Dec 1 2011 2:00pm
Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 13: It was Idyllic

Welcome to my no moon left unturned re-read of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 66—70 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 66 is “Within Easy Reach”

D, of course.

Alveron suddenly appears in Kvothe’s new rooms — there’s a secret passage so they can meet without anyone knowing.

Kvothe says he has learned the Lackless history — but he hasn’t really. Alveron says he has invited her and Kvothe can meet her and get to know what she’s like. He says he needs paper, ink, and pens. Alveron says there is a poet in Renere who keeps a trunk of rotting apples on hand for inspiration.

Now, we were thinking apples are significant, and we know poets are significant, but could this possibly be meaningful? Surely not...

Kvothe says he wants to wander about for inspiration, and Alveron agrees. He says he has everything he needs.

He finds D at once, and it seems surreal. I know I’ve complained a lot about their relationship, but I know exactly what he means here. He says she moved with grace like a tree — trees and D seem to go together. They do some over-the-top fake flirting and making up poetic lines.


Chapter 67 is “Telling Faces”

A great title. It’s the fake science “turagior” of prediction from faces, and also faces that are telling. Clever.

Kvothe brushes up on court etiquette from Stapes. He was familiar with most of it from his mother, but customs do change with fashion. You shouldn’t set down a dirty utensil, but licking it clean is okay. You shouldn’t finish bread or milk... weird. In Welsh folklore bread and milk is what you leave for fairies. The next day he learns to pare rind off cheese. “Such is the price of civilization.” But this isn’t civilization at all, it’s fashion, and he knows it. I like this bit, it makes it seem more plausible that he can get away with it.

He wears leaf green and black to meet Meluan, at a formal dinner. The sight of Meluan shocks him and he knows he recognises her but he can’t think from where. I suppose this is the resemblance to her sister Netalia, his mother. She’s strikingly lovely. She accuses him of staring, he says he is a student of faces, and she asks if he’s a turagior. He says he can read her future and it’s an apology for not being able to keep his eyes off her.

They’re seated between the Viceroy of Bannis who seems to be an odd old dodderer, and a Yllish couple talking in lilting Yllish. Ylls! In Severen! I thought they were almost extinct. “Lilting” is what monolingual Anglophones often say about Celtic languages, though I don’t see it myself, but this might be more evidence for an intention of Celtic equivalence to Yll. Is everyone else pronouncing it as if it’s Welsh?

He keeps making notes to himself about Meluan — that she’s not immune to flattery but used to it, that she enjoys boldness. Meluan asks how he occupies himself, he says he writes a bit. She says she enjoys plays “depending on the performers” which clearly means “Not if they’re ravel” but he doesn’t know that yet. He changes the subject and they discuss the state of the roads, and she says “Ruh bandits” and so he learns that she hates them with a true hate, but not yet why.

Kvothe slowly sets her at ease and enjoys her company, even though she hates the Edema Ruh. He goes back to his room and writes a letter, a song, and lots of notes. Alveron visits, looking younger. He gives him the letter. Alveron thinks it’s too much, Kvothe says she has a romantic streak and wants to be swept off her feet. Alveron wants a book of rules for courting! Kvothe doesn’t know much from personal knowledge, but lots from literature and negative examples from Sim and D.


Chapter 68 is “The Cost of a Loaf”

The title refers to the value of Kvothe’s service to Alveron.

He spends the days hanging out with D and then goes back and writes a letter or a song from Alveron to Meluan, pouring out all he hadn’t dared say to D, then rewrite it so it fit Meluan.

D has a follower and is calling herself Adion, and that irritates Kvothe. Then after two span — twenty days — she disappears for three days, and Kvothe can’t write songs and letters any more.

He comes up with a plausible excuse, but first, Alveron’s superstitiousness — “he probably believed in faeries and the walking dead.” We have seen faeries, but no shamble men yet. DT, do you think?

Kvothe demonstrates a literal pinprick magical attack, and offers to make Alveron a charm to protect him. Doesn’t he remember promising Kilvin he wouldn’t do this? Alveron asks what he’ll need, and he says most of it will be in the evil wizard tower or Severen Low. Then he thinks of asking for an Antressor lute, access to libraries, etc. He mentions that he has a project and a friend who needs a patron. Then he says it will take four days. He says he can’t do the Meluan thing at the same time, which is of course why he’s doing it at all, to get a break while without inspiration from D. Then he says it’ll be good for the courtship to make her eager for the next one, she needs to long for them.

He says he’ll need bits of Alveron’s substance to make the charm, Alveron hesitates, and Kvothe says he’s no good to him dead, which works.


Chapter 69 is “Such Madness”

Writing a poem. And his feelings for D.

He sells off some bits of Caudicus’s workshop to get materials for the gram. He keeps thinking he saw her, but it’s never her.

Making matters worse was the fact that Bredon had left Severen several days before...

Coincidence? You decide.

He finishes the gram, starts but doesn’t finish one for himself — which is just unforgiveable carelessness with his life and wellbeing. So have we all had our dental checkups and flu shots? How about tetanus boosters? It isn’t urgent any more, so he puts it off the way people do especially when they’re precocious sixteen year olds.

D shows up on the seventh day. There’s nothing about the position of the moon, and we haven’t heard anything about it for ages so I can’t work it out from time. D doesn’t apologise or explain, and he thinks how cool he is not trying to hold her or tie her down because he doesn’t try to win her and he contents himself by playing the beautiful game!

He putters about Severen with D having fun and discussing music. Her music is “strange and wild and free” because she walks through walls in established theory that he has been learning since childhood.

And he writes:

twenty-three letters, six songs, and, though it shames me to say it, one poem.

Alveron also did some of his own courting, and he wins Meluan — not a beautiful game? Or was it?

Kvothe says there is only one thing that could move him to such madness as writing a poem — he doesn’t specify what, but I assume D, unless anyone has any clever ideas.


Chapter 70 is “Clinging”

Clinging, what he doesn’t do to D.

He meets D and is delighted to find her when he looks for her because this is so unusual.

She has summoned him late at night — and hey, the summons didn’t get lost or delivered days late! She’s been late because she had a meeting with her patron, who is back in town. Kvothe says a midnight meeting is odd, she says she thinks he’s a bored noble enjoying playing at intrigue.

They go for a walk in Severen High, and he leads her to the barn, which she jokes surprises her. He says this isn’t the way he’d seduce her, in a hayloft, and she starts to braid something into her hair and stops. I’m sure these are Yllish magic braids already.

He offers her a charming moonlit stroll in Alveron’s gardens, but there’s barely a sliver of moon. And they sneak in through the hayloft, which he says is for the adventure — which it pretty much is, as he is in favour. And there’s a sliver of moon. But we don’t know how many days it is after D came back, and they’ve been seeing each other every day since, so it isn’t just one day. They walk in the gardens, and he shows her the selas flowers, delicately scented and soft. He says they are her flower, and she says she doesn’t take root easily. Then she adds “You treat me better than I deserve” and he laughs, so not getting it. He tells her the lutecase saved his life.

She says she has always liked moonless nights best. She can’t be literally the moon. Pity, I really liked that theory. She says he can put his arm around her.

Her sudden change of manner caught me off guard. Since we had met in Severen I had courted her with wild hopeless pageantry and she had matched me without missing a beat.

It was all play and he was OK, and now she asks for physical contact and he’s freaked out. She says it’s so strange that he never presumes and never pushes. And he can actually read the cue! But before he can act on it they hear someone coming and hide in the bushes. And it’s Alveron and Meluan, and he’s prating conventionally about roses. Kvothe says they could go out of the bushes and meet him on a looping path, and D can’t believe he’s serious — I mean they did come in through a hayloft.

They come out of the bushes and the moment has passed for putting his arm around her. Oh dear.

And we’ll start next time from 71 and another interruption in the Waystone.

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.

Don Barkauskas
1. bad_platypus
Kvothe demonstrates a literal pinprick magical attack, and offers to make Alveron a charm to protect him. Doesn’t he remember promising Kilvin he wouldn’t do this?
If you're thinking about the same scene I am, then what he actually promised was not to make fake charms to prevent pregnancy or some such. Here, he's making an actual charm that does what he says it does.
Bruce Wilson
2. Aesculapius
I was just about to say the same thing - but bad_platypus beat me to it!
That said, K wasn't supposed to be making himself a gram, let alone artificing one for someone else...!
Jay Matteo
3. j4yx0r
An astronomical note.

In chapter seventy, Kvothe and Denna are walking through Alveron's gardens presumably within a few hours past midnight. There is a sliver of moon visible. This doesn't and can't happen in our world. When our moon is visible as a thin crescent, it is always very near to the sun in the sky. This means it is only visible very close to sunset or sunrise and never visible in the middle of the night.

This could be a mistake on the part of Rothfuss or him using some literary license, but I don't think he makes those sorts of mistakes. We know the moon, its features and phases are important to the story. One of the Kvothe's admissions questions is about the moon's synodic period. Rothfuss probably knows his astronomy.

This implies that, unlike our moon, Kvothe and Denna's moon isn't illuminated by the sun; at least not entirely.
Katy Maziarz
4. ArtfulMagpie
I recently read an interesting theory on another site. Someone theorized that Denna, not Kvothe's mother, is the missing Lackless sister. A younger sister, rather than older. I don't have my copy in front of me to refer to, but the poster talked about the similarities in the way Meluan and Denna are, skin, eyecolor, etc...and the fact that Kvothe's mother would likely have been much older than Meluan but Denna would be much closer in age, etc. That would explain why Denna changes her name all the time, why she seems so worldly (highly educated noble vs. ignorant lower-class gal?), and the REAL reason she didn't want to go out of the bushes to meet the Maer...because she didn't want to see her sister! Of course, Denna is not currently shacked up with a Ruh (Kvothe doesn't count, ha!) but that doesn't mean she couldn't have run away with one and then had a falling out with him/left him like she leaves all men who ask too much of her...

I'm not sure if I believe this theory, ha, but I thought it was interesting enough to share!
5. Seamus1602

I think it's an interesting theory, but I cannot agree. 3 reasons:

-Netalia's Lackless/lockless poem
-Denna's presence in Severen high (just before meeting K in Severen) goes completely unnoticed and unremarked
-Where does the age comparison come from? How old is Meluan? I've always seen her (in my mind) as closer to 40 than 20, which would place her closer to Netalia's age than Denna's. Note - I've certainly missed plot points before, so if I'm missing something on Meluan's age, please let me know.
6. mr. awesome
Keep in mind that K and Denna's relationship will improve at some point.

We know this because he says something like "Felurian was the most beautiful woman I've ever been with, equal only to one other" or something like that, and only Denna would meet this profile.
Steven Halter
7. stevenhalter
j4yxor@3:That's an good catch. PR emphasizes the slenderness of the crescent moon several times here and the lateness of the hour.
In the past, we've talked about how the geometry of the Four Corners universe must be different than that of our own and this is another indication.
In our world, it is possible to see a crescent moon near to midnight if you happen to be close to the north or south pole.
Evan Langlinais
8. Skwid
We have seen faeries, but no shamble men yet.
Haven't we, though? Wasn't the incomprehensible possessed fellow who attacked K in the inn something of a shambler?
Jay Matteo
10. j4yx0r
shalter@7: Right, I left that bit out. Thank you for the addendum.

I wonder if we're dealing with a world that is not quite round. They're not likely at a pole since most of the locations we've seen appear to have a day/night cycle that suggests middle lattitudes.

Northern parts of the Four Corners are described as colder while Southern parts more tropical. Should one travel 'off the map' further south, you would expect the climate to start becoming cooler again.
Steven Halter
11. stevenhalter
j4yxor@10:Or, it may not be a globe at all. When Kvothe is describing Fae later, he seems quite startled at the idea that if you walk long enough there you could come back to where you start.
The Four corners may be all there is--some sort of flatish world or a curved space is possible.
The pole explanation doesn't work in this case either because here, the crescent moon would only be visible during the "midnight sun" phase and we are clearly told about the darkness of the night. That's another difference. It all adds up to a very different arrangement of things than we have here.
Katy Maziarz
12. ArtfulMagpie
"I've certainly missed plot points before, so if I'm missing something on Meluan's age, please let me know."

Well, there is the very large plot point of the Maer's courtship...he basically tells Kvothe that it's not so much wanting a WIFE, so much as an HEIR. A 40-year-old woman would not at all be desirable in that case. In fact, he specifically says that the perfect candidate must be:

"Someone from a family well-positioned as my own. Not only that, but this cannot be a marriage of alliance. The girl must be young enough to—” He cleared his throat, a papery noise. “Produce an heir. Several if possible.”

Then he goes on to say:

"The woman is perfect in every way. Her family is respectable. She is educated. Young. Beautiful.” The last word seemed to come hard to him. “She is pursued by a flock of love-struck courtiers, strong young men with honey on their tongues. They want her for every reason, her name, her land, her wit.” He gave a long pause. “How will she respond to the courting of a sick old man who walks with a stick when he can walk at all?” His mouth twisted, as if the words were bitter."

So, yeah. I think Meluan is definitely closer to 20 than 40! "Strong young men" wouldn't want a 40 year old spinster. A sick old man looking for an heir wouldn't, either. So Meluan has to be closer to Kvothe's age than to the age of Kvothe's mother...making her closer to Denna's age...
Jo Walton
13. bluejo
I think the argument of "not tally a lot less" is overwhelming here.

Kvothe is 16. Childbearing covers all the years of fertility, so his mother (if she were alive) could realistically be a minimum of 32, and a maximum of 62.

Meluan is young, but not young like Kvothe and Denna -- I'd say she's more like 26. If Netalia were 6 years older, and Kvothe were born when she was 16, that would make sense. Or if she were 8 years older and Kvothe born when she was 18...

I personally know families with bigger age spreads than that. I know one family where there are four children with twenty years between the oldest and the youngest, and another with three children and twelve years, and another with six children and sixteen years.
Katy Maziarz
14. ArtfulMagpie
Oh, no, I do agree that the "not tally a lot less" thing is compelling, and also that there are definitely biiiig age differences possible in families. I myself have cousins who technically belong to the generation after my own (my grandparents are their great-grandparents) but they are actually several years older than I am!

Like I said, I don't really think I buy the theory! But it was one I hadn't seen mentioned here and the theory's author had some interesting points, so I figured I'd throw it into the ring for discussion at least....
15. Dominiquex
Re: Meluan's age

I agree with ArtfulMagpie, she needs to be of good reproductive age (by non-industrialized society standards). Women hit peak fertility at about 24-26 years-old, and I would agree that she doesn't necessarily seem to be at the very young end of actual reproductive age. She has a self-assurance and gives a sense of knowledge about the world. So I imagine her around peak reproductive age. However, we don't know how old Netalia/Laurian was when she may have run away/had Kvothe/died. Running away with a gypsy certainly seems like the act of a relatively young woman. We also don't know much about the social/sexual practices of her society. She could have been anywhere between 16 and 20 when she ran away and had Kvothe soon after. So if she had Kvothe at 17-22 and he is, what - 16?, then she would have been 33-38 at the time of Kvothe's meeting Meluan. That is certainly not too old to very believably have a 24-26 year-old younger sister who remembered the scandal. Note that Meluan has never expressed anything resembling feeling for her sister in the scandal, just hatred at the Ruh for causing it. I find it very likely that she was old enough to remember the event but not old enough to remember or close enough in age to her sister to really miss her as a person.
16. Trollfot
I picture Meluan as 30-ish. She acts more like a woman than a girl, 30 is not THAT much younger than the Maer but still young enough to make a handful of babies.

Kvothe is 16. Assuming his mother was at least 16 when she ran off, she could easily have been anywhere between 33 and 40 by now.

Denna is ~17. I think the other ladies are probably closer in age.
17. Trollfot
Three almost identical posts written at the same time :D
Weijian Zhang
18. Weijian
Can someone explain to me how a moon can be crescent if it's not directly opposite the sun (that is, midnight)? Isn't the crescent the part that peeks out from behind earth's shadow?
George Brell
20. gbrell

My previous comment was flagged as spam (and honestly, it probably was for not being a substantive reply).

This website gives a decent explanation:

The earth's shadow is what causes an eclipse (a lunar eclipse) when it blocks out the moon.

The reason we have lunar phases has to do with the position of the moon relative to the earth and the sun.

The sun illuminates exactly half the moon at any one time (can't think of a cute metaphor for this, see website). We observe half the moon at any one time (same reason). Interestingly, we always observe the same half of the moon (because the lunar period of rotation - spinning on its axis - is the same as the lunar period of revolution - revolving around another body, in this case, the earth).

So since we always observe half the moon and half the moon is illuminated by the sun (but that half changes), we get the phases of the moon as the half we observe becomes the half that is illumiated and then the half that is not illuminated.
Jay Matteo
22. j4yx0r
withrye@18: You may be confusing lunar eclipses with lunar phases. A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth is directly between the sun and moon, causing the earth's shadow to fall on it. The phases of the moon occur because only certain parts of the moon are illuminated at certain times from our perspective and have nothing to do with earth's shadow.

The classic demonstration of this uses a flashlight and ball in a darkened room. You are the earth and the flashlight and ball are the sun and moon respectively.

You and the flashlight remain static and the ball 'orbits' around you. This represents the orbit of the moon which takes one month to complete.

You'll notice that when the ball is directly opposite the flashlight (provided you're not blocking the light with your body), it is fully illuminated. This is a full moon. If the ball is between you and the flashlight, the side facing you isn't actually receiving any light at all. It's dark. This is the new moon. Turn just a little past the flashlight and you'll see just a thin sliver become illuminated. There's your crescent.

So, the shadow of the earth has nothing to do with why we observe phases of the moon. Incidentally, a total lunar eclipse can only occur during a full moon (because the earth needs to be directly between the sun and the moon).

My previous comment was flagged as spam because I included some resource links, but if you google "moon phase demonstration" or "moon phase explanation" you'll find some resources that would explain it much better than I probably can.
Beth Meacham
23. bam
We know that D. cannot be Meluan's missing sister, because she is younger than Meluan. The one thing we know for sure is that Meluan was the younger of the two Lackless sisters. Meluan became the Lackless heir when her sister ran away and was disowned.
Julia Mason
24. DrFood
I don't think we should read too much into the error of having a crescent moon visible after midnight. I mean, it's fascinating and I'm glad this has been pointed out, but I would guess this is just an error.

A couple of days ago I was watching an interview of Pat on YouTube (the one with Jim Butcher), and he told the story of how one of his beta readers had to explain to him that lutes have two strings tuned to every note, so the loss of one string is unlikely to cause the trouble described in that scene in the Eolian when Kvothe won his talent pipes. He said in that interview that he doesn't spend a lot of time researching things because then he might feel the need to include stuff that's not pertinent to the story, just because he'd put the time in to gather minutiae. After the beta reader pointed out the issue with lutes and their double strings, he invented the trouper's lute for Kvothe to play, which doesn't have the double strings.

I'm a reasonably well read person, O.K., I'm interested in biology more than astrology, but I've tread paths by moonlight multiple times and yet I have to admit I hadn't realized that you'd never see a crescent moon up in the sky well after midnight. It makes sense now that y'all mention it, but I had no idea!

Of course, our author is much more nocturnal than average, so maybe we should expect that he knows this. I'd never seen the term "synodic" until I read his book.
Katy Maziarz
25. ArtfulMagpie
"Meluan became the Lackless heir when her sister ran away and was disowned."

Actually, what I saw in the text earlier was that Meluan was "left the only heir," not "became the heir." Not the same thing. Unless you have another reference that specifically spells out that Meluan became The Heir, as opposed to becoming the only heir?
Nathan Love
26. n8love
@24 DrFood
*astronomy (sorry for the nitpick)

@25 ArtfulMagpie
I don't know if it counts, but the conversation about the eldest heir "forsaking all duty" or some such seems to be relevant here. I know there has been some discussion about that, but I come down on the side of this being a specific reference to Natalia and pretty much reliable despite Caudicus' suspicious nature.
Weijian Zhang
27. Weijian
Thanks gbrell and j4yxor for the mini astronomy lesson. Makes sense now! Seeing a crescent moon at midnight could actually make for a really disturbing scene...
28. Freelancer
There is no real evidence to suggest that Denna comes from noble parentage, and very much to suggest otherwise, though the most definite of those comes later in the story. On the other hand, Kvothe's parents had told him that his mother was from a noble family, and that her family was certainly outraged by her running off with the Ruh.

Also, the clues that Kvothe must be a Lackless scion are far too many to ignore. Plus, it is just like Patrick to have the insanely ironic case of a nephew conducting the seduction of his own aunt.
29. Kashiraja
I think the moon phase can be explained by the fact that physics is similar but not the same in Kvothe's world. The fact that the moon goes between Fae and the normal world shows that the phases are not necessarily caused by the planet's shadow.
As a random physical explanation, there could be a near enough planet that shadows the moon causing it to appear as a sliver even when not near the sun-eart-moon axis. Then again it might just be a mistake.

regarding Meluan, the way she talks about her sister doesn't show much understanding or compassion, so it might be that she had a large enough age difference with Kvother's mother as to not have a friendship. Maybe they didn't even meet and she only heard the story from her parents.
Jo Walton
30. bluejo
I think the moon thing is deliberate and is a clue about the moon's weirdness. Rothfuss is really thinking about the moon and doing this really neat thing with it, he's not going to make a mistake. (If it was me, you could rely on it to be a mistake.) So the moon is spending half the time in Fae and half in the 4C, it can't be illuminated by the sun, or at least not by today's sun. How does it work then? Is it a giant sympathy lamp -- with phases?
31. Herelle
I´d like to come back to the Chteah / Creation War discussion:
Your comments in the last post made me think that maybe Fae was created as a prison for the Chteah and that was the trigger for the Creation War. Could be the Chteah was responsible for the Battle at Drossen Tor which led to his imprisonment and the creation of Fae and then the Creation War. The tree itself is like a prison in a prison, making sure nobody comes close to the Chteah. How better to isolate someone than by making a whole new world? Until now we only speculated that the shapers created things and especially Fae just for fun, but they might have had a reason for creating Fae then. And certainly the confinement of a creature like the Chteah was disputed which would be a much better reason for a war than just the creation of some playground world called Fae.

The Sithe are a fraction of the Fae people who are responsible for guarding the tree. At the same time they are hunting the Chandrian, so are they some kind of Fae warriors?

Something else - Dennas name: Adion as her current name made me frown because up til now we had variations of Denna (Dynnaeh or whatever). Adion seemed different but actually it still contains the same DN (and A).

@25 "Meluan was left the only heir" sounds like there have been losses before, like say once there were five, then one died as an infant, the next fell off a tree, the third died in a war, so when Netalia ran away it left the youngest daughter as the only heir.
Steven Halter
32. stevenhalter
Jo@30:That's an intriguing idea. That could also explain why he keeps mentioning the whole "ever-burning" lamps that Kilvin is working on.
If the moon (and maybe sun) are much smaller created objects that makes for many interesting possibilities.
I also think that PR put this (and other astronomical hints) in on purpose.
George Brell
33. gbrell

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but my remembrance is that naming predated sympathy and that the moon predates naming (unless we think that Iax/Shapers both created and stole the moon). Would love to see specific text on this because my memory of it is feeling hazy.


We know that the Cthaeh talked to Iax before he stole the moon (if we believe Bast), so it likely predated the creation of Fae. Playing with the whole Iax isn't as bad as we believe, what if his creation of Fae was to trap the Cthaeh? We know that the Fae-people (at least some of them) predate the creation of Fae-realm, but we don't know the origin of the Fae people (or how they relate to the pre-humans).

I've always been struck with a weird vibe by the Fae, one of constrained will. Were the Sithe created to guard the Cthaeh (either pre- or post-creation of Fae-realm)? What keeps them performing their job? Is it imperative? Is it a choice?

Interesting point that was brought up a couple threads ago: we always assume that the listener in Hespe's story is Teccam - who could also be Taborlin/Tehlu - but there is no Cthaeh analogue in the story. The character that we paint as the white hat (if only Jax had listened to him) is the one who gives him the advice, albeit seemingly unintentionally, that lets him steal the moon. Going further, this either means that a) Hespe's story omits the Cthaeh; b) Hespe's story merges the Cthaeh with Teccam; c) the Cthaeh and Teccam are the same; or d) the Cthaeh appeared and we didn't catch it.

The only other character in the story (besides Jax and Ludis) is the Tinker and it's perhaps telling that his "speaking" to Jax started him on the path that led him to steal the moon. Isn't that the predestination attributed to both Tinkers and Cthaeh? The ability to provide something that will be useful in/affect the future (the strawberry wine, the rope, etc.; a rhinna flower that starts a war). We seem to assume that Tinkers are a force for good; what if they're not? What if they are playing an incredibly long con (just like the Cthaeh appears capable of)?
C Smith
34. C12VT
@33: Good point about the Jax story. Maybe the Tinkers are the benign counterpart of the Cthaeh - similar powers, better intentions? Which is not to say that they aren't masterminding some long maniupaltion... The listener seems like a more likely candidate for a Cthaeh stand-in to me, though.

My version of WMF has Denna's current pseudonym as Alora, not Adion - anyone else?

Interesting that Denna likes moonless nights - the night that "wise men fear" and the easiest time to cross from the fae realm to the human one. Would reading something into this be a red herring? Or is this a clue linking Denna with fae?
35. mr. awesome
If the Tinkers are evil I will never read Rothfuss ever again (a promise I intend to break).

RE: Creation War

I'm lazy and many of you probably didn't see this post I had on the last part. I addressed some relevant stuff there.

I'll repost that comment now. It was apparently rude, that was legitimately not my intention:

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 to 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.

The war wasn't caused by the creation of the Fae or the imprisonment of the Cthaeh, but by the stealing of the moon. The Cthaeh was spoken to by Jax at that time. We don't know whether the Cthaeh was imprisoned at that time, or was free.

Also, thought: how on earth do you imprison the Cthaeh unless the Cthaeh wants to be imprisoned? Or maybe the Cthaeh was imprisoned, and then gained prescient powers?
36. linnet
RE: Alveron says there is a poet in Renere who keeps a trunk of rotting apples on hand for inspiration. Now, we were thinking apples are significant, and we know poets are significant, but could this possibly be meaningful? Surely not...
I thought it was an amusing reference to our world. The poet Schiller is supposed to have kept apples (to the point of rotting) in his desk drawer and the smell helped him write. (I can't remember where I read this, sorry!)
Jay Matteo
37. j4yx0r
So the moon is spending half the time in Fae and half in the 4C, it can't be illuminated by the sun, or at least not by today's sun.
I don't think it's the meaning you intended, but this gave me a thought. Maybe it is being illuminated by the sun. The Fae sun. Time and day/night don't work the same in Fae. Fae has a different sky (different star configuration). Since Faen day, night and time are out of sync with Four Corners', this could make for some very complicated and strange moon/sun interactions.

We know the moon travels between Fae and The Four Corners and its phase indicates the permeability of the barrier between the two. If the moon is being illuminated by the sun (or another light source) in Fae, it could also be pointing in the direction of the entrance to Fae; where the barrier is weakest.
Steven Halter
38. stevenhalter
@33:I can't think of any text that directly says that the moon is created. We do have it that Fae is a created place. I think the idea is quite interesting and leads to the question of what all is created vs. "original."

@35: Iax's stealing of the moon is the last straw that results in the creation war. Since he speaks to the Cthaeh before this, the war is definitely one intended effect. Also, since the Cthaeh knows all the future paths, it would know how the war will turn out and that Iax will be imprisoned behind the Doors of Stone.

How exactly you oppose something that can tell in advance how things will turn out is a very interesting question. Doing so successfully would be quite the example of a beautiful game.
Steven Halter
39. stevenhalter
j4yxor@37:Yes, light from Fae and/or other interesting effects of being split between two worlds could explain the lighting.
Jay Matteo
40. j4yx0r
If the moon is being illuminated by the sun (or another light source) in Fae, it could also be pointing in the direction of the entrance to Fae; where the barrier is weakest.
Expanding on this a bit, we know that Waystones are an analogue to ancient, standing stone structures like Stonehenge. It's generally accepted that they were used as calendars or astronomical aids.

We know that Waystones can behave as gates to and from Fae. What if they are also astronomical aids? What if they help to read the moon and point the direction to Fae? They could act as a map and compass of sorts.
42. westmarch
@33 et al re: Iax and the Cthaeh
We know that the Cthaeh talked to Iax before he stole the moon (if we believe Bast)

That parenthetical is very important, because Bast believes that from stories he's been told of the Cthaeh, and we know that not all stories are true. Kvothe handled Bast's dread of the Cthaeh so nonchalantly in response it makes me believe that he knows something Bast does not.

The theory I've laid out before is that we do not have two prehistoric malevolent forces in Iax and the Cthaeh, but a single one, Iax. He at length becomes the Cthaeh through some corruption, perhaps the very foresight he gains. Through stories passed down years, and his own influence, he obscured his true history (most likely to escape imprisonment.)

K is very much telling this story:

This is what happened to me
This is what I believed as a result
This is other information and perspective I picked up along the way, even if I ignored some of it at the time
My beliefs led me to do the one bad thing that is currently messing up the world.
As a result of that bad thing, I know that my beliefs were wrong.
These are the right beliefs.
Here's what I'm now doing to right the wrong.
Let's go to work.

So, my inclination is to work backward from the bad thing - which I genuinely believe conforms to the "Dark One escapes from his prison" trope - and figure out how might Iax/Cthaeh influence K to get him to do it. Stories/curiosity/misinformation could be very successful in getting K to be that unwitting pawn in a beautiful game.
Steven Halter
43. stevenhalter
westmarch@42:That's another interesting angle. There is definitely misinformation out there--knowledge garlbed both unintentionally and intentionally.

The Cthaeh being essentially Iax's mouthpiuece to the world while most of him sits imprisoned would be an interesting twist. It could go either way on that one (Cthaeh is a mouthpiece to Iax or Iax was a puppet to the Cthaeh) both could be an interesting story.
As Jo has mentioned having all these interesting paths in which the story could proceed is a delight.
44. Spirit Theif
I'd always assumed the reason Kvothe wrote the poem was because of the moonlit stroll Denna and he have in the next chapter. The name of the poem was "Nothing but Roses," and as Denna and Kvothe hid in the bushes this is what the Maer says to Meluan. It made Denna laugh, because of the running joke that men get all of their romantic advice from the same book, never taking the time to get to know her and learn that she hates roses.
So Kvothe wrote the poem as sort of a private joke. The Maer says that Meluan deserves nothing less than a bouquet of roses, while Denna thinks that roses are trite and show lack of interest.
That's my interpretation of it at least.
Jonah Feldman
45. relogical
Kvothe didn't even mention meeting the Cthaeh to Bast before telling the story to Chronicler, and Bast had no idea. I think that means the Cthaeh isn't as integral to the events of Day 3 as we assume. Whatever tragedies befell Kvothe, he never thought to ask Bast about the Cthaeh before now? That tells me that we are putting too much stock in it. The Cthaeh certainly is involved, and has a further role to play, but not directly in the events of Day 3 before Kvothe becomes Kote.
46. LAJG
@34 My copy of the book also has Denna as "Alora" (or rather, that is what the young gentleman, Gerred, is calling her). After a quick look, I can't seem to find the name "Adion", although it's more than possible I am missing it. Adion makes sense as a moon reference: move the "A" to the end and you almost have Diana.

I'm not sure of the significance of Alora. From a Google search, it seems to mean "dream". Maybe she's Gerred's dream girl?
Nathan Love
47. n8love
@35 mr.awesome
I posted this in the last thread, but this one was admittedly started. It was a question prompted by your above quoted post and it keeps bugging me the more I think about it.

He (Iax) is not necessarily the only one there (behind the DOS). He must have had some sort of forces for the conflict to be considered a war. Where are his conspirators?
Alf Bishai
48. greyhood
Here's a theory about the moon/Fae/FC. What if the FC world is also a kind of Fae construct (making the Fae really a Fae-within-a-Fae)? The fact that new magics can be created in the FC - like in the Fae - suggests this a bit. The geometry wouldn't have to be cosmically logical then. And what if the moon was actually a source of power for magics?

I mean, has anyone asked this question: why a war over a moon that now has phases? Isn't that inherently WEIRD? Imagine our moon suddenly was full every night. Would we tear the earth apart in a war to make the those responsible PAY! 'Who did this! Let's lock him behind a door! Before he changes the Big Dipper into a Big Cup!'

The moon itself has to be significant. It must have tipped the balance of power into the Fae or something like that.
Alf Bishai
49. greyhood
The Sithe may be after the Chandrian simply because they have been influenced by the Cthaeh.
Alf Bishai
50. greyhood
What if the Cthaeh was like a skin dancer before they caught it. He would take over people's bodies temporarily and they would speak disaster into their friends ears, and then it would move on. I somehow doubt it was a guy.

Random useless thought.
Alf Bishai
51. greyhood
Whoa. Cinder caught the Cthaeh.

'He did me some harm once' - or something like that. Cinder's name is Ferrule, which we speculate is related to iron. What if the Chtaeh tried to make a puppet out of him and got caught in his iron-ness? (What irony.)

Would that affect Cinder's eyes? Related to the Cthaeh's ability to See?
52. mr. awesome
I said: how on earth do you imprison the Cthaeh unless the Cthaeh wants to be imprisoned? Or maybe the Cthaeh was imprisoned, and then gained prescient powers?

I'd just like to add on to that a little, maybe there's some "immune to prescience/Duneish" characters out there who can mess with the Cthaeh's plans. People like Puppet?

I really like Greyhood's insight @48, but I think he's wrong @51. The Cthaeh said "maybe he did me some harm once". It was speaking hypothetically. From what we know of the Cthaeh, it seems to enjoy causing pain, which is a sufficient motive for it to manipulate K. Revenge isn't really necessary to explain its actions.

Thought: where is Skarpi??? He resurfaces sometime in the next book, because K calls him a no good trouble maker in the frame story, and his experience with Skarpi in the first book doesn't justify that characterization of him.

I don't think it's likely, but could Skarpi be D's patron?

He (Iax) is not necessarily the only one there (behind the DOS). He must have had some sort of forces for the conflict to be considered a war. Where are his conspirators?

All dead or else still out there or else imprisoned somewhere else. Probably a mixture of all three. I feel like they are not behind the DOS with him because when it talks about the person behind the DOS it says "The Enemy", which to me feels like a singular noun.
53. mr. awesome
Also, I get the feeling that PR really wants to redeem Haliax, but I don't see how he'll do it. Maybe there'll be a scene where Cinder wants to maliciously harm K and then Haliax stop him and apologize to K. That'd be neat.
Steven Halter
54. stevenhalter
Greyhood@48:Yes, there are indications (Jax's story) that both Fae and 4C are but two of many such artificial worlds. The place behind the doors of stone could be another.
Steven Halter
55. stevenhalter
@45:The Cthaeh may or may not be directly in the next book, but it has already directly influenced events there by influencing Kvothe. It has shot its arrow into the future.
C Smith
56. C12VT
Re: the moon. Whatever other properties it might have, the moon acts as a link between the fae world and Four Corners. Felurian says that on a moonless night "each step you take might catch you in the dark moon’s wake", implying that casual or accidental travel between the worlds is occurring because of the moon. If the moon had never been stolen, would it be much harder to travel between the worlds? Perhaps one reason the theft of the moon was such a big deal was that it created this link, which would have been unwelcome to anyone who wanted the two worlds to remain separate.

I was also wondering what the accepted explanation for the moon's phases is at the University. They don't seem to believe in Fae, so I doubt they would guess that the moon is traveling between worlds. But someone must have made enough of a study of it to wonder, if they've developed terms like "synodic period".
Philbert de Zwart
57. philbert
The conversation between Meluan and Kvothe had me speculate that Meluan instantly recognized him. She brings out the Ruh out of nowhere, why would she bring them up?
Alf Bishai
58. greyhood
Holy Hidden-In-Plain-Sight, Shalter! Jax's story of course! We were so drawn in by the folding house being the Fae realm that we gave no thought whatsoever to what the OTHER house was. The Broken House. Is that the FC? Is this indeed evidence that FC is a construct too? Great thought. Then what is the world of the story that is neither house?

Or if the FC is the world of the story, then what is the broken house? A failed Fae realm? Magic-less because it had no access to he moon? Is that why he was glum and nothing would make him happy but the moon? (And is there something that fits that bill?)

And he made the unfolding house FOR the moon. He wanted control of it. So there is something intrinsic to the moon that makes it desirable.
(I know we've been tracking where Denna is in relation to the moon phases - and also her patron - but would it be worth tracing the use of magic?)

A thought: if FC is a construct, then who made it? Could this be Aleph? So Aleph and Iax have competing realms. That makes the Creation War a war between TWO created realms, and not over a single breakaway realm (Fae).
Steven Halter
59. stevenhalter
@58:Yes, exactly. Also note that in the Jax story the tinker is aware of things like folded houses. This implies that while rare, the creation of worlds is not unheard of.
Bruce Wilson
60. Aesculapius
Ooooooh... Is the re-read about to get all existentialist?!

Seriously, though, here's something from the books that might inform the way this line of thought is going:

Felurian specifically tells Kvothe that, initially, the progression from the art of deep Knowing to Shaping was responsible for wondrous things and that all this happened when there was just one world but then the Shapers grew "bolder, braver, wild" - and this led to the old Knowers saying "stop." The creation of the Faen Realm was a direct consequence of this as the Shapers wrought a place where they could do as they desired. Two worlds, two skies, two sets of stars and so on - but only one moon.

Only *after* all this this does Iax steal the moon - so the story of the folded house should, perhaps be considered again in this light. The Fae came first and might actually be the original "broken house" from the story (that's my guess at the moment) but the Faen Realm as a whole is not, therefore, Iax's folded house from the tinker's pack (although that might allude to a specific *part* of the Fae). Alternatively, if the folded house is something entirely different then what is it? Is this a second Fae? A Fae within the Fae? Could this be the realm beyond the Doors of Stone...?

As has been mentioned above, why is the moon just SO important? And why, of all things, would there be just one moon when the Shapers seemed to be more than capable of creating the rest of Fae pretty much any which way that they wanted it?! Why does Iax want the moon SO badly?

So much for D3 to reveal yet I have a horrible feeling that we may NOT get all the answers that we seek - or at least not wholly satisfactory ones!
David C
61. David_C
There is no real evidence to suggest that Denna comes from noble parentage, and very much to suggest otherwise...
On the other hand, she can clearly tell a desert fork from a salad fork. If she spends most of her time as a beautiful young thing on older nobles arms, presumably she doesn't come across as trailer trash.

I'm beginning to wonder if her mother was divorced, or she was dis-inherited, etc.
62. wickedkinetic
A few thoughts:
Could Puppet = Pinnochio? Some kind of flesh-golem or shaped-animated-thing become human? Or is the name just because he has a ‘knack’ for making puppets…. Why would an Amyr obsessed with protecting his books (Lorren) allow flames (instead of sympathy lamps) in an apartment in the library… If puppet is old and has been there a while – does he predate the masters (we’re told Manet has been around longer than most of the masters)?
Is he creating a dangerous pile of mommets for malfeasance purposes. Or? Would you trust a guy living in the library of the Arcanum with a perfectly built puppet of you when such things can be used to do ‘bad’ things? Puppet could be very important – but he doesn’t feel like a bad-guy – or like some legendary figure (Teccam?).

A thought I had on the waystones – at one point they are described as a ‘henge-ish’ structure, 2 vertical with 1 on top like a doorframe… maybe in the Faeriniel story? Most videogames and sci-fi stories that play with teleportation have a sort of central switching station… what if Faeriniel is a ‘grand central fae-tion’? All the waystones lead to a common point in Fae where you can then exit any other stone to a different place in 4C. But these stones were ‘shut’ at some point and now they are just big stones knocked down and laying around – no longer in ‘henge-ish’ formations – Faeriniel as a collection of these things would have looked like Stonehenge very much indeed – and the description as a place people pass-through, but don’t go too – is very telling. Any major transportation hub is going to have at least a campground and some people stopping to rest – but not necessarily an actual town or reason to stay.

On D – I really like the thought that she is Yllish royalty secretly raised in exile – and after getting tired of staying hidden and being told what to do – she decides she’d rather be ‘free’ – anonymous – out on her own. This creates all kind of possibilities for guilt, betrayal, self-doubt- abandoned destiny… and makes her a counter-point to K – royal blood but living as a criminal/vagrant/pauper/con-artist – special abilities/gifts with music, intelligence, magic, - sense of humor and adventure – and both on some all-important life-mission that dooms their relationship in countless ways –also - the exile thing could explain her lack of accent, or mastery of voices and accents - if she had moved around a bit as those living in exile may need to.

LOVE this re-read- finally caught up and glad I can join the ‘current’ discussions
Alice Arneson
63. Wetlandernw
wickedkinetic @ 62 - I like the idea of Faeriniel as a "way-hub" where you could (back when it worked) come in one "door" and go out another to a completely different place in the FC. Very useful, that - if you know how to work it.

On the moon and its phases: When I first read these books, prior to joining the reread, I just assumed that the FC moon followed what we think of as "normal" phases (new, waxing, full, waning) and that when it was full in FC it was new in Fae and vice versa - that it was simply always in opposite phases in the two worlds. I figured that prior to the grand larceny, the moon was always full in the FC and that Fae was moonless, but with Jax's "partial theft" the moon had to spend half her time in Fae, resulting in the phases that we consider normal. (Basically, the Jax story would be like our RL ancient myths explaining the periodic "absence" of the moon, except that in PR's world, the myth actually is the real explanation.) That certainly doesn't seem to be the general opinion here, but without the books currently at hand I can't go back and check. Can anyone give me solid reasoning or textual evidence to verify that it does something "weird" rather than the RL progression? Thanks.
Rob Core
64. robtcore
re: shalter @ 38
Iax's stealing of the moon is the last straw that results in the creation war. Since he speaks to the Cthaeh before this, the war is definitely one intended effect. Also, since the Cthaeh knows all the future paths, it would know how the war will turn out and that Iax will be imprisoned behind the Doors of Stone. How exactly you oppose something that can tell in advance how things will turn out is a very interesting question. Doing so successfully would be quite the example of a beautiful game.
This sparked a train of thought that I don't recall talking about here. (Or rather, reading about here. . . I have been reading/lurking since the first post, but have not contributed anything.)

What direct evidence do we have of the Cthaeh's evil intent? What if the intent is more in line with the Amyr's own motto - "For the greater good?"

I don't disagree that the effects of interacting with the Cthaeh are misery and strife, but is the creature simply causing suffering for its own sake, or is there an ultimate goal in mind?

To mangle Freud: "What does the Cthaeh want?"

(Sorry if this has been discussed before - this is a rough morning, I am poorly caffeniated, and I am at work, so can't review all the threads in depth. Thank you, and I love this entire re-read series!)
Steven Halter
65. stevenhalter
robtcore@64:We don't really know. At this point we only have Bast's word for it that the goals of the Cthaeh are malicious. It could be trying for a "best of all possible worlds" and just has to do a lot of bad things to get there.
It is interesting to see how the intent of the story changes if we ascribe various goals to the various actors.
Alf Bishai
66. greyhood
The Sithe could simply be at counter-purpose with the Cthaeh and needed to take it out of the game completely because of how effective it was at achieving its goals. ANYTHING that had contact with it could the winning move.

Incidentally, Sithe might be in the same word-family as Cthaeh. The E on the end is a little confusing. Is this a clue? Perhaps the Cthaeh is a collective like the Sithe?
Steven Halter
67. stevenhalter
wetlandernw@63:The theft of the moon and its appearence in Fae is certainly given as an explanation of the phases. I don't recall offhand if there is any mention of no phases before the theft.
The places where the 4C moon differs from our RL moon seem to be more confirmations that something odd is going on. What the oddness "actually" is--I'm not sure we fully know at this point. But it is fun to speculate. :-)
For example, if it is that the moon being in Fae is the complete reason for phases, then why are they in a crescent shape rather than a straight line down the part of the moon that is/isn't there? We can imagine various ideas like the crescent representing partial illumination from Fae or from the 4C sun.
Many interesting things here ...
Bruce Wilson
68. Aesculapius
@63 Wetlandernw

Yup, at first reading that's pretty much how I understood the relationship between the moon, the 4C and the Fae too. Taking everything at face value and given the information immediately available that would seem to be the gist of Felurian's explanation to Kvothe.

I do wonder sometimes if introspective dissection of the text like this leads us to over-analyse a little...?
69. Thurule
@64, et al

Remember Felurian got a good kick out of Kvothe thinking that there were ever human Amyr. So, is the Cthaeh the Amyr? Or maybe the Sithe? Or maybe one of the other factions of the Fae that I can't recall?

Or, as someone else mentioned, are we concentrating way too much on the Cthaeh? There's certainly a lot of other things to be looking into as well. But it still seems instrumental in some way.
70. Dominiquex
Re: Moon phases. I think I wrote many many chapters or a book ago, but my firm impression of the Four Corner world's moon's phases is that they are entirely based on its "movements" between that world and the Fae world. We can either accept that there is a moon that confirms to our world's physics that somehow "moves" between two realities, the movement of which perfectly coincides with its real world rotations as reflected by its phases OR we can accept that there is a moon in the FC world sky that magically shifts between two realities and that its phases are merely a reflection of this movement. Personally, I'm going Occam's Razor on this one.

I don't believe the FC world's moon has anything to do with real world astronomy until PR says otherwise.
Steven Halter
71. stevenhalter
@70:Yes, the astronomy comparisons are corroborating evidence that the moon in 4C is not like our moon.
What it means for an object to partially exist in two worlds at once is another interesting part of the questions.
72. mr. awesome
@64 What direct evidence do we have of the Cthaeh's evil intent? What if the intent is more in line with the Amyr's own motto - "For the greater

To some extent, this is an unanswerable question. It's nonfalsifiable, as any objection can be responded to by asserting that the Cthaeh presented itself that way in order to manipulate Kvothe or the Faen, perhaps in some unmentioned and indetectable way.

However, I still think there are substantial problems with any theory that doesn't believe the Cthaeh is malevolent.

1. The Cthaeh killed the butterflies. Rothfuss doesn't seem like the kind of guy who thinks that insects have absolutely no moral value. Killing the butterflies is almost certainly of no service to any greater good. Therefore the Cthaeh is almost certainly evil, or if not evil at least what is generally thought of as evil.

2. To say that the Cthaeh is secretly good and is only causing bad things for the greater good assumes that the Cthaeh is constrained so that it can only cause the greater good by causing bad things, which isn't plausible.

When you're omniscient, it's unlikely that you'd have to adopt such a specific role in order to manipulate the world around you. Imagine if Maud'Dib had time to learn of every possible prescient outcome, instead of only the one which lead to the Golden Path. Given the complexity of all dynamic systems, it seems like he'd have been able to create a utopia within only a few dozen years. Maud'Dib, of course, failed, but it's emphasized within the Dune books that his failures were largely caused by his inability to percieve ALL of the possible futures in time for him to act to cause those futures to come about. If the Cthaeh is like an uber Maud'Dib who can choose between all possible futures and is aware of all of those futures, then it would be able to cause the good outcome without causing all the suffering along the way.*

Therefore the consistency of the Cthaeh's actions with bad outcomes suggests malicious inten rather than some mysterious hidden purpose.

Reasonably Important Sidebar:
It's intuitively implausible that any non omniscient being would act so consistently if it were dedicatedly pursuing a certain end. It seems likely that the Cthaeh would have varied behavior if it had to adapt to external circumstances on a case by case basis.

The Cthaeh therefore either doesn't care about any ultimate end and is concerned only with the short term gratification of its evil desires, or it percieves itself as all powerful and so it thinks it can cause every possible instance of suffering.

Of course, there's a third option: the Cthaeh could also know about the limits of its predictive ability and simply not care, because it knows that worrying about what you can't control is silly. I think this is the most likely. It can't cause total evil and it knows it, but it'll do its best to try.

*This assumes that the Cthaeh can see and choose between all possible futures, rather than assuming that the Cthaeh is just a pawn of fate; I know. The former assumption is necessary to make sense of the Cthaeh's intentions though, so I think the assumption is justified.
Lenny Bailes
73. lennyb
Slightly off-topic: Pat observes that current experiments in quantum entanglement with diamond crystals suggest some operating resemblance to the principles of sympathetic magic.

#62: If Denna is Yllish royalty raised in exile, one would think that whoever set it up wouldn't have left her in circumstances where she's constantly broke.

Some of the speculations here seem to hit home -- but some of them strikes me as pretty far out there. PR doesn't seem, to me, to be someone who would insert sudden reveals into his stories for their shock value. I think any upcoming surprises are more likely to evoke an "I should have guessed that" response than a "who would ever have guessed that" response.

There are several levels for speculation -- literal guesses about upcoming plot developments as well as observations about the metaphorical implications of what we've already been shown.

I think we've been shown too much love between Bast and Kvothe for Bast to wind up as a villain. He'll remain himself, whatever he's done or is about to do. Similarly, we've seen so much "ill-wind" associated with the Cthaeh for me to believe that the third volume will show him/it to be a sympathetic Hari Seldon-like figure trying to save the world.
Bruce Wilson
74. Aesculapius
@69 Thurule

I think it's pretty significant that Felurian was so amused by the idea of human Amyr. This will no doubt come up in much more detail later on in the reread but here are a few thoughts for now:

We know that Haliax and the rest o the Seven seem to think that the Amyr still exist in some form as Haliax specifically lists them among the threats to the Chandrian in NW.

Skarpi's second story in Tarbean gives one possible explanation of the founding of the original Amyr (and maybe the Singers too - but we'll have to wait and see on that one!).

We know there was a militant Tehlin group within the Aturan Empire *calling itself* the Order Amyr. This group was powerful and influential but was ultimately disbanded on either Tehlin Church or secular Imperial orders. Since then, almost all records of the Amyr seem to have been lost - or have been deliberately hidden. The over-riding impression I get from PR regarding the later Amyr of the Aturan Church is of an order very similar to the historical Knights Templar in mediaeval Europe - including their sudden shift in fortune and fall from grace.

K clearly believes (at this stage in his story, anyway) that the ancient Amyr and the later Aturan Amyr are effectively the same organisation.

Felurian, however, scoffs at the notion and seems quite adamant that there were *never* any human Amyr at all.

This makes me wonder:
(a) Halifax clearly regards "the Amyr" as a threat - my gut feeling is that this really means Selitos and the original Amyr from Skarpi's story, who would be contemporaries of the Chandrian and of a similar age and arcane nature (although their true origin may be slightly different).

(b) The Aturan Amyr - were these a persisting presence of the "true" Amyr into more recent history or possibly a fully human branch of the Tehlin / Aturan society, but led or influenced by the original Amyr (either overtly or covertly) and attaching to themselves some of the legendary attributes of the "true" Amyr? (emblem, creed, etc.)

(c) Alternatively, were the later Tehlin Amyr simply using elements of an ancient legend to augment their appearance and standing within Tehlin / Aturan society - but actually had *NO* link whatsoever to Selitos and the original Amyr.

So, how does this fit in with the conspiracy theory of a persisting secret society of Amyr in Kvothe's time....? Are these the last remnants of (c); could this be a deliberately covert operation by an underground version of (b) or is it neither of these and actually just the activities of (a), misinterpreted in the light of the existence of (b) or (c) in the more recent history of the 4Cs...?

Are there any other obvious alternative interpretations of the evidence so far regarding the Amyr? I'm curious to know how the rest of you feel about this.
Steven Halter
75. stevenhalter
@72:I agree that the butterfly killing signals "evilness" on the part of the Cthaeh. I suspect it also serves a purpose--call it the butterfly effect. The buttflies give the Cthaeh a method of exceeding some effect upon the outside world. It could know for example that Felurian would have spent 1 second looking at this particular butterfly and by it not being there she later is slightly early to something and so on ...
76. mr. awesome
New theory: Cthaeh is Cthulu's little sister.
Steven Halter
77. stevenhalter
lennyb@73:One key seems to be that if a character may be other than what they seem (hero/villan) then PR seems to be leaving hints that way. For Haliax&co and the Amyr we see a number of instances where we get hints that not everything may be as it appears on the surface.
For Bast, we are strongly indicated that he is loyal to Kvothe and no indicastion otherwise (that I recall.) For the Cthaeh, we don't have any indication that it is of goodly intent.
So, I agree with you that the general writing seems to be of the sort that whatever reveals happen in D3 will not be coming completely out of the blue but will have some foreshadowing. Now, we may be (almost certainly will) be surprised at the actual events in D3, but (as you say) looking back I expect them to make sense.
C Smith
78. C12VT
@74: If it was a or b, the excessiveness of the post-Amyr coverup could be because the someone wanted to conceal the fact that the Amyr weren't (or weren't all) human. Which makes me wonder whether there has been a concerted effort to cover up the existence of Fae. It seems a bit odd that so many people dismiss everything fae as "just faerie stories" when there must have been many contacts and influences between the worlds over the centuries. And if there is a cover-up, who is behind it and why?

@77: I agree that Bast seems genuinely loyal - but we're given plenty of hints that he isn't a nice guy. I could see Bast taking a "villain" role, especially if he felt that his ill deeds somehow served K.
Steven Halter
79. stevenhalter
@78:Agreed. Bast is not nice to people whom he feels are going to harm K.
Alf Bishai
80. greyhood
I've been thinking about the broken house in the Jax story. Someone mentioned that the Doors of Stone might be another Fae-like construct.

What if Iax was locked backed up in his Broken House. And what if the Doors of Stone aren't doors that swing out on hinges, but rather doors like the greystones.
Katy Maziarz
81. ArtfulMagpie
What I find interesting about Hespe's story of Jax and the Moon is that Jax gave his broken house at the end of the broken road to a tinker. Given that I still think there's a lot more going on with tinkers than meets the eye, I find that so, so interesting. A tinker owns the broken house. If the unfolded house is Fae, could the broken house in which Jax started out be the "real world" of the Four Corners? Old, broken-down around the edges, and not desirable to someone like Jax/Iax, though very desirable to a tinker--tinkers, who are known for fixing what is broken and providing what is needful?

And since there are still tinkers around...could the tinkers be the Amyr-in-hiding, wandering the world for the greater good? Or are they associated with the angels somehow, protecting mankind from itself in ways subtle but long-reaching?

I wonder, too, the identity of that first tinker in Hespe's story. Aleph, maybe? When Jax left the world for his unfolded house, did he leave it to Aleph--and that is why Aleph was the one with the power to create the angels? Hmm...just thinking out loud here, really....
82. Dominiquex
I really like ArtfulMagpie's shared perceptions of the broken house and the tinker. It has a certain feeling of rightness to it. Nice work. :) Sorry, nothing more to add at the moment.
David C
83. David_C

I think of Aleph as much more of a Chronos/Jehovah/Allah kind of god than an Odin/Zeus meddle-in-mortal-disguise kind of god, but that's based on very little evidence, other than her role in K's mentions of Aleph.
84. mr. awesome

Aleph is a woman deity?
Curse the gendered norms instilled in me by society.
I was thinking Aleph was a man-God.
Katy Maziarz
85. ArtfulMagpie
No, in Skarpi's story, Aleph is most definitely referred to as "he" and "him." Male, at least in the story!
David C
86. David_C

Regarding Aleph's sex. Perhaps PR did a bad job of translating gender-neutral pronouns from Aturan (or Temic) to English? :) How does one sex a god, anyhow?
Katy Maziarz
87. ArtfulMagpie
How does one sex a god, anyhow?

I'm going to go with "very, very carefully."
Andrew Mason
88. AnotherAndrew
ArtfulMagpie@81: I read the broken house in a very different way. The house is at the end of a broken road, and since we are later told Jax walked east towards the mountains, it must be at the western end. What is at the western end of the road? The University. And we have been told, I think by Elodin, that it was founded among the ruins of an older university. I think the broken house is what became the Underthing.
Bruce Wilson
89. Aesculapius
A thought very similar to that was forming In my mind - but you beat me too it and put it very nicely too! :o)
90. Spirit theif
@88, 88
I was under the impression that he walked along the Great stone Road. I don't have the book with me right now, does he really walk to the East? I thought Jax's journey was going from Myr Taraniel to the Faen realm.
C Smith
91. C12VT
@88, 90: On the map (which I'm convinced is intentionally incomplete) the Great Stone Road does end in mountains in the west - and no particular location is marked at its western endpoint. It makes one wonder what is (or was) there. The ruins of Myr Tariniel? The Lackless Door? The Doors of Stone (if these aren't the same thing)?
Alice Arneson
92. Wetlandernw
C12VT @91 - Ummm... On the map I'm looking at, the GSR ends in mountains in the east, but at the western end is Imre & the University. It's not impossible that the Lackless door might be at the eastern end, though.
Connan Haley
93. sabotenda
Ho boy, I missed a lot. Anyway.

I didn't see anyone else mention this, but @63, I can almost guarantee there's no real world/FC moon connection. The synodic period of our moon is around 29 days, give or take some fractions. If I recall correctly, thr FC's period was 72 and a third days, give or take. About two and a half times longer than our own. Doesn't mean their moon doesn't just have a much slower orbit, but... most writers tend to stick roughly to our own physical world for fear of driving readers away with unnecessary strangeness. Unless pat has a particular reason for theirs being so much longer...
C Smith
94. C12VT
@92. Yeah, oops, I meant to say "east".

@93: I wondered about that too. There has to be a reason. Though maybe it's just an early clue to the reader that something strange is going on with the moon.
Alf Bishai
95. greyhood
@88 - "I think the broken house is what became the Underthing."

Aha. I am convinced you are right!
Connan Haley
96. sabotenda
I like the thought of the underthing finally having a purpose, but I wonder how the two can work together. Weren't there giant gears and the remains of machinery all over down there? And what would that have to do with shaping or naming? I get the image of a clockwork city whenever it's described, very steampunk-looking. I can't imagine why shapers or namers would really need a host of machines to live by, unless they were horribly lazy.
97. wickedkinetic
My point is that she was raised as part of an 'exiled Yllish royal family' who had some resources but no freedom. By running-away-from-home, D has become essentially separated from any wealth or comfort she had before she left, similar to Kvothe's Mom choosing love, fun, and living over her 'royal obligations'. I wouldn't think this would be terribly out-of-the-blue given the amount of Yllish references in regards to D (who's teaching her the lost art of the knots?) and she's always talking about her terrible secrets and how she's an awful person who's done terrible things - very melodramatic low self-esteem type stuff.....
Andrew Mason
98. AnotherAndrew
sabotenda@96: Well, according to the story the house was already broken when Jax lived in it. So perhaps there had been a steampunkish civilisation at some earlier point, and the shapers arose out of its ruins.
99. Mism
ArtfulMagpie@81 The idea of the tinkers being specially significant is interesting. As is their idea of them being Amyr.
One thing that always struck me was that everyone - everywhere - is afraid of being rude to a tinker. Much like everyone everywhere fears the Chandrian? What does that imply? I suppose if the tinkers are Amyr, that might make sense - I'm not sure I would want to insult an Amyr either.
100. bellaskye
Wow! I just found this site looking for views on the chapter i am listening to and wow! You guys are awesome ! I will keep visiting here to see what more you all explain :D
Kate Hunter
101. KateH
Re:Denna's and Meluan's age. K states when he meets D that she's only about 1 year older than him - still just young enough to be a girl and not a woman. So that puts her at 16 or just possibly 17 at that meeting, and most likely 17 or just possibly 18 in Severen. I can't see Meluan being this young. (For that matter, I think D's behavior is far too savvy for the age she's meant to be, but nevermind.)

I think Meluan was old enough when Netalia ran off to remember her, and the family's turmoil and distress over it. She also was suddenly under the spotlight as the remaining heir, and probably had expectations piled on her. So a big shift from spare to sole heir. Thus her personal enmity towards the Ruh. So, at least 8 years old, I'd guess, possibly a little more, but not less. If Netalia ran off as an impulsive 18-year-old, that would make Netalia, if she were still alive, 34 years old. She could have been a bit younger or older, but I think 18 ballparks it pretty well. That would put Meluan at ~24 years old, which matches her poise and circumstances pretty well. She's an important heir, which means choosing very carefully in the marriage market. So no marrying in haste. But she's still "young" as the Maer says and has plenty of childbearing years left. Her age gives her the social confidence she displays; she's not a naif. OTOH, it's about time to settle down and start pumping out heirs. Anything over the age of 25, when your perceived function is to produce children, would start raising eyebrows.

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