Nov 3 2011 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 10: Watching Stories Being Born

The Patrick Rothfuss Reread on Tor.comWelcome to my extremely detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 50-56 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.

I want to start this week with an observation I made in last week’s comments — We say we want DT, and of course we do, but we’re actually very lucky to be here at this time reading a text we can trust like this, without the answers but knowing we will get them.


Chapter 50 is “Chasing the Wind”

Which for once is fairly self-explanatory. Kvothe has decided not to go through admissions this term, and three quarters of his life disappears. He enjoys the midwinter pageantry — presumably the same stuff he mentioned in Tarbean, demons and Encanis and so on. He doesn’t say how they do it in the University or compare it to either Tarbean or his troupe, which is a pity. Then spring term starts and he doesn’t know what to do with himself. He can’t find D, but he spends time in the Eolian. He thinks about leaving and going somewhere so people can forget him, but doesn’t have anywhere to go. He thinks about trying to find D in Yll.

He tries to repay Devi but can’t find her, Mola tells him she’s on holiday. I wonder where Devi goes on holiday? I can’t see her on the beach with umbrellas in her drinks. Also, holidays are a modern idea. Well, in Europe they got started in the C.18 with the idea of visiting picturesque places and Grand Tours and so on, and holidays in the modern sense for ordinary people were a C.19 thing. Medieval and Renaissance people travelled for specific reasons or on pilgrimage. They might take time off, but they’d stay at home — festivals are medieval. Going on a trip as a vacation is modern. We never see anybody else in this world taking a holiday either — nobody with the caravan for instance. But Kvothe accepts it as relatively normal, so they must have it as a cultural thing, at least in the Commonwealth.

Spring slowly starts, and Threpe finds Kvothe a job — a distant job. He’s been looking for a more distant patron.

“It hardly matters where he lives.”

I nodded. My troupe had ranged all over the Four Corners under the protection of Lord Greyfallow’s name.

It’s odd that even thinking that he doesn’t consider going to Lord Greyfallow and telling him his name didn’t protect them and he’s left and deserving of patronage. Or even writing to him.

Threpe mentions Maer Alveron, whose ancestors were kings of Vint, and who is a high noble in Vintas. “Every bit a king except for the title and crown.” He has written to Threpe asking for a young man who is good with words. What he wants one for, he leaves open — of course we know it’s to help him court Meluan Lackless in a Cyranoesque way. It’s odd he writes to Threpe to find him somebody, but he’s been having a correspondence with Threpe, they have done each other favours, and Imre is known as a centre of arts. He definitely wants somebody distant and dependent. Maybe it’s not odd at all.

Kvoth immediately thinks the Maer will be able to help him search for the Amyr. Even in his mind it’s started to be a search for the Amyr, rather than the Chandrian.

He leaves the next day. He receives “heartfelt handshakes from Wilem and Simmon, and a cheerful wave from Auri.” I’m surprised she’s so cheerful. The masters are restrained, except Elxa Dal who tells him to have fun. He leaves some things — notably the treasures he had from Auri — at Ankers, and leaves with a travelsack and his lute in lutecase.

He runs into Elodin on Stonebridge, swinging his bare feet over the hundred feet drop. Elodin does the same trick Auri did — Kvothe says apologetically “I’m afraid I’m going to be leaving...” and Elodin asks if he’s really afraid. He hasn’t been acting as if he is. Elodin tells him figures of speech have meaning and he should be careful of them. He tells him to sit on the parapet. Kvothe says he’d rather not, Elodin tells him fear doesn’t suit him. He sits on the parapet. Elodin asks if he can see the wind. He tells him it’s a good place for a namer. Kvothe says because it has wode wind, strong water and old stone. Elodin says it’s a good answer but why else. Kvothe admits he doesn’t know, and Elodin is delighted — this is probably the first time ever Kvothe has said this to him. Then Kvothe asks him, and Elodin says because it’s an edge.

Then Elodin says they call leaving the university “chasing the wind” because it literally is chasing the name of the wind in places with edges, and that this might be better than staying and studying. A dark man with a pinched face walks across the bridge, and Kvothe is afraid of being pushed off. Elodin tells him to spit for luck.

He finds Devi. He leaves Rhetoric and Logic, his thief’s lamp, his talent pipes, and D’s ring as collateral against his current debt, so he has the cash to get to Severen.

I wouldn’t have guessed that all of this is setting him up for being shipwrecked and losing everything he has with him but making sure all these things are safe for when he gets back! Clever Rothfuss.


Chapter 51 is “All Wise Men Fear”

And we know what!

He meets Threpe and Threpe puts him on a boat for Tarbean, whence he can get a boat to Severen.

Threpe turns into a pocket Polonius and starts giving last minute advice, about the Maer’s high breeding and that nobody will take Kvothe seriously if he looks as if he’s chasing money. Then he quotes Gregan the Lesser but says it’s Teccam:

The cost of a loaf is a simple thing, and so a loaf is often sought, but some things are past valuing: laughter, land and love are never bought.

Three things about this — first it’s very trite. Second, note “land” in there, which isn’t what I’d expect. I’d expect blood or birth. Because you can buy land... except not in feudal societies, where it’s granted. And third, look at that clever misattribution, which tells us very clearly that Teccam is sufficiently famous that things get misattributed to him.

Let’s review what we know about Teccam. He lived in a cave and taught students and the stained glass window at the University where he’s doing this is described as “typical”. He wrote a book called Theophany, which means “appearance of God” or “appearance of the gods,” and another called Underlying Principles, both of which survive and which Elodin makes Kvothe read as part of learning naming, so he’s clearly deeply connected with naming. Devi owns his books. He invented a winch that’s still in use. He has a theory of “narrative septagy” which relates in some way to folklore. (“Septagy” isn’t a word, but it would seem to have something to do with sevens?) And he’s famous enough that people misattribute all sorts of things to him.

We also have some direct quotations. There’s the one where he claims it’s better to have a mouthful of poison than a secret of the heart, which is true knowledge actively concealed. There’s: “No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name. Travel is the great leveler, the great teacher, bitter as medicine, crueler than mirror-glass.” And there’s the famous one about the three things a wise man fears.

We have speculated that Teccam may be the man in the cave in the Jax story.

Moving on!

Kvothe puts Threpe’s letter in the secret compartment in his lutecase, with Nina’s drawing and some dried apple. The dried apple is an adorable detail:

There was nothing special about the dried apple, but in my opinion if you have a secret compartment in your lutecase and don’t use it to hide things in there is something terribly terribly wrong with you.

Now Threpe has been coming out with quotations all through this conversation, and he’s clearly nervously babbling. “Fortune follows favor.” Then the Gregan one. “He that speaks least is most often heard.” “Know a lady by her manner, a man by his cloth.” “Small thaws make great floods, so be twice wary of a slowly changing season.” Then he comes up with the three things all wise men fear “the sea in storm, a night with no moon, and the anger of a gentle man.” We’ve seen that one before, attributed to Teccam, when Lorren gets angry with Kvothe in NW.


Chapter 52 is “A Brief Journey”

Oh, sure I’d be on for a full and complete and irrelevant account of a shipwreck here. But Kvothe isn’t going to give us one, and I’m so glad he doesn’t.

He tells us his route.

Downriver to Tarbean, through the Refting strait, down the coast towards Junpai, then up the Arrand river.

I know, let’s check the map! Tarbean is on it, and presumably the strait between Yll and the mainland is the Refting strait. Part of that sea is “the Reft.” Junpai is marked, an island to the east. The Arrand river isn’t marked, and neither is Severen, but we know he’s going somewhere in Vintas. The only mapped river in Vintas is the one up the border between it and the murky south, but maybe the border between the Small Kingdoms and Vintas is also a river? I don’t see why Severen isn’t marked. Looking at where the Eld is, Severen could be pretty much anywhere in Vintas. Gah.

The alternative route he didn’t take would be through Atur and the Small Kingdoms, where “only priests and fools expect the roads in that part of the world to be safe.”

He went by sea to save time, but was afraid of boredom. Instead

several unfortunate complications arose during the trip. In brief, there was a storm, piracy, treachery and shipwreck, although not in that order.

“Treachery” is the unexpected one in that list. The others are reasonable hazards of a sea voyage.

Over the course of the trip I was robbed, drowned, and left penniless on the streets of Junpai.

Wow. More excitement here than in the preceding 410 pages. But it’s not what the story’s about, so we don’t get it. It took him sixteen days to reach Severen, and at no time was he bored.

It’s also worth noting I think that none of this is absolutely necessary — he could have just said the journey passed uneventfully, or just put in the theft if he needed to arrive penniless. Also, Bast and Chronicler learned their lesson interrupting last time he left something out, I suppose, because there’s no whining and no interruption here.


Chapter 53 is “The Sheer”

Which is a geographical feature.

He arrives in Severen hungry and penniless, but with his lute so everything is all right really. The case saved his life on one occasion! He has lost Fela’s cloak, which he’d been forced to tear up and use for bandages in Junpai. And his gram is sunk.

Is Kvothe deliberately being irritating in giving us these tantalising details about the trip we don’t need to know about?

Severen is divided by a cliff, the Sheer. Rich people live at the top, the others at the bottom. It’s two hundred feet tall in Severen, but outside the city it loses height and stature. So it’s not a river cliff, it’s that some of the land has risen or fallen? I’m picturing this like Edinburgh, especially the peninsula that sticks out into the city where the Maer’s estate is.

Kvothe doesn’t know anyone in Vintas except Ambrose, in his father’s estate “some miles to the south.” (Also not on the map.) Desperate, he pawns his lute for a span. He can get it back for the same money within the next eleven days. He buys noble clothes and boots, and a haircut, shave, bath, and meal, and no longer looks like a beggar.

Then he tells us about the difference between the Commonwealth and Vintas.

In the Commonwealth, the gentry are people with power and money. In Vintas, the gentry have power and money and privilege.

Kvothe copes with this by acting as if he has more rank than anyone, and bullies a baronet into escorting him to the Maer’s estate.


Chapter 54 is “The Messenger”

The name of the bow he gives the Maer. “Low and formal, deferential but not obsequious.”

Kvothe bluffs his way as far as Stapes, and then gives Stapes Threpe’s letter.

Stapes is interesting, a servant in this hierarchical place, but more powerful than most of the nobility. He’s wearing a dull iron ring with gold letters — the Maer’s ring, doubtless.

Alveron is older than Kvothe expected, and he finds him at a map strewn table with a veteran soldier. The Maer says Kvothe is very young “Barely past twenty” when in fact he is barely past sixteen. Alveron accepts him, gives him rooms and says Stapes will outfit him when he explains he lost his luggage to shipwreck.

His rooms are opulent but he hates them because he’s stuck in them without his lute. The food’s great, so is the bath, the tailor makes him two suits of clothes and a burgundy cloak with little pockets.


Chapter 55 is “Grace”

This chapter begins with the kind of reversal I love. Maer Alveron is dressed fairly plainly in excellent fabrics, and Kvothe muses that wearing clothes that never show a hint of wear is more luxurious than having them ostentatiously elaborate. Of course, most of us wear clothes that never show a hint of wear, because we have washing machines and clothes are cheap. But at tech level, it’s a sign of immense wealth.

Kvothe thinks he looks old but he’s not. He has been watching him through the hedge, as the clock strikes he steps out to meet him. He has an invitation to meet him in the gardens. Kvothe realises Alveron is sick. Kvothe offers his arm. They walk for an hour, talking about the gardens and the people they pass. Alveron tells him to be secretive about who he is, and says it will do wonders for his reputation.

Back in his room, Kvothe consoles himself with the thought that if the worst comes to the worst he can sell his clothes and redeem the lute, even though this would embarrass Threpe badly. He wants the Maer as a patron for protection against Ambrose — finally taking that seriously! — and to continue his education, and to investigate the Amyr. He’s willing to live without his lute for a span for the chance — but only just.

And of course rumour erupts around him as the Maer wanted, and he thinks it’s like watching stories being born — as he just did with The Chronicler.

And we’ll go on from there next week.


Last week’s comments

Sillyslovene suggests that if Chronicler might be searching for something more valuable than a princess it could be K’s story.

Abs wonders if The Chronicler’s book might be related to D’s writing down magic. I find this intriguing.

Shalter suggests that K isn’t intending to let Chronicler go anywhere with the story, so it doesn’t matter what he tells him. I find this unsatisfying — so much of the story is about stories that I don’t want this story to be smothered.

CV12T wonders if K has another reason for not describing the trial in detail — like for instance that it would reveal something he doesn’t want Chronicler to know. Very interesting!

Silentia suggests that the ring without a name could be the silence that surrounds K. I like this, but it seems that he has lost his rings somewhere — though they could be in the Thrice-Locked chest, I suppose? Wetlandwrnw suggests it could be the Name of Silence. My problem with that is that it’s more like a curse, as if somebody has stuck the Name of Silence on him, not as if he has mastered it.

And promotions: the Department of Imaginary Sympathy raises Lakesidey, Aesculpius, CPJ, Ryanreich, and Trollfot to E’lir.

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.

Pamela Adams
1. PamAdams
Is Kvothe deliberately being irritating in giving us these tantalising details about the trip we don’t need to know about?

Well, irritating Chronicler at any rate. Bast probably has heard the shipwreck story.
Sim Tambem
2. Daedos
Shalter suggests that K isn’t intending to let Chronicler go anywhere
with the story, so it doesn’t matter what he tells him. I find this
unsatisfying — so much of the story is about stories that I don’t want
this story to be smothered.

How would Chronicler be holding his story ransom, then? Kvothe wants the truth told, not misinterpreted. I don't see this as a viable possibility.

@1 I like that. I think it might also have to do withn his promise to keep the story at three days. Maybe he just didn't have time.
mr. awesome
3. mr. awesome
In future posts, can you take Denna and Bredon's whereabouts into consideration? I want to know if they're in the same places at the times when we know Denna's been meeting with the patron. The Bredon-as-patron theory has me sold, but more evidence is always a good thing.

If Teccam is the caveman, then we know that he lived for a long time. He would have lived past the Creation War and through the division of the races of man and fae, because he mentions "men" and "the night with no moon". It also seems unlikely that his writings would have lasted that long. I'm not convinced that the Teccam = caveman theory makes sense. I think they're both described in similar terms because they're both similar, not because they're identical.
mr. awesome
4. wcarter4
Given the earlier fuss over the omitted trial, it would be very like K to purposely through out those scant almost details to see if Chronicler would take the bait again.
We know from his story that he is very into revenge and is almost looking for an excuse to cut the story short even while he enjoys the telling of it.
While we know that Rothfuss actually wrote out both scenes to be included then discarded them, it wouldn't be surprising for him to give shallow in-story excuses for why as well as a deeper reason as CV12T suggested previously.
It depends on how much of an "gardener" as opposed to "architech" Rothfuss himself is as a writer.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
Daedos@2 and Jo: I don't really think that Kvothe intends to smother the story either. As C12VT mentioned last week, however, it seems unlikely Bast intends to let Chronicler leave with the news of the Ctheah. This doesn't explain Kvothe's secret telling though.
mr. awesome
6. Stargazer
Is Kvothe deliberately being irritating in giving us these tantalising details about the trip we don’t need to know about?

I thought the general consensus at this point was that Rothfuss actually wrote the trip out in detail in an earlier draft of the novel, but later decided to cut it as nonessential? I assume this is the case for both the trial and the ill-fated sea journey. I'm pretty sure there are comments somewhere on Rothfuss' blog or in one of his many interviews that strongly suggest this, in which he says that part of being a good writer is knowing when and how to cut things, no matter how much you may love that text, if it's not essential to your story.

The fact that he would write an epic tale of treachery and shipwreck and then drop it on the floor to give us the Cliffs Notes just goes to further confirm that every little detail we do get has got to matter somehow...
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
It’s odd that even thinking that he doesn’t consider going to Lord Greyfallow and telling him his name didn’t protect them and he’s left and deserving of patronage. Or even writing to him.
This nags at me also. While we seem to understand why he didn't immediately go seeking Lord Greyfallow (geas of a sort that Skarpi breaks) Kvothe's continued reticence is disconcerting. I wonder if Skarpi either didn't wholly break the geas or put his own in its place? So, while Kvothe is able to move on and use most of his faculties, he still avoids some obvious answers like Greyfallow or just asking people like Elodin or his friends for some help.
David Thomson
8. ZetaStriker
Huh. That way you describe his silence as a curse reminds me of the Chandrian. This is a pretty crazy theory I've put almost no thought into rationalizing, but it is interesting to consider that whatever drove the Chandrian into hiding could have done the same to him. Maybe that's what the "writing down" magic does? Creates these curses?
Dave West
9. Jhirrad
@ Jo
Also, Bast and Chronicler learned their lesson interrupting last time he left something out, I suppose, because there’s no whining and no interruption here.
I see a three-fold reason as to why PR leaves out the details of the trip to Severen, and one of them relates to this.

I think that K is using this to test them, and see if they have in fact learned their lessons about interrupting him and begging for things that he isn't giving them. We're not that far off from the point where he had to put Chronicler in his place with a rather brutal level of efficiency. So first off, I think it's a test.

Second, this is the story of Kvothe's search for the Chandrian and Amyr, above all else. Every part of the story has drawn us there. The Chandrian have seemingly guided his life, intentionally or not. His feet were placed on the path towards finding them the moment Arliden began his song. Being in Severen is important to that. There are events that happen as a result of his being in Severen that impact his quest for them. But the trip itself does not. Thus the assertion that it is simply not relevant to the story at hand, and therefore set aside for another time.

Finally, I believe we have a meta explanation, which goes back to what you said last week, and ties back into the first two . Neither Kvothe or PR are "our bitch". While we feel as though we want the story (I mean, it seems like it could easily be a novel by itself!), Rothfuss is saying that we aren't entitled to this.

@ Jo and Shalter - I agree re Lord Greyfallow. There HAS to be something more there that we are missing. There's no good reason once he's left Tarbean state, for him to continue on in the same way. As a child, he remembers Lord Greyfallow and his estate fondly. Why wouldn't he, at the very least, want to make sure that he is warned about the death of his employees? He seems like a logical choice for a patron from the very beginning because of his ties to the troupe, and yet Kvothe never seems to consider him. It's quite perplexing.
Sim Tambem
10. Daedos
It is quite possible that Bast intends to give Chronicler trouble when it comes time for him to leave. Based on his response to hearing about the Cthaeh, at least we know he doesn't like it. Otherwise, there is a lot of tidbits that might lead us to think Bast is might turn out to be a villain...
C Smith
11. C12VT
Re: Greyfallow - Perhaps K doesn't seek out Lord Greyfallow because he knows Lord G would want an explanation of what happened to his parents and their troupe, and he doesn't want to give one - both because it would be too painful for him to do so, and because he doesn't want to sound crazy talking about the Chandrian.
andrew smith
12. sillyslovene
@Greyfallow discussion-
Personally, I think I am of the opinion that Greyfallow's identity is integral to the rest of the reveal of K's story in D3, and thus, in his narration, he doesn't go anywhere near touching it. Does this mean that he never thought about it? Not necessarily. Does this mean that K doesn't want to talk about it because he is crafting a story that needs foreshadowing and a clever reveal/denoument? Probably. K is Edema Ruh and a master storyteller... This might be completely off the wall, but I think the 'grey' in his name indicates his possible connections with the mysteries of the world ala Greystones and the Lackless family, etc.

K might have even surmised something about this at the time from his memories of visiting the man and thus is glossing over having not thought about it...

As for not going there- I think it is in character for K not to want help from anyone and to be too proud to ask- the pride of the poor as it were. I think, with the point from C12VT @11 about how crazy it would sound, that is the reason he hasn't told any of his other friends, let alone made his way to Greyfallow. I don't remember, do we even know the general vicinity of where that guy is?
Sim Tambem
13. Daedos
@12 This might be the same reason he hasn't sought out Ben. I agree that stories can be misleading and that they do not always tell the whole truth.
Weijian Zhang
14. Weijian
A comment about your preamble:

...we’re actually very lucky to be here at this time reading a text we can
trust like this, without the answers but knowing we will get them.

How are we certain we will get the answers in the third book? I've been following your excellent re-read series and read about all the little details Rothfuss hid in the text, but I have a very hard time believing we will get resolutions on some of this stuff, like Yllish knots, or the moon, or which current city corresponds to which ancient city, or what happened to the Amyr, or, in fact, any of the historical background.

That would require an encyclopedia, not a story. I do expect Rothfuss to tell us what's in the thrice-locked chest, but most of things we've been having fun speculating on will remain speculation. It's the artsy thing to do, to not over-explain and to leave things open at the end, and Rothfuss if anything is certainly an artist.
Skip Ives
15. Skip
We also have some direct quotations. There’s the one where he claims it’s better to have a mouthful of poison than a secret of the heart, which is true knowledge actively concealed.
Isn't this what we think is happening with K? His secret is that he is Kvothe, and concealing it from others is causing him not to be able to find those parts of him as well.
There’s: “No man is brave that has never walked a hundred miles. If you want to know the truth of who you are, walk until not a person knows your name.
But Kvothe can’t walk far enough not to hear his name. He’s too famous. That, or he is serving his penance as Kote, trying to become brave. Since K seems to be quite fearful, maybe that is it. Is K the chrysalis for a Kvothe that is both his conscious and unconscious self?
wrote a book called Theophany, which means “appearance of God” or “appearance of the gods,” and another called Underlying Principles,
Theophany sounds an awful lot like Theogany, Hesiod’s tale of the birth of the Gods and the beginning of the world. Underlying Principles seems more like Aristotle trying to get to First Principles or origins in his philosophical works. Just thoughts on where these things come from. Underlying Principles could also be a references to Hesiod’s “Works and Days”, but that seems less likely.

As for not getting the full story of the wreck, I viewed it as Rothfuss giving us Kvothe in full storyteller form. A good storyteller always leaves hooks in stories so that he can come back to them without having to re-introduce backstory. Kvothe would have learned this as an early part of his training. Doing this structurally as Mr. Rothfuss gives the story more depth and draws us in without having to construct a story with no real impact on the plot. Doing it as Kvothe is simply in character, even if nothing happened to him he may have created that hook. Just because Kvothe is giving us his story, doesn’t mean he is always telling the truth.
Katy Maziarz
16. ArtfulMagpie
"Silentia suggests that the ring without a name could be the silence that surrounds K. I like this, but it seems that he has lost his rings somewhere — though they could be in the Thrice-Locked chest, I suppose? Wetlandwrnw suggests it could be the Name of Silence. My problem with that is that it’s more like a curse, as if somebody has stuck the Name of Silence on him, not as if he has mastered it."

Okay, interesting thing here. I just looked at the first and last sections of both NotW and WMF...the 3 silences parts. The third silence, the great silence, is in every instance described as being held inside two things: 1) objects and things that are part of the inn, such as the floor, the hearth, the clay cider jugs, the plaster walls, the locks and 2) perhaps more interestingly, the hands of the red-haired man.

The silence, the third silence, is in K's hands. Given all the discussions we've had about "good right hand" and upon which hand Namers wear rings, and the ring without a name possibly being a ring of silence, and K's proprioception, etc etc ad infinitum, the fact that the silence pervading the inn is always described as being in his hands becomes...interesting, non?
Hugh Arai
17. HArai
*repeat post*
Hugh Arai
18. HArai
Artfulmagpie@16: The other repeating phrase I notice is : "If there had been music...but no, of course there was no music." Why of course? I'd say because the silence is in the hands of the red-haired man.
mr. awesome
19. Foxed
If we have one misattribution of Teccam, then why can't we have more?

I think we'll find out that Teccam could be a title.
mr. awesome
20. Trollfot
E'lir! Thank you Jo, I'm so excited! had a hard time explaining the grandness of it to the bf though :D
Ian B
21. Greyfalconway
@20 trollfot Lol I had the same trouble with my gf

@16 ArtfulMagpie Thats what I was thinking, and because of his deep mastery of music he can create a silence like no other, his own silence, playing as just a different part of his music, the way he plays Names on his lute like "sitting beside the pond in the sunshine" or whatever it was
mr. awesome
22. Dominiquex
Regarding the absence of Lord Greyfallow... I might be unusually thick, but I never thought this one was too significant. One, the troupe were wandering employees, not necessarily known very well personally by the Lord. They probably didn't have the close relationship a city patron and his artists have (like Count Threpe). It's possible Lord G didn't even know Kvothe existed as a child in the troupe. I mean, it's not like the Maer was at all broken up by Kvothe reporting that one of his Ruh troupes had been killed by bandits. Barely batted an eye. What I'm saying is I think it's possible that Lord Greyfallow might not have cared much even if Kvothe had presented himself to him - it's possible that at best, Kvothe could have expected a general "sorry for your loss, here's a few talents/royals/whatever, good luck, be on your way." Second, if the Maer's reaction (paraphrase of "After consideration, I don't find I need to look down on you for being Edema Ruh" as an enlightened response), what's the chance a random noble would want to take any responsibility for one lost Ruh orphan? Note, I doubt that any of Count Threpe's pet artists are Ruh. And third, on a meta-level, Greyfallow cannot be helpful because this is an epic tale of Kvothe's trials and struggles, so anything that would have fixed Kvothe's problems can't happen. That doesn't necessarily preclude Greyfallow being a secret lynch pin to the story, but I can't say I'm really holding my breath for that specific detail. ;)
mr. awesome
23. Silentia
@16,18,21 etc I like the hands theory. If it's not a ring of silence, it might just be that they are broken. He's always saying his hands are the most valuable thing he has...everything talent he has is based on his hands. Threpe tells Kvothe in NW, after he sings the Lay of Sir Savien, that he thought he was a brave boy, too brave. He didn't know he couldn't save the end of a broken song with a broken instrument....but he did. Kote might be broken, the talent of his hands may have been impeded, but I think he will save the end of his broken song/story and while it may not end "perfect" it will be "complete", which I think refers to the frame story as much as Kvothe's narrative.
Rob Munnelly
24. RobMRobM
I may be a conspiracy theorist, but given the importance of names, I'm suspicious of Grey + fallow = something greycolored and no longer alive = Cinder/Ash???


mr. awesome
25. mr. awesome
@16, 18, 23 I like that bit about the hands a lot. This also provides an explanation for why he's able to sing "Tinker Tanner" but isn't able to play his lute. Also, I'm pretty sure there's a passage in NOTW where he describes how watching Josn play the lute was torturous to him, which explains why he didn't have a fiddler in the inn. There's no magic preventing music in the inn, or even anything preventing music at all, rather it's K's hand and desire to play the lute which is causing the problem.

On the other hand, a fiddle is different than a lute. If he can sing without feeling too bad about himself, maybe being in the presence of another different type of instrument wouldn't bother him either. This could be explained by the argument that he doesn't consider "Tinker Tanner" to be real music, but I don't think that argument is very strong.

Probably not. There's absolutely no evidence to suggest this besides Greyfallow's name, and I think K's father would probably have noticed the signs if he'd frequently been in the presence of one of the Chandrian. Also, the Chandrian probably would have found the troupe faster if the Chandrian were being assisted by Greyfallow.

Additionally, the fact that it took so long for the Chandrian to find the troupe is extremely odd. In the book it's explained that it must have taken a while because the troupe was frequently moving, but as the Chandrian are capable of teleportation this doesn't make much sense.
Can anyone explain this?

Idea: is it possible that K didn't change his own name but that someone else did? I've always thought that changing his name was the thing that filled his face with "fierce regret" (not an exact quote), but maybe that interpretation was flawed.
Hugh Arai
26. HArai
Dominiquex@22: Kvothe's troupe performed for the Baron and his family and guests for a few span every year. They sat at his own table and he gave Kvothe a regiment of tiny lead soldiers one year. That doesn't guarantee support when the troupe is wiped out but it does show the Baron is personally familiar with the troupe and specifically with Kvothe as part of the troupe.

RobMRobM@24: I suppose one of the Chaendrian could be a Baron with a family but it seems like it would be hard to keep up. Ash=Greyfallow might work but probably only if Ash != Cinder.

mrawesome@25: Depends how the teleport works. Do they have to know where they're going? Depends how well they can isolate the location when someone speaks their names as well.
Ashley Fox
27. A Fox
Hands & Silence. I view the rings as physical tokens of K's power on one hand, and his experiances on the other. Sound plays a great part; you listen for Names, you speak Names, you sing songs of power. An absence of sound is a silence. So I dont think there is a ring of silence, or that K knows the name of silence, or unNaming. But rather the ilence is an absence of K' rings (being a metaphor for is whole self, power, music and experiance included).

It curious how much hands are used as the focus of power. The magical tools are meant to be wielded by hands, yllish knots are made to be felt, rings both of Names and of fealties, the blood of the Ciridae/Selitos, Adem language. And of course, the musical instruments.

Teccam. My perspective is that he was around before the Creation War, A Knower. So follows the story of Iax. The Creation War ensues. After, perhaps out of some retribution for the student/seeker he failed he starts teaching from his cave. There has previosly been speculation on how/who founded the university. What if it was Teccam? He seems to be portrayed as the original scholar.

Sometime after the creation war someone returned to the destroyed city of Belen, possibly one of the twin cities, and founded the university, a place of knowledge, power and sectrets. There as been much supposition on what lays beyound the four plate door. This university then survives when emprires rise and fall.

Greyfellow. I dont really find it very odd that K never turns to him. He is a reminder of one of the most painful times for K. We know that K very rarely speaks of it, or his parents...even in the frame Bast reacts as if it was new. We know what K went through trying to block out what had happened, once he had reached a point he could focus on, he threw himself headlong into it. He doesnt want painful reminders.
Ryan Reich
28. ryanreich
But I was promoted at the end of the last book! Oh well, new term, new tuition :)

What's puzzling about the Greyfallow omission is not that Kvothe doesn't go to him -- it's that he doesn't even think of going to him. A few people have suggested excuses like it being painful emotionally, or that Kvothe wouldn't want to have to explain. The problem with these is that they are excuses we make for him; he doesn't say anything about it at all. We know all about why he doesn't tell his friends about the Chandrian, or why he never asks them for money, because he tells us right up front (what he says may be a lie, but it's an expressed lie: true knowledge actively concealed).

With Greyfallow, though, it's just a lot of nothing. He passes through the text without affecting it. Therefore, either Kvothe doesn't have a reason and also doesn't know he doesn't have a reason (since otherwise, being Kvothe, he would comment on his arbitrary aversion) or he doesn't think of going to Greyfallow at all. Note: he does remember Greyfallow with some nostalgia, since he has some clothes made in his colors at the end of the book. It's not a painful subject for him. But the fact that Rothfuss a) put in the clothes, and b) didn't put in a reason, leads me to suspect that he is keeping a secret.
Christopher Johnstone
29. CPJ
E'lir. Wow. I wasn't expecting that. Thanks!

It depends on how much of an "gardener" as opposed to "architech" Rothfuss himself is as a writer.

I hadn't heard those terms before. Lovely words. They are attributed to GRR Martin I think, given my brief hunting on the web? I've always thought of the same categories as 'outliner' and 'organic' writer, though I think architech and gardnener captures it better.

Dominiquix@22 I find this argument reasonably convincing, though HArai@26 raises the same questions I would.

ryanreich@28 brings up an interesting point and perhaps nails down why I think maybe there is something more going on with Greyfallow. I could quite happily believe that PR had decided that it was bad for the story for Kvothe to go chasing off to see Greyfallow: perhaps it would be distracting and not core to the tale being told?

...but, PR *isn't* a clumsy writer. It feels unlikely that he would have left this as a hole, standing open the way it is by accident. In Tarbean, Kvothe thinks about Ben, and there is an explanation about why he didn't go trying to find Ben... but as for Greyfallow, it's sort of just hanging there.

Kvothe could easily have explained why he didn't look for Greyfallow, or he could have visited Greyfallow and then, in the frame, waved it away as not very important or relevant.

Greyfallow is repeatedly mentioned (as if PR want to be sure we do not forget about him), but there is nothing painted in around him. Where is he? Who is he? Why didn't Kvothe go looking for him, or at least send a letter once he was in the university?

Maybe it's a red herring, but maybe not.

In term's of Greyfallows name... I can't see much to draw from it. Given Lockless -> Lackless, it could be that Greyfallow is from Greyfollow (related to the long road or grey stones?).

Also, I wonder about the possibility that Kvothe will discover that Greyfallow secretly asked Kvothe's father for the song about Lanre, thus triggering the whole series of events? It does seem that if you were a lord and if you noticed the absence of material on the Amyr (as the Maer has done ), then hiring a troupe of reliable, intelligent and wide-ranging singers would be about as good an investigation as you could undertake.

It wouldn't look suspicious, and you wouldn't even need to explain to the troupe why you'd like to hear a song about Lanre or Yllish knots or whatever. "Next year, it'd be lovely if you could sing a song about the Lanre. I've been really enjoying Lanre stories lately. Make it something with some real historical grit. You know how much I like some actual history woven into our little ballads..."

I don't suspect Greyfallow is Amyr (though who knows? maybe?), but perhaps he is involved in the broader intrigue in a way that is not yet obvious?

Regarding the ring not for wearing, I've been assuming it's linked (somehow) to the 'rings not for wearing' that the Vints give each other... though I also assumed that the ring-giving practise was a memory of something much older and Kvothe will stumble upon an *actual* ring not for wearing at some point. I don't think the ring not for wearing is in the story yet, or if it is, it's well hidden.

Also the idea that something has happened to Kvothe to make him Chandrian-like is interesting. Here's a crazy idea. What if Kvothe in the frame story *is* Chandrian. He might have killed one of the Chandrian and then had Haliax decided to make Kvothe the replacement... if Haliax controls Chandrian with their names, this would help explain why Kvothe is hiding and seemingly trying to give himself a new name.

I don't think I entirely buy that idea myself, but it's weird enough to be fun to think about. Surely if Kvothe were Chandrian it'd be . . . damn. I was going to say that it'd be hinted at, but I've just realised, it *is* hinted at. In tNotW, Chronicler says something to that end, that some people think Kvothe is Chandrian, and it is dismissed or ignored in an odd way... what was the line? Ah. Here:

'Some are even saying there is a new Chandrian. A fresh terror in the night. His hair is as red as the blood he spills.'

'The important people know the difference,' Kote said as if he were trying to convince himself, but his voice was weary and despairing, without conviction.

Hm. How about that. I wonder...?

What would his sign be then? We know that 'silence' is a sign of one of the Chandrian, but perhaps for Kvothe, the inability to stand music, his own or other people's? Music becomes tortuous to him, though he can hide it with effort, the way the other Chandrian can hide their signs?

That would cast the signs in a new light: they might be more tragic than they seem. What if they are things that the people loved, that have been taken away from them by Haliax-Lanre, or given up for power? The man who makes animals go crazy loved animals? Cinder loved summers and warm days? The silent man loved conversation? Whoever causes iron and wood to rot was a craftsman? The blight-bringer loved his or her gardens?

Or Kvothe isn't Chandrian exactly, but like them, he gave up the thing most valuable to him to gain power, and it's absence is the sign? (Though in that case, why blue fire?)

That is an odd little tangent to wander down. I'm not really convinced by it, but it's an interesting idea...

Also, I second mr awesome@3 that it would be fun to keep track of Denna's and Bredon's whereabouts. There's a sizeable camp who think Bredon = Master Ash, though I'm not convinced just yet.

Thanks Jo. Great re-read as always!


mr. awesome
30. beerofthedark
a theory of “narrative septagy” - it's just occurred to me that this is probably the "there are only 7 plots" theory.
Rob Munnelly
31. RobMRobM
OK, this Greyfallow thing is now officially interesting to me. I agree it's amazing that K doesn't even think of the option of going to Lord Grey at any time.

Do we know the circumstances of the original tie between the Lord and Arliden's troupe? Perhaps Lord Grey had tracked down Natalie Lackless and wanted to have some way of maintaining a tie and keeping track of her location - hence, the sponsorship. Not sure I buy that but it is plausible. The open issue would be why was he tracking her and what did he hope to gain? Perhaps he knew Lackless blood would be important to opening the doors so it made sense to both know her location and see if she had any kids. Since she never went anywhere near the door while alive, not a big deal, until Arliden sang his song and got them all killed. And then they lost track of K....

mr. awesome
32. Soloce
Along the Greyfallow angle, I'd like to play a bit of devil's advocate/Occam's razor here. It could simply be because Kvothe doesn't know where Greyfallow's lands are. Yes, K is super smart and whatnot, but maybe he wasn't a 7 year old MapQuest as a part of his genius. At this point, we have heard Kvothe think of pretty much every land on the map, and never has he said, "...near GF's lands."
I think the counter argument might be that he says his troupe travelled all around "under the protection of GF's name." But again, this is a child's perception. We do have the one instance where the troupe is in a specific town whose noble owes allegiance to GF, but it just may be the case that in general towns are welcoming to troupes as long as they don't steal children and whatnot. I mean, say GF is in Vintas and they are travelling in Yll, it would be unlikely that GF is famous enough for them to get street cred in Yll.
So, there's my "cigar is just a cigar" answer.
On another note, @29 CPJ, that's really interesting! And sounds quite like a Rothfussian twist!
Rob Munnelly
33. RobMRobM
Soloce - could well be true but one would have expected Kvothe to at least think of LG as an option at some point in the story. The silence may not be deafening but it is curious.
Jo Walton
34. bluejo
Ryanreich -- I thought I had, but I didn't write you down. Sorry!

Everyone: I love the hands theory. Love it. It perfectly fits and it's exactly like the way he did the moon in NW, in plain sight. Wow.
mr. awesome
35. mr. awesome
@32 I'm fairly sure that K describes the extent of Greyfallow's lands in NOTW somewhere near the scene between Arliden and the mayor who was going to force them to play the green.
mr. awesome
36. flodros
I don't really see what the problem is with Kvothe not going to see LG, either to gain a patron or to inform him that the troupe is no more.

As has already been said we don't know where LG's seat is. After the troupe is slaughtered Kvothe is on his own and finally manages to make it to Tarbean. There he explains why he couldn't go and find Ben, which can also apply to LG.

After Tarbean he goes to the university - his mission is to hunt down the Chandrian/Amyr. He doesn't have much money and, more importantly, he doesn't have a lute.

The issue is then that in order to actually petition LG to become his patron he would have to travel away from the university. He still doesn't have much money, this would also interfere with his mission and would also increase his tuition next term.

The first time he has the ability to travel he still doesn't have much money and will also be aware that when he comes to apply for the following term his tuition is still going to be higher than it could otherwise have been. He needs to spend the time away making money. The only reason he eventually leaves is for a more certain prospect of another patron - and by the sounds of it one with more influence than LG.

There is also the fact that Kvothe is static. I know that we have people in Imre both giving out patronages and having patrons, but, as far as we know, these people are able to roam the countryside and, more importantly, the lands held by their patron.

I can also see that the further the distance from the lands of the patron the less protection protection the writ provides and also the less benefit to the patron. If LG's lands are far away, is he really going to care if Kvothe performs in his colours in Imre?

What about the Maer I hear you say. He is almost as far away as it is possible to be.

1. The Maer is influential enough to be recognised anywhere in the 4 corners.
2. The patronage would be more for services rendered.
3. The Maer's name would open more doors for Kvothe

None of those are fact, but I don't think they are unreasonable.

Finally, I agree that LG's name has been mentioned alot and think that it is entirely possible that he could have a much larger role in DT. However he name seems to be mentioned in situations that seem natural - i.e. whenever Kvothe is thinking or talking about patrons/patronage - so think that we could easily read too much into it.
mr. awesome
37. TheFacelessMan
I've been coming back to the idea proposed about K setting a trap by playing a "beautiful game" as Kote. Why after all this time would he just dump his solitude and give his story to one of the most famous writers known? Certainly if the story spread people would be pretty aware of the fact that A. Kvothe is not dead and B. Some previously unknown and personal information would be out there not only about K but everyone involved (some powerful and important figures) C. And this is what makes me think Kote IS his beautiful game; K is putting down a record of everything he knows about the Amyr and Chandrian. We know that he has crossed their (Chandrian) path personally twice already (the killing of his troupe and Cinder with the mercenaries.) Most likely there will be some part in his story where he meets them again and if there is one thing beyond all doubt we know about the Chandrian it's that they do not like people telling stories about them. Is this his version of his father's song? Letting some truth about the Chandrian back into the world to draw them to him? It seems that he is drawing Fae creatures and other powers towards him already with the Scrael and Skindancer. Could Kote be the cheese on the mouse trap? It seems much like the movie The Prestige, if anyone has also seen it, where they figure out the old Chinese man's magic trick is really the illusion that he is an old man to begin with. Well I'll stop there because any sense of cohesion of all the ideas floating around probably stopped a few lines back anyway. Love these posts by the way as they are amazing. Such great thoughts and insight into things from all the commenters too. Like I'm reading the book all over again. Thanks!
M Linden
38. mlinden
This section contains one of my favorite moments from this book, and really underscores for me what PR seems to be doing with his meta-story. When Kvothe gets to the Maer's palace, we are introduced to the arrogent and suspicious court magician, and the frumpy and obsequious servant with much behind-the throne influence, and then, GASP! The Maer is being poisoned! Well, of COURSE he is. That's how this story goes. This is a master storyteller, using familar themes and tropes to weave together the Greatest Story Ever Told. Whether I'm talking about Kvothe or Rothfuss here, I'll leave up to interperetation...

As for Lord Grayfallow, I think there’s definitely something we don’t know yet. Something doesn’t add up when you factor in the theory that Kvothe’s mother is the infamous Natalia Lackless. If this is the case, wouldn’t Greyfallow recognize her, during the few spans they were performing at his estate every year? Shouldn’t this have been commented on in some way? I think this is a case of Kvothe being an unreliable narrator and either a) we’re wrong about Natalia Lackless, b) there was some ulterior motive at work to keep her identity a secret or c)Greyfallow is a complete fabrication, to spice up the fact that Kvothe’s troupe was nothing special, but just another roving band of Edema Ruh. I think Kvothe never considers going to Grayfallow for help because he doesn’t exist.
mr. awesome
39. flodros
mlinden @38

"c)Greyfallow is a complete fabrication, to spice up the fact that Kvothe’s troupe was nothing special, but just another roving band of Edema Ruh. I think Kvothe never considers going to Grayfallow for help because he doesn’t exist."

I never even thought about that. Nice one.

RE: LG recognising Natalia Lackless (assuming you are incorrect on your point C).

Why would he be expected to recognise NL? We know next to nothing about LG. For all we know he may be a minor lord at the other end of the 4 corners. The only time we have seen the effect of his writ is when the troupe was in lands that owed fealty to him. We don't know that he has even close to the same social standing as the lackless family. Even if he does it doesn't mean that he would visit Vintas
Steven Halter
40. stevenhalter
mlinden@38:I think that GF does indeed recognize
Natalia Lackless and knows her quite well. In fact I am guessing that she is the reason that they have GF as their patron.
mr. awesome
41. faek
Speaking about Caudicus (I may be bringing this up a bit to early, but he was mentioned above so it's hard to resist...):

It's very clearly stated that he's a full arcanist and must know what he's doing when he's poisoning the Maer. I think Kvothe's just marching in without any real thought and does what he always does; acts directly without trying to see the bigger picture. He's not even stopping to think for a minute about the poisoning. He realizes that it must have been going on for a long time but still he blurts it out to the Maer directly.

The whole poisoning story could pretty much be three ways:
- Caudicus is acting for an "evil" source (whoever that is) and Kvothe saves the day
- Caudicus is acting for a "good" source (Amyr, arcanists, ...?) and Kvothe spoils a very thoughtful campaign
- Caudicus is acting for some other, non-important reason
C Smith
42. C12VT
@41: My theory is that Baron Jakis is behind Caudicus's actions. We do know that Caudicus visited the Baron (p. 423).
Hugh Arai
43. HArai
mlinden@38: What are you basing Natalia Lackless's "infamy" on? A noblewoman running away with a trouper is certainly a big deal to her sister and probably a bit of a scandal among the aristocracy her family belongs to, but I doubt it's something known outside of Vintas let alone across the Four Corners.
mr. awesome
44. faek
Two crazy and unrelated ideas (unrelated to eachother, and unfortunately, unrelated to the current discussions as well):
Illien. Why is so little said about him? He's very similar to Kvothe in looks and interest in the lute etc. Even the Fae has heard about him. How long ago was it that he lived? Might he have had a role in ancient events?


"Some might even say that there's a new Chandrian out there", "The important people know the difference". (Appr. quotation from early tNotW.)
Kvothe has done terribly things that render him equal to the Chandrian, almost like an 8th Chandrian. Also, on the vase that Nina sees there are eight persons (which are often described as the Chandrian + Ciridae Amyr) and Nina see them all as the same, or even figures that the Ciridae is the worst. Does Kvothe feel like the Ciridae on the vase? He's done evil but for a good case. Most people might not understand the difference, but the "important people" know
mr. awesome
45. NewRob
i think K might have found the amyr(in the form of lord Grayfallow (gray being attached to protecting the nobility/humanity and fallow being unused) and made the pact with them to not be able to play/listen to real music thus imparting a silence about him. in gaining this power he used it to build a reputation equal to that of the chandrain for ruthlessness and murder. (most of the bad things he has done so far were inadvertant reactions of good intentions. Also he allows his ledgend to grow unfettered and unnarrated)

so the thrice locked chest is holding all his power while he is kote and allowing him to lure out the chandrain as a double agent for the amyr, once they appear he regains his identity kvoth and defeats them. after that he has a choice to continue as a powermonger or return the rings to the amyr and resumre his humanity and probably return to the fey.
lake sidey
46. lakesidey

*Edited to add wall-of-text warning*

Thanks for the E'lir promotion (though I thought I was there already, and I haven't really contributed much recently). Party time (but of course, with no music).

"CV12T wonders if K has another reason for not describing the trial in
detail — like for instance that it would reveal something he doesn’t
want Chronicler to know."

I actually had the same feeling with respect to this omission - there is important stuff being deliberately glossed over here (or else I am reading too much into the casual mention of treachery).

So (not directly related to this post) I was thinking about the whole "naming is not the only kind of magic" and "shapers v/s namers" and then "magic of writing things down and making them come true". From the last line of thought I had two curious followups:

The first, minor one (which has probably been discussed before) - is Denna specifically writing herself as beautiful to Kvothe? and is that why he seems to be almost irrational when it comes to her? (Bast doesn't think she's anything special, he's only being polite to K when he says she has a nice smile et al)

The second, more major thought I had is a rather weird thing. Allow me to start with an unwieldy analogy:

Let's say you have some online account (netbanking or some such). It requires a password to login and check status (read permissions), and another password to actually do anything (change or execute permissions). But you trust someone enough to let them have read permissions, but not change permissions, sot ehy cannot do anything major, nor change your passwords or something. But that someone has access to tech know-how you were unaware of, and hence is able to hack in and change your passwords and leave you out in the cold. Possible?

So let's say Denna gets to know something about Kvothe (probably his name, maybe something else) which he entrusts to her without worry, feeling that even if she suddenly turns against him, his alar is powerful enough to resist her using the name against him. And unbeknownest to him, she has a different kind of power (writing magic? shaping?). So she doesn't just use his name aganst him, but changes the name itself (and thus the person) to the Kote we see in the frame. Or maybe, excises part of the name and locks it away in that chest. (I'm imagining her removing his magical music the way Delilah chops of Samson's magic locks)

Kote manages to get away (killing her in the process, possibly) and with enemies hot on his heels (Philistines trying to catch Samson after Delilah did her bit?) he goes into hiding and tries to work out what to do next. But the new, not-improved Kote doesn't have enough power (or enough knowledge, maybe) to change his name back (or to open the chest) - he doesn't know the password for the account any more, so to speak. He is desperate to regain control of it, but...who could help? Skarpi, who probably did before? Elodin? Ben? Lorren? Whom to trust?

Would that result in the K we see today? (On balance, I still lean more towards the beautiful game idea that K is just pretending to have become a fly so that the spiders will be attracted. But then you never know!)

Please feel free to pick holes aplenty in the theory :)

mr. awesome
47. Juntai
I've read many of the threads over this, and I don't think anyone
pointed it out, only in the sense that it's not his Adem sword..the
sword on Kote's wall belongs to Cinder, it's described nearly the same.
More evidence to this is one of the guys that comes into the Inn, and recognizes him as Kvothe, and Kvothe
pulls Bast aside and invents a story and tells him to get the guy
wasted.. but while he's mentioning that he knows Kvothe he said the
"spot in Imre where he killed him the stones are still scarred" or
something along those lines. Who would take that kind of power to
George Brell
48. gbrell

That Folly is Cinder's sword is certainly a leading opinion, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it "described nearly the same."

"He drew Folly] without a flourish. It shone a dull grey-white in the room's autumn light. It had the appearance of a new sword. It was not notched or rusted. There were no bright scratches skittering along its dull grey side. But though it was unmarred, it was old. And while it was obviously a sword, it was not a familiar shape. At least no one in this town would have found it familiar. It looked as if an alchemist had distilled a dozen swords, and when the crucible had cooled this was lying in the bottom: a sword in its pure form. It was slender and graceful. It was deadly as a sharp stone beneath swift water." (NotW, 25).

"Then he set Folly] on the mounting board. Its grey-white metal shone against the dark roah behind it. While the handle could be seen, it was dark enough to be almost indistinguishable from the wood." (Id.).

Cinder's sword:

"His sword was pale and elegant. When it moved, it cut the air with a brittle sound. It reminded me of the quiet that settles on the coldest days in winter when it hurts to breathe and everything is still." (NotW, 115).

"His eyes were like his sword, and neither one reflected the light of the fire or the setting sun." (Id.).

While "dull grey-white" and "pale" are similar, they're not identical. And "dull" does suggest a lack of reflection (specifically since it's repeated twice in describing Folly), but it isn't exactly the same as no reflection (especially when preceded by the word "shone").

A second problem is that, if we were examining only NotW, you'd have a strong case, but WMF gives us the similar Adem swords, which provide an alternative theory for Folly's identity. We know that Folly is not "Kaysera, the poet-killer," but it shares many similarities with other Adem swords. Even so, I think that idea is certainly a front-runner.

With regards to whether Kvothe killed Cinder in Imre, the leading theory there is probably that it was Ambrose, but we know that Rothfuss likes red herrings, so you're idea is as good as any. However, if we connect "poet-killer" with Ambrose with Imre, then he would have used Caesura to shatter the stones (or it would have been with him), which blows a hole in the theory.
mr. awesome
49. greggors
Another possible point in the favor of K killing Cinder: Towards the end of WMF, immediately following the naming of each of the chandrian to K by the Adem, we return to the frame where Bast, horrified, chastises K about his name lore -- saying all of the names of the chandrian is akin to calling them to the inn. K counters by stating that this is the reason that the Adem have the walk 1000 miles, wait 1000 days stipulations before reciting the names. He claims that he has walked his 1000 miles and waited his 1000 days. But we and he know this is not true, this is the 2nd time that he has used said the name Ferule/a (the first instance was in the scene where the chandrian kill his parents/troupe and Haliax disciplines Cinder) in the past 2 days in the exact same location. There are 2 possible motivations for this 1) K is playing the beautiful game and is actively calling Cinder to his inn in Newarre. 2) K is keeping to his name lore. It doesn't matter how many times K says Cinder's true name since he has killed Cinder.

For some reason I thought there was a 3rd instance that the name Ferule/a was used, but I'm not sure and I dont have my book right now...
Ashley Fox
50. A Fox
Pure supposition. What if K uses Cinder's sword Folly to kill him? Perhaps being turned against its owner 'damaged' it in some way, accounting for the darkening of it. Perhaps even damaged K/K'spower/hands in some way.

And why is there an assumption that a sword is used in the event of the stones shattering? I had always read it as a very magical consequence-the stones are shattered, not chipped-of a duel.

Also Im an idiot and forgot to confirm the preview on my last post....grrr
George Brell
51. gbrell

Nice catch with the twice naming of Cinder. Two possible objections: 1) "Ferula" may not be the same as "Ferule" and 2) The Adem names may not be perfectly accurate (though we can certainly believe them to be more accurate than other sources).

I've always assumed that Kvothe's naming of his sword as Caesura rather than Saicere was an outgrowth of his latent naming powers, seeing the true Name of an object (or perhaps its true name in relation to him) rather than the calling name used by Vashet. If we assume that the Name of a thing varies based on location, time and other factors (which is heavily implied), would it not make sense that it could vary based on the person speaking?

Furthering this point, what if the Adem poem actually contains true names and each person hears the true name as they would speak it (rather than as spoken by another). We know that when Elxa Dal speaks the Name of fire, Kvothe hears "fire." Perhaps "Ferula" is the name used by Haliax, but is not the same as the name as heard/spoken by Kvothe (this connects to an idea that I think a lot of people have that people may see colors differently, but we all call the same color red regardless of what my vision looks like compared to yours because it's a name, not a perception). It would be like someone repeating an unfamiliar phrase in an unfamiliar language; there would be none of the inflection and understanding behind it to make it perfectly clear.

@50A Fox:

Perhaps being turned against its owner 'damaged' it in some way, accounting for the darkening of it.

Following your line of reasoning, we can't rely on anything in the text since we'd be required to predict unanticipated intervening events and consequences.

More generally, I wasn't suggesting that Kvothe didn't kill Cinder or didn't use Folly, I was just pointing out that attributing shattering of stones to Folly supposes a lot.

I, too, have always read the shattering of the stones as magic, not the result of swordplay.
mr. awesome
52. greggors
Couple of different comments:

Is it possible that "Kaysera, the poet-killer" is just a change of "Caesura, a break in a line of peotry" resulting from the retelling of stories over time. I mean we see time and time again that stories of K change and then change again, as evidenced by K's return from Vintas. He listens to 10 different versions of stories about himself in 10 different taverns (exaggeration I know). Perhaps this is just a 'telephone' effect. Saicere and Kaysera sound alike. poet-killer and end of a poem also sound alike. I know this goes against much discussion conjecture, but it means that he hasnt necessarily killed a poet.

@48 gbrell, do we know who's perspective the description of K's sword in the inn is from (don't have my book)? We know the description of Cinder's sword is from K's perspective after the Chandrian kill his family, but if Bast or the Chronicler is describing the sword to us in the frame, then those differences could be due to different points of view rather than factual differences in the sword itself (that sounds clearer in my head).

then @51 gbrell, ya the Ferule vs Ferula thing bothers me too, but I think that they might both be true names just different cases or accents etc. I certainly think Cinder is named twice. This also serves to bolster the credibility of the Adem poem. It is a secondary source that is confirmed by K's primary source witnessing of Cinder's named being called. I think because of that, we can trust the rest of the names in the poem.
George Brell
53. gbrell

I thought it was fairly obvious that Kaysera is Caesura.

The description of Folly is third-person omniscient (as are many of the descriptions in the frame story).

I concur that Ferule/a bolsters the credibility of the poem, but I don't think it means we can assume that all the names are perfectly accurate. For example, Skarpi presents Haliax as Lanre's new Name, but the poem says Alaxel. (And Kvothe's said Haliax way more than twice).
mr. awesome
54. realm
Hi! This is my first post here, so I´ll start by saying how much I enjoyed Jo´s reread and all of your speculations.

Going on: Some of you seem to be rather pessimistic about the fate of Kvothes friends, and I have to admit, sometimes it doesn´t look good.
Maybe we could find some arguments against them (or at least some of them) dying.
CPJ wrote:
"Some even say, there is a new Chandrian..."
"The important people know the difference."
I had totally forgotten about that; who could he be referring to besides his friends and maybe some of the masters?
Also, that Kvothe can speak of his friends without much emotional reaction, while talking about his parents death causes an almost break-down, might be a hint that they are alive.
Another example: When talking about D in NotW, he says:
"How can I make any sense of her for you when I have never understood the least piece of her myself?”
Now I´m not an English native, but to my knowledge the us of present perfect means something like "up until now"; if she was dead, I think he would have said "I never understood her".
I know, I´m grasping at straws here.

Since there was quite a bit of talk about his rings, here is my perspective on the rest of them (it´s not very detailed, just the things that seem to make the most sense to me):
"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."
The first hand is pretty straightforward: iron, wood and bone are the rings he keeps from the Maers court.
We have also heard about the amber ring beeing just a popular story:
"Apparently, I owned a ring of amber which could force demons to obey me."
Stone is likely a namers ring, though that he keeps it on this hand could mean, that he hasn´t mastered it - or, since there are no namers rings on this hands, it could be something entierly different.
Whats also intersting is the capitalization (in the kindle version): stone, amber, wood, bone - but Iron; it´s most likely a typo, but it could mean that all but the iron one are normal rings, with iron being a namers ring.

The second hand is far harder:
I don´t think, the ring of blood is a sing of his naming prowess - blood is something very individual, so it would be closely connected to a beeings true name, hence I think there is no general name for blood; it could however be a sign of him beeing able to find the name of living beeings.
The ring of air should be rather obvious,
but the ring of ice is somewhat problematic - in Sympathy, they have a general understanding of thermodynamics; so why would he have a ring of ice as a sing of his naming powers - wouldn´t he have a ring of water?
Especially since it´s on the same hand as the ring of air, presumably showing his mastery of the name? I think, the name of ice would be different, but only a variation of the name of water - like the name of wind can take different forms. Also, there beeing a flaw in this ring seems to contradict the concept of wearing the rings depending on your level of mastery of a name.
The ring of flame seems rather straightforward.
The final ring without name is the most mysterious - Aleph is supposed to have found the names of / named everything. The only other instance of something nameless I found is in a depiction of the apocalypse:
"...until the world ends and the Aleu fall nameless from the sky.”
Three short thoughts, then I´m done:
Does it say somewhere that he starts a war by killing a king? Or could those two events be unrelated?
There are many Fae in the frame story. Since they are only able to cross over into this world when the moon is fully in this world, that could suggest that Kvothe does indeed "steal the moon back". Is there any mention of a moonless night in the frame?
D´s line "It´s my Job to notice things about you too" in NotW is curious, given that her patron seems to be training her to be a spy.

- realm
mr. awesome
55. greggors
@53, "I thought it was fairly obvious that Kaysera is Caesura" -- completely agree. So why is everyone so willing to accept "poet-killer" as a literal epithet rather than just a morphing of "the end of a line of poetry"? that was the point I was trying to make. Sorry if it didnt come across well before
Bruce Wilson
56. Aesculapius
E'lir...? Really? Wow. Didn't think I'd contributed that much. It feels a little childish to be so excited yet somehow I really am - thank you! :o)

Not sure how we got on to the relative identities of Saicere/Caesura/Kaysera and Folly (+/- Cinder's sword) but seeing as we're now talking about it, here are my thoughts:

I've never been convinced that Folly is anything other than K's Adem sword, Saicere/Caesura. The description of Folly in NW does not in any way jar with the description of Saicere in WMF.

The name "Saicere" (to break, to catch, to fly) is described by K as being "thin and bright and dangerous" and that this name "fit the sword like a glove." The burnished grey blade would also fit. Equally, Kaysera would seem to be a corruption of Saicere and/or Caesura; whether the epithet "the poet-killer" has any truth to it or is just a corrupted misunderstanding of the meaning of a "caesura" as a stop in Eld Vintic verse, only time (and D3!) wil tell...

The description of "Folly" quoted @48, above, (and I'll re-post it below for ease of reference) would seem to be pretty consistent with this:

"He drew without a flourish. It shone a dull grey-white in the room's autumn light. It had the appearance of a new sword. It was not notched or rusted. There were no bright scratches skittering along its dull grey side. But though it was unmarred, it was old. And while it was obviously a sword, it was not a familiar shape. At least no one in this town would have found it familiar. It looked as if an alchemist had distilled a dozen swords, and when the crucible had cooled this was lying in the bottom: a sword in its pure form. It was slender and graceful. It was deadly as a sharp stone beneath swift water."

The interesting thing about the process by which Vashet chooses Saicere for Kvothe is that it is heavily implied that as she moves around the armoury room, she is progressively moving from swords of less "value" and/or historical significance to much older and more significant swords - weapons each with their own heritage that are significant to the Adem - and so she gets more wary and thoughtful as she proceeds.

It is noticeable that, at the start of the choosing scene, K describes the atmosphere in the armoury as being akin to that of the Archives; he also notes that among the swords some showed signs of much use while "some few resembled Vashet's, with worn hilts and unmarked blades of grey burnished metal."

The consistent description of swords like Vashet's own (and some of the others she considers for K) having unmarked "grey" blades (like Saicere) is undoubtedly important. I suspect that there there is a very good reason why the very best of the Adem seem to carry these; we know from Saicere's Atas (and Kvothe's rough estimation of the duration of the sword's various owners) that the weapon is *thousands* of years old - yet looks like new. We know that it was already old (thirty-plus owners) when Finol carried it at the battle of Drossen Tor! This alone might explain why Folly doesn't look anything like familiar contemporary swords that the citizens of Newarre (or anywhere around!) might recognise at the time of the Frame.

My best guess is that these are the ancient blades which date back to the Creation War and may even have been made by Shapers. Certainly, there is something special about a sword that can look unblemished and undamaged after thousands of years and innumerable fights!

I also wonder what is significant about the grey colour of the metal/alloy used to make the blade; PR knows his chemistry and, whatever it is, there's more than a hint of something special about these blades. I wonder if there's some copper in there (like Taborlin's legendary blade and also alluding to whatever special role copper has with Naming; c.f. Elodin's cell in the Rookery).

It's also clearly placed in front of us that Saicere previously belonged to Carceret's mother, Larel - but, while that might explain Carceret's direct indignation, the reactions of Vashet, Shehyn and Magwyn when the sword is chosen strongly suggest to me a deeper significance to this weapon - one that PR is masking with the relatively inconsequential explanation that the most recent owner was the parent of someone who dislikes K (however vehemently!).

I wonder what other significance there might be? Who else *might* Saicere have belonged to? What other names are buried deep in the two hundred and thirty-six included in the dry list of Saicere's Atas? Names that may be masked by a pseudonym or perhaps an Ademric name that hides a name more well known in the Four Corners? Someone from outside looking for Kvothe in a list of names would not necessarily realise that the entry under "Maedre" referred to him. So, Taborlin perhaps...? Alternatively, could these grey swords be original Amyr swords...?

In terms of a link to Cinder's sword, yes, there are undoubtedly similarities but maybe it's just very similar because that too dates from the same time (pre- or intra-Creation War) as these ancient weapons of the Adem? That would certainly make sense. Maybe, however, there's a deeper link to Saicere - perhaps they are *very* similar because they originally came from the same place / maker / Shaper...?

K had made no huge secret of his interest in knowledge the Adem might have of the Chandrian or the Amyr so perhaps it would indeed come as no surprise to an apparent namer like Magwyn that a sword somehow connected with one or both of these groups would be the one chosen for Kvothe/Maedre.

Finally, just a question about the names and their stated meaning(s):

"Maedre" = fire / thunder / broken tree
"Saicere" = to break / to catch / to fly

I can't yet see any obvious link(s) between any of these different meanings and the events that have been/are likely to be coming (we've mentioned the possibility of "broken tree" and the Cthaeh on several occaisions) but, knowing PR and foreshadowing, I thought I'd throw it out there as an open question and see if any of you guys can pick up on something...?

So, that's it - those are my thoughts on Saicere/Caesura/Kaysera/Folly, as drawn from what we know from the texts. As it stands, I can't see anything obvious to suggest that Folly is anything other than K's own (ancient) Ademric sword, Saecere; re-named Caesura by him. There is, however a reasonable degree of agreement for the evidence that suggests the sword in the Waystone *is* Caesura.

As Elodin might wish us to ask, the question is not, perhaps, "is Folly a different sword?" but rather "why has K further re-named his sword Folly - and how is this connected to Abenthy's admonishment to 'be wary of folly'...?"
Katy Maziarz
57. ArtfulMagpie
"As it stands, I can't see anything obvious to suggest that Folly is anything other than K's own (ancient) Ademric sword, Saecere; re-named Caesura by him. There is, however a reasonable degree of agreement for the evidence that suggests the sword in the Waystone *is* Caesura."

Um, except for the part where Chronicler says that the hand guard on Folly looks different from what was described in K's story, and K agrees that yes, this sword is not Caesura... :-)
Bruce Wilson
58. Aesculapius
Ah...! Yes...! Well spotted! - thank you, Artful Magpie!

Sorry, wrote a lengthy comment on that bit and it somehow got missed out in an edit! Let me try again:

Chronicler points out that the sword on the wall doesn't quite match K's description of Saicere/Caesura; specifically he points out that the hand guard isn't quite what K has described for Saicere (which, interestingly, is the only part he describes in any physical detail). When Chronicler makes his comment, K laughs, looks at the sword and then looks a little distant before acknowledging that the sword on the wall behind the bar is different to his description of Saicere:

"Well you're just as sharp as anything, aren't you?" "No, you're absolutely right." "This isn't ... what did the boy call it this morning?" "Kaysera. The poet killer."

Back in the sword-choosing scene in Haert, Kvothe notes that the hilts on those swords with the grey blades are worn, whereas the the blades are unmarked burnished grey. When Vashet first accepts Kvothe as her student she seems slightly alarmed or annoyed that he has noticed her sword is somehow different:

Vashet gave me a narrow look. "What do you know of my sword?"

Kvothe replies:
"...Tempi's sword was well made, but yours is different. The handle is worn but the blade looks new."

Vashet tells him that he has his eyes open (shades of what K says to Chronicler on the subject of his own sword), then says:
" is an old sword, and the blade is the oldest part of it."
So, we know that the hilts on these grey swords are not as old as the blades and do get replaced from time to time - but it would seem that, at least as far as the Atas is concerned, they continue to be regarded as the same sword. There is definitely something special about those grey blades!

Immediately after the sword-choosing, K asks Vashet what he should do if the sword breaks, not the hilt or the guard but the blade itself, she is horrified - why?

Now, given all of my comments above, I strongly suspect that this enduring grey blade *IS* the blade of Saicere but that the hilt has become damaged or changed for some other reason. Kvothe is more than a fair artificer and creating a new grip and guard would certainly not be beyond his skill. Other than looking a little distant, K in the Frame is actually relatively unruffled by either Chronicler's observation or his own easy acknowledgement of the differences.

This is speculation on my part, but I would suggest that Folly was Saicere/Caesura/Kaysera - but is no longer. The hilt (or at least the guard) has been changed and when K remade the guard (or the entire hilt) he saw fit to re-name the sword, perhaps in the light of events that have transpired, perhaps events that specifically involved his use of the sword. So he's playing slightly with Chronicler when he says it's not the same sword. Why else would PR specifically give us details about the shape of Saicere's guard and the fact that Folly's is different, when all the rest of the descriptions of the two swords are pretty much the same...?

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

While I'm on, minor correction to my question @56, above:
"Maedre" = flame / thunder / broken tree

Also, an extension of the same train of thought:
just before he leaves Haert, K specifically asks Vashet why she seemed surprised when Magwyn gave him that name (in the naming scene she has a "hint of dismay" in her voice) - but she refuses to answer, and only just agrees to give him the above meanings of Maedre in Aturan.

Just before receiving the name, Kvothe calls Magwyn "honored shaper of names" (interesting juxtaposition there!); she in turn asks Shehyn if K is mocking her - but Shehyn simply says "I think not."

There's more to this than meets the eye and "Maedre" clearly has an implied historical significance to the Adem. K says early on that he thinks that the "flame" part refers to his hair; I'm beginning to wonder if it isn't something more like an allusion to the flaming tower emblem of the Amyr...? He certainly acknowledges that the name was at least partly prophetic.
George Brell
59. gbrell

Nice catch on the use of present perfect describing Denna.

I think that it cuts both ways, however, as in NotW, Kvothe states "Simmon could always make me smile..." (NotW, 263). Why can't Simmon make him smile now?

Your analysis of the rings follows my own from two weeks ago.

Iron is capitalized because it's the beginning of a line. Though PR could be hiding the big "I" in that fashion. I think we can assume it's the same reason "And" is capitalized twice.

Also, there is a sygladric rune for bone and blood, so they are not so individually specific as to prevent pseudo-naming.

Your short thoughts:

No, but Kvothe states that the war is his fault and we know he killed someone and we know he's called kingkiller, so we inherently try to connect them.

Yes, NotW, p.11, "Looking up, he saw a thousand stars glittering in the deep velvet of a night with no moon."

Your best guesses about Denna are as good as ours.


Oh, that's clever. I never considered that "poet-killer" could be a transliteration of an actual caesura. While I would still lean towards the literal, that's the kind of literary wordplay I love (and a great red herring).


Finally, just a question about the names and their stated meaning(s):

"Maedre" = fire / thunder / broken tree
"Saicere" = to break / to catch / to fly

What's also intriguing is Vashet's comment: "It will perhaps offset his name." Why?

It's heavily implied that Magwyn (who gives Kvothe his name) is herself a Namer. She is described as having "eyes ... like Elodin" and reacts diffidently when Kvothe refers to her as "honored shaper of names." What did she see in Kvothe that made her choose a name that appears to be prophetic of something ill?
mr. awesome
60. Trollfot
In chapter 5, WMF, Kvothe says "Sim had the lively look he gets around his fifth drink." Gets sounds like he's still alive.
Bruce Wilson
61. Aesculapius
@59 - agreed entirely; I'm sure we've mentioned on previous occaisions that Magwyn is clearly a Namer (or Knower, if you prefer - it seems more appropriate to her way of doing things). I'm also pretty certain that we speculated about Elodin learning at least part of his Knowing / Naming from Adem Namers too; he certainly knows their hand gestures.

In fact, I seem to recall speculation that the hand gestures were likely pretty important in a society that was effectively "on the run" from whatever had caused the destruction and displacement of their cities and culture - especially if Naming / Shaping was a key part of what was arrayed against them! If I recall correctly, there was also speculation that the Adem approach to naming and the Lethani might be the last remnants, in the mortal world, of the ancient ways of Knowing and Naming - which is perhaps another reason why prospective Namers needed to escape the confines of the University and the Arcanum and go out to chase the wind.

With respect to the "honored shaper of names" comment, I was just thinking that the use of those two terms (shaping + naming) together could be taken as a little ironic, and would explain why Magwyn thought K was mocking her. I'm guessing that what she saw in K disturbed her too - but I'd love to know why Maedre is so significant and what the Ademric (or deeper!) historical context is.

I forgot to mention Vashet's comment on the sword perhaps off-setting the portent of his name; it was another reason why I feel that the sword on the wall in the Inn is the same one and why it would be destined to stay with K.

One more thing: is the reference to "Folly" on the new roah-wood mounting plate actually the name of the sword now or is K just making a statement? To himself? To anyone around him?
Alf Bishai
62. greyhood
@61 - I agree with this observation - Folly is his commentary on violence an revenge - the narrative spine of his whole life.

@48 - I think the text definitively clarifies that K's sword is NOT Cinder's sword. The latter had a strange light effect - it declined to reflect light. It was like Haliax's face, but not quite as dramatic. Dull rather than black-hole-ish. The former on the other hand 'shone' out with a dull light. It was, in some way, shiny.

Hey does anyone listen to themselves form these sentences that we all type and say, 'When did I become such a nerd?'
Bruce Wilson
63. Aesculapius
Ha!! Yup, all the time!

Accept your nerdiness and revel in it - for here, my friend, you are safe from the world outside...!

Jonah Feldman
64. relogical
On poet-killing and other matters:

I think it’s highly unlikely that the king and the poet Kvothe kills are the same. Kvothe kills the poet with Caesura (allegedly), and he kills the king in a way that shattered cobblestones permanently. The killing of the king was a world-shaking act, while the sword Poet-Killer is just another one of the Kvothe stories, and it might be false to some degree. On a related note, I doubt the poet is Ambrose. If he killed Ambrose, the sword would be named “asshole-killer”, not Poet-killer; Ambrose is a poet, but he’s not known for his poetry. Same goes for most of the other poets we’ve met. If there was a poet at all, it was probably some guy Kvothe killed in some inconsequential fight.

And if all we have to go on is the name of the sword, it might be the case that Kvothe killed multiple poets with it.
Christopher Johnstone
65. CPJ

Only a couple quick comments.

@54realm: Your reasoning is solid, though as gbrell pointed out, it seems that his friends have gotten 'worse than they deserved' (to paraphrase a quote), and it *could* be this is death.

I'm less convinced that all of Kvothe's friends are dead, but more on narrative grounds. So far, Sim and Wil in particular, and Fela, Mola and Auri to some extent, have been Kvothe's only unwavering friends. It would change the story from somewhat dark to very very bleak if all of them were killed. It'd be like killing both Hermione and Ron in the last Harry Potter book, or like killing Sam, Pippin and Meri in tRotK.

There is dark and then there is depressing beyond belief... I would be a bit afriad that the story would become the later if all of his friends were slaughtered, especially if rather pointlessly. Of course PR may have different ideas about narrative to me (I feel like I've learned a surprising amount just by reading this trilogy)... but personally I'd prefer a more redemptive arc here. One in which Kvothe has done something pretty awful, but he's over-attributing blame to himself (as he seems wont to do), and some (probably Sim and Wil) or all of his friends turn up in the frame, and tell him that he's being an indulgent melodramatic idiot and he needs to snap out of it. Of course, the apparant self indulgence and moping about might all be part of a secret beautiful game, so that the friends put themselves in more danger by turning up when Kvothe wants them as far away and as safe as possible. He might even be pretending/insinuating they're dead so that Bast doesn't go looking for them...

It's not an argument for or against the friends surviving Day Three on any grounds other than story shape, but there you have it. That's my gut feeling.

As for the sword(s) I think it's worth pointing out a couple brief things. I'm unsure if anyone has noted this...

The inscription that Ben inserts into the Rhetoric book is 'Beware of Folly' and the last chapter of WMF is Folly, and the sword is Folly... the person who is going to be most angry when they discover what Kvothe has been up to with his little university entrance scam is Hemme. I wonder if it is Hemme who Kvothe kills in Imre?

Also, I'd always read 'poet-killer' as Kvothe's own little joke rather than something literal. He dislikes poetry and poets so much, that naming his sword poet-killer as a jest seems like his sort of humour.

mr. awesome
66. mr. awesome
I have mixed feelings about poet killer.

I think Rothfuss intends for us to view it as the result of transliteration, at least at its simplest reading. This is why the transliteration of the meaning (break in poetry -> death of a poet) is accompanied by the transliteration of the word (Caesura -> Kaysura).

However, the text also says that Kvothe "recoils" at the new name, implying a strong emotional reaction accompanied by surprise. I feel like the reason for that reaction is because the transliteration is unintentionally accurate, and Kvothe did kill a poet at some point.

I also feel that the surprise which accompanied his reaction suggests that the poet was not someone well known, otherwise he wouldn't have been surprised at the sword's renaming. That means that it's not Ambrose (also other things imply this) and that it's probably Sim.

I can hardly see him murdering Sim in cold blood though, unless perhaps if it were for the greater good. I think it's more likely that his actions led to Sim's death or that he was in a position to save Sim's life but chose not to or failed to do so.

His emotional reaction towards the name Poet Killer would still be explainable under those scenarios because his recollection of the burning of Trebon indicates that he often blames himself for scenarios that can only loosely be considered his fault.
mr. awesome
67. greggors
@66 My version says:

The innkeeper rocked back a bit at that. "The poet-killer?"

Rocking back could be any sort of response. It could be emotional like you state. It could also be incredulous or confused or even humorous. All we really know for sure was that calling the sword 'poet-killer' took K off guard
mr. awesome
68. TurtleLogic
First post here, and I just want to say It was a lot of fun reading this re-read and its comments. I want to take an opportunity to contribute with a few ideas of my own about the sword(s) situation. I apologize if any of this has already been covered (I didn’t see it covered already).

I think the very first thing to take notice of is that Saicere/Caesura shares a number of qualities with other artifacts we see and hear about. Specifically the items described and shown by Kilvin.

1) they display unique properties that seem to defy physics, or operate on an unseen level of them (such as never rusting, being frictionless etc).
2) they all seem to date back to the time of the creation wars (or are so old nobody knows when they were made).
3) the process of their making is long forgotten and lost.

I think it's safe to say that all of these artifacts we hear about are created with the implicit use of naming. They seem to bend the rules much in the same way spoken names do, but instead it seems these things were created using a naming equivalent to sygaldry (perhaps shaping?). Somehow they are imbued with names, or properties of names. So a sword made in conjunction with the name of iron might last many thousands of years and keep its edge forever (as seen). Also, it’s a possibility that such an art might create things of platonic qualities. Meaning, it might actually impart the actual qualities of ideas/names. So the Adem's swords imight be made of the very idea of "quick" and "sharp" as much as the physical steel. Something like that might not just “be” sharp, but is almost a personification of “sharp”.

It looked as if an alchemist had distilled a dozen swords, and when the crucible had cooled this was lying in the bottom: a sword in its pure form.”

If this is the case, then such things were most likely created for the creation war, and the art subsequently lost. I have as subsequent hypothesis (that has even less evidence than the one mentioned above, but that makes sense to me). That such weapons would have never been mass produced, and were probably made specifically for the individual wielder (perhaps by the individual wielder). Almost like a suit tailored for them, with the sword’s name resonating with theirs. It is explained that a name contains all the past and present of a thing. So perhaps the Adem custom of a sword’s wielder learning the swords linage is a way of them coming closer to knowing its true name. Something that the refugees of the seven cities (who would become the Adem) would have known the reasoning for, but the Adem practice out of tradition.

This would perhaps explain why Kvothe had to try so many swords. He needed to find one that fit his true name as well as he fit its own.
Bruce Wilson
69. Aesculapius
@68TurtleLogic Hi! I like your thinking and I agree - what you say chimes very much with what I was also thinking about these grey swords. There's one other thought that I was going to mention which extrapolates both your and my comments in a slightly different direction:

If these truly are high-status swords from the time of Shaping / the Creation War then the other key property they need to have is this: they need to have an "anti-naming" or "anti-shaping" property -- there's no point going up against a Shaper with a simple steel sword if all they need to do is call out the name of the metal and have the darn thing shatter or melt in your hand...!

The other thing that occurred to me, although the link is slightly tenuous at the moment as this is from memory rather than a detailed search of the text, is that the grey metal of the sword blades sounds vaguely reminiscent of the grey metal of the Arcanum guilders and the grams -- which would kind of make sense if they do have some sort of "magic-proof" properties.
mr. awesome
70. TurtleLogic
@69Aesulapius Thanks for the welcome.

In regards to your point about such swords needing "anti-naming / shaping" properties, I would submit that it implicitly does. If a sword was imbued with the name of iron, or the properties of a name (meaning it was as much name as metal), and went up against a namer / shaper, what could they conceivably do to it? If it were a normal sword, it's assumed they would call the name of iron and make it fall away, or perhaps change it's name and make it something else. However, with a sword such as the Adem use (if this theory holds true) they couldn't use the name of iron over it because it is the name of iron. To change it they would have to sway the fundamental name of iron...for everything the entire world! Something nobody would be able to do (perhaps not even the four key namers / shapers Stelios, Lyra, Iax, Aleph).

Also I’m not sure how bold this claim is, but I think we can assume that Saicere / Caesura dates back from the very beginnings if not predates the creation wars. We know that the people who lived before the mortal / fae split were immortal. And that the split didn’t happen until much later into the wars. This is tangentially supported by the fact we are told there were around thirty people owned the sword before Drossen Tor (which was near the end of the creation wars) and that none of them died of old age. Kvothe takes this as a grim sign that all of their owners died young in battle

I had heard nothing resembling, ‘Passed from this world peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by fat grandchildren.”

However, this is only the first thirty of 236 owners. It’s entirely possible people died of old age later in its telling. I think this is a bit of a red herring PR wants us to mull over. It just might be the case that in that time at or before the creation wars nobody died of old age, and logically the only possible way a sword was passed on was when one died in battle or some other unnatural cause, be that ten years, or a thousand. It just might be that those first thirty names of the 236 make up 90% of the sword's overal history (really, what is 200 mortal generations to even one immortal lifespan?). If anything Kvothe might be underestimating how old his sword is!
Bruce Wilson
71. Aesculapius
Yes, that all makes sense! I wonder if we'll ever find out all of these back story details? In a Tolkien-like world, there would be reams of appendices explaining all this stuff; for PR, however, I suspect this is extraneous detail -- and therefore there will not be any great exposition unless it directly relates to the development of K's story. That's not necessarily a bad thing, however; I might love the ridiculous depth of in-world history in other series within the genre but there's also something truly refreshing about PR's approach that focuses on just one lead character telling his own life-story and the history part is limited to effectively just what he knows and understands as he progresses through his own story. At the the same time, PR is giving us just enough to allow us to keep up with K as he goes along.

That said, Vashet's implicit reactions to both the name Maedre and Saicere off-setting some of the portent of that name both suggest to me that we will eventually learn more about the significance and history of both before the story is done.
mr. awesome
72. flamingo
Aesculapius: I really like the thought you put into your long analysis, and I agree -- there's something fishy about the reaction to the particular sword Kvothe picked. But I'm not sure it's significant that all the Ademic swords are grey, as well as Folly (whether that's an Ademic sword or not). As far as I know, most swords are grey, since the metals swords tend to be made of are grey. I noticed this happening some with the "grey stones" bit, too. I don't think it's particularly significant that grey stones come up so much simply because most stones are grey, especially within a region, such as Vintas or the Commonwealth.

Also, there could be some obscure property of metal I don't know about, so I'm probably setting myself up here, but I'm pretty sure grey metal gets browner when you mix copper in to it, since copper is a brownish metal.

You did convince me that Folly was Caesura, though. I'd been taken in by Rothfuss' clever description of the hilt.
mr. awesome
73. mr. awesome
I think it's been discussed a bit before, but does anyone have any theories as to why Rothfuss made the map so bad?

Is it to illustrate the "holes in maps" theory explained later on? Does it have some plot based significance? Maybe it's supposed to give us the perspective of the ignorant townspeople who usually hear Kvothe stories, so that we, like them, only have a general idea where these places are? Why would he make us work so hard for such irrelevant details?

It doesn't seem like he'd omit specific places unless had a purpose for doing so, given the obvious inconvenience to the reader and the minor inconvenience it'd be to him.

I'd say that he wanted to avoid the logistical problems of placing each city, but everything else he's done so far seems to indicate that he thinks through the logistics of his world intensely and uses them to enrich it.

While we're at it, why did he give us a map at all?
mr. awesome
74. mr. awesome
Also, really random incredibly baseless impression that I get from Ferule/Ferula: I feel like the name is somehow related to the name of iron. Maybe they share a similar root in some different language? Was the binding placed on Ferule similar to the binding placed via iron on Bast?

The Dept. of Imaginary Linguistics and some others could find some very interesting things here, I think.
Bruce Wilson
75. Aesculapius
@72 Hey Flamingo - thank you. Take another look at the parts where K first notices Vashet's sword and also the scene where she chooses Saicere for him; PR makes a real point that while the armoury room is *full* of hanging swords there are just a few of these unusual swords similar to Vashet's, with worn hilts but flawless "grey" (as against polished steel) blades. Very few of the Ademric swords have this particular peculiar quality - and it seems to suggest that there is something special about them.

Some metals, even when polished, have a distinct "grey" colour to them (as against a simple mirror- like shine, such as you might see on, say, standard household stainless steel cutlery). Titanium would be one example although I'm no metallurgist - and I'm not sure you'd necessarily want a sword blade made of titanium. Equally, copper-steel alloys do exist for structural use; they are strong and corrosion resistant - but that's about as much as I am aware of and I certainly don't know how well they could be tempered or if they would hold an edge in the way necessary for a sword blade (nor do I know what colour the alloy is!).

That's all tangential to the discussion anyway as I suspect the "grey" appearance of these swords in PR's world will be a literary device to set them apart from "ordinary" blades and the key determinants how, when and why they were created (naming/shaping) rather than any specific metal or alloy with which we might be familiar.

Oh and by the way (@74), a "ferrule" (slightly different spelling) is a name for types of metal objects, generally used for fastening, joining, or reinforcement, likely a corruption of Latin "viriola" meaning "small bracelet," under the influence of "ferrum" or "iron"). They are often narrow circular rings of metal, such as might be used to strengthen the point where the tang of a knife blade enters a wooden handle and also found for similar (or purely decorative) purposes around the grip of a sword hilt. Not entirely sure that this adds anything at all to our understanding of Cinder though!
mr. awesome
76. Kaiya
Just wanted to put in that this is not the first time Elodin has heard Kvothe say "I don't know" - Kvothe has said it a couple of times during his admissions exams, and more often to Elodin than the other masters. ("What are the seven words that will make a woman love you" in NotW and "Where does the moon go when it is no longer in our sky" in WMF)
mr. awesome
77. Sobrique
Re: Folly - I'm still not entirely sure that that isn't an adjective, rather than the name of the sword - Saicere/Caesura/Kaysera see similar, and I think Caesura might well be the result of K naming it 'correctly' and it's been garbled through the years. Same may have happened for Ferule/Ferula, or just as simple as a transliteration problem. The other one I'm still pondering is - how do we know the Chandrian are the bad guys? I mean, we've got circumstantial evidence (they were at the camp; people were dead) and a single story from Skarpi. I'm not sure that's a firm foundation to be building on. I'd agree there's suppression of some kind going on, but ... well, still wonder if that little rhyme about the Chandrian might not be correct - 'they are quite nice to us' - might it not be that they are the 'rebels' against the 'inquisition' of the Amyr? (And thus, when they show up, there's been a lot of death and mayhem, in much the same way as everywhere James Bond goes, lots of people die).
mr. awesome
78. flamingo
Aesculapius -- I'm still not entirely sure what you're trying to say here about the grey. Looking at those passages, I think the "grey" versus grey quality you're trying to describe is the burnished look these swords have, but I'm not positive. Maybe I'm misreading what you're trying to tell me, but I don't see certain swords being particularly grey, or grey in a different way than other swords.
mr. awesome
79. sobrique
"A dark man with a pinched face walks across the bridge, and Kvothe is afraid of being pushed off" - "He watched us from the corner of his eye".

I didn't spot that first pass, but am wondering if it's significant - specifically because - when boarding the ship:

"... it was the pinch-faced man, who has passed Elodin and me on the bridge earlier" - carrying a cloth wrapped package.

That strikes me as standing out as a coincidence - especially given that I seem to recall the news of Kvothe's demise is carried by Ambrose, as I recall?

"But it was worst from him. I was half convinced he somehow arranged to sink your ship"

But it seems odd that the same 'missing sailor' would show up twice. Maybe it's more geared up to someone else being involved though, rather than specifically Ambrose.
mr. awesome
80. Spirit Theif
First: love the reread analysis. Finally a place for nerds like me to comment!

More importantly, on the origin of the Adem.
they are in the Stormwal mountains, near the end of the great stone road. I don't have the book in front of me, but the map doesn't help anyway. They live near where Jax supposedly built the mansion which is Fae and maybe where Selito watched Myr Taraniel fall.

Words are more important. They emote wth their hands. Tempi says that this is due to civilIzation. But what if there was a hand related naming? Or maybe shaping was physical and naming is verbal? Fae was BUILT, the moon was STOLEN. These imply actions. Like ferulian making the shaed out of shadow. This also account for K's hands in the frame, especially if he was shaping.

So the Adem are closest to the history of the Creation War, culturally and geologically. Their few words are most like Names out of the languages we know. The names of the Chandrian are close enough to their real names to call them. What if Maedre was Haliax? The Broken Tree fits; Lanre did talk to Cthaeh. Not sure about Flame or Thunder. But this doesn't fit with Haliax being Alaxel.

The hands and lack of music seem significant. Maybe shaping, hands, and silence are a package deal?

Last thought: Illien was a poet, the only one we really know about. Pat Rothfuss doesn't waste words. It seems like there should be a connection between Ruh poet and Poet-killer.
mr. awesome
81. TurtleLogic
@73. mr. awesome, In regards to the map. I have to say that it strikes me as being less a way to get us thinking in a particular mindset, but rather it is a reflection of PR aesthetics when it comes to storytelling. Everything he includes is important, and anything not really worth noting is left out. You get a general sense of things without laboring over the specifics. I don't think PR wants us getting caught up on small cities or old ruins that we will never even hear mentioned in the story with Kvothe. We are told exactly what PR feels is needed to get by, and he fills in the rest with in book descriptions, a pinch of mystery and a heap of imagination.

That of course being my own interpretation :)

@80. Spirit Theif, I think you're right in that the Adem are the most culturally linked to the creation wars. I’m not sure if the geography is important as we are told that they are pretty much all refugees from the sacking of the six cities, and that they wandered a long time before settling in the place they have (mainly because nobody else wanted it). However, I think we can see hints of their ties with the creation war in their culture. Three things immediately stand out to me:

1) the aversion to facial expression, and importance of nonverbal communication
2) the intentional ambiguity of their language (the many possible meanings of a very few words)
3) the taboo about music.

My hypothesis is that these practices while culturally significant actually serve a real purpose. That purpose being to safeguard one’s true name. If a namer was ever to learn a person’s true name, that would give the namer utter power over that person. We see this in the story with Haliax and Stelios. It is implied that a person’s name is everything about them, their personality, their history, everything. It would stand to reason that anything that makes it easy to understand someone is a small piece in the puzzle of their true name.

If you see their expressions and get familiar with their personality, that is one piece. If you know exactly what they are saying and how they mean to say it (and what they will say next), that is another. And how many times in the story does Kvothe pour his utter heart out with his music? It is part of his being, a glimpse into his soul. If you really understood someone’s music perhaps you would have a piece of his/her true name (it is also implied that music can be used to speak names in its own way, so that also might be a reason for aversion as well).

I think the Adem of old history knew the dangers of namers / shapers better than anyone. It makes sense they would develop superstitions / taboos about them. And like many cultural practicies the dangers went way, but the tradditions stayed.
Bruce Wilson
82. Aesculapius
@81 re. Adem non-verbal communication: I agree -- it's got to be something along those lines, hasn't it?

@78 I'm not sure how else to describe this; I think what you're saying is that *all* metals could essentially be described as "grey" and that the grey referred to in the text is just a variation by degree. I disagree for these reasons:
1. PR goes out of his way in WMF to point out that the blades of this small, specific group of Adem swords are very different in their appearance to all the others in the armoury (and also distinctly uses a very similar description back in NW to describe the blade of the sword K hangs up in the Waystone -- long before we ever meet the Adem).
2. My interpretaion of the text is something like this: I see the "normal" sword blades as being the usual "silvery" or "shiny" metal finish of burnished tempered steel - not quite as sleek as a true mirror finish but nevertheless simply reflecting whatever light is incident upon them without obviously having a colour of their own - think of the blade of a normal utility or kitchen knife or plain kitchen cutlery. The "grey" blades, however, would have a distinctly "grey" appearance that clearly wasn't just an ordinary reflective, shiny metal surface. For want of a better description, the alloy from which they are forged has a more "opaque" quality that gives it a distinctive grey colour of its own and doesn't just polish up like a mirror, even if it does burnish to a shiny polished finish.

This isn't a perfect explanation but imagine, if you will, the fender of a car: if you stripped off all the lacquer, paint and undercoating and polished up the bare steel then you'd have a straightforward shiny, reflective metal surface - like a normal knife or sword blade. Now imagine, next to that, an identical fender painted in a metallic grey or grey-white paint with a flawless polished finish -- this would still be shiny and "burnished" but would have a very different appearance to the polished bare metal. Now, I'm not suggesting for a moment that the Adem swords are covered with car paint or any other kind of coating but I hope that this helps to illustrate a little bit more clearly the visual difference that I imagine when reading the text. Does that make any sense at all...?! :o)
mr. awesome
83. Herelle
I had heard nothing resembling, ‘Passed from this world peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by fat grandchildren.”

To me this just implies that Kvothe realizes that those who live by the sword die by the sword.

Also, really random incredibly baseless impression that I get from Ferule/Ferula: I feel like the name is somehow related to the name of iron. Maybe they share a similar root in some different language? Was the binding placed on Ferule similar to the binding placed via iron on Bast?

I´ve had this impression too. When we read the scene where Haliax binds Cinder the first time we didn´t know about names yet, but we had just seen the Chronicler binding Bast by calling the name of iron. Also Cinder´s and Bast´s reactions where described the same way (doubling over, immense pain). Plus Ferule immediately reminded me of Ferrum (Fe in the periodic system) the latin word for iron. That´s why I took it to be a hint that Cinder is one of the Fae as well. Even Cinders graceful movements where described very similarly to Bast´s catlike elegance.
(Crazy sidethought á la ying/yang: Haliax/Kvothe, Cinder/Bast, Felurian/Denna).

@79 "A dark man with a pinched face walks across the bridge, and Kvothe is afraid of being pushed off" - "He watched us from the corner of his eye"...
I think there was a whole chapter about the sea voyage, this guy was the one who was hired by Ambrose (there was something about pirates working for Baron Jakis, wasn´t there) to get Kvothe killed. But PR eventually cut it in order to shorten the the book and those hints are the last remnants to make us puzzle the whole adventure out for ourselves.

What if Maedre was Haliax? The Broken Tree fits; Lanre did talk to Cthaeh. Not sure about Flame or Thunder.
On Nina´s painting / on the Trebon vase wasn´t there one Chandrian depicted with a broken tree too? Maybe there is a connection.
Depends on what kind of symbol it is. What is meant by broken? I imagine it as if lightning had struck it, kind of split, bare and blackened.
The tree Yggdrasil from the northern sagas was a symbol for creation itself. By the way, Yggdrasil was an ash tree. It also had a kind of bridge (Asbru) between the worlds of gods and men. A hint to the Fae world, Master Ash and Shaping all in one! Oh, and there is another tree (or perhaps just another name for Yggdrasil: Mímameiðr which translates as Mimi´s tree, so meiðr there meens tree too.)
It is a tree whose branches stretch over every land, is unharmed by fire or metal and bears fruit that assists pregnant women.
And lastly there is Irminsul, a similar symbol of the Saxons. Charlemagne started his war against the pagan Saxons by destoying their Irminsul.
I think that when Kvothe said broken tree was prophetic he means that he is or at least feels responsible for breaking the pillar that supports the world(s). There we have it again, a reference to the mortal and the faen worlds being destroyed or at war.
Bruce Wilson
84. Aesculapius
One other thing about the sword in the Waystone then I really must move on to something else (!).

When K hangs it on the wall behind the bar, on its new, dark roah wood mounting plate, he hangs the sword unsheathed with the scabbard hanging beneath - which is exactly how the swords in the Adem armoury at the School in Haert are also described as hanging.

The more I think about it, the more convinced I am that the reference to "Folly" has nothing to do with the name of the sword. We might be led to believe that this is the swords's name but it is actually Graham the carpenter says "'Folly' ...Odd name for a sword." K makes no reply but just nods, his face "carefully blank." Nowhere in this scene or the one that follows, when K and Bast actually mount the sword on the wall, is the term "Folly" appplied directly to the sword as a name. I sense more than a little misdirection from PR here...

Interestingly, K openly chastises Bast for carrying 'her' too casually when he walks back into the bar with the black scabbard swinging loosely from one hand: "Careful, Bast! You're carrying a lady there, not swinging some wench at a barn dance."

That's clearly suggestive of no small degree of affection for this sword from K and definitely not how I would expect him to refer to the weapon of an enemy! Could it also be taken to infer that this is a long-cherished possession...?

I'm pretty convinced this *is* Saicere/Caesura, for all that we are again misdirected later in WMF.

"Folly," I suspect is K's public acknowledgement of Ben's warning written in that old copy of "Rhetoric & Logic" -- perhaps even that he realised too late what Abenthy really meant. I wonder why it is so openly connected to the sword?
Steven Halter
85. stevenhalter
@79:I also think the tardy sailor from the bridge is probably the one connected with the betrayal and siking of the ship. He was probably hired by Ambrose. As Herelle@83 says, this seems to be the hints that are left from a larger story--maybe that story doesn't completely exist, but they seem to point that way anyway.
mr. awesome
86. greggors
Re: Folly being Saicere/Caesura. There is one really compelling argument against the sword in the inn "Folly" (agree that is probably not its true name) being the sword K got from the Adem. Caesura is not K's. K was told by the Adem that he would have to make arrangements to get the sword back to the Adem in the event of his death. We have seen the amount of preparation and commitment that K has put into faking his own death. It would be a huge gap in his performance if he did not find a way to get the sword back to the Adem after he 'died'. This is a fact that is easily checked on by any number of people. Granted I am sure that the Adem lose some swords upon the death of their owners, but I don't think this is something that K, with his attention to detail, would forego doing. The only possible exception would be if the Adem "were in on" the whole deception, but I don't believe this is true.

Re: "poet-killer" epithet being a 'red-herring'. The more I think about this the more I am convinced this is the case. Its more about the way this is done in the story, 'Kaysera the poet-killer' is introduced to us in the frame before we know anything about the sword from K. In that context 'poet-killer' is a completely appropriate and plausible name for a sword. Our minds categorically believe it because it is the only piece of information that we have. It then colors whatever else is said about the sword from that point on, even though later on we can see how the epithet could easily be a corruption of the definition of Caesura. I think this is beautifully done by PR.
George Brell
87. gbrell

Very brief thought.

One of the big suppositions is that the Adem and the Edema Ruh were once one people (e.g., the nominal similarity plus early summaries of WMF that said Kvothe redeems the Ruh's reputation).

What if Naming in its ultimate form is a combination of the Ademic language and bodily expressions (a language/system that appears much closer to true naming considering its "deep" nature) and music/storytelling (as Naming something is really telling its story), the two traits of the Ruh (who knows all the stories in the world). The schism between the two was essentially a way to preserve the knowledge of Naming while simultaenously preventing anyone from actually practicing it.

You have two diametrically-opposed cultures. The Adem are isolationist, bound to a single location, xenophobic and have a cultural taboo regarding music/expression. The Ruh are widespread, nomadic, invitational and have made a culture of music/expression. The two should never meet. (The closest parallel I can think of is the Tuatha'an and the Aiel in Wheel of Time).
mr. awesome
88. Kashiraja
the Common Draccus. Common, as if there's another species. maybe the other species is more dangerous and is the beast killed by Lanre who makes an armor with it.
Bruce Wilson
89. Aesculapius
@86. A fair and interesting point - and one which I'm sure has been mentioned here a few times before. It's definitely a valid consideration -- I can only give you my take on it, others will have different but equally plausible explanations!

Up to this point in the story (that is, K at the Waystone Inn, in the frame) how many people (if any, beyond perhaps Bast...?) would know anything about his time with the Adem and the true nature of the sword? Returning the sword would only be significant to maintaining the deception of his "death" if its origins were known in the first place.

It's entirely possible that K may have chosen to return Saicere to Haert himself and may have acquired a different sword with a similar blade while he was there. Alternatively, he may have found a similar old sword on his travels -- in the Faen Realm? In the Underthing? With the Lacklesses?

It's even possible he may even have artificed a replacement himself, although that would run counter to the narration from the start of NW which states that the sword in the Waystone is very old -- and suggests again the likelihood of a sword from the time of the Shapers.

What is clear, however, is that this sword appears to have some significance to K. What might be worth considering is why Bast asks him "What were you thinking?" -- is he asking why K had the mounting board made? Is he asking the deeper question of why K chose to keep the sword when perhaps he should indeed have sent it away? Both...?

My guess is that K has chosen to interpret the requirement to return the sword as being conditional upon his *real* death and, for whatever reason, has felt it important enough to hang onto.

What the study of this very small aspect of the story has shown me more than anything else is that PR is truly masterful in his use of language and misdirection; all of the scenes involving the sword are open to interpretation and misunderstanding -- PR almost seems to delight in sending us off in the wrong direction. For example, here and pretty much everywhere else I've read about or discussed NW and WMF, the sword in the frame is referred to by the name "Folly" and yet only Graham comments on this; K, rather pointedly in fact, avoids saying anything of the sort yet that is what we are led to think. This is reinforced at the start of WMF when Aaron tells us that Kvothe's sword was called Kaysera, not Folly -- but he's just reading what's on the mounting board.

The same is also true of that "Kaysera, the poet-killer" comment. The text says that K "rocked back a bit at that" -- he clearly hasn't heard this one before, which is perhaps a little unusual for him. He later says "...what did the boy call it this morning?" when Chronicler points out the apparent difference between the sword in K's story and the sword on the wall. K is clearly surprised by Aaron's reference to his sword but actually doesn't seem unduly upset by it. The fact that PR has him repeat the phrase does, however, serve to more firmly plant this idea in our minds.
Bruce Wilson
90. Aesculapius
On a completely different note, even if he doesn't get to read this directly, I'd like to register my best wishes for PR and his family. This is going to be a difficult time for him.

I fully understand his decision not to open his current blog for comments, but it would seem churlish not to at least express our support here.

If you *do* happen to see this Pat, we wish you and your Dad all the very best!
mr. awesome
91. mr. awesome
@77 "The other one I'm still pondering is - how do we know the Chandrian are the bad guys? I mean, we've got circumstantial evidence (they were at the camp; people were dead) and a single story from Skarpi."

The fact that they mocked Kvothe about his family's death seems to indicate malicious intent by all but Haliax. Also, this isn't a court of law, circumstantial evidence is probably sufficient to assume it's them unless a better explanation exists. That everyone everywhere is scared of the Chandrian indicates that they are probably something to be feared. Also, Haliax talked to the Cthaeth.
Steven Halter
92. stevenhalter
mr. awesome@91:We went over the scene between K & the Chandrian in quite a bit of detail in the previous book reread. I'll just say that when looked at closely, there are a large number of gaps as to whether the Chandrian actually killed the troupe.
Now, are the Chandrian something to be feared--almost certainly. But maybe not for the exact reasons K attributes to them.
Alice Arneson
93. Wetlandernw
Well, better late than never, maybe…

From the reread post: Silentia suggests that the ring without a name could be the silence that surrounds K. I like this, but it seems that he has lost his rings somewhere — though they could be in the Thrice-Locked chest, I suppose? Wetlandwrnw suggests it could be the Name of Silence. My problem with that is that it’s more like a curse, as if somebody has stuck the Name of Silence on him, not as if he has mastered it.

Interesting. When I wrote that, I was thinking in terms of K more or less having put himself where he is, rather than someone else having imposed… well, anything on him. My thought was that, in the process of whatever he did to himself, there were several steps. One of the first was to find (or build) his inn, investing in it the Name of Silence – or whatever the right verb might be, to get an effect similar to Elodin’s cell. Once that was done, he did… whatever it was… to put the other limitations on himself, "locking v and h in the chest" – whether it’s part of his name, or his Alar, or whatever he’s got stuffed in there, including his mastery of the Name of Silence. (Also, probably, all his various rings.)

I’m convinced that the chest holds part of what he was as Kvothe, in some way; that when he can open the chest, he can return to his full power; that he did it himself, deliberately; and that he will be able to get in, when the time is right. (Okay, that last one is a little less sure, because it’s entirely possible that PR intends him to do what he has to do without his powers.)

Anyway, I don’t see K as being imprisoned by anyone else, so I don’t see it as a curse put on him by anyone but himself. I’m not glued to the theory about the Name of Silence; it just sounded really cool. But if it’s true, that Silence is bound into the inn, the bar, the hands… I think he did it himself, and then locked away his ability to remove it.
mr. awesome
94. Sobrique
@92 Pretty much what I was driving at - the notion that Chandrian are evil is - I think - what we are expected to think. But I cannot help but feel that what we know of the Amyr might cast them better in that role, were it not for the filter of Kvothe's prejudice. Which might make the Chandrian callous freedom fighters.
mr. awesome
95. Dominiquex
So sorry that a) this is rather late and out of context now, and b) may have already been mentioned, but I had a few small thoughts about Cinder being Named as Ferule/Ferula twice in two days time...

... If we assume that the Adem version is sufficiently accurate to warrant their taboos about the repetition of the information AND that Kvothe did not mishear/misremember the name he heard Haliax refer to Cinder by, then I see two main possibilities. Either, as some have suggested, he wants to draw Cinder to the inn in the frame, OR Cinder is dead and there is no longer any danger in *his* name. Which has interesting implications when I remember the Chronicler's mentioning Kvothe's killing an angel. Not sure if that last part carries a lot of weight, but it's interesting to think about.
mr. awesome
96. greggors
Yes, this is what I was trying to drive at with post #49. The point is well taken that the Adem names were sufficiently accurate at one point to warrant the taboos about repetition. When we consider that with how serious they are about oral tradition (there is a village elder/namer with the sole job of remembering and recording the history and owners of the swords, K must recite the exact history of his sword, along with the exact name of each owner, from 30 generations before Drossen Tor) it is quite a compelling argument for both Ferule and Ferula being correct.
mr. awesome
97. Dominiquex
Mm-hmm, exactly. It was your post that especially got me thinking about it, although I had forgotten your supposition about killing Cinder, my bad. Very well written and expressed post by the way (49). As I said, I don't know how deep this might actually go, but I was at least entertained by Cinder's death in relation to (paraphrase) "this is the face of a man who could have killed an angel" in NotW, especially via-à-vis our continuing debate as to whether the Chandrian are really the bad guys or not. Or the continuing meta "this is how legends start" brand of "telephone" PR keeps weaving in. :)
mr. awesome
98. Kashiraja
I think the hidden "physical" name, like Ferule, or Ferula, is just a help in approaching the Name of a person, it is not sufficient, otherwise everyone would have power over Ferule just by saying the name. In this sense, both Ferule and Ferula are correct, because neither of them is really correct. Yet they seem to hold enough power that a skilled Namer can use them to get closer to the Name, maybe that's part of the reason why they seek to hide all knowledge about them, so that skilled Namers have less of a chance to fight them.
mr. awesome
99. Herelle
@98 I think so too. Felurian´s name was not just a two or three syllable word either, even the name of fire and wind were more complicated than Fe-ru-le. Cinder could be just as old, powerful, experienced (whatever his personality might be) as Felurian, he must have an equally complex name.
Yet they seem to hold enough power that a skilled Namer can use them to get closer to the Name, maybe that's part of the reason why they seek to hide all knowledge about them, so that skilled Namers have less of a chance to fight them.
Everything that gives a namer a deeper understanding gets them closer to naming a thing/person. That could exactly be the reason why the Chandrian hunt stories and their tellers down. Especially their secret purpose seems to be the core of their identity, at least for Haliax.
mr. awesome
100. Mar
I realize I'm new to this conversation and still trying to catch up. Here is my two drabs regarding LG:

@36: The issue is then that in order to actually petition LG to become his patron he would have to travel away from the university. He still doesn't have much money, this would also interfere with his mission and would also increase his tuition next term.

Threpe could have sought out LG and petitioned on Kvothe's behalf. Kvothe never mentioned LG to Threpe, even though they drank together and discussed the issue of patronage on more than one occasion. I understand that young Kvothe didn't want to talk about his past, but he didn't even think about in the story. At least, K doesn't tell us he thought about it.

@38: Greyfallow is a complete fabrication, to spice up the fact that Kvothe’s troupe was nothing special, but just another roving band of Edema Ruh. I think Kvothe never considers going to Grayfallow for help because he doesn’t exist.

. . . which certainly makes this theory plausible.

@12: But I like sillyslovene's theory, as well. Can't wait to find out!
David C
101. David_C
could Adem hand-sign be (or have originated as) a way to avoid being overheard by the Chandrian?
mr. awesome
102. Curtiss
I know it has probably been mentioned here (there are too many comments for me to check), but what do people think about Severen being the site of either Myr Tryniel or the twin cities Murella and Murilla? Severen-Low and Severen-High seem like they could have been two separate cities before whatever fire burned through them... just a thought
mr. awesome
103. Zombeezy
@38: Greyfallow is a complete fabrication...

Hmm, I don't agree yet, although it seems like I change my mind often after these rereads, lol.

Didn't Arliden show some long-winded writ of patronage to the Mayor in NOTW? Although Greyfallow might not have been the real name (Abenthy didn't recognize it immediately, if I recall), it sounded legit enough unless a total scam. And, weren't they also provided Greyfallow colored clothes?
mr. awesome
104. Jadedly
Chronicler's book where he can "write things down and make them true" strikes me as exactly what Chronicler does. Kvothe didn't make that up, he just made it sound like having a magic book instead of simply being a historian. I don't think it's anything less mundane than that.
Kate Hunter
105. KateH
Re: Greyfallow, and K's lack of attempts to contact him...I think this is a total non-issue. Tolkien was once asked why the Fellowship didn't simply call on the great Eagles and ask to be dropped off at Mt. Doom so as to destroy the one ring. After all, the Eagles rescued Sam and Frodo there, so it was obviously within their capabilities to take the ring there. Tolkien basically answered that the Eagles didn't perform taxi service because if they had, there wouldn't have been a story to tell. Same here. If K had called on Greyfallow, the remainder of his childhood could well have been very different, and thus there wouldn't be this marvelous story to tell.

And in other words still, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
mr. awesome
106. Sean C.
On the subject of Caudicus; my theory is that Cinder, who I postulate is Denna's "patron", gave her a slip of paper with that magic written word on it, which she had delivered to Caudicus in a tangential effort to destabilize the region.

My premise is that the purpose of the Chandrian is basically to bring down the world. In the Lanre story told in NotW by Scarpi, it's implied that Lanre wants to bring down the world because if a supposed vituous and righteous man such as he can fall, then the world as a whole must be full of such wickedness that it would be better if it simply ceased.

Poisoning but not killing the Maer would serve this purpose by weakening a major political power, one that could make a good showing of defending against a plan to bring about the end of the mortal world. By keeping him alive, it prevents undue attention being drawn to the situation while at the same time greatly reducing his power.
mr. awesome
107. Sean C.
On the subject of Caudicus; my theory is that Cinder, who I postulate is Denna's "patron", gave her a slip of paper with that magic written word on it, which she had delivered to Caudicus in a tangential effort to destabilize the region.

My premise is that the purpose of the Chandrian is basically to bring down the world. In the Lanre story told in NotW by Scarpi, it's implied that Lanre wants to bring down the world because if a supposed vituous and righteous man such as he can fall, then the world as a whole must be full of such wickedness that it would be better if it simply ceased.

Poisoning but not killing the Maer would serve this purpose by weakening a major political power, one that could make a good showing of defending against a plan to bring about the end of the mortal world. By keeping him alive, it prevents undue attention being drawn to the situation while at the same time greatly reducing his power.

To that end, Denna mentioned magic in the form of written word several times in WMF, and as many times as Kvothe has been proven wrong about his assumptions regarding magic, it's a pretty obvious info drop to have this type of magic come up at least twice.

To me, Denna being bound to Cinder is also fairly obvious. It's well known that glamourie is effective against almost everyone but namers and fae, so it's not very far fetched that Cinder could hide his dark eyes.

The fact that A) Denna is mentioned to have left the Eolian in the company of a "white haired gentleman", white hair being the only descriptor of his appearance, and Cinder's white hair being again, often described as unnaturally white, and B) Denna was at the site of and complicit in the death of the wedding party in Trebon (as she gave a full accounting of people present and of the vase and C) her song about Lanre is flattering rather than condemning, all give this theory credence.

I would be very surprised if Master Ash, a somewhat obvious nod to "Cinder" (ash and cinder, c'mon!), was not in fact Cinder.

I see no other reason why Denna would get involved in the Chandrian, I see no other reason for them to abduct her, to even know her enough to do so.

And I simply don't see Bredon being Master Ash in the slightest. Remember, Master Ash beats Denna. I feel it much more likely that Master Ash is Cinder.

EDIT: Sorry for the double post, there was an issue where I lost a good portion of my text, as you can see...
Tabby Alleman
108. Tabbyfl55
Lots of comments (except that last one) about Grayfallow, but at this point in my catching up to the reread, a different thought has occurred to me about Bredon. Maybe some of you have already had this thought in future past comments (catching up to a re-read is like time-travel in that regard). But if I wait until I'm caught up to voice it, I'll never remember to.

Anyway: if we accept as premise that Bredon = Master Ash, and further suppose that Denna is keeping an eye on Kvothe for him, then we can safely assume that Bredon has taken an interest in Kvothe for quite some time.

If that's the case, then it's not much of a stretch to suppose that Bredon/Ash pulled the strings that caused Kvothe to seek patronage from Alveron, thus bringing him to the place where Bredon could size him up personally.

And if you accept that theory, then could it also have been possible that Bredon/Ash pulled the strings that caused some of the events that happened along the way, maybe to cause Kvothe to arrive at a certain time, or to cause him to lose his things so that he would be more vulnerable when he arrived?

On an unrelated note, @whoever mentioned it up there, I've been suspecting for quite a while now (in my catching up to the re-read) that Kvothe could be the 8th person on the Chandrian vase, and that the vase is prophetic, rather than historic. That 8th person looks like he's ready to burn down the world, and don't we have some hints in the frame story that K has done something that either has had, or will have, very bad consequences for the world?
Joanna Andrews
109. highwaycrossingfrog
A small thought on the sword, Folly, that has been discussed at some length here, and has been touched on by some posters:

A pet theory of mine, based upon nothing more than Ben's inscription of the book Rhetoric and Logic that he gifts to Kvothe, is that Folly could be Haliax's sword. The end of the inscription reads:

"Remember your father's song. Beware of folly."

It could be easily read as a typical piece of sentimental advice written to a departing, beloved student. But as part of a more literal interpretation (why should remembering his father's song aid Kvothe in his endeavours?), the only stanza we are given of Arliden's song describes a story of Lanre. If we take the first sentence as "Remember Lanre", i.e.: Haliax, and the second sentence as a sort of modifier, it becomes "Remember Haliax; beware of Folly." Thus, if we connect Folly to the sword in the inn, it is a warning against Haliax's sword, which K now has in his possession in the frame story, and an allusion to a sword fight with him in D3. Of course, this would require Ben to have foreknowledge of Kvothe's fight against the Chandrian, which has no other textual basis. Just something to consider. I am equally prepared to accept that Folly is Cinder's sword, or Caesura with a new hilt.

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