Thursday, June 26, 2008
Japanese Covers

So just a couple days ago, guess what came out?

(Click to Embiggen)

That's right - It's the Japanese version of the book.

I really like this interpretation of Kvothe. He's young. He's got some attitude going on. His hair is more manga than I typically picture it, but it's totally appropriate for the Japanese market. Plus, Kvothe himself says, "When left to its own devices it tends to make me look as if I've been set afire." So there you go.

This translation of the book was different in a lot of ways. For one thing, bringing the book into Japanese is much more difficult than, say, Dutch, or German. Not that every language doesn't pose its own problems. But there's just a lot of different cultural things going on, and the languages aren't really similar at all.

I'm guessing it's partly because of this that instead of one, I had a team of three Japanese translators working on the book. They were really great. They asked a lot of good questions, and included me in the decision making process. I like it when the translators ask questions or press me for clarification.

You see, when I wrote the book, I made a point not to over-describe everything. I also tried to make the book very full... of stuff.

Yeah. That's great. My book is full of stuff. They should put that on the cover: "The Name of the Wind - It's full of stuff."

What I mean is that I didn't want to club the reader over the head with everything. My strategy was to make sure that every page had enough cool things in it than if you missed half of them, you'd still have a good time. That means there's stuff for you to enjoy the second time around. That means you can like the book in a different way than your friend. And it means if you're a careful reader, you'll get more out of the book.

So I'm fine if the average reader doesn't get everything I put into the book. I expect that. I planned on it.

But if a translator doesn't notice something that I've put into the book very subtly, that's different. If they don't catch it, it can't be brought into the new version. And that's a problem, obviously. But these translators were really on the ball, and I'm guessing that not a lot slipped through the cracks with them.

There's another big difference in the Japanese edition. Apparently big, thick books aren't really the norm over there. So they broke this first book into three separate volumes. That means three separate covers for the first book....

Nice hands. Can you tell what scene this is?

And number three. Check out the dracus in the background. I would not want to fuck around with that thing.

I've been reading the comments and suggestions for future contests, and my gears are slowly turning. But more on that later. For now, I'm off to write.


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posted by Pat at


Anonymous Kip likes muffins said...

Looks cool except for Kvothe having the flesh tone of a zombie, and the draccus' underbite. but when it comes to that kind of stuff I'm nit-picker, it would annoy me every time I saw the book cover.

I bring funny christmas presents for all: International Association of Time Travlers

June 26, 2008 6:09 AM  
Blogger jeffk said...

That's so badass, Pat - do you ever get tired of geeking out over all the cool stuff that's happening? Enjoy it. (And I'm glad to see the Joss shirt getting some international mileage!)

June 26, 2008 6:51 AM  
Anonymous Thomas said...

Wow, that's pretty sweet! But expensive! Each volume is 1900 yen (about $19). I'll keep an eye out for them at the bookstore, and I'll drop a comment if I catch any of my students reading one.

June 26, 2008 6:54 AM  
Blogger marky said...

I love the covers. The wild haired Kvothe is truly quality. Let’s hope they love it so much in Japan, they approach you to bring out a RPG of the books. That would be quality. I'm stuck between Final Fantasy style and Oblivion.

How many countries is the book available in now?

June 26, 2008 6:57 AM  
OpenID suziko said...

Thumbs up on the first pic of Kvothe! His face is so much sweeter than the American hard-cover version of Kvothe. I kind of agree that in the third pic his flesh-tone looks a bit zombie-like.

You're right on about the book being chock-full of info. I'm just about to finish my second read through, and I feel like I got a lot more out of it this time, noticed things and connections that I hadn't the first time. Can't wait for the next book!

June 26, 2008 7:15 AM  
Blogger Bin Bin said...

I think that is the coolest thing ever. How cool is it to think that you've got an entire team of translators working on your book? With the book in three parts, does that mean they'll count the separations as individual sales or will they wait till one of each of the three is bought and count it as one book?

Congrats Pat!

June 26, 2008 7:24 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

I would not have thought I'd really like a manga'd Kvothe, but in fact I do. That is some fun artwork.

June 26, 2008 8:21 AM  
Anonymous Kalligenia said...

I've always loved the fine detail and drama of Japanese art. The first one has more of a boyishness to his face which I think suits the book wonderfully. I like the tattered shirt look, too, as opposed to the open blowing in the wind romance type one.

June 26, 2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger Jim C. Hines said...

Sweet. I really like the style on those.

June 26, 2008 9:06 AM  
Blogger Aaron said...

I have to say that is fairly badass. One step closer to world domination.

June 26, 2008 9:08 AM  
Blogger Loth Quendi said...

This is the most amazing thing I've ever seen. I'm so into Name of the Wind and so into Japanese that seeing them together almost gave me an aneurism. Thank you for posting about it; I'll be in Japan in September and this is the first thing I'm going to buy.

June 26, 2008 9:16 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

From what I can tell, he looks like the Japanese version of a badass.

It's great that the translators were on the ball, Pat - the real strength of your writing is how fresh you make even the most hoary old concepts. I'd hate for that to be lost in translated versions that just try and get the plot but lose all the flavour.

June 26, 2008 9:17 AM  
OpenID roseneko said...

Damn. Now I really wish I could read Japanese - in part because I really dig the artwork, but also because I think language is neat and I'd love to see how they translated everything. But hey - mass props on the new publication, and here's hoping it sells by the forklift-load. =)

June 26, 2008 9:40 AM  
Blogger Mary J. said...

Those are so cool- especially the first one. I love the eyes. I wonder if (after Pat takes over the world) we will be able to buy prints of the different covers. Proper shrines in every fanboy's home!

marky- you made my breath catch when you mentioned RPG. I think my head would explode from happiness if it was done well.

June 26, 2008 9:41 AM  
Blogger Captain Joe said...

Hmm... is the second cover Kvothe (calm, cool, and collected) leaping through flames to rescue a certain cloak-buying and one-time scantily clad damsel? That looks like fire to me.

Either way, awesome covers. I wonder how the book would read in Japanese. Judging the book by its cover here, I reckon pretty damn awesome.

I'm with Matt here - pretty damn badass.

June 26, 2008 10:01 AM  
Blogger **A*V*A** said...

Awww, no fair! I'd already done my own manga-style fanart of Kvothe, and now they've gone and made an official version that's way cooler than mine. ^_^

I'll have to look for these next time I'm in a Kinokuniya or Sasuga. (I do read Japanese, but probably not well enough to get through the whole novel...)

June 26, 2008 10:22 AM  
Blogger **A*V*A** said...

Addendum: The blurb on the back cover is interesting! I like the transliteration of Kvothe to "Kuotto." :)

June 26, 2008 10:29 AM  
Anonymous Danna said...

I think I'm in love.

June 26, 2008 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Josie said...

I'm glad they put the draccus on the cover. The fact that it looks so heavy and clumsy just adds to the hilarity factor when I try to imagine it cavorting around when it's under the influence.

June 26, 2008 11:14 AM  
Blogger Molly said...

So is there somewhere we can purchase this fantastically awesome set? ;) (I am learning Japanese and it would be o-so-fun to do with Kvothe!)

June 26, 2008 12:14 PM  
Blogger Leslie said...

Wheeeeee. I'm rendered commentless by the sheer awesome. I can't wait to get copies.

June 26, 2008 12:17 PM  
Blogger King Sheep said...

Damn cool. Seeing the European versions of the covers seemed more gothic or traditional, but the Manga style really works. Kudos to the translators, artists and the almighty Rothfuss.

June 26, 2008 12:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The fronts look great. The back looks like they gave up and just said "just make it black".

Cool illustrations, though. Particularly the first one.

June 26, 2008 1:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Man, that is really great! Congratulations! It's neat to think that folks in Japan will read it, too!

June 26, 2008 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Kip, the knowlegable said...

*grins really big at marky*

I know something you don't know!

June 26, 2008 2:54 PM  
Blogger logankstewart said...

pretty cool....pretty cool. goku looks like a coward in comparison, methinks.

June 26, 2008 4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kvothe looks totally hawt in the first cover...if I was an anime character I would totally be all over him :P

June 26, 2008 4:39 PM  
Blogger Fe2O3 said...

Glad to hear you had three translators working as a team and coordinating with you. A lot of people wouldn't have taken the time to do such a thing. I speak Cantonese: one of the more complex, hence rapidly fading, Chinese dialects. I know that English and Chinese aren't easy to reconcile in translation. I imagine Japanese to be similar from what little I know.

The cover art is great. Although the picture of the Draccus was inspired more from the legends rather than from "The Mating Habits of the Common Draccus" (The teeth man, they're too sharp!) Still I agree I would not (literally, nor figuratively) fuck with that!

June 26, 2008 5:01 PM  
Blogger Amanda said...

Love it.

And you come up with new blurbs for your book kind of a lot. Have you ever noticed that?

June 26, 2008 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Phil said...

Wow. That is all you can say. I think that these covers show him in his prime as young Kvothe, However the American hardcover (my personal fave) captures him as i picture him when he is telling the story or rescuing The Chronicler in the first part. Mind-blowing perfection.

June 26, 2008 7:03 PM  
Blogger Sean T. M. Stiennon said...

Heh, cool--those covers literally have the volumes marked as "top, middle, and bottom"

June 26, 2008 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Heather Raffaele said...

I like the covers and all, but in that second one his eyes look dead instead of concentrating. I guess I just don't get art sometimes.

Japanese though... thats so cool.

June 26, 2008 10:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish I could read Japanese so I can compare the translation.


June 27, 2008 2:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow, those pictures are amazing and the are so detailed! Pat, do you have a fav cover?

June 27, 2008 4:05 AM  
Blogger marky said...

Kip! What! I insist you tell me right now! tell me! TELL ME!!

June 27, 2008 4:53 AM  
Anonymous Kip, I rule the d20 said...

Pat's a PNP gamer like me. I was telling him that I was going to try to make a class for D&D for sympathy (because honestly in all other forms of magic it had been a sideline, Pat put it on the map as a legitimate magic) but I was having problems, plus his system is not fully fleshed out in the book which makes if harder on me (by the way Pat I probably could make one for a D10 system or 40K's d100 system). Pat was saying that he wants to eventually make a campaign setting in his world for "Sword and Sorcery" RPG, which he mainly plays. He told me I should learn to play it.

Pat: It's on my list to learn, but I have just finished learning Dark Heresy (40K), I want to learn Fireborn, Scion, SLA Industries, GURPS, Sword and Sorcery, Lace and Steel, and lastly D&D 4.0.

June 27, 2008 5:48 AM  
Blogger marky said...

AAHH. I understand. It sounds like loads of fun. Unfortunately, I've never played any role-play or D&D. I always wanted to give it a shot but I never found anybody to play with me. :-(
I used to have a toy bottle when I was a kid though. I loved that bottle. Some days it was a battleship, some days a ray gun. Happy times. Unfortunately it was smashed by my drunken uncle in the summer of 85 rendering me toyless until winter 92.

June 27, 2008 7:20 AM  
Anonymous! said...

That sucks! find a group, or force some people to play with you (in a completely non perverted sense).

June 27, 2008 8:41 AM  
Blogger Brandy said...

Wow. I wish I had anime hair. No really, Disney and anime have given completely unrealistic hair expectations.

Also, the dracus looks like the bastard child of a T-Rex and the world's biggest iguana.

June 27, 2008 10:22 PM  
Blogger Llyralei said...


;___; so expensive. Maybe someday.

I have such a weakness for Japanese things. xD;; I love it. I'm so happy things seem to be working out so splendidly for you, Pat. :D

June 28, 2008 10:35 AM  
Blogger Alexis said...

Those are really awesome! Definitely my favorite versions of the cover so far! Thanks for sharing and congrats!

June 28, 2008 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Maarten said...

Those covers are a clash between two things I really like. Name of the Wind and Anime. Any idea if these come in poster format?

July 2, 2008 12:31 PM  
Blogger Elizabeth McCullough said...

MAn ! I was just there!! LOoking for your book! grrr. Maybe ill get my brother to pick me up a copy. That would rock.

July 2, 2008 3:02 PM  
Blogger Bek said...

At first glance, Kvothe was pretty. But taking in the serious lines in his face and that shock of red hair, I've decided he's downright beautiful. =)

July 6, 2008 9:36 AM  
Blogger Corbenik said...

I have just one thing to say: Nan da yo! (What the hell!)

They seriously pimped Kvothe ;D

July 7, 2008 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow this is awesome yet slightly hilarious cause it basically looks like an anime version of kvothe whcih kinda sota shouldn't exist it's a bit weird for existance. XDDD still awesome. love your books, thanks to josh the barnes and noble guy who mysteriously dissapeared

July 8, 2008 1:14 PM  
Anonymous Aera said...

I think the reason why it's published in three books, is that japanese texts take up a lot more space. Usually for Fantasy-novels they also use a larger and easier to read font. So the whole book would end up having 1300-something pages. Which might cause some difficulties with the binding.

Sorry for being a terrible know-it-all. It's just... 7 years of studying Japanese at unversity have to be good for something somtimes :.-D

Anyway I've only read the first 150pages of your book yet, but I already like it very much. And it kinda made me happy to see the japanese covers, because there's not so much 'official' art out there that shows Kvothes face clearly.
I really hope I'll find the time to draw something little myself someday >_<

But I was just stopping by. And now I'll go on reading <3

January 29, 2010 4:35 PM  

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