For Christmas, I bought my parents (and a couple other people) the first two books (sadly the only two books!!!!) of Patrick Rothfuss’ Kingkiller Chronicles.
They are my favorite books. Ever. In the whole world.
I love them. I read them for the first time several years ago. I read them again this past summer. They have brought me to tears. Several times.
Ever since I got them for my parents, I’ve been that annoying jackass who can’t stop asking them what they think. My father has a touch of the sci-fi/fantasy nerd in him, so he’s been the first to dive in.
In March, I was over at their house, and I saw The Name of the Wind on a dresser.
“So, Dad, have you finished it yet?”
“That one? Yeah. I’m halfway through the second one.”
I was confused. I couldn’t imagine the Kingkiller books surviving that long. I mean, how could you not stay up until 4 AM every night to finish them? He got it for Christmas. It was March. Really!?
“I like them. They’re good.”
“Yeah. They’re good books.”
“Ummm…. Just good?”
“Yeah. They’re good. I just think he has a tendency to ramble. They would’ve been really great books if they were like half as long. You know, all those scenes where so and so is talking with so and so and blah blah and not much is happening?”
“B-b-b-but. But…. That’s the point. That’s part of it. It’s one of those stories where the journey is the reward.” You don’t understand, I thought. You’re not getting it.
He shrugged. “I don’t know. You know what I think they really could’ve used?”
My jaw dropped.
For what it’s worth, my dad hasn’t even hit the Felurian section in book 2, so I’m sure his thoughts are only going to be magnified.
I thought about debating him a little longer. I thought about trying to explain to him why he was completely and utterly wrong. I thought about how I could convince him to love the books like I do.
Instead, I said something that I think has turned out to be a little bit wise and got my gears turning later.
“Well, I guess on some level I’m glad to hear they’re only good to you. In my world, those books are so good, so amazing that it sort of depresses me a little bit, like I know I could never create anything anywhere near that beautiful.”
I don’t remember where the conversation went from there, but the thought has stuck with me. Although it’s inherently obvious that not every person is going to be drawn to the same thing, I feel like it opens the door for me to write something that others will find moving.
One man’s trash and another man’s treasure and all that.