"In these pages you will come to know Kvothe as a notorious magician, an accomplished thief, a masterful musician, and an infamous assassin."
―Blurb of The Name of the Wind

Illustration of Patrick Rothfuss using beard magic to shape Kvothe's life, by © Nathan Taylor

The Kingkiller Chronicle, sometimes abbreviated as KKC, is a trilogy of fantasy novels by American author Patrick Rothfuss. It tells the story of Kvothe, an adventurer and musician.

Plot description

The Kingkiller Chronicle is presented as the autobiography of Kvothe, an adventurer and famous musician, legendary throughout the Four Corners of Civilization. The plot is divided into two different action threads:

  1. The frame story, where Kote tells the story of his life to Chronicler in the Waystone Inn.
  2. The narration, which comprises the story of Kote's past as Kvothe and makes up the majority of the books.

The series alternates between the third and first person perspective. The present-day interludes are in the third person, alternating from an omniscient perspective to that of several characters, while the story of Kvothe's life is told entirely in the first person from his own perspective.

The series also contains many metafictional stories-within-stories from varying perspectives, which are described within the context of the narration.

Works in the series

Main trilogy

# Title Pages Chapters Audio US release
1 The Name of the Wind 662 92 27h 58m March 27, 2007
2 The Wise Man's Fear 994 152 42h 59m March 1, 2011
3 The Doors of Stone

Companion tales

Rothfuss has written several short pieces taking place within the setting of the world of The Kingkiller Chronicle, with more expected to be published at some point. The stories do not focus on Kvothe.

The short story "How Old Holly Came to Be" was published in the anthology Unfettered in June 2013.[1] Written in a chant-like rhythm, the story takes place centuries before The Name of the Wind, and is told from the perspective of a tree.

The novella The Lightning Tree, featuring Bast, was published in the anthology Rogues in June 2014. In October 2014, the first stand-alone novella of the series, The Slow Regard of Silent Things, featuring Auri, was released. Rothfuss worked on The Tale of Laniel Young-Again, a novel of 100,000-120,000 words,[2] before shelving the book to continue working on The Doors of Stone.[3]

Editions and translations

Main article: Editions of The Kingkiller Chronicle

The novels in the Kingkiller Chronicle series are first published in hardcover and are later re-released as paperback editions. They have been translated into more than thirty languages worldwide.

Background and publication

Rothfuss wrote the trilogy as an extremely long fantasy novel, titled The Song of Flame and Thunder, during his nine-year advance toward his bachelors degree in English. He drew inspiration from the range of college courses he explored, and from his personal interests and hobbies. He submitted the completed novel to several publishing companies but was rejected.[4]

A short story of 14,000 words[1] excerpted from the novel, titled "The Road to Levinshire", won the Writers of the Future Second Quarter competititon in 2002. He then chatted to science fiction writer Kevin J. Anderson at a writers workshop and through this managed to secure a deal with his agent Matt Bialer.[4]

The full novel was sold to publisher DAW Books and then split into a three-volume series. In an early manuscript of The Wise Man's Fear from June 2010 the series was titled The Song of the Broken Tree. It was later retitled to The Kingkiller Chronicle.

The first volume of The Kingkiller Chronicle, The Name of the Wind, was published to critical acclaim in April 2007 and has since won the 2007 Quill Award for best Sci-fi/Fantasy and has also been listed on The New York Times Best Seller list. It also won an Alex Award in 2008.

The second volume of the series, The Wise Man's Fear, was originally due to be released on the 16th April 2009, but was postponed due to revisions. It was finally released in March 2011, hitting the the New York Times Hardback Fiction Best Seller Listat number #1 spot three weeks after its release.[5]

Derived works

  • In 2014, Rothfuss collaborated with Cheapass Games to create a real version of Pairs, based off a card game in the books. Seven deck types were created: three of were based off of Temerant (the "Commonwealth" and "Modegan Decks" being the work of Shane Tyree, the Faen Deck that of Nate Taylor), one off of The Princess and Mr. Whiffle (illustrated by Taylor), one off of comic Girl Genius (art by Phil & Kaja Foglio), a "Pirates" deck, and a Barmaids deck (art by Echo Chernik)
  • A 2014 Kickstarter campaign resulted in the first Name of the Wind playing cards, illustrated by Shane Tyree[6]
  • A Kickstarter campaign in 2017 had Rothfuss collaborate with artist Echo Chernik to create playing cards based off of The Name of the Wind[7]
  • In 2014, Rothfuss began working with acclaimed game designer James Ernest to flesh-out and create Tak, based off a game in the books; Ernest designed the game, with input from Rothfuss[8]. A successful Kickstarter campaign with Cheapass Games brought the game to life in 2016[9]
  • Badali Jewelry created various pieces based off the books with Rothfuss's cooperation[10]

TV series, Movie and Video Game

Main article: Adaptations of The Kingkiller Chronicle

With the popularity of the series growing, American film studio Twentieth Century Fox and film production company New Regency Productions optioned The Kingkiller Chronicle for a television series adaptation in July 2013. The production team attached to the production of the pilot includes Eric Heisserer, Arnon Milchan, Andrew Plotkin, Brad Weston, and Robert Lawrence.[11] The pilot and series bible was sent out to buyers in July 2014 and it is later that year confirmed that American television network NBC has secured the rights for the series, titled Kingkiller.[12]

On October 1, 2015, Patrick Rothfuss announced on his blog that the rights to the books reverted back to him after Twentieth Century Fox's optioned rights expired.[1] Subsequently, a bidding war erupted with several Hollywood studios approaching him to turn the books into a movie.[13] Rothfuss informed the studios that he was not particularly interested in making a movie but would listen to their offers. When Lionsgate approached him, he proposed doing a movie and TV series to give the story time to build and the characters room to breathe. They returned with an offer to produce a movie, TV series and video game. He accepted their offer.[1]