The Larkin Ledgers

Like an endless chain of half-built houses

Reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things: Part I – The Cover


Let’s look at the cover.  A view up stairs through an arch, a full moon visible behind a building.  And it’s blue.  It evokes the Underthing, but it’s not.  Like all Rothfuss covers, it’s an approximation.  The blue does resonate, though.

He laid a hand on my shoulder. “Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible. Confusing. Frustrating.” He lifted his hands high above his head as if stretching for the sky. “But there are other ways to understanding!” he shouted, laughing like a child. He threw both arms to the cloudless arch of sky above us, still laughing. “Look!” he shouted tilting his head back. “Blue! Blue! Blue!”

(TNoTW 673)

This is the only triple epizeuxis in the story.  In Rothfuss.  It calls attention to itself and the chapter, “The Fire Itself,” in which it appears.  It’s also potentially alchemically significant, which is appropriate for this story.  According to Lyndy Abraham, “The mercurial water… [is] frequently described as being sky blue or azure.”  Given the story’s position within the albedo of The Kingkiller Chronicle, an azure interstitial fits perfectly.

larkin image 1On to the raw data.  The Wise Man’s Fear debuted at number one on The New York Times bestseller list.  Pat posted a photo on March 21, 2011.  DAW added that to all subsequent covers.  Patrick Rothfuss is, um, the author.  If you’re reading this, I’m gonna assume you’re aware of that.

The Slow Regard of Silent Things is different from the working title he used for awhile.  When it was a shorter piece, and as far as I can tell up until DAW purchased it, he referred to the story as “The Weight of Her Desire.”  The phrase appears in the first and last chapters of the book, suggesting some of the same structural elements present in The Wise Man’s Fear.  That’ll have to wait for the second or third pass, though.

Nate Taylor is a professional illustrator and longtime collaborator who does occasional artwork for Pat’s blog.  He illustrated The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Thing Beneath the Bed and The Adventures of the Princess and Mr. Whiffle: The Dark of Deep Below as well as the “Princess” and “Faen” decks for Pairs from Cheapass Games.  The illustrations in The Slow Regard of Silent Things deliberately don’t show too much.

The cover varies depending on where in the world you are.  Here are the six international editions I know came out this week.  Did I miss one?

American English and Brazilian Portugese

American English (DAW)                         and                Brazilian Portugese (Arquiero)

British English (Gollancz)                and                     Castilian Spanish (Plaza & Janes Editores)

Catalan Spanish (Rosa Dels Vents) and French (Bragelonne)

Catalan Spanish (Rosa Dels Vents)                  and                                       French (Bragelonne)



5 thoughts on “Reading The Slow Regard of Silent Things: Part I – The Cover

  1. Alas for the lack of new Speculative Summaries. I would say this novella seals it (for me at any rate) on Auri being either princess Auriel or some other nobility…. As I said on Westeros, Rothfuss describes Auri sitting in the dank dark underthing as Dumas describes Anne of Austria or Mdme de Chevreaux. …

    Lady, Dignified, Decorum, Proper, … emphasis on appearance hygiene and propriety….

  2. Nice first post, thistle.

  3. So many different things to mention…!

    First, the covers — I very much like all three images an, somehow, they all work well together. In my head, the mental image for the overall impression of this book essentially melds all three together. And it works.

    I don’t necessarily see Auri as a lost princess or nobility (although neither would necessarily discount that possibility). What seems abundantly clear, however, is that Auri was clearly a student at the University and likely a member of the Arcanum. Alchemy is obviously a forte of hers and she clearly studied under Mandrag. What’s more interesting is that something happened to her. A subtle hint of an assault in the reference to “a wrist pinned hard with the hot breath smell of want and wine”…? Her clear avoidance of Haven — has she been a resident? an inmate? The other key point is that she clearly sees “the way of things” — whether taught or spontaneous, it seems clear that Auri is a “Knower,” a namer. The “weight of her desire” has significance both in its use as the initial working title for the piece and in its balanced appearance at the start and the end of the story. It’s what she *does* with the weight of her desire that is most telling. She changes things (but not for herself, never that…). Nevertheless, Auri is a Shaper. Perhaps innocent and self-taught but a Shaper nonetheless.

    No wonder Elodin is interested in her! Is he protecting her form the world or the world from her…?

    [I guess I should cross-post this to the Tor speculative threads!]

  4. I think it’s interesting that all the covers highlight the outside world when this book is all about hidden and internal worlds. Great first post and I can’t wait to follow more of your analysis Thistlepong!

    P.S. Your tag line at the top reads “Like and endless…” is that intentional instead of “like an endless…”?

  5. Genial analisi, lo disfrute mucho! Great way to look things…

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