Thu
Nov 17 2011 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 12: A Beautiful Game

Welcome to my ridiculously detailed re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 61—65 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 61 is “Deadnettle”

Deadnettle is the poison seller in a play called Three Pennies for Wishing who takes advantage of sick people to his own benefit. Kvothe is afraid of being taken for someone like him. Note how clever this is — not only do we not have this character, we don’t have a stock character of an evil doctor. But Rothfuss sets it up beautifully so that they do and it’s perfectly plausible, and it’s all setting up for what happens next. It’s giving himself and Kvothe and us a shorthand way of thinking about this complex issue. Lovely.

Kvothe comes back and Alveron says Caudicus has visited and sent more medicine but he hadn’t taken it. Kvothe has a real problem here, the problem doctors have with powerful patients — he has to get Alveron to obey him if he’s to recover, but Alveron isn’t used to taking orders and Kvothe doesn’t want to be hated. Who has the inherent power now? Also, Kvothe needs Alveron to believe him and not Caudicus, who he has known and trusted for a lot longer. And why is Caudicus poisoning him? We still only have theories.

The first thing is cod liver oil — one of the best medicines ever, but so icky. Alveron sensibly refuses to drink it, saying he’ll throw up, and Kvothe makes him anti-nausea tea. Alveron refuses the cod liver oil with “remember who you are speaking to” and Kvothe says he’s speaking to a sick man who won’t take his medicine. When he still refuses, Kvothe glugs it — ugh. My stomach curdles in sympathy. “Pride is always a better weapon against the nobility than reason.”

He offers to return the ring and Alveron tells him to keep it for now. He leaves Alveron with the tea and tells him to keep drinking the cod liver oil. Alveron falls asleep. Stapes looks at Kvothe with hatred as he leaves. Kvothe frets that if Alveron dies he’ll be blamed and he’ll look like Deadnettle — and audiences cheer when Deadnettle is pilloried. He then throws up the cod liver oil out of a convenient window.

 

Chapter 62 is “Crisis”

Alveron’s health, of course, but also the continued Deadnettle issue.

Kvothe goes down to Severen-Low and has breakfast then buys more cod liver oil. He looks for D and doesn’t find her (surprise!) and goes back up. He plays Tak with Bredon while waiting for Alveron to send for him. Bredon tells him a story about how Alveron put a bandit in an iron gibbet at the gate. “It was like something out of a play.” Does Bredon know about Kvothe’s background?

Kvothe indirectly asks about Caudicus’s status, and Bredon indirectly explains stuff about the ring thing — well, not so much indirectly as with plausible deniability. Bredon must know that Kvothe is a foreigner at this point. And Kvothe gives away a potentially huge thing:

“My mother once told me she knew a man who owed fealty to himself.” I said. “Owed himself a share of his own taxes every year, and if he were ever threatened there were treaties in place demanding that he provide himself with prompt and loyal military support.”

It seems like a little joke, but a) how would his mother know somebody like that unless she was noble, and b) how many people like that could there be, and who would know them, and could Bredon work out who Kvothe’s mother is from that?

When you think about it, it’s hilarious that Kvothe’s pretending to be a noble when he really is the illegitimate son of a noble. Also, his father didn’t follow noble customs and everyone was OK with it, but Netalia insisted on teaching them to Kvothe so that he knew them if he needed them. And he’s using them.

Bredon uses Stapes as an example:

Technically he ranks no higher than a cook. But he owns substantial lands. He has money. And he’s the Maer’s manservant. Everyone knows he has Alveron’s ear. ... there’s nothing in his bowl but gold.

And Stapes was important enough to be in Threpe’s briefing.

Bredon leaves, Kvothe fusses with his lute, then he thinks Alveron must be dead... and then Alveron calls for him. Stapes is even more angry. Alveron has been really ill. Selas flowers have been brought in to cover the smells. Alveron looks:

almost angelic. A rectangle of sunlight washed over him, lending his skin a frail translucency and making his disarrayed hair shine like a silver crown around his head.

It’s not necessarily foreshadowing, but it might be. Alveron’s a proud man, but I can see him being a Penitent King and out penitenting everybody.

Alveron says he feels better than he has in several days and says he has passed the crisis. He says the sipquicks are doing well. Kvothe is “stunned” that Alveron still doesn’t believe him. It’s still very much a crisis.

Kvothe visits Caudicus to get the medicine and pump him about the Lacklesses. He can’t think what motive Caudicus has. His books are chemical, alchemical, historical and natural history. Kvothe suddenly thinks:

If Caudicus was a serious scholar and even half as superstitious as a native Vint, he might know something about the Chandrian.

He does not think “Can I trust him?” because he ought to know that he can’t! He just out and asks. Caudicus reacts as if Kvothe was a child:

“That’s hardly mythology ... One could barely even stoop to calling it folklore ... It’s superstitious bunk, and I don’t waste my time with it. No serious scholar would.”

This is precicely the reaction he’s had to these kinds of enquiries before, but he’s disappointed. I think what we can take from this, apart from “Kvothe doesn’t think before he speaks” which we already knew, is that Caudicus isn’t working with or for the Chandrian. We know Cinder is around — up in the Eld, but Caudicus isn’t part of the same plot. He’d not laugh and waggle his fingers unhesitatingly.

Caudicus then tells him things about the Lacklesses. Can we trust this? Why would Caudicus lie? OTOH, why would be poison Alveron. I think we need a certain amount of lector emptor here as always.

He says the name Lackless is new, only six hundred years old, and the family are really really old.

Pieces of what are now Vintas, Modeg, and a large portion of the Small Kingdoms were all Lackless lands at one point.

That doesn’t make it easy to find the oldest part where their door was. But the bit they have left is in Vintas, so maybe that’s it. Hmm.

Baseless crazy speculation — if as GBrell has proved, Newarre is in Vintas, maybe the Waystone is where that door is, maybe it’s in the cellar or something, maybe Kvothe is there hiding but also looking after it. All the thoughts in the last couple of weeks about the Waystone and Kvothe’s hands have made me think maybe he’s not in the middle of nowhere hiding just to be out of sight, maybe it’s a really significant location and ground that he has carefully chosen to wait to die, at a specific time when something happens or something finds him.

Anyway, Loeclos became Lockless became Lackless, there was some falling out that splintered the family. In Atur they became Lack-key, and “lackey” comes from that. (I love these fake etymology, like Vintas/vintage and now this.) In the south Laclith — like the Laclith who taught Kvothe woodcraft. And Kaepkaen in Modeg.

This has to be true because he offers Kvothe a book with it written down, and Kvothe takes it. Good. We can trust that this isn’t Caudicus making it up at least.

Caudicus offers him stories about other families.

I wintered with the Jakis family not long ago. The Baron is a widower you know. Quite wealthy and somewhat eccentric.

Does that sound like Bredon or what? (And so Ambrose’s mother is dead. That probably explains why he’s so awful.)

Kvothe watches him make the medicine. He knows it isn’t alchemy because it isn’t like what Sim does. He thinks it’s like following a recipe. Caudicus gossips while he does it. There’s no hesitation or nervousness. He wonders if Caudicus might be a fake and poisoning by accident, because the bowl is lead. But Kvothe asks to feel his “amulet” and it’s a genuine guilder and Caudicus knows what he’s doing.

He takes the medicine back, the birds seem fine, Alveron is keeping his options open.

 

Chapter 63 is “The Golden Cage”

He’s trapped in his room waiting for a summons again. He plays Tak with Bredon. He is deluged by people wanting to tell him other people’s stories, and he encourages them to write it down for him.

The next day, Alveron’s reading “Fyoren’s Claim of Kings in the original Eld Vintic.” A poem or a law book? He ignores Kvothe as Kvothe makes tea and checks the birds, which again seem to be fine, then asks Kvothe to drink the tea, which he does.

Then he goes to Caudicus, who again leaves him alone with the rings. Kvothe doesn’t notice the tray with his own rings — which is odd until Kvothe realises that the laudanum in the tea has made him groggy. Caudicus is more suspicious and asks him to pass the acid, which Kvothe does. Of course, if Kvothe were what he pretended to be, Alveron would be much sicker and Kvothe wouldn’t know what acid was. He tries to cover with arrogance, but Caudicus is still suspicious. He poisons the flits.

In the night he goes out of the window and explores the gardens, in case he has to escape. He sees sympathy lamps in Caudicus’s tower. He looks in and sees Caudicus talking to somebody, but can’t see who, and can’t hear. Then he sees Stapes, and jumps to the conclusion that Stapes must be in cahoots with Caudicus.

 

Chapter 64 is “Flight”

Another clever title, both hope of escape and the birds.

We have a quote from the book, and even though Kvothe tosses it aside impatiently, we wouldn’t have it if it wasn’t significant.

the Lacklesses have been especially ripe with misfortune. Some from without: assassination, invasion, peasant revolt, and theft. More telling is misfortune that comes from within: how can a family thrive when the eldest heir forsakes all family duty? Small wonder they are often called the “Luckless” by their detractors.

It seems a testament to the strength of their blood that they have survived so much for so long. Indeed, if not for the burning of Caluptena, we might possess records tracing the Lackless family back far enough for them to rival the royal line of Modeg in its antiquity...

Several things. It’s tempting to consider the “eldest heir” as referring to Netalia, but we don’t know when this book was written or how many times this has happened. The list of external things seem to be reasonably commonplace for a noble family over a long time — one could say the same of the Russian royal family, or the Hapsburgs. Assassination is the least common. “The strength of their blood” is a commonplace way of putting it, but I bet it has significance in terms of “the son who brings the blood.”

Kvothe thinks that reading this kind of thing about her family won’t help him woo Meluan for Alveron, and I have to agree. But this is the least of his worries, as he’s trapped in his rooms and out of favour. Kvothe wins some money playing cards with Viscount Guermen, one of the idiotic courtiers.

I’m suddenly having odd whiplash, because I was thinking about real history and how rare assassination was. Are we supposed to see this as like Versailles, where the king forces the nobles to be there instead of at home on their estates? Medieval courts were never like this. Or is it a Medieval/Renaissance court and these people are here temporarily because they want something?

Kvothe decides to give up waiting and finds a guard at his door. The guard says he’s there to accompany Kvothe if he leaves his room. He’s in sapphire and blue, Alveron’s livery.

Kvothe escapes through the window, goes down and finds D is staying in the thirteenth inn he tries. He finds her less than an hour later — he’s really having a lucky day! She’s watching a streetcorner production of Three Pennies for Wishing, the Deadnettle play. They hang out and she makes him happy by being with her. He wishes he had her ring, and he can’t tell her about it either. He says he’s taking a vacation from the university — people really must do holidays here in the modern way.

D says she sent three letters, but of course he only got one. She has her formal patronage, from Master Ash, and she still can’t tell Kvothe who he is. She unravels the braid in her hair while they’re talking. She says he’s very generous and everyone has secrets.

“I’d say he’s either paranoid or tangled up in dangerous business.”

“I don’t know why you’re carrying such a grudge against him.”

I couldn’t believe she could say that. “Denna, he beat you senseless.”

She went very still. “No.” Her hand went to the fading bruise on her cheek. “No he didn’t. I told you, I fell when I was out riding.”

Kvothe of course had meant the time in Trebon, but this is exactly the way somebody reacts when they’re trying to cover up — so I think we can take it that he caused that bruise and the horse is a lie. She’s exactly like a victim of domestic violence in denial. And when Kvothe says he’d stick a knife into Master Ash, D gives him a look

all sweet fondness and mingled pity. It was the sort of look you give a puppy when it growls, thinking itself terribly fierce.

Now the other times I read this I was thinking of Master Ash as Cinder, and this seemed to make perfect sense. But Bredon? Kvothe’s younger and fitter and I’d guess he could stab him, even pre-Adem. She asks not to argue about it. She says he’s a surprisingly good dancer, and that she’s doing research into old genealogies and histories. This seems like an odd thing for a singer to do for a patron, but Kvothe doesn’t seem surprised. He’s helping her write songs. This doesn’t fit with the explanation we got back in the Eolian of how patrons work... but we have seen Threpe help Kvothe write the Jackass song.

D’s side hurts, but she won’t see a doctor. Kvothe offers to treat it, she refuses to let him “play doctor” and see her out of her clothes. Maybe she’s forgotten than stream in Trebon?

He goes back to Severen-High, which doesn’t seem very sensible. He has two guards outside his door, so he guesses his escape was noticed. He has a date with D for the next day, so he’s happy. Stapes has given the orders to the guards. Kvothe marches off to Alveron. “If I couldn’t have the Maer’s good will, I would at least have my freedom and the ability to see Denna whenever I wished.” He doesn’t think about that gibbet until he sees Alveron and how angry he is. Then he realises he’s misjudged, and that he is completely helpless and Alveron has all the power. But fortunately, Stapes shows up, hiding a dead bird.

Stapes says he’ll soon swap in another bird. Kvothe asks how many he has replaced — four or five a day. He isn’t malicious, he thought the birds were giving their lives for Alveron — which they actually were when you think about it! He’s been getting new ones. And so Kvothe is back in favour.

Alveron sends Dagon, his guard commander, to arrest Caudicus. Kvothe suggests taking precautions because he’s an arcanist. Alveron says iron chains, a gag, and cut off his thumbs. This makes Kvothe gag — especially delivered casually like that. Any threat to hands!

Another bird dies, and Stapes calls it a “calanthis” which is the Eld Vintic for them, and also the name of the royal house of Vintas. Alveron calls him “curiously blind in places” for not knowing that.

Then soldiers burst in and secure the rooms, on Dagon’s orders, Caudicus wasn’t there and a malignant spirit came out and killed one guard. They wonder how Caudicus knew, and Kvothe tastes the poison from yesterday and finds it sweet — so Caudicus suspected and knew Alveron would ask about a change, and when there wasn’t one, he knew.

Alveron says he’d give Kvothe lands and a title except that he needs to keep the news of the poisoning secret. He says he owes Kvothe a great debt. Kvothe instantly thinks he can help with the Amyr thing, but he knows it isn’t the proper time to ask. Stapes, however, gives him a ring, a silver ring and a white  ring, which he doesn’t understand at all. He goes back to his rooms “dizzy with my sudden fortune.”

 

Chapter 65 is “A Beautiful Game”

Alveron gives him nicer rooms, but they’re further from the kitchens. Bredon comes to them for Tak — he still hasn’t been to Bredon’s rooms. He still doesn’t know who Bredon is. Incidentally, this means the rings must have personal names, not titles. Just “Kvothe” and “Bredon” and “Alveron” — I wonder about Stapes?

Bredon admires the rings and laughs. The silver ring “tells quite a story.” But the white one is “something else again.” Kvothe admits he doesn’t have a clue. Bredon says it’s odd he doesn’t know about it. Horn shows lasting enmity. Bone indicates a profound and lasting debt. They are not given lightly. And it shouldn’t be displayed.

They play Tak and Kvothe loses narrowly. He says he’s getting the hang of it, and Bredon says he isn’t and flattens him — three times. The first time he’s beaten like a piece of paper ripped in half. The second time like a mouse at the mercy of an owl or a puppy fighting a wolf, and the third time like a butcher boning a chicken.

Kvothe says Bredon has been going easy on him. Bredon says that’s not the point, that the point isn’t winning or losing but playing a beautiful game.

“No one wins a dance.”

“Why would I want to win anything other than a beautiful game?”

And we’ll stop there and go on from 66 next time.


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.

98 comments
mr. awesome
1. mr. awesome
continuing the conversation from last time about D's letter:

Why the reference to the lute case? Could it help K decode the letter?

Also, I noticed that Means was next to Letter in the list of capitalized words, and ______ means letter ______ could be the key to the cipher that we'll need.
mr. awesome
2. mr. awesome
again with the double commenting, sorry, but it's important to notice the frequency that puppy/wolf metaphors are surrounding K's relationship with Bredon/D's patron/the fae.
mr. awesome
3. Henry Farrell
Or more precisely, caveat is the imperative for the verb "to be beware" (I've just illustrated the universal law that every effort to nitpick someone else's grammar is going to be grammatically incorrect itself).
mr. awesome
4. Henry Farrell
And have now added to the confusion since my initial comment didn't make it through. It was

"Should be "caveat lector." Emptor is Latin for buyer and caveat is the verb for beware (as its English meaning at least suggests)."
Katy Maziarz
5. ArtfulMagpie
Ahem...

"It was the sort of look you give a puppy when it growls, thinking itself terribly fierce."

"The second time like a mouse at the mercy of an owl or a puppy fighting a wolf,"

Whether Bredon is physically imposing or not, he's still put out there as being a wolf to Kvothe's puppy...at least when strategy and tactics are involved...
Steven Halter
6. stevenhalter
We talked about this line a while back:
It’s generally accepted that there was some sort of falling out that splintered the family. Each piece took on a separate name.
And had the theory that each splintered branch was keeping some sort of artifact that corresponded to their new name. Like LackLith might have a stone of some sort.
mr. awesome
7. Stefan Jones
I continue to feel dumb about not picking up on Bredon's sinister vibe.

The servant-hiding-dead-bird twist was very operatic.
Steven Halter
8. stevenhalter
I found this exchange full of meaning:
You’ve been such help,” I said. “I wish I could repay—”
He held up a hand, cutting me off midsentence.
Breden is once again preventing Kvothe from avowing any sort of indebtedness to Breden. This again feels like the sort of thing that a person could pick up in Fae.
mr. awesome
9. tim1724
Or more precisely, caveat is the imperative for the verb "to be beware" (I've just illustrated the universal law that every effort to nitpick someone else's grammar is going to be grammatically incorrect itself).
Yes, "caveat lector" is what was meant here, but, um, no, that's not an imperative. "caveat" is the 3rd person singular present subjunctive. ("cave" is the singular imperative)

"caveat lector"/"Let the reader beware" is an optative construction (which uses the subjunctive mood in Latin, where the optative and subjunctive moods had long since merged) not an imperative construction.

An imperative would be "cave lectorem"/"Beware the reader" which obviously has a different meaning. A common example in Latin is "cave canem"/"beware the dog".
mr. awesome
10. elephants
Guys, you know that it's the Department of Imaginary Linguistics, right?
Jonah Feldman
11. relogical
How much do we know about Bredon? Can anyone find a mention of his name outside his meetings with Kvothe? Is it a fake name, and he's some other noble?

I buy the Bredon as Ash theory, but could one of his schemes be even more out in the open? Maybe he hired Caudicus to poison the Maer as an indirect way of testing Kvothe and helping Kvothe earn the Maer's favor.
mr. awesome
12. spirit theif
Do we have any idea about Kaepkaen?
My theory is that when the Lackless family splintered, each had a piece of the puzzle that would open the lockless door. Each is lacking something. But Kaepkaen doesn't fit the pattern. Unless it's supposed to be keep key? I don't know. I pronounce it Kipe-kine. Is that right?

Alveron's connection to the Amyr.
The Ctheah acknowledged the Maer as knowing about the Amyr. Alveron is described as angelic. Could he be descendent from them? His family is very old, and powerful enough to be above the law.

Last thing- are we still on the idea that the lockless door is itself a "magical' object we haven't encountered yet? At first I thought it was the four plate door, but now I believe that that door hold Iax's name. Now I think that the lockless door is on the engraved box that Meluan had. And I think it holds the name of the moon. It fits with the stories Hespe and Felurian tell.
mr. awesome
13. mr. awesome
@12
I think it's pronounced as "keep cane".
Jonah Feldman
14. relogical
I wonder what the historic Lackless split could be about? Considering the importance of names and our speculation about changing one's name, the name split has to be significant. Could the Lackless family have been targeted by the Chandrian or someone else dangerous for their treasure, and had to scatter and change their names to hide, with each branch taking part of the key to the lock-less door? I'm not sure if the "eldest heir" reference is involved in the split; that could be a different part of the family history.
Claire de Trafford
15. Booksnhorses
I've been reading it as 'keepkeyan'.

I missed pretty much all of the subtleties of these Bredon chapters on the first read and am grateful to y'all for pointing these things out.

I also like the idea of 'cave lector'. This should be our motto in unpicking all the obvious, hidden and torturous clues PR has scattered throughout the text, as we pat ourselves on the back and think that we have some kind of idea where this is all going ;)
mr. awesome
16. Thurule
I'm just recently caught up with the reread, and am terribly impressed with everything that's been discovered. Unfortunately, I haven't had the chance to read all of the comments because there are just so many. I have read the last few weeks, however, and something struck me.

When talking about Kvothe's rings, something was mentioned about Fela's ring of stone.

The ring wasn't smooth as I'd first thought. It was covered in a thousand tiny, flat facets.


And this immediately made me think of the Lackless box with its subtle patterning of 'Yllish knots'. It seems to me that such a box could only be created, and therefore opened by a Namer, just as Fela's ring.

Just as Taborlin opened the chest to retrieve his things, and Kvothe (maybe) opened the Maer's box by commanding it to open, so will Kvothe learn the name of wood and command the Lackless box (and maybe the Lackless door, as well) to open. (Another example potentially being Teccam opening the knot on Iax's bag)

We already know that Kvothe wears a ring of wood (which may or may not be the one given to him by Meluan - we're only assuming it is). He also wears a ring of amber, which is made of tree resin (not stone). It supposedly allows him to control demons, but that could be just part of the exaggeration of his story.

This also points to why he's unable to open the chest in his room at the Waystone. It's locked physically, but also has to be opened by Naming it (how much secure could a chest be??). Clearly he's without his naming powers as well as his sympathy in the frame.
Jo Walton
17. bluejo
If all of the others lack something, but the Keepcaen are keeping something -- whether it's a key or what -- that's interesting in itself. Maybe they argued about what's the most significant thing they lack.

Thurule: Great thought about the box. I like that.
Jo Walton
18. bluejo
I've just been reading -- post coming soon -- Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, a brilliant historical novel about Tudor England. It's mentioned that some people believe that Cardinal Wolsey has a ring that allows him to control demons, and they wonder which one it is. Wolsey later gives a turquoise ring to Thomas Cromwell. Now this is a mainstream historical novel with no demons appearing in it, but I couldn't help thinking "No, it's the amber ring that controls demons!"
Rob Munnelly
19. RobMRobM
Jo - if Kaep means to Keep (as opposed to lack) and caen means seven (as hypothesized from the Kote quote and the root for the name Chandrian), I'm interested whether that branch of the family actually keeps something of critical importance to the Chandrians. Are there clues in text? I can't remember any off the top of my head.

@9-10 . Of course this is an imaginary linguistics discussion. To think there is actually an optative case in Latin - ridiculous. I appreciate Tim's creative use of actual (subjunctive) and imaginary (optative) words. Well done!

Rob
Jo Walton
20. bluejo
RobMRobM: Maybe they are keeping seven things. "Seven things has Lady Lackless."

Or maybe Kaep means "lack" in the same language in which Caen means Seven?

OK, when I get home -- I'm in Edmonton as guest of honour for PureSpec and next week's post is already written -- and when I have time, I'll do a summary thread on Lacklesses, I think we have enough that pulling it all together in one place would be worth it.
Steven Halter
22. stevenhalter
@Jo:A summary thread on the Lacklesses would be great. There are bits scattered out across the discussion. Thanks!
mr. awesome
24. sobrique
@14 - the possibility of a long standing conflict between lockless and chandrian is an interesting notion.
Especially if that 'seven things' somehow connected to 'seven of them'.

I'd always asumed that that 'the wrong kind of songs' was the story of Lanre. But what if it were 'not-tally-a-lot-less', because it put them on the trail of someone.
Jo Walton
25. bluejo
Anyway, "the wrong kind of songs" is plural. Not one song, but more than one wrong song, maybe?
mr. awesome
27. Richard Hendricks
I think Alveron is the Penitent King. We've got the clue of the color of the livery of the soldiers that attack Kote. I think what happens is that Ambrose skips ahead in the order of succession, perhaps by a fortuitous marriage, get killed by Kvothe, leaving Alveron King and having to put a bounty on Kvothe's head. He's "penitent" because he sponsored Kvothe at University.
mr. awesome
28. SlyOne
Maybe I'm crazy, but I've always thought the "Lackless song/poem" is prophetic and refers to what will happen in the frame not the narrative. Maybe it foreshadows the seven things(or events) that Kote must achieve or experience in order to become Kvothe again. And I truly believe the catastophe that leads to Kvothe turning into Kote is the killing of Ambrose(who somehow ascends to King) and the reckless power/means he seeks/unleashes to accomplish the kill. From the very beginning, Ben warned K of his reckless choices, to the point of no longer teaching him "magic".
mr. awesome
29. Mar
Thanks for this reread Jo and everyone. I am enjoying the commentary immensely. I don't have much to add except a few random thoughts.

What if Lorren is a Lackless? Doesn't preclude that he is also Amyr, and it might possibly explain how he knew Arliden.

Why wasn't K interested in hearing Jakis family gossip from Caudicus? Seems like information of this sort would give him leverage against Ambrose. Unless, Bredon is Baron Jakis, and we're not supposed to discover that yet. Doesn't preclude that Bredon is also Mr. Ash.

Re: the broken stones in Imre. I think Kvothe is forced into a naming duel with Ambrose. Might it be that killing one who is in line for the throne is considered a crime equal to killing a king?

On a happier note, I would LOVE a sound track for these books! Is there anyone out there with mad lute skills who would like to oblige?
mr. awesome
30. mr. awesome
I feel like Bredon would raise a better behaved and more intelligent child than Ambrose.
mr. awesome
31. johndoe
I'm sorry if this has already been mentioned but Kvothes name Maedre pronounced as the Broken Tree was just wondering if his name was ill-omened because it is related to the Cthaeth being put in fae plays as a warning of terrible dark dramas where everything goes wrong
mr. awesome
32. BillyNoMates
I think this series of threads is great - it has provided me the spark I needed to revisit NotW+WFM. This time I want to pay attention when I read, rather than get swept along with the story (like leaves carried on the wind!).

It strikes me that most of the things Kvothe is renown for have been exaggerated as the stories have circulated, e.g burning down Trebon when he did his best to prevent it.

This makes me wonder whether the Kingkiller title has been treated in the same way. It leaves me speculating that Kvothe didn't actually kill a King, rather I think that a King dies despite Kvothe doing his level best to save him. Now, I can't really see that Kvothe would be all that bothered about saving Ambrose, so I don't think that Ambrose is the King that dies. Instead, if Bredon = Baron Jakis (as suggested by many others), it may be more likely that Ambrose's father ascends to the throne before him and Bredon is the King that is "killed" by Kvothe. This puts Ambrose as the Penitent King in the frame story who would be more than happy to put the blame and a price on Kvothe' head. Why is the King penitent? Perhaps because he is the one really responsible for the death of his father (after another Jackass incident).
mr. awesome
33. Deprived
From the Q&A on pats most recent blog post.

Q: If you could, what would you say to Kote?
A: “Fuck. Dude. I’m sorry.”
mr. awesome
34. ryan7273
@31 K didn't know how bad the Cthaeh was until Bast told him, but he said that the Broken Tree could be considered at least partially prophetic. For his comment to make sense, it needs to refer (at least from his point of view) to something that happens AFTER he is given the name and BEFORE we see him in the frame. It could ALSO refer to the Cthaeh or calling the lightning down on the bandit camp (Ademic being all about few words with many meanings), but those would not be the things Kvothe is referring to.
mr. awesome
35. mr. awesome
If the Cthaeh is a 'broken' tree, was it whole at some point? That must have been long ago, if so.

I hope we learn more about the Cthaeh in the next book.
mr. awesome
36. westmarch
@33-34 I thought at first that the Cthaeh was the tree, but I believe it's actually a person or a presence within that tree. The words were spoken by a thing in the branches, which has led to some speculation that the Cthaeh was something or someone else in points past, not just a Faen tree.
Steven Halter
37. stevenhalter
@36:Right, from the text:
My apologies, sir,” I said earnestly. Then, remembering the tree’s flowers, I amended, “Ma’am. But I have never spoken with a tree before and find myself at something of a loss.”
“I daresay you are. I am no tree. No more than is a man a chair. I am the Cthaeh. You are fortunate to find me. Many would envy you your chance.”
“Chance?” I echoed, trying to catch a glimpse of whatever was speaking to me from among the branches of the tree. A piece of an old story tickled my memory, some scrap of folklore I’d read while searching for the Chandrian. “You’re an oracle,” I said.
It seems that the Cthaeh is some sort of creature that has been confined to the tree.
mr. awesome
38. Dominiquex
Also from the machine gun Q&A at PR's blog:

Liv: Is Kvothe ticklish?

Pat: Wow. Good question.
I don’t think I’m going to answer it. But I just wanted to say that: Good question.


Calls to mind the speculation that Kvothe has lost his sense of touch...
Caim Callohan
39. LionsRampant
@34-37 ...the Cthaeh, argued by Chronicler to Bast, was that the Cthaeh's statements could be distorted enough to "fight" your way to a free decision, where Bast believed that once it speaks, the future of the listener becomes tainted as part of an ill-fated victim. Bast believes that the tainted future will always turn for the worst, where Chronicler disagreed.

Would this "creature of the Fae" have any reason to affect anything outside the Fae? It could honestly just be described as something that wants to set the world on fire, similar to Kurt Tucholsky's quote about "those who hate"

“Those who hate most fervently must have once loved deeply; those who want to deny the world must have once embraced what they now set on fire.”

The Cthaeh has revealed all and nothing, as to not give away intention. I remember some comment about how it disliked the Chandrian, which would suggest that maybe Kvothe benefits from its insight.
Caim Callohan
40. LionsRampant
...cont; (had to leave last night and did not want to lose train of thought)

I would love to know why the reader was exposed to the Cthaeh, as a character, the Cthaeh is amazing. A manifest of evil and grace with no apparent tangent agenda is always fun. But I felt that the argument with Bast and Chronicler was a story derailment on purpose. The argument of fate and the ability to change it at first seemed so far off the path to Kvothe's tale, but maybe fate is at the heart of his story. Kvothe's interaction with the Cthaeh is brief and fleeting, but I can get on board with Bast's opinion that a meer sentence from the Cthaeh is more that enough to affect one's life, as it changes view, motive and reaction. What in those few sentences would derail Kvothe to actually affect him in the long run, and in fact, affect the story? Simple or complex, the Cthaeh could be one, both or neither, simply a rock on the road or a compass.
mr. awesome
41. mr. awesome
I'm almost sure that K is going to die at the end of the third book.
mr. awesome
42. Vorbis
Since we're thinking about summarizing what we speculate about the Lackless family, something I've been contemplating is the name Kvothe gives as his mother's - Laurian.

I haven't seen it come up anywhere else in the books, so I'm not sure if it has any meaning of itself as a name to choose when travelling incognito, but from the sleeping under the wagon song -

"Dark Laurian, Arliden’s wife" - I can't help but wonder if Arliden chose it for her in contrast to Felurian - Fair Laurian *grins*

My memory's not good enough to say for sure, but whereabouts does he run into Felurian? Any chance it was on old Lackless lands, given
the earlier quote - Pieces of what are now Vintas, Modeg, and a large portion of the Small Kingdoms were all Lackless lands at one point.

If the Door with no lock is on the oldest part of the land, maybe there's some blood connection between Fair and Dark Laurian, and we know Kvothe has to go trotting into Fae sometime to pick up Bast.
mr. awesome
43. mr. awesome
It seems slightly more likely that Bast comes out of the Fae than that K goes into it.

Bast has an incentive to go to the other side - women - but K doesn't.
mr. awesome
44. flodros
@43, I disagree. The 3 things a wise man fears. book 1 we had the 1st - rage of a gentle man; lorren. book 2 the sea in storm - devi's alar, plus K was shipwrecked. I think in book 3 we will see the moonless night, where K will accidently enter Fae.
mr. awesome
45. mr. awesome

I mean, it seems very likely that Bast heads to the Four Corners in order to seduce women. He has both the means and the motive to do so. He's probably taking monthly trips. K has no control over when he'll head to the Fae. He also has no incentive. Sure, he could accidentally get sucked into the Fae some moonless night, but that doesn't happen very often, because otherwise more people would know about it. I also think it's unlikely that K would recieve an audience with Prince Bast on Fae side, because K is basically just some human nobody to them. It's not like he could just wave his writ of patronage at them and get access to their royalty, they wouldn't care at all about the Maer. The circumstances are much better for them meeting Earthside.
Alf Bishai
46. greyhood
>I couldn’t believe she could say that. “Denna, he beat you senseless.”

>She went very still. “No.” Her hand went to the fading bruise on her cheek. “No he didn’t. I >told you, I fell when I was out riding.”

Hey I know there's an unspoken rule not to keep pushing a theory if not even one person gives it a nod. But...

Doesn't the passage above exactly correspond to Puppet's puppet show of the girl being beaten by the priest? No? Anyone? Ash is a Tehlin, I.e. Amyr. This is consistent with their knck for doing nasty things for the greater good. If this is true then what does the book the priest is holding signify? The magic D. Is after?
mr. awesome
47. Johndoel
@34 I was thinking more that the conversation with the Cthaeth had changed his name which turned prophetic because he was the "plague ship heading for harbor" and because of that conversation his name changed and became ill-omened
mr. awesome
48. Queros
I haven't read all the comments, so I'm sorry if I'm rehashing anything here, but is there any way the following words could be related?

Adem
Edema Ruh
Siaru
Ruach

Especially since the Edema are travellers who are universally looked down upon, and the Adem were forced to leave every land to settle until they came to Ademre. On the other hand, their approaches to music are diametrically opposed (but maybe that's why they split?).
Alf Bishai
49. greyhood
Let's assume that Bredon got the better of K. and won the beautiful game he was playing. Can we guess what it might have been?

1) the kingship of Vintas
2) the Lackless door/heirloom
3) something related to the Chandrian/Amyr vendetta.

If Bredon's playing a beautiful game AGAINST K., then he simply must be a Chandrian. It's the highest stakes, no?
Nathan Love
50. n8love
Quick anecdotal dialogue hijack:

Grandma- "Dinner's at 3."
Me-"Well it's 2, so I'll leave my house as soon as I check something online."
(can't find it; 15 min drive stewing the whole time)
Grandma-"Happy Thanksgiving."
Me- "Whatever. "
mr. awesome
51. flodros
@45

Sorry, I should have been clearer. I'm not sure where K meets Bast, it could be either. I was trying to point out that K doesn't need an incentive to go to Fae. I personally think that there has been too much foreshadowing for K not to slip through on a moonless night.

I also think that what K does in Fae, or how he escapes for the second time is the reason that Bast is with K. Don't forget that Bast is, apparently, there as a student - the ladies seem to be a perk. If he is just after the ladies then why isn't he in a more target rich enviroment, like a city? I think that it will be something like teaching Bast is the price for allowing him to leave Fae or he manages to break free of his own accord and bast either comes with him, or searches for him in the real world.

The Fae have their own powers so I would think that there would have to be some demonstration of K's power to make Bast want to learn from him. We must also assume that Bast saw K when he was Kvothe, not Kote, otherwise, again, why would he want to learn from him?

Another theory - have we seen the 'sleeping princesses from barrow kings' yet? What if K rescues Bast's sister, mother, daughter, wife, friend etc in Fae. If Bast is a prince then a female relation would be a princess. This creates a debt and Bast is trying to re-pay that under the guise of learning from K, while actually trying to bring Kvothe back.
Steven Halter
52. stevenhalter
While I was mulling over the import of "A Beautiful Game" and Bredon it occured to me that PR is giving us some very major hints in a very veiled way here.
1) We are given a number of hints that Bredon is Denna's patron and that he is rough with her. Later on (ch 104) the Cthaeh "confirms" the roughness--although maybe not the reason.
2) We are given hints that Bredon is quite familiar with the practices of Fae.
3) Bredon has stated that his goal is to play a beautiful game--one with elegance and subtlety. He has also said that he will love "playing with Kvothe."
4) At this point in the story Kvothe is not at all subtle or able to play an elegant game of Tak.

So, just below the surface we are presented with Bredon as an adversary to Kvothe (our protagonist) , harmful of Denna and manipulative of Kvothe. But, then take note of these things:
1) The Cthaeh is presented as prefectly malicious and aware of every branch of the future. We should be doubly suspicious of anything it trys to emphasize.
2) Bredon emphasizes that it is the overall long term game in which he is interested. When he meets Kvothe, K is more of a piece on the board than a player.

Whom would be a better opponent for the most beautiful, long term game for Bredon--Kvothe or the Cthaeh? At this point in the story, it seems clear that the answer to this question is the Cthaeh. We are pulled by our closeness to Kvothe as the protagonist to imagine that everthing centers on him, but Kvothe is much more a piece than a player.
Both Bredon and the Cthaeh (and probably others) are trying to manipulate Kvothe in the grand game that they are involved in.
Now, does this mean that Bredon is good? We don't know what his goals are (or even what he is exactly) only that he is playing his long term game. If he is really playing against the Cthaeh, then it does seem that either he must be a long lived entity or he must be a member of a long lived organization. Since he views himself as a player rather than a piece, it seems likely he is long lived and thus not entirely human. Whether he is Fae, Amyr, Angel or other remains to be seen.
Caim Callohan
53. LionsRampant
@51, I agree with your theory that K meets Bast in the Fae, or some type of formula involving Bast seeking out Kvothe as a human world legend. I invested some meaning in Bast's name outside of NotW, where it has connections with the child of Ra, the Sun God and "protection". I thought that there was so much talk of the Moon in the story that who would have such an investment in searching the human world for the missing piece of the Moon than Bast, who in the Fae world, may be an agent or piece of the Sun trying to return order. Bast definitely met K as Kvothe and at his best in terms of "power". I feel that Bast has a mission outside of the Fae, and that he needs Kvothe returned to his greatest in order to complete whatever he is w0rking towards.

I always pictured the "rescued princesses from sleeping barrow kings" line as an extension of the Kvothe legends. We learned that "the Bloodless" tag was originated from him not bleeding from the lashings, and not some deeper, more meaningful story. I figured that the princesses (plural) were (SPOILER, if you haven't finished WMF) the two girls that Kvothe saved from the fake Edema Ruh, and that the story was embellished from town to town. Though I never decyphered the sleeping barrow kings comment.
mr. awesome
54. j4yx0r
Regarding Bast and Kvothe:

Here's a completely ridiculous notion, but I thought I'd toss it out anyhow to see if it knocks anything loose.

Bast is the offspring of Kvothe and Felurian.

I doubt there's anything in the text to clearly support this and probably plenty of evidence to refute it. It could explain why Kvothe would have such an unlikely apprentice and why they seem so deeply bonded even though they (probably) haven't known each other for very long. Perhaps "reshi" isn't analogous to teacher or master. Perhaps it means "father".

I realize Bast's formal title, "Bastas, Son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Twyleth Mael," could oppose this theory, but it doesn't have to.
Perhaps Kvothe is known as Remmen in the Fae?

Could the word "bastard" be (forgive me) a bastardization of an older word "Bastas" meaning a child born of an unapproved union (or the offspring of Fae and human)?
mr. awesome
55. mr. awesome

If genetics gets any say, that's unlikely. We know that genetics work in this story because of K's example with the cats during the sex debate (assuming that babies are made from manmothers, kind of).

Bast has goat feet. Neither Felurian nor Kvothe have goat feet. That doesn't seem like it'd be a recessive gene. Maybe fae magic hates science and causes random ridiculous traits, but given everything we've seen so far in this world I think that's unlikely. Also, Bast is fae royalty, and I'm pretty sure that Felurian isn't royalty, and I know K isn't fae royalty.

Bast is basically a satyr, in my book. The only thing that even comes closes to implying that he's K's son is his name, and that only barely. I don't think there's enough evidence to believe that, and I think Rothfuss would have given us more evidence if it were going to be true.
mr. awesome
56. Thurule
Anyone ever notice the map of the University in the picture on Rothfuss's site? It's on the About the Author page:

http://www.patrickrothfuss.com/content/author.asp

There's also something about eating doughnuts and a bunch of mathematical formulas. Anyone else notice anything interesting?
mr. awesome
57. greggors
From an earlier post: Sleeping Barrow Kings. When they all meet in the library in front of the 4-plate door, Fela says: "I had a dream about the door once," she said. "Valaritas was the name of an old dead king. His tomb was behind the door"

Fela's description of her dream reminded me strongly of K's claim to have 'stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings'. king = king, barrow = tomb, sleeping = send him to the soft, painless blanket of his sleep = dead. As dreams are often foreshadowing, maybe the K will live up to this claim if/when he goes through the 4-plate door. Thoughts?
Alice Arneson
58. Wetlandernw
Funny, I always assumed it was an exaggeration of the Trebon story, with the Borrorill/Barrow Hill thing. I also assumed that K was perfectly willing, in that context, to make use of the "fable" version of the story that had grown up around it, or (for good story-telling) was using a poetic-metaphor version constructed for the purpose. Otherwise, it must be coming in D3.
mr. awesome
59. flodros
@53 - I'm not sure about Bast's 'mission'. It seems too cold hearted - the impression I get is that Bast really cares about K and that returning him to Kvothe is not just a means to an end. I like the protector bit though. Bast is protecting Kvothe....from Kote?

I get what you're saying about K's legends getting overblown, but barrow kings is quite explicit. Like you I can't find a way to make that work with the fake troupers, so I think it is still to come.

@54

The problem I have with that is that the relationship doesn't feel like father/son, but mentor/friend.

@55

While I agree with you, I'm going to play devils advocate. We know that genetics work in the 'real world', not necessarily in Fae. We also don't know for sure that K isn't Fae royalty, in the frame story. We can be pretty sure that he isn't at the point his narrative has got to, but we've still got another day's worth of storytelling to go ;)
Steven Halter
60. stevenhalter
@56: For formulas I can make out:
something > mc (delta)T -- this is for the heat energy liberated for a teperature change of mass
4/3 (pi)r^3 -- volume of a sphere

It's unclear if the formula's were there before and PR just drew up the map or if he was calculating something. The two I could make out would seem to be useful for Alar calculations.
mr. awesome
61. mr. awesome
Anyone who didn't know the volume of a sphere wouldn't make it into University.
mr. awesome
62. j4yx0r
Something I just noticed from WMF, chapter Eighty-One.

Dedan begins to tell a story of Feluran:
This is a story of Felurian. Lady of Twilight. Lady of the First Quiet.
I'm still nowhere near convinced, but if Felurian is Lady of Twilight, might her son not be Prince of Twilight? At the very least this might suggest some relation.
Katy Maziarz
63. ArtfulMagpie
Regarding the theory that Bast is Kvothe's son....I actually suggested this some time ago. I was left, upon my second read of WMF, with that distinct impression. Not from any specific textual point that I can bring up and wave about, no...but something about the fierce loyalty Bast shows to Kvothe... I mean, I have the impression that the Fae aren't really all that likely to see humans as anything much other than occasional playthings--but if so, why is Bast so very dangerously loyal to Kvothe? Why does he seem to even love Kvothe? (That song about watching a mortal kindle and dwindle...very sweet, very tender, very loving...) We know time moves differently in Fae. Bast could easily be Kvothe's son by Felurian. But here's the kicker...Kvothe may not even KNOW that Bast is his son. "Son of Remmen" (or whatever that name was...?) could just be what Felurian told everyone to hide the fact that her son is part human. But if BAST knows Kvothe is his father...it could explain a lot....
mr. awesome
64. Herelle
re: Felurian, Lady of Twilight
somewhere during the first book reread we already had some thoughts in that direction, I can´t remember if Felurian was already described as Lady of Twilight or if it was just the fact, that she lived in the "Twilight Zone"

Also, I just got the German translation of NoW. If anyone is interested in names, translations or whatever hints a translated book could offer just ask.
Ian B
65. Greyfalconway
@56 Holy crap I never noticed that, thanks for pointing it out! It doesn't seem to have anything significant but you never know.

Lol I've looked at that picture so many times, it'd be just like him to put some crucial clue in his damn author pic.
Connan Haley
66. sabotenda
Tried posting this earlier, my phone and the website had a disagreement.

First timer here. Reading the collected thoughts here has left me in a state of awe. When I read, I tend to get swept away (like leaves in the wind, I think someone said). Even when I try to analyze, I can't quite manage the sheer brilliance I see in some of these posts.

That being said, I think I've found something worth mentioning. I've read most of the comments, and haven't seen a reference to it yet, so here's to hoping it's fresh and not a retread.

On page 677 (of the American hardback, first edition I think), K encounters the Cthaeh and its tree. About halfway down the page, there's this tidbit:

The wind shifted, and as the leaves stirred I smelled a strange, sweet smell. It was like smoke and spice and leather and lemon.

Keep that in mind. Much later on, K is meeting with Alveron and Meluan Lackless about the Loeclos box. She hands it over to him, and we get this (page 915):

The wood itself was interesting. It was dark enough to be a roah, but it had a deep red grain. What's more, it seemed to be a spicewood. It smelled faintly of ... something. A familiar smell I couldn't quite put my finger on. I lowered my face to its surface and breathed in deeply through my nose, something almost like lemon. It was maddeningly familiar.

Of course, it could just be me reading into it a bit much. But the lemon thing caught my attention, and I couldn't recall it being mentioned anywhere else in either book. And from what I've seen, there's precious little if any coincidence in this story.
mr. awesome
67. mr. awesome
@66 There's something at The Waystone that has a similar description too, I think.
I'm pretty sure that it's K's box, but not positive.
Good catch for sure though.
mr. awesome
68. j4yx0r
@63 - Regarding Bast being unaware that Kvothe is his father.

This is funny/interesting. I was actually thinking it might be the other way around.

From chapter Eighty-Five (Frame story. Kvothe and Bast are entertaining the Bentley baby):
The little boy watched as Kvothe made a different hand motion for each line, pretending to plant wheat and knead bread. By the final line the little boy was laughing a delighted, burbling laugh as he clapped his hands to his own head along with the red-haired man.
Miller, keep your thumb off the scale.
Milkmaid, milkmaid, fill your pail
Potter, potter, spin a jug,
Baby, give your daddy a hug!
Kvothe made no gesture for the last line, instead he tilted his head, eyeing Bast expectantly.
Bast merely stood there, confused. Then realization dawned on his face. “Reshi, how could you think that?” he asked, his voice slightly offended. He pointed at the little boy. “He’s blonde!”
As an aside, I loved this bit. It's so funny and sweet. We are obviously meant to think that Kvothe is teasing Bast about is promiscuity. Taken another way, though, is Kvothe asking for a hug from his son?
mr. awesome
69. mr. awesome
Also, @66. Does that imply that whatever is in the Loeclos box is as dangerous as the Cthaeh??
mr. awesome
70. Thurule
@66, @69 Something to ask is - what is it actually that smells like lemons?

The Cthaeh?
The tree?
The wind?
The grass?
The butterflies?

FWIW - NOTW p13 speaking of Kvothe's chest in his room:

The chest was sealed three times. It had a lock of iron, a lock of copper, and a lock that could not be
seen. Tonight the wood filled the room with the almost imperceptible aroma of citrus and quenching iron.


So, the tree? Kvothe (Broken Tree) made his chest out of the Cthaeh's tree???
mr. awesome
71. Thurule
@67 - Sorry I missed you, mr. awesome, you were correct about Kvothe's box, as you see.
Bruce Wilson
72. Aesculapius
The *possibly* connected items that relate to the descriptions of wood and olfactory perception are (as far as I know):
- The Cthaeh (presumably the tree rather than the being of the Cthaeh itself - but who knows?!)
- The Leoclos Box
- Kvothe's "thrice-locked" chest
- The mounting board for the sword in the Waystone, inscribed "Folly"

We know the chest is made of Roah, likely the mounting board too - but these are dark; black, like polished ebony or like charcoal with a black grain; whereas the Box is dark enough to potentially be made of Roah but also has a red grain. I guess that could be its age, or maybe a different way of processing the wood several thousand years previously.

Roah is obviously a well-known wood, if rare and very expensive; it doesn't necessarily follow that the wood for K's chest came from the tree of the Cthaeh, or even that the tree is indeed Roah. It's interesting, however that K alluded to a high iron content in the wood - if there is a connection then, just maybe, that iron plays a role in constraining the creature of the Cthaeh...?

The information is certainly there for a purpose - but is it there to guide us and give hints of some foreshadowing or is it a red herring for something else? The olfactory sensations that K picks up could be related to something other than the natural scent of the wood - similar to the oppressive sensation of pressure that K described when talking about Elodin's (former!) room in the Rookery.
Connan Haley
73. sabotenda
I would assume the box to contain something dangerous, especially if the wood does come from the cthaeh's tree. What sort of dangerous, I can't say. Dangerous to know about, to hold, to be near something else... maybe even in the way a key to a lion's cage could be dangerous.

As for k's chest, perhaps they're all the same wood, and his is the standard roah, while the tree itself is perverted somehow, leading to a warping of color and perhaps properties. Does anyone know why wood could change colors? Petrifiying doesn't do that, if I remember the bits I've seen right. I don't recall a mention of the tree's actual color, either. So definitely not a home run, but I've still got a feeling.

Also, as I don't have the book handy, can anyone find a reference to what k found during his amyr/chandrian search that he remembered during his meeting with the cthaeh? I'd love to know what that was all about, if it's mentioned.

And before I forget, @70: I would assume the wood of the tree, given the scent is tied to the box. But then, it could be a scent from whatever's in the box, tying it directly to cthaeh as opposed to the wood itself.
Connan Haley
74. sabotenda
An addendum to my thoughts:

About the color of the wood, red would indicate a very high iron content, more than standard roah would have, I'd think. Iron in something tends to color things red, hence why our blood is red. The same with copper making things green, a la Vulcan blood or the statue of liberty, although they're all cases of the metal interacting with other elements (oxygen in all cases, unless I'm mistaken).
Bruce Wilson
75. Aesculapius
Black or red could both indicate iron content, depending on the oxidation state of the iron and the exact nature of the compounds involved -- and PR likely knows this and is playing with us.
Again.
(!)
Connan Haley
76. sabotenda
So is there anything particularly significant about either state in terms of strength or permeability? I'd think the black would be more durable, as it reminds me of a cast-iron stove. But why would what's considered normal roah (I think) be stronger... wait a minute. The box is ancient, yes? Iron does tend to rust as it gets older. Maybe all the color indicates is age. K's chest is relatively new, assuming he didn't make it himself. The box could just be 'rusty' because it's old.

Damn and bother. I hate being unable to pin even a little thing about it down.
mr. awesome
77. Thurule
So, just throwing this out there, since the chest in K's room smells of citrus and quenched iron, and it's being proposed that the iron is what keeps the Cthaeh in his tree... is the Cthaeh locked in K's chest?

That seems like an awful stretch, what with K actually attempting to open the chest at the end of WMF and all, but there it is.
Katy Maziarz
78. ArtfulMagpie
I have a thought....

Okay, so the Creation War. According to Skarpi's story, Lanre and Lyra and Selitos all fought on the same side at first, defending the great cities of the now-lost empire from their great enemies...enemies never specifically named. In the battle of Drossen Tor, when Lanre slew the uber-Draccus and was killed and brought back to life by Lyra, the "enemy was set behind the doors of stone."

WHO was that enemy? Who was the "other guy" in the Creation War? I wonder...could it have been the Cthaeh?
mr. awesome
79. mr. awesome
@77 Probably not, but your point that it could be the thing inside the box which is causing the smell is a good one and should be kept in mind. I don't think that smells could penetrate the box, but I also don't know that they can't.
mr. awesome
80. mr. awesome
@73 My bad, you made that point first, sorry.
Steven Halter
81. stevenhalter
@78:I am certainly getting the feeling that the Cthaeh is (at least partly) representative of that other side. See my post @52 for some more thoughts revolving around this.
mr. awesome
82. mr. awesome
I think that I prefer the Cthaeh to Haliax. A sadistic world is better than no world at all. I hope that Rothfuss outlines a similar argument in his book at some point.

@78
The Creation War was Namers vs. Shapers. We don't have anything that suggests the Cthaeh was a Shaper, I don't know why you would think that. We also know that "Iax spoke the the Cthaeh before he stole that moon, and that sparked the entire creation war".
Thus the Cthaeh is definitely not a Shaper.

The Enemy is Iax. Felurian says that the one who "is shut beyond the doors of stone" is the same person who "he stole the moon and with it came the war". Rothfuss painfully spells it out for us.
Katy Maziarz
83. ArtfulMagpie
*shrug* Just a thought. No need to be rude. And there is still nothing that says that the Ultimate Enemy pulling all of the strings cannot be the Cthaeh. It sparked the Creation War. It poisoned Lanre, turning him into Haliax. It is the precursor of all doom everywhere, according to Bast and the Fae...
Jo Walton
84. bluejo
I think we can be fairly sure the Ctheah isn't behind the doors of stone, because it's sitting in a tree in Fae being a pain. That doesn't mean it wasn't put behind them and got out, it's been a while after all, but it makes it less likely. OTOH, the idea that the Ctheah is the ultimate villain, manipulating Lanre/Haliax and Kvothe and so on in order to achieve a sadistic world/beautiful game is fascinating.

The Sithe, who Haliax threatens Cinder with, do nothing, according to Bast, but prevent people from visiting the Ctheah.

OK, now I hate it just for being so difficult to spell.

Ctheah, Ctheah, Ctheah -- no, my fingers don't want to type it. Horrible thing.
Steven Halter
85. stevenhalter
Jo@84:Right, I picture the Ctheah as being the one causing the Shaper/Namer war and probably interfering on both sides. The game is more beautiful by getting everyone else to do the dirty pieces for you (or so the Ctheah might think.)
And, I agree that is an unnatural combination of letters in English my fingers don't want to remember how to type it either.
Nathan Love
86. n8love
At long last! A great while ago I brought up the Ctheah and there was a brief discussion, but I felt like I was harping so I dropped it. I still believe that he(it?) is the true antagonist of the series, not the seven. I would not be shocked if ol' Hal n the Gang weren't even bad guys at all.

@82
Yes, Iax stole the moon and he is shut behind the doors of stone. He is not necessarily the only one there. He must have had some sort of forces for the conflict to be considered a war. Where are his conspirators?

Do you think the Cthaeh caused the Creation War and Lanre's betrayal for amusement or to achieve an end goal? I know he's described as malicious, but he could have a "doom" like Haliax's where he needs to bring about a certain chaos or destruction in order to be free.
Alice Arneson
87. Wetlandernw
@82 - Lets not forget that people only say what they believe to be true - or what they want others to believe to be true. PR has several times indicated that K isn't an entirely reliable narrator, so even when he appears to have "spelled it out for us" we can't really assume it's 100% true as stated.
mr. awesome
88. TehRegulator
This may have been suggested before, but perhaps the prophetic "broken tree" alludes to the Ctheah's tree being broken, and as a result, loosing the Ctheah on the world. The tree seems to be a prison of some sort, and allowing the Ctheah to escape would certainly lead to an increase in the amount of chaos and strife in the world, would it not?
David C
89. David_C
@46:
Hey I know there's an unspoken rule not to keep pushing a theory if not even one person gives it a nod. But...
FWIW, I think that the theory that Puppet may be acting out a scene with Denna is a great one. It's only one possibility, and I don't personally imagine Mr. Ash as religious, but ...
mr. awesome
90. wickedkinetic
Ctheah = snake in the tree of knowledge - passing out the forbidden fruit (OF DOOM!!) - since the beginning of Fae (or earlier....)

Is this the devil Kvothe 'bribes' (before killing the angel)

did Cinder wrong him by stealing wood from the tree (for the Lochless box) and did Kvothe do the same for his three-lock-chest? might not want to piss off the arbiter of woe by stealing pieces of his home.....

I put some other stuff in older threads for safe-keeping while catching up - but I found the above insight too cool not to post - the classic biblical story - garden of eden - forbidden tree (which provides knowledge of the future in such a way as to make things go horribly wrong) - such a scary evil with echoes in our own religions.... spooooky
mr. awesome
91. Gaav
Not sure if this has been pointed out yet, but the most important thing in these chapters for me was Dagon's failed attempt to capture Caudicus.

From WMF (p. 440):

“There was no answer from the tower when we knocked. Dagon had us force the door. There was . . . I know not what it was, your grace. Some malignant spirit. Anders is dead, your grace. Caudicus is nowhere in his rooms, but Dagon is after him.”

Kvothe normally scoffs mentally whenever one of the "superstitious Vints" says something like they were attacked by a malignant spirit, but he doesn't do so here. In fact, little is said at all about it -- no advice on how to deal with it, no hypothesis about what he did. Not to mention Caudicus managed get away from Dagon, who multiple people imply gives off a vibe like Satan's own rabid guard dog. It seems to me like Kvothe's lack of comment on Caudicus' escape means PR didn't want to give us too much to go on about the relationships Caudicus and Dagon may have with Kvothe and the Chandrian/Amyr.


And then later on p. 901:

Stapes saw my expression. “Caudicus,” he said, his mouth twisting bitterly around the name. “Dagon brought him back only two days after you left. He’d gone to ground not ten miles from the city.” “So close?” I asked, surprised. Stapes nodded grimly. “He was tucked away in a farmhouse like a badger in a burrow. He killed four of the Maer’s personal guard and cost Dagon an eye. In the end they only caught him by setting fire to the place.” “And what happened then?” I asked. “Not a trial, certainly.” “The matter was tended to,” Stapes repeated. “Properly."

This is even stranger. Caudicus was clever enough to trick the Maer into giving him a head start, but then completely misuses it by staying within a day's walk of the city? This implies to me that there is something in the city that he needs to do or retrieve, something more important than running away from a man as frightening as Dagon. Between this, his apparent skill in combat, and the lack of any details at all about what happened to him, I'd love to hear some theories you all have about what Caudicus is up to and who he was working for.
Jeremy Raiz
92. Jezdynamite
At some stage, the Lackless family may have needed to separate the knowledge of opening their Lackless door from those guarding it and hence split the family into separate branches.

Could the Kaepcaen branch (if they still exist and havent spiraled into obscurity) be responsible for guarding the secrets of the 7 things that open the Lackless door, (keep is like kaep, its a bit of a stretch, and Caen is 7)? Kaepcaen may translate as 'Keepers/Guardians of the 7'.

 While the main Lackless family may be responsible for guarding the Lockless box and/or the portal/door...
mr. awesome
93. The Great Sigh
Canis means dog or wolf, and Bredon has a staff with a silver wolf head on it. Perhaps his pagan rituals are to Encanis? Seems pretty weak though.
mr. awesome
94. jorgybear
The continuing misfortune of the Lackless family reminds me of Iax/Jax
Kate Hunter
95. KateH
A few things struck me when reading what Caudicus has to say about the Lackless family. First that connection with Laclith the woodsman who taught K in early childhood. After the death of his troupe, K dreams about Laclith in the woods. This could just be a way of PR putting the name Laclith in front of his readers again, or it could be significant in and of itself. Also, "lith" is stone in...Greek, I believe. Which makes me think of Lady Lackless' box, in which she keeps her husband's rocks. And the name Kaepcaen is so linguisticly distinct from Lackless that it must indicate something major - either information about what the branch of the family posesses, or that the branch settled in an area with a different language, or both, or something else entirely. I'm liking the "keeps seven" theory. And it's interesting to me that Kaepcaen has those two "ae"s in there - another feature of Greek, if I'm not mistaken. What says the Department of Imaginary Linguistics?

This division of the Loeclos family into various permutations of the name feels pretty significant. One branch lacks a lock, one branch lacks a key, one branch lacks stone(s), apparently. And one branch keeps seven things, it seems. The seven things had Lady Lackless in the children's poem? But a key isn't mentioned in that poem nor the one about the Lackless door.

It seems odd to alter a name to denote what each branch lacks, because it implies that the branches each had one of these things and then lost them somehow. Yet the name never apparently changed to denote that respective custody.
Tabby Alleman
96. Tabbyfl55
Maybe Caudicus is in the hire of Bredon's real opponent in the Beautiful Game. Maybe it's Cinder. Or the Chandrian in general.

Did Bredon ever give Kvothe any kind of nudge that might have helped him to expose the poisoning plot? That would definitely be a subtle move in a beautiful game.
mr. awesome
97. deebee
@91
I suspect that the "malignant spirit" in Caudicus`s tower was a booby trap. Qvothe says somewhere that Caudicus has had time to lay traps in his room before he left. These are superstitious Vintans (?) who are likely to ascribe anything they don`t understand to evil spirits.
mr. awesome
98. Eric Engelmann
I assumed Caudicus' mission was keeping the Maer ill enough that he wouldn't produce an heir. Could be just typical politics, or it might be some part of a lineage manipulation plot, I suppose. Caudicus did have more books on family histories than I would expect to see on an alchemist's bookshelf. Denna's work in geneological research and her patron's apparent interest in her relationships (--> offspring?) might tie in here.

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