Dec 15 2011 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 15: Defending Civilization

Welcome to my excessively detailed reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 76-80 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 76 is Tinder

The tinder Tempi shaves with his sword for starting the fire when they make camp. But also metaphorically his companions, I think. Tempi uses his sword to cut tinder, and disdains the offer of Kvothe’s knife — his Ramston steel knife. Therefore, Tempi’s sword is better than Ramston steel. So Caesura must be too. Interesting.

They make camp, all sharing the jobs, and Kvothe makes fire by magic to stop Dedan being patronizing, and it has much more of an effect on his superstitious Vintish companions than he thought it would. And of course the Tiberian “I’d like respect, but failing that a little healthy fear can go a long way.” Oh dear.

This whole Eld episode leads to the Felurian episode and then immediately to the Adem episode, so it’s a long long time before we get back to Severen and longer before we get back to the University. And we immediately get set up for the Adem episode, with Kvothe trying to make friends with Tempi. Tempi is quiet and won’t chat or look Kvothe in the eye. Kvothe takes this as a challenge to get him to say more than five words. He asks Tempi if he will tell him about the Lethani, and Tempi refuses. At first he just says “No,” an then he expands and says it is not for Kvothe, speaking sixteen words.

What we have heard so far about the Lethani is the Interesting Fact that it’s a secret Adem art that makes them fierce warriors, and that’s all Kvothe knows too.


Chapter 77 is Pennysworth

The inn.

They get to the Pennysworth Inn, which is enormous, with dancing and music and food. Dedan wants luxury, Kvothe insists on what’s in the pot and a bunk. Tempi acts oddly in this argument, shifting his feet. Marten suggests adding a drink, and Kvothe agrees.

Drinks, bunks and a meal comes to one silver bit for all of them. It ought to be possible for somebody good at arithmetic to work out the entire economy from that.

A red-haired serving woman makes a direct pass at Kvothe, and when he reacts in confusion she says quite nicely that she’d thought he was older. This is, I think, the most realistic sexual/romantic interaction Kvothe ever has. He’s approached directly for sex and he sits there with his mouth open, exactly as a boy of fifteen or sixteen would. The people watching think she has turned him down when she walks away and his face is red.

Marten comes over and says Kvothe did well with Dedan, and they chat about Dedan and Hespe — in love with each other, but neither prepared to tell the other. Kvothe goes into a dream about D, and is interrupted by Dedan boasting about the bandit-hunting — which is supposed to be secret in case any of the bandits are there. He sends Marten to get Dedan.

Tempi is watching the fiddler with “a strange intensity” which is foreshadowing the Adem attitude to music and Tempi’s future desire to learn it. Tempi is also successfully and confidently flirting with a waitress. Dedan comes over belligerent and drunk. Kvothe asks him the name of the redheaded waitress, and Dedan laughs and tells him he doesn’t have a chance with her. He says she isn’t a whore, though she has sex with those she chooses, and her name is Losine. Dedan offers to point out the whores. Kvothe asks him to make sure Hespe doesn’t mention the bandits — clever bit of psychology which works.

Marten silently salutes Kvothe when Dedan leaves.

This chapter has established Marten and Dedan solidly, and started to sketch in Hespe and Tempi too, as well as setting up the post-Felurian return to the Pennysworth.


Chapter 78 is Another Road, Another Forest

What Tempi says about rain.

Dedan is hungover the next day but doesn’t complain. Kvothe thinks the Dedan/Hespe show is like a Mondegan tragedy. Kvothe wonders about Tempi:

The truth was after catching glimpses of what Elxa Dal and Fela could do by calling on the names of fire and stone, the thought of someone storing up words to burn as fuel didn’t seem nearly as foolish as it used to.

And I love this because it’s wrong but makes sense. Fiction, and especially SF and fantasy, doesn’t have nearly enough of this. People’s conclusions are always right, and I get tired of that.

The others have odd habits. Dedan wants his sleeping place completely flat. Hespe whistles and picks her teeth. Marten won’t eat pink meat or drink water that hasn’t been boiled or mixed with wine. Now Marten is very sensible on this, and you’d think Kvothe would have had enough Medica training to know it, unless parasites and microbes are dealt with magically there and not in the world?

Tempi barely speaks, he bathes every day, he does his ritual exercise twice a day.

Kvothe’s odd habit is playing his lute in the evenings.

Five days from Severen they come to the twenty-mile long completely deserted stretch of road where the attacks happened. Kvothe explains his plan — moving parallel to the road, Marten scouting ahead, looking for signs of where the bandits go to the road. There’s a plan for if they’re caught — stay until the third night, make a disturbance then and the rest will be ready to help.

Kvothe figures out that Tempi doesn’t speak Aturan well and that’s one reason why he’s so quiet. Dedan suggests that Tempi is stupid, Tempi says Dedan is like a dog barking at nothing all the time. They fight, Tempi does the Adem thing and does really well, but when Dedan says he fights like a woman he agrees, and this ends the fight. Of course, for Tempi fighting like a woman isn’t an insult. Kvothe talks to him, and Tempi agrees to wear plainer clothes for hunting, but not for fighting. He understands the plan, but says he could fight and win against three or four like Dedan, but if there were more than that he’ll go with them to the camp and wait.

Then Marten asks what happens if they catch Kvothe, and he says he’ll deal with their camp — and he’s joking, but everyone believes him.


Chapter 79 is Signs

When tracking.

Marten teaches Tempi and Kvothe woodcraft.

Kvothe swears “Black hands!” when Marten points out that a nightjar only sings at night.

Again, Marten is freaked out at the tiniest bit of magic — this is good, this shows how ordinary people are about it. In Vintas anyway.

Another Teccam quote: “Nothing in the world is harder than convincing someone of an unfamiliar truth.”

They learn tracking and how to recognise signs of somebody passing and how to obscure their own signs. Kvothe is horrified at how boring it is.

At night around the campfire. Marten tells a story about:

a widow’s son who left home to seek his fortune. A tinker sold him a pair of magic boots that helped him rescue a princess from a tower high in the mountains.

Look, a tinker, just in the right place with the right thing. Dedan nods along. Hespe gasps in the right places, Tempi sits perfectly still and listens. Kvothe is reminded by the familiar elements of the story — hungry giant, riddle game, marrying the princess — of the days when he has a home. Because this is his first time telling stories round the campfire since then.

Could the riddle game be a clue? The existence of such a thing, anyway, pointing to the cultural existence of riddles like the Lackless one?


Chapter 80 is Tone

The tonal language.

The next day Marten trains Hespe and Dedan and Tempi and Kvothe stay in camp. Kvothe is bored. He can’t play the lute because the sound would have carried for miles. He tries to talk to Tempi. Tempi negotiates the distance to stand at — saying it’s different for different people. Kvothe asks him to teach him his language, and Tempi agrees. Ademic is tonal, unlike the three languages Kvothe already knows. After learning some, Kvothe wonders about songs in a tonal language, and asks. Tempi doesn’t know the word, so Kvothe sings. Tempi has expressions, which he normally doesn’t, and he says there are no Adem songs and it’s complicated.

And we’ll start next time from 81.



The Department of Imaginary Sympathy is delighted to announce the promotion of Silentia, Thurule, Carbonel, Mr Awesome, and David C to E’lir.

Great comments last week, as always.

Jo Walton is a science fiction and fantasy writer. She’s published two poetry collections and nine novels, most recently Among Others, and if you liked this post you will like it. She reads a lot, and blogs about it here regularly. She comes from Wales but lives in Montreal where the food and books are more varied.

Steven Halter
1. stevenhalter
It is a bit amusing how Kvothe keeps thinking Dedan is thick for not recognizing that Hespe is flirting with him when Kvothe has been thick about Denna for so very long now.
2. greggors
I thought 'black hands' was a Tehlin expression similar to christians swearing over the stigmata. Only in this case black since Tehlu was burned instead of crucified. Would be especially meaningful for Kvothe with how much he worries about his own hands
Claire de Trafford
3. Booksnhorses
These are some of the chapters that I skimmed through at first and really appreciated the comments in the re-read to appreciate, so thanks guys.
Steven Halter
4. stevenhalter
@Jo:I kind of wondered about Kvothe's "a little healthy fear" comment also. So far, all of the positive people in leadership that Kvothe has been exposed to (his father, Kilven, the headmaster as examples) seem to not use fear as a part of their repertoire of leadership skills.
It sounds almost like a line he has read from some tale/book rather than something he has learned by observing. "Leadership Methods by The Duke of Gibbea."

On the other hand, he is doing pretty well for a 16 year old thrown in command of a band of mercenaries. His use of psychology on Dedan at the Inn was a much better tactic.
Hello There
5. praxisproces
@4 Shalter, I totally agree. I think though this fits very cleanly into some of the observations people have made about Kvothe trusting his own gifts so much he bulls forward into trouble. The idea of leading through mystery and drama and misdirection and stagecraft and his magical powers appeals to the worse parts of Kvothe's personality, and throughout this section we see him shifting back and forth between wiser and more reliable leadership techniques - like the inn thing - and more childish, trouper-style leadership like making them fear his powers.

I wonder if this isn't a hint about the catastrophe? Maybe it's that kind of gamesmanship he can't seem to resist, even in the most important moments, that causes whatever the big break is between the story world and the frame world?
Don Barkauskas
6. bad_platypus
In my hardcover of the book, Tempi actually says 15 words, not 16. ("No. I will not speak on Lethani. It is not for you. Do not ask.") Nit-picky, I know, but does anyone with a softcover/e-book know if this has been changed?
Jo Walton
7. bluejo
Bad Platypus -- that's the same in my ARC. The softcover isn't out yet -- how my aching wrists wish it were! And isn't it about time... but it was March. It hasn't even been a year yet. We can't even start hoping for D3 for a long time.

(But now would be good. I feel like I'm ready for it now.)
8. mr. awesome

I remember seeing a blog post about that mistake. PR said it'd been changed in the later editions of the book.
Skip Ives
9. Skip
@7 Jo, he did get 36,716 words done on D3 in November. Yes, that's right, he participated in NaNoWriMo. The book description is "A guy named Kvothe runs around and does a lot of stuff."

I'm on the train for an hour each way to and from work, so I love reading on my iPad. So much lighter than lugging around a hardcover.
10. Dominiquex
@4 & @5
I agree. The whole "I'm only 16ish but I'm wicked smart and have all these skills and I'm a natural performer, so of course I can lead a band of experienced middle aged warriors and I'll do it by using mystery and magic" thing comes up in fantasy fairly frequently, so it's something we often pass by without really thinking about. In reality, it's an absolutely horrifying and terrible idea, nearly sociopathic. It's very dark and arrogant, and becomes moreso as his anti-bandit actions continue. Which I think is something PR wants us to realize - this is not your average fantasy. This is as real as it gets. The situations and abilities of the characters might be fantastic, but these are real people who face real consequences for their actions. This theme is perhaps something more associated with GRRM's writing, but I think PR's is perhaps all the more visceral because of how deep into Kvothe's being the reader gets. Gives me chills thinking about D3 - whether catastrophe or eucatastrophe, reality and consequences are going to catch up with Kvothe in a big way before we're contemporaneous with the frame.
11. elephants
@10 "In reality, it's an absolutely horrifying and terrible idea, nearly sociopathic."

I agree with this, but I didn't really see these wilderness scenes as portraying K as power hungry or overly manipulative. He was settling for fear, in my opinion, not aiming for it. He wasn't even really thrilled about the fear, he just sort of wryly accepted it, which in my opinion is much more ethically acceptable.

I kind of wish that they had criticized the sociopathic model though, because I think that kind of criticism is actually really good. I think that sort of criticism fits with Rothfuss's overall theme of "mistakes" within this book (forgive me for pinning him down to one theme, sorry) even if that criticism might not particularly shine within this scene. Hopefully we'll see criticisms of this sort later on, because I definitely like the idea and the reframing of traditional fantasy narratives.
12. Dominiquex
No, I'm not saying Kvothe is not actually sociopathic (although from what I understand this is more of a criminology term in modern usage, whereas I'm more familiar with the psych & medical term "antisocial personality disorder" which does not necessarily carry entirely the same meaning). Probably more narcissistic than anything, with some conduct disorder thrown in. But there is no doubt that he cares for others and has empathy. I would say he's extremely manipulative though (manipulation is his primary mode of interacting with everyone he does not immediately perceive as a friend). He's also capable of being a skilled con artist (the clothes in Tarbean, to some extent the entire Vint/bandit-hunting episode). Not to mention his rather amoral take on the whole Duke of Gibea thing. I mean, he did spend some of his formative years being raised by the streets of Tarbean and had an atypical childhood before that, so I'm not saying that many of these traits are not to some degree understandable. I would say that story-Kvothe is an adolescent on the edge - he has some very disturbing traits and behaviors that could very easily veer into him becoming a very disturbing person. From what we've seen of frame-Kote and his hints about where he later ended up as Kvothe, he seems to have turned away from that personality eventually. But I would say his spikes of antisocial behavior get worse from here out. Actually, come to think of it, he kind of reminds me of an Episode II Anakin Skywalker killing an entire village of sentient beings in a blind rage (and we know how that turned out. Not that I don't find this storytelling infinitely better than the above reference. Oh well).
13. elephants
"I would say that story-Kvothe is an adolescent on the edge - he has some
very disturbing traits and behaviors that could very easily veer into
him becoming a very disturbing person."

Yeah, this is the part that I'm not seeing in the story. He's pragmatic. There's nothing really disturbing about that to me. He acts for the greater good. That's also fine with me; I can understand why someone would do that.

Just because Kvothe tells lies doesn't make him dangerous. Just because he uses fear as a tool when he has to doesn't mean he could turn into a supervillain. His other good traits clearly outweigh the bad ones.
Steven Halter
14. stevenhalter
Kvothe does a lot of things impulsively without thinking through the consequences. In lighting the fire with sympathy, he wanted to impress his group. He didn't think through that they were likely to be frightened and then afterward he ratrionalized the outcome with his “I’d like respect, but failing that a little healthy fear can go a long way.” thought--fear wasn't his original plan but he didn't think it through, he just lucked out.
If the followers had been more superstitious the outcome could have been much worse like "Burn the witch!" or "Run away!"
Rob Munnelly
15. RobMRobM
@14 - "He turned me into a newt....I got better."
Steven Halter
16. stevenhalter
@15:Exactly. :-) Maybe Elodin turned Kvothe into a shrubbery and forgot to water him. Then when he pruned him he became Kote with a cut flower aspect. The tree on the covers is clearly the mightiest tree in the forest and poor Kote is without an herring. It all fits. ;-)
Andrew Mason
17. AnotherAndrew
My (UK large paperback) edition gives Tempi the same fifteen words.

Do people find it significant at all that Tempi looks like Simmon? (Or, as it later turns out that all Adem look rather similar, that Simmon looks like an Adem?)
18. Dominiquex
@13 @14
I'm not saying that I don't like Kvothe and that I don't find a lot of his traits/actions understandable. But I think the appropriateness and reasonableness of his actions are heavily influenced by the Kvothe filter and our expectations of the genre. Which normally I would just let be, but PR gives me the feeling that he may be doing more. But of course his actions sound pragmatic and reasonable to us - we're seeing the story unfold from within his own head. I'm not necessarily saying he's actually a super villain in the making, but how many times have we seen an antihero made interesting by hearing his side of the story? Iit's possible that Haliax/Lanre might even have a story not totally dissimilar from his own perspective - which is something that's hinted to us with Denna's song.

Kvothe didn't spur all this thought on my part by just lighting a little fire to make some much older mercenaries respect him, it was just the opening act of a trend that culminates with other actions that I have in mind. I'm getting a little ahead of the reread here, but I found his method of subduing the bandit camp horrifying. Not the lightening (it is a fantasy story after all) but methodically using the body of one mercenary to intentionally stab, cut, and slit open others. It's not necessarily a normal method of fighting. It's very gruesome and is much closer contact than regular combat. And I font think we're supposed to brush it off either - Kvothe himself is sickened by it to some degree while the experienced warrior Marten beside him is horrified and shocked. Then there's also the bandit/false-Ruh attack near the end of the book. Yes they were bad people, he was one guy, and he needed some way to both rescue the girls and prevent them from continuing to harm others and blacken the Ruh reputation, but I find myself thinking of what it takes for a 16 year old to find it in his self to do that. Its pretty dark. And I don't think PR is necessarily shying away from that either. Overall, I think my original statement about story-Kvothe being a youth on the edge holds.
Nathan Love
19. n8love
@4, 5, others
I think Kvothe's use of fear here is situationally correct. The examples of good leadership he has are from people in positions and of an age that tend to command more inherent respect. I don't think you can juxtapose the psychological trick he uses with the fear he instills via his sympathy; the former only works because of the latter. We can all see that logic, as a motivation, is right out for Dedan. Positive reinforcement alone would only cause him to listen until either the resources for them ran out or he decided he wanted to be in charge more than he wanted whatever was offered. After the basic "why you should listen to me" perameters are set, you can reinforce the dynamic with reward (drinks at the inn).

@9 Skip
Not all 36k+ words were on D3. Blog
Nathan Love
21. n8love
@9 Skip
Not all 36k+ words were on D3. Blog
Ashley Fox
22. A Fox
I think the things we are discussing here-and which these events ae clearly a build up too-are the issues the Adem have with K. His wrongness they sense in him, what they even consider killing him over.

What I find qute interesting is this 'wrongness' is often laid at the feet of the Ctheath, or K's interactions with it. Hence its reputation for evi etc. But actully these traits/'wrongness' are clearly already within K.

However come what may in D3, in the frame we see him take a perfect step. So wherever the 'wrongness' takes him, or choices it leads him too, he learns from it. This is why I am a supporter of the frame being part of K's beautiful game...we just dont quite comprhend the stakes yet...I rather suspect we have met/heard of all the pieces tho.

I will add; The Duke of G. People seem to be under the impression that K believes his actions were justified, that the end was worth the means. I actually read it that however the knowledge was gained-and he awknologes it was afwul-it would be ridiculous not to use that knowledge. That the works of G shuld not be spurned becuase of how they were gained. It has already happened, nobody can undo it, or change the horrors. But they can take what was learned and use it to save countless others. It is made clear in the text that most f the teachings in the Medica are based on G's discoveries.

In how wrld the Nazis committed similar horrors and experiments. They were evil, theres no escaping that. But what if during this they discovered the cure for cancer or some such? Would it then become immoral to use that cure? Of course not.

Using such knowledge does not mean you support the means in which it was gained, or seek/support to continue the use of such means.

In this section I cant help but feel that K almost regresses; at Uni he seems more mature as mostly there is a smaller age gap between him and his fellow students...its easier for him to mimic their level of maturity. Here is is surrounded by proper grown-ups (lol) it makes him seem even more of a teen in comparison...specially as he has command and this forces the issue of his maturity. Notice how he also latches onto Tempi, the youngest member (and apparently mentally 'young'/stupid as well according to the Adem!). Is not just his mystery but the comfort of similarity.

It seems to me that PR has emphasied K's youth here to contrast/make clearer the time that passes in Faen. When he comes out he has reached that point in his age where he is starting to realise he doesnt know everything. Actualy this is an area where I thought it could have been a bit smoother. While PR is never a clumsy writer this part felt a tad forced. (Say when comparing to the allusions to how it relates to frame which are very well done)

Something I find quite interesting. People find K's reactions/actions dark and wrong; Tarbean, healthy fear, what he does to the bandits. Yes this is very dark....but he has gone through/been confronted with things, the Chandrian, that most other people have not. Its sucha darkness which is always a formative part of a hero.....or leads to a vilian. The prequel to the crux. Ok im tired this isnt making much sense s it? Amywho a theme find very interesting; how a hero is born...and what perspective makes that person a hero rather than a villian.
George Brell
23. gbrell
Some quick thoughts. Super-long post coming this weekend, work permitting.

Rothfuss has said in interviews that NotW is a book about a child becoming a young man whereas WMF is a book about a young man growing into adulthood. I think we've picked up on a lot of this transition and I think that his time in Fae plays a pivotal role in that. This brings up a number of connotations to the role of sex and sexual awakening in growing out of adolescence, but I think that might best be left for a different re-read.

Kvothe's actions in this section are ones he often takes without thinking. This is interesting because in NotW he specifically says that some of his best actions were taken without thinking about them, which pushes back against the idea that he's learned something in the frame story.

What's interesting here are the unintended consequences that result. By over-impressing Marten, Dedan and Hespe, Kvothe ends up creating the fertile ground that starts the majority of his own stories. It is an element that allows his later actions to become similar to those of Taborlin the Great.

With regards to his actions with the body, I disagree strongly with @18.Dominiquex. While the actions are rather gruesome, I don't recognize anything inherently sacrosanct about the human body. It was unusual, but that does not mean it was immoral. Faced with a life and death situation, Kvothe tooks the means necessary to achieve his goal. The bandit/Ruh attack is a little more extreme, but I would argue follows the same pattern.

He is a Ciridae (explicitly per Auri). The ends justify the means and he is beyond reproach. It's an interesting juxtaposition because, at the high point of his arc, one assumes that he was literally beyond reproach because " Kvothe" and, in the frame story, he is presumed dead and so also beyond reproach. But what the first person perspective in the narrative and Kvothe's actions in the frame demonstrate is that his internal self is consistently reproaching his actions. I imagine we'll talk more about her, but I found it fascinating that the elderly healer woman actually plays a huge role in buttressing Kvothe's belief that his actions were justified (perhaps a secret Amyr?).

And I hope that most people have connected the Tiberian quote:

“I’d like respect, but failing that a little healthy fear can go a long way."

with Machiavelli:

"hether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved? It may be answered that one should wish to be both, but, because it is difficult to unite them in one person, is much safer to be feared than loved."

I don't myself agree with it, but there's a reason it's still taught in political science.

@22.A Fox:

While I agree with your position, there is a large body of discourse over the morality of using Nazi research regardless of its beneficial effects. I don't find it particularly convincing, but people make and accept such arguments.

Further discussion of Kvothe vis-a-vis the Duke of Gibea isn't likely to be too productive considering an entire thread of it (two or three reread posts ago resulted in no consensus).
24. Dominiquex
@22 @23
Let me clarify what exactly I find horrifying about the body-killing. Now I do personally find something, not necessarily sacrosanct, but worth respecting in a body that once held a human being. And let me put it out there that unlike most, I have actually cut and sawed into a deceased human body (I'm in the medical field) so I'm familiar with the sensation. But philosophical differences aside, it is really something about the process with respect to the living victims that is disturbing. This is not the same kind of action as fighting someone with a sword or even slitting someone's throat close up. He sympathetically bound the dead body before him to the living bodies of the bandits in the camp, so that the damage he inflicted on the body would be done to the focus of the binding. This means that the action the living men were capable of taking to defend themselves was rendered moot by the defenselessness of the dead body. Which makes the action of slitting their throat, etc., not so much like actually going up to them and slitting their throat, but like walking up to a completely conscious, awake person who is paralyzed on the ground before you and (with immense effort, because of the slippage) deliberating, slowly forcing a knife through their throat. Seems pretty freakin dark to me. :shrug:

I'm actually surprised to see that others don't find Kvothe a somewhat dark character. It seemed like PR's other characters react to him as such in these situations. It seems like PR writes in a way to leads to regard K, not as a "fantasy character," but like a real-life person in a somewhat fantastical setting. And in real life, I'm pretty sure this is not a guy you want in your life; we have ample frame evidence that intentionally or not he as been somewhat of a plague on those who knew him. Then again, I don't personally regard Auri's statement as confirming his Ciridae-ness either. Oh well, half the fun of these kinds of tales is having an individual internal experience of the plot, and half the fun of forums like this is seeing how your interpretations match up with others.
25. Freelancer
The best method of defeating one's enemy in battle is whatever method ends them and keeps you alive. This was what Kvothe had available to him, and he used it.

As for how dark of a character he is, a careful read describes his own significant, though brief, hesitance to do so, but it has long before this been established that Kvothe is one to act, not ponder. Simmon told him in the Archives that the world needs more people like him, who will do what is necessary to correct a situation, even if there is a cost. After the fight in the forest ends, he examines what he did to the dead body, and his revulsion is enough that he loses the contents of his stomach. He took no pleasure in, nor did he desire to, desecrate a body so. In order to survive, he employed the tools available to him, even though there is an emotional cost associated with doing so. Simmon is right, there needs to be people willing to pay such costs.

I submit that Kvothe is capable of very dark actions, but is not inherently so very dark. He almost invariably acts with good intentions. Yes, I know about that road so paved, but it is a valid criteria of judgement. To save those about whom I care greatly, I would be prepared to take fairly grim actions. The difference is in whether I am acting in malice, or in opposition to malice. And in that sense, I would certainly accept a Kvothe among my friends, someone who would willingly act as a foil against an Ambrose. Both are willing to do get dirty (well, in Ambrose's case, to order dirty things done on his behalf), but with opposite goals in view.
George Brell
26. gbrell

I agree with you that there's something horrifying about Kvothe's means. But I don't see it as much more horrifying than someone using a sniper rifle or an unmanned drone. In all of these cases, the person being struck is defenseless. That is terrifying.

I think where our disagreement is centers on the definition of the term "dark." I think of "dark" in the literary/story context as implying moral greyness or straight-up immorality. Fear does not equal immorality in my moral calculus.

I don't know that people don't find Kvothe a morally ambiguous character. He certainly breaks laws and social conventions fairly often, but I think the reader forgives him, both consciously and unconsciously. Consciously, because we see his reasoning/intent or the circumstances he acts in (we forgive Kvothe's trespasses against Ambrose because he's a tool). Unconsciously, because it is hard to actively question a protagonist of a story and, once you do, such questioning often turns rapidly into dislike (e.g., Cersei in Game of Thrones).

I cannot deny, however, that his actions in Levinshir struck me as dark. Not so much his killing of the bandits, but the fact that he decided that he would be the arbiter: judge, jury and executioner. I am blanking on attribution, but there's a quote bouncing around in my head along the lines of: "there is nothing as terrifying as someone who is certain that they are right."

I think we ignore the darker aspects of Kvothe's nature because he hasn't yet done something flagrantly immoral. He hasn't intentionally killed someone truly innocent or sacrificed a friend or left someone to die. But I think that may be where Rothfuss is heading with this story. Kvothe is paving his way to hell (the frame story) with nothing but good intentions. And if Kvothe does cross the line from grey to black, I think we'll get a lot of darkness.
27. mr. awesome
I am blanking on attribution, but there's a quote bouncing around in my head along the lines of: "there is nothing as terrifying as someone who is certain that they are right."

This type of thing seems in line with what Rothfuss believes, however...

I cannot deny, however, that his actions in Levinshir struck me as dark. Not so much his killing of the bandits, but the fact that he decided that he would be the arbiter: judge, jury and executioner.

I feel like Rothfuss is a relativist (kinda). As such, he'd accept that K has no one's moral system to act upon except K's own moral system. That means K's actions are justified if K believes that the men deserved to die, which he did. The idea that being judge, jury, and executioner is inherently bad is wrong, it's only when the person with those roles is overconfident or powerhungry that it becomes a problem. Subordinating one's individual conscience to the moral decrees of others doesn't seem like Rothfuss would get behind.

So basically I agree that K's overconfident which will be bad, but disagree that being judge, jury, and executor will have anything to do with the bad thing (except that it allows for K's overconfidence to manifest in bad decisions).

The important difference is that it's not K's arrogance in taking the decision away from the Maer which was bad, but his haste in making the judgement (even if this judgement wasn't hasty, others have been, this example is just meant to illustrate the overall point).

If I'm right, it'll be interesting to see how he balances between the two, because I acknowledge that they do have some similarities in application and that they do interact in unusual ways.
Nathan Love
28. n8love
Gah, I need more map clickies! And I need to read "Delposet's ridiculous tripe". Prophetic Powers is pretty accurate so far. Off topic, yes, but I'm between books right now so naturally I'm digging more in the 4Cs.
David C
29. David_C
Is it in this read or the last that Marten drops hints about him and Hespe and Dedan having spent time in the area around Tinuë? Is this the first reference to Tinuë?

In the last set of posts there were questions about the Maer’s motivation in sending Kvothe out of Severin, but what is Cinder’s motiviation in engaging in highway robbery? Is this political terrorism aimed at driving a schism between the Maer and the King, or is banditry just something that Cinder is up to while killing time, or while trying to acomplish something completely else?

I keep trying to make broad guesses at the arc of D3.

I imagine a classic journey, à la Tolkien / Brooks, starting with action in Imre and related places. It seems clear that K is likely to have more encounters with Puppet, and that someone will break cobble-stones.
Then something drives Kvothe from the University. I imagine him following the great road. I keep imagining that Analin will be important because of repeated Denna/Kvothe connections. Then mountain-ward towards and perhaps through Tinuë. The Cthaeh seems to suggest that contact with Alveron will lead Kvothe to the Amyr and/or the Lackless door. (Is the Waystone Inn built around the Lackless door?) Whether he makes a detour to the far NE to meet the singers I haven’t yet worked out.

I’m getting ahead of the re-read here. More on why I think that K comes back through Vintas when we get back to Severin. Back to Tinuë. I think that there is a nexus of events in northern Vintas: the Cthaeh, the old Lackless lands, the Waystone Inn, Tinuë, holes in the map, and The Great Stone Road. What else do we know about Tinue?

A future question regarding Hespe. Who is she to know a story not well-known to the Edemah Ruh? What is her matrilineal heritage?
David C
30. David_C
What follows is some irrelevant moral philosophising:

In @27. mr. awesome writes:
The idea that being judge, jury, and executioner is inherently bad is wrong, it's only when the person with those roles is overconfident or powerhungry that it becomes a problem.

It’s not only a problem when the person with those roles is overconfident or power-hungry, it’s also a problem when the “judge, jury, and executioner” is wrong. A moral system founded on the supposition that people make (serious) mistakes only through overconfidence is bound to lead a history with lots of Hatfields and McCoys (or Montagues and Capulets). The question of how to deal with the possibility of being wrong lies at the heart of the difference between law and justice.
George Brell
31. gbrell
This wasn’t the post I set out to write today, but it ended up being the most interesting avenue my random reading took me down. I’m not sure that it reaches a conclusion, but I haven’t seen this material put together in one place before.

On Angels, Naming and Stars

One of my favorite scenes in the Wise Man’s Fear (and, indeed, the whole series), is Kvothe’s confrontation with Felurian. Aided no doubt by Rothfuss’s talent with metaphor and imagery, the entire battle feels at once epic and intensely personal while simultaneously giving the reader his or her first view of the broader power and scope of Naming.

The power of Naming is certainly magical, but rather than manifesting primarily as an external force, Naming appears to arise from a profoundly internal understanding, whether that be of a person, an object or an element. When Kvothe first “arrives” at his state of understanding, he describes it:

“I felt as if this was the only time in my life I had been fully awake. Everything looked clear and sharp, as if I was seeing with a new set of eyes. As if I wasn’t bothering with my eyes at all, and was looking at the world directly with my mind.

I looked at Felurian, and in that moment I understood her down to the bottoms of her feet.
But now, looking into Felurian’s twilight eyes, I understood her far beyond the bottoms of her feet. Now I knew her to the marrow of her bones. Her eyes were like four lines of music, clearly penned. My mind was filled with the sudden song of her. I drew a breath and sang it out in four hard notes.”
-Wise Man’s Fear, p.640.

It is worth pointing out that Bast, when threatening Chronicler at the end of Name of the Wind, identifies the difference in their respective powers with, what I had assumed was a euphemism:

“You are not wise enough to fear me as I should be feared. You do not know the first note of the music that moves me.”
-Name of the Wind, p. 661.

Putting aside this brief digression (though it certainly adds substance to a discussion of the relationship between Naming and music), I wish to consider the immediate observations that come to Kvothe in this new-found state and what external effects they have on him.

When Felurian challenges him, after he first sings the song of her, he describes her:

“She was as lovely as the moon. Her power hung about her like a mantle. It shook the air. It spread behind her like a pair of vast and unseen wings.”
-Wise Man’s Fear, p. 641.

The only other archetype to be identified with such wings are the angels in Skarpi’s story. They are described as follows:

“They came to Aleph, and he touched them. He touched their hands and eyes and hearts. The last time he touched them there was pain, and wings tore from their backs that they might go where they wished. Wings of fire and shadow. Wings of iron and glass. Wings of stone and blood.”
-Name of the Wind, p. 188.

Kvothe then proceeds to crush Felurian’s nascent power:

“I sang again, and this time I was full of rage. I shouted out the four hard notes of song. I sang them tight and white and hard as iron. And at the sound of them, I felt her power shake then shatter, leaving nothing in the empty air but ache and anger."
-Wise Man’s Fear, p. 641.

Second brief digression: I wonder if the use of "hard as iron" here is simply metaphorical or is relevant to the fact that the Fae cannot stand the touch of iron. Is he literally crafting her name into that of Iron, creating some kind of internal paradox, or is this simply Rothfuss's poetic bent?

Returning to the story, Kvothe retreats from killing her. He dismisses his power, sending it to “play among the trees.” And then, something fascinating happens:

“I sat. She reclined. We looked each other over for several long minutes. Her eyes flashed from fear to caution to curiosity. I saw myself reflected in her eyes, naked among the cushions. My power rode like a white star on my brow.
Felurian looked at me curiously. I could still see myself reflected in her eyes, the star on my forehead no more than a pinprick of light. Then even the perfect vision of my sleeping mind began to fade. I looked desperately at the world around me. I tried to memorize the sight of it, unblinking.”
-Wise Man’s Fear, p. 642.

This is fascinating because the “white star” is described first as simile, as an approximation for an internal perception. But we then find that it is reflected in Felurian’s eyes implying that it is a physical manifestation. And we have seen such a manifestation before (or had it described to us):

“Then Aleph spoke their long names and they were wreathed in a white fire. The fire danced along their wings and they became swift. The fire flickered in their eyes and they saw into the deepest hearts of men. The fire filled their mouths and they sang songs of power. Then the fire settled on their foreheads like silver stars and they became at once righteous and wise and terrible to behold. Then the fire consumed them and they were gone forever from mortal sight."
-Name of the Wind, p. 188.

And is that not what Kvothe does at that moment? Does he not see into the deepest heart of Felurian. Does he not sing a song of power, the very song that moves Felurian, that lies at the heart of her being? And does he not have a silver star on his forehead that Felurian reacts to with fear (“terrible”), caution (“righteous”), and curiosity (“wise”)?

For a brief moment, Kvothe appears to have become an angel, a group that appears quite separate from the Amyr we have always assumed him to be destined to join. A group not committed to the greater good, but only to "punish or reward ... what witness."
Connan Haley
32. sabotenda
I've always thought cinder's mercenary actions seemed horribly out of character for one of the greatest 'evils,' assuming the chandrian are such. Why stoop to banditry when you're immortal (or near enough to it) and have no conceivable need for currency? I need to spend some time digging through my mind for justification, as I'm positive there's a reason he's doing the banditry with mortals for a specific purpose. A giant trap specifically to lure kvothe in? Stealing the maer's taxes to pay back a man 'close to the amyr?' I doubt it, but I'm sure weirder things have happened.

Also, @30:
what if the angels weren't angels in the christian sense? Not beings created by a controlling deity? Perhaps they were like kvothe was there for a moment, ultimate namers. We've seen how stories get distorted over time, and this one is quite old, older even than any story of the loeclos families. Could be something similar to a deification of poeple possessing powers no longer known or understood (somewhat like wheel of time's forsaken).

Last random thought. Where's savoy been? Can't recall a mention in ages.
33. beerofthedark
@31 - Awesome...just ... awesome.
Steven Halter
34. stevenhalter
@31:The fire/light on the brow description would seem to correspond to the "third eye/ajna chakra" location/ability. This "pathway" is referenced in a number of mystic traditions. PR seems to be building up a reference here.
The experience Kvothe has in the Felurian battle does seem very close to what is described in the mythic documents. It seems like the "singing" technique described is a more complete understanding than the general "naming" experience. In the naming events, the subject (so far) seems to be generally unaware (or unable to) of experiencing the "naming" in a conscious sense. The singer seems to be more aware although this higher level of consciousness also faded in Kvothes case at least.
35. mr. awesome
"It’s not only a problem when the person with those roles is
overconfident or power-hungry, it’s also a problem when the “judge,
jury, and executioner” is wrong. A moral system founded on the
supposition that people make (serious) mistakes only through
overconfidence is bound to lead a history with lots of Hatfields and
McCoys (or Montagues and Capulets).

Okay. Some problems here.

1. I never advocate "A moral system founded on the supposition that people make (serious) mistakes only through overconfidence". There's room for other types of moral mistakes under my central claim, which is that being a judge jury and executioner isn't morally wrong. This is also a distinct from claiming that the ONLY moral mistakes possible are from overconfidence. This is a stra(wo)man, although I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and suppose it's an accident.

2. Being a judge, jury and executioner isn't wrong because:
A. Literally every action or choice we make effects the external world. To not be judge, jury, and executioner is to sit and stare at one's navel all day, at best. This becomes even more problematic when one doesn't believe in the Act-Omission distinction.
B. Nowhere in your entire comment to you articulate a reason that being a judge, jury and executioner would lead to moral mistakes. You assert that it's responsible for the Hatfield-McCoy dispute and the Montegue-Capulet dispute, but you never articulate a reason that this is true.
C. The only system of evaluation that we have is our own. I can't access your interpretation of the moral (and physical) world through any locus other than my own interpretations. Because of this, any mistakes are reducible to internal contradictions. That means they can be further reduced to believing something which one should have been skeptical of according to one's own awareness. Otherwise it's just an accident.

3. I was actually trying to articulate PR's views, not mine, although they coincide in lots of places. He's had blog posts which say stuff like "it's hard to be a parent when you're a relativist" so it seems like regardless of whether relativism is correct, PR believes it is, therefore he didn't intend for K's actions to be seen as evil because K takes the law into his own hands.
36. Richard Hendricks
This has been awesome, and has encouraged me to re-read the books, with an eye towards paying attention to the little things.

I'm sure most of this has been discussed already, but here are some of my thoughts.

Meluan Lockless is referred to by Kvothe as the Lockless heir, so rights can travel down the female line:
Pg 497, "the Lackless heir wouldn't study so far from home"

I definitely suspect the killed king is Ambrose, but that he had *only just* become king. He married higher up the food chain than the Maer, and came back to the University to lord it over everyone. Then while he was showing off for Kvothe, pissed him off someone and ends up dead. Ironically, at the time he was King due to some convenient deaths further up, but the news will have not (or possibly will have) arrived. I could totally see Ambrose bragging to everyone how close he is to the King, but I imagine if there was news that he is King, his father would send guards along with the news.

This ends up making the Maer the king, and he is Penitent because he supported Kvothe Kingkiller while at University. This would also cause the rebellion between the Maer's faction and the Jakis faction.

Did anyone , mention that one of Denna's names in Severn did not start with D?
Pg 503, "He called her Alora, and so did I for the rest of the day."
What does that mean?

On Kvothe being a Chandrian, I think this is likely true, but not for the reasons most suspect. I think the Chandrian, to a certain extent, are defined as people who have talked to the Cthaeh. Lancre possibly talked to it to see the future, and was told about the destruction he would cause, and went crazy & did the destruction. The rest of the Seven are the other survivors of Cthaeh talks, hence Haliax telling Cinder that he protects him from the Sithe. This feeds into my suspicion that the signs of the Chandrian are not warnings, per se, but rather magical curses applied to them by the Sithe to track them down. This would also explain why Kvothe was able to get to the Cthaeh; the Sithe were out tracking the Chandrian, who are out and about causing trouble. (re: Cinder and the bandits)
Don Barkauskas
37. bad_platypus
Richard Hendricks @36: A minor nitpick, but...
I could totally see Ambrose bragging to everyone how close he is to the King, but I imagine if there was news that he is King, his father would send guards along with the news.
If Ambrose were King, wouldn't his father already be dead?
Steven Halter
38. stevenhalter
In Chapter 78, "Another Road, Another Forest", there is the following exchange:
“I can’t believe I’m defending tax collectors,” Dedan muttered disgustedly. Hespe gave a throaty laugh.
“You’re defending civilization,” I corrected. “And you’re keeping the roads safe. Besides, Maer Alveron does important things with those taxes.” I grinned. “Like pay us.”
“That’s what I’m fighting for,” Marten said.
On the surface, this shows us that our group is on the side of rightness ("civilization") and getting paid.
However, Kvothe is providing the casual definition of civilization being the status quo in which the group finds themselves and the good representing the person who is paying them. The Maer seems to be relatively benign from what we have seen of him, but we haven't seen much of what life is really like. However benign it may appear, it is still a feudal system and we have seen that many of the lords take full advantage of that.
As a couple have noted (and we'll get to more) we don't really have any idea why the bandits are waylaying the tax collectors. A simple get rich scheme seems unlikely to need the involvement of Cinder. Cinder's reveal is also meant to predispose us to think that the bandits must have been doing something bad.
The defense of the status quo is not necessarily (very often not at all) the defense of "good." Kvothe's invocation of "civilization" as the banner under which they march seems a bit cavalier. He hasn't thought through, at all, what there are doing there beyond that he has been hired to do so.
All of this is a bit abstract and is almost certainly beyond the mercenary company. That Kvothe (with some amount of education) doesn't seem to consider implication beyond what might be beneficial to him seems interesting. That we (readers) should consider what is really going on seems quite useful.
David C
39. David_C
Still mainly off-topic:
Solipsism is logically indefensible and internally consistent, at least without Occam’s razor, so I’ll start from the premise that there are other moral agents, many of whom behave in a manner somewhat similar to me.
I’ll also start from the assumption that I only very very rarely recognize in the present tense that I am wrong. Wrong is something that I (or you or she) was in the past. Once I realize that I am wrong, I start being right again. However, there is a very real chance that I am wrong at any given time, and that, at that time, I won’t recognize it.
In non-moral contexts we engineer around this. Planes have pilots and co-pilots and check-lists. Forest-fire fighters work in teams and have procedures. Which isn’t to say that such people sit and stare at their navel all day, or fail to make judgments and act on them. However, such people act in a context where bad judgments are (hopefully) caught and corrected by peers.
In some moral contexts, we also engineer to allow for error. Part of that engineering is to separate the roles of prosecutor, judge, and jury. I’m arguing that it is precisely this engineering that tends to prevent harm from arising from moral mistakes. I'm arguing that it is precisely in the recognition that I may be wrong that I start to act like a civilized person.
Back on topic:

Is Kvothe becoming the revenge-fantasy protagonist? I tend to think not. His actions in the Eld are those of a soldier/police officer/mercenary acting to save his own life. It’s only after the fact that he recognizes that he is fighting the Chandrian again. However, the post-Ademre rescue of the two girls scares me in its narrative similarity to revenge fantasies. I’m hoping that this moment of moral absolutism exists primarily to advance the plot, to further the forces of the Nethalia/Meluan schism. Is Kote’s tacit support for Kvothe’s actions here a mirror of PR’s own position, or is PR playing a deeper game: setting up K’s tragic flaw to be K’s inability to see beyond his own moral imperative?
Alice Arneson
40. Wetlandernw
Jumping in for the moment on the "judge, jury and exectutioner"... (David_C - good arguments! "mr. awesome" - David took exactly what you said and argued against it. If you meant something other than what you said, you should have said it differently.) There is a very good reason that the three roles are normally separated. If the jury (generally a plurality) decides the party is guilty of the crime for which he is being tried, the judge decides what the appropriate punishment will be, and the executioner carries it out. When a single person presumes to take upon himself all three roles, there is no check on his decision. Not that a jury can't agree and still be wrong, but a single person who is wrong and yet carries out the death sentence based solely on his own judgement has just commited another crime. There certainly are RL situations in which an individual is lawfully (even if it's a stupid law) responsible for all three roles, and that's one thing, but does Kvothe lawfully hold that position in this situation?

Loosely related... I, too, have wondered what Cinder was up to with these bandits. The only thing I've come up with so far is that Cinder is after something else, and the banditry is only a cover for it. We don't really know all that much about the Maer. Is he having something else - something Cinder wants - brought to him under cover of "taxes"? Or is it nothing to do with the Maer, and the presence of the bandits hides some other activity for Cinder? Or... yeah, I wonder about this. Because, like others, I see no reason for Cinder to care in the least about stealing the Maer's gold.

shalter @38 - I would argue that in defending "civilization" they are not simply defending the status quo. They are (at least up until Kvothe starts killing everyone in sight, at which point it might be open for debate) defending the laws of the land. One assumes, anyway, that stealing is generally against the law, whether you're stealing apples from a farmer's orchard, a girl from a village, or a box of gold from the Maer. Tax collection, while it may sometimes be unethical, is usually lawful; stealing the collected taxes is unlawful.
Steven Halter
41. stevenhalter
@40:"The laws of the land" in this case represent the status quo. Since the Maer seems fairly benign at this point and we haven't seen much of everyday life it is difficult to cast him in the role of a tyrant. However, he is representative of some form of absolute titular nobility--by another name a dictator. So, supporting the laws of the land may or may not be a good thing.
For the purposes of the story, there are a few things that seem suspicious:
1) The Maer doesn't really seem that concerned about his taxes being stolen. Why send an untrained minstrel out as a bandit hunter? (He seems more concerend with just getting Kvothe out from under foot.)
we have the little chat about defending civilization among our merry band.
2) The later presence of Cinder as the bandit leader. This is a fairly large pointer to something big going on.
3) The "defending civilization" chat. PR is drawing our attention there.
I can't point to where this will all lead, but I think that by the end of D3 we may be able to tie the "bandit hunt" together with some events of which we aren't currently aware.
42. ryan7273
I doubt that Cinder cares about the Maer's taxes or the Maer in general. It is just a convenient way to increase bandit activity in the area. What does he gain from increased bandit activity? PR may be giving us a hint with the reason the Maer gives for wanting the roads safer. These are the roads leading to the Lackless lands. So maybe Cinder is just promoting lawlessness for the sake of lawlessness or maybe there is a good reason for the Chandrian to want the Lackless lands to be harder for travelers to reach. The bandit activity could also be an elaborate ruse. Steal everything so that when you steal the one thing you want, nobody notices. Could he have wanted to eventually steal the Lackless box? Maybe it's a little of each. Nothing says that the Chandrian can't be subtle and have multiple reasons for every move they make.
Ashley Fox
43. A Fox
I see some interesting theories have come up again.

Cinder & the Bandits; when we last discussed this I supported the idea that Cinder was actually looking for something-the Bandits were there for physical labour of looking and stopping others realising what they were up too, the bandits probably didnt know who Cinder was, or perhaps they did, what they stole inc taxes was a sweetner/pay.

The location is important. The Eld, the oldest untouched part of the Four Corners, it has the Great Road running through it, its probably one the locations of one of the cities clostest to Myr Tariniel. Perhaps Faraniel....or Drossen Tor. It is the Locus & oldest part of the Lackless lands (whether or not they are still in Lackless possesion). It is near Tinue. The Eld grants easier access to Faen-without a Waystone, as demonstrated with Felurian.

*******Sorry it wont let me C&P! part in ** is separate point to Eld

Judge Jury &Excuctioner; Im with David C, well put. You got Lethani! Pow.

I mean thats exactly what the Lethani does; it examines a problem from every aspect, weighing and judging, to find the right way of solving said problem. The Adem of course travel outside of their lands, away from the ability to discuss Lethani with their people so have to rely on themselves. They are put into role of JJE but have Lethani to make sure that the pitfalls of such a situation do not trip them up. K clearly does not have the Lethani yet (bandits) so whilst the theory that JJE is ok...for him, now, at his point in is not. He does not have a means of second guessing his decision/action so it will be flawed by his own perspective/prejudice/belief/ignorance. Of course as they story progresses, even when he does start to understand the Lethani, the Adem still have serious doubts. So its of a certainty that this is K's key flaw. ********

It has been supposed that Faraniel contains the Circle of Waystones, the heart of the Lockless secret, in the heart of their lands. The Doors of Stone. We have also supposed that each part of the Lockless family holds a secret, what if each is a secret to each door? Likely to be Seven (things under her black dress).

The common use of 'angel' still bothers me. Its a sanctified Tehlin aproximation, not a literal being. One of the catchwords of the theme of how truth gets twisted with the re-telling of a story.(and each time I see K and Bast sharing that look). Singers. Im really glad this is more excepted now, that K has the potencial of a singer (that he did in the wilderness after his parents dies and again with felurian). And lol...yeah like Ultimate Naming.

Interesting perspective on the old tale and description of K with his power on. I dont think its been so clearly quoted bfore :D I will add that we must consider Alue-we know he is a Shaper, he apparently shaped the Stars and world etc. (lends credence to those who suppose that the 4c is not an 'original' world but one Shaped before Faen. Worlds within Worlds.)

As we see the singers call their power. Then Alue Shapes them-in a form within which they can maintain this power constantly. Mmmm so perhaps Shaping them out of the 4c's time stream? Much like Faen in outside of it? If K can pull a Singer aura without the aid of a Shaper it follows that they could too-likely for longer, wilingly with more knowledge as a least some of them must have had experiance? (sure maybe not the little girl, but Tehlu was likely a prominant figure in Faraniel/Drossen Tor/ Tinue area. Lockless an' all that).

This of course does make more sense of the stories of singers in a far away land and Tehlu's return. T's return-the shaping was undone (by Alue or Tehlu? Or by an action whitnessed-what action?) and he returned to the 4c's time fully. He woud still have his Singing abilities/powers to fight Haliax. Who is quite clearly not dead. Is Tehlu? Or did he return to his Shape once the revenge had taken place? (Im kinda thinking he must be dead. The alternative means he is quite dim as he was around during Lanre's curse so would know the details-like Haliax being beyound death) Its also interesting that Tehlu and Haliaxs battle offers you a matyr whichever perspective you follow.

Far away singers. People with the ability to Sing-good for healing by all accounts-but have not been Shaped into Singers. The humanity of the Singers (Tehlu) is questionable so this likely has an effect on the level of power. Greater as magic seems generally less powerful in present 4c's. I have a suspicion that the place these far away singers go to train makes the Uni look like an under-funded BTech. Has Elodin been there?

Oh and Rothfuss is auction a giant fortune cookie with part of, handwritten, D3 in it for Worldbuilders! Damn you poverty! His blog as piks, details. I want that cookie.
44. TheFrog
Cinder may not need money, but I'm sure the money is useful to employ others to help with their purpose. The tax money could be funding a bigger operation, not to suggest a conspiracy theory, but for the purpose of furthering their agenda without being seen or having to hide their signs. Could even be supporting Master Ash and Denna indirectly...
Alice Arneson
45. Wetlandernw
@41 - And if the status quo, "the way things are," is lawful obedience, is that a bad thing?

In this particular case, in a sense they're not really there to "defend" much of anything. They're there to find and stop a bunch of people who are annoying their employer, and they'd be there whether or not it was "civilization" or "the status quo" or "the laws of the land" that was at risk. However, as it happens, they stand on the side of "stopping the ones who are stealing other people's stuff," so they are on the side of both "law of the land" and generally accepted moral law. (Even though they don't have the Ten Commandments in the FC, it does seem that a fair amount of the content thereof is generally accepted as "the right thing to do." Such as not stealing. )

FWIW, I do agree that the presence of Cinder is a cluebat, and that the Maer is quite possibly up to something. Kvothe is definitely not the logical choice to lead this little expotition, so either the Maer just wants an excuse to get rid of him or... Could it be that he thought the bandits might have already got their hands on something that he thought Kvothe would be the best person to recognize and safely return? And yes, I expect we'll find out in D3.

@42 - "Steal everything so that when you steal the one thing you want, nobody notices." That's more or less what I was thinking. I'd forgotten that these were the roads to the Lackless lands. Could there be more "parts" of the riddle coming along that road? Meluan obviously has the box in Severen, so while it might be Cinder's target, it's not what Alveron is concerned about. Or... maybe it is, if the box came along that road after Kvothe & co. cleaned it up. In that case, D3 will show us Cinder's interest in the Lackless box.
47. BT
Im sorry to jump ahead like this but I have been mulling over some thoughts and want opinions.

First I feel like we have not discussed the largest hint in the books: The Cthaeh

What we know about the Cthaeh
1. It knows all the futures
2. It is trapped in the tree
3. The only way it can effect the world is by manipulating the future actions of someon it comes into contact with

We have also been told that it is responsible for basically every major disaster and that it is totally malicious, however I am skeptical. I feel that it is playing its own game with the possible goal of getting freed from the tree or seeing something interesting happen.

So we must look at what it says to Kvothe very carefully. I wish I had my copy of the book in front of me so I can qoute it. Essentially the Cthaeh tells Kvothe to stick with the Maer to find the Amyr. He tells Kvothe this knowing that the Maer will throw him out and pay for his tuition at the University, in Imre (Amyr-re). Then the Cthaeh laughs about some inside joke only it can understand. The Cthaeh laughing makes sense if Kvothe has been searching for the Order Amyr in their headqauters. Then the Cthaeh goes on to goad Kvothe back into his hunt for the Chandrian and hints at the Adem connection. It might be that the Cthaeh wants Kvothe to learn the sword and the Lethani, but I think that it helps percipitate the falling out of Kvothe and the Maer. The final bit of taunting the Cthaeh lays on Kvothe is about Denna. The Cthaeh wants Kvothe to HATE her patron. I don't feel like hate was a strong enough word so I put it in caps. Above all the Cthaeh wants Kvothe back in the mortal world and out of the Fae. Since the Cthaeh sent Kvothe to learn the Lethani I don't think the Lethani is a defense against the Cthaeh's influence since the Cthaeh would have forseen that. If Bast is to be believed then the most disasterous outcome would be a confrontation between Kvothe and the Chandrian.

On a side note I think that the Caticus business is what lands Kvothe the name of King Killer. The only person in that world who would benifit by the Maer being lamed but not dead is the King of Vint. If the Maer died then a huge power vaccum would open in his kingdom, but if the Maer remained healthy then the King has a powerful rival in his own backyard. I think the Maer gets wind of this an calls in his own Arcanist to deal with the King. The Maer only knows and trusts one Arcanist and that is Kvothe. Kvothe kills the King and the whole royal family somehow and the Maer is now king. Civil war errupts and the Maer must be penitent for having the King killed. However the rebels (Royalists) don't like this and resist. This is lent credence by the "Kings Own" who rob Kvothe wearing Blue and White which are the Maer's colors. This is also probably how Kvothe came by such a nice inn and so much money. The Maer had to denoucne him to keep the crown but I feel like he would repay Kvothe in anyway possible. Thus the inn and the fat purse.

On another note Bredon cannot be Ambrose's father as Bredon has northern estates while the Jakkis lands are in the south (The Pirate Isles). Severen is 80 miles from the Eld and I think Tarbean is 40 miles from Imre. So that places Bredons Estates somewhere near the Eld. It also gives us a bubble of probablility where Severen is. Also looking at the useless map shows that there is only one archipeligo in Vintas and I am going to assume that those are the Jakkis lands.

No one has disscused the time scale of events. 3000 years is a very long time for technology to be essentially pre-Renaissance, but Rothfuss has done a masterful job of explaining it. There was a World War essentially and both sides used their equivelent of Nukes. I feel that if Amecia and the Soviets actually went toe to toe with their aresnals then in 3000 years we would still be picking up the pieces and wondering why evil spirits made us sick.

This brings me to the Doors of Stone. They are diffrent from being killed. Iax has specifically been "Sealed beyond the Doors of Stone" which is rather a mouthful. It is much easier to say Iax was killed.

On Kvothe's rings
I feel like it was a line from a play that got misattributed to him.

Denna's Magic
She said it was much more than a story knot. Which points to....something.

Thanks for listening to my ranting and please excuse any spelling\grammar errors. This is my first internet post.
Steven Halter
48. stevenhalter
BT@47:No problem with jumping ahead (we do that from time to time here :-)).
Yes, what the Cthaeh says to Kvothe is very important. You are right to distrust the things it emphasizes. It is deceitful.
Ashley Fox
49. A Fox
( This is in brackets becuase its very out of the blue. Google Krampus, its festvive, sort of, but also as some interesting connotations with K's winter in Tarbean...Encanis and Tehlu)
50. mr. awesome
@39 You claim that "it is precisely in the recognition that I may be wrong that I start to act like a civilized person."

I do believe that. One of my main points is that overconfidence is undesirable. We should be alert for both moral and general fallacies within our own reasoning, and do our best to combat them.

However, that's not a reason Kvothe should have let the bandits live. It's not morally wrong to act on incomplete information, if it were passivity would be our only option, and even then there would still be problems.

It's at best a reason that consulting other individuals would have improved his decision making abilities. However, he wasn't in a position to do so, and some kind of decision had to be made. He acted on the evidence available to him at that time, which is all that anyone can ever do.

Moreover, if the individuals he consulted didn't appeal to his own inherent frame of evaluation, he wouldn't have any reason he should do as they say, and so even then his own conscience would be the ultimate arbiter of what is right and wrong.

It's not morally bad to make a mistake which you were unaware of at the time. That's an bad interpretation of morality because it means that we can have obligations we're not aware of. This conclusion is flawed because it makes morality inaccessible to individuals and thus precludes its worth as a guide to action. If morality is inaccessible then it doesn't matter whatsoever. Accidents happen, but we're not responsible for them if we did our best to avoid them.

Being a judge, jury, and executioner is inevitable for individual agents, even those within collective contexts. Any framework of reasoning necessitates judgement, any decision at all necessitates evaluation, any action at all necessitates execution.

Using others to make moral decisions for you is indefensible. This type of moral groupthink has been at the root of almost all atrocities since history's beginning. This is the reason that no one stood up to the Nazis.

@40 You're assuming that other individuals are more likely to come to the correct conclusion than one individual is, and you're assuming that the correct conclusions of other individuals are more likely to prevail than the incorrect conclusions of other individuals.

The Maer isn't more morally intelligent than Kvothe, which is what your judgement depends upon. Even if he was, it's still Kvothe's decision, and Kvothe shouldn't just pretend that he doesn't have a decision to make.

Knowledge can't exist outside of the locus of the self. All that I can ever know is what I know. My moral conscience shouldn't be subordinated to anyone else's, to do so is to displace moral evaluations from the individual and instead place it in an abstract and collective form of knowledge which can't be directly accessed. It's to say that morality stems from what we're told to do instead of what we think we should do. It's to say that your own beliefs aren't worth believing or acting upon.

It's tempting to think that others should do what I think is moral, but it's much less appealing to say that I should do what others think is moral. The fact is that people have different moral opinions, and ignoring your own just because someone else told you to is the truest form of immorality.
51. Freelancer
BT @47

I've a small nit or two to pick. We do not know that the Cthaeh is trapped in the tree. We know that there are forces charged with keeping everyone else away from where it is. We know that Kvothe initially mistakes its voice as the tree itself speaking to him. We know that Kvothe never sees it, except as a blur or some sinuous movement about the tree. We know that Felurian was concerned that it might have bitten Kvothe, or that its words may have injured him psychologically. We know that Bast, referring to stage plays among his people, refers to "the Cthaeh's tree". Beyond that is conjecture. Some readers have chosen to believe that it has possessed the tree. Some have decided that it is invisible because it wasn't seen. Some have concluded that it is magically bound to the tree by unidentified means. But there is no explicit information from the text to support any of these suppositions.

Also, you said that the Cthaeh knows "all futures", but this is not what is written. Bast says to Kote "It sees all the future". Rothfuss isn't promoting a multiverse concept in this story. There is one future, and there is plenty enough to know about one future for it to be mystical beyond comprehension. There is a difference between saying that it can see "Everything that can possibly come to pass, branching out endlessly from the current moment", and suggesting that there actually are multiple futures. As I said, a nit, but philosophically notable.

Bast is horrified to hear of the encounter, and in the midst of that, is very curious at Kvothe "just happening" upon the Cthaeh, whom the Sithe guard against precisely what Kvothe has become, a potential plague, a time-bomb of destiny. Why does Felurian not wonder about the same thing? She is rightly concerned that Kvothe might have had his psyche badly damaged by the thing, but doesn't ever question how Kvothe got within range of the creature's tree. It seems that any Fae would think twice before releasing the Cthaeh's work into any society. I am left to conclude that she isn't very interested in the consequences to the lands of men, as long as Kvothe, her "sweet poet", seemed to be himself.

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