Thu
Apr 28 2011 1:02pm
Rothfuss Reread: The Name of the Wind, Part 2: You Went Looking For a Myth and Found a Man

Patrick Rothfuss reread by Jo WaltonThis is the second post in my intensive close re-reading of The Name of the Wind. It covers chapters 6-10 of the book. And it is full of spoilers, not only for The Name of the Wind but for The Wise Man’s Fear, too. Do not go beyond this point unless you have read both books or are for some unimaginable reason obsessed with the details of them without having read them.

Abbreviations

NW = The Name of the Wind. WMF = The Wise Man’s Fear. DT = 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.

 

Chapter Six is called “The Price of Remembering.” Chronicler wakes up in the early evening and comes down to the bar. K doesn’t try very hard to deny who he is. Chronicler says, “You can call me Chronicler” and when pushed says he’s Devan Lochees, and K asks if he’s related to the Duke...do we know about a Lochees Duke? Is this a branch of the Lackless family? Is he related to Kvothe? And does Kvothe know?

What K does know is that Lochees wrote The Mating Habits of the Common Draccus. Lochees states that he went looking for a legend and found a lizard. K turns that back on him a little later and says he went looking for a myth and found a man. The first time I read The Name of the Wind, this part is where I started to really, really like it. For one thing the title of the book is perfect—while of course setting up for the draccus episode later. And then those balancing lines are beautiful. And then there’s disproving the existence of dragons, on page 46 of a fantasy novel. You have to love that.

K asks if he has come to disprove Kvothe’s existence, as he did for dragons. Chronicler says that he and Skarpi heard a rumour. We know nothing about Skarpi at this point, and not much by now. Skarpi is the old man who tells the story of Lanre in Tarbean, and that’s the one and only time he has appeared in the story up to the end of WMF. But Chronicler talks about him as if he’s Kvothe’s friend, so I think we can confidently expect to see more of Skarpi in DT.

When Kote offers Chronicler the comforts of the inn, this is the first time (or the first time I’ve noticed) that dialogue becomes verse. “Old wine, smooth and pale? Honey mead? Dark ale? Sweet fruit liquor! Plum? Cherry? Green apple? Blackberry?” As well as being a rhyme, this also clearly reflects the choosing game “Elderberry” Bast plays at the beginning and end of WMF, though there the line breaks are put in.

K says he is not what he was, and when asked what he was says “Kvothe.” This is clearly evidence in favour of the name-change theory.

Then Chronicler tries to get him to agree to tell his story. K holds out through myth, and being known as a kingkiller, and even new Chandrian, but when Chronicler says “Some say there was a woman,” he makes a bottle of strawberry wine eight inches away explode. This has to be magic—but what kind? If sympathy, what source? It’s not a name, he doesn’t speak. And strawberry wine is of course connected with Denna—it’s what he doesn’t buy from the tinker near Trebon, and does take back when she isn’t there. And I think they drink it on a picnic in Imre, too. (I’m damned if I’m buying a Kindle just to have a searchable copy!)

When the bottle explodes, Chronicler has a thought that I think is meta-significant. “This is the difference between telling a story and being in one, the fear.” This is a book in which stories are told and also things happen and the difference between those things is part of the tension that draws the whole thing forward.

Then Chronicler thinks of a story he’s heard about Kvothe, which is a story we do not yet know, and which is therefore likely to be in DT. Kvothe went looking for his heart’s desire. (Denna? Or...?) He had to trick a demon to get it, and he had to fight an angel to keep it. This is the face of a man who has killed an angel, Chronicler thinks. Okay, isn’t that interesting in the light of all the stories about Tehlu and angels and demons and Amir that we have heard and not put together. Skarpi’s second story has Selitos recruiting the Amir from angels including Tehlu (“there never were any human Amir”, Fellurian said) and the midwinter story has Tehlu killing demons, and binding Encanis, and I am looking forward to hearing Kvothe’s version of this one.

Then K says “You’d use my own best trick against me. You’d hold my story hostage.” This “best trick” we’ve seen him use. It’s how he gets away from Fellurian. Is that the only time he’s used it?

Then for the rest of the chapter there’s a lot of haggling about the three days it will take to tell.

 

Chapter Seven is “Of beginnings and the names of things.”

Beautiful bit of description of sunlight and morning and the sword making the light stop seeming like a beginning and reminding them of endings. Interesting sword, Folly.

Then K asks how people usually tell stories, which segues into K figuring out Chronicler’s shorthand system in fifteen minutes. This is one of the few things we actually see K doing (as opposed to hearing about) that demonstrates his cleverness. It leads to Chronicler asking if he really learned Tema in a day, and we now know we’re not getting that story in detail but it was when he was on trial for malfeasance for speaking the name of the wind against Ambrose.

Then he begins his story. There are three false beginnings, all of which I want to look at.

It began when I heard her singing.

This is Denna in the Eolian, of course. But it isn’t when he met Denna, which was on the caravan from Tarbean to Imre, which is when he picked her up like the stone in her stone story I think. For him, it began with the song, but for her, before that. So Denna in any case is one place he could begin.

Then he stops after a couple of lines and starts again.

No, it began at the University. I went to learn magic of the sort they talk about in stories.

So the University is another, the University and why he went there and what he learned there.

But again he breaks off and starts with the Chandrian:

I expect the true beginning is what led me to University. Unexpected fires at twilight.

So we have three possible places to start the story of Kvothe, Denna, the University, and the Chandrian destroying his family. Okay.

Then he gets diverted:

In the beginning, as far as I know, the world was spun out of the nameless void by Aleph, who gave everything a name. Or, depending on the version you prefer, found the names all things already possessed.

I find that a surprisingly interesting creation story for this universe. For one thing, it’s obsessed with naming and finding names. For another, it’s never mentioned again, and there’s a church and priests who are into that whole Tehlu and demons thing. And thirdly, because there’s controversy already about whether Aleph named or found the names.

And you know, I can see going on from there to “Then there was the Creation War, and Iax stole the moon, and then Lanre, and the Chandrian, and...” And actually I know that wouldn’t make anything like such a good story if we had it all laid out like that, but it’s how most people would tell it. Just saying.

Then Kvothe begins properly, with a digression about his own names. And this is all online, so I’m going to copy-paste the whole thing and add comments:

My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “quothe.” Names are important as they tell you a great deal about a person.

Is that why names are important? Really? Or is he being disingenuous? And if he can state outright that his name is Kvothe, is that evidence against him having changed it, and possibly for Smileyman’s interesting theory at comment 16  last week that K is doing this “is he, isn’t he” stuff with Alar and separating his mind into different parts.

I’ve had more names than anyone has a right to. The Adem call me Maedre. Which, depending on how it’s spoken, can mean The Flame, The Thunder, or The Broken Tree.

“The Flame” is obvious if you’ve ever seen me. I have red hair, bright. If I had been born a couple of hundred years ago I would probably have been burned as a demon. I keep it short but it’s unruly. When left to its own devices, it sticks up and makes me look as if I have been set afire.

“The Thunder” I attribute to a strong baritone and a great deal of stage training at an early age.

I’ve never thought of “The Broken Tree” as very significant. Although in retrospect, I suppose it could be considered at least partially prophetic.

Okay, how could it be prophetic? Could he have broken that Ctheah? (I find that incredibly difficult to spell.) Or could it be that it has broken him? Or...other theories on this?

Also, the first time reader has no idea who the Adem are or why they’re important, and by the end of NW all we know is that they’re red-cloth mercenaries. But knowing what we know of them now, we know that firstly Kvothe was given that name and told not to divulge it—they at least act as if it’s a True Name and full of power, so he shouldn’t be spreading it about. He doesn’t know what it means and they’re reluctant even to tell him. And also, we know they didn’t give it to him because of his hair or his voice or whatever, the shaman came up with Maedre and the others protested, Vashen was upset and thought it ill omened. It’s not a happy name.

My first mentor called me E’lir because I was clever and I knew it.

Well, that’s Ben, we know about that. And Puppet addresses him the same way, even though he’s been promoted by then. And it means see-er, doesn’t it?

My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it.

Is that Felurian? I don’t remember it. But it sounds like something she would do.

I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String.

Do we know anything about any of those? Six-String would be a reference to when he won his pipes?

I have been called Kvothe the Bloodless,

Because of taking the nahlrout so he wouldn’t bleed when he was whipped.

Kvothe the Arcane,

As far as I know, only by Chronicler just now.

and Kvothe Kingkiller.

We have two theories on king-killing. One is Piapiapiano’s great theory that it’s Vashet’s poet-king, in the Small Kingdoms. This fits with “kaysera poet-killer.” But how would it plunge the whole world into war—if it has. It could be the moon. There’s a Penitent King now. But I still think it’s Ambrose, and Mochabean at 28 last time points out that Ambrose is a poet, too. He’s a terrible poet, but we frequently see him writing poetry. So.

I have earned those names. Bought and paid for them.

Fair enough.

But I was brought up as Kvothe. My father once told me it meant “to know.”

I have, of course, been called many other things. Most of them uncouth, although very few were unearned.

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings.

Really? When? Interesting. Something to look forward to in DT?

I burned down the town of Trebon.

Yes, well, it was the draccus really. You were trying to stop it.

I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life.

More than the night, months. Maybe a year.

I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in.

Okay, well caught BAM on this one in comment 6 last time. Kvothe has already been expelled, he was just let back in again straight afterwards.

I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day.

That reads differently when you know more about the moon, doesn’t it!

I have talked to Gods,

Talked to Gods, huh?

loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

And so modest, too... You know, on the author’s web page where I cut this text it says “so begins the tale of Kvothe.” But it would be a really different book if the book began here, if this was the beginning of chapter 1 instead of the end of chapter 7. I mean I love Kvothe’s voice and unreliable narration, but it works so much better in the frame.

Also, does anybody who is really telling a story waffle around like this? I can’t think of a time when I was writing when I have made these kinds of false beginnings, and I don’t when I’m telling anecdotes either. But I know I’m weird. How about other people—does this feel realistic? Also, Kvothe is hardly going to draw breath for the next six hundred pages, he doesn’t hesitate once he’s into it except for the occasional “Not eaten by eels at this time.”

 

Chapter Eight is called “Thieves, Heretics and Whores.”

And this is another beginning.

You must remember that before I was anything else, I was one of the Edema Ruh.

The chapter goes on to tell us about the Edema Ruh, that not all traveling players are Ruh, but they are essentially traveling players. I cannot help imagining them exactly like the ones in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. I think it’s because of the line about using the wagon as a stage, which immediately brought me the visual from the movie. We learn that Kvothe’s mother was a noble, though not which noble, we learn about the Ruh way of life, and we learn about Kvothe’s early education. Then we get to the introduction of Ben and Ben calling the wind.

Not so much to comment on here, and that’s probably a good thing!

 

Chapter Nine is “Riding in the Wagon with Ben.”

That’s what this chapter is, too, Kvothe’s early education from Ben. Ben’s guilder, just like Taborlin’s, his wide education, the first explanation of the University. It’s funny that Kvothe doesn’t believe that they have more books than he could read, considering what happens with him and the stacks. There’s a lovely line here that he doesn’t like being treated like a child, even though he is one. That made me laugh out loud the first time I read it, with joy of recognition. So Ben is an Arcanist, and he’s teaching him chemistry and science and mental exercises that stretch his mind.

 

Chapter Ten is “Alar and Several Stones.”

Ben starts to teach Kvothe sympathy, by teaching him the mental trick of Alar—believing something contrary to fact and believing two or more contradictory things at the same time. This is a great explanation of it and how it works and learning it, it feels absolutely real. I love it when people write about magic like this. He also learns to play “Seek the stone” and he learns “Heart of stone.” And there’s the lovely comment about how arcanists tend to be eccentric, and that sympathy is not for the weak of mind.

So, three chapters in to the story proper, and we’re deep into the details of magic and daily life in the troupe, and quite immersed in Kvothe’s voice, too. I think it’s because his voice is so characteristic and so very much himself that it pulls against him being Kote and not being the Kvothe we so soon get to like.

Not all the chapters need the kind of intensive meta-reading some of these early ones have needed, and it’s just as well. It’s odd, reading for clues is a different kind of reading from ordinary reading where you get pulled forward in a normal way. Both have something to be said for them. But I am reminded of Andrew Rilstone’s comment that he couldn’t evaluate The Phantom Menace the first time because seeing new words scrolling up the screen in that Star Wars way was too much for him. After reading these five chapters and writing this it was nice to sit down afterwards and read a whole book in one gulp.


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

117 comments
Niki S
1. Niki S
"Kvothe the Arcane,
-As far as I know, only by Chronicler just now."

If I'm remembering right, near the end of WMF, he mentions how this name had started circulating around the University and surrounding cities while he was out and about. I believe he hears it when he's listening in on all the stories being told about him.
lake sidey
2. lakesidey
I believe, yes, Lochees is another branch of Lackless (jst as the Edema are another branch of the Adem - Kvothe really seems to be distantly or otherwise related to a lot of people doesn't he?)

Talked with Gods - the Cthaeh, perhaps? Technically it is a God-like being.

The Broken Tree - the tree he shattered by lightning? (The Adem know of this, through Tempi)

~lakesidey
Niki S
3. jmd
I also wonder if paths walked by moonlight have to do with the tunnels and hidden places he goes with Auri under and over and around the University. And I also think that is a play on words as well, as doesn't he name her and think he is naming her sunlight or something like that although Elodin says it is the wrong word or wrong language?

And have we determined that the Edema and the Adem are related?
Ryan Reich
4. ryanreich
I just got into this series when WMF came out, and went back and reread both books as soon as I finished them. Needless to say, I'm thrilled to have this project running at this time. All the speculation reminds me of the early days (nearly fifteen years ago) of Jordan fandom.

Some corrections: in chapter 6, it's "Felurian" and "Amyr". And we have heard "Kvothe the Arcane", at least twice: once in NW, when he's commenting on his sympathy prowess wrt. the duals in Elxa Dal's class; and once in WMF, from the crowd which saw him breathe life into Denna.

There's an obvious and obviously wrong interpretation of "Maedre": namely, his assault on the bandits, where he called lightning which smashed a tree and burned the camp. It is a red herring but it would have seemed significant to Kvothe when he first heard the translation.
Niki S
5. Rob Sparling
After reading TWMF, I'm convinced that Kvothe's mother was the sister of the Maer's new wife. It's mixed in with some of the rumors he gathers while playing tak that one of the Lackless caused a scandal by giving up her title and marrying below her class. This would make Kvothe a Lackless, which I think probably connects him to the handle-less doors. If I had to guess wildly, I would say that the trunk in the Waystone is something he created after witnessing what one of these doors holds within, or figuring out the box with no hinges.

I also think that with his Alar, he may have simply locked himself away; the part of him that plays music, that lusts for life and love, the part that names and uses sympathy, locked away. It's probably why Bast is around. Part of K knows that the chest may need to be opened and he no longer can.

But it's all guesswork. I'm sure someone mentioned it already.
Niki S
6. Flip
Has anyone else paid attention to what K is called throughout the frame story? In the beginning of NW, he seems to be just called Kote. Then as we move through the book and into WMF, he starts getting called Kvothe much, much more. By the end of WMF, he is almost exclusively called Kvothe again. Does anyone think this significant?
Dylan Thurston
7. dthurston
Also, does anybody who is really telling a story waffle around like this?


I'm sure it's deliberate on Kvothe's part. Recall that he made the Chronicler wait overnight before beginning the story. I can't imagine he didn't plan out the beginning in detail. This is also right after the discussion about how other people tell their stories.
Later on, there's a real hesitation, before he introduces Denna in the inn. It's much less polished then.
Justin Levitt
8. TyranAmiros
Thank you for doing this reread! Are you planning on updating every Thursday?

"Kvothe the Arcane" does appear in WMF as @4 has mentioned--it's a reference to both his alar and his ability to name as well as the tales of how he escaped Felurian.

I think the titles are one per book--"the Bloodless" in NotW, "the Arcane" in WMF and "Kingkiller" we'll see in the third book.
On broken tree, I think the way he called the wind and stopped the sword tree from spinning was part of the reason also--he "broke" the tree.
Dylan Thurston
9. dthurston
I find it curious how much chemistry Kvothe learns here, when later on chemistry (along with alchemy) is said to be one of the few subjects he does not excel at.
Ryan Reich
10. ryanreich
@9: He certainly knows nothing of alchemy later on, as Simmon took pains to remind him. The only mention of chemistry which comes to mind is the episode at the very end of WMF where he gets kicked out of class for not being scientifically rigorous enough, but he said he enjoyed the activity.

Actually, he's portrayed as being a rather poor student in general; if he's good at something, it's because he taught it to himself or learned it for practical purposes. I imagine this particular character flaw (broadly speaking, lack of reflection) is what leads him to do whatever stupid thing he did that screwed up the world.
Evan Langlinais
11. Skwid
I agree with TyranAmiros @ 8, that the most significant tree to the Adem is likely to be the Sword Tree, and that, to them, the name "The Broken Tree" would be ill-omened indeed.
C Smith
12. C12VT
I thought it was interesting (though not necessarily significant) that Chronicler, too, has changed his name.

One thing I noticed (and this may be a crackpot theory) is that K
repeatedly makes reference to something being "a long time" or "a long
time ago" when it hasn't really been that long:

When Graham brings the mounting board, K says, "'It's been so long. I'd almost forgotten.'" Graham replies that it's only been four months.

When Chronicler asks K to tell him his story, K says "'It was a long time ago'" and Chronicler replies that it has been less than two years.

Also, when Chronicler remarks that he thought K would be older, K replies, "'I am.'"

All of these things make me wonder whether more time has passed for K than we think - perhaps if he spent more time in the Fae. Or it could just be that time is passing slowly for him because of his mental state.
Steven Halter
13. stevenhalter
At the end of chapter 6 is the curious phrase:

The man who called himself Kote looked up from behind his bottles.
Dave West
14. Jhirrad
@10 - I have to disagree most vehemently regarding Kvothe as a student. There is nothing that shows him to be a poor student. On the contrary, Kilvin continuosly praises him as one of his best, and what he learns in the Fishery, while for the practical purpose of making money, is still something which he had to study and work at to learn. He generally excels in his tuition exams, excepting times when he chose not to study or regarding pieces that were asked him and were clearly beyond his level of knowledge to begin with (i.e. anything Brandeur or Hemme ask).

Regarding his name of The Broken Tree, I feel like that has several meanings. If I recall, isn't a tree broken in NW in the attempt to kill the draccus? Then there was the tree which he shattered in his battle in WMF. And there could easily be something to appear later where he breaks the Chtaeh, at least in power. Though I still think it's possible that his trunk is made from the wood of that tree.

Finally, I think it's interesting to note something about the name Edema Ruh. The word ruh comes from the Arabic meaning soul. And edema is of Greek origin, meaning to swell. I think based on the Ruh we have met, Kvothe in particular, it's interesting to think of them as something of swollen souls, as they clearly see themselves as better within the framework of their world (travelling performers) than anyone else.
Maiane Bakroeva
15. Isilel
I have to say that I really disliked Kvothe's posing with his many names. Also, I found his story far less immersive than the framing narrative (which I loved) and full of implausibilities and tropes that tend to irritate me.

Also:

We learn that Kvothe’s mother was a noble, though not which noble,

Could somebody elaborate on what is said about Kvothe's mother in these early chapters? I seem to nebulously remember that he mentions uncomfortable visits with his mother's family, which would mean that she was _not_ a Lockless, but I may be hallucinating.

Also, we come at my pet peeve with the series (and many other fantasy series, when it comes to that) - namely, how can arcanists be poor when their abilities are incredibly useful and obviously should be in demand? Yes, writers want to show that magic doesn't solve all problems, I get it, but it is a cheap and lazy way to go about it, IMHO.

Also, how is it that Kvothe learns alchemy and chemistry here and IIRC also impresses the masters with his knowledge in these areas during his first admission, but then is suddenly completely useless at them in tWMF?

Finally, how is it that University's arcane knowedge hasn't been dessimenated far and wide if nothing stops a graduate from teaching it to somebody?

And yes, teaching something so potentially dangerous as sympathy to a child... I liked Ben a lot, but reckless, much?
Steven Halter
16. stevenhalter
Isilel@15: The description of Kvothe's mother in chapter 8 is:

Save perhaps that my mother was a noble before she was a trouper. She told me my father had lured her away from “a miserable dreary hell” with sweet music and sweeter words. I could only assume she meant Three Crossings, where we went to visit relatives when I was very young. Once.

He is assuming the people they visited were the relatives to which his mother referred.
Niki S
17. WebCudgel
The third book now HAS to be named something like "When Thrones Fall" just so you have to use "WTF" throughout the reread.
Niki S
18. Susan Loyal
Jo, The picnic in Imre occurs in chapter sixty-five of NW. Denna comes to the Eolian to find Kvothe (and does!) and asks him to buy her dinner. They leave, she rejects other "inside" venues, they buy a loaf of bread and a bottle of strawberry wine and picnic.

The bottle of fruit wine that Kvothe gets from the tinker in exchange for his horse is also perhaps strawberry, and he and Denna drink it outside during the dracus adventure (chapter seventy-four).

Unless my Kindle is lying to me, there is no mention at all of stawberry wine in WMF.

Also, does anybody who is really telling a story waffle around like this?

My husband's aunt does this when someone asks her a question about family history and she discovers, after she starts talking, that she doesn't really intend to tell the story. I assume, without definitive evidence, that the story would require telling one of the family secrets. She starts several different ways and then manages to change the subject. If my personal experience is in any way indicative, Kvothe discovers that he plans to set aside some parts of the story even as he begins to tell it. But we didn't think he was a fully reliable narrator anyway, did we?
Beth Meacham
19. bam
"It began when I heard her singing" refers, I think, to his time with Felurian. Which could mean that whatever disaster he caused to the world began with something that happened there.

"My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it." Must also refer to Felurian. But that name is never mentioned when K is telling the story of that time. And I doubt that Felurian ever called anyone anything simply because she liked the sound of it. I wonder what it means?

"Lightfinger" could be a nickname from Tarbean, where he was a pickpocket.

"Kvothe went looking for his heart’s desire." -- Well, he did. His heart's desire for a long time was to know the name of the wind. We know that a student on sabatical from the Arcanum is said to be "chasing the wind". And in fact, on his sabbatical, he found it.

Other thoughts to come....
Gary Singer
20. AhoyMatey
@15, Not sure if you're talking about admissions after his adventures due to Alveron. He deliberately screwed up all his admissions once the Maer gave him a letter of credit for the university. He made a deal with the bursar that he would get half of everything over ten talents. Damn clever thing to do :) And plenty of incentive to be as insolent to the masters as much as possible...
Niki S
21. sellonc
You brought up some great points.

Also, does anybody who is really telling a story waffle around like this?

I think Kvothe is clearly doing this on purpose to torture the chronicler a little more.

Chris
http://coolproducts.com
Niki S
22. Howland
One minor quibble. The story of Tehlu and Encanis was attributed to Skarpi above, but was actually told by Trapis the priestly orphanage leader. I think they both told the same story, but that can wait until we get there for further discussion.

I don't think that he's been called Dulator yet, and he says his first real lover, so I don't think its Felurian. I don't think that K has had a "real" lover yet.

@2 @4 @8 @14 - The broken tree reference is odd. The chapter with the lightning is called "Flame, Thunder and Broken Tree" so it seems very obvious that it referred to that encounter with the bandit camp. But Magwyn gave him the name after that encounter and K thinks its partially prophetic. Perhaps it had always been a name and was simply revealed later?

Also he doesn't think the name is very significant, but Magwyn says that the name was private and should not be shared because it would be dangerous to do so. Odd discrepancy, but perhaps K is no longer worried about danger.

@12 - I like the idea that K has been back to the fae. He promised Felurian that he would return, and at some point he met up with Bast. There seems to be a feeling that he is an old man but he is described as looking like he is not near thirty years old.
Niki S
23. lampwick
I'm not sure why Kvothe is telling this story at all (except, of course, that we want to read it). No one knows he's the famous Kvothe, so why is he suddenly admitting to it? Isn't he supposed to be in hiding? What's Chronicler going to do with the story -- is he going to publish it? Well, I guess we'll probably find out in Book 3.
Beth Meacham
24. bam
More thoughts:

In chapter 8 Kvothe says "I learned woodcraft from a huntsman named Laclith, who traveled with us for nearly a whole season." And there are later references to Laclith when Kvothe is dreaming, or talking about woodcraft.

Then in WMF, when K is learning all the various branches of the Lockless family, Laclith is one of them that "slowly spiralled into obscurity" in the South. If we accept that K's mother is Natalya Lackless (and I do), then did the family send an obscure cousin to travel with them? I can't help but think that the family knows of Kvothe's existence.
Matthew Knecht
25. mknecht01
@12 C12VT: The "long time ago" issue has been bothering me a lot, it pulls me out of the story when it happens. Your explanation = brilliant, and the "time dilation" already described when he was in Faerie with Felurian lends support. There doesn't seem to have been any plot-driven necessity for time to have gone at two different rates in the two different worlds so far in the story... so in accordance with our presumption of the Law of Conservation of Detail (and the Rothfuss Corollary: Anytime I stop and tell you a story or sing you a song, that will be important later!), maybe the Felurian episode is simultaneously the story behind an offhand allusion in NoTW, and the setup for something much larger in DT. Good catch there, I think!

(Anyone else think that maybe DT is going to have to be significantly longer to get through everything that still needs to be gotten through?)

@Jo: I posted in Part I comments earlier this afternoon about the lovely opening of Chapter 7 and its similarity to Jordan's

The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning...


opening of Chapter 1 of each WoT book. Jordan's wind, and Rothfuss' sun, visit various places, touching various people and things, before zeroing in on the characters and action about to happen. Seems like it has to be intentional. Homage? Or maybe subtle lampooning of the novelette length of some of the WoT prologues.

@ various folks re: chemistry: It seems to me there is a big difference between the kind of "memorize the periodic table" - "learn to identify various substances" - "practical makeup-making" kind of learning he was getting from Ben and a full-fledged course in chemistry at the University. And there's also a big difference between learning something from someone you like and respect, versus someone you despise, or consider yourself superior to. Rothfuss also seems to be poking fun at a particular kind of overly dogmatic teacher in that bit about Chemistry at the University, as well.

@23 lampwick: Maybe Kvothe is telling the story because, with the scraeling already "this far west" he thinks he won't have to wait much longer to die, and so anonymity doesn't matter anymore.
Pamela Adams
26. Pam Adams
My name is Kvothe, pronounced nearly the same as “quothe.”
Does he make a 'Nevermore' joke?
Justin Levitt
27. TyranAmiros
bam@24:
That could also be a hint for the Lockless Box. A woodworker might know how to create a box without hinges.

Re: Dulator--this screams Denna to me. She of the Yllish braids and possible Chandrian connection definitely knows something more than she's revealed and isn't afraid to use it to maintain her mystery.
Will Cooper
28. WillCooper
Thanks for the post Jo. Here are some other things that I noticed in chapter 6. And yes, it's a very different feeling going through at this pace than 'normal reading'.

The chapter is called 'The Price of Remembering'. In the first paragraphs Chronicler comes downstairs in pain, and his head 'throbs... when I move around too quickly." The price of remembering is pain?

Someone in another thread suggested Newarre is 'Nowhere'. That's made explicit here as Kote says, "You are, in fact, in the middle of Newarre."

The question about the road to Tinue reads like a test that Chronicler fails? Is it? What is the right answer?

Kote says, "I didn't ask what I could call you. What is your name?" Reinforcing the importance of names in a way that resonates through the books. The way that people can hide their real selves behind assumed identities, or not.

Later we are told more straightforwardly that the price of remembering is pain; 'For a moment he saw the pain underneath, raw and bloody, like a wound too deep for healing.' Then, "What could you possible offer me that is worth the price of remembering?"

Chronicler says, "We got wind of you a while back. Just a whisper of a rumour." Much later we find out that the rumours were deliberately started by Bast, but without many clues that I spotted. Will keep a better eye out this time. And then at the end of the chapter '"You are Kvothe." The man who called himself Kote looked up ... spark kindling behind his eyes... seemed taller. "Yes, I suppose I am," Kvothe said. Bast's plan, working as intended.
Will Cooper
29. WillCooper
So, to answer my own question, I searched on 'Tinue'. The next significant mention is in chapter 41 - 'Friend's Blood'. Kvothe is talking to Wilem, a non-native speaker of whatever language the unmarked english represents. He explains that it's an idiomatic expression, "It's just a greeting. It's kind of like asking 'how is your day?' or 'how is everything going?'"

So it's an idiomatic greeting that Chronicler takes literally and completely fails to understand or respond to appropriately. Yet he seems very much like a native language speaker. So is he not who he claims? Is he possessed? Has so much time passed that the idiom has changed?

Very mysterious! And note K's reaction... none at all.

Oh, and I also discovered that chapter 41 has the first mention of Puppet. Much earlier than I'd have thought, I didn't remember him being in NotW at all. Nice early setup.
Niki S
30. fiirvoen
I think that "I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day." is specifically referring of how Felurian taught him to enter Fae.
Claire de Trafford
31. ClairedeT
Hadn't noticed the strawberry wine bit at all - that makes me lean a little towards the 'Kvothe's name change has only affected his conscious mind' theory. Great catch.

There's obviously a lot here that we are going to see in DT. I don't think we have seen the meaning of the name Maedre yet, despite there being events that fit. This would tie back in with the fact that he is being very free with his sharing of his names, even those of the Chandrian in WMF. On the other hand I can't help thinking that there isn't much left to see of his university days in DT, and that the majority of that book will concern the events of the near past and then take us into the frame story arc.

The point about Auri, I think, is that although her name does mean sunlight, Kvothe doesn't know what language it comes from when questioned whereas Master Namer does.

Finally, I don't think Kvothe is a poor student - however he is only really excelling at his own interests rather than pursuing all branches of knowledge. This isn't surprising given his age at the time. His age is also a major factor in his story - he has the intelligence and courage to act, but not, sometimes/most times?, the maturity to reflect on what he is doing.
Beth Meacham
32. bam
I have many comments to make about Auri, which I will save till she comes onstage in this reread.
Ryan Reich
33. ryanreich
@14, 31: When I say Kvothe is a bad student, I mean precisely that he is too independent. In a school, the best students are the ones with the best grades (by definition), which they get by doing exactly what they are told, very well. Kvothe has no patience for nonsense or dogmatic fools (like his chemistry teacher) and so discards subjects which seem nonsensical or rote. Mathematics, rhetoric, poetry, Elodin's seminar. He's grown up a bit and realized that Elodin, at least, is trying to teach effectively, but only after rediscovering "in nature" all the points Elodin was trying to make. He refuses to learn with no goal and merely at the word of a greater authority who is supposedly wiser, and that makes him, in practice if not in potential, a bad student.

The result is that he learns by trial-and-error (with the exception of sympathy and sygaldry, two obviously "safety" versions of the underlying magic system of naming), and I imagine that the wisdom which he displays in the frame story was obtained only at the cost of a pretty big error. This is a very common, perhaps universal trope in fantasy: the hero, even if he is in some technical sense "the best", is never really the best, being more impulsive, less experienced, and always undertrained compared to others who are held back by their traditionalism. Rothfuss seems to be all about playing with and subverting fantasy tropes, so Kvothe is actually going to survive whatever catastrophe started the world's troubles, gain wisdom, and become one of the older, experienced men -- who will nonetheless perhaps get something actually done by the end of the story.
Niki S
34. gbrell
Some quick thoughts - wish I had time to make a longer post.

Flame, Thunder, Broken Tree is the chapter name of his fight with the bandits in WMF. I think, along with a previous commentor, that this is a red herring. It has some deeper meaning, and judging by the Adem's reaction, it is not a pleasant name.

I think Rothfuss might have forgotten to include "Dulator" in the Felurian section, she was clearly his first "lover." If the "real" part is in doubt, it's clear from WMF that on his return Kvothe sleeps with a number of ladies (both the hilarious "comparative female anatomy" joke and the decimate joke).

The books make pains to point out that chemistry and alchemy are VERY different. Sim in fact makes this point in NotW when they ask Kvothe how he plans to get to Re'lar. He jokes that it's a "small step up to alchemy" and Sim replies "They're not even related. They just happen to live in the same house."

It's also made clear that he didn't really study alchemy with Ben. After his big f-up, it says "He halted my fledgling study of alchemy, limiting me to chemistry instead." I've always read alchemy's relation to chemistry as being something like sygaldry related to artificing. It involves a combination with something supernatural for want of a better term.

Kvothe is brilliant, but not dedicated. The comparison I think of is in Ender's Game, where Ender notes that he often knew the right answer, but didn't want to go through the ponderous calculations to prove it. Though this makes his inability to understand higher theory mathematics odd, considering the theory is the primary barrier in that discipline.

Finally, I think (and it's pretty out there), that Kvothe might kill Sim. It's established that Sim's family is actually relatively high nobility (although he is a third son and notwithstanding Savoy's comments about Aturan bloodlines). This story constantly references betrayal, but who has actually betrayed anyone? And who could? Denna? Sim is the only other poet we've really seen (that I remember) and can you think of anything more crushing than having to kill a best friend?

This would also suggest that fighting a demon/killing an angel could be metaphor.

Oh, and for the random person who asked about proof of Kvothe's relation to the Maer's wife, it's thought to be in the song Arliden sings that makes him sleep under the wagon in WMF. "to make my wife not tally a lot less."

not tally a lot less = netalia lackless
Jo Walton
35. bluejo
BAM: I don't think it refers to Felurian at all, I'm sure it's Denna, when she started singing with him in the Eolian. We've had "they say there was a woman" and breaking the wine -- Denna. I'm sure.

Laclith -- good catch. As for the family knowing, it's certainly possible, but Meluan clearly doesn't know, and I don't know what Lackless family there is apart from her. She has the box. The Maer says she's the heir. I kind of assumed she was it. But I could be absolutely wrong, and she might have parents living.

mknech01: I'm not sufficiently familiar with Jordan to have noticed that. (Read for the first book, got bored in the first chapter of the second book, gave up.) But cool.
Ryan Reich
36. ryanreich
@34 (gbrell): I don't think it's an error that Felurian doesn't call him "Dulator". Rothfuss makes a big point of her calling him "kvothe" all the time and liking that name. He would have good reason for not considering her his "first real lover": she is not human and their relationship was totally bizarre. Since then, he's had a bunch of flings with local girls whom he (being the romantic that he is) would never call lovers. Anyway (to indulge in a logical fallacy): with the amount of revision Rothfuss describes himself putting every line of this book through, I have a hard time believing that he would let such a prominent foreshadowing drop dead like that.

As for Kvothe and higher math: as a mathematician, I think that "not feeling like doing the tedious work" is just as big a problem at the highest levels of math as it is in basic arithmetic. You can read books all day that tell you all sorts of wonderful nonsense, but you won't ever do anything with it until you've spent a thousand hours writing proofs.
Niki S
37. gbrell
@36 (ryan): I think your explanation could work just as well, but it's strange wordplay.

I think not feeling like doing tedious work is a problem at every level of everything. His comment, "Too many numbers. I can't swim those waters," just seems out of place for a character is presented as having incredible, near eidetic, memory. Considering his love for language and puzzles, it seems a strange distaste. Perhaps I'm just projecting my own failings as I went pretty far into math and realized that my own failings were mostly theory-based.
Niki S
38. chrispin
@15 asks:



...how can arcanists be poor when their abilities are incredibly useful and obviously should be in demand?
...
Finally, how is it that University's arcane knowedge hasn't been dessimenated far and wide if nothing stops a graduate from teaching it to somebody?



I was wondering about this, too. There seems to be tension between the church and the university, with the church fueling fears of demons and black arts. The mayor in the city where we meet Ben is "god-fearing" and doesn't want the trouble of "your kind." Even in Imre, two miles from the university, people have signs up that say "no sympathy" and would think Devi was "some sort of which or demon" for taking blood as collateral.

The church is powerful, as demonstrated by the priests who take away Skarpi and how scared the barman was. You can get items from the university if you want to pay for them, the Adem have the special glass and sympathy lamps, but the archanum themselves seem to lay low and not advertise who they are.

Graduates of the university don't have many career choices. They can stay at the uni (which it seems most of them do), get a court job with a king or noble, or...become a tinker like Ben. Some make refrigerators for Imre, and probably other big cities, but it seems like most people come to the uni to buy their artificeries instead of going to a local shop. The university is also not a particularly desired career choice. Sim's dad didn't want him to go.

100 students leave the universtiy a year (but only 25 get their guilders, so only 25 "graduate"?) Where do they go? Some are in "acquisitions" or become chroniclers and travel, some crack like Whin, some are chasing the wind. It's not said, and that makes me interested.

The only poor archanist so far is Ben. It doesn't sound like the masters at the university are poor. Chronicler isn't poor or Calantis. Out of there theory: Ben is an Amyr and found Kvothe's troop on purpose, so was just pretending to be poor to get invited in.

It is also intersting that none of the students mention how their parents or relatives went to the university. Everyone seems to be the first generation, only one in their family ever to go to school.

C Smith
39. C12VT
@15, 38:

A lot of the university students are from noble or very wealthy families - they aren't necessarily relying on their education to make a living, and they may not be motivated to turn their skills into moneymaking businesses.

There probably are other arcanists who have passed on their knowedge - and maybe some of their proteges are intrigued enough to make their way to the university - but there just aren't enough arcanists out there to spread that knowledge very far. Twenty-five get their guilders each year, and we can assume it took them some years of study to earn them - say these new arcanists are 30 years old. They might live another 50 years. With those numbers, there would only be about 1,250 full arcanists outside the university. Subtract all those who are unwilling to teach, or too busy, etc. and it's not surprising we don't see more widespread knowledge of the arcane.
Beth Meacham
40. bam
In NotW, when Sim is counting off the line of succession to the throne of Vintas, he mentions Aceleus and Meluan Lackless. Presumably her father? There are an awful lot of people between Ambrose and the throne, including the Maer and the Lacklesses, and his own father.
Niki S
41. J. Bradford DeLong
Isn't Day Three called: "The Doors of Stone"?
Jo Walton
42. bluejo
J. Bradford DeLong: I asked Pat what DT would be called in March when I was writing my first spoiler review of WMF, and he said it didn't have an official title yet, but it wouldn't be called "The Road to Tinue". So there may be a rumour that it will be called "The Doors of Stone" but... just a rumour as yet.
Niki S
43. Susan Loyal
My first real lover called me Dulator because she liked the sound of it.
I wonder if this won't be Auri, who is a namer. After all, Kvothe gave her a name, and they always exchange gifts. He also frequently refers to her as "his little Moon Fae," so there may be some connection with the moonless nights. In NTW she says his voice is "like a thunderstorm" and in WMF Kvothe finds her frightened during a thunderstorm because she's seen a tree in the lightening, and she calls him a Ciridae. She seems altogether more connected to every bit of the imagery that surrounds Kvothe than I'd quite realized, and she's the only woman with whom he has a relationship based on mutual regard and a kind of domesticity. We still don't know what her name was before Kvothe named her Auri, but Elodin invites Kvothe to his class based on that naming.
It would be like Rothfuss to hide something significant in plain sight.




Andrew Mason
44. AnotherAndrew
On 'The Road to Tinue':
So it's an idiomatic greeting that Chronicler takes literally and completely fails to understand or respond to appropriately. Yet he seems very much like a native language speaker. So is he not who he claims? Is he possessed? Has so much time passed that the idiom has changed?

He goes on to say 'Oh, I see'. I think he just wasn't expecting it because they aren't in the region where it's normally used - which, of course, adds to the puzzle of where they are.

Finally, how is it that University's arcane knowedge hasn't been dessimenated far and wide if nothing stops a graduate from teaching it to somebody?

People don't trust an arcanist unless he has a guilder. There may be other people who have the knowledge, but they don't have the certification - so you'd prefer to go to the University, if you can.
JOhn Johnson
45. smileyman
Doing anything with arcanum or sylgadry takes a few things. First it takes a great deal of time. Secondly it takes a great deal of specialized equipment (as well as space), Thirdly it takes specialized ingredients.

Those are going to be hard to find. The only people who are likely to have such a thing are nobility (we see this with The Maer and his arcanist). To get set up takes an insane amount of capital and there aren't going to be many people willing to finance a start up.

Thus it's easier for those who graduate to work for the University. Many of the others probably only got the guilder as a type of badge of honor.

Also, the bit about the tree is very important. I find a great deal of parallel between the Cteah and Yggdsril. Is Kvothe going to hang himself (metaphorically speakiing) on the Cteah to gain wisdom? Has he already done that and lost an "eye"?
Maiane Bakroeva
46. Isilel
Shalter @16:

Thanks!

I could only assume she meant Three Crossings, where we went to visit relatives when I was very young. Once.

IMHO we can trust Kvothe's nearly eidetic memory and there really are/were relatives of his there. Do we know in what country it was?

My problem with Lockless theory is that Meluan is pretty close to Kvothe's age and even though she could have had a much older sister, why would she feel so vehement about somebody whom she could barely, if at all, remember? Whose running away improved Meluan's own position? Hm...

Chrispin @38:

The church is powerful, as demonstrated by the priests who take away Skarpi and how scared the barman was.

The Church seems to have no means of detecting malfeasance in progress or any use of magic, really, unless it is very public and blatant.

You can get items from the university if you want to pay for them

This makes no sense, IMHO. Realistically not everybody who'd want them would be able to afford guaranteed premium quality items for premium prices and/or want to wait for their delivery for however long it takes to ship them from Imre.
No-name items that are cheaper and close to home should have been attractive too. Not to mention, in case of nobles, that there is less chance of outside tempering with the items produced on their estates.

And BTW, the materials don't seem to be beyond something that a well-to-do artisan would need to stock.

Besides - magic is very dangerous and can be easily turned to gaining political advantage. The nobles and the rich should have been falling all other themselves hiring arcanists (graduated or not) to protect and tutor them.
It is highly unrealistic that news of Ambrose entering Arcanum didn't produce a mild panic among people ahead of him in various lines of succession and a rush to make precautions.

Maer treating Kvothe as he did _after_ Kvothe demonstrated to him his vulnerability to magic also doesn't make a lot of sense. Yes, he has a gram now - Meluan doesn't. And Maer doesn't know enough about the gram to be sure that it's creator can't bipass it somehow.

Ryanreich @33:

When I say Kvothe is a bad student, I mean precisely that he is too independent.

Well, he is also not interested in learning/discovery for the pleasure of it, at least as an adult. Which is why he fails at his studies post-Maer, when he has no pressure/concrete goal. And yes, he really fails to progress in them beyond his purposefully doing poorly at admissions.

Which is why I would argue that Kvothe is not really a genius, even though he is multi-talented. He lacks the drive.
Murdoc
47. MurdoctheMad
I have been called Shadicar, Lightfinger, and Six-String.

Do we know anything about any of those?
I believe Shadicar is a reference to his owning a shaed.
Beth Meacham
48. bam
I think Meluan Lackless is at least 10 years older than Kvothe. Remember that he seems much older than he is -- he's actually just 16 when he is at the Maer's court. And we don't know what age her sister was when she ran off with Arlidan.
Ian B
49. Greyfalconway
Maybe the frame story is Kvothe locked in his alar. It could be that at the end of his story he retreats into himself in grief over whatever he's done, and he's made the whole frame story up inception style, with chronicler and bast and old cob and everybody being either people trying to help from outside, or characters he's created in his subconcious, sleeping mind, and all the bits about the box he can't open and the selas flowers and such are all symbolic subconcious stuff, and he'll get to the end of his story and realize this, then come out of it and then maybe he'll be locked in a cell without windows or doors, and like taborlin the great go through the wall, then go defeat the chandrian. lol, the frame story just seems so much like a purgatory to me, and if Patrick Rothfuss can imagine all these vivid characters, then Kvothe the Arcane certainly can ;)
Niki S
50. GeoffL
@25 From the instant I read the opening in WoT and in NW, I have considered its almost ritualistic form to be a form of invoking the muse: it sets us up for a certain kind of story (epic), eases us in and out of the narrative, and provides a continuity to different sections of the story.
Ryan Reich
51. ryanreich
@46 (isilel), @48 (bam): I agree, we should definitely take it that Netalia Lackless was a teenager when she ran off with Arliden, and also that Meluan is somewhat older than Kvothe in addition to being quite a bit younger than her sister. If for example Netalia ran off when she was 16 and her sister 6, and if Kvothe was born a year later, then in the present time, Kvothe would be 16, Meluan 23, and Netalia (were she alive) 33. Meluan is probably no more than 26 since she is still unmarried, but the gap between her and Netalia can be changed by that much without making this less plausible.
C Smith
52. C12VT
@46: Even if Meluan doesn't remember her sister very well, she would remember her parents' reaction to her sister's departure. It would have affected the whole family for years afterward. The parents probably had (or have, if they're still alive) the same attitudes toward Edema Ruh as Meluan displays, and she picked it up from them.
Drunge Hays
53. bumblepants
I cannot recall who first suggested it, but I really like the theory that Bast is Kvothes son via Felurian. It gives a reason for their closeness which is rare between human/fae, their relationship has a father/son feel to it more than teacher/student, and plus his name is Bast. Not much of a stretch into bastard. Could it be a joke by either Rothfuss or a nickname of Kvothes. Even though it seems the events of his story haven't been too far in the past time in the fae world is clearly off so age appearance wouldn't be an issue.
Ryan Reich
54. ryanreich
@53 (bumblepants): It says in NW (page 103, according to my Kindle), in the scene where Chronicler attacks Bast, that Bast is "Bastas, son of Remmen". If that's his father, then he's not Kvothe's son; if that's his mother, it's not Felurian.
Niki S
55. ShadowKyros
With the name that the Adem gave Kvothe, Maedre, I think that he's misinterpreted the three meanings. He says the flame for his hair but I think that it might have to do with the fire in Trebon, which was the big heroic experience in book 1. He says the thunder is for his voice but what if it's for the the lightning he called down on the bandits in book 2, that books major heroic experience? And he says the broken tree is slightly prophetic, which makes me think it's referring to something that happens in book 3, potentially with the Cthaeh as has been hypothesized.
Niki S
56. Herelle
I would like to share some thoughts about Lady Lackless. First I just assumed Kvothes mother was Lady Lackless because of her reaction to Kvothe singing this sexual innuendo verse. She points out that saying something to a person may be rude but saying something about a person were gossip. Then she pauses and adds: "Also, Lady Perial is just a character. Lady Lackless is a real person, with feelings that can be hurt." She looked up at me. ... Reading in between the lines I had the vague feeling her feelings were hurt, so it must have been personal. Plus she says " I imagine you could make up to both Lady Lackless and myself if you found some sweet nettle for the pot tonight."
Now, when I looked up the verse, I tripped about something else. This is the verse / riddle from p. 85/86 (Paperback):
Seven things has Lady Lackless
Keeps them underneath her black dress
One a ring that´s not for wearing
One a sharp word not for swearing
Right beside her husband´s candle
There´s a door without a handle
In a box, no lid or locks
Lackless keeps her husband´s rocks
There´s a secret she´s been keeping
She´s been dreaming and not sleeping
On a road, that´s not for traveling
Lackless likes her riddle raveling.

If Kvothes mother was Lady Lackless she must have been married before she met Arliden. How else could she keep her husband´s rocks as Lady Lackless? ;-) She never married Arliden and she wouldn´t use that title anymore after she ran away. First I thought she might have run away from an unhappy marriage but then the verse says "underneath her black dress", so she was a widow maybe? Then the verse really has some sexual innuendo, which was actually pointed out by Kvothe. Maybe apart from the lockless box, which doesn´t fit to sexual innuendo, she hides another sexually related secret. I don´t think it is to far fetched to think that she was pregnant when her husband was already dead and people were gossiping about the potential father. If this child was Kvothe and Arliden the father or if Kvothe has a brother/sister - hm, who knows?
Somehow I even thought she actually went into faerie on a road that´s not for travelling and came back with a secret? Doesn´t Kvothe always hint at his similarities to demons, that with his hair he would have been burned a few hundred years ago? There was something about his eyes as well. On the other hand, Arliden and his wife jest so playfully about Kvothes inheritance of wit and skills when Ben talks to them about sending Kvothe to the University that I can´t picture Arliden not being Kvothes father. So maybe a brother or sister and Arliden himself is a fae-descendant?
Someone mentioned a ring that´s not for wearing before in some other context I don´t remember? Any thoughts?
Niki S
57. Herelle
Kvothes eye colour changed with his emotions, that´s what I remembered. There were several comments of faelike attributes to Kvothe throughout the book I believe.
To my above Lady Lackless Theory - she wouldn´t be Meluan´s sister if she just married into the Lackless family. But I assume she could still hold her titles if she were a born Lady Lackless and married another noble. Then she would just have aquired another (unknown) title.
Jo Walton
58. bluejo
Herelle: The eldest daughter would have been Lady Lackless, though no husband.

But it's the song in WMF that proves who she is -- see the "Sleeping Under the Wagon" thread for details.
Beth Meacham
59. bam
Right, and also "Lady Lackless" would also have been Netalia's mother.

also, that riddle only lists 6 things. I suppose that's part of the riddle.

And oh, I hadn't realized how the Lackless Riddle meshes with my thoughts about Auri! So I'll mention it now: Auri keeps giving Kvothe gifts. First, a key. Second, a wooden ring (which he doesn't wear), and third, a candle. And that's only so far in the narrative!

I don't think there's any reason to believe that the Lackless Riddle is directed at Kvothe's mother, or grandmother. I think it's a very old one, but contains a great deal of meaning if you can figure it out. The Lockless box is extremely old, unopened for maybe a thousand years.
Niki S
60. Herelle
I suppose Lady Lackless could be any female ancestor of the Lackless family. I just don´t see Kvothes mother react the way she did, if the song just meant some long forgotten relative. She seemd slightly offended, though careful not to show it and is quickly forgiving Kvothe when he is sorry and says he didn´t know Lady Lackless was a real person with feelings that can be hurt. I stick with my theory.
I still agree that she is Netalia Lackless though.
About the titles: English is not my native language but as far as I comprehend nobility can hold more than one title. I looked for a clue on wikipedia and found for example Lady Margaret Beaufort. She was married to the Duke of Suffolk but is still known as Lady Beaufort, this being the title of her father´s family. And why should the title Lady only be transferred to the eldest daughter? It´s not like Duchess or something, it just refers to her status.

I´m curious about Bast. I suspect he is some kind of "hostage", to ensure a treaty of some sort. Or protection for Kvothe who gave up his name and powers? Why should a prince of the fae stay with an innkeeper in hiding? Kvothe has commanded Bast to do stuff with phrases like "Listen three times". Could anyone with the knowledge do that or has Kvothe some power over Bast?
Beth Meacham
61. bam
It's been made quite clear that Bast is Kvothe's student. He's studying something, though I have to say that K. is a teacher more in the mode of Elodan than Vashet.

The "tell you three times" thing grows from the episode with the alchemical poison right before Admissions -- Sim worked out a deal with Kvothe that anything he said three times was to be taken as true, whether Kvothe believed him or not. They then quickly shortened that to "I tell you three times". This is possibly a reference also to a story or custom that Kvothe has not yet told us.....
Niki S
62. Speaker To Managers
Herelle @ 56:
Lackless likes her riddle raveling.

Remember that "ravel" is a derogatory name for the Edema Ruh, and that the gerund form could be either a verb (and perhaps a pun as well, "The riddle is tied up with the Ruh") or a modifier indicating a person, like "youngling " ("The riddle is a young person of the Ruh", that is, Kvothe himself is the riddle).

@60:
There is a long tradition in our world of fostering young hostages with their keepers, so that the hostages became a part of the family structure and are educated by their would-be allies. This created cultural and personal ties between realms, increasing the likelihood that written treaties would be backed by loyalties and actions. There was recently a really nasty depiction of what happens when those fosterings are used to get rid of inconvenient relatives in the TV series The Borgias.

I think it's likely that Bast has been apprenticed to Kvothe for more than just personal reasons. We don't know a lot about the politics of Faery yet, but we can be sure that it's there: a group that goes around killing everyone who has contact with the Cthaeh is acting politically*.

* To paraphrase von Clausewitz: "Assassination is an extension of politics by other means."
Jo Walton
63. bluejo
I think Bast's song "how sad to see a mortal kindle and to dwindle day by day" and Bast's whole behaviour imply a deep personal connection and weird affection. Also, Bast is 150 and Kvothe is less than 30.
Clay Blankenship
64. snoweel
@2: Is there any evidence other than linguistic similarity that the Edema are related to the Adem? Interesting theory anyway. It would bear many similarities to a certain backstory in the Wheel of Time books.

Good catch on the Lackless connection...I never noticed that.
Niki S
65. Green Stone
Regarding post 56:


Maybe apart from the lockless box, which doesn´t fit to sexual innuendo, she hides another sexually related secret.

Actually, a "lockless box" is sexual innuendo.. In Spanish, caja can mean either "box" or "cunt".

Also, "lockless" is a pun on "Lackless".
Niki S
66. misseverything
This might be interesting to someone.

Someone mentioned ruh is Arabic for soul. Depending on how you pronounce it, the word Amyr is very similar to the Arabic word for...
Niki S
67. misseverything
...moon.
Niki S
68. formerly Underhill
gbrell @ 34 "Netalia Lackless." I am flabbergasted - I am sure you are right. HOW did you notice that!!!
Niki S
69. Merus
I don't know if someone has twigged to this elsewhere, but "stealing princesses back from sleeping barrow kings" refers to Kvothe rescuing the two villagers from the false Edema Ruh. We're told soon after in WMF that the story mutated, and a big theme of this speech is that what people 'know' about Kvothe never actually happened.
David Bilek
70. dtbilek
Yes, I'm only catching up on this now. Great stuff, Jo.

Although we clearly do not need more evidence about Kvothe's parentage, one thing I have not seen mentioned is the scene (my memory is a bit hazy) which twigged me onto what was going on. Kvothe is, I think, having dinner with Meluan and the Maer. He sees Meluan in profile, perhaps backlit by a fire? Or something? In any case, he is suddenly struck by the thought that she looks like someone he knows well, or perhaps knew, but he can't place it. And then his attention is diverted and he doesn't come back to this thought. In context it is pretty obvious that she reminded him of his mother.
Alice Arneson
71. Wetlandernw
I thought the "ring not for wearing" was the key Meluan used to unlock the second chest.


The open lid revealed another chest, smaller and flatter. It was the size of a bread box, and its flat brass lockplate held a keyhole that was not keyhole shaped, but a simple circle instead. Meluan drew something from a chain around her neck.

....

Meluan fit the key and opened the lid of the inner chest.



So the key is essentially a ring - not for wearing - that fits into the circle "keyhole."
Rob Munnelly
72. RobMRobM
Hey Wet - welcome to this small insanely detailed neighborhood of Tor.com. Nice contribution - you may be correct. Nice catch.
Alice Arneson
73. Wetlandernw
Hey, Rob. Finally got my mitts on WMF, and finished yesterday. Now I'm trying to catch up on all the discussion. I've thought of lots of things to say, but I expect most of them have been said already by now. Still... I just had to put that one in here, since I don't know how long it will take me to catch up on all the reread & comments! At least no one had said it in the parts I've read so far. :) It practically jumped off the page to me, so I was really surprised to find people talking about other possibilities at all.
Niki S
74. PT
Might Kvothe's noble mother be Meluan Lackless' sister?
Niki S
76. PT
Yeaah i noticed it was addressed on the very next re-read =P

i may have gotten a bit premo with my suspicions =D
Alice Arneson
77. Wetlandernw
Happens to everyone. :)

There are a LOT of comments to read if you want to find everything that's been suggested before you say anything. This one was just too good an opportunity to pass up - I never get to do one-word comments! Welcome to the zoo.
Niki S
79. ron6632
Something that I have found fairly significant relating possibly to Kvothes close friends from the University.

When Bast and Chronicler first meet it they are hostile. K prevents a fight and says something along the lines of:

"I have lost too many friends over the years" (I have an audiobook so very difficult to search for the exact phrase)
Niki S
80. Akkarin
May be a bit late, and somewhat off topic to recent commentary, but does anyone else find it supicious that Chronicler references Kvothe as having been thought a 'new' Chandrian?

If they think him the new Chandrian, what happened to the old one(s)?
Steven Halter
81. stevenhalter
Akkarin@80:It could be in addition to rather than replacing. Or it could be a myth or , ...
P M
82. Psyzygy
Question on p. 75, ch. 9: is "maiden's helper" an abortifacient? Did anyone understand something different here? Thanks.
Niki S
83. Laramie
@Psyzygy; 'Maiden's helper=abortificant' was my understanding.
Niki S
84. JosephJones
"He had to trick a demon to get it, and he had to fight an angel to keep it. This is the face of a man who has killed an angel,"

I feel like this is an important story for Kvothe. Maybe even the defining one. One must needs assume Denna is his heart's desire. However, Kvothe does have several motivations driving him in the books; but he drops them all when Denna is involved.

Knowing what we know now, Denna, demons, and angels oh my! What does this say about Denna's mysterious patron? Her story about Lanre he had her write? And what does the story mean by demon? There are infact no such things as demons only Bast's kind. We've been told this time and time again.
Niki S
85. Rylie
"But I still think it’s Ambrose, and Mochabean at 28 last time points out that Ambrose is a poet"

Hi, an interesting thing happened when my girlfriend finished reading the books. She is fairly certain that the "King" will be Ambrose, as throughout both books there is multiple mentions of his relative distance to the throne.

I personally think (and this sounds sad) that Sim (also genetically linked to royalty and nobility, although has a number of older brothers in his way) who is also a poet, and aptly the one who told Kvothe what a Caesura was, will become king. As to why Kvothe would kill his friend I am not sure.

Two theories, hope someone with the books open can gauge their validity.
Andrea Rønne
86. Capricornus
But we don't really know if Kvothe is the one killing the king. He is called the kingkiller, and clearly a king is killed. But since rumours work as they do, it might be that he in fact isn't the one doing the killing. Just getting blamed for it.

If it's Sim who's the king in question it would make a lot more sense if Kvothe didn't kill him.. Might be that he gets blamed for it, or takes the blame for someone else..
Niki S
87. Deano123
I would like to point out that in WMF, as Kvothe and co are heading back from killing the Pennyworth Inn, they meet a travelling troupe, in which the youngest boy sings a song of the Lackless. Now, I dont have the book on me, so I dont know the exact quote, but one of the lines talks about the blood returning (or something like that). My theory is that the song is if Kvothe's mother is a Lacklass, making Kvothe one, and the stone door will open when Kvothe returns.
Niki S
88. Queen of the Llamas
To everyone who talked about Kvothe "breaking" the Cthaeh:

I just don't think that would make sense because Bast knows nothing about it. He doesn't even know Kvothe ever talked to the Cthaeh. In the scene where he freaks out about it he talks about it in present tense: "There is nothing worse than the Cthaeh" rather than "There was nothing worse than the Cthaeh". (I'm paraphrasing a bit, as I don't have the book with me at the current moment.) If breaking the Cthaeh were his big heroic act in DT, it stands to reason that the Fae would know about it; the Cthaeh is pretty well-known there after all. The fact that Bast knows nothing about anything like that makes it seem pretty unlikely to me.

Also, I love all the theories about Kvothe's age and the Fae. That was really bugging me...
Karen Fox
89. thepupxpert
"It began when I heard her singing."
Not sure if anyone else picked up on this but looking back I think he was referring to his mother. He mentions something about her carrying him around when he was a baby and singing, and that he learned to sing before he could talk.

Again, fascinated that this thread is still active over a year later, really grateful!
Karen Fox
90. thepupxpert
@47 - I would assume 6-string refers to his playing the lute with a broken sting.
Angie Bayman
91. pfemm
@56 "Somehow I even thought she actually went into faerie on a road that´s not for travelling and came back with a secret?"

if this were the case... it'd be interesting if K was some how related to Bast? half-brother or some such?

I don't know... I'm late to this party. :)
I've just recently read both books for the first time.
And now i'm ever so slowly making my way through this re-read! very interesting stuff
Dustin Williamson
92. Steerpike
I found Chronicler's reaction when Kote asks him "how is the road to Tinue pretty strange. At first he acts like he doesn't know what Kote is talking about, but then he seems to realize what kote said.
My thinking is that it is some kind of amyr code. It might be a way for Amyr to recognize each other. This would support the theory that Chronicler is an Amyr.

It is amazing how much I missed during my first read. This re-read has really helped me understand the books better.
Niki S
93. Matthew Minix
Lackless likes her riddle raveling.

I think riddle here may be "little" in baby-talk. "her riddle raveling" = her little raveling (ie, ruh lover or child)
Niki S
94. Ryua
Re: Also, does anybody who is really telling a story waffle around like this?

There are two types of story telling that often waffle about like this regularly: formal oral storytelling and myths/fairytales. Someone in one of the earlier comments calls this a ritualistic form of "invoking the muse" and I agree.

Oral story telling is normally ritualistic and oral form is VERY different from how one would write. It DOES waffle around like this, especially at ends and begginings. It builds up suspense with a wandering introduction with litanies of hints and then takes you back to the start to begin in truth. Rothfuss obviously can't maintain oral form through the entirety of the text for his readers' sakes so he does it here and in the "break" scenes to keep the tone where he wants it.

Additionally, if you are having trouble suspending disbelief, consider this in regards to Kvothe's lack of pausing for breath so to speak: this man has basically an eidetic memory, was trained from birth until his parents died as a storyteller, and that pretty much all he has had to do for the last few years is mull over his past. He would naturally have set his thoughts up as a story in his own mind. The waffling intro to the story in that chapter was him collecting his thoughts - collecting all the pieces of his story as he put them in order both for his listeners' benefit and his own. All thats left from there is to expand upon it.
Niki S
95. kajsa_a
@82 that makes more sense than my own assumption, which was that it was something to relieve menstrual cramps.
thistle pong
96. thistlepong
Philtre
1 : a potion credited with magical power
2: a potion, drug, or charm held to have the power to arouse sexual passion

More likely meant to loosen tension on the wedding night. Good on Ben teaching a 10-11 year old all this!
Katy Burnside
97. DarlinKaty
Isn't his "heart's desire" to learn the truth of the Chandrian? It is what motivates him throughout the whole story. It's why he wants to attend the University, it's why he goes to the Maer and much more. He even chooses this pursuit over Denna once in a direct way, I think. And certainly several times indirectly. Perhaps it is knowledge of the Chandrian that causes him to fight a demon and kill an angel. If those things really happen in DT.
Niki S
98. locallyunscene
@DarlinKaty: I think so as well. I think the angel he has to fight is Denna because we are allready seeing them come at cross-purposes in WMF.
Niki S
99. Jonnymoon
Just curious... after reading the beginning of the reread of NTW I've seen several passages referenced that I don't rember reading at all. Him listing his names/nicknames for example. Is there a version that I don't have or should I just go back and read it for a 3rd time?
Niki S
101. goodbyeapathy
okay, so I could be mad, but I just need to get this off of my chest.

"We learn that Kvothe’s mother was a noble, though not which noble..."

So in WMF, we learn that the lackless lady the Maer marries (sorry, forgotten her name) had a sister who ran off with one of the Ruh. Could it have been Kvothe's mother? It's far fetched, I know. Is there something I'm missing here? But I do recall Kvothe singing the song about lady lackless when he was a child and his mother chiding him about it.
Niki S
102. darlinkaty
Yes, goodbyeapathy, it is generally accepted that Kvothe's mother was Natalia Lackless, the original heir. Good catch on your own.

See http://www.tor.com/blogs/2011/03/sleeping-under-the-wagon-more-spoilers-for-patrick-rothfusss-the-wise-mans-fear

for what is considered to be definitive proof.
Niki S
103. quintas11
I believe in Chpt 8, when K is introducting his parents, he says they both have dark hair. I know red hair is a recessive trait and I'm not an expert on genetics, but most people I know with red hair have at least one parent with lighter brown/strawberry/blonde type hair. Could this be support to a different biological father? We know K has his mother's eyes. Does he have any of his father's physical characteristics?
Niki S
104. pirimie
About killing an angel: Somehow I have to think about Auri. She is so different. Could she be an angel and Kvothe being forced to kill her?
Niki S
105. mechenglb
I just realized this after reading your reread but any thought to Kvothe's mother being related to Lady Lackless? Thats why he recognized her?
Niki S
106. mrssmith
Couple things I'm obsessed with: 1) I have a real question why Kvothe is so intent on keeping Chronicler there for 3 days? He insists it will take 3 days, and in doing so makes Chronicler late to meet Skarpi and the Baron. After reading the second book, we know that he is content to leave certain parts of his story out - He could have left them in and made it 4 days, or he could have left out other detailed accounts and made it 2 days. I think there is a real significance to the 3 days, other than making it a convenient frame for a trilogy.
2) Lady Lackless - "she's been dreaming and not sleeping, on a road that is not for traveling" I think Lady Lackless (grandmother or great-grandmother, etc.) is Fae, or at least part Fae - and has spent time in Fae. This would make Kvothe part Fae, if we accept his mother as Netalia Lackless. I think Deoch said he was "a little Fae around the edges." Kvothe being part Fae would account for his extraordinary quickness, intelligence, etc.
Niki S
107. Tnielsen
Another bit of information I've gathered about the Kvothe being a Lackless theory. All of these quotes are taken from WMF - in the chapter 'Telling Faces' it says :

"I walked the Lady Lackless to the table and held out her chair. I had avoided looking in her direction as we walked the length of the room, but as I helped her into her seat, her profile struck me with such a strong resemblance that I couldn't help but stare. I knew her, I was certain if it. But I couldn't for the life of me remember where we might have met..."

It goes on to say in a quickly following paragraph:

"My eyes wandered over maddeningly familiar features."

This, to me, would suggest that he HAS met her before. At a young age. Via his mother, Netalia Lackless. Or that her features were so similar to that of his mother he recognized her. His mother died while he was young. It had been years since he had seen her at this point. Her features jogged a memory but since he had been suppressing the memory of his life back with the Ruh, he couldn't place how he recognized her. It makes sense, considering in the chapter 'Rumors' it says that Meluan's sister ran off with someone lesser than herself explaining Meluan's hatred of the Edema Ruh. Now, I know this theory has been delved into pretty deeply already and some of what I've said has already been shared, I just thought I would provide some exact statements that seem to confirm the theory. Hope they help!
thistle pong
108. thistlepong
That's actually close to the popular opinion. Unfortunately Laurian's features, the few that are described, are dissimilar to Meluan's. Oddly enough, Pat uses similar language when describing Meluan and Denna. Those are first pointed out in WMF part 21 and repeated in the summaries. They're mostly dismissed, though.
Niki S
109. SelinaL
Was the Maer's wife Melurian Kvothe's mother's sister? She is said to have run off with a trouper, much to her family's dismay, and Melurian despises the Ruh because her sister ran away with one.
Niki S
110. jorgybear
The three false starts bring to my mind that no true story really has a beginning, or an end.

“I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings.” – I assume this to be one of the falsely related tales of when Kvothe rescued the two girls from the bandits who were posing as Adema Ruh.

“Does anybody who is really telling a story waffle around like this?” Kvothe has had several attempts at writing his story. He’s thought about it. A lot. He’s a shameless self-promoter, having made up and exaggerated some of his own stories in order to build his reputation. He obviously came up with that kick-ass introduction, and unleashed it on Chronicler , glad of the oportunity to speak it out loud.
Laura Taylor
111. Lauranimal
Jorgybear@110

LOL! That was hilariously well put! That one beautiful step at the end of WMF, just gives even more credence to what you're saying. I tend to lean toward Kvothe is "playing a beautiful game."

But there still seem to be some things he might not have planned for, and it'll be very interesting to see how he overcomes them. Beautiful game, or not.
Niki S
112. SimlySadie
I am on my 4th reread, using this project for the first time. I'm wondering about the post that referred to K delaying Chronicler in order to make him miss his appointment with Skarpi and the Baron. Has anyone referenced Skarpi's comment that he has " friends who can help me" when he is hauled away by the Iron Law in Tarbean? Is it not possible that both Skarpi and Chronicler are Amyr? Would that by extension explain Chronicler's unfamiliarity with the whole Road to Tinue thing?
Niki S
113. Togasa
One thing I noticed that hasn't been mentioned in the comments above is that Kvothe describes Abenthy's guilder as made of lead and that it causes his hand to go numb while he is holding it.

Go back to when Chronicler is being robbed... Chronicler himself describes the item around his neck as Iron and when the bandit leader holds it, there is no mention of discomfort.

I always assumed this was guilder, but upon closer inspection I know do not believe it to be true. The bandit leader says that he won't come between a man and his religion... so perhaps it has religious signifacance... but I doubt it.

Abenthy states that many pose as Arcanists, but the guilder is what proves it.

Nowhere in the story does it mention that the Chronicler is a full Arcanist (that I remember) but at the same time, ge seems to be prepared to pose as one. This combined with the road to tinue question makes me question whether the man is actually the Chronicler or a well informed someone with alterior motives.

Kvothe has yet to ask for tge guilder, but then again, Chronicler hasn't called himself an Arcanist.
Niki S
114. Lenora
The Broken Tree can go of any four (or more) ways. Mostly from WMF.

1) he shattered a tree in WMF with lightning during the raid in a bandit camp

2)the prophetic tree (I can't remember the name, and since I'm moving all my books are packed) is a "broken" prophet, i.e. cursing people through prophecy. He is the first in centuries to slip by the guards and actually speak with it.

3) he was broken by the prophet tree, thus trees become a symbol closely linked with Kvothe.

4) he burned several trees while battling the Draccus at Trebon, though this one seems least likely.

+) More to come in DT.
Niki S
115. Tropoje
I think it's likely that Skarpi is an angel. In Ch. 6 when Chronicler mentions his ties with Skarpi, Kvothe says to himself "Taken you under his wing has he?". Now this could be nothing or a clever insert by Rothfuss alluding to Skarpi being an angel. You decide.
Leeland Woodard
116. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Hello to everyone subscribed to this thread!

I'm running through this re-read for the 2nd time and making my 1st comments on it, in order to post things unmentioned by other commenters that either I believe or others have pointed out that I know of, and I'm trying to keep things in their appropriate sections.

My one big thing that hasn't been addressed from this particular section is from when Chronicler is talking to Kvothe about what happened to him, and this specifically has reference to the possibility that Kvothe is a Chandrian (or at least something similar).

Look carefully at this portion of the text:
"Some are even saying that there is a new Chandrian. A fresh terror in the night. His hair as red as the blood he spills."
"The important people know the difference," Kote said as if he were trying to convince himself, but his voice was weary and despairing, without conviction.
P. 45
Let's think about what he's implying here. Chronicler implies that Kvothe is a new Chandrian, and Kvothe says that "The important people know the difference." I ask you two things--who are the important people? And the difference between what, exactly? I would imagine that the "important people" are the learned ones--like Skarpi, Chronicler, and Elodin. And I think that we can assume that the "difference" Kvothe is speaking of is the difference between being a Chandrian and being what Kvothe is now. The fact that most people wouldn't know the difference means that by our current definition of Chandrian, Kvothe may very well be one. But that those educated in what actually happened would know the difference between a Chandrian and Kvothe. This difference might be minute, but the small difference is apparently important and significant.
Nicholas Patrick
117. Adequate
I'm years late to this thread, but a note on Chronicler's Cipher;

I went looking for the cipher after reading the books because I write a fair amount by dip-pen and wanted something faster. Turns out, it doesn't /actually/ exist. So I decided to make it myself.

What I found is that a system which can be learned in 15 minutes (well enough to read sort of) is actually not impossible!

I opted to keep true to the text. Vertical strokes for vowels. Horizontal for consonants. A total of 70 or so different marks but all with a reasonably logical progression.

It took me a month but I eventually refined it to this set of charts.

Kvothe may be clever but learning the cipher doesn't make him exceptionally so.
Steven Halter
118. stevenhalter
Adequate@117:Thanks! That's a nice piece of work there.

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