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Reviews Comments: Okay Story, Godawful Sue The Name Of The Wind film/book review by Wanderhome

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.


  • Fattimus
  • 19th May 11
A Mary Sue is generally a fanfic character, rather than original.

Kvothe is excellent at a lot of things, but also has an ego problem — he causes most of his own problems at the University. Calling Kvothe a Mary Sue is a lot like declaring Hercules a Mary Sue because he's a super strong half God man; it's just a story about the most interesting character.
  • OMalley
  • 27th Jun 11
  • Hekateras
  • 10th Dec 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.
  • HappyMan
  • 14th Jul 12
I think that we're so used to see Idiot Heroes and This Loser Is You so often that when we see a character who's competent and intelligent, we label him as a Mary Sue.

  • thoth
  • 7th Mar 13
Yes. Kvothe is definitely a Mary Sue.
  • YourBrainOnTaint
  • 29th 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.
  • LentilSandEater
  • 8th Sep 14
He's a huge Mary Sue, it's just some of the time he's a palatable one. Sure he DOES have problems but they don't really change him or force him to grow as a person. He is simply effortlessly awesome at them till they go away or don't matter any more. It's hard to put into words exactly, there's a smugness about him, a sense that he's merely playing along with people.

That said that actual writing and story is pretty good! I would recommend anyone to have a go at the book, obviously he doesn't seem like a Sue to a lot of people.
  • phylos
  • 9th Jan 16
Such insecurity of this series' fans. Kvothe is a Mary Sue, get over it.

Nobody is saying one can't like him anyway. James Bond is a Gary Stu too and it's one of the most successful franchises.

Oh, BTW, if your flaw is arrogance because you're just too good at everything then it isn't a flaw, it's common sense.
  • Reymma
  • 10th Jan 16
ITT: a lot of commenters confuse "Mary Sue" with "Flawless hero".

A classic Mary Sue isn't defined by how great they are, but by the story doing little other than "look at me!" with everything they do. Idealised heroes are out of favour in today's literature, but are not the same thing. But "Mary Sue" is a term that gets thrown about to the point that it has lost any impact, in part because we do not have convenient terms for "a protagonist I cannot buy as a hero" or "a character I don't like as much as the author seems to".

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