Jul 28 2011 2:07pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Name of the Wind, Part 15: Yes, No, Maybe, Elsewhere, Soon

Patrick Rothfuss reread on Tor.comWelcome to part 15 of my insanely detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 88-92 plus the Epilogue 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 unless you want them. 

Abbreviations: NW = The Name of the Wind. WMF = The Wise Man’s Fear. DT = Day Three, the forthcoming final volume. K = Kvothe or Kote when I can’t figure out what to call him and I’m feeling Kafkaesque. 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 finished last week with the story being interrupted mid sentence and we begin this week with Chapter 88 — Interlude — Looking. Looking suggests E’lir, especially as we’ve just been talking about that.

The jerk to the frame is the most abrupt here that we have had so far, though there are more abrupt ones in WMF. Boots approach, and K dashes for the bar as the Felling Night crowd come in. Chronicler is astonished to see nothing of Kvothe left in the innkeeper. They pretend that Bast is making his will and Chronicler is a scribe and writing it down — and this will continue through in WMF when a lot of people want this, though here it seems like a quick improvisation that the three of them do well.

And K brings food, and the smith’s prentice comes in with an iron bar and Bast moves away from it. And Chronicler tells a version of the story of Kvothe in the alleyway in Imre and is corrected by Cob — he says it was Severen, which we have not yet heard of in the main story, and of course it isn’t on the map. (That map is useless. Pretty, but useless.) And we hear variants of Kvothe’s initial interview, being paid to go to University, and this is where Imre is called Amary, which does solidly confirm TyranAmiros’s Ademre/Imre Amyr theory.

And they all start telling the story and it has pieces of all sorts of things in it, things we know and things we don’t know yet and demons and what happened with Fela and the fire and the trial. This story is in turn interrupted by somebody at the door, and they think it will be good news to have somebody else coming. But it’s the mercenary who took Chronicler’s shirt, only possessed. Bast recognises what he is, but none of the others do — Chronicler recognises him as the thief. His sword is rusted. (Chandrian, or just bad habits?) Then he says some things in old archaic Faen.

K throws a bottle of elderberry wine at him, and tries to set it in fire with a rune on the counter, only it doesn’t work. (His alar, broken like a bar of Ramston steel? Or closed off somehow?) K looks “weary, numb and dismayed” as if he has forgotten his Alar is broken, or forgotten who he is? Bast tackles the mercenary, Shep is killed, then the smith’s prentice kills the mercenary with the iron bar and a lot more effort than it ought to take. And everyone agrees he was a denner addict, except that the smith’s prentice, Aaron, thinks he had a demon in him, and K agrees — although we know K doesn’t believe in demons. K also agreed that the scrael were demons. “Demons” is a useful category for these people.

Bast says it isn’t K’s fault. K says it is, all his fault, the scrael, the war, all of it. Bast says the thing was a Mahaeluret, a skin-dancer — and is offended when K says “one of your kind,” saying they don’t even share a border and are as far apart as anything can be in Fae. But what is it doing here? Looking for K, apparently? Changing his name and hiding in the middle of nowhere wasn’t enough? And why ever would one of those things want him? It didn’t attack until attacked, though it had clearly taken the body of the mercenary.

And Bast pokes Chronicler’s wounded shoulder when he starts to ask K about the sympathy that didn’t work, and when K’s getting stuff for a salve he tells Chronicler not to ask about it. And when they’ve made the salve, K says he’ll tie off a few loose ends of story. Chronicler says he’s good for hours yet.

“I found what I wanted most, though it was not what I had expected, as if often the case when you gain your heart’s desire.”

Heart’s desire recalls tricking a demon and killing an angel to get it. But of course that’s not this story. That’s going to be DT.


Chapter 89 is A Pleasant Afternoon. It’s short again, and distanced again. Kvothe is whipped — a repeat performance, bloodless and all. Then he’s stitched up in the Medica, after which he goes to Imre and spends Ambrose’s money on a new lute, two suits of new clothes and a small bottle of his own blood — redeeming the debt to Devi.

I feel whiplash here going back into the story after all the trauma in the interlude, and if I do, how much more Chronicler?


Chapter 90 is Half-Built Houses, which has a completely different meaning after the story of Jax and the Moon.

It begins with a partial description of the Underthing, which Kvothe is now exploring every night, and Auri’s whimsical punning names — Vaults is a room with three cracks she has to vault over, and Belows is “Billows.” And he finds his way into the Archives. But what we’ve had is the description of a whole ruined city half-built and half-destroyed and with passages that go nowhere and it’s all exactly like the thing we’re given as a metaphor for Fae in WMF, and I’m sure it’s the ruins of a Creation War period city, even if that wasn’t clear from what Elodin said. Kvothe finds his way into the Archives, and then he persuades Fela to meet him there and show him how it works. And the books are in chaos because they’re arranged in several different systems, because it takes more than a lifetime to organize them and there have been shelving wars. The shelving system is a half-built house, too.


Chapter 91 is Worthy of Pursuit. And what he thinks is worthy of pursuit is of course D and the information in the Archives.

Kvothe keeps meeting D in the Eolian and she has men with her, but he outlasts them because he is special. Gah. He doesn’t listen to Sim’s wise advice, instead he pulls her name off the note she sent him and puts it bouncing around the Hall of the Winds trying to find an exit but it never does. And then there’s his feud with Ambrose, in which Ambrose doesn’t seem to be acting, though we know he’s putting things together in the background for the arrival of the Inquisition in WMF.

And here Kvothe ends for the night.


Chapter 92 is The Music that Plays. And isn’t that an interesting title, when of course there isn’t any music in the Waystone.

K says he’ll stop because they have all the groundwork, and tomorrow we’ll have some of his favourite stories, his journey to Alveron court, learning to fight from the Adem, and Felurian — and indeed, we do have all those in WMF. And then K cleans the bar, and does not hum or whistle or sing, and the fact that he doesn’t is notable. His music is broken, too, as well as his name and his alar.

Chronicler goes to bed restlessly and can’t settle. He lights the lamp with a sulphur match — not with sympathy, although we know he knows the Name of Iron. (But sympathy isn’t broken for everyone, which I wondered about for a moment, or he wouldn’t have been surprised at K’s sympathy not working. Phew, that’s a relief! That would have been awful, if Kvothe had broken Sympathy!) Then he puts his iron circle back on and blocks the door before going to sleep, only to be woken by Bast coming through the window in the deep night.

Bast also uses a match. (But maybe he hasn’t learned the binding yet? He doesn’t seem to work very hard. Um, has anybody noticed any sympathy working in the frame? Worried now.) Anyway, Bast talks to Chronicler and says there’s a connection between seeming and being, and K is stopping seeming to be an innkeeper and actually becoming one, and Bast has been sending out messages in bottles with passing trade in the hope that someone will come that will give K the jolt he needs. Or that Bast thinks he needs. Eh dear. There’s got to be a lot happen in the frame in DT, I think. I’m starting to get the shape of it.

Bast says not to ask about the music or the magic “They’re not productive subjects.” He wants Chronicler to hurry K past the dark bits and dwell on the heroics. This so isn’t going to work, and indeed already doesn’t in WMF. And Chronicler reacts very naively to all of this, which is one of the reasons I feel that he isn’t an Amyr, though I think he must be part of something more complicated than just Bast’s plot.

Then Bast makes a threat that is like Kvothe’s over the top threats, only it isn’t over the top and it’s believable and awful — he swears by the ever changing moon that he’ll slit him open and splash around in him like a child in a muddy puddle. It’s horrible, and it’s not disarmed — when Kvothe records his own threats, they are disarming, we know he won’t do them. We know Bast would. It’s a “THIS is a knife” moment, this is what a threat is supposed to sound like. And it really isn’t nice.

Then, most chillingly of all, he says there’s no reason they can’t be friends — this is the most inhuman moment Bast shows, never mind his eyes changing colour, which Kvothe’s also do. Thinking you can make threats like that and mean them and then be friends! He says they can all get what they want, and Chronicler asks what he wants, and he says he wants his Reshi back the way he was.

How long ago was that? They’ve been in Newarre a few years now. We’ll have to hear about where Bast comes from in DT. And Bast can’t be famous. He hasn’t changed his name. But Bast must have been with K long enough to have known him as he was, in order to miss that. And Bast must also not know what K has done with his name (and music and magic) if he thinks that just being reminded who he is will work. And we know from WMF that Bast doesn’t know what’s in the box or how to open it. So Bast doesn’t know a lot, which makes his meddling incredibly dangerous.


And then we have the Epilogue A Silence in Three Parts, in which we have everything back the way it was in the beginning, or almost, back to the cut flower sound of a man who is waiting to die. K is sitting in front of his crumpled sheets of memoir. At the end of WMF we have hope — a single perfect step. Here — no, no hope, just that awful silence, the thing that Bast is afraid of. It’s a beautiful virtuoso piece of writing, but there’s no hope.


And that brings us to the end of NW. I am planning to go on with WMF at this same insane level of detail, but first I think I’d like to do another post — or maybe more than one post — like the Sleeping Under the Wagon post collecting theories and speculations we’ve accumulated so far. If anyone would like to suggest subjects on which it would be useful to round up our thoughts for a post like that it would be very helpful. Please do so in comments.

I’m writing this before last week’s post is posted, so I haven’t seen any comments there, but I should be home on the day this is posted and able to participate as normal. The comments and insights and the illumination they cast on the text are what makes this kind of thing worth doing, and as we’re at the end of NW it seems a good time to say that I really appreciate what all of you have contributed to this reread. I really enjoy comments even from people who have only commented once or twice, but a number of you have been making this whole thing work all along.

The Department of Imaginary Linguistics promotes Jhirrad and TyranAmiros to E’lir. The Department of Imaginary Sympathy promotes: Herelle, LennyB, A Fox, C.M. Palmer, Herewiss13, RobMRobM, Greyhood, SusieBlu, Lambson, DEL, AnotherAndrew, Greyfalconway, AO, Chrispin, Lakesidey, Arra, ConnorSullivan, DThurston, ClairedeT, Dominiquex, BAM, LAJG, SillySlovene, JMD, Maltheos, Foxed, Amphibian, Pam Adams, Soloce and RyanReich to E’lir. It further promotes Susan Loyal and Shalter to Re’lar. And I’d be happy to share a celebratory bottle of strawberry wine with all of you at the next opportunity.

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.

Ryan Reich
1. ryanreich
Cool, I made E'lir. I should start participating again, except that I'm about to move...
Shane Stringer
2. ShaneStringer
Re: sympathy working...
Doesn't K use sympathy on a bit of scrael to summon the others?
Evan Langlinais
3. Skwid
Ha! I was just thinking I need to share this with Rothfuss re-read participants, and here's the new thread!

Check out this contender in this weekend's Derby on Woot's Shirt site. Very Rothfussian, no? Unfortunately, voting is over, so we'll just have to hope this is one of the three shirts that gets made this weekend!
4. herewiss13
I'm tempted to add "E'lir, Department of Imaginary Sympathy" to my email signature at work, but I doubt HR would understand. :-P

As for not seeing Sympathy in the frame:

1) Chronicler is a namer...can one be a namer without being an arcanist? They seem like very different skills. Alar is practically the opposite of Spinning Leaf/naming. Perhaps Chronicler just stumbled across the Name of Iron, but has no actual Sympathy training.

2) Bast is learning from K. K cannot teach Bast Sympathy as his alar is broken. Can Fae do Sympathy naturally? Did Felurian? (I don't recall her using it). Fae magic is probably different than Sympathy. And even if Bast _does_ know Sympathy, he'd almost certainly refrain from using around K to the point where it would have become reflexive.

Ergo: both characters using matches is not unexpected and Sympathy almost certainly works normally in the Frame.
C Smith
5. C12VT
Re: sympathy in the frame.

I took the scene near the beginning of NW (page 49) when K breaks the bottle of strawberry wine to be sympathy:

Kote stood with his back to the room, a stillness in his body and a terrible silence clenched between his teeth. His right hand, tangled in a clean white cloth, made a slow fist.
Eight inches away a bottle shattered. The smell of strawberries filled the air alongside the sound of splintering glass.

6. herewiss13
@5) Interesting catch! Can one do sympathy instinctually? Like that one perfect step, maybe this talent is also out of K's control (rather than simply non-existent). If the inmates of the Rookery were incapable of magic, they wouldn't need special housing.
7. RoryB
On the map: Isn't it curous that in a series that is so very exacting in the words it uses, that the map would be so "useless"? I strongly suspect that we're missing something there.
Melissa Shumake
8. cherie_2137
@2: i don't think summoning the other scrael was sympathy so much as burning the piece of the dead one was maybe a way to attract them to the smell of their kin?

also, love the "THIS is a knife" reference, jo.
Ian B
9. Greyfalconway
Hooray, I made E'lir! This reread has been great, I'm always looking forward to thurs nowadays =]
C Smith
10. C12VT
@4: This brings to mind a question that has been lingering at the back of my mind for awhile. It seems that naming can't really be "taught" - the one class on naming at the University isn't very helpful and seems to be open only to people who have already used a name at least once. Many students have better luck learning names by "chasing the wind" away from the university.

In other words, the university isn't turning people into namers - they become namers apparently on their own.

So the general populace should be just as likely to spontaneously whip out a name from time to time (as Kvothe does when Ambrose breaks his lute). But we don't hear about this happening.

What is it about the university (or its students) that leads to naming? Does learning sympathy (or sygaldry, or alchemy, etc.) somehow prime the mind for naming? What about the fact that there were more namers in the past? (See p. 180 of WMF, where Elxa Dal says he knows two names and that "'two is a great number of names to know these days. Elodin says it was different, long ago.'")
11. jmd
Thank you for the promotion!

I agree that we do not see many examples of sympathy actually working. We see a lot of pretend and attempts.. IIRC, doesn't K flick some wine at Bast and pretend to exorcise him? The example with the bottle breaking is another. Doesn't Chronicler also show that he knows the name of iron as well as just mentioning it?

Kvothe tries to open the chest with the Taborlin words as well and that doesn't work. Of course I figured that is why he "tests" Bast with how he would open the thrice-locked chest - because if he can't do it maybe the Fae of some type can!
Mike Cross
12. MikeCross
I'm not reading this series of posts as I haven't read the books yet, but I had to drop in to say "Congratulations, Jo, on Post #600!"

( shows a running total.)
Rob Munnelly
13. RobMRobM
Jo - Also thanks for my new status - I hope I've performed sufficiently well to have a low tuition in the upcoming term. Rob
Hello There
14. praxisproces
Jo, great thanks for the promotion, and I think we all owe you a huge thank-you as well. The comments have certainly throughout been brilliant and provocative, and have shaped my understanding of the books in many ways, but it's your incredible attentiveness and obvious love for the material in the posts, as well as your engagement with the commenters, that created a space where the comment threads could evolve into the wonderful thing they've become. Thanks so much, this has been and will continue to be a highlight of my week. I'm just depressed that we'll get through WMF long (long, long) before we can see what happens on Day Three!
Daniel Hoagland
15. danielrixy
On sympathy,

What would it take to break sympathy? Kvothe goes to great pains to explain the system as you or I would explain physics--cause and effect, energy transfer and conservation, etc.--the only thing that I can think of that would fundamentally change physics would be to fundamentally change the world. And maybe Kvothe did exactly that when he did whatever he did that opened the door for the scrael and skinwalkers and whatever else.

But I don't think I believe it. If he had, then why on earth would he try to use it on the skinwalker? Breaking his own alar is much more likely, especially with the throwaway line about ramston steel being strong but brittle.

The question is, can it be reforged? The various sympathists we've seen all seem to treat their magic very lightly, with no real concern that their alar can be stressed/broken/exhausted. Is Kvothe's situation unique? Is it possible that he broke his entire mind and/or has escaped through the door of sanity and that's why he can't use sympathy?
Roy McCarty
16. kloud213
Maybe Kvothe is not "awake" like he was when he was in Tarbean. Bast talks about K needs a jolt to remember who he is. He didn't use sympathy when he was an urchin. At least I don't think he did. Just a thought.
C Smith
17. C12VT
@7: I strongly suspect the map's vagueness is intentional. In the cliched fantasy map, you can look at the map at the beginning of the book and know that all the important places are marked and you're probably going to visit most of them (I think there was a bit on this in Diana Wynne Jones' Tough Guide to Fantasyland, but I don't have a copy, unfortunately). This map is a subversion of that.

The map has all these details, it looks convincing and authoritative - but although it may be accurate, it omits so much that anyone who looks at that map and thinks they understand the world has been fooled. I have to wonder if the map is some sort of metaphor for the story as a whole.

Remember the scene in the Eld, where Marten talks about maps? "
“Maps don’t just have outside edges. They have inside edges. Holes. Folk like to pretend they know everything about the world. Rich folk especially. Maps are great for that." (p. 560).
Katy Maziarz
18. ArtfulMagpie
"So the general populace should be just as likely to spontaneously whip out a name from time to time (as Kvothe does when Ambrose breaks his lute). But we don't hear about this happening."

Well, but maybe it does, all the time...but people assume (as happened when Ambrose set the Iron Law on Kvothe after the name-of-the-wind broken-lute incident) that the person who called the name was possessed by a demon or practicing black magic of some sort. Remember how out of it Kvothe was right after calling the name of the wind the first time? Wouldn't an ignorant, supersititous villager look at that kind of mindlessness combined with the damage an angry person calling the name of the wind or the name of fire would have caused and assume demon possession? If so, spontaneous namers out in the villages (away from the relatively open-minded people in Imre and the University) would probably be executed almost immediately.

As far as Chronicler not using sympathy seems that not every student at the University studies every subject. It just may well be that Chronicler was not a good sympathist and didn't pursue that subject. He probably did a lot more with things associated with the Archives....
Steven Halter
19. stevenhalter
Thanks for Re'lar, Jo! Now my tuition will go up. :-) I'm going to have to find a bottle of strawberry wine somewhere.
20. mochabean
Many thanks for such a great reread -- like many others, this is a TOR highlight for me, and I can't wait for your reread of WMF, as well as another "sleeping under the wagon" post synthesizing all of the great discussion that has gone on here. Maybe one category in such a summary should be "back and forths" meaning things where the reader swings back and forth as the read or reread progresses. For example -- Did the Chandrain murder Kvothe's parents and the troop? Is Denna the embodiment of the moon? Another might be "tropes undermined, tropes celebrated" or something like that. Maybe that category should just be called "stew." Thanks again to you and all of the commenters as well.
21. DEL
Bast is a definite enigma. He seems human but totally ISNT. His talk on seeming and being and how entertwined they are gives both hope for Kvothe and leaves the door open to further tradgedy.

Cobb's "correction" of the story of Kvothe gives us further insight into the seeming/being scale. The wilder the tales grow the further from the reality of Kvothe those stories become. Does this idea of the growing of the myth support Kvothes eventual rise back to power, or does the difference between story and reality prevent him from reclaiming his old mantle?

No matter what the myths say about Kvothe, we know in his head he is a scared kid wth big problems faking his way through everything, but that fakery becomes real.

Random thoughts for the omnibus thread.
1. D- She is tied up in Moon imagery, what does this bode? Is she wholly the moon, an eternal wandering tennager? Is she partly the moon, taking part of the moons name as she keeps renaming herself? Or is the moon imagery just imagery? Did she have a run in wth Amyr as devastating to her life as K's run in with the Chandrian? How long has she known Yllish knots?

Most of the rest of my points rest on ideas expounded upon in WMF and I'll wait to talk about them when we are in the relevent chapters.... can't wait to talk more about Cthaeh and Lathani!
Steven Halter
22. stevenhalter
Here are a few topics that have been discussed:
Why Kote is "broken" in the frame story.
The meanings and relationships of the Lackless.
The Chandrian and the Amyr--who's the "bad" guy and who are they?
History. The various stories -- Jax, Lanre, Angels/Amyr, ...
K's "prophecies" (bloodless, expelled, kingkiller)
What's up with Denna?
Andrew Mason
23. AnotherAndrew
Thanks for the promotion!

Regarding the uselessness of the map: I wonder if it might be a prop, like the map in The Hobbit, rather than a guide, like the maps in LOTR. Perhaps at some point the characters will discover this map, and puzzle over what it has and does not have on it.

I find it hard to believe that 'Larkin', name of a former archivist, is not a reference. (Philip Larkin was a librarian.) What 'Tolem', the other former archivist, signifies I am not sure.

When looking at the travelogue in the archives, K. remarks on Vint, which no longer exists, having been absorbed into the Aturan empire. So how does Vint relate to Vintas, which certainly does exist? Aren't people from Vintas called Vintish?

Don't K. and Bast finally decide that the intruder was not a skin-dancer - if it were it would have tried to jump to another body, etc.
24. Lurking Canadian
I think Vintas/Vint is explained in book 2. Maer Alveron is the king of Vint, essentially. When Vint was absorbed into the empire, some ancestor of his went from being King of Vint to being Maer (Feudal Lord) of Vint, but didn't lose any real power. After the dissolution of the Empire, the successor state of Vintas was created, and whoever was the Maer at that time decided to transfer his loyalty to the king of the new rump state of Vintas, instead of trying to secede.

And I agree, the map is weird. I tried to figure out where Severn is, but if it's in Vintas, I couldn't figure out how you'd go from Severn to the Eld forest to Ademre and back by the route Kvothe described.
Daniel Hoagland
25. danielrixy

also, in the "general" category:
the chronicler/skarpi connection/conspiracy
where are K's friends in the frame story?
sociocultural history - are the amyr related to imre? is imre myr tanriel? are the adem related to the edema ruh?
auri and the amyr/ciridae
the various boxes and the four-plate door
parentage - specifically K's, D's and bast's
connection between naming/music and shaping/writing

and specific to NotW loose ends:
who sent the thugs after K?
did something similar to a geas send K to trebon?
what's up with manet?
Steven Halter
26. stevenhalter
The "skin dancer" episode was very interesting. When it first appears, it fumbles with the door clasp and swings the door open. It does not enter until Kote invites it in (could it enter or did it need an invite?).
Once in, it is very unfocused. It mumbles and sways and doesn't seem entirely there. It isn't until its hand is cut that a wild focus appears. Is it the cutting that does this or the appearance of blood?
The steel of the blade cuts it, but it shows no fear at this. The pure iron rod of the smith's apprentice is the only thing to give it a start.
Bast says that it has some aspects of a skin dancer, but the fact that:

“Plus, we’re all still alive. That seems to indicate that it was something else.”

We also get the interesting statement that:

“The Mael doesn’t even share a border with us. It’s as far away as anywhere can be in the Fae.”

I get the impression that "distance" in the Fae sense denotes an increasing strangeness. Bast seems mostly human. The denizens of the Mael would be much less so.
27. Lurking Canadian
Which raises two questions. Doesn't K introduct Bast as being "Prince of the Telwyth Mael" or words to that effect? What does that mean, if he's as far from the Mael as you can get?

Second: we know of only two directions in the Fae: dayward and nightward, and if you walk dayward far enough, you wrap around to night. Does that mean the Fae is one dimensional, or is the axis perpendicular to day/night also meaningful in some way?
Katy Maziarz
28. ArtfulMagpie
"Which raises two questions. Doesn't K introduct Bast as being "Prince of the Telwyth Mael" or words to that effect? What does that mean, if he's as far from the Mael as you can get?"

K says, and I quote, "Chronicler, I would like you to meet Bastas, son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Telweth Mael."

Nothing there says that Bast is "the Prince of Twilight AND the Prince of the Telweth Mael." "Telweth Mael" may well be a title itself...for all we know, it could mean "Killer of the Mael" or "Enemy of the Mael" or somesuch.
Steven Halter
29. stevenhalter
Lurking Canadian@12: Good recall. It's:

Bastas, son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Telwyth Mael

It's hard to say what that means at this point. I'm sure it is significant though.
Rowan Shepard
30. Rowanmdm3
Other topics to summarize:
*Auri, who she is, her tiesto the moon, and is there significance to the gifts she give K?
*Parrallels between K and Taborlin
*Similarities and differences between Amyr's "greater good" and Lathani

Something I'm very curious about is when does K reunit with Scarpi? I'm guessing we'll find out sometime in DT.
andrew smith
31. sillyslovene
So, I started wondering about the sudden breaks in the narrative that Jo points out. I'm willing to bet that most of these (haven't checked the ones in WMF...) are done for specific reasons by Rothfuss, and I can't think of a better reason than as slight of hand to hide something in plain sight by getting us to quickly turn the page and move into another part of the story.

So I looked at these ones more closely trying to figure out what the point of the switch was (beyond the obvious: Pat wanted to):
Right before the Interlude, Auri is showing K around in the Underthing- some really interesting stuff- they travel down and drainage pipes (newer) turn into squared off halls, etc, definitely proof of ancient things. But then these paragraphs come out:

Deeper still, we came to Throughbottom, a room like a cathedral, so big neither Auri's blue light nor my red one reached the highest peaks of the ceiling. All around us were huge, ancient machines. Some lay in pieces: broken gears taller than a man, leather straps gone brittle with age, great wooden beams that were now explosions of white fungus, huge as hedgerows.
Other machines were intact but worn by centureis of neglect. I approached an iron block as big as a farmer's cottage and broke off a single flake of rust large as a dinner plate. Underneath was nothing but more rust. Nearby there were three great pillars covered in green verdigris so thick it looked like moss. Many of the huge machines were beyond identifying, looking more melted than rusted. But I saw something that might have been a waterwheel, three stories tall, lying in a dry canal that ran like a chasm through the middle of the room.

Now obvious question first: why does Auri name this Throughbottom? She's usually pretty ingenious with her naming- "the names she gave them nonsensical at first, fit like a glove when I finally saw what they described", so where does she get that one?

Next comes thematic imagery: why does Rothfuss immediately make the connection to religion by using the word 'cathedral'? Does this have some connection to the Church and its history? Why is there a giant canal running through the middle of the room? This is under the university, and while it is pretty far underground (about 50 ft, K estimates), could it be enough to take it back to the original city that we have speculated was there? Or would this just go back to the time of the Amyr and the Empire?

Lastly, though, and perhaps most interesting- this description is full of the signs of the Chandrian- rust (obvious), fungus (could be blight or decay), melting (from blue flame?), perhaps others? Could this be the remnants of an all out fight between the Amyr and the Chandrian? The Chandrian daring to attack the center of Amyr/Church to destroy them?

Interesting as well- verdigris, a word I had to look up:

a bright bluish-green encrustation or patina formed on copper or brass by atmospheric oxidation, consisting of basic copper carbonate.

Three huge pillars, at the very least covered in copper which has since oxidized, meant to contain or trap? protect? and if so, what?

And then there is this line, making this all the more interesting for DT (how much of the Underthing do we see in WMF? Not too much...):

I saw many interesting things, some of which may bear mentioning later...

90, Half-Built Houses
Pamela Adams
32. PamAdams
It takes approximately 16 pounds of strawberries to make 5 gallons of fruit wine- we'd better get picking!
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
slovene - Bravo!! An iron block as big as a cottage, rusted through? Pillars of copper? Yikes.

34. Stefan Jones
Regarding the map:

At a reading Rothfuss did at Powell's in Beaverton earlier this year, someone asked where on the map the Wayfarer was located.

Rothfuss said its omission was deliberate. I'm assuming that the location of "Kote's" exile would provide too much information about what comes next. (We can assume that Kvothe would relocate as far a possible from whereever he killed that king, right?)
35. Sojka
@27. Lurking Canadian, 28. ArtfulMagpie, 29. Shalter Re: Bast and the Mael

I've been waiting for six weeks for this chapter to come up tp point that out! Also, the "Reshi" Bast wants back could be someone other than Kvothe. There's no indication that it would apply to only one other person in Bast's lifetime, like imzadi in Star Trek. Either Bast has (and obviously already does have) ulterior motives, or this is one hell of a red herring!
Lenny Bailes
36. lennyb
I thought I posted here early this afternoon, but it's probably sitting in my web browser in Preview mode:

I've also wondered whether Sympathy no longer works in the world of the frame story -- which could explain why Kvothe 's attempts at it failed.

Chronicler successfully binds iron to skin in his encounter with Bast. My question about that is to wonder whether Chronicler's binding was successful because he knows the true name of iron or whether it's an example of the application of Alar to a true Sympathetic binding.

Other kinds of magic still work. The Skin Dancers are in business. Bast mends Kvothe's broken tooth, seemingly by transferring the damage from Kvothe to his own mouth. Is this a true application of Sympathy? Is there any instance in the frame story of someone lighting a fire without using a match?

Could it be that in the world of the frame story, magic now only works on the Fae (or when invoked by the Fae)?
37. somelamename
@5 i was going to piont that out

as for he alar being broken i dont think thats it or Bast would know he needs to do more then just remember. I'm thinking bast joined him after whatever sent him into hiding or right around that time and K was still "the way he used to be" after any evants that would have broken his alar
Ciel F.
38. Shadaras
@ 27 (re: Bast and the Mael) -- What if the 'us' Bast talks about there isn't his fae-kin but the human world? Then he's talking more about the Mael not being close to the border of humankind, and thus it being harder/less likely for them to be in the human world.
Claire de Trafford
39. Booksnhorses
Hi all. I'm very excited about my advancement to E'lir. Many thanks Master Jo (?the Bard?). I'm going to read the posts later on, my only comment so far is the idea of the library wars just makes me itch and want to go and bash out my own version and find all the mis-shelved books. When I think back to my student days I remember hiding books I would need for an essay later on and I just shudder!
40. piapiapiano
sillyslovene #31: I've been impatiently waiting for Jo to get to these chapters so I could point out the signs of the Chandrian in the Underthing, and you've been and gone and beaten me to it.

Well played indeed!

Also worth mentioning that if the decay was caused by the Chandrian then there's no way of knowing how long ago or how recently it happened.
Jo Walton
41. bluejo
Chandrian in the Underthing!

Or it could just be time, and there's no way of knowing!

(I am home.)
Katy Maziarz
42. ArtfulMagpie
I was completely fascinated by the description of the Underthing, and rather disappointed that K didn't tell us more! I'm a real sucker for mysterious destroyed ancient civilizations and the like. (Robin Hobb's Elderlings, anyone??)

On a completely different subject...I know that the text explicitly states that Bast is the "son of Remmen." But I can't shake the idea that he's actually Kvothe's son. Maybe Bast knows Kvothe is his daddy but Kvothe doesn't know it... Otherwise, I can't really understand why a talented immortal Fae being would have so much emotional investment in a human...a very talented human, yes, but still just a human. Even Felurian's affection for Kvothe was mostly rooted in self-interest---if she took care of Kvothe and taught him well enough, he would spread her fame farther and wider than it was spread already. But Bast seems to want Kvothe's well-being for Kvothe's sake. We know time can run faster or slower in Fae...Bast could be just a few years old in human time and hundreds of years old in Fae time...

Oh. I just had a thought. I could have it backwards. Maybe Bast is Kvothe's FATHER, not his son.....
- -
43. hex
Re: lighting candles with matches:

I'm making some assumptions here, but, they lit candles because it was dark. If it was dark, I'm presuming there wasn't another source of light... which means no convenient source for Sympathy.

The only other option would be to use their own body heat to light a candle. We've seen Kvothe do this in his narrative, but always at the cost of a stab of cold pain. We also know that Kvothe's alar was uncommonly strong. Perhaps those with a weaker alar or grasp of sympathy would pay a higher price in body heat to light a candle. In either case, a match is a much simpler alternative. Do we even know if Devan or Bast *know* any Sympathy? (edit.. going to address this in another post)

Other's have brought up the shattering bottle of strawberry wine as an example of sympathy being used in the frame. I agree with them, but it does seem to confuse issue of Kote's present abilities.
- -
44. hex
Responding to my own post @43, What arcane abilities are Devan and Bast privy to?

We know he's a student of Kvothe, but a lazy one. Kvothe has been trying to get him to read Celum Tinture, but so far he has not.

When Kvothe is asking Bast how he'd open the "thrice-locked chest," we get this:

Then he closed his eyes and went very still, as if he were listening. After a moment of this, he leaned forward and breathed against the lock. When nothing happened, his mouth began to move. While his words were spoken too softly to hear, they carried an undeniable tone of entreaty.

That could be an act of Sympathy (though no mention of source, or link), naming, or some other sort of Fae magic. We also see Bast use some kind of magical transference to heal the broken tooth Kvothe got from the two soldiers.

Much later, Kvothe asks Bast who taught him all of his "name lore," referring to himself (WMF, c 129, "Interlude—Din of Whispering"). So Bast knows some name lore, whatever that includes.

In that same chapter we learn that the Chronicler knows only one thing of name lore, the name of iron. So name lore includes naming, and the mechanics of why one shouldn't use the names of the Chandrian. It's also one of the few times the Chronicler talks about his education at university and the only time (I think?) he talks about what he did there. He was a scriv, and Master Namer called him a waste of time. Interesting he does not say Elodin, or Master Elodin.
45. chrispin
I like kloud213's thought on K sleeping. This would explain Bast's action of searching for people to wake K up. Of course, K is acting differently here than he did in Tarbean. Maybe instead of sleeping, he's in the opposite mental state. He can't sleep. But he seems to be able to recall this story to the finest detail. Is it possible he can't forget? He doesn't seem to be crazy, although he got really agitated when he broke that bottle. Why is he waiting to die? Because someone is coming after him or because he can't die? Has he taken over Haliax's curse? When the zombie mercenary came in, the zombie asked, “Te aithiyn Seathaloi? Te Rhintae?” I haven't read the dictionary, but this seems to mean "Are you a sithe? chandrian?" Maybe K is.
C Smith
46. C12VT
@45: Interesting theory. Do we ever see K sleep in the frame? I checked the prologues and epilogues (figuring this would be the most likely time for him to sleep) and he is described as awake in all of them. In the prologue to WMF, K is in bed, but "he lay with the resigned air of one who has long ago abandoned any hope of sleep."

It occurs to me that there are actually five doors - besides sleep, death, forgetting, and insanity, another way to escape from pain is through the sort of transport that art (visual art, music, storytelling, etc.) can bring. K uses this "fifth door" heavily after his troupe is killed. He doesn't use it at all in the frame.
Steven Halter
47. stevenhalter
“Te aithiyn Seathaloi?
Te Rhintae?”:
I'm not seeing anything that bears resemblance to Seathaloi. It is capitalized, so it is probably a name of some sort.
Rhintae is quite interesting and we have two words that resemble it (although that may mean nothing). We have "Rhinta" from Ademre that refers to Chandrian and means "Old thing in the shape of a man" and then we have "Rhinata" from the phrase "Vorfelan Rhinata Morie" that Wil translated as "The desire for knowledge shapes a man". So, the Rhinata portion could be the part Wil is translating as shapes a man. We've already mentioned that Wil's translation is suspect.
If Rhintae, Rhinta and Rhintae are related they could all be refering to some aspect of Shaping and Man.
So, the "skin dancer" could have been asking if K was a Shaper. Or if he had been Shaped. (Or something else entirely).
48. ironekilz
That Bast could be his son or father is an interesting thought. He does at one point sing K. a lullaby.

I've actually been wondering when Ben's going to show up again (K. does say it would be years until he sees him again and I have a feeling the meeting will be significant beyond just two old friends reuniting). There's something that's bugging me about Ben. He knew so much about the Chandrian and was so eager to hear Arliden's song. He also tells Kvothe to remember his father's song about Lanre and it seemed awfully convenient to me that he settled down with a brewer's widow and left the troupe pretty much right before Kvothe's parents and the rest of his troupe are murdered. The words K. used for that are odd too: "I don't think anyone could have built a better snare for Ben if they had tried." Maybe it's just K. using the idea of marriage and settling down with someone who also shares a love of ale as a good "trap." But what if it actually is a trap? What if someone set up Ben so he'd leave the troupe or what if Ben himself knew something was going to happen and chose to leave beforehand? For that matter, and maybe I'm WAY off-base, but what if Master Ash isn't Bredon, but Ben? And what if Master Ash is actually Selitos, who, maybe like Lanre/Haliax, can't die?

I'm sorry if this has been mentioned before, but I was looking back through NotW and I'm starting to think the greystones, what Ben calls "waystones" actually lead the way to Myr Tariniel. Arliden recites a poem about them when Kvothe asks him why the Edema Ruh always stop and camp by them, but he can't recall the last line: "Greystone leads to something something 'ell." Myr Tariniel has the right number of syllables and definitely rhymes with 'ell...
lake sidey
51. lakesidey
E’lir! Thanks Jo! Yay... umm, does this mean my tuition goes up?

About sympathy in the frame - the shattering bottle seems to be sympathy all right (though apparently not consciously done) but I don't think Chronicler's attack on Bast was - he used the name of Iron.

About Bast maybe being K's father, my first reaction was "no way!" but then I thought, more than one person has described Kvothe as "a little fae around the edges" (or something similar) so now I'm wondering....

...when Kvothe records his own threats, they are disarming, we know he won’t do them.

*We* know, true. But the person hearing the threat, are we sure he knows? Kvothe, with his changing eye-colour and all, can be as scary as Bast or more (remember the reaction of Chronicler in the breaking-wine-bottle episode early on, when K became full-fledged Kvothe for a bit?) and I wouldn't be surprised if some of those he threatened totally believed he might carry them out. I didn't find Bast's threat any more or less believable than Kvothe's - though I loved it.

@41 bluejo: You said....

Chandrian in the Underthing!
(I am home.)

And I had this great vision of you being a Chandrian who is at home in the Underthing ("blue"jo, even! Unmistakeable signs of chandrianism, there...)

Really wacky connection: "chand" is the Indian word for "moon". Wonder if there is any link between the Chandrian and the moon? (Yes I know chaen = seven. But some words seem to have more than one postulated origin in this world, just as in our own.)

52. AmieB
Just realized that when you say "Newarre" aloud it sounds like "no where" with a bit of an accent.

Loving the reread. It's nearly as enjoyable as reading the books themselves.
: )
lake sidey
53. lakesidey
@52 AmieB: The same accent as "pegs", I wonder? If so, that might give us a clue as to where Kote is hiding out (or should that be hiding inn?) - not far from Trebon!

54. Susan Loyal
Thank you, Jo. I'm honored.

I especially liked your discussion of Bast's threat to Chronicler. None of the unsettling elements of the novel actually caused me to startle until then. When Bast threatened Chronicler, suddenly I wanted to run in all directions at once.

Of course, Rothfuss may have merely wished to point out that powerful-being-from-Fae = dangerous. If so, mission accomplished. But I find myself wondering if we really understand the relationship between K and Bast, or if we're making assumptions (into which we've been led). How can that be K's student?

I've always thought that "the cut flower sound" was the sound of a man who believed that he'd outlived his talents and his utility, who wanted death to come. But if he wants death, why would be hide for the sake of safety?

Condemned prisoners wait for death. Exile can be an imposed punishment, as well as a self-imposed strategy. What exactly is going on here? And exactly why does Bast want K back the way he was?
Jean-Marc Henry
55. Jayhem
I was thinking that mabye Kvothe already got the chest opened once and somehow his Kvothe self got locked in there, taking the place of someone else (probably responsible for the devastation of the land).
Once his Kvothe self got locked in there, he forget how to open the chest and that's why he hopes to have Bast open the chest...
Matthew Knecht
56. mknecht01
@45 and @46:
That's one of those devious Rothfuss sentences that you take in its mundane sense the first time you read it ("long ago" = hours) and only realize later may mean something entirely different and bizarre ("long ago" = years?).

Re: the skin dancer... Bast isn't telling all he knows about the attack. In Chapter 1 of WMF he clearly has a guilty conscience about the episode.

"... We need to talk about what you did last night."
Bast went very still. "What did I do, Reshi?"
"You stopped that creature from the Mael," Kote said.
"Oh." Bast relaxed, making a dismissive gesture.

Any parents - or teachers - should recognize that behavior instantly, as the guilty kid who thinks maybe you're on to him, but then realizes you're talking about something else.

Makes me think he arranged the attack. Like he arranged the parallel attack in WMF.

Also, I've thought from the very first read that the skinwalker ( dancer? Nasty Mael thing) isn't dead... it's in Chronicler's shoulder. Maybe it takes a couple of days to take someone over. Or maybe Bast sealed it up in there for safekeeping.

DT has a lot of questions to answer... about many many things.

andrew smith
57. sillyslovene
I read it as the guilt he feels being about his late night conversation with the Chronicler about how he owns him, and what he wants him to do...

That's not to say that he didn't arrange the attack, there is a parallel with the soldier attack (which we do know he set up), but there is another plausible explanation. Gotta love ambiguity....

The problem with the theory about the "demon" ( a very useful word) going into Chronicler's shoulder is that the mercenary is most definitely still possessed after he wounds Chronicler's shoulder, he tries to talk to K, kills Shep, fights with Bast, etc . Then the body is destroyed by the apprentice. There is a moment there where his face goes blank, which could be reason to suspect it left the body before it was killed, but what evidence is there that it is Chronicler's shoulder?
Karen Lofstrom
58. DPZora
C12VT wrote: "It seems that naming can't really be "taught" - the one class on naming at the University isn't very helpful and seems to be open only to people who have already used a name at least once. Many students have better luck learning names by "chasing the wind" away from the university. In other words, the university isn't turning people into namers - they become namers apparently on their own."

Learning naming is modeled on seeking enlightenment in Zen. You don't reliably "get it" as a predictable result of effort. What effort gets you is the experience of failure: rational mind, everyday thought, running into walls, over and over. Sometimes, somehow, when the rational mind utterly gives up, you "get it." The effort creates the conditions, but it doesn't guarantee results. Elodin is acting like a Zen teacher.

Asian martial arts, with Chan/Zen background, also seems to be the model for the Adem and their martial art. When Kvothe goes into the mind-state of Spinning Leaf, he's experiencing something described by many meditators, in many traditions (not all of them Buddhist).
59. chrispin
Thanks, Jo! My last post was in haste and didn't have proper thanks included. Looking forward to the theory recap and on to WMF.

I don't think shattering the bottle is sympathy. It seems a link of rag to bottle with no heat source would be hard to pull off, especially to apply enough force to shatter glass by clenching a hand. It's possible he stressed the glass by heating or cooling it so it would shatter more easily, but his emotional state seems less the calculation of sympathy and more the emotion of naming.

When K named Felurian he went into in a state similar to the one he was in when he broke the bottle. In fae, "a tense stillness settled inside of me, the sort of silence that comes before a thunderclap."

In the bar, there was "a stillness in his body and a terrible silence clenched between his teeth."

This seems like K broke the bottle through naming instead of sympathy. The name of ice could possibly shatter glass. Or maybe the ring without name is the ability to name any item.

I don't think sympathy has been done in the frame story at all. Chronicler named and Bast seems to have used fae magic for the holly, tooth and locks.
60. arra
Jo, thanks for the promotion Jo.

Just some random thoughts:
1) Are we ever told the reason for Taborlin's 'key, coin, and candle' ? Candle I'm assuming is used as a heat source, but what are key and coin used for? Coin is possibly either used for iron binding or is really a guilder or a gram, but what is the key for?
2) The conflict between shapers/namers eventually led to the creation war and the creation of fae/human worlds. I've been thinking that we are going to see an Uncreation war in the sense that the two worlds are going to be united again because K is going to free the moon. I also see D and K being cast in the shaper and namer roles, respectively. D is looking for a kind of magic that makes things come true if you write them down. Does that sound like shaping? Like an act of creation? Did she figure out how to do that and her music and song related to that? And K was obviously a namer and he supposedly had a bunch of rings on his fingers to attest to that (if the stories are true). I think K lost his way and tried to be a shaper instead of a namer and that led to his downfall. (sorry lots of thoughts going around my head in that area)
3) Who did K actually kill? I actually don't think K killed Ambrose. I think he killed Sim (the poet) accidently because of some perceived threat to D. I think the current king is Ambrose and it's Ambrose that put a bounty on K's head.
4) I don't think the decay in the underthing is related to the chandrians. I think it's just normal decay from age.
5) About Ben, I agree, there's something fishy about his leaving.

And Finally:
Any ideas when we're going to see the 3rd book? I'm dying here with all the speculations!!
61. chrispin
I remember reading the book the first time and getting really mad at K when he made Fela skip her class just to meet him in the archives. He was there all day. He could have waited one more hour until her class was over. K's friends are always there for K, but he's not a good friend back. He's too selfish.

On an unrelated note, I wonder if Crazy Martin is the same as Marten, who goes with K to the Eld. Marten seemed a little cracked after the battle, and I don't think he knew anything about farming. I'd buy that spelling isn't standardized yet in K-world.
62. Sojka
@ 60
I agree it feels like there should be a resolution to the Creation War with the release of the Moon, which could cause an Uncreation War, but I'm no longer expecting it in DT. Rothfuss seems to be telling a growing-up story with the Chronicles, and he could set up the Moon and War(s?) to be addressed in a follow up series while using them as a MacGuffin in this one.

& Re: Namers vs. Shapers
What if the assumption that Human = Namer and Fael = Shaper is backwards? Felurian says the Amyr were never human. What if humans shaped Fae, then trapped the Namers (Fael) there?
63. Deepali
Wow, I never thought about why Bast might care about his Reshi so much - and a previous suggestion that he might be K's son seems plausible now.
I don't think he can be Kvothe's father, being Felurian's son makes more sense.

Question - what is the entire moon theory here? It isn't just a nice tale to move the story along?
64. saphana
Thank you, Jo - for this reread and the additional threads. It's been a joy following your for the past few month.

I'll be around for WMF, no mistake and maybe - just maybe I might even be able to contribute something, then.
Ashley Fox
65. A Fox
So, we're at the end :(

Some bits and bobs;

Denna & Moon refs. "deep water" "the tide never came" The tides are contolled by the moon, from the moons perspective the tide comes to her.

K after naming the wind "There was no Kvothe, only the confusion, the anger, and the numbness wrapping him" IMO this is what has happened to him in the frame, but on a far larger scale. Whatever it is that happens when he kills the king (if that is the event, and not a by product) I think it involves a massive naming (or even shaping) on such a vast scale that is alar doesnt merely brake into diff parts (to allow him to do multiple sympathectic bindings), but actually brakes, cuts off Kvothe with all that termoil, and leaves Kote.

Support for K being able to play names; The ch. in the Eolian is called 'A place to burn'. When Elodin is talking of the nature of names "...But a word is nothing but the painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself"

(Going up to D/Moon/Tides perhaps the reason K is able to not become another of D's castoff men is becuase he is more fire than water.)

Wicked Moon. When Wil, Sim & K are catching up one of the words used to describe D is wicked. We are all aware of her moon comparisons. When auri is talking to K she says some interesting things; first she elludes to the leaves he had coated in his blood, how they had washed up in the underthing. This shows her knowledge of K's life outside of his visits, the danger he is in etc. Also the owl she describes is D. the owl "she has a face like a wicked moon". Owls are usually "..wise. They are careful and patient. " But this one is "is adventurous? And explora?...Oh yes". Auri states that "wisdom precludes boldness". She then shares her boiled eggs with K. Later she shows him the empty nest. So they ate the owls eggs? This shows a nastier edge to Auri and also a certain jealousy (?) toward D over K. Also "owls make poor heroes".

The skinwalker; I was going to raise the point of it asking K 'Are you one of the sithe? A shaper?" but this has already been raised. To expand. I interpreted Seatholoi as Sithe for the cap' S and the strong similarity between Sithe and Seath, the sound the same, even if you add the Irish Shh sound. Also I believe that it came there looking for Kvothe (or the Reshi), it seems to thank Cron' not only for blooding it so it takes full possesion of the body but mentions Seatholoi. It could even be refering to itself as Sithe. Soething along the lines of 'you have done the sithe a service'. Bast understands full well what that it is looking for K, and chooses not to tell him. Perhaps he doesnt want to remind him of the bad stuff? Also implies that K left a trail of choas in Faen. Perhaps Bast' concern for K is not wholly altrustic, perhaps he wants Kvothe back to fix the mess.

Also the way the mael asked K if he was..? instantly reminded me of the guy in the archives mistaking K for Yllish. This strengthens the poss that Yll is closer to the old ways/fae.

"Locked doors have never proved much of a hinderance to me. Mores the pity." This is prophetic. All those big baddies locked behind stone doors, seems certain he will let him out.

"Half built houses" -When Fela is talking of the archives and the various sysmtems i read this as a metaphor for, well, the truth. How the truth gets passed into stories, stories whose parts get canabalised, etc etc. I quite liked this as it is one of the series themes, and a point that frustraes us all! (@61 lol!! Me too. There all day?!!?)

D doesnt put out; there as been some question over how literal a whore D is. I dont think she is, unless cornered into, with no other choice. "She left them disapointed. Or, frustrated, they abandoned her"

The music that plays; I read this as refering to Bast. "You do not know the first note of music that moves me"
- -
66. hex
@62, Re: Namers vs. Shapers

I've always presumed that the Fae (both the realm, and its inhabitants) were created by the Shapers. I also assumed that both the Namers and the Shapers were human, or human progenitors. The chief difference between the groups being their outlook.
67. Herelle
Darn, I just closed accidentially the tab. Well.

Thank you Jo for the promotion. I´m pleased as.. uh, as pleased as, ... ah, a lot.

I don´t have the time to write everything again, so here just a few short points:

Elodin tells Kvothe he doesn´t get to go behind the four plate door. I find that odd, because Kvothe asked what was behind it. Elodin doesn´t say he won´t tell, he expressly said Kvothe doesn´t get to go there. Sounds to me as if at some point namers or masters or whoever goes behind the doors and Elodin has been there. He admits to having been so curious it almost killed him, but he´s obiously in on the secret now. (p. 672 paperback)

Auri courtseys to Kvothe after he named for the first time. Out of respect? (p. 676) She also has court manners. She might be princess Ariel. Why would she call him her ciridae later. That somehow is close to knighting him.

Bast leaves his boots to Kvothe in his will, haha, he´s got hooves!

What are the news Kvothe doesn´t want Chronicler to talk about to the villagers? (C. is from off Abbott´s Ford, the villagers ask for news, K. shoots a dark look. Also C. froze, when the villagers tell him not to be a stranger. Why this reaction?) p. 680

I wonder about distances from the regular world to Fae. K. worries about the Scrael making it so far already. What about the skindancer? I assumed there were several entrances to Fae throughout the mortal world. C. was robbed only five days before. In that mindless state the skindancer couldn´t have come far. Where are the mercaneries´comrades?

When the mercanary came into the inn Bast tried to catch K. attention several times which K. studiously ignored.p. 687,
I wonder how much K. suspects about Basts schemes. Maybe K. is playing a beautiful game himself?

It´s the smell of blood that alerted the skindancer (he breathed through the nose and then his eyes focused.)
When he touched Chronicler he caused some lasting injuries, but only with his hands. Bast made more contact when fighting but also only when touched by his hands his face contorted in pain. But no lasting damage we know of.

When Fela tells Kvothe about the mess in the Archives she mentions fragments from Caluptena. p. 705 There was something about Caluptena burning. Does anyone remember? I suspect Kvothe finds something about the Amyr and the Chandrian in the Yllish knots and or those fragments.

K. says that Ambrose manages to get his revenge, and when it came, K. was caught flatfooted and forced to leave the University. That refers imo to the trial of the iron law and his trip to Severen to the Maers court, not to being expelled from the Arcanum.

What Bast tells C. about seeming and being, the story everyone tells in his own head all the time (which sounds pretty realistic in some way) also sounds like those Yllish knots, just without knots. That would be shaping, no?

Last but not least: What are your thoughts about why the Chandrian each have a sign? We know Haliax was cursed. That´s why his face lies in shadow, he can´t sleep, forget or die. But what of the others? What kind of magic is that supposed to be? Is it something they do on purpose (rotting wood, rusting iron) or is it just a side effect or something they can´t help?

Speculating and puzzling about bits and pieces with you has been tremendous fun for me. Thank you Jo for initiating and leading this party, and thank you all.
- -
68. hex
@67, re: Last but not least

I'm not sure what kind of magic it is, but the Cthaeh tells Kvothe about his second encounter with Cinder:

Don’t feel bad you didn’t recognize him. They have a lot of experience hiding those telltale signs. Not your fault at all. It’s been a long time. (WMF c 104, The Cthaeh)

Assuming the Cthaeh can't lie, he certainly makes it sound like the Chandrian attempt to suppress their signs. That suggests the signs aren't something they do on purpose.
Sim Tambem
69. Daedos
Wow - I've missed a lot. Jo, thanks for the promotion. I guess the trick is to not move up any more, right?

So, Lots of speculation and idea lobbing - I like it.

@65 "You do not know the first note of music that moves me"

When I read that it made me think of Kvothe's struggle with Felurian. He didn't name her, he sort of sang her name (at least there were musical notes involved). When he did, he gained control over her. I think that must have something to do with the fundamental difference between humans and the fae. Maybe music effects them where words can't? Or maybe music is just stronger. Purer?

@67 What are your thoughts about why the Chandrian each have a sign?

I wondered the same thing. All I could come up with is that the Chandrian aren't human. They are fae. We don't have much evidence that they use any form of 'magic' (sympathy, sygaldry, etc.), but their signs are definitely 'magic'. This could be like faen magic. Kvothe says that Felurian could control her effect on him, but that it was just a natural thing for her. It was simply part of who she was. I'm guessing the Chandrian are either similar, or they have all been cursed like Lanre/Haliax. I forget what was said at the very beginning (hen we actually hear the Chandrian talking), but I got the impression Haliax had "saved" the rest of them (in some sense) and they had allied themselves to him in gratitude. He told them that he was protecting them. He even mentioned Singers as one of the groups that would harm them (obviously a form of Namers - probably much more powerful). This might reinforce the idea that they are fae(n) as well.

Singers - we haven't heard anything of them since. Kvothe can play names (probably in his spinning leaf state of mind), so he can probably be a singer, as well. How long have the Singers been around, and are they in the human or fae world?
Sim Tambem
70. Daedos
@68 - I'd forgotten about that, but it fits right in with the Chandrian being fae. It could be a curse thing, too, but fae makes more sense to me (Who would have cursed them all? Did it all happen at the same time, or over centuries? How long have they been the 'Chandrian'?

The King Killer Chronicle - Wikipedia says

"According to legend among the Adem, there was once an empire of seven cities and one city. The seven fell and their names were lost. The one was also destroyed but its name remains, Tariniel (or Myr Tariniel). Theempire had a great enemy that poisoned seven to betray the cities that trusted them."

Is this accurate? I don't have the second book and can't remember if this is specifically said. If so, their curses might have something to do with the poison.
- -
71. hex

this is the quote, Shehyn speaking to Vashet and Kvothe:

“In the empire there were seven cities and one city. The names of the seven cities are forgotten, for they are fallen to treachery and destroyed by time. The one city was destroyed as well, but its name remains. It was called Tariniel.
“The empire had an enemy, as strength must have. But the enemy was not great enough to pull it down. Not by pulling or pushing was the enemy strong enough to drag it down. The enemy’s name is remembered, but it will wait.
“Since not by strength could the enemy win, he moved like a worm in fruit. The enemy was not of the Lethani. He poisoned seven others against the empire, and they forgot the Lethani. Six of them betrayed the cities that trusted them. Six cities fell and their names are forgotten. (WMF, c 128 Names)

I've always assumed the Chanrdian were a bit like Tolkien's Ring Wraiths, starting off as human, but corrupted into something inhuman.

An interesting thing that has caught me about this quote is that "the enemy" poisoned seven others, only six of whom betrayed their cities. This means that one was poisoned against the empire, forgot the Lethani, but did not betray his city.

The only way I can make sense of this math is that Haliax is the enemy, and he poisons the six other Chandrian and Selitos. While Selitos doesn't fall completely, this version of the story suggests that he was still tainted in some way.

...or am I making mountains from mole hills?
72. Herelle
I don´t know about mountains or mole hills, but there definitly is something mysterious about the number of the cities / Chandrian.
Remember, there were eight pictures on the pot in Trebon, one of them looking like a Ciridae. That could be the opponent of the Chandrian, the one that was tainted but did not betray - Selitos One Eye?
There we find a crossroads with the Lethani and the Greater Good, too. I think we all agree, that the "greater good" and unquestionable actions are creepy at least. Maybe that´s the parallel to being tainted (not Lethani anymore) but still opposing the Chandrian?
73. Herelle
"The enemy was not of the Lethani. He poisoned seven others against the empire, and they forgot the Lethani. Six of them betrayed the cities that trusted them. Six cities fell and their names are forgotten. (WMF, c 128 Names) " An interesting thing that has caught me about this quote is that "the enemy" poisoned seven others, only six of whom betrayed their cities. This means that one was poisoned against the empire, forgot the Lethani, but did not betray his city. The only way I can make sense of this math is that Haliax is the enemy, and he poisons the six other Chandrian and Selitos.
But then again, Halix himself was betrayed, at least that was what he told Selitos. We know he talked to the Chteah before he did what he did. So, is the Chteah the enemy?
Dave West
74. Jhirrad
@60 - In re point 3 - I don't know who it is that Kvothe kills, but I'm not sure that it's Sim. So many people have pointed to him as the poet and king, but people missed a reference in WMF talking about another poet-king. In Ch. 113, for those on the Kindle, I'm looking at location 14719, Vashet mentions how she spent four years as bodyguard to a poet in the Small Kingdoms, who also happened to be king. As soon as I read this on my linguistics re-read, it seemed to pop out to me as the person that would fit the bill for what we've been looking for. Kvothe is tied to Vashet as student to teacher, and if something were to happen between that king and Vashet, I feel like Kvothe would step in and act. It's actually something I wanted to bring up for a couple of weeks here, but hadn't found the right way to work it into the thread. This seems like a good one. :)
Sim Tambem
75. Daedos
(clarity edit)

@73 - "We know he talked to the Chteah before he did what he did. So, is the Chteah the enemy?"


I think you have it.

@74 Sim may like poetry, and even be decent off the cuff with it, but he isn't really a poet. Also, it is pretty unlikely that he will ever be king of anything. Nice catch - I can't believe I missed that one. It does seem pretty likely that Vashet's poet/king could be the poet king we've been discussing.
76. Sojka
@ 70 & 71

We've been assuming that the Ctheah isn't of the Lethani, and may not have always been tied to the tree. If that is correct, he (it?) may be the one who poisoned the betrayers' minds. It certainly seems to have alot of experience with that.
Ashley Fox
77. A Fox
Piecing together the bits of story we have, and reading between the lines of them, I dont think the Cteath is 'the enemy'. I think it is Iax.

The old folk in the stories are not human, they created humans and fae. They are 'others' who held the powers of Shaping, Naming and Knowing. Fae and humans inherited these powers, but seemingly on a lesser scale.

Great cities and wonders were shaped and all lived in relative harmony. Or at least had a good time.

There was a difference in opinion/morals concerning shaping. Shapers vs Knowers.

Iax (one of the three greatest shapers) created Faen. Either as a refuge or as a prison for the fae. Imo refuge is more likely.

The Creation war. It seems that the Seven cities want to put all the Fae in Faen, and the Fae fight back with Iax as the leader. (It seems that the creation of Faen itself is what sprks the war, perhaps making the 7C'c want to lock away the said Shapers and their creations)

The battle of Drossen Tor. Lanre defeats Iax, locking him beyound the doors of stone. Likely to be the ring of waystones. Lanre dies in the process, Lyra calls him back from beyound the four doors and death.

The MYSTERY. Some sort of magical who ha. Iax steals Lyra/moon as revenge/way to keep Faen from being completely closed off.

Lanre gets depressed. Goes to Faen in search of Lyra. Meets the Ctheath, has a change of heart, is convinced that all he had fought for is worthless, that thos left in the 'world' do not deserve it etc. Wants Lyra back, needs to destroy 'the world' to achieve this. Which world is unclear, or whether it actually means the world as it is, as in reuniting it and Faen.

Lanre becomes Haliax. 'Poisens' 7 others with is new view. 6 betrays their cities and become the Chandrian. Haliax meets/poisens Selitos. Selitos curses him, becomes the first Ciradae.

Aftermath of war, the 'Others' and the Ruarch/humans all go to Tinue, the free city. Likely Tehlu's city, who is likely a Lockless. (The Lockless continue in this area, expanding and contracting under the various powers that rise and fall as follows)

A bloke (who may or may not be God) called Aelph shows up. Through his actions splits the survivors into three groups. The big magical transformation of Tehlu and co into Singers (or Angels), Selitos and Co choose to become Amyr (faults of greater good very much showing signs of the poisen). The Ruarch some follow the Singers, poss Edema Ruh, some the Amyr poss Adem, and some are afraid of great matters and become the general populance.

((This realy is supposition; not all those of the cities inc Ruarch would suddenly have wanted the Fae out, after all there had been a lot of interaction, coexistance and all had enjoyed the earlier shaped wonders. I like to think of them as conscientious objectors, who went to Yll. Kept relations with Fae friendly.))

Likely that some few of these survivors go back to the ruins of one of the cities. Survivors that know of the great magics that were weided and found the very begining of the university.

A Dark Age falls on the land. As in Ks time there are not a whole buch of ancient beings wondering around, and by the fact they felt the need to create all these Fae and Ruarch, its a safe assumtion that the 'others' were not very fertile, that there werent that many of them. Less wonders, less tech etc.

Haliax does something terrible that Tehlu Singer whitnessess so lays the smack down on him. Kills him in front of lots of whitnesses, likely involving fire and iron. Except that Haliax cannot die.

From the whitnesses, who have seen magical stuff going down, when it just isnt that common anymore, of course start jumping to Godly conclusions and found the Tehlin church. Meanwhile the Amyr, who want revenge on Haliax, hear/also whitness ths event and get involed. The Amyr become part of the Tehlin Church.


The Tehlin Church and Artur rise in power so tag team to take over the four corners. The Amyr (Selitos as Ciradae) use this to quitely do clean up of the Creation War, using the Tehlin Church to brand Fae as demons, teaching them the true ways of killing them, and to continue the hunt for the chandrian. (It would also be of the greater good to keep folk in ignorance in case they got any, you know, ideas)

The power of the Tehlin Church grows beyound that of the Amyr; they fall into disgrace. But possibly manage the downfall of Arturun Empire, which in turn lessens the power of the church. I have an inkling the burning of Calputina happens here, but who knows?


A mini dark age ensues, or perhaps more of a slump in civilisation. The countries we recognise from K's time rise up to fill in the gaps. Things settle into what we are familiar with.

Well I think thats a reasonable timeline......
Ian B
78. Greyfalconway
I just caught a thing I'm not sure has been theorized about, when Kvothe meets Denna at the Eolian for the first time (I believe) they say something along the lines of "travel across the world and bring you a flower from the singing tree" or some such. Perhaps this is another tree like the one the Ctheah lives in? And since it mentions singing, and he has yet to visit the Singers that're far away, perhaps he goes there in the next book and thats how they are great healers (if I'm recalling that tidbit correctly) and gets one of those magic flowers, and maybe, its how he saves himself from the Ctheahs influence, since I seem to remember that they cured all or something. Sorry for the befuddled sounding post!
Sim Tambem
79. Daedos
@77 - "I don't think the Cteath is 'the enemy'. I think it is Iax." & "Lanre becomes Haliax. 'Poisens' 7 others with is new view. 6 betrays their cities and become the Chandrian. Haliax meets/poisons Selitos. Selitos curses him, becomes the first Ciradae.

According to the Adem, the enemy is the one who poisoned the seven. If Iax is the enemy, then he would have been the one to poison them, not Lanre (Haliax). It is possible that Lanre (Haliax) is Iax/Jax. He was extremely powerful when he confronted Selitos (may have somehow gained the powers of a Shaper). Then again, it sounds like Lanre is one of the seven (maybe the one who didn't betray his city?).
I don't know if the Cthaeh (sp) is really the enemy, but it does seem to poison people's minds.
Ashley Fox
80. A Fox
More a typing eror of mine. Lanre was one of the 8 poisened, who then became Haliax and part of the chandrian.

Lanre/Haliax is not Iax. He is/was the enemy of Iax. In the the story of Lanre Selitos mentions Lyra and Haliax as as powerful as he.

Of course this doesnt mean im correct on who the enemy is.

@78 Ive speculated o the sining trees also. Im not convinced that it is the same tree as the Ctheaths tho. Still three magical trees; one that binds, one that sings and one that cuts to the heart of things. Theres certainly something there....

You could also argue that the three groups from yore correspond with those principles; amyr bound by vengence, Singers/Edema ruh who sing, the Adem who use the Lethani and are mercenary.
Ashley Fox
81. A Fox
More a typing eror of mine. Lanre was one of the 8 poisened, who then became Haliax and part of the chandrian.

Lanre/Haliax is not Iax. He is/was the enemy of Iax. In the the story of Lanre Selitos mentions Lyra and Haliax as as powerful as he.

Of course this doesnt mean im correct on who the enemy is.

@78 Ive speculated o the sining trees also. Im not convinced that it is the same tree as the Ctheaths tho. Still three magical trees; one that binds, one that sings and one that cuts to the heart of things. Theres certainly something there....

You could also argue that the three groups from yore correspond with those principles; amyr bound by vengence, Singers/Edema ruh who sing, the Adem who use the Lethani and are mercenary.
Daniel Hoagland
82. danielrixy
what if the cthaeh led lanre to iax, who then possessed him? that would explain lanre's sudden about face and the new name "haliax" could mean something along the lines of "controlled by iax".

perhaps iax was rendered bodiless at some point during the war?
83. HagbardCeline
Seatholoi sounds like a softer accented version of Selitos to me.
Ben Finkel
84. DangerZone
Hmm, couple of thoughts before I move onto WMF.

1) I remain convinced that Kote's story in the frame is mis-leading or outright fabricated in many ways. He's expressed an affinity for stretching the truth (or abandoning it altogether) in the interest of a good story many times. He's been called out on it at least once (Denna's crooked nose).

2) I'm going to go out on a limb and say that he DOESN'T kill a king, at least not outright. As someone has already pointed out, his most famous deeds are sort of mis-attributed to him. He didn't burn down Trebon, and he's not truly bloodless, and he wasn't really expelled from the University. I bet the King thing ends up being similar.

3) Sympathy in the frame - Doesn't he use Sympathy to trick the locals into thinking the scraeling is a demon when he touches the iron drab to it? Also the bottles breaking behind him seemed like Sympathy. As far as people not using Sympathy in the frame he explained it well during his explanation of Sympathy. It's complicated and inefficient and at the end of the day usually easier to do things the "old-fasioned" way. Also, it's important to note that Sympathy is not magic, at least not in this universe. It's just another explainable property of the world.

4) @61 - I agree that he's kind of a jerk of a friend. In fact, he's fairly thoughtless and reckless all around. I believe this is an important part of Rothfuss' charactarization of Kvothe. It seems like he's an all-knowing, better-than-everyone, clever hero... but there are serious flaws. All of the masters of the University see it right away and we as the readers are expected to notice it as well. His impatience and impulsiveness, the fight with Meluan and The Maer, yelling at Denna...When he taunts Ambrose with that nonsense about selling his lottery spot we feel kind of good for him, but it's patently clear he's being childish and reckless.

It's Rothfuss' way of subverting the archetype that Kvothe otherwise falls into. The tragic flaw in one sense.

5) @44 - Bast speaking an "entreaty" to the lock sounds suspiciously like the guy in the Jax story "asking" the knot to untie itself. A different form of magic?

6) I believe at this point we've decided that Music must be some sort of magic, although whether it's related to naming or not is up in the air. I know Rothfuss has indicated that there is more types of magic to be learned about (one mentioned breifly, another not shown at all).

What if storytelling/acting/lying is a type of magic? Kvothe seems preternaturally good and becoming whatever he needs to become in order to get his way. He explains it as rather mechanical (setting his shoulders a certain way, using the right accent, etc...) but it seems to go beyond that. If so, what potential outcomes are there from him relating his story out-loud to Chronicler, and does this help explain why Bast is excited about the story? (We are what we seem to be he says).
85. Nameless
The first key to understand Bast's motivation is the meaning of the word Reshi. The second key is the source for the interest he has for the real Kvothe. The third key is the period of Kvothe life they spent together.

We know that Bast is the Prince of Twilight. And we do know that K. probably has not taken the contracepive plant he later depends on prior to his first meeting with the Lady of Twilight. Noway that he got supplies of this plant during his time in Fae. So as already discussed Father may be one translation. So possibly somewhere in DT the lost son turns up and becomes an apprentice of his father.

If we stick to what we know there is actually only one Fae around in the story at the moment, an she is deeply affected to K. We also know that the Lady of Twilight can be quite ruthless when she pursues an aim. I wondered if Fae actually have a fixed gender, as Bast actually behaves like a male version of Felurian. But maybe the son comes after his mother.

Unless DT contains lots of plot that is not hinted to in the first two volumns, or Bast already appeared in disguise, these are the only resonable explaination I see for the close relationship between the two of them.
86. Fionixx
Regarding the strawberry wine being sympathy, I disagree. What would his link be? I don’t see it. Especially when people are in danger and he can’t make it work at all. Sympathy requires a level of mental will, it’s something we’ve seen Kvothe do by putting himself into heart of stone in order to muster the necessary concentration—it’s not a spontaneous, emotion laden thing.

Naming is the wild, emotional magic.

What if what’s happened to Kvothe’s abilities in this frame is that at some time in the past, in wanting to ‘silence’ someone, he called the name of silence. That would explain why all the silences described are wrapped within his silence. It’s not complete silence, but it is a profound and pervasive silence that touches almost every aspect of his life. Remember how he was after he called the name of the wind? Not himself, addled, confused. If he has called the name of silence, he has perhaps been able to mitigate its effect on his mind but not entirely. It’s still there and he can’t make it completely subside.

In that passage on p49 of NW, silence figures in both before an after the bottle bursting. It’s also interesting that Chronicler is interrupted in talking about ‘her’ and there is strange, seemingly significant imagery:

“They say she—“ Chronicler’s words stuck in his suddenly dry throat as the room grew unnaturally quiet. (Doesn’t that sound like he was silenced??) Kote stood with his back to the room, a stillness in his body and a terrible silence clenched between his teeth. His right hand, tangled in a clean white cloth, made a slow fist.

Eight inches away a bottle shattered. The smell of strawberries filled the air alongside the sound of splintering glass. A small noise inside so great a stillness, but it was enough. Enough to break the silence into small, sharp slivers.

Later, K puts the bottles that had been sprayed with strawberry wine on the bar between himself and Chronicler ‘as if they might defend him’. In another moment of wild speculation, I think it’s also possible that when the wine bottle broke, he called either D’s name or the name of ‘strawberry wine’.

According to Elodin, our names are so complex as to contain every facet of ourselves, in which case, D’s name would also contain something to the effect of ‘she whom I love (and probably lost) who loves strawberry wine’ or ‘strawberry wine that has brought me pain so many times’. Would calling a second name (D or strawberry wine) be powerful enough to displace the silence a bit, ‘break’ it into ‘small, sharp slivers’? Would that also account for the glimpses of Kvothe we see thereafter and the fact that he is able to be Kvothe to such an extent that he can tell his story truly?
Kate Hunter
87. KateH
I was struck when reading this part by Chronicler's reaction to the skindancer. The moment Chr laid eyes on Bast, he knew what Bast was. Chr is a namer, and namers can see what's actually in front of them. It took him no time at all to see Bast as he truly is. But Chr is so clueless about the skindancer that he pulls the sword and tries to confront it. This seems odd to me. Granted the physical thing there is a human body in front of Chr. But namers are meant to see *into* things, and Chr so obviously does not in this case. Further, Chr not only saw, but *knew* Bast for a Fae, and knew what to do about it (bind with iron.) He shows absolutely no such knowledge or ability in this scene, even though he's ready and willing to threaten the skindancer. Brave and clueless.

Anyone else find this interesting?
Steven Halter
88. stevenhalter
KateH@87:That is interesting. It could be that Chron was stressed and didn't use his sleeping mind with the Dancer or it could be that there is something about the Dancer that defeats casual naming or something else entirely of course. But, it is interesting now that you point it out.
thistle pong
89. thistlepong
Devan's response to Bast was essentially ignorant and dangerous, wasn't it? Kote admonished him for trying it. It's impressive that he recognized a glamour, but perhaps the meatsack was enough to throw off his, by his own admission limited, nsming ability.
90. Berndrew
I'm reading the books a second time and am really enjoying this reread. Thanks.
One thing that struck me as odd at the end of NotW is that Rothfuss refers to Kvothe as "Kvothe" when he was in the bar playing the part of innkeeper --- whereas in the beginning of the book - Rothfuss always talked about what "Kote" did, said, etc. when Kvothe was playing the part of innkeeper. Why is this? Was Rothfuss getting sloppy at the end of the book? Was this a mistake? Or is this very intentional in some way for some reason?
91. jimmythefly
So late to this but a coupel of notes (from memory) that might be worth following up on at some point:

1. After they are interrupted by the skinchanger, they begin to get back to the story. Bast says something like "I want to hear more about the underthing" and K says something along the lines of "I'll bet you would". Not an exact quote -but the gist of it I got was clearly this is some sort of inside joke (that Chronicler is not in on yet) about Bast and the Underthing. Like at some point Bast is in the underthing, or already knows about things hidden there we learn of later or ?

2. Again from memory so go easy on me. But at some point after the skinchanger scene, Bast is talking (to Chronicler in his room maybe?) and says something about the Mael that clearly seems to contradict what he said earlier to K. about them not being his kind or living far away from his realm. Sorry don't have it in front of me.

3. In the frame Bast and I think at least one other character reference "the ever-changing moon" at least once, maybe twice. This is evidence that the moon is still OK in the frame story, maybe?
92. highwaycrossingfrog
The final lines of chapter 88 interest me:

""Underneath the University , I found what I had wanted most, yet it was not what I expected.” He motioned for Chronicler to pick up his pen. “As is often the case when you gain your heart’s desire.""

So Kvothe found his "heart's desire" in the Underthing. It is reasonable to assume that this is access to the Archives, since he has been hoping to get back into them for most of his time at the University, and the subsequent chapters show him finding a secret entrance to them through the Underthing. But how were they not what he expected? Because of the classification wars and the lack of info about the Chandrian and Amyr? Or in another way? Or did he perhaps find something else under there which was his true heart's desire and this is some clever misdirection by association?

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