Apr 21 2011 1:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Name of the Wind, Part 1: The Cut-Flower Sound

This is the first post of my detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear. Beyond the cut and in the comments are potentially spoilers for all of both books.

This post covers the Prologue and Chapters 1-5, in obsessive detail.

The Name of the Wind starts with dedications, thanks, and a map, which is usefully online. I originally read the book as an ARC, without the map, so I joked that the map was what I’d spend $10 when I bought the paperback. I’m linking to the copy of it on Rothfuss’s web page, because it might be useful.

The prologue, “A Silence of Three Parts” is in an omniscient and distant “fantasy style” narration. This is the first of the frames in which Rothfuss sets his story. It’s poetic and essentially meaningless before reading the rest, just a piece of atmospheric scene setting. However, it does give some useful information. First, it gives us a mood: silent and sad. Secondly it introduced Kvothe/Kote as the significant character and as an innkeeper, without giving him any name at all. We’re told several things about him. First that he has “true-red” hair, second that The Waystone and the third silence is his, and lastly that he is waiting to die. As an introduction to a character it’s an odd one, in reflection and contemplation and largely defined by absences.

He’s an innkeeper, he’s waiting to die and we don’t know why, and that’s as much of a hook as we get. The other thing of significance is “of course there was no music.” Why “of course”? The Kvothe we know can’t live without music, it’s broken strings that drive him to Tarbean, and a week without music in the Maer’s court makes him squirrelly. How is he living without music now, and why?

One of the reasons I re-read the books now was because Chrispin suggested that Kvothe changed his real name, and that this might be why he has no music or magic or other things that make him essentially himself. I hadn’t thought of that but it made perfect sense, so I was looking for everything about names, so I want to note expecially that the text doesn’t use any name for him in the prologue.

And related to that, he doesn’t get a name and he does get a silence of his own—the silence is the most characteristic thing about him, the thing the book starts with. If he’s lost his name, his magic, and his music, they have been replaced with a silence. That silence—which we hear about at the end of this volume and at the beginning and end of the second volume too, seems like more of a positive attribute than the mere absence of sound.

And the inn is called The Waystone, presumably there’s a waystone nearby?

The frame-story proper begins with “Chapter 1: A Place for Demons.” And it begins and ends with “times being what they were.” This is in a much closer more normal multiple third person point of view, with an almost folksy tone to it.

It starts with five men gathered in The Waystone Inn on Felling Night, and old Cob is telling a story about Taborlin the Great, a story with half a ton of naming magic. Taborlin the Great knew the names of all things, and that got him out of trouble. One of the things it got him away from were the Chandrian—and here they are, right up front, practically on the first page. Blue flame—and everybody knows that means the Chandrian, even the smith’s apprentice who’s from Rannish, thirty miles away. That’s our first mention of them, in a fairytale, common knowledge, Chandrian, blue flame, hunting Taborlin.

It’s interesting that it’s a story about Taborlin that introduces us to magic and the Chandrian, not a Kvothe story to ease us in or anything like that. A fairytale, just the kind of story Kvothe finds when he goes looking for anything on the Chandrian.

The innkeeper—still nameless—brings stew and bread. I can’t imagine why John Scalzi has a problem with this, but then stew is one of the staple foods of my culture. What Diana Wynne Jones complained about in The Tough Guide to Fantasyland wasn’t the existence of stew in fantasy but the way people eat it around the campfire, when in fact it takes hours to cook. But they’re in an inn, they’ve had hours, and goodness knows it’s a cheap and filling way of feeding people. Scalzi might think it’s a terrible cliche when I eat it as well. (Last summer when I was in Britain the weather was awful, and I ate stew twice, in an inn and in a castle—if you’re ever in Castell Coch, near Cardiff, order the stew. It may be a cliche, but it tastes great. You can have apple pie for dessert, unless that’s a cliche, too.)

Taborlin’s amulet sounds like a university guilder—or possibly a gram. We won’t learn a thing about them for ages, but it’s nice to recognise what it is.

The Chandrian’s attack is physical—a knife—and what they do to the camp is also physical, and at the farm, and Cinder is running a bandit camp. I hadn’t thought of this before, but while they are inherently magical and cause fires to burn blue and wood and iron to rot, the harm and destruction they cause is invariably physical—done with weapons and fire rather than magic. Even Lanre, I think.

Taborlin had got the amulet from a tinker—and this is the first introduction of tinkers and the way they reward people. I’m going to be taking notice of tinkers when we see them because I think they’re significant.

A tinker’s debt is always paid,
once for any simple trade,
twice for freely given aid,
thrice for any insult made.

That’s Kote’s version of the proverb—and this is where the text names him Kote. (We know from much later that it means “disaster”—from the phrase Kivrin says: “expect disaster every seven years.”) Well spotted Goewin and Susan!

The men start arguing about the nature of the Chandrian. Cob implies that they’re demons, and Jake says they are the first six people to refuse Tehlu’s aid, and Cob says nobody knows what they are, men or demons or spirits, which about sums it all up, really, though I think Fae is also a possibility.

“Where do they come from? Where do they go, after they’ve done their bloody deeds?”

Wouldn’t we all like to know! Rothfuss is being very clever here, layering in this information.

The men start arguing about demons when Carter comes in with a dead scrael—which they think is a dead demon. They’re surprised by this because demons belong in stories.

Certainly there were demons in the world. But they were like Tehlu’s angels. They were like heroes and kings. They belonged in stories. They belonged out there. ... Your childhood friend didn’t stomp one to death on the road to Baedn-bryt. It was ridiculous.

This is the first time we get the contrast between stories and the real world. And they don’t know it but they have a hero in the room too.

Kote encourages them to think it’s a demon, but he calls it a scrael, or a scraeling. When he strikes it with iron there’s a smell of rotting flowers and burning hair. (The smells in these books are great. Loads of books don’t do scent at all.) He’s also surprised they’ve come so far West so soon.

We then cut to hours later when Kote comes back, looks at the stars, which he knows well (so he hasn’t forgotten all his lore?) and goes in. There’s a word about his name there which I think it interesting:

He called himself Kote. He had chosen the name carefully when he came to this place. He had taken a new name for most of the usual reasons and a few unusual ones as well, not the least of which was the fact that names were important to him.

Well, that doesn’t prove or disprove the changed name theory. Maybe he doesn’t want to go on calling himself Kvothe when he’s changed the essence of who he is, or maybe he’s just in disguise. Names were important to him, well, yes, names are. They are to me too.

I’m going to call him Kvothe when he’s definitely Kvothe, Kote when he’s definitely Kote, and K when I’m dithering. It gives a lovely Kafkaesque feel to a page.

Then Kote cleans up and goes up and talks to Bast, who is introduced as his student. Bast calls him “Reshi,” which we’re told is a nickname, but which is pretty obviously used as a title of address like “sensei” or “teacher.” Bast is studying with him “who else would teach me?” but we don’t know what, apart from Celum Tinture, a book which has a chapter on solvents. We also see Kote jokingly dispelling Bast with phrases, which don’t work, but then we don’t know yet what Bast is. Also, we later learn that he can touch iron, it just hurts. Most of the things the people do against the Fey seem pretty useless. Oh, and one of the words in another language has “denna” in it, in a banishing invocation. I don’t know if that’s significant.

Bast’s knowledgeable about the scrael, and Kote is as well, and they are worried about there being more of them.

And then we get K’s bedroom, and the chest.

It was made of roah, a rare heavy wood, dark as coal and smooth as polished glass. Prized by perfumers and alchemists, a piece the size of your thumb was easily worth gold. To have a chest made of it went far beyond extravagance.

The chest was sealed three times. It had a lock of copper, a lock of iron, and a lock that could not be seen. Tonight the chest filled the room with an almost imperceptible aroma of citrus and quenching iron.

It has been suggested that it might be made of Chteah wood, but I think this directly contradicts that, it’s made of roah which is expensive but known. This is objective third person text, it doesn’t say it looks like roah or people would think it was roah, it says it was made of it, so I think it was. Otherwise, it’s clearly significant, and it’s clearly bothering K, and we know from later that neither he nor Bast can get it open. It’s not a lockless box, it’s a thrice-locked chest, and I do wonder whether it has a lockless box inside it? Or what? I look forward to seeing it opened in the third book.

The next night the men come back and chat about rumours. The Penitent King is having a hard time with the rebels. I think we know literally nothing about the Penitent King? Which reminds me, where is The Waystone? Where is Baedn-Bryt, and Rannish, which it is near? Where is Treya, which is no more than a few days away by horse, where Chronicler’s going?

Then they talk about how awful the roads are and how they didn’t buy anything from the caravan, and how there’s going to be a third tax. Things they didn’t buy from the caravan include coffee and chocolate, which are interestingly unusual things for a fantasy world. It implies tropics and a trade with them. The tech level is unusual here too, thought through but a much higher level of technology than you usually see in fantasy. There’s a lot of magic—sympathy—but there’s also a lot of technology, and technology combined with magic. Clockwork. Pyrex. There’s no gunpowder or steam, but apart from that I’d judge this somewhere like mid-nineteenth century.

“Chapter 2: A Beautiful Day” introduces Chronicler and shows him being fleeced by bandits—ex-soldiers—for his horse and money, or what money he keeps visible. I don’t think there’s much to say here apart from how we’ve just heard the roads are dangerous and here’s a practical demonstration, and how much of Chronicler’s character is revealed in this little bit. Oh, and it’s autumn, and we have North American vegetation. Interesting.

“Chapter 3: Wood and Word”—Graham brings Kote a board for mounting his sword, “Folly.” Graham thinks Kote looks as if he’s wilting—back to the cut flower metaphor.

Bast asks him what he was thinking, and K says he thinks too much and his greatest successes came when he wasn’t thinking and just acted. Which now sounds to me like the “Floating Leaf” mindset he developed for the Lethani. If the Lethani is right action, that would fit wouldn’t it?

Then a caravan comes and we hear the children’s song about the Chandrian for the first time. And there’s a tinker, and people buy things. I don’t see this tinker doing anything significant, nor does K talk to him or buy anything. Also, there is singing. Also, Kote sings “Tinker, Tanner” with lots of verses, and this is the first mention of that song. But “of course” there was no music? Only now he can sing? He doesn’t play an instrument. But I’m out of theories on this one.

Then a young man recognises him as Kvothe the Bloodless. This is the first time we’ve heard the name, and this is the first form of it we hear. The other information we gain here is:

“I saw the place in Imre where you killed him. By the fountain. The cobblestones are ... shattered. They say no one can mend them.”

Now isn’t that interesting? Kvothe killed the king (what king? Ambrose?) in Imre. Imre’s in the Commonwealth, or it was the last we heard, and doesn’t have a king. And he did it with magic, which has to have been malfeasance, because a knife between the shoulderblades doesn’t leave cobblestones shattered so that nobody can mend them. (But he also killed a poet with Caesura. What poet?)

Then Kote denies being Kvothe and gets Bast to drug the young man. In the morning he buys an iron bar from the smith and some old gloves, for nettles.

“Chapter 4: Halfway to Newarre.” Newarre is where The Waystone Inn is. But what a useless map this is!

Chronicler comes across K laying a trap for the scrael. He’s using the arm he broke off the one in the bar to attract the rest—it smells the same. And then Chronicler approaches the fire, talks to him a little, then gets knocked out as K fights the scrael. K knows how to fight the scrael—cold iron bar, and the gloves from the smith for protection. He successfully kills them all. He stands perfectly still waiting for them to attack. It really doesn’t seem as if he’s lost his physical fighting skills, not at this point anyway.

“Chapter 5: Notes.” K comes back to The Waystone carrying Chronicler to find Bast, grumpy at having been left behind with a note. They put Chronicler to bed and Bast remains grumpy that K went off to fight them without telling him. K killed five of them, and Bast is impressed by this. Bast sews up K’s wounds, using his own bone needles, not K’s iron ones. “It’s frightening how primitive you people are,” he says. Then he sees the wounds and says that Kvothe wasn’t supposed to bleed, to which K says “Don’t believe everything you hear in stories.”

The chapter ends in the middle of the night when Bast goes into K’s room and sings him a very strange lullaby.

How odd to watch a mortal kindle
Then to dwindle, day by day.
Knowing their bright souls are tinder
And the wind will have its way.
Would I could my own fire lend.
What does your flickering portend?

Apart from being that rare thing in fantasy, actually good poetry, this is puzzling. It is described as being “almost a lullaby,” which makes me wonder if it might be a charm, and Bast might actually be doing something that’s helping keep K alive. Certainly Bast cares a lot about him. And who is Bast, and where does he come from, other than Fae? What’s he doing here?

That’s the end of Chapter Five, and we’ll stop there, hoping to cover 6-10 next time.

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.

Sean Arthur
1. wsean
Ooh, awesome. I really need to reread this one. Still haven't read the sequel, so I suppose I'll have to avoid these posts until I do. Ah well.
Stefan Raets
2. Stefan
I thought it was a nice touch that the Taborlin the Great story in these opening chapters is echoed almost perfectly in the chapter with Elodin and Kvothe in the Rookery, with Elodin playing the part of Taborlin.
3. Shimmer
Two random things I've noticed...

Kote = Kvothe minus the v and the h. i.e. Kote is 'less than' Kvothe.

Also, the similarity between Denna and denner. (The addictive resin)
4. ArtfulMagpie
My theory, and it's just a theory, of course, is that Bast is Kvothe's son by Felurian. Time passes differently in the Fae lands, so Bast could have grown up and spent quite a bit of time learning, etc...and then gone out to find his storied father in order to learn from him as well.

I also had the thought that Kvothe changed his true name, perhaps in remorse for something he'd done? His memories wouldn't change, and some of his very basic abilities might still be there, like the ability to fight the scraelings. (Anyone who is reasonably athletic and has the necessary knowledge might well be able to beat up monsters with a bar of iron, after all. ) But the essence of what made him so remarkable would be different or gone. None of the magic. None of the music. None of the Adem fighting skills.
5. Pnr060
In the story sequence in Wise Man's Fear, Kvothe notes that if you were to ask a random farmer or someone about the Chandrian they would completely clam up, but in these chapters we see both old Cob telling a Chandrian story and some kids singing a Chandrian song. I'm wondering if Rothfuss just included these elements to build the story or if something happened since flashback that broke the taboo.
Beth Meacham
6. bam
Oh, so many thoughts! In no particular order:

1. Kvothe has not lost his magic or his music or his fighting skills. But Kote doesn't have any of these. Later, when he gets beat up by the bandits (spoiler!!!!!) that Bast hired to rob him, he says "I almost forgot who I was" about starting a fight. Kvothe is hiding (from the Chandarian?) by becoming someone else. Kote. Who doesn't play the lute, doesn't have an alar, and can't fight.

2. The lute is in the chest. Kote doesn't play the lute, and can't open the chest because of no alar. If K becomes Kvothe again, he can open the chest. Then all hell breaks loose, I assume.

3. I think something has happened to the Moon - she's been trapped in Faerie, and the roads are open. Or maybe the box in the Lockless Box is the one that has the piece of the moon in it, and it's been opened. "Things being as they are".

4. I don't think that Chronicleer is really who he says he is. The Archanist Devan Loechees who wrote The Mating Habits of the Common Dracchus was at the University long enough before Kvothe that his book was in the library. But our Chronicleer doesn't recognize the phrase "how was the road to Tinue?" And then he tells Kvothe that he heard the stories about the fight with Ambrose "when he arrived", and they were not there at the same time. He was a student after Kvothe left. But he knows the name of iron (when he first sees Bast, he speaks the name of iron)..... Is a mystery to me.

Also, and last for the moment -- Kvothe has already been expelled from the Arcanum. He was expelled for malfeasance when he broke Ambrose's arm, but the expulsion was suspended.
Gary Singer
7. AhoyMatey
@4 Page 102: "Bastas, son of Remmen, Prince of Twilgiht and the Telwyth Mael". So unless Kvothe is lying, Bast is not his son.
8. ArtfulMagpie
Ah, well. It was a thought.
Jo Walton
9. bluejo
Bam: 4. I think Chronicler's age is a potential problem, but being at the University and going away and coming back when you can afford to pay, or after chasing the wind, seems to be a normal pattern of their education system. I assume Devan was there, studied, wrote the book, went off and had adventures and became Chronicler, (and Skarpi's apprentice, or colleague, and possibly an Amir) and then went back for a term or two, or just a couple of weeks and heard the Kvothe stories. There's a comment "it's a pity we weren't ever at University at the same time" somewhere. (And as I write "somewhere" I wish I had these books searchably, not to read but just for searching.)
10. ArtfulMagpie
But hmm...Bast could have lied to Kvothe about his own parentage...I still like the idea. It's probably not true. But I still like it. :-)
Steven Halter
11. stevenhalter
The wood that the mounting board is made from is described as:

The wood was a dark charcoal color with a black grain, heavy as a sheet of iron.

The thrice locked box is described:
It was made of roah, a rare, heavy wood, dark as coal and smooth as polished glass.

Kote does not tell Graham what kind of wood the mounting board is made from. It seems similar to the box wood. Later in Chapter 3 it is called roah wood. However, the mounting board is merely difficult to cut or burn, but not impossible to do so. At some point Kote asks Bast to try the box and seems unable to make any mark upon it. So, it seems that the box is roah, but has also been treated to make it more impervious than just the wood alone.
Sharat Buddhavarapu
12. Sharat Buddhavarapu
The box, where Newarre is on the map, Kvothe's true name, Bast's origins, and on and on and on. I didn't realize the first time I read this how masterful Rothfuss' exposition was. He had me hooked from the first words.

Jeez. I like the name theory and being an optimist, hope this turns into a eucatastrophe. Only another 4-5 year wait will tell though :(
13. jmd
I do think there is some element of true naming going on with the changes in Kote's name. In the second book he talks with Elodin about Denna and how she changes her name so often and Elodin becomes alarmed thinking Kvothe has gone and done something stupid in "renaming" himself. He then says something like changing what you are called is different. You have to remember to name something is to totally understand it in all aspects (or at least one, if I remember the artificer naming fire in one aspect). So there is definitely a "grok" element and a "if you understand it and rename it you probably put bounds on it" sort of thing going on.

I also loved the end of the scene with the chest - with the deliberate callback to the story he just told about Taborlin opening a chest - with the ransom chest and then the thrice-locked chest. He also tests Bast by asking how he would open it, so that he can see if there is any other way he might be able to without his alar or magic.
James Felling
14. Maltheos
Annother thing I have noticed Kvothe can fight. Kote cannot -- this may be more significant than it sounds. When K is Kote -- he cannot fight, has no magic, etc. When K is more like Kvothe -- in the wild -- taking action and initiative, he can fight. Thus the scrael fight being quite doable, but other fights/ tale spinning/etc within the inn where he is Kote , not doable. I wonder if he would be able to open the box when he is outside the inn and is (more) Kvothe.
Chris Palmer
15. cmpalmer
I need to re-read the scene in Wise Man's Fear, but when K is fighting the guys hired by Bast, my first impression was that he could have taken them easily, but "forgot who he was" and threw the fight because Kote couldn't have given them an Aden styled ass-kicking.

The only flaw with that interpretation that I remember was when he tried the arm hold on them and was suprised that it failed and the fact that Chronicler was a witness and he had already told him about the Aden training (I think). Lack of practice?

Can he really not do these things anymore or is he afraid to because using any of his former skills would give him away? As I said above, I first thought it was just him hiding, but he does start doing the Adem "kata" (can't remember what it was called) at the end of the book and he told the boy leaving to join the army that was really Kvothe - did he expect the boy to believe or know that he wouldn't?
JOhn Johnson
16. smileyman
@jmd. That was my first thoughts as well. We know that names are hugely important here. One of the first things that Kvothe does when he starts telling Chronicler his life story is to list several of his names. I have a theory about that. We know that Kvothe is a master at alar, which is the process of separating your mind into separate parts that absolutely believe whatever it is that the arcanist is trying to do. I think that the Kvothe/Kote split is an affect of alar, which is why they're so different.

When he's Kote, he's not simply wearing a mask or disguise (we know he's a master at those), but he is an actual boring, average innkeeper. Away from the inn he can revert to Kvothe. When he says I almost forgot who I was, he was being quite literal.

I also have to wonder if he's not maintaining more than one alar split. One (or two I guess) to separate Kvothe and Kote and another one to maintain a defense or a disguise somewhere against the Chandrian. This is why it's so important for him to not forget who he is--if he lets the alar slip it'll all come crashing down.

I think this also explains why he wasn't able to do anything when the inn was attacked.

I also think that Kvothe's box is the same box that he saw in his sabbatical (I forget the name of the noble).
17. 12stargazers
I noticed that Kvothe once swore to Denna by "His honor, his good left hand and the ever changing moon" that he wouldn't betray her. (I'm currently reading Wise Man's Fear). I notice that K favors his left hand as though it were broken at some point. This leads me to believe that Kvothe betrays Denna somewhere in book three. This is of course sheer speculation on my part. It would also explain why he's a cut flower waiting to die. It also ties in with Shimmer and ArtfulMagpie's observations.

I also suspect that Denna's mysterious patron is one of the Chandran or someone involved with the Chandran. I'm not done with Wise Man's Fear, so my suspicions may change.
Melissa Shumake
18. cherie_2137
this is seriously such perfect timing, i just got back my copies of tnotw and twmf from a friend yesterday, and was going to start re-reading them as soon as i finished ggk's ysabel, which happened this morning. i noticed the guilder/gram thing with taborlin this morning too...
19. CorwinOfAmber
I don't think it's a problem that the sword is known as poetkiller and that there is evidence of magic where Kvothe killed the king. I'm sure the fight included both magic and sword play. My guess would be that magic started it, and steel finished it.

Bast's lullaby mentions the wind: significant or coincidnce? Like Jo's thoughts about Tinkers, lights and bells go off in my head anytime the wind is mentioned.

Kvothe says, "don't believe everything you hear in stories." I have always thought this is one of the most important quotes in the book. I doubt the absolute veracity of Kvothe's tale, and not just with things like his sexual prowess or Denna's beauty. I personally think some untold detail or half-truth is going to be important. It will be interesting to see, once Bast enters the story, if he provides any commentary. He's already called Kvothe out about Denna's looks.

Where is Elodin? Is he still at the University? Is he still alive? Given his roll as a mentor, my knowlege of stories says he has to go!

@5. Pnr060
I think there's a definite difference between just talking about them and singing songs of your own free will and someone asking you about them. Example: I love the song The Devil Went Down to Georgia--I sing it and listen to it often enough, along with other songs about devil. If someone (especially someone I didn't know) came up to me and asked, "so, what do you know about Satan?" I'd be scared.

I don't think it's the same box, though it could be related. The box in the story is lockless, this one is thrice-locked. Though they're both unopenable chests, having no locks and three locks seems a very different thing to me.
Steven Halter
20. stevenhalter
One thing I note in the quote from the young man we have:

“I saw the place in Imre where you killed him. By the fountain. The cobblestones are ... shattered. They say no one can mend them.”
It is not said that the referred to him is the king who Kvothe killed. We are certainly encouraged to infer that the him and the king are one and the same. Since there is an explicit lack, I wonder if this isn't a misdirection and that Kvothe also kills someone else in Imre.
21. Susan Loyal
Jo @9, I do have a digital copy, hence searchable (but without page numbers). You're looking for near the end of Chapter One Hundred Twenty-nine in The Wise Man's Fear. (It's a "shame" not "pity" btw.) Chronicler responds that Kvothe wouldn't have liked him because he was "a papery little twat. And spoiled. And full of myself." K asks what's changed, and Chronicler rather vaguely refers to storming off in a snit to find greener pastures outside of University and learning more in a month on the road than he'd learned in three years of classes. Kvothe quotes Teccam: "No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass."

Names, again, but this time seemingly in the sense of fame or reputation.
Anastasia Burina
22. Radda
Apparently, there are tons of things in these opening chapters that I missed or forgot. Well, there was an onslaught of all kinds of names, terms, customs and superstitions that made me put the book off for a while. Funny how it doesn't look like this at all on a second time. I remember that it was the tinker's "chant" (for the lack of better word) in chapter 3 that hook me up and made me realize that this book was more than it seemed. Up till now it remains one of my favourite places of no particular significance in the story. It just has that cozy feeling.

I have a small theory about the poet that Kaesura killed. As far as I remember, the only real poet we know, apart from one of Denna's admirers, is the one in Small Kingdoms that Vashet was guarding. Who also happens to be a king, by the way. Although I base this pretty much on that he seems a very interesting figure to not be playing a role further in the story.
Ambrose as a king also looks promising, albeit a little far-fetched now with all these people ahead of him in the succession line. Still we haven't been told this for nothing...
Beth Meacham
23. bam
@20 I'm not convinced that Kvothe killed anyone in Imre. I think that may be an elaboration of the story of his fight with Ambrose. I don't think that anything anyone else says about Kvothe's history can be taken as true.
Steven Halter
24. stevenhalter
bam@23:Yes, certainly he may not have killed anyone at all in Imre, let alone a king. It could be another of those attachable tales. So, he could have killed in Imre:
Zero = Someone else did something that attached to Kvothe.
One = the king or somebody else
Two or more... = the king and some other(s) or just other(s)

Care is mandated in ambiguity.
Matthew Knecht
25. mknecht01
Random thoughts on these chapters:

I always read "Newarre" as a sort of play on "nowhere," in the sense of the phrase "the back end of nowhere" or, in a slightly different idiom, "way out in the boonies." Chronicler's attitude in Chapters 2 and 4, when thinking about where he is going, seems to reinforce that Kvothe is hiding waaaaaaaaay off the beaten trail.

@bam, #6: One of those "throwaway" descriptive lines that may not be so trivial after all, from Chapter 1, after the scene with Carter and the scrael. K is standing alone in the doorway of the inn. "Looking up, he saw a thousand stars glittering in the deep velvet of a night with no moon." I'll be a lot more sensitive to mention of the moon, or lack thereof, in the frame chapters on this read-through.

From the perspective of two books in, it seems in these early chapters as though Kote is doing a lot of "forgetting who he is for a moment." He jumps in with the rhyme about the tinker, he's thinking out loud about the scraeling when Carter brings it in, he's humming to himself without realizing while cleaning bottles, though he "would have stopped himself if he had known." He's become a little too complacent in the character he's been playing for the last year or so?

Finally, near the end of Chapter 4, Rothfuss gives us what in retrospect is a massive hint to pay attention. Kvothe has just killed the scraeling, Chronicler wakes up, and they are talking about what just happened. Kvothe says, "You'd be surprised at the sorts of things hidden away in children's songs." And while the whole passage doesn't seem to be poetic in the same way that we get a lot of later in the book, that particular sentence has alliteration and a certain rhythm that makes it stand out to me from the rest of the dialog there.
Brent Longstaff
26. Brentus
I love Doomsday Book too but I think you meant Kilvin, not Kivrin. :)
Claire de Trafford
27. Booksnhorses
Just what sort of mess has Kvothe kicked off? The scrael and the later skin dancer are types of Fae not seen in the mortal world in a very long time. And they've come west quite a way to get to the Inn. Admittedly everything is pretty much east of the inn but significant places are the university with its lockless door, and the Lackless lands with their lockless box. I am sure that we will see Kvothe open at least one of these lockless items in the third book, and that that will lead to him losing his name and/or conscious abilities, and open the way to Faerie.

One more thing - just because the wood of the box is given one name doesn't mean it doesn't have a link to the Chteah. I've always thought that Chteah was a personal name, not a species name, so it is plausible that they are similar or one and the same.
28. Mochabean
Ambrose was also a poet -- a really bad one. So poetkiller and Kingkiller could
be one and the same.
Matthew Knecht
29. mknecht01
There's a lot of talk and examples in the books about stories and rumors and the "whisper down the alley" effect, distorting what actually happened. Might the title "Poet Killer" be simply a "whisper down the alley" mythological distortion of Kvothe choosing to call his sword "Caesura"?

Also, note that "Ctheah" is the name of the creature which lives in the tree, not the tree itself. Roah is described always as a very rare wood, but clearly not impossible to get if you really want some. I would think that the wood of the tree the Cthaeh lives in would be one of those once-in-a-generation "Golden Fleece"-type quests, so roah probably is not the same thing. Unless the same type of tree grows elsewhere than that one spot in Faerie.
30. Freelancer
Kote can fight. The paramilitary bandits that beat him up in the second book were just about to get owned when Kote realizes that he can't show who he is to anyone, for any reason. When the bandits demanded his purse, recall that he said, in acquiescence, "After all, I am no barbarian".

This is the Adem philosophy, and he was about to use Adem techniques on them. But how many red-haired Adem are there? It is part of the publicly known story of his life that he lived among the Adem, so two former army bandits getting clobbered by a red-head using Adem skills would be a neon sign to his enemies. That is why he says "I almost forgot who I was". (Remember that Bast hired those men, specifically hoping to draw Kvothe out of hiding, expecting that he would kill them. When that didn't work, Bast silenced them)

His alar is another matter. He has definitely used it against itself. The function of the alar is to believe something so strongly as to give it the force of reality. It seems likely that he used his alar, "like a bar of Ramston steel", to convince himself that he has no alar, and therefore no magic. For his disguise to be thorough and complete, he cannot afford to make a single mistake of using Sympathy, so the logical move is to block it from himself.

No music, because he cannot reach his instrument.
No magic, because he cannot reach his alar.
He does not deny himself his own memories, however, or there could be no story to tell Chronicler. So his past deeds, his fighting, are all known to him. That is why the sword is mounted, that is why the motto "Folly" is its label, so that along with not forgetting who he his, he doesn't forget why he must hide it.

About the Ctheah. I'm fairly certain that it wasn't the tree itself, but was housing itself in the tree. According to one Wiki:
"The Cthaeh is a creature of unknown appearance who dwells within the branches of a great tree in the Fae Realm."

A second Wiki has:
"The Cthaeh is a type of tree found in the fae which is regarded as the most dangerous thing in the world. Cthaehs know everything, and every part of the future, and when encountered, will tell a person only the truth."

Given the poor grammar, structure, badly paraphrased quotations, and most notably the suggestion of more than one Cthaeh in the details of the second site, I give much greater credence to the description in the first, while admitting that I can find no text in the book which is definitive one way or the other. That Kvothe thought he was talking to the tree at first means little. And in regards his thrice-locked chest, it seems that Bast would have an inkling if the substance of it bore any relationship to the Ctheah
31. stargazer
Elodin is still alive and at the University at the time of the frame story. He's mentioned at some point in WMF by Chronicler, as I recall.

I find it very interesting that K is not so good at staying in character even in these early scenes. Tinker poetry, knowledge of scrael, etc. If we buy the "using his alar to hold an assumed personality" idea, he doesn't seem to be doing all that compelling a job of it - which makes me wonder if part of the problem is that the assumed personality Kote doesn't have an alar of steel? Can you use your iron willpower to convince yourself that you are a mild-mannered nobody without an iron willpower? Or is that getting too meta? :-)
32. philosophygeek
Do we know whether the sword that Kote puts on the "Folly" mounting is in fact Caesura? It doesn't sound like the descriptions match to me, but I'm no expert on swords and so maybe I'm just not picturing the sword(s) correctly.
Sacha G
33. Fortune_Prick_Me
Thanks for this Jo! These books are rich in content, like a good stew :)

I loved your pointing out that we start out this tale with a series of lacking things - nameless figures and the 3 silences. I thought that was a great start for a curious reader... what was there that no longer is?

Good point on all the odors and aromas. I also find that these books gain a lot when read aloud (not just read and smelled), since there is abundant poetry and many cues (clues) that are easier to catch when speaking and hearing the text. As mknect01 @ 25 said, it struck me that the Waystone Inn is "in fact in the middle of Nowhere" (page 1 of CH6 - but that's the next re-read). The cue about Natalia Lockless in book 2 and the many seven word phrases that K says to Denna are also easier to catch when you read or hear them out loud. But that's also further down the re-read.

Can't wait and loving all the other input here.
Corey Sees
34. CorwinOfAmber
I don't have my books with me to look it up, but I'm pretty sure the swords are described very differently.

Someone mentioned a quote in one of the previous WMF posts that makes me wonder about the current state of Kvothe's alar. He is always comparing it to Ramston steel (sp?), but at some point (in the story about the creation of the Fae world and stealing the name of the moon, IIRC) Ramston steel is described as being brittle, and useless once it breaks. Could this mean that Kvothe's alar is somehow broken?

I've always assumed that Kvothe actually had something wrong with with him, something he could not fix, not just that he was hiding. Though I like the idea that he is hiding his martial arts skillz (yes, the proper spelling involves a "z"), because, as much as I could understand losing his magic, losing a physical ability is hard for me to square with. However, I seem to recall that, in the scene where he is a robbed by Bast's hired thugs, he looks surprised when his defense doesn't work, not when he catches himself trying to do it. This implies to me that his skillz are somehow lacking now, not just hidden.

(As a side note, I've spent too much time on the WoT re-read, and almost every time I try to type "Kvothe," I accidentally type "Rand" instead. As far as red-headed protagonists go, Jordan' s has the easier name to type!)
Claire de Trafford
35. Booksnhorses
The sword in the inn is not Caesura - that is in the text of the next book. We don't know what happened to Caesura as far as I'm aware.
Jo Walton
36. bluejo
ClairedeT is right -- Chronicler asks and K explicitly says that Folly is not Caesura. He has swapped Adem swords, though how on earth he did that...! Unless it's somebody else's? He gave it to Bast and Bast put it under the bed, before he put it on display, as if he didn't want to have it. But he says treat it like a lady, If he killed somebody with an Adem sword and took their sword? Then he'd have two? And he wouldn't want to use it -- so Bast and then display, like a trophy?
Steven Halter
37. stevenhalter
I don't see if we ever get a description of Carceret's sword, but K telling Bast that Folly was a lady makes me think that Folly's owner could have been female. Carceret seems the sort to hold a grudge and could have tried to (succeeded?) in taking Caesura at some point as Caesura was her mother's sword. Taking another's sword would certainly be seen as (at least) an act of folly amoung the Adem. Her punishement could have been the loss of her own sword, demonstrating the folly of her action.
38. chrispin
Thanks, Jo! These definitely deserve a re-read.

I'm surprised by how much dairy is consumed in the books. I wonder if Kote has one of those magic refrigerators or a cow out back.
Dave West
39. Jhirrad
@38 chrispin

In WMF, we see Kvothe showing that he knows how to easily make a sygaldry/sympathy based refigerator. As we're not sure how long he's been Kote and not Kvothe, and no one other than him and probably Bast would have the opportunity to see the item in question, I feel that it is entirely within the realm of possibility that he made a sygaldry/sympathy fridge.

And several people have brought up the point regarding the chest. And Jo, you mention the possibility of there being a lockless box inside of the chest. I agree that this is highly probably, especially considering the amount of attention Rothfuss has given the lockless box and the probability that Kvothe is a member of the Lockless family through his mother. In re the material of the box, I believe the point made about the Cthaeh is important to note. We don't know if that is a type of wood, or merely the spirit which inhabits that tree. However, as Bast has seen the chest a great many times, and never made mention of a connection to the Cthaeh, I find that unlikely. Especially considering how shocked he was to find that Kvothe had met and spoken with the spirit.
Ciel F.
40. Shadaras
My theory on the thrice-locked box is that the final lock is similar in design to the lockless box. I can't find the passages that describe each of them right now (gave the books to my dad to read), but that jumped out at me when I first read Wise Man's Fear. Thoughts on that theory?
Dave West
41. Jhirrad
@Sharara 40 - That is one possibility. Of course the question becomes what is the lock on the Lockless box? My belief is that it is a lock made from some sort of sympathetic binding. Very possibly sygaldry, whereby you have two runes, which are designed in a pattern that creates not so much of a lock as a similarity between them (and as you assume the wood comes from the same tree you should have an excellent transferrance rate) which brings two pieces together and makes them one.
42. ArtfulMagpie
My understanding is that the Cthaeh is definitely NOT the tree, but just LIVES IN the tree. At one point, Bast refers to "the Cthaeh's tree." Not "the Cthaeh tree," as in " the elm tree." But with a definite possessive! And when Kvothe is approaching the sword tree for his Adem test, he says that it "reminds him of the tree where he met the Cthaeh." (Paraphrased.) So, yeah. Definitely an entity which is confined to living in one tree, not a type of tree, IMHO.
Anastasia Burina
43. Radda
Isn't Kote's chest a tad too big for the Lackless box? Maybe it is in there but then there must be something else too.
44. Howland
Its going to be tought to stay within the context of the first five chapters.

@4 and @7 - I like the theory of Bast being Kvothe's son. I know we are told he is a 150 year old student and son of a prince, but it feels as if the relationship is father/son more than teacher student. Bast and the fae typically are condescending toward humans.

@20 and @24 - I wonder if the king killed might have been Kvothe himself. I can't remember the line of succession but he is in it somewhere. Another (very) dark horse candidate would be Bast's father. I guess it still seems that Ambrose is as likely as anybody.

@32 - His original sword would have to return to the Adem at his "death". Regarding Folly, there are two passages that are interesting. Abenthy inscribes his book "Remember your Father's song. Be wary of Folly". Skarpi later says in the story of Lanre "Selitos was wise. He understood how grief can twist a heart, how passions drive good men to folly." Both might have been cautioning against the error of Lanre.

Its tough to gauge how much ability Kote has, the information seems in conflict throughout the books, but in this first instance of his ability he seems to have the ability to defeat a number of scrael, but its hard to know how dangerous they are to average man with knowledge of them.
45. Jon D
One interesting thing is that he fights and sings in the first book in a different way than Kvothe does in the story or tries to do in the frame story towards the ends of the books.

In the first book he fights like an innkeeper, not a warrior: he takes an iron bar and gloves and uses the fire as a trap. He has a sword but doesn't use it.

He also sings like an innkeeper. Tinker Tanner is explicitly (recall the incident where Kvothe wants to leave work early) an audience sing-a-long song. This is something that an innkeeper might sing.

At the end of the second book, he tries to fight like Kvothe, using the move he learned from the Adem. But that fails, similarly at the end of the first book when he tried to use alar to fight like a sympathist.

I think this points to how he changed his real name. To change your real name, you have to change yourself. When describing real names, Elodin talks about how they encapsulate everything about a person. So to change his real name, Kvothe had to change who he was in a fundamental way.

I'm still not sure whether changing his real name was intentional or whether calling himself the innkeeper Kote eventually drained his real name away as theorized by Bast.
Daniel Goss
46. Beren
Not a question, not an insightful observation at all, just . . . well, I don't know what it is. A sort-of parallel?

From The Sword in the Stone (not the Disney movie, but the book) I seem to remember Merlin as a being that is living his life backwards through time, and then he ends up trapped in a tree. So.

What if a being with a perfect memory were living backwards through time and ended up being trapped in a tree? Wouldn't that irritate him? And if he had a perfect memory, to someone who is talking to him it would seem that this entity had perfect foreknowledge because the entity is remembering its own past.

So there's my variation on that theory. The Ctheah is an entity that was living backwards through time and has been trapped in a tree. Or possibly Merlin.

Joe Vondracek
47. joev
Jo Walton, I'm pretty dang certain that Scalzi was joking about the stew. He was just using it as a vehicle to write about, and praise, the Rothfuss books. Scalzi probably eats stew at home all the time.

Why is the map called "The Four Corners of Civilization"? It shows Ceald, the Commonwealth, Yll, the Aturan Empire, the Small Kingdoms, Vintas, and Modeg, with Ademre kind of outside it all. Which are the four corners? I find the map frustrating because I am geographically inclined and want to know where things are when the characters are talking about places or traveling to them.
Jo Walton
48. bluejo
Beren: I love that. That's wonderful. I don't have any idea if it's right, or if that's what was in Rothfuss's mind, but it's wonderful anyway.

Just think how horrible being in a tree would be in those circumstances.
49. DontDriveAngry
The stew-criticism is invalid here- it IS an inn, after all... But I just finished up WMF, and near the end, Rothfuss had the faux-Ruh cook up a stew in an amazingly short time...

I make my own stew, and it takes at least 4 hours, if not longer. So unless the ingredients were found on the same shelf as those 'Magic Grits' from My Cousin Vinny, I call a foul on Rothfuss..
50. Jexral
@49. I don't think there was anything in there to imply that they made it in "an amazingly short time". Kvothe found them on the verge of darkness, so they had probably been camped out for a while, and they were already making the stew. And then Kvothe was hanging out in the tent for a long time before the false-Ruh were... incapacitated. It easily could have taken four hours for the stew to have been finished, if I recall correctly.

@34. I know that was mentioned when Denna gave Kvothe his case. She wanted the clasps to be Ramston Steel, but the maker told her it was too brittle for such a use.
Dylan Thurston
51. dthurston
I was interested in Kvothe's reaction to religion in Chapter 1: his lips tightened when Graham claimed demons were afraid of the holy name of God. I think Tehlu may not be all sweetness and light...

Also, the Chronicler was keeping money in his boots. This is mentioned later as a Cealdish saying: money in your boots is for keeping, not spending.
Richard Fife
52. R.Fife
On Poet-killer, I think that is just a mistranslation of the Kvothe's name for the sword, which is the cut down the middle of a peom (akin to old Norse poems, like Beowulf in the orginal text). Kvothe saw the sword as more of a "Poetical Killer" and rumor degradation (a huge theme in the story) adapted it to Poet Killer.

Kvothe picked Ambrose up with the wind outside of the music hall (Eloin? can't remember exact name), which had a fountain outside of it. That is probably the "killed". Again, rumor degradation.

I saw Rothfuss on the DragonCon writer's track back in '08, and I'd swear I remember him commenting that The Kingkiller Chronicles are the tale of a villain. That is to say, Kvothe started off with good intentions and ended up being the bad guy. Now Kote is living in hiding and shame. I might be misremembering Rothfuss, but my feeling on this memory is pretty strong (springsteel, at least, not Ramston)

As to the location of the Waystone, I think it is in northern Vintas. I can't recall, but I want to say the money unit is right, too. A Gold Royal is a Vintish coin, I think, and that is what the King is offering soldiers to join. As the king as a very "religious" title in the Pentitent King, it is likely he is more sympathetic to the Tehlin church than most Vints, and thus the war.

Just my thoughts. Look forward to more of these Jo.
lake sidey
53. lakesidey
@46 Beren: That's an interesting theory - but I have a kind of hole to pick in it. If the Cthaeh is living backwards, then two things: (1) it would remember only 1 future, not all possible ones (after all we remember only one past!) and (2) it could be pretty powerless to change the future in the manner Bast implies, as that future is fixed. I'd rather see it as a kind of evil Kwisatz Haderach (sp?) but with more range.

@52 R. Fife: The Eolian, a name which caught my attention at first glance because it is an alternate spelling of Aeolian which means....relating to the wind. Yet another of those tiny wind-related things which keep popping up through the books.

My gut feeling about "poet-killer" is (as someone already pointed out above) that it is just a linguistic degradation from Caesura (which is what Kvothe calls the sword).

And the tree could be of Roah - the chat with the Cthaeh might just be the first time Kvothe encounters that sort of wood.

Pamela Adams
54. PamAdams
Man, I haven't even started this book yet, and this thread is making me dance and sing!
Daniel Goss
55. Beren
@53 Lakesidey
Just to defend a looney theory . . .
Not necessarily. If it could remember its own past (the objective future) then whatever it did would change that past, but since it still remembers its own past . . . I'm getting off track. Basically, it would remember what it did to cause the future that it wanted, then it would do what it needed to in order to cause that future because it would remember that it had already done it!
Time-travel makes my brain hurt.
C Smith
56. C12VT
There were a few things I noticed:

K's comment about the scrael making it "this far west" and having had to cross mountains to get to Newarre gives us some clues about Newarre's location. My guess is it's in the western part of the commonwealth.

We see goods for sale that in our world would have originated in the
Americas (e.g. chocolate) but also ones from the eastern hemisphere
(e.g. silk).

The scene that talks about K's scars is interesting: "The flare of flame revealed them all briefly, old wounds and new. All the scars were smooth and silver except one." So what is this newer, different scar?

Finally, my possibly far-fetched theory: I noticed that one of the goods most frequently mentioned as being scarce and suddenly expensive is salt. If the moon is gone, the tides would be too, which could interfere with salt production.
Jo Walton
57. bluejo
C12VT: Salt, tides, moon -- wonderful. Though there is rock salt too. Kvothe pays extra for sea salt for Auri, telling her some nonsense is in it and thinking it has iodine and trace minerals. But still, the absence of half the salt production would increase the price a lot. I've been to an old (sixteenth century) salt house, at Port Eynon in Wales -- it's what some people would consider industrial archaeology and others ruins by the beach. It absolutely depended on the tides.
Maiane Bakroeva
58. Isilel
I am probably in the minority in that I really prefer the framing story of the tNoW to Kvothe's reminiscences of his past. It is genuinely spooky and full of foreboding. There are also a lot of intriguing tidbits.

BTW, if Chronicler knows the Name of Iron and can use it at will, why was he unable to defend himself against bandits? Did he want to preserve his incognito at all costs?
Corey Sees
59. CorwinOfAmber
@50. That's at least two mentions of Ramston steel being brittle. I think Rothfuss is definitely hint dropping. (As a side note, Devi compares her alar to the sea in a storm, which is one of the three things wise men fear.)

@58. Knowing the Name of iron, and being a badass like Kvothe are two very different things. Think about the university, how many of them are actually fighters? Especially outnumbered, against ex-soldiers? I'd say he wanted to preseve his life at all costs, incognito be damned.
Though I totally agree with you on the frame story. There's a marked difference in tone, and I love it.
Steven Halter
60. stevenhalter
@59:I also really like the tone switching. This is a nice technique he's doing. First, there is the point of view switching, third person vs. first person. Then, also, the word choice seems more melancholy and less active in the tavern Kote sections than the "past" Kvothe sections.
As Jo notes, the prologue and epilogue are in an even more remote third person style than the other Kote chapters. In style (but not content) it reminds me of:

In a hole in the ground there lived a Hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it do sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.

Contrast that with the opening of the prologue:
IT WAS NIGHT AGAIN. The Waystone Inn lay in silence, and it was a silence of three parts.The most obvious part was a hollow, echoing quiet, made by things that were lacking.

Matthew Knecht
61. mknecht01
@53 lakesidey and @52 R. Fife: Aeolian also is related to a musical church mode from the middle ages, and classical Greek musical theory before that. Today we call it the "natural minor" scale.

@51 dthurston: I took Kvothe's reaction to the talk of God/Tehlu there to be based on his negative experiences related to us later in the book concerning Skarpi and the Tehlin priests who took him away, and his later experiences with his own trial under the Iron Law. The overall impression given of Tehlin priests and Tehlin dogma is not positive... they seem to be modeled pretty clearly on the some of the worst sorts of Christian dogmatic anti-rational practices of European history. I'm thinking Galileo's trial, etc.

@60 shalter: I hadn't connected the prologue/epilogue style to anything in particular... and I'm not sure I agree about the Hobbit parallel, which seems much more light-hearted to me... but I did see an interesting parallel between the opening of Chapter 7 (while preparing for the next installment of this reread) and the Chapter 1 opening of each book of another major soon-to-be-finished fantasy series...

Of Beginnings And The Names Of Things

Sunlight poured into the Waystone. It was a cool, fresh light, fitted for beginnings. It brushed past the miller as he set his waterwheel turning for the day. It lit the forge the smith was rekindling after four days of cold metal work. It touched draft horses hitched to wagons and sickle blades glittering sharp and ready at the beginning of an autumn day.

Inside the Waystone, the light fell across Chronicler's face and touched a beginning there, a blank page waiting the first words of a story...

It was not the beginning... but it was a beginning...

Given the level of... purposefulness?... of this text, I feel like that has to be intentional.
Steven Halter
62. stevenhalter
@61 mknechto1:Yes, the actual content is different and the tone (dark vs. light) is different.
But, the point of view and something about the feel seems somehow evocatively similar to me. (I like both openings quite a bit.)
63. Bephers
Just my two cents on Kvothe's Alar.

When Kvothe was learning from Abenthy he talked about playing a game with himself called Seek the Stone where you hide an imaginary stone in an imaginary room while a separate part of your mind tries to find it. This allows you to develop an "iron-hard Alar" for doing sympathy.

He describes two separate experiences fo us while playing Seek the Stone.

I remember one time I looked for the stone for almost an hour beforeI consented to ask the other half of me where I'd hidden it, only to find I hadn't hidden the stone at all. I had merely been waiting to see how long I would look before giving up... Another time I asked for hints and ended up jeering at myself. (p.72)

Perhaps, if Kvothe is maintaing himself as Kote through splitting his Alar (Ramston steel or not), he has hidden his true self so well that he until he truly asks Kote for it, he cannot get it back? Just a thought.
64. Speaker To Managers
One (of a great many!) of the attractions of these books is that the poetry is not merely not execrable (I cite the doggeral that Cordwainer Smith used to stick in his otherwise highly poetic stories as an example of what has been done by others), it's actually very good. That line "Knowing their bright souls are tinder / And the wind will have its way" is clearly important to the story, and is also beautiful enough that it made me shiver. And even when it's not strictly poetry (spoiler: watch out for the iambic pentameter rhymed couplets in the dialog in WMF), it's written with a feeling for the sound and meaning of the words that's far in advance of what I normally expect from a writer, especially one who's just published his second book. It was the quote on the back of the paperback edition of NotW that hammered me over the head and insisted I read it:

I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.

You may have heard of me.

And all of it is true, just as true as all the other stories he tells in these books. I think that Rothfuss' ability as a poet is significant to the way we read the story here: when he is at his most poetic, he is also telling us of things that are most significant.

Howland @ 44: I don't see how Kvothe can be in any line of succession since he's an Edema Ruh, a class of people considered lower than peasants by everyone else. By the way, did anyone else have trouble reading that name all the time, constantly being reminded of swelling?
65. Ian Osmond
Lis just told me about this re-read thread. I bought WISE MAN'S FEAR, then re-read NAME OF THE WIND before reading WMF, then re-read NotW, because I wanted to think more about to what extent Kote/Kvothe was or was not a reliable narrator, and then re-read WMF.

So, yeah, I just read both books, twice.

It never occured to me that "Reshi" might be something like "sensei." My brain automatically read it as something like "beloved", some sort of term of endearment. I'm now going to have to re-re-read it to see if this is something my brain just made up on its own.

It's obvious that Bast loves him. And it fills me with great foreboding when a Fae loves a human.

I've been assuming that Bast's love for Kvothe is romantic in nature, but I don't know WHY I've been assuming that.
66. ShadowKyros
@63.Bephers- I think that's a definite possibility that he's split his mind so completely that he can't put it back together until he reconciles who he believes and wants to be. I thought that your theory wouldn't fit because of the way that Rothfuss switches between calling him Kvothe and Kote in the frame chapters but it still can hold up. If his mind is split, then he could be moving back and forth between the two. He's both at the same time but probably chooses to let only one of them have awareness/control. He seems to be Kvothe after telling his story and when it's only Bast and Chronicler there with him but then slips back to Kote when other people come to the inn.

Something that caught my attention as I finished rereadind NW and WMF again was how they both end on a slight happy note. Rothfuss is telling this story as one that's known from the beginning to be sad, Kvothe himself admits that his story is not a happy one and that they know how it ends, with him hiding in his inn and living as a simple innkeeper until he dies. But in NW, we're given some hope as Bast sneaks into Chronicler's room at night and commands him to help him reclaim his Reshi and get him to remember the good times so he goes back to who he was. That gives us hope that things will end happily. And then in WMF, in the final chapter there's a single sentence about Kvothe sneaking downstairs and putting up his hands like a dancer and taking a single perfect step. I didn't catch this the first time but now to me that sounds like the Katan. If Kvothe is beginning to practice the Katan again then that might mean he's not actually completely given up on his life. Just a thought.
Pamela Adams
67. PamAdams
Chapter 4: Halfway to Newarre.

68. Marti
I agree, that Tinkers somehow seem to be relevant. A crazy thought: are Tinkers Amyr?
Justin Stodola
69. Spoe
I've wondered if there's any connection between the scraelings in NotW and the real-world skraelings of the Viking explorations of North America. The coincidence of spelling is striking, but I can't see any connection.
70. Amal
I finished reading The Name of the Wind a week ago. It is hands down the best fantasy i have ever read.

The Prologue was awesome and it provided a hook, which, even after the book ends, remains a hook. The introduction of the background stories about Taborlin and the Chandrian was, in my view, a great way to start off things so that the reader keeps guessing about the role of the innkeeper who basically is the hero.

I read John Scalzi's post about the stew problem. Well, he was just outlining the cliches of the fantasy genre and how liberally some good authors use them. But then on, it was all praises for Rothfuss, wasn't it.

Can't wait to get my hands on tWMF!!!!!!!!!!
71. Kate Brauning
This is an accurate and detailed critique! This would make a great study-along tool for English teachers. Being one, I appreciate this kind of material being written! I'll be checking back.
I just posted a book review of Name of the Wind and The Wise Man's Fear-- no spoilers, analyzes craft elements, and aims to help readers decide whether or not to read it. If you're a Rothfuss fan or are considering reading his trilogy, check out my review.
72. Dashon Woodard
One, Ambrose was a poet not a good one but he counts so this add to the poet killer theory
Two, he father had recently moved up in line for the throne. ( maybe hinting toward Ambrose's rose to the throne itself.)
73. Ian Grant
Just a thought: Kote means "disaster." I'm not sure in what language, but Kilvin references a proverb in that language that means "except disaster every 7 years." Due to Kvothe's guessing at it, I am fairly certain that "kote" does in fact mean "disaster." This is yet another hint at Kvothe's upcoming fall from grace, the classic tragic hero.
Nathan Martin
74. lerris
I've steered away from this reread, as this book has been on my to-read stack for some time.
This morning, I picked it up and read the prologue.

Less than two full pages to it and I was wanting to stay home from work. Wow.
75. Marellaburnt
So just something I noticed. Kvothe gains power by the phases of the moon or something similar that waxes and wanes. For instance he tells Bast at the end of WMF that when he fought off five scrael he had timed it carefully, explaining why he was beaten to a pulp the next day. I feel like he lost something or had to give it up, aka all his talents, in exchange for Denna's life. Rothfuss mentions that Kvothe killed an angel and tricked a demon(just what kind of trouble does Denna get into??).
76. Psyzygy
Question. The book tells us how incredibly valuable roah wood is ("To have a chest made of it went far beyond extravagance"). But the mounting board for the sword is made of roah. And Kote didn't supply the wood himself ... instead Graham, the carpenter, ordered it. ("Four month ain't long for wood all the way from Aryen" and the price is one talent three "fter what ye've given me to cover the cost of the wood.")

Wouldn't this blow Kote's cover? Wouldn't the village carpenter talk about how this strange new innkeeper gave him an extraordinary amt of money to order an exotic piece of wood to hang a sword on? It seems to me this would be the talk of the village forever.
77. Psyzygy
A thought on p. 34 (paperback edition): "Kote knew with bleak certainty how long winter would be." I think this will prove to be literally true.

(Apologies if there's some obvious thing here that everyone else gets ... I haven't actually finished this book or WMF.)
Jo Walton
78. bluejo
Psyzygy: Roah -- good point. Yes. Maybe he did that before he got a good feel for his disguise, when he was still pretending to be Kote and not really becoming Kote, in Bast's view of what's up. Also, why did he do it four months ago, after he'd already been there a year and a bit? What spurred him to getting the board made?

Winter -- He has been there two years already, so the seasons can't be broken.

Also, definitely read the books before reading these posts, because they are seething with spoilers. You seem an insightful kind of person, I hate to spoil you.
79. Psyzygy
Thanks, Jo! If it's not out of line to say this here, I loved _Among Others._

Spoilers don't bother me. In fact, I often peek & skim ahead when reading. (I feel a little shy posting that here ... one of my friends tells me it's a sign of weak moral fiber.)

I am really enjoying these posts. Too much to stop!
80. Laramie
@ Psyzygy, I thought the mounting board was described as being of dark, heavy wood, but not specifically named as Roah wood. There could be other dark, heavy woods. Ebony is one.
81. Psyzygy
The mounting board is actually called out as roah ... p. 26 of my paperback copy.

Thanks for the response. I was alone in a room full of empty bottles and red plastic cups ... but now someone else has shown up. Looks like it was a great party though, eh? :)
Steven Halter
82. stevenhalter
Psyzgy@81:Don't worry Psyzygy, the party is not quite over yet. I think most people just went off to fetch more full bottles.
Jo Walton
83. bluejo
Shalter: On Saturday, I was in an SAQ -- Quebec state liquor store -- and they had actual bottles of actual strawberry wine! It was quite expensive but I almost bought some.
Steven Halter
84. stevenhalter
@Jo:That's cool! I looked at some local liquor stores but they only had things remotely related to strawberries and wine like Boone's Farm.
85. JDH
One comment that troubled me as I read this analysis of the first five chapters was the assumption that Kvothe is in fact a hero. His taking on the name of Kote and his large effort to hide from those people who are looking for him, it seems to me that Kvothe could possibly be a villain. It isn't to far fetched, in my opinion. As I understood it, if Kote was discovered to be Kvothe, he would just pick up and move, and start all over again. This could hint at political undertones. Perhaps the proletariat believe Kvothe a hero, but the bourgeoisie consider him a political enemy, and even though Kvothe is a King killer, it doesn't seem that when the king died that it upset the balance of power in that particular kingdom. There seems to be war, as well, and it is obvious that the lay people are being drafted into military service, and some are turning to banditry. I think I may have just disproven my point that Kvothe could be a villain, but I thought it was an interesting thought.
Steven Halter
86. stevenhalter
JDG@85:K has almost certainly caused something unfortunate in D3. While he is telling the story, it may turn out that he us'nt the hero.
87. skors
Speaking of the sword, did anyone else notice that the term "Caesura" has, in fact, been mentioned earlier when Simmon reads in the style of "Eld Vintic verse" (following the fire in Ambrose's room).
Steven Halter
88. stevenhalter
skors@87:Yep, that's discussed a few times in these reread threads.
89. Curtiss
In chapter 3, I would argue his sword is actually Caesura. When Kvothe receives his sword in WMF, the Adem call it one name. As soon as Kvothe touches it, he calls it another (possibly its true name). If Caesura was the sword's true name, he would not put that on the mounting board.

In NotW when Ben leaves, he leaves Kvothe a message to "be wary of folly" refering to his father's song. In the song, Lanre's folly is love. Its possible that Kvothe's folly is also related to love. The sword could be reminding him what he lost and thus is the mounting board says "Folly."

His whole reason for running the Waystone is to keep himself away from his life as Kvothe. Mounting a sword that was instrumental in his "Folly" is a great way to remind himself of the pain and destruction he caused being Kvothe. As such, I'm convinced the sword is Caesura.
90. kineta
I just reread the first few chapters and of NotW - and OMG it's like rewatching The Usual Suspects. So many little details suddenly have so much meaning!

When the caravan comes into the inn, the two young men are clearly Kvothe's friends Simmon and Wilem. "Two young men, one sandy-haired, one dark, well dressed and well-spoken" - compared to "A sandy-haired boy pulled up short and approached nervously" (first mention of Simmon) & Wilem - the "dark-haired Cealdim from the Archives".

The sandy-haired young man with the caravan tells of hearing Kvothe play in Imre once and cried his eyes out afterward - which is exactly what Simmon did. But he doesn't claim to know Kvothe(!)

So, WTF? Is there time travel going on(?!), did Kvothe go back in time and change his actions - thus his friends no longer have a history with him. Perhaps the story that the sandy-haired young man tells of "seeing the place in Imre where you killed him. By the fountain" - has actually changed. This clearly refers to the time Kvothe calls the name of the wind after Ambrose breaks his lute (by the fountain outside the Elodin) perhaps something has changed and he's killed him instead of just breaking his arm?

Or perhaps he's retelling the Chronicler what he wishes happened as a attempt to magically change it?

Or maybe this is actually a Kaiser Soze moment and he is just pulling details from his environment to make up a tale for the Chronicler - turning the two men with the caravan into characters from his own story?


And sigh, wish I'd found this very cool blog and comments when it was active.
Steven Halter
91. stevenhalter
kineta@90:That's an interesting theory. The sandy haired man is mentioned as a merchant's son and says he heard Kvothe play in Imre once.
So, it doesn't quite seem like Sim and Wil unless, as you say, Kote is using them in his story. Always good to keep in mind as Kote may not be a completely reliable narrator.
92. shaliza
@kineta - now that is a fantastic theory! Remember Denna asking about a type of magic that if you write something down it becomes true? What if as you say the events of the past were quite different from what he is relating, and this is his attempt to change the past.....the kaiser soze parallel is awesome too!
93. BigIrishGod
Personally I think that the Ambrose is both the poet and the king that Kvothe kills.

1) Ambrose has a well-known over inflated opinion of his abilities as a poet

2) The books talk about Ambrose's family being in the line of succession and then drops occasional mention of the various misfortunes and disasters that befall those between him and the throne. From my first read through I saw that as evidence that his family have been maneuvering for the throne.

"I think we know literally nothing about the Penitent King?"

I don't know about that. The Penitent King's men are in blue and white livery. Maer Alveron's colors are listed as sapphire and ivory. If Ambrose and family cut a swathe through the line of succession, it might make sense that the Maer would step up and offer the realm some stability.
Karen Fox
94. thepupxpert
I'm in the middle of the 2nd book and just thought I'd look up the re-read, imagine my surprise to see very recent posts here. This has been a great companion to reading the books so far.
Jon Peterson
95. ryssgarden
This isn't very important, but just a little tidbit I noticed tonight after starting my third time through NOTW. Chronicler is on his way to a place called Abbott's Ford. Abbottsford, Wisconsion is about 50 miles northwest of Steven's Point, home of a certain Mr. P Rothfuss.
George Brell
96. gbrell

While I think we're on to something with the Maer's livery colors, it's worth pointing out that both the Maer and Meluan Lackless are ahead of the Jakis clan in the line of succession, which means that Ambrose needs to jump the line somehow in addition to "cutting a swathe." Perhaps involving Princess Ariel?
Jeremy Raiz
97. Jezdynamite
Hi all

Since I missed the start of the NOTW Reread, I just started reading NOTW from scratch again to see if I could spot anything (I've got do something to satisfy my KKC curiosity).

(1) I'm intrigued as well as to why Kvothe ordered the mounting board
4 months ago. What triggered him to order it?

(2) Does this make sense: he ordered the mounting board four months ago, and in that time:
(a) the order was sent by some combination of horseback/pidgeon/ boat to a merchant in Aryen.
(b) someone very talented/knowledgable in Aryen (or beyond) had the tools/magic to cut and shape the mounting board (which a normal carpenter and a blacksmith have trouble marking in any way, let alone working the wood)
(c) the mounting board was sent back to Newarre by boat/wagon.

Maybe the mounting boards are a standard product in Aryen? But still someone has to work the wood.

(3) There seems to be some disparity/"loss of knowlege" related to working the wood of the mounting board. I'm assuming it had to be cut from a tree/log, cut-carved-shaped and perhaps smoothed, had pegs built into it and had mounting brackets (or a groove in the back).

This implies (obviously) someone in Aryen has vastly superior knowledge to the carpenter and blacksmith in Newarre.

(4) If the mounting board and Kvothe's chest are made of roah, I wonder how Kvothe could have made (or had made) a whole chest out of the "difficult to mark/burn" wood.

Perhaps the Roah wood comes from the Tahl, where they sing to trees?
98. fatcatfan
My thoughts reading this blog:
Caesura - The silence surrounding the inn is significant because it is a caesura - a pause between stanzas. The story unfolding is not the end of Kvothe's story, but only a pause. There will be music again...

Which poet? Wasn't Ambrose a poet (if a poor one)?
99. DangerZone
So, I'm reading the books for the third time, with this detailed reference as my guide :)

I LOVE what you guys have done here. So much good insight into the books.

I have an idea ahout part 1, I hope someone is still reading these comments:

When Graham brings in the mounting board for Folly, Kote coments it's been so long he'd almost forgotten, and Graham corrects him saying it has only been four months. Kote then seems distanced/glazed by the fact that only four months have passed and Graham notes that Kote seems much less vibrant than he did even one month ago.

So what happened in the preceeding month? Why was Kote somewhat surprised that such a short time had passed? I think Kote has been spending time in Fae, and recently with respect to the frame. Any thoughts?
Jo Walton
100. bluejo
Danger Zone: Oh, yes, still reading.

If he's been spending time in Fae, it must be at night. I mean he opens the bar every day, he serves meals every day, he has to be there. He could have gone into Fae one night -- he's right by a Waystone we know that -- and stayed there for years, or a mortal age (the mortal age Bast has been studying Celum Tincture) and come back the same night. He could do this every moonless night. Why would be another question, and an interesting one that we can't answer.
101. DangerZone
Awesome, glad to hear it! :)

It seemed an interesting point that Kote's view of recent time passage was disjointed from Graham's. I'm curious about how the story lead up to "present day" will work in DT.
102. Speculator
This may have nothing to do with all the other comments, but, about the Chandrian.
If I remember it right (and I don't have the books on hand, so I hope I do), we learn from the Ademre that the Chandrian were the traitors of the great cities left during/after what Skarpi called the "Creation War", led by Haliax, who betrayed Myr Tariniel.
That's how I understood it, at least.
Therefore, the Chandrian are neither demons nor Fae - it is said that Lanre subjected himself to horrible changes to bring back his beloved wife (whose name I have forgotten...), which made him unable to die, rejected by death without hope to ever join her again. It is entirely possible that he took others with him.
Was there ever anything about the reasons behind that war? I can't recall...
Could there be a parallel between Lanre and Kvothe?
I mean, I am fairly sure -something- happened to Denna.
And there is the change of name to consider as well. Not a parallel, but similarities then.
Does that make Kvothe a villain?
I think I probably should have put this with the Tarbean chapteres. ^^;
103. TheAndy
I've just started by fifth re-read of Name of the Wind, and I was struck by something I've seen no mention of elsewhere -- right in the middle of the first chapter.

The common folk are in the Waystone Inn that evening of the Scrael; he made no special effort to disuade them from recasting it as a demon, and then they tested the theory by using an iron shim (without too much carbon mutating it into blister steel, the principle of Consanguinity in action).
"When he strikes it with iron there’s a smell of rotting flowers and burning hair."
Sympathy in action could also account for this, given the way K's setting is described... the iron fireplace, the fire within it, and so on.
Katy Burnside
104. DarlinKaty
@103 TheAndy. Good catch! I agree. Because after, when relaying the story to Bast he says,
"They thought it was a demon, you know."
Bast shrugged. "It might as well be, Reshi."
"I know. I encouraged them, in fact."
Up until this point he is only called the innkeeper or Kote both by third person narration and other characters. So does this support the theory of his "Split Alar"? To me it seems more like the "Beautiful Game" theory. It seems that he absolutely used sympathy to encourage the crowd. Although the fireplaces are mentioned as being black stone twice, not iron. Hmmmm.
Also, @25 mknecht01. Newarre. Nowhere. Wow.
And to jump way back in the thread, if I may.
Ambrose is a poet and less than a dozen steps away from being the king. If Caesura cannot break, can things that it breaks be repaired? Perhaps it wasn't malfeascence, but Caesura that was used to kill Ambrose the poet king? It broke the stones by the fountain and that's why they can't be repaired.
To contradict that theory of mine (seems too obvious), Vashet calls one of her barbarians "My poet king." She seemed to have fond feelings for him, and she alludes to enjoying educated discourse with him (regarding man mothers, for one). Kvothe has animated discussions with the Maer. And I believe he does write some things on his own for his lady love, does he not? I could be mistaken on the Maer writing anything himself. But I have always wondered if the Maer was vashet's poet king and with that whether or not Kvothe kills the Maer. We know he hires the Adem, he hired Tempi. He is still referred to as "The King of Vint" and is king in all but title. Threpe spends several sentences telling us this. And as PR fans know, he includes details usually for a reason. Ambrose to me, seems too obvious. I think the fountain and broken stones that the traveler references are an exaggerated retelling of Ambrose's broken arm. But dang I really like the theory that he is retelling this as he wished it had happened in the vein of "you could write something down and make it true. make someone believe it."
I am rambling here, of course. And this is the first time I've joined this discussion so I hope I am not breaking some taboo. It is rather difficult to stick the the chapters listed when discussing the books.
105. DB3006
Has anyone considered that Felurian calls K poet several times? Could it be that K is the poet?
106. locallyunscene
kineta@90: It's an interesting theory and made me pause, but I don't think this is the case. The frame story details outside of K's narration match up to the story too much. A device like you're describing would make the books themselves liars after a fashion.
a.) Rothfuss wants to tell a "true story".
b.) In general, he wouldn't resort to this kind of trickery.
c.) It would retroactively destory the importance of the first two books which he has stated many times he wants to avoid.
d.) It kills the concept of a tragic hero.

Speaking of tragic hero, I suspect the Pentinent(Sorrowful) King is Ambrose, and the king K killed was Ambrose's father. This would explain why the king is pentinent, why K is in hiding, and would be "nicely" tragically ironic. The main problem with my theory is that Ambrose's love for his father is not well established, so the pentinent title would feel a bit forced. Although if Ambrose's father is the "Poet King" (king being a mistranslation by the Adem who don't have such a heirarchy) Vashet spoke of then Ambrose's aspiration to be a poet might retroactively establish his reverence for his father.

However, I also really like the idea of Kvothe being the Poet King he killed. It's amazing how many potential poet kings there are in the story.
107. Jonnymoon
Only read thru these books twice but has anyone else's spidey-sense gone off about the bottles that Kote polishes? There seems to be a relationship there that sets mine off.
Ashley Fox
108. A Fox
Hey. The latest post as a bit more on that :)
109. bluntos
A thought is..

The chandarian recieve pain whenever their real names are used, and Kvothe may have done something to get the curse of the chandarian.

So, I have looked through the book for instances of his name being spoken in the frame, TO him, when that someone is naming him Kvothe (and by this I just mean they recognise him, or know him to be Kvothe) and say that name to him calling him Kvothe :).
Sorry if I laboured that point a bit..

So, I'm looking for instances of where he is being 'named' to see if Kvothe might be recieving pain.

Kote was kneeling on the hearth, building up the fire, when someone spoke behind him."Kvothe?"
The innkeeper turned wearing a slightly confused smile.
It was one of the well-dressed travelers. He swayed a little.
"You're Kvothe."

He says it a third time...

"Kvothe the Bloodless." The man pressed ahead ....

Then we get Kvothe grinning - or is he in pain? "slightly confused smile" - could also be pain. Then, he fakes the fall so that he can retire upstairs due to massive pain from his name being said to him 3 times by someone who has identified him. Also 'He swayed a little' refers to Kvothe not the traveler.

But as he stepped from the hearth, one of his legs twisted underneath him and he fell heavily to the floor knocking over a chair.

We also see another reference to a grin with pain associated.

In spite of his grin it was obvious he'd hurt himself.

He goes upstairs swearing under his breath. Bast is told to drug the guy.
That all happened in Chapter 3 btw. Called Wood and Word. Wood for the board he purchases, word for ? The power of the word Kvothe? (or Folly..)

Chronicler names him 3 times also (in Chapter 6), but something is fishy about the last time he does it.

"The stories are saying 'assassin' not 'hero.' Kvothe the Arcane and Kvothe Kingkiller are two very different men."
Kote stopped polishing the bar and turned his back to the room. He nodded once without looking up


Kote remained facing the back wall, hands flat on the counter. His head was bowed slightly, as if a great weight had settled onto him.

He is hiding his pain, maybe he doesn't want Chronicler to know he has this curse. Chronicler might be testing this theory (or rumour from earlier - new chandarian in the night).
Before Chronicler names Kvothe a third time - this happens... after he has smashed the strawberry wine bottle and is cleaning it up.

One at a time, Kote wiped their bottoms clean of the stawberry wine and set them on the bar between himself and Chronicler, as if they might defend him.

Ok, the bottles are defending him from Chronicler. He does not want to be named thrice.. he knows what Chronicler is trying to do and wants to appear un-cursed or just avoid the pain. Now, the third time..

"You are Kvothe."

The man who called himself Kote looked up from behind his bottles. A full-lipped smile played about his mouth. A spark was kindling behind his eyes. He seemed taller.

Yeah, he was behind his bottles :) Will Chronicler notice the significance?

There are no more instance of this happening in the frame.
110. Estelyn
I've begun my long-anticipated re-reading of TNotW and am enjoying both the book and this discussion! I'm used to discussing Tolkien's works in painstaking detail, and there are few enough fantasy books that can stand the test of re-reading and thoughtful discussion.

One of the quotes mentioned above ("You'd be surprised at the sorts of things hidden away in children's songs.") immediately reminded me of something Celeborn says in Tolkien's "Fellowship of the Ring": "Do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know." That foreshadows something which happens near the end of the story - Rothfuss is also good at that kind of subtle hint. I will certainly be keeping an eye out for children's songs this time!
Steven Halter
111. stevenhalter
Estelyn@110:Yes, very much do watch for subtle hints.
112. meteoroskopos
On Newarre/Nowhere: I like this, but I also think there is an additional pun - Newarre = New War. (I've been reading Hobbes lately, who consistently spells war as "Warre.") Something Kvothe does sparks a new war, perhaps even on the scale of the Creation War, and we are on the road to learning about it...
113. meteoroskopos
Also, on Eolian/Aeolian: I love the connections people pointed out with the Ancient Greek (wind, also related to the King of the Winds in Homer's Odyssey) and to the medieval musical scale. The two are actually related - the name of the musical scale ultimately comes from Ancient Greek music and shares a root with the wind words, as well as nouns and adjectives meaning "lyre," "ever-changing," "dappled," etc. In other words, LOTS of resonances to different themes in the novels. For myself, I like the notion of wind moving through the pipes that are the Eolian's symbol.
114. mrssmith
Love this re-read! I don't think the iron actually burned the scrael, I think it was trickery (sympathy) on Kote's part. He took much too long to find the iron coin, drawing all attention to him and ensuring everyone was looking, pressed the coin to the scrael and there was a "short, sharp, crackling sound" and then it smelled like rotting flowers and burning hair. Later, he admits to Bast that he "encouraged" the other folk in the inn to believe it was a demon.

Now that I have read him stating, "I am Edema Ruh to my core" so many times, I question everything he does and says.....
Katy Burnside
115. DarlinKaty
I just noticed something that isn't in this thread, although it may be mentioned later in the re-read. But Kvothe is referred to as Bast's "master" several times. I suppose I could go back through the first 5 chapters and count, but that seems tedious. But Chapter 3 ends with

"there was no one around to notice the difference. No one except Bast, who watched his master, and worried, and waited."

In a Rothfuss book, ending the chapter with such powerful words should signal you to pay attention. Looking back, at first I thought it was Bast waiting for the hired guys, for Chronicler to show up, for something that he'd set in motion to happen. Seems a reasonable enough explanation for the *LOOK HERE!* wording.

But when compared to the end of Chapter 5, Notes, it seems more significant.
"Then Bast drew a chair alongside the bed and sat, watching his master, listening to him breathe." The Bast sings the alsmot lullaby then we have this: "Bast's voice faded until at last he sat motionless, watching the rise and fall of his master's silent breathing through the long hours of morning's early dark."

Hmmm, two of the beginning chapters both end with Kvothe being referred to as Bast's master? And Kvothe hasn't shown any desire for power or mastery over another soul in either the frame or his narrative in any other circumstance that I can recall.
So then we're left with (because we need more) more questions. WHy is Kvothe Bast's master? Does he actually control him, as a kind of minion? Is Bast an equivalent to a familiar? Does this support the K is an Amyr/Chandrian character?
Bloody hell, I need to stop re- reading these books.
116. Tnielsen
I will be honest here, I read about 3/4 of the comments here after reading this first section so what I'm about to say may have been mentioned before already.

I'm currently in the middle of WMF and just finished up TNotW. One thing has stuck out to me, albeit something minor. Within these first few chapters (it's mentioned briefly in the original reread post) we learn of someone that comes into the inn and recognizes Kvothe. He is described as having sandy colored hair. If I had the books on me I would go back to find the exact passage, but alas, I do not. That being said, there are multiple mentions of Simmon having sandy colored hair throughout both books. Two references to that information that I see come from WMF, one where Sim runs his fingers through his sandy hair as he's making sure Kvothe doesn't do anything stupid after ingesting the plumb-bob (that's what it's called, right?) and the other is when Wil, Sim, Fela, and Kvothe are in a reading room in the Archives once they've found the schema for the gram Kvothe hopes to make. We learn that Sim can read and translate Eld Vintic, talking about how it's incredible poetry. He seems to recite something off the top of his head, making Fela suddenly take in all of his features, including his sandy colored hair.

I'm not sure if that has any significance at all in the books, but it could be something interesting. I have noticed that we have had no mention of this sandy haired man since this first introduction (at least as far as I can remember) but that isn't to say we won't get another reference in the next part of WMF or the next book.

Another thing that could be interesting to dive into would be the relationship between poems and love throughout the entire story. It seems as though every time poetry is mentioned there is a woman involved. I wonder if poet-killer has something to do with Denna and the (lack of) relationship between her and Kvothe in the current time? Just a thought, and honestly maybe not something very compelling. I will continue to be looking out for interesting topics and maybe something more about this mysterious sandy haired man that seems to recognize Kote/Kvothe.
Steven Halter
117. stevenhalter
Tnielson@116:The sandy haired man has been speculated about in various places in the re-read. Who is he (Sim has been mentioned as a possibility)? Will he return? Is he a friend or an enemy or just a passing stranger?
118. Tnielsen
stevenhalter@117: Thanks for that! Guess I should read through the rest of the re-reads before I post on the first one I read, shouldn't I? I'll be doing that from here on out, once I finish WMF again.

With that said, I'm kind of partial to the idea of it being Sim, but we do run into the problem where they were such good friends while at the University it would be strange for Sim to not try to push him more. It's also strange that K doesn't give any indication that he knows who this sandy haired man is, although I guess that's not entirely implausible considering the state of K and his current life with lack of music, magic, and the like.

Thanks for informing me about this idea appearing in various places. From now on I'll read everything before I post, mostly because I don't want to be "that guy" that just posts and posts and posts the same things that people have already mentioned.
119. FryBot
I haven't read through all of the comments, so I'm sorry if this has already been mentioned before. In chapter one of NOtW Rothfuss describes Kote's fireplace:

"The fireplace was made of the same black rock as the one downstairs. It stood in the center of the room, a minor feat of engineering of which Kote was rather proud”

Could this mean that the Waystone in has been built around an actual Waystone? I'm not sure what the implications would be, but it could allow Bast or Kvothe to enter the Fey realm when the time is right.
120. jorgybear
On the thrice-locked chest – the “lock which can’t be seen” may be the same as the “lock” which is on a lockless box. Presumably, a lockless box can be opened under certain circumstances, and the locks of copper and iron would add extra levels of protection, against demons and Fey perhaps?
121. jorgybear
@CorwinOfAmber: We have already seen that some of the stories told about him are exaggerations at best and outright lies at worst. It’s possible that the killing of the king was falsely attributed to him.
thistle pong
122. thistlepong

Looks like you're going through the reread in order. If you skip ahead to Speculative Summary 16, post 185, there's a pretty good case to be made for a king killing properly attributed to Kvothe. It's a bit heavy on imagery, literary device, and poetry, but it also hews closely to the story.
123. JeffK
Long-time lurker, first-time poster. I started reading NotW for the second time last night, and noticed something I haven't seen in the thread. (Of course, I may have simply missed it.)

When K is pretending to banish Bast, he says, "Tehus antausa eha! Aroi te denna-leyan!" After Bast complains that that's insulting, K continues, "By earth and stone, I abjure you! Glamour be banished!"

To me, the second passage feels like a translation of the first. If so, does "denna" mean "glamour"?
124. alaroldai
I realize I'm a bit late to this, but a couple of things:
It seems likely that Ambrose is the poet that Kvothe killed with Caesura - Ambrose is a terrible but proud poet as we find out when Kvothe reaches the university.

Also the smell of the scrael ("rotting flowers and burning hair") matches Kvothe's memories of his parent's deaths. Burning hair in particular is mentioned frequently. So possibly the scrael relate directly to Kvothe?

Also, given that Denna is constantly changing her name and moving from place to place, I think the translation of "denna" to "glamour" might be incorrect - "denna" may be an equivalent of "banished", which (if it somehow relates to her Name) would seem appropriate.
Sadie Crandle
125. SimlySadie
Long time lurker, first time poster. Have loved all the comments, but have not seen any reference to Kvothe sending Ceasura back to the Adem as he promised he would on his death. Would he not have done so in order to perpetuate the myth of his 'death'?

Also, do we know the meaning of 'Reshi'? I see a reference to it meaning Sensei, but I'm wondering if it means 'Father' ... is there any reason Bast isn't Kvothe's son with Felurian?
thistle pong
126. thistlepong
SimlySadie@125, most of the discussion about Saicere is buried in discussions about Folly. But your suggestion, along with Kote pretty much saying so, is the reason folks don't think they're the same sword

There's no hard reason Bast can't be Kvothe's son. However, there are a host of probablies: the age difference and related timing issue, Bast's satyr legs shared by neither Kvothe nor Felurian, the speculated etymology of Reshi that you mentioned.
128. SimlySadie
One last point on this part of the reread. Knowing that PR never puts anything in by accident, what happened (Ch 1) on Shep's farm that no-one wanted to talk about? I don't recall that ever coming up again.
129. Moreth
My first re-read, and loving the community discussion!
One point on the 'lullaby' from Bast: Has anyone else noticed the slightly odd punctuation? If Bast was only commenting on Kote (apparently) dying day by day, I would have expected a comma at the end of line two. Instead there is a full stop. The line can then stand alone and seems more a play on Kvothe's name and the damage caused by wind-fanned tinder (the whole world is burning)...
And why ask what the flickering portends, if it's mortal death? Right now, I take it to mean the flip-flop between Kvothe and Kote.
Bast (and his poem) are very odd indeed.
Nez E
130. Nezzynoo3
I agree with the idea that Kote feels physical pain when he is called Kvothe, which we repeatedly see him try and cover up. But I don't know that this is related to a curse. I don't think we will know why until we find out what he did to make himself Kote.
End of chapter six has K identified as Kvothe for the first time, with reference to being taller, a voice of iron and a spark kindling behind his eyes. I think this whole scene with him openly admitting he is Kvothe and then owning it, and immediately finding strength and fire - is because of Bast. Bast had sung his lullaby the night before that also mentioned kindle and fire and seemed to be trying to pass over to K some of his own power.
What if Bast is one of the 'singers' the Chandrian fear, who has magic through voice?? Could this be why he is with K, tied to him as a means of protection and safekeeping while he is not Kvothe and has access to Kvothes capabilities?
Also - K sums up his whole story in one breath - 'I trouped, travelled, loved, lost, trusted and was betrayed' which confirms that he was betrayed, rather than he betrayed. I think it was Denna, or Felurian perhaps.
I think it's interesting that Kote squeezes a cloth and that smashes a bottle - is this sympathy? So he does have magic still?? Hmmmm
131. Chiron1210
Inspired by this post, I just started my own re-read. The thing that struck me most is on the very first page of Chapter One (at least in my edition). When Cob starts talking about Taborlin and the Chandrian, the Smith's prentice says "But how'd they find him?..."And why din't they kill him when they had the chance?" Jake responds "Hush now, you'll get all the answers before the end...Just let him tell it." Kind of seems like Mr. Rothfuss is speaking to US there...
Leeland Woodard
132. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Hello to everyone still subscribed to this thread.

I followed the reread but didn't post because I didn't feel I had much to contribute when we went around the first time. Since then, I've read the series a good 5-6 more times. I'm re-reading again now for myself, and I'm going to try to fill in any gaps that I see that haven't been discussed in the relevant threads.

There's one quote on page 40 that has always kind of stood out to me, for no particular reason. Bast is stitching Kvothe up, and asks how many scrael there were. Kvothe tells him that there were five. Bast then replies:

"Anpauen, Reshi. You should be dead. You should be dead twice."

I have absolutely nothing to base this on except for the tinfoil hat that I occasionally wear, but I think that Bast is referencing K's dual identity. He's saying that both Kote and Kvothe should be dead. Kote, because the inkeeper couldn't handle any sort of battle, and Kvothe because even Kvothe shouldn't be able to kill five scrael at once.

I'm also going to point out that K seems to be showing significantly less care about his disguise as time wears on. If he has been hiding for a little over a year in "the middle of Newarre," then ordering a mounting board worth its weight in gold, fighting off the ludicrous number of scrael that he did (hell, even knowing what they are is a giveaway), agreeing to tell the story to Chronicler--all of these things are as much folly as the ridiculously ancient sword hanging over the bar if his goal is to remain hidden. I also suspect that Kvothe knows what Bast is up to. He may have even been hoping Bast would spread the rumors that he did to draw Chronicler in.

I really think that K is nearing the end of a long con here, but I'm not sure if he's failing at it or if it just seems that way.
Lukas Haenzi
133. Cyberclown
Me too, long time lurker, first time poster.
I'm listening to the audiobook for the first time after reading the books once in german and about twice in english and something just grabbed my ear, but I don't know if it was mentioned somewhere else already.

Who noticed that "Kote" actually sounds like "coat", like a jacket to use against the cold world and weather and also something that can be put on and taken off as the owner pleases?
Gives the whole Innkeeper persona an additional depth of intention and shows how careful The Rothfuss and Kvothe choose names.
134. Shadowfax
I was doing a re-read for others and there are two things that struck me as odd.

1. Devan Lochees: When I first read, I was trying to uncover the "chronicler", but how did I over see the fact that he is a Lochees! That means he is from the Lockless/Lacklith family and therefore a distant relative to Kvothe somehow. Now such a name might be important, because our Pat likes re-re-revising. any thoughts ?

2. At the very beginning, when Devan was trying to "hold Kote's story as a ransom" Kote got angry, and a bottle of ?strawberry wine shattered eight inches away. Now explain how did this happen if kote has changed his name and as a consequence lost all his magic powers. Kote capable of magic is a sign of hope that magic is still in him and it can come back. I accepted the common theory that Kvothe has lost / left magic by name change but this event throws a spanner in the wheels.
135. Dawnanic
Taborlin's amulet "black as a winter night and cold as ice to touch" might be a gram, though I would have thought these are hard to make on the road.
It could be one of the mysteries that Kilvin tells Kvothe about towards the end of WMF "an oddly shaped stone that maintains a temperature slightly above freezing, no matter what the heat around it"
136. Kbetanco
I agree with @TheKingOfCarrotFlowers, after starting my reread of the two books it feels more and more like a "long con". While I can acknowledge it is possible we are reading the rare fantasy series where the main protagonist really is washed up, the paradigm doesn't seem the fit here at least not for me. The way PR has built the character it would make perfect sense if the time Kvothe is spending as the innkeeper Kote is just a part of his strategy to get revenge for his parents. If the Chronicler had heard rumors about Kvothe, then clearly Chadrian would have heard them as well. My theory here is that telling his story is the equivalent of singing the wrong kind of songs.

As as for the infamous chest with three locks, I think it plays a large role in the con Kvothe is trying to perpetrate. There is a reason he keeps the chest with him, clearly there something in there he needs locked away potentially even from himself but which he also may need to access again someday. I'm of the belief that the true Kvothe, the one that was all powerful and had mastered the names of several things, is locked away in the chest, obviously not in a physical sense. Rather like the games Kvothe used to play with himself when first learning sympathy, the specific game I'm thinking of is the one where he splits his mind and has one side hide something and the other side look for it. I believe the only way he has been able to successfully perpetrate the aforementioned fraud is because he really doesn't have access to that part of himself, he had a part of himself hide Kvothe so that he could assume the identity of Kote. But only as part of a greater plan for his revenge rather than as a punishment to himself. When the time is right, i.e. when the Chadrain come knocking that chest will open and hellfire will rain down upon them.

It should be noted that my theory is self serving in the sense that I prefer my fantasy protagonist to be badasses. And what would be more bad ass then in book 3 Kvothe rising from the humdrum existence of an innkeeper and executing a plan years in the making to get the revenge he's been waiting long and hard for. Also if this has all been mentioned on a previous thread my apologies, I'm new to this posting thing.
137. sooshrut
another minor point we know in The name of the wind it was the autumn season shown by the line "it was one of those perfect autumn days so common in stories and so rare in the real world."
Later on while buying old leather gloves and apron for scrael hunting the smith asks “You sure you want to do it now?” The smith asked. “We haven’t had rain in a while. The ground’ll be softer after the spring thaw.”
Kote shrugged. “My granda always told me that fall’s the time to root up something you don’t want coming back to trouble you.” Kote mimicked the quaver of an old man’s voice. “ ‘Things are too full of life in the spring months. In the summer, they’re too strong and won’t let go. Autumn
He looked around at the changing leaves on the trees. “ ‘Autumn’s the time. In autumn everything is tired and ready to die.’ ”

So what does this tell us ? It can have following possibilities -
1. Kvothe wants to die ... Or must die ?
2. Kvothe must kill someone or something - autumn being the best time to root up something you dont want coming back to trouble you !

And i must say this is not a simple book ! It feels like an epic ! How can anyone layer so much things together ? Its a new exp for me !
138. teekay
Newarre could mean 'nowhere', but if you are going to play with words to that degree it could just as easily be 'N-e-warre' (anywhere).
Similiarly it could be New-arre (newer) as in a newer or most recent form, or if you wanted to get west country it could be 'knower' as in to know a thing. The w might even be silent or similar, in Polish i believe it would be closer to a v so it might even be pronounced like 'never' implying that the story is halfway to never, meaning its mostly fictitious!
Really if you are going to stretch newarre to nowhere you could squint and make it anything.
139. Flamespirit
It seems obvious to me what the Waystone Inn represents. It's purgatory. What do the Edema Ruh do at waystones? They pause in their journey, just as Kvothe is stuck here between his life as Kvothe and his faked death (that is slowly becoming the real thing). The waystones have always seemed to have some kind of mythic significance--nobody knows why they were put there, but they have a strange, almost spiritual meaning throughout the story. Kvothe called his inn the Waystone because he sees it as Purgatory. He's paying penance for his "crimes (of which we haven't really seen--yet)". I wouldn't be surprised if in Day Three, after wrapping up the story, he moves on from the Waystone to some form of Heaven (or Hell).

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