Thu
May 5 2011 1:03pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Name of the Wind, Part 3: Beware of Folly

The Patrick Rothfuss Reread on Tor.comThis is the third part of my insanely detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s The Name of the Wind. Please note that it contains spoilers for both The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, and not only that but it would be pretty boring if you hadn’t read them.

This section covers chapters 11-15.

Abbreviations

NW = The Name of the Wind. WMF = The Wise Man’s Fear. DT = Day Three, the forthcoming final volume. K = Kvothe or Kote when I can’t figure out what to call him and I’m feeling Kafkaesque.

Useful links: The Sleeping Under the Wagon post, in which there are lots of theories. The re-read index. The map.

 

Chapter 11 is called The Binding of Iron, but it’s actually not about that. Binding would be by names, and this chapter is about Ben teaching young Kvothe sympathy.

First, I want to step back and admire Rothfuss’ skill in explaining sympathy to us by having Kvothe disapppinted that it isn’t magical enough. We’re deeply in the head of the first person Kvothe here. This right here is how you do an infodump.

So, we know how sympathy works and it’s magical energy-changing. You can link things better the more they are like each other, and what you do to one you can do to the other. Kvothe learns dozens of bindings. We learn how sympathy works—and it’s magical enough for me, but Kvothe’s dissatisfaction with it makes it all seem real.

Ben calls him E’lir teasingly, his first mentor, just as he said. And we get a bonus history of money—two thousand years ago in Ceald, and Kvothe knows the names of the chieftains. We’re in solid history here, not legend, and that was two thousand years. How long ago was the Creation War?

Then we have the first Lackless rhyme. Kvothe at this age clearly doesn’t know that his mother was Lady Lackless before her marriage. There’s no evidence one way or the other about whether he knows it now as he’s telling the story. But when she says “You can apologise to Lady Lackless and myself...” she is being double-tongued.

The rhyme itself is supposedly a children’s skipping rhyme, with sexual innuendos.

Seven things has Lady Lackless
Keeps them underneath her black dress
One’s a ring that’s not for wearing
One a sharp word, not for swearing
Right beside her husband’s candle
There’s a door without a handle
In a box, no lid or locks
Lackless keeps her husband’s rocks
There’s a secret she’s been keeping
She’s been dreaming and not sleeping
On a road that’s not for traveling
Lackless likes her riddle raveling

Seven things suggests the Chandrian. Also, it says seven but only lists two of them. The ring that’s not for wearing immediately makes me think of the ring Meluan gives Kvothe. The sharp word not for swearing I have no ideas about. Anyone?

There are three possible sexual innuendos to my eye. The first is the ring—especially in comparison to Lady Perial’s hat. Then there are the two things belonging to her husband, his candle and his rocks, both pretty obvious allusions. But they don’t have to mean that. I don’t know much about candles, and it could just be there to rhyme with the door, but it’s a candle by that door that gets Kvothe banned from the archives. And I’m sure candles are forbidden because they have sympathy lamps and there’s a danger of fire around books, but maybe there’s another reason for not wanting them near that door, especially? Maybe?

We know what the box is, we have seen it, but we don’t know what is in it. Her husband’s rocks...or part of the moon’s name....

In the last post, Herelle suggests that to be Lady Lackless she would have had to be married to Lord Lackless, which isn’t the case—in the European nobility daughters of some degrees of nobles get titles. But it draws attention to an interesting thing, which is the presence of a Lady Lackless and her husband, not a Lord Lackless—and yet it’s a typically patrilineal society, and when we meet Meluan she’s marrying the Maer, marrying up, not down to somebody who would take her title. But this does point to something going on with gender and expectations and Lacklesses.

I can’t make anything of the last part—anyone?

Kvothe is supposedly telling us this to say he didn’t spend all his time with Ben and that he did sometimes get into trouble for things. And in the list of things he gives us as his jobs in the last paragraph, one of them is rattling the sheet for thunder as a sound effect. Maedre again.

 

Chapter Twelve is Puzzle Pieces Fitting, and it has a double meaning. First Kvothe uses it to explain how easily he’d learned the binding, and then it connects to the investigation his parents are doing into the story of Lanre.

So Kvothe is creeping up eavesdropping on his parents and Ben. It’s very hard to write in first person without getting to the point where you need to report conversations that people just wouldn’t have with your POV character there, so you have to resort to eavesdropping. It doesn’t matter if they’re sneaking up like Kvothe, or hiding in a wardrobe trying not to sneeze, the point is the conversation they overhear, and which the participants wouldn’t have if they were there.

The conversation we have here is in two parts. The first part is about the Chandrian, and there’s no reason Kvothe couldn’t have been there for it. The second part is about him, and it would never have taken place if they’d known he was in earshot.

So we’ve had the Chandrian in the Taborlin story, and we’ve had them in the children’s rhyme, and we’ve had them mentioned as what the story is about, and now we get to them. Arliden is composing a song about Lanre, and he thinks he’s figured out the Chandrian’s motivation—though of course he doesn’t share this! And he’s been working on the song for more than a year, without retribution yet, and retribution is quite a while off. So whatever summons them, maybe moving about helps and maybe it takes a lot of repetition. In any case, we don’t hear anything here about the story of Lanre, only that it’s really old. What we learn about the Chandrian is that the name means “seven of them” and that it’s Tema, a language a thousand years older than Temic. The thing we already know about Tema is that it’s the language Kvothe learned in a day, and when we get to it this is for a church trial—so it seems to me that it’s reasonable to treat it as being like Church Latin.

Ben and Kvothe’s parents discuss the Chandrian for a while, the signs—rotted wood, rusted metal, black-eyed, blue flame, cold touch, bricks that crumble, dead plants, shadow-hame....

Then there’s Ben’s interesting “no smoke without fire” explanation of why he doesn’t want to name them, because people are afraid of them everywhere, and there are no funny songs about them. This is doing a good job of building them up as something to fear.

We also hear, incidentally, what people fear regionally. Demons in Atur, in parts of Vintas the Fae and in other parts draugar, and in the Commonwealth shamblemen. We later see shamblemen scarecrows being burned at Trebon, and of course when the path to the Fae opens it is in Vintas. I do hope we don’t run into any draugar or demons—but the people of Trebon think the draccus is a demon, and the people of Newarre think the scraelings are. So maybe “demon” is a catchall title for things people don’t recognise or undetstand.

The second part of the conversation is about how smart Kvothe is, and how he could go to the University. This is a new thought for him, and an appealing one. His parents are fairly open to the possibility.

I think Kvothe really is that smart. He doesn’t necessarily have application for things that don’t interest him, and he has the smart person’s typical problem of giving up when things get hard because they’ve never been hard and he has no experience of how to deal with that. He has the flaws of being very smart—his emotional intelligence running far behind his intellectual intelligence, and thinking that he is the person who ought to deal with everything, and that he’s thought of everything, and that he can think rings around everyone else. He’s bratty in the right way. (Peter Falk voice: “Yes, you’re very smart. Now shut up.”) Isisel and others were arguing in last week’s thread about how good a student he is, and I think that’s a separate question from his actual intelligence. He’s really smart. He’s a prodigy. And he’s going to have the prodigy problem that Isaac Asimov describes of still thinking he’s a prodigy when his hair is silver.

And the chapter ends on a foreshadowingly elegaic note for his parents “That is how I like to remember them.”

 

Chapter Thirteen is Interlude: Flesh with blood beneath.

So, an interlude, we’re back in the Waystone and the frame, and as if to remind us where we’ve come from it starts “In the Waystone Inn there was a silence.” Kvothe has stopped talking, he wants a drink. He goes to get one and he calls out Bast. There’s a bit of banter about Bast eavesdropping, all normal and friendly, which makes it a surprise when Chronicler recognises Bast as fae and instantly attacks him.

It’s interesting how he does it—he uses the iron charm the robbers didn’t take to call the Name of Iron. I’d have guessed that was a guilder. But it isn’t, because Kvothe says he’s “at least Re’lar” and he’d have recognised a guilder in plain sight on the table being used for magic, surely? So maybe a gram? Or what? This is the third time we’ve seen a Name used, the first time directly. Taborlin uses the Name of Stone to break the wall and the Name the Wind to float down. Then Ben uses the Name of the Wind when Kvothe first meets him. But both of those are inside stories, and this is out in the frame.

Now Chronicler uses the Name of Iron and is one of “perhaps two score people” who know it—and yet he’s been generally the most normal person in the story so far. We’re in a loose omniscient point-of-view here, when K isn’t narrating, and we mostly alternate between seeing Chronicler’s angle on things with K and Bast, but we get much closer to Chronicler. We hear him thinking that the difference between being in a story and hearing one is being afraid. He has been mostly used as a stand in for the reader, a receptive person who wants to know the story. I find it hard to see him as somebody with an agenda beyond hearing the story—it never occurred to me until Jonathan Duerig mentioned it that as a Lochees and therefore also a Lackless he might have a part to play.

It’s therefore surprising to me to see him act—especially as he was so useless in the scrael attack, and the bandit theft. If he could use the Name of Iron, couldn’t he have kept his horse? And how about against the scrael—they’re fae creatures, and vulnerable to iron? Well, nothing comes of it. Bast leaps at him, and K puts out his hand and stops him. No messing about with magic, or losing physical prowess, he just does it. And he loses his temper, and his eyes go dark. Then he insists they make friends and turns back into the innkeeper.

Bast is introduced as “Bastas, son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Telwyth Mael.” So unless K is deliberately lying here, not his son by Felurian. Telwyth Mael we haven’t heard elsewhere, and unlike most of the names here it sounds Welsh to me and therefore probably standard fantasyesque and elvish to normal people. Remmen I definitely haven’t seen elsewhere. And is K saying that Bast is a prince of Twilight or that his father is? Bast is mysterious.

And when they won’t make friends, he is again “dark and fierce” until they do.

He’s so young, Chronicler marvelled. He can’t be more than twenty-five. Why didn’t I see it before? He could break me in his hands like a kindling stick. How did I ever mistake him for an innkeeper, even for a moment?

Then they shake hands, and K turns to pour a drink and

This simple gesture changed him. He seemed to fade back into himself, until there was little left of the dark-eyed man who’d stood behind the bar a moment ago. Chronicler felt a pang of loss as he stared at the innkeeper with his hand hidden in a linen rag.

again when he comes back with a snack

Chronicler watched him covertly, finding it hard to believe that this man humming to himself could be the same person who had stood behind the bar just minutes ago, dark eyed and terrible.

It must have been a heck of a spell that could do that. I think he may have changed his name, or shut part of it in the box. (The “v” and the “h,” for instance...) I think that’s possible. But he gets bits back when he wants them, or...maybe not when he wants them, maybe when they are needed. That doesn’t seem like really really changing his name and his nature. I think reading this that it might have been something he has consciously done with his alar to push parts of himself into his sleeping mind, a frame of mind like heart-of-stone or spinning-leaf, which is reinforced by the physical normality of being Kote. He gets angry, he teaches Bast, he is Kvothe. But every time he reaches for a bottle or a cloth he becomes Kote.

He goes back to the story, saying it goes “downward, darker, clouds on the horizon.”

 

Chapter Fourteen is called The Name of the Wind. And this is of course the book title, too. Unlike WMF, we know what “The Name of the Wind” means pretty much right away. And in this chapter we see Ben use the Name of the Wind when Kvothe has done something really silly—binding all the air to his lungs, so he can’t breathe. Ben reacts just as you’d expect—Kvothe nearly killed himself doing something Ben had taught him to do, being too clever. He consequently slows down the pace of instruction—Kvothe is twelve, and most people don’t learn this until they have some wisdom to go with their smarts.

The only other notable thing in this chapter is the greystones. The Edema Ruh stop at them. The poem Arliden half-remembers about them mentions leading you into Fae. They are also called “waystones” and compared to lodestones drawing people to them. But nothing happens at this one. We’re just being told they exist and the traditions about them. It’s set-up. They are grey and twelve feet tall—except that Kvothe has seen plenty of them that aren’t standing, that are toppled. They have been there a while. How old are the roads?

This chapter again ends on a warning note “our time together was drawing to a close.” All of this “how I like to remember them,” “getting darker,” and now this, isn’t so much foreshadowing as trying to ease us gently into an expectation of coming disaster.

 

Chapter Fifteen is Distraction and Farewells. This is where Ben leaves, and this happens in Hallowfell, which is on the map, in the south-west peninsula of the Commonwealth. I think it’s the first place that has been on the map.

So, Ben’s leaving to run a brewery, marry a widow, and tutor her son. Kvothe is twelve and it’s his birthday. The troupe puts on a big celebration, and as part of it Arliden sings the beginning of his Lanre song.

All we learn in this song is that he fought, fell, rose again to fall again, and that Lyra called him back from death. No Chandrian, no Chandrian names, no betrayals. If singing it in public (“entirely the wrong kind of songs”) is what attracts their attention, then they are listening really hard. And it can’t be Lanre’s name, because Arliden has been asking about Lanre for more than a year.

Then Ben leaves him Rhetoric and Logic, a book he hates, and writes in it:

Defend yourself well at the University. Make me proud. Remember your father’s song. Be wary of folly.

We have already considered that in the context of the sword being called Folly. What’s interesting about this as parting instructions is that it’s exactly what Kvothe does. Defending himself well at the University and remembering his father’s song define his career as we have it so far.

Rhetoric and Logic is going to be important as a physical object, but does he ever read it?


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.

104 comments
Chris Palmer
1. cmpalmer
Not an insight, but I was impressed by how the ubiquity and sameness of the Chandrian stories from around the world (in contrast to all of the regional superstitions) was presented as evidence that they are real (or more real than the other stories). It seems common in fantasy that either all legends are real (and any mention of them is a foreshadowing of their importance) or all legends are distrusted individually and the characters have to piece together what is real and what isn't. I thought it was a nice touch that, as you said, makes the Chandrian even more ominous.

Imagine if every culture on Earth shared one or two mysterious superstitions that no one really knew the origin of, but they persisted anyway for thousands of years. Creepy.
Chris Palmer
2. cmpalmer
You could conceivably count seven things in the riddle: ring, word, door, box (if the box has no lid, the door can't be on the box), rocks (plural, so at least two - particularly in terms of the sexual allusion), and the secret. Not all of these, obviously, are physical and several (or all of them) could be metaphorical even if they are described as physical objects.

On a personal note, I love:

There’s a secret she’s been keeping
She’s been dreaming and not sleeping

C Smith
3. C12VT
One thing that leaped out at me: when Arliden sees Kvothe's torn shirt, he says, "I know, I know, it was all for the greater good." I think this is the first time we see the Amyr's motto.

Also, the poem Arliden recites about the greystones - he doesn't remember the end, saying "Greystone leads to something-something-ell". This may be far-fetched, but it occurred to me that "Myr Tariniel" would scan here.
Jonathon Duerig
4. Jonathon Duerig
It just occurred to me when you mentioned "Prince of Twilight" that in the Fae, twilight is literally a place. Each spot in the Fae always has the same sun position. So there is an actual belt of land in the Fae that could be called Twilight. This is interesting because I first read it as one of those metaphorical titles which are common in fantasy books: "Beware the Lord of Darkness!", etc.
C Smith
5. C12VT
@2: I think there are multiple ways to get to seven. The candle is "her husband's" but might still count. What about less tangible things, like her secret, her riddle, or her dreams? I like dreams as a possibility because I think it is one of the seven things alluded to in the "Seven things stand before/the entrance to the Lackless door" rhyme we get in WMF.
Johan Kristensson
6. Syntax
In chapter 36 Less Talents (p. 254-255 us pb) we learn that he has read Rhetoric and Logic at least once:

"Simplification. Generalization. Circularity. Reduction. Analogy. False causality. Semantism. Irrelevancy..." I paused, not being able to remember the formal name of the last one. Ben and I had called it Nalt, after Emperor Nalto. It galled me, not being able to recall its real name, as I had read it in Rhetoric and Logic just a few days ago.

Ian B
7. Greyfalconway
On a road that’s not for traveling


Lackless likes her riddle raveling



This part reminds me of the "under the wagon" one, where at the end "not tally a lot less" sounds like Natalia Lockless when spoken aloud; riddle raveling could be little raveling, and we know ravel is a slur against the edema ruh. I haven't linked this to anything but I figured I'd point it out to you guys to pick at
Steven Halter
8. stevenhalter
The part:


She’s been dreaming and not sleeping
On a road that’s not for traveling


Could be a reference to going into Fae. Which goes along with the later reference to their being a door on the Lackless property.
Jonathon Duerig
9. cmpalmer
@7: This is really reaching, but "riddle raveling" could be baby talk for "little raveling" (as in a young Edema Ruh. And most of the roads the Edema Ruh travel on would not be fit for royalty.
Ryan Reich
10. ryanreich
Some corrections, some comments.

1. It is Temic which is the older language; Kvothe's mother guesses Tema and Ben corrects her.

2. The iron wheel that Chronicler wears seems to be a religious symbol, according to the bandit leader, rather like a crucifix. The leader touches it, so it's not a gram.

3. We've seen the word "Mael" used a couple times. The skin dancer from the end of NW is "from the Mael", and Felurian tells Kvothe about the politics of the Tain Mael. Just plain "the Mael" is by far the most common, and we've only seen "Telwyth Mael" in this one connection. I imagine it's a geographical region of Fae, perhaps like the Small Kingdoms.

3a. On the subject of the Small Kingdoms, does anyone know where Yll is supposed to be? In the text it is consistently referred to as being a (very) Small Kingdom, but the map tells me it's a large island south of the Commonwealth. The map is pretty bad, though, so perhaps I should not believe it.

4. I agree with Greyfalconway @7: "raveling" is likely a reference to the Ruh. However, I am a bit confused as to why a rhyme which clearly has long history (or at least old references, like to the box) makes reference to an even which is at the time probably not even fifteen years old. Perhaps this is an indication both that the term "ravel" is older (and of different origin) than Kvothe suggests in one of his admissions interviews, and that the Ruh are of more importance than just as another people.

5. There are entirely too many titles in these books with names like "the ever-changing wind" or "the fickle wind". WMF has the latter as well as "chasing the wind" and "the ever-moving moon" (the words are a callback, but the subject is different. Significant?). NW itself has not only "the name of the wind" but *two* chapters called "the ever-changing wind". It must be important.

6. There's no doubting that Kvothe is brilliant; I really was just casting aspersion on him-as-a-student.

7. I like your "the v and the h" joke, but I wonder if it has some basis? We have heard that True Names, when heard by someone not the speaker, come out as normal words. Perhaps a Name missing a part would sound like its normal word missing a part.

7a. On this topic, of course that would depend on the in-world spelling (particularly of the "th" sound) being as in English. But it seems pretty obvious by now that Rothfuss intends that Aturan = English (just look at all the explicitly phonetic puns he makes).

8. @1 (cmpalmer): Wouldn't monotheistic religion or the creation myth be such superstitions? (Using "superstition" in a non-pejorative sense.) Perhaps you meant that and I am being too literal-minded.
Jonathon Duerig
11. Cmpalmer
Again, @7, I didn't realize you also said "little raveling". Oops, I'm reading and responding on my phone. If Lady Lackless is Kvothe's grandmother, it could be a veiled reference to her daughter running off with the Ruh (and that she still loves her) or it could refer to Kvothe's mom falling in love with a Ruh.
Melissa Shumake
12. cherie_2137
he reads rhetoric and logic when he's in tarbean and decided that he will go to the university.
Jonathon Duerig
13. Matt_Reader
Ryanreich @10 point 2, if indeed it is a "religious symbol" it could be a a representation of the wheel that Tehlu binds Encancis too when he is killing him in the story. Tehlu had a large iron wheel made and bound Encancis to it, and then jumped in the pit to make sure Encancis stayed bound to the wheel as he died.

Relevant? Maybe... I think there's some trickery going on with Tehlu as an angel and Encancis as a demon, also remember that Kvothe had to trick a demon and kill an angel to win his heart's desire.
Jonathon Duerig
14. Kevin Faulk
Random thought: The "sharp word not for swearing" could perhaps reference her use of Edema Ruh as insulting when it is nothing of the kind?
Ryan Reich
15. ryanreich
Matt_Reader @13: I thought at first it was a wheel, but I searched through NW in every place I could remember the thing being mentioned and it is always an "iron circle". Almost explicitly *not* a wheel. The bandit leader thought it was a symbol, though, so I guess wheel-crucifixes exist, but perhaps he was deceived.
Jonathon Duerig
16. Ki
I'm not the brightest re: sexual inneundos, but it seems that a door without a handle and a box without lid or locks could both refer to the same thing, specifically a woman's genitalia. Possibly also the "sharp word not for swearing," if you consider that that word is considered one of the worst curse words, and even some people who are fairly comfortable with other swear words (and derogatory references to a woman's body) might not use it. However, I have no theories as to the deeper (nonsexual) meaning!

Regarding Arliden's song, my theory is that the Chandrian only came after him when he was close to finishing the song--and had hit on the Thing The Chandrian Don't Want Told, which seems to be embedded in Lanre's frame story. (Remember, Skarpi was able to tell Lanre's story without consequence from the Chandrian, although apparently the Church doesn't want some aspects of that story getting out, either.) I'm guessing something about how the Chandrian were made, what's driving them, or how they can be killed. Of course, this theory only works if speaking of the Chandrian is enough to trigger their attention (like saying Chrestomanci's name?). If they rely on more-mundane means like hearing third-hand that Arliden the Edema Ruh is composing a song about Lanre, maybe this is the first chance they've had to catch up with him.
Chris Palmer
17. cmpalmer
@10, monotheism and creation myths are too general (besides, almost all creation myths are different). I was thinking more of the small things that have persisted for hundreds (or thousands) of years. Like what if every culture in the world thought black cats or the number 13 was unlucky, or that stepping on a crack would break your mother's back but no one knew why everyone believed the same thing.

As far as bigger religions go, I think the differences between them are far more telling than the similarities. There isn't much commanality other than basic ethics and common sense.

I also like the idea that the Chandrian legends are ubiquitous, but all factual information and any evidence of their current existence and activities has been eradicated. It reminds me of the line from The Usual Suspects, "The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist."
Chris Palmer
18. cmpalmer
@Ki:16, the very first thing that I thought of when I first read the lines about the box was the riddle from The Hobbit ("A box without hinges, key or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid" "Eggsses!") - note that this was before we encounted a physical lidless box.

The sexual innuendo with "candle", "door", "box", and "rocks" is pretty obvious, but it could be that it is hiding something else.

I'm not sure that's the right interpretation, but the box/egg association has a certain resonance and if you're talking about eggs in human sexual reproduction, it has an interesting contrast with the Adem's denial of the male's role in reproduction.

How old is the skipping rhyme again?
Steven Halter
19. stevenhalter
In Chapter 13, K refers to Bast with:

Who, over the course of a hundred and fifty years of life, not to mention nearly two years of my personal tutelage, has managed to avoid learning a few important facts.

So, it would seem that Kote's lack of skills dates from 2 years or less from this point in the story as Bast seems to have encountered him in full Kvothe mode.
C Smith
20. C12VT
My theory is that the riddle rhyme we get in WMF is older and that this skipping rhyme we see here is referencing it - turning parts of the traditional riddle into innuendo. The skipping rhyme version could be considerably newer - new enough to reference current members of the Lackless family.
Jonathon Duerig
21. thistlepong
@15 (ryanreich)

NotW c92 - Chronicler's iron is referred to as an "iron wheel" twice
Beth Meacham
22. bam
I'm far from wedded to this idea, but I'll throw it out anyway.

It occurs to me that "entirely the wrong sort of songs" might refer to something different. The song that set Arlidan sleeping under the wagon ends:

It's worth my life
to make my wife
Netalia Lackless.

That made her really angry. The Lackless family is clearly bound up in many much greater mysteries. She's changed her name, though she hasn't married Arliden. She's been disowned and disinherited, and the one time she visited family with Kvothe, it was an unpleasant experience.

Also, "remember your father's song" -- Kvothe never heard the Lanre song, only the prologue to it. He can't remember it. But remembering that his mother is Netalia Lackless might come in pretty useful one day.
lake sidey
23. lakesidey
Jo, you said "Kvothe at this age clearly doesn’t know that his mother was Lady Lackless before her marriage. There’s no evidence one way or the other about whether he knows it now as he’s telling the story."

I think it is fairly clear that he does know now. Remember, he is telling a fairly tightly knit story, and leaving out all the bits that are irrelevant to the tale at hand (his learning a language in a day and subsequent defence, the pirates and other adventures on the way to the Maer's...) So what are the odds he would randomly remember a session of semi-drunken revelry when he quotes a song about his mother to his friends....unless he knows it will be important later? The fact that he quotes the song in full, to me, is evidence that he knows this particular secret now.

~lakesidey
Jonathon Duerig
24. fiirvoen
You said something interesting in your spoiler/theory recap post on WMF: "The flute could be anything with the power to call something else, and the box is something that is able to hold names." You also mentioned that the box may be the Lackless box, and that the Lackless box may be in Kvothe's chest in the inn. I'm betting this is one of two things: 1. The chest conains the box which contains Kvothe's name which he stored to avoid fulfilling the Chtaeh's purpose. OR 2. The chest contains some power over the Chandrian or Haliax himself.

Either way, the box will be the (can't remember the word for when a deus ex machina is not a deus ex machina because it's been provided for and justified) dramatic turning point of DT through which Kvothe saves the day or won't be able to, because he forgot how to get in after changing his name.

I hope that didn't dissolve into an incoherent ramble...
B T
25. amphibian
Chekov's gun is perhaps the term you're looking for.
Claire de Trafford
26. Booksnhorses
I'm wondering if instead of 'husband's rocks' it should be 'husband iax/jax/jack'? Just a thought.

Also this might be a reason for the lack of a Lord Lackless - if you really want to ensure a genetic line, you are much better off doing it through the women. Sons of Lackless women might still be Lackless and have some sort of power (I assumed that C's iron guilder was similar to the ring that can't remember her name off hand makes out of stone), but the main descent is through the women. And also Lord Lackless might be Iax. It would be cool if K was descended from the Moon!

On a side note I just love the Lackless rhymes - the rhythm is fantastic and really catchy, just what you'd expect from something that was passed down the generations via children (don't forget that nursery rhymes conceal a great deal of truth, and it is suspected that 'einy, meeny, miny, mo' are very ancient counting words).
Sharat Buddhavarapu
27. Sharat Buddhavarapu
Without opening pages of the book to check, I believe there are many instances where he mentions "that's how I like to remember them." Indicating he likes to remember them a lot. Obvious, I know, but...

Also, I'm inclined to agree with your assessment about Ben's words to Kvothe as they part.
James Felling
28. Maltheos
Of course there is always the simple explananation that this is not an old skipping rhyme, but a rhyme based upon the latest news. Relaying the story of his mother's desertion of the family. It is very clearly stated that she is the Lackless heir in WMF, so this would be big news that would spread far and wide.
Jo Walton
29. bluejo
As additional ammunition for Maltheos's last point, a version of "Hark the Herald angels sing" with the second line "Mrs Simpson pinched our king" was recorded just months after the abdication. It's perfectly possible that the original rhyme was the one we see in WMF and this is a variant on it using recent Lackless scandal, as per C12VT's point.
Jonathon Duerig
30. thistlepong
Jo, the title of c11 refers to "the sympathetic binding of parallel motion," which Ben teaches him using iron - sympathy is all bindings. I mention it in case it's important later. Thanks for writing these blogs.

The Creation War probably ended around 5000 years ago given what the Cthaeh tells Kvothe. And probably started at least 500-600 years before that.
Chris Palmer
31. cmpalmer
@bam:22, I think you may be on to something with this idea. His Lackless relationship seems to be pretty important to the overall story, yet it is much more "hidden" in the story than his investigation of the Chandrian. His father's Lanre song might be a red herring...
Maiane Bakroeva
32. Isilel
There’s no evidence one way or the other about whether he knows it now
as he’s telling the story. But when she says “You can apologise to Lady
Lackless and myself...” she is being double-tongued.

Well, I have to admit that with this, the evidence that Kvothe's mother was a Lackless is quite overhelming. Sigh. I really hoped that it wasn't the case - Kvothe is so over-troped already...

Now, I have to wonder - did Meluan know? I think that once Kvothe admitted to being a Ruh, she put everything together. The family seemed to know for certain that Netalia ran away with the Ruh and wasn't kidnapped by their political enemies or whatever, so they probably knew about Arilden - unless he changed his name too.
So, was her explosive reaction also to forestall Kvothe claiming kinship and dragging the old scandal back into the open?

I am still not sure how visiting Three Crossings fits into this - as far as I understand the Lackless estate in Vintas isn't called that. Meeting with the family on a neutral ground, perhaps? With Meluan being kept out of it?

I really loved the "life in the show" and "Ben's teachings" chapters - for some reason I am really a sucker for "protagonist learning" narratives, conveyed in interesting manner. I couldn't wait till Kvothe got to the University... imagine my disappointment.
Also, Ben is one of the few secondary characters that really felt alive to me in NotW reminiscence chapters. One of the reasons why I generally much prefer the framing story in it (these chapters being exceptions to the rule).

The Interlude is superb, as always. And yes, why on earth didn't the Chronicler do more with the Name of Iron before this? It ought to be quite good for defensive purposes - provided it affects steel too. Maybe he was just too inexperienced as a man of action and it took several risky situations for him to learn to act rather than freeze? Of course, he didn't do much subsequently either. Hm...

Re: Kvothe being brilliant and/or a prodigy, I never disputed that. I argue that he is not a genius, because as an adult he lacks the drive to truly immerse himself in learning/understanding things for the sake of it. He is brilliant, multi-faceted... but ultimately too superficial for genius. IMHO. Which is why he fails when there is no clear outward pressure or external goal.
C Smith
33. C12VT
Perhaps Chronicler can only use the name of iron when he is in just the
right frame of mind - just as we see Kvothe sometimes being able to call the wind (at times of very strong emotion) and sometimes not. I also think that the name of iron was particularly useful against Bast because he is fae - iron might not be nearly as useful against garden variety bandits. Perhaps Chronicler could have been more use against the skin dancer if he had recognized what it was.
Jonathon Duerig
34. fiirvoen
The ability of the Chandrian to find people who talk about them seems directly proportional to how many people are hearing about them and how truthful it is. The only exception to this being Skarpi, whom I suspect to be an Amyr (friends high up in the church and all).
Claire de Trafford
35. Booksnhorses
I don't buy the skipping rhyme just recording the latest news re the Lackless heir - we know that there are at least two versions in existence. I'm happy to accept that it is updated from time to time, but do these versions last? Each version reflects a different distortion of the truth from the time of the Creation War passed on as oral memory.

Whatever happens with this however the one thing I don't want to find out is that Kvothe's parents married as a result of some prophecy or secret Lackless lore.

It is interesting that Kvothe's parents were killed after writing a song that shows Lanre as the tragic villain, but Deena is asked to write a song showing him as the hero of the piece. Did the former trigger the latter?
C Smith
36. C12VT
It would be an interesting change of tactic for the Chandrian to seek positive publicity instead of just suppressing all information about them. Though one major difference between Denna's song and Arliden's is that Denna's is only about Lanre. It "ended when Lanre was cursed by Selitos", and given Denna's reaction when Kvothe tells her Lanre was one of the Chandrian, her song probably doesn't mention the Chandrian at all.
Jo Walton
37. bluejo
It would be interesting for them to be trying to get positive propaganda out there. I had thought it was intended to both cloud the trail of any future researchers, and to make future songwriters think there is already a great Lanre song, so why bother.
Dylan Thurston
38. dthurston
It's worth noting that in Chapter 12, Kvothe's mother makes at least two veiled references to her origin: Arlinden's fingers are said to be "perfect for seducing young nobles' daugthers", and she was bound with "cords of chords" and stolen away about a dozen years ago. (That last also establishes the chronology. Kvothe is 11 at this point.)

What did Arlinden think was the reason the Chandrian did what they did? He said he figured it out. Twice that we've seen the Chandrian act, they did it to surpress word of their own true nature. But Kvothe's parents don't think that's the reason, or they wouldn't have acted as they did.

There are hints we'll see more of Ben, also. Kvothe says that he doesn't see Ben till years later. Ben is also the only other left alive that might know more of the unfinished song.
Jonathon Duerig
39. Herelle
In the last post, Herelle suggests that to be Lady Lackless she would have had to be married to Lord Lackless,

That´s not what I meant. Sorry, I didn´t express myself clearly enough. Here is what I was thinking:
1. Lady Lackless (the one in the song) has a husband. The song tells us. Twice.
2. I assume Kvothes mother is Lady Lackless, because she reacted as if she personally was hurt by the song. That´s just speculative of course, Lady Lackless in the song could be any female member of the Lackless family, living or dead.
3. If Kvothes mother is the one Lady Lackless who the song is about, then she must have been married.
4. She was not married to Kvothes father. So she either was a widow or ran away from her marriage.
Jonathon Duerig
40. Herelle
I don’t know much about candles, and it could just be there to rhyme with the door, but it’s a candle by that door that gets Kvothe banned from the archives.
This reminds me of the things the Chandrian took from Taborlin when he was in the tower and freed himself - coin, keys and candle, wasn´t it? Candles in the book often are sources for sympathetic bindings, but other than that?

Waystone Inn - do you think there really is a greystone nearby Kvothes Inn and he chose this place to hide from the Chandrian because the greystone actually offers protection or did he just name it because he likes greystones and it is supposed to make travellers feel safe?

Imagine if every culture on Earth shared one or two mysterious superstitions that no one really knew the origin of, but they persisted anyway for thousands of years.
In many parts of the world there are stories of some sort of mythical global flood like the biblical flood.

I thought Chroniclers attack on Bast very strange. Educated people are supposed to not believe in Fae and demons. Of course Chronicler was a "Seer - E´lir" before he became a namer and noticed the differences (Bast´s graceful movements, his boots / cloven hooves etc.) but why didn´t he just wait and observe? He must have realized that Kvothe and Bast were friends and that there was no immediate threat from Bast no matter what he had believed about Fae or demons.
Beth Meacham
41. bam
Herelle @39 -- we have evidence in WMF that the title "Lady Lackless" is applied to unmarried daughters -- Kvothe calles Meluan "the Lady Lackless" when he's describing the dinner party where he first meets her. Lady Lackless is not a title that is bestowed with marriage.

And Kvothe tells us very early on that his parents never married. Meluan tells us later that her sister ran away with the Edema Ruh and was disinherited as a result. No mention of a husband, and given the level of bile in her, I think we would have heard about her abandoning a husband.
Jonathon Duerig
42. Herelle
@bam 41
I know. That´s why she could still be Lady Lackless although she might have married Lord XYZ. But never mind, we´ll just wait and see. It´s just a feeling I have, nothing more. I think she was widowed (scratch the running from an unhappy marriage, the song mentions a black dress) that´s why her life was a miserable dreary hell and also the reason why she left her old life behind to go live with a trouper.

What do you think is the reason why Meluan is so enraged and bitter? Is it just the loss of a close relationship to her sister? Does she face responsibilies now that formerly her sister had had and she doesnt´want? Like taking care of the Lackless secret? Does she feel deserted? Family honour and being the subject of gossip because of her running away?
Jonathon Duerig
43. thistlepong
That's an astute observation, Herelle. I can't count the times I ignored "husband" (twice!) in "Lady Lackless." Thank you.
Jo Walton
44. bluejo
BAM, Herelle: I think if she'd been married the gossip Kvothe hears about it when he's staying with Alveron would have mentioned it. And she had to have been pretty young for the dates to work -- Meluan is not yet thirty when Kvothe is 17, sort of thing, and there can be gaps between sisters, but how long is plausible?

On the other hand there is the song. The real song, "The gypsy rover" is clearly the pattern for this romance. And in that song it's a husband's bed she leaves to go with the gypsy. And K says they didn't marry because they didn't feel the need, though Arliden does call her his wife. But it could be that they didn't marry because she was already married -- does divorce exist in this world?
Pamela Adams
45. Pam Adams
Absolutely not a mystery to be solved, but (I think) a fantasy tip of the hat to Edgar Pangborn- a prophet in one of his stories was crucified on a wheel. Also, telling Bast something 'three times'- Heinlein used this with his sentient computers.
Pamela Adams
46. Pam Adams
Absolutely not a mystery to be solved, but (I think) a fantasy tip of the hat to Edgar Pangborn- a prophet in one of his stories was crucified on a wheel. Also, telling Bast something 'three times'- Heinlein used this with his sentient computers.
Jay Dauro
47. J.Dauro
Well, we could go back to Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark

"What I tell you three times is true."

And it's been used many times since.

It also has been used in Computer Science for high reliability computations, requiring multiple computers to return the same answer before committing.
Pamela Adams
48. Pam Adams
J.Dunro@47,

Thanks- I knew there were earlier referents!
Jonathon Duerig
49. Speculations
"Waiting to die..." Is it reasonable to guess that it is Kote waiting to die, that he is basically bait for the Chandrian; which is why Kvothe keeps having to remember to bland out? That Chronicler, and the telling of the tale, will be the catalyst for this, giving us endgame for the story in the next volume.

.


And may one wonder if Taborlin's copper sword, and the fact that Felurian didnt know his name, mean that he was fae incognito ; one of the Sithe, whatever they are.

And the uncharacteristically nasty vigilante episode in WMF--- typical American frontier fantasy, where a horrible crime (rape of two young girls) is met not only with mass murder (was it 9 people?), but the disturbing claim that this is like cauterizing a wounded body part. Ugh. (No justification in this mythic structure--- no collective consciousness that all people are part of-- even the seven get to make their individual choices.) .

This incident, presumably meant to display Kvothe's bloody Amyr tendancies; the failure of the Sithe to prevent Kvothe meeting the Cthaeth, the recurring Kvothve/Taborlin echoes and confusions; even the Lanre/Lyre resonances between Kvothve & Denna, make me wonder if not just Kote, but Kvothe is a front; that he is a reborn (non-human) fae Amyr. .

Meh. Probably not. And as Jo says, Rothfuss clearly has enough control over the material that his eventual resolution of the story will tightly weave all this into a single preordained narrative, every hint of a Chekhovian gun in any scene firing in the last, an 1812 overture of a conclusion....

Jonathon Duerig
50. Herelle
@47 Speculations
"Waiting to die..." Is it reasonable to guess that it is Kote waiting to die, that he is basically bait for the Chandrian...
I rather thought of his hopelessness. He lost his parents, his love, and who or whatever else that follows besides his powers and his name. He is not himself anymore, he is not content with being an innkeeper, blames himself for the current war. I guess he is waiting to die because he doesn´t expect life to be worth living. With this kind of depression he wastes away. It reminds me of old people who retire, especially in bigger cities. Some have no social life, no work life, no tasks, no goals after that. When they don´t have a family who cares about them, they decline rapidly.
Kvothes situation is too passive for being a bait / trap for the Chandrian. He doesn´t seem to have the energy to go down fighting.
Although his telling the tale could be the expected catalyst without being intended on Kvothes part.

@blujo
On the other hand there is the song. The real song, "The gypsy rover" is clearly the pattern for this romance.
I can´t recall enough of WMF, I only read it once, whereas I´m reading NotW the forth time now. But if this reread is covering WMF as well there will still be plenty occasions to speculate.
I remember Kvothe collecting the nobilities gossip at Alverons court. In it there probably was the whole story.

It is remarkable how many repetitive stories with varying characters there are. I just read the story of Tehlu told by Trapis again. There are seven cities too, one of them saved from Encanis terror. There is the story of Lanre/Lyra - Kvothe/Denna. I regret now that I didn´t pay enough attention to the stories. They are really significant. When I read the books the first time I was too eager to get the actual story, I practically ran through the books.
Jonathon Duerig
51. Speculations
Herelle,

I totally agree with your highlighting his helplessness and despair. The emotional resonance of that is very powerful, and all too familiar; it and the tenderness of some character interactions--- the moon struck Aurie, K's parents playful love and infatuation with each other-- are one of Rothfuss's emotional strengths.

They offset the simplistic last part of WMF--- the basic misunderstanding of what a description of the world is ("You cant define..."), the young autodidact's attempts to characterise the world in tautological pseudo-axiomatics, the tired sleeping mind trope, Lethani descriptions. Kvothe's philosophy does not include struggling with ethics, and its understanding of logic is as shallow as our own.

But the brief in these posts is novel as interlocking puzzle. A crowd sourced analysis on structure, a distributed master-class on writing, ignoring most other aspects other than structure--- prose style, pacing, how images are constructed and maintained, lyricism have all been touched on only when they illuminate the puzzle.

So again, apologies for my comment; the 'Waiting to die' speculations were childish guessing--- assuming the patterns of foreshadowing, the layered narratives, the uncountable clues, the asserted reliable narrator K., the hints of bluff--- and were just wondering how it could end in one book, read sometime by us all in 2015.
Jonathon Duerig
52. Fiirvoen
@j dunro and pam adams

The Three times thing is indirectly tied to ancient biblical cultures. They lacked supurlatives, so good=good, good good=better, good good good=best. e.g. Holy Holy Holy means Holiest. Threes were a huge thing, see also Jesus asking Peter 3 times: Do you love me?
Jonathon Duerig
53. grinachu
sharp word that's not for swearing= Caesura (?).
Jonathon Duerig
54. mdtay
#53 Maybe to be read as "a sharp sword that's not for wearing"... = Folly?
Jonathon Duerig
55. n8love
@speculations & herelle. What if Kote is waiting to die so he can no longer effect the world, as he percieves himself as tainted from his interaction with the Cthaeh? His entire seclusion and (i believe) practiced "silence" are both means to further this. Maybe whatever transpires for him to end up with "folly" convinces him that he is indeed an unwitting agent of a malicious entity. Furthermore, the Cthaeh could be the one who "poisons the seven."

@speculations. I'm with you on Kvothe's heritage possibly including non-humans. The "singers" were one of the three groups that the Chandrian fear and it has been suggested that they became the Ruh. That's his father's side. Also, the end of the Lackless rhyme is, I think, clearly referring to Fae. Does this mean that his possible Lackless heritage has a connection to the Fae? Also, non-human creatures seem to have different magic (or different understanding or penchant for the same magic) than humans. Could K be the perfect combination of the two, explaining his naturally adept Alar and possibly setting the stage for him to be some sort of "chosen one" who rids the world(s) of the Chandrian and/or the Cthaeh?

@herelle. You know, the widow thing is really working for me. Why point out that the dress is black if its color is not significant? Not to mention how much easier it is to collect one's husband's rocks post-mortem. Just a joke really, I'm still leaning toward the rocks being some sort of ward stone, possibly keeping something, or some aspect of something, at bay. Also, I love the idea of the candle rule in the stacks having more than the obvious purpose. Why were there candles in the front desk anyway?
Jonathon Duerig
56. Vorbis
Coming late to the party, so it's highly possible that this has already come up in discussions later down the track, but since we've been ticking off reasons why the Chandrian choose to silence people, we've worked out a few things it's not:

It's not Lanre.
It's not the signs.

Rothfuss is such a good foreshadower, one thing that's stuck in my mind is why on earth did the little girl from Trebon that he gave the charm to come and show him her drawing of the pot? It's not that significant, what she draws. So why include it?

The thing that makes the Chandrian kill is linking their name to the Amyr. That was what was on the pot that got the Trebon family killed. That was what Kvothes parents were obviously thinking and talking about before they were killed - hat tip to C12VT in comment 3 for pointing that out.

So that's why they were killed so long after the public performance of the song, because it wasn't until that much later that they'd made the connection to the For The Greater Good Amyr.

Pet theory of mine, anyway.
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
I’m sure by now someone has done this elsewhere, but it fits here, so here I shall post it (months late!).

The “seven things” in the Lackless rhymes are spelled out clearly in the WMF version, and several parallels are easy to draw to the NW version. Because the WMF list is easy to work with, I started there.
Seven things stand before
The entrance to the Lackless door.
One of them a ring unworn
One a word that is forsworn
One a time that must be right
One a candle without light
One a son who brings the blood
One a door that holds the flood
One a thing tight-held in keeping
Then comes that which comes with sleeping
I believe this is the “authoritative” version, kept more or less pure down through the centuries. The version in NW is the kind of thing you get when it’s passed along as a children’s skipping rhyme, where various people can’t remember the words quite right, get things mixed up, and substitute something that seems to fit. When this happens repeatedly, you get a lot of the key ingredients there but hard to identify. Combining that with probable recent "adjustments" to make it fit the runaway Netalia, you get the current version. So… here’s my take on it.

A ring unworn – in the NW version, “a ring that’s not for wearing.” I think this refers to the round key Meluan uses to open the second chest, the one with the keyhole that was “not keyhole shaped, but a simple circle instead.”

A word that is forsworn – in the NW, “a sharp word, not for swearing.” I wonder if this could be “Edro!” (which I assume means “open!") which is used by Taborlin to successfully open a chest, and unsuccessfully by Kote at the end of WMF to... not open a chest. Probably not, but it’s a thought.

A time that must be right – I fail to find a good parallel in the NW version, so maybe someone else can conjure something up. I suspect this has to do with the phase of the moon – possibly a half-moon, when the moon is equally in both worlds, or the other two obvious choices: full or new.

A candle without light – in the NW, “her husband’s candle.” The most likely candidate I can find for this, at the moment, is the special candle Auri gave Kvothe. No idea what it should have to do with anything, but it’s the only unique candle I can recall. It raises an interesting parallel to Taborlin’s “key, coin and candle” as well, but I don’t know that we ever learn what special characteristics those items have.

A son who brings the blood – in NW, why not “her riddle raveling” as has been suggested by others? In other words, Kvothe. (Note to Isilel, should she read this… I didn’t like the idea that Kvothe’s mother was Netalia Lackless either, but after stewing over the numbers for a while and considering the various evidence, I have to admit it’s probably true. Which makes this part of the rhyme easier to answer, anyway.)

A door that holds the flood – in NW, “a door without a handle.” I’m not sure what the four-panel door in the Archives could possibly have to do with this, but it’s so stinking similar that I have to at least suggest it.

A thing tight-held in keeping – in NW “a secret she’s been keeping.” No idea, at the moment, what this might be. It’s easy to find a meaning in the NW rhyme if it refers to Netalia/Laurian, but what about the ancient rhyme? Dunno.

“Then comes that which comes with sleeping” = “She’s been dreaming and not sleeping” both of which I take to mean some connection with the world of Fae.
Nathan Love
58. n8love
@57
Well done. This makes me wonder who may be attempting to open the archive door before Kvothe arrives at the U (if that is the Lackless door). The fact that there is a candle handy for Ambrose to give to K is still suspicious to me. That makes Ambrose a good suspect, because of his proximity to the Lackless family/lore growing up, as well as K's foreshadowing of how sinister Ambrose might still become in the narrative. He may have become a scriv just for a chance at the door.

I actually think this means Loren has been opening (or trying to open) the door in the Archives. The candle may have been in the desk because he left it there, or always has one there in case the "son who brings the blood" showed up, making it the "time that must be right." It's easily plausible that he knows the Name of wind, and therefore has a ring of air. He is also is a convenient position to study (or remove from study) books which might have the "name that is forsworn" or the "thing tight-held in keeping" (a secret). He is better paced than anyone to have the ring, word, candle, heir, and secret at the door at the right time. This may (but doesn't have to) corroberate the "Loren is an Amyr" theory.

And now I want to know how much of this Auri or Elodin know. This is getting reposted.
Mike Scott
59. drplokta
@Wetlandernw "Edro!" is an in-joke, so I hope it's not anything significant. It's Elvish for "Open" in The Lord of the Rings, and is one of the things that Gandalf tries to open the doors of Moria.
Jonathon Duerig
60. Shadow
Denna has dreams that cause her to not sleep well. I think we see it first when Kvothe and her are sleeping on the Waystone together. So I think that Denna and Kvothe are needed together, she's the dreamer and he's the "son who brings the blood"
Jonathon Duerig
61. ryamano
Hello there, sorry for posting so late in the discussion, I've just finished reading the two books for the first time and am enjoying much this re-read.

Anyway, just to give the sexual meanings of these two verses:

She's been dreaming and not sleeping - she's been dreaming of a lover that's not her husband.

On a road that’s not for traveling Lackless likes her riddle raveling - "On a road that's not for traveling" = anal sex, anus.

Not much else to contribute. This probably doesn't help a bit in understanding the rest of the series, I just wanted to point out.
Jonathon Duerig
62. Lottemotte22
Don't you think it might be possible, that the candle near the door in the archives, is there to show blue flame when the chandrians are there?!
This is the only logical explanation for me.
But maybe I am just totally wrong ;)
P M
63. Psyzygy
Re the black dress: I like the suggestion that it could show LL was in mourning. But does anything in the books establish black as the color of mourning in this world? If not, "black" could also just be a color chosen to help "dress" rhyme with "Lackless."

I haven't finished NW or WMF, but I was struck by K's father's playful question of his wife in ch. 12: "Did you happen to bed down with some wandering God a dozen years ago?" Is it possible that K's "father" isn't really his father? And that K isn't actually Ruh at all? A possible explanation for his amazing abilities ...
Jonathon Duerig
64. Laramie
@Psyzygy; I was struck by that thought too ('Is it possible that K's "father" isn't really his father?'), but given the playfulness of the exchange, it seemed more that he was comparing himself to a god.
Jonathon Duerig
65. kineta
@57 Wetlandernw - I'm kind of late to this but your excellent post gave me the idea that perhaps Lady Lackless's black dress is a metaphor for the new/dark moon - referred to in the older poem "One a time that must be right". Felurian teaches Kvothe with a poem that the dark moon is when people are 'pulled unwitting into fae'.
Jonathon Duerig
66. Rutep
@63 Psyzygy - Yes, there's a reference in WMF to black being the colour of mourning; when Kvothe receives his shaed, he notes that he could change it's shape to be anything from a short cape to a full hooded mourning cape. I don't remember the exact wording, but I'm pretty sure that it was implied there, that black was the colour of mourning.
Jonathon Duerig
67. Rutep
Another thought, totally unrelated.

Iax - Jax, could there be any relation to Jakis? Interesting thought in the context of what's been mentioned here, regarding Ambrose tricking Kvothe with the candle from the desk-drawer in the Archives, although it seems really far-fetched. Even if Ambrose was trying to open the four-plate door to free Iax (his ancestor?), there's hardly any way he would reasonably expect Kvothe to accidentally open it, if only Ambrose provides him with the candle. How could he expect Kvothe to know about the door or find it right away?
Also, as someone mentioned, with regards to the Lackless rhyme, what with the 'husband's rocks' / 'husband Jax'... could there be any relation between the Jakis family and the Lackless family?
Jonathon Duerig
68. boredatwork
kvothe has changed his name. his true name. by changing the true name you change what you truly are. he truly is the inn keeper. thats why he couldnt sympathise. elodin seemed terrified at the prospect of fela changing her name. pointing to the possibility of name changing.
sorry for the poor writing. exceptionally bored at work.
Steven Halter
69. stevenhalter
Rutep@67:Jakis similarity to Jax/Iax is something I noted somewhere. It would be a nice symmetryAmbrose Jakis on the Iax side opposing Kvothe Lackless on the ?other (Amyr?) side, but no other real evidence.
Jonathon Duerig
70. Sivrunr
58. n8love
I am rather wondering if Devi doesnt have to do something with that. Shes also inquisitive and, understood with her thrown out state off the universiry, she badly wants access to the archive. What if she tried to open the mysterious door in there, what if she tried to discover who/what is Valaritas? Im also wondering if Valaritas or the door guarding it got nothing to do with the Lockless box. It seemed to me that the two descriptions of their opening/door is similar. That and the fact that, if memory serves, the DT is titled Doors of Stone or something closely related to the mystery of the Archives.. thats the immediate association I did anyway.
Jonathon Duerig
71. Dharien
In a box, no lid or locks
Lackless keeps her husband’s rocks

Could it be the Lackless "husband's rocks" the pieces of the moon? If that is, why would the lady Lackless husband has the pieces of the mooon?, is he the one who broke it? who stole it?. Maybe there is something hidden in that matter, maybe is not actually the husband of lady lackless, maybe it is reffering to something another family related to the Lackless have, and passed to the lady.

If i am remembering well, the story of lady lackless is not reffering to Meluan, but to another lady lackless, in the old times. Could they be in some way related to the Chaendrian? maybe the woman Haliax loved was in fact a Lackless?

Forgive me if i made some mistakes, i am still learning english.
Jonathon Duerig
72. Barth
For everybody who is still wondering when D3 will come out, I have found a couple sources that point to its release date being May 2013. First, Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2495565.The_Doors_of_Stone) has the release date listed as May 2013 and I remember reading an interview with Rothfuss where he definitively states that the book will be released May 2013 (although I'm struggling to find the link now).

Looks like we'll only have 1 more year to wait for the final installment.
Jo Walton
73. bluejo
Barth: He hasn't finished writing it. May 2013 isn't impossible, but... don't hold your breath.

I want it now, but good is more important. Good lasts forever.
Steven Halter
74. stevenhalter
J0@73:"Good lasts forever."
Yes, very much.

The one nice thing is that since these have been bestsellers, the publisher is likely to get it bumped to the head of the production queue when it arrives.
Jonathon Duerig
75. Hammand
In my own reread, I discovered an interesting tidbit in, Interlude: Flesh with blood beneath. Kvothe quips that Bast has put off Cellum Tinture off for a mortal age.
No where else in the two books have I read that same idiom. Considering Pat's careful use of words, and that time passes differently in the Fae world, I speculate that this assertion might hold a kernel of truth. Supposedly Bast has only been Kvothe's student for 2 years, but it is possible that their association dates back years further due to the unsychronized passage of time. Perhaps he's been Kvothe's student for only 2 years in the mortal world.
Jonathon Duerig
76. Hammand
What might count as further evidence for my speculation, is Kvothe's reply, "I am," to Chronicler's observation, "I thought you would be older."
Jonathon Duerig
77. Barth
I actually read in an interview that he wrote all the books at the same time and is just releasing them and modifying them on a set time schedule. He said he wrote them in that manner to avoid the "sophomore slump" that most writers experience when trying to get their book out on a timeline. On the other hand, that doesn't explain why WMF came out 6 years after NotW, but it does lend credence to all these theories because if he wrote all 3 books first, then we would be better able to tie everything together in a very coherent manner.

I'll look for the link to the interview and post it if I find it. Hopefully I'm not getting hopes up for no reason!
Jonathon Duerig
78. Barth
I found the interview I was thinking of, but it was written in 2007 so I guess it's not as reliable a source as I thought.

http://www.sffworld.com/interview/224p0.html

Sorry everybody, I guess we'll just have to wait and see when it comes out.
Jonathon Duerig
79. Powderhound522
@herelle 40.

I doubt you'll read this, but oh well...

The attack on Bast does make some sense. We know that C is unfamiliar with Fae creatures (remember Bast correcting him when he refers to 'Faeling' creatures... "Fae, or Faen if you must. Faeling makes you sound like a child."), but seeing a creature under glammourie would likely make him think of 'demons', especially after his encouter with the Scrael.

But even if he did recognize Bast as a Fae creature, I can't say that an attack is senseless. After all, Fae are, by and large, pretty nasty things. Even setting aside skin dancers and the like, they're cruel and utterly uncaring about anything but their own amusement.

Also, probably a false lead in the face of the mounting evidence that Kvothe's mother is the Lackless heir, but I had a notion for a while that Denna might be the heir. After all, in the frame story she's no longer around; that points to a betrayal. And what would break Kvothe worse than sacrificing her ("One a son who brings the blood") in order to get back at the Chaendrian - his heart's desire? That would also give a nice explanation of him 'killing an angel' - since that's not far from how he thinks of Denna. But alas, it seems that Laurien is Natalia Lackless.
Angie Bayman
80. pfemm
I don't know if this has ever been suggested before but here goes...
in a series of "What ifs" in no particular order:
What if the Iax/Jax stealing a piece of the moon story is related to the Lackless rhyme?
What if his full name was Iax/Jax Lackless?
or What if the name Lackless came from Iax/Jax-less?
What if Lady Lackless was the moon?

What if the Black dress was the night sky (possibly with no moon)?

I was on the verge of sleeping when these came to me...
Jonathon Duerig
81. ZaphodAVA
The iron around Chronicler's neck is probably the ring he got from the university for mastering the name of iron. It's described as a circle of iron on a cord. The bandits merely assume it's a religious symbol, and he lets them believe that.

Wearing it on his finger advertises his skill to those that know to look for it, so he finds a clever way to keep it... even through robbery.
Jonathon Duerig
82. Jaye
Jo - There is no way Kvothe's mom can be Lady Lackless in the story as the time line dosent match up at all. Is that what you are saying? Not to mention his mom was not married when his father stole her away, so the husband in the rhyme wouldnt make any sense.
thistle pong
83. thistlepong
Jaye @82, would you elaborate on how the timeline doesn't match up at all, please?
Jonathon Duerig
84. futureminime
Two things:
1. chronicler's ring: I believe the bandit leader is somewhat educated, and associated the ring either with warding off the Fae or the University. If it was a ward against Fae he would know it was iron and worthless. Personally I think chronicler has it because he knows the name of iron (and I think people form rings so they always have something to call close by)

2. The Lady Lackless Song
The innuendo is all a cover to get the rhyme repeated by children.
I would suggest that the Lackless box is passed down the female Lackless line, possibly leading all the way back to the creation myth including Lanre Lyra and Iax, at least to Laborlin the Great. I think the song is much older, with many childerns rhymes (ie wheel of time) being used to store old information, as it is a reliable if its catchy. Further I think the song is about the inheritance of the box, and how it is opened.

There are several reasons why I think Netallia would not like the song - its about her family

Seven things has Lady Lackless - whoever is the Lady at the time
Keeps them underneath her black dress - Passed down upon death (black dress), but Tally was missing so her sister took the box in WMF
One’s a ring that’s not for wearing - either a guilder or a Name ring (one made when you've mastered the name) I think this is passed down either to see if the owner of the guilder is still alive (and thus would be after the box) or if its a Name ring as a form of power as it is mentioned that it is rude ask what names people know because you can take advantage of that.
One a sharp word, not for swearing - A True name, which upon hearing causes discomfort, especially if you're close
Right beside her husband’s candle - Taborlin the Great anyone?
There’s a door without a handle Lackless door
In a box, no lid or locks - The family Lockless/Lackless, their box
Lackless keeps her husband’s rocks - Pieces of his mind? Pieces of the moon?
There’s a secret she’s been keeping - the contents of the box/history probably passed down the Lackless line
She’s been dreaming and not sleeping - Either the fae
On a road that’s not for traveling
Lackless likes her riddle raveling

I'm not sure about the end but I believe the fae/ the Chandrien and "raveling" meaning Edema Ruh
Jonathon Duerig
85. clairerocks
Kvothe's father has been practiceing the whole song over and over, not just this beginning, he has gathered a fair amount of information by now which must be what attracts the Chandrian, though perhaps singing in public was the turning point.
Katy Burnside
86. DarlinKaty
Oh my goodness. I need a spreadsheet and Excel Ninja Skillz to sort through all the theories presented here over the past year that I was unaware of this Reread.
But as I am on my third reread (and first time following old posts here) I have a quick question. Has it ever been suggested or pondered whether or not Meluan is Netalia nay Lorian's daughter? IE, Meluan is Kvothe's half-sister.
The black dress in the rhyme, to many, suggests Lady Lackless is a widow. Perhaps a widow with a daughter, the heir to the title. But then Widow Lackless takes off with the Edema Ruh, effectively abandoning her daughter, Meluan, and birthing the riddle raveling.
I am not at all saying it's a solid theory. I have not reserached it for facts before bringing it here. But it does explain Meluan's age vs. Laurian's. It explains Meluan's continuing rage toward the Edema Ruh. It could also, depending on how politics works in Vintas, explain why Meluan effectively banishes Kvothe in every way possible.
Thoughts? I am willing to be disporoved. It is an off-hand thought of a theory.
Jo Walton
87. bluejo
DarlinKaty: No, Meluan can't be Laurian's daughter and Kvothe's sister because she refers to her sister who ran off with the Ruh. She's his aunt.
George Brell
88. gbrell
@87.bluejo:

Unless lots of Lacklesses run off with Ruh. But that would probably tend to downplay the scandal.
Jo Walton
89. bluejo
GBrell: What if it had happened every generation since the Creation War? That would explain all the songs...
George Brell
90. gbrell
At some point you'd think they'd figure out those Ruh boys are trouble.
Jonathon Duerig
91. Cajreader
@57


Fascinated by your analysis and theory that Mehluan's round key is the ring not for wearing. You mention parallels with Taborlin's key, coin and candle. What if Taborlin had a key-coin and candle?
Jonathon Duerig
92. Guillaume Riesen
The magic in this book seems by and large well-thought-out, but Kvothe's near-miss when he binds the air in his lungs bothers the pedant in me.

This experience implies that the sympathetic bond he created not only allowed the transferrence of energy from one object to another, but actively prevented the motion of one object without the other.

That is to say that if he were to hold a pebble at chest-height and bind it to a boulder, it would remain floating there and resist all motion too weak to move the boulder as well. Am I correct in this interpretation?

If this is the case, then it's potentially a tremendously useful source of power. In fact, binding the pebble to a house or some other dissimilar object would be even more effective in keeping it still since there would an inefficient binding and even more energy would be needed to move it. So any object can easily be kept entirely immobile using a binding to an arbitrary massive object with no further use of energy.

When Kvothe saw those bullies attack the boy in the alley beneath his hideout in Tarbean, he could have bound the air in their lungs to stop them. Hell, he could have bound one of their eyeballs to a nearby chimney and they'd be screwed. What use is a gram when someone can just bind a cage of air around you to a distant mountain?

I guess I'm just thinking too far into this, but it's a little disappointing to have such a seemingly rich fount of possibility unexplored. Can anyone find a hole in my reasoning?
George Brell
93. gbrell
@92. Guillaume Rosen:

I don't think your first example (the pebble to large object) proves as much as you think. We don't have a full theory of sympathy, we only have what the story relates to us, but there are a couple examples that are useful as comparisons.

The demonstration that Kvothe, Sim, and Wil give Denna in WMF with the coins as well as the initial teaching by Abenthy are both helpful scenes. When you link coin A to coin B, lifting coin A requires more than lifting just coin A + coin B. That's slippage. Lifting coin B (as far as we are aware) doesn't require additional work. But neither does it lift coin A. Links are one-direction.

So what are you binding in the pebble example. If it's the pebble to the boulder, the pebble will drop immediately. It's weight is now (pebble+boulder+slippage). Gravity remains a force on the pebble.

If it's the boulder to the pebble, the boulder now weighs (boulder+pebble+slippage). The ground probably can hold up the additional weight (pebble+slippage), so the pebble probably wouldn't drop. You have a problem with this because it seems like it's the perfect way to "freeze" someone. (EDIT: After thinking a bit, I think there is more to this, see the end of the post.)

But the problem with that thought is that the additional slippage weight has to come from somewhere. As Kvothe says, "energy cannot be created or destroyed." As we all know, mass and energy are related (and sympathy provides a method of quasi-transforming them, usually changing heat energy into kinetic energy). So the extra weight of the boulder must come from the sympathist or his linked source. And the more inefficient the link (whether through dissimilarity or distance), the more energy it will require to bind the objects together.

That appears to be the limiting factor. How much energy can you bring to bear on the problem? And would that energy be more useful in another application.

Your underlying theory, however, appears to be the basis of the initial form of the Bloodless. He just used an inertial trigger to bind an arrow to a non-moving piece of iron. It "worked," but notice that binding "an incoming arrowhead to a stationary piece of iron" "only absorbs a third of the arrow’s momentum." It's not perfectly clear that this isn't because the arrowcatch is not tethered (i.e. what would happen if the arrowcatch were bolted down? -this isn't a practical solution since there is nothing for a horsebound traveler to bolt it to, though I thought about bolting to a wagon...).

But also note that his solution, the spring, needs to "snap back with at least three times" the arrow's force. So the link can't be great or there is not enough energy in the bloodless to maintain the link for long enough (presumably heat driven like a sympathy lamp, so essentially solar powered), though perhaps that's been worked around to allow for all eight springs to fire.

I think the response to all of your later people hypotheticals is that the links would be terrible and the amount of energy required to maintain them makes them impractical.

And that's exactly what happens in the "lungs" example we have. He binds the air in his lungs to the air outside. His lungs cannot move that amount of air and he's locked in position. His linked object ("the air in my lungs") now weighs "air in my lungs" + "air outside" + slippage. And notice that in moments, his hands had become "numb and cold as ice." Your body doesn't lose heat that fast, unless it's the source for his sympathy (and we have no evidence that Kvothe used any other source in his link). This seems like a case of binder's chills (though he doesn't have the exaggerated shakes we see in other instances in the novels).

EDIT: After thinking on this overnight, I need to addend this somewhat.

The pebble-boulder example is actually an inversion of the problem you seem to have with sympathy. As I noted, binding pebble -> boulder doesn't float the pebble because gravity keeps working on it. But reversing the link doesn't actually constrain the pebble (since the additional weight is on the boulder).

To "float" something, you need to bind heavy -> light. But to constrain something, you need to bind light -> heavy, since binding pebble -> boulder would make it impossible to move the pebble (or would tear your arm off like the example Manet gave Kvothe).

I still stand behind the constraining factor being the energy available. For the Bloodless example, binding arrow -> iron increases its mass (and by conservation of momentum, reduces its velocity). But the fact that so much additional force is required to oppose the arrow suggests the weakness of the link (whether in terms of energy or similarity).

I also made a couple comments related to this in this post:
tor.com/blogs/2011/09/rothfuss-reread-the-wise-mans-fear-part-5-a-special-kind-of-stupid
Nathan Love
94. n8love
I'll play Encannis' Advocate here:

I don't think the Bloodless requires heat or any continuously active energy source. The potential energy of drawn bear trap springs is more than enough, and it seems that the link to the incoming arrow is actually triggered by the incoming arrow. The amount of energy required to release whatever catch is holding the spring in position is probably quite small.

Sygaldry, at any rate, may be moot to the above points; while sygaldry stems from sympathy, we have evidence that sygaldry in general does not require any continual energy source for any links which the runes maintain (Think twice-tough glass or K's explanation of binding bricks). If energy is required, it is provided and used by the artificer, of necessity a sympathist, during fabrication. The rune would be a means of putting the sympathetic link (which would normally require an active sympathist) in a sort of stasis, where the link, presumably along with the energy required for that link to exist, is maintained after they have dropped their alar altogether. If this is generally or even on occasion not the case, then it would seem from the Bloodless description that using runes which bind or repel a specific material from the material inscribed will use whatever energy is available, possibly through an avenue prescribed by the artificer.

I say all this, of course, not only for intrigue but also to point out that sygaldry may not be where to look when considering the sympathetic issues raised @92 Guillaume Riesen, and certainly not to nitpick gbrell, who raises a good point about possible directional links.

I will add in direct response to @92 that the assumption that the slippage would be, in essence, helping you make something immovable does not need to be true. I know the coin to chalk made the coin heavy, but I don't recall enough detail about lifting from the chalk end with which to make an informed opinion. I will point out, also, that there is more than one type of sympathetic link.

All of that said, it does follow that Kvothe would have been able to bind the air in someone else's lungs to the air outside if he had chosen. I'd remind you, though, that in Tarbean specifically Kvothe's mind was still asleep and he had been blocking out memories. Now Ambrose's lungs may be another story.

@gbrell While you are correct that gravity would still work on the pebble, the key here is relative position. Using K's demonstration, if the boulder is the coin in hand and the pebble is the coin on the table, sympathetically speaking, then as long as the boulder doesn't fall from its position the pebble should indeed "float". Again, there is even more than one Kinetic Binding, the differences of which are not explained, so the details are hard to argue.


Edit: See what I did there? I prehempted dissent by clinging to the old "I can't be disproved" logic. Welcome to the internet.
George Brell
95. gbrell
@94.n8love:

I completely agree with your relative position point. The pebble would float so long as the boulder can't fall (i.e. it's on the ground already). But the point of the unidirectional linkage (which isn't proven, though I haven't found any counterexamples) is that the pebble could still be moved by someone else (since the link would be boulder -> pebble).

we have evidence that sygaldry in general does not require any continual energy source for any links which the runes maintain

Except that we know sympathy lamps generate their light from heat stored in the metal or from the hand holding it. I do agree that triggering the spring would require minimal energy (probably ambient heating would supply it) and the potential energy of the spring itself could provide any additional energy.

We've only had a handful of bindings named: "Sympathetic Binding of Parallel Motion," "Chemical. Probably second catalytic," "first parallel kinetic binding" (which might be the same as "Parallel Motion"), "Capacitorial Kinetic Luminosity," "a galvanic binding."

From these, we can make some assumptions. I've always assumed "Parallel" in the two kinetic bindings implied that motion on object A was mimicked by object B. But that could mean there could be inverted bindings or rotational or perpendicular bindings that translate the vector of force.

Kinetic refers to, at least, the input energy. We also have "Chemical," "Luminosity," and "galvanic" (or in modern parlance, electromagnetic). There should also be Thermal, Radiant, Nuclear (though that's not yet been clearly discovered), Sonic, etc.

"Catalytic" is also fascinating as that's a slightly different concept relating to rate of change rather than energy. But we don't have a lot to go on.
Jonathon Duerig
96. TWeeks
I've forgot who suggested that Lady Lackless's sharp word was a name, but I think they're on the right track. With all the naming in these books, I think it must be something of the sort.

Having gotten that off my chest, I have say that I stumbled onto this reread just before starting my own reread.. And now I have to finish reading all of it, comments included, before I'll let myself get to the actual books. This is too interesting. :)
thistle pong
97. thistlepong
Man. I'm almost sorry. It's even longer than they are.
Jonathon Duerig
98. Quintas11
From the lackless riddle

"One’s a ring that’s not for wearing"- (the ringing of a bell? maybe a sound is needed to unlock the box or door?)

"One a sharp word, not for swearing" (again thinking of sound, a "sharp" note/word sung in the right key)

Just trying to think outside the box
Michael Booth
99. Etherbeard
I recall a couple artciles back a question posed about the name of Kote's inn. There are probably multiple meanings, but I think mainly it's because a Waystone is somewhere you always stop.
Jonathon Duerig
100. MichalGoderez
Something about the end of the Lackless rhyme:
"Lackless likes her riddle raveling" we know that ravel is the insulting slang for Edema Ruh, and because of how she feels about the Ruh it makes sense that this references that somehow.

Also, the road that's not for travelling...could that be the broken road from the Jax/Iax story?
Jonathon Duerig
102. Togasa
A few thoughts:

Why are folks assuming that the 1st Lackless rhyme (chapter 7) is old? I think that given how fast we have been told information travels in this world (in many cases news of Kvothes exploits travel faster than he does) that it would make perfect sense for the 1st Lackless rhyme be about Kvothes mother (I buy into the theory that she is a Lackless).

In my opinion the 1st rhyme is a bastardization of the original (far older) poem that we get in WMF, with the most current events of the Lackless family muddled in (i.e. - Kvothes mother running away).

I also cannot see Rothfuss using the phrase "riddle raveling" to reference "little raveling". I think that the words are correct. I agree that "raveling" here refers to the Ruh, but I wonder if the line only refers to the fact that no one truly knows why she left a life of nobility for a Ruh and the road (ie - her leaving is a riddle aka "she likes her riddle raveling").

I have also thought that "a road not for traveling" could refer to the road to Tinue. I seem to remember that when Kvothe tells the road to tinue story to Sim and Will, the phrase "the road to tinue" is like saying a road to knowhere. Also, the road to Tinue is where we are introduced to the reason behind the Ruh welcoming ceremony. "Just water please"

Overall, I think that the 1st rhyme and all of chapter 7 are there to set up that Kvothe is actually a Lackless. The rhyme is bastardized version of the true poem chock full of innuendo meant to poke fun at the Lackless family and not convey useful information through the ages. The 2nd older poem is the one with the secrets.

On Kvothes parents deaths and the song, I think that the Chandrian just don't want specific and accurate information about them to get out. I also think that Arliden discovered at least one of the true names and worked it into the song without knowing.
Jonathon Duerig
103. Late Re-Reader
I'm ridiculously late to this thread, but I thought I'd point out that saying "Lanre" isn't a problem because (according to Skarpi's story) "Lanre" isn't his name anymore. It's Haliax.
Jonathon Duerig
104. rhymeswithtequila
I think that the conversation with Ben (p.114/location 2275) 'A clever, thoughtless person is one of the most terrifying things there is' is important 'cause that's really where Kvothe has problems isn't it? It's why Elodin doesn't want to teach him, it's why Vashet and Shehyn are concerned that there is something deeper than the Lethani in him ... and it's the way that Sim thinks he acts most like an Amyr and where he tells Bast that his greatest triumphs come from ... thoughtlessness.

Also rather randomly, maybe Lady Lackless is wearing a black dress in mourning for her disowned daughter.
Leeland Woodard
105. TheKingOfCarrotFlowers
Just a quick thought. In this chapter, we see Arliden talking to Ben about his song, and the reason that he decided to look for a historical basis for Lanre. Specifically, he said that it was like looking at a bunch of grandchildren, all with blue eyes, and knowing based off of that that the grandmother also must have had blue eyes.

The way it's phrased made me wonder why he would say that the grandmother must have blue eyes if the grandchildren did--why say nothing about the grandfather? It's weak, but it may support the Adem's theory about reproduction--that it all comes from the woman.

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