Is the Fool supposed to be a likable character?
By - Duffe
I think the Fool is likable, though he's definitely more likable in Farseer/Liveship/Tawny Man. He's at his worst in the Fitz and the Fool trilogy, but it's understandable to me, given what he's been through: dying and being resurrected, then experiencing years of torture, going blind, getting stabbed, his child kidnapped. He's in a very fraught emotional state. I think when he gets angry at Fitz for not believing him about Bee, it's not just about that, but more a boiling over of his frustrations over Fitz repeatedly not hearing him. Just in that trilogy alone, Fitz has:
- denied that Bee could be the Fool's child
- refused to let the Fool help with the search for Bee and tried to prevent him from coming along
- refused to help the Fool try to cure his blindness through skill (understandably given the effects on his own body) or through dragon's blood
- didn't want to let the Fool read Bee's dream diary
- didn't want to believe that Bee could be a White
- expresses his discomfort and dislike towards Amber, despite claiming that he accepts the Fool for who he is, which includes Amber
And so on. The Fool's past interpretations of his dreams have been accurate, by and large, and Fitz knows this. They've even saved Fitz's life on occasion. The Fool was trained for many years to interpret dreams, and has spent his life doing so, very successfully, so he's basically an expert in his field, which Fitz has zero experience in. Yet Fitz still doubts the Fool's interpretation of Bee's candle dream.
I actually think this makes sense for Fitz; he doesn't want to get his hopes up, it's not that he doesn't believe, but he wants confirmation, which he gets when he reaches Bee with skill. But for the Fool, it's just another instance where Fitz has dismissed him. Those kind of slights build up in a relationship, and people often hold their tongues until they can't anymore, even though that's usually not the best way of dealing with it. While it may seem that the Fool is overreacting in this particular situation, I think it's more like the straw that broke the camel's back.
I feel that Fitz is valid on all points. Except maybe accepting that bee is a White. The fool have no claim to Bee at all. The fool was never her father and to try to wedge himself in as some sort of parent that has an emotional bond the the child is super hurtful. Especially right after the child is kidnapped and pretty close after the mother died.
And I still don’t really believe in the fools predictions. Am I missing something? Which dreams have been accurate? The Fool claims his predictions are true but always after the fact. Except “fitz fixes feists fits” and that he would die on Aslevjal.
I understand Fitz's reaction to the Fool's claim to Bee as well. I agree that his feelings are valid, but the Fool is one of Bee's parents genetically. I'm just laying out the points as I think the Fool would see them.
Other predictions that were true:
- Identifies Fitz as the catalyst
- Prevents Shrewd from killing Fitz as a child after they learn of his existence
- Warns Fitz that he shouldn't continue lessons with Galen, before Galen tries to kill him
- Gives Fitz antidote to poison before he goes to the mountains, where he is then poisoned by Kettricken and lives because he has the antidote
- Warns Fitz that his actions will result in Shrewd's death
- Repeatedly dreams of Fitz (who he believes to be dead) saying, "I'm coming," when Fitz is trying to get to the mountains for Verity
- Dreams that "the one who loves Fitz most" will betray him, before Regal's coterie uses the Fool to learn of Molly and Nettle's whereabouts
- Knows that the liveships have something to do with dragons before that becomes clear
- Knows that killing Icefyre is the wrong move
This is all I can think of off the top of my head.
Oh yeah thanks!
I don’t really believe that a genetic claim is valid when you’ve been absent for the kids whole life (even though it’s not the Fools fault).
The point about the poison is a good one!
I agree with you that he probably have dreams but I would still argue their usefulness as a source of information.
I feel like commenting your points so I’m gonna.
**Identifies Fitz as the catalyst**
Ye but but is that a prediction or just someone a White chooses?
**Prevents Shrewd from killing Fitz as a child after they learn of his existence**
Just basic humanity that turned out worked in the Fools favor later in life
**Warns Fitz that he shouldn’t continue lessons with Galen**
Common sense when Fitz was grossly mistreated
**Gives Fitz antidote to poison before he goes to the mountains, where he is then poisoned by Kettricken and lives because he has the antidote**
Solid prediction. Hands down
**Warns Fitz that his actions will result in Shrewd’s death**
Also a solid prediction
**Repeatedly dreams of Fitz (who he believes to be dead) saying, “I’m coming,” when Fitz is trying to get to the mountains for Verity**
He also dreams of Fitzs death multiple times so I don’t think this one counts
**Dreams that “the one who loves Fitz most” will betray him, before Regal’s coterie uses the Fool to learn of Molly and Nettle’s whereabouts**
Also a good one I think
**Knows that the liveships have something to do with dragons before that becomes clear**
Ye that could just aswell have been his skillfingers
**Knows that killing Icefyre is the wrong move**
I wouldn’t have brought back an arrogant apex predator but each to his own I guess.
I see you point though!
Additional point about the Galen prediction - The fool also predicted that Smithy would be what saves Fitz. He doesn't quite say as much, but says something like he is the fire that will forge his heart or soemthing and so give him the name Smithy. He then takes care of the dog secretly so that when Fitz tries to commit suicide he is able to protect him. I don't know if The Fool knew exactly what was happening, but he knew what he had to do.
> I feel that Fitz is valid on all points.
It's important to note that multiple people (and reasonings) can all be valid at the same time. Fitz' thoughts make sense, and they're certainly valid - but so are the Fool's reasons.
Since we tend to mostly see it from Fitz' perspective, it's also natural that we would normally align with him more.
I don’t agree. I often take the other persons side when Fitz has disagreements except when it’s with the Fool. The Fools opinion about a topic doesn’t make his argument valid.
I'm only up to *Fool's Errand,* and I'm gonna jump,right out of this thread soon 'cause I wanna forget these few spoilers quickly. But I just wanna add that much of the Fitz/Fool dialog in these first four books has been characterized by Fitz *deliberately* avoiding things the Fool says that make him uncomfortable. He just flat out ignores whatever he doesn't want to hear. Their relationship is very uneven--I'm not surprised it eventually comes to a head.
I’d say that the books are largely written from Fitz’s perspective, and in those books in particular are where Fitz is grappling with his dislike of Amber and the other aspects of the Fool.
And I’d say that from the Fool’s perspective, yes, Fitz should believe him. As far as I’m aware OP has no proven ability to prophecies cthe Fool has accurately predicted and pushed Fitz down so many futures that have saved both their lives and the lives of the rest of the realm. The Fool feels like he has earned that trust.
I can only think of two prophesies that have come true. The “fitz fixes feists fits” and that he would die on Aslevjal, but I could be wrong. I just believe the Fool has an idea of what he wants and manipulates people to try to make his “future” comes true. I can predict that I will eat pasta tonight and manipulate the future so that that happens.
He also gave Fitz the herbs that saved him from the carryme Kettricken gave him,saving his life when they went to the mountains in the first trilogy.
It wasn't a prophecy in the sense that Fool made a big announcement about it. He just inexplicably gave Fitz a really weird gift of herbs that would purge poison before Fitz had any idea he'd be poisoned.
There are many other prophecies the fool makes, that are a lot less probable than 50/50 or what you might have for dinner. He knew about Ice Fire, he knew about Wintrow, he knew about Bee, he knew about the elderling crown. I'm sure there's a lot more, those are just off the top of my head.
Are you saying you doubt just the Fool can see the future, or are Bee, Prilkop, the Pale Woman and the other Whites in Clerres guessing the future as well?
Well it’s mainly the Fool. They say that it’s always after something has happened that they can interpret the dream so why does the Fool think that Fitz should believe him? I’m my opinion he has no ground to claim that Fitz should believe him about his dreams.
Another big one was that he knew that Smithy would be a forge for his heart or whatever phrasing he uses. And so then The Fool took care of the dog because he knew somehow that that dog would keep him from committing suicide.
I like that the fool doesn't make huge "you are the one to wake the dragons and save the six duchies" type proclamations. Because that is not what the white prophet is supposed to be about in these stories. It is about all the small junctures in a life and choosing the right one often enough that you are in a better place that before.
That’s like his whole job. He’s supposed to guide things to fit what he’s seen of the future.
They are both characters with cptsd. People are undeastimating what that does to you.
I actually thing Hobb captures the trauma and the following issues well but somehow I just almost think the Fool is a fraud that has memorized a collection of prophesies in Clerres.
I think he often thinks of himself as a fraud...the Celres people seems to be very good at gaslighting and during this years of torture they had definitely roasted his brain
Wasn’t he a sneaky fraudster as Lord Golden, and as Amber aswell though?
I don't remember him being a fraud as Amber. He was as Lord Golden, but it was part of the role. He was supposed to be kind of a degenerate, so that he could eventually disappear and people would just assume that he went to debtor's prison or died or something.
Why is everyone misgendering them, even when referring to them as Amber?!
In the books, the Fool is always referred to using the masculine pronoun, so I go by that. I used "him" in the first sentence because I'm using it as a stand-in for the words, "the Fool." When I use a pronoun in place of the name, "Amber," I refer to her as she/her. Maybe it would have been better phrasing to say, "I don't remember Amber being a fraud."
Amber was pretty much genuine with everyone. I remember they basically say that she got a stall around the rain wilds wares because ever her wares seemed like they brought out the truth of the wood. Or something like that.
They, not he. It's not really that hard to not misgender a clearly nonbinary character.
I'm also nonbinary and i give a fuck about pronouns
Pronouns are a personal choice. The Fool doesn't state a preference, but the person closest in the world to him refers to The Fool as "he." Hard to call that wrong.
“I speak as plainly as I can, but your ears will not believe what they hear.”
The Fool, Fool’s Errand
I don't think Hobb writes characters to be likeable or unlikable. I do think she likes to take specifically villainous characters and force you to empathize with them (such as with Kennit or even Dwalia) but the Fitz books are a little different because they're written from his perspective, and he's got a lot of veils between his perceptions and reality.
I think the Fool is just meant to be the Fool and whether he is likeable or not is up to the reader.
To say that prophecies aren't real you would have to ignore every other prophet in the story and one of them is our point of view character in the later books so it seems that "prophecies are real" is baked into the worldbuilding of the story.
As for how useful the Fool's prophecies are in particular, I think you can read it as if are not that useful if you really want to but I don't think that was the intention of any of the books or the author.
As for the Fool as a character, personally I love him but I agree that he becomes less likeable in the last trilogy.
I agree they're not likeable, but I think you're reacting a bit extremely. The fool is absolutely egotistical, but they definitely have a track record of shaping the world through effective predictions, which Fitz has been a part of.
Maybe. The only prediction I can think of that actually was right is the first one (fitz fixes feists fits). And maybe that the Fool would die on Aslevjal. The predictions are never to any use to anyone so I don’t get why the fool thinks what he says is important.
I don't know if they are supposed to be likable or not, but I largely agree with you that theay're quite insuferable in the last trilogy, and not that sympathetic before that. Some of it is excusable for what they've gone throught in Cleres but a lot of the shitty things they did are not. Like when Amber lean heavilly on the assumption that her and Fitz are together eventhaught she knows the fellings of Fitz for Molly (and the fact that Molly died not long before) or all the time they claim Bee as their daughter when they never played a role in her upbriging. I think I'm in the minority but I was happy and relieved when the Fool got thoroughly rejected by Bee on the journey home.
And like almost everyone else in the books, the Fool use and abuse Fitz countless times, to the point of enjoying humiliating him sometimes (not to say Fitz is not a dickhead to them a lot of the time and deserve beeing put in his place) ; at least the Fool, contrary to Chade or Burrich, is aware and remorseful of it. I still like the character a lot, but I think a lot of reader give them a pass on all the shitty things they did.
It’s a character that stirs up emotions atleast
And that's why it's great character writing
Honestly the Fitz and the Fool relationship gets pretty annoying at times. They both refuse to talk to each other and make assumptions about what the other would do. The start of Tawny Man is about the only time they just openly talk to each other, and all the rest of the times they’re cagey and it just causes problems.
I agree he’s not really my favorite and seems like he doesn’t use the best approach to get what he wants most of the time. He doesn’t tell Fitz much because he doesn’t want to influence him, but also gets mad when Fitz doesn’t follow his influence. It’s a bit contradictory.
Ye they do not have a healthy relationship.
I almost tend to believe that he isn’t the White Prophet and is intentionally vague so that he can’t be found out for a fraud. But maybe I just dislike him so much that I overreact.
Yeah I think that’s an overreaction. He clearly has some prophetic dreams and has enough of the unique White traits going on that he seems legit. That still doesn’t mean that Fitz needs to completely trust everything he tells him though since the dreams aren’t definite things and can have vague interpretations. No one knew who the Destroyer was until the very end for example.
Is it his dreams though? I think he has just memorized some prophesies from Clerres. I have written an answer like this a couple of times in this thread but the only ones I can think of is “fitz fixes feists fits” and that he would die on Aslevjal.
One nursery rhyme and an educated guess doth not a prophet make.
The first being keeping fitz alive by telling Shrewd to 'never do what you cant undo until you know what you cant do once you've done it'
He saw Chivalry die before taking the thrown in every possible future
"Fitz fixes Feists fits"
keeping Fitz alive in the mountain kingdom with the antidote
He Knew Molly was pregnant (that there was another heir before anyone else)
He knew Galen would try to kill Fitz, and only saw a few possible futures where Fitz survived his attempts
There are a lot more, but that's just the ones from the first few books. Remember with his dreams he sees a number of possible futures, and only the futures he sees with Fitz in them does the world get better (or rather, do dragons return). I would say that the higher purpose of the fool is the driver of his character, rather than being likable, which cuts him down a bit, as it seems like he is egotistical but its because he is driven by magic. he is more like a sailor riding currents, that someone who is controlling the timeline, he sees what could happen, rather than what will, and pushes for the future he thinks is best, rather than being able to make it happen.
He also specifically causes the circumstances that keeps Fitz alive through galens training though taking care of smithy
Idk about "supposed to." But I LOVE THEM.
Each to their own but, how? I find so few redeeming qualities in him. What do you like about them? I kinda just think that Fitz loves him because he has to (Catalyst/Prophet) but as a reader?
I've only read the first three books, but the Fool was my favorite character there. He's actually who and what I miss most about having finished that trilogy, and what I most look forward to reading about when I get back to Fitz and Fool storyline. I suppose maybe I won't always like him so much, though.
I like the fool, but they become less relatable to me in the last series. Some of the prophecies and magic become foggier too. Part that is i think this is the transitional period between the two.
The sublties of Robin Hobb:
The Fool becoming angry at Fitz: it is a distraction.
Fitz caught Amber staring at the horizon. Amber who is sepose to be blind to the level of seeing only shapes, shadow and light. The Fool fears his secret is out of the bag. And Amber only has a few moments to district Fitz and responds to the news of Bee being alive by starting an argument about believing the Fool.
So Fitz, trained assassin to notice everyting, is completly blinded to the fact that Amber was staring at the horizon, with seeing eyes.
Yea, maybe its the constant dishonesty from the Fool that gets on my nerves. Everything he does he does for himself and to further his view of what the future should look like and then he has the audacity to claim he loves Fitz and Bee? It’s like an abusive partner that acts lovingly between the beatings.
The Fool is supposed to be mercurial and enigmatic and from anyone's outside perspective of a person like that, they are often aggravating af. So don't feel bad if you don't like or don't have patience for the Fool; that's kinda human nature and most of us would probably feel the same if we knew the Fool in real life and not from insider's perspective if the reader.
Happy to see that I'm not completely alone disliking him.
The biggest problem to me is that clearly Hobb did not know that she would give him so much importance when she was writing Farseer. As a result, I always felt his relation with Fitz embarassingly forced. When Fitz almost fainted of happiness when he saw him in Fool's Errand, I thought - and I still do - that it came straight out of nowhere. And I never stopped thinking that Fitz's hyperbolic attachment to the Fool as never been properly justified by Hobb. He seemed to be a very secondary character with whom Fitz had little interactions until Assassin's Quest, and all of a sudden he becomes the alpha and the omega of Fitz's thoughts in Tawny Man, and Fitz is always wiling to sacrifice everything for him for seemingly no good reason. Compared to Fitz's relation with Molly, Chade, Verity or Nighteyes, his friendship with the Fool always seemed unnatural and forced to me. Especially since like you I find the Fool to be an unlikeable, spoiled and petulant child who always expects Fitz to lick his feet without giving him anything in return.
But that's just my opinion, and I know that most people on this sub adore him.
Threw me off to for a long time, trust me the fool will grow on you
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