Oct 6 2011 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 6: Tangled Up

Welcome to my ridiculously detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 29-34 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.

In last week’s comments Greyhood suggests about Auri:

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).

Isn’t that lovely? That really fits so well with what we know of Auri and Kvothe and what we’ve been thinking and talking about with names and the frame as well. I’m promoting Greyhood to Re’lar for this impressive insight.

So, on with the read.


Chapter 29 is “Stolen”

His lute.

Still being attacked through malfeasance by Ambrose, Kvothe goes to his room in Ankers and finds his lute is missing. It’s a short chapter, and it’s interesting that it’s set off alone as a chapter, when all there is in it is Kvothe looking for his lute and failing to find it. We already know how important it is to him. He feels as if someone has stolen his heart out of his chest.

The thing this incident reminds me of — D stealing the lute to buy the case — is O Henry’s famous Christmas story “The Gift of the Magi” where the girl sells her hair to buy a watch fob and the guy sells his watch to buy a hair tie.


Chapter 30 is “More Than Salt”

It’s his metaphor for D, but it also reminds me of the salt the peddler had in the frame that they didn’t buy and wished they had. We take salt for granted, it’s nice that they don’t.

Elodin’s class contuinues to make no sense to Kvothe because he can’t see through the metaphor. This is the class where he makes it really explicit with the “quit grabbing at my tits” one. Kvothe continues to be really dense.

After class he’s in a foul mood — he had been coping with everything, but the loss of his lute is too much, because he cannot live without music. He goes and has lunch at Ankers, and Rothfuss demonstrates his casual superiority to many American fantasy writers by showing he knows what a rasher of bacon is. (In one of Martin’s books somebody eats a “whole rasher of bacon” which would be notable only in somebody recovering from a bad illness, since a rasher is a slice.) And Anker gives him a note and he has missed dinner with D, but he skips Siaru and goes to Imre to look for her. As usual he finds her just when he has given up looking, crying over a letter in a garden.

Who is the letter from? I can’t even guess.

They both acknowledge that they are not okay, and offer to help each other, which is nice — it’s more genuine than either of them normally are with each other. Kvothe’s summary of the problem is “My bad luck got tangled up with my bad decisions” which covers it nicely. And in moments they’re back into clever banter — he’s her safe harbor in an endless stormy sea, her shady willow on a sunny day and so on, they’re trading metaphors. Then she takes him to see the new lutecase, waterproof and well designed, with a secret pocket. (Kvothe swears by “God’s body” which is definitely Tehlin. Maybe he picked it up in Tarbean.) And he feels sick because the case is lovely and the lute is stolen, then the shop-man brings out his lute, and he starts to cry.

While she is apologising, she says “I can never find you when I go looking” and we have already observed that the same is true for him with her. Could this be magical, and if so, what kind? It’s like a curse, but where would curses fit in these magic systems?

She also says:

This happens to me all the time. I try to do something good but it gets all tangled up.

Kvothe identifies with this, but it seems to me that while this has happened with stealing her ring it doesn’t happen to him very often — most of the time things work out for him.

And then he breaks into poetry:

You are my bright penny by the roadside. You are worth more than salt or the moon on a long night of walking. You are sweet wine in my mouth, a song in my theoat and laughter in my heart.

For somebody who protested he knew nothing about courting girls he’s doing OK! But it’s all deniable rhetoric. And he buys her dinner and walks back to University later happily, with his lute.


Chapter 31 is “The Crucible”

(It’s funny how this is such a commonplace metaphor when I can’t think of any other alchemical or chemical metaphors at all and I got told off for using them when I was writing poetry in school.)

With his lute back, everything is easier. Since we’ve been all about the metaphors, in a meta sense this is about writing.

Kvothe visits Sim in Alchemy. Sim has new hobnailed boots. And we haven’t seen this plan before we’re being plunged into it, which is quite unusual for these books, where we normally get everything in order and the planning before the execution. There’s no explanation of why Kvothe needs something magical that will protect his hands from heat. But I love Sim being assertive here and making Kvothe realise he knows nothing about alchemy.


Chapter 32 is “Blood and Ash”

Blood needed to make a gram, and ashes of the fire, and also Master Ash though he isn’t mentioned?

Here we are in the middle of the plan — in the forest to the north of University, with pale moonlight filtering through the bare trees. There’s a campfire in a fire pit Kvothe had dug a few days before. And “everyone else” is there, Mola and Fela, Wil and Sim. Wil and Sim look tired from watching over Kvothe. And Kvothe has finished his gram. Sim tests it with a mommet and a pin, Kvothe pretends it hurts. Then they try again, with his Alar relaxed, which feels weird after keeping it up so long. The gram goes cold against the attacks but nothing gets through. Sim mentions Devi, Mola asks for details, Kvothe explains to her about Devi. Still no explanation to us (or Chronicler and Bast) about the plan. The gram works and Kvothe sleeps in his own bed.


Chapter 33 is “Fire”

In Ambrose’s inn.

A kid shows up with a note from D, and again he can’t make dinner with her. It’s very clever how the kid has been looking around the docks for somewhere called Anchors — we’ve had “Ankers” in front of us for ages without thinking of that. He sends the boy back with another note.

And he’s off to gather wood and make a huge blaze in the forest. Fela shows up looking gorgeous, and we discover that the plan involves her having dinner with Ambrose — poor thing. Then Mola shows up with Devi, who wants a piece of Ambrose. Kvothe apologises to her. She lends Fela earrings. Mola says he and Devi are a lot alike. Devi gives Fela advice. Wil asks if all women secretly know each other — Devi says all the women have to live in one wing of the Mews and there are only a hundred of them, how can they not know each other? This is the kind of detail that makes perfect sense and which Kvothe hasn’t mentioned and might not have known.

The ear-rings are emerald tear-drops which “a sweet young boy” used to settle a debt. I think that wasd Geoffrey and they were D’s. Sim gives something to Fela. Kvothe explains to Devi to set the mommet on fire, trying wax first and then clay.

Kvothe and Wil go into the Golden Pony, where Kvothe has been going for two span to establish a pattern. There’s a cry of “Fire!” Kvothe runs upstairs and opens the door to Ambrose’s room with a siege stone, which he explains he has made in the Fishery. He throws Ambrose’s clothes out of the window. Sim, outside, stomps on things with his hobnailed boots, which will break a clay mommet. People come in and throw water on things. Wil fakes bandaging Kvothe’s hand, which isn’t burned because of Sim’s stuff. Ambrose rushes back and accuses Kvothe of stealing, Kvothe pretends he doesn’t know whose rooms they are.

Then back in the forest Fela comes back and explains how Ambrose rushed off, and she followed and was scornful at him, and she asks Sim to improvise Eld Vintic poetry about it, which he does. Wil and Sim talk about how they have made things better — Sim by adding trashy women’s clothes to Ambrose’s clothes in the courtyard, Wil by dropping a poem about Ambrose’s “powerful affection” for Hemme. Devi asks what Kvothe did, and he says nothing but destroying the mommet. Wil mentions that he kicked over the chamber pot. He shows them that he found the pawn slip for the ring. And he tells us, but not them, that he found it in Ambrose’s purse, where there was also six talents — enough for a night out for Ambrose, or to repay his debt to Devi for him.


Chapter 34 is “Baubles”

Kvothe redeems the ring, using Ambrose’s money that he stole. In a case he sees D’s emerald necklace, and immediately guesses that she sold it to buy his lutecase. And then he looks for her and can’t find her, what a surprise.

And we’ll stop there and start next time from Chapter 35.

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.

Katy Maziarz
1. ArtfulMagpie
Not that it much matters, but in American English "rasher" is frequently used to describe a whole serving of many slices of bacon, not a single slice. I don't think I've ever heard anyone call a slice of bacon a rasher, in fact. Just a difference in common language usage. :-)

"...he’s her safe harbor in an endless stormy sea, her shady willow on a sunny day and so on..."

Three things all wise men fear? A sea in storm? But Kvothe is the harbor? Interesting... Interesting, too, that Kvothe is compared to a willow. Willows tend to be supple trees that bend with the wind. But Kvothe's Adem name means "broken tree." So he used to be a tree bending with the wind, but something hardened him until he broke?
Chris Hawks
2. SaltManZ
In a book I just recently read ("The Shadow of the Wind" perhaps?) someone eats "rashers and eggs" for breakfast, which I assumed meant strips of bacon. Before that, I only knew that "rasher bacon" was Canadian for American-style bacon (as just "bacon" refers to the Canadian style.)
3. AG3
@ArtfulMagpie The thing about a tree bending with the wind reminds me of K's Alar like ramston steel (the hardest thing around until it breaks). Especially cause if his alar broke, then that could explain why he can't seem to use it at all in the frame even though he can (if poorly) still perform the adem fighting stuff and fight off the scrael and other things. Plus if his alar is unavailable, maybe thats why he can't open the thrice-locked chest?
Steven Halter
4. stevenhalter
I found it interesting that at the start of chapter 30 Kvothe is using similes. Then, after getting his lute back he uses metaphor and then has an easier time in Elodin's class.
George Brell
5. gbrell
Re: The Gift of the Magi

I had never read this story. For anyone else for whom this is true, it’s available on Project Gutenberg. Read it. Immediately. Then cry.

Re: Salt

Salt was hugely important in early history, so you’re right it is nice to see it highly valued here.

Re: God’s body = Tehlu

The fact that it often referred to as “charred” or “blackened” further solidifies this.

Re: “I try to do something good but it gets all tangled up.”

Perhaps this is a reference to Kvothe’s comments from NotW when he states that his greatest triumphs occurred when he didn’t think about what he was doing.

Re: The earrings

Almost certainly Denna’s used to settle Geoffrey’s debt. The timing also *kind of* works with her selling the locket to pay for the lute case. Perhaps there was more to her falling out with Kellin than we are made aware of?

Re: The cry of “Fire!”

Love the comment about over-acting.

Re: The Siege Stone

Really cool piece of artificery. I’m guessing it has principles much like Harry Dresden’s kinetic force rings in Butcher’s Dresden Files. The question that I don’t remember being answered, however, is how the device is actually triggered. Does it have a literal trigger or does it hit anything that comes into contact with its point? (Probably the former or it would be kind of useless to store energy). Also, assuming that energy cannot be created or destroyed (per the three C’s lecture), how did the energy get stored in the stone to begin with? (Did Kvothe just swing it around a lot?) Lots of fun questions that will likely never have answers unless I end up roleplaying with PR at some point in the future. Next life goal: make that happen.


That’s a wonderful observation.
6. Jonathan.White
Ms. Walton,

Denna's letter in Chapter 30 particularly intrigued me, because she does not seem the sort to cry over a letter. I noticed you didn't have any theories (nor has any been proposed in previous comments), so I will attempt to limn the subject, in a loose sense.

It seems to me that there are three main possibilities for the sender of the letter:

1. One of the noblemen she manipulates for money
2. A relative
3. Her mysterious patron

I have discounted #1 because if she is going to cry over a letter, it's almost certainly not going to be one from one of her noblemen. She doesn't care for them - they're just her source of income.

We are left with 2 and 3. To me, 3 seems more likely, although this is only because we don't know about her family, or even whether she has any. It is certainly possible that a relative could send a letter that would make her cry, perhaps even more likely than her patron (not in terms of the sending but rather the crying - might family tidings cause a rise of emotion, especially if she has deserted/been sent away from them?). However, I prefer 3 because it would be much more relevant to the story. The identity of her patron is a subject long-discussed (Amyr? Chandrian? etc.) and his sending her letters could be very important, especially as we suspect that Kvothe has already met him (Bredon? Cinder? etc.).

One last thing - you make no mention of the pear she is eating, but it is curious to me that Kvothe makes a point of saying it is odd: "Where had she come by a pear so late in the season?" (233). This could be an idle detail, or it could be more meaningful than at first glance, as many phrases in this series are. If it is, my theory is that her patron sent it with the letter, from Vintas, where pears would conceivably grow better later in the season (Bredon, anyone?).

I've just reread WMF, and of course with each reading I glean more from the story. That's all for now.

Jonathan White
7. beerofthedark
re the description of K's loss of the lute feeling like someone had stolen his heart from his chest - that did make me immediately think of the locked 'chest' in the frame (i've seen too many cryptic crosswords to ignore that double meaning) and again ponder whether it's the lute in there. Though I'm still no closer to having a reason why that should be

BTW certainly in the UK a rasher is a slice, I believe a side of bacon from which rashers are cut is a 'fletch'.
8. Herelle
@6 Denna and the letter
For some reason I´ve always connected this letter with Geoffrey. I´ve thought Geoffrey wasn´t the usual gentleman caller. He had a more familiar feeling, like a brother of Denna maybe. Denna never made a habit of helping or caring for her aquaintances, but she does care for Geoffrey. Usually it is also Kvothe who leaves her with those men and Kvothe and Denna hide how well they know each other. But when Kvothe visits Denna in her rooms Geoffrey leaves. Denna even tells Kvothe about Geoffrey, how gullible he is and then we get to know that Denna actually gave her earrings to Geoffrey so that he could pay back his debt to Devi. Usually she gets the presents. Why does she feel responsible for Geoffrey? My theory: He is her brother. She left the family because she wasn´t happy, maybe was disgraced or something. She is still in contact with him, maybe she went visiting him in Anilin where he told her she is still not welcome home (in WMF she returned and told Kvothe it was bad but not unexpected). Now Geoffrey visited her but isn´t able to live on his own and in the end he goes back to their family, writes her a letter with bad news from home which she is crying over now.

@Jo anchor is Anker in German

Then Mola shows up with Devi, who wants a piece of Ambrose.
Why then did she make the plum bob for him in the first place?
The only explanation I have for that is she didn´t know the plum bob was intended for Kvothe and she is angry that Ambrose jeopardized her investment in Kvothe. Well that would be stupid though - she should have been more careful what she hands out to whom, especially because she must have known the rumours about their feud.
Jo Walton
9. bluejo
Herelle: I don't think she knew she was making it for Ambrose, I think he sent the same woman he sent to Kvothe to Devi to get it.

And I wondered about Geoffrey too in regard to the letter. He (or she) and Kvothe are the only people D seems to care enough to hurt about. If it's from Master Ash, what would he be saying? Because she's saying that she has screwed up, and what has she screwed up with him? Not that we'd know I suppose.
- -
10. hex
@8 Devi hates Ambrose for less recent events- Devi says,
He beats his whores,” Devi said, interrupting him abruptly. “And if I could kill the arrogant bastard and get away with it, I would have done it years ago.” She stared flatly at Wilem. “And yes, we have a past. And no, it’s none of your business. Is that enough reason for you?”
The plum bob she sold was not directly to Ambrose, but to an intermediary, so she wouldn't have had any idea about its intended target.

Her selling it at all strikes me as stupid though. Sim says that plum bob is Mandrag's favorite example of how alchemy can abused, and the story he tells about it has a very unhappy ending for the alchemist who made it. So Devi sells some to a rich, probably connected, total stranger? Why would you trust someone buying an alchemical weapon not to rat you out later? She says the stranger made a stunningly good offer, which should only add to suspicion.
Josh Miller
11. alphagold3
Devi wants in to the University library bad enough that if someone offered to show her a way in, I bet she'd do anything for that knowledge, including selling dangerous alchemical substances such as a plum bob.
12. jmd
I wonder if the references to "tangled" also refer to the knots and the magic D is trying to learn. I also think of them as strings, though usually lute strings don't tangle, per se. Wasn't there a scene in the first book about untangling horse tack when K was traveling and he first met D? Or am I just confusing all the work he did with the caravan and his experience with his family's troupe?

Also of course, "what a tangled web we weave when first we practice to deceive".

I also think K and D both think they are just so very clever that the plans they make become hugely complicated and are doomed to fail whereas if they go with instinct and simplicity things go smoothly.
13. mochabean
Ah, the title of this week's post had me singng "Tangled Up in Blue" and I'm now convinced Kvothe, with his contempt for poets but love of singers, would be a Dylan fan:

And later on as the crowd thinned out; I's just about to do the same; She was standing there, in back of my chair; Said to me "Don't I know your name ?

Damn but Rothfuss is good.
George Brell
14. gbrell
Re: Denna’s letter/@6Jonathan.White

I’ll confess that I didn’t pay much attention to this the first couple times I read WMF. But now that it’s been mentioned, it seems like it should be important (Chekhov’s gun and all that).

Let us assume that the letter is from a “known” character (i.e. one that is predictable from the text, not a complete unknown). In addition to the options listed @6, I think Geoffrey should be added as a separate category. The reason I mention this is because there is no evidence that I remember in the text that Denna’s relationship with him resembles her relationships with other noblemen.

With that said, I can think of no reason that Denna would be in tears over Geoffrey’s predicament in conjunction with the letter. His problems are already discussed and known to Kvothe. She’s already sold the necklace, making it likely that she’s gifted the earrings as well. Why would she be in tears over a problem that is already cured? Even if Geoffrey was her brother (cool theory @8Herelle), why is she sad that she helped fix his problems? I think the “he went back to family and sent back news” theory is a little flimsy; her later conversation with the runaway girl in Vintas implies that her parents would want her back (even if the situation was uncomfortable), not that they would have disowned her.

I think I agree with Jonathan that it should relate to her mysterious patron (I firmly support Bredon over Cinder). So let us discuss the scene from that perspective. What could he be saying that could cause her so much pain? The obvious one, in my mind, is he’s telling her to leave Imre and she’s crying about having to leave Kvothe. The second one, related to the first, is that he’s asking her to betray Kvothe.

When she approaches him, she is “smiling, but her eyes were rimmed with red.” She is under control, but she loses it when Kvothe inquires about her well-being. This seems like a kind of dramatic irony where Kvothe cares for the person who is being asked to hurt him. This gives the conversation: “Can I help? You help just by being here.” a wonderful double meaning. Note that she moves away from the subject literally (by hiding the letter, the obvious source of the sadness) and figuratively (by moving the conversation back to Kvothe). With that said, the next line about her “true smile” kind of hurts this theory, but I’ve always felt that Kvothe is a) very good at reading people and b) very terrible at reading Denna.

Re: The pear

The seasonally-unlikely “half-eaten pear” makes me think of the theory about Denna traveling to and from Fae. Note that when she sees Kvothe, she throws the “remains of the pear” away (I don’t normally view half-eaten and remains as the same thing, but ignoring this). Is she throwing it away to prevent Kvothe from noticing?

Re: Devi and the Plum Bob

Devi isn’t a saint; she’s a loan-shark. And a very dangerous one at that. I find it completely unsurprising that a prideful and powerful person would be willing to sell a dangerous implement for a high price. Sleat sells a crossbow, which is certainly dangerous and, we know, illegal, for a comparative pittance.

Also, I thought Devi mentioned she sold it to a nobleman, which eliminates the possibility that the woman who drugged Kvothe also purchased it. As a random aside: Is it possible that she was also suffering from the effects of the plum bob? We know it was on the outside of her gloves, but she also acts in a manner of remarkable mood swings, though hers appear to be controlled in the sense that they don’t interfere with her given task.
15. DeviLish
Chapter 33 makes me laugh out loud. I appreciate how PR writes his female characters. Most girls know the sorts of advice Devi & Mola give Fela for leading Ambrose on or keeping him at bay, but it's wonderful to see a guy's accurate writing of it. That mention by Devi of barely 100 women in the Arcanum makes me wonder if she might know who Auri is. Devi was there before Mola, and Mola is finally promoted to El'the. In NOTW, Wil says that Arwyl ALWAYS goes 6 terms E'lir, 8 terms Re'lar, and 10 terms El'the. Mola's been there at least 14 terms, and Devi showed her the ropes when Mola first came. Devi was expelled during Sim's first term (WMF), Sim just made Re'lar before K. got back from his travels, and Devi was expelled (in her mind) b/c she could match Elxa Dal's alar by her second year. If Auri was a student, Devi was there far enough back that she might know who Auri was/is. Interesting possible encounter in D3.

Re: Denna's Letter / Geoffrey
Denna first describes Geoffrey as "a sweet boy", with Kvothe saying it sounds like she regrets it. The persona I glean from this is the sort that would send a letter causing Denna (or Dinael, with interesting overtones of Hebrew 'El' and demonic names like Asrael coming to mind for me) to cry IF he escaped elsewhere to try to eke out an existence, redemption, overcoming, etc. If he's writing back to her in thanks for giving him the earrings to pay back Devi and updating D. on his current circumstances, it would be like watching a tragedy happening beyond your reach: tears of futility, of wanting that bird with broken wings to fly again, despite the odds.

Off on the topic of rings, since they're woven throughout the series:
Has it been remarked upon yet that Bast has rings, too? In the scene w/ Chronicler & Bast at the end of WMF, we learn Bast has rings of horn, leather and woven grass on a shelf in his room. We know from Bredon that ring-giving goes back a long ways. He says a horn ring stands for powerful and lasting enmity (was Bast exiled from Fae?), leather promises service (is Bast the one serving or being served?), and green grass is given when courting. It sounds like Bast gets around, but I don't know who he'd be courting seriously. I like the theory voiced already about rings initially being part of the Temic world, with watered-down versions still holding meaning (if not the power) in present world. Those unable to acquire power seek refuge in assuming the appearance of it, etc. The interweaving of rings throughout the plot interests me -- particularly b/c PR has paid homage to Tolkien while still writing a completely new fantasy arc that doesn't retell LOTR.
16. Trollfot
About Chekhov's gun and the lute case, what if it is not as innocent as it looks? Denna or someone could have prepared it with a mammot or whatever is more suited to use as a tracker for Kvothe. He always keeps the case with him.

Or else it was just a lovely gift that show is Denna's affection for Kvothe... who knows?
Alice Arneson
17. Wetlandernw
A couple of thoughts on the letter... if Geoffrey is Denna's brother (or possibly sister or dearly-loved cousin) who came to her in defiance of the family edict, it would certainly explain her affection for him. If, further, he came with the intention of helping her, learning from her, generally being with her... that would be an interesting dilemma. If he finally gave up, realizing his inability to live that life, and wrote her a letter explaining that with this realization, he's returning to the family (in defeat), she might be crying over a combination of things. Here are a few possibilities: 1) Grief, in losing the unexpected company of a loved one she had never thought she'd see again. 2) Sorrow for his "defeat" as he gives up instead of showing the strength she's displayed. 3) Revisited sadness that she can never go back to her old life. 4) Grief for sending him away, if he left at her insistence. 5) Sadness for the person she's become/becoming. Of course, this is all pure speculation, since we know very little of Denna's actual background, plans, motives or instructions.

On the other hand, I think it more likely that the letter was from her patron, likely containing instructions that she found difficult to accept. (see gbrell @14, re: betraying Kvothe or leaving Imre)
18. Jonathan.White
@bluejo et alia

So we're basically down to 2 main options for the letter:

1. Geoffrey, who could possibly be a relative
2. Her mysterious patron (Bredon being the most likely)

I am still with the patron on this, because from the way Denna talks about Geoffrey to Kvothe, it doesn't seem as if a letter from him would make her cry. She describes him as a "sweet boy," and she feels sorry that he fell into gambling and borrowing money, but to me, there's no deep emotion there, only pity. Additionally, she sells the things he gave her, so they couldn't have too much of a bond. The only reason why I don't think he's a relative is because they're "dating," if you can call it that, and Denna couldn't pull that ploy on a relative - the whole "courtesan" thing and getting presents. It just doesn't fit.

Now for the patron. bluejo, here's my theory in response to your comment. It has already been proposed that Denna is spying on Kvothe (NotW when she's in a drug haze - "It's my job to notice things about you," and in WMF when she tries to pry information about magic from him). I believe this, to an extent. So my theory is that the letter is an order telling her to work/spy harder, or something of that nature, possibly expressing displeasure with her efforts. However, she is very conflicted because she likes Kvothe, and she feels like she's betraying him. Additionally, we know from the Cthaeh that her patron beats her, so she could be terrified that if she doesn't follow his orders, thereby betraying Kvothe, she'll be beaten badly. She's torn in two. I think this could drive her to tears, much more so than a letter from Geoffrey.

Alf Bishai
19. greyhood
Promoted to re'lar! It's strange how much that means to me. Thanks, Jo. I've really been enjoying this forum. I didn't realize they turn into little communities/book clubs.

I've also been getting a real education on how to write fantasy novels. Amazing. (I've started a tinkering with a novel, but it's more magical realism a la Helprin/Marquez/Rushdie.) It seems Rothfuss is more clever than he seems.
Nathan Love
20. n8love
@19 greyhood

I don't know how many of Pat's interviews* or blog entries you've seen, but he's really open about how it all came together for him, and is always eager to pass on any nugget he recieves from his own favorite writers. I'd suggest checking some out if you have the time. I'm not saying (and am probably not far out on a limb guessing he wouln't say it either) that he's the authority, but his candor and how i personally feel about his writing make him an authority. Plus, you know, you get to see his beard, which should win some sort of award and makes me jealous because mine is short and patchy and probably cost me a job interview so I'm gonna stop rambling and shave now.

*was gonna put "PR interviews" but the Department of Redundancy Department wouldn't let me.

@ Bluejo

couldn't Denna be crying for joy? or couldn't the letter be from a different family member than whatever Geoffery may or may not be? like, say, her father just died and left his estate to her wicked stepmother and the butler just thought she should know that not only did they not forgive her but now she has no inheritance?
21. Trollfot
@ 18. Jonathan.White
The one she dated and got the jewellry from was not Geoffrey.
22. neilH
I must ask if the question has arose as to Devi's family to the same scrutiny as Denna's. So far it hasn't really been questioned because of her brash and seemingly self sufficient nature I had largely ignored her, but where is her family? Does she visit them? If not, then why? I understand that we have as little info on her or less than we do to work with on Denna, but surely her future is pretty tied in to this story( she has epic sympathy skills and naming?) I think there could be more to her, and wondered if there were any theories out there?
Julia Mason
23. DrFood
Huh, I never really thought about Devi's family. I think you're right--she projects such self sufficiency, we don't ponder her own possible sources of support. I would guess that a very bright young woman with an Alar like the sea in storm is just not ready to go back to the farm, or wherever, after getting expelled from the University. She's really unwilling to go very far from the Archives, although we don't really know what in the Archives excites her.

Denna (and the pear) and the ensaddening letter are also intriguing. I'm also leaning towards Geoffrey or Bredon as the letter writer. When it comes to the fact that the Cthaeh said of Denna's patron "He beats her, you know," keep in mind that the same thing could be said of Kvothe's Adem tutor (switching the genders, of course). We're definitely being led toward the apprehension of a classic abusive relationship, but I have a feeling this will be turned on its head.

Denna's patron is teaching her things, things she finds well worth learning. (Later, in Severen-Low, she takes down the broad-shouldered man who was abusing the runaway girl rather quickly. Who taught her to subdue men larger than her with just a knife?) Kvothe gets lashed multiple times at the University, but finds this tolerable. He gets beaten on a daily basis with the Ademre, but again is there of his own volition. The Cthaeh is technically truthful but essentially deceitful.
Alice Arneson
24. Wetlandernw
DrFood @23 - Totally agree on "her patron beats her." There are so many uses for the word "beat" that it could be anything. Being bested at a game, or any contest of skill, wit, strength, speed or what-have-you, all qualify as being "beaten" but we're being led by the nose to the notion of abuse. We get a hint in the comparison of his choice to accept whippings at the University rather than leaving - but all it's done for most of us is make us think that maybe Denna is choosing to stay in an abusive relationship because she thinks the patronage is worth it. Like you, I suspect this may be turned inside out and upside down on us in D3.
Julia Mason
25. DrFood
Changing the topic to Kvothe's hands--all important to him in the main story, possibly malfunctioning in some subtle way in the frame story. Back in early September I expressed concern about Kote's hands, saying maybe he now (in the frame story) has a problem with sensation, proprioception or fine motor control.

I was re-re-reading the scene where Kvothe confronts Devi (it's wondrous to me that I can start almost anywhere in either book and find myself engrossed, apparently no matter how many times I've read the passage before) and before he asks to see his blood, he stalls for time by returning a book she'd lent him. He didn't like the book. He says "His theories about perception as an active force were interesting," and then soon after this Devi asks "What did you think about the chapter on proprioception?"

Whoa. Proprioception is not a word that pops up in most people's everyday conversations. I'm reminded of what Jo said earlier, that given all the editing these books have been through, you can assume that nothing is in there as filler. Everything that is there is there for a purpose.

So, what is proprioception? It is the sensation of your own body's position and movements within space. It's how you can clap your hands with your eyes shut. It's the difference between an 8 yr old trying to play a piano piece that uses both hands, stopping and starting and looking first up at the music, then down at her hands, and Billy Joel (or Sarah Maclachlan) belting out a song and looking out at the audience whilst both hands are moving all over the keyboard. If you lose your sense of proprioception, you won't know what your hands are doing if you can't see them.

So, it's interesting that this little bit of apparent time killing prior to his disastrous confrontation includes a brief discussion of proprioception. Kvothe argues that the author doesn't know what he's talking about when he talks about people with amputated limbs. Here it seems we have a reference to the "phantom limb" phenomenon, where a person who has lost a limb still "feels it there." Most commonly what the person feels is phantom pain in the missing limb. One theory about this phenomena is that the brain is primed to receive data back from all parts of the body (that's proprioception) and if the part of the brain expecting feedback from the, say, left hand is getting nothing, then this lack of data may be interpreted as bad/pain.

I can't imagine Pat going all Empire Strikes Back on us and having Kvothe actually flat-out lose a hand, only to have it replaced by a simulacrum that doesn't have good proprioception and thus can't play the lute. So what could he "do" to Kvothe's hand, within the Four Corners world? Something about unbound principles?
26. Spirit Theif
I don't agree. The discussion with the Cthaeh about her patron didn't seem very ambiguous. The Ctheah tells horrible truths, but doesn't lie. It says that her patron does it "sometimes in temper, but mostly it's just a game to him" which actually suggests that it is Bredon, what with his beautiful game and all. Even if it were training like with Kvothe, a teacher wouldn't purposefully leave welts and bruises then knock her unconscious. Not if he was honest. Cthaeh says that he tries to guess "how far can he go before she cries".

A point in your favor: in Ademre Pat tells us of the meanings of the word temper. He could be beating her to strengthen her, but I doubt it due to the suspicious nature of the whole thing. Unless the patron was training her to fight Kvothe, which seems unlikely.

I like how the Cthaeh and Denna are alike. Both are cruel, but their cruelty is a part of their nature. They both act Fae. They are both the bearers of horrible knowledge.

Just a random thought: Fae and humans are descendent from the same race. But somewhere along the lines the shapers were altered so that mortal and far are now as different as alcohol and water. What if it were the shaping itself that changed them? And if Kvothe gained that knowledge from the Lackless box and was changed into the Kote we see in the frame?
Just a highly implausible thought.
Alf Bishai
27. greyhood
My guess is that the letter is about Geoffrey. She was trying to do something good with him and it backfired. The whole thing with Geoffrey was her trying to do something good for him. Their association has the flavor of her taking him under her wing. When K. asks him what he does (p.94) D. jumps in ands says he's a poet. It's as if she's afraid he's going to forget his cover story.

My guess is that her questionable patron has gotten his hands on Geoffrey for some reason, and D. is trying to help him out. Perhaps even hide him/her.
28. Jonathan.White
@21. Trollfot

You're right - the *jewelry* was from Kellin. I didn't mention jewelry. But why do you think Denna picked up Geoffrey in the first place? Not for his company. Here is part of the conversation between her and Kvothe after he leaves:

Denna watched the door close behind him. 'He’s a sweet boy.'

'You say that as if you regret it,' I said.

'If he were a little less sweet, he might be able to fit two thoughts in his head at the same time. Maybe they would rub together and make a spark. Even a little smoke would be nice, then at least it would look like something was happening in there.' She sighed.

So whatever he gave her, I'm sure she sold it. My theory is that then she felt badly for playing him, because unlike the others, he was actually nice. Therefore, she pawned the earrings to Devi to pay off his eventual debt.

But for those of you who think Geoffrey might be a relative, I'm afraid this is the final nail in the coffin. Sweet and stupid - he's like the opposite of Denna. It might still be possible, except for the way she talks about him - patronizing and pitying. She just doesn't respond to him the way she would to a relative.

@27. greyhood, I just don't see it. Geoffrey is not important enough, for reasons I have stated earlier. He is unusual in that Denna does pity him, but there's not much beyond that, and I certainly don't see an association with her patron. There is no reason for her ruthless patron to be interested in an idiot like him.
Ashley Fox
29. A Fox
@28. Youre rather snide comment, still has not made your point of view any clearer. In your original post it is unclear which 'things' you are refering too, and it seems as if you have mixed up Kellin and Geoffrey. I was thinking much the same as Trollfoots post.

You're ater post still doesnt make sense, at no point in the qoutes you have put up does it mention Geoffrey giving D a girft...or her having sold them.

The whole point of D's infamous sale-of the jewelry (that has nothing to do with G)-is too make a gift to two people she cares greatly for. Perhaps the only two people she cares greatly for. She doesnt sell them for herself. She buys a lute case, and a debt.

The fact that its clear t the reader, if not K, that D loves him, it aso seems clear that D also loves G. However I do not believe this is a romantic love, nor of blood bond (though it is possible he knows D from her 'childhood'). She treats him as someone who needs protecting, much like the young girl we see her rescue, she doesnt hide K's/her interest in front of him. And what I view as most telling; 'Sparks' remember those refs in NotW chapter titles?

Ive always held that the letter was from G, her feelings for him obviously run strong, some news of him moving on, or thanks, or repeating his mistakes, or going home, perhaps even presenting a reflection of D's loss (at the very least of innocence, and who knows what else). Its reasonable that anything along these lines would make her weep.

I certainly do not buy that it has anything to do with her patron, certainly not holding G hostage! If something such as that had happened it would be reflected in her behaviour later, and I believe at this point her relationship is still tenous with her patron.

Whilst I was the one who raised the notion of her being a con woman, I do not believe that she is a spy (at least not intenionally). It seems to me that her patron would have observed her con skills, seeing a use for them. I do not believe that this would be as something as obvious as a spy, but more of an ellevation, enabled by her various talents.

The Ctheath is most assuredly duplicitous. So is PR. He is clearly playing ith the thematics of perspective, and how perspective is passed on/corrupted by story/song. Many here have suspected that DoS is going to turn what we know on its head, and have seen the clues for this.
andrew smith
30. sillyslovene
@25 DrFood,

Proprioception and K's problems could also account for K's lost fight to the soldiers- if someone's got you around the neck from behind, seeing your hands could be very hard, and if he's got some problem with his hands as has been hinted, this could account for him still being able to perform the "perfect step" and beating the Scrael but failing when he can't fully see his hands for the complex counter movement...

The thought about unbound principles could be an interesting answer- as K in the frame seems much more knowledgable about alchemy (coaching Bast on the use of Cellum Tincture, which IIRC is an alchemy text) than in the story proper. He apparently has put in a lot more study in the area after the point he is at in his story- could that have been his motivation?
31. herewiss13
In re: proprioception.

While Rothfuss is subtle and plays 11-dimensional chess, etc. I think we may be overthinking this. This isn't the first time he's pulled out something we think of as a "modern" scientific term. Galvanic rheostats, come to mind.

I'm fairly certain this is just background, designed to shock us out of the medieval fantasy mindset that becomes to easy to embrace. While magic might exist, it is embraced as a science (bar Naming). They have medicine, not humor-balancing and leeches. They have many other "modern" concepts and we forget that at our peril. Here, Rothfuss just chooses to remind us of it again. The Four Corners are _different_ but they aren't _backward_ (except for the regions that are).
Nathan Love
32. n8love
@ 25 DrFood
"His theories about perception as an active force were interesting,"

This is, I think, a reminder of Bast and Chronicler's conversation about seeming, or becoming what you pretend to be (or eventually convince yourself you are).

As for the next quoted line about proprioception: I like this idea, but just in case it turns out not to be K's problem in the frame, let us not accuse PR of a red herring here. It could easily just be reinforcement of Elodin's "sleeping mind" lessons, which Kvothe clearly still doesn't grasp well enough. I'm thinking of the boy catching the stone being an excellent example of proprioception. It seems to imply that at this point Kvothe is still troubled, even after calling the wind, by the idea that his mind or body can do things without his full attention or concent.

@31 herewiss13
They have many other "modern" concepts and we forget that at our peril.

Again I think we should be reminded of how little we know of technology before Lanre's betrayal. I think that there are many vestiges of advanced society lurking in the FC, especially at the U. These are not only physical remnants but possibly attitudes, knowledge, or just a penchant for describing the world in a scientific manner. Full knowlege of the history of the FC may be lacking, but "the U has always done this, or had this, or known this" is sufficient for many modern ideas to have lasted. All of this leads me to feel like its a "post" or "formerly" industrial society. Not exactly post apocalyptic, but the destruction of almost all the major cities would no doubt regress a world technologically and societally.

Time for the big finish

I make both of the above points to say that proprioception is indeed imortant, whether or not it is K's malfunction in the frame. It has meaning in Kvothe's current studies and reminds us how scientific the world is or was. If PR uses it later in the frame I will be delighted, as I happen to like the theory. I would also caution against overthinking, but that would be hypocrisy, since that's what I'm generally here to do, and I'm sure I could be similarly accused.
33. Neilh
Hmm, just had a mini epiphany! The princess in question that was saved from barrow kings could well be Denna, in TNOTW, doesn't kvothe save Denna on a Barrow hill? PR suggests it is a human king, BUT, what creature is more kingly than the mighty behemoth that is the Draccus? Surely it would be the king of beasts In it's world? And rarer than human kings he suggests there are probably only 200 of the Draccus size left! Any thoughts? Apologies for the derail from the current topic, I wanted to post it whilst I remembered, also any problems with punctuation and spelling then please forgive me! I'm on my mobile!
Ashley Fox
34. A Fox
@32 I think you are spot on there. Though I do find it an amusing notion to suggest that K's Alar/Name has an inner ear infection! however I do also link the convo with what directly follows; his duel with Devi. He has to percieve her attack on him, and move the 'muscle' (if you will) of his Alar accordingly. The duel is all about perception, equilibrium, movement; but of energy rather than matter (though clearly the energy would affect matter if allowed to do so). It seems to me that its reference here (and it does make me laugh that we are trying to join K and Devi's discusion soley based on a few lines, and our own worlds knowledge!) to how a mind enables magic, and also touching on the theme of perception that runs through the books.

Bottle of wine exploding, a reflex reation?

Also, we see an example of cultural regression in the story of Tehlu. It describes how civilisation was plunged into a dark era. Coupled with our other knowledge this dark age fell after the Creation war.

We then also have Felurians tales of the wonders the cities offered, the aftifacts left behind, the stone road etc. The water mill like aftifact found in the Underthing springs to mind, as does the ever burning lamps, ward stones. Such technologies clearly show that the 4c's were previously more advanced than they are now.
35. Jonathan.White
@29 A Fox

Your comment was somewhat incomprehensible, but I have parsed through it as best I could. Maybe numbers will make this more clear and explicit.

1. Geoffrey has to supply Denna in some way (gifts, money, etc.) in order to be with her (assuming he's not a relative). The reason she took him on is because she thought he could provide for her. That's the way it always works.

2. When he ran out of money, she dumped him, but she felt badly about the whole affair so she paid off his debt with *Kellin's* earrings.

3. The quote is supposed to illustrate that she feels nothing in particular for him beyond a vague pity. It's not about a gift, it's about how he's not special. That was mainly intended to dispute the "Geoffrey is her brother" and "Geoffrey is working with her patron" theories.

Does that make a little more sense now?
Ashley Fox
36. A Fox
@35. Put you're claws away darling. That was unecessary and rude. Perhaps you are unaware, but here in this reread we like to foster a courteous atmosphere and ground even our wildest speculation with refs to the text.

1.a. The text does not state that G ever gives D gifts/money (unless reading her poetry counts). In fact his debt and description implies that he has no money to give.

b. 'to be with her' the text clearly states at the time ( that we as readers whitness D's interactions with G) that D is 'with' Kellin, ensconced in rooms he is paying for. G is put into a role much like K here, seeking out D's company as a friend. G may have other motives, but he comes across as to self absorbed to see D romanically, we see none of the flirtations that are typical of the men D is 'with'. Unless like K he tries to keep his love secret..but he just doesnt seem that deep.

c. 'the reason she took him on is beacuse she thought he could provide for her' The text does not state this. It actually infers, through the qoute that you gave, that D has taken him on to help him, to provide the spark he lacks.

2.a. He had already run out of money. Thats kind of his deal. Quite clearly she hasnt 'dumped' him as we see in the scene, and later when she sells her future security to rescue him.

b. Kellins gift. Saying that they are his, implies that she stole them.

3. So that was what you intended with that qoute? Interesting. My apparently incoherent (admitadly there are a couple of minor typos) post covers my opinion on D's feelings towards G.

@Everyone. So we have a noble fallen on hard times, who is a poet. Wasnt there a waste of space errant prince mentioned somewhere? A possible candidate for our poet king? Thought I'd just throw that out there.
Beth Meacham
37. bam
I think that Geoffrey is a boy that D has rescued from prostitution in the streets, much as she tried to rescue the girl, later. She's trying to teach him, as she offered to teach the girl. She pays off his debts. I fear that the letter is from him, telling her that something terrible has happened to him.
38. kingkiller
@36 A Fox i don't know im kinda leaning towards @35 Jonathan.White on this one. Maybe if Geoffrey had something to offer other than money, like Kvothe does with his wit and companionship. But he doesnt, so the only reason I can think Denna wouldve chosen him is because she wants more money. Then when she found out that he was going broke she helped him out. But she wouldn't have gotten him originally for just company, because she says he can't even fit two thoughts in his head at the same time. That doesn't seem like someone Denna would really be interested in, do you think? That's why I think Geoffrey is not really that important, because Denna got him originally for money, but they were both just unlucky when he lost all of his money gambling.
Alice Arneson
39. Wetlandernw
While I'm not hard over on the idea that Geoffrey is a relative of Denna's, it makes more sense than anything else that's been suggested. Why should she give him pricey jewelry to pay off his debts, when she has needs of her own? (Like... something to live on?) Kvothe was totally blown away by the value of the lute case, and yet she gave something of roughly equal value to... a near stranger for whom she felt pity, since he was young and stupid? I don't see her as being quite that altruistic.

Contrary to Jonathan.White's opinion, I think that her comments about his foolishness are exactly the kind of thing an exasperated sister (half-sister, cousin, aunt) might say, given the circumstances.
40. Jonathan.White
@39. Wetlandernw My impression was that the earrings were not as valuable as the entire necklace, but that's up for interpretation.

I do see your second point, but don't you think it's a little creepy if she's dating/pretending to date a relative? Plus, she doesn't seem very exasperated when she says it, more resigned and pitying. Again, though, that's up for interpretation.
Nathan Love
41. n8love
@40 Jonathan.White

Why do you have the impression that D is dating or pretending to date G?

If you have a book handy some text would be nice as mine's lent out. I don't think AFox or Wetlandernw got the same impression, hence the contention. Personally, I never got the feeling that D and G had any romantic link, real or imagined, except for Kellin's eventual objections to G. I'd rather not take Kellin's side for what are, I think, rather clear biases which were probably imparted to me intentionally by the author.
Nathan Love
42. n8love
This was long winded and pointless so I erased it.
43. Jonathan.White
@41. n8love: Well, he does kiss her on the cheek when he leaves after the first time Kvothe meets him, although I suppose a brother/cousin/whatever could do that too; it just seems unlikely...

I am partly going by Kellin: "Denna's mouth quirked. 'It was mostly Geoffrey he objected to,' she said.” Kellin is biased, yes, but if he has the impression that there is something between Denna and Geoffrey (not family ties), then there very well might be.

Finally, I'm making the assumption because Denna has a certain fondness for noblemen that she has displayed extensively. I'm not talking about a "romantic link," per se...

It's by no means absolute, but I'm pretty convinced that they were in a relationship, weak as it might have been.
Nathan Love
44. n8love
I get what you're saying @Jonathan.White, but I just can't find enough evidence to entertain G as a suitor or sugar daddy or whatever except for Kellin's suspicion (I don't think Yllish knot magic exists just because D asked about writing magic and then had knots in her hair either. Maybe I just don't trust certain characters, but it's a habit that I am unwilling to break). I think that those who had been disagreeing with you hadn't considered G a suitor of any kind and therefore assumed a relationship of sisterly or mentorly nature.
45. Herelle
Something I stumbled upon yesterday (and sorry, it doesn´t have anything to do with the current thread ;-):

I just read about some actor making an audio book of Heinrich von Kleist´s "Penthesilea". Well that name reminded me of Penthe, so I did some research: Penthesilea was Queen of the Amazons, sided with Troy in the Trojan War, and was killed by Achilles. After he took off her helmet he was moved by her beauty and regrets killing her.

Heinrich von Kleist´s play turns it the other way around - there Penthesilea kills Achill in a frenzy and commits suicide when she later realizes what she has done.

That is how I imagine the writing process: Probably PR knew he wanted to include female warriors, the first thing that comes to mind are the Amazons, so he read about them, some things were inspirational, others were not.
Sometimes there is just a name or part of a name that fits. Then there might have been some inspiration from matriarchal people like the Mosuo in China.
46. Jonathan.White
@n8love Maybe, but I just don't see the sibling/mentor relationship. Geoffrey's an idiot nobleman. To me, there's really only one feasible reason why Denna would have picked him up - for money. It was just unlucky for her that he proceeded to lose all of it and more.
Josh Miller
47. alphagold3
@Jonathan.White Denna didn't help the girl on the street for money. What's to say that something about Geoffrey didn't inspire her compassion in the same way? I'm not talking about whether he's family or not but to me it was always just like the girl on the street she helped: PR allowing us to see a side of Denna that we otherwise might not see.
Alice Arneson
48. Wetlandernw
Jonathan.White @46 - "Geoffrey's an idiot nobleman. To me, there's really only one feasible reason why Denna would have picked him up - for money." Funny. To me that says just the opposite. If Geoffrey was just some random guy who ran out of money, why did Denna give him her earnings (whatever their relative value) to pay off his debt? I don't see her as being sufficiently altruistic to give some "idiot nobleman" her money just because she felt sorry for him. It says to me that there's more to the relationship, not less.

As far as being "creepy" - why should it be creepy to hang around with your little brother? If she has reasons (and she would, I think) not to want it known that he's related to her, she wouldn't have to do much to make it look like he's just another one of the guys who hang around her hoping for a smile or whatever. IIRC, we never saw him (or her) do anything that would be inappropriate for brother & sister. If he showed up unexpectedly, and she insisted that they not make their actual relationship known, what better way of spending time together than having him write poetry to recite to her while she pretends to simply put up with him?
49. Jonathan.White
Have you considered (and I have not, up to this point) that it may not have been so calculated as we seem to be assuming? She may have (no matter what kind of relationship they're in) simply felt badly when he blew all his money. Maybe she decided that the earrings were serving a good purpose when she pawned them off. Geoffrey didn't necessarily have to be special to her at first for her to pawn the earrings for him. It's like the girl and the money later in the book - she just feels badly that the girl is so pathetic , and she wants to help. Do you think they're related? I don't. It's that Denna can be nice sometimes, just not often.
Ashley Fox
50. A Fox
Well in the situation with the girl, there is an awful lot more that D finding the girl merely 'pathetic' and feeling bad for her. The girl is a younger reflection of D-D is passing on hard learned lessons.

@n8love, alphagold, wetlandrew...good points. All consistant with text, character and plot.

I think we all know that 'just' doesnt really apply to much in these books! That doesnt mean that G is going to feature majorly later (though he may), but it does mean we can infer greater meaning into his interactions with D

a, There is a bond there. Famial/love/caring. He is put in exactly the same staus as K in D's life. (Well mebe K's role is greater becuase he has that spark)
b, G and the girl show a side that is new to the reader-beyound the con woman, the multiple D's, we see more of the hurt and compassion in her, leading us to draw comparisons with her own past.
c, It underlines her views on wealth. She does not go courting with all these different men for a desire for great wealth, but to keep herself afloat while she works out what she wants in life. When she does have great wealth/security, she gives it away to imrove the lives of her friends. For someone in her position this is no small act. We have seen how she doesnt really like/enjoy what she does.

I would argue that money is not actually a great motivator for D. Its a necessity. Think back to Deoch's obseravtions of her, with what she tells the girl. She struggles to make ends meet, making the best of a bad situation, losing herself in the process. Her pursuit of a patron and her interest in written majic shows that she wants more that she has/is seeking a purpose.

Of course that raises more qs than it answers!
51. BennettVictor
I agree with Jonathan.White. I think that Geoffrey is not a major character and was probably just added to display that D isn't completely wicked and truly feels bad about taking money from someone who she doesn't think deserved it.
Also, I agree with you A Fox in that D doesn't really care that much for money, but she just needs enough to get by.
52. Jonathan.White
Thank you, BennettVictor.

I do agree with A. Fox about Denna not being a money fiend, but I just don't see Geoffrey as being important. I think that's the main point. By extension, bringing this discussion full-circle, I don't think it was Geoffrey who sent the letter. It may or may not have been her patron (I'm with the patron), but it wasn't Geoffrey, whoever it was.
53. Herelle
Seeing the whole discussion I just tried to think about what makes Kvothes encounter with Geoffrey so different from the other noblemen, at least for me.
I think it´s about secrets. Before when Denna was with someone and Kvothe met her, they shared a secret relationship and excluded the nobleman (for instance in the Eolian, when Denna "loses" an earring in order to have a conversation with Kvothe, or right after Trebon, when Kvothe told the camouflaged story - hero beat the beast but lost his love and the treasure).
Evidently PR did this intentionally, he even explains some of it in his blog:
"But “Outside his field of vision, Denna rolled her eyes at me.” makes it clear that Denna is doing this for Kvothe’s benefit. The interaction is between Kvothe and Denna. She’s effectively engaging in clandestine communication with Kvothe, saying, in effect, “Yeah, he’s full of himself. But what are you going to do?”

I don´t have the book with me, so I´ll just use what Greyhood wrote in post 27:
When K. asks him what he does (p.94) D. jumps in ands says he's a poet. It's as if she's afraid he's going to forget his cover story.

So I think that´s the point, she shares a secret with Geoffrey that she keeps from Kvothe and the reader is supposed to know, that´s why it´s in the text. Denna doesn´t keep her affection for Geoffrey secret.
We know more about Geoffrey characterwise than about the others, but we know less about his background (social standing, origin, descent) than about the others. I think we don´t even know his last name and/or title, which is usually given at a formal introduction. That, and because we know Denna payed his debts, is why I think her relationship with Geoffrey is different than with her usual male company and he is special to Denna. Up to now we only had Geoffrey and Mr. Ash about whom Denna kept information from Kvothe, and she keeps Kvothe secret from her patron. To me it seems as if those three people at least are important to Denna.
This doesn´t explain the letter in any way and as I said the assumption is just due to a feeling in my gut, supported by the placing maybe. Geoffrey was mentioned shortly before that (when Kvothe met him) and shortly after that when we get to know that Denna gave her earrings to Devi to pay his debts.
As an aside: it is actually out of character that Denna pays any debts, even her own. How often was it that she left an inn without paying? What made her do it?

As for the letter being from her patron I don´t really see it. Mr. Ash is so secretive and Denna is extra careful with information about him, I don´t think she would read his instructions on a park bench in public and broad daylight. And if it was a letter from him commanding her to do something she doesn´t want to do, her reaction doesn´t really fit. I would expect more anger rather than the kind of sorrow/grief she is showing.
thistle pong
54. thistlepong
I've been out of the loop for awhile, but I'm pleased to see this discussion is as vibrant as ever. Denna is pretty much nice to everyone, isn't she? She compartmentalize: gifts given freely may be disposed freely, inns may be able to sustain the occasional freeloader, and men, especially wealthy men, are profitably susceptible to flattery. But she's generous with her time, assistance, and wealth. She's drawn to folks in need, and takes pleasure in helping them. Even her version of Lanre is the more compassionate one. @49, it's not that she can be nice but not often; it's that she's often makes decisionsto ensure self preservation that might, like leaving the standing stones outside Reborn, appear hard. Thanks A Fox. I don't know if that's where you were going, though.

I tend to think Geoffrey isn't anomalously special, just appropriately so; another example of Denna's character. Which is all a long way of saying I don't think the letter is his. Given this is the last time Kvothe will see Denna until Severen, it seems more likely Master Ash is summoning her to Yll. She's just done something wonderful for Kvothe, sort of pushing their relationship forward, and now she has to leave. She's sad, but she's truly happy to see Kvothe and determined to make the most of the time they have left. If it was from Ash, it would absolutely have been obfuscated enough to peruse in public.
Alf Bishai
55. greyhood
@53 "As an aside: it is actually out of character that Denna pays any debts, even her own. How often was it that she left an inn without paying? What made her do it?"

Fantastic catch!
Alf Bishai
56. greyhood
An idea. It may go nowhere, but I feel like there might be something here.
1. Denna says - cryptically - that her patron has a way of signalling her.

2. She is intrigued by the sygaldry-engraved bell by which she summons the porter. Later, she asks K if sympathy is how this works. This made me think that maybe her patron uses this kind of thing to signal her. (Like K et al with their twig-o-grams.) My next question was then: does D have something that might be the object with the symp. link?

3. I thought of her ring. She says it's important to her. Maybe because Mr.Ash did something with it? (Perhaps it gets cold as the signal? Or some kind of morse code?) A ring - more than anything else - is something you might always wear. So when Ambrose takes it indefintely, she's really in a bit of trouble. Her patron may be calling her but no one's picking up the phone. Do we see her with her patron in that time?

4. I then thought of the letter. The letter may be from Mr.Ash, saying something like - 'If you can't be reliable, etc. then that's the end of this patronage.'

5. And perhaps G. he was sent by Mr. Ash to find her. Didn't Mr. Ash send a woman to pay D for information as a test? Maybe that was Geoffrey? (That's total wild specualtion.)

Anybody feeling any of this?
57. flamingo
I don't necessarily ascribe to the whole "Denna and Geoffrey are siblings and the letter's from him" viewpoint, but one thing I noticed was that in the list of troubles he has, Denna mentions that his mother is sick and he doesn't have the money for passage back to her. If they are indeed siblings, she could have pawned the earrings to pay his way back home, and the letter might have been him informing her that their mother had died or gotten worse or something similar.

In the same vein, I don't think anything her Master Ash could have told Denna over something as impersonal as a letter could have made her cry in public like that. They're not very emotionally connected, I think; it seems to me as though he's just a pain-in-the-butt vehicle to get her wherever it is she wants to go in life.
58. Jonathan.White
@56 greyhood, I like that idea a lot. It makes sense. Something like that would be a perfect way for her patron to signal her, and Denna would view it as unusual just as she views the bells ringing in time as unusual, because she has no experience with sygaldry. The only problem with your theory that I can see is that the ring is never seen to have any special properties beyond its value. Devi says nothing. Kvothe even has it for a time, and he says nothing. I guess it's still possible, though. Maybe something else? I can also see the letter as a summons.

Your 5th point: Didn't Mr. Ash send a woman to pay D for information as a test? Maybe that was Geoffrey?
(That's total wild specualtion.)

Sorry, greyhood, I'm not with you on this one, only because Geoffrey is not a woman. I can therefore assure you that the woman Mr. Ash sent to pay for information as a test (and I do remember Denna mentioning that) was not Geoffrey.

Still, I like 1, 2, 3, and 4.
59. Herelle
@56 greyhood
Sygaldry/sympathy could really be the way her patron signals her, but I don´t think necessarily through the ring. She wouldn´t give it out of her hands then I guess, because it could be "ringing" anytime. And what about distance, would that work if Mr. Ash was in Vintas and Denna in Imre?

@57 flamingo
Denna mentions that his mother is sick and he doesn't have the money for passage back to her. If they are indeed siblings, she could have pawned the earrings to pay his way back home, and the letter might have been him informing her that their mother had died or gotten worse or something similar.
Nice idea, I didn´t remember that detail.
Jo Walton
60. bluejo
If the letter is from Master Ash -- and I am agnostic on this point -- I was with Flamingo on "not enough emotional connection" except that emotional connection isn't the only thing that can make people cry. If he'd written a letter saying "I'm not going to work with you unless..." the "unless" could have made her cry, because it could have had the emotional connection. Or he could have said "You suck and are worthless I don't know why I waste my time..."

But she says as plainly as she ever says anything that she has screwed up, that she has done something and it's her fault. She agrees with "bad luck tangled up with bad decisions".

I don't think we can know, right now, but I think we'll find out eventually.
Alf Bishai
61. greyhood
@60. ...she has done something and it's her fault. She agrees with "bad luck tangled up with bad decisions".

I know, pure speculation, but...

Screwed up: let Ambrose repair her precious ring even though it was her connection to Ash. ('I promise you'll have it back tomorrow.')
Bad luck tangled up with bad decisions: Ambrose stole the ring.
Alice Arneson
62. Wetlandernw
greyhood @61 - I'm right there with you on this one. I would go so far as to suggest Ambrose pushed his "willingness" to get her ring repaired (if he didn't manage to do the damage himself) when he realized it was important to her, and pushed hard enough that she couldn't get out of letting him do it without a really, really, really good explanation. Being unwilling to explain its true use (her connection with Master Ash) she finally gave in, thinking she'd find a way to get it back soon. Ambrose being the ----- he is, though, would purposely withhold it, thinking to gain some advantage. (I won't speculate on that just now.) if she was given some new means of communication with Ash to replace it, that would also explain her less-than-overwhelming reaction when Kvothe restores it to her.
Alf Bishai
63. greyhood
@62. ...if she was given some new means of communication with Ash to replace it, that would also explain her less-than-overwhelming reaction when Kvothe restores it to her.

Ha! Perfect! This whole thing may not end up being what happened, but that does make a certain sense of things. I did wonder why D didn't really care so much when the ring was returned. It's like when your tickets arrive by mail after the concert already happened. Gee. Great.
64. flamingo
I only see one slight problem with that theory -- Denna had the ring before she even met Kvothe. She had it when she was riding on the caravan with him on his way to the University. I'm pretty sure she didn't meet Ash until much later. Of course, he could have taken the already-existing ring that she'd just worn cause she wanted to and turned it into a signal, too. I think that makes more sense than her being related to Geoffrey.
65. Gaav
Obligatory long time reading, first time commenting disclaimer!

Not sure if this has been mentioned already or not, but I believe the siege stone is where the smith's apprentice's detail about Kvothe being able to stave in doors with a single hand comes from. I love all these little details of the myth that we see in passing!

Keep up the great conversation everybody, it's a lot of fun to read while we all wait for Day 3.
66. faendryl
When I read this, the siege stone bothered me. Storing energy makes sense, but storing momentum doesn't - and that's what the stone seems to be doing, and Rothfuss is generally pretty scrupulous about these aspects of his system. Did this seem weird to anyone else?
George Brell
67. gbrell
The siege stone stores kinetic energy. The momentum of an object is equal to the square root of (the product of its kinetic energy and its mass doubled). While I agree that the siege stone doesn't have the mass of a "battering ram," Kvothe only describes it as hitting with the force of one. This just means that it moves through the six inches in front of it much, much faster.
68. Aparna
@55,@53 "As an aside: it is actually out of character that Denna pays any debts, even her own. How often was it that she left an inn without paying? What made her do it?" Fantastic catch!
I am not sure whether this part has been answered or not, but, regardless i would make an attempt..
I think the difference here (from other debts) is that Devi will have Geoffrey's blood. While Denna may not know much about Sympathy or Devi, she knows that having someone's blood is enough for one to do really bad mischief to that person. She might even overestimate what Devi might do to get the debt back. Which means, if she cares for Geoffrey at all, she would be willing to pay the debt to get the blood back.

David Goldfarb
69. David_Goldfarb
At the end of chapter 30, Kvothe says something like, "My luck was changing." I expected that to signal immediate catastrophe. But, nope.

Anyone care to speculate on why Rothfuss uses "mommet" instead of "poppet"?
70. Curtiss
Your reference to the chapter title of 32 is incorrect. Blood and ash refer to what Kvothe mixes into the sympathy wax to test his gram
71. Curtiss
Also, I don't know if you missed it and I haven't read the comments to find if anyone else found this, but when Sim is reciting a poem after he and Fela return, Wil asks about the breaks in each line. Sim says they're called a caesura. I can't remember if Kvothe mentions this later on.
Steven Halter
72. stevenhalter
curtiss@71:Yes, the caesuras have been noted. It is quite worthwhile to read the comment threads in these--lots of good observations in them.
73. Marian, the son of Marian
Hi again...

I have spent a lot of time with reading of these threads and observing new ways of looking at words and connections...I am reading these threads even at work and it makes my day, folks :)

I read today the chapter 30, where Kvothe and Denna enjoy they time together, where Kvothe gets a unique present of a high value - the lute case.
Later, when both are sitting outside of the shop, Denna mused about Kvothe´s special love for his instrument...
He is calming her, asking her if she ever owned a music instrument.
(Page 238) Her answer is: "I had that lyre, but only for a few days before the fire."
and she continues: "This happens all the time. I try to do something good, but it gets all tangled up."

Beg your pardon? What fire???
anyone remembers a fire? A fire, where Denna would be present?
I don´t and we had only two fires in both books. The one in Trebon (NotW)and one in Ambrose´s rooms (WMF).
Must we search details like this? Must we look for a needle in the hay?
Just to get Denna´s story or at least a hint, that could bring nearer to what happened to her before?
Has she caused a fire? By wanting to do something good? Was this the tragedy of her life, that has sent her travelling the world and not finding peace?
Did anyone else see this? I apologise, if this has been mentioned before, all I wanted was to share a small fact, which Jo didn´t mention in her analysis of the Chapter 30
Steven Halter
74. stevenhalter
Marian@73:The Trebon fire seems most likely. She was supposed to be performing at the wedding so she could have had a lyre and it could have been in some building in Trebon that burnt.
75. Marian, the son of Marian
shalter@74 Man, you are answering so fast, it´s almost as if these comments would be connected with a sygaldry described bell on your shelf:)))))
and you´re probably right with the fire in Trebon...what a pity, that I don´t have the NotW with me, I would need to refresh my memory...and still it´s in slovak language only...

I need to get the original english version...should come in few days...I read in english only WMF and tried to translate it...I made some 300 pages, but it was a killing job...on the other hand, it was something I desired to translate it for my friends and family, who couldn´t wait the 14 months for the translated edition:)

I know this is a bit out of topic, but translation is really never perfect...the slovak translator did a good job, but still, the translated WMF into slovak has only 840 pages...he did cut beautiful phrases and tried to spare pages,...I kind of pitied the readers, who can´t enjoy it in english.

...wishing a fine day to everyone...
76. Marian, the son of Marian
again me, this time regarding the letter:

I am with Wetlandernw and n8love, since I believe, that D has accepted calls from Geoffrey far too often to annoy Kellin.. She could be connected to him as his older sister, at least it is how I feel about her and her telling about him..She acts as every loving sister would act to help her brother in need - plus, she doesn´t want anyone - not even Kvothe - know, that the things are as they are...she must tell at least something to Kvothe, who is at least partially a soul-mate to her, but she doesn´t want to loose her privacy, her secrets..(I believe, she wants to stay mysterious, just to stay attractive, but there are other reasons, for sure).
and when she paid his dues and he leaves, he sends her a letter from home, now, that he has her adress...My guess is, that he is giving her informations about his (and of course HER) very sick mother...
I read the whole thread now, but I didn´t see anyone mention this connection with the sick mother...
since she can´t go home and she knows, that her and Geoffrey´s mother is very sick, I believe, that is a very strong reason for tears...

but it might be as well nonsense... what do you think?
77. GinnyBeGood
D's lyre was destroyed in the fire that destroyed the house at the Mauthen wedding in NoW
78. Marian, the son of Marian
thanks for that...another mystery solved...just thought I have found something,...:)
Ben Finkel
79. DangerZone
Just a thought: Could Denna have been crying because she was setting up one of her weeping window rooks?
Kate Hunter
80. KateH
D has a thing about K and willows. In NotW she associates him with a willow tree and willow blossom, at least once each. I can't turn up the reference at the moment, but I think it's near the end of the book, during the Mauthen farm/draccus interval. I think she says something like, "above all other trees, the willow moves to the wind's desire." Then again with this "shady willow on a sunny day" reference in WMF.

(In my mind's eye, I picture the sword tree of the Adem as a weeping willow, with hundreds of flexible branches swaying in the wind.)
81. Mpark6288
Little bit behind here obviously, just found the books.

I listen to them as audiobooks, so I had the same issue as the note deliverer. Anchors and Ankers sound the same, so I had pictured it as a dockside bar.
82. Steven Fordham

I've found what I believe is a mistake by Mr. Rothfuss.
I keep coming back to this chapter because it nags at me like a bone itching. Something you obsess over, but are unable to do anything about. It bothers me because the rest of these two books is so perfect. I love reading & re-reading them.
It happens when Sim is showing Kvothe about Alchemy. Kvothe claims that nothing reacts to water. Of course there are things that react to water. Some violently so. And Kvothe should know them! If you look at the periodic table, starting with H (Hydrogen) and going down the column. The farther down you go, the more reactive things become to water. Lithium, Sodium, Potassium. They all react & burn in water. Potassium metals make an exceptional flame when introduced to water. And Kvothe knows about Lithium. He answered Master Kilvin's original question about the ever burning lamp with, "Lithium Salts". In our world, Lithium was discovered much later than Sodium and Potassium, and all 3 are abundant.
Of course, Mr. Rothfuss could simply claim that chemical properties and availability differ significantly in his universe than in ours. And he may be right - but he's never really pointed it out before. In fact, at least at the University, he makes it seem like chemistry is well advanced over what would have been the same technological period of our world. So if that would be his reasoning, it feels like a cop-out.
So I keep coming back to this chapter - and it keeps irking me.
83. Foxtrot
While rereading the books just now something occured to me that I haven't been able to answer yet: Why did Ambrose keep trying lethal sympathy on the burglar?

Kvothe's theory is that Ambrose believed the blood was from a mundane burglar, that bring why Ambrose was willing to use lethal sympathy on him.

If that's the case, why did Ambrose keep trying, after the first attempts failed. We know that the target was of the Arcanum and capable of using his Alar to protect himself. But Ambrose assumed the opposite! So, why did he keep trying? And, if Kvothe & Co. hadn't destroyed the mommet, when would Ambrose have stopped?
84. Lune
82. Steven Fordham - I'm not sure if this answers your comment or not, but the way I read the scene was not that the substance reacts when mixed with water (like you said, many things do that) but rather that the substance + water = a flamable substance. Now, I have next to no chemistry knowledge, so I don't know if this property is unique or not, but it seems more remarkable to me. Here is the relevent quote.

“If it mixes with a little water, like your sweat, that's fine. But if it mixes with a lot of water, say a hundred parts to one, it will turn flamable.” … “I splashed some water into the crucible and brought it back to Sim. He dipped the tip of his finger into it, swirled it around, and poured it into the hot iron pan.”
85. Coreyartus
Interesting that Manet says something to the extent of "it's like you're a little king in here!" when speaking of Kvothe in the Eolian.

And then Kvothe himself says, "Denna, I am the king of good ideas gone horribly wrong!"

and the book is called the King Killer Chronicles, where Kvothe has obviously killed a part of himself by re-Naming himself, and he's sitting around waiting to die...

I think we may already know who that King is... We're watching him get killed right in front of us... Which, I think is a very Rothfuss thing to do... Hehe...
86. Coreyartus
And Chronicler is writing his story down, interupted by scribing last wills and testaments... The act of writing down his story--is it the chronical of his life that's killing the king? Are we, as readers, helping to kill the king, Kvothe? Are the chronicals themselves the king killer? Hmmm...

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