Feb 16 2012 2:00pm

Rothfuss Reread: The Wise Man’s Fear, Part 19: All Their Choices Will Be The Wrong Ones

Welcome to my excessively detailed reread of Patrick Rothfuss’s Kingkiller Chronicles. This week’s post covers chapters 99-103 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, 4C = Four Corners, CTH — that thing I can’t spell!

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

Chapter 99 is “Shaed”

The cloak, of course. I’ve lost count of how many cloaks Kvothe has been through now. They are all inspired by Taborlin the Great’s cloak of no particular colour. There was the cloak from Tarbean, which got damaged saving Fela. There was the green cloak Fela gave him, lost in the shipwreck. There was the burgundy cloak from the Maer, swapped for the tinker’s cloak. And now the shaed. I don’t think they represent anything other than Kvothe’s desire to be like Taborlin and have a cloak, but they are a charming motif.

This chapter begins with Kvothe digressing into explaining “a few peculiarities of the Fae.” As we’ve just gone from  an explanation of how Fae and humans are like vodka and water, I was expecting more of that and got whiplash when Fae here is being used as a geographical term, meaning the Faen world. We have not yet been told about how it was made.

So the world, this bit is always in twilight and deeply forested, it could be the Eld. But there are other differences:

There aren’t directions of the usual sort in Fae. Your trifoil compass is useless as a tin codpiece there. North simply does not exist. And in a place with no sun, you cannot get your bearings by watching the sun rise to the east.

I’m going to link to our previous discussion of the trifoil compass (summary in my article under chapter 9, more in comments). The more I read this paragraph and the ensuing description of Fae as a round world tidally locked like an old fashioned Mercury, the more I think the Four Corners world has, well, four corners, and isn’t a globe. “North simply does not exist” could mean that Fae doesn’t have an iron core and a magnetic pole, but it could be more than that. I’m looking at the map, and yes, the world extends out from there, but how much further out I wonder. When Kvothe says “North does not exist” I wonder what he means by the concept of “north.”

Felurian calls the two of the points on the compass Night and Day, and the others Dark and Light, Summer and Winter, Forward and Backward or Grimward and Grinning, which Kvothe thinks is a joke.

The other difference is that the world is immanently aware — or as Kvothe puts it, like the difference between a room with a sleeping person and an empty room. I actually know exactly what he means because I have been to places like that.

Felurian worries about him coming back, and about him not being safe. She offers to make him a cloak. She takes him walking into darkness. He makes a sympathetic light, and it attracts something scary and big that zooms over them — I have no idea what. Felurian rescues him by knocking him to the ground and saying three words Kvothe can’t hear. He doesn’t ask, and we remain unenlightened — it was a weird thing in the darkness. Okay.

Kvothe sees stars, differently patterned and brighter.

Felurian makes a non-sound in the deep darkness and luminous moths arrive. They go into deeper darkness where there don’t seem to be any trees, or stars either, and Felurian does something and collects shadow from the deep darkness. When they get back to starlight she grabs the strands and sews with it, making him a literal cloak of shadow.

He asks questions, he doesn’t understand the answers, and he’s jealous because it’s so magical and he can’t do it. He also says she knows nothing about sympathy or sygaldry or alar — and yet he knew already that sympathy was invented at the University. But what is she doing, making the Shaed?


Chapter 100 is “The Ever-Moving Moon”

And this is the chapter, 100 into book 2, in which I totally fell in love with this series. Up to this point I was enjoying it, with some ups and downs, but this with the moon, and how set up it has been? Genius. So little fantasy actually does fantastic things like this. But nobody will keep reading this long for a payoff like this unless they’re already having fun.

Kvothe sees the crescent moon and knows it’s the same moon as at home and is delighted to see it. Felurian laughs at him. Then she explains that the moon moves between his world and her world. Kvothe asks how, and she asks the moon why it has brought her an owl instead of a man. And she’s not even being rhetorical — well, she is about the owl. But the moon did bring Kvothe to her.

(Sudden thought. Somebody must have got away from Felurian before, or we wouldn’t know her name. Unless we know it from the song when people heard and didn’t follow. Yes, that must be it.)

And of course, we readers are all owls, we want to know “how? how?” even more than Kvothe does. How often during this read through have I asked these questions? How? How? And all of us in comments — how? Well, maybe... how? How? We are the owls battering at the edges of the universe.

There are neon tetras in Felurian’s warm pool. At this point, Kvothe is even thinking in rhyme. But he’s not really a sweet poet, he’s really steeped in a scientific worldview, he is the owl crying “How?”. Felurian says “Even the fish delight in kissing you” and he responds “I think they must like the salt on my skin”. She’s impatient at his change of mode. As I’ve complained before about the unrealistic nature of the relationship between Kvothe and Denna, I want to note how perfectly characteristic and well observed a moment this exchange is. It’s a “You’re right, but I wanted you to be romantic” moment, it’s deeply characteristic of both of them.

Then, after a sexual moment, Felurian explains the moon. The moon moved between the two worlds, and the bit you can’t see is in the other world. So amazingly cool! And all the conversation is in rhyming couplets in iambic pentameter.

Then Kvothe says he heard a story about a man who stole the moon. And Felurian says “until he stole the moon there was some hope of peace.”


Felurian agrees to tell him the story of the stealing of the moon in return for three sexual things he’s going to do for her. This creeps me out slightly as a bargain.

She says this happened before men, before fae, there were those who knew the names of all things. And she rejects Kvothe’s explanation that naming is mastery,

“to swim is not mastery over the water. to eat an apple is not mastery of the apple.”

Kvothe doesn’t understand and neither do I. But then she says mastery came in with those who wanted to change things, the Shapers. (She doesn’t use a capital. But she’s Felurian, she reserves capitals for herself.) And there was only one world and one sky, and Murells was in it and Felurian was in Murella, eating a shining fruit from a silver tree. Long ago. Human history goes back two thousand years to Caluptena.

Then the old Knowers tried to stop the Shapers. Felurian was impressed with the things the Shapers made. The Shapers made the Faen realm.

the greatest of them sewed it from whole cloth. a place where they could do as they desired. and at the end of all their work, each shaper wrought a star to fill their new and empty sky.

Two worlds, two skies, but only one moon and it was in the mortal world. Then the greatest of them stole the moon, the Knowers understood the Shapers weren’t going to stop, and there was the Creation War. She doesn’t call it that, but that’s clearly what it is. She won’t name the greatest, but she says he’s shut behind the Doors of Stone, which is what Skarpi said happened. Then she explains how the moon draws the worlds together and Fae are drawn to the mortal lands when the moon is full there, and mortals to the Fae world at the dark of the moon. She says there are

a thousand half-cracked doors that lie between my world and yours

We have said that Fae is the crooked house that Jax builds, and “half cracked doors” while it could mean “half open” recalls this.

Then she mentions the things that stop the Fae in the mortal world:

iron, fire, mirror-glass, elm and ash and copper knives, solid-hearted farmers’ wives who know the rules of games we play and give us bread to keep away, but worst of all my people dread the portion of our power we shed when we set foot on mortal earth.

We know about iron and fire and elm and ash, but mirror-glass is new — doesn’t Auri gives Kvothe a piece of mirror?

And she’s warning him. “A wise man views a moonless night with fear.”


Chapter 101 is “Close Enough to Touch”

Felurian works on the shaed, Kvothe tries not to feel like a child underfoot in the kitchen. He asks questions about magic, which are all scientific-worldview based. And she sounds like Elodin: “you know too much to be happy.” And she can touch the moonlight and sew with it, and he can touch it when he isn’t thinking, and when he thinks it is light again.

Then he talks about how he has a good memory, and how that’s central to him. (If you’re going to have a first person narration that’s at all plausible it has to be somebody with a good memory.) Then he says he can’t remember some things about his time with Felurian — where the food came from, where the lights came from.

I like this because any details about this kind of thing about make Fae less magical, and not remembering and saying so makes it more magical.


Chapter 102 is “The Cthaeh”

At last!

Felurian helps him discover magic and he helps with the shaed — and she’s like “a quieter more attractive version of Elodin.” So it is Naming that he’s learning. I think. Or is it shaping? Anyway, eventually he can touch the shaed and shape it and it has numerous little pockets — of course it does! And they take it into daylight — and I have more owl questions immediately. How big is Fae? Not all that big, if it’s walking distance to day and dark. How long does it take to go all the way around?

She sends him away “For the time it takes to love four times” while she works with the shaed and a piece of iron — her eyes change colour while she touches the iron, and she says it would be a help for him not to be there. “I do not need flame, or songs, or questions.” Especially questions....

He walks for an hour into full daylight. He says he shouldn’t go far from “her twilight grove” but he also says they’ve taken the shaed into daylight, so who knows. Is twilight only an hour — four or five miles — from daylight?’ Kvothe knows he should have known better than to go too far, but goes too far, because he has been chased off like a child. He finds his way to a green grassy plain, in sunlight. He sees a tree and walks to it, even though the path doesn’t go there.

It’s a type of tree he’s never seen before, with blue blossoms. The smell is like leather and spice and lemon, which is like his chest and the mounting board, which has been identified as roah wood. So it’s a roah tree, a rare but plausible tree that it’s possible but expensive to buy bits of. It’s not a unique tree is what I’m trying to say.

The butterflies around the tree sip from the blossoms, and it’s beautiful. Then Kvothe sees one cut in half and realises all the ones on the ground are dead. “A voice from the tree” speaks and says “The red ones offend my aesthetic.”

It’s not supposed to lie, but that seems to me immediately like a lie.

It introduces itself as the Cthaeh, says it’s not a tree, and that he’s lucky to find it and many would envy him. Of course, many others would run the other way, but it doesn’t say that. He can’t see it. He has heard of it vaguely while looking at Chandrian folklore and remembers that it’s an oracle. It says “I am. I see. I know.” It kills a blue butterfly, and says there are no red ones left and the blue ones are slightly sweet. Look, it’s committing wanton destruction right in front of him! Kvothe himself has used killing butterflies as a metaphor! It’s right up there with smoking as a clue that this is a malevolent entity!

It asks if he’s Felurian’s new manling — and “manling” is something we have had as an equivalent to “faerie” in the expression “manling tales.” It’s a put down. And then it says it can smell the iron and it wonders how she stands it. We’ve just seen Felurian repelled by the smell of iron when Kvothe shaved, but now actually working with iron to protect him.

The CTH asks him to ask it something, and he asks it about the Amyr. Interestingly, it doesn’t answer, it asks why he doesn’t just ask about the Chandrian. Would an answer about the Amyr be more revealing? It bullies him into asking about the Chandrian. It says he should call them “the Seven” because of the folklore hanging off the name “Chandrian.” It says the masters at the University might know but they wouldn’t tell him and anyway Kvothe is afraid to ask. Then it scoffs at the idea that he wants to kill them, and say that Haliax has been alive five thousand years without a second’s sleep. It then correctly sums up his experience so far:

The few people who believe in the Chandrian are too afraid to talk, and everyone else will just laugh at you for asking.

Then it says arrogance and assuming you know everything is the price for civilization, and that he wouldn’t have a hope of finding out anything until he made it to the Stormwal. Then it says most people won’t take the search for the Amyr seriously either, but the Maer is different.

He’s already come close to them. Stick by the Maer and he will lead you to their door.

The CTH then says this is a joke that Kvothe will eventually appreciate. People have suggested various things about this, like puns on “lead” and the lead bowl, and that Bredon might be the “stick.”

Then it says Cinder is the one he wants, the one who did things to Kvothe’s mother, who held out better than his father. He asks why:

Because they wanted to, and because they could, and because they had a reason.

Then why Kvothe survived:

Because they were sloppy, and because you were lucky, and because something scared them away.

If I didn’t already hate the thing I’d hate it for these non-answers. “They had a reason?” And it was? “Something scared them?” What?

Then it says Kvothe saw Cinder a few days ago, and Kvothe realises he must have been the bandit leader. It talks about Kvothe’s failure to catch him, and then it asks what D would think about Felurian, who it calls “some pixie”. Then it talks about D being abused by her patron, which we’ve discussed pretty thoroughly already.

And at this point Kvothe has had enough and runs away, despite it saying that it has more to tell him.

I’m angry with it myself.

Then he goes back to Felurian, and she looks tired and less than entirely beautiful. When he tells her that he has spoken to the CTH she searches his body for wounds and asks if he is well. She says it has not bitten him and his eyes are clear so he’ll be okay — the bite is poison and so are the words, but they haven’t broken his mind. She says it doesn’t lie, it has the gift of seeing but only tells the things that hurt.


Chapter 103 is Interlude: “A Certain Sweetness”

What the CTH said the butterflies has, and what Kvothe says retelling the story of his life has. Hmm.

Bast doesn’t interrupt, but K stops because of how awful Bast looks, and it’s a jolt to be back in the frame. Bast asks if he’s just putting the CTH in for colour, and goes ballistic when K makes a joke of it, knocking the inkpot over and yelling “Don’t lie to me.” K says he’s telling the truth, and Bast says he doesn’t care “what shit you spin into gold” or give “a fiddler’s fuck” but he wants the truth about this.

K says again that it’s his one chance to get the truth behind the stories recorded.

This doesn’t mean it is true. I mean Chronicler’s right there, and if K has an agenda and is lying, he couldn’t tell Bast, even if he wanted to.

Bast says he finally understands what the matter is — which is an interesting way of putting it. (How long has Bast been with K? Where did he find him?)

K says he has faced worse things. Bast says there isn’t anything worse than the CTH.

Bast asks if K knows who the Sithe are. K says they’re a faction among the Fae. Bast says:

their oldest and most important charge is to keep the CTH from having contact with anyone.

Now what we knew about the Sithe before this is that Haliax threatens Cinder with them. So the CTH dates from before the Chandrian? It could.

Then he says they kill anyone who speaks with it, and kill crows that land on their body. Chronicler asks why anyone would risk this, and Bast says the flowers are a panacaea called Rhinna that can cure any poison, wound, or illness. K looks at his hands — significantly? — and says he can see the appeal. He says he didn’t see any guards, and Bast says he’s surprised. But maybe Bast has heard fairy stories too.

And Bast says it knows the future perfectly and is malicious. K says anyone that speaks to it is like an arrow into the future, because it knows how they will react. Bast says:

“Anyone influenced by the Cthaeh is like a plague ship sailing for a harbour.”

He says the Sithe would kill them all for hearing what K said.

Chronicler says it can’t be that bad, and Bast makes a crow from spilled ink and beer and tears it apart in flames, saying Chronicler knows nothing about Fae and has no idea who Bast is. (Well, neither do we. A Prince of Twilight?)

Bast swears there is nothing more dangerous than the CTH, three thousand times.

K says he believes him, and that after meeting the CTH everyone’s choices go wrong. Bast says not just wrong:

catastrophic. Iax spoke to the Cthaeh before he stole the moon and that sparked the entire Creation War. Lanre spoke to the Cthaeh before he orchestrated the betrayal of Myr Tariniel. The creation of the Nameless. The Scaendyne. They can all be traced back to the Cthaeh.

Kvothe’s expression went blank. Well, that certainly puts me in interesting company, doesn’t it?"

Bast says that if the CTH is on the backdrop of a play that’s to show it’s a tragedy. And of course, it’s on the cover of NW.

Then K says he knows what sort of story he’s telling and this  — the Inn — is the end of it. Chronicler and Bast both agree the story isn’t over if K is still alive. K says they’re both so young — though we know Bast is hundreds of years old.

So K does not believe in the possibility of eucatastrophe. Bast does, or did until this moment, because that’s what he’s been doing, trying to get K back to himself.

Don’t miss the great comments on last week’s post!

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.

1. Lackless
First, it is, of course, an honor to be promoted to E'lir.

Okay. So the main question I had coming away from these chapters, beyond all the many concerning the Cthaeh, is: why did Kvothe survive? The Sithe were supposed to kill him. It could be that Bast has heard exaggerated stories - the Sithe supposedly kill
"from a half-mile off with their long horn bows," which seems unrealistic. On the other hand, Bast has made it clear enough that we know next to nothing about Fae, and they've certainly done more fantastical things that we've already seen- namely, making the shaed from shadows and moonlight, and Bast himself creating a crow and tearing it into fire to prove his own point. And if the Sithe really do kill people from that far off, it is entirely possible that Kvothe didn't see them when he arrived at the Cthaeh's tree.

My theory is that the Sithe saw him and chose not to kill him. Why? Because they don't have jurisdiction, to put it simply. When Haliax is reprimanding Cinder, he says, "Who keeps you safe from the Amyr? The singers? The Sithe?" To me, this implies that those three groups are about equal in terms of power, as they are all against the Chandrian and mentioned in the same sentence without regard for priority. If - as we have already discussed - Kvothe has already gone through some sort of "Amyr initiation," possibly when killing the bandits (supported mainly by the blood running down his hands, like the tattoos of a Ciridae), then the Sithe might not have the right to kill him. Felurian does say that the real Amyr weren't human, but we know the Ciridae were different and even more important - there was even one on the vase that the girl drew and showed to Kvothe, the one with all the other Chandrian, and yet the girl seemed to hold the Ciridae most in awe. So, Kvothe is a Ciridae, and the Sithe can't kill him.
2. Adam Reith
Re: your thought in Chapter 100.

I don't thing anyone has "got away" from Felurian before. We're told that if her partners survive their relationship, she eventually tires of them and sends them home, where they die of longing. Her story would easily have come from these returnees, without the need for anyone to escape.
Justin Levitt
3. TyranAmiros
If "fel" means 'desire', "Felurian" could mean something like 'that which is most desireable' and her name could be either a title others used for her that she's adopted over the millenia, or the intent of her creator to bring into the world something worthy of that name.

The use of "fel" in the inscription on the Library implies that either "Felurian" is either not a Fae word, Fae was better known at some point in time, or one of the current languages in the FC is a decendent of/related to Faen.
George Brell
4. gbrell
I’ve lost count of how many cloaks Kvothe has been through now.

Also the cloak he was given by his troupe as a child, which is the first mention, I believe, of the bevy of hidden pockets that he is so enamored of.

Sudden thought. Somebody must have got away from Felurian before, or we wouldn’t know her name. Unless we know it from the song when people heard and didn’t follow. Yes, that must be it.

Or the people who return broken with madness. They would likely remember Felurian's name as their insanity seems derived from obsession. I imagine that the wealth of Felurian stories/songs arise in the same manner that we have stories and songs about dragons and griffons and other mythical beasts. Some would be symbolic (noble or noble's wife as Felurian) and some would be guesswork.

Felurian helps him discover magic and he helps with the shaed — and she’s like “a quieter more attractive version of Elodin.” So it is Naming that he’s learning. I think. Or is it shaping?

I think this is a leap. It's not an illogical one, but I don't think it's clear. I don't think the text provides any clear ideas about how Fae magic (grammarie, glamourie) connects to Naming/sympathy. Bast's demonstration in Ch.103 certainly doesn't connect to any naming we've seen.

It’s a type of tree he’s never seen before, with blue blossoms. The smell is like leather and spice and lemon, which is like his chest and the mounting board, which has been identified as roah wood. So it’s a roah tree, a rare but plausible tree that it’s possible but expensive to buy bits of. It’s not a unique tree is what I’m trying to say.

We're not sure that it is roah.

The Cthaeh's tree is described as smelling like "smoke and spice and leather and lemon." The mounting board, when burned, smelled like "old leather and clove." We know the chest gives off an "aroma of citrus and quenching iron." I concede that these are similar groupings.

However, the Loeclos box is described in a way that fits the Cthaeh's tree more closely:
"The wood itself was interesting. It was dark enough to be roah, but it had a deep red grain. What’s more, it seemed to be a spicewood. It smelled faintly of . . . something.A familiar smell I couldn’t quite put my finger on. I lowered my face to its surface and breathed in deeply through my nose, something almost like lemon. It was maddeningly familiar."

Kvothe then attempts to identify this wood: "It has to be a slow wood, like hornbeam or rennel. Its color and weight make me think it has a good deal of metal in it too, like roah. Probably iron and copper."

So the Loeclos box is not made of roah, but the text suggests that it has a "maddeningly familiar" scent which I would argue points to the Cthaeh's tree.

Whether the tree is unique or there are other red-veined copper-iron trees is an open question, but I find the story more neat if the wood comes from the Cthaeh's tree (perhaps allowing whatever is inside to be shielded from the Cthaeh).

It also doesn't answer where such trees come from. Perhaps they are descendants of trees similar to the silver trees Felurian describes.
Steven Halter
5. stevenhalter
I think that the Sithe did not kill K as they were not there but were all away. The Cthaeh knew a visit was coming, setting events as easy as drumming. Every step it foretold there, is no doubt, it teased them away to hear not a shout. Their guard is quite useless, doomed to fail, the Cthaeh knows the end of the tale.
thistle pong
6. thistlepong
Faen is immanently aware.

Kindle Chapters:
100: Shaed
101: Close Enough to Touch
102: The Ever-Moving Moon
103: Close Enough to Touch
104: The Cthaeh
105: Interlude - A Certain Sweetness

The Cthaeh's tree isn't roah. "It was like smoke and spice and leather and lemon." The roah chest smells of "citrus and quenching iron." It's estabished when Kvothe examines the Loeclos that he knows what the difference between roah and the similar but different red grained wood in his hands that smells maddenling familiar: "almost of lemon." He'd know a roah tree. He doesn't know this one, but encounters the wood later.

I posted this some of this at the very end of last week's thread, so forgive me for the repeat. But it bears as much or more on these chapters.

There's an odd similarity between Felurian (thae) and the Cthaeh. When Kvothe moves the conversation toward the Chandrian, she says:
"if you ask of the seven again in this place, I will drive you from it. no matter if your asking be firm or gentle, honest or slantways. if you ask I will whip you forth from here with a lash of brambles and snakes. I will drive you before me, bloody and weeping, and it will not stop until you are dead or fled from fae."
She doesn't specify asking her. This place is clearly Faen, not the glade. The same butterflies appear around the rhinna tree as do in her glade, which is depopulated when he returns. And he returns in tears, bramble torn and bloody. She give Kvothe some recovery time while he's beset by terrible dreams, but Cthaeh's words stick "in his mind like burrs, goading" him out into the world.

Funny how the both drive men mad as well.

And it's not until Kvothe finally gives in...
"What can you tell me about the Chandrian?" I asked.
... that Cthaeh goes from razzing Kvothe about his pride to telling him the really hurtful stuff: he just missed his chance to confront the being that raped and killed his mother, that his dad wept and begged, that he's betraying Denna while her patron beats her, and that he drove her away.

@1 I love the idea that the Sithe didn't have jurisdiction. Whether true or flase, that's an original thought. Thanks.
Hello There
7. praxisproces
Wow, how dizzying to get to all of this at once! The Fae perspective on the Creation War, pretty much everything we know about the creation of Fae itself, and the Cthaeh! Embarrassment of riches. There's an amazing amount I hope we talk about but first of all I guess is the question Lackless raises @1 above.

Why does Kvothe get to talk to the Chaeth?

This is confounding if you think about it for any time at all. These deathless Fae warriors, so terrible even the Chandrian fear them, bogeymen in their own way to Bast himself, were on a lunch break?

As Lackless points out there has to be a reason that Kvothe got to the tree. That Bast regards it as bewildering tells us that the reason is meaningful, I think (in part based on my theory that much of Bast's role is a way for PR to tell us things he doesn't have another tool to communicate). The jurisdictional argument is clever and certainly possible. Another explanation, as Shalter points out, is that the Cthaeh arranged for Kvothe to make it to the tree (though of course that's problematic; wouldn't it have done that whenever it got bored? And how, if the Sithe themselves never get within earshot?) The alternative, of course, is that Kvothe was supposed to talk to the Cthaeh.

This requires that we believe one of a few different things. Either Kvothe is some sort of foretold savior, or Kvothe has some kind of recognizable immunity to the Cthaeh's poison, or somehow the Sithe outguessed the Cthaeh and knew that Kvothe's corruption would actually redound to good effect.

In a way all of these are unsatisfying, as they required that PR is invoking the peasant-boy-come-to-save-the-world trope in a very direct and fundamental way. Whichever you accept, though, the conclusion is that Kvothe has a fundamental role to play in the "cold war" we've hypothesized is playing out in the backstage of history between the Amyr and the Chandrian (or between the Knowers and the Shapers, maybe; whatever).

Is there reason to believe this? I think so! The "bears the blood" from the Lackless rhymes, Skarpi's comment that he only knows one story but it's happening everywhere, even in the taverns in Tarbean, as he looks significantly at Kvothe - and Skarpi's investment in Kvothe in the first place! - the reaction of the Adem to the name Kvothe gets. I think we ultimately do have an old-fashioned telelogical hero's journey story going on here. Which may (in fact probably, I increasingly think) will end in tragedy.

But the takeaway is that Bast has it all backwards. The Cthaeh aimed Kvothe, but whatever the Cthaeh intended for him to do, Kvothe was supposed to do it. In a cosmic sense. Why this might be is beyond our powers yet - my loose guess is something about a conclusion to the cold creation war, or curing the wound caused to the world by the theft of the moon, or something similar to that - but it means that the whole narrative after the Cthaeh is following an ordained path which is essential to some positive end.

Whether or not that end is in the offing remains - increasingly - in doubt.
Chris Palmer
8. cmpalmer
Probably apropos of nothing (and I'll need to look up the exact quote to be sure), but in your description of chapter 101:
And she can touch the moonlight and sew with it, and he can touch it when he isn’t thinking, and when he thinks it is light again.
Makes me think of the wave/particle duality of light. Thought of one way, it is a particle (thing you can touch), thought of another way, it is a wave.

For the record, I think the term "Naming" itself is a paradox. It seems to me that the deep understanding (grokking, if you will) implied in Naming is the opposite of just giving a name to something as a name is an abstraction. "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet" - meaning that the physical reality of a single rose is more important the name given to it. Yet the term "rose" also encompasses all colors and types of roses and the emotional and symbolic weights of them. Naming in these books seems to be a merging of these concepts - understanding both the abstract, encompassing concepts as well as the specifics of all possible implementations. After all, a summer breeze isn't the same as an icy blizzard gale or a hurricane, yet they're all "the wind".
Steven Halter
9. stevenhalter
Fae may be a circle but not be a sphere. You can walk to there and come back to here. A moebius strip could work just as well. It is all so very darn hard to tell. With the clues that we've been given to date, Four Corners seems flat or maybe oblate.
10. parabola
Not sure if this has been brought up already (sorry, SO MUCH has been discussed!) but a "cloak of no particular color" can easily be the storied re-telling of someone wears many different cloaks over his life... Much like Kvothe does.
John Pigott
11. AbEnd
Great set of chapters but I'll admit I kept distracting myself by conflating the Sithe with the Sith Lords. "What would Vader do?!"
Steven Halter
12. stevenhalter
A tidal locked world is just one way to always have light in one part of Fae. Another answer is there is no Sun, the light is just there -- a Shaper had fun. They set out the stars and captured the moon. And some kept the day from coming too soon.
Hello There
13. praxisproces
I think we should already give some respect to Shalter for the Felurianish posting he's obviously commited to here.
Steven Halter
15. stevenhalter
Quantum mechanics at macro scale seems like an answer to part of the tale. Kvothe needs to let go, his sleeping mind knows how with the moonlight Felurian sews. If upon the Cthaeh with naming he looked I wonder if he wouldn't have been rooked.
Unless he's playing games with Bast and Co. In which case I say it may all be go.
Chris Palmer
16. cmpalmer
No one said our comments should rhyme. If they had, then it would take more time to craft our words with careful thought, instead of thinking as we ought of the book itself and its story unfolding with complex secrets that may be witholding deeper meanings and literary insight that continues to keep us up late at night. It would be a shame for this to trend as off-the-cuff commenting could come to an end.
Steven Halter
17. stevenhalter
The site went down in the midst of this verse. I think the rhyming triggered some dread curse. @13 & @14 thank you, grin. TNH says it's rhyming for teh win.
18. grapnel33
You asked how long Bast has been with Kvothe. From chapter 13 of NOTW:

“Chronicler, I would like you to meet Bastas, son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Telwyth Mael. The brightest, which is to say the only student I’ve had the misfortune to teach. Glamourer, bartender, and, not last, my friend.
“Who, over the course of a hundred and fifty years of life, not to mention nearly two years of my personal tutelage, has managed to avoid learning a few important facts. The first being this: attacking a member of the Arcanum skilled enough to make a binding of iron is foolish.”

So Bast has been with Kvothe for nearly two years. Which is around the amount of time that has passed since Kvothe faked his death and disappeared from the wider world. We know this from NOTW chapter 6 when Chronicler begins to badger him for his story:

Kote shook his head. “It was a long time ago—”
“Not even two years,” Chronicler protested.
“—and I am not what I was,” Kote continued without pausing.

There may be a bit of a gap in time between the public death of Kvothe and the first appearance of the inkeeper Kote. NOTW chapter 1:

The men at the bar seemed almost surprised to see Kote standing there. They’d been coming to the Waystone every Felling night for months and Kote had never interjected anything of his own before. Not that you could expect anything else, really. He’d only been in town for a year or so. He was still a stranger.

But "a year or so" could easily be "not even two years" or "nearly two years" minus the travel time from wherever Kvothe died to the inn in Newarre.
Skip Ives
19. Skip
@3. TyranAmiros If "fel" means 'desire', then Fela appears to be well named.
20. Clubbavich
What if Taborlin's cloak of no particular color wasn't just one cloak? What if he had a habit of losing cloaks like Kvoth, and the reason it became a cloak of no particular color was because of conflicting stories. "His cloak is green, I saw it when he did this!" "No, his cloak is red, I saw it when he was at that place!" etc.

Perhaps it only became well known because the fact that he was wearing a cloak was a constant in the stories, but the color of the cloak wasn't.
21. logankstewart
Has it been discussed what the Chandrian's reasons were for keeping Kvothe's mother alive as long as they did? If the Cthaeh said that the Chandrian "had a reason" to keep her alive, then it presumably has to be true that they did indeed have a reason. Were they trying to get info from her about the Lackless Box and mayhap open the Doors of Stone? Were they looking for someone or something special?
Rob Munnelly
22. RobMRobM
I keep thinking about Harid Fel from WoT - opposite of desirability.

"Stick by the Maer" - stick is not a verb. But is a noun, referring to Bredon's walking stick that is located by the Maer.
George Brell
23. gbrell

Many dictionaries would disagree with you; and oed too.
Hello There
24. praxisproces
It's also worth noting, as we discussed some months back - I think when we were still on NW - that the Chtaeh doesn't explicitly say here that the Chandrian killed Kvothe's mother. As part of the larger discussion about whether we're seeing this from the right perspective. Denna's version of events may be right after all.
Jeremy Raiz
25. Jezdynamite
Shalter@5 - great rhyming. Cthaenk you! (sorry, I couldn't resist).

Thistlepong@6 - I love how you found that Felurian's specific threat was carried out by the Cthaeh and also occurred during K's flight from the Cthaeh.

Which makes me wonder about the Fae realm being awake/Immenently aware. Are all of the interactions within the Fae interrelated? Is the Fae realm a self aware realm where Felurian/the Cthaeh/the Sithe/the butterflies - are all tools through which a self aware Fae world can act towards its own common goals. As opposed to any specific individual goals of the Cthaeh or Felurian or the Sithe. The fae realm could be similar to the Borg (a collective intelligence) in Star Trek.

Perhaps, the self aware Fae world is acting to ensure its own survival by letting K live (the Sithe don't kill K and Felurian allowing him to leave the Fae while still sane). I'm not sure to what specific purpose. Killing a Chandrian?

Though Felurian seems to pre-date the Fae realm....hmm, I may be just rambling. (Removed Cthaeh from this sentence).
Katy Maziarz
26. ArtfulMagpie
Reposting a comment I made in the WMF discussion, Part 3 since it's relevant now:

“What can you tell me about the Chandrian?” asked.

"Since you ask so sweetly, Cinder is the one you want. Remember him? White hair? Dark eyes? Did things to your mother, you know. Terrible. She held up well though. Laurian was always a trouper, if you'll pardon the expression. Much better than your father, with all his begging and blubbering."

{ Kvothe remembers his dead parents, asks "Why?"}

"Why?" the Cthaeh echoed. "What a good question. I know so many whys. Why did they do such nasty things to your poor family? Why, because they wanted to, and because they could, and because they had a reason. Why did they leave you alive? Why, because they were sloppy, and because you were lucky, and because something scared them away."

Now, it seems to me that the Cthaeh phrased all of that rather carefully. He says that Cinder is the one Kvothe wants and describes him. Then, without ANY names or pronouns attached, says, "Did things to your mother, you know." The Cthaeh rather carefully did NOT say "CINDER did things to your mother." The combination of "Cinder is the one you want" with "did things" implies that "Cinder did things" but doesn't actually specify it. And in the second paragraph, never once does the Cthaeh say, "The Chandrian did nasty things to your family because they could. The Chandrian left you alive because you were lucky." No, he just says "they." The exact "they" he means is, again, implied to be the Chandrian, but never specified to be them.

If you were thousands of years old, more malicious than the human mind can grasp, bound to utter honesty, and extremely fond of effing with people's heads, I think you'd have a few tricks up your sleeve for very carefully implying untruth while at the same time being scrupulously honest...
thistle pong
27. thistlepong
We don't have any evidence to suggest the Cthaeh predates Faen; only that it predates the war. Felurian is kind enough to tell us that she predates both the faen realm and the fae as a people. She does seem to have some rather specific knowledge about Cthaeh. She knows not to ask of it, that it speaks only to hurt men, she knows to look for bite wounds and at the eyes. Bast knows it as a danger, knows what happens to those who come anywhere near it, knows the tragedies it's associated with; bigger stuff.

I sort of had a minor historical quibble. Recorded human history goes back two thousand years to Heldred, not Caluptena. The historical texts in the Archives are Caluptenian. Caluptena was burned by the Church, which places it around a thousand years ago, give or take. Which is kind of exciting. The nations that existed contemporaneous with the rise of the Aturan Empire were Yll, Modeg, Vint, Ceald, Ademre, and possibly Caluptena. Are there instances in our world where a text is referred to by it's city rather than nation of origin?
Chris Palmer
28. cmpalmer
@27, pretty much any city state. For example, Roman or Athenian?
Hello There
29. praxisproces
Right, exactly Magpie @26; I've been a longtime supporter of your analysis here. I think at the very least it is very suspicious that the statements don't link up in a grammatically unambiguous way. And in fact what I believe - though this isn't incontrovertible, I admit - is that the proper way to read the Chtaeh's comments about the Chandrian is something like:

"Remember Cinder? He did things to your mother which, while terrible, did not result in her death: he told both of them about your high destiny and the woe it was to bring you. They were very upset. Your mother, admittedly, held up with much more dignity than your father, who wept a lot and pleaded for some way to help you."

Or something.
Peter Reen
30. pnr060
I thought that the Cthaeh's joke about the Maer is that "door" is a pun. Sticking by the Maer will lead Kvothe to the Chandrian's door in the idiomatic way that he interprets it. Sticking by the Maer will also lead him to a literal door that has something to do with the Chandrian. This is probably the Lackless lockless door, given the Maer's wife, but there are also the Doors of Stone, the Valeritas Four Plate door at the University, and the thousands of half-cracked doors into the Fae. Although some of those may be the same door...
thistle pong
31. thistlepong
@28 Really? The Athenian histories weren't, or more appropriately aren't, considered Greek? Oh well.
Chris Palmer
32. cmpalmer
Well, yes, but there is a distinction between "Athenian" and "Spartan" even though they're both "Greek". Roman was my first thought, but there have been several city-state empires.
Hello There
33. praxisproces
@31&32, I think the analogy is probably to something like Alexandria, since there's probably a pretty clear Library-of-Alexandria / Library-of-Caluptena parallel. As we talk about the historical losses from the Library of Alexandria, they think about what was lost in the fire that took Caluptena.

Although I think the city-state empire point is correct - Carthage, Tyre, Mycenae spring to mind - but still I'm think Caluptena is supposed to be a single city whose destruction, due to the significance of its library, resulted in the loss of a lot of historical matter.
Jo Walton
35. bluejo
I agree re Alexandria, but there are also lots of specific books that are referred to by their place of origin: the Book of Kells, the Black Book of Carmarthen, the Red Book of Westmarch. This is so common that when we were writing GURPS Celtic Myth all the research books had titles that were very similar, and we used to jokingly refer to them as things like The Green Book of Blade Street (that was Squire) and so on.

As for the poetic comments, they really made me roar with laughter, especially C.M. Palmer's. And they demonstrate how hard it is to do naturally and how impressive a feat it is that Felurian's dialogue doesn't degenerate into doggerel but sounds like something somebody might spontaneously say.
thistle pong
36. thistlepong
Thanks for all the clarifications. I had Alexandria in mind, but a seventh nation was pulling at me fiercely.

@bluejo & gbrell:
So it is Naming that he’s learning. I think. Or is it shaping?
I took shaping and naming to be a difference in philosophy rather than kind: "they knew all the deep names of things" versus "those who saw a thing and thought of changing it." In her example, seeing and knowing the name of apple trees, maybe even using that knowledge to get a few more apples, verus transforming it into fantastical silver one; changing its name.

I noticed another weird coincidence. Here's The Lady of Twilight's description of Kvothe:
you are a long walker. you find me in the wild at night. you are a deep knower. and bold. and young. and trouble finds you.
Her description of the shapers begins, "there were those who walked with their eyes open. they knew all the deep names of things." That's about everyone. Then come the the shapers, “the fruit was but the first of it. the early toddlings of a child. they grew bolder, braver, wild." The same words repeated. Does she see the shaper tendencies in him or is she pushing him in that direction?
37. Zeno
Just noticed something. It is noted that the joke mentioned by the Cthaeh might have to do with the 'stick' or teh 'lead', but what about the door? Not the metaphorical door to which one is generaly lead, but a physical door guarded or watched over by the Chandrian? Say, for example, the door behind which Iax is locked?
38. Spirit theif
I'm sure that the Cthaeh's tree isn't Roah, because of the Rhinna flowers. I don't know much about reproduction of trees, but for there to be Roah in 4C, wouldn't the Rhinna have to be in 4C?

Iax spoke to CTH before he stole the moon, and Lanre spoke to it before he betrayed Myr Taraniel. So if Lanre is Haliax, Iax is not the same person, and would be behind the Doors of Stone as punishment. Haliax and Iax are both "evil" and exiled enemies. Sort of like Kote's self-imposed banishment and bad reputation.

I think CTH set up this chain if events from the beginning. Haliax speaks with it, starts war, causing Lyra to die. Lanre speaks with it, turns into Chandian, causes Kv to go crazy. Kv has spoken with the Cthaeh. What will happen?
lake sidey
39. lakesidey
I rarely post these days (too short of time); but I must commend Shalter's use of rhyme.

In Kvothe's tale, there's fire where there's smoke - Grimward / Grinning will prove, methinks, no joke. Grimward could be from where skin dancers hail, while Grinning houses Bast and Telwyth Mael (grinning need not always represent mirth - that's true even in our very own Earth). Let's speculate for now on the unknown - Day Three will set forth all the truths in stone!

(Alas, I cannot linger more, nor lurk - real life beckons, and off I go to work!)

Benjamin Moldovan
40. benpmoldovan
Hi folks. I just read both books a couple months ago, so I'm way behind compared to you all.

Anyway, my original reaction to the 7 was, you know them by their actions. They go around killing, they're bad. And maybe that's true. Then again, maybe they have a reason? Could they have some relation to the Sithe? Maybe they're protecting the world from CTH? Could be it I suppose. We don't know D's reasons why her understanding is backwards from K, 7 good, Amyr bad. Maybe if we knew what she knows, we'd see she's right, and K's wrong? As people have discussed above, CTH doesn't come right out and SAY that the 7 did the evil deeds. He implied it, but he could be doing the Aes Sedai version of lying. (i.e twisting true words to get one to believe a lie.)

Man, this is a deep series. I consider myself fairly smart, but I wouldn't tend to pick up on certain things on the first read. Like the moon. It seemed like people were fascinated by it, and told stories about it, but I didn't get how incredibly SIGNIFICANT it was before reading the re-read posts. I didn't think much of it. And while I DID get the importance of names, and obviously read about alar, I didn't pick up on the likelihood of K using alar to alter his name, and thus himself. I did enjoy the heck out of the books, though. Looking forward to D3.

Ben M
Alice Arneson
41. Wetlandernw
On why Kvothe wasn't touched by the Sithe... It was suggested that they simply don't have jurisdiction. Could that be because he is human? Bast's knowledge is more about Fae than humans, and not too many humans just wander into Fae, so how many would ever be able to find the Cthaeh anyway? Just a thought, and possibly late-night induced, but I thought I'd throw it out there for someone to take pot shots at.

Oh, and I've been admiring the rhyming. Well done!! And... you'll notice I didn't try. :) In reading the book, there were several times it was used where I didn't even realize I was reading couplets until I was half finished with it, even though my mind automatically joined them up for me. Shalter, your first couple worked the same way - my subconscious read it rhyming, but my conscious didn't even catch on for a while. :) So I say again - Well done!!
Rob Munnelly
42. RobMRobM
Gb@23 - I hope my intent was clear that I see stick as a noun in this context, not that stick can never be a verb. That is the CTH's intended misdirection - give the impression of using stick as a verb but actually use it as a noun.

Generally - not to restate all my arguments on earlier posts but I'm now seeing Bredon as a Sithe. F mentioned thatsome Fae hide among men and that their shapes and I see no reason that this particular checkov's gun can't be pointing in this direction. Also F is familiar with Tak - another possible clue that Bredon is Fae. As such, he can play the beautiful game to pull the Rhinta out of hiding where the can be attacked, even if D becomes collateral damage.

One other thought - if B is Sithe, I wonder if he could have given K something that would be a sign for Sithe to leave him alone. If true (and I'm not sure it is), that could explain why the Sithe left him alone.
thistle pong
43. thistlepong
@ArtfulMagpie (26); ConnorSullivan (24,29)

I'm all for Seven Apologist readings, and having been away so long, it's a bit surprising to see folks generally agreeing on one; I missed a lot.

I want to touch on a couple details.
"Why?" the Cthaeh echoed. "What a good question. I know so many whys. Why did they do such nasty things to your poor family? Why, because they wanted to, and because they could, and because they had a reason. Why did they leave you alive? Why, because they were sloppy, and because you were lucky, and because something scared them away."
We're meant to intepolate the Seven into this at first glance. But the final two sentences almost certainly refer to the Seven. We'd have to posit unseen events or cast about within the text for other possible referents. Such exist, certainly. The botched contract killing in the alley comes to mind. But to suggest that event or any other transforms the Cthaeh into a jibber jabber generator whose speech is essentially meaningless.

Concerning the missing pronoun in "Did things to your mother," a friend pointed out NWc27 and Kvothe "remembering the blood on his sword," in his internal monologue about Cinder. We know the Seven were present following the massacre, while folk were still dying. We know someone spooked them and they appear to have fled. "They come." So the blood on Cinder's sword either comes from the troupe or there's a third group that escaped wounded, which seems needlessly comlplicated.

I couldn't comfortably account for those details, even though a talented attorney could get the jury to ignore them. Well, even a simple country lawyer could probably convict Kvothe for the murders, but depending on the court he might get sentenced to an asylum instead of the gallows for claiming the Chandrian did it. But whatever.
Steven Halter
44. stevenhalter
Thanks for the nice comments re the rhyming and thanks to cmpalmer & lakesidey for joining in my bit of fun. :-)
@Jo:Glad it made you laugh. Yes, I think that the flowing naturalness of the rhymes emphasized Felurian's magical nature. I wonder how long it took PR to get it just right?
45. ryan7273
First, I'd like to thank Jo for my promotion.

@44 About 4 years, I'd say (-:
And well done with the rhyming.

I have several random thoughts on this section. For the more coherent ones regarding a logical breakdown of the Cthaeh's speech, refer to my post in the Cthaeh Recap.

1) The Cthaeh claims that none of us have to wit to understand it, but that, in time, K will get the joke. To me, this is not the type of comment made about a pun. Puns may require a fair wit to conceive, but tend to be relatively easy to spot. This reads more like situational/positional irony. If the advice is taken at face value then it will lead to (from the Cthaeh's viewpoint) comedic results.

2) @1 doesn't think killing people from "a half mile off" is realistic. Without magic, I would tend to agree. The current world distance record with a modern bow is almost 500 meters (.31 miles). The estimated maximum range with an English Longbow (according to Wikipedia) was about .23 miles. This is just going for distance, mind you. To actually have a reliable chance of hitting anything, the range is reduced to .1 miles. Not that these numbers have much to do with the Fae, but they offer some perspective.

3) I have another potential topology for Fae. We've mentioned flat, cylindrical, sperical, and moebius. What if it is a 3d moebius, otherwise known as a klein bottle? Like a moebius strip, a klein has only 1 side and is mathematically non-orientable. Like a sphere, it has no boundaries. The reason the idea may hold some merit is the lighting. If you placed a sun at the center of the interior then all of the "daylight" portions would be inside, the tunnel portion leading outside would be "twilight" and the outside could be surrounded by stars and be "night". There would, of course, be some practical issues involving the visibility of the moon, but the moon gives us problems in every theory proposed so far.
Steven Halter
46. stevenhalter
A theory that has been percolating away in the back of my head for some time is that there is a possibility that we aren't reading a fantasy at all.
If we think of the people involved in the Creation War as extremely advanced technologists who used their skills to radically alter the world around them and the people left to populate that world afterwords and use Clarke's Third Law to extrapolate into the current 4C/Fae, I can imagine ending up with a world very much like the one PR has created.
From a practical storyline point, I'm not sure it makes much difference whether the things like sympathy and naming are magic or the end results of left over technology but I think it is at least an interesting twist on viewing things.
Steven Halter
47. stevenhalter
As an example of a possible twist--whenever you see Tinker, substitue Hacker (albeit very advanced) and see where that line of thought takes you.
Rob Munnelly
48. RobMRobM
Shalter. So, you are saying Ademre is Russia, Vintas is Ukraine, Yll is Corsica (or post disaster Italy), the Modegans are Poles, the Aturans are German, and much of the Commonwealth is France...
49. beerofthedark
Regarding the Cthaeh: though Bast and Fel's reactions match at first when Kvothe tells about his meeting, they then differ re the long-term result. But why should this be? Felurian doesn't mention Sithe, nor show amazement that our K could somehow go and just stroll up and have a little chat. And she does not express a worry that her lover's now a walking timebomb. So is Bast just misinformed or simply know a little less than we've been thinking, or does Fel not care about a worldly war? I'm not too sure if there is something here - as ever with Pat, it's never quite clear.
Steven Halter
50. stevenhalter
RobMRobM: No, the origin world doesn't necessarily have to map to our world. Of course, it doesn't necessarily have to not map either.
52. ryan7273
@46 I like this theory. Magic that is approached in the manner PR has done is functionally equivalent to really advanced science. There are logical rules to follow and much of it seems to be learned in similar manner. Hemme's class and the brief mention of being at-odds with the TA in chemistry being prime examples. Also, everything in the Fishery.
53. Spirit theif
Bast and Felurian wouldn't act similarly. I don't know the exact wording, but he says something like "fae are creatures of desire, doing what suits them" Felurian wants a lover, so she wouldn't kill him and be lonely again. She isn't going to lose Kv. Bast has something planned with K, and has something to lose if these plans dont work, so would react hysterically.
54. Trollfot
Kvothe and Bast probably met in the Fae. Two years there does not correspond two years in the real world. They have been living in Newarre for one year, but the first year of their friendship could have been spent in Fae. Actually, we don't know how long they've been friends, only that Bast has studied under Kvothe for two years. They may have known each other longer.

About why Kvothe didn't run into the Sithe. The Cthaeh knows everything that is going to happen, much like a search algorithm used for, say, chess. It calculates all possible moves, possible counter-moves etc, till it knows all possible outcomes of everything. Then it starts playing. It probably has some ultimate goal, might be something simple like "causing malice" but there is something. From the very beginning, it has been working toward that goal. It knew it would be imprisoned in a tree. It could have avoided it by making different choices earlier on (never revealing its omnisciency, for instance), but it chose the tree. From the Cthaeh's point of view, the tree is a necessary sacrifice on its way to its goal (a chess algorithm may chose to sacrifice a chess piece). It always knew Kvothe would come, unapproached by Sithe, and it knew Kvothe would be able to leave Felurian and get back to the mortal world. This could be an important part of its greater scheme. Maybe it chose the tree to be able to speak to Kvothe at that exact moment. Or it could be totally insignificant. The Cthaeh did what it did for some other reason and the encounter with Kvothe doesn't mean much to it. But it let itself get stuck in the tree by design, it must have.

And yeah, there's totally a pun in there somewhere. I've suggested a pun on "lead" before but was (rudely) corrected on its pronounciation by someone (I'm not a native English speaker). Now I'm leaning towards "door" being the cruical word.
Alice Arneson
55. Wetlandernw
ryan7273 @45 - I'm in full agreement with you on your point #1. I don't think it's a pun. I think there will be something terribly ironic that Kvothe (and we) will see in D3. Somehow, though, I don't think we'll be laughing about the result. My suspicion is that it will relate to how the Maer has - and presumably will again - come close to the Amyr. The other most likely candidate is the door to which the Maer will lead Kvothe. I have certain suspicions... it may be a combination of the two. But I'm convinced there will be more to it than a mere pun. (FWIW, I wouldn't call "lead you to their door" and a connection to the "doors of stone" or the "Lackless door" either one to be a pun. Rob's "stick" definitely would.)

Is it possible that the reason "there were never any human Amyr" is that they can only become Amyr after death, or during a very-near-death experience? Certain people, for whatever reason, are chosen to become Amyr, and at the right time (near/after death) are snatched off to be initiated. If Caudicus was part of that, and was sent to the Maer to bring him to the appropriate condition, he may have been "close to them without realizing it" in that way. (In that case, another may be sent in D3, and may be less amenable to Kvothe's interference.)

Another possibility is that the Lackless door is (or has been) used by the Amyr to lock away certain dangerous people/information, and the Lackless family has been guarding it for centuries. If knowledge of why they were guarding it has been lost and the Maer enlists Kvothe's help to open it, it would (from an in-story perspective) be rather ironic - the apparently figurative "he will lead you to their door" would, in fact, be literal. The same joke would apply if the Lackless door is, in fact, the literal door the Amyr use to enter and leave the FC.

I can think of a few more possibilities on this path. Most of them would qualify more as "bitter irony" than "hilarious joke" from our perspective, but somehow that seems to fit with what the Cthaeh would find amusing. It seems to have a rather warped sense of humor.
Rob Munnelly
56. RobMRobM
Ok, we're back to Lackless theories, it seems. I think I noted it on an earlier post but I'm intrigued by "husband's rocks" in one of the Lackless rhymes. It's going to be a man's name engraved on a rock or piece of glass - the husband of a woman in the Lockless line - and I'm now thinking it's going to be Iax. They took away a big piece of his powers through his name and locked it away, and then probably were able to capture him and put him away. The family kept the name so they'd be safe from him in case he got out and then forgot what was in the box or that he was prisoner. This is going to get back when K is able to spring him and finds out his ancestor remains a scary dude who can make scrael and other things....

One other question - who is Encarnis in the present day? I'm guessing the CTH.
57. Cutty
For K to walk To and walk away from the CHTH the only logical conclusion is he was allowed. fae don't strike me as lazy and the CHTH is so dangerous from the fae point of view that they kill the birds that feast on the dead of someone who heard a word from it. So let's not gloss over the feat of K having a conversation and living to tell the tale.

Why was he allowed?
1. As someone else mentioned he is human. But Bast has made it clear that humans are not special and in many ways the fae have no reverence for them.

2. felurian. I'd pass on this thought. While she seems to be powerful and predates the fae realm, her power seems to be limited to her glade, her domain.

3. I'm against the "one" angle. 2 days into his story and not one prophecy or story or anything that could lead down this road. Book 3 is alittle late to introduce this concept in my opinion.

3. K is marked. Literary tools aside ( him being the main character) how could he be marked? His eyes are open, and his sleeping mind is waking. How could they know this from a mile away? I can see 2 ways for this. 1 being the white star on his brow...the light he sees in felurians eyes when he lays the smack down on her. He can longer see it...but who is to say the Fae don't see a Bon fire on his brow at all times. Perhaps this is what Bast saw from K and it is what drew him to K...and since coming to the inn it has been fading. The second way I can see it is K changed his name with his sleeping mind waking. I mean his deep name that namers see when they look at someone. I'm not saying all Fae are namers, but even if they are not... maybe able to recognize something. I don't know how to read Chinese but I can spot the word china.

One other thing I have been thinking. Felurian is personification of lust. CHTH could be said to be the personification of knowledge. K mastered lust, buy walking away from the CHTH he showed wisdom and or mastery of knowledge. Perhaps he earned the right to live by not being tempted/consumed by knowledge. Not saying the logic works just letting it percolate to see what comes of it.

One last note. Since the fight with felurian she has treated K differently. Like he changed. I mean that the waking he achieved change her perception of him. It's like she saw him as a toy then after that he was her equal. Not something she fears, but a respect. she almost crushed him and he fended her off and could of crushed her but didn't. But she isn't afraid of him. Perhaps someone can articulate this better.

Katy Maziarz
58. ArtfulMagpie
One other question - who is Encarnis in the present day? I'm guessing the CTH.

My understanding is that Encanis is Haliax....when Trapis tells his story in Tarbean, he describes Encanis by saying "his power lay around him like a dark mantle, hiding his face in shadow." In fact, several times it's mentioned that Encanis's face is hidden by shadow--as is Haliax's after Selitos curses him. The Tehlin story seems to be a religion-shrouded and confused version of the Creation War story as recounted by Skarpi and Felurian...
Nisheeth Pandey
59. Nisheeth
Their oldest and most important charge is to keep the CTH from having contact with anyone.
I was thinking about the Sithe, and this line gave me an idea about why Kvothe wasn't killed.
Guarding Cthaeh inn't their only duty. Maybe they were doing some other work at that time.

And Bast's claim about how much of the future can Cthaeh see seems to be very dubious.
David C
60. David_C
Jo wrote:
(Sudden thought. Somebody must have got away from Felurian before, or we wouldn’t know her name. Unless we know it from the song when people heard and didn’t follow. Yes, that must be it.)
Not to belabour the point, but there are lots of possible ways the song could have gotten out that are consistent with the text. First, there is no reason why other Fae could have talked about her to humans. Secondly, (related) someone could have asked the Cthaeh. Thirdly, it's not clear how Felurian would interact with a child or young man.

Completely whimsically, it's possible that Felurian's male human lovers go insane trying to get away; whereas her female human lovers are driven to become grade-school teachers who beat their pupils who fail to learn how to spell F-E-L-U-R-I-A-N.
61. realmC
A piece of pretty baseless speculation, but: The origin of the word Grammarie (at least in our world) has to do with writing; could that be connected to the kind of magic D asked them about?
62. Trollfot
re. puns: maybe we could compare how these passages are translated into other languages? Rothfuss has set up an Internet forum to help translators with important passages and wording of puns are important.

I've only briefly looked through a translated copy but Cinder was translated/changed to Sinter, and I didn't notice any other names translated (names are usually left untranslated). This ought to mean the geological connection is somewhat important or they could have kept Cinder.
63. Mar
@ 56. RobMRobM

Oh! What if Kvothe opened the doors of stone and freed Iax--who is currently running around the frame-world making scrael, etcetera--but part of his name is still locked in the Lackless box--which is, now, locked in the thrice-locked chest in K's room?

K isn't trying to open his chest. He's checking to make sure it remains secure and unopenable.

And, he's waiting to die, because all his energy / alar is geared toward keeping the trunk locked. His gifts are slowly diminishing as it takes more and more energy to hold Iax in check. That's why he's fading in the frame and why Bast is trying to rekindle his spirit, so to speak.

Sorry, off topic, but I had to share my lightbulb moment.
Bruce Wilson
64. Aesculapius

Agreed; Encanis seems to be a "demonised" (literally, in the sense that he has been subverted for a religious version of the story) Haliax and, as others have pointed out, the story of Tehlu as told by Trapis would seem to be a means of re-interpreting and re-telling the more complex history through the eyes of a latter-day 4C religion, with a focus on singling-out Tehlu as the main protagonist.

Something else that occurred to me, however, is this:

If we place the Trapis story in the context of Skarpi's stories then it would seem plausible that the Tehlin version, with Tehlu harrying Encanis and his demons, could also be consistent with some of what might have happened *after* Skarpi's second story. By this point, Lanre would be Haliax and Tehlu would have taken on his "angelic" form, meting out justice for acts of wrong-doing.

The references to driving out demons and salvation for those who chose to cross over and join Tehlu, whilst clearly having a degree of religious parable about them, might also, perhaps, refer to a more general scouring of the lands in the aftermath of the end of the Creation War. We know that many in the 4C think of the Fae as "demons" - perhaps this is actually about the separation of the original peoples into those who were driven into the Faen Realm and those who remained behind...? This might be related to which side they supported in the war but I would suspect that it might be rather more complex than that - given the different nature of the peoples of the Fae, perhaps it's an indication of prejudice against (and fear of) those who were subject to a degree of Shaping...?

Some aspects of the story (the destruction of the cities in particular) may tie-in with the earlier events of Skarpi's stories but the overall arc of Trapis' story also makes me wonder if Haliax and the rest of the Seven weren't more overtly active in those days, necessitating a more overt response from the original Tehlins (the singers...?) and the original Amyr - and, whilst Haliax cannot be killed, something like the events in this story did occur when Tehlu finally caught up with them, necessitating a more covert modus operandi by the Chandrian thereafter.
Jeremy Raiz
65. Jezdynamite
Sorry if this or something similar has been posted before.

In these chapters, there was a reference made by Felurian to the shaper - most probably Iax - who stole the moon. She referred to the shaper as:

this shaper "of the dark and changing eye"
stretched out his hand against the pure black of the sky.

In Saicere's Atus (sword story), the bearer of the sword at Drossen Tor was called:

Finol "of the clear and shining eye"

It made me wonder if these kinds of terms referring to eyes are significant. And what they mean? I dont think it means they both only had one eye. Maybe it implies they were on separate sides of the battle (and the "eye" reference equates with different sides in the same battle). And it might add weight to Selitos putting out his own eye into clearer perspective. i.e. that he's on the side of the "clear and shining eye".

Other interesting "eye" related observations I've noticed are:

(1) Missing an eye
Dagon, Selitos and Cammar (Kilvin's 2nd in charge)

(2) Changing eye colours:
Kvothe, Felurian and Bast are the only ones regularly observed to having their eyes change colour. Kvothe's eyes regularly changed colour before he went into the Fae.

FYI - the shaper who stole the moon is referred to as "of the dark and changing eye" but the "changing eye" may not necessarily refer to colour.

(3) Black eyes
Cinder/Ferule and Menda (who was Tehlu)

(4) Grey eyes
All Adem are referred to having grey eyes without exception (a trait of the Adem, no other eye colour is referred to for the Adem). The only other person who is mentioned as having grey eyes is Maer Alveron. Interesting. I wonder if the Maer has an Adem parent? Probably not.

(5) Lorren as Adem?
Lorren (who some think may be Adem due to control of his facial expressions) is never mentioned as having a specific eye colour. Only that they are "impassive" and "placid" in 2 separate references. Far fetched sounding to me if Lorren ends up being Adem.

Oh, and if he's not Adem, I think it highly unlikely that Lorren would have trained with the Adem (they don't train barbarians as a normal occurrence). I just think Lorren is a guy who doesn't show much emotion.
Bruce Wilson
66. Aesculapius
I've been catching up with Part 18 (it's been a busy few weeks in the real world) and I just noticed:

Promotion to Re'lar...!

I know I ought be far too old and sensible for this to elicit such a childish, gleeful response but, just as with E'lir, nevertheless, it does!

Thanks, Jo!

67. towo
Maybe shedding a light here, but with a clear sky, an hour before twilight in real life is pretty much in daylight - except that it isn't an hour's worth of walking (if you presume the normal way of sunlight hitting a round world, which, so far, seems to hold true for 4C, anyway), but an hour's worth of time.
68. leeflow1
1. Isn't Kvothe both a shaper (in a small way in the Fishery) and a namer? (thistlepong@36)

2. I wonder at the demise of the mythological Greek hero Ajax, who because of sorrow over being denied a prize died or killed himself, and if that is what is to become of Iax (Jax). If the moon is restored, the fey realm destroyed, would feeling that sorrow cause him to do what Ajax did. I would like that ending. (I guess I am a sucker for the classics.)

3. 4C world seems to reference a box. Maybe the inside of a box. Boxes and doors of all kinds; actual doors, metaphorical doors, and many doors and boxes that are real and metaphorical.

4. Maybe this means that Bast has been attacked by Kvothe, giving Bast this first lesson.
“Who, over the course of a hundred and fifty years of life, not to mention nearly two years of my personal tutelage, has managed to avoid learning a few important facts. The first being this: attacking a member of the Arcanum skilled enough to make a binding of iron is foolish.”

5. I love parabola@10 and Clubbavich@20 explanation of the cloak of no particular color explanation. Its Occam's razor at its finest. (pun intended)
David C
69. David_C
On the whole Cthaeh / Sithe / how-did-Kvothe thing:

I think that we're way over-thinking this. Clearly Bast and Felurian and others know of the Cthaeh, apparently in some detail, so the Sithe guard cannot be 100% perfect. Perhaps it's significant that the Sithe weren't there when Kvothe was; more likely PR is plugging future plot holes (e.g., why doesn't K just go and ask the Cthaeh for more answers?). Tolkien had a similar problem with Tom Bombadil: why not just leave the one ring with Tom?

If the Cthaeh can predict the future perfectly, it has no free will. If it is omnipotent (or even simply very potent), can it constrain its own future actions? It's not clear to me how a magic-imbued universe can tolerate the presence of a perfect oracle. It's not even clear to me that a Newtonian billiard-ball universe can support a perfect oracle (thinking and predicting both require moving the billiard balls). ... so I suspect that it is best to assume that the Cthaeh has said a few true things, and that Kvothe won't be allowed to consult it again, and leave it at that.

I've said it before, but I'll repeat it: the Cthaeh is to 4C what Tom Bombadil is to Middle Earth, or the Golux to the 13 clocks. Like a faint star, if you look directly at it, its charm will disappear.
Jeremy Raiz
70. Jezdynamite
Leeflow1@68 - Hi. I'm interested in your reasoning as to why you believe the fae realm would be destroyed if the moon were restored. I thought the fae realm existed before part of the moon was stolen.

Do you think restoring the moon to the mortal world would somehow stop travel between the fae and mortal worlds?
Rob Munnelly
71. RobMRobM
Mar at 63. I really like that theory - K opens the door and has to focus all alar on keeping the box closed. Nice and even potentially plausible.

Steven Halter
72. stevenhalter
@Jo:Congratulations on the Nebula nomination for Among Others.
Jo Walton
73. bluejo
Shalter: Thank you! I am really excited about it!
Alice Arneson
74. Wetlandernw
@72 & 73 - Excellent! I hope it wins! Congratultions, Jo.
Jeremy Raiz
75. Jezdynamite
@Jo: Congratulations. That is fantastic. Fingers crossed that you win too. Even getting a nomination is a really big thing.
Rob Munnelly
77. RobMRobM
I'll ditto all the good wishes. I enjoyed it very much (and have recommended it to the staff at my excellent local library).
Katy Maziarz
78. ArtfulMagpie
Oh, goodness! I just saw the nomination and popped over to say congratulations! And so well-deserved, too. Among Others actually moved me to tears at one point, Jo. Thank you for writing it!
Jo Walton
79. bluejo
Thank you for the good wishes, everyone, it means a lot to me that you guys like it.

And speaking of awards, did you see WMF topping the poll? Yes!
Hello There
80. praxisproces
Yes, Jo, huge congratulations. It's really satisfying to see the big awards paying attention to a true accomplishment like Among Others. My favorite book of the year, even past WMF; it really captured a lot of what childhood was really like.

So, just a sidenote, @65 notes that Kvothe is the only non-Fae character whose eyes routinely change color. This seems maybe quite significant. I can't swear we've never mentioned it before in the Re-Read, but it seems like a new observation. Admittedly Bast's eye-color changes when his glamour gets knocked off, which is maybe different from the mood-related changeability we see in Kvothe. But nonetheless! Can we really believe PR included these two related phenomena without meaning us to connect them?
81. formflow
Jezdynamite@70 Correct The fey realm did exist before it had a moon, albeit with somewhat shoddy construction with all the holes and whatnot. I imagine that if the whole moon restoration was to happen it wouldn't happen quietly and the disturbance may be enough to collapse the fey realm.
This conveiniently would explain why Bast is with Kote, he has no home to return to? Also maybe this would be why the skrael and other monsters from the fey are in 4C.

Another thought, has anyone hypothesisized that Bast may be Kvothe's Bastard child, from his time with Felurian. If I remember right, Bast is over 150 years old, but time passes much differently in the fey. My guess would be that either Kote or Bast knows, but not the both. This could lend creedence to Kvothe having fey blood in his family, with his changing eye color and ability to procreate with fey.
Alice Arneson
82. Wetlandernw
formflow @81 - It's been suggested, but since there's no actual evidence for or against, it's faded out of discussion. Personally, I don't think it's likely, but you never know - at least until D3 comes out.
thistle pong
83. thistlepong

There is evidence the moon's still moving. There's no moon in the frame at the beginning of NW and moonlight at the end of WMF. At the very least we can dismiss the notion that the moon has already been restored.

Regarding Bast, I know folks have a lot of ideas about him. @68 is the most original I've seen. He's probably all Faen as well.
Bastus, son of Remmen, Prince of Twilight and the Telwyth Mael.
Felurian is the Lady of Twilight, so that might be a hint to the other parent. Remmen's likely Lord of the Telwyth Mael. Mael is a little confusing though. Bast is Prince of the Telwyth Mael. The Tain Mael is mentioned in Felurians only explicated story. And Bast suggests the Mael (no modifier) is nowehere near where he was in Faen. I think he's lying about that, but hey, New York is pretty far from York.
84. Spirit Theif
I'm sure this has been mentioned before, but what if Arliden is from Fae? It makes a bit of sense if you think about it. Ilien is the only "human" known in Fae- but what if he was actually a Faen creature, in a mortal disguise?

If Kv was half-Fae, it could explain why Kvothe eyes change color, but are always a shade of green. It could explain how K met Bast. And maybe why he got past the Sithe- but I suppose we won't know until D3.

I like the speculation about the shape of 4Cs and Fae worlds.

And a last quick thought: PR tells us all sorts of things about the shape of stories. Doesn't Kv tell us what happens in a couple of chapters? He tells Bast that this is a tragedy in the interlude after the CTH. He does things like wearing a cloak, or trying to find a wise teacher (Elodin), or trading for 3 things, just to add flair to his reputation. I think that when K brags about being a proper hero, he's foreshadowing what happens later. I don't have either of my books right now, but later I'll try to find the parts where he talks about stories.

And congratulations Jo! I haven't read Among Other yet but our local bookstore just got it so I'll be picking it up soon!
Nisheeth Pandey
85. Nisheeth
And maybe why he got past the Sithe
I don't think that Kvothe's being Fae would explain that.
After all the Sithe's oldest and most important charge is to keep the CTH from having contact with anyone.
I amsure anyone includes those of the Fae.
86. New Reader
I always understood Encanis to be a compound character that made the religion easier to follow. Caenin (day of the span) the seventh day in which Encanis was supposedly captured, and referring outside of the religion to the seventh city which did not fall. Given thay "can" root, I thought Encanis was then primarily Haliax, but all of the Seven/Chandrian. And that is why the Chandrian are a fairy tale - they don't exist in that way in the religion, only as Encanis, a unequivocally evil character, as opposed to the human motives of the Seven, though they chose to destroy the cities/do what history has branded as evil.

I'm enjoying this re-read quite a lot, though mostly I don't bother posting (you guys notice a heck more than I do).
87. Kashiraja
@46 Pat has said in various interviews that he writes fantasy and he hasn't read much SciFi, so that implies he's writing about magic not science.

@54 I think the fact that the Ctaeh was imprisoned shows he can be defeated. Everyone familiar enough with human nature knows that even knowing the future perfectly you still cannot control a person.
Imagine I know all the possible futures (but you don't know this) and you are allergic to apples. even one will kill you. I doubt very much there's anything I could say that would make you eat an apple. I think Chronicler is the voice of reason, he proves to Bast that he's wrong in thinking the Ctaeh is all powerful.
88. Kallandra
About the Cthaeh's mention of the Maer and the Amyr, I always thought it was not so much a double-meaning in the words, as something much more mundane.
What with Kvothe so definitively burning his bridges with the Maer when he admitted he was Ruh, giving up his chance to ever work with the Maer on the Amyr. Knowing Alveron had come to the same conclusions as him, and then having the Cthaeh's words promising him the Maer would have helped him find the Amyr, if he had stuck by the Maer.
Kvothe/Kote tcould agonise over the what-ifs of that decision virtually forever. And the Cthaeh would love that.
89. Lucien G
The Lethani provides the way to deal with the problem of the Cthaeh
George Brell
90. gbrell
@89.Lucien G:

While many people seem to agree with that idea, I've never understood why it would.

I find it even more unlikely given that the Cthaeh is the one who "sends" Kvothe to Ademre to learn the Lethani. One would think that the Cthaeh would work to keep people away from the Lethani if it was a weapon against it. It would also suggest that whole swathes of the Adem would be immune to the Cthaeh (or protected).

So unless you think the Cthaeh is playing an even more beautiful game by arming a potential foe with the only weapon that can hurt it and you have an explanation for how the Lethani prevents an omniscent being from being omniscent, I just don't buy it. (At least one character has to have understandable motives that don't resemble a Gambit Roulette,
91. Piccadilly
Hey :)
I'm sure somebody mentioned it, but it's quite hard to check on 90 comments!
Did anyone else notice that on the last few pages of the chapter about the moon and the wise mans fear they both speak in rhyme, leaving away the describing part?

I hope I didn't tell you something completely wellknown^^

I also have to say that i found sth. interesting: Auri gives Kvothe a key, a coin and a candle, like Taborlin used to have in the first story about him in NW. Could it mean Auri sees in Kvothe the next Taborlin?

I hope this post doesn't come late ;)
92. Marquita
Hey! So I know I'm writing this WAAAAAY after the fact and no one will probably read this lol so I apologize for that. I'm 99% sure someone already mentioned this, so disregard if they have.

Remember when Skarpi was telling the story about Selitos forming the Amyr? When Aleph gave the Ruach power, something interesting happened.

Then Aleph spoke their long names and...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.

Silver stars on their foreheads...doesn't that sound like the white star that Kvothe saw on his forehead in the reflection of Felurian's eyes when he sang her name? Is this just a general representation of power/magic or is it solely an Amyr thing? I mean Auri did call Kvothe her Ciridae which is the Amyr too right? I'm a little less sophisticated in my thoughts and understanding, so I'm sorry if I'm stating the obvious!
George Brell
93. gbrell

It's been briefly discussed that Kvothe is described as both an Amyr and then, in the Felurian instance you mention, as one of the angels. This is particularly interesting as one of the consensus theories is that the angels are the Singers mentioned by Haliax.

It was discussed more in the comments here:

I also discussed it at slightly more length in this comment:
Mordicai Knode
94. mordicai
I have more owl questions immediately. How big is Fae? Not all that big, if it’s walking distance to day and dark. How long does it take to go all the way around?

He walks for an hour into full daylight. He says he shouldn’t go far from “her twilight grove” but he also says they’ve taken the shaed into daylight, so who knows. Is twilight only an hour — four or five miles — from daylight?
Those are all clever Kvothe questions, & I think that they are inherently unanswerable. That sort of repeatable scientific inquiry is always going to fall short when applied to the Fae.
Mordicai Knode
95. mordicai
Maybe the Sithe let Kvothe go to the CTH because...Kvothe is the villain of the story?

Maybe the parallels between Kvothe's cloaks & Taborlin's cloak are there because they are the same guy, though...what, timey-wimey stuff?
96. DrewTOh
So this may seem a little off base, but I had a theory for why the Sithe may have not been guarding the Ctheah. Maybe they had been drawn away to go after Cinder in the bandit camp (perhaps from the prayers during the fight, especially since the moon was closer to 4c, making crossing over easier). Since time passes (arguably) longer in the 4c rather than the fae, perhaps they hadn't returned yet.

It makes sense the Sithe would be trying to kill the seven, especially if they were products of the influence of the Ctheah. Clearly, they would be trying to remove Ctheah's influence from the world by killing parties that had been directly affected. (Additionally, this might explain why they'd send all of them instead of leaving some behind, so as to increase their chances). Could be completely off base, but wanted to suggest it, even if months late =P
George Bracken
97. jorgybear
“Felurian makes a non-sound”. We know Kvothe is sufficiently proficient at Naming that he can hear something when someone speaks a Name (“the name of fire is Fire?”), so I’m assuming that what Felurian does here is not the same as naming as it is in the 4C world. Could this be a Shape-name? Or some other Fae branch of naming?

“It (the CTH) says the masters at the University might know”. Of course, it knows whether they do or not. I think the choice of words here is a rebuke at Kvothe’s cowardice of asking the masters.
George Bracken
98. jorgybear
Sorry for a second post, but when reading comment 1 by Lackless, the punctuation in the following statement seemed to take on a new significance:
"Who keeps you safe from the Amyr? The singers? The Sithe?"
At first, I thought Haliax was asking Cinder who he thought kept him safe from these three groups, but is could also mean “"Who keeps you safe from the Amyr? Do the singers keep you safe? Do the Sithe keep you safe?" It could be that the Sithe and the Singers were once groups allied to the Chandrian, who either no longer exist, or have changed allegiance, or have proven ineffective in the past at keeping the Chandrian safe from the Amyr.
I don’t think the Singers have been referenced in the text since Kvothe’s family were killed. What we know about the Sithe is:
1.They guard the CTH, in order to prevent its influence from spreading. 2. K believed they were “a faction among the Fae. Powerful, with good intentions-” 3. Bast responds to this by saying “You don’t understand them if you use the the term ‘good intentions.’ But is any of the Fae can be said to work for good, it’s them.” They do sound similar to the Amyr, but it could be that their ‘good work’ only goes as far as guarding the CTH (I love this abbreviation, I hate typing the whole name). Maybe the Sidhe have their own agenda in allowing Kvothe access to the CTH, which I always suspected was in allowing the CTH to influence K into a confrontation with Cinder, but my new theory is that it sets K down a path which matches the Chandrian’s plan (ie, killing the king, opening the doors of stone and releasing the flood of skreal).
99. HyacinthClare
One quick comment about the rhymes - during Felurian and Kvothe's conversation about the moon (and indeed anywhere the rhymes appear in these books I believe), the rhyming couplets consistently have four metric feet, so that would make it iambic tetrameter rather than pentameter. This whole conversation in verse was a treat. The iambic meter nearly perfect without seeming too strained. Impressive! I've been consuming these books entirely in audio format, and the meter and rhyme really stand out to the ear that way. I just love how the rhyming couplets are scattered here and there throughout the books; it's always fun to come upon one.
Steven Halter
100. stevenhalter
HyancinthClare@99:We had a fun discussion on the problems of correctly counting syllables in spoken text in which the dialect isn't known in:

It is fun to see the rhyming in the text and Pat has said that he worked hard to make it look easy.
101. Ben Spicer
Random idea, But Kvothe is being 'watched' by the angels. They arrived just before the killing of his parents, they 'assisted' when he felt like dying in Tarbean, and they 'assisted' with the lighnting bolt scene in the Eld. Kvothe even says that there were 3 seperate bolts of lightning and you could see it in Cinders actions that he was aware of a presence the moment Marten started praying. My theory is Kvothe is for some unknown reason being watched over by the angels... why???!!!
102. Jadedly
Sorry if this has been said, but if the Ctheah is what Bast seems to think it is, and it spoke to Iax and Lanre, then everything Kvothe has ever done was already inevitable, because Lanre/Haliax is why Kvothe's parents are dead and the Ctheah totally knew that would happen and therefore Kvothe was under Ctheah influence before he ever met it.
I don't like this theory because inevitability sucks, but there you are.
Kate Hunter
103. KateH
I've been pondering K's time in the Faen for a while now, and I've got some ideas I want to share. In the previous post I commented on the nature of the Faen being associated with the sleeping mind and in some ways a mirror image of the human world . To continue this idea, I think that grammarie and glamourie are not, from the perspective of the Fae, magical in any way.

Felurian defines grammarie as the art of making things be, and glamourie as the art of making things seem. Arts, not magic. The only examples I know of are the grammarie of making the shaed, and the glamourie used by Bast to disguise him as a human. Now K is fascinated by the making of the shaed, and it looks like magic to him. But Felurian is utterly nonchalant about making it. To her it's an art, the way sewing or weaving would be a small art to a human. She finds K's interest in grammarie amusing at first and then irritating; she can't understand why it's so difficult for him to grasp it. Finally, she tells him to pass her that moonbeam over there, and he does so without thinking about it - for a moment. As soon as the first thought goes through his head, he no longer has a grip on the moonbeam.

This to me is just another illustration of the divergent natures of the Faen and the mortal. The Faen is dreamlike to humans because it's in some way the embodiment of the sleeping mind. The operating rules of our world don't apply there, so shadow and starlight and moonbeams can be made into clothing. That looks magical to K while he's there, and he applies all the discipline of his human waking mind trying to understand it, which he never does. When he finally turns off his waking mind, his body and his sleeping mind do exactly what Felurian has been doing all along, without any effort.

I think this is also what irritates F when K says the fish like the salt on his skin. It's not that she was aiming for a romantic moment, it's that K persists in looking at the world (the Faen in this case) with his waking mind. For him, there's a prosaic and logical reason the fish put their mouths to his skin. Felurian, in the dreamworld, in the sleeping mind, doesn't think about such things and probably can't even wrap her mind around K's way of seeing things if she tries. These are two different worlds, two different mind states, and two different sets of operating rules butting up against each other, neither really able to understand the other.

When K leaves the Faen with the shaed, humans regard it as a magical item. It was made according to principles that violate the operating rules of the human world, which is a decent definition of magic. But for the Fae, it's mundane, no more magical than a beautifully made quilt in the human world. There's skill involved in making both items, but no magic. A quilt might well look magical if taken into the Faen.

Felurian's story about the theft of the moon is interesting too because at the end of it she tells K he now has his who and how. So she feels she has told him the identity of the greatest shaper who stole the moon, even though she refused to say his name. This made me go back over exactly what she had said. There are two possibilities in what she said, and of course there are ambiguities. First, "shaper of the dark and changing eye." At first I thought Felurian was referring to the moon here. As in the Shaper that shaped the dark and changing (waxing & waning) eye of the moon. Right before this, Felurian holds the stone to her eye, and then up towards the moon, as if trying to fit the stone into the crescent of the moon. But on second pass it looks like she's saying the greatest of all shapers had at least one eye, probably two, and they were dark and changing. The other possibility is that my metaphorical reading was correct, and that Felurian considers the fact that the Shaper is set beyond the doors of stone to be the identifying detail. Felurian would have to know that only one person was ever set beyond the doors of stone, and assume that K knows who this is. She often (erroneously) takes for granted that he knows stuff that she does, so this wouldn't be much of a stretch.

On a totally different note, did anyone else catch echoes of Auri in the Faen? Besides all the owl references, K once describes F as "lovely as the moon." I'm pretty sure Auri says exactly that about herself too at some point.
104. Terrion
Ten words that can break a strong man's will. What's the sentence CTH says to Kvothe that drives him to flee? "Otherwise, you just might have broken that poor girl's heart". Ten words.
105. elricprincess
Something i've found interesting about what Felurian says about the Fae and mortal realms. That Fae (lose themselves) the longer their in the human realm so is Bast in danger just by being in the human realm?

Could the Shapers have made the Fae that way to keep their creations in check and not cause chaos with humans?
106. XiaoXiao
"He makes a sympathetic light, and it attracts something scary and big that zooms over them — I have no idea what. Felurian rescues him by knocking him to the ground and saying three words Kvothe can’t hear. He doesn’t ask, and we remain unenlightened — it was a weird thing in the darkness. Okay."

I think it's an angelic being, specifically, one of the Singers (assuming that's what Haliax means by "the singers". That is, if we accept the Chandrian fear only three things (Amyr, Sithe, and Singers). I say this because the description of this being is eerily similar to the beings that scare the Chandrian away:

"A feeling of being watched pulled at my attention. I felt a tenseness, a subtle change in the texture of the air." NotW, Mass Market Paperback, pg. 129.

Compare this with Kvothe's experience in Fae:

"Something vast and almost perfectly silent stirred the air above and slightly to one side of where we lay...."There was a soft sound of movement above us, as if someone was folding a huge piece of velvet around a piece of broken glass..."It was a soft noise, the half-heard sound of deliberate movement..."There was a stirring in the air directly above us...."A subtle tension left the air above us" - WMF, Kindle Edition, Pages 661-662.

If we also accept that angel(s) helped Kvothe crush the bandit camp, that would bring up an insteresting coincidence between the Fae incident and the bandit camp. In both events, Kvothe used sympathy. Could it be his use of sympathy in part attracted the angelic being(s) in each case?
107. DrPerkele
I'm a few years late to this party, but I thought I'd point out that if guarding the Cthaeh is so important that they kill crows who eat the flesh of those who encountered it, I HIGHLY doubt they're going to leave it unguarded because they're off on other business. It also doesn't state that all of them must go off to do their duties together. I feel like at least one would have to guard it at all times.

But from where and how? Why not just prevent anyone from going to speak to it at all? Why no warnings for those who wouldn't recognize Cthaeh? If guarding him is of such importance as Bast said, why does no one guard it at all times?

There has to be another reason they left Kvothe alone that wasn't just "they happened to miss that one guy that one time, oops"
108. DrPerkele
"@46 Pat has said in various interviews that he writes fantasy and he hasn't read much SciFi, so that implies he's writing about magic not science."

I think that's a pretty odd generalization. If you look at his depictions of sympathy plus his university backgrounds in chemistry and English... Just because he's not into Sci-Fi doesn't mean his writing can't be scientific.

"@54 I think the fact that the Ctaeh was imprisoned shows he can be defeated"

I'm going to again disagree here. People only lock things away when they can't be defeated otherwise. Why lock Iax behind doors of stone instead of killing him? Why lock Cthaeh in a tree instead of killing him? Why does Kote not kill himself if he's waiting to die? There must be reasons for this.
Joanna Andrews
109. highwaycrossingfrog
@107 DrPerkele Yes! If the Sithe's prime directive is to prevent or neuter any contact with The Cthaeh, there is no way they would have left it unguarded, no matter what other threat they may have to deal with. Even less likely that Kvothe would happen to chance upon it at that very moment. To my mind, there are only two likely explanations: 1. The Sithe let him through on purpose; or 2. They were prevented from stopping him. The first explanation seems much more likely, since an entity that would even kill a crow that feasts on the body of someone who talks to The Cthaeh would presumably put some effort into tracking Kvothe down, having been forcibly prevented from stopping him at the time. If the Sithe let him through, it must be that they want him to be influenced by The Cthaeh, though to what end I cannot say. The argument against is that The Cthaeh could manipulate events so that the Sithe let Kvothe through, but in this case there is no point even having a guard since The Cthaeh can easily circumvent it whenever it wishes. In any case this is somewhat akin to time travel paradox, in which going back in time prevents the events which led to going back in time, a la Terminator. There is a somewhat interesting sidenote that, if Haliax is protecting the Chandrian from the Sithe, then likely they have all spoken to The Cthaeh at some point. Is this what makes them Chandrian? That would have an interesting impact on Kvothe's future, and recalls NotW, in which a rumour of a new Chandrian is connected to Kvothe:

"Some are even saying that there is a new Chandrian. A fresh terror in the night. His hair as red as the blood he spills."
Joanna Andrews
110. highwaycrossingfrog
Apologies for double posting. I've just been musing on the possible significance of a line in the interlude chapter. After Bast accuses Kvothe of lying about The Cthaeh and Kvothe says that this is his chance to tell the truth of his story to Chronicler, Bast shouts "I don’t give a fiddler’s fuck what you tell him, Reshi. He’ll write what I say or I’ll eat his heart in the market square!" (It caught my eye because this is almost exactly what Beatrice says to Benedick when she wants to take vengeance against Claudio in Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing: "Oh God that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market place." I doubt this is of any significance other than a nicely violent threat, but I'll just note that Bast is not actually a man either.) Anyway, why does Bast say "He'll write what I tell him?" Chronicler is supposed to be writing what Kvothe tells him. Does Bast intend to edit the story before it is published? How much of it? Just the part about The Cthaeh? Or is it just a general threat in his panic?
111. ARMed_Pirate
@6 Thistlepong said:
"if you ask of the seven again in this place, I will drive you from it. no matter if your asking be firm or gentle, honest or slantways. if you ask I will whip you forth from here with a lash of brambles and snakes. I will drive you before me, bloody and weeping, and it will not stop until you are dead or fled from fae."
"She doesn't specify asking her. This place is clearly Faen, not the glade. The same butterflies appear around the rhinna tree as do in her glade, which is depopulated when he returns. And he returns in tears, bramble torn and bloody. She give Kvothe some recovery time while he's beset by terrible dreams, but Cthaeh's words stick "in his mind like burrs, goading" him out into the world."

This is _really_ insightful, but why do you assume he ends up bloodied because of the Cthaeh?
It seems to me that Kvothe _was_ driven by Felurian with brambles and snakes, all the way back to her glade. (Maybe she can't throw him out right away, because that depends on the moon's position.) But she's tired and less than beautiful not just from the hard work of incorporating iron into the shaed, but from chasing and beating her love!
But then she makes him forget what just happened. He's certainly demonstrating memory loss about "falling." And she's prevented him from seeing or remembering all the other fae servants around him, baking or otherwise serving food, possibly dancing with each other and/or playing with other mortals. (See the Faen Pairs deck by CheapAss Games.)

@65 Jezdynamite:
Great eye summary! But don't forget that all Fae seem to have solid-colored eyes (no whites or pupils) when they're not masking them with glamour. We see this with Bast and Felurian.

But Cinder's black eyes are also solid and without pupil. He's _really_ graceful and beautiful. Whatever is true of the other Chandrian, I'm sure Cinder is Faen, or at least a similar species.

@106 XiaoXiao
Good connection! I had no idea, but that makes sense! And puts Felurian in a more sinister light!

Also, general comment, have you noticed how often punctuation and spelling shows up in the text when maybe it shouldn't?
Examples: lowercase spelling of Felurians words, italics for thoughts and Adem hand-gestures, words like "hart" (part of a Felurianian sex move) and "heart" (in your chest) writtend distinctly even though they're homonyms.
This all implies that we are reading Kvothe's words and intentions (perhaps obvious, given the third-person narration of the frame), _not_ the story as it's written by Chronicler. Because Chronicler doesn't write spelling. He only writes phonemes. Writing phonetically means there is no difference between "hart" and "heart" or a spoken bit of dialog vs. an Adem hand-speak emotional tag. There's no clear beginning or end to quotations.
The details of Chronicler's story have to be interpreted completely based on context.

This isn't _that_ weird. For instance, the Torah is written without vowels, in a language where a consonant group forms the root and the vowels provide the specifics, yet it's meaning is known. Understanding a written account's details from context is possible. But it seems like it'd be really tricky with puns.

Oh, and on the general Cthaeh/fatalism thing: I'm with whoever said that Cthaeh being locked in his tree (with iron and copper in it, like the Lackless box) proves that defeating the Cthaeh _is_ possible, except in the short term. I agree with Chronicler, that if you generally act how you would regardless of the Cthaeh's words, it's not that bad. It's like gambling: if you make a promise to yourself not to bet more than $20 dollars, and never bet any winnings, and you stick to that promise, then the most you'll lose is $20. If you decide how you'll act before interacting with the Cthaeh, then act that way, then he had no influence, right?

I also see the Lethani as a ward against the Cthaeh's influence. If you always act right, you won't act wrong, so you won't be acting the way it wants. It's tautologically true. It doesn't make the Adem immune though. It's a partial immunity at best. Because most (maybe all?) Adem never completely grok the Lethani. Like Tempi, they don't understand it either. They just know they have to try.

It seems like the Cthaeh's real power is in understanding your psychology enough to figure out what will set you off on a course toward destruction, based on your emotional instabilities. A mentally and emotionally healthy person who met the Cthaeh would just go back to their normal lives afterwards. (Psychologically speaking, healthy people don't take harsh truths about themselves, their lives, or reality too seriously; they return to an optimistic baseline, even if that means deluding themselves about some things. A healthy person would convince themself that the Cthaeh was lying, or that even if what it said was true, those truths didn't really matter. For that matter, a healthy person wouldn't have many personal truths that would freak him/her out that much.)

It just so happens that (because of the Rhinna flowers, because of the Sithe, because of the Cthaeh's reputation, because it's an oracle), the kind of people who _want_ to speak to the Cthaeh or who _make it_ to the Chtaeh are exactly the kinds of extraordinarily driven and traumatized people the Cthaeh can most easily manipulate to greatest effect.

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