Thu
Nov 10 2011 1:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 11: A Freely Given Gift

The Patrick Rothfuss Reread on Tor.comWelcome to my excessively detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 56-60 of The Wise Man’s Fear but also contains extensive spoilers for the whole book and the whole of The Name of the Wind — these discussions assume you’ve read all of both books. These posts are full of spoilers please don’t venture beyond the cut unless you want them.

Abbreviations: NW = “The Name of the Wind.” WMF = “The Wise Man’s Fear.” D3 = Day Three, the forthcoming final volume. K = Kvothe or Kote when I can’t figure out what to call him and I’m feeling Kafkaesque. MT: Myr Tariniel. “D” = Denna

Useful links: The Sleeping Under the Wagon post, in which there are lots of theories. The re-read index. The map.

 

Chapter 56 is “Power”

An intriguing title. And the chapter starts with Alveron making a speech about power — inherent power and granted power. He says granted power has no limits. He and Kvothe engage in a Socratic dialogue on the subject. It’s very explicitly Socratic — Alveron picks the topic and Kvothe disputes, and it is peripatetic, they do it walking about the gardens, and the Maer really wants Kvothe to make good points and then agree. The topic is interesting — Alveron believes that granted power is stronger because it has no limits, Kvothe believes that inherent power is stronger because it can’t be taken away. (I wonder how that relates to his learned skills that he seems to be missing in the frame?)

They see selas flowers, and Kvothe thinks of D.

Alveron mentions Caudicus the physician clucking over him. He seems better, yet he poured yesterday’s medicine into the chamberpot — I was already suspicious of the medicine. Alveron says he’s always taking potions and sometimes gets a remission and then the illness comes back. Kvothe says he wishes he could help, and Alveron sees that this is genuine — and it is. It’s like Auri and the boys in the cellar in Tarbean. Kvothe is always inherently on the side of anyone who is helpless — and even though Alveron is very powerful, his helplessness against illness invokes Kvothe’s genuine empathy.

Several conversations of a similar sort followed. I could tell that the Maer was trying to get a feel for me.

So we’re given a sample conversation to get a feel for a process, but I’m sure that in that case there’s more to it and this power thing is significant.

Kvothe is courteous and they grow closer, but in a reserved way. Kvothe realises Alveron is lonely. He starts to think he was summoned just to be somebody to talk to. He’d be okay about this except that his lute is still in hock.

Members of the court come to visit, trying to glean information about him, and going away with nothing. All except “the exception proves the rule.”

 

Chapter 57 is “A Handful of Iron”

The iron rings, of course.

It begins with Bredon. Oh, Bredon! I have been fairly well convinced by all of you that Bredon is Master Ash. I don’t want him to be, but then if he was that’s just what you’d expect. Bredon is very mysterious.

He goes to meet Kvothe on Kvothe’s fourth day in Severen. This may be nicely calculated with Kvothe going insane with boredom. It’s impossible to guess how much Bredon knows about Kvothe. We don’t know who he’s in communication with. If he’s an Amyr, he could have heard a whole lot from Lorren, if Lorren is an Amyr. (The problem with secret conspiracies that may or may not exist is that they can be conveniently used as a theory to explain almost anything.)

Alveron has been sending for Kvothe at weird times of day to check if he’s available or if he gets irritated with this, and Kvothe has been courteously putting up with it. Annoying courtiers have been trying to find out who he is and he has been putting them off with folderol.

Bredon is described as:

an older man, a gentleman down to his bones. His clothes gave him away, certainly, but more important was the face that he wore his wealth with the comfortable indifference of someone born into it.

This fits the description of Master Ash from the Eolian, an older man, rich, patron type. Kvothe wears his clothes as a costume, and looks natural in them. Bredon just looks natural in them — but could they be a costume to him too?

Bredon has come himself, rather than sending a ring, and this is the first time we’ve heard of the ring custom. First, is the Department of Imaginary Geography paying attention? A piece of geographical information:

The custom in northern Vintas

so, Severen is in northern Vintas! (Frowns at map.) I wonder which side of that big lake it is? I wonder how far it is from Tinue? Renere is the capital, I wonder if Renere is where the king is and if that’s southern Vintas and they don’t have this custom? Severen’s on a river, I wonder if it’s one of those big rivers north of Renere and south of Tinue and heading for the Stormwal... (I just noticed something. On the map. Nothing to do with this chapter. All of the countries except Yll have capitals marked with a red circled dot. There are also three yellow-circles, Tarbean, one at the side of the road randomly, and one in the middle of the tinker’s pack. Any ideas what’s with that?)

was to send a servant ahead to request a meeting. The runner brought a note and a ring with the noble’s name inscribed. You sent a gold ring to requrest a meeting with a noble of higher rank than yourself, silver for someone of roughly the same rank, and iron for someone beneath you.

Threpe had explained this. Bredon ignores this and shows up. He announces himself. Like Kvothe, he hasn’t been officially introduced. He could be anyone, and he probably is. It’s interesting that Kvothe never asks anyone else about him. Not Caudicus, not Alveron or Stapes or a random noble come to gossip.

He asks if Kvothe knows how to play Tak, and when he finds he doesn’t, he introduces him to the game.

Bredon’s walking stick has a silver handle in the shape of a wolf’s head. (Kvothe says “carved” which is absolutely the wrong word for silver, and with all the work he’s done in the Fishery I’m surprised he’d make that mistake.) He’s either old enough to need a walking stick or he’s lame, or it’s an affectation. The silver head makes me think it’s an affectation. I’m lame myself, and while I have a stick with a horse’s head, I seldom use it because those things aren’t comfortable. And silver wouldn’t be comfortable — I’m not saying people don’t have them, I’m saying people who need a cane tend to make different choices, and the choices Bredon has made suggest it’s a fashion statement rather than a disability aid. He leans it against the window sill.

He’s “what I consider grandfather old.” His colours are “ash grey and dark charcoal.” (Have we ever heard what Ambrose’s colours are? Because the Baron Jakis theory of Bredon is also tempting. And he can be both. All these things. Baron Jakis and an Amyr and Master Ash. Or not.) He reminds Kvothe of an owl, with his white hair and beard.

Bredon asks to see Kvothe’s collection of rings. He says all the best gossipmongers have been, and Kvothe hasn’t given them anything so he’s doing well at being tightlipped. He tells Kvothe that the rings should be displayed so visitors can see them. Kvothe says there’s no status in iron. Bredon says on the contrary, it shows you have the attention of your betters.

Kvothe says he seems to be familiar with it. Bredon says he was something of a power when he was young but at present he has “no machinations to advance and that takes the spice from the manouverings.” It’s probably a lie... but who knows. He says the people who have come are magpies, and he is not, that he’s playing a longer more subtle game. He says he’s going to gain Kvothe’s favour and if Kvothe gains the Maer’s favour he’ll have a useful friend, and if not then at least he’ll have played Tak.

“I think I’m going to have quite a bit of fun playing with you.”

Oh dear.

Kvothe likes Tak, which seems like Go. Bredon tells him fine points of the ring thing, about displaying them and wearing them. Then he gives Kvothe a gift of a set of rings of his own:

“Yours without obligation, let or  lien. A freely given gift.”

That’s very strange. And as they are unknown to each other they are equals, with a silver ring to be exchanged.

I love all the ring stuff. It’s just the right sort of weird and complicated.

The days continue to pass. He summons Bredon and they play Tak, interrupted by Alveron summoning him, then Bredon asks if he’d like to play after supper. They always meet in Kvothe’s rooms. This means Bredon sees his rooms, but he doesn’t see Bredon’s, which might give him information about Bredon. Bredon’s silver ring joins the iron rings in the bowl, for everyone to see.

Kvothe responds to him and likes him. But there’s no prefiguring of any kind about him. No meta comment. He really could be anything.

 

Chapter 58 is “Courting”

What Alveron wanted him for, of course.

He isn’t called by Alveron for two days, he’s going mad with boredom, he doesn’t send a ring because he thinks his patience might be being tested. And there are only two days left to reclaim the lute. Then Stapes shows up and says the Maer will see Kvothe in his rooms.

Alveron’s in bed. He asks Kvothe how old he thinks he is. Kvothe says 51. He’s actually forty, pain and sickness has aged him. He says he means to take a wife, but it’s difficult to find the right person. It has to be a girl of the right status and she has to be young enough to produce an heir, and it can’t be one under the king’s control, or he’d lose power in negotiating. There’s only one possible girl, and she’s beautiful and clever and being courted by lots of men. He doesn’t want her to marry him for his position, he wants her to love him. Kvothe guesses that Alveron loves her.

The lady’s name is Meluan Lackless. Kvothe is to court her through letters and songs. Caudicus will tell him about the Lackless family. Alveron gives Kvothe a ring to show Caudicus, and tells him to fetch the medicine and ask Caudicus without letting him know why.

Up to this point, all we’ve heard of the Lackless family is the rhyme his mother chided him for, and the hidden “Netalia Lackless” in “Not tally a lot less.” So while I was connecting Meluan with the rhyme, I had no idea she was his aunt. And we haven’t yet heard about their box or their door.

 

Chapter 59 is “Purpose”

Purpose?

Kvothe doesn’t send a ring to Caudicus, he goes straight there on the Maer’s business. He knows from the rumourmill that Caudicus was Alveron’s arcanist and had been for a dozen years. He turns out to be a thin man with a long nose and dark hair in a robe. Caudicus says he doesn’t do love potions and starts to shut the door, Kvothe shows him Alveron’s ring.

The room looked like a small University contained in a single room. Lit with the familiar red glow of sympathy lamps, there were shelves of books, tables full of twisted glassware, and far in the back, half concealed by the curving wall of the tower, I thought I could see a small furnace or kiln.

It’s a wizard’s tower! Kvothe plays a dumb lordling, because he’s afraid Caudicus might be territorial if he knew he was an arcanist. I find this odd. I’d have thought it would have been better to take a neutral position where he could advance to the truth if Caudicus turned out to be nice. Because he could be somebody like Kilvin or Elxa Dal. He could be territorial, yes, but he could also be a potential friend and ally. By pretending to be a fool, he’s left no chance for friendship. Of course, the text is on his side and he turns out to be right in this case.

He asks for the medicine and he says he’s doing research into noble families to write a book about them. He asks about the Lacklesses, and Caudicus is surprised he doesn’t know about them.

They’ve fallen from what they once were, but they’re a treasure trove of stories.

The first thing he tells him, while making the potion, is:

“The Lackless family has an heirloom. Well, not an heirloom exactly, but an ancient thing that dates back to the beginning of their line.”

“On the oldest part of the Lackless lands, in the oldest part of their ancestral estate, there is a secret door. A door without a handle or hinges... there’s no way of opening it. It is locked, but at the same time, lockless. No one knows what’s on the other side.

Kvothe has no comment on this, either to Caudicus or to us. This is a door, not a box. And it’s very reminiscent of the four-plate door, even to being described in terms of what it lacks.

He takes the medicine back to Alveron, and announces to Stapes and his master that Caudicus is poisoning Alveron. This is a rare chapter end cliffhanger.

 

Chapter 60 is “Wisdom’s Tool”

Alveron says he’s on dangerous ground, but go on. He tells Alveron that he’s an Arcanist at the University, and that Threpe might not have mentioned it. Alveron asks ”which university“ which is interesting, in that there must be more. He says Threpe didn’t mention it because there was a stigma attached to such studies in the east:

the closest I could come to speaking the truth: that Vints are superstitious to the point of idiocy.

Alveron asks for proof, for Kvothe to do some magic, and Kvothe puts the lights out. Then he makes his silver ring shine, using the heat of his own body. This must look really really creepy! Kvothe opens the windows and lets sunlight in. Alveron says he’ll consider what Kvothe said. Kvothe keeps on past reason and courtesy — Alveron trusts Caudicus and he knows Caudicus is poisoning him. He’s being an Amyr without the t-shirt again. He describes symptoms Alveron hasn’t told him. He says it’s lead poisoning, with additional ophalum — denner. He says Caudicus could easily have killed Alveron but making him sick without killing him was harder.

He suggests testing it by feeding birds with the poison. Alveron asks Stapes to bring some, without telling him why. Kvothe says that the night will be really bad because of the withdrawal from the denner. He offers to make a potion that will help a bit. He says there are probably people who would be better at helping, but they’re all a thousand miles away. Kvothe’s bit of Medica training makes him better than anyone untrained. Stapes brings the birds. Alveron gives Kvothe a purse of money to buy ingredients for medicine.

Kvothe goes to Severen-low. He shakes off followers. He buys dinner and some tippling flasks and watches the end of a play. He then goes to an apothecary, buys some things, then asks about an impotence cure to throw Caudicus off the scent if he hears Kvothe was there. Then he gets his lute back at last.

There are three ways of going up and down the Sheer, stairs, an arcane freight lift, or a horse lift, patronized by the nobility. He goes up on that to keep up appearances. But he looks at the city as they go up. It has a stone wall, even now things are peaceful, and three guarded gates. When he gets off at the top, he sees D, going down. She runs to him and embraces him. He sees an old fading bruise on her cheek. She has to go down, but she tells him to find her on Tinnery street.

So D is in Severen-high when Bredon is. Yes, I shall try to keep track of this.

And we’ll start next time with 61.

 

In last week’s comments

Daedos suggests Bast might turn out to be a villain. And it’s true that we don’t know where he comes from and we do know that his agenda is different from Kvothe’s.

Artful Magpie builds on the silence theory by suggesting:

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?

Brilliant. And the idea that it’s built into the inn might explain why he can fight the scrael outside — and why he carefully goes outside to do it — and why he can’t fight the skindancer and the soldiers inside. This makes perfect sense, and it’s an example of Rothfuss hiding something in plain sight, the way he does.

CPJ has a creepy thought: maybe Kvothe has become a Chandrian.

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...

I am not convinced by it either, but I’m intrigued. I also love and hate the idea about the signs — that would be such a horrible thing. Being immortal and being poison to the thing that is your passion is the worst curse I can think of.

I also wonder who those ”important people“ are. His friends? The Penitent King and the significant players whoever they are? Elodin and Kilvin?

Faek thinks he’s more Amyr-like:

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

Are the Amyr the important people? Are the Fae? I’d really like to know who he’s thinking of.

There’s also lots of great discussion of Lord Greyfallow and of the swords Folly and Caesura.


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.

75 comments
Sim Tambem
1. Daedos
"...announces to Stapes and his master that Caudicus is poisoning Alveron."

This doesn't sound right to me. He doesn't tells Stapes, does he? I don't have a copy with me.
Tehol Lives
2. Tehol Lives
@1

You are correct, Stapes is kept in the dark about the poisoning which is why he keeps changing the birds and the evidence of the poisoning.
Sim Tambem
3. Daedos
Bredon is an interesting character. I think his "pagan" frolicking might be explained in book three. Pagan...Fae? Might he be connected with the Fae? Who plays Tak? Bredon, Felurian...has anyone else ever mentioned the game?
This gets even more interesting if Bredon is, in fact, Master Ash. What might the Fae have in mind for Denna? We discussed the possibility of her going to the other world extensively. Maybe there is some connection after all. This would put Denna's version of Lanre's tale into an entirely different light. Maybe it can all be traced back to the Cthaeh...
spikyc spikyc
4. spikyc
I know what's up with the three yellow circles on the map. On the map on Rothfuss's site (link below), you can click the three yellow circles for a little more info, whereas the other circles you can't click on. It's worth checking out.

http://patrickrothfuss.com/content/world.asp
Tehol Lives
5. Lurking Canadian
I love how Kvothe just steals from the Maer in this bit, with absolutely no pangs of conscience about it. "Here's some money to buy me medicine, Kvothe".

"Thanks, Maer. I hope you don't mind but I'm going to embezzle half of it to buy back my lute and get myself a decent dinner. No, no, I won't trouble you with an expense report. You have more important things to do."

I'm not sure if it's more a comment on the informality of medievaloid life or more T-shirt-less Amyr behaviour, but I love it either way.
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
Not just a Wizard in a Tower, but an Evil Wizard in a Tower! Or at least it seems so since he is doing the poisoning.

Depending on where in northern Vintas Severen is located, Kvothe had quite a hike to make after reaching land--without money or much in the way of clothes.

Bredon! We've been talking about him forever and now here he is. That line of "playing" with Kvothe certainly does seem ominous. The wolf headed cane does seem like an affectation. It also seems like one of those identifying marks Kvothe might see later. Like left in D's room or maybe a wolf shaped bruise.

The Lackless door! I'm sure this is a door like the four plate door and that we'll see more on it in the next book. Although, I would tend to identify objects woithout handles or hinges that seemed to be occupying a passage more as a plug. That everyone calls them doors seems to imply there is something about them that shouts out that they are meant to be opened.
Katy Maziarz
7. ArtfulMagpie
I wonder if the type of bird they use to test for the poison is significant? Kvothe calls them "sipquicks." The Maer tells him they call know the birds as "flits." But Stapes uses the Eld Vintic name for them...calanthis. Which is also the surname of the royal line of Vintas. Does this foreshadow an ascent to the throne (by a jackass...I mean, uh Jakis, perhaps?) due to a series of deaths by poison?
Tehol Lives
8. Stefan Jones
I didn't have the slightest suspicion that Bredon was anything other than a helpful old courtier. Now I think I wasn't paying enough attention.
Daniel Goss
9. Beren
I'm starting to wonder if anything in either of the first two books is actually as it appears. Is Bredon actually Master Ash? Is Kvothe an Amyr? Is Kilvin? Is Auri? Is Denna the Moon? Is the Cthaeh actually a rutabaga that thinks it's an existentialist painting?

Please note that I'm not disparaging the investigatory attitude or skills of everyone here -- quite the opposite. Nearly everything that has been suggested makes a sort of sense, and I can see any one of those reversals/surprises being pulled in the third book. My fear is that PR has set so many of these in place that the third book is going to be nothing but a series of "You thought X, but really it was E=MC3.5"

-Beren
Steven Halter
10. stevenhalter
Beren@9:I'm sure that we will find that PR has planted many things that are red herrings and we've gobbled them up quite nicely.
On the other hand I'm equally sure that we've gotten a number of things right.
So, many things are not at all what they seem--even when they seem to be something else entirely.
Bruce Wilson
11. Aesculapius
We're now approaching the parts where WMF really begins to get interesting...!

The whole Severen episode serves to set up all sorts of subsequent parts of this story; the relationship between K&D starts to develop nicely -- there's so much there beneath the surface if only they'd both have the courage of their convictions -- and we're at the very start of the reveal regarding the Lackless family as well as K acquiring a patron of sorts AND the introduction of Bredon.

I'm with Daedos on this (@3); I've been thinking for a while that the rumoured "pagan frolics" on Bredon's estate, which are mentioned a little later on, were actually rather less "frolics" and rather more some very serious specific activities related to whichever group with which Bredon is actuallly affiliated. Whether this means the Chandrian, the Amyr or a faction of the Fae remains to be seen.

What this does make me think, however, is that this reference gives some credence to Bredon as a character in his own right rather than as a front or some sort of undercover persona for someone else. If the rumours of the Maer's court refer to Bredon independently then this would seem to suggest that he might actually be who he says he is.

Given his tendency to appear unannounced, however, then no doubt the conspiracy theorists will suggest that either (a) someone else could be masquerading as the real Bredon or (b) Bredon himself (or whoever he is) set up the rumours about his "own" estate in order that this would eventually get back to K.

What did strike me as interesting is that K comments on the rumours about Bredon and then seems to completely ignore it and move on. On one level, K can be so dense sometimes -- he is desperately looking for a secret society of Amyr and yet he casually overlooks what could potentially be a *really* interesting lead. On another level, it makes me wonder if this is just one of those things that PR has dropped in front of us and then led us to disregard because K himself disregards it at the time -- and yet it has all the hallmarks of something that might come back later and turn out to be reply important...

@9&10 -- yes, I feel like that at times too!
Tehol Lives
12. Thesissy
The expression “Yours without obligation, let or lien. A freely given gift.” is also used by Bast, when he offers Chronicler the holly wreath in one of the first chapters of WMF, isn't it? It sounds like an oath or a covenant, something with depth.
Christopher Johnstone
13. CPJ
@Thesissy12 & @Daedos3: Because of the tak-playing (which appears to be a fae game) and the line:

“Yours without obligation, let or lien. A freely given gift.”

... I was (for a while) wondering if Bredon was Bast in disguise, but their personalities seem so different, it seems unlikely. I did think, and still do to some extent, that Bredon either is Faen in disguise or is visiting Faen in a semi-regular way. He feels so rooted in the world, that actually being Faen feels somehow off... but Bast would appear pretty well rooted in the real world to a casual observer too.

And yes, the whole story is a tangled mess of wonderful possibilities. It is deeply layered and intricate, and no doubt it is also full of false leads... it will be fascinating to see how it all plays out.

I'd like us to try and keep track of another thing too: if Bredon is *not* Master Ash, then who else might Master Ash be? I think Caudicus has been suggested somewhere or other... (visually he matches the 'priest' suggested by Puppet a bit more closely), and it might be worth keeping track of his movements too.

Caudicus could make himself come across as a gentleman and he leaves the Maer's presence for long periods at a time. Also, the Maer's comment about 'which university' makes me wonder: are were sure Caudicus attended the University... or did he attend another one...? If so, he might have quite different views on things like knowing and shaping...

One reason I wondered about this is that Kvothe doesn't mention to anyone back at the Universtiy later on that he met this Caudicus fellow who seemed to be up to no good. Granted, a lot has gone on since then, but he probably ought to have mentioned it to Kilvin at least... it feels like an intentional ommission to avoid Kilvin: "Caudicus? Never heard of him...", though perhaps I'm now just winding myself up in paranoid consipiracy too...

Chris
Tehol Lives
14. Trollfot
Berdon's colour is "ash". I am of the impression that ash is often mentioned in connection with Bredon, probably not by accident. Not sure if is has been discussed, but if not it could be useful to look out for it in the reading.
Tehol Lives
15. mr. awesome
Bredon as fae - tak and "without let, lien, or obligation" are good points.

Also, his pagan frolics are almost certainly related to the fae - given Vintish superstition, it seems unlikely that the rituals would be percieved as pagan unless they were connected to something widely percieved as pagan, that is, something such as greystones, which we know lead into the fae (possibly only Myr Tariniel itself) because of Arliden's poem.

Also, I think that he brought up the subject of K's visit with Felurian seems to indicate that he gives those rumors some kind of credibility. This point is more arguable than the others though.

He doesn't necessarily need to be faen, but he probably does business with them. I think he's both involved with the fae and he's Denna's patron.

We don't know much about the fae, but we do know that D's patron was suppressing information about Lanre, probably on purpose because he supplied her with historical texts and also because it seems unlikely he'd have an interest in Lanre if his intent wasn't to futher suppress the truth. It also would be unusual for D's super mysterious patron to accidentally help the Chandrian. I feel like it's unlikely that he wants to help the Chandrian end the world because that would also end his beautiful game, but he does seem to be helping them, at least a little bit, through this misinformation.

Maybe he's on the neutral side of the Naming/Shaping war, trying to preserve equillibrium?

It's frustrating how little we know about the fae, I feel like they're constantly lurking in the behind the scenes action of these books.
Alf Bishai
16. greyhood
At a certain point a red herring becomes obnoxious. If Bredon isn't Ash, this will have gone far beyond that point. If Bredon was being tried in court for being Master Ash, he'd be convicted. The wolf head is particularly blatant for me. "A man and a fae are as different as a dog and a wolf." Tak. Denna and Bredon's appearance/disappearance/appearance in Severen. Pagan rituals. Etc., etc., etc.

Fascinating character. He's so likeable, and Ash is so twisted and confusing. And his agenda is unknown. It's going to be a great reveal. I think Rothfuss wants us to know he is Ash so we can try to guess at the beautiful game. And since we know we're walking into a trap...
Tehol Lives
17. faek
“On the oldest part of the Lackless lands, in the oldest part of their ancestral estate, there is a secret door. A door without a handle or hinges... there’s no way of opening it. It is locked, but at the same time, lockless. No one knows what’s on the other side."

I'm thinking that maybe the lands of the Lackless might have covered some other parts of the world, possibly even over at Belenay. What if the library at the university is this old ancestral estate that they're talking about? Nothing says that it's still their land.

There of course are other observations indicating against this (there are actually keyholes in the door in the University, but that might be only in the pre-release of the chapter where he visits with Sim and Wil?).
Tehol Lives
18. beerofthedark
Interestingly, or not, it is actually quite difficult to give a gift in English (and I believe in US) law. If there is no consideration/payment in exchange the law tends to see it as a loan, to the extent that a law lecturer I knew used to put on the tags to his Xmas presents something very akin to:
“Yours without obligation, let or lien. A freely given gift.”
I think people are right that there is a connection with fae here, but I was intrigued that the words themselves are quite powerful, an absolute declaration that the gift now wholly belongs to the recipient and that the giver retains no interest in it.

And on a side note, isn't the appearance of a Doctor in human plays a presage of death or disaster in the next act, just like the Cthaeh is in Fae stories?
Alex L
19. Quercus
Apropos the "Kvothe becomes a Chandrian" theory, I wonder if the figure on the vase actually is Kvothe, for some value of "is". The bloody hand recalls his grandstand finish at the Sword Tree, and at first Kvothe sees a leaf on the figure's chest (which brings to mind to the Chthaeh, or to "Broken Tree"?)

There are also the elements that Nina explains. "I can't get faces right, but his was terrible grim. He looked so angry. He looked like he was ready to burn down the whole world". And later "I remember there was a woman with no clothes on, and a broken sword, and a fire..."

We know that it is not impossible for Kvothe to be grimly, murderously angry, as the encounter with the false Ruh shows, we know he spent a bit of time, famously, with a fae woman not known for clothing, and at some point he loses Caesura.

It's speculative, but the idea that Kovthe is/becomes unwittingly the tool (or even one of) the bad guys is not implausible.

The Tough Guide to Fantasyland) or more misdirection.]
Tehol Lives
20. Herelle
The expression “Yours without obligation, let or lien. A freely given gift.” is also used by Bast, when he offers Chronicler the holly wreath in one of the first chapters of WMF, isn't it? It sounds like an oath or a covenant, something with depth.
In WMF Bast first tells Chronicler that he owns him now that he has slept under his roof, was served something to eat and so on. So when he gives him the holly wreath Chronicler is wary, which leads to Bast saying this freely given gift thing. I think there where several such moments (Dennas lutecase maybe?). For me it is similar to the "I tell you three times", it seems to be of Faen origin and has some kind of bonding or obligational character.



re: "pagan frolics" on Bredon's estate, rituals would be percieved as pagan

This just doesn´t ring true at all. What frolics / rituals? It sounds like things people invent to give something a mystical air. If Bredon had really something to do with Fae it wouldn´t contain hopping naked and bodypainted around a campfire inside a greystone circle. I mean, we´ve seen Kvothe meeting Felurian. There were weird things I admit but no rituals. Felurian didn´t seem to need some kind of manling gatherings, chantings, prayers, whatever "pagan frolics" might mean. If Bredon is Amyr/Chandrian, that would me more conspiracylike, I imagine.
Tehol Lives
21. Herelle
supplied her with historical texts and also because it seems unlikely he'd have an interest in Lanre if his intent wasn't to futher suppress the truth

If Ash is Bredon and he is playing a beautiful game that would be too straightforward. I assume the different stories are necessary to make Kvothe think about it. Just like we´ve seen in the university library. When Kvothe found out there were different facts given about the Amyr history his interest was sparked to dig deeper. He doesn´t acknowledge a different take on the Chandrian might be possible yet because it´s way too personal for him but I guess eventually he will start asking questions (just like we are).
Alf Bishai
22. greyhood
Sorry, my early post (@16) was confused. I was mixing up Ash and fae. (I think Bredon is both.) I believe PR wants us to know he is Bredon, and suspect he is fae.

@21 - If Ash is Bredon and he is playing a beautiful game that would be too straightforward.

Isn't that a necessary condition of 'a beautiful game'?
George Brell
23. gbrell
Quick thought, more to come this weekend.

Re: Pagan rituals

Pagan as a category is used in our world to refer to pre-Book/Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam). Assuming that PR isn't making a literary goof (like Falcon in Millenium Falcon, http://xkcd.com/890/), the use of Pagan would likely refer to all pre-Tehlin practices (I'm assuming the Vintish are Tehlins, but we haven't actually seen this to be true, except potentially in the frame story).

We actually know very little about the religions of the Four Corners, save for the prior existence of a Holy Roman Empire-esque Tehlin church (complete with a purge of a militant wing, Knights Templar-Amyr). Connecting Pagan to Fae is natural for us, the readers, because we associate Paganism with nature-centric religions like Wicca, but the term was used for the Greek/Roman pantheon of gods as well. I think we assume that his Pagan rituals may be Faen by jumping with a bit too little support.
Tehol Lives
24. Foxed
Can I just say that Bredon's introduction is, aside from his possibly being Ash, a beautiful game?

The exposition about the rings could have been drily done earlier with Threpe. But including it here with Bredon is much more interesting, and we get Tak and enigmas.

"Yes... what will people think?" That just sold it for me. I liked to think Bredon was just a dick noble, elevating Kvothe to his level to piss off the rest of the Court.

I think the logical course of things is that Bredon is Master Ash. Whether he is an Amyr or not is up for debate.

On the one hand, the Amyr take center stage in WMF. Chandrian were the focus of the first book, now we find out some more about the Amyr (not the truth, certainly, but more). There is a hidden Chandrian in the book, why not a hidden Amyr. We already have decided Lorren is one, but what of Bredon?

We have historical evidence of Amyr hiding in plain sight, with the autopsy fellow whose name I forget. He was a duke, right? Of course when we meet the new cast at the Court, we're looking for an Amyr. Enter Bredon, highly enigmatic.

"Pagan frolics"... well, the Amyr are secretly a pre-Tehlin organization. Pre-Christian religions are generally what we mean by pagan, so it stands to reason that pagan here means pre-Tehlin, as the two churches are similar.

The Fae are a known quantity. They wouldn't be pagan frolics. If the author wanted to hint at the Fae, he would have mentioned Bredon's unseemly love of children's tales.

On further reflection, if he is an Amyr, he is a rogue Amyr. He presents a deliciously un-Amyr-like philosophy. The ends do not justify the means. The means, the beautiful game, justify the ends.

So... it would make sense if he were an Amyr... except for his central philosophy.
Jo Walton
25. bluejo
Not to Stapes of course not -- gosh, how could I have written that! Sorry.
Tehol Lives
26. Dominiquex
Re issues mentioned by Quercus (19)...

For me, Kvothe finding himself on the side of Wrong after discovering he's been long-manipulated is pretty much a solid conviction at this point. The perceptions I get of frame-K's psychological state alone go a long way, not to mention the innumerable references in the story of how rash, single-minded, and half-cocked young Kvothe's actions are oh-so frequently. If ever there were a man to find that all his brilliance, dedication and skills were manipulated entirely into the service of his enemy, it would be him. ;)

Also, I love Foxed@24's summary of Bredon, "The ends do not justify the means. The means, the beautiful game, justify the ends." Fantastic description, and very apt I think.
Tehol Lives
27. Spirit Theif
Two things I noticed:

First, when Kvothe leaves Fae, he looks back and sees Felurian standing besides gray stones. So it appears greystones are entances to Fae, and Wilem believed them to be the sites of pagan frolic.

So, if Bredon was engaged in pagan frolic, by a greystone, it implicates that he has been to The Faen Realm. So is he Master Ash? We also know from Denna that Ash has had dealings with the Maer, making Bredon seem like the prime candidate.

Second, opening my copy of WMF, I landed on a page where Devi's house smelled like pear, just before Kvothe leaves for the Maer's estate. It just struck me as odd, seeing as Kvothe mentioned that Denna eating pear out of season was odd. Where would Denna and Devi both be getting pears, and why would Patrick Rothfuss specifically point it out? It seems silly, but then why put it in the story?

One last thought: if Bredon is Master Ash, he is probably working for the Chandrian. We know that the city that Lanre betrayed was Myr Taraniel, and Denna found it while doing genealogical research for Ash. Ash named the city was Mirinitel, but Bast and Skarpi (and I'm fairly certain there are other references) tell us he's wrong. And the popular Song of Seven Sorrows tells of the original Chandrian as a tragic hero. What is the goal behind all of this? What is the Master Ash's or the Chandrian's purpose?
Tehol Lives
28. mr. awesome
@27 "What is the Master Ash's ... purpose"?

Assuming Bredon = Master Ash.

The love of a beautiful game seems to me to be similar to the love of a struggle for struggle's sake. Such people wouldn't want to destroy the world, and thus seem to be unlikely to support the Chandrian's ultimate goal. However, through the Song of Seven Sorrows, they do help the Chandrian. I feel as though this means that Bredon is either neutral or will later double cross the Chandrian, having gained their trust through the SO7S.

We can elimate one of those possibilities because we know that Denna probably betrays K at some point. Her patron's goals and K's goals will thus conflict at some later point as well.

To me, that suggests that Bredon won't betray the Chandrian and begin working for good (as does the fact that he allowed the SO7S to continue long after such a double cross would have hypothetically taken place). He will remain a neutral party who meddles and enjoys himself as he watches stories being born in the epic battles between good and evil.

While hypothetically Bredon could cause Denna to betray K for the greater good, I don't think that K would ever be in a situation where Denna would need to betray him in order for the greater good to be served. There's also nothing about the fae or Bredon that suggests they'll be concerned with the greater good.

This means that he's probably neutral, trying to prevent either the Amyr or the Chandrian from completely taking over. His goal is to prolong the beautiful game of good vs evil because he finds it aesthetically pleasing to watch these maneuvers, just as he enjoys tak because it's filled with clever maneuvers. Also note that Bredon's lack of political maneuvers further suggests that his main interest is now not good or evil, but himself and his own interests.

I don't know how this interacts with his fae connection because we don't really know which fae groups would have the same interests as he does.

We know that fae aren't concerned with good/right and evil/wrong, but only their desires, which could easily support his aesthetic stance of valuing the beautiful conflict of good vs evil, but we don't know which fae take this stance. (I think. If I'm wrong and there is a group of fae that values conflict for the sake of the beautiful game that it is, please let me know because it could be useful for predicting K's future.)
Beth Meacham
29. bam
oh dear god. It just occured to me. What if the Chandrian and the Amyr are the same thing? What if the Amyr figure painted on the vase along with the Chandrian is the first clue to that?

Of course, that leaves us still wondering who The Singers are, who are the ones actually fighting against the Chandrian.
Katy Maziarz
30. ArtfulMagpie
Regarding "pagan frolics:" As has already been pointed out, there are many stories surrounding the use/history/purpose of greystones or waystones. One of those purposes is "pointing the way to something something -el," ha. One of them is providing a doorway into Fae. And another is that they served as the site of pagan frolics.

My guess is that ALL of those are true. If the stones are, in fact, doorways into Fae, and you were someone who held to older beliefs...meaning, here, not Tehlin...and thus did not believe that the Fae were all evil demons to be shunned...what better place to meet with the Fae than the greystones? Perhaps some ritual or other "calls" the Fae out through the stones to meet with the callers.

Whether Bredon is Master Ash or not, I'm convinced (by his playing of Tak, by his use of a ritual-sounding phrase only otherwise used by Bast in the text, and by his "pagan frolics") that he is, at the very least, an ally of some group within the Faen realm. What that group's ultimate motives may be, and thus what Bredon's motives may be, we will find out, I'm sure!
Tehol Lives
31. mr. awesome
@29 I feel like it's possible. Both Haliax and the Amyr are trying to achieve the greatest good, it's just that Haliax thinks that the greatest good is oblivion, he sows salt because the choice is between weeds or nothing.

Also, I was thinking the other day, and I think Rothfuss might not actually have messed up the math on Kvothe's first admission. It could be intentional, and would make the conversation with Elodin ("I'd love to see you tell Master Brandeur that geometry is subjective") much more hilarious.

@30 The Singers are the desert tribe on the other side of the Stormwals who heal people through magic. They're the people who K wants to visit once he's done with the University. They're also mentioned when K visits the Adem. They apparently heal STDs.

I just thought about it, and it's interesting that the Adem would be willing to go there despite the vast cultural differences between the two.
Jo Walton
32. bluejo
BAM, Haliax asks Cinder who protects him from the Amyr, the singers and the Sithe. So we can be pretty sure they are opposed.
Andrew Mason
33. AnotherAndrew
As others have mentioned, it doesn't say 'the Singers', it says 'the singers'. It's not a name, just a description, which leaves them very mysterious.

As to who the singers are, I don't think it's been clearly established. There are at least three possibilities:
a. that they are the winged avengers, established by Aleph at the same time Selitos established the Amyr, who are described as singing mighty songs, or something like that.
b. that they are the Tahl, who are described as healing with their songs.
c. that they are just singers. Arliden was a singer, and he made a song which was some kind of threat to the Chandrian.

(I don't think the Tahl cure STDs in particular - they are just exceptional healers, of diseases in general, so if one of the Amyr caught an STD she would go to them.)
Andrew Mason
34. AnotherAndrew
Adem, obviously, not Amyr. Whose idea was it to have two mysterious groups of fighters with four-letter names begining with A? Were they trying to cause confusion?
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
35. tnh
AnotherAndrew: The real world pulls stunts like that all the time. The American Civil War had two Southern generals named Johnston, two Battles of Bull Run, two Battles of the Wilderness, and major military actions fought on Seminary Ridge, Cemetery Ridge, and Missionary Ridge.

Or consider the Defenestrations of Prague: the First Defenestration of Prague in 1419, the arguable One and One-Halfth Defenestration of Prague in 1483, the Second Defenestration of Prague in 1618 (the one people erroneously refer to as the Defenestration of Prague), and the disputed Third Defenestration of Prague in 1948.
Alice Arneson
36. Wetlandernw
Re: the map, mr_meaney told us back on the reread speculative summary part one that he’d caught the following at a PR Q&A:
Q: Will you tell us where Severen is located on your map?
A: It's north of Renere. South of Tinue.
Q: So the Four Corners of civilization aren't just the one landmass we see in the maps, right? Are there other continents, and will we see them referred to?
A: Nope. The four corners are: Tarbean, Renere, Ralien, and Cershaen.
The yellow circles are just things you can click on to pop up more information. Confusingly enough, one of those yellow circles (Tarbean) could also have been a red-circled dot – they are the four corners.

Re: the wolfs-head walking stick, I’m going off the google-books copy since I don’t have a hard copy at the moment, but there it says “wrought” rather than “carved”. However, I’ve seen silver referred to as “carved” when an object was made by carving jewelers’ wax, making a plaster mold, melting out the wax and then pouring in molten silver. Even though the silver cast itself isn’t actually carved, the visual effect would be the same because the original wax was carved.

Shalter @6 - Depending on where in northern Vintas Severen is located, Kvothe had quite a hike to make after reaching land--without money or much in the way of clothes. - Not really; it’s on a sufficient body of water to have a port (whether sea or river), because there are docks there, with ships that go to places like Junpui. Seems like he would have sailed directly there. My guess would be that it’s on one of those big lakes, with the river downstream having been widened (if necessary) enough to support significant traffic.

ArtfulMagpie @7 – I’m not sure I think the “calanthis” foreshadows a Jakis gaining the throne specifically, but I’m pretty sure (yes, I have a firm grasp of the obvious!) the names are the same for a reason. So far, of course, Ambrose is the only person we’ve seen boasting about his position in line for the throne, and we’ve seen people ahead of him dying for various “natural” reasons. It begs for further reflection. If it turns out that Caudicus was poisoning the Maer on behalf of the Jakis family, then the notion of Jakis-purchased poison killing the little calanthis might indeed be a foreshadowing of Jakis-directed treachery killing all the Calanthis, too.
Kevin Loyal
37. imakerecords
On a side note: I love that Kvothe, upon seeing the stuffed crocodile in Caudicus' workroom, asks if it is a dragon. Caudicus responds that it is in alligator left by the former arcanist.

From Diana Wynn Jones' "Tough guide to Fantasyland":
"ALLIGATORS. Probably extinct in Fantasyland and now to be found only in a mummified state hanging from the rafters of a WIZARD’s workroom. If the Alligator is present, it is a sure sign that the Wizard is friendly."

Kvothe later wonders if Caudicus is a false arcanist:
"Maybe Caudicus wasn't an arcanist at all. Maybe he was simply a man in a dark robe who didn't know the difference between an alligator and a crocodile"
Kvothe then gets Caudicus to let him touch his gilder.
Proving in fact that he is a full arcanist and does know the difference between a crocodile and an alligator. Does he present it as an alligator to show he is a good wizard?
Is Rothfuss playing with tropes again?
It doesn't have much to do with the main story arc, but it left me chuckling.
Tehol Lives
38. mr. awesome
@33
I'm pretty sure that K saw one of the Angel singers one of the times when he almost died in Tarbean. He said it was a hallucination, so maybe just a red herring.

I think that, like the human Amyr were copies of nonhuman Amyr, the Tahl are copies of The (nonhuman) Singers of songs of power.
Jo Walton
39. bluejo
Wetlandernw: I have an ARC and it could have been changed before publication -- good! I will buy the paperback the second it comes out -- I keep thinking it must be nearly out, but no.
Tehol Lives
40. Matt_Reader
@33 AnotherAndrew

In NotW the text says singers; in WMF when Kvothe is recalling Haliax saying it, the text says Singers.

I don't think his memory was altered (in the frame too), more likely it was just a typo in the original book where Singers didn't get capitalized. Although, I've learned to take nothing for granted.
Tehol Lives
41. j4yx0r
Speaking of capitalization - my apologies if this has been discussed previously - are there any leading theories on the seemingly random capitalization of words in Denna's letters to Kvothe?

From Chapter Forty-Three of WMF (suspicious words are bolded, expected capitalizations are colored):
Kvothe, I’m sorry to leave Imre without word or warning. I sent You a message the night of my departure, but I expect you never received it.
I have gone abroad looking for greener pasture and better Opportunity. I am fond of Imre, and enjoy the pleasure of your Occasional, though Sporadic, company, but it is an expensive city in which to live, and my prospects have grown slender of late.

Yll is lovely, all rolling hills. I find the weather quite to my liking, it is warmer and the air smells of the sea. It seems I might pass an entire winter without being brought to bed by my lungs. My first in years.

I have spent some time in the Small Kingdoms and saw a skirmish between two bands of mounted men. Such a crashing and Screaming of Horses you have never heard. I have spent some time afloat as well, and learned all manner of sailor’s knots, and how to spit properly. Also, my Cussing has been greatly broadened.
If you ask politely when we next meet, I may demonstrate my newfound skills.

I have seen my first Adem Mercenary. (They call them blood-shirts here.) She is hardly bigger than me, with quite the most remarkable grey eyes. She is pretty, but strange and quiet, endlessly twitching. I have not seen her fight and am not sure I wish to. Though I am curious.

I am still enamoured of the harp. And am currently housing with a skilled gentleman (whom I shall not name) for the furthurinse of my study in this.

I have drunk some wine while Writing this letter. I mention this to excuse my above spelling of the word Furtherence. Furtherance. Kist. You know what I mean.

I apologize for not writing sooner, but I have been a great deal traveling and not until now have I had Means to write a Letter. Now that I have done, I expect it might be a while longer before I find a traveler I trust to start this missive on its long road back to you.

I think of you often and fondly.

Yours,
D.
Pstscrpt. I hope your lute case is serving you well.
And is there something to the fact that she misspelled 'furtherence' multiple times (with the one occurrence being suspiciously capitalized)?
This is also the letter in which her learning of Yllish knots is introduced. Could the letter be some sort of cypher or even a nod to the 'written magic' Denna was so curious about in the Eolian?

I have no answers thus far. I can't discern a pattern in the capitalization or see any clear subtext, but my gut tells me there's something more to this letter.
Tehol Lives
42. j4yx0r
The colorized letters in the previous post didn't seem to take. Sorry.
Teresa Nielsen Hayden
43. tnh
j4yx0r: Alternately, you could assume that she didn't have a spellchecker for her handwritten note, and that she has a moderate tendency to capitalize for emphasis.

I'm not guaranteeing that it's not a cypher, but it works for me as an example of how this character sounds when she writes an informal note.
Steven Halter
44. stevenhalter
j4yxor@41:We touched on this before. Other than it certainly looks suspicious, no grand decipherment has come out.
When Kvothe meets D again she says she sent several letters and only this one reached him. She doesn't say anything about "Oh, did you decode it?" or anything like that--of course, that doesn't mean that there is not a hidden message. Something (some sort of geas) could be keeping her from speaking of whatever she was trying to communicate.

Or, maybe she was just drunk.

For Fun, here are all of the capitalized letters:
K I I Y I I O I O S Y I I I M I S K S S H I A C I A M T S S I I T I I A I I W I F F K Y I I I I M L N I I I I I Y D P I
Tehol Lives
45. mr. awesome
not until now have I had Means to write a Letter

Interesting. If she's with a gentleman and she's learning to play the harp, why doesn't she have access to the means to write a letter? That suggests that they are somewhere far away from big cities or that they were traveling.

Was Denna still playing the huge harp at this time, or had she switched to the smaller one? That could potentially give us hints.

skilled gentleman (whom I shall not name) for the furthurinse of my study in this.

Patron?

It seems I might pass an entire winter without being brought to bed by my lungs. My first in years.

I don't know if weather alone is enough to account for this. What was the weather / climate like during other times she had attacks? If it was sunny and nice then perhaps this indicates that she's being assisted.

I have spent some time in the Small Kingdoms and saw a skirmish between two bands of mounted men.
1. Why would you go to the Small Kingdoms on the way to Yll?
2. Are the Small Kingdoms currently at war? If not, why was there a skirmish?

Kist
What's the language that uses this as a curse? It seems likely that her sailing crew taught her this and she's demonstrating the skills she was discussing previously in the letter.

We now know she went through the Small Kingdoms where she saw a battle, then she boarded a ship full of and went to Yll to hang out in the countryside with a gentleman who is far away from couriers or travelers who could send the letter.

She is pretty, but strange and quiet, endlessly twitching
Denna doesn't know about the Adem hand signs. Shaping/Yll Magic has nothing to do with those. I only mention this because I'm pretty sure that I saw someone mention that as a theory a while ago.

Observation: generally, when people give a list of things they've done, they do so in chronological order. She might have done so also. That could be useful to someone else who's thinking of theories.

Random aside: It might make sense if Bredon is from Yll and is using an assumed name. It's slightly odd that he has the same name as a type of beer that's popular in Yll. We also know that Yll is super important and that Bredon is super important. It's not inconcievable that he chose to meet her there because of reasons known to him because he's from Yll.

Also for fun: I'm playing with the above list of capital letters here. Also, could Chronicler's phonetic cipher provide us with insights here? Does anyone know it?

Disclaimer: @44 Nice catch. If she sent multiple letters then trying to decode them based on one letter probably won't work. There's not enough data available. However, it sounds like the one we have was the first she sent (I apologise for not writing sooner), which means that maybe not all possibility of decoding some useful information is lost.

No repeating I's, arbitrary spaces:
KYO IOSYM ISKS SHIAC I AM TSST AWIFF KY MLNY DPI

Some of those are words, others look like words. I saw the I AM stand out of the above list and it made me think that maybe the letter stands a chance of being understood and that maybe it's more than drunkenness.

Let's try a rough phonetic version of the above:
K You seem isks (sick?) iac i am test a with key melany D pi
That seems really suspicious. A test and a key.

Or, with the I's:
K I I Y I I O I O S Y I I I M I S K S S H I A C I A M T S S I I T I I A I I W I F F K Y I I I I M L N I I I I I Y D P I
Phonetic:
K You I Owe
Seem OR Sim
Is Kiss I ache OR his shack
i am
this it OR to sit
i awith key i'm lined pie OR I awith kyml (name) and pi

I expect most of this is completely wrong and baseless, but I legitimately feel like the part about the test is supposed to be there. Chekhov's gun says that even if Rothfuss only gave us part of a coded message we can still read part of it. Again, I could be entirely wrong and probably am, this is mostly just for fun.
Steven Halter
46. stevenhalter
tnh@43Yeah, it could be just that. I have a neice who speaks like that (you can hear the capitals--of course she is 4.)
I like the idea of there being a hidden message. Mr. Awsome's phonetic trials @45 are interesting.
PR could also just be toying with us. I can picture him sitting there in his fortress of solitude deep in Wisconsin, stroking his beard and laughing evilly as he says--"Ha, they'll spend all sorts of time trying to decipher this!" ;-)
Jo Walton
48. bluejo
The thing that made Pat laugh when I told him about what we're doing was when I mentioned the promotions. "And two people are Re'lar," I said, (this was in Reno in the summer) and he laughed like a drain.

I don't think he'd have put the whole text of the message in for no reason, but I don't think it's a simple code -- possibly the capitalizations are there to draw attention to something else, or there's a word count thing. I immediately started to look for first letters spelling something out, like the one in Earthly Powers where the character speaks on Nazi radio with a bland message that spells out "Fuck Hitler" and "Nazis rot in hell" -- the last four words are "Have Everyone Learn Love". I don't know why I remember these things! But if D is doing this, she isn't being obvious about it.

The other thing I thought is that if there's a kind of magic where writing it down makes it happen, and it isn't Naming or "energy trading" then it could be that it's doing that, and perhaps the line about her thinking fondly of him is an attempt to make him think fondly of her -- unnecessary, of course.
Tehol Lives
49. Elsinora
#45, we've heard "kist" before. In NotW (don't have the book handy), Kilvin swears "Kist, crayle, en kote". "Kote" also appeared in the "chan vaen edan kote" expression Kilvin used elsewhere in NotW, and that expression I believe was identified as being either Tema or Temic. Thus, presumably, Kist is from the same language.

Hopefully someone with a copy of NotW handy can elaborate further.
Steven Halter
50. stevenhalter
Kist is used in WMF chapter 21 by Kilvin in "Kist, crayle, en kote" and in chapter 43 as a swear by a Cealdish man.
The language is thus most likely Siaru.
Tehol Lives
51. mr. awesome
@50 Do we know where large groups of Cealdish might be near the Small Kingdoms, or why they'd be there or how Denna'd be involved with them?

Cealds are merchants. Do you think she and her patron got a ride from a merchant ship to Yll from the Small Kingdoms?

Do we know what goods are transported from the Small Kingdoms? That could possibly provide us with insight into the investments made by her patron.

At this point I might be overthinking it though.
Tehol Lives
52. mr. awesome
Sorry for double comment, just noticed this:
"Also, the Maer's comment about 'which university' makes me wonder: are were sure Caudicus attended the University... or did he attend another one...? If so, he might have quite different views on things like knowing and shaping..."

This is interesting. We know that Caudicus summoned some ghost thing into his tower to attack those that entered it. No form of magic that we've seen thus far can do that. You have to be present to name, sygaldry can make sprectral entities, obviously neither can alchemy, etc. I don't think he attended an AntiUniversity because such a place would probably be well known of (for the Maer's comment to make sense as proof for this, the AU would have to be well known of), but I do think that Caudicus has learned a bit about Shaping.

Maybe Caudicus killed the old mage too? If the alligator/crocodile was still there he probably hadn't been at the castle too long, or maybe he felt an attachment to the mage or something? I don't have any basis for believing this except that evilness vibe which reminded me of how Sith apprentices always kill their masters...

Are there any other mentions of the old mage? How long has it been since Caudicus took over?
Steven Halter
53. stevenhalter
@51:She could have picked up the word almost anywhere. It could be intended as a hint to Kvothe. Maybe the hidden message is in Siaru.
Tehol Lives
54. TrixX
“I think I’m going to have quite a bit of fun playing with you.”

Is it just me or does that just have so many more meanings when you put together the other pieces of information flying around. I'm not entirely sure it even relates to Tak...
Tehol Lives
55. Peaceman
Hey guys.we are from germany.and we have an additional hint: that Bredon is master ash.
In the german translation master ash is called master "esche" which stands for master ash-tree. And this ash-tree is growing in front of the window of the maer. (We don´t know which chapter...)
We believe that is another connection between that ash-tree and master "ash" (Esche=ash-tree). It's a fact that Rothfuss is running a non-public internet-platform just for the foreign translators. That again could mean that the German translator got additional (inofficial) information by Rothfuss concerning that upper mentioned connection.
Maybe there are even more hints referring to that tree (and not ONLY to the ash of the fire) we did not recognize yet.
We apologize for the bad English - hoping you understood the mainpoint of our comment.
Thank you for your great work - searching, finding and interpretating hints in that truely great story of Rothfuss!
Keep on living your passion!
Tehol Lives
56. A Winner
@55 Peaceman:
Not bad! First of all sorry for my broken English, as I'm another guy from Germany... And I also figured out that hint, because in the German translation it's much easier to recognize as Master Ash is already called Master "Ash-tree" (="Esche" in German).

I just looked up that passage in my english ebook version of WMF: It's in the second part of chapter 58 "Courting". Kvothe is called to the Maer's rooms after his test of patience and he's meating the Maer, who is lying in his bed in one of his weakest stages. At this point we still don't know that he's poisened by Caudicus.
Just in the previous chapter Kvothe meets Bredon for the first time...
Coincidence? Here we also have several significant hints and his (somber? ambiguous?) statement: "Oh yes, I think I’m going to have quite a bit of fun playing with you."

Well, this is the passage in chapter 58:
"We were quiet for a moment. Outside the window I watched two squirrels chase each other around the tall trunk of an ash tree."
If we consider this as significant, what does it tell us? Only that Master "Ash-tree" really is Bredon because he's a participant on the Maer's court? Or maybe that Master Ash (a.k.a Bredon? Or not?) is walking in higher circles of nobility around the Maer (because of proximity of that tree to the Maer's rooms)? That he has a grand influence on the Maer's decisions?


And what could this picture of the two squirrels and the tree tell us? Is it a symbol?
-"tall trunk of an ash tree"? = strength or superiority of Master Ash?
-"two squirrels"? = maybe Denna and Kvothe, already in the hands of the beautiful game of Master "Ash-tree"?
First: Remember that the two squirrels are "chas each other", just like K and D (although sometimes K chases her more than D and sometimes D more than K does...)
Second: Remember what the Cthaeh was saying about D's patron beating her:
"...but mostly it’s a game to him. How far can he go before she cries? How far can he push before she tries to leave and he has to lure her back again?"
Last but not least: (Again) Master Ash's - oh sorry - Bredons statement to K:
"Oh yes, I think I’m going to have quite a bit of fun playing with you."
Oh, yes: What about Kvothes Adem name: "Broken Tree"? Ok, I think this neither relates to Master "Ash-tree" nor to that oak K throws thunder at (Cinder was there! Also a synonym to "Ash"! Wow, I have quite a run here...), but who knows? I think "Broken Tree" better fits to the state of Kvothe as an innkeeper in the frame, because it refers to him and it is not: "The Person, who broke a tree" or "Tree-Breaker". But again: Who knows?


Maybe this "ash-tree-theory" is another hint and though I was reading a lot in this forum, I'm hoping nobody else (except Peaceman) has already figured this out before... And yes: We really should look for more Ash-trees in that story - besides apples ;-) - not only the ash in the fireplace.

Keep going, people, because this forum is indeed very very special.
Alice Arneson
57. Wetlandernw
Question for you German folk: is the German word for "ash" as in "ash-tree" similar to "ash" as in "what's left after the wood burns up"? Not sure if it's relevant or not (I suspect not) but the English homograph has come up for discussion in the past.
Tehol Lives
58. A Winner
@57 Wetlandernw: I think I've missed that homograph-discussion in past... Does that mean we are telling you "old jokes" about that ash tree?

Anyway: Yes, the words are very similar in German, but unfortunately you can't "link them in your mind" like in the English language, i. e. both words clearly have different meanings... (*Not the only wordplay we miss in the German translation... "Not tally a lot less", huh? How do you translate such a great wordplay in another language without losing all semantics?*)
I also think the similarity to the English language could show that this word originally comes from the Anglo-Saxons, a German "tribe", who settled the British Isles since the 3rd century.

I try to translate:
- Esche = ash tree (and "our" Master Ash is called Master Esche)
- Asche = ash (like cinder; the one in the chimney or from volcano)

I don't know... Maybe Peacemann (@55) is right and our translator was wondering, how he's going to interpret the Master-Ash-"problem". Maybe he wrote about this in Pats "translator-chatroom" (I want to take a look at it!) and Pat told him, that he should focus on that tree-thing - because it fits better? Or because it doesn't fit well at all and Pat liked the idea of putting up some controversy in Germany? ;-) ... However, it totally could be that way, because our translator really is a good one and I think he's doing his homework quite fine.

But: Though I don't think so, still there's a little chance he failed to see the problem itself (i.e. the ambiguity the words have in your language) and just translated the first word coming to his mind...
Alice Arneson
59. Wetlandernw
A Winner @58 - Thank you! The discussion focused on the idea that Ash might be intended to give us a clue that Master Ash = Cinder, since in English it's the same word as the ash tree (or leaf thereof) that Kvothe and Denna used to name him. Personally, I think that the homograph is just a red herring, but I guess we'll find out in D3.
Tehol Lives
60. A Winner
@ 59 Wetlandernw:
Oh, now I can see the faults in my earlier postings - not the grammar, but content ;-) ... The leaf, of course.
It's a long time since I read NotW... I simply forgot the fact that K named D's patron Master Ash because of the leaf flying into his mouth...
I've read so much in this forum about Master Ash and the thing with ash (as in the chimney): grey hair of Bredon, Cinder etc. etc. ad infinitum... but nothing about an ash tree.

So all of you already know the relation to that ash tree and when the English readers talk about Master Ash then Master "Ash-tree" actually is the first thing that comes to your mind, too (just like in the German translation)... Ok, now I get it.

I'm sorry for my...(looking up the word in google-there it is) "forgetfulness". Therefore some of my sentences in the earlier postings (56; 58) didn't make sense at all.

Anyhow, I hope Peaceman (55) and I could help with that ash tree out of the Maer's window, because Jo didn't mention that fact in her re-read of chapter 58.
Tehol Lives
61. Tox
Bredon tells him fine points of the ring thing, about displaying them and wearing them. Then he gives Kvothe a gift of a set of rings of his own:
“Yours without obligation, let or lien. A freely given gift.”
didnt Bast say that to Croniclor about the holly (a fay thing?)
kineta chien
62. kineta
A late comment, but want to point out that we have seen Meluan Lackless's name before in Name of the Wind - in the list of successors to the throne - where she is listed at about 6th (not knowing the size of the Royal family and prince regents).

Which brings me to the interesting point that I have yet to see anyone suggest HER as the king. She's considerably higher up the list than Ambrose and just slightly lower than Maer. And possibly her marriage has moved her up even higher.

So, I'll suggest the possibility that Meluan Lackless is the Penitent King and Maer the killed king. As a possibility.
Steven Halter
63. stevenhalter
kineta@62:That's another interesting point. Usually, Meluan would be referred to as the Queen in that case, but it really depends on the Vintas royalty naming mechanisms. If the monarch is called King, regardless of sex, that would be an interesting twist. Female Pharaohs, for example, seem to have used the masculine name forms for rulership.
kineta chien
64. kineta
shalter@63 - in *our* world maybe but there's no indication either way in the Four Corners world. I don't actually think it would be a 'twist' - maybe just playing on/against expectations and the sexism sadly inherent in our world ;-)

You know, like the riddle:

A father and his son are in a car accident. The father dies instantly, and the son is taken to the nearest hospital. The doctor comes in and exlaims "I can't operate on this boy."
"Why not?" the nurse asks.
"Because he's my son," the doctor responds.
How is this possible?

Also, Google 'King Peggy' just for fun.
Andrew Mason
65. AnotherAndrew
There have been female kings in our world much more recently than the Pharaohs - Saint Jadwiga was King of Poland, and Maria Teresa was King of Hungary. (Though in those cases it was precisely because there was so strong an expectation that the holder of the position would be male, so that was the only title available. Meluan, by contrast, seems to be straightforwardly in the line of succession .)
Tehol Lives
66. Curtiss
I don't know if this has been cleared up in the comments, but in chapter 36, just before kvothe sings the song about his mom to Wil and Sim, he says his mother's name and it's not Natalia. Its Laurian. Here's the quote: "Then I said it. 'Laurian.' It was the first time I'd said my mother's name in years."

However, this doesn't completely disprove the "Not tally a lot less" thing, as Natalia could be a pet name that his father had for her.
Tehol Lives
67. C2
Or, Laurian is the name she took after she run away, and Natalia is her real name..
Tehol Lives
68. Curtiss
@67, I'd totally forgotten about that part of the story. I'm reading WMF again as i'm going through these and just got to chapter 74 where Kvothe reads that "young Netalia Lackless had run away with a troupe of traveling performers." So, after reading that I came back to concede that Netalia is probably her real name. It makes sense.
Tehol Lives
69. Britunculus
I think Bredon is Kvothe's grandfather (it's in plain sight again: “what I consider grandfather old"), specifically Meluan's father and a Lackless. It explains his political power, his presence with the Maer and his interest in Kvothe.

He could still be Master Ash of course... But he's less likely to be Cinder in this case.
Tehol Lives
70. Rhyseee
Does any one else agree that kvothe acts very much like an amyr? I also belief he has been described as looking like them twice ( one was up on the roof with auri and the other time was when he was killing the bandits with sympathy) What really makes me believe this was due to the conversation between kvothe and sim just after kvothe had accosted the two students talking very loudly in the library .
Steven Halter
71. stevenhalter
Rhyseee@70:There are a number of places where Kvothe seems to instinctively act in an Amyr fashion. You'll find a number of discussions on that topic through the threads.
Tehol Lives
72. deviantlightning
I've always thought of the power argument between Kvothe and Alvernon to be a way of characterizing them.

It's particularly notable that Kvothe's greatest personal enemy is Ambrose, since if Kvothe had more respect for "granted power," he wouldn't need Alvernon's protection or patronage in the first place.

Of course, it's easy for Alvernon to believe that granted power is "greater," since he's already practically a king in everything but name. He can compel or wheedle service without much effort or politicking.

Personal or innate power opens up opportunities you may not otherwise get, is strategically mobile and doesn't require you to trust potentially untrustworthy individuals. This is demonstrated when the Maer is poisoned by his own arcanist and has his stature diminished by being so ill that it's hard to maintain a dignified appearance (which is so very important to powerful nobles).

I found the Maer's distinctions between kinds of power to be particularly useless.
Tehol Lives
73. deviantlightning
It feels like a bit of a stretch that Bredon would be Master Ash.

For one thing, most every noble we've met so far would match the description of somebody indifferent to luxury. Count Threpe is affluent enough that he completely forgets that Kvothe couldn't afford clothes nice enough to go to one his patron-hunting parties. Simmon may actually be the only exception to this rule we've seen thus far.

Basically, the description of Ash as a wealthy and sophisticated man gives us nothing to work on. There isn't any other kind of patron D would be looking for.

I do think that Ash is one of the Chandrian.

One, because the Chandrian are described by Haliax as being too fond of petty cruelties to ever change this pattern of behavior over the long term. The omniscient Caeth does confirm that he beats D no better reason than his own sadistic amusement.

Two, because it fits the apparent motives of the Chandrian. Master Ash commissions a song that makes Laenre out to be a tragic hero rather than the villain that Skarpi's tale portrays him to be. This fits with the Chandrian erasing or obfuscating the legends and facts about their existence.
Tehol Lives
74. deviantlightning
@j4yx0r (41)

I wouldn't assign any great significance to the capitalizations. Denna is either using proper nouns (e.g. Adem Mercenary) or she's just being ironic in some cute way to refer to Exciting Drama that she has found on her travel.

Keep in mind that both Kvothe and Denna are fond of using wordplay with each other as part of their flirting.
Tehol Lives
75. naupathia
I am absolutely convinced that Bredon is Master Ash. Partly because it's one theory I came up with myself (before reading other peoples'). And mostly because it's so obviously him.

re: Kvothe being a Chandrian. I think this is entirely possible. I forgot about the "new Chandrian" part - but what I remember was when the skin changer comes looking for Kvothe he says "Te Rhintae?" (forgive if I misspell, I don't have the text in front of me) and as we all know, Rhinna/Rhinta/etc all are words used for/connected with the Chandrian.

What I am expecting in D3 is definitely a more "grey" fantasy - that is, the Amyr are really the bad guys (from a point of view) and the Chandrian are truly working towards some end that is not just evil (perhaps more just misguided or revenge-based). Perhaps this is why Kvothe joins them and becomes one, realizing he must oppose the Amyr.
Tehol Lives
76. Sholto
I apologize in advance if anyone has already mentioned this. I briefly skimmed through the comments and did not see anything.

I think it is worth mentioning that before Bredon first makes contact with Kvothe:

1) He already knows his name. He says "So you're Kvothe, are you?" as soon as Kvothe opens the door to him. pg 426 WMF
2) He had already prepared three rings with Kvothe's name engraved on them. pg 432 WMF
3) He knew that Kvothe lost the majority of his possessions, he says "I heard a rumor your luggage was lost" pg 432 WMF

How does Bredon know:
A) Kvothe's name
B) That Kvothe lost his luggage
C) How Kvothe's name is spelt (This, I find the most shocking)

A) Kvothe has not mentioned telling anyone his name except for the Maer. Dagon and Stapes were in the same room when the Maer said "Kvothe, is it?" pg 412 WMF. But, if Kvothe mentioned his name to even one of the tailors, servers, or gossipmongers (which is never explicitly mentioned in the text, but I think it likely that he has), Bredon could have gotten wind of Kvothes name pretty easily.

B) The only time we see Kvothe mentioning the loss of his possessions is in the room with Stapes, the Maer, and Dagon (pg 413). Once again, there is no explicit evidence that Kvothe tells anyone else in the court about his shipwreck, but rumor could have gotten round that he lost his luggage because of the clothes that the Maer had to have tailored for him.

C) Either Bredon:

1) Deduced from the pronunciation "Quothe" which members of the court used to describe the mysterious red-haired man, that his name must be spelt 'Kvothe'. (Pft ya right, there's no way he figured that out).

2) Knew how Kvothe's name was spelt another way:

I) Kvothe's name was mentioned in Threpe's letter, which, unless stolen from the Maer, could at most, have been seen by 3 people. The Maer, Stapes, and Dagon. So, one of those three could have relayed the spelling of Kvothes name to Bredon.

II) Kvothe's name was recorded at the University, so anyone and everyone at the University knew how his name was spelt. Because of his reputation and stories about him, his name and it's spelling is in all liklihood pretty well known in places outside Imre as well. Basically meaning that Bredon's knowledge of the spelling of Kvothe's name is a shit of a clue.

III) He is a skilled namer.

IV) Rothfuss let this one slip.

I think the only likely possibilities are:

1) Bredon got Kvothe's name, the spelling of his name, and the info about his shipwreck from Dagon, who could have gotten all this info when Kvothe met the Maer for the first time, and Dagon was in the room with him. I only think this because Rothfuss makes it seem like Dagon has something to hide when he is ordered to kill Caudicus.

2) Bredon had already heard about Kvothe through some of his notoriety at the Eolion, the University, etc. Knew from the stories he heard about Kvothe that he was a red-haired man, and thus deduced the Maer's new play-thing was the Kvothe he had heard interesting stories about.

3) Bredon is a skilled namer, and knew Kvothes name just by looking at him.

4) Bredon is somehow associated with Ambrose, and knows of Kvothe through the personal accounts of Ambrose himself.

5) Rothfuss didn't even think about this.

Personally I think that I'm reading too much into it, and that Rothfuss just made a slip when he made it clear that Bredon knew how Kvothe's name was spelt. However, I do think there is more to Bredon than is immediately apparent.


What does everyone think?

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