Thu
Aug 18 2011 2:23pm

Rothfuss Reread: Speculative Summary 3: “Fire, Thunder, Broken Tree.” Speculations on Kvothe

Patrick Rothfuss Reread on Tor.com

Welcome to the third of the speculative summation posts I’m going to be doing in between volumes of my unnecessarily detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. Three weeks ago we finished The Name of the Wind, and after we’ve summed up some of the speculation we’ll be moving on to The Wise Man’s Fear — but 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.

Kote of the frame is different from the Kvothe of the first person narration, and the possible reasons for the difference are really interesting. We have several conflicting theories.

 

Broken Alar

K has broken his alar — which was like a bar of Ramston steel, “the best knife you’ll ever have until it breaks.” Or, he has used his alar against itself — here’s Freelancer:

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

and Bephers:

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

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

Perhaps, if Kvothe is maintaing himself as Kote through splitting his Alar (Ramston steel or not), he has hidden his true self so well that he until he truly asks Kote for it, he cannot get it back?

So by the Alar explanation, either he has broken his alar, or he is using his alar, in other words using Sympathy, to hide part of himself from the rest of himself.

 

Name Change

K has changed his name to Kote, which means “disaster,” making himself lesser and different to utterly disguise himself. This fits with what Elodin says about name changing at the end of WMF.

Artful Magpie sums this one up well:

Kvothe changed his true name, perhaps in remorse for something he’d done? His memories wouldn’t change, and some of his very basic abilities might still be there, like the ability to fight the scraelings. (Anyone who is reasonably athletic and has the necessary knowledge might well be able to beat up monsters with a bar of iron, after all. ) But the essence of what made him so remarkable would be different or gone. None of the magic. None of the music. None of the Adem fighting skills.

The “essence of what made him so remarkable,” yes. If this is what he has done, Bast doesn’t know or doesn’t understand, because Bast is trying to jerk him awake. (Bast thinks he’s becoming what he seems.)

Jon D says:

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

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

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

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

And Smileyman:

The discussion about Naming Kvothe to wake him out of his fugue in Tarbean is a direct line to his current disguise as Kote. Remember the alarm about changing Names? What if, instead of Kvothe using his alar to hide himself, he’s actually re-Named himself Kote? That way he still has the memories of being Kvothe (thus being able to tell Chronicler his story), but the aura or personality of Kvothe isn’t his.

This all fits really well, and it’s the explanation I’m inclined to believe.

 

In the Box

But what I really believe is this variant. Part of his name, the V and the H, are shut in the Thrice Locked Chest, the way part of the moon’s name was shut in Jax’s box.

He has shut part of his name (the V and the H) in his Thrice Locked Box, where he can’t get at it. When he’s trying to open it he reminds me of somebody I know who really wanted to give up smoking so he put all his cigarettes in a plastic bag and froze that in the middle of a really big block of ice. The idea was that he’d weaken and get it out of the freezer, but he’d remember his resolution before it melted and put it back. This worked for a long time, but eventually he went at it with a blowtorch... and I think this is what K will do. Maybe not with a blowtorch. But the way he is with that chest is really really similar.

I like this because it allows for the possibility of eucatastrophe. I also think there may be hope in the bottom of the box. But I am just a cheerful positive person.

 

Gates

Something very weird happened to K after the Chandrian killed the troupe, he slept and woke changed, and was changed all through Trebon until Skarpi woke him.

He wasn’t himself — he says he wasn’t himself, and this is also what has happened to him in the frame.

This is Susan Loyal’s awesome theory, laid out here in detail:

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

This is what happened in Tarbean, and it’s the same thing that has happend in the frame — music and magic (and now Adem fighting) shut away behind the gates in his sleeping mind.

We know there are four gates, and we know there are four plates in the four plate door. We know the curse on Lanre/Haliax is that he can’t use those gates. K doesn’t seem to sleep, in the frame....

 

Hiding

K hasn’t lost anything, he’s just hiding his abilities really really well, hiding by becoming somebody else. This is BAM’s summation of this:

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

Which would be fine, except that he takes that one perfect step at the end of WMF, and then there’s killing the scrael, and singing Tinker Tanner.

Mknecht01 says:

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

The problem with this theory is that he doesn’t let the soldiers beat him up, he’s surprised when his move doesn’t work. And the same seems to be the case with the alar and the skinchanger. If he was just hiding, and breaking character as often as he does, he’d really break character. There’s something more wrong than this, I think.

 

The Waystone

Maltheos suggests:

Another thing I have noticed Kvothe can fight. Kote cannot — this may be more significant than it sounds. When K is Kote — he cannot fight, has no magic, etc. When K is more like Kvothe — in the wild — taking action and initiative, he can fight. Thus the scrael fight being quite doable, but other fights/ tale spinning/etc within the inn where he is Kote, not doable. I wonder if he would be able to open the box when he is outside the inn and is (more) Kvothe.

It might be something in the inn itself that makes him Kote, and hidden. And the inn is of course by a Greystone.

Smileyman also thinks this:

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

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

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

This is an intriguing thought.

 

K vs K

(This subtitle is a reference to a long running controversy about the end of Dorothy Dunnett’s Pawn in Frankincense.)

I want to sum up what the differences are, for the benefit of further speculation.

In the frame we never see K make music, apart from singing Tinker, Tanner. We never see his lute. We never see him sleep. We never see him do Sympathy, and we never see anybody else do Sympathy either, though we don’t know if Bast or Chronicler can. (We do see Chronicler use the Name of Iron and Bast do some Fae healing.) We see K try to do Sympathy and it not work, with the skinchanger or whatever it is. We do not see him use Adem fighting, except possibly that one perfect step, and though he has an Adem sword it is not Caesura. Also, when he tries it he fails.

We know he has killed a king. We also think something he has done has broken the moon — I mean broken the moon more, but I feel this more as a hunch than anything real. There is moonlight in the frame. There is no Denna, and there’s no sign of Wil or Sim or any of his other friends, only Bast, who has his own agenda that’s quite different from K’s. And we don’t know what Skarpi and Chronicler really are, or what their agenda is, or whose side they are on. It has been suggested by AO and by Arra that K could be setting a trap in the frame, and that the whole story is part of the trap. There has to be a whole lot of frame action in DT. And I’m just going to have to wait for it.


Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

105 comments
Sim Tambem
1. Daedos
“I almost forgot who I was”

Could this be Kote admitting that he almost reverted to Kvothe and had to catch himself (hold back and accept a brutal thrashing)? Maybe he was just doing what he thought an innkeeper (his character) would do. And his character would lose in a fight against two large soldiers.

I'm going to go back and check out that scene. More later.
Sim Tambem
2. Daedos
“Still, I’ve had worse. Besides, they reminded me of something I was close to forgetting. I should probably thank them for that.”

So, does he mean he almost broke character and he should thank them for helping remind him he needs to be more careful (in the last two days, two people have recognized/found him), or is he implying that he was beginning to think of himself as someone he can no longer be (as Kvothe instead of Kote).

My guess is that either Jo is right, and part of his name is locked in the thrice locked chest, or that it is the former, and Kvothe is trying very hard to act the part of an inconspicuous innkeeper. This scene could just be an attempt to shut up Bast (he literally says as much in the chapter). Let's all remember who we're dealing with here - Kvothe is not only a genius, but Edema Rhu "to his bones" - he is a very skilled, dedicated, and motivated actor. He doesn't want to be found.

I'm not sure which it is, but I'm anxious to find out.
Skip Ives
3. Skip
I think it is some part of each, I think he is broken and is hiding. How much of the broken part of him is his own doing, how much is the namer in him, and how much was done to him, I don't think we know right now.

We really need a name for The Namer too. He isn't the conscious Kvothe, he only comes out when Kvothe needs him. We see him much more in WMF, but I could see him letting Kvothe heal by being Kote.

I would like to see him regain his powers. I’m thinking “Hello, my name is Kvothe, you killed my Father (and Mother). Prepare to die.”
C Smith
4. C12VT
Mknecht01 says:From the perspective of two books in, it seems in these early chapters as though Kote is doing a lot of “forgetting who he is for a moment.” He jumps in with the rhyme about the tinker, he’s thinking out loud about the scraeling when Carter brings it in, he’s humming to himself without realizing while cleaning bottles, though he “would have stopped himself if he had known.” He’s become a little too complacent in the character he’s been playing for the last year or so?




It occurs to me that these moments when he "breaks character" require something like the "spinning leaf" state to occur - the inattention, the lack of trying, doing without thinking. Connecting with the part of him that is Kvothe is like finding a name - he may not be able to do it consciously.

The closest he comes to using his powers is when he breaks the strawberry wine (I think this may be sympathy, though it isn't clear, there could be a mundane explanation). This is a moment of sudden high emotion - like when Ambrose breaks his lute - and K's reaction is instinctual rather than rational. The other times he attempts to use his Kvothe-powers it's more of a conscious choice, and he fails.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
C12V@4:I like the idea that Kote can approach Kvothe when Kote almost enters the spining leaf state (SLS).
If the SLS is when a person is able to grasp the names of things then Kote in SLS could conceivably grasp his own full name. I think that Kote fails to quite enter that state because Kote is an incomplete version. The full name of Kvothe is locked in the
Thrice Locked Chest in a very real sense. Thus, even in SLS there is no name that corresponds to "Kvothe" for Kote to grasp.
Jnai
6. Jnai
Kvothe being locked in the chest seems a little bit like the wacky theory where Marcellus Wallace's soul being in the Pulp Fiction briefcase to me.

But, I guess it's fantasy, and stranger things have happened. =)
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
Jax's locking part the name of the moon away is presented as at least part of the reason for the moon traveling between Fae and human world. This also supplies us with the knowledge that locking parts of names in boxes is an ability in this world.
So, part of Kvothe's name could be locked away and the most likely place seems to be the Thrice Locked Chest.
There could be a number of reasons for part of his name to be locked away--hiding, separation of powers, ...
We also see (or hear) a number of people in the Rookery who have been driven mad in some fashion. Partly this could be from the rigours of Alar and also partly from name modification/loss.
Also, we have the four plate door--a portal that quite possibly leads to another pocket universe. It is hinted that once a student progresses far enough, they are allowed to venture past the four plate door.
A possible (i.e. speculative) reason for voluntarily putting your name in the box is to create an anchor that will draw you back from the world beyond the four plate door. You put your name in the box, go through the door, encounter whatever is beyond, return to where your name is and get reunited--all safe and sound. This scenario gives a few speculative possibilities:
1) In Kote's case, something goes wrong to prevent the reunification. He has to flee the university and manages to take
the chest but can't unlock it himself. In this case, the frame world is the same as the university world but bad things have happened--possibly he lets something out of the four plate door.
2) Kote goes through the rite but doesn't manage to reunite with his name. This lands him in the Rookery. So, in the frame story he is really sitting in a room in the Rookery and everything is taking place in Kote's mind. Chronicler and Bast are possibly therapists or self delusions. This actually explains some of the oddness of the frame story. It also makes for an interesting psychological novel.
3) The frame story is occuring beyond the four plate door. Kote can't get out because someone tosses the chest in after him or the chest contains what he needs to get out and he can't figure out how to open it. He doesn't realize he is being tested through Alar hiding or name loss.
Rowan Shepard
8. Rowanmdm3
@3 Skip That line topped Captain Jack singing "The Doctor and I" for the best thing I've hear all day :)

There is so much we don't know about K and how he got to this state, and I agree with Jo that there must be a LOT of frame action in DT, or Rothfuss is going to do something quite daring and NOT resolve everything.
Jnai
9. Foxed
I think I can explain everything. YOU'RE ALL RIGHT.

So, Kvothe went into hiding for killing a king. He decided to split his mind into two pieces. So far, so good for one theory. Basically, he split Heart of Stone, Falling Leaf (or Lethani, which is why he can't fight like an Adem), and his alar from his memory and identity. He then adopts the name Kote.

But there's a problem. He is divided into Kvothe (his alar and other mindsets) and another part. The other part... got Named.

Much like connecting the breath in his lungs to the wind was reckless as a boy, splitting off Kvothe and naming the other part of his mind was reckless.

Bast realizes this, or part of this. Bast doesn't know how broken Kvothe is. Kvothe is becoming what he seems, becoming Kote. This is because Kote gains strength from use. I don't think it was an instantaneous Naming. I think it happened over time. This is why Bast thinks he can shock Kvothe awake by playing with Kote.

Needless to say... his alar was so strong to accomplish this that sealing itself off broke it... or the accidental reName did.

Finally, the chest. I know what's inside. Kvothe has created a sympathetic connection between the Kvothe part of his mind and an object. This object will restore Kvothe to Kote by its very nature and the sympathetic connection that lies in K's sleeping mind.

It's his lute. He will open the box, play the lute, and become himself again.

And the inn will no longer be silent.

Ladies and gentlemen?

BAM.
Jnai
10. BP
Not sure I agree with any of this.
1) Kvothe is not and never was a great warrior. His story of himself was that he was. He was a barely ok fighter who spent a few months training. In what alternate reality does this make him a good fighter? Why would he be able to beat a couple mercenaries--only because he confuses the story of himself (the great fighter) with the reality
-he is not the greatest namer
-he is not the greatest user of Alar
-he is not a great fighter
He is a great musician. If anything is lost or gone, it is both his confidence, and his music.
2) The story is about confidence: he had it, abused it, and lost it.
3) No need for a box with his name locked up. The Iax/Jax story has a house as the realm of faerie, why take the box literally?

Kvothe is a man who killed someone he loved, opened up a portal to some bad parts of Faerie, started a war, and in all likelihood started an anti-Ruh pogrom...and he is supposed to be who he was. How? Why?
Jnai
11. Jeff R.
Question: Did any of Bast's proposed methods for opening the Chest involve sympathy? I can't recall at this point. But my main idea that he didn't mention would, using a sympathetic link to heat the air inside the chest and thus increase it's pressure until something gives.

Because the end of WMF shows us that he really can't open the box with the keys without first becoming himself, so he's going to need to come up with some way to cheat it open...
Jnai
12. Sojka
My fave K theory so far is still that he somehow became the king of Vintas, faked his own murder which got blamed on Kvothe and is now hiding out as Kote (thus starting the civil war between the Maer's court and the House of Jakis.) Of course, what I like about this theory is the situational irony that would happen when the soldiers beating him up call themselves "the king's own men."
Jnai
13. Livs
Mkay, new at this. I think something bad happened with the Four-Plate Door. I forget if we know the literal translation of El'the, but that probably has to do with the door as well. I think the weird locks open when Kvothe obtains the rings of the Flame, Air, Ice, and Stone mentioned in the rhyme the smith's apprentice recited. Someone had mentioned that Lorren could be mad not because the candle was near the books, but that it was near the door? I like it and I think it fits.

Also, I think K died and came back from the dead. We've never seen him sleep. He hasn't forgotten any information, but he has forgotten himself plenty of times. This would fit with the name-change theory as well. I also believe he locked part of his name in the box, the parts that Name (and make music), do Sympathy, and fight. I think his reason for this is that he's desperately trying not to turn into Haliax, but the temptation is there because he misses those parts of himself so terribly.

Also Iax = Haliax? The names sure are similar. That's not really based on anything but the similarities in the names though.

That's all for now!
Jnai
14. Livs
Sorry to double post...but at BP, since the Adem's training is so ridiculously intense and their standards are insanely high, Kvothe didn't need to be anything better than okay to be an awesome fighter to the rest of the world. So because he learned from the Adem he probably was a good fighter to anyone not of the Adem.
Jnai
15. Halcyal
Inconsistency. It's all inconsistency, and that's what makes it interesting.

K is in silence. Music? Ah, but of course we know that there is no music, even though it is perhaps one of the most important things in the world to K; and, while he begins to unconsciously hum while he works, we are told that he would have stopped it if he had realized what he was doing. The implications here are that some predisposition against music is in place (internally imposed, at the very least), and yet we clearly see that it’s possibility, and that K’s inclination towards it--capacity and proclivity, yet non-extinguished at some level--still exist. The main conclusion must therefore be that the absence of music at the Waystone is the result of K’s active choice, and not purely a disability, otherwise there would be no music at all, and K wouldn’t be inclined to stop it if he discovered it creeping out. Still, the silence is almost given a kind of material, restrictive force in many scenes, and that almost gives it a feeling of being a physically manifest factor, or at least more than just a piece of a cover act.

Another point? K reactively tries to use sympathy and is surprised when it fails. An acting K would have been irked that he had slipped in his performance. An especially smooth acting K would have adopted a look of confusion, or something similarly suitable, to suggest that the lamp throwing had been the reactive action of a beset innkeeper who hadn't really thought the whole thing out in his distress and haste. An acting K really would have had no reason to look surprised by a failed sympathy attempt. Only a K genuinely making the attempt with some expectation of it working (even in a reactive, subconscious sense) would evince surprise as natural response to failure. The main implication here is thus outright incapacity of a kind that K is not entirely accustomed to yet. The bottle of Strawberry Wine exploding in his hand, of course, suggests the exact opposite.

What else…. Ah yes, the fighting scene with the mercenaries. It is, in fact, very similar to the sympathy attempt. K's natural response to the attack is to instantly begin a counter-move, which utterly fails, leaving K surprised. The same arguments reapply, here as before. An acting K who nearly slipped up in his preformance shouldn’t have looked surprised, and therefore the implication is that the failure of the counter attack was genuine and not something that K is naturally accustomed to. K, as he discovers, is not an Adem fighter, and he is not used to that fact. The scene is very much delivered as an outward expression of disability. Of course, K then ends the second novel by making one perfect step, which is nothing if not a decisive statement that K does in fact have command of the Adem fighting arts. (I pause here and ask: Does anyone actually suppose that a writer like Mr. Rothfuss, who spent nearly a quarter of the second book exposing us to the Adem, for whom the highest form of their exulted martial ways could be found in their School Master, sparing with perfectly efficient and precise technique, would use that kind of language for one of the novel's closing lines without having very clear intent?)

We scratch at the more obvious stuff. Nevertheless, ergo contradictions. They abound; abound in broad spaces and subtle seams. Indeed, the very story K is telling us, and the way that K is telling it, is a testament to the presence of the genuine article; to Kovthe extant. No mere, unremarkable innkeeper spins such a tale so authoritatively, carefully and deliberately. Edma Ruh and Kovthe are in the mix, at least, they are by every indication; at least, so long as young Kvothe’s tale is being told. The only thing that I think can be said for sure, as such, is that, whatever is producing Kote, some part of Kvothe is still managing to slip through the cracks, and the state of the two don't quite seem to be cohering. That is why seeing the mechanism that Mr. Rothfuss has devised to knit the mystery together, small, quarrelsome disagreements and all, is one of the things that I am most looking forward to in the third installment of the series.

As a related note: Given my above thoughts, I think that Skip @ 3 has the right of it, if not in exact detail (we won't be sure of that until Day Three, although Skip's is a compelling notion), then in form at the very least.
Jnai
16. Marc Edric
Pure Speculation

So where is D in the Frame Story?
If D is the moon and her name was in the Box.
Wouldn't Kvothe try to set her free and release her name.
If Kvothe had to kill her Patron (Angel or King?) in the process. Perhaps he hid his name in the box to hide from the repercussions.
In the hiding of his name he lost most of his abilities.

With the moon whole again and always in the sky, this brings the world of the FAE and the other world back together.
This would release all of the FAE creatures into the frame world causing the mess that we see with scraelings etc.
Jnai
17. beerofthedark
With apologies if someone has already posted this (I haven’t had a chance to read through the comments – but will as soon as I get a lunch break at work!), my partner and I have a theory about the frame story. It’s about why K is telling Chronicler his story. I think this is, at least in part, a beautiful game: the cleverest revenge he could get against the Chandrian if he can’t defeat them. He knows the power of stories, and has used it throughout his life (by his own account). People tell his tale; like Taborlin’s it is common knowledge, though distorted, even in the backwater he has retreated to. So he is giving Chronicler a story that will be told again and again. The life story of the most famous man of his age told by a master story teller of the Edema Ruh...And he has put everything he knows about the Chandrian into it: their signs, their names and every encounter he has had with them. We know they want to erase at least some aspects of their story (I’m assuming we’ll get more in the next book to explain what or why), so what better revenge can K have in his current circumstances than a story about them that they cannot kill off? Of course, this presumes Chronicler doesn’t get killed by them straight away. Given that they usually come to destroy anyone talking/singing/digging up things about them, there’s the possibility that this could be a trap where he wins either way. If they don’t come then chances are he injures and frustrates them with his story, if they do then maybe he is planning to fight/die trying to hurt them (a real gamble if he has lost his powers). Either way, this explains something odd. K is apparently lessened and chastened, having done something with terrible consequences for himself and the world. In those circumstances it’s an odd and reckless thing to tell this story which could draw the Chandrian and endanger the people he lives with. But we know this isn’t a spur of the moment decision, because he tried and failed to write a memoir. So, perhaps it is also the only revenge he thinks he can get . . .
Brad Bulger
18. tatere
Can anyone point to a post somewhere laying out why we should be sure that Kote and Kvothe really are the same person to begin with? That Kote isn't just lying (or badly confused), telling a story about someone else? Bast believes they are the same, but it wasn't clear to me when they met. I'm sure this must be a notion that's already been considered and dismissed, I'd just like to see the reasoning. I'm always suspicious of narrators...
Michael Durant
19. Foxed
I really disagree with the idea that part of Kvothe's name is in the thrice-locked chest. It seems fantastical in a world, shaedn notwithstanding, that goes to great lengths to ground its fantasy.

Magic? The rigorous physics of sympathy.

Dragons? Fire-breathing lizard cows.

Demons? Inhuman Fae creatures.

Angels? The Amyr, a secret and very real order.

In a world that takes away so much of the fantastic from its stories, why do we assume that Kvothe sealed his name in a box?

Let's look at The Faerie Tale (Heh, the tale of the creation of the Fae). It is a simplified telling of the creation war. Jax is Iax (is Haliax?), the leader of the Shapers. He built a house for the moon... a whole world, actually. Perhaps trapping it in a box is an allegory for learning the name of the moon. It is trapped... behind his gate of memory (which I think is just an expression, by the way).

But there is a physical Lockless Box. I know. And we don't know what is inside. My guess is that the Thrice-Locked Chest is inspired by the Lockless Box. Inside the Lockless Box is an object with a sympathetic connection to the moon. Inside Kvothe's chest is his lute. An object with a sympathetic connection to the part of him that was Kvothe Kingkiller.
Steven Halter
20. stevenhalter
Foxed@19:There are (at least) two forms of magic. There is the sympathy based Alar magic and then there is Naming magic. Both are noted by Kvothe as existing. He goes further to describe Naming magic:

What he had done afterward was different. He called the wind and the wind came. It was magic. Real magic. The sort of magic I’d heard about in stories of Taborlin the Great. The sort of magic I hadn’t believed in since I was six. Now I didn’t know what to believe.


We don't have a lot of firm details on what is possible with Naming magic. We have seen it effect the wind and stone. We have heard stories. We have also seen Elodin react at the possibility of someone changing their Name.
Sim Tambem
21. Daedos
We have also seen Elodin react at the possibility of someone changing their Name.

I think this is the key to our discussion. As much as I'd like to think Kote is just pretending, deep down I have a suspicion that he isn't acting. He is somehow altered (lessened).

Who knows what might be following those scrael. He needs to find a way to embiggen his alar...and soon.
Katy Maziarz
22. ArtfulMagpie
There are (at least) two forms of magic. There is the sympathy based
Alar magic and then there is Naming magic. Both are noted by Kvothe as existing.

There are actually at least THREE forms of magic...sygaldry is also magic, and involves neither Alar nor Naming....and the Yllish knots might be magic in their way, if we think that Denna's "lovely" braid actually made her appear more lovely, ha.
Ashley Fox
23. A Fox
I would argue that there are up to 7 known magics; Naming, Knowing, Shaping, Sygldry, Faen (which may be a variation of shaping), and possibly Yllish knots. Then there is Singing, but as we yet have not whitnessed this its uncertain whether this is a seperate magic, or one that is a 'high' form of naming or some such.

Then there are 3 mental states which help/enable the use of such magics; Heart of stone, Alar and Spinnng Leaf.

Im still of the idea that K & D's story will echo that of Lanre & Lyra. In that she will call him back from beyound the four doors.

Also something to consider is what his 'hearts desire' actually is. From the outset it does seem to be his pursuit of the chandrian. Yet most convos on here seem to think it is D. (That he kills an angel for, and bargains with a demon (also is Bast this demon?))
Jnai
24. Livs
Hmm, something Elodin said in WMF gave me pause. On page 83 he told Kvothe "Doors are locked for a reason. People who don't have keys are supposed to stay out for a reason. [...] You know you're clever. That's your weakness. You assume you know what you're getting into, but you don't."

This can apply for both the lockless box and the four-plate door. We can assume that Kvothe, at some point, opens both of them, because such a big deal is made of them. He probably does so before he's ready for anything, therefore wreaking havoc on the world with at least one of them.
Ashley Fox
25. A Fox
I REALLY hope K doesnt open the Lackless door!!! (Of opinion that it is a euphamism for womb) :O

And certainly, I dont have the text to hand, but at one point in Ks narrative he breaks form to make a statement more suited to the frame. In that it is reflective, which is unusual in the main body of arrative. Saying (along the lines of);Locked doors had never posed a problem to me, much to my regret.

Ok, I know thats definatey not quite right....I have quoted it in an earlier post.

The fact that the next book is called Doors of Stone does seem to point out some relevence ;)
Jnai
26. LAJG
If part of Kvothe's name really is in the thrice-locked chest, the practical side of me wonders what physical form this would take. Some sort of gas? Some sort of contained energy that can be removed from a person's essence (whatever that is)? A big "V" and "H" like on Sesame Street?

I know Jo is hoping for a eucatastrophe (as am I), but I suspect the third book will also end with "the patient cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die."
Sim Tambem
27. Daedos
@25 - I'm pretty sure Doors of Stone (generally) refers to the greystones that lead to and from the Faen realm. Then again, third book's name could also have something to do with the stone door in the stone archives (maybe some sort of uber-greystone, or ground zero for the creation of Fae).

@26 I hope the last we'll hear of "the patient cut-flower sound of a man who is waiting to die" will be at the beginning of day three. I know PR is considering (or will be, depending on who you ask) writing more after the conclusion of book three (and the trilogy), but I hope the story gets wrapped up. Frame story included. It is too integral to leave hanging if PR considers the Trilogy as a stand-alone.
Ryan Reich
28. ryanreich
Edit: This is becoming something of a potluck post with a variety of observations on the very early chapters of NW. I will aggregate to it rather than spawn many small comments.

Actually, we do see K sleep in the frame: right at the beginning of NW, chapter 1! Page 16 according to my kindle: "It was a long time before he walked past the chest to bed. Once in bed, it was a long time before he slept." This could be deliberately misleading wording, but a reasonable interpretation is that he gets to sleep eventually. However, on p.31 (chapter 4): "The fire flickered and died. Sleep met him like a lover in an empty bed." Again, tricky wording: lovers in an empty bed don't get any sleep! It appears that he did undress for bed in the previous paragraph, so the interpretation that the bed was empty (i.e. he stayed up looking at the dead fire) is not feasible. The obvious interpretation is that sleep met him and he embraced it as a lover in a (formerly) empty bed. This is not the most definitive of evidence and Rothfuss seems to be playing games with us.

More definitive is a scene that has already been noted in the reread: p. 43 (ch. 5), where Bast sings K a lullaby. It begins, "Hours later, the door to Kote's room cracked open and Bast peered inside....[he] bent over the sleeping man." Now, K was semi-badly injured at the time, but that's hardly an excuse as far as curses go. I'd say that one episode of him "having long ago abandoned hope of sleep" may have been insomnia, which it certainly seems from the above that he experiences often.

Whatever is happening with K's name and powers, I am suddenly curious about the timing of it all, after reading a line on p.23 of NW (Graham bringing him the roah mounting board): "'Four months,' Kote echoed. He saw Graham watching him and hurried to add, 'That can be a lifetime if you're waiting for something.' He tried to smile reassuringly, but it came out sickly." This is highly suspicious, especially so in light of his exceptionally care-worn face for a man not even near thirty. It makes me think he spent a lot of time "out of time" somewhere in the last four months, like in Fae. But if he's going to Fae so recently, when was it that he lost his powers? Perhaps it was after moving to Newarre a year ago.

The scene right after that with Bast is absolutely bizarre. Bast asks K "What were you thinking?" in reference to some unknown action on the latter's part, and their emotions for the next few pages are strange. Bast is successively confused and concerned, smug (at telling K he is second-guessing himself) horrified (at putting the sword out over the bar), sheepish (at having hidden the sword), disrespectful (to the sword), reverent (handing up the sword), reluctantly admiring, and finally, disturbed. K is introspective (concerning his impulsiveness), hesitant (to admit it), mischievous and "wicked" (towards Bast re: putting up the sword), protective (of the sword), tearful (when hanging the sword), noble (receiving it), dramatic (drawing it), purposeful, and then, in response to Bast's being disturbed, "oddly" cheerful and approving.

What the hell did K do with this sword anyway? It's said to be old, so he is unlikely to have made it (though time travel is a possibility given some of the odd inconsistencies in his age and his timeline's interaction with Chronicler's). It's said to be perfect, so Bast isn't reacting to its appearance. He seems to have been reacting, initially at least, to its name "Folly", but I think he's more appalled by the (mysterious) reference than the fact that K would give it such a name. Intriguingly, K considers whatever-it-was to have been one of his greatest successes, even while Bast treats it like a near-atrocity. The fact that K could be second-guessing himself suggests that its consequences are not yet known in full. Bast wants to hide the sword and K wants to display it, not that anyone who would see could possibly know what secrets it hides. I doubt it's because the sword may be associated with Kvothe, because Bast is really repulsed by it. And yet, he doesn't take it personally, so it's not like Kvothe did something like, say, kill the Fae peoples with it. When the mounting board is first delivered, they look at it as though at the dead. It may be that Folly was Cinder's sword (said to be "pale and slender", but also cold and frightening) but I wonder if Kvothe could discuss killing Cinder in the fond way he discusses impulsively doing whatever-it-was. I wonder if this is the sword with which he killed an angel "to keep his heart's desire", perhaps something that would evoke the wistful tone K consideres not having done whatever-it-was.

I guess that's only tangentially related to the topic of this week's post, but the last strange thing about this episode is: why is Kote the innkeeper putting up Kvothe's artifact sword above his bar? It's not like any other memorabilia of that time can be found in the public areas of the inn. And why go to such extreme lengths to mount it? He is clearly showing it off and yet, that display is totally inconsistent with everything else he does.
Jnai
29. Shakescene21
I lost most of my empathy for Kvothe in chapter 131 of WMF, when he slaughtered the nine false Rhu in cold blood. Although they were murderous criminals who might have been hanged after a fair trial, he took it upon himself to be judge, jury, and executioner. I was especially shocked by his pitiless murder of the woman who pleaded that she was forced into crime. No judge was allowed to hear her story.

Why did he do it? He thought it was the right thing to do -- he was killing them for the greater good. Sadism was also a factor, since he deliberately let two of them suffer as long as possible. He made no mention at all of self-defence, ie., he could have claimed he needed to kill them so they wouldn't follow Kvothe and the two girls.

Does Patrick Rothfuss expect us to think that Kvothe did the right thing and we should still be with him? Perhaps, but I suspect that in D3 Kvothe may realize that he is spiraliing downward into the same moral trap as the Amyr, that he starts committing progressively more horrible atrocities for the greater good. To keep himself from committing even more atrocities, he has abandoned his power and magic to become a harmless innkeeper to end his years quietly.
- -
30. hex
@29 How would Kvothe have have brought armed adults to justice? Should he have abandon the troupe to bring back the authorities while the two captives were further harmed, and risk losing them entirely? He acted decisively, and at great personal risk to himself.

I'm not saying the situation is black and white, but Kvothe's options are severely limited. Justice is a long way off (in Temsford), while the danger to the two captive girls is immediate. The murder of the women is addressed by Gran of Lenvinshir:


Gran’s eyes flashed. “They earned it twice as much,” she said, and the sudden, furious anger in her sweet face caught me so completely by surprise that I felt prickling fear crawl over my body. “A man who would do that to a girl is like a mad dog. He hain’t hardly a person, just an animal needs to be put down. But a woman who helps him do it? That’s worse. She knows what she’s doing. She knows what it means.”



I have a hard time not agreeing with that.

We have a confession from Alleg, and the girls as witnesses to the crimes. They're guilty. Kvothe is clearly in violation of the law, but he is pardoned twice- once by the mayor of Levenshir when he lets Kvothe escape, and again by the Maer.

Kvothe's options were either vigilantism, or continue to let the Krin and Elle suffer. I would have made the same choice.
Jnai
31. shakescene21
@ hex

Actually, Kvothe had a third option: after he had killed the first few bandits the rest fled into the woods. At that stage he could have left with the two girls, and let the law deal with the outlaws. Instead, he hunted them down one by one and slaughtered them. Kvothe makes it clear that his motive was not self-defense, but to rid the world of these scum and possibly get some revenge.

We obviously disagree on whether Kvothe did a good thing or whether he did a bad thing for the greater good. What is Patrick Rothfuss's opinion? We should find out in D3. PR has mentioned the theme of commiting bad things for the greater good, and I'm wondering if Kvothe will commit a series of escalating bads for the greater good. This would set up a moral problem that is worthy of an epic hero. Faced with such a moral problem, a true hero could very well decide to abandon his power and magic to become a harmless innkeeper.
- -
32. hex
@31

Argh- looks like tor.com ate my post. I'll try to summarize:

I conceed that Kvothe had other, however risky, choices. He had already incapacitated the bandits, and might have run away. It seems to me he was at least in part motivated by pride and revenge.

To risk getting back on topic, I very much doubt that this is the event that causes him to forsake his name and go into hiding. It's clear that he later kills a king, and starts the war mentioned in the frame story. Dealing with the false Ruh seems much more in line with the fame-building aspect of Kvothe's story.
James Golden
33. Treemaster
The scene with the fake Ruh is deliberately ambiguous. It is horrifying, and morally wrong and morally right at the same time. That's what leads Kvothe to later worry that there is something wrong with him. The Adem previously picked up on this ambiguity with Kvothe too. It could well be that this incident is the start of a downward spiral, but I don't think it's as straightforward as either being "right" or "wrong."
Jnai
34. shakescene21
Hex & Treebeard,

Thanks for your insights regarding my theory of why Kvothe became Kote. If only we had D3 in our hot little hands!

Regarding the concept of committing a bad act for the greater good, my wife (who has read both books twice) noted that Kvolthe has made quite a few mistakes in the first two books. What if, in D3, he does something seriously wrong in the expectation that it will lead to a better future, but it actually makes things much worse? This might drive our epic hero to become an obscure innkeeper.
Nathan Love
35. n8love
@22
sygaldry is also magic, and involves neither Alar nor Naming....

Are you sure? I can't recall how much detail we get but I'd like to see a specific reference that says sygaldry uses no alar. I'm thinking here that it's not as simple as writing the correct runes, but creating a link that the runes maintain so you don't have to hold that alar for the rest of your life to keep your ice box working. Mebe i made it up...


Now for the exciting stuff.
@27
Then again, third book's name could also have something to do with the stone door in the stone archives (maybe some sort of uber-greystone, or ground zero for the creation of Fae).

In the 3rd installment of our NW reread Wetlandernw does a pretty good job breaking down the Lackless riddle:

Seven things stand before
The entrance to the Lackless door.
One of them a ring unworn
One a word that is forsworn
One a time that must be right
One a candle without light
One a son who brings the blood
One a door that holds the flood
One a thing tight-held in keeping
Then comes that which comes with sleeping

Quick version:
ring unworn (ring of wind or air? A Namer at the U might have one. A court ring?)
forsworn word? (might be researched in the Archives)
the time that must be right (seems self explanatory also could be reserched there)
unlit candle (There was one in the hand lamp desk and one made by Auri)
a blood heir (of the Lackless'? Kvothe? Meluan? Ambrose? Leaning heavily towards Kvothe)
the door that holds the flood (four plate door)
a secret (the children's version from NW says "a secret she's been keeping. Perhaps something in the books missing from the Archives, or relating to the Chandrian)


One of the things before the entrance to the lackless door is a door that holds the flood. If this is the four-plate door in the archives, then lots of questions arise in my mind about Lorren or all the masters or the U in general. Allow me to reign myself in a little and say that if this is the door in the rhyme, then the candle (the one Ambrose gave K) being handy at the scriv desk is very suspicious, and someone seems to have been trying to open or preparing for the opening of the door. More to the point, if Kvothe is the Lackless heir, then he need only arrive at the door at the right moment with a ring and candle and speak the forsworn word. That only leaves the secret, which may be how to physically open it. This seems highly likely to be not only the reason for the name of D3, but the event (or immediately preceding the event) that brings about the world changes in the frame. I'm giddy right now.
Jnai
36. Herelle
Beware, this is a long one:

@38
Why do you think the door in the archives would be the Lackless door? Their lands are far away from Imre/University in Vintas. Those doors could be related somehow, I suppose, but they are probably not the same.

Here is my take on both Lackless riddles, the one above in your post and here the other:

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

So, we´ve got:
Seven things stand before The entrance to the Lackless door. / Seven things has Lady Lackless , Keeps them underneath her black dress
One of them a ring unworn / One’s a ring that’s not for wearing
One a word that is forsworn / One a sharp word, not for swearing
One a time that must be right /
One a candle without light / Right beside her husband’s candle
One a son who brings the blood /
One a door that holds the flood / There’s a door without a handle
One a thing tight-held in keeping / In a box, no lid or locks
Then comes that which comes with sleeping / She’s been dreaming and not sleeping
Lackless keeps her husband’s rocks, There’s a secret she’s been keeping, On a road that’s not for traveling, Lackless likes her riddle raveling

What are truly the seven things? Both riddles refer to seven things, but they are not the same. The first riddle is more explicit, I think, so I refer to that, combining it with the Lackless frivolous song: a ring unworn clearly, a word forsworn / not for swearing, the right time, something candlelike, the son (Kvothe?), the door without a handle that holds the flood, ,the Lackless box. That´s seven.
So Kvothe needs to get the Lackless box, bring it in front of the door in the archives, bring the ring and the candle, say the right word at the right time and then - ta da, it opens and he passes through and stands in Vintas in front of the Lackless door? Where´s the punchline? What about Elodin telling Kvothe he can´t go behind the doors yet, which seemed to mean eventually students get to go in there. They don´t have the Lackless box. It would make more sense, if he just needs to go behind those doors with all the other items and then do whatever there with some expected result.
We already considered that the four plate door has something to do with the four doors of the mind (forgetting, sleep, madness, death) - all the things Haliax are denied. Maybe Kvothe gets behind the door at the right time (when the masters think he is ready), has some dreamlike or near death experience or vision, maybe hinting at all the other items and some reference to the Chandrian, interpreting it all wrong, seeks all the other items to use them against the Chandrian with some catastrophe as a result.

I´m not so sure about the other parts of the riddles: the black dress is only a hint (mourning) or sidenote, one riddle claims, Lady Lackless HAS these things, well obviously not the current Lady Lackless who doesn´t know about Kvothe – or will any Lackless son do? But the time has to be right, so it should be Kvothe. Then, the ring: why is it unworn / not for wearing – because of it´s purpose, because it is lost in the woods, because it is not a real ring but only a metaphor? A circle of Greystones? The namers rings are worn after all, just not everybody is able to see them. A word forsworn could be a secret as well (there´s a secret she´s been keeping) or it could be a name, maybe Haliax´s name, which is forsworn? The candle without light, it is her husband´s? Does the riddle refer to the Maer? How so if it´s old? A prophecy we don´t know of? There must be one, otherwise the term “the time has to be right” doesn´t make sense - or only if it is the right time for Kvothe to pass behind the four plate door. Maybe folk just got it all mixed up, they heard something about a candle and because at the time there were lots of rumours about Netalia Lackless running off with a Ruh they made some rude songs? The door that holds the flood without a handle could refer to the doors of stone or the four plate door in the archives, but what is the Lackless door? An entrance into Fae? But why would it be special? There are several of them. Well the thing in the Lackless box is important obviously. Are her husbands rocks in there (apart from the innuendo), like gemstones or a lodenstone? The song in WMF says at the end, after all the seven things are listed, comes what comes with sleeping. Doesn´t really fit to my above theory of some vision/dream behind the archives four plate doors because Kvothe would need the vision before he´s got all the other things. But who dreams then? Kvothe? Or is it relief? For Haliax? Maybe Selitos made an exit for Haliax eventually? That is what the Chandrian are hunting for? That he might find some peace at last? If Kvothe wants revenge, how do you punish someone who has been suffering ages, wanting nothing else but die? If Kvothe sets out to kill him he would be doing him a kindness.
Jnai
37. Herelle
Now that I think about it, Selitos really wasn´t right in the head when he decided to make someone as powerful as Lanre roam the earth eternally without any hope of relief, burdened by his grief and with a death wish that makes him want to destroy the whole world. He´s got eternity to figure out how. Selitos clearly didn´t think from twelve to midday when he set him loose to wreak havoc. Considering what he could do Haliax is not half as evil as could be expected.
C Smith
38. C12VT
@36: The "time that must be right" might not be one specific time, but a time of day/month/year that comes around again and again - the right phase of the moon, maybe.

There are so many ways to interpret the Lackless rhyme. The "ring" could also be the ringing of a bell. The "candle without light" could refer to anything from a regular unlit candle, a candle-shaped but non-flammable object, a candle providing light (or darkness?) magically. "A thing tight-held in keeping" could be a secret, a fist, the Loeclos... Also, are these things one needs to open the door, or things preventing/protecting the door from being opened? Just saying they "stand before" the door doesn't really indicate which.

Then there's the question of why this rhyme exists. Who started it circulating? Is it meant as instructions, or a warning?
Jnai
39. KatieG
Alright, now for a nice off topic comment...
Some thoughts regarding the eighth person on the pottery: Why does Nina fear him more than the Seven? Why does she literally say “He looked like he was ready to burn down the whole world.” when that’s the exact opposite of what the Amyr want? Didn’t Stelios One Eye start the Amyr to stop the Chandrian who were trying to destroy the world? Actually, according to Skarpi's story... ***SNIP*** Lanre:“There is no escape. I have only the hope of oblivion after everything is gone and the Aleu fall nameless from the sky.” ***SNIP*** Selitos: “this is my doom upon you and all who follow you. May it last until the world ends and the Aleu fall nameless from the sky.” ***SNIP*** Thus Selitos redefines when Lanre can be destroyed. Instead of Everything needing to end, the world and the Aleu will be enough. Remember, we have two worlds to worry about.
Ashley Fox
40. A Fox
I see it like this;

Seven things stand before

The entrance to the Lackless door.

One of them a ring unworn (rings as we see in vint/wedding band)

One a word that is forsworn (The Lackless eldest heirs vow to be childless)

One a time that must be right ( Fertility cycle/point in time-prophetic)

One a candle without light (Penis)

One a son who brings the blood (K's dad/K 'of the blood' a phrase associated witht the Ruh)

One a door that holds the flood (Vagina/Greystone)

One a thing tight-held in keeping (the Lockless Box)

Then comes that which comes with sleeping (a Dream...)
Bob Simons
41. RBSIV
@39 - I'll bet a soda (strawberry) that Kvothe is the 8th person on the pottery.
Pamela Adams
42. Pam Adams
Maybe the candle without light is the 'thieves lamp' that Kvothe constructed at the University.
Nathan Love
43. n8love
@40
I hadn't really thought anyone was taking the innuendos seriously. I kinda thought all the earlier posts about it were blue humor. At any rate, I realize that Auri's candle may have signficance as one of the tools of a Namer (key, coin, and candle), but that doesn't neccesarily mean it is its only significance. I'm not convinced that every greystone is a portal to Fae, or the only means of getting there. I concede that the "time that must be right" could easily be a point in a cycle rather than a certain moment in history (nod @ 38). I'm okay with the "thing tight held in keeping" being the Lackless Box,
but it could just as easily be any closely guarded secret, like someone
or something's true Name. I was trying to stay away from guessing what the "thing that comes with sleeping" might be, as that seems to be a result of the seven things being at the door. My general point is that I think the door that stands before the entrance to the Lackless door is the four-plate door. I don't think geography need matter, since the realtionship between Fae and the Four Corners may not be a matter of physical space. The four-plate door may be opened all the time, but I feel that these two rhymes (less the children's version) list the items neccesary to open the next door or portal, specifically the Lacless door proper. What comes next could be so many things that it's probably just a RAFO but I would, of course, be game for some speculation on that.

And one more thing. Lorren, who never reacts to anything, does just that at the mention of Arliden in NW. He also has a private collection of books, where he could be studying words forsworn and secrets and geniologies and moon phases and any other untold thing, or he could be romoving them from prying eyes. There is, for an unexplained reason, an unlit candle in his Archives where the idea of using one is anathema. This may or may not have anything to do with the theories that he is Amyr, but he has something to do with that door.
Jo Walton
44. bluejo
The question of why there is a candle in the archives for Ambrose to give Kvothe hadn't occurred to me, but yes. Why is there a candle there?
Jnai
45. Livs
One last comment. I may be grasping at straws again, but here goes: I think most of the poem clearly points to Kvothe.

The ring unworn: the Ruh. They are one family, one circle. Alternatively it is the wooden ring that Meluan gave him.
The word forsworn: his true name.
The time that must be right: everything was waiting for a certain time—a moonless night, perhaps?
The candle without light: Kvothe. Think about it. He's been described as looking like his head was on fire. He's also known as The Flame. And as far as I know he doesn't glow.
The son that brings the blood: the son of a Lackless. In this case, Kvothe again. But the phrasing is strange; if it were JUST talking about a Lackless heir only one of the terms would be necessary, either the son or the one that brings the blood. But Auri has already compared him to one of the Ciridae, the "bloody-handed Amyr". I think there is some relation there, don't you?
The door that holds the flood: either the four-plate door or one of the doors of the mind. I'm inclined to think it's the latter because it would make more of the poem relate to Kvothe.
The thing tight-held in keeping: maybe what's inside the box. This kind of bugs me, though, as with some tweaking and squinting the other things relate to Kvothe, and this one doesn't, not really. Or maybe it's something else I haven't thought of yet.
That which comes with sleeping: Elodin calls the part of the mind that understands things down to their cores 'the sleeping mind'. That makes me think that "that which comes with sleeping" is Naming power once all of these things are in place.

And as for the other poem:

Seven things has Lady Lackless
Keeps them underneath her black dress
One’s a ring that’s not for wearing—same as above
One a sharp word, not for swearing—same as above
Right beside her husband’s candle—same as above
There’s a door without a handle—same as above
In a box, no lid or locks—the box
Lackless keeps her husband’s rocks—this one's giving me trouble, I really don't know what to think. But since it's a child's skipping rhyme it could just be a line thrown in to make things rhyme.
There’s a secret she’s been keeping—Kvothe himself, maybe?
She’s been dreaming and not sleeping—not sure about this one
On a road that’s not for traveling—the road to the moon? The road to one of the ancient cities?
Lackless likes her riddle raveling—I really like what someone else came up with, that since Kvothe is Ruh and ravel is a term for them, a raveling could be a young Ruh, or Kvothe himself.
Ashley Fox
46. A Fox
Exactly. I never said that it was only an innuendo ridden ditty. But I have always maintained that ~K is the answer to the riddle, that it could have even have predicted his birth. I have posted this before. Hardly that shocking really. Sex is needed to make babies (unless you are Adem!)
If you view this as prophecy, then the Lackless familys tried to prevent his coming. Their tradition of the eldest heir remaining childless.
Nathan Love
47. n8love
@46
Fair point. I was aware of the previous posts, just offering a different idea. I wasn't trying to belittle anyone for thinking the "reproductive" light of the poems was relevant. The sexuality isn't shocking, it's that I hadn't considered the innuendos anything more than a children's (excuse the term) perversion of actual fact. I'm thick sometimes.

I agree that K is an answer to the riddle. One of seven answers. I think that all seven things are real, distinct, and not necessarily literal... and that while each may be tied to K, that he is not the answer to each; they are separate from him.

Other than all the waystones we have only heard of two doors. There are two doors mentioned here, one in front of the other. It's possible that the U has an institutionalized ritual of sending students of a certain rank behind the four-plate door, but that only the right person at the right time with the right items and knowledge can open the second door or portal.

I guess I'm just trying to say that I think those two poems or songs and the four-plate door are much more important to D3 than we had previously considered. Like pivotal. And PR definitely likes continuing fulfillment of foreshadowing, or at least dual importance and intentional ambiguity. And I'm trying to point out that Lorren obviously knows who K's parents were, and probably has his own plans for K and it may or may not include more masters or the Amyr.
Ryan Reich
48. ryanreich
@22, @35: It seems that sygaldry does involve Alar. There are two direct references:

* Kvothe talks about his sympathy lamp: "Most importantly, mine was the Alar and the intricate sygaldry that turned the individual pieces into a functioning handheld sympathy lamp." (NW, Ch. 64, p. 470).

* Right after the plum bob incident: "...I broke down crying halfway through inscribing a heat funnel. Not only couldn't I maintain the proper Alar..." (WMF, Ch. 8, p. 78).

The first one is a little ambiguous in that he separates Alar from sygaldry, but unless he's using sympathy to shape the pieces of the lamp before binding them with sygaldry (and that makes no sense since he has a workroom with a forge and molds for casting) I can't think of a way he could cause permanent effects using just sympathy. The second one is a direct statement that inscribing sygaldry requires Alar. So it sounds like you guys are right: sygaldry is using runes to maintain the sympathetic effects initiated through Alar.
Ashley Fox
49. A Fox
I think this shows clearly how there are almost levels to the different types of magic. The mind tricks (Alar, Spinning Leaf) enable the matter based magic (??lol). ie; Alar-Sygaldry/Sympathy (Sympathy arugably being a higer magic that Sygaldry as it uses less matter?), Spinning Leaf-Naming. (the Lethani does seem to be a moral/spiritual base understanding the fundamental nature/Name of things).

Another mental trick was hinted at when Fellurian showed hime how to weave light into his cloak. An almost utter absence of thought, which enabled him to shape.

So what enables Knowing? What mental athletics enables you to be a Tinker? ;)
Alice Arneson
50. Wetlandernw
shalter @7 - "Jax's locking part the name of the moon away is presented as at least part of the reason for the moon traveling between Fae and human world." If so, then could locking away part of Kvothe's name result in him also being split between the Fae and human worlds? And the magical part of him is caught in Fae?

Halcyal @15 - You reminded me of something... Why did Kote's Break Lion fail against the soldier? A little girl, not strong enough to use the regular version against an adult, invented the one Kvothe used because it would enable her to get free of someone much stronger. It read, to me, like the self-defense moves where you use the natural weakness of the thumb to free yourself from the grip of a stronger opponent, and it should work for anyone who knows how to do it. "Perfect for a small girl struggling against a grown man, or a hopelessly outclassed musician trying to escape an Adem mercenary." It worked for him against Carceret, who should have outclassed this soldier by several orders of magnitude. So why did this one fail? It's not a matter of super-duper hot-stuff Adem mercenary skills; it's a matter of a fairly simple technique, where even knowing the theory should do more than Kote apparently was able to do there.

@ many re: the Lackless rhyme - I find it odd that no one has even mentioned the possibility that "the ring unworn" is the key Meluan used to open the second chest. It is, after all, already associated with the Lackless box.

The open lid revealed another chest, smaller and flatter. It was the size of a breadbox, and its flat brass lockplate held a keyhole that was not keyhole shaped, but a simple circle instead. Meluan drew something from a chain around her neck.

...

Meluan fit the key and opened the lid of the inner chest. She slid the chain back around her neck, tucked it underneath her clothes, and rearranged her clothes and hair, repairing any damage done to her appearance. This seemed to take an hour or so.


(She even keeps it underneath her dress, which is not significant but of mild amusement value. Of course, the dress is grey and lavendar rather than black anyway.)

@40 - In your interpretation, I think the amount of blood involved in childbirth would make the "son who brings the blood" the child rather than the father. Next comment I'll copy my alternative list of associations, fwiw. But I have to say, if the children's skipping rhyme is that literal, I hope we don't find these when they open the Lackless box. That would be... weird beyond belief.

n8love @43 - I like your point that "I don't think geography need matter, since the realtionship between Fae and the Four Corners may not be a matter of physical space. The four-plate door may be opened all the time, but I feel that these two rhymes (less the children's version) list the items neccesary to open the next door or portal, specifically the Lacless door proper."
Ashley Fox
51. A Fox
@50 I had considered that possibilty too, both condending as answers. I choose on an emotive rather thatn substanciated response. ha
Nice point on Meluans neckless. I had picked up upon it, but not asociated it with that line of the rhym.

IMO It refers to a series of events. Events that are meant to be prevented. A lackless heir who should not have children, has a child with someone with Edema Ruh blood. That child must then obtain the ring, to open the Lackless box. Inside that box is Iax's box, when opened releases part of the Name of the moon. The Moons name becomes whole (perhaps sung/spoken/played by K). Thus opening the Lockless Door/Doors of stone. Reuniting the two worlds.

We've deduced that Tehlu was likely a Lockless before he became a Singer. That Tinue, the last free city, was his city. Tehlu was on the same side as our semmingly good guys, a part of sealing Iax and Faen behind the Doors of Stone, (Note that in Scarpi's story they actually scoff at the idea of the moon being taken from the sky. This is either bitter irony, or evidence that the Moon is not literal, Lyra). It follows that Tehlus' line, the Lockless would be charged with guarding the Doors of Stone, even if they eventually forgot the purpose of what they are doing.

Also early on in this duty they would have been made aware of some future Knowing of K's birth. Evidenced by the prohibition on the Heirs having children.
Steven Halter
52. stevenhalter
Wetlandernw@50:

If so, then could locking away part of Kvothe's name result in him also being split between the Fae and human worlds? And the magical part of him is caught in Fae?

Some parallel like that is a possibility (of course everything is, but this seems hinted at). This could tie together with Jo's feeling that K has done something to break the moon even more. I could see a scenario where the K tries to fix the moon but somehow ends up sending it more into Fae along with part of himself. The thrice locked box is the binding mechanism i.e that somehow forces this name binding.
Alice Arneson
53. Wetlandernw
shalter - I was mostly joking when I first typed that, but the more I thought about it the more I started really wondering. Thanks for the confirmation that I at least might not be crazy. :)

A Fox - I'm not convinced about two of your assumptions: 1) that Tehlu was a Lockless or 2) that there was ever any prohibition on the eldest Lackless bearing children. The one quotation I saw presenting that theory didn't seem quite so conclusive to me as it apparently did to you.

FWIW, I find the rhyme in WMF far more likely to be "authoritative" than the skipping rhyme in NW, so I lend far more credence to its descriptions. Mostly, I suppose that's a result of the clear list of seven items which the skipping rhyme has lost. Both apparently were learned from "kids" which leaves the source matter in question, of course. However, the skipping rhyme sounded to me like a modification based on relatively recent events - Netalia running off with a bard - whereas the boy's riddle rhyme sounded more like an original. More on that later.
Steven Halter
54. stevenhalter
Wetlandernw@53:That's what is fun at this point and for this story--there are lots of possibilities. There are a lot of paths the third book could take and it is not at all predictable which path PR will end up taking.
Ashley Fox
55. A Fox
They are not assumptions. I dont know how much of this reread you have read, but both points (more so re First Lock) have been discussed. Tehlu/First Lock has come from a translation people here have put together (A couple of guys are doing a wiki language page, I do believe).

The prohibition is stated directly in the books. I dont have a copy at hand (But have posted refs and qoutes previosly) but the particular part Im thinking of is a peice of text/book that K reads whilst in the Maers court. An info dump of the fractured nature of the Lackless family, and the surprise that they had managed to survive in the positions as long as they had, consiering the prohibition.
Alice Arneson
56. Wetlandernw
A Fox - I have read every word of every post and every comment prior to this. I found ONE quotation re: the Lackless heir not having children, and after that several occasions where it is assumed that the interpretation given that first time is correct. I was not persuaded. If I have time and inclination tonight, I may go back and research it properly; in the meantime, I hold to my skepticism on this point.

As for Tehlu, I understand the theory completely, as well as the surmises on which it is based, but I don't entirely buy into them. It may be true, or it may not, depending on how well the local Department of Imaginary Linguistics has managed to parallel the thinking of the author. That's where the fun lies - were they right or were they wrong? In any case, I am not sufficiently convinced to base entire theories on it.
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
Wall-of-text warning: this is a long one. Enter at your own risk.

The two Lackless rhymes are tricky to work with. Neither has an entirely authoritative-looking pedigree; both were quoted by kids, learned from other kids. However, the WMF version actually lists seven things clearly, so I find it probable that this is closer to the original; additionally, the NW version came only a relatively few years after Netalia ran off with Arliden, and it’s use of sexual innuendo implies a certain modification to reflect that event. It also reminds me irresistibly of the kind of changes that get inserted into children’s rhymes, when a word or phrase gets changed because someone can’t remember the words quite right, or a kid simply doesn’t understand the word they heard and inserts something that makes sense to them instead. (With my daughter, I’ve had a generous fount of examples of that last one…) So I have a hard time putting too much reliance on the NW version. All the same, I’ve done my theorizing with the assumption that both are true, when possible.

The “seven things” in the Lackless rhymes are spelled out clearly in the WMF version, and several parallels are easy to draw to the NW version. Because the WMF list is easy to work with, I started there.

Seven things stand before
The entrance to the Lackless door.
One of them a ring unworn
One a word that is forsworn
One a time that must be right
One a candle without light
One a son who brings the blood
One a door that holds the flood
One a thing tight-held in keeping
Then comes that which comes with sleeping

Then I tried to find parallels in the NW skipping rhyme:

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

So… here’s my take on it. Based on the comments I’ve read in the meantime (yes, I really did read through every last one of the comments so far before posting here), I’ve made a few changes to my original post on Part 3. I apologize in advance for the failure to attribute ideas to the originator; I don’t think I can bring myself to search that hard. You know who you are – take the credit. One thing I’ve done this time is to try to use both riddles as “filters” when possible, so that, for example, the ring must be both “unworn” and “not for wearing.” This may not be valid, but you have to start somewhere.

Seven things stand before The entrance to the Lackless door = Seven things has Lady Lackless. The correlation is pretty obvious; for the time being, I don’t think that “underneath her black dress” is particularly relevant to the prophecy (if such it is).

1) One of them a ring unworn = a ring that’s not for wearing. I think this refers to the round key Meluan uses to open the second chest, the one with the keyhole that was “not keyhole shaped, but a simple circle instead.” There have been a lot of other rings proposed in the comments, but most of them don’t fit “not for wearing.” Just because the wooden ring is an insult doesn’t entirely make it “not for wearing,” though it would certainly be left unworn. The only other one I’ve seen mentioned that fits is the ring of standing stones, and I think that’s a stretch. As noted above, why not the one that is already associated with the Lackless box? (Dropping the skip-rhyme filter, the ring unworn could refer to any of a number of rings which the owner chooses not to wear – wedding rings, wooden rings, gold/silver/iron rings from the Maer’s court, Naming rings… too wide open for my taste.)

2) One a word that is forsworn = a sharp word, not for swearing. This is problematic at best, since the two versions seem contradictory. Forsworn indicates that it was sworn and then broken, whereas “not for swearing” doesn’t sound like it’s useful as an oath. I wondered if this could be “Edro!” (which I assume means “open!" but might be Naming) which is used by Taborlin to successfully open a chest, and unsuccessfully by Kote at the end of WMF to... not open a chest. Probably not, and it doesn’t fit “forsworn” except in the sense that it didn’t work for Kote. As someone noted previously, there are a lot of things in the story which Kvothe swore never to tell, but here he is telling them to Chronicler, so there are lots of candidates if you look for forsworn. In A Fox’s “the answer is Kvothe” version, this could be Netalia’s wedding vows, whether she ran away after the wedding or before it could take place. Frankly, I don’t have a solid theory for this one, just a lot of vague possibilities.

Well, there’s one associated with the Lackless box, in the same scene as the ring: Kvothe assures Meluan “By my hand, I will not speak of what I see to anyone,” before she will open the first box. This could be forsworn if he tells someone in DT about what he saw.

One more that occurred to me late last night, which I seriously waffle on: it could be the word(s) contained in the Yllish knot(s) on the third box. I don’t see how this fits with the swearing/forsworn, but if ever a word was directly associated with the Lackless box, that would be it. I like this one.

3) One a time that must be right = ? I fail to find a good parallel in the NW version, so maybe someone else can conjure something up. I suspect this has to do with the phase of the moon – possibly a half-moon, when the moon is equally in both worlds, or the other two obvious choices: full or new. (Of course, I’ve now read so many theories on the moon’s behavior that I don’t know if those are the likely extent of the options.) Alternatively, it could be something to do with Kvothe directly (I don’t think so) or the development of the relationships (I was going to say hostilities, but…) between either the Amyr & Chandrian, human & Fae, or any of a zillion other possibilities. In any case, I’m pretty sure the “right time” is either now or soon to come, depending on whether it’s a moment or a season.

4) One a candle without light = in the NW, “her husband’s candle.” The most likely specific candidate I can find for this, at the moment, is the special candle Auri gave Kvothe. No idea what it should have to do with anything, but it’s the only unique candle I can recall. It raises an interesting parallel to Taborlin’s “key, coin and candle” as well, but I don’t know that we ever learn what special characteristics those items have. Another, as has been mentioned, is simply any candle as long as it’s in the right place at the right time. The other possibility is that it’s only a “candle” in one sense; we’ve also seen wax extensively used in mommets. (Actually, my first thought on this was Kvothe’s sympathy lamp, but that would be light without a candle, not a candle without light. Unless it referred to the fact that the light didn’t shine properly in all directions. I don’t think this is a good theory.)

5) One a son who brings the blood = well, why not “her riddle raveling” as has been suggested by others? In other words, Kvothe. I don’t see a lot of other valid theories for this one. “Blood” could refer to the fact that he is of the Lackless blood, or it could be literally bleeding on something. I lean toward this being specifically Kvothe’s (Lackless DNA) blood being touched to something to activate it. A rather frightening interpretation is Kvothe’s blood in combination with the mommet suggested above.

6) One a door that holds the flood = a door without a handle. I’m not sure what the four-panel door in the Archives could possibly have to do with this, but it’s so stinking similar that I have to at least suggest it. I'm starting to really like n8love’s suggestion that when the four-panel door in the Archives is opened by the right person (Kvothe) the apparent geographical distance becomes irrelevant due to the weirdness of Fae. The only other possibility I can see is that in DT he ends up at the Lackless estate and discovers another (similar?) door-without-a-handle there, which he might open by the same method he was shown (which would also happen in DT) to open the door in the Archives, thinking he knows all about it.

EDIT to add - I was rereading a section and came across this little tidbit, which seems like a much more probable door: Caudicus, telling Kvothe about the Lackless family, says "From what I understand, the Lackless family has an heirloom. Well, not an heirloom exactly, but an ancient thing that dates back to the beginning of their line."..."I've heard that on the oldest parts of the Lackless lands, in the oldest part of their ancestral estate, there is a secret door. A door without handle or hinges.... There's no way of opening it. It is locked, but at the same time, lockless. No one knows what's on the other side." Granted the source is Caudicus, but at this point he didn't know either that Kvothe was anything other than some lame-brained noble kid, nor that the Maer was preparing to court Meluan. So he had no reason to be lying or trying to trap Kvothe that I can see. So.., that's probably the door in question. It also fits better with everything else having to do with the Lackless box.[/edit]

7) One a thing tight-held in keeping = a secret she’s been keeping. It’s easy to find a meaning in the NW rhyme if it refers to Netalia/Laurian, but what about the ancient rhyme? The Lackless box itself might fit; it is not only tight-held in keeping, it’s been mostly kept a secret. Meluan says, “I can count on both hands the people who have seen this.” It might also (and this, I think, is most likely) mean the contents of the third box (which I have great confidence is NOT Tehlu’s carefully-preserved testicles).

If Meluan’s first box is the one without lid or locks, the second is opened with the 1 ring unworn, and the third is opened with the Yllish 2 word, then you have 5 Kvothe bringing a 4 candle (or mommet) and the 7 contents of the third box at just the 3 right time to open the 6 door and let loose the flood. And then, of course:

Then comes that which comes with sleeping = She’s been dreaming and not sleeping - both of which I take to mean some connection with the world of Fae.
Katy Maziarz
58. ArtfulMagpie
The quote regarding the eldest heir of the Lackless:

"Though no family can boast a truly peaceful past, the Lacklesses have been especially ripe with misfortune. Some from without: assassination, invasion, peasant revolt, and theft. More telling is misfortune that comes from within: how can a family thrive when the eldest heir forsakes all family duty? Small wonder they are often called the “Luckless” by their detractors. It seems a testament to the strength of their blood that they have survived so much for so long. Indeed, if not for the burning of Caluptena, we might possess records tracing the Lackless family back far enough for them to rival the royal line of Modeg in its antiquity. . . ."


Nowhere in this quote does it say that every eldest heir throughout Lackless history has always "forsaken family duty." The way it is worded could possibly refer to just one isolated incident...Netalia, perhaps...among a litany of other incidents of more external misfortune. I am not convinced, either.
Ashley Fox
59. A Fox
Thanks for quoting that. Good thoughts and posts here.

The Heir (as title, not an idividual heir) forsaking her duties is represented as worse and more debilitating than all the previous grievences.

Doing your Duty is a very common euphamism for reproducing, passing along the blood. And there is the stress of 'all' duty. This reason is then directly put in correlation with the families survival. Survival in despite of this heir buisness. It also then connects with the age of the family, implying that this situation is as old as the family, not a singular, newer event.
Alice Arneson
60. Wetlandernw
Artful Magpie @58 - Thank you very much for the quote in full context. There's no clue as to how old, or new, the book itself is; only that Caudicus loaned it to him. I agree with your interpretation.

A Fox @59 - I understand your interpretation and position, I just don't happen to agree.
Katy Maziarz
61. ArtfulMagpie
"Doing your Duty is a very common euphamism for reproducing, passing along the blood. And there is the stress of 'all' duty. This reason is then directly put in correlation with the families survival. Survival in despite of this heir buisness. It also then connects with the age of the family, implying that this situation is as old as the family, not a singular, newer event."

"Duty" in the context of a noble family is a much broader concept than just reproduction, though. The nobleman/woman has a DUTY to run the lands and estate. A DUTY to protect the common folk in his/her lands. A DUTY to serve the ultimate ruler and/or the country as a whole. ALL family duty seems, to me, to refer to all of those things, not just popping out an heir...

And the misfortune of a family member forsaking her duty is worse than external misfortunes, yes...because it is a betrayal in a way that a disasteroriginating outside the family is not.

In addition, I do not agree that the heir misfortune is directly correlated to the family's survival in the way you maintain. The author of the book provides a whole list of misfortunes and then says it's a testament to the family that they have survived so much for so long. "So much" seems to me to refer to the long list of many types of misfortune spread over many years, not just the one related to an heir forsaking duty...
Jnai
62. vwolfe
love all the theories on these posts! a few things i'm wondering:

in NOTW, lorren tells kvothe that he will keep is copy of Rhetoric and Logic as safe as any book in the Archives. is it just me or is that a little suspicious?

secondly, i noted that lorren doesn't ban kvothe until after he begins his search for the amyr. if all the relevant information had been removed by then, what harm would it have done kvothe to continue looking? i think the punishment of a year and a day was to give lorren enough time to remove all the books.

and then there's this quote: "In spite of these notable LACKs, the expanse of greystone was undoubtedly a door." is this just a play on words, or is rothfuss basically telling us the door in the Archives actually is the lackless door? would this explain why kvothe is so drawn to it? perhaps inside the lockless box are the keys that open this door? maybe that's why he needs a candle without light, since candles are forbidden there.

and then the end of the poem: "one a thing tight-held in keeping/then comes that which comes with sleeping"? I kind of think this a reference to the moon? (comes out a night when people sleep). my personal theory is that kvothe will end up releasing the rest of the moon's name, (the thing tight held in keeping) and in the process a piece of his own name get's trapped in the box instead, leading to the kote we see at the end.

there are just so many holes in the story so far. if the creation war started becasue Iax tried to steal the moon, how and why did it end? it seems as if the moon still alternates between both worlds, so that makes it seem like there wasn't a winner. (wouldn't the winner have kept it exclusively?).

and i have one final question that bothers me. in NOTW after the wedding party, denna seems to react oddly when kvothe suggests the chandrian are responsible, but she at least seems to believe in their existence. so, for the life of me, i can't figure out why she's so shocked in WMF's after kvothe attempts to correct her song. i just don't get how she goes from being open minded about it to basically calling him an idiot. maybe this is more support of the theory that they are somehow magically connected. it's almost like too much of a coincidence for them to have both said exactly the wrong thing to each other.

sorry this is so long. i hate puzzle i can't solve!
Bruce Wilson
63. Aesculapius
I've been reading this re-read and all the insightful comments it has generated pretty much since the start and I'm always so very impressed! Thank you Jo - and all the rest of you!

This is my first comment and I just had to chip in here because a couple of things have been nagging at me for a while now but no-one seems to have made the connections yet:

We have already specifically encountered a candle without light: on the drawing that Nina gives to Kvothe (which shows what she can remember of the images on the vase) there is a dark, shadowed figure which K assumes to be Haliax. Pictured above him are three phases of the moon (full, half and new) and there are two candles: one is yellow with an orange flame but the second, underneath his outstretched hand, is grey with a black flame, surrounded by an area of shadow. Obviously, this could be just an indication of Haliax (or whoever this is) sucking the light from the candle but I wonder: is this the candle without light...?

The visual link in the image between this individual and the changing phases of the moon is also pretty striking.

Second, like many of you, I'm struck by the significance of Lorren banning Kvothe for having been not just in the Archives but also next to the Four-Plate Door with his lit candle. We know Lorren has an amazing memory for facts and details; when he accompanies Kvothe after his first Admissions, I'm sure that his questions regarding "Arliden the bard" were not made lightly. There's also a significance to Lorren's reaction (just prior to this) when K first tells the Chancellor his father's name. Just what was Lorren remembering and what connections did he make...? The link between Arliden and Netalia Lackless seems pretty likely.

When K first goes to see Lorren to plead for his ban to be rescinded, Lorren rejects his offer of other pennances and says simply that K needs to demonstrate the patience and prudence that he has so far been lacking. I wonder if there is a deeper significance to this?

Now, these two points (along with many others you guys have already raised) start to raise some other thoughts: just who was the Lackless rhyme originally about? There's certainly more to this than just the Four Corners' equivalent of tabloid gossip about a noble's daughter who eloped with a travelling player - but if the rhymes are not really about Netalia, then who were they about? Who was the original Lady Lackless? We know the Lackless line is truly ancient - but just *how* ancient...?

If the "candle without light" also equates to "her husband's candle" then could this make LYRA the original Lady Lackless? If so, what does a re-review of the two rhymes suggest if Lanre and Lyra are the *real* subjects of the rhyme - and what does this suggest about the Lackless door? - and the perils of opening it...?!

Also, "then comes that which comes with sleeping" / "she's been dreaming without sleeping"
... I would agree that the general implication is a link to the Faen Realm but could this also be a reference to the (metaphorical if not literal) doors of Death that Lyra must have passed to recover/rescue Lanre? Alternatively, how does this also link back to Haliax, who has specifically been denied sleep (and dreaming) and death?

I await your thoughts with interest!


[Edited for typos and clarity!]
Nathan Love
64. n8love
Literally leaving the house in 1 min, but... uh... I have about ten things to say about the above idea (Lanre and Lyra=Lackless), and one or two might even matter. Reigning. In. Brain.... *sigh*
Good Job. I don't care if this is true or not, it's really interesting and bears a detailed look at Skarpi's story. "doors of stone"+ Lanre...in the same sentence. Been 2 min, gotta go.
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
I’ve just made a new potential connection. Aesculapius @63 asks “just who was the Lackless rhyme originally about?” His thoughts lead down the way of “this is about a particular couple” (Lanre & Lyra) as per the skipping rhyme, but my thoughts went a different direction. What if, rather than a riddle to be solved, the original rhyme was a mnemonic for the Lackless line to remember the things they need to guard? Something was put into their keeping (which, for the moment, I assume to be whatever is behind the Lackless door), and their job as a family is to keep that thing from being released. This would offer an interesting explanation to the family’s survival of all manner of misfortune: those who want the thing released are trying to destroy the family, while those who want it guarded are, in turn, guarding the family. (One assumes these might be the Chandrian and the Amyr, respectively, but one might be backwards. Or one might be wrong altogether.)

Through the rhyme, the Lackless heir is to be continually reminded to guard the ring, the word, etc. so that what is trapped and entrusted to their keeping remains closed off from the human world. (This would put an interesting twist on “a word forsworn” – it is a (Yllish?) word they will never again speak aloud. It would even fit the skipping rhyme, “not for swearing” – or even speaking.) Unfortunately, over the years the purpose has been lost, as well as much of the understanding. Now we have Meluan and Alvaeron trying to figure out how to open things up, which potentially they will do in DT with Kvothe’s help (the son), releasing rather than guarding their charge.

This interpretation can easily fit the entire rhyme, except for one thing: how does “a time that must be right” fit in? Is it simply a “chinese whisper” effect, so that it’s the wrong wording? Or is this all out to lunch, and they are to safeguard these things so that they are all available at the right time, and then open it?

By the way, do you suppose Kvothe can invent a black-light candle? That would be cool. Also, there are two mentions of doors: the "Lackless door" of the introductory couplet, and the "door that holds the flood" in the list of seven. This might flip back to n8love's idea of opening the door in the Archives to get to the Lackless door (or possibly to get something needed to open the Lackless door). Is it a flood of knowledge? Oy. DT, hurry along...

And at some point, I expect I should match up the "seven things" with the Chandrian and see if there's any logical correlation. Sevens and threes seem to be important.
Jo Walton
66. bluejo
Aesclepius: Well spotted on the black light candle.

I don't think the Lackless rhyme is about Lanre and Lyra. This is nothing more than instinct. It just doesn't feel right.

Wetlandernw: If you can link the seven things with the Chandrian that would be really nifty, because I've got nothing.
Jnai
67. Aesculapius
@Jo: Sorry, don't think I explained myself well enough; I don't think it's meant to be a direct re-telling of or reference to the Lyra and Lanre story in the way that Skarpi's tale in Tarbean was. What I was really suggesting was that the links I outlined might give us a clue as to the timeframe and events relating to the origins of the rhyme and to what it might ultimately refer.

The Lackless line has to begin somewhere and they certainly have a history of power and influence and some interesting associated legends. I just wondered how much they might tie directly into the Creation War, the downfall of the Cities and the origins of the Seven.

The rhyme (particularly the "older" version from WMF) clearly has all the features that Wetlandernw (@65) described above and I'm inclined to agree with that is one very likely possibility for its true purpose because it certainly seems to give the necessary clues as to how to open the door (or prevent this!). That said, I do wonder why such a family secret would then be clearly in the public domain?

I was also intrigued by the reference in the quote from Caudicus when he lists "theft" among the various misfortunes to befall the Lackless line over the years - this would seem pretty minor compared to most of the other things he mentions unless what was stolen was of some real significance to the family (and/or their duty or "purpose"). A key artefact or heirloom perhaps...?
Jnai
68. Aesculapius
Oh, and also agree with Wetlandnw (@65) that as "the door that holds the flood" is listed as one of the things that *stands before* the Lackless Door, this would indeed seem to indicate that these two "doors" are entirely separate entities.
Alice Arneson
69. Wetlandernw
Aesculapius @68 - I'm glad you caught what I meant... I just reread my comment @65, and realized that in editing I managed to edit out the direct point of the door comment - that there might, after all, be two separate doors involved. (Hence the reference to n8love's suggestion.) I've been musing on it ever since, and the Archive door is still the only connection I can make for a second door - unless there are significant objects yet to be revealed in DT. It's funny - I had sort of worked my way around to the assumption that the Archive door was of greater significance, and the Lackless door somewhat less. Now I'm wondering again whether the Lackless setup is actually the key to the catastrophe Kvothe feels he let loose, rather than being simply a link in the chain, and that the Archive door is merely a step in that direction.

Nice point about "theft" - I begin to wonder if there are "significant objects" floating around that should be linked to the Lackless family but aren't because they were stolen somewhere in the past. Unfortunately, the only things I can see in the riddle that don't have a good target already linked to the Lackless family are the candle, the time, and the door that holds the flood. The candle, if it's a particular candle, possible Auri's candle, is a possibility; I'm not sure how you steal a time or a door, though.

Well, it's all just conjecture at this point anyway, right?

Jo - no luck so far on the Chandrian, though I'm doing a little research on them. I suspect that while sevens and threes are important, it is not necessarily true that every seven has a direct (much less obvious, one-to-one) link to every other seven. Being a closed system it's quite possible, but it's also quite possible that when PR chose to make sevens significant, he threw in a lot of different sevens without necessarily connecting them all. So I'll continue to poke around a little, but I won't be terribly surprised if I don't find anything. :)
Jnai
70. Aesculapius
Just a thought: Caudicus says that the secret "door" without lock, handle or hinged is on the oldest part of the Lackless lands, in the oldest part of their ancestral estate.

The initial implication is that the Lackless lands are in Vintas so therefore the "door", if it physically exists, is somewhere on those lands in Vintas.

If, however, the Lackless line is as old as we believe it may be and the legendary door is on the *oldest* part of their lands, in the oldest part of their ancestral estate, does it necessarily follow that this location has to be in any way connected to their *current* lands in Vintas...?

The original Lackless lands could be far away, connected to one of the seven Cities from the time of the Creation War. The Four-Plate door in the Archives at the University may even BE the fabled Lackless Door for all we know. Maybe it was always there, maybe it was moved there? Maybe it was stolen and taken there for safe keeping?!

Perhaps the faded Yllish knots on the Lackless box actually say "VALARITAS"...?!

OK, sorry, now I'm stretching the point. You get the general idea!
Jo Walton
71. bluejo
We know there's a Lackless box. We've only heard rumours about a door, or two doors...

The Four Plate door is real, and it is described with "lacks".

I keep thinking the Greystones with their "lead to something something ell" are also doors, and the Archives are like a greystone and the Four Plate door is in the Archives.
Jnai
72. Paladin Latham
I heard the author talk about the inspiration for the trilogy at a signing. he talked about reading a tragedy that was so moving he wept for half a day, continually reminding himself that he was okay, that everything was okay. He then asked why a fantasy story can't have that effect on people, can't move people emotionally like that. Having heard him speak, the stories he chooses to tell, the jokes he makes, I do not doubt that I will by crying my eyes out at whatever happens in the end.
Caim Callohan
73. LionsRampant
@18, What's funny about your comment is that was one of my first "investigative thoughts". Why would someone named Kvothe, trying to hide from the entire world, call himself Kote, which is literally a V and H away from his true identity? You could easily walk into the inn, see the sword above the bar, look at the red haired, green eyed inn keeper whose name is curiously like Kvothe and wait just a gosh-darned minute mister, you look a lot like Kv...hmmm.

My first read through I honestly thought the editor missed a spell check. That line of thinking led me to believe that maybe this is a classic ambush, that Bast is "Kvothe" and that Kote is simply the bait (but no, definetely not).

But, after further review of the story and trying to disect PR as an author from just 2 novels (and his aquatic hamster tale), this goes deeper.

As for the possibility of what happened to Denna, I instinctively believe that she is "gone". Not dead, however, based on Bast's reaction to her physical appearance and statements in other forums that Bast's only comments about her were negative. If she was dead, I doubt Bast would highlight her negative attributes to Kvothe.

Also, I don't think its specifically mentioned but didn't Kvothe plant that flower (senas?) behind the Weystone that he stated Denna resembled? Flowers are such a symbol for rememberence (eek, and death) so its safe to say that Denna has been removed from Kvothe's life for a while.

Ah, Bast...where did we meet! DT has so much to cover and your introduction from stranger to student is one of my favorite questions. How did you hear of Kvothe or come to know him so much as to become a student? Were you interested in his legend, his University studies, what was it Bast? Kvothe as a teacher, hmm. I want to say that I think Bast searched for Kvothe, as that sounds plausible for a Fae to hear stories of a human legend and want to investigate and become a student. I want to believe that Kvothe went back to the Fae, and that is where he hid, aged and learned to lose himself.

I strongly believe that Kvothe's lute is locked in the box that he can not open (I think the box is the right size to hold a lute as well).

What I love more than most, is the anticipation of this mystery. There are so many possible clues/facts/speculations, that PR has you not knowing what is up or what is down at this moment.

Oh and to start the windmill with Bast (I don't know if its been mentioned) but his name is associated (in English) as the child of Ra, the Sun God. Hmm, with all this Moon talk, who better to have an interest in Kvothe and getting the Moon back then the Sun? The Sun is getting no love in NoTW! Bast was also associated with "protection" and that seems to fit his role with Kvothe...just saying.
David C
74. David_C
re @ 23. A Fox
I'm still of the idea that K & D's story will echo that of Lanre & Lyra. In that she will call him back from beyound the four doors.
Perhaps D is the key that unlocks Kote and/or the chest?

If K is playing a beautiful game, perhaps he, Bast, and Chronicler are occupying a critical square (the Waystone) that other players will have to pass. I'm curious as to Kote's insistence on taking three days to tell the story. Is he forcing the timing of certain elements?
David C
75. David_C
@31
To risk getting back on topic, I very much doubt that this is the event that causes him to forsake his name and go into hiding. It's clear that he later kills a king, and starts the war mentioned in the frame story. Dealing with the false Ruh seems much more in line with the fame-building aspect of Kvothe's story.
I agree that this event is likely not plot-critical. I almost feel as if this would have been discarded material, except that it gives him the link for the conversation between Kvothe and Meluan.

There's a more general chivalry/feministic thing going on with Kvothe that feels odd to me in the framework of the story. Just as someone in an earlier thread pointed out that the "just say no to denner resin" subtext of the Trebon story seems peculiarly 20th-century US-of-American in an otherwise typical fantasy setting, Kvothe's concern for the harm that may come to women feels out of place, or textually unjustified.

Whilst the 10% women at the University is clearly meant to sound like criticism to modern ears, there seems to be little evidence of grossly patriarchal society, one that would cause a budding magic nerd like Kvothe to sit up and take note. Yet clearly he does.

One of the motivations of the K+D dance that does seem somewhat false to me is Kvothe's oddly knightly behaviour to D. It hardly seems to be modelled after the behaviour of his father.
David C
76. David_C
36. Herelle
Beware, this is a long one:

@38 Why do you think the door in the archives would be the Lackless door?
I think that the Cthaeh's comments (something like "stick close to the Maer and he'll bring you to the Amyr's door") strongly suggest that the Lackless door is in or close to Vintas, which isn't to say that the Archives door doesn't connect.
David C
77. David_C
@40
My general point is that I think the door that stands before the entrance to the Lackless door is the four-plate door. I don't think geography need matter, since the realtionship between Fae and the Four Corners may not be a matter of physical space.
If the Lackless door is the Amyr door and if the Cthaeh never outright lies, then making the Lackless door be the 4 plate door would seem to bring the Maer to the University, which is odd. I find it simpler to imagine that there is more than one door (possibly to more than one place). At any rate, if the Cthaeh's comments refer to a physical door somehow connected to the Amyr, there are three doors to explain.
David C
78. David_C
47. n8love
Other than all the waystones we have only heard of two doors.

I count three. the Amyr door (from the Cthaeh), the Lackless door, and the 4-plate door. Which of these are the same is the question.
Jnai
79. wickedkinetic
I think PR is a huge feminist, (references to leading feminist meetings at university in real-life not to mention apending 15 years in the modern higher education culture....). This to me explains the quality/depth of his female characters and any unsual attention paid to certain aspects of his world. Particularly his need to spell out the lack of options for women in this culture particularly if they are not of noble-birth or without family support.

I think it also goes towards the trend of these books to turn classic fantasy genre stuff on its head. There are few maidens-in-distress waiting to be delivered unharmed from the teeth of monsters... There are real women, damaged, traumatised, shaped by their experiences.

I find it refreshing and much classier than the typical fantasy stereotyps - women as healers or girlfriends, men as warriors or keepers of arcane secrets.... in this book there are women that matter (but a chauvinistic society - no female 'masters' or teachers at the University if I'm remembering correctly - no female bar or business owners (unless you count Devi, not exactly an honest/honorable business...)

and as far as him being a dense 15-year-old putting his infatuation on a pedestal and considering himself unworthy.... while other wonderful attractive woman throw themselves at him... this is not only the plot of almost every teen drama / tv show / movie etc.. its also the way many teenage boys spend high school in real-life... not far-fetched at all in my opinion - people can be willfully dense at obscene levels, also ignorant of their own hypocrisy/arrogance/etc. I think Pat represents all these things very well in these books.

(funny - my posting - word-box includes the word 'moreover' - after just reading the early chapter of WMF where they discuss the story of Elodin fighting a man in the bar for over using the nonsense word....)
Jeremy Raiz
80. Jezdynamite
People have been mentioning the Lackless door being on the most ancient part of their most ancient lands.

Could the lackless door be In Tinue (which I believe is the same as the city of Tinusa, the only survivor of the original 8 cities)? My not-fully thought through reasoning is this:

(1) WTF chapter 62, Caudicus states that on the oldest parts of the Lackless lands, in thei oldest part of their ancestral estate there is a secret door. The 8 cities are some of the most ancient places we've heard of.

(2) the only surviving city of the 8 cities (my guess being Tinue/Tinusa) seems as good and secure a place as any to setup and guard a secure prison/portal (or the only safe place at the time where this portal/prison could be setup and guarded). Not sure still about what's behind the door.

(3) the Lackless lands used to be a full earldom (before the bloodless rebellion, whatever that is) when they (the Lackless family) still controlled Tinue (WTF chapter 139). The Lackless lands used to be pieces of Vintas, Modeg and the Small Kingdoms (right where the city of Tinue is). The Lackless family is much older than the land of Vintas (WTF end of chapter 62 - K talking to Claudius about the Lackless family history)

---Does anyone feel similarly to me, or can help me flesh out this theory?

I have a few other theories but I'm not sure where to post them (which tie this theory with the Lackless family, to the Amyr, Tinue and what's behind the door).
Jnai
81. Celebril
I’ve just recently become aware of this series of articles and this will be my first comment, so let me first commend Jo and all the commentators for their great insights into such a complex and subtle body of literature. Here’s to hoping that DayThree fulfills all our expectations and more!

That said, there are a few theories here that I’m less inclined to believe, for a few reasons. So, as Arliden (via Kvothe) says, I’ll “begin at the beginning”. I apologize for the “wall of text”; some of these thoughts have been fermenting a while now.

Regarding the seeming differences between Kvothe of the narrative and Kote of the frame story, the most reasonable assumption in my opinion is that he is, for the most part, acting. We know the Ruh are the best actors in the known world, and we know that Kvothe is fairly exceptional at things he sets his mind too (even if we believe he’s prone to exaggerating his exploits from time to time – though truth be told, they do tend in general to be more mundane than the popular legends we hear about him from third parties). Whether he’s doing this with some type of mental aid à la “Hide the Stone” or turned a portion of his Alar against itself...it’s possible but, I think, irrelevant in the long run. His mind has created those tricks and can therefore cast them aside if/when the time is right and he is truly of a mind to do so.

The theory that Kvothe has renamed himself (or rather, re-Named himself), and thereby lost the “essence of what made him so remarkable” is an interesting one. It does seem from our perspective that he’s lost at least some of the skills that truly made him Kvothe the Arcane. However, I think a true re-Naming would go deeper than just basic skills and abilities, and would affect the entire essence of his being, making him truly into a different person. There are points in the frame story where we see the real Kvothe peeking through the cracks in his “Kote” façade. A great example of this (indeed, a pivotal one) is the fact that he deciphers Chronicler’s cipher in a bare 15 minutes – and wasn’t it fundamentally his ability to more fully comprehend that made him so remarkable? Abenthy says of young Kvothe that he “does everything that way, quick as a whip, hardly ever makes mistakes.” It was this very basic, very innate ability of Kvothe’s that enabled him to learn all his subsequent skills. Further, there are a few instances in the frame when we see him lose himself – or rather, lose Kote and become Kvothe again, at least for an instant. When Chronicler is trying to convince K to tell his story, he tries to goad him into “setting straight” his reputation, which fails to move him. However, when he starts to talk about the “woman” (Denna? He never specifically says...), he gets more than he bargains for: the room grows “unnaturally quiet” and a bottle explodes at random, presumably via sympathy. When Chronicler witnesses this reaction, he thinks to himself “I believe it. Before it was just a story, but now I can believe it. This is the face of a man who has killed an angel.” I find it very hard to believe that a newly re-Named Kote would be capable of such feats. There are other such instances within the frame (the “perfect step” being one), usually highlighted by a sudden awareness on Chronicler’s part that he is, indeed, dealing with the Kvothe of legend and not just a mere innkeep. And indeed, as the frame story progresses, PR tends to use the name “Kvothe” more and more, especially at particularly telling moments. It seems the façade is slowly slipping, albeit unwillingly at first.

I think the possibility of a part of Kvothe’s name being trapped in the Leoclos/Iax’s box is more likely, though I still reserve some doubts. It could in a way account for his apparent lack of power without being a complete re-Naming, and thereby not change the entire essence of his being. However, the simpler explanation for this lack is the fact that K is hiding his true self, and has been for some time now. Kote doesn’t know sympathy or Adem fighting techniques, and he’s not a master musician with talent pipes from the Eolian, so he certainly can’t risk being found practicing any of these skills. As a result, he’s quite rusty, which can account for the fact that he fails to perform the sympathetic binding while under attack by the skin changer, and also fails the defend himself from the soldiers that attack and rob him. I think that if Kvothe knew he had lost a part of his name, he never would have attempted either of these things to begin with. Further, the only way for him to have part of his name locked in the box would be for him to actually speak it while the box was open (this is how Ludis, the Moon loses her name to Jax in the legend) – a thing he would specifically know not to do, at all cost. The only other way it could happen would be if someone else had an understanding of his true, deep Name and spoke it at the same moment, or attempted to lock it in the box independently – a theory that opens up some interesting possibilities for Day Three.

I suppose I’ll leave it at that for now. I have some other theories/comments based on a few of the other things mentioned in this thread, but this post is long enough as it is, so I’ll leave it for another day. Many thanks to Jo and all for your great insights and lively discussion! “May all your stories be glad ones, and your roads be smooth and short.”
Jnai
82. Heinrich
I just finished reading the second book and have to agree that my first impressen was that Kvothe has locked his name in his box. But what about the times when his "real eyes" came alive? there were severel moments in the first book where chronicler noticed somkind of an aura or well the impression his eyes make, when chronicler really believed him being the kvothe. so maybe there's only his alar locked away in that box. but i think the eye-thingy contradicts the name-locked-in-box theory. if he is an entirely other person, or rather without his powers, how can his eyes (which denna remarks show his true feelings/nature) tell otherwise?

greetings from germany
Steven Halter
83. stevenhalter
Heinrich@82:There are possibly a number of things at work. Kvothe could be partly pretending as well as partly locked in the box and by the Inn.
kineta chien
84. kineta
There is a mention of Kote sleeping in the beginning of the book. After the drug is given to the 'sandy-haired' man from the caravan, Kote is sitting in front of his fire and the book reads "Sleep met him like a lover in an empty bed." There's at least one other mention of him sleeping early in the book.

As far as Sim and Wil, I am certain that the two young men with the caravan are his friends - who, for inexplicable reasons not only don't recognize him but don't remember being his friend. Simmon is described as 'sandy-haired' and Wil as dark - the same descriptions as the men in the caravan: "Two young men, one sandy-haired, one dark, well dressed and well-spoken". The one who recognizes him says he wept when he heard Kvothe play *once* in Imre. Just as Sim did (although Sim certainly heard him play more than once).

Perhaps he's not only changed his name, but literally taken himself out of his own existence? Maybe that's the 'silence' referred to in both books? Chronicler says to him - "Other people say you're a myth" & "They say you never existed". How can this be if it was only two years since he did whatever he did? Perhaps the great tragedy of this will be that he never existed for those who he loved and who loved him?
kineta chien
85. kineta
I really think Kote is either testing or knows Chronicler to be other than what he says he is. First, if the question "how is the road to Tinue?" is really an idiomatic greeting for "how's it going?" then his timing of the question is damn strange. He asks it before admitting who he is, after to Chronicler first asks if Kote really is Kvothe - "Before we discuss the possibility that you've addled you wits with that crack to the head, tell me, how is the road to Tinue?" At this point in their discussion it's an extremely odd place to be asking "how's it going?" It strikes me as some sort of test - Chronicler should or shouldn't know that idiom? Just like the references to dragons/draccus seem to be a test, considering Chronicler supposedly wrote an authoritative book on them.
Jnai
86. JDH
Something that struck me while reading this post was that all of the theories had to do with Kvothe himself being the reason as to why he is Kote. What if he's not responsible? What if someone else took from him, his "v and h" and he has to find his name again, before he can clearly become himself again. I do not necessarily believe this, but its interesting. Just like Haliax took part of the moon, maybe the moon (Denna?) took part of Kvothe, or Felurian, or the Chandrian, or the Amyr? Who knows, I guess we'll have to wait until DT. If someone did take part of Kvothe, who would have the power to do that? Any speculations?
Steven Bremer
87. Ashimself
K killed Denna.

It is foreshadowed in NotW. It explains why he does not want to be Kvothe anymore. He believes that his experience with the Chtaeh(sp) means that no matter what he does as Kvothe will end in anything but tears. "He is a man waiting to die". He wants to die, but can do nothing but completely disarm himself and let death come to meet him. Chronicler shows the key to this at the end of WMF in that no matter which action he takes, it is foretold and influenced and will end badly. Thus, Kvothe, following Lathani, must attempt to do the "right" thing which has led him to the path of taking as few with him as possible. Bast states that a flower is given to a boy and ends in war... There is a war going on in the Frame... Kvothe feels responsible for it... and with the killing of Denna, and the war and whatever else Rothfuss heaps on top of Kvothe before it is over... he just can't take it.

I believe that BAM is correct on his analysis. The lute is in the Thrice locked chest. Notice that he has only two keys for three locks? The third was clearly sympathetic in some fashion, but he cannot find the way to trigger it. Bast's plan (I would bet that he brought Chronicler to the Waystone, much like the king's men) is to make him remember Kvothe so that Kote can regain himself. Bast has yet to realize that he has already been given the key to helping. Kvothe gave them his Ademic name... and now they should have power over him.

I just finished both of these books... literally, just an hour ago... so those are my first two ha'pennies.
Dale Norman
88. dokipen
I know I'm very late in making a contribution to this thread but I've just finished a re-read of NotW and a re-read of the re-read (meta much?) and it seems patently clear to me that Kote cannot do the things Kvothe can *consciously* but can *sub-consciously*. Or, to put it in the parlance of the novels, Kote's sleeping mind seems to retain Kvothe's skills.

Note that Kote made a bottle of Denna's favourite strawberry wine explode at Chronicler's mention of lost love (I think, haven;t the book with me presently) but when he tries to do it purposefully with the possessed bandit, it doesn't work. His humming unknowingly while doing another chore also.

I'm personally convinced that he is in the same state he was as a stray in Tarbean but this time he has affected this change upon himself purposely. I believe that he isn’t fully awakened after being Named by Skarpi until he plays the lute at the camp fire on the way to Imre and that the song he plays is his own name (there’s been plenty discussion on this relating to his playing the names of things when in the forest, etc.). I’m of the solid opinion that the reason there “of course” is no music is that it would open the doors of the mind to his hidden self and that’s what he needs to avoid at all costs.

Hope this makes sense.
George Brell
89. gbrell
@88.dokipen:

That's how I've read the Kote/Kvothe divide as well.

Assuming that we're right, however, we need to consider a couple discrepancies.

Kote/Kvothe is able to fight the scrael. This doesn't seem to involve sympathy, but seems to require his fighting talents. As an explanation, in WMF, he tells Bast that he "picked the time and place for the scrael rather carefully" which seems to imply that he can undo at least some portion of the Kote binding.

I'm also not sure our awake/sleeping distinction explains the fight with the two soldiers. Kvothe is clearly winning until one of the soldiers "jerked his arm roughly out of the innkeeper’s grip. Kvothe had half a moment to look startled before the soldier’s elbow caught him in the temple." Do we believe that Kvothe acted out the fight prior to that point subconsciously? He has the talent until he seems to lose it.

After that point, he tries to do the two-handed variant of Break Lion (or at least that's what I've always interpreted his attempt as), but can't make it work. This is like the sympathy with the skinwalker, knowledge of the skill, but an inability to perform it.

The two aren't really the same. And I'm not sure the conscious/subconscious divide explains them.

We also need to explain Kote/Kvothe's "one single perfect step" on the last page of WMF. Do we interpret that as implying that the Ketan and his Ademic fighting skills aren't lost to Kote, just unpracticed? I'm more inclined to believe that he would have lost those skills as well as his ability to perform sympathy. (This is also a problem for any theory that argues that the Waystone Inn itself limits Kvothe, as is the exploding wine bottle.).

My opinion at this point is that Kvothe's alar broke, much like the much-mentioned Ramston steel. This prevents him from performing conscious sympathy, but doesn't limit his sleeping mind.

I think it's likely that he has re-Named himself, owing to the giant foreshadow with Elodin at the end of WMF. How that affects him specifically is completely unclear to me, but I think you're right that music reharmonizes him to his true Name. Hence why he was recognized by the traveler at the beginning of NotW after he sang.

How this fits with whatever is held in his thrice-locked chest is also unclear to me, but I think Jo's theory of his lute is probably the most logical. Although, part of me thinks that Marten's story of Taborlin the Great may give us more clues. In it, the King Scyphus placed Taborlin's sword, staff, cloak, key and coin.

We haven't seen a staff, but Kvothe has certainly acquired the sword, cloak, key and coin. Perhaps those are the items in the chest?
thistle pong
90. thistlepong
Just a couple thoughts...

Assuming his Alar is broken, what if there's nothing esoteric (well, beyond it already being magic) about it? What if whatever betrayal he suffered constituted an irreconcilable challenge to his ability to believe. I can imagine his certainty with regard to a few things already being core to Kvothe-in-the-story. Destroy one and he undergoes the existential crisis, unable to really believe in anything without doubt anymore.
Jnai
91. Liet
Not sure if anyone has mentioned this yet but... I remember Kvothe swearing not to seek out Denna's patron on "his name, his power, and his good left hand"... If his own quests (for the Amyr, the Chandrian) conflict with Denna's affairs, then he broke his oath without knowing it. Does anyone else think that he can't play music or do sympathy anymore because he effectively crippled himself? He was surprised when the two-handed version of Break Lion didn't work on the soldiers, and he couldn't use sympathy on the mercenary. Also the left hand was supposed to be more clever and without it playing the lute was supposed to be impossible (said the Maer in their argument), so "of course there was no music." Not to mention his absent name and power...
Jnai
92. Kristof
Has anyone else noticed that the inscription in 'Rhetoric and Logic' that Abenthy gives him says 'Beware of folly' and that is the name of the sword he hangs in the inn? Possible connection.
Steven Halter
93. stevenhalter
Kristof@92:Yes, that has been noticed. There have been fairly lengthy comment threads on the meaning of the name Folly and the possible origins of the sword. Folly could be Kvothe's sword, Saicere, that has been somehow changed and possibly renamed, or it could be Cinder's sword, also possibly changed, or it could be some other sword we haven't seen yet, or ...
Many speculations.
Roger Pavelle
94. RogerPavelle
There's something that has been bugging me about Kvothe that I thought I'd throw out for discussion -- he's too powerful.
1) He severely burned Hemme using a wax mommet, which should have been a simple hotfoot.
2) He breaks Kilvin's drench using just blood as a source.
3) He binds the lodenstone (trebonstone) to the several ton iron wheel in Trebon and manages to rip the latter off the church wall and have it travel a distance before it impales the draccus (I don't have the book in front of me, but my impression was that the draccus was not right under the church door). Lodenstone to iron wheel should not be that great a link (size, composition, shape are all different).
4) He gets much bigger results than expected when binding lightning to arrow during the bandit battle in the forest.

All of these are things that he shouldn't have been able to accomplish based on the magical rules we have been given. So my question is, what is there about Kvothe that allows him to do them?

Roger
George Brell
95. gbrell
@94.RogerPavelle:

I'm not sure we've gotten a good explanation for nos. 1 or 4. These might be connected with Brandeur's offhand comment to Hemme in NotW that "We should all take precautions . . . You know as well as—".

For no. 2, Kvothe suggests that it's his intimate knowledge of how to make the glass that composes the drench. But it could be connected.

For no. 3, we've had a fair amount of discussion about that incident. The text suggests there are three sympathetic links and I don't think the text provides the identity of the three links (i.e. we have to theorize at least one of them). The text suggests that the wheel falls towards the draccus, but I don't know if the text can be read such that it's directed more by sympathy than gravity.
Roger Pavelle
96. RogerPavelle
@95
I think my point is more that, even given there may be suggested explanations (from Kvothe, you or others), this is four examples of Kvothe evincing extra power. Once might be luck, twice a coincidence but four times is a pattern.

- Roger
Ashley Fox
97. A Fox
Perhaps you should look to the greatest display of strong power: When he Names Felurian. He gains the star upon his brow and sings.

The beings-singers (angels in Tehlin corruption)-have such stars and sing songs of power.

Theories: K's Lackless blood, his status as prophesised in the Lackless ryhm ( Elodin's breakdown that lead him to the rookery possibly coinciing with K's birth his knack for unlocking, his fascination with the fourplate door). Part Fae/Changling (his eyes, the joke his father makes of a passing god, pathenogenesis, descriptions). There have always been varying strength in ability, K happens to have power like of old, learning ways that are lost. When Cinder sent him from the butchery of his parents his sleeping mind was so sorely wounded it opened him wide to all that was and is (his playing Names on his lute in the woods). Perhaps he is powerful because it's all of the above.
Jnai
98. jorgybear
"We know he has killed a king." To be fair, we DON'T know that. We know he's attributed to killing a king. He may have been framed. (I have no evidence for this, but it's the kind of twisted thinking I like to do). on that note, what is the Penitent King penitent for? Perhaps the current king killed the last one, and regrets it?
Jnai
99. stuboy
kvothe is taborlin. Or rather will become taborlin. Im thinking something along the lines of gemmel's morningstar.
It occurred to me as a possibility when reading the opening scene of nw. Where cob is telling the taborlin story. Let me reread the books and rule it out or expand with references.
Jnai
100. GaVak78
94. The lightning worked so well because Marten kept naming angels and based on Cinder’s reactions to it, got some form of ‘attention’ on the scene from some 3rdparty power.

Tehlu, Menda, Perial.

"Suddenly the leader paused and cocked his head. He held himself perfectly still as if listening for something. Martyn continued praying...." "...

Their leader looked quickly to the left and the right as if he heard something that disturbed him.”

“Their leader turned his head as if to search the sky for something.”

Next chapter: “The lightning? Well, the lightning is difficult to explain.” And “Honestly, I don’t know if I can take credit for the lightning striking when and where it did.”

Kvothe was what grounded the lightning to the tree; something else ‘sent’ it.

That could be a handy trick to know: Name the AMYR around the Chandrian and they will show up to kill them.

~d
Roger Pavelle
101. RogerPavelle
That is a very interesting reading of the situation. I never tied Martin's prayers to the effectiveness of Kvothe's lightning (especially since Martin doesn't have any magical ability that has been mentioned).

- Roger
Ashley Fox
102. A Fox
Except they are precisely what the Amyr are not...
Jnai
103. Jlynch
I didn't read through all the comments, but I felt the need to post this and I need to get back to work so forgive me if I repeat something.

I think Kvothe fought against the Chandrian and lost, and they somehow locked a part of his name in the thrice locked chest. It reminds me a lot of the stories of Taborlin the Great, where his cloak (Kvothe has one), coin (Auri gave Kvothe the penance piece) and staff (he doesn't have one of these, so far as I remember) are locked in a chest, and Taborlin retrieves them by smacking the chest and saying "Edro!", which Kvothe does to the chest in the bandit camp after the others can't pick the lock. Kvothe also smacks his thrice locked chest and says "Edro, dammit!", but it doesn't open. Could it be because his power is in the chest?

If he is a Singer, as has been suggested in previous posts, it's possible that his lute - and therefore music - is locked in the chest, rather than a staff, like with Taborlin. He would then be unable to use magic until the chest was opened.

To disprove my own theory, though, Taborlin was still able to tell the wall to break, even while his magic was locked in a chest, but seeing the way details in stories get muddled (just look at how the Kvothe stories get mixed up) it's entirely possible that those details about Taborlin come from entirely different stories.
Jnai
104. Jimjam
So going off of what was said if k had spilt his personalities (kvothe and kote)then he would have to spilt his mind twice. All the while maintain the thought that these two personalities are different and that he was just kote. If he forgot either one of these things then kvothe would slowly cease to exist. Bast realizes this and wants to shock k into an epiphany that his not just kote.
Jnai
105. DreadPirateRoberts
I think Kvothe has changed his name on purpose and locked the objects in the thrice locked chest that would remind him of who he really is. I think the reason is that Haliax has somehow learned the inner workings of Kvothe's name as he knows Cinder's. Also, maybe he's waiting to die because something about changing your true name 'cut's the flower' so to speak. That somehow, by that action, he has cut off his ability to truely live and now he's waiting for death to finish the job. Would explain why he looks so much older when he is fully in Kote mode and how the wrinkles seem to smooth when he is remember himself as Kvothe. Just a thought.

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