May 12 2011 2:18pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Name of the Wind, Part 4: Entirely the Wrong Sort of Songs

The Patrick Rothfuss reread on Tor.comWelcome to part four of my insanely detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This post covers chapters 16-23 of The Name of the Wind but contains spoilers for all of The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear.


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.

Spoilers and speculations below.

Chapter Sixteen is called Hope, and it is the terrible chapter in which Kvothe’s troupe are killed by the Chandrian. The hope is that his parents didn’t waste their time preparing dinner but had a little time to be together before they died... and that’s about as hopeful as it gets.

There’s a lot in this chapter. To start with, they’re traveling fifteen or twenty miles a day, for more than a month after they leave Hallowfell. This is how they get from there almost to Tarbean. But this is a long time after Arliden sings the Lanre song in public. Are the Chandrian stalking them or what? Did they put that tree down across the road as an ambush? I never know how real they are—how much they are in the real world. They physically kill the troupe, with swords, not with magic. Later Cinder was with the bandits. I imagine them as much more magical—because they vanish the way they do, into Haliax’s shadow. But maybe they are stalking them and setting up an ambush. It makes sense.

During that month or so, Kvothe learns more acting from his father, begins stage sword-fighting, and his mother teaches him how to be polite to the nobility—titles of rank and so on. I wonder what her purpose is there—just what she says, so that if he’s performing he can address them properly? Or does she plan to tell him eventually that he’s a Lackless? Pity she doesn’t teach him the status of bastards in Vintas.

Then the attack. There’s a lot of distancing and reminding it’s a story and hesitation before we get up close to it. Kvothe says he’d rather pass over it, except that it is a place where the story starts, a hinge. Interesting word, that. “hinge.” Reminds me of boxes and doors.

We see the Chandrian signs, blue fire and rotting wood and metal. We see death and destruction—they have killed everyone. Then Kvothe finds them sitting around the fire. Only three of them are described—Cinder, who is all bone white except for his dark eyes, a bald man with a grey beard, and Haliax, who is wrapped in shadow and speaks in italics. Cinder is capriciously cruel, Haliax reins him in and masters him. He uses the word Ferula to do this, which is pretty clearly Cinder’s Name, his true name. In the Adem poem, it says “Ferule, chill and dark of eye” so this is some evidence that the Adem names are nearly right.

Haliax seems bored or sickened by the cruelty of the others. Cinder is tormenting Kvothe and the others are laughing, but Haliax just wants him sent “to his sleep.”

Who keeps you safe from the Amyr, the Singers, the Sithe, from all that would harm you in the world?” Haliax asks Cinder, getting the answer that he, Haliax, does. We know something about the Amyr, though not enough. We know a little about the Sithe—they are the Fae who stop people approaching the Chteah. Have the Singers been mentioned elsewhere? The impression I get from this is that any of these groups and/or others could hurt the other Chandrian, but Haliax is more powerful. Haliax is a different thing. They are six plus one.

Another useful thing Haliax says is, “I am glad I decided to accompany you today. You are straying, indulging in whimsy. Some of you seem to have forgotten what it is we seek, what we wish to achieve.” What’s their plan? What’s their plan? This does tell us for sure they have one, even if it doesn’t give any clue what it is.

They leave, and Kvothe falls asleep, the wagon sets on fire, and he escapes with his father’s lute and Ben’s book.

This is a very grim chapter.


Chapter Seventeen is called Interlude — Autumn. It’s back to the frame story, to the Inn. Bast is moved to tears by the story, and K is rough with him, rejecting his sympathy (in the mundane sense of the word) saying it was a long time ago and time is a healer, and goes out to get wood. Bast and Chronicler talk a little and become better friends, actually apologising and reconciling over the attack, bound together by what they have heard. Meanwhile, outside, K gathers wood and then breaks down and cries—he actually was moved by telling the story.

I don’t think there’s anything here but a break of tension after the awful things in the last chapter and a triangulation on the emotions. K doesn’t care for pity, Bast pities him and hopes telling his story will cheer him up—clearly Bast doesn’t know this story!


Chapter Eighteen is called Roads to Safe Places, and it begins with Kvothe saying that he went mad in the forest, shutting away his memory and half his mind so that he could heal and bear the shock. He has a dream, an interesting dream. First he’s with Laclith, who is showing him woodcraft—which is what he’ll immediately need. Then Laclith becomes Ben, teaching him knots. Ben becomes his father, about to play his song, and talking about greystones—and then Ben, saying they are roads to safe places or safe roads leading into danger. Then Kvothe is in a huge circle of greystones, and then he wakes up. I don’t know what to make of it, but I’m sure it’s significant.

When he wakes he follows Laclith’s woodcraft—he finds water, he finds a greystone, he catches and fails to kill a rabbit, and he makes a shelter for his lute. If his sleeping mind has taken over, it’s doing a good job with necessities for the time being.

I like him failing to kill the rabbit—he is traumatised, however oddly he’s taking it. It feels like a very real detail.


Chapter Nineteen is Fingers and Strings—Kvothe lives wild in the forest and plays the lute obsessively, learning how to play tunes and other things, and how to manage when the strings break. It isn’t until three out of seven strings have broken and summer is over that he moves on, to find new strings. He heads southwards because it’s cold—if he had half a brain he’d have gone back to Hallowfell, but the whole point is that he doesn’t, he’s going on instinct.

I don’t really like this, I find it too convenient that he loses his brilliant focus and then gets it back unharmed later. It’s as if he needs to pass some time stupidly, so he becomes stupid. This section, and the stuff in Tarbean, is my least favourite part so far. He’s got the intelligence to know that lute strings will be found in cities anyway.


Chapter Twenty is Bloody Hands Into Stinging Fists—Kvothe gets to Tarbean, gets beaten up and breaks his lute, and stays in the city. It’s worth noticing the way he rejects the friendliness of the farmer Seth, because he can’t face telling him what happened.

In the fight, the other boys get into a quarrel about religion. One of them quotes “Do not call on Tehlu, save in greatest need, for Tehlu judges every thought and deed.” This seems like more evidence for the power of names.

And now Kvothe gets trapped in Tarbean for three years.


Chapter Twenty-One is Basement, Bread and Bucket—Kvothe is begging on the streets of Tarbean. If it instantly occurred to me to wonder why he wasn’t busking, I wonder why it never occurred to him? He’d lost the lute, but he could sing or juggle or tell stories or recite monologues from plays, and the pay would have been better. Okay, he was feeling stupid, but even so.

He finds a basement with children tied to beds and he immediately remembers every story he’d heard about the Duke of Gibea (secret Amyr, and boon to anatomy, only he doesn’t know that yet). In the basement is Trapis, doing his best to care for the hopeless—he’s a kind of Mother Teresa, but not formally affiliated with the church.


Chapter Twenty-Two is A Time for Demons—in Tarbean, at Midwinter.

At the beginning of this chapter there’s a really beautiful bit of writing and in-cluing. We’re given a lot of information about Midwinter in the form of Kvothe critiquing the way they do it in Tarbean. Midwinter normally is celebrated by having professionals playing demons and Tehlu—Kvothe’s troupe have always done this and it’s safe and everyone has fun. In Tarbean the church sells demon masks, the amateur demons make mischief. Kvothe disapproves. This is the first time we hear the story of Tehlu versus demons, and really this is all we hear of it, except that the chief demon is called Encanis, and Kvothe’s father used to play him.

Kvothe celebrates by going to the good part of town to beg. A lady gives him a penny, but a town guard beats him up. Then on his way “home” to his rooftop shelter, when he’s about to freeze to death, a man playing Encanis rescues him, gives him a silver talent and his gloves. This allows him to buy food and warmth and survive. So the demon is the good guy. I suspect this of being symbolic.


Chapter Twenty-Three is The Burning Wheel. In his fever, Kvothe gets himself to Trapis. A child there asks for a story, and when Trapis says he doesn’t know any, Kvothe thinks that everybody knows one story, as if this is proverbial. Then Trapis tells a story of Tehlu.

We’ve heard of Tehlu before, as God. I’ve just realised I’ve been pronouncing it all this time like a Welsh word, because it ends in a u—but I bet Rothfuss meant it to be Teh-loo, not Taily, oh dear. Well, too late now. We’ve heard him cursed, and we’ve heard about the Tehlin church giving bread for prayers, and we’ve just heard about the Midwinter festival. But this is the first actual story we’ve heard about him.

Trapis’s story wanders. It’s impressive how Rothfuss manages to make it a good readable story while keeping enough of Trapis’s indecisions that you can tell it isn’t well told. He mostly does this by using formal storytelling patterns with the occasional dither, which works very well. “His church was corrupt—no, wait, there was no church yet...”

Now we learn something about Encanis—“the swallowing darkness. No matter where he walked, shadows hid his face.” Does this remind anyone else of Haliax? What are these demons, if not Chandrian and their friends? Trapis says this story happened more than four hundred years ago but maybe not as much as a thousand years ago, but he clearly has no idea—we have more than two thousand years of detailed recorded history.

So, we have a story and a church that resembles Christianity. The god who made the world selects one good woman and becomes her child, saves the world and sacrifices himself for it, returning to heaven as a more powerful and compassionate god.

Tehlu is his own son. “Menda” grows up very fast and reveals himself as Tehlu. He draws a line in the road and says on one side is pain and punishment, and on the other side is pain and punishment and himself, and demands that everyone cross to him. When they cross he hits them with a hammer and then embraces them and gives them new names—look names. Rengen becomes Wereth.

In the end everybody crosses but seven people. Seven of them—Chandrian. But Trapis doesn’t say that. Six of them he struck down, but one of them was a demon in human form, which again sounds like the Chandrian, or may be a clue to them. When the demon is struck, “There was a sound of quenching iron and a smell of burning leather.” It’s not what happens when K strikes the scrael, that’s a crack, and the smell of rotting flowers and burning hair. But it sounds related—and it’s a smith’s hammer Tehlu’s using, and therefore iron. It sounds like one of those fairy-tale specific things.

Tehlu then went around destroying demons and destroyed them all except Encanis. Encanis isn’t explicitly identified with the demon standing with the six men.

For six days Encanis fled, and six great cities he destroyed. But on the seventh day Tehlu drew near... and so the seventh city was spared.

This is also suggestive of the cities on the plain and the story of Lanre as we will get it from Scarpi. But this is our first mention of any of this.

Tehlu catched Encanis and binds him to an iron wheel in the fire, and eventually holds him to the wheel and burns with him, losing his mortal form and going back to heaven. This happens in the city of Atur, a city that still exists as Trapis speaks, and which was the capital of a religious empire with Amyr in it for a long time. And now we know where the iron wheels as religious symbols come from.

We’ll continue from Chapter 24 next time.


Comments on comments

In comments on last week’s post—C12VT notes that Arliden quotes the Amyr’s motto “All for the greater good” about Kvothe’s torn shirt. Worth thinking then that it wasn’t—it was torn because he was being an idiot and nearly killing himself. Maybe this whole thing relates to the way the Amyr go about things—especially if you naturally say it when something is broken. And thinking about the Duke of Gibea torturing people for medical information, ick.

I love Greyfalconway’s idea that “raveling” means “little ravel” and means Kvothe.

I also like CMPalmer’s connection of the lockless box with eggs and Adem’s theories of reproduction. Now, I laughed at that while reading WMF, but there is absolutely no reason in a fantasy world why it shouldn’t be true, or partly true. Reproduction in fantasy doesn’t have to work the way it does in reality—I’ve written fantasy worlds myself where it doesn’t, and we know Rothfuss likes my work. Perial might really have borne Tehlu parthenogenetically and so might Netalia have Kvothe, and indeed every Lackless woman back to whenever. And this relates to what ClairedeT says, too. In fact the whole thing of “her husband’s rocks” being in the box could relate to this if whatever children Lady Lackless produces are hers alone. If this is the case it is amazingly clever.

Herelle and Speculations speculate about Netalia’s marriage status before she runs off with Arliden—I think if she were married, it would have come up in what Kvothe learns in Vintas. But I also think that the best evidence that she is is that the pattern of their romance is clearly the real world song “The Gypsy Rover,” in which the seduced lady is married. But... she says “nobles’ daughters” not “wives”. So I think not.

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.

Gary Singer
1. AhoyMatey
Somewhere in the story, I got the impression that Trapis had actually been a priest. Or still is...
2. ArtfulMagpie
The thing about Kvothe living wild in the forest is not, I think, that he "lost his brilliant focus" as you put it. During that time period, he didn't just learn to play tunes on his lute. He learned to play NAMES. He talks about learning to play something other than songs, learning to play the way the world FELT. If that isn't capturing and understanding a name, I'll be a monkey's uncle. He was just expressing those names in his music, rather than in speech as he learns at the University. And I think that says something about Kvothe. He is extremely talented, but never so much so as when he's working on pure instinct like he was when living like a wild creature in the forest.

I think that also ties in with the idea of people leaving the University on rambles in order to seek the name of the wind. It's easier when you're not thinking about it, after all. Like Elodin's example with the boy just being able to catch something thrown at him when a room full of students couldn't calculate its path.

AND I think that Kvothe's talent (magical talent, even?) with the lute and his music may well tie into the Singers mentioned by Haliax. Can you imagine a trained troop of musicians playing Names and controlling the wind, or fire, or whatever else by doing so? The melodies they could conjure!
3. thistlepong
The story Trapis tells is from The Book of the Path, the Tehlin holy book. I suspected it the first time through, and it was confirmed in ch.32 of WMF.

It's also interesting to note that Trapis eventual "maybe not as much as a thousand years" corresponds with the foundation of the Aturan Empire.
4. Susan Loyal
I have problems with the Tarbean section for many of the reasons you mention and also because it feels "literary" to me in the wrong way--not "literary" because about story telling but "literary" as in derived from books and without root in experience. In short, it reads to me as "let's do the Dickensian orphans now." On the first reading, it almost stopped me liking the book (which I recovered from pretty quickly). On repeated reading, it still bothers me. I think you're right that he should be busking rather than primarily stealing and begging. It might have led to greater trouble, but I think it would have felt more organic. It feels to me almost like he's become a different person, and I don't much care for him as Oliver Twist. But then perhaps I'm missing something, because we do later see him "become a different person": Kote.

My husband completely disagrees with me about the Tarbean section. He thinks that the being bullied, the ducking and hiding, the trying to remain unnoticed are all quite organic and thoroughly convincing. He hasn't read much Dickens, which may leave him a more competent reader here than I.

Certainly Kvothe's experiences in Tarbean incline him to run around the rooftops at University and provide a connection therefore with Auri, but it still seems the long way round to establish that. I have now convinced myself that I'm missing something. What?
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
After leaving Hallowfell they travel "OVER THE NEXT MONTHS"--I take that to mean more than two months. And, they are traveling at "fifteen, twenty miles a day as we searched out new towns to play". So, the time and distance is ambiguous, but fairly lengthy. This also implies they stopped and entertained some along the way.
This seems like quite a long time for the Chandrian to actually be stalking them, so I took it took the Chandrian some goodly percentage of that time to pinpoint the location of the troop. It could be that K's father was practicing the song the entire time and using the names and so gradually drawing the Chandrian in. Or, it could just take a while. Since it had been 16 days since the last big storm, it seemed likely that the Chandrianwere the ones responsible for laying that particular tree across the road.

Back in chapter 15 was the line:
"As you can see, I don’t think anyone could have built a better snare for Ben if they had tried."
This always seemed a bit ominous to me and almost could imply that the Chandrian had somehow planned for Ben leaving the troop. Ben would have been the only person with any means to defend anyone against magic, so I thought it interesting that the attack doesn't occur until Ben is well behind the troop. Or, it could be coincidence. Or, ...
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
I, also, was unsettled that it took so long for K to snap back to a plan in Tarbean. Busking does seem very obvious. Sure, he was in shock, but 3 years does seem a bit extreme.
K's actions here seem so unobvious, that it makes me wonder (like Susan@4) if we aren't missing some other reason here.
Ashley Fox
7. A Fox
I dont really have the same troubles as you other folk re Tarbean. K is weak, starving, young and very much arfaid. He fears drawing attention to himself in case the Chandrian come back for him. So he loses himself, literally, in Tarbeans heaving mass of ever changing faces. Whats one more beggar boy? He purosefully avoids what reminds him of his former life.

Also, note that this society does not have buskers (well not musical ones). It very much operates on a system of patronage. Whether its some dingy tavern for a few pints of home brew,or a noble etc. Do you really think the guards would believe that a beggar by owned a lute? Or stole one? Not to mention that whilst in the wild his music had evolved into something incredible personal (and yes naming). K never plays just for the sake of playing, or for a few coins.
8. Susan Loyal
K never plays just for the sake of playing, or for a few coins.
@7. Okay, I'll bite. How does what Kvothe does at the Eolian differ from "playing for the sake of playing, or for a few coins" (and drinks)? After he obtains his pipes, that is.
LT Tortora
9. Lucubratrix
Kvothe probably didn't have the heart to perform for a crowd in Tarbean. It's one thing for him to play obsessively for himself in the forest, but another to play for others. Besides, losing his lute was probably the last straw for him--he broke, and it took a while for him to recover from everything.
Dave West
10. Jhirrad
I've long thought on the reasoning why Kvothe wouldn't have used his musical talent in Tarbean in order to survive at a higher level of subsistence than what he knew in his time there. While it seems obvioius that he would do something like this, after a little reflection, it becomes much more reasonable.

First, remember the extreme devestation that he went through at the death of his parents and his troupe. It drove him to what he described as madness. There is a clear disconnect in Kvothe at this point, and I believe, the first time we see him make a break in himself and ultimately seal off part. This is an important piece of the puzzle. Second, recognize the incredible trauma that the destruction of Arliden's lute caused him. After his time in the wilderness, Kvothe finally unlocked himself, only to quickly find himself traumatized again. And the trauma was one which he related back to the death of his parents. It seems to me that he locked himself away a second time, and in some ways he builds another character, who we can call TarK (for Tarbean Kvothe). It's not until he gets to a certain point in his experience there that, much like his time in the wilderness, he finally is able to re-establish Kvothe from TarK, much like we see Kote right now as a different character from Kvothe.
Jo Walton
11. bluejo
I think that since he thinks of begging as acting for a demanding audience, he could have sung for them in the same spirit.
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter
Lucubratrix@9:Yes, it could very well be that he was broken. He was only 12. And, yes shock can last a very long time. And performing could be too emotionally painful.
It's just that three years seems like an excessive time to be broken. He does try stealing and begging, so he isn't catatonic. (What Jo says @11)
Ryan Reich
13. ryanreich
bluejo @11: Kvothe seems to consider acting as a way of manipulating the audience (okay, that's part of the definition), but has a more elevated opinion of music. He'd be willing to beg by acting just because it is using his cleverness, which he likes to put on display. But his singing and playing come from the heart, particularly at this time in his life, and are replete with intimate memories of his family that he obviously wants to repress. I imagine he would have agreed with the Adem perspective on music if anyone had asked him in these chapters.
Hello There
14. praxisproces
Lovely as always, Jo. A couple things:

1) On the brief emergence of the frame tale after the murder; this was I think the first time it occurred to me that I was reading the work of a truly gifted technical writer. The opportunity it offers the reader to draw a deep breath and appreciate the magnitude of the tragedy that just befell young-Kvothe is really admirable. And makes it all the harder to imagine, as Pat has said in interviews, that he started writing the book without the frame narrative at all.

2) A lot of people share this distaste for the Tarbean section, but I actually love it, although more on reading through now after WMF than on the first read. It's important for a variety of reasons, I think, not least because Kvothe spends so much of the book being so unbelievably talented in so many ways, and the memory of this horrible period really serves to sustain the less admirable parts of his character later in the story (his rashness, his arrogance, his temper). Not to mention I've always thought there's a strong similarity between how he acts in this period and how he acts and feels after he first calls the name of the wind; we're dealing with profound psychological trauma, here, and a lot of his mind is simply gone.

3) I also just adore the Midwinter sequence; it's the best worldbuilding in the whole saga, I think, and paints a really rich and economical picture of the broader civil society that we don't get to see much in Kvothe's life at the University or on the fringes of the Four Corners in WMF.

4) One thing that's making me cautious: it's so obvious, listening to Tarpi, that the story he's telling is mostly false. It feels too much like doctrine and not enough like truth. And this sets us up, when we hear Skarpi's story later on, to assume that that's the true version of which Tehlin philosophy is the distant attenuated shadow. Do we have any strong reason to believe that, though, other than this juxtaposition? I've been treating Skarpi's account of the Lanre-Selitos struggle as gospel for years - as Kvothe himself does, obviously, when he flips out on Denna in WMF - but perhaps there's yet another story-behind-the-story. We know how PR loves stories, after all. Especially because we know, as Kvothe and Bast have made clear, that there are no demons, or at least nothing like what the church teaches are demons, and because, as you point out, Encanis saving Kvothe seems a little too overdetermined to really just be a narrative twist. How do we know, for example, that Lanre wasn't the hero he seemed to be in Denna's song? We could have everything backwards.
Ashley Fox
15. A Fox

lol, well as you say the pipes. But mainly for the music itself. K recognises what the pipes represent, not only coin (drink) and security, but an awknowlegment of his skill as a player. All that his family taught him, all the skills he learned in the wild. Also this is the first time he allows others (intenionally) to hear him play. Its a moment in which teenage K and child K become reconciled, he becomes stronger for it, a turning point in the narrative. A lot more than coin (drink (feck!)).
16. Patrick C

I can't remember the name of the Inn he stays in at the University, but doesn't he play and sing for his room and board there? And that doesn't have the prestige of the Eolian.
C Smith
17. C12VT
My only thought on who the "Singers" could be are the people of the Tahl. In WMF, Kvothe says that he heard "the leaders of their tribes aren't great warriors, they're singers. Their songs can heal the sick and make the trees dance." There is at least one other mention of them: in Ademre, Penthe says she would go to the Tahl to be cured if she got an STD. She seemed pretty sure this would work, and Ademre is relatively close to the Tahl, so this makes me think they really do have some sort of healing abilities.
Ashley Fox
18. A Fox
@16 i rather thought that was after he had achieved his pipes. Anywho it is quite clear that music is transendent for K, its essential to him as breathing. An addiction if you will. I find the fact that Kote doesnt play far more interesting than analyising everytime he picks up a lute!

@17 oh dear, had forgotten that even though i remember the resulting mulling when i read that.
Chris Palmer
19. cmpalmer
@7, I disagree about K never playing for a few coins, but I strongly agree with your other points. Had the lute not been broken, he may have eventually made a living playing around town. Once he lost that, he was pretty much at rock bottom - he couldn't raise money by music, he couldn't get a lute without money, he couldn't enough things to not look like a beggar, the punishments for stealing would be harsh, etc. Add that to the fact that he was afraid to tell anyone where he came from or who he was for fear the Chandrian would track him down.

I know what @4 means about it being a "literary" hardship, but I do think it plays that role - it sets him up to be strong enough to survive at the university with no money and the frequent loss (or near loss) of everything he has.

I don't care much for the Tarbean chapters, but I do really like the Fingers and Strings chapter because it does seem to tie in with the idea of Naming and how Names are spoken, yet are non-verbal. I like the descriptions of him playing the rain and the sunlight on the leaves.
Ryan Reich
20. ryanreich
ConnorSullivan @14: Your doubts about the Tehlu story seem well-founded to me. In a lot of fantasy, the old itinerant storytelling magician would always have the true tale, and Rothfuss' favorite game appears to be trolling the readers with that kind of expecation before violating it. I think it's unwise to accept something important like this that we are told straight out.

The theme of "there are no demons", together with the demonization of the human Amyr, is making my mind look in the direction of an evil religion theme, but I don't think Rothfuss will do anything that simplistic either. But the truth is likely to be mixed. Still, Haliax and the Chandrian are demonstrably awful people, so I don't expect them to turn into dark-horse heroes.

I am curious about things we really don't know anything about yet: how and why (and when) did Tehlu found the church, and what was the iron wheel really?
C Smith
21. C12VT
@20: The Aturan Empire, as near as I can figure, is between 500 and 1300 years old - but did the church predate it? Haliax has been alive for 5,000 years, according to the Cthaeh. So I would say the church was founded between 500 and 5000 years ago... that doesn't narrow it down that much, does it...

One thing that struck me about the wheel is this phrase: "The sound of its name was terrible, and none could speak it." Words that can't be spoken remind me of the Lackless riddle.
23. Daniel P
I very much like the idea @2 that Kvothe plays the names of things. This fits nicely with the scene in WMF with Felurian where, when they fight, he sees notes appear, and then sings them to name her (as Elodin says), rather than speaks them.

As for Trapis, I've thought of him as a monk since the first time he's introduced. His name is an echo of Trappist, he does tell a story that appears to be remembered dogma. I did not catch the similarities to the 7 demons and the tale of Lanre that Skarpi later tells, though I did note the similarity between Encanis and Haliax. It could be that the church appropriated the Chandrian into their dogma at some point. The Amyr (at least, the Amyr that people generally know about) were an order of the Church, and we have seen that references to and information about both the Amyr and the Chandrian have been systematically removed from the world, it would make sense that in the Church's version the demons were all killed. And in the tale Trapis tells, Tehlu, while merciful to an extent, definitely takes a "for the greater good" approach. He has absolutely no qualms dealing out pain and suffering, and while he does take away some of the pain after he deals out his hammer blows, he doesn't take it all. And in the end, he sacrifices even himself for the greater good. So we see echos of the Chandrian in the demons of Trapis' tale, and echos of the Amyr in Tehlu.
24. 12stargazers
I have to agree with Jhirrad about why Kvothe didn't busk or try to perform in Tarbean. He was twice bereaved. The first time, Kvothe was grieving for his family with the lute and music. Music was his companion, friend and playmate. When he lost everything else, he turned to it for solace. He put his whole self into the lute and the music. Then when reaching Tarbean, he lost his lute, any grounding with his past, and all methods of comfort -- only the book and his dream of the university was left. Without those, he would have died in the slums of Tarbean. From one angle, it looks like Kvothe was being stupid. From another angle, he went a little crazy from the double grief.

I went through something similiar myself, not too long ago. I read for amusement, for education, for relaxation and for solace. Other people drink at the end of a hard day. I read. Most of my sisters do the same. One of them died from cancer last year, a quick and nasty bout that left her bedridden and semi-comatose from painkillers. Rather than leaving her alone in a room with the TV for companionship, I read to her because she also found solace in books.

After she died, I thought I'd never read another book again.

I did, eventually, but I still remember those feelings. I had other avenues of comfort (DVDs provided other sources of escapism, and friends "kidnapped" me at least once) but my primary source was out of reach for an uncomfortable amount of time. I suspect it's a bit like having a limb amputated. To reach and not find. Or just to not be able to reach at all. Rothfuss did a good job of capturing the mood and feel when a vital element in the core identity is wrenched away and destroyed.

Plus, here's another point. Whether Kvothe was stupid or crazy, he was still a child. Children depend on the support of adults, even when they are mostly self-sufficient. At that point, Kvothe was not self-sufficient. He was intelligent, but experience counts for more in some situation than smarts. He was not expereinced in being self-sufficient. However, he learned how to be in the worst possible environments.

Being forced into a solitary, self-reliant state among feral children set the stage for a lot of his later stupidity. I really do think he would have made a lot fewer mistakes at the University if he hadn't gone from grief-crazy to feral child first. Not that I think he left grief-crazy behind -- part of it just morphed into revenge-crazy.

That's why I keep reading. The framing story keeps showing me that Kote is Kvothe's grief-crazy way of dealing with some other, greater loss. The more I think about this series, the more I'm reminded of the old saying, "Anyone who sets out to get revenge, must first dig two graves."
25. thistlepong
@ 21 C12VT: You can actually place the foundation of the Tehlin Church and the Aturan Empire on a timeline with a good deal of confidence. Comparing Trapis's account and the existence of 1000 years of Tehlin documents provides a solid foundation. As far as the movement of nations applies, around that time (via Caudicus) the Lockless family controlled much of Vintas, parts of Modeg, and the Small Kingdoms. As Atur waxed, their power waned.

@14.ConnorSullivan and @20.ryanreich: This might be an odd reading but Trapis's tale from The Book of the Path could be another chapter in the struggle between Tehlu and his allies and the Seven. It seems likely that actors on a millenial time scale would have ebbs and flows of influence of mortal events. The Chandrian stand in oposition the the civilization of the Four Corners while Tehlu and the Amyr seek to (ahem) demonize and eliminate the Fae. The church, the Iron Law, and the Empire were their latest, and lasting, attempt to do so.
Ryan Reich
26. ryanreich
thistlepong @25: That makes great sense and I wish I'd thought of it. Of course, the Amyr, the "Singers" (no doubt the angels that Aleph mints in Skarpi's second story, among them Tehlu), the Sithe, and the Chandrian are not all just sitting around plotting at each other. The question is what each of them is plotting. Some short thoughts:

1. The Church is a thing of the Singers but is also connected to the Amyr, with whom they disagree. Why?

2. Is the reason the Church is demonizing the Fae related to the fact that the Singers are the arm of Aleph, the chief Namer, and the Fae are creations of the Shapers, his enemies?

3. Anything about the Sithe, really. For example, what their problem with the Chandrian is. Possibly, it is because:

4. If in the Tehlu story, Tehlu stands for the Namers, then the Chandrian may stand for the Shapers who escaped punishment at the end of the Creation war (being locked behind the doors of stone). The Shapers created the Fae, so perhaps the Chandrian are a danger to them, which the Sithe defend against.

5. Or are the Chandrian out to release the Shapers, most likely Iax himself, who Lanre may hope has the power to unshape him from Haliax and let him die? The Sithe wouldn't like that either.
Claire de Trafford
27. Booksnhorses
Why didn't I think of that! Kvothe is obviously playing names on his lute in the forest. If we were in a Dan Simmons novel he'd be playing a version of the 'quantum wavelength' that is our consciousness. Either way it is evident that K's mind works best through music, and maybe this is how he will reclaim himself, if indeed he has changed his self by naming. After all he can't have lost the muscle memory IMHO.

The Tarbean section I don't mind so much, although it is painful to read. We get some great info (I like the idea that his rescue by Encannis might be symbolic of more shades of grey than we've been led to believe) and K gets to grow up so he's not too ridiculously young (Bran I'm looking right at you, Rickon, ignoring you totally).

The info that we start to get about the Church's beliefs through Trapis and later Skarpi all seems to tie into what we later get to know about the Creation War, Fae, and the Lanre story (and I suspect, the Lackless rhymes). We get the link to iron which can't be a coincidence. The fact that there are 6 cities destroyed, and 6 lesser demons. If this is the case then we are looking back into their pre-history as we know that the cities existed before the realm of the Fae separated from the world. I'd be quite disappointed if it doesn't all tie in with the lockless box, door and Iax/Moon story.
C Smith
28. C12VT
@26: Maybe the Sithe are after the Chandrian simply because Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh. Though I like your theory about releasing the Shapers.

I thought of a problem with the Sithe's kill-anyone-who-talks-to-the-Cthaeh strategy - what if the Cthaeh chooses to talk to someone because it knows the Sithe will kill them, and that's what sets off the catastrophe? The Cthaeh would know beforehand if the person they were talking to was going to be killed by the Sithe.

I also have to wonder how successfully the Sithe can reign in the Cthaeh's influence. They aren't perfect, or Kvothe would not have been able to approach the tree. And the Cthaeh would know ahead of time exactly when and where the Sithe would drop their guard.
29. chrispin
The clearing where Kvothe stays after his parents died may be the same one where he brings Denna at the end of WMF. They both have streams that form pools with fallen greystones at the edge. They could be the same since he walked south for about a span from the clearing to reach Tarbean stopping along the way to forage, find water and hide from wagons. The university was 4 days point to point from Tarbean by wagontrain. I like how the locations seem very different due to Kvothe's frame of mind at the time. In NothW he says "It may have been beautiful, but I didn't notice."

At first reading I didn't care for this Tarbean section either, but from the comments I am beginning to appreciate how it affected Kvothe's actions much later. He scorns Spinning Leaf and all of Elodin's teaching because the time when he was most completely a namer was so painful his mind fights going back there. His disdain for Elodin's method of teaching always seemed overblown as Kvothe kept saying he wanted to learn. Now it makes more sense.
Rafael Karlo Lacandalo
30. Nevrafil
I always thought there was a connection between mentioning the Chandrian near waystones and them appearing. Kvothe's caravan stopped because there was a waystone nearby. His dad practiced his song and then the Chandrian appeared and killed everyone. It's the same with the wedding where Denna was asked by her patron (or was it by one of the newly weds' relative) to sing a song about the seven. They were digging artifacts.. a waystone could have been nearby.

Sorry my memory of the details are hazy since I haven't had the chance to reread the books yet. That's why i'm following Jo's :)
Hello There
31. praxisproces
25. thistlepong, that's absolutely brilliant, the idea that we may be seeing separate chapters over an immensely long campaign, caught in increasingly distorted form in human memory. Changes my whole idea about the backstory. Going to have to seriously rethink.

27. ClairedeT, I think that each of the pre-sagas is going to tie together and into Kvothe's life eventually. We know he eventually does something like kill an angel, for instance, according to Devan; and the only time we've seen angels are in Skarpi's second story, linked to Tehlu and to Selitos, who's linked to Lanre, who is apparently Haliax, who seems to be the basis for Encanis, who is opposed by the Sithe, who guard the Cthaeh, which provoked Iax into starting the Creation War.

@28. C12VT, we'll obviously need to talk more about this when we get to MWF, but there's obviously something a little off about Kvothe just wandering up to that tree; Bast tells us about these deathless warriors dedicated for all eternity to killing anyone who approaches the Cthaeh, and we're supposed to believe this one day they had just sloped off to lunch? My hunch, based on the Bast-Devan talk about predetermination and free will at the end of WMF, is we're going to get some kind of change rung on the theme that Kvothe alone could remain free to act and put right the wrong done so long ago by Iax. Which he obviously failed to do. "We know what kind of story this is."
Claire de Trafford
32. Booksnhorses
@29. Chrispin. Two neat ideas. The clearing may well be the same one, and it would make sense for Kvothe to resist Elodin's learning as he is blocking out the time when he was best able to get to the heart of naming. The more I read about this series the deeper it seems; I don't have many books that are as layered as this one or as much fun to dig at.

@30. Nevrafil. There is definitely something more to come about the waystones, they've been mentioned too many times I think.

@31. ConnorSullivan. There are just layers and layers of manipulation here from PR and also the Chteah. How did K get to the tree? Why did he get there? Why was he told what he was? Did it also foresee Chronicler's take on pre-destination? You could go mad thinking about it. I am so excited to see what happens about the whole Creation War/Chandrian thing. I can't believe that Lanre is the good guy because Denna's patron, who wants the song written down, beats her, but there is obviously a whole lot of motivation going on there that I'm not au fait with. Luckily there's a little book about Dragons coming out soon that might distract me from the itch for a while :)
Jo Walton
34. bluejo
Nevrafil: You've misremembered -- the time they stop for the greystone is earlier, the time the Chandrian appear they've stopped for a big tree across the road, 16 days after the last storm which makes it seem like possibly a trap.
Matthew Knecht
35. mknecht01
ClairedeT @32: But does her mentor beat her, or is that the conclusion we are meant to draw for the time being, as seen through Kvothe's eyes? There was some discussion in the Sleeping Under The Wagon thread about Denna perhaps being "in training" as a sort of journeyman Amyr. Much is made later in WMF about Kvothe accepting a great deal of physical punishment in the furtherance of his goals, including accepting flogging twice at the hands of the University authorities. Perhaps Denna is in a similar situation. All of the "her patron beats her" signals we're getting seem to me to be more in the nature of setup for another trope subversion. Absolutely everything we learn about Denna's relationship with her patron is colored by, at one level, the young Kvothe's feelings for her, and at another level, K's behind-the-scenes decisions about how to narrate this story to Chronicler. Startling revelations to come in that department in the third book, I think.

Kvothe undeniably believes that Denna is being beaten, however. And he feels very strongly about it. His own realization towards the end of WMF that *he* has been in parallel situations don't manage to trip the "rational thought" switch for him on this subject, but just make him reconsider his approach to convincing her that her patron is not good for her. Which leads to:

@27 and @31: If the demons in Trapis's story/Tehlin dogma are the Chandrian, then it stands to reason that the angels are the first, pre-human, Amyr. If Denna is being trained by one of the Amyr (human or original), whom Kvothe believes is simply a patron who beats her, then perhaps he sees and misinterprets some interaction between them in DT which leads him to fight (perhaps kill) the Amyr (= angel). Thus Kvothe fights an angel to keep his heart's desire.

I don't have the actual text to refer to right now, just quotes and references in these reread posts, but the reference comes from Chronicler thinking about stories he has heard about Kvothe sometime in Chapters 6-10. Does the story say he killed an angel, or just fought it? I think Chronicler remembers a story saying that Kvothe had to trick a demon to get his heart's desire, and then fight an angel to keep it; then Chronicler goes on to think that Kvothe's face, in that present moment, is the face of a man who has killed an angel. Is the "killed" just for dramatic tension at that moment, or is it actually from the story Chronicler is remembering? And is this distinction even remotely important, for that matter?
36. dwndrgn
I do believe I've been reading different books. Whew. I am a complete and oblivious boob apparently. NONE of this stuff ever comes to mind when I read these stories. However, now that you have all laid them out very neatly and with several theories about each, my re-read (which will happen soon but not just yet) will definitely be more interesting.

Y'all are smart!
Rob Munnelly
37. RobMRobM
I was thinking that Kvothe first meeting Deena in Tarbean was no coincidence, as it is the nearest port to Yll. I'm liking the theory that she is Yllish nobility who left out of a sense of adventure or to avoid some type of bad political marriage. Her decision to travel all the way to Anilin - hundreds of miles from the coast rather than stopping with the caravan at the very attractive city of Imre that she frequents later - is consistent with the desire to avoid easy recapture by her family. What else do we know of Yll from the books other than that they have cool hair knots? Anything subtle we haven't covered yet?

Beth Meacham
38. bam
I have this idea in the back of my mind that we're looking at a stage in a great war between Humans and Fae (well, factions of humans and factions of the Fae) through myth and legend.

I'm not completely convinced that Encanis is "evil", or that Tehlu is "good". It might just be the winners telling the stories. I'm not even convinced that Denna's version of the Lanre story isn't true.

But we have reason to believe that the Amyr, the Sithe, and the Singers are all Fae. We know that the seven fear them. We know that the seven -- or at least one of the seven -- engages in freelance banditry. Are they renegade Fae, out freelancing in the mortal lands?
Chris Palmer
39. cmpalmer
Sorry for a little meta-musing, but I wonder what Pat Rothfuss thinks about all of this speculation? I don't expect him to participate, but I always wonder if he's thinking "I can't believe they figured that out" or "Hmm, I never thought of that myself" or whether he's just laughing his behind off at how far out in the weeds we go...
Rob Munnelly
40. RobMRobM
@39. Both, I suspect. I get the same feelings reading the "completely unspoiled speculation" forum at Television Without Pity regarding the HBO Game of Thrones show.

Steven Halter
41. stevenhalter
When Kvothe finds Haliax and some? of the Chandrian at his parents fire we are certainly led to believe that they are the one's who have killed the troop. We have seen various signs of the Chandrian in the camp--blue fire, decayed metal and wood.
The bald man with a gray beard says, "Looks like we missed a little rabbit." Cinder says, “Someone’s parents,” he said, “have been singing entirely the wrong sort of songs.” And Haliax says,
“Send him to the soft and painless blanket of his sleep.” That sounds like a euphemism for "kill him now". These things lead us (and Kvothe) to associate the Chandrian with the death of the troop and with being the bad guys in general. The circumstantial evidence is certainly deep against the Chandrian in this case, but it could be that they came to the slaughter later and this is really a giant red herring. Or, it could be that they killed the troop but that there is a very real justification for it (maybe not a good justification).
From Denna's later song, we know that not everyone seems to hold the Chandrian = evil view. Making us believe (through a mistaken narrator) in the wrong bad guys would be an interesting twist.
Matthew Knecht
42. mknecht01
bam @38: There is a third category, referred to as Ruach at some points in the story - beings who existed prior to the division of the world in two, the human world and Faerie. Lanre, Selitos and others from the period of the Creation War would be Ruach. The Ruach who still survive have become... Other. Haliax. The Chandrian. Whatever Tehlu and Kirel, Deah, Enlas, Geisa, and the others who were touched and changed by Aleph became (from Skarpi's second story, when he was arrested for heresy and taken by the Tehlin priests, NotW p. 207-208, Chapter 28). The pre-human, non-Tehlin church Amyr, who were Selitos and those who stood with him when Aleph changed the others.

Someone in an earlier thread mentioned that Ruach is Hebrew for breath, or wind, or mind, or spirit, and is a term associated sometimes with the name of God. Seems of a piece with the name Aleph as well.

Felurian's description of the Creation War period from WMF seem to indicate that many of what are now the Fae were in existence then as well. Which leaves us right where we started: with a lot of unanswered questions about what exactly happened 5000-ish years ago that broke the world into two, each "half" populated by beings that seem to belong there but are descended - or changed - from beings that lived in the original world.

A war throughout the long stretch of history, yes. But humans and Fae are apparently the result of one phase of that war, not the main combatants. Who exactly those combatants are, and what the war is about, remain yet to be seen. Or, put another way, what exactly is the ongoing purpose of the Chandrian, as alluded to by Haliax in Chapter ... 16?

Re: freelance banditry - Is that what Cinder is doing? Or is he using that bandit gang to further the (unknown to us) plans of the Chandrian somehow? The whole episode with the Maer has a lot of unclear aspects. Why was he being poisoned, exactly? Why was a Chandrian leading a bandit gang targeting his tax receipts, from that particular area? Does it have anything to do with his interest in marrying the current Lady Lackless, owner of a mysterious ancient box? Who is Bredon, and what is his game at the Maer's court? Why did the Maer select Kvothe to deal with the bandit problem? Proven intelligence, discretion, and competence with chemistry, medicine, music and love poetry really don't logically imply any sort of leadership ability in a medieval "black ops commando team" setting. Did Bredon, or someone else, manipulate the Maer into sending Kvothe into that situation for some reason?

Well I've wandered far enough from the scope of this week's installment. Many many questions for later on... and, has there been any announcement about when we can expect Day Three?
Andrew Mason
43. AnotherAndrew
In the end everybody crosses but seven people. Seven of them—Chandrian. But Trapis doesn’t say that. Six of them he struck down, but one of them was a demon in human form, which again sounds like the Chandrian, or may be a clue to them

Just to make something explicit: at the beginning of the frame narrative one character says that the Chandrian are the first six (sic) people to reject Tehlu (he seems not to know about the demon) - though of course he need not be right.


“Send him to the soft and painless blanket of his sleep.” That sounds like a euphemism for "kill him now".

Hm, it does, doesn't it? But in that case we have the mystery of why Kvothe is not, in fact, killed. On the other hand if we read it literally, as I had been doing up to now, we have the mystery of why Haliax would want to spare Kvothe: he has heard Arliden's song, and is presumably as much of a danger as any other member of the troupe.

I wonder if we are overthinking the Singers. Arliden was a singer. He made a song which endangered the Chandrian in some way. How it did so is still a mystery - they are clearly happy with people knowing about them, so just what is it about this song that they object to? - but perhaps the Singers are just - singers.
Steven Halter
44. stevenhalter
"But in that case we have the mystery of why Kvothe is not, in fact, killed."
Yes, I think that is very interesting. The telling of the story leads us to believe that the Chandrian waste time in playing with Kvothe and don't have time to kill him as they sense somebody approaching. Whether that is actually the case remains to be seen. It does seem if they really wanted him dead they could have killed him in almost no time at all before they vanished.

If, as you mention, Haliax literally means that they should quit toying with him and spare him then, it again raises the question of wether the Chandrian actually killed anyone.
All in all, it's a very interesting exchange if you read it with an eye towards being a mistaken narrative.
C Smith
45. C12VT
@42: That's a very good question - what is Cinder doing with those bandits? I can think of a lot of theories, from the prosaic (maybe he just wanted the gold) to the over-elaborate (maybe he's trying to weaken the Maer or cause political upheaval) but there's not enough evidence for any of them.

One character from the Maer sections I found seriously suspect was Dagon. I may just be prejudiced against him because of his name. OTOH, names are important...
Matthew Knecht
46. mknecht01
@45: I wonder if I will be able to read Day Three slowly enough the first time to glean clues as they occur and try to figure these things out... or if I'll just dive in headlong and hope Rothfuss explains everything.

And yes, I had that mental twinge about Dagon too. Also reminded me of Lovecraft and a seriously bad horror movie based on the Lovecraft story. I wonder if Dagon is the Amyr theorized to be at the Maer's court? Other names related to the ancient Hebrew period seem to belong to people (beings?) from the pre-Creation War era in the books. He does seem to personify that amoral "for the greater good" creed, in a "do whatever it takes to accomplish the mission" flavor.

OTOH, he's creepy but he didn't set off my "this will be important later" detector. Which is not infallible but usually is at least pretty good...

If Dagon is the Amyr, then what about Bredon? More questions for weeks and weeks down the road...
47. Susan Loyal
I've found something that I missed entirely. In Chapter 19, Fingers and Strings, Kvothe says: "Make no mistake. I was not myself. At least I was not the same person I had been a span of days before." I just read over this as metaphorical, because it's such common usage to describe trauma and grief. It may be literal. Kvothe lists the gates in the mind that protect the mind from extreme pain: the gate of sleep, the gate of forgetting, the gate of madness, the gate of death. (In Skarpi's story, which we'll get to next week, Haliax says these gates are closed to him.) Kvothe says repeatedly, from the beginning of his time in the woods to the point in Tarbean where Skarpi is arrested, that his mind is sleeping. He also refers (it seems somewhat inconsistently) to things that are locked behind the gate of forgetting. His parents' death and the Chandrian seem to be behind the gate of forgetting most of the time. Sometimes the memories rise, however. And then you have his recounting his troupe's role in the Midwinter celebrations as if his memory was completely unaffected. This seems to me like some of the inconsistencies in the Kote/Kvothe split. His geographical location is one of the things behind the gate of forgetting, or so he says when he decides to find lute strings.

@2. I think you're entirely correct about his playing Names. He is in his Sleeping Mind in the woods. Elodin later makes much of the importance of reaching the Sleeping Mind, because it knows more about Naming. Haliax saying "Send him to the soft and painless blanket of his sleep." takes on curious overtones, therefore. His mind goes numb as soon as he begins examining the crumbling wood and rusting metal at the camp. He says it's shock. Shock would be normal. But perhaps it's an effect of exposure to or proximity to the Chandrian, like the effect on wood and metal.

Also, when he decides to go in search of lute strings, he avoids inns (no explanation), and hides from carts. He says he's like a feral animal. In Tarbean, when he takes Encanis' coin to the inn to get food and a blanket, the girls try to get him to come inside to sleep. He pulls away and runs. He often says he's avoiding people. I'm thinking, instead, that all this goes back to the children's rhyme:

"When the hearthfire turns to blue,
What to do? What to do?
Run outside. Run and hide.

When your bright sword turns to rust?
Who to trust? Who to trust?
Stand alone. Standing stone."

In a profound way, Kvothe runs outside, he runs and hides--for three years. He stands alone. His first night in the woods, he sleeps with his back to a fallen standing stone. Just why he follows these guidelines, I'm not sure, but keep a sharp eye on Skarpi's intructions to Kvothe in next week's section, the instructions that "wake him up."

I swear, this stuff is just sitting there in the text in plain English, and I never ever noticed. My Sleeping Mind must have been talking to me, though.

Watch next week's section for Kvothe to make a connection between stealing the moon and killing the Chandrian. I kid you not. And it reads like a complete throwaway. Rothfuss must do coin tricks in his spare time. He's got that advanced ability to misdirect attention.
Jo Walton
48. bluejo
Susan Loyal: You are awesome. He wasn't himself. He was part of himself. Kote. Just like now. OK, I change my mind about the Tarbean section. And you win a special bottle of strawberry wine, to be collected from the next tinker you meet. Wow.
Pamela Adams
49. PamAdams
What I liked about the Tarbean section is the same thing that I hated- its utter horror. Kvothe doesn't get to be Oliver Twist, or Skif, or Thorby Baslim- instead he leads a life of grinding poverty, one which he almost doesn't escape. (But I did love Trapis recognizing him despite the clothes!)

Hmmm- Trapis invites him back as well.
50. Matt_Reader
Is there a wiki or some other place to store some of these ideas and theories? There is a lot of great information being discussed as Jo goes through the re-read, but it's not being captured very well so it can be discussed.
51. Susan Loyal
@48. Thank you! And thanks for the strawberry wine. I'll keep an eye out for the tinker.

I'm totally gobsmacked. It really changes my perception of the whole section and maybe the whole book.
52. Jonathon Duerig
One other connection, Susan, that your post brings to mind:

Towards the beginning Kvothe says that he has done best when he hasn't thought about what he was doing as opposed to over-thinking them.

Does this apply to your 'sleeping mind' idea? Was it a really good idea to lose himself first in the forest and then in Tarbean for a long time? You definitely seem to be right about him following the advice in the children's rhyme. Perhaps the Chandrian would have tracked him down and finished the job if he hadn't done that. It seems pretty clear that they would have killed him but for running out of time.

And of course, a beggar child among many draws much less notice than a busker on a corner...

And this makes me wonder if the bandits in the woods was a trap set by Sinder specifically for Kvothe. First get the Maer's attention by stealing tax revenue with the bandits, then pull some political strings to make him think that sending Kvothe to take care of them would be a good idea. After all, Kvothe had been deliberately getting lots of people to pay attention to him and speak his name in the Maer's court.

Finally, a question for others: I unfortunately only have the audiobook version so it is hard for me to flip back and find. Did Kvothe tell Skarpi his name before the priests came? Or did Skarpi somehow know it anyhow?
Beth Meacham
53. bam
I've always been a little confused by Kvothe's interactions with Skarpe. It's easy to read that he only went to hear stories twice, but I think PR must have just glossed over many encounters.

But there are a lot of occasions where people know who Kvothe is when it doesn't seem like they should.
Maiane Bakroeva
54. Isilel
It’s as if he needs to pass some time stupidly, so he becomes stupid. This section, and the stuff in Tarbean, is my least favourite part so far.

I really hated this section and almost stopped reading. It felt so obviously manipulative, since of course, brilliant, skilled and multi-faceted as Kvothe was, he'd have found some work in Tarbean if the author didn't decide to conveniently strike him with madness. Yes, he was a kid, but most people even in the 19th-early 20th century started working at his age.

But no, the author wanted Kvothe to be a street-kid, whatever the cost.

Generally, when the narrative focuses on Kvothe's povetry feels very fake, because Kvothe never behaves like an authentically poor person/student from comparable historical time periods.

I have to admit that Kvothe's parents being murdered by no less villains than the Big (Ultimate?) Bads of his world themselves also felt very ad-hoc to me at first and seemed like the author was unnecessarily puffing up Kvothe's heroic destiny too early... but now I am mostly satisfied by the explanation that WMF provided. Which is quite a coup on Rothfuss's part.

The interlude is brilliant as always - emotionally powerful stuff.

Ryanreich @26:

The Shapers created the Fae

I thought that the Shapers _became_ the Fae or at least were their ancestors?
Rob Munnelly
55. RobMRobM
Am I misremembering something, but aren't there four closed doors in the Archives (or at Lockless house?). Wonder if that ties to the four doors discussed above in Susan's post?
56. mjj288
From Chapter 43:
"It was quite by accident that I found the four-plate door.

It was made of a solid piece of grey
stone the same color as the surrounding walls. Its frame was eight
inches wide, also grey, and also one single seamless piece of stone. The
door and frame fit together so tightly that a pin couldn’t slide into
the crack.

It had no hinges. No handle. No window or
sliding panel. Its only features were four hard copper plates. They
were set flush with the face of the door, which was flush with the front
of the frame, which was flush with the wall surrounding it. You could
run your hand from one side of the door to the next and hardly feel the
lines of it at all.

In spite of these notable lacks, the
expanse of grey stone was undoubtedly a door. It simply was. Each copper
plate had a hole in its center, and though they were not shaped in the
conventional way, they were undoubtedly keyholes. The door sat still as a
mountain, quiet and indifferent as the sea on a windless day. This was
not a door for opening. It was a door for staying closed.

In its center, between the untarnished copper plates, a word was chiseled deep into the stone: valaritas."

It's probably been mentioned, but could this door and the Lackless door lead to Fae? Also, could the Lackless family, Edema Ruh and Ademe all be factions from Fae? Maybe the Edema Ruh and Ademe split apart: one are singers, the other internalize.
57. Jonathon Duerig
Speaking of the four-plate door:

Recall Elodin's room at Haven was also a copper door and they used a copper mesh to try to prevent him from getting through the wall. The fact that the four-plate has copper plates too cannot be a coincidence. I wonder what is trapped inside that would need such protection or that would need to be trapped so well.
Steven Halter
58. stevenhalter
Susan@47:I like the idea that Skarpi had to do something actively to "awaken" K. It helps to explain the 3 years.
59. AO
This is my first time posting. I'm trying to catch up with all of the past posts and want to thank everyone, especially Jo Walton, for all of the interesting discussions and reading.

In the previous write-up, specifically the section on Chapter 14, Jo brings up the introduction of the greystones. No one mentioned them in the comments section that I saw (my apologies if I missed something), but in my one read through, I tried to take note of the times that they appeared in both books. I was focusing on a lot of other things as well, but I still saw that Pat uses either "greystones" or "grey stone" an awful lot. The numerous instances that the exact phrase "grey stone" appears, both in places important and not, may just be a coincidence but I would be disinclined to believe that.

There are the obvious examples, such as the four-plate door of course, but before we even get to it, then we are shown that the entirety of the Archives is made of "grey stone":

'Countless years of shuffling feet had slowly eroded the grey stone of the steps...We were well underground now, about thirty feet beneath the Archives at my best guess. The stone hallway looked just the same as any other piece of the Archives: high ceilings and smooth, grey stone walls.

Then later, at the The Mauthen farm near Trebon where the family was massacred:

"The foundation and the lower walls were solid grey stone".

Was that important? Well, the pig herder Schiem that they later met made mention of how those specific stones were found in the ground with the Chandrian vase and how Mauthen thought it important to make sure that they were incorporated into the house. Schiem thought it very odd and bad luck to use stones from a barrow, but Mauthen seemed strangely determined, and even went looking for more.

Remember when Kvothe made his recitation to the Adem on the lineage of Caesura and then had his stone trial?

"There were four corners, four stones, and four red-shirted mercenaries. At the top of the hill stood a tall greystone...There was a block of grey stone, slightly taller than my knee and identical to the others at each corner of the path".

Sim didn't like them though, as we saw while he, Kvothe and Wil were traveling the "Great Stone Road" and came across a Greystone in the middle of it. He called them pagan relics.

I know that they are mentioned even more. I'm hopeful that someone else, who does have the time to re-read both books might take note of any other interesting places that "grey stones" happen to appear.
60. AO
I quite liked this section of the book and am surprised that so many others seem to feel differently. I have to admit that @47. Susan Loyal presents a compelling case for why there may be a lot more to it than seems readily apparent, and that such would make for a good twist.

Still, I think of how badly Kvothe's world was upended, with the violent slaughter of everyone (except Ben) who he knew and cared about, and the loss of his way of life and I appreciate the idea that Rothfuss might have created a character with whom people who have experienced such things (even if to a lesser degree) might identify with. I don't think that we can know how we would react in such situations unless/until we are placed in them and even if we would react differently, one of the points of reading imo is to learn about people beyond just those who might think or act exactly the same as we would.

A lot of people like to think that they would act heroically, or remain calm, cool and collected when put to the test, but that is not often the case. Many people freeze up when a gun is pointed at them. And I remember well when I was camping in a Boy Scout Troop and one of the adults' legs caught on fire. There were 16 of us who saw it, but only three of us (myself included) who could act. The rest sat and stood around in complete shock. I'm sure that few or no people would have declared in advance that they would sit around slack-jawed in such a situation, but that was absolutely what they did.

Would people who had been placed in a situation such as Kvothe was like to imagine that they would rebound quickly and then think clearly? I'm sure that they would, but I deeply question how realistic that would be. Lots of people become deeply depressed after losing a loved one, and studies have proven that heartbreak can increase a survivor's chance of death. That might not make logical sense, but imo it does make emotional sense.

In Kvothe we have a main character who (might) suffer from a deep depression during this time, if that is the case, then it might not make for a heroic fantasy for everyone, but it seems realistic to me, and makes it all the more notable imo that he found the strength to overcome it.
Claire de Trafford
61. Booksnhorses
@37 RobMRobM (glad you are recovered from your gloating on the GOT thread lol). I was under the impression, from the later section when Denna talks to the girl who had run away, that something similar had happened to her - she'd trusted a boy who had thrown her away. Could easily be wrong though and this doesn't stop her being Yllish nobility.

@47 - that was a brilliant catch. We definitely see evidence of K going into some sort of mental hibernation.

@59 - thanks for detailing the grey stones evidence. I've noticed that they are mentioned far more times than would warrant from what they've done/appeared as so far.

@57. Again another good catch with the copper. You guys really amaze me with all these comments. I hope Pat R enjoys this thread if he reads it, and either appreciates that we've noticed all his detail, or thinks 'well, I didn't mean that but it sounds good'!

I'm still not convinced that the Chandrian are the heroes of the tale but I'm willing to be pursuaded some more. It is true that we are only getting a very slanted view on the facts, particularly from the Chteah whose motives we have no idea. I'll have to eat my hat if they are the good guys all along and I hate hat.
Claire de Trafford
62. Booksnhorses
Another thought about the story told by Trapis.

Many of the men and women had demons hiding inside them that fled screaming when the hammer touched them.

Tehlu grabbed the demon ... and sent it back to the outer darkness that is the home of its kind.

These demons and their home are surely the Fae and their land.
Rob Munnelly
63. RobMRobM
By the way, I'm going to amend my Denna theory. She probably can't be Yllish. Everyone in this book from another country seems to have at least some type of noticeable accent. Denna doesn't have one sufficient for Kvothe to remark upon. Hence, she's probably Aturan.

Also, she's needs to be from a household that is either noble, very wealthy merchant or Ruh, as she has immensely deep understanding of plays and poems that bespeaks extensive (and potential expensive) study sufficient to surprise Kvothe. She also owns that beautiful red ring that sounds like an heirloom rather than a gentleman's gift.

So my current thought is she is an Aturan noble, was betrothed to a Yllish noble, and ran away. The parallel to Kvothe's parents would then be very close (and query whether Nathalie was going to be betrothed to the Maer - that would be delicious irony for plot development. And I'll further predict that early in the next book the Maer (likely with Ambrose's help) will have Kvothe investigated, figure out his mother is Nathalie, and cut him off from tuition payments - leading to his expulsion when he can't make a 30 talent tuition.) And she may well have self-esteem problems after being treated as chattel by her family. (Or, as ClairedeT says above, perhaps she was seduced by someone at home and was sent to an Yllish marriage in shame. Or maybe - extreme speculation - she was knocked up and was sent by her parents to have the baby somewhere remote and wasn't being married off at all. Any or all of these factors would cause her to be secretive and hardened to most men.)

Perhaps the tragedy is that Denna loves Kvothe but can't marry a poor student if she ever wants to go home. So she's trying to accumulate money from patrons and men so that she can be in position to bring him home in style as a wealthy graduate of the Academy. His expulsion would cause serious damage to those plans, forcing her to become ever closer to her patron. Hmnnn.

The problem with the above theories there is no real textual evidence. Unlike the talk of nobles in Vintas and Modeg, I don't recall much talk about nobles in the Aturan Empire or Yll. Any hints in either direction?

Rob Munnelly
64. RobMRobM
ClairedT - I really don't want the Chandrian to be the good guys. And if the Fae are the bad guys, what does that make Bast?
65. LAJG
I finished WMF yesterday, so now I can read these posts and comments and see how much I missed of the story.

A small observation (pulling together what was mentioned previously): One of the Chandrian calls Kvothe a little rabbit, then later Kvothe decides not to kill the rabbit he caught. Symbolic?

Also @59 re grey stones: the stone and plant metaphors used (e.g. "Heart of Stone", "Spinning Leaf" to name just two) reminded me of The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields, which is a completely different kind of book other than that they both tell the story of a person's life.
66. Jonathon Duerig
RobMRobM, when Kvothe meets Denna the second time at the Eolian (sp?), he is completely flustered and falls into a pattern of courtly manners. He goes to kiss her hand and does an analysis of what culture she might be from in order to do it right. Eventually, he concludes that she doesn't have a noticable accent so she is likely from the Commonwealth and so kisses her hand in that style. She doesn't act offended as if he did the wrong thing.

This seems to imply strongly that she is from the Commonwealth. It is possible that one of her parents was Yllish and taught her the knots though. It also occurs to me that perhaps it was her patron that taught her the knots. They don't seem to appear until after she gets one AFAIK. Another thing to keep an eye out for on the re-read. :)
C Smith
67. C12VT
On Yll and Denna: I think it's possible she could be from Yll. It sounds like Yll has been heavily influenced by Aturan culture - Kvothe says that Yll "had been nearly ground to dust under the iron boots of the Aturan Empire", and we know that the use of Yllish story knots has nearly disappeared and the university doesn't offer any (official) classes in Yllish. Perhaps most Yllish people these days are bilingual, or even more comfortable with Aturan than with Yllish - this sort of thing happens all the time in the real world. So Denna could be from Yll, but still be a native speaker of Aturan and not have much of an accent.

On the other hand, in the letter she writes to Kvothe in WMF she talks about going to Yll and it doesn't sound like she's been there before. But she doesn't say so explicitly.

Denna's background is quite a mystery. She does seem to be too educated to be from a poor family, as RobMRobM said. On the other hand, I feel like she acts like someone who grew up with hardship and limitations, not privilege. And how did she learn the Yllish story knots? It seems to be a very rare skill, and difficult to acquire.
Rob Munnelly
68. RobMRobM
Sorry I'm jumping ahead but when Kvothe has one of his meetings with D in Imre in NoTW, he asked her how things went in Analin, in the northern part of the Empire (where she was going after he got dropped off at University) and she made clear that, as expected, it did not go well. This gets me back to Claire's thought - she was seduced with promises by someone from Yll, ran off with him, he dumped her, she was heading home to her parents in Analin, who did not welcome her back and told her to leave. Thus, she is an educated noble, cast out by her family and unmarriageable due to her same. She is forced to live on her her own by her wits and, while she loves Kvothe, she doesn't believe they have enough funds to get married.

That also could make understood her apparent paid when Kvothe mentions the Yll knots in her hair. Her lover probably taught her those knots during the seduction, and she's kept them up for sentimental reasons. She was shocked that after all this time Kvothe figured them out.


Steven Halter
69. stevenhalter
I think that we are seeing Rothfuss present us with a very interestingly woven mystery fantasy. We have the tale that K is telling from his perspective, with the interludes providing something of a counterpoint to the tone of that tale.
Then we get the (what seem to be) main facts of the story. The Chadrian are bad, Kvothe is the hero, Denna needs K's help,... Then we get hints that things are not quite what they seem. The snatches of poetry/songs. Other peoples stories, ...
Very nicely done.
70. Peachfuzz
I'm mildly curious about something Haliax said: "singers" is not capitalized in my copy of the book (trade paperback version), so I interpreted the reference more like AnotherAndrew @41. Does this vary from version to version?
71. thistlepong
@70. Peachfuzz: No. It doesn't vary; in that passage, "singers" is always lower case: hardcover, trade, mmpb, and ebook.
Matthew Knecht
72. mknecht01
Hmm. From the original post, about Chapter 16, speaking of the Chandrian: "They leave, and Kvothe falls asleep, the wagon sets on fire, and he escapes with his father’s lute and Ben’s book."

But the Chandrian don't simply leave of their own volition. They are driven away.

His cool voice trailed away as his shadowed hood slowly tilted to look toward the sky. There was an expectant silence.

Those sitting around the fire grew perfectly still, their expressions intent. In unison they tilted their heads as if looking at the same point in the twilit sky. As if trying to catch the scent of something on the wind.

A feeling of being watched pulled at my attention. I felt a tenseness, a subtle change in the texture of the air. I focused on it, glad for the distraction, glad for anything that might keep me for thinking clearly for just a few more seconds.

"They come," Haliax said quietly. He stood, and shadow seemed to boil outward from him like a dark fog. "Quickly. To me."

The others rose from their seats around the fire. Cinder scrambled to his feet and staggered a half dozen steps toward the fire.

Haliax spread his arms and the shadow surrounding him bloomed like a flower unfolding. Then, each of the others turned with a studied ease and took a step toward Haliax, into the shadow surrounding him. But as their feet came down they slowed, and gently, as if they were made of sand with wind blowing across them, they faded away.

Who was coming? How did they know where the Chandrian were? And, why didn't whomever drove them away subsequently arrive at the wrecked campsite and interact with Kvothe?

I think this episode colors Kvothe's idea of the Chandrian (and ours) in a very important way: despite the universal cross-cultural fear of them, clearly they are not all-powerful Lords of Darkness, and Kvothe sees right off the bat that there are other powers in the world that they fear enough to run when they approach.
Matthew Knecht
73. mknecht01
Sorry for all the excess white space in previous comment - the preview system isn't interacting quite right with Firefox 4 for Mac...
74. notarealentity
I don't buy it. I just cannot make the whole starving orphan thing work for me in any sensible way.

I'm not going to go for any subtle inferences drawn from allusions. I want to understand a book purely from the text between the covers, not from anything else, and in that context I can't accept vague waffling as meaning "I had total amnesia about my whole previous life."

If these subtle statements about things being "behind the gates of forgetfulness" were part of a third-person story, I could just about believe that the writer was foggily implying that a traumatised young child had indeed forgotten about their parents and everything they'd ever learned that was useful. However, we know that this is a tale being told by Kvothe, in his later life. Even if he goes all poetical and allusive in referring to his loss of memory initially, I simply cannot believe that when he comes to describe the moment when he regains the memory of his parents (upon hearing the story in the bar), that he wouldn't describe it as some kind of cathartic moment. This could even be used as a moment of pathos, to emphasise the strength of his determination to go and study and make a break with his former life.

sort've like this.....
He looked down for a moment, and then back at Chronicler, and his eyes were shadowed by memory.
"How can I describe it?" he said softly. "That moment was one of both exaltation and pain for me. I was not alone in the world, without a past as I had imagined myself. I had had parents - loving ones - and a life full of wonder and learning. It all came flooding back to me in a tide of colours and love. Yet with that rememberance I became suddenly ashamed of how I had been living for these last years, as a dirty gutter-rat barely able to think. My parents would barely have recognised me."

Now we've seen that Kvothe isn't exactly shy about talking about his feelings, so I cant believe - given that he is telling the story of his life and he's previously made such a big deal about it being correct - that he wouldn't at least mention how he felt to suddenly remember who he was. The fact that he didn't make a big point of it means that he *didn't* utterly forget his parents or his previous life. Those memories might have been a bit foggy, but they were still there for the whole time that he was on the street.

So: the next point

We will assume that a gifted singer/tumbler/performer who is also extremely knowlegeable about horses (and this is the equivalent skill of being a good car mechanic these days) simply can't find any way to live at all anywhere in the city. Everyone hates him and not one single person will even so much as give him a try for one day in an inn or in a stables.

Now, kids are not terribly moral beings. Anyone who has observed two healthy well-fed, normal brothers trying to hurt each other badly in a spare five minutes will concur. Children have to be monitored by adults and taught how to behave morally - it's not innate.

Imagine: You are an orphan. You are freezing, bruised and starving. The last thing you had to eat was two days ago, you fought a dog for it in the gutter and when you ate it it was so disgusting you were sick. You have no-one in the world, and you're so hungry that you think you're going to die. You're cowering in a dark alley and a man comes stumbling down it. He kicks you out of the way, then pauses to vomit, because he's drunk. Even above the smell of the vomit you can smell the fresh bread he's carrying in his backpack, and you can hear the coins jingle in his pouch. You know that you can kill him, immediately and silently, and no-one will see. You don't even have to touch him.

You are seriously telling me that a kid in this position, with the mastery of "sympathy" that Kvothe has (and we've established that he has not forgotten his parents, nor his early life, so he won't have forgotten his magic lessons) would not do what he has done before, and knows how to do, and simply lock the air in that man's lungs to the world's air? This isn't a matter of high moral values, it's a matter of survival, pure and simple. There is no reason he wouldn't as far as I can see. After the first murder of course, it would get progressively easier, and he would soon be surviving just fine.

So, no. I just don't buy the whole "I spent years starving as an orphan on the streets" thing. It's not possible.

There are only 2 ways that this would work for me, and both of them would require the truth being explicitly revealed in book 3.

1) Kvothe actually did become a killer in order to live, but he doesn't want to tell the Chronicler that. He deliberately obscures that part of his life with a vague concoction about "not being himself" but forgets to add the trimmings that make it believable and then hurries on, hoping that Chronicler won't notice. Luckily for him, Chronicler doesn't.

2) Something else happened in those years, and Kvothe himself doesn't remember. Something stole his memories of that time, and now, when he thinks back he remembers a vague patchwork that doesn't really make sense, but he doesn't think too hard about it, probably because when he does, his mind slides away from it.

And either one of those had better have a big explicit reveal in book three. because otherwise I'll just assume that the "orphan in the street" thing was a cheap and clumsy way to make us feel sympathy for the character, and no more.
Dave West
75. Jhirrad
So many people keep saying that Cinder set up the ambush for Kvothe. How? More to the point, how would he know who Kvothe is? It's not like he got his name in the scene where the Chandrian kill the troupe. And it's not as though we routinely hear Kvothe referring to himself as Kvothe, Arliden's son. While we haven't seen anyone else with that name, we also haven't had people commenting on it as some incredibly unusual name either, thus leading me to believe that it is not necessarily common, but not strange either. I think we're giving the Chandrian too much credit here.
76. RobertSparling
I love the articles Jo. I actually just re-read The Name of the Wind because I was interested in seeing what I had missed after looking at your take on things. I disagree here and there.

One thing I've noticed here, and in the comments, is people mentioing the "Singers" Haliax warned against. It may just be my copy of the book, but in the paperback editon I have, the "singers" line is not capitalized. I don't think they're meant to. I do not believe they're a group, but instead referencing all singers. In our history, and in Kvothe's world, most of the shared history from older eras were passed down in verse form, and Rothfuss pays special attention to the power of music. Between Kvothe pulling Ferulian's name from the music in the air and the emotional reactions people have to songs like Sir Savien, it's clear that music holds both arcane and emotional power. Any singer has some measure of power over their audience.

If information about the Chandrian were to get into a song, it would spread like a virus; use the song Jackass/Jakis song as an example. Even dressed up in clever quips, true and dangerous information gets spread. The Chandrian can be hurt by something in Arliden's song. Everyone who heard it had to die. My guess is it contained one if not more of their true names, but beside the point, I'm not sure we're looking for another group. The Chandrian fear the world around them knowing anything about their group. It does make you wonder why they haven't tracked down Kvothe, since he heard the song and the true name of Cinder.

I also wanted to ask, since you're about to re-read the Skarpi section; when I was re-reading, I saw that Skarpi used Kvothe's name when cautioning him not to attack the priests arresting him. I went back and looked and I could swear that Kvothe never told him his name. I haven't seen anyone else mention it and I'm thinking it might be significant if the man who seems to know the "real" story of Lanre, who is the regions most famous storyteller, and who sends Chronicler to find Kote... I'm sure you see what I mean. Could you mention it in your next article? I just want to know if I read it wrong.
Heidi Byrd
77. sweetlilflower
75. Jhirrad
The physician guy who was poisoning the Mear knew who enough about Kvothe that Cinder may have put it together. Plus, we don't know how any other spies and informants the Chandrian have.

74. notarealentity
It actually takes a lot of specialized training for most people to actively attempt to take another human life. I understand that you have a bias towards this section, but if you think back on how you behaved and thought at the age of 12, assuming you grew up in a loving and supportive household, and then try to imagine your 12 year old self going through what Kvothe's 12 yr old self did, I bet you will lose some of your negativity.
Dave West
78. Jhirrad
@77 sweetlilflower
I have a hard time with the notion that Caudicus knows that much about Kvothe. All he really knows is that he is a student at the University who knows a good deal about various poisons and the like. I will grant that he can infer, as part of the University connection, that Kvothe has some knowledge of sympathy, but that's about it. He doesn't know he's Ruh (that's the last piece of the section with the Maer, long after Caudicus has fled) or who his parents were.

What it comes back to is the question of how would Cinder or any of the Chandrian even know who Kvothe is? At this point in his career, he's still relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things. He doesn't publicly talk about his heritage - his mentioning of being Ruh to the Maer and his wife comes only when he feels he has no choice but to mention it. If the Chandrian had been following him long enough to know that he was the child they let get away, then surely they would have long since killed him. They don't seem to be a group that shows mercy or remorse for their actions. Why would they (assuming they know who he is) allow him the opportunity to become more powerful and potentially threaten them? They killed everyone and everything in the troupe, and had something threatening not been imminently approaching they would have done the same to Kvothe at an even younger age. I think it was just one of those right place, right time situations.
79. notarealentity
@77 (grins) well, I certainly overused the word "vaguely" in my rant, but I don't step back from my position, negative and all.

If my 12-year-old self had been put in such a position, I can quite readily imagine killing in order to live. The main reason that children don't attack adults in moments of stress is that the adults are much larger and stronger, and the child is afraid of the consequences.

However, there are no such potential consequences here. Kvothe has, in his knowlege of sympathy, the perfect weapon. He can kill without any danger to himself whatsoever, without a sound, without any risk to himself - all he has to do is "wish them dead". I'm pretty sure that everyone at one point or another in their childhood wanted someone to die for some petty reason and wished the same thing - they just lacked the agency to carry it out. This is why guns belonging to children are a bad idea.

But Kvothe doesn't have a gun, he has something better, and his reasons aren't petty. He's starving and alone in the world and no-one will save him except himself. Given that, I can't make the leap of disbelief that says "Hey, he won't even consider it" - and that is why I found this section of the book so implausible. (even on top of all the other implausibilities about him being unable to use any of the other skills he has to find a way of living). I see why Rothfuss *couldn't* give him a way to live, because if Kvothe got too comfortable it torpedoes the rest of the story - why would he have a reason to go to University if he's made a decent life for himself as a musician in an inn?

So essentially The Plot decided "The hero must spend 3 years starving and destitute on the streets" even when there were so many sensible ways that this couldn't happen, and that... irks me, because the book is so often good in other places.
Steven Halter
80. stevenhalter
@79: I'm hoping that we get a good indication in book three that Skarpi really did something active to "awaken" K after his three years of mental sleep. I like that as an explanation. Otherwise, yeah, three years of starving seems a bit much.
You don't even have to go as far as killing people. Once he had a coin, he could use sympathy with that to sympathetically steal coins from peoples pockets without ever having to get that near to them. Sit on the rooftops and have coins float on up.
So, it is obvious that he wasn't thinking at all. Being forced "asleep" (by Haliax perhaps?) is a nice explanation.
Dave West
81. Jhirrad
@74, 79 notarealentity

I don't want to be/sound snide here, but based on your comments, I have a hard time thinking that you've ever either been desperately poor or had to take another human life. As a veteran that has been homeless, I have a very different perspective from you, much more in line with sweetlilflower, in this case. Taking a life is not an easy thing, ever. At least not for someone that has a sense of morality (which we assume Kvothe does as he was taught by his parents). Even when it's needed to survive. And clearly, as Kvothe showed, in his case it was not needed to survive. He was able to survive (albeit a brutal and difficult survival) without the need to kill.

You seem to make the assumption that he is so immature that he would never consider the consequences of his actions. Based on 1) his age, 2) his upbringing in a large, if ever moving community, and 3) his level of intelligence and schooling, it seems improbable to believe that he would not killing someone, even to make his life better and easier, to be wrong. Also consider that he has seen his entire family and troupe murdered. An event so traumatic that he essentially fled reality to escape it. How do you think he would look on the possibility of doing that to someone else? I think that in and of itself (not to mention fear of the guards and punishment) would keep that in check.
Ashley Fox
82. A Fox
@81, hear hear! Not to metion the question, what on earth would killing achieve?? What context. 'Oh look im poor and homeless, and pretty darn hungry..i know! I'll kill someone, that'll solve everything!' O_o

NB, his sympathy was also very basic, certainly not enough to 'wish someone dead' of make coins go poof! And as seen in his later years, neither actions, with knowledge, are very plausable/easy.

Re Cinder and the Bandits. imo the situ was'nt set up to ambush K, but i do believe that he recognised him, knew him for the child Ruh. All that eye contact across the battle torn glade. got to remember that cinder and co are not human, stop associating human emotions/motivations to them! :)

The wood, the wild wood, a place known to be a huant of the fae, where indeed there are places to travel from 'reality' into the world of Fae. The world the Shapers created, but are no longer part of. What if part of the 7s mission is to get back to that world? Or indeed reunite the two. Perhaps Cinder was there doing some reconaisence.

Ok im going to babble a bit, sorry. So the Fae and shapers and old, old humans are living in this world. Impressive civilisations, big magic. Then the jakis story. Also Felurians. How the moon ('s name) was stolen, the land of Fae shaped and split from the 'real' one. History gets foggy (who's really surprised, must have been a mahoosive upheavel). Humans rise, their civilisations grow, the seven cities. The shapers are in this world, very powerful. The seek the items of Jakis. A key, a door, a box.(lackless riddle, a way to reunite the two worlds? Whilst powerful, they certainly do not have the power Felurian describes). In their pursuit there is war. The cities are destroyed. Except one. So the Amyr are created, set in oposition of the 7, yet having known them in peace, with knowledge of sympathy etc. Perhaps Tehlu was one of these, or at least an ally. And so history becomes re0shaped. The shapers are cast as demons, Tehlu the saviour of humanity, the Amyr waging their ever increasingly secretive war (as 'victory' is achieved and public interest wanes) against the Shapers/7/demons. Whom are forced to retreat and regroup, their own powers, and that of the Singers (yes im supporting this theory, it ties in with the agngels/demons/tehlu and the singer/healers, and the edema/ruh) turned aginst them. (nb naming is the begining process of shaping). Once the civilisations settle, the Amyr and church split, the 7 continue their original pursuit.

Perhaps they have even been waiting for someone who has the blood of the singers, the portenial power of a shaper and the lackless blood to come along.

Babble over.
83. notarealentity
@ 81 Not snide at all, the viewpoint is very welcome, and you're right - I have been poor, but only as an adult, and I have never contemplated killing someone in my adult years. I don't want to assume too much from your own comment, but I would guess that as a veteran you had already developed a strong sense of inner morality before falling into harsh circumstances, and that this morality helped you through them. As an adult, you already knew that killing was wrong, probably by thinking very deeply about the matter due to your experiences in life.

However, at this stage of his life Kvothe isn't fully formed. He's only a kid, he's not old enough to have a rock-hard morality. We know this; the laws in many countries take account of the age a person is when they commit a crime. Kids don't think things through the way that adults do.

I'm not arguing that he'd *never* consider the consequences of his actions, just that for one time, once, in the whole of those 3 years of misery, he might use an available tool, possibly in the blindness of anger. I don't think that for all of that time, in every single interaction he had with someone who struck him, or swore at him, or stole his food, he would really be whole and adult enough to be thinking: "I was hurt when my family died, so I won't hurt anyone." I would argue that his grief and loss would make him more likely to lash out, rather than less. However, it's just an argument, based on what might happen in a realistic situation, explaining why this passage felt so forced and contrived to me. Kvothe is as moral as he is written to be, so if the story states that's how he acted, then that's how he acted. We wouldn't like a child who is a sordid back alley killer as a hero, therefore he doesn't take a likely course of action so we can continue to feel he's sympathetic.

I'm not even going near the whole "other uses of sympathy" angle. One apple falls off a stall into the street filth? The rest are yours for the taking. A baker sweeps out the crumbs from his shop in the evening? Everything he made with some of that flour in it can be in your pocket or your mouth by the morning. Only total amnesia or total catatonia could explain the vast and convenient failure of using the many tools that Kvothe had available to him at this time, and we see evidence of neither of these in his reported actions. That, unfortunately, broke my willing suspension of disbelief. Others are welcome to feel it's actually fine character development instead.

It's not so bad - this bit can be skipped with a few winces, and we can move on to the rest of the fun story.

@82 - I hate to quibble, but there's a whole big passage earlier about how Kvothe nearly kills himself by sympathetically linking the air in his lungs to the air of the whole world. He nearly dies, and if any experience would be very strong in his memory and he wouldn't forget it, that one would be. So: all he has to do is exactly the same thing to another person in a dark alley and they will suffocate in a minute or two without making a sound.

As to the benefits of killing - When he's killed someone, he then has money and warm clothes taken from the body, possibly even food. That would improve his life a whole lot, compared to how he's reported as being in the book
Jo Walton
84. bluejo
You know though, what Susan said. Look at how K is in the frame story. He can't do magic. He can't fight, maybe. He isn't himself. He's not pretending. He's in pieces, somehow. And if the same thing happened in Tarbean, if he withdrew into his sleeping mind to protect himself, so that he didn't draw on magic, didn't sing -- he doesn't talk about longing for music all that time. He hears it in the bar and doesn't go in, that's all. If there's an analogy between his Kote-self and his Tarbean self, then I take it all back about the busking and everything.

In which case, we have to look at what he had shut away. That would be sympathy (then and now), music (then and now), and memory of the Chandrian -- then but not now. Now he has his memories. I wonder what Skarpi did and if he was looking to do it again. Or Chronicler either. Oh, how much more interlude action there must be in DT!
Steven Halter
85. stevenhalter
Jo@84:Yes, exactly. If either Kvothe or Haliax shut away parts of Kvothe before Tarbean and before the current time frame, then Tarbean is completely explained.
I haven't yet reread the Skarpi sections to see if there are more clues there or later relating to that.
86. notarealentity
@84. Hmmmm. If we posit that, there are 2 explanations for Tarbean that are viable, although both of them involve magic: Either contact with the Chandrian caused young Kvothe to lose his skills and abilities, and indeed even those parts of his memory where he remembered using them, or he found the contact with the Chandrian so dangerous in some way that he did it to himself in order to hide. Either one explains him being unable to do anything effective for all of his time in Tarbean. They both require a "magic" explanation, but hey, iron rusting, blue flames, it's a magic world, so that's all good.

This then produces, (if I read you correctly) the intriguing possibility that Kote/Kvothe in the framing story is currently in a similar condition, indicating that he came into contact with the Chandrian again at some point after book 2, but before the start of book one.

It doesn't - quite - fit. If we assume the same cause (and it doesn't really matter which one it is), then for the Tarbean period he's lost both part of his personality and most of his skills for the whole period. They don't "pop back in" at convenient moments when he needs them. He's drifting, magically amputated, incapable of action until Skarpi does... whatever he does.

However, at the start of book 1 it's made plain that Kote/Kvothe can fight very well when it's necessary, because that's where Chronicler finds him - defeating hordes of creatures that an ordinary man couldn't overcome. Kote/Kvothe also remembers everything about his early life, including his love of music and how to use sympathy. That doesn't marry with the theory that what caused Kote/Kvothe's "broken" state now is the same thing that caused his condition in Tarbean. If he's in the same condition now as then, he wouldn't have those memories, nor be able to fight on demand.

I fear that because there isn't an adequate explanation for Tarbean in books 1 and 2, only 3 will be able to resolve this one to everyone's satisfaction.
Ryan Reich
87. ryanreich
@notarealentity: I think you are making too much of the issue of Kvothe's behavior in Tarbean. It looks like we have the following facts and explanations:

Facts: In Tarbean, Kvothe loses his desire to make music and his ability to do magic. He also loses all reflection on his previous life.

Rothfuss' explanation, so far: He was traumatized and this was a coping mechanism.

Susan and Jo's explanation: It's not just a coping mechanism, but a change of personality. This part of his mind is not the part of his mind that does magic or plays music.

Your explanation: (I admit I haven't read it very carefully) His amnesia of his family would strip away his moral inhibitions, and he would descend into violent crime to survive.

Rothfuss' explanation "fits" but we know it is a deception. Susan and Jo's explanation fits because it reinterprets the concepts in Rothfuss' but also ties in another mystery with similar facts. Your explanation is a bit of a reach: first, it introduces a lot of questionable facts and assumptions about human nature; second, it supposes that the Tarbean story is a complete fabrication; and third, it doesn't fit with anything else we've seen. Kvothe is not an amoral killer: though we've seen him kill unflinchingly (and in cold blood) in WMF, it tears him up and it is a direct response to a moral outrage. It's also not at all clear to me that his behavior in Tarbean has a natural explanation: it's related to at least one, and likely two magical events (I'll explain the second below). The doors of sleep/forgetting/whatever are all plausible from an amateur psychological perspective but I don't doubt that Rothfuss is using this sneakily to signify something more profound in his world.

@all: I had a thought about all this. ArtfulMagpie suggested that Kvothe was playing Names while in the forest. Thus, the experience should have been an extremely long version of the short episode he experienced at the end of NW when he called the wind and then became catatonic. Elodin's explanation for the mental distress was that the sleeping mind, once awakened, could not be brought under control again by the waking mind. Recall that he brought Kvothe out of his catatonia by whispering a word to him, which I think must have been his name, certainly a name.

Now, back to Tarbean. Kvothe spends a whole summer immersed in unconscious musical naming and then, upon arriving in Tarbean, has his instrument taken from him -- this is like when he loses the name of the wind after tackling Ambrose. His sleeping mind is left without a focus and his waking mind is too weak, being lost behind the doors of forgetting, to bring it under control. His three years in Tarbean are a state similar to the one that Elodin brought him out of, though more ambulatory.

Some people have been suggesting that Skarpi awakened Kvothe by Naming him, which I admit had never occurred to me. However, it fits! It is exactly how Elodin awakened him at the end of the book.

Finally, another thought: four doors of healing: sleep, forgetting, madness, and death. A four-plate door in the Archives. Coincidence?
Corey Sees
88. CorwinOfAmber
I actually had absolutely not problem with the Tarbean section. It never bothered me that Kvothe didn't do something like busking to try to earn money, or use sympathy to either kill or just steal. First off, I'd have a harder time believing it if he was always so successful and creative. Seeing him low and helpless like this makes him seem more real to me. I get tired of overly successful protagonists quickly. But why not use sympathy? It takes some intense mental skills to use sympathy; Kvothe was obviously in no state to focus like that. His skills were rather limited. As precocious as he was, Kvothe was hardly the sympathist he is later in the book. It's difficult to tell how much he really would have been able to do, even in if he could gather up the mental fortitude to make it happen. Not to mention, he probably is afraid of drawing too much attention to himself. Even in Tarbean, people are a little suspicious of sympathists, and everytime Kvothe does attract attention, it does not go very well for him.
As to killing/stopping the air in people's lungs, I sincerly doubt Kvothe could have killed at this point. He was young, relatively innocent, came from a strong community/family background, and had a good moral center. This means that killing isn't easy, even if it means making his own life better. I would have completely lost faith in Kvothe to see him being so ruthless at such a young age, and so early in the series. And, apart from the previous comments about why he didn't use sympathy, if I were Kvothe, I'd be terrified to do another binding with the air after my last experiment with it. And we don't even know that Kvothe knows what he did. He does now, after his time studying, but does he know enough at this point to be sure he can apply it to someone else without killing himself? Especially when he is scared and greif-stricken?
So why not busking? First off, where would he do this? He has no money, no adult to vouch for him, no musical instrument, and more importantly, he looks like he's been living in the woods all summer. How is he supposed to clean himself up? He's filthy, his hair is a mess, his clothes are basically dirty rags, he reeks, who is going to want to pay any attention to this kid? Nobody is ever going to let him into their establishment to let him entertain. Nobody is going to want to look at him, let alone be near him, if he sets up on a street corner. And why would he? He's had incredibly few positive experiences with humanity since coming to Tarbean, how is that supposed to encourage him to stick out of the crowd? That is practically begging for him to be harrased by law enforcement, or worse, by fellow beggers who might notice he made some coin. With nowhere safe to go, he'd be a walking target, and they might not just rough him up and take his money. It's definitely a safer choice to lie low.
Finally, why don't you come home to see your whole family, almost everyone you've ever loved, the only world you've known your whole life slaughtered and destroyed, live in the woods, head to to the city after not seeing anyone for months, and have one of your very first interactions with another human being be getting beat up and having your sole possesion in the whole world, the only thing that has been keeping you going, destroyed, THEN you can say that three years is an unrealistic length of time for him to be like this. Add to that the heirarchy of needs. How is he supposed to deal with his grief when he is worried about if he's going to eat that day, where he's going to sleep that night, if he's even going to survive to see the next day? The need to see to these basic needs completely overwhelm his ability to deal with his loss, or any emotional issue. It's no wonder he was in a funk for three years (and if I remember correctly, still had to have a good cry about it after).
I like the idea that Skarpi did something to snap him out of it. He knew Kvothe's name, but did he say "Kvothe," or did he actually speak Kvothe's True Name to reawaken him? Of course, what Kvothe heard was "Kvothe," but remember that, in WMF, one of the professors (I can't remember which, and don't have my book handy) speaks the Name of fire, but all Kvothe hears is "fire," his sleeping mind substituing the word he knew, rather than the True Name. Also, Kvothe doesn't even realize what he does or says when he calls the Name of the wind for the first time, or when he calls Felurian's Name. Could the same thing have happened here? Did Skarpi speak Kvothe's True Name, and Kvothe just hear "Kvothe?" I like this idea because it jives with the idea that Kvothe somehow locked away apart of himself, and it needs called back out.
I don't think that Kvothe's not-himself-ness was magically induced, especially maliciously by Haliax. The story explains his grief and subsequent uselessness adequately enough for me, and I don't see the need to attribute to magic, what can easily be explained by the natural world. However, it seems resonable enough that, in the face of such devestation, and with such a strong, if unrefined, alar, Kvothe could have locked part of his mind away, and been unable to unlock it himself. It's possible that, having dealt with his grief naturally, in a safe environment, Kvothe's alar would have released its grip on that part of his mind, and life could have gone on. As it is, it makes sense to me that Skarpi may have had to use his Name to reawaken him.
While it may be similar to K's state in the frame story, I think the idea that he changed his Name makes more sense, and is foreshadowed at the end of WMF.
89. mjj288
Kvothe wasn't invincible.
"Kote slowly removed his shirt, grimacing and sucking his breath through his teeth as the dried blood stuck and tugged against the wounds. His face went stoic again when Bast came back into the room with a basin of water and began to clean him off.

As the dried blood was washed away a wild scoring of long, straight cuts became clear. They gaped redly against the innkeeper’s fair skin, as if he had been slashed with a barber’s razor or a piece of broken glass. There were perhaps a dozen cuts in all, most of them on the tops of his shoulders, a few across his back and along his arms. One started on the top of his head and ran down his scalp to behind his ear."

He was prepared, but not fighting at the level of an Ademe. Scarpi appears to unlock Kvothe's mind by reminding him to chase after the Chandrian and leave Tarbean. It makes sense that Bast is trying to get Kote to remember that he is Kvothe. K just needs to trigger the right thoughts to fully awaken himself. Maybe remind himself how to open the thrice locked box.
Claire de Trafford
90. Booksnhorses
I think the fact that we are bothered (or some of us) by K's lack of abilities in Tarbean speaks volumes. At first I thought this was silly, and K should have busked etc. But now that we've dissected this in some detail the more convinced I am about PR as an author - I have faith that he has planted lots and lots of seeds and clues in the novels. So I believe that , for whatever reason, K CANNOT use his abilities in Tarbean.

The explanations about the sleeping mind taking over after the naming, and Susan's theory explains everything nicely and fits in with the sneakiness I'm starting to see everywhere (Not Tally a lot less?). Now I've gone back and looked at what Skarpi says - but lets save that for our re-read huh.

Someone made the comment about thinking that they had read an entirely different book and I can entirely sympathise. On the first read I picked up a few things and liked the book and patted myself on the back; now I'm kicking myself for all the things I missed. It is just so layered - I'd much rather have done this in EngLit than the Brontes and Far From the Madding Crowd!
Maiane Bakroeva
91. Isilel
Notrealentity @79:

if Kvothe got too comfortable it torpedoes the rest of the story - why
would he have a reason to go to University if he's made a decent life
for himself as a musician in an inn?

I was with you the whole way re: distate of the Tarbean segment and it's implausibility, but I can't agree with this.
Why would he go to the University? For the same reason he did - to learn about the Chandrian and become powerful enough take his revenge on them.
And IMHO, Kvothe trying to save enough money for the University fees would have provided a much more realistic and relatebale scenario for the "poor, but brilliant and proud student" plot-line that we get bludgeoned with in his backstory.

The whole street-kid thing has such a strong Mary Sue vibe - oh, look, how wonderful Kvothe is! Straight off the streets after 3 years of no intellectual activity whatsoever he can completely dazzle the University masters with his unheard of brilliance and after a couple of weeks of practicing (after a 3 year hiatus) he can outplay the best musicians at the Eolian! Blech. It is just too much.
I nearly lost all interest in him at this point. If not for the wonderful framing story, I would have ditched the book.
92. Herelle
Hm, my two cents to this part of the book:

Kvothes behavior and even the duration of his deranged state in Tarbean sounds like PTSD to me:
avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, such as certain thoughts or feelings, or talking about the event(s); avoidance of behaviors, places, or people that might lead to distressing memories; inability to recall major parts of the trauma(s), or decreased involvement in significant life activities; decreased capacity (down to complete inability) to feel certain feelings; (source: wikipedia)

Here are some tidbits I stumbled over in the story:
1. His mothers eyes are like his own, green with a ring of gold around the pupil. Together with the hints troughout the book of Kvothe being a little fae around the edge and the first Lackless song, maybe his grandmother was the one went to Fae?
2. Kvothe leaves out his parents death and only describes how he found other members of the troupe. I`m impressed by the ability of the author to let us know about Kvothes profound shock by leaving out the most hurtful moments. Other authors are not as subtle.
3. I thought "Ferula" wasn´t Cinders name, but the name of iron. I even thought I´ve read it somewhere else in the books but I can´t find it. Cinder reacts exactly the same way as Bast when Chronicler tried to bind him. That´s why I think Cinder is one of the Fae too.
4. Those chapters about Kvothes grief and his life in the woods are just brilliant. I totally felt with Kvothe. Those words just transferred picures and feelings directly into my brain, perfect. The way Kvothe tells his story, doesn´t want to admit that he is still grieving and breaks apart behind the inn where nobody will see, made me cry.
5. I don´t know what to think about Bast in the interlude. When he makes peace with Chronicler it sounds like a threat (C. just made him sick but B. might have killed C. before he even stopped to think.) And then the bruise around his wrist. To me it looked like Bast tried to achieve something. One of you made me feel suspicious about Chronicler (the road to Tinue bit), so I kind of look for hints. When Kvothe tells about the draccus C. doesn´t respond either, although he is supposedly the author of this draccus book. I think this book is mentioned so many times (Chronicler, Devi has it, it´s the only book Kvothe can read in Tomes, the whole draccus part near Trebon) there must be something about it as well.
6. What do you make of his dream in the woods? He learns things that his teachers actually didn´t teach him before (sailors knots). Then the image of the graystones as a double circle forming huge arches. I imagine a huge Stonehenge double circle. The graystones Denna and Kvothe stay on during the draccus scene was an arch too.
7. I agree that Kvothe being rescued by the Encanis mummer is significant. In Trapis story Tehlu is the one rescuing humanity from demons. He even is the one who "made the world to be a good place for men to live", Tehlu himself claims "I am Tehlu, lord above all." and "I, Tehlu, made the world and watch over all who live here." When Kvothe wonders how to start his storytelling he starts with Aleph who created the world, not Tehlu. In another story later (Skarpis I think) Tehlu also is one of many and Aleph seems to be his superior.
8. What do you think of Perial? Together with the Lackless story her name was mentioned. Lady Perials hat and some dirty innuendo. But her part in Trapis story doesn´t have the least bit of foothold for a dirty story about her. Trapis story is more canonical, Perial is more like a saint. The other is more modern. Maybe they are just two persons who share the same name, something that happens a lot more often in real life than in stories.
9. I wonder about the similarities of Encanis and Haliax, their faces all in shadow. I also wonder about the number seven, is it just like in our fairytales a magic number (seven dwarves, three wishes and so on) or is it a reliable number?
And then it seems as if seven is not really the number, rather seven plus one that is not really counted (Chandrian, the cities). Even the seven words that Kvothe says to Denna aren´t really seven words, are they? As I said I´m not a native speaker but "I was just wondering why you´re here." are eight words, " you are" are two words, even when "are" is abbrieviated.
10. In Trapis story I think some names of the days of a week are revealed. Caenin is the seventh day, a day for celebrating. Felling is the eight day, when Tehlu cought Encanis. The ninth and tenth days name I can´t detect, but the eleventh day is Mourning, because Tehlu sacrificed himself in order to overcome Encanis. I don´t really trust this story to be true though. Trapis seems to be a former Tehlin priest and recites from sermons or the Book of the Path. The Tehlin Church is shown as being corrupt and repressive. On the other hand that´s just the church not Tehlu himself. What applies to the church doesn´t necessarily have to be true about Tehlu.
Maiane Bakroeva
93. Isilel
Ryanreich @87:

My beef with young Kvothe isn't that he is too weak, but that he is so strong, brilliant, etc. that Rothfuss has to throw some BS obstacles into his path to make it seem less of a cake-walk.
Whereas if he'd just made Kvothe a bit more realistic, his difficulties and struggles would have felt believable and sympathetic rather than manipulative. IMHO, YMMV.

I buy PTSD/depression - but then the way he just snaps out of it and immediately makes the world his oyster just doesn't fit at all. Cause, you know, his skills should have degraded in the mean time.

I buy Susan's wonderful theory, but then we are still left with Kvothe who was still sooo brilliant at 12, as a scholar, a magician and a musician that even after 3 years of complete hiatus he still easily pwns them all. Etc.

In that light, the WMF Kvothe who can actually fail at things legitimately is a welcome respite, but looking back there is a dissonance with this earlier depiction.

Interestingly enough, Kvothe also says at some point in WMF that he could always rely on his mind, that it was a tool that had never failed him - which makes the 3 years of Tarbean problematic from another angle. Personally, I'd prefer to find out that Kvothe was concealing something big about this period.

Excellent observation about the 4 bronze plates/4 gates! So, Lanre isn't the only one who could potentially come back from the 4th gate, hm?
94. thistlepong
@SusanLoyal & CorwinOfAmber: That's a truly fascinating reading. That, with the help of others, it's bearing out and fully supported in text without a lot of guesswork or hand waving in biases is wonderful. Thank you. Good eyes.
Dave West
95. Jhirrad
@87 - I think your point is well made. It seems likely that what Skarpi had done was found Kvothe's true name, and called him by that, thus awakening him from the fugue in which he lived. It actually seems a more elegant and Rothfussian approach than what we had been expostulating. Bravo to you.
96. cherrybomb
I finally finished reading through this and the other reread threads --
thanks, Jo and everyone, for the fascinating thoughts! I thought I'd go
ahead and add some speculation of my own. :)

I have been thinking about the line Haliax spoke: "Who keeps you safe from the Amyr, the singers, the Sithe, from all that would harm you in the world?” To me, this could build on a few of the theories I've read here and elsewhere. We've speculated that the Edema Ruh and the Adem could originate from the same people, because of the similarity of their names. Also, the Adem were driven from their lands and the Ruh are a landless people, so they might both have been driven from the same lands. There is also a possible schism between the two: The culture of the Ruh is built around music and, to the Adem, music is taboo. So, it is conceivable that whatever rift occurred between the two could have caused the Adem to settle in Ademre and the Ruh to settle on the road.

What Haliax's line could contribute to this theory is, if the Ruh are (or were, or if some of them are) "the singers," there might be some power that they possess (or possessed) that can be used to fight against the Chandrian. The Adem are a fierce people, but they do not use their power to fight their own battles -- they only fight as mercenaries, and use the monies they make to fund peace at home. Also, (as he learned from the Cthaeh) Kvothe needed to go to Adem to find someone who would take his questions about the Chandrian seriously, so the Adem know of and have respect for the power of the Chandrian.

What if, before this possible schism, the Adem/Ruh had some power that they used to fight the Chandrian, but they lost. This could have resulted in the rift: The Ruh took to the road, using their musical abilities for performing (they are sort of musical mercenaries, aren't they?), while the Adem maintained peace by ensuring that their powers were used only to fight other people's battles. Maybe? And maybe there could still be a small, underground group of Adem/Ruh that have the Ruh gift of song and the Adem power of naming and the Lethani? Could these Adem/Ruh have been Amyr? I know this is totally reaching, but... maybe?

Okay, I'll take this a step further and say that, maybe, Kvothe is developing this power on his own by learning naming, the Lethani and being able to play the names of things on his lute (which might be what he is doing in the woods after his troupe's death, as suggested by ArtfulMagpie@2 above -- excellent thought!). He likely has Lackless blood, too, which could count for something. I know I'm taking this theory pretty far here...

But one last idea is that, clearly, the Lackless family is very old. They could be related to the Amyr, the Adem/Ruh, or "the singers." And what do the Chandrian want? Haliax phrases it as, "Some of you seem to have forgotten what it is we seek, what we wish to achieve." It's possible that what they are actually *seeking* is an item. Maybe it's the Lackless box, or a way to open it? Maybe that's one reason why the Cthaeh says Kvothe will find something of the Amyr near the Maer? And maybe that's why Cinder was leading bandits along the road between the Lackless lands and the Maer's? After the marriage, the box must have traveled along that route. As mknecht01 @42 says, it doesn't seem like Cinder would be leading bandits just to steal tax money.

Okay, that's enough wild speculation for now! I'm not married to this theory -- I just thought I'd add some fodder to the flame. :)
98. mjj288
Among many things I'm trying to figure out, besides the Chandrian, the Stone Doors, and why Kvothe is Kote, is how much of K's story is real? He alludes several times that stories don't always have the truth.

What parts are true, which parts are lies, which did he makes up? Maybe he left out who saved him from the Chadrian the first time? Maybe whoever supressed his brain currently was who rescued him them. Possibly his roles in certain stories weren't as large. He was known for spreading stories around the University that weren't true. He could make a few up for Chronicler.
99. thistlepong
I can see omitting details and giving only pieces of stories. We'll see both in c.28 in fact. But I don't expect many, if any, outright lies. They'd undermine what looks like a tightly woven narrative.
100. cherrybomb
@98: In WMF, Chapter 105, when Bast accuses him of lying about speaking to the Cthaeh, Kvothe says, "Bast, we both know I’m not above the occasional embellishment. But this story is different. This is my chance to get the truth of matters recorded. It’s the truth behind the stories."

I agree with @99, K might withhold certain details and give only pieces of stories, but he's a storyteller. It makes sense to withhold certain information until the right time and to leave out the irrelevant parts. I know Kvothe has said he's a liar, but I am choosing to believe him here. Can't wait to see if I get blindsided in DT. :)
Rob Munnelly
101. RobMRobM
More miscellaneous points
- Per a discussion early in NoTW, "Denna" is a word in Tema. Based on phrasing of the quote given, it could mean glamour. Hmmm.
- Mid-way through NoTW, Deoch from the Aeolian makes clear he has known Denna for 1 and 1/2 to 2 years. Thus, her love affair or family rift or whatever did not occur immediately before Kvothe met her. Perhaps she was seduced, cast out of her house, travelled south earning money along the way, with a lengthy stop around Imre, headed down to Yll to catch up with her seducer and obtain resolution, was rejected, and was heading back up to Analin to try to reconcile with her family - which, as expected, did not go well.
- I'm definitely of the theory these days that Kvothe somehow lost his name or someone gained power over him using his true name. Query whether someone accessed his Adem name - which he was told had some power over him - and it was used to take away his sympathy and other abilities. The nice thing about the Chroniceler's story is that it will help Kvothe know himself, as changed by his past, and he will come up with the proper current name for himself and regain all powers.
- Person names can be very tricky - in the Lanre story, it is clear that Lanre's real name was lengthy.
- Chandrian should be afraid of singers, as they have the ability to hear and pass on their real names. If the names as passed along to someone who has power, someone can do to them what that guy did to Lanre/Haliax (shroud him in darkness, etc).
- Who's the betting on the folks whose timely arrival caused Haliax et al to flee before killing Kvothe - Sithe or Amyr? I'm betting on Sithe, as Kvothe came back in early evening and it likely had turned dark while they were talking to Kvothe - if someone has the text handy - is there a moon reference in the Hope chapter?
- Here's a guess - Kvothe says his true name to Denna, who passes it onto her patron (who is Cinder or another one of the seven, who has been tracking Kvothe has a talented student with naming ability, as the survivor of the Ruh massacre, or both) and who uses it to remove Kvothe as a serious threat.

I could go on all day but will stop here. What a fun set of books.

Lynn McDonald
102. meal6225
We learn later when Kvothe and Denna desire patrons that he is knowledgable of the relationship. Yet, when his whole family troupe is massacred he never once contemplates going to tell the patron about this?
At some point in the year the patron has to wonder where they are so he can meet his obligations etc. He could have been a great resource for K at University. Maybe we'll learn more of him in book 3.....
103. Imisseverything
Is it possible that Kvothe's name changed while he was in the forest?

And how does one change their name? Is it conscious?

A thought: Ruh is Arabic for soul, etc. Given that there are meanings like this in the names, Ferule is worth talking about. 'fer' is french for iron. The second half, if taken as 'rule', sounds exactly the same as the French word 'roule', which means 'wheel'. Ferule= iron wheel.

BTW, I wonder if the Iron Wheel is related to the moon. The slices of a wheel hint at the phases of the moon.

Also Amyr sounds like the Arabic word for 'moon'. (unless you hear it as 'ameer', which would mean prince. I don't hear it this way.)
104. Vorbis
Lol, I had a set of thoughts reading through Jo's posts that have completely deserted me now I've read through the rest of the discussion, it's wandered down such a different track! Great thoughts though, I love reading it.

Since the only other Chandrian mentioned by description is the bald man with the grey beard, I'm going to assume that if Denna's patron is a Chandrian, that's the one he is.

Second, the Chandrian chant, what's their plan, what's their plan.

If my pet theory is true that the Chandrian come when the Amyr are mentioned, it's possible that the reason they get driven off is because the Amyr have the same powers the Chandrian do - they hear their names mentioned. I was wondering how the Amyr/singers/Sithe knew to come to the site of Kvothe's family's massacre, and if they're called to their names as well that would be interesting.

But what's their plan? Possibly to wipe out the Amyr. To re-write the history of the world so that they are no longer the bad guys.

Denna's version of the Lanre story makes the Chandrian the good guys.

I assumed that the Amyr references being removed from the library was done by the Amyr themselves, voluntarily, but what if it's the Chandrian trying to wipe them out?

Rothfuss has repeatedly mentioned that he's fascinated by stories, and stories within stories. Kvothe says to Chronicler "You'd hold my own story against me". What if the Chandrian are trying to control the way their own story is being told? If their plan and what they're trying to achieve is to change who are the good guys, and who the bad guys.

That theory still leaves me at a bit of a loss as to why Cinder is working with the bandits. He's obviously trying to disrupt the taxes of the Maer. If he also was behind the poisoning, then they seem to be aiming to get chaos in that part of the world.

Chaos does lead to the destruction of oral history; people forget the past when the present is crazy. But it's not a strong enough link for me to be happy with it.

What's their plan? No idea. But I'd be curious to know if it does involve clearing their name by changing their story.
105. Jnai
Sorry to comment on an old post, but I've just read the series and have a few burning questions.

Namely, if Kvothe's entire family was slaughtered for repeatedly saying the name of the Chandrian, why is Denna able to practice her song for a similar amount of time with no similar retribution? The content? Or something deeper?
Jo Walton
106. bluejo
Jnai: Good question. Presumably her song doesn't have the names, or not the troublesome names. It also has Lanre as the hero, of course, which might make a difference.
108. JordanBelle
Has anyone else noticed the consonance of the names Haliax/Iax/Jax/Jakis? Or am I drawing too long a bow here?
Steven Halter
109. stevenhalter
@J0rdanBelle:Haliax/Iax/Jax have been noted. I'm not sure if anyone pointed out that Jax and Jakis are somewhat similar. It's interesting, to be sure, but I don't think we have seen any other indication that that Jakis family is somehow involved with the whole Iax story. That would be an interesting parallel to Kvothe and the Lockless family.
110. Colin M
My vote is also for The Singers being the Tahl.
111. silentia
Has anyone commented on Kvothe's hallucination just before he's about to freeze to death in "A Time for Demons"? It's a great bird with wings of "shadow and fire" and it digs its claws into him. Then he wakes up as the guy in the Encanis mask rolls him over. In Skarpi's story, when the Amyr are chosen, great wings of shadow, flame, and a bunch of other things (blood?) burst from their shoulders. Is Kvothe hallucinating here, or is he seeing one of the invisible angels or Amyr? I wonder if the same people (beings?) that chased off the Chandrian from his parents' fire have been keeping tabs on him all along. Maybe they recruit only from the ranks of those who have a bone to pick with the Chandrian? It kind of feels like Kvothe gets passed along from well-intentioned person to person who are trying to teach him or wake him up in a way. From Ben to Skarpi to Lorren (possibly trying to teach him control) to Elodin to Bredon to the Ademre who have a very close connection to all of the Amyr business. (Sheyn is posed for a moment when Kvothe answers that someone who fights for the good of others is an Amyr; their path of joy; etc)
112. NicoleS
First time posting here - I am re-reading NOTW with an entirely new perspective thanks to all of you, this is wonderful!

People are commenting about Kvothe not being himself or being asleep. Could it be that's what Haliax meant when he said to "send him to the soft and painless blanket of his sleep"? Kvothe's pain doesn't disappear but it's covered up; hidden. And then somehow Skarpi awakens him from this "sleep" and suddenly he's himself again. So in a way the Tarbean years are almost just a dream?
David C
113. David_C
@62, ClaireDeT writes:

These demons and their home are surely the Fae and their land.

I'm not so sure. There is certainly the same dislike of iron, but in a lot of fantasy metaphysics the fae are separate from the good/evil, heaven/hell, angel/demon split.

I suppose that it could be that the angel/demon thing is metaphysics in the world, according to priests and suchlike; but in fact they don't have a complete understanding of the world, in which case demons and fae could designate the same thing.

What do we know of the regionalization of the fae? of the demons?
114. alinator
I know I'm late to the party, but just a thought. I was struck by the seeming connection between the Tehlu/ Encanis story and the Adem story of the Chandrian that Shehyn told to Kvothe. Particularly, only six out of seven cities/ kingdoms were destroyed -- the seventh was saved. Could there be a connection there?
115. Coreyartus
This talk of Tehlu and Trapis's and Skarpi's stories cause me to contemplate Felurian's story of the moon and it's connections to the Creation War and the factions that have descended from that conflict.

To consider the stealing of the Moon's name as "the straw that broke the camel's back" by causing it's ever-changing states and shifting between two worlds, igniting conflict between the Namers and the Shapers. To contrast the possible philosophical beliefs of the Namers (the need for consistency and immutability to know something's true name for if it's nature changes it's name changes, too) and the Shapers (creating new things, changing things around, creative fire and passion).

Turn that lens toward the philosophy of Menda (come back to the fold, i.e. come back to consistency and the way things were), and by extension possibly for the Emyr (justice for the greater good by forcing humanity back toward law and judging/punishing those that step outside of it). Then contemplate the Emyr going too far and crossing the line in their zealous extremism/desperation…

Consider the role of the Sith, protecting the world from an unknown future that one creature in particular may be trying to change by sending out minions to shape it's unfolding… Are the Sith struggling to maintain a status quo by trying to preventing even more reckless change/development, perhaps out of fear of even more to be wrought by the Shapers? As creations of the Shapers, could they be now trying to defend their own existence against the zealousness of the Emyr, thus exemplifying the Fae/Human fear and distrust?

Could the Ctheah actually be trying to enact "change", freedom of choice, and disruption of the pre-destined immutable future that only he knows? Does he send "agents" out who are fearful of his truths, hoping they will struggle to change their own destinies?

And is Iax's haphazard, unfolded mansion really the tree of the Ctheah? When he stole the name of the moon, sealing it away in a box, and thus making it become ever-changing, did he bring free will into the world? And herald the Shapers?

Consider Lanre's story--what could be more of an affront to the Namers than to change and shape one' s own death? To shape one's own future by getting a giant "do over"? To change one's own destiny by restarting it after it has concluded? To alter the immutability of death? Could Halliax be the ultimate Shaper's symbol? Could the Chandrian, rejectors of Tehlu/Menda, be advocating free will?

Curious that there's as little known about the Emyr as their is about the Chandrian. A bit of tit for tat, that… A balancing of the scales...

Could they be protecting their name of the moon? For the sake of their existence? Acquiring the lockless box is pointless if you can't open it… The Emyr may acquire the piece of the moon, but not be able to restore it…

When you back up and look at the conflicts from a macrocosmic perspective, the deaths and pain and suffering of others mean very little when your goals are about the definition of existence itself… It is easy to see how any of these factions might easily do things that are "reprehensible" to some but completely justified by others...

Is Kvoth the only one who might be the lynchpin threat to both the Emyr and the Chandrian? And thus The Namers and the Shapers?
116. Psyzygy
I like Shalter's comment on Ben perhaps having been lured away from the troupe in order to leave it unprotected-by-magic, and I also like the @102 question re why K didn't ask Baron Greyfallow for help when he was at University. Thanks!

I also love all of PR's passages on music.
117. JosephJones
I somehow feel we'll see an tie between Encannis and the Chandrean. The story about The Seven Kvothe hears in Adem mentions an enemy who corrupted seven...if my math is right that makes eight bad guys. Seven corrupted (The Chandrean) and an Enemy (Encanis maybe?)
118. kineta
@103, Imisseverything mentions that Amyr sounds like the Arabic word for moon. I think it's worth mentioning that the Hindu word for moon/moon diety is Chandra.

In fact, if you have searchable copies of the books, the query for the word 'moon' brings up many, many interesting results.

The little girl who tells Kvothe about the pottery depicting the Chandrian mentions a man with no face and with a mirror at his feet and a bunch of moons over him. "You know, full moon, half moon, sliver moon" she says.

One of the gifts Auri gives Kvothe is a key. The conversation that follows seems whimsical but reread in the context of the moon being significant, it becomes worth a second look.
"It's very nice", I said. What does it unlock?"
"The moon," she said, her expression grave.
"That should be useful," I said looking it over.
"That's what I thought," she siad. "that way, if there's a door in the moon you can open it." She sat cross-legged on the roof and grinned up at me. "not that I would encourage that sort of reckless behavior."

I suspect there's an interesting connection between Auri and the moon and her character has some importance to the plot.

Then there's the whole story of Jax/Iax.

There's the conversation about the waystones between Kvothe and his University friends and it's mentioned that they were thought to be doors to Fea and that people kept their children away from the stones at full moons.

There's a passage in WMF where Felurian shows Kvothe 'the workings of the moon'. She explains there is one moon moving back and forth between Fea and the mortal world - when full in one world then dark in the other. She recites a poem about the danger of the dark moon pulling people into Fea and drowning them in darkness. And Felurian calls Kvothe a 'night walker and moon follower' when deciding to make him a shaed.

There are many more interesting references to the moon throughout both books. I suspect the changing moon might be rather important to the overall theme of the book.
Steven Halter
119. stevenhalter
kineta@118:Yes, the changing moon is important.
George Brell
120. gbrell

I noticed that discrepancy earlier. The story is inconsistent with everything else we know by identifying Lanre as the enemy rather than the Cthaeh (if he truly was behind the Creation War).

My earlier thoughts:
121. pfemm
@67 C12VT you're thoughts on Denna & Yll along with what someone else mentioned makes me think:
perhaps Denna was in the service of a noble family (possibly Yllish)..picking up some education while working/serving. and then what if one of the nobles she was in service to seduced her then threw her away? education could have been part of the seducing.

I love the Skarpi wakes Kvothe up by Naming him. That part sticks out Way too much for it not to be something important. It's subtle but when I read it... it seemed oddly important. The same feeling I got when Kvothe first sees Meluan Lackless.
Loren Dearborn
122. LOREN
Very late to the party here. I was rereading the books for the 4th time and starting looking online for theories and came across this wonderful site, I only wish I'd found it sooner!

Anyway, I had a thought about the succession as I was reading these comments. Assuming Kvothe is the daughter of Natalia Lackless, depending on how they view children out of wedlock, or whether Arliden really is Kvothe's father, Kvothe may be before Ambrose in the line of sucession. It would be Aculeus (assuming he's Natalia's father) then Kvothe as he's the older daugher's child.
123. glerf
I admit I didn't read all the comments, considering that there are currently 122 of them, but can it be that no one else has drawn the same conclusion about the singers that I have? E'lir means see-er, Re'lar means speaker. I don't know what el'the means, but it seems obvious that at some point in the university hierarchy one can be elevated to the rank of singer. I'd imagine it's a secret inner circle, definately containing Elodin/manet, and probably also Lorren and Herma, though likely not Hemme and Brandeur. Elxa Dal seems a strong candidate for singerhood, but I wouldn't place bets on Arwyl or Mandrag. Kilvin could go either way as well. Add puppet and Auri to the list of possibilities as well.

I also wonder if anyone caught the possibility that if Elodin isn't Manet outright, The two definately work in close collusion, perhaps as singers. When Manet is upset with Kvothe for misplaying a hand of cards he gives him advice for his exams, "If you have three spades and five spades have been played, how many spades is that?" In the next chapter that is exactly Elodins question.

To tell the truth, it often taxes my suspension of disbelief how thick Kvothe can be. He's clever, how can he not see that Meluan is his aunt? How does he not remark on Elodin asking him Manets question?
124. ccrase
I havent read ALL the posts up until this so maybe this has been mentioned, but in K's description of Cinder he describes cinder as white as winter frost except his eyes and sword where light wont reflect (i'm paraphrasing here) and in the chapter where the chronicler is waiting for the story to start the autumn light is described and folly is also mentioned as not being touched by the light. it talks of the light beginning "but where the light touched the sword there was no beginning to be seen" then chronicler begins thinking of the coming cold of autumn.

Doesn't it seem that K may have gotten Cinder's sword but regrets the price. Thus making it a folly.
George Brell
125. gbrell

The identical nature of Elodin's and Manet's questions has been remarked upon, but there just doesn't seem to be any additional information that would tie the two of them together. Perhaps Elodin was at the Eolian and overheard Manet's question? If the two were the same, it would also reflect oddly on Rothfuss, since Manet (based upon described appearance and scholastic history) appears to be Rothfuss's stand-in in the series.

To tell the truth, it often taxes my suspension of disbelief how thick Kvothe can be.

But his superhuman exploits, perfect memory and boundless talents don't trigger the same reactions? Heroes have to have flaws. Kvothe's appear to be pride, anger, and overconfidence, each of which could account for his failure to recognize Meluan. Elodin's question ... he's just crazy.


Folly = Cinder's sword is a relatively common theory. Others argue that Folly is Saicere with a different hilt. Whether he names it Folly or the sword is Named Folly is an interesting question. But, frankly, we don't have a ton of information about Folly at the moment. Feel free to dig around and see if you can further support your theory.


As both of you alude to, this re-read is very long and, unfortunately, the summary posts/chapter re-reads aren't always the sole location for discussing certain theories or sections of the text. Make a game effort and no one will be unhappy.

We're also happy to have new ideas posted in the latest re-read thread, which also has the most active readership.
126. L-Train
What about Kvothe's dream in the woods? Most importantly, I think, he dreams that his father plays the song about the Chandrian - i think that either the mystic nature of the stones were such that he dreamt what happened while he wasn't there, or his mind is sheltering him from the memory. It could be that his mind has stored away the memory of his father's song deep behind the 'door of forgetting', so that he actually thinks that he was playing in the woods when really he stayed long enough to hear his father's song before going to gather plants... perhaps in the future he breaks through and remembers the song, which holds important secrets about the nature of the Chandrian...
127. L-Train
Also, the inscription from Ben "remember your father's song" could be a reference to a time when his father played the song for Kvothe and Ben (at least) that he has buried in his memory
George Brell
128. gbrell

I like the theory that he heard the song entire but is still locking it away in his mind.


I did some digging regarding the swords and I think your theory doesn't entirely work out.

Cinder's sword is described as:
"His sword was pale and elegant. When it moved, it cut the air with a brittle sound."
"His eyes were like his sword, and neither one reflected the light of the fire or the setting sun."

Folly is described as:
"It shone a dull grey-white in the room's autumn light. It had the appearance of a new sword. It was not notched or rusted. There were no bright scratches skittering along its dull grey side."
"It was slender and graceful. It was deadly as a sharp stone beneath swift water."
"But when the light touched the sword there were no beginnings to be seen. In fact, the light the sword reflected was dull, burnished, and ages old."

So Folly does reflect light, unlike Cinder's eyes and sword. It only reflects dull, burnished, old light. Those words, particularly "burnished" are used repeatedly to describe the ageless blades of the Adem, so I think it more likely that its decribing an Ademic sword rather than Cinder's. The better connection between Folly and Cinder's blade is the use of "elegant" to describe the latter and "slender and graceful" to describe the former, suggesting that they share a similar shape or underlying identity.
129. clairerocks
When Haliax says,
I am glad I decided to accompany you today. You are straying, indulging in whimsy. Some of you seem to have forgotten what it is we seek, what we wish to achieve.”
it also indicates that theory discussed by Kvothe's parents and Ben is probably true: that the Chandrian don't always attack as the full 7, which is why all 7 of their signs don't show up in every tale.
130. Slongy
Just finished TWMF and have absolutely loved reading the comments here. There were so many questions rattling around my head and a few have been answered thanks to you folk ;)

One observation; When Kvothe and his crew were fighting the bandits in the Eld, he noticed their leader (Cinder) looking towards the sky as if sensing something, much like Haliax and co did just before they left the scene of the crime. Being that the Eld was in close proximity to where Kvothe encountered Felurian and The Cthaeh, this leads me to believe that the forces that chased The Chandrian away were The Sithe. Either that or Kvothe unknowingly at the time, summoned something unconciously or indeed had someone watching over him, much like Tehlu did with Perial. Not sure how much sense that makes but it's worth a punt.

Also I think Kote put his true name inside the lockless box when he faked his death, to prevent anyone from finding him or using it against him. It could also be the reason why his powers have waned or left him. And being so submerged in his new identity he's unable to re-open it....for now.

Just my two talents.

May the Lethani be with you :)
Katy Burnside
131. DarlinKaty
@130 (Slongy) I suspected that the old guy praying (I'm being to lazy to look up his name) was actually calling the angels or Sithe or the Amyr or whatever the "good guys" are. There is something about him going through more verses than Kvothe has ever heard before. So I think he (the old tracker dude) was calling them forth and Cinder sensed that, just as Haliax seemed to when K was a child.
132. Jack Lancaster
Forgive me if this was mentioned already, but something seems to have been missed here.

Immediatley before Kvothe was found by "Encanis", he describes something descending as "Wings of fire and shadow"as he lay in a state which "felt like dying". He dismisses this but that is exactly how Selitos is described upon his transformation into an Amyr. Wings burst from his back, wings of "fire and shadow" and another gains wings of "glass and steel". This makes me think that he literally had a guardian angel, at least in Tarbean.
133. Jack Lancaster
Unless I mean Tehlu, not Selitos...
134. manifolded
More misc thoughts from a very late arrival:

@102. The lack of fuss abouth the killing of an entire troupe also bothered me. I dismiss it as nobody caring much about those Edema Ruh, but still it's a stretch.

Somewhere, in a song, before this chapter, isn't mention that the waystones can be entrances to the Fae? I cannot pinpoint it right now but I'm pretty sure I read it not much before.

Pat has stated in his blog that he doesn't read the speculation. I personally think that's for the better :P

@104 re: what's their plan. This also bothers me, that Kvothe's father is so sure of knowing their intentions, and K never at all reflects on this, nor offers any theories.

Amazing discussions you've carried out in these threads.
135. Quintas11
Random thought:
Towards the end of Chapter 22 Kvothe is describing the pagentry of the Tehlin Midwinter procession as it passes. He says "Many of them wore the heavy iron chains of penitent priests"
I just wonder if this has any relation to the "penitent King" mentioned in WMF. Perhaps the penitent King is from the Tehling church?
136. Lutra
The bald man with grey beard alongside Haliax and Cinder? I think he might be mentioned in Hespe's story about Jax stealing the moon - ch "Listening" p592 of my version of WMF.. he's the listener living in the cave, advising Jax to listen before he tries to 'catch' the moon.
Jax climbed over a rise and found an old man sitting in the mouth of the cave. He had a long grey beard and a long grey robe. He had no hair on the top of his head, or shoes on the bottom of his feet.
137. jorgybear
“Who keeps you safe from the Amyr, the Singers, the Sithe…” It struck me that these could just be 3 names for the same group. If this is true, it will be bitterly frustrating for Kvothe when he learns he inexplicably missed them on his approach to the Ctheah… or did the “Amyr” deliberately allow him to approach the Ctheah, knowing that what it told him would lead to the defeat of the Chandrian (which is where I’m assuming the series is heading).
Has Laclith been mentioned before? Sounds a lot like “Lackless” to me…
I never considered the link between Trapis and the Duke of Gibea, the whole “cruel to be kind” thing. Gibea performed horrible experiments, but saved thousands of lives in doing so. Tying a patient to the bed sounds horrific, but it’s done so the patient doesn’t come to harm.
Ken Smith
138. tre_mel_low
I get this nagging feeling about Denna - a gut feeling that may be wrong but...

In NW Chapter 16 after Kvothe returns to find hs family slaughtered, he sees the chandrion:

I heard voices. Peering around the corner of Shandi's wagon I saw several unfamiliar men and women sitting around a fire. My parents' fire.

Supposedly two of the Chandrian are women, one named Dalcenti.

From WMF Chapter 128:

But seven names are remembered. The name of the one and of the six who follow him. Seven names have been carried through the crumbling of empire, through the broken land and changing sky. Seven names are remembered through the long wandering of Ademre. Seven names have been remembered, the names of the seven traitors. Remember them and know them by their seven signs:

Cyphus bears the blue flame.
Stercus is in thrall of iron.
Ferule chill and dark of eye.
Usnea lives in nothing but decay.
Grey Dalcenti never speaks.
Pale Alenta brings the blight.
Last there is the lord of seven:
Hated. Hopeless. Sleepless. Sane.
Alaxel bears the shadow’s hame.

What if Denna, with her everchanging names, is in fact Dalcenti - a Chandrian. It's been bugging me since my first read of NW. Anyways...
Ken Smith
139. tre_mel_low
Oh, and I also tend to think her sponsor is actualy Haliax...
140. elricprincess
If the Tahl and the Edema Ruh aren't related in some way i'll eat my hat.
141. elricprincess
Am I the only person who found it strange that the huntssman who taught Kvothe is named Laclith and there's a branch of the Lackless family named Laclith?
Steven Halter
142. stevenhalter
elricprincess@141:Nope, you aren't the only one. We've talked about the huntsman and the various Lackless branches here and there in the reread. Welcome to rererereading. :-)
143. elricprincess

Thanks glad to be here.
144. lekkie
Do you feel that this first part of the story is inspired by DWJ's Cart & Cwidder from the Dalemark Quartet? As I was reading this, it seemed strangely similar.
Of course the take/age group/ elaboration are totally different, but it seems to me that DWJ was a fountain of original ideas and storylines.

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