Patrick Rothfuss Reread

Rothfuss Reread: Speculative Summary 21: The Thing in the Lackless Box

My obsessively detailed reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles is over, but we want to keep on talking about the books. I’m going to post the occasional continuation post when the last one gets too long or if there’s something to say.

Spoilers for all of The Wise Man’s Fear and The Name of the Wind—these discussions assume you’ve read all of both books, and frankly they won’t make the slightest bit of sense if you haven’t. But we welcome new people who have read the books and want to geek out about them. This post is full of spoilers, please don’t venture beyond the cut unless you want them.

Abbreviations: NW = The Name of the Wind. WMF = The Wise Man’s Fear. D3 = Day Three, the forthcoming final volume. K = Kvothe or Kote when I can’t figure out what to call him and I’m feeling Kafkaesque. MT: Myr Tariniel. D = Denna, 4C = Four Corners, CTH—that thing I can’t spell! IID3Y = Is it Day Three Yet?

Useful links: The Sleeping Under the Wagon post. The reread index. The map. The timeline. Imaginary Linguistics.

In the previous post, Sleetm came up with something nobody had mentioned before, at least not that I’d noticed—and is therefore promoted to E’lir in the Department of Imaginary Sympathy:

Does anyone think that Kote was not just giving perspective on Chronicler, but himself with his story about The Chronicler?

“And more important, he knows Chronicler can’t control you if you have your name hidden away somewhere safe. The high king’s name is written in a book of glass, hidden in a box of copper. And that box is locked away in a great iron chest where nobody can touch it.”

Is that what he’s done with himself wrt to the mechanics of how he’s locked away his name? Also, it suggests that someone might be trying to control him through his name, which provides the impetus for him to hide it.

Now it seems possible that this may be what Kvote has in the thrice-locked chest. It might be what he has done with his name—I think we’re agreed at this point that he has done something with his name.

Sleetm thinks this might relate to the high king—and we haven’t heard the name of the current king, just that he is the Penitent King, so his name could be hidden somewhere. But I think the king and his daughter are red herrings, or possibly an allusion to something to do with Devan’s past. We don’t know half enough about Chronicler and his connection with Skarpi and his motivation.

But it seems more interesting to me to consider that the glass book might connect instead to what’s in the Lackless box.

My theory is that in D3 we will learn that Kvothe opened the Lackless box, being too clever for his own good, and thereby released something that really should have remained sealed away. We’ve persistently had foreshadowing of this kind of thing, and I’d be very surprised if we don’t see this or something like it.

We do not know what’s in the Lackless box. And it’s wood, roah wood, not copper or iron. But it could have a glass book inside. One of the few things we really know about the thing in the Lackless box is that it sounded like heavy glass. We’ve talked about it potentially being the glass shard Selitos used to put out his eye. But it could be a glass book with a name written in it and sealed away, a name that ought to remain unspoken, and which clever clever unwise Kvothe would let out. And if so, it would be just like Kvothe to drop a real detail like that into the story he’s making up about The Chronicler.

What do you think?

And IID3Y?

And feel free to continue to speculate about anything you want in comments as usual.


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published three poetry collections and nine novels, including the Hugo and Nebula winning Among Others. She has just published a collection of her Tor.com posts, What Makes This Book So Great. She has a new novel My Real Children coming out in May. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here irregularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

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