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The Lightning Tree

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"This almost isn’t a story [...] It’s the record of some incidents, told charmingly, almost artlessly, but without any narrative urgency, or even all that much narrative. There’s a thin thread of connection, and everything happens in one afternoon. It’s charming, Bast’s charming and loveable and only a tiny bit scary, and the trick he plays is clever and effective, I think I’d like it and be drawn in and want more."
Jo Walton

The Lightning Tree is a novella and one of the companion tales in the The Kingkiller Chronicle series by American author Patrick Rothfuss. The novella was first published in the anthology Rogues on June 17, 2014 by Bantam Spectra in the United States.

Plot summary Edit

The narrative takes place within perhaps a month[note 1] before the first events of the frame story in The Name of the Wind. It's centered on Bast during a single day in Newarre. Bast's charming and alien nature is made apparent as he manipulates and helps several of the villagers children, often by using Fae magic. It particularly focuses on his assistance of the child Rike, whom he helps rid of an abusive father, despite the fact he has broken Bast's rules of conduct, quoted below:

"No one taller than the stone.
Come to blacktree, come alone.
Tell no adult what’s been said,
lest the lightning strike you dead."
Viette Lant reciting the rules

Kote is present, but a minor character in the story.

Background and publication Edit

In 2012, George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois, co-editors of a series of cross-genre anthologies, invited Rothfuss to be in their anthology called Rogues, which Rothfuss agreed to. Rothfuss initially planned to contribute a story about Auri, but when it exceeded the number of words for the anthology and the story took a different direction from the rogue theme, he decided to write a story about Bast instead. The story ended up being the novella The Lightning Tree and was published in Rogues in June 2014, whereas the story about Auri eventually ended up as the standalone novella The Slow Regard of Silent Things and was published several months later.[1]

Notes Edit

  1. Bast complains at the beginning of the frame story in The Name of the Wind that Kote has been harping on him to read Celum Tinture for nearly a month. The book appears in The Lightning Tree, so it is likely the story of The Lightning Tree takes place not much earlier than the beginning of the frame story in the trilogy. However Bast also seems to get his idea for the memoir in The Lightening Tree from his bartering with Kostrel which occurs 'months' before the events of The Name of the Wind ["I tried something similar a couple of months ago. I got him to start a memoir."]

References Edit

  1. Patrick Rothfuss Blog. The News: The Slow Regard of Silent Things (April 25, 2014)

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