Sep 29 2011 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 5: A Special Kind of Stupid

Welcome to my no-moon-left-unturned re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 22-28 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.


First, let’s talk about rings, that ever significant component of fantasy novels!

In last week’s comments, A Fox linked the rings of D’s ring con and her ring Ambrose keeps with the rings as exchanged at the Maer’s Court. (Hereafter MC.) This made me think about rings in the story. In addition to these, there are also Kvothe’s right hand and left hand rings as listed in the rhyme. His rings and the MC rings are plain and made out of different things — bone and wood and silver and gold and flame and air and etc — and the MC rings have names engraved. D’s ring has a stone. We’ve talked about Kvothe’s rings (where are they?) in connection with the ring of stone that Fela makes in class as signifying power over the things. And the MC rings are signs of social status and give people power over each other in weird dominance game ways — especially when there are the bone and wood ones thrown in, both of which Kvothe gets. I wonder whether the MC rings might be a vestige of magic rings?

But anyway, Ambrose is Vintish nobility and he knows ring games and ring power and control, and he keeps D’s ring. Is it significant that it’s specifically a ring and just a random trinket? And where did she get it in the first place? It’s the one thing she always has. Does it give her power over something? (What?) Is she any different while she doesn’t have it? In any case, Ambrose keeps it and while he takes it to be fixed, he keeps the slip of paper on him, not in his room. It could be aristocratic carelessness or it could be something more sinister. But it isn’t unconscious of significance of rings, it can’t be. He knows the MC. And what does he know about D? Is she telling the truth about that?

A Fox further suggests that Bredon is the king of Atur (as well as Master Ash) but I think he’s Ambrose’s father.

And onwards to the text!


Chapter 22 is “Slipping”

“Slippage” from magic going wrong. Also, he slipped from the window. And he’s slipping generally on the things he’s normally protective about and the care he takes, because of D.

We begin with an explanation of the boring stuff Elxa Dal is teaching oin Adept Sympathy, which directly connects on to what D was asking about — where the extra energy goes. It makes it more plausible that Kvothe can do the things he does when you think about him memorizing tables, I suppose. And also knowing that some arcanists cook themselves or make themselves sick or tear their own arm off trying to do something — limits on power are useful. It’s also good to see Kvothe’s power increasing steadily through hard work and practice and lessons, even just for a couple of pages here.

“My Alar was like a blade of Ramston steel,” resonates so hard with “Best knife you’ll ever have until it breaks,” that I can’t but think he really has broken his Alar before the frame.

Then after class he has a chat with Elxa Dal — who he addresses as “Master Dal”, I don’t know what that does to what we decided about Elxa being a title. He asks Dal if he knows names, and Dal says it’s not a polite question: “Like asking a man how often he makes love to his wife.” Then when Kvothe apologises, Dal says it’s a holdover from times when arcanists had more to fear from each other, and lights the brazier with the name of fire, which Kvothe hears as “fire.” Kvothe says sympathy is more practical than naming, and Dal puts his hands into the coals, having power over fire.

What we have here is a direct contrast between Sympathy — memorizing tables, talking about thaums of heat, and Naming, bringing fire from nowhere and being able to put your hand into it. They’re both magic, but....

Kvothe goes to Imre to look for D, finds Threpe at the Eolian and we get an explanation of why he can’t have dinner at Threpe’s house — because he doesn’t have the clothes. I’m not sure this rings true — it makes he wonder if he has clothes good enough for the Eolian.

Some people come in and say something in Yllish, and Stanchion attends to them. So Yllish speaking people exist and come to Imre and expect to be served, or else they’re friends of his. And Kvothe recognises Yllish even though he doesn’t speak it yet. I think that’s worth noting for evidence of his good ear or how different Yllish is from the other languages around.

Kvothe asks Threpe about Master Ash’s legitimacy, and Threpe doesn’t know anyone like that and thinks it’s dodgy.

And on the way back to University, Kvothe gets struck by weird heat that he cools by getting into a stream, and goes home “dripping wet, confused, and terribly afraid.”


Chapter 23 is “Principles”

In both senses of the word.

We begin with Kvothe telling Wil and Sim about the heat, and telling them he told Mola and that she said it was his imagination — and we quickly learn that her brief relationship with Sim is over. Kvothe thinks it might be some chemical he has exposed himself to in the Fishery. Sim thinks it could be a plum bob aftereffect, set off by the metheglin he drank in the Eolian. He plays music for two hours and then feels a chill, a really bad chill, and he needs Wil’s help to get upstairs. And he does incredibly dangerous Sympathy to warm himself, of the kind we’ve just been told can cook someone from inside out. It works, just about. Then he’s stabbed by an invisible knife. I like it that they take so long to put together what’s happening and come up with wrong theories — binder’s chills, inability to regulate temperature and so on, before they realise it’s malfeasance. Too often in fiction people leap instantly to startlingly correct conclusions. Once he knows, he can prevent it — but only when he’s concentrating.

There’s some lovely interplay with Wil and Sim here. And Kvothe is relieved it’s just somebody trying to kill him. He’s sure it’s Ambrose, found some blood on a tile. Wil says it’s not his style — he doesn’t do things, he gets other people to do them. And this is indirect but obvious:

“If you got knifed in an alley people would be shocked. But if you fell down in public and started gushing blood from malfeasance? People would be horrified. The masters would suspend classes.”

And he thinks Ambrose would have rubbed Kvothe’s nose in it — the way he did with the plum bob. They then consider who else might have his blood, and of course he thinks of Devi...

He was going to put his blood on leaves to become untrackable, as he did before, so he goes up onto the roof, where he meets Auri. She says he looks like one of the Ciridae and he asks her how he knows about them, and she vanishes.


Chapter 24 is “Clinks”

The room in the Underthing, of course, itself a double meaning like so many of Auri’s names.

He goes across the roofs and finds Auri, and she is crying and says she doesn’t like telling, and he says this is the worst thing of all the horrible things of the last few days. Worse to upset a friend than be attacked by malfeasance? I suppose that speaks well of him. She says she was looking at the lightning, and he asks what was in it. She says “Galvanic ionisation” which is what lightning literally is, an electrical discharge. Then she adds the whimsical “And river ice. And the sway a cattail makes.” Then she asks what he was doing out “All crazy and mostly nekkid.” We know Elodin lectured on the difference between nude and naked, and here we have a third variant of unclothed, “nekkid.” He apologises and she says he is her Ciridae and above reproach, which is probably a reference to the Amyr’s lack of oversight. She quotes “Ivare enim euge,” as if his asking her is for the greater good — but she doesn’t answer about how she knows.

They put blood in four bottles and set them circulating in a pool, and when that’s done, Auri says “We’re safe.” She’s surprisingly practical about this, saying how many and so on.

The chapter ends with a little bit of Kvothe’s guilt and self-loathing. I really am getting to be afraid that he has killed Sim — maybe not as a king, maybe just as a side effect. But anyway:

They were the best sort of friends. The sort everyone hopes for but no one deserves, least of all me.

Poor Kvothe.


Chapter 25 is “Wrongful Apprehension”

Clever wordplay there, because it’s apprehension in the literal sense of fretting, and it’s also the charge Sleat was suspended for — Wrongful Apprehension of the Arcane, meaning learning something you’re not supposed to.

He goes to Kilvin and asks for a schema for a gram — Kilvin says only when he’s El’the, and he doesn’t need one anyway. So he asks for a private room with a forge and the right to use precious metals, and Kilvin gives him that.

He goes to a downmarket inn called the Bale and visits Sleat, an underworld type who is also intermittently a student. They exchange stories about each other’s reputations, and Kvothe kind of asks him if he hired the thugs for Ambrose. Sleat won’t tell him. He’s prepared to deal on the gram until he finds out that in his terms, Kvothe belongs to Devi. But he sells him a crossbow for some gold and silver purloined from the Fishery.

So he meets Fela by arrangement by the Four Plate door — she says she dreamed Valaritas was an old dead king and the door was to his tomb. She says schema for grams might be in Kilvin’s private library, but they won’t all be because of the mess the Archives are in. So they start looking, don’t find anything, and decide to get Wil and Sim to help.

Chapter 26 is “Trust

Kvothe is “fairly sure” Devi isn’t behind the malfeasance, so he goes to see her to check. He fakes a stumble and steals a hair. They chat about the book he borrowed. Then it comes out that she sold the plum bob to Ambrose. He asks to see his blood, she refuses, he uses the hair and holds her still. She moves anyway, her Alar is “like an ocean in storm” (one of the three things a wise man fears!) and she wins the duel. This means she’s better than anyone currently Re’lar and studying Sympathy. She’s also tamping mad. She binds him so he can’t even speak. She says their relationship is over and she needs the money by the end of term. And she says that she trusted him. It’s a real betrayal.

Chapter 27 is Pressure

Kvothe gets supper for Wil and Sim and tells them it isn’t Devi and that he can’t legitimately get the plans for a gram. He tells them his new theory — that it’s Ambrose, but Ambrose doesn’t know it’s Kvothe’s blood. It would be too risky for him to do malfeasance against Kvothe, and also he could denounce him for breaking and entering, but he’d do malfeasance against a random burglar. Sim says fighting with Ambrose is like stepping into a beartrap, and Kvothe says he needs a beartrap. They are confused, and so are we — but it’s for the Bloodless he’s constructing. Wil and Sim agree to help him search for a schema.
They start to search but don’t find anything. But they do find that it’s Ambrose — the attacks always come when he’s in his room.

Chapter 28 is Kindling

The day and the thing and love.

The attacks come without warning, he has to keep up an iron-hard Alar against them, he gets defeated by two people against him in Adept Sympathy.

Then on the ninth day of the search, Fela finds a schema, but it’s in Eld Vintic. Sim can read it because he studied it for three terms with the Chancellor to read the poetry. Sim improvises some about Fela finding the book while reading it, which impresses Fela.

Let me say this, it was worth the whole awful irritating time spent searching the Archives just to watch that moment happen. It was worth blood and the fear of death to see her fall in love with him. Just a little. Just the first faint breath of love, so light she probably didn’t notice it herself. It wasn’t dramatic, like some bolt of lightning with a crack of thunder following. It was more like when flint strikes steel and the spark fades almost too fast for you to see. But still, you know it’s there down where you can’t see, kindling.


And he translates the thing with Sim, and makes the gram in bursts while he knows Ambrose is busy.

And we’ll go on from Chapter 29 next week.

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

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
We seem to be missing a couple of chapters of commentary there at the end--26 and 27, where things turn to caps. Some formatiing is also turning every comment into caps.
The culprit is the Chapter 26 header -- looks like a left off "
Katy Maziarz
2. ArtfulMagpie
About rings...there seems to be a lot of Germanic/Norse/Old English influence scattered through the books. The runes are one example. The format of Eld Vintic poetry (caesuras, kennings...) is another. Magic rings also figure heavily in Norse mythology. Perhaps intentional that rings come up so frequently in NotW and WMF?
Steven Halter
3. stevenhalter
The scene with Auri on the roof (23-24) seems to be very significant. Her reaction to Kvothe's asking about the Ciridae obviously implies she has quite unpleasant memories of something associated with the Amyr/Ciridae. This makes it curious that she is the one who brings them up and then calls Kvothe "her Ciridae". Then, after putting the bottles into the Clinks she says "We're safe." Not "You're safe." This indicates another strong linkage between her and Kvothe.
Peter Reen
4. pnr060
Edit: Thanks for the quick fix, Jo.

For some reason a bunch of the quotation marks in the text got converted to HTML ldquo and rdquo symbols. That meant that one of the fields in a span tag at the end of the "Trust" chapter heading didn't get closed properly until the beginning of the Chapter 28 paragraph. Of course, unless you know some HTML that probably makes no sense anyway.
Jo Walton
5. bluejo
OK, I think I have fixed it. Thanks pnr060! No idea how that happened or even if it was my fault. But it looks OK now.
6. ClintACK
Random thought: I wonder if Elxa Dal's mastery of the name of fire protects him against heat slippage.

Auri naming Kvothe "her Cirridae" -- I've always thought this would be hugely important. Auri is something special. I think that although Kvothe doesn't know it, he really *is* Cirridae, whether he was born that way or made such by Auri's say so. I'm imagining yet another trial where Hemme is trying to get Kvothe executed for malfeasance (perhaps killing Ambrose?) and Elodin manages to get Auri to show up and tell the masters that she's named Kvothe "her Cirridae" -- making him above reproach. The masters still expel Kvothe, but that's the worst they can do to him.

I'm sure I'm totally wrong about *how* it will prove important, but I'm sure it will be important.
Hello There
7. praxisproces
Kvothe's reluctant relationship with Naming is so interesting and revelatory when you think back to NW and remember that it was this kind of magic, Taborlin the Great magic, that made him want to come to the University in the first place. Sympathy is a true technical craft, I guess, subject to precise rules and which anyone can learn, to presumably greater and lesser degrees of strength, and despite Kvothe's romantic nature and longing for things of high dramatic legend he's ultimately a very gifted plodder, right? He bulls through by sheer brilliance but he's not intuitive, he doesn't leap to the answer most of the time, he works everything out; it's only that he thinks so much faster that puts him ahead of the curve. So despite his fascination with Naming his nature rebels against it precisely because it is so irreducible, it doesn't follow laws, there's nothing to memorize; it's an art that requires epiphanies to grasp, and he hates that. Hence the grabbing of Elodin's, ah, chest. He just doesn't understand the beauty of "blue!"

Is this meaningful in a meta sense? Maybe. I think this is probably why he screws up whatever he screws up in the end: he's too sure he's figured out the answer to the Lackless box and the moon and so forth and doesn't realize he has to intuit his way there. He's too willful, he doesn't leave any room for grace.

Excited because soon we get to Puppet who is, I am sure, both Teccam and the old man in the story of the half-built house.
Fernando Pereira
8. Fernandofp
Ok, I'm new here and to start I'd like to apologize for my future misspellings but english isn't my mother language.
This reread are amazing and I've followed this for a while and finally caught up with you.
All my theories about both books have been approached in some way and I've little to add.
Jo said
"A Fox further suggests that Bredon is the king of Atur (as well as Master Ash) but I think he’s Ambrose’s father."
Actually both are wrong. As Kvothe said after his fight with Denna about the song she made, he had opened a bottle of wine and began to leaf through the stories that he received, and one of the stories was about Baron Jakis's youngest daughter and another was about Bredon conducting pagan rituals in the woods outside his states, so they are diferent men and Bredon are known by the people.
About Devi's skills on sympathy Jo said
"This means she’s better than anyone currently Re’lar and studying Sympathy."
Actually she is better than Elxa Dal as she had said during the duel " 'Oh you're very good. I almost believe the stories about you now. But waht makes you think you can do what even Elxa Dal couldn't? Why do you think they expelled me? They feared a woman who could match a master by her second year. ' "
And about rings... Elxa Dal said that asking about the names that someone knows isn't a really polite question because of some holdover from older times. So, why would Elodin say that "When naming was still taugh, we namers wore our prowess proudly. A student who gained mastery over a name would wear a ring as declaration of their skill" this doesn't makes sense to me.
Now, on the name subject, long time ago someone questioned about what Edro would mean, well, I don't know why, but I always read that as the name of the wood, maybe because Kvothe had tried to open his thrice locked chest, as comanding the wood to open using it's name.
and following that, was just me or has anyone else noticed that Kvothe had used the blodless principle when he'd made the chest? when Bast try to hit it, all the blows turned aside and there was a noise like a bell being struck in a distant room. Just the same when Kvothe demostrated his blodless to Kilvin.

Well, that is all I have to say for now.

Thank you for this wonderful re read.
9. Jobi-Wan
I don't have anything terribly insightful to add but I just want to say I love these books and look forward to your reread columun every week! I finally found a co-worker who has read them and we have begun discussing the books, she has some interesting theories and it's fun to get lost in the world of Kvothe.
10. Jeff R.
Something that isn't dwelled upon, partly because Kvothe is going out of his way _not_ to point it out in future conversations, is that when Devi just barely beats him in a Sympathetic Duel, Kvothe has three parts of his Alar tied behind his back. (Which is to say, protecting against the malfeasance attacks.)

Of course, she could have been holding back also...
Jo Walton
11. bluejo
Fernandofp: Good catch on Bredon not being Ambrose's father. Well done.

On the Names, I think there must have been a period where Names were worn proudly as visible rings, followed by a period that still continues in which names were kept secret. That seems to me like a peaceful period with visible rings and names, and then a warring period of dueling arcanists, and now another peaceful period in which rings (Fela's ring) are coming back. I could be completely wrong, but that's my guess.
Julia Mason
12. DrFood
@ Fernandofp: Cool! I hadn't made the connection between Kvothe's Bloodless turning away arrows and his chest turning away Bast's blows. Excellent catch.

@Jo: I do think that Kvothe's clothes were just barely acceptable for the Eolian in these chapters. Later, when he and Denna have their big fight, she cuts him deeply by reminding him of his "hair all shaggy and only three raggedy shirts," saying he had "one foot in the gutter."

Finally let me just say I love the side story of Fela coming to see Sim's worth. It's so unlike what usually happens and it's just so satisfying, although I fear I'm being set up for some heartbreak later on. . .
Alice Arneson
13. Wetlandernw
ConnorSullivan @7 - I like the insight into Kvothe's natural abilities vs. his earlier professed interest. It sometimes seems that he can do things intuitively, because he can get to the answer faster than anyone else, but (as you say) it's only because he can think faster and memorize phenomenal amounts of data. (Reminds me of Hermione Grainger!) On the other hand, he is capable of the intuitive leap - he's just not very good at it because it requires letting go of the things you know. He has to be in very bizarre circumstances in order to let go that far; for a control freak like Kvothe, hard facts and memorized tables are a much more comfortable environment.

I really like the interaction with Auri in these chapters - she's been so "airy" most of the time, but these flashes of firm practicality are very revealing, I think. One of the things I most eagerly await in DT is finding out who (or what) she really is. (I look forward to the Lackless "solution" too, because I'm eager to see where I was right or wrong, but I dread it at the same time. I'm convinced that it leads to disaster.)

Also, Jo, you've nearly convinced me that Kvothe will (inadvertently, I hope!) kill Sim, or at least do him serious and irreparable harm. Sad thought, that.

For Jo, completely off topic: I just finished Among Others, (thank you very much!) and I would love to ask two questions: 1) Do Mori's opinions about the books reflect your own, or are they what a person like her (as opposed to a person like you) would think of them? 2) If you could look into her future, will she ever tell anyone her real name?
Erich Wade
14. erichtwade
Yay, I'm caught up with the re-read again!

"I’m not sure this rings true — it makes he wonder if he has clothes good enough for the Eolian."

To be fair, he does make a point of his shabby clothes relative to others there several times (most notably when he meets Kellin). I think that the Eolian favors music over dress.

" and here we have a third variant of unclothed, 'nekkid.;"
I read that as a transcription of how Auri says it. Said this way, it implies a very innocent, childlike view of nudity. This may be important; Auri is in many ways like a child. Even after his time with Felurian, I don't recall any sexual tension between Kvothe and Auri - which is unusual, since there is some at least some degree of sexual tension with almost all other significant female characters from this part of his life.

Auri is often cited as a very good friend of Kvothe's, but to me the relationship feels much more familial. There might be something to the Laurian-Auri name similarity but, even regarding her visit to his room to comfort him when he was under the effects of plum-bob, the relationship seems far more sisterly than motherly to me.

Reading Clinks this time around, Auri struck me as more than simply practical about the bottles - she struck me as very specifically knowledgeable.

"That way, statistically, you should always have two moving around."
"Hair too."
"There. That's good. We're safe."

And she says Clinks is private. I suspect that Auri may use Clinks for the same purpose Kvothe does, though that does seem less . . . otherworldly than is usual for her. If she does, what does this mean about her? Who would she be afraid is looking for her? This could be important support for the Auri-as-missing-princess theory. On the other hand, I have trouble seeing an angel or a piece of the moon sending bottles of blood around to fool dousing. Either way, she has a very good working understanding of how to use Clinks for this purpose.

Who is Auri?

@3 Shalter I also noticed her usage of "we're." I think she also uses the we form to refer to things specific to Kvothe elsewhere - can anyone confirm? - which as you say implies a strong linkage between the two. (This makes sense if she literally considers him her Ciridae.) If this is the only place, though, she could instead be saying that she, too, is safe, lending support to the theory that she uses Clinks to foil dousing as well.

@8 Fernandofp - I hadn't noticed that about the chest, but it sounds like you're exactly right! (I'm too lazy to look up the passages right now to make sure, but that sounds like what I remember.) Of course, the bloodless needed to be reset eventually - it would only stop so many arrows in one go. Could you eventually bash through the chest if you kept trying until it ran out of set springs? Kvothe obviously can't get in to reset them. If not, that implies some rather important improvements to the design. It would need some sort of reliable energy source - clever sygaldry, or another kind of magic?

@11 bluejo - That's my guess regarding the rings as well. It seems to fit pretty much perfectly.

@12 DrFood - Heartache indeed. If Kvothe does kill Sim, what happens between Kvothe and Fela? I dearly, dearly hope the Kvothe-killing-Sim theory is false.
15. Jonathan.White
The subject of Kvothe's Alar is one that has always bugged me, both within the frame and without. I don't agree that it is broken, because he does smash a bottle without touching it in NotW. This doesn't seem to me like Naming, because from what we know, he would have had to say something to cause such an effect. With sympathy, he could have affected his body temperature to suddenly make the bottle glass really cold or really hot so it shattered. I understand the Ramson steel reference, but breaking Alar seems to me like breaking a mind, and Kvothe doesn't seem insane to me. If his Alar was broken, I'd expect him to act more like Elodin, for example.

So my theory is that it is hidden from him, and only emerges when he is feeling some strong emotion. The arrival of the skindancer wouldn't have been enough - it would have to be some reference to his past life. Most everyone agrees that if it is not broken, he has hidden it from himself - but this is not necessarily true. What if someone saw what he was doing to the world and decided to forcibly conceal his Alar from him to stop it? And the only two people I can think of who would be able to do this are Elxa Dal and Devi - of them, Devi is probably more likely. I think she has a much bigger role to play, and holding back Kvothe could be part of it.
Fernando Pereira
16. Fernandofp
@14. erichtwade I was think about that too and I guess it's not the same bloodless schema but something he came by using it's principle, maybe something with the Yllish knots magic or maybe this is exactly the Bloodless but not inside the chest, it would be linked to the chest by some sygaldry and then K would be able to reset it, but I don't know the answer for this hole in my theory.

@11 bluejo Now that you said it seems to fit, I had not thought this way.

One thing that has been on my mind but I think it will not be a subject is that if the moon has a Name as if it were a being that could be locked and all that stuffs, then would the Sun have a Name too? I'm saying that because when Kvothe "Named" Auri, and after Elodin asked why "Auri", he said it was the Siaru word to Sunny.
Well, that is just a thought I've had for a while.

Again, thank you all for the rereading and sorry for my misspelling.
George Brell
17. gbrell
Really sad that I suggested Kvothe killed Sim. Sadder that it seems so appropriate.


Rather than like Kvothe's Bloodless, it seems more like Kilvin's warding stones. No power source given for that either. I've read at least one theory that suggests the warding stones are inside/incorporated into the chest.

Random aside: I quite love Kvothe and Sleet's discussion, particularly his line about digging up corpses.
Amy Yost
18. erythrina
ConnorSullivan@7 -
I think Kvothe's concrete/sequential tendencies are definitely going to be important to the plot, and also explain why Kvothe is crap at Interesting Fact. It comes up again much later in the book - in chapter 149, when Fela and Sim are trying to convince Kvothe that he's in love with Denna: "How can I love something I don't understand?" Kvothe needs to understand. He's not comfortable with the inexplicable, and Naming seems to be pretty inexplicable. So it's fascinating, but uncomfortable. His resistance to the Lethani is similar - he knows it (to some extent), but he doesn't understand it, and he can't accept one without the other.
19. Mouette
@17, Gbrell. I was wondering who first mentioned a Kvothe-killing-Sim theory - I haven't been reading the comments much. I'm sorry to say I agree completely. I've had a sense of impending doom between Kvothe and Sim for several of my last read-throughs. The placement of certain phrases and thoughts and events in the story just whispers steadily of Bad Things Happening to me. I hate even thinking it, because I adore Sim... but I'm glad to see someone else picking up on that feeling.
Erich Wade
20. erichtwade
@17 gbrell - I'm fairly certain it's not the warding stones. When Bast uses the hatchet, there is "a strange, soft ringing noise, like a padded bell struck in a distant room." When Kilvin demonstrated the warding stones, "here was no sound as if it had struck something, neither did it rebound in Kilvin's grip." (I also think the barrier they generate is a vertical, two-dimensional wall along the line defined by the stones, but I can't prove that.)

After reading the relevant sections, though, I'm not entirely sure the chest is built with the arrowcatch, after all. When Kilvin fired at the arrowcatch there was "a harsh, metallic clank, and the bolt stopped midair as if it had struck an invisible wall." Not the same kind of sound at all, though conceivably improvements to the design and it being inside the chest could account for the difference.

More telling, though, when Bast attacks the chest, his hatchet doesn't seem to be turned away before he hits - rather, it seems to simply not be able to affect the material. "The bright, leaf-shaped blade refused to bite into the wood, each blow turning aside as if Bast were attempting to chop apart a great, seamless block of stone." Nowhere does it say anything about the blade not actually hitting the chest.

As much as I like the idea of an arrowcatch in the chest, in the end, I think it's just been magically hardened. Roah wood is very tough to begin with, and I suspect that if you used a process similar to that for thrice-tough glass you could make it about this durable.
21. Dio
Correct me if I am wrong, but the basic idea of the arrow catch was to use the bear trap spring to store the Force/Energy just like the the battering ram stone he uses on Ambrose's door. It seems that the "clever" part is releasing the stored force/energy when fast moving objects (like crossbow bolts) that approach to magically have the spring's force act on the bolt and slam it to a stop.

Now if I were able to make an arrowcatch that can form a link to any fast moving object nearby, my version 2.0 would use the bolt's kinetic energy an just funnel it somewhere, like a church bell in some other room. This way you don't need to need a strong spring, it never needs to be reset, there is no harsh jar to the approaching axe. It would feel like the axe was suddenly in honey.

It is interesting to note that you can actually reproduce the effect I descibed in the real world. If you try to swing a metal (but not magnetic) object through a strong magnetic field. The faster you swing the metal the stronger the magentic braking effect.

One last question, does anyone else feel that the various areas of magic are more tightly tied together then it first appears. Sympathy, Sygaldry and Naming all seem to me to be more tightly related then they seem to "young Kvothe." Sympathy and Sygaldry involve speaking or writing/etching special words while maintaining a strong Alar. Naming also involves speaking, but not obvious Alar. If we believe D can magically influence her looks by braiding "beautiful" in her hair, or a person can be forced to do something by reading words (even in another language), these don't seem to involve Alar.

I guess what I am saying is that it seems to me that bindings and runes are the simplest of Names. And maybe the use of Alar is what draws the "energy/force" into the Sympathist, but it is not required for the magic to actually opperate, since the gram works after K's Alar is done.
Ryan Reich
22. ryanreich
@7 (ConnorSullivan): You reminded me of a great quote by the mathematician Mark Kac:

There are two kinds of geniuses: the 'ordinary' and the 'magicians'. An ordinary genius is a fellow whom you and I would be just as good as, if we were only many times better. There is no mystery as to how his mind works. Once we understand what they've done, we feel certain that we,too, could have done it. It is different with the magicians. Even after we understand what they have done it is completely dark. Richard Feynman is a magician of the highest calibre.

The distinction is pretty ironic considering Kvothe's reputation.
George Brell
23. gbrell

Now if I were able to make an arrowcatch that can form a link to any fast moving object nearby, my version 2.0 would use the bolt's kinetic energy an just funnel it somewhere, like a church bell in some other room. This way you don't need to need a strong spring, it never needs to be reset, there is no harsh jar to the approaching axe. It would feel like the axe was suddenly in honey.

Cool idea, but not sure it works. First, we know that Kvothe simply tried an inertial dampener as his first attempt to make an arrowcatch. You can't just connect the arrow to your "catch" and get sufficient slow down. (Also, first time I've ever considered the phrase inertial dampener outside of like Star Wars/Star Trek.) Presumably, if you made the "catch" big enough, this might be possible, but then you lose a) mobility and b) the ability to have it exist on the second story of a building. Also, the bigger it is, the less similar it is, so increasing size might not even be enough.

We do know that the chest is very heavy (from Kvothe's and Bast's discussion of moving it), but we also know that they were able to move it. Assuming the chest was closed when they moved it (and Kvothe has been unable to "Edro" it open since), any sygaldry inside of it would have to be functioning from before it was closed. So how could they moved it if there is a constant sygaldric link between it and another "very large" object?

So this means that there is either a) funneling, b) some form of spring mechanism or c) "magic" a la warding stones.

How would "funneling" work? Your suggestion involves using the bolt's kinetic energy, but I don't know that the source of the energy matters. It still seems to be an inertial dampener. Your suggestion of connecting it to another object that is much larger (the church bell) could still work, assuming the object is large enough and close enough. All you would need to do is have the same inertial trigger that starts the "catch" also create the link to the large object (so the "catch" is simply a switchbox, transferring the energy from one thing to another).

But in order to do that we need to consider a) what objects have sygaldry and b) distance between objects. Assuming the sygaldry is only on the chest, how exactly do we transfer the momentum? Either it has a sygaldric link to another object (the central fireplace that Kvothe brags about - in NotW I think? - seems a juicy example) or it forms one when forced to by the fast-moving "arrow." But so far we haven't seen this kind of discriminating sygaldric linkage occuring. His arrowcatch connects with ALL fast-moving pieces of iron, glass and wood (hence why he didn't use bone and why I've always wondered if a fast-moving sword would trigger it). It could be possible to do this with two sygaldry-inscribed objects (and this presents a delicious engineering problem). But this also means that it could be defeated by simply moving the chest.

What I think you're searching for is the use of a magnetic field generally, which provides a much better source of energy than a bear trap. Binding 1: Transfer the kinetic energy of the bolt/weapon/etc. to an iron piece sitting constrained in a magnetic field. Binding 2: Transfer the resulting magnetic energy back to the bolt from the magnet. This is all back of the paper stuff, but considering that magnetism as a property can be transferred (see the three bindings used to kill the draccus - draccus to scale, loden stone to iron wheel, magnetism between scale and stone to draccus and wheel), this could be a permanent and non-resetting arrowcatch.

And we do know that Rothfuss has mentioned "loden stones" before, so magnets are fair game.

Next option is somethign more like an "arrowcatch" with springs. But here we have the problem of how exactly one resets it. Because of sympathetic decay, you can't use the incoming energy to reset the spring, because it would violate the second law of thermodynamics (entropy/slippage). Also, correct me if I'm wrong (am currently sans book), but didn't Bast use bone axes, not iron ones? What was the sygaldry connecting to?

Finally, we have magic. The noise is certainly different (great catch), but we do know that Bast seems unable to even scratch the wood (still maintain it's Cthaeh). The arrowcatch actually shouldn't "stop" arrows if the arrow was being continually pushed; it would only slow it down once. Why then is Bast not able to slowly push forward (and did he try this)? A wizard did it.

Or the wood could simply be ludicrously tough. We do know it's hard to burn, but we don't know if it's similarly hard to cut. Signs point to know, though, because a) Kvothe carved a chest and b) Aaron (the Smith's 'prentice) constructed a mounting board for Folly.

Hopefully this is coherent.
Ashley Fox
24. A Fox
Ok. What if Kvothes mind is the mechanism? The 'church bell'. The arrow being whatever force/magic aimed at the box, the box being the arrowcatch-the physical oject that conatins the 'magic' (sygldry in its original form), and Kvothes mind providing the magic/force etc.

This would involve a combining of Alar, sygaldry, and if we are correct in our thoery of Kvothes name being inside the box, it puts a very interesting perspective on it.

We know that Alar enables K to separate his mind, even hide things from himself, what if part of K's name as been hidden inside the box another part (Name and mind here overlap, one encomapsses another) keeps the box closed...until another part finds the key?

Also if something like this has happened in would stretch his Alar very thin-as seen in this chapters when he is maintaining his Alar aginst maelfesnce he is weak enough to be deafeted by two students dueling, whereas before he was not-explaining his apparent lac of magic in the frame.

Also pat of his Name being in the box need not even be literal, it could merely be part of a puzzle he has created.

As to why he would do that...those rumours of a new chandrian? Mmmm
George Brell
25. gbrell
Random thought: Pat is clearly trying to write an "aware" fantasy, where the common and historical tropes are skewered.

The first example I can think of a novel that fits that description is A Wizard of Earthsea.

I almost wonder whether Pat's mention of a "new" Chandrian is hiding the ball in plain sight. What if the reason for Kvothe's weakness in the frame story is that he broke not just his mind, but himself (a la Ged)? We know the Chandrian aren't human (or pre-human), but what if "he" is literally responsible for the wrongs in the world and Kvothe is punishing himself. This also allows for the Kingkiller duality stuff we've talked about (he could've literally killed his own self, his poetic side - hence no music, or locked his "self" in the box).

What if what Bast wants is Kvothe whole, both parts recombined? The Road to Levinshir, Flame, Thunder, Broken Tree and Shehyn's comments all demonstrate that Kvothe has a dark side, something "wrong" in him; what if what we see now is only half of Kvothe (just K) and his actions have unbalanced not just the world, but literally himself.
Aaron Miller
26. altarego
Pardon my ignorance, but is there a moderated queue for posts now? I made a rather extensive post earlier and it's not showing up at all.
Alice Arneson
27. Wetlandernw
altarego@26 - Did you include any URLs in your post? That can get it flagged - but you generally see the flag telling you that a moderator will look at it before it will post. Alternatively, you might have done what I've done sometimes... preview and edit, and then forget that you didn't actually hit "Post" before you went away.
28. faek
Random thoughts:
Kvothe is said to have a Nameless ring in the verse about his rings. Also, later when he visits Felurian (I think) there's a mention of how the Nameless was created, told in a way that makes it sound as if it's an actual physical thing.

About D's ring that Ambrose keeps, I'd definitely say that he's trying to "bind" her to him by keeping the ring "hostage" (what's the right word when living things aren't involved?).

Last thing. D has hooked up with Ambrose shortly, which Kvothe has just seen. In the very last chapters of the book Kvothe, for no particular good reason (plot wise), sends a letter to Ambrose about a young noble girl being with child. It includes all sorts of threats that I could imagine would make Ambrose more likely to try to handle the problem himself (by silencing the girl) rather than accept the extortion. Kvothe smears out the initials of the sender very much so that it can be mistaken for any character.
I strongly believe that Ambrose will think the girl to be D (we know she always signs her letters with a simple D as well...) and set out to harm her. It really makes no sense otherwise, the whole section about sending the letter is so pointless and out of character for Kvothe that it must be a plot device for later on.
29. faek
@8. Fernandofp
I do believe that Bredon is the king of Vint, although Bredon is probably a real "separate identity" that he uses to go about without risk of getting killed etc, which would explain why there are rumors about him as well. When he initially meets Kvothe he says that he used to think that the games of the courts were interesting but that he has no machinery to advance; he basically says that he can rise no further == he's the king of Vint.

As for the box and locking away your name. In the frame story, when creating the rumor about The Chronicler, Kvothe says that the King (whos daughter The Chronicler wanted to marry) keep his name safe by having written it in a book of glass, kept in a box of copper hidden away in an iron chest. Sounds like Kvothe has some funny ideas on how to store away a name :-)

Also, about the chest, it's described as being stony/metallic wood in the exact same way that Kvothe himself describes the Lackless box. My guess is that he has designed it in the same style as the lockless box, using the same material.
Rob Munnelly
30. RobMRobM
@29. I like the idea of Bredon as the King but do we have other textual support for it? (It would tie nicely to K killing him for what he's doing to D and then having someone vengeful as the new King coming after K, whether the Maer or Ambrose.) What do we know about the current Vintish king that can be brought to bear?
Erich Wade
31. erichtwade
@21 Dio -
Regarding the connection between Sympathy/Sygaldry and Names, I agree that the various magics must be connected somehow. I actually think sympathy and sygaldry might be expressions of very complex Naming- or Shaping-based magic that was set up long ago. There are very specific phrases which do very specific things, which isn't how Naming usually works at all - Names are very general magic, and do very different things based on the will of the speaker. But anything you do with sympathy requires a specific binding: connecting two objects kinetically is different from connecting them thermically, which is different from converting between the two energies (slippage aside), etcetera.

Now here's the thing. Names, to me, make sense as a natural magic system - one that arises from the world being as it is. Things have names; those names are incredibly complex and impossible to grasp, because they embody that thing. Namers can grasp them subconsciously, and that grants them power over the Named thing. But how in the world would sympathy arise naturally? Why would there naturally be a Sygaldry rune that binds two objects together, or keeps them apart? Why would there be a phrase that, when spoken, binds together the movement of two objects? These have the feel of created things to me. I think that the basic, easy-to-use (relatively speaking) magic of this world could be artificial. In the distant past of the world, it's feasible that a powerful Shaper may have created Sympathy and Sygaldry as tools that nearly anyone could use.

The alternate possibility is that Shaping was a different type of lingual magic system, and Sympathy and Sygaldry are some of the surviving arts of Shaping. Shaping might be the magic that Denna speaks of, written or spoken things that come true, of which Sympathy and Sygaldry are only the fringes. In a way, you might say that Naming is the use of magical nouns, while Shaping is the use of magical verbs (and/or other parts of speech - "Lovely?")

@23 gbrell -
Great analysis. I was going to say something, but it would have been only a small part of yours. Even if the loden-stone arrowcatch isn't used in the chest, it's a fascinating idea, though I don't think it would see mass-production due to the price and rarity of loden-stone.

I personally think the wood is just ludicrously tough. Having to have carved it isn't an issue if it was magically toughened after the fact.
32. faek
30. RobMRobM
No, there's no more support for this that I can point at. I didn't mean to make it sound as if I was proving it by my comment (which I agree that it looks like on a re-read), it was merely a possible interpretation of the mentioned text.

There are so many hints suggesting that D's patron is Cinder as well that I don't really know what to think.

On a completely different note (warning, crazy ramblings below):
Naming - magical control over stuff by using a name, which is a very over-generalized, like "stone". Stone is no element but is used as one, basically saying that all stones are alike. This I'm OK with, it's a fantasy book and pretty common concept.
Sympathy - Fantastic! PR takes a really scientific approach to this "magic"; it really makes sense. Hats off!
Sygaldry - This is where it gets funky. Basically, PR says that there can be stuff like the "chillers" (= fridges) which transports heat from someplace to another due to a symbol being written somewhere. Now, either this device is consuming energy (from where? how?) or the second law of thermodynamics doesn't hold in the four corners.

I'm not saying that I expect PR's world to work as ours, but this is the biggest break I've found so far (with the except of real "magic", of course). It basically means that you could make a perpetuum mobile! :-)
Bruce Wilson
33. Aesculapius
@32. Re. the name of stone:

I'd agree that "stone" is probably too broad a term as the chemical composition of different types of "stone" will vary quite widely. By the same token, the name of "fire" is probably too general as the exact nature of the combustive oxidative reaction taking place will change with the nature of the substances acting as fuel for the fire, the mix of gases around it and so on. Similar comparisons can be made with "wood" from different species of tree and other plants.

However, in the context of Naming in a fantasy universe, I'm nor sure that matters too much. PR certainly hasn't been explicit about the other sorts of names but the clear implication is that the name of the wind varies considerably depending on the prevailing weather and, apparently, also what the Namer intends to achieve with the use of the Name.

I would suggest that the other names are somewhat similar in their variability, if not perhaps as ever-changing as the wind. The broad grasp of the Name of "stone," for example, might give a Namer their initial understanding but the skill of Naming is in the true Knowing: the ability to look at something and have a deep understanding of the subtleties that make, say, the name of stone different from the name of stone , or even the very subtle differences that make one piece of granite different from another. Applying PR's pseudo-scientific approach to magic, and for want of a better description, it strikes me that Knowing (and hence Naming) is a bit like having the ability to grasp the magical "spectrometry" of each object.

Naming within a biological system will then become more complex, perhaps by orders of magnitude, as different individually complex components add up to form a whole organism. Add to that the over-arching deep complexities of consciousness and personality and the Naming of a sentient being as a whole entity becomes a truly impressive feat.

Does that make sense...?
Alice Arneson
34. Wetlandernw
Alternatively, perhaps the Name of stone, like the word stone, encompasses all forms of stone - and the stone knows it, even if we don't. Perhaps the only reason you'd need to differentiate between basalt and granite would be if you were trying to use only one kind of gravel out of the mixture on the road.
Alice Arneson
35. Wetlandernw
And perhaps we're overthinking the whole molecular/atomic structure of the matter of the universe.
Bruce Wilson
36. Aesculapius
Ha! Yes, I'd agree with that...!! :o).

Having said that, I don't necessarily believe were over-thinking it any more than, say, the rather detailed discussions in previous threads regarding whether the world of the Four Corners is flat or round and how the astronomical movements of the moon relate to the mortal world and the faen realm. This is a very detailed re-read and it's just an interesting part of the discussion to intellectually play with these concepts and see how they might work.

Whichever "answer" we choose to prefer, whether technical or abstract, the basic point is that there are, either way, perfectly plausible explanations for the apparent inconsistencies.

As an aside, I would suggest that the two approaches need not be mutually exclusive; deep Knowing of subtle variations AND the fantastical element of each substance inherently "knowing" and respondIng to its own name could comfortably work together as part of the greater whole of Naming.

At the end of the day, fantastic as these are, it's worth remembering that we are only discussing s couple of fantasy novels!

Alice Arneson
37. Wetlandernw
How true! It's definitely fun to discuss these things - that's more or less why we're here, right? It rather cracks me up, though, when we* get into deeper levels of "how it works"** than the author*** is even likely to be qualified to address - or is likely to have worked it out. Makes me glad I'm not an author.

*fandom in general, not just this reread
**particularly with regard to chemistry, physics, quantum mechanics, and so forth
***in general, not necessarily PR in particular
Alf Bishai
38. greyhood
It bothers me that Auri 'doesn't like telling'. This seems so contrived! It's very like Felurian who simply refuses to tell Kvothe what he wants to know. Like Felurian, Auri obviously knows a lot firsthand.

The detail that I think may redeem this necessary contrivance is that Auri says she is getting better at not running away. In other words, she would like to tell him but something overcomes her and she must bolt. What does this mean?

It may be that someone has learned her name, and she is doing precisely what K. is doing with Kote. It's probably what Cinder would love to be doing too so that Haliax doesn't have power over him. Auri is changing her name. Auri doesn't mind telling things about what she is doing (why are you on the roof?) but about her identity (how do you know that?).

This is why she is so happy a Namer has reNamed her.

This all ties into the Clinks bit. She's hiding. And she has now allowed for the idea that K. and her are hiding together. (We're safe now.)

So Auri would never have a frame story. K. likes telling. He's forcing the crisis. He wants to be found. And he knows the result will probably be death (but not necessarily).
Alf Bishai
39. greyhood
On Ramston steel Alar. When Devi wins the duel, his alar suddenly breaks. She moves a little, and then all of sudden is pulling out the heat thing. I'm not sure that the snapping Ramston business means he permanently snaps his Alar.
George Brell
40. gbrell
Sygaldry - This is where it gets funky. Basically, PR says that there can be stuff like the "chillers" (= fridges) which transports heat from someplace to another due to a symbol being written somewhere. Now, either this device is consuming energy (from where? how?) or the second law of thermodynamics doesn't hold in the four corners.

I just view it as functioning like a thermoelectric heating coil in a modern refrigerator.

A thermoelectric material is one that either produces voltage when a temperature difference is applied to it (i.e. if one end is made cold and the other is made hot) OR creates a temperature gradient when voltage is applied to it (run electricity through it and one end becomes hot and the other becomes cold).

In this case, one set of runes pulls in heat, the other set pushes out heat. Exactly like how the heating coils on the rear of many refrigerators are warmed.

It is possible that Rothfuss was going for something a little more complicated, but much like he described alchemical ingredients analogous to real world ones (hydrofluoric acid, radiation poisoning), this strikes me as a sympathetic analogue to real technology.
Jo Walton
41. bluejo
Greyhood: That's brilliant. Auri as K with no frame. I really like that.

Wetlandernw: I do think Pat has thought about this stuff -- I mean in "Slipping" Kvothe explicitly says to Elxa Dal that fire isn't a thing it's an exothermic reaction. The point is I think that it's both. It's an exothermic reaction on one level, but it's a primal element on another, and you have to understand that to Name it -- as the wind can be the thing that blows Ambrose to the ground or what makes D breathe. (Remember Kvothe in the wagon binding all the air to the air in his lungs, and then he can't breathe? A special kind of stupid.) To have Alar you have to believe it will and won't fall at the same time. To Name, you have to know the poetic and the scientific truth and believe them simultaneously.
Rob Munnelly
42. RobMRobM
faek - Understood. The Bredon as King theory has all sorts of interesting implications but would have to surmount the practical issue of what the heck the King is doing as a quiet citizen living in the Maer's town. But, as I recall, we don't know much of anything about the current King, so is it possible/ruled out? That was my honest question, not a criticism. I'd love it if Bredon is the King with some type of beautful game in play.

Note - I don't own the books and don't have them with me from the Library so I (sadly) can't help work this issue through.

43. LAJG
@38, greyhood mentioned that both Felurian and Auri are withholding information. We've noticed before how "Auri" is similar to "Laurian". Aren't both of those similar to "Falurian"?

Falurian - F =Laurian
Laurian - Lan = Auri

So, is this similar to Kvothe/Kote? Is Auri really Falurian with part of herself missing? Does this change her appearance so that Kvothe doesn't recognise her? Does that mean she is in two places at once (since K sees Auri before and after going to the Fae lands) or is time all wibbly-wobbly? How does Laurian fit in with this?

Or am I reading too much into this?
44. spirit theif
About rings- Denna's ring seems to be really significant. When it's in Kvothe's possession, he can find her easily wherever she is in Severen Low. But Kvothe can never find her himself when she's wearing it. Also we know that so far Kvothe has a bone ring from Stapes, a horn ring from Meluan, and possibly a ring of air. The ring without name sounds like the most powerful, knowing the power of names. Maybe to do with the whole lockless/four plate door?
Alf Bishai
45. greyhood
There's been some discussion about how someone changes their Name. I know I always thought about how a person would change it themselves. Then it occurred to me that it would take a Namer to do that. But no, of course it must be a Shaper...

Te rhintae..?
Alice Arneson
46. Wetlandernw
Jo @ 41 - That's why I put in the "in general, not PR in particular." :) He seems to have a bit more scientific background than most fantasy authors, so he's more qualified than most to actually consider those aspects of his magic system. The question is whether he actually worked out all the atomic-level (sub-atomic?) details of the system before he wrote the books, or whether he did the details on some things but left others more general, or... what. It's clear that he knows how to use the terms correctly, and that in at least some areas he's given us fairly specific science behind what's going on. I'm just not sure that he's chosen to deal with every detail of the magic at the molecular level.

For example, I seriously think it would make sense to let "stone" be "stone" without requiring a Namer to know the specific Names of all the different kinds of rock out there. When Fela shows her knowledge of the Name of stone, she takes a river stone, described as "smooth and dark" and makes it into a ring of "sheer black stone." So by using the Name and focusing her will on it, she apparently changed the nature of the stone as well as its shape. Stone knows that it is stone and responds to its Name; the molecular structure is subject to the command of the Namer's will.
- -
47. hex
The notion that Brendon may be the king of Vint is particularly far-fetched. Consider the candor the Maer uses when he talks about the king to Kvothe. Would he do so if he thought there was any chance Kvothe might come in contact with the king?

The logistics also don't work out. We know Brendon has rooms at the Maer's court. Is it conceivable that Stapes and the rest of the household could no notion of who he was? Brendon describes himself as a former player in court intrigue. Now he's eschewing the superficial squabblings of the court for a deeper more beautiful game.

Consider also all of the written gossip Kvothe recieves. There are terrible gossips in court, and they've got dirt on everyone, including Brendon. They go so far as to accuse him of conducting pagan rituals in secluded woods. Though Kvothe discounts these because of the incredible detail of the stories (and likens them to "old Aturan romance"), I'd say this detail is important. I took that line to be a clue that he was having clandestine meetings, possibly with a supernatural element. Later Kvothe actually gives Brendon the accounts of his "pagan frolics". What's interesting is that the phrase "pagan frolic" is used exactly one other time in the book, when Simmon is trying to prove his assertion that Waystones/Greystones were used in pagan rituals.

It'd be terribly difficult to hide the fact that he was king, and would anyone dare to invent such slander about him if he were?
Nathan Love
48. n8love
Still here, still not enough time to contribute the way I'd like.

Auri is awesome. So much emotion and information seem to be packed in short passages when she's around. I hope she's not the one betraying K, but i could see how she might be leading him to the Door(s). Typing that made me sad.

People keep referencing Yllish knot magic. I think we should assume that it does NOT exist until we have more evidence. Denna (who's experience we have bare hints at and who probably knows little of using magic, despite knowing its effect) is a most unreliable source for this "writing things down" magic. Personally, I am not prepared to take her word for anything... at all.

I am, as usual, prepared to be wrong.
Steven Halter
49. stevenhalter
Greyhood@38:Something has certainly happened to Auri in the past. Whether she did it to herself (hiding) or it was forced upon her will be a key piece of information I think. I like the idea that whatever it is that was done is associated with her Name similarly to Kote in the frame.
It also seems that whatever it was has something to do with the Amyr. Again, was she aided by an Amyr (possibly herself) and the memory of their destruction is painful or was she harmed by an Amyr and the memory of that harming is painful? Either theory could be correct at this point. (Or neither of course.)
Her finding the idea of Kvothe as her Ciridae comforting seems to put points on the Amyr friendly to her theory. But, it could go either way.
Alf Bishai
50. greyhood
Hey - does this work? Auri is Princess Ariel and the king K kills is her father. I mean her man-mother.
George Brell
51. gbrell

Auri as Princess Ariel is pretty well-speculated. Kvothe's comments to Aaron in the frame story explicitly mention her, but then she doesn't appear to show up (although it could be that Kvothe was including him in the rest of the story).

Couple problems: We know he's "stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings," but the only princess mentioned so far is Princess Ariel. Assuming they're the same, the only place we know about barrow kings is Vintas (draugar). We have no information that Auri is Vintish or that there are draugar near the University.

Also, we have no idea who's daughter Princess Ariel is. She could be the daughter of the King of Vintas, but we've heard no rumors of a prodigal or missing daughter. We do know that Kvothe killed somebody in Imre, so there is a locus with the University, but we don't know that a) it's the king he killed or b) that Auri is related. While it is possible, conjecturing that Kvothe kills Auri's father is, I think, just conjecture.
52. LAJG
@43 I just realized one of the implications of what I wrote (Falurian related to Laurian), and, well, ew. Pay no attention to what I said.
Alf Bishai
53. greyhood
@51 - that's pretty thorough. Wow.

(@52 - ew, yes)
George Brell
54. gbrell
@52: Also, Felurian is spelled with an "e."
55. Spirit Theif
Just found this website! Thank Tehlu! Read NOTW fovever ago and never could find anyone to talk about it with.

So my speculations-
1. Felurian says herself when they're speaking in verse that she will not mention the name of the one who stole the moon although he is locked behind a stone door. Four plate door?
And the keys would be from the lackless family- and maybe her husband's rocks in a box from the rhyme could be something completely different- relating to kvothe because of his parentage?
2. Kvothe's Name is in the chest. But he wants it open and can't unlock it. So maybe Chronicler is more important than thought? He is a Lackless and a Namer...
56. NeilH
Firstly, i'm so happy that I have found others so enthralled with these books.

A couple of points that you have discussed that I would like to add:

1) When talking about his bloodlesss device and how it relates to the chest, could it be that he has produced an ever burning lamp and therfore a constant source of energy for which his bloodless/chest runs on?

2)does anyone else feel that the relationship between kvothe and denna is almost staged as in he is always trying to find the perfect line. His acting comes into it as if he isn't being himself, where with Auri it feels alot more natural. Has anyone else felt that Denna won't be the love of his life but a first love and auri will be a slow building but much more emotional love of his? Some points to add to that are that of present and gift giving , where auri and kvother exchange a inordinate amount of gifts denna and kvothe only ever exchange one, whether that is because it is more prized when it does happen or whether it is becuase it shows a lack of real deep love on either's side is up to interpretation.
Tim Djerf
57. TDjerf
@ 23

Actually, a bad link is what we’re looking for, the worse the link the more energy is lost thru it and the objects so if the link is really bad we wouldn’t need a really heavy bell to hit, maybe small enough to fit in the chest? Makes me wonder why he didn’t do that in the arrow catch, it would be much more practical.
George Brell
58. gbrell

Honestly, I almost dismissed your point without actually considering it because my first reaction was that Kvothe didn't use a bad link in the arrowcatch because the arrowcatch acts on the arrow not the other way around. But that doesn't fit with the demonstration of the drabs given by Ben in NotW (nothing implies that sympathetic links are unidirectional). Unfortunately, I still think you’re wrong about the effectiveness of poor links.

Quick review of basic physics:
Kinetic Energy = 1/2 * m * v^2
Force = m*a

Two drabs are lying on a table and are bound together. Picking one drab up at speed x picks up the other drab at speed x, but feels like picking up three drabs at speed x. With that said, the KE of the two drabs is the same as if you each drab individually at speed x (the mass of the drab is not actually changed and its velocity is a set speed).

Why can’t the actual mass of the drab change? Because energy can’t be created or destroyed. Raising two drabs a foot results in an increase of their potential energy by a corresponding amount. Removing the binding would then either destroy part of their potential energy (the part attributable to the greater mass) or transubstantiate it, but into what? Sympathy acts as a conduit; we have no mention of slippage occurring due to cancelling a binding. Therefore, it doesn’t change the actual characteristics of a thing, only the apparent characteristic vis-a-vis the "thing" being transferred through the conduit.

What has changed in the drabs example then? The force acting upon the drabs. Because the apparent mass (call it m') is higher, the force to achieve a = G (gravity) is higher. The excess force manifests itself as slippage.

What are we talking about with the “interial dampener” arrowcatch (connecting arrow A to block B). We're not talking about moving two drabs because there is no force acting on either of the two objects except gravity (and the corresponding force exerted by the floor on the block holding it against gravity) and air resistance. The gravitic forces of the block zero out, so the only force that could be relevant is air resistance, which would actually help the arrow since it would be slowed down less.

TDJerf, you are instead implying that we actually are transferring kinetic energy (not force), but it’s unclear how this is occurring.

Before the binding occurs, we know that the two objects have KEs of:
KE_A = 1/2 * m_A * v_A^2
KE_B = 1/2 * m_B * 0 = 0

Transferring KE would render the size of the object immaterial since all stationary objects have a KE of 0.

If by transfer in this context, we mean equalize, it still isn't particularly effective. If we did equalize their KEs, then the velocity would actually only drop to about 70% , which I think was what Kvothe identified as the effectiveness of his first attempts. A less effective link would presumably make the balancing less even (so the KE of the faster object would be reduced less).

If we transfer velocity, it fails for the reason just discussed, all stationary objects have a velocity of 0. So again size is irrelevant, all transfers would halve the speed and no better (this also ignores that velocity isn't force or energy). So the only other thing we could transfer is mass.

Your idea is that we connect them such that the apparent mass of m_A (we’ll call it m*_A) is:
m*_A > m_A + m_B
due to slippage. Then, because energy cannot be created or destroyed, KE*_A = KE_A and thus:
m*_A >>> m_A + m_B
George Brell
59. gbrell
But this doesn't work.

What is it that actually being transferred? It isn’t the force (as discussed previously), it’s the mass. The binding has to be connecting the mass of the two objects. A bad link would make that less efficient, such that:

m*_A is significantly less than m_A + m_B

And the worse the link got, the less transfer of mass would occur.

One of the only quantitative examples we get is that a perfect Master Hemme replica is ten or fifteen percent and one assumes that a block of stone and a arrowhead are significantly less similar hence Kvothe’s comments that his initial idea of an inertial dampener was only marginally effective.

This also explains how the spring in the arrowcatch functions. The spring has potential energy that is stored up. At its tip (presumably) is a binding that joins the “springhead” with the arrowhead. This could even be an arrowhead (made of the same material, probably at least 20% transfer). On release, the resulting force could then act upon the arrowhead. Per the drabs demonstration, it may function as if it were acting on six arrowheads, but this should be easy for a bear trap spring.

Aside: We always see sympathy as parallel force transfer; i.e., pushing one moves the other in the same direction. I wonder if various sympathetic bindings could shift the directionality of linkages, the name "parallel kinetic binding" suggests it’s a possibility.
60. Marco.
Re: "nekkid"

This is my least favorite part of this series as it really feels like something PR would say, not that any of the characters would say.
Kate Hunter
61. KateH
I too found it odd that Auri has this system of bottles worked out, ready to go just when K needs it. Clearly she's using or has used it herself for some purpose. Is it the same purpose that K uses it for? Sending blood/hair on pointless, erratic, multi-directional journeys? Elodin says he's spent years trying to get Auri to warm up to him. So far as we know, only K, Elodin and Mola know that Auri exists. Could she have been in hiding from someone actively looking (dowsing) for her for years? It seems a stretch to me, but what other purpose could her bottle system serve?
Sam Brady
62. lewaah
This is well after the fact, but I wanted to point out the difference between "naked" and "nekkid" according to the late Southern writer Lewis Grizzard: "Naked means you ain't got no clothes on. Nekkid means you ain't got no clothes on and you up to something."
63. Coreyartus
An interesting thought hit me about all the speculation that has been done regarding who is who, how names are similar, how there are physical resemblances between certain characters, and an ongoing thematic thread of stories having meaning, assuming names, writing things down, and the nature of understanding one's self, destiny, and the interpretation of history...

How ironic that these are all elements (to some degree) of plays. A great game, from some perspectives. Different actors playing multiple roles, with recurring script and story elements in three acts. Kvothe plays roles he writes himself changing his characters names... The Chandrian, the Amyr...
64. BurntRose
Hi I just discovered this blog after a re read of the books and wow! So many fantastic theories! I have only read Jo's posts for the most part (so many comments!) so apologies if someone has thrown this out there before....

I don't think it's necessarily a big point in terms of the main story, but I think Puppet was the Master Archivist before Lorren and cracked a little so was replaced. I think this explains why he is allowed to live in the archives and have candles in his room. It also explains his extensive knowledge of the archives - even someone with an eidetic memory would need to at least go around and look at all the titles of all the books, and with the size of the archives this would take some time in itself! It also makes his comment of the four plate door not being for students make more sense as coming from someone with authority. If that's all he is not that important.

However... Thinking it over it could have bigger ramifications. If this is the case, what if it is Puppet who has been pruning the archives and not Lorren? And what if this is being done in other places by some of the book collectors in other locations at his direction? And what if all of this is because of something he saw behind the four plate door and that is what sent him crazy in the first place? He has said he has more teach Kvothe, but we haven't seen any sign of it yet in the text. (Although it could have happened and been left out - I think this is unlikely though as PR doesn't normally reference something without a reason). Anyway, if this is the case, what if Puppet tries to teach Kvothe something, and gives him just enough info to work out how to open the four plate door, Kvothe does this without actually stopping to think or learning the lesson he was supposed to (as he does) and...what happens next!!!??? Gah, want D3!
65. Ambrab
kvothe did not kill sim, Sim is the young dandy hair rich guy who cries when K sings tinker tanner i nthe frame of NW and recognizes him as much that K has him drugged by Bast and fakes a leg accident to go hide in his room.
66. B A Patton
Isn't Denna's ring supposed to be a blueish whisp stone? Perhaps it would emit the same light as Auri's bluish green light?
67. B A Patton
What is Elxa Dal translates as Master Ash? I have no evidence to support this and maybe it had been stated elsewhere. I haven't been reading a lot of the comments, being so late in joing in on the reread.
Donal P. O'Brien
68. doctorp
@65: I don't buy it. Kvothe's appearance couldn't have changed so much since he left the University that Sim wouldn't instantly recognise him and I reckon we'd have had some acknowledgement from Kvothe about him being familiar too.
69. ARMed_Pirate
It might be noteworthy that in the conversation with Sleat, Sleat mentions a rumor that Kvothe can speak with the dead. (Presumably spirits, not corpses? But they're not sure.)

It's the only rumor Kvothe has heard that he didn't make up or start in some way. But I suspect that all the rumors about Kvothe are true, even the ones he thought he was making up. "Demon blood" for instance is likely Fae blood in the Lackless line, and explains his changing eye color.

What do you want to bet that the "speak to the dead" rumor also ends up being true?

Kvothes rumors being true reminds me of Denna's magic where writing down a story makes it true (which relates directly to what Chronicler and Kvothe are doing in the frame).

It's also relevant to the chat Kvothe has with Devi about the book Kvothe borrowed, by Malcaf. Kvothe says that Malcaf's "theories about perception as an active force were interesting... But he writes like he's afraid of someone might actually understand him."

Now, this is partially a reference to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, which says you can't know everything about a particle, and the more precisely you know one piece of information about the particle (say, position), the less precisely you can know certain other types (say, momentum). If I remember/understand correctly (I am not a quantum physicist), this is because the act of gathering information, the act of perception itself, changes other things about the particle. What kind of info you gather determines which other things change. But perception is an active force (using imprecise language here).

However, the Kingkiller Chronicle is _all about_ how perception (in the sense of how people perceive you, and how you perceive yourself) is an active force. Kvothe is Kote because Kvothe (and everyone else in Newarre) _perceive_ him to be Kote. Kvothe is Kvothe the Bloodless or Kvothe the Arcane because he has "bought and paid for" those names, by putting in the hard work to get the world to perceive him that way. His sympathy and song might not work in the frame because the world _perceives_ Kvothe to be dead. He has everyone's perception acting against him.

If Denna's magic exists, where writing down a story makes it true, then this type of perception as an active force becomes even stronger. And it doesn't have to be written down, either. It can be sung. Kvothe wants to visit a place where the people (Singers?) can sing wounds healed and perform other feats through song, and in WMF, Denna's patron is purposely having her compose a song (that Kvothe knows to be misleading), presumably to have some physical effect on the world.

Has anyone here ever played Earthdawn? I wonder if Rothfuss has. It's a fantasy RPG where a person's power is directly correlated to their legend (or fame). Names and name-giving are really important there, too.

The more I dig into it, the more the Kingkiller Chronicle has in common with The Unwritten graphic novel series, as well. Control the story, control reality.

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