Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Kvothe - Chapters 20-25

Chapter 20 – Bloody Hands Into Stinging Fists

The squash wagon arrives in Tarbean with Kvothe riding in the back. He runs from what could have easily been a good family to stay with, all because of his fear of remembering what happened to his own family. And he promptly meets a trio (there’s the number three again) of young street thugs that harass him, steal his lute, and beat him up. In the process the lute gets broken. Not really surprising, you can see it coming. And now there’s more mental anguish added to the physical pain of having the crap kicked out of him.

And the last line of the chapter? “That was the first night of nearly three years I spent in Tarbean.” There’s the number three again.

Chapter 21 – Basement, Bread and Bucket

Yet another short chapter, this one introducing Trapis, an old man who cares for the handicapped waifs who wonder off the streets of Tarbean. Trapis helps those he can with stale bread and water and only asks for those waifs taking his kindness to carry water for him. Not too bad a deal. Most interesting to me is the thought Kvothe mentions of a “hundred howling children” who would do anything to protect Trapis from harm.

Chapter 22 – A Time for Demons

Here we learn more about the city of Tarbean and about the midwinter festival surrounding high Mourning. One great paragraph was:

Waterside is where people are poor. That makes them beggars, thieves, and whores. Hillside is where people are rich. That makes them solicitors, politicians, and courtesans.

Such a classic and true comparison, even in today’s reality.

Part of the year-end festival of Mourning involves people dressing as demons and basically going crazy. Well, some demons helped Kvothe after he got the crap kicked out of him by a guard on the ritzy side of town. Begging from the upper crust didn’t pay off. He somehow made it back to his hiding spot on the roof with numerous injuries but food and drink as well.

Chapter 23 – The Burning Wheel

The majority of this chapter shows Tarpis telling the story of Encanis being defeated by Tehlu. The demon gets bound to iron and roasted over a pit of coals by the god.

Chapter 24 – Shadows Themselves

Another insanely short chapter. All of two pages, maybe a page if condensed. But we are introduced to an interesting sub-set of people in this unnamed land of Kvothe’s; sweet eaters. Essentially druggies that are easily identified by their white teeth. Makes you think twice about those whitening toothpastes on the market.

But even more interesting is the possibility that Kvothe was raped as a boy on the streets of Tarbean. He describes a scene where he sees a young boy be attacked by a group of larger, older boys. There’s not sexual deviancy mentioned, but I could see little other reason for attacking other than robbing him, raping him, or the simple pleasure of beating him.

Chapter 25 – Interlude – Eager for Reasons

Another short chapter that brings us back to the tavern and the Chronicler. Kvothe refreshes himself with a drink and, before going back to telling his story, he mentions the young boy in the alley and how he regretted not going to help him. He says he has regrets in his life that he distinctly remembers, but can’t remember how many times he’s been beaten.

--Read more about the detailed analysis here--

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