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Watch Patrick Rothfuss Read the Prologue of The Doors of Stone

The bestselling author read the prologue of the third Kingkiller Chronicle entry on his Twitch stream.

Patrick Rothfuss reading from The Doors of Stone
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  • Photo Credit: Patrick Rothfuss / YouTube

There has been much angst among the sci-fi/fantasy community about stalled series like George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire and Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard Sequence. Some fans have given up on those series, while others have taken more destructive measures. Some small portion have begun to harass these authors, prompting Neil Gaiman to write about entitlement issues

Patrick Rothfuss has faced similar issues. Since the 2011 release of the second book in his Kingkiller Chronicle, The Wise Man’s Fear, fans have taken to social media to demand that Rothfuss spend more time on finishing his series. This often has an inverse effect, however: In a YouTube video, Rothfuss spoke about the need to focus on the positive fans, rather than the negative. He has also been open about how his personal life and mental health have affected the progress of book three.

However, despite the doubt of both his fans and his own editor, it’s clear that Rothfuss has not given up on The Doors of Stone. It’s equally clear that Rothfuss has not been idle with his time. His nonprofit Worldbuilders has raised more than $10 million for charities like Heifer International, which seeks to end hunger and poverty. 

Authors like Jim Butcher and S.L. Huang have joined forces with Rothfuss and his Worldbuilders, which offers literary rewards to those who donate. One such reward was a hint at what’s to come in the Kingkiller Chronicle. On his blog, Rothfuss wrote that the prologue is a “tease. A paltry page. It’s barely a bite. A meager morsel for those whose hearts are hungry for a story.”

Fortunately the prologue did not seem meager to his fans, who met his challenge and earned their reward. Here, then, is Rothfuss narrating an early draft of The Doors of Stone’s prologue.

Patrick Rothfuss Reading The Doors of Stone Prologue

What We Know About the Status of The Kingkiller Chronicle

If there’s one thing epic fantasy readers can do, it’s wait. Many of us understand how difficult it is to build these vast worlds while tracking all the various plots and subplots as a large cast of characters move about their lives. But there’s waiting and then there’s waiting.

For fans of Rothfuss's series, it’s been 13 years since the second book in the series was released. So, when can fans expect to read the third and final book in this series? Here’s everything we know about The Doors of Stone.

Let’s Start at the Beginning

Rothfuss has been quiet about his progress on this final book. Where he was openly keeping fans updated between The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, he has been less vocal on the final book’s journey.

After The Name of the Wind came out as a sweeping success, Rothfuss had posted on his blog that all three books in the trilogy were written. His initial intent was to publish one a year. Unfortunately, that plan derailed almost immediately. It took four years and multiple revisions to publish The Wise Man’s Fear, and it’s in those revisions that things took a turn for The Doors of Stone.

It’s hard to say exactly why these revisions have derailed the series for over a decade. In 2020, his editor, Betsy Wollheim, editor and president of DAW Books, wrote a series of now-deleted posts stating that she hadn’t read a word of book three. Anyone who has ever written a story knows that revisions complicate even the best-laid plans. Plot lines stop making sense, characters change, or worse, die. It makes things tricky. But with two books and a novella under his belt, an editor who is obviously a fan, and a legion of fans to bolster his confidence, it’s mystifying why this challenge is seemingly so insurmountable.

It’s not like Rothfuss hasn’t been writing. He puts out a weekly blog and recently took on creating a Rick & Morty comic. He’s launched a small publishing project, hosts a podcast, attends conferences and conventions. In a similar vein to George R.R. Martin, he is keeping himself busy. 

The Narrow Road Between Desires

There is hope. A second novella in the Kingkiller world, The Narrow Road Between Desires, was released last year. The story may be recognizable to some fans as an expanded version of the short story, “The Lightning Tree”, which was first published in an anthology edited by George R. R. Martin in 2017. This version is two hundred pages longer and includes forty illustrations by Nate Taylor. 

The story focuses on Bast, and Rothfuss has hinted that understanding Bast’s history will make the third book even better. In his blog, he talks about how the first story came to be and how the novella is different. There’s more detail, it explores the world in more depth and rewrote more than half of the story. If that didn’t provide a huge clue, Rothfuss tends towards perfectionism. 

Additionally, Rothfuss has been open on his blog and other social media platforms about his struggle with anxiety and depression. Moving from a writer who tinkered in a world on his own for years to suddenly becoming an international bestseller is an enormous shift, and one that comes with mountains of pressure.

There have been other challenges with the TV adaptation of the work. Though Lionsgate acquired the rights in 2015, and Lin-Manuel Miranda announcing his attachment to the project in 2019, it appears to have stalled. Miranda hinted that the story was “an insane Russian nesting doll” in terms of structure. 

It does seem that Rothfuss is making progress on the novel. In 2021, he read the prologue to the novel live on his Twitch Stream. Despite his best intentions, however, it appears Rothfuss is struggling to overcome some major roadblocks in seeing this project through. Until then, his latest novella reached the New York Times bestsellers list, proving that fans are still eager to read more about Kvothe, Bast, and all the rest.

Featured photo: Patrick Rothfuss / YouTube