Fans of the Kingkiller Chronicle have been waiting nearly a decade for the third and final book in the series. Straight from the author’s lips to your ears:
Kingkiller Chronicle author Patrick Rothfuss is out there helping raise money for Worldbuilders, a geek-centered nonprofit that supports humanitarian efforts worldwide. That means that is, among other things, hopping on streams and answering fan questions, including a few about the progress of the long-awaited third book in his fantasy trilogy, The Doors of Stone.
Fans have been waiting for The Doors of Stone for almost a decade; The Wise Man’s Fear, the last volume, came out in 2011, with The Name of the Wind kicking off the whole thing in 2007. But as he explains in a stream, Rothfuss actually started writing this story over a decade before that. He wrote out the entire thing, in fact, and then polished up the first part into the book that became The Name of the Wind. But that created inconsistencies between his original version of the story and the published version. Reconciling those is part of the reason why it’s taking so long to write the third and final book.
“I worked on The Wise Man’s Fear for a long time and there were a ton of problems with it,” Rothfuss said, “and it didn’t match up with the first book anymore in a lot of places because I had changed so much and improved it and characters had been added and character stories had been developed and expanded on. So then I had to do all of that, plus I was a better writer then I really fleshed things out and did a bunch of stuff.”
"So now, Book 3, originally what was the third part of this huge story…a lot of it was written in ’98, y’know, so long ago, I was not as good a writer. And even the parts of it that are good writing didn’t match up with the parts of the book I had changed to make the story function better."
We don’t have all the details on exactly how much changed between Rothfuss’ original version of the story and published works, but it sounds like they were pretty seismic. In the first version of The Name of the Wind, for example, Kvothe just started telling his story to the reader directly, without a framing device. There was no Bast, no Waystone Inn. Auri didn’t exist in the early versions of the book. “It wasn’t good,” Rothfuss said. “It sucked real bad in a bunch of different ways for a long time and I revised it literally 500 times and it slowly got better. Fourteen years.”
None of this makes the wait for The Doors of Stone any easier to bear, but if you’re wondering why it’s so long, maybe this can help.
Rothfuss also answered a couple other questions about his progress, in simple terms. For example:
"Question: “Is there a danger of Book 3 becoming too large for one volume?”Answer: “No.”"
And remember that because Rothfuss wrote out the whole thing before doing anything else, he’s known the ending for a long time:
"Question: “Has the ending changed?”Rothfuss: “No.”"
Expect The Doors of Stone to come out in…look, I can’t finish that sentence. That’s the whole problem.