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The Wise Man's Fear
> Parallel Storytelling
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Feb 25, 2012 02:19PM
Whew... I just went through most of the speculation/theorizing on here (skimming a bit). There's a lot of cool theories going around, but I wanted to talk about an element that I haven't really seen mentioned. In many ways, these books are stories about stories. Kvothe is, himself, a storyteller (actor), and the novel centers around him telling the story of his life; It's a novel within a novel. Additionally, there are intertwined legends, rumors, and myths throughout the narrative.
People on here take a lot of the stories very literally (e.g. the moon is actually in a box) which of course could be accurate, but I want to look at the symbolism and the links these legends share with Kvothe's journey and the other characters.
I don't have the books with me so bear with my spelling mistakes/inaccuracies. I have a lot of these parallelisms and don't know how many to post or which are crazy...
In NotW, Kvothe hears the story of how Tehlu bound and defeated [evil guy] by binding him to an iron wagon well and destroying him with fire (details fuzzy) after chasing him for an extended perioud. Later, Kvothe kills the draacus after chasing him down a mountain... by crushing him under the church's wagon wheel.
The story of Jax and the moon box has been talked about a lot as well and many have noted the moon-Auri connection so I won't belabor the point. I find it interesting that Auri is bound to (or refuses to leave) the library, a building which is labyrinthine and difficult to navigate (as was Jax's foldable house). It is also interesting to note that the owner (for all intents and purposes) of this library is Lorren a man described as never displaying (or presumably feeling) emotion, very similar to Jax, a boy without passion.
An easy one is the Taborlin/Elodin story that people have already noticed. When in Elodin's quarters in which he had been imprisoned (much like Taborlin), Elodin jokingly attempted to "free" himself by saying "edro" to blast open the wall.
There are many examples of parallelism in terms of Kvothe's story and legends told by other characters that I think deserve to be looked at. I'm not suggesting that Auri is the moon or Elodin is Taborlin but I think the similarities between certain characters and myths is central to PR's purpose with the book. As Skarpi said, "I only know one story ... It's growing all around us." And later, more tellingly, "All stories are true,” Skarpi said. “But this one really happened." I think the parallelism is meant to show the truth of the world through story. Many of them deal with issues of humanity in the world: longing for lost loves, lust for power, reach exceeding grasp, hubris, etc. They certainly serve to illustrate meaningful similarities to characters and possibly foreshadow but I believe their primary function is to show the eternity of the human experience.
Anyway, I've said enough in one post. What examples have you all found of inter-story parallelism and what do you think they mean? I personally don't believe in the more literal interpretations (like the moon being in a box) but I'd be happy to discuss different ideas.
Feb 25, 2012 03:38PM
I think its easy to fit almost any one to anything else if you do something like this, Pick the parts that link easy, and forget the parts that fail.
Tehlu killed his demon with a pit of fire, Kwothe with a wheel, only link is they chased something about, (Tehlu was for ages, and kwothe was for a few hours)
Auri lives in the underthing, and will leave it, (She visits him in his room at ankers when he was poisoned) also Lorren was pretty mad at Kwothe when he brought fire into his libary.
Hell I could tie Kwothe to Landre,
Both went out trying to do good,
Both fought for there love,
Both ended up creating an even worse situation then they intended.
If you want to use Parallels then they should be so similar that there is next to no differences bar names and places. You could get away with a few creative interperations else you can link just about anything to anything else.
(last edited Feb 25, 2012 07:10PM)
Feb 25, 2012 07:01PM
Yeah, I'll admit I might not have enough info to back this up, but I do think story-narrative is incredibly important to the series. I haven't read them in a while and maybe I could come up with some more concrete examples if I went back through them.
As for the Tehlu bit... The demon was bound to a wheel and killed with fire. In Kvothe's case, the entire village was on fire, as well as the church (asfaik), and he killed a beast by crushing it with a wheel. As for the length of time, I frankly don't find that important. You might also argue that Kvothe is not a god and the draccus was not a demon, but those are somewhat superficial differences. The point is that we are first presented with, "heroic protagonist chases down evil then kills it with fire and a wheel," which is exactly what happens later in the novel.
Your point about Landre doesn't really disprove mine at all. There are numerous themes throughout the book and both of those characters strive for love but create destruction. In this case, the story of Landre casts a dark shadow over the future of Kvothe (which has not yet been presented).
The Auri bit might be a stretch, but I do find it interesting that we are presented with a character strongly linked with the moon in the same building/complex as a character so similar to Jax. Also keep in mind you are using two very specific examples to disprove their general nature. Auri was driven from the underthing because she was worried about Kvothe. Most of the time she typically doesn't stray farther than a single rooftop and is nervous to leave. Lorren is very, very disaffected and has shown anger once in the series (maybe twice).
Parallels are not simply a single story with names/places changed... I agree that it is very easy to read into things farther than the author ever intended and I hope I'm not doing that. But really, given the structure of the novel (story within a story including multiple sub-stories) as well as the early presence of Skarpi and other storytellers, don't you think the nature of narrative is important to Rothfuss? I'm not saying I have the right interpretations, but I do believe that the legends presented are very relevant to Kvothe's story (though not necessarily in a literal sense).
Mar 20, 2012 08:26AM
No, there's definitely a lot of parallel storytelling.
For example, when telling stories Cob says that Taborlin the Great had a Ring, a Key, and a Candle. All three of these are items given to Kvothe by Auri.
Hespe's story of Jax, the moon, and the folding house is actually the story of Iax, the moon, and the creation of the Faen realm.
Rothfuss is an exceptional storyteller and has left a lot of clues for us to go through.
Mar 20, 2012 11:38AM
I agree Eric. This is exactly why Rothfuss tops my shrine.
Mar 31, 2012 09:27AM
My question is, how is Lyra intertwined with all this?
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