The Wise Man’s Fear (The Kingkiller Chronicles #2) By: Patrick Rothfuss Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase
“There are three things all wise men fear: the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.”
My name is Kvothe. You may have heard of me.
So begins the tale of a hero told from his own point of view- a story unequaled in fantasy literature. Now in The Wise Man’s Fear, Day Two of The Kingkiller Chronicles, Kvothe takes his first steps on the path of the hero and learns how difficult life can be when a man becomes a legend in his own time.
At long last I find myself reading this book. It has long been on my radar–since reading The Name of the Windfor the first time back in 2008–which I waited for in mass market paperback before it sitting for a good number of years longer on my TBR pile. With the third book nowhere in sight and me attempting to get through books that have sit on my physical TBR pile for a long time, I figured now was the time to read it.
The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicles #1) By: Patrick Rothfuss Format/Source: Mass market paperback; my purchase My first review of the novel
MY NAME IS KVOTHE
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature–the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
I read this book years ago (see review) but with The Wise Man’s Fear sitting on my TBR pile gathering dust for how many years, I figured it was time to revisit this book before diving into the second novel. And so here we are (mind you it took me how many months to re-read it as other books got in the way and I had read parts of it during break at work) 😛
W. B. Yeats was Romantic and Modernist, mystical dreamer and leader of the Irish Literary Revival, Nobel prizewinner, dramatist and, above all, poet. He began writing with the intention of putting his ‘very self’ into his poems. T. S. Eliot, one of many who proclaimed the Irishman’s greatness, described him as ‘one of those few whose history is the history of their own time, who are part of the consciousness of an age which cannot be understood without them’. For anyone interested in the literature of the late nineteenth century and the twentieth century, Yeats’s work is essential. This volume gathers the full range of his published poetry, from the hauntingly beautiful early lyrics (by which he is still fondly remembered) to the magnificent later poems which put beyond question his status as major poet of modern times. Paradoxical, proud and passionate, Yeats speaks today as eloquently as ever.
I’ve come across W.B. Yeats every now and then but never actually picked up a collection of his poetry to read. It was interesting to read this collection because you could trace out his progression as a poet over time, the different formats that he used. I have to say though I very much prefer his earlier works to his later works; I feel with the later works I need to be in a better mood to really sink into them.
Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a prolific writer and reviewer in the Victorian period, and in her lifetime, her reputation as a poet was at least as great as that of her husband, poet Robert Browning. Some of her poetry has been noted in recent years for strong feminist themes, but the poems for which Elizabeth Barrett Browning is undoubtedly best know are Sonnets from the Portuguese.
Written for Robert Browning, who had affectionately nicknamed her his “little Portuguese,” the sequence is a celebration of marriage, and of one of the most famous romances of the nineteenth century. Recognized for their Victorian tradition and discipline, these are some of the most passionate and memorable love poems in the English language. There are forty-four poems in the collection, including the very beautiful sonnet, “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.”
I first read this collection two years ago (review) when I was first making a serious foray into poetry. Revisiting it now after having read quite a range of poetry, I find her poetry evokes a lot more emotion out of me with the passion conveyed about her love for Robert Browning and how that love affects her. I suppose you could say I appreciated this collection a lot more than I did the first time around 😛
Launched in 2003 Tolkien Reading Day event has sparked interest in reading and reading groups across several nations and ages, from primary schoolchildren to university students and library users of all ages. 25th March has significance to Tolkien’s readers, as it is the day of the Downfall of Sauron at the conclusion of the ‘War of the Ring’ in The Lord of the Rings.
According to the Tolkien Society, the theme this year is ‘Poetry and Songs in Tolkien’s Fiction.
Interesting topic for this year’s Tolkien Day seeing as poetry and songs make up such a huge part of Tolkien’s fiction: The Lord of the Rings (review #1, #2, #3) alone is filled with both folk songs and ancient hymns, and all of the recently published, incomplete poems with his take on Beowulf and King Arthur shows just how steeped in old poems Tolkien really worked from. It’s quite informative reading these titles (see author tag) even as it can be frustrating that they are incomplete! He really loved old tales and mythologies, as he expressed in his essay about The Kalevala (review; and which I found myself nodding in agreement), and his love of these tales really shows in the poems he produced in his own works.
Oh, and if writing poetry and songs isn’t enough, he also writes them in the Elvish languages that he created, Sindarin and Quenya! I’m always in awe that he did this, it adds further depth and richness to the world and the story he created. One of my favourite poems from LOTR:
A Elbereth Gilthoniel
silivren penna míriel
o menel aglar elenath!
o galadhremmin ennorath,
Fanuilos, le linnathon
nef aear, sí nef aearon!
A Elbereth Gilthoniel
o menel palan-diriel,
le nallon sí di’nguruthos!
A tiro nin, Fanuilos!
(O Elbereth Starkindler,
white-glittering, slanting down sparkling like a jewel,
the glory of the starry host!
Having gazed far away
from the tree-woven lands of Middle-earth,
to thee, Everwhite, I will sing,
on this side of the Sea, here on this side of the Ocean!
O Elbereth Starkindler,
from heaven gazing afar,
to thee I cry now beneath the shadow of death!
O look towards me, Everwhite!)
Oh, and for fun, here’s an audio of Tolkien reciting “Namarie” sung by Galadriel in LOTR:
I suppose one can go on and on talkin about the poems and songs that Tolkien wrote about, as well as those old mythologies that he loved so much and attempted to re-write in his own perspective and grasp of language. And I guess that’s the root of it: not just his love of mythology and old stories but his deep grasp of language. It really reflects in his works (see: his version of Beowulf (review) compared to the version accesible to most).
What do you think of poetry and songs in Tolkien’s fiction? How will you be celebrating Tolkien Reading Day? I’m not entirely sure how I’ll be celebrating today; I’ve been wanting to re-read LOTR for some time now but with all the books on my TBR queue and some other books on my re-read queue I haven’t quite wiggled around some time to re-read LOTR. Maybe later this year? In the meantime, maybe I’ll re-read Bilbo’s Last Song, a song Tolkien wrote on Bilbo’s voyage to the Grey Havens and off to the West. Seems like the perfect way to celebrate this year’s theme 🙂