Jul 21 2011 2:03pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Name of the Wind, Part 14: Like a Thunderclap

Patrick Rothfuss rereadWelcome to part 14 of my more detailed than anybody could possibly need re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 82-87 of The Name of the Wind, but also contains extensive spoilers for the whole book and the whole of The Wise Man’s Fear — these discussions assume you’ve read all of both books. These posts are full of spoilers — please don’t venture beyond the cut without reading both books first. (But we’ll still be here when you come back.)

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

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

We left out our hero killing a draccus with an iron wheel, most heroically and indeed in a godlike manner — this is just how Tehlu killed Encanis after all. It’s a pity that poor Kvothe followed this by falling out of a tree, but it’s also typical of how Rothfuss simultaneously underlines and undercuts the heroic.


Chapter 81 is Ash and Elm. Master Ash? The ashes of the town? “Ash and elm and rowan too” in the charm?

I love the beginning here. “It felt exactly like someone had hit me in the head with a church.” He has been bandaged — and we’re reminded that it has only been three days since Ambrose’s thugs (or somebody’s thugs anyway) tried to kill him. I like how his Medica training comes back to him when assessing his wounds. I generally like the whole Medica thing — it’s not overstressed, and I love the bit with the arrowroot in WMF, and it really feels like something useful that he actually has to work at.

The girl at the inn he recognises as a Nell, a category, and it really is her name. She isn’t significant but the recognition and Naming is.

Again with the landlord we have the excessive threat. “Bring me what I asked for or I will burn the place down around your ears and dance among the ashes and your charred sticky bones.”

It’s as if there are two contradictory impulses in Kvothe. One is this melodramatic posturing “villain” making over the top threats of murder, and the other is the “hero” who thinks it’s his job to prevent deaths — needing to kill the draccus and so relieved nobody was killed in the fires.

In last week’s comments Lurking Canadian suggested:

I wonder if he isn’t already an Amyr. Not in the sense of secretly belonging to some secret society or something, but because he seems to have this compulsion to Do Good. He really isn’t moral in the usual sense (thinks nothing of lying, stealing and cheating) but then sometimes he decides some bad thing is his responsibility and he has to fix it. He’s nearly starving himself, but he feeds Auri. The dragon (not his dragon) is hopped up on goofballs (not his drug op), but he decides his his job to save Trebon (and feels guilty about the destruction it causes). When he saves the two girls in the next book, he makes sure to arrange marriages for them, then gives his horse to the one guy who broke his leg. It’s like he has this deep seated compulsion that always points him at The Right Thing, even though his conscious mind is kind of a scoundrel. In other words, he’s already somebody who will break any law or rule in the service of The Greater Good. He’s an Amyr. He just doesn’t have the T-shirt yet.

I do like this suggestion very much, and I propose that it hereafter be known as the “t-shirt” theory. A bottle of strawberry wine for Lurking Canadian, to be delivered by passing tinker.

And Connor O’Sullivan goes further:

this is probably a bad thing. Which is for example why the Duke of Gibea conversation cropped up in WMF: to Kvothe, chopping up people for the sake of medicine is, while unpleasant, totally justifiable; to others, there’s no excuse for such atrocities. The lines are clear between the do-gooders and everyone else. Leaving us to wonder what Good is going to end up making Kvothe do so much bad.

While Foxed adds:

It’s like he knows the Lethani. Despite how hard it is for him to discover Falling Leaf and listen to his Sleeping Mind, we see him in these examples following Lethani, DOING THE RIGHT THING.

The t-shirt theory would imply that Kvothe’s sleeping mind, and therefore the things he does without thinking about them, are Amyresque, whether the Greater Good is ultimately a good thing or not, whereas his surface personality lets him lie and cheat and make these threats which we really don’t think he’ll carry through. It’s crazy behavour though really — especially here where he’s intimidating and threatening and underlining it with magic. He is actually put up on charges of malfeasance in WMF, and surely that innkeeper, a solid citizen, could denounce him to the Church?

He gets the stuff and goes back to where he abandoned D to find her gone — of course. He “knows” she’s long gone, thinking he abandoned her. But he also “knew” he’d never see her again after she left for Anilin. He leaves her a note — his notes to her are always a complete waste of time, I don’t think she ever gets one.

Back in the town he deals with the mayor and the constable and finds out they are sure the draccus was a demon and have dealt with its body as with demons. “Dig a pit that’s ten by two, ash and elm and rowan, too.” The same thing we heard for the scraeling, which K said then was the right thing for the wrong reasons. They have sensibly and logically concluded that the draccus caused the destruction of the farm.

Kvothe tells them he can ensure their safety if he knows what Mauthen dug up, which is complete nonsense — nothing can make them safe from the Chandrian and he is endangering them by asking. Verainia comes and tells him she saw it, a vase with the Chandrian on and their signs.

There was a woman holding a broken sword and a man next to a dead tree and another man with a dog biting his leg....

If Netalia is correct that they have one sign each, maybe the dead tree — the rotting wood and metal etc — is the sign one of them leaves, and similarly the others?

“Was there one with white hair and black eyes?”

She looked at me wide eyed, nodded. “Gave me the all overs.”

Cinder. Then Haliax:

One with no face, just a hood with nothing inside. There was a mirror by his feet and there was a bunch of moons over him. “You know, full moon, half moon, silver moon.”

Now this vase is in colours a country girl has never seen before and it has real silver and gold, so the moons and the mirror are presumably silvered. What do they represent? I mean there’s the whole moon thing, but with Haliax? And the mirror? I feel as if this is really significant and I’m missing something — anyone?

Next is a naked woman, and then writing she can’t read or remember. Who made this vase? Why did they make it? Why didn’t the Chandrian get them the minute it was taken out of the kiln? Or do you think it was made and buried in secret by someone? The Amyr? The Fae? The stones are grey. The Singers?

He gives her a placebo charm, and tells her he got it in Veloran, “far away over the Stormwal mountains” which is not on the map! I think we have more places not on the map than on the map at this point!

And she kisses him and he “realises she’s beautiful” — they’re all beautiful to Kvothe. And he says that this is another beginning, this is why he became the man he became, because he liked her hero worship when he gave her the placebo charm. His vanity?

If we put all those starts together, he says he became what he became because he’s a trouper, because of D, because of not helping that poor kid in Tarbean, and because of Nina’s smile. An interesting set of ingredients.

It’s also interesting to see him reaching for another beginning here, 653 pages into the book. But he’s still very young.


Chapter 83 is Return, and it’s very short.

Kvothe returns to the University and is in trouble with everyone for being away. He sorts out his big debt to Devi with the loden stone and one talent, he apologises to everyone else, and he tells Wil and Sim most of the truth. He can’t find D but he knows she’s okay because she got the boat the day before.

The notable thing about this chapter is that it’s a rushed summation, after the up close narration we’ve been having thus far. It’s all tell, no show, because we don’t need to know these details of the conversations, only that they happened.


Chapter 84 is A Sudden Storm. The storm is the Bad Thing with the Lute — or rather the storm inside Kvothe’s head after he has spoken the Name of the Wind.

He bumps into D in Imre and she is with a guy called Lentaren (not Master Ash) so they have an oblique conversation instead of a direct one. She seems delighted to see him. He sums up the Trebon episode as killing the dragon but losing the treasure and the girl. They’re pretending to be talking about a story, and she says ”Not the ending I’d hoped for, but no more than I expected I suppose.“ This connects back to what she said happened in Anilin — she doesn’t hope or expect for much. But then when he talks about a sequel she says

“I don’t generally go in for serial stories,” her expression momentarily serious and unreadable.

I am certain this connects directly to the fundamental mystery of D, her moon compulsion or whatever it is.

And then he meets Wil and Sim and the Bad Thing with the Lute happens. First, Sim explains to Kvothe in words of one syllable that D likes him, and Kvothe refuses to believe it. (Go ahead and tell me you were that dumb when you were fifteen, and I will say probably the Adem must be right about where babies come from, because really!)

Then Ambrose grabs his lute, and Kvothe’s mind is in two pieces, one chanting “I hate you, I hate you” and the other “Please don’t hurt the lute, not again.” Then Ambrose sings his little song — his poetry has improved, it actually scans.

(Does it make sense that Ambrose would do this after setting thugs on him? Maybe it doesn’t.)

Kvothe says “Give it back or I will kill you.” Because music means that much to him. Ambrose tosses it to him, and it falls and breaks, and it makes an awful noise like the lute in Tarbean, and Kvothe speaks the Name of the Wind utterly out of his sleeping mind and without control.

I find this whole episode almost too painful to read.

Kvothe then goes numb and weird, and Wil and Sim take him to Kilvin. They tell Kilvin what happened. Elodin comes and gets Kvothe back. Wil says Kvothe’s eyes are like a dog’s eyes, Kvothe clearly isn’t there to himself — like in the woods? Not like in Tarbean or now, when he can talk but part of himself is locked away. Elodin makes him say “Aerlevsedi” which Sim hears as “Wind.” (It sounds like Faen to me, though that v should be an f, maybe it’s been wrongly transliterated?) Saying it doesn’t help and doesn’t call the wind. Elodin then looks deeply into Kvothe and whispers what must be Kvothe’s name to call him back to himself. It makes him violently dizzy the way you are when you stop spinning, and by the time he recovers Elodin is gone.


Chapter 85 is Hands Against Me. Fairly self-evident title here.

Interestingly he sleeps for eighteen hours and he says “spent eighteen hours behind the doors of sleep.” The last time he uses that phrase it’s after his troupe is killed, and he talks about how sleep can heal and the dreams he has. When he wakes up he has time for a bath and a meal before he’s summoned to the horns again.

Ambrose has accused him of malfeasance. He counter accuses Ambrose of theft, destruction of property, and Conduct Unbecoming a member of the Arcanum. He wins on theft and destruction and nearly on Conduct Unbecoming — Elxa Dal, Arwyl, Elodin and Lorren vote against Ambrose. Amazing. Lorren is a very principled man. And then they all vote for Kvothe to take six lashes and be expelled — at a younger age than most people enter the University.


And we can’t stop there of course, Chapter 86 is The Fire Itself.

All of them except Hemme vote for suspending the expulsion. And then Elodin proposes he’s promoted to Re’lar, and again the vote is unanimous but for Hemme. Ambrose is upset. Elodin asks if he’s confused and says he’ll explain.

Elodin says there was a University in the ruins of an older university, and an Arcanum inside the University, and they became E’lir by seeing and Re’lar by speaking. And he talks confusingly about the sleeping mind and about names and says he’ll teach Kvothe and he’ll also be able to learn advanced bindings and dubious runes in sygaldry now. And he says there was no danger of expulsion, most people first speak a Name in strong emotion.


Chapter 87 is Boldness. Auri says “Wisdom precludes boldness” and I suppose we know Kvothe is lacking wisdom!

It starts with a brief chat with Wil and Sim about how mad Elodin is, and noting that Kvothe is still going to be whipped — so again he’s being promoted and whipped! (And he’s getting Ambrose’s money to buy a new lute.)

Then he meets Auri on the roofs, and asks her how she is, and she says she is lovely. No normal person would say they were themselves lovely, and it is of course the word D braids into her hair in Yllish in WMF. He gives her a bottle of honey wine (not the strawberry wine he got in Trebon) and she gives him a ring that keeps secrets. It fits, because they’re his secrets. They talk about an owl in the Underthing. ”Owls make poor heroes“ but this one ”Has a face like a wicked moon." And he asks to see the Underthing, and she jokes with him.

And she has a soft blue-green light that just might be an ever-burning lamp. And they go into the Underthing and see wonders — ruined machines and underground windows and — the story breaks off, interrupted in the frame. And we’ll start back in the frame next week — and next week’s post will complete our re-read of this volume.

Also, I’m really sorry but I’m going to have uncertain net access and may not see comments to this thread until quite late, and will certainly have to write next week’s post without seeing them.

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.

Katy Maziarz
1. ArtfulMagpie
"Elodin makes him say “Aerlevsedi” which Sim hears as “Wind.” (It sounds like Faen to me, though that v should be an f, maybe it’s been wrongly transliterated?)"

My guess is that there's a language situation here similar to the one in LeGuin's Earthsea books...there is a first language that is the most true to the nature of the world, and all real magic is done in that language. All other languages are just greatly degraded versions of that first, original, magical tongue. If you know a thing's true name, that name is in the first language. Due to the nature of the split between the human world and the Fae world, it seems likely that the long-lived (immortal?) Fae have preserved an almost perfect version of the original, "true" language, whereas the human tongues have all gotten warped out of shape by time. So Aelevsedi may not actually be in Fae, but may be veryvery close to Fae...
Dave West
2. Jhirrad
On the mirror - In WMF, pg 671 on the PC Kindle version, location 13452, Felurian says,

“many of the darker sort would love to use you for their sport. what keeps these from moonlit trespass? iron, fire, mirror-glass. elm and ash and copper knives, solid-hearted farmer’s wives who know the rules of games we play and give us bread to keep away. but worst of all, my people dread the portion of our power we shed when we set foot on mortal earth.” Emphasis added. Rothfuss, Patrick (2011-03-01). The Wise Man's Fear: The Kingkiller Chronicle: Day Two (p. 671). Daw. Kindle Edition.

This is a discussion about the varying types of Faen and why mortals don't see them often. Seems to point to the Fae connection of the Seven.
Sim Tambem
3. Daedos
@2 We also have another mention of a copper blade. This is obviously why Taborlin used a copper sword, but we still have no real idea as to why. It is apparently connected with the confusion Elodin briefly encounters when he tries to "break" the stone in his room at the rookery, so it might have something to do with naming / or blocking names (the whole "copper cloud" thing from Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn series comes to mind).

I don't have a copy to check, but isn't the mirror at Haliax's feet described as water later on (when Kvothe gets the drawing from Verainia)? I'm not sure why I remember it that way; I might just be mingling details in my head.

If the 't-shirt' theory holds, then most members of the Medica might be on the team. When Kvothe meets the old healer (Gran?) after rescuing the two girls, she tells him that is why he was able to kill the band of impostors. Physicians have to make hard choices, or something like that. She's an Amyr, too.
Dave West
4. Jhirrad
In the discussion about Aerlevsedi I agree that it is probably tied to what we would currently consider the Fae language and that was most likely an origin language spoken by all creatures at one point in history. If we take Felurian's tale of the Creation War as truth then we accept that there was no Fae realm and Mortal realm at one point, simply Existence. If that's the case, it stands to reason that there was a universal language. It also makes sense that within that language would exist Names. Those who existed then understand the deep names of things much better than anyone for several thousands of years. It would follow that their language would emerge from that understanding of Names. It also helps explain why Kvothe did such a horrible job in learning the Fae language. I imagine to fully understand it, he would need to be living more in his sleeping mind than waking, so he could really understand the language. He only picks up a smattering of it, because he can't exist perpetually in his sleeping mind, at least at this point in the story.
Hello There
5. praxisproces
Hey thanks for including me in the summary Jo!

I think it is fascinating how we discover, in these chapters, that Kvothe's magnificent bardic rolling self-identification that opens his own recollections - the "You may have heard of me" bit that's on all the back covers - contains at least two self-serving distortions. Kvothe did not burn down the town of Trebon at all, and his "expulsion" was a commonplace piece of beaucratic chicanery. So from the very beginning Kote is a braggart, or at least not married to the truth, and we've seen that continue to play out throughout NotW, especially, as Jo has incisively noted, in his histrionics with the horse trader and the Trebon innkeeper. He can't resist a stage. Just gorgeous characterization, I think.

The vase is bewildering, I think, its existence and its place in the narrative; I hope, though doubt, that we'll find out how it came to be there. This stone thing really has to have an explanation eventually, too, both the waystones and the Library and the grey stone strewn about the landscape.

Maybe Haliax's ability to move is tied to the moon as well? Do we know what the moon was like when Arliden's troop was killed? Maybe Haliax is Iax is Lanre, and some part of his name is locked behind the four-plate door while the rest of him is in Fae, so he is subject to the same rules that govern the movements of the Faen.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
lambson@3:In the drawing by Nina, Cinder is standing on water. The drawing shows Haliax with the moons over his head and shadow around him. When Kvothe is looking at Haliax's drawing he doesn't mention the mirror.
So, Nina could have gotten the water confused with a mirror in her first recollection in TNotW and also placed it with the wrong figure or maybe Kvothe just didn't mention it in the drawing.
If there really is a "mirror" at Haliax's feet, I would say that it is quite likely not a mirror but some reflective surface that just looked like a mirror to Nina.
There are a couple possibilities:
1) Part of Selitos' curse is:

Your own name will be turned against you, that you shall have no peace.

So, the mirrored surface could be a representation of Haliax's true name turning against him.
2) It could be a representation of a gateway--like a path into Fae.
Sim Tambem
7. Daedos
@6 I was thinking about Selitos' curse.If he can't abide his own reflection, it could easily be used against him. We already know that the Chandrian seek out people using their names (or maybe just Haliax's) and murder them. Maybe it was his visage on the vase that drove them to murder the wedding party.
I wonder what the water under Cinder means...isn't one of the signs something about poisoned water, or something?

@5 Expulsion
I don't think we've seen the last of Kvothe's expulsions. I agree that the instance we're discussing could be what he is referring to, but I think Kvothe mentions that his rivalry with Ambrose eventually gets him kicked out of the University. I might be wrong here, but I think he's still going to be ousted (which seems doubly likely, given the University's new management).
8. alea_iacta_est
Wow! What?
That part about the conversation with Denna, about them having an oblique conversation about what happened is not in my book!
In my version, they meet, he finds out it's not master Ash with her, and he asks her to drop by at Ankers some time.
That's it. Am I really missing a part?
andrew smith
9. sillyslovene

If Netalia is correct that they have one sign each, maybe the dead tree —
the rotting wood and metal etc — is the sign one of them leaves, and
similarly the others?

This is what is indicated in WMF in the story from Shehyn about the Chandrian:

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 the 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.

-844, WMF hardcover,

The story tells their names, and gives signs for most of them- or at least most have outward overt signs of their presense- blue flame, decay, etc. but Alaxel/Haliax doesn't have an overt sign...

Other interesting connections: Grey Dalcenti - grey seems to be a very important word, both as a color and identification, what with all the grey stone, waystones, etc- what does it mean for this one of the Chandrian? Could he be the ancient ancestor of the Lockless line? Connected to one of the cities as a ruler perhaps? (The seven traitors seem to be associated with each of the seven cities)
Interestingly, Lord Greyfellow- the patron of Kvothe's troupe- has house colors of grey and green. Compare this to Meluan Lackless, who while appearing twice, wears clothes of grey and lavender (WMF, 913)- the only time her clothes are described. This could connect them in some way, and could indicate that Greyfellow (who is significantly missing largely...) could be of another branch of the Lackless/Lockless family- where the branches all share the grey and each has a distinguishing color attached, which would add an interesting spin to things- with Kvothe's mother running from one branch of the family to "work" for another. Perhaps Arliden and his wife were more than just a traveling troupe? She would have known about the box and the door, could she have puzzled out more than others? Could they be traveling and looking for other indications or hints about the Lackless line and what to do with the box/other Lackless heirlooms?

-Other appearances of grey:
In Ademre, grey is all over the place- from the houses, to the clothing, to the cloud cover, etc

A search would probably bring up a ton of grey, some of which might be very important...

10. Halcyal
Mirror. Reflection. Mortal earth and Fae. Implications. Perhaps.
11. mochabean
On reread I find the references to the physical evidence of long-dead technology (machines?) during Kvothe's tour of the Underthing even more intriguing. Not sure if it will ever go anywhere -- maybe its just some nice world-building details -- but I am hoping we learn more. Was there some massive disaster that lead to the iron laws? Is there some connection with the greystomes strewn around?
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter

First, Sim explains to Kvothe in words of one syllable that D likes him, and Kvothe refuses to believe it.

Yeah, it does seem like he should be catching on at this point.
George Brell
13. gbrell
Re: "Ash and elm and rowan too"

I've always been a little confused by this because early on Kvothe only uses "ash and rowan" to burn the scrael. If it had been "ash and elm" or "elm and rowan" I'd be less annoyed, because rowans are mountain ash trees (although unrelated to true ash trees), but Kvothe picked both "ash" trees and left out the elm,, which should be important.

Re: Chandrian signs

We know from WMF that each of the Chandrian are accompanied by a sign or signs:
Cyphus - "bears the blue flame"
Stercus - "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"
Alaxel - "Hated. Hopeless. Sleepless. Sane." "bears the shadow's hame"

We have the children’s song:
“when the hearthfire turns to blue”
“when your bright sword turns to rust”
“see a woman pale as snow”
“when his eyes are black as crow”
“see a man without a face”

What signs have we been told about:
“one of them is supposed to have eyes like a goat, or no eyes, or black eyes. I've heard that one quite a bit. I've heard that plants die when the Chandrian are around. Wood rots, metal rusts, brick crumbles” (NotW, 83)
“In some stories the only sign is blue flame. In others you have animals going crazy and no blue flame. In others you have a man with black eyes and animals going mad and blue flame.”
“They're supposed to be cold to the touch. Though how anyone could know that is beyond me. I've heard that fires don't burn around them.” (NotW, 84)
“being ‘yoked to shadow’”
“their shadows pointed the wrong way, toward the light. And there was another where one of them was referred to as 'shadow-hamed.'”
“Blue .” (NotW, 516)
“ more like driftwood than timber”
“a chunk of windowsill snap off in hands … rotten through”
“broken pump handle … rusted through to the center”
“woman holding a broken sword, and a man next to a dead tree, and another man with a dog biting his leg…” (NotW 595)
“one with no face, just a hood with nothing inside. There was a mirror by his feet and there was a bunch of moons over him. You know, full moon, half moon, sliver moon.”
“woman … With some of her clothes off”
“blue flame, rot and rust, a chill in the air” (WMF, 128)
“Thunder. The darkening of the moon. One story even mentioned rainbows.”
“a woman with no clothes on, a broken sword, and a fire…” (WMF, 269)

And what did Kvothe specifically observe:
“ sword broken in his hand.” (NotW, 114)
“All the flames were tinged with blue…”
“several unfamiliar men and women”
“the iron bands that reinforced the wheel crumbled in my hand, flaking away in gritty sheets of brown rust.”
“the wheel creaked and began to crack … splintering as if its wood were rotten as an old stump”
“a balm man with a grey beard”
“shadow pooled around like thick oil”

Alaxel is clearly Haliax and his sign is his shadowed visage. But it's interesting that he's identified specifically as "sleepless" (perhaps the "you shall have no peace" of Selitos' curse) and "sane" (perhaps implying the other Chandrian are not). Also, perhaps the vase identifies that he is connected with the moon somehow.

Ferule is clearly Cinder. "Ferula" is the name Kvothe heard Haliax say when he first meets Cinder, so he either misheard it or Ferule is pronounced with the last -e vocalized. His "coldness" and "black" eyes "with no iris" is clearly "chill and dark of eye."

Cyphus probably turns the flames blue. Perhaps he's related to King Scyphus from Marten's Taborlin story.

For Stercus, what does "in thrall of iron" mean? How is he/she enslaved to iron? Stercus is probably the one that rusts metals (clear, repeated evidence that this is a power). This is probably the woman with the broken word (if the vase is to be believed).

Usnea “lives in nothing but decay.” This is likely the Chandrian who causes wood to rot. It’s unclear if this is the one that also causes plants to die (though that would more likely be “blight,” not decay). Problem is that the vase mentions a man next to a dead tree; is that a plant dying or wood rotting? Either way, there is a man who accompanies either rot or plant-death.

Grey Dalcenti “never speaks.” This is funny because the only grey Chandrian we’ve met is the bald man with a grey beard who mocks Cinder. If Dalcenti never speaks, it can’t be him. If we think that animals can sense the Chandrian or that one particular Chandrian has that as his sing, this would be the likely choice since there is no other obvious, agreed upon sign to assign to Dalcenti. That would make Dalcenti a man.

Finally, Pale Alenta “brings the blight.” This is likely the Chandrian that causes plants to die. This could be a man (depending on the vase/tree picture). Alternatively, this could be the woman who lacks clothing.

And of course, the biggest question, what is their objective?
If Skarpi’s description of Selitos’s curse is accurate, “ay it last until the world ends and the Aleu fall nameless from the sky.” Perhaps they actually seek the end of the world. But which world? Perhaps the end of Fae? What are the Aleu? Lanre himself identifies his own end in the same language: “I have only the hope of oblivion after everything is gone and the Aleu fall nameless from the sky.”

And why do they all “look toward the sky” before “hey come”?
Perhaps it is because it is almost dusk. Kvothe describes “the darkest hours of the night,” but never mentions whether there was a moon. We know the phases of the moon control the ability of fae and humans to cross between them. Perhaps they had to believe before the Sithe would be able to come.

And as I'm currently studying for the bar exam, I'd point out that Kvothe's argument that Ambrose is guilty of both destruction and conversion is terrible from a legal perspective. The punishment for theft clearly implies that the price of the property is the cost of replacing it (hence why it's in disjunction with "return the property") plus the single talent fine (the punitive element of the offense). So Kvothe is, in fact, "punishing him twice for the same thing" (and for the first time ever, Master Hemme is right). It doesn't matter that the offenses are different (at common law, in America, there is no similar civil offense to Rothfuss's theft).

I also agree that Kvothe will still get kicked out of the University.

Note: this repeats some stuff that someone else posted in the interim while I wrote it. Didn't want to go back and re-edit it.
Robert Smith
14. Courtain
@7, 13 - Regarding Kvothe getting expelled again:

I was of the opinion that Kvothe's rivalry with Ambrose causing him to leave the University was referring to what we've seen in WMF - Ambrose brings Kvothe before the Iron Law, and Kvothe is forced to temporarily leave the University because of it (his trip to Vintas).

This doesn't mean that he won't still get permanently kicked out later, but I think this particular bit of foreshadowing has already been dealt with.
Bob Simons
Random thoughts (much shorter this time)
properties of beryllium copper are interesting:
used in musical instruments and non-sparking tools, can hold an edge...
Want the t-shirt, but is it Amyr or Chandrian?
Stercus, "in thrall of iron" could mean he/she is (proto?)Fea. Weakened by Iron so causes it to rust as a defense mechanism
Jason German
16. naillin
I've always figured the things about copper were that it is conductive (which I wouldn't be surprised to discover does the same interesting things to sympathy or most other forces brought to bear against it as it does to electricity) and that, once forged or shaped, it had a sufficiently different Name than Stone or Rock (which would appear to be potent but not uncommon Names to know) that a Namer would have to know that Name as well in order to affect it. (Thus Elodin Named the stone in his wall to make it crumble away but the copper grid was distinct enough to be unaffected.)
17. Lurking Canadian
Woo hoo! That is all. Thanks, Jo.
Sim Tambem
18. Daedos
@13 That was intense. Might I speculate that - Usnea “lives in nothing but decay.” - could be referring to the Chandrian with an aversion to clothing.

@15 I feel like this is exactly the kind of thing PR would know and use. Maybe Taborlin's use of a copper sword (or copper beryllium compound sword) has something to do with magnetism. The reason I say this, is that it is unlikely that it has anything to do with conductivity (sorry @16). We all know copper is a good, natural conductor, but it isn't the best. Even if we ignore compounds and stick to common elements, silver would be superior to copper (a silver sword would have been cool). Under normal atmospheric pressure and at typical temperatures, silver is the most conductive element.

I forgot; back to magnetism.

Waystones : drawstones - drawing men into the Faen realm and Fae into the world of men. Maybe the whole Fae / iron thing has something to do with magnetism. Kvothe is always saying his skills from the University deal with "galvanic forces". Magnetism would tie-in nicely.
andrew smith
19. sillyslovene
As for the t-shirt theory- the imagery in the books surrounding Kvothe strongly supports it, or it is simply foreshadowing the fact that he will join the club and get the t-shirt.
-Auri calls him one of the Ciridae when he has the blood flowing down him
-In WMF when he is battling the bandits his arms and hands get covered in blood from the corpse and which runs up and down his arms because of the rain

Ironically, as Kvothe is called Bloodless, he is involved with blood quite a bit, from gaining his own injuries however slight, to the massive bloody mess he becomes in that battle. Interestingly, this imagery seems to grow in tandem with his gaining control over naming and his sleeping mind- when he first calls the name of the wind in these chapters, soon after, while still in "storm-mode" he cuts his finger with his lute (interesting connection to music there also) and causes a little bit of blood to flow, then in WMF he cuts his own hand at the sword tree while calling the name of the wind. That is a direct parallel, but all the other times he's connected with blood are astounding (killing bandits, being bloodied/learning to bloody with the Adem, killing the Ruh impersonators, etc). It makes me think that DT is going to be very violent and bloody as K continues to attain more names and skills...
20. Susan Loyal
gbrell @13. Haliax is always described as sane because he's been sleepless for about 5000 years (which would ordinarily drive someone through the gate of madness). We're told that he can't use the gates of the mind: no sleep, no madness, no forgetting. (Probably sounds way too similar to studying for the bar about now! Best wishes!)
Katy Maziarz
21. ArtfulMagpie
Okay, totally random thought, here. There are four gates of the mind, right? Sleep. Forgetting. Madness. Death. There are four copper plates on the Valaritas door in the archive, each with its own unique keyhole. Anyone see where I'm going with this? Four gates. Four locks. Four keys....
22. RBS IV
@21 I'right with you ArtfulMagpie - one of my two rambling posts in part 13 adresses. K now has a key, coin candle and ring from Auri... the ring keeps secrets, maybe = forgetting?
23. cyan
It’s as if there are two contradictory impulses in Kvothe. One is this
melodramatic posturing “villain” making over the top threats of murder

I've always thought of those incidences as Kvothe playing nobleman-as-force-of-nature to get people to do what he wants, the same way he did with the tailor in Tarbean. He's a teenager with no money or authority/power, no other approach would really work for him.
24. AO
"Go ahead and tell me you were that dumb when you were fifteen, and I will say probably the Adem must be right about where babies come from, because really!"

"Again" and "really" are exactly what come to my mind, though not at all in the way that you mean.

I'm not sure why you are highlighting this element of the story seemingly every week, but at this point, and with this post, I'm wondering how those of us who were "that dumb" should interpret statements such as the above in any way other than as an insult?
Dylan Thurston
25. dthurston
@19 silly t-shirt: I don't know that the theory needs more support, but at the end of WMF he cuts his hand on the sword-tree leaf and walks out in exactly the Ciridae posture.
Ashley Fox
26. A Fox
Lethani & 'Greater Good'. I have some notions here as they often seem to be refered to as one and the same. Whislt I believe that the Adem are descended from the Ruarch who followed Selitos/Amyr (their ways as warriors, to fight the cuase. The Edema Ruh were those who followed the singers.) I also hold that the 'greater good' and Lethani are distinct codes of conduct. The Lethani may have arose from an idea of morality from the Amyr they followed/supported, but was developed independantly, by the Adem. In essence it boils down to the Amyr having an agenda, revenge on Lanre/Haliax, the burning of MT and quite possibly ensuring Faen remains separate. The Greater Good is a perspective, a justification for their actions in relation to their beliefs. Good is not done for goodness sake, but rather as an ideal they seek to achieve.

Whereas the Lethani does not claim to be 'good', yet it is. It is the right way, the correct way. The Lethani is, in and of itself, inherently good. It is not the means to an end. It is. IE The Duke of Galbreia (sp). The greater good allowed the Amyr to massacre a ton of people, in the hopes that something would be learnt. (Oh btw, what exactly was he trying to find? How would mere medical advances fit into the agenda? Or were they rather a by product of a search for something else?) Whereas the Lethani would not allow that. However it may inspire people to offer up their bodies, whether sacrificial or post mortem to be examined. If the purpose of such knowledge was of the Lethani in the first place, of course.

All K's Amyr dubbings are going to come in conflict with the Lethani. The Lethani is the way to defeat the Ctheath. If K leaves the path of the Lethani, and fulfills his forshadowing as an Amyr/Ciridae in the interests of the Greater Good, the Ctheaths hold on K/events tightens. A very interesting confluence of morals and ideals.

Mirrior glass. IMO this implies (which the traditional lore that has clearly influenced these books) a reflection, or to see truely. I rather think this supports my theories of Lyra being the moon. She is represented as te various aspects of the moon, in confluence with what Felurian has told us of what each aspect means regards to the transience of the gateways betwixt fae and the 4C's. But here also Haliax's goad, even mission. The qualities of a mirror imply reflection, perhaps a mirror could be used to see through glamours, reveal a true nature. Reveal Lanre and Lyra, rather than Haliax and the Moon.
Sim Tambem
27. Daedos
@26 The Lethani is the way to defeat the Ctheath.

The Lethani is completely objective, while the Amyr's goals are completely subjective. I think that is the main difference. Right now, in the story frame, Kvothe has a very definitive view of the Amyr, the Chandrian, and the Lanre story. Denna's view is completely different. As the Amyr aren't guided by a higher law, or held to anyone else's standards, their points of view are their law. This is one of the reasons I don't think Kvothe's story is the right one. Man is fallible (and you can always argue that the Amyr weren't 'men', meaning humans), so their opinions of what is for the greater good are also fallible. What the Duke did in his pursuit of "the greater good" was nowhere near the Lethani. The end does not always justify the means, since there is often more than one path to reach any given end.

I agree - the Lethani is the better way. It is how one takes him or herself out of the equation in order to do the right thing (not the thing you think you need to do because some creepy tree-dwelling precognate wants you to).

The 't-shirt' is for arrogant people who think they know best.
Katy Maziarz
28. ArtfulMagpie
The Lethani, in my understanding, has nothing to do with "good." It has everything to do with "right." (Or maybe "appropriate.") Anyone interested in the Lethani should read up on Taoism; they seem to be pretty much the same thing, ha. Following the Tao is a lot like following the Lethani. It's more a spiritual path of doing what is right and appropriate in every given individual situation than it is a religious or moral path of "doing good."
29. Timpenin
Completely agree re: Amyr/Lethani!

@24: It's all in good fun, keep a light heart about it. ;) I too found it somewhat unrealistic that Kvothe is that dense....but I wasn't too much brighter myself, so I don't have a whole lot of room to complain.
George Brell
30. gbrell
While I do enjoy the t-shirt theory and I think that there is something inherent in Kvothe that guides his sacrifice for the greater good, I think that we are ignoring what we know and what we don't know about the Amyr.

I don't think it's easy to say that the Amyr are subjectively good while the Lethani is objectively good. The fact that there is no single rational system of morality after thousands of years of searching is pretty damning evidence that what is good is not always clear.

I think the Lethani is not about goodness and I think rightness isn't the correct term either. It's about circumstantial awareness so grandiose that it's unknowable. The Amyr would have no conception of the Lethani as, for them, the ends absolutely justify the means. If the Amyr thought it for the greater good, they would dispense with any trapping of civilization, any pleasantry, even insulting tinkers.

We're talking a lot about the Duke of Gibea and Ivare enim euge, but we have no conclusive evidence that the duke was an Amyr. He thought his actions were for the greater good, but Simmon actually claims that "the Amyr moved agaisnt the duke" (WMF, 303).

The only reason we assume the opposite is that Kvothe claims Gibea "was a secret member of the order Amyr" (WMF, 305). It's just as likely, frankly, that he was deluded in believing his actions were for the greater good.

Also, I just realized it re-reading that section, but Kvothe acts like an Amyr when he forces the obnoxiously loud students to leave ('The scrivs weren't taking care of it. ... Besides, it's quiet again, that's what matters." (WMF, 305); "'Suspended. ... That was clever.' 'I was just trying to do the right thing.'" (306) And then Rothfuss hits us over the head with it - wow, missed that the first time through...).

Also, the story Kvothe tells of the beggar that involves the Amyr indicates that not all Amyr had authority to determine what was for the greater good (Only the Ciridiae were "trusted so completely by the Order that actions would never be quesstioned" (WMF, 282)).
31. RBS IV
Postulation - If there were no human Amyr, then the Duke of Gibbea couldn't have been Amyr. Maybe many reported Amyr actions are actually 'children in their parents cloths' (or there are a lot of human look-alikes runing around?)
George Brell
32. gbrell
I feel like a lot of the discussion about the Lethani vs. the Amyr comes down to what Kilvin says when he critiques the Bloodless: “This time you made a good thing in a bad way. That is better, but not entirely. Best is to make a good thing in a good way” (WMF, 323). For an Amyr, the way is irrelevant, the outcome is entirely determinative. The Lethani (if it has a moral component), would say that ONLY the last is correct, a good thing AND made in a good way.
33. Mediator
@30 - Your level of scrutiny here is commendable (and you are completely right about the Ciridiae, of course), but there still remains a distinct opposition between the two paradigms.

Let's look at two societies as examples: the USA that we know today and Hitler's Germany. This might be extreme, but it is also a good example.

Lethani. In the united states, there are all kinds of people. Despite our differences, there exist some interesting commonalities. We, as a people, take care of each other. We care for the elderly, the sick, the homeless, the disabled, etc. Not perfectly, by any means, but there is obvious effort. Some people might claim this is, primarily, due to the religious population in the country. I'm not convinced. Many Americans believe in evolution. Darwinism. Nothing at all. Where in "survival of the fittest" are we encouraged to help the sick and elderly of our species? It doesn't make sense logically. Yet we do it. Many people who avidly support government programs and charities are not religious at all. So why do we do it? Whether you vote nature or nurture here, it doesn't matter. Its the Lethani.

Amyr. Hitler thought the world would be a better place if things were a little different. He tried to justify horrific acts of violence "for the greater good" as he saw it. I'll leave it at that.

Lethani FTW.
Sim Tambem
34. Daedos
@31 Nicely put. The Duke might have just been a mad scientist (medic) justifying his actions.

@32 Kilvin does seem like a Lethani sort of guy. So, who out there is "making a bad thing in a good way" (like Kvothe's lamp)? My answer? Master Ash. Why? I have no idea.
Where does that put the Chandrian?

@33 Hmmm. We haven't seen enough to know for sure, but it might be a little bit extreme to compare the Amyr to Hitler. The Duke of Gibea, maybe, but we don't even know for sure if he was an Amyr (there has been evidence supplied to the contrary).

The Lethani is obviously supposed to represent some sort of innate knowledge (sleeping mind) of what is right and wrong. Someone living the Lethani will do what is right even if the results are undesirable (there is an explanation in the text explaining that, though), whereas, someone fighting for the greater good will do any number of vile things in order to achieve their desired goal. Still, there is no evidence that the two can't correlate. We need to keep in mind (as @31 reminds us) that the Amyr weren't human. Maybe they are vastly more intelligent and capable of making right decisions that lead to the greater good. We are given examples of things they did, but I don't think we have enough info to pass judgment yet.
35. Lurking Canadian
I'm not sure the Lethani is necessarily objectively good. Remember that Tempi says getting into a bar fight was of the Lethani because (paraphrasing) he couldn't let the other guy get away with dissing Ademre.

That is certainly to the benefit of Ademre, but I'm not sure it's "good" in any objective sense.

Then again, Tempi (we are later told), is not too bright, so maybe he was just wrong in that case.
thistle pong
36. thistlepong
That's pretty much how I understood it. My only concern is that the Lethani is proprietary and contingent. It's "doing right things" in the Adem context only. Transmission of the Lethani outside Ademre is more taboo than sharing a ketan.

The thing about the greater good is that it's just another way of saying the lesser evil. Pat emphasises this when the Ciridae in Kvothe's story makes a scales with his hands.
Ashley Fox
37. A Fox
Also I must point out that Felurian had never heard of Tarbolin. The Amyr she knew of where the original Amyr; Selitos and co who we know predate humans. Then she was mostly shut away in faen and, as we see with Tarbolin, her knowledge of modern history is vague.

Its a to possible that the ruarch who followed Selitos also became, humna, Amyr, and the original Amyr became Ciridae. Hence the Ciridaes esteemed elevation.

So saying there were no human Amyr is true, if you emphasise the past tense.

@33 I must say, politely; This is a terrible ananlogy. You are wearing the T-shirt! America (along with mostly all countries) very much operates on the greater good. The greater good for them, for their needs and wants etc (mostly those of the wealthy). If it was of the Lethani they wouldnt have the furor over wellfare issues, or have started the wars it has started. And remember in the begining of his time in power Hitler rescued Germany from a depression. Stalin's 5 year plans were genius. Bad people do good things. Good people do bad things. Which ties nicely in with @32 and brings us back on topic.

@36 It seems to me that the Lack of Lethani in the rest of the 4c's is what makes the Adem view them as savages (alongside the not washing and singing and whatnot of course). They dont seem to believe that outsiders shouldnt know the Lethani (quite the opposite) but rather cannot know, because they are barbarians. Which of course is a circular argument. Tempi didnt feel that he was adequate to teach Lethani, not that he shouldnt. The Adem would not teach K futher until they were reasured that he had some grasp of the Lethani. Their biggest doubts of him were about the Lethani.

Transmitting (ah! Like some honourable std) Lethani is not taboo, but becuase of vast cutural diferances simply doesnt happen that often.
- -
38. hex
@27. The Lethani is completely objective, while the Amyr's goals are completely subjective.

While I like this in theory, it seems that the Lethani is as vulnerable to interpretation as the Greater Good. We've seen the Adem debate whether particular actions are of the Lethani.

A human's reach for either ideal will be based on subjective actions made by their adherents.
Nathan Love
39. n8love
@22 RBS

Isn't "key, coin, and candle" a direct reference to the story of taborlin at the beginning of NotW? I think the old man says that Taborlin was "stripped of his tools; key, coin, and candle" or something like that. Litteraly just lent it this afternoon or i'd ref it. On the up side, that doesn't actually mean that they can't have anything to do with the doors of the mind. Also positively, every time i lend out NotW Pat sells a hardback WMF b/c I tell them the "first one's free."

@everyone (lethani v greater good)

From PR's blog and interviews I really get the impression that he is going out of his way not to write a clear moral superiority into one character or culture. He hasn't really made the organized religion evil but they are clearly abusive, even though there appears to be actual people and events that their teachings are based on. We also know that Kvothe's attitude toward the Faen (at least specific ones like Bast surely and Felurian prolly) is quite contrary to the acceptied cultural norm. I think the whole point is not to pidgeon-hole any one of these cultures or beliefs into 'good' or 'evil' but to try to understand how knowing them better prepares Kvothe for whatever is gonna happen when we catch up to the frame story.

@Real world politics

Shut up. Seriously. The rules of the internet state that the first person to bring up hitler loses any discussion. I'm sure you are smart and a good person, and I'm sorry for yelling. But stop it.
Dave West
40. Jhirrad
I have to disagree with the position that most people are taking regarding the Lethani. I actually just finished a re-read of WMF, and while it's definitely a cool concept, I don't believe that it is, as stated by some here, "making a good thing in a good way". One person pointed out an obvious contradiction regarding Tempi and the barfight. Apparently teaching 'barbarians' how awesome the Adem are, and that they are to be feared, is of the Lethani. Can we really say that that is 'making a good thing in a good way"? I certainly would not. What about the fight against Cinder and the bandits. Seems like he did a good thing in a bad way there, and yet they didn't have a problem with it not being of the Lethani. And that was a big enough action if they did, I think it would have caused a much greater reaction than his comment to Vashet did, which almost had him removed from the school.

The one thing that seems very clear to me is that Rothfuss is happy to obfuscate the ideas of good and evil in his world. The Lethani is about making choices, and seems to be more fluid than the ideology of the Amyr. That doesn't make it inherently good though.
41. RBS IV
@39 n8love -
Yep, key/coin/candle all ref to Tabolin (multiple times I'm pretty sure). Kvothe now has all three from Auri and a ring (wood) too. 4 items could coorelate to the 4-plate door and 4 refuges of the mind, which point I thought I was making. Might have been in my comments back in sec 13, though...
Nathan Love
42. n8love
@41 RBS
cool just glad to know i didn't make that up. as you said the fact that they are referenced in the taborlin thing doesn't rule out a correlation to the doors of the mind or the four plate door. good lookin out

@40 Jhirrad
damn i wish i'd used 'obfuscate'. I agree that "good" is not the appropriate term for the Lethani. "Correct" or "in accordance" seem to apply. And yeah, I think it was intentional.

I just reread the end of my previous post. Please forgive my harsh tone and use of the term "shut up".
43. cyan
"The one thing that seems very clear to me is that Rothfuss is happy to obfuscate the ideas of good and evil in his world."

I totally agree. PR has been very skillful in the way he presents the two sides of the story - Amyr v. Chandrian - that I can't determine which is actually the 'bad guys'. Ostensibly, the Chandrian would be viewed as the baddies, considering what we know they've done from Kvothe's POV, but what there's no real information about their motivations. The Amyr's motto of 'for the greater good' feels an awful lot like 'the ends justify the means' (which can be all kinds of squicky), and makes me wonder what their definition of 'good' actually is.
Nathan Love
44. n8love
Copper's conductivity is interesting. Perhaps a copper mesh, instead of being distinct from the stone, is there to diffuse any sypathetic energy over a larger area than a would-be escapee or their cohorts intended. This may also reduce the efficiency of a sympathetic link if the arcanist in question were unaware of the copper embedded in the stone and used a like stone to shatter, move, melt, etc. While there are other metals more conductive than copper, its local availability might make it the most cost-effective medium. Flip a coin to determine if any of this might apply to Naming, I can't decide. The only evidence against is Elodin's actual success.

@43 cyan
along those lines, isn't it reasonable to assume that the Cthaeth existed before the betrayal of the cities or the creation of the Chandrian? I still think I see his handiwork all over this. If the Cthaeth had any contact with the Amyr or Lanre(Haliax) or both he could have easily sent them down a path of division, where one or more parties may feel that their hand was forced by fate, or worse believe that they are the good guys the whole time. Doesn't Lanre (in Skarpi's story) seem like he has arrived at betrayal because it is inevitable more than he is a coniving, malicious entity? Maybe I made that up.
45. cyan
n8love @44
At this point, I don't have a theory or opinion about the Cthaeth, or it's possible influence on anyone. I've only read WMF once and with a quickness, so I'd have to read it again before I can form a decent comment. But your question causes me to question if the Cthaeth had always been stationary (tree form), or if it had been previously ambulatory, free to roam the world and spread it's insights upon whomever it encounters and was forced into a stationary form? I'm thinking of Cassandra here, but with the ability to edit the delivery of prophesy.
Nathan Love
46. n8love
Anyone's thoughts on the Taborlin story being purely prophetic? Are there any instances we hear of this story from a more authoritative source than someone telling it as folklore? Have there been any known instances of prophecy in the books to set a precedent? Taborlin's story (or what we've heard of it) is obviously reflected in Kvothe's posessions. Perhaps those are just the tools available to any legendary Namer? Did Auri, or whoever filled her role then, give them to Taborlin too? Is there any way to place the exploits of Taborlin in history? I feel like I'm forgetting details that might need a finer tooth and I'd love for team eReader to come up with some possibilities.
47. Herelle
Uhh, it´s hard to catch up, if ever you get behind. I can´t really respond to other´s comments, so I just leave some random thoughts:

1. Kvothe getting kicked out of the Arcanum: Before this reread I was still waiting for Kvothe to get kicked out. I never realised he´s already expelled but on suspension. I was waiting for him to get kicked out because he sneaked into the Archives and was somewhat confused after reading WMF when that was a red herring.

2. Denna on the run: Somewhere I already pointed this out but without textual evidence. Here it comes, NotW page 482 paperback: "I stopped being Denna years ago, it seems." She rubbed her bare arms and looked around as if she was suddenly uneasy that someone might find us here. - Is this the same pattern as with the Chandrian - finding through the name? Just the Chandrian find people who name them, but Denna wants to escape her persecuters?

3. Denna being the heroine, which I´m guessing at: page 483: Kvothe: "My Aloine." Denna: "Please, if either of us is Savien, it´s me. I´m the one that came looking for you. Twice."
Somehow I don´t have any of the mentioned problems with Denna, I like her a lot. She is witty, proud and self reliant. And as someone else has pointed out, I realized through the reread that she is like a female mirror image of Kvothe. (seems older than her years, clever, musical, in desperate need of money - no second set of clothes, secretive... sometimes they are described by means of exactly the same wording even.)

4. Dennas patron: Another wrong guess of mine: After only reading the first book I thought Elodin would be Dennas patron, especially after Fela described what Elodin made her do during his lessons.

5. p. 507 Auri´s locking the grate: Why is Kvothe still wondering how Auri kept it closed? He recognised the runes already and composed a song to help him learn the runes.

6. Deoch: Why does he know the name Denna? I had the impression she only used that name for her trip from Tarbean to Anilin. Does she rotate the names? At some point she must run out of variations of Diana.

7. Did anyone else find the amount of times Kvothe needed stiching a wee bit exaggerated?

8. p. 522 Kvothe watches the wind in the courtyard and is close to figuring out the greater underlying pattern. In that moment Elodin interrupts him ("You´re up studying awfully late.") That seemed to me as if Elodin deliberately wanted to keep him from finding the name of the wind at that time.

9. Mauthen farm was build of greystone but it didn´t help against the Chandrian despite the song (When your bright sword turns to rust? Who to trust? Who to trust? Stand alone. Standing stone. = Greystone)

Also the greystones where brought from a long way off (there was a hill fort once) - just as the Greystones on the next tall narrow hill, that was even a better lookout but not as suited for building something there. Are those two hills related - the fort (with the Chandrian pot) and the greystone arch nearby probably leading into Fae?

10. Denna was reacting throughout the Trebon / Mauthen farm scene as if she too had a secret she was about to share or as if she knew something about Kvothe she wanted to talk about but didn´t dare to.
Ties in with my Denna is a spy (in training) theory.

11. How did the Chandrian get to know about the pot on Mauthen farm? There was the theory about them being sensitive to their names being called. On the pot there were only pictures of them. There were only a handful of people who knew for maybe half a year about the pot. They might have known the pot pictured the Chandrian but it is never mentioned that their names were on the pot, they couldn´t have called them. And just the existence of the pot doesn´t alert the Chandrian, plus Mauthen and his people held the pot secret, they just gossiped about something Mauthen found.

12. Bredon: I´m assuming he is Dennas patron. On p. 583 Denna says "We want the sweet things, but we need the unpleasant ones. Speaking of, how am I going to find my patron?" Denna describes him as unpleasant. Bredon was kind to Kvothe, taught him about Severen´s and the court´s culture and spent a very pleasant time, teaching him this game I always picture as chess. But Bredon says "Why would I want to win anything but a beautiful game." Who is he playing games with, Denna or Kvothe?
48. hex
"It can," Bast said gravely. "And it is purely, perfectly malicious. This isn’t a problem for the most part, as it can’t leave the tree. But when someone comes to visit ..."

Bast makes it sound like it has always been stationary. Also-

Bast shook his head, his face pale and drawn. "Not wrong, Reshi, catastrophic. Iax spoke to the Cthaeh before he stole the moon, and that sparked the entire creation war. Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh before he orchestrated the betrayal of Myr Tariniel. The creation of the Nameless. The Scaendyne. They can all be traced back to the Cthaeh."

So we have it, in black in white from Bast, that Lanre had contact with the Cthaeh, as did Iax. The results were the betrayal of Myr Tariniel, and the creation war respectively. Answering the question @44 about the order of the events, I'm not sure if it's clear that the other Chandrian have betrayed any cities (or indeed, become Chandrian) at the time of Myr Tariniel's fall. It's worth noting that Lanre has already changed his name at that point. He tells Selitos as much, and shortly there-after Selitos curses him, and shrouds him in shadow.

After re-reading that second part, I suppose "the Nameless" may refer to the Chandrian. They have names, but people do not use the names for fear of drawing them.
49. Matt_Reader
@48 It kind of always bothered me regarding the chronology of those events.

I'm going to assume that the Cthaeh has always been bound to the tree. Or more importantly, that the Shapers didn't create the Cthaeh. By that logic, instead of Fae being what the Shapers made, could it be that the 4Corners are what the Shapers actually made, stealing the moon from the Fae?
50. n8love
@48 hex

Aha! Thank you. I knew there was a reason the Cthaeth stood out to me as the real villian. Turns out it was because I read it in plain english. I keep picturing the Chandrian as the Koopas at the end of each world of Mario and the Cthaeth as Bowser. I guess that makes Ambrose that guy on the cloud with the spiky balls that keeps popping up at the most annoying times; a mere nuicance until he actually kills you. Now if we can just identify the warp whistle we'll be in business.
51. Sojka
Re: the Cthaeh & @ 49. Matt_Reader;

What if the Cthaeh is one of the original shapers? "Shaping" is a synonym for "influencing", as in "shaping the future," and the motive behind its prophecies is to influence events toward the future that causes the maximum amount of general pain.
52. Herelle
Didn´t someone say there was no ultimate evil in this series, just shades of grey and different interests and perceptions? That should apply to the Chteah creature as well then. We only know what Bast tells us and the little bit of conversation Kvothe had as well as Felurians reaction. I would be mad as hell as well if I were confined to a tree for ages.
Bob Simons
@48 Also in black and white from Bast, the Cthaeh is "Not wrong". Thinking in terms of right and wrong (and our protagonist naturally being in the right) are superficial in the context of the conflict which is still ongoing in this tale. I could see the forest if these trees weren't in the way...

@49 and @51 very interesting ideas regarding the Cthaeh- what if the tree is the equivalent of Elodin's room in the rookery, but for shapers...? If so implies there is only one...

Also, is causing pain the known goal (despite what Bast says), or a symptom of a desired effect? Childbirth is painful, but not bad. Don't the Chinese use the same ideogram for 'Danger' as for 'Opportunity'? Maybe Bast views the Cthaeh as malicious because it's still trying to 'birth' the 'four corners'.

TKS Hex for IDing some intrigueing quotes...

Anybody in the 'Linguistics dept' played around with audibles? I've gotten a 'toma(e)toe - toma(h)toe kind of vibe at several points...
Bob Simons
Also @51 - Somewhere in the re-read there was a comment about the 'butterfly efect'!
George Brell
55. gbrell
Re: The creation of the Nameless. The Scaendyne.

-I’ve always assumed these were background filler, not a reference to anything we’ve seen in the story.

Re: grey stones and Greystones

Not every grey stone is a Greystone. At the stone trial, Kvothe talks about the grey stones at every corner of the hill (the literal first, second, third stones) and then mentions a “Greystone” at the top.

While I like looking for every mention of grey stones as well, they are not all Greystones.

Re: Kvothe getting kicked out of the University

If it ends up being the expulsion that was suspended, I will be nonplussed. It’s incredibly anticlimactic and weak in the wordplay department.
56. n8love

We already know that Kvothe will reference the popular belief of an event rather than what actually happened. Plausible, as it gets taxing correcting everyone who asks about something they heard third hand. That said, I'd be suprised if he doesn't get kicked more obviously. We need more of Kvothe's university pals, and if any of the Masters do turn out to be Amyr we'll definitely need them. This seems way easier to do at the U instead of contriving ways to bring them in seperately outside of that setting, but he has to leave again to get "folly" and eventually end up at the inn.

Re: Grey Stones
If I were training an audience to find significance in all the little details, I don't think I could resist red herrings. But then I'm probably not as nice as PR...
57. Herelle
Re Denna´s agenda:
I just read Wilem´s reaction to Denna´s story again: "What your Denna said. There is a hole in her story." "She said she was looking for her patron. She was traveling with you to look for him. But later she said she knew he was safe because he met with her as she was heading back to the burning farm. It does not fit. Why would she hunt for him if she knew he was safe?"
Simmon´s explanation (plain as day) is: "She was just making an excuse to spend time with him." Wilem frowned a little.
That explanation obviously doesn´t satisfy Wilem . Honestly, when I read the Trebon section I didn´t see the hole in Denna´s story, I actually think that in her stead I would have looked as well. Master Ash knocked her out when there was the massacre still going on. He could still have gotten into trouble. There must be another reason why the author points the reader´s attention to this.
Denna told us what she did: "It´s my job to notice things about you." On the other hand she couldn´t have known Kvothe would come to Trebon. I don´t know how to tie this together with what she said in Severen - about her patron not knowing of Kvothe, that he was her´s and her´s alone.
58. Herelle
Alaxel is clearly Haliax and his sign is his shadowed visage. But it's interesting that he's identified specifically as "sleepless" (perhaps the "you shall have no peace" of Selitos' curse) and "sane" (perhaps implying the other Chandrian are not).
Hated, hopeless, sleepless, sane - that refers imo to the four doors of the mind that are closed to Haliax - he can´t forget, can´t sleep, can´t go insane and can´t die, he is constantly aware of Lyras death and his betrayal - that´s Selitos curse.
Andrew Mason
59. AnotherAndrew
So we have it, in black in white from Bast, that Lanre had contact with the Cthaeh, as did Iax.

But can we be sure Bast is right? Not everything we hear about the past can be right, since Trapis differs from Skarpi about Tehlu, and Denna differs from Skarpi about Lanre.

Honestly, when I read the Trebon section I didn´t see the hole in Denna´s story, I actually think that in her stead I would have looked as well. Master Ash knocked her out when there was the massacre still going on. He could still have gotten into trouble. There must be another reason why the author points the reader´s attention to this.

Yes, this puzzled me as well. In any case, even apart from the question of whether he's in danger, surely she has a reason to look for him, because he's her potential patron. If he disappears and is never heard from again, she loses his patronage.
60. hex

Bast could certainly be an unreliable narrator. He's old (I think it's said he's ~150?) but not old enough to have witnessed those events. What seems pretty clear is that he believes what he's said, given his extreme reaction, "I tell you three thousand times..."

So how does bast know? Story and legend in the Fae, which may be just as unreliable as in the human world. He says that when you see a large tree in the background of a scene in their plays, you know it's going to be a tragedy.

That said, the Sithe still seem to be in operation, despite letting a few notable figures slip by them. Their continued presence does lend some credit to Bast's story.
Jo Walton
61. bluejo
AO: I'm sorry if that made you feel disrespected -- the thing is that I don't believe any real people were ever quite as clueless as K is here.
Ryan Reich
62. ryanreich
Been a while since this was posted, but I was rereading and thought of your questions:

Next is a naked woman, and then writing she can’t read or remember. Who made this vase? Why did they make it? Why didn’t the Chandrian get them the minute it was taken out of the kiln?

I don't know who made it, but I'm guessing the writing is a list of names of the Chandrian. We know from Abenthy's conversation with Kvothe's parents way back at the start that it's safe to write names rather than say them, and as you say, if a picture were dangerous how did the vase get out of the kiln? It seems to me that what must have happened is that the guy who dug up the vase recognized it as being important, had some ill-defined manner of scholarship performed, and at least got the words translated. Then he revealed the vase, stroked his own ego by pronouncing the names, and called down the Chandrian on himself. Perhaps, like Kvothe's parents, he had been practicing his speech ahead of time, which would explain why suspicious parties like Master Ash could know about the event in advance.
63. dozier
re Denna's agenda

The entire Trebon scene is so suspicious. Not only do Kvothe's attackers mention Anilen, Denna also stated while in Trebon that the fire burned blue like the lamps they have in Anilen. I don't think that's coincidence.

Especially when coupled with the draccus, it's clear that creating blue fire is easily imitated. I think it's very possible that someone is setting this up to look like a Chandrian attack. I also think Denna is supposed to assist him in reaching this conclusion.

some other suspicious things:
1. "it's my job to know things about you". why is that her job? why else would she even be sent to this wedding?
2. she conveniently supplies the exact explanation of why the Chandrian attacked that he's looking for
3. She specifically keeps him from going inside the farm. what is in there that she doesn't want him to see?
4. Master Ash wants her to play they 7 stringed lyre. (lyre= lyra?) and why specifically 7 strings?
5. her story is inconsistent. Master Ash beat her after the attack (to validate her in the eyes of the townspeople). Therefore, she has to know he's ok. Also there were only 26 people in the wedding party. seems like the chandrian could have easily realized one was missing and killed if that was really their goal. was this story is specifically designed to mirror kvothe's?
6. I wonder if there's something in her hair to make him be honest? she consistently calls him out on his lies. and then there's this quote:

“Listen Kvothe, I’m sorry.” Denna sighed and ran a hand through her hair. “I shouldn’t have pushed you. It’s none of my business, really. I know what it’s like to have secrets.”
I almost told her everything then. The whole story about my parents, the Chandrian, the man with black eyes and a nightmare smile. But I worried it might seem like the desperate elaboration of a child caught in a lie"

as if the act of her running her hands through her hair makes him more compelled to tell the truth.
64. Mar

AO: I'm sorry if that made you feel disrespected -- the thing is that I don't believe any real people were ever quite as clueless as K is here.

I realize I am so late for the party that my comments will probably go unread, but I don't believe Kvothe is clueless at all. He's been getting mixed signals from Denna from the beginning. Drawing him and pushing him away. She cares for him, she is attracted to him, but she made it abundantly clear in chapter 84 that his lack of means/status is a barrier to their relationship.
65. aisling
re: the lethani.

i've always thought of the lethani as being much like the tao.
66. bubbawayne
Okay, I'm late in the game on this thread, but after reading over the description of the vase, and Haliax with the moons and the mirror, it just occured to me...Iax...Haliax...Iax...Haliax...IAX...halIAX...
And wasn't there a mirror in the story about Jax?
67. Curtiss
I don't know if this is significant or just a typo or what, but chapter 87 in my copy is "Winter"
Felurian doesn't say that the amyr were never human, she says that they were never MEN, unless I'm mistaken. Perhaps the real amyr were women. Denna? Devi?
George Brell
69. gbrell

When I asked her about the more recent Amyr, asking about church knights and the Ciridae with their bloody tattoos, she merely laughed. “there were never any human amyr,” she said, dismissing the idea out of hand. “those you speak of sound like children dressing in their parents’ clothes.”
70. Marián, son of Marián
Hi everyone,

in chapter 87 is mentioned (and I read the chapter myself, few days ago) that by the encounter of Auri and Kvothe there have been exchanged gifts - as usually. Auri gave to Kvothe a ring, from a soft wood, polished and maybe that´s the wooden ring, that is mentioned of one of Kvothe´s rings on his first must not be neccesarily Meluan´s ring...
and my opinion of this "poem" is, that it was Kvothe´s own piece of poetry, that he send into the world, as was his good custom,..
and so it is of course his own view, his own choice of rings, his own metaphors of the unseen rings - if the theory fits, that the rings were truly unseen and they demonstrated only the knowledge of the Names.
Or it may be, that they have been "unseen" in meaning,
that they haven´t been seen until that moment.
71. Keller Scholl
It strikes me as not being impossible that Haliax is perhaps actually two words, joined together. Hal Iax. It would explain why he has the various forms of the moon around him: He stole it. It would explain why he is hated: He began the creation war. What do others think? What would Hal mean?
72. Corwin the Lost
"Now this vase is in colours a country girl has never seen before and it has real silver and gold, so the moons and the mirror are presumably silvered. What do they represent? I mean there’s the whole moon thing, but with Haliax? And the mirror? I feel as if this is really significant and I’m missing something — anyone?"

Jo, love the the re-read. I think this is reference to a Iax/Jax binding to Lanre (he made a deal with soemthing...) to create that which enounters Selitos in MT following Lyra's death. He apparently had naming power to rival only Selitos, Lyra, Iax, and someone else, but Selitos had been surprised by that. Now, to the moons--Jax/Iax's connection is obvious, but it's connection to Denna (and her association with the moon) and her mysterious patron being at the wedding that killed all those folk...(almost like the Chandrian being called??). Maybe the moon isn't necessary in Fae, maybe it's with Haliax during those waning days.
74. jorgybear
I was that dumb when I was 15. In many ways, at twice the age, I still am!
A ring that keeps secrets reminds me of the Lackless verse, and also of someone’s theory (your own, Jo?) that the other things Auri gave Kvothe were keys to the Four-plate door.
75. Belatedly,
Dreadfully late to the discussion, I know, but I can't believe no one has connected the Amyr to Utilitarianism!

The core idea of this very legitimate, though rarely followed, theory of morality is the Greatest Happiness Principle: that the right action is the one that creates the most happiness (or equivalently, that alleviates the most suffering). So the Duke of Gibea is a good Utilitarian, because although he inflicted a lot of suffering on the people he captured and cut up, he alleviated hugely more suffering in the long run by advancing medical science tremendously. The Ends Justified The Means.

This is a sharp contrast with duty- or rule-based theories of morality, like the Golden Rule, the Judeo-Christian Commandments, or Kantian ethics. In these theories, certain actions are just wrong: even if the Duke of Gibea saved 10,000 lives by learning to perform a certain surgery, he was still a monster because he killed 100 people in the process of developing the new surgical technique. Do Unto Others, Thou Shalt Not, etc.

This tension between consequentialism and deonotology goes way, way back -- as far back as the Greek philosophers that Pat loves to quote in his blog and public appearances. I love the depth that this tension brings to the Kingkiller Chronicles. I think Pat's exploration of the Amyr, who take consequentialism to its logical extreme and live accordingly, is just brilliant.

Aside for other ethics geeks, Josh Greene at Harvard has done some really cool neuroscience research into the tension between consequentialism/rationality and deontology/emotion:

And yeah -- as Artful Magpie pointed out, the Lethani is the Tao. PR renamed it, but that's about it. The concepts are frankly identical. Those interested in the Tao should check out Ursula K. Le Guin's rendition. PR was obviously (and admittedly) deeply influenced by UKL, from the Naming magic in the Earthsea books to the genderplay in the Left Hand of Darkness.

UKL Tao book is here:

Last bit of shouting into the void: I think that the Broken Tree name presages Kvothe's deep, root-shaking betrayal of the Lethani. I think whatever disastrous action leads to Kvothe becoming Kote will involve K. straying unimaginably from the Lethani, perhaps literally breaking the Sword Tree in the process, but definitely marring the Adem code and way of life.
Steven Halter
76. stevenhalter
Belatedly,@75:That's an interesting thought on Broken Tree. We'll have to see.

"The Ends Justify the Means" is clearly what the Amyr are intending--whether they are succesfully carrying out what they think they are is another question.
For example, it is extremely likely that the Duke of Gibea didn't really need to cut up living people to accomplish his ends. Corpses and surgeries can be used to the same effect.
Kate Hunter
77. KateH
I'm calling Lentaren as D's Yllish connection, and a likely tutor for her Yllish knot knowledge that shows up later in WMF. She asks Lentaren if they're running late, and before responding he squints up at the sun. This points to Hemme's comment that Yllish tribes use the sun to tell time. If it isn't Lentaren teaching her knot writing, then he introduced her to someone who could.
78. jimmythefly
Waaaaay late to this, so likely pointed out by now but I haven't seen it yet.

When speaking of the specific Chandrian, we have:
Usnea - "lives in nothing but decay"

“a balm man with a grey beard”
Usnea is a type of moss. It lives on dead and dying trees. As near as modern science can tell it doesn't actually kill the trees, just starts living on them once they are starting to die. And one of it's nicknames (and how I know it here in the Pacific Northwest) is "old mans beard".

I only made this connection recently when my wife was studying it and mentioned the scientific name and then everything clicked.
Steven Halter
79. stevenhalter
jimmythefly@78:Good catch. I don't recall seeing that here before.
Joanna Andrews
80. highwaycrossingfrog
I have a theory about what's behind the four-plate door, based on the snippets of information from Elodin in chapter 86. I haven't really seen any speculation at all on this subject, so forgive me if this comes up later in the threads, I'm only about a third of the way through re-reading WMF in conjunction with this blog. I thought I'd put it in here, since this section sparked my theory. It rests on a good few suppositions, but, hey, what can we do at this stage but suppose and extrapolate?

From my first read of KKC, I formulated the theory that the missing books and texts about the Amyr, and possibly the Chandrian, were behind the four-plate door. It was basically a hunch, and my reasoning went a little something like this:

Location. If there is something/someone imprisoned behind the door, why keep them in a library with no real guard? Even if said library resembles a giant greystone, it's chock full of vulnerable students and hundreds of thousands of priceless books, clays, Yllish knots etc. Therefore it must likely be something that is being safeguarded. Added to which, it's in fairly plain sight and subject to speculation by the students. What is most likely to be safeguarded in a library? Books! Books that are not meant to be seen.

Supposing that the Amyr are conspiring to remove from circulation all traces of information about their existence, as seems indicated, they would naturally need someone well-placed on the inside of the 4C's biggest library to constantly monitor the inventory. It is well established that new books are coming in all the time (possibly even books about the Amyr removed from other libraries by Amyr field agents). Who better than the Master Archiver, Lorren, who is widely postulated to be an Amyr, or an agent of the same?

An Amyr/Master Archivist conspiracy is even more desirable taking into account the various circulation wars and the fact that it is considered normal for huge chunks of books to go missing whenever there is a new Master Archivist.

It is possible that the missing books were destroyed rather than relocated. But consider Lorren's (over)reaction to Kvothe bringing a candle into the Stacks. He refused to consider any mitigating circumstances and banned him for nearly a whole year. Lorren would never allow any book to be destroyed. Therefore he must need somewhere suitably vast to store the Amyr books, and somewhere conveniently close. He can't have people carting forbidden books about the University, or uninitiated scrivs and students accidentally being exposed to them. Hence a convenient impregnable door in the recesses of the Stacks.

That's about as far as I got with my theory, until I re-read chapter 86. In it, Kvothe asks Elodin outright about the four-plate door and Elodin says very little. But reading between the lines, as is often necessary with Elodin, I think they may further substantiate my theory. The lines in question are:

"What about the stone door in the Archives?” I asked. “The four-plate door. Now that I’m a Re’lar can you tell me what’s behind it?”
Elodin laughed. “Oh no. No no. You don’t aim for small secrets do you?” He clapped me on the back as if I’d just made an especially good joke. “Valaritas. God. I can still remember what it was like, standing down there looking at the door, wondering.” He laughed again. “Merciful Tehlu, it almost killed me.” He shook his head. “No. You don’t get to go behind the four-plate door. But,” he gave me a conspiratorial look. “Since you are a Re’lar . . .” He looked from side to side as if afraid that someone might overhear us. I leaned closer. “Since you are a Re’lar, I will admit that it exists.” He gave me a solemn wink."

So firstly, Elodin "can remember what it was almost killed me," This implies that he no longer wonders, that he now knows what is behind the door. Secondly, Kvothe doesn't "get to go behind the four-plate door". Not he doesn't get to _know_ what is behind the door, he doesn't get to go there. In contrast to someone who _has_ got to go behind the door - Elodin. Finally, "Since you are a Re'lar, I will admit it exists." I think that in Elodin's customary manner of double talk this implies a hierarchical system of knowledge about what is behind the door. As E'lirs, both Kvothe and Elodin wondered what was behind the four-plate door. As Re'lar, Kvothe can now be told it exists. As El'the, perhaps he can be told what is in there, or something less explicit, but to actually go behind the door he must become a Master, like Elodin. (There may not be such a rigid progression; perhaps Elodin is simply saying that Kvothe will have to attain a higher level before he can find out the answer.) Taking all this to be true, it follows that there is definitely not something dangerous, the door is almost certainly safeguarding something secret. I may be reaching and extrapolating way too much here, but as I said, that's all we can do until the long-awaited book 3!

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