Oct 20 2011 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 8: The World Needs People Like You

Welcome to my excessively detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 35-40 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.



If Pat has said that he’s going to end this story in DT, but that he plans to write more in this world, then it seems likely that the world will not be destroyed in DT. (Unless everything he plans to write is set in the past, which it very well might be. There’s a lot of past available.)

What he said to me about the title “The Doors of Stone” is that he was reconsidering it because it was a bit of a spoiler. That’s why I’m not using it here.


Chapter 41 is “The Greater Good”

The motto of the Amyr, of course, and here the chapter begins with it. We’ve run into it a few times already. Arliden said it as if it’s the kind of thing children say as an excuse. Lorren explained it was the motto of the Amyr when ticking Kvothe off for inquiring about them. It’s Tema: “Ivare enim euge.” And now Kvothe finds it in the Duke of Gibea’s book.

It’s winter and cold, the Archives are packed with students studying. Some time has clearly passed since the last chapter — most of the term seemingly. Kvothe and Sim are in Tomes, and Kvothe’s supposed to be studying Physiognomy, which he is doing in an original copy of the Duke of Gibea’s book. Sim reacts in a horrified way to the book and doesn’t even want to look at it — he says Gibea was a monster who practiced vivisection, and that wasn’t all:

When the Amyr moved against the Duke they found the bones of twenty thousand people. Great pits of bones and ashes. Women and children. Twenty thousand!

To which Kvothe counters:

Gibea wrote twenty-three volumes concerning the machinery of the body... When the Amyr moved against him, part of his estate burned, four of those volumes and all his notes were lost. Ask Master Arwyl what he would give to have those volumes whole again.

This is like the ethical controversy today about whether data obtained from Nazi experiments (that’s a Wikipedia link) and it’s surprising to see Kvothe quite so very much on the bad side — he tries to be gentle with Sim but he thinks Sim’s being unnecessarily squeamish, and when Sim says his family live thirty miles from Gibea he thinks Sim’s squeamish because he has a personal connection. But he doesn’t really see that there is a genuine ethical problem.

Eventually he shows Sim what he has found. “Ivare emim euge” hidden in the decorative scrollwork, which Gibea wrote himself. Sim thinks it’s illiterate Temic, which is /Italian/ and Kvothe says it’s an archaic usage of Tema which is /Latin/. Sim thinks it means “Toward greater good”, and Sim corrects him.

Meanwhile, some aristocratic louts come in and talk loudly, and Kvothe joins in their conversation rudely to chase them out. Kvothe is here being an Amyr without the t-shirt again — Sim says the scrivs would have taken care of it, Kvothe says they weren’t doing it and now it’s quiet again which is what matters. It’s like a demonstration of doing things against the rules but for the greater good while they’re having a discussion of the phrase!

Kvothe tells Sim Gibea was a secret Amyr. Sim says maybe, they were pretty corrupt by then. Kvothe doesn’t think Gibea was corrupt and that he was pursuing the greater good — yuck. It’s very hard to feel at all sympathetic to Kvothe here, hard time in Tarbean or not. “Saved ten times as many lives since” isn’t an argument for going out and torturing people to death even if it’s true.

But all Kvothe cares about is that he might have been a secret Amyr, even though we know it was the Amyr who moved against him. (He must not have been a Ciridae.) Kvothe thinks this could mean there are still secret Amyr. And as he says this, Lorren shows up and suspends him for five days for talking with students at other tables and confiscates their books.

Lorren shows up whenever the Amyr are mentioned in Tomes. I wonder if that’s magic.

And outside the Archives, Sim explicitly points out the whole Amyr without the t-shirt thing about Kvothe.

“The world needs people like you. ... You get things done. Not always the best way, or the most sensible way, but it gets done nonetheless. You’re a rare creature. ... Something bothers you, someone offends you, and suddenly you’re off. ... You know exactly what to do. You never hesitate, you just see and react. ... I imagine that’s the way the Amyr used to be. Small wonder folk were frightened of them.”

Folk were frightened of them? That’s interesting to know.


Chapter 42 is “Penance”

Which is a strangely religious way of putting it, especially when we were just talking about the Amyr.

Kvothe can’t find Auri and the iron grate is iced over. He works in Medica and the Fishery and plays an extra night in Ankers. He catches up on sleep. By the fourth day of suspension, he’s ready to talk to Devi. He has a horribly cold wet walk to Imre in the sleet. The Eolian is closed because it’s such a horrible day. Devi’s surprised to see him and it cheers her up that he’s cold and wet. He gives her a symbolic penance piece. She gives him a robe to wear while his clothes dry. He tells her about the plum bob, and accuses her of selling him the formula — she says she didn’t know it was for Ambrose or for Kvothe but admits making it for a full set of Vautium Tegnostae with gorgeous illustrations.

Devi agrees to go back to the original terms of the loan. She doesn’t accept this term’s interest early, so Kvothe fritters it away on a hat and gloves, some sea salt and peach preserves for Auri and a bolt for his window, to keep it safe from even well intentioned thieves. That loss of the lute really hurt. I’m surprised he couldn’t make a lock in the Fishery though.

This is one of the few chapters I can think of which is only fill — it needs to be there, the events need to happen, but there’s nothing more there unless I’m missing something.


Chapter 43 is “Without Word or Warning”

A sailor brings Kvothe a letter from D in Yll, saying how much she likes it there, that she saw a skirmish, went on a boat, met an Adem mercenary (in red, quiet, twitching) and she’s learning the harp. Odd letter. I don’t know what to make of it except that she misses Kvothe.

He doesn’t give us his reactions to the letter at all.

Elodin shows up for class on time, in his formal robes, and with his hair brushed, which astonishes everyone. He tells them that once at the University only Naming mattered — and incidentally, that Sympathy was invented there. (I wonder if we can take that as fact?) He announces that Fela has found the Name of Stone eight times. She makes herself a ring of Stone out of a pebble to demonstrate her prowess. He promotes her to Re’lar. He tells her to wear the ring on her left hand, the right means something else and none of them are ready for that.

Kvothe doesn’t have any reaction to this at all. Indeed, the only emotion in this chapter is shame he hasn’t been working hard enough at Naming.

This is a hard chapter to understand. There are two quite unrelated things — the letter saying D is in Yll and Fela succeeding where Kvothe hasn’t really tried — or tells himself he hasn’t, both faced without reaction. But why is it “without word or warning” — she’s sending word. Or is it that he’s not going to see her, that she has left for a long time and he can’t hope to run into her, that he has lost her, and that he is falling behind in Naming too? This could be a chapter with a lot of whining and misery, but it isn’t, he describes two things but not the impact of either of them.


Chapter 44 is “The Catch”

The project in the Fishery. But also in the other sense of the word.

He demonstrates the arrowcatch to Kilvin. We find out why he wanted the beartrap. And Kilvin says he has made a good thing in a bad way, because he used the illegal crossbow. They agree they’ll sell for eight talents, but Kilvin pays twenty-five for the first one — so even though Kvothe has to pay back the price of the metals he stole for his gram, he’s come out well ahead.

All three of these chapters strike me as just getting things into position for winding up the University section of the book and moving forward.


Chapter 45 is “Consortation”

I remember the first time I read WMF I got just exactly as far as this and I thought “I didn’t expect to be a third of the way through this book and still at the University.”

So, everything is going well. He’s playing in Ankers for a good audience. He has money in his purse and has access to the Archives. The only thing missing is D... and then wouldn’t you know it, at the end of his song the door opens and he’s in trouble with the iron law for the malfeasance at the end of the previous book. Ambrose’s revenge working slowly but thoroughly.

Sim and Anker look over the documents. (It was the only time Kvothe had heard Sim sound like the son of a noble. What a compliment!) And Kvothe is bound hand and foot and taken to Imre. He explains what it was about and says it was a tedious interruption that took six days for him to clear himself, and he thought he’d won but he was still terribly naive.

And we’ll stop there and start from the interlude chapter 46 next week.


Lots of great comments on last week’s post.

Read the whole thing.

Promotions first: The Department of Imaginary Sympathy is delighted to announce the promotion of Artful Magpie and C12VT to Re’lar, and Geminaut, flosofl, PL and Piapiapiano to E’lir.


Naming/Unnaming and Entropy

Fascinatingly in last week’s comments Flosofl suggests:

Naming is not changing of the item Named. It’s to so firmly implant in the universe whatever concept the Namer wanted to express, that reality itself is so arranged that there is no other way for it to be. To use Naming is not to change a thing, so using the Name of the Wind is not to order the wind or change which way it was blowing, it’s to imprint reality such that not only does the wind blow as intended, there was never any other for which it could. It’s a waveform collapse on a macro scale.

This may be related to why K has troubles with Elodin’s classes. It’s less about definitives and rote recitation of facts but more about possibilities and probabilities. The more Alar you can tap, the more remote probably you can effect. Nudges are easy, wholesale change is hard. But at the root, you have to understand what the probabilities are, or that they even exist, before Naming can even begin.

Which leads me to the yang of Naming. The anti-matter to matter. And quite simply that would be UnNaming. The actual negation of something in the universe. To UnName something would be to erase it from existence. Not just that, but make it impossible to exist. Now I’m not saying that UnNaming the wind makes the wind go away. What I’m saying is that UnNaming is a counter technique to Naming. If something has been Named (collapsed waveform to the definite) then UnNaming would be the opposite. The definite has once again uncertain and ruled by probabilities.

I’m guessing that UnNaming would be most effective to cancel out Naming. Since the Alar being flung around would need to be equal or slightly greater, it would probably be easer to act on a thing that’s been Named than not. So trying to remove a boulder via UnNaming would be near impossible requiring the power of a god. The sheer temporal inertia acting on and collapsing the probabilities to the definite (that rock’s been there a long long time) would make overcoming it with UnNaming next to impossible.

and Geminaut, building on that:

the Chandrian Rot has always been intriging to me, and at least mildly inexplicable, given what we know. Metal and wood, blue flame. What does it indicate. What is it a sign of? Here’s a theory: What if the Chandrian, and perhaps most specifically Haliax, can tap Sympathetically not only into active sources of heat (kinetic energy), but also into passive sources of heat (potential energy)? This could explain why metal rusts and wood rots in their/his presence, and also how it could be hidden. Those objects tapped with this Dark Sympathy (which is the name of my Cure/Smiths cover band, incidentally ;), they...well, they age somehow. All the energy is drained out of them. I also wonder if this would be an active effect, something that is willfuly exerted, or if it’s a side effect of their/his inately manifested power that has to be willfully restrained. Haliax...who, let’s face it, exudes UnLife if any part of what we know of his backstory is my prime candidate for this. But I don’t think it has to be limited to him.

C12VT has possibly supporting evidence:

I had a thought about the blue flame. At first I didn’t see any point to it other than blue flame being creepy and unnatural, but I read up on what causes fire to burn in different colors, and apparently the bluer part of a flame is the hotter part, where more complete combustion occurs (cool but probably irrelevant thing I discovered: apparently in microgravity the lack of air convection leads to slower, more complete combustion and therefore a bluer flame:

So perhaps the “blue fire” sign is an indication that around the Chandrian, fire is hotter and more completely consuming. We see a lot of fire in these books, not just relating to the Chandrian, but also in Kvothe’s name, in the Amyr’s sigil, the fire in the Fishery, all the references to the world burning down...

A Fox disagrees:

Whilst the un-making (surely it should be unShaping?) theory is interesting, I dont really buy it.

The dark flame is literal-we see that at the scene of K’s parents demise. It is a mark of castigation, as per Seleitos curse. Haliax always wears the darkness within in an outward sign-the darkness the cloaks him/the candle-so peoplewill not be decieved by his fair face. The use of candle; as other have pointed out the candle is representitive of power. Lanre did not have powers, he was a great general/Leader but was Lyra that held the magic. Until he returned from the dead, mysterious events took place, and he became Haliax. Then he had a dark power. Dark power+curse=depictions on vase. (Existance of vase, always bought to mind Greek/Egypition/Roman apmhora like vesels which often depicted things that had threatened society/animus/things to be feared and which where made to offer to the Gods in hopes of protection...not necessarily to put flowers in!LOL)

I’ve posted at length, on the Moon element before. In brief, this is Haliax/Lanres relationship with Lyra/Moon.

I also think this rules out the entropy idea. The Chandrians signs are not controlable (though we have learned that they have learned to hide them to a certain extent) they are marks of a curse. There to give them away. The fact that they have had to learn how to hide them shows that they are not wanted/controlable. I cant then seeing this affliction being used to power them up.

Entropy, of course, may feature as an element of the Curse’s nature.

I don’t feel so confident. I love the idea of the Chandrian rotting of wood and metal being actual entropic rotting that gives them energy. That feels right to me. But Artful Magpie has an interesting reflection on the Chandrian signs which also feels right:

what if, originally, they were actually knacks? But they’vve been warped by the curse? Like, think of the guy in Kvothe’s troop who always rolled sevens...but only when he himself touched the dice and caused them to move. Now, if he were under the same curse (or whatever is affecting the Chandrian), every single pair of dice anywhere near him would immediately start turning up sevens, all at once. And if you knew that was his “sign,” you’d know he was somewhere nearby. So what if the Chandrian each had their own personal knack which originally only affected things they themselves touched or did, but which now has a more global affect?

C12VT adds:

The Chandrian’s signs do seem to function more like a “knack” than like other magic we see. Sympathy, sygaldry and alchemy, and to a lesser extent naming, are skills that the user intentionally employs. From what we have seen of it, the same is true of fae magic. The Cthaeh says the Chandrian “have a lot of experience hiding those telltale signs”, which implies that the “signs” happen automatically rather than intentionally. It seems that Trip, the trouper who threw sevens, couldn’t control his knack either - even if he just bumped the table the dice would roll sevens, and if he could turn off his ability, he wouldn’t have wound up in jail over it.

Knacks are something we haven’t heard a lot about, or gotten a good explanation for. Ben says they used to be seen as demonic by the Tehlins - I have to wonder what the origin of that belief was.

And yes, that does tie together very well with the Chandrian signs. I would like to hear more about knacks. And about the signs, for that matter.



Artful Magpie thinks it’s the ring that’s not for wearing. Dr Food thinks it may be the thing that fits in “something something ell,” though it doesn’t scan as well as Myr Tariniel it could be “fair Faeriniel” (or “nice Faeriniel” for that matter, heh) and be where the greystones lead.

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
I keep getting the feeling that Denna is trying to communicate some subtextual message to Kvothe in her letter but I haven't been able to figure out what it might be. It seems that she went to quite a lot of trouble to just send out a mildly drunken missive.
She has oddly placed capitalized words that may be trying to emphasize something--maybe that she has been involved with the Adem and military matters.
She mentions sailors knots and Yll, which could be references to Yllish knot writing.
Very odd--very oblique.
Sim Tambem
2. Daedos
On Signs...

We know the signs are related to specific members of the Chandrian. We know they can "hide" them. So, the question is, what is their purpose? Or are they just side effects of who they are.
The idea of the signs being related to knacks is nice at a glance - it would explain why they each have different signs, even though they are all similarly cursed, but it is doubtful. From what we know about knacks, they are more like innate skills than special abilities that affect the world around a person. Someone instinctively knows how to garden (where to place the plant, how much water to give it, what kind of soil) - someone knows just what twist, nudge, or bump it takes to roll sevens. Blue flame, decay, rot, etc. don't really fall into the same category. They all exhibit signs of decomposition / decay /entropy. It seems far more likely that the connection is unnatural - either part of a curse, or a reaction to something inherently wrong with them. Either they are (consciously or unconsciously) draining energy from their surroundings, or their surroundings are extremely offended at their presence.
We know they are "immortal" in a sense. Maybe their existence requires energy for their subsistence. It might be like breathing, for them. They can hold their breath (smothering their signs, growing weaker), or they can let nature take its course.

I think their signs come from the Cthaea. We know the Cthaeh is poisonous (probably both literally and figuratively). We know the betrayers of the seven cities were poisoned by "the enemy". It stands to reason that the Chandrian are the betrayers (Lanre is among them and has reportedly visited the Cthaeh), and they have been altered somehow by the Cthaeah (bitten?).
3. Ipood
I believe that the following chapters jump over the trial, and that is certainly rather disappointing to those of us who enjoy that sort of thing, but that he has written the trial and the sea voyage, and excluded them from the actual novel due too them not contributing.
Rob Munnelly
4. RobMRobM
"Without Word or Warning" - there are a lot of wordless forms of communication in D's letter. Reference to Yll and, implicitly, Yllish knots; a fight; Ademic twitching (a wordless form of communication), playing a musical instrument. And then Fela has significant success in Naming without prior warning to K. Is that it? Even if so, I agree I'm not getting the full picture of what PR is intending.

Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
When you take the oddness of the letter from Denna with her earlier comment about wanting to know if it is possible to use a magical writing to make things happen, one has to wonder.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
Kvothe's noticing that Fela's ring has "tiny, flat facets. They circled each other in a subtle, swirling pattern unlike anything" seems like it should also be important.
The swirling pattern is reminiscent of his noticing the swirling leaves about the sword tree later. It could be that Fela has, in a sense, captured the name of the stone on the ring.
James Felling
7. Maltheos
Naming is not changing a thing by its name, its understanding it/ being part of it so well that you can influence its course and make it do things it normally would do, but to a greater extent, or in a different way. Naming couples you to the universe and the self-universe pair makes things happen

Its my thought that the Chandrian and their leader Iax are of the Change things by changing their name school of power. The name changing faction break that pairing -- they change the universe directly, and change things -- they make an unreal place(fae), possibly bring the dead to life( my personal take on the Lanre story), and change other things. This being so, what we see as their signs may well be the results of them not fully apreciating the consequences of changing things. or alternaely perhaps signs of push the universe in a direction and get pushed back as well( kind of a newtonian action/ reaction pair)

It is also my assertion that the Ctheah is likely the root of this school -- perhaps it simply told them that this could be done and how to do it -- it shows up in the background of many of the mythic figures that make up this side of the ancient war. ( Iax/ Lanre./etc)
Steven Halter
8. stevenhalter
Kvothe's inability to see that there was quite clearly something ethically wrong with Gibea's methods is fairly disturbing. It does, however, seem to fit with his conviction that:
1) The Chandrian are evil.
2) The Amyr oppose the Chandrian.
.: The Amyr (and their works) must be good.
This is, of course, flawed logic and maybe Kvothe should read his book on logic rather than just tote it about.

Lorren does seem to show up at any mention of Amyr and snatch away the book--except when they were with Puppet.
James Felling
9. Maltheos
Annother side note that really makes me wonder. The histoies show that there were eight cities, and that 7 of them betrayed the cause while one remained true. (the one that remained true is also tied (apparently) to Tehlu and the Amyr). This is a history of a civil war as written by the victors.

It is quite possible that Denna's history of Lanre and the story of the Duke of Gibea are completely true. We could well be dealing with two sides of a conflict that both believe they are right and both are some mix of good and evil. ( my take on it is that the Chandrian are more evil, and the Amyr/Tehlu more purely good, but that may come from a clearer understanding of their motivation and actions coloring perceptions) . Is it possible that PR is trying to write a "grayer" fantasy than we expected. The clues we have had about how it wraps up with both "angels" and the Chandrian getting involved in opposing Kvothe in the wrapup really makes me wonder if this is actually the case here.

P.S. A side thought
COuld it be that the Amyr are kind of a Naming police/censors of the world... they literally censor the universe by hunting down and restoring the names of things to their proper state or failing that destroying the things that have been distorted, while the Chandrian are all about changing things, and dont want their names repeated because being known makes it more dificult to change.
Katy Maziarz
10. ArtfulMagpie
Yay! Promoted!!! Thanks, Jo!

"Blue flame, decay, rot, etc. don't really fall into the same category. They all exhibit signs of decomposition / decay /entropy. It seems far more likely that the connection is unnatural - either part of a curse, or a reaction to something inherently wrong with them."

Well, let's take the blue flame as a convenient example. Fire is different colors when it is different temperatures. Blue is hotter than yellow or orange or red...think of the bright blue center of a candle flame versus the red smolder of coals. Now, what if you had a knack for starting good, strong fires? Really, really hot ones? Ones that burned blue all over, instead of just the center? That would be a useful skill to have, not necessarily just a destructive one! Think of how useful a flame that hot would be in metalsmithing, for example!

I'm not saying that making metal rust or wood rot are necessarily useful knacks to have, here...but who says knacks have to useful? If it's just wild magic that pops up once in a while...less frequently in the modern age, but probably far more frequently in the more magical past!...who knows what all people could do? Maybe some people had "knacks" for metal working and they made the swords carried by the Adem. We don't know much about what the world was like before the great war and before the proto-people split into the two races of Fae and Human.
Ben Goodman
11. goodben
Two comments with respect to chemistry:

1) Color and fire. While it's true that hotter fires have more blue/violet regions. They will still have yellow/orange/red regions where the flame cools. Fires are not all one temperature. They have regions because of the way the fuel mixes with the air, soot and other phenomena.

A more more reliable way to make a fire blue is to use copper or a copper salt. This is what they use to make blue-colored fireworks.

2) Entropy. Entropy is not any form of "negative energy." Entropy does not draw energy from materials. Entropy is the measurement of how disordered something is. It's a gauge of how reversible an operation is. You may have heard people talk about the "heat death of the universe." "Heat death" occurs when entropy in the universe maxes because the universe has reached a uniform temperature and there are no more gradients or energy sources to change the temperature of the matter in the universe.

A material that is so uniformly mixed that it can't be separated is another example of high entropy (i.e. cake batter that can't be separated back into it's original ingredients). A wood fire is another example: ordered, structured wood going to unordered, random carbon dioxide. In fact the laws of thermodynamics state that entropy increases as energy is used.

Edited to add: a good way to think of entropy is as "unharnessable energy."
Sim Tambem
12. Daedos
Now, what if you had a knack for starting good, strong fires?

This was my point. Starting really hot fires would be supernatural. At typical atmospheric pressures any given thing will always burn at a specific temperature, given a consistent amount of oxygen. If you are making a fire burn hotter, it wouldn't be a knack, it would be magic. To do so, you would have to alter fundamental laws of nature. Thermal dynamics aren't prone whims and fancy - they treat everyone the same. That is the entire basis of PRs sympathetic magic system. Whatever is causing the Chandrian's signs, it is being done consciously and for a purpose.

@11 Thanks for throwing that out there.
Katy Maziarz
13. ArtfulMagpie
And MY point is that knacks ARE magic. Just a very focused kind of magic that's not necessarily under the wielder's control and is only good for one very small rolling sevens.

Remember, sympathy was "invented" at the University. That may imply that there are other kinds of older magic that have been lost...magics that worked by different rules. It seems that the Fae are creatures of magic...their magic works instinctively. Felurian doesn't know how to explain what she's doing, she just does it. I think that knacks are the human version of this...magic that works without the wielder understanding it, or even necessarily intending it. And Fae and Humans were most likely both descended from one elder race...before the Creation War, before the split, before the moon was stolen. In Faen, the instinctive magic flowered. In the human realm, it withered, with occasional knacks being all that remains.
Katy Maziarz
14. ArtfulMagpie
Color and fire. While it's true that hotter fires have more blue/violet regions. They will still have yellow/orange/red regions where the flame cools. Fires are not all one temperature. They have regions because of the way the fuel mixes with the air, soot and other phenomena.

Ah, but this is magic! Magic has different rules than science! And besides which, if the flames were MOSTLY blue with some yellowish areas, it would still be unusual enough that most people would describe it as "blue flame," ignoring or not even noticing that there were areas of different color.

Although, given the other instances of copper in the story, the fact that copper makes fire burn blue becomes very interesting....
Ben Goodman
15. goodben
Science is a set of observations and theories that describe the underlying system the universe is built on based on those observations. Obviously some of the underlying rules in the Kingkiller Chronicles are different than in our universe. However, Naming and especially Sympathy are very systematic. In worlds like that of the Kingkiller Chronicles magic is a type of science.

Now the underlying question is this: Did Rothfus add the blue flame as a "ghee whiz, look at how bad this guy is" factor or does it tie into sympathy, naming and the rest with a reasonable mechanism. If Rothfus did make up a mechanism for the blue flame is it based on physics or handwavium? At this point we don't have enough data to tell for sure, but to me it feels like a "sense of wonder" rather than a mechanistic plot point--meaning I doubt Rothfus has worked out the physics (or fictional world physics) behind why the flame is blue.

Edited to add: These books have all sorts of sneakiness in the foreshadowing department, so it could all tie together in a tidy manner, but I doubt it. In addition to copious amounts of foreshadowing, Rothfus doesn't feel bad about leaving the reader hanging concerning details. So it's likely we'll never know unless the blueness becomes a plot point.
Sim Tambem
16. Daedos
With the amount of precision and effort we've seen in Rothfuss' "magic" system, it just seems unlikely to me that he didn't have a specific reason behind the Chandrian's signs. Why? The most obvious reason: Most of the Chandrian's signs are obviously connected. I still think the connection is Time (which could be stretched into entropy). Time causes rust, rot, decay, blight - speeding up burning is equivalent to making fire burn hotter . It's like the Chandrian exist in a little time-bubble.
If the signs were just amplified knacks, why isn't there a Chandrian that miraculously straightens fences on property lines as he passes? One that stops leaks in barrels? Why aren't there any positive signs?
I don't think the knack thing pans out. It just doesn't fit. Still, I could obviously be wrong. This is all conjecture.
Katy Maziarz
17. ArtfulMagpie
Well, we can move on now to something more productive, perhaps, but just one more point...Daedos asks why there aren't any positive signs. I just have to say that the idea that decay is somehow a negative thing is a slightly backwards way of thinking. Nature doesn't moralize, and in fact decay is a very necessary part of existence. Without decay, there is no change. Without decay, there's nothing new. Entire ecosystems form on the carcasses of whales. New plants feed on the rich soil left behind by old decaying plants. Decay and destruction aren't bad or good...they just ARE.
Sim Tambem
18. Daedos

AM, you make a fair point. Please don't think I'm trying to offend. Your opinion is insightful and noteworthy (as Jo has pointed out). I have nothing against your point of view, and I am all for death to bring life - I am not unreasonable. That just is not the point I was making. The point is, they are all destructive (even though that doesn't make them inherently sinister). I wasn't implying anything about how the world works - or implying that everyone should live forever - just that there is an obvious pattern at work. I think Time is the link. I only used the word 'positive' as a generalization, not a judgment.
In fact, I am still of the opinion that there is more to the Chandrian than we've been told - that they might not really be the "bad guys" we've been led to believe they are. The Amyr are awfully suspicious.
Katy Maziarz
19. ArtfulMagpie
Daedos...not offended. I see your point, also, and I do admit that there is definitely a pattern to the signs. But what we don't know is what that pattern actually MEANS.

I mean, ok. These are the 7 people who chose to betray their cities and because of their actions, those cities were destroyed. You can make the case that because of that betrayal, they were cursed. You can make the case that they somehow suck energy from the world around them, causing the decay. You can make the case that they live outside of time somehow and this causes the decay because time speeds up around them.

But here's another these 7 people have talents, or knacks, that cause decay or destruction. Because of that, they are perhaps more sensitive to the idea I expressed above...namely, that decay and destruction and death are necessary in a healthy ecosystem. Perhaps it was because of that understanding that they ending up being the ones who chose to betray and destroy their cities. Maybe they were revolutionaries who thought the old order was stangant, the governement was corrupt, and it all needed to go to make room for something better, or at least different! This also plays into our idea of the Chandrian not necessarily being flat-out evil...

We just don't know enough about the actual Creation War or what the world was like before the war.
- -
20. hex
Damn and blast- others beat me to the fact that copper compounds cause flame to appear blue. There have been countless examples of how copper has made its way into the series. It's not a stretch to suggest that blue flame may be another.

Lets say that Haliax's blue flame is somehow due to copper. What purpose would this serve? Elsewhere in the series copper is a means of preventing or retarding the use of magic. Consider that the violence we see the Chandrian has been of a physical nature. What if part of Haliax's curse is to deny him sources of power (fires) for magics?
lake sidey
21. lakesidey
Just a quick thought as I am somewhat net-deprived these days - the Chandrian's blue fire might be magic, but why was the Draccus' fire blue? I am sure PR did not make that happen randomly...

22. PT
Just a thought in regards to knacks;
Do you remember how surprised Abenthy was when he found of that there was a trouper with a real knack in the troupe?

I mean what are the chances... Surely there is a point at which all the incredible things that make up Kvothe's young life become just that - incredible
It just isnt credible that it is all coincedence.

What if the mark of a knack is indicative of something.

I mean there are so many theorys that the masters (or Amyr) at the Uni knew who Kvothe was prior to his entrance and Skarpi (Amyr?) knew him too - Perhaps Trick was there as an informant (or something similar) for the Amyr. Or on a more sinister note perhaps the Chandrian had him in their employ.

I mean the possession of a trick was seen as Demonic and all the people we've heard of have been involved in something bad.
Chandrian - Obvious
Trick - Part of a troupe murdered by a mythical group
Gardener - Run off due to incredible drout.

23. PT
Also, @19 I totally agree with the idea that the Chandrian might not be the baddies they're made out to be.
We simply assume that they are because it is our protagonists opinion that the Chandrian are evil and the Amyr are good - this is something Kvothe WANTS to believe.

Im changing sides! The Amyr and Chandrian both have their faults but both are working to achieve what they think is the right thing. Iax is the goodie - acting as big momma holding the two scrapping kiddos apart =D

Team Iax~!
Claire de Trafford
24. Booksnhorses
Has anyone commented about which hand wears the rings? (I've been on hol). When I first read this I assumed that the right hand was for shaping and the left for naming.

I like the idea of D trying out writing magic in her letter as well.

I also have to say that I feel pretty squeemish with the idea of Hooke using dogs in his vacuum pump experiment (particularly in repeated demonstrations) let alone cutting up people for medical science like Gabea did. To play devil's advocate though, I wonder how we would react if we found out that the nazis had found a cure for cancer through their experimentation?
Julia Flint
25. Herelle
But all Kvothe cares about is that he might have been a secret Amyr, even though we know it was the Amyr who moved against him. (He must not have been a Ciridae.)
Maybe being used for the greater good by the Amyr himself would give Kvothe a better perspective, if that is what´s happening.
But I disagree with Gibbea not being a Ciridae - he could have been one, they didn´t have to answer to anyone else but their fellow Amyr.
I can see why people were frightened of the Amyr if they just act upon what they see without enough consideration they could easily jump to wrong conclusions and they can´t be made responsible for their actions. They have absolute power.

About flame colors: Copper is more green than blue:

Sulfur flames are a much more eerie blue, those pictures are beautiful:

About the draccus flame: Denna said something about coal gas burning blue or something?

As for the link between rust and flame it would be oxygene, not time.

re 7 or 8 cities: When the story was told I never thought about it, but what do you think could make those leaders swap sides? Weren´t they winning? I don´t think only rescuing Lyra, which might have been Lanres motivation, would make the other 7 abandon their cities.
Gerd K
26. Kah-thurak
@21 lakesidey
Methane burns blue... this would fit the cow image, and Rothfuss likes his chemistry, so just having the gas the Draccus generates with its digestion burn in the rigth color might have been reason enough to make it so.
Jo Walton
27. bluejo
Methane burns blue -- see any gas stove -- and methane is "coal gas". (They used to make methane for household cooking out of coal in Britain before the discovery of North Sea Gas and it was known as coal gas or town gas, as opposed to "natural gas" from under the sea, but it's all methane.) I'm sure this is what the draccus was producing. But those sulphur flames are really... Chandrian.
Sim Tambem
28. Daedos
"Cyphus bears the blue flame...
...Alaxel bears the shadows hame."

Haliax doesn't make the flames blue; Cyphus does. Who is Cyphus? Maybe the grumpy old man that fights with Cinder (Ferule). We know he isn't Usnea or Grey Dalcenti, and he's probably not Pale Alenta (he was not described as being pale). The only other person he could be is Stercus, who is "in thrall of iron" (maybe the one that casues iron to rust?).

Later, concerning the signs, we find out "Blue flame is the most common, but I have also heard of wine going sour, blindness, crops withering, unseasonable storms, miscarriage, and the sun going dark in the sky.

It seems reasonable to infer that Ferule (Cinder) causes the "unseasonable storms" and "chill in the air" (we see him surrounded by snow and water on the vase, and there is a significant storm when Kvothe meets him the second time).

@25 As for the link between rust and flame it would be oxygen, not time.

But the process takes time. Look at it logically; even surrounded by pure oxygen, iron will only rust at a certain rate, and not nearly as fast as we see occurring around the Chandrian. Whatever is happening around them, it isn't a simple natural effect. If they somehow emitted oxygen in large quantities, people wouldn't be able to breath around them. Whatever happens, it is focused and only affects specific materials/things/people (the same goes for time - we don't see people aging rapidly and dying around them either). It will be really interesting to finally find out the secret behind their signs...hopefully in D3.

@25 Beautiful pictures.
Erich Wade
29. erichtwade
An interesting thought on the time theory; what if the Chandrian immortality is obtained by sapping temporal energy from elsewhere? Flame burns faster and wood rots because they're taking its temporal energy for themselves.

Regarding chapter 42, I find it interesting that the grate is not only iced over, but locked. Remember that this courtyard is accessible only by going over the rooftops (or coming through the Underthing). Did Auri lock it? Why?

And finally, I can't look at Denna's letter without thinking there's some hidden message or deeper meaning, but I can't find any myself.
Hugh Arai
30. HArai
I also have to say that I feel pretty squeemish with the idea of Hooke using dogs in his vacuum pump experiment (particularly in repeated demonstrations) let alone cutting up people for medical science like Gabea did. To play devil's advocate though, I wonder how we would react if we found out that the nazis had found a cure for cancer through their experimentation?
I think you've hit on something here. As I understand it, not only were the Nazi experiments horrifying and inhumane, they had no scientific validity except for possibly the hypothermia tests. In contrast, Kvothe states the backbone of all the medical knowledge they use and teach at the Medica comes from the Duke of Gibea and Sim does not seem to be able to disagree. Would we give up all of our modern medical knowledge if we already had it but the source was horrible? When I read this chapter, it doesn't seem to me that Kvothe is unaware that Gibea's methods were ethically wrong. He knows and agrees they were wrong. Instead, he's decided the knowledge is too important to give up, even considering the source. That's a different thing and a different debate.
Steven Halter
31. stevenhalter
HArai@30: The problem is that even if they got useful information from Gibea's methods, Kvothe's reasoning is still false. We know that you do not need to conduct the vivesection of 20000 people in order to advance medical knowledge. You can learn through study of corpses and through surgical advancement. How do we know this--because it's worked here.
Hugh Arai
32. HArai
shalter@31: I don't see that Kvothe expresses the reasoning you're attributing to him though. He never says the vivisection of 20000 people was required to advance medical knowledge. He says it did advance medical knowledge (which is true) and that he's not willing to throw away that knowledge because of how it was obtained.
33. agrajag
I always assumed the "ring that’s not for wearing" was the horn ring Meluan gives him later in the book. He immediately puts it on and wears it until he leaves Vintas, even though several other characters tell him it's "not the type of ring you're supposed to wear".
Katy Maziarz
34. ArtfulMagpie
"He never says the vivisection of 20000 people was required to advance medical knowledge. He says it did advance medical knowledge...."

Well, yes. Pretty much what I was going to say. Yes, it is a fact that vivisection and torture are not actually necessary to obtain advanced medical knowledge. I know that, you all know that, and Kvothe knows that. But the fact remains that vivisection was already, inescapably, and unalterably used to obtain that knowledge...and that the knowledge can be used to save the lives of many thousands of people.

So. Do they completely deny the existence of that knowledge, simply because the person who obtained it used horrible, terrible methods and thus, allow the deaths of all the people who could be helped by Gibea's medical knowledge? Or do they basically agree that Gibea was reprehensible and they do not at all condone his methods....but they recognize that the fact remains that they can't undo Gibea's misdeeds and decide that as long as they already have this knowledge, they should use it to save as many people as possible? Kvothe clearly thinks they should use it...for the greater good.
Sim Tambem
35. Daedos
"Never look a gift horse in the mouth."
Steven Halter
36. stevenhalter
From Kvothe:
I wanted to point out that Gibea wasn’t necessarily corrupt. He was pursuing the Amyr’s purpose, the greater good. While his experiments had been horrifying, his work advanced medicine in ways it was almost impossible to comprehend. His work had probably saved ten times that many lives in the hundreds of years since.
So Kvothe is thinking that since Gibea's "studies" resulted in advancing medicine, then it was good. Basically, he is thinking that since a good result followed he (Kvothe) is willing to forgive Gibea. This is the part of his reasoning that is flawed as other means could have achieved the same results. Gibea himself is indeed corrupt (based on the evidence we have.)
Kvothe seems to be somewhat ethically blindered on the whole subject.
Now, as to whether Gibea's work should have been used once it was complete is a seperate issue. In Kvothe's world it aparently was used.
It is interesting that Kilvin seems to be the master who most directly is trying to pound some ethics into Kvothe. In "The Catch," Kilvin points out that Kvothe produced a good thing (the Catch) from a bad method (illegally obtaining the crossbow.)
If, Kvothe had just gone to Kilvin and said I need something that can shoot bolts (maybe a crossbow) to test my arrow catcher and explained his device Kilvin would have provided it. There was no need for secrecy or illegal behaviour.
Katy Maziarz
37. ArtfulMagpie
In my mind, Kvothe's thinking is more like this:

1) Gibea's experiments are horrifying.
2) Gibea believed himself to be working toward the greater good.
3) Gibea did not believe himself to be evil or corrupt.
4) Gibea's horrifying experiments resulted in good things.
5) Gibea methods may have been horrifying but he ultimately was not corrupt because he performed the experiments out of a desire to do good and his results were, in fact, positive.

The idea that there are other methods of acheiving the same goals doesn't really come into it. Kvothe admits that the experiments are horrifying...but his argument is all about Gibea's motives, his goal. Kvothe is willing to forgive Gibea's mistake in choosing his particular horrifying methods because of the motives and because of the positive results. Yes, there are other ways. But the fact remains that this is the one Gibea chose...for the greater good.
Sim Tambem
38. Daedos
Kilvin is kind of anti-Amyr, isn't he. I wonder if he gets along with Lorren...

To be fair, Kvothe does call the acts "horrifying". Just because he sees the advantage to what was done, does not mean he would willingly repeat them. I think that is where the line is. he understands that good came from bad (a good thing done in a bad way?), but I don't think he would condone it.
Steven Halter
39. stevenhalter
ArtfulMagpie@37:It is in step 5 where Kvothe goes off the rails. Just because Gibea had a desire to do things for the greater good and the effect of the actions led toward greater good does not mean that Gibea was not corrupt. Gibea could have chosen other means to do his study. Choosing vivesection pretty much puts him in camp corrupt. Kvothe does not recognise this.
This isn't saying that Kvothe is corrupt--just that he needs a bit of ethical reinforcement. Kilvin recognises this also.

This could be foreshadowing for whatever it is that Kvothe does in the future. In his desire to punish the Chandrian in his belief that they killed his parents, he may be led to do something much worse that may not have good consequences. In this case, Kvothe could see himself acting for the greater good and end up doing the entirely wrong thing for what he thinks are right reasons.
Steven Halter
40. stevenhalter
Daedos@38:Yes, I think this discussion has clarified Kilvin as being the "Think First and Pick the Correct Ethical Path Even if it Takes More Time" guy.
Kilvin would have knocked some Amyr heads together I suspect.
Ben Goodman
41. goodben
@25 Herelle

The picture you point to with the blue-green flame is pure metalic copper. In fireworks they use copper chloride to make a purer blue. See:

Those sulfur mine fire pictures are pretty cool.

@27 Jo

Methane in stoves and Bunsen burners burns blue because the flame is hot and uniform due to very good mixing with with air in the burner nozzles. I wouldn't expect this to happen in non-ideal situations.

Coal is a hodgepodge of long-chain hydrocarbons (just like crude oil is a hodgepodge of medium-chain hydrocarbons). You can picture hydrocarbons as chains of carbon molecules with hydrogen sticking to them like this:

| | | | |
| | | | |

There are also rings and branches in the structures. Hydrocarbons are almost always separated based on the temperature at which they boil (which is a function of the size, number of branches, etc.). Even a narrow boiling range is going to have multiple compounds in it. This is the difference between synthetic oil and conventional oil. With synthetic oil they break the oil down to a relatively pure feedstock material and then build it back up to a relatively pure compound that has the properties they want, rather than just taking a fraction that boils in a certain range.

Coal also usually has lots of impurities in it such as nitrogen and sulfur compounds. This is why they put scrubbers on coal power plants. The scrubbers get rid of the sulfur to prevent acid rain.

Methane is the simplist hydrocarbon (one carbon, 4 hydrogens). I don't know why they break coal down to methane as opposed to ethane (2 carbons) or propane (3 carbons) when they gasify it. It's probably that we already have the infrastructure for methane due to natural gas, but it may be easier or cheaper too.

The different hydrocarbons burn differently. Compare how gasoline burns to how diesel burns. Impurities are likely to have a bigger effect on the color though than the actual chain length of the hydrocarbon.

One of the analytical chemists I used to work with liked to say: "Color has no mass." He meant that it is really hard to diagnose what or if anything was wrong with a material based solely on the color. A specific color can be caused by multiple impurities in amounts that don't affect any other property of the material.
George Brell
42. gbrell
My long list of responses:


From what we know about knacks, they are more like innate skills than special abilities that affect the world around a person.

But Kvothe’s account of Trip’s knack dispels this claim. It’s not just that he “knows just what twist, nudge, or bump it takes to roll sevens,” he rolls sevens when he bumps the table. He even “rolls” sevens when he bets on someone else. (NotW, 68). That isn’t a skill, that’s magic.

They all exhibit signs of decomposition / decay /entropy.

How does Cinder exhibit signs of decay? Being albino (or some facsimile of such), cold and having fully black eyes (and possibly causing storms) have nothing to do with decay. Nor does never speaking. Nor does being attacked by animals (unless you think the animals are trying to scavenge).

Blue flame is in its own category, but has nothing to with decay or entropy (though burning is certainly an entropic process). As noted by many persons, blue flames are hotter (generally speaking) than red and yellow ones, so it isn’t a good metaphor for decay either.

I think we might be focusing a little too much on the concept of entropy. While I concur that rot, rust and the blight lead to entropic results, in our world they are the results of natural processes and organisms. Rust is caused by oxidation, rot by the scavenging of bacteria and the blight by a fungus. It is just as likely to describe each of them as the result of a particular Chandrian’s knack for accelerating those natural processes to thousands of time their natural speeds, much like that young boy who could grow vegetables so well (though much different in terms of degree).

This ties in nicely with @10ArtfulMagpie’s point about the possibility of a very powerful knack related to fires. Perhaps their knacks weren’t cursed so much as put into overdrive, out of their control.


I’ve elaborated above why I think the knack theory can still hold water. With that said, I actually think that you’re thought about time as a potential unifying factor is a wonderful one. It helps to explain a) how the knacks are potentially super-charged (the rot takes place in seconds rather than hours when it would normally take days) and b) how they are still alive (long lives appear as immortality to normal mortals).


Later, concerning the signs, we find out "Blue flame is the most common, but I have also heard of wine going sour, blindness, crops withering, unseasonable storms, miscarriage, and the sun going dark in the sky. It seems reasonable to infer that Ferule (Cinder) causes the "unseasonable storms" and "chill in the air" (we see him surrounded by snow and water on the vase, and there is a significant storm when Kvothe meets him the second time).

Nice catch (and one I missed in my recap, damn) with the unseasonable storms. While I’m not sure that it’s confirmed, it would make sense to attribute weather related phenomena to Cinder. But unless we actually think that he causes rainbows (another potential sign mentioned), I think we can also assume that some signs are just people attributing bad luck to the supernatural.

The “sun going dark in the sky,” however, makes me think of an eclipse. And we do know that Haliax is tied to the moon somehow.


I hope you are right. I now want to friend PR so that a) I can roleplay with him in this world (and create awesome sygaldric creations and b) so that I can read a legal scene written by him.


I would’ve thought “Without Word or Warning” would have been the title of his apprehension by the church authorities. I think you’re right ideas make a lot of sense, though.


We also know that there swirling patterns on the Loeclos box (which Kvothe tentatively identifies as Yllish knots). Perhaps the two are connected?


But I think that naming (intentional little “n”) as a power encompasses both the idea of Naming (big “N”) and Changing/Shaping. As a power, it has no moral nature, but the morality of its use appears to be the underlying “divide” of the series.


I think the melancholy tone of the frame story indicates that PR is writing a “gray” fantasy (unless it is saved by eucatastrophe). I think all of us here wonder as to who the actual villains is in this story, if anyone.


The morality of the Duke of Gibea is an interesting subject. I’m not sure what PR’s intention was with this section. If it was to highlight absurd examples of act utilitarianism, then I think we would have been better served by watching high schoolers debate. Justifying murder through saving lives is not an ethically easy subject and seems to fall into absurdism pretty easily. The example we are given seems to be at that level of absurdity, though.

I think @30/@32HArai’s views seem to be in agreement with mine about Kvothe’s reactions. With that said, @31shalter, there were plenty of medical atrocities committed in the real world that have advanced medical knowledge (e.g., Tuskeegee syphilis experiment), we didn’t just use corpses. We didn’t throw away the data.

What I am intrigued by even more, however, is not Kvothe’s reaction, but Sim’s. Sim is offended by the knowledge (and the book) because it was associated with the Duke of Gibea, regardless of its value. Kvothe has always demonstrated that he cares nothing for popular status or opinion (or is, in fact, antipathetic to it in the case of some nobility), so it is not surprising that he sees primarily/only the value of the book. And as @34ArtfulMagpie puts it, “for the greater good.”

Your comments @36shalter are something I was going to write about, but got beat to. There is so much in these two books about right path/right result, I’m wondering if PR is trying to make a statement that you can’t achieve a right result without taking the right path. That is the summary of the the Lethani that Tempi provides.


They do absolve him if you’re a strict act utilitarian (with a couple caveats). You’re more Kant-ian view of morality is not necessarily wrong, and is likely shared by many people, but is an underlying assumption you’re making in decrying the experiments.

I think you’re right that he ultimately will be forced to make a choice between right action and right result and he’ll probably make the wrong one.


But note that when Kvothe returns to the wagons, “All the flames were tinged with blue…” (NotW, 114).

These aren’t pure blue flames, they become blue-ish. Which means that they are either slightly hotter (as that phrasing implies that other colors remain) or one of the Chandrian is introducing something into the area that changes the color (as copper or methane does).

@21lakesidey, @26Kah-thurak, @27bluejo:

Methane is also the natural byproduct of carbon-based matter decaying. Since a draccus consumes literally tons of carbon-based matter (trees, leaves, etc.), burning methane provides a mechanism to dispose of a large amount of gas that needs to be outgassed from the body.


Why would the Chandrian have killed Trip then?


I’m going to make a longer post this evening about my theory of the two different hands for naming rings.


I think we all want to know why they betrayed their cities since, if Skarpi’s story is right, they had already won and locked their enemy "beyond the doors of stone."

Phew, that was long.
Sim Tambem
43. Daedos
"Color has no mass."

goodben - Thanks for the chemistry snapshot. In all seriousness, I found it very interesting.

This is from

"To roughly estimate the incident solar power (energy per second), the average radiation flux incident on the earth surface of about 1000 Watts/m2 is multiplied by one half of the area of the earth (5 E14 m2) to yield 2.5E17 Watts. From E=mC2, the mass equivalent to this energy is about 2.8 kg/seconds."

Ali Khounsary, Ph.D.
Argonne National Laborator

Color may not have mass, but it has something neat. And whatever it is, black hordes it.

@42 - Nice catch with "tinged with blue…" Very nice indeed.
Steven Halter
44. stevenhalter
They do absolve him if you’re a strict act utilitarian (with a couple caveats).
What I am arguing is that Gibea's actions were not actually for the greater good--other non ethically challenged actions could have produced the same or better results. Thus his actions were incorrect under act utilitarianism.
I haven't been arguing at all about what to do with the existing data from his experiments but rather just that Gibea's actions were quite morally suspect (as were the Tuskegee studies.) Kvothe's thoughts reveal that he did not think of Gibea's actions as being incorrect. Kvothe seems to be tending towards using what seems to be a quick fix instead of a well thought out one.
His action in the library and then with the catch support this.
So, I think that all of this is really a large portion of the purpose (in addition to some story background) storywise of these chapters.
We see Kvothe both viewing non-ethical actions (Gibea's) as not corrupt (Kvothe's words) and using unsanctioned mechanisms (talking in the library and the crossbow) and then being put to task by Loren and Kilvin.
45. Jeff R.
Does anyone in the text make the argument that the information could have been gotten at by more ethical means? In fact, if, inside the world of the text, this were the case, then the two missing books would surely be obsolete by now, rather that something that the Medica would pay any price for. So I don't think that it's 'fair' to bring in that argument here: if it were a reasonable argument in this world, someone inside the world would have made it.
Steven Halter
46. stevenhalter
JeffR@45:The only one doing any real talking about Gibea is Kvothe. He's had a few classes at the medica but is almost certainly not an expert in the state of art of their medicine. Gibea is a couple of hundred years out of date at this time.
They do have knowledge of at least some sorts of surgery and pain blockers (even Kvothe blocked his whipping pain.) It seems pretty fair to state that it is extremely likely that methods of doing anatomy short of vivesection were either available or could have been invented. Especially with sympathy and alchemy available.
Hugh Arai
47. HArai
What I am arguing is that Gibea's actions were not actually for the greater good--other non ethically challenged actions could have produced the same or better results. Thus his actions were incorrect under act utilitarianism.

I don't know that that has been established. Yes we amassed similar knowledge in our world without using those methods. That doesn't make it an inevitability people in Kvothe's world would have. It seems clear they hadn't before Gibea. As I understand utilitarianism, a utilitarian is not expected to have perfect knowledge of consequences but instead to maximize utility based on their best estimates of the consequences. I think gbrell is correct @42. Absolved under strict act utilitarianism, and extreme example of why people should be afraid of the Amyr. Leaving Kvothe as not ethically oblivious but subscribing to an ethical theory that is really disturbing to many (myself included).
Alf Bishai
48. greyhood
The Invention of Sympathy.

Whoa. Did that strike anyone as HUGE? The invention of sympathy? That has iaxic overtones. It gave me the strange sense that the whole universe is a playground not just for creating things (like ours is), but a playground for creating laws. Anything is possible. Faen is a really a universe within a universe. I was struck by this thought: perhaps the Four Corners is also a universe within a universe? Why do we assume it's the outer layer?

Given that there are sooo many kinds of magic - and we are constantly learning of new ones - and we now know that magics themselves are invent-able - then maybe every single kind of magic was invented. (Except perhaps Naming, which is special among the magics.) Sygaldry, knacks, K's lute magic, Yllish knot magic, the written magic that makes things true (what have I missed?), alchemy...these were all invented.

One step further. Maybe K. invented a new kind of magic. Maybe it's the music magic. It got a shot in the arm and now something terrible has happened. This is why he is now music-less. TOTAL speculation.
Alf Bishai
49. greyhood
Incidentally, is anyone intrigued by the seemingly endless resonances with the first few chapters of Genesis?

The Tree of Knowledge (of Good and Evil) that occasions the fall ;

The fruit that Adam and Eve eat that opens their eyes so they see they are naked ;

The name Adam is homonymous with Adem.

'And the ruach of God moved over the face of the waters.' (Gen. 1:2)

Adam and Eve's 3rd son is Seth (almost homonymous with Sithe).

Simply the name 'the Creation War'.

With the invention of sympathy we now get a strong 'image of God' parallel. They are creating laws, creating worlds too (Faen).

Okay, maybe not endless. But here's the BIG one. In Genesis God gives Adam one task that we see him carry out. Naming. It specifically says that Adam names all living things. "And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name." Gen. 2:19
andrew smith
50. sillyslovene
@49, Greyhood-

I'll go you one further- the Quran and traditional Islamic thought,in addition to all the parallels that you mentioned from Genesis, adds that the Creator taught Adam all the names to everything, and the angels and jinn then have to bow down to him because they don't know them, and as such do not have power/authority over both the seen and the unseen. Incidentally, Satan (Iblis) is the jinn that refused to bow to Adam and thus was cast out as the enemy of God. A good parallel for Haliax?

With this knowledge, Adam is made the Khalifa of God (Quran 2:30-35)- there is considerable debate about what that term means in the Arabic (most people know the word from the Caliphs, the leaders of the Islamic community after Muhammad), but it is generally received as something along the line of Successor, or "authorized servant" or some such. It is also heavily invested/integrated with the idea, again present in the Bible, of man made in the "image of God" and given the agency or being made an agent to affect the change that they desire, i.e. impose their will upon both the seen (generally the physical) world and the unseen (generally the spiritual).

Or perhaps that could be the 4c and Fae?
Which is really interesting since at one point in class, Elodin tells the students that the Namers would go about the world as "tiny gods," the exact phrase that Sim, IIRC, uses as an expletive/curse.

All in all, Pat is doing some very interesting twisting of real world myths (meant in the academic meaning of sacred stories, not the colloquial meaning of false history) to certain ends....what those are, I don't know if I can say yet. D3 will probably have some impressive wrap-ups.
Alf Bishai
51. greyhood
@50. Nice. That's even more direct, isn't it.
Philbert de Zwart
52. philbert
I'm not even sure what 'throwing sevens' means. Do they use octagonal dice? Or do they always throw two dice? Or always an even number?
Jo Walton
53. bluejo
Philbert: Usually "throwing sevens" means on two D6 -- two regular six sides dice. And there are American dice betting games (of which I deduce the existence from mentions in songs and popular culture) where people throw two dice and seven is a winning score.

It would also be possible to roll a seven on a D10 or D12 or D20.
George Brell
54. gbrell
On his first hand he wore rings of stone,
Iron, amber, wood, and bone.
There were rings unseen on his second hand.
One was blood in a flowing band.
One of air all whisper thin,
And the ring of ice had a flaw within.
Full faintly shone the ring of flame,
And the final ring was without name.(WMF, 21-22)

So what do we know:

We know that Kvothe is storied as having possessed ten rings, in two groups of five. On one hand: stone, iron, amber, wood, bone. On the other hand: blood, air, ice, flame, .

When naming was still taught, we namers wore our prowess proudly. A student who gained mastery over a name would wear a ring as declaration of their skill.(WMF, 316).

We know that namers of old wore rings on their hand to denote mastery over a particular name. We also know, however, that it is impolite to ask another namer what names he knows and that namers traditionally kept their knowledge of names a secret. (WMF, 180). How these two facts coexist is unclear.

First Question: Are Kvothe’s rings evidence of naming mastery?

This question is essentially asking whether Chekhov’s gun will actually be fired. I think it is fairly clear from the text that we, the readers, are expected to connect Elodin’s statements about naming and rings with the earlier occurring poem about Kvothe’s rings. But connecting the two is supposition. What evidence do we have for/against Kvothe’s rings being naming rings.

Point 1: We’ve already seen four (five) of these rings.

The story has already featured rings of stone, iron, wood and bone. A ring of stone is created by Fela. Rings of iron feature prominently in the court politics of Vintas. A ring of wood is sent to Kvothe by Meluan Lackless (and for a brief period, actually worn). A ring of bone is gifted to Kvothe from Stapes.

A ring of air is also mentioned by Elodin (WMF, 979), when Kvothe jokingly implies that he has created himself one. (I assume this is a jape since he says that he lifted his “naked left hand.”)

Only two of the five already-appearing rings are connected with naming and only one (jokingly) demonstrates Kvothe’s mastery of it.

Point 2: All the rings on one hand appear common. On the other, magical.

The rings on one of his hands are rings that can actually be created. Stone, iron, amber, wood and bone are all natural materials that can be fashioned into rings. Considering that amber, in this world, appears to have certain protective properties against demons/the Fae, it makes sense for Kvothe to wear such a ring, regardless of whether he has mastery of its name.

The other rings, with the possible exception of a ring of ice, are all rings of magic (although the fact that the ice ring did not immediately begin to melt is certainly magical enough). They represent the binding of liquids, gases and “exothermal chemical reactions” into solid forms. These are rings that cannot be manufactured without naming.

Point 3: Some of these “names” appear duplicative of names we already know or don’t appear to be names.

What names do we know exist: Iron, Fire, Wind, Water, Wood, Stone. (WMF, 119). This leaves us with the question of whether “Ice” is a ring demonstrating mastery over Water. Does “Air” demonstrate mastery over Wind? Why does Stone not encompass both Stone and Amber? Can Bone or Blood (which should be unique to individuals) be Names? What is a ring without name and why would one wear it?

I think this point is the weakest, but I bring it up for the sake of completeness. Elodin’s comments to Kvothe regarding his “fake” ring of air indicate that a ring demonstrating mastery of the name of the wind is referred to as a ring of air. Ice is a little trickier, but explainable considering that PR has given himself a kind of escape clause in the words of Elxa Dal:

“But fire isn’t a thing unto itself,” I protested. . . .Dal drew in a deep breath, and for a moment looked as if he would explain. Then he laughed instead, shrugging helplessly. “I don’t have the wit to explain it to you. Ask Elodin. He’s the one who claims to understand these things. I just work here.”(WMF, 181).

I will therefore assume that a ring of ice could be a ring of water or ice.

On the issue of naming Bone or Blood, I will assume that since there are sygaldric runes for bone and blood (e.g., WMF, 200), they can exist as names as well.

As to the last ring, I can honestly say that I currently have no deductions. Random ideas could include that it represents Kvothe’s name, or that it is some kind of protective ring that prevents other namers from using Kvothe’s name or that it is a byproduct of Kvothe changing his name.

Point 4: The poem is contradictory to itself.

This is kind of a cosmetic argument, but the poem is self-contradictory. It describes the second hand as possessing “rings unseen.” But then, it proceeds to describe a number of the rings visually. We have blood “flowing,” ice with “a flaw within,” flame “full faintly .” In the interest of fair presentation, only the last truly requires the visual to be true (and is itself contradictory, how does something shine “full faintly”?). But how others would discover that Kvothe wore such rings is baffling.

The obvious responses to this are that either the poem is artistic license or that Kvothe himself propagated the poem. The latter seems strange considering the comments made by Elxa Dal that spreading knowledge of one’s naming masteries was dangerous. Also, is the flaw simply the ice equivalent of the strange patterns on Fela’s stone ring or does it reflect a failure of mastery by Kvothe? The poem doesn’t provide enough information to determine.

Possible Answer (1): Only some of these rings denote names.

Based on the fact of their appearance or mentiion in the story, some of Kvothe’s rings do not denote naming, but are instead rings that possess significance to him. So one hand bears a stone ring (possibly Fela’s - if we don’t think Sim dies, than I think Fela dies; this theorizing will continue until I theorize that every character dies), an iron ring (possibly from the Maer, Bredon or another high ranking noble/king to indicate Kvothe’s new social position), a protective ring of amber, Meluan Lackless’ wood ring, and Stapes’ bone ring.

The other hand holds Kvothe’s naming rings: rings of air (denoting Wind), blood, ice (denoting Water), flame (denoting Fire) and one “without name.”

Possible Answer (2): Kvothe has inflated his naming prowess by circulating the poem.

Half of these rings are unseen, so the truth of their existence can’t be verified. (Note that even Elodin can’t tell whether Kvothe has fashioned a ring of air, WMF, 979). In addition, nothing so far indicates that Fela’s stone ring is special in any way that indicates her naming prowess, with the possible exception of its complex patterning (which can only be observed up close).

Since Elxa Dal explicitly mentions that keeping your mastery of names secret was done so as not to warn your enemies of your strengths and weaknesses, perhaps Kvothe decided to go in the opposite direction and claim a bevy of names (beyond what he actually possesses) in order to appear strong (very similar to the attitude he learned in Trebon and practiced at the University with his rumors).

This also makes sense from a narrative standpoint since he currently only has (and barely at that) mastery over one name. We know that Elxa Dal only has mastery over two and that Elodin knows “a few.” (WMF, 180). In one book, Kvothe would need to acquire 8-9 names, which stretches narrative credulity considering that in two books he’s barely gotten one.

Second Question: Assuming that his rings indicate naming prowess, what do the different hands signify?

Almost shyly, Fela held out her hand. But Elodin shook his head. “Left hand,” he said firmly. “The right means something else entirely. None of you are anywhere near ready for that.”(WMF, 317).

I have less to go on for this question than the previous (already threadbare), but I will attempt to lay out some suppositions and support them as best I can.

Option 1: One hand represents a greater level of mastery than the other.

This is, in some ways, the simplest explanation available and the least satisfying, because it doesn’t actually say anything. In addition, it doesn’t explain Elodin’s comments that someone is not ready for it.

Option 2: The right hand is the hand with “rings unseen.”

We know that Elxa Dal and Elodin both possess multiple names. We know that Chronicler knows the name of Iron. Yet none of them are described as wearing the appropriate rings on their hands.

Footnote: Chronicler is described as wearing a “dull ring of metal” around his neck and he is forced to give away his ring “with hardly any silver in it.” (NotW, 19). The latter does not strike me as a good candidate because I think a bandit captain would notice the difference between a decorative silver ring and a pure iron ring (assuming that the naming ring should be a pure encapsulation of the element). The bandit captain doesn’t take his iron ring because he doesn’t want to “come between a man and his religion.” (NotW, 20). My first thought was that the iron ring was a guilder, but the captain touches it without incident (NotW, 20) and we know that guilders have grams inside of them and cause immediate discomfort to touch (NotW, 67). Abenthy’s is also described as a “flat piece of lead with some unfamiliar writing on it.” Id. The next logical assumption is that it’s a Tehlin symbol, as that appears to be the dominant religion. This is “confirmed” by PR later describing it as a “wheel” (NotW, 655), but that has not been a consistent identification. It’s also been identified as a “ring” (NotW, 19) and a “disc” (NotW, 92). I’ve never seen all of those words used as synonyms for one another, but Occam’s razor dictates that it is probably a Tehlin symbol and does not represent his naming ring.

With that said, Elodin, Elxa Dal and Chronicler all appear able to call upon their respective names at their command, demonstrating a greater degree of mastery than Fela. Perhaps the second hand is for “hidden” rings (hence why neither Kvothe nor the reader has observed them) that demonstrate the ability to use names at will. This would also explain how one could both wear rings and keep them secret (one of the textual conflicts). It would also explain why none of them are ready to wear their rings on the right hand, they don’t have at-will control.

This also would align nicely with the fact that we’ve seen almost all of the corporeal rings in the story already while the naming (unseen) rings are yet to come.

Option 3: Rings on the left hand represent mastery, rings on the right hand represent bindings.

Let us consider all of the examples of naming that we have so far seen in the series (a surprisingly short list, incidentally, for how important naming appears to be):

-Abenthy calls the wind to scare off the villagers. (NotW, 61).
-Abenthy calls the wind to save Kvothe from his ill-considered sympathetic binding. (NotW, 99).
-Haliax calls Cinder’s name (“Ferula”) to discipline him. (NotW, 117).
-Lyra may have called Lanre’s Name in Skarpi’s story. (NotW, 176).
-Selitos may have called Haliax’s name to curse him. (NotW, 181).
-Skarpi may have called Kvothe’s Name to break him of his enchantment. (NotW, 192).
-Elodin speaks the name of “CYAERBASALIEN” and breaks the wall in Haven. (NotW, 313).
-Kvothe calls the wind after Ambrose breaks his lute. (NotW, 605).
-Elodin and Kvothe call “Aerlevsedi,” “a name that settled the angry bear, eased it back to sleep.” (NotW, 606, 616).
-Elodin called the name of the wind while arguing with Elxa Dal. (NotW, 616).
-Elxa Dal calls the name of fire to start a fire and then place his hand inside of it. (WMF, 180-81).
-Fela calls the name of stone to fashion her ring (and eight other times). (WMF, 316-17).
-Kvothe calls a name, probably the name of the wind ,and Felurian’s name in his battle with her. (WMF, 641).
-Kvothe calls the name of the wind in Ademre. (WMF, 809).
-Kvothe calls the name of the wind on Stonebridge (WMF, 954).
-Kvothe calls the name of the wind in Tomes (WMF, 955).
-Kvothe calls the name of the wind to save Denna (WMF, 961).

I’ve left two examples out of the above list because they are VERY different from the examples above.

Lanre’s naming with Selitos:
"Silanxi, I bind you. By the name of stone, be still as stone. Aeruh, I command the air. Lay leaden on your tongue. Selitos, I name you. May all your powers fail you but your sight."(NotW, 178).

And Chronicler’s binding on Bast:
Chronicler's face was calm as he pressed the metal disk firmly onto the table with two fingers.
"Iron," he said. His voice sounding with strange resonance, as if it were an order to be obeyed.
Bast doubled over as if punched in the stomach, baring his teeth and making a noise halfway between a growl and a scream. (NotW, 92).

Compared to the examples previously, which are examples of a name being used to act on the named object (moving air by calling its name, controlling an individual by calling its name, breaking stone by calling its name), these are examples of calling a name and applying its properties to another (full disclosure: I think only the first Lanre example really fits this trope, the other two are explainable as the first kind of naming, mastery).

Bast was wearing no iron, why was he affected by the iron disc on the table? A binding using a name appears to be fundamentally different from mastery of that element. It appears to allow namers to transfer the properties of a named onto another. With this, namers could hypothetically become or make another as fast as the wind or as impervious as stone. This is a different power (in kind not just in scope) and it seems a much better fit for the distinction between the right and left hands.

Theorizing a little more, binding another would require affecting that other person’s name in some way, for the name is a perfect description of who they are. It would not surprise then that acknowledging someone’s ability to bind another would mark them as both powerful and dangerous and be, in turn, dangerous to themselves. Perhaps this is the reason that such rings are hidden (perhaps by binding the name of air to the individual rings to keep them out of sight).

So if that is true, which set of rings is Kvothe able to bind with? I would guess the second, magical set, because of the fact we’ve seen most of the other set of rings and he has demonstrated the most aptitude with wind. Although the fact that he can bind with blood (as Selitos appears to have done) is rather chilling, but does connect him with the last person to bind Haliax.

Would love to hear comments, this was rather weighty to put together.
Ryan Reich
55. ryanreich
@gbrell: Jo ought to raise you to Re'lar for this (because it's "speaker", you see, haha).

I loved your ideas all the way through, but the thing that resonated with me was the shaping/binding disparity. People are talking about the creation of sympathy recently; well, how does one create a system of the universe? A namer could do it if he knew how to bind the appropriate elements to runes; thus, for example, "pesin" becomes the name of water and "resin", that of rock. All of the sympathetic runes could be names made solid.
andrew smith
56. sillyslovene

Some really good analysis and thinking.

The only thing that caught me right away (I'm gonna think about the other things a little more):
This also makes sense from a narrative standpoint since he currently only has (and barely at that) mastery over one name. We know that Elxa Dal only has mastery over two and that Elodin knows “a few.” (WMF, 180).
In one book, Kvothe would need to acquire 8-9 names, which stretches narrative credulity considering that in two books he’s barely gotten one.
This could be gotten around narratively very easily, in one of two ways (or both, or others): 1) by slowly and painstakingly training his sleeping mind to see the Name of the Wind, K has conceivably opened/awakened his sleeping mind and made it more likely to both see and learn new Names much more quickly and efficiently.
2) The other possibility is that D3 could cover much more time narratively, and thus K in his story telling could gloss over the details of such things and simply say "and that semester I found such and such a name/names so many times" similar to how he details his experience with the wind near the end of WMF (pp. 954, 955, 961) as you pointed out. We've already seen large swathes of time shift by quickly (time on boats, time in semesters, etc) with K either learning or failing to learn lots of things. Plus, we don't know exactly how long it has been between the time D2 ends and the framestory. We do know that K is still a relatively young man. I believe it's a safe bet that he hasn't been at the inn for more than 2 years, how old is K at the end of D2 in the narrative? 17? The locals know that he is fairly young, with a hint of experience that lends him greater age, but if he was still under 20, I would think that it would be remarked upon. Maybe not.

My impression (no hard evidence at the moment for this, gotta look when I get my books back) was that he was in his early to mid-20s in the framestory at the earliest, which would leave quite a bit of time to cover narratively in D3, at least 2-3 years before entering the inn.

Or I'm completely off base.
Either way, I'm not saying I believe either way regarding whether the rings show he has Name mastery over all those things. Just one way that could conceivably have him learn all of them...
Ashley Fox
57. A Fox
@sily slovene & greyhood
On religious reflections; I think that the mythos that is drawn from is not that merely of the one God religions. Theres actually an almost satircal, eyes open, use of religion as a theme.

In our world the Roamns (Amyr/Aturan Empire) rode out across europe taking over the lands of the Keltoi/Druids/other pagan civilisations (those that survived the creation war, with knowledge of magics (and Tehlu's real nature-Yll, Faen; Ceald to a certain extent). Cristianity (the Tehlin Church, with its book of path/bible) then rode the backs of the Romans, just before Rome fell (The seemingly sudden crumbling of the Arturan Empire) and a dark age descended (here we actually have two. A dark age post creation war, as described in the stories of Tehlu as son of God/singer becomeing mortal(ish) to battle Encanis/Haliax. Then a darkish age after Artur fell, and the boundaries of the 4Cs we are familiar with are established).

So I would argue that rather directly taking from one (Origins of bible/quran are one and the same, never mind all the contentciousness) religion, it shows the way in which the the truths of the origins get lost in the words of man.

We have all awknowledged PRs theme; that in the nature of story telling, a story evolves with the telling.

K & Naming; I wuld argue that we have actually whitnessed K Knowing the Name of Everything-and playing them on his lute, when he lived in the wild after the deaths of his parents. His sleeping mind took over. He even had prophetic dreams. I suspect the third door of maddness is also a door to the sleeping mind.

It seems that you are taing a Name as something to literal. When you see my name, A Fox you see a label (yes you may have formed gleamings from postings! lol) but essentialy a reference point. But if it was my Name you would know me from the top of my head, to the tips of my toes, to the depths of my soul...and everything in between (Urgh that almost sounds like a bloody wedding vow!). A Name encompasses an entire nature. (With Bast/Iron. We know Iron repels/harms the Fae. By calling the Name of Iron C would have been calling on its nature rather than its matter). This makes it flexible. Illogical. Intuitive.

Alongs these lines, imo the descriptions of the rings need not be a physical one, but descrbing its nature-what flavour of fire is it. We have heard of the wind a everchanging, I think every Name is. Its dynamic, you dont learn a Name and the pop it out when you need learn the Name in the moment, each moment.

The blood binding idea has me intrigued. I had personally linked the flowing blood to the blood flowing down Selitos hands after he stabbed his eye-the sign of the Ciridae-but also of sacrifice. So I had taken the ring of flowing blood to be a sacrifice. Whose blood? Blood sacrifices have connetations in something very close to all religions. (All these bloods are making me think in a north london accent! oh dear. Better than being sparkly I suppose...ok Im digressing..will wrap up now).
Ashley Fox
58. A Fox
Oh and I aproximate sygaldry ith the periodic table. Discovering the elements enabled technology in our world, in the 4Cs we see that this is how they use sygaldry.

A written devolution of naming.
59. mr. awesome
There was an earlier tidbit mentioned that I think was important.
I just copy and pasted it, it was from 2 sections agoish, props to whoever said it, I don't know who said it:

Lackless =Lockless and another way of securing somthing without a lock is with a knot. Also on that vain. Lockless ->Not a Lock->knot

It was ignored, but seems like a big deal. It's a pretty solid theory.
Alice Arneson
60. Wetlandernw
gbrell @54 - Why doesn't Stone include both stone and amber? Because amber isn't stone. It's fossilized resin, and has different characteristics than stone.

I very much enjoyed your thoughts on the rings. FWIW, I go with Option 2, the right hand is the hand with "rings unseen" for some (very significant) reason - but a reason which requires more information than we have just yet. Then again, to my read (with somewhat sleepy eyes) your option 3 fits right into that as a possibility for said significant reason. I wish I could make some wonderful, insightful, intelligent comments on your hard work (and I'm quite sure it was a LOT of work!), but all I can come up with tonight is "Kudos!!" Well done, and if ever anything should earn a promotion to Re'lar, that should.
- -
61. hex
Re: "Throwing Sevens"

Probably related to the game Craps.
Clay Blankenship
62. snoweel
Do we know the Duke of Gibea killed all those people? Or did he experiment on the dead?
Steven Halter
63. stevenhalter
@62: From Sim:
"God’s mother, don’t you know he cut apart living men to watch their organs work? I refuse to look at anything that monster was responsible for."
So, at least some of them were alive.
Sim Tambem
64. Daedos
@60 Also, Ice is a stone, just as much as Iron, and arguably more so than Amber.

Stone, like metal, is an extremely vague descriptive noun.
Alice Arneson
65. Wetlandernw
@64 - Neither Ice nor Iron are stones; they are simply solids in our customary usage. In RL, anyway, there are only three kinds of stone (igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary) which encompass all the little details of relative composition, texture, formation, density, etc. Basalt is stone, granite is stone, slate is stone, limestone is stone. Iron is metal, copper is metal, steel is metal, bronze is metal, silver is metal. Ice is solidified water, unless you specify that you're talking about a different liquid which has been frozen. Amber is solidified resin, so in a very loose sense it could be considered "ice," I suppose.

Neither "stone" nor "metal" are "extremely vague descriptive nouns" when you get right down to it. They have very clear definitions, but each contains a lot of individual types within the classification.
George Brell
66. gbrell

I concur with Wetlandernw, amber is not a stone (something I know, but conveniently didn't remember). I confused it because it is a common gemstone, but that is not a technical usage.

I think what I was trying to emphasize is that there is a wide variety of stones (for such a "simple" name) and it seems strange to have a singular word to describe them. Did Fela, in making her ring, speak the name of Stone (writ large) or the name of the specific stone she acted upon? Is there one Wind or many winds? Based upon Kvothe's comments about calling the name of the wind during his test in Ademre, it seems that the name is changeable and varied.

@57A Fox:

I think your post has some really interesting thoughts in it. I don't know if Kvothe knew the name of everything when he was playing his lute in the forest, but I agree his sleeping mind was certainly ascendent. *As an aside, we seemed to have decided that he was ensorcelled while in Tarbean, but we never seem to discuss that he was similarly ensorcelled while playing his lute in the woods. Perhaps his sleeping mind was guiding him throughout his Tarbean adventure and that base drive (think Id v. Superego) prevented him from building a logical escape plan.* Remember, it took him three days to get "Wind Turning a Leaf" right. But he was certainly more "aware" at that time.

Building on your point about learning a name each moment anew, I think we often think about naming in the wrong way. Because it is a singular word, there is a strong impetus to impute singularity to a specific name. But we know that names are very different from words. Perhaps we should think of Naming as Speaking and each name as an entire language; each specific instance of the name would be a combination of words, inflection, syntax and dialect. Thinking of the example of the boy catching the thrown stone, every day our minds process all of those elements to parse language, even though each one represents thousands or millions of possibilities. This certainly makes Kvothe's throw-away line about Tema ("I don't believe you can ever learn all of anything, much less a language") much more relevant and makes it a nice point about why namers don't have thousands of names at their command instantly. But even with that level of complexity, there are people who possess brilliant instinctive command of language paired with study and research (authors and linguists come to mind). Those persons would definitely merit a ring.
Katy Maziarz
67. ArtfulMagpie
"I wonder if we occasionally think about naming in the wrong way. Because it is a singular word, there is a strong impetus to impute singularity to a specific name. But we know that names are very different from words."

Yes. And here's the thing...I don't think that the Name is the same word every time it's called. That's why it doesn't come on command. You don't discover that the Name of Stone is "gibbertyboo" and then write it down on a piece of paper and refer to that piece of paper every time you want to Name stone! Imagine, crib notes for Naming! Pull out your list of Names, yell "Gibbertyboo!" and make the magic happen!

No, I'm pretty certain that each individual instance of the Name is different. Stone may seem simple on the surface, but really, every individual stone has aeons of history and very complex minerological structures that go into its quite individual makeup. Even if you took one big boulder and smashed it into bits, each bit would have a slightly different name...perhaps in part encompassing the position it once held in the greater bolder, referring back to the other bits that were once its neighbors in that structure, etc. The Namer's task is to understand all of that history and all of that complexity with his or her sleeping mind and then call the very specific version of the Name that encompasses the truth or reality of the specific stone at hand. I even think even the Name of a person would be different at different stages in his/her life, really.

Change is such an integral part of life and nature and the greater ecosystem that it has to be part of Naming as well.
George Brell
68. gbrell

And perhaps that is a reason never to change your name: describing the infinite complexity to an extent that would allow for change/evolution simply isn't possible. Perhaps the problem with Kote is not that he's dying, but that his name is unchanging; he is literally unable to continue living. He is literally a cut-flower, a living being stopped in time.

This might get trashed, however, if Kvothe actually reNamed Auri. More to think on.
Katy Maziarz
69. ArtfulMagpie
I think reNaming would more...take away or add one or more elements to a person, rather than cutting them off like a flower. Auri is happy to have been renamed! Perhaps what Kvothe did when he reNamed Auri was take away the element of her that was lonely and scared and add warmth and friendship back in.

So if Kvothe renamed himself Kote, he may have taken away the essence of what made him so remarkable, without taking away his memories of being that person...
70. PT
Hey guys I was just reading through Day One again and im up to Skarpi's story about Lanre. Something in it struck me as important and im not sure if its been addressed before.

"Lanre stood alone andainst a terrible foe. It was a great beast with scales of black iron, whose breath was a darkness that smothered men. Lanre fought the beast and killed it. Lanre brought victory to his side, but he bought it with his life. After the battle was finished and the enemy was set beyond the doors of stone, surviviors found Lanre's body, cold and lifeless near the beast he had slain."

Originally Day 3 was to be entitled "The doors of Stone" but PR is changing the title as it was too much of a giveaway....

It sounds to me as though either
a) The doors of stone means death and the Beast was killed - and therefore set beyond it.
b) The enemies physical corpse was set beyond the doors of stone for some reason OR all the enemy were killed -set beyond the doors, but why not just say that, why all this doors nonsense?
c) My current suspicion. Look at the way the story is told; Lanre kills the beast and dies. Because of this, the rest of the battle is won and an Enemy is set beyond the doors of stone. Now this enemy isnt the beast because in the very next sentence, surviviors find Lanre's body next to the corpse of the Beast.

To me this indicates that something physical or real has been locked beyond the doors of stone, whether these are real doors or the metaphorical name for a prison I dont know. But i do think that there is something important to be gleaned from this.

Anyway, your thoughts and opinions would be much appreciated!

Also, please yell at me if you see me post any more on here in the next two days, im using this as heavy procrastination for my pharmacotherapy exam tomorrow. Not a smart move =/
71. PT
Oh and one other thing @69 Magpie

Im not sure its fair to say that Kote is completely normal. After all, he explodes a bottle of strawberry wine at the mention of Denna and with no obvious difficulty Kote physically restrains Bast when he and Chronicler try to kill each other - restrains him with such force that there is visible bruising around Bast's wrist.

This is even more impressive when you take into account the portreyal of Bast losing his temper and thumping his fist down hard enough to break and buckle one of the wooden tables in the bar.
Katy Maziarz
72. ArtfulMagpie
@PT...I said IF Kvothe has renamed himself Kote and taken away his powers. This point has been subject to on-going discussion almost since the beginning of this re-read, I think. Did Kvothe change his name and take away his own power? Is he using his Alar to wall himself away from his abilities? Is he just being a trouper to his bones and acting the greatest part of his life? People have made convincing arguments on all sides. We'll find in out in D3!
Alf Bishai
73. greyhood
@70 - I think it's c). I suspect the paragraph should be read like this:

Lanre fought the DraccusPlus and killed it. Lanre brought victory to his side, but he bought it with his life. After the battle was finished and IAX was set beyond the doors of stone, surviviors found Lanre's body, cold and lifeless near the DraccusPlus.
74. lulfas
It's worth mentioning that Chapter 44 is another "For the greater good" Amyr moment. He did something very good and helpful in a poor way (this time by fraud/theft from the bank + the purchase of an illegal weapon). It tends to be a trend.
Christopher Johnstone
75. CPJ
A lot of great talk here. I'm going to try to collate everything I can remember about Chandrian signs and draw some conclusions at the end. I think we're starting to argue back and forth about the power-draining / knack theories and are getting a bit tangled. All bolding is my own, and are just funny little things I hadn't noticed before.

From Ben's conversation with Kvothe's parents:

"Let me think..." Ben said. "Blue flame is obvious of course. But I'd hesitate to attribute that to the Chandrian in particular. In some stories it's a sign of demons. In others it's fae creatures, or magic of any sort."
"It shows bad air in mines, too," my mother pointed out.
"Does it?" my father asked.
She nodded. "when a lamp burns with a blue haze you know there's firedamp in the air."

"Other signs... one of them is supposed to have eyes like a goat, or no eyes, or black eyes. I've heard that one quite a bit. I've heard that plants die when the Chandrian are around. Wood rots, metal rusts, brick crumbles... Though I don't know if that's several signs or one sign."

- Probably one sign: Usnea I think

- I think this is important too:

"And there's still the question as to if they all share the same signs or have a couple each."

"In some stories the only sign is the blue flame. In others you have animals going crazy and no blue flame. In others you have a man with black eyes and animals going mad and blue flame."

"They're supposed to be cold to touch... I've heard fires don't burn around them. Though that directly contradicts the blue flame... being "yoked to shadow" whatever that means..."

- Cold to touch is probably Cinder
- Fires not burning around them seems to be referring to Haliax
- I wonder if the 'most obvious sign' blue fire', is not a sign at all exactly but is an effect of some magic (shaping?) that they all can do...?

From the death of Kvothe's family:

- The smoke and fire from Trip's tent is seemingly normal at first glance: the blue flame is not obvious or must have a limited range
- Teren's sword is broken
- Shandi's fire is normal, but her clothes are in tatters
- When Kvothes looks around again he sees that the fires are 'tinged with blue' not actually blue throughout (maybe he didn't notice before?)
- The wagon iron crumbles and the wood collapses as if it is old and rotten
- The Chandrian are not aware of Kvothe until this point and he is looking at them. They don't seem to have any preternatural awareness
- Words like 'porcelain' 'frost' and 'winter' are used to describe Cinder and his sword: the storm relationship might mean something here. Both Cinder's eyes and his sword do not reflect light.
- There is a bald man with a grey beard who talks to Cinder
- Of course there is the line 'Someone's parents have been singing entirely the wrong sorts of songs' (I still suspect this might mean 'songs that put us in a bad light' or 'songs that give our signs away' rather than 'any old story about us at all').

Cinder says, sarcasitcally it appears: 'You are as good as a watcher, Haliax.' (what is a watcher? Amyr?)

From the Cinder-Haliax conversation, it seems that 'indulging in whimsy' and 'little cruelties' is at cross-purposes to what Lanre-Haliax aims to achieve. Initially when I read this I just thought Haliax was just asserting control, but now, re-reading, it seems that the acts of creulty and whimsy are themselves problematic.

I wonder now if it is the restitution of Haliax that is part of their purpose and the Chandrian really are nothing more than his servents? 'A tool in my hand' as he puts it.

From Nina remembering the vase:

"There was a woman holding a broken sword, and a man next to a dead tree, and another man with a dog biting his leg..."

- A woman causes steel/metal to rust/break
- Plants dying again, caused by a man
- Animals going crazy again, caused by a man

"There was one with no face, just a hood with nothing inside. There was a mirror by his feet and a bunch of moons over him. You know, full moon, half moon, sliver moon... And there was a woman... With some of her clothes off."

- The mirror doesn't appear in the painting of the vase
- Woman with clothes off matches Usnea in the rhyme perhaps and...
- And there was writing...

"This was all foregin writing. It didn't say anything."

I wonder if it read 'For the greater good'?

From the less than helpful book:

"Blue flame is the most common, but I have also heard of wine going sour, blindness, crops withering, unseasonable storms, miscarriage, and the sun going dark in the sky."

From the painting of the vase (no writing here... is the painting reliable?)

His eyes were pure black. In the background there was a bare tree, and he was standing on a circle of blue with a few wavy lines on it ...

Three, maybe four, signs here:
- Eyes black
- Can walk on water (?) or is bound by water / cannot cross water (?)
- Plants die (or does this indicate that he is winter-bound i.e. it is a decidious tree with leaves gone...)
- Unseasonal storms

The description of Haliax is interesting, but has been discussed at length already.

The only other figure described is the Amyr, who we are told looks like he would burn down the whole world.

We also have this:

"See a man without a face? Move like ghosts from place to place. What's their plan? What's their plan? Chandrian. Chandrian." - Traditional Children's Rhyme

And finally:

"Cyphus bears the blue flame.
Stercus is in thrall of iron.
Ferule chill and dark of eye.
Usnea lives in nothing but decay.
Grey Dalcenti never speaks.
Pale Alenta brings the blight.
Last there is the lord of the seven:
Hated. Hopeless. Sleepless. Sane.
Alaxel bears the shadow's hame."

So, there we have as much as I can gather offhand. There are some other snippets, like the rainbow sign, though I think we can put them aside for now or dismiss them entirely.

I think it's possible that there may be more than one sign per Chandrian and the Adem rhyme records only the most obvious signs. Maybe the signs flux? Or some are easier to hide than others?

The names in the Adem rhyme are not strictly correct (Ferula vs Ferule, Haliax vs Alaxel). It could be that the names have been changed very slightly on purpose... just to muddy the ability of the Chandrian to track anyone who speaks the rhyme?

So, I think each Chandrian *might* have more than one sign. Maybe they have one or more permanent signs and a sign that marks their coming and going? Cinders eyes are black, but the storm is only roused up when he goes into the tent and disappears elsewhere? (IIRC?)

I can't see how black eyes, causing storms or making animals go mad could be ways to harvest energy--I think it's spooky window dressing for spooky characters. There probably is a complex in-universe explanation that PR may or may not tell us, but I don't think it'll add up as neatly as the drawn-power idea would.

I wonder if Lanre/Haliax is the one who gave the Chandrian their signs, in the same way that Selitos cursed him? If they are 'flagged' in this way, then all the easier to control them? What were they? Namer-Kings and Queens? Shaper-Kings and Queens? He didn't bind Selitos to him, but maybe he could have and Selitos would be Chandrian and the Chandrian would be eight?

I also tried to think of someone who keeps a fire going for no obvious reason (Puppet with his candles) and someone who has a pet for no obvious reason. In terms of the latter, all I can think of is that tinkers are never seen far from horses or donkeys... if one sign is animals going mad, then keeping an animal close could be one safeguard, though not a foolproof one if mad animals belongs to just one of the Chandrian.

@ 59 Mr Awesome: that the box is locked with a knot makes a lot of sense.

@ 70 PT and @73 Greyhood

Ah. Clever. And, through the blessing of searching Google Books, 'Doors of Stone' is mentioned once in tNotW and once in tWMF. Here is it in tWMF:

The old knowers realized no talk would ever stop the shapers
...he stole the moon and with it came the war.”
“Who was it?” I asked.

“Was he of the faen courts?” I prompted gently.
Felurian shook her head, amused. “no. as I said, this was before the fae. the first and greatest of shapers.”
“What was his name?”
She shook her head. “no calling of names here. I will not speak of that one, though he is shut beyond the doors of stone.” “this shaper of dark and changing eye...”

Felurian goes on to tell Kvothe that he now has 'who' and 'how' but not the third part of the puzzle: presumably this is 'why'

So, this is how it seems to be adding up:

- Th greatest of shapers (Iax) steals the moon half into fae (but why?)
- War between knowers (namers?) and shapers begins
- Lanre fights on side of knowers against the shapers, kills a great monster
- The enemy (greatest of the shapers, Iax) is locked behind the doors of stone
- 'Doors of death' is used a couple times poetically for death: are the doors of stone also the doors of death?
- Lanre dies, Lyra brings him back
- The war continues and Lanre and Lyra fight together (imprisoning the great enemy did not end the war)
- Lyra dies (Lanre kills her? He blames himself anyway... but alludes to treachery)
- Lanre visits the Cthaeh to try and find a way to bring Lyra back: he is told evil truth

Out of love for Lyra, Lanre had sought knowledge where knowledge is better left alone, and gained it at a terrible price.

- Lanre becomes Haliax (Hal Iax), turns on his own side and destorys Myr Tariniel (but is repeatedly said to be *not* mad). He is saving the world from itself (?) by destroying it (?)
- Anyone know what 'Hal-' means. Anti-Iax? Servant of Iax?
- Or did Lanre only hope that Selitos would kill him in revenge for what he did to the beloved city? Selitos says that he cannot kill Haliax-Lanre permanently, and Haliax-Lanre says that he hoped that Selitos *might* be able to kill him, but deep down never really beleived this.

- That Lanre cannot sleep, forget, go mad or die echoes the refuges that Kvothe goes through (except death) after the murder of his family. Refuge of death mirrors 'waiting to die' in the opening: maybe Kvothe *cannot die* either?

- After the destruction of M.Ty. Lanre binds the Chandrian to him using his newfound and tremendous power

So, there are (at least) two 'whys' here. Why did the master shaper draw the moon into fae. Why did Lanre turn genocidal after speaking with the Cthaeh? He says he sows salt because the choice is between weeds and nothing.

Also, finally, here's my revised predictions for Third Night:
- Kvothe unlocks the lockless box
- Inside is a key
- He goes behind one of the stone doors
- The elder shaper or a part of the elder shaper is released
- Something evil happens that Lanre-Haliax knows/thinks is unavoidable but it trying to prevent anyway?

That is pretty straight-forward so far...

Some other possibilities:
- Haliax/Lanre loses control of the Chandrian: they go nuts with their evil ways. An uncontrolled Cinder seems so much more frightening than a Cinder under Haliax's thumb...
- Lyra returns (aryl backwards: ariel?)
- The scrael are part of a new shaping? A new world?

Ok. I'll leave it at that. Not so much in the way of insight I suspect, but I think some basic things are outlined there that are worth mulling around.


EDIT: typos etc
76. PT
@75 I'm clinging to my Namers vs Shapers ideology battle theory where Iax steals the moon to limit the power/capabilities of said combatants =D
So in D3 Kvothe "unsteals" the moon allowing new things to be created ie Scrael and Bodyjumper peoples...

Btw nice catch on the hal IAX , i never noticed that.

There was one other poem concerning the Chandrian if i remember correctly... Something with the line - "but to us they're quite nice" ... cant really remember it properly... But who do you think wrote that poem? who would the Chandrian be nice too?
George Brell
77. gbrell

I did a similar compilation a couple posts ago:

Only thing I'd directly comment on is that Haliax appears to be a calling name rather than a true name. It is repeated often enough that if it were a true name, the Chandrian would have likely found the speaker. So I think we can assume Alaxel to be closer to his true name. I assumed that Ferula to Ferule was either linguistic shift (over thousands of year) or a pronunciation issue. Either way, I think we can assume that the names provided by the Adem may not be 100% accurate, but are likely closer to the truth than anything else we have.

Interesting point to follow up (probably in Thursday's post), there are discrepancies amongst the numbers of betrayers and cities listed in Skarpi's story and the Adem's story.
Christopher Johnstone
78. CPJ
@ 76 PT

It seems as plausible a theory as any. It's fun to try and work these ideas out. The poem (which I missed) follows:

The Chandrian move from place to place,
But they never leave a trace.
They hold their secrets very tight,
But they never scratch and they never bite.
They never fight and they never fuss.
In fact they are quite nice to us.
They come and they go in the blink of an eye,
Like a bright bolt of lightning out of the sky.

Also, gbrell's list caught this one which I missed:

When the hearthfire turns to blue
When your bright sword turns to rust
See a woman pale as snow
When his eyes are black as crow
See a man without a face

@ 77 gbrell

I missed your earlier post... you caught a few things I omitted and vice versa (I felt quite clever when I twigged that the 'dead' tree on the vase behind Cinder is probably not dead but winterbare).

You're probably right that the Adem names are closer to the truth, though I can't shake the feeling that it does feel like exactly the sort of trick that PR might play that the seemingly most accurate information so far doesn't contain the whole truth. The largest ommission from the Adem rhyme seems to be the point about animals going mad--this is repeated often enough it seems likely to be a true sign, and, conveniently, all of the animals in Kvothe's camp were dead or gone when he found the Chandrian.

Anyway, it's hard to know what is more accurate than what until Third Night comes out... there will no doubt be some surprises yet.

The differences in cities (both in terms of the spelling of MT and number of cities is curious).

I suspect Alaxel also means something in relation to Iax: Al- (I)ax -el.

Anyway, will be interested to see what people piece together in the next post.

Alf Bishai
79. greyhood
@78 -

The Chandrian move from place to place,
But they never leave a trace.
They hold their secrets very tight,
But they never scratch and they never bite.
They never fight and they never fuss.
In fact they are quite nice to us.
They come and they go in the blink of an eye,
Like a bright bolt of lightning out of the sky.

This poem seems to me like total Chandrian propaganda a la Lanre is a sweet guy and was the victim of the whole thing (D's song). The line 'in fact they are quite nice to us' has a comical ring to me.
Bruce Wilson
80. Aesculapius
Reading all of the above, it struck me for the first time that a number of these rhymes about the Chandrian have a feel about them that suggests they ought to fit together as part of a greater whole - as if someone had already completed the work that Arliden was attempting to complete from scratch.

Where the fragments do not quite seem to fit it seems that PR has carefully "aged" them to give the appearance of subtle degradation over time and multiple re-tellings.

For what it's worth, I still don't buy into the idea of the Seven as misunderstood good guys. Aside from the superstitious fears assigned very consistently to them accross all the 4C, the same clearly also holds true in both Ademre and the Faen Realm.

One thing that did occur to me (but I haven't had time to check yet) was to compare everything that we currently know about the members of the Chandrian (numbers, gender, attributes, etc) with the similar details given for Tehlu and his group of "angels" from Skarpi's second story in Tarbean. I wondered if there might be something unexpected hidden in there.
Alf Bishai
81. greyhood
It may end up that the Amyr and Chandrian are simply at war with each other (over something related to the moon), and the inhabitants of the FC are in the crossfire. Neither is necessarily good or bad like in Middle Earth. So there's some name-calling (so to speak) now and then, but mostly both sides want to be out of everyone's mind. The Amyr were more successful at erasing their presence. The pot suggests that if they hadn't been as successful as the Chandrian they possibly would have been even more the object of terror than Haliax et al. The short-lived human Amyr order may have been their own attempt to de-fang the idea of them. The Chandrian, on the other hand, haven't done as good a job. So they occasionally toss in a bit of propaganda art.

None of this is to say that if one of them won that the FC wouldn't in fact be totally screwed.
82. Dodger
And the final ring was without name.

D's ring maybe? as in it's not a naming ring?
Tim Djerf
83. TDjerf
As I read about the painting of Haliax here a theory jumped out of nowhere at me. I read it as, going left from right the moon grows to full then shrinks to new
The candle goes from normal to-----------black and Haliax in the middle.
The curse on Haliax is something about showing the world the true darkness on the inside of him.
This could mean either that a) as the moon grows Haliax aint a bad guy
Or b) he IS a bad guy you just don’t know he’s there.

My theory builds on the first possibility, first however we have to understand a few things. First: Haliax is NOT “evil” he just wants to end the world for the greater good and that’s the greatest of all good, he’s spent the last 5000 years planning and working for it, meaning that if you meet him in a dark alley you’re safe if he don’t think you know anything about him as long as you stay out of his easy reach, otherwise he’ll kill you if it won’t slow him down for your own good.
Second: he can’t sleep, he can’t forget, he’s NOT crazy and he can’t die. This means he can’t heal his mind while sleeping and dreaming, he probably can’t go nut’s and stop feeling/ caring, he probably remember the pain of every wound he ever had and all the pain and suffering he has caused or witnessed over 5000years and he can’t escape this by dyeing.
The death of Lyra held enough pain for him to want the world to end, imagine how he must feel now.

Right, now if Haliax spends the moon cycle, growing->full----->shrinking->new, going in his own cycle between 3 extreme states, good-->blend-->bad--------->blend.
Why would that be, How could that be? Well I gather from what we are told that at some point during the CW Lyra gets sick or more probable poisoned ( could be out of fear of what she did bringing back Lanre) at this time Lanre is neither knower, namer nor shaper, so he goes to the Chteak for the flowers that grows there which can cure her.
When he returns he returns with an enemy, a new name and some nasty naming stuff enough to match the best there is and a mood too boot.
Do you notice the hole in the story? Where did the naming and the enemy and more so the new name come from ?
I think it’s safe to assume that the Chteak spoke with Lanre and told him the Truth which could have been something like
“Lyra won’t live long enough for you to return. It’s really a shame you know, the people you two fought so hard to protect feared her for her powers, hated her actually and they killed her for it. To bad you’re not a namer like she was, then you could have helped her, do for her what she did for you. There might be a way for you to become a powerful enough namer in time to save her, Iax is.”
And he goes on to tell him some way for Lanre to steal/borrow/copy and incorporate part or the whole of Iax’s Name to himself. The act of doing this closes the remaining doors of his mind and death if Lyra’s actions hadn’t done that for him, it also changes him, his Name and name both, his name is now part Iax’s name, it might even mean part Iax.
HalIax = part Iax, come to think of it that might be the true root for ha’penny instead of a short for half a penny it’s part of a penny, credit to this I think is that the gentry when they care to speak of those sums speaks of ha’penny which doesn’t seam to be the sort of thing a noble would do, using the commoner slang.
The thing is that knowing everything the Chteah could tell the perfect truth and still lie in essence, there was no way for Haliax to save Lyra and this double betrayal would make him more angry at the world.

What I’m saying is that when the moon grows the Iax part is happy and the Lanre part shines thru which means that his actions really is for what he perceives as a god cause, when it shrinks the Iax part is dominant and is angry which leads to his cause to grow nasty, when it’s either full or new the Iax part is content because he knows that it’s coming to him or he has it fully there but also that it’s going or coming balancing out each other.
And I’m guessing that the shadow around him is strongest when the moon is full or new but that it’s always there because there’s really something wrong with him.

This could explain the comment Haliax and his seven, Haliax is not one of the seven but maybe Lanre is.

On the ring thingy
@54 OR he could go the other way again, if I Kvothe were laying a trap I wouldn’t want every half skilled thug for hire or self important Namer come after me, only the ones the trap was for, so I pull some of my naming powers into a poem and most anyone who might be a Namer knows I hate poetry so it seams unlikely that I was the one spreading it, in the poem I tell all Namers that I got some wicked names and many too like blood bone and fire, now there’s some freak Namers out there like Elodin who might no these and more and worse and to those I would tell that I have a ring without a name( draws the thoughts to the theory of unNaming) which should really freak most out (if the unNaming is just mad talk this could signify a unknown strength or name) and if it don’t work I just beat whoever comes hands down to scare away the rest of them. In the beginning of tNotW when the Chronicler understands what Bast is and binds him with iron Kvothe tells him to release it or he will break it. He seams quite sure of him selfs and if memory serves me the others refer to him as Kvothe there to which we have taken as a synonym for him relapsing to his old self, but on the other hand, he’s Ruh down to his bones and a showman first and foremost.
Break could really mean that he either does it by unNaming or by Naming iron with greater strength,
However this theory builds on two other theories so take it fore what it is.

I do think that the difference between the hands that the rings is on is more like the difference between knowing a person and knowing a person, if I really really need help I could call a friends friend and might help me out both I wouldn’t wear his ring, if I ask really nice a workmate might help me move or if we’re both free and have time we could go drinking together maybe end up in a fight together and I would wear his ring on my left hand, but a Friend him I’ll bring a cask of beer after work and we’ll talk a few hours he might cook me some food and he’ll cut my hair, he’ll help me clean my home and change my tiers.
Tim Djerf
84. TDjerf
Think in terms of Soyvoy (sp?),e Fela and Mola, for Kvothe

As for the Gibea discussion

Please don’t take offense at this post I’m just giving perspective and making a point and if you DO take offence religiously or morally please pm me or whatever works on TOR, I don’t want to start a discussion on religion here.

The duke of Gibea did more a lot more then just dissecting humans, or at least I’m inclined to think so.
He could have tested thousands of alchemical, chemical and sympathy (uses) for medicinal purposes.
Poisons, anti-venoms, surgery, cancers, anesthetics, dieses, long term effects, think of every disease, every affliction where medicine plays a part in present medicine (physical and chemical only) and put an exponent of 3 above it and you get the number of things he might have tested if you add alchemy and sympathy to the mix. Every single one of those 20’000 victims might have served in several experiments, testing different substances in various ways, surgery, transplantation, cutting them up when they died and when they where just lumps of meat he could have fed them to the dogs to se which effects carried on to the next “host” use them for fertilizer to se the effects on plants and those who ate said plants and so forth. Giving the strong power of the Amyr at the time they might have contributed with a slim to a substantial part of those victims who might have been rapist, murders, bandits, murders, let me tell you I’d kill 3 rapists myself if it meant I got a new lung liver and heart when I needed one.
He did this in one lifetime, I’d say no more then 30 years, he did it so that no one would have to go to “Gran” to be feed lead and mercury and given leeches, I doubt anyone here can come up with a way to do this in the time frame given.
He did it for the “greater good” since proper healthcare is essential for civilization.
He WAS a monster, I’m not arguing that, but he wasn’t corrupt, this is what the Amyr do, if If going by Selotios one-eye (sp?) ( in the painting from the vase and from Scarpis story) their “greatest good” would be to kill the Cheandrian and they would burn down the world doing so.
I might have another understanding of the word corrupt, since my native language is not English but a corrupt police looks the other way for money a corrupt politician lines his own pocket but a police who goes thru downtown armed to the teeth and just starts shooting because he knows of a nasty gang leader that’s hiding in a group of innocents is not corrupt, he’s mad.
On the other hand we have real word things that’s really similar, for those who played Diablo2 the quest in Act1 the forgotten tower “and so it came to pass that she who had bathed in the blood of a hundred virgins” the RL one had iron gibbets whit spikes hung over her baths killing her victims slowly so she could bath in the blood her motive was the she thought it would keep her young…
Or more telling take the holy church of Christ how many “witches” were burned or drowned ?
How many was raped and killed during the crusades, and why not mentioning how the Christians treated the Jews, all for something that can at best be explained by Elodin shoting GOD at the sky without the stone-ring-shaping word-name in the end = for nothing. I think that the believers in this thread stands on a little shaky moral ground and unless you were fault free by the age of 16, really your whole life, you’re destined to bring catastrophe to the world!
Reminds me of a scify flick I saw a month past comes to mind, Serenity, the main bad guy had a vision of a perfect society in which he believed he knew he was a monster in what he did, he did fit in his dream but he did it so others could experience it.
I don’t know in what way Kvothe thinks of it but do agree that he got a bit o a shadowy morale and he definitely got a selective judgment of everything Cheandrian and Amyr.
But on whole I think he’s just to damn smart for his own good or not smart enough.

And again no offence meant!

Many good things mentioned here but I’m filling up on yeast and I’d like to make my way to the end post before I’m totally unintelligible so I’ll refrain from commenting

And I now realize that the word formatting I did ain’t worth squat on this board ^^

also sorry for the dubbel post, it didn't fit :O
David C
85. David_C
@ 29. erichtwade writes:
Regarding chapter 42, I find it interesting that the grate is not only iced over, but locked. Remember that this courtyard is accessible only by going over the rooftops (or coming through the Underthing). Did Auri lock it? Why?
Doesn't Auri give Kvothe a key at some point?
David C
86. David_C
@ 54:

Most of the lists of rings seem to omit the ring that Auri gives to Kvothe.
87. wickedkinetic
Stone/Iron/Amber/Wood/Bone - all physical, solid, 'real' things that naming can be useful - but not mad-power useful. These are names an E'lir can learn - but with the feck of 20-men - you can maybe begin to acquire blood/air/ice/fire/unseen (?light?) - elemental names - names of true power - these are the sygaldry-runes that are not for kids! (unless your El'the!) (couldn't come up with a clever 'or else/or El'the' pun here... oh well)

you can do serious damage with those names. but they are harder to see. I'm as yet undecided on whether all names are fluid or static, or whether 'the ever-changing wind' you must 'chase after' is unique in that it is hard to keep track of - while the other names are 'known' once mastered......
89. Curtiss
A comment about the flame comment from the post: Not all flames burn blue. The color of the flame mostly depends on what is being burned (a candle burns orange, methane burns blue, hologenated compounds burn green, and some metal ions make the flame green or red or purple-ish)
90. Marco.

Not sure if you check this after all this time, but we have evidence that Kvothe knows the name of iron. When the chronicler binds Bast, Kvothe says release that or I will break it. I think this can only mean that he will break the binding.
Roger Pavelle
91. RogerPavelle
I have a question about this section. Why was Fela promoted to Re'lar? Or, more specifically, why wasn't she one already? Elodin says earlier that everyone in the class has called a name. Kvothe was promoted the first time he did this. Why weren't the rest?
George Brell
92. gbrell

I've always interpreted her "promotion" as being specific to Naming, not related to the hiearchy of the University. Based on Kvothe's promotion to Re'lar in NotW, promotion within the University appears to require a meeting of the Masters.
93. Elxa Chris
Not sure if this was ever posted... but people continue to speculate that his first love who called him "dulator" is Denna. How do we know who this is. And also when Chronicler talks about "the girl" and the Strawberry wine bottle is destroyed (via out of control sympathy or whatever) it is assumed that he meant Denna. But the girl he could be talking about could either be Auri, Devi, or Fela. I will admit that it is most likely Denna, but he even states that at the end of WMF that K does not love her to Fela and Sim. That she merely interests him and he cannot understand her and dislikes a thing he cannot understand. I think Auri or Devi could be solid candidates that call him dulator and is "the girl". I believe that Auri is the most interesting person in the story and that she has to be something important to K that has not been expressed as well so far.
thistle pong
94. thistlepong
Elxa Chris@93

Trouble is, Pat's stated that Auri isn't important to the plot. “Some people say there was a woman—” almost certainly refers to Denna given her place at the formal center of the story, her careful yet stumbling introduction, and the icons in the frame connected to her in the narrative. The lover who calls him Dulator doesn't have to be Denna, of course.
Laura Taylor
95. Lauranimal
Denna was his first love, but I'm not convinced they ever even kiss. Felurian was his first lover... and it sounds like a word she would use, though I don't recall her using it in the narration.
Kate Hunter
96. KateH
I too find K's nonchalance about Gibea's practices mindboggling - in the sense that he obviously doesn't know anything about himself. We have as evidence of K's stance on right and wrong:

1. His enormous and lasting regret for failing to intervene when a young boy is attacked in Tarbean.
2. Him taking responsibility (when it really wasn't his) for saving Trebon from a drug-addled draccus.
3. His decisive actions to rescue the raped girls from Ruh-impersonating bandits, and the breaking of the mouthy obnoxious boyfriend's arm.

Given these and other bits of evidence, it's impossible for me to believe that if K were to witness human vivisection being practice by anyone on any pretext he wouldn't put a stop to it, whatever the cost to himself. No way, no how would he sit still and debate what the greater good might be. He'd simply step in and act. Nor would any argument brought by another convince him that the vivisection happening right in front of him served the greater good. So his reasoning about the benefit to medical knowledge from Gibea's work simply shows a startling opacity towards his own beliefs and impulses.

His confrontation of the loudmouths in Tomes shows that he looks at the situation in front of him and acts on his instincts of right and wrong. He's not contemplative. He doesn't ponder whether his actions will ultimately be for the "greater good." Only when presented with an abstract situation does he consider the long term effects of an action.
Kate Hunter
97. KateH
@50. sillyslovene Bast replies with "Tiny gods, yes!" when K asks him near the beginning of WMF if he's going to start drinking early in the morning. It was a curious phrase coming from Bast. I thought it was interesting that it shows up again coming from Elodin.
98. Janae
The capitalized letters in Denna's letter have already been mentioned, I don't know what they are supposed to mean, I just wanted to say that they aren't capitalized in the german translation. This might be because they are not important (unlikely, in my opinion) or that it wouldn't make sense in german. (In german, nouns are always capitalized and of course the word order is different)
99. ARMed_Pirate
I still think the wood ring on K's hand is Auri's secret holding ring. K's ring of blood has Ciridae connotations, but could also note control over his own name (if his blood) or someone else's (if their blood). The ring w/ no name is crazy weird, because how can you have naming power over something w/ no name? Maybe it denotes the power to _give_ names to things that have none.

As for Chandrian blue flame, and in support of the time-effect argument, what if it was a blue shift to the light itself? Would time contraction create a blue shift in some way similar to a Doppler effect? I think methane gas is more plausible, but I like time stuff better, especially if the Chandrian can travel back in time to eliminate sources of stories about them. Implausible, but feels rightish to me for some reason. :p

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