Thu
Sep 8 2011 1:39pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 2: So Sharp He Can Hardly Help But Cut Himself

Patrick Rothfuss Reread on Tor.comWelcome to my ridiculously detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 5-10 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.

 

Chapter Five is “The Eolian”

And for once I think the title means what it says.

The chapter begins with Kvothe trying to scrape together money for tuition — making lamps, unloading carts, covering someone’s shift in the Medica, then losing money gambling. Then he goes to the Eolian with Wil and Sim and Manet, and is challenged getting in. Manet hasn’t been there before. Sim wants Kvothe to sing the Jackass song, and we get another two lines of it, but Kvothe refuses, saying he’s done with Ambrose.

Now Sim is a sensible person and an Aturan noble, and Sim is also well aware of what trouble Ambrose can cause. Sim has his own reasons for hating Ambrose, but he must really really hate him to keep on wanting to hear that song. Now I hate Ambrose too — I’m fairly sure we all hate Ambrose here. But do we want the level of trouble it could cause Kvothe to sing the song in public after the apology?

They discuss how tuition isn’t fair and how Kvothe’s is going to be high because of running off to Trebon, being promoted to Re’lar, and being called on the Horns. Marie plays music.

Kvothe looks for Denna, and astonishingly finds her. She’s with a Mondegan gentleman and is dressed in silk and jewels. Kvothe kisses her hand. The Mondegan, Kellin, acknowledges Kvothe only because he has his pipes. Kvothe is jealous.

To be both rich and handsome was bad enough. But to have a voice like honey over warm bread on top of that was simply inexcusable. The sound of it made me feel like a cat grabbed by the tail and rubbed backwards with a wet hand.

I mostly quote things because they are significant details, I’m quoting this because it’s such lovely phrasing.

Denna is going by “Dinael.” Kellin plays the Mondegan court harp. He corrects “harper” to “harpist” and asks Kvothe if he’s a piper, which Kvothe corrects to “pipist,” which makes me laugh. When Kvothe confesses to lute, Kellin calls that “folk music.”

Denna fakes losing an ear-ring and comes back for it. Kvothe swears “God’s body,” a Tehlin oath, and a little later “Tehlu save us from perfect gentlemen.” Then he swears “Skethe te retaa van” when he hears that Kellin is a lord in his own right. I don’t know what language it’s in or what it literally means, but my loose translation would be “It’s enough to make you sick” or “There ain’t no justice.”

Then Kvothe goes back to the table and says he can’t find Threpe, and there’s a discussion about patronage. Kvothe thinks of Lord Greyfallow and the two suits of clothing, but not about finding him, he never thinks of that. Manet demonstrates how patronage works with beer and brandy. The entertainers keep the people entertained so they pay taxes happily.

 

Chapter Six is “Love”

And we see for the first time the lute for which Kvothe has paid so much that he can’t afford tuition. He loves it. He knows it has flaws. “Unwise love is the truest love” — gosh that’s a young person’s thing to say.

Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love a thing despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect.

Are we still talking about the lute? Because he looked up at Denna and saw her face “clear as the moon” just before this.

And then Kvothe does his trick. He plays “Bellweather” a folk tune so simple anyone could carry it in a bucket, and makes it look hard. Then he plays “Tintantatorin” an amazingly hard piece, as if it’s boring and easy. The musicians love it, the rest of the audience feel tricked.

Stanchion says “Young six string here is so sharp he can hardly help but cut himself,” and Manet says “You’ve noticed that too?” It’s a true thing about Kvothe.

Sim makes a pun and says Kvothe played a joke on a lute.

Ambrose is mentioned, and Sim says he’s thirteenth in line fore the throne of Vintas.

The entire Surthen family was lost at sea two months ago. Ambrose won’t shut up about the fact that his father’s barely a dozen steps from being king.

(And the sooner Kvothe kills him the better, I say.) Kvothe says the patron well has been poisoned and he couldn’t get one anyway, why not make fun of the non-musicians. He’s done something that is simultaneously very clever and very stupid. Just typical.

Marie, a beautiful fiddler with her pipes, defends him. But even she says:

“You keep thumbing your nose at folk,” she said. “I swear I’ve never met a man who has your knack for lack of social grace.”

Manet makes a date with her, impressing the heck out of the other students. They play cards. Kvothe’s mind wanders. Manet says:

“Here’s a primer for admissions.” He held up his hand, three fingers spearing angrily into the air. “Lets say you have three spades in your hand and there have been five spades laid down.” He held up his other hand, fingers splayed wide. “How many spades is that total?”

This would be a reasonable comment in context, except for Elodin asking the same thing at Admissions. There are several possible explanations. Elodin might be there, either unnoticed or invisibly. The wind might tell Elodin. Manet might tell Elodin. Wil or Sim might tell Elodin — this seems less likely. Or Elodin could read it from Kvothe’s memory, perhaps? Or Manet might be Elodin in disguise — have we ever seen them together? But it seems odd, in retrospect — not saying it, but saying it and then it really being asked.

Sim asks him again to play Jackass. Kvothe swears “Black hands!”

Then Manet explains to the others about sounten — water, so Kvothe can save the price of the drink. Over the evening, Kvothe makes a talent and six jots — more than doubling the amount in his pocket. And he leaves with some Bredon beer, which is full of trace nutrients — he’s getting it for Auri of course.

But I just noticed something. We’ve talked before about the connection between Bredon and Bredon beer. But what he says is “In the small kingdoms, women drink it when they’re pregnant” and then Wil says “Sim and I don’t mind that you’re a pregnant Yllish woman.” The interesting thing is the connection between the small kingdoms, Yll, and Bredon. The beer is available in Imre, and known to Sim and Wil, so we don’t know where it comes from by the fact of small kingdom consumption. But does it suggest that Bredon the person comes from the small kingdoms? Or Yll?

Kvothe finally sings Jackass when there’s nobody around.

Then he wanders past the grey stone of Masters’ Hall, where a single light illuminates a stained glass window of “Teccam in his classic pose: barefoot at the mouth of his cave speaking to a crowd of young students.” I am picturing this like Fra Angelico’s Harrowing of Hell, only kind of reversed, with a Socratic hermit in the cave and a crowd of students at the side. (This fills me with a desire for a nifty secular stained glass window.)

The Crucible smells of chemistry. The Archives still remind him of a waystone. Lorren keeps it open all night during Admissions. Then he goes home to Ankers and it feels like home, and that surprises him because he has always been a wanderer. And this is love as well, his love of the University.

 

Chapter Seven is “Admissions”

Another relatively straightforward title — except that as well as “admissions” the entrance interviews, it’s the things Kvothe admits when under the influence of the plum bob.

Rothfuss has set this up so that it looks as if it’s going to be all about not having enough money and not being able to study in the Archives, when in fact it’s Ambrose and the plum bob. Very clever use of misdirection. A woman in Ankers buys him a drink to celebrate him breaking Ambrose’s arm. She’s wearing gloves, she gets the mug wet, he touches it, and therefore the poison. He can smell nutmeg and plum. She runs out crying... oh dear.

And the first stupid thing Kvothe does is buying a pie when he needs every penny. This does show how incredibly disciplined he normally is with this kind of thing. He knows what it means to be poor. Then he buys honeyed almonds. He goes to talk to a girl he knows slightly from the Fishery, and talks too loudly about what a silly process Admissions is. This is all very clever, as by reporting what he did it doesn’t feel that different from normal — Kvothe doesn’t have that many inhibitions normally, but it slowly creeps up. It isn’t until Ambrose asks if he doesn’t fancy plum that he realises something is wrong.

He goes to see Sim, and Sim (who has studied alchemy as Kvothe has not) recognises what it is and explains. It’s “moral amnesia.”

Sim swears “Merciful Tehlu” in relief when Kvothe gives him the knife instead of killing Ambrose with it. Kvothe curses by “Tehlu’s tits and teeth” which is pleasingly alliterative at least. When he wants to see Fela naked he says women are naked in paintings. Ryanreich pointed out last week that we haven’t seen any paintings in the text at all, and this is only the second mention of them, and both times in connection with Fela. I don’t know what the significance is, but it has to be significant.

Fela changes tiles with Kvothe and goes through admissions. Kvothe stays in Sim’s room in a morally bad state.

“Which would be worse, killing Ambrose or stealing a pie?”

“A meat pie or a fruit pie?”

He says he doesn’t think he has any secrets. Ha. Then he goes back to Ankers and goes to bed and remembers everything in painful clarity and the worst memories are of being happy when he was a child. I know exactly what he means about that. Then Auri taps on his window and she holds him while he cries. He talks to her about his mother — just as a mother singing to him, saying he misses her, which he’d never admit when in his right head. And Auri says the same thing she says before “I’m here. You’re safe.”

 

Chapter Eight is “Questions”

Kvothe remains emotionally labile — crying when tryint to inscibe a heat funnel. And then he fixes Anker’s magic fridge. I like the magic fridge — a major piece of artificing anywhere else, a normal thing around the University. And then he sees Elodin, who picks a terrible time for testing his self control. Elodin’s reasons for not teaching him are:

You are too eager to be properly patient. You’re too proud to listen properly. And you’re too clever by half. That’s the worst of it.

This is all perfectly accurate. And then he gives Kvothe a practical demonstration. Hemme has just been rude to both of them, and they go into his rooms and burn his clothes, with Kvothe thinking they’re Elodin’s rooms.

“You know you’re clever. That’s your weakness. You assume you know what you’re getting into, but you don’t.”

Elodin’s giving Kvothe a lesson and getting revenge on Hemme, but Elodin really is mad.

The questions are the questions Kvothe asks Elodin, of which the right question turns out to be “Whose rooms are these?”

 

Chapter Nine is “A Civil Tongue”

Admissions, finally. Arwyl asks sensible medical questions. Brandeur asks a question about percentages which... sounds like math and makes my brain switch off. Then he asks one about trifoil compasses, which fortunately you guys were all over this in the Speculative Geography thread, starting with Shalter:

the trifoil compass does seem to have gold platinum and cobalt indicators. And to give you reading in terms of “points” for each of these.

However, the reading isn’t quite a GPS reading or you wouldn’t need the painstaking triangulation part. The compass gives you three numbers. If you could just draw three lines on the map corresponding to those numbers to get your position, it wouldn’t really be painstaking.

Also, what do the three numbers relate to? Is it latitude, longitude and altitude? Or, are they distances from something? Very interesting.

AhoyMatey guesses:

My guess is that the trifoil compass doesn’t use points on “earth” for each indicator. What if one of the indicators points to the moon? That would probably take some extensive calculations to figure out position.

Shalter again:

I am now picturing a Trifoil compass as having 3 needles. Each of the needles would point to something in the world. The needle could be made to point at its goal through a sympathetic binding. So, the needles would give you the direction to three things, these could then be drawn on a map to determine your location. You only really need two needles, but three would give you more accuracy.

Bad Platypus:

Another possibility would be if there are (e.g.) multiple “platinum” locations in the world, and the compass gives information about the nearest one. Then you’d have to try multiple possibilities and there could be several places that are “close but not quite,” thus requiring the painstaking labor to distinguish among them.

My guess would be that “points” are like degrees of a circle, so they give direction only, but any of your explanations could work as well.

Danielrixy wonders:

if the existence of the trifoil compass means that the standard magnetic compass that we use can’t exist in this world. Maybe because the planet generates no electomagnetic field? Which could possibly be because it isn’t round/doesn’t spin?

Shalter in response to that:

That’s the general conclusion I’m being drawn towards. It would be pretty cool if it is so. When you cople the existence of the trifoil with Kvothe’s interjection about Fae being seemingly spherical, it kind of fits.

Of course, they could be using trifoil compasses in the four corners since it lets you find your position more easily than a single magnetic needle compass.

A Fox proposes:

Our world has more than two (north and south) poles. What if the 4c’s also has this. Different poles exerting diff influences over fields. (by which i mean something similar to electromagnetic, gravitatioal etc. though not obviously, literaly, those!) Each of the substances gives a reading to where you are in regards to the pole of that field field.

If you imagigine them image of a trifoil, you envisage three circles meeting. The meeting point is where you are. The readings give the mesurement to the nearest pole of its particuar field. This would be the radius of one of the circles. If you only went by one reading you could essentially be anywhere on the perimetre of that reading. By taking three different readings, of differnent poles, you would have an almost exact reading. (Makes you wonder what would be at the centre of a tifoil that had equaly sized circles...doors of stone or somesuch ;) )

Thats how i envisged it, and you would certainly need to do a little math to use those readings.

prn060 takes that further:

if each of the foils works the same way a compass in the real world works (except they point to different places, of course) you would still need three to triangulate your exact position in some cases. The issue is that if you’re anywhere on the exact line defined by two of the foils’ targets, you would only be able to determine that (a) you are between them somewhere, or (b) both of them are in the same direction. You could figure out where you were exactly by moving a bit off the line, but you may have to move a long way depending on where you and the foils’ targets are located. Much easier just to create a third target that lets you figure out where you are on the line (assuming the compass system was created and operates via sygaldry instead of using some gold/cobalt/platinum magnetic system made up for this fantasy world)

Kvothe, however, doesn’t know.

Elodin asks the question Manet asked about spades in exactly the same words. And then Elodin gets cross because the other masters roll their eyes, and he asks:

“Where does the moon go when it is no longer in our sky?”

Which again sounds like whimsical nonsense but is in fact exact and specific and a question only a namer can answer — it’s in Fae. But Kvothe doesn’t yet know, and admits that he doesn’t.

Elxa Dal looks like a bad magician, but he asks sensible Sympathy questions that Kvothe can answer. Mandrag the alchemist passes. Lorren only asks the rules of the Archives. Kvothe is annoyed because he read the books Lorren doesn’t think he can have read — but actually he’s lucky, because if he could answer those questions Lorren might ask him how he knows. Then Kilvin asks him easy artificing questions. And then Hemme says:

“Did you set fire to my rooms you little ravel bastard?”

I think this is the first time we’ve run across the racial slur “ravel”? Kvothe says he didn’t but he wished he had, with the taste of plum in his mouth. The Chancellor demands a civil tongue. Kvothe apologises quickly and says that “ravel” is particularly offensive. The Chancellor tells Hemme he is finished and rebukes him “You’re as bad as the boy and with less excuse.”

The Chancellor’s question is on the etymology of the word ravel, which Kvothe gives.

 

Chapter Ten is “Being Treasured”

Kvothe’s tuition is nine talents and five. With the money from the lamps he has a little more than six. He walks to Imre and visits Denna, who is talking to a pretty young man. Pretty, sweet, clean-shaven — could he be a girl in disguise? Geoffrey is introduced as a poet, and leaves. Denna feels sorry for him because he’s so sweet and trusting. This isn’t like Denna with men. Kvothe gives her some herbal asthma medication, which is a surprisingly thoughtful present. Denna plays the harp, and Kvothe thinks how beautiful she is.

The inn has a magic bell that rings downstairs when Denna rings it upstairs. Denna gets excited when she realises that sygaldry is “a magic where you write things down” and asks how it works, but their drinks come before Kvothe has to answer. Denna says she hates being guarded like a treasure and at Kellin’s beck and call.

“Several hours later” Kvothe goes to see Devi. She won’t lend less than six talents, at fifty percent interest. Or she wants a way into the Archives, and she’d give him forty talents and sex... and he doesn’t agree because of invading Auri’s home, not out of any loyalty to the University as a thing, though he knows Devi was expelled.

And we’ll start next time from Chapter 11.

 

Last week’s comments

Lots of great stuff. Shalter says there are one person cider presses and that manifold maths is real and might be useful for magical world unfolding! Sillyslovene suggests that apples are thematic and we should take notice of them.

Greyhood says:

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.

I don’t believe it for a minute, but I love it as an idea. Lots more speculation on this one.

Promotions: The Department of Imaginary Sympathy raises to E’lir n8love, Dominiquex and Beerofthedark. The Department of Imaginary Medica would like to promote Dr Food to E’lir for observations on Kvothe’s hands:

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”?

We’ve talked about the “good left hand” before, but not about the unusual sensitivity or the clumsiness in the frame. LAJG suggests that the blood on his hands may bring out his inner Ciridae, which could well be.


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.

101 comments
Peter Reen
1. pnr060
For whatever reason I had assumed that "Eolian" was just another made-up fantasy name. I was a bit surprised when I read the other day than an Eolian (Aeolian) harp is an instrument that is played by the wind.
Steven Halter
2. stevenhalter
In Chapter 5 Kvothe mentions alchemical compounds:

The bizarre alchemical compounds were the truly frightening things. There were transporting agents that would move through your skin without a leaving a mark, then quietly eat the calcuim out of your bones. Others would simply lurk in your body, doing nothing for months until you started to bleed from your gums and lose your hair. The things they produced in Alchemy Complex made arsenic look like sugar in your tea.


I'm not sure about the transporting agents, but the effects of the "Others that lurk" sound similar to radiation poisoning.
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
At the end of Chapter 6, Kvothe is thinking that he is starting to feel comforatable at the University but that the Ruh in him is restless and

rebelling at the thought of putting down roots like a plant


I thought this was an interesting phrase given that in the fram story he is waiting to die with a "cut flower sound". A cut flower is, of course, a plant that has been cut off from its roots.
Sim Tambem
4. Daedos
It is interesting that Denna never seems to feel annoyed with her actual patron. He is easily as demanding as Kellin, even if he doesn't keep her locked up in a room. This shows that Denna is not one to be kept around simply for money / jewels (as with Kellin), and must be after something much more important to her in her relationship with Master Ash. He either has some sort of literal hold on her (whether magical, blackmail, or other), or it is a more symbiotic relationship. He has something she really wants and she has something he wants. We've speculated a bit about what Denna wants, but what about her patron? What does he have to gain from their relationship?
I think it is her music / voice. Maybe she is a Singer, or has potential to be one. Then again, if she is a singer, her view of Lanre (Haliax) as the tragic hero might conflict with the fact that the Chandrian are afraid (or at least weary) of Singers.
Lurking Canadian
5. Lurking Canadian
I have nothing to add, except to say that I love the bit with the plumb bob to tiny tiny pieces. I want to marry that chapter and have its babies.

Although, it strikes me that Ambrose really screwed himself there. If he just kept his mouth shut, Kvothe would have gone through with the exam, with predictable consequences. Evil Overlord fail.
Sim Tambem
6. Daedos
@3 - A cut flower has no roots

That is interesting. Still, with all the connections we've seen between vegetation and Kvothe (especially in his eyes), I think this is strictly literary and coincidental. That being said, the cut-flower metaphor is bound to be significant. I don't think it relates to him being forcibly removed from a location / social group / etc, but from something far more important...like his name, perhaps.
If Kote is a cut flower, he has been severed from something so vital that he is waiting to die without it. His name/power in the thrice-locked chest seems to be the likely suspect here. Maybe when we see him pricking his thumb, it is a sign that he is 'wilting'. Bast commented earlier on the changes he's observed. The process seems to be a slow one.
Peter Reen
7. pnr060
Shalter@2:
The transporting agent that eats calcium out of your bones sounds like hydroflouric acid.
Lurking Canadian
8. Dominiquex
Although, it strikes me that Ambrose really screwed himself there. If he just kept his mouth shut, Kvothe would have gone through with the exam, with predictable consequences. Evil Overlord fail.

Hilarious, but true. I worry about falling victim to the readers' trap of suddenly reading into everything, but I'm suddenly suspicious...

Otherwise, yay! I'm E'lir!! I will endeavor to live up to my increased "tuition". ;)
Sim Tambem
9. Daedos
@7 Acids

Yeah, but then he would have mentioned something about it poisoning his blood, not eating his bones. Remember his conversation about alchemy with Sim; Kvothe doesn't understand the first thing about alchemy. It doesn't make sense. Maybe it doesn't even have a real world parallel.

Also, I don't think E'lir get much of a tuition increase. Thank goodness.
E M
10. herewiss13
Thinking about alchemy got me thinking about Sygaldry, specifically about the two words that bind so closely together that they'd crush the bricks to dust if their effect wasn't mitigated by other words.

I wonder if you could use that effect at a (small) distance, or a repulsive version (the existence of two signs that repel would seem plausible) to create a Sygaldry railgun, powered by nothing more than the words themselves, no external power source required. Line the barrel with copies of one word, inscribe the bullet with the other. Introduce one to the other and...zoom! Instant kinetic kill. Even if this particular idea is impractical for some theorectical reason, there are thousands of others!

Coupled with the subtle and exotic dangers of alchemy, I think the Arcanum, as an organization, has a purpose beyond the mere collection of knowledge and discovery of truth. It's like Pratchett's Unseen university where the Wizards are sheltered, kept well fed and distracted with interdepartmental squabbles all for the purpose of keeping them from conquering the world.

Seriously, 5 highly trained arcanists, well funded and given free reign could devise a military complex that would put the Wermacht to shame. Since this hasn't happened, the Arcanum must function as a brake on progress and/or distribution of wide-spread military arcanery. Superstition might count for something in terms of keeping magic from the populace, but I can't imagine that's the _only_ thing keeping _everyone_ from exploiting it. There are definitely deeper games at work here.

...which, of course, comes as no surprise to anyone.
Lurking Canadian
11. Lurking Canadian
The transporting agent that eats calcium out of your bones sounds like hydroflouric acid.

I thought so too, except that the thing about HF (I think) is that it goes through to your bones without you noticing. It doesn't go through without first boring a hole in your skin, you just don't feel it.

Fortunately, I have no first hand experience of this phenomenon, but that's how I heard it.
andrew smith
12. sillyslovene
So, lent my books to my brother so I can't look, but I seem to remember something that puzzled me the last time I read WMF- maybe someone can help me out:

The book Celum Tincture (sp)- the one that Kvothe assigns to Bast to study in NW- I think he sees a new copy of it on Devi's bookshelf one time in WMF, (in connection with plum bob, maybe?) and I think it's mentioned that it is an alchemy text. Can someone verify that?

So, (if I am remembering correctly that this happens thusly) how does framestory K know it so well (he references a certain cleaning agent to a page number I think) to assign it to Bast if it is alchemy and K is crap at alchemy? That can't just be coincidence...maybe some indication of what K gets up to in D3?
Lurking Canadian
13. Lurking Canadian
Even if this particular idea is impractical for some theorectical reason, there are thousands of others!

This is an improper use of sygaldry, Relar herewiss. Even worse than the hand lamp once made by Relar Kvothe. To make such a monstrosity would make all men fear the Arcanum. To even suggest such a thing leaves you open to charges of malfeasance and conduct unbecoming a member of the Arcanum.

It is much better to make a good thing in a good way.
Matthew B
14. MatthewB
I'm with Lurking Canadian on this one - i never wanted the Admissions chapter to end. It was so delightful and had such potential to be grandly revelatory that it almost felt like Rothfuss had wasted the opportunity.
E M
15. herewiss13
@13 To make such a monstrosity would make all men fear the Arcanum.

All men in front of the muzzle would fear the Arcanum. The men _behind_ the muzzle would likely feel different.

To even suggest such a thing leaves you open to charges of malfeasance and conduct unbecoming a member of the Arcanum.

Risk of World Conquest = Reason for existence of Malfeasance charges.
Katy Maziarz
16. ArtfulMagpie
“Teccam in his classic pose: barefoot at the mouth of his cave speaking to a crowd of young students.” I am picturing this like Fra Angelico’s Harrowing of Hell, only kind of reversed, with a Socratic hermit in the cave and a crowd of students at the side.

A couple of things about Teccam. First off, of course, the idea of a philosopher in a cave raises the specter of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, at least by association if not directly. I feel like the allegory of the cave may well be a very good thing to keep in mind when reading the series. What most of humanity thinks is reality really isn't...Fae exists, the moon leaves the sky for another, Names have power, and there is this whole hidden history of the world that has been cloaked in religion... Reality is nothing more than the shadows on the wall. Or maybe...is Fae the shadow, and the "real world" is what casts it?

And secondly, Teccam is said to have written something called the Theophany. That's actually where the quote about the 3 things all wise men fear comes from...Teccam's Theophany. I mention it specifically, however, because "theophany" means "appearance of God" and is usually used to refer to a deity making itself known to a human being in some form. Since we're keeping track of "god/God/Tehlu" references, and all. So who is the god Teccam is writing about, and who did (s)he appear before?
Sim Tambem
17. Daedos
@11 Acids

You're right (basically). Hydrofluoric can kill nerves, so it can take a while to notice its effects. It would also poison your blood before it even got to your bones. That stuff is nine ways of nasty.

Also, don't drink it.
Lurking Canadian
18. Jeff R.
Speaking of sigaldric inventions that they seemingly ought to have but don't, isn't it odd that even the richest and most powerful people in this setting are communicating strictly by messengers and slowly-delivered letters? I don't see any bar to creating pairs of connected autopens (or telegraphs, or automatic typewriters even if they already have movable type, which seems doubtful But nobody's thought of this, and so even the kings have to send messages by hand? (And, as a consequence, lug chests of gold cross-country rather than adjusting a few bank ledgers to settle tax arrangements...)
Josh Brennan
19. Oneirogen
On a personal note, the scene of Auri comforting Kvothe at the end of Admissions is one of the very few experiences I've had of a book literally bringing me to tears. It's simultaneously heartwrenching and uplifting.

That scene also feels to me like the best (OK, so perhaps not the best, but my brain is colored by my intense reaction to the scene. It is certainly more on the growing pile) evidence for Auri being angelic or other than human .I can't be certain but I believe this is the only time to date Auri has sought out Kvothe rather than the other way around and her timing feels just too perfect.

Other scattered thoughts and reactions w/apologies for rambling:

@Shalter: Radiation poisoning is also the first place my mind went.

@Herewiss13: Superstition might count for something in terms of keeping magic from the populace, but I can't imagine that's the _only_ thing keeping_everyone_ from exploiting it. There are definitely deeper games at work here.

Risk of World Conquest = Reason for existence of Malfeasance charges.

More likely: Risk of Burning At the Stake = Reason for Malfeasance charges.

I think, rather than a "deeper game", the University remembers a not-too-distant past where arcanists were burned at the stake. The Arcanum holds its knowledge closely because the majority of the ignorant populace would misinterpret that knowledge as Taborlin style magic, if not outright heretical and demonic.

More practically (and historicaly similar) the Tehlin church and superstition are the reason for the world's technological throttling. I also think the story being focused at the University skews perspective. The ability to master sympathy, etc seems to be quite rare. I think the University shares as much of its techno-magical progress as it can despite the limitations of materials, distance, and the throttling of religion and ignorance.

I think the Arcanum serves to teach arcanists "proper and moral" use of sympathy. We see this demonstrated time and again. Kilvin's reaction to Kvothe's bullseye lantern. It is ingrained in the "level" structure of the Arcanum with certain books, runes, recipes etc being actively kept out of the hands of inexperienced students. The near instinctual revulsion many characters have to the thought of malfeasance.

@18: I believe the sympathetic degradation over distance might prevent that sort of thing. I'm not sure it would carry over to sigaldry, but it seems reasonable that it would. Sigaldry and its runes seems to be an engraving of the sympathist's will. If a sympathist couldn't maintain a binding over a certain distance it stands to reason he couldnt create a device that could. But I might be missing something.
Lurking Canadian
21. Nettle
A form of "ravel" shows up in NOTW in the poem that Kvothe gets in trouble for reciting about Lady Lackless, but it's not clear that it's an insult:

"...On a road, that's not for traveling
Lackless likes her riddle raveling."

Given the various other insulting things in the poem, maybe this was a sly dig at the Edema Ruh.
Katy Maziarz
22. ArtfulMagpie
I think this is the first time we’ve run across the racial slur “ravel”?

Actually, nope! In NotW, when Elodin is explaining to Kvothe why he won't take him on as a student (just before the scenes in the madhouse), Elodin says, "Because the Edema Ruh make for poor students....They are fine for rote learning, but the study of naming requires a level of dedication that ravel such as yourself rarely possess." (Emphasis mine.)

There is no explanation given here about the word ravel, however. But it is clearly used as an insult specific to the Edema Ruh, and Kvothe's immediate reaction is a flare of fury which he attempts to suppress.
Rowan Shepard
23. Rowanmdm3
I find Manet so fascinating. Why does he hang around with youths young enough to be his sons? Why is he not still friends with those who were students before and have progressed up the ladder? Can they not handle having a friend who isn’t successful? I don’t think it’s Manet who can’t stand other’s success; we know he genuinely doesn’t want to be promoted, so I doubt he would resent other’s promotions. I guess all of his friends closer to his age are the type to go out into the world and so he has to befriend new students. I’d be terribly sad if they were the type to abandon him b/c he wasn’t as successful as they, though in some ways that would be more interesting. Perhaps his original friends didn’t accept his lower ranking and since then Manet’s become more discerning in his friends.

The other thing I loved about this section is we got to see Manet is much more world-wise than expected (e.g. the highly effective flirting). I know Rothfuss doesn’t paint the arcanists as monks in a tower, but I always expect a certain degree of naivety from the “adults” for some reason. I mean, Manet had never been to the Eolian before but he can get a date? So interesting…

I don’t think Manet is Elodin, but I think his is more significant than we realize. I can’t really back this up as I don’t have access to the books at the moment, but Manet feels important. He’s like the wise/favorite uncle and is always giving Kvothe good advice, which is usually ignored or misapplied. I predict a time will come in D3 that K really should listen to Manet for once.

@ 19 I don’t know how plausible it is for Auri to be an angel, but would explain some of the moon fey aspects of her personality. Could she be a fallen angel? Hmm…Auri as a(n) (fallen) angel, Denna as a Singer, Kvothe as a Namer…what sorts of trouble could that trio get into? And what kind of trouble/evil could they conquer?
Lurking Canadian
24. Jeff R.
Okay, distance effects, fair enough. But still, could be cheated with substations, or using actual long wires to cheat it, or, depending on how well they understand 'galvanics', actually inventing an actual telegraph. Or just going low-tech/high-tech and putting up a network of semaphore towers, which is something that societies of any tech could do: the only reason the ancient world didn't was because they didn't really have the kind of dispersed economies that made communication sufficiently valuable, but the people of this world have a world-system that really appears to need (in the sense that the first actors would be immensely rewarded, not necessarily in the sense that it doesn't really work without it) communication tech much, much more advanced than what they actually have.
E M
25. herewiss13
Re: distance communication

Depending on the sort of message you want to send, it's really just a matter of energy differentials. Slam a tree trunk into a giant temple bell here in order to ring a tiny little jingle-bell there. Good way to send orders to the front lines...harder to send a reply back unless you have the infrastructure for it. Only getting distance X when the target is at distance Y (where Y >> X)? Set up a relay chain of giant bells linked to tiny bells. The amount of information sent might be tiny, but with enough pre-planning, even a small byte count could be extremely useful.
Lurking Canadian
26. tim1724
"...On a road, that's not for traveling
Lackless likes her riddle raveling."

I assumed that Kvothe misheard it and it was really "Lackless likes her little raveling" (where "Lackless" refers to his mother, Laurian, and the "little raveling" is his father, Arliden)
Lurking Canadian
27. PaleReflection
Regarding the discussion about K's seeming lack of abilities or loss of powers in the storyteller frame. I think it is more psychological and physical than magical. K is despressed, out of shape, and ashamed of himself. His power is still available to him, but instinct (or anger) is the only thing that can summon it right now. Please recall:

Day 0 (NW Chapter 4): Kvothe destroys 5 scrael with little more than makeshift armor and weapons (an iron bar, blacksmiths apron and gloves), which is enough to greatly surprise Bast. K sustains rather extensive if superficial injuries.

Day 1: When someone mentions "that a girl was involved" in K's story and nearby on the bar a bottle explodes. This indicates some that some sympathy is still possible for K.

Later in Day 1 (NW Chapter 13): K restrains Bast from killing Chronicler with a single hand and a grip like iron. Strong enough to badly bruise Bast's arm. K is still very strong when necessary.

I guess my point is that I don't think the return to glory is going to be quick for K, or as easy as popping his true name out of the box. I think the solution to the "scrael invasion" might be in the Thrice Locked Box, but not K's power.
Lurking Canadian
28. Vorbis
I think we should hold Auri to the same standards we'd hold anyone else - she may be otherworldy, but that in itself isn't a good enough explanation of how she shows up outside Kvothe's window at exactly the right time.

I mean, I have no idea how far Ankers is from the University, but Auri never leaves there that we've heard mention before. Kvothe goes looking for her on the rooves, and lo, there she is each time - there's no discussion of setting a next time that she's likely to be home, the implication is quite firm (in my head, anyway) that she's just always there or nearby enough to hear him call.

Secondary options: She does venture off, but is in some way connected enough to Kvothe to be able to be there whenever he happens to look for her. Less likely than option B in my opinion which is that she doesn't leave the University.

This trip to his room is both out of her nature, and unexplained. He hasn't visited her, Sim's rooms aren't near her part of the Underthing (are they?), how does she know he's in trouble. It bothers me.

Equally as much it bothers me how Elodin knows to ask that question. None of the folk at the table reacted to it as though it was a well known phrase or ironic statement, I wish I had a copy of the book handy - when Elodin asks it and all the teachers roll their eyes, does it say all of them do it, or pick one out? Because I would love it oh so much if the principle eye roller was Lorren and that the question itself thereby had some deeper (Amyr) meaning.

Also is it significant that Lorren's domain is the one that looks like/reminds Kvothe of a Waystone?
Lurking Canadian
29. Vorbis
@26. tim1724;
I took that to be more sexual innuendo. The whole rhyme is a riddle about what's in lady lackless's box. She likes her box to be ravelled, is the suggestion.
Julia Mason
30. DrFood
Promoted to E'lir! Excellent! Thanks so much.

So, I actually saw Pat last night--he came to little Waunakee, Wisconsin, a town he was deeply disappointed to discover has no coffee shops open in the evening.

He gave us a very fun reading of "The Princess and Mr. Whiffle," utilizing a huge screen for displaying the wonderful artwork. After we got to the third, somewhat stunning ending, he took us back to the beginning and went through again, pointing out some of the more macabre details one might miss on a first reading.

He read the first part of a new story, set in the Four Corners world, about Laniel (Young-Again). It's going to be a novella, and the protagonist Laniel is a woman who decides to go out and see the world after marrying and raising her kids. He's playing against the idea that any female heroine is either the plucky tomboy type or inspired by a need to protect her children.

He was asked how having a baby has affected his work, and after initially discounting it ("I'm 38, my personality is kinda set,") then he allowed that he is even less likely to put a child into peril in his fiction.

I made him some peanut butter chocolate chip walnut oatmeal cookies. They were delicious. He was gracious. I was planning to give him some home canned elderberry applesauce (get it? Chapter 1!) but family duties interfered. He stayed for some time afterwards, signing books (and T-shirts) and chatting, but after getting my T-shirts signed, I had to hurry home.
Alex L
31. Quercus
Following on from shalter's comment at 2, and the real-world existence of manifold maths, it strikes me that quite a lot of Kvothe's artificing uses the language of semiconductors. Kvothe talks about doping his emitters when making deck lamps. Semiconductors after all consist of silicon doped with (amongst other elements) gallium (K is asked the conductance of gallium in Admissions), and arsenic, an emitter is part of a transistor, and HF is used for cleaning silicon wafers when making semiconductors. We know the Fishery has access to batteries or some form of electrical power. The request for nickel is also interesting, as is the apparent knowledge of radioactive elements that shalter spotted.

This theory is slightly undermined by the absence of any reference to silicon that I could find, of course. Also I don't see how a transistor emitter could be "medium raw", as in Kvothe's shopping list from Stores.

Tangentially, they also have all the necessary components for making tungsten-filament incandescent light bulbs - quite apart from Kilvin's glass-blowing skills, they have tungsten ("ingots of wolfram" in chapter 4) . Kilvin is described as working on a compression pump in chapter 44, so a vacuum pump isn't implausible, or filling the bulb with an inert gas. Come to think of it, we saw one in NotW *goes to check*. "Another sphere contained a wick hanging in empty air from a silver wire, burning with a motionless white flame despite its apparent lack of fuel" (ch44). So our technology isn't good enough for Kilvin :-)

Claire de Trafford
32. Booksnhorses
Nothing much to add. Perhaps Manet and Elodin are working together? Perhaps Manet really is a master as well - one whose purpose is to keep an eye on what the students are up to. After all they are more likely to confide in, or be open with, nice friendly unambitious Manet.

Looking forward to finding out more about Auri in DT.
Daniel Hoagland
33. danielrixy
Two things jumped out at me from Chapters 5 & 6:

First, in 5, we have this description when K is explaining why he spent so much on the lute:

" would be like missing a tooth or a limb. It would be like spending two span with my mouth sewn shut. It was unthinkable."

Sort of shows the frame's lack of music in a new light, to me. And we don't know how long Kote has been withering away in the Waystone, either (a year or two?). Makes me think that he really might be trapped as Kote, i.e., he adopted the persona on purpose, and locked away his mojo in the chest, but now he literally cannot get it back as opposed to voluntarily maintaining his disguise.

Which brings me to Chapter 6, on the lute case:

"Only one of the original clasps remained, a delicate thing of worked silver. I'd replaced the others with whatever I could scavenge...mismatched clasps of bright brass and dull iron."

Worked silver, bright brass and dull iron. K's lute is thrice-locked away with at least two significant metals (silver and iron) and while a copper clasp would have been gravy, brass shows up often enough to be worth remarking on. All of which leads me to believe that there is a lute in the chest in the frame, which will provide him with the "key" to convince/find/defeat that part of his alar that is maintaining the disguise. Alar that otherwise isn't talking to the rest of his mind because he forgot the password or whatever you want to call it.

This idea just sits better with me than the theory that he has locked away his actual name. Why would he need a physical chest for that? His alar should be powerful enough. What's more, the references to Ramston steel could mean that in order to get his name back, K might have to break his own alar.
Girish Duvvuri
34. Girish112
In the next to impossible scenario that Ambrose forces Kvothe to work with/for him, Kvothe could be killing the people that come before Ambrose in the succession making him a multiple Kingkiller.
Lurking Canadian
35. dwndrgn
As others have stated, the fact that Auri knows Kvothe needs her then is very suspicious. This leads me to believe that there is some sort of connection between the two - some type of bond.

Additionally, the fact that Kvothe tells her about his mother and she responds with 'I'm here' is also very suggestive.
Jo Walton
36. bluejo
Danielrixy: Nice catch on the catches! I think the lute may well be in the thrice-locked chest. I just don't think it's all that's in there.
Chris King
37. KingFielder
I think Auri and Denna are linked. They seem to be opposite sides of the same coin. Denna is (almost) never found when Kvothe looks for her. Auri is (almost) always there when Kvothe looks for her. Kvothe "loves" them both, but his love of Denna is usually expressed in terms of physical attraction, while his love of Auri is expressed in less tangible ways. Is his love for Denna "young" love and his love for Auri "mature" or "true" love? Also, both Denna and Auri are linked to the moon, with Kvothe calling Auri his "little moon fae." Could Auri be the Fae moon and move back and forth between worlds just like regular moon? Denna and Auri haven't been seen together, but have we seen them both in the same day? Is one in Fae while the other is in the real world?
Lurking Canadian
38. Robert Sparling
On Bredon Beer and Bredon; I seem to recall that Abenthy left the Troupe in order to take over a brewery of some sort. If we could trace the beer to that brewery, we'd have another indication that Bredon is and has been behind the scenes manipulating Kvothe's life for a very long time., possibly to further the goals of the Amir.

Ben was a Namer and Sympathist, and the only one that might have given the Chandrian pause at attacking the Ruh. Removing him makes the Troupe easier bait, forces Kvothe to eventually seek the University
lake sidey
39. lakesidey
"Anyone can love a thing because. That’s as easy as putting a penny in your pocket. But to love a thing despite. To know the flaws and love them too. That is rare and pure and perfect."

This is an awesome line. That thought (whether or not one agrees with it) could hardly have been put better...

About Manet, I don't find his choice of company surprising at all. I myself regularly spend time with people ten to fifteen years my junior at my old alma mater - I graduated a decade or so ago - and get along significantly better with them than with folks my age (who have mostly gotten sober and serious in their dotage;) And I would love to be a student there again; alas, real life is inconvenient in these matters and so I must needs earn a living instead. Bah. But anyway, the point I was going to make is that I find Manet realistic and believable and, um, kind of identify with him. I am...not sure what that says about me?!

~lakesidey
James Felling
40. Maltheos
I've been away for a bit, glad to be back.( If briefly)
A few questions( probably reading wise out of order but brought to mind by recent reading)

1) Why does the bottle of wine shattering imply magic wise?
Its not likely sympathy -- that would require a planed and deliberate intent and a source of power being available to shatter it. It seems likely to be a uncontroled naming expression. So K still has naming or something like it.

2)The fact that the frame story is (so far as I can tell) moonless bodes ill for Kvothe. I wonder if the moon is TOTALLY in the box/fae now, as opposed to freed. That would certianly explain much of his desire to open it and hide until it was opened again.

3) K has a weird level of competence flux in the frame. He is powerful and capable in combat vs the scrael, and not so capable vs the brigands -- either he is restraining, or he is manipulating his name, or he is trying to trick/play Bast or Chronicler.
Lurking Canadian
41. Dominiquex
I'm not sure how it helps us understand the story, but it just occured to me Re: Manet that there might be some shadow of Rothfuss' experience there. He's stated a few times in interviews that he was in "undergrad" for around 10 years before "they forced out." Kinda sounds like someone who loved learning, loved the institution, didn't want the increased tuition of "promotion," and never wanted to leave. I think he said he had an advice column and things like that. Granted, his amusing, wry personality is totally different from Manet's more taciturn one, but it struck me as interesting during our Manet musings. Pat would've been familiar with being the "old guy" who knew everything about the University, had tons of advice about its inner workings and politics, and constantly found himself surrounded by a fresh batch of newbies. Just an interesting thought...
Lurking Canadian
42. TheFrog
@38 -Just a continuation of that line of thinking (unless someone already mentioned this in a previous thread) ... what about the possibility that Ben, Brendon and Mr. Ash and maybe even Scarpi are all related or even the same person. Maybe Ben has been watching/manipulating/guiding Kvothe along ever since he left the troupe. We've already established the possible connection between Brendon and Mr. Ash. Ben's been gone so long that we tend to forget about him... Just a thought.
Steven Halter
43. stevenhalter
TheFrog@42:That thought has been teasing at me also. The timing of Ben's leaving and Kvothes remark on it are all suspicious.
Josh Brennan
44. Oneirogen
@Maltheos 40: Some attempted answers to your questions:

1+3) I agree that it isn't likely sympathy, or at least not Kote's sympathy. As I initially started typing this response I was thinking that it was as you said, uncontroled naming, an intense emotional reaction (strawberry wine = D). Just a function of what Elodin called the sleeping mind, the same as when he broke Ambrose's arm.
But the bottle shattering seems more like sympathy than naming. An applied force rather than complete understanding/mastery over tasty wine. Now I'm wondering if Kvothe, in locking away his name, found a way to push/lock his Sympathy and sundry other skills away in his sleeping mind.

Or contrary to other name changing/broken Alar theories, perhaps Kvothe's Alar like Ramston steel hasn't yet shattered and we'll get to see that in the frame story. As you said, K seems to have a weird level of competence. He seems to remember the What of things, but not the How.

2) I believe the moon is present in the frame story in the middle of NotW. Can't confirm this now as I lent out my copy.

@TheFrog 42: The timing of Ben leaving, the Chandrian, the shape of Kvothe's life, it all has the taste of a beautiful game rather than winning. ...but whenever I think too much about it my head spins and I wonder if I've gone so far down the rabbit hole that I can't see the forest for my head being lodged in my own...mixed idiom.
Lurking Canadian
45. Vorbis
Just a thought, I know we're all pretty convinced that Lorren is an Amyr already.

The Chandrian rhyme - Stand alone, Standing stone. It's probably because the singers/Amyr/whoever else can get through using the waystones as a portal and rescue you. So the Archives being a sort of giant Standing Stone would make a pretty good home portal for an Amyr.
Ellie Virgo
46. Egglie
If Elodin had a habit of always asking the same question in admissions then it would probably make the other masters roll their eyes when he asked it for the hundredth time.

Manet would know it from having been through admissions so many times, or from talking to other students over the years if Elodin was careful about not asking the same student twice.

It would be perfectly plausible for Manet to offer it to Kvothe as a "primer" and then for Elodin to come out with it in the panel. Perhaps he may even have a habit of asking it to students newly promoted like K.

That's how I read it anyway, I do think Manet could turn out to be significant, he is very much hidden in plain sight. I just didnt find this all that suspicious...(now preparing to feel stupid later)
Daniel Hoagland
47. danielrixy
@42 & @43
the same person seems a bit of a stretch to me, but ben and skarpi both being amyr and keeping tabs on kvothe through whatever "network" they have? that i buy.

picture this:
the amyr hear about arliden's song and, knowing that the chandrian will inevitably find out, they insert ben to keep tabs on the troupe. ben discovers kvothe has the potential to be a better chandrian-hunter than anyone they've seen for a long time (reincarnation of taborlin? product of a lackless eugenics experiment?) and the amyr engineer his departure from the troupe in order to hold a summit/arrange things for kvothe's future/whatever. ben intends to rejoin the troupe and/or insert a new agent as soon as he can. before that, however, the chandrian catch up to the troupe (or for a darker twist, info about arliden is leaked to them by a pro-chandrian mole within the amyr) and kill everybody. after the chandrian are chased away and kvothe has wandered into the woods, amyr agents inspect the carnage, but can't find kvothe's body. so ben casts a net, sending agents to nearby cities and towns with kvothe's description and the ability to break his geas. enter skarpi. after skarpi is arrested, kvothe is handed off to a rather untested agent, denna, who shepherds him to the university--possibly amyr hq?--where he will be under the watchful eye of at least one amyr (lorren) and probably more than one (manet? deoch? elxa dal?). for this to work, we have to assume kvothe's studies are thus being directed, so sympathy, sygaldry and naming will all be important to taking down the chandrian. kvothe being kvothe, he immediately antagonizes lorren and no doubt sets back his training substantially.

I don't have time to flesh that out any further, but it sort of hangs together, right? If you tilt your head and squint?

Oh, also, all tinkers are amyr agents in this scenario. Maybe the "pegs" guy too.
Josh Brennan
48. Oneirogen
@46. Egglie: I do think Manet could be more significant. I didn't find anything suspicious about the situation later until Admissions when Elodin repeats Manet verbatim. As Jo said "it's a reasonable comment in context". But that context is an angry outburst and Kvothe's poor card playing. Manet is implying that Kvothe's playing like an idiot. The scene reads like Manet is addressing, very specifically, how Kvothe screwed up. In context it seems incredibly unlikely that Elodin would have asked that question previously.
Sim Tambem
49. Daedos
@46

Then we can feel stupid together...or awesome.
Lurking Canadian
50. Susan Loyal
The title "The Eolian" seems, indeed, to mean what it says, but the content of the chapter is curiously, almost flat-footedly, metafictional. Manet, who of all the characters in NW and WMF, physically most resembles Pat Rothfuss (although he's older than Pat), comments on Kvothe's "joke" saying "A performer manipulates the audience. That's the point of the joke." And then, "So it's really an issue of two audiences," he said slowly. "There's those that know enough about music to get the joke, and those who need the joke explained to them." It's an interesting reflection on the craft of K's sharpness (with which he will, no doubt, eventually cut himself like cutting flowers) in a text that itself hides so much in plain sight and engages so jubilantly in the fine art of distraction, thus manipulating the audience. Manet also says, "Good lord, boy. You're like a tiny king here." King.

(I'm inclined to see Manet's very accomplished and mature approach to Marie as a targeted response to some readers feeling that the relationship between K and D is stylized and unsatisfactory because Rothfuss doesn't know what to do with female characters. Very metafictional chapter.)

In "Being Treasured," when Geoffrey the poet is described as having a "sweet face," I'm not completely sure that means he's potentially a woman in disguise. The character most frequently described as having a "sweet face" is Kvothe himself. Felurian also gets this epithet, as does the young married woman in the inn to whom K is drawn right after he gets out of Fae. The other two characters described as having "a sweet face" are older women: Magwyn just as K starts his test, and Gran, the healer who tells him "And some folk need killing. That's all there is to it." The latter two cases seem related to each other, as they are both motherly women reassuring K about his actions. All the earlier instances seem like a loose cluster, but while Geoffrey's smooth face may suggest a disguised gender, his sweet-faceness likely suggests either a connection to Fae or a similarity to Kvothe.

Someone suggested that K really doesn't like being identified as a poet. (He objects to the term evey time it's applied to him at Alveron's court, where he is employed to write poetry.) Because I looked up "sweet face," I noticed that Felurian actually calls K "my sweet poet." She calls him a poet repeatedly, and he accepts the term from her. So I looked up "poet" and lo: "I spent four years as bodyguard and captain for a poet in the Small Kingdoms who also happened to be a king." Thus says Vashet, explaining why her Aturan is so good. (Small Kingdoms, Jo. You're clearly right to follow the beer . . .)

Vashet makes several additional references to her "poet king," but otherwise references to poets are either plural and general, or they are K denying that he's a poet (mostly to Meluan). So there are three individuals in WMF who are identified as "a poet": Geoffrey, Kvothe, and the poet king from the Small Kingdoms.

Denna makes a couple of notable remarks in "Being Treasured." Kvothe looks at the rooms and remarks that she's doing well, and she says "Kellin is doing well for himself. . . . I merely stand in his reflected light." As the moon does to the sun. Moon again.

Subsequently she remarks that she likes some things about the rooms (described rather like a jewelry box or a chocolate box, it seems to me), but "I don't fancy being under lock and key." The moon, a locked box, the imagery just seems to be piling up.

The contrast between Auri assuring Kvothe that he was safe with her and Elodin assuring Kvothe that he was very wrong to think that Elodin would keep him safe in the study of Names struck me as significant somehow. Both Auri and Elodin are Namers. Safe with one, in danger with one. Really?

Vorbis @28. "Arwyl sighed. Kilvin slouched. Hemme and Brandeur went so far as to roll their eyes at each other." Lorren's reaction isn't mentioned.
Nathan Love
51. n8love
Promotion! Thanks Jo!

Still catching up on comments, busy week here. Quickly wanted to point out that this reread and its contributors are epic.

Keep it coming
Alf Bishai
52. greyhood
Auri- her meticulous eating and porcelain teacup are very princess-like.

The Lute- it says something like the lute is his 'tangible soul'. This is good support for it being in the 3-locked chest.

Mandrag - the alchemy master doesn't question Kvothe who is under the effect of one of his chemicals. Does he know? Is he Ambrose's tool?
Alf Bishai
53. greyhood
The Moon - I'm trying to conceive of an astro-geometry where:
a) the moon doesn't wax or wane because of the sun
b) the earth has no spin (tri-foil compass indicates this) and
c) there are still days and nights.

Normally the spinning of the earth takes care of day and night, and the orbit of the moon takes care of moon-phases.

If the earth doesn't spin, then the sun must spin around it, because there is day and night.

And the moon...(help)...must be luminous and orbiting precisely the way the sun does but on the other side of the earth. Weird.

It made me think something crazy. What if earth is the shaper's world and the fae is the original place. There is only one detail that suggests this - there is no changing day or night in the fae. This would be consistent with an earth that doesn't spin.

I don't know. Its too screwy to figure out. My brain hurts.
Alf Bishai
54. greyhood
Spades - if Elodin was spying on K., then by repeating the question he is telling K. that he was doing so. What would be the meaning of that? I agree that it makes more sense that this was a standard trick of Elodin's, so to speak.
Jo Walton
55. bluejo
Greyhood -- the world doesn't have to be round. If you had a flat world with four corners, how does that affect things?
Alf Bishai
56. greyhood
@55. Huh. Interesting. Literally the Four Corners. The sun/moon relationship would still have to be worked out. And isn't the moon depicted as round? So square earth, round moon?
Lurking Canadian
57. LAJG
@35: Also, the similarity between the names Auri (given to her by Kvothe, right?) and Laurian (a pseudonym?). I think the two of them are related, somehow. (And both close to my own name, ha!)

@47: Conspiracy theory! Love it!

As an aside, I love the scenes in the Eolian. Maybe just because I enjoy going to a bar with live music, especially if it's a friend's gig.
Bruce Wilson
58. Aesculapius
Re. Abenthy and the relative timing of events...

Hello All!

Much has been said (in various threads and again in this one) regarding the timing of Ben leaving the Ruh troupe in Ch.15 of NW and the subsequent Chandrian attack in Ch.16. At first glance there may appear to be a link but I'm really not convinced about this. All the conspiracy theories regarding Ben seem to hinge on the suspicious coincidence of Ben's leaving the troupe and the apparent proximity to the subsequent Chandrian attack.

Back in part 4 of the NW re-read, Jo refers to "a month or so" passing between the end of Ch.15 and the events of Ch.16 yet the text of the chapter specifically begins: "Over the next months my parents did their best to patch the hole left by Ben's absence..." (my emphasis).

Although the two events do happen in very short order within the text of NW, it seems to me that the simple plural "months" implies that there was actually a rather significant amount of time (at least two months, if not more) that had elapsed between Ben electing to remain in Hallowfell and the troupe being attacked.

Kvothe also comments on the fact that the troupe "...made excellent time travelling north through the Commonwealth: fifteen, twenty miles a day..." This would seem to suggest that they are both geographically and temporally far distant from Ben at the time of the attack.

PR may indeed hide many things in (relatively!) plain sight - but I'm not sure that this is one of them!
Alf Bishai
59. greyhood
Is anyone wondering what Denna was doing with the pretty young man? It would be strange if it was a romantic attachment since they met in Brickjaw's rooms (isn't that what they were?). And it says that he was new to town. He's such an unlikely companion of Denna's. What if he is part of the same network as Denna and was sent to her because he was messing up so much?
Bruce Wilson
60. Aesculapius
One of the more interesting things about Geoffrey is the trouble PR goes to when describing him - not just the fact that he is "pretty" with a "sweet face" and "wide, dark eyes" but also the details regarding his overall appearance as a "young noble who had been down on his look too long for it to be a temporary thing" and the specifics of "fine but rumpled" clothing and a styled but untended haircut. There's also his sunken eyes and K's suggestion that he looked as if he hadn't been sleeping. He also has "an appointment with folk who shouldn't be kept waiting." Intriguing. Denna regards Geoffrey as nice-but-dim, not in a stupid way but obviously as someone who is too trusting and not worldly-wise -- apparently he hasn't made a good decision since he arrived in Imre about a month previously. Oh, and he's a poet (!).

Not many of Denna's male acquaintances get this much detail in such a short space. The description makes him sound like he might be more than just down on his luck -- a denner addict maybe...? Gambling is certainly introduced as one of his problems later on.

His overall significance is uncertain. It may be that he serves to give us an insight into Denna as a softer, more overtly caring person; he's certainly entirely unlike either Kellin, the posessive Modegan noble that Denna is with at the time or Ambrose (!), both of whom are referenced in the chapters that also relate to Geoffery. In the later chapter, he also serves as a context for Denna to introduce the "weeping widow" scam.
Steven Halter
61. stevenhalter
Jo&Greyhood: I'm thinking the four corners aren't on a spherical planet. Whether it is flat (as in a plane) or some other interesting surface remains to be seen. The moon is circular--it looks like our moon. Whether it is sperical is also not really tellable.
One thing that has just occured to me is how the sun interacts. There is definitely day and night going on. There are a couple of ways it could work, but people don't talk about the sun very much in the story.
Alf Bishai
62. greyhood
So sharp he can hardly help but cut himself. We can take 'cut' to mean simply 'hurt'. But perhaps the subtext is 'divide'.

I'm fairly convinced that he has used his alar to hide his alar from himself (along with other definitively Kvothe things: music, Adem training, recklessness). This is the Hiding the Stone business par excellence. The 'so sharp...' line hints at this.

It is wordplay on his part to call himself Kote. He hasn't become someone else, he has closed the door on part of himself. This of course spells Disaster (ha ha). But the innkeeper was always there. We can see that part of him very clearly in the flashback-K., though people tend to comment how out of place it feels to them. He chose to work in the medica and care for people, he cares for Auri deeply, tenderly and fiercely (next section) - bringing her food, clothing, etc. We also see him bring Denna tea and steam-soaks (!) to help her breathe. This is KOTE.

So I don't think he magically changed his named as a function of Naming. The name-change happened when he 'cut himself' - a function of alar. And as Kote becomes more established - and all hope of 'finding the stone' disappears - the name change becomes permanent.

But Kote is actually a really fine person, like a golden retriever. No? The person who really wants Kvothe back is the wolf Bast(ard).
(And us. Ha.)
Alf Bishai
63. greyhood
@47 - I also love the conspiracy idea. Something really elaborate is going on, but we're only seeing everything from K.'s point of view. But some things JUST DON'T ADD UP. Sherlock Holmes taught us to pay attention to the insignificant detail that seems strange and out of place. Skarpi naming Kvothe has that feeling. Denna's magical appearances have that feeling. Bredon's separate-ness has that feeling. Lorren's terse interactions do as well. So does Geoffrey Sweet-Face. So does Auri.

For what it's worth Elodin doesn't.

(The room in the archives with massive spools of Yllish knots does.)
Bruce Wilson
64. Aesculapius
@62. Like your thinking, greyhood; a nice take on a potential double-meaning. This is indeed the ultimate hide-the-stone!
Lurking Canadian
65. Chipmaker
@47 -- interesting, but if it was that important to get K. to the University, why keep charging him tuition, or at least high tuition, if one or several of the Masters is in know on this hyper-achieving freshman? Could be addressed quite simply too -- someone (maybe Ben, maybe anonymous; it's just a cover story) has established a scholarship fund for particularly destitute students, or Edema Ruh students, or red-haired students. That would get Kvothe into classes and no longer worrying about every jot and penny, and minimize the risk of him leaving due to finances.

Unless, perhaps, it's all a plan to get him to hone his resourcefulness. Ow, conspiracy theories work on so many levels!

If K. has been having his young life manipulated and positioned, it probably is being done by more than one faction -- making him a piece in an extremely elegant game.

Also, in the admissions scene when Herma upbraids Hemme, he addresses him as "Jasom". So unless that's some otherwise-unreferenced epithet, and it does not appear to be, people do have multi-part names, which so far seems pretty rare. There was a guard at the asylum whom Elodin addressed by two names. "Elxa" seems more a title than a name for Elxa Dal.

If several Masters (or all of them?) are working Kvothe like a piece in a game, perhaps Hemme has the "bad cop" role instead of simply being a contentious ass. ...but I think he's just a jerk.

Two last thoughts not really in sequence here.

The song line about (and I'm probably misquoting) "Lackless loves her riddle raveling" -- if a Ruh == ravel, then perhaps a young Ruh == raveling. Kvothe has great mystery and intrigue about him -- he's a riddle in many ways. The line perhaps references himself?

Herma appears to be very bad at math. I'll try to take some notes next re-read and see if I can clarify.

Not in context, but -- PR owes his story many reveals in D3.
Ashley Fox
66. A Fox
On the possible planetary arangement. So far you are thinking very literally. When I was reading the books I placed it as more a matter of time, than well, matter. (Have posted before but heck..)

As in Fean the momement of its creation, a hazy picture of the world on the day it was made, placed in pocket outside time, laying parrallel to the four c's. A timeless bubble cought in the tide of the 4c's time.

Unless the gates rae left open, allowing a slippage of time. This would go someway to describing the odd time flow in Faen.

I dont think the Moon as its physical self is what was taken. It was part of its name, part of its power. The moon controls the tides, the tides are markers in time, by taking part of the Moons name Faen is ancored to the 4c's its time slipping with the cycles of the moon.
Lurking Canadian
67. Trollfot
I really hope there is no secret conspiracy to bring up Kvothe to defeat the Chandrian and avenge his parents' death - that would be too close to another famous fantasy series that I shall not name in case there is still anyone out there to spoil.

Like the thought of PRothz identifying with Manet. Manet probably does have friends of his own age, too. This was the very first time he joined the kids to the Eolian, Kvothe mostly sees him on campus, we don't know what he does on his free time except he does not hang out much with Kvothe, Sim and Wil. Of course, he could very well hang out with other young students but I don't think he does.
Lurking Canadian
68. TheFrog
I thought of the Manet - PR connection as well and chuckle to myself when he appears in the story. I haven't thought much deeper though about Manet's connection to the plot. Maybe he's been working on his own novel for the last 10 years at the university;). Also speaking of relating to characters (and I hope this doesn't sound ridiculous), having kids and watching disney movies, I somehow think of Meg from Hercules when I read Denna in her chapters.
Lurking Canadian
69. Yll
Some odd thoughts -in WMF chapter "Wood and Word" a traveler recognizes Kvothe and says


"I saw the place in Imre where you killed him. By the fountain. The cobblestones are all shathered.... Shattered."




This lead me to think about who it was he killed, and how. If it was Ambrose, I don't recall reading that Ambrose had any particularly great arcane talents, not that would equal Kvothe's. Would he need to shatter stone to kill Ambrose? Would a fight with Ambrose cause shattered stone? What if it was a fight with someone of greater power, even so great a power as Cinder?

From Skarpi's story, it sounds like Haliax was king of Belen. Do we know that Cinder wasn't a king (or heir) of one of the other seven cities? Could that be the king that Kvothe killed in a battle that shattered stones?

I realize this is a lot of speculation, but the shattered stones caught my attention.

On another speculation: In the comments for NW reread part 14, gbrell did a nice job summing up what we know of various Chandrian. He posted


Grey Dalcenti “never speaks.” This is funny because the only grey Chandrian we’ve met is the bald man with a grey beard who mocks Cinder. If Dalcenti never speaks, it can’t be him.



This made me wonder if rather than "Grey Dalcenti never speaks" the true rhyme should read "Grey Dalcenti never Speaks", in the sense of speaking Names.
Lurking Canadian
70. Trollfot
"Shattered stone" is suggestive. Maybe someone spoke the name of Stone? Either Kvothe, having learned a few more names, or Fela...? And Kvothe took the blame for it. "Bought and paid for" this new rumour about him.
Ryan Reich
71. ryanreich
The plum bob incident is interesting because, narratively, it is way out of proportion. In itself, it's a big deal: it almost gets Kvothe kicked out of the university (by failing admissions) and the drug itself is very illegal. But it doesn't contribute in the slightest to Kvothe's reuptation: no stories come out of it, no daring adventures ensued, and he didn't learn anything. What did happen is that we learned a bit about him as a person, and he had a few hotheaded moments around Elodin.

If these were the only results, Rothfuss would not have needed to build them on such a dramatic episode. It would be gratuitous, though fun. Even the moment with Auri, which was incredibly touching and obviously significant, it seems to me did not really warrant this level of buildup. It feels like the Tarbean chapters, or the draccus chapters, to me: a story which is very obviously about one, rather creatively chosen, thing that is then dropped like a rock and has comparatively minor fallout.

We know what Tarbean was about now (though not all of it; for example, not what the Midwinter pageantry episode was about). We don't know what the draccus was about. I don't know what the plum bob was about, either, but just like Tarbean was not about Kvothe learning to beg and steal and the draccus was not about him killing a drug-addicted giant lizard, I'm pretty sure this was not about him drinking spiked punch, not even if we got to hear him pour out his heart later.
Lurking Canadian
72. Dominiquex
Ryanreich - I'm curious what your summary of what Tarbean was about, if you felt like expanding. (I have my own ideas, of course, and I know it gets mentioned a lot as a pre-Kote Not Self period for Kvothe, but I'm curious if you have more there) :)
Lurking Canadian
73. Trollfot
#71 ryanreich: nice one! I somehow assumed it was meant like in Harry Potter where Ron accidentally eats a love potion meant for Harry and falls in love with Romilda Vane: a trick to make the reader giggly and making the subsequent accident so much more horrible in comparison. But there is no horrible happening afterwards.

A few ideas:
* The plum bob will return later. Kvothe will use it on someone or somebody important will be poisoned at a cruical moment.
* The ranting about being a ravel/Edema Ruh is important. Perhaps Lorren will get back to him on the matter.
* Setup for alchemy as a subject.
Ryan Reich
74. ryanreich
@72: The Tarbean theory was discussed way back in the reread when we got to those chapters. I'm sorry; I forget which posts they were, so you will have to trawl a bit to find them. The bones of the theory (proposed by Susan Loyal) are that the episode was not just about Kvothe getting stuck in a rut out of depression, but in fact that he was under a "binding" that suppressed his waking mind. It may have been imposed by Cinder (as per Haliax's command "send him to the blanket of his sleep") or it may have been a state similar to the one he entered briefly after calling the wind at the end of the book. Thus, as you say, the episode was a precursor to his Kote persona, where he lacks all the same things: his skills at music and magic and his sense of identity. That is, when Kvothe says that he was "not himself" in these chapters, he means it literally. He is, perhaps, saying it as a clue.

One of the later posts, either the one right after Susan's comments or one of the summary posts, has a unified presentation by Jo that probably explains it better.
Lurking Canadian
75. Dominiquex
Ryanreich - Yup, that's the one I was talking about. Wasn't sure if you had anything to add to it. Just curious. ;)
Lurking Canadian
76. AdamP
Regarding the poet killer - isn't one of Kvothe's friends (Sim?) a particularly good poet, tricky verse coming naturally when he's impressing Fela?
Pamela Adams
77. Pam Adams
My feeling about 'poetkiller=killing Sim' is that Sim's friendship means enough that Kvothe would see the friendship as the identifier, not the poetry.
Jo Walton
78. bluejo
Pam: But it isn't Kvothe that says that. it's Aaron naming the sword "Kaysera the poet-killer".

I really hope he hasn't killed Sim, but I wouldn't put it past him.
Lurking Canadian
79. AdamP
It's the fact that he's 'rocked' by Aaron's name for the sword (seems like a lot of emotion if it's just referring to Ambrose's bad verse or something less important), and that Sim introduces the concept of the caesura in the first place that pricked my ears up during my own rereads. As with bluejo, I hope the sword (whether or not Kvothe was behind it) didn't kill Sim, but I can't shake the nagging feeling that maybe, just maybe...
Lurking Canadian
80. Trollfot
In chapter 5, WMF, Kvothe says "Sim had the lively look he gets around his fifth drink." Gets, unlike used to get or always got seems to indicate Sim's still around, doesn't it?
Lurking Canadian
81. TylerCalvin
I will laugh for nine million years if Geoffrey is another one of Denna's charity cases, a woman disguising herself as a poet... ESPECIALLY if that woman were, say, Princess Ariel.
Lurking Canadian
82. AdamP
Trollfot - It might just be stylistic, telling the story at that point without giving away future knowledge. But you're probably right, I guess.

TylerCalvin - It would be amusing... I take it you don't think Auri is the missing Princess Ariel, then? :)
George Brell
83. gbrell
On weird chemicals: my first thought was dimethyl mercury, a neurotoxin that pretty much goes through every known lab safety measure. My second thought was hydrofluoric acid. But radiation also makes good sense in the context.
Lurking Canadian
84. iamarobot
“You keep thumbing your nose at folk,” she said. “I swear I’ve never met a man who has your knack for lack of social grace.”

I thought that was interesting given what it means to have a knack in this world.
Aaron Miller
85. altarego
Belated comment on calcium loss:

Solvents like DMSO enable transport of organic and inorganic substances through the skin/most gloves/masks/lungs without actually damaging the membrane. There are probably a couple dozen substances that K works with on a daily basis (e.g. lead), that if touched after 'wetting' with DMSO that would result in bioaccumulation and bone remodeling.
Lurking Canadian
86. elton.scott
was I the only one who thought the scene where Elodin and Kvothe burn Herme's room a bit of foreshadowing? i don't have the book but I think Elodin says something like "other acceptable questions would have been 'why is this door locked' or 'why don't i have a key'?".

it seems to me to suggest that someone (the amyr?) is using Kvothe to open a door, and when he unlocks it they plan on destroying whatever is inside.
Lurking Canadian
87. JaredS
"...On a road, that's not for traveling
Lackless likes her riddle raveling."

@26 said:
I assumed that Kvothe misheard it and it was really "Lackless likes her
little raveling" (where "Lackless" refers to his mother, Laurian, and
the "little raveling" is his father, Arliden)



Although Kvothe was a child when he heard this, I'm still not sure he would misremember. He is a bit precocious. My take on this was another terrible pun (besides the reference to riddle as Lackless as @29 said or referring to Kvothe as @65 said). If it was sung as a cutesy baby talk kind of mispronunciation, little is sometimes said as "widdle", like a very young child would say. Making it more alliterative (and punny), you get "riddle raveling", or "little Ruh child". Either in a literal way (to Kvothe), or cutesy flirty talk (to Arliden). I'm leaning towards Arliden, as he wrote it, so insulting himself is ok, but why would he use a slur about his young son?

Anyway.

Looking at chapter 10, just as an interesting bit on how to write, Kvothe goes to see Devi again, and we get a physical description of her that almost is identical to NW (except my version has strawberry-blond in NW and strawberry-blonde in WMF), plus a description of gaelets. I was just interested to note (on THIS reread) that we are getting a physical description and profession summary of a character we already know from book 1. This is all well and good as a reminder to READERS of the many characters from book 1 we haven't seen until now in WMF, but as an example of a narrator telling his story, it's strange. Has Kvothe forgotten he already told Chronicler all this? Or just Rothfuss helping out the reader? The narration of Gene Wolfe books is one of the few times where I've seen a narrator repeat stuff to the audience, forgetting (in character) that he has already told us that information.
Jo Walton
88. bluejo
Elton Scott@86: Oh well caught! Brilliant!
Jo Walton
89. bluejo
Elton Scott@86: Oh well caught! Brilliant!
Doug Orleans
90. DougOrleans
So who was the gloved woman who poisoned Kvothe? Just some random hired by Ambrose? I was puzzled that he didn't try to track her down after figuring out what she did. I wonder if she will return to the story at some point. It seems like Rothfuss gives every character a backstory (and connections to other parts of the story), but she was nothing but a one-shot plot device. Kind of stood out to me.
David C
91. David_C
12. sillyslovene
... So, (if I am remembering correctly that this happens thusly) how does framestory K know it so well (he references a certain cleaning agent to a page number I think) to assign it to Bast if it is alchemy and K is crap at alchemy?
I think that the book is a really good catch, and may hint at what K has been up to. However, the cleansing agent stuff is chemistry, and the books make it clear that chemistry has nothing to do with alchemy.

I also wonder if having Bast read books is K finally understanding Elodin's teaching method.
David Goldfarb
92. David_Goldfarb
With all the discussion of Manet in this chapter, this may be the place to note something I'm surprised nobody has mentioned before, that his name is Latin and means "he remains". Rather appropriate for the perpetual student.
Lurking Canadian
93. A_Capricornus
I love the "Admission" chapter because we get such a deep understanding of Kvothes moral:

“What’s the matter?” I asked. “Are you worried I’ll tackle her to the ground and ravage her?” I laughed.Sim looked at me. “Wouldn’t you?”“Of course not,” I said.He looked at Fela, then back. “Can you say why?” he asked curiously.I thought about it. “It’s because . . .” I trailed off, then shook my head. “It ...I just can’t. I know I can’t eat a stone or walk through a wall. It’s like that.”

This is not a very suble hint, but it puts an end to the whole "why didnt he just kill and steal using his skills when in Tarbean" discussion. Even when not himself there's something in him that stops him from doing something that is really wrong.

Btw, does he EVER uses his Sympathy skills to steal, wrongdoing etc? Can't remember right now, but it's like he not aware that it can be used for something illegal. (His suprise when Kilvin sais his lamp can be used by thieves)
Lurking Canadian
94. JDH
In Calculus we have learned about 3d Polar co-ordinates. I think that some of the things you guys were talking about in the trifoil compass could revolve around this concept. You have x and y axis's (latitude and longitude) and then a specific z co-ordinate that is Orthogonal to the x and y lines... which gives you a specific location on the globe... Could be, probably isn't, but I think that is what you guys were trying to describe.
Ben Finkel
95. DangerZone
Late thoughts here (per my usual, since I'm so late to the conversation :) )



1) Isn't this the only time Auri comes to Kvothe? How does she know where to find him? This seems really significant, to just show up at his window/door after all of the talk about her shyness and reclusiveness.

I also agree there is something preternaturally protective about her attitude towards Kvothe. She's very defensive of him in their interaction with Elodin later, and of course the line about Kvothe being "afraid" the potatoes are cold and Auri's (purposeful?) misinterpretation is interesting.

2) The thing with the spades is very interesting as well.

First of all, the masters of the university seem to act with a mostly singular purpose. For all of their in-fighting, they all argue for Kvothe to demonstrate some patience and wisdom and dial back his impulsiveness. Kilvin, Lorren, Herma, even Hemme's problems with Kvothe largely stem from that (and I think that their back-and-forth belies a certain respect for each other even if it is sometimes grudging). I took the impression that they are working together on this, with Kvothe and other students, even if we don't see the whole of it. There was a glimpse of it during the Re'lar promotion dog-and-pony show.

Except for Elodin, who seems a bit subversive and runs somewhat contrary to their methods (if not their ultimate goal - teaching Kvothe some restraint). Elodin is often having a laugh at everyone else in the room.

When Manet gives Kvothe the business about the spades he's angry that Kvothe is distracted and not paying attention to the game in front of him. He's being sarcastic, asking this patently obvious question in order to draw Kvothe's attention back.

So, I would suggest that Elodin was doing the same thing. The quesiton is who does he think is not paying attention, what game does he think is being missed, and what exactly did he want to draw attention to?

I think it's the Master's manipulation of Kvothe who at the very least they must recognize as a powerful and potentially dangerous Arcanist. Elodin is basically saying "Hey! Look at what's going on around you." (reminiscent of his line about his teaching Kvothe even though Kvothe refuses to learn).

However, he may also have been trying to get the Master's attention drawn to Kvothe, a young but talented student that is going to require better than their usual steering in order to keep him in line.

At the very least it demonstrates his lack of respect for the Admissions process which all of the other Masters seem to take seriously enough.

3) I really like the Ben-Skarpi connection, and would not be surprised if Manet or someone else at the University was part of that network. I also won't be surprised when Denna comes up as part of that network (maybe unknowingly, but part of it all the same).

4) More of an observation, but why is the threat of expulsion or denial of admission based on ability to pay really out there? Obviously the University is concerned about rogue Arcanists going out and using their powers wrongly, so why would they throw out a student who they had only given a partial education to? The Rookery seems to be there because the University doesn't want cracked students out and about giving the University a bad name, but an expelled student would be just as dangerous (if not more).
Mordicai Knode
96. mordicai
I can't help but think the decreasing number of bodies between Ambrose & the throne is solid evidence that, well, he's the eponymous king of the Kingkiller books, yes. Which I see that everyone takes as a given, I just wanted to say yes, me too.
Lurking Canadian
97. jorgybear
"My good left hand" reminds me of the Adem (I think) proverb "The right hand is strong, but the left is clever" or something like it.
Lurking Canadian
98. Marya
@93 A_Capricornus, I have little hope you'll see this, but I agree that the plum bob episode serves to illustrate Kvothe's moral compass. I disagree, though, that it means he would not kill or steal. He was fully prepared and equipped to kill Ambrose while under the plum bob influence, and cannot think of a reason that would be worse than stealing a pie.

He steals frequently, and he can be savage and terrifyingly violent when confronted with cruelty. He tried to murder that street kid in Tarbean, after deliberately destroying his only precious mementos. He hunted down and executed the false Edema Ruh, when he was clearly powerful enough to bind them and bring them to justice.

The more interesting question is, given Kvothe's impulsiveness, rage, and demonstrated capacity for violence, why would he be incapable of considering rape?

I believe it's because Kvothe's innate moral compass is based on protecting the powerless, and loathing those who use their power to abuse others. Rape is a crime of contol and power over the victim and Kvothe does not use his power to exert control. I love the consistency of his character, and the specificity of it.

It also is deeply grounded in his experiences, especially in Tarbean, which is why I don't see any issue with those chapters when so
E other posters do. They exist to explain Kvothe - his worst parts and his best. In NW, he describes hiding on the roof while a gang corners a small 8-year-old boy, and says that is why he is who he is today. What they do to that child, PR leaves it to our imagination (to me, it was clearly rape), but it almost doesn't matter. The point is that the gang was stronger than the not, and took advantage of his powerlessness while Kvothe did nothing. Later, in WMF, Kvothe tells another story about Tarbean that leads me to believe he is a rape survivor, too, but that experience was not as devastating as witnessing the victimization of someone else.

He's a flawed, fascinating hero, our Kvothe.

He's a flawed hero, our Kvothe
Lurking Canadian
99. Danielsess
On the "riddle raveling," part of the rhyme about Lackless, I always thought this was referring to Kvothe. Arliden says as much on Pg 97 NW, when he asks Laurian:

"How about it, woman? Did you happen to bed some wandering God a dozen years ago? That might solve our little mystery."

I always assumed this "little mystery" was Kvothe. Either his conception was inexplicable, which would tie in with the Adem's belief, or something else about him and his birth was questionable enough to make Arl consider it a "little mystery."

In essence, Kvothe is Lady Lackless' "riddle raveling."
Maybe I'm confusing different things, but this tied together too nicely for me to not think they were related.
Lurking Canadian
100. rdubs30
Although it is odd that Auri seeks out Kvothe in this situation, I think it has to do with his previous visit where he dined with Auri sans lute. He promised her that he would play for her in six days (after his original admissions slot) and telling her to be a stone or something of the sort. Given how late it is and since Kvothe never showed up, it's not unreasonable to believe Auri coincidentally sought Kvothe out this time.

Also, thought I'd mention that the phrase "more's the pity" shows up at 2 very specific places. One is when K discovers the locked door at the end of the Bellows saying locked doors aren't much of a hindrance to him (NW 704). The other instance is right after the lettuce conversation with Auri where K says hehas a knack for getting into places he shouldn't be (WMF 37). PR isn't the type to use that phrasing for those instances randomly so it's most likely a foreshadowing. Most likely this isin regards to the Valaritas door where my theory is he frees the moon thus joining the fae world to his own and causing the frame crisis. Please let me know if this theory is flawed!

I'm pretty late to the party here, but I only finished my first read throughs a few weeks ago. I've found all your posts very interesting and enlightening. Likewise, I hope this post is insightful to somebody else!
Lurking Canadian
101. Coreyartus
Regarding Manet--I thought it was really interesting that he didn't raise his glass to Threpp. And then he launches into a lecture on Patrons. And that made me click some leaps of logic together... This whole series is about the power of stories, which is further explored with the idea of becoming the person the stories say you are (Kote) and being, ultimately what you belive you are and what others believe you are. Patronage is tangentialy related to that. And then it hit me--we have a possible magic system based on writing, power in Naming, knowledge in language... We even have a framing narrative that shapes our perceptions of the story being told...

It seems to me that the conflict between the Amyr and the Chandrian may be about the shaping of reputation--and by default their very reality and existence of themselves and their world--through history, legend, story, and anecdote. The Tinkers, the Ruh, the Archives, the manipulation behind the scenes of the various factions--all these things become pawns, tools and wildcards... Naming becomes horribly powerful. Shaping takes on a different light. I wonder if Kvothe isn't an unstable element being manipulated by the Amyr in all this, and Denna an unwitting tool of the Chandrian...

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