Sep 1 2011 2:24pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 1: Deep and Wide as Autumn’s Ending

Welcome to my no moon left unturned re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers the prologue and chapters 1-4 of The Wise Man’s Fear but also contains extensive spoilers for the whole book and the whole of The Name of the Wind, — 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. D3 = 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.

Are you excited to be starting The Wise Man’s Fear? Well, I am.

But first, some gossip. I met Pat at Worldcon in Reno and was on a couple of panels with him. He knows we’re doing this, but he’s not reading the threads. When I told him about the Department of Imaginary Linguistics and about promoting people to E’lir he chortled. So we have authorial approval, and thence onward!

I have an ARC of WMF and it weighs a ton. I feel like I need a lectern for this thing. When is the paperback coming out?


Prologue: A Silence of Three Parts

So, it is dawn, meaning a few hours have passed since the last volume, and we have a silence of three parts, again. The first part is things that were lacking: a storm, travelers, and of course, music. There’s an interesting line in the description of the absent storm: “Thunder would have muttered and rumbled and chased the silence down the road like fallen autumn leaves.” Thunder, eh? Maedre? The last casual mention of thunder we had — “Don’t bring thunder!” — was identified as Kvothe. I’m very much coming to the conclusion that there are no casual mentions here, and there’s a lot of stuff hidden in plain sight. Thunder. Maedre. Kvothe.

But this is making me look more closely at the other things. Kvothe has been a traveler — the Waystone is the only time he stops. He keeps coming back to Ankers and it feels like home, but most of his life he has been a traveler. And of course, there is, or rather isn’t, his music. We’re told the third silence is his, but I wonder if all three parts of the silence are, and if what he has done with breaking his alar or changing his name or whatever has made the story-K into the frame-K has to do with this tripartite silence. Triple-locked silence? Both prologues and epilogues reference this silence, and it’s Silence as a presence, and it’s what Bast is afraid of.

And in NW’s prologue, the three parts lacking for the first silence (sheesh) are the wind, a crowd, and music again. And of course NW is wind and one of the things that wise men fear is the sea in storm, which is thematic here as the wind is there. And the crowd, like travelling, is where K is comfortable. At the end of NW it’s horses, a crowd, and music. Horses? At the end of WMF it’s rain, lovers and music.

But the second silence here belongs to Bast. At the beginning of NW it’s two men in the bar, and at the end it’s Chronicler in bed, and at the end it’s the sound of the wake.

So, new theory. I think the first tripartitte silence reflects what K has done. The second silence is other people not being able to reach him. And the third is the scary solid silence that doesn’t just reflect it but which is it. It’s a magical silence. It’s in the glass and the chest and K himself. And it holds the other two silences, and it is just exactly like splitting his alar, isn’t it, the way we have seen him do?

Damn this is clever! It’s also worth noting that it’s extremely beautiful writing. It’s doing all this thematic stuff and plot stuff and it is beautiful too.


Chapter 1 is “Apple and Elderberry.” Elderberry is Bast’s game, the apples are the apples K gets and presses. This is all frame, all Waystone.

It begins with Bast, bored and alone in the bar looking for something new. His eyes skitter off the sword, which is new in the room — it was under his bed until two days before. He plays a word-game with the bottles and drinks some things. This reminds me irresistably of part of The Bone People (post) where Kerewin does exactly the same thing. She has writer’s block and has quarrelled with her family and at that point in the novel has everything she wants except something to care about, and it seems to me that Bast might be in much the same state. Except that he’s not human and we don’t know what he wants or why he’s there or really very much about him at all except that he does have something he really cares about, which appears to be his Reshi.

K comes in. They chat about tasting — Bast has been mixing the things he gets to make some kind of appalling cocktail. K says they have to talk about what Bast did last night. Bast reacts guiltily, thinking he’s been caught threatening Chronicler. But K means stopping the “creature from the Mael.” Bast tries to make light of what he did and says that K would have “killed it like a chicken,” which K shrugs off. K suggests they could make things “safer around here” by doing something from a song called “White Riders’ Hunt,” and sends Bast off to do it — and promises not to start telling his story before he gets back.

The man who called himself Kote went through his usual routine at the Waystone Inn. He moved like clockwork, like a wagon rolling down the road in well worn ruts.

I wonder if it’s possible to bind alar to a routine that way, so that when you do it it reinforces everything? And what it would be reinforcing here is his innkeeper-hood. But you almost don’t need magic — it’s one of the things some kinds of therapy try to do, instilling new habits to break old ones. When you make bread and the fire you think about the Inn, and only the Inn... and when it was all done

The red-haired man stood behind the bar, his eyes slowly returning from their faraway place, focusing on the here and now, on the inn itself.

What they come to rest on is the sword Folly — what was his plan in doing that? He’s interrupted in any case by Graham the cooper showing up with three new barrels bound with brass instead of iron. K says it’s because the cellar gets damp, but maybe it’s so it’s nicer for Bast? Graham has a drink when he notices the scrubbed patch on the floor and says “Bad business last night.”

And then a bit of philosophy — death is an everyday reality for these people, and they don’t talk about it except in stories, dressed up in foreign clothes.

A chimney fire or the croup cough was terrifying, but Gibea’s trial or the siege of Enfast? Those were like prayers, were like charms muttered late at night when you were walking alone in the dark. Stories were like ha’penny amulets you bought from a peddler, just in case.

Note peddler, not tinker. Note contrast of story and reality in frame. Note applicability of this to us too — losing your five year old in a mall is terrifying, reading about K’s entire troupe being murdered by Chandrian is fun. Will it keep death from us, or from the villagers of Newarre? No, but nothing else will either.

Graham wants Chronicler to write him a will. He says other people will want the same. K frowns with irritation and then says Chronicler will be setting up shop around midday for that kind of business. K relaxes when Graham says everyone will be harvesting until then anyway. And Graham starts to complain about things, saying “Back when—” and catches himself, and then he compliments K on his acuity and asks if things are as bad as they seem or if he’s just getting old. K says the world is always awful, which I think is an outright lie. Graham says K isn’t old — which he isn’t, though goodness knows how old he is. And then K tells the truth:

Things are bad and my gut tells me they’ll get worse yet. It wouldn’t hurt a man to get ready for a hard winter.

Then the Bentons stop buy with apples, with K buys. He sorts the apples. He doesn’t sing while he’s doing it. He starts to make cider — this strikes me as weird, because I have been to cider museums and you always need a donkey for a cider press, because apples to not crush the way grapes do. So K doing it himself seems like a feat of incredible strength. I don’t know if this is an error — has Pat been to cider museums? — or if it means it. His muscles stand out. And his eyes are so pale they could have passed for grey.


Chapter 2 is “Holly”

The holly is the protection Bast has gone to get, and more widely trying to protect Aaron too.

Chronicler gets up and K tells him while soup and bread and pudding are easy, making pies is hard. (This observation is quite true, and inclines me to accept the veracity of the whole text.) Chronicler seems to find in unbelievable that K is doing it. And then K asks what pomice is called (K hasn’t been to the cider museum!) and after Chronicler tells him he says “If it’s something everyone knows I can’t afford to ask.” Which is interesting.

Then Bast comes home with holly, having ruined K’s good sheets. K starts to get cross then says it doesn’t matter. (He’s waiting to die. Do you need good sheets when you’re waiting to die like a cut flower?) They discuss what to do with the holly and why iron wouldn’t work against the shapechange things from the Mael. Bast teases Chronicler pretending to be possessed by it. (And Jhirran? Some definite Fae language there “Te veyan? Te-tanten ventelanet?”) K laughs. Bast says later how glad he is that K laughs, and that he hasn’t done it for months.

So then a possibly odd thing. K is making a chain of holly, and “the innkeeper’s fingers fumbled clumsily” and jab a thorn into his thumb, and he’s angry. Has he cursed himself with clumsy innkeeper hands? Why is he surprised and angry when he can’t do things. I think this holly-weaving goes with the sympathy and the breaking lion as things he tries to do and is baffled when he can’t. Of course, this can be alar. He can hide things from himself and fail to find them.

Then Bast gives Chronicler a holly crown as a freely given gift, and Chronicler takes it. They talk about what Bast wants Chronicler to do, which is wake up K.

They have breakfast. The smith’s prentice comes by for some travelling food. Carter’s going to join up and so is he. The army gives you a whole gold royal... and

Once we get the rebels to swear loyalty to the Penitent King things will start getting better again.

Oh, really? We have rebels? So we have a king who did something for which he’s Penitent. We have a king Kvothe killed. And we have rebels who are rebelling against the Penitent King. And we are in Vint, as conclusively proved by GBrell.

But while Aaron the smith’s prentice thinks the problem is the rebels, they can only be part of it. I mean there’s the scrael and the skinchanger and everything else making the roads bad.

And then comes the thing that really astonished me the first time I read it. K tells Aaron who he is and offers to let him hear his story if he won’t go off and enlist. K cares enough to risk his safety and anonymity and everything, to save this kid. Because K feels that everything is his fault and he wants to save something. But Aaron doesn’t believe him.

It is interesting to hear what Aaron knows about Kvothe. He knows he’s dead. He knows “he knew all sorts of secret magics” including “six words he could whisper in a horse’s ear that would make it run a hundred miles” which seems to be a reference to the Trebon episode and also to the seven words he keeps saying to D. He knows he could turn iron into gold and save lightning in a quart jar — which seem like fairly easy things to do with sympathy and sygaldry actually. “He knew a song that would open any lock” though in fact he knew lockpicking “and he could stave in a strong oak door with just one hand” — which is odd for two reasons. First, Kvothe isn’t especially strong, and secondly it’s another reference to opening doors.

“He rescued some girls from a troupe of ogres once” is the two girls from the troupe of false Ruh. But he’s also “a right bastard.” He got thrown out of the University for stealing secret magics and “they don’t call him Kvothe Kingkiller because he was good with a lute.”

Red hair, devil with a sword, silver tongue that could talk his way out of anything — this is an interesting picture of the story of Kvothe from outside, even if it isn’t giving us anything new.

K says “if your head was worth a thousand royals and a duchy to anyone who cut it off” which sounds as if it might be a very specific price on his head. And very Vintish.

And Aaron breaks the spell of K offering to let him stay by asking to see his “cloak of no particular colour” — which is of course Taborlin the Great’s cloak. And Aaron says he’s just making fun and he doesn’t believe K any more than he believed that his mother was sick or his girlfriend was pregnany — everyone is trying to keep him home.

Then he says K’s sword was silver, and called “Kaysera the poet killer” which is Caesura — but “poet killer” rocks K.

And Aaron quotes a poem about Kvothe’s rings, and K completes it.

On his first hand he wore rings of stone,
iron, amber, wood and bone.
There were —

There were rings unseen on his second hand:
one was blood in a flowing band.
One of air all whisper thin.
And the ring of ice had a flaw within.
Full faintly shone the ring of flame.
And the final ring was without name.

We know they make rings in the University to show their mastery of Names. We see Fela doing it. So this would imply Kvothe knows the names of stone, iron, amber, wind, ice and fire. Because we also know he gets rings of bone and wood in the Maer’s court, and the blood surely has to be the Lackless blood he brings? And “without name”? When they are rings of naming? Without name? And who wrote that? He wouldn’t have. Somebody else wrote that about him and it went out for people to hear and learn. Was it D? Was it part of her betrayal of him? It’s a poem not a song. Was it why he killed a poet — if so, not Ambrose, because it scans. His expression is “unreadable” when he recites it.

When Aaron leaves with his food, K says, “So much for my legendary silver tongue.”

Chronicler was surprised K would take the risk. So was I. K says it’s not much of a risk because it’s not much of a life.

K says he’ll start again and asks where he’d got to. Bast says he was mooning over his lady love — interesting word. K says he doesn’t moon.

And he reads through the last bit, and says all he wanted was to stay at the University.

One of the things that surprised me about WMF the first time I read it was how long K did stay at the University. This line led me to think that we’d fairly soon be heading away. But it’s Chapter 50 before he goes. At five chapters a week it’s going to take us until the middle of November to leave there.


Chapter 3 is “Luck”

And we’re right out of the frame and plunged back into the story. Admissions again. K has one talent and one jot. Fela comes to talk to him, and he notices that she’s beautiful like somebody in a painting. She’s going to do Manifold Maths, keep on as a scriv, and do some chemistry. He’s going to do Medica, the Fishery, more Sympathy and learn Siaru. Then Fela confesses that Elodin has invited her to join his class — and Kvothe is jealous because he hasn’t been invited, even though Elodin sponsored him to Re’lar. They chat about Elodin. She invites him to lunch and he turns her down because he can’t afford it. He trades tiles with Wilem, who accuses him of flirting with Fela. Fela thinks her Admissions slot is lucky.

As far as I can see this is all just setup and easing us back into the situation.


Chapter Four is “Tar and Tin”

This chapter starts with a little explanation of trade — exotic things from all over the world came to the University and magic stuff left — medicines, alchemy and products of the Fishery. He says they are things you could only get from the University, though we know that’s not true. There are Arcanists out there in the world like Ben.

Kvothe goes to the Fishery to make two deck lamps because they will sell before Admissions and make him some more money. Eight hours of hard work later he collects some cold food from Ankers and takes it up to Auri — whose hair is making a halo around her head, for whoever was collecting haloes. This time Auri has normal things — an apple, a bun, a lettuce — about which she is being whimsical. Kvothe shares his squash and butter and potatoes. He says he’s afraid the potatoes are cold, and Auri tells him not to be afraid, she’s there, which is very Auri.

Auri carries “something the size of a coin that gave off a gentle greenish light” which may be an ever-burning lamp. They go into the tunnels to eat their dinner, and then he gets into the Archives the back way to study for Admissions.


And Promotions: The Department of Imaginary Sympathy is proud to promote Rush-That-Speaks and Wetlandernw to E’lir, for startling insights in the comment threads on the speculative summary threads, which I will be discussing in detail when we get there in the book.

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.

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
@Jo: My parents have a small manual cider press. One person can operate it. First you feed the apples through a coarse chopper and then you press them via a wheel/screw arrangement. So, it is quite possible.
The part that seems fairly hard is that K just quarters the apples rather than chopping them. Quartered apples would be quite a bit harder to press it seems to me.
Katy Maziarz
2. ArtfulMagpie
Regarding your insights into the silence of three parts...."Whoaaaa" is all I got. :-O
Peter Reen
3. pnr060
Kvothe staving in a heavy door with one hand is potentially mundane- the bystanders at Ambrose's inn think he did this to Ambrose's door when he used his seige-stone to break in during the fire.
Jeff R.
4. Jeff R.
My take on the rings is that the first hand is all Vintish court rings, and that the 'rings unseen' on the other are all Naming ones. The Name of Blood would be powerful forbidden magic, no? Along with air/wind, fire, and ice and something 'without name', which could be the Moon, no?

So, six words for a horse, seven to make a woman fall in love, and ten to break a strong man's will. I wonder if there are particular tasks for 1-5 and 8 and 9 words...
Ryan Reich
5. ryanreich
Kvothe says here the Fela is like a woman in a painting, and then in a few chapters during the plum bob incident, wonders (about her) what's wrong with seeing women naked when they are naked in paintings. We haven't seen any paintings at all in these books, though. I wonder why this analogy is so important to Fela that it comes up twice?

@4 (Jeff R): One word is "Edro!", perhaps?
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
I'll second ArtfulMagpie in my liking of Jo's theory on the ordering of the silences.
lake sidey
7. lakesidey
Awesome - I just finished my re-read of book 1 last week and was just beginning WMF!

I loved the whole "lettuce that thinks it's a lettuce" dialogue.

...Graham the cooper showing up with three new barrels bound with brass instead of iron. K says it’s because the cellar gets damp, but maybe
it’s so it’s nicer for Bast?...

It could be that, but I wonder.....brass is made of copper (and zinc too, but copper is what interestes me). We see that copper has some unusual properties (Elodin, rookery incident) and maybe a barrel bound with brass would be able to hold something magical in (or keep something magical out, perhaps)?

Also regarding the songs (er, I mean rings) of ice and fire:
There were rings unseen on his second hand
And the ring of ice had a flaw within
Full faintly shone the ring of flame....

If they were unseen, how does the ring of flame shine and how does anyone notice the flaw in the ring of ice? Just wondering (but I liked the verse. I wondered, when I first read this, if it might be homage to one of the most well-known pieces of verse in fantasy (you know, that one about three rings for the Elven kings...))

Alice Arneson
8. Wetlandernw
I am deeply honored by my promotion. Thank you. I shall strive to be worthy of it.

Seconding shalter @1 on pressing cider. Every year my husband & a friend make a batch of hard cider, and the press is just like Kote’s sounds. A boy can do the first part, then it takes a man, and sometimes both men at the very end to get every last bit of juice out. If the apples are a bit overripe and softish, you can just quarter them, but if they’re fresh, chopping works a whole lot better!

FWIW, I’d rather make pies than bread any day. Pies are easy, IMO, but they work the way I do. (Move fast, don’t overwork it.) Bread, not so much. It takes too much kneading, when I’d rather be reading! (Ew. Bad poetry, but purely unintentional, I promise.)

I, too, loved the insights on the silences. The comparisons are striking. I wonder what the silences at the beginning of DT will be.

Lakesidey – thanks for the reminder. I loved the bit about the lettuce! That was hilarious.
Steven Halter
9. stevenhalter
Kvothe also mentions that he thinks of Auri as "my little moon Fae" in his heart. Two interesting connections there.
Alice Arneson
10. Wetlandernw
“I have an apple that thinks it is a pear,” she said, holding it up. “And a bun that thinks it is a cat. And a lettuce that thinks it is a lettuce.”
“It’s a clever lettuce then.”
“Hardly,” she said with a delicate snort. “Why would anything clever think it was a lettuce?”
“Even if it is a lettuce?” I asked.
“Especially then,” she said. “Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too.” She shook her head sadly…
What do you get if you substitute “innkeeper” for “lettuce”? Kote?
Pamela Adams
11. PamAdams
I think Kvothe wrote the ring poem- perhaps to help be Kote. The final ring without name could be him.
C Smith
12. C12VT
I was wondering whether he had the barrels bound in brass rather than iron so that they wouldn't corrode to pieces if the Chandrian showed up (I don't know for sure that the Chandrian's corrosion doesn't affect brass, but as far as I can recall we only hear about corroded iron).

Personally I find bread much harder than pie. Maybe it would be different if I used white flour, but some of the time mine fails to rise properly and ends up like Pratchettian dwarf bread.
Jeff R.
13. Berthok
I bow to all of your powers of observation. Every time I see a new update on this re-read, I'm struck by just how much I failed to notice in these books.

As a result, I love every update. Please keep this up! I adore these books.
andrew smith
14. sillyslovene
So, I had a thought when I last read WMF, but haven't done a full search yet (lent my book to my brother)-


They appear all over the books. Sometimes it seems like they are relatively mundane, everyday things (good travel food, good storage food, etc), but then they will show up consistently in places of deep import like: K making pies, Auri's tree leading down to the Underthing grate = apple tree, K and D eating them together while having significant but vague discussions, etc. My thought is that Pat sometimes puts in apples as a sort of clue for things that are hidden, but deeply important, or perhaps metaphorical for K-

Interpretive thought for this section: "Apple and Elderberry" = K and Bast metaphorically. K is hiding himself behind the apple pies- something that he has to accomplish by his true nature- i.e. strength with the press (pressing himself into mundane normality?). Could be metaphor for him keeping himself mundane by means of his strength of Alar? Similarly, where does he put the other apples? in a barrel bound by copper. He is magically hiding/trapping part of himself, and turning the other part intentionally into something mundane. Interesting, this also plays into how hard this is for K- "making pies is hard"

Other random thought:

"Then he says K’s sword was silver, and called “Kaysera the poet killer” which is Caesura — but “poet killer” rocks K."

I think most of us see poet killer as "killer of poet," but what if it isn't an accusative relationship, but more of a nominative one: "killer who is a poet"? This with the next portion- where K knows the poem by heart already made me wonder if K is rocked by this because of his disdain for all things poetry, and knows the poem because it's a false thread he put out there himself to increase his reputation, and he really doesn't like the fact, even if he did it to himself, that the stories are describing him as a poet...probably not totally significant or true, but it made me think...
George Brell
15. gbrell
I am scarily excited to be back to the re-read.

On Bast’s rhyme game. I feel like this has to be added to the large number of “out in the open” things that Rothfuss has cleverly planted for us. Later, Kvothe states “the Fae are not like us. This is endlessly easy to forget . . . . But these things are only seemings. We are not the same.” (WMF, 654)

Bast is a wonderful character and fits very nicely into the cunning trickster trope that runs throughout fantasy and literature. But he is not human. For all the childishness of his rhyming, “misbehave” is something much darker then mischief. Bast cares for Reshi and the puny mortal lives of humans do not figure much into his calculations.

Re: Jo’s theory about routine reinforcing K’s “condition”

I just finished A Betrayal in Winter by Daniel Abraham (if anyone hasn’t read it, it and the first book in the series, A Shadow in Summer, are both wonderful and I’m excited to read three and four), and Jo’s comments make me think of the binding that is used on Stone-Made-Soft, to play the childrens’ game (draughts? or something like it) repeatedly to reinforce the binding.

Re: Rings

One thing that Rothfuss is masterful at is giving enough to hint where he is going without always giving away the game. We know the rings are important vis-à-vis naming, but we don’t know everything. When Fela gets her ring of stone, Elodin points out a crucial difference between the hands: “Left hand . The right hand means something else entirely. None of you are anywhere near ready for that.” (WMF, 317)

But we don’t know which hand Kvothe had the various rings. On one hand he has stone, iron, amber, wood, bone. This could be just rings (not names). He already has wood (Meluan) and bone (Stapes). We know of at least one stone ring (Fela). And Felurian mentions a “gift of amber.” (WMF, 657) Wil jokingly mentions a “ring of amber” to provide “power over demons.” (WMF, 277)

The other hand has rings blood, air, ice, flame, (nameless). Kvothe may or may not have created a ring of air (probably not, but it’s a fun play on the “rings unseen”). We know that blood and bone are dangerous runes, so the name of blood is almost certainly dangerous. Is ice a ring of water (or is it its own name)? Fire is one of the most common names referenced (we also haven’t noticed a ring of flame on Elxa Dal’s hands, even though he appears to have mastery over it).

Also, note that when Kvothe “fakes” having a ring of wind/air, he raises his “naked left hand.” (WMF, 979)

What does the difference between the hands imply? Are the rings already gifted a red herring or perhaps (like Wil’s comment), a prophecy of things to come? Did Kvothe receive the rings because he would eventually master them or are the rings simply things in and of themselves?

Random aside: Interesting that both Chapters 101 and 103 are named “Close Enough to Touch.” Will discuss further when we get there (in many weeks).

Re: Aaron’s telling of Kvothe

I think his comment that Kvothe was “ out” of the University lends credence to the idea that his “expulsion” for attacking Ambrose is not his being kicked out. As far as I can tell, the fact of his being “expelled” was never really publicized, nor would a general passerby understand that distinction.

Favorite line:

From chapter 3, I absolutely love the banter between Kvothe and Fela about Elodin’s verbal peculiarities. “I’d heard that he started a fistfight in one of the seedier local taverns because someone had insisted on saying the word ‘utilize’ instead of ‘use.’ ‘I heard that too, xcept it was at the Horse and Four, and it was a baronet who wouldn’t stop saying the word ‘moreover.’”

Hilarious grammar nazi-ing aside, it’s a wonderful comment on the questionable nature of rumor. One rumor is about seedy taverns, the other about the finest inn. I feel that the very inexactness of the rumor implies its non-truth.

If you haven’t read Pat’s latest blog post on the difficulties of translation,, it’s clear he aims to put this kind of implication into the text and I think it’s why I find the reading experience so rewarding.
Jeff R.
16. Dominiquex
He’s waiting to die. Do you need good sheets when you’re waiting to die like a cut flower?

I've always loved this particular metaphor of Rothfuss'. But I didn't fully appreciate all implications until just now - such a flower's life has already been cut off, it's death is merely a matter of time. Kvothe, to himself at least if not in reality, is already dead. He's just waiting for his body to give out and complete the act.
Jeff R.
17. Dominiquex
Sorry to double post (it won't let me edit), but to weigh in on pie vs bread... I come from matrilineage of wonderful lay bakers. I can make lovely bread with nothing more than some minor attention to the freshness of my ingredients and some elbow grease. I can make a great pie filling too - but a good pie crust? I buy that sucker pre-made because an appropriately textured (not hard, not burnt, not crumbly) crust suited to the filling it contains and made from scratch is truly a thing of mastery. ;)
Steven Halter
18. stevenhalter
That the university has a class in "manifold maths" is interesting from a couple of directions. In our world it wasn't until around 1850 that a formalization of manifolds really starts. So, manifold mathematics is fairly advanced in a timewise fashion.
Another interesting point is what they are doing with the manifold mathematics. Maybe it is just a nice theory course for them. A manifold is basically a space that resembles a Euclidian space on a small enough scale. An example of this might be the map of the four corners. It looks like a nice two dimensional map but we don't really know what kind of space it is based upon.
Also, manifold mathematics would be quite useful to people who are constructing their own pocket universes. If someone didn't understand it they could get things quite wrong (Jax and his unfolding.)
Jeff R.
19. jmd
Things I noted as I read the post:

1) The fallen leaves - the sharp edged leaves of the tree from his test? another reference to his naming of Maedre?

2) Not knowing things everyone knows - Kvothe thought he knew a lot and getting into University would be easy - was shown exactly how much more there was to learn... Also that he knows erudite obscure stuff, but simple farming terms and learning homey tasks? Not so much. And he couldn't do research for this sort of role as he is usually normally used to finding out the lay of the land and the secrets and all the things you need to avoid to say/do to not offend people. Witness his games when he travels and learning the court gossip.

3) And speaking of gossip - he starts how many rumors and waits to hear them come back to him and now he has Aaron telling him stories and we as the readers don't even know which are true and which aren't and which have been changed - as we have not seen him get his sword and the names and realize the one on the wall is NOT the one he is given at first. And usually when you have hero stories they change over generations, lifetimes, centuries (like Denna's version of the cities vs Skarpi's) but now we have Kote who is "not that old" and so we have stories that have spread and changed quickly? How does that happen? Is that more of the power of naming? More of the issue of talk about the Chandrian so they can't narrow down to anyone? IIRC, there was a similar issue in a book of the Belgariad where Belgarath was trying to get Chamdar to follow him so they started rumors with his name and had women with hair like Polgara, so they could keep him distracted and running down false rumors.

That's all that comes to mind on a first go through! Waiting to see everyone else's insights and maintain my promotion!
Katy Maziarz
20. ArtfulMagpie
"I can make lovely bread with nothing more than some minor attention to the freshness of my ingredients and some elbow grease. I can make a great pie filling too - but a good pie crust? I buy that sucker pre-made because an appropriately textured (not hard, not burnt, not crumbly) crust suited to the filling it contains and made from scratch is truly a thing of mastery."

Yes. This. My homemade bread is a thing of glory, especially when served slightly warm and slathered with a good quality salted butter. But I can't make an edible pie crust to save my life! Pie IS hard.

"Also, note that when Kvothe “fakes” having a ring of wind/air, he raises his “naked left hand.” (WMF, 979)"

When he does this, is he still wearing Meluan's ring of wood? Anyone remember? Because if so, that means the "Naming" rings of blood, air, ice, flame, and "without name" would be on the left hand and the stone, iron, amber, wood, and bone rings are on the right.
Ryan Reich
21. ryanreich
@18: So is "Unlikely Maths" a probability course?
Jo Walton
22. bluejo
I am extremely good at making pastry or "pie crust" as you people call it. But it's one of those things you need to know how to do. Soup and bread and pudding are chemistry, they mostly do themselves with time and heat. Pastry takes actual skill. I don't find it hard -- and look, K is right there doing it -- but it's a complicated set of things.

Shalter: Manifolds are real and potentially relate to unfolding universes? Nifty.
Steven Halter
23. stevenhalter
@21: Elodin is doing something clever there. From the way he teaches his class later, I'm thinking he is just trying to get students to think in non-standard modes.
Steven Halter
24. stevenhalter
Jo: That's a good way of putting it--pastry requires a certain specific set of skills. If Kote was learning pastry making on his own without being able to ask, it would be fairly difficult.
And, yeah it is nifty that manifolds could apply to that area of the novel. Maybe PR just used it as a throwaway hard sounding class, but maybe ...
Ryan Reich
25. ryanreich
@23: Right, that was Elodin's course, not Brandeur's. I don't think I would want to learn manifolds from Brandeur if, as Fela implicitly agrees with Kvothe, the course has "too many numbers"; that is not the good way of doing it.

I like @14 (sillyslovene)'s apples theory and it reminds me of a thought that's half-formed in my own head about how the book is written. I remember reading someone else's theory a while ago that the structure of "Savien" is a sort of guide to the structure of the books themselves, and if so, we have at least two metatextual signs telling us what to look for while we read.

Jo says that there are no casual mentions; okay, so it's never just a cigar. But the bulk of the story is very mundane, actually: Kvothe puttering around the University or doing fantasy-hero things. Entertaining but not deep. It's almost as though there are two books in one (well, six in three, anyway) and the apples and songs are windows into the second, hidden one.

It might be useful, in looking for deeper meanings, to keep track of what kind of signifiers Rothfuss uses. I really like the apples idea, and I'm going to put it in the category of "stage props", since Kvothe is an actor and this is his show. Perhaps the repeated comparisons of Elxa Dal to the evil magician and the one comparison of Lorren to the Doctor (a sort of Cthaeh of Aturan drama) also fall into this category.

Other things that come up a lot: poetry and song, obviously. All over the damn place, and not all of them are as pregnant with meaning as the Lackless rhymes obviously are. This is "the chorus", the voice of the nameless crowd reflecting ritually on events.

Then, of course, there's "the script": meaning hidden in casual conversation. The most obvious candidates here are witty banter: we see it with Auri, with Denna, and with Elodin. The lettuce theory (wetlandernw@10) really strikes my fancy here.

What else is there? "The characters", of course. It would seem wasteful to have so many excellently realized people to be Kvothe's friends if they were just going to be sidekicks. I mean, in Harry Potter, Sim would be Ron or something, but clearly he is more than that. If they are not just sidekicks, they have their own lives; what is it that they're doing with each other when we don't see? In a few chapters, Manet will ask Kvothe about spades just before Elodin asks him the same question; why Manet? Is it significant that Wilem is a Ceald like Kilvin, or a scriv under almost-certainly-Amyr Lorren? Fela is also a scriv, and Ambrose.

There have been a lot of theatrical metaphors in these books but not so many plays. In fact, none. Since it's not just a cigar, how about the entire book being a play?
Jeff R.
26. Susan Loyal
Jo, your article is beautiful and careful, precise and tricksy, just like the text it examines. I enjoyed it so much.

sillyslovene @14. !****! If, as you suggest, "poet killer" equals "the poet who is a killer" instead of "the killer of a poet" what does that do to our perception of "king killer"???? "The king who is a killer" instead of "the killer of a king"? Does that mean that K was, however briefly, on the throne? Which throne? And who did he kill? We know that at least one story says that K himself is dead, and "the cut flower sound" suggests that his death has, in some fashion, been accomplished/ensured. You have, in your inimitable way, put your finger on something critical, I think. Even the subtitle of the series may be taken in more than one way.
Steven Halter
27. stevenhalter
Susan Loyal & sillyslovene: You could also read poet killer as The sword killing the poetry of its wielder.
What is also interesting is that Caesura is Kvothe's name for the sword. Kaysera is the name Aaron ascribes to Kvothe's sword.
Saicere was the actual name.
Saicere means to break, to catch, and to fly. Caesura is a complete stop in a line of poetry. Kaysera is poet killer.
Interesting name evolution.
Dave West
28. Jhirrad
I'll give my kudos to you Jo for your analysis on the silences. Most intriguing.

Shalter and I (we need to talk and get this thing online already!) both placed those phrases as potentially Fae. After looking at other phrases which we believe to be Fae in origin, I'm fairly certain that "te" is "you". Yeah, I know, big leap. It seems obvious, but after starting the linguistics project, I can tell you that nothing is obvious. However, that particular word is used 6 different times, always at the start of a phrase, and most of those phrases are questions. That leads me to believe that "te" is in fact "you". So it's a starting point for sure. :) Also, based on other occurrences of similar words (here I'm thinking in particular of Felurian's song, which goes:
Cae-Lanion Luhial di mari Felanua Kreata Tu ciar tu alaran di Dirella. Amauen. Loesi an delan tu nia vor ruhlan Felurian thae.
I am inclined to believe that Fae is a language with noun declensions. Te is used for you as a subject, and tu is you when it's at least one other possibility. I can't say for sure if it's being used as an indirect object or in a possessive form or what. But, the adjustment to the word makes me believe that the Fae decline their nouns!

@14 - I don't think that the text gives us evidence of Kvothe being the "poet who is a killer". If anything, I think the text shows us the opposite. Kvothe LOATHS poets (Sim being an exception which proves the rule) and while he was forced to write some poetry while in the employ of the Maer, the baseline personality we know of Kvothe leads me to believe there is no way he would ever allow himself to be actively described as a poet. He works far too diligently at (S)haping his image to allow that sort of (N)ame be attached to him. I still think he's going to kill a poet and a king, who are possibly the same person. After catching up from my vacation enduced absence, I can concede that Ambrose is still LIKELY the victim. I just don't see Kvothe ever allowing public perception of him follow a path to where he's named a poet.
Jeff R.
29. Jeff R.
shalter@27: and, at least to my ears, all of them evoke 'Sussurus', one of our languages names of the wind...
Rowan Shepard
30. Rowanmdm3
@ 14 & 26 As much as I would love for K to be a "poet who is a killer," I don't think that is the case. If so, he would propably be called "killer poet." We know K killed a king b/c he said so. Rothfuss is too careful with his language for "king killer" to mean "killed a king" while "poet killer" means "poet who kills;" if that was what is meant it would be phrased differently.

One of the things I like about K is he doesn't try to wiggle his way out of responsibility for his actions. He may realize how stupid he had been, but he doesn't shelter himself from self analysis. I think this is an interesting way K has grown. This quality is much less prevelant in the Kvothe who enters the University, but Kote can see him past actions with what appears to be little romanticism. I wonder if it was a particular event that taught K to be more honest in his self-reflection or the cumulation of experiences.

@Jo Yeah for the next book! My dad is anxioiusly awaiting my visit this weekend so I can him my brother's copy of WMF. My brother bought it to read on a trip to Germany wiht my parents, my mom then then read it, then me, now my dad. Now if I can just get my sisters to read it....I'd be happy though to get my dad in on these discussions. Great comments as always!
Jeff R.
31. Foxed
I like the implication of the cut-flower. Kvothe is a cut flower. His name is cut, and he is Kote.

Maybe that's fatal.

Anyways, the first silence is the story to come. Storm. Travelers. Music. The Inn Kvothe meets his party at after his Felurian sidequest?
Jeff R.
32. Susan Loyal
@30. "poet killer" and "king killer" are both effectively kennings, and since English nouns are not inflected, either can be construed as the base noun or the modifier. The ambiguity simply exists, and I hadn't seen it until sillyslovene pointed it out, because of the expectations I brought to the text.

I really don't care which meaning the plot finally bears out. I like the existence of the ambiguity. (While Rothfuss is very careful about use of words, I don't see any evidence that he'd balk at resolving an ambiguous form in more than one way.)
Katy Maziarz
33. ArtfulMagpie
"poet killer" and "king killer" are both effectively kennings, and since
English nouns are not inflected, either can be construed as the base
noun or the modifier."

And given that we already have runes and poetry which uses caesura to break lines in the middle, kennings are likely!
Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
I’m so grateful to the Department of Imaginary Linguistics for doing all the work! You all bring so much fun and insight to this discussion. I’ve been privileged to see the whole thing develop over the course of a week, instead of the months the rest of you spent on it. It’s the one advantage of coming late to the party. It’s been fun catching up, and particularly because I don’t spend adequate time on the languages. Lovely, having a whole department to figure it out and explain it to me. :) It will be really fun to find out how closely you’ve managed to parallel PR’s thinking!

I must note and confirm something several have said about the pie-making. You're quite right - pastry really is something of an art form. I learned the tricks from a master (my mother) when I was about 12, and have always made good pastries, so I tend to dismiss the difficulty. For Kote, trying to figure it out on his own, not daring to risk his innkeeper image by asking anyone, it really would be hard. Now here’s something funny: the difference (well, one of them) between making good pastry and good bread is that pastry needs to be done quickly, with a minimal amount of handling; bread, conversely, will benefit from a little extra kneading. Kvothe, with his somewhat slap-dash approach to many things, would probably be pretty good at pastry; Kote, the thorough and meticulous innkeeper, would be likely to turn out a tough pastry but have much better luck with bread. I wonder if PR knows that.
Jeff R.
35. George P Burdell
I had an interesting thought on the "ring of blood" after reading some of the comments about them. If it is indeed a "naming" ring (like Fela gets for learning the name of Stone), then that has some very interesting implications.

Particularly Kvothe's encounter with Felurian. I don't have my book handy, but I recall Elodin saying something to the effect of he didn't see the name of the Wind in that case, he saw Felurian's true name. I'm thinking this could easily tie in with blood.
Weijian Zhang
36. Weijian
The first words of the prologues may be significant.

It was night again. —NW

Dawn was coming. —WMF

This cool write-up explains the trilogy's ties to alchemy:

I point this out because the innocent last line of Pat's back-flap biography that he "dabbles in alchemy" may not be so innocent after all.
Jeff R.
37. Chipmaker
WMF ch.1 -- Graham mentions how Carter was attacked by the scrael near the Oldstone bridge, about two miles from town (which, I suppose, is Newarre, unless that's a region name) -- and checking back in NW for when Carter stumbles in with the dead scrael, that's about as detailed as it gets.

Based upon nothing but the general vibe of how PR has built Kvotheworld, "the Oldstone bridge" hints at being part of the Great Stone Road. Which doesn't do anything to more accurately place where K is (other than perhaps quite close to the Road), but does reinforce northern Vintas.
pat purdy
38. night owl
Shalter #18; My brain scrambles at the mere mention of math--had no idea it wasn't "fantasy" math!

Berthok #13: Ditto

#17 & 20 Struggling pie crust makers-my receipe is from Better home new Cookbook. No problem either with oil or shortening version. Roll out between wax paper. Now for a fantastic crust use lard (out of favor with the health conscious group), but remember the wonderful fries from McDonald's? Yep, lard.

I'm on pins and needles waiting for D3, How are all the hints & threads going to be pulled together?? I think I hear PR snickering in the background.
Jeff R.
39. lancelot
thanks for the link, withrye. Hopefully I can write a follow-up as soon as I do my fall read-through of both. It'll take hellaciously long, though, as I'm planning to cross-reference Lindy & Burkhardt.

Also, I'd point out that "3d" is "DoS" or "Doors of Stone." At least that's what I heard last.

Much love gang,

Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
lancelot @39 - I heard that was the working title, and no official title has been confirmed yet. But we know it's going to be Day Three, whatever its actual title turns out to be.
Nathan Love
41. n8love
Wetlandernw- Congrats on the promotion. So jelly...

Lance- Had all these thoughts to share but got super mindexploded by your alchemy stuff and now its all gone (that's a compliment). Meh, I'd prolly be the third one to post it and just argue politely with A Fox for a while.

Pie- all my thoughts on piecrust being represented here, I will say only 2 things:
2)you know, if you make the filling for a pumpkin pie from the can (which is pretty much a custard), you can use it to make french toast. Try it and thank me.

It strikes me that the rings on the second hand are things that you wouldn't want an opponent of some sort to know you had mastery of, as they seem to be more lethal or tactical in a Namer's duel of some sort. We know it is rude to ask about how many Names someone knows. This may be a holdover from when Namers were much more likely to face peril or conflict, and naturally wouldn't want someone to size them up all the way.
Justin Levitt
42. TyranAmiros
Thinking about @36's comments about the connection to alchemy, I wonder if the five rings on the second hand are more metaphorical than literal. That is, they stand for the four elements (fire, air, ice=water, blood=earth) + spirit/soul.
Jeff R.
43. beerofthedark
@19(jmd) I like your points on 'gossip' and the stories going round. I am still thinking that getting Chronicler to write down all the different stories about the Chandrian, incl. all their signs and characteristics, is more than just lighting a beacon fire to draw them to him for whatever reason.

I think that part of his plan is to get this information out into the world in indelible form to righteously peeve the Chandrian - the idea being they can't hunt down and wipe out all knowledge of them if that knowledge is everywhere.

As you point out, his rumours and stories have gone out and are being repeated back to him, but in changed form - so how about having a definitive written version out there as well, rather than relying on chinese whispers? This is also referenced in the number of times we see K's actions talked up and distorted through natural myth-making - and also how he consciously starts to play on that when he wants to achieve something (K the bloodless at the whipping(s) for instance).

Another gossip-related thing that came up while my wife and I were discussing the Chandrian-baiting stories is his scurrilous song about Ambrose. As one of his revenges he creates something that is so catchy/memorable that A can't avoid it - it is everywhere! Eventually it rebounds on him, but he seems to thinks it's worth it in the end. Possible parallel/foreshadowing of what K is doing in the frame?

And to finish my rambling post, does anyone else read Kaysera and start singing "Que sera, sera. Whatever will be, will be" in their heads, or is it just me? ;o)
Jo Walton
44. bluejo
What Pat said about the "Doors of Stone" title for D3 is that it was a title he was considering but it's kind of a spoiler. Considering how thematic the titles of the first two are, to be sure.

Beerofthedark: It was just you!
Steven Halter
45. stevenhalter
When Kvothe gains access to the Archives he mentions crawling through a very narrow tunnel. If this was really the ventilation shaft for the Archives as he says, then there should have been a pretty substantial airflow going through there in order to provide adequate air to a building the size of the Archives.
Kvothe could have forgotten to mention the hurricane winds gusting past him or
The tunnel he crawled down was something like an access shaft next to the real ventilation shaft (seems redundant) or
The Archives aren't ventilated in the way that Kvothe thought they were.
Also, if there is air flowing in, there should be air flowing out somewhere.
There still certainly seems to be something very odd about the Archives.
Dave West
46. Jhirrad
@43 - I agree that one of K's reasons behind the dissemination of information on the Seven is to ultimately bring them down. They have ruthlessly supressed knowledge of them over the milennia - you're right when you say that if that information is spread throughout the world, it's going to be much harder for them to hide from all those hunting them.

This probably more properly belongs in the final discussion of NW regarding kings, but I'd rather just keep moving forward so I'll put it here. One thing which I have considered, and find it odd that I haven't noticed mentioned, is the possibility that the king which Kvothe killed was Lanre. We don't know for certain what sort of title he held previously. He could easily be called King of the Chandrian. And there's no doubt that Kvothe is after him and the other Chandrian. We don't know their fate during the frame, so it's definitely possible. Another option that occured to me just now is Selitos. If the Chandrian can live seemingly forever, I would imagine the same is true for those original Amyr. And wouldn't killing Selitos be enough to start a massive war? Especially if he had someone placed himself as a king?
Jeff R.
47. Rush-That-Speaks
Yay, promotion!

beerofthedark, Jo-- no, actually, it wasn't, and I suspect the 'que sera' of being intentional.

The word 'Saicere' is interesting, because it has something of the structure of a Latin verb, but is not one. I promise, it's not one. I checked. It's not Greek either. It feels as though it ought to be based on the 'sae' from 'saecrum' etc., but there isn't a verb form that doesn't have more syllables. (One reason it feels as though it ought to be that 'sae' is that the first time the name is said the giver "breathes softly, as though it were the name of God".)

But it's a good name; it turns in the mind to all sorts of different words in a lot of different languages.
Julia Mason
48. DrFood
Hello all, I'm new here. I've been mainlining all of your insightful takes on my favorite books, and finally I'm caught up! I think it's wonderful that there's so much here in these books to discuss.

What I wanted to bring up was K's hands. I'm concerned that he's lost some of the function of his hands. He swears to Denna "by my good left hand" that he won't attempt to uncover her patron. (He offers the right, she says she prefers the left.) Later, he swears to Meluan "By my hand, I will not speak of what I see to anyone."

I wonder if Kvothe broke his vow to Denna and lost some function in his hands. Not all, obviously (he can make pie!), but maybe some sensation, proprioception, fine motor control. . . this would have a serious adverse effect on his lute skillz. When he's trying to make a wreath of holly and stabs his thumb, it really doesn't seem to hurt at all--it's almost like he has to see the injury to know he's injured. His reaction to this apparently minor setback is rather intense. ("All the laughter faded from his expression, and his eyes were hard and dark.")

When Kvothe is examining the Lockless box, he feels the faint carving that he postulates may be Yllish story knots. Neither Alveron nor Meluan had noticed any carving. He explains "I have exceptionally sensitive hands--they're necessary for my work" and he later clarifies this is for his music, as well as for his magic.

So, if something has happened to his hands (or to one hand) could that explain why "of course there is no music"?
Jo Walton
49. bluejo
Good call, DrFood, the thumb stabbing may be a sign there's something up with his "good left hand". He's never clumsy in the internal story. (It doesn't say which hand it is -- I just checked.)
Jeff R.
50. Sojka
@ 43, beerofthedark; 47, Rush-That-Speaks

Thirding that! Also, for books that have Kvothe accidentally Naming things in one language when he thought he was using another and when he gets his foreign vocab mixed up (like One Sock, his horse), "Que Sera" has an interesting lingustic backstory...,_Sera_(Whatever_Will_Be,_Will_Be)
Ryan Reich
51. ryanreich
No one has responded to my post @25, but as I've continued to reread WMF I have found more character strangeness. It seems that Lorren is at the center of many things Kvothe other than just the Archives: back at the beginning of NW, he actually introduced Kvothe to Simmon. It has to be accidental that Kvothe met Wilem at the Archive desk before admissions, but what's the first thing that Lorren does after discovering that Kvothe is Arliden's son? He makes him a new friend.

Kvothe has a pair of interesting arguments with Sim and Wil in WMF: with Sim, over Gibea's textbook (but really over the Amyr), and Sim does his damndest to keep Kvothe from getting to the point there, perhaps even signaling Lorren over to evict him. Then he compliments Kvothe on acting for the Greater Good. With Wil, Kvothe argues over the expunging of the records, meeting with total apathy and a suggestion that he stop reading and go drinking. He also brings it up with Sim, who also reacts passively...and tells him to talk to Lorren.

I'll mention this again when it comes up in the reread, but I want to say it now before I forget.
Jeff R.
52. Trollfot
This is not related to this week's chapters but I've been reading through your re-read the last couple of days (love it!) and thought about this somewhere half through:

I think of the third lock that can't be seen as a psychological lock. Either half of his mind hid information on the box from the other half or he needs some kind of magic to open it, magic he can no longer perform. What do you think?
Jeff R.
53. LAJG
@43 Thanks a lot for the earworm!

When K pricks his finger with the holly he bleeds a little bit, but his manner changes abruptly. Is he upset that his Ciridae nature is showing? (I think this is the first time his hands bleed in the frame, right?) What does this mean for his disguise?

Something else I noticed while rereading this passage just now. Bast says that "when a dancer gets inside your body, you're like a puppet". We haven't mentioned Puppet much so far in these discussions, but there's another enigmatic character. Not that I think he has anything to do with skin dancers, but still.

Fun fact (which I learned while I was playing scrabble): bast=fibrous material from the phloem of a plant. Which, among other things, helps to support the plant. I've noticed before how often K is associated with leaves, so is Bast his support? Does he have anything to do with a certain "cut-flower sound"? I really want to find out who he is.
Julia Mason
54. DrFood
More on the hand theory: K is described as rubbing his left hand with his right a couple of times, and when Bast tells him that the flower of the Rhinna (the tree where he spoke to the Cthaeh) is a panacea, he looks down at his folded hands on the tabletop. I'd guess he was thinking that a panacea would be a very useful thing. . .
Jeff R.
55. Trollfot
Another thought on the subject of God/Thelu. Kilvin speaks of God in Siaru. Auri does it in whatever language Kvothe speaks but we know she's not from the Commonwealth and, like the Celdaish, does not want to wear secondhand clothes. I can't think of more examples of people using the word God but perhaps it's a matter of different religions? God and Thelu could still be the same god (i.e. this theory does not mess up the mythology) but worshipped a bit differently in different countries. Like Abraham's god is called God, Lord, Allah, Jahve depending on who you ask.
Josh Brennan
56. Oneirogen
Long time reader, glad to be caught up and joining the discussion.

Regarding the ring of "blood in a flowing band". What if, instead of signifying an area of Kvothe's mastery of naming, it is a hidden mark of true, pre-Tehlin Amyr. The imagery of a ring of flowing blood and the Amyr's bloody hands seem rather close.

Perhaps the human, Tehlin associated Amyr image of a bloody hand was a bastardization of a more magical sign. Both ring of blood and bloody hands make a good metaphor for the ends justifying the means in service to the greater good.
Alf Bishai
57. greyhood
A word on the rebels and the Penitent King. (Sorry if this really belongs in the Kingkiller Discussion. I was late to that! But it fits here too.)

First, it occurred to me that maybe we're wrong in thinking he only killed one king. Kingkiller maybe suggests that he killed a bunch of them. Here's a scenario:

Bredon enlists Kvothe to kill a whole portfolio of kings ahead of him (Bredon) in the royal succession. A lot has been made of that pecking order. A LOT. Including Ambrose, the rings, the shipwreck, Kvothe's own aunt. Kvothe then becomes the scapegoat that allows Bredon to become the Penitent King, sorry for what he'd done to become king, thus establishing K.'s real hatred of him. If Bredon managed all this, it would be a beautiful game.

If Bredon is also an Amyr, or someone else similarly tied up in the Creation War, then perhaps what he offered K. in return was revenge (kills Cinder) or knowledge or access to all those secrets, etc. Or maybe something to do with Denna. (Most people suspect he is her patron.) Only K. was betrayed by Bredon, Denna dies, K. doesn't get what he wants, and the creation of the Fae realm is undone, causing havoc in the frame world.

'Kingkiller' is the epithet for K. by the Penitent King, going hand-in-hand with the price on K's head. " + a duchy for the head of Kvothe Kingkiller. It would take the attention off himself, i.e. Kvothe is the kingkiller, not me!"

This scenario would undoubtedly leave a large group of people wanting the Penitent King's blood, hence the rebels.
Jeff R.
58. Dominiquex
Something that's been on my mind for a while now is that perhaps we shouldn't take the whole "Penitent King" label too seriously. Normally, when people in power acquire labels during their own lifetime, there's some kind of a PR angle involved. We don't know who he is, why in theory he would be penitent, or who is putting this label about. It might just symbolize some kind of Return to the Faith, or someone who used to be a priest, or someone who's especially religious, or a million other things related to someone we've never even heard of before. It doesn't have to mean he's Penitent in the literal I-killed-someone-now-I'm-sorry kind of sense. Just don't want us to blind ourselves too much. :)
Jeff R.
59. KatieG
58, While using PR as an abbreviation for public relations wold normally make sense... it can be a bit confusing here =)
Jeff R.
60. Dominiquex
Haha, took me a second to get you KatieG.

My bad. I did mean "Public Relations".
- -
61. hex
Re: Apple presses
(disclaimer, I am not a mechanical engineer, nor have I been to a cider museum)-
Wouldn't the ability to work an apple press by hand depend on the gearing of the press? A system that applies pressure directly would be extremely difficult to do by hand. A system that uses more complex gearing (worm drive, multiple gears) to change the force/torque ratio would allow anyone to operate a press, unassisted.

Re: Poet Killer-
Have any of our bilingual members read a non-english translation of the books? The relationship between the words in that phrase may be more plain in a different language, or the comparison between the two translations might offer some insight. Someone else has already pointed out that Rothfuss has a forum for translators to ask him questions. If wordplay were to remain intact (as much as it can, translation is *hard*) then his help in translating the intent of key phrases and scenes may prove to be informative.
Sim Tambem
62. Daedos
@61 That is really a great idea; I hadn't thought of it like that. And I'll volunteer. If anyone wants to send me a copy of The Name of the Wind in Portuguese or Spanish (preferably Portuguese - it is a more nuanced language), I would be more than happy to share my findings. I would have already purchased O Nome do Vento, but it is something like $50 to buy it from Pat's store. Seriously.
Jeff R.
63. Trollfot
I'm willing to check out the Swedish translation, if I find it at the library. Don't think "poet killer" will provide any clue though, the languages are too similar, but perhaps something else is of interest?
Jo Walton
64. bluejo
Hex: so maybe the one-person operated apple presses people have seen, and which Kvothe has, are at a higher tech level than the ones I have seen in the cider museum? Interesting. The tech level in these books seems medieval at first glance, but it's a lot more like C.18. Mind you, so are the cider presses in the museum, but there's nothing but design, which is human ingenuity, to the improved ones.
Steven Halter
65. stevenhalter
Jo@64:Doing a bit of investigation, it looks like ~1870 -1914 were the glory years of fruit press inventing. A bunch of US patents were issued during that span for various sorts of fruit presses. Some had screws and some levers or ratchets. So, yes the one man fruit press does seem to be a late 19th c. invention.
The large scale donkey operated ones seem to have been around for a very long time.
Alf Bishai
66. greyhood
The sword. Two things hit me on this reread. First, when Bast is alone in the taproom it says he looks away from the sword but never says he looks at it in the first place. Later, after Graham I believe, it says something like K. snapped out of his far away gaze and then looked up at the sword, but doesn't say he adopted a far-away gaze first. There is something really mysterious about the writing. It creates a kind of a mystical time-warp around what feels like a ceremonial looking at the sword. The wording is the key (and I don't have my book here.) Both descriptions caught my attention.

Second, I've never been convinced that the sword is named Folly. It always explicitly says that Folly was engraved on the wood, but not that this was the sword's name. I've always thought that this was his commentary/judgment on what culminated with this sword (the killing of a king/his lifelong story of revenge/the trap someone led him into by the nose). I want to believe it's Cinder's sword, except that K. says 'that's a lady!'
Sim Tambem
67. Daedos
@66 - I agree that it doesn't seem like Cinder's sword. Their descriptions just don't align well enough for me. The 'that's a lady!' bit was a good catch. And there is definitely something significant about the sword. Why would it have been under Bast's bed? And why does Bast have so many 'things' in his room? Some of them seem like they belong to Kvothe, as well.
- -
68. hex
Bluejo: It's all conjecture on my part. It sounds like shalter has done some proper research. I'd say there's slightly more than just human ingenuity that goes into gearing.

We know gears exist in their world- I believe Kvothe mentions seeing huge gears in one of the rooms of the Underthing, as well as mechanical clocks. I think you would be justified in asking how common they are so far from the civilization of the Universary and its Fishery. I'm not sure that metal casting is within the purview of the smithies we've met in Newarre.

Even simple gears for a press would require some precision (number of teeth, spacing, so on), and that kind of specialization probably wouldn't exist in a small town. It could be that Kvothe mail ordered it, but I think Occam would suggest author's oversight ;)
Sim Tambem
69. Daedos
@68 - Oversight.

Or, Kvothe--even as Kote--is wicked strong.
Lune Nu
70. Lune
Hi there! I just wanted to mention quickly that one of the silences in NW has to do with Kvothe's hands: "The third silence was not an easy thing to notice. And it was in the hands of the man who stood there, polishing a stretch of mahogany that already gleamed in the lamplight." I really like the idea that Kvothe somehow damaged his hands (probably through his own arrogance and stupidity) and that's part of why he can no longer do magic or play music. I think there's probably more to it than that, but in WMF he mentions his fear of injuring his hands way too much for it to be irrelevant.
Jeff R.
71. lancelot
@wetlandernw – thanks for clearing that up!

@n8love – thanks for compliments!

Also, very interesting things going on here, gang. Keep it up. Hopefully I can make time for that read-through before long...

- Lance.
Jeff R.
72. lancelot
Okay, starting my Alchemical re-read. Here's some disclaimers first.
Jeff R.
73. Robert Hughes
I know this is an old article but I just can't resist posting.

The reason the kid thinks that Kvothe can stave in a strong oak door with one hand is probably an exaggeration of him using the Siege Stone on Ambroses door.

It's described as literally exploding in.
Jeff R.
74. Zac Mcgahuey
I know this is pretty late it has almost a year since this article was written. I didn't find this series until about 3 months ago so I am late to the party anyways I found something pretty interesting the chapter "holly" and it may suppor the theory of split alar even further.

Kvothe's bright eyes flickered around the room, taking everything in. He drew a deep breath, and flashed a sudden smile, and for a brief moment looked nothing like an innkeeper at all. His eyes were sharp and bright, green as a blade of grass. "Ready?"

This happens right before he starts telling the story again. The first thing that I notice is that he takes everything about the Waystone in.
It is kind of like he is focusing, or concentrating on this.

The next part is the description of his eyes green as a blade of grass.
So this kind of makes me think or Ramston steel. Which is compared to Kvothe's alar.

Could this actaully be support to our theory our could this just be me reading too much in to speculation. Sorry that this is a bit windy, and that I am late to the party. However, I figured I should put this on hear because we know that almost everything in this series is in it for a reason. I think Pat would of said sharp and green as grass it would work. It may not be pretty but it does work. I feel like this does somewhat support our theory.
Jeff R.
75. James99

I know I am about a year late on this thread, but I started re-reading these books last week and used these posts to guide me re-read.

Anyhow, in reading this post it just hit me... (and apologies if it was all figured out way before, I just got hit with it, and needed to share somewhere)

Something happened, like a LONG TIME AGO, and K is now like Haliax...

"The sound of a man waiting to die"? He's waiting to die, because the door of death has been closed.

He never sleeps, because the door of sleep has been closed.

K more or less set the world on a path of destruction, because only when the world is destroyed can he finally escape this, like Lanre (Haliax).

It would explaine why there is no Sim, Wil, Denna. Why is is basically alone except for Bast.

It even makes sense that people tell stories of Kvothe like a legend, because it happened so very long ago.
Tabby Alleman
76. Tabbyfl55
Re: the apple cider press:

1) This bit from Jo:
you always need a donkey for a cider press, because apples to not crush the way grapes do.
Forces an image into my mind of a donkey stomping around in a vat, gradually crushing apples under its hooves.

But of course I know that's not what a cider press is. :)

2) In addition to the possibility of superior mechanics, what about the possibility that some sygaldry is involved in making a one-man cider press?
Jeff R.
77. elricprincess
it's mentioned that Kvothe had a ring of blood. What if "a ring of lackless blood" is what's needed to open the Lockless box?
Jeff R.
78. val92
"and he could stave in a solid oak door with just one hand" - which is odd for two reasons. First, Kvothe isn't especially strong, and secondly it's another reference to opening doors."
Most likely this has been pointed out already, but I take this as a reference to Kvothe breaking down the door to Ambrose's suite when they set the dresser on fire to destroy the mommet Ambrose is using against Kvothe.
Jeff R.
79. BurntRose
Hi, just re reading and noticed something in these first chapters that hasn't been mentioned. It's Bast playing with chronicler - talking about the demon being inside him

"maybe Im just waiting for you to let your guard down and then I'll bite you on the chest right over your heart and drink all the blood out of you like sucking juice out of a plum"

This is almost word for word the description used by one of the usual felling night crowd when they are arguing in NW about what Kvothe does when he is attacked in the alley, I'm wondering if this is another example of them getting the stories mixed up and so allowing some foreshadowing of D3?
Jeff R.
80. allyel
Way too late to be part of the conversation, but I am listening/re-reading WMF again. First time I have listened to the first five chapters though. I dont know if it is a pronunciation issue or not, but when K says to Aaron in the second chapter that he will tell him the truth about princess Ariel the narrator pronounces Ariel with the emphasis on the Ari part so that it sounds extremely similar to Auri's name. Wonder if it is the same girl with the name just twisted in the telling.
Jeff R.
81. MaxRecline
Also late to the party. Has anyone thought the "ring without name" could be copper? Seems the ability to Name the nameless is something the hero of a story like this figures out. In this world, mastery over copper would be all kinds of useful.
Joanna Andrews
82. highwaycrossingfrog
@81 MaxRecline Interesting. I also thought that copper could be resistant to or difficult to name. We see Elodin temporarily thwarted by the copper mesh in the Crockery walls when he breaks the wall of his former cell by uttering the name of stone, also the four copper plates on the four plate door presumably keeping something in or out, and Taborlin's copper sword, as well as Felurian stating that copper blades are some sort of weapon/repellent to the Fae. Copper is almost certainly significant.

@70 Lune I've noticed many times that Kvothe references his hands. It's usually in the context that as an artificer and musician he doesn't want them damaged, which makes sense, but there may well be an overarching significance. He does seem to injure them a great many times.

A thought on the "cut-flower sound" from the prologues/epilogues. A cut flower has been split from that which gives it life. It may be no more than a poetic analogy, but perhaps Kvothe has been split from the essential part of his being, and that is why he is waiting to die. He cannot live without it. What that essential part may be, I don't know. Denna? His music? Sympathy? His former, heroic identity? Or perhaps he is simply waiting for the Chandrian to chase him down.
Jeff R.
83. ARMed_Pirate
The ring of wood on Kvothe's hand could be the one from Auri that keeps secrets (but doesn't tell them), yes?
Jeff R.
84. batonzip

I am too more inclined to believe it is Auri's ring, and not the one Meluan sent him. After all, he did want to throw it off the cliff.

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