arrogance, temper, smart mouth...). And I'm sure a true Mary Sue wouldn't have flung themselves off a roof as stupidly (and hilariously) as he did for Elodin.
29th Mar 13
8th Sep 14
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