Fans of Patrick Rothfuss are accustomed to waiting by now. The second book in the author’s enormously popular Kingkiller Chronicle series came out way back in 2011. Over a decade later, and we’re still waiting on The Doors of Stone, the third and purportedly final book in the series. Outside of the long wait for George R.R. Martin’s sixth A Song of Ice and Fire novel The Winds of Winter, few other books have inspired such a lasting sense of anticipation over the years. Or tested fan patience as much.
The Doors of Stone does not yet have a release date, and for my money that’s fine. I firmly believe that authors should take as long they need to write a book that satisfies them. Moreover, Rothfuss has been pretty open about how mental health and certain events in his life have affected his writing process. I wish the guy the best.
That said, there are questions that remain open. For instance, a while back Patrick Rothfuss promised his readers a brand new chapter from The Doors of Stone as a way to incentivize them to support his charity Worldbuilders…and more than a year later, he still hasn’t delivered it or updated fans in months as to why, even after the fundraising goals were met.
Where is the new The Doors of Stone chapter that Patrick Rothfuss promised?
This issue came to my attention this week through a great video on the Captured in Words YouTube channel, which you can watch above. The gist is this: Every year since 2008, Patrick Rothfuss has run a charity called Worldbuilders, where he gathers together fellow notable fantasy and sci-fi people to raise money for the Heifer International charity, which is dedicated to ending poverty and hunger. Worldbuilders has donated more than $11.5 million to the organization since its founding. Generally speaking, it’s a wonderful idea to bring people together in an attempt to do something good like this.
Things got a little complicated with the 2021 Worldbuilders, however, because Rothfuss decided to offer to release chapters from The Doors of Stone as an incentive for backers. Rothfuss said that if a certain amount was raised before he could defeat a specific enemy in Minecraft during his Twitch livestreams, he would read the prologue for The Doors of Stone during a future stream, which he did.
However, his fans smashed that goal so soundly that Rothfuss added another stretch goal: to release “A full, self-contained, spoiler-free chapter from The Doors of Stone.” As I’m sure you can guess, the fans demolished that goal as well.
Why hasn’t Patrick Rothfuss produced his promised charity chapter from The Doors of Stone?
This is where things start to get dicey. Rather than stick to the plan to release the stretch goal chapter, Rothfuss added yet another stretch goal: this time, that if $666,666 was raised before he could conquer his Minecraft foe, he would assemble an all-star cast of voice actors to read this chapter from The Doors of Stone as a fully produced audio production.
Once again, the fans did the thing. The stretch goal was hit, bumping the total amount brought in by Worldbuilders in 2021 to $1.25 million. Which is wonderful! That’s a lot of money raised for a good cause.
According to the Captured in Words video, Rothfuss told fans that the audio reading for The Doors of Stone chapter which he had offered as a backer reward would be released no later than February of 2022. Writing on his blog in December 2021, Rothfuss said he was having meetings with voice actors to pull it all together, and everything seemed to be going well.
That was the last official communication about it. There were no other blog posts and no updates from the author beyond him mentioning in one of his livestreams that he was having trouble nailing down schedules and things were “moving more slowly than [he] would like.” That video is from April of 2022. As of this writing, we’re approaching the one-year mark since even that small update.
Of note, Worldbuilders did not run a charity campaign at all in 2022, the first time it has taken a hiatus since its inception. Rothfuss seemed to confirm that this break was so that he could (very understandably) focus more on his personal life and everything else he already had going on. But the fact that it also coincides with this lapse in delivering a substantial backer goal makes it easy to raise uncomfortable questions.
Why some fans are angry that Patrick Rothfuss hasn’t given them a chapter from The Doors of Stone
To me, this situation just doesn’t sit quite right. Because at this point, it’s no longer about an author not delivering a book they’re trying to write in a timely manner; it’s about a charity failing to deliver something they used to incentivize people to donate. That is an entirely different sort of bad look. In my opinion, it’s reasonable for people to demand accountability. After all, if you donated to any other charity, and then it failed to deliver something it promised to give you should you donate, wouldn’t that be a serious violation of trust?
Here’s hoping that this is something Rothfuss clears up sooner rather than later. Any sort of update to at least let people know what’s going on with this chapter would probably go a long way with his fans.