Thu
Aug 25 2011 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: Speculative Summary 4: Kingkiller Chronicles, huh? Speculations on Kings

Welcome to the fourth and last of the speculative summation posts I’m going to be doing in between volumes of my fiendishly detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. Four weeks ago we finished The Name of the Wind, and now 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.

So, one thing we absolutely know is that Kvothe kills a king. The question is, what king? And why?

Roderic?

We’ve established that Newarre is in Vintas, so the king of Vintas seems a likely but not inevitable victim. Roderic is the king, and we don’t know much about him beyond what Alveron mutters about taxes and upstarts. There’s no motive, and it would seem a little random without a lot more set-up. But there’s room for a lot more set up.

The other thing we sort of know is that Caesura is called “Keysera, poet killer” and we therefore have speculated that the king killed might be a poet, which doesn’t fit for Roderic as far as I know.

Ambrose?

I am personally absolutely convinced that Ambrose will be the king Kvothe kills. He’s described as being twelfth in line to the throne of Vintas, and we know people are busy poisoning people closer to the throne than him. As CV12T puts it:

Ambrose (or his father) may be a possible suspect in the poisoning of the Maer. The Maer is higher up the line of succession than Ambrose - and people between Ambrose and the throne have been dropping like flies (I find the family that was lost at sea to be especially suspicious, given that Devi claims there is a link between the Jakis family and piracy).

And he is a poet. As Mochabean says:

Ambrose was also a poet — a really bad one. So poetkiller and Kingkiller could be one and the same.

And more than that, it’s artistically and emotionally satisfying if Kvothe kills Ambrose, it makes everything that has happened between them utterly relevant to the whole thrust of the plot, it starts out as a squabble between students and it brings the world crashing down. It gives the whole thing unity in a way it needs. It seems so much a part of the shape of the story I’d be really surprised if it isn’t.

It has been theorized that the Maer is now the Penitent King — because the soldiers are wearing his colours. For Ambrose to be the Killed King, this means he must have jumped him in the succession. CV12T has some speculation:

I can think of one scenario in which Kvothe kills Ambrose and the Maer becomes king. What if Ambrose marries into a higher position in the line of succession? If King Roderic’s sons are all dead and Ambrose marries his daughter (Princess Ariel?), for example. This requires assuming that women can’t inherit the crown. I did a search for “queen” and although there are several mentioned, none are indicated to be sole rulers, so it’s not an unreasonable assumption. Though this whole theory is rather unsubstantiated.

As Thistlepong points out:

That’s really the only scenario where Ambrose approaches the throne without a bloodbath. So it’s satisfying in any case. I don’t think Kvothe kills him, but he males sense on one side of a civil war.

This is what I think, but continuing to other options.

Vashet’s Poet-King?

All we know about him is that he was a poet-king of one of the Small Kingdoms and having a relationship with his Adem bodyguard. And, I suppose, that he needed an Adem bodyguard.

Radda says:

As far as I remember, the only real poet we know, apart from one of Denna’s admirers, is the one in Small Kingdoms that Vashet was guarding. Who also happens to be a king, by the way. Although I base this pretty much on that he seems a very interesting figure to not be playing a role further in the story.

I think he’s just scenery. But he’s still a possibility.

Jhirrad thinks:

Vashet mentions how she spent four years as bodyguard to a poet in the Small Kingdoms, who also happened to be king. As soon as I read this on my linguistics re-read, it seemed to pop out to me as the person that would fit the bill for what we’ve been looking for. Kvothe is tied to Vashet as student to teacher, and if something were to happen between that king and Vashet, I feel like Kvothe would step in and act.

So that’s a possible motive, I suppose. The thing that makes it least likely, for me, is that it means that K would have had to do something else to cause the wars and chaos we see all around us — killing the king of a small kingdom, even if he is a poet, just doesn’t seem likely to make the roads terrible and raise the price of salt and have wars left and right. Having said that, even killing the king of Vint doesn’t necessarily do that without a lot of extra complications.

Maer Alveron?

He’s not a king, yet, but he’s in line for the throne, and Kvothe knows him, and Meluan did insult him with the ring. I think Alveron’s a better choice for being Penitent King, though. (Whoever he is, why is he Penitent, I wonder?)

Simmon?

I’d hate this! Sim is also in line for the throne of Vintas, though considerably after Ambrose, but we don’t know exactly how it works. And he’s just as capable as Ambrose of marrying a princess and moving up. And he’s a poet.

GBrell suggests it:

Kvothe might kill Sim. It’s established that Sim’s family is actually relatively high nobility (although he is a third son and notwithstanding Savoy’s comments about Aturan bloodlines). This story constantly references betrayal, but who has actually betrayed anyone? And who could? Denna? Sim is the only other poet we’ve really seen (that I remember) and can you think of anything more crushing than having to kill a best friend?

Arra also agrees with this:

I think he killed Sim (the poet) accidently because of some perceived threat to D. I think the current king is Ambrose and it’s Ambrose that put a bounty on K’s head.

Kvothe!

This surprise theory comes from Sojka:

What if Kvothe is the King, and is referred to as Kingkiller because he faked his death as king and blamed it on himself as Kvothe, and is now hiding out as Kote? The people who recognize him as Kvothe in the Waystone don’t seem surprised that Kvothe is alive, they just seem surprised to find him at all.

I don’t think so! Brilliant, but too twisted.

Any more I missed?


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.

93 comments
Pamela Adams
1. Pam Adams
Personally, I prefer the Kvothe as King theory- this could tie in with Kote's inability to get back to himself as Kvothe- making him unable to undo the damage his 'death' caused.
Memory Arnould
2. xicanti
I'm also convinced it's Ambrose, for the reasons stated and because of the way he's introduced. The moment Ambrose enters the story, Kvothe begins talking about him as though he's been part of things all along, and anyone and everyone ought to know who he is. This threw me the first time I read NW. I flipped back a few pages, searching for the place where I was supposed to have learned Ambrose's name, at the very least. I assumed it was a strange bit of editing, since as far as I can recall every other major character receives at least a small intro along the lines of "this person is named this, and they're involved in that," but now I'm fairly sure it's deliberate.
Chris King
3. KingFielder
I'd hate for the killed King to be Sim too. Sim introduces caesuras (the stop in a line of poetry, not the sword) to the reader. I believe it's when he is reciting a poem in praise of Fella after she goes on the fake date with Ambrose. Should we be linking the caesura-using poet with the poet-killing sword? Killing Sim does seem to be the kind of act that could cause Kvothe's alar to break.
Rowan Shepard
4. Rowanmdm3
I had not thought of Sim being the king Kvothe kills, and if that theory turns out to be true it will break my heart.

I wonder if we'll have to wait more or less than the 4 years we did for the WMF? I'm really hoping for less, but expecting in the 4-5 range having done no research to see what the status is. Whenever D3 comes out, I'll have to reread all of these posts to remind myself of the different theories. It will be interesting to see what we got right, and where we get completely surprised :)
Katy Maziarz
5. ArtfulMagpie
"I flipped back a few pages, searching for the place where I was supposed to have learned Ambrose's name, at the very least. I assumed it was a strange bit of editing, since as far as I can recall every other major character receives at least a small intro along the lines of "this person is named this, and they're involved in that," but now I'm fairly sure it's deliberate."

Actually, I've been informed, after pointing out the same thing, that it is an error in the edition I (and I guess you) are reading. In other editions, one of the other students who walks in during the first confrontation between Kvothe and Ambrose refers to Ambrose by name before Kvothe starts doing so. In my edition, Kvothe just randomly seems to know Ambrose's name without ever hearing it. An error in the text. Ah well.
Memory Arnould
6. xicanti
@ArtfulMagpie oh, poop. There goes my wee sliver of insight! I read the hardcover first, then the mass market paperback. Must be the trade paperback where it's corrected.
Jo Walton
7. bluejo
I'm prepared to wait for D3 for as long as Pat needs to get it right.

But next week strikes me as a really good time...
Kurt Montandon
8. Kurt Montandon
Where is it said that Sim is in line for the throne of Vintas? His father is a Duke in Atur, not Vint.
Kurt Montandon
9. Susan Loyal
We've all been assuming that Kvothe kills a human king. There's always Fae to consider. No evidence of any kind yet, mind you, except that I'm not convinced that we have a grip on Bast's motivation for anything.

I'm still convinced that we don't know Bredon's real status. My husband is convinced that Bredon stands behind Alveron in the succession, and that he's the Penitent King. I'm more inclined to think it's the other way around, and that Bredon is, in fact, the current king's "wandering around" identity, and that K winds up killing him as a result of some understanding or mis-understanding having to do with D.

I am, however, prepared to be terribly, terribly wrong and thoroughly gleeful about it, as whatever Rothfuss has in store will certainly be better than what I'm imagining.
Ian B
10. Greyfalconway
Perhaps Bredon is Greyfallow? When he says he used to be a power back in the day, maybe its because he played a beautiful game and got the Lackless heir Netalia to be charmed away by his troupe of esteemed Ruh, or some such

We know his colors are 'not really colors at all' if I'm recalling correctly, but it could just be that he's wearing only the grey part of his grey and green.

Also, a point in favor of the Jakis family poisoning the Maer; Caudicus tells Kvothe that he recently spent some time with them, which he could've done many times before, but perhaps the reason he's poisoning a bit more vigorously now is because at the last visit they said to do away with Alveron, since they've been slowly taking out successors to the throne before themselves with their pirate shenanigans

Another point I mentioned before but that's pretty ridiculous, but would be completely shocking, what if he's Bredon Jakis, father of Ambrose, THAT would certainly be an interesting scene for Kvothe
Ashley Fox
11. A Fox
Reading this thread I have an idea. Tenous.

What if there are two Kings?

Ambrose's family are attempting to eliminate sucessors to the throne, this has plenty of evidence, even if K is blind to it (Tho not frame K).

He has missed the Maer, becuase of K. The Maers claim is also stronger, with Meluan Lackless, becuase of K.

K has made a point of how he hates to be maniplated.

This would also have odd parrales to older wars. As one side, Ambrose, would be welcomng of/using magic. Perhaps including the creation of skraelings. The otherside, Maer, is culturaly against magic users.

Bredon could e Ambrose' father (as others have sugessted) playing a beautiful game in which his son becomes king. But then why didnt he stop K? He could also be in support of the Maer, preventing plans against his life, maybe even to do with the lackless riddle.
What if K is manipulated into killing the current King. Ambrose has taken out all other opposition except he Maer. (perhaps has a further plan to kill the Maer that does not come to fruition). A civil war ensues. Both claiming to be King. (reference to rebels).

The PEnitant king would be the Maer, penitant for having given succor to K previously.
Katy Maziarz
12. ArtfulMagpie
"Perhaps Bredon is Greyfallow?"

But Kvothe met Baron Greyfallow back befroe the troupe was killed, though. Kvothe says that once a year, the troupe spent two span at Greyfallow's manor entertaining him and his family. I would think Kvothe would recognize Greyfallow if he saw him again, even years later...


"Another point I mentioned before but that's pretty ridiculous, but would be completely shocking, what if he's Bredon Jakis, father of Ambrose,"

If Bredon is the lord of the same land from which the oft-mentioned Bredon beer hails, "Bredon" is unlikely to be his first name, I shouldn't think...never know, I guess.
Kurt Montandon
13. mochabean
I continue to belive it will be Ambrose as well, but the Sim theory runs an unwilling close second for me. If D3 is going to be a redemptive third act for Kvothe, that redemption is a lot harder if he's killed Sim. Then again, not sure Kvothe needs to be redeemed if he's killed Ambrose. But if it is not Ambrose, then what is the point of Ambrose at the end of the day -- he's too significant to be just a foil, the mirror image of a Mary Sue. And I keep on being reminded of Kvothe's utter contempt for poetry (he says it is for people who can't appreciate music) which mirrors his utter contempt and hatred of Ambrose.
Rob Munnelly
14. RobMRobM
I very much doubt he'll be killing Ambrose. More likely and more dramatically from a story standpoint, he'll kill the Maer not realizing that by that time Ambrose is next in line to become King. Talk about unintended consequences....
Chris King
15. KingFielder
In reply to RobMRobM at 14, if Kvothe kills the Maer to (accidently, I presume) make Ambrose king, does that fit with the king in the frame being the Penitent King? I just don't see Ambrose being penitent about anything.

If anyone is feeling penitent in the frame story, it seems to be Kote. To save us all the effort of opening a second tab to google "penitent," the definition is "feeling or showing sorrow and regret for having done wrong." Kote certainly feels and shows sorrow and regret for the actions of Kvothe. But I don't see any way in which Kote could be the Penitent King.

Perhaps, Kvothe killed Ambrose, making Sim king and Sim now feels and shows sorrow and regret for his friend's (Kvothe's) actions to make Sim king? I can see how Kvothe killing someone for Sim's benefit could be the one thing Kvothe could do that Sim couldn't forgive, thereby driving Kvothe to become Kote.
Ashley Fox
16. A Fox
mmm, I do the think that would be going against Ks character. He doesnt kill FOR anything, always in reaction, a strong emotional reaction, to something which is happening.

This is also why I believe that the event will be due to someone (Bredon's beautiful game?) manipuation of K. The manipulation may not be for K to kill the King, that may accidently happen when K realises he has been manipuated.

If D does turn out to be Princess Ariel, she could play into it.
Kurt Montandon
17. Jeff R.
Given that I don't see anyone involved publicizing Kvothe's ghostwriter role, I can see the Maer acquiring a reputation as a poet. As to why Kvothe would kill him, my best guesses would be to stop him from opening the Lockless box (or as punishment, or Kvothe ends up helping him open it which leads to his death for which K gets the blame.)

And Ambrose certainly has plenty about which to be Penitent, if he ever manages to acquire the inclination.
Nathan Love
18. n8love
Sim,+1. Hope its Ambrose, but I'm worried.
Kurt Montandon
19. Dajoran
I had two theories, but as I was writing the second one, I hated it more and more, not that it wasn't a good theory, but the thought that Ambrose might be the Penitent King was disconcerting... so I continue with a singular theory...

.... I would like suggest that Sim is the Pentient King... I have no real theory to back this up other than, whenever I read Sim, I picture him having that 'okay...' troll face...

I don't have access to reasons why he may take this position, or how; maybe by being in line to the throne of Vinitas, he is also in line to be Maer, which in itself is a secondary King...
I believe his natural sorrowfulness (what a horrible word) would lend to a man who would regret the wrong he has to do... Penitent over starting a civil war to dethrone Ambrose... Penitent over asking his friend Kvothe to finish that war in the quickest way possible... Kvothe's sword then does live up to it's name in that respect, as by Sim asking for it to be used, he destroys in himself what would make him a poet... maybe?
Ashley Fox
20. A Fox
What on earth do you mean by " 'okay...' troll face"???
Katy Maziarz
21. ArtfulMagpie
The "okay" troll face guy is kind of hard to explain. It's an internet meme. It's basically a line drawing of a guy looking kinda sad and resigned. There are other "troll face" memes, too. I'd recommend doing a quick google search on "troll face meme" if you want more info.
Steven Halter
22. stevenhalter
Ambrose is the obvious choice and, it seems likely that his family is trying to get their hands on the kingship. It would be very satisfying for Kvothe to take out Ambrose. All of this makes me think that it probably isn't Ambrose.
I like Susan Loyal's theory @9 that it could be Bredon. That would certainly fit as Kvothe follows the Cthaeh's 'advice', finds out that Bredon is D's patron and kills him, finds out it was a terrible mistake and everything falls apart.
It could be Sim through some terrible mistake. That would certainly instill some angst into Kvothe. I don't want it to be Sim as that would be heart wrenching. Of course, that could make for some good story-telling. I'm hoping that the fear of it being Sim is a background tension in the story and not the final outcome.
Adam Shaeffer
23. ashaef
I thought it was impossible for me to love and admire this book any more than I already did--I mean I've read it four times since it came out--but this re-read and discussion has consistently floored me. Thanks everyone for the insights that have revealed a whole new layer of depth to an already wonderful story.
Bob Simons
24. RBSIV
Pertinent thoughts:
Kvothe apparently turns in to a real badass killer (an assassin), so there is no reason the king (or kings) he kills and the poet have to be the same person (though could be). The sword is poet-killer, so presumably the poet is killed with the sword. Whomever is killed in Imre leaves shattered stones, which sounds like magic not sword play. This implies a magical killing of one person in Imre, and another killing of a poet somewhere else with the sword...

As A Fox @ 16 points out, Kvothe kills as a reaction, and we know he will be betrayed. There are not many people close enough to him to betray him, and of those Sim is the only poet (and his poetry uses caesuras!). No, I don’t like that train of thought either.

We’ve heard a lot about the creation war, but the crushing of Yll, with it’s different magic, is notable in how little we know. If D (allegorically the wind) is the hostage princess of Yll (Ariel?), her husband could be a king too. The husband could be Kvothe if he fakes his own death, Sim if he’s the betrayer, or Ambrose if PR wants fan-wrath on a scale previously unknown (although - forced political marriage gives K the reason to Kill Ambrose, re-igniting a war... Hmmm).

From the tone of the references to both, my impression is that the king killing is less significant than the poet killing, and there are unnamed kings in the frame who could provide the vehicle for the ‘king killer' appellation.

The killing in Imre of the un-named ’him’ could be yet a third one, perhaps a chandrian who people still don’t want to name...

Just as you can only be betrayed by someone in your confidence (NOT Ambrose), to be penitent you must repent something. So if Ambrose for some reason changed his attitude I could see him as the Penitent King (PK), which would prevent him from being the killed one.

While there have been many hints that Kvothe is not ‘a good guy’ or ‘on the good side’ (something he hasn’t realized in the recollection but is resigned to in the frame), I haven’t caught a clue as to where the PK falls opposed/aligned, or making up for, Kvothes former ambitions - any thoughts?
Katy Maziarz
25. ArtfulMagpie
I'm wondering more and more if the whole "Kaysera the Poet-Killer" thing isn't a red herring. I think it's entirely probable that someone garbled the name and meaning of Caesura...since caesura is a poetic effect, they knew the sword had something to do with poetry, if not exactly what, and it made for a good story to call the sword the Poet-Killer. Kvothe himself does make the point several times that stories, to a much lesser degree than songs, are always changed in the telling. He seems more amused than anything when he reacts to the whole Poet-Killer thing...
Ashley Fox
26. A Fox
I agree, somewhat. All of K's 'titles', or notorieties, are merely the summations of over embellished stories, which have veered far from the origin of truth (One of Pats consistant themes). The truth of each story that K has revealed to us is always rather less grand/mystical etc. so far.

Also 'killer'. To be a kiler does not mean K has to do anything as literal as chop some kings head off. He must only be held responisble/be the enabler of said kings death. It could be a vast range of situations; duel, assasination, offering the king a peanut and then discovering the king as an undiagonosed allergy to them, a sypathetic binding, calling the name of something, introducing the king to Felurian, calling name of king, general magic gone awry, accidently bumped into said king in that lift up to the Maers gaff and sent him plunging to his pulpy death, K slipped back into Trebon mode after some betrayal.
Kurt Montandon
27. Rush-That-Speaks
I tend towards thinking that the king must be Ambrose, but one possibility I haven't seen mentioned yet is the astonishingly naive young man D takes up with for a while in WMF, the one who falls for the widow's-ring confidence game. She says he's very rich, very silly, very undergraduate, and writes her very bad poetry.

I may be placing more significance on that young man than necessary because I desperately admired the structure of that chapter, which went, briefly:

-- D, K, and K's friends play cards; she claims not to know how but wins
-- she explains that she was conning them and how she did it
-- D and K walk and she talks about her new young man and his bad poetry and how he's so stupid he got taken in by the widow's-ring trick; explains the ring trick; she and K talk about things like the markings on dishonest pawnshops, so clearly K is thinking of himself as a Very Sophisticated Person in comparison with that young man
-- the *very next thing* that happens is that K notices that D's ring is missing, it turns out it's in a shop and she needs money to get it back and it's Ambrose's fault, K breaks into Ambrose's rooms which makes everything Much Worse for him
-- I facepalm a lot because she warned K *twice*, dammit, and I still can't tell whether she did the second con, with her own ring, on purpose

So I could actually see a situation in which D causes him to end up killing that guy, and that guy is more important than she told him.

I still think Ambrose is more likely, though.
Jo Walton
28. bluejo
Rush, that's brilliant. I'm so glad you're caught up! I don't for a minute think that young man is the king though.
Kurt Montandon
29. LAJG
Regarding the possibility of Simmon marrying up, do we know what sort of rank Fela has? I don't recall too much about the Modegan nobility, only that it exists.

That being said, I also think it will be Ambrose that will be killed.
Kurt Montandon
30. Dominiquex
@27. Rush-That-Speaks - I agree with Jo, your connection of the widow's-ring con to Denna's ring being missing is brilliant! I never thought of it before at all. I always thought there was something deeper going on there (well, other than that's just Rothfuss's writing) when we saw her lackluster reception of it at the end of WMF. Yes, they had been fighting and in a chemistry-downturn at the moment, but I expected more enthusiasm at the receipt of her treasured, long-lost ring. Young-Dense-Kvothe writes it off due to the fight, and probably in part due to his lingering guilt over having pawned it himself and taking so long to get it back to her. But you shed a whole new light on the situation.

Like Jo, I'm not sure I buy that Uber Naive Young Poet (UNYP - altho his name is Geoffrey apparently) is the king. But I was thinking of his relationship with Denna and what we see of their interactions... It's one of the prime examples of Rothfuss' implication- rather than exposition-based writing style. There's a whole story there that we only see flashes of. I never got the impression that he was one of Denna's admirers, though. She interacts with him genuinely and maternally. And don't forget that he got the other half of her emerald-selling generosity. Let me explain. Kvothe meets UNYP ("She was talking to a young man who was . . . the best word I can think of is pretty. He had a sweet, clean-shaven face with wide, dark eyes." 93, US WMF hardcover) when he goes to visit Denna (still prominently displaying her emerald jewelry set). She tells Kvothe the story of UNYP, his experiences gambling, going to a gaelet, and then loosing his borrowed money to the widow's-ring conwoman. She never says he wrote poetry for her, just that he was a poet ("a good one, though he'll deny it." and later laments that he's too sweet, can't fit two thoughts in his head at the same time - if they did they might be able to rub together and make a spark). Later, Denna gives Kvothe the extremely-extravagant lute-case (fishy anyway, but where did she get that money??). Sometime after the gift, when Kvothe is gathering his group of friends to stage the attack on Ambrose's rooms, Mola brings now-estranged Devi, who is wearing a pair of matching emerald earrings that she lends to Fela for the scheme. When asked, she says "A pretty young boy used them to settle his debt" (WMF 254). Whether that "boy" was Denna's UNYP or Denna herself, the point is still that Denna pawned her earrings - her "safety net" - to save the UNYP. We also see when Kvothe is able to go to the jewelry shop where Denna's ring was "being fixed" that the jeweler has a remarkable emerald drop necklace there sold by a young woman. Now, this is either tied up with the possible Denna Ring Con that Rush mentioned, or it at minimum shows that Denna sold her necklace to get the money for Kvothe's gift (which is what he supposes).

So, my point in recounting all this background is that a) I don't think UNYP is one of Denna's admirers in the usual sense, b) he was the other recipient of her generosity when she pawned her emerald jewelry set. And possibly imply that very few authors who call someone a "pretty" young man with a "sweet, clean-shaven" face (not to mention with remarkable eyes of any kind!) are writing about someone who is actually a male character. More and more mysterious, this acquaintance of Denna's is...
C Smith
31. C12VT
@29: One of the few things we do know about Modegan nobility is that "there is no royalty older than the Modegan royal line" (WMF, p. 653). Makes one wonder if the Modegan royal family (like the Lacklesses) have any secrets or heirlooms passed down through the ages...

K mentions the King of Modeg in two different stories that he tells. The story he makes up with the fairy-tale version of Chronicler has "Chronicler" in love with the king's daughter. "Chronicler" must fulfill a task set by the king; the king has magic and knows Chronicler's weaknesses. In the story about the boy with the golden screw, the boy goes to the king of Modeg, "the wisest of all the kings in the world". The king is the one who solves the "puzzle" of the screw.

So maybe the High King of Modeg is our king.
Alice Arneson
32. Wetlandernw
Jeff R. @17 - You caught some of my thoughts in your parentheses: The Maer, having become King (and incidentally gained a reputation as a poet?), persuades Kvothe to help him open the Lackless box & door. In the catastrophe it brings, the Maer dies (having essentially no defense against anything magical or fae), and it's blamed on Kvothe. I can easily see Meluan blaming it all on the dirty Ruh who persuaded her husband to snoop into the Lackless heirloom, and declaring that he killed her husband. It's not entirely clear that the "Penitent King" has to really be anyone we know or care about, though it would be more fun.

It seems to me like the king-killing, poet-killing and Lackless-door-opening all ought to be tied together somehow. They may be two or even three separate events, or one might even be a non-event, but they all seem to be so thoroughly tied to a world-shaking catastrophe. Then again, considering the author, all this may be too obvious.

Just to be annoying (not really, but it sounds good - it's really because not too many people go back and read new comments on the previous posts) I'm including a very short version of my analysis of the Lackless verses. (The long version is near the end of Speculations Part 3.) I'm justifying this by saying it is relevant to my theory of the king who is killed. ;)

Meluan’s first box is the one without lid or locks, which we've already seen her open. The second she is able to open with the ring unworn, and the third will be opened with the Yllish word, which Kvothe has been learning Yllish in order to read. Kvothe, the son will bring an unlit candle (or possibly a mommet) and the secret contents of the third box at just the right time to open the Lackless door without a handle and let loose the "flood" - which I assume is something locked behind it having to do with Fae, and which results in at least some of the frame-story chaos.
Jo Walton
33. bluejo
Wetlandernw: Flood implies tides implies moon?
Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
Jo - hmmmm. I hadn't thought in terms of a literal flood of water from the tides. I was assuming that "a door that holds the flood" was metaphorical, but there is no reason it couldn't be literal. Or both. I think the moon comes into it, but I hadn't quite worked out how. If this is the box with part of the moon's name in it... interesting path to wander down. Which I will, all day now!
Rob Munnelly
35. RobMRobM
Wet - I like your Maer as King and Kvothe as not quite a killing killer theory. Ambrose might be next king and be "Penitent" as a sympathy user now forced to deal with the adverse consequences of same.

Rob
Alice Arneson
36. Wetlandernw
Rob - I thought it made a fair amount of sense, although I'm not hard over on the theory. Makes me cringe at the thought of waiting several years to find out. I'm with Jo - I'll cheerfully wait as long as it takes to get it right, but next week sounds really good.

I do, however, like my Lackless solution a lot, even if there are a few items with which I can't entirely be satisfied. The "candle," the "right time" and the nature of the "flood" are pretty iffy, as is the "dreaming" image. The box, the ring, the word, the son, the door, and the secret all seem obvious now that I've "found" them; I'll be terribly distressed if PR put them in just to be red herrings.

Okay, so I won't be terribly distressed. :) As you know, I'm not all that interested in developing theories, but I do love me a good riddle.

Hey, here's a thought... How about Bredon for the Penitent King? We don't really know who he is or where/if he stands in the line of succession, and I can see him being penitent about several things, even if he's never heard of Denna.

Along with many others, I'd like Ambrose to be the king Kvothe kills, because he's a complete git and needs to be smashed, but I think it's both too obvious and too far-fetched. In order to reach the throne via normal succession, he'd have to kill a whole lot of people, and it might be just a tad... noticable. In order to circumvent that, he'd either have to marry the king's daughter (which would feel a little deus ex machina), be adopted by the king (likewise but more so), or something so out-of-left-field as to be laughable. I can't see PR doing something that lame. I'd far rather see Ambrose humbled and become the Penitent King, although penitence doesn't really seem to be in his nature at this stage. I do think the humbling of Ambrose into a penitent would make for some good story. (Please note - I said humbling, not humiliation. I think the first would make a better story, even though the second might be more viscerally satisfying.)

Well, that got wordy. Surprise!
Nathan Love
37. n8love
Hey, doesn't the beast that Lanre defeats in Scarpi's story in NW get put behind "the doors of stone"? I bring it up to say that I think the "flood" is a host of bad guys. Plus the creature sounds really draccus-ish, which is odd.
Kurt Montandon
38. mustard
I feel really stupid for asking this- but its been mentioned on multiple threads that 'we know Kvothe will be betrayed.' Where is that specifically mentioned? I can't remember...

And I would be shattered if Kvothe ends up killing Sim. Shattered.
C Smith
39. C12VT
@38: Near the beginning of Name of the Wind, Kvothe snappishly summarizes his life story to Chronicler as:


“I can tell the whole thing in one breath.” He cleared his throat. “‘I trouped, traveled, loved, lost, trusted and was betrayed.’ Write that down and burn it for all the good it will do you.”
Kurt Montandon
40. Moteth
He kills an angel to get what he wants, he kills a king and a poet. He kills something ("him") magicesque in Imre. The name of the trilogy is the king killer chronicles, so I think the king is important- someone already introduced and relevant to the big picture.

I don't think Kvothe is the king himself, that's ridonculous- you wouldnt get the title king killer if it was yourself you faux killed!?

I think he killed, or appeared to kill cinder- the angel, the poet and the king.
Cinder the angel- powers, otherworldly appearance, older than time
Cinder the poet - to the bystanders of the fight if he spoke in rhyming couplet a la faen, it fits.
Cinder the king - majestic, regal, declares himself a king o something- I'd believe it, I think the bystanders would too.

I think the theory works. Once when chronicler goads Kvothe he says people are talking about a new chandrian- this line always sticks out at me, making me think one of the older chaen must have died for their to be a new one..

Just thoughts- would love evidence for or against this idea if you think of any.
Alf Bishai
41. greyhood
Just a thought. Wouldn't the title Kingkiller pack more punch if he actually killed several kings? Like the guy in the Muppet Movie that 'kills frogs'. That's what he does. What does Kvothe do? He kills kings. He's Kvothe Kingkiller. He did want to kill all the Chandrian, no? Now how would he end up killing multiple kings? Maybe he's going to start collecting the keys for the four-plate door. He's going to do the circuit of the ancient Lackless family and retrieve all the heirlooms.
Alf Bishai
42. greyhood
Kurt Montandon
43. KatieG
40;
"A new chandrian- this line always sticks out at me, making me think one
of the older chaen must have died for their to be a new one.." On the other hand, since relatively few people know that Chaen means seven- they could be talking about a "new eighth Chandrian"
Ashley Fox
44. A Fox
New Chandrian; this is interesting in that we have made comparisons with K and Lanre/Haliax. Suppositions on whther K is blocked from the four mental doors, like Haliax.

Lyra could possibly be the origins of the Moon myth. D has plenty of moon refs. Lanre went into Fae on behalf of Lyra, and ended up completely changing his beliefs. There has been plenty alluding to the idea that Ks beliefs will be turned on their head in the next book. K also goes into Fae. What if rather than gain power as Lanre did, becoming Haliax, (Note a change in name also) he has to sacrifice it?
Kurt Montandon
45. DarrenJL
Jumping in late, here (I just read these books. And started all over again!) I think either the Maer or Ambrose are likely culprits. My own first thoughts of course run to Ambrose, who seems obviously to be Denna's abusive "patron". The problem with Ambrose is that Kvothe is clearly full of regret as Kote. And I just can't see him feeling any regret whatsoever for killing Ambrose. Ambrose has been trying to kill him for years, after all, and we know that Ambrose is the one who gets him expelled from the University. Also, Ambrose seems a little too obvious. But then again, if ever a character needed some killing, he was it.

With Alveron, this was a man who Kvothe really liked. And what's more, Meluan seems to be his aunt, his mother the Lady Lackless young Kvothe was singing of. (Going off the "raveling", in that song). I think having to possibly kill a member of his own family, essentially, would really undo Kvothe. What could bring him to kill Alveron, though? Meluan. Her hatred for the Edema Ruh is no secret; she makes no bones about wanting to reward Kvothe when she thinks it was Ruh he killed. As queen, what would she not do? And it's not like Kvothe could just kill his own mother's sister.

I know there's a lot of supposition there, and secretly I hope it's Ambrose. But unless he also kills Denna in the process, I just don't see the assassination of King Ambrose being the tragedy necessary to turn Kvothe into Kote. So I think Alveron, or an as-yet-unnamed player.

As to how Ambrose can become the "Penitent" King... would he not have to be? Ambrose by that time was likely a full arcanist, viewed by the general public in much of Rothfuss' world as not much higher than a demon. Especially after Kvothe the Arcane kills the King in public, using "sorcery". How could Ambrose become King without some bs act of contrition?
Kurt Montandon
46. tox
The other thing we sort of know is that Caesura is called “Keysera, poet killer” and we therefore have speculated that the king killed might be a poet... Kvothe is a poet... would his actions with the sword kill his poetic nature?
Vip-alb.com vip-alb.com
48. vip-alb.com
I thought it was impossible for me to love and admire this book any more than I already did--I mean I've read it four times since it came out--but this re-read and discussion has consistently floored me. Thanks everyone for the insights that have revealed a whole new layer of depth to an already wonderful story.
Kurt Montandon
49. Chael
Though i can't confirm it right now i've read in several places that both the Maer and the Lackless family are above the Jakis in the line of succession.

I'm fond of the Kvothe! theory and don't think it is so twisted. We saw a few times on the book that the Maer has the power to grant lands and titles and while it is an assumption it wouldn't be too far-fetched to believe he could also legitimize an heir. If Lackless and the Maer are before the Jakis in the line this make both of them targets (since Jakis family is advancing rapidily). Having this in mind one of the possibilities is:

- The Maer finds out abou Kvothe's mother and offers him his Lackless name back (he's a bastard after all since his parents never got married) and this way passing the hitmark to someone else. Kvothe refuses it for whatever reason you can think off (maybe the Maer owning him big time and trying to use him again etc.) and fakes his death (the kingkilling). Meluan ends up dead and the Maer eventually gets the crown and goes after the Jakis (the insurgents). This could be the reason for his sorrow making him the Penitent King.
Kurt Montandon
50. Chael
Though i can't confirm it right now i've read in several places that both the Maer and the Lackless family are above the Jakis in the line of succession.

I'm fond of the Kvothe! theory and don't think it is so twisted. We saw a few times on the book that the Maer has the power to grant lands and titles and while it is an assumption it wouldn't be too far-fetched to believe he could also legitimize an heir. If Lackless and the Maer are before the Jakis in the line this make both of them targets (since Jakis family is advancing rapidily). Having this in mind one of the possibilities is:

- The Maer finds out abou Kvothe's mother and offers him his Lackless name back (he's a bastard after all since his parents never got married) and this way passing the hitmark to someone else. Kvothe refuses it for whatever reason you can think off (maybe the Maer owning him big time and trying to use him again etc.) and fakes his death (the kingkilling). Meluan ends up dead and the Maer eventually gets the crown and goes after the Jakis (the insurgents). This could be the reason for his sorrow making him the Penitent King.
Felipe Martins
51. felipem
I'd be realy disapointed if the king Kvothe kills is himself. I mean, no one gets the name of Kingkiller by killing themselves!
And I'm not sure if the Maer could legitimize Kvothe. Of course he can give lands and titles, but legitimizing someone is waaay off.
Kurt Montandon
52. jh89
Hey just another thought i havent seen yet,
What about master Lorren being in the modern day Amyr,
and he is the one collecting all the books written about them.

There is a character in the first book (i cant remember his name) who delivers books to Lorren, travelling the world in 'requistions'. A perfect cover for a person to ensure that the Amyr keep their info sensored. Also may allude to the fact that Lorren knew of Kvothe's father name, due to him knowing they were attacked by the Chandrian with his dealing with other of the amyr.

Anyway would like to hear others thoughts on this.....
Steven Halter
53. stevenhalter
jh89@Loren is certainly under suspicion as an Amyr.
Felipe Martins
54. felipem
@52
There's a been some posts about that somewhere along the reread, but it's hard to find now xD... but yes, it's a good theory
Kurt Montandon
55. Chimikh
I really think the Penitent King is Sim because he has to make up for his friend misbehavior. And Ambrose was the king killed (also I think Maer Alveron is dead and Kvothe has inherited the lockless box from his aunt)
Kurt Montandon
56. Ivi
What if Kvothe "killed a king" in the same way that he "burnt down the town of Trebon"? As in, he wasn't really responsible for it, he just feels that way?
Steven Halter
57. stevenhalter
Ivi@56:It is quite possible that the facts have been gotten wrong or twisted, just as you say.
Kurt Montandon
58. Dazmilar
I'm a fan of the Maer theory, with Ambrose being the current king. Kvothe says himself that his story is a Tragedy, and as a trouper he'd mean the theatrical sense. If his story has three beginnings -- Denna singing, the University, and the Chandrian killing his family -- then I'd guess there'd be three endings. I'd wager that Denna gets hurt/killed, Kvothe screws up the University, and somehow aids the Chandrian. Killing Ambrose just seems too heroic, unless in the process of doing so he either gets Denna hurt or helps the Chandrian. The only thing we've seen the Chandrian do so far besides information control is screw with the Maer, so killing the Maer may help them. And of course, by "killing" I mean feeling responsible for, since as others have pointed out, he could be a Kingkiller in the same way he's Bloodless.

The version I'd use is the Maer somehow hurts Denna (or Kvothe thinks he does and the act of avenging her is what actually hurts her), provoking Kvothe to act without thinking, and that the King's death is also somehow related to Sympathy. Gives you a triple tragedy. Denna's gone. Kvothe's unwittingly aided the Chandrian. And sparks an event big enough to cause witchhunts and hurt the University. I mean, doesn't a title like Penitent King just scream pogroms and inquisition?

So our hero's tragic flaw is acting without thinking. Which explains his current situation in Newarre. He isn't just hiding out, he's too much of a broken man for that. He isn't acting at all because he's paralyzed with fear from how much he screwed everything up the last time he acted without thinking. Which ties in nicely with Bast and Chronicler's conversation about the Cthaeth.

Note, I don't think acting without thinking is actually a flaw. Going with his sleeping mind has helped him out of situations as much as it has created problems for him. But in his current state of mind, Kvothe would probably regard it as a flaw.
Kurt Montandon
59. Sioger
Hopefully this isn't as stupid an idea as it might appear to be, but couldn't Kvothe have killed a Faen king?

I mean, Bast has a formal title of Prince, after all.... And there certainly seems to be an influx of the Faen people/creatures into the Four Corners as of some as-of-yet unrevealed event. Might be worth a ponder.

Although... it sounds a little too out of place, methinks... :)
Kurt Montandon
60. coyote_blue
If Pat is smart enough to drop hints about how Denna could afford the lute case, Sim shouldn't be either king. At some point, present-day Kote would have an emotional reaction to mentions of the Penitent King - i.e., either angry that the PK profited from his friend Sim's death, or more sympathetic to the PK's plight against the rebellion (if Sim is the PK). Since Kote is milquetoast to the entire struggle, Sim probably isn't on either side of the equation.

That said, it'd be true, true agony for Ambrose to be the PK. And for Kvothe to have screwed the pooch so bad that it's predominately his fault. It would explain why Kvothe doesn't want anyone dying in the PK's name.
Kurt Montandon
61. Steven6282
Well I just finished the first two books for the first time, and I see this is a part 4 of a discussion and haven't gone back to read the other 3 parts. Some of my names may be mispelled, I listened to the audio books so didn't actually see the proper spelling of them.

I really feel like Cinder is the only possible candidate for the king Kvothe kills. The Cathay implied to Kvothe that he would get one more chance in his life to see and recognize Cinder to extract his revenge. I think Kvothe will see him somewhere and simply react and kill him without realizing that Cinder is masquerading as a current king. Then as for the Penitent king, I think once Kvothe kills Cinder, Alveron becomes king and Alveron is regretfull that Kvothes actions demands reaction from him this time. Unlike when Kvothe killed the false Ru band and Alveron was able to write it off as Kvothe doing a service.

I am probably one of the few that would feel very sad if Kvothe ends up killing Ambrose. They have a feud between them this is obvious, and Kvothe has lashed out in anger at Ambrose. But I really would rather see Kvothe become so much better than Ambrose that Ambrose simply doesn't matter to him anymore. It would be much more gratifying to see Ambrose humiliated and put down below Kvothes level and have to live with it rather than Kvothe simply killing him.

As for how Denna plays into it, I really think Cinder may end up being Denna's patron. All the secrecy and the abuse plays right into it. It could even be that this is how Kvothe will get his second chance to kill Cinder. I could see Cinder knowing Kvothe is after him, and Cinder convinces Denna to bring Kvothe to him. Thus the betrayal in Kvothe's eyes. Denna is with and protecting Cinder the one that killed his entire family, and led Kvothe to him as well.
Kurt Montandon
62. Steven6282
Oh forgot to mention in my previous comment, another thing supporting Cinder as Denna's patron, Mr. Ash?? Foreshadowing anyone? lol
George Brell
63. gbrell
@61/62.Steven6282:

There are actually 12 theory summaries (currently) as well as summaries (and speculations) for every 5-6 chapters. The link to the index is:
www.tor.com/features/series/patrick-rothfuss-reread

There has been a significant amount of discussion as to whether Mr. Ash refers to the tree or the burnt material. At some point, someone looked at the German translation to get a hint, but it escapes my memory as to how it came out.

While Cinder is a common guess for Denna's patron, the leading theory is that it is Bredon also based on extensive foreshadowing. Although, to be fair, recent reveals by Rothfuss have put some doubt on that theory.
Jo Walton
64. bluejo
GBrell: It was the tree. In German, and also Finnish.
Kurt Montandon
65. Mathmonk
Consider the following possible storyline:

The Jakis family is plotting to acquire the throne of Vint. In order to do so they must kill all the successors before them including the current king, the Maer, and the Lackless heirs including Meluan. They were behind Caudicus’s attempt on the Maer’s life, but Kvothe foiled that in WMF.

One of Ambrose’s plots succeeds and he successfully gets Kvothe expelled from the university. Auri will be significantly affected by the events surrounding this, and it’s possible that Kvothe loses her, and this is where the dark part of Kvothe’s story begins to show.

Due to the efforts of Stapes, Kvothe’s heritage becomes known to the Maer and Meluan Lackless and they reconcile with Kvothe. This gives Kvothe the resources he needs to investigate the Chandrian and the Amyr in earnest. He is able to contact the Amyr, most likely through Dagon or Master Lorren.

The wheels begin to turn on the Jakis plot to kill the King, the Maer, Lady Lackless, and probably a few other successors. Kvothe is unknowingly manipulated and tricked by Ambrose, using Kvothe’s hatred for Ambrose against him. Kvothe’s actions end up furthering the assassination plots, unwittingly and foolishly assisting Ambrose.

Denna’s song gets her on the Chandrian’s bad side, but her patron is either an Amyr or at least affiliated with them (he wouldn’t be a Chandrian himself because they wouldn’t want her to write a song about them, we know they don’t like that). So they capture her, and Kvothe finds out she’s with them and rushes off to save her.

Kvothe is assisted by the Amyr and locates Denna, he tricks one of the Chandrian and is successful in rescuing Denna from them. However, the Amyr, and probably one of the original Amyr with wings of fire (the angel) insists on keeping Denna for a reason we don’t know yet, but it is for the “Greater good”. Kvothe finds this unacceptable and fights the Amyr, and through a feat of naming kills him/her in order to save Denna. But in the aftermath, he loses Denna anyway (whether by death or another way).

When Kvothe returns to Severen, he finds that the assassination plot has been carried out, and Ambrose has used sympathy in the execution of it. The Maer survives because he was wearing the gram that Kvothe made, but Lady Lackless, the King, and others (one of them a poet perhaps), are killed. Kvothe’s unexplained absence combined with his previous actions, and some excellent framing by Ambrose leads the Maer and the community to believe that he is responsible for the assassinations. Kvothe sees this as a betrayal on the Maer’s part. The Maer regrets trusting Kvothe, and sees him as responsible for his wife’s death making him the penitent king. Kvothe daringly escapes Severen, but this only confirms to others that he is guilty, and the Maer puts a price on his head. Kvothe realizes that he was manipulated and considers himself responsible for the death of the king even though he didn’t do it himself. Because of his foolishness, he feels justified in saying that he earned the name “Kingkiller”.
The Amyr angel that Kvothe killed was serving the important function of guarding a border to and from the Fae world, probably west of the Stormwall mountains. Kvothe returns to the Fae (after significant difficulty in finding out how to get there again) in order to keep the “Demons” out of the mortal world. Kvothe is only partially successful in this, but he befriends Bast along the way, and is at least able to slow the “Demons’” progress. Somewhere at this point in the story Kvothe suffers some kind of physical and/or emotional trauma caused by loss and constant failure, and loses the ability to focus his Alar, and perform feats of naming. He also stops practicing the Katan, perhaps due to injury.
Upon his return to the mortal world Kvothe finds that there is a war going on between King (formerly Maer) Alveron and the Jackis family, who has allied themselves with another nation through the marriage of Ambrose to their princess. The Jakis family claims that Kvothe was working for the Alveron to assassinate the king, and that Lady Lackless was collateral damage, and therefore Alveron should not be king, and Ambrose, being next in line should be king. Alveron claims that the Jakis family was behind the assassinations, and that Kvothe was working for them, noting that Kvothe and Ambrose were students at the University together, and that the feud between the two was merely manufactured to avoid suspicion.
At this point, having failed in all his endeavors, and haunted by the loss of those he cared about, Kvothe takes on the name “Kote” meaning disaster. He and Bast go into hiding and buy the Waystone Inn. Which is where the tale begins.
Kurt Montandon
66. kaizoku
Simmon isn't killed. If he was, K woudn't have smiled at the 'poet-killer' reference. I think it's an implausible theory to begin with, and doesn't hold up in a dozen different ways. Ambrose's role, I think finishes with getting K expelled. I think he's just a plot device to make things happen in the Univ. But I'm not too sure of that.
I don't think if Ambrose was the new king, and responsible for K's losses, K would let him live. K wouldn't go into hiding. Ambrose's role seems to be smaller than that. And it isn't that easy to take down a dozen successors to the throne, and even if Ambrose could do it, he wouldn't be announcing it like an idiot.
thistle pong
67. thistlepong
kaizoku@66
Simmon isn't killed. If he was, K woudn't have smiled at the 'poet-killer' reference. I think it's an implausible theory to begin with, and doesn't hold up in a dozen different ways.
I wanna start there and explain why this:
“This isn’t . . . what did the boy call it this morning?” His eyes went distant for a moment, then he smiled again. “Kaysera. The poet killer.” (WMF 890)
...isn’t damning evidence that Sim doesn’t die or that Kvothe doesn’t kill him. Consider both his overall opinion about whom and what he’s killed and, in particular, his comments on Alleg:
“I’ve killed men and things that were more than men. Every one of them deserved it.” (NW 48)

I thought of Alleg and Otto and all the rest. I remembered the blood and screaming and the smell of burning skin. I remembered it all and dreamed of worse things I could have done to them. I never had the nightmares again. Sometimes I think of Alleg and I smile. (WMF 873)
Kvothe kills. In WMF he kills so much Rothfuss tends to point it out in interviews. He firmly believes each murder was right and righteous. Whatever his initial feeling, and we see him struggle after killing the troupe, he’s justified his actions in the frame. He’s satisfied. If he killed Sim, we might expect him to be happy about it.

I don't think he's the eponymous king, but he might be the "him" from Imre.

As for the speculation not holding up “in a dozen different ways,” I sincerely doubt anyone anywhere could come up with five solid refutations, let alone twelve. Off the top of my head, though...

1. Kvothe trusts Sim
2. Kvothe loves Sim
3. Sim's an alchemist, a poet, and a noble
4. “That’s my job as an author. It’s to sometimes break your heart. Joss Whedon knows this.” -PR
5. “To old friends who deserved better than they got.”
6. They were the best sort of friends. The sort everyone hopes for but no one deserves, least of all me.
7. It was worth the blood and the fear of death to see her fall in love with him.
8. The sword that kills a king isn't the poet killer
9. It's ridiculously unlikely that a king would come to Imre
10. It took a lot to get on Sim’s bad side, but once you made it there was no going back.
11. After feeling out the Arliden connection, Lorren appoints Simmon, who isn't a scriv, Kvothe's minder
12. Sim's intimately involved with all of Kvothe's actions at the University

To be honest, that's just fragments of a long argument that's be TL:DR for all but a few folks here.
Jo Walton
68. bluejo
Thistlepong, nothing is TLDR for some of us.

And on a totally unrelated note, which I should probably save for the end of the month when I do a new post, but anyway.

Pat said in the Admissions Questions, in response to GBrell, that Trapis was a Tehlin heretic, and we know that there are Menda Heresies, and Trapis mentioned Menda when he told his story, and so he's probably one of the Menda heretics. I'd got as far as that before, but I hadn't really thought of the implications.

Trapis story is the only story about Tehlu we have, and we've been taking it for what the Tehlin Church (and probably the associated Amyr) believe. But he's a heretic. The bit about Menda at least isn't canonical within the orthodox Tehlin Church, and we don't know how much of the rest of it is.

We know Encannis is, because of the Midwinter festival in Tarbean. We know the wheel is, it's on the church. We know people say "God" and mean Tehlu, from Kvothe's conversation with Ben. Apart from that, what do we know for sure from non-Trapis sources, about what the Tehlins believe?
thistle pong
69. thistlepong
I'll see what I can do.
Steven Halter
70. stevenhalter
Jo@68:
We also have Skarpi's tale where:
Most of the Ruach hung back from Selitos, too. They were afraid, and they did not wish to become involved in great matters.
But Tehlu stood forward saying, “I hold justice foremost in my heart. I will leave this world behind that I might better serve it, serving you.” He knelt before Aleph, his head bowed, his hands open at his sides.
...
None but the most powerful can see them, and only then with great difficulty and at great peril. They mete out justice to the world, and Tehlu is the greatest of them all—."
Skarpi's tale is almost certainly very much not part of what most Tehlins believe. He was arrested for heresy for telling it, so that is a pretty good bet.
Pat said that the Mender heresies were:
It was a religious schism in the Tehlin church. Kinda like Arian Christianity back in the day.
Arianism basically held that the Father and the Son were separate beings as opposed to part of the same trinitarian structure--Heteroousios vs Homoousios.
When the Justice arrests Skarpi he syays:
"Under Tehlu’s watchful eye, I charge you with heresy."
This phrase implies they believe in Tehlu as a kind of all seeing deity. The phrases "Merciful Tehlu" and "Tehlu and all his angels" are used a number of times.
In the frame (NotW) we have:
“I din’t know the Chandrian were demons,” the boy said. “I’d heard—”
“They ain’t demons,” Jake said firmly. “They were the first six people to refuse Tehlu’s choice of the path, and he cursed them to wander the corners—."
This portion references the first 6 to refuse--that part is in Trapis' tale (although not about them being Chandrian).
So, I would guess that the Mender heresies are like the Arian heresy in that (to an outsider) the two beliefs (Mender vs. main Tehlin) are very similar, with just a few differences that are unacceptable to either side.
We also have (WMF ch 91):
Marten still lay praying on the bank. “Tehlu who the fire could not kill, watch over me in fire.” ...
Tehlu who held Encanis to the wheel, watch over me in darkness.”
After a long moment of searching he found an arrow and fumbled to fit it to his string with trembling hands, praying all the while. I turned my attention back to the camp. Their leader had brought them back under control. I could see his mouth shouting orders, but all I could hear was the sound of Marten’s trembling voice:
Tehlu, whose eyes are true,
Watch over me.
Suddenly the leader paused and cocked his head. He held himself perfectly still as if listening to something.
Marten continued praying:
Tehlu, son of yourself,
Watch over me.
Their leader looked quickly to the left and right, as if he had heard something that disturbed him. He cocked his head again. “He can hear you!” I shouted madly at Marten. “Shoot! He’s getting them ready to do something!”
Marten took aim at the tree in the center of the camp. Wind buffeted him as he continued to pray.
Tehlu who was Menda who you were.
Watch over me in Menda’s name,
In Perial’s name
In Ordal’s name
In Andan’s name
Watch over me.
This actually sounds very like Trapis' tale, so we would have to ask whether Martin is a Tehlin or a Mender.
thistle pong
71. thistlepong
shalter@70

I think Marten is, uh, modern orthdox Tehlin. For the Menders to be "kinda like" the Arians, they'd hold that while Tehlu was uncreated, Menda was not; that Menda, while divine, was lesser. So that bit probably isn't the source of Trapis's apostasy.

Skarpi's heresy is rather obvious. Tehlu is subservient to Aleph.

Looking at the long quote you thoughtfully posted, the "whom cold and fire could not kill" might be a point of departure.

(can I say I called it in NW part 12?
During Kvothe’s last exam in WMF the Mender Heresies are mentioned. Given the Menda/Mender similarity, this can be read as an analog for something like the Arian heresy)
George Brell
72. gbrell
My initial thought was that Marten's (presumably orthodox) prayer indicated that Tehlu didn't die in destroying Encanis, where Trapis's story has him sacrificing himself to achieve that end.

However, we should note that the line "To ash all things return, so too this flesh will burn" in Trapis's story is the exact same line that Simmon repeats in WMF (after its mis-remembered by Wilem). Simmon specifically states that it is not his holy book (which begs the question whether Sim is an atheist since his family holds a duchy in Atur - the country with the presumably closest tie to the Tehlin church). It would be odd if Simmon knew a line that speaks directly to a heresy rather than the mainline version.

The direct parallel to Arianism doesn't really work because while Menda in Trapis's story is created by Tehlu, he is also Tehlu (not separate and lesser in divinity).

Things in the story that I would see as being blasphemous/interesting:

-The story implies that Tehlu's church predates the main events of the story ("his church was corrupt"). They were no longer living "by the laws he had given" implying a prior visitation to the mortal world. Pretty clearly a parallel to Judaism-Christianity.

-"I think you know very little about what it is to be a man." This line strikes me as implying that Tehlu had to learn something, i.e. was limited and not all-knowing. That would be an easy target for claims of heresy.

-In the same vein, Tehlu is repeatedly restrained from judgment by Perial. This could be the lesser divinity parallel to Arianism, that Tehlu had to learn from Perial and was thus lesser in divinity prior to his sacrifice.

And lastly a question and an aside:

Whose is the life that does not end in death? The clear assumption is that it is Tehlu himself, but he DIES at the end of the story.

And the aside: The single thread of knowledge I hope most to be explained but I am almost certain will not be is the relationship between Tehlinism, the Chandrian (more specifically, Encanis to Haliax) and the Fae. The language in the story seems to repeatedly connect the two and its a wonderful exploration of the nature of fantasy, history, religion and story.
thistle pong
73. thistlepong
I carelessly assumed it was Lanre's life that does not end I'm death, since "Lanre Turned" follows this story (with the assault scene and the Chomsky moment interlude in between.)

Trouble is, I also conflated Haliax and Encanis. The are ways that could work, but none of them explain why God would mention that. So that could be a point of contention.

I took demons in almost every instance in KKC to be synonymous with Fae/n.
thistle pong
74. thistlepong
Nevermind, plenty of precedent for a cursed exception to death.
Steven Halter
75. stevenhalter
thistlepong@71:"Modern Orthdox Tehlin" -- good name. I think you are right that Marten is an orthodox Tehin. This means that his prayer is a decent source of Tehlin beliefs.

gbrell@72:I would guess that Pat was saying that it was like Arianism in that it was a slightly different interpretation that was branded a heresy by the "orthodox".
Kurt Montandon
76. stuarta76
love some of the ideas, which mirror what ive been thinking. there is one person i think is more important.. when Kvothe goes to buy his book back from Lorren, the man with the scares down his arms/hands with weapons, i feel he will make another apperance in the doors of stone
Kurt Montandon
77. RogerPavelle
Hi,

I'm new here and still working through all the threads and discussions, but wanted to chime in with a different king. My thought is that Kvothe kills King Cyphus (the one who is mentioned in Marten's Taborlin the Great story). My reasoning is as follows:
a) Cyphus is the Chandrian of Blue Flame (per the Adem poem).
b) Kvothe is called a related by Chronicler as a new Chandrian.
c) Maedre means Flame - Red Flame replacing the Blue one.
d) I have a feeling that Cyphus is Denna's patron rather than Cinder. We know was in Trebon (people saw blue flame) but there is no evidence that Cinder was there. Also, if Cinder is busy with the bandits in the Eld, how does he get to spend time in Imre and Severen with Denna?
e) He was also there when Kvothe's troop was killed, so Kvothe has that motivation as well.
Roger Pavelle
78. RogerPavelle
EDIT: This post was combined with the above one and then moved to
Speculative Summary 16: You May Have Heard of Me, post #275.
Kurt Montandon
79. xcentrik
i think that brendon is denna's patron. my only reason for thinking this is that when denna goes awol in vintas at the same time hes gone aswell
Kurt Montandon
80. jorgybear
It has been suggested before that Edema Ruh are linked to the Adem. Is it possible that they're also linked to the Ruach? I also think there's a possibility that Kvothe didn't kill any king, but was framed. Especially if Ambrose WAS the killed king, knowing Kvothe's prowess at fighting, and the enmity between them, it would be easy to jump to the conclusion that if Ambrose was killed, it was Kvothe that did it. (I have no evidence for this, but it's the kind of twisted thinking I like to do)
Kurt Montandon
81. Elyne
Has anybody suggsted that the poet killer part of this might just be a mistake made through distortion and lack of education? Kvothe wants to rename Saicere to Caesura, which is a break in a poem. Isn't it possible that through passing over of stories and just general lack of vocab, that somebody telling the story related Caesura to a break in a poem and through telephoning that got turned into Poet Killer?

Also, I just can't imagine Kvothe killing Ambrose. Ambrose is a skeeze and is clearly a bit unhinged, but their fued has always been presented as so childish and equally on Kvothe's immaturity that I think it would invalidate all that to have him actually do something so awful that Kvothe has to kill him. Having him be involved with the Chandrian wouldn't make a whole lot of sense (I can't imagine them utilizing anybody as stupid and bullheaded as Ambrose), and I really get the feeling that the king that Kvothe kills is involved in that in some way (part of me thinks a Chandrian is posing as a king and fakes his death at Kvothe's hands). I think it might be way more likely that they somehow get into a sympathy duel and Kvothe sends him to the Rookery.

Also I think the Maer is the Penitent King, especially if all the disaster is caused by opening the Lackless box. Seeing as he's married Meluan and plenty of people would view that as his responsibility if it got opened and led to something awful. I also like to pretend that he gave Kvothe the money to build the Waystone (and I do think he built it, since there's that bit about him being proud of the architectural prowess necessary to put a fireplace in the middle of a room), although that little hope doesn't mesh well with the theory of him being Penitent King.
Ashley Fox
82. A Fox
Re the money. At the end of WMF we see how K takes advantage of the Maer's sort-of-patronage, ensuring that the tuition money does end up in his poket. In D3, depending on how long he remains at uni, it is quiet possible that he saves up more from this scam. Plus the Maer's paperwork & relationship during the Vintas section would enforce the Penitant part (contrasting with the Tehlin view of Arcanists).

Also...the Bloodless. We have the luxory of K's perspective. From the outside this really doesnt look good for him. He creates a device that would be extremely useful during war. Then he (apparently) starts a war, raking in the profits from sales of the Bloodless. :/ Downright capitalist one may think!

So the preliminaries of his wealth are already laid....though of course a curve ball could easily be thrown in D3 if one of K's adventures goes like the Draccus incident, & subsequent selling of the iron scales.

Personally I think that Ambrose is of the rebels side...perhaps even allied with the Uni as a counter to the tehlin influence. More so if Princess Ariels storyline involves a marriage (whether wanted or not, continued or not) to Ambrose, strengthening an alternate claim to the throne. And it would be a bitter irony if K ends up being on the same 'side' as Ambrose.
Kurt Montandon
83. Bobby Clarke
Has anyone considered the idea Bredon is a Lackless? Ignoring other theories on him his age is right to have had a daughter or two, he spends time in the Maer's court and Meulan is not under the control of the king possibly keeping these things consistant. Odd rituals at his estate are consistant with the Lackless family. Does it say where his lands are in the book? I think I remember it saying north same as the lackless lands. But I dont have the book on hand to be sure. The argument I have against this is that it should have been mentioned that he was one, the stacks of letters he gets would possibly have had lord bredon on them as opposed to his full title but still I feel that despite that he could be a lackless.
thistle pong
84. thistlepong
BobbyClarke@83

Has anyone considered the idea Bredon is a Lackless?

It's come up from a few perspectives. One of the links is the eyes. Meluan, Bredon, and, um, one other who would only muddy this response, are the only characters in 1800 pages with brown eyes.
Kurt Montandon
85. RyGuy
I believe that Bredon going to be the King who is killed and here is why:

1) He is in the Maer's court and is obsessed with playing a beautiful game on and off the Tak board. That "game" could be his assention to the throne.

2) Kovothe has never won a proper boardgame Tak but he finally beats him at a beautiful game - in real life, in Imre near the fountain because...

3) Bredon is Denna's patron and Kovothe finally discovers that at the Eolian which prompts him to kill Bredon because of what the Cthea said.

It's hard to weave a Chandrian and Aymr storline into this, so I need help!
Kurt Montandon
86. Psyche 7997
I think Ambrose will likely be the king that is killed. I also believe Kvothe is somehow going to end up on a throne, though. I'm certain his mother is a Lackless, that's why Meluan looks so familiar, and there are a few other hints woven throughout.
Kurt Montandon
87. Necarion
Although I would dearly love to see Kvothe kill King Ambrose, I think it would be too joyous an occasion. The appropriate tragedy then would be for Ambrose to end up as the Penitent King. While Ambrose is clearly incapable of feeling bad about anything, he is more than capable of playing the part. Perhaps he claims that he was close to Kvothe at the University and is now justifying whatever war he's perpetuating as a matter of penance for what Kvothe has done. What Kvothe has done could be to kill Alvaron (directly causing Ambrose to ascend to the throne) or killing another King (which is as good a reason to need to attone for something as any)


Recall that when Kvothe tries to persuade Aaron to not enlist in WMF, he promises to tell Aaron the truth about the Penitent King, implying that the new King is not worth fighting for.
Kurt Montandon
88. solidsnake
How does Ambrose rise to king?

I think this may be answered by why Caudicus is trying to kill him (a question the forums seem to largely ignore even though Kvothe explicetly asks it several times in retelling his story). It would be possible for Ambrose (or his family) to place assasins in different families and slowly thin the herd so to speak.

-Another theory I have... Kvothe doesn't kill a king but does get the blame... In keeping with my theory, Ambrose makes it look like Kvothe kills a king (perhaps Ambrose's father) and in doing so, Ambrose becomes king or moves closer to becoming king.
Kurt Montandon
89. Ambrose's Father
It seems more likely to me that Ambrose's Father rises to King and either one of two things happen. 1. Kvothe has to kill his father for some reason that will have to be revealed. 2 Ambrose being the horrible person that he is kills his own father and and frames Kvothe, Ambrose rises to King and puts a huge bounty on his head.
Kurt Montandon
90. Necarion
Within the order of succession, one fewer person needs to die for Ambrose to become Penitant King than for Ambrose to become Kingkillee. As for what happens to Ambrose's Father, I agree that Ambrose would certainly blame Kvothe (at least publicly) for any harm that might befall his predecessor.
Tabby Alleman
91. Tabbyfl55
My theory/prediction is close to 89.

Kvothe doesn't kill a king.
Ambrose kills a king, or rather, arranges for a king to be killed and has it done in such a way that Kvothe gets blamed for it. Maybe part of the framing involved K being betrayed...by D. Maybe the king that gets killed is Sim (for the greatest tragic effect) or maybe it's the Maer, or maybe it's Ambrose's father, or maybe it's King Not-Appearing-In-This-Narrative. And maybe Ambrose becomes the king as a result, or maybe it just moves him closer to succession. If it's Ambrose's father, Ambrose could become known as the "pentient king" with an "I trusted him and he killed my father...my bad" story. After all, he doesn't actually have to be penitent to be called penitent. And Kvothe doesn't actually have to kill a king to be called "King Killer".

A lot of maybes, I know, and there's probably going to be some additional stuff I haven't thought of, but I bet I'm close.
Kurt Montandon
92. TMLSU
Not along the same thread line but...

Does anyone have any thoery on how or when Bast meets/sees D?
Kurt Montandon
93. Coreyartus
I'm in the "Kvothe is the king" camp. Manet says he's like a little king when they all visit the Eolian one night (refusing to raise a glass to Threpp and launching into a lecture on Patronage), and Kvothe himself says he's "the king of good intentions gone horribly wrong" when trying to make Denna feel better for taking his lute. From a certain perspective, the Edema Ruh are kingless, making each his own.

That, in combination with the whole Naming/Un-Naming thing, and the Poet-Killer references of his sword (could his Adem training be contrary to his self-definition as an Edema Ruh, changing it and morphing it into something "less-Trouper-like"?)...

I think it would be incredibly Rothfuss-like to have the very title of his Kingkiller Chronicles actually mean the chronicles that can kill a king rather than the story of a king killer. I think we're watching Kvothe kill himself slowly through the act of dictating his own story--to a man who could potentially have the very power to write truth (or the perception of it). Literally.

The themes of the power of story and how we percieve truth through what we are told, how it affects our beliefs and our perception of reality... These are recurring in the struggle between the Amyr and the Chandrian, the disparity between Naming and Shaping, the differences between oral and textual historiography... Facts vs. Feelings, Seeing/Looking, Hearing/Listening, Fae/Four Corners, Reality/Imagination... It all makes sense to me.

Perhaps this is a story that we, as readers, are complicit in. That we, as readers of the story are (like the power of the Ctheah) unable to not be complicit in Kvothe's death, simply by reading the story itself.

VERY meta, but an incredibly intriguing scenario, especially considering Rothfuss and his preoccupation with breaking Epic Fantasy tropes, and his motivations for writing in this genre... Isn't he making a comment on the very act of reading Epic Fantasy by so overtly playing with our expectations? And isn't the debate raging in his novels about the nature of truth and how it changes? Underneath it all?

And by extension, isn't Kvothe a "player", and is this all a game, a play, and we are witnessing it's unfolding through different translations of it? Being King could be yet another role in the vast panoply of titles he has had thrust on him (and that he has assumed and created by his own workings). The almost brazen recurrance of similarities between characters in physicality or function could hearken to players of similar (yet different) roles (Ben/Scarpi/Skeops and Iax/Lanre/Haliax, Denna/The Moon and Laurian/Auri). It is easy to see how Kvothe might be a metaphorical "king" given the use of so much analogy and abstraction and the dissonance created when trying to articulate it precisely and definitively.

Meh. Food for thought. :)
Kurt Montandon
94. TNTobi
I think both Ambrose beeing the killed king and blaming Kvothe to be a "Kingkiller" make sense to me. In any way, I also think Ambrose hired Caudicus. While erasing the other people between him and the throne only requires "accidents", the Maer is way too powerful to make that happen. And if Bredon is really his father, he may has influence on the Maer they want to use as long as they can. As soon as he isn't needed anymore, he can die from his disease.

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